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Mining Tacitus: secrets of empire, nature and art in the reason of state

  • VERA KELLER (a1)

A new political practice, the ‘reason of state’, informed the ends and practices of natural study in the late sixteenth century. Informed by the study of the Roman historian Tacitus, political writers gathered ‘secrets of empire’ from both history and travel. Following the economic reorientation of ‘reason of state’ by Giovanni Botero (1544–1617), such secrets came to include bodies of useful particulars concerning nature and art collected by an expanding personnel of intelligencers. A comparison between various writers describing wide-scale collections, such as Botero, Francis Bacon (1561–1626), Jakob Bornitz (1560–1625) and Matthias Bernegger (1582–1640), reveals that seventeenth-century natural intelligencers across Europe not only were analogous to political intelligencers, but also were sometimes one and the same. Those seeking political prudence cast themselves as miners, prying precious particulars from the recesses of history, experience and disparate disciplines, including mathematics, alchemy and natural philosophy. The seventeenth-century practice of combining searches for secrets of empire, nature and art contests a frequent historiographical divide between empirical science and Tacitism or reason of state. It also points to the ways political cunning shaped the management of information for both politics and the study of nature and art.

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1 The paper of Macrakis, Kristie, ‘Secret communication and the origins of modern science and espionage’ at the States of Secrecy conference also dealt with political secrecy, and it has now appeared as ‘Confessing secrets: secret communication and the origins of modern science’, Intelligence and National Security (2010) 25, pp. 183197. Long, Pamela, ‘Power, patronage, and the authorship of ars: from mechanical know-how to mechanical knowledge in the last Scribal Age’, Isis (1997) 88, pp. 147; and idem, Openness, Secrecy, Authorship: Technical Arts and the Culture of Knowledge from Antiquity to the Renaissance, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001. Barrera, Antonio, Experiencing Nature: The Spanish American Empire and the Early Scientific Revolution, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006.

2 Harrison, Peter, The Fall of Man and the Foundations of Science, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, pp. 107125; and Lorraine Daston, ‘Preternatural philosophy’, in idem (ed.), Biographies of Scientific Objects, Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2000, pp. 15–41, 32.

3 Long, op. cit. (1).

4 Fioravanti, Leonardo, Specchio della Scientia Universale, Venice: Sessa, 1583. Eamon, William, Science and the Secrets of Nature, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994.

5 Grafton, Anthony, Defenders of the Text: Traditions of Scholarship in an Age of Science, 1450–1800, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991; Blair, Ann, ‘Humanist methods in natural philosophy: the commonplace book’, Journal of the History of Ideas (1992) 53, pp. 541551; and idem, The Theater of Nature: Jean Bodin and Renaissance Science, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997.

6 Soll, Jacob, ‘Introduction: the uses of historical evidence in early modern Europe’, Journal of the History of Ideas (2003) 64, pp. 149157, 152.

7 Peter Burke, ‘Tacitism, scepticism, and reason of state’, in J.H. Burns (ed.), The Cambridge History of Political Thought 1450–1700, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991, pp. 479–498.

8 Clapmar, Arnold, De arcanis rerum publicarum libri sex, Bremen: Wessel, 1605, pp. 46.

9 Bacon, Francis, The Essayes or Counsels, Ciuill and Morall, London: John Haviland, 1625, p. 26.

10 Heinz Mohnhaupt, ‘Prudentia-Lehren im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert’, in Mario Ascheri, Friedrich Ebel and Martin Heckel (eds.), ‘Ins Wasser geworfen und Ozeane durchquert’. Festchrift für Knut Wolfgang Nörr, Cologne: Böhlau, 2003, pp. 617–632.

11 Appleby, Joyce, Economic Thought and Ideology in Seventeenth-Century England, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978, p. 41.

12 Tuck, Richard, Philosophy and Government, 1572–1651, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993, p. 30.

13 Luigi Firpo, ‘Giovanni Botero’, Dizionario biografico degli italiani, 73 vols., Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 1971, vol. 13, pp. 352–362, Bireley, Robert, The Counter-reformation Prince: Anti-Machiavellianism or Catholic Statecraft in Early Modern Europe, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990; and Baldini, A. Enzo (ed.), Botero e la ‘Ragion di Stato’: atti del convegno in memoria di Luigi Firpo, Florence: Olschki, 1992; and Descendre, Romain, L’état du monde: Giovanni Botero entre raison d’état et géopolitique, Geneva: Droz, 2009.

14 Botero, Giovanni, Della Ragione di stato, Venice: Gioliti, 1589, p. 1. ‘Stato è un dominio fermo sopra popoli; e Ragione di Stato è notitia di mezi atti a fondare, conservare, e ampliare un Dominio cosi fatto’.

15 Senellart, Michel, Machiavélisme et raison d’état: XIIe–XVIIIe siècle, Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1989. Dreitzel, Horst, ‘Reason of state and the crisis of political Aristotelianism: an essay on the development of seventeenth-century political philosophy’, History of European Ideas (2002) 28, pp. 163187.

16 Botero, Giovanni, Della Ragione di stato, Venice: Gioliti, 1598, pp. 1 and 49. Alix Cooper has analysed how later political interests in natural resources entailed the study of local nature in Inventing the Indigenous: Local Knowledge and Natural History in Early Modern Europe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

17 Giovanni Botero, ‘Relationi del Mare’, in idem, Aggiunte di Gio. Botero alla sua ragion di Stato, Venice: Ciotti, 1600, p. 84. Klassen, Peter James, Mennonites in Early Modern Poland and Prussia, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009, pp. 4041.

18 Smith, Pamela, The Business of Alchemy: Science and Culture in the Holy Roman Empire, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994, p. 44.

19 Giovanni Botero, Aggiunte, op. cit. (17), p. 1. Descendre, in his otherwise excellent study of Botero, op. cit. (13), p. 97, suggests that Botero's description of the prince as the artisan of the state represented an effort to couch his political theory in more orthodox terms. I believe the view of the prince as artisan of the state fits with Botero's ‘mine of industry’ and overall perfective view of the arts.

20 Marie-Christine Bailly-Maitre, Alain Ploquin and N. Garioud (eds.), Le fer dans les Alpes du Moyen Age au XIXe siècle, Montagnac: Editions Monique Mergoil, 2001. For a reading of Botero's Reason of State in the context of Carlo Emmanuele's plans for Turin's expansion see Pollak, Martha, Turin, 1564–1680: Urban Design, Military Culture, and the Creation of the Absolutist Capital, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991, pp. 3940.

21 Botero, Giovanni, A Treatise, concerning the Causes of the Magnificencie and Greatnes of Cities, London: Henry Tomes, 1606, pp. 5051.

22 Botero, op. cit. (21), p. 52. Idem, The Reason of State (tr. P.J. and D.P. Waley), London: Routledge and Paul, 1956, p. 153. As the editors point out, this chapter was originally included in Della Cause della grandezza della città, Rome: Martinelli, 1588. In 1589, realizing its importance to his theory of the state as a whole, Botero moved it to his Reason of State. On the rivalry between art and nature see Close, A.J., ‘Commonplace theories of Art and Nature in classical Antiquity and in the Renaissance’, Journal of the History of Ideas (1969) 30, pp. 467486; idem, ‘Philosophical theories of Art and Nature in classical Antiquity’, Journal of the History of Ideas (1971) 32, pp. 163–184; and Bensaude-Vincent, Bernadette and Newman, William R. (eds.), The Artificial and the Natural: An Evolving Polarity, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007.

23 Bornitz, Jakob, Discursus politicus de prudentia politica comparanda, Erfurt: Birnstilius, 1602. On Bornitz see Stolleis, Michael, Pecunia Nervus Rerum: zur Staatsfinanzierung in der frühen Neuzeit, Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1983; and Senellart, Michel, ‘La critique allemande de la raison d’état machiavélienne dans la première moitié du XVIIe siècle: Jacob Bornitz’, Corpus: Revue de philosophie (1997) 31, pp. 175187.

24 Bornitz, Jakob, De nummis, Hanau: Wechel, 1608, pp. 8990.

25 Bornitz, op. cit. (24), pp. 93–96.

26 Bornitz, op. cit. (24), p. 253.

27 Bornitz, Jakob, De rerum sufficientia, Frankfurt: Weissius, 1625, pp. 6061 and 159. Connors, Joseph, ‘Ars tornandi: baroque architecture and the lathe’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes (1990) 53, pp. 217236; Evans, R.J.W., Rudolf II and His World: A Study in Intellectual History, 1576–1612, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973; and Kaufmann, Thomas DaCosta, The Mastery of Nature: Aspects of Art, Science, and Humanism in the Renaissance, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993.

28 Bornitz mentioned a planned emblem book in a 1622 dedicatory letter to On the Sufficiency of Things, but the work appeared first as Jakob Bornitz, Emblematum Sacrorum et Civilium miscellaneorum, Frankfurt and Hamburg: Jacob de Zetter, 1638. It was reprinted as Emblematum Sacrorum et Civilium miscellaneorum, Heidelberg: Clement Ammonius, 1659; as Emblematum ethico-politicorum, Heidelberg: Bourgeat, 1664, and Mainz: Bourgeat, 1669; and as Moralia Bornitiana, Mainz: Bourgeat, 1678, and Frankfurt, 1680.

29 Botero, Giovanni, I Prencipi, Turin: Tarino, 1600, p. 66.

30 R. Malcolm Smuts, ‘Court-centred politics and the uses of Roman historians, c.1590–1630’, in Kevin Sharpe and Peter Lake (eds.), Culture and Politics in Early Stuart England, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993, pp. 21–44, 33.

31 Bacon, op. cit. (9), p. 84.

32 Bireley, op. cit. (13), p. 178. Magnusson, Lars, Mercantilism: The Shaping of an Economic Language, New York: Routledge, 1994, pp. 148–9. On Botero in England see David S. Berkowitz, ‘Reason of state in England and the petition of right’, in Roman Schnur (ed.), Staatsräson: Studien zur Geschichte eines politischen Begriffs, Berlin: Duncker and Humblot, 1975, pp. 165–212.

33 On this metaphor and its relationship to mines of Bacon's time see Pastorino, Cesare, ‘The mine and the furnace: Francis Bacon, Thomas Russell, and early Stuart mining culture’, Early Science and Medicine (2009) 14, pp. 630660.

34 Bacon, Francis, Of the Proficience and Advancement of Learning, divine and humane, 2 vols., London: Henrie Tomes, 1605, vol. 2, p. 24.

35 Botero's idea of a perfect dominion over matter supplies an additional context that might be explored in debates over Bacon's dominion of nature. See, for example, Park, Katharine, ‘Response to Brian Vickers, “Francis Bacon, feminist historiography, and the dominion of Nature”’, Journal of the History of Ideas (2008) 69, pp. 143146.

36 Eamon, op. cit. (4); and Carlo Ginzburg, Clues, Myths, and the Historical Method (tr. John and Anne C. Tedeschi), Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989.

37 Bacon, Francis, New Atlantis (London: n.a., 1658?), pp. 3334.

38 Bacon, op. cit. (34), vol. 2, p. 5.

39 Peltonen, Markku, ‘Politics and science: Francis Bacon and the true greatness of states’, Historical Journal (1992) 35, pp. 279305. See also Weber, Dominique, ‘Grandeur civique et économie dans la pensée politique de Francis Bacon’, Revue de métaphysique et de morale (2003) 39, pp. 323344.

40 Anthony Pagden, ‘Heeding Heraclides: empire and its discontents, 1619–1812’, in Richard L. Kagan and Geoffrey Parker (eds.), Spain, Europe and the Atlantic world: Essays in Honour of John H. Elliot, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995, pp. 316–333.

41 Justus Lipsius, Politica: Six Books of Politics or Political Instruction (tr., intro. and ed. Jan Waszink), Assen: Royal van Gorcum, 2004, p. 387.

42 à Collibus, Hippolytus, Princeps, Frankfurt: Corner, [1615] 1658, p. 370.

43 Bacon, Francis, De dignitate et augmentis scientiarum, London: Haviland, 1623, p. 439. Here cited from The Advancement of Learning, Oxford: Lichfield, 1640, p. 424.

44 Markku Peltonen, ‘Bacon's Political Philosophy’, in Markku Peltonen (ed.), Cambridge Companion to Bacon, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996, pp. 283–310, 302. Compare Bacon, op. cit. (9), pp. 64–65; idem, op. cit. (34), vol. 1, pp. 7–9. On the widespread distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ reasons of state see Burke, op. cit. (7).

45 Tuck, op. cit. (12), p. 30.

46 Dreitzel, op. cit. (15), p. 172.

47 Bacon, op. cit. (9), p. 140.

48 Bacon, op. cit. (9), p. 188.

49 Stephen Clucas, ‘A knowledge broken: Francis Bacon's aphoristic style and the crisis of scholastic and humanistic knowledge systems’, in Neil Rhodes (ed.), English Renaissance Prose: History, Language and Politics, Tempe: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1997, pp. 147–172.

50 Hubert Treiber, ‘The approach to a physical concept of law in the early modern period: a comparison between Matthias Bernegger and Richard Cumberland’, in Lorraine Daston and Michael Stolleis (eds.), Natural Law and Laws of Nature in Early Modern Europe, Burlington: Ashgate, 2008, pp. 163–182, 169, 164, 167. Galileo Galilei, Systema Cosmicum (tr. Matthias Bernegger), Augustae: Elzevir, 1635. On Bernegger see Kühlmann, Wilhelm, Gelehrtenrepublik und Fürstenstaat: Entwicklung und Kritik des deutschen Späthumanismus in der Literatur des Barockzeitalters, Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1982; and Kühlmann, Wilhelm and Schäfer, Walter E., Frühbarocke Stadtkultur am Oberrhein: Studien zum literarischen Werdegang J. M. Moscheroschs (1601–1669), Berlin: E. Schmidt, 1983.

51 Galileo Galilei, De Proportionum Instrumento A se Invento … Tractatus (tr. Matthias Bernegger), Strassburg: Kieffer, 1612.

52 Jörg-Ulrich Fechner, ‘Opitz auf dem Weg zu seiner Reform. Das Widmungsgedicht für Hindenberg von 1624’, in Barbara Becker-Contarino (ed.), Martin Opitz: Studien zu Werk und Person, Daphnis (1982) 11, pp. 439–462.

53 Joseph M. Levine, ‘Ancients and Moderns reconsidered’, in Re-enacting the Past: Essays on the Evolution of Modern English Historiography, Burlington: Ashgate, 2004, pp. 72–89; and Croll, Morris W., Style, Rhetoric and Rhythm, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966. See also Althus, Thomas, Epigrammatisches Barock, Berlin: de Gruyter, 1996.

54 Smuts op. cit. (30); and Mellor, Ronald, ‘Tacitus, academic politics, and regicide in the reign of Charles I: the tragedy of Dr. Isaac Dorislaus’, International Journal of the Classical Tradition (2004–2005) 11, pp. 153193.

55 Soll, Jacob, ‘Healing the body politic: French royal doctors, history, and the birth of a nation 1560–1634’, Renaissance Quarterly (2002) 55, pp. 12591286; and Healy, Margaret, ‘Curing the frenzy: humanism, medical idiom and crises of counsel in sixteenth-century England’, Textual Practice (2004) 18, pp. 333350. For new chemical views of political medicine see Harris, Jonathan Gil, Foreign Bodies and the Body Politic: Discourses of Social Pathology in Early Modern England, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Maclean, Ian, ‘Evidence, logic, the rule and the exception in Renaissance law and medicine’, Early Science and Medicine (2000) 5, pp. 227257; Stollberg-Rillinger, Barbara, Der Staat als Maschine, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1986, p. 46; and Anglo, Sydney, ‘Systematic fragmentation: the vogue of the political aphorism’, in idem, Machiavelli: The First Century, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005, pp. 630671.

56 Scattola, Merio, Dalla virtù alla scienza: la fondazione e la trasformatione della disciplina politica nell'età moderna, Milan: Angeli, 2003, pp. 427428.

57 Moss, Ann, ‘The Politica of Justus Lipsius and the commonplace-book’, Journal of the History of Ideas (1998) 59, pp. 421436; and Jan Waszink, ‘Inventio in the Politica: commonplace-books and the shape of political theory’, in K. Enenkel and C. Heesakkers (eds.), Lipsius in Leiden: Studies in the Life and Works of a Great Humanist, Voorthuizen: Florivallis, 1997, pp. 141–162. On older humanist political rhetoric see Anthony Grafton, ‘Humanism and political theory’, in J.H. Burns (ed.), The Cambridge History of Political Thought, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991, pp. 9–29.

58 Boeckler, Johann Heinrich, Dissertatio de politicis Justi Lipsii, Strassburg: n.a., 1642, p. 33.

59 Bose, Johann Andreas, De comparanda prudentia, Jena: Nisius, 1678, pp. 78 and 38. On pp. 20 and 27, Bose also praised Bacon's History of Henry VII and The Advancement of Learning. See also Bose, , Introductio generalis in notitiam rerumpublicarum orbis universi, Jena: Krebs, 1676, pp. 34.

60 Coler, Christoph, Ad … Francisci Baconis … fabrum fortunae, Vratislava: Baumann, 1649; and idem, Ex fabro fortunae Baconico secundaria hominum notitia, Vratislava: Baumann, 1651. See, inter alia, Jan Amos Comenius, ‘Faber fortunae, sive ars consulendi sibi ipsi … anno 1637’, in Oldřich Říha (ed.), Johannis Amos Comenii Opera Omnia, 23 vols., Prague: Czech Academy of Sciences, 1974, vol. 13, pp. 216–265; Johann Balthasar Schupp, De arte ditescendi, n.a.; n.a., 1648: Bessel, Christian Georg, Schmiede des Politischen Glücks, Hamburg: Naumann, 1669, preface; idem, Faber fortunae politicae, Hamburg: Naumann, 1673, pp. 29, 209, 246, 374, 415–416, 453, 478; and Widemann, Christian, Academia status, pro manuductione generali ad summos & potentissimos status Europae cognoscendos: nec non de formali statuum politicorum gubernatione, & hominis se gubernandi singulari prudentia, deque ratione status moderna, Jena: Fleischer, 1681, pp. 73, 283, 295, 300, 308 and 313. For more on the German reception of Bacon's works see Waterhouse, Gilbert, The Literary Relations of England and Germany in the Seventeenth Century, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1914, pp. 8591.

61 Clapmar, Arnold, De arcanis Imperii, magnam partem correctus, auctus & castigatus, per Martinum Schookium, Frankfurt a.d.O: Eichorn, 1668 and 1672, pp. 5556. Bacon, op. cit. (43), p. 419.

62 Halsted, David G., Poetry and Politics in the Silesian Baroque: Neo-stoicism in the Work of Christophorus Colerus and His Circle, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1996, p. 135.

63 Fabricius, Georg Andreas, Exercitationum Ethicarum Quarta, de Prudentia et Arte, Mülhausen: Stang, 1633, theses 1821.

64 Grafton, Anthony and Jardine, Lisa, ‘“Studied for action”: how Gabriel Harvey read his Livy’, Past and Present (1990) 129, pp. 350. Lisa Jardine and William Sherman, ‘Pragmatic readers: knowledge transactions and scholarly services in late Elizabethan England’, in Anthony Fletcher and Peter Roberts (eds.), Religion, Culture and Society in Early Modern Britain, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994, pp. 102–124. See also Pomata, Gianna and Siraisi, Nancy G. (eds.), Historia: Empiricism and Erudition in Early Modern Europe, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005.

65 Sharpe, Kevin, Reading Revolutions: The Politics of Reading in Early Modern England, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000, pp. 8485 and 102.

66 Soll, Jacob, ‘How to manage an information state: Jean-Baptiste Colbert's archives and the education of his son’, Archival Science (2007) 7, pp. 331342; and Thomson, Erik, ‘Commerce, law, and erudite culture: the mechanics of Théodore Godefroy's service to Cardinal Richelieu’, Journal of the History of Ideas (2007) 68, pp. 407427.

67 Johann Heinrich Boeckler to Hermann Conring, Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, Ms. 84.12, 315v. On Venetian Relazioni see de Vivo, Filippo, Information and Communication in Venice: Rethinking Early Modern Politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

68 Pasquale Pasquino, ‘Spiritual and earthly police: theories of the state in early-modern Europe’, in Markus Dirk Dubber and Mariana Valverde (eds.), The New Police Science: The Police Power in Domestic and International Governance, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006, pp. 42–72; and Reinert, Sophie, ‘Cameralism and commercial rivalry: nation building through economic autarky in Seckendorff's 1665 Additiones’, European Journal of Law and Economics (2005) 19, pp. 271286. See also Oestreich, Gerhard, Geist und Gestalt des frühmodernen Staates, Berlin: Duncker & Humbolt, 1969, p. 129.

69 Samuel Hartlib and the University of Sheffield, The Hartlib Papers CD, 2nd edn, Sheffield, 2002 (first published 1995). Hereafter Hartlib, Ephemerides, 1635, 29/3/48B. ‘Berneggerus habuit insignem modum sive didacticam commentandi in Historicos Classicos per nudas scilicet Quæstiones cum relatione Responsionis ex Textu. Illæ Quæstiones sunt Encyclopædicæ’. British Library, Ms Sloane 417, 31. See also Stephen Clucas, ‘In search of “The True Logick”: methodological eclecticism among the “Baconian reformers”’, in Mark Greengrass, Michael Leslie and Timothy Raylor (eds.), Samuel Hartlib and Universal Reformation: Studies in Intellectual Communication, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994, pp. 51–74, 67. Salmon, Vivian, ‘Problems of language-teaching: a discussion among Hartlib's friends’, Modern Language Review (1964) 59, pp. 1324.

70 British Library, Ms Sloane 1466, 169–180; and British Library, Ms Sloane 417, 18v.

71 British Library, Ms Sloane 639, fol. 86v. Malcolm, Noel, ‘Thomas Harrison and his “Ark of Studies”: an episode in the history of the organization of knowledge’, The Seventeenth Century (2004) 19, pp. 196232, 215.

72 British Library, Ms Sloane 417, pp. 18v–19v.

73 British Library, Ms Sloane 417, p. 173r.

74 Stagl, Justin, A History of Curiosity: The Theory of Travel, 1500–1800, Chur: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1995; and Rubiés, Joan-Pau, ‘Instructions for travellers: teaching the eye to see’, History and Anthropology (1996) 9, pp. 139190.

75 Bornitz, op. cit. (23), d3v.

76 Bernegger, Matthias, Discursus historico-politicus de peregrinatione studiosorum, Jena: Müller, [1619]1680, p. 10.

77 Mathias Bernegger, Ex C. Cornelii Taciti Germania et Agricola, quaestiones miscellaneae, Strassburg: n.a., 1640, question v.

78 Boeckler, Johann Heinrich, ‘De Peregrinatione Germanici Caesaris’, Dissertationes academicae, Strasbourg: Bockenhofer, 1658, pp. 89.

79 Palmer, Thomas, An essay of the meanes how to make our trauailes, into forraine countries, the more profitable and honourable, London: Mathew Lownes, 1606, pp. ii, 9293. Bacon, ‘Of Travaile’, in idem, op. cit. (9), p. 102.

80 Melanie Ord, ‘Returning from Venice to England: Sir Henry Wotton as diplomat, pedagogue and Italian cultural connoisseur’, in Thomas Betteridge (ed.), Borders and Travellers in Early Modern Europe, Burlington: Ashgate, 2007, pp. 147–168, 161.

81 Smith, Logan Pearsall, The Life and Letters of Sir Henry Wotton, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966, p. 204.

82 Smith, op. cit. (81), p. 497. Readers of Ben Jonson's Volpone will recall Sir Politick Would-Be's secret project to keep tinderboxes out of gun magazines in Venice. Jonson, Ben, The Workes of Benjamin Jonson, London: Stansby, 1616.

83 ‘To The Judicious Reader’, in The State of Christendom: or, A Most Exact and Curious Discovery of many Secret Passages, and Hidden Mysteries of the Times, London: Moseley, 1657. Gajda, Alexandra, ‘The State of Christendom: history, political thought and the Essex circle’, Historical Research (2007) 81, pp. 423446. Jardine, Lisa and Stewart, Alan, Hostage to Fortune: The Troubled Life of Francis Bacon, London: Victor Gollancz, 1998.

84 Jardine and Stewart, op. cit. (83), p. 162. As the satirical writer on the reason of state Traiano Boccalini wrote, by printing his work Perez ‘published secrets to the world’ with which he had been entrusted by his Prince, and deserved to have his work publicly burned. Traiano Boccalini, Delli avvisi di Parnaso, Venice: Prati, 1619, p. 287. See also Morhof, Daniel Georg, Polyhistor, Lübeck: Boeckmann, [1688] 1747, p. 495.

85 Jardine and Sherman, op. cit. (64), pp. 104–105.

86 British Library, Ms. Sloane 2131, Robert Ashley, ‘Vita’.

87 Middle Temple Library, Bay L530.

88 Frigo, Daniela, ‘Prudence and experience: ambassadors and political culture in early modern Italy’, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (2008) 38, pp. 1534. Cools, Hans, Keblusek, Marika and Noldus, Badeloch (eds.), Your Humble Servant: Agents in Early Modern Europe, Hilversum: Uitgeverij Verloren, 2006; Noldus, Badeloch, ‘An Unvergleichbarer Liebhaber’, Scandinavian Journal of History (2006) 31, pp. 173185; and idem, ‘Dealing in politics and art: agents between Amsterdam, Stockholm, and Copenhagen’, Scandinavian Journal of History (2003) 28, pp. 215–225; Osborne, Toby, ‘Van Dyck, Alessandro Scaglia and the Caroline court: friendship, collecting and diplomacy in the early seventeenth century’, The Seventeenth Century (2007) 22, pp. 2441; and Trevor-Roper, Hugh, Europe's Physician: The Various Life of Sir Theodore de Mayerne, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006. On Stuart industrial intelligence see Peck, Linda Levy, Consuming Splendor: Society and Culture in Seventeenth-Century England, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005, pp. 73111.

89 Mayerne, Theodore, Sommaire descriptions de la France, Allemagne, Italie & Espagne, n.a.: Jacob Stoer, 1618.

90 Trevor-Roper, op. cit. (88), p. 340.

91 On Gerbier see Marika Keblusek, ‘Cultural and political brokerage in seventeenth-century England: the case of Balthazar Gerbier’, in J. Roding, E.J. Sluijter and B. Westerweel (eds.), Dutch and Flemish Artists in Britain 1550–1800, Leiden: Primavera, 2003, pp. 73–81; and Edward Chaney, ‘Notes towards a biography of Sir Balthazar Gerbier’, in idem, The Evolution of the Grand Tour: Anglo-Italian Cultural Relations since the Renaissance, London: Frank Cass, 1998, pp. 215–225.

92 Gerbier, Balthazar, Baltazar Gerbier Knight to all men that loves truth, Paris: n.a., 1646, p. 3.

93 Balthazar Gerbier, Wellcome Library Ms. 2505. This manuscript has two title pages. The first is entitled Secretum virtutis et scientiarum speculum. Miroir de la vertu. Et quelques secrets utiles aux Princes et aux Peuples, and the second Formulaire Touchant L'ART DE LA PLUME et D'un language et Chifre secret; tres utile aux Princes, du Desseing, de la Geometrie, de l'Architecture militaire, de la Perspective, Cosmographie, Geographie, Minnature, Peinture, Architecture, et de la Philosophie naturelle experimentale, en exemples de secrets, tres rares et utiles.

94 Trevor-Roper, op. cit. (88), p. 338.

95 Boate to Hartlib, op. cit. (69), 16/26 August 1648, 36/1/17A. On the tensions between Hartlib's claims to openness and his secrecy see Michelle di Meo, ‘Openness vs. secrecy in the Hartlib Circle: revisiting “democratic Baconianism” in interregnum England’, in Elaine Leong and Alisha Rankin (eds.), Secrets and Knowledge: Medicine, Science and Commerce 1500–1800, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2011, pp. 105–124.

96 Hartlib, Ephemerides, op. cit. (69), 1639, Part 2, 30/4/16B. See M. Greengrass, ‘Samuel Hartlib and the Commonwealth of Learning’, in John Barnard and D.F. McKenzie (eds.), The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, 6 vols., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002, vol. 4, pp. 304–322, on Hartlib's mercantilist view of knowledge and his local survey of London.

97 British Library, Sloane Ms. 1465, 193v, and Sloane Ms. 654, 249r.

98 Cf. Webster, Charles, The Great Instauration: Science, Medicine and Reform, 1626–1660, New York: Holmes & Meier Publishers, 1976.

99 Canoniero, Pietro Andrea, Quaestiones et discursus in Tacitum, Rome: Zanetto, 1609, p. 120; Scribani, Carlo, Politico-christianus, Antwerp: Nutius, 1624, pp. 609611; Mathias Bernegger, op. cit. (77), question cviii. Bose, Johann Andreas, Specimen observationum politicarum, ad proemium vitae Jul. Agricolae à Cornelio Tacito scriptae, Leipzig: Bauer, 1655, thesis II; idem, Dissertationum De Statu Europae, Jena: Krebs, 1676, p. 356; and Johannes Gryphiander (quoting Bornitz), Oeconomicorum Legalium, Bremen: Petrus Colerus, 1662, pp. 545–548.

100 Bernegger, op. cit. (77), question xvii. ‘Non enim video, quare frugibus inventis, glande vesci, & incultam rigidamque priscorum simplicitatem horum temporum culturae praeferre debeamus’.

101 Bose, Johann Andreas, Iulii Agricolae ortus, educatio, studia, Jena: Krebs, 1659, pp. 3334.

It is a pleasure to be able to express my thanks to Michelle di Meo, Dániel Margócsy, Koen Vermeir, Ted McCormick, Oded Rabinovitch, Nicholas Dew, Renae Satterley of the Middle Temple Library and, most of all, Stephen Clucas for helpful comments and conversations. I am also grateful for the Gerda Henkel Fellowship from the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel; the Grete Sondheimer Fellowship from the Warburg Institute, London; and the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Early Modern Studies Institute at the University of Southern California.

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The British Journal for the History of Science
  • ISSN: 0007-0874
  • EISSN: 1474-001X
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