Page images

you written by the hand of his sonne, Dr. Arthur Dee, my old acquaintance, containing the scheme of his nativity, erected by his father, Dr. John Dee, as the title sheweth; butt the iudgment upon it was writt by one Franciscus Murrerus, before Dr. Arthur returned from Russia into England, which Murrerus was an astrologer of some account at Mosko. Sir, I take it for a great honour to have this libertie of communication with a person of your eminent merit, and shall industriously serve you upon all opportunities, who am,

Worthy good sir,
Your servant most respectfully and humbly,


(“ Recd. 24 Oct. 1674.") In the hand-writing of


Sir Thomas Browne to Mr. John Brown.8


[1677-8.] SIR,

Since you were pleased to honour me with a sight of your chirurgical endeavours in this work, I must, in justice, return you my thanks and commendations due unto it: for though the same subject hath been handled by others, yet have you made so good a collection out of approved authors, and so well disposed and set down the nature and cure of tumours, together with apposite historical observations, that the same may become of very good use, especially unto younger chirurgions, unto whom you chiefly designed it; and, therefore, I wish you happy success therein, and also in all future endeavours, unto which art and industry shall enable you.

Your loving friend and servant,


8 Mr. John Brown was the nephew and pupil of Mr. William Crop, a distinguished surgeon in Norwich. He was appointed surgeon to King Charles II, and published in 1678 “ A Compleat Treatise of Prelernatural Tumours, &c. Sto." To which is pretixed, among other recommendatory letters, the present, from Sir Thomas Browne.

Sir Thomas Browne to Mr. Talbot.9

(Ms. SLOAN. 1833, FOL. 16.]


The coyne which you shew me hath on the obverse the head of Marcus Plætorius Cestianus, with a dagger behinde his head; on the reverse it hath a Caduceus or Mercuries wande, with this inscription : M. PLAETORJ CEST. EX. S. C., the j in Plætorius and s. c. on the reverse are scarce visible, or the dagger on the obverse. It is thus to be read; Marcus Plætorius Cestianus ex Senatus Consulto.

This Marcus Plætorius, or, as some will have it, Lætorius, was a remarkable man of the ancient Plætorian family, who derive themselves from the Sabines, which family was of the faction of the commons of Rome, as may be gathered from their being chosen ædiles and tribunes of the people. He was contemporary with Crassus, Pompey, Brutus, and was designed prætor together with Cicero, in the 686 yeare after the foundation of Rome, three yeares before Catilines conspiracy, and eighty-five yeares before the birth of our Saviour. He had been an ædile before that, as I know by a coyne which I have with an ædiles chair on the reverse, and this inscription: M. Plætorius ÆD. CVR. EX. S. C., on the obverse his head, with this inscription: Cestianus. He is mentioned by Varro in his fifth booke De Linguâ Latinâ, and by Livy, lib. 30. He preferred a law de jure dicendo, taken notice of by Censorinus De die natali, cap. 19. He is spoken of by Cicero in his oration pro Marco Fonteio, whom this M. Plætorius accused, and in another, pro A. Cluentio ; but this coyne was stamped upon his being chosen to dedicate the temple of Mercury, no small honour, and for which both the consuls at that time sued, Claudius and Servilius, but carried it from them both by the election of the people, although he were at that time onely a centurion, as is to be seen in Valerius Maximus, lib. 9. cap. 3.

9 This letter is but a fragment. It is accompanied by a pen drawing of the coin.

Sir Thomas Browne to.



December 2. HONOURED SIR,

I am very sorry it was my ill fortune to bee diuerted by a journey into the country, from wayting upon you, according to your courteous inuitation. I had sufficient cause, and I sought a good opportunity to tender my thanks and acknowledgements for your kindnesse vnto mee the last audit, when you were pleased, with my other good friends the prebends, to grant mee the medowe for life. This fauour I confesse might reasonably restrayne mee from desiring any higher; but since some of the chapter are willing and desirous that I might take a lease thereof, and to that intent haue desired mee to addresse myself unto you; I humbly craue your pardon that I presume at this time to begge this fauor of you: what fine you please to set shall bee accepted by mee, who am

Worthy Sir,
Your euer respectful friend and humble seruant,


Sir, I desire not to putt you to the trouble of an answer.

[merged small][ocr errors]

10 This letter seems to have been addressed to the Dean of Norwich. On enquiry, however, of my friend John Kitson, Esq. I am informed that there does not appear to have been any lease granted to Sir Thomas; so that this was probably an unsuccessful application.



The remaining letters in this volume, having resulted from a second examination, very recently made, of the materials whence the former were drawn, are of necessity placed out of their dne order of date.

From Dr. How to Dr. Browne.

(us. Sloan. 3418. FOL. 96.]


I received your rare present, and shall answere your summons for yourselfe, or friends, with any faire florall returnes, pacquett of seeds, or if this place may any wayes instrumentaly present mee yours I shall putt on such affected employments. For the dresse of our garden, that you may know the modell, this rough title may acquaint you; Botanotrophium Westmonasteriense, tentaminibus noriter exploratis hortensibus, medicinalibus, tingentibus, imprægnatum. The style to this discourse will appeare Roman; nor shall I present

you with a catalogue of nude names: a mode taken upp to prevent further scrutinyes, in which designes the most experienced botanists find too much anxiety; the younger student meetes with nothing but confusion. Therefore to each recited plant you shall have the originall author annexed, and paged, that with small labor they may peruse the plant; but to nondescribed species who refuse limitts, wee shall present them delineated in theire names. The method wee intend in paging authors may bee discerned in this instance: Pimpinella moschata, sire Agrimonia folio, quorundam Agrimonoides. Fab. Columnæ minus cognit, stirp. pag. 145; after wee have thus circumscribed the plant wee shall adde our

1 William How, of St. John's Coll. Oxon, a captain of Horse in K. Charles I's army, afterwards a physician in London; first in Lawrence Lane, then in Milk Street, a noted herbalist of his time. He published Phytologia Britannica, &c. Lond. 1650: and died in 1656. VOL. I.

2 E

experiments; to this, hortensiall(wherein acquirements de noro are onely to bee inserted;) to that, medicinall, if never formerly approved in physicke, or applyed to such particular disturbances; to those, tinctoriall, if by theire iuyces, or decoctions any such qualityes may be perceived. For the knowledge of our garden series whereby you say something might bee annexed, wee almost equaly boast what our clyme may produce, so that however you may appropriate your digestions, wee easily may render them classicall; though I must be compelled to confesse you haue enrich't mee with the Pimpinella. The Carduus Hisp. siue Carduus aculeatus, Math, edent. Bauh. pag. 496, I further want : yett our little instructed farme numbers aboue 2200 species, submitting to no European culture; which fabricke might be compleated with any of your mature explorate additions ! since our designes shall acknowledge those inuentions with affixed titles! Wee are emboldened from your “Common Errors," pag. 103 ;—"Swarmes of others there are, some whereof our future endeauors may discouer:” and being rauished with those learned enquiryes, pardon this pressing discourse, therfore vented, possit ut ad monitum facere tuum. Pag. 102;“That Ros solis which rotteth sheepe hath any such cordiall vertue upon us, wee have reason to doubt.” If the salubrious operation in decoctions upon tabid bodyes might purchase credentialls, troopes of physitians might appeare combatants: nor the rotting of sheepe in our apprehensions any wayes oppugnes his alexipharmacy in man: Pinguiculam oriaricum gregem omnes villatici uno ore necare asserunt. Matrone graves Cambro-Britannicæ ex pinguicula parant syrupum, uti rosaceum ad evacuandos pueros : ruricolæ mulieres horeales ex pulte arenacea, aut alio jusculo addita pinguicula pueros purgant, evacuare phlegma verisimile. “That cats haue such delight in the herbe nepeta, called therefore cattaria, our experience cannot discouer." I haue numbred about 2 rootes of nep. in my garden 16 cats, who never destroied those plants, but have totally despoyled the neighbouring births in that bedd to a yard's distance, rendring the place hard, and smooth like a walke with theire frequent treddings: but of this una litura potest. I find many of my lord Bacon's

« PreviousContinue »