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Ron Heisler - Robert Fludd: A Picture in Need of Expansion
Article originally published in The Hermetic Journal, 1989.
Robert Fludd: A Picture in Need of Expansion
Ron Heisler ©
William H. Huffman's Robert Fludd and the End of the Renaissance
largely replaces J.B. Craven's erratic, and sometimes unreliable biography,
which has dominated the field since 1902. However, Huffman's book has an
anti-climactic feel to it, if only for the fact that it does not seem to
mark much advance on the excellent article the author published in Ambix
a decade ago. 1 This reader's insatiable desire to know as much
as possible about the fascinating Elizabethan polymath is, I admit, quite
unreasonable. But since it will probably be a very long time before we
see a fresh biography of Fludd emerge, perhaps I can be excused for indicating
some of Huffman's omissions.
There are key identities that Huffman has not clarified. The most significant
of these is that of 'Jean Balthasar Ursin Bayerius'. Quite inexplicably,
Huffman indexes a 'Jean Balthasar', whilst inconsistently not indexing
'Ursin Bayerius'. Fludd quotes this individual in Declaratio Brevis,
which was prepared at the request of James I, as commending his work. The
letter is dated February 3rd 1618 and was sent from Vienna, the author
(who is better known in Germany as Johann Bayer) signing himself off as
"Your most obliged friend and servant". Huffman has missed the
very important letters, one signed 'Janus Balthasar Ursinum Bayerius',
Bayer sent to William Camden, the doyen of the Society of Antiquaries and
encourager of Fludd's friends, John Selden and Sir Robert Cotton. Bayer's
letter to Camden, dated January 1618 and emanating from Vienna, discusses
the Bohemian political scene and refers to the London based apothecaries,
Paul de Lobell and Wolfgang Rumbler, the latter being the King's own servant.
He mentions Fludd, and Thomas Davies of the College of Physicians, in discussing
the planned Pharmacopoeia Londinensis , which the King was to allude
to in his 1618 proclamation of the Apothecaries' Charter. 2 There
are two letters by Bayer addressed from London, one dated September 1615,
the other December 1616. 3 In an undated letter, which seems to
belong to early 1618, Bayer makes several references to Fludd and his 'Microcosmo'.
That Bayerus was the same man as Bayer can be gauged from the fact that
Fludd mentioned his friend was "a certain Doctor of Law" and
Bayer is known to have been a professional lawyer in Augsburg. The only
town Fludd is known to have visited for certain in Germany happens to have
been Augsburg. 5 Bayer, I suspect, carried Fludd's early manuscripts
to their Continental publishers. Bayer (1572-1625), who had spent time
in Hungary, produced a landmark in the history of astronomical chart-making
in the great Uranometria of 1603, which clarified the mapping of
the stars. The British Library has another book in which Bayer was involved,
of the greatest rarity: a small but epoch making logarithmic tract by John
Napier of Merchiston, which was published at Strasbourg in German translation
in 1618, the year after Napier's death. The frontispiece tells the work
was brought to completion by 'Frantz Keszlern' under the 'inspiration'
[encouragement] of Bayer. 6
The prospect of a Fludd link with Napier is alluring. Of course, Dr
John Craig, Napier's personal friend, was a fellow colleague of Fludd's
in the London College of Physicians to begin with. Then there are the conferences
Napier had in 1607 and 1608 with the alchemist Dr Daniel Mueller in Edinburgh.
His son Robert referred to him as 'D.D. Mollierus'. 7 Gregor Horst,
a notable physician in attendance on the Landgrave of Hessen-Darmstadt,
was a Fludd enthusiast, whose commendatory letter Fludd quoted to James
I. Now it happens that in 1607, at Wittenberg, was published a medical
disputation under the presidency of Horst; it included a certain 'Mollerus
Lub-Saxo' responding on 'De venae Sectione'. In the 1609 reprint of the
disputation, this person became 'Daniel Mollero Lubecensis'. 8 The
chances of Fludd having known Napier, who visited London, are quite high.
Interestingly enough, Shakespeare's son-in-law, Dr John Hall, whose patients
included Michael Drayton the poet, recorded Horst's vessicatory remedy
for an eye condition in his manuscript notes. Another of Hall's patients
was John Thornborough, Bishop of Worcester, Fludd's particular friend.
Who actually wrote Summum Bonum, allegedly from the pen of 'Joachimus
Frizius', which was published at Frankfurt in 1629, and which many have
assumed to be by Fludd himself? As Huffman points out, Fludd stated on
page 26 of Clavis Philosophiae & Alchymiae (1633) that he had
translated part of the Frizius book from the Scottish into the Latin and
made some minor additions of his own. Fludd actually says it was by a Scot.
But Huffman does not pursue the point apparently unaware of the existence
of a letter written by Henry Oldenburg, secretary of the Royal Society,
to Georg Franck von Franchenau on the 9th August 1677: "As for your
question about the Maxwell manuscript, I wish you to know that by our more
sound philosophies there are judged to be things of greater worth than
those are, which were produced by him and by Fludd". 10 Thus
we learn the allegation of written collaboration between Maxwell and Fludd.
Franck von Franckenau published William Maxwell's De medicina magnetica
libra III at Frankfurt in 1679. Huffman makes no mention of this book,
in which Maxwell is described as 'Scoto-Britano' and as the friend of Robert
Fludd. The manuscript had come to the editor through the agency of Stephanus
Polier, 'Dominus de Botans'. In the preface, apparently composed by Maxwell,
there is a reference to Sir Edmund Stafford, of Mount Stafford in Ireland.
Elias Ashmole knew Fludd's nephew, Dr Levin Fludd, quite well, and records
that he met Levin with Sir Edmund Stafford on one occasion. The book is
regarded today as a forerunner of the theories of Dr Mesmer. The British
Library has some medical recipes provided to a Dr 'Maxwell' by the apothecary
Joseph Hall in 1652. 11
Huffman is totally foxed by the commendatory letter Fludd quotes from
'Justus Helt', who reported on the reaction of the Jesuits at the Frankfurt
book fair to Fludd's Macrocosmus. It is a pity, by the way, that
Huffman has not picked up the fact that Utriusque Cosmi Maioris…
(1617-23) was placed on the Papal Index. 12 I have encountered only
two references to Helt. The Wellcome Medical Library owns the liber
amicorum of Johann Elichmann. There are two entries for Frankfurt for
the 7th April 1626, one being Helt's. His companion (assuming they signed
in the same room at the same time) was the scandalous Weigelian Rosicrucian
'Henricus Philippus Homag[i]us, alias Morius (Gottlieb)', who had created
furore at Geissen university three years earlier. 13 The album amicorum
of Christopher Conrad Nithardi of Augsburg has some resonance in our context.
Homagius signed it in 1591. Daniel Moegling, the author of the Rosicrucian
classic, Speculum sophicum Rhodo-Stauroticum, for which he used
the pseudonym of Theophilus Schweighardt (of which three illuminated manuscript
copies exist in Britain), signed the album in 1593. In 1609, presumably
during a London visit, Paul de Lobell the apothecary signed it; on the
reverse of the leaf with Lobell's inscription is the signature of the apothecary
Wolfgang Rumbler. 14 Thus Nithardi's circle took in two prominent
Rosicrucians and perhaps the two most esteemed apothecaries in London in
the reign of James I. The other Helt reference is to be found in the diary
of the distinguished German poet, Georg Rudolf Weckherlin, who had dealings
with Fludd in the 1630's. On the 14th December 1636 Weckherlin wrote to
"Mons. Helt, at Hamburg". 15
Jacobus Aretius will mean little even to the most thorough reader of
Fludd's works, or even to Jacobean literary specialists, so Huffman is
to be pardoned for not mentioning him. However, Sophiae cum Moria Certamen
(1629) has verses supportative of Fludd, which savagely attack his critic
Mersenne. One is signed 'Jacobus Aretius, Oxoniensis', the other 'I.M.
Cantabrigiensis'. Aretius was the pen-name of James Martin, who styled
himself 'Germano-Britannus', and I suspect that 'I.M.' was Aretius's alter
ego, since he was a member of both English Universities. An intimate
friend of Dr Prideaux, the head of the Calvanist Exeter College, Oxford,
Aretius had dealings with Isaac Casaubon, and there is a letter to William
Camden with a note to indicate that it was written in 'Mr Selden's Study'.
16 His other friends included Sir Kenelm Digby, the Roman Catholic
Rosicrucian, and Patrick Junius (Young). After Fludd's death, he started
up a correspondence with Mersenne. 17 In the British Library, one
of the most important verse compilations of the 1620s-1630s has the inscription
on the cover 'J.A. Christ Church'. In view of the fact that Aretius matriculated
from Christ Church, Oxford, in 1604, and the political attitudes in the
poetry - which are plentifully expressed - are so consistent with his known
beliefs, I don't doubt for one moment that he was the volume's owner at
some stage. The name of 'Robert Killigrew' is written on the book, 18
and Aretius probably inherited it from Sir Robert Killigrew, who died in
1633 and whose name is attached to a 1613 letter mentioning Michael Maier
(Mayerus). Aretius presented a book he published in 1613 to Robert Burton,
whom I believe was of the Rosicrucian enthusiasm, and he appears to have
been married to the niece of the poet Michael Drayton. 19
Fludd, in his defence to James I, invoked the names of 'my worthy freinds
Mr Dr Andrew and … Mr Seldein', claiming that 'Andrews' had read his macrocosmical
history four or five years before news of the Rosicrucian Fraternity had
pierced his ears. Huffman, in considering the identity of 'Dr Andrews',
has uncritically assumed it was Richard Andrews the physician. The evidence
points strongly to it being the distinguished theologian and translator
of the Bible, Dr Lancelot Andrewes, successively Bishop of Chichester,
Ely and Winchester, a man highly esteemed by the King. Michael Maier presented
the Bishop with a copy of Arcana arcanissima , with a unique printed
dedication leaf, which implies that Andrewes was his financial patron.
20 Francis Bacon mentions that Andrewes engaged in chemical 'experiments'.
Andrewes was a close friend, and ardent protector, of Fludd's intimate,
John Selden, and was wont to discuss his Bible translations with Selden.
21 Intriguingly, Andrewes paid for the expenses of William Bedwell
whilst he lodged in Leiden in 1612 at the house of the Familist printer-publisher,
Thomas Basson - the Basson house published Fludd's Apologia (1616)
and Tractatus (1617). 22 Selden lent books to Bedwell. Thomas
Basson's son, Frederick, incidentally, was described as a 'Doctor of Medicine
in London' in 1617. 23 In his will, Andrewes named William Backhouse,
Elias Ashmole's alchemical 'father', as one of the beneficiaries at Pembroke
An important source of information on Fludd's latter years overlooked
by Huffman is the diary of Georg Rudolf Weckherlin, an under-secretary
of state at Whitehall concerned with foreign correspondence. 24
His dealings with Lewis Ziegler, the agent of Lord Craven, principal financial
backer of the Queen of Bohemia, are noteworthy. On the 1st December 1636
the under-secretary drew the Rosicrucian sign above Ziegler's name. In
February 1634 he had written, 'To Mr Ziegler sending him gloves'. This
last gesture seems undecipherable until we realise that Robert Plot, in
a work published in 1686, said it was the freemasons' custom that a new
initiate sent gloves to all the members of a lodge. 25 We are probably
detecting here indications of Weckherlin's initiation into a Rosicrucian
society; he certainly permitted books intended for Sir Kenelm Digby, the
well-known Rosicrucian, to be left at his home.
I have come across three references to Fludd. On the 27th January 1636
Weckherlin noted down, "I wrote an answer to Mr Cliff, to accept of
Mr Fludds house for 3 years - paying present money 50 St. or else the most
20 St. p. anm." On the 12th October 1636 he noted, "I did write
a letter to Mr Cliff, giving him notice that I had bargained with Mr Flud
(as I did the day before in the presence of his brother Mr. Hamlet), to
give him near 20 St. p. an. for his house…" On the 27th May 1637 Weckherlin
commented, "I received a letter from Mr Fludd with the enclosed from
one Barthol: Nigrinus from Danzig, with commendation from Martin Opitius".
Opitius is better known as Martin Opitz, the best German poet of the age,
who lodged with Bartholomaeus Nigrinus (1595-1646), pastor of the St Peter
and Paul Church in Danzig. The pastor had worked with Comenius in Elbing
on the Czech's 'pansophie'; on occasion he acted as a diplomatic agent
for King Wladislaus IV of Poland. 26
At the end of Summum Bonum a letter is appended written by a
member of the order of the Rosy Cross. This must have been Fludd's addition.
There is an explanatory note to the effect that the letter had been "written
and sent by ye Brethren of R.C. to a certain Germaine, a coppy whereof
Dr. Flud obtained of a Polander of Dantziche, his friend". Almost
certainly this is a reference to Nigrinus. A little more ought to be said
about Opitz, who in 1627 had been enrolled as a member of the Fruchtbringende
Gesellschaft (fruit bearing Society) at Koethen.When Opitz died in 1639,
Nigrinus with two collaborators, including the Socinian Martin Ruar, who
had visited England over twenty years before, edited Opitz poetry in an
edition published by Andreas Huenefeld. Huenefeld had published the Danzig
editions of the Rosicrucian manifestos. Opitz's chief patron and employer
in the 1620's had been the great nobleman Karl Hannibal von Dohna. Dohna
had signed the album amicorum of Selden's friend, William Bedwell, on the
18th August 1606. A relative, Burgrave Achaz Dohna, the Bohemian envoy,
signed the album amicorum of the Rosicrucian enthusiast Joachim Morsius
whilst in London on the 25th January 1620.
Fludd's Baltic links must have extended beyond the Nigrinus circle.
At Rostock, Joachim Jungius founded the most distinguished German scientific
society, the Gelehrte Gesellschaft, in 1622. Jungius, who associated with
J.V. Andreae, and who was rumoured decades later to have had a hand in
the Rosicrucian manifestos, has left us extensive papers discussing Fludd's
theories. Among the membership lists of his society is to be found the
name 'Joh. Seldener' - surely none other than Fludd's intimate, John Selden.
Weckherlin's father-in-law was William Trumbull, who served in the English
embassy at Brussels from c. 1605 to 1625, where he rose to become envoy.
A friendship between him and Moritz of Hessen-Kassel seems to have existed
by January 1610. A further friend of his was Thomas Floyde, the secretary
to the English ambassador at Paris 1611-13. On December 15th 1609, Floyde
wrote to Trumbull that "Dr. Lloyd, my brother Jeffreys and my cousin
Yonge have often remembered you". And on February 23rd 1609-10 Floyde
wrote "My good friend and yours, my brother Jeffreys, Doctor Floud,
my cousin Floud, my cousin Yonge and myself… kiss your hands". 28
A music lover, Trumbull's music manuscripts included 'The George Aloe'
theme by John Dowland, taken from what I argue elsewhere to be the Rosicrucian
play by Shakespeare and John Fletcher, The Two Noble Kinsmen. 29
One of Huffman's most interesting oversights relates to the duel on
the 21st April 1610 in which James Egerton, son of the Lord Keeper Egerton,
was killed by Edward Morgan. A demand for a trial for murder arose. Fludd
was interrogated on the 26th April by Henry Spyller. His servant, John
Nicholas, was also examined. This scandal may have been the origin of the
malicious jibe at Fludd being an 'armigerous' physician, i.e. one entitled
to bear arms. 30
It is a pity that Huffman does not recount the story of how Fludd took
the penniless orphan Robert Wright into his household, where he learned
some philosophy and pharmacy. Wright was responsible for the tale that
when sick Fludd relied on the advice of the Galenist Dr Goulston. 31
Huffman, whilst detailing Fludd's success with the steel patent, misses
the complaint of the widow of John Rocher, "the inventor of transmuting
iron into steel", on May 23rd 1625. She claimed he had died of grief,
being defrauded of the third part of the benefit of his patent by Fludd
and Caleb Rawlins. 32
Huffman speculates at length on the likelihood that Fludd had recourse
to the library of his friend, Sir Robert Cotton. An inspection of Harleian
Ms 6018 f.180 in the British Library would have confirmed the fact. There
we learn that Fludd had borrowed a 'History of Asia and Tartary' as well
as 'A book on Arabian Astronomy'. Rather more irritating an omission on
Huffman's part is his failure to make any reference to 'A Breife Treatise
or hipothesis of one Booke called Speculum Universi or Universall Mirror',
and eighteen page manuscript, long owned by the Wellcome Medical Library.
Whether or not it was composed by Fludd is worth serious consideration.
Ending with, "And thus committing the rest to the industrie of the
speculator, I abruptly concluded this analiticall abstract, untill the
publication of the volume itself…", it has marginal references to
what was obviously a much larger manuscript. The tenor of Ms 147 is much
in line with Fludd's published writings. Written in a mixture of English,
Latin and occasional Greek, there is even a Hebrew quotation. The superabundant
biblical references in the margins, including some for the Book of Genesis,
have the familiar Fludd stamp to them. The manuscript reveals a sort of
ur-text, from which the overall schema of Fludd's macrocosmical and microcosmical
works developed. Much is said about 'analogy'. Nothing comparable by other
English writers of the period springs to mind. The transcript probably
belongs to the 1600's. 33 Another well-known manuscript which Huffman,
almost unforgivably, overlooks completely is Sloane Ms 870 in the British
Library: twenty seven pages on 'De Instrumentis et Machinis', which are
to be found in the Macrocosmus. With its numerous diagrams and illustrations,
this is almost certainly done in Fludd's own hand.
Huffman glosses over the comment by Anthony à Wood in Athenae Oxonienses
regarding the physician necromancer Simon Forman (died 1611), that "the
latter used much tautology, as you may see if you'll read a great book
of Dr Robert Flood [in Musaeo Ashmoleano], who had it all from the MSS
of Forman". 34 À Wood is not always reliable, but was less
credulous than John Aubrey; and this claim is worth pursuing. To start
with, it is indisputable that Fludd's sister-in-law, the nymphomaniac Jane
Fludd, was a client of Forman. 35 Forman had once been the servant
of John Thornborough, Fludd's friend. Dr Richard Napier of Lynford had
been an assistant of Forman's, and according to William Lilly acquired
the "rarities, secret manuscripts, of what quality soever", left
by the scandalous physician. 36 Ms 1380 in the Ashmole collection
is a pocket-book of Sir Robert Napier, the nephew of Richard Napier, containing
the recipe "Dr Fluds d: of dr.- Pilulae proprietatis Mynsichti - Pil.
rosatae Myns". In the same collection, Ms 1492 contains "Exact
Notices of 32 Latin alchemical tracts contained in 'Dr Flood's Ms' ".
Bound with these are letters of Richard Napier. We can't be sure on what
principle these papers were bound together, yet they do imply some sort
of association between Fludd and the Napier family. Sir Richard had been
bequeathed his uncle's books.
In Ms 1492 there is also a letter from Dr Edmund Deane directed "To
his loveing brother Mr Theodorus Gravius, at Mr Rich. Napierus, at Linford".
Gravius was Napier's assistant. Deane probably belonged to Fludd's circle
we can deduce, if only for the fact that the eight quarto pamphlets of
works written by the alchemist Samuel Norton, which he edited were brought
out by William Fitzer, Fludd's publisher at Frankfurt on Main. 37
Fitzer published Tractatus de natura elementorum (1628), written
by the English based Dutch Rosicrucian Cornelius Drebbel. The finest thing
in Fitzer's rather small list was the epoch-making work on the circulation
of the blood, De motu cordis (1628), written by Fludd's close friend,
Dr William Harvey. Fitzer turns up in the English State Papers; he evidently
was an English intelligence agent. In 1632 the whole edition of Fludd's
Clavis Philosophiae & Alchymiae was destroyed at Frankfurt by
the militia. On July 31st that year Fitzer wrote to Vane pleading, "I
pray your Lordship that you will remember me about Heidelberg and that
I may have a note, under the secretary's hand, for bookselling and printing
books…" The Clavis Philosophiae… was reprinted in 1633; Fitzer
still had 300 copies in stock in 1639. It is a fascinating possibility
that the publication of Fludd's later works were financed by the English
government. Towards the end of May 1633 John Dury told Sir Thomas Roe that
he had sent a letter by means of Fitzer, which he hoped Roe would show
to Samuel Hartlib. Fitzer is notable in one other regard. He published
the second impression of the complete theological works - anathema to the
Calvinists - of the Remonstrant Arminius. The first edition had been brought
out in the greatest secrecy at Leiden by Govaert Basson, Robert Fludd's
first publisher. 38
Huffman deal quite inadequately with the Mss left by Dr Levin Fludd,
who died in 1678, although observing that "Since Levin received his
uncle's library and was a graduate of Trinity, it is possible that he donated
the 'Philosophical Key' Ms to his alma mater". 39 Levin's generosity
to his old college can be in no doubt. Two Mss there have his inscription
on them: 'Le: Fludd'. 40 Ms 1376 is noteworthy for sustaining the
claim that Fludd had access to the Mss of Simon Forman the necromancer,
for it binds together an alchemical note-book described as 'Notae Roberti
Fludd' and a 'Dream' of Forman's. The college library also owns an astrological
Ms of Forman's, some notes and receipts attributed to him, and Ms 1419
Magica Simonis Forman is definitely in the magician's own hand.
The remainder of Levin's Mss appear to have ended up in the collection
of Elias Ashmole, who is unlikely to have ever met Robert Fludd, Fludd
dying when Asmole was but twenty years of age. In fact, Ashmole's interest
in alchemy and the occult seems to have been born in the late 1640's. The
Ashmole collection has not only Robert Fludd's 'Truth's Golden Harrow'
in his autograph, but also a 13th century Ms with 'Edward Grovely' written
on it several times, as well as the inscription 'Robert Fludd 1612'. 42
In the margins of various other Mss Ashmole wrote 'Dr Flood', it rarely
being clear whether he was referring to the uncle or the nephew. Ashmole
had numerous Simon Forman papers, some of which were probably in the possession
of Robert Fludd at one stage.
In a way, the most fascinating relationship that Huffman has missed
is that between Fludd and Dr John Everard. There are three letters from
Everard to Sir Robert Cotton amid the Cotton papers in the British Library,
which none of the several recent writers on this dissident clergyman (often
sent to goal by James I) have stumbled upon. Everard, in a letter dated
23rd December 1626, told Cotton that he was sending a messenger to locate
'Mr Harrison' to obtain "that Booke whereof I have so often spoken
to you". In a letter dated merely 'Jan 15' Everard announced to Cotton
that "though a stranger I shall be troublesome unto you. There is
a Manuscript wch is entitled the way to Bliss". It belonged to a Mr
Harrison "who was lately a Schoolmaister in Red-crofse street (for
as Dr Floud of the Black-friars assureth me, he hath it)". Everard
wanted Cotton to use his influence with Harrison to allow Everard to copy
the manuscript. The third, undated letter reports that "Doctor Floud
assured me yesterday of Mr Harrisons being in town & withal that he
told him that he hath the booke…". 43
The Way to Bliss, written by an anonymous English alchemist probably
between 1600 and 1620, is a classic that has somehow become annexed to
the Rosicrucian tradition through being (a) plundered by the Rosicrucian
charlatan John Heydon and (b) being published in an excellent edition by
Elias Ashmole in 1658 as a conscious riposte to Heydon's effrontery. Ashmole's
preface explained that the marginal notes he printed alongside the text
were by Everard. Ashmole had "obtained those Notes (they being added
to a transcript of this Work, and both fairly written with the Doctor's
hand) from a very intimate Friend… [Thomas Henshaw, the patron of Thomas
Vaughan]…". 44 In his notes, Everard quotes both Michael Maier
and Fludd. In fact, Everard's copy of The Way to Bliss in the British
Library is bound with several of his papers, including his translation
of a section of Maier's Themis Aurea (1618), which is dated August
8 1623. 45
Everard's notoriety was accumulative. His cardinal sin under Archbishop
Laud's regime was to be perceived as a central focus for the activities
of the Family of Love, even if it has not been proved to this day that
he was an actual member. He certainly was the most distinguished and learned
energiser of this remarkable underground movement, with its mystical and
spiritualistic tendency, whose supporters, like the Rosicrucians, were
directed to deny their membership. Everard, like Fludd and the Familists,
believed the Bible was to be interpreted allegorically and figuratively.
46 Now we should be careful not to read too much into the association
of Fludd and Everard. However, we should recall that in Declaratio Brevis
Fludd felt impelled to repudiate allegations of sexual license. He declared
the Rosicrucians were "batchelors of avowed virginity" and was
still rebutting allegations of libertinism in Clavis Philosophiae &
Alchymiae in 1633. 47 One of the popular assumptions about the
Familists was that they practised free love. Fludd also felt impelled in
Declaratio Brevis to affirm his religious orthodoxy. He was no Calvinist,
he claimed, but a loyal Anglican. The problem was, members of the Family
of Love were known to be enjoined to outwardly maintain membership of the
official church whilst secretly attending their Familist conventicles.
In 1623 there were allegations of Familist activity among the staff, primarily
musicians, of the Chapel Royal. Fludd boasted of his links with the musicians,
English and French, at the court. 48 That the Rosicrucians evolved
out of the Family of Love has been argued before.
Finally, I find it a trifle disappointing that Huffman does not throw
any new light on Craven's well-known but uncorroborated assertion that
Michael Maier got on well with Robert Fludd. In fact, Huffman is content
to perpetuate the mystification by claiming "Another tie between Landgrave
Moritz [of Hessen-Kassel] and Fludd was the physician and fellow mystical
philosopher Michael Maier". 49 I am not alone in observing
that in their published works neither eminent writer ever directly refers
to the other. Bruce T. Moran's researches in the Kassel archives have uncovered
a letter by Maier, dated April 17th 1618, addressed to Moritz the Landgrave,
which refers to Fludd. Moran's translation reads: "I see that the
author [Fludd] is pretty insolent in his censure concerning nations… while
tractate 2, part 6, book 3 on the organisation of the army in the field
makes German princes… out to be sluggards, negligent and slow men, but
portrays the English as magnaminous, brave, but not squeamish etc. Indeed
I would like to take the stick to these immature censors and show them
who, of what sort and how many are the Germans". 50 I am grateful
to Professor Dr. Karin Figala for pointing out in a private communication
that Maier's Verum Inventum was "a sort of response to the derogatory
allegations of Fludd and others about the Holy [Roman] Empire". 52
Fludd's congenital insensitivity, it would seem, had created yet another
bitter critic in the shape of Michael Maier, who, like so many, would have
liked "to take the stick" to him.
1. Routledge & Kegan Paul (1988). W.H. Huffman & R.A. Seelinger,
Jr "Robert Fludd's 'Declaratio Brevis' to James I" Ambix xxv
2. Bayer has no satisfactory biography. But there is Franz Babinger-Muenden's
article in Archiv fuer die Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften und der
Technik 5 (1915). British Library. Ms Cotton Jul. C.V. f. 153, f. 225.
3. Ibid. f. 154.
4. Ibid. f. 226.
5. Mosaical Philosophy (1659) p. 100.
6. John Napier of Merchistoun Kuenstliche Rechenstaeblein… Auss
anleytung des … Herrn D. Bayrn durch F. Kesslern zu Werck gericht (1618).
7. John Small 'Sketches of Later Scottish Alchemists' Proc. of Soc.
of Ant. of Scot. vol xi (18760 pp. 412-13, 418.
8. Disputationum Medicarum (1607) Praeside Gregorio Horstio.
Disputationum Medicarum viginti (1609). Both are held in the Brit.
9. H. Joseph Shakespeare's Son-in-Law: John Hall, Man and Physician
p.62. p.4 Joseph notes a William Harvey prescription. Harvey was Fludd's
close friend. John Hall Select Observations on English Bodies (1657)
10. Corr. of Henry Oldenburg vol. XIII (1676-1681) p. 340.
11. Elias Ashmole ed. C.H. Josten vol. II pp 89, 490. Brit. Lib. Ms
Sloane 3505 fs. 218v-239v.
12. F.H. Reusch Der Index der Verbotenen Buecher I (1883) p.
177. Clement 8, 377.
13. Wellcome Ms 257.
14. Brit. Lib. Ms Egerton 1212 fs. 100,32,69v,69. Rumbler (f. 69) wrote
the libertine sentiment "Women and win[e], as they be amiable,/ even
so their poison is delectable". f.79v has the signature of the Scot
15. Berkshire Record Office. Trumbull Ms Misc. LXI. Unfoliated.
16. See biog. in Alumni Cantabrigienses. Athenae Oxonienses vol II
"Fasti Oxonienses" 342 (1611) & 355.
17. Corr. du P. Marin Mersenne vol. VIII p. 318, letters pp.
313-20, 355-9, 402-6.
18. Sloane Ms 1792.
19. Brit. Lib. Harleian Ms 7002 f. 281. The letter was actually written
by Sir Thomas Overbury. N.K. Kiessling Library of Robert Burton
p. 10. B.H. Newdigate Michael Drayton and his Circle p.9.
20. Huffman p. 25. Copy in Dr William's Library.
21. D.S. Berkowitz John Selden's Formative Years p. 28.
22. J.G. Bishop Lancelot Andrewes Bishop of Chichester 1605-1609
. p. 21. See A. Hamilton William Bedwell the Arabist 1563-1632 .
Jan van Dorsten 'Thomas Basson (1555-1613), English printer at Leiden',
Quaerendo vol. xv/3 (1985).
23. A. Hamilton William Bedwell p. 52. J. van Dorsten ibid.
24. Berk. Rec. Off. Trumbull Ms Misc. LXI.
25. Robert Plot Natural History of Stafford-shire.
26. B. Ulmer Martin Opitz (1971) pp. 34-5. Various references
to Nigrinus are made in M. Blekastad Comenius, including pp. 239,350,357-8.
27. A. Hamilton op.cit. p. 22. Ludwig Keller Comenius und die Akadamien
der Naturphilosophen de 17. Jahrhunderts (1895) p. 60. Christopher
Meinel ed. Der Handschriftliche Nachlass von Joachim Jungius (1984)
28. Marquess of Downshire Papers II pp. 201,249.
29. R. Heisler 'Shakespeare and the Rosicrucians' The Hermetic Journal
30. Public Record Office S.P. 46/75 fs. 18,20-1,78d. Huffman p. 4.
Parson Foster's attack on Fludd included the sarcasm that Fludd "…being
a weapon-bearing Doctor, may well teach the weapon-curing medicine".
31. Brit. Lib. Sloane Ms 2149 Baldwin Hamey the Younger 'Bustorum aliquot
Reliquae'. Also J.J.Keevil The Stranger's Son p. 53.
32. His. Mss Com. XII Report App. I. p. 197. Also Brit. Lib.
Add. Ms 64, 883 f.60.
33. Wellcome Ms 147. The British Library has other Fludd extracts among
its Mss: i.e. Sloane 2283 f. 28, Sloane 3645 f. 169, and the letter to
Paddy in Sloane 32. Almost certainly, none of these are in Fludd's own
34. Huffman comments p. 169 "Fludd never mentioned either of them
[John Dee and Simon Forman] in his own writings… but this did not prevent
him from being associated with them by others in a negative way…"
À Wood's statement in Athenae Oxonienses ii p. 100 is taken from
William Lilly's History of His Life and Times.
35. A.L. Rowse The Case Books of Simon Forman (Picador) pp.
36. Lilly Life and Times p. 44.
37. Bod. Lib. Ashmole Ms 1380 fs. 84b-85. Ashmole Ms 1492 VI 19a-22b.
On Fitzer see E. Weil "William Fitzer, the publisher of Harvey's De
motu cordis, 1628 "Trans. of Bibl. Soc. 4th ser. xxiv (1944).
38. Pub.Rec.Off. S.P. 81/38/f. 344. Cal. of State Papers. (Dom.) 1633-34
p. 68. Papers given by Theo Boegels: "Govert Basson, English Printer
39. Huffman p. 228.
40. Trinity College Lib. Mss 1160 and 1287.
41. Trinity College Lib. Ms 1117, Ms 1163 and Ms 1419.
42. Asmole Ms 1462.
43. Brit. Lib. Cotton Ms Julius C III f. 172, f. 171, f. 173.
44. Quoted in R.M. Schuler 'Some spiritual alchemies of seventeenth-century
England' Journal of the History of Ideas 41 (1980) p. 311.
45. Brit. Lib. Sloane Ms 2175 fs. 1-51,145-7. There is also a translation
of Michael Sendivogius Novum Lumen Chemicum (1604).
46. There is a good chapter on Everard in Nigel Smith Perfection
Proclaimed (1989). The best survey is Alastair Hamilton The Family
of Love (1981).
47. Clavis Philosophiae & Alchymiae pp. 22,59.
48. Edmund Jessop A Discovery of the Errours of the English Anabaptists
pp. 90-1. P.J. Amman 'The Musical Theory and Philosophy of Robert Fludd'
Journal of Warburg and Courtauld Inst. (1967) pp. 218-9.
49. Huffman p.31.
50. Letter from Bruce T. Moran of 13.8.1986.
51. Letter from Professor Karin Figala of 23.1.1987.