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- Thomas Hariot - 10/22 -


When therefore the Earl and Raleigh were finally caged together in the Tower for life in 1606 their friendship was of more than twenty years' standing. From this we infer that Hariot also knew Percy almost from the time of his joining Raleigh; but the earliest mention of his name in connection with that of the Earl which we have met with is this of 1596, in the Earl's pay-rolls, still preserved at Sion, and described in the Sixth Report of the Royal Commission of Historical Manuscripts, page 227, 'To Mr. Herytt for a book of the Turk's pictures, 7s.' It appears from the same rolls that from Michaelmas 1597 to 1610, if not earlier and later, an annual pension of £80 (not £ 120, or £ 150, £300, as variously stated) was paid to Hariot by the Earl. This pension was probably continued as long as Hariot lived; and besides there are not wanting many marks of the Earl's liberality, friendship, and love for his companion and pensioner, who was long known as ' Hariot of Sion on Thames,' as expressed on his monument. In the Earl's accounts for 1608 there is this entry, ' Payment for repairing and finishing Mr Heriotts house at Sion.'

At what time exactly Hariot took up his residence at Sion the Earl's new seat (purchased of James in 1604) is not known, but probably soon after the Earl was sent to the Tower in 1606. There is preserved a Letter from Sir William Lower addressed to Hariot at Sion dated the 3Oth of September 1607, and other letters or papers exist showing his continued residence there until near the time of his death in 1621. Wood and many subsequent writers to the present time have confused Sion near Isleworth with Sion College in London. They are totally distinct. Hariot had nothing to do with Sion College, which was not founded until 1630, nine years after his death. The error arose out of the coincidence of Torporley's taking chambers at Sion College on retiring from his clerical profession, and dying there in April 1632, leaving his mathematical books and manuscripts to the College Library. He had been appointed by Hariot to look over, arrange, and ' pen out the doctrine ' of his mathematical writings. Torporley's abstracts of Hariot's papers are still preserved in Sion College Library.

What the Earl of Northumberland did for Hariot is, as the world goes, ascribed to patronage ; what Hariot did for the Earl cannot be measured by money or houses, but may be summed up in four words, alike honorable to both, ' they were long friends.' To this day the debt of gratitude from the philosopher to the nobleman is fairly balanced by the similar debt of the nobleman to the philosopher. Hariot's Will, given on pages 193-203, tells the rest of the story of this noble friendship.

It is manifest, however, from many considerations that the noble Earl took a lively and almost officious interest in the public honor and character of his friend, for Hariot appears to have been as careless of his own scientific reputation as his contemporary Shakspeare is said to have been of his literary eminence.

On the other hand, Hariot's interest in the Earl's affairs and family at Sion redound greatly to his credit. He was both an eminent scholar and a remarkable teacher. Earnest students flocked to him for higher education from all parts of the country. Besides the private scientific and professional instruction that from the first he gave to Raleigh, his captains and sea officers, he seems to have had under his scientific tuition and mathematical guidance many young men who afterwards became celebrated; among whom may be mentioned Robert Sidney, the brother of Sir Philip, afterwards Lord Lisle of Penshurst; Thomas Aylesburyof Windsor, afterwards Sir Thomas, the great-grandfather of two queens of England; the late Lord Harrington; Sir William Protheroe and Sir William Lower of South Wales; Nathaniel Torporley of Shropshire; Sir Ferdinando Gorges of Devonshire; Captain Keymis; Captain Whiddon, and many others. Cordial and affectionate letters of most of these men to their venerated master are still preserved.

At Sion were the groves of Hariot's academy.

Yet he with Warner and Hues was constantly passing by the Thames between Sion and the Tower, some three or four hours by oar and tide. They were all three pensioners, or in the pay, of the Earl, though the last two were on a very different footing from that of Hariot as to emoluments and responsible position. They were, however, companions of both the Earl and Sir Walter, and, if tradition is to be believed, they were sometimes joined by Ben Jonson, Dr Burrill, Rev. Gilbert Hawthorne, Hugh Broughton, the poet Hoskins and perhaps others.

The Earl had a large family to be educated, and there is reason to believe that in his absence from Sion Hariot was intrusted for many years with the confidential supervision of some of the Earl's personal affairs at Sion, including the education of his children. How he identified himself with the noble family of his patron may be inferred from these extracts from a letter to Hariot, dated July 19, 1611, of William Lower, one of his loving disciples. Cecil had been fishing out some new evidence of Percy's treason from a discharged servant, and was pressing cruelly upon the prisoner. Lower writes :

I have here [in South Wales] much otium and therefore I may cast awaye some of it in vaine pursuites, chusing always rather to doe some thinge worth nothing then nothing att all. How farre I had proceeded in this, I ment now to have given you an account, but that the reporte of the unfortunate Erles relapse into calamitie makes me beleeve that you are enough troubled both with his misfortunes and my ladys troubles; and so a discourse of this nature would be unseasonable. [And concludes the letter with] But at this time this much is to much. I am sorrie to heare of the new troubles ther, and pray for a good issue of them especiallie for my ladys sake and her five litle ones. [The Countess of Northumberland here referred to was the mother of Sir William Lower's wife, who was Penelope Perrot, daughter of Sir John Perrot, who married Lady Dorothy Devereux, sister of Essex, and for her second husband Henry Percy the gth Earl of Northumberland. Lower died in 1615.]

This responsible trust gave Hariot a good house and home of his own at Sion, with independence and an observatory. He had a library in his own house, and seems to have been the Earl's librarian and book selector or purchaser for the library of Sion House, as well as for the use of the Earl in the Tower. The Earl was a great book-collector, as appears by his payrolls. Books were carried from Sion to the Tower and back again, probably not only for the Earl's own use, but for Raleigh's in his History of the World. Many of these books, it is understood, are still preserved at Petworth, then and subsequently one of the Earl's seats, but now occupied by the Earl of Leconsfield.

To look back a little. Before either Raleigh or Henry Percy was shut up in the Tower, we find one of Hariot's earliest and ablest mathematical disciples, Nathaniel Torporley, a learned clergyman, writing in high praise of him in his now rare mathematical book in Latin, entitled,' Diclides Coelometricx,' or Universal Gates of Astronomy, containing all the materials for calculation of the whole art in the moderate space of two tables, on a new general and very easy system. By Nathaniel Torporley, of Shropshire, in his philosophical retreat, printed in 1602. The exact title is as follows:

Diclides Coelometricæ / Seu / Valvæ Astronomicæ / vniversales / Omnia artis totius numera Psephophoretica in sat modicis / finibus duarum Tabularum Methodo noua, generali,/ & facilima continentes./ Authore Nathale Torporlaeo Salopiensi / in secessu Philotheoro. / Londini / Excudebat Felix Kingston. 1602. / 4°.

In the long preface Torporley, who had entered St Mary's Hall the year Hariot graduated, and who during his travels abroad had served two years as private secretary or amanuensis to Francis Vieta, the great French Mathematician, but who had since become a disciple of the greater English Mathematician, thus admiringly speaks of his new master, Thomas Hariot:

Neque enim, per Authorum cunctationem & affectatam ob-scuritatem, fieri potuit, vt in prima huius Artis promulgatione, eidem alicui & inventionis laudem, te erudiendi mercedem deferremus; sed dimicamibus illis, neque de minoribus præmijs quam de imperio Mathematico certantibus; mussantibus vero alijs, & arrectis animis expectantibus, Quis pecori imperitet, quern tot armenta sequantur; non defuit Anglæ & suus Agonista (ornatifimum dico, et in omni eruditionis varietate principemvirum Thomam Hariotum, homine natu ad Artes illustrandas, &, quod illi palmariu erit præstantissimu, ad nubes philofophicas, in quibus multa iam secula caligauit mundus, indubitata; veritatis splendore difcutiendas) qui vetaret, tarn folidz laudis spolia ad exteros Integra deuolui. Ille enim (etiamdum in pharetra conclufa, quæ pupilla viuacis auicular terebraret, sagitta) ipsam totius Artiseius metam egregia methodo collimauit; expedita vero facilitate patefactam, inter alios amicorum, & mihi quoque tradidit; multisq vitro citroq, iaftatis Quæstionibus, ingenia nostra in abysso huius Artis exercendi causam præbuit.

Of Mr Torporley we shall have more to say further on, as he is particularly mentioned in Hariot's will. Meanwhile here is an attempt at a translation of his peculiar Latin in the above extract:

For indeed by the delays and affected obscurity of authors, it was impossible, that in the first promulgation of the art, we should give the praise of invention and the credit of teaching, to the same individual ; but while they were quarrelling & contending for no less a prize than the empire of Mathematics, whilst others were muttering, and waiting with excited minds to see Who should rule the flock, whom so many herds should follow, our own champion has not been wanting to England. I mean Thomas Hariot, a most distinguished man, and one excelling in all branches of learning : a man born to illustrate Science, and, what was his principal distinction, to clear away by the splendour of undoubted truth those philosophical clouds in which the world had been involved for so many centuries : who did not allow the trophies of substantial praise to be wholly carried abroad toother nations. For he (while the arrow, which was to hit the bull's-eye, was yet in the quiver) defined by an admirable method the limits of all that science ; and showed it to me, amongst others of his friends, explained in an expeditious and simple manner ; and by proposing various problems to us, enabled us to exercise our ingenuity in the profundities of this science.

But time and space beckon. On the 24th of March 1603, set 'that bright occidental Star,' and ' that mock Sun' fræ the north took by succession its place. To Raleigh the change was the setting of a great hope, for to Queen Elizabeth he owed his fortunes, and was proud of the debt. To Raleigh more than to any other one man, notwithstanding his many faults, the Queen owed the brilliancy of her Court, the efficacy and terror of her navy, the enterprise and intelligent energy of her people, to say nothing of the adventurous spirit of colonization which he awoke in his efforts in Western Planting. The glory of his achievements today is the glory alike of England and English America. King James let no man down so far as he did Raleigh. Perhaps it was because there was no one left of Elizabeth's Court who could fall so far.

On three trumped up charges which never were, and never could be sustained with due form of law, Raleigh was with small delay thrown into


Thomas Hariot - 10/22

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