Notes to Chapter VIII

(1) Ashmole MS 487, 488; Qto. Almanacs bound in sheepskin with clasps (MS Ashmole 423 f. 294 et seq is a transcript of similar notes of Dee's made in Stoffler's Ephemeris, 1543-1556). These two were edited with many omissions by J.O. Halliwell in 1842 (The Private Diary of Dr. John Dee) (Camden Soc. Pub. XIX) and the portion covering Dee's life at Manchester, 1595-1601, was retranscribed in full and privately printed (20 copies only) by J.E. Bailey in 1880.

(2) Dee notes that Murfyn's father "is one of the cokes of the Court," (both he and his son are otherwise unknown, but a Privy Council Order of 3/4 Dec. 1545, concerns a certain Vincent Mondye"-"at present ordering the King's victuals at Calais, appointed by letter to repair to Boulogne as Comptroller of Victuals." Letters...and Papers of Henry VIII, Vol. XX, pp. 1-2, 1907, p. 402, No. 922--which if it is the same person, implies that he held a position no inferior to that of Dee's own father in Henry's service). Later entries by Dee concerning this affar run June 19 "I understode more of Vincent Murfyn his knavery." Sept. 14, 1580, "I began against Vincent Murphyn." Sept. 15, "I wrote to the Bishop of London." Sept. 22, "My declaration against Vincent Murphin put into the Court of Geldhall." Oct. 20, 1580, "I had by my jury at Geldhall £100 damages awarded me against Vincent Murphyn the Cosener." Oct. 22, "with much ado I had judgment against Morfin at Geldhall." Feb. 9, 1581, "I agreed with Mr. Gentle Godolphin for to release the cosener Vincent Murphin." Similar cases where Dee took legal action are noted, Apr. 28, 1578, "I caused Sir Rowland Hayword to examyn Francys Body of his sklandering me which he denyed utterly." June 30, 1580, he issued a letter of atterney "agaynst one White of Colchester for a sklaundre."

(3) C.R. c. IV, p. 12. One of the documents he possessed, listed C.R. c.3, p. 11, is "Her Majestie's favourable lycence and pasport, with my two servantes and our geldings A.1571."

(4) Lansdowne MS XIX, article 38, printed Strype. Annals III, 2, pp. 558-563, also Ellis Original Letters, Camden Society, 1843, pp. 32-40, extract in Fell Smith, John Dee, pp. 32-33.

(5) W. Notestein (History of Witchcraft in England 1558-1768, pp. 14-15) ascribes this Act to English churchmen, who had been in exile in Geneva, and been influenced by Calvin during Mary's reign, some of whom received bishoprics under Elizabeth.

(6) Vide Infra Ch. 9, p. 819 et seq. Though it may be significant that Dee entered the date 1567 in a copy of Psellus against a passage which points out that demons which promise riches are often unable to, or for other reasons will not fulfill their pledges (see N.Q. Ser. VIII, Vol. I, p. 126).

(7) Porta, speaking of common frauds writes "The greater part of Cozeners, when they are themselves very poor and most miserable of all men, they professe themselves able to finde out Treasure" by means of divining rods. Nevertheless he adds: "Some metal that these forked rods are a great help to them in finding out of mines." (Natural Magick, XX 8 pp. 405-406) Agricola in book II of De Re Metallica lists various methods of discovering veins and mines--by observing the character of the surface vegetation, the nature of the rock, etc. He gives a description and an illustration of the "divining rod" (H.C. and L.H. Hoover in their translation of 1912 point out--n. p. 38--that this instrument was denounced by Paracelsus in De Natura Rerum, but its properties were accredited by Boyle and many other reputable thinkers long after Agricola's day). He does not recommend its use however, since it is of an "impure" origin, and is connected with the rods the ancient magicians carried, and perhaps with the heathenish caduceus. "The Wizards" he says, "who also make use of rings mirrors and crystals, seek for veins with a divining rod shaped like a fork," but its virtues have nothing to do with its shape, but are a result of the incantations the wizards use, which Agricola piously refuses to reproduce (pp. 40-41). Harsnet in his Declaration of Egregious Papist Impostures, 1603, declared (pp. 13-14) that the recusants who attempted "to withdraw the harts of her Majesties Subjects...under pretence of casting out devils," have "bestirred themselves as fast in imploying all their wit, and skill about getting into their hands huge mines, and masses of gold, silver and treasure (called by the Artisan in that mysterie Treasure Trouvè) supposed to be hidden in divers houses, woods and plots of ground here in England." He tells how three or four priests, "devill conjurors," and four discoveries, or seers, carried their familiars about with them in rings and glasses, by whose directions they were led to the discovery of such golden hoards: for this purpose "22 Oct. anno 84 there came 3 conjurors to Fulmer on a Thursday...and there remained working in their arte untill Tuesday following" etc. Wright, Narratives of Sorcery, Vol. I, p. 198 et seq gives an account of various attempts to find treasure in England in the early 16th century, by the help of spirits or "magical" means. The frequency of these attempts is probably related to the common belief of the close connection between treasure and daemonic agencies--which Dee's letter refers to noncommitally--thus Trithemius writes of the subterranean species of demon: "Ex his quoque demonibus, quidem incubanes sunt thesaurorum, quos avaritia mortalium abscondit in terram, & ne rursus in vsus perveniant hominum, eos subducut, furantur & quandoqz de loco in locum transponunt" (De Oct. Quaest. f. Fbrr) (Hocher, Marlowe, p. 143, points out apropos of Faust's resolution to dry the sea in order to have the treasures on the bed, various similar practises of the day, e.g., that the Verus Jesuitarum Libellus, Paris, 1568, contains eight forms of conjuration for compelling daemons to fetch trasure "ex abysso maris"). John Napier the mathematician, entered into a contract with Robert Logan in 1594 to discover hidden treasure on his property, though we have no more knowledge thanin Dee's case how he intended to fulfill this task (E.W. Hobson, John Napier, Cambridge, 1914, p. 10). That Dee had connections with more regular mining activities of the time appears from the diary entry May 13, 1583, "This day was my lease of Devonshyre mynes sealed at Sir Leonell Ducketts hows" (the tin mining of Devonshire was controlled they by Ralegh, who wished to encourage and develop it on a large scale), and he recommends Agricola's de re Metallicus, the standard work on the subject of his day, in the Preface (ciiijv).

(8) William Covell, Polimanteia, 1595, H3r.

(9) A doctrine omnipresent and applied to a variety of purposes in Aristotle's works, the absolute regularity of the heavens he takes for instance as a guarantee of the possibility, and an exemplar in kind, of true knowledge (Met. 1063a). It is absurd to form opinions from the appearances of things in this world "which are subject to change and never remain in the same state, for it is by reference to those things which are always in the same state and undergo no change that we shall prosecute our search for truth. Of this kind are the heavenly bodies; for these do not appear to be now of one nature and subsequently of another but are manifestly always the same and have no part in change of any kind." But Plato had of course used such a view of astronomy for similar purposes, it was a thoroughly conventional doctrine. Stratus in the Phenomena (trans. G.R. Mair, Loeb. ed. 1921) states it as, by implication, confirmed by general experience (e.g., pp. 450-455 "All these constellations thou canst mark...each returning at its appointed time; for all are unchanging and firmly fixed in the heavens" [p. 416] or pp. 19-24 or p. 383), which Cicero cites in his own translation in de Nat. Deor. I, 41, "Ergo, ut oculis assidue videmus, sine ulla mutatione aut varietate `Cetera laboruntur celeri caelestia motu....'" etc.--and it found its way into the writings of all schools; thus Synesius employs it in his Encomium on Calvities to prove that comets, irregular intheir courses and "hairy," are necessarily only sublunar fiery exhalations in the atmosphere (Ch. 10, Oeuvres, p. 297). At the same time, the doctrine had not passed unquestioned even in the Middle Ages, when it had been challenged chiefly by nominalists, Platonists or religious reformers who distrusted the mechanistic implications of some tenets of Aristotelian physics. Thus Ockham attacked the view that the stars were quintessential neither heavy nor light, not compounded of matter and form, declaring them composed of similar substance to that of the earth (and hence in the same way subject to generation and corruption); and Wych denounced the Averroist view of the impossibility--of the cataclysmic consequences--of the appearance of any new stars. (Trialogus, cap. 15 de Coelo et Astris--printed Bâle, 1525, as Dialogus libri quatuor).

(10) In disposing of these the new astronomy disposed also of one of Aristotle's arguments against the harmony of the spheres' which "neo-Platonic" scientists such as Kepler--who even attempted to determine the individual notes of the planets--were not infrequently, if only in a mystical sense, interested in maintaining; for De Caelo, II, 9 confutes the belief only on the ground that sound is the result of friction, but the stars do not move in a medium, but are carried round passively in their spheres like a ship drifting downstream.

(11) Pliny, Nat. Hist., II, 24.

(12) On his views and for other contemporary comments on the new star, see Dreyer, Brahe, pp. 38-71.

Hakewill in the following century finds this suggestion just compatible with the uncorruptible unchanging nature of the heavens tha the strictly maintains in the interests of his general thesis. He admits the star as above the moon, as also comets, but denies that it could be said to be "generated" there; "But this [the star] I take to have been not the effect of Nature but the supernaturall and miraculous works of Almighty God...the like may be said of all such Comets which have at any time evidently appeared" (Apologie, II, 2, 1, p. 87).

(13) Such a possibility would seem to be referred to in Chapmann's Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois, V, 4, 50-59.

"there hangs

A black star in the skies, to which the sun,

Gives yet no light, will rain a poisoned shower

Into your entrails" etc.

This is one of the possibilities listed by John Chamber, who without committing himself--he has no great concern with theoretical questions of astronomy, a frequent feature of the anti-astrologian--and after the conventional reference to Hipparchus' speculations declares the star must be admitted as either both bred and corrupted somewhere in the heavens (he does not allow special creation since it might suggest the star's "significance") or be a "planet" we have hitherto known nothing of, if neither is the case, the fixed stars do not keep to the eighth orb but have their several circuits and motions (Treatise agst. Jud. Ast., 1601, p. 18).

(14) Demonomanie, I, p. 110.

(15) The usual printers employed by Dee and Digges respectively. Day specialised chiefly in theological works, but Dee seems to have had fairly close relations with him. (On Marsh see Ames, Typographical Antiquities, 1819 ed. Vol. IV, p. 491 et seq; on Day 41 et seq). The present work must have been considered important, for at this time many of Day's books in press were temporarily laid aside to hurry through, on Archbishop Parker's and Burleigh's orders, Dr. Clercke's bulky official reply to Sander's De Visibili Monarchia Ecclesiae.

(15a) Thus Aubrey (Brief Lives, ed. Clarke I, p. 238) "To these Alae seu Scalae Mr. Digges hath annexed Parallaticae Commentationes...." etc.

(16) Parallat. Comm., Dee's pref. F. Aiiv.

(17) Ibid, Digges' prefatory letter f. Aiir.

(18) Alae seu Scalae, Procamium f. Biiv-iiir.

(19) A passage from Digges' work on astronomy as a religious revelation has already been quoted (Ch. III). Dee writes, in a note at the end of his work (Parall. Comm. Diiijv): "Videte quaeso, ipse Terrae Globus, quantum nobis suppeditabit auxilij, in hoc (prae ceteris) tam nobili, eruiendo Theoremate tertio. In Lumine Naturae, sic optimam licet Philosphandi reperire modum. Naturae isti sunt Thesauri: ipsis semper rebus, diuinis copulati nexibus"; and on the observation and discovery of causes of celestial and earthly phenomena: "Quam pulcherrimam Philosophiae partem (mortalibus summè necessariam) omnibus suis numeris, antè absoluendam fore speramus q universa, huius admirandi Prodromi (quae vario nobis videtur innuere modo) rebus ipsis, explicata pandentur Apotelesmata."

(20) Alae, f. A3r.