The Road to Civil War

  • David Sellers
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 390)


In 1883, according to the Palatine Note-Book of that year, there took place “one of the most deplorable dispersions of an old family library at Sotheby’s … when the valuable Towneley manuscripts and the remains of the noble library chiefly collected by Richard Towneley, the philosopher, were sold by his descendants”. From this sale, Chethams Library in Manchester—Britain’s oldest surviving public library—acquired a seventeenth-century notebook that had been listed in the sale catalogue as ‘A new and true theory of the sun’s motion. MS’. It is now catalogued as ‘Notebook [by William Gascoigne (1612–1644)] containing notes in English taken from the 1632 edition of Lansberge’s Tabulae Motuum Coelestium’. The notebook is 118 pages long and largely consists of a verbatim English translation of Lansberge’s ‘Novae & genuinae Motuum Coelestium Theoricae’, which was appended to the 1632 edition of Tabulae Motuum. The rear of the first page of the notebook has several attempts at a latinised version of Gascoigne’s signature, but these are dissimilar to the uniform signatures on the three known Gascoigne letters. The handwriting throughout the notebook, although similar to that of the letters, does have some important differences. Being a verbatim translation, the notebook casts no fresh light on the scribe’s astronomical ideas, but the extensive list of aphorisms written in a (possibly) more juvenile hand on the first few pages do show the dark side of the contemporary psyche. A few extracts will give the flavour (Figs. 14.1 and 14.2):


Contemporary Report Latinise Version Fresh Light Lieutenant Colonel Bourgeois Democracy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Sellers
    • 1
  1. 1.LeedsUK

Personalised recommendations