MERCVRY, OR THE SECRET and SVVIFT Messenger: Shewing, How a Man may with Privacy and Speed communicate his Thoughts to a Friend at any distance.

LONDON, Printed by I. Norton, for Iohn Maynard, and Timothy Wilkins, and are to be sold at the George in Fleetstreet, neere Saint Dunstans Church, 1641.


To the Right honorable GEORGE, Lord Berkley, Baron of Berkley, Mowbray, Segrave, and Bruce, and Knight of the Noble Order of the BATH.


I Doe here once more present your Lordship, with the fruit of my leasure studies, as a te­stimony of my readinesse to serve you, in those sacred matters, to which I de­vote my more serious houres. I should not have presumed to this Dedication, [Page] had I not beene encouraged by that ge­nerousnesse and sweetnesse of disposi­tion, which does so eminently adorne your Lordships place and abilities.

If your Lordship please to excuse this boldnesse, and to vouchsafe this Pam­phlet a shelter under your favourable patronage, you shall thereby incourage me in those higher studies, which may be more agreeable to that relation, wherein I stand, as being

Your Lordships servant and Chaplaine,
I. W.

To the Reader.

THat which first occasioned this Discourse, was the rea­ding of a little Pamphlet, styled Nuntius inanimatus, commonly ascribed to a late Reverend Bishop: wherein hee affirms that there are certain ways to discourse with a friend, though he were in a close Dun­geon, in a besieged City, or a hundred miles of.

Which promises, at the first perusal, did rather raise my wonder then be­liefe, having before that time observed nothing, that might give any satisfacti­on in these particulars. And I should have esteemed them alltogether fabu­lous had it not beene for the credit of their reputed author.

After this, I did collect all such notes to this purpose, as I met with in the course of my other studies.

From whence when I had received ful satisfaction, I did for mine own fur­ther [Page] delight compose them into this method.

This I have now published; not for the publique good, (which I doe not think my poore abilities can promote) but to gratifie my brother the Statio­ner.

The benefits of that trade do chiefly consist in the printing of coppies; and the vanity of this age is more taken with matters of curiosity, then those of solid benefit. Such a pamphlet as this, may be salable, when a more sub­stantiall and usefull discourse is negle­cted.

I have already attained mine owne ends, both in the delight of composing this, and the occasion of publishing it. And therefore neede not either feare the censure of others, or beg their fa­vour. I could never yet discerne that any Reader hath shewed the more cha­rity, for the Authors bespeaking it. Farewell.

I. W.

To Mercury the elder, On the most learned Mercury the yonger.

REst Maja's sonne, sometimes Interpreter
Of Gods, and to us men their Messenger,
Take not such pains as thou hast done of old,
To teach men Hieroglyphicks, and to unfold
Egyptian hidden Characters, and how
Men writ in darke obscurity: for now
Trithemius and Selenus both are grown
Such Cryptographers, as they scarce will own
Thee for their Master, and Decipherers know
Such secret ways to write thou nere didst show.
These are but Artists, which thou didst inspire;
But now thou of a Mercury art Sire
Of thine own name, a Post with whom the winde,
Should it contend, would be left farre behind.
Whose message as thy metall strikes the gold,
Quite through a wedge of silver uncontrold,
And in a moments space doth passe as far
As from the Artike to th' Antartike star.
[Page] So proving what is said of influence,
May now be said of his intelligence,
They neither of them having such a quality
As a relation to locality:
No places distance hindring their Commerce
Who freely traffick through the Vniverse,
And in a minute can a Voyage make,
Over the Oceans universall Lake.
This sonne of thine, could any words or praise
His learning, worth, or reputation raise,
We should be Suiters to him to bestow
Encomiums on himselfe, which we do owe
Vnto his worth, and use that Eloquence,
Which as his own, must claime preheminence:
For thee, 'tis glory enough thou hast a sonne
Of Art, that hath thy selfe in Art out-done.
Sir Francis Kinaston Knight.

To the unknown Author.

OF old who to the common good applyde,
Or mind, or means, for it were Deifyde:
But chiefly such, who new Inventions found;
Bacchus for Wine, Ceres that tild the ground.
I know no reason time should breed such ods,
(W'have warrant for't) men now may be styl'd Gods.
By hiding who thou art, seek not to miss,
The glory due to such a Work as this;
But set thy name, that thou mayst have the praise,
Lest to the unknown God we Altars raise.
Anthony Aucher, Esquire.

To my friend the Author.

TO praise thy work, were to anticipate
Thy Readers iudgment, and to iniure fate;
Iniustice to thy selfe, for reall worth
Needs not Arts flattery to set it forth.
Some choose selected wits to write, as friends,
Whose Verses, when the work fails, make amends.
So as the buyer has his penny-worth,
Though what the Author write prove spumy froth.
Thou, of a humour crosse to that, hast chose
A friend or two, whose Verse hops like rough prose,
From whose inexpert vain thou canst not look
For lines that may enhaunce the price o' th' book.
Let it commend it self, all wee intend
Is but to shew the World, thou art our friend.
Richard Hatton Esquire.

To the Reader.

REader, this Author has not long agoe
Found out another world to this below.
Though that alone might merit great renowne,
Yet in this book he goes beyond the Moone.
Beyond the Moone indeed, for here you see
That he from thēce hath fetcht down Mercury.
One that doth tell us things both strange and new,
And yet believ't thei'r not more strange then true.
I'me loth to tell thee what rare things they bee,
Read thou the booke and then thou'lt tell them mee.
Tob. Worlrich. I. C. Doct.

To his honour'd Friend I. W. on his learned Tract, The Secret and Swift Messenger.

INimitable Sir, wee here discerne
Maximes the Stagirite himselfe might learn.
Were Plato now alive hee'd yield to You,
Confessing something might be Knowne anew.
Fresh Heresies (New nothings) still appeare
As Almanacks, the Births of every Yeare.
This Dutchman writes a Comment, that Translates,
A Third Transcribes; Your Pen alone Creates
New necessary Sciences; This Art
Lay undiscover'd as the Worlds fift part.
But Secrecie's now Publish'd; You reveal
By Demonstration how wee may Conceal.
Our Legates are but Men, and often may
Great State-affaires unwillingly betray:
Caught by some sifting Spies, or tell-tale Wine,
Which dig up Secrets in the deepest Mine.
Sometimes, like Fire pent in, they outward break,
And'cause they should be silent, therefore speak.
Nor are Kings Writings safe; To guard their Fame,
Like Scavola, they wish their Hand ith' Flame.
[Page] Inke turns to bloud; they oft participate
By wax and Quill sad Icarus his fate.
Hence Noblemens bad writing proves a plot;
Their Letters are but Lines, their Names a Knot.
But now they shall no more Seale their own Fall;
No Letters prove Killing, or Capitall.
Things passe unknown, and each Ambassadour's
Strict as the Brest of sacred Confessours:
Such as the Inquisition cannot see;
Such as are forc'd neither by Rack, nor Fee.
Swift Secrecie descends to Humane Powers;
That which was Plutoes Helmet, now is Ours.
We shall not henceforth be in pay for ayre,
Transported Words being deare as precious Ware;
Our Thoughts will now arrive before they're stale;
They shall no more wait on the Carriers Ale,
And Hostesse, two Land Remoraes, which bind
All to a Tortoise pace, though Words be Wind.
This Books a better Arke; we brook no stay,
Maugre the deepest Flood, or foulest Way.
Commerce of Goods and Souls we owe to Two,
(Whose Fames shall now be Twins) Noah and You.
Each Bird is turn'd a Parrot, and we see
Aesops Beasts made more eloquent by thee.
Woers againe may wing their fetterd Love,
By Noahs trusty Messenger the Dove.
Torches which us'd only to help our sight,
(Like heavenly fires) do give our Reason Light.
Deaths Harbingers, Arrows, and Bullets prove
Like Cupids darts, Ambassadours of Love.
[Page] Then your diviner Hieroglyphicks tell
How we may Landskips read, and Pictures spell.
You teach hovv Clouds inform, hovv smoaks advise,
Thus Saints vvith Incense talke to Deities.
Thus by dumbe Creatures we instructed are,
As the Wise Men were Tutor'd by a Star.
Since we true Serpents like doe little wrong
With any other Member but the Tongue;
You tell us how we may by Gestures talke
How Feet are made to speak, as well as walke:
How Eyes discourse, how mystique Nods contrive;
Making our Knowledge too, Intuitive,
A Bell no noise but Rhetoricke affords;
Our Musique Notes are Speeches, sounds are Word [...].
Without a Trope there's Language in a Flowre,
Conceits are Smelt without a Metaphor.
Dark subtleties we now shall soon define,
Each Organs turn'd the sense of Discipline.
'Tis to your Care we owe that we may send,
Businesse unknown to any but our Friend.
That which is English Friendship to my Brother,
May be though't Greek or NOn-sence to another.
We novv may Homere Iliads confine
Not in a Nut shell, but a Point, or Line.
Which Art though 't seeme to exceed Faith, yet who
Tryes it, will find both Truth and Reason too.
'Tis not like Juglers tricks, absurd, when shovvn;
But more and more admir'd, the more 'tis knovvn.
Writing's an Act of Emanation,
And Thoughts speed quick and far as Day doth run.
Richard West. C.C. Ox.

[Page 1]MERCURY. The secret and swift Messenger.

The dependance of this knowledge in na­ture. The Authors that have treated of it. Its relation to the art of Gram­mar.

EVery rationall creature, being of an imperfect, and dependant happi­nesse, is therefore na­turally endowed with an ability to communicate its owne thoughts and intentions; That so by mutuall services, it might the better promote it selfe, in the prose­cution of its owne wel-being.

And because there is so vast a dif­ference betwixt a spirit and a body, [Page 2] therefore hath the wisedome of pro­vidence contrived a distinct way and meanes, whereby they are each of them inabled to discourse, accor­ding to the variety of their severall natures.

The Angels or Spirituall substan­ces,Aquinas part. 1. Per insinuationem specierum, (as the Schoolemen speake) By insi­nuating of the species,Quest. 107. Zanch. de Operibus Dei. Part. 1. lib. 3. c. 19. or an unvei­ling of their owne natures in the knowledge of such particulars, as they would discover to another. And since they are of a Homogeneous and immateriall essence, therefore do they heare, and know, and speake, not with severall parts, but with their whole substance. And though the Apostle mentions the tongue of Angels, 1 Cor. 13. yet that is onely▪ Per concessio­nem, & ex hypothesi.

1 But now, men, that have Organicall bodyes, cannot communicate their thoughts, so easie and immediate a way. And therefore have need of some corporeall instruments, both [Page 3] for the receiving and conveying of knowledge. Unto both which fun­ctions, nature hath designed severall parts. Amongst the rest, the eare is chiefely the sense of discipline or learning, and the tongue the instru­ment of teaching. The communion betwixt both these is by speech or language. Which was but one at first, but hath since beene confoun­ded into severall kinds. And expe­rience now shews, that a man is equal­ly disposed, for the learning of all, according as education shall direct him. Which would not be, if (as some fondly conceive) any one of them were naturall unto us.Valles [...] Sacr. Phil [...]s. cap. 3. For in­tus existens prohibet alienum.

Or suppose that a man could be brought up to the speaking of ano­ther tongue;Cal. Rhod. A [...]t. lect. lib. 2. 9. c. 14. yet this would not hin­der, but that he should still retaine his knowledge, of that which was naturall. For if those which are got­ten by art, doe not hinder one ano­ther, much lesse would they be any [Page 4] impediment, to that which is from nature. And according to this it will follow, that most men should be of a double language; which is evidently false. Whence likewise you may guesse, at the absurdity of their enquiries, who have sought to find out the primitive tongue, by bringing up infants in such silent, solitary places, where they might not heare the speech of others.

Languages are so farre naturall unto us, as other arts and sciences. A man is borne without any of them, but yet capable of all.

Now, because Words are onely for those that are present both in time & place; therefore to these, there hath beene added, the invention of let­ters and writing: which are such a re­presentation of our words (though more permanent,) as our words are of our thoughts. By these we may discourse with them, that are re­mote from us, not onely by the di­stance of many miles, but also of [Page 5] many ages, Hujus usu scimus maximè constare humanitatem vitae, Nat hist. lib. 14. c. 11. memoriam, ac hominum immortalitatem, saith Pli­ny. Quid hoc magnificentius? quid [...]eque mirandum? Antiq. lect. lib 4. cap. 3. in quod ne mortis qui­dem avida rapacitas jus ullum habeat, saith Rhodiginus, This being the chie­fest meanes, both for the promoting of humane society, and the perpe­tuating our names unto following times.

How strange a thing this Art of writing did seeme at its first inven­tion, we may guesse by the late di­scovered Americans, who were ama­zed to see men converse with books, and could scarce make themselves beleeve that a paper should speake: especially, when after all their atten­tion and listning to any writing (as their custome was) they could never perceive any words or sound to pro­ceed from it.

There is a pretty relation to this purpose concerning an Indian slave,Hermannus. Hugo de orig. Scri­bendi. Pras. who being sent by his Master, with [Page 6] a basket of figs and a letter, did by the way eate up a great part of his carty­age, conveying the remainder unto the person, to whom he was directed, who when he had read the letter, and not finding the quantity of figges answe­rable to what was there spoken of; he accuses the slave of eating them, telling him what the letter said against him. But the Indian, (not­withstanding this proofe) did confi­dently abjure the fact, cursing the paper, as being a false and lying wit­nesse. After this, being sent againe, with the like carriage, and a letter expressing the just number of figges, that were to be delivered, hee did againe according to his former pra­ctice, devoure a great part of them by the way; but before hee medled with any, (to prevent all following accusations;) he first tooke the let­ter, and hid that under a great stone, assuring himselfe, that if it did not see him eate the figges, it could ne­ver tell of him; but being now more [Page 7] strongly accused then before, hee confesses the fault, admiring the di­vinitie of the paper, and for the fu­ture doe's promise his best fidelity in every imployment.

Such strange conceits, did those wilder nations entertaine, concer­ning this excellent invention. And doubtlesse it must needs argue a vast ability both of wit and memory, in that man, who did first confine all those different sounds of voyce, (which seeme to be almost of infi­nite variety) within the bounds of those few letters in the Alphabet.

The first inventor of this,Cice. lib. 3. de Na. Deor. Polyd. Virg. de Inventor. lib. [...]. cap 6. was thought to be the Egyptian Mercury, who is therefore stiled the Messenger of the Gods.Vossius de Grammati­ca li. 1. c. 9. To which purpose the Poets have furnished him with wings for swiftnesse and dispatch in his er­rands.Natal. Co­mes Mythol. lib. 5. cap. 5. And because the Planet of that name, was thought to observe a more various & obscure revolution then any of the rest, therfore likewise did they attribute unto him, such [Page 8] secret and subtle motions, as might make him a trusty and private mes­senger, and so the fitter for that pre­ferment, to which for this invention they had advanced him.

There is yet another way of dis­coursing, by signes and gestures. And thought it be not so common in practise, as either of the other; yet in nature, perhaps it is before them both: since infants are able this way to ex­presse themselves, before they have the benefit of speech.

But now, because none of these wayes in ordinary use, are either so Secret or Swift, as some exigences would require; Therefore many of the Antients have busied themselves in a further inquiry how both these deficiencies may be remedied: as conceiving that such a discovery would be of excellent use, especially for some occasions that are inci­dent to Statesmen and Souldiers.

That the ignorance of Secret and Swift conveyances, hath often pro­ved [Page 9] fatall, not onely to the ruine of particular persons, but also of whole Armies and Kingdomes; may easily appeare to any one that is but little versed in story. And therefore the redressing of these may bee a subject worth our en­quiry.

Amongst the Antients that have most laboured in these particulars, [Aeneas, [Poliorce­tica. Cleomenes, and Democritus, (as they are cited byHist. l. 10. Polybius) were for their inventions of this kind, more remarkeably eminent. And thatPolibius Ibid. [...] Author himself, hath gi­ven us such an exact relation of the knowledge of antiquity in these things,juxta finem. that 'tis a wonder, these following ages should either take no more notice, or make no more use of it. Besides these, there is also Iulius Africanus, and Philo Mechanicus, two antient Gre­cians, who have likewise treated of this subject.

The Military significations in use [Page 10] amongst the Romans, are handled byDe Strat. Vegetius, andDe re mi­ [...]t. lib. 3. cap. 5. Frontinus.

Their notes of Secrecy, and Ab­breviation in writing, are largly set downe byLi de notis [...]ntiquis. Valerius Probus, and Pet. Diaconus. There is likewise a vo­lumne of these, set forth by Ianus Gruterus, which for their first inven­tion are commonly ascribed unto Cicero andThe father. Seneca.

In latter times, these particulars have beene more fully handled, by the Abbot Lib. de Polygraph. item de Ste­nogra [...]. Tritemius. [...]ract. de ratione [...]. linguarum. Theodorus Bibliander,Lib. de Zyphris. Baptista Porta. Cardan. Subtilit. lib. 17. de Var. C. 12. 6.Notis in Aeneae Po­lyorcetica. Isaac Casaubon.Fab. 9. Iohannes Walchius,de Cryptog. Gusta­vus Gram. Lib. 1. c. 40. Gerardus Vossius.Lib. de Or. Scrib. Her­mannus, Hugo, and divers others, in particular languages.

Amongst the rest, our English Aristotle, the learned Verulam, in that worke truly stiled the Advancement of Learning, hath briefly contracted the whole substance of what may be said in this subject.De Augm. Scientiar. Lib. 6. ca. 1. Where he refers it to the art of Grammar, noting it as a [Page 11] deficient part. And in reference to this is it handled by most of those Authors, who have treated of it.

That art, in its true latitude com­prehending a treaty, concerning all the wayes of discourse, whether by speech, or by writing, or by gesture, together with the severall circum­stances, pertaining to them. And so this subject belongs to the Mint of knowledge;Ibid. Expressions being cur­rant for conceits, as money is for va­luations.

Now as it will concerne a man that deales in traficke, to understand the severall kinds of money, and that it may be framed of other materialls, besides silver and gold: So likewise do's it behove them, who professe the knowledge of nature or reason, rightly to apprehend the severall waies whereby they may be expressed.

So that besides the usefulnesse of this subject, for some speciall occa­sions, it doth also belong unto one of the liberall Arts.

[Page 12] From which considerations wee may infer, that these particulars are not so triviall, as perhaps otherwaies they would seeme, and that, there is sufficient motive to excite any in­dustrious spirit, unto a further search after them.

In this following discourse, I shall enquire,

  • 1 Concerning the Secrecy of meanes, whereby to communicate our thoughts.
  • 2 Concerning their Swiftnesse, or quicke passing at any great distance.
  • 3 How they may be both joyned together in the conveiance of any Message.

In the prosecution of which, I shall also mention (besides the true discoveries) most of those other wayes, whether Magicall, or Fabulous, that are received upon common tra­dition.

The conditions requisite to Secrecy, The use of it in the Matter of speech, either By• Fables of the Heathen. , and • Parables of Scripture. 

TO the exactnesse of Secrecy in any way of discourse, there are these two qualifications requi­site.

1. That it be difficult to be un­folded, if it should bee doubted of, or examined.

2. That it be (if possible) altoge­ther devoid of suspicion; for so far as it is liable to this, it may be said to come short in the very Nature of Secrecy; since what is once suspe­cted, is exposed to the danger of exa­mination, & in a ready way to be dis­covered: but if not, yet a man is more likely to be disappointed in his [Page 14] intention, when his proceedings are mistrusted.

Both these conditions together are to bee found but in few of the fol­lowing instances; only they are here specified, to shew what a man should aime at, in the inventions of this na­ture.

The art of secret information in the generall, as it includes all signifi­catory signes, may be stiled Cryptome­nysis, or private Intimations.

The particular wayes of discour­sing, were before intimated to bee threefold.

  • 1. By Speaking.
  • 2. By Writing.
  • 3. By signes or gestures.

According to which variety, there are also different wayes of Secrecy.

  • 1. Cryptologia.
  • 2. Cryptographia.
  • 3. Semaeologia.

Cryptologia, or the Secrecy of spea­king, may consist either,

1. In the Matter: when the thing we would utter is so concealed under the expression of some other matter, that it is not of obvious conceit. To which purpose are the Metaphors, Allegories, and divers other Tropes of Oratory: which, so farre as they concerne the ornament of speech, d [...] properly belong to Rhetorick, but as they may be applied for the secrecy of speech, so are they reducible unto this part of Grammar.

To this likewise appertaines all that aenigmaticall learning, unto which not onely the learned heathen, but their Gods also were so much devo­ted, as appeares by the strange and frequent ambiguities of the Oracles, and Sybils. And those were counted the most profound Philosophers a­mongst them, who were best able for the invention of such affected ob­scurities.

Of this kind also were all those [Page 16] mysterious Fables, Fables. under which, the ancients did veile the secrets of their Religion and Philosophy; counting it a prophane thing to prostitute the hid­den matters of either, unto vulgar ap­prehension. Quia sciunt inimicam esse naturae, apertam nudamque expositionem sui; quae, sicut vulgaribus hominum sen­sibus, intellectum sui, vario rerum teg­mine operimentoque subtraxit, ita a prui dentibus arcana sua voluit per fabulosa tractari, In Samn. Scip. Lib. 1. Cap. 2. saith Macrobius. The Gods and nature wold not themselves have hidden so many things from us, if they had intended them for com­mon understandings, or that others should treat of them, after an easie & perspicuous way: Hence was it that the learned men of former times were so generally inclined, to involve all their learning, in obscure & mysteri­ous expressions. Thus did the Egyptian Priests, the Pythagoreans, Platonicks, & almost all other sects and professions.

And to this generall custome of those ages (we may guesse) the holy-GhostParables. [Page 17] do's allude, in the frequent Parables, both of the old and new Testament.Co [...]hmen, in Isai. 14. Parabola est sermo similitu­dinarius, qui aliud dicit, aliud signifi­cat, saith Aquinas. It is such a speech of similitude, as sayes one thing, and meanes another. The Disciples doe directly oppose it to plaine speaking. Behold now speakest thou plainly, Ioh. 16. 29. and no Parables.

And elsewhere tis intimated, that our Saviour did use that manner of teaching for the Secrecy of it: That those proud and perverse auditors, who would not applie themselves to the obedience of his doctrine, might not so much as underst and it. To whom it is not given to know the myste­ries of the Kingdome of God, Mat. 13. 10. 11. to them all things are done in Parables, Mar. 4. 11. 12. that seeing they may see and not perceive, and hea­ring they may heare and not understand.

The art of these was so to implie a secret argument,Glas. Phil [...]. lib. 2. pat. 1. tract. 2. Sect. 5. that the adversary might unawares be brought over, to an acknowledgement, and confession [Page 18] of the thing we would have. Thus did Nathan, unexpectedly discover to David, 2 Sam. 12. the cruelty and injustice of his proceedings in the case of Vriah. Thus did another Prophet, make A­hab, condemne himselfe, for suffering the King of Syria to escape.1 King. 20. 39. And by this meanes did our Saviour in the Parable of the Vineyard,Mat. 21. 33. and the un­just husband-man, force the unbelee­ving Jewes, to a secret acknowledge­ment, of those judgements, they had themselves deserved.

Of this nature was that argument of an antient Orator, who when the enemies had proposed peace, upon this condition, that the City should banish their teachers and Philoso­phers; He steps up and tells the peo­ple a tale, of certaine warres betwixt the woolves and the sheepe, and that the woolves promised to make a league, if the sheep would put away their mastiffe Dogs. By this meanes better instructing them of the dan­ger and madnesse there would be in [Page 19] yeelding to such a condition.

The Jewish Doctors doe general­ly in their Talmud, and all their others writings, accustome them­selves to a Parabolicall way of tea­ching; and 'tis observed that many of those horrid fables, that are fa­thered upon them, doe arise from a misapprehension of them in this par­ticular.Schickard Examen Comm. Rab­bin. dis. 7. Whilst others interpret that according to the letter, which they intended onely for the morall. As that which one Rabby relates concerning a Lion in the forrest of Elay, that at the distance of foure hundred leagues, did with his roa­ring, shake downe the walls of Rome, and make the women abortive. Wherein he did not affirme the exi­stence of any such monster, but only intimate the terriblenesse and power of the divine Majestie. But this by the way.

By this Art, many men are able in their ordinary discourses, so se­cretly to convey their counsels, or [Page 20] reproofes, that none shall under­stand them, but those whom they concerne. And this way of teaching hath a great advantage above any other, by reason it hath much more power in exciting the fancy and af­fections. Plaine arguments, and morall precepts barely proposed, are more flat in their operation, not so lively and perswasive, as when they steale into a mans assent, under the covert of a parable.

To be expert in this particular is not in every mans power; like Poe­trie, it requires such a naturall fa­cultie as cannot be taught. But so farre as it falls under the rules and directions of Art, it belongs to the precepts of Oratory.

In the generall 'tis to be observed, that in these cases a man must be ve­ry carefull to make choyse of such a subject, as may beare in it, some pro­per analogie and resemblance to the chiefe businesse. And he must before­hand in his thoughts, so aptly con­trive [Page 21] the severall parts of the simili­tude, that they may fitly answere un­to those particular, passages, which are of greatest consequence.

Concerning that secrecie of speech which consists in the words, Either By inventing new ones, as in• Canting. , and • Conjuring. Or by a changing of the knowne languag, whither • Inversion. , • Transmutation. , • Diminution. , and • Augmentation. 

THe secret wayes of speaking, which consists in the matter of discourse have beene already hand­led. Those that are in the words are twofold. Either

1. By inventing new words of our owne, which shall signifie upon compact.

2. Or by such an alteration of [Page 22] any knowne language, that in pro­nuntiation it shall seeme as obscure, as if it were altogether barbarous.

To the first kind we may referre the Canting of beggars; who though they retaine the common particles, yet have imposed new names upon all such matters, as may happen to be of greatest consequence and se­crecy.

And of this nature the charms of Witches, and language of Magitians seeme to be. Though of these it may well be doubted, whether they have any signification at all; And if they have, whether any understand them but the Devill himselfe? 'Tis pro­bable, he did invent such horrid and barbarous sounds, that by them, he might more easily delude the weake imaginations of his credulous disci­ples.Tract. de superst [...]tioni­b [...]s. Martinus de Arles, an Arch-dea­con in Navare, speaking of a con­juringbooke, that was found in a Parish under his visitation, repeats out of it these formes of discoursing [Page 23] with the Devill. Conjuro te per aelim, per aelim, per seboan, per adonay, per allelu­jah, per tanti, per archabulon, &c. And a little after, Sitis alligati & constri­cti per ista sancta nomina Dei, Hir, aelli, habet, sat, mi, filisgae, adrotiagund [...], tat, chamiteram, &c. And in another place, Coriscion, Matatron, Caladason, Ozcoz [...], Yosiel, &c.

In which formes, the common particles and words of usuall sence, are plainely set downe in ordinary Latin; but many of the other, which seeme to have the greatest efficacy, are of such secret sence, as I thinke no linguist candiscover.

The inventions of this kind, doe not fall under any particular rule or maxime, but may be equally in­finite to the variety of articulate sounds.Porta de s [...]r [...]. [...] cap. 5.

The second way of secrecy in speech, is by an alteration of any knowne language,Selenus de Cryptogra. Ph [...]cao. 2. cap. 1. which is farre more easie, and may prove of as much use for the privacy of it, as [Page 24] the other. This may be performed, foure wayes.

1. By Inversion, when either the Letters or Syllables are spelled back­wards.

Mitto tibi METVLAS can­cros imitare legendo, where the word SALV [...]EM is expressed by an inversion of the letters. Or as in this other example, Stisho estad, veca biti which by an inversion of the Sylla­bles, is Hostis adest, cave tibi.

2. By Transmutation, or a mutu­all changing of one letter for ano­ther in pronunciation, answerable to that forme of writing mentioned in the seventh Chapter. And though this may seeme of great difficulty, yet use and experience will make it easie.

3. By contracting some words, and leaving part of them out; pronoun­cing them after some such way as they were wont to be both written and printed in antient Copies. Thus aa stands anima, Ar [...]s for Aristoteles. [Page 25] But this can be but of small use in the English tongue, because that does consist most of Monosylla­bles.

4. By augmenting words with the addition of others letters. Of which kind, is that secret way of discour­sing in ordinary use, by doubling the vowels that m [...]ke the syllables, and interposing G. or any other con­sonant K. P. T. R, &c. or other syl­lables, as Porta lib. 1. cap. 5. de furtiv. liter. notis. Thus, if I would say, Our plot is discovered, it must be pro­nounced thus, Ougour plogot igis di giscogovegereged. Which doe's not seeme so obscure in writing, as it will in speech and pronuntiation. And it is so easie to be learnt, that I have knowne little children, al­most as soone as they could speake, discourse to one another as fast this way, as they could in their plainest English.

But all these later kinds of secre­cy in speech, have this grand incon­venience [Page 26] in them, that they are not without suspition.

There are some other wayes of speaking by inarticulate sounds,Chap. 17 18. which I shall mention afterwards.

Concerning the secret conveyances of any written message in use amongst the Antients, Either by• Land. , • Water. , and • the open Ayre. 

THe secrecy of any written mes­sage may consist either in the

  • Conveyance.
  • Writing.

1. In the Conveyance, when a let­ter is so closely concealed in the carryage of it, as to delude the search and suspition of the adversary. Of which kind, the antient Historians doe furnish us with divers relations, reducible in the generall unto these [Page 27] three heads. Those are the

  • 1. By Land.
  • 2. By Water.
  • 3. Through the open Ayre.

1. The secret conveyances by Land,1. By Land may be of numberlesse variety: but those antient inventions of this na­ture, which to my remembrance are most obvious and remarkeable, are these.

That of Harpagus the Mede (men­tioned by Herodotus and Iustin) who when he would exhort Cyrus to a con­spiracy against the King his uncle,Herod lib. 1 cap. 123. Iustin. lib. 1. (and not daring to commit any such message to the ordinary way of conveyance, especially since the Kings jealousie had stopped up all passages with spies and watchmen) he put his letters into the belly of a hare; which together with certaine hunters nets, hee delivered unto a trusty servant, who under this dis­guise of a hunts-man, got an unsu­spected passage to Cyrus. And Astya­g [...]s himselfe was by this conspiracy [Page 28] bereav'd of that Kingdom which was then the greatest Monarchie in the world.

To this purpose likewise is that of Demaratus, Iustin. lib. 2. King of Sparta, who be­ing banished from his own Country and received in the Persian Court,See [...] like rela­ted [...] Ha­m [...]ar. Ibid. lib. 11. when he there understood of Xerxes his designe and preparation for a warre with Greece, hee used these meanes for the discovery of it unto his countrey men. Having writ an Epistle in aSuch as formerly they were wont to write u­pon, whence the phrase R [...]s [...] tabu [...], and litera a litura. Tablet of wood, he co­vered over the letters with waxe, and then committed it unto a trusty ser­vant to be delivered unto the Magi­strates of Lacedaemon; Who when they had received it, were for a long time in a perplexed consultation, what it should meane, they did see nothing written, and yet could not conceive, but that it should import some weighty secret; till at length the Kings sister did accidentally dis­cover the writing under the waxe, By which meanes the Grecians were [Page 29] so well provided, for the following warre, as to give a defeate to the greatest and most numerous Army that is mentioned in History.

The Fathers of the Counsell of Ephesus, Isaac C [...]sa. Notis in Ae [...]a [...] c. 31. when Nestorius was condem­ned, being strictly debarred from all ordinary waves of conveyances, were faine to send unto Constantinople, by one in the disguise of a beggar.

Some messengers have beene sent away in coffins as being dead. Some others in the disguise of brute crea­tures, as those whom Iosephus menti­ons in the siege of Iotapata, De [...]ello [...]u­daic. l. 3. c. 8. who crept out of the City by night like Dogs.

Others have conveyed letters to their imprisoned friends, by putting them into the food they were to re­ceive, which is related of Polycrita. Laurentius Medices involving his Epi­stles in a piece of bread,Herman. Hugode [...] Scrib. c. 15. did send them by a certaine Nobleman in the forme of a begger.Solemn de Cryptogra­phia lib. 8. cap. 7. There is another relation of one, who rolled up his letters in a waxe candle, bidding the [Page 30] messenger tell the party that was to receive it, that the candle would give him light for his businesse. There is yet a stranger conveyance spoken of in Aeneas, Poli [...]rce [...]. cap. 31. by writing on leaves, and afterwards with these leaves, cove­ring over some sore or putrid ulcer, where the enemy would never suspect any secret message.

Others have carried Epistles in­scribed upon their owne flesh, which is reckoned amongst those secret conveyances mentioned by Ovid.

Caveat hoc custos,
De Arte Ama [...]d.
pro chartà, conscia tergum
Praebeat, inque suo corpore verbaeferat.

But amongst all the ancient pra­ctises in this kind, there is none for the strangenesse, to be compared un­to that of Hystiaens mentioned by He­rodotus, Herod. lib. 5. cap. 35. and out of him in Aulus Gel­lius; N [...]ctes Atti. lib. 17. cap. 10. who whilst he resided with Da­rius in Persia, being desirous to send unto Aristagoras in Greece, about re­volting from the Persian Govern­ment, (concerning which they had [Page 31] before conferred together;) But not knowing well how at that distance to convey so dangerous a businesse with sufficient secrecy, hee at length con­trived it after this manner. He chose one of his houshold servants that was troubled with sore eyes, pretending that for his recovery, his haire must be shaved, and his head scarified; in the performance of which Hystiaeus tooke occasion to imprint his secret intentions on his servants head, and keeping him close at home till his haire was growne, hee then told him, that for his perfect recovery, hee must travaile into Greece unto Arista­goras, who by shaving his haire the second time, would certainly restore him. By which relation you may see, what strange shifts the antients were put unto, for want of skill, in this subject, that is here discour­sed of.

'Tis reported of some fugitive Jewes at the siege of Jerusalem,Ioseph. de B [...]ll [...] Iuda. lib. 6. c. 15. who more securely to carry away their [Page 32] gold, did first melt it into bullets, and then swallow it downe, venting it afterwards amongst their other excrements. Now if a man had but his faculty, who could write Homers Iliads, Sol [...]. Poly­hist. cap. 6. in so small a volume as might be contained in a nut shell, it were an easie matter for him, by this tricke of the Jewes, securely to con­vey a whole packet of letters.

2. When all the land passages have beene stopped up,2. By Wa­ter. then have the an­tients used other secret conveiances by water; writing their intentions on thin plates of leade, and fastning them to the armes or thighes of some expert swimmer.De Str [...]g lib. 3. c. 13. * Frontinu [...] relates, that when Lucullus would informe a besieged City of his comming to succour them, hee put his letters in­to two bladders, betwixt which a common Souldier in the disguise of a sea-monster, was appointed to swim unto the City. There have bin likewise more exquisite inventions to passe under the water, either by [Page 33] a mans selfe, or in a boate, wherein he might also carry provision; only having a long truncke or pipe, with a tunnell at the top of it, to let downe fresh ayre. But for the pre­vention of all such conveyances, the antients were wont in their strictest sieges, to crosse the rivers with strongTh [...]. l. 10 cap. 37. nets, to fasten stakes in se­verall parts of the channell with sharpe irons, as the blades of swords, sticking upon them.

3. Hence was it that there have beene other meanes attempted through the open ayre.3. Through the open ayre. Either by using birds, as Pidgeons and Swal­lowes instead of messengers, of which I shall treate more particularly in the sixteenth Chapter. Or else by fastning a writing to an arrow, or the weight that is cast from a sling.

Somewhat of this nature, was that intimation agreed upon be­twixt David and Ionathan, 1 Sam. 20. though that invention doe somewhat favour [Page 34] of the antient simplicity and rude­nesse. It was a more exact invention mentioned by Herodotus concerning Artabazus and Timoxenus, Vra [...]i [...] sive lib. 8. cap. 128. who when they could not come together, were wont to informe one another of any thing that concerned their affaires, by fastning a letter unto an arrow, and directing it unto some appoin­ted place, where it might bee recei­ved.

Thus also Cleonymus King of Lace­daemon, Polyaenus lib. 2. in the siege of the City Treze­ne, See Plu­tarch in Cimon. injoyned the Souldiers to shoot severall arrowes into the Towne, with notes fastned unto them having this inscription, [...] I come that I may restore this place to its liberty. Vpon which, the credulous and discon­tented Inhabitants were very willing to let him enter.

When Cicero was so straightly be­sieged by the Galls, that the Soul­diers were almost ready to yeeld; Cesar being desirous to encourage [Page 35] him with the newes of some other forces that were to come unto his ayde, did shoote an arrow into the City, with these words fastned un­to it; Caesar Ciceroni fiduciam optat, expecta auxilium. By which meanes the Souldiers were perswaded to hold out so long, till these new suc­cours did arrive and breake up the siege.

The same thing might also bee done more securely, by rolling up a note within the head of an arrow, and then shooting of it to a confe­derates Tent, or to any other ap­pointed place.

To this purpose is that which Lypsius relates out of Appian, [...]liorcet. lib. 4. cap. Dialog. 2. mentio­ned also by Heliod [...]. Hist. Aeth [...]. lib. 9. concer­ning an antient custome for the be­sieged to write their minds briefely in a little piece of leade, which they could with a sling cast a great distance, and exactly hit any such particular place as should be agreed upon, where the confederate might receive it, and by the same [Page 36] meanes returne an answere.

Of this nature likewise are those kind of bullets, lately invented in these Germane warres, in which they can shoot not onely letters, corne, and the like: but (which is the strangest) powder also into a besieged City.

But amongst all other possible conveyances through the ayre,World in the Moon chap. 14. ima­gination it selfe cannot conceive any one more usefull, then the invention of a flying charriot, which I have mentioned elsewhere. Since by this meanes, a man may have as free a passage as a bird, which is not hin­dred, either by the highest walls, or the deepest rivers and trenches, or the most watchfull Sentinels. But of this perhaps I may have occasion to treate more largely in some other discourse.

CHAP. 5.
Of that secrecy which consists in the ma­terials of writing, whether the Paper or Inke.

THe severall inventions of the an­cients for the private conveyance, of any written message, were the subject of the last Chapter.

The secrecy of Writing may con­sist, either in The materials, or The Forme.

1. The Materials of writing are the Paper and Inke,Selenus de Cryptogra. lib. 8. c. [...]. 4. (or that which is instead of them), both which may be so privately ordered, that the inscri­bed sence shall not bee discoverable without certaine helpes and directi­ons.

1. The chiefe contrivance of se­crecy by the paper,1. The Pa­per. in use amongst [Page 38] the Ancients, was the Lacedemoniar. Scytale: The manner of which was thus: there were provided two round staves of an equall length and size: the Magistrats alwayes retaining one of them at home; and the other be­ing carried abroad by the Generall, at his going forth to warre. When there was any secret businesse to bee writ by it, their manner was to wrap a narrow thong of Parchment about one of these staves, by a serpentine revolution, so that the edges of it might meet close together: upon both which edges they inscribed their E­pistle, whereas the Parchment being taken off, there appeared nothing but pieces of letters on the sides of it, which could not be joyned to­gether into the right sence, without the true Scytale. Thus is it briefly and fully described by Ausonius.

Vel Lacedemoniam Scytalen initare libelli,
Ausonius ad Paulinum.
Segmina Pergamei, tereti, circumdata ligno.
[Page 39] Perpetuo inscribens versu, deinde solutus,
Non respondentes sparso dabit ordine formas.

You may read in Plutarch, how by this meanes, Pharnabaz did deceive Lysander. In Vta Lysandri.

'Tis true indeed, that this way was not of such inextricable secrecy, but that a little examination might have easily discover it,Exerc. 327 (as Scaliger tru­ly observes) however in those ages, which were lesse versed in these kinds of experiments, it seemed much more secret then now it doe's unto us; and in these times, there are such other meanes of private discoursing, which, even Scaligers eyes, (as good as they were) could not discover. And therefore it was too inconside­rate and magisteriall a sentence of him,Voscius de Ar [...]e Gram. li. 1. c. 40. from thence to conclude, all this kinde of learning to bee vaine and uselesse, serving only for impo­sture, and to perplex the inquirer. [Page 40] 'Tis certaine that some occasions may require the exactest privacie, And 'tis as certaine, that there may be some wayes of secrecy, which it were madnesse for a man to think he could unfold. Furori simile esse vide­tur, Veget. de [...]. lib. 3. sibi aliquem persuadere, tam circum­spectum hominem esse posse, ut se a furtivo quodam scripto, abditaque machinatione tueri possit: nam astans quilibet, vel pro­cul distans loquitur, & factum nunciat, ut non solum à nemine percipiatur, sed ne sic quidem significare quippiam posse existimet, saith Vegetius. And Baptista Porta (who had a strange and incre­dible ability in discovering of secret writings, [...] 3. de furti­vis notis. yet doth ingeniously con­fesse, Multa esse posse furtiva scripta, quae se interpretaturum quenquam polli­ceri, furorem ac delirium plane existima­rem.

So that though the ancient inven­tions of this kind, were too easily discoverable, yet Scaliger had no rea­son to conclude this to be a needlesse art, or that therefore hee could un­fold [Page 41] any other way that might bee invented. But this by the way.

2. The other materiall of wri­ting is the inke,2. The Inke. or that liquor which is used instead of it, by which means also, there are sundry wayes of se­crecy,Porta. Ma­giae, lib. 16. Wecker. de Secret. lib. 14. commonly mentioned in na­turall Magicke.

Thus if a man write with salt Am­moniack, Ioacb. For­tius Experi­e [...]t. dissolved in water, the let­ters will not appeare legible, till the paper be held by the fire: this others affirm to be true also in the juyce of onyons,Cardan. Subt. lib. 17. Item de varietate lib. 12. cap. 61. Lemons, with diverse the like acid and corroding movstures.

And on the contrary, those letters that are written with dissolved Al­lum,Ibid. will not be discernable till the paper be dipped in water.

There are some other juyces that doe not appeare,Bibliander de Ratione com. lingua­rum. till the paper bee held betwixt a Candle and the eye.

That which is written with the wa­ter of putrified willow, or the distil­led juyce of Glow-wormes, will not be visible but in the darke, as Porta [Page 42] affirmes from his owne experi­ence.Def [...]rtiv. lit. lib, 1. c. 15.

There is also a secret way of wri­ting with two severall inks, both of them alike in colour, but the one being of that nature, that it will easily be rubbed or washed off, and the other not.

A man may likewise write secret­ly with a raw egge, the letters of which, being throughly dryed, let the whole paper bee blacked over with inke, that it may appeare with­out any inscription. And when this inke is also well dryed, if you doe afterwards gently scrape it over with a knife, it will fall off from those places, where before the words were written.

Those letters that are descri­bed with milke or urine, or fat, or any other glutinous moysture, will not bee legible unlesse dust be first scattered upon them, which by adhering to those places, will discover the writing. This way is [Page 43] mentioned by Ovid, De Art. Amand.

Tuta quoque est, fallitque oculos e la­cte recenti
Litera, carbonis pulvere tange, le­ges.

And 'tis thought that Attalus made use of this devise, the better to excite the courage of his Soul­diers. Being before the Battell to sacrifice to the Gods for successe, as hee pulled out the intrals of the beast, he described upon them these words, Regis victoria, which he had before written backward in his hand with some gummy juyce. The in­trals being turned up and downe by the Priest to find out their signi­fication, the letters did by that meanes gather so much dust as to appeare legible. By which omen the Souldiers were so strangely heightned in their hopes and va­lour, that they won the day.

Unto these experiments of secrecy [Page 44] in the Materialls of writing,G [...]l. Sole­ [...] de Cryptogr [...] ­phia lib. 8. cap. 3. some adde those other wayes of expres­sing any private intimation by draw­ing a string through the holes of a little tablet or boord; these holes should bee of the same number with the letters, unto which by com­pact they should be severally ap­plied. The order of the threeds passing through them, may serve to expresse any words, and so con­sequently any sence wee would dis­cover.

To this purpose likewise is that other way of secret information, by divers knots tied upon a string according to certaine distances; by which a man may as distinct­ly, and yet as Secretly, expresse his meaning as by any other way of discourse. For who would mistrust any private newes or trechery, to lye hid in a threed, wherein there was nothing to be discerned, but sundry confused knots or other the like marks?

[Page 45] The manner of performing it, is thus. Let there bee a square piece of plate, or Tablet of Wood like a Trencher, with the twenty foure Letters descri­bed on the toppe of it, at e­quall distances, and after any or­der that may bee agreed upon be­fore hand, on both the opposite sides, let there bee diverse little teeth, on which the string may be hitched or fastned for its severall returnes. As in the following fi­gure.

[Page 46]

 ·  ·               ·    
·               ·        
    ·        ·           
     ·            ·      
       ··        ·       
 ·  ·                    
·               ·        
    ·           ·   ·    
       ·     ·           
        ·        ·       
    ·       ·     ·      
·                ·       
·                ·       
              ·       ·  
             ·     ·     
    ·           ·     ·  
             ·     ·     

Where the string is supposed to be fastned by a loope on the first tooth, toward the letter A, and af­terwards to be drawne successively over all the rest. The markes upon it doe expresse the secret meaning. [Page 47] Beware of this Bearer who is sent as a spie over you. When it is taken off, and sent to a confederate, hee may easily understand its intention, by apply­ing it to his owne Tablet, which must be answerable unto this. The instrument may be made much long­ger then is here expressed: But if the matter to be revealed should happen to be more then the Tablet would beare, then may it be supplyed, ei­ther by another string, or else by beginning againe with that part of the same string, wherein the last let­ter was terminated.

There may be divers other inventi­ons of this kind, but I have not obser­ved any more remarkable, then those which are already mentioned.

Secret writing with the common letters, by changing of their places.

THat secrecy which does consist in the forme of writing,Sele [...]us de Criptogra­phia lib. 2. cap. 5. is when the words, or letters are so framed by compact, that they are not of ordinary signification.Ars notari [...] occul [...]ands inter artes Subti [...]itate praestantes annume­randa est. Carden. Subtil, l. 17. The inventions of this kind, may both for their pleasure and benefit, justly challenge a place amongst our other studies.

Saint Austin speaking of such hu­mane inventions as are to be embra­ced or avoyded, and rejecting all magicall institutions and commerce with the Devill, De Doctrin. Christiana lib. 2. c. 26. he adjoynes. Eav [...]ro quae homines cum hominibus habent, as­sumenda, & maxime literarum figu­rae, &c. Ex eo genere sunt etiam notae, quas qui didicerunt, proprie notarii appel­lantur. Vtilia sunt ista, nec discuntur illicite, nec superstitiose implicant, nec [Page 49] l [...]xis enervant, si tantum occupent, ut majoribus rebus, quibus inservire de­bent, non sint impedimento.

This way of secret writing, may be contrived, either

  • 1. By the common letters.
  • 2. Or by some invented notes and characters in stead of them.

Both these being distinguishable into those kinds that containe ei­ther.

  • 1. Equall.
  • 2. Or more.
  • 3. Or fewer signes then are na­turally required to the true framing of the word.

The particulars of these, may be altered to such great variety as can­not be reckoned, and therefore I shall specifie those onely which seeme most remarkeable, either for their antiquity or usefulnesse.

The way of secret writing by equall letters, is eitherby changing of

  • 1. Their places, or
  • 2. Their powers

[Page 66] 1. By altering of the places; Either of the

  • Lines.
  • Letters.
  • Both.

1. A man may obscure the sense by perplexing the order of the lines. 1. By transpo­sing the lines. If they be written, not onely from the left hand to the right, but also from the right hand to the left, as in the Easterne languages, or from the top to the bottom, and so up­ward againe, as is commonly rela­ted to be usuall amongst the inhabi­tants of Taprobana in the South-sea,Dioder. Sic, Biblioth. lib. 2. with those in China and Iapan. Herman. Hugo de orig. Scrib. cap. 8. Ac­cording to this following example.


[Page 67] In the reading of which, if you begin at the first letter towards the right hand, and so downewards, and then upwards againe; you may find these words expressed.

The pestilence doth still increase amongst [...], we shall not be able to hold out the siege without fresh and speedy supply.

2. A man may obscure the sence of his writing,2 By transpo­sing the letters. by transposing each letter according to some unusuall order. As suppose the first letter should bee at the latter end of the line, the second at the beginning, or the like.

3. The meaning of any written message may be concealed,3 By trās­posing both the lines and letters. by alte­ring the order both of the letters and the lines together. As if a man should write each letter in two seve­rall lines, thus.

hsudesralotaihd, upysremsyid

The Souldiers are almost femished, Supply [...], or we must yield.

[Page 68] This way may be yet further ob­scured by placing them inOr as many more as the length of the e­pistle shal require. foure lines, and after any discontinuate or­der. As suppose that the first letter be in the beginning of the first line, the second in the beginning of the fourth line; the third, in the end of the first; the fourth in the end of the fourth; the fifth, in the beginning of the second line; the sixth, in the beginning of the third; the seventh in the end of the second; the eight, in the end of the third, and so of the rest. As in this example.

a noerrocgttthmnvrl

Which in its resolution is this.

We shall make an irruption upon the enemie from the North at ten of the clock this night.

This way will vet seeme more ob­scure,Walchius Fab. 9. if each line be severed into such words as may seeme barbarous.

[Page 69] All these kinds may be varied unto divers other more intricate trans­positions, according as a mans fan­cy or occasion shall lead him.

Concerning secret writing with equall let­ters, by changing their powers. The use of this amongst the Jewes and Romanes. The Key-character.

AS a written message may bee concealed by changing the pla­ces of the letters, so likewise by changing of their Powers, putting one of them for another, as sup­pose L for A, and A for L or the like.Schickard in Be [...] ­nath. Answerable to that kind of Cabalisme in the Jewish learning, which the Rabbies call [...] or Combinatio, Haperus. Disp l 4. when the letters of the Alphabet are severally transposed,Glassi [...] Phil [...]log. l 2. part. 1. tract. [...] sect. 3 act 7. and taken one for another, after any knowne order. Of which there be [Page 70] as many kinds, as there may be se­verall combinations of the letters. But amongst the rest, they observe two of more frequent use. The first is stiled from the foure first corre­spondent letters [...] Albam: in which they are thus opposite to one another. [...]

The other is from the same rea­son called [...] Athbash, wherein the letters are thus mutually opposed [...]

Both these kinds of secret writing the Jewish Doctors thinke to be fre­quently used by the sacred pen-men of holy writ, amongst whom the Prophet Isaiah and Ieremiah, are ob­served to be of more especiall note for their skill in Cabalismes.

By the first of these combinations called Albam, that place of Isaiah 7. 6. is usually interpreted; where there is a person mentioned under the un­knowne [Page 71] name of [...] Tabeal, whom the Prophet affirmes to aspire unto the Crowne of Iudah, meaning by a secret transmutation of the letters [...] Remaliah the King of Israel, whom he was loath more expressely to nominate. And therefore hee veiles it by this kind of secrecy, in­stead of [...] writing the letter above it [...]; for [...] the correspondent letter [...], and so [...] for [...], and [...] for [...]. Which being joyned together, doe make [...], instead of [...].

By the second of these combina­tions called Athbash, is that place Ierem. 51. 1. translated: where by the originall, [...] Cor insurgentium contra me, is meant [...] the Chal­deans; And therefore both the Tar­gum and the Septuagint doe unani­mously translate it so, as if in their version of it, they had chiefly re­spected unto this kind of Cabalis [...]e.It [...]m ca. 25. [...] 26. vide Hieron. com. in eundem locum. So likewise in 41. verse of the same Chapter, by the fained name of [...] is meant [...]

[Page 72] This way of secret writing,S [...]ton, in vit [...] ejus. Aul. Gelli [...] N [...]ct. A [...]u [...]. lib. 17. c. 9. hath beene also in use amongst the antient Romans; Thus Sueto [...]ius relates of Iulius Caesar, when hee would convey any private businesse, he did usually write it, per quartam elementorum li­teram, that is D sor A, E for B. and so of the rest. After this order.

Hasten unto me.
Ldwxhq yqxr ph.

And the same author reports of Octavius Augustus, that in the writing of his secrets, hee did Secundum ele­mentum proprii loc [...] substituere, set downe the second letter for the first, as B for A, C for B, and for A a double xx.

But now, because such an Epistle might bee easily unfolded, being al­together written by the same way, therefore this kind of secre­cy, hath by later invention, beene further obscured, by writing each [Page 73] severall word or line, or letter, by a divers Alphabet.

For the performance of this, two friends must beforehand by compact, agree upon some certaine forme of words, that may be insted of a key, serving both to close, and to un­locke the writing; which words would be lesse discoverable, if they bee barbarous and of no significa­tion.

But for the easier apprehending of this, I shall explain it in an exam­ple.

Suppose the key agreed upon, were onely this one word Prudentia.

Having first framed severall Al­phabets according to each of its let­ters: Thus,

[Page 74]


I may write each line or word, or letter, according as the order of these Alphabets shall direct. As in these examples.

1. In the lines.
Ixt hdk asytgh bkiycn
xfi nrel fx matlmrck;
npkkfs pn, im oczs qdff
uhy rox xr xlh hqmpmh.
2. In the words.
Ix [...] kfmcuawik gpodhs
iru acry bs oiwnotem;
bdyytg vs, dg lzwp qdff
uhyrox ys gur ygcfcy.
3. In the letters.
Izz wshemit in pzgcwy
vfm zean xf kaxxznebr
skgkoc hm, xr izzb awet
rtm iox gh cht whmqwy.

Which examples being unfolded, doe each of them expresse this inward meaning.

The Souldiers mutiny
for want of victuals;
Supply us, or they will
Revolt to the enemie.

These wayes may be yet further obscured, if the first Alphabet, (ac­cording to which the rest are descri­bed) [Page 76] bee contrived after any mi­xed order. As suppose instead of the ordinary A b c, &c. there bee written these letters after this man­ner. ‘Rzkmpseblauftcygwhxoqind.’

And then will they be liable to all those other differences of secrecy, that are usually invented by the wheele-character, which you may see largely described by Porta.

There may be divers other wayes to this purpose, but by these you may sufficiently discerne the nature of the rest.

Of secret writing by more letters then are requisite to the intended mea­ning.

THe diffe [...]t kinds of secrecy by equall letters have beene already handled. The next particular to be discussed, is concerning the wayes of hiding any private sence, under more letters then are required to the words of it.

Of which kind there may be di­vers particulars, some of them in use amongst the Antients.

1. A writing may be so contri­ved, that onely one letter in a verse shall bee significant.Sybilla Erythr [...]. As it was in those remarkeable Acrosticks made by a Sybill concerning our Saviour: where the letters at the beginning of each verse, being put together, made up these words, [...] [Page 78] [...] Iesus Christ the Sonne of God [...] Saviour.

The translation of these you may see in St. Augustine de Civit. Bed [...] lib. de [...] Dei lib. 18. cap. 23. And the originall are men­tioned by Ludevic [...] Vive [...], in his notes upon that place.

According unto this, doth Plau­t [...] contrive the name [...]f his Come­dies in the first letters of their argu­ments. But this way is so ordinary in practise, that it needs not any fur­ther explication.

2. The inward sence hath like­wise beene conveyed by some sin­gle letters of severall words in the same verse. As in that common di­stich.

Mitto tibi caput Veneris,
ventremque Di Anae
Latronisque caput, posteriorae can E.

3. Sometimes one letter in each word was only significant. By which way of secret expression, the Holy-Ghost (say the Rabbies) hath pur­posely involved many sacred myste­ries [Page 79] in Scripture. When these signifi­cant letters were at the beginning of each word, the Cabalists, in their lear­ning, called such an implicit writing [...] Capita dictionum. When they were at the latter end, then was it stiled [...] Fi [...]es dictionum. Both being reckoned as species of that Cabalisme which they called [...] Notaricon, imposed by some later Rabbies from the Latin word Notari [...]. The ca­pitall let­ters.

Of the first sort, is that colle­ction from those eminent words, Gen. 49. 10. [...] Shilo shall come, and in him, &c. where the capi­tall letters make up the word [...] Iesu.

So Psal. 73. 17 [...] His Name shall continue, and in him shall be blessed, &c. which place do's expressely treate concerning the Messi [...]s his name, and therefore seemes unto the Jewes, to be of strong consequence for the proofe of Christianity. For so much is [Page 80] that Nation befooled in their ab­surd dotage, upon these triviall li­terall collections, that a reason of this nature is of greater force unto them, then the most evident, solid demonstration that may be urged. Ludovicus Carret a famous Jew,Lib. Vis [...] ­ [...] Divi­ [...]. Phy­sician to the French King, being himselfe converted, and writing an Epistle to this purpose, unto those of his owne nation, he do's chiefely insist upon the arguments of this kind, as being in his opinion of greatest efficacy to prove the truth of Christian Religion.

Of the other sort is that passage Gen. 1. 1.The finall letters. [...] where the fi­nall letters make up the word [...] or Truth. Which kind of Caba­lisme is sixe times repeated in the history of the Creation. As if Mo­ses by such an artificiall contrivance of the letters at the beginning of his writings, did purposely commend unto our beliefe his following bookes. Unto this David is thought [Page 83] to allude Psal. 119. 160. The begin­ning of thy word is [...] Truth. Of this nature likewise is that observation from Exod. 3. 13. [...]. when they shall say unto me, what is his name, &c. Where the finall letters an­swere [...] Iehovah.

It were an easie matter for a man that had leasure and patience for such enquiries, to find out sundry argu­ments of this kind, for any purpose.

4. There is another way of hi­ding any secret sence under an ordi­narie epistle,Cardau de subtil. lib. 17. by having a * plate with certaine holes in it,Porta de furt. lib. 2, cap. 18. through which (being laid upon the paper) a man may write those letters or words,Such as Printers use when they are to [...] diverse red let­ters a­mongst the black. that serve to expresse the in­ward sence; the other spaces being afterwards filled up with such other words, as in their conjunction to these former, shall conteine some common unspected businesse.

5. There is also another intri­cate way to this purpose, much in­sisted on by * Iritemius, Porta and [Page 84] Selenus. When each usuall word or forme of an epistle, is varied to as many differences as there are letters, unto which they must all of them be severally assigned. But these two lat­ter inventions (though they be of great secrecy, yet) because they re­quire so much labour and trouble in the writer, I shall therefore passe them over without any further en­largement.

Of concealing any written sence under barbarous words, and such as shall not seeme to be of any signification. How all the letters may be expressed by any five, t [...]ree, or two of them. Of writing with a double Alphabet. How from these two last wayes together, there may be contrived the best kind of se­cret writing:

ALL the wayes of secrecy by more letters, already specified, doe make the writing appeare under some other sence, then what is in­tended, and so consequently are more free from suspition: There are likewise some other inventions to expresse any inward sence by barba­rous words, wherein onely the first, and middle, and last letters shall be significant. As in this exam­ple.

[Page 86] Fildy, fagodur wyndeeldrare disc ogure rantibrad.

Which in its resolution is no more then this.

Fly for we are discovered.

To this purpose likewise is that other way of expressing the whole Alphabet, by any five, or three, or two of the letters repeated. And though such a writing, to ordinary appearance, will seeme of no signi­cation at all, and so may seeme of lesse use; Yet because a right appre­hension of these wayes, may con­duce to the explication of some other particulars that follow, it will not be amisse therefore to set them down more distinctinly.

All the letters may be expressed by any five of them doubled. Sup­pose ABCDE.

[Page 87]O

According to which, these words, I am betrayed, may bee thus descri­bed.

Bd aacb abaedddbaaccaead.

Three letters being transposed through three places doe give suffi­cient difference, whereby to expresse the whole Alphabet.


Hasten unto me.

Caa aaa bca bcb bba abb bcc abb bcb abc aba bba.

[Page 88] Two letters of the Alphabet,The whole Alphabet expressed by any two letters in five pla­ces. be­ing transposed through five places, will yield thirty two differences, and so will more then serve for the foure and twenty letters. Unto which they may be thus applyed.


aababababababba aaaaababaaaaaaababba. f l y a w a y

[Page 89] There is yet another way of secre­cy by more letters then are natural­ly required to the inward sence,Writing by a dou­ble Al­phabet. if we write with a double Alphabet, wherein each letter shall in the fa­shion of it, beare some such small distinction from the other of the same kind, as is usuall in common, mixed writing.

For Example.

The first Alphabet.

[Page 90] Aa. Bb. Cc. Dd. Ee. Ff. Gg. Hh. Ii. Kk. Ll. Mm. Nn. Oo. Pp. Qq Rr. Sss. Tt. Vuv. Ww. Xx. Yy. Zz

The second Alphabet

Aa. Bb. Cc. Ddd. Ee. Ff. Gg. Hh Ii. Kk. Ll. Mm. Nn. Oo. Pp. Qq. Rr. Sss. Tt. Vuv. Ww. Xx. Yy. Zz

1. Write an Epistle of an ordi­nary matter, or (if it be needfull) contrary to what you intend. Let the body of it consist chiefely of [Page 91] the first Alphabet, onely inserting (as you have occasion) such letters of the second, as may expresse that inward meaning which you would reveale to a confederate. For example, from those that are besieged.

Wee prosper still in our af­faires and shall (without hauing any further helpe) endure the siege.

In which clause, the letters of the second Alphabet are onely sig­nificant, expressing this inward sence.

[Page 92] Wee perish with hunger helpe us.

But because the differences be­twixt these two Alphabets may seeme more easily discoverable, since they are both generally of the same kind; the letters of the second being all of them more round and full then the other; Therefore for their better secrecy in this parti­cular, it were safer to mixe them both by compact, that they might not, in themselves, be distinguisha­ble.

Now if this kind of writing,The best way of se­cret wri­ting. be mixed with the latter way of Se­crecy, by two letters transposed through five places;Bacon. A gment. scient. l. 6. cap. 8. Wee may then write omnia per omnia, which (as a learned man speakes) is the highest degree of this Cyphering.

[Page 93] For supposing each letter of the first Alphabet to bee instead of the letter A [...], and those of the other for B, wee may easily in­scribe any secret sence in any or­dinary letter, onely by a quintu­ple proportion of the writing, in­folding to the writing infoulded. As for example.

[Page 94] All things do happen according to our desires, the particulars you shall vnderstand when wee meete at the appointed time and place of which you must not faile by any means The success of our affairs dos much depend vpon the meeting that wee have agreed vpon.

[Page 95] The involved meaning of which clause is this.

Fly, for we are discovered, I am forced to write this.

If you suppose each letter of the first Alphabet to be instead of A, and those of the second for B, then wil the former clause be equivalent to this following description.

[Page 96]f

This way of secrecy may be ser­viceable for such occasions as these. Suppose a man were taken captive, he may by this meanes discover to his friends the secrets of the enemies Camp, under the outward forme of a letter perswading them to yield. Or suppose such a man were forced by his owne hand writing to betray his cause and party, though the words of it in common appe [...]rance m [...]y expresse what the enemie do's desire; yet the involved meaning, (which shall be legible onely to his confederates) may containe any [Page 97] thing else, which he ha's a mind to discover to them. As in the former example.

But now if there be a threefold Alphabet, (as is easie to contrive,) then the inward writing will beare unto the outward but a triple pro­portion, which will be much more convenient for inlarging of the pri­vate intimations.

And this way of writing is justly to be preferred before any of the other, as contavning in it more emi­nently, all those conditions that are desirable in such kind of inventions. As,

  • 1. 'Tis not very laborious, either to write or reade.
  • 2. 'Tis very difficult to be decy­phered by the enemie.
  • 3. 'Tis voyd of suspition.

[Page 98] But by the way, 'tis to be general­ly observed, that the mixture of di­vers kinds of secret writing toge­ther (as suppose this with the key-character) will make the inward sence to be much more intricate and perplexed.

CHAP. 10.
Of writing any secret sense, by fewer let­ters then are required to the words of it. The use of this amongst the Iews and Romans.

AS the sense may be obscured, by writing it with more letters, then are required to the words of it, so likewise by fewer. Abbreviations have beene anciently used in all the learned languages, especially in com­mon forms, and phrases of frequent use. Somtimes by contracting words, when some parts of them did stand for the whole.Buxtorf. de Abbreviat. in in [...]tio. So in the Hebrew [...] for [...] et totumillud, which is all one with our et caetera &c. [...] for [...] Secundum dicere, equivalent to our viz. or v. g. verbi gratia. So likewise in the Greek [...] for [...], and [...] for [...]. And in the Latin D ns for Dominus, aa for Anima, and the like. But these were rather for the speed of writing then the Secrecie.

[Page 82] Somtimes words were expressed only by their first letters. Thus did the Jews write all their memorialls, and common forms, which are largely handled by Buxiorfe. Ibid. Hence was it, that their Captain Iudas had his name of Maccaby. For being to fight against Antiochus, he gave that saying for his watchword, Ex. 15. [...]. Who is like unto thee (O Lord) amongst the Gods? inscribing in his en­signes the capitall letters of it; [...] Macabi. Whereupon after the victory, the Souldiers styled their Captaine by that name.

'Tis observed by the Rabbies, that many grand mysteries are this way implied in the words of Scripture. Thus, where it is said, Psalm. 3. [...] Many rise up against me: 'tis interpreted from the severall letters, Resh the Ro­mans, Beth the Babylonians, Iod the Jonians or Grecians, Mem the Medes. Answerable unto which, that place in Gen. 49. 10. (speaking of Shilo, unto whom [...] the gathering of the people [Page 83] shall be) is by another Rabbie applied to the Jews, Christians, Heathens, and Turks.

Upon these grounds likewise, is that argument to prove the Trinity, from the first verse of Genesis. [...]. The word [...] Elohim, being of the plurall number, is thought to be that divine name, which denoteth the per­sons of the Deitie; which persons are more particularly intimated in the let­ters of the verbe [...], that answers unto it: [...] Beth being put for [...] the Son, [...] Resh for [...] the Holy Ghost, [...] Aleph for [...] the Father. And if you will beleeve the Jews, the Ho­ly spirit hath purposely involved in the words of Scripture, every se­cret that belongs to any Art or Sci­ence, under such Cabalisms as these. And if a man were but expert in un­folding of them, it were easie for him to get as much knowledge as Adam had in his innocencie, or humane na­ture is capable of.

These kind of mysterious interpre­tations [Page 84] from particular letters doe seeme to be somwhat favoured, by Gods addition of the letter [...] unto the name of Abram and Sara, Gen. 17. 5. 15. upon the renewing of his covenant with them: which in all likelihood was not with­out some secret mysterie. That being the chiefe letter of the Tetragrammaton, might perhaps intimate that amongst their other posterity, with the promise of which hee had then blessed them, they should also be the parents of the Messias, who was Iehovah.

This likewise others have confir­med from the example of Christ,Vide Ter­tul. l b. de praescr. c. 50 who cals himself Alpha & Omega. Revel. 1. 8.

But though such conjectures may be allowable in some particulars; yet to make all Scriptures capable of the like secrets, does give such a latitude to mens roving & corrupt fancies, as must needs occasion many wild and strange absurdities.Iren. lib. 1. cap. 13. And therfore Irenae [...]s does fitly observe, that from such idle collections as these, many heresies of the Valentinians and Gnosticks had [Page 85] their first beginnings.

As this way of short writing by the first letters, was of antient use amongst the Iews, so likewise amongst the Ro­mans: which appeares from many of their contractions yet remaining, as S. P. D. Salutem plurimam dicit. S. P. Q. R. Senatus populusque Romanus. CR. Civis Romanus. VC. Vrbs cōdita. And the like.

These single letters were called Si­glae, per Syncopen, from the obsolete word Sigillae, whence Sigillatim. They were usually inscribed in their coines, statues, arms, monuments, and pub­like records.Lib. de li­ter. anti­quis. You may see them large­ly treated of by Valerius Probus, where he affirms the study of them to be ve­ry necessary,As it is se [...] forth by Iacobus Maz [...]chius for one that would un­derstand the Roman affaires. His enim exprimebant nomina Curiarum, Tribu­um, Comitiorum, Sacerdotiorum, Potesta­tum, Magistratuum, Praefecturarum, Sa­crorum ludorum, Rerum urbanarum, rerum militarium, Collegiorum, Decuriarum, Fa­storum, Numerorum, Mensurarum, Iuris civilis, & similium.

[Page 86] They were first used by the Nota­ries at Senates and other publike as­semblies, and from thence retained in their Statutes & civil Lawes: Whence Manilius makes it the note of a good Lawyer.

—Qui legum tabulas & condita jura
Noverit, at (que) notis levibus pendentia verba.

Thus (saith Isidor) (A) inversed [...] did formerly stand for pupilla, Isidor. and M inversed [...] for mulier. Bibliand. de ratione com. ling. By these let­ters DERICP, is signified De eare ita censuerunt patres.

When the Judges were to inscribe their severall opinions on a little stone or Tessera, Pet. Cri [...]it. Honest. D [...]sc. lib. 6. cap. 8. to be cast into the urne, by the note A, they did absolve, byFrom the Greek. [...] K condemn; by N. L. Non liquet, they did intimate that they could not tell what to make of the businesse, and did there­fore suspend their judgements.

But because of those many ambi­guities, which this contracted way of writing was liable unto, and the great inconveniences that might happen thereupon in the misinterpretation of [Page 87] Lawes: therefore the Emperour Iu­stinian did afterwards severely forbid any further use of them, as it were, calling in all those Law bookes that were so written.Lib. 1. Cod. Tit. 17. leg. 1. 2. Ne (que) enim licentiam aperimus ex tali codice in judicium aliquid recitari.

The chiefe purpose of these antient Abbreviations amongst the Romans, was properly for their speed. But it is easie to apprehend, how by compact, they may be contrived also for Secrecy.

CHAP. 11.
Of writing by invented Characters.

The distinction of these in­to such as signifie either

  • letters.
  • words.
  • notions.

The generall rules of unfolding and obscu­ring any letter-characters. How to ex­presse any sense, either by points, or lines, or figures.

BEsides the wayes of Secret wri­ting by the common letters; there [Page 88] may likewise be divers others by in­vented notes.

The difference of characters, where­by severall languages are exprest, is part of the second generall curse in the confusion of tongues. For as be­fore there was but one way of speak­ing, so also but one way of writing. And as now, not only nations, but particular men, may discover their thoughts by any different articulate sounds, so likewise by any written signes.

These invented characters in the generall, are distinguishable into such as signifie either

  • 1 Letters.
  • 2 Words.
  • 3 Things, and notions.

First,The let­ter chara­cter. concerning those that signifie letters. To which kind, some learned men refer the Hebrew character that is now in use:Hieronym. praef. ad lib. Regum. Affirming that Ezra first invented it, thereby the better to conceale the secrets of their Law,Ioseph. Scal. notis ad Eu­seb. and that they might not have so much as [Page 89] their manner of writing common with the Samaritans & other Schismaticks.

'Twere but needlesse to set downe any particulars of this kind, since it is so easie for any ordinary man to in­vent or vary them at pleasure.

The rules that are usually prescri­bed for the unfolding of such chara­cters, are briefly these.

1 Endeavour to distinguish betwixt the vowells and consonants. The vow­ells may be knowne by their frequen­cie, there being no word without some of them. If there be any single cha­racter in English, it must be one of these three vowells, a. i. o.

2 Search after the severall powers of the letters. For the understanding of this, you must mark which of them are most common, and which more seldome used. (This the Printers in any language can easily informe you of, who doe accordingly provide their sets of letters.) Which of them may be doubled, and which not, as H. Q. X. Y. And then for the number of [Page 90] vowells or consonants in the begin­ning, middle, or end of words, a man must provide severall tables, whence hee may readily guesse at any word, from the number and nature of the letters that make it. As what words consist only of vowells; what have one vowell and one consonant, whe­ther the vowell be first. As in these words. Am. an. as. if. in. is. it. of. on or. us. Or last, as in these words. Be. he. me. by. dy. ly. my. ty. do. to. so. &c. And so for all other words according to their se­verall quantities and natures.

These tables must be various ac­cording to the difference of languages. There are divers the like rules to be observed, which are too tedious to re­cite. You may see them largely hand­led by Baptista Porta, and Gustavus Selenus.

The common rules of unfolding being once knowne,In these cases Or­thographie is nol to be regar­ded a man may the better tell how to delude them. Either by leaving out those letters that are of lesse use, as H. K. Q. X. Y. and putting [Page 91] other characters instead of them, that shall signifie the vowells: So that the number of this invented Alphabet will be perfect, and the vowells, by reason of their double character, lesse distinguishable. Or a man may like­wise delude the rules of discovery, by writing continuately, without any di­stinction betwixt the words, or with a false distinction, or by inserting nulls and non-significants, &c.

These Characters are besides lyable to all those other wayes, whereby the common letters may bee obscured, whether by changing their places, or their powers.

The particulars of this kind may be of such great variety as cannot be di­stinctly recited. But it is the grand in­convenience of all these wayes of se­crecie by invented Characters, that they are not without suspition.

For the remedying of which, there have beene some other inventions of writing by points, or lines, or figures; wherein a man would never mistrust [Page 92] any private message: there being no­thing to be discerned in these kindes of intimation, but only, either some con­fused, and casuall, or else some Mathe­maticall descriptions. As you may see in these following examples.

By points alone.


[scattered dots]

By lines alone

[scattered lines]

[Page 94]By Mathematicall Figures.


By Points, Lines, and Figures mixed together.


[Page 95] Each of which figures doe expresse these words.

There is no safty but by flight.

The direction both for the making and unfolding of these descriptions, is this. Let the Alphabet be described at equall distances, upon some thinne and narrow Plate, Pastboard, or the like, thus.


Let the sides of the Paper which you are to write upon, be secretly divi­ded into equall parts, according to the breadth of the Plate: and then by ap­plication of this to the Epistle, it is ea­sie to conceive, how such a writing may be both composed and resolved. The Points, the ends of the Lines, and the Angles of the figures do each of them [Page 96] by their different situations, expresse a severall letter.

This may likewise be otherwise per­formed, if the Alphabet be contrived in a Triangular forme, the middle part of it being cut out.

And so for a square or round form.


The larger these Directories are, by so much the lesse lyable unto errour will the writing be, that is described from them.

It is easie to apprehend,Ioh Walchi­us fab. 9. by these particulars, how a man may contrive any private saying in the forme of a Landskip or other picture. There may be divers the like ways whereby this invention of secrecie may be further obscured; but they are in themselves so obvious, that they need not any larger explication.

CHAP. 12.
Of Characters that expresse words. The first invention of these. Of those that signifie things and notions, as Hierogly­phicks, Emblemes.

THe next particular to be discour­sed of, is concerning Characters that expresse words. The writing by these, is properly styled Stenographie, or Short-hand,Cent. 1. ad Belg. Epist. 27. Scripturae compendium, cum verba non perscribimus sed signamus, saith Lypsius. The art of them is to contrive such figures for severall syllables, as may easily bee joyned together in one forme, according as different words shall require. Thus 'tis ordinary, to represent any proper name, by some such unusuall character, as may con­tain in it all the letters of that name for which it is intended. Of this na­ture was that angular figure, so much used by the Grecians of old:Schikard. Happer. Disp. 5. which might bee resolved into the letters [...].

[Page 98]


This marke was esteemed so sacred amongst the Ancients, that Antiochus Soter, a perpetuall conquerour, did al­ways instamp it upon his Coine, and inscribe it on his Ensignes; unto which he did pretend to be admonished in a dream, by an apparition of Alexander the great. And there are many super­stitious women in these times, who be­lieve this to bee so lucky a character, that they alwayes worke it upon the swadling clothes of their young chil­dren, thinking thereby to make them more healthful and prosperous in their lives. Unto this kind also, some referre the characters that are used in Magick, which are mayntained to have, not on­ly a secret signification, but likewise a naturall efficacie.

This short-hand writing, is now so ordinary in practice (it being usuall for any common Mechanick both to write [Page 99] and invent it) that I shall not need to set downe any particular example of it. In ancient times, it was not so fre­quently used:And ther­fore Pan­cerollus reckons it amongst these later inventi­ons, lib. de Repert. tit. 14. But then there was a twofold kind of it.

  • Private.
  • Publick.

These private characters were pra­ctised by the Roman Magistrates, and others of eminent favour amongst them: Who being often importuned to write in the commendation of those persons they knew not, were faine to agree upon some secret notes, whereby their serious Epistles, might be distin­guished from those of forme. Casaubon. notis in Aene. Po­liorcet. cap. 31. Whence the Proverbe arose, De meliori nota commendare.

The other characters of publike and common use, are many of them ex­plained by Valerius Probus in his booke de literis antiquis. De notis Tyronis & Senec. And there is a whole Volume or Dictionary of them, set forth by Ianus Gruterus. From the pra­ctice of these came the word Notarius, as SaintDe doct. Christ. lib. 2 cap. 26. Austin observes.

[Page 100] The first invention of them is com­monly ascribed to Tyro, who was a ser­vant unto Cicero. SoIn Chron. Eusebius, and De in­vent. rerum lib. 2 cap. 8. De Polygr. Polyd. Virgil. But Trithemius affirmes that Cicero himselfe writ a Treatise on this subject, which was afterwards aug­mented by Saint Cyprian. And that hee had found in an old Library, the copy of a Psalter, written in these chara­cters, inscribed by some ignorant man, with this title: Psalterium in linguâ Armenicâ.

That Cicero was not unacquainted with these notes, may be evident from that passage to Atticus: Lib. 13. ad Attic. cp. 32 Quod ad te de legatis scripsi, parum intellexit, credo quia [...] scripseram.

Pet. Diaconus attributes the first inven­tion of these,Prolog. not. Con­rad. Imp. Isidor. O­rig. lib. 1. c. 21. to the old Poet Ennius; whose beginnings in this kind, did after­wards receive successive addition, from the works of Tyro, Philargirus, Aquila, and Seneca the Father, by whom they were increased to the number of 5000.De Orig. scribendi, c. 18. juxta finem.

But Hermannus Hugo, a late Jesuite, will have this short-hand writing to [Page 101] be of farre more ancient use; affirming that David alludes to the practice of it, in that phrase, Psal. 45. 1. The pen of a ready writer. And that the writing upon the wall in Daniel 5. 25. which so puz­led the Chaldean Wizards, was descri­bed in such kinde of Characters. But whether this were so or not, is not much materiall: It is sufficiently perti­nent to the present enquiry; that the use of these word-characters may well enough conduce to the secrecie of any written message.

The third and last sort of signes, that have been anciently used for the ex­pression of things and notions, are either Hieroglyphicks or Emblemes.

1 Concerning Hieroglyphicks. Of Hiero­glyphicks. The word signifies sacred sculptures, which were engraven upon Pillars, Obelisces, Pyramides, and other monuments be­fore the invention of letters. Thus the Egyptians were wont to expresse their minds,Tacit. An­nal. lib. 11. by the pictures of such crea­tures, as did beare in them some natu­rall resemblance to the thing intended. [Page 102] By the shape of a Bee they represented a King,Polyd. Vir. de Invent. lib. 3. c. 11. intimating that hee should be endowed with Industry, Honey, and a Sting. By a Serpent with his taile in his mouth, the yeere, which returnes into it selfe. And (which was a kind of propheticall Hieroglyphicke) by the signe of a Crosse they did anciently denote spem venturae salutis, De honesta disciplinâ, lib. 7. cap. 2 or vitam aeternam, as Pet. Crinitus relates out of Ruffinus. Lib. de vita Mosis. Philo reckons up the know­ledge of these, amongst those other ab­struse Egyptian Arts, wherein Moses is said to be so expert. And Clemens re­lates of Pythagoras, Lib. 1. Stro­mat. how hee was con­tent to be circumcised, that so hee might be admitted to the understand­ing of those many and great mysteries, which were this way delivered by the ancient Priests, who did conceale all their Learning under such kind of Ma­gicall expressions,Lucan. l. 3. as the Poet styles them.

Nondum flumineas Memphis contexere byblos
Noverat, & saxis tantùm volucresque feraeque▪
Sculpta (que) servabant magicas animalia ling [...]as.

[Page 103] Plutarch speaks of a Temple in Egypt dedicated to Minerva, Libro de I­sid. & Osi­ride. in the front of which, there was placed the image of an Infant, an old man, a Hawke, by which they did represent God, a Fish the ex­pression of hatred, and a Sea-horse, the common Hieroglyphicke of Impu­dence. The construction of all being this, O yee that are born to die, know that God hateth Impudence.

Of this nature were those presents sent unto Darius, Herodot. when hee was almost wearied in his war against the Scythians: Melpom. l. 4 cap. 130. which were a Bird,Clem. Alex. Strom. 5. a Mouse, a Frog, and certain Arrows: Intimating that unlesse the Persians could flie as Birds, or hide themselves under water as Frogs, or inhabit the cavernes of the earth as Mice, they should not escape the Scythian Arrows. Of this kinde likewise were some military signes a­mongst the Romans. When any thing was to bee carried with silence and se­crecie, they lifted up the representati­on of a Minotaur, Pie [...]ius Hi­eroglyph. l. 3 cap. 38. thereby teaching the Captains, that their counsels and con­trivances [Page 104] must bee as inextricable as a Labyrinth, which is feigned to be the habitation of that Monster.

2 Like unto these Hieroglyphicks, are the expressions by Emblems.Emblems from the Greeke word [...], interserere, injicere. They were usually inserted as ornaments, upon vessels of gold, and other mat­ters of state or pleasure. Of this na­ture are the stamps of many ancient medalls, the Impresses of Armes, the Frontispices of Books, &c.

The kinds of them are chiefly two-fold.

1 Naturall, which are grounded upon some resemblance in the proper­tie and essence of the things them­selves. So a Dolphin which is a swift creature, being described upon an An­chor, which serves for the stay and rest of a Ship, signifies Festina-lentè, Delibe­ration in counsell, and Dispatch in exe­cution. A young Storke carrying the old one, Filiall gratitude.

2 Historicall, Those that refer to some common relation. So the picture of Prometheus gnawed by a Vulture, [Page 105] signifies the desert of overmuch curio­sitie. Phaeton, the folly of rashnesse. Narcissus the punishment of self-love.

It was formerly esteemed a great signe of wit and invention, handsome­ly to convey any noted saying, under such kind of expressions.

CHAP. 13.
Concerning an universall Character, that may be legible to all nations and langua­ges. The benefit, and possibility of this.

AFter the fall of Adam, there were two generall curses inflicted on Mankinde: The one upon their labours; the other upon their language.

Against the first of these, we do na­turally endeavour to provide, by all those common Arts and Professions, about which the World is busied: seek­ing thereby to abate the sweat of their brows in the earning of their bread.

Against the other, the best help, that wee can yet boast of, is the Latine [Page 106] tongue, and the other learned langua­ges, which by reason of their genera­litie, do somewhat restore us from the first confusion. But now, if there were such an universall character, to expresse things and notions, as might be legible to all people and countries, so that men of severall Nations might with the same ease, both write and read it; this invention would be a farre greater ad­vantage in this particular, and mighti­ly conduce to the spreading and pro­moting of all Arts and Sciences: Be­cause that great part of our time, which is now required to the Learning of words, might then be employed in the study of things. Nay, the confusion at Babel might this way have been reme­died, if every one could have expressed his own meaning by the same kinde of Character. But then perhaps the art of Letters was not invented.

That such a manner of writing is already used in some parts of the World, the Kingdomes of the high Levant, may evidently appeare from [Page 107] divers credible Relations.Histor. Si­nens. lib. 1. cap. 5. Trigaul­tius affirms, that though those of China and Iapan doe as much differ in their language,Bacon Aug­ment. Sciēt. lib. 6. c. 1. Voss. [...]r. li. 1. cap. 41. Herm. Hugo de orig. scrib. c. 4. as the Hebrew and the Dutch, yet either of them can, by this help of a common character, as well under­stand the books and letters of the o­thers, as if they were only their own.

And for some particulars, this gene­rall kind of writing is already attained amongst us also.

1 Many Nations doe agree in the characters of the common numbers, describing them, either the Roman way by letters; as 1. 11. V. X. C. D. M. or else the Barbarian way by figures, as 1. 2. 3. 10. &c. So likewise for that which we call Philosophicall number, which is any such measure, whereby we judge the differences betwixt seve­rall substances, whether in weight, or length, or capacity: Each of these are exprest in severall languages by the same character. Thus [...] signifies a Scruple, 3 a Drachme, and so of the rest.

[Page 108] 2 The Astronomers of severall Countries doe expresse both the hea­venly Signes, & Planets, & Aspects by the same kind of notes. As, ♈, ♉, ♊, ♋, &c. ♄, ♃, ♂, ♀, &c. ☌, ⚹, △, □, ☍. Which characters (as it is thought) were first invented by the ancient Astrologers for the secrecie of them, the better to conceale their sacred and mysterious profession from vulgar capacitie.

3 The Chymicall Treatises that are written in different languages do all of them agree in the same forme of wri­ting their Minerals. Those that are at­tributed to any of the Planets are de­cyphered by the character of the Pla­net to which they belong. The rest by other particular signes, as △ for Salt Ammoniack, ☍ for Arsnick, &c.

4 Musicall notes in most Countries are the same. Nor is there any reason why there may not be such a generall kinde of writing invented for the ex­pression of every thing else as well as these particulars.

In the contrivance of this there must [Page 109] be as many severall characters as there are primitive words. To which pur­pose, the Hebrew is the best patterne, because that language consists of few­est Radicalls.

Each of these primitives must have some particular marks to distinguish the cases, conjugations, or other neces­sary variations of those derivatives that depend upon it.

In the reading of such a writing, though men of severall Countries should each of them differ in their voi­ces, and pronounce severall words, yet the sense would be still the same. As it is in the picture of a man, a horse, or tree, which to all Nations doe expresse the same conceit, though each of these creatures be styled by severall names, according to the difference of lan­guages.

Suppose that Astronomicall signe ♉ were to be pronounced, a Iew would call it [...]; A Grecian [...]; An Ita­lian Toro; A Frenchman Taureau; A Ger­man Stier; An Englishman a Bull.

[Page 110] So likewise for that character, which in Tyro's notes, signifies the world, A Iew would reade it [...]; A Grecian [...]; An Italian, il mondo; A French man, le monde; A German, Belt. Though severall Nations may differ in the ex­pression of things, yet they all agree in the same conceit of them.

The learning of this character will not be more difficult, than the learning of any one Language, because there needs not be more signes for the ex­pression of things, than there is now for the expression of words. Amongst those in China and Iapan, there is said to be about seven or eight thousand.

The perfecting of such an invention were the only way to unite the seven­ty two Languages of the first confusi­on: And therefore may very well de­serve their endeavours, who have both abilities and leasure for such kinde of Enquiries.

CHAP. 14.
Concerning the third way of secret discour­sing, by signes and gestures, which may signifie either ex• congruo. , and • placito. 

THe third way of discoursing was by signes and gestures, which (as they are serviceable to this purpose) may be distinguished into such as are significant, either

  • 1 Ex congruo.
  • 2 Or, ex placito.

1 Ex congruo, when there is some naturall resemblance and affinity, be­twixt the action done, and the thing to be exprest. Of which kind, are all those outward gestures, whereby not only dumbe creatures; but men also doe ex­presse their inward passions, whether of joy, anger, feare, &c. For, ‘Saepe tacens vocem verbaque vultus habet.’

[Page 112] And the Wiseman notes it of the scorner,Prov. 6. 13. that hee winketh with his eyes, hee speaketh with his feet, hee teacheth with his fingers.

Of this kinde likewise are many re­ligious actions, and circumstances of divine worship, not only amongst the ancient Heathen; but some that were particularly enjoyned the Priests and Levits of the old Law, and some too, that are now in use, in these times of the Gospell. For by such bodily ge­stures and signes, we may as well speak unto God, as unto men.

To this kind also are reducible, those actions of forme, that are required as necessary circumstances, in many civill affaires, and publike solemnities; which are usually such, as in themselves are apt to signifie the thing for which they are meant.

But now, sometimes the intended meaning of these gestures is concealed under a secret similitude. As it was in that act of Thrasybulus, who being con­sulted with, how to mayntain a tyran­ny, [Page 113] that was newly usurped: Hee bid the messenger attend him in the field, wherewith his wand he whipt off those higher eares of corne that did over­top the rest; intimating, that it consi­sted in cutting off the Peeres, and No­bilitie, who were likely to be most impatient of subjection. This I may call a Parabolicall way of speaking by Gestures.

2 Ex placito, when these signes have their signification from use and mutu­all compact; which kind of speaking, as it refers to lascivious intimations, is largely handled by Ovid. de Arte A­mandi: ‘Verba superciliis sine voce loquentia dicam, Verba leges digitis, &c.

By the helpe of this it is common for men of severall Nations, who un­derstand not one anothers Languages, to entertain a mutuall commerce and traffique. And 'tis a strange thing to behold, what Dialogues of gestures [Page 114] there will passe betwixt such as are borne both deafe and dumb; who are able by this meanes alone, to answer and reply unto one another as directly, as if they had the benefit of speech. 'Tis a great part of the state and Ma­jestie, belonging to the Turkish Em­peror, that hee is attended by Mutes, with whom hee may discourse con­cerning any private businesse, which hee would not have others to under­stand.

It were a miserable thing, for a ra­tionall soule, to be imprisoned in such a body, as had no way at all to ex­presse its cogitations: which would be so, in all that are borne deafe, if that which nature denied them, were not in this respect supplied, by a se­cond nature, custome and use.

But (by the way,) 'tis very obser­vable whichSacra Philos. cap. 3. Vallesius relates of Pet. Pontius a friend of us, who by an un­heard of art taught the deafe to speak. Docens primum scribere, res ipsas digito in­dicando, quae characteribus illis significa­rentur; [Page 115] deinde ad motus linguae, qui cha­racteribus responderent provocando. First learning them to write the name of any thing, hee should point to; and after­wards provoking them to such moti­ons of the tongue as might answer the severall words. 'Tis probable, that this invention, well followed, might be of singular use, for those that stand in need of such helps. Though cer­tainly that was far beyond it, (if true) which is related of an ancient Doctor, Gabriel Neale, that he could understand any word by the meere motion of the lips, without any utterance.

The particular wayes of discoursing by gestures, are not to be numbred, as being almost of infinite variety, accor­ding as the severall fancies of men shal impose significations, upon all such signes or actions, as are capable of suf­ficient difference.

But some there are of more especiall note for their use and antiquity. Such is that upon the joynts and fingers of the hand, commonly stiled Arthrologia, [Page 116] or Dactylologia, largely treated of by the venerableLib. de loquclâ per gestum digi­torum sive de ind [...]gita­tione. Bede, Hiero­glyphic. lib. 37. c. 1. &c Calius An­tiq. lect. l. 23. cap. 12. Satyr. 10. Pierius, and others. In whom you may see, how the Ancients were wont to expresse any number, by the severall postures of the hands and fingers; The numbers un­der a hundred, were denoted by the left hand, and those above, by the right hand. Hence Iuvenal, commending Pylias for his old age, sayes that hee reckoned his yeeres upon his right hand.

Faelix nimirum qui tot per saecula vitam
Distulit, atque suos jam dextra computat annos.

There are divers passages in the anci­ent Authors, both sacred and profane, which do evidently allude to this kind of reckoning.

Hence it is easie to conceive, how the letters, as well as the numbers, may be thus applyed to the severall parts of the hand, so that a man might with di­vers touches, make up any sense, that [Page 117] hee hath occasion to discover unto a confederate.

This may be performed, either as the numbers are set downe, in the Au­thors before cited, or else by any other way of compact that may bee agreed upon.

As for example. Let the tops of the fingers signifie the five vowels; the middle parts, the five first consonants; the bottomes of them, the five next consonants; the spaces betwixt the fin­gers, the foure next. One finger laid on the side of the hand may signifie T. Two fingers V the consonant; Three W. The little finger crossed X. The wrist Y. The middle of the hand Z.

But because such various gesticula­tions, as are required to this, will not be without suspition; therefore it were a better way, to impose significations, upon such actions as are of more com­mon unsuspected use: As scratching of the head, rubbing the severall parts of the face, winking of the eyes, twisting of the beard, &c. Any of which, or [Page 118] all of them together, may be as well contrived to serve for this purpose, and with much more secrecie.

In which art, if our gaming Cheats, and popish Miracle-impostors, were but well versed, it might much advan­tage them, in their cousening trade of life.

CHAP. 15.
Concerning the swiftnesse of informati­ons, either by qualities, as the impressi­on of imagination, and the sensitive spe­cies; or by spirituall substances, as Angels.

HAving already treated concern­ing the severall wayes of secrecy in discoursing, I shall in the next place enquire, how a man may with the grea­test swiftnesse and speed, discover his in­tentions to one that is far distant from him.

There is nothing (wee say) so swift [Page 119] as thought, and yet the impression of these in another, might be as quick al­most as the first act, if there were but such a great power in imagination, as some laterMarsil. Fic [...]n. Theo­log. Platon. lib. 3. cap.1. Pompona­tius de In­cantat. Paracelsus. Philosophers have attri­buted to it.

Next to the acts of thought, the species of sight, doe seeme to be of the quickest motion. Wee see the light of the East will in a moment fill the He­misphere, and the eye does presently discerne an object that is very remote. How we may by this means commu­nicate our thoughts at great distances, I shall discourse afterwards.

The Substances that are most consi­derable for the swiftnesse of their mo­tion, are either

  • Spirituall.
  • Corporeall.

Amongst all created substances, there are not any of so swift a motion as Angels or Spirits.Spirits. Because there is not either within their natures, any such indisposition and reluctancie, or with­out them in the medium, any such im­pediment [Page 120] as may▪ in the least manner retarde their courses. And therefore have the ancient Philosophers im­ployed these as the causes of that mad celerity, of the celestiall Orbs; though according to their suppositions I thinke it would bee a hard match, if there were a race to be run, betwixt the Pri­mum mobile, and an Angell. It being granted that neither of them could move in an instant, it would be but an even lay, which should prove the swif­ter.

From the fitnesse of spirits in this regard, to convey any message, are they in the learned Languages called Mes­sengers. [...] Angelus.

Now if a man had but such fami­liaritie with one of these,Plutarch. Maximus Tyrius. Dissertat. 26, 27. as Socrates is said to have with his Tutelary Genius: If wee could send but one of them upon any errand, there would bee no quicker way then this for the dispatch of businesse at all distances.

That they have been often thus im­ployed, is affirmed by divers relations. [Page 121] Vatinius being in Rome, Lactant. Inst. lib. 2. ep. 8. was informed by an apparition, of that victory which Paulus their Generall had obtained over King Perses in Macedon, Val. Max. lib. 1. c. 8. the very same day wherein the battaile was fought;Florus lib. [...] cap. 12. which was a long time before any other Messenger could arrive with the new.

And it is storied of many others, that whilst they have resided in remote Countries, they have known the death of their friends, even in the very houre of their departure: Either by bleeding, or by dreams, or some such way of in­timation. Which, though it be com­monly attributed to the operation of sympathy; yet it is more probably to be ascribed unto the Spirit or Genius. There being a more especiall acquain­tance and commerce, betwixt the Tu­telary Angels of particular friends, they are sometimes by them informed (though at great distances) of such re­markable accidents as befall one ano­ther.

But this way, there is little hopes to [Page 122] advantage our enquiry, because it is not so easie to imploy a good Angell, nor safe dealing with a bad one.

The Abbot Trithemius, in his books, concerning the severall ways of secret and speedy discoursing, does pretend to handle the forms of conjuration, cal­ling each kinde of character by the name of spirits, thereby to deterre the vulgar from searching into his Works. But under this pretence, hee is thought also to deliver some Diabolicall Ma­gick.Vossius Gram. lib. 1 cap. 41. Especially in one place, where he speaks of the three Saturnine Angels, and certain Images, by which, in the space of twenty foure houres,Polygraph. lib. 3. c. 16. a man may bee informed of newes from any part of the World. And this was the maine reason, why by Iunius his ad­vice, Frederick the second, Prince Pala­tine, did cause the originall Manuscript of that worke to bee burned. Which action is so much (though it should seem,Cryptogra. l. 3. cap. 15. unjustly) blamed by Selenus.

CHAP. 16.
Concerning the swiftnesse of conveyance by bodies, whether inanimate, as Arrows, Bullets; or animate, as Men, Beasts, Birds.

THe bodies that are most eminent for their swiftnesse, may be di­stinguished into such as are either

  • inanimate.
  • animate.

These inanimate bodies, as Arrows,Inanimate bodies. Bullets, &c. have only a violent mo­tion, which cannot therefore be conti­nued to so great a distance, as some occasions would require: But for so much space as they doe move, they are far swifter then the naturall motion of any animated body. How these have been contrived to the speedy convey­ance of secret messages, hath been for­merly [Page 124] discoursed, in the fourth Chap­ter, which I now forbeare to repeat.

Those living bodies, that are most observable for their speed, and celeri­ty in messages: are either Men, Beast, Birds. Though I doubt not, but that Fishes also may be serviceable for this purpose, especially the Dolphin, which is reported to be of the greatest swift­nesse, and most easily cicurated, or made tame.

Amongst the ancient Footmen,Men. there are some upon record for their incre­dible swiftnesse. Ladas is reported to be so quick in his running:Solinus. Polyhist. c. 6. Vt arenis pen­dentibus & cavo pulvere, nulla indicia re­linqueret vestigiorum, that hee left no impression of his footsteps on the hol­low sands. And it is related of a boy amongst the Romans, being but eight yeares old,Ibid. that did run five and for­ty mile in an afternoone. Anistius and Philonides, two footmen unto Alexan­der the great, are said to have run 1:00 stadia in a day. Which relations will seeme lesse incredible, if wee consider [Page 125] the ancient Exercises and Games of this kind, together with the publicke fame and rewards for those that were most eminent.

Amongst the variety of beasts,Swiftnesse of Beasts. there are some of more especiall note for their strength and swiftnesse.Exer. 205. Scaliger mentions a story, (though hee distrust the truth of it) of a certaine beast cal­led Ellend, two of which being joyned in a little cart, are said to passe three hundred leagues a day upon the ice.

In former ages, and in other Coun­tries, the Dromedary, and Camell, and Mule were of more common use: But in these times and places, the horse (for the most part) serves instead of them all; by the helpe of which, wee have our swiftest meanes of ordinary con­veyance. The custome of riding post, by renewing both horse and man at set stages, is of ancient invention. Hero­dotus relates it to be used by Xerxes in the Graecian war,Lib. 8 98. and that it was by the Persians called [...]. The particulars that concerne these kind of conveyan­ces [Page 126] amongst the Ancients, are largely handled by Hermannus Hugo lib. de ori­gine scribendi, cap. 14.

Pliny tels us of certain Mares in Lu­sitania, Nat. Hist. l. 8. cap. 42. which doe conceive meerly by the Westwind; that alone (without the copulation of any male) serving to a­ctuate their heat, and to generate their young. Which are likewise mentioned by Virgil. G [...]g. 3.

Exceptant (que) auras leves, & saepe sine ullis
Conjugiis, vento gravidae, &c.

Mee thinkes, these children of the wind, should for their fleetnesse, make excellent post-horses, and much con­duce to the speedy conveyance of any message.

The Paracelsians talke, of naturall means to extract the metall and spirit out of one horse, and infuse it into an­other, of enabling them to carry a man safely and swiftly, through enemies, precipices, or other dangerous place. And such Horses (say they) were used [Page 127] by the Wisemen of the East at our Sa­viours Nativity: for they had not o­therwise beene able to have kept pace with a star, or to have passed so great a journey as it was to Ierusalem, which is thought to be five or six hundred miles at the least, from the places of their habitation. If this conceit were feasi­ble, it would much promote the speed of conveyances, but I thinke it may justly bee referred amongst the other dreames of the Melancholicke Chy­micks.The swift­nesse of Birds.

Amongst all animate bodies there is not any, that have naturally so swift a motion as birds. Which if a man could well imploy in the dispatch of any er­rand, there would be but little fear that such messengers should be either inter­cepted, or corrupted.

That this hath been attempted, and effected by many of the Ancients, is affirmed by divers relations.Nat. Hist. l [...]b. 10. c. 24 Pliny tels us of Volaterranus, that hee discovered a conquest hee had gotten, unto the City of Rome, by sending out swallows, [Page 128] which should fly thither, being anoin­ted over with the colour of victory. And of another, who sending one of these Birds into a besieged City, (whence shee was before taken from her young ones) and tying a string unto her with certaine knots upon it, did thereby shew, after what number of dayes their aids would come, at which time they should make an irruption upon the enemy.

And elswhere in the same booke, he relates,Cap. 37. how Hircius the Consul, and Brutus, who was besieged in Mu­tina, did this way mayntaine mutuall intelligence, by tying their Letters unto such Pigeons, as were taught be­fore hand to fly from the tents to the Citie, and from thence to the Tents again.

How Th [...]urosthenes did by this means send the news of his victory at Olym­pia, Histor. Ani­malium, l. 6 cap. 7. to his Father at Aegina, is related by Aelian.

Anacreon has an Ode, upon such a Pigeon, which hee himselfe had often [Page 127] used as a Messenger, wherein the Bird is fained to say,


Unto this invention also,Satyr. 4. juxta fi­nem. Iuvenal is thought to allude, where he sayes,

—tanquam è diversis partibus orbis,
Anxia praecipiti venisset epistola pennâ.

Lypsius relates out of Varro, Saturn. Serm. lib. 2. cap. 6, that it was usuall for the Roman Magistrates, when they went unto the Theater, or other such publike meetings, whence they could not returne at pleasure, to carry such a Pigeon with them: that if any unexpected businesse should hap­pen, they might thereby give warning to their friends, or families at home.

By which relations, you may see, how commonly this invention was practised amongst the Ancients. Nor hath it beene lesse used in the [...]eter [Page 128] times, especially in those Countries, where by reason of continuall wars, and dissentions, there have beene more particular and urgent necessity for such kind of conveyances.Not. in Ae­neae. Polior­cet. cap. 31. Nunc vulgatis­simares est, columbas habere, ad ejusmodi jussa paratus, saith Casaubon. Harum ope­re, nostrates hoc bello civili, frequenter ad­juti sunt, Comment. in Veget. l. 3. c. 5. saith Godesc. Stewechius.

There are divers other stories to this purpose,See Nunt. Inanimat. concer­ning A­miraldus. Porta de furt. lit. li. 2 cap. 21. concer­ning Mar­ches. but by these you may suffici­ently discern the common practices of this kinde. As it is usuall to bring up birds of prey, as Hawks, Cormorants, &c. to an obedience of their keepers: So likewise have some attempted it in these other Birds, teaching them the art of carrying messages. There is a smaller sort of Pigeons,Herm. Hu­go. de Orig. scribendi cap. 15. of a light body, and swift flight, which is usually made choice of for such particulars; And therefore the kinde of them is commonly called by the name of Car­riers.Thuanus Hist. lib. 17

CHAP. 17.
Of secret and swift informations by the species of sound.

HAving in the former Chapters treated severally concerning the divers wayes of secrecy and switnesse in discourse; It remaynes that I now enquire (according to the method pro­posed) how both these may be joyned together in the conveyance of any message. The resolution of which, so far as it concernes the particulars alrea­dy specified, were but needlesse to re­peat.

That, which does more immediatly belong to the present Qu [...]re, and was the mayne occasion of this discourse, does refer to other ways of intimati­on, besides these in ordinary use, of speaking, or writing, or gestures. For in the generall wee must note: That Whatever is capable of a competent diffe­rence, perceptible to any sense, may be a suf­ficient [Page 130] means, whereby to expresse the cogi­tations. It is more convenient indeed, that these differences should be of as great varietie, as the letters of the Al­phabet; but it is sufficient if they bee but twofold, because two alone, may with somewhat more labour and time, bee well enough contrived to expresse all the rest. Thus any two letters or numbers, suppose A. B. being transpo­sed through five places, will yield thir­ty two differences, & so consequently, will superaboundantly serve for the foure and twenty Letters, as was be­fore more largely explained in the ninth chapter.

Now the sensitive species, whereby such informations must be conveyed, are either the species of sound, or the species of sight. The eare and the eye, being the only sences, that are of quick perception, when their objects are re­mote.

Vegetius distinguisheth all significa­torie signes into these three sorts.De remili­tari, lib. 3. cap. 5.

  • [Page 131]1 Vocalia. By articulate sounds.
  • 2 Semivocalia. By inarticulate sounds.
  • 3 Muta. By the species of sight.

The two last of these are chiefly per­tinent to the present enquiry. Con­cerning which, in the generall it may be concluded, that any sound, whether of Trumpets, Bels, Cannons, Drums, &c. or any object of sight, whether flame, smoake, &c. which is capable of a double difference, may be a sufficient meanes, whereby to communicate the thoughts.

The particular application of these, to some experiments, I shall treat more distinctly in the remaynder of this dis­course.

First,Secret and speedy in­formation by the spe­cies of sound. concerning the secrecy and swiftnesse of any message by the spe­cies of sound. Though these audible species be much slower then those of sight; yet are they far swifter then the naturall motion of any corporeall mes­senger. The chiefe use of these is for [Page 132] such as are within some competent neernes, as perhaps a mile of. But they may also by frequent multiplications, be continued to a far greater distance.

There is a relation in Ioach. Camera­rius, Pro [...]m. in lib. Plutar. de defectu oraculorum. of some that have heard their friends speaking to them distinctly, when they have been many miles asun­der. Habui notos homines, neque leves, & non indoctos, qui affirmabant, se audiisse secum colloquentes diserte, eos quos tunc multorum millium passuum abesse certo sci­rent. But this hee justly refers to Dia­bolicall Magick, and the illusion of spirits.

There are other naturall experiments in this kind, of more especiall note for their antiquity. Such was that of King Xerxes, related by Cleomenes, as he is cited by Sardus. Cleomedes in li­bro de circulis coelestibus scribit Xerxem toto itinere a Perside in Graeciam stationes statuisse, De rerum Inventor. lib. 2. & in iis homines ita prope, ut vo­cem alterius alter exa [...]diret; quo modo quadraginta horarum spatio, ex Graeciâ in Persidem res nunciari poterat. But this [Page 133] invention, besides the great trouble and uncertainty of it, is also too grosse for imitation, savouring somewhat of the rudenes of those former and more barbarous ages.

Much beyond it was that experi­ment of the Romans, in the contrivance of the Picts wall,Britan. de Vallo sive the Picts Wall. p. 654 Boter. Geog. l. 2. & lib. 4 where hee mentions also ano­ther wall of 8000 furlongs in China. related by our lear­ned Cambden, this wall was built by Severus in the North part of England, above a hundred miles long. The tow­ers of it were about a mile distant from one another. Betwixt each of these towers there passed certaine hollow pipes or trunks in the curtaines of the wall, through which the Defendants could presently informe one another of any thing that was necessary. As con­cerning that place wherein the enemy was most likely to assault them, &c.

Since the wall is ruined, and this means of swift advertisement taken away, there are many inhabitants there­abouts, which hold their Land by a tenure in Cornage (as the Lawyers speak) being bound by blowing of a [Page 134] Horne to discover the irruption of the enemy.

There is another experiment to this purpose mentioned by Walchius, who thinks it possible so to contrive a trunk or hollow pipe,Fabul. 9. that it shall preserve the voice entirely for certain houres or days; so that a man may send his words to a friend instead of his writing. There being always a certaine space of inter­mission; for the passage of the voice, betwixt its going into these cavities, and its comming out; hee conceives, that if both ends were seasonably stop­ped, whilst the sound was in the midst, it would continue there till it had some vent. Huic tubo verba nostra insusurremus, & cum probe munitur tabellario commit­tamus, &c. When the friend to whom it is sent, shall receive and open it, the words shall come out distinctly, and in the same order wherein they were spo­ken. From such a contrivance as this, (saith the same Authour) did Albertus Magnus make his Image, and Frier Ba­con, his brazen Head, to utter certaine [Page 135] words. Which conceit (if it have any truth) may serve somewhat to exte­nuate the grosse absurdity of that po­pish relique concerning Iosephs [Hah] or the noise that hee made (as other Car­penters use) in fetching of a blow: which is said, to be preserved, yet in a glasse amongst other ancient Reliques.

But against these fancies it is consi­derable, that the species of sound are multiplyed in the ayre, by a kinde of continuation and efflux from their first originall, as the species of light are from any luminous body; either of which being once separated from their causes doe presently vanish and die. Now as it would be a mad thing for a man to endeavour, to catch the Sun­beams. or inclose the light; upon the same grounds likewise must it needs be absurd, for any one to attempt the shut­ting in of articulate sounds: Since both of them equally have the same intrinsi­call and inseparable dependance upon their efficient causes.

True, indeed, the species of sound [Page 136] may seeme to have some kinde of selfe continuance in the ayre, as in Ecchoes, but so likewise is it in a proportion with those of sight, as in the quick tur­ning round of a fire-sticke, which will make the appearance of a fiery circle: And though the first kinde of these be more lasting then the other, by reason their naturall motion is not so quick, yet neither of them are of such durati­on as may be sufficient for the present enquiry.

None of all these inventions already specified, doe sufficiently performe the businesse, that is here enquired after: Nor are they, either so generally or safely, appliable for all places and exi­gences.

The discovery that is here promi­sed, may be further serviceable for such cases as these.

Suppose a friend were perfidiously clapped up in some close Dungeon, and that wee did not know exactly where, but could only guesse at the place, within the latitude of halfe a mile or [Page 137] somewhat more: A man might very distinctly by these other inventions dis­course unto him. Or suppose a Citie were straitly besieged, and there were either within it or without it, such a confederate, with whom wee should necessarily confer about some designe: We may by these means safely disco­ver to him our intentions. By which you may guesse, that the Messenger which is here imployed, is of so strange a nature, as not to be barred out with walls, or deterred by enemies.

To the performance of this, it is re­quisite, that there be two Bels of diffe­rent notes, or some such other audible and loude sounds, which we may com­mand at pleasure; as Muskets, Canons, Horns, Drums, &c. By the various sounding of these (according to the former Table) a man may easily ex­presse any letter,Cap. 9. and so consequently any sense.

These Tables, I shall again repeat in this place. That of two letters may be contrived thus.

[Page 138]


Suppose the word Victuals were this this way to be exprest. Let the bigger sound be represented by A. and the lesser by B. according to which, the word may be thus made up by five of these sounds for each letter.


That is, the lesser note sounded once, and then the bigger twice, and then a­gain the lesser twice, as (baabb) will [Page 139] signifie the letter (Y). So, the bigger once, and then the lesser once, and after that the bigger thrice together, as (abaaa) will represent the letter (I:) and so of the rest.

If the sounds be capable of a triple difference, then each letter may be ex­pressed by a threefold sound, as may appeare by this other Alphabet.


If these sounds do contain a quintu­ple difference, then may every letter be signified by two sounds only, (which will much conduce to the speed and dispatch of such a message.) As you may see in this other Table.

[Page 140]


Tis related by Porta, De furt. lit. lib. 1. cap. 6. that when the Citizens in the siege of Navarre were reduced to such great extremities that they were ready to yield; they did dis­cover to their friends the greatnesse, and kind of their wants, by discharg­ing divers Canons and Ordinances in the night time, according to a certaine order before agreed upon: and by this means did obtain such fitting supplyes as preserved the City.

CHAP. 18.
Concerning a language, that may consist only of Tunes and Musicall Notes, without any articulate sound.

IF the Musicall Instrument that is u­sed to this purpose, be able to ex­presse the ordinary notes, not only ac­cording to their different Tones, but their Times also; then may each Letter of the Alphabet be rendred by a single sound.

Whence it will follow that a man may frame a Language, consisting only of Tunes and such inarticulate sounds, as no Letters can expresse. Which kind of speech is fancied to bee usuall a­mongst the Lunary Inhabitants; who (asOr the man in the Moon, written by the same Au­thour of Nuntius Inanimat. Domingo Gonsales hath discovered) have contrived the Letters of the Al­phabet upon the Notes after some such order as this:

[Page 142] [...]

Where the five Vowels are repre­sented by the Minnums on each of the five lines, being most of them placed according to their right order and con­sequence: only the letters K. and Q. are left out, because they may be other­wise expressed.

According to this Alphabet of Notes,See Dom. Gonsal. 94. these words, Gloria Deo soli, must be thus contrived.


By this you may easily discern how two Musicians may discourse with one another, by playing upon their Instru­ments [Page 143] of Musique, as well as by talking with their instruments of speech. And (which is a singular curiosity) how the words of a Song may be contrived in the tune of it.

I suppose that these letters and notes might be disposed to answer one ano­ther, with better advantage then here they are expressed. And this perhaps, would bee easie enough for those that are thoroughly versed in the grounds of Musique, unto whose further en­quiry, I doe here only propose this in­vention.

But now if these inarticulate sounds be contrived for the expression, not of words and letters, but of things and no­tions, (as was before explained, concer­ning the universall Character) then might there bee such a generall Lan­guage, as should be equally speakable, by all people and Nations; and so we might be restored from the second ge­nerall curse, which is yet manifested, not only in the confusion of writing, but also of speech.

[Page 144] The utterance of these Musicall tunes may serve for the universall language, and the writing of them for the univer­sall Character. As all Nations do agree in the same conceit of things, so like­wise in the same conceit of Harmo­nies.

This Curiosity (for ought I know) has not yet beene mentioned by any Author, but it may be (if well conside­red) of such excellent use, as to deserve a more full and particular enlargement, in a Treatise by it selfe.

CHAP. 19
Of those common relations, that concerne se­cret and swift informations by the species of sight, which are either Fabulous, or Magicall.

THe usuall relations, that concerne secret and swift conveyances by the species of sight, may be distingui­shed into such as are, either

  • 1 Fabulous.
  • 2 Magicall.
  • 3 Naturall and true.

First of those that are fabulous:1 Of those fabulous relations to this purpose. In which kind, that of the loadstone is most remarkable, as it is maintained byLib. 2. prolus. 6. Famianus Strada in his imitation of Lucretius his stile, and divers others. The manner that is usually prescribed for the performance of it, is thus. Let there be two needles provided, of an equall length and bignesse, being both of them touched with the same load­stone. Let the letters of the Alphabet be placed in the circles on which they [Page 146] are moved, as the points of the com­passe under the needle of the Mariners Chart. Let the friend that is to travaile take one of them with him, first agree­ing upon the dayes and houres, where­in they should conferre together: At which times, if one of them move the needle of his instrument to any letter of the Alphabet, the other needle by a Sympathie, will move unto the same letter in the other instrument, though they be never so farre distant. And thus by severall motions of the needle to the letters, they may easily make up any words or sense which they have a mind to expresse.

O utinam haec ratio scribendi prodeat usu;
Cautior & citior properaret epistol [...], nullas
Latronū verita insidias, fluvios (que) morantes,
Ipse snis princeps manibus sibi conficeret rem, &c.

Saith Strada. But this invention is altogether imaginary, having no foun­dation in any reall experiment. You may see it frequently confuted, in those that treat concerning magneti­call [Page 147] call vertues. Non solum exibilandi sunt' sed etiam male mulctandi Philoso [...]hicâ fe­rulâ, fabularum isti procusores, qui suis portentis deterrent homines à praeclarissimo causarum studio, Philosop. Magnet. lib. 4. c. 10. saith Cabaeus, to this purpose.

The first occasion of these relations, was the proofe of that strange imma­teriall powers of the loadstone, where­by it did work through thick and solid bodies, as a table, or wall, or the like: as also of that directive vertue, where­by it alwayes tends to the poles; From whence others have conjectured, that it might be serviceable also, for such a businesse, at so great a distance.

But against this, it is considerable,

1 That every naturall agent, is sup­posed to have some certaine sphere, which determines its activity.

2 That magneticall operations doe not arise (as some fondly conceive) from a Sympatheticall conformation of natures, which is the same at all di­stances; but from such a diffusion of these magneticall qualities through [Page 148] the medium, that they may be continu­ed from the agent to the patient. And so these naturall powers, will not be of so great an extent, as they are sup­posed in this experiment.

The utmost distance, at which wee may discourse with another, by these magneticall vertues, is two or three foot or there abouts; And this wee may doe,S. Ward. magnetis Reduct. cap. 40. though it be through a wall of that thicknesse. Fieri enim posse me docuit experientia, ut ope Magnetis, & in­strumenti ad id aptati, See Cabaeus Phil. Magn. lib. [...]. c. 11. amicus cum amico, in cubiculo proximo, trans crassum murum (puta bipedalem) colloquatur, animi sui sen­tentiam impertiat, & ad quaesita respondeat, (saith a late Author.) But in this expe­riment, it is not only the secondary vertue of the needles that can be thus effectuall (as is supposed in the former invention) but there must be the help also of the loadstone it selfe.

As for the reason why these mag­neticall powers are able to worke through solid bodies; 'Tis considera­ble, that any quality may be diffused [Page 149] through such a substance; as hath no naturall repugnancie unto it. Wee see the light does passe as wel through hot bodies as cold, through solid as fluid, &c. only Opacitie keeps it out; be­cause that quality alone is contrary to its nature. So likewise is it with mag­neticall vertues, which doe equally spread themselves, through all kind of bodies, whether rare or dense, diaphanous or opacous, there being no quality con­trary to this; because it is that generall endowment of the whole globe, that universall quality to which all other particulars are naturally subservient.

The second sort of relations to this purpose,2 Magi­call. are such as referre to diaboli­call Magick; Of which kind is that in­vention thought to be, which is com­monly ascribed to Pythagoras; of whom it is reported, that hee could write any thing in the body of the Moone, so as it might be legible to another at a great distance.Occult. Phi­l [...]s. lib. 1. cap. 6. Agrippa affirmes this to be naturally possible, and the way of performing it, not unknown to him­selfe, [Page 150] with some others in his time. And Fridericus Risner seemes to be­leeve it.Optic. lib. 3. prop. 36. For speaking of the strange experiments to be wrought by some glasses,Speculorum persuasio huc perva­sit, &c. he adds. Denique certo artificio, depictas imagines, a [...]t scriptas literas, nocte serenâ, plenae lunae sic opponi possunt, ut radiis lunam irradiantibus, ideo (que) reflexis, videas & legas, quae Constantinopoli Lutetiam ti­bi nuncientur.

There is an experiment in Opticks to represent any writing by the sun­beams, upon a wall or front of a house: For which purpose, the letters must be first described, with wax or some other opacous colour, upon the sur­face of the glasse, in an inverted forme; which glasse, afterwards reflecting the light upon any wall in the shade, will discover these letters in their right forme and order. Unto some such in­vention, I did first (before I had well considered these particulars) attribute the performance of those strange pro­mises in Nuntius inanimatus. World in the Moon. cap. 7. But upon better thoughts, it will be found, that [Page 151] the species of reflexion, in this experi­ment, are so weake, that unlesse the glasse and the letters be very bigge, and the wall somwhat neere, there will be no distinct appearance of the writing. And therefore this way, there can be no thoughts of contriving any reflected species, that shall be visible at so great a distance as the Moone. Nor is there any other naturall means conceiveable, by which so strange an effect may be performed, which is the reason that it is so frequently attribu­ted to diabolicall Magick, by almost all the Writers that have occasion to treat of it.

But Agrippa in another place speak­ing concerning this invention, affirmes that it was performed thus. Pythagoras did first describe with blood any let­ters which hee thought fit,Agrippa de Vanit. Scient. cap. 48. in some great glasse, and then opposing the glasse against the full Moone, the let­ters would appeare thorough it, as if they were writ in the circumference of her body. Quae collibuisset sanguine per­scripsit [Page 152] in speculo, quo, ad pleni luminis lunae orbem obverso, stanti à tergo, res exaratas in disc [...] lunae commonstravit. In which passage he seemes to intimate, that this writing in the Moone, could not be vi­sible at any great distance (as it is rela­ted in common tradition,) but that it did appeare to such onely, betwixt whose eyes and the Moone, this glasse might be interposed. And according to this the wonder of the relation ceases, nor may it truly be referred to Diabolicall Magick.

More properly reducible to this kind,Ioach. Ca­merar. Pro­oem. in lib. Plutarc. de defect. Orac. are those inchaunted glasses, men­tioned in divers Authors: In which some Magitians are said to containe such familiar spirits, as doe informe them of any businesse they shall en­quire after. I have heard a great pre­tender to the knowledge of all secret Arts, confidently affirme, that he him­selfe was able at that time, or any other, to shew me in a glasse what was done in any part of the world, what ships were sailing in the Mediterranean, [Page 153] who were walking in any street of any Citie in Spaine, or the like. And this hee did averre, with all the laboured expressions of a strong confidence. The man, for his condition, was an Italian Doctor of Physick: for his parts, hee was knowne to be of extra­ordinary skill, in the abstruser Arts, but not altogether free from the suspi­tion of this unlawfull Magick.

CHAP. 20.
Of informations by significatory fires and smokes. Their antiquity. The true man­ner of using them to this purpose. That these were meant in Nuntius inani­matus.

THe experiments of this kind that are true, & upon naturall grounds, have beene made either by fire in the night, or smoke and such other signes visible at a distance in the day time.

These informations by significatory fires, have beene of ancient use. The first invention of them is commonly ascribed to Sinon in the Trojan warres. Specularem significationem Trojano bello Sinon invenit (saith Pliny.)Nat. Hist. lib. 7. c. 56. This was the signe upon which he agreed to unlock the wooden horse.

—Flammas cum regia puppis
V [...]rgil.

But Diodorus Siculus affirmes them to be practised by Medea in her conspira­cie with Iason. Bibliothec. lib. 4. And they are frequently [Page 155] mentioned in other ancient Historians.Polymn. lib. 7. cap. 182. Herodotus speaks of them in the Gre­cian warre against Xerxes. AndHist. lib. 2. Thu­cydides testifies of them in the onsets that were made by the Peloponnesians a­gainst Salamis, Item lib. 3. and in the siege of Cor­cyra. So Curtius of Alex. M. lib. 5. Appian speaking of Scipio at Nu­mantia, how he divided his campe into divers companies, saies that he assigned each of them to severall tribunes, with this charge. Si impeterentur ab hoste, de die, To this purpose the flags of truce or defiance. panno rubro in hasta sublato significa­rent, de nocte, igne. If the enemie did charge any of them, they should signi­fie it to the others, in the day time by holding up a red cloth, in the night by fires.De re mili­tar. lib. 3. cap. 5. Vegetius affirmes it to be usuall, when the Army was divided, to in­forme one another, in the day by smoke,Lyps. de mi­lit. Roman. lib. 5. Dia­log. 9. in the night by fires. These significatory fires were by the Greci­ans called [...], (saith Suidas) and som­times [...].Ae [...]eas Peli­orce [...]. c. 31. The use of them was chief­ly for the answer of some particular Quaere, that was before agreed upon: As concerning the comming of aydes [Page 156] or enemies: if the enemies were com­ming, they were wont to shake these torches; if the aydes, they held them still (saith the Scholiast upon Thucy­dides.) Schol. in lib. 2. Thucyd.

But they have by more exact in­ventions, beene enlarged to a greater latitude of signification. So that now, any thing which wee have occasion to discover,We [...]ker de Secretis. lib. 14. cap. 1. may be expressed by them.

The wayes by which they may be contrived to this purpose,Port. de furt. lit. lib. 1. cap. 10. are divers. I shall specifie only the chiefe of them.

That which in ancient times was used by the Grecians,Cardan. de Variet. Re­rum. lib. 12. cap. 61. and is particularly treated of inHistor. lib. 10. juxta finem. By ten torches. Polybius, adviseth thus.

Let the letters be divided into five tablets or columnes.


[Page 157] Let there be provided ten Torches; five being placed on the right hand, and five on the left. Let so many torches be lifted up on the right hand as may shew the number of the table, and so many on the left, as may shew the number of that letter in it, which you would expresse. As in this following example, wherein the severall num­bers, both at the right and left hand, doe signifie the word HASTEN.

The right hand. The left hand.

That is, two lights being lifted up­on the right hand, shew the second co­lumne; and at the same time three torches appearing on the left hand, de­notes [Page 158] the third letter in that columne, which is H. Thus a single torch being discovered on both sides, doth signifie the first letter of the first columne, which is A, and so of the rest.

There is another way mentioned by Ioachimus Fortius, By 3 Tor­ches. unto the perform­ance of which,Lib. de Ex­perientia. there are onely three lights required. One torch being shewed alone, shall signifie the eight first letters. A. B. C. D. E. F. G. H. Two together, the eight next, I. K. L. M. N. O. P. Q. And all three the rest. R. S. T. V. W. X. Y. Z.

One light being discovered once, signifies A. If twice, B. Two lights being shewed once, doe denote the let­ter I; if twice, K, &c.

According to this way, if I would expresse the word FAMINE: the tor­ches must bee contrived. One light must be lifted up six times for the let­ter F. One light once for A. Two lights foure times for M. Two lights once for I. Two lights five times for N.

[Page 159] But here it will be requisite, that there be some intermission, betwixt the expression of severall letters, because otherwise there must needs be a great confusion, amongst those that belong to the same number of Torches. In which respect, this way is much more tedious, and inconvenient, then the former invention out of Polybius.

It is easie to conceive,By two torches. how by the Alphabet consisting of two letters transposed through five places, such a manner of discoursing may be other­wise contrived, only by two torches. But then there must be five shewes, to expresse every letter.

There is another way of speaking, by the differences of motion in two lights; which for its quicknesse and speed is much to be preferred before any of the rest. The manner of it is thus. Provide two torches on long poles: Let them be placed so farre from one another, that they may [Page 160] seeme unto your confederate to be about foure cubits distance. By the di­vers elevations or depressions of these, enclining of them to the right hand, or to the left, severally or both toge­ther, it is easie to expresse all the Al­phabet.

One light alone being discovered, must stand for A. lifted up for E. de­pressed for I. enclined to the right hand for O. unto the left hand for V.

Two lights elevated, for B: depres­sed for C: enclined to the right hand for D: to the left hand for F.

Two lights being still discovered, and the torch at the right hand being lifted up, shall signifie G. Being depres­sed, H. Inclined to the right hand, K. To the left hand, L.

The torch at the left hand, being elevated shall stand for M. Depressed, for N. Inclined to the right hand for P. [Page 161] To the left hand for Q.

The torch at the right hand being moved towards the left hand, and that at the left hand, being at the same time moved towards the right hand, shall signifie, R. The right hand torch be­ing enclined to the left hand, and the other at the same time being elevated signifies, S: being depressed, T. The left hand torch being enclined to the right hand, and the other at the same time being elevated, signifies W: be­ing depressed, X.

The right hand Torch being en­clined to the right hand, and the other at the same time being elevated, may stand for Y; being depressed for Z.

When any thing is thus to be ex­pressed; the two torches, being disco­vered, must remaine without any mo­tion, so long, till the confederate shall by other lights shew some signe, that hee is ready to take notice. After [Page 162] every one of these particular motions, the torches must be carefully hidden and obscured, that so the severall let­ters expressed by them, may be the better distinguished.

The day-time informations by smoke, cannot so conveniently be or­dered according to this later contri­vance. And therefore must be man­naged by some of those other wayes, that were specified before. To which purpose there must be some tunnells provided for the orderly inclosing and conveying up the smoke. The other particulars concerning this, are in themselves easie enough to bee ap­prehended.

How these significatory signes will be visible at a great distance; How by multiplication of them in severall pla­ces,See Barcla. Argen. lib. 1. they may be contrived for many scores of miles; will easily bee dis­cerned from the situation and use of Beacons: by which the intimations [Page 163] of publike danger and preparations, have been oftentimes suddenly spread, over this whole Iland.

This may further be advantaged, by the use of Galilaeus his perspective.

'Tis storied of the Inhabitants in China, Busbequius. Epist. Turc. ep 4. that when any Merchants doe happen upon the shores of that King­dome, they are presently examined, whence they come, what commodi­ties they bring, and of what number they are; Which being knowne, the watch (set for that purpose) doe pre­sently informe the King of their an­swers, by smoke in the day, and fires in the night: Who by the same meanes do's as speedily returne them his pleasure, whether they shall be ad­mitted or kept out. And so that is easily dispatched in some few houres, which could not be performed the or­dinary way, without the trouble of many dayes.

[Page 164] The practise of all these secret and swift Messages, may perhaps seeme very difficult at the first:Polyb. lib. 10. But so do's also the Art of writing and reading to an unlettered man. Custome and ex­perience will make the one as facill and ready as the other.

That these wayes of information already explained, whether by the species of sound or sight, are the same with those intimated in Nuntius inani­matus, may be clearely evident, to any one who do's but thoroughly peruse that discourse, and compare it with di­vers other the like passages, of the same Author, in his Domingo Gonsales.

1 For the species of sound, his words are these.Nunc Ina­ni. pag. 16. Auribus nihil perci­pi nisi per sonum, neminem fugit. Erit igitur necesse ut is, cui aliquid audit [...] mediante nunciatum fuerit, sonos audiat, eosque distinguibiles pro numero audiendo­rum; quae cum sint infinita, infinita e­tiam sit oportet, sonorum edendorum va­rietas. [Page 165] Satis tamen erit ut distinguantur vel genere, vel tempore, modo etiam & numero. Which passage, together with that other invention in Domingo Gonsa­les, concerning the Language of the Lunary Inhabitants, before explained in the eighteenth Chapter: I say, both these, being compared with the disco­veries and experiments of the same kind, that are here discoursed of, may plainly manifest, that they are both performed by the same means.

2 For the Species of sight, his words are these. Si oculis amici absentis aliquid cupis representare, Nunc. Ina­nim. p. 16. idque citius quam corpus aliquod sublunare ad locum tam longo intervallo distunctum possit per­ferri; oportet ut ideae, sive formae visibiles, augeantur quantitate, multiplicentur nume­ro, & pro rerum significandarum varie­tate varientur, vel qualitate, vel quanti­tate, vel situ, vel ordine. Which passage being compared with that other way of compact,Man in the Moon. pag 21. betwixt Gonsales and his man Diego, mentioned in the other [Page 166] Discourse; It may evidently appeare, that the wayes of intimation, which were there meant, are performed after the same manner, according to which they are here discoursed of.

He does indeed mention out of Bus­bequius, the practice of these informa­tions amongst the inhabitants of Chi­na. And thinks that they were used too by the Romans, but withall he won­ders, how that now amongst us, they should be altogether forgotten, and the restoring of them to these places and times, seems to be his chiefe ayme, in the promises of that discourse.

The particular example which hee mentions, is this. Suppose that one at London, would send a message to Bri­stow, Wells, Exeter, or though it were any remoter place: Neque enim longin­quitatem viae multum moror, si detur facul­tas sternendi, & permeabilem efficiendi. That is, the greatnesse of distance can be no impediment, if the space betwixt [Page 167] be fitted with such high Mountaines, and Beacon Hils, as may serve for these kinde of Discoveries. Suppose (I say) this Messenger should set forth from London, in the very point of noon, hee would notwithstanding, arrive at Bristow before twelve of the clock that day. That is, a Message may by these means be conveyed so great a distance, in fewer minutes then those which make the difference betwixt the two Meridians of those places.

If according to this, we should inter­pret, that passage out of Trithemius, con­cerning the three Saturnine Angels,See before Cap. 15. that in twenty foure houres can convey news from any part of the World; that Author might then, in one respect be freed from the aspersion of Diaboli­call Magick, which for this very reason hath heretofore been imputed to him. But this by the way.

It may be, the resolution of those great promises in Nuncius Inanimatus, to [Page 168] such easie causes as they are here ascri­bed unto, will not be answerable to mens expectation. every one will bee apt to mistrust som greater matter then is here exprest: But 'tis thus also, in every other the like particular, for ig­norance is the mother of wonder, and wonder does usually create unto it self many wilde imaginations, which is the reason why mens fancies are so prone to atribute all unusual and unknowne events, unto stranger causes shen either nature or art hath designed for them.


The Poets have fained Mercury to be the chiefe Patron of Thieves and tre­chery,Horat. lib. 1 Od. 10. Ovid. Me­tam. lib. 11 Homer. in Hymnis. [...].’

To which purpose they relate that hee filched from Venus her girdle, as shee embraced him in congratulation of a victory,Nat. Comes Mytholog. lib. 5. cap 5. that hee robbed Iupiter of his Scepter, and would have stolne his [Page 169] Thunderbolt too, but that he feared to burne his fingers. And the Astrologers observe, that those who are born under this Planet, are naturally addicted to theft and cheating.

If it be feared that this Discourse may unhappily advantage others, in such unlawfull courses: Tis considera­ble, that it does not only teach how to deceive, but consequently also how to discover Delusions. And then besides, the chiefe experiments are of such na­ture, that they cannot be frequently practised, without just cause of suspiti­on, when as it is in the Magistrates power to prevent them. However, it will not follow, that every thing must be supprest, which may bee abused. There is nothing hath more occasioned troubles and contention, then the art of writing, which is the reason why the Inventor of it, is fabled to have sowne Serpents teeth;Caeli. Rho­antiq. Lect. lib. 22. cap. 15. And yet it was but a barbarous act of Thamus, the Egyptian King, therefore to forbid the learning [Page 180] of Letters. Wee may as well cut out our tongues, because that member is a world of wickednesse. James 3. If all those use­full inventions that are lyable to abuse, should therefore be concealed, there is not any Art or Sci­ence, which might be lawfully profest. ⸫


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