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The Prodromus and Dilucidatio.

on his career. It would seem that Comenius, though never tired of forming magnificent schemes, hung back from putting anything into a definite shape. After the appear ance of the Janua Linguarum Reserata, he planned a Janua Rerum, and even allowed that title to appear in "the list of new books to come forth at the next Mart at Frankford."* But again he hesitated, and withdrew the announcement. Here Hartlib came in, and forced him into print without his intending or even knowing it ("præter meam spem et me inconsulto"; preface to Conatuum Pansophicorum Dilucidatio, 1638). Hartlib begged of Comenius a sketch of his great scheme, and with apologies to the author for not awaiting his consent, he published it at Oxford in 1637, under the title of Conatuum Comenianorum Præludia. Comenius accepted the fait accompli with the best grace he could-pleased at the stir the book made in the learned world, but galled by criticisms, especially by doubts of his orthodoxy. To refute the cavillers, he wrote a tract called Conatuum Pansophicorum Dilucidatio which was published in 1638. In 1639 Hartlib issued in London a new duodecimo edition of the Præludia (or as he then called it, Prodromus) and the Dilucidatio, adding a dissertation by Comenius on the study of Latin. Now, when everything seemed ripe for a change in education, and Comenius himself was on his way to England, Hartlib translated the Prodromus, and when Comenius had come he published it with the title, A Reformation of Schools, 1642.†

§ 8. It was no doubt by Hartlib's influence that

• Dilucidatio, Hartlib's trans., p. 65.

The Dilucidation, as he calls it, is added. All the books above mentioned are in the Library of the British Museum under Komensky,

C. in London. Parliamentary schemes.

Parliament had been led to summon Comenius, and at any other time the visit might have been "the occasion of great good to this island," but inter arma silent magistri, and Comenius went away again. This is the account he himself has left us :

"When seriously proposing to abandon the thorny studies of Didactics, and pass on to the pleasing studies of philosophical truth, I find myself again among the same thorns. After the Pansophie Prodromus had been published and dispersed through various kingdoms of Europe, many of the learned approved of the object and plan of the work, but despaired of its ever being accomplished by one man alone, and therefore advised that a college of learned men should be instituted to carry it into effect. Mr. S. Hartlib, who had forwarded the publication of the Pansophiæ Prodromus in England, laboured earnestly in this matter, and endeavoured, by every possible means, to bring together for this purpose a number of men of intellectual activity. And at length, having found one or two, he invited me also, with many very strong entreaties. My people having consented to the journey, I came to London on the very day of the autumnal equinox (September 22, 1641), and there at last learnt that I had been invited by the order of the Parliament. But as the Parliament, the King having then gone to Scotland [August 10], was dismissed for a three months' recess [not quite three months, but from September 9 to October 20], I was detained there through the winter, my friends mustering what pansophic apparatus they could, though it was but slender. The Parliament meanwhile, having re-assembled, and our presence being known, I had orders to wait until they should have sufficient leisure from other business to appoint a Commission of

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C. driven away by Civil War.

learned and wise men from their body for hearing us and considering the grounds of our design. They communicated also beforehand their thoughts of assigning to us some college with its revenues, whereby a certain number of learned and industrious men called from all nations might be honourably maintained, either for a term of years or in perpetuity. There was even named for the purpose The Savoy in London; Winchester College out of London was named; and again nearer the city, Chelsea College, inventories of which and of its revenues were communicated to us, so that nothing seemed more certain than that the design of the great Verulam, concerning the opening somewhere of a Universal College, devoted to the advancement of the Sciences could be carried out. But the rumour of the Insurrection in Ireland, and of the massacre in one night of more than 200,000 English [October, November], and the sudden departure of the King from London [January 10, 1641-2], and the plentiful signs of the bloody war about to break out disturbed these plans, and obliged me to hasten my return to my own people."*

§ 9. While Comenius was in England, where he stayed till August, 1642, he received an invitation to France. This invitation, which he did not accept, came perhaps through his correspondent Mersenne, a man of great learning, who is said to have been highly esteemed and often consulted by Descartes. It is characteristic of the state of opinion in such matters in those days, that Mersenne tells Comenius of a certain Le Maire, by whose method a boy of six years old, might, with nine months' instruction, acquire a perfect knowledge of three languages. Mersenne

* Masson's Milton, vol. iii, p. 224, Prof. Masson is quoting Opera Didactica, tom. ii, Introd.

In Sweden. Interviews with Oxenstiern.

also had dreams of a universal alphabet, and even of a universal language.

§ 10. Comenius' hopes of assistance in England being at an end, he thought of returning to Leszna; but a letter now reached him from a rich Dutch merchant, Lewis de Geer, who offered him a home and means for carrying out his plans. This Lewis de Geer, “the Grand Almoner of Europe," as Comenius calls him, displayed a princely munificence in the assistance he gave the exiled Protestants. At this time he was living at Nordcoping in Sweden. Comenius having now found such a patron as he was seeking, set out from England and joined him there.

§ 11. Soon after the arrival of Comenius in Sweden, the great Oxenstiern sent for him to Stockholm, and with John Skyte, the Chancellor of Upsal University, examined him and his system. "These two," as Comenius says, "exercised me in colloquy for four days, and chiefly the most illustrious Oxenstiern, that eagle of the North (Aquila Aquilonius). He inquired into the foundations of both my schemes, the Didactic and the Pansophic, so searchingly, that it was unlike anything that had been done before by any of my learned critics. In the first two days he examined the Didactics, and finally said: 'From an early age I perceived that our Method of Studies generally in use is a harsh and crude one (violentum quiddam), but where the thing stuck I could not find out. At length, having been sent by my King of glorious memory [i.e., by Gustavus Adolphus], as ambassador into Germany, I conversed on the subject with various learned men. And when I had heard that Wolfgang Ratichius was toiling at an amended Method I had no rest of mind till I had him before me, but instead of talking on the subject, he pui

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Oxenstiern criticises.

into my hands a big quarto volume. I swallowed this trouble, and having turned over the whole book, I saw that he had detected well enough the maladies of our schools but the remedies he proposed did not seem to me sufficient. Yours, Mr. Comenius, rest on firmer foundations. Go on with the work.' I answered that I had done all I could in those matters, and must now go on to others. 'I know,' said he, 'that you are toiling at greater affairs, for I have read your Prodromus Pansophia. That we will discuss to-morrow, I must now to public business.' Next day he began on my Pansophic attempts, and examined them with. still greater severity. Are you a man,' he asked, 'who can bear contradiction ?' 'I can,' said I, 'and for that reason my Prodromus or preliminary sketch was sent out first (not indeed that I sent it out myself, this was done by friends), that it might meet with criticism. And if we seek the criticism of all and sundry, how much more from men of mature wisdom and heroic reason?' He began accordingly to discourse against the hope of a better state of things arising from a rightly instituted study of Pansophia; first, objecting political reasons, then what was said in Scripture about 'the last times.' All which objections I so answered that he ended with these words: 'Into no one's mind do I think such things have come before. Stand upon these grounds of yours; so shall we some time come to agreement, or there will be no way left. My advice, however,' added he, 'is that you first do something for the schools, and bring the study of the Latin tongue to a greater facility; thus you will prepare the way for those greater matters.' As Skyte and afterwards De Geer gave advice, Comenius felt himself constrained to follow it; so he agreed to settle at Elbing, in Prussia, and there write a work


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