The history of the Royal-Society of London for the improving of natural knowledge by Tho. Sprat.
Sprat, Thomas, 1635-1713., Cowley, Abraham, 1618-1667. To the Royal Society.
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OF all the Kings of Eu∣rope, Your Majesty was the first, who confirm'd this Noble Design of Experiments, by Your own Example, and by a Public Esta∣blishment. An Enterprize equal to Page  [unnumbered] the most renoun'd Actions of the best Princes. For, to increase the Powers of all Mankind, and to free them from the bondage of Errors, is greater Glo∣ry than to enlarge Empire, or to put Chains on the necks of Conquer'd Na∣tions.

What Reverence all Antiquity had for the Authors of Natural Discove∣ries, is evident by the Diviner sort of Honor they conferr'd on them. Their Founders of Philosophical Opinions were only admir'd by their own Sects. Their Valiant Men and Generals did seldome rise higher than to Demy-Gods and Heros. But the Gods they Worshipp'd with Temples and Altars, were those who instructed the World to Plow, to Sow, to Plant, to Spin, to build Houses, and to find out New Countries. This Zeal indeed, by which they express'd their Gratitude Page  [unnumbered] to such Benefactors, degenerated into Superstition: yet has it taught us, That a higher degree of Reputati∣on is due to Discoverers, than to the Teachers of Speculative Do∣ctrines, nay even to Conquerors them∣selves.

Nor has the True God himself omitted to shew his value of Vul∣gar Arts. In the whole History of the first Monarchs of the World, from Adam to Noah, there is no mention of their Wars, or their Vi∣ctories: All that is Recorded is this, They liv'd so many years, and taught their Posterity to keep Sheep, to till the Ground, to plant Vineyards, to dwell in Tents, to build Cities, to play on the Harp and Organs, and to work in Brass and Iron. And if they de∣serv'd a Sacred Remembrance, for one Natural or Mechanical Invention,Page  [unnumbered] Your Majesty will certainly obtain Immortal Fame, for having esta∣blish'd a perpetual Succession of In∣ventors.

I am (May it please Your Majesty) Your Majesties most humble, and most obedient Subject, and Servant, THO. SPRAT.