Samuel Hartlib on the death of descartes: A rediscovered letter to Henry More

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This paper discloses the content of a previously overlooked epistle by the Anglo-Prussian intelligencer Samuel Hartlib to Henry More concerning the death of René Descartes. After a discussion situating the letter within the sequence of the More-Hartlib correspondence, an analysis of the rhetorical structure of the epistle is offered, followed by a brief assessment of Hartlib's attitude towards Descartes, and the identification of his source concerning the news of the philosopher's death. An account of the transmission of the letter via a nineteenth-century periodical is also provided. The text of Hartlib's letter and an overlooked passage of Hartlib's diary concerning Descartes's death, which draws on the content of the More letter, are presented as appendixes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-372
Number of pages12
JournalNotes and Records
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cartesianism
  • Henry More
  • Johannes Hevelius
  • Networks
  • René Descartes
  • Samuel Hartlib

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