From Charlotte Fell-Smith’s 1909 book on John Dee

[ From Charlotte Fell-Smith’s 1909 book on John Dee (out of copyright and available on-line (see below)), an excerpt from Dee’s preface to Euclid. Being a mathematician left one open to suspicion (from baser sorts) that one was a sorcerer. Dee was upset. Perhaps indignant is a better word. Fell-Smith writes:]

‘…the astrologer’s defence of himself in the “very fruitfull” preface which he, as the first mathematician of the day, was asked to write to Henry Billingsley’s first English translation of Euclid’s Elements, in February, 1570:

“O my unkind countrymen. O unnatural Countrymen, O unthankfull countrymen, O brainsicke, Rashe, spitefull and disdainfull countrymen. Why oppresse you me thus violently with your slaundering of me, contrary to veritie, and contrary to your own conscience? And I, to this hower, neither by worde, deede or thought, have bene anyway hurtfull, damageable, or injurious to you or yours! Have I so long, so dearly, so farre, so carefully, so painfully, so dangerously fought and travailed for the learning of wisedome and atteyning of vertue, and in the end am I become worse than when I began? Worse than a madman, a dangerous member in the Commonwelath and no Member of the Church of Christ? Call you this to be learned? Call you this to be a philosopher and a lover of wisdome?”’

John Dee by Charlotte Fell-Smith (1909)

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