Not content with having given us fantastic English translations of all the key 17th century VMs-related documents, my old friend Philip Neal has found a new VMs-related letter.
Sensibly, he was looking in the Kircher correspondence archives when he found a new letter by Godefridus Kinner to Kircher [recto and verso]: more usefully, here are links to his transcription, translation and notes.
I think Philip’s translation skillfully keeps the charm of the letter (and the wheeziness of the letter-writer) intact. The direct linking of Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis (and its apparent duplication by the king’s Royal Society) with the new societies in Germany, and the comparisons with the follies of alchemy and judicial astrology left me with a curious sensation of speed, as though someone had just opened the door to a dusty medieval room for a modern breeze to sweep rapidly through it. It was even clear to Kinner that the times certainly were a-changing.
As a nice aside, Philip points out that “one problem [this letter[ solves is the date of the Beinecke letter: 1665 and not 1666“. As always, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step: even something as tiny like this may ultimately yield a surprisingly fine result, who knows?