The letter of Athanasius Kircher to Theodorus Moretus (1639)
Reverend Father in Christ. The peace of Christ be with you.
From your reverence’s letter which recently arrived here (and I can hardly say how absolutely delighted I was with it) it has become glaringly obvious that your reverence has declared some sort of war of kind words on me and hopes not just to subdue me in our exchange of favours but utterly overcome me and put me in bonds of obligation to himself. I must definitely raise the white flag in this admirable conflict, as my limitations will not permit me to come out on top.
And now, the observations on magnetism which you sent me with your letter attracted my mind so strongly that I found myself in complete and utter agreement with your views, and this convergence of our minds suffices to demonstrate that there is something magnetic lurking in the world which binds like minds together, just as all things are bound by the Heracleotic [cosmic] chain, seeing you are in such complete agreement with me. Your observations are eminently suited to my chapter, which would be published giving all due credit to your name.
As for the book filled with some sort of mysterious steganography which you enclosed with your letter, I have looked at it and have concluded that it requires application rather than insight in its solver. I can recall solving many writings of this kind when the occasion presented itself, and the itch of my mind working would have tried out some ideas on it if only many very urgent tasks did not call me away from unsuitable work of this kind. However, when I have more free time and can take advantage of a more suitable moment, I expect I shall try to solve it when the mood and inspiration take me.
Finally, I can let you know that the other sheet which appeared to be written in the same unknown script is printed in the Illyrian language in the script commonly called St Jerome’s, and they use the same script here in Rome to print missals and other holy books in the Illyrian language.
As for the measurements of different foot lengths which you were no doubt eagerly awaiting, I will say nothing for now, since I have not yet received replies from Sicily and elsewhere. When I receive them, I shall send them to your reverence at once with a longer letter.
All that remains, therefore, is for me to commend myself to your reverence’s holy sacrifices and prayers.
Your servant in Christ, Athanasius Kircher
You will surely not mind my sending my humble greetings to the reverend father Santinus and our other acquaintances.