Published online by Cambridge University Press: 29 August 2010
To Sir J. Herschel.
5 Upper Gower Street, Oct. 16, 1832.
My dear Sir John,—I have just duly received your Catalogue, which must in course of things be the first paper ordered for press, after those already so disposed of. I shall be very much obliged to you for all you have offered on the Catalogue, the Comet, and the Herscheliana. The crumbs which fall from a rich man's table are good—astronomically, whatever they may be gastronomically.
Have you got, or do you know anything of, Bouillaud's or Bullialdi's Astronomia Philolaica? There is a copy in the British Museum which wants the Prolegomena, which is the very part I want. The matter has reference to Vieta's Harmonicon Celeste, which has been supposed to be lost, and which I have a faint hope might be recovered. Bouillaud is reported to say that somebody stole it from Mersenne, and certainly Vossius quotes words to that effect from the Prolegomena. But my good friend M. Hachette assures me that this is a mistake, and that Bouillaud, in his unpublished MS. at Paris, says that he himself lent Vieta's MSS. to Leopold, Duke of Tuscany. If this be true, some library at Florence may yet contain it. I am the more inclined to hope this, as Schootten, in the Preface to Vieta, gives as his reason for omitting the Harmonicon Celeste, not that no copy was to be had, but that the only one he could get appeared imperfect.