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A Budget of Paradoxes, Volume I by De Morgan

Called from his estate de la Leu


Lauder, in his comparison, seems to put himself in the divinely inspired class. This would not be a fair inference in every case; but we know not what to think when we remember that a tolerable number of cyclometers have attributed their knowledge to direct revelation. The works of this class are very scarce; I can only mention one or two from Montucla.[645] Alphonso Cano de Molina,[646] in the last century, upset all Euclid, and squared the circle upon the ruins; he found a follower, Janson, who translated him from Spanish into Latin. He declared that he believed in Euclid, until God, who humbles the proud, taught him better. One Paul Yvon, called from his estate de la Leu, a merchant at Rochelle, supported by his book-keeper, M. Pujos, and a {298} Scotchman, John Dunbar, solved the problem by divine grace, in a manner which was to convert all Jews, Infidels, etc. There seem to have been editions of his work in 1619 and 1628, and a controversial "Examen" in 1630, by Robert Sara. There was a noted discussion, in which Mydorge,[647] Hardy,[648] and others took part against de la Leu. I cannot find this name either in Lipenius[649] or Murhard,[650] and I should not have known the dates if it had not been for one of the keenest bibliographers of any time, my friend Prince Balthasar Boncompagni,[651] who is trying to find copies of the works, and has managed to find copies of the titles. In 1750, Henry Sullamar, an Englishman, squared the circle by the number of the Beast: he published
a pamphlet every two or three years; but I cannot find any mention of him in English works.[652] In France, in 1753, M. de Causans,[653] of the Guards, cut a circular piece of turf, squared it, and {299} deduced original sin and the Trinity. He found out that the circle was equal to the square in which it is inscribed; and he offered a reward for detection of any error, and actually deposited 10,000 francs as earnest of 300,000. But the courts would not allow any one to recover.


1834. In this year Sir John Herschel[654] set up his telescope at Feldhausen, Cape of Good Hope. He did much for astronomy, but not much for the _Budget of Paradoxes_. He gives me, however, the following story. He showed a resident a remarkable blood-red star, and some little time after he heard of a sermon preached in those parts in which it was asserted that the statements of the Bible must be true, for that Sir J. H. had seen in his telescope "the very place where wicked people go."

But red is not always the color. Sir J. Herschel has in his possession a letter written to his father, Sir W. H.,[655] dated April 3, 1787, and signed "Eliza Cumyns," begging to know if any of the stars be _indigo_ in color, "because, if there be, I think it may be deemed a strong conjectural illustration of the expression, so often used by our Saviour in the Holy Gospels, that 'the disobedient shall be cast into outer darkness'; for as the Almighty Being can doubtless confine any of his creatures, whether corporeal or spiritual, to what part of his creation He pleases, if therefore any of the stars (which are beyond all doubt so many suns to other systems) be of so dark a color as that above mentioned, they may be calculated to give the most insufferable heat to those dolorous systems dependent upon them (and to reprobate spirits placed there), without one ray of cheerful light; and may therefore be the scenes of future punishments." This letter is addressed to Dr. Heirschel at Slow. Some have placed the infernal regions inside the earth, but {300} others have filled this internal cavity--for cavity they will have--with refulgent light, and made it the abode of the blessed. It is difficult to build without knowing the number to be provided for. A friend of mine heard the following (part) dialogue between two strong Scotch Calvinists: "Noo! hoo manny d'ye thank there are of the alact on the arth at this moment?--Eh! mabbee a doozen--Hoot! mon! nae so mony as thot!"

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