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(X.) HISTORY - Towards the Dark

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Bianca
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« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2007, 07:54:16 am »








In America, the situation was rather similar. Some attention was paid to the subject at the universities at the turn of the century.

Charles Morton, who had been educated at Oxford during the English Civil War, and left the country in 1686 to become a Presbyterian minister at Charlestown, Massachusetts, had his Compendium physicae accepted at Harvard, where it formed the basis of the study of modern science. While forcefully denying the fortune-telling aspects of astrology, Morton examined the connection between the planets and meteorology, and the influence of their movements on the human body and mind.


"On the whole matter [he concluded], I judge that as to weather and temperatures of our bodies with relations to health or sickness by good observations of prudent and philosophical minds, a useful knowledge might be framed; but for all the rest that is pretended the books written about them might make a curious bonfire according to the primitive pattern ....."


Other Harvard men showed some interest: for instance Samuel Willard, its vice-president between 1701 and 1707, and John Leverett, his successor. Willard pointed out that 'astrologers have had their predictions, that do sometimes fall out right' (a cautious approbation, if approbation it was).

Isaac Greenwood, Harvard's first Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, replaced Morton's Compendium in 1728 with his own Philosophical discourse concerning the mutability and change of the natural world, in which, disapproving ofjudicial astrology, he nevertheless asserted that
tides are produced in the ocean, winds in the atmosphere, many changes in inanimate and animate bodies, and in the human economy itself. Astrology seems to have a philosophical foundation, and we know not how many wonders and mysteries may be the genuine effects of this great alternative in nature.
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