Jean-Marie Barrande (ed)
Date: 30 January 1711
Translated from the Latin
View this translation in PDF format (11k)
Back to home page
Search texts by category:
MIND, BODY AND SOUL
FREE WILL AND NECESSITY
POLITICS, LAW AND ETHICS
LEIBNIZ TO JOHANN GEORG LIEBKNECHT1
Regarding a piece of petrified wood
I owe you many thanks for sending me that elegant sketch of a piece of petrified or ironified wood; and any more of this kind which will follow by your favour. If learned and inquisitive men from different countries will compare their work, we will know the surface of our globe a little better. I regret that Steno's thoughts on this subject, of which he gave an indication in his little book De solido intra solidum,2 have been forgotten. I do not know if you have seen my study entitled Protogaea, which was published a while ago in the Acta Eruditiorium. In that study, I supposed that our globe had been exposed to fire earlier than water; and that in primordial times it was submerged in water, at the time when the spirit of the lord moved over the waters. Therefore the aforementioned tree trunk, which you mention, hardened later on, and the juices filled with mineral penetrated its trunk. For the rest, farewell and think well of me. Hanover, 30 January 1711.
1. 1679-1749. Professor of theology and mathematics at the university of Giesen.
2. Nicholas Steno, De solido intra solidum naturaliter contento dissertationis prodromus [Forerunner of a dissertation on a solid naturally enclosed within a solid], 1669.
© Lloyd Strickland 2005
With gratitude to John Thorley for advice and suggestions