… as it’s just so … Looking at the wiki-list with people of the name “Hardy” I found Claude HARDY (Ger., Fr.) (1598 or 1604-1678), a mathematician and very talented linguist who is said to have been in command of 36 languages. He published his first book at the tender age of nine years, a translation of a text by ERASMUS’ under the title De la civilité morale des enfants. HARDY works as lawyer in Paris, at least from the mid-1620s on; he is a sought -after translator and specialised in mathematical treatises. He is connected with the learned circle around Marine MERSENNE (Ger., Eng.) (1588-1648), knows DESCARTES (Ger., Eng., SEP) (1596-1650) and Blaise PASCAL (Ger., Eng., SEP) (1623-1662). After DESCARTES’ death we hear nothing else about HARDY until his death twenty-five years later.
What piqued my curiosity is the last sentence in the biographical articles that mentions that he conducted alchemical experiments together with Annibal BARLET, who taught alchemy in Paris, and Pierre BOREL (Ger., Eng.) (1620-1671) – after all physician (Médecin ordinaire du Roi) to Louis XIV. since 1654. He brought together a very large hermetic library containing * around four thousands books and manuscripts.
BARLET wrote a book about the art of chemistry (Le vray et methodiqve covrs de la physiqve resolvtive, vvlgairement dite chymie. Representé par figures generales & particulieres. Povr connoistre la theotechnie ergocosmiqve, c’est à dire, l’art de Diev, en l’ovvrage de l’vnivers, Paris 1657*, link, woodcut, woodcut), that is characterized in the Getty image database as “for the most part good practical pharmaceutical chemistry”.
It is also mentioned there that one of the visitors of his science classes was the diarist John EVELYN (Ger., Eng.) (1620-1706), also an avid book collector. The manuscript of his diary is in the BL and not online accessible, there have been some editions**. He covers the years between 1641 and the late 1690s, so he certainly writes about his stay in Paris, and I wonder whether he describes some of the experiments he seemingly had witnessed***.
Where does this lead to? Nowhere; and it’s not intended to do so; it’s just an aimless rambling in the 17th century.
What happened to all these books?
* Because this was googelised it is not in the Europeana, here.
** Link to the edition by William BRAY (1879), pdf-isised by google, accessible via the Bodleiana.
*** Up to now I found no mention of alchemical experiments there, ach …