Clarence Miller Jones to Jane Addams, June 14, 1917

"nil dictum quod non dictum prius."
-- argo, "Litera sat sapienti' = "quod dictum prius."

14, June, 1917.

Miss Jane Addams,

Dear Miss:

I am requested by one who says that he would dislike very much to be classed with the very common every-day run of sequacious Professors who ... who believe in war[1] and in the uncatholic doctrine of evolution[2] and in so many other kindred ancient and modern heresies, -- am requested by one who professes (or, rather, he would have me say, confesses) that he is the originator, -- or quasi-originator[3], -- of the saying, Litera sat sapienti, -- am requested by him who says (though not as a Professor; not as a professional; rather, as an amateur) that he is the author of the epoch-making discovery of the fundamental (spiritual) truth that the holy apostolic name, Peter is a cognate of the Latin infinitive, petere; and, who says that he is the author of the ... the fundamental physical (and spiritual) truth, that the immortal Earth is a nutritory organism; or, in one word, (not biologically but in very deed logically), an animal, -- a truth, by-the-bye, which, he says, gives the coup-de-grâce to the pernicious doctrine of evolution, and its many kindred modern heresies, and which he alleges is

"a truth the babe will suck in with his milk hereafter," [page 2]

-- I am requested to advise you that ... and, he says, by-the-bye, that he is much inclined to believe that the greatest truths are the simplest,[4] and that it seems to him that one of the greatest of all truths is, that the quintessential meaning of the pregnantly (and regnantly) significant word, church, is well denoted by the incontrovertible fact that it is an etymological cognate of the simple English word, search (and French word, cherche; Scotch, kirk; Greek, Kerke; Latin, Circe; German, Kirche; etc ... Cherchez la vérité, he says; et aussi bien, s'il vous plait, la ... la ... la ... la belle femme!) ... he says that he has ascertained that the alleged discovery of a pretended "new element" called "radium" is fraudulent, -- he has found that "radium" belongs in the same logical category with "ghosts", "spooks", etc.

And he has found, he says, that there is a great (increate, pancreate) axiomatic law of universal [vitation], -- superlatively great ([greatest]), -- and a great corollary law of universal [levitation], -- comparatively great ([greater], perhaps than the great law of universal [gravitation]). And he says that he believes that he has made a conquest in the domain of pure physical science, which he believes will compare not unfavorably in importance with the Kepler conquest, [characterized] by the great Carlyle as "grandest Conquest ever made, or to be made (sic), by the Sons of Adam"! (He says that he believes the laws of planetary nutrition are no less worthy of scientific notice than the laws of planetary motion.) [page 3]

And he has found, he says, that the true cause of the epidemical pestilence commonly called infantile paralysis (poliomyelitis anterior in children) is a macro-organism, rather than a micro-organism (Littera sat Sapienti!)

And he says that he has found out the true course of the tides,[5] -- that the fluctuations of the tides are due to the ramifications of arterial currents, such as the Gulf Stream in the North Atlantic, and the [Kuroshio] (Japan Current) in the North Pacific, and that the fluctuations of sap in the trunks and limbs and branches of the entire vegetable kingdom are brought about by the further underground ramifications of those same arterial currents, and that the Greenland Current and Labrador Current are analogous to pulmonary veins, as are the Gulf Stream and the [Kuroshio] analogous to pulmonary arteries, and as are the River Nile and the Mississippi River analogous to a superior (descending) vena cava and an inferior (ascending) vena cava respectively ...

And he has requested me to act as amanuensis for him, and to say that <though> his pen is not the pen of a [ready] writer, he trusts, however, that you will be not unwilling to admit that his heart inditeth a good matter, and that, indeed, with the hearty cooperation of an able helpmeet (such [a] one as Rebecca or Rachel or Sara; preferably a Suffragette) that his pen [might] prove more mighty than the sword of the prophet, or of the Kaiser or of the Old Man of the Mountain or Attila or [Genghis] Khan or Timur-Leng ...[6] Might is [page 4] right; that is, sub ... subjunctive might. And he has requested me to add to this communiqué the copy of a letter which he recently felt impelled to write and send to you, and he has entrusted me with the duty of making a fair copy. And he trusts, he says, that you will not feel any less disposition to believe that he intended to put his whole soul in this matter and to put himself at your feet, than if he had written every word of it with his own hand (which, indeed, he has done, of the entire original). And he trusts, he says, that you will not have been any less pleased with his letter nor any less appreciative of his very good intentions, although for reasons best known to himself (because of circumstances which he knows you would consider more than extenuating) he expects you to understand that the entire letter has been virtually "dictated but not read".

The letter which Mr. Jones was at first impelled to write to you, and which he has asked me to copy verbatim et literatim et punctuatim is as follows, to-wit (see next five pages.)

<Saepe via obliqua praestat quam tendere recta. ("God" {this is, Love} often works in a -- via obliqua!)

Miss Addams: Would you mind, -- say, after having finished with this letter (if it will have interested you) -- then, would you mind sending it all to a certain young lady (rather than having it destroyed, or putting in waste basket) -- a young lady whom the writer admires, -- if he would give you her name and address ...>

[1] War. [wars]; that is, martial war. Verbum sat.

[2] nulla falsa doctrina est, quae non permisceat aliquid veritatis.

[3] Vide ut supra

[4] Veritatis simplex oratio est.

[5] In the year 1738, the Academy of Science at Paris offered prizes for essays on the subject, "The Tides". For his attainments as a savant and as a littérateur and ... and as a Peace Maker, Mr. Jones says that he hopes in due time to have the great honor of being awarded several Nobel prizes.

[6] By saying that he believes in Peace (at any price), Mr. Jones does not wish to be understood as meaning that he would be willing to pay such a price as the loss of self-respect would mean to him. He does mean, however, that he believes it would have been much better for the Belgians, French, et al., to ... to have "turned the other cheek". As a Christian, [page 5] Mr. Jones believes that it is quite right to love one's enemies. He does not believe that it is quite right, however, to wear one's heart on one's sleeve, nor does he believe that is prudent when one happens to be thrown in the company of wolves to be a sheep; nor can he quite see the wisdom in the apparent Tory Federalist policy of playing the part of a very foolish goat (or donkey) <just> for the satisfaction of the British Lion. <you are [Verdidit?]>

"The Lion, seeing a Goat named Liberty skipping about in glad glee upon a steep, craggy mountain height, called to him to come down upon the green pasture where he stood, and where he could enjoy the Freedom of the Seas and feed in much greater comfort. The Goat, who saw through the design of the Lion, replied, 'Many thanks for your advice, dear Lion, but I wonder whether you are thinking most of my comfort or of how you would relish a nice morsel of Goat's flesh.'"