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Excerpt from a letter written by Luis Pacheco de Narváez
to the Duke of Cea in Madrid on May 4, 1618.
Translation: Mary Dill Curtis, © 2004
Note: The spellings of names have not been changed from the original text.
To the Duke of Cea
Natural inclination was mine, Excellent Lord, to serve Your Excellency and now obligation requires me, for so many and so well known reasons, to obey that which you have been pleased to order me, regarding that I tell (faithfully) what I think about Geronimo de Carrança's book and state as the most important points, the demonstration that he put on folio 183 that is on 137 of the Compendium that I made of it, and Your Excellency directed. And if the techniques are converted some into others; if there is a double technique that has two blows; and if there is a universal technique and it is the atajo, dedicating to this discourse the agreeable occupation in the intervals of time that offer solitude and freedom from the site of Aranjuez*. And it being inescapable to obey, I will do it, asserting with all truthfulness, that my spirit has never known, nor contained in my spirit ambition nor maliciousness to malign the glory and estimation owed to any Author's works and virtuous studies, on the contrary a real and noble desire that he enjoys the reward of his just praise; and thus that which is stated in this paper should be free of all suspicion since it is not reasonable that it be held of one who refers to the place and cites folio and page.
And with this certainty I say, lord: That Carranza was not the first, nor the only one, that in Europe wrote concerning the destreza, that prior to him were Iayme Pons de Perpiñan, with a seniority of 135 years; Achile Marozo, and Camilo Agripa with 83 years; and afterward in their imitation Angelo Vizani, Giacomo de Grasi, Nicoleto Giganti, Salvador de Fabres, Federico Grisillero, Ioachim Meyer, Maestre Bico, Maestre Claso, Babote, and Marco Diocilini, all foreign masters, so esteemed in their nations, that with highest praise they conserve and seek to perpetuate their memory.
Camilo Agripa was the first that thought to reduce it to science, to use mathematical demonstrations, and to deal with lines and angles. His scant precision and less than mediocre success are not now our purpose, although those of this and the rest of the Authors and those of him that we are going to speak will be given soon to the press. And as many of Carranza's concepts originated from that so defective text, they were born sickly, little founded in the truth, conflicting with each other, and most of them totally opposed to the common reason, to the mathematical and natural philosophy.
*Aranjuez was home to the Royal Forest, and during Phillip II's reign was designated as a Royal Place. It had a palace and an island garden. During the XVII century, the Royal Visits were the center of life there. [Source: "Historia de Aranjuez." Revista de Aranjuez. 2003. http://www.arannet.com/aranjuez/historia1.htm]