Date: Mar 22, 2000 11:25 AM
Author: Michael S. Mahoney
Subject: Re: [HM] L'Hopital, Pythagoras, Ptolemy and Hilbert

Here's the original proposition, which says nothing about how
l'Hospital might use the material, although it is clear about
what Bernoulli may _not_ do with it. Bernoulli accepted the deal,
but by July he was already complaining about the difficulty of
honoring it in the face of requests from Leibniz and Varignon.

De l'Ho^pital to Johann Bernoulli
Paris, 17 March 1694

<first paragraph omitted>

<i>I shall be pleased to give you a pension of 300 livres</i>,
which will begin from first January of this present year, and I
shall send you two hundred livres for the first half of the year
because of the journals that you have sent me, and the other half
of the year will be for one hundred fifty livres and likewise in
the future. I promise you shortly to increase this pension,
which I know well to be quite modest, and that will be as soon as
my affairs have been straightened out a bit, and I am able to
enjoy the succession [to his title?]; for up to now I have not yet
touched any of it. I am not so unreasonable as to demand for this
all of your time, but I shall beg you to give me at intervals
several hours of your time to work on what I shall ask you and
<i>also to share your discoveries with me</i>, begging you at the
same time not to do so with others. I beg you not even to send here
to Mr. Varignon nor to others copies of the writings that you have
left with me; as soon as they should become public, it will no
longer give me any pleasure. Give me your response to all this,
and believe me , Sir, all yours,

<i>je vous donnerai avec plaisir une pension</i> de trois cent livres,
qui commencera du premier janvier de cette presente anne/e, et je
vous enverrai deux cent livres pour la premiere demie anne/e \a
cause des journaux que vous m'avez envoye/s, et l'autre demie
anne/e sera de cent cinquante livres et ainsi \a l'avenir. je vous
promets d'augmenter dans peu cette pension que je sc,ais bien
estre tres modique, et ce sera si tost que mes affaires seront un
peu debrou"ille/es, et que je pourai jou"ir de la succession; car
jusqu'\a present je n'ai encore rien touch/e. je ne suis pas assez
deraisonnable de demander pour cela tout vo^tre temps, mais je
vous prierai de me donner par intervalles quelques heures de
vo^tres temps, pour travailler sur ce que je vous demanderai et <i>de
me communiquer aussi vos decouvertes</i> en vous priant en mesme
temps de n'en faire point de part \a d'autres. je vous prie mesme
de ne point envoyer ici \a Mr. Varignon ni \a d'autres de copies
des ecrits que vous m'avez laissez; si tost qu'ils seroient
public cela ne me feroit mesme plus de plaisir. faites moi
reponce sur tout ceci et me croyez, Monsieur, tout \a vous.

O. Spiess (ed.), Der Briefwechsel von Johann Bernoulli, Vol I
(Basel: Birkhaeuser Verlag, 1954), p.202. According to the
editor, the italicized passages were underlined in pencil by
Bernoulli in the original.


Michael S. Mahoney Department of History Princeton University 303 Dickinson Hall Princeton, NJ 08544
phone 609-258-4157 fax 609-258-5326
WWW Home Page