Kant: Briefwechsel, Brief 466, An Iohann Friedrich Gensichen.






  An Iohann Friedrich Gensichen.      
  19. April 1791.      
  Magister Gensichen Esq.      
  Sir, you would have given in your dissertation, to every one what is owing      
  to him with regard to the history of the astronomical knowledges, if at theend      
  of your work, you would please to discriminate of that, what belongs to later      
  ones and to remark that, what, though little and containing more happy conjetures      
  than arguments, is however mine.      
  Ist That the representation of the milky way, as a system of moving suns      
  resembling our planetary system, is given by me, six years before the similar      
  one, published by Lambert in his cosmological letters.      
  2nd That the representation of the foggy stars, as a like number remote      
  milky ways is not, as Erxleben says in his natural philosophy 1772 p. 540,      
  and as is still extant in the new edition, augmented by the counsellor Lichtenberg      
  as an idea, ventured by Lambert, who rather supposed them (at least one of      
  them) to be obscure bodies, illuminated by neighboring suns.      
  3rd That I have represented a long time ago, very nearly to that, what      
  recent observations have taught, the production and conservation of the ring of      
  Saturn, according to mere laws of the centripetal force, which appears now to      
  be so well confirmed, viz: a mist, moving round its centre, (which in the same      
  time is that of Saturn), which is composed of particles, not steady, but independently      
  revolving and performing their orbits in times, different according to      
  their distance from the centre; whereby at once the time of Saturn's revolution      
  on its axis, which I inferred from it, and its flatness, seem to be ratified.      
  4th That this agreement of the theory of the production of yon ring from      
  a vaporous matter, moving after the laws of the centripetal force, is somewhat      
  favorable to the theory of the production of the great globes themselves according      
  to the same laws, except that their property of rotation is originally produced      
  by the fall of this dispersed substance by the general gravity. It does      
  so chiefly, if the later opinion, added as supplement to the theory of the      
  heavens, which is approved by the important applause of Mr. Lichtenberg, is      
  connected with it, that: yon prime matter, vaporously dispersed through the      
  universe, which contained all stuffs of an innumerable variety in an elastic      
  state, forming the globes, effected it only in this manner, that the matters of      
  any chemical affinity, if in their course, they met together according to the      
  laws of gravitation, destroyed mutually their elasticity, produced by its bodies      
  and in them that heat, joined in the larger globes, (the suns) externally with      
  the illuminated property, in the smaller ones (the planets) with the interior heat.      
  In the same time I beg you to entitle the appendix about in the following manner.      
  Occasion of it.      
  The apprehension, that several inquiries, both public and private, for      
  Kant's natural history and theory of the heavens, Michael 1755, might occasion      
  any unbidden new edition of it, moved its author to propose to me, to make      
  an extract of it, containing the most essential, however with regard to the great      
  progress of astronomy since its publication; with I lay down here, after his      
  review and with his approbation.      
  Here follows the extract.      
  Besides I beseech you, not to be offended at the trouble, I occasion you;      
  and to favor me with your company, if possible, tomorrow at the dinner.      
    I. Kant      
    Apr. 19. 1791.      

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