Ted Hand historian of alchemy drew my attention, through a tweet, to the Camden Society’s 1842 edition of the Diary of John Dee. This diary contains one reference to Thomas Digges in the entry for 1593, which reads as follows:
I borrowed £10 of Mr. Thomas Digges for one hole yere
To this simple statement the editor, a Mr James Orchard Halliwell Esq. F.R.S, appended the following footnote:
This notice is particularly interesting, showing the intimate connexion which existed between the first English mathematician of the day and the philosopher of Mortlake.
This footnote is interesting for its complete lack of knowledge of the relationship between Dee and Digges. Halliwell is, as I interpret it, saying look Dee, the philosopher of Mortlake, is on good terms with England’s leading mathematician, Digges, is that not wonderful? He appears to be blithely ignorant of the fact that Thomas Digges was John Dee’s foster son. Dee took over the care of Thomas when his father, Dee’s friend Leonard, died as Thomas was about fourteen years old in 1559. In a letter of 1573 Dee referred to his foster son as:
‘charissimus mihi juvenis, mathematicusque meus dignissimus hæres’