February 27, 1833
I am much amused with your humility about asking a question which no one can answer. No one knows when, or why, these signs were invented.
Frances is deep into research on the signs of the zodiac and names of the stars and constellations. As yet, she has not determined when they were invented and named. That will come later. Meanwhile, she answers her young friend's question in this way:
Sir Isaac Newton thought perhaps the ancient Chiron, if indeed he ever existed and was only a good horseman and not a fabulous monster, might invent them; but Josephus says they were on the stones of the High Priest's breastplate centuries before the Trojan War, and many learned Jewish writer have said that they were borne on the standards of the tribes of Israel.
I have now before me an ancient Rabbinical commentary on the blessing of Jacob, referring most of it to '"King Messiah;" and other Rabbins identify the Bull to Joseph, and the Lion to Judah; the Serpent or Scorpion to Dan, and a Wolf to Benjamin, rest also on ancient Hebrew authorities.
Is it only simple curiosity that spurs her on in her research? No, it is something richer. Her letter continues:
This inquiry has led me to such glorious testimonies of the faith of the ancient Jewish Church in the Divinity and Mediatorial Office of the Blessed Redeemer, that I am fully repaid for years of labour. I find that they attributed all, and even more, of the prophecies to Him, than we have ever done, and their views of "King Messiah" are magnificent.