Meetings of the Royal Society, 1699-1702 Spread 0

Meetings of the Royal Society, 1699-1702 Spread 0 cover

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Sir Hans Sloane’s secretarial minute books of Royal Society meetings

From the day of their first meeting on 28th November 1660, Fellows of the Royal Society minuted their meetings for circulation and for posterity. Written by secretaries, clerks and Fellows, the minutes are a record of science at the Royal Society in its most original form.

This collection is composed of five volumes of draft versions of the minutes, apparently taken during the meetings. Dating from 1685 to 1711, they cover the Presidency of Samuel Pepys (PRS 1684-1686), the publication of Principia Mathematica (1687) and the early years of Sir Isaac Newton’s Presidency (PRS 1703-1727). The bulk of the manuscripts appear to have been compiled by, or on behalf of, Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753). Sloane served as Secretary, then President, of the Royal Society. An avid collector, his cabinets were bequeathed to the nation to give birth to the British Museum, and eventually, to its daughter institutions the British Library and the Natural History Museum. Sloane was also instrumental in the perpetual establishment of Chelsea Physics Garden.

Some of these minutes have been attributed to Richard Waller (1655-1715) and Thomas Gale (1635-1702), both of whom served as Secretary during the period. The volumes contain summaries of Fellows discussing experiments, publications and natural curiosities. Browse and eavesdrop on the conversations between Sir Isaac Newton, Edmond Halley, Sir Hans Sloane and some important scientists at the turn of the 18th century.