Sep 15 2010

Science is Vital – history repeating 1667

I’m reading Thomas Sprat’s “History of the Royal Society of London, for the improving of Natural Knowledge“* published in 1667. He’s just mentioned that following the return of Charles II much spending has been made on public works and goes on to say:

This general Temper being well weigh’d; it cannot be imagin’d that the Nation will withdraw its Assistance from the Royal Society alone; which does not intend to stop at some particular Benefit but goes to the Root of all noble Inventions, and proposes an infallible Course to make England the Glory of the Western World.

This seems terribly relevant to current circumstances, he does spoil it slightly by going on to say:

There is scarce any Thing has more hindered the true Philosophy than a Vain Opinion, that men have taken up, that Nothing could be done in it, to any purpose, but upon a vast Charge, and a mighty Revenue.

 Old Sprat had a fine way with words!

*Quotes are from p78-79


  1. The Gentleman Administrator

    He has a great style doesn't he, its a surprisingly readable book! Perhaps we should mail that page off to Vince Cable eh?

  2. SomeBeans

    @GentlemanAdmn – yes, it is surprisingly readable. It's my first serious go at text from this period, and once you get past the "long s" problem it is pretty readable.

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