The Society for Useful Knowledge: How Benjamin Franklin and Friends Brought the Enlightenment to America

By Jonathan Lyons

Benjamin Franklin and his contemporaries introduced the Enlightenment to America--an highbrow revolution that laid the root for the political person who undefined. With the "first Drudgery" of settling the yank colonies now good and really previous, Franklin introduced in 1743, it used to be excessive time that the colonists set approximately enhancing the lot of humankind via collaborative inquiry. From Franklin's suggestion emerged the yank Philosophical Society, an organization hosted in Philadelphia and devoted to the harnessing of man's highbrow and inventive powers for the typical stable. The animus in the back of the Society used to be and is a disarmingly uncomplicated one-that the price of data is without delay proportional to its software. this easy notion has left a profound mark on American society and tradition and at the very suggestion of the US itself-and via the US, at the international as a whole.

From celebrated historian of information Jonathan Lyons comes The Society for important Knowledge, telling the tale of America's coming-of-age via its old love affair with functional invention, utilized technology, and self-reliance. providing clean, unique images of figures like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Rush, and the inimitable, without end artistic Franklin, Lyons supplies us important new standpoint at the American founding. He illustrates how the flow for invaluable wisdom is vital to figuring out the move of yank society and tradition from colonial occasions to our electronic present.

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50 BF to Peter Collinson, March 28, 1747. fifty one BF to Peter Collinson, may perhaps 25, 1747. fifty two BF to Cadwallader Colden, September 29, 1748. fifty three BF, “Promoting helpful Knowledge,” PBF, 2: 381–82. fifty four Ibid. , 380. Notes to bankruptcy 4: helpful wisdom 1 Quoted in Weld, background, 2: 30. 2 Francis Bacon, The Philosophical Works of Francis Bacon, ed. John M. Robertson (London: Routledge, 1905), 262. three Ibid. , 262, 250. four Jones, Ancients and Moderns, 30–40. five Bacon, Philosophical Works, seventy six. 6 Francis Bacon, Novum Organum, quoted in Margery Purver, The Royal Society: proposal and production (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1967), 35. 7 Bacon, Philosophical Works, seventy nine. eight Sprat, Royal Society, 35–36. nine Ibid. , sixty two. 10 Ralph S. Bates, medical Societies within the usa, third variation (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1965), 1–2. eleven Ornstein, medical Societies, four, 12. 12 an entire textual content of the 1st constitution is obtainable at http://royalsociety. org/uploadedFiles/Royal_Society_Content/about-us/history/Charter1_English. pdf. final accessed November 29, 2012. thirteen Quoted in Weld, 1: 137, 146. For a dialogue of the Royal Society’s early utilitarian leanings, see Stearns, technological know-how within the British Colonies, 90–93. 14 George Fox, The magazine of George Fox, seventh variation (London: W. and F. G. funds, 1852), 1: fifty three. 15 William Penn, The Witness of William Penn, ed. Frederick B. Tolles and E. Gordon Alderfer (New York: Macmillan, 1957), 42–43, quoted in Greaves, forty three. sixteen Penn, Passages, 259. 17 Purver, Royal Society, sixty three. 18 Joseph Glanvill, Plus extremely, or the development and development of data because the Days of Aristotle (London: James Collins, 1668), sixty five. 19 Robert Hooke, Micrographia, or, a few Physiological Descriptions of Minute our bodies Made through Magnifying Glasses [1665] (Mineola, long island: Dover, 2003), xlii, mentioned in Ornstein, 117, n75. 20 John Locke, An Essay referring to Humane figuring out [1690] (London: T. Tegg, 1836), ix. 21 William Petty, “The suggestion of W. P. to Mr. Samuel Hartlib, for the development of a few specific components of studying” [1648], in Harleian Miscellany (London: Robert Dutton, 1810), 6: 156. 22 William Walwyn, The Compassionate Samaritane (London: NP, 1644), 36–37, quoted in Greaves, forty two. 23 Henry Oldenburg to John Winthrop the more youthful, quoted in Stearns, one hundred fifty, n66. 24 Stearns, 120–25. 25 John Winthrop the more youthful to Henry Oldenburg, November 12, 1668, in Correspondence of Hartlib, Haak, Oldenburg and Others of the Royal Society with Governor Winthrop of Connecticut, 1661–1672, ed. Robert C. Winthrop (Boston: John Wilson, 1878), 34–35. 26 de Crèvecoeur, Letters, 265. 27 William Bartram, Travels, and different Writings [1773–1777] (New York: Library of the United States, 1996), 577. 28 Ernest Earnest, John and William Bartram: Botanists and Explorers (Philadelphia: collage of Pennsylvania, 1940), 22–23. 29 Ibid. , 24. 30 PG, March 17, 1742. 31 Silvio A. Bedini, on the signal of the Compass and Quadrant: The existence and instances of Anthony Lamb (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1984), 41–42. Godfrey later acquired the credits that used to be due him. 32 John Bartram to Peter Collinson, November three, 1754, MJB, 196.

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