The efforts of the Aubrey correspondence group to revise John Wilkins’ Essay (1668) and their context
In the aftermath of the publication of John Wilkins’s Essay towards a Real Character and a Philosophical Language (1668), the Royal Society established a committee to consider and develop Wilkins’s proposals, whose members included Seth Ward (1617–89), Robert Hooke (1635–1703), Robert Boyle (1627–1691), John Wallis (1616–1703), John Ray (1627–1705), Christopher Wren (1632–1723) and William Holder (1616–1698). Despite the fact that this committee never reported, work on the Essay did continue, with many of the individual members conducting a detailed correspondence, marshalled by John Aubrey (1626–1697). In addition to the members of the original Royal Society committee, this group’s participants included Francis Lodwick (1619–1694), the Somerset clergyman Andrew Paschall (c.1630–c.1696), and Thomas Pigott (1657–1686), fellow of Wadham College, Oxford. The correspondents could not, however, agree on the best means of advancing the Essay, with the principal bone of contention being the ideas of Seth Ward. Thus, their efforts were eventually fruitless. This article traces the activities of this group and the intellectual milieu in which the revision of Wilkins’s Essay took place.
Published online: 13 June 2002
Cited by 4 other publications
Sacco, Francesco G.
Turner, Olivia Horsfall
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