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For the Love of Science

The Correspondence of J. H. de Magellan (1722–1790), in two volumes

Edited By Roderick W. Home, Isabel M. Malaquias and Manuel F. Thomaz

From his base in late eighteenth-century London, J. H. de Magellan corresponded with leading scientists and others in many parts of Europe, informing them of developments in British science and technology in the early years of the Industrial and Agricultural Revolutions. Intelligent, ingenious and interested in everything going on around him, Magellan was deeply committed to the Enlightenment view that the benefits flowing from human ingenuity should be made available to all mankind. Well connected both socially and within the scientific community, he made it his business to keep himself well informed about the latest advances in science and technology, and to pass on what he learned. In this remarkable correspondence, the metaphorical Republic of Letters becomes real, offering us a fascinating new view of pan-European intellectual and scientific life. Major themes are developments in scientific instrumentation and in chemistry, and the spread of steam-engine technology from England to the rest of Europe. Ranging from Stockholm and St Petersburg to Spain, Portugal and Philadelphia, the list of Magellan’s correspondents is a roll-call of the scientific luminaries of the age.

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Transcriptions are made up of the following elements:

Item number entry. Each item has a unique number based on the date of the item, e. g. 77.06.27a = second item of date 27 June 1777. Incomplete elements of the date are represented by ‘00’ e. g. 69.06.00 = item of date June 1769. Item numbers are used in cross-references in the footnotes.

Correspondent entry. Provides information on the individual(s) to whom the item is addressed or from whom it comes, e. g. To Louis-Henri Duchesne, or gives a descriptive title e. g. Bill of Exchange.

Location entry. The archival source of the item, e. g. Öffentliche Bibliothek der Universität Basel, MS L I a 709, f. 72. Where the item is known only in a published form, details of the publication are given in a footnote.

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