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"And Knowledge Shall Be Increased": Bacon, The Royal Society And Travel Literature

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Chapter Summary

Bacon passed on the pursuit of knowledge of the world through scientific experiment and the study of travellers' observations as a dual research project to the Royal Society. The Royal Society made a serious attempt to make a systematic study of travel literature and to encourage travellers to send first hand reports to the Society. In pursuing the work on travel literature Locke was very much following the example of Robert Boyle who may in turn have acquired an interest in exploration from Samuel Hartlib who was influenced by Bacon. When Locke announced to the reader that he would employ the "Historical plain Method" in his Essay he was signalling that he would use the method that Hooke described in the Micrographia and Sprat recommended in his History of the Royal Society as suitable for scientific investigation. The licence for Churchills' Travels was issued in 1700.

Keywords: Churchills' Travels; Francis Bacon; Locke's Essay; pursuit of knowledge; Robert Boyle; Robert Hooke; Royal Society; Samuel Hartlib; Thomas Sprat; travel literature



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