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      Mineral waters across the Channel: matter theory and natural history from Samuel Duclos's minerallogenesis to Martin Lister's chymical magnetism, ca. 1666–86

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          Abstract

          Our essay analyses a little-known book, Observations sur les eaux minerales des plusieurs provinces de France (1675), which is a study of French mineral waters, commissioned by and conducted at the French Royal Academy of Science (est. 1666). Its author, Samuel Cottereau Duclos (1598–1685), was a senior founding figure of the Academy, its chief chymist and one of its most influential members. We examine Observations with a focus on the changing attitudes towards chymical knowledge and practice in the French Academy and the Royal Society of London in the period 1666–84. Chymistry was a fundamental analytical tool for seventeenth-century natural historians, and, as the work of Lawrence Principe and William Newman has shown, it is central to understanding the ‘long’ Scientific Revolution. Much study has also been done on the developing norms of openness in the dissemination and presentation of scientific, and particularly chymical knowledge in the late seventeenth century, norms that were at odds with traditions of secrecy among individual chymists. Between these two standards a tension arose, evidenced by early modern ‘vociferous criticisms’ of chymical obscurity, with different strategies developed by individual philosophers for negotiating the emergent boundaries between secrecy and openness. Less well studied, however, are the strategies by which not just individuals but also scientific institutions negotiated these boundaries, particularly in the formative years of their public and political reputation in the late seventeenth century. Michael Hunter's recent and welcome study of the ‘decline of magic’ at the Royal Society has to some extent remedied these omissions. Hunter argues that the Society—as a corporate body—disregarded and avoided studies of magical and alchemical subjects in the late seventeenth century. Our examination problematizes these distinctions and presents a more complex picture.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Notes Rec R Soc Lond
          Notes Rec R Soc Lond
          RSNR
          roynotesrec
          Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London
          The Royal Society
          0035-9149
          1743-0178
          20 December 2015
          9 September 2015
          : 69
          : 4
          : 373-394
          Affiliations
          [1 ] School of History and Heritage, University of Lincoln , Brayford Pool, Lincoln LN6 7TS, UK
          [2 ] Program in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, University of Minnesota , 116 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
          Author notes
          [* ]Author for correspondence ( aroos@ 123456lincoln.ac.uk ).
          Article
          PMC4650100 PMC4650100 4650100 rsnr20140066
          10.1098/rsnr.2014.0066
          4650100
          26665487
          bea209e1-2f9c-4f6d-aa92-05e6763e8bd4
          © 2015 The Author(s)

          Published by the Royal Society.

          History
          Categories
          1007
          Research Article

          Samuel Cottereau Duclos,chymistry,the Royal Society,the French Academy,mineral waters,Martin Lister

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