Projecting the Experiment
Science and the Restoration
in From Republic to Restoration
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This chapter examines the fate of Commonwealth-era science during the Restoration through two connected examples: Thomas Sprat’s History of the Royal-Society (1667), and William Petty’s naval project, the ‘Double Bottom’ (1662-1664). In different ways, both examples reveal a similar set of deep ambiguities in the Restoration’s reception of the scientific legacy of the Civil War, Commonwealth, and Protectorate (and in particular of work associated with the Hartlib Circle). In each case, a deliberate excision of political radicalism from the pursuit of productive scientific work is in tension with essential continuities in the nature of the scientific work undertaken, in the articulation of its practical potential, as well as in the problems besetting their execution and preventing their success.

From Republic to Restoration

Legacies and departures

Editor: Janet Clare

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