Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure: List of Learned Societies, 29 December 1801

List of Learned Societies

In our Library

Transactions orderd for

Royal Academy of Sciences Turin. See below

Society of Milan—We have of the Transactions of the Patriotick Society of Agriculture, Arts & Manufactures Milan 1783 Vol 1 pt. 1. only

Society of Bologna See below

Society of Florence—we have nothing of this Society

Academy of Mexico—Mr Irujo thinks there is a University where the Arts &c. are taught—but no Society so called

Academy of Lyons—M. De nemours thinks there is now a Lycèe

Academy of Rouen

Royal academy of Belles Lettres at Seville—almost expired under this Title

Society for promoting Arts Manufac & Commerce London } Supposed1
Society for Idem—Arts & Manufactures— do.

We have of Turin Memoires

5 Vol old Series from 1759 a 1773 Inclusive

5 Vol. new Series 1784 to 1791 Inclusive

Also. Memorie dè Matematica e fysica de la Società Italiana

Vol 1 Vol 2 pt 1 Vol 2. pt 2
Verona. 1782 Verona 1784 Vera: 1784

Also Raccolta d’opucoli sulle Scienze e sulle artè Tome 1 Milan 1779

Also. De Bononiensi Scientiarium et artium Instituto atque Academia Conmentarii

Vol 1 2 in 3 pts 3 4  
1748 1745.6.7 1755 1757 printed Bononice. So far Complete

MS (DLC); in Vaughan’s hand, probably written in stages, with his notations added to the list of societies; endorsed by TJ as received 9 Jan. 1802.

Exchanges of information and published transactions between the American Philosophical Society and the scientific group at Turin began in 1773. The Turin organization began as a private scientific society in 1757, publishing its first volume of papers two years later, and in 1783 became a royal academy with financial support from the monarchy of the Two Sicilies. From its inception, the society at Turin communicated with a wider scientific community, and Joseph Priestley and Benjamin Franklin were among its foreign members. In the 1780s, the new Società Patriotica of Milan began to exchange publications with the APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends . Franklin and Benjamin Rush were made corresponding members of the Milan association. The science academy of the institute at Bologna, which developed from some earlier societies, was founded in 1714. It began to receive support from the Vatican in the 1740s. The academy’s publication was De Bononiensi Scientiarum et Artium Instituto atque Academia Commentarii. In 1773, Philip Mazzei acted as courier in the initiation of correspondence between the APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends and the academies at Bologna and Turin. Florence in the seventeenth century had been the site of one of the most significant societies, the Accademia del Cimento. In the eighteenth century, the Reale Accademia dei Georgofili, which concentrated on economics, agriculture, and some science, began in Florence as a private society and was chartered as an official academy in 1767. The Academia Botanica, a group that began to meet in Florence in 1739 and was devoted to natural history, merged with the Georgofili organization in 1783. The Italian learned societies went through changes during and following the French Revolution. The academies at Milan and Florence did not survive the disruptions in Europe. The institution at Turin was closed from 1792 to 1801. The academy at Bologna became, under French influence, a national institute for a number of years (James E. McClellan III, Science Reorganized: Scientific Societies in the Eighteenth Century [New York, 1985], 44–9, 99–104, 127–31, 173, 264, 269, 279, 284–5; Antonio Pace, “The American Philosophical Society and Italy,” APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Proceedings, 90 [1946], 389–90, 391, 395, 397, 399, 409, 411–12; APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Transactions, 3 [1793], 355–6, 358).

The university in Mexico, modeled on the one at Salamanca, Spain, and authorized by royal decree, had been in existence since the middle of the sixteenth century (Agueda María Rodríguez Cruz, Historia de las Universidades Hispanoamericanas: Periodo Hispanico, 2 vols. [Bogotá, 1973], 1:249–50).

In France, academies at Lyons and Rouen had ceased to function in 1793. The association at Lyons had met first as a private learned society, receiving letters patent in 1724, then royal patronage, and finally the status of an academy in the 1750s. The academy developed a library and collections of natural history specimens, came to foster work in practical technology as well as pure science, offered prizes, and sponsored a ballooning experiment in 1783. It published one volume of Mémoires couronnés in the 1780s, but apparently did not establish regular communication with the APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends . At Rouen, a society devoted to science and the arts began in the 1730s, formed an academy in 1744, and received the patronage of the French crown, but never published its minutes or papers. A plan to form an association of the learned societies of the French provinces, an idea that originated in the Rouen academy in the 1770s, never came to fruition (McClellan, Science Reorganized, 98, 112, 134, 183–4, 271–2, 277, 325n).

Seville: the Academia Sevillana de Buenas Letras had its origins in Sevilla in 1751 and received support from the Spanish crown soon thereafter. The academy suspended its meetings for a time in 1800–1801 due to the yellow fever epidemic in southern Spain. The election of some new members helped reinvigorate the group, but the academy ceased to function in 1808 after France invaded Spain. There was no academy in Spain dedicated to the natural and physical sciences until later in the nineteenth century (Francisco Aguilar Piñal, La Real Academia Sevillana de Buenas Letras en el Siglo XVIII [Madrid, 1966], 79–83, 92–9, 176–84; Joseph C. Kiger, ed., International Encyclopedia of Learned Societies and Academies [Westport, Conn., 1993], 258, 261–2).

Observing that prizes and premiums awarded at races and horse fairs stimulated the improvement of horse stock, William Shipley believed that innovations in the practical arts should be promoted by similar means. Shipley proposed the formation of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, which was organized in London in 1754 ([James Theobald], A Concise Account of the Rise, Progress, and Present State of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce [London, 1763], 1–12; D. G. C. Allan, “The Society of Arts and Government, 1754–1800: Public Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce in Eighteenth-Century England,” Eighteenth-Century Studies, 7 [1974], 434–6).

Anton Maria Lorgna, who hoped that there might one day be a single learned society for Italians, established the Società Italiana delle Scienze at Verona in 1782. Franklin was made an honorary member of the society. Both the Società Italiana and its publication, the Memorie di Matematica e di Fisica, ceased with Lorgna’s death in 1796, although the society was revived in the nineteenth century (McClellan, Science Reorganized, 133, 187, 291; Pace, “American Philosophical Society and Italy,” 391, 397, 399, 406, 407).

Raccolta: the Raccolta d’Opuscoli sulle Scienze e sulle Arti was a compilation of articles issued at Milan in 1779.

1Vaughan began to write something below this word, perhaps the beginning of “th,” but did not complete the action.

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