Benjamin Franklin Papers

Société Royale de Médecine, Franklin’s Certificate of Membership, 17 June 1777: résumé

Société Royale de Médecine:6 Franklin’s Certificate of Membership

DS: American Philosophical Society

<Extracts of the minutes of the Society, June 17, 1777, in Latin: Progress in the natural sciences depends on the scholarly exchange of advice and observations. This is particularly true in medicine, which has been called the daughter of time; here philosophes must communicate whatever they think worthy of note. For that purpose the King in council, on April 29, 1776, created the Society, through which the eminent physicians and physicists of Europe might pool information about epidemics and other scourges in every country. The Society has selected members and correspondents in France, and now wishes to enlist foreign physicists. It unanimously elects you, so prominent in the natural sciences that are relevant to medicine, so well known for your inventions, and so famous throughout the world for your virtues and magnanimity, and sends you through its president this certificate of membership. Signed by Lassone as permanent president and attested by Vicq d’Azyr as permanent secretary and vice-director.7>

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6One of the functions of the Society was to render local assistance in epidemics and epizooties or animal epidemics; it also awarded semiannual prizes. Its French members were divided into three classes, and it had sixty foreign associates and an unlimited number of corresponding members. Almanach royal for 1781, p. 517. BF was elected in this last category.

7Joseph-Marie-François de Lassone (1717–88) and Félix Vicq d’Azyr (1748–94) had been the chief movers in establishing the Society. The former, physician to the King and Queen, was at the top of his profession, and the latter was an outstanding anatomist; both were members, with BF, of the Académie royale des sciences. Larousse, Dictionnaire universel.

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