Contributing to the Scientific Method

Account of the monthly inquires to the Royal Society.

The correspondences to the Society were often advertised in other publications. This advertisement is from December 1701.

The reading and discussion of scientific letters at the Royal Society meetings contributed to the intellectual vitality of the Society, allowing for geographically remote individuals to engage in new and current science. The Royal Society encouraged the solicitation and collecting of matters of facts from observations outside of London. A new scientific method developed wherein the Royal Society acted as a central collection center.  As a scientific method, correspondence was complemented by the natural sciences, allowing for an influx of observations based on factual evidence. Though the use of correspondence bolstered the collection of the Royal Society it also had limitations of reliability and credibility. John Bartram and Hans Sloane’s relationship never came to a physical meeting between the two. Through Peter Collinson,  John Bartram would be recognized as an international contributor to the natural sciences and foremost authority on American botnary. Hans Sloane’s reshaping of the Societies’ failing correspondence system allowed for the influx of new discussion to be filtered through the hands of its members. The affirmation of a powerful entity such as the Royal Society was a legitimizing factor in the success of individuals whose scientific work took place on the peripheries of the early colonies or elsewhere abroad in Europe; however, the failure of the society to consider African or indigenous information was a massive disservice to the advancement of scientific community.

 The literature associated with early Atlantic natural history provides a multifaceted response to the disenfranchised and forgotten contributions of African imports and indigenous people while maintaining popular narratives that attempt to paint a complete and unified picture. The modern scholarly interpretation of Hans Sloane and the field that he contributed to is plagued by a lack of representation of the minority classes that contributed to colonial botany and the natural sciences.