Early Atlantic Naturalism: A Cultivation of National Identity

Philosophical Transactions No. 474 Table II

Fig. 1 is related to John Bartram's 1744 letter sent to Peter Collinson which would be publish in Philosophical Transactions No. 474.

Vultur Gallinae Africanae facie

An engraving of a crow in Hans Sloane's second volume of Voyage to the Islands. 

This exhibit is intended to analyze the conditions of wealth, correspondence, and positional power in the context of early Atlantic naturalism, and to discern the motives that contributed to various expeditions. The exhibit will feature two individuals who greatly advanced the field of natural science and whose efforts contributed to the global emergence of national, scientific identities. 

This exhibit will compare and contrast the scientific lives of Hans Sloane and John Bartram in an attempt to enrich the existing discourse about the field of natural history in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  Historians of early Atlantic naturalism have shown great interest in the relationships between colonizers and victims of colonization. Two principle relationships that form as a result of this interest are the economic prosperity of the colonizers and the cultural destruction of the indigenous populations. The authors seek to find trends that explain the necessity for new information both useful in colonies and in Europe. Hans Sloane’s reputation hinges on his obsessive collection of items that would be the foundation for the British  Museum, the British Library, and the Natural History Museum. However this exhibit will focus on Hans Sloane’s utilization of positional authority to maintain a global correspondence of scientific contributors.