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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IX. From Steele and Addison to Pope and Swift.

XV. Education

§ 25. Foundation of the Royal Society

The origin of the Royal society has already been told. Sprat, in his History of the Royal Society (1667), while protesting that the new institution is in no sense a rival to the universities, goes on to say that it could not be injurious to them “without horrible ingratitude, seeing that in them it had been principally cherished and revived.” In 1659, Robert Boyle brought from Strassburg the chemist, Peter Stael, who taught his science in Oxford at different times between that date and 1670. Though in no sense connected with the university, his classes attracted men of every sort of standing, above the undergraduate. In 1663, Anthony à Wood and John Locke were fellow-members of Stael’s “chemical-club.” Edward Lhwyd and his Cambridge friend John Ray were only less interested in philology than they were in natural history.