Erasmus Darwin - Lunar Society

Lunar Society

The Lunar Society: these dates indicate the year in which Darwin became friends with these people, who, in turn, became members of the Lunar Society. The Lunar Society existed from 1765 to 1813.

Before 1765:

  • Matthew Boulton, originally a buckle maker in Birmingham
  • John Whitehurst of Derby, maker of clocks and scientific instruments, pioneer of geology

After 1765:

  • Josiah Wedgwood, potter 1765
  • Dr. William Small, 1765, man of science, formerly Professor of Natural Philosophy at the College of William and Mary, where Thomas Jefferson was an appreciative pupil
  • Richard Lovell Edgeworth, 1766, inventor
  • James Watt, 1767, improver of steam engine
  • James Keir, 1767, pioneer of the chemical industry
  • Thomas Day, 1768, eccentric and author
  • Dr. William Withering, 1775, the death of Dr. Small left an opening for a physician in the group.
  • Joseph Priestley, 1780, experimental chemist and discoverer of many substances.
  • Samuel Galton, 1782, a Quaker gunmaker with a taste for science, took Darwin's place after Darwin moved to Derby.

Darwin also established a lifelong friendship with Benjamin Franklin, who shared Darwin's support for the American and French revolutions. The Lunar Society was instrumental as an intellectual driving force behind England's Industrial Revolution.

The members of the Lunar Society, and especially Darwin, opposed the slave trade. He attacked it in The Botanic Garden (1789–1791), and in The Loves of Plants (1789) and The Economy of Vegetation (1791).

Read more about this topic:  Erasmus Darwin

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... By the second half of the century the town's leading thinkers – particularly members of the Lunar Society of Birmingham such as Joseph Priestley, James Keir, Matthew ... The Lunar Society was "the most important private scientific association in eighteenth-century England" and the Midlands Enlightenment "dominated the English experience of enlightenment", but also ... Nonconformist phenomenon the members of the Lunar Society had a wide range of religious backgrounds, and Anglicans formed a majority of all sections of Birmingham ...
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... In late 1780 the nature of the society was to change again with the move to Birmingham of Joseph Priestley ... Shortly after his arrival Lunar meetings moved from Sunday afternoons to Mondays to accommodate Priestley's duties as a clergyman, while the society's dependence ... The result was to be the society's most productive era ...

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