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Aspall, Geoffrey of (d. 1287), administrator and natural philosopher, took his name from Aspall in Suffolk; his father was a landowner in that county who married a member of the wealthy London family of Bukerel, and he had at least three brothers. Information concerning the dates and place of ...

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Brereton, William, third Baron Brereton of Leighlin (bap. 1631, d. 1680), politician and natural philosopher, was baptized on 4 May 1631 at Brereton, Cheshire, the eldest son of William Brereton, second Baron Brereton (1611–1664), and his wife, Lady Elizabeth (d. 1687), daughter of ...

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Deluc, Jean-André (1727–1817), natural philosopher and politician, was born on 8 February 1727 in Geneva, the elder of the two children of François Deluc, a wealthy watch manufacturer. He was educated by his father, who had published defences of Christianity against Mandeville and other rationalistic writers, and was active in the stormy arena of Genevan politics. ...

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Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) by Joseph Siffred Duplessis, 1778 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931. (32.100.132) Photograph © 1981 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Franklin, Benjamin (1706–1790), natural philosopher, writer, and revolutionary politician in America, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, New England, on 6 January 1706 and baptized later that day. His parents were Josiah Franklin (1657–1745), a tallow chandler and soap maker who had emigrated from ...

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Lower, Sir William (c. 1570–1615), politician and natural philosopher, was the eldest of the six sons of Thomas Lower and his wife, Jane, née Reskimer, minor Cornish gentry of St Winnow, near Lostwithiel. His father 'thrust forth his sonnes to be trayned in martiall knowledge and exercise for the publike service of the country...

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Sir Samuel Morland, first baronet (1625–1695) by Pierre Lombart, pubd 1658 (after Sir Peter Lely) Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

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Morland, Sir Samuel, first baronet (1625–1695), natural philosopher and diplomat, was born in Sulhampstead-Banister, Berkshire, the son of the Revd Thomas Morland (b. 1574/5), the rector, who came from Westmorland; he had two brothers, Thomas and Martin. From 1638 he was educated at ...

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Pettus, Sir John (c. 1613–1685), natural philosopher and politician, was the second son of Sir Augustine Pettus (d. 1613) of Rackheath, Norfolk, and his second wife, Abigail (1592–1673), third daughter of Sir Arthur Heveningham of Ketteringham in the same county. In 1632 he matriculated as a fellow-commoner at ...

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Sir William Petty (1623–1687) by Isaac Fuller, c. 1649–50 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Petty, Sir William (1623–1687), natural philosopher and administrator in Ireland, was born at Romsey, Hampshire, on 26 May 1623, the third child of Anthony Petty (1587–1654), clothier, and his wife, Francesca (d. 1663). In later life Petty was keen to stress the obscurity of his origins in order to exaggerate his spectacular success....

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Robartes, Francis (1649/50–1718), politician and natural philosopher, was baptized on 6 January 1650, the sixth son of John Robartes, second Baron Robartes and later first earl of Radnor (1606–1685), politician, and his second wife, Letitia Isabella (d. 1714), daughter of Sir John Smith...

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Strange, John (1732–1799), natural philosopher and diplomat, was born in Barnet, Middlesex, and baptized at St Andrew's, Holborn, on 10 March 1732, the second son of Sir John Strange (bap. 1696, d. 1754), master of the rolls, and his wife, Susan Strong (1700/01–1747)...

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E. I. Carlyle

revised by Anita McConnell

Walsh, John (1726–1795), natural philosopher and politician, was born on 21 May 1726 in Madras, the second son of the three children of Joseph Walsh (d. 1731), senior merchant in the East India Company, and his wife, Elizabeth (1697–1734), daughter of Nevil Maskelyne (1663–1711)...