Investigating Nature: John Bartram's Evolution as a Man of Science
As a humble Quaker in eighteenth-century Pennsylvania, John Bartram became an agent of the British Empire through his activities in natural philosophy and his association with London merchant Peter Collinson. During Bartram and Collinson’s thirty-five year correspondence, demands from people in Britain changed the roles Bartram occupied as a man of science as the two men created a botanical distribution business to supply Europe with North American specimens. Because of his personal and professional relationship with Collinson, Bartram shifted through three roles as a man of science during his lifetime. When King George III named him the Royal Botanist of North America, Bartram shifted from an informal to a formal agent of the British Empire. The story of Bartram’s transition represents the interdependency between the periphery and center of the British Empire, because the British relied on colonists like Bartram to provide knowledge about empire’s territorial possessions.
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:john bartram peter collinson british empire natural philosophy history of science atlantic world botany eighteenth century commerce
Date of Publication:01/01/2007