Chief Secretary for Ireland
The Chief Secretary for Ireland was a key political office in the British administration in Ireland. Nominally subordinate to the Lord Lieutenant, the "Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant", from the early 19th century until the end of British rule he was the government minister with responsibility for governing Ireland equivalent to the role of a Secretary of State, it was the Chief Secretary, rather than the Lord Lieutenant, who sat in the British Cabinet. The Chief Secretary was ex officio President of the Local Government Board for Ireland from its creation in 1872. British rule over much of Ireland came to an end as the result of the Irish War of Independence, which culminated in the establishment of the Irish Free State. In consequence the office of Chief Secretary was abolished, as well as that of Lord Lieutenant. Executive responsibility within the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland was transferred to the President of the Executive Council and the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland respectively.
The dominant position of the Lord Lieutenant at Dublin Castle had been central to the British administration of the Kingdom of Ireland for much of its history. Poynings' Law in particular meant that the Parliament of Ireland lacked an independent power of legislation, the Crown kept control of executive authority in the hands of the Lord Lieutenant and its own appointees, rather than in the hands of ministers responsible to the Irish parliament. In 1560 Queen Elizabeth I of England and Ireland ordered the Lord Lieutenant, the Earl of Sussex, to appoint John Challoner of Dublin as Secretary of State for Ireland "because at this present there is none appointed to be Clerk of our Council there, considering how more meet it were, that in our realm there were for our honour one to be our Secretary there for the affairs of our Realm"; the appointment of a Secretary was intended to both improve Irish administration, to keep the Lord Lieutenant in line. The role of Secretary of State for Ireland and Chief Secretary of Ireland were distinct positions, Thomas Pelham being the first individual appointed to both offices concurrently in 1796.
Over time, the post of Chief Secretary increased in importance because of his role as manager of legislative business for the Government in the Irish House of Commons, in which he sat as an MP. While the Irish administration was not responsible to the parliament, it needed to manage and influence it in order to ensure the passage of key legislative measures. In 1800 the Act of Union was passed by the Irish parliament, merging the kingdom into the new United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland with effect from 1 January 1801; the Chief Secretaryship was of particular importance in the run-up to the eventual enactment, on the second attempt, of the Act of Union, when Viscount Castlereagh held the post. The Chief Secretary's exercise of patronage and direct bribery were central to delivering a parliamentary majority for the Union. Upon the Union the Irish parliament ceased to exist. However, the existing system of administration in Ireland continued broadly in place, with the offices of Lord Lieutenant and Chief Secretary retaining their respective roles.
The last Chief Secretary was Sir Hamar Greenwood, who left office in October 1922. The Irish Free State, comprising the greater part of Ireland, would become independent on 6 December 1922. In Northern Ireland, a new Government of Northern Ireland was established with a Prime Minister of Northern Ireland; this government was suspended in 1972, the position of Secretary of State for Northern Ireland was created as a position in the British cabinet. This list includes holders of a key political office in the British administration in Ireland. Nominally subordinate to the Lord Lieutenant, from the late 18th century until the end of British rule he was the government minister with responsibility for governing Ireland. Exceptions were the periods from 29 June 1895 to 8 August 1902, when the Lord Lieutenant Lord Cadogan sat in the Cabinet and the Chief Secretaries Gerald Balfour until 9 November 1900 did not sit there and George Wyndham from that date sat there, from 28 October 1918 to 2 April 1921, when both the Lord Lieutenant Lord French and the Chief Secretaries Edward Shortt, Ian Macpherson and Sir Hamar Greenwood sat in the Cabinet.
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, similar position in the British cabinet from 1972. British Historical Facts 1760–1830, by Chris Cook and John Stevenson ISBN 0-333-21512-5 British Historical Facts 1830–1900, by Chris Cook and Brendan Keith ISBN 0-333-13220-3 Twentieth-Century British Political Facts 1900–2000, by David Butler and Gareth Butler ISBN 0-333-77222-9 paperback
Alma mater is an allegorical Latin phrase for a university, school, or college that one attended. In US usage it can mean the school from which one graduated; the phrase is variously translated as "nourishing mother", "nursing mother", or "fostering mother", suggesting that a school provides intellectual nourishment to its students. Fine arts will depict educational institutions using a robed woman as a visual metaphor. Before its current usage, alma mater was an honorific title for various Latin mother goddesses Ceres or Cybele, in Catholicism for the Virgin Mary, it entered academic usage when the University of Bologna adopted the motto Alma Mater Studiorum, which describes its heritage as the oldest operating university in the Western world. It is related to alumnus, a term used for a university graduate that means a "nursling" or "one, nourished". Although alma was a common epithet for Ceres, Cybele and other mother goddesses, it was not used in conjunction with mater in classical Latin. In the Oxford Latin Dictionary, the phrase is attributed to Lucretius' De rerum natura, where it is used as an epithet to describe an earth goddess: After the fall of Rome, the term came into Christian liturgical usage in association with the Virgin Mary.
"Alma Redemptoris Mater" is a well-known 11th century antiphon devoted to Mary. The earliest documented use of the term to refer to a university in an English-speaking country is in 1600, when the University of Cambridge printer, John Legate, began using an emblem for the university's press; the device's first-known appearance is on the title-page of William Perkins' A Golden Chain, where the Latin phrase Alma Mater Cantabrigia is inscribed on a pedestal bearing a nude, lactating woman wearing a mural crown. In English etymological reference works, the first university-related usage is cited in 1710, when an academic mother figure is mentioned in a remembrance of Henry More by Richard Ward. Many historic European universities have adopted Alma Mater as part of the Latin translation of their official name; the University of Bologna Latin name, Alma Mater Studiorum, refers to its status as the oldest continuously operating university in the world. Other European universities, such as the Alma Mater Lipsiensis in Leipzig, Germany, or Alma Mater Jagiellonica, have used the expression in conjunction with geographical or foundational characteristics.
At least one, the Alma Mater Europaea in Salzburg, Austria, an international university founded by the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in 2010, uses the term as its official name. In the United States, the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, has been called the "Alma Mater of the Nation" because of its ties to the country's founding. At Queen's University in Kingston and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, the main student government is known as the Alma Mater Society; the ancient Roman world had many statues of the Alma Mater, some still extant. Modern sculptures are found in prominent locations on several American university campuses. For example, in the United States: there is a well-known bronze statue of Alma Mater by Daniel Chester French situated on the steps of Columbia University's Low Library. An altarpiece mural in Yale University's Sterling Memorial Library, painted in 1932 by Eugene Savage, depicts the Alma Mater as a bearer of light and truth, standing in the midst of the personified arts and sciences.
Outside the United States, there is an Alma Mater sculpture on the steps of the monumental entrance to the Universidad de La Habana, in Havana, Cuba. The statue was cast in 1919 by Mario Korbel, with Feliciana Villalón Wilson as the inspiration for Alma Mater, it was installed in its current location in 1927, at the direction of architect Raul Otero. Media related to Alma mater at Wikimedia Commons The dictionary definition of alma mater at Wiktionary Alma Mater Europaea website
Spencer Perceval was a British statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from October 1809 until his assassination in May 1812. Perceval is the only British prime minister to have been murdered, he was the only Solicitor General or Attorney General to become Prime Minister. The younger son of an Anglo-Irish earl, Perceval was educated at Harrow School and Trinity College, Cambridge, he studied Law at Lincoln's Inn, practised as a barrister on the Midland circuit, in 1796 became a King's Counsel. He entered politics at age 33 as a Member of Parliament for Northampton. A follower of William Pitt the Younger, Perceval always described himself as a "friend of Mr Pitt", rather than a Tory. Perceval was opposed to Catholic reform of Parliament, he was opposed to hunting and adultery. After a late entry into politics, his rise to power was rapid. At the head of a weak ministry, Perceval faced a number of crises during his term in office, including an inquiry into the Walcheren expedition, the madness of King George III, economic depression, Luddite riots.
He overcame these crises pursued the Peninsular War in the face of opposition defeatism, won the support of the Prince Regent. His position was looking stronger by early 1812, when, in the lobby of the House of Commons, he was assassinated by a merchant with a grievance against his government. Although Perceval was a seventh son and had four older brothers who survived to adulthood, the Earldom of Egmont reverted to one of his great-grandsons in the early–twentieth century, it remained in the hands of his descendants until its extinction in 2011. Perceval was born in Audley Square, the seventh son of John Perceval, 2nd Earl of Egmont, his mother, Catherine Compton, Baroness Arden, was a granddaughter of the 4th Earl of Northampton. Spencer was a Compton family name, his father, a political advisor to Frederick, Prince of Wales and King George III, served in the Cabinet as First Lord of the Admiralty. Perceval's early childhood was spent at Charlton House, which his father had taken to be near Woolwich docks.
Perceval's father died. Perceval went to Harrow School, where he was a hard-working pupil, it was at Harrow that he developed an interest in evangelical Anglicanism and formed what was to be a lifelong friendship with Dudley Ryder. After five years at Harrow, he followed his older brother Charles to Cambridge. There he won the declamation prize in English and graduated in 1782; as the second son of a second marriage, with an allowance of only £200 a year, Perceval faced the prospect of having to make his own way in life. He chose the law as a profession, studied at Lincoln's Inn, was called to the bar in 1786. Perceval's mother had died in 1783. Perceval and his brother Charles, now Lord Arden, rented a house in Charlton, where they fell in love with two sisters who were living in the Percevals' old childhood home; the sisters' father, Sir Thomas Spencer Wilson, approved of the match between his eldest daughter Margaretta and Lord Arden, wealthy and a Member of Parliament and a Lord of the Admiralty.
Perceval, at that time an impecunious barrister on the Midland Circuit, was told to wait until the younger daughter, came of age in three years' time. When Jane reached 21, in 1790, Perceval's career was still not prospering, Sir Thomas still opposed the marriage; the couple married by special licence in East Grinstead. They set up home together in lodgings over a carpet shop in Bedford Row moving to Lindsey House, Lincoln's Inn Fields, they had thirteen children together. Perceval's family connections obtained a number of positions for him: Deputy Recorder of Northampton, commissioner of bankrupts in 1790, he acted as junior counsel for the Crown in the prosecutions of Thomas Paine in absentia for seditious libel, John Horne Tooke for high treason. Perceval joined the London and Westminster Light Horse Volunteers in 1794 when the country was under threat of invasion by France and served with them until 1803. Perceval wrote anonymous pamphlets in favour of the impeachment of Warren Hastings, in defence of public order against sedition.
These pamphlets brought him to the attention of William Pitt the Younger, in 1795 he was offered the appointment of Chief Secretary for Ireland. He declined the offer, he needed the money to support his growing family. In 1796 he had an income of about £ 1,000 a year. Perceval was 33. In 1796, Perceval's uncle, the 8th Earl of Northampton, died. Perceval's cousin, MP for Northampton, succeeded to the earldom and took his place in the House of Lords. Perceval was invited to stand for election in his place. In the May by-election he was elected unopposed, but we
George III of the United Kingdom
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of the two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death in 1820. He was concurrently Duke and prince-elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg in the Holy Roman Empire before becoming King of Hanover on 12 October 1814, he was the third British monarch of the House of Hanover, but unlike his two predecessors, he was born in Great Britain, spoke English as his first language, never visited Hanover. His life and with it his reign, which were longer than those of any of his predecessors, were marked by a series of military conflicts involving his kingdoms, much of the rest of Europe, places farther afield in Africa, the Americas and Asia. Early in his reign, Great Britain defeated France in the Seven Years' War, becoming the dominant European power in North America and India. However, many of Britain's American colonies were soon lost in the American War of Independence.
Further wars against revolutionary and Napoleonic France from 1793 concluded in the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. In the part of his life, George III had recurrent, permanent, mental illness. Although it has since been suggested that he had bipolar disorder or the blood disease porphyria, the cause of his illness remains unknown. After a final relapse in 1810, a regency was established. George III's eldest son, Prince of Wales, ruled as Prince Regent until his father's death, when he succeeded as George IV. Historical analysis of George III's life has gone through a "kaleidoscope of changing views" that have depended on the prejudices of his biographers and the sources available to them; until it was reassessed in the second half of the 20th century, his reputation in the United States was one of a tyrant. George was born in London at Norfolk House in St James's Square, he was the grandson of King George II, the eldest son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, Augusta of Saxe-Gotha.
As he was born two months prematurely and thought unlikely to survive, he was baptised the same day by Thomas Secker, both Rector of St James's and Bishop of Oxford. One month he was publicly baptised at Norfolk House, again by Secker, his godparents were the King of Sweden, his uncle the Duke of Saxe-Gotha and his great-aunt the Queen of Prussia. Prince George grew into a healthy but shy child; the family moved to Leicester Square, where George and his younger brother Prince Edward, Duke of York and Albany, were educated together by private tutors. Family letters show that he could read and write in both English and German, as well as comment on political events of the time, by the age of eight, he was the first British monarch to study science systematically. Apart from chemistry and physics, his lessons included astronomy, French, history, geography, commerce and constitutional law, along with sporting and social accomplishments such as dancing and riding, his religious education was wholly Anglican.
At age 10, George took part in a family production of Joseph Addison's play Cato and said in the new prologue: "What, tho' a boy! It may with truth be said, A boy in England born, in England bred." Historian Romney Sedgwick argued that these lines appear "to be the source of the only historical phrase with which he is associated". George's grandfather, King George II, disliked the Prince of Wales, took little interest in his grandchildren. However, in 1751 the Prince of Wales died unexpectedly from a lung injury at the age of 44, George became heir apparent to the throne, he inherited his father's title of Duke of Edinburgh. Now more interested in his grandson, three weeks the King created George Prince of Wales. In the spring of 1756, as George approached his eighteenth birthday, the King offered him a grand establishment at St James's Palace, but George refused the offer, guided by his mother and her confidant, Lord Bute, who would serve as Prime Minister. George's mother, now the Dowager Princess of Wales, preferred to keep George at home where she could imbue him with her strict moral values.
In 1759, George was smitten with Lady Sarah Lennox, sister of the Duke of Richmond, but Lord Bute advised against the match and George abandoned his thoughts of marriage. "I am born for the happiness or misery of a great nation," he wrote, "and must act contrary to my passions." Attempts by the King to marry George to Princess Sophie Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel were resisted by him and his mother. The following year, at the age of 22, George succeeded to the throne when his grandfather, George II, died on 25 October 1760, two weeks before his 77th birthday; the search for a suitable wife intensified. On 8 September 1761 in the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace, the King married Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, whom he met on their wedding day. A fortnight on 22 September both were crowned at Westminster Abbey. George remarkably never took a mistress, the couple enjoyed a genuinely happy marriage until his mental illness struck, they had 15 children -- six daughters. In 1762, George purchased Buckingham House for use as a family retreat.
His other residences were Windsor Castle. St James's Palace was retained for
Nicholas Vansittart, 1st Baron Bexley
Nicholas Vansittart, 1st Baron Bexley PC FRS FSA was an English politician, one of the longest-serving Chancellors of the Exchequer in British history. The fifth son of Henry Vansittart, the Governor of Bengal, Vansittart was born in Bloomsbury and raised in Bray, Berkshire. Educated at Christ Church, Oxford, he took his degree in 1787, was called to the bar at Lincolns Inn. From the early 1770s he was living with his mother at Greenwich. Vansittart began his public career by writing pamphlets in defence of the administration of William Pitt on its financial side, in May 1796 became Member of Parliament for Hastings, retaining his seat until July 1802, when he was returned for Old Sarum. In February 1801 he was sent on a diplomatic errand to Copenhagen, shortly after his return was appointed joint Secretary to the Treasury, a position which he retained until the resignation of Henry Addington's ministry in April 1804. Owing to the influence of his friend, the Duke of Cumberland, he became Chief Secretary for Ireland under Pitt in January 1805, resigning his office in the following September.
With Addington, now Viscount Sidmouth, he joined the government of Charles James Fox and Lord Grenville as Secretary to the Treasury in February 1806, leaving office with Sidmouth just before the fall of the ministry in March 1807. During these and the next few years Vansittart's reputation as a financier was rising. In 1809 he proposed and carried without opposition in the House of Commons thirty-eight resolutions on financial questions, only his loyalty to Sidmouth prevented him from joining the cabinet of Spencer Perceval as Chancellor of the Exchequer in October 1809, he opposed an early resumption of cash payments in 1811, became Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Earl of Liverpool succeeded Perceval in May 1812. Having forsaken Old Sarum, he had represented Helston from November 1806 to June 1812; when Vansittart became Chancellor of the Exchequer the country was burdened with heavy taxation and an enormous debt. The continuance of the Napoleonic Wars compelled him to increase the customs duties and other taxes, in 1813 he introduced a complicated scheme for dealing with the sinking fund.
In 1816, after the conclusion of peace, a large decrease in taxation was desired, there was an outcry when the Chancellor proposed only to reduce, not to abolish, the property or income tax. The abolition of this tax, was carried in parliament, Vansittart was obliged to remit the extra tax on malt, meeting a large deficiency principally by borrowing, he devoted considerable attention to effecting real or supposed economies with regard to the national debt. He carried an elaborate scheme for handing over the payment of naval and military pensions to contractors, who would be paid a fixed annual sum for forty-five years. Vansittart became unpopular in the country, he resigned his office in December 1822, his system of finance was criticised by William Huskisson, Brougham and Ricardo. On his resignation Liverpool offered Vansittart the post of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Accepting this offer in February 1823, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Bexley, of Bexley in the County of Kent, in March, granted a pension of £3000 a year.
He resigned in January 1828. In the House of Lords, Bexley took little part in public business, although he introduced the Spitalfields Weavers Bill in 1823, voted for Catholic Emancipation in 1824, he took a good deal of interest in the British and Foreign Bible Mission, the Church Missionary Society and kindred bodies, funded Kenyon college and seminary on the US western frontier and assisted in founding King's College London. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1822, he was one of the Vice-Presidents of the American Colonization Society, whose aim was to repatriate African freedmen in the United States to the African continent. Lord Bexley married the Hon. Catherine Isabella, daughter of William Eden, 1st Baron Auckland, in July 1806, he withdrew from public life in the spring of 1809 to take her on rest cures at Torquay. The marriage was childless, he died at Foots Cray, Kent, on 8 February 1851. As he had no issue the title became extinct on his death. There are nine volumes of Vansittart's papers in the British Library.
Attribution This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Bexley, Nicholas Vansittart". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3. Cambridge University Press. Carr, William. "Vansittart, Nicholas". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 58. London: Smith, Elder & Co. Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Nicholas Vansittart Vansittart Arms – named after Nicholas, 1st Baron Bexley
William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland
William Henry Cavendish Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland, was a British Whig and Tory politician during the late Georgian era. He served as Chancellor of the University of Oxford and twice as British prime minister, of Great Britain and of the United Kingdom; the twenty-four years between his two terms as Prime Minister is the longest gap between terms of office of any British prime minister. Portland was known before 1762 by the courtesy title Marquess of Titchfield, he held a title of every degree of British nobility: Duke, Earl and Baron. He is a great-great-great-grandfather of Elizabeth II through her maternal grandmother. Lord Titchfield was the eldest son of William Bentinck, 2nd Duke of Portland and Margaret Cavendish-Harley and inherited many lands from his mother and his maternal grandmother, he was educated at Oxford. On 8 November 1766, Portland married Lady Dorothy Cavendish, a daughter of William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire and Charlotte Boyle, they were parents of six children: 4th Duke of Portland.
Lord William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck. Lady Charlotte Cavendish-Bentinck. Married Charles Greville, they had three sons: Charles Cavendish Fulke Greville, Algernon Greville, Henry William Greville, a daughter, Harriet m. Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere. Lady Mary Cavendish-Bentinck. Lord Charles Bentinck. Paternal grandfather of Cecilia Bowes-Lyon, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne. Lord Frederick Cavendish-Bentinck married Lady Mary Lowther, daughter of William Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale, 16 September 1820. A stillborn baby, birthed at Burlington House on 20 October 1786. Through his son Charles, Portland is a great-great-great-grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II. Portland was elected to sit in the Parliament for Weobley in 1761 before entering the Lords when he succeeded his father as Duke of Portland the next year, he was associated with the aristocratic Whig party of Lord Rockingham and served as Lord Chamberlain of the Household in Rockingham's first Government Portland served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in Rockingham's second ministry.
He faced strong demands for conciliatory measures following years of coercion and taxation brought about by the British government's engagement in the American War of Independence. Portland resolved to make concessions and, overcoming the resistance of Lord Shelburne, the Home Secretary to whom he reported, convinced Parliament to repeal the Declaratory Act and modify Poynings' Law. Following Rockingham's death, Portland resigned from Lord Shelburne's ministry along with other supporters of Charles James Fox. In April 1783, Portland was brought forward as titular head of a coalition government as Prime Minister, whose real leaders were Charles James Fox and Lord North, he served as First Lord of the Treasury in this ministry until its fall in December of the same year. During his tenure the Treaty of Paris was signed formally ending the American Revolutionary War; the government was brought down after losing a vote in the House of Lords on its proposed reform of the East India Company after George III had let it be known that any peer voting for this measure would be considered his personal enemy.
In 1789, Portland became one of several vice presidents of London's Foundling Hospital. This charity had become one of the most fashionable of the time, with several notables serving on its board. At its creation, fifty years earlier, Portland's father, William Bentinck, 2nd Duke of Portland, had been one of the founding governors, listed on the charity's royal charter granted by George II; the hospital's mission was to care for the abandoned children in London. In 1793, Portland took over the presidency of the charity from Lord North. Along with many conservative Whigs such as Edmund Burke, Portland was uncomfortable with the French Revolution and broke with Fox over this issue, joining Pitt's government as Home Secretary in 1794. In this role he oversaw the administration of patronage and financial inducements secret, to secure the passage of the 1800 Act of Union, he continued to serve in the cabinet until Pitt's death in 1806—from 1801 to 1805 as Lord President of the Council and as a Minister without Portfolio.
In March 1807, after the collapse of the Ministry of all the Talents, Pitt's supporters returned to power. Portland's second government saw the United Kingdom's complete isolation on the continent but the beginning of recovery, with the start of the Peninsular War. In late 1809, with Portland's health poor and the ministry rocked by the scandalous duel between Canning and Castlereagh, Portland resigned, dying shortly thereafter, he was Recorder of Nottingham until his death in 1809. The 3rd Duke of Portland died at Bulstrode Park, after an operation to remove a kidney stone on 30 October 1809 and was buried in St Marylebone Parish Church, London, he had lived expensively: with an income of £17,000 a year (wor
The President and Fellows of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge known as the Royal Society, is a learned society. Founded on 28 November 1660, it was granted a royal charter by King Charles II as "The Royal Society", it is the oldest national scientific institution in the world. The society is the United Kingdom's and Commonwealth of Nations' Academy of Sciences and fulfils a number of roles: promoting science and its benefits, recognising excellence in science, supporting outstanding science, providing scientific advice for policy, fostering international and global co-operation and public engagement; the society is governed by its Council, chaired by the Society's President, according to a set of statutes and standing orders. The members of Council and the President are elected from and by its Fellows, the basic members of the society, who are themselves elected by existing Fellows; as of 2016, there are about 1,600 fellows, allowed to use the postnominal title FRS, with up to 52 new fellows appointed each year.
There are royal fellows, honorary fellows and foreign members, the last of which are allowed to use the postnominal title ForMemRS. The Royal Society President is Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, who took up the post on 30 November 2015. Since 1967, the society has been based at 6–9 Carlton House Terrace, a Grade I listed building in central London, used by the Embassy of Germany, London; the Invisible College has been described as a precursor group to the Royal Society of London, consisting of a number of natural philosophers around Robert Boyle. The concept of "invisible college" is mentioned in German Rosicrucian pamphlets in the early 17th century. Ben Jonson in England referenced the idea, related in meaning to Francis Bacon's House of Solomon, in a masque The Fortunate Isles and Their Union from 1624/5; the term accrued currency for the exchanges of correspondence within the Republic of Letters. In letters in 1646 and 1647, Boyle refers to "our invisible college" or "our philosophical college".
The society's common theme was to acquire knowledge through experimental investigation. Three dated letters are the basic documentary evidence: Boyle sent them to Isaac Marcombes, Francis Tallents who at that point was a fellow of Magdalene College and London-based Samuel Hartlib; the Royal Society started from groups of physicians and natural philosophers, meeting at a variety of locations, including Gresham College in London. They were influenced by the "new science", as promoted by Francis Bacon in his New Atlantis, from 1645 onwards. A group known as "The Philosophical Society of Oxford" was run under a set of rules still retained by the Bodleian Library. After the English Restoration, there were regular meetings at Gresham College, it is held that these groups were the inspiration for the foundation of the Royal Society. Another view of the founding, held at the time, was that it was due to the influence of French scientists and the Montmor Academy in 1657, reports of which were sent back to England by English scientists attending.
This view was held by Jean-Baptiste du Hamel, Giovanni Domenico Cassini, Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle and Melchisédech Thévenot at the time and has some grounding in that Henry Oldenburg, the society's first secretary, had attended the Montmor Academy meeting. Robert Hooke, disputed this, writing that: makes Mr Oldenburg to have been the instrument, who inspired the English with a desire to imitate the French, in having Philosophical Clubs, or Meetings. I will not say, that Mr Oldenburg did rather inspire the French to follow the English, or, at least, did help them, hinder us. But'tis well known who were the principal men that began and promoted that design, both in this city and in Oxford, and not only these Philosophic Meetings were. On 28 November 1660, the 1660 committee of 12 announced the formation of a "College for the Promoting of Physico-Mathematical Experimental Learning", which would meet weekly to discuss science and run experiments. At the second meeting, Sir Robert Moray announced that the King approved of the gatherings, a royal charter was signed on 15 July 1662 which created the "Royal Society of London", with Lord Brouncker serving as the first president.
A second royal charter was signed on 23 April 1663, with the king noted as the founder and with the name of "the Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge". This initial royal favour has continued and, since every monarch has been the patron of the society; the society's early meetings included experiments performed first by Hooke and by Denis Papin, appointed in 1684. These experiments varied in their subject area, were both important in some cases and trivial in others; the society published an English translation of Essays of Natural Experiments Made in the Accademia del Cimento, under the Protection of the Most Serene Prince Leopold of Tuscany in 1684, an Italian book documenting experiments at the Accademia del Cimento. Although meeting at Gresham College, the Society temporarily moved to Arundel House in 1666 after the Great Fire of London, which did not harm Gresham but did lead to its appropriation by the Lord Mayor; the Society r