The ‘Hardwicke circle’: the Whig supremacy and its demise in the 18th-century Royal Society

D. P. Miller

Abstract

This paper examines the composition and activities of an important grouping in the Royal Society in the middle decades of the 18th Century, which I call the ‘Hardwicke circle’. Members of the circle occupied high office at the Royal Society and effectively controlled its affairs for many years. The intellectual interests and political sentiments of the members of the circle are outlined, in part by looking at critics of their regime. It is argued that the waning of the power of the circle and the advent of the Banksian regime heralded a major shift in the cultural politics of the institution.

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