Friends, Correspondents, and Fellow Voyagers

In his pocketbook and memoirs, Lister noted the personalities and works of luminaries he met in France including Nicolas Steno, Sir Thomas Crew, and John Ray.

As part of his education, Lister also regularly went to the residence of Sir Thomas Crew (later Second Baron Crew of Stene 1679-97) to discuss ornithology, medicine, and literature in an informal salon. Lister also mixed with other fellows of Cambridge studying in Montpellier and English expatriates, including Henry Sampson, Peter Vivian, Lord Clinton (Earl of Lincoln’s son), Francis Jessop of Broomhall in Sheffield, and the Earl of Aylesbury, in whose chambers Lister and Steno would perform a series of anatomical dissections.

In between making observations, Martin maintained a lively correspondence with friends and relatives back home, recording in his pocketbook that he wrote letters to “Mr. Sharpe, Mr Briggs, Lady Hartopp, brother William, brother Michael, Robert Grove, Mr. Peck , Dr Guning, Mr. Canby”. Some of these letters survive, giving the historian a remarkable picture of the intellectual and cultural sensibilities of the late seventeenth century and their dissemination.

Such references in the pocketbook also form an invaluable resource in the understanding of the nature of personal as well as international networks of knowledge and patronage in the early “scientific revolution” and the republic of letters.

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