The Royal Society

He had been elected to the Royal Society as a relatively young man on 21 January 1685, became organisation's second secretary in 1693 he was elected second secretary of the society and became the principal administrator in 1695. The position came with a considerable administrative burden as well as the responsibility for publishing the Philosophical Transactions

While the workload inhibited Sloane's opportunities to further his scientific work, the appointment placed him at the hub of the scientific world. He had links to the French Académie Royale des Sciences as correspondent (1699) and foreign associate (1709), the Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences (foreign member, 1712),  the Russian and Spanish academies of sciences  St Petersburg and Madrid (both in 1735), and the Swedish Academy of Sciences in Göttingen (1752, at the age of ninety-two).

For much of Sloane's time as Secretary, the Society's President was Sir Isaac Newton, and when Newton died in 1727 Sloane was the obvious successor. While the Society's council was unanimous, the membership was split by personal and political) loyalties. After a lengthy debate, however, the Society's annual general meeting confirmed the appointment by a three-to-one majority. Sloane remained in office for fourteen years until indifferent health caused him to stand down at the age of eighty-one. 

While those responsibilities hindered Sloane's scientific work, they did not inhibit his lifelong activities as a collector. 

Starting from his youthful botanising expeditions in Ireland, continuing through the Jamaican voyage Sloans accumulated a vast collection that he built up by acquiring existing museum collections which he was able to incorporate into his own, usually after the former owner's death. There were also many smaller but more specialised acquisitions. 

Collections and Manuscripts

© Ian Hughes 2017