In the winter of 1663 the French courtier Samuel Sorbière was presented at a meeting of the newly founded scientific academy, the Royal Society of London. Sorbière, explained Henry Oldenburg, the Society’s distinguished secretary, was a friend from the dark days of the civil war, when the king was driven out of England and made his court in Paris. Now, three years after Charles II had been restored to his throne in London, Oldenburg was proud to host his old friend in his true home, and to share with him the exciting new investigations taking place under the Royal Society’s roof. For the next three months, Sorbière traveled the land, meeting with political leaders and leading intellectual lights, and even the king himself. Throughout this time, the gregarious Frenchman made the Royal Society his home, attending its meetings and socializing with its fellows. They, for their part, treated him with the greatest respect, and bestowed on him their highest honor: they made him a fellow of the Royal Society.
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