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The Royal Society has been dedicated to scientific inquiry since the seventeenth century. In 1811, Thomas Thomson (1773-1852), a pioneering chemistry teacher who was elected a fellow of the society in the same year, undertook the project of writing a history of the organisation's illustrious past. In this book, published in 1812, Thomson explains how the group began in 1645, initiated by men who met once a week to discuss natural philosophy and mathematics. They were eventually granted a royal charter by Charles II in 1662. The society grew in number and prestige, and began publishing research in its Philosophical Transactions in 1665. Thomson's work focuses particularly on the development of the group's many scientific areas of interest and summarises various papers it published. He also includes a full list of the fellowship, from the society's foundation to 1812, and a copy of the society's original charter.