Thomas Sprat's History of the Royal Society (London, 1667) is the most frequently cited work when it comes to describing the relationship between science and rhetoric in seventeenth-century England. Whereas previous discussions have mostly centered on whether or not Sprat rejects the rhetorical tradition, the present study investigates his manner of approaching past authorities. As a writer, Sprat demonstrates the same kind of utilitarian attitude towards the handed-down material in his field of knowledge as he says is characteristic of the Royal Society's natural philosophers. Making good use of Ciceronian ideas, Sprat emerges, not as a condemner, but as a rescuer of rhetoric.

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