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Prospero's AmericaJohn Winthrop, Jr., Alchemy, and the Creation of New England Culture, 1606-1676$
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Walter W. Woodward

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833018

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807895931_woodward

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

“Matters of Present Utility”

“Matters of Present Utility”

John Winthrop, Jr., the Royal Society, and the Politics of Intelligence in Restoration New England

(p.253) Eight “Matters of Present Utility”
Prospero's America

Walter W. Woodward

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter describes how John Winthrop, Jr. had achieved an international reputation as an alchemist by the time he became governor of Connecticut in 1657. During his travels to Europe he had met and made a lasting impression on members of the European republic of alchemy, several of whom he had sustained correspondence with once back in New England. Alchemists from New England who had known Winthrop and later relocated to England spread reports about him that further enhanced his reputation. In 1660, Samuel Hartlib wrote Winthrop, “You cannot believe what secret reports I have heard of you of which I would be so willingly informed.” He indicated he had been told Winthrop had perfected, or nearly perfected, both the alkahest and the elixir that would effect transmutation.

Keywords:   John Winthrop, international reputation, alchemist, governor of Connecticut, Samuel Hartlib

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