In October 1712 Samuel Molyneux (1689–1728) travelled to London from his home in Dublin to be enrolled as a Fellow of the Royal Society. Being the only child of the celebrated astronomer, philosopher and constitutional writer William Molyneux, (1656–98) and in his capacity as secretary to the Dublin Philosophical Society, the young Samuel had long nurtured good relations with the intellectual elite. Once in the capital he exploited these connections to seek audiences with the foremost collectors and connoisseurs of the day and to view their prized collections housed in ecclesiastical and secular buildings, historic royal palaces, parks and gardens. Where he went and what he saw was recorded in a series of intelligent and well-measured letters written to his learned uncle, Thomas Molyneux (1661–1733), back in Dublin. These accounts of early-Enlightenment London, Oxford and Cambridge were quite unlike the prolonged social commentaries offered by other travel writers, such as, Zacharias Conrad von Uffenbach (1710), Daniel Defoe (1720) and Don Manoel Gonzales (1731).
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