Dean Dorothy Stimson, in a recently published paper, has
independently arrived at this same conclusion. She points out that
of the ten men who constituted the "invisible college," in 1645, only one,
Scarbrough, was clearly non-Puritan. About two of the others there
is some uncertainty, though Merret had a Puritan training. The other
were all definitely Puritan. Moreover, among the original list of
members of the Society of 1663, forty-two of the sixty-eight concerning
whom information about their religious orientation is available were clearly
Puritan, Considering that the Puritans constituted a relatively small
minority in the English population, the fact that they constituted sixty-two
per cent of the initial membership of the Society becomes even more striking.
Dean Stimson concludes: "that experimental science spread as rapidly as
it did in seventeenth-century England seems to me to be in part at least
because the moderate Puritans encouraged it" (1968, pp. 638-639).