'Mercury' (1694)

'Mercury' (1694)

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Credit: LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Title page of 'Mercury' (1694) by English natural philosopher and Anglican clergyman John Wilkins (1614-1672). This work, the first English-language book on cryptography, was first published in 1641, with this second edition appearing in 1694. The full title was: 'Mercury; or, The secret and swift messenger. Shewing, how a man may with privacy and speed communicate his thoughts to a friend at any distance.' Wilkins was one of the founders of the Royal Society in 1660. His most famous work is 'An Essay towards a Real Character and a Philosophical Language' (1668), where he proposed a new universal language. He was Bishop of Chester from 1668 until his death.

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