Joseph Banks

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Joseph Banks in 1812

Sir Joseph Banks, 1st Baronet, PRS (February 13, 1743 – June 19, 1820) was an English naturalist and botanist.


  • [General literacy would] teach [the poor] to despise their lot in life, instead of making them good servants in agriculture, and other laborious employment to which their rank in society has destined them;... it would enable them to read seditious pamphlets, vicious books, and publications against Christianity; it would render them insolent.
    • John Oxenham: 'Literacy. Writing, Reading and Social Organisation'. As quoted in 'The Writing Systems of the World' by Florian Coulmas p. 6

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