Full-text resources of CEJSH and other databases are now available in the new Library of Science.
Visit https://bibliotekanauki.pl


2013 | 14 | 61-66

Article title

Nauka a państwo policyjne. Austria przełomu XVIII i XIX wieku w oczach francuskich przyrodników


Title variants

Science vs. Police State. Austria at the Turn of the 18th and 19 th Centuries As Seen Through the Eyes of French Naturalists

Languages of publication



This article analyzes the work of French naturalists. Censorship and police crackdowns in Austria have been studied extensively by historians, but the discussed historiographical sources remain largely unexplored. French publications dealing with censorship, including a list of banned journals published by Magasin encyclopédique, statistical data about international publications from Le journal des arts, des sciences et de la littérature and Marcel de Serres’ treatise on the effects of censorship, will be discussed. It is important to note that Marcel de Serres (1783–1862) was a naturalist from Montpellier and a high-ranking official of Napoleonic administration in Austria. Ami Boué (1794–1881), geologist and president of the French Society of Geology, wrote about self-censorship, the ban on publishing scientific works overseas and the penalization of scientists who were forced to violate the absurd laws imposed by the system. This paper also discusses the unequal treatment of common prisoners and political prisoners in France. Political prisoners were unable to appeal against their arbitrary arrest. This issue is explored on the example of Balthasar Hacquet (1739–1815), a famous geologist and botanist who was arrested in a Schemnitz tavern for discussing French politics. The article also analyzes the unpublished letters exchanged between Philippe Picot de Lapeyrouse, (1744–1818) and Ignaz von Born (1742–1791), which are kept in the National Museum of Natural History. In his letters, Born explained that stringent Austrian laws had prevented him from sending models of mining machines, fossils or minerals to France. Police restrictions on visits to Wieliczka mines will also be discussed. French naturalists concluded that the Austrian police state significantly thwarted scientific progress.







Physical description


  • Service du Patrimoine Naturei, Museum nationai d'Histoire natureiie Paris


Document Type

Publication order reference


YADDA identifier

JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.