The focus of this paper is a fascinating but hitherto unstudied 1742 manuscript treatise by Johannes Daniel Schlichting (1705–1765) titled “Sapientiæ Problema” that contains something extremely rare in the mid-eighteenth century: a full-blown speculative cosmogony. As this article reveals, Schlichting developed a distinctive vital liquid matter in an effort to account for the generation of all natural bodies and combat the stamina-based theories that were dominant in his day. He hoped that his treatise would be published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, but an accompanying abridgment by the FRS Henry Baker (1698–1774) strongly implies that Schlichting’s speculative bent and desire to divulge causal explanations were unacceptable to the Englishman and generally ill-suited to the intellectual climate of mid-century England.

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