Professor, natural scientist, painter, calligrapher, musician.
Supported himself early in life as a scribe and tutor. Studied a vast array of subjects and learned several languages at the university in Prague. A teacher at the Normal School in Prague before becoming first professor of historical auxiliary sciences at the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University in Prague.
Received a stipend from the Austrian ruler Maria Theresa to travel abroad (1780). Traveled through Switzerland, Holland, England, France, and Italy, where he met and collected the autographs of various philosophers, including Franklin’s (1780-81). Edited the periodical Monatliche Beitrage zur Bildung and Unterhaltung des Bergers und Landmannes (1784, 1789).
Nominated by Franklin and elected to the American Philosophical Society (1789).
Born in Litom—ice, Czechoslovakia.