|James Edward Smith 1759-1828|
Joseph Banks (1743-1820) was the adventurer of the botanical world--traveling the globe and returning with fantastic examples of plant growth from newly discovered countries. By contrast Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) was the interpreter of the natural world--classifying, organizing and naming the discoveries being made.
James Edward Smith, on the other hand, was to aid in the dissemination of all the information being amassed by a busy group of naturalists including Samuel Curtis, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, William Roscoe and David Douglas. In the 1780's Smith purchased the entire collection of Carl Linnaeus for £1000, and in 1788 he founded the Linnean Society of London. He then collected an impressive library and constantly added to his botanical collections.
|Sea Bind-Weed by Sowerby|
Smith contributed over three thousand articles to Rees's Cyclopedia, an important nineteenth century encyclopedia. He was instrumental in bringing to publication the Flora Graeca begun by his acquaintance John Sibthorp. Smith published a book on American insects in 1797, translated Linnaeus' book on Lapland, wrote An introduction to physiological & systematical botany and A Grammar of Botany. Today his plant collections form the basis of the Smith Herbarium at the Liverpool Botanic Garden.
|Embothrium speciosissimum by Sowerby|
'Til next time,