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Modernizing NatureForestry and Imperial Eco-Development 1800-1950$

S. Ravi Rajan

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199277964

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199277964.001.0001

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(p.210) APPENDIX 2 Brief Profiles of Some Colonial Scientist-Conservationists in India in the Period 1800–1850

(p.210) APPENDIX 2 Brief Profiles of Some Colonial Scientist-Conservationists in India in the Period 1800–1850

Modernizing Nature
Oxford University Press

Ainslie, Sir Whitelaw (1767–1837)

Education Studied medicine in Edinburgh.

Main career Doctor employed by the East India Company.

Important work as colonial scientist and environmentalist Wrote Materia Medica ofHindoostan andArtisans and Agriculturalists Nomenclature in 1813 and Materia Indica: Or, Some Account of those Articles which are Employed by Hindoos and Other Eastern Nations in their Medicine, Arts andArchitecture in 1826. Became an important propogandizer of the need for a permanent forest policy in India.

Balfour, Edward Green (1813–89)

Education Studied surgery in Edinburgh.

Main career Went to India in 1834 where he joined the medical department of the Indian army. Established himself as an authority on public health by the mid 1840s and published a number of statistical studies on diseases and health.

Importantwork as colonialscientistandenvironmentalist Wrote abook on the impact of climate on the health of troops in 1845. Wrote a major report in 1849, ‘On the Influence Exercised by Trees on the Climate of the Country’. Established the Government Central Museum in 1850 and, as its superintendent, published many scientific works including a classified list of the Mollusca, and reports on the iron ores and the coals of the Madras Presidency, among others. Published his Cyclopaedia in 1857. This book went through many subsequent editions. In 1866, published Timber Trees, Timber and Fancy Woods, as also the Forests of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia. Wrote two pamphlets before leaving India under the general title ‘Medical Hints to the People of India’. Returned to England in 1876 where he published Indian Forestry (1885) and The Agricultural Pests of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia (1887).

Beddome, Henry Richard (1830–1911)

Education Charterhouse.

Main career Joined the Indian army, served in Jabalpur from 1848 and the Madras Infantry from 1856.

Important work as colonialscientist and environmentalist Devoted to botanical and zoological studies while in the army. Appointed senior assistant to the (p.211) newly organized forest department in 1857 and conservator of forests in Madras from 1860 to retirement in 1882. Wrote ‘Report on the Vegetable Products of the Pulney Hills, Madras’ and ‘Flora of Pulney Hills’ (Madras Journal of Literature and Science, 19, 1858); ‘Contribution to the Botany of Southern India’ (Madras Journalof Literature andScience, 22–3, 1861–2); The Trees of the Madras Presidency (1863); Report of the Conservator of Forests (1862–3); The Ferns of South India and Ceylon (1864); The Ferns of British India (3 vol., 1865–70); A List of Exogenous Plants Found in the Annamalai Mountains (1865); Flora Sylvaticafor South India (1869); ‘The Forest Flora of the Nilgiris’ (Indian Forester, 2, 1876); ‘The Forests and Flora of the Tinnelvelly District’ (Indian Forester, 3, 1877); ‘TheJeypore Forests’ (Indian Forester, 3, 1877); Report on the Nelambur Teak Plantations (1878); and On Eucalyptus Plantations in India (1885).

Cleghorn, Hugh Francis (1820–95)

Education MD, Edinburgh, 1841.

Main career After graduation in 1841, proceeded at the age of 22 to Madras where he was attached to the Madras General Hospital to study Indian diseases. This job entailed a great deal of travel with regiments and Cleghorn used this as an opportunity to undertake botanical research. In 1851 appointed professor in botany in Madras. Appointed conservator of forests, Madras Presidency, in 1856 and joint commissioner for the conservancy of forests, along with Dietrich Brandis, in 1862. In 1867, a year in which Brandis was in England on leave, he acted as the inspector-general of forests of India. After retiring from the Indian service in 1869, he taught botany at the University of Glasgow and promoted forestry in Britain, serving as president of the Royal Scottish Arboricultural Society, and giving evidence before the Forestry Committee appointed by the House of Commons.

Important work as colonial scientist and environmentalist Was arguably the most important campaigner for forest conservancy in India in the first half of the nineteenth century. In the early 1860s he examined the forests of the Himalayas, including Kashmir and the Trans-Indus territory, at the request of the governor-general. Wrote Forests and Gardens ofSouthern India in 1861 and Report upon the Forests of the Punjab and the Western Himalaya in 1864 and floras of the Annamalai hills and the Sutlej valley. Visited several forestry schools in Europe, including the Royal Forest School in Vallombrosa, Italy, to assist in the setting up of a forestry school for British colonial foresters. In 1848, when he returned to Britain on sick leave, he assisted in the preparation of the catalogue of raw products for the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Dalzell, Nicol Alexander (1817–78)

Education MA, Edinburgh.

Main career Customs officer.

Important work as colonial scientist and environmentalist Practised botany in his leisure time at customs. Joined the Indian forest service in 1841 (p.212) and worked there until 1870. Became conservator of forests in Burma and in Bombay, when he succeeded Alexander Gibson (see below). Wrote ‘Contributions to the Botany of Western India’ (1850); Forest Reports for the Bombay Presidency (1860–1; 1867–8; 1868–9); The Bombay Flora (1861— co-authored with Gibson); wrote floras of western India.

Falconer, Hugh (1808–67)

Education MD, Edinburgh, 1829.

Main career EIC surgeon (1830); superintendent of the Saharanpur Botanical Garden (1832–41); superintendent of the Calcutta Botanical Garden (1848–55); professor at Calcutta Medical College (1848–55).

Important work as colonial scientist and environmentalist Wrote Memorandum Respecting Timber Trees andMaterials for Fuel (1848); Report on the Teak Forests of the Tenasserim Province (1852); Report on the Teak Plantations ofBengal (1857); floras of the Upper Gangetic Plains. Important figure in the introduction of tea in India; responsible for the introduction of quinine-yielding cinchonas to India.

Gibson, Alexander (1800–67)

Education MD, Edinburgh.

Main career Appointed to the EIC medical service in 1825. Appointed a vaccinator for Deccan and Khandesh in 1936. Appointed superintendent of the Dapoori Botanical Garden in 1836. Elected a Fellow of the Linnean Society in 1853.

Important work as colonial scientist and environmentalist While vaccinator he acquired a widespread field knowledge of the biota and the rural economies of the region. While superintendent of the Dapoori Botanical Garden he produced several drugs for the use of the medical service. His report on teak deforestation submitted to the Bombay government in 1840 led directly to his appointment as conservator of forests in the presidency.

Kyd, Robert (1746–93)

Education Unknown.

Main Career Bengal Infantry (1765; Lt.-Col. 1782; superintendent of the EIC Dockyard and secretary of the Military Board of Fort William; hon. superintendent of the Calcutta Botanical Garden (1786–7).

Important work as colonial scientist and environmentalist Founder of Calcutta Botanical Garden following the 1796 famine ‘not for the purpose of collecting rare plants (although they also have their uses) as things of mere curiosity or furnishing articles for the gratification of luxury, but for establishing a stock for disseminating such articles as may prove beneficial to the inhabitants’.

McClelland, John (1805–83)

Education Unknown.

(p.213) Main career Bengal medical service (1846–65); superintendent of the Calcutta Botanical Gardens.

Important work as colonial scientist and environmentalist Editor of the Calcutta Journal of Natural History (Vols. 1–8–1840–7). Set up herbaria in West Bengal (Birgham, 1849) and Burma (Pegu, 1855). Contributed to the Calcutta, Edinburgh, and Kew Botanical Gardens.

Roxburgh, William (1751–1815)

Education Studied botany.

Main career East India Company botanist who first went to India in 1776. From 1781 he was in charge of the Samalkot Botanical Garden in the Madras Presidency where pepper, sappam, tobacco, and cardamoms were grown. His task on joining the botanical garden was to make an exhaustive survey of India’s flora. From 1789 to 1793, he was the EIC botanist in the Carnatic.

Important work as colonial scientist and environmentalist Distinguished himself by studying the flora of the northern Sirkars and the Coromandel coast. Also began descriptions of Indian flora giving a number to each plant and at the same time having a life-size drawing made to which the number was given. By the time he retired in 1813, 2,542 paintings had been made by his team. He contributed substantially to Hortus Bengalensis, Flora Indica, Wight’s Incones Plantarum Indiae Orientalis, and Plants of the Coromandel, published by Joseph Banks at company expense.

Royle, John Forbes (1799–1858)

Education MD, Edinburgh.

Main career Was in Bengal in 1818–23 where he became particularly interested in the medicinal properties of plants and their geographical distributing. Appointed to the Saharanpur Botanical Garden where under him plants were listed and drawings made in the same way as at Sibpur. Was professor of materia medica and therapeutics at King’s College, London, from 1837 to 1856.

Important work as colonial scientist and environmentalist While posted at Saharanpur he studied the flora of the Himalayas in the area between Saharanpur in the south and Kashmir in the north. He made some of the earliest collections in the Himalayan area which later were arranged at his herbarium. He also commissioned paintings of plant specimens which were kept along with the dried plants. He wrote an eleven-part book: Illustrations of the Botany and Other Branches of the Natural History of the Himalayan Mountains and of the Flora of Cashmere, between 1833 and 1840. After retirement in 1831, he published a number of learned papers on Indian botany and medicine. During this time he continued to be closely associated with Indian matters. He was also in charge of the Hall of Indian Products at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the Paris Exhibition of 1855.

(p.214) Wallich, Dr Nathaniel (1786–1854)

Education Studied medicine in Copenhagen.

Main career Surgeon at Serampore, 1807. Joined the British colonial medical service at Calcutta in 1814. Joined the Sibpur Botanic Gardens in 1815 and was its superintendent until 1846.

Important work as colonial scientist and environmentalist Made an enormous impact on tropical botany, having classified dozens of species, especially the palm genus Wallichia. Under his aegis, Roxburgh’s scheme for adding to the systematic knowledge of India’s flora was continued. In 1825 he was dipatched to the Upper Provinces to enquire into and watch over the extensive forests of the empire. His team, known as ‘The Plantation Committee’, produced 1,070 pages of manuscript on forest cultivation.