Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Anderson, William (d.1778)

ANDERSON, WILLIAM (d. 1778), surgeon and naturalist, accompanied Captain Cook as surgeon's mate in the Resolution in 1772–75, and as naturalist on board the same vessel on that commander's third voyage. He contributed the vocabularies of the various languages printed in the official relation of the former voyage, and his observations during the early part of the latter are cited by Cook in his own words. Amongst these may be mentioned an account of the Kerguelen cabbage, Pringlea antiscorbutica. His health began to fail towards the end of 1777, and he died of consumption on 3 Aug. 1778; an island sighted the same day was named Anderson's Island in his memory. Two papers by him, upon poisonous fish and a detached rock near Cape Town, are in the ‘Philosophical Transactions,’ vols. 66 and 68. His commander, in the narrative of the voyage, testified in strong terms to his sense of his abilities and devotion; and Robert Brown, in founding the genus Andersonia chiefly in honour of him, speaks in eulogy of his devotion to botany. In the Banksian Library in the British Museum there are manuscript lists of animals and plants noted by him during his two voyages.

[Cook and King's Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, i. 84, 106, 145, 321, ii. 440–1; Brown's Prodromus Floræ Novæ Hollandiæ, p. 553; Dryander's Cat. Bibl. Banks. ii. 32, iii. 184; Hooker's Companion to Bot. Mag. ii. (1836) 227.]

B. D. J.