Beverley, Charles James (DNB00)


BEVERLEY, CHARLES JAMES (1788–1868), naturalist, the son of a soldier, was born in August 1788 at Fort Augustus in the highlands of Scotland, where his father's regiment was then quartered. Of his early education we have no trustworthy information, beyond the fact of his having been apprenticed to a surgeon, and having entered the navy as assistant surgeon in 1810. Beverley was employed in that capacity during four years on the Baltic and Mediterranean stations, but chiefly on the latter. He was frequently sent in boats on cutting-out expeditions, and was present at the capture of Porto d'Anzo in 1813. He displayed much bravery in these expeditions, and exhibited at all times considerable mental activity. He was placed on Lord Exmouth's list for promotion, but, his health failing him, he was sent home from the fleet in charge of the sick and wounded. On recovering he was appointed to H.M.S. Tiber, and served in that ship until 1818, when, upon strong recommendation, he was selected by the admiralty to be assistant surgeon in the Isabella, about to proceed under the command of Sir John Ross to the Polar regions. In 1819-20 he served under Sir Edward Parry in his first expedition, and passed the winter on Melville Island. On his return from the Arctic Sea, being highly commended for his skill and care in his attendance on the sick, Beverley was promoted to the rank of full surgeon, and in May 1821 he was elected a fellow of the Roval Society. On his return to England he suffered severely from ophthalmia, but quite unexpectedly, on his recovery from this painful affliction, he was nominated supernumerary surgeon to the flagship on the Barbadoes station. The risk, however, of changing suddenly from an arctic to a tropical climate, while still in weak health, compelled him to decline the appointment, and he was consequently removed from the list of surgeons. In 1827 Beverley served as a volunteer under Sir Edward Parry in the capacity of surgeon and naturalist in the long and perilous journey on the Spitsbergen seas. We do not find any especial record of his labours as a natualist, out we learn incidentally that he rendered much valuable assistance in the collection and naming of botanical specimens, and was of much service in preparing many of the examples of Arctic zoology which were brought home. After his retirement from the navy Beverley entered into private practice in London. He lived to see his eightieth birthday, shortly after which he died, 16 Sept. 1868.

[Proceedings of the Royal Society, xvii. p. lxxxvii (1869); Parry's Journals of Voyages for the Discovery of a North-West Passage, 2nd ed. (1821).]

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