Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Arderon, William

ARDERON, WILLIAM (1703–1767), naturalist, born in 1703, went from Yorkshire to Norwich in the capacity of an officer of excise. His scientific attainments secured for him the friendship of several influential gentlemen in that city, who obtained for him the situation of managing clerk at the New Mills. He became very intimate with Henry Baker, F.R.S., to whose works on the 'Microscope' he largely contributed. Arderon was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1745. Notwithstanding the disadvantage of a defective education, he may be regarded as the founder of a school of naturalists and men of science in Norwich. He died 25 Nov. 1767, and was buried in Heigham churchyard, near Norwich. The last letter he wrote was addressed to Henry Baker, and is in these terms: 'My dear friend. When you receive this you may be asured I am no more. I took this interval to take my last farewell of you, which I now do with the utmost affection. A pluresy amongst the many diseases hath laid a heavy hand upon me and is hard to bear. I have finished a life in which I laboured forty years. In which I had some pleasure, but none equal to your correspondence. I have acquired some fortunes which I have left amongst my poor acquaintance without any regard to any thing but merit.' Dawson Turner, after a careful perusal of Arderon's correspondence, formed a very high opinion of his merits as a naturalist, and considered him superior to Gilbert White, the author of the 'Natural History of Selborne.'

Arderon is the author of: 1. Numerous contributions to the 'Philosophical Transactions.' 2. 'Remains,' 1745-60; a folio volume of 351 leaves, preserved in the British Museum, MS. Addit. 27966. The contents of this bulky volume are almost entirely on subjects connected with natural history and microscopical science. 3. 'Journals and Observations on Nature and Art,' 6 vols. 12mo, 1742-64; manuscript formerly in the possession of Dawson Turner. 4. 'Correspondence with Henry Baker, F.R.S.,' 4 vols. 4to, 1744-67; manuscript formerly in the possession of Dawson Turner.

[MS. Addit. 23107 f. 28; Cat. of Dawson Turner's MSS., i. pref. xiii, 4, 5, 10, 11; Gent. Mag. xxxvii. 610; Chambers's Norfolk, 1306, 1307; Index to Philosophical Transactions; MS. Birch 4439, art. 541; Thomson's Hist. of Royal Soc. Appendix 44.]

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