Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Telfair, Charles

TELFAIR, CHARLES (1777?–1833), naturalist, was born at Belfast about 1777, and settled in Mauritius, where he practised as a surgeon. He became a correspondent of Sir William Jackson Hooker [q. v.], sending plants to Kew, and established the botanical gardens at Mauritius and Réunion. He also collected bones of the solitaire from Rodriguez, which he forwarded to the Zoological Society and to the Andersonian Museum, Glasgow. In 1830 he published ‘Some Account of the State of Slavery at Mauritius since the British Occupation in 1810, in Refutation of Anonymous Charges … against Government and that Colony,’ Port Louis, 4to. He died at Port Louis on 14 July 1833, and was buried in the cemetery there. There is an oil portrait of Telfair at the Masonic Lodge, Port Louis, and Hooker commemorated him by the African genus Telfairia in the cucumber family. His wife, who died in 1832, also communicated drawings and specimens of Mauritius algæ to Hooker and Harvey.

[Journal of Botany, 1834, p. 150; Strickland and Melville's Dodo and its Kindred, 1848, p. 52; Britten and Boulger's Biographical Index of Botanists.]

G. S. B.