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DOUGLAS, DAVID (1798–1834), botanist and traveller, was born at Scone, Perthshire, in 1798, being the second son of John Douglas, a stonemason, a man of much general information and of great moral worth. David was educated at Scone and Kinnoul schools, and apprenticed in the gardens of the Earl of Mansfield, but in 1817 removed to Valleyfield as under-gardener to Sir Robert Preston, and thence to the Botanical Garden at Glasgow. Here he attracted the attention of Professor W. J. Hooker, whom he accompanied to the highlands; and in 1823 he was sent to the United States as collector to the Royal Horticultural Society, returning in the autumn of the same year. The following year he started again for the Columbia River, touching at Rio and reaching Fort Vancouver in April 1825. During this journey he discovered many new plants, birds, and mammals, including the spruce which will always bear his name, and several species of pine, the ‘ribes,’ now common in our gardens, the Californian vulture, and the Californian sheep. In 1827 he crossed the Rocky Mountains and reached Hudson's Bay, where he met Sir John Franklin, and returned with him to England. Some extracts from his letters to Dr. W. J. Hooker were published in Brewster's ‘Edinburgh Journal,’ and Murray offered to publish his travels, but the manuscript was never completed. He was made a fellow of the Linnean, Geological, and Zoological Societies, without payment of any fees, and in January 1828 Dr. Lindley dedicated to him the genus Douglasia among the primrose tribe. He sailed on his last journey in the autumn of 1829 and passed most of the succeeding three years in California, and 1832 to 1834 on the Fraser River. On a visit to the Sandwich Isles in the summer of the latter year he fell into a pitfall on 12 July and was gored to death by a wild bull. A monument to his memory was erected in the churchyard at New Scone by subscription among the botanists of Europe; but the fifty trees and shrubs and the hundred herbaceous plants which he introduced from the new world will do far more to perpetuate his memory. His dried plants are divided between the Hookerian and Bentham herbaria at Kew, the Lindley herbarium at Cambridge, and that of the British Museum; and original portraits of the collector are preserved at Kew and at the Linnean Society. In the Royal Society's catalogue Douglas is credited with fourteen papers, which are in the transactions and journals of the Royal, Linnean, Geographical, Zoological, and Horticultural Societies, and much of his later journals appeared in Sir W. J. Hooker's ‘Companion to the Botanical Magazine.’

[Loudon's Gardener's Mag. (1835), xi. 271; Cottage Gardener, vi. 263; Parry's Early Botanical Explorers of the Pacific Coast, in the Overland Monthly, October 1883; Royal Soc. Cat. of Scientific Papers, ii. 327; Gardener's Chronicle (1885), xxiv. 173, with engraved portrait.]

G. S. B.