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Edgeworth, Michael Pakenham (DNB00)


EDGEWORTH, MICHAEL PAKENHAM (1812–1881), botanist, youngest son of Richard Lovell Edgeworth [q. v.], by his fourth wife, Frances Anne Beaufort, was born 24 May 1812. In September 1823 he entered the Charterhouse, whence he removed to Edinburgh in 1827. Here he began the study of oriental languages, and acquired his grounding in botany under Professor Robert Graham. After a distinguished career at Haileybury, he went to India in 1831 in the civil service. He was appointed to Ambala, and afterwards to Saharunpore, where his administration gained both the approbation of his superiors and the grateful appreciation of the natives. In 1842 he came home on leave, married Christina, daughter of Dr. Macpherson, King's College, Aberdeen, in 1846, and returned the same year to India. On his way out he took advantage of the steamer coaling at Aden to look about for plants. He published the results in the ‘Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal,’ under the title of ‘Two Hours' Herborization at Aden.’ Of the forty species he collected in that short period in so frequented a locality, no less than eleven were new to science.

He was stationed at Banda until 1850, when he was chosen one of the five commissioners for the settlement of the Punjab, first at Mooltan, and afterwards at Jullundur; but his Indian career was finally cut short by sunstroke. His chief publications were on the botany of India in the ‘Transactions’ and ‘Journal’ of the Linnean Society; on the Indian Caryophyllaceæ in the ‘Flora of British India;’ a ‘Grammar of Kashmiri,’ and a volume on ‘Pollen’ in 1878. His local lists have been warmly praised in Hooker and Thomson's introductory essay to their ‘Flora Indica.’ He died suddenly in the island of Eigg 30 July 1881.

[Proc. Linn. Soc., 1880–2, p. 63; Trimen's Journ. Bot. (1881), 288; Cat. Sci. Papers, ii. 444, vii. 594.]

B. D. J.