Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 21.djvu/227

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Gerard
Gerard
221

GERARD, JAMES GILBERT, M.D. (1795–1835), surgeon on the Bengal establishment, son of Gilbert Gerard, D.D. [q. v.], brother of Alexander [q. v.] and of Patrick Gerard [q. v.], was born in 1795. Probably he is the ‘Gerard, Jacobus, Aberdoniensis,’ who entered the King's or Marischal College as in 1807, but there is some doubt. On 27 Nov. 1814 he was appointed assistant-surgeon on the Bengal establishment and became surgeon 5 May 1826. He accompanied his brother Alexander in several of his Himalayan journeys, and was author of ‘Observations on the Spité Valley and the circumjacent Country within the Himalayas’ in ‘Asiat. Researches’ (1833), xviii. 238–79, and of the ‘Account of a Visit to the Shotool and Borendo Passes’ in Sir William Lloyd's book. His regimental service was chiefly in the hills with the 1st Nusseerabad battalion. In 1831 he volunteered to accompany Sir Alexander Burnes [q. v.] in his expedition across the Hindu Khoosh to Bokhara. Sufficient credit has not been given to Gerard for the scientific accuracy which his assistance lent to the geographical information collected by Burnes (Journ. Roy. Geog. Soc. Lond. xii. 133). From his notebooks his brother Alexander prepared a map of the return route from Herat to Peshawur. His brother writes: ‘His trip to Bokhara with Colonel Sir Alexander Burnes was a mad-like expedition for him, as he had long been unwell and was obliged to leave his bed to go, and could only travel in a palkee [palanquin]. It was … at his own particular request that Burnes applied for him. The trip killed him, for he had several attacks of fever on his way to Bokhara, and Burnes again and again urged him either to return or stop at Cabool until he recovered, but he would do neither. … On his return he was detained three months at Meshed, and no less than eight at Herat, by fever, so that on his arrival at Subathoo his constitution was completely worn out. He … gradually declined. Patrick and I were with him the whole time he survived, which was just a year, for I got leave of absence to prepare a map of the route from his notes; for he observed the bearings, estimated the distances, and noted the villages all the way from Herat to the Indus. … It was a splendid map, 10 ft. long by 3 ft. wide, on a scale of 5 in. to the mile. At my brother's dying request I presented it to Sir Charles Metcalfe, then governor-general, from whom I received a thousand thanks. The map is now [1840] with the army on the Indus, and … they have found the position of the roads wonderfully correct, considering the distances were estimated by time and the bearings taken with a small pocket-compass.’ Gerard died at Subathoo 31 March 1835.

The German geographer, Ritter, has noticed the valuable services rendered by the three brothers Gerard to the cause of geographical science (Ritter, Der Erdkunde von Asien (1829), Band ii. S. 546).

[See under Gerard, Patrick.]

H. M. C.

GERARD, JOHN (1545–1612), herbalist, was born in 1545 at Nantwich, Cheshire, and was connected with the Gerards of Ince, as evidenced by his coat of arms on the title of his ‘Herball.’ He went to school at Willaston, two miles from his native place, and having studied medicine, he travelled in Scandinavia and Russia, possibly also in the Mediterranean.

In 1562 Gerard was apprenticed to Alexander Mason, a surgeon in large practice, who was twice warden of the Barber-Surgeons' Company. Gerard was admitted to the freedom of the same company 9 Dec. 1569, but there is no record of his admission to the livery. On 21 Feb. 1577–8 he was summoned by the master to answer a charge of defaming the wife of a brother freeman. He was elected a member of the court of assistants of the body, 19 June 1595. Gerard was then well known as a skilled herbalist. He was superintendent of the gardens of Lord Burghley in the Strand, and at Theobalds in Hertfordshire. He was living in Holborn, where he had a garden, to which he devoted great attention, and published a list of the plants therein in 1596. The only copy of that edition (in duodecimo) known to exist is in the Sloane collection in the British Museum. It is of peculiar interest as being the first catalogue of any one garden, public or private. A second edition, this time in folio, with English names as well as Latin in opposite columns, was brought out in 1599. Between these dates Gerard had suffered from ague. In August 1597 he was appointed junior warden of his company. In the previous year he had suggested that the company should keep a garden for the cultivation and study of medicinal plants. A piece of land at East Smithfield was selected, but was found unsuitable. Money was subscribed for the purchase of a garden elsewhere; but although the scheme was under discussion on 2 Nov. 1602, when ‘the committee for Mr. Gerrard's garden’ held a meeting, no active steps were taken.

In December 1597 appeared the folio volume which has made Gerard's name a household word, his ‘Herball’ (London, by J. Norton), dedicated to Lord Burghley. This is in the main a translation begun by Dr. Priest of Dodoens's ‘Pemptades,’ arranged