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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/498

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

ciety. Comparatively little seems to be known about Bradbury. He was a Scotchman who had lived for a long time in England, when he received his commission from the Liverpool Botanical Society in 1809. Upon arriving in this country, Bradbury spent several days at the house of Thomas Jefferson, so that the latter became acquainted with him and his abilities. Jefferson spoke highly of him as a naturalist, and Short, a later writer, mentions him as "an English gentleman of very respectable attainments as a naturalist." In the light of our present knowledge he seems to have fully deserved such an estimation, as he discovered a considerable number of new species as well as a new genus of plants during his travels in the Missouri country. Indeed, several of our more characteristic species bear his name, and in later years he was honored by Torrey and Gray, who named a new genus Bradburia, in commemoration of his services in exploring our western flora.

Mr. Bradbury at first intended to make New Orleans his center of operations, but following the advice of Jefferson he changed that intention and came to St. Louis instead. He descended the Ohio River by boat, making such observations and collections as he could at the various stopping places, arriving at St. Louis on the last day of the year 1809. The entire season of 1810 was spent about St. Louis, making short excursions of not more than eighty or one hundred miles distance in all directions, and he accumulated a considerable collection of plants which were sent to Liverpool the succeeding autumn. No definite data can now be obtained as to the number of species contained in these collections, as Bradbury never published a complete list of them, although he did give a list of the rare and more interesting plants in his journal, which was published after his return to England.

Early in the spring of 1811 Bradbury, accompanied by a young and zealous botanist named Thomas Nuttall, joined a fur-trading expedition, and with them ascended the Missouri River as far as the Mandan villages, not far from the site of the present town of Bismarck, North Dakota. Upon reaching this point the expedition divided and part of it, including Bradbury, returned to St. Louis. The others went on still farther, and Nuttall remained with them until their return to St. Louis some months later. This voyage was made in a steamer, and progress was necessarily slow while going up the river, so that our naturalists had ample time and opportunity for collecting. A collection even larger than that which had been made around St. Louis is said to have been accumulated.

Before Bradbury had finished his preparations for departure to England, the war of 1812 broke out, and he remained for several years in this country until the close of hostilities. He finally reached Liverpool in 1815, and found that during his long absence his plants had been inspected by Pursh, who was at that time in England preparing the