Page:Biographies of Scientific Men.djvu/92

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.


LINNÆUS

1707-1778

IN the same year that England and Scotland were united into one kingdom, and two days after the Act of Union came into operation (3rd May 1707), there was born at Roëshult, Sweden, Carl Linnæus, the father of modern botany. He found biology a chaos, and he left it a cosmos. He was the first to popularize the study of botany in Europe by establishing the custom of using for a plant a second or specific name in addition to the generic name under which every specimen was then only known. Linnæus was destined to rescue botany from the degraded state to which Pliny and his imitators had reduced it. To this truly great man we owe the first attempt to remove the natural sciences from the control of those into whose hands they had fallen.

The origin of the name Linnæus is supposed to have had some connection with a lofty linden or lime tree which stood in the garden of the ancestral home.

It was intended that he should follow the same profession as his father—that of a Lutheran pastor; but

62