Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 21.djvu/14

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Garnett
Garnett
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diffuse, but was a valuable work in its day, and is interesting even now as an index to subsequent changes. On 25 Dec. 1798 the great misfortune of his life fell upon him in the death of his wife in childbirth. He never recovered from the blow, and the state of his health and spirits prevented him from doing himself justice in the important post of professor of natural philosophy and chemistry at the Royal Institution, to which he was appointed in October 1799. It is further hinted that he incurred the dislike of Count Rumford, the presiding genius of the institution. It is unnecessary, however, to seek any other cause than the inadequacy of his lectures to the demands of a popular assemblage. Those, at least, which were published after his death under the title of 'Zoonomia, or the Laws of Animal Life' (1804), though full of knowledge and exceedingly clear in style, are still too technical for a popular audience. His north-country accent was also against him, and ill-health rendered his delivery languid and inanimate. After lecturing for two seasons he resigned, and commenced medical practice in London. He was beginning to meet with considerable success when he died, 28 June 1802, of typhus fever contracted at the Marylebone Dispensary, to which he had been appointed physician. A subscription was raised, and his Royal Institution lectures were published for the benefit of his two infant daughters, one of whom, Mrs. Catherine Grace Godwin, ia noticed below.

Garnett was a most amiable man, who fell a victim to the susceptibility of his character and the strength of his affections. Diffident of his own powers, he was enthusiastic for the discoveries and ideas of others. He had not the genius of discovery himself, but was observant and sagacious. A passage in his 'Highland Tour' (i. 89) anticipates the modern theory of a quasi-intelligence in plants.

[Memoir prefixed to Zoonomia, 1804; Gent. Mag. 1802; Becker's Scientific London.]

R. G.

GARNETT, THOMAS (1799–1878), manufacturer and naturalist, younger brother of Richard and Jeremiah Garnett [q. v.] was born at Otley, Yorkshire, on 18 Jan. 1799. In his early days he supported himself by weaving pieces on his own account, but about the age or twenty-one he obtained employment in the great manufacturing establishment of Garnett & Horsfall, Low Moor, Clitheroe, founded and then directed by his uncle, Jeremiah Garnett, esq., of Roe Field. He successively became manager and partner, and at the time of his death had for many years been head of the firm. He possessed an inquiring and speculative intellect, and was an unwearied observer and experimenter in agriculture, medicine, and natural history. He was one of the first to propose the artificial propagation of fish, on which he wrote in the 'Magazine of Natural History' in 1832; he also first discovered the economical value of alpaca wool, which he failed in inducing his partners to take up; and he was one of the earliest experimenters with guano. His papers on natural history and kindred subjects, which evince a faculty of observation comparable to that, of Gilbert White, were collected and privately printed, under the editorship of the present writer, his nephew, in 1883. His character was strong and decided; he was an active, useful citizen, and several times mayor of Clitheroe. He died on 21 May 1878.

[Garnett's Essays in Nat. Hist. and Agriculture, 1883; personal knowledge.]

R. G.

GARNETT, WILLIAM (1793–1873), civil servant, born in London on 13 Nov. 1793, was the second and posthumous son of Thomas Garnett of Old Hutton, Kendal, who married Martha Rolfe, and died in 1793. By the premature death of his father, the care of William and his elder brother Thomas devolved at an early age on their cousin, Mr. T.C.Brooksbank of the treasury under whom they were educated, and eventually placed in public offices. William was appointed to the office for licensing hawkers and pedlars in 1807, at the age of only thirteen and a half years, and afterwards transferred to the tax office, in which he rose to the highest positions. He was deputy-registrar and registrar of the land-tax from 1819 to 1841, and was the author of valuable evidence on that subject given to the select committee on agricultural distress in 1836.

He was selected for the office of assistant inspector-general of stamps and taxes in 1835, and inspector-general in 1842. He took a leading part in the introduction of the income tax in Great Britain in 1842, and was author of 'The Guide to the Property and Income Tax,' of which several editions were published. He was also mainly instrumental in the successful establishment of the income-tax in Ireland in 1853, and author of 'The Guide to the Income-Tax Laws as applicable to Ireland.' In 1851 he made a special visitation of all the assay offices in the United Kingdom, on which he reported to parliament, and valuable evidence on the subject was given by him to select committee of the House of Commons on 'gold and silver wares' in 1855 and 1856. Garnett was not only distinguished for his long and eminent public services, but was in private life an