for the development of fertile seed, citing cases of seed-production where no application of the "dust" from the stamens was possible—thus early recognising conditions which puzzled botanists for many generations afterwards and until the explanation of apogamy was supplied. One is tempted to wonder whether if the Linnaean system had not received the appellation "sexual" it would have roused the same condemnation from him as it did.
From his published work, notably the Dissertation on Botany (1754) a translation of a portion of his earlier Tirocinium Botanicum Edinburgense (1740), as also from some MS. of his lectures which still exist, we recognise the clearness and vigour of mind of Alston, and the precision of the man is made abundantly evident in the beautiful copper-plate writing in old script of his MS. Page after page is filled without blot or correction, and the whole systematised and arranged without flaw. Anatomical questions were dealt with by him in consonance with the knowledge of the time, mainly resting on Malpighi; but there is no rational treatment of physiological subjects, and this is the more surprising inasmuch as he was in intimate correspondence with Hales, and ought to have been acquainted with the fundamental experimental work of that physiologist. It may be that the fragments of record from which we have to judge are insufficient for correct appraisement, but on all the evidence we possess we must conclude that the two volumes of his Materia Medica give us a picture of the direction of his teaching, and that Botany in the hands of its leading expositor in Edinburgh was at this period only a handmaid to Medicine.
The advent of Alston's successor, John Hope, was the dawn of new things. The influence of the work of Hales had reached Edinburgh. Comparatively few botanists of to-day have heard the name of John Hope otherwise than as that of a correspondent of Linnaeus and protagonist in this country of his system of classification, for these are the claims to distinction assigned to him by the historians of British Botany; and if one reckons the value of a man's life-work in science by his published writings alone, that of John Hope would be a minimum;