1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Jussieu, De

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JUSSIEU, DE, the name of a French family which came into prominent notice towards the close of the 16th century, and for a century and a half was distinguished for the botanists it produced. The following are its more eminent members:—

1. Antoine de Jussieu (1686–1758), born at Lyons on the 6th of July 1686, was the son of Christophe de Jussieu (or Dejussieu), an apothecary of some repute, who published a Nouveau traité de la thériaque (1708). Antoine studied at the university of Montpellier, and travelled with his brother Bernard through Spain, Portugal and southern France. He went to Paris in 1708, J. P. de Tournefort, whom he succeeded at the Jardin des Plantes, dying in that year. His own original publications are not of marked importance, but he edited an edition of Tournefort’s Institutiones rei herbariae (3 vols., 1719), and also a posthumous work of Jacques Barrelier, Plantae per Galliam, Hispaniam, et Italiam observatae, &c. (1714). He practised medicine, chiefly devoting himself to the very poor. He died at Paris on the 22nd of April 1758.

2. Bernard de Jussieu (1699–1777), a younger brother of the above, was born at Lyons on the 17th of August 1699. He took a medical degree at Montpellier and began practice in 1720, but finding the work uncongenial he gladly accepted his brother’s invitation to Paris in 1722, when he succeeded Sébastien Vaillant as sub-demonstrator of plants in the Jardin du Roi. In 1725 he brought out a new edition of Tournefort’s Histoire des plantes qui naissent aux environs de Paris, 2 vols., which was afterwards translated into English by John Martyn, the original work being incomplete. In the same year he was admitted into the académie des sciences, and communicated several papers to that body. Long before Abraham Trembley (1700–1784) published his Histoire des polypes d’eau douce, Jussieu maintained the doctrine that these organisms were animals, and not the flowers of marine plants, then the current notion; and to confirm his views he made three journeys to the coast of Normandy. Singularly modest and retiring, he published very little, but in 1759 he arranged the plants in the royal garden of the Trianon at Versailles, according to his own scheme of classification. This arrangement is printed in his nephew’s Genera, pp. lxiii.–lxx., and formed the basis of that work. He cared little for the credit of enunciating new discoveries, so long as the facts were made public. On the death of his brother Antoine, he could not be induced to succeed him in his office, but prevailed upon L. G. Lemonnier to assume the higher position. He died at Paris on the 6th of November 1777.

3. Joseph de Jussieu (1704–1779), brother of Antoine and Bernard, was born at Lyons on the 3rd of September 1704. Educated like the rest of the family for the medical profession, he accompanied C. M. de la Condamine to Peru, in the expedition for measuring an arc of meridian, and remained in South America for thirty-six years, returning to France in 1771. Amongst the seeds he sent to his brother Bernard were those of Heliotropium peruvianum, Linn., then first introduced into Europe. He died at Paris on the 11th of April 1779.

4. Antoine Laurent de Jussieu (1748–1836), nephew of the three preceding, was born at Lyons on the 12th of April 1748. Called to Paris by his uncle Bernard, and carefully trained by him for the pursuits of medicine and botany, he largely profited by the opportunities afforded him. Gifted with a tenacious memory, and the power of quickly grasping the salient points of subjects under observation, he steadily worked at the improvement of that system of plant arrangement which had been sketched out by his uncle. In 1789 was issued his Genera plantarum secundum ordines naturales disposita, juxta methodum in horto regio Parisiensi exaratam, anno mdcclxxiv. This volume formed the basis of modern classification; more than this, it is certain that Cuvier derived much help in his zoological classification from its perusal. Hardly had the last sheet passed through the press, when the French Revolution broke out, and the author was installed in charge of the hospitals of Paris. The muséum d’histoire naturelle was organized on its present footing mainly by him in 1793, and he selected for its library everything relating to natural history from the vast materials obtained from the convents then broken up. He continued as professor of botany there from 1770 to 1826, when his son Adrien succeeded him. Besides the Genera, he produced nearly sixty memoirs on botanical topics. He died at Paris on the 17th of September 1836.

5. Adrien Laurent Henri de Jussieu (1797–1853), son of Antoine Laurent, was born at Paris on the 23rd of December 1797. He displayed the qualities of his family in his thesis for the degree of M.D., De Euphorbiacearum generibus medicisque earundem viribus tentamen, Paris, 1824. He was also the author of valuable contributions to botanical literature on the Rutaceae, Meliaceae and Malpighiaceae respectively, of “Taxonomie” in the Dictionnaire universelle d’histoire naturelle, and of an introductory work styled simply Botanique, which reached nine editions, and was translated into the principal languages of Europe. He also edited his father’s Introductio in historiam plantarum, issued at Paris, without imprint or date, it being a fragment of the intended second edition of the Genera, which Antoine Laurent did not live to complete. He died at Paris on the 29th of June 1853, leaving two daughters, but no son, so that with him closed the brilliant botanical dynasty.

6. Laurent Pierre de Jussieu (1792–1866), miscellaneous writer, nephew of Antoine Laurent, was born at Villeurbanne on the 7th of February 1792. His Simon de Nantua, ou le marchand forain (1818), reached fifteen editions, and was translated into seven languages. He also wrote Simples notions de physique et d’histoire naturelle (1857), and a few geological papers. He died at Passy on the 23rd of February 1866.