1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Waterton, Charles

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WATERTON, CHARLES (1782-1865), English naturalist and traveller, was born at Walton Hall, near Pontefract, Yorkshire, on the 3rd of June 1782. After being educated at the Roman Catholic college of Stonyhurst, and travelling a short time in Spain, he went to Demcrara to manage some estates belonging to his family. He continued in this occupation for about eight years, when he began those wanderings upon the results of which his fame as a naturalist principally rests. In his first journey, which began in 1812, and the principal object of which was to collect the poison known as curare, he travelled through British Guiana by the Demerara and Esscquibo rivers to the frontiers of Brazil, making many natural history collections and observations by the way. After spending some time in England he returned to South America in 1816, going by Pernambuco and Cayenne to British Guiana, where again he devoted his time to the most varied observations in natural history. For the third time, in 1820, he sailed from England for Demerara, and again he spent his time in similar pursuits. Another sojourn in England of about three years was followed by a visit to the United States in 1824; and, having touched at several of the West . India islands, he again went on to Demerara, returning to England at the end of the year. In 1825 he published the results of his four journeys, under the title of Wanderings in South America—consisting largely of a collection of observations on the appearance, character and habits of many of the animals to be found in British Guiana. Waterton was a keen and accurate observer, and his descriptions are of a graphic and humorous character, rarely to be found in works on natural history. He married in 1829, and from that time lived mostly at Walton Hall, devoting himself to the improvem.ent of his estate, to country pursuits, and to natural history observations. He also published three series of Essays in Natural History (1838, 1844, 1857). He died at Walton Hall on the 27th of May 1865, from the result of an accident. His only son, Edmund Waterton (1830-1887), was an antiquary, who paid special attention to rings; some of those he collected are in the Victoria and Albert Museum.