Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Catesby, Mark

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CATESBY, Mark, naturalist, b. in England about 1680; d. in London, England, 24 Dec., 1749. A taste for natural history induced him, after studying the natural sciences in London, to make a voyage to Virginia, where he arrived 23 April, 1712, and was occupied in collecting its various productions. He returned to England in 1719 with a rich collection of plants, but, at the suggestion of Sir Hans Sloane and other eminent naturalists, re-embarked for America with the professed purpose of describing, delineating, and collecting the most curious natural objects in this country. He arrived on 23 May, 1722, explored the lower part of South Carolina, and afterward lived for some time among the Indians at Fort Moore, on Savannah river, 300 miles from the sea. He made excursions into Georgia and Florida, and, after spending three years in this country, visited the Bahama islands. He returned to England in 1726, and published in numbers “The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands” (2 vols., folio, 1731-'48; new ed., 1754 and 1771). In this work were found the first descriptions of several plants now cultivated in all European gardens. The figures were etched by himself from his own paintings, and the colored copies executed under his inspection. Catesby was a fellow of the royal society, to whose transactions he contributed a paper on “Birds of Passage” (1747), asserting the migration of birds on his own observations. He wrote “Hortus Europæ Americanus” (published posthumously, 1767), and some other works have been attributed to him. A plant of the tetrandrous class has been called after him, Catesbea, by Gronovius.