Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Blair, Patrick

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BLAIR, PATRICK, M.D. (fl. 1728), botanist and surgeon, was born at Dundee, where he practised as a doctor, and in 1706 dissected and mounted the bones of an elephant which had died in the neighbourhood, and of which he contributed a description, under the title of 'Osteographia Elephantina,' to the Royal Society of London, published in 1713. Being a nonjuror and Jacobite, he was imprisoned as a suspect in 1715. He subsequently removed to London, and delivered some discourses before the Royal Society on the sexes of flowers. But he soon settled at Boston, Lincolnshire, where he published 'Miscellaneous Observations on the Practice of Physick, Anatomy, and Surgery' in 1718, 'Botanick Essays' in 1720, and 'Pharmaco-botanologia' in 1723-8, which closed with the letter H, it is presumed through his death. His ' Botanick Essays ' formed his most valuable work. In them he clearly expounded the progress of the classification of plants up to his time, and the then new views as to the sexual characters of flowering plants, which he confirmed by his own observations.

[Pulteney's Progress of Botany in England, 1790, ii. 134-140; Chalmers's Biog. Dict.]

G. T. B.