Hope, John (1725-1786) (DNB00)

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HOPE, JOHN (1725–1786), professor of botany in Edinburgh University, son of Robert Hope, surgeon, whose father, Lord Rankeillor [see under Hope, Sir John, Lord Craighall], was a Scotch lord of session, was born at Edinburgh on 10 May 1725. He was educated at Dalkeith school, at Edinburgh University, and in continental medical schools. He graduated M.D. at Glasgow in 1750, and, joining the College of Physicians at Edinburgh, entered upon practice there. He chiefly devoted himself to botanical science, which he had begun under Jussieu in Paris, and in 1761 he obtained, in succession to Charles Alston [q. v.], the professorship of botany and materia medica at Edinburgh, being also made king's botanist for Scotland and superintendent of the royal garden at Edinburgh. After lecturing in the summer session on botany, and in the winter on materia medica, for six years, he gave up the latter course, and in 1768 received a new commission as regius professor of medicine and botany. He was soon afterwards elected a physician to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, a post which he held till his death. The medical botanical garden (where the Waverley station is now) was swampy and unsuitable, and he caused it to be exchanged in 1776 for one to the west of Leith Walk, where he arranged the plants according to the Linnean system. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London, was highly appreciated by Linnæus, who named the genus Hopea after him; he was president of the Edinburgh College of Physicians when he died on 10 Nov. 1786, aged 61. He married Juliana, daughter of Dr. Stevenson, physician, of Edinburgh, by whom he left four sons and one daughter. His third son, Thomas Charles Hope, is noticed separately.

Hope was an enthusiastic admirer of Linnæus, and put up at his own expense an imposing monument to him in the Edinburgh botanical gardens. He published Alston's lectures on materia medica in two quarto volumes in 1770, and edited Linnæus's ‘Genera Animalium’ in 1781.

[Duncan's Memoir of Hope; Harveian Oration at Edinburgh, 1788; Kay's Edinburgh Portraits, ii. 415; Grant's Story of Edinburgh University, i. 318, ii. 382.]

G. T. B.