Men of the Time, eleventh edition/Allman, George James
ALLMAN, George James, M.D., LL.D., F.R.C.S.I., F.R.S., F.R.S.E., M.R.I.A., F.L.S., and member of various foreign societies, born at Cork in 1812, was educated at the Belfast Academic Institution, and graduated in Arts and Medicine in the University of Dublin. His early attachment to civil and religious liberty and his sense of the injustice of the laws then affecting Roman Catholics, caused him to throw himself warmly into the liberal side of Irish politics, and mainly decided him in studying for the Irish bar. His love of biological science, however, which had from an early age taken possession of him, proved too strong, and, before he had completed the required number of terms, he gave up the study of law for that of medicine. In 1844 he graduated in Medicine in the University of Dublin, and in the same year was appointed to the Regius Professorship of Botany in that university, when he relinquished all further thought of medical practice. In 1854 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and in 1855 he resigned his professorship in the University of Dublin on his appointment to the Regius Professorship of Natural History in the University of Edinburgh, which he held until 1870, when the state of his health obliged him to resign it. Shortly after this the honorary degree of LL.D. was conferred on him by the University of Edinburgh. His chief scientific labours have been among the lower members of the animal kingdom, to the investigation of whose structure and physiology he has specially devoted himself. For his researches in this department of biology the Royal Society of Edinburgh awarded to him in 1872 the Brisbane Prize; in the following year a Royal Medal was awarded to him by the Royal Society of London; and in 1878 he received the Cunningham Gold Medal from the Royal Irish Academy. He was one of the Commissioners appointed by Government in 1876 to inquire into the state of the Queen's Colleges in Ireland, and he holds an honorary appointment as Commissioner of Scottish Fisheries. On the occasion of the general election in 1874, the committee for securing the return of a Liberal member for the borough of Bandon selected him for nomination, at the same time offering to relieve him from the necessity of pledging himself on any of the special questions which then formed a prominent element in Irish politics, but he declined the proffered honour. The same year, on the resignation of Mr. Bentham, he was elected to the presidency of the Linnean Society, and President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science at the meeting held at Sheffield in 1879. On the completion of the exploring voyage of the "Challenger," the large collection of Hydroida made during that great expedition was assigned to him for determination and description—a service which he had already performed for the Hydroida collected during the exploration of the Gulf Stream under the direction of the United States Government. Results of his original investigations are contained in memoirs published in the Philosophical Transactions, the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, as well as in Reports presented to the British Association for the Advancement of Science, and to the Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard University, and in communications to the Annals of Natural History, the Quarterly Journal of Microscopic Science, and other scientific journals. His more elaborate works are "A Monograph of the Freshwater Polyzoa," fol. 1856, and "A Monograph of the Gymnoblastic Hydroids," fol. 1871–72, both published by the Ray Society, and largely illustrated with coloured plates.