Page:Journal of botany, British and foreign, Volume 9 (1871).djvu/349

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Original articles.


(A Paper read before the Edinburgh Natural History Society on 26th January, 1792.)

[This paper, which has never been printed, is of considerable value in itself, and will be read with the interest which always attaches to the early efforts of great men. Robert Brown was born on December 21st, 1773, so that he was but a little over eighteen when he read this essay. It is probable that it was his first contribution to botanical science, and that it is the paper alluded to in the obituary notice in the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (unhappily the only life we possess of the greatest of modern botanists), an addition to Lightfoot's 'Flora Scotica,' read in 1791. The excursion in Angus, which "did not exceed a fortnight," must have been made in that or a previous year. At this period Dr. Withering's 'Botanical Arrangement'—the second, and perhaps best, edition of which was completed in 1787 (except the 'Cryptogams,' which appeared in 1792)—was altogether the foremost text-book on British botany, and young Brown must be considered fortunate in having, soon after reading this paper, become a correspondent of the careful and excellent author. In the third edition (1796) we find the assistance of "Mr. Brown, surgeon, Edinburgh," acknowledged in the preface; and in the body of the book are a good many Scotch localities contributed by him, some being the same as those in this paper. We have been careful to print the communication just as it exists in the MS. volume of the Transactions of the Natural History Society, where it was found by Mr. Carruthers in August last.]

Mr. President,—In the following pages I do not pretend to give a full account of the vegetable productions of the county of Angus; but what I propose is only to enumerate some of its rarest plants, which I either met with myself or with regard to which I received credible information.

Before, however, entering upon this subject, it may not be improper briefly to point out the boundaries of this county and its relative situation with respect to other parts of Scotland. Angusshire, therefore, is bounded on the south by the Frith of Tay, which divides it from the county of Fife; on the east by the German Ocean; on the north it is separated from the county of Mearns by the river North Esk, and on the west it is bounded by part of Perthshire and of the Grampian Mountains, many of which it includes. To have minutely examined this tract of country, no less extensive than diversified in external appearance, would have required a length of time far greater than what I had to bestow on such an investigation; and when it is considered that the time I remained in that country did not exceed a fortnight, it will perhaps be thought presuming to attempt even a sketch of its botanical history. Conscious, therefore, of the numerous defects necessarily arising from this circumstance, I have not here proposed giving a full catalogue of its vegetable productions. Confining myself, as was before remarked, to those rarer plants only, which I can, either from an actual examination VOL. IX. [NOVEMBER 1, 1871.]