California's Frontier Naturalists by Richard G. Beidleman

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By Richard G. Beidleman

This booklet chronicles the interesting tale of the enthusiastic, stalwart, and proficient naturalists who have been interested in California's magnificent common bounty over the a long time from 1786, whilst the los angeles P?rouse excursion arrived at Monterey, to the loss of life Valley day trip in 1890-91, the proclaimed "end" of the yank frontier. Richard G. Beidleman's enticing and marvelously distinct narrative describes those botanists, zoologists, geologists, paleontologists, astronomers, and ethnologists as they camped less than stars and confronted blizzards, made discoveries and accumulated collections, saved journals and misplaced valuables, sketched plant life and landscapes, recorded comets and local languages. He weaves jointly the tales in their lives, their hard fieldwork, their contributions to technology, and their interesting adventures opposed to the backdrop of California and global history.California's Frontier Naturalists covers all of the significant expeditions to California in addition to person and institutional explorations, introducing naturalists who observed boundary surveys, joined federal railroad events, traveled with river topographical expeditions, followed troops concerned with the Mexican warfare, and made up California's personal geological survey. between those early naturalists are recognized names--David Douglas, Thomas Nuttall, John Charles Fremont, William Brewer--as good as those people who are much less famous, together with Paolo Botta, Richard Hinds, and Sara Lemmon.

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Here relations between British and Spanish, and between Vancouver and Menzies, proved more cordial. ” The naturalist encountered many “new & rare objects” but few plants in either flower or seed. But he enjoyed hiking through “beautiful groves of the Ever green Oak” (Coast Live Oak), Vancouver’s Expedition with Menzies 35 much larger than those “crabbed” ones around Monterey. ” Along the shore Indians were observed catching fish, of “plentiful supply and diversity,” including types that are favorites to this day, the Pacific Bonito and Yellowtail.

Joining the navy as an assistant surgeon in 1782, Menzies served during the American Revolutionary War, his ship being one of those involved in the famous Battle of the Saints off Dominica in the Lesser Antilles, where the French fleet was defeated in the final sea battle of the war (April 12, 1782). In 1784 Menzies transferred to HMS Assistance, devoting, as had become his custom, his “vacant hours to Natural History” along the East Coast and in the Caribbean. Meanwhile, Professor Hope suggested that his former student send some plant specimens to Sir Joseph Banks, president of the Royal Society, including some from the new United States.

Helena, Vancouver, being short-handed, appropriated Menzies’s servant to stand watch as an ordinary sailor. ” But on this particular occasion, when the Discovery encountered a nasty storm, the plant frame where Menzies’s seedlings grew was left covered by his “servant,” who was busy elsewhere, and some of the plants died. Menzies reported the dereliction of botanical duty to Vancouver, who declined to discipline Menzies’s assistant. ” After a few days Menzies apologized. The other unpleasant experience involved Menzies’s divided loyalty during the expedition—loyalty to Sir Joseph Banks, his mentor, as the assigned naturalist, and to Captain George Vancouver while serving as the expedition’s surgeon.

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