Stephen Maturin's Online Natural History Library

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By the beginning of the 19th Century, many land and sea expeditions had been completed, both to establish trade routes and for scientific pursuits, and published accounts were abundant. As a well-educated physician possessing several languages, Stephen Maturin would no doubt have had access to a wide variety of publications available at the time. The Hancock Natural History Collection at the University of Southern California has 460 books titles which were published from before 1800, and another 1,516 monograph titles which were published from 1800 to 1849.

From Patrick O'Brian's chronicles of Stephen's life (and a nod to Anthony Gary Brown's The Patrick O'Brian Muster Book), it is certain that, in addition to procedings from the Royal Society and the French Académie des sciences, Stephen was familiar with a variety of international ornithologists, botanists, entomologists, anatomists, geologists, and naturalists. Stephen's bookseller was [1]Mr Bentley of Richard Bentley and Son, and the Publishing House of Bentley, based in London.

Authors and titles

Michel Adanson
Histoire naturelle du Senegal (1757); Familles naturelles des plantes (1763);A voyage to Senegal, the isle of Goreé, and the river Gambia (1759)
Joseph Banks, an acquaintance of Stephen's in the Royal Society during the time Sir Joseph was president (1778-1820).
Catalogus bibliothecae historico-naturalis Josephi Banks 1798-1800 and other papers of Sir Joseph's at the State Library of New South Wales; The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks, 1768-1771
Thomas Bewick, more famous for his wood engravings than his ornithology, encountered Jack and Stephen briefly while in Chile.
History of British Birds (1797-1804)
Louis Antoine de Bougainville, certainly known to Stephen if they were not acquaintances through the French Académie des sciences
Voyage autour du monde, par le fregate du roi la Boudeuse, et la flute l’Etoile (1771)
Mathurin Jacques Brisson
Ornithologia sive synopsis methodica sistens avium divisionem in ordines, sectiones, genera, species, ipsarumque varietates (1760-63)
Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon
Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière (1749–1788: in 35 volumes, 9 additional volumes published by Bernard Germain de Lacépède after his death)
Carolus Clusius (Charles de l'Écluse)
Rariorum aliquot stirpium per Hispanias observatarum historia (1576); Rariorum plantarum historia (1601)
James Cook
A voyage towards the South Pole and round the world (1777 Vol1 and 2); Captain Cook's Journal During the First Voyage Round the World by James Cook; James Cook's Journal of Remarkable Occurrences aboard His Majesty's Bark Endeavour, (1768-1771)
Georges Cuvier
Tableau elementaire de l'histoire naturelle des animaux (1798)
Erasmus Darwin
Zoonomia, or the Laws of Organic Life (1794)
Edward Donovan
Natural History of British Birds; or, a Selection of the most Rare, Beautiful, and Interesting Birds which inhabit this country (1794-1819)
Henri-Louis Duhamel du Monceau
Traité des semis et plantations des arbres et de leur culture (1760); Traité de l’exploitation des bois (1764)
Johann Reinhold Forster
Observations Made during a Voyage round the World (1778)
Georg Forster
— A Voyage round the World in His Britannic Majesty's Sloop Resolution, Commanded by Capt. James Cook, during the Years, 1772, 3, 4, and 5 (1777)
Johann Georg Gmelin
Allgemeine Geschichte der Pflanzengifte (1777); The 13th edition of Systema Naturae by Carolus Linnaeus (1788)
Samuel Gottlieb Gmelin
Flora Sibirica (4 vols., 1749-1750); Reisen durch Sibirien (4 vols., 1753)
Edmond Halley
The Art of Living under Water: Or, a Discourse concerning the Means of Furnishing Air at the Bottom of the Sea, in Any Ordinary Depths
François Huber
Nouvelles Observations sur les Abeilles (1792)
John Jonston
— Historiae naturalis de avibus libri VI cum aeneis figuris Johannes Jonstonus,... concinnavit (1657); Historiae naturalis de piscibus et cetis libri V, cum aeneis figuris, Johannes Jonstonus,... concinnavit (1657); Theatrum universale omnium animalium, piscium, avium, quadrupedum, exanguium aquaticorum, insectorum et angium (1718)
Antoine Laurent de Jussieu
Genera Plantarum, secundum ordines naturales disposita juxta methodum in Horto Regio Parisiensi exaratam (1789)
John Latham
A General Synopsis of Birds (1781-1801)
Pierre André Latreille
— Précis des caracteres generiques des insectes, disposes dans un ordre naturel (1796); Histoire naturelle générale et particulière des crustacés et insectes (14 vols., 1802-1805)
François Leguat
A new voyage to the East-Indies which included a description of the now-extinct Rodrigues Solitaire
The Voyage of Francois Leguat of Bresse to Rodriguez, Mauritius, Java, and the Cape of Good Hope
William Lewin
The Birds of Great Britain, with Their Eggs, Accurately Figured (1789); Second Edition, 1793 to 1801
Carl Linnaeus
Systema Naturae (1735); Genera plantarum: eorumque characteres naturales secundum numerum, figuram, situm, et proportionem omnium fructificationis partium (1737); Species Plantarum (1753); Systema Plantarum (1779)
Georg Marcgrave
Historia Naturalis Brasiliae (1648)
Juan Ignacio Molina (The Abbot)
Saggio sulla Storia Naturale del Chili - 1782 (First edition, Italian, 1787); Saggio sulla Storia Naturale del Chili (Second edition, Italian, 1810); The geographical, natural and civil history of Chili (English edition, published 1808 by for I. Riley in Middletown (Conn.)
George Montagu
Ornithological Dictionary of British Birds (1802)
David Nelson
The First collection of Hawaiian plants (1779); New species of Hawaiian plants collected (1779)
Guillaume-Antoine Olivier
— Entomologie, ou histoire naturelle des Insectes (1808); Le Voyage dans l'Empire Othoman, l'Égypte et la Perse (1807)
Peter Simon Pallas
Miscellanea zoologica, quibus novæ imprimis atque obscuræ animalum species describuntur et observationibus iconibusque illustrantur (1766); Novae species Quadrupedum e Glirium ordine (1778); Mémoires sur la variation des animaux (1780)
Thomas Pennant
British Zoology (1766)
John Ray
Synopsis methodica Avium et Piscium (1713); Historia Insectorum (1710)
René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur
Short history of bees I. The natural history of bees (1800); Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire des insectes (1734-42)
Hipólito Ruiz López with Josepho Pavón, although Stephen does not mention Pavón.
Flora Peruviana et Chilensis Vols. I-III; Systema vegetabilium florae peruvianae et chilensis; Flora peruvianae, et chilensis prodromus (1798-1802)
Edward Sabine
Sir Edward was famous for his work in astronomy, geophysics, ornithology, and for his many contributions during various expeditions. He was not famous for entomology, however, and the "Sabine beetles" Sir Joseph Blaine had in his possession (HMSS) were beetles given him by Sir Edward for identification and study.
Augustin Saint-Hilaire
It is likely that Sir Joseph's reference to Saint-Hilaire in The Surgeon's Mate is Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (see below). Nevertheless, it would not be out of the question for Stephen to have some of the works of Augustin Saint-Hilaire, especially since they pertained to South America, and Brazil, in particular. Augustin was a prolific author, and among many others, penned the following:
Voyage dans les provinces de Rio de Janeiro et de Minas Geraes; Voyage aux sources du Rio de S. Francisco et dans la province de Goyaz: Volumes 3-4; Histoire des plantes les plus remarquables du Brésil et du Paraguay, Volume 1; Voyage dans le district des Diamans et sur le littoral du Brésil, Volume 2
Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire
— No doubt Stephen would have many of Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire works, or he might have had a copy of the list of manuscripts, Catalogue des manuscrits d'Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire conservés au Muséum
George Shaw
— Museum Leverianum (1792-6); General Zoology, or Systematic Natural History (1809-1826); The Naturalist's Miscellany: Or, Coloured Figures Of Natural Objects; Drawn and Described Immediately From Nature (1789-1813); Zoological lectures delivered at the Royal Institution in the Years 1806 and 1807, Volume 1
Daniel Solander
Illustrations of the Botany of Captain Cook's Voyage Round the World; The Natural History of Many Curious and Uncommon Zoophytes, Collected by the late John Ellis (1786)
Anders Erikson Sparrman
A voyage to the Cape of Good Hope, towards the Antarctic polar circle, and round the world: But chiefly into the country of the Hottentots and Caffres, from the year 1772 to 1776 (1789)
Georg Wilhelm Steller
Journal of a Voyage with Bering (1741-1742); De Bestiis Marinis (1751)
Jan Swammerdam
Historia Insectorum Generalis (1669)
Coenraad Jacob Temminck
Manuel d'ornithologie ou Tableau systématique des oiseaux qui se trouvent en Europe (1815); Observations sur la classification méthodique des oiseaux et remarques sur l'analyse d'une nouvelle ornithologie élémentaire (1817)
Francis Willughby
— Ornithologia libri tres (1676)

  1. Mr Bentley
HMS Surprise
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