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A capital Scot: microscopes and museums in Robert E. Grant's zoology (1815–1840)

  • TOM QUICK (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

Early nineteenth-century zoology in Britain has been characterized as determined by the ideological concerns of its proponents. Taking the zoologist Robert E. Grant as an exemplary figure in this regard, this article offers a differently nuanced account of the conditions under which natural-philosophical knowledge concerning animal life was established in post-Napoleonic Britain. Whilst acknowledging the ideological import of concepts such as force and law, it points to an additional set of concerns amongst natural philosophers – that of appropriate tool use in investigation. Grant's studies in his native Edinburgh relied heavily on the use of microscopes. On his arrival in London, however, he entered a culture in which a different set of objects – museum specimens – held greater persuasive power. This article relates changes in Grant's ideas and practices to the uneven emphases on microscopic and museological evidence amongst European, Scottish and English natural philosophers at this time. In so doing, it identifies the reliance of London-based natural philosophers on museology as constituting a limiting effect on the kinds of claim that Grant sought to make regarding the nature of life.

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1 Desmond Adrian, ‘Robert E. Grant: the social predicament of a pre-Darwinian transmutationist’, Journal of the History of Biology (1984) 17, pp. 189223.

2 Adrian Desmond, The Politics of Evolution: Morphology, Medicine, and Reform in Radical London, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1989, esp. pp. 25–100.

3 For example, though James Elwick in his Styles of Reasoning in the British Life Sciences: Shared Assumptions, 1820–1858, London: Pickering & Chatto, 2007, notes the different personal approaches of Grant and his principal rival, the Hunterian Museum conservator Richard Owen, he argues that they both adhered to a common epistemology of ‘analysis–synthesis’. See esp. p. 41. Similarly, James Secord's Victorian Sensation: The Extraordinary Publication, Reception, and Secret Authorship of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003, pp. 64–65, emphasizes that Grant did not portray his beliefs as theologically heterodox.

4 Jutta Schickore, The Microscope and the Eye: A History of Reflections, 1740–1870, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2007; and especially Schickore, ‘Error as historiographical challenge: the infamous globule hypothesis’, in Giora Hon, Jutta Schickore and Friedrich Steinle (eds.), Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science (2009) 267, Going Amiss in Experimental Research, pp. 27–45. Schickore's work also downplays relations between natural-philosophical and ideological conviction at this time.

5 Elwick, op. cit. (3), pp. 29–32.

6 For a recent overview of geographical studies in the history of science see Finnegan Dairmid A., ‘The spatial turn: geographical approaches in the history of science’, Journal of the History of Biology (2008) 41, pp. 369388. Recent essay collections in this vein include David N. Livingstone and Charles W.J. Withers (eds.), Geographies of Nineteenth-Century Science, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2011; and Marie N. Bourguet, Christian Licoppe and Otto Sibum (eds.), Instruments, Travel and Science: Itineraries of Precision from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century, London and New York: Routledge, 2002.

7 Desmond, op. cit. (2), esp. pp. 25–41, 81–100; Nicolaas A. Rupke, Richard Owen: Victorian Naturalist, New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press, 1994, esp. pp. 55–69; Elwick, op. cit. (3), esp. pp. 18–25.

8 Secord, op. cit. (3), esp. pp. 191–221, 261–275; Helen Cowie, Exhibiting Animals in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Empathy, Education, Entertainment, Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2014, pp. 31–51; Carla Yanni, Nature's Museums: Victorian Science and the Architecture of Display, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999, pp. 62–110; Dairmid A. Finnegan, Natural History Societies and Civic Culture in Victorian Scotland, London: Pickering & Chatto, 2009, pp. 67–89; Desmond, op. cit. (2), pp. 41–77.

9 Details of Grant's life can be found in Sarah E. Parker, Robert Edmond Grant (1793–1874) and His Museum of Comparative Anatomy, London: Grant Museum Special Publications, UCL, 2006; Desmond Adrian and Parker Sarah, ‘The bibliography of Robert Edmond Grant’, Archives of Natural History (2006) 33, pp. 202213; and [anon.], Biographical sketch of Robert Edmond Grant, M.D., F.R.S.L. & E, &c.’, The Lancet (1850) 56, pp. 686695. Other work that addresses Grant's work directly includes Desmond, op. cit. (1); Desmond Adrian, ‘Robert E. Grant's later views on organic development: the Swiney Lectures on “palaeozoology,” 1853–1857’, Archives of Natural History (1984) 11, pp. 395413; Phillip R. Sloan, ‘Darwin's invertebrate program, 1826–1836: preconditions for transformism’, in David Kohn (ed.), The Darwinian Heritage, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985, pp. 71–120; Secord James, ‘Edinburgh Lamarckians: Robert Jameson and Robert E. Grant’, Journal of the History of Biology (1991) 24, pp. 118. On philosophic zoology in Britain see Philip F. Rehbock, The Philosophical Naturalists: Themes in Early Nineteenth-Century British Biology, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1983.

10 L.S. Jacyna, Philosophic Whigs: Medicine, Science, and Citizenship in Edinburgh, 1789–1848, London and New York: Routledge, 1994, esp. pp. 65–73, 115–124; Lawrence Christopher, ‘The Edinburgh Medical School and the end of the “Old Thing” 1790–1830’, History of Universities (1988) 7, pp. 259286, esp. 279–286.

11 [Anon.] op. cit. (9), p. 689–690.

12 That is, to the Ricardian conception of political economy as a mathematical science that would describe the laws governing economic exchange. As the university's first professor of the subject, John R. McCulloch, put it, ‘Political economy is the science of the laws which regulate the production, distribution, and consumption of those articles or products which have exchangeable value, and are either necessary, useful, or agreeable to man.’ John R. McCulloch, The Principles of Political Economy: With a Sketch of the Rise and Progress of the Science, Edinburgh: William and Charles Tait, 1825, p. 1. On Ricardo and McCulloch see Mary Poovey, A History of the Modern Fact: Problems of Knowledge in the Sciences of Wealth and Society, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1998, pp. 196–199. On the foundation of the University of London and its subsequent institution as University College London see Negley Harte and John North, The World of UCL, 1828–2004, 2nd edn, London: University College London Press, 1991, esp. pp. 9–22, 58.

13 Desmond, op. cit. (2), pp. 84–85; Secord, op. cit. (3), p. 64. On relations between mechanistic natural philosophy and natural law see John V. Pickstone, Ways of Knowing: A New History of Science, Technology and Medicine, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000, esp. pp. 87–88.

14 Though the popularity and controversial status of such works as Robert Chambers's Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844) demonstrate that there was certainly interest in such issues. See Secord, op. cit. (3), esp. pp. 91–93. Nineteenth-century distinctions between the unity of life and the unity of nature are most clearly brought out in Timothy Lenoir, The Strategy of Life: Teleology and Mechanics in Nineteenth-Century German Biology, Dordrecht, Boston, MA and London: D. Reidel, 1982, esp. pp. 26–37.

15 Arthur O. Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being: A Study of the History of an Idea, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1936. See also Bynum William, ‘The Great Chain of Being after forty years: an appraisal’, History of Science (1975) 13, pp. 128; Hopwood Nick, Secord James and Schaffer Simon, ‘Seriality and scientific objects’, History of Science (2010) 48, pp. 251285, esp. pp. 253–255.

16 Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985, esp. pp. 283–284, 320–331; Horst Bredekamp, The Lure of Antiquity and the Cult of the Machine: The Kunstkammer and the Evolution of Nature, Art, and Technology (trans. Allison Brown), Princeton: Markus Wiener, 1995, pp. 19–36, 86–91; Paula Findlen, Possessing Nature: Museums, Collecting, and Scientific Culture in Early Modern Italy, Berkeley, LA and London: University of California Press, 1994, esp. pp. 101–108.

17 Bredekamp, op. cit. (16), pp. 86–91.

18 Catherine Gallagher, The Body Economic: Life, Death, and Sensation in Political Economy and the Victorian Novel, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006, pp. 7–34; Emma Spary, Utopia's Garden: French Natural History from Old Regime to Revolution, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2000, esp. pp. 209–220.

19 Jacyna L.S., ‘Immanence or transcendence: theories of life and organization in Britain, 1790–1835’, Isis (1983) 74, pp. 310329.

20 Roger K. French, ‘Ether and physiology’, in Geoffroy N. Cantor and M.S.J. Hodge (eds.), Conceptions of Ether: Studies in the History of Ether Theories 1740–1900, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981, pp. 111–134.

21 French, op. cit. (20), pp. 130–132.

22 Gallagher, op. cit. (18), pp. 28, 32–34.

23 Nick Hopwood, Haekel's Embryos: Images, Evolution and Fraud, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2015, pp. 10, 12.

24 Pickstone John V., ‘How might we map the cultural fields of science? Politics and organisms in Restoration France’, History of Science (1999) 34, pp. 347364, esp. 349–351. See also Pickstone, op. cit. (13), pp. 118–119.

25 John Dalton, A New System of Chemical Philosophy, London: R. Bickerstaff, 1808.

26 Sloan, op. cit. (9), pp. 77–80.

27 Robert E. Grant, On the Study of Medicine: Being an Introductory Address Delivered at the Opening of the Medical School of the University of London, October 1st, 1833, London: J. Taylor, 1833, pp. 6–9. Grant's commitment to atomism is also indicated by his promotion of the candidacy of the then-Daltonian chemist Edward Turner to the faculty of the University of London in 1827. See UCL Special Collections MS ADD 43–448 – 1827 Professorships (Q–W). Turner would return this favour in his support for Grant's later unsuccessful application for a lectureship in physiology. See Turner Edward, ‘To James Mill, Esq. chairman of the education committeeThe Lancet (1835) 26, p. 844; and Desmond, op. cit. (2), pp. 98–99.

28 Grant, op. cit. (27), p. 9.

29 Grant, op. cit. (27), p. 10.

30 Susan C. Lawrence, Charitable Knowledge: Hospital Pupils and Practitioners in Eighteenth Century London, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996, p. 81.

31 Robert E. Grant, ‘Lectures on comparative anatomy and animal physiology, delivered during the session 1833–4’, The Lancet (1833–1834) 21 , pp. 89–99, 121–128, 155–159, 193–200, 225–236, 265–279, 345–353, 393–402, 425–433, 473–481, 505–514, 537–546, 569–577, 617–626, 649–657, 697–707, 729–738, 761–771, 809–816, 841–848, 873–883, 905–911, 953–962; (1834) 22, pp. 1–10, 65–73, 97–106, 129–139, 177–186, 209–215, 257–265, 289–297, 337–345, 369–376, 401–410, 433–440, 481–487, 513–520, 545–554, 577–586, 609–616, 641–648, 673–681, 705–713, 737–745, 785–794, 817–824, 865–875, 913–920. Quote from [Lecture IV] (1833–1834) 21, p. 198. This emphasis on the role of natural philosophy in medicine is also stated in a later address to the BMA. See Robert E. Grant, On the Present State of the Medical Profession in England: Being the Annual Oration Delivered before the Members of the British Medical Association, 21st October, 1841, London: Henry Renshaw, 1841, pp. 16–20. On connections between medical reform and the rhetoric of natural philosophy at this time see especially Warner John H., ‘The history of science and the sciences of medicine’, Osiris, 2nd series (1995) 10, pp. 164193, esp. 169–170.

32 Marc J. Ratcliff, The Quest for the Invisible: Microscopy in the Enlightenment, Farnham and Burlington: Ashgate, 2009, esp. pp. 47–54.

33 L.S. Jacyna, ‘Romantic thought and the origins of cell theory’, in Andrew Cunningham and Nicholas Jardine (eds.), Romanticism and the Sciences, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990, pp. 161–168, 165. Schickore, ‘Error as historiographical challenge’, op. cit. (4), pp. 33–34. See also Nicholson Daniel J., ‘Biological atomism and cell theory’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in the History and Philosophy of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (2010) 41, pp. 202211, 203–204.

34 Rieppel Olivier, ‘The reception of Leibniz's philosophy in the writings of Charles Bonnet (1720–1793)’, Journal of the History of Biology (1988) 21, pp. 119145.

35 Pickstone John V., ‘Globules and coagula: concepts of tissue formation in the early nineteenth century’, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences (1973) 28, pp. 336356. See also Phillip R. Sloan, ‘Organic molecules revisited’, in Jean Gayon (ed.), Buffon '88: Actes du Colloque international pour le bicentenaire de la mort de Buffon (Paris, Montbard, Dijon, 14–22 Juin 1988) (Science, histoire, philosophie), Paris, c.1992, pp. 415–438.

36 Pickstone John V., ‘Vital actions and organic physics: Henri Dutrochet and French physiology during the 1820s’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine (1976) 50, pp. 191211; Pickstone John V., ‘Locating Dutrochet’, BJHS (1978) 11, pp. 4964.

37 Desmond, op. cit. (1), p. 197. Desmond, op. cit. (2), pp. 41–59. Sloan, op. cit. (9), pp. 77–80.

38 [Anon.], op. cit. (9), p. 693.

39 Grant Robert E., ‘Observations and Experiments on the Structure and Functions of the Sponge’ [I–II], Edinburgh Philosophical Journal (1825) 13, pp. 94107, 333–346; [III–IV], (1826) 14, pp. 113–124 and 336–341; and [V] Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal (1826–1827) 2, pp. 121–141. See especially [III], p. 124. On prior attempts to classify sponges see Gibson Susannah, ‘On being animal, or, the eighteenth-century zoophyte controversy in Britain’, History of Science (2012), pp. 453474, 469–471.

40 Grant, op. cit. (39), [I], pp. 105–107.

41 Grant Robert E., ‘On the structure and nature of the Spongilla friabilis’, Edinburgh Philosophical Journal (1825–1826) 14, pp. 270284, 281.

42 Grant, op. cit. (41). Grant Robert E., ‘Observations on the spontaneous motions of the ova of the Campanularia dichotoma, Gorgonia verrucosa, Caryophyllea calycularis, Spongia panicea, Sp. papillaris, cristata, tomentosa, and Plumularia falcata’, Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal (1826) 1, pp. 150156, 152.

43 Grant, op. cit. (41), p. 282.

44 Grant, op. cit. (41), pp. 282–283. It is perhaps relevant in this context to note Charles Darwin's long-standing concerns regarding the differences between sexual and asexual reproduction. See M.S.J. Hodge, ‘Darwin as a lifelong generation theorist’, in Kohn, op. cit. (9), pp. 207–243, 210–213.

45 Grant, op. cit. (41), p. 283.

46 Grant, op. cit. (31) [Lecture V] (1833–1834) 21, p. 124.

47 On spontaneous generation at this time see John Farley, The Spontaneous Generation Controversy from Descartes to Oparin, Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, c.1977, esp. pp. 39–46, for the French and British context.

48 Robert E. Grant, An Essay on the Study of the Animal Kingdom: Being an Introductory Lecture at the University of London on the 23rd of October, 1828, 2nd edn, London: J. Taylor, 1829, p. 18. See also Sloan, op. cit. (9), pp. 82–86.

49 Grant, op. cit. (48), p. 18.

50 Thomas Southwood Smith, ‘Life and organization’, Westminster Review (1827) 7, pp. 208–226, esp. 215–216.

51 Samuel Broughton, ‘On the elementary nature of animal structures’, London Medical Gazette (1828) 17, pp. 496–497. See also John Bostock, An Elementary System of Physiology, 3 vols., London: Baldwick, Craddock and Joy, 1824–1827, vol. 1, pp. 28–32.

52 See esp. Smith's articles on the nervous system: Smith Thomas Southwood, ‘Nervous system’, Westminster Review (1828) 9, pp. 172197 and 451–479.

53 Richard Carlile, An Address to Men of Science, London: R. Carlile, 1821, pp. 5–6. See also Jacyna, op. cit. (19), pp. 326–327.

54 Carlile, op. cit. (53), p. 44.

55 Schickore, ‘Error as historiographical challenge’, op. cit. (4), pp. 33–35.

56 On Coleridge see Trevor H. Levere, Poetry Realized in Nature: Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Early Nineteenth-Century Science, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981. On Davy and his opposition to Daltonian atomism see David Knight, Humphry Davy: Science & Power, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992, pp. 73–80.

57 Levere, op. cit. (56), esp. pp. 64–69, 171–179 and 216–219. On the role of such transcendent theories in zoology and physiology see Jacyna, op. cit. (19).

58 Knight, op. cit. (56), pp. 73–80; Owsei Temkin, ‘Basic science, medicine, and the romantic era’, in Temkin, The Double Face of Janus and Other Essays in the History of Medicine, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977, pp. 352–357, esp. 356.

59 Robert Brown, ‘A Brief Account of Microscopical Observations … on the Particles Contained in the Pollens of Plants; and on the General Existence of Active Molecules in Organic and Inorganic Bodies’, London, 1828 (not published). Brown, Additional Remarks on Active Molecules, London, 1829. See also Sloan, op. cit. (9), pp. 92–98.

60 Everard Home, Lectures on Comparative Anatomy; in Which are Explained the Preparations in the Hunterian Collection, Illustrated by Engravings, London: Longman, Hurst, Bees, Orme and Brown, 1823; and Home, Supplement to the Foregoing Lectures on Comparative Anatomy, Illustrated by Engravings, 5 vols., London: Longman, Bees, Orme, Brown and Green, 1828, vol. 5., pp. 170, 194. On Home see Edwin Clarke and L.S. Jacyna, Nineteenth-Century Origins of Neuroscientific Concepts, Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 1987, pp. 58–60.

61 Home, Lectures on Comparative Anatomy, op. cit. (60), pp. 5–6, 20–39.

62 Thomas Forster, Somatopsychonoologia, Showing that the Proofs of Body Life and Mind Considered as Distinct Essences Cannot be Deduced from Physiology but Depend on a Distinct Sort of Evidence: Being an Examination of the Controversy Concerning Life Carried on by MM. Laurence, Abernethy, Rennell, & others, London: R. Hunter, 1823, p. 112. See also Temkin, op. cit. (58), p. 356.

63 Temkin, op. cit. (58), p. 356.

64 Richard Owen, On the Nature of Limbs: A Discourse, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2007; first published 1849, p. 40; See also Owen, The Hunterian Lectures in Comparative Anatomy; May–June, 1837, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1992; first published 1837, pp. 87–88, 122.

65 On the development of cell theories in Britain see Jacyna L.S., ‘John Goodsir and the making of cellular reality’, Journal of the History of Biology (1983) 16, pp. 7599; Jacyna , ‘“A host of experienced microscopists”: the establishment of histology in nineteenth-century Edinburgh’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine (2001) 75, pp. 225253.

66 Desmond, op. cit. (2), e.g. pp. 351–358.

67 Jacyna, op. cit. (19).

68 Mazumdar Pauline, ‘Anatomy, physiology and the reform of medical education: London, 1825–1835’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine (1983) 57, pp. 230246.

69 Rupke, op. cit. (7), pp. 117–113.

70 Desmond, op. cit. (2), pp. 93–94. Mazumdar, op. cit. (68), pp. 234–240.

71 On the French context see Pickstone, ‘Locating Dutrochet’, op. cit. (36).

72 Jonathan Crary, Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century, Cambridge, MA and London: MIT Press, 1990, pp. 25–66. Cf. Isobel Armstrong, ‘The microscope: mediations of a sub-visible world’, in Roger Luckhurst and Josephine McDonagh (eds.), Transactions and Encounters: Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century, Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2002, pp. 30–54.

73 Shapin and Schaffer, op. cit. (16), pp. 25–26; Crary, op. cit. (72), pp. 51–53.

74 Schickore, The Microscope, op. cit. (4), pp. 26–29.

75 Schickore, The Microscope, op. cit. (4), pp. 84–88.

76 Ratcliff, op. cit. (32), pp. 211–215.

77 Cooper Daniel, ‘A brief sketch of the rise and progress of microscopic science, and the principal means enumerated which have tended to its general advancement’, Microscopic Journal and Structural Record (1841) 1, pp. 14.

78 Cooper, op. cit. (77).

79 Charles R. Goring, ‘On solar engiscopes, and the exhibition of tests by them’, in Charles R. Goring and Andrew Prichard, Micrographia: Containing Practical Essays on Reflecting, Solar, Oxy-Hydrogen Gas Microscopes; Micrometers; Eyepieces &c, &c., London: Whittaker and Co., 1937, pp. 82–98, 82–83, original emphasis.

80 On other efforts to overcome this problem see Schickore, The Microscope, op. cit. (4), pp. 44–46, 64–66; Jacyna, ‘A host of experienced microscopists’, op. cit. (65); and Jacyna L.S., ‘Moral fibre: the negotiation of microscopic facts in Victorian Britain’, Journal of the History of Biology (2003) 36, pp. 3985. Goring's use of ‘test objects’ is addressed in Schickore, The Microscope, op. cit. (4), pp. 114–120.

81 Jacyna, ‘A host of experienced microscopists’, op. cit. (65), esp. pp. 229–232.

82 Southwood Smith, op. cit. (50), pp. 213–214.

83 Bostock op. cit. (51), p. 31 n. See also e.g. Rhind W., ‘Examination of the opinions of Bremser and others on the equivocal production of animals’, Edinburgh Journal of Natural and Geographical Sciences (1830) 2, pp. 391397, 394 n.

84 Thomas Hodgkin, and Joseph J. Lister, ‘Notice of some microscopic observations of the blood and animal tissues’, Philosophical Magazine [2nd series] (1827) 2, pp. 130–138, 136; Lister Joseph J., ‘On some properties in achromatic object-glasses applicable to the improvement of the microscope’, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (1830) 120, pp. 187200. Schickore, ‘Error as historiographical challenge’, op. cit. (4), pp. 34, 36–37, overlooks the appeal to microscope veracity in Hodgkin and Lister's commentary.

85 Lister Joseph J., ‘Some observations on the structure and functions of tubular and cellular Polypi, and of Ascidae’, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (1834) 124, pp. 365388, 377. On Lister see also Schickore, The Microscope, op. cit. (4), pp. 120–124.

86 Richard D. Grainger, Elements of General Anatomy, London: S. Highley, 1829, pp. 26–27, also 424. On Hodgkin's hostility to spontaneous generation see Thomas Hodgkin, Lectures on the Morbid Anatomy of the Serous and Mucous Membranes, 2 vols., London: Simpkin, Marshall and Co., 1836–1840, vol. 1., pp. 216–219.

87 Thomas King, The Substance of a Lecture, Designed as an Introduction to the Study of Anatomy Considered as the Science of Organization; and Delivered at the Re-opening of the School, Founded by … Joshua Brookes, Esq. in Blenheim Street October 1st, 1833, London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green and Longman, 1834, p. 27.

88 John Fletcher, Rudiments of Physiology, 3 vols., Edinburgh: John Carfrae & Son, 1837, vol. 1., pp. 87–89, quote and reference to Hodgkin and Lister as an authority at 89. See also vol. 1., pp. 133–134, and vol. 2., pp. 24–25. Schickore, ‘Error as historiographical challenge’, op. cit. (4), pp. 36–38, notes the adoption of this rhetoric amongst German microscopists.

89 Cf. Desmond, op. cit. (2). For alternatives to Desmond's position see Secord, op. cit. (9); Corsi Pietro, ‘Before Darwin: transformist concepts in European natural philosophy’, Journal of the History of Biology (2005) 38, pp. 6783, esp. 70–72; Boyd Hilton, ‘The politics of anatomy and an anatomy of politics’, in Stefan Collini, Richard Whatmore and Brian Young (eds.), History, Religion and Culture: British Intellectual History 1750–1950, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000, pp. 179–197; Corsi Pietro, ‘A devil's chaplain calling?’, Journal of Victorian Culture (1998) 3, pp. 129137.

90 On Cuvier's museological activities see Rudwick Martin, ‘Georges Cuvier's paper museum of fossil bones’, Archives of Natural History (2000) 27, pp. 5167.

91 Spary, op. cit. (18), esp. pp. 193–195; Toby P. Appel, The Cuvier–Geoffroy Debate: French Morphology in the Decades before Darwin, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987, e.g. pp. 188–201.

92 Richard Drayton, Nature's Government: Science, Imperial Britain, and the ‘Improvement’ of the World, New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press, 2000, pp. 106–124.

93 Desmond, op. cit. (2), esp. pp. 134–144.

94 Harriet Ritvo, The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in Victorian England, London: Penguin, 1990; first published 1987, pp. 205–242.

95 Desmond Adrian, ‘The making of institutional zoology in London, 1822–1836’ [Parts I and II], History of Science (1985) 23, pp. 153185, 223–250.

96 Grant Robert E., ‘On the heart and the structure of the blood vessels of the large Indian tortoise (Testudo Indica, Linn.)’, Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London (1833) 1, pp. 4344. Grant , ‘On the cranium of the round-headed grampus (Delphinus globiceps, Cuv.)’, Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London (1833) 1, pp. 6566. Grant , ‘On the cloaca of the female condor (Sarcorhamphus gryphus, Dum.)’, Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London (1833) 1, p. 78.

97 On the early years of the British Museum see Neil Chambers, Joseph Banks and the British Museum: The World of Collecting, 1770–1830, London, 2007, esp. pp. 42–50 for the zoological collections.

98 William Lawrence, An Introduction to Comparative Anatomy and Physiology: Being the Two Introductory Lectures Delivered at the Royal College of Surgeons, London, 1816, pp. 87–88. Following his early involvement in campaigns for medical reform, Lawrence increasingly sided with the college council in its opposition to radical medical politics. See Desmond, op. cit. (2), pp. 257–258.

99 Report on the Select Committee of the British Museum; Together with Minutes of Evidence, Appendix and Index …, London, 1836, p. 37.

100 Elwick, op. cit. (3), p. 11.

101 Desmond, op. cit. (2), pp. 112–114.

102 Peter M. Roget, Animal and Vegetable Physiology Considered with Reference to Natural Theology, 2 vols., London: William Pickering, 1834, vol. 1, pp. 185–186.

103 Owen Richard, ‘Remarks on the Entozoa, and on the structural differences existing amongst them: including suggestions for their distribution into other classes’, Transactions of the Zoological Society (1833–1835) 1, pp. 387394, 389.

104 Grant Robert E., ‘Sounds produced under water by the Tritonia arborescens’, Edinburgh Philosophic Journal (1826) 14, pp. 185186. Grant , ‘Notice regarding the structure and mode of generation of the Virgularia mirabilis and Pennatula phosphorea’, Edinburgh Journal of Science (1827) 7, pp. 330334.

105 Grant Robert E., ‘On the influence of light on the motions of infusoria’, Edinburgh Journal of Science (1828–1829) 10, pp. 346349.

106 Grant, op. cit. (105), p. 349.

107 Desmond, op. cit. (2), pp. 56–58. The characterization of Grant in Elwick, op. cit. (3), pp. 20, 71–74, as articulating a conception of life as developing from simple to ‘compound’ rather than ‘complex’ is accompanied by a very different interpretation of his natural philosophy. That Grant was not primarily concerned with advocating a ‘fusional’ or ‘centripetal’ notion of organic development is demonstrated by the discussion below.

108 Appel, op. cit. (91). The year 1832 was that of Cuvier's death.

109 Desmond, op. cit. (2), p. 56.

110 For a discussion of the relation between these figures and their followers see Corsi Pietro, ‘The revolutions of evolution: Geoffroy and Lamarck, 1825–1840’, Bulletin d'Musée d'anthropologie préhistorique de Monaco (2012) 51, pp. 97122

111 Appel, op. cit. (91), pp. 202–237.

112 Lenoir, op. cit. (14), pp. 6–16.

113 Grant, op. cit. (31) [Lecture IV] (1833–1834) 21, pp. 196–200.

114 Grant, op. cit. (31) [Lecture XII] (1833–1834) 21, pp. 544–546. On Grant's views on perfect adaptation see Secord, op. cit. (3), pp. 64–65.

115 Friedrich Tiedemann, Anatomie der Röhren-Holothurie der pomeranzfarbigen Seesterns und Stein-Seeigels: Eine im Jahre MDCCCXII vom Fransösischen Institut gekrönte Preisschrift, Landshut: Joseph Thomannschen Buchdrückerei, 1816. See also Elwick, op. cit. (3), pp. 76–78.

116 Grant, op. cit. (31) [Lecture XXXVI] (1834) 22, p. 483.

117 Grant, op. cit. (31) [Lecture XXXVII] (1834) 22, pp. 515–516.

118 Richards Evelleen, ‘A question of property rights: Richard Owen's evolutionism reassessed’, BJHS (1987) 20, pp. 129171, esp 133–134. I am grateful to one of the anonymous reviewers of this paper for drawing my attention to this article. For von Baer's embryology see Hopwood, op. cit. (23), pp. 16–24.

119 See, for example, Grant, op. cit. (31) [Lecture XXXIII] (1834) 22, p. 369; [Lecture XXXVII] (1834) 22, p. 513.

120 Grant, op. cit. (31) [Lecture II] (1833–1834) 21, p. 126.

121 Grant, op. cit. (31) [Lecture XXXVI] (1834) 22, pp. 481–482.

122 Appel, op. cit. (91), pp. 84–90, 97–104, esp. 88–90, 97–100.

123 Lenoir, op. cit. (14), pp. 24–30.

124 Lenoir, op. cit. (14), pp. 80–81.

125 On embryology and anatomical specimens see Hopwood, op. cit. (23). esp. pp. 10–13, 24–27.

126 By the last third of the century, however, museums were coming to be routinely utilized as spaces for experimentation as well as dissection. See Kraft Alison and Alberti Samuel J.M.M., ‘“Equal though different”: laboratories, museums and the institutional development of biology in late-Victorian northern England’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (2003) 34, pp. 203236.

127 On Grant's teaching practices see Parker op. cit. (9), pp. 16–20.

128 Roget, op. cit. (102), esp. pp. 9, 21.

129 Edward Meryon, The Physical and Intellectual Constitution of Man Considered, London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1836, esp. pp. 25–45. Edwin Lankester, ‘The natural history of creation’, in [anon.], Lectures Delivered before the Young Men's Christian Association at Centenary Hall and Freemason's Hall, 1847–8, London: James Nisbet & Co., 1864, pp. 1–32, esp. 5–6.

130 William B. Carpenter, Principles of General and Comparative Physiology, Intended as an Introduction to The Study of Human Physiology, and as a Guide to the Philosophical Pursuit of Natural History, London: John Churchill, 1839, e.g. pp. 14 n., 19, 23.

131 Carpenter William B., ‘Report on the results obtained by the use of the microscope in the study of anatomy and physiology: part II – on the origin and function of cells’, British and Foreign Medical Review (1843) 15, pp. 259281. For Carpenter's hostility to spontaneous generation during the 1840s see Carpenter , ‘Natural history of creation’, British and Foreign Medico-Chirurgical Review (1845) 19, pp. 155181, esp. 168–173. Though see also Reynolds Andrew, ‘Amoebae as exemplary cells: the protean nature of an elementary organism’, Journal of the History of Biology (2008) 41, pp. 307337, 315–317.

132 On this difference see Lenoir, op. cit. (14), pp. 35–37; Schickore, The Microscope, op. cit. (4), pp. 143–144.

This article has incurred too many debts over its long gestation to mention all of them here. I am, however, particularly grateful to the two anonymous reviewers for their close attention and very helpful remarks, as well as to Joe Cain and Susannah Gibson for inspiring my initial interest in Grant; to Anne Hardy, Stephen Jacyna, Helga Satzinger and all at the Wellcome Centre for the History of Medicine (UCL) for their support, commentary and advice; and to Greg Radick for encouraging me to return to the topic. John Pickstone's comments on an early draft of this paper were invaluable. He is already much missed.

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