First published in 2003. Hewett Cottrell Watson was a pioneer in a new science not yet defined in Victorian times – ecology – and was practically the first naturalist to conduct research on plant evolution, beginning in 1834. The correspondence between Watson and Darwin, analysed for the first time in this book, reveals the extent to which Darwin profited from Watson’s data. Darwin’s subsequent fame, however, is one of the reasons why Watson became almost forgotten.
This biography traces both the influences and characteristics that shaped Watson’s outlook and personality, and indeed his science, and the institutional contexts within which he worked. At the same time, it makes evident the extent of his real contributions to the science of the plant ecology and evolution.
List of Figures and Tables; Foreword by David L. Hull; Preface; Acknowledgements; Introduction; Part One: Finding a Place in the World; 1. ‘As The Twig Is Bent, So grows the Tree’, 1804-28 2. Edinburgh and Career Possibilities, 1828-32; Part Two: The Life of a Gentleman Scientist; 3. Relationships and Social Perspectives, 1833-59 4. Phrenological Struggles, 1833-40 5. Outlook and Social Responsibilities, 1835-60 6. Continuing Plant Geography Studies, 1833-48 7. Relationship with William Hooker, 1834-50 8. Seeking Employment, 1842-48 9. Professional Relationships with Forbes, Babington and Balfour, 1833-59 10. History Not Quite Repeated: Watson, the Botanical Society of London and The Phytologist, 1840-58 11. The Origin of Transmutation of Species, 1832-47 12. Darwinian Parallels and Contrasts, 1809-58 13. Stonecutter for Darwin’s Edifice, 1847-59; Part Three: Later Life, Work, and Influences; 14. Later Life, Work and Influences, 1860-81; Conclusions; Bibliography; Index