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JOHN MARTYN (1699-1768), English botanist, was born in London on the 12th of September 1699. Originally intended for a business career, he abandoned it in favour of medical and botanical studies. He was one of the founders (with J. J. Dillen and others) and the secretary of a botanical society which met for a few years in the Rainbow Coffee-house, Watling Street; he also started the Grub Street Journal, a weekly satirical review, which lasted from 1730 to 1737. In 1732 he was appointed professor of botany in Cambridge University, but, finding little encouragement and hampered by lack of appliances, he soon discontinued lecturing. He retained his professorship, however, till 1762, when he resigned in favour of his son Thomas (1735-1825), author of Flora rustica (1792-1794). Although he had not taken a medical degree, he long practised as a physician at Chelsea, where he died on the 29th of January 1768. His reputation chiefly rests upon his Historia plantarum rariorum (1728-1737), and his translation, with valuable agricultural and botanical notes, of the Eclogues (1749) and Georgics (1741) of Virgil. On resigning the botanical chair at Cambridge he presented the university with a number of his botanical specimens and books.
See memoir by Thomas Martyn in Memoirs of John Martyn and Thomas Martyn, by G. C. Gorham (1830).
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