From: Notes and Records of the Royal Society, 54 (1): 5-22, 2000.
A REPORT OF THE MEETING ‘JOHN RAY AND HIS SUCCESSORS’
Institute of Biology, 20-22 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2DZ, UK
A major conference on John Ray and other clerical naturalists, entitled ‘John Ray and his successors; the clergyman as naturalist’, was held at Braintree, Essex, from 18 to 21 March 1999. Speakers considered Ray’s work and beliefs in the context of the theology of his day, and the interplay between religion and biology up to the present timy. Some of the outstanding protagonists were, like ray, ordained Fellows of the Royal Society,
Science education has been criticised for a failure fully to celebrate British pioneers, and John Ray, philosopher and writer, cleric, traveller and taxonomist, is an example of those who deserve a wider reputation. Ray published voluminous works on vascular plants, vertebrates and insects, working towards the establishment of a natural classification and laying the ground rules that were to be extended to such great effect by Carolus Linnaeus some decades later. Ray, who was elected a Fellow of the Society on 7 November 1667, published extensive works on contemporary issues, including some powerful treatises on theology, and also compiled fine works on rare words, on metallurgy, on proverbs, and many other matters. Ray was a fine polymath and, when ill-health slowed his physical movements, remained a brave and resolute enquirer into a range of scientific issues. When unable to conduct researches in the field, he maintained an active correspondence with luminaries at the Society including Robert Hooke and Dr (later Sir) Hans Sloane, and was still working his book on insects at the time of his death.
For some years the History Network at the Institute of Biology has planned a major meeting on Ray, and it was through the support of the John Ray Trust and with the cooperation of the Society for the History of Natural History that we were able to hold a conference entitled ‘John Ray and his Successors: the Clergyman as Biologist’ at Braintree, Essex, from 18-21 March 1999. The meeting was a celebration of Ray and his immense legacy and, with a public address by Professor David Bellamy, a choral church concert and a variety of papers from delegates from several continents, the programme was rich in resonances of the multidisciplinary stance Ray himself had helped to promulgate.
RAY’S LIFE AND WORK
Following his birth to a blacksmith and his wife on 29 June 1628, the youngster was christened John Wray and he retained this name until he was middle aged. Later, at the age of 42, he decided to relinquish the family spelling and opted instead for Ray, a name he found it easier to Latinise. The opening address of the symposium, by the Rt Rev Edward Holland, Bishop of Colchester, emphasized that Ray himself might not altogether have approved of the choice of a cleric. Ray’s career had brought him into conflict with the dictates of the established church on more than one occasion, leaving him ill-disposed towards its officers. Although we remember John Ray primarily as a gifted naturalist and recorder of nature, he was thoroughly Puritan in spirit. Ray refused to take the oath prescribed under the Act of Uniformity in principle, and in 1662 he lost his fellowship at Trinity, Cambridge. To what extent are there modern counterparts of John Ray?
Figure 1. Portrait of the Reveend John Ray, A.M., F.R.S.
Engraving produced by Mrs Beale, circa 1804.
Is it possible for the present-day cleric to occupy a role that compares with his? These issues were addressed by the Rector of Rivenhall and River End, Essex, Rev Nigel Cooper, the member of our History Committee at the Institute of Biology who acted as our representative during the organization of the meeting. In Cooper’s view, the conference prompted questions of identity for all today’s parsons who also have an interest in nature. He senses that he is at the end of a great tradition yet on the edge of something new. John Ray is construed by Cooper as a mellow version of the Commonwealth man, wresting power from an old sacred order centred on the king and also from nature in the Baconian traditions of science. By the time of Gilbert White clerics had become gentlemen, and the professionalism of science that followed during the nineteenth century served to separate the clergy from serious science. Like scientists, the clergy were also becoming professionalised in that period and their work became more practical and demanding. Like other professionals, they took relief in hobbies. Natural history was foremost among these spare-time enthusiasms, but was viewed as a romantic pastime. In the modern era, studies of nature reveal not so much a romantic vision but an environmental crisis of apocalyptic proportions. Meanwhile, the establishment Church has apparently moved so much closer to science and its grandiose aspirations over the past four centuries that it has lost its credibility with many people.
The breadth of endeavour embraced by John Ray, and the sheer fecundity of his work, finds few if any counterparts in the present-day world. Modern clerics are often undoubted enthusiasts, but we would go far to find a polymath of such a stature as Ray. His success must also be related to the enthusiasm for natural history that distinguishes British culture, and Dr Sam Berry of University College, London, supports the view that John Ray well merits the title of ‘father of natural historians’. John Edward Smith, who purchased the Linnean collections that led to the establishment of the Linnean Society of London (of which Berry is a former president), wrote of Ray as ‘our immortal naturalist’. The British love of the countryside has parallels nowhere else in the world. It has produced an understanding of the natural world which is the basis for management and a model for other nations. John Ray encapsulated and stimulated this tradition throughout the heyday of collecting in the nineteenth century and the achievements of dedicated naturalists like Octavius Pickard-Cambridge, Rector of Bloxworth in Dorset, who himself started recording and measuring. From these enthusiasms arose the Botanical Exchange Club, which in turn gave rise to the Central Committee for the Survey and Study of British Vegetation and ultimately to the British Ecological Society of today. The British tradition of natural history tradition suffered from the development of professional biology. The distinction between ‘amateur’ naturalists and ‘professional’ scientists is primarily the legacy Thomas Henry Huxley. It was a move that did irreparable damage to British biology. However, natural history still thrives in the devotion and dedication of many individuals, most of them members of the many local and national societies. There are now signs that the efforts of dedicated amateur recorders are receiving proper acknowledgement and are being brought together into a coordinated network, a consummation that would surely have delighted John Ray. In the future the aim should be to move away from the views of Huxley, and return to the spirit of Ray.
INFLUENCES ON JOHN RAY
Most scholars accept that John Ray and his contemporaries followed the teachings of Bishop Ussher, published during the 1650s, claiming that the earth had been created in 4004 BC. This date was accepted well into the nineteenth century. Rev Michael Roberts, Vicar of Chirk, has considered Ray’s Three Physico-Theological Discourses, which examine ‘Chaos and Creation’, ‘the Deluge’ and ‘the Future Conflagration’. Following the classical writers, Ray argues that God first created Chaos, and reordered this in six days, concluding that the process of the Creation certainly took longer than a week. Ray’s concept of ‘Chaos’, followed by a reordering of Creation, was echoed by contemporaneous scientists: Boyle, Halley, Whiston, and Woodward among them. Burnet wrote ‘so it is understood by the general consent of Interpreters’. On length of the time involved there remained little consensus. Whiston reckoned a day was equivalent to a year, for example, whilst Ray avoided the issue.
Only a minority adhered to Biblical literalism, and an ‘elastic’ interpretation of the first book of Genesis was widely accepted among scholars before geologists proposed the abyss of time in 1800. Theologians like Chalmers in 1802 and Sumner in 1814 simply extended old ideas of chaos and restitution, thus forging a new consensus between geology and theology which became widely accepted in the early decades of the nineteenth century. Young earth literalism was a minority viewpoint from 1660 onwards. A historical view of science and religion which does not embrace this view gives an unrealistic understanding, and the founding of geology in the 1790s cannot be seen in its proper context. From this perspective, the transition from the theories of the earth through catastrophism to uniformitarianism can be seen as evolutionary rather than revolutionary and the strictures on study imposed by Ussher’s date of 4004 BC were minimal. The idea that Richard Dawkins now espouses, namely that the Victorian clerics were primarily literalists, is clearly inaccurate. In discussion I speculated whether the converse effect might work, namely whether influences from religion can subtly infiltrate new notions in science. The astronomical theorists who have coined the Big Bang, in spite of some significant practical objections to the theory, may have been subconsciously influenced by their up-bringing in a culture that teaches Genesis. In many respects, the Big Bang is rich in resonances of the phases of Creation as told in the Bible, and it may be that scientists are more heavily imbued with religious ideas than it is popular to concede.
Underpinning mankind’s attitude to the natural world during the eighteenth century was a belief that humans were destined to subjugate nature. Professor John Brooke of the University of Lancaster, whose paper appears elsewhere in this issue, describes how Ray disassociated himself from the precepts of vulgar anthropocentrism. ‘It is generally received opinion that all this visible world was created for Man [and] that Man is the end of the Creation, as if there were no other end of any creature but some way other to be serviceable to man,’ Ray wrote. ‘Though this be vulgarly received, yet wise men nowadays think otherwise.’ The Copernican revolution had been a considerable blow to the status of humanity and brought about our dethronement from a central place in the firmament. The earth was soon described as ‘an obscure and sordid particle . . . the discard and dregs of nature.’ René Descartes speculated on the existence of creatures greatly superior to ourselves. Hooke showed the crude nature of a man-made pin, compared with the beauty of the Creator’s fish-scale, while Walter Charlton, epicurean of the mid seveneenth century, wrote that beauty would be of no purpose were it not for man to admire. Ray wrote that he could not believe that everything was made for man, and had no other purpose. He clearly believed that objects that appeared of no practical use, might be found to be of value in the future. Even the flea could be valued, for it allowed the poor to be bled, thus saving them the cost of the physician’s lancet blade.
The extent to which the work of John Ray was deeply influenced by the political, religious and social events of mid-seventeenth century England has been examined by Ms Susan McMahon of the University of Alberta. Ray’s university career had begun in 1644 during the civil war and it ended with his refusal to subscribe to the Act of Uniformity in 1662. During this crucial period of intellectual development, Ray had laid an enduring foundation for the critical study of plants and also enunciated views on God and nature, later published as The Wisdom of God Manifest in the Works of the Creation. All of Ray’s actions must be set in a political context; thus his first published work, the Catalogus Cantabrigiam of 1660, must also be read within Ray’s own political culture. The Catalogus should be seen not merely as a scientific text that successfully elevates its contents above the partisan divisions of English society, but as a literary work which identifies Ray’s personal values through the pious celebration of nature, the evocation of Anglican quietism, and the promotion of social order and harmony. As a text which came to embody the religious and political ideals of Restoration England, the Catalogus provided a model for uncontentious inquiry into nature which Ray successfully translated into the disciplinary practice of natural history and enabled Ray himself to become one of the most important natural philosophers of the late seventeenth century.
Ray can be seen as a progenitor of the scientific revolution. He spent eighteen years involved in the affairs of Cambridge University, and often intimated his dissatisfaction with the conditions imposed on his tenure. McMahon believes that the reasons he refused to comply with the Act of uniformity were essentially secular, rather than religious. Ray seems to have retrospectively claimed that there were rational reasons, though they were probably not apparent at the time. There are no binding religious considerations that would have forced his hand, she believes, even though later workers have often tried to find some. Dr Sashiko Kusukawa of Trinity College, Cambridge, draws attention to the paradox that John Ray’s own publications on the natural history of plants were never illustrated, while he took great pains to ensure that his friend Willughby’s pictures of fishes were properly engraved and printed in his book on the natural history of fishes. She paid tribute to the work of Jeremy Moore, who had recently fallen ill and died, and who had wished to present his own research. Kusukawa, who also writes in this issue, has examined the extent to which the published engravings differed from the original drawings by Willughby, comparing the extent to which they were based on actual observations or on previously published works on fish. Illustrations can indeed be considered as icons, rather than as purely scientific records.
The notion of plenitude in Creation was both reinforced and put under increasing strain in the seventeenth century. On the one hand, the discovery by Europeans of flightless birds and scaly mammals seemed to reinforce the idea that each discrete step of the scala naturae was occupied. On the other hand, the existence of fossils suggested (although the point was much debated) that some species had become extinct; and extinction in turn, suggested that there might be gaps in Nature’s perfect plentitude. Both situations had important implications for the classification of creatures.
Dr Karen Edwards of the University of Exeter has investigated the way in which John Milton in Paradise Lost (1667) and John Ray in The Ornithology of Francis Willughby (1678) address the related problems of plenitude, classification, and the possibility of extinction. In their representations of Creation, both poet and naturalist attempt to negotiate between the truths laid out in Genesis and what European discoveries were beginning to reveal about the natural world. The actual and representational fate of the dodo is instructive. There are no dodos in Paradise Lost, nor are there armadillos, iguanas, or flying squirrels. Such absences are significant in light of the tradition of hexameral poetry which Milton inherited. Although the dodo is present in the Ornithology, it is placed with the ostrich and the emu into a special category: ‘the greatest Land-birds, of a peculiar kind by themselves.’ It is a group which lacks the coherence that is clearly characteristic of most of Ray’s classifications. Edwards, as a literary scholar rather than an historian, came to Ray through the works of Milton. Milton is seen by many to be virtually ‘Elizabethan’, but she shows how he was incorporating the new natural history in his poems. Other studies have shown how great was the influence of new science on the work of poets on through the nineneenth century.
Ray’s most popular works were concerned with natural theology, and research by Dr Scott Mandelbrote of Peterhouse, Cambridge and All Souls, Oxford, has set the historical development of Ray’s ideas in the context of other contemporaneous views of natural theology - in particular those of Ray’s Cambridge contemporaries: Henry More, Ralph Cudworth, Thomas Burnet and Isaac Barrow. Ray taught that it was not enough to study books, but to derive original knowledge from nature. We can discern here a parallel with the Royal Society’s famously untranslatable precept of nullius in verba. The religious motivation that first directed Ray, as an ordained minister, to immerse himself in the study the natural world is important. In the opinion of Rev Colin Price, Minister of Guilden Morden, Ray’s work The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of the Creation (1691), is testimony to his primary concerns, as is his other work on natural theology, Three Physico-Theological Discourses, even though his Historia Plantarum (1686) remains his most important work. Price showed how Ray’s Wisdom of God affected the dissenting tradition in what we have come to know now as the beginning of science and education. There are many present-day reminders of the science in Ray’s works in the today’s scientific attitudes. The Ray Society, founded in 1844, was inspired by his great example. It was formed to ‘promote Natural History through the printing of original works in botany and zoology . . .’ and has continued to do so ever since.
Naturalist clerics continued to advance the study of natural history, and in examining the work of Gilbert White, Professor Paul Foster of Chichester Institute of Higher Education quoted the words of Francis Bacon: ‘The nobler a soul is, the more objects of compassion it has.’ We now recognise what might be termed the diachronic universality of White’s Natural History of Selborne (1789): that is, the capacity of the volume to engage the reader whether that reader seeks a scientific text offering knowledge new to natural history (as did the first readers in the 1790s), as a popular didactic work designed to give an eight year old son ‘a taste of Natural History and Country Pursuits’ (as Lady Dover put it in the dedication to her edition of 1833), or, to move forward nearly a hundred years, a patriotic text celebrating ‘that England which lives in men’s minds, and which many know and understand [to be] the finest and the truest and best,’ (as Nicholson was to write in his edition of 1929), or, to move to a mere decade or so ago, a pre-lapsarian text which records ‘the journal of Adam in Paradise. . . the secret, private parish inside each one of us’, to quote David Allen, writing in The Naturalist in Britain (1976). White was clearly absorbed in a diachronic universality in his own time, in the created worlds of God and of man. We can discern the growth of his humanitarian interests or, as White puts it, a human ‘capacity . . . of doing service to God, and men’. Although White retained a commitment to reason, it was his mastery of both facets that also gave his work, in the words of one contemporary, the mark of a poet.
Dr June Chatfield, formerly of the Wakes Museum at Selborne, reminds us that although the Rev Gilbert White is famous as a clergyman naturalist, the tradition was also followed by two of his brothers. The natural history interests of Henry White centred around his living and glebe farm at Fyfield in Hampshire in the late eighteenth century. Fortunately, a complete set of his journals has survived. They contain points of commonality with Gilbert White where entries cover the dates when brother Gilbert was staying at Fyfield which allow us to discern comparisons between the lives and journals of two brothers.
William Paley’s Natural Theology (1802) is remembered today as an exemplar of early nineteenth century natural theology, which is widely believed to have been displaced by Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859). Paley was born at Peterborough in 1743, and went up to Christ’s, Cambridge. Ms Aileen Fyfe of theUniversity of Cambridge has attempted to construct a more accurate picture of the way in which Paley’s Natural Theology affected the nineteenth century. Since Darwin ambiguously referred to the work in the context of an academic course, many scholars have assumed that Natural Theology was a set text at the University. This is not the case, though there were many ways in which natural theology could have been used both in the theology curriculum and also in the natural sciences courses. We now recognize that the natural theology of the early nineteenth century was not monolithic and unchanging, and that works like the Bridgewater Treatises embodied a variety of interpretations of natural theology. Far from Paley’s Natural Theology having fallen under Darwin’s onslaught, it was actually reprinted throughout the nineteenth century. The fifteen editions published by 1812, when the copyright ran out, rose to over sixty editions by end of century. Major changes were not made, and the book remained much as Paley wrote it, notwithstanding that layout and design changed as fashions developed. If we critically examine the later editions, we can see how the book could be presented in a variety of ways by different publishers and editors, and marketed to different audiences.
The Bridgewater Treatises rate among the most popular nineteenth-century contributions to the scientific and religious literature in English. However, while the views and concerns of the eight authors of the series have frequently been discussed and debated, and while some attention has been given to the reactions of their peers in the scientific and religious establishments, historians still know relatively little about what these books meant to their many thousands of eminent readers. Understanding the readership of the Bridgewater Treatises, and the reactions of the original readers of these books, provides an insight into the religious significance of the sciences in British culture during the nineteenth century.
William Whewell was among those who contributed to the Bridgewater Treatises. Each volume was printed on fine paper with elaborate bindings, elegant design and much white space on the page. Despite relatively high prices, they became best-sellers and were widely read by the clergy. Some sold twice as many copies as The Times, and three times as many as the Edinburgh Review. Historians have become centred on the heavyweight journals, but the popular magazines were often more influential. ‘Natural theology’ was unsatisfactorily defined, and what some writers supported was very different from what others decreed. In essence, the idea was meant to imply the awareness that can be gained for the existence of God without spiritual intervention or inspiration. The ambivalence of the clergy to natural theology veered from evidence of divine purpose in nature to a belief that the divine nature of the world was only appreciated by those who were convinced Christians, and who viewed the natural world through a strict reading of the Book of Revelation.
The epistemological status of natural theology was often denied by the early religious magazines and it did not occupy the central role which many modern historians believe. This allows us to ask some new and different questions. Geoffrey Cantor of Leeds University argues that works on natural theology should be regarded as works whose approach appealed to the imagination of the reader, as much as to reason. The books were less concerned with evangelism, rather more with piety. The rationalism of science was seen as a threat to conventional religious belief. Writers like Whewell claimed that every revelation in the realms of science harmonised with our knowledge of God, but many of the evangelicals had a much more ambivalent attitude to the discourse. Scientific secularism could threaten the idea of religious piety, and there seemed to be a semideistical trend which undermined the idea of faith. The availability of new print media in early nineteenth century Britain has been studied by a number of authors, though the implications of this development for science have yet to be fully explored. A newly specialised scientific elite became increasingly separated from a wider culture, while social and technological changes resulted in the dramatic and sustained growth of book and periodical production and the proliferation of their readers.
During the twentieth century, natural history was to refine itself into the study of ecology and biodiversity. A noted pioneer was the Rev E. Adrian Woodruffe-Peacock (1858-1922) whose work has been studied by Professor Mark Seaward of the University of Bradford. (The conference delegates included a grandson and great-grandson of Woodruffe-Peacock). Seaward claims him as a pioneer of ecology, for he was an experienced all-round field naturalist who spent much of his life working on the flora of Lincolnshire. From 1891 to 1920 he held the living in Cadney in his native county. This was a poor and sparsely populated parish and, since Woodruffe-Peacock had to visit his widely scattered parishioners on foot, he became by inclination and necessity a prodigious walker. This afforded him the opportunity to make regular observations and to record the natural changes occurring over a defined area of landscape. His notes were analysed soon afterwards in his study, and they form the basis for a very considerable number of publications and also for the voluminous manuscript of his Rock-Soil Flora of Lincolnshire. This manuscript, now housed in the Botany School at Cambridge University, shows him to be well ahead of his time in his ecological approach to natural history: it is not surprising that the renowned ecologist A. G. Tansley recognised the originality of Woodruffe-Peacock’s pioneering work and indeed offered to publish the Flora at his own expense. Unfortunately due to ill health and his subsequent demise, Woodruffe-Peacock was unable to undertake the necessary editorial work required to reduce his manuscript to a publishable length, but the Flora and his remarkable herbarium continue to act as invaluable sources of information for researchers.
There had been over 12 000 volumes in his father’s library; both his older sister Mabel and their mother encouraged the children in their studies of natural history.The boys collected flowers and eggs, and later took up shooting to add pelts to their collections. Adrian studied religion and science and went on to have a prodigious output as a controversial journalist. The decision to become a clergyman gave him the chance to curtail his academic career at Cambridge, much to his father’s displeasure. At Durham, Woodruffe-Peacock indulged in extensive botanising, boating and tennis; indeed, his social life was such that there were complaints that he used the university as nothing more than a club. In 1881, when he sat his final examinations, he was so sure he had done badly that made arrangements to leave. He told friends that he felt more at home with a pipe and a notebook than sitting formal examinations. As a curate he was far more interested in people than in strict theology; he married architect’s daughter and took a living in Lincolnshire in 1891 just ten miles from where he had been born. They had a son, his wife tragically dying in childbirth aged 30, and he remarried. He became devoted to helping to found a new science: ecology. Woodruffe-Peacock saw himself as an observer of everyday facts, but his notes are scientifically accurate and meticulously maintained. Each day he ended his work by analysing what detritus had caught in the turnips of his trousers, and soon came to see himself as the most effective distributor of seeds of all those he had studied. He fully understood relationships between species, and kept notes in terms that showed he fully understood the important of ecological interrelationships. December 1912 saw foundation of the British Ecological Society, which he soon joined.
When it emerged that the cost of publishing his great Flora would cost £300, Tansley said he regarded it as an excellent use for this sum of money, for he felt the work was valuable. However, it was felt that the revisions entailed would detracting from the quality of the final result. In the end, Tansley wrote to Woodruffe proposing that, since he had suffered a long illness, he should wrote up just a few species in detail, allowing Tansley to abbreviate and summarise the remainder. Woodruffe-Peacock’s own diaries show that he was dissatisfied with this idea, and in the event his work on bracken was the only one to appear in print in full. In 1895 was elected a fellow of both the Geological and Linnean Societies. His booklet on wartime manuring brought letters of thanks from the prime minister and even from the Prince of Wales. He later wrote a gothic novel under the pseudonym Walter Adam Wallace, entitled Only a Sister but it was not a success. After being unfavourably reviewed it was withdrawn from sale and pulped.
He later destroyed all his pre-1909 diaries, after extracting the scientific data, but many of his notes survive and it is clear that they were written in the field. He recycled used notepaper, and on the reverse of sheets one can find an astonishing variety of documentation, one example being a letter from a supplier of celluloid collars. When his beloved sister died in 1920 he suffered a further emotional setback, and with the proposed revisions of his flora adding additional pressures, he died in sadness in 1922.
Much of what we know of John Ray stems from the great biographical work of Charles Raven, originally published in 1944. Yet Professor Peter Bowler of The Queen’s University of Belfast emphasizes that biology was only a small part of Raven’s campaign to establish a new natural theology. Like many early twentieth-century opponents of materialism, he felt that science had taken a wrong turn in the seventeenth century. He believed that new developments in the life sciences offered the opportunity for creating an image of nature as a purposeful divine creation. Like Ray in his time, Raven had become an Anglican clergyman with pronounced Modernist leanings, and like most Modernists he wanted to eliminate the Church’s reliance on miracles to focus attention on God as immanent as well as transcendent.
Raven was not a scientist, although he had a strong interest in the study of nature, and his work reflected a world view shared by a number of scientists, including the evolutionist J. Arthur Thomson, the psychologist C. Lloyd Morgan, and the vitalist physiologist J. S. Haldane. Raven’s book The Creator Spirit (1927) openly supported vitalism, Lamarckian evolution and the belief that mind influenced the direction of evolution. He was later a supporter of Teilhard de Chardin’s evolutionary philosophy. In fact his project was doomed, since his view of biology was that of an earlier generation, still being promoted at the popular level, but increasingly out of touch with new scientific developments. Early theologians believed they were studying a divinely created world, says P. J. Bowler. He points out that Raven studied theology and genetics under William Bateson, of St John’s, Cambridge, who first announced Mendel’s publications to the English-speaking world in 1900. It may be added that at the History Network at the Institute of Biology we are also organising a meeting to commemorate the centenary of this event, on 8 May 2000. As Raven read Bateson he became increasingly sceptical about genetic determinism. He developed a highly developed sense of a non-mechanistic view of life, believing that genes could not tell the whole story.
As ‘mechanistic’ models were developed during the 1920’s,the organismal biologists felt themselves increasingly marginalised. Raven was associated in the church with a modernistic movement, which sought to argue against such phenomena as miracles. Those who argued against the virgin birth were often regarded as non-Christian as a result. Social ideas (including eugenics) became increasingly popular between the two world wars, and Raven’s views continued to ignore contemporary advances in biological understanding. Had he formally studied biology, his understanding of current biological ideas might have stood a better chance of being couched in terms that his peers felt acceptable.
John Stevens Henslow (1796-1861) was a cleric naturalist whose academic credentials were impeccable. He became the fourth Professor of Botany in the University of Cambridge, and is best remembered for his influence on his most famous pupil, Charles Darwin. As Dr Sam Walters, Director Emeritus of the University Botanic Gardens, Cambridge, explained, Henslow’s career can be divided into two parts. The academic part in Cambridge lasted until until 1839, and was followed by his move to the Rectory in Hitcham, Suffolk. It was the qualities of character, behaviour and religious belief possessed by Henslow that impressed the young Charles Darwin, and led to the lifelong friendship that grew up between them. The move to the country by Henslow was a key event, for although he retained his chair at Cambridge, he clearly felt called to devote the second half of his career to serving the Church as a rector. Hitcham is a relatively small country parish where his talents were exercised in a very different way. Henslow was much involved in the advancement of primary education in the new Victorian state schools. He viewed the march of science as a revelation of the plan of the Creator in a world full of wonder, and he remained concerned lest evangelical Christianity on the one hand, and agnosticism or atheism on the other, should ever triumph over what he maintained to be ‘rational belief’. There is a chapter on Henslow in Walters’ The Shape of Cambridge Botany (1981) and there are two biographical books on Henslow. With Anne Syowe, Walters is nearing completion of a new biography. Born in Rochester to a well-to-do family of merchants, Henslow acquired an interest in plants and animals from his parents, which was encouraged at school. In 1814 he came up to St John’s College, Cambridge, where he gained his BA in the 1818 tripos (mostly studying Newtonian physics at the time). In 1823 he married and in the following year he was ordained. In 1825, following the death of the aged Professor of Botany, Thomas Martin, Henslow took over the chair. He set about rescuing what he could of the Martin herbarium, which he found in a moldering condition. Its preservation was important, for it gives evidence of what was in cultivation in the eighteenth century.
It has been said that Henslow was a ‘mere’ systematist, but this view cannot be substantiated. For example, in his studies of herb paris, he personally collected 1500 specimens and carried out a statistical analysis of the plant’s anatomy, noting that the four typical petals can be as few as three, or as many as seven. He found that the other floral structures are equally subject to variation. In the modern era, statisticians regularly employ such techniques. He also studied the rare grape hyacinth, which still grows on the Gogs. The world of nature was seen as inexhaustible; as William Stearn has said, the fact that identification relies on floral parts now means that plants do not usually have to be dug up, whereas in Henslow's time such constraints did not apply. Many of Henslow’s drawings became standard illustrations for succeeding generations of textbooks. His microscopical studies of Euphrasia indicate broad investigative skills (far more than a systematist would have been competent to undertake).
The young Charles Darwin had come to Christ’s in 1828. He began to attend Henslow’s lectures the following year, and soon fell under his spell. Darwin wrote that he attended his lectures and ‘liked them much for their extreme clearness and admirable illustration.’ Henslow held regular Friday soirées, which were attended by scholars including John James Audobon, and which Darwin found ‘charming’. Henslow also organised river excursions and the two began to take long walks together. This firm friendship between teacher and pupil lasted all his life, indeed Henslow put Darwin up for the Endeavour voyage, since his family commitments prevented him going personally. Darwin contributed a glowing testimonial to the posthumous biography: ‘Nothing could be more simple or cordial . . . he made the young feel completely at ease, though we were all awestruck at the extent of his knowledge . . . and no matter how absurd a blunder, he pointed it out with kindness.’
When Henslow became a rector he was well paid, receiving over £1000 a year in 1837; it was in 1839 that he moved permanently, returning to Cambridge only to deliver his regular Easter lectures. When he arrived at Hitcham he was cast in roles of parson, squire and local magistrate. School and local entertainment were lacking. His efforts to advance such facilities for local people were widely regarded as ‘casting pearls before swine’. But he started a cricket club, and the annual firework display on the rectory lawn ‘always had a great attraction with the lower orders’. In 1841 his eagerly-awaited new school was opened. Since he collected only sixteen signatures from subscribers, he subsidised it himself. He had the local children collect and identify wildflowers. Some critics remained tolerant or amused; many felt that, if he had any effect at all, it would be to give the lower orders ‘ideas above their station’. Tension and lawlessness in the area continued to increase, and there were many fires caused by arsonists. Writing to Whelwell in 1844 he said there were ‘almost nightly cries of fire’. Henslow’s schemes to set up allotments were opposed, as were all his ideas to promote the status of the working classes. He was always an essentially practical man, saying he would leave the theoretical considerations to colleagues like Whewell and Sedgwick. Later Henslow was instrumental in building up the Ipswich Museum, and he developed a close friendship with Hooker the elder at Kew. By 1831 he had planned a new botanical garden for Cambridge, which was eventually opened in 1846. Once it was open, he took over 200 local parishioners by train for a detailed tour, including a dinner with beer and plum pudding at Downing.
A revealing relationship from the 1860s has been examined by Dr Chris Smith of Aston University, between the ‘irreconcilable friends’ Thomas Henry Huxley and Charles Kingsley. In 1860 Charles Kingsley, the vicar of Eversley, near Reading, was in his early forties and had just been appointed Professor of Modern History at Oxford. Thomas Huxley was nearly six years younger and in September 1860 had made his famous defence of the Origin of Species at the Oxford meeting of the British Association of the Advancement of Science. Kingsley, like Huxley, was a bred-in-the-bone naturalist, ‘believing every pebble holds a treasure . . . making it a point of conscience to pass over nothing through laziness or hastiness.’ After Darwin published the Origin in 1859 Kingsley had written to F. D. Maurice that he was ‘working out points of Natural Theology by the strange light of Huxley and Darwin and Lyell . . . having to choose between an absolute empire of accident and a living immanent ever-working God.’ His solution was to reverse the Darwin/Huxley interpretation and to maintain that ‘souls secrete bodies as snails secrete shells’. This, indeed, was the thesis of one of his best-loved books The Water Babies. Kingsley nevertheless held Huxley and Darwin in great esteem and he corresponded with them both.
When Huxley lost his adored eldest son Noel, at the age of three in September 1860, he (Huxley) felt that the vicar at the funeral service mouthed nonsense. Charles Kingsley was the only correspondent able to reach the inconsolable father. Huxley wrote a few days later ‘opening his heart’ and wrote again saying ‘the way in which you received my heathen letters set up a freemasonry between us . . .’. This friendship between irreconcilables presents an intriguing example of the divergent views on natural history that existed at the time. T. H. Huxley had been largely self-taught; his father's ideas for a school collapsed when he couldn’t keep order. The broad sweep of the fen country made a deep impression on the young Kingsley, indeed the introduction to his writing on Hereward has a lyrical description of the disappearing fenland landscape. At school at Helston in Cornwall he was greeted as a countryside scholar. Meanwhile, on board the Rattlesnake Huxley studied the coelenterata, concluding that ‘mind is to brain as whistle is to steam-engine’. Medawar later remarked that you could always discern, throughout Huxley’s writing, the pounding steam engine of the industrial world. Kingsley was a conservationist, regretting that mankind left behind a desert and wilderness after greed had been satisfied. His mother, who believed in prenatal conditioning, used to steep her unborn son in the wild landscapes of Dartmoor. Kingsley, who was taught by Coleridge’s son, came to reveal himself almost as that great poet’s disciple. As in The Ancient Mariner, we may discern in his own book Water Babies a crucial turning-point when Tom releases a lobster trapped in a pot, and is at last is reconciled to nature.
The Rev Dr George Gordon (1801-1892) was a Church of Scotland Minister at Birnie, near Elgin, who is the subject of study by Professor Michael Collie of York University, Toronto. Gordon was a follower of John Ray, and indeed became one of the Scottish founder members of the Ray Society. Born in Urquart in Moray, George Gordon was educated at Elgin Academy to the age of fourteen, then at Marichal College in the University of Aberdeen (A.M. 1819), where Robert Brown has graduated some years earlier. At the University of Edinburgh he attended the lectures of Robert Graham and Robert Jameson. It was during the Edinburgh years that he got to know William Hooker (part of their correspondence is preserved at Kew) and also that group of contemporaries who founded the Botanical Society of Edinburgh a few years later. Within the University he was elected a member of the Plinian Society at a time when the relationship of science to religion was being hotly debated. In 1832 Gordon was introduced by the Earl of Moray to the clerical living at Birnie, remaining in the Manse there until 1889. He was an active member of the various societies that eventually became today’s Moray Society and, probably with Jameson’s museum in the Old College very much in mind, helped to found the Elgin Museum. In 1859 he was awarded an LL.D by Marischal College for his services to the study of natural history and archaeology in Northern Scotland. Hardly anyone knew the natural history of the North as well as he.
He attended the meetings of the British Association when it met in Scotland, and served on one or two of their committees, but he hardly ever travelled south of Edinburgh. Communication was usually by letter. In those days of steam and post office runner, replies from London could arrive in less than twenty-four hours. Large biological specimens were sent by steam-packet to London docks. Among his field-work associates and correspondents were T. H. Huxley (research on Permo-Triassic fossil reptiles), Roderick Murchison (on the dating of sandstone in NE Scotland), John Grant Malcolmson (the geology of the Moray district) and John Lubbock (shell-middens around the Moray Firth). A tireless worker in the field and ever an accurate observer, Gordon acted as expert field guide to scores of scientists whenever they visited the North of Scotland. His many correspondents are identified in Collie & Bennett’s George Gordon: an Annotated Catalogue of his Scientific Correspondence (1996), as are his own publications. The long list includes Hugh Falconer, Charles Darwin, Albert Gunther and John Harvie-Brown. It is said that the olfactory quality of the specimens he sent to Gray and Gunther in the British Museum was sometimes displeasing, after a journey by steamer; but on the other hand, the orchid he sent south flourished in Darwin’s garden. Having accompanied Graham on summer field-trips from Edinburgh and having traversed northern Scotland with his botanist friend, William Stables, he published his Collectanea for a Flora of Moray in 1839 after which he came to be recognised as the authority on the botany of the north.
As Dr Jack Haas, of Girdon College, Wenham MA, reminds us, there is even a line of descent from John Ray (1627-1705) to the microscopist and naturalist Rev William Henry Dallinger (1839-1909). It leads through John Wesley (1703-91) in remarkable fashion. Ray’s Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of the Creation (1691) was a model for Wesley’s own writings on science and his views on the importance of natural knowledge for the Christian. Wesley in turn influenced Dallinger who, as an influential Wesleyan clergyman, and a pioneer microbiologist, played an important role in the spontaneous creation controversy, and was one of England’s most active popularisers of science during the last quarter of the 19th Century. Through his science essays in Wesleyan publications and establishment of the Wesley Scientific Society he led his people into the scientific age, emphasising the ‘moral necessity’ of natural knowledge. Dallinger was a renowned enthusiast for science and played a prominent role in the ‘science for all’ movement of his day. Dallinger exemplifies the transition from broad-based naturalist studies by amateurs to the new professional biological specialities and instutional scientific culture of his day.
The role of the Unitarians and their contribution to natural history and education has been the focus of attention of Dr Sandy Baker from the University of Leeds. They include an important family of Anglo-Irish descent, all of whom were ministers of the church. Thomas Dix Hinks (1767-1857) was a major influence on science and education in Cork in the first half of the nineteenth century. His son William Hincks (1794-1871) left the full-time ministry to teach natural history and mathematics at Manchester College, York. This was a dissenting academy originally based in Manchester (and now Manchester College, Oxford). He became the first curator of botany of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society in York. He later moved to Queen’s College, Cork where he set up a natural history museum, herbarium and botanic garden as the first Professor of Natural History. Subsequently he moved to a post with the same title at the University of Toronto. William Hincks was an adherent of the Quinarian philosophy, recognizing five categories of the natural world. Although this system of classification later became discredited, William made contributions to the classification of animals and plants, to teratology and to the documenting of the flora and fauna of Canada. Thomas Hincks (1818-1899), the son of William, was minister of Mill Hill Unitarian Chapel in Leeds for fifteen years and was active in public affairs before ill-health forced him to retire from the ministry and move to the West Country. Thomas was elected to the Fellowship of the Society in 1872 and became an authority on marine invertebrates, especially the Bryozoa and Hydrozoa.
Professor David Knight of the University of Durham, spoke of the Rector of Pendock, Rev W. S. Symonds, who published Notes for Young Naturalists in 1861. Robert Hardwicke of Piccadilly, publisher for the Ray Society and of other ‘useful works’ produced this small octavo volume, embellished with lithographs. By the time of his death, Symonds had become sufficiently eminent to get into the Dictionary of National Biography, but he does not generally feature in histories of the reception of Darwinian theory. His book grew out of a lecture delivered before the Natural History Society of Worcester, and it was published in the hope that ‘it may prove useful to the Student, when he has the opportunity of visiting any of the various Museums or Zoological gardens of our Native Land, as I believe that the knowledge acquired from books becomes far more practical when impressed upon the mind by a careful examination of the works of Nature.’ Symonds was alive to the contemporary importance of museums, and his text shows him to be well read in the writings of geologists from Cuvier and Buckland (whose Bridgewater Treatise forms the background of this book) through Lyell, Agassiz, Murchison and Egerton to Owen, Darwin and Huxley. In particular, he engaged with both the Origin of Species and Owen’s Palaeontology. Symonds eirenic position led him to see good in everything and everyone. We do not see any obvious dogmatic restrictions upon his exposition and he was not afraid of drawing attention to the struggle for existence ‘so well delineated by Mr Darwin’, but on the other hand he took seriously the objections of Owen to many of the features of Darwinism. Nevertheless, his book ends with the conclusion that there is ‘a constantly-operating, secondary, creational law’, comparable in importance to Newton’s Law of Gravity, if just as inexplicable, allowing him to expand upon laws and facts in a typically nineteenth-century vein, making his book a guide to his time and place.
The last clerical president of Section D at the British Association was Canon Henry Baker Tristram (1822-1906), the subject of a major study by Dr Richard England of the Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA. He reminds us how the parson-naturalists were increasingly pushed out of the late Victorian scientific community. T. H. Huxley, for instance, used the Whitworth gun of evolution to ‘scare the rectors back into their trenches,’ to quote Adrian Desmond. Canon Henry Baker Tristram illuminates the growing schism between religion and the professional scientist. Tristram was an ornithologist, a traveller and collector, a Fellow of the Society and, in 1893, president of the zoological section (section D) of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. As an evangelical clergyman and a student of biogeography, Tristram acutely felt the difficulties that natural selection had caused natural theology. Tristram took care when presenting his religion to scientific audiences, and his science to religious audiences, and thus carefully maintained his membership of two diverging communities. Tristram’s ornithological studies centred on his vast collection of eggs and of skins from birds he had shot. Educated at Durham and at Cambridge, he become an evangelical clergyman; but when his health failed he went to live in the milder climates of Bermuda. On his return to England he married and went on to father eight children. His chest became bad again and he spent two years in Algeria, followed by a six-week tour of Palestine where he found several species of bird new to the area. During 1863-4 he was funded to study Palestine, where the development of biblical archaeology was beginning to expand. On his expeditions he acted as liaison with bible societies, and helped distribute copes of the bible on behalf of the Missionary Society. On the Sabbath he rested; otherwise he collected. Tristram did not see any profound conflict between Darwinism and religion; the anti-Darwinists regarded the theory as militating against Christianity, but Tristam felt that an evolutionary theory simply allowed us to divine how God had brought about evolution. He managed to retain the support of both the religious and scientific communities. Thus, his candidacy for election to the Fellowship was supported by both Huxley and Darwin. Eventually he was offered a bishopric in Jerusalem. Surprisingly, he is not found as an ornithologist in the histories of science, but he remains an important figure in the history of the naturalist cleric, and was perhaps the last of the line.
There is a bust of John Ray by Roubiliac and oil portraits at Trinity College, Cambridge, and at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Engravings of Ray by Elder and Vertue, from a portrait by Fairthorne, appear as frontispiece to some of his works, and a further engraving by W. Hibbert appears in the Select Remains.
1. At the History Network of the Institute of Biology, we are also organizing a meeting to commemorate rthe centerary of this event, on 8 May 2000.
2. E. Adrian Woodruffe-Peacock's Rock-soil flora of Lincolnshire, MS at University School of Botany, Cambridge, 1920.
3. S.M.Walters’ The shaping of Cambridgeshire botany. Cambridge University Press, 1981.
4. Charles Darwin’s On the origin of species by natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. London: Murray, 1859.
5. Charles Kingsley's The water babies. London: Award Publications, 1996.
6. Michael Collie & Susan Bennett’s George Gordon: a annotated catalogue of his scientifc correspondence. Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1996.
7. George Gordon’s Collectanea for a flora of Moray; or a list of phaenogamous plants and ferns hitherto found within the province. Elgin: Alex Rusell, Courant Office, 1839.
8. W.S. Symonds’ Old bones, or notes for young naturalists. London, 1861.
9. William Buckland’s Bridgewater Treatises, London: William Pickering, 1836.
10. Richard Owen’s Palaeontology; or, a systematic summary of extinct animals and their geological relations. Edinburgh: A. & C. Black, 1860.
A DELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
Prepared by Brian Ford
Allen, D. E., (1976). The Naturalist in Britain. London: Allen Lane.
Arber, Agnes, A Seventeenth-century Naturalist: John Ray, Isis, 34: 319-24, (1943).
Baldwin, S. A., John Ray (1627-1705). Essex Naturalist. Witham: Stuart Baldwin (1986).
Barber, L., The Heyday of Natural History. London: Jonathan Cape (1980).
Barrett, J. H., How it all began. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 32: 31-41 (1986).
Berry, R. J., The evolution of British biology. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 20: 327-352 (1983).
Berry, R. J., Natural history in the twenty-first century. Archives of Natural History, 15: 1-14 (1988).
Boulger, G. S., Ray, John. Dictionary of National Biography, 47: 339-344 (1896).
Britten, J., Local scientific societies. Nature, 9: 38-40, 97-99. (1873)
Brook, John and Cantor, Geoffrey, Gifford Lectures published as Reconstructing Nature: The Engagement of Science and Religion, Edinburgh: T & T Clark, (1998).
Brooke, John H., Science and Religion. Cambridge: University Press (1991).
Buckland, W. Geology and Mineralogy considered with reference to Natural Theology. London: William Pickering (1837).
Derham, W. Physico-Theology: or a Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God from His Works of Creation. London (1713).
Duncan, J. Memoir of Ray. The Naturalist’s Library. Entomology, vol. II. Beetles: 17-70. Edinburgh: W. H. Lizars (1835).
Edwin Lankester (editor) The correspondence of John Ray: consisting of selections from the philosophical letters published by Dr Derham and original letters of John Ray in the collection of the British Museum, London: Printed for the Ray Society, (1848).
Ford, Brian J., Images of Science – a History of Scientific Illustration, London: British library and New York: Oxford University Press, (1992-1993).
Ford, Brian J., A Ray rekindled (editorial), Endeavour, 23 (2): 49-50, July.
Gunther, Robert W. T., Further correspondence of John Ray, London: Printed for the Ray Society, (1928).
Keynes, Sir Geoffrey Landgon, John Ray: a bibliography, London: Faber and Faber, (1951).
Lankester, Edwin, (editor) Memorials of John Ray: consisting of his life by Dr Derham; biographical and critical notices by Sir J.E.Smith, and Cuvier and Dupetit Thouars, with his itineraries etc., London: Printed for the Ray Society, (1846)
Lovejoy, A. O. The Great Chain of Being, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press (1936).
Lowe, P. D. Amateurs and professionals: the institutional emergence of British plant ecology. Journal of the Society for the Bibliography of Natural History, 7: 517-535 (1976).
Mabey, R. Gilbert White. London: Century (1986).
Mayr, E. The Growth of Biological Thought. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press (1982).
Oliver, F. W., (editor), John Ray, 1627-1688, [in] Makers of British Botany, pp 8-43, Cambridge, (1913).
Polkinghorne, J., Science and Creation. London: SPCK (1988)
Pulteney, Richard, Historical and Biographical Sketches of the Progress of Botany in England, London (1790).
Raven, Charles E., John Ray, Naturalist. Cambridge: University Press, first edition (1942).
Raven, Charles E., second edition, (1950).
Raven, Charles E., facsimile reprint, with an introduction by S.M. Walters and author’s notes, incorrectly described as ‘2nd edition’, Cambridge Science Classics, (1986).
Ray, John, Three Physico-Theological Discourses: concerning I. The primitive Chaos and Creation of the World. II. The general Deluge ... III. The dissolution of the World Fourth edition. London, 1693. Other editions: London, 1713, 1721, 1732.
Ray, John, The wisdom of God manifested in the works of the creation: in two parts London: Wernerian Club (1844-46).
Ray, John, A collection of English proverbs digested into a convenient method for the speedy finding any one upon occasion: with short annotations: whereunto are added local proverbs with their explications, old proverbial rhythmes, less known or exotick proverbial sentences, and Scottish proverbs, Cambridge: Printed by John Hayes, for W. Morden, (1670).
Ray, John, A Collection of English Words not generally used, with their significations and original, with catalogues of English birds and fishes; and an account of the preparing and refining such metals as are gotten in England. London: H. Bruges, for T. Burrell: London (1674).
Ray, John, A compleat collection of English Proverbs: also the most celebrated proverbs of the Scoth, Italian, French, Spanish and other languages the whole methodically digested and illustated with annotations [AND] John Ray; A Collection of English Words not generally used, with their significations and original in two alphabetical catalogues the one of such as proper to the Southern Countries (3rd ed), London: H Slater: F Noble, W and T Payne, T Wright, J Duncan (1742).
Ray, John, Dictionariolum trilingue: editio prima 1675, facsimile with an introduction by William T. Stearn, London: Ray Society, (1981).
Ray, John, Synopsis methodica stirpium britannicarum edito tertia, 1724, Flora anglica, 1754 & 1759; facsimiles with an introduction by William T. Stearn, London: Ray Society, (1973). [Facsimiles of Synopsis methodica stirpium britannicarum, originally published Londini : Innys, 1724; and the Flora anglica published Stockholmiensis: Carolino Majori, 1754 and Holmiae : Laurentii Salvii, 1759].
Ray, John, Synopsis methodica stirpium britannicarum edito tertia, Londini: Innys, (1724)
Ray, John, Flora anglica, Stockholmiensis: Carolino Majori, (1754) and Holmiae: Laurentii Salvii, (1759).
Ray, John, A collection of curious travels & voyages, in two tomes the first containing Dr. Leonhart Rauwolff's Itinerary into the eastern countries . . , the second taking in many parts of Greece, Asia Minor, Egypt, Arabia Felix and Patraea, Ethiopia, the Red-Sea, &c. London: S. Smith and B. Walford (1693).
Ray, John, Appendix ad Catalogum plantarum circa Cantabrigiam nascentium continens addenda & emendanda. Cantabrigiae: ex officinâ John Hayes (1685).
Ray, John, Catalogus stirpium in exteris regionibus a nobis observatarum, quae vel non omnino vel parcè admodum in Anglia sponte proveniunt. Londini: typis Andreae Clark; impensis J. Martyn (1673).
Ray, John, Methodus Plantarum emendata et aucta in qua notae Maxime Characteristicae exhibentur ... Accedit methodus graminum, juncorum et cyperorum specialis, eodem auctore. Londini (1703).
Ray, John, A Sermon [on John xvi. 22] preached at Witham on occasion of the death of the Rev. C. Case, Second edition. London, (1782).
Ray, John, An Old Disciple, A sermon [on Acts xxi. 16] preached at Hadleigh on January 15, 1801, on occasion of the death of the Rev. I. Toms, etc. printed at Sudbury (1801).
Ray, John, Christian Liberty: or, the right of private judgment asserted in a sermon [on 1 Thess. v. 21]. Second edition. London, (1789).
Ray, John, National Deliverances considered, in a sermon [on 2 Cor. i. 10] preached ... November the 5th, 1776. London, (1777).
Ray, John, The Conflict and the Crown of the Faithful Ministers. A sermon [on 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8] ... on occasion of the death of the Rev. T. Harmer ... To which are added brief memoirs of his life, character, and writings. London, (1789).
Ray, John, Catalogus plantarum circa Cantabrigiam nascentium, (Ray's flora of Cambridgeshire) translated from the Latin and edited by A. H. Ewen and C. T. Prime, Hitchin: Wheldon and Wesley, (1975).
Seward, Sir Albert Charles, John Ray, a biographical sketch written for the centenary of the Cambridge Ray Club read, in part, at the dinner in the hall of Trinity College on 16 March 1937. Privately printed: Cambridge, 1937.
White, L. The historical roots of our ecological crisis. Science, 155: 1203-1207 (1967).
Willughby, Francis, De historia piscium libri quatuor ... totum opus recognovit ... supplevit, librum etiam primum et secundum integros adjecit J. Raius. (Appendix ad historiam naturalem piscium. F. W. Icthyographia.) Oxonii, (1686-85).
See the web site for 2000 publications, or to the scientific bibliography listing papers and chapters for the decade.