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English physician William George Maton (1774–1835) was a polymath who had a special interest in botany: a shell and a parrot were among species named in his honour. His writings on natural history included a catalogue of the plant and animal life around Salisbury, Wiltshire, which was published posthumously in 1843 and is reissued as the second part of this composite work. The first part contains a sketch of Maton's life and work by fellow physician and writer John Ayrton Paris (c. 1785–1856), first presented to the Royal College of Physicians, and subsequently published in 1838. Paris discusses Maton's early life, his contributions to the growing field of botany, his other scientific and antiquarian interests, and his distinguished medical career, during which he was appointed physician-extraordinary to Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, and later physician-in-ordinary to the duchess of Kent and the young Princess (later Queen) Victoria.
Carl Linnaeus (1707–88), father of modern taxonomy, was one of the most important scientists of the eighteenth century. This biography was written by Richard Pulteney (1730–1801), a physician and botanist who greatly admired Linnaeus' methods and aimed to promote them in England. The first edition was published in 1781 and contains a thorough account of the major works of Linnaeus and his unpublished papers. As well as details of his academic career, the work also gives insights into Linnaeus' character and personal life. The second edition, reissued here, was edited by William George Maton (1774–1835), a physician and member of the Linnean Society, and published in 1805. It contains in addition a memoir of Pulteney and a translation of a Swedish life of Linnaeus based on his own notes. The book is a rich source of information on a central figure in the history of botany.