Gmelin, Samuel Gottlieb

, nephew to the preceding, was born at Tubingen in 1743; where he was educated, and took his medical degree in 1763. He gave early proofs of genius, and during his travels in France and Holland distinguished himself so much by his knowledge of natural history, that he was appointed professor in the academy of sciences at Petersburgh. Like his uncle, he spent several years in travelling through the distant provinces of the Russian empire, for the purposes of scientific investigation, but ultimately with a less fortunate result. He commenced his travels in June 1763, and having | traversed the provinces of Moscow, Voronetz, New Russia, Azof, Casan, and Astracan, he visited, in 1770 and 1771, the different harbours of the Caspian and examined with peculiar attention those parts of the Persian provinces which border upon that sea, of which he has given a circumstantial account in his travels. Actuated by a zeal for extend*­ing his observations, he attempted to pass through the western provinces of Persia, which were in a state of perpetual warfare, and infested by numerous banditti. Upon this expedition he quitted, in -April 1772, Einzillee, a small trading place in Ghilan, upon the southern shore of the Caspian; and, on account of many difficulties and dangers, did not, until Dec. 2, 1773, reach Sallian, a town situated upon the mouth of the river Koor. Thence he proceeded to Baku and Cuba, in the province of Shirvan, where he met with a friendly reception from Ah Feth Khan, the sovereign of that district. After he had been joined by twenty Uralian Cossacs, and when he was only four days journey from the Russian fortress Kislar, he and his companions were, on Feb. 5, 1774, arrested by order of Usmei Khan, a petty Tartar prince, through whose territories he was obliged to pass. Usmei urged as a pretence for this arrest, that, thirty years before, several families had escaped from his dominions, and had found an asylum in the Russian territories; adding, that 'Gmelin should not be released until these families were restored. As all arguing was in vain with this savage, Gmelin was removed from prison to prison, and at length, wearied out with confinement and harsh usage, expired July 27, at Achmet-Kent, a village of Mount Caucasus. Some of his papers had been sent to Kislar during his confinement, and the others were not without great difficulty rescued from the hands of the barbarians. The empress Catherine, would have rescued him by force, but this was rendered impossible at that time, by the rebellion of Pugatchef. She, however, expressed her regret and esteem for Gmelin by giving a gratification to his widow, of one year’s pay of the salary she had assigned to her husband during his travels, amounting to 1600 rubles.

His works are 1. “Historia Fucorum,Petersburg!), in 1768, 4to. a subject to which botanists had paid little attention before him. 2. “Travels through Russia, for the purpose of exploring the three kingdoms of nature,” three parts of which were published in his life-time. A fourth | was edited after the author’s death, by professor Pallas 3. “Journey from Astracan to Czarizyn” and also a “Second Persian Journey,1772 74; ibid. 1786. Pallas prefixed Gmelin’s Life to the fourth part of his travels. 1


Dict. Hist. Cox’s Travels in Russia. Tooke’s View of the Russian Empire.