Ecluse, Charles

, in Latin Clusius, an eminent botanist, was born at Arras, in French Flanders, on Feb. 19, 1526, and was educated at Ghent and Louvain, in the languages, jurisprudence, and medicine, in which last faculty he took a degree, but without any view to practice. At the age of twenty-three he began his travels, and pursued in them all the study of botany, to which he was extremely partial. He visited England three times, and in all his journeys cultivated the acquaintance of the learned in his favourite science. He also not only collected and described a number of uew plants, but made drawings of several with his own hand. In 1573 he was invited to Vienna, by the emperor Maximilian II. with whom, as well as with his son, afterwards the emperor Rodolphus II. he was in great favour, and was honoured by the former with the rank of nobility. In 1593, the sixty-eighth year of his age, he was chosen professor of botany at Leyden, where he resided in great reputation | till his death, April 4, 1609. At his funeral, in St. Mary’s church, Leyden, a Latin oration in his praise was delivered by the rector of the university. With respect to hodily health, Ecluse was unfortunate beyond the usual lot of humanity. In his youth he was afflicted with dangerous fevers, and afterwards with a dropsy. He broke his right arm and leg by a fall from his horse in Spain, and dislocated, as well as fractured his left ankle at Vienna/ In his sixty-third year he dislocated his right thigh, which, being at first neglected, could never afterwards be reduced, and he became totally unable to walk. Calculous disorders, in consequence of his sedentary life, accompanied with colic and a hernia, close the catalogue of his afflictions. Yet his cheerful temper and ardour for science never forsook him, nor did any man ever enjoy more respect and esteem from those who knew him.

Although not like his great contemporary, Conrad Gesner, a systematic genius, Ecluse was one of the best practical botanists. He discriminated plants very happily, and his histories of them are rendered interesting by innumerable remarks and anecdotes. He introduced the cherry-/ laurel and horse-cbesnut, now so common and so ornamental, which he received, among many other plants, from the Imperial ambassador at the Porte, in 1576. As all the rest of the cargo perished, it is but just that his memory should be perpetuated along with those two beautiful trees, with which all botanists of taste ought for ever to associate his name.

The principal publications of Ecluse are, 1. “Rariorum‘ aliquot Stirpium per Hispanias observatarum Historia,Antwerp, 1576, 8vo, with above 220 wooden cuts, admirably executed. 2. “Rariorum aliquot Stirpium per’ Pannoniam, Austrian!, et vicinas quasdam Provincias observatarum Historia,Antwerp, 1583, 8vo, with above 350 wooden cuts. 3. The foregoing were republished with the title of “Rariorum Piantarurn Historia,” in folio, at Antwerp, in 1601. This is the edition in common use, and most generally quoted. 4. “Exoticorum Libri decem,Antwerp, 1605, folio, with numerous cuts of animals, exotic fruits, and gums. 5. “Curse Posteriores,Antwerp., 1611, folio. This posthumous work is generally bound with the last. It consists of a few excellent figures and descriptions of rare plants. The funeral oration of Ecluse, with various poetical tributes to his memory, am | commonly annexed to this volume, and among them, a short account of his life, from Boissard’s “Portraits of Illustrious Men.” To this list may be added various translations and editions of other writers on Botany, or Materia Medica. A manuscript of Ecluse on fungi is said to exist in the library at Leyden. 1


Moreri. —Haller. But principally from Rees’s Cyolopadia.