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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index B > Sir Joseph Banks Quotes

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Sir Joseph Banks
(13 Feb 1743 - 19 Jun 1820)

English botanist and explorer, who cataloged new species of plants and animals when he accompanied Capt. James Cook on his voyages to Australia and Tahiti. Banks was president of the Royal Society for over 40 years.


Science Quotes by Sir Joseph Banks (2 quotes)

I have from my childhood, in conformity with the precepts of a mother void of all imaginary fear, been in the constant habit of taking toads in my hand, and applying them to my nose and face as it may happen. My motive for doing this very frequently is to inculcate the opinion I have held, since I was told by my mother, that the toad is actually a harmless animal; and to whose manner of life man is certainly under some obligation as its food is chiefly those insects which devour his crops and annoy him in various ways.
— Sir Joseph Banks
Letter to an unknown correspondent, quoted by Bowdler Sharpe, The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne (1900), Vol. 1, 69. In Averil M. Lysaght, Joseph Banks in Newfoundland and Labrador, 1766: his Diary, Manuscripts, and Collections (1971), 44.
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Mr Humphry Davy is a lively and talented man, and a thorough chemist; but if I might venture to give an opinion... he is rather too lively to fill the Chair of the Royal Society with that degree of gravity it is most becoming to assume.
— Sir Joseph Banks
Quoted in John Barrow, Sketches of the Royal Society (1849), 52.
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Quotes by others about Sir Joseph Banks (1)

The works which this man [Joseph Banks] leaves behind him occupy a few pages only; their importance is not greatly superior to their extent; and yet his name will shine out with lustre in the history of the sciences.
Funeral oration at the Academy of Sciences, Paris (2 Apr 1821). Quoted in Hector Charles Cameron, Sir Joseph Banks, K.B., P.R.S.: the Autocrat of the Philosophers (1952) 209.
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See also:
  • 13 Feb - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Banks's birth.
  • Sir Joseph Banks - Biography from Dictionary of National Biography (1885).
  • Joseph Banks: a Life, by Patrick O'Brian. - book suggestion.
  • Booklist for Joseph Banks.

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