Erasmus Darwin

1731 (Elston, England) – 1802 (Breadsall)

The Lunar Society’s lynchpin, Boulton, Small, Edgeworth, Josiah Wedgwood, Priestley, Watt, Keir and Withering were friends and associates — Boulton, Wedgwood, Watt, Edgeworth and Small (whose deathbed Darwin was beside) particularly close. He borrowed botanical books from Banks, advised Beddoes to set up in Bristol, translated his correspondent Linnaeus’s work, and contrived a ‘casual’ meeting with Rousseau in Dovedale. Coleridge was enthralled by his learning if not his versifying, while Franklin (lifelong friend and mentor) grumbled about his pond’s smell. Fuseli, another good friend, illustrated his ‘Botanic Garden.’