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Marchant, Jean

1. Dates
Born: 1650
Died: Paris, 11 Nov. 1738
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 88
2. Father
Occupation: Scientist
His father was Nicolas Marchant, botanist in the Académie and director of horticulture of the Jardin royale.
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: French
Career: French
Death: French
4. Education
Schooling: No University
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Botany
He devoted almost all his life's work to the preparation of the Histoire des plantes. When the Académie decided to give up the project, he continued to prepare botanical descriptions. Although the greater part of this work remained unpublished, some fifteen of his notices did appear in the Academy's memoires. Among these, his "Observations sur la nature des plantes" deals with the notion of partial transformism among plants, thus foreshadowing one of the tenets of evolution.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Government, Patronage
He was elected member of the Académie in 1678 and succeeded his father as concierge et directeur de la culture des plantes du Jardin Royal. He held the position at the royal garden until 1694 when its funding was cut and it was dissolved.
He received the royal pension that the government granted him for his work in the preparation of the Histoire des plantes until 1694. Indeed he received a royal pension of 1200 livres, and occasionally 1500, from 1666-77 and from 1680-90.
1699, pensionnaire of the Académie. (This I do not understand: I thought that all members were pensionnaires. Perhaps this refers to reappointment upon the reorganization of the Académie.)
8. Patronage
Type: Court Official
He was appointed director of the royal garden, and was granted a royal pension for his research.
Formally the king appointed him pensionnaire in 1699. I hardly know how to list this. Someone else was probably involved. Indeed his appointment would seem to go back to whoever had been the protector of his father.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: None
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: Académie Royal des Sciences, 1678-
1678, académicien botaniste, replacing his father.
1699, pensionnaire botaniste, premier titulaire.
  1. Yves Laissus, "Les plantes du roi." Revue d'histoire des sciences, 22 (1969), 193-236. Q2.R45.
  2. Nouvelle biographie générale, 33, 482 (in the article about his father). Index biografique (Académie des sciences), p. 343.
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.

©1995 Al Van Helden
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