Ref NoMS/2
TitleAn inquiry into the cause of the sleep of plants - J.E. Bicheno
AdminHistoryJames Ebenezer Bicheno (1785-1851) was born on 25 January 1785 at Newbury, Berkshire, to James Bicheno (a Baptist minister, schoolmaster and author) and his wife, Ann. He took an early interest in social reform, writing a paper on the Poor Laws and Penitentiary Prisons. In 1821 he married a woman by the name of Lloyd (first name unknown) of Newbury but she died in childbirth within a year.

He was called to the Bar of the Middle Temple on 17 May 1822, and joined the Oxford circuit, but did little legal work and continued his economic and scientific studies.

He was a keen botanist and was elected a Fellow of the Linnean Society on 7 April 1812. He wrote many papers, some of which were published in the Transactions of the Linnean Society, for example: 'Observations on the Orchis militaris of Linnaeus', vol. xii, p.28; 'Observations on the Linnean genus Juncus, with the characters of those species which have been found growing wild in Great Britain', vol. xv, p. 291; 'On systems and methods in Natural History', vol. xv, p. 479. He also printed 'An address delivered at the anniversary meeting of the Zoological Club of the Linnean Society' in 1826 at the end of his office as Chairman of the Club.

In 1824, following the appointment of Mr MacLeay [also spelt McLeay or M'Leay] to the Colonial Secretary of New South Wales, he began working as the Secretary of the Linnean Society.

Bicheno lived in Notting Hill but following the death of his father in 1831, he resigned as Secretary and moved to Tymaen, near Pyle in Glamorganshire where he held a partnership in iron-works. He acted as Magistrate for the County and as the Official Chairman of the Board of Guardians of Bridgend. He toured Ireland in 1829 with a legal friend and subsequently published 'Ireland and its Econom' (1830). In 1836 he was appointed as one of the Commissioners for doing an enquiry in to the Poor Laws of Ireland, and he collaborated on a report based on these findings.

In 1842 he was appointed by Colonial Secretary of Van Diemen's Land [Tasmania] by Lord Stanley.

He died at Hobart Town on the 28 February 1851 after a short illness.
DescriptionHandwritten manuscript with notes entitled 'An inquiry into the cause of the sleep of plants' by J.E. Bicheno [James Ebenezer Bicheno] dated 'Newbury, 3rd March 1808. The paper was read [at a meeting of the Linnean Society] on the 21 June 1808, and relates to the ability of plants to open and close their flowers and leaves in response to factors including light, heat etc.

A note states that the paper was not printed in the Linn. Trans. [Transactions of the Linnean Society].
Date3 Mar - 21 Jun 1808
Extent1 bound volume
PrevRefNo[H] 364
Creator NameBicheno, James Ebenezer
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