Papers of John Walker

Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

John Walker (1731-1803)

Related material

The archive material relating to John Walker held at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, that links up with the collections being catalogued by the NAHSTE Project, relates to the natural history lectures of John Walker, some of which were taken down by his students.

Lectures on natural history: 12 volumes of notes taken from his first series of lectures on natural history delivered at Edinburgh University, subsequently to March 1782. They are presumed to be partly in the handwriting of Francis Morison, older brother of John Morison of Hetland. Volumes 5-7 are missing.

  1. Definition of natural history divided into six parts: meteorology, hydrography, geology, mineralogy, botany, zoology; natural history of waters of the globe; natural history of the earth; etc.
  2. Meteorology, or the history of the atmosphere. The cause of the rise and fall of the barometer; the range of the barometer; the heights of hills in the Highlands; consideration of climates with respect to heat and cold.
  3. Fog and mists - marine; terrestrial and aerial; the nature of frost and its effects; season and climate.
  4. Hydrography - history of the waters of the earth: water, hail water, snow water, rain water, lake water, water of the dew, spring water, natural history of the ocean, water sprouts, whirlpools, cataracts.
  1. Zoology - generation of animals; sexes of animals; heat of animals; hibernation of animals; general divisions of the Animal Kingdom - foundation of the Linnaean system of zoology; analysis of body parts of animals.
  2. Birds - ornithology: generation of birds, longevity of birds, fertility of birds, species of birds and their physical characteristics.
  3. Amphibia - 1st class: serpents, frogs, followed by fish.
  4. Entomology - 5th class: insects. Orders of genera of insects, metamorphosis of insects, respiration of insects.
  5. Crystallisations of hoar frost and snow; natural history of vegetables; plants.