Menzies, Archibald (1754 - 1842)

      Archibald Menzies was born in 1754 at Styx, an old branch house of the Menzies of Culdares near Perthshire in Scotland. Nearly all of the Menzies in the vicinity of Castle Menzies were either gardeners or botanists; an old record shows that seven of this name were employed at the same time at the Castle gardens. It was here that Archibald Menzies received his first lessons in botany, and where he later added new varieties of trees discovered during his travels.

      Menzies studied both botany and medicine in Edinburgh, and later became assistant to a surgeon in Carnarvon. He entered the Royal Navy and served on the Halifax Station in Nova Scotia.

      Menzies had attained some fame as a botanist, and was appointed by the British Government in 1790 as naturalist to accompany Captain Vancouver in the Discovery on a voyage around the world.

      Menzies' formal instructions for the voyage were detailed and extensive. He was to investigate the whole of the natural history of the countries visited, enumerate all trees, shrubs, plants, grasses, ferns and mosses by their scientific names as well as the language of the natives, and in view of the prospect of sending out settlers from England, ascertain whether plants cultivated in Europe were likely to thrive. He was to dry specimens and collect seeds, and any curious or valuable plants that could not be propagated from seeds were to be dug up and planted in the glass frame provided for the purpose aboard Discovery.

    After the voyage of the Discovery, Menzies served with the Navy in the West Indies. He received the degree of M.D. at Aberdeen University in 1799, and upon retiring from the Navy followed his profession of doctor and surgeon at Notting Hill, London. Menzies died in 1842 at the age of 88.