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Edward Daniel Clarke

Edward Daniel Clarke (June 5, 1769 - March 9, 1822), English mineralogist and traveller, was born at Willingdon, Sussex, and educated first at Tonbridge.

In 1786 he obtained the office of chapel clerk at Jesus College, Cambridge, but the loss of his father at this time involved him in difficulties. In 1790 he took his degree, and soon after became private tutor to Henry Tufton, nephew of the Duke of Dorset. In 1792 he obtained an engagement to travel with Lord Berwick through Germany, Switzerland and Italy. After crossing the Alps, and visiting a few of the principal cities of Italy, including Rome, he went to Naples, where he remained nearly two years.

Having returned to England in the summer of 1794, he became tutor in several distinguished families. In 1799 he set out with a Mr Cripps on a tour through the continent of Europe, beginning with Norway and Sweden, whence they proceeded through Russia and the Crimea to Constantinople, Rhodes, and afterwards to Egypt and Palestine. After the capitulation of Alexandria, Clarke was of considerable use in securing for England the statues, sarcophagi, maps, manuscripts, etc., which had been collected by the French savants.

Greece was the country next visited. From Athens the travellers proceeded by land to Constantinople, and after a short stay in that city directed their course homewards through Rumelia, Austria, Germany and France. Clarke, who had now obtained considerable reputation, took up his residence at Cambridge. He received the degree of LL.D. shortly after his return in 1803, on account of the valuable donations, including a colossal statue of the Eleusinian Ceres, which he had made to the university.

He was also presented to the college living of Harlton, near Cambridge, in 1805, to which, four years later, his father-in-law added that of Yeldham. Towards the end of 1808 Dr Clarke was appointed to the professorship of mineralogy in Cambridge, then first instituted. Nor was his perseverance as a traveller otherwise unrewarded. The manuscripts which he had collected in the course of his travels were sold to the Bodleian library for £1000; and by the publication of his travels he realized altogether a clear profit of £6595.

Besides lecturing on mineralogy and discharging his clerical duties, Dr Clarke eagerly prosecuted the study of chemistry, and made several discoveries, principally by means of the gas blow-pipe, which he had brought to a high degree of perfection. He was also appointed university librarian in 1817, and was one of the founders of the Cambridge Philosophical Society in 1819. He died in London on the 9th of March 1822.


The following is a list of his principal works:

  • Testimony of Authors respecting the Colossal Statue of Ceres in the Public Library, Cambridge (8vo, 1801-1803)
  • The Tomb of Alexander, a Dissertation on the Sarcophagus brought from Alexandria, and now in the British Museum (4to, 1805)
  • A Methodical Distribution of the Mineral Kingdom (fol., Lewes, 1807)
  • A Description of the Greek Marbles brought from the Shores of the Euxine, Archipelago and Mediterranean, and deposited in the University Library, Cambridge (8vo, 1809)
  • Travels in various Countries of Europe, Asia and Africa (4to, 1810-1819; 2nd ed., 1811-1823).

See also

  • Life and Remains, by Rev. W Otter (1824).


  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Edward_Daniel_Clarke". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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