Biography of Dugald Carmichael
Dugald Carmichael enrolled at the University of Glasgow to study Classics, attending the 1787 Greek class of John Young.
He was born in Lismore, Argyll, son of Archibald. After attending the University of Glasgow, Carmichael took up the study of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, from where he qualified as a surgeon. He served as an assistant-surgeon in the Argyllshire Fencibles in Ireland for nine years, before entering the 72nd Highlanders Regiment as an ensign.
Carmichael would go on to take part in numerous expeditions during his career as an army surgeon: In 1805, he was among those who served under Sir David Baird, who commanded the expedition against the Cape of Good Hope; In 1807, Carmichael volunteered to go to Algoa Bay, modern day Port Elizabeth; In 1810, he was part of the expedition in Mauritius, to capture it from French rule; in 1817 he joined the expedition that took possession of Tristan da Cunha.
Carmichael was granted leave in 1813 during which time he explored the Island of Bourbon, modern day Réunion.
Carmichael returned to Argyll in 1817, where he stayed with his sister for two years near Oban, before becoming tenant in 1820 of the farm Ardtur, where he remained till his death in September 1827.
As well as distinguishing himself as army surgeon, Captain Carmichael had continued to develop his life-long interest in natural science, to the extent that he claimed to be known as the ‘Father of Marine Botany'. His extensive travels overseas were also used to add to his botanical knowledge and collections. Among his published research was Some Account of the Island of Tristan da Cunha and of its Natural Productions (1818). As a friend and correspondent of Sir William Hooker, Hooker named many marine plants after him, including the Carmichaeliana or New Zealand Broom. Charles Darwin also acknowledged his contribution in referring to Carmichael as 'an authority on many points in natural science'.