KAEMPFER, ENGELBERT, well known as a botanist, and still more as a traveller, was born on the 16th of September 1651 at Lemgo, in the principality of Lippe-Detmold, in Germany, where his father was rector of the church of St. Nicholas. He was sent succes sively to the schools of Hameln, Liineburg, Hamburg, and Ltibeck, in all which he was distinguished by his rapid progress in the ancient languages, history, geography, and music. He was afterwards sent to the gymnasium of Danzig, and he then studied at the University of Cracow in Polaud for three years, and at Kiinigsberg in Prussia for four years more. At the last-mentioned place ho applied himself closely to the study of physic and natural history. From Prussia he went to Sweden, where the extent of his knowledge and his talents procured him very advantageous offers on condition of settling at Upsets; but his desire to see remote countries led him to decline the proposals, and he solicited and obtained the place of secretary to an embassy which was then going to Persia. The embassy passed through Moscow, Kasen, and Astrakhan, where they embarked for Persia, and landed at Nizabad, in Daghestan, on the western shores of the Caspian Sea. While they were waitiug for their passports in the town of Shamakl, in Shirvan, Kaempfer made an excursion to the peninsula of Abstseran : he was the first naturalist who visited this remarkable spot, its wells of Naphtha and its ever-burning fire, which he described in his Amcenitates Ezoticm.' In 1684 the embassy arrived at Ispahan, then the capital of Persia. The information which Kaempfer collected during a residence of two years at that place, respecting Persia and its natural productions, is embodied in his Amcenitates.' When the embassy returned to Europe in 1685, Kaempfer entered as surgeon into the service of the Dutch East India Company, and served in that capacity in the navy then cruising in the Persian Gulf. After a long illness at Bender Abassi, he sailed for Batavia in 1639, and in this passage visited most of the countries on the western shores of Ilia dustan. At Batavia he occupied himself chiefly with the natural history
of the island of Java. In 1690 he set out from Batavia on his voyage to Japan, as physician to the embassy which the Dutch East India Company annually sent to the Japanese court. He embarked in the vessel which was to touch at the kingdom of Siam, and visited Judia, or Juthia, then the capital of that country. He remained at Nagasaki, in Japan, from September 1690 to November 1692, and during this time he accompanied two embassies to Yeddo. His observations on Siam and Japan are given in his great work entitled The History of Japan,' the original of which has never been published, but a trans lation was made from a copy in the possession of Sir Hans Sloane by J. G. Scheuelizer, and published in England in 2 vols. folio, 1727. Kaempfer returned from Japan to Batavia, which he left in 1693 for Amsterdam. In April 1694 he took the degree of Doctor of Physic at the University of Leyden, and in the theses which he published on that occasion he allowed that the Angus Scythica, or Barometz, a pre tended plant-animal, was nothing but a fietiou; he also described other remarkable objects, and among them the electrical eel. On his return to his native place his reputation soon procured him the honour of being appointed physician to his sovereign, a circumstance which brought him into extensive practice. This however was a loss to science. Of the various works which he designed to publish only his 'Amcenitates Exoticm' appeared during his lifetime (in 1712). His 'History of Japan,' as already observed, appeared much later, and only in English, from which it was afterwards translated into German and French. He died on the 2nd of November 1716, his health having been much impaired by his travels and some domestic calamities.