John Fleming (Gatton and Saltash MP)

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Dr John Fleming FRS FRSE FLS (1747–17 May 1829)[1] was a British surgeon of the Indian Medical Service, naturalist, and politician.[2] He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Gatton 1818–1820, Saltash 1820–1826.

He is of great note as an amateur botanist and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Linnean Society. His obituary was written by fellow botanist James Britten FLS.[3]


In 1768 he is recorded as joining the Indian Medical Service based in Bengal as an Assistant Surgeon. He was raised to full Surgeon in 1771 and rapidly rose thereafter. On 8 December 1800 he was made President of the Indian Medical Board. He retired in 1811 and returned to Britain in 1813. During his time in India he befriended both Francis Buchanan-Hamilton and Thomas Hardwicke. He also conducted a long corresponsence with Sir Joseph Banks including sending him plant samples such as Thibet (Tibet) Musk.[4]

In 1813 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of London and in 1817 a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers for the latter were Sir William Arbuthnot, 1st Baronet, Tb Allan and David Brewster.[5]

On his return he lived on Chandos Street off Grosvenor Square in London and later (1816) in Gloucester Place.

He died in London on 17 May 1829.

In 1882 the Department of Botany (of the University of London) bought 13 folio volumes of drawings of Indian plants, mainly from the Punjab area, organised by Fleming (but drawn largely by Indian natives).[6]


  • A Catalogue of Indian Medicinal Plants (Calcutta, 1810)


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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Congreve
Sir Mark Wood, Bt
Member of Parliament for Gatton
1818 – 1820
With: Abel Rous Dottin
Succeeded by
Jesse Watts-Russell
Thomas Divett
Preceded by
Michael George Prendergast
Matthew Russell
Member of Parliament for Saltash
1820 – 1826
With: Matthew Russell to 1822
William Russell 1822–26
Succeeded by
Henry Monteith
Andrew Spottiswoode