Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1852)

Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Queen of Scots makes the list on the grounds of being a relentlessly suffering bitch. As my history teacher told it at least, there seems not to have been any point in Mary's short existence which was not beset with misery. She is held to have been beautiful, charismatic and intelligent, and yet either absurdly naive (having come to the throne aged six a definite possibility), foolishly reckless (especially in matters of the heart, where she was beset with scandal and death) or just plain stupid.
Following a number of scandals in her home kingdom, culminating in the death of her husband and her almost indecently swift marriage to his reputed killer, she was forced to flee to England and begged protection from her cousin, Elizabeth I.
She was executed after her ill-advised participation in a plot dreamed up by agents of Elizabeth II as a trap, despite Elizabeth's understandable reluctance to have another Queen put to death. It is said that her death warrant was slipped in with a stack of routine papers to recieve Elizabeth's signature, which doesn't say a great deal for Elizabeth.
She survived the first blow of the axe, due apparently to substantial incompetence on the part of the executioner. Although this can not have helped her composure, she is supposed to have died well; however poorly she might have lived.

Jean-Baptiste Chevalier de Lamarck (1744-1829)

Many people view Darwin as the father of evolution, but in fact Darwin himself disliked the word, and did not use it to describe his theories of adaptation by natural selection. The reason for this was quite possibly that 'Evolution' had already been postulated, in a very different form, by Jean-Baptiste Chevalier de Lamarck. A lesser member of the French nobility, Lamarck served in the army - by his own account heroically - until discharged following an off-duty injury.
He studied the natural sciences, and formalised the theory that traits acquired by members of a species would be passed to their offspring. Giraffes, for example, he considered to have gained their long neck as a result of generation after generation of giraffes craning their neck to reach the higher branches, thus causing minute stretching which was then passed to the next generation, who would stretch a little further.
In these enlightened days of course, no one believes a word of it, any more than they believe the accounts of his glorious military exploits, passed down through his devoted daughter Cornelie, and apparently appearing in no other source. On the other hand, he was responsible for creating a classification of invertebrates the relicts of which are still retained by the current taxonomy. Moreover, although a poor theory of biological progression, little credited even in his lifetime, Lamarckian Evolution provides a fairly useful model of cultural evolution.