Clift achieved respect and popularity within the scientific community of his time. Dr. South spoke of him as 'a kindly-hearted creature, always ready to impart and not to appropriate information,' and with a 'head crammed full of knowledge.' Benjamin Brodie the elder praised his industry and his thirst for the acquisition of knowledge, his sagacity and keen observation. He was esteemed by Sir Joseph Banks, Dr. Wollaston, Sir Humphry Davy. Through the influence of the latter, he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society on 8 May 1823.