A Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural History by William Swainson

By William Swainson

William Swainson F. R. S., was once regarded largely as a zoologist, an ornithologist and a talented and prolific illustrator. He additionally had an important enthusiasm for looking and deciding on new species. during this 1834 quantity besides the fact that, Swainson addressed the character of, foundations for and profitable pursuit of zoology. It argues firmly for the major value of taxonomy. Swainson was once an ardent suggest of MacLeay's now solely outdated 'quinary' method of category - even then a quite minority view. This sought affinities, styles and analogies between organisms, for you to figure God's order. greater than a trifling interest, such paintings was once of pivotal obstacle to enterprising naturalists of the 1820s and 1830s - together with the younger Charles Darwin. It additionally reached Robert Chambers, whose 1844 Vestiges of the common historical past of production used to be a big landmark within the improvement of the idea of evolution.

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It is unreasonable to expect that a man like Buffon should excel in such opposite qualities as rigid and laborious research, cautious deduction, and flowery eloquence. Upon the two first is built every thing valuable in pure science; while the latter, however desirable, is merely ornamental;—it may captivate the world, but it is rather detrimental than otherwise to the advancement of sound knowledge, and the calm investigation of truth. Hence it led the vivid and excursive fancy of BufFon into wild and fanciful theories, positive assertions, and palpable blunders.

Tieini, 1786—1788. 1 vol. folio. f J. C. Schoeffer. ) Elementa Entomologica. Regensburg, 1766. 1 vol. 4to. In Latin and German. ) Icones Insectorum circa ltatisbonam indigcnorum. Regens. 1769. 3 vols. 4to. RISE AND PROGRESS OF ZOOLOGY. 49 containing many new genera, not to be found in Linnaeus ; yet the characters are short and unsatisfactory ; and, strange to say, he nowhere uses specific names. Schseffer was a clergyman of Ratisbon, and lived to the age of seventy-two; but, although industrious, his abilities were very moderate.

And the following passage, in one of his letters to Ellis, places this partiality in a strong light: — " I care little about the larva of the iguana; but our mutual friend, Dr. Gardner, mentions some dried plants, destined for me. "— Linn. Corr. i. p. 178. D 2 36 STUDY OF NATURAL HISTORY. introduced a precision it had never before possessed. His object was to make known every natural production there discovered, in the most simple and concise terms; and to institute rules and forms of description, by which other objects, as they were progressively discovered, might be distinguished and registered in the same manner.

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