« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
self a pair.
Thus then, in the space of eight or nine years, by care, trouble, and numberless attempts, I at length arrived at the art, not only of preserving these frail delicate creatures in their natural forms, but in that pure uninjured state, which constitutes the merit of my collection.
From long living among them, in fields, woods, and their most concealed retreats, I learned to distinguish the sexes in the most invariable manner, which though I do not consider as a very eminent merit, is the appendage of but a small number of Ornithologists. How often does it happen, that we see in very fine, and otherwise curious cabinets, forced divorces, and monstrous and unnatural alliances; in another place are claflcd, as male and feinale, two creatures who were never formed to meet;
. and and a little further, a male and female, of the same species, are announced as different kinds. I gathered more and more information in this part of Natural History, which was far from contenting me; I wished to act on a larger scale, when occasion seemed to call, and bid me defer it no longer...
In the Courant of 1777, a favourable circumstance conducted me to Paris; like all other strangers that arrive, for the first time, in that capital, I carried my tribute of admiration to the cabinet of the learned and curious. I was dazzled and enchanted with the beauty, variety of forms, richness of colours, and the prodigious quantity of every species, which, by forced contribution, came from all quarters of the world, and are claffed, methodically, in a space, unhappily, ever too limited.
During three years residence, I saw and studied all the important cabinets at this p ace; these superb fights made me difsatisfied, and left a void in my heart. I saw this mass of foreign spoil, but as a general deposit, where the different beings were ranged without taste or choice; giving no information to science, and without any certain indication of their manners or affections. It was the study which in my earliest youth had most interested me; 'tis true, I knew several works on Natural History, but these were filled with palpable contradictions. I had read, with avidity, the immortal master-piece, confecrated to posterity by a great genius; I daily offered incense at his shrine ; but his magic eloquence did not seduce me far enough to admire the flights of his imagination ; nor can I pardon in the philosopher the exaggerations of the poet.
xxiiij Above all, I thought particularly, that those parts of the globe which were unexplored, might give new information, and rectify the former errors ; looking on that man as supremely happy, who should have the courage to trace them to their source. The interior parts of Africa appeared, for that purpose, a Peru. It was a virgin land.
Ingrossed with these ideas, I perfuaded . myself, that the ardour of zeal might sup.. ply genius. Enthusiasm whispered, I was the being for whom this privilege was reserved; I listened to the pleasing seduction, from which moment I became devoted; neither the ties of love or friendfhip were able to shake my purpose. communicated my projects to no one; but inexorable and blind to every obstacle, left Paris the 17th of July, 1780.
· DIRECTIONS FOR PLACING THE PLATES,