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INTRODUCTION.

A genuine naturalist, whose chief pleasure is concentrated in the investigation of the phenomena of the Creation, and in admiring the exquisite skill which he canpot fail to discover in the wise contrivances of Providence, wherever he turns his eye on “ the heaven above, or the earth beneath”-need never complain of dull weather, or a bad day, since, in the dreariest day, or the most cold and comfortless weather, he may always find some subject of interesting research ; for eyen if he cannot find the gay flowers, or the restless insects of spring and summer, he may trace these to their winter

quarters; or he may observe the effects of the weather - on the disintegration of rocks, and the formation or ame

lioration of soils; or investigate the laws which regulate the ever varying changes of the sky, Welcome then old January, wrapped well in many weeds to keep the cold away;" welcome frost and clear weather; and thrice welcome the bracing exercise in the bright cold sunshine by day, and the blazing hearth, and the well stored library at night. With all these “ appliances,” we think it will go hard with us if we cannot, as old Ben Jonson says,

With some delight the day outwear,
Although the coldest of the year.

We think it right to inform our readers, that in the little sketches of Natural History which we shall now introduce under the successive months, we deem it an improvement on our previous plan, to drop the form of continuous narrative, and present them with detached subjects, more in the way of studies, than as pictures, which our space is too confined to admit of being finished to our liking. We hope, that in this way, we shall be able to throw more interest into this department; both from our studies in the fields, and from our occasional reading when confined by rain or rheumatism in doors than we could otherwise accomplish ; while at the same time we shall, perhaps, better sustain the leading character which our little work has borne since its commencement of popularizing Natural History. We may boldly say, indeed, that while this delightful study had been rendered unfashionable by the dry, tasteless productions of the Linnæan school - now happily fast sinking into oblivion, we were almost solitary in following the more interesting and philosophical path of our own great Naturalists — Ray, Lister, Derham, White of Selborne, and Colonel Montagu. · For similar reasons to those which induced us to avoid the bad taste, and worse philosophy of the Linnæan school, we shall take care not to bewilder our readers with the wild fancies of what we may call the Hypothetical school of Naturalists, whose disciples are at present so eager to gain proselytes. The ostensible object of this school is to discover a chimera, which they call the Natural System, but instead of a Natural System, the pursuit has been hitherto productive of little besides absurd and unphilosophical speculation, both in Britain and on the

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