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ZOOLOGY, AND THE LABOURS OF SEVERAL RECENT NATURALISTS, AMONG WHOM STAND PROMINENT THẾ NAMES OP TENMINCK AND MONTAGU, HAVE ESSENTIALLY CONTRIBUTED

TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THESE VARIOUS AND UNEXPECTED CHANGES OF PLUMAGE, AND

CLEARED UP MANY OF TUE DOUBTS AND DIP FICULTIES, IN WHICH THE HISTORY OF SEVERAL SPECIES HAD BEEN SO LONG INVOLVED."-Selby.

BUT THERE WERE OTHER LABOURERS WHOSE EFFORTS ASSUMED A MORE SCIENTIFIC

ASPECT.

THE LATE GEO. MONTAGU, ESQ. CULTIVATED WITH ZEAL MANY DEPARTMENTS OP

BRITISH 200LOGY.

IT IS BUT A JUST TRIBUTE TO THIS NATURALIST TO STATE THAT, IN

HIS WRITINGS, HB APPEARS PROGRESSIVELY TO HAVE BEEN FORSAKING THE ARTIFICIAL METHOD, AND ACQUIRING A KEENER RELISH FOR PHYSIOLOGICAL RESEARCHES; THE TRUTH WAS AT ALL TIMES EAGERLY SOUGHT AFTER."-Fleming.

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A PLAN OF STUDY, AND MANY NEW ARTICLES AND ORIGINAL

OBSERVATIONS.

BY JAMES RENNIE, A.M., A.L.S.

PROFESSOR OF NATURAL HISTORY, King's COLLEGE, LONDON; AUTHOR OY “ INSECT ARCHITECTURE," " INSXT

TRANSFORMATIONS," ARCHITECTURE OF Birds, &c.

j

LONDON:
HURST, CHANCE, AND CO., ST. PAUL'S CHURCH-YARD.

1831.

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INTRODUCTION.

THIS EDITION will be found to differ from the first in

the following particulars.

I. It having been thought useful to give, in the body of the Dictionary, an explanation of the terms used by those who have written

upon

Birds, and also some account of their anatomical structure and physiology, I have, in accordance with this, distributed Colonel Montagu's original Introduction in the order of the alphabet, under the articles EGG, INCUBATION, MIGRATION, &c.; and other interesting observations under Cuckoo, GoldCRESTED WREN, &c., because they directly related to these

birds.

II. To supply the place of the original Introduction, the matter of which has been thus transferred to what was deemed a more logical station, I have drawn up a Plan of Study, according to the method I have pursued in my own researches,-namely, first observing a fact or circumstance in the fields, then endeavouring to discover the design it was intended to serve by the great Creator, and subsequently examining the statements to be met with in books, in order to compare these with what I had actually observed. This will be seen to differ from the current methods of study, by giving importance to single facts or circumstances personally observed, and traced to their Providential causes; while by the other method these are represented as of no intrinsic use, their value being only relative, as connected with some theory or system, with which of course the student must be acquainted, before he can appreciate the worth of any personal observations he may chance to make. On my plan, any person, with a little care, may become a tolerably good naturalist, the first walk he takes in the fields, without much knowledge of books : on the other, much previous study is indispensable, while, as I shall endeavour to show, this will often be labour thrown away, as it is usually more apt to mislead than to assist. plan, the student is a free agent; on the other, he is chained to the ranks of the monopolists of knowledge.

On my

III. As systems and classifications have so long usurped almost the exclusive attention of those who have attended to the objects of nature, it appeared necessary to give the student some notion of the proper use of a system, in order to prevent his falling into the error of looking at a system in a false light. I have therefore thought it important to speak plainly and strongly upon this subject.

IV. In giving an estimate of the Linnæan system, I have endeavoured to place the merits of its distinguished author in a just point of view; while I have quoted, to fortify my own opinion, the sentiments of several able naturalists condemnatory of his methods, or rather of the use to which these have been preposterously turned by his disciples.

V. Among the various systems claiming to be natural, I have chiefly directed the attention of the reader to the doctrine of Types, and the Quinary arrangement founded upon it; because, though it is not exclusively English, being adopted by Denis, Scheiffermuller, and other continental writers — the disciples of Mr. MacLeay speak of themselves as constituting the modern English school. I have judged it my imperative duty to object, in the most explicit manner, to the doctrines and the language of this school; but while I have considered no terms too strong in urging my objections to the Quinary or Typical system, I have given all due credit to the upright intentions of its author and his disciples, some of whom I have the honour of ranking amongst my friends, and to whom I shall be sorry if the remarks I have

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