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Author of Lectures to Young Ladies, Chemistry for Beginners, Botany for Beginners, &c.






Mar.25, 1422

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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1831, by

MRS. AL MIRA H. LINCOLN, in the Clerk's Office of the Northern District Court of New York,


Since the publication of this elementary work, the science of which it treats has been introduced, as a study, into many of our principal female schools; and in the various applications for teachers, from different parts of the country, an acquaintance with Botany is now often made an indispensable qualification.

The four different editions which have been issued having been disposed of, the author and publisher are encouraged to spare neither labour nor expense in rendering this fifth edition of the Lectures more worthy of that approbation which the public has so liberally bestowed. In compliance with the request of many teachers, the “Descriptions of Genera and Species," are now made to include all those native and foreign plants which the pupil will be likely to meet with in any part of the United States. We except many of the Cryptogamous plants, Grasses, and some species of the Aster, Solidago, and other genera, where the species are numerous, and the distinctions between them of a doubtful character. The author has been anxious not to omit southern and western plants of any interest, as the work is so extensively used in those regions. Should teachers or students observe such omissions, communications on the subject made to the author or publisher, would be gratefully received.

In the first edition, the Descriptions of Genera and Species were limited to a few of our most common plants. These, by the permission of Professor Eaton, were taken verbatim from his “Manual of Botany." The author has now thoroughly revised the Descriptions of Plants; for the numerous additions made, she is indebted to several American works, especially to the “Botany of the Northern and Middle States," by Dr. Beck, and also to the Descriptions of Torrey, Bigelow, and Elliot. For foreign plants, Eaton's Manual, Withering's British Plants, Loudon's Encyclopedias, and some other works, have been consulted.

The name of the Natural Order is connected with the name of each genus under the head of Descriptions of Species; indeed, the subject of the natural affinities of plants is kept in view through the whole work, although the artificial system is considered by the author as the groundwork of botanical knowledge. The origin of the generic name is also given, as far as this could be ascertained with any degree of certainty.


The author indulges the hope that this book will not only afford assistance, but gratification to Teachers, in the pursuance of the severe and often ennuyant duties of their profession. It is hoped that it may serve to interest and quicken the dull intellects of some pupils, to arrest the fugitive attention of others, and to relax the minds of the over studious, by leading them all into paths strewed with flowers, and teaching them that these beautiful creations of Almighty Power are designed not merely to delight by their fragrance, colour, and form, but to illustrate the most logical divisions of Science, the deepest principles of Physiology, and the goodness of God.

The best time for commencing botanical studies seems to be that of the opening of flowers in the spring; though, where circumstances render it convenient to begin in winter, assistance is offered by engravings. The arrangement of subjects might be altered, in pursuing the study without the aid of natural flowers. The Second part, which treats of the various organs of plants, the formation of buds, and other subjects connected with vegetable physiology; the Fourth part, which gives the history of the science, with the distinctions in the kingdoms of nature, might be studied to advantage, before attending much to the principles of classification, which are mostly illustrated in the First and Third parts.

The Botanical Class in this Institution has, for some years past, been composed of about forty pupils. The method pursued in teaching has been very laborious, as the want of suitable books rendered it necessary for the Author of these Lectures, who has had charge of the class, to devote much time and attention in gleaning from different writers such facts and principles as would illustrate the science, and make it interesting to the pupils. This work contains the substance of what has been thus collected, and the method in which those facts and principles were illustrated and arranged. A brief view of the mode of teaching pursued by the author, may be satisfactory to those about to commence the science.

On the first meeting of the class, after some explanation as to the nature of the study they are about to commence, each member is presented with a flower for analysis. The flower selected is always a simple one, exhibiting in a conspicuous manner the different organs of fructification; the lily and tulip are both very proper for this purpose. The names of the different parts of the flower are then explained, each pupil being directed to dissect and examine her flower as we proceed. After noticing the parts of fructification, the pupils are prepared to understand the principles on which the artificial classes are founded, and to trace the plant to its proper class, order, &c. At each step, they are required to examine their flowers, and to answer simultaneously the questions proposed ; as, how many stamens has your flower ? Suppose it to be a lily, they answer six. They are then told it is of the sixth class. How many pistils? They answer one—they are told it is of the first order. They are then directed to take their books and turn to the sixth class, first order, to find the genus. In each step in the comparison they are questioned as above described, until, having seen in what respects their plant agrees with each general division, and differs from each genus under the section in which it is found, they ascertain its generic name. They are taught in the same manner to trace out its species: their minds per. ceiving at each step some new circumstance of resemblance or difference, until they come to a species, the description of which answers to the plant under consideration.

Technical terms are explained as we proceed; and the advantage in this kind of explanation, over that of any abstract idea, is, that it is manifested to the senses of the pupils by the object before them. If a teacher attempt to define the words reason, will, &c., or any other abstract terms, there is danger that the pupil may, from misunderstanding the language used in the explanation, obtain but a very confused and imperfect idea of the definition; and, indeed, what two authors or philosophers give to abstract terms the same definition ? Though mankind do not, in the purely mental operations, exhibit an entire uniformity, yet, in their external senses, they seldom disagree. A flower which appears to one person to be composed of six petals, with corolla bell-form, and of a yellow colour, is seen to be so by another. Pupils who find it difficult to understand their other studies, (which in early youth are often too abstract,) are usually delighted with this method of analyzing plants; they feel that they understand the whole process by which they have brought out the result

, and perhaps, for the first time, enjoy the pleasure of clear ideas upon a scientific subject.

It is necessary, before the meeting of the class, to have a suitable number of plants collected, so that all may have specimens. În examining the pupils as they proceed in their study, each one, besides reciting a lesson, should be required to give an analysis of one or more plants; sometimes the whole class having similar flowers; sometimes giving to each pupil permission to bring any plant she chooses. This, also, at public examinations, is a satisfactory method of testing their knowledge of the subject. With respect to those portions of the work to which their attention should most particularly be paid, it must be left to the judgment of the teacher. Whatever relates to modes of classification, and makes part of a system, should be noted; many remarks, illustrations, and quotations, are designed merely for reading, without being considered as important matter for recitation.

The analysis at the bottom of each page, is designed rather to suggest the leading subjects, than as a form of questions; for every experienced teacher must perceive the importance of varying his mode of questioning.

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