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in this pbint df view;, it will give no less pleasure to those tvhd read for iststructibn, than to those who read only for amusement. It is known, and is but too true, that an infinity of small animals desolate Tour plants, our trees, and our fruits; that they attack our furniture and our cloaths; that they eat the corn irt our granaries, and that they do not even respect ourselves: would it not be desirable if We could defend ourselves from such enemies? This M de Reaumur conceives to be practicable by a diligent attention to the nature of each species; By this means we might be able to -destroy them, and their eggsi we anight prevent thorn from injuring us, and we might render important services to the . community by discovering the rheans of preserving the fruits of the earth, and securing the health of the human body.
There remains a work of G. Rondeletius, TJoctor of itoedecine at Montpellier, in which the principal design of the author was to treat of fishes, and other a4 quatic animals. He has not confined himself however closely to his subject, but has treated of infects* and has added figures to his descriptions; In the library of the Jesuits at Ratifbon, there is a copy of this work in two volumes, on the margins of the leaves are large notes, said to be in the hand writing of Gesner. However that may be, this work which must have occasioned^great labour to the author is very embarrassing to the readers for he is not fixed in his principles, but often contradicts himselfi ■ ■
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The work of Ruysch, Professor of Anatomy anrf Botany at Amsterdam is well known. This illustrious author intended chiefly to treat of quadrupeds, of fishes, and birds, foreign and domestic. He has however in the course of his general derail given us the description of a few infects illustrated with figures. This addition is not the least valuable pars of his work.
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The general history of insects -which Swammeridam published in 1669 deserves to fix our attention for a moment. This work, which was printed at Utrecht, seems- to have no other fault, but thai of being written in a language not generally known. This occasioned its being translated from I>utch into Ereneh. The translation was printed in 1685-,at the fame place in 4to, the size of the original publication. H. Ch. Henninius translated it also into Latin. To render the author's descriptions more in'telligible, he added plates representing the four' different changes which insects undergo; first in their natural size, and then as they appear in the Microscope. This second translation was reprinted at Utrecht in 1693, augmented with a dissertation, in order to shew the analogy of insects, with other animals and with plants. It cannot be denied that Swammerdam has excelled all those who had gone over the same course before him. He himself went in pursuit of insects into the woods and fields; he collected their eggs, brought, out the young, and fed them with all imaginable care. He was seen observing them from morning, to night, and at every mo** x 1 *. ment
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thent redoubling his attention to them* lest that smallest change should escape his curiosity. An intimate acquaintance with the external conformation of insects appeared to him a very superficial attainment; he employed anatomical instruments for the dissection of these minute animals, and penetrated into the very convolutions of their viscera. He employed a painter three times a week, to paint under hte eye, the objects that nature presented him with. He likewise preserved in a cabinet ail those insects, their external and internal. parts, their eggs, their webs and their nests. Such apparatus, so many experiments, such labour and penetration cduld not fail of producing an excellent work. The public could- itot reasonably have exacted more from him than this General History, but he did not mean to stop here: death surprised him at a time when he was employed in. composing a history of each particular species. Mr Thevenot, his friend, inherited his papers, but the many occupations of this gentleman prevented him from being able to lay them before the public, from him, the manuscript passed into the hands of J. dtr Verney an able anatomist, who enriched his! owit cabinet with it. There it lay buried till there could be found a man as zealous for the advancement of Science as the illustrious Boerhaave. He purchased the work, and was ho sooner in possession of it than he hasted to communicate this treasure to the world, and put it to the press in the year 1736. He joined with it the other history of the author: the work is full of excellent figures and he called it Biblia Naturae five historia Insectoritm. Thg first part contains the general history of insects with additions and corrections; and the second the history of each of them in particular. We find in this second part the natural history of gnats, of bees, of the maggots in cheese* of moths, of the gad-fly, of the caterpillars that lodge within the leaves of the oak, willow, &c ; we, find also that of the frog; of the Ephemeræ, insects which are produced and die the fame day; of the flea, and water-scorpion. Besides these, the author has given the anatomy of the Sepia, and that of the louse, and the description of the Lucanus Cervus, or flying stag.. There are also four particular treatises £ one of them on the insects which grow in the galls of Plants j the other on the feed of the Fern; anoJ ther shews how the butterfly is formed under the skin of the caterpillar; and a' fourth on the sea animal called Physalus. The whole work is full of curious observations which besides entertainment furnish much information.
The learned have likewise profited greatly by the treatise of the celebrated Valisnieri. His book contains a great number of curious and interesting ob-servations. . .
Such are the assistances afforded us in the study1 of insects. They are no doubt considerable, and guided by the works of the learned men I have just named, we cannot fail of making very great progress. I cannot however but regret the loss of the works which a great King composed on the natural history o£ plants and animals. What light would they not
throw throw on the subject I am treating of, considered as the productions of a Prince,' who was wiser than
* all men, and who spake of trees, from the Cedar
* tree that is in Lebanon, even unto the hysop that f springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts f and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.'
But why deplore a loss which Heaven has thought fit we should sustain? Let us put ^n end to our regrets, and repair that loss' by a continual study of the works of those great men whom I have just named.
But we must not confine ourselves even to this. However numerous the observations cf these celebrated Naturalists may be, they are far from having exhausted the subject: they have left to posterity a large field for discovery. Those Insects that are best known are not perfectly known: the more one studies them, the more one is convinced of this truth, and if we can add any thing to the Ubours of those who have gone before us, in those very places where ihey have been most successful, what may we not do in those where they have failed? Besides, as we are not acquainted with all the different species of infects, those which remain to be discovered furtiish an ample field for exercising the industry and sagacity of the curious. The subject is inexhaustible, every day furnishes us with something new ; and he who thinks h,e has made great proficiency, will receive information from one who has not made so much as himself. We