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published the study of insects was little cultivated in Britain; the system of Linnaeus, which reduced the chaos into order, was not yet perfected, and our language had not yet formed and adopted a number of words and terms which it was necessary should be current before a translation could be attempted. Even at this day the want of terms is probably the reason why the excellent publications of Reaumur, De Geer, and many others, are still only known in this country in their original language. In this respect the translator of the work now submitted to the Public, must likewise throw himself on the indulgence of the Reader. For many terms he has been obliged to make use either of the Latin or the" French word ; but he hopes never except when these words are perfectly well understood, and have become, through use» inoffensive to the English ear. But what no doubt chiefly tended to obstruct the translation of the book into English was, the difficulty of ascertaining the identical insects which the authors mention by local names without sufficient descriptions. It is not a mere knowledge of the languages in which the book was originally written, nor a mere acquaintance with the subject, that can enable a translator to overcome this difficulty. He must have an opportunity of consulting a variety of books, seldom to be met with in private libraries, and some of them rare even in the best public collections in this kingdom. The chief value of the present performance to naturalists will therefore consist in its identifying the greater part of the infects by the Linnean name, an advantage which they well know how to appretiate.
It must be mentioned that as the original work was published before the accurate definition of an insect was given by Linnaeus, the word is used much more loosely than at present. By Lessor all the animals that compose Linnæus'* class of Vermes are called insects; and even Lyonet, who defines an insect to be an animal with an external skeleton^ gives the fame name to snails. The Naturalist, accustomed to
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the strict acceptation of the term will revolt at this inaccuracy; but it was thought better to retain the expression, than to sacrifice the observations and reflections it serves to introduce
It was suggested to the translator, that by using the information contained in the following pages, along with the materials afforded by modern discoveries, an altogether new work might be constructed, with more unity in the plan and more precision in the execution. But not to mention that such a proceeding would have implied an intention to rob the original authors of their just fame, he thought that it would be agreeable to many readers to fee their different sentiments on the fame subjects, and that the 'work would still be interesting in its present form, as marking an xra in the history of the knowledge of insects.
As the classical works of Ray and Derham on PhysicoTheology are known and admired by all; this performance, being an enlarged discussion of a topic which they touch upon but slightly, seemed to have some chance of a favourable reception with the public. Those who have been deterred from the study of insects by the idea that they are a loathsome and noxious part of the works of creation,will here, it is hoped,find arguments to convince them of their mistake. The principal proposition maintained by the author will likewise, no doubt, with some-have its effect; for whatever weight may be thought due to the reasoning of Lesser, by the philosophers of the present day, the sincerely pious will give him credit for his intention, and may profit by his zeal.
The Notes are placed by themselves, with proper references, at the end of the book, that they might not crowd the pages, nor tend to interrupt the reader in following the train
of thought pursued by the author.
\ 6 * Those
Those Notes to which an Asterisk is prefixed are by the Author, and a few of them which it was not thought necessary to particularize, by the Translators
In this age of refinement and fastidious criticism, when all performances submitted to the public eye are expected to be finished in the highest degree, the style of this translation, we fear, will hardly stand the test; but if it wants the energy and spirit of the original, it is hoped it will not be found deficient in faithfulness and perspicuity.