“Oh ma’am,” ses I, “indade I wud cut me hed orf for Miss Claire, but indade,” ses I, “it’s sad I’d be to lave the child as such a time. Let me stay ma’am, if oanly till ye go to town in October.”
The descriptions were at first extremely inartistic and unmethodical; but the effort to make them as exact and clear as was possible led from time to time to perceptions of truth, that came unsought and lay far removed from the object originally in view. It was remarked that many of the plants which Dioscorides had described in his Materia Medica do not grow wild in Germany, France, Spain, and England, and that conversely very many plants grow in these countries, which were evidently unknown to the ancient writers; it became apparent at the same time that many plants have points of resemblance to one another, which have nothing to do with their medicinal powers or with their importance to agriculture and the arts. In the effort to promote the knowledge of plants for practical purposes by careful description of individual forms, the impression forced itself on the mind of the observer, that there are various natural groups of plants which have a distinct resemblance to one another in form and in other characteristics. It was seen that there were other natural alliances in the vegetable world, beside the three great divisions of trees, shrubs, and herbs adopted by Aristotle and Theophrastus. The first perception of natural groups is to be found in Bock, and later herbals show that the natural connection between such plants as occur together in the groups of Fungi, Mosses, Ferns, Coniferae, Umbelliferae, Compositae, Labiatae, Papilionaceae was distinctly felt, though it was by no means clearly understood how this connection was actually expressed; the fact of natural affinity presented itself unsought as an incidental and indefinite impression, to which no great value was at first attached. The recognition of these groups required no antecedent philosophic reflection or conscious attempt to classify the objects in the vegetable world; they present themselves to the unprejudiced eye as naturally as do the groups of mammals, birds, reptiles,
The red words at the top of the board were wiped out and briefly replaced, in white, by:
So with a smile on his face Mr. Lin-coln left his desk, and the morn-ing’s mail, and asked the young man to stand up by the side of the wall. Then Mr. Lin-coln put a cane on the top of his head, and let the end of the stick touch the plas-ter-ing. Thus he found his height. Mr. Lin-coln told the man that it was now his turn to hold the cane and do the same for him. So Mr. Lin-coln stepped un-der the cane, and it was found that both were the same height. Jim’s friends had made a good guess.
For the attainment of this end it was above all things necessary for me to form a clear judgment respecting the influence of the views and principles enunciated by the different authors on the further development of botanical science. This is to the historian of science the central point round which all beside should be disposed, and without which the entire work breaks up into a collection of unmeaning details, and it is one which demands knowledge of the subject, and capacity and impartiality of judgment. On questions connected with times long gone by the decision of the experts has in most cases been already given, though I myself found to my surprise that older authors had for centuries been regarded as the founders of views which they had distinctly repudiated as absurd, showing how necessary it is that the works of our predecessors should from time to time be carefully read and compared together. But in the majority of cases there is no dispute at the present day respecting the historical value, that is the operative
During this winter I lost my best of friends, General MacDonnell, who died of a fever occasioned by the fatigue of our forced marching on Genoa; and a few days afterwards he was followed by his brother, the Major-General, of a fever also, resulting from the breaking out of an old wound he had received in the shoulder some fifteen years before.
suggested objections to such views, these objections were usually little regarded, and in fact reflections of this kind on the real meaning of the natural system did not often make their appearance; the most intelligent men turned away with an uncomfortable feeling from these doubts and difficulties, and preferred to devote their time and powers to the discovery of affinities in individual forms. At the same time it was well understood that the question was one which lay at the foundation of the science. At a later period the researches of Nägeli and others in morphology resulted in discoveries of the greatest importance to systematic botany, and disclosed facts which were necessarily fatal to the hypothesis, that every group in the system represents an idea in the Platonic sense; such for instance were the remarkable embryological relations, which Hofmeister discovered in 1851, between Angiosperms, Gymnosperms, Vascular Cryptogams and Muscineae; nor was it easy to reconcile the fact, that the physiologico-biological peculiarities on the one hand and the morphological and systematic characters on the other are commonly quite independent of one another, with the plan of creation as conceived by the systematists. Thus an opposition between true scientific research and the theoretical views of the systematists became more and more apparent, and no one who paid attention to both could avoid a painful feeling of uncertainty with respect to this portion of the science. This feeling was due to the dogma of the constancy of species, and to the consequent impossibility of giving a scientific definition of the idea of affinity.
Pitchdark had as much genius for eluding pursuit as for climbing unclimbable fences. There are such foxes.
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