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consisting of personal observations are entitled to reprobation and conon the habits, character, or physio. tempt. There are many such in logy of living animals, and enquiries France, and some among ourselves, into the causes and reasons of what great men in their little circles; they is observed, for the purpose either do well to make the most of this, of supporting theories, often fanci. for they may rest assured that howful, or of illustrating the providential ever high they rank in their own wisdom of the Great Creator. It is estimation, or in that of their coto be noted, that philosophical na. teries, the world neither knows nor turalists are often no less deficient cares any thing about them." Yet the in knowledge of systematic catalo- puerile triflers thus employed hold gues, than the rudimental naturalists in contempt the works that alone are of philosophy-both are import deserve the name of science; these ant to be known. The three lists miserable manufacturers of words contain, if not a complete, a com- complaining in querulous tones prehensive bibliography of birds of their “ legitimate productions"
We have been led into these some- being “ left to languish and decay," what detailed remarks some of “because the grown-up public are them our own, and some of them satisfied with infants' 'food in the Mr Rennie's—who, we are sure, shape of cheap compilations, crude will not grudge us the use of them translations, wonders of the insect in a magazine which occasionally world, &c. &c. with such like amu, touches, in its own way, on zoology sing trifles, fit only for children.” A
—from our anxiety to encourage consumptive blockhead with a queasy students in this department of na- stomach might as well call roast beef tural history, against those depress- and plum-pudding “ infants' food," ing fears that must sometimes assail as the sapid and nutritive dishes them from the cold, dry, and hor- which have lately been set before rid aspect which the science assumes the healthy public, and which she in the Linnæan school. With him has plentifully devoured with great we do indeed lament that the meagre gusto. Why a translation should index fashion of describing natural be crude we do not see, any more productions was ever introduced, than its original; and the ninny of since, as he says, it has so seldom ninnies must he indeed be, who, in been employed in the only way in a nation owing a million million of which it can be useful; and it ap- debt, and taxed accordingly, compears to have taken such deep root plains of a compilation “ that it is as to threaten, like some sorts of cheap.” The sneer at“ wonders of noxious weeds, to be incapable of the insect world” is aimed, we prebeing eradicated; for by far the sume, at Professor Rennie's “ Insect greater number of recent works up- Architecture," “ Insect Transformaon the subject, even when they pre- tions,' &c. ; but the person who tend to novelty of system, have the could call such wonders as are reessential characteristic of the Lin- vealed there, “ amusing trifles fit næan school, of being most carefully only for children," must be himself stripped of every interesting detail, an insect scarce worthy even of this and trimmed down to a limited num- short notice, an ephemeral and a ber of lines, reminding one strong- midge. ly of the old poets, who squared It is encouraging, however, to their leaves into the forms of 'adzes, know, that flesh-and-blood naturalhearts, and triangles, and left the ists are held now in far higher reconsideration of sentiment and ima- pute in Britain than the skeletons. gery to bards who would not con- . The good sense of the English pubdescend to such puerile trifling. lic never stomached such a work for
It has been well said by a writer in instance as Turton's seven ponderLoudon's Magazine of Natural His- ous Linnæan tomes, which sell now tory, that “ those who employ them- for little more than the price of waste selves in disguising and degrading paper; and that too at a time when science by cacophonous nomencla. the works of genuine naturalists, such ture, and a parade of barbarous La- as White's Selborne, and Knapp's tinity, which fools think learning, Journal of a Naturalist, are selling by thousands, and will continue to sell fast being accomplished, let us first to the tune of tens of thousands. acquaint our readers with the Man.
In this state of public opinion and in an auto-biographical sketch feeling on the subject of natural would that it had been a finished knowledge and science, what fears picture-prefixed to the volume now can be entertained for the success before us, he exhibits many traits of and glory of such an ornithologist as his simple, single-hearted, enthusiAudubon ? We have seen that Pro- astic, enterprising, and persevering fessor Rennie classes him along with character, which it is impossible to Levaillant, in the first order, into regard without affectionate admirawhich none can be admitted but the tion. He calls himself, in the pride sons of genius, who, in the spirit of of genius and patriotism, an “ Amephilosophy, have pursued science rican Woodsman.” And when some over the bosom of Nature. Of him, five years ago, we first set eyes on Swainson says, “there is a freshness him in a party of literati, in " stately and originality about his Essays, Edinborough throned on Crags," he which can only be compared to the was such an American woodsman as unrivalled biographies of Wilson. took the shine out of us modern Athe. Both these men contemplated Nature nians. Though dressed, of course, as she really is, not as she is repre- somewhat after the fashion of oursented in books; they sought her selves, his long raven locks hung in her sanctuaries. The shore, the curling over his shoulders, yet unmountain, and the forest, were alter- shorn from the wilderness. They nately their study, and there they were shaded across his open foredrank the pure stream of knowledge head with a simple elegance, such at its fountain-head. The observa- as a civilized Christian might be tions of such men are the corner- supposed to give his “ fell of hair," stones of every attempt to discover when practising “ every man his the system of Nature. Their wri- own perruquier,” in some liquid tings will be consulted when our fa- mirror in the forest-glade, employvourite theories shall have passed into ing, perhaps, for a comb, the claw of oblivion. Ardently, therefore, do I the Bald Eagle. His sallow finehope, that M. Audubon will alter- featured face bespoke a sort of wild Dately become the historian and the independence, and then such an eye painter of his favourite objects, that -keen as that of the falcon! His he will never be made a convert to foreign accent and broken English any system, but instruct and delight speech-for he is of Frenchdescent us as a true and unprejudiced bio- -removed him still farther out of grapher of Nature.” And Baron the commonplace circle of this everyCuvier, in a report made to the Royal day world of ours—and his whole Academy of Sciences of Paris, after demeanour-it might be with us having pronounced a splendid eulo- partly imagination-was coloured to gium on Audubon's “ Quatre cents our thought by a character of condessins qui contiennent a-peu pres scious freedom and dignity, which deux mille figures," thus concludes he had habitually acquired in his his “ compte verbal.” “ Formerly long and lonely wanderings among European naturalists had to make the woods, where he had lived in known to America the treasures she the uncompanioned love and depossessed; but now the Mitchells, light of Nature, and in the studious the Harlans, the Wilsons, the Charles observation of all the ways of her Bonapartes, have repaid with inte winged children, that for ever flutrest the debt which America owed tered over his paths, and roosted on to Europe. The History of the Birds the tree at whose feet he lay at of the United States, by Wilson, al- night, beholding them still the sole ready equals in elegance our most images that haunted his dreams. All beautiful works in ornithology. If this, we admit, must have had over ever that of M. Audubon be com- it a strong tincture of imagination; for pleted, then it will have to be grant- we had been told of his wandering life ed that America, in magnificence of and his wonderful pencil; but the enexecution, has surpassed the Old tire appearance of the man was most World.” But before speaking of the appropriate to what bad for so many magnificent design of Audubon, now years been his calling, and bore upon it, not to be mistaken for a moment gazed in ecstasy upon the pearly and shior overlooked, the impress, not of sin- ning eggs, as they Jay imbedded in the gularity, but of originality; in one softest down, or among dried leaves and word, of genius-self-nursed, self- twigs, or exposed upon the burning sand ripened, and self-tutored among the or weather-beaten rock of our Atlantic inexhaustible treasures of the Fo- shores. I was taught to look upon them
I watched rest, on which, in one soul-engross. , as flowers yet in the bud. ing pursuit, it had lavished its dear their opening, to see how Nature bad est and divinest passion. Nor will
provided each different species with eyes, this language sound extravagant to
either open at birth, or closed for some those who know Audubon, and that
time after; to trace the slow progress of the Man is never for an hour distinct,
the young birds toward perfection, or ad
mire the celerity with which some of in his being, from the Ornithologist.
them, while yet unfledged, removed But hear hin speak of himself
themselves from danger to security. " I received life and light in the New “ I grew up, and my wishes grew with World. When I had hardly yet learned my form. These wishes, kind reader, to walk, and to articulate those first words were for the entire possession of all that always so endearing to parents, the produc. I saw. I was fervently desirous of be. tions of Nature that lay spread all around, coming acquainted with Nature. For were constantly pointed out to me. They many years, however, I was sadly disapsoon became my playmates; and before pointed, and for ever, doubtless, must I my ideas were sufficiently formed to en- bave desires that cannot be gratified. The able me to estimate the difference be- moment a bird was dead, however beautween the azure tints of the sky, and the tiful it had been when in life, the pleasure emerald hue of the bright foliage, I felt arising from the possession of it became that an intimacy with them, not consiste blunted ; and although the greatest cares ing of friendship merely, but bordering were bestowed on endeavours to preserve on frenzy, must accompany my steps the appearance of nature, I looked upon through lite ;-and now, more than ever, its vesture as more than sullied, as requi. am I persuaded of the power of those ring constant attention and repeated early impressions. They laid such hold mendings, while, after all, it could no upon me, that, when removed from the longer be said to be fresh from the hands woods, the prairies, and the brooks, or of its maker. I wished to possess all the shut up from the view of the wide Ate productions of Nature, but I wished life lantic, I experienced none of those plea. with them. This was impossible. Then sures most congenial to my mind. None what was to be done? I turned to my but aeriul companions suited my fancy. father, and made known to him my disNo roof seemed so secure to me as that appointment and anxiety. He produced formed of the dense foliage under which a book of Illustrations. A new life ran the seathered tribes were seen to resort, in my veins. I turned over the leaves or the caves and fissures of the massy with a vidity; and although what I saw rocks, to which the dark-winged cormo- was not what I longed for, it gave me a rant and the curlew retired to rest, or to desire to copy Nature. To Nature I went, protect themselves from the fury of the and tried to imitate her, as in the days of tempest. My father generally accompa. my childhood I had tried to raise myself nied my steps,-procured birds and flowers from the ground and stand erect, before for me with great eagerness,-pointed Nature bad imparted the vigour necessary out the elegant movements of the former for the success of such an undertaking. the beauty and softness of their plumage, “How sorely disappointed did I feel the manifestations of their pleasure or for many years, when I saw that my pro. sense of danger,-and the always perfect ductions were worse than those which I forms and splendid attire of the latter. ventured (perhaps in silence) to regard as My valued preceptor would then speak of bad, in the book given me by my father! the departure and return of birds with the My pencil gave birth to a family of cripseasons, would describe their haunts, and, ples. So maimed were most of them, more wonderful than all, their change of that they resembled the mangled corpses livery; thus exciting me to study them, on a field of battle, compared with the inte. and to raise my mind toward their Crea- grity of living men. These difficulties and tor.
disappointments irritated me, but never “ A vivid pleasure shone upon those for a moment destroyed the desire of obdays of my early youth, attended with a taining perfect representations of Nature. calmness of feeling, that seldom failed to The worse my drawings were, the more rivet my attention for hours, whilst I beautiful did I see the originals. To have been torn from the study, would have my family. Yet, reader, will you been as death to me. My time was en- believe it? I had no other object in tirely occupied with it. I produced hun view, than simply to enjoy the sight dreds of these rude sketches annually; of Nature. Never, for a moment, and for a long time, at my request, they did I conceive the hope of becoming made bonfires on the anniversaries of my in any degree useful to my kind, birth-day."
until I accidentally formed an acWhile yet a boy, he was sent to
quaintance with the Prince of Mu
que Paris, and studied drawing under
signano (Charles Bonaparte) at PhiDavid. “ Eyes and noses belonging
ladelphia, to which place I went, to giants, and heads of horses repre
with the view of proceeding eastsented in ancient sculpture, were my
ward along the coast.” This was models. These, although fit subjects
in April 1824. It does not appear, for men intent on pursuing the higher
however, that though branches of the art, were imme Boston is a pretty town, diately laid aside by me;" and at the And so is Philadelpby; age of seventeen, he returned from You sha'l have a sugar plum, France to the woods of the New
And I'll have one myself-ch? World with fresh ardour, and commenced a collection of drawings un
that any sweetmeats or crumbs of
comfort were bestowed on Audubon, der the title of the “ Birds of America." His father gave him a beautiful
who was soon compelled elsewhere
to seek for patronage. He went to “ Plantation" in Pennsylvania, re
New York, where he was received freshed during the summer heats by the waters of the Schuylkil river,
with a kindness well suited to eleand traversed by a creek named
vate his depressed spirits; and after
wards ascending that noble stream, Perkioming. Its fine woodlands, its
the Hudson, he glided over the broad extensive fields, its hills crowned
lakes, and sought the wildest soliwith evergreens, offered many sub
tudes of the pathless and gloomy jects for his pencil. There too he
forests. married-and children were born
There it was, he tells us, in these unto him, whom he did not love
forests, that, for the first time, he the less ardently and deeply because of his love of the flowers of
communed with himself as to the the field and the birds of the air.
possible event of his visiting EuIn all bis subsequent struggles with
rope. His drawings had multiplied
on his hands in spite of all disastrous uncertain, if not with evil fortune,
chances—and he began to fancy them when all other friends frowned, and
under the hands of the graver. We were too ready to blame his pas
say in spite of all disastrous chances. sion for ornithology, by which they saw that money might be lost but
“ An accident which happened to ti'o not won, his own family still ap
hundred of my original drawings, nearly proved of his pursuits, and cheered
put a stop to my researches in ornitho. and cherished his enthusiasm, that
logy. I shall relate it, merely to show was its own reward. His residence
you how far enthusiasm-for by no other at the Pennsylvanian Plantation was
name can I call the persevering zeal with
which I laboured-may enable the obshort as sweet; and for twenty years
server of nature to surmount the most his life was a succession of vicissi
disheartening obstacles. I left the viltudes. Yet, amidst them all, his
lage of Henderson, in Kentucky, situated ruling passion never ebbed-it flow
on the bank of the Ohio, where I resided ed on perpetually towards the fo
for several years, to proceed to Philadel. rests. "Any one unacquainted with
phia on business. I looked to all my the extraordinary desire I felt of see drawings before my departure, placed ing and judging for myself, would them carefully in a wooden box, and gave doubtless have pronounced me cal them in charge to a relative, with inlous to every sense of duty, and re- junctions to see that no injury should gardless of every interest. I under- happen to them. My absence was of se. took long and tedious journeys, ran- veral months; and when I returned, alter sacked the woods, the lakes, the baving enjoyed the pleasures of home for prairies, and the shores of the Atlan- a few days, I enquired after my box, and tic. Years were spent away from what I was pleased to call my treasure. The box was produced, and opened; the Rathbones, the Roscoes, the but, reader, feel for me-a pair of Nor- Trails, the Chorleys, and the Mellies, way rats had taken possession of the and others too, took the stranger by whole, and had reared a young family the hand; “ and so kind,” says the amongst the gnawed bits of paper, which, grateful Audubon, “and beneficent, but a few months before, represented
nay, so generously kind have they nearly a thousand inhabitants of the air!
all been towards me, that I can never The buruing heat which instantly rushed
cancel the obligation. My drawings through my brain was too great to be
were publicly exhibited, and publicly endured, without affecting the whole of
praised. Joy swelled in my heart. my nervous system. I slept not for
The first difficulty was surmounted. several nights, and the days passed like
Honours wbich, on application being days of oblivion,- until the animal pow
made through my friends, Philadel. ers being recalled into action, through
phia had refused, Liverpool fairly the strength of my constitution, I took
awarded.” In Manchester, his reup my guin, my note-book, and my pen
ception was equally honourable to cils, and went forth to the woods as gaily as if nothing had happened. I felt
the Greggs, the Lloyds, the Sergeants, pleased that I might now make much the Holmes, the Blackwalls, the better drawings than before, and, ere a Bentleys, and many others-names period not exceeding three years had which, as his gratitude delights to elapsed, I had my portfolio filled againı."
record, so is it pleasant to us to name
them on this occasion. Had his reThat such a heroic adventurer in ception in Liverpool and Manchester the pursuit of knowledge should live been cold or forbidding, in all proand die obscure, was not in the power bability Audubon had returned to of the most malignant star. But America, and the world perhaps Audubon was born under a lucky never have heard of him or his magconjunction of propitious planets, nificent works. “ Friends,” says he, and already anticipated his fame. with a touching simplicity," pressed “ Happy days! and nights of plea- me to accompany them to the pretty sing dreams! I read over the cata- villages of Bakewell, Matlock, and logue of my collection, and thought Buxton. It was a jaunt of pure enhow it might be possible for an un- joyment. Nature was then at her connected and unaided individual best, at least such was the feeling of like myself to accomplish the grand our whole party; the summer was scheme. I improved the whole as full of promise.” much as was in my power; and Soon after his arrival in Edinburgh, as I daily retired farther from the where he soon found many friends, haunts of men, determined to leave he opened his Exhibition. Four hunnothing undone, which my labour, dred drawings—paintings in watermy time, or my purse could accom- colours - of about two thousand plish.” Eighteen months elapsed- birds, covered the walls of the InstiAudubon returned to his family, then tution-Hall, in the Royal Society in Louisiana, and having explored Buildings, and the effect was like every portion of the vast woods magic. The spectator imagined himaround, at last sailed towards the self in the forest. All were of the Old World.
size of life, from the wren and the As he approached the coast of humming-bird to the wild turkey and England, he tells us that the de- the bird of Washington. But what spondency of his spirits became great signified the mere size? The colours True that he had with him letters were all of life too_bright as when from American friends, and states- borne in beaming beauty through the men of great eminence, but he knew woods. There too were their attitudes not an individual in the country, and and postures, infinite as they are ashis situation appeared precarious in sumed by the restless creatures, in the extreme. For a few days in motion or rest, in their glee and their Liverpool, “not a glance of sympa- gambols, their loves and their wars, thy did he meet in his wanderings;" singing, or caressing, or brooding, or and he sighed for his woods. But preying, or tearing one another into very soon all his prospects brighten- pieces. The trees, too, on wbich ed; for those ardent friends of merit, they sat or sported, all true to Na