W hat I believe to be genuine and authentic the collected publications of William Colenso


Part II. On certain Colonial alterations and innovations made in the English and other Western languages



Yüklə 5,71 Mb.
səhifə97/127
tarix27.08.2017
ölçüsü5,71 Mb.
1   ...   93   94   95   96   97   98   99   100   ...   127
Part II.

On certain Colonial alterations and innovations made in the English and other Western languages.

Of Modern Colonial changes in Nomenclature arising from innovations on old-established principles and rules in the English and the learned languages.

In this, the last part of my subject, I would particularly bear in mind the ancient maxim which as a motto I have prefixed to this paper. A celebrated British Botanist,—who might truly be styled the Father of English Botany, and who was for many years the President of the Linnæan Society (London),879 Sir J.E. Smith, says,—“It is generally agreed among mankind that names of countries, places, or things, sanctioned by general use should be sacred:—–—nor is it allowable to alter such names even for the better”;880 and I think that you will also agree with him in that remark; and further, that old established rules and principles concerning Nomenclature in general, which are firmly upheld and followed at home in the Mother Country, and among the nations of Scientific Europe, should also be adhered to in a young Colony; at all events such should not be lightly laid aside. Just the same indeed, if not more so, as the good [24] established Customs, &c., of the Old Country; and such, if I mistake not, the practice of the Romans in founding their numerous colonies.

(1) Foremost among such (as I am inclined to view it) are the “names of places” in new countries given to them by their first Discoverers; more especially when (as Sir J.E. Smith says,) such have been also “sanctioned by general use,” then, all such “should be sacred.” Unfortunately however this very proper rule is not now observed here among us in its integrity: and although up to the present the alterations have been but slight, yet, as “the thin end of the wedge” has been inserted, I fear, unless a firm and early stand is made against it, that it will soon become of wider application and grow rapidly worse.—

Standing prominently towards us among those alterations is the name of our own Bay, Province, County, and Provincial District; which, instead of “Hawke’s Bay,”—the name publicly given to it by its illustrious Discoverer,— who sailed round its shores, and entered its name in his log, so printed it in his Voyages and Engraved it in his Maps,—is everywhere in the scientific Colonial Publications (as the “Transactions of the N.Z. Institute,” School Geography and Maps,) altered to Hawke Bay;881 and “Cook’s Strait” is altered to “Cook Strait”! Apart from every other consideration, one would have thought that the utter ridiculousness of this last-mentioned alteration would have been quite sufficient to prevent it being made or even attempted; [Cook strait! Cook crooked!!] especially as in a few other cases the authors of these alterations seem to have seen the impropriety of such changes, and so left them unaltered,— as in “ Cook’s Tooth,” (the conical peak at Porangahau, although merely a local and settler’s name,) this they have not altered to “Cook Tooth”! and so “Young Nick’s Head,” in Poverty Bay, this remains unaltered. The name of the celebrated “Cook’s Well” in Tolaga Bay, would certainly be shorn of a large portion of is pristine glory and charm, and at the same time convey a widely different meaning to both ear and eye, if barbarously altered to “Cook Well”! although such an alteration would be wholly in keeping with, and not a whit more ridiculous than, Cook Strait!

Other notable places in New Zealand, named by Cook and other celebrated early Navigators and so laid down in the Government and in all Maps, have all been altered in the same manner;—as Queen Charlotte’s Sound, Tasman’s Bay, Solander’s Islands, D’Urville’s Island, Lord Auckland’s Islands, Lord Howe’s Island, Campbell’s Island, Macquarrie’s Island, Stewart’s Island, &c.

It is satisfactory however to know, that both our Colonial and Home Governments, and the European, American, and Australian Scientific works, in which New Zealand and her outlying islands are prominently mentioned have not adopted it. [25]

Fortunately our conspicuous nearer islets on this E. Coast,—as Bare Island, Portland Island, White Island, Flat Island, the Mayor, &c.,—were not named after any person; and therefore their names were not given to them in the possessive case by their Discoverer, according to the well-established and ancient custom; and we also know why they were so named; Bare Island, “on account of its desolate appearance,” and White Island, owing to its whiteness (as when first seen through a fog,—or, more likely, the vapours, and steam and smoke arising from its burning craters,—of which, however, Cook knew nothing). But supposing that two of those Islands had been named by Capt. Cook after some officers in his ship, whose names where White and Bare, (as the neighbouring islets in Tolaga Bay, Sporing’s, and Parkinson’s were named,) and were now altered, according to this new-fangled mode,—who could ever know why they were so named? as the great distinguishing difference would have been eliminated. To me there is great disagreement between White island and White’s Island, White Bay and White’s Bay,882 Bare Island and Bare’s Island, Flat Island, and Flat’s Island, Green Island and Green’s Island, Low Island and Low’s Island, &c.;—and more,—that great and correct difference is plainly shown at first sight, even to a tyro in geography or voyaging.

In my opinion, the alteration in the name of our Bay partakes much of the dubious or ambiguous character I have just mentioned; for as “Hawke’s Bay,” a stranger would know it at a glance or on first hearing that it was named after some person of that name; but as “Hawke Bay,” he would be led to suppose that it got this name from its Hawks; especially if he happened to know of the organized destruction of that bird carried on here so ruthlessly during late years, (and that notwithstanding the unphonetic e at the end of the word,)—for such is also the rule with Seamen and Navigators, e.g. Whale Bay, Fish Bay, Seal Bay, Duck Cove, Cormorant Cove, Gull Rook, Gannet Island, &c., &c.

All over the known world from the earliest times, such rule of Nomenclature has been invariably followed by the Navigators and Discoverers of all civilized Nations; the Maps of all parts of the World, and particularly the Sea-charts, have ever abounded with such names; and their number is daily increasing. In the latest Scientific Voyages the same old rule has been observed; indeed in very many instances it could not well be otherwise, for to alter those personal names in their bestowal (after the manner that similar ones have been pragmatically altered here in New Zealand) would render them ridiculous.

Moreover I feel pretty certain, that our neighbouring Australian Colonies would never allow of any such liberty being taken with some of their principal and long-established names, as Queensland, King George’s Sound, &c. Here, too, in this last name, (as I have before observed with reference to Cook Strait, [26] Cook Well, &c.,) there would be a most awkward and ambiguous play upon words; for King George’s Sound having been named after our present Queen’s grandfather George III,—who, in his latter years, was afflicted at intervals with insanity,—the altered name might (and it no doubt would by some) be attributed to the improved state of his mind, as opposed to that of being unsound or madness!

Following this new rule out to its logical conclusion, we should also drop the terminal s, and call our Hawke’s Bay Churches—St. John Church, St. Paul Church, St. Mary Church, St. Andrew Church, &c., &c.; but here, perhaps, it may be said,—“Oh! but those buildings are to be exempt because they were dedicated to certain persons.” “True,” I would reply, “but so were our Bays, and Isles, and Straits, and Sounds, and Capes; these were all publicly dedicated to bear the names of persons given to them; which names are also likely to continue theirs, long after those given to many of our wooden buildings are forgotten, and their present sites occupied by other names.” -

And here I may call rour attention to an additional fact, that the names of a few towns both N. and S. of us are still retained in the possessive case by those modern Innovators, after the good old-established custom,—as St. Bathan’s, St. Andrew’s, &c. Of course it would sound strangely and ambiguously to an English ear, to say (for instance), “I am going to St. Andrew”! but why a town should retain the terminal s, and not a bay or an island, a cape or a strait, is beyond my comprehension, and smacks of pedantry.—

Therefore, on these seven following grounds, I am opposed to this modern homespun alteration, viz.—

1. Long established and world-wide custom.

2. Honour and Memory of the Discoverer and Namer: also, of the Person whose Name was bestowed.

8. Desecration.

4. So printed in all European and American Books, and so laid down in all Maps and Charts.

5. Grammatically.

6. Euphony.

7. Clearness of meaning,—at first sight or hearing.

And I both hope and venture to believe, that, such a strange new and unauthoritative attempt to alter our old and prized National Nomenclature will neither be sanctioned nor perpetuated in the Colony.

Since writing the last paragraph I find, that the settlers at Glendermid in the Province of Otago, have actually petitioned Parliament to grant them the restoration of the old and original name of their place Sawyer’s Bay, which it appears had been taken away from that locality; and Parliament has properly granted the prayer of their petition. [27]

But far above all others in this Colony, the Settlers of Hawke’s Bay (and the Members of the Hawke’s Bay Institute) should see to their District and Institutions ever retaining its original name in its entirety. For of all the more modern Provinces, Districts, and Counties, into which this Colony has been cut up and named,—Hawke’s Bay is the only one that bears the name given to it by its illustrious discoverer Capt. Cook; who, also, had sailed leisurely around its shores and had anchored within it.

(2) The disuse of a capital letter in the specific name of a plant or animal, when the same is named after any person.

The rule for invariably using a capital letter when a species is named after any Botanist, or person, is both an old and a good one. All our great Botanical and Zoological Masters and predecessors, from Linnæus downwards, have ever observed it, and laid down strict rules for the carrying it out. And not only so, but also in the case of the specific name being derived from any other genus which it resembles, or with which it was formerly classed, (as Symphyogyna Hymenophyllum, Polypodium Grammitidis,)—or from the name of the place883 where it was originally found, (as Gnaphalium Keriense, Lecidea Domingensis, Hymenophyllum Tunbridgense,)—or being the common vulgar name of it, (as Podocarrpus Totara, Nesodaphne Tawa). Sir J.B. Smith says,—“In such a case the specific name stands as a substantive retaining its own gender and termination, and must begin with a capital letter; which last circumstance should be particularly observed if a species is called after any botanist, &c’ (loc. cit., p. 191.) Dr. Lindley, and Sir W. Hooker have also laid down the same rule; indeed all European botanists have ever followed it, and that not only in the past generation but also in all their modern works; e.g.—Sir J. Hooker’s Antarctic, New Zealand, and Tasmanian Floras, and Hand-Book N.Z. Flora; Sir W. Hooker’s Species Filicum; Baker’s Synopsis Filicum; in the latest complete work to hand, Bentham’s Flora Australiensis; and in all the Linnæan Society’s Transactions. Indeed the rule is, and has ever been, so universal, that I never remember once seeing its omission in any scientific work, whether in Latin, English, French, German, &c. I regret, however, to say, that its constant omission is to be found in our Colonial printed works including the “Transactions of the N.Z. Institute,”—although in this last it was not in the earliest volumes.

I have said, above, it is a good rule;—that is, a useful one, a help and aid, and the cause of being a great saving of time in running over an index for a species so named, especially if the genus is a large one, (as I practically know,) for the eye catches the capital letter immediately;—and then it is also a great help in another way, viz., that a naturalist (old or young) knows at once that the [28] specific name is derived from the proper name of some person or place, and therefore its meaning, however strange or uncouth, is not to be sought for in any Greek or Latin Dictionary.

(3) Having said thus much respecting the modern Colonial practice followed in the beginning of some new specific names, I would also make a remark on their endings: all those so named here in the Colony by their several describers bear the termination of the genitive singular,—ii; now this, according to the good old rules is also incorrect,—in part at least. (a.) If a plant or animal is so specifically named after its discoverer, then such a practice is (so far) correct; but (b.) if after only a describer or writer on it, then the termination should be a single i; but (c.) if the specific name is only given in compliment (as it very often is), it should be rendered in an adjective form, with the terminations, anus, -a, um.884

(4) Another remark I would also make under this head is,—on the great benefit to science arising from the giving of suitable generic and specific names.— I have said both generic and specific,—but perhaps it is more with the latter that we at present have to do. Nevertheless it is well worthy of notice, or rather of some study, to consider the thoughtful well-chosen generic names given by their early discoverers to many of our New Zealand plants. By way of example I will mention a few of them, and as they are usually compounded of two Greek words I will also give their meanings in English, for the benefit of the juvenile portion of my audience. And you will see, that their names are generally highly descriptive of the appearance, use, or property of the plant itself; much indeed after the common names at Home of many of our own British plants, derived from our forefathers.



Aciphylla = needle-pointed-leaf.

Astelia = without-stem-or-trunk: (as this plant is, perched, like the big nests of crows, high up on the branches of tall trees).

Alseuosmia = sweet-odour-of-forests: (from its fragrant flowers).

Brachyglottis = short-throat (flower).

Capodetus = ringed-fruit.

Coprosma = stinking-smell (which the whole plant has).

Caspedia = tassel-formed (flower).

Dicera = two-horned (from its anther).

Dichondra = two-grains (from its seeds).

Drimys = pungent, biting, to the taste; which this plant wholly is.

Geniostoma = woolly, or bearded, mouth (its flower within).

Leptospermum = slender-seed. [29]

Melicytus = honey-in-cavities (in its anthers.

Metrasideros = iron-heart (from its hard wood).

Microtis = little-ears (from shape of its many small flowers).

Phormium = the ancient name of a plant used in platting and weaving: our N.Z. Flax.

Rhipogonum = jointed-whip-lash (the Supplejack).

Thelymitra = hooded-lady (from its flower).

Sir J.E. Smith observes very truly,—“Nomenclature is no less essential a branch of methodical science than characteristic definitions; for, unless some fixed laws, or, in other words, good sense and perspicuity be attended to in this department, great confusion and uncertainty must ensue.” And again:—”Excellent Greek or Latin names are such as indicate some striking peculiarity in the genus; as Glycyrhiza, Amaranthus, Helianthus, Hemerocallis, &c;885 such as mark the botanical character of the genus, when they can be obtained for a nondescript plant, are peculiarly desirable.—–—The generic name being fixed, the specific one is next to be considered; these should be formed on similar principles to the generic ones.” (loc. cit., pp. 186-190.) Linnæus, also, lays down as a rule, that,—“Genuine specific distinctions constitute the perfection of natural science.” And when this is also further shown, either wholly or in part, in the appropriate specific name, much information is obtained at the first glance, and the gain is great indeed! Some of our New Zealand plants bear truly delightful specific names, so full of true meaning, given them by their original describers; as, Phormium tenax (tough-tying-up P.), Dichondra repens (creeping D.), Areca sapida (good-tasted A.), Urtica ferox (fierce-stinging U.), Aciphylla squarrosa (sticking-out-all-round A.), Cyathea medullaris (marrow-hearted C.), Cyathea dealbata (white, or silvery-leaved C.), Pteris esculenta (edible P.), Pteris scaberula (roughish P.), Asplenium bulbiferum (little-bulb-bearing A.), Myrtus bullata (blistered-leaf M.), Melicope ternata (three-lobed-leaf M.) Melicytus ramiflorus (branch-flower-bearing M.), Leptospermum scoparium (broom-like L.), Parietaria debilis (weak P.), Trichomanes reniforme (kidney-shaped T.), Hymenophyllum nitens (shining H.), Hymenophyllum dilatatum (broad-and-flat H.), &c. And here I may further observe, speaking from experience, that such genuinely descriptive names were of no small service to me, when in my novitiate in N Z. (nearly 50 years ago,) among a little known and new Flora, and with very few scientific books concerning them and those few written in Latin. Such highly suitable names are trebly pleasing, (if I may so speak,) to the working botanist, to the tyro, to the scholar, and to the outside general lover of Nature; and to all four pleasing alike,—as really communicating some knowledge of the plant through its name. [30]

Here I may be permitted to relate a keen observation bearing on this particular point which I once heard from the late Bishop of New Zealand, Dr. Selwyn, in 1845; the Bishop had been looking over my MS. list of the then known N.Z. plants, (which I had compiled out of the botanical works of several authors, with my own few additions,)—his object being to obtain the names of some of the more noted (timber trees especially) for his Church Almanac,—when his eye caught Phormium tenax, Urtica ferox, and Pteris esculenta. “Now this,” said the Bishop, reading those names,—“this is what I like to see; this is easily understood, and is serviceable; were such a rule as this more observed by Botanists, the science would escape the opprobrium of being termed ‘A dry List of Izard Names.’”

(5) I would yet offer a few remarks on what I cannot but consider another somewhat objectionable mode, which I fear is growing among us :—viz. the adopting of barbarous words for new genera and species; and, also, the too frequent giving of the proper names of persons to new species. Here, however, I would clearly state, in limine,—that it is the undoubted right of the describer of any new species to give it what name he may please; nevertheless, there are certain good old rules respecting this which have generally been adhered to by Botanists (masters in the Science), and which I cannot but think it would be well to bear in mind.—“Moribus antiquis stat Roma.”886

The old established scientific canons of Linnæus hold good here also:—Sir J.B. Smith, Dr. Lindley, Sir W. Hooker, and many others with them, our Botanical Masters and Fathers, have assiduously taught and upheld them. Linnæus says,—“Generic names that express the essential character or habit of a plant are the best of all.” (can. 28.) “Generic names derived from barbarous languages ought on no account to be admitted.” (can. 7.) “No generic names can be admitted, except such as are derived from either the Greek or Latin languages.” (can. 16.) But here, on these two canons, 7 and 16, Dr. Lindley remarks,—“That it is far better to convert the names by which plants are known in countries called barbarous, into, scientific generic names, by adding a Latin termination to them. The advantage of this practice to travellers is known to be very great, as it puts them in possession of a certain part of the language of the country in which the plants are found.”—And with him I fully agree; but then the barbarous (or, say, Maori) name so given to the plant, must be the real distinctive and well-known name of that particular plant. What I object to, is the using of any other barbarous name,—or the mis-spelling of the proper barbarous name, and so making it ludicrous or worse!887 or the using of the barbarous name of a class or-family,—for a genus or particular species.

And then the so frequently bestowing the proper name of any and every [31] person who may happen to stumble on, or obtain, or merely send, a plant or a shell, to some one of our many modern Botanists and Naturalists: almost every other new thing now-a-days is thus named! Of course it is an easy and a pleasing mode of business, both to the describer and to the finder; but it is scarcely the legitimate, or the wise, one. I have already, some five years ago, called your attention to the very different mode pursued by the early and real Botanists who visited New Zealand. They were skilled men, who had served their apprenticeship (so to speak) to the business, and they upheld the useful and scientific Linnæan canons in their integrity. Hundreds of new plants were named by the two Forsters (father and son), Banks, Cook, Solander, Sparmann and others, in this and in other lands during their long voyages of discovery, yet a very small number (less than 3 per cent.) bore in their specific names those of their finders, or their friends. Even the name of that devoted lover of Botany, Sydney Parkinson,—Sir Joseph Banks’ skilled botanical artist, who drew so many of their flowers and friuts, and that too so wonderfully well, and coloured from Nature,— his name was throughout omitted!888 and so was also the name of their scientific collaborator Dr. Sparmann.

Another of the Linnæan canons runs thus:—“Names ought not to be misapplied to gaining the goodwill or favour of saints, or persons celebrated in other Sciences; they are the only reward that the Botanist can expect, and are intended for him alone.” (can. 21.) And Sir J.E. Smith observes,—“In all ages it has been customary to dedicate certain plants to the honour of distinguished persons. The scientific botanists of modern times have adopted the same mode of preserving the memory of benefactors to their science; and though the honour may have been sometimes extended too far, that is no argument for its total abrogation.” And then referring to a genus which had been named Bonapartea, he says,—“this can possibly be admitted only in honour of the divorced Empress, and not of her former consort, who had no botanical pretensions.”889 (loc cit., p. 188.) But even beyond this the careless naming of species is now carried; hence so many new species of late years found in New Zealand, bear the strange and barbarous specific names of ——maori,——maoriana,——maoricum,——maoricus,—–maoriella,——maorinus,——maorinum,——maorium, &c., &c. And to these, I think, should be also added, the following,——dunedinensis,——rakaiensis,——temukensis,——hokitense, ——otagensis,——manitoto, &c. The late President of the Linnæan Society very truly and discreetly remarks (on this particular portion of my subject):— “Names which, express the local situations of different species are excellent, such as Melampyrum arvense, pratense, nemorosum, and sylvaticum, Carex arenaria, uliginosa and sylvatica,890 &c.,’ &c. [32] But names derived from particular countries or districts are liable to much exception, few plants being sufficiently local to justify their use. Thus Ligusticum (Physospermum, Brit. Fl.) Cornubiense is found, not only in Cornwall, but in Portugal, Italy, and Greece; Schwenkia Americana grows in Guinea as well as in South America. Such, therefore, though suffered to remain on the authority of Linnæus, will seldom or never be imitated by any judicious writer.” (loc. cit., p. 188.) Fortunately for us, until lately, we have had very few indeed of our endemic plants so named, (just a couple, Gnaphalium Keriense, and Isolepis Aucklandica,) though we also had the unfortunately-named Hymenophyllum Tunbridgense (which seems to be ubiquitous), Hypnum Sandwichense, and one or two others.

Not a few of those modern names so readily bestowed, serve painfully to remind me of what many of our Surveyors and Gold and Gum Diggers, and other pioneers in the forest and wild, have often accidentally done,—given trivial unmeaning ludicrous and uncouth names to halting stations and camping-places, little deeming that such would remain; which afterwards, however, became the common name of the place! to the disgust of those who followed and settled there. But in these cases, happily, such names, thoughtlessly given, both can be and are altered; this, however, can not be done in the naming of any plant or other natural species, and therefore more care should be taken by the describer in the naming it.

As I was one of those who, in the House of Representatives in 1861, spoke and gave my vote in support of a sum of money being granted for the compiling and printing of the “Hand-Book of the New Zealand Flora,” (at a time, too, when the Colony was both poor and at war,)—and as I also assisted the eminent author Sir J.D. Hooker in his arduous task of publishing it,—I may be permitted to observe,—that while its publication has been of service and done good to this young colony, it has (like all other good things) not been unmixed with evil; for through it some in New Zealand have set themselves up for Botanists!—–—And, as may readily be supposed, our Cryptogamic Flora in particular— the chief botanical glory of New Zealand!—has suffered the most in its nomenclature, and that in the pleasing Order of Ferns, those universal favourites! The other great natural Cryptogamic Orders—Musci, Hepaticæe, Lichenes, Fungi, and Algæ, have hitherto escaped; being, fortunately, far too difficult a study, and too unfruitful of pay! Some, no doubt, think it a very easy matter to name our N.Z. Ferns,—especially if provided with the “Hand-Book” and with Baker’s “Synopsis Filicum.” I have seen several collections of Ferns, made both N. and S. of us, and not a few prettily and fancifully got up for sale by professed Fern-collectors, (though too often composed of bits and scraps,) with printed labels, &c., &c., but I have never yet seen one such manufactured [33] collection correctly named throughout; even the very names of the Ferns are often mis-spelt on the printed labels!

It should not be forgotten, that the useful “Hand-Book” is only a kind of Clavis, or Key, to New Zealand plants then known, (1864,) and to larger botanical works in which they were more fully described. Sir J.D. Hooker warns his readers, and that frequently, against attempting great and new things, without at all events, much study of those larger works and microscopical research, and a careful comparison of species with species,—these of New Zealand with those of foreign countries. For my own part I have long firmly believed with Mr. John Smith, one of our best living Pteridologists, (who was for more than 40 years the Curator of the Garden Ferns at Kew under Sir W.J. Hooker,)— in the absolute necessity of examining and comparing the living Ferns themselves in their various stages of growth, and not merely dried herbarium specimens; which are too often mere scraps or portions of fronds, or, not infrequently, selected without judgement.

A remark of Mr. J. Smith’s bearing on this may be here properly adduced and usefully studied; he says, (in writing on the latest general work on Ferns, the “Synopsis Filicum” above mentioned,)—“As might be expected from a new writer on Ferns, many changes have been made in the nomenclature and synoyms, as given in the “Species Filicum,” (the immediately preceding and larger work by Sir W.J. Hooker,)—“and, judging from Mr. Baker’s view, it would appear that many plants originally described as species, which successive authors have acknowledged to be distinct, are, nevertheless, in many cases regarded as synonyms; thus Ferns long accepted by previous pteridologists cease to be so. When I say long accepted, I go upon the evidence of Link, Kunze, Schott, Mettenius, and myself, who have had for many years under their observation living examples of species all well recognised as being different from one another by some important characters seen only in the living state; but Mr. Baker, with herbarium specimens, makes no scruple of lumping many of such under one specific name. For instance, under Polypodium lycopodioides, there are no less than twenty-two synonyms, and under P. brasiliensis eighteen. These examples are additional proof of what has been already said of the confusion of the nomenclature of Ferns.—–—Notwithstanding, there can be no doubt but that the “Species Filicum” and “Synopsis” are highly valuable to students of Ferns, possessing herbaria or cultivated collections, as also to travellers abroad.”— Historia Filicum, by J. Smith, 1875; pp. 58, 59.

In conclusion, I cannot do better than once more to quote from that great and good English Botanist—the Father of English Botany—Sir J.E. Smith:—

—“We are no longer in the infancy of Science, in which its utility, not having been proved, might be doubted, nor is it for this that I contend. I have [34] often alluded to its benefits as a mental exercise, nor can any study exceed in raising curiosity, gratifying a taste for beauty and ingenuity of contrivance, or sharpening the powers of discrimination. What then can be better adapted for young persons? The chief use of a great part of our education is no other than what I have just mentioned. The languages and the mathematics, however valuable in themselves when acquired, are even more so as they train the youthful mind to thought and observation.”

“To those whose minds and understandings are already formed, this study may be recommended, independently of all other considerations, as a rich source of innocent pleasure. Some people are ever inquiring “what is the use” of any particular plant, by which they mean “what food or physic, or what materials for the painter or dyer does it afford?” They look on a beautiful flowery meadow with admiration, only in proportion as it affords nauseous drugs or salves. Others consider a botanist with respect only as he may be able to teach them profitable improvement in tanning, or dyeing, by which they may quickly grow rich, and be then perhaps no longer of any use to mankind or themselves. They would permit their children to study Botany, only because it might possibly lead to professorships, or other lucrative preferment.”

“These views are not blameable, but they are not the sole end of human existence. Is it not desirable to call the soul from the feverish agitation of worldly pursuits, to the contemplation of Divine Wisdom in the beautiful economy of Nature? Is it not a privilege to walk with God in the garden of Creation, and hold converse with his Providence? If such elevated feelings do not lead to the study of Nature, it cannot far be pursued without rewarding the student by exciting them.”

Rousseau, a great judge of the human heart and observer of human manners, has remarked, that “when science is transplanted from the mountains and woods into cities and worldly society, it loses its genuine charms, and becomes a source of envy, jealousy and rivalship.” This is still more true if it be cultivated as a mere source of emolument. But the man who loves botany for its own sake knows no such feelings, nor is he dependent for happiness on situations or scenes that favour their growth. He would find himself neither solitary nor desolate, had he no other companion than a “mountain daisy,” that “modest crimson-tipped flower,” so sweetly sung by one of Nature’s own poets. The humblest weed or moss will ever afford him something to examine or to illustrate, and a great deal to admire. Introduce him to the magnificence of a tropical forest, the enamelled meadows of the Alps, or the wonders of New Holland, and his thoughts will not dwell much upon riches or literary honours, things that

“Play round the head, but come not near the heart.”—[35]

I have made this long and pleasing extract from the talented and loving Author’s preface to the 6th edition of his “Introduction to Botany,” published nearly 60 years back, (which was also, subsequently, after his decease, republished with very high approval by the late Sir W.J. Hooker,)—and I have done so for two chief reasons:—(1) for the benefit of those who may hear (or read.) this paper, particularly the rising generation:—(2) to show the men of the closing half of this restless never-contented money-hungering century, what a great and good Englishman (not a cleric) once thought and wrote of common earthly riches! [36]


_____________________________________________



Yüklə 5,71 Mb.

Dostları ilə paylaş:
1   ...   93   94   95   96   97   98   99   100   ...   127




Verilənlər bazası müəlliflik hüququ ilə müdafiə olunur ©azkurs.org 2020
rəhbərliyinə müraciət

    Ana səhifə