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BY JOHN WARE, M.D.
ON THE PLAN, AND RETAINING PORTIONS, OF THE WORK OF
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1880, by
JOHN WARE, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts
The origin and purpose of the work upon which the present one is founded are explained in the following extracts from the Preface of its author.
“ About fifteen years ago, in a conversation with the late worthy, respectable, and ingenious Lord Kames, upon the too general neglect of natural knowledge, his Lordship suggested the idea of composing a book on the PHILOSOPHY OF NATURAL HISTORY. In a work of this kind, he proposed that the productions of Nature, which to us are almost infinite, should, instead of being treated of individually, be arranged under general heads; that, in each of these divisions, the known facts, as well as reasonings, should be collected and methodized in the form of regular discourses; that as few technical terms as possible should be employed; and that all useful and amusing views arising from the different subjects should be exhibited in such a manner as to convey both pleasure and information.
« This task his Lordship was pleased to think me not altogether unqualified to attempt. The idea struck me. I thought that a work of this kind, if executed even with moderate abilities, might excite a taste for examining the various objects which everywhere solicit our attention. A habit of observation refines our feelings. It is a source of interesting amusement, prevents idle or vicious propensities, and exalts the mind to a love of virtue and of rational entertainment. I likewise reflected, that men of learning often betray an ignorance, on the most common subjects of Natural History, which it is painful to remark.”