« PreviousContinue »
“We proceed here by the Inductive Process, taking nothing on trust, nothing for granted, but reasoning upwards from the meanest fact established, and making every step sure before going one beyond it—like the Engineer in his anproaches to a fortress. We thus gain, ultimately, a roadway; a ladder, by which even a Child may, almost without knowing it, ascend to the summit of Truth, and oitain that immensely wide and extensive view which is spread bincath the feet of the astonished beholder.”—The Prince Consort's Address to the British Association, 1859.
“I hail with thankfulness every fresh book on Natural History as a fresh 1.oon to the young. Books of Natural History are finding their way more and more into drawing-rooms and schoolrooms, and creating greater thirst for knowledge.”-REV. CHARLES KINGSLEY,
Robert Kont Pau
ILLUSTRATING THE NATURAL HISTORY OF MAN
AND THE LOWER ANIMALS
BY THE AUTHOR OF
ENQUIRE WITHIN UPON EVERYTHING
ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY ILLUSTRATIONS
65, PATERNOSTER ROW
[411 Rights of Translation Reserved.]
The present volume of The Reason Why is calculated to give not merely an increased interest, but a new application, to the science of Natural History. The old system of study comprehended merely a description of the external form, geographical habitation, and distinguishing habits, of individual species. The interest of the subject mainly rested upon anecdotes of animal sagacity or ferocity, and the perils of adventure into the wilds of nature. Few writers had ventured to inquire into reasons for the peculiarities of animal forms, or to seek Creative Design in their wonderful diversity, and mutual relations.
In order to bring together the large number of reasons now presented to the reader, the Author has had to wade through numerous volumes, in many cases with a barren result. The works that have been found productive are enumerated in the accompanying list of authorities. Among those therein-mentioned, PALEY'S NATURAL THEOLOGY, DERHAM's PhysICO-THEOLOGY, and PARTINGTON'S CYCLOPÆDIA, merit the most marked and grateful acknowledgment.
It must not, however, be supposed that The Reason Why of Natural History is a mere compilation. The Author has from boyhood been a close observer of the habits of animals, and both upon sea and land he has delighted to endeavour to interpret Nature's works. Hence the conception of the plan of this volume, and the diversity-perhaps boldness of the questions asked.
The Author is indebted to the Managers of the Royal ZooLOGICAL SOCIETY, London, for privileged opportunities of studying the structure and habits of animals, so far as the latter could be ascertained in a state of confinement. With reference to such animals as were not to be found living in the gardens of the Zoological Society, the Author has availed himself of the excellent collection in the British Museum. To these collections, or to such others as may exist in the provinces of England, or in the United States, where this volume will circulate, the Author refers those