Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine,  1 (1817), 569–72.

Remarks on the Study of Some Branches of Natural History

P F, Edinburgh, pseud.  [Patrick F Tytler] *




Natural History, Entomology, Taxonomy, Biogeography, Naturalists, Zoology, Comparative Anatomy, Philosophy

Publications cited:

Kirby and Spence 1815–26, Fothergill 1813

    Comments: 'That systematic arrangement is necessary in natural history, as in all other branches of human knowledge, is a fact too obvious to stand in need of illustration, and is perhaps sufficiently proved by the circumstance of Buffon—one of the most accomplished men, and the most brilliant writer whom natural history has enlisted beneath her banners—having failed to induce the prevalence of a contrary opinion, notwithstanding every effort of his powerful genius. The want of fixed and determinate principles in the arrangement of Buffon, was indeed "the very head and front of his offending" and it is well for science that his example has not been followed'. Observes: 'I would not hesitate to say, that it would be far more advisable that naturalists should follow the loose and desultory method of Buffon, and others of his school, than by an entire subjection and devotion to all the minutiæ of systematic detail, to neglect whatever is great and beautiful in the science, and thereby forfeit all claim to the praises of mankind, as agents in the extension of the most admirable species of human knowledge'. (569)

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