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Page:Curtis's Botanical Magazine, Volume 73 (1847).djvu/14

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ley's excellent description was the means of directing their attention to those specimens especially which had been sent to Paris by M. D'Orbigny from Corrientes. In the 13th volume of the Annales des Sciences Naturelles (1840), M. Guillemin has published his 'Observations sur les Genres Eruryale et Victoria,' but he throws no new light whatever upon the subject; nor could it be expected, from the condition of the specimens in the Museum of Paris. Nor would he probably have criticised the view taken of the genus by Dr. Lindley as he has done, had he been acquainted with the article on Victoria regia, above quoted, in the miscellaneous matter of the Botanical Register, vol.24. p.9. This notice by M. Guillemin is, however, followed in the same volume by a more interesting but popular account of Victoria, by M. A. D'Orbigny, who claims to himself the priority of discovery; while, strangely enough, he alludes at the same time to Haenke (who travelled about 1801), and then to Bonpland, as the first persons to meet with this splendid aquatic. Our readers will be glad to peruse his own words, which we here give, translated from the 'Annales', only omitting a little expression of vexation that a botanist belonging to another country should have the privilege of first laying a scientific description of this gorgeous plant before the world.

"If there exist in the Animal Kingdom creatures, whose size, compared with our own, commands admiration by their enormous stature; if we also gaze with wonder on the giants of the Vegetable Kingdom, we may well take especial pleasure in surveying any peculiarly wonderful species of those genera of plants which are already known to us only in more moderate dimensions. I shall endeavour to express not only my own feelings, but those of M.M. Bonpland and Haenke, for we were all alike struck with profound emotion, on beholding the two species of Victoria which form the subject of this note.

"For eight months I had been investigating, in all directions, the province of Corrientes, when, early in 1827, descending the river Parana, in a frail Pirogue, I arrived at a part of this majestic stream, where, though more than 900 miles distant from its junction with the Rio Plata, its breadth yet nearly attained a league. The surrounding scenery was in keeping with this splendid river; all was on a grand and imposing scale, and being myself only accompanied by two Guarani Indians, I silently contemplated the wild and lovely view around me; and I must confess that, amid all this watery waste, I longed for some vegetation on which my eye might rest; and longed in vain!

"Ere long, reaching a place called the Arroyo de San Josè, I