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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/117

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SKETCH OF LAMARCK.

Lamarck entered the Academy of Sciences. Buffon, who wished his son to travel, gave him Lamarck as a conductor, with a commission from the government. They journeyed through Holland, Germany, and Hungary, and Lamarck became acquainted with Gleditsch in Berlin, Jaquin in Vienna, and Murray in Göttingen.

The "Encyclopédic methodique," begun by d'Alembert and Diderot, was not yet finished. Lamarck composed four volumes of this work, and in them described all the then known plants the names of which begin with the letters from A to P—a huge work, which was completed by Poiret, and included twelve volumes, appearing between 1783 and 1817. A still more important work, which also forms a part of the "Encyclopædia," and is continually quoted by botanists, is entitled "Illustration des genres" ("Illustration of Genera"), in which Lamarck described the characteristics of two thousand species. The work, says the title-page, is illustrated with nine hundred copper-plate engravings. Only a botanist can form a conception of the researches in herbaria, gardens, and books, which such an undertaking demanded. Lamarck accomplished it all by means of the most restless industry. If a traveler came to Paris, he was the first one to announce himself to him. Sonnerat returned from India with immense collections. Nobody but Lamarck took the trouble to look at them, and Sonnerat was so pleased with him for this that he presented the splendid herbarium to him. In spite of his indefatigable labors, Lamarck's situation was miserable enough. He lived by his pen, and in the service of the book-sellers. Even the petty position of overseer of the Royal Herbarium was refused him. Like the majority of naturalists, he contended for many years with the difficulties of life. A fortunate circumstance, which gave his activity another direction, brought improvement in his condition. The convent ruled over France. Carnot organized victory. Lamarck undertook to organize the sciences. The Museum of Natural History was founded upon his motion. They had been able to name professors for all the branches except zoölogy; but, in those times of ardent enthusiasm, France found warriors and men of science wherever it needed them. Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire was twenty-one years old, and was engaged with Haity in mineralogy. Daubenton said to him: "I take the responsibility for your inexperience upon myself; I have the authority of a father over you. Be so bold as to assume the chair of zoölogy, and it may be said some day that you have made a French science of it." Geoffroy acceded, and undertook the higher animals. Lakanal had well comprehended that a single professor would not be adequate to the task of working out the whole animal kingdom. Since the classification of the vertebrates only was taken care of by Saint-Hilaire, the whole list of invertebrates, including the insects, mollusks, worms, zoophytes, etc., still remained in chaos—in the unknown. Lamarck, says Michelet, undertook the unknown. He had busied himself a little, under Bruguières's