Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/272

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

distinction and was named an officer on the field, for especially gallant conduct at the battle of Fissinghausen in Westphalia. He soon became a lieutenant but an injury inflicted by a brother officer at play obliged him to retire to Paris for surgical aid and to leave the army. He attempted to study medicine, served as clerk in a bank and made himself acquainted with botany to which finally he gave his whole attention under Bernard de Jussieu for some ten years, when he published his 'Flore Française' which gave him at once a national reputation. Through the influence of Buffon he obtained a post in the Academy of Sciences, and, as companion to Buffon's son, traveled on the continent in Germany, Hungary and Holland, visiting museums and making botanical collections. After his return Buffon's successor appointed him keeper of the herbarium in the Royal Botanical Garden with a stipend of 1,000 francs, which was later raised to 1,800 francs. Tn 1793 the establishment was reorganized as the Museum of Natural History and in the midst of the revolution, under the new conditions the botanist Lamarck was appointed to a professorship of zoology, in charge of the collection of invertebrate animals, the other zoological professorship, involving the care of the vertebrate collections being assigned to Etienne Geoffroy St. Hilaire, a devoted friend of Lamarck and like him an evolutionist. Lamarck, now fifty years old, married a second time, with six children, received a suite of rooms in the Maison de Buffon attached to the garden, and a salary of 2,868 livres. Here he remained, lectured and worked, until blindness overtook him about 1821, when the last volume of the Animaux sans Vertébres prepared from his dictation by his devoted daughter, Cornélie, was presented to the assembly of professors attached to the establishment. He died in the Maison de Buffon, December 28, 1829, and was buried in a temporary grave in the cemetery of Mont Parnasse. His bones, mingled with those of a thousand others, lie somewhere in the catacombs of Paris. To the adversities suffered in life was added the delegation by the academy of the preparation of his memorial éloge to Cuvier, his most determined opponent in the ranks of the 'creationists.' While destitute of low malice this memoir, conceived in a spirit of contempt for Lamarck's philosophical theories, has done much to obscure his merits and place him in a false light before posterity. That the present volume may vindicate his reputation and lead to a more impartial estimate of the work of this truly great naturalist and admirable man, may confidently be predicted; as even those who differ from Lamarck's conception of environmental and dynamic factors in evolution must feel obliged to recognize much in other phases of his philosophy which now forms the common property of science, but which Lamarck was among the first to advance and which he maintained steadily, in spite of ridicule and incredulity, to the end of his days.