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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/261

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255
GEORGE MARCGRAVE

writer in Manget is very explicit, so much so that it seems well to quote him in full:

Samuel Kechelius, a distinguished astronomer who has taught for many years at Leyden and who was formerly a messmate of Marcgrave's, has told me of letters sent to him from Marcgrave in Brazil in which the latter announced that he had packed up all his possessions and awaited a favorable wind that by the grace of God he might return to his native land with the renowned Prince (Maurice). But in spite of his determination, and unexpectedly, so Kechelius narrates (and the same others report also), he was sent to Angola in Africa to what purpose he was ignorant, and as soon as he came thither he died.

So died and went to his grave at the age of thirty-four, at the zenith of his activities and reputation, George Marcgrave, who, had he lived but a few years longer to have put into shape his Brazilian collections and observations, would certainly have raised himself to the rank of the first natural historian of his time, and possibly that of greatest since Aristotle.[1]

The scientific fruits of this expedition to Brazil of Count Maurice, of Piso, and especially of Marcgrave, are of four kinds: (1) the astronomical and mathematical MSS. of Marcgrave; (2) the extensive natural history collections; (3) the MSS. of Marcgrave and Piso dealing with the natural history and medicinal matters of Brazil; and (4) the two sets of figures of Brazilian plants and animals, the one in oil and the other in water colors, which will later be referred to.

With reference to the natural history collections which Count Maurice brought back from Brazil, Lichtenstein tells us that in addition to the material amassed by Marcgrave in his explorations, the Count sent expeditions east to Africa and west as far as the Pacific (note Maregrave's paper on the Chileans, with the figure of the llama, referred to later), and that these brought back many natural history objects. To care for these specimens, the Count converted Freiburg into a museum, and its grounds into a botanical-zoological park. (Van Kampen.)

When at length this illustrious patron of the natural sciences determined to return to Holland, he stripped Freiburg and its grounds of their treasures, and so voluminous were these ("the richest ever brought to Europe in one vessel") that Lichtenstein affirms that Count Maurice supplied his own museum, those of two universities (Leyden being one) and those of many private individuals (Martius notes Seba's

  1. It is a source of no small regret to the present writer that he is unable to give in connection with this sketch a portrait of Marcgrave. In none of the works listed in the bibliography at the end of this article is there such a portrait or reference to any. Mr. Lydenberg has kindly gone through the extensive list of portraits belonging to the New York Public Library, and has also searched several other lists (one containing the portraits of 30,000 Germans) without finding any. It seems probable that there is no portrait of Marcgrave extant.