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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/267

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261
GEORGE MARCGRAVE

lustrations; Book III. deals with trees, 104 being described and 75 figured; Book IV. treats of fishes and crustaceans, both fresh-water and marine, 105 of the former being described and 86 figured, the numbers for the latter being 26 and 19, respectively, and in addition one starfish is both described and delineated; Book V. contains descriptions of 115 birds, 54 of these being shown in figures; Book VI. deals with quadrupeds and contains descriptions of 46 and figures of 26, together with 19 reptiles, of which 7 are figured; Book VII. is devoted to insects, 55 being described and 29 figured; Book VIII., the last, has to do with the country, its aborigines and present inhabitants and has 5 illustrations. The Appendix treats of the inhabitants of Chile and contains two figures, one being probably the earliest known drawing of the llama.

Finally in these eight books are 429 figures for the most part accurately drawn by the author himself. (Statement at foot of table of contents.)

Disregarding Book VIII. and the appendix with their seven figures we find that 301 plants are described and 200 figured. Of animals 367 are described and 222 figured. Of these 668 forms practically all were new to science and the 422 figured had probably never been drawn before.

Despite the fact that Marc-grave knew nothing of the subtleties of classification based on the structure and position of stamens and pistils in flowers, and on the count of fin-rays and lateral line scales in fishes, nevertheless his work in Brazil was an epoch-making one. In bringing to the notice of the scientists of Europe the wonders of Brazil, Marcgrave was the worthy predecessor of the Prince of Neuwied and of Spix and Martius. His history of the natural things of Brazil is probably the most important work on natural history after the revival of learning, and, until the explorations of the Prince of Neuwied were made known, certainly the most important work on Brazil.

But, in giving praise to whom praise is due, Count Maurice should not be overlooked, for it is certain that he alone made it possible for Marcgrave to do all this magnificent work. Van Kampen compares Count Maurice to Napoleon, who on his expedition to Egypt carried a numerous band of savants with him. Piso, however, likens him to Alexander, in which comparison Marcgrave and not himself must take the place of Aristotle. All honor to Count Maurice!

However, it is not the intention of the present writer to go into any extended analysis of the natural-history work of Marcgrave. This has long ago been done and most ably for a large part of the animals by Lichtenstein (1814-15, 1816-17) and for the plants by von Martius (1853-55). It is in the book on fishes that the present writer is most interested, and it does not seem out of place to quote the estimates of some of the great ichthyologists.

Cuvier and Valenciennes (1828) say:

George Marcgrave. . . the most learned, the most exact, and above all the