Page:A memoir of Lewis David von Schweinitz.djvu/34

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LEWIS D. VON SCHWEINITZ.

have, with becoming spirit, discarded the too frequent practice of writers in changing the names of plants, and adopting new synonyms, merely, as would often appear, to compel future naturalists to cite their own names in connexion with the trivial specific appellations which they choose to affix to well known objects. This course they avoided under the conviction that natural history had received, and was daily receiving, great detriment from the accumulation and confusion of these synonyms.

They have, moreover, assiduously avoided superfluous repetitions of the names of classes, orders, genera, and species, and given a true synopsis of the department which they professed to treat. They have followed the steps of Persoon, sensible that though his method may be in some points defective, it is better not to depart from so able a guide; for, they remark, "it is well known how much easier it is to find fault with our neighbour's house than to build a better and more commodious one ourselves." "A solid basis to this department of botanical science," they add, "must be laid, not on a sandy foundation, on the varying freaks and fancies of the mind, but on a perpetual daily and nightly employment of microscopic observation, a diligent and. oft repeated examination of the whole history of the fungous tribes, a careful perusal of authors, a comparison of their respective synonyms, and above all, by the observation of living nature herself, as she unfolds her rich abundance in the recesses of forests, lawns and marshes; an observation which must be continued from day to day, and