Page:A memoir of Lewis David von Schweinitz.djvu/35

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26
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF

from year to year, if we would reap the true reward of our labours."

At the period when Schweinitz and Albertini wrote, there had been recently broached, in some of the German journals, particularly Voight's Magazine, certain monstrous hypotheses, concerning the very nature of the fungi, and "which one could scarcely credit his senses in perusing;"—hypotheses which ascribed the existence of several species of these plants to mutations of form, and to a diseased condition of one and the same species of Zoophyte; alleging that the Tubulina fragiforma was nothing more than the progeny of the Phallus impudieus, which, growing old, at length became metamorphosed into the Lichen paschalis; thus, in the mere wantonness of authorship, confounding, with one scrawl of the pen, two great classes of the vegetable world, and blending both into the animal kingdom. This was to make vegetable life, indeed, Protean. The like undiscriminating heedlessness had ted the writer to assure his readers that a fungus discovered by Hoffman, in the Trichoderma roseum, furnished with curious and delicate little filaments, was nothing more than a zoophyte, with six arms. Against these, and many similar heresies and hallucinations, the authors do not fail to caution their readers.

This work waa prepared under several disadvantages. The German writers on cryptogamia had, it is true, been, found of great service in determining nice and difficult questions, and to them Albertini and Schweinitz repeatedly acknowledged their obligations; but they