Page:Audubon and His Journals.djvu/99

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65
AUDUBON

Though somewhat discouraged at finding that no less than three editions of Alexander Wilson's "American Ornithology" were about to be published, Audubon went bravely on. My grandmother wrote to her sons: "Nothing is heard, but the steady movement of the pen; your father is up and at work before dawn, and writes without ceasing all day. Mr. MacGillivray breakfasts at nine each morning, attends the Museum four days in the week, has several works on hand besides ours, and is moreover engaged as a lecturer in a new seminary on botany and natural history. His own work[1] progresses slowly, but surely, for he writes until far into the night."

The first volume of "Ornithological Biography" was finished, but no publisher could be found to take it, so Audubon published it himself in March, 1831.[2] During this winter an agreement had been made with Mr. J. B. Kidd to copy some of the birds, put in backgrounds, sell them, and divide the proceeds. Eight were finished and sold immediately, and the agreement continued till May, 1, 1831, when Audubon was so annoyed by Mr. Kidd's lack of industry that the copying was discontinued. Personally, I have no doubt that many of the paintings which are said to be by Audubon are these copies. They are all on mill-board, a material, however, which grandfather

  1. Descriptions of the Rapacious Birds of Great Britain. By William MacGillivray, A. M., Edinburgh, 1836, 1 vol. small 8vo. This valuable treatise is dedicated "To John James Audubon, in admiration of his talents as an ornithologist, and in gratitude for many acts of friendship." Mr. MacGillivray also had then in preparation or contemplation his larger "History of British Birds," 3 volumes of which appeared in 1837-40, but the 4th and 5th volumes not till 1852.—E. C.
  2. The completed volume bears date of MDCCCXXXI. on the titlepage and the publisher's imprint of "Adam Black, 55, North Bridge, Edinburgh." The collation is pp. i-xxiv, 1-512, + 15 pp. of Prospectus, etc. This is the text to plates I.-C. (1-100) of the elephant folios. Other copies are said to bear the imprint of "Philadelphia, E. L. Carey and A. Hart, MDCCCXXXI."—E.G.
    Audubon wrote to Dr. Richard Harlan on March 13, 1831, "I have sent a copy of the first volume to you to-day."