Page:Jardine Naturalist's library Entomology.djvu/24
18 MEMOIR OF SWAMMERDAM.
knowledge on these subjects; and, in particular, he is entitled to he regarded as the founder of the science of entomological anatomy. With a few bright exceptions—such as Goedart, Malpighi, and Redi—the cultivators of this department of natural history, before his time, contented themselves with repeating what had been said by the ancients, without being at all solicitous either to prove its accuracy, or extend it by the addition of new facts. With him observation began to supersede erudition; and the truth, which appears to have been so long almost unsuspected, that there were other and better sources of information, on natural objects, than the pages of Aristotle, or the ponderous compilations of the sixteenth century, was at length fully recognised and acted upon. The desire of prosecuting researches into insect organisation, became, with Swammerdam, an almost incontrollable passion. Professional views were sacrificed to it ; his father's displeasure, expressed in no gentle terms, was incurred on account of it ; and even when his health had completely given way, in consequence of incessant study and unremitting anxiety, we find him expressing his desire that he had but a year of uninterrupted light, that he might be enabled to complete his inquiries! Such assiduity, skilfully directed, could not fail to insure important results ; and that such was their character, will appear when they come to be specially indicated. His grandfather, James Theodore, was born at Swammerdam, a village on the Rhine, between Leyden and Woerden. Removing thence to Amster-