Page:Ornithological biography, or an account of the habits of the birds of the United States of America, volume 1.djvu/15

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xi
INTRODUCTORY ADDRESS.

I called on him, and showed him some of my drawings. He presented me to the celebrated Charles Lucian Bonaparte, who in his turn introduced me to the Natural History Society of Philadelphia. But the patronage which I so much needed, I soon found myself compelled to seek elsewhere. I left Philadelphia, and visited New York, where I was received with a kindness well suited to elevate my depressed spirits; and afterwards, ascending that noble stream the Hudson, glided over our broad lakes, to seek the wildest solitudes of the pathless and gloomy forests.

It was in these forests that, for the first time, I communed with myself as to the possible event of my visiting Europe again; and I began to fancy my work under the multiplying efforts of the graver. Happy days, and nights of pleasing dreams! I read over the catalogue of my collection, and thought how it might be possible for an unconnected and unaided individual like myself to accomplish the grand scheme. Chance, and chance alone, had divided my drawings into three different classes, depending upon the magnitude of the objects which they represented; and, although I did not at that time possess all the specimens necessary, I arranged them as well as I could into parcels of five plates, each of which now forms a Number of my Illustrations. I improved the whole as much as was in my power; and as I daily retired farther from the haunts of man, determined to leave nothing undone, which my labour, my time, or my purse, could accomplish.

Eighteen months elapsed. I returned to my family, then in Louisiana, explored every portion of the vast woods around, and at last sailed towards the Old World. But before we visit the shores of hospitable England, I have the wish, good-natured