Page:Paradisus Londinensis 1(2).djvu/3

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PREFACE.





The present taste for Botany, so general among all ranks, and the great encouragement given to works of merit in that fascinating science, first emboldened the Publisher of the present undertaking to solicit assistance from several distinguished Collectors of Plants in the vicinity of the Metropolis. Having been at length enabled by their liberality to bring forward, among the rest of his brethren, some of the efforts of his pencil, it would be dastardly in him not to own that his hopes of success overbalance his fears; it now only remains with the Public at large to appreciate his labours, and become his best patrons. Anxious however for fame, rather than inordinate profit, he will be content with very small interest for the sums advanced; and the descriptions of his figures will be corrected, or often wholly drawn up, by a Botanist more learned than himself. It may not be improper to add a few words respecting that department of the work.

In all similar publications which have hitherto appeared, not even excepting the most respectable, a considerable portion of each page has been filled with useless repetitions of the classes, orders and generic characters of the sexual system. No one who pretends to the least knowledge of the science is without the Genera Plantarum of Linne, nor any one who is solicitous to gain deeper information, without that of Jussieu. The transcendant merit of the last author, however, having yet never been detailed among us, the natural order to which he refers each genus here figured will always be inserted preceding its character; this will be only given with the first species, making such alterations, or remarks, as the investigation of it suggests. Botany, like all other sciences, has lately made a rapid progress in improvement, and in no branch so conspicuously as that which relates to the affinities of genera; more might be said on this head, if it were not already anticipated in a short but more energetic paragraph of the Edinburgh Review. With regard to the Plants themselves, such only as are new, uncommonly beautiful, or incompletely figured by others, will be selected; and of these the harvest is abundant.