Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/707

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691
SKETCH OF THOMAS SAY.

Whilst sitting in the large earth-covered dwelling of the principal chief, in presence of several hundred of his people, assembled to view the arms, equipments, and appearance of our party, I enjoyed the additional gratification to see an individual of this fine species of Blaps running toward us from the feet of the crowd. The act of impaling this unlucky fugitive at once conferred upon me the respectful and mystic title of 'medicine-man' from the superstitious faith of that simple people."

Say's two principal works, published separately, were his "American Entomology" in three volumes (Philadelphia, 1824-1828), with fifty-four colored plates; and his "American Conchology," of which only six parts appeared previous to his death. The work on entomology was a credit to himself and to the printer, while almost the only merit possessed by the latter work was the fine plates from the pencil of Mrs. Say. Mr. Say's other published papers will be found in the "Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia," "Transactions of the American Philosophical Society," "Maclurean Lyceum," "Nicholson's Encyclopædia," "American Journal of Science and Art," "Western Quarterly Reporter," reports of Long's expeditions, and several papers which were published separately at New Harmony. His entomological papers have been collected and reprinted, with annotations, by Dr. J. L. Le Conte, in two octavo volumes (New York, 1869).

Besides the work which appears in connection with his own name, almost all of the publications of Prince Charles Lucien Bonaparte, while in America, were corrected and arranged for the press by Say. This and other work made such calls upon his time that almost all of his own work was the product of the midnight hours; and this, in connection with his wicked disregard of the demands of his stomach, so undermined his constitution that, when attacked by a fever in his Western home, he had not the strength to rally, and on October 10, 1834, he passed away.

According to the testimony of all who knew him, Mr. Say was a most pleasant and agreeable companion, a thorough student, and a man of the most unpretentious manner. Always ready to assist a friend, his stores of knowledge were freely opened to those who asked, and information was cheerfully granted to all inquirers.