Page:History of botany (Sachs; Garnsey).djvu/12

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THE AUTHOR'S PREFACE

To the English translation of the History of Botany of
Julius von Sachs.


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I am gratefully sensible of the honourable distinction implied in the determination of the Delegates of the Clarendon Press to have my History of Botany translated into the world-wide language of the British Empire. Fourteen years have elapsed since the first appearance of the work in Germany, from fifteen to eighteen years since it was composed,—a period of time usually long enough in our age of rapid progress for a scientific work to become obsolete. But if the preparation of an English translation shows that competent judges do not regard the book as obsolete, I should be inclined to refer this to two causes. First of all, no other work of a similar kind has appeared, as far as I know, since 1875, so that mine may still be considered to be, in spite of its age, the latest history of Botany; secondly, it has been my endeavour to ascertain the historical facts by careful and critical study of the older botanical literature in the original works, at the cost indeed of some years of working-power and of considerable detriment to my health, and facts never lose their value,—a truth which England especially has always recognised.

But the present work is not a simple enumeration of the