Page:History of botany (Sachs; Garnsey).djvu/163

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Chap. III.]
the Dogma of Constancy of Species.

The peculiar character of the natural system as compared with every artificial arrangement is brought out into higher relief by Robert Brown than by Jussieu and De Candolle, and he succeeded better than any of his predecessors in separating purely morphological and systematically valuable relations of organisation from the physiological adaptations of organs. While the majority of systematists surrendered themselves to the guidance of a blind feeling in the discovery of affinities, their correct determinations being the accidental result of instinct and unconscious operations of the understanding, Brown endeavoured to give an account to himself in every case of the reasons why he took this or that view of the relationships which he determined; from what was already established and indubitable he gathered the value of certain marks, in order to obtain rules for the determination of unknown relationships. In this way he discovered also, that marks, which are of great value for classification within the limits of certain groups of affinity, may possibly prove to be valueless in other divisions. Thus Robert Brown in his numerous monographs supplied the model, by which others might be guided in further applying and completing the method of the natural system; and in this respect he was met by the botanists of Germany in the spirit of the best good-will and most profound appreciation, as is shown by the fact that a collection of his botanical works, translated by different German botanists, was edited in five volumes by Nees von Esenbeck as early as the period between 1825 and 1834. The natural system established itself in Germany through the labours of Brown and De Candolle; and the more correct appreciation of it as compared with the sexual system of Linnaeus was promoted by a work of Carl Fuhlrott which appeared in 1829, in which the systems of Jussieu and De Candolle are compared with those of Agardh, Batsch, and Linnaeus, and the superiority of the natural system is clearly set forth. A still greater effect in this direction was produced by the appearance in 1830 of the 'Ordines naturales