Page:Jardine Naturalist's library Bees.djvu/22

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himself in good earnest to investigate the nature of his winged favourites, external nature presented to his eyes one universal blank;

"So thick a drop serene had quenched their orbs."

It is not, therefore, without reason that his friend and eulogist De Candolle[1] asserts that "nothing of any importance has been added to the history of bees since his time; and naturalists of unimpaired vision have nothing of consequence to subjoin to the observations of a brother who was deprived of sight."

Francis Huber was born at Geneva on the 2d July, 1750. His father possessed a decided taste for subjects of natural science; the son inherited the taste of his father; and, even in his boyish days, pursued his favourite studies with such intense ardour as materially to injure his health, and bring on that weakness in his visual organs which eventually ended in total blindness. His attention had been led to what became his favourite,—indeed his sole and engrossing study, the habits and economy of the Honey-Bee, by his admiration of the writings of Reaumur, and above all, by his acquaintance with Bonnet,—the illustrious author of "Contemplation de la Nature," who quickly discerned the intelligence and penetration of his young friend, and who kindly and strongly encouraged him in his peculiar researches. It is singular enough that these two distinguished naturalists and friends

  1. See Memoir of Huber by M. de Candolle in the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal for April 1833.