Page:Ornithological biography, or an account of the habits of the birds of the United States of America, volume 1.djvu/21

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xvii
INTRODUCTORY ADDRESS.

of the size which nature has given to them. As one of the first ornithologists of the age, who kindly reviewed a few numbers of the Plates, has spoken upon this subject in a manner which I cannot here use, I refer you to his observations. The name of Swainson is, doubtless, well known to you. Permit me also to lead you, for a defence of my resolution in this matter, to one, who, being the centre of zoological science, is well entitled to your deference in a question relating to Ornithology. You will readily apprehend that I allude to the great, the immortal Cuvier.

Secondly, As to the time necessary for finishing my Work, I have only to observe, that it will be less than the period frequently given by many persons to the maturation of certain wines placed in their cellars, several years previous to the commencement of my work, and which will not be considered capable of imparting their full relish until many years after the conclusion of the "Birds of America."

Since I became acquainted with Mr Alexander Wilson, the celebrated author of the well-known and duly appreciated work on American Birds, and subsequently with my excellent friend Charles Lucian Bonaparte, I have been aware of the keenness with which every student of Natural History presses forward to describe an object of his own discovery, or that may have occurred to travellers in distant countries. There seems to be a pride, a glory in doing this, that thrusts aside every other consideration; and I really believe that the ties of friendship itself would not prevent some naturalists from even robbing an old acquaintance of the merit of first describing a previously unknown object. Although I have certainly felt very great pleasure, when, on picking up a bird, I discovered it to be