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his writings are less filled with those speculative illufions, which are the result of folitude and seclusion, He wrote them with a certainty of their being opposed, fifted, examined, and reviled ; he therefore took care to build them up of such materials, as could not be easily overthrown: they prefailed at the times in which they were written, they still continue to the admiration of the present age, and will probably last for ever.

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PRE FACE

TO

DR. BROOKES’s

NEW AND ACCURATE SYSTEM OF

NATURAL HISTORY.

PUBLISHED IN THE YEAR 1763.

1

PREFACE.

OF

F all the studies which have employed the induftrious or amused the idle, perhaps Natural History deserves the preference ; other sciences generally terminate in doubt, or rest in bare speculation, but here every step is marked with certainty, and while a description of the objects around us teaches to supply our wants, it satisfies our curiosity.

The multitude of Nature's productions, however, seems at first to bewilder the inquirer, rather than excite his attention; the various wonders of the animal, vegetable, or mineral world, seem to exceed all powers of computation, and the science appears barren from its amazing fertility. But a nearer acquaintance with this study, by giving method to our researches, points out a similitude in many objects which at first appeared different; the mind by degrees rises to consider the things before it in

general lights, till at length it finds Nature, in almost every instance, acting with her usual fimplicity.

Among the number of Philosophers, who undaunted by their supposed variety, have attempted to give a description of the productions of Nature, Aristotle deserves the first place. This great philofopher was furnished by his pupil Alexander, with all that the then known world could produce to complete his design. By such parts of his work as have escaped the wreck of time, it appears that he understood Nature more clearly, and in a more comprehensive manner than even the present lightened as it is with so many later discoveries, can Vol. IV.

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