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THOMAS FORSTER, F.L.S. M.B.
OF CORPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE; CORRESPONDING MEMBER OF THE ACADEMY OF NATURAL SCIENCES AT PHILADELPHIA; MEMBER OF THE ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY OF LONDON; OF THE MEDICAL CHIRURGICAL SOCIETY;
&c. &c. &c.
CORRECTED AND ENLARGED;
With a Series of Engravings illustrative of the Modifications
of the Clouds, &c.
TO WHICH IS ADDED THE
CALENDAR OF NATURE.
ΕΣΤΙΝ. ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΙΣ. ΑΝΕΜΩΝ. ΟΤΕ. ΠΛΕΙΣΤΑ.
PRINTED FOR HARDING, MAVOR, AND LEPARD, FINSBURY SQUARE.
THE SECOND EDITION.
AMONG the many erroneous views which people take of the origin of the sciences, no one appears more common than that of supposing that they have all been originally undertaken and pursued with some particular aim to public or individual utility; as if the investigation of nature was not valuable; nor natural phaenomena capable of exciting us to the pursuit of their causes, on account of the pleasure they produced in engaging the energies of our different intellectual faculties, independently of any further purpose to which they might be made subservient. Some imagined object of utility, for the attainment of which people consider the different sciences as valuable, has generally been supposed to be the cause which has impelled mankind to follow them, as if from feeling certain exigencies arising from time to time out of the progressive civilization of so
ciety, men had been taught to love the pursuit of knowledge and the exercise of reflection, by the imperious calls of newly created wants. This is a very old opinion. People, too, having confounded the causes of excitement existing around us in the world with the various faculties of the mind to be excited, have even supposed that our propensities, sentiments, and our intellectual and reflecting powers have been derived from education; and that from the contingent circumstances of different individuals have arisen the varieties of the human character; without reflecting on the infinite variety of organization observable in individuals throughout the creation, and without ever perceiving that unless there were conditions in ourselves of the different manifestations of the mind, the objects around us could never excite, nor education ever improve our several faculties. I have always believed that there were differences in the native structure of persons which independently of, though perhaps modified by, early habits and associations, have inclined them naturally to the pursuit of different branches of science. And, I think, the recent investigations of modern physiologists will verify this opinion, and will demonstrate the material con