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differences of opinion which arose never disturbed their harmony. The sceptical head of the family regarded with complacency or with approval the religious belief which was cherished by his wife, his sister, and his daughter, and even by the old ex-dragoon his father. His own views were those of the time and country which recognised Voltaire as the first of teachers; and when towards the end of his life infidelity became unfashionable, he was too old to change. The cheerful temperament and affectionate disposition which endeared Beaumarchais to his family, made him popular among those that knew him. His language, and in some instances his private conduct, may have savoured of the license of the times; but he was good-natured and tolerant, and his benevolence was not confined to words. Few men have been so liberal, either of money or of personal exertion, to strangers as well as to friends. In addition to large sums which he gave away, it was found after his death that he had lent to individuals, without security, and in most instances without hope of payment, about 50,000l. Many persons owed their success to his munificence or to his patronage; not a few were indebted to him for preservation from ruin or from death. If he had been nobly born and rigidly decorous, his generosity alone would have secured him universal esteem; but as one of his oldest friends informed him, he had always something of the Bohemian about him. If, however, he was deficient in the respectable virtues, he was free from the calculating and sordid vices.

He was never guilty of malignity, or accused of hypocrisy. At the time of his utmost need he rejected a proposal from the Government of Louis XV., that he should take the opportunity of his mission to London to report the proceedings of certain political malcontents. To the last he was busy, cheerful, and sanguine; a life of calumny and an old age of misfortune failed to sour his disposition.

Beaumarchais died suddenly and without pain, a year after his sister, in May, 1799. There was something appropriate in the termination of his career almost at the end of the century. The vigorous despotism of a great captain who kept down abuses and frowned on literature, would have left no room for the exercise of his various faculties. From the beginning of the Consulate to the close of the Empire no work of genius could be published in France, and if there was corruption it was exempt from criticism. A Marriage of Figaro would have been as impossible under Napoleon as a Goezman process. A Beaumarchais of the time could at most only have risen into eminence as an army contractor.

The splendid hotel on the Place de la Bastille was afterwards

demolished, but the name is preserved in the adjacent street, and in a portion of the Boulevard. M. de Loménie, who has now raised a more enduring monument to the memory of the celebrated owner, pays our literature the compliment of announcing his biography as formed on the English model. However this may be, there are few personal histories which combine so happily the record of an individual life with a faithful picture of society. Author, politician, litigant, or capitalist, the hero is always the central figure of the composition; but he never stands alone. The likenesses of the Maupeou Parliament, of the Duke of Chaulnes, and of the actors of the Théâtré Français, are not less accurate than the central portrait; and upon the shelves which contain the voluminous memoirs of French society, none are more curious, authentic, and amusing than those which we now recommend to the attention of our readers.

ART. VII.-1. Géographie Botanique raisonnée. Par M. ALPHONSE DE CANDOLLE. Paris: 1855.

2. Introductory Essay to the Flora of New Zealand. By JOSEPH DALTON HOOKER, M.D., F.R.S. London: 1853.

3. Introductory Essay to the Flora Indica. By JOSEPH DALTON HOOKER, M. D., F. R. S., and THOMAS THOMSON, M. D., F.LS. London: 1855.

4. The Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland. By THOMAS MOORE, F.L.S. Edited by JOHN LINDLEY, F.R.S., &c. &c. Nature printed by Henry Bradbury. London: 1855. IT has been observed even by the earliest botanists that every part of the globe has its own peculiar vegetation. Every plant has its country, territory, or district, of greater or less extent, where alone it is to be found growing wild. In the course of time this area may, in the case of certain species, become more or less extended by the co-operation of man, intentional or accidental, or from natural circumstances, inde! pendent of human agency. Other species can by no means be made to establish themselves beyond their own natural district; their natural area may even from various causes become restricted, or the whole species may entirely disappear. The investigation of these facts, of the presumed origin and subsequent migrations of plants, and of the causes which influence the phenomena observed, constitute those sciences in which the

labours of the botanist are connected with those of the geographer and geologist.

In the earlier works on the subject we find little more than numerical statements of the number of species contained in particular districts, of the relative proportions of botanical genera, classes, or orders, according to the system adopted, with some attempts at grouping plants according to the stations they prefer, on mountains, in woods, in sandy plains, in marshes, in water, &c. But these numerical calculations, founded upon no fixed principles, and seldom even comparative, owing to the great diversity of views entertained as to what constitutes a species, cannot even now lead to any useful or satisfactory conclusions, unless accompanied by a research into cause and effect. Moreover, our knowledge of the vegetation of by far the greatest portion of the globe, has, until within the last few years, been much too deficient to lead to any general inferences. There are few floras, even of the best known parts of Europe, that have been sufficiently subjected to a critical revision upon uniform principles to supply data for any comparative calculations with numerical accuracy. Notwithstanding, therefore, some very apposite principles laid down by Linnæus upon this as upon every other department of natural history, and some opinions emitted by Gmelin and others, Geographical Botany can hardly be said to have existed as a science before the present century.

'Three men now contributed powerfully to enlarge and consolidate the science, Alexander von Humboldt, the elder De Candolle, and Robert Brown. It is curious to observe how they were led to it from the first by different impulses, according to their special studies and the countries they visited. Von Humboldt showed himself more especially a geographer and a physicist, added to which, by a rare combination of talent, he could describe, in the language of a poet, the vegetation of tropical regions. De Candolle attached himself specially to European plants, and to the relations existing between agriculture and botany and external physical conditions. Lastly, Robert Brown, deeply imbued with the principles of the natural system, which he first applied to the strange forms of Australian plants, fixed his attention more especially on the distribution of classes and families, and on the relative proportions of their species in different regions. Shortly afterwards, on the occasion of a collection of plants made in Africa, he, with remarkable sagacity, opened the way for the investigation of the origin of cultivated plants, and for researches on the transplantation of seeds by ocean currents, and on the species common to different tropical regions.'

The first, however, who can be said to have taken a comprehensive view of the subject, and to have given us a real treatise

on botanical geography, was the Danish Professor Schouw, whose Elements of an Universal Geography of Plants,' published in Copenhagen, in 1822, and in German at Berlin, in 1823, are replete with accurate data and sound theories. Since that time, above thirty years of general peace, accompanied by extraordinarily multiplied means of communication, have so far extended our knowledge of the natural productions of almost every part of the globe, that Schouw's work has already become obsolete. In the meanwhile, numerous writers of local floras, special monographs and other partial botanical works or memoirs, whilst they have each contributed invaluable data towards the general consideration of the subject, have, at the same time, been but too frequently tempted to generalise hastily their own partial observations. The result has been to supply us with endless speculations on botanical regions, on endemic and sporadic species, on their development and migrations, with a formidable array of figures and tables, founded upon incomplete and deceptive data, which have tended to bewilder rather than to enlighten us on the true principles of the science.

A new turn in the right direction has of late years been given to these inquiries by geologists. The principle first laid down by Sir Charles Lyell, and practically applied to a particular district by the late lamented Professor Edward Forbes, of the dispersion of plants during a state of the globe anterior to the present geological period, has greatly enlarged our views of the subject. But M. Alphonse De Candolle's work, which stands at the head of this article, may be considered as having raised geographical botany to its proper rank among the higher branches of physical science. Brought up in the enlightened school of his eminent father, endowed with keen powers of observation, with a sound and temperate judgment, and with great perseverance; above all, proof against the seductions of the brilliant theories daily propounded by the active imaginations of the modern German and French schools, the younger De Candolle ably sustains the great name which has descended to him. Starting from the true principle that in all physical science, correctness of individual facts is the only foundation upon which sound theories can be built, he throughout the work attaches the greatest importance to the investigation of the data within his reach; and in drawing the conclusions which they suggest, divests himself of all preconceived ideas or imaginative hypotheses. The aim of his work is the search after truth, not the development of a theory.

Two of the other works whose titles we have prefixed are mere introductory essays to local floras, but they contain in a

few words a clear enunciation of the soundest principles of geographical botany. Working contemporaneously and without the assistance of each other's labours, it is satisfactory to see how nearly De Candolle and Hooker agree in the conclusions they have drawn; in the one case chiefly from a critical examination of the researches of others, in the other more especially from personal observation. We have very recently had occasion to follow Dr. Hooker in his Himalayan journies, and to notice the zeal and intelligence he directed to all the great phenomena of those unexplored confines of British India, Settim, and the table-land of Central Asia. The volumes now before us contain the strictly botanical results of his previous Antarctic voyage, and the important observations on the Flora of India, made in common with Dr. Thomson, and to which they both have contributed so many valuable additions.

M. De Candolle divides his two volumes into three books. The first, however, is merely a preliminary and somewhat collateral essay on the mode of estimating the effect of climate on plants. The separation of the subject of the two following books into geographical botany and botanical geography is important, and is here first laid down with distinctness. The investigation of the peculiarities of the vegetation of a given country, the relative proportions of the families, genera, species, or individuals it consists of, its relation to the climate, local configuration, and other peculiarities of the region, form a branch of geography to which he appropriately gives the name of botanical geography; whilst geographical botany, belonging more particularly to the province of the botanist, and the more special object of the present work, examines the distribution of species, genera, and families over the surface of the globe; searches after the origin of species, and their migrations, tracing the changes they may have undergone or still undergo, in their dispersion or distribution through the different geological periods they may have witnessed, their increase, diminution, or final extinction.

In the investigation of the various subjects thus laid out for the consideration of the geographical botanist, De Candolle, in each case, commences with a careful exposition of individual facts, and of the authorities upon which they rest, proceeding then to classify and generalise them, and, finally, to deduce from them arguments and general considerations on the causes

* Although the introductory essay to the 'Flora of New Zealand' was published in 1853, De Candolle, who had then prepared for the press nearly the whole of his work, could only avail himself of it for a few additional notes in one of his concluding chapters.



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