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ing, he had named the Ornithologist. The Kentuckian who bought it as the Ornithologist accepted the droll name as that of some Indian chief. He soon left Louisville, having sent his baggage on by wagon, and plunged into the Kentucky forest on his way to Lexington.

"And now, indeed, you see he is coming nearer.

"It was the twenty-fourth of March when he began his first trip southward. through the woods of Kentucky. Spring was on the way but had not yet passed northward. Nine-tenths of the Kentucky soil, he states, was then unbroken. wilderness..

"It was on March twenty-ninth that, emerging from the thick forest, he saw before him the little Western metropolis of the pioneers, the city of the forefathers of many of us here today-Lexington. I wish I could stop to describe to you the picture as he painted it: the town stretching along its low valley; a stream running through the valley and turning several mills-water mills in Lexington a hundred years ago! In the market-place which you now call Cheapside he saw the pillory and the stocks and he noted that the stocks were so arranged as to be serviceable for gallows: our Kentucky forefathers arranged that they should be conveniently hanged, if they deserved it, as a public spectacle of warning.

"On a country court day he saw a thousand horses hitched around the courthouse square and in churchyards and in graveyards. He states that even then Kentucky horses were the most remarkable in the world. . . .

"He slept while in Lexington—this great unknown man—in a garret called Salter White's, wherever that was: and he shivered with cold, for you know we can have chill nights in April. He says that he had no firewood, it being scarce, the universal forest of firewood being half a mile away: this was like going hungry in a loft over a full baker-shop.

"And I must not omit one note of

his on the Kentuckians themselves, which flashes a vivid historic light on their character. By this time he rightly considered that he had had adventures worth relating; but he declares that if he attempted to relate them to any Kentuckian, the Kentuckian at once interrupted him and insisted upon relating his own adventures as better worth while. Western civilization was of itself the one absorbing adventure to every man who had had his share in it.

"On the fourteenth day of April he departed from Lexington, moving southward through the forest to New Orleans. Scarcely yet had the woods begun to turn green.

"And now we begin to take leave of him he passes from our picture. We catch a glimpse of him at the Kentucky River, standing on the perpendicular cliffs of solid limestone, green with a great number of uncommon plants and flowers-we catch a glimpse of him standing there, watching bank swallows and listening to the faint music of the boat horns in the deep romantic valley below, where the Kentucky arks, passing on their way southward, turned the corners of the verdurous cliffs as the musical gondolas turn the corners of vine-hung Venice in the waters of the Adriatic.

"On and on southward; visiting a roosting-place of the passenger pigeon which was reported to him as forty miles long he counted ninety nests in one beech tree. We see him emerging upon the Kentucky barrens which were covered with vegetation and open for the sweep of the eye.

Now, at last, he begins to meet the approach of spring in full tide: all Nature is bursting into leaf and blossom. No longer are the redbud and the dogwood and the sassafras conspicuous as its heralds. And now, overflowing the forest, advances the full-crested wave of bird-life up from the south, from the tropics. New and unknown species are everywhere before his eyes; their new


melodies are in his ears; he is busy drawing, colouring, naming them for his work.

"So he passes out of our picture: southward bound, encountering a cloud of parrakeets and pigeons, emerging from a cave with a handkerchief full of bats, swimming creeks, sleeping at night alone in the wilderness, his gun and pistol in his bosom. He vanishes from the forest scene, never from the memory of mankind.

"Let me tell you that he did not live to complete his work. Death overtook him, not a youth but still young.

"I told you I was going to speak to you of a boy's life. I asked you to fix your eyes upon it as a far-off human spark, barely glimmering through mist and fog but slowly, as the years passed, getting stronger, growing brighter, always drawing nearer until it shone about you here as a great light and then passed on, leaving an eternal glory.

"I have done that.

"You saw a little fellow taken from school at about the age of eleven and put to hard work at weaving; now you see one of the world's great ornithologists, who had traversed some ten thousand miles of comparative wildernessan imperishable figure, doing an imper


ishable deed. I love to think of him as being in the end what he most hated to be in the beginning-a weaver: he wove a vast, original tapestry of the bird-life of the American forest.

"As he passed southward from Lexington that distant April of 1810, encountering his first spring in the Ohio valley with its myriads of birds, somewhere he discovered a new and beautiful species of American wood warbler and gave it a local habitation and a


"He called it the Kentucky Warbler. “And now, would you not like to see a picture of that mighty hunter who lived in the great days of the young American republic and crossed Kentucky in the great days of the pioneers? And would you not also like to see a picture of the exquisite and only bird. that bears the name of our State-the Kentucky Warbler ?"

He passed over to them a portrait engraving of Alexander Wilson in the dress of a gentleman of his time, his fowling-piece on his forearm.1 And along with this he delivered to them a life-like, a singing portrait, of the warbler, painted by a great American animal painter and bird painter-Fuertes.

1 See page 396.

It was not until the lecturer had progressed in his story to the point where Wilson came to America that Webster, back by the window of the classroom, was noticeably interested. Finally, however, his attention became so breathless that it filled the room and the other listeners were merely grouped around it as accessories; and the lecturer recognized that he was witnessing "that particular miracle in nature-the contexture of the generations-the living taking the meaning of their lives from the dead.2 You stand before some all but forgotten mound of human ashes; before you is arrayed a band of youths unconsciously holding in their hands the unlighted torches of the future. You utter some word about the cold ashes and silently one of them walks forward to the ashes, lights his torch and goes his radiant way."

Webster, the Kentucky boy of the present, filled with all that Wilson had been made to mean to him, spent a whole day wandering in pasture and forest, and returned home at night with the fragrances and bird songs still about him and the heat of the sun still in his blood. Then he lived in the reality of his great dream and wandered through the woods with Alexander Wilson. When finally the Kentucky warbler was revealed to him, he turned to his guide gratefully to thank him, but

"No one was near him. Webster saw the hunter on the edge of the thicket yards away; he stood looking back, his figure dim, fading. Webster, forgetful of the bird, cried out with quick pain:

"Are you going away? Am I never to see you again?'

"The voice that reached him seemed scarcely a voice; it was more like an echo, close to his ear, of a voice lost forever:

"If you ever wish to see me, enter the forest of your own heart."

2 The grave of Alexander Wilson is in the churchyard of Gloria Dieu (Old Swede's) Church, of Philadelphia.

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Memorial in Bronze to Lewis and Clark by Charles Keck, Sculptor, New York


Soon to be unveiled in Charlottesville, Virginia, the early home of Meriwether Lewis. stand at gaze, with Sacajawea, the squaw guide, bending forward, intent on the vast expanse of the ocean revealed before them

Thomas Jefferson's Contributions to
Natural History


Librarian of the University of Virginia


HE fact that Thomas Jefferson's best service to mankind was political has limited the world's estimate of his greatness to one contribution of his useful life. That he was the preeminent statesman of his day as today he is the dominating influence surviving from the first years of the republic, was not owing to a predilection for politics but to his answering the need for a great constructive and safely guiding genius at the beginning of our independent national life. He rejoiced, instead, at the prospect of the studious life. His letters abound in expressions of his desire to retire from the arena in which he was the most notable figure. The one to Dupont de Nemours is often quoted: "Within a few days I retire to my family, my books and farms. . . . Nature intended me for the tranquil pursuits of science, by rendering them my supreme delight."

And by science he meant more than men do now. It included more than observed facts systematically classified and brought under general laws-he meant by it all that was connoted by the word scientia in the days of its widest acceptation. He was an eager student-going into every field open to him. It would not do to claim profound scholarship for him in all instances; his interests were too catholic, and limitations of time and opportunity so restrained him that the thoroughness of the specialist, often meticulous,

was not within his reach. But he had a more or less scholarly acquaintance with mechanics, astronomy, meteorology, physics, civil engineering (mensuration, strength of materials), surgical anatomy, geology, zoology, botany, economic entomology, aëronautics, and palæontology.

While this list transcends in some instances the limits to which "science" is confined by present day definition and intrudes upon the domain of the industrial arts, it is far from embracing all that Jefferson would have included in the meaning of science, scientia, the derivative of all information and skill. His science enabled him to invent a plow, indeed the plow, to construct a barometer, a thermometer, a wind gage, a duplicating writing machine, and what not; to realize West Point for the nation and the National Observatory, to build the University of Virginia and inform it with a spirit and purpose hitherto disregarded.

The student who takes to the highways and byways of knowledge is sure to find wherever he penetrates that Mr. Jefferson has passed along before him with more or less careful observation. After twelve years of faithful, scholarly work in rediscovering and determining the truth of Latin and Celtic accent and rhythm and showing that our traditional rule of Latin pronunciation is at variance with the obvious usage of Latin verse, Professor Thomas Fitz-Hugh, of the University of Vir

ginia, turned in pursuit of another object for he had published the results of his own discovery-to Jefferson's essay, Thoughts on English Prosody, and found that he had been anticipated by Jefferson by more than a century, and that nobody had seemed to know it! While Jefferson was the first to assert and use the principle that the pronunciation of an ancient speech cannot contradict the known rhythm of its poetry, Fitz-Hugh has used the principle to reveal a new world of accent and rhythm in Latin and Celtic and to expose the error of the current theory in both fields. "It is well worth while," Professor Fitz-Hugh warns, "for the scholar and technical scientist of today to examine Jefferson's reflections upon any field of investigation in which he allows himself to make excursions."

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And so Buffon thought long ago. He had announced his conviction that animals common to the Old and the New worlds are smaller in the latter, that those peculiar to America are smaller, that those domesticated in both have degenerated in the New world, and that the western world has fewer species. Mr. Jefferson collected data and upon ascertained facts based three tables in which he contrasted aboriginals (1) of both the Old and the New worlds, (2) of only one, and (3) of those domesticated in both. The first table showed that of twenty-six quadrupeds common to both America and Europe, seven are larger in America, seven of equal size, and as to twelve the facts were not decisive; the second showed that eighteen quadrupeds are peculiar to Europe and seventy-four to America, while one of the American quadrupeds-the tapirweighs more than all the eighteen of Europe together; and the third failed. to sustain Buffon's theory of animal degeneration in the New world. He did not stop here, but had the bones and skin of the largest moose obtainable, the horns of the caribou, elk, deer, spike-horned buck, and some other

large animals sent to Paris. Buffon was convinced, and said to the Virginian: "I should have consulted you, Sir, before publishing my Natural History, and then I should have been sure of my facts." It is scarcely worth while to inquire whether the great Frenchman was pleased by the revelation of the truth or irritated by defeat.

In 1797 Jefferson was made president of the American Philosophical Society, and took his place officially at the head of the scientific world of his country. Elected. Vice President of the United States, he went to Philadelphia to be inaugurated-and took with him. the os femoris, a radius, an ulna, three claws, and some other bones of an animal then unknown to science, the giant edentate, allied to the recent sloth. These bones, which he had collected in Greenbrier County, Virginia, he presented to the Philosophical Society, with a statement of the results of his studies in connection with them. His discovery bears the name Megalonyx jeffersonii.


"The spectacle of an American statesman coming to take part as a central figure in the greatest political ceremony of our country and bringing with him an original contribution to the scientific knowledge of the world, is certainly one we shall not soon see repeated,” said Frederic N. Luther, writing of Jefferson as a naturalist.1 . . . During those exciting weeks," Mr. Luther continued, "in February, 1801, when Congress was vainly trying to untangle the difficulties arising from the tie vote between Jefferson and Burr, when every politician at the capital was busy with schemes and counter-schemes, this man, whose political fate was balanced on a razor's. edge, was corresponding with Dr. Wistar in regard to some bones of the mastodon which he had just procured from Shawangunk, Ulster County. Again in 1808, when the excitement

1 Magazine of American History for April, 1885 (volume 13).

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