chapter  35
17 Pages

Descriptive and analytic review, Critical Review, August-November 1774

A judicious system of natural history, blending entertainment with information, has hitherto never appeared in the English language, nor indeed been accomplished in any other. The several works of this kind that have been published originally in our own tongue, are universally defective with respect to the essential quality which alone can render the study of natural knowledge both useful and agreeable. The only book on this subject, in which the author has endeavoured

to unite philosophy with description, is la Pluche's Nature Displayed. But even this justly admired work is far from being void of imperfections. Though it presents us with a pleasing idea of natural history, it is too superficial, and it receives an air of puerility from being written in the form of dialogue. To these objections we may add, that it contains many dissertations entirely foreign to natural history, gives no account of the later improvements that have been made in the science, and is raised upon the foundation of the exploded systems of the Cartesian and Ramistic philosophy.