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able herbarium, the genera of which dour to Buffon,--to that magnificent
Royal Garden. When Buffon entered
The name of Museum of Natural History is of recent date ; it was given at the period when the Garden assumed its present form, and was employed to designate the union of three former establishments, the King's Garden, the Cabinet, and the Menagerie.
time intrusted to Bernard de Jussieu, Museum. In 1766, the collection had who had bestowed unceasing pains so greatly increased, that Buffon, who upon its arrangement and preservation. had previously given up a part of his The extent of his knowledge, and the dwelling house, which he occupied as facility with which he seized the affi- Superintendent of the Garden, now renities of bodies, and classed them in signed it entirely, and removed to No. their natural order, qualified him par. 13, Rue des Fossés Saint-Victor. The ticularly for this task, rendered more Cabinet was then disposed in four difficult by the increase of the collec- large saloons, which contained the tions; but, being diverted by other whole collection till the reorganizaoccupations, and residing at some dis- tion. These saloons were open to the tance from the Garden, he expressed a public two days in each week, and the desire to be relieved from an office pupils had hours set apart for study. which required unwearied activity and Daubenton was always present to give ceaseless assiduity. Buffon also felt the necessary explanations; and fothat his researches in natural history reign naturalists often resorted to him needed the assistance of a man who for instruction. His patience was inhad still all the ardour of youth, and exhaustible, but the duties of his siwho possessed, in a high degree, both tuation becarne too laborious for the the spirit of method, and a talent for exertions of a single individual, and observation. Gifted with that genius his cousin, the younger Daubenton, which seizes the principal characters was created assistants with a salary of of objects, and unites them in splendid 2400 francs. combinations, he had neither time nor Antony de Jussieu, who still filled patience for the examination of details, the chair of Botany, was no less assiduto which the weakness of his sight ous in promoting the advancement of was also an obstacle. He made choice his peculiar department, not merely by of his countryman Daubenton, who delivering lectures, but by sending was then twenty-nine years of age; young men, at his own expense, to traand who, after studying botany under vel through the provinces, to collect De Jussieu, and anatomy under Win- seeds and plants. He formed a library slow and Daverney, had retired to of natural history and a considerable Montbard, the place of his birth, to herbarium, which were of eminent serpractise medicine. Buffon invited him vice to his illustrious brother and neto Paris, and, in 1745, procured him the phew, and which have been always as place of keeper of the Cabinet, with a much at the disposal of those who cullodging in the Garden, and appoint- tivate the sciences, as if they belonged ments which soon rose from 500 to to the establishment, with this advan4000 francs per annum. He charged tage, that desired explanations are nehim with the arrangement of the Ca ver withheld by the courtesy of the binet, and associated him to his own possessors. Antony de Jussieu died in studies, in the descriptive part of his 1758, and was succeeded by Lemonier, natural history, especially in the ana who being appointed first physician tomy.
to the king in 1770, Antony Laurence The first volumes of his great work de Jussieu, the present venerable Proon Natural History were published in fessor of Botany, succeeded to the 1749, and attracted the attention of all chair. Sometime prior to this, J. A. Europe. The subsequent labours of Thouin, the head of a family since beLinnæus, and the light which his clas come distinguished by its services to sification threw upon the intricate and the Garden, had obtained a situation almost endless variety of subjects, no as assistant cultivator in the establishdoubt contributed greatly to augment ment. the number of zealous students, and Buffon had now attained the meri. to increase their confidence in the re dian of his glory; his works, which sult of their labours; but the splen- assigned him the first rank amongst did writings of Buffon may be said to the authors of his time, had diffused have been the first which excited a a universal taste for the study of Nageneral interest in this delightful tural History, while the collections he study. These two men may be looked had formed facilitated the study of upon as the great lights of the science this science. In foreign countries, also, of nature.
he enjoyed the highest reputation ; But to return to the history of the and the authors of new observations,
or discoveries, eagerly communicated was offered for the culture and study them to a man of genius, by whom to of vegetables; but the perfection of be mentioned was a sort of passport to one part of the establishment only immortality. M. D'Angiviller, whose rendered the deficiencies of the rest place as director of the King's build- more apparent. The Cabinet was not ings, and chief of the Academies of spacious enough to contain the vast Painting and Sculpture, required himi accession of objects, and the Amphito point out the great men whose sta- theatre was both too small, and in tues were to be executed in marble at other respects inconvenient. the public expense, asked permission In 1787, Buffon procured the purof the King to erect one to Buffon. chase of the Hotel de Magny, with its This was, perhaps, the most flattering courts and gardens, situated between distinction which could be conferred the Hill of Evergreens, and the Rue on a living man, as it had till then de Seine; he there constructed the been reserved for the memory of those Amphitheatre, which now serves for who had rendered the most eminent the lectures of botany and chemistry, services to their country. But the and removed the lodging of MM. King, reading the judgment of poste- Daubenton and Lacépède to the Hotel rity regarding the merits of Buffon in de Magny. The second floor of the that of his cotemporaries, assented to the Cabinet which was thus left vacant, proposal, and the celebrated Pajou was was fitted up for the reception of the charged with the execution. This sta- collections, and permission obtained tue is now in the library of the Museum. from government to erect an addition We may easily conceive how gratify, to the former galleries; the work was ing the circumstance must have proved immediately begun, and continued to one so sensible of the love of fame, without intermission, but it was not and withal sufficiently impressed with completed till after the death of Bufa knowledge of his own high attain- fon. ments. “ The works of eminent ge- As the buildings became more exniuses,” he used to say, “are few; they tensive, and the objects were disposed are those of Newton, Bacon, Leibnitz, in a more striking manner, more value Montesquieu, and my own.
was attached to the collections, and The health of Buffon, which had the celebrity of the establishment insuffered severely during the preceding creased. Individuals offered speciyear, being perfectly re-established in mens to the Cabinet, where they were the beginning of 1772, he resolved to seen inscribed with the name of the fix his residence once more in the Gar- donor, in preference to retaining them den, and to employ his whole influence at home; learned societies eagerly confor the benefit of the establishment. tributed to the progress of knowledge, With the aid of government, he pur- by enriching a public deposit; and chased two houses adjoining the mu- sovereigns, as an agreeable present to seum, one of which he destined for the King, sent to his Museum duplithe dwelling of the Intendant, and cates of the curiosities in their own. removed into it accordingly; the first The Academy of Sciences, for instance, floor was appropriated to his house having acquired Hunaud's anatomical hold, and the others to such objects collection, added it to that of Duveras had not yet found their place in the ney in the Garden ; the Count D'AnMuseum. The return of Buffon forms giviller gave Buffon his private cabian epoch in the history of the Garden; net; the Missionaries in China sent from that moment, every branch of him whatever interesting objects they the establishment rapidly increased, could procure in a country where they and the way was prepared for the im- alone could penetrate ; the King of provements which have taken place Poland presented a very considerable since the new organization. It would collection of minerals; and the Emfar exceed our utmost limits if we were press of Russia, not being able to into give a detail of all the improve duce Buffon to visit St Petersburgh, ments introduced by Buffon during invited his son, and on his return prethe sixteen years of his administration. sented him with several animals from Suffice it to say, that the Garden was the North, which were wanting to the more than doubled in extent, its plan Cabinet, and with various objects of and distribution became regular and natural history collected in her dobeautiful, and every possible advantage minions.
Meanwhile the government neglect
One of the worst consequences of ed nothing for the perfecting of an this system was the neglect of whatestablishment which did honour to the ever was not calculated to interest the nation as a repository of light, and a public. When a collection arrived, centre of communication. More con- the most remarkable objects were sea siderable funds than had before been lected to fill the empty spaces, and the granted, were placed at the disposal of rest were preserved in boxes, or allowa M. Daubenton, for the purchase of ob- ed to remain in the obscurity of their jects interesting from their rarity or packing cases. As there was, at this their utility to science; foreign trees period, no professor of zoology, or of miwere transplanted; the Cabinet of neralogy, the botanical garden was the Zoology was enriched by the collection only part of the establishment methoof Sonnerat in India, by that of Com- dically distributed throughout. Yet, merson, made in Bougainville's voyage far from reproaching Buffon with not round the world, and by a part of that having effected what it was perhaps brought by Dombey from Peru and impossible at that time to perform, we Chili, of which half the objects were should rather acknowledge our obligas detained by the Spanish government, tions to him for having assembled, who even prevented the publication of not only the numerous collection of his narrative ; commissions of corres- birds contained in his work, and that pondence, accompanied by a salary, of fishes described by M. de Lacépède, were also given to learned travellers, but also a multitude of objects of all who engaged to collect objects for the kinds, which have since been properly Botanical Garden and the Cabinet: arranged, and have eminently contriNevertheless, it must be owned, that buted to the progress of natural hisa all these collections were not at that tory, moment of much utility, and it is only În 1784, Daubenton the younger at a later period, and since the new being obliged by bad health to resign organization of the establishment, that his place of keeper and demonstrator their importance has been felt, and of the Cabinet, Buffon appointed, as his their end attained. Buffon was not a successor, M. de Lacépède, who was friend to method; he described the thus fixed in the pursuit of natural exterior form, the habits and economy history, in which he has since made of animals, and ascended to the most so eminent a figure, both as a professor elevated general views; but he dis- and an author. liked the labour of distinguishing cha- We have said that there were at racters, and settling principles of clas- this period chairs for botany, anatomy, sification. In the arrangement of the and chemistry only; but as DaubenCabinet, he wished to excite curiosity ton and his assistant repaired daily to by striking contrasts, so that, like his the Cabinet, naturalists were enabled own writings, it should present a pic- to obtain explanations of the objects ture of the most remarkable things in before them, and these private lessons nature, independent of system, which were the more useful, as they were he regarded as the artifice of man. adapted to the capacity and knowThis manner of considering natural ledge of the hearers. Lemonier had history, was particularly pleasing to a been Professor of Botany since 1758, mind that delighted in contemplating and Bernard de Jussieu demonstrator the universe of things as a whole; and, since 1722; but, the former being indeed, in nature, where all is har- obliged to reside at Versailles, and mony, the most different beings are the latter finding himself weakened placed side by side, and the imagi- through age, M. de Jussieu, his nenation seizes at once the links which phew, was chosen to supply the place unite, and the characters which sepa- of both, and was thus charged with rate them. According to Buffon, the the lectures in the garden, and the end of a general collection was at- botanical excursions in the country. tained, when it captivated the atten. During the last years of his life, Rertion, and led the beholder to seek in nard de Jussieu intrusted the details living nature what was thus imper- of cultivation wholly to M. André fectly represented; it was even deern- Thouin, and it was a signal satisfaced a useful exercise to separate what tion to him to witness the replanting related to a peculiar study, from the of the Botanic Garden. When he walkcrowd of objects that surrounded it. ed in the establishment, his former VOL. XIV.
pupils crowded around him, listening port, which was the signal for a new to him with eagerness, and treasuring organization, was followed by the up with veneration his slightest words. draught of a decree proposing the reAmong his many services to the Gar- duction of the Intendant's salary from den must be reckoned the education 12,000 to 8000 francs ; the suppresof his nephew, who has made of botany sion of several places, particularly that & regular science, by developing and of commandant of the police of the perfecting the natural method. Garden ; an increased stipend to some
M.Desfontaines was appointed Pro- of the professors; the creation of a fessor of Botany about the year 1786, chair of natural history, &c. &c. immediately after his return from Bar- The disorders of the revolution be.. bary with the plants of which he has ginning at this period, M. de la Billarsince published the history. At the derie withdrew from France, and his period of his appointment, the Botanic place of Intendant was filled by the Garden was already very rich; and appointment of M. de St Pierre, in the instruction was no longer limited 1792. St Pierre undertook the directo the demonstration of medicinal tion of the King's Garden at a difficult plants; for the progress of the science conjuncture. That distinguished wri. since Tournefort, by the intermediate ter was gifted with eminent talents as labours of Linnæus, Adanson, and a painter of nature, and a master of de Jussieu, authorized and required a the milder affections; he knew at once more philosophic plan. M. Desfon- to awaken both the heart and the taines was the first to perceive the imagination; but he wanted exact noimportance of a general knowledge of tions in science, and his timid and methe nature of vegetables, the functions lancholy character deprived him of peculiar to each organ, and the pheno- that knowledge of the world, and that mena of the different periods of their energy of purpose, which are alike redevelopement, in order duly to under- quisite for the exertion of authority. stand their generic and specific cha- Nevertheless, he was precisely the man racters ; he, therefore, divided his for the crisis. His quiet and retired course into two parts; the first he life shielded him from persecution, and devoted to the anatomy and physiology his prudence was a safeguard to the of vegetables ; the second to the classi- establishment. He presented several fication and description of the genera memoirs to the ministry, containing and species. From that period, bo- some very sound regulations, conceitanical instruction was no longer con- ved in a spirit of economy which cirfined to the exterior forms of plants, cumstances rendered necessary. In but comprised their affinities, uses, and these memoirs may always be noticed modifications. To the method of teach the following words:"After consulting adopted in the King's Garden since ing the elders,” by which term he de1788, are to be ascribed those works signated the persons who had been which have made vegetable physiology long attached to the establishment, the basis of botany, and led to the though without an official share in its applications of this science in agricul- administration. ture and the arts.
At a period so pregnant with disasBuffon died on the 16th of April, ter to the fortunes of the King, it may 1788, and his place of Chief Intendant well be supposed that the King's wild of the King's Garden was given to the beasts would not meet with a kinder Marquis de la Billarderie. We come treatment than the rest of the family. now to the third and last period of In fact, the Menagerie at Versailles our history, that which extends from being abandoned, and the animals likethe death of Buffon down to the pre- ly to perish of hunger, M. Couturier, sent time, including the epoch of the intendant of the King's domains in new organization, to which we have that city, offered them, by order of already occasionally alluded. On the the minister, to M. St Pierre; but, as 20th of August, 1790, M. Lebrun he had neither convenient places for made a report, in the name of the com- their reception, nor means of providing mittee of finances of the Constituent for their subsistence, he prevailed on Assembly, on the state of the King's M. Couturier to keep them, and immeGarden, in which its expenses were diately addressed a memoir to the goestimated at 92,222 francs ; 12,777 · vernment on the importance of estabeing necessary for repairs. This re- blishing a Menagerie in the Garden.