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The crab so bold, like a knight of old,
In scaly armour plated ;
And the star-fish radiated !
In 1841, he published his “ History of British Star Fishes, and other animals of the class Echinodermata," in which many new species he had discovered in his dredging expeditions were, for the first time, described. This book is beautifully illustrated from his own designs, many of which exhibit a playful humour or a sentiment that gives an exquisite zest and interest to a subject, which at the time was little understood. In April of the same year, at the invitation of Captain Graves, he joined, as naturalist, H.M. ship “Beacon,” which was commissioned to bring from Syria the remains of antiquity discovered at Xanthus by Sir Charles Fellowes. On this expedition he, in conjunction with the Rev. Mr Daniel and Lieutenant Spratt, carefully examined the country and coast of Lycia. They discovered no fewer than eighteen ancient cities, the sites of which had been unknown to geographers. They traced the marches of Alexander the Great and of the Consul Manlius through this part of Asia Minor, and indicated many of the spots said to have been visited by St Paul. The natural history of the whole district was carefully described by Forbes in the second volume of the work, which he and Lieutenant Spratt subsequently published, ziving an account of their travels. Mr Daniel fell a victim to the endemic remittent fever of the district, and Forbes himself afterwards had a narrow escape from its grasp, as at the commencement of the attack, although suffering from great prostration, he insisted on visiting the tomb of Hippocrates in the island of Cos. So much enthusiasın was, at all events, engendered by his medical studies, but to that illness may be ascribed much of the occasional languor and feverishness under which he ever afterwards laboured.
It was now that his good training in Edinburgh as a naturalist became of such value to science ; for not only as a botanist and zoologist did he observe the flora and fauna of the regions he traversed, but as a geologist, he connected them with he rocks and minerals with which they were associated. These combined obserations led him to that beautiful generalization which at once placed him o the foremost rank of living naturalists, and indicated the law which egulated the development of animal and vegetable life in the depths of the cean. His researches were made public at the Cork meeting of the British association in 1843, when he read his “ Report on the Mollusca and Radiata f the Ægean Sea, and on their distribution, considered as bearing on Geogy.” This paper was drawn up from the results of 100 fully recorded redging operations in various depths from 1 to 130 fathoms, and in many calities from the shores of the Morea to those of Asia Minor, besides numerous oast observations whenever opportunity offered. In this paper, he observes bat the Ægean Sea, although most interesting to the naturalist, as the scene f the labours of Aristotle, has been but little investigated since his time. During 1842 he remained attached to the "Beacon,” working with his dredge
the Ægean Sea, and among the islands of the Grecian Archipelago, multiplyog observations, collecting plants, minerals and animals, and sketching the eautiful scenery and the picturesque groups of men and women which attracted is attention. He, of course, encountered numerous adventures, the relation of hich in after years constituted one of the charins of his conversation. One ory he used to tell with infinite humour of how, at some remote island, he was resented to an invalid Greek lady as a distinguished physician from Edinurgh-how embarrassed he felt at his complete ignorance of the complaint, It how, notwithstanding, by means of sundry shakes of the head and saying othing, he established for himself a high reputation as a doctor, and ulti. NEW SERIES.-NO. 1. JANUARY 1855.
mately took his leave, without a fee it is true, but accompanied by the good wishes and blessings of the husband and relatives.
The purposes for which the “ Beacon" were sent out could not be accomplished, so, in the spring of 1843, Forbes returned to England. He had previously left instructions with his friend, Mr Goodsir, that should any situation become vacant, which he could worthily occupy, to apply for it in his name. Accordingly when the Professorship of Botany in King's College, London, became vacant, application was thus made for it, and Forbes was appointed, so that on returning a few days afterwards, he unexpectedly found himself 8 ) metropolitan professor. He visited Edinburgh, however, before entering upon the duties of the chair, and we shall not easily forget the pleasure we then experienced on looking over the rich portfolio of drawings he brought with him. Water-colour drawings, sketches in pencil and chalk of Eastern landscapes, marine views, temples, and ruins-groups of Turks and Greeks, picturesque costumes, comic incidents, mingled with copies of plants, shells, fishes, and other objects of natural history—the whole forming a characteristic medley, indicative of the character of his observations, and skilful method of treating them. On the 8th of May he gave his introductory lecture at King's College, which was subsequently published, and he afterwards introduced the Edinburgh plan of ". teaching botany practically in the fields, lanes, and open country. - Those who attended his class," says the Athenæum,“ will ever remember the charms he threw around the study of vegetable structure, and the delightful hours they spent in his company during the periodical excursions, which he made a point of taking with his pupils in the neighbourhood of London. Nor were these excursions attended by pupils alone. Many are the distinguished men of science in London who sought this opportunity of availing themselves of his great practical knowledge of every department of natural history. It was 0. during the delivery of his first course of lectures on botany, that he worked ! out the interesting relations that exist between the morphology of the repro ductive system of the Sertularian zoophytes, and its analogy with that of flowering plants. His paper on this subject was read at the British Associa tion at York in 1844."
Shortly after becoming a professor in King's College, he accepted the app pointment of librarian and curator to the Geological Society of London. "In this position,” says a friend of his, writing in the Scotsman of Nov. 22, 1854 “his extended knowledge of recent vegetable and animal species, and his te markable acquaintance with the laws of their distribution (particularly : regards invertebrate animals), became available for general palæontological research. Here, too, he was enabled to apply to geological research that pecto fatto liar knowledge of the conditions of existence of species which his continuale operations with the dredge had led him to."
* In 1845 he resigned this office, and accepted that of palæontologist andere lecturer on natural history to the Government School of Mines, in connection with the Ordnance Geological Survey, under the direction of Sir Henry de las pie Beche. From this period his life was occupied in arranging and describing! the great accumulation of fossils and geological specimens which the survey the was continually bringing to light,-in making excursions in connection with it, or in autumnal trips to different parts of Europe,-in attending the scient tific meetings of the Royal, Linnean, Zoological, Geological, and other Societies, hope and the British Association, to all of which he read many valuable papers, beside co-operating with the fellows in their committees and councils.He was also be continually giving courses of lectures at King's College or in the School of Mines, besides frequently lecturing at the Royal and other popular institutions On one occasion, having three months previously promised to lecture at Isling) ton, he was dining at a friend's house in Surrey when he received a telegraphiel en message saying the audience were waiting for him. He had quite forgotten his engagement, and, whilst hurrying to the place by railway, vainly en Radio deavoured to recall to his remembrance on what subject he had been adrerit
tised to lecture. The audience were very much out of humour when he appeared, but, without a moment's hesitation, he gave them a most brilliant extempore discussion, illustrated, as he alone could do it, by rapid drawings of animals with chalk on the black board, which soon excited the deepest interest. He has often since declared that that was the very best lecture he ever delivered.
His writings during this time were many and important. Among others may be noticed his contributions to the “ Memoirs of the Geological Survey of Great Britain," including a valuable paper, or, as it may more justly be considered, a complete original work—“On the Connection between the Distribution of the Existing Fauna and Flora of the British Isles, and the Geological Changes which have affected their Area.” In this Memoir is exhibited his intimate and extensive knowledge of the three kingdoms of nature, whereby he communicated a great impulse to geological science, which its cultivators even now are only commencing to appreciate. His beautiful figures of new fossil species of shells also, are among the most perfect things of the kind ever published. In 1848 the Ray Society brought out his “ Monograph on the British Naked-eyed Medusæ.” Of this book, though it exhausted the subject at the time it was written, and was most beautifully illustrated by thirteen folio plates, the figures in which were drawn by himself, he modestly observes, “Even now I can offer only an outline of a most curious and interesting, though neglected, department of British zoology. The greater part of the matter in this essay is new. With one exception, kindly communicated by Mr Alder, every species has been examined by myself. Every figure is original. Any defects in the engravings must be laid to my charge; their merits are due to my friends, Mr W. Bailey and Mr C. R. Bone, for whose exertions I have to return many thanks." He next occupied himself, in conjunction with Mr Hanley, in a large work on the “History of British Mollusca," in which the wonderful power he possessed of delineating animals, at once accurately and artistically, was again brought into play. From the preface of this work also may be gathered how numerous and widely scattered were the naturalists who aided him in his labours, and how careful and conscientious he was in asciibing to all the merits belonging to them. In this respect, indeed, always fearful of doing injustice, he was accustomed to over rather than under-rate the scientific qualities of his friends. This work was completed in 1853, in four large volumes, with numerous plates.
To him is mainly owing the arrangement of specimens in his own department of the Museum in Jermyn Street, and the natural history collection of plants and animals now exhibited in the Crystal Palace at Sydenham. He also took a deep interest in the exhibition of 1851, and wrote an account of its vegetable productions for the Art Union Journal. Indeed he contributed, in addition to his scientific papers, an almost endless number of reviews and poetical pieces to the various literary and artistic periodicals. His article on "Shell Fishes, their Ways and Works,” in the first number of the New Series of the Westminster Review, is a beautiful specimen of easy writing; and the brilliant article on “Siluria," in the last number of the Quarterly, is from his pen.
Forbes entered largely into society, in which he was at all times popular. His wit and innocent humour served to light up the social circle, where he shone as brightly as in philosophical discussion or scientific investigation. Although he had not the most remote idea of tune, he used to chaunt his various poetical effusions, or songs as they were called, to a species of recitative that rendered them highly amusing. At the first meeting of the British Association in Birmingham the great expenses of the ordinary led him and a few scientific friends to dine daily at a small tavern which presented the sign of the “ Red Lion.” Before the conclusion of the meeting, the Red Lion dinners became so famous that the tenement would scarcely hold the guests, and it was resolved to continue them wherever afterwards the Association should
meet. Gradually a club was formed, called the Red Lion Club, the members of which still assemble regularly in London, and amongst whom may be found some of the most distinguished cultivators of science, literature, and art, of the metropolis. It was at these meetings he chaunted his songs, which were always highly relished from the ease and gaiety that distinguished them, and from their reference to recent scientific or public events. Thus, at the meeting of the British Association at Oxford, in 1846, Mr Strickland gave a long evening lecture on the Dodo, a bird found on three islands of the Indian Archipelago by the early Portuguese navigators, and only extinct within the last two centuries. The subject was discussed for several hours the following morning in Section D, and gave rise to much amusement, when, in spite of the Prince of Canino's contending for the Dodo being of the cock-a-doodle species, it was generally voted to be a gigantic pigeon and a percher, though destitute of flying wings. At the next Red Lion dinner Forbes chaunted a long “ ornithological romance, giving a history and full account of the dis covery and opinions concerning the Do-do. The following are some of the best verses of this song :"
THE FATE OF THE DO-DO.1
A Do-do; a Do-do,
A Do-do; a regular do !
Our Do-do only a doo,
And, like our wonderful Do.do, Turn out not worth the hullabaloo !” But during all this time, though incessantly occupied in writing pages and books, arranging species, making excursions, multiplying observat and deducing laws, he ever considered all these as preparatory to the great object of his life--namely, the occupation of the chair of Natur History in the University of Edinburgh. Even his marriage, which curred in 1848, to the youngest daughter of the late General Sir C. As
"He pronounced these syllables as in the verb “ To do."
worth, did not, as with most men, induce him to take a house and furnish it. Though in London he was not of it, and he perseveringly refused to bamper himself with any incumbrances which might interfere with or ultimately prevent his elevation to the great professorship in the North. All his hopes and future plans pointed to Edinburgh as the only appropriate place for developing that vast amount of natural history acquirement he had attained. There, in the centre of the well-explored scenes of his youth, and surrounded by the friends and brethren of his student-days, was to be systematized the extraordinary mass of isolated observations which he had all his life been laboriously accumulating. There he was to give forth to crowded audiences the great generalizations which his penetrating intellect had enabled him to form. There he was to obtain that leisure which would enable him to finish those splendidlyillustrated works that were to hand his name down to posterity. There was to be formed a magnificent museum, to be arranged after a method of his own, and for which, during many years, he had been silently making preparations. Whole collections formed by naturalists in various parts of Europe were to have been absorbed in this great undertaking, and to him many jealous cultivators of science had promised to surrender treasures which no other man now is likely ever to command. So consistently and ably had he carried out those principles of scientific brotherhood which we have seen he developed in his early youth, that there can be no doubt that that Edinburgh Museum, which he had long determined to erect into a great monument to his name, would have ultimately equalled, if not surpassed, all similar institutions of the kind. Those and like plans he developed to us in the conversations we had with him on his first arrival in Edinburgh after his appointment to the chair ; and all who knew him will readily believe that they were not mere dreams or idle imaginings. For ourselves, we are firmly persuaded that, had he lived other ten years, his name would have descended to posterity as illustrious as those of Aristotle, Linnæus, and Cuvier.
At length he arrived at the goal of his wishes. How did his old friends rejoice on the 15th of last May, when, at his inaugural lecture, they spontaneously hastened from all parts of the country to welcome him and do him honour! None of them will soon forget the splendid auditory which assembled in the largest class-room of the University, crowded to overflowing with the learning, talent, and science of the modern Athens. To them with what meaning did the following passages teem, in the noble discourse he then deJivered, and which he afterwards revised for publication in the June No. of this Journal :
“If any spot on earth is peculiarly adapted for the study of natural history it is this the district in whose centre we are now assembled. Everywhere about us are abundant and admirable illustrations of zoology, botany, and geology. Of its excellent and well-explored flora I leave my eminent colleague and old friend, the Professor of Botany, to speak. Amid the rich materials of its fauna I learned some of my earliest and best zoological lessons. To dredge the Frith of Forth under the guidance of shrewd, strong-handed, and strongarmed Newhaven fishermen, was an early ambition of mine, and one never too often gratified. I know the riches of the living treasures that lie in its submarine deeps, and along its shores; and though, since the time I ventured to print occasional notices of these embryo efforts, I have explored most part of the coasts of the British Isles, and our seas far out, and foreign seas and estuaries, famous for their productions, I have not found any marine region with a population more varied within its limits, and better calculated to illustrate effectively the subjects of a naturalist's studies.
“ As to geology, where can there be a better district for practising the student in field observation? The leading phenomena of rock-masses are brought almost to the door of our class-rooms. Sedementary and igneous rocks contend to show us their anatomy and conformation. If a considerable part of the series of strata that constitute the geological scale be wanting, their very absence,