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READE's LECTURER IN THE UNIVERSITY OF campaidge, SUPERINTENDENT OF THE NATURAL
I AVAIL myself with pleasure of your permission to dedicate to you the present Discourse, which owes its existence principally to your favourable opinion of my ability to discharge the trust which you have done me the honour of confiding to me. Believe me to be, With the highest esteem and respect,
Your obliged and faithful Servant,
MR WICE-CHANCELLOR AND GENTLEMEN OF THE
My first impulse in availing myself of the privilege of addressing you in this place, is, to give expression to the deep sense which I entertain of the honour conferred on me by my appointment to “Sir Robert Reade's Lectureship, especially as it is the first which has been made since the revival of that ancient foundation. Believe me, Sir, I truly appreciate the favour of your choice, and am fully impressed with the responsibilities which it involves. And if my acknowledgments should seem curt or inadequate, I would beseech you to believe that this results from the wish not to trespass too long on your most valuable time, but to devote to the subject selected as much as may be of the period commonly allotted to an oral discourse. In reviewing, for the choice of this subject, the field of Natural Science in which I am a labourer, I desired to select one that might be treated of with a certain degree of completeness in a single Lecture, one that would enable me to submit to you some of the more recent generalisations in Natural History, and at the same time exemplify the applicability of that science, as a discipline, to the improvement of the intellect, and especially as a sharpener of the faculties of observation and of methodical arrangement. I trust that in the attempt to briefly unfold the Classification and Geographical Distribution of the Mammalia I may attain the end I have in view. The generalisation resulting in the idea of the natural group of animals, so called, is one of ancient date. The ZootoRA of Aristotle included the same outwardly diverse but organically similar beings which constitute the MAMMALIA of modern Naturalists. In that truly extraordinary compendium of zoological and zootomical knowledge, the ‘IIept Łóov ioTopias”,” animals generally, and by implication the
* Ed. Schneider, Leipzig, 1811, 4 Vols. 8vo.