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THE NATURAL HISTORY

OF SELBORNE.

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HARVARD
UNIVERSITY

LIBRARY
051*86

CHISWICK PRESS :--C. WHITTINGHAM, TOOKS COURT,

CHANCERY LANE.

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HE NATURAL HISTORY OF SELBORNE consists of a series of letters descriptive of the scenery and other natural objects in a highly interesting district of Hampshire, situated on the outlying

spurs of the South Downs. They are addressed to Mr. Pennant, and the Honourable Daines Barringtoneminent Naturalists of the last century, and are charming examples of free and unrestrained interchange of thought between men of similar habits and pursuits; but their chief claim to notice lies in the interesting observation on the nature and habits of birds. In one of his letters to Mr. Barrington the author tells us how these facts were collected :-" If there is any merit in these sketches,” he says, “it must be in their exactness. For many months I carried a list in my pocket of the birds that were to be remarked on, and as I rode or walked about, I noted each day the continuance or omission of each bird's song, so that I am as certain of my facts as a man can be of any transaction whatever." In this manner a valuable record of natural incidents was collected, and the faithfulness of the observations is proved by the severe ordeal to which the numerous observing Naturalists of the last half century subjected them; in the course of which most of the author's observations have been confirmed.

But great as the interest of the letters themselves may be; and important as are the observations; these are not the ovly merits of the author. To him belongs the honour of having roused the observing faculties and directed the intel

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