Folio 216

That Dr Penny[1] began the first of any the businesse of Insects.

That the great Botanists were to \be/ reckoned of the last Age and that they lived soe as to be acquainted one with an other and to be known in particular each to other in a manner as for Exanample Dalechamp,[2] John, and Caspar Bauhinus, Lobel,[3]and

Pena, Clusius,[4] Turner,[5] Gesner,[6] Dodoneus,[7] Imperatus,[8] Columna,[9] the two \last Italians/ the one a famous Apothecary and the o[ther] a Neapolitan nobleman.

The naturall Historians of Animals \were/ of the last age too temporarie.  Gesner,[10] Aldrovandus,[11] Muffet,

It was observed by a Venetian Apothecary a very curious Botanist (as Mr Wray told me), that there was not Extant any one Catalogue or History of \the/Plants \of Spaine/ writt by a Spaniard and when he had found by chance a Catalogue of the Plants of the Garden at Lisbon. upon Examination \the Author of it/ proved to be an Allemand. From which I beleuve to be a mere chance rather than out of humour and aver-\tion/

Our Age has produced few hitherto of Naturall Historie Cornutus,[12] Margravius, and Piso

That he \desired to have/ and bought all the Treatises concerning particular Plants viz de Sambuco,[13] an other in French de Adianto Formi,[14] Tabaeologia[15]etc

Folio 216 verso

Mr Wrays notion of Insects was that they were soe called, not but that the parts of many of them was clear[l]y to be shewne as in other Animals, but \rather/ (ab in scissuris)[16] from certain cuts and nicks which is proper to them.  besides they were those that be soe called, are for the most \part/ without blood; which is a sufficient caracter to know them by.

That he knew the plants much better by the Descriptions of J. Bauhinus, than by those of Clusius, though the latter was a learned Botanist.


[1] Literally ‘from in the clefts’, presumably the divisions between the insects’ body parts.

[2] Conrad Gesner’s (1516-1565) Historiae Animalium (Studies on Animals) that is considered to be the first modern zoological work and one of the most widely read of all Renaissance natural histories.  The work was first published in Zurich in four volumes, 1551-1558, and the Anglican clergyman and author Edward Topsell translated and abridged Gesner for his Historie of foure-footed beastes (London: William Jaggard, 1607). See Hans Fischer, ‘Conrad Gessner (1516-1565) as bibliographer and encyclopaedist’, The Library, 5th ser., XXI (1966), 269-281.

[3] Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522-1605), an Italian naturalist responsible for Bologna’s botanical garden. Aldrovandi had vast collections of zoological and botanical spécimens, and he wrote several works in natural history.

[4] Jacques Philippe Cornut (1606-1651) who wrote the first Canadian flora: Canadensium plantarum, aliarúmque nondum editarum historia nondum editarum historia cui adiectum est ad calcem enchiridion botanicum parisiense (Paris: Simon le Moyne, 1635). Cornut was a French physician who never visited North America, but received his plant specimens from the Robins family, who supervised the gardens of Henry IV and the garden of the Paris Faculty of Medicine, and the Morin family, who owned several Parisian commercial nurseries. He described and illustrated over thirty species from eastern North America for the first time, as well as five South African bulb plants.

[5] Martin and Johannes Blochwitz, Anatomia sambuci : quæ non solùm sambucum & hujusdem medicamenta singulatim delineat, verùm quoque plurimorum affectuum, ex una ferè solâ sambuco curationes breves, rationibus, exemplis, historiis & medicamentis specificis non paucis illustratas simul exhibet (Leipzig: Gothofredi Grosi, 1631).  This was a word dedicated to the therapeutic uses of the elder plant.

[6] Pierre Formi, Traité de l’adianton, ou, Cheveu de Venus : contenant la description, les utilitez, & les diverses preparations galeniques & spagyriques de cette plante : pour l’usage familier de toute sorte de personnes, en la guerison de quelle indisposition que ce soit  (Montpellier: Pierre du Boisson, 1644).   This work is dedicated to the botanical description and medical uses of the adianthus or maidenhead ferns.

[7] Jean Neander, Tabacologia, id est, Tabaci seu Nicotianae descriptio (Leiden, 1622).  There were several editions of this work dedicated to tobacco and its medical uses, including one published in Lyon in 1626.  Neander advised tobacco, which he called ‘a plant of God’s own making. Good for every condition’, could cure several diseases: ‘To cure gout: 1 lb. tobacco leaves steeped in oil, 12 live frogs, 4 live worms. Adding wine when this combination is well cooked. As a diuretic in dropsy: Tobacco wine: Leaves of tobacco 1 oz., Spanish white wine 1 lb., macerate for 7 days, strain through paper. Dose: 6-30 drops, gradually increased to 60 or 80 twice a day’.  See Grace G. Stewart, ‘A History of the Medical use of Tobacco, 1492-1860′, Medical History 11 (1967), 228–268.

[8] Charles de l’Escluse (1526-1609), was a significant horticulturalist, responsible for introducing the tulip and potato to the Netherlands, professor and director of the hortus botanicus in Leiden, and a Flemish doctor.  Like Lister, he studied at Montpellier.  Whilst there, he befriended Dr. Thomas Penny, and named what is now Swertia perennis, Gentiana punctata Pennaei, in his honour. Clusius also did zoological studies, publishing his Exoticorum libri decem: quibus animalium, plantarum, aromatum, aliorumque peregrinorum fructuum historiae describuntur: Item Petri Bellonis observationibus [...] (Leiden: Raphelengius, 1605).  The first six books are devoted to new species of plants, animals, and insects from the new World, Southeast Asia and Africa, and is important for the large numbers of novel descriptions of non-European plants and animals. For more on Clusius, see Brian W. Ogilvie, The Science of Describing: Natural History in Renaissance Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006).

[9] William Turner (?1508-1568), English divine, physician and natural historian who studied with Conrad Gesner.   He was best known for his work in botany, publishing A New Herball (1562), and in ornithology.  In 1544, Turner published the first printed book dedicated to birds: Avium praecipuarum, quarum apud Plinium et Aristotelem mentio est, brevis et succincta historia.

[10] Conrad Gesner (1516-1565), the famous Swiss naturalist and bibliographer.  During his lifetime, he published the Enchiridion historiae plantarum (1541) and the Catalogus plantarum (1542).

[11] Rembert Dodoens (1517-1585), a Flemish botanist and physician, best known for his herbal Cruydeboeck (1554), which was influenced by that of Leonhart Fuchs.  His work was especially complete with regard to materia medica.

[12] Ferrante Imperato (1525?-1615), an apothecary from Naples, published: Dell’historia naturale di Ferrante Imperato napolitano Libri XXVIII. Nella quale ordinatamente si tratta della diversa condition di miniere, e pietre. Con alcune historie di piante et animali; sin hora non date in luce. . .(Naples, 1599).  Illustrated within the book was Imperato’s own cabinet of curiosities, the first representation of a naturalists’ own research collection. Particularly notable were his herbarium, still preserved in the National Library of Naples, his fossil collection, and his herpetological research.  In the case of the latter, in his Historia Naturale he first described accurately two species of Amphibia and five of Reptilia. Imperato also investigated the reproductive biology of Salamandra salamandra, Vipera aspis, and Chalcides cbalcides.  See Nicola Maio and Enrica Stendardo, ‘Pioneering herpetological researches of Ferrante Imperato’, Italian Journal of Zoology 71, 2 (2004),  209-212; See also A. Neviani, ‘Ferrante Imperato speziale e naturalista napoletano’, Atti e memorie dell’Accademia di Storia dell’Arte Sanitaria 235, 2-5 (1936), 3-86; Paula Findlen, Possessing Nature: Museums, Collecting, and Scientific Culture in Early Modern Italy (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1996).

[13] Fabius Columna, Fabio Colonna (1567 -1650?), Italian botanist.

[14] Thomas Penny (1532-1589), an English physician and early entomologist.  His solo-authored works have not survived, although he was a contributor of Mouffet’s Insectorum sive minimorum animalium theatrum, providing many of the field observationsPenny was also a significant botanist, contributing to Gesner’s Historia plantarum.  As Allen has noted, the ‘Balearic St John’s Wort now known as Hypericum balearicum was named Myrtocistus pennaei by de l’Ecluse in honour of its discoverer’ and like Lister and Ray, Penny also did several simpling expeditions in Montpellier. As Potts and Fear have noted, ‘He is also remarkable in that he seems to have doubted the theory of spontaneous generation, the belief that living organisms, even mice, could arise from rotting matter, and to have defied Aristotle and grouped caterpillars with their butterflies and moths rather than with the worms’.  See W.T.W. Potts and L. Fear, ‘Thomas Penny the first English Entomologist’, Contrebis  xxv (2000).  See D. E. Allen, ‘Penny, Thomas (c.1530–1589)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004); W. Gardner, ‘A Lancashire entomologist in the time of Queen Elizabeth’, Annual Report & Proceedings of Lancashire & Cheshire Entomological Society (1928–30), 31–52; C. E. Raven, English naturalists from Neckam to Ray: a study of the making of the modern world (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1947), 153–91.

[15] Jacques Daléchamps (1513-1588), a physician, botanist, and philogist.  He received his medical degree from Montpellier where he studied with Rondelet.  His most important work was the Historia generalis plantarum (Latin edition, 1586-1587; Philip Borde, Laur. Arnaud, and Cl. Rigaud, 1615, French edition), which describes 2731 plants, a record for the time. Daléchamps described several plants around Lyon, where he practiced medicine at the Hôtel-Dieu. Some of the woodcuts were especially made for the book from plants that were sent to Daléchamps from L’Obel and l’Ecluse, but the majority of the illustrations were taken from works previously published.

[16] Matthias de l’Obel (1538-1616), physician and botanist to James I of England, and the namesake of the plant lobelia. With Pierre Pena (1535-1605), the physician to Henry III of France, L’Obel wrote Stirpium adversia nova (London: T. Purfoot, 1570/1), a description of 1300 plants.  In the work, L’Obel argued for the place of exact empiricism in botany and medicine.

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