Lamarck, the Founder of Evolution: His Life and Work by A. S. (Alpheus Spring) Packard

By A. S. (Alpheus Spring) Packard

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14] Soon Lamarck abandoned not only a military career, but also music, medicine, and the bank, and devoted himself exclusively to science. He was now twenty-four years old, and, becoming a student of botany under Bernard de Jussieu, for ten years gave unremitting attention to this science, and especially to a study of the French flora. ” However this may be, the results of over nine preceding years of study, gathered together, written, and printed within the brief period of half a year, was no hasty tour de force, but a well-matured, solid work which for many years remained a standard one.

Thouin, the professor of horticulture, was the 32 Lamarck, the Founder of Evolution: His Life and Work veteran gardener and architect of the Jardin des Plantes, and withal a most useful man. He was affable, modest, genial, greatly beloved by his students, a man of high character, and possessing much executive ability. A street near the Jardin was named after him. He was succeeded by Bosc. Desfontaines had the chair of botany, but his attainments as a botanist were mediocre, and his lectures were said to have been tame and uninteresting.

De Lamarck had made some conchological studies. Oh, how, in 1793, did he regret that his friend had gone to Persia! He had wished, he had planned, that he should take the professorship which it was proposed to create. ” His spirit, still young and fresh after nearly thirty years of mental toil, so unrequited in material things, felt a new stimulus as he began to investigate the lower animals, so promising a field for discovery. He said himself: “That which is the more singular is that the most important phenomena to be considered have been offered to our meditations only since the time when attention has been paid to the animals least perfect, and when researches on the different complications of the organization of these animals have become the principal foundation of their study.

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