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The very favourable reception which a former work of mine - “Scenes and Tales of Country Life" has met with from the Public another edition of that work having been called for, has induced me, in putting forth the present edition, to add very considerably to that portion of it which comprized facts and circumstances in Natural History, omitting the Tales of Country Life. This I have done, with a sincere and earnest wish that it may be found both instructive and amusing to the young, by drawing their attention to those scenes and occupations of the country which are generally found so attractive. In fact, when our attention is properly directed to the contemplation of the infinite wisdom and goodness displayed in the Works of the Great Creator, we imbibe lessons of the utmost utility, while at the same time the mind is agreeably entertained, and we perceive that a superintending Providence forms, directs, and perfects everything with an order and harmony which should call forth our admiration, gratitude and love.
My wish to multiply observations on this subject, and to describe more of what I have learnt in the beautiful neighbourhood in which I reside, must be my excuse for offering this new edition of my work to the notice of the public. I have also another motive — that of an earnest desire to be of use to others. Freed as I now am from official duties, I cannot better devote the remainder of my days than in an humble endeavour to prove to others that the study and contemplation of the works of nature will always afford an inexhaustible source of instruction and improvement. Whether in the stillness of night, or in the calm repose of an autumnal evening, or in the bright sunshine of a returning spring, the mind may always be elevated to the Great Creator of all things, and some interesting object be presented to the enquiring observer of nature. There is, in fact, nothing, from the most minute to the most vast of the works of Creation, which will not, if properly
examined and studied, tend to raise our thoughts " from Nature up to Nature's God.”
I must now offer my acknowledgment to my kind friend and neighbour Professor Owen for the account of that interesting animal the Hippopotamus now in the Zoological Gardens.
I am also under great obligations to a gentleman whose pleasing observations, deep enquiries, and happy facility of expressing them, have enriched this Volume. I only regret that I am prohibited from mentioning his name.
Some of the notices of trees were written by the Rev. Thomas White, the brother of the well known Author of the Natural History of Selborne, and were placed in my hands by one of the members of his family.