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THIS book was originally intended for the amusement and instruction of children, and for the use of seminaries and boarding schools. It was purposely calculated to impart a superficial, yet sufficient knowledge of the animal creation, in order to raise the mind towards its Divine Author ; but it seems that, in the hurry of compilation, the writer had unwittingly admitted several subjects and observations, which have been since properly deemed objectionable; that erroneous opinions, which, though apparently consecrated by the authority of ancient authors, and adopted by modern writers, could not be maintained, had crept into the publication ; and that fabulous animals, which never existed but in the fanciful imagination of poets and romancers, had usurped a place among real beings. In justice to the compilers and revisers of the work, we must openly declare, that, though the means were not sufficiently well-chosen, and the result imperfect, yet the intention was good, and the numerous editions, through which the book bas run, with the approbation, and under the patronage of the public, stand as undeniable proofs of its real utility.
Publications upon Natural History arc in genernl too voluminous, and consequently too expensive for common use; and besides, we must confess, that