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By whom Communications (Post-paid) are thankfully received.

(Price Fifteen Shillings half-bound.)

Printed by J. ADLARD, Duke street, West-Smithfield.



No. 188.]

AUGUST 1, 1809.

[1 of Vol. 28.

As long as thofe who write are ambitious of making Converts, and of giving to their Opinions a Maximum of "Iufiuence and Celebrity, the most extensively circulated Mifcellany will repay with the greated Effect the *Curiosity of those who read either for Amusement or Inftruction."—JOHNSON,


For the Monthly Magazine. On the METHODS of taking off IMPRES SIONS of PLANTS.

Omnes artes que ad humanitatem pertinent, habent quoddam commune vinculum, et quasi cognatione quadam inter se con


! IN


N the Monthly Magazine of July last appeared an Essay on "An elegant Method of obtaining very neat and pleasing Representations of Plants," under the signature of William Pybus, of Hull, (page 536.)

It is indeed pleasing, to see any new means of facilitating science, and of rendering familiar to its votaries the products of nature; and hence, the liberal intentions of this writer claim general approbation; but I doubt whether the utility of the method he has recommended equally corresponds with his hopes. The process of applying the solution of Indian-ink would be tedious, and, from its tendency to dry, would prove inconvenient.

I should not have raised objections, had I not been in possession of a method, which I presume to think superior, by which the collector of plants might trans fer on paper an impression in the space of little more than a single minute.

About fifty years ago, I was in the habit of amusing leisure, by thus taking off icons of plants, being early fond of botany; although at that time I had access only to Gerard's Herbal, and I think I still retain a volume of impressions I then made.

In 1774, I published this method in my Naturalist's Companion, which was copied into several periodical works, and particularly into the Annual Register, about that period. My valued friend, the late Barbeu Dubourg, who published Oeuvres de Franklin, Paris, 1773, 4to. translated the Naturalist's Companion into French; and it afterwards acquired a German dress. The third section is entitled, "Directions, for bringing over MONTHLY MAT, No. 188,

Seeds and Plants from distant Countries." The work being out of print, I Shall quote verbatim that part of the Section, which applies to the present subject.


The impressions of plants, well taken off upon paper, look very little inferior to the best drawings, and may be done with very little trouble. For this purpose, some printer's ink, and a pair of printer's balls, such as are used for laying the ink on types, are necessary. After rubbing these balls with a little of the ink, lay the plant between them, and press it so as to give it sufficient colour: then take the plant, and lay it carefully on a sheet of paper, and press it with the hand, to, give the impression of the plant to the paper, which may be afterwards coloured according to nature; a piece of blotting-paper may be placed betwixt the plant and the hand, to prevent the latter from being dirtied by the ink." But if white paper be employed, instead of blotting-paper, we acquire at the same moment two impressions, or both surfaces of the same plant.

About twenty years ago, a young Frenchman visited London, to teach pupils, at the premium of one guinea each, how to convey upon paper, impressions of plants. He waited upon me for the same subscription. After he had a little explained himself, I shewed him iny volume, impressed after the manner he proposed to divulge as a new discovery, which was known even before he had existence.

I imagine that this ingenious art has been long practised in Germany, as well as here; for I have in my library, a folio volume, done in this manner, by Christopher Gottlieb Ludwig, entitled, "Ectypa vegetabilium usibus medicis præcipue destinatorum, et in Pharmacopoliis obviorum variisque modis præparatorum, ad naturæ similitudinem expressa. Hala Magdeburgie, 1760;" but whether this be a rare book, or not, is unknown to JOHN COAKLEY LETTSOM. Sambrook-court, July 13, 1809.


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