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Chapter 6 The Natural History of Plants: Rival Conceptions

1. On the transformation of botany in early modern Europe, see the works by Arber, Callot, Clark-Kennedy, Crestois, Davy de Virville, Delaporte, Eriksson, Greene, Henrey, Oliver, Raven, Reeds, von Sachs, and Webster, cited in the bibliography. previous hit Dodart next hit was asked to explain sensitivity in the Academy's description of the mimosa: BMHN MS. 451: 417v. [BACK]

2. Cailleux, "Progression du nombre d'espèces de plantes," 44; Raven, John Ray, 254. [BACK]

3. Raven, John Ray, 191-92. [BACK]

4. Huygens, Oeuvres, 6: 95-96 (1666); 19: 270-71; Bertrand, L'Académie et les académicians, 8-10; Bacon, Works, 4: 251-52, 265-70. [BACK]

5. AdS, Reg., 1: 30-38. [BACK]

6. The word la botanique appeared in Randle Cotgrave's Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues, published in 1611. Although John Ray may have used botany to refer to the general study of plants in the 1690s, the French kept the more restricted usage: OED; Tournefort, Élémens de botanique, 520; Furetière, Dictionnaire; Bloch and Wartburg, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue française, 79; Dauzat, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue française, 99; Littré, Dictionnaire, 4: 1719. [BACK]

7. The duke's 18-volume "histoire naturelle des oyseaux et des plantes peints en miniature" was acquired by the Bibliothèque du roi: BN Archives de l'ancien régime 53: 2v-3r. It is now part of BMHN Rés., Vélins; see also Dorst and Laissus, Nicolas Robert et les Vélins; Robert et al., Vélins du Muséum. [BACK]

8. AdS, Reg., 1: 30-31, 36, 37-38. See Whitmore, The Order of Minims, on Plumier's botanical work. [BACK]

9. Justel knew of the Academy's plans to use the duke's paintings and was familiar with Perrault's recommendations: Oldenburg, Correspondence, 4: 256-57 (Mar. 1668); Brown, Scientific Organizations, 157. Comparison of the vellums (BMHN Rés., Vélins) with the drawings (BMHN Rés., Recueil des plantes) shows that Perrault's suggestions were put into practice. In several drawings of large plants the scale is indicated by a leaf portrayed in its actual size. The drawing is sometimes reversed in the engraving: figs. 2, 5, 11 (BMHN Rés., Recueil des plantes, 230, 257, 293). [BACK]

10. AdS, Reg., 4: 48r-55r (9 June 1668). [BACK]

11. Duclos used the word l'herbe, which rarely occurs in the writings of other academicians. This is consistent with the pattern identified by Prévost, "Sur la sémantique des mots herba et herbe," and "Sémantique de 'herbe' et 'plante.'" [BACK]

12. The solutions Duclos mentioned were vitriol de mars, sel de plomb, and noix de galle. Bacon had included the "Chemical History of Vegetables" in natural history: Works, 4: 254, 255, 299. [BACK]

13. AdS, Reg., 4: 54r: "Et parce que l'on a dessein d'escrire cette histoire en langue françoise, Il seroit bon d'estre informé des noms que Le vulgaire des Principales Provinces de France donne a chaque Plante, pour les Joindre a ceux des autres Langues." For the distinction between "nom François" and "nom vulgaire," see BMHN MS. 448: 65r; cf. 109r. Conrad Gesner recorded vernacular names: Greene, Landmarks, 794. [BACK]

14. Bréchot et al., "Note bibliographique," 374. There was discussion, however, about publishing the natural history with a bilingual — French and Latin — text: BMHN MS. 450: 6r. [BACK]

15. AdS, Reg., 4: 48v, 54r, 54v-55r. Fontenelle's remark that the natural history was to be a catalogue of plants in France misinterprets Du Hamel's otherwise similar account for 1686: Histoire, 2: 1-2; Historia, 250. Tradition and Louis XIV's foreign policy encouraged the Academy to obtain numerous Mediterranean and middle eastern specimens; this is partial background to Tournefort's trip to the Levant. Dippy, interpreter and specialist in near eastern languages, helped academicians read the relevant literature: BMHN MS. 450: 418-49. [BACK]

16. For information about the editions of Mémoires des plantes, see Nissen Die botanische Buchillustration, 2: 48-49. Robert Hooke reviewed the book in Philosophical Collections, 1: 39-42. [BACK]

17. previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 125, 130, 132-33; Chevreul, "Recherches expérimentales," 114. The queries and drafts in BMHN MSS. 448-51 may shed light on the development of French botanical vocabulary; see for example MS. 450: 117r, item ii, or 300r. [BACK]

18. previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 123-25, 135, 136; AdS, Reg., 4: 49r; BMHN MS. 450: 47r, 56r, 103r, item ii. previous hit Dodart next hit used the phrases "la plante parfaite" (the mature plant) and "la plante nait" (the plant first appears); he and Perrault used "la plante naissante" (the young plant). Botanical vocabulary, therefore, drew on zoological language to speak of the "naissance" or "birth" of plants. The drawing on which fig. 5 is based lacks the young shoot and shows a longer stem on the main plant (BMHN Rés., Recueil des plantes, 293). Bourdelin sometimes supplied materials required by the engravers: BN MS. n. a. fr. 5147: 16r. [BACK]

19. previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 241; Davy de Virville, "De l'influence des idées préconçues," 112. [BACK]

20. previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 138; AdS, Reg., 1: 30, 31, 33-34; BMHN MS. 449: 154r-55v. [BACK]

21. previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 138; cf. Bacon, Works, 4: 261. [BACK]

22. previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 129, 137-38. [BACK]

23. Ray had similar ideas during the 1650s and 1660s: Raven, John Ray, chaps. 4 and 5. [BACK]

24. AdS, Reg., 1: 32: "Jardin Academique." [BACK]

25. Laissus and Monseigny, "Les Plantes du Roi," 204. [BACK]

26. AdS, Reg., 7: 124v (4 Sept. 1677); 10: 17r; 11: 116v-17r, 124r, 125v (20 Jan., 11, 25 Apr. 1685); Marchant, Descriptions de quelques plantes nouvelles; Olmsted, "Voyage of Jean Richer," n. 84. Compare Raven, John Ray, 215. [BACK]

27. AdS, Reg., 8: 215r-v (Apr. 1678-June 1679); 10: 44v, 72r-v, 83r, 109r, 152v (June 1679-June 1683); Histoire, 1: 307, 374, and passim. See also Bourdelin's notebooks in AdS, Cartons 1666-1793, 1-2, and BN MSS. n. a. fr. 5133-49. [BACK]

28. AdS, Reg., 11: 118v (27 Jan. 1685). [BACK]

29. "L'Academie a-t-elle confronté cette description, et toutes les autres avec la nature? Car cela est de l'ordre et d'une necessité absolue": BMHN MS. 451: 139r. [BACK]

30. AdS, Reg., 1: 254, 256 (11 Feb., 9, 17 Mar. 1668); 4: 16v-17v, 21r-v, 30r-v, 48r-55v (5, 12, 19 May, 2 June 1668). [BACK]

31. Ibid., 4: 54r; 8: 215v (Apr. 1678-June 1679); 10: 72r-v (Aug. 1680-June 1681); 11: 116v-17r (20 Jan. 1685); Histoire, 1: 307. [BACK]

32. Bourdelin analyzed plants at his own initiative on 4 June 1668, five days before Duclos suggested the work: BN MS. n. a. fr. 5133: 14 (from back of volume). [BACK]

33. BMHN MS$. 448-51 contain examples and advice about method. Academicians were supposed to read all existing descriptions of a plant first, then compare them with the plant itself, before drafting their own description. Plant descriptions often started with the root and worked up. They disputed earlier claims, listed the uses, cultivation, and source of the plant, named the persons who had brought rare specimens to the Academy, and often collated names; they rarely included chemical analyses but might describe the flavor of the plant. To discover this, the Marchants chewed parts of the plant slowly and noted the flavor at various stages. More plants were described and drawn than were engraved. See BMHN MS. 450: 52r, 55v, 62r, 322r. For some of previous hit Dodart's next hit descriptions, see AdS, Reg., 8: 114r, 130r-v (26 May, 16 June 1677); 7: 134v (11 Dec. 1677); 8: 156r, 215r-v (June 1677-June 1679). See also Historia passim; Histoire, 1: 282, 328, 374, 431; 2: 10-11, 29, 53, 68, 93, 122, 188, 257-58, 280, and passim. [BACK]

34. AdS, Reg., 10: 85r-v (5 Dec. 1681). [BACK]

35. Raven, John Ray, 213. [BACK]

36. Chastillon got the right to attend all meetings of the Academy in 1707: BA MS. 4624: 68. [BACK]

37. AdS, Reg., 10: 80v, 111v (3 Dec. 1681, 5 Aug. 1682, Marchant). [BACK]

38. According to the minutes, Histoire, and BMHN MS. 89, dossier 2, Chastillon and Joubert drew the parts of plants and academicians compared the drawings with the plants in 1692, 1693, and 1695. But these activities cannot be correlated with the records of the royal treasury. Many drawings in BMHN Rés., Recueil des plantes, reflect revisions during the 1680s and 1690s; on them are glued smaller pieces of paper with a name, seed, flower, or leaf. For an explanation of the several strikes made from the Academy's engravings, see Nissen, Die botanische Buchillustration, 2: 48-49; Bréchot et al., "Note bibliographique"; and Laissus and Monseigny, "Les Plantes du Roi," 214-36. [BACK]

39. BMHN Rés., Recueil des plantes, 69-74, 81, 91, 147. [BACK]

40. AdS, Reg., 8: 182v, 223r (20 July 1678, 26 July 1679); 11: 131v, 133r, 167r (20 June, 4 July 1685, 21 Mar. 1686); 12: 31v, 35r, 38r, 48r, 59v, 135r (19 Feb., 19 Mar., 28 May, 23 July 1687, 30 Apr. 1688, 1 June 1689); 13: 126r (21 Jan. 1693); 14: 69r (9 Mar. 1695). Tournefort followed the same procedure when he read his Élémens de botanique to the Academy in order to obtain permission for its publication: AdS, Reg., 13: 129v (11 Mar. 1693). previous hit Dodart next hit occasionally brought drawings of parts of plants which had not yet been described or engraved: ibid., 8: 156r, 215v (June 1677-June 1679). For discrepancies between the illustration and the description, see BMHN MS. 450: 331v-32v. [BACK]

41. BMHN MS. 450: 82r. Bosse's engraving is faithful to Robert's painting (BMHN Rés., Vélins, 22: 1), except that he elaborated the rock, earth, and grass in the drawing (BMHN Rés., Recueil des plantes, 130) and engraving. [BACK]

42. "Je ne scay pourquoy ce rejetton a droite!... ny ce pot ... il faudroit l'effacer & mettre la racine au lieu": BMHN MS. 450: 95r. A comparison of the vellum (BMHN Rés., Vélins, 27: 26), drawing (BMHN Rés., Recueil des plantes, 160), and engraving shows that the pot was elaborated and that the branch on the right was not in the vellum or the drawing. [BACK]

43. "Pourquoy Mas? est ce a cause du chicot ... mentionné dans la description? Dioscoride fait la distinction de masle et femelle et ne la tire pas de la.... La figure ne la represents pas masle par la racine mais plustost femelle et avec une affectation ridicule. Il la faut corriger. On ne doit pas donner dans ces visions": BMHN MS. 450: 129r, 179r, and 292r. The engraving was based on and elaborated Robert's vellum, which was one of a pair; the other, Mandragora foemina, inspired the Academy's Mandragora flore sub caeruleo purpurascente (fig. 8), from which the engraver discreetly omitted the root: BMHN Rés., Vélins, 23: 25, 26, and Recueil des plantes, 233, 234. Jean Marchant discussed mandrake plants and their "pretendues vertus" in 1721: BN MS. 89, dossier 3. [BACK]

44. BMHN MS. 450: 109r, 266r. The drawing (BMHN Rés., Recueil des plantes, 183) and engraving both show this fault, but the drawing lacks the seed. Errors of proportion showed up in other cases as well: BMHN MS. 450: 154, is marked "il faut alonger la tige denviron de trois doits." [BACK]

45. BMHN MS. 450: 45r-47r, 107r, 124r, and passim. [BACK]

46. The butterflies are not in the drawing: BMHN Rés., Recueil des plantes, 84. [BACK]

47. Cymbalaria (fig. 3), lacked the names of Caspar and Jean Bauhin; in desperation previous hit Dodart next hit suggested, "... il suffira, peut-estre, de l'adjouster a l'imprimé. Il semble qu'on ne se peut dispenser de mettre le nom de J B a toutes les Plantes quand le nom q[ui]l donne est different de celuy que son Frere a donné": BMHN MS. 450: 82r. The drawings reveal some confusion about the identities of plants: BMHN Rés., Recueil des plantes, 26-30. [BACK]

48. AdS, Reg., 11: 55v-56r (15 Apr. 1684, previous hit Dodart next hit). [BACK]

49. BMHN MS. 89, dossier 2: "Memoires des dessins de plusieurs fleurs et autres parties de plantes données a Mr. de Chastillon lan 1692" and a similar list for 1693. [BACK]

50. See n. 32, above. Duclos complained that he had no laboratory: AdS, Reg., 4: 58r. Chemical analysis of plants was discussed before June 1668: ibid., 1: 36-37, 203, 249 (15 Jan., 12 Feb. 1667, 21 Jan. 1668). Bourdelin's earliest full notebooks of regular experiments on plants date from 1672: BN MSS. n. a. fr. 5134-35. [BACK]

51. References are too numerous to cite; see, for example, AdS, Reg., 11: 117r-v (20 Jan. 1685), for a list of the plants and animals Bourdelin distilled from Mar. to Sept. 1684. In 1680 he analyzed 90 plants: Histoire, 1: 307-8. For Bourdelin's notebooks, see AdS, Cartons 1666-1793, 1-2; BN MSS. n. a. fr. 5133-46, 5148. [BACK]

52. previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 241. [BACK]

53. Jean Marchant catalogued 300 plants not yet analyzed that could be found within 20 lieues of Paris, indicating the times of flowering to assist Bourdelin in planning his analyses: AdS, Reg., 8: 215r-v (Apr. 1678-June 1679). Marchant later gave Bourdelin another catalogue of 200 plants: ibid., 10: 13r (20 Mar. 1680). [BACK]

54. For the supply of plants to the laboratory, see CdB, 1: 781 (1674); AdS, Reg., 10: 44v, 72r-v (June 1679-June 1681); BN MS. n. a. fr. 5149: 11r, 12r, 13r, 16r, 17r, 18v (1678-86); BN MS. n. a. fr. 5147: 103r, 107r, 110r, 111r-v, 113v, 115v, 118v, 119r, and passim. Some payments were for gathering and transporting plants from the Jardin royal. [BACK]

55. AdS, Cartons 1666-1793, 3. See also AdS, Reg., 8: 63r, 74r (6 Nov. 1675, 29 Jan. 1676); 10: 72r, 82v, 109r, 152v (Aug. 1680-June 1683). previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 185-86. [BACK]

56. Duclos completed the research for his Observations in 1671, and he was busy writing the book until 1674 or 1675. [BACK]

57. Table 1a: previous hit Dodart next hit received a pension in 1671 "because of his profound knowledge of natural philosophy, and since he has attended for nine months the meetings of the Académie des Sciences"; in 1672 it was for his work in "phisique" or natural philosophy. These entries belie Fontenelle's statement that previous hit Dodart next hit did not become an academician until 1673: Histoire, 2: 364; Histoire ... 1707, 186. [BACK]

58. Huygens, Oeuvres, 7: 11-12 (25 Feb. 1670); AdS, Reg., 8: 4v-5r (23 Jan. 1675). [BACK]

59. AdS, Reg., 7: 201r-9v (3 Sept. 1678); 8: 204r-v (24 May 1679); 10: 19v, 22r-25v, 47v (22 May, 12 June, 4 Sept. 1680). Puech-Milhau, "Interview on Canada." See also previous hit Dodart's next hit nonbotanical publications. [BACK]

60. AdS, Reg., 8: 5r-7v, 122r (1674, 2 June 1677); AdS, Cartons 1666-1793, 3; BMHN MS. 450; Jean Marchant's copies of previous hit Dodart's next hit papers: BMHN MS. 449: 154r-55v, 168r-69v, 188r-89r; Marchant asked previous hit Dodart next hit to consult Morison's book (BMHN MS. 451: 200v). [BACK]

61. BN MS. fr. 1333: 42v-44r. [BACK]

62. BMHN MS. 1278: 2r, 4r, 7v, 8r, 10v-11r, 11v. previous hit Dodart next hit, however, sought the formal approval of the Academy and Colbert for his "Avertissement" to the book: AdS, Reg., 7: 19v (7 Sept. 1675); La Hire referred to the Academy's mandate to previous hit Dodart next hit to write the book: Huygens, Oeuvres, 9: 264 (3 Mar. 1688). [BACK]

63. BMHN MS. 1278: 10v-11v; previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 157-58, 160. For previous hit Dodart's next hit efforts to incorporate the results of chemical analysis into the descriptions of plants, see AdS, Cartons 1666-1793, 3; BMHN MS. 450: 5r, 21r-31v, 42r; BMHN MS. 447, dossier 4, "Catalogue de quelques plantes analysées." [BACK]

64. The critical notes in BMHN MS. 448-51 show that previous hit Dodart next hit also clashed with the Marchants over the style and content of descriptions and illustrations. [BACK]

65. For Reneaume's positive assessment of the work, see Tournefort, 212. [BACK]

66. For failures to answer objections or to act on suggestions, see MS. 450: 127r. [BACK]

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