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THE more highly esteemed plants of which I am now about to speak, and which are produced by the earth for medicinal purposes solely, inspire me with admiration of the industry and laborious research displayed by the ancients. Indeed there is nothing that they have not tested by experiment or left untried; no discovery of theirs which they have not disclosed, or which they have not been desirous to leave for the benefit of posterity. We, on the contrary, at the present day, make it our object to conceal and suppress the results of our labours, and to defraud our fellow-men of blessings even which have been purchased by others. For true it is, beyond all doubt, that those who have gained any trifling accession of knowledge, keep it to themselves, and envy the enjoyment of it by others; to leave mankind uninstructed being looked upon as the high prerogative of learning. So far is it from being the habit with them to enter upon new fields of discovery, with the view of benefitting mankind at large, that for this long time past it has been the greatest effort of the ingenuity of each, to keep to himself the successful results of the experience of former ages, and so bury them for ever!

And. yet, by Hercules! a single invention before now has elevated men to the rank of gods; and how many an individual has had his name immortalized in being bestowed upon some plant which he was the first to discover, thanks to the gratitude which prompted a succeeding age to make some adequate return! If it had been expended solely upon the plants which are grown to please the eye, or which invite us by their nutrimental properties, this laborious research on the part of the ancients would not have been so surprising; but in addition to this, we find them climbing by devious tracts to the very summit of mountains, penetrating to the very heart of wilds and deserts, and searching into every vein and fibre of the earth-and all this, to discover the hidden virtues of every root, the properties of the leaf of every plant, and the various purposes to which they might be applied; converting thereby those vegetable productions, which the very beasts of the field refuse to touch, into so many instruments for our welfare.

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