CAVANILLES (Levoete Joan), a SO. Web Ecclesiastic, who devoted himself with great assiduity to the study of Botany, and has publish ed several important works, was born in 1746 ebb Valencia. He received his best education Jesuits in that 'university, and he ever the urbanity of character and manners characteristic of that celebrated order of men. These were, in accompanied with more estimable' qualities of the heart than are usually attributed to that order, or that any other exclusively possesses. He early devoted himself to the studies of divinity and [bike. eophy, and was distinguished for diligence and abili ty, not only ist these pursuits, but in the mathema tics, binary, and belles letires. He afterwards re moved to Murcia, where he acquired so much credit, that he was chosen by the late Duke de l'Infantedo to superintend the education of his sons. In the house of this nobleman be was perfectly dcanesticat ed, and when, after a course of years, the death of his patron brace up a circle of mole than usual do mestic virtue and felicity, at least that elevated mak of life, the Abbe Cavanilles became only a more valuable mad confidential friend of the surely on. He accompanied the sans of the Duke, le their father's lifetime, to Paris ia 1777, where he Isesided twelve years, adding to his various lemma tion, and praticularly cultivating the aciewe of Ber lorry, with all the aids which that celebrated capital` was so well calculated to afford. Here he was more particularly associated with the famous Juseime, end die pupils of his wheal. From the Liebman bolo. /pieta of Paris be WAS a good deal estranged. Yet 1m acquired a great inclination towards the Swedish school, and imbibed many of its good p4aciples.
The first publicatioe of the .Abbe euvanilles wars in French, entitled Obserodiant ear roads is pare" de in suareelle Zacyclopidie. This pamphlet contained a defence of his country, against what sip. permed to him an unfair attack upon it ; but we know not the particular subjects of the discus:00a.• We have no difficulty iu conceiving that they might 'be manifold, and that there were few opinions won which a man of Cavamuilles' cerrectness and ordure dotty of character, to say nothing of his patriotism, was likely to gree with the writers of the above mentioned celebrated work.
He soon after devoted himself to a ready which. promised him a less thorny path. In 1744. he pub liaised at Paris his first Dissertation upon Monad yoksas Plants, a Latin *to, containing the species of the genus Side, with some plants nearly related thereto. The plat% uncoloured, were executed
from his own drawings ; as were those of the rest of his numerous publications. The specimens define. ated in this first essay, were too small and imperfect. Is that respect his following dissertations, making tea in all, have ucausidesable superiority. His sub sequent Brines were .ahm better engraved. The de 'Options am full and correct ; the new species au. =sous ; mad the specific eliarecters tolerably classi cal, though not paste unonnatainated by the feeble ness and ambiguity Odic reach school. This work, in its beginning, not iseiwg noticed by the Lianatan Issuusine of Per and esposiogy Lam, with.
any respectful attention, the author, in an evil hour, was induced to complain, in the Journal de Paris, of neglect, and of injustice. L'Heritier had not no ticed the book in his Stirpes Notue ; had published the same plants by different names, without citing Cavanilles; and had even antedated some of his own Fasciculi, to conceal, as it appeared, this literary in correctness. His reply could not, in the opinion of unprejudiced witnessed, clear him of illiberal con duct ; though, it is very certain, he neither did nor could borrow any thing from Cavanilles— It would have been better to have declared the truth ; that his own plates were already engraved with different names, or that he had at least chosen such as seem ed to him preferable. The authority of L'Heritier's works, by their transcendent merit, has prevailed, while Cavanilles has retained all the credit due to correctness of principle and intention. The 9th and 10th fasciculi of Cavanilles, on the Monadelphous Plants, were indeed published at Madrid, to which place the author returned in 1790. The number of plates, in the whole work, are 296, many of which, especially in the earlier part, contain several specie,. It cannot be denied that the merit of this work kept increasing as it advanced. The abilities of • the writer gained strength by exercise, and his know ledge was enriched by experience. He is charged with admitting, as monadelphous, too many plants, the union of whose stamens is very alight or tamer tab ; but it were ungrateful to complain of any book for the its materials. A more real fault is, that usual one, of too great; and artificial, a subdivi sion of genera. This is also the fault of the school in which he studied, though the great man at its head is perhaps as free from it as any leading writ er.