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Varper's Stereotype Edition.
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY J. & J. HARPER, 82 CLIFF-ST.
T. & J. Swords & Co., and J. P. Haven ;-PHILADELPHIA, Carey & Lea, John Grigg, Towar & J. & D.
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW-YORK, #, BE
E IT REMEMBERED, That on the 3d day of January, A. D. 1831, in the fifty-fifth year of the independence of the United
States of America, J. & J. HARPER, of the said district, have deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof they claim as Proprietors, in the words following, to wit:
“ The Book of Nature. By John Mason Good, M.D. F.R.S. F.R.S.L. Mem. Am. Phil. Soc. and F.L.S. of Philadelphia. To whicle is now Prefixed, a Sketch of the Author's Life.”
In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled “ An Act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned.” And also to an Act entitled, " An Act, supplementary to an Act, entitled an Act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned, and ex. tending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."
FREDERICK J. BETTS,
SKETCH OF THE AUTHOR'S LIFE.
In attempting to furnish the readers of “The Book of Nature” with a delineation of the life and character of its distinguished author, even a more experienced biographer might approach the task with hesitancy. The writer of the following sketch will not therefore affect to conceal his apprehensions that in so brief a space as is allotted to him, he may fail of doing justice to the name and memory of one possessed of such rare intellectual and moral endowments. Happily, however, the name of Dr. John Mason Good has become identified with the history of our own times, and his numerous and able contributions to our stock of knowledge, of a literary, professional, and religious nature, furnish a monument to his memory more imperishable than brass. His friend and contemporary, Dr. Olinthus Gregory, in his “Memoirs,” embracing his life, writings, and character, has given to the world ample testimonials of his surprising genius, untiring industry, and extraordinary erudition: And though the lines are traced by the hand of affection, yet we discover no marks of fulsome adulation or enthusiastic eulogy. The writer seemed to feel that to depart from the simple and artless narrative of facts would but detract from the merits of the individual whose learning and virtues constito:ted his theme. Little else than a summary of this interesting biography will be attempted in the present sketch.
Dr. John Mason Good was the son of the Rev. Peter Good, a minister. of the Independent or Congregational class of Dissenters, at Epping, in Essex. He was born May 25th, 1764; and received his name from the celebrated John Mason, author of the treatise on “ Self-knowledge,” who was his maternal uncle.
His first studies were under the superintendence of his father ; who, for the sake of educating his sons to his own mind, organized a seminary, in which were also the sons of a few of his personal friends,the number of pupils being limited to sixteen. There he very early acquired those habits of study, and that taste for literary pursuits, in which he was destined to excel in after-life. He acquired, while very young, an accurate knowledge of the Latin, Greek, and French languages, and thus laid the foundation for his subsequent high attainments as a linguist. When he was a little more than twelve
age, his indefatigable studies began very seriously to impair his health, and his sedentary habits produced a curvature of the spine, which interrupted his growth, and well nigh destroyed his constitution. But even then, it was only at the fervent importunity of his honoured father, that he consented to partake