(1694 - 1773)
(Born: Stratford, near Westham, Essex, England, 3 April 1694; Died: Westham, Essex, England, 23 April 1773) English naturalist.
As a youth, Edwards had access to a large library, which developed his habit of incessant reading. He traveled throughout northern Europe, and in 1718 while going through Norway he was imprisioned by Danish soldiers who suspected him of spying. After his release, the travels were continued through France. He returned to England in 1720, where he began producing colored drawings of animals that fetched good prices and brought him contact with influential men of the period. One of them, Sir Hans Sloane, recommended Edwards as librarian of the Royal College of Physicians in 1733. His great work was an illustrated History of Birds (4 vols., London, 1743-51), for which the Royal Society awarded him a gold medal and elected him a fellow.
Biographical references: Allibone, Dictionary of English Literature, 1859-71. BBA: I 363, 424-452; II 1456, 42-43. Biographie Universelle: 12, 277 [by G. Cuvier]. Catalogue of Portraits of Naturalists: 393 [3 portraits listed]. DNB: 6, 535-6. Poggendorff: 1, col. 644. Watt, Bibliotheca Britannica, 1824. WBI.
Elements of Fossilogy, 1776
1. English, 1776.
Elements | Of | Fossilogy*: | or, an | Arrangement | of | Fossils, | into | Classes, Order, Genera, | and Species; | with | Their Characters. | [rule] | By George Edwards, Esq; | [rule] | Fidem non derogat error. | [double rule] | London: | Printed by B. White, No. 63, Fleet Street. | [rule] | MDCCLXXVI.
8°: π4 B-Q4; 64l.; , -120 p.
Page size: 220 x 130 mm.
Contents: [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [1 pg], "Advertisement."; [1 pg], "Errata."; [1 pg], "To the Reader."; [1 pg], Blank.; [2 pgs], "Index."; -120, Text.
Very scarce. This monograph was published from notes found in the author's effects after his death. It describes slightly over one hundred minerals in a system claimed to be new, but which is only a modification of Linneaus' classification plan. In "To the Reader," Edwards recognizes this treatise to be imperfect, however he wrote it with the intention of publishing another edition, "enriched with a great number, and a more minute account of individual fossils ..." The term fossilogy used in the title of this work is defined by Edwards as "the knowledge of the different bodies, which are found in the earth, and which have neither animal or vegetable origin."
The text begins with a short introduction. This is followed by the descriptive mineralogy, which is divided into the six classes: (1) earths, (2) stones, (3) inflammables, (4) metals, (5) cryptometalline fossils (=nonmetallic looking minerals that contain metals) and (6) salts.
Bibliographical references: BL [B.548.(2.)]. CBN: 46, cols. 867-8. NUC: 156, 129-30 [NE 0045324]. Roller & Goodman, Catalogue, 1976: 1, 352.