Preface to Instinct Displayed

Priscilla wrote:

“The harmonising beauty of creation and the interesting objects it presents, have been my delight from childhood ; and the enjoyments, as well as the advantages, I have received from this taste, have made me desirous of communicating it to others, by relating a few well authenticated facts of the exact coincidence of the instinctive powers with the necessities of animals … I thought more likely to arrest the attention of the young, when combined in the form of letters, rather than a long string of detached anecdotes, following each other like horses in a team.”

Published in: on September 24, 2010 at 11:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

A dedication

There appears to be only one dedication in Priscilla’s books. In Instinct Displayed she wrote ‘to my Grandsons Edward Gibbon Wakefield and Barclay Head’ the following:

My Dear Boys

I present this little work to you, as a mark of my tender affection, and solicitude to form your taste to everything that leads to virtue and goodness. The attributes of the Deity are displayed in his works, which surround us in every part of the habitable globe; and the deficiency will be ours if we neglect the opportunities of reading in this volume of natural religion, which lies open to all mankind, and is written in a universal language. All may observe, and those who do, must perceive the existence of a great Creator, from the consummate wisdom and goodness that is apparent in his designs. Accustom yourselves to see every thing with an accurate eye, and reflect upon what you see; and in the course of a few years you will be a treasure in more advanced years, when your time will be engrossed by the necessary occupation of life.

 With the warmest wishes for your welfare and happiness.

 I am

Your affectionate grandmother

Priscilla Wakefield


Published in: on September 13, 2010 at 8:17 am  Leave a Comment  

Instinct Displayed

The book Instinct Displayed in a Collection of Well-Authenticated Facts Exemplifying the Extraordinary Sagacity of Various Species of the Animal Creation was first published in 1811. On the title page of the 4th edition is the following quote.

                                            is not the earth,

With various living creatures, and the air

Replenished, and all these at thy command,

To come and play before thee? Knowest thou not,

Their language and their ways? They also know,

And reason not contemptibility


Published in: on September 12, 2010 at 4:15 am  Leave a Comment