THE MICROGRAPHIA of Dr. HOOKE being grown extremely
scarce, and the Price thereof greatly raised ; it can fall into
the Hands of very few who are not so lucky to be possessed of
it already ; which (since a Desire of searching into the minute Wonders of
Nature is become almost general) must be looked on as a great Misfor-
tune, by many, who would gladly inform themselves what Discoveries
were made by this industrious Observer, at a Time when Microscopes were
very rare, and the Use of them but little known.
This Misfortune may, 'tis hoped, be however considerably alleviated,
by a fortunate Preservation of nearly all the Copper-Plates, which the
Doctor, at a great Expence, caused to be engraven for the Illustration of
his Microscopical Observations, and which are, perhaps, the most va-
luable Part of the whole Work : for his Descriptive Accounts can, with-
out the Prints, neither be instructive nor entertaining ; but any tolerable
Explanations may, with them, make a pretty good Amends for the Want
of the MICROGRAPHIA.
To render them thus useful is the Design of this Undertaking ; of
which, as some little Account may reasonably be expected, it shall be
given in as few Words as possible.
'Tis now seventy-nine Years since the MICROGRAPHIA was published ;
notwithstanding which, the Copper-Plates belonging to it were lately met
with, well-preserved, and excepting a little Rust, which was easily cleared
away, in as good Condition almost as ever : no more than one Impression,
and that probably of no great Number, having been taken from them.
Seven indeed were wanting to make up the whole Set compleat ; but those
are now supplied by exact Copies little or nothing inferior to the Originals.
As these were some of the first Drawings of Objects examined by the
Microscope, so likewise are they, without Comparison, some of the best
that were ever taken in so great a Number : here being no less than
Thirty-three Plates, which contain a delightful Variety of Subjects, largely
magnified, and curiously engraved.
At the Time Dr. HOOKE published this Work, a verbose and dis-
fused Way of Writing was in fashion, which seems to us at present tedious
and distasteful ; the Doctrine of equivocal Generation, or a spontaneous
Production of many Species of minute Living-Creatures, as well as Vege-
tables, without any other Parents than Accident and Putrisaction, prevailed
likewise almost universally, and had done so for Ages, however absurd it
now appears to us : For which Reasons it has not been judged convenient
to reprint the MICROGRAPHIA, but to give rather some short and plain
Descriptions of its Pictures, without meddling at all with its Opinions or