John Ray to Hans Sloane – April 4, 1694
Item infoDate: April 4, 1694 Author: John Ray Recipient: Hans Sloane
Library: British Library, London Manuscript: Sloane MS 4036 Folio: ff. 165-166
British Library, London
Collections, Scholarship, Scientific
America, Birds, Fish, Mexico, Ornithology
Date (as written)
April 4, 1694
Origin (as written)
Mr Smith Margaret Ray Francis Willughby
Ray has returned ‘by Carrier [Sloane’s] descriptions & draughts of Birds’. He has sent a letter for Mr Smith the bookseller. Ray admits a bird known as ‘the Cuntur’ seemed to be nothing more than a ‘fabulous & Romantic’ story. He found ‘no mention of it in Mr Willughbyes Ornithology’, but Sloane’s letter convinced him of ‘ye truth of it’. Ray found Sloane’s suggestion that ‘many species both of Fishes & Birds, & of those last especially aquatic, common to Europe and America’. More research needs to be done on waterfowl and acquatic plants. Ray thinks many of the birds in Hernandez’s Mexican collection are the same as those Sloane possesses. He was ‘too slothfull to compare them’.
Ray was a theologian and naturalist who collected and catalogued his botanical findings in the much lauded Historia plantarum (1686, 1688) (Scott Mandelbrote, Ray , John (16271705), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2005 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/23203, accessed 18 June 2013]).