Diversity

“ If the Number of Creatures be so exceeding great, how great nay, immense must needs be the Power and Wisdom of him who form’d them all! For it... manifests more Skill by far in an Artiticer, to be able to frame both Clocks and Watches, and Pumps, and Mills... than he could display in making but one of those sorts of Engines; so the Almighty discovers more of his Wisdom in forming such a vast Multitude of different Sorts of Creatures, and all with admirable and irreprovab1e Art, than if he had created but a few; for this declares the Greatness and unbounded Capacity of his Understanding.”
Wisdom of God p.25

“ the number of species being in nature certain and determinate, as is generally acknowledged by philosophers, and might be proved also by divine authority, God having finished his works of creation, that is, consummated the number of species, in six days.”

“ Who would believe that in the single province of Malabar, and that not so very large, there are found more than three hundred wild trees and shrubs, and probably many more?”

“ This too is remarkable and peculiar to India that there are trees that shed their leaves when they flower and again burst into leaf when they set fruit ...”

“ Who would believe that there is a botanical Europe in the middle of tropical India? - so that notable traveller Bernier assures us. In the land of the Mogul (Mogorum Imperator) he crossed high mountains; on their southern slopes Palms, Pepper, Sugar-canes, every thing Indian and exotic; after six or seven hours travel, beyond the summits, a wholly new scene, a swift passage into Europe, Oaks, Elms, Pines, Hyssop, Rosemary... And these strangers you can see not only in books but transplanted into our own gardens.”

From the Preface of Ray’s Historia Plantaraum

“ I have been of the opinion that the further Southward to ye very line [equator?] one travels, the greater variety of species occurre, especially if the Countrey be mountainous; for ye mountains of such Countreys give us most of the species of ye Northern ones.”

“ I observed about forty-five sorts of [moths]. But of the nocturnal, should I live twenty years longer, I despair of ever coming to an end, every year offering new ones; and yet I have already observed about 300 species, and this within a small compass of ground ...”

“ The number and variety of plants inevitably produce a sense of confusion in the mind of the student.”
John Ray, quoted in Raven p.400

“ Travelling over the ocean of plant life none of us dare cry I see land ahead. If plants were done, insects remain, and their number I should put at twice as many as the plants; and we know nothing of their origin and way of life, their habits, age or qualities. ... After five years continuous work within the narrow limits of a mile from my home I have not yet seen a tenth part of them all and yet I have described some three hundred in one family alone. ... One can guess how vast a number there must be in the whole country and in the world.”
John Ray, quoted in Raven p.255


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