|Works Of Mark Catesby|
...Yet my Curiosity was such, that not being content with contemplating the Products of our own Country, I soon imbibed a passionate Desire of viewing as we ll the Animal as Vegetable productions in their native countries, which were strangers to England.
- -Mark Catesby, from the Preface to his Natural History
Encouraged by his friends, including many members of Royal society, Catesby returned to the colonies in 1722 and walked over most of what is now Virginia, Georgia and the Carolinas. In 1725 he extended his research to the Bahamas. The notebooks that he filled with drawings and the packing cases of preserved specimens were the raw material for an unprecedented project: a scientific account of heretofore unknown wildlife, with illustrations taken from life. The text recorded his personal observations, as well as theories, legends, and folktales gathered over the course of a decade.
The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands: Containing the Figures of Birds, Beasts, Fishes, Serpents, Insects, and Plants; Particularly the Forest-Trees, Shrubs, and other Plants, not hitherto Described