John Bachman: Selected Writings on Science, Race, and Religion

John Bachman: Selected Writings on Science, Race, and Religion

John Bachman: Selected Writings on Science, Race, and Religion

John Bachman: Selected Writings on Science, Race, and Religion

Excerpt

John Bachman prepared the text for John James Audubon and his Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845–54). In his Doctrine of the Unity of the Human Race Examined on the Principles of Science (1850), he established that all races were a single species equivalent to the varieties of any species of domesticated animal. In A Defence of Luther and the Reformation: Against the Charges of John Bellinger, M.D., and Others; To Which are Appended Various Communications of Other Protestant and Roman Catholic Writers Who Engaged in the Controversy (1853), he used primary sources to prepare the first American monograph on the doctrines of Luther and on the history of the Reformation.

In professional journals, Bachman published comprehensive studies of several genera of North American mammals. He specialized in the smaller and neglected types of mammals such as rabbits, shrews, and squirrels. He produced the first scientific descriptions for twenty species, and he and Audubon together described eleven other species. These thirty-one species represented about one-fifth of all the species that were later included in Audubon and Bachman’s Quadrupeds.

The Quadrupeds was published in installments. The first set of lithographs was issued in 1842; the three folio volumes of illustrations eventually consisted of 150 folio plates made from paintings by Audubon and his son John Woodhouse Audubon. The three text volumes were prepared by Bachman.

According to the biography compiled by members of Bachman’s family, the renowned nineteenth-century scientist Louis Agassiz stated that the Quadrupeds “has not its equal in Europe” (Bachman 1888: 252). The . . .

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