It is now necessary to revert to the year 1842, in which Dr Cornay of Rochefort communicated to the French Academy of Sciences a memoir on a new classification of birds, of which, however, nothing but a notice has been preserved (Comptes rendus, xiv.
In the evolution of these laws Dr Cornay had most laudably studied, as his observations prove, a vast number of different types, and the upshot of his whole labours, though not very clearly stated, was such as to wholly subvert the classification at that time generally adopted by French ornithologists.
True it is the latter were never published in full, but it is quite conceivable that Dr Cornay may have known their drift.
That Dr Cornay was on the brink of making a discovery of considerable merit will by and by appear; but, with every disposition to regard his investigations favourably, it cannot be said that he accomplished it.
Whatever proofs Dr Cornay may have had to satisfy himself of his being on the right track, these proofs were not adduced in sufficient number nor arranged with sufficient skill to persuade a somewhat stiff-necked generation of the truth of his.
The above abstract shows the general drift of this very remarkable contribution to ornithology, and it has to be added that for by far the greater number of his minor groups Huxley relied solely on the form of the palatal structure, the importance of which Dr Cornay had before urged, though to so little purpose.