Melissologia [M ], or the female monarchy, being an enquiry into the nature, order and government of bees... With a New, Easy, and Effectful Method to preserve them, not only in Colonies, but common Hives
by Thorley, John
London: Printed for the Author, 1744. First Edition. 8vo, xliii, , 206,  pp. Frontispiece (Cesi's three bees: the first drawing of bees made with the aid of a microscope, 1625) and four copperlate engravings, one folding. Contemporary brown English calf, covers ruled in gilt with double fillet. Early ownership inscription Susannah Page August 23 1770 on the front pastedown and "Jeremiah Guard [?] February 4, 1811." Final endpaper sympathetically renewed, binding refurbished. Overall very good. First edition of this fascinating and highly readable work in which natural history, sociology, and politics are curiously combined. "Of English writers, Thorley was the first to mention having found wax scales in the pockets of worker bees. "In his Female Monarchy, published in 1744, John Thorley discussed entomological discoveries in more stridently moralistic language. Like the 17th-century apiologists, he described the monarchy of the bees, contrasted with the democracy of the ants, as a divinely ordered example of 'the most natural and absolute form of government.' He praised their loyalty, industry, and harmony, as well as their neatness, which provided 'a pattern to all, especially the female sex.' After reminding his readers that God not only established monarchy but also subjected women to men, Thorley acknowledged that the ruler of the hive was a queen. He had no patience with those who confused the issue by 'saying that the king is a female, that is, the king is a queen, or the male is a female.'" (Source: Jeffrey Merrick, Order and Disorder under the Ancien Regime, p. 10).
Harding, British Bee Books, p. 97.
(Inventory #: 2517)
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