Twelve New Designs of English Butterflies, 1742.
"Dedication To the Worthy Members of the Aurelian Society. Gentlemen, Permit me the Honour of laying before You Twelve new Designs of English Butterflies; Creatures whose Elegance and Variety of Beauty demand our Admiratio. Ignorance long imagin’d them the Spontaneous Productions of Putrifying Matter and undesigning Chance; Causes as little able to form an Animal as to create a World: but your Discoveries have Rectify’d that mistake, and prov’d them to proceed from Parents like themselves; after a constant tho’ wonderful Order of Generation. / The pregnant Female, with unerring Sagacity, deposites her Edggs in some secure Concealment, where the Infant Brood may find as soon as hatch’d, immediate and proper Sustenance. Here they feed, and thrive, and cast off Several Skins, till arrived at full growth, every Species in a manner peculiar to itself, is chang’d into an Aurelia; whence in due Time a Moth or Butterfly issues forth, array’d with all the Glories of it’s [sic] Parent. This too partakes the Joys of Love, lays Eggs, & dies. And thus one Race succeeds another in an uniform & unalterable manner. / The Care that has been taken to render These Designs Exact Representations of Nature, may I hope recommend Them to your Favour, and excuse the Presumption of Gentlemen, Your most Obedient humble Servant, Benj. Wilkes.”
(via British Museum)