The annual meeting of the Royal Society of Canada for 1964 was held in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, where one hundred years previously the first steps towards the confederation of Canada had been taken. It was fitting that this meeting should be related to various developments -- political, economic, and scientific -- in Canada during the preceding one hundred years. The scientific section of the Society presented papers dealing with the history and development of the biological sciences in Canada. As presented in this volume the papers, which represent the fruits of much original research, make an important contribution to our knowledge of the development of scientific thought in Canada, and, by their historical treatment of scientific subjects, provide a means of bridging the gap between scientists and non-scientists.
Léon Lortie, in "La Trame scientifique de l'histoire de Canada" (a paper specially prepared for inclusion here) looks back on the circumstances and conditions that encouraged a restricted biological research in Canada, and W. Kanye Lamb and Thomas W.M. Cameron examine biologists and biological research since 1864. Then, distinguished scientists present biographical accounts of four Canadian biologists who have influenced scientific research in this country: G.P. Holland appraises l'Abbé Léon Provancher, a systematic entomologist, in the context of his own time and the present; Jacques Rousseau and William G. Dore discuss George Lawson, whom they call "l'oublié de l'histoire de la science canadienne," despite his important contributions to botanical studies in Canada; C.E. Dolman presents a study of the Reverend James Bovell, M.D., a theologian, philosopher, and physician who had a strong influence on the life and career of Sir William Osler; and T.H. Clark discusses Sir John William Dawson, an outstanding palaeontologist who was especially influential in furthering the progress of geological studies in Canada during the nineteenth century. The chairman of the session was the late Dr. E.G.D. Murray, whose Introduction is included here; a Preface is provided by the Editor of the volume, G.F.G. Stanley, who is Professor of History and Dean of Arts at Royal Military College, Kingston.