Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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DAVILA, Nepomueeno, naturalist, born in Castro Urdiales, Spain, in 1574 ; died in the City of Mexico in 1647. He was a monk, and arrived in Mexico about 1600, and devoted his whole energy to the foundation of a convent for his order. In 1619 he acquired for $3,000, from the Count de Cortina, the title-deed of the ground on which afterward the convent of San Augustin was built, which to-day is occupied by the National library. But he did not live to see his work finished, as in 1640 he was thrown, by order of the Inquisition, into its dungeons, on a charge of sorcery, and died after seven years of incarceration and torture. Davila was a close student of natural history, especially the Mexican fauna, and wrote several treatises, of which the most notable one is "Afinidades entre algunas plantas y los mamiferos." The principal cause of his imprisonment was, besides his advanced ideas about the sensibility of plants and the intelligence of certain animals, and the relations existing between them, the finding in his cell of many dried and stuffed animals, and collections of plants, as Davila devoted his leisure to studies of the animal and vegetable kingdoms. He wrote also the following works, which have never been published, but are preserved in the National library of Mexico : " Un ano de caza en Sierra Madre," "Los Anfibios del Paeifieo," " Los Fdsiles de la Mesa Central," and " Los Paquidermos de America."
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