Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

globe; and these we conclude to be dies, proper traces of the manner of the effects of such a power precisely their production ; and things which as that about which we now inquire. may be examined with all the accura-' Volcanoes are thus considered as the cy, or reasoned upon with all the light, proper discharges of a superfluous or that science can afford. As it is only redundant power ; not as things acci- by employing science in this manner, dental in the course of nature, but as that philosophy enlightens man with useful for the safety of mankind, and the knowledge of that wisdom or deas forming a natural ingredient in the sign which is to be found in nature, constitution of the globe.

the system now proposed, from unques. The doctrine is then confirmed, by tionable principles, will claim the at.' examining this earth, and by finding tention of scientific men, and may be every where, beside the many marks of admitted in our speculations with reancient volcanoes, abundance of sub- gard to the works of nature, notwithterraneous or unerupted lava, in the standing many steps in the progress bafaltic rocks, the Swedish trap, the may remain unknown. toadstone, the ragstone, and whinstone By thus proceeding upon investigaof Britain and Ireland, of which parti- ted principles, we are led to conclude, cular examples are cited, and a descrip- that, if this part of the earth which tion given of the three different shapes we now inhabit had been produced, in which that unerupted lava is found. in the course of time, from the mate

The peculiar nature of this subter- rials of a former earth, we should, in raneous lava is then examined ; and a the examination of our land, find daclear distinction is formed between this ta from which to reason, with regard mineral rock and the common volca. to the nature of that world which nic lavas.

had existed during the period of time Lastly, The extension of this theo- in which the present earth was formsy, respecting mineral strata, to all parts ing; and thus we might be brought of the globe, is made by finding a per- to understand the nature of that earth fect similarity in the folid land thro' which had preceded this ; how far it all the earth, although, in particular had been similar to the present, in proplaces, it is attended with peculiar ducing plants and nourishing animals. productions, with which the present But this interesting point is perfectly inquiry is not concerned.

ascertained, by finding abundance of A theory is thus formed, with re. every manner of vegetable production, gard to a mineral system. In this sys- as well as the several species of marine tem, hard and solid bodies are to be bodies, in the strata of our earth. : formed from soft bodies, from loose Having thus ascertained a regular or incoherent materials, collected to- fystem, in which the present land of gether at the bottom of the sea; and the globe had been firlt formed at the the bottom of the ocean is to be made bottom of the ocean, and then raifed to change its placē with relation to above the surface of the sea, a ques. the centre of the earth, to be formed tion naturally occurs with regard to into land above the level of the sea, time ; What had been the space of and to become a country fertile and time necessary for accomplishing this inhabited.

. .. great work? . That there is nothing visionary in In order to form a judgment conthis theory, appears from its having cerning this subject, our attention is been rationally deduced from natural directed to another progress in the events, from things which have alrea. fystem of the globe, namely, the dedy happened ; things which have left, ftruction of the land which had prein the particular constitutions of bo- ceded that on which we dwell. Now,

for

[ocr errors]

for this purpose, we have the actual is hence inferred, that we cannot efe decay of the present land, a thing timate the duration of what we see conitandly tranfaâing in our view, by at present, nor calculate the period at which to form an eitimate. This de which it had begun ; fo that, with recay is the gradual ablution of our foil, spect to human observation, this world by the floods of rain ; and the attri- bas neither a beginning nor an end. tion of the shores, by the agitation of Befides this phyfiological dcfcrip. the waves.

tion, an endeavour is also made to If we could measure the progress support the theory by an arguinent of of the present land, towards its disto- a moral nature, drawn from the conlution by attrition, and its submersion Gideration of a final cause. Here a in the ocean, we might discover the companion is formed between the preactual duration of a former earth; an sent theory, and those by which there earth which had supported plants and is necessarily implied either evil or animals, and had supplied the ocean disorder in natural things; and an are with those materials which the con- gument is formed, upon the supposed struction of the present earth required; 'wisdom of nature, for the juttnefs of consequently, we should have the mea. a theory in which perfect order is to fure of a corresponding space of time, be perceived. For, viz. that which had been required in According to the theory, a foil adap-the production of the present land. If, ted to the growth of plants is necer.. on the contrary, no period can be fix. sarily prepared, and carefully presered for the duration or dellruction of the ved ; and, in the neceflary waste of present earth, from our observations land which is inhabited, the foundaof those natural operations, which, tion is laid for future continents, in though unmeasurable, admit of no du- order to support the system of this libiety, we shall be warranted in draw. ving world. ing the following conclusions: 1/1, That Thus, either in supposing nature it had required an indefinite space of wise and good, an argument is formtime to have produced the land which ed in confirmation of the theory, or, dow appears ; 2dly, That an equal space in supposing the theory to be just, an had been employed upon the construc- argúment may be established for wiftion of that former land from whence dom and benevolence to be perceived the materials of the present came ; in nature. In this manner, there is lastly, That there is presently laying at opened to our view a subject interest., the bottom of the ocean the founda- ing to man who thinks ; a subject on tion of future land, which is to appear which to reason with relation to the after an indefinite space of time. System of nature ; and one which may

But as there is not in human ob- afford the human mind both informa servation proper means for measuring tion and entertainment, the waste of land upon the globe, it

Abstract of an Essay on Instina, read in the Royal Society of Edinburgh, upe

on the 5th of December 1785. By Mr W. Smellie. M A NY theories have been in- want of success may be referred to

I vented with a view to explain different causes ; to want of attention the instinctive actions of animals, but to the general economy and manners none of them have received the gene- of animals; to mistaken notions con sal approbation of Philosophers. This cerning the dignity of human nature ; and, above all, to the uniform endea- and fill them with provisions. Bees tours of philosophers to distinguish in- display various remarkable instincts. stinctive from rational motives. Mr They attend and feed the female or Smellie endeavours to shew that no queen. When deprived of her all such distinction exists, and that the their labours cease till a new one is reasoning faculty itself is a necefary obtained. They construct cells of result of instinct.

three different dimensions ; for workHe observes, that the proper me. ing bees, for drones, and for females ; thod of investigating subjects of this and the queen, in depositing her eggs, kind, is to collect and arrange the puts each species into its appropriated facts which have been discovered, and cells. They destroy all the females to consider whether these lead to any .but one, left the hive should be overgeneral conclusions. According to stocked. The different instincts of this method, he exhibits examples, the common bee, of the wood-pierFirst, of pure instincts : Secondly, of cing bee, and of that fpecies which fuch instincts as can accommodate builds cylindrical neits, with rose. themselves to particular circumstances leaves, are very remarkable. and situations : Thirdly, of such as are Equally lingular are the instincts of improveable by experience or observa- wasps, and ichneumon fies, which, tion : And, lastly, he draws some con- though they feed not themselves upon clusions.

worms, lay up (tores of these animals By pure instincts are meant such for the nourishment of their young, as, independently of all instruction Birds build their nests of the fame or experience, instantaneously produce materials, and in the same form and certain actions, when particular objects situation, though they inhabit very difo, are presented to animals, or when they ferent climates. They turn and thift are influenced by peculiar feelings. their eggs, that they may be equally Such are, in the human species, the heated. Geese and ducks cover up instinct of fucking, which is exerted their eggs till they return to the nelt. by the infant immediately after birth, The swallow solicits her young to void the voiding of fæces, the retraction of their excrement over the nest, and als the muscles upon the application of lifts them in the operation. The spi. any painful ftimulus. The love of ders, and many insects of the beetlelight is exhibited by infants, even so kind, when put in terror, counterfeit early as the third day after birth. The death. This is not, as has been sup. paffion of fear is discoverable in a child posed, a convulsion or stupor, but an at the age of two months.

artifice ; for when the object of terror Among the inferior animals, there is removed, they recover immediately, are numberless pure instincts. Cater. Of instincts which can accomino. pillars fhaken off a tree in every direc- date themselves to peculiar circumtion, curn immediately to the trunk, stances and situations, many instances and climb up. Young birds open their may be given from the human species; mouths on hearing any noise, as well but these being improveable, fall more as that of their mother's voice. Eve- properly under the third class. ry species of insect deposits its eggs in Those animals are most perfect, the situation most proper for hatching whose sphere of knowledge extends to and affording nourishment to its future the greatest number of objects. When progeny. Some species of animals look interrupted in their operations, they not to future wants; others, as the know how to resume their labours, and bee and the beaver, are endowed with to accomplish their purposes by different an instin&t which has the appearance of means. Some animals have no other foresight. They construct magazines, power but that of contracting or ex.

tending their bodies. But the falcon, action. The instinct of fear is often the dog, and the fox, pursue their counteracted by ambition and rufentprey with intelligence and address. ment: The instinct of anger, by fear,

In Senegal, the ostrich fits upon by shame, by contempt, by compaffion. her eggs only during the night, lea. Of modified, compounded, and exving them in the day to the heat of tended instinAts, there are many exthe fun. · At the Cape of Good Hope, amples. Devotion is an extension of where the heat is not so great, she fits the instinct of love, to the first Cause upon them day and night. Rabbits, or. Author of the Univerfe. Superwhen domesticated, are not inclined stition is the instinct of fear extendto burrow. Bees 'augment the depth ed to imaginary objects of terror. of their cells, and increase their num- Hope is the instinct of love directed ber, as occasion requires. A wasp to future good. Avarice is the instinct carrying out a dead companion from of love directed to an improper object. the nest, if he finds it too heavy, cuts Fear is likewise an ingredient of this off the head, and carries out the load attachment. Envy is compounded of in two portions. In countries infeft- love, avarice, ambition, and fear. Symed with monkies, birds, which in o- pathy is the instinct of fear transferred ther countries build in bushes or clefts into another person, and reflected back of trees, suspend their nefts at the end upon ourselves. In this manner all of flender twigs. The nymphæ of the modified, compounded, or extend. water-moths, which cover themselves ed passions of the human mind, may with cases of straw, gravel, or shells, be traced back to their original incontrive to make their cases nearly in stincts. equilibrium with the water : when too The instincts of brutes are likewife heavy, they add a bit of wood or straw; improved by observation and experiwhen too light, a bit of gravel. A ence. Of such improvement, the dog, cat, when shut into a closet, has been the elephant, the horse, the camel, afknown to open the latch with its ford numerous and strong instances. paws.

. From these and other examples, The third class of instincts com- given of the different classes of instinct, prehends all those that are improve. Mr Smellie argues, that instinct is an able by experience and observation. original quality of mind, which, in · The fuperiority of man over the man, as well as in other animals, may other animals, seems to depend chiefly be improved, modified, and extended, on the great number of instincts with by experience. . . which he is endowed. Traces of every Sensation implies a sentient principle instinct which he possesses are discover. or mind. Whatever feels, therefore, "able in the brute-creation, but no par. is mind. Of course, the lowest fpe:ticular species enjoys the whole. On cies of animals is endowed with the contrary, most animals are limited mind. But the minds of animals to a small number. This appears to have very different powers ; and these be the reason why the instincts of powers are expressed by peculiar acbrutes are stronger, and more steady tions. The structure of their bodies in their operation than those of man, is uniformly adapted to the powers of and their actions more uniform. their minds; and no mature animal

Most human instincts receive im- attempts actions which nature has pot provement from experience and obser- enabled it to perform : The instincts,

vation, and are capable of a thousand however, of animals, appear often pre- modifications. One instinct counter- viously to the expansion of those in

acts and modifies another, and often struments which pature intended they 'extinguishes the original motive to Jaould employ. This view of instinét

is simple: It removes every objection the individuals to communicate their to the existence of mind in brutes, wants to each other; and some ania and unfolds all their actions by refer- mals understand in part the language ring them to motives perfectly fimi- of man. The language of infants is kur to those by which man is actuated. nearly on a par with that of brutes. There is perhaps a greater difference Brutes, without some portion of reabetween the mental powers of some fun, could never make a proper use of animals, than between those of man their senses. But many animals are and the most fagacious brutes. In- capable of balancing mocives, which is Stines may be considered as so many a pretty high degree of reason. Young internal senses, of which some animals animals examine all objects they meet have a greater, and others a smaller with, and in this investigation they Dumber. These senses, in different fpe- employ all their organs. The first pee cies, are likewise more or less ductile; riods of their life are dedicated to stuand the animals portelling them are, of dy. When they run about and make course, more or less susceptible of im- frolicsome ganbols, it is pature sportproving, and of acquiring knowiedge. ing with them for their instruction.

The notion that animals are ma. Thus they gradually improve their fachines, is therefore too absurd to me- culties, and acquire an intimate know, sit refutation. Though not endowed ledge of the abjects that surround them. with mental powers equal to those of Men who, from peculiar circumstanman, they possess, in fome degree, ces, have been prevented from minge every faculty of the human mind. ling with companions, and engaging Sensation, memory, imagination, the in the different amusements and exerprinciple of imitation, curiosity, cun- cises of youth, are always aukward in ning, ingenuity, devotion, or respect their movements, cannot use their orfor superiors, gratitude, are all disco- gans with ease or dexterity, and often verable in the bruta-creation. Eve- iontinue, during life, ignorant of the ry species too has a language, either most common objects. of sounds or gestures, sufficient for

Description of the Grotto of the Fairies at St Bauzile, near the town of

Ganges, in the Cevennes. By M. Marsollier *. N A TURE presents so many which teaches himn how little he

I beautiful objects to our view, knows...
that we never consider those the con Of those objects that most deserve
ceals from us as worthy of our atten« the attention of the curious observer,
tention. Avarice, indeed, with un- mountains seem to be the chief; those
ceasing eagerpess ransacks the bowels vast reservoirs that attract and imbibe
of the carth; and the Naturalist, with the waters of the clouds, that purify
nowearied industry, explores the hid- and transimit them through a thou-
den recesses of the globe. Fossile fand subterraneous channels; those
thells, petrified wood, and volcanoes, bare and barren rocks, the deformity
are sources from which we draw new of which seems to announce the de.
additions to our knowledge ; and it is crepitude of nature, afford ample scope
by the continued exertions of these for observation. Who would believe
labours and useful refearches, that man that these interesting objects sometimes
Las attained that degree of wisdom conccal others still more interesting ?.
VOL. VII. No 39.

въ
* Recueil amifant de vorages au vers en prose,

A

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »