Зображення сторінки

are not afraid of quadrupeds ; not even of a cat, till they are taught by experience that a cat is their enemy. They appear to be as little afraid of a man naturally; and upon that account are far from being shy when left unmolested. In the uninhabited island of Visia Grande, one of the Philippines, Kempfer says, that birds may be taken with the hand. Hawks, in some of the South Sea islands, are equally tame. At Port Egmont in the Falkland Islands, geese, far from being shy, may be knocked down with a stick. The birds that inhabit certain rocks hanging over the sea, in the island of Annabon, take food readily out of a man's hand. In Arabia Felix, foxes and apes show no fear of man; the inhabitants of hot countries having no notion of hunting. In the uninhabited island Bering, adjacent to Kamskatka, foxes are so little shy that they scarce go out of a man's way. Doth not this observation suggest a final cause? A partridge, a plover, a pheasant, would be lost to man for food, were they naturally as much afraid of him as of a hawk or a kite.

The division of animals into different kinds, serves another purpose, no less important than those mentioned; which is, to fit them for different climates. We learn, from experience, that no animal nor vegetable is equally fitted for every cli

mate; chickens, the male in amazement calls his neighbouring storks together ; who, to revenge the affront put upon them, destroy he poor

innocent female ; while he bewails his misfortune in heavy lamentation.

[ocr errors]

mate; and from experience we also learn, that there is no animal nor vegetable but what is fitted for some climate, where it grows to perfection. Even in the torrid zone, plants of a cold climate are found upon mountains where plants of a hot climate will not grow; and the height of a mountain may be determined with tolerable precision from the plants it produces. Wheat is not an indigenous plant in Britain : no farmer is ignorant that foreign seed is requisite to preserve the plant in vigour. To prevent flax from degenerating in Scotland and Ireland, great quantities of foreign seed are annually imported. A camel is peculiarly fitted for the burning sands of Arabia ; and Lapland would be uninhabitable but for rein-deer, an animal so entirely fitted for piercing cold, that it cannot subsist even in a temperate climate. Arabian and Barbary horses degenerate in Britain; and to preserve the breed in some degree of perfection, frequent supplies from their original climate are requisite. Spanish horses degenerate in Mexico; but improve in Chili, having more vigour and swiftness there, than even the Andalusian race, whose offspring they are. Our dunghil-fowls, imported originally from a warm country in Asia, are not hardened, even after many centuries, to bear the cold of this country, like birds originally native: the hen lays few or no eggs in winter, unless in a house warmed with fire. The deserts of Zaara and Biledulgerid in Africa, may be properly



termed the native country of lions : there they are nine feet long and five feet high. Lions in the south of Africa toward the Cape of Good Hope, are but five feet and a half long, and three and a half high. A breed of lions transplanted from the latter to the former, would rise to the full size; and sink to the smaller size, if transplanted from the former to the latter *.

To preserve the different kinds or species of animals entire, as far as necessary, Providence is careful to prevent a mixed breed. Few animals of different species copulate together. Some may be brought to copulate, but without effect; and some produce a mongrel, a mule for example, which sel


That every species of plants has a proper climate where it grows to perfection, is a fact uncontroverted. The same holds in brute animals. Biledulgerid, the kindly climate for lions, would be mortal to the bear, the wolf, the deer, and other inhabitants of a cold region. Providence has not only fitted the productions of nature for different climates, but has guarded these productions against the extremities of the weather in the samé climate. Many plants close their leaves during night; and some close them at mid-day against the burning rays of the sun. In cold climates, plants during winter are protected against cold by snow. In these climates, the hair of some animals grows long in winter ; several animals are covered with much fat, which protects them against cold; and many birds are fatter in winter than in summer, though probably their nourishment is less plentiful. Several animals sleep during winter in sheltered places; and birds of passage are taught by nature to change the climate, when too hot or too cold.

dom procreates, if at all. In some few instances, where a mixture of species is harmless, procreation goes on without limitation. All the different species of the dog-kind copulate together; and the mongrels produced generate others without end.

M. Buffon, in his Natural History, borrows from Ray a very artificial rule for ascertaining the different species of animals : “ Any two animals “ that can procreate together, and whose issue can “ also procreate, are of the same species t.” A horse and an ass can procreate together; but they are not, says he, of the same species, because their issue, a mule, cannot procreate. He applies that rule to man; holding all men to be of the same species, because a man and a woman, however different in size, in shape, in complexion, can procreate together without end. And by the same rule he holds all dogs to be of the same species. With respect to other animals, the author should peaceably be indulged in his fancy; but as it comprehends al. so man, I cannot pass it without examination. Providence, to prevent confusion, hath in many instances withlıcld from animals of different species a power of procreating together: but as our author has not attempted to prove that such restraint is universal without a single exception, his rule is evidently a petitio principii. Why may not two animals different in species produce a mixed breed ? M. Buffon must say, that it is contrary to a law of nature. But has he given any evidence of this supposed law of nature ? On the contrary, he proves it by various instances, not to be a law of nature. He admits the sheep and the goat to be of different species; and yet we have his authority for affirming, that a he-goat and a ewe produce a mixed breed which generate for ever*. The camel and the dromedary, though nearly related, are however no less distinct than the horse and the ass. The dromedary is less than the camel, more slender, and remarkably more swift of foot : it has but one bunch on its back, the camel has two: the race is more numerous than that of the camel, and more widely spread. One would not desire distinguishing marks more satisfying ; and yet these two species propagate together, no less freely than the different races of men and of dogs. M. Buffon indeed, with respect to the camel and dromedary, endeavours to save his credit by a distinction without a difference. They


* Wisdom of God in the Works of Creation.

+ Octavo edit, vol. viii. p. 104. and in many other parts.

says he, "one species ; but their races are different, and have been so past all memory t.” Is not this the same with saying, that the camel and the dromedary are different species of the samé genus? which also holds true of the different species of men and of dogs. If our author will pemit me to carry back to the creation the camel and the dromedary as two distinct races, I desire

“ are,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

* Vol. 1. p. 138.

+ Vol. x. p. 1.

« НазадПродовжити »