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who have made the science the pro- after genus, order after order, and fessed object of their study, it greatly class after class, till he has almost esdiminishes the extent and magnitude hausted the arcana of nature; and of its influence, and, consequently, the then, as it were, satiated for a time by importance of the science itself. For the brilliancy of his discoveries, and it may be asked, what interest can an desirous to benefit humanity, he brings individual, in pursuit of general in- forth as the offspring of his intellectuformation, be supposed to take in read- al fruition, not an elucidation of the ing a mere catalogue of proper names, manners of animals, or a description or in poring over an everlasting series of their forms, as immediately and adof minute descriptions, from which he mirably connected with their peculiar may be led to believe, that natural propensities and modes of life, but & history resolves itself into a determin- most elaborate catalogue of their names ation of shades of colour, or the three and designations, compounded of demimaterial qualities of length, breadth, Greek and barbarous Latin, which can and thickness ; and that animals do not have no other effect than that of condiffer from each other, except in the founding the intellects of the boys of shape or structure of their bodies, Eaton or Harrow, or other seminaries the organization of their limbs, or the intended for promulgating a knownature of their joints, claws, teeth, and ledge of the ancient tongues, articulations ?
Having rested for a time, anon the Such, however, would be the natural potent and irresistible spirit of classiconclusion of most men, on perusing fication descends upon him. New the works of the worthy system-makers lights have pierced through the darkof the present day. A rage for class- ness which overshadowed him, and ification has overpowered every feeling again the species, the genera, the orconnected with the nobility of true ders, and the classes, are summoned science, and the talents of men, natur- before the dread tribunal, to undergo ally acute, having been diverted into another and a stricter scrutiny. Spois, an improper channd, there has been, specks, dimples, and dilatations, and as might naturally be expected, a de- even entire scales and hairs are disclension in intellectual power, in pro- covered, of which no one had, at any portion to the decrease in the dignity former period, ever imagined the efof the objects by which that power is istence. Of course, a revolution is either exercised or evolved.
great part of the system of nature is What would be thought of the man the necessary consequence. The trwnwho would labour for years in acquir- pet of alarm is sounded—the system is ing a perfect knowledge of a difficult called upon to make its appearanc, language, and after having attained it is weighed in the balance and found the object of his wishes, instead of en- wanting and is consequently levelin deavouring to reap the good fruit of with the dust, presenting to mankin his perseverance and industry, would a mournful picture of the instability of immediately renounce all communica- all human wisdom. Thus, then, is tion with men who spoke that lan- the labour of several weeks, or months, guage, and forswear the books in which or even of a year or two, and which it was written? Would he not be ge- but yesterday was considered as a most nerally considered as an unmeaning perfect model of philosophical arrangeenthusiast, a waster of intellect, an ment, as a bright and glittering star idler in perseverance, or, perhaps, like in the dim regions of science, the “ Learned Pig,” as acting merely turned, and demolished, and cast dowe, from the impulse of a certain species and its beams quenched, and extinof literary instinct, which he was in- guished, and put out, and “made as capable of modifying or rendering a thing that has never been.” subservient to the dictates of reason? But let not its successor rejoice in So it is with the man of science, who this fatal overthrow, or confide in a rests satisfied, not with collecting facts more durable existence. “For thou illustrative of particular traits in the art perhaps like it for a season, the character and habits of animals, for years shall have an end. Thou shaft these would be useful, although no in- sleep in thy, clouds careless of the genious or philosophical deductions voice of the morning,”-and“ welt were drawn from them; but who, re- shall seek for thee, and find the not: tiring to the solitude of his museum, and thy very name shall be unknown. examines species after species, genus What indeed can afford a more con
vincing proof of the errors which exist sibly be derived from these and simiin the present mode of prosecuting lar proceedings. When I talk of benethe study of particular branches of fit, I allude not to the question of cui natural history, than the never ceasing bono, which might be put by a worldchanges which take place in the views ly man while emptying his daily gain and principles of the system-makers into his coffers, ---but what increase of themselves. Not only do they in knowledge is derived from it? what many essential particulars differ from light is thrown on the beautiful operaeach other, but what is peculiarly un- tions of nature? Is natural history, fortunate, the same individual is rarely properly so called, in any degree digimpressed with similar ideas concern- nified or advanced by such modes of ing the true principles of classification study, and by such precious lucubrafor a longer period than a couple of tions? Is the wisdom of Omnipotence months at a time; so that it would be glorified by the discovery, that one inscarcely possible to conceive a more sect has a joint more in the articulafruitless task, than an attempt to give tions of its antenne, and another a an exposition of the different systems joint less in those of its toes, than has of the naturalists of the day, as the hitherto been supposed ? unless, ina author, on having finished what he deed, it be at the same time shewn, thought a very fair and luminous and which it universally may be, that statement of their doctrines, would such variations and distinctions are the find that one half had in the interim result of a beneficent Providence which renounced their former opinions, and uniformly and wisely adapts the means erected their new systems upon prin- to the end in view ; or is there no on eiples most opposite to those which ther mode of investigating the wonders they had formerly assumed.
of this beautiful world than by taking It would be easy to illustrate the every thing piecemeal with a pair of truth of these observations, by exam- pincers ? ples from the productions of ingenious I am far from wishing to throw men both at home and abroad ; but ridicule on the labours of the profesit is not the object of this short com- sed zoologist. A knowledge of the munication to enter at present into detail of natural history is necessary to detail. Such an examination in fact the enjoyment of her sublimest myswould be tedious, and perhaps unin- teries. What I would object to is telligible, to those who have merely merely the study of this detail, to the attended to natural history as a popu- exclusion of more enlarged, I may add lar science; and to those who are more more enlightened, views. deeply versed, it is unnecessary to The preceding observations are in notice facts which are so palpably ob- some degree applicable to the spirit vious. Too abundant proofs may be which at present may be said to perfound in some modern systems, where vade every department of zoology, but the lists of synonyms, and the refer- that which I have chiefly in view is ences to former emanations of the clas- Entomology, or the Natural History of sifying principle, sufficiently demon- Insects, may indeed be supposed strate their own fallacy by contra- by some, that these minute creatures dicting each other. Every enlightened are too insignificant to deserve our atnaturalist must be aware of the injury tention, or, that if studied at all, the whichi science sustains by such most method already alluded to was the onerroneous and mistaken views, and of ly one which, froin their utter want of the ridicule to which those who main- importance in the economy of nature, Perhaps that ridicule may not have is a most laine and impotent conclusion. reached their own ears, but its cause I remember the words of an old poet, must be apparent even to them if they which deserve the perusal of such choose to open their eyes.
The passage is from a curious
poem by Guidott, on the his. " But what are lights to those who blindeá
tory of the ephemeron, a wondrous be,
fly that liveth but five hours,” prefixOr who so blind as they that will not see?
ed to Tyson's translation of SwammerIt would be well if these distin- dam's Éphemeri vita. guished votaries of science would in- * Although the great Creator's wisdom shone formi us of any benefit which can pos- Both in his foot-stool and his throne,
Though greater bodies make the louder extended and ever-varying field of noise,
enjoyment to those whose minds are Yet in the lesser is a voice,
capable of being excited by the sublime A voice, though still, That doth the mind with admiration fill,
perfections of nature. To him who And gives to man the product of his will.
regards it with a philosophical eye, it The insect world, when truly known,
is indeed a source of the purest plea Doth both his skill and glory too, declare, sure. In the depth of the most se They a Creator own
cluded valleys, the resources of his No less than doth the Sun,
mind never fail him ; he feels not Their Rise, their Life, their End,
alone on the mountain top, though Sparks of wise pow'r comprehend.",
enveloped in mist and vapour ; amidst Natural history, in fact, consists of the toil, and the bustle, and the fever two distinct divisions. The first com- of a city, he is calm and serene. A prehends the classification of the vari- still and placid state of mind is the ous races of animals, the description necessary result of an attentive cons. of their external form,- and the for- deration of the facts of natural history; mation of a correct and applicable no- and nothing proves, in so pleasing and menclature; the second, and without beautiful a manner, the existence of an doubt by much the more important, Omnipotent Being, as a careful ex** includes the description of their man- mination of the works of nature. ners, habits, and uses, whether in the Natural history, indeed, in the true economy of nature, or, as subservient and liberal acceptation of the terin, to the benefit of mankind, of their has been the study of the most ele food, growth, habitations, and modes vated minds in every age í To the of rearing their young, -an account of poet it holds out many and great intheir hybernation, migration, and other ducements, as one of the noblest store most singular instincts, and a com- houses of the imagination ; and the prehensive view of their mutual rela- regard which has been bestowed upon tions, and their physical and geo- it by that enlightened class of men, graphical distribution over the earth's demonstrates its power over the mind, surface.
and its consequent value and importIn regard to the former, however ance as a study. useful it may be as an accessory to the In fine, as long as the human mind delightful pursuits to which it leads, remains pure and unsullied -as long if considered in relation to itself alone, as it is excited by what is beautiful in few branches of human acquirement simplicity and truth as long as it de can be said to be more tedious, me- lights to dwell on the sublime prochanical, and imperfect, or more de- ductions of Omnipotence, contrasted void of real interest and utility. No with the feeble efforts of art-it will mind, unless blinded by prejudice,- derive pleasure and instruction from rendered callous by habit and the the study of nature. force of early example,-or naturally Edinburgh, 7th June 1817. destitute of the power of indulging in extended and enlightened views, can pursue it to the exclusion of the other. It exhibits no new views of the econo, METEOROLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS. my of nature,-it makes no adequate impression of the power, and the good- MR EDITOR, ness, and the wisdom, of Providence, In the Meteorological Table for it conducts neither directly nor indirect. Edinburgh, given by you, I perceive ly to the exposition of final causes, the observations are made at 8 o'clock it affects neither the fancy, the ima- in the morning and 8 o'clock in the gination, nor the heart, and exists of evening. Permit me to say, that dur itself, and by itself, unconnected with ing at least eight months in the year, other studies of a more intellectual na- this will give us the temperature of ture," with no rainbow tinge to al- the night, and not of the day and night lure our gaze by its beauty--not one combined ; and, judging from my celestial hue to lighten the dull mate- own observations here, it will exhibi riality of its aspect
the average temperature of Edinburgh The latter division of the science, eight or ten degrees too low. The however, is fortunately of a very dif- average difference between the heat of feront nature. It presents a widely the day from 10 to 5, and the heat af
Stin' the morning and 8 in the even- most scrupulously obeyed. I was coning, will be considerably greater. ducted into a superb apartment, the
To obtain an decurate statement of walls of which were covered witi mirthe temperature of a place, the obser- rors, showing me my own ill-apparelled vations should be made every hour; figure in every possible attitude and but this is attended with so much direction—in front, profile, back view, trouble and inconvenience, that it will side view, foreshortened, but all equal, in very few cases be attempted. Four ly true and mortifying. My shabby hatimes a day will be accurate enough biliments were soon whirled off by my for comparisons: at 6 or 7 in the aerial little friends the Peris, not within morning, noon, 4 in the afternoon, out many significant nods and gly and 10 or 12 at night. But even three looks at each other, as they discovered will do very well ; and then we should the holes which had before been insubstitute i or 2 in the afternoon for geniously concealed by my slippers, the middle period. I limit my ob- or the patches which now for the first servations to three, but circumstances time emerged into open day. My generally prevent me from making the new dress it is needless minutely middle one till 5, which is rather too to describe. It was rich, full, and late.
flowing. I was literally “ clothed in I have further to observe, that the purple and fine linen;" and after the Calton, which is stated to be 350 feet toilet was completed, one of my wings above the level of the sea, is too ele- ed domestics hovering above my head vated. The average temperature of sprinkled me over with perfume, which that hill, I should think, will be some she scattered from a little censér. degrees below the general average tem- When I stood up, inhaled the delicious perature of Edinburgh. C. P. fragranee which was emitted, and pera, London, 9th August 1817.
ceived myself reflected as before on every different side, I felt a kind of complacency and satisfaction, which
was a striking contrast to the mortifyFRAGMENT OF A LITERARY ROMANCE. ing reflections my former appearance
had created. is difficult to express Concluded from page 471.)
the contempt with which I kicked in. Chap. II.
to a corner my former thread-bare
apparel. “A DREAM a golden drean-what fan. It was now pretty well advanced in cies wait
the evening, and the sun was just set Upon our sleep and yet I wake : they are ting behind the mountains which enApparitions."
closed the valley, as I set out for I FOUND that the directions of my Jovius' villa, under the guidance of Conductress, as to my toilet, had been one of my Peris. The scene which
now presented itself was consummateThis is taken from the Doubtful Heir, ly beautiful. The romantic peaks of one of Shirley's plays. Few writers of that the mountains were partially gilded age possess greater poetical merit than Shir- with his beams, whilst their broad ley. He has not certainly the ingenuity of bases lay buried in shade. The lake plot, and astonishing variety of character, itself was, in the words of the greatest which, in addition to his higher beauties, we master of romantic painting, find in his great contemporary Shakespeare ; but in the pathos, melody, and eloquence, “ One burnish'd sheet of living gold.” of his single speeches,' he is unrivalled. It is in no common degree delightful to peruse The spires and colonnades, which have : those "authors of this age, who, in the words been before described; --and the lofty of Spenser, lead us to the pure well of trees which surrounded them as they Englishe undefiled," before the language was caught the level rays, shone with a corrupted by that unnatural mixture of lustre, which was finely contrasted foreign terms, and far-fetched and borrowed with the blue and shadowy haze which phrases, which have lately so profusely flow- enveloped the rest of the landscape, ed into it. Even is common conversation Sunset has been often describedl, and it has become fashionable to liave constant reference to French expletives.' This is un
has been as often pronounced stale worthy of our national spirit, and
a deep ina and trite ground by the critics. Yet dignity to the neanly language of the Eng. to myself, if there is any time in lish people.
wivich Nature appears more lovely,
and her language more deep and de- As we walked forward, I perceived, votional than another, it is at sunset. on one side of the road, surrounded But I must proceed with my narration, by woods, a large turreted building,
As I continued my way, Í perceived, from which, as I approached, I wuld carelessly seated beneath a tree, whose distinctly hear sounds of such dæp foliage overhung the road, on a mossy complaint, and shrill and high toned eminence at its root, a figure, who, by objurgation, as convinced me that no the intentness with which he gazed on scene of merriment was concealed the scene before him, appeared eer- within them. “That," said the Peri, tainly none of those who affect to be " is our Bridewell, or Literary House tired of sunset. He seemed wholly of Correction, and the murmurs rou engrossed in his own contemplations, bear proceed from those unfortunata -and if he moved, it was only to authors whose literary crimes have raise his head to heaven in an attitude there condemned them to a temporary of deep thought, and with an expres- punishment. We have no time fully sion in which there was a mixture of to examine it, but we may just take a triumph and devotion. There was peep into the wood, and trust to what something in the air and appearance first offers.” of this solitary which rivetted my at- As we entered, I saw, seated at some tention. I stopt instinctively, and, distance from me, a man, who appearpointing to him, turned to the little ed to be writing something much :Spirit who walked beside me. Jt evis gainst his will. He took every oppor. dently had not perceived him, for im- tunity of stopping in his labour, bit mediately on doing so, it put its hands his nails, tore his quill, made varios to its lips, motioning me to be silent, contumelious lounges with his pen st and coming close up, “ That,” said his inkstand, and exhibited every pose she, “ is one of the greatest men in sible indication of impatience and disour valley; and we are under the gust. But whenever he stopt, two strictest orders never to intrude upon little fiends, in the shape of printers him in his solitary hours. Here is a devils, who stood on each side of his spot, however, from which you may table, admonished him, by a stroke en see him clearly without disturbing their whips, to proceed. In his coun: him. That is William Shakespeare.' tenance there was an expression of At this magic name it is impossible to great talent, but seasoned with so describe my sensations. Shakespeare, common dose of malignity and deri. the immortal, the imperishable Shakes- sion. At some distance, and seeining speare, was before me. Had all the ly smiling at his misery, stood thre emperors in the world appeared, I aged-looking persons. One in partiocould have turned my back on them. ular I remarked, as in his appearance It was indeed a moment worth cen- one of the most striking-looking isen turies of after existence, which showed I ever beheld. His countenance, and me Nature in all her loveliness, and indeed his whole demeanour, was that Shakespeare, her own anointed, seated of an ancient Roman. It was renderlike her high priest in the temple of ed more venerable by a long beard her beauty. I felt, as I approached which reached almost to his middle; nearer the mount on which he lay, and his figure, which was considerably that I was on holy ground, -and as I above the middle size, and enveloped passed by in silence, fearing to awake in flowing drapery, recalled to my him from his profound meditation, it mind those white-stoled sages who was with feelings little short of ador- wandered in the groves of the Acadation; I could not help often turning emy. I thought that, as the unferback, fearful that I might have seen tunate scribe looked at this remarkable him for the last time. At length he person, his countenance assumed : arose, and, winding slowly down the tone of darker malignity, and his usmount, disappeared in the woods. As willingness to write evidently brought my eye gazed after him, the Peri ob- more reiterated admonitions from the served, * that I need not look so devils at his elbow. The old mait, on wistfully, for I should certainly see the other hand, looked on him with him at Jovius' rout. He and old an expression which convinced me crusty Ben Jonson will be there to a that his feelings were more " in sorcertainty, and you may chance also to row than in anger." find his other favourite cronies, Shir. “ That first culprit, whom you see ley and ugly Will Davenant." yonder,” said the Peri, “is the fou