Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

that followed it. The admirers of Hooker and acter of his English.” And Mackintosh writes, Addison will be equally disappointed. We are “It is true that he does not speak the Armenian, not rigorists in the ceremonials of authorship. or any language but the Taylorian. As the There is more than one faith in literature. We Hebrew is studied for one book, so is the Tayrecognize a self-adjusting power which enables lorian by me for another.” it to meet the necessities, as well as to express Every literary epoch seems to be distinguished the feelings, of contemporary intellect. What by some peculiar and popular dialect; — whether is good in one century is unprofitable in another. the Euphuistic under Elizabeth, the epigramAn ingenious person has observed, that many matic under the third George. We need not things may descend from the sky of truth with. mention Mr. Carlyle in our own, or add any tesout awaking or interesting men, just as from the timony to its reception, beyond the remark of natural sky. The rain or snow cause no agita Arnold on The History of the French Revolution, tion in the cottager or wayfaring man; but hail that it was “a treasure rarely met with, and not stones rattling against windows, thunder-peals likely to be met with again." These will be crashing among black woods, or lightnings split called reformations or heresies in style, according ting church towers, - these call people forth in as critical orthodoxy or latitudinarianism may alarm to gaze abroad. So with respect to im- prevail. And, perhaps, even in the present ages and the words that clothe and convey them. volumes, those rich and daring combinations of Wesley, in his visit to Scotland, complained of imagery and sentiment will be the most popular the indifference of the people, which Southey which we are least willing to receive in exchange explains by saying, that they had been startled for the author's simpler and more classical manby the storm of Whitefield's oratory, but were

ner. as unmoved by the soft, persuasive rhetoric of We cannot better conclude this notice of one his successor, as by one of their own mists. The of the most deeply interesting works which same truth is told by Luther in his usual forcible modern times have produced than by extracting way. He had been reprehended by a popish the editor's beautiful and, upon the whole, just priest for vehemence in reproving the people, estimate of the character and functions of his and replied, “ Our Lord God must first send a deceased friend:sharp, pouring shower, with thunder and lightning, and afterwards cause it mildly to rain, as

If there is any man who, having exerted himthen it wets."

self laboriously and perseveringly to pry into

the hidden recesses of our nature, to pierce We are, then, friendly to wide toleration in through the unfathomable abyss of evil, and to style, and are by no means zealots for the studied catch a glimpse of the light and glory beyond elegance and intense chill of Hurd. We rather and behind, can say he has never been shaken like to see occasional sinkings and apparent

or troubled in the calm composure of his faith, weaknesses; regarding them as hints of nobler let him cast a stone at Sterling; — I cannot feats soon to be accomplished — gatherings up of Nor should they, who never having engaged in the nerves and muscles for a new and mightier culties besetting them. * * * Sterling was one

such inquiries, can form no estimate of the diffispring. This was the brave neglect of Pope, of the men whose nature commanded him to and more especially of Dryden or Shakspeare. stand in the van of human progress. He beThe practice in authorship corresponds with longed to the body-guard of him who might be what is related of our landscape-painter, Wilson. called by the name of the heroic Prussian, MarWhen he had finished a picture in a tame, cor

shal Forwards. If there was a post of danger, rect manner, he often stepped back to some

he would rush to it; if a forlorn hope was sent distance, with his pencil fixed to the end of out, he would be amongst the first to join it.

Such men

we honor, although they fall, a long stick. After gazing earnestly on the

nay, we honor them the more because they fall. work, he would suddenly dush forward and give of the mystery of their fall we cannot judge; the finishing touch to the delineation.

but we may trust that he who, as far as we can It is chiefly, as we have said, in the later discern, has earnestly loved Truth, and sincerely works of Sterling, that what we look on as the desired to serve the God of Truth, will be judged corruption of style becomes apparent. It may,

by the God of Mercy; and we may feel sure perhaps, be traced, in great measure, to his from the depths of a departing spirit, cannot be

that the prayer for forgiveness, when it rises admiration of a living writer, in whom the anti- uttered in vain. - Fraser's Magazine. dote of genius has scarcely conquered the Teutonic poison. Those of our readers who remember the late Mr. Taylor of Norwich, and the remarks of one or two eminent persons on his writings, will easily understand our meaning. Southey tells him of “the tower-of-Babel char

ZOOLOGICAL RECREATIONS. Zoölogical Recreations. By W. J. BRO- the firm surface of earth; or in those that float DERIP, Esq., F. R. S., &c. London, 1847. upon the water and breathe the air; or as those

more truly amphibious forms that breathe and This volume presents to us, in a carefully re

have the command of both elements. There are vised form, some twenty papers originally pub- even amongst the Insect world — as, for instance, lished in the New Monthly Magazine, when the water-scorpion (Nepa) and water-beetle under the care of their author's delightful friend (Dytiscus) — species gifted with such varied inand companion, Theodore Hook. Mr. Broderip, struments of locomotion that they are qualified favorably known in the literature of his own for all the habitable elements; and such a creaprofession, and very generally esteemed as an

ture, like Milton's fiend, upright, intelligent, and humane magistrate, tells us that “these Essays were sketched as a relief

-" Through strait, rongh, dense, or rare, from more severe studies and duties ;” and that

With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues its way,

And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies.” their re-appearance in a separate shape is due to Professor Owen, to whom the work is dedi The relations which subsist between the modcated, and to other scientific friends “ who urged ifications of the organic machinery and the media their republication, under the impression that in and upon which it is destined to operate, are when brought together they might form a band clearly traceable and readily comprehensible. book which might cherish or even awaken a In them, from the days of Socrates to those of love for Natural History.” Such is the language Paley, the philosopher has found his most strikof his modest preface; we have no doubt that a ing illustrations of a superintending Providence. great motive was to give pleasure to Mr. Hook But there are other, and as yet more obscure - but we believe that we do not exaggerate in relations subsisting between animals and their saying, that since the publication of Gilbert habitats, the existence of which Zoology has but White's · Natural History of Selborne,' and of of late years made known, and the nature of the • Introduction to Entomology' by Kirby and which it will be the future business of that sciSpence, no work in our language is better cal- ence to unfold. The turtle of Malabar (Cheloculated to fulfil the avowed aim of its author nia Dussumieri), for example, is by no means than the • Zoological Recreations.'

the same species with that of the Isle of AscenEarth, air, water, each have their appropriate sion (Chelonia Mydas), although the sea in inhabitants. The worm and the mole are con- which they swim is warmed by equal floods of structed to bore the very substance of the dark solar influence, and stored with equal abundance and dense element; they are truly of the earth of the food of these esculent reptiles. It could earthy. The swallow, insatiable in pursuit of not have been unreasonable to presuppose that the insect-food, wheeling on unwearied wing the same species of Fishes would exist in paralthroughout the long summer's day — and the lel latitudes of the northern and southern hemimidges, whose ranks it thins as they weave their spheres; and the accounts which we occasionally mazy dance in the evening sun-beam, are crea- meet with of the kinds of produce in our remote tures of the air and light. “The shoals of fish colonies would seem to show this to be in some that, with their fins and shining scales, glide un- respects the case. In one of the South Austrader the green wave,” are as strictly denizens of lian (Adelaide) newspapers for October, 1845, the water. The adaptation of form and struc- we read, for example, of whitings 6d. per dozen; ture in each of these beings to its particular ele- flounders 6d. per pair; mullet 30 for 1s.; cod 2d. ment is perfect, the relation appreciable by the per lb. But none of these fishes are even generileast practised observer. It needs but a little cally allied to their namesakes and representainsight into the structure of the animal frame to tives developed in the seas that wash our mild discern the same adaptation of it to external southern coasts; although the circumstances of circumstances in the species which have a more light and heat, the constitution of the water, or mixed dependence on the surrounding elements; the coast-line, offer no modifications explanatory in the mollusca, for example, that exist in a of the essential differences which rigorous obsermedium of water, but " in their pearly shells at vation proves to exist in the fishes of the British ease, attend moist nutriment” at the bottom; or and Australian seas. in those terrestrial creatures which, moving in the Facts are remarkable, and at present inexplirarer atmosphere, are so far the slaves of gravi- cable, have been brought to light in regard to tation as to be unable to raise themselves above the geographical distribution of Birds. It might

be supposed that the power of traversing space, | American monkeys, for example, have four more possessed by the majority of this class, would grinding teeth than those of the corresponding free them from the restrictions imposed upon warm latitudes of Africa and Asia : they have less gifted natures in regard to range; but the the nostrils wider apart, and the tail prehensile hawks and eagles of Africa differ from those of in most, to compensate for their incomplete or America, and these again from the birds of prey | absent thumbs. The sloths, the armadilloes, and in Australia. On the hypothesis that their first the true ant-eaters are beasts strictly peculiar to progenitors started from a common centre, it is South America. Great was the surprise of conceivable that some may have winged their European naturalists when the discovery of the way across one or two wide oceans, whilst others New World first brought these forms of mammatarried on the intermediate continent or nearer lian life under their notice. Centuries have home; but had any such migratory instincts since elapsed, but the most assiduous researches continued to operate, the peculiar localization of have failed to make known a species of Bradycertain forms of the strong-winged "Raptores" pus, Dasypus, or true Myrmecophaga, in any must long since have be overpassed.

other part of the globe. Again, the vast island The phenomena of the distribution of the or continent of Australia has an indigenous great terrestrial wingless Birds are still more quadruped population as peculiar as that of perplexing. Almost every large tract of dry land South America, and still more remarkable on under a warm or tropical sun supports its peculiar account of the general prevalence of the marsustruthious bird. Thus Africa has the true two-pial economy. (It is, we need hardly say, the toed ostrich, the type of the family; South endowment of the mother with a natural pouch, America has a three-toed ostrich; the rich islands or tegumentary nest, for the conveyance of her of the Indian Archipelago bave their cassowary: young, which has suggested this name.) With Australia has its emeu: — but these four sorts of the exception of the native naked biped and his great birds, alike incapable of flight, and alike dog, - probably a contemporary importation, with unwebbed feet, differ from each other not not any mammalian species has been discovered merely specifically, but, according to the cur in Australia which agrees with a known species rent value of zoological distinctions, in their or even genus in the rest of the world. New wider characters. They are entered, according. Guinea has its tree-kangaroos, Amboyna and ly, in the catalogues under different nomina the neighbouring Indian isles their phalangers, generica :- Struthio, Rhea, Casuarius, Dromai- and the Americas have their opossums; but the

The question of the cause or condition of genera Dendrolagus, Cuscus, and Didelphys, to this insulated and widely-parted location of such which these extra-Australian marsupials respecnon-migratory birds is one that naturally sug- tively belong, are represented by no species in gests itself to the inquiring mind, and the enigma Australia, which, from the number and variety becomes more puzzling and more provocative of of other pouched genera, may be called the meattempts at solution, when the progress of zoolotropolis of marsupials. Here the true kangagy further discloses the fact, that small islands roos (Macropus), the carnivorous opossums have, or had recently, their peculiar wingless (Dasyurus), the wombats (Phascolomys), with terrestrial birds, generically distinct from each a host of other genera, and with the still more other, as well as from the larger species of the extraordinary and anomalous duck-mole (Ornicontinents. Thus New Zealand has now its thorhynchus), are features of animal life as disApteryx, just as, two centuries ago, Rodriguez tinct from those in the rest of the world, as are had its Solitaire, and Mauritius its Dodo.* the sloths, the ant-eaters, and the armadilloes of

The geographical distribution of Quadrupeds South America, or the giraffe, the hippopotamus, seems equally mysterious. The elephant of and the orycteropus of Africa. Let any one Africa is specifically distinct from that of Asia ; reflect on the limited powers of locomotion the rhinoceros of the Asiatic continent is one assigned to the last-cited huge fossorial insectihorned; all the known rhinoceroses of Africa vore, to the heavy burrowing wombat, to the are two-horned. The giraffe and hippopotamus climbing sloth, or the diving duck-mole, which are at present peculiar to Africa. Not any of shuffles awkwardly along dry land like a reptile, the indigenous quadrupeds in South America and is restricted in the aquatic part of its amare of the same species with those of the old phibious existence to tranquil pools of fresh world — very few are of the same genus. The water, -- and let him associate these impediments

to migration with the facts of the present geo* Bones of this till lately deemed fabulous bird graphical distribution of the species so fettered; were exhibited by Sir William Jardine, Mr. Strick or let him ponder upon the allocation of the few land, and Professor Milne Edwards, at the late meering of naturalists at Oxford, where the unique relics struthious birds which now exist in connexion of the famous Dodo were duly descanted upon. with their want of wings and of webbed feet:

US.

and say whether Zoology has not presented a of the peculiar existing species of South Ameriproblem which, when rightly solved, will effect ca, were rejected with the flippant remark that as great a revolution in men's ideas of the time " all those species might dance within the carand the mode of the dispersion of animal life cass of the megatherium.” It might be objected over the earth's surface, as the Copernican sys- with equal force of the glyptodon, that the prestem did in those regarding the relations of our ent diminutive species of armadillo might all planet to the sun.

send representatives to disport within its huge Zoology, by the application of that branch of panoply, where they would no doubt display the science called Palæontology, has already more agility there than could be expected from carried us a long way back. With regard to the sloths within the carcass of the megathethe continents composing what geographers call rium; yet the glyptodon was not less a gigantic the Old World, it has shown, by its power of armadillo than the megatherium a gigantic sloth. determining the natural affinities of extinct spe- The fact first glimpsed at by Cuvier seems, in a cies from their fossil remains, that mammalian word, to have been abundantly confirmed: viz., forms, now limited to particular regions of that that the huge extinct quadrupeds of South great natural tract of dry land, were of yore America are not allied to those which exhibit more generally disposed over it; that hyænas, similar proportions in Africa or Asia, but have elephants, and rhinoceroses, were as common in their nearest affinities to the diminutive species Europe as they now are in Asia, if not more which are now peculiar to South America. abundant; and that giraffes and hippopotamuses The like correspondence is traced between once co-existed in Africa, Asia, and Europe. The the recent and the extinct mammals of Austraspecies, indeed, were different; but the same lia. Beasts manifesting, in unmistakable chargeneric forms were at one time widely dispersed acters stamped upon their fossil remains, the over the whole of this Old World, of which same essential affinities to the kangaroo and they may be regarded as peculiarly character- wombat, which the megatherium and the glyptoistic. When, thanks to the exertions of Sir don respectively present to the sloth and armaWoodbine Parish and Mr. Darwin, the exten- dillo, existed in New IIolland contemporaneously sive tertiary deposits of South America began in with those edentate giants in South America. their turn to supply analogous evidences of the Quadrupeds as large as rhinoceroses, and in the ancient mammalia of that continent — and when proportions of some of their bones approaching the limestone caverns of Brazil had been ran the elephant, but representing on a gigantic sacked by Lund with a success second only to scale the peculiar features of the existing herbivthat which rewarded the previous explorations orous marsupials, subsisted upon the vegetable of Buckland in the same dark recesses of Eng- productions of Australia at the same remote lish geology -- the results proved so far similar period - judging from the geological character that it could be as truly said of the primeval of the strata and the petrified conditions of the beasts of America as of those of Europe, that fossils — at which the mammoth, the rhinoceros, verily there were giants in those days. But the and hippopotamus owned the soil of England - a giants appear to have been of totally different period anterior to its separation from continental orders. No fragment of elephant, rhinoceros, Europe. But more — the vast size of the angiraffe, or hippopotamus has been discovered in cient herbivorous marsupials, and their numbers, South America; but it is inferred from abun- as indicated by the abundance of remains disdant remains of enormous sloths, armadilloes, and covered in a comparatively brief period, required ant-eaters, and of huge species having near affin- a system of check; and this was provided for by ities to the llamas (e. g., Mucrauchenia), to the the co-existence with them of a carnivore bearcavies (e. g., Toxodon), or to other mammalian ing to them the same proportional size and force families, that such types were at that tertiary which the ancient lion of England (Felis Spelaa) epoch, as now, peculiar to this region. Of the bore to its colossal prey. But the relics of this dimensions of some of those extinct representa- Australian carnivore prove it to have been more tives of the quadrupeds which may be said to nearly allied to the small existing carnivorous wear the South American livery, an idea may marsupials of Australia (the dasyures, for exambe formed from the fact that certain bones of ple) than to any of the jaguars, lions, tigers, the megatherium measure exactly double the hyænas, or bears of other continents. It was a size of the same bones in the elephant. Forty huge marsupial destructive. years ago, difference of size was deemed a mat Ayain - Banks and Solander, throughout ter of such importance in the comparison of spe- Cook's first voyage found no similar tract of cies, that Baron Cuvier's just conclusions from land so destitute of mammalian life as the isles his exact demonstrations of the concordance of of New Zealand : not a trace of the kangaroos structure between the megatherium and some and opossums of neighbouring Australia could

here be detected. The Aborigines, though at of Surgeons ? What adds to the strangeness of that stage of civilization when a knowledge of this recent discovery and most striking restorathe beasts of chase is most useful and therefore tion of lost animals, is the fact, that, the number usually the most exact, could give no information of already, ascertained species of struthious or respecting any wild or native quadruped. They short-winged birds incapable of flight, which had a small half-domesticated dog; but the once inhabited New Zealand, is nearly three largest warm-blooded, indigenous, terrestrial ani- times that of the same order of birds at present mals hunted or entrapped by them were birds, known to exist in the rest of the world. Here, about the size of our pheasant, but wingless, therefore, is one of the problems which Zoology nocturnal and fossorial; they called them “ Kivi." offers to the inquiring mind; to explain a genThis condition of New Zealand has been aptly eralization based upon a series of carefully compared by Mr. Lyell with that of Europe dur- ascertained facts, the conformity, namely, of the ing the era of the Wealden formation, in which geographical distribution of certain groups of deposits no traces of animals more highly organ- the higher organized forms of animal life, at a ized than birds have yet been found.

period antecedent to history, prior apparently Thus as large hoofed quadrupeds (the ele- to man's existence, with the actual distribution phant, giraffe, rhinoceros, hippopotamus) form of the same peculiar groups as determined by the most striking feature of the zoology of the observation of the living species. Old World, as long-clawed edentate quadrupeds The learned author of the • Researches into do in the case of the New World, or at least of the Physical History of Mankind'— in his atits southern division, and as marsupial quadru- tempt to reconcile the facts of the geographical peds prevail in the Australasian world, so wing-distribution of existing animals with certain pasless birds might be said to form the leading sages in the Mosaic history, as usually interpretcharacteristic of the actual zoology of New Zea- ed - conjectures that the peculiar extra-Asiatic land. And hence the question became extreme genera and species might have been called into ly interesting as to what forms of animal life, if existence subsequently to the Deluge. The siany, the deposits contemporaneous with the lence of Scripture as to such recent partial creanewer tertiary formations in Australia, South tions, Dr. Pritchard holds to be of little conseAmerica, and Europe might reveal. The an- quence. “It was of no importonce," he says, swer which the explorations of the Rev. Messrs. “ for men to be informed at what time New Williams, Cotton, and Colenso, Colonel Wake- Holland began to contain kangaroos, or the field, and Mr. Earle have enabled Professor woods of Paraguay ant-eaters and armadilloes." Owen to return, is complete. New Zealand (vol. I., p. 83, ed. 1826.) We now learn, howwas populated at the pleistocene period, by ever, that amongst the inscrutable designs of a forms of animal life no higher in the scale than good Providence, ordaining the times and seawingless birds and birds most nearly allied to sons for the introduction of new truths into the the Kivi (Apteryx), forming the remnant and treasury of human knowledge, it was also inrepresentative of the family, and now fast dis- tended that men should know that long anteceappearing through the exterminating spread of dent to historical cataclysms there prevailed the the colonists. But the ancient wingless birds of same laws as to the geographical distribution of New Zealand were as gigantic in proportion to animals, which subsequently governed that mysthe Kivi as the diprotodon of Australia was to terious circumstance in their history. The timthu Kangaroo. When different species of ele- id, the narrow-minded, and the essentially faithphants, rhinoceroses, and hippopotamuses existed less shrink from the acceptance of such sums of in Europe, while as many species of gigantic knowledge. Loath to comprehend that Philolosloths and armadilloes peopled the forests of gy itself is a science still in progress — rashly South America, and when the diprotodons, assuming that the old and common interpretanototheria, huge wombats, and dasyures repre tion of a Hebrew Text can alone be just — they sented the marsupial order as gigantically in are apt to accuse of boldness bordering on imAustralia — at the same remote period the dinor- piety those to whoin it has been given to open nis and palapteryx formed a wingless but feathered and read another page of Nature. It would biped population of the New Zealand isles, com seem from the language in which the progress of prehending many species, some four feet, some physical science has been sometimes apostroseven feet, some nine feet, some eleven feet in phized, as if its cultivators were luxuriators in height. Linnæus apostrophized the ostrich as intellectual pleasures, self-willed seekers after avium maxima! Ilow shrunk are its propor- | forbidden knowledge. Whereas they are for tions when viewed by the side of the Dinornis the most part the creatures of circumstances giganteus which towers above the skeleton of beyond their control: they are in positions, somethe giant O'Byrne in the museum of the College | times not of their own choice, in which the evi

« PoprzedniaDalej »