Sidor som bilder

taining seven, and even eight stamens, growing on the same branch with corollas having only their usual number of six.

Lizards, serpents, lobsters, and some insects, have no apparent organs of generation : they are, therefore, supposed to have the wonderful faculty of secret generation. In this they bear some affinity with the attica-tree of Ceylon, which produces fruit from the trunk and branches without flowering. The cryptogamia class of plants, also, entirely conceal their fructification. Indeed it is impossible to determine where the separate species of life and being begin and terminate. I am persuaded that even the hairs of the head, and other parts of the frame, are animal vegetables distinct from, though growing out of the body a. They have roots like the bulbs of plants; and, being nourished by the blood vessels, as" vegetables are nourished by the earth, they have sometimes grown, as Malpighi confesses, so thick and strong as to exude blood. Hair may, also, be transplanted from one part of the body to another b. I am persuaded, also, that every stamen, every pistyl, every petal, and every leaf, however small, are distinct beings from each other : though of similar natures. The corolla of a flower is a collection of petals, forming a house for the males and the females: they all rise and have their being from one seed; but the seed, from which they rise, contains in its embryo the rudiments of every portion of the future plant.

a I am not certain that the remark may not be extended to the teeth and nails. The teeth are, next to hair and nails, the most independent part of our frame. They decay (often) long before the rest of the body; and their presence is frequently more painful than agreeable. As to the nails, they are in a perpetual state of increase. They even grow after the body has been deposited in the grave. Though growing on the body, and of use to it, they may, therefore, I think, be regarded as distinct :-50, also, the horns of quadrupeds, the feathers *of birds, and the scales of fishes.

• Vid. Letter from Signor Dottore Nardo to the Academy of Padua, in Giornale di Litteratura Italiana.



WHETHER minerals grow and propagate has not been ascertained, either in the negative or the affirmative. Signor di Gimbernat has discovered lately in the thermal waters of Baden and Ischia, a substance, similar to skin and flesh: he calls it zoogene; being a species of mineral animal matter. Future investigation will lead to some important results, in respect to the connection, which this substance has with other portions of the kingdom of Nature. Indeed, wonderful discoveries are yet in store for learned men ; since potash has been discovered in gehlente, needle-stone, and datolite; all of which yield a transparent jelly, when acted upon by acids. Tournefort believed that minerals emanated from seeds, as plants do: and the Otaheitans once were so extravagant as to think, that rocks were male and female, and begat soil. Milton, in the range of his vivid imagination, imparts the sexual properties even to the particles of light a Globes, also, have been said to be animated bodies ; whence have emanated planets and satellites, as stars issue out of rockets, when let off in a serene atmosphere. Upon this principle the sun itself is an animal. These ideas, however, must, for the present, be esteemed poétical. If minerals grow, they grow differently from plants ; as well as from all other organised bodies.

If Nature has her resemblances, she has also her anomalies. The naked eye can discern in truffles neither root, stem, leaves, flower, nor fruit. The osyris japonica b has flowers upon the middle of its leaves; club-moss has two kinds of seeds growing on the same plant; and the same has been supposed to be the case in the genera fucus and conferva. These are wonderful phenomena ! They were first observed by Dillenius ; and their separate germinations were afterwards described by Brotero.

a P. L. b. viii. 1. 150.

b Thunberg, vol. iii. 161.

The parasitical epidendrum monile a lives years with only the imbibings of rain and dew. It does not fasten its roots in the ground; and is, therefore, frequently hung upon pegs. Some plants of the desert have been taken up, and kept without moisture even for three years; and yet have vegetated b. The phoke of the Caubul deserts has flowers, but no leaves ; its branches are green, and run into twigs, terminating in branches, soft and full of sap. Camels are partial to it.

It is remarkable, that in Asia and Africa, where grass will not grow, the most beautiful flowers and shrubs flourish luxuriantly. In Australia, where vegetable and mineral productions run in veins. nearly north and south 4, timber degenerates as the land improves ; and the most nourishing e of all vegetables in the range of the Arctic circle grows best in sterile places. The “ King of Candiaf” has red clusters of flowers, which grow close to the ground. Before these clusters unfold, the leaves wither, and do not renew till the fruit falls. In all countries where the champaka s grows, its colour is yellow; except in Sumatra, where it is blue. This exception is so remarkable, that the Bramins believe that it once grew in Paradise. On the banks of the Ganges, near Hurdwar, is a grass ", which, when trampled upon, diffuses a grateful perfume; and in the territory of Istakhar there is said to be an apple, one half of which is sour, and the other sweet. These instances are very remarkable ; but in the olive and potatoe are peculiarities still more curious. The olive is propagated by cuttings, and by procuring wild plants from the woods; and it will not grow from the seed, unless it first passes through the intestines of some bird, which divests it of those oily particles, which prevent water penetrating it and causing the kernel to expand. The same effect may, pro

• Thunberg, vol. iii. p. 212. Ibid. vol. iv. 269. Elphinstone, p. 4, 4to. d Oxley, p. 268, 4to. e Lichen rangiferinus, Flor. Jap. 332. { Hoemanthus coccineus. 8 Marsden, Sumatra. h Jones on the Ancient Spikenard.

bably, be produced by macerating the seed in an alkaline lixivium. In respect to the potatoe, what can be more curious in fecundation, than the circumstance, that when this plant is propagated by cuttings, those cuttings will produce roots of the same quality; but when it is propagated by seed, scarcely two roots resemble each other in form, in size, colour, or flavour. In animated beings, too, it is not incurious to remark one or two of those peculiarities, which exemplify the boundless variety of Nature. The eggs of poultry, near Oojain in the Mahratta states, frequently contain two yolks : their bones, too, are black; while in Europe they are white, and in Malabar red. In London may, at this moment, be seen a redbreast with red eyes, yellow bill and legs, white feathers, and white claws. The species of colymbus, known in Sweden by the name of the lomm , has feet; but as they are turned towards the tail , it is unable to walk.

In the genus lytta, the Spanish female fly courts the male; and usurps the station in fecundation, which, in other animals, is taken by the male. This is, I believe, the only instance of the kind, that has yet been observed in natural economy. In minerals many anomalies and resemblances have, also, been observed : and as an analogy between vegetables and minerals is indicated by some remarkable coincidences, observable in the effects of metallic and vegetable galvanic batteries ", future experience will probably account for those peculiarities, which at present baffle the subtlety of the human mind.

How many species of sensation Nature has created, it were impossible even to conjecture: but, by all the rules of analogy, it is evident that there are at least two; the vegetable, and the animal. These species are subdivided into orders ; each of which are experienced in regular gradation, according to the body to which it belongs. Some extend sensation even to minerals; and, according to them, earths have a less * Clarke, Scandinavia, 310. b Scheffer de Avibus, 349.

c Proved by Baronio of Naples.

perfect sensation than bitumen and sulphur ; these yield to metals; metals to vitriols ; vitriols to lower salts; these to lower species of crystallizations; and those to what are called stones. The mineral is connected to the vegetable world by the amianthes and lytophites. Here a new species of sensation begins; a sensation partaking of the united qualities of mineral and vegetable ; having the former in a much greater degree than the latter. Vegetable is more acute than mineral sensation; therefore more delicate. Its degrees and qualities aspire, in regular order, from the root to the moving plant. The polypus unites plants to insects; the tube-worm seems to connect insects with shells and reptiles ; the sea-eel and the water-serpent connect reptiles with fishes ; the flying-fish form the link between fishes and birds ; bats associate quadrupeds with birds; and the various gradations of monkeys and apes fill up the space between quadrupeds and men.


CHARACTERS AND HABITS OF ANIMALS. It is curious, also, to observe the analogies of animals, in respect to their construction, capabilities, manners, and habits. Let us allude to a few of them. Wild horses live in communities, consisting of from ten to twenty, in the deserts of Western Tartary, and in the southern regions of Siberia. Each community is governed by a chief. The females bring forth one at a birth ; which, if a male, is chased from the herd, when he arrives at maturity ; and then he wanders about till he has assembled a few mares, to establish an empire of his own. While feeding, or sleeping, the tribe place a sentinel, who is ever on the watch ; and who, on all occasions for alarm, gives signals by neighing ; on hearing which the whole party set off with a speed equal to that of the wind. Wild asses congregate in the same manner. Antelopes associate in bodies, frequently to the number of three thousand. The wild lamas of the Cordilleras herd, also, in

« FöregåendeFortsätt »