Sidor som bilder

As these bats are seen in few other places, we should almost be tempted to suppose, that Nature had resolved upon signalizing these islands with some of the most curious of her caprices ; as she has, by the formation of so many unique animals, on the continent of New Holland.

The first parrot, ever seen in Europe, was brought from Ceylon by Alexander's admiral, Onesicritus. The Romans afterwards obtained them from an island of the Nile; and in the time of the earlier emperors, they were kept in cages of shells, ivory, and silver. The ash-coloured parrot, now so common in Jamaica, and parts of America, went originally from Guinea. The blue-headed parrakeet, which sleeps with its head downwards, was carried from Sumatra and Malacca to the Philippine islands ; but it would be impossible to state, in what manner it went to Otaheite. The slave ships of Senegal, however, introduced the rose-ringed species into Guadaloupe, Martinico, and St. Domingo. Lories, wherever they are found, were originally deported from New Guinea, or the Moluccas. The noira lory, called for its beauty“ the brilliant,” was with great difficulty made to sustain a voyage from Java to Amsterdam ; the white-headed Amazon, so common in Mexico, will not naturalize even in Guinea ; the maipouri,—occupying the chain between parrakeets and popinjays,-rejects every kind of food, when caught; and will consent to try no climate but its own.

It was observed by Barentz, when he and his companions passed the winter on the western side of Ice-haven, that when the sun left them the bears left them too; and were succeeded by wild foxes; and that when the sun reappeared, the foxes fled, and the bears returned.

The Scythian ANTELOPE migrates, every autumn, from the northern to the southern deserts; and returns in the spring. The springer antelope migrates in small herds, from the interior of Africa to the neighbourhood of the Cape. There they remain for about two months : when they return in bodies

to the amount of many thousands. When rain has not fallen for two or three years, they travel through Caffraria, and destroy the chief of the vegetation : but lions, hyænas, and panthers, destroy them in return ..

Lapland MARMOTS travel, once or twice in twenty years, from the mountainous parts of Lapland and Norway, in large bodies ; destroying all the grain and vegetables in their way; and, being deterred neither by water nor by fire, travel with their young either in their mouths, or upon their backs, till ruin overtakes them. None ever return ;—for they are either drowned, killed by the inhabitants of the districts, through which they migrate, or eaten by foxes, lynxes, ermines, and other animals. Wild asses, also, collect in autumn to the east and north of the lake of Aral, in thousands; and thence effect a gradual retreat into the northern parts of Persia and India.

Monkeys, apes, elephants, camels, and tigers, are not able, generally, to propagate out of their natural latitudes ; nor have the Mamelukes of the Caucasus power to propagate in Egypt; nor will Egyptian plants propagate in Tartary. In hot countries, we are told, animals are more wild, more dreadful, bolder, and more ferocious, than in temperate ones: yet in America, Nature, under the same sun, seems to have relaxed from the severity of this discipline. Remarkable for the majesty of its vegetable forms, the New World not only presents to an European a new climate, but new flowers and plants ; new fossils, shells, and fishes ; and new reptiles, insects, and zoophytes. It exhibits, also, in the southern latitudes, not only new birds and quadrupeds, but a

a In 1822, a pair of Wapati, a nondescript species of elk, were discovered in the interior of North America, and were exhibited in London in the latter part of that year. Their size was that of a small horse. They were very gentle, received food even from visiters, and were, at that time, breaking in for the saddle and harness. The Indians of the Upper Missouri domesticate them, and they draw sledges at the rate of twenty miles an hour ; and their flesh is said to be delicious venison.

new firmament. Another pole presents itself; and shadows point to the south. Cassiopeia, the Bear, the Pleïades, and the northern constellations, are no longer witnessed at night; and the soul sinks, as it were, at one time, and is elevated at another, in the contemplation of the power and magnificence of the SOVEREIGN CHANGER OF THINGS.

It is curious, that when sheep were introduced to Van Diemen's Land, they acquired remarkable fertility. They bred twice a year, and, for the most part, had twins : In consequence of which, a few sheep had multiplied, seventeen years after their introduction, to the number of 127,883. In 1818, there were, also, in this island: 264 horses ; and 15,356 horned cattle. But to show how little mere climate has to do, in respect to the increase, we may observe, that ewes in Lapland have frequently twins twice a year; and goats constantly two kids, and often three at a birth.

Captain Cook left a buck and a doe, with two rabbits, in Mooa ; a bull and cow, a Cape ram, and two ewes, with a horse and mare, in Tongataboo; and various domestic animals in Otaheite and other islands 4. Captains Vancouver, . Wilson, and other navigators, have followed the example:-in a few years, therefore, islands, which have a tropical vegetation, will abound in animals from the temperate zone. .

The Spaniards have done great service to the western world in this manner. They introduced dogs, swine, horses, and horned cattle into St. Domingo, which, after exterminating the original inhabitants, they permitted to run wild in the woods and savannahs. They performed the same service for Chili. In that country horses became so numerous, that in Molina's time they sold for only four shillings a head; and in 1798 there were exported from Buenos Apres not less than

• When Vancouver visited Otaheite, he found that most of the herbs, plants, and animals, left by Capt. Cook, were destroyed during the wars, that had taken place in that island : vol. i. 98. 4to.

43,752 skins of horses, and 874,593 untanned hides. Horned cattle have not improved in Chili, or the Brazils ; but the horses are equal to the finest breeds of Europe. Mules are larger and more handsome ; and swine more prolific, though not so large.

The horse originally is a native of Asia a. Led in a domestic state into these vast regions, they have resumed the wild habits and manners of their forefathers; but are subject to evils, to which those ancestors were strangers. In the season of heat, they are tormented by musketoes and gadflies by day; and in the night by large bats, which leave holes in their skins for insects to deposit their eggs. During the season of inundations, when the savannahs become lakes, they are seen running about in all directions, as if they were frantic; surrounded by manatees, water-serpents, and crocodiles. Upon the subsiding of the waters, however, the earth becomes enriched with an odoriferous herbage; and they enjoy, till the season of heat returns, the sweets of existence in large herds.

British horses were so much admired by the Romans, that they imported great numbers of them, for the purpose of recruiting their cavalry. Of late years the horse, the ox, and the sheep have been much improved, both in size and symmetry, by crossing the respective breeds. The art of improving stock was carried to a curious height by the ancient natives of Spain and Egypt; who, depending much upon the efficacy of association, placed the handsomest oxen before their cows, when in conception. In modern Greece, where cows are not milked, many farmers entertain the same ideal impressions. In Britain, however, to such an extent has the art of breeding been carried, that 400 guineas have not unfrequently been given for a bull; and 100 guineas for the use of a ram for only one season.

In Chili, too, are the hare and otter, with many varieties of European fowls, as well as in Peru, Mexico, and the South Sea Islands. Chili is happy in having no wolves, or tigers ; even the lion is harmless ; and men sleep in the forests in perfect security a : there being no poisonous reptile of any sort b; nor any wasps, or musketoes.

a Humboldt.

The rat was introduced to America by a ship from Antwerpo; and the first cat was presented to Almagro d by Montenegro, who received for the present no less than 600 pieces.

Some writers have asserted, that all animals degenerate in America. This idea has arisen chiefly from the unphilosophical rage for generalization, which prevailed so extensively, some years since; and which still partially remains to the discomfiture of true science. So far from this having been the case in Chilie, all European animals, as before observed, have increased in size rather than diminished: particularly horses, asses, sheep, and goats. Ewes, indeed, have lost their horns; but rams have acquired four ; and not unfrequently six.

There are many animals of Asia and America, which it would be wise to introduce into the south of Europe. A French writer recommends to this adoption the fowls of Chatigaon; the Cashmirian sheep ; the musk deer of Thibet ; the bulls of Berar; many kinds of birds, and several species of fish. The Indian camel would, assuredly, flourish in Italy, Sicily, Spain, Portugal, and Greece. It is true, the camel of the deserts can only be of use in level countries ; since “uphill or downhill is equally the camel's curse :" but the camels of Dera have a more various capacity of movement, and ascend hills with little comparative difficulty. Of all Asia, the country most resembling Europe, is AfMolina, i. 34. bUlloa, iii. part ii.

Wallis. Herera, dec. v. c. 9. The cat is not mentioned by Aristotle ; it is probable, therefore, that cats were unknown in Greece at the time, in which that eminent naturalist wrote.

e Molina, i. 267. f In Pisa there is a breed of camels, said to have been introduced at the time of the Crusades.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »