« FöregåendeFortsätt »
ghaunistaun. There is nearly the same general climate, similar animals, and a similar vegetation; most of our best fruits; and not a few of our most common, as well as of our most beautiful, flowers. These are mixed with turtles, tortoises, and plantains, with other instances of Asiatic zoology and vegetation. Adelung assigns the table-land of Thibet as the birth-place of the human race; since vines, pulse, rice, barley, and all other plants, which man requires, grow there ; and since it is the region, where all the domestic animals are found wild; as the dog, cat, pig, ass, horse, cow, sheep, goat, and camel.
Among the rocky mountains of North America is an animal, called the Rocky Mountain Sheep ,—an intermediate genus between the goat and the antelope. It has fine white wool; and ought to be introduced into Great Britain. The gazelle, too, might embellish several districts of Spain and Italy. Mild, intelligent, active, and familiar with man, “ the little four-eyed stag,” (as the Ceylonese call it, from its having two marks under the eyes,) might feed on herbs and flowers, and milk and honey,—to all which it is particularly partial, from the hands of Spanish and Italian beauty; and reward their attention with one look from its large, brilliant, fascinating eyes.
An attempt has lately been made to people the desert mountains of Stavanger with domestic rein-deer. In the winter of 1818, an inhabitant of that district purchased 200 in Sweden and Russia Lapland ; some of which were of the white Siberian breed. The want of snow induced him to leave all his snow-shoes, furs, utensils, and tents, in Aamadt; and he killed more than twenty on the journey for food and beverage. They passed through Christiana on the 1st of January, and arrived at their place of destination in perfect safety a
* Professor Pallas says, the sheep is the result of intermixtures of the Siberian Argali, the Sardinian Monfion, the panseng, or goat of Persia ; the bouquetin of the Alps, and the Caucasian sheep. He extracts the dog from the jackal, wolf, and fos.
Some animals are better protected, and increase more by being under the guardianship of man, than they would do, if left entirely to themselves. Hence the large flocks of bustards, that are seen in Chili, where they are frequently domesticated; and hence the decrease of the black cock in Wales and Scotland; an animal which flies from cultivation, and prefers the birch forests of Lapland, Siberia, Finland, and some parts of Norway. They are decreasing every year. This rule, however, does not invariably apply; for though redbreasts and wrens in Europe, blue pigeons at Mecca, and storks in Germany, Greece, and Africa, are piously protected, we do not find, that they increase to any very considerable extent. On the rivers of Iceland are seen large flocks of swans b; in some parts of America an immense number of turtle doves; while in Upper Canada d, and in the state of Ohio, are beheld so vast a multitude of wild pigeons, that Wilson, the celebrated Ornithologist, calculated that he saw in one day a flock, containing not less than 2,230,000,000.
Some animals are found in distant latitudes; and not in their intermediate spaces. Thus in Kodjake, of the Northern Archipelago, are found beautifully speckled mice; the same animal is found 300 leagues distant; and in no part of the intermediate countries : and the mountain sheep (argali) of Kamschatka, in the same manner, is known in Europe only in Corsica and Sardinia. The dog of the arctic regions, visited by Captain Ross, neither growled nor barked ; its anger being signified simply by the erection of its hair. The same peculiarities marked those of New South Wales, which were presented to Mrs. Lascelles and the Marchioness of Salisbury. :
* In 1821, Mr. Bullock brought some rein-deer to England. They all died but two. For a curious instance of their docility and obedience, see New Monthly Mag. Oct. 1821, p. 506. Rein-deer were introduced into Iceland in 1770, from Norway, by Governor Thodal.-Hooker, i. 107. Capt. Parry found them in Melville Island. A strange epidemic prevailed among them in the north of Sweden in 1823-4. A letter from Stockholm states, that as soon as they were attacked, they ran at full speed, till they met a running stream, into which they plunged. In this manner more than 3,000 perished. : b Hooker, i. 273. La Hontau, i. 62. d Howison's Sketches.
e Stæhlin's Russian Discoveries, p. 34.
The barby-roussa, though found in a small island, near Amboyna, is not found on the continents of either Africa or Asia; a circumstance the more remarkable, since, when hunted, it takes to the sea; and swims from one island to another. Some animals are confined to particular latitudes. Thus the sea-wolf, with teeth so sharp and strong, that it leaves marks of its bite even upon anchors, seems to be confined to the arctic and the higher latitudes of the temperate zones : but, the phocus is occasionally seen in the Mediterranean : and from this animal, probably, the ancients conceived their notions, relative to Syrens and Tritons..
DESTRUCTION OF ANIMALS.
MEN, in all civilized countries, offer rewards for the destruction of wild beasts. They are, indeed, considered as outlaws in every country.
Wolves were known in Scotland, even so late as 1577, to be greatly destructive to the flocks. Sir Ewen Cameron killed the last wolf in that country in 1680: and as Ossian nowhere alludes to the wolf, an argument has thence been drawn to prove that the poems, published under his name, are not genuine b. Edgar, king of England, enjoined Ludwall, king of Wales, to pay a tribute of 300 wolves every year, but they were common in England in the time of
a Bouro. • They were once so prevalent in Scotland, that every baron was obliged to hunt the wolf four times a year, attended by all his tenants; and every sheriff had three great wolf-huntings every year also.-Black Acts. Jac. I. ch. 115.
Athelstan; and very numerous, till within the last two · centuries, in Ireland.
In the time of Solon, five drachms were given for a male wolf, and one drachm for a female. In Russia they are still numerous; as may be seen from an account of the number of animals, which they destroyed in 1823a. In Lapland and Sweden wolves have, of late years, very much increased. Sixty years since they were scarce. Now the forests are infested with them.
But discretion must be used in the destruction of rapacious animals; lest, in ridding ourselves of one evil, we entail upon ourselves a greater. Rooks, for many years, were regarded as nuisances to farmers ;—they are now esteemed beneficial, from the grubs, which they destroy. The Pennsylvanian blackbird feeding on maize, the farmers destroyed them in great numbers. The worms, on which they fed, multiplied, in consequence, so abundantly, that they became immeasurably more destructive, than the birds. The birds, therefore, soon returned into favour.
All quadrupeds, that cannot be tamed for human use, will one day be extinct. The eagerness, with which they fly from the progress of man, is fully instanced in the back settlements of America. The Ohio country, not many years since, contained only a few savages, and a multitude of wild animals. Now (1837) it has a multitude of inhabitants; and, as a natural consequence, few wild animals b.
* This account was published by authority. Horses, 1,841 ; foals, 1,243 ; horned cattle, 1,807; calves, 733; sheep, 15,182 ; lambs, 726 ; goats, 2,545; kids, 183 ; swine, 4190 ; sucking pigs, 812; dogs, 703; geese, 673.
b Schoolcraft says, that the Indian considers the forest as his own. A letter from Berkshire, in America, gives an account of a week's hunt. There were killed—2 rabbits, 4 owls, 6 foxes, 6 partridges, 49 hawks, 115 grey squirrels, 137 ground hogs, 170 crows, 623 red squirrels, 710 pigeons, and 3,191 striped squirrels. Squirrels were so numerous in Ohio, in 1822, that they thronged even the streets and the house-tops of the villages, and consumed vast quantities of corn.
In tropical islands (except those in the immediate neighbourhood of continents), there are neither lions, leopards, tigers, nor elephants a Lions were more frequent in ancient than in modern times : and they infested countries, to which they are now total strangers. For even as lately as the times of Herodotus and Aristotle, they not only infested Thrace and Macedon, but Thessaly : and Pausanias b assures us, that when Xerxes went into Greece, the camels, which carried the provender, suffered greatly by them: and it could have been no easy service to eradicate these animals from the recesses of Pindus, Othrys, Ossa, and Olympuso. That they were even in Argolis is evident, from the institution of the Molorchean games. Lions were not uncommon in Palestine, in the time of Samson, and Joshua, and David : and Godfrey of Boulogned, even so lately as the time of the Crusades, destroyed one near Antioch. The lions of Asia, where the population is great, are less ferocious, and more obsequious to men, than in the interior of Africa, where the population is small. The presence of man alters the characters, and awes the propensities of animals. ..
Sylla exhibited a hundred lions ; Cæsar four hundred; and Pompey no less than from five hundred and fifty to six hundred.
Neither is the hippopotamus so numerous as in ancient times. In respect to panthers ;–Cælius wrote to Cicero, to send some from Cilicia, for the public games. "There are no panthers in Cilicia,” answered Cicero ; “ these animals, in their vexation to find, that they were the only objects of war, while every thing else was at peace, fled into Caria."
• Elephants were used by the Greeks for the first time by Alexander. Ivory was known, and even in use; but the Greeks never saw an elephant till the Macedonians passed over into Asia. At least, such is the assertion of Pausanias. Vid. lib. i. c. 12. Lib. vi. c. 5. c Euripides describes lions in Cithæron.-Bacchæ.
d William of Malmesbury, p. 448. e Plut. in Vit. Cic. This passage is very remarkable, inasmuch as the style is exactly that, which prevailed at the revival of letters. Poggio Bracciolini seems to be writing, rather than Cicero.