Sidor som bilder

Encouraged by the success which the Introduction to Botany obtained from a discerning public, Mrs. Wakefield has been induced to exhibit, in a corresponding manner, the outlines of Entomology; an alluring branch of knowlege, which even ladies no longer disdain to cultivate. In the first letter, the writer briefly touches on the utility and importance of the study; in the second, on the component parts of insects; in the third, she explains the seven orders into which they have been distributed by Linné; and, in the remaining thirteen, she exemplifies the genera, by noting their leading characters, and illustrating the natural history of each by that of one or two of its most remarkable or most familiar species. The descriptions, which are conveyed in plain and perspicuous language, derive still farther elucidation from the aid of twelve plates; of which the numerous figures are selected with judgment, and executed with sufficient precision for the purpose to which they are destined. - To the letters is annexed a summary recapitulation of the characters of the class, orders, and genera of insects; or, as it is somewhat carelessly intitled, Arrangement of Insects into Classes, Orders, and Genera.'

As no unfair specimen of the general style and manner of the performance, we transcribe the following passage:

• The genus Forficula presents you with an object of your de testation, the common earwig; though, before I dismiss it, I hope to convince you that your aversion rests on a false basis, and that, except the injury to which your flowers are exposed by its ravages, you have nothing to dread from this much persecuted insect, but a great deal to admire in its curious structure. The vulgar notion of its entering the human ear is rejected by men of science as absurd, and ranked amongst those opinions that have originated in ignorance, and been confirmed by prejudice.

• The wings of the earwig are remarkably elegant, and lie in so many folds beneath their small sheaths, as to excite admiration. In proportion to the size of their owner, they are large and transparent; though probably few careless observers know that they have any, for they fly only by night, and it is difficult to make them open their wings in the day-time. Instinct has taught the female to seek some damp place for her eggs, equally secure from drought or heat. Nor does her maternal care stop here, as in most other insects, but when they are hatched she broods over her young, something like a hen over her chickens; the little ones clinging to her sides for several hours in the day. The larvæ are very small at first, and have a great resemblance to the parentinsect, except being of a whitish colour, and not yet having the forceps at the end of the tail curved inwards. The earwig lives among flowers, and feeds upon decayed fruit, and other vegetable substances, unless pressed by hunger, when it has been known to prey upon its own species.

Having brought you to the last genus of the first order, I shall conclude my letter, after earnestly recommending you to examine every object with the most diligent attention, that none of those minute parts, appropriated to particular uses, and evincing the design and wisdom of the Creator, may escape your notice ; for 12 +



be persuaded, my dear Constance, that in studying the book of Nature, delightful as the employment is, amusement is by no means the sole, or even principal object; but rather that we may become better acquainted with the works of God, in the meanest of which, as well as the most magnificent, his wisdom and goodness are strikingly displayed.'

We cannot venture to fatter Mrs. Wakefield with the expectation that children will prefer the histories of gnats and butterflies to those of Tom Thumb and Woglog the Giant: but, by so happily adapting her pages to the capacities of the young, she has conferred on them a material obligation ; and she has thus enabled them to profit by her instructions before they are qualified to relish the more elaborate and scientific work of Kirby and Spence. (See our Review for February last.) Within the compass of this small volume, they will find much accurate information agreeably condensed, without any admixture of pedantic or irksome discus. sion; and they will rise from the perusal of it with their curiosity rather stimulated than satiated, desirous of pursuing the same line of inquiry with renovated vigour, and under the impressions of every amiable sentiment of piety and humanity.

Mrs. Wakefield has avowedly followed Dr. Shaw and Mr. Barbut as her principal guides : but the writings of Reaumur, Bonnet, Haworth, Huber, &c. might likewise have furnished her with some highly interesting materials. It would, perhaps, have been advisable to have excluded the crustaceous animals altogether ; since they are now allowed to form a class by themselves, and they differ from genuine insects in so many particulars of structure and constitution. From a hint that occurs towards the bottom of the third page, we are led to believe that the fair writer considerably under-rates the intellectual faculties of the tiny families; and that many of the species manifest more sagacity and more fre. quent accommodations to circumstances, than she seems to imagine. She has adopted, too, apparently without much examination, the common opinion relative to the morbus pedicularis. We may add that the acarus, which has been only occasionally observed in the pustules of the itch, is probably no more the cause of that disorder than the maggot is the cause of tainted meat:- but, hard and callous creatures as we are supposed to be, we really have not firmness enough of nerve to discuss such delicate and moving points with the ladies. In the confidence, therefore, that this valuable manual will survive a first edition, we hasten to contribute our mite to the improved correctness of a future impression. Besides the mis-printings noted in the errata, we have remarked the omission of No. 8. in Plate I., which occasions a confusion in a part of the explanation that refers to it. In the explanation of Plate II., virides occurs for viridis, as reniform does for reniforme, at page 158. In several instances, the relative pronoun is inelegantly suppressed ; and, in a few more, the syntax is deficient. Thus, each of these sections have;—the larve of which is distinguished ;her size and shape differ in summer, from what it is in the winter, &c. The first part of the sentence beginning with • The eggs' (p. 127.) is also incomplete in its structure, though its meaning is obvious.


Y 4

Art. 20. An Introduction to the Study of Conchology; including

Observations on the Linnæan Genera, and on the Arrangement of M. Lamarck; a Glossary, and a Table of English Names. Illustrated with coloured Plates. By Samuel Brookes, F.L.S. 4to. pp. 167. 31. ros. Boards. Arch. 1815.

The professed design of this elegant publication is to afford assistance to those who may be desirous of cultivating an acquaintance with Conchology, although they may be, in a great measure, strangers to the other branches of natural history. As it is principally intended for the use of English readers, Latin terms have been discarded wherever they could be avoided, and an alphabetical glossary of such of them as are in most common use has been subjoined.

Mr. Brookes commences with a hurried sketch of some of the most prominent writers on the subject, and of their schemes of arrangement; dwelling more particularly on the plans of distribution adopted by Linné, and by Lamarck: he then proceeds to abbreviated statements of the rms and nature of the animals that inhabit shells, to some general remarks on the structure and aspects of the shells themselves, and to an explanation of the technical phraseology used in describing them. The rest of the work is occupied with a plain systematical exposition of the genera instituted by Linné and his followers, with the enlargements and alterations proposed by Lamarck. To the name of each genus are annexed, first, the Linnéan characters, and then a more detailed account; usually exhibiting the most essential points of difference when they can be ascertained, the varieties of aspect and structure observable among the species belonging to it, their numerical amount, and such critical remarks as have occurred to the author. With a view to elucidate the verbal descriptions, nine very handsome coloured plates, containing 134 figures, and illustrative of most of the families of shells, have been added; besides two uncoloured, which have a more pointed reference to the animal inhabitants of shells. • The figures are generally of those shells to which Lamarck refers as examples. It is hoped that those parts on which the generic characters depend are distinctly shown. In some cases where the shells were not easily procured, or were very common, or the genus so small that perhaps only one species is known, the figures are omitted ; but in this case a reference is given to a plate in some work of credit. Those which are introduced as examples of the principal genera of the recent shells are intended to make the work more complete; but if a figure of a shell of every genus had been given, it would have added much to the expence; and in the genera in which there are but few shells known, and those chiefly fossil and very rare, as it could only be a copy of a figure already published, it was thought that it would be better to refer to other works.'

Having premised thus much, it will not be expected that we should analyse the contents of this volume more minutely, or encumber our pages with elementary definitions and descriptions, It behoves us, however, to state that Mr. Brookes evinces an intin mate and learned acquaintance with his subject, that he duly



blends perspicuity with brevity of description, that he has bestowed on his plates an unusual degree of correctness and elegance, and that he has carefully prepared the way for the prosecution of his favourite study, on the most extensive scale. His remarks on the genera Tellina, Conus, Cypræd, Bulla, Voluta, Patella, &c. sufficiently prove that he is no mere copyist, but that he exercises his own powers of judgment as often as the circumstances of the case render it either necessary or proper. The tendency of some of his strictures is to induce doubts of the accuracy of several of the Linnéan generic distinctions. In fact, new discoveries in Conchology, as in the other departments of natural history, daily call for greater nicety of divisions and subdivisions; and, after all, the series of natural productions probably forms such a graduated whole, that the utmost extent of human ability will ever be found inadequate to establish any comprehensive and uniform plan of their distribution on precise and permanent criteria. Hitherto, however, the number of those delicate and imperceptible approximations of genera and species, which have occurred to embarrass the eye of discernment, is far from overwhelming; and no methodical naturalist ought to relax in his efforts of diligent discrimination.

Before we dismiss the present article, it may also be proper to remark that fossil shells have, of late, become a topic of most interesting geological inquiry ; and that the student who avails himself of Mr. Brookes's Introduction will be prepared to include them in his future researches, and thus to extend his contemplations beyond the mere structure and appearances of existing generations.

NAVAL AFFAIRS. Art. 21. An Inquiry into the Merits of the principal Naval Actions

between Great Britain and the United Stales; comprizing an ACcount of all British and American Ships of War, reciprocally captured and destroyed, since the 18th of June 1812. By William James. 8vo. pp. 102. Printed at Halifax, in Nova Scotia. 1816.

Mr. James, we find, is an Englishman, not a seaman, but has been a prisoner in America during a part of the late war, and, like every other Briton, felt both mortified at the naval successes of the Americans and disgusted by the exaggerating gasconade with which they trumpeted them forth. He was consequently induced to undertake the present examination into the real merits of each case of naval action which occurred; and he is intitled to every countryman's thanks for the great pains which he has ex. erted in accomplishing this object. The circulation of his statements throughout the American colonies must have been serviceable to the cause of truth; and the diffusion of them here may be equally desirable, (though the facts are better known,) while it will also soothe the wounded feelings of a British public. Irritated, however, as those feelings have been, we have always had the consolation of knowing that no imputation has ever been fixed on the conduct of our naval heroes; and that all the blame


and all the discredit belong to the mode of arming and equipping our ships of war, under the known circumstances of the case. :. Severely, indeed, as every man must lament the result of these events, we are sure that he would not exchange his regret for the self-upbraidings which belong to those who were primarily the cause of our losses.

Much has been said here respecting the comparative force of the British and the American ships, and the particular circumstances attending each contest : but, as far as our knowlege goes, no statements so minute and so connected have appeared as are furnished in the publication before us. We wish, therefore, that the writer would prepare a revised edition of it for the London market,

It is known that, after the mischief had been done, our naval administration ordered the building and equipment of some ships that might be a match for the extraordinary force of the American frigates : but even this measure has been most inadequately and deceptively effected, if we may rely on Mr. James; who instances the Leander, as being very unfit to cope with the latter. We suspect, however, that the writer is not sufficiently founded in these observations and this statement; and the Leander played so noble a part in the late terrible conflict at Algiers, without (as far as we can learn) betraying any of the weakness of construction here ascribed to her, that the strictures on this subject in the present tract appear to be the more doubtful. Mr. J. would do well to gain positive and unquestionable information on this point, and establish or cancel his present representation of it, in any future impression. Art. 22. Substance of a Letter to Lord Viscount Melville, written

in May 1815; with the Outlines of a Plan to raise British Seamen, and to form their Minds to volunteer the Naval Service when required; to do away with the Evils of Impressment, and man our Ships effectually with Mercantile Seamen. Published for the Benefit of the Marine Society. 8vo. pp. 16. W. Phillips.

A Letter to William Wilberforce, Esq. M.P. on the Subject of Impressment; calling on him and the Philanthropists of this Country to prove those Feelings of Sensibility they expressed in the Cause of Humanity on Negro Slavery, by acting with the same Ardour and Zeal in the Cause of British Seamen. Published for the Benefit of the Marine Society. 8vo. pp. 22. Kirby. 1816.

Though these pamphlets display no author's name in their titlepages, we find them both subscribed Thomas Urquhart, and dated from Lloyd's Coffee-house ; and it appears that the writer is a seaman, the master, we suppose, of a merchant-vessel. He states that he had seen Lord Melville on the subject of his letter, previously to the composition of it, and had his Lordship's permission to address it to him: but we do not learn that any measures have been taken in consequence. Mr. Urquhart is a plain sensible


Art. 23

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