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I may also observe, for it is to be gained from the chronicles of this province, that the time at which it may be said that the Catholic religion fell into its gross errors, appears to have been about one thousand years after the death of our Saviour. And as I thought of all this, and a great deal more, and smoked my cigar, I felt a great deal of respect for the good old city of Liege; and then I wandered back to the country I had passed through the day before, excelling in all lovely scenery. I had seen it before, but it was many years ago; but it may be seen many times without the least degree of satiety. It was the very country for a Blasé.“ I do not know any scenery which raises up such pleasurable sensations as that of the Valley of Meuse, taking it the whole way from Namur to Liege, and from Liege to Spa. It is not so magnificent as the Rhine, to which it bears a miniature resemblance. It is not of that description which creates a strong excitement, which is invariably succeeded by depression; but it is of that unchanging and ever pleasing joyous description, that you are delighted without being fatigued, and have stimulus sufficient to keep you constantly in silent admiration without demanding so much from the senses as to weary them. If I could have divested myself from the knowledge that I was in motion, and have fancied that the scene was moving past, I could have imagined myself seated at one of our large theatres, watching one of Stanfield's splendid panoramas. But the lighted end of my cigar at last approximated so near to my nose, that I was burnt out of my reverie; I took the last saveall whiffs, tried to hit an old woman's cap with the end of it, as I tossed it into the street, and retreated to the diurnal labour of shaving—of all human miseries, certainly, the “ unkindest cut of all”—especially when the maids have borrowed your razor, during your absence, to reduce the volume of their corns. CHAPTER XIV.
Liege. I have been reading the “Salmonia" of Sir Humphrey Davy: what a pity it is that he did not write more, there are so many curious points started in it. I like that description of book, which, after reading a while, you drop it on your knee, and are led into a train of thought which may last an hour, before you look for the
where you left off. There are two cases argued in this work, which led me into a meditation. The one is, a comparison between reason and instinct, and the other as to the degree of pain inflicted upon fish by taking them with the hook. Now it appeared to me, in the first question, what has been advanced is by no means conclusive, and although it is the custom to offer a penny for your thoughts, I shall give mine for nothing, which is perhaps as much as they are worth, (I say that, to prevent others from making the sarcastic remark,) and in the second question, I think I can assist the cause of the lovers of the gentle art of angling---why gentle, I know not, unless it be that anglers bait with gentles, and are mostly gentle-men.
But before I attempt to prove that angling is not a cruel sport, I must first get rid of “reason and instinct." Of reason most undoubtedly a philanthropist would reply, “ Be it so;" nevertheless, I will argue the point, and if I do not succeed, I have only to hedge back upon Solomon, and inquire, “ If man was born to misery as the sparks Ay upwards, why are not the inferior classes of creation to have their share of it?"
I do not think that any one can trace out the line of demarcation between reason and instinct. Instinct in many points is wonderful, especially among insects, but where it is wonderful, it is a blind obedience, and inherited from generation to generation. We observe, as in the case of the bees, that they obey the truest laws of mathematics, and from these laws they never have deviated from their creation, and in all animals, as far as their self-defence or their sustenance are concerned, is shown a wonderful blind obedience to an unerring power, and a sagacity almost superior to reason. But wonderful as this is, it is still but instinct, as the progenitors of the race were equally guided by the same, and it is handed down without any improvement, or any decay in its power. Now if it could be asserted that the instinct of animals was only thus inherited from race to race, and could “go no farther," the line of demarcation between reason and instinct would at once be manifest, as instinct would be blindly following certain fixed laws, while reason would ever be assisted by memory and invention. But we have not this boasted advantage on the side of reason, for animals have both memory and invention, and moreover, if they have not speech, they have equal means of communicating their ideas. That this memory and invention cannot be so much exercised as our own, may be true, but it is exercised to an extent equal to their wants, and they look no further ; that is to say, that if any want not prepared for, or any thing should take place interfering with their habits and economy, instinct will enable them to meet the difficulty. There is nothing more won. derful than the application of mechanical power by ants. No engineer could calculate with greater nicety, and no set of men work together with such combination of force. After they have made ineffectual attempts to remove a heavy body, you will observe them to meet together, consult among themselves, and commence an entire new plan of operations. Bees, also, are always prepared to meet any new difficulty. If the sphinx atropos, or death's head moth, forces its way into the hive, the bees are well known, after having killed it with their stings, to embalm the dead body with wax- their reason for this is, that the body was too large for them to remove through the passage by which it entered, and they would avoid the unpleasant smell of the carcase. It may be argued, that instinct had always imparted to them this knowledge, but if so, they must have had a fresh accession of instinct after they had been domiciled with men, for it is well known that the hole in the tree, in which the wild bees form their cells, is invariably too small to admit any animal larger than themselves, and whose bodies they could remove with as much ease as they do the bodies of their own dead.
I could cite a hundred instances, which would prove that animals have invention independent of the instinct handed down from generation to generation. I will, however, content myself with one instance of superior invention in the elephant, which occurred at Ceylon. Parties were employed felling timber in the forests of Candia, and this
timber, after having been squared, was dragged to the depôt by a large party of elephants, who, with their keepers, were sent there for that purpose. This work was so tedious, that a large truck was made, capable of receiving a very heavy load of timber, which might be transported at once. This truck was dragged out by the elephants, and it was to be loaded. I should here observe, that when elephants work in a body, there is always one who, as if by common consent, takes the lead, and directs the others, who never refuse to obey him. The keepers of the elephants, and the natives, gave their orders, and the elephants obeyed, but the timber was so large, and the truck so high on its wheels, that the elephants could not put the timber in the truck according to the directions given by the men. After several attempts, the natives gave up the point, and retiring to the side of the road as usual, squatted down, and held a consultation. In the mean time, the elephant who took the lead summoned the others, made them draz two of the squared pieces to the side of the truck, laid them at right angles with it, lifting one end of each on the truck, and leaving the other on the ground, thus forming the inclined plane. The timber was then brought by the elephants, without any interference on the part of the keepers or natives, who remained looking on, was pushed by the elephants with their foreheads up the inclined plane, and the truck was loaded. Here then is an instance in which inventive instinct—if that term may be used—was superior to the humbler reasoning powers.
That animals have the powers of memory as well as man, admits of no dispute. In elephants, horses, and dogs, we have hourly instances of it; but it descends much lower down—the piping bullfinch, who has been taught to whistle two or three waltzes in perfect concord, must have a good memory, or he would soon forget his notes. To detail instances of memory, would therefore be superfluous ; but, as it does occur to me while I write, I must give an amusing instance how the memory of a good thrashing overcame the ruling passion of a monkey, which is gluttony, the first and only instance that I ever saw it conquered.
I had on board of a ship which I commanded, a very large Cape baboon, who was a pet of mine, and also a little boy, who was a son of mine. When the baboon sat down on his hams, he was about as tall as the boy was when he walked. The boy having a tolerable appetite, received about noon a considerable slice of bread and butter, to keep him quiet till dinner time. I was on one of the carronades, busy with the sun's lower limb, bringing it in contact with the horizon, when the boy's lower limbs brought him in contact with the baboon, who having, as well as the boy, a strong predilection for bread and butter, and a stronger arm to take it withall, thought proper to help himself to that to which the boy had been already helped. In short, he snatched the bread and butter, and made short work of it, for it was in his pouch in a moment. Upon which the boy set up a yell, which attracted my notice to this violation of the articles of war, to which the baboon was equally amenable as any other person in the ship; for it is expressly stated in the preamble of every separate article, “ All who are in, or belonging to." Whereupon I jumped off the carronade, and by way of assisting his digestion, I served out to the baboon, monkey's allowance, which is, more kicks than halfpence. The master reported that the heavens intimated that it was twelve o'clock, and with all the humility of a captain of a man-of-war, I ordered him to “make it so;" whereupon it was made, and so passed that day. I do not remember how many days it was afterwards that I was on the carronade as usual, about the same time, and all parties were precisely in the same situations, the master by my side, the baboon under the booms, and the boy walking out of the cabin with his bread and butter. As before, he again passed the baboon, who again snatched the bread and butter from the boy, who again set up a squall, which again attracted my attention. I looked round, and the baboon caught my eye, which told him plainly that he'd soon catch what was not “ at all my eye;" and he proved that he thought so, for he actually put the bread and butter back into the boy's hands. It was the only instance of which I ever knew or heard, of a monkey being capable of self-denial when his stomach was concerned, and I record it accordingly. (Par parenthèse :) it is well known that monkeys will take the small pox, measles, and I believe the scarlet fever, but this fellow, when the ship's company were dying of the cholera, took that disease, went through all its gradations, and died apparently in great agony.
As then, invention and memory are both common to instinct as well as to reason, where is the line of demarcation to be drawn; especially as in the case of the elephants I have mentioned, superior instinct will invent when inferior reason is at fault. It would appear, if the two qualities must be associated, that at all events there are two varieties of instinct: blind instinct, which is superior to reason, so far that it never errs, as it is God who guides, and inventive instinct, which enables the superior animals to provide for unexpected difficulties, or to meet those which memory has impressed upon them. But if we examine ourselves, the difficulty becomes even greater-we have decidedly two separate qualities. We are instinctive as well as reasonable beings; and what is inventive instinct but a species of reason, if not reason itself?
But although I say that it is hardly possible to draw the line of demarcation, I do not mean to say that they are one and the same thing, for instinct and reason, if we are to judge by ourselves, are in direct opposition. Self-preservation is instinctive, all the pleasures of sense, all that people are too apt to consider as happiness in this world, I may say, all that we are told is wrong, all that our reason tells us we are not to indulge in, is instinct.
Such are the advantages of being reasonable beings in this world ; undoubtedly, we have a right to claim for ourselves, and deny to the rest of the creation, the enjoyments of the next. Byron says,
“ Man being reasonable, must get drunk.” That is to say, being reasonable and finding his reason a reason for being unhappy, he gets rid of his reason whenever he can. So do the most intellectual animals. The elephant and the monkey enjoy their bottle as much as we do. I should have been more inclined to agree with Byron, if he had said,
“ Man being reasonable, must go to the devil.”
For what are poor reasonable creatures to do, when instinct leads them to the “old gentleman," and reason, let her tug as hard as she pleases, is not sufficiently powerful to overcome the adverse force.
After all, I don't think that I have come to a very satisfactory conclusion. Like a puppy running round after his own tail, I am just where I was when I set out; but, like the puppy, I have been amused for the time. I only hope the reader will have been so too.
And now, my brethren, I proceed to the second part of my discourse, which is, to defend anglers and fly-fishers from the charge of cruelty.
It is very true that Shakspeare says, “ The poor beetle that we tread on, in mortal sufferance, feels a pang as great as when a giant dies;” and it is equally true that it is as false as it is poetical.
There is a scale throughout nature, and that scale has been divided by unerring justice. Man is at the summit of this scale, being more fearfully and wonderfully made, more perfect than any other of the creation, more perfect in his form, more perfect in his intellect; he is finer strung in his nerves, acuter in his sympathies ; he has more susceptibility to pleasure, more susceptibility to pain. He has pleasures denied to, and he has pains not shared with him by, the rest of the creation. He enjoys most, and he suffers most. From man the scale of creation descends, and in its descent, as animals are less and less perfect, so is meted out equal but smaller proportions of pleasure and pain, until we arrive to the Mollusca and Zoophyte, beings existing certainly, but existing without pleasure and without pain–existing only to fill endless variety, and add the links to the chain of nature necessary to render it complete. The question which naturally will be put is, “ How do you know this ? it is assertion, but not proof.” But arguments are always commenced in this way. The assertion is the quid, the est demonstrandum, always comes afterwards. I handle my nose, flourish my handkerchief, and proceed.
Man is the most perfect of creation. What part of his body, if separated from the rest, can he renew? No part, except the hair and the nail. Reproduction can go no further. With the higher classes of animals also there is no reproduction, but even at this slight descent upon the scale, we may already point out a great difference. Although there is no reproduction, still there are decided proofs of inferiority; for instance, a hare or rabbit caught in a trap, will struggle till they escape, with the loss of a leg-a fox, which is carnivorous, will do more, he will gnaw off his own leg to escape. Do they die in consequence? no, they live and do well; but could a man live under such circumstances ? impossible. And yet the conformation of the mammalia is not very dissimilar from our own; but man is the more perfect creature, and therefore has not the same resources.
I have hitherto referred only to the limbs of animals ; I will now go further. I had a beautiful little monkey on board my ship. By accident it was crushed, and received such injury that the back-bone was divided at the loins, and the vertebra of the upper part protruded an inch outside of its skin. Such an accident in a man would have produced immediate death, but the monkey did not die : its lower limbs were of course paralysed. The vertebra which protruded, gradually rotted off, and in six weeks the animal was crawling