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are equally misled by fancy; or that, enjoyment of the benefits of cultivated in studying different languages, a man society altogether, or be compelled to may not, at the same time, and with at listen to that which we do not under. leastequalfervour, attend to the thought stand, and which can only mortify our as well as to the expression of an au- feelings by impressing us with a sense thor. In fact, no sensible person ever of our own inferiority., thought of separating the two objects.

But independently of advantages But besides their utility in invigor- thus extensive and adventitious, ane ating the understanding, ancient and cient and foreign languages will be foreign languages ought likewise to be found to be well entitled to attention, studied. Inasmuch as they facilitate from the pleasure and instruction the attainment of our own tongue. In which they themselves are capable of glancing at this part of the subject, I affording. It is to these languages that do not mean to insist upon the ad- we are to look for some of the best vantages of etymological researches, in writers that the world has ever producopposition to usage and the practice of ed. In poetry, in oratory, and in some the best models of English style. branches of philosophy, they have With respect to their mutual influence never been surpassed. Shall we then upon composition, the former must deliberately relinquish the possession undoubtedly be ranked infinitely be of such intellectual treasures, merely low the latter. But I believe it will because we cannot undergo the toil of be admitted by the most inveterate rendering them accessible? enemy of such inquiries, that by tra

Translations will not answer the cing words to their originals, and by purpose, “ Let any man,” says the viewing them in all different varieties writer whom I formerly quoted, “ read of acceptation in which they have been a translation of Cicero and Livy, and successively received, a much greater then study the original in his own insight into the principles of our ver- tongue, and he shall find himself not nacular speech will be obtained, than only more delighted with the manner, could have been expected from any but also more fully instructed in the other source.

matter." “ I never could bear to read Another advantage to be derived

a translation of Cicero,” says Burke, from acquisitions of this nature arises in a letter to Sir William Jones. from the intimate connexion subsist- Demosthenes," continues the same ing between the literature of other writer,“ suffers, I think, somewhat countries and the literature of this. less; but he suffers greatly—so much They are, indeed, so interwoven with that no English reader could well coneach other, that there is scarcely one ceive from whence he had acquired celebrated work in the English lan- the reputation of the first of orators.” guage whose pages do not teem with "I once intended," says Dugald Stewallusions to ancient and foreign writ, art, in reference to some extracts from

Their very phraseology is often Bacon, which he had inserted in the introduced; sometimes for its beauty priginal Latin-" I once intended to --sometimes for arguments connected have translated them ; but found mywith it. If unconversant with the self quite unable to preserve the originals from whom quotations are weighty and authoritative tone of the thus frequently introduced, we must, original.” therefore, be content to remain ignor- În the enumeration just exhibited, ant of many passages in our own writ- it will be observed, I have not included ers, and, consequently, a great portion the advantages to be derived from the of our pleasure and our profit must be study of the dead languages, by perlost.

sons who wish to be of the learned Conversation, too, at least that professions,--and from that of the live kind of it which ought most highly to ing ones, by those whose inclination, be prized—the conversation of the or whose way of life, renders it necesknowing and informed,--turns so fre- sary to travel into foreign parts. On quently upon books, and upon topics this branch of the subject indeed, it to which books relate, that without a were useless to enlarge ; for to persons tolerable knowledge of other languages of this description, such philological besides our own, or unless endowed studies must be considered not as a with veryextraordinary powers indeed, mere matter of choice, but as absolutewe must either be debarred from the ly necessary.

ers.

BRANCHES OF NATURAL HISTORY.

REMARKS ON THE STUDY OF SOME ples and of cities upon the sand by the

sea-shore.*

I believe it will be acknowledged, on There is not any branch of Natural reflection, as well by the uninitiated as History which has been more sparing- the learned, that a comparatively imly illustrated, in a popular manner, perfect knowledge of those minuter than the science of Entomology; parts of animals which distinguish and though it may safely be averred, that characterise the species, if united with few of its departments present a more a zeal for acquiring an intimate acextensive field of observation, or are quaintance with their instinctive hamore capable of exciting astonishment bits, their uses in the creation, their and admiration in the minds of its relations to each other as members of votaries. In truth, Entomology, as a one great family, and their beautiful science, so far from having kept adaptation to the soils and to the clipace with the advancements in other mates in which they exist, is of greatbranches of natural knowledge, may er value than an exclusive knowledge, be said rather to have retrograded dure however perfect it may be, of those ing the labours of the existing genera- corporeal differences or affinities, by tion. That the description of exter- which thc various species, families, or nal character, and the determination classes of animals, may be either sepaof species, has been carried to a great rated or combined. degree of excellence cannot be denied; If, therefore, it be true, that of two but that a corresponding neglect of evils we should choose the less, I would the habits, the instincts, and the won- not hesitate to say, that it would be derful economy of insects, has taken far more advisable that naturalists place, must also unfortunately be ad- should follow the loose and desultory mitted.

method of Buffon, and others of his That systematic arrangement is nee school, than by an entire subjection cessary in natural history, as in all and devotion to all the minutiæ of sysother branches of human knowledge, tematic detail, to neglect whatever is is a fact too obvious to stand in need

great and beautiful in the science, and of illustration, and is perhaps suffi- thereby forfeit all claim to the praises ciently proved by the circumstance of of mankind, as agents in the extension Buffon-one of the most accomplished of the most admirable species of human men, and the most brilliant writer knowledge. The conduct of such men whom natural history has enlisted be- is in fact incapable of vindication, in neath her banners--having failed to as far as the perversion of talent, and induce the prevalence of a contrary the neglect of profiting by those faciopinion, notwithstanding every effort lities which the nature of their studies of his powerful genius. The want afford them, are incapable of being of fixed and determinate principles in vindicated. the arrangement of Buffon, was in- Such a inode of prosecuting scientific deed “the very head and front of his research, if it deserve such an appellaoffending,” and it is well for science tion, evidently lessens, not only the that his example has not been fol- degree of interest which natural hislowed.

tory is calculated to excite, but by conThe human mind, however, as has fining this pleasure, limited though it been often remarked, is at all times be, to the understanding of those only apt to indulge in extremes, and with, in thirty years from the death of that

* I have much pleasure in mentioning philosopher, who affected to disdain

one work, which certainly forms an excepthe trammels of system, we have seen tion to the general rule. I allude to the a cloud of men arise, some of them “ Introduction to Entomology,” by Kirby not undistinguished in the annals of and Spence, in which many singular facts, science, who have devoted themselves judiciously arranged, are collected from the industriously, and almost exclusively, writings of ancient and modern authors,

which illustrate well some singular particu. in raising up and tumbling down one system of classification after another, recommend, as worthy of perusal, an ele,

I would also

lars in the history of Insects. without relation to any consequent gant “ Essay on the Philosophy of Natural object of deeper interest or greater History,” by Fothergill, published a few importance, like children tracking out years ago, which contains some pleasing and the plans and the boundaries of tem- enlightened views of the subject. Vol. I,

4 D

who have made the science the pro- after genus, order after order, and fessed object of their study, it greatly class after class, till he has almost exdiminishes the extent and magnitude hausted the arcana of nature; and of its influence, and, consequently,

the then, as it were, satiated for a time by importance of the science itself. For, the brilliancy of his discoveries, and it may be asked, what interest can an desirous to benefit humanity, he brings individual, in pursuit of general in- forth as the offspring of his intellectuformation, be supposed to take in read al fruition, not an elucidation of the ing a mere catalogue of proper natnes, manners of animals, or a description or in poring over an everlasting series of their forms, as immediately and adof minute descriptions, from which he mirably connected with their peculiar may be led to believe, that natural propensities and modes of life, but a history resolves itself into a determin- most elaborate catalogue of their names ation of shades of colour, or the three and designations, compounded of dematerial qualities of length, breadth, mi-Greek and barbarous Latin, which and thickness; and that animals do not can have no other effect than that of differ from each other, except in the confounding the intellects of the boys shape or structure of their bodies, the of Eaton or Harrow, or other seminaorganization of their limbs, or the na- ries intended for promulgating a knowture of their joints, claws, teeth, and ledge of the ancient tongues. articulations ?

Having rested for a time, anon the Such, however, would be the natural potent and irresistible spirit of classificonelusion of most men, on perusing cation descends upon him. New lights the works of the worthy system-makers have pierced through the darkness of the present day. A rage for classi- which overshadowed him, and again fication has overpowered every feeling the species, the genera, the orders, connected with the nobility of true and the classes, are summoned before science, and the talents of men, natu- the dread tribunal, to undergo anorally acute, having been diverted into ther and a stricter scrutiny. Spots, an improper channel, there has been, specks, dimples, and dilatations, and as might naturally be expected, a de- even entire scales and hairs are disclension in intellectual power, in pro- covered, of which no one had, at any portion to the decrease in the dignity former period, ever imagined the exof the objects by which that power is istence. Of course, a revolution in either exercised or evolved.

great part of the system of nature is What would be thought of the man the necessary consequence. The trumwho would labour for years in acquire pet of alarm is sounded the system is ing a perfect knowledge of a difficult called upon to make its appearance language, and after having attained it is weighed in the balance and found the object of his wishes, instead of en- wanting and is consequently levelled deavouring to reap the good fruit of with the dust, presenting to mankind his perseverance and industry, would a mournful picture of the instability immediately renounce all communica- of all human wisdom. Thus, then, is tion with men who spoke that lan- the labour of several weeks, or months, guage, and forswear the books in which or even of a year or two, and which it was written? Would he not be ge- but yesterday was considered as a most nerally considered as an unmeaning perfect anodel of philosophical arrangeenthusiast, a waster of intellect, an ment, as a bright and glittering star idler in perseverance, or, perhaps, like in the dim regions of science, overthe " Learned Pig," as acting merely turned, and demolished, and cast down, from the impulse of a certain species and its beams quenched, and extinof literary instinct, which he was in- guished, and put out, and “ made as. capable of modifying or rendering a thing that has never been." subservient to the dictates of reason? But let not its successor rejoice in So it is with the man of science, who this fatal overthrow, or confide in a rests satisfied, not with collecting facts more durable existence. “ For thou illustrative of particular traits in the art perhaps like it for a season, thy character and habits of animals, for years shall have an end. Thou shalt these would be useful, although no in- sleep in thy clouds careless of the genious or philosophical deductions voice of the morning,”—and “ were drawn from them ; but who, re- shall seek for thee, and find thee not ; tiring to the solitude of 'nis museum, and thy very name shall be unknown.' examines species after species, genus

What indeed can afford a more con

men

vincing proof of the errors which exist sibly be derived from these and simi. in the present mode of prosecuting lar proceedings. When I talk of benethe study of particular branches of fit, I allude not to the question of cui natural history, than the never-ceasing bono, which might be put by a worldchanges which take place in the views ly man while emptying his daily gain and principles of the system-makers into his coffers--but what increase of themselves. Not ouly do they in knowledge is derived from it? what many essential particulars differ from light is thrown on the beautiful operaeach other, but what is peculiarly un- tions of nature ? Is natural history, fortunate, the same individual is rarely properly so called, in any degree digimpressed with similar ideas concern- nified or advanced by such modes of ing the true principles of classification study, and by such precious lucubrafor a longer period than a couple of tions? Is the wisdom of Omnipotenee months at a time; so that it would be glorified by the discovery, that one inscarcely possible to conceive a more sect has a joint more in the articulafruitless task, than an attempt to give tions of its antennæ, and another a an exposition of the different systems joint less in those of its toes, than has of the naturalists of the day, as the hitherto been supposed ? unless, inauthor, on having finished what he deed, it be at the same time shewn, thought a very fair and luminous and which it universally may be, that statement of their doctrines, would such variations and distinctions are the find that one half had in the interim result of a beneficent Providence which renounced their former opinions, and uniformly and wisely, adapts the means erected their new systems upon prin- to the end in view ; or is there no ociples most opposite to those which ther mode of investigating the wonders they had formerly assumed.

of this beautiful world, than by taking It would be easy to illustrate the every thing piecemeal with a pair of truth of these observations, by exam- pincers ? ples from the productions of ingenious I am far from wishing to throw men both at home and abroad; but ridicule on the labours of the profesit is not the object of this short com- sed zoologist.

A knowledge of the munication to enter at present into detail of natural history is necessary to detail. Such an examination in fact the enjoyment of her sublimest myswould be tedious and perhaps unin- teries. What I would object to is telligible, to those who have merely merely the study of this detail, to the attended to natural history as a popu- exclusion of more enlarged, I may add lar science; and to those who are more more enlightened, views. deeply versed, it is unnecessary to The preceding observations are in notice facts which are so palpably ob- some degree applicable to the spirit vious. Too abundant proofs may be which at present may be said to perfound in some modern systems, where vade every department of zoology, but the lists of synonyms, and the refer- that which I have chiefly in view is ences to former emanations of the clas- Entomology, or the Natural History of sifying principle, sufficiently demon- Insects. It may indeed be supposed strate their own fallacy by contra- by some, that these minute creatures dicting each other. Every enlighten- are too insignificant to deserve our ated naturalist must be aware of the in- tention, or, that if studied at all, the jury which science sustains by such method already alluded to was the onmost erroneous and mistaken views, ly one which, from their utter want of and of the ridicule to which those who importance in the economy of nature, maintained them have exposed them- could possibly be pursued. But this selves. Perhaps that ridicule may not is a most lame and impotent conclusion. have reached their own cars, but its I remember the words of an old poet, cause must be apparent even to them which deserve the perusal of such if they choose to open their eyes. reasoners. The passage is from a “ But what are lights to those who blinded

curious poem by Guidott, on the his

tory of the ephemeron, “ a wondrous Or who so blind as they that will not see po fly that liveth but five hours,” prefix

ed to Tyson's translation of SwammerIt would be well if these distin- dam's Ephemeri vita. guished votarics of science would in- “ Although the great Creator's wisdom hone form us of any benefit which can pos- Both in his foot-stool and his throne,

be,

sure.

Though greater bodies made the louder extended and ever-varying field of noise,

enjoyment to those whose minds are Yet in the lesser is a voice,

capable of being excited by the sublime A voice, though still,

perfections of nature. To him who That doth the mind with admiration fill, And gives to man the product of his will.

regards it with a philosophical eye, it The insect world, when truly known,

is indeed a source of the purest pleaDoth both his skill and glory too, declare,

In the depth of the most seThey a Creator own

cluded valleys, the resources of his No less than doth the Sun,

mind never fail him; he feels not Their Rise, their Life, their End,

alone on the mountain top, though Sparks of wise pow'r comprehend." enveloped in mist and vapour ; amidst

Natural history, in fact, consists of the toil, and the bustle, and the fever two distinct divisions. The first com- of a city, he is calm and serene. A prehends the classification of the vari- still and placid state of mind is the ous races of animals—the description necessary result of an attentive consiof their external form-and the form deration of the facts of natural history; mation of a correct and applicable no- and nothing proves, in so pleasing and menclature ; the second, and without beautiful a manner, the existence of an doubt by much the more important, Omnipotent Being, as a careful exaincludes the description of their man- mination of the works of nature. ners, habits, and uses, whether in the Natural history, indeed, in the true economy of nature, or, as subservient and liberal acceptation of the term, to the benefit of mankind, of their has been the study of the most elefood, growth, habitations, and modes vated minds in every age, To the of rearing their young—an account of poet it holds out many and great intheir hybernation, migration, and other ducements, as one of the noblest storemost singular instincts—and a com- houses of the imagination; and the prehensive view of their mutual rela- regard which has been bestowed upon tions, and their physical and geo- it by that enlightened class of men, - graphical distribution over the earth's demonstrates its power over the mind, surface.

and its consequent value and importIn regard to the former, however ance as a study. useful it may be as an accessory to the In fine, as long as the human mind delightful pursuits to which it leads, remains pure and unsullied—as long if considered in relation to itself alone, as it is excited by what is beautiful in few branches of human acquirement simplicity and truth-as long as it decan be said to be more tedious, me- lights to dwell on the sublime prochanical, and imperfect, or more de- ductions of Omnipotence, contrasted void of real interest and utility. No with the feeble efforts of art-it will mind, unless blinded by prejudice derive pleasure and instruction from rendered callous by habit and the the study of nature.

P. F. force of early example-or naturally Edinburgh, 7th June 1817. destitute of the power of indulging in extended and enlightened views--can pursue it to the exclusion of the other. It exhibits no new views of the economy of nature it makes no adequate impression of the power, and the good- MR EDITOR, ness, and the wisdom, of Providence, In the Meteorological Table for Edin-it conducts neither directly or indie burgh, given by you, I perceive the rectly to the exposition of final causes observations are made at 8 o'clock in

-it affects neither the fancy, the ima- the morning and 8 o'clock in the evengination, nor the heart, and exists of ing. Permit me to say, that during itself, and by itself, unconnected with at least eight months in the year, this other studies of a more intellectual na- will give us the temperature of the ture" with no rainbow tinge to ale night, and not of the day and night lure our gaze by its beauty--not one combined; and, judging from my celestial hue to lighten the dull mate- own observations here, it will exhibit riality of its aspect.”

the average temperature of Edinburgh The latter division of the science, eight or ten degrees too low. The however, is fortunately of a very difa' average difference between the heat of ferent nature. It presents a widely the day from 10 to 5, and the heat at

METEOROLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS.

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