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Fered; yet, as we observe this more is imperfect, consisting generally of or less developed, in the higher class- but one ventricle, or is wanting. es of animals, according to the sta- The blood, or more properly sanies, tion occupied by the species, we might is cold, limpid, and colorless. These almost venture to infer from analogy are insects, worms, moluscæ, 200the existence of nerves in those low- phytes, animalculæ, &c. This group est of animals, where their extreme comprehends, as we may see, many minuteness may render it impossible classes of animals, differing widely to trace them by the dissecting knife, from each other in structure and conor ascertain their existence by the formation,-yet all agreeing in certain microscope ;-or rather, perhaps, may particulars, and distinguished from we not admit, (and it seems probable,) the other groups, rather by what they that sensation, or a nervous power, want, than by what they possess, in very defined, it is true, resides or is common. Among those exhibiting diffused in such animals, (we allude the rudiments of a heart, its forms to the zoophytes and others,) through- are very varied and different ;-many, out the whole mass and texture of and especially the extensive class of their composition,-thus rendering worms, (vermes,) have no vestiges of them, as it were, structures of ner- this organ, their imperfect circulation vous matter ?-Be this, however, as it being carried on by means of contracmay, plants have no nerves, and are tile tubes or vessels only. altogether unendowed with sensation. In all animals, a certain process, Unconscious, consequently, of their termed respiration, is requisite for the own existence, or of the existence of preservation of life ;—this, in the surrounding objects, they rise and mammalia and birds, and most of the flourish, and pass away, affording food amphibia, consists in drawing into the to a multitude of animals, and man,- lungs a certain quantity of atmosphegratifying his senses by their beauty or ric air, the oxygen of which acting perfume, adding to the comforts and upon the blood, deprives it of a porluxuries of civilized life, and consti- tion of the carbon it contained, and tuting the rich charm and loveliness renders it fit for the purposes of the of the landscape of the world.
animal economy.—The tribe of fishes The tribes of animals which give inhabiting the water, have organs termlife and spirit to this landscape, and ed gills, adapted for respiring the fluid which are so numerous, and so varied in which they live, and by the agency in habits and kinds, are divided into of which the necessary change in the two large groups or general families, blood is effected.--Insects and worms, namely, the vertebral, (or those pos- unfurnished with lungs, or gills, have sessing a vertebral column,) and the spiracles for breathing in a peculiar invertebral, (or those not possessing a manner, extended over various parts vertebral column).—The group of of their bodies, by means of which the vertebral animals is subdivided, First, oxygen of the atmospheric air is enainto those whose skeleton is perfect; bled to come in contact with the the heart consisting of two auricles, blood or sanies, and effect that pecuand two ventricles, the blood warm liar change in it, which the economy and red. These are man, mammalia of these animals may require. (that is, all animals that suckle their H aving thus endeavored to render young), and birds. Secondly, into clear and distinct the boundaries which those whose skeleton is less perfect; nature has established, as separating
—the heart consisting of one auricle, organic and inorganic bodies, -and generally, and one ventricle ;-the fixed a line of division between the blood cold and red. These are am- animal and vegetable kingdoms,-we phibious animals, reptiles, and fishes. may proceed with advantage to con
The group of invertebral animals sider the powers, which, inherent in have no internal skeleton ;-the heart the living body, ena'le it to preserve
its organic existence. These are sen- principal branches of the fifth, and sibility and contractility, to which the sixth pairs, are distributed among may be added instinct.
the delicate muscles placed at the back The animal frame is composed of of the eyeball, and by which it is solids and fluids. The solid parts, in moved. The seventh divides into
wat animals are. the more perfect animals, are, two branches, one of which (portio
Ist. The bones,-hard unbending dura) ramifies on the face; but the fulcra, giving support and determinate other, soft and frail, (portio mollis,) figure to the body, and serving as le- and destined for receiving impressions vers, upon which the moving powers from the vibrations of the air, is disof the body act.
tributed in the internal parts of the 2d. The muscles,-the moving pow- ear, and affords to us the sense of ers, or active instruments of motion. hearing ;-by this nerve we receive The texture of each muscle consists all our pleasure from the harmony of of a multitude of fibres,-divisible to music, or hang upon the charined an infinite degree,-running parallel breath of the speaker. The eighth to each other; the whole being sur- and ninth pairs diffuse their branches rounded by a delicate membrane, or on the tongue, and through them we fascia. Under a broad survey, we are acquainted with the flavor of vamay divide them into the voluntary, rious substances; and to the ideas comor those obedient to volition, and the municated by the impressions which involuntary, or those not under the they receive, we give the name of taste. control of the will ;-but we must not From the spinal cord, thirty-one forget that some of the involuntary pairs of nerves arise, distributed unimuscles, as those of respiration, (which versally over every part of the body, perhaps rather claim a middle place,) communicating abundantly with each are so far obedient to the will, as to other, and forming, at various parts of be accelerated, diminished, or for a their juncture, knots, or ganglia, the time suspended, in their action, at uses of which are not satisfactorily pleasure; although, in their natural explained. These are the nerves on state, their action, as much so as that which depends general sensation, as of the heart, is perfectly involuntary. well as those powers of the animal
3d. The nerves, or organs by which frame by which the existence and vithe frame is endowed with sensation. gor of the whole is preserved. These are fibrous in their texture, 4th. The bloodressels : these are white, and firm to the feel, but rami- the arteries, conveying the blood from fying to a minuteness beyond concep- the heart to every part of the frame, tion. In man, nine pairs of nerves to increase or repair it-and the veins, are found taking their origin from dif- which return the blood again to the ferent parts of the brain, and supply- heart, whence it passes immediately ing the nose, the eye, and muscles of through the lungs, where it acquires the eyeball, the ear, and the tongue. properties fitted for its use in the sysThe first, spreading on the membrane tem ; from the lungs, it returns immethat lines the nose, is so constituted diately back to the heart, and thence, as to be affected by the volatilized in its now renovated state, it is poured particles of odorous bodies, while, the through the aorta into all the arteries sensation being transmitted to the of the body, to be again returned by brain, we are thus endowed with the the veins as before. sense of smell. The second pair, ex- 5th. The absorbents : tubes adaptpanding into what is termed the retina ed to supply, by means of nutriment, of the eyes, receives impressions the loss or waste in the blood. There through the medium of the rays of are two sets,-the absorbents, and, as light, and thus we becoine acquainted they are commonly termed, the loctewith the forms and colors of external als, (from lac, milk,) alluding to the objects. The third and fourth, the milky fluid they contain.
6th. The erhalants : vessels or tubes Sensibility is either latent or percifor throwing off, as by perspiration, pient. By latent sensibility is indivarious excretions of the system. cated that modification which some
7th. The membranous portions of organs possess, and which enables the frame and the skin.
them to receive a natural impression, The fluid, necessary to life, and and to act, in consequence of it, withfrom which every other is secreted, out transmitting that impression to (or separated,) as well as all solid the brain ;-by percipient, that modiparts of the frame, is the blood, com- fication, by which an organ is enabled posed of serum, fibrin, and coloring to transmit to the brain, as well as matter, which is conveyed, as we receive, the impression for which it have mentioned, through every part of may be adapted. the body; and, by the agency of the Contractility is either voluntary, and extreme arteries, or capillary vessels, perceived,—or involuntary, and unperbuilds up this curious fabric, and re- ceived. pairs its losses. In the human body. These are the two essential properthe fluids have been estimated to bear ties connected with organic bodies, a proportion of five-sixths to the whole; and on which all the phenomena they so that when these shall have evapo- exhibit appear to depend ;-they rated, what remains ? A little earth, ever accompany and cooperate with and a mouldering skeleton. With each other, and, except in abstract truth might the poet say
reasoning, are not to be separated ;« A little dust alone remains of thee,
hence, we often hear them spoken of, 'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be.”
by physiological writers, under the
common term irritability, as including Thus have we given a condensed each. sketch, in limine, of the composition In plants, and the polypi which in of the organic animal frame, and now many respects resemble them, the let us advance to a cautious examina- sensibility is latent, and the contractition of the powers by which it is ena- lity is involuntary and unperceived. bled to maintain, and, to a definite For instance ; the capillary vessels of period, continue its organic existence; a plant obeying the stimulus of the
-these we have already stated to be sap, which is circulated in them, consensibility and contractility—to which tract and propel it through the whole we may add instinct.
system. Hence, too, delighting as it By sensibility, is to be understood were in the warmth of the solar rays, that faculty, peculiar to organic be- the flowers and leaves of many plants, ings, and which, possessed by living as the sunflower, turn to meet the risorgans only, renders them capable of ing orb, and follow him in his daily receiving from appropriate agents, or course ;--and hence the sensitive plant stimuli, an impression which, stronger contracts on being touched. Now, we or weaker, alters, increases, or directs are not to suppose that the plant or its their respective functions.-These sti- vessels have any consciousness of the muli may be classed as external, by presence of the sap, or of the general which we mean light, caloric, air, and warmth of the sun ;-no: it is true various bodies,-or internal, by which that the involuntary motions of plants We would imply volition, the passions do indeed depend upon sensibility, (laor affections of the mind, and instinct. tent,) but, possessing neither brain nor
By contractility, is to be understood nervous system, they are in themselves that power, by which each organ, unconscious of every action they perhaving received an appropriate im- form;—for feeling, or a sentient power, pression, or, in other terms, the sensi- (percipient sensibility,) is only found bility of which is affected, is enabled in animals possessing a brain and nerto call itself into exertion, and exe- vous system; and the more perfect cute its office.
these organs, the more perfect is sensation. The polypus, constituted with- sisting of two sets of organs,-one out brain or nerves, and endowed only set, by which we become conscious of with the same latent sensibility, may external objects, and of our own existcontract or expand, but it cannot be ence; by which the actions of the will said to enjoy the power of perception. are performed, and which administer to
In man, and the higher orders of our convenience or pleasure ;-the animals, whose brain and nervous sys- other destined for the internal or ortem are completely developed, the ganic life, and preservation of the percipient powers (or the power of body. The former comprehends the percipient sensibility) are in full per organs of the senses, as they are fection ;-and by these powers we are termed, and the agents of voluntary united to surrounding objects, the motion ;—the latter, the organs of dibrain being the centre to which every gestion, circulation, and secretion. By impression is referred. But we must experience and research only, do we observe, that in the higher orders of know of the existence of these organic animals, and man, a complete percipi- operations; and their actions, of which ent power is only possessed by parti- we are unconscious, manifest themcular organs, each in its own degree selves but by their effects.-And here and modification, while all those by may we not pause to admire the wiswhich nutrition and the circulation dom of the Divine Architect! How are effected, are endued with latent well is all this ordered! For did we sensibility.
perceive the multitudinous workings The heart, for instance, contracts in of this organic machine,—were the obedience to the stimulus which the contractions and labors of every tube, blood communicates,-but of the pre- the beatings of every “ petty artery," sence of this fluid we ourselves feel cognizable by our senses, in what a unconscious, nor do we perceive, in state should we pass through life! health, the usual and natural contrac- How little could we perform of our tions of the heart, much less of the respective duties !-How would every multitude of smaller vessels pervading trifling variation, every change, affright every part of the system. Thus the us !—But it is not so! Surely this is animal frame in this light may be not by chance ; “in wisdom hath He viewed as a compound machine, con- made them all.”
THE MESSAGE TO THE DEAD.
BY MRS. HEMANS.
“Messages from the Living to the Dead are not uncommon in the Highlands. The Gael have such a ceaseless consciousness of Immortality, that their departed friends are considered as merely absent for a time; and permitted to relieve the hours of separation by occasional intercourse with the objects of their earliest affection."
See the Notes to Mrs. Brunton's " Discipline."
Thou'rr passing hence, my brother ! And thou wilt see our holy dead,
The lost on earth and main !
Thou wilt be bound again !
Tell thou our friend of boybood,
On the blue mountains, whence his youth
Pass'd like a swift bright bird.
The vision of his glee,
That smile again to see.
And tell our fair young sister,
The rose cut down in spring,
With lays she loved to sing.
Tender and sadly sweet ;
Once more that gaze to meet !
Say, that his last fond blessing yet
Rests on my soul like dew,
Once more his face to view.
And tell our white-hair'd father,
That in the paths he trode,
Yet walks and worsbips God.
And tell our gentle mother,
That o'er her grave I pour
As on her breast of yore!
Our good and bright will see ;
Ere long with them and thee!
MUCKLE-MOU'D MEG AND THE LANG GUN.
A REMINISCENCE OF A FOWLER. There had been from time immemo- tion and admiration of us all, that rial, it was understood, in the Manse, faults like these did not in the least a duck-gun of very great length, and detract from her general character. a musket that, according to an old tra- Our delight when she did absolutely dition, had been out both in the Seven- and positively and bonâ fide go off, teen and Forty-five. There were ten was in proportion to the comparative boys of us, and we succeeded by rota- rarity of that occurrence; and as to tion to gun or musket, each boy re- hanging fire-why we used to let her taining possession for a single day on- take her own time, contriving to keep ly; but then the shooting season con- her at the level as long as our strength tinued all the year. They must have sufficed, eyes shut perhaps, teeth been of admirable materials and work- clenched, face girning, and head slightmanship; for neither of them so much ly averted over the right shoulder, till as once burst during the Seven Years' Muckle-mou'd Meg, wbo took things War. The musket, who, we have of- leisurely, went off at last with an exten since thought, must surely rather plosion like the blowing up of a rock. have been a blunderbuss in disguise, The « Lang Gun,” again, was of a was a perfect devil for kicking when much gentler disposition, and, instead she received her discharge ; so much of kicking, ran into the opposite exso indeed, that it was reckoned credit- treme on being let off, inclining forable for the smaller boys not to be wards as if she would follow the shot. knocked down by the recoil. She We believe, however, this apparent had a very wide mouth-and was peculiarity arose from her extreme thought by us “ an awfu' scatterer;" length, which rendered it difficult for a qualification which we considered of us to hold her horizontally—and hence the very highest merit. She carried the muzzle being attracted earthward, any thing we chose to put into her the entire gun appeared to leave the there still being of all her perform- shoulder of the Shooter. That such ances a loud and favorable report, is the true theory of the phenomenon balls, buttons, chucky stanes, slugs, or seems to be proved by this—that hai). She had but two faults-she when the “ Lang Gun” was, in the had got addicted, probably in early act of firing, laid across the shoulders life, to one habit of burning priming, of two boys standing about a yard the and to another of hanging fire ; habits one before the other, she kicked every of which it was impossible, for us at bit as well as the blunderbuss. Her least, to break her by the most assi- lock was of a very peculiar construcduous hammering of many a new se- tion. It was so contrived that, when ries of Aints ; but such was the high on full cock, the dog-head, as we used place she justly occupied in the affec- to call it, stood back at least seven
15 ATHENEUM, vol. 1, 3d series.