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of a future state; and in this present life, to see God in all things, in the mirror of creation, to behold and adore the reflected glory of the Creator, is no mean attainment; and it possesses this advantage, that thus we sanctify our pursuits, and instead of loving the creatures for themselves, are led by the survey of them, and their instincts, to the love of Him, who made, and endowed them.”
The poet of the Seasons has grown somewhat old fashioned, and though he still holds his rank among poets, is not often quoted. Let him however, be a witness here
“ And yet was every faltering tongue of man,
Almighty Father! silent in thy praise,
ZOOLOGY. Natural History is divided into three branches, denominated the animal, mineral, and vegetable kingdoms. The study of each of them is in the highest degree useful and interesting. If we examine minerals with care, instead of finding them to consist of a confused mass of stones and earths, we shall discover in them the most astonishing system of regularity and arrangement. If we attend to plants and trees, we shall find them grouped into orders and classes, and amid an almost endless variety of hues and forms, shall yet perceive a wonderful degree of system and plan in their distribution and contrivance.
But the animal kingdom, denominated Zoology, affords a still more attractive subject of contemplation and investigation. The science is divided into several branches. At the head of the animal creation is man, who stands alone, there being no other of the species. In the next place comes the class of Quadrupeds; then Birds; then Fishes; then Reptiles and Serpents, and then Insects. We shall give some account of them in their order.
QUADRUPEDS. If we descend by regular gradations, from man to those classes, which approach nearest to him in their nature and their habits, we must, on every account, assign the first rank to the quadruped part of creation ; since whether we direct our attention to their form and structure, or to their manners and instincts, we shall find them more correspondent to our own than those of any other order of animated beings.
The general anatomy of the monkey tribe is so analagous to that of man, that it requires some skill in physiology to make the distinction; and even those quadrupeds that least resemble us, when they erect themselves in an upright position, still preserve striking marks of their affinity. And if we go still farther, and compare their internal structure with our own, the likeness will be found still to increase, and we shall perceive many advantages they enjoy in common with us, over the lower tribes of
Even in the passions of man, nay, in the most amiable of the passions, we find some species of this class, no contemptible rivals. What can equal the attachment of a dog to its master ? Even over the grave that contained his dust has this animal been known to breathe its last. With what fidelity does it accompany, with what constancy does it follow, with what attention does it defend its (master ! What eagerness to obtain his caresses! What docility in obeying him! What patience in suffering his bad humors, and his frequently unjust corrections! What emotion, what anxiety, what sorrow, when he is absent! What joy when he returns! From all these circumstances, is it possible not to distinguish friendship ? Even among ourselves is it expressed with superior energy?
The forms and instincts of animals are adapted to their situations. However superficially man may suppose the sloth and mole to be wretched and helpless creatures, their life is probably a life of luxury to them, and if abridged in one pleasure, it may be doubled in those that remain.
The heads of quadrupeds are in general calculated for their manner of living. In some, it is sharp, in order to enable the animal to turn up the earth in which its food lies. In some, it is long, in order to give room for the olfactory nerves, as in dogs, which hunt by the scent. In others it is short, as in the lion, to give the head greater strength, and fit it the better for combat.
The teeth of animals are also fitted to the nature of their food. In those which live upon flesh, they are sharp, and fitted for holding and dividing; in those which subsist on vegetable diet, they are calculated for grinding or pounding their aliment. Their legs also are equally adapted to the life they are intended to lead. The feet of some that live upon fishing are webbed, and calculated for swimming. Animals of prey have their feet armed with claws, which some can sheathe and unsheathe at will.
The stomach is generally proportioned to the quality of the food. In those that live upon flesh, it is small and glandular. On the contrary, animals that live upon vegetables have the stomach very large, and those which chew the cud, have no less than four stomachs, though in Africa, where the plants are soft and nutritious, some of this class have only two.
The number of species, in the quadruped class, which may be said to have distinct marks or characters, is usually
stated at two hundred; though late authors have enumerated two hundred and eighty, and even some minute pbilosophers have subdivided them into upwards of four hundred.
BIRDS. The structure of birds is, in most respects, entirely dissimilar both from that of man or of quadrupeds. One obvious distinction between this class of animals and the quadruped part of creation is, that instead of hair, birds are covered with feathers, and these appear to be nourished and kept in order in a different manner from the hair of animals. Lest the feathers should spoil by exposure to the air, the bird is furnished with a gland, containing a proper quantity of oil, which it presses out with its beak, and occasionally anoints its feathers. In water fowl, this oil is so plentiful that it even imparts a degree of rancidity to the flesh, and we see that their coat of feathers is rendered by it completely water proof.
The wings of birds are remarkably strong. The flap of a swan's wing would break a man's leg; and a similar blow from an eagle has been known to lay a man dead in an instant.
The sense of seeing in birds is remarkably acute, and though they have no external ear, but only two small orifices or ear-holes, yet they do not seem to be deficient in hearing. The scent of some species is exquisitely delicate. In decoys, where ducks are caught, the men who attend them generally keep a piece of turf lighted, on which they breathe, lest the fowl should smell them and fly away. The voice of birds is much louder in proportion to their size, than that of other animals.
The legs, the wings, the bones, and every part of the body are much lighter, firmer, and more compact in birds, than in other creatures. Their lungs are extended all over the cavity of their bodies.
Carnivorous birds, like carnivorous quadrupeds, have but one stomach, and that well calculated for digestion. Those that feed on grain have, in addition to the crop or stomach where their food is moistened or swelled, a gizzard, which is a very hard muscle, almost cartilaginous or gristly, and which they commonly fill with small stones, where the food is afterwards ground in order to complete its digestion. Birds are subject to few diseases.
Birds of the same species do not always make their nests of the same materials, though in general, there is a uniformity ; the redbreast, some parts of England, makes