« ZurückWeiter »
when bees retire haftily into their hives: we have reafon to dread the fame, when an's conceal their eggs, when gnats bite feverely, when butterflies do not rife very high in the air, and when worms come out from their holes.
Infects purify the air from noxious vapours and exhalations. They are like natural fpunges, which, attract them, as has been remarked in dried toads. Mankind have ufed them as a means of defence cn certain occafions. I recollect a very fingular thing, which happened at Hohenflein, in 1525. In the time of the war, the peasants having collected together, went to pillage the houfe of Elend, a clergyman. He, having ufed all his eloquence to diffuade them from their defign in vain, fent his fervants into the garden, with orders to bring out his hives of bees, which being thrown in the midft of the affailants, put them inftantly to fight. Infects are ufed as bait by anglers, who not only fix earth worms on their hook, but various flies, and the larvæ of the Ephemera. Eels are observed to be remarkably fond of this laft infect. The Lacedemonians ufed fmall pieces of wood, eaten by infects, to imprefs their fignatures on wax.
OF THE USE OF INSECTS IN THEOLOGY,
Ir we confider with attention and without prejudice what has been already faid, we fhall be obliged to ac
knowledge that thefe minute animals raife our ideas to the knowledge of the Creator of the universe. Had they no other ufe but that of enabling us to go back to the firft caufe, would not we have reafon to conclude that thofe infects which we confider as noxious are of infinite ufe to the man who is willing to contemplate the works of God?
In order to manifeft his dominion over infects God ordained that the first fruits of honey fhould be prefented to him. He did not defire it as an of. fering by fire, but he required it to be placed on the altar, as an oblation of firft fruits for a fweet favour. LEV. ii. 11. 12. We find alfo that the Hebrews acquitted themselves of this duty, and that they of fered the firft fruits of honey. "The Children of Ifrael," (fays the author of the fecond Book of Chronicles,)" brought in abundance, the firft fruits of corn, wine and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field."
Infects are a fcourge in the hand of God to chaftife the wicked. "The vengeance of the wicked, fays the fon of Sirach, is fire and the worm."ECCLES. vii. 17. Accordingly he threatens thofe who refufe to obey his will, to employ infects to pu. nish them for their difobedience. Thus Mofes expreffes himself on the fame fubject. "Thou shalt carry much feed out into the field, and fhalt gather but little in, for the locuft fhall confume it. Thou halt plant vineyards and drefs them, but fhalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms fhall eat them." DEUTR. xxiii, 38, 39.
Experience has often juftified the accomplishment of this threat. There is no creature how defpicable foever it may be, of which God cannot form armies fuperior to all the force of man, and capable Cc of
of chaftifing the wicked in a dreadful manner, Men can oppofe and refift armies of men; but they cannot face an army of infects, In vain would they employ against fuch an hoft their most formidable weapons; neither fire nor the fword could avail. The vileft infects have been known. to take poffeffion of a country, and to banish the inhabitants.
CHA P. III.
OF THE USE OF INSECTS IN JURISPUDENCE.
As a good or a bad ufe may be made of infects, Magiftrates have been obliged to make laws to regulate their poffeffion. Lawyers, confidering the advantages obtained by Bees, have made certain regulations to fecure the poffeffion of them to the proprietors. Although they fly hither and thither to procure their food, the property in them, remains to the poffeffor of the hive. When they fwarm they belong to him as long as he can follow them, and prove that they are his. This is the decifion of the Roman Law. That of the Saxon code is quite different. The proprietor lofes the poffeffion of them as foon as they are out of the hive. Some lawyers pretend however that the law permits the proprietor to follow the fwarm and to take it on the poffeffion of his neighbour: but if he
neglect to purfue it, it becomes the property of him who feizes it. Whoever steals a hive is punished with death.
Lawyers have alfo examined this question, whether a tenant who in his contract has renounced in general terms all accidents, is obliged to fupport the lofs. caufed by an army of locufts, or if the Lord of the Manor ought to fuftain it? It has been decided thus. If the accident which happens, is of fuch a nature that it could neither be forefeen nor prevented, the Lord of the Manor muft bear the lofs: in every other cafe, the tenant muft fuffer it. Very rigorous laws have likewife been made against certain perfons wicked enough to poifon their fellow creatures with the hairy caterpillars called Pithyocampæ. Every body knows that when there is an unusual number of caterpillars, locufts or other infects of that kind, it is the duty of the Magiftrate to order their def truction, and to point out the best means of accomplishing it. There have been nations that made use of infects to punifh criminals. The Jews for inftance, employed either ants or bees in the punishment of adulterers. They put them naked into an ant-hill, or expofed them to the ftings of a fwarm of bees.
CHA P. IV.
OF THE USE OF INSECTS IN MEDECINE,
THE ufe of infects in medecine is not fo common as that of other animals, because Phyficians have not
given themfelves fo much trouble in investigating the properties of the former, as they have done with regard to the latter. 1 flatter myself however I fhall be able to fhew that they are not without their ufe in that science.
In vegetable phyfiology for example, there are infects that make the fkeleton of a leaf in the highest degree of perfection; they gnaw and devour the fubftance of it, leaving nothing but the fibres and
erves through which the nourishing juices are conveyed. This operation is fo well performed, that man with all poffible care and pains could hardly imitate it.
Infects are as ufeful in Ofteology. If we wish to have the skeleton of any of the fmaller animals, we have only to take off their fkin, anoint them with honey, and bury them in an ant-hill, or expofe them to the voracity of fome other infects. They will, by degrees, eat away the flesh and entrails of those animals, and they will remove from the bones, the most minute parts of the flesh which adhere to them. But as they cannot penetrate the tendons, on account of their hardness, thefe will remain intire, and continué to connect the whole bones to one another. It is thus, that, by the affiftance of infects, we can, without trouble, procure fkeletons of all the fmaller animals, made with the greatest poffible neatness.
They have likewife contributed to enrich anatomy. It is by means of an Indian infect, called Ni. ua, (Pulex penetrans,) that anatomifts have had an opportunity of difcovering the error of a very general opinion. It was believed formerly, that the blood took its courfe from the extremities of the arteries, to enter into the veins; but this infect has taught us the contrary. It infauates itfelf into the fkin, where it causes