Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

perhaps, there is not any fort of worm or fly which they do not relifh fo that, whoever would enumerate, either the one or the other, would perhaps be right, in naming the whole at once.

PAGE 214, 1. 14.

The young armadillos. The armadillo is a fpecies of Indian lizard, to which the Spaniards give this name, because it is armed with very strong scales.

*Lyonet is mistaken here. The armadillo is not a lizard; it has indeed fomewhat the habit of a lizard, and is covered. instead of hair, with an offeous cruft, intersected in fuch a manner, as to resemble plates or fcales; but, in every other character, it is a true quadruped; and stands in the class Mammalia of Linnæus's Syftem, under the name of Dasypus.

PAGE 214, 1. 24.

For this purpofe, feek the nests of afps. If it is for honey, that foxes feek the nefts of wafps, they are very ill advifed, for they will find none there. Let us rather believe, that it is to eat their brood; if there is really any truth in what Elian relates. De Animal. L. IV. C. 39.

PAGE 215, 1. 12.

Bears, when troubled with indigeftion. When we read of circumstances fo fingular, we are vexed, that the authors who relate them, are never at pains to inform us, by what means they came to the knowledge of those circumstances. Had they been pleafed to give themselves this trouble, they would thereby have prevented all thofe objections which naturally occur, to render the truth of their relations doubtful. When we read, for inftance, what is here related of the bear, it is natural to enquire, in what country he is fo unfuspicious as to allow his conduct to be fo narrowly infpected? by what marks is he known to be fick? how is he fuppofed to be troubled with indigeftion? if it is with honey that he anoints his tongue, how does he find it fo conveniently? is there any country, where wild bees do not take care to put their hives out of the reach of injury? how does he preferve himself from. being ftung? All thefe queftions, which we do not fail to ask ourselves, and to which we cannot get an answer, incline us often to reject as fabulous

[ocr errors]

fabulous, thofe relations, which we might have perhaps believed, had the authors who relate them, been careful to anticipate thofe objections which, they might have forefeen, would be made to them.

PAGE 216, 1. 11.

And for the use of man. Is not man rather too vain, in believing, that every thing was made for his ufe? It would not, perhaps, be very difficult to humble his pride a little in this refpect, and to fhew him, that he flatters himself greatly too much; but this would lead us from our fubject. PAGE 221, 1. 15.

Who can defend himself against their attacks?
Infectum petulans, proterva musca;
Harpyaque, famelicoque milvo;
Et rapax magis et magis gulofa;
Et pudens minus et minus modesta:
Sanguifuga minor, volans hirudo,
Fumofæ hofpita concolor culinæ,
Vermis filia, vermiumque mater:
Tunc cum pedibus tuis, fcelefta,
Imbutis fcabie atque purulentis;
Illo cum ore tuo fimetum olente,
Regales petis, inquinafque menfas;
Nec repulfa fugis, fed ufque et ufque
Ad prædam revolas; licet minetur
Myrteo puer increpans flagello,
Nec caudam volucris times fuperbæ,
Nec ftili exitium ferentis ictus.

PAGE 221, 1. penult.

Pour in myriads. A very remarkable inftance of this is found in the Military Hiftory of Charles XII. of Sweden, T. IV. The historian, relating how incommoded that unfortunate prince was in Beffarabia, by locufts, expreffes himfelf in thefe words: "A frightful fwarm of locufts general"ly arofe every day before noon, from the fide next the fea; "at firft in fmall numbers, but afterwards in crowds that "darkened the air, and made it fo thick and gloomy, that "in the whole extent of the plain, the fun feemed to be "totally eclipfed. Thefe infects did not fly low and clofe "on the ground, but nearly about the height we generally

"fee

"fee fwallows occupying, till they found a field, on which "they could defcend. We often found then on the roads, "whence they rofe with a found like that of a hurricane.

They then came down upon us like a deluge, alighted on "the fame plain where we were, and without feeming to "dread being trampled to death by our horfes, they rofe "from the ground, and fo covered our faces and whole body, that we could not fee before us, till we had got out of "the place where they had ftopt. Wherever these locufts "fettled, they made the moft dreadful ravages, devouring "the grafs to the very roots, and leaving a country, for

merly covered with the most beautiful verdure, nothing "but a dry and dreary defert. It would be difficult to "conceive, how fo fmall an animal could pafs the fea, if "experience had not too often convinced the unhappy na

tives of the truth of it: for, after having paffed a small "arm of the Euxine fea, from the neighbouring islands or "countries, thefe infects continue to traverfe wide provinces, where they devour every thing that comes in their way, even to the very doors of the houses."

[ocr errors]

66

[ocr errors]

PAGE 222, 1. 27.

Red larva. I am not acquainted with thefe red larvæ, except a kind of red caterpillar, very thick, (the caterpillar of the Phalana Coffus,) which the author does not mention, though it is the infect that commits the greatest ravages in the trunks of trees. The very fhort legs of this caterpillar, and the form of its head, which approaches to that of fome larvæ which produce beetles, might have made M. Leffer miftake it for one of thofe larvæ.

PAGE 224, 1. 4.

After having touched the common nettle. There is a kind of infects called fea nettles, (Medufa) which it is faid, have been thus named, becaufe, when touched, they occafion an itching, fimilar to that produced by the common nettle.— M. de Reaumur, who examined feveral fpecies of these animals, and who gives a very curious defcription of them, in the Memoirs of the Academy for 1710, found no fuch quality in them. Hence we may infer, that if there are any of them who poffefs it, there are fome of them who do not; or if they all poffefs it, they have it not at all times.

PAGE

[ocr errors]

PAGE 224. l. II.

It does not fuffer the lefs. What renders the fting of bees, of wafps, and efpecially of hornets, fo painful, is not fo much the wound they make, as the venom which they infinuate into it; and, as the fource of this is foon exhausted, M. Reaumur found, that the first fting of a wafp is the most painful; that the fecond is much lefs fo than the firft, and the third ftill iefs than the second; fo that after the third, they are become almoft entirely harmless, at leaft, till a new poifon has had time to fupply the place of the first.

PAGE 224, 1. 26.

They thrust in their head, as far as the neck. In this country we have an infect, flat and round, which does the fame thing, and which is probably a fort of tick, (Acarus) I have fometimes found them upon me, after returning home from the pursuit of other infects. This animal infinuates its head into the fkin, without our perceiving it, and fo gorges itself with blood, that from flat, as it was before, it becomes round, and as large as a pea. The first time I perceived it, I fuppofed that fome fingular excrefcence had been formed on my fkin; but, after having well examined it, I faw that it was fome animal. On endeavouring to rub it off, I found that I could not. It held too firmly, and it was not without fome difficulty, that I at laft broke it off, and for fear of an abfcefs, I was obliged to make an incifion into the skin, in order to extract that part of the animal which remained there.

PAGE 226, 1. 7.

That the air is filled. This doctrine is furely very curious; it deferves to occupy the place of that of acids and alkalis, with which we leem now to be fufficiently difgufted. Undoubtedly, there could not be found an easier or more convenient means of enabling ignorant people to account for all difeafes, than by attributing them to the infpiration of invifible germs. It is worthy, in this refpect, to go hand in hand with the doctrine of Sturmius on generation. And as one difcovery generally begets others, I do not despair of one day feeing the air become the vehicle of an infinity of different matters. How eafy, for inftance, would it be, to embellifh the fyftem of germs we are talking of, by making the air team with the fouls of all the animals that have li

ved, or that are to live? These fouls, tranfported hither and thither by the agitation of the air, could not but encounter the germs which it is faid to be full of; they would intimately unite with these germs, by fome attractive force, which it is easy to fuppofe; after which, they would enter, along with the germs, into our bodies, where they would produce animated fœtufes; and thus, here is one of the greatest mysteries of generation explained in the easiest manner poffible: but, as to its being the most fatisfactoryI leave it to Sturmius.

PAGE 230, 1. 2.

Not to yield to more probable reasons. To the fuppofition here made by our author, there arifes a difficulty. If fmall flies have produced the worms he talks of, we would aík, how they could arrive at the size of a quill, or to the length of four inches. The maggots of thofe flies, which lay their eggs in putrid animal fubitances, are well known: they are fhort, and fmall in proportion to the flies that breed them. They have no external refemblance to thofe here mentioned, and experience has not yet fhewn us, that a difference of food, or a greater degree of heat change the form of an animal, and make it grow incomparably beyond its natural fize.

[ocr errors]

PAGE 230, 1. 12.

Thefe worms are of fuch extraordinary minuteness. It does not appear to me neceffary, to fuppofe the air of marshy places, filled with invisible insects, in order to account for its infalubrity. The exhalations it is loaded with, are of themfelves, a caufe more than fufficient. We know the effect of malignant vapours; experience fhews, that they fometimes kill more rapidly than the fword; and fhall we doubt, that air, infected by the putrid exhalations of a marsh, cannot of itfelf produce difeafe? Neither is it a very conftant rule that thofe difeafes appear only in the fummer, and that they disappear in autumn; the contrary is true in Zeeland; the air is never more unwholesome in that country, than in the fall of the year.

PAGE 231, 1. 17.

Thefe worms are generated by a species of ichneumon. This is nothing but mere conjecture; the fequel of the chapter

fhews,

« ZurückWeiter »