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At first nothing is feen but an aqueous matter, a little time however difcovers in the middle, a dark point which afterwards becomes the infect. In this it is entirely enclofed, but it cannot be perceived without the aid of a good microfcope. Under the hard fhell of the egg is found a pellicle, fine and delicate, in which the infect is wrapt up as in a matrix. It is there rolled up with fo much art, that notwithstanding the finalnefs of its apartment it has abundance of room, and is furnifhed with all the members it ought to have. When we view the furprifing compactnefs and difpofition of the whole, we cannot fuffciently admire the wildom of him who has confined fo much matter in fo little fpace. The infect as I have already faid remains in this ftate till having become larger it acquires ftrength fufficient to burft its prifon walls and to come forth.
The little care which infects rake of their eggs deferves the reader's attention. After having depofited them, they leave them, and go away without any further concern; they refign the labour of hatching them to the nature of the place where they are laid, and to the heat of the fun. In due time the caterpil lars iffue from the eggs without any defence against the injuries of the air. By this they are diftinguifhed from the reft of all other animals. A woman nourishes and protects the child in her womb for nine months; the females of quadrupeds do the fame with their young; birds lay their eggs in nefls, and hatch them with the most diligent and painful incubation. Fishes alone in this refpect refemble infects; they lay their spawn upon the fhore without any other precaution than that of chufing a place they think the most proper for depofiting it in; they then abandon it, and the young are brought forth without the af fiftance of their parents.
As infects produce fuch a number of eggs it is easy to conceive that there must be a proportionable number of the animals themselves. It is no doubt for this reafon that the Scriptures compare numerous armies to infects. The author of the Book of Judges in order to give an idea of the multitude of Midianites, and Amalekites, fays, that "they came with their "cattle as grafshoppers for multitude, and they en
tered into the land to deftroy it."JUDGES vi. 5The Prophet Jeremiah makes the fame comparison in fpeaking of the troops which Nebuchadnezar was to bring into Egypt. "They fhall come against her "with axes, as hewers of wood. They fhall cut "down her foreft, faith the Lord, though it cannot "be fearched, becaufe they are more than the grafshop. "pers, and are innumerable." CAP: XLVI. 22,23, The miferies that were to allit Nineveh the great, are reprefented by Nahum under emblems drawn from infects. Make thyfelf many, fays that Prophet, as the canker-worm, make thyfelf many as the locufts. Thou haft multiplied thy merchants, above the stars of Heaven; the canker-worm spoi'leth and flieth away. Thy crowned are as the lo cufts, and thy captains as the great grafshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but ⚫ when the fun arifeth they flee away, and their place is not known.' CHAP. III. 15,16,17.
One thing which contributes greatly to the prodigious multiplication of infects is the little time they require from their exclufion by the parent female to their being capable of laying eggs themfelves. This is fo rapid as to have given occafion to a vulgar faying that the loufe may be in four and twenty hours a mother, a grand-mother and a great grand mother. We muft not therefore be furprifed that infects multiply fo remarkably, and that fuch pains are requifite to deftroy them.
What I have faid in this Chapter might furnish abundant matter for reflection. It is allowed that infects are deftitute of reafon; the wifdam therefore of their conduct, the juftnefs of their precautions, and in a word every thing they do which is agreeable to reafon, does not proceed from themfelves. From whom then do they derive it? Who hath taught them the feafon and the manner of propagating their fpecies? Who hath directed them to lye with fuch compactnefs in their eggs without being in the leaft uneafy? How do they know the precife moment when it is proper to iffue from their eggs? Who hath prefcribed to each fpecies the number of eggs it is to lay? Who hath endowed them with the power of refifting the inclemencies of the weather and of coming forth without incubation? One must be wilfully blind not to acknowledge in thefe traces the hand of an all powerful Being whofe wifdom is unfearchable. Who but he could have made them capable of fo many different functions, and have endowed them with inftinct to perform them? A great number of eggs of infects perish, and animals devour another part. Had not providence fupplyed the lofs by the promp titude with which they encreafe and their great fertility, the various fpecies would have been in danger of perifhing, or at leaft would not have been produced in fufficient quantities to feed the other animals that depend on them.
OF THE TRANSFORMATION OF INSECTS.
THE fubject I am to treat of in this Chapter is fo fingular, that it is peculiar to infects alone; and as there is nothing refembling it among the other animåls, it deferves our particular notice; and the rather because if we are not attentive to the transfor mations of infects, and do not know exactly all the forms which the fame individual fucceffively affumes, we fhall be in danger of making two or more infects of one and the fame animal.
It is not the actual fubftance of the infect which undergoes a transformation; it is merely the external form which is changed. The parts it is compofed of, after its metamorphofis, are enveloped and masked as it were under different fkins, from which the animal difengages itfelf, fucceffively, as it grows in bulk, and at laft appears with all the members neceffary for it in its laft ftate. When the period of transformation arrives we often fee caterpillars quiting the leaves and plants they have hitherto fed on, and tranfporting themfelves to a more commodious place. Some however do not abandon their first situation, but attach themfelves to the flems or branches of the plant which has formerly afforded them protection and fupport. Then as if loathing the food they had at first greedily devoured, they ceafe altoge
ther to cat. So ftrict a faft is undoubtedly neceffary to prepare them for the change they are about to undergo and this feems the more probable as they discharge all the fæces their inteftines are filled with, before they attempt the change.
The metamorphofes of all infects do not resemble one another, but are generally divided into four dif ferent claffes. The first comprehends thofe infects which after being formed in their egg, without the aid of food, and which after having taken, by the evaporation of the fuperabundant humidity, the neceffary confiftence, quit that state and iffue from the fhell under the form they are to retain during life, without undergoing any other transformation. To this clafs belong fpiders, lice, fleas, the onifci, the luli, &c. The transformation of the fecond clafs confifts in this, that the infect which was enclofed under a difguifed form in an egg, and without food, after having been fortified by the evaporation of the fuperabundant humours, leaves the fhell and appears under the form of an Infect without wings with all its other appropriate members; which in this flate eats and grows till having entred a fecond time into what is called the Nymph ftate, it issues from that ftate with wings and is capable of propagating its fpecies. I include in this divifion, ants, dragon flies, grafshoppers crickets, the mole-cricket, cimices, aquatic flies, &c. In the third transformation, the animal, after having iffued from the egg where it alfo lay in a difguifed thape, and without food, appears under that of an infect which eats and grows, while the members of the animal into which it is to change, are formed under its fkin, which it at last quits, and becomes a nymph or chryfalis; and then after the evaporation of the fuperfluous humidity, is transformed into its laft ftate, which is that of a perfect infect. This class includes bees of all forts, gnats, beetles, butterflies,