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And she making her way through so thick an element, which will not yield easily, as the air or the water, it had been dangerous to have drawn so long a train behind her; for her enemy might fall upon her rear, and fetch her out before she had compleated or got full possession of her works.'
I cannot forbear mentioning Mr. Boyle's remark upon this last creature, who, I remember, somewhere in his works observes, that though the mole be not totally blind (as it is commonly thought) she has not sight enough to distinguish particular objects.' Her eye is said to have but one humour in it, which is supposed to give her the idea of light, but of nothing else, and is so formed that this idea is probably painful to the animal. Whenever she comes up into broad day she might be in danger of being taken, unless she were thus affected by a light striking upon her eye, and immediately warning her to bury herself in her proper element More sight would be useless to her, as none at all might be fatal
I have only instanced such animals as seem the most imperfect works of nature; and if providence shews itself even in the blemishes of these creatures, how much more does it discover itself in the several endowments which it has variously bestowed upon such creatures as are more or less finished and compleated in their several faculties, according to the condition of life in which they are posted ?
I could wish our Royal Society would compile a body of natural history, the best that could be gathered together from books and observations. If the several writers among them took each his particular species, and gave us a distinct account of its origiLal birth and education ; its policies, hostilities and alliances, with the frame and texture of its inward and outward parts, and particularly those that distinguish it from all other animals, with their peculiar aptitudes for the state of being in which Providence has placed them, it would be one of the best services their studies could do mankind, and not a little redound to the glory of the all-wise Contriver.
i In his Treatise on the Nature of Final Causes. Works, fol. v. iv.
It is true, such a natural history, after all the disquisitions of the learned, would be infinitely short and defective. Seas and deserts hide millions of animals from our observation. Innumer. able artifices and stratagems are acted in the howling wilderness and in the great deep, that can never come to our knowledge Besides that there are infinitely more species of creatures which are not to be seen without, nor indeed with the help of the finest glasses, than of such as are bulky enough for the naked eye to take hold of. However, from the consideration of such animals as lie within the compass of our knowledge, we might easily form a conclusion of the rest, that the same variety of wisdom and goodness runs through the whole creation, and puts every creature in a condition to provide for its safety and subsistence in its
Tully has given us an admirable sketch of natural history,* in his second book, concerning the nature of the gods; and that in a style so raised by metaphors and descriptions, that it lifts the subject above raillery and ridicule, which frequently fall on such nice observations, when they pass through the hands of an ordi
* How superficial is the philosophy of such men as Cicero and Mr. Ad. dison! A work of the sort here mentioned, as reflecting so much honour on the great Creator, has been attempted, in our days, by a French writer of name, M. Buffon; but so much on his guard against superstition, as not to see design in what men had hitherto called, final causes.-H.
No. 122. FRIDAY, JULY 20.
Comos jucundus in via pro vehiculo est.
Pr B. SYR, FRAG.
An agrocablo companion on the road is as good as a coach.
A Man's first care should be to avoid the reproaches of hi. own heart; his next, to escape the censures of the world : if the last interferes with the former, it ought to be entirely neglected; but otherwise there cannot be a greater satisfaction to an honest mind, than to see those approbations which it gives itself seconded by the applauses of the public: a man is more sure of his conduct, when the verdict which he passes upon his own behar. iour is thus warranted and confirmed by the opinion of all that know him.
My worthy friend Sir Roger is one of those who is not only at
peace within himself, but beloved and esteemed by all about him. He receives a suitable tribute for his universal benevolence to mankind, in the returns of affection and good-will which are paid him by every one that lives within his neighbourhood. lately met with two or three odd instances of that general respect which is shewn to the good old knight. He would needs carry Will Wimble and myself with him to the country-assizes : as we were upon the road, Will Wimble joined a couple of plain men who rid before us, and conversed with them for some time; during which my friend Sir Roger acquainted me with their characters.
The first of them, says he, that has a spaniel by his side, is a yeoman of about an hundred pounds a year, an honest man : he is just within the game act,' and qualified to kill an hare or a
The 3rd of James I, chap. 14., clause v., provides that if any person who has not real property producing forty pounds per annum, or who has not two hundred pounds worth of goods and chattels, shall presume to shoot
pheasant: he knocks down a dinner with his gun twice or thrice a week; and by that means lives much cheaper than those who have not so good an estate as himself. He would be a good neighbour if he did not destroy so many partridges : in short, he is a very sensible man; shoots flying; and has been several times fore-man of the petty-jury.
The other that rides with him is Tom Touchy, a fellow famous for taking the law of every body. There is not one in the town where he lives that he has not sued at a quarter-sessions. The rogue had once the impudence to go to law with the widow. His head is full of costs, damages, and ejectments : he plagued a couple of honest gentlemen so long for a trespass in breaking one of his hedges, till he was forced to sell the ground it enclosed to defray the charges of the prosecution : his father left him four. score pounds a year : but he has cast and been cast so often, that he is not now worth thirty. I suppose he is going upon the old business of the willow-tree.
As Sir Roger was giving me this account of Tom Touchy, Will Wimble and his two companions stopped short till we came up to them. After having paid their respects to Sir Roger, Will told him that Mr. Touchy and he must appeal to him upon a dispute that arose between them. Will, it seems, had been giv
. ing his fellow-travellers an account of his angling one day in such a hole; when Tom Touchy, instead of hearing out his story, told
game: “Then any person having lands, tenements, or hereditamente, of the clear yearly value of one hundred pounds a year, may take from the person or possession of such malefactor or malefactors, and to his own use for ever keep, such guns, bows, cross-bows, buckstalls, engine-hays, nets, fer. rets, and coney dogs, &c.” This amiable enactment—which permitted a one-hundred-pound-freeholder to become in his single person, accuser, witness, judge, jury, and executioner; and which made an equally respect. able but poorer man wbo shot a hare a “malefactor”—was the law of the land even so lately as 1827, for it was only repealed by the 7th and 8th Geo. IV. chap. 27.-*
him, that Mr. such an one, if he pleased, might take the law of him for fishing in that part of the river. My friend Sir Roger heard them both, upon a round trot, and after having paused some time told them, with an air of a man who would not give his judgment rashly, that much might be said on both sides. They were neither of them dissatisfied with the knight's determination, because neither of them found himself in the wrong by it: upon which made the best of our way to the assizes.
The court was sat before Sir Roger came, but notwithstand ing all the justices had taken their places upon the bench, they made room for the old knight at the head of them; who, for his reputation in the country, took occasion to whisper in the judge's ear, that he was glad his lordship had met with so much good weather in his circuit. I was listening to the proceedings of the court with much attention, and infinitely pleased with that great appearance of solemnity which so properly accompanies such a public administration of our laws; when, after about an hour's sitting, I observed, to my great surprise, in the midst of a trial, that my friend Sir Roger was getting up to speak. I was in some pain for him, till I found he had acquitted himself of two or three sentences, with a look of much business and great intrapidity.
Upon his first rising the Court was hushed, and a general whisper ran among the country people that Sir Roger was up. The speech he made was so little to the purpose, that I shall not trouble my readers with an account of it; and I believe was not so much designed by the knight himself to inform the court, as to give him a figure in my eye, and keep up his 'credit in the country.
I was highly delighted, when the court rose, to see the gentlemen from the country gathering about my old friend, and striv. ing who should compliment him most; at the same time that the