« ПредишнаНапред »
those produced in other countries; as in the internal parts of South America and Africa, particularly in the former place, where the earth-worm is nearly a yard long, and an inch thick ; the serpents sometimes forty feet in length; the bats as large as rabbits ; toads bigger than ducks; and the spider equal in size to the English sparrow. But in the frozen regions of the north, animals are scarce; and what few there are, except the bear, are not above half the size of those in the temperate zone.
Again, every animal, from the highest to the lowest order, is furnished with means for the preservation of itself; and finds security, either by force or cunning, swiftness or courage ; except those animals which man has rendered domestie, and subservient to his necessities; these, in losing their natural right of freedom, have also forfeited many of their privileges of defence. And as they are entirely devoted to the service of man; so they naturally look to him for support and proteetion : this is the case with the sheep, which is perbaps the most defenceless of all creatures; the cow, and many other domestic animals.
Animals are also found to vary considerably according to their food or climate: and there are but few of the animal kingdom, (and these are they that are the most useful), which are found capable of attending man in his peregrinations over the globe. In uncultivated nature, the animal kingdom exceeds the vegetable; but, in a state of improvement, the interest of man, so directs it; that the vegetable kingdom should gain the ascendancy : for on a review of the animal and vegetable world, we find but few animals, which are intrinsically serviceable to man; while on the other hand, numbers of them are noxious to his food, and inveterate enemies to his interest. But among the vegetable world, very few are noxious ; and the greater part of them yield either food, medicine, or some other valuable article. Therefore, it always has, and will remain to be, the interest of man, to diminish the number of animals, and increase that of vegetables ; and in assistance to his endeavours, providence has wisely ordered it, that one animal should subsist on another; for were they to live entirely on vegetables, myriads would soon become extinct, for want of support.
The number of animals, which are immediately serviceable to man, (exclusive of the smaller, among the birds and fishes, which serve for food) does not extend to one hundred; while, we are acquainted with no less than twenty thousand : and even this great number, comprehends but a small portion of animated nature Not only the earth, air, and sea, teem with myriads of living creatures, but almost every vegetable, and each single leaf, is covered with an endless number of inhabitants, whose various forms and properties have afforded matter of astonishment to the mieroscopic observer. Among such a crowd of animated beings, with which we are everywhere surrounded, it is no wonder that naturalists should be perplexed and confused in arranging them into some general order : consequently, every different writer of note, who has attempted this subject, has formed a different mode of distribution; some of which have displayed much ingenuity, while others have afforded only a temporary amusement, and have perished with the materials on which they were recorded.
Omitting, therefore, all the different systems of antiquity, and even those of modern times, it will be only necessary to give the general outline of two, whose utility and reputation have preserved them from oblivion; viz. that of the celebrated Linnæus, and that of Mr. Pennant.
The former of these gentlemen divides animals according to their internal structures. Some have the heart with two ventricles, and hot, red blood, viz. quadrupeds and birds : others have the heart with only one ventricle, and cold, red blood, viz. amphibia and fishes: the former being furnished with lungs, and the fishes with gills. Some have the heart with one ventricle, and cold, white serum, viz. insects and worms; the former being furnished with feelers, and the latter with holders. All quadrupeds, which have teats, are distinguished by their teeth. These form the following seven orders: the primates or principals, which have four cutting teeth in each jaw; the brutæ or brutes, which have no cutting teeth; the feræ or wild beasts, which have generally six cutting teeth in each jaw; the glires, or dormice, which have two cutting teeth both above and below; the pecora, or cattle, which have no cutting teeth above, and six or eight below; the belluæ, or beasts, properly so called, which have the fore teeth blunt; and the cetæ, or those of the whale kind, which have cartilaginous teeth." This is the brief outline of this celebrated Naturalist's arrangement, the names of the different animals, and their respective classes, occupying no less than two large octavo volumes.
The other system is that delivered by the ingenious Pennant, and is the most accurate that perhaps ever appeared, though it comprehends quadrupeds only. These he divides into hoofed, digitated, pinnated, and winged quadrupeds. The hoofed quadrupeds are divided into the whole
hoofed, and the cloven-hoofed: the digitated are divided into the frugivorous, carnivorous, and insectivorous; regarding at the same time, the number of canine teeth : the pinnated are divided into piscivorous, and herbivorous: and the winged, which includes the bats, are insectivorous.
These are the briet outlines of the two most complete systems which have hitherto appeared : but the natural division of animated nature, is universally allowed to be the five following classes: quadrupeds, birds, fishes, insects, and amphibious animals : though it must be confessed that this distribution is not exaetly defined by nature; as there are many animals, whose forms and qualities render it difficult to reduce them to any one of these qualities.—Dict. of Nat. Hist.
Praise from Au Nature.
And praise the Almighty's name;
To swell the glorious theme.
Ye thunders, speak his power:
The astonish'd worlds adore.
Ye deeps, whose roaring billows rise
Praise him who bids you roll ;
His praise in softer notes declare,
And breatbe it to the soul.
Harmonious anthems raise
And tuned your voice to praise.
In heavenly praise employ;
The general burst of joy.
25. The Alligator. Fierce ; savage,
cruel. For’midable ; terrible, dreadful. Desolate; barren, solitary. Unfrequent'ed; lonely, seldom visited. Resem'blance ; likeness, similarity. Descrip'tion; account. Conforma'tion ; structure, form. Triv'ial ; trifling. Deserve' ; merit. Authen'tic; genuine, to be trusted. Correct'; exact, accurate. Inter'nally; within. Exter'nally; outwardly. Des'titute ; in want of. Ter'minated ; ended. Inclu'ding; comprehending, comprising. Indent'ed; serrated, tooth-like. Protected; shielded.
The alligator is a very fierce and formidable animal, of the same species with the crocodile, and inhabiting the most desolate and unfrequented parts of Africa and America, and chiefly found on the banks of the river of the Amazons, the Niger, and the Nile, where several of them are sometimes found lying as close together as a raft