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the same to a person on board, with regard to the objects on land; and this occurring in every part of the world, no matter what may be the bearing of the objects, or the course of the vessel, it obviously follows, that the figure of the earth must be that of a sphere or globe, as these observations cannot be reconciled with any other form whatever.

The shadow of the earth on the moon, as seen at the lunar eclipses, being always, and under all circumstances, circular, strengthens this opinion. But the voyages of those who have actually sailed round the earth, are experimental proofs of its spherical form from east to west, and that it is so from north to south, is manifest from observations made on the polar star, which increases in altitude as we approach the pole, while all the stars in the southern hemisphere diminish in altitude. On the other hand, as we approach the equator, the polar star, and all the stars of the northern hemisphere, decrease in altitude, whilst those of the southern hemisphere are seen to increase; appearances which could not possibly take place, had the earth been a plane or a cylinder. We may also add, that the change in the degrees of longitude, in different latitudes, and the fact, that eclipses of the moon are seen sooner by those who live eastward, than by those who live westward, in the ratio of one hour to fifteen degrees of longitude, are additional proofs of the earth's spherical form.

Nor can any objection, arising from the inequalities on the earth's surface, invalidate this hypothesis ; as it may be easily shown by a simple

proportion, that the highest mountains on the earth would not, on one of our largest globes, be the hundreth part of an inch in elevation; and as this would not be discernible on an artificial globe, so neither ought the greatest inequalities on the earth prevent us from considering it spherical. It is not true, as stated by certain authors, that some of the Fathers of the Church went so far as to pronounce it heretical for any person to declare that there was such people as the antipodes. This calumny was founded on the fact that the Church did condemn certain heretics, who, from vague notions of the form of the earth, confounded the antipodes with a pretended race of human beings, that they said, were not descended from Adam, nor redeemed by Christ.

So many united proofs, as well as the accuracy of so many astronomical observations, all of which have been made and calculated upon the supposition of the sphericity of our earth, leave no room for reasonable doubts upon the subject. In vain does ignorance demand of us how the earth can remain suspended in the air without any support. Let us look upon the heavens, and observe how many other globes roll in space. Let us then lay aside all uneasiness concerning the “ antipodes," that is, the people of the earth whose feet are turned towards ours: there is upon the globe neither high nor low; the antipodes see, in like manner as we do, the earth under their feet, and the sky, over their heads.

A.

LESSON XIX.

INSECTS.
Exsanguious economy

unwearied
incisures profusion

wonderful assiduity organized inimitable sagacity perceptible propensity variation unctuous tenderness

terminates astonishment competition INSECTS, in natural history, a smaller sort of animals, commonly supposed to be exsanguious; and distinguished by certain incisures, cuttings, or indentings, in their bodies. The word is originally Latin, formed of in, and seco, “I cut;" the reason of which is, that in some of this tribe, as ants, the body seems to be cut or divided into two; or because the bodies of many, as worms, caterpillars, &c., are composed of divers circles, or rings, which are a sort of incisure.

By some natural historians, this class of animals is considered as the most imperfect of any, while others prefer them to the larger animals. One mark of their imperfection is said to be, that many of them can live a long time, though deprived of those organs which are necessary to life in the higher ranks of nature. Many of them are furnished with lungs, and a heart, like the nobler animals; yet the caterpillar continues to live, though its heart and lungs are entirely eaten away, which is often the case. It is not, however, from their conformation alone that insects are inferior to other animals, but from their instincts also. It is true, that the ant and the beé present us with striking instances of assiduity; yet, even these are inferior to the marks of sagacity displayed by the larger animals. A beé taken from the swarm is totally helpless and inactive, incapable of giving the smallest variation to its instincts. It has but one single method of operating; and if put from that, it can turn to no other. In the pursuits of the hound, there is something like choice; but in the labours of the bee, the whole appears like necessity and compulsion. All other animals are capable of some degree of education; their instincts may be suppressed or altered; the dog may be taught to fetch and carry, the bird to whistle a tune, and the serpent to dance; but the insect has only one invariable method of operating; no arts can turn it from its instincts; and indeed its life is too short for instruction, as a single season often terminates its existence. Of all productions in nature, insects are by far the most numerous. The vegetables which cover the surface of the earth bear no proportion to the multitudes of insects; and though, at first sight, herbs of the field seem to be the parts of organized nature produced in the greatest abundance; yet, upon more minute inspection, we find every plant supporting a mixture of scarcely perceptible creatures, that fill up the compass of youth, vigour, and age, in the space of a few days' existence. In Lapland, and some parts of America, the insects are so numerous, that if a candle is lighted, they swarm about it in such multitudes, that it is instantly extinguished by them; and in these parts of the world, the miserable inhabitants are forced to smear their bodies and faces with tar, or some other unctuous composition, to protect them from the stings of their minute enemies.

On the other hand, Swammerdam, a celebrated naturalist, argues for the perfection of insects in the following manner. “ After an attentive examination of the nature and anatomy of the smallest as well as the largest animals, I cannot help allowing the least an equal, or perhaps a superior degree of dignity. If, while we dissect with care the larger animals, we are filled with wonder at the elegant disposition of their parts, to what a height is our astonishment raised, when we discover all these parts arranged in the least, in the same regular manner! Notwithstanding the smallness of ants, nothing hinders our preferring them to the largest animals, if we consider either their unwearied diligence, their wonderful strength, or their inimitable propensity to labour. Their amazing love to their young is still more unparalleled among the larger classes. They not only daily carry them to such places as may afford them food; but if by accident they are killed, and were cut into pieces, they will with the utmost tenderness carry them away piecemeal in their

Who can show such an example among the larger animals, which are dignified with the title of perfect? Who can find an instance in any other portion of the brute creation that can come in competition with this?”

ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA.

arms.

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