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step in the research, then, strengthens the truth of the accounts transmitted to us by the Greeks, and still more of the records of Manetho, himself an Egyptian priest, and probably drawing his information from the very monuments decyphered by Cham- pollion. We shall not trespass upon our readers with more than a few names of kings of even earlier date; Thouthmosis, whom the national vanity of Josephus has made the contemporary of Moses, confounding his own humble and oppressed ancestors with a warlike dynasty, whom this prince drove out of Lower Egypt; Mephris, or Mesphris, the Moeris of Herodotus; and Amosis, the founder of this family, that counted so many illustrious princes. We have now reached to within a thousand years of the flood, according to the Samaritan text, which will still leave ample room for the eighteen kings whose legends have been ascertained to be «f still earlier date; and with them our author's researches appear to have terminated. As regards the multitude of kings Manetho places before the epoch we have attained, they are easily accounted for by the well-established fact, that the territory of Egypt was at a more early date parcelled out among several petty chiefs, and was not united into one kingdom until the Diospolitan conquest by Thouthmosis. With this dynasty the splendour of Egyptian arms and arts appears to have commenced; and to them are to be attributed the most magnificent of the more ancient monuments of that country, with the exception perhaps of the pyramids, which, unstoried and uninscribed, may escape the researches even of a Champoliion.
Art. VII.—NATURAL HISTORY.
Introduction offrant la determination des Caracteres essentiels dc PAnimal, sa distinction du Vbg&tal, et des autres corps naturels; eiiftn, PExposition des Principes fondamentaux de la Zoologie. Tome \er dc FHist. Nat. des Animaux sant Verttbres. Par M. Le Chevalier De La Marck. Paris.
Nature; Article dans le XXIII. tome du Dictionnaire d'Hktoire Naturelle; Par Le Chevalier De La Marck.
It is the high prerogative of man to possess reason—that power which qualifies him to observe the present; compare it with the past; anticipate the future; deduce general principles from the scrutiny of particular facts, and transmit to posterity, in illimitable progression, the benefits of his experience. Hence to the increase of human knowledge no boundaries arc set, but those which terminate individual existence—to the universal improve
ment of our race, there is no impediment, which the accelerated progress of the sciences and arts will not daily lessen and ultimately remove; thus furnishing the means of extending the dominion of intellect, and imparting new powers of action to reason, at the moment of throwing open ampler fields for their exercise.
Should it be urged that the advancement of knowledge has until very recently been extremely slow, or that mankind have with tardy steps ascended the eminence upon which they now stand, it should not be rashly inferred, that therefore the future progress of improvement must be in a corresponding ratio. We must take into account the sad lapses of time, during which men did not venture to see with their own eyes, or disdained to condescend to aught lower than the workings of their own fantastic imaginations, dignified by the high sounding titles of wisdom and philosophy. Thus, by erroneous education and habit, restricted to the consideration of a few objects, their minds became acutely sensible to verbal subtleties; and the energies which should have been expended in enlightening the understandings of their fellow-creatures, were wasted in discussing theories and fictions, tending to enfeeble and enthral the minds of their admirers, by entangling them in the inextricable mazes of sophistry. Nature, the boundless exhibition of the ineffable power, wisdom and beneficence of the Creator, was almost totally neglected, except for purposes of poetic illustration; or if referred to with other views, it was rather to support some idol of the mind, than to discover the true character of her operations.
But, if we desire to form a fair conclusion of what the human intellect may justly aspire to, it is requisite that we should inquire into the augmentation of science subsequent to that period in which men learned that to gain knowledge they must first be content to observe, and obtain a correct acquaintance with qualities, before venturing to speculate upon the nature of things; that they must mortify their pride and vanity by patiently examining before they laid down opinions; and become able to judge discreetly, by first perceiving how fallible, inefficient and injurious all doctrines are, when not based upon the rock of full and philosophic induction.
From that period to the present hour, a most cheering prospect is presented to view. The human mind, freed from the clogs which restrained its upward flight, has displayed its innate vigour, and ascended beyond the warmest anticipations of the most enthusiastic. New worlds have been discovered; new fields have been created for the intellect; sciences have arisen out of the waters and the earth; and the vast depths of the air have become subjected to human intelligence, and ministered large supplies of intellectual nutriment. Each fact, established, examined, and explained, has led to the discovery of others more remote, and previously inaccessible;—every science, perfected by the united exertions of individuals, has led to the invention of others, more extended, more refined, yet to the last, exact; resting upon the immovable basis of observation and repeated experience.
Among the investigations which promise to contribute most amply to the great work of improvement, are those which bring us acquainted with the structure and functions of animated beings, so infinitely varied in their forms and internal configuration, and so multiplied as to exceed our comprehension of their numbers.
"The number of medusae," says Scoresby, "inthe olive gTeen sea, was found to be immense. They were about one-fourth of an inch asunder. In this proportion, a cubic inch of water must contain 64; a cubic foot, 110,592; a cubic fathom, 23,867,872; and a cubical mile, about 23,888,000,000,000,000! From sounding made in the situation where these animals were found, it is probable the sea is upwards of a mile in depth; but whether these substances occupy the whole depth, is uncertain. Provided however the depth to which they extend be but 250 fathoms, the above immense number of one species may occur in a space of two miles square. It may give a better conception of the amount of medusa in this extent, if we calculate the length of time that would be requisite with a certain number of persons for counting this number. Allowing that one person could count a million in seven days, which is barely possible, it would have required that 80,000 persons should have started at the creation of the world, to complete the enumeration at the present time.
What a stupendous idea this fact gives of the immensity of creation, and of the bounty of Divine Providence, in furnishing such a profusion of life in a region so remote from the habitations of men! But if the number of animals in the space of two miles square be so great, what must be the amount requisite for the discoloration of the sea through an extent of perhaps twenty or thirty thousand square miles."—Arctic Regions, p. 180.
Our admiration may be still more elicited, and our curiosity awakened, when we observe that the same general principles of construction are employed throughout animated nature; and that a greater or less degree of resemblance to an original type or model may be traced through all the variations of animal existence, from the most perfectly organized down to the lowest in the scale. This observation has long since led to the belief in a chain of existence extending throughout the universe; which idea, after various fluctuations, has begun to assume a more satisfactory shape, in proportion as the animated world is explored; and every step in this exploration convinces that nothing short of Omniscience could have designed "the strong connexions, nice dependencies" by which every creature is provided with organs and instincts most admirably adapted to its station. When we continue our scrutiny far enough to observe the gradations of animal existence, and see that not only are the various classes, orders and genera different in appearance and conformation, but that each species is peculiarly furnished with instruments of selfpreservation and support expressly adapted to its exigencies, we cannot avoid feeling awed while endeavouring to form an idea of that wisdom, which was capable of perfecting to the minutest detail the most helpless and apparently insignificant of his creatures, and at the same time of securing the due balance of each and all to the great system, so as to leave nothing susceptible of improvement; nothing to be re-modelled; nothing to be amended.
In calling attention to the standard works whose titles are prefixed, we propose not to enter into a detailed criticism of their merits, which, though an easy, would be a comparatively unproductive labour; but, we wish to invite observation to the general character of the knowledge they are intended to diffuse, and as far as practicable, to show what sources of enjoyment are open to those who have leisure to seek for intellectual gratification.
The introductory parts of these works contain rich themes of instruction to every philosophic reader; and as the works themselves are designed for those who have already made considerable advances in the study of natural science, we hope we may be pardoned for attempting to offer such a sketch of the relations of animated beings, as may awaken more general attention, and give such views of the importance of understanding the philosophy of natural history, as may prove an antidote to various strongly-rooted prejudices, which continue to obstruct the study of nature, and impede the "march of mind."
In contemplating individual objects, we must have reference to some general idea of the plan or scheme according to which the whole system of nature is designed, or we shall be mistaken in our estimates, even should we not fall into more serious error. It is therefore desirable that we should take a general survey of creation before we commence the arrangement of details, lest we give undue importance to particular instances, or overlook important features on account of their seeming insulation. The effort necessary to comprehend, even at successive views, the series of concentric circles to which the departments of natural science may be compared, is exceedingly great; to comprehend the whole within one view, can be done by the Infinite alone. But by successive exertions, we may catch such glimpses of the mighty plan of subordinancy and relation,as will serve to direct our steps, and increase the utility of our especial researches.
The first great law of nature, is that which demands unceasing change, and apparent destruction. This is exhibited throughout all matter, animate or inanimate; though its operation is not always perceived with equal facility: the rapidity with which this change is effected, is exactly proportioned to the delicacy or feebleness of the substance or material operated upon.
If we examine the dust blown about by the winds, it will be found to consist of disintegrated earth, which is, in its turn, but an altered condition of a once solid and apparently unyieldingrock. If we look at the soil in which vegetation is most luxuriVol. I.—No. 2. 60
ant, we find its peculiar fertility to be attributable to the decay of pre-existent vegetables, and the duration of its fertility to be proportioned to the continuance of supply from the same source. But nature has not restricted her changes to mere succession, nor assigned any positive order of sequence. Each part of creation is made to sustain some other, and to contribute not only to the good of the whole by its final decadency and mutation, but even during its most perfect state to minister immediately to the subsistence of numerous beings, unlike itself in character and tendencies. To understand this more advantageously, it is necessary that we assume a point of commencement; and thence, as far as circumstances will permit, make some sketches of the subordinations observable in the agents impelled by the great law above announced.
We may commence by contemplating our globe, as if in the condition it held when the Eternal gave the first impulse to those laws, which reduced what was "without form and void" to regularity and beauty. A nucleus or mass composed of rocks varying in composition and external characters, presented a barren and apparently for ever sterile surface. But the combined influence of external heat and moisture, and the influence of internal changes produced by chemical action, speedily altered the condition of the earth's surface, reducing the least resisting projections to dust; the summits of the mountains continually attracting the watery vapour raised by the sun's heat into the air, the slightest shower, as well as the howling tempest, urged on the work of disintegration, and the ruins of the everlasting hills were swept down by the water-courses and spread out to form a soil below. As these eminences became reduced, the plains extended from their bases; their summits grew more pointed and inaccessible, exhibiting throughout their elevation traces of the changes stated, from enormous fragments burst with irresistible force from their beds, down to the finest particles of sand, washed by the rains towards the sea.
This disintegration and spreading out of soils over the lower portions of the earth, was a first and necessary preparation for other forms of existence more complex and peculiar in character, differing from mere earth, in being possessed of a power of imbibing nutriment, and changing other matters into their own proper substance; increasing in bulk, by additions of matter from within; having the faculty of reproduction and multiplication; not consisting of a mere uniform mass, of which each particle is perfect in itself; but possessed of those powers, which are collectively termed Life.
There are two modes of investigation, of which we may avail ourselves in this research. The first commences with man as the standard of perfection, and traces, in a regularly descending