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Darwin, and we are not aware that the assertion is disputed, “there is reason to believe that the naturalised plants and animals have nearly or quite exterminated many native productions” (Origin of Species, p. 390). The same may be said of another African island, the Mauritius. The narratives of the earlier voyagers thither mention many birds, besides the dodo and its kindred species, which are now no longer to be found there; and it is an equally well-ascertained fact that numerous foreign species, mostly during the French occupation, have been introduced into that island. Now, if we are not misinformed, a considerable tract of virgin forest still exists there, and therefore the absence of all these aborigines cannot be entirely ascribed to the alteration of its physical features consequent on the colonization of the island, -nor were most of the missing members of its fauna of a class that would be warred against by man. It seems only reasonable, then, to account for their extirpation on the supposition that the introduction of other species has deprived them of the means of living.

Now we would desire to bring these facts specially to the notice of those well-intentioned gentlemen who are making such strenuous efforts to introduce exotic, and particularly European, animals to the Southern Continent. We should be the last persons to demur to the Australian colonist carrying with him among his household gods all that can with reason make his new-found home dear to him; but we must warn him against the probable results of importing robin-redbreasts, black birds, mavises, skylarks, and the like. It is not that we dread the adoption of blood-thirsty advice such as that tendered by a gentleman at the last meeting of the Victorian Society, who stated that the English song-birds which had been introduced to the colony were “much persecuted by the native hawks, whose extirpation would therefore be an advantage;" but we may depend upon it, that if any of the imported species becomes established, it will be at the expense of the original dwellers in the land, which, at any rate, have not been proved to be less valuable in an economical point of view. How great a nuisance a not very noxious weed in Europe may turn out when transported to Australia, is abundantly shown by the acts of the colonial legistures for the prevention of thistles, all originating, it is said from a single plant carried out by a too patriotic Scotchman. Indeed, the flora of Australasia, particularly in New Zealand, has already sustained a dire defeat from the European interlopers. So will it undoubtedly be with the Australasian fauna. Even now some of its members are undergoing a fearful conflict for existence against the few foreign animals that have been introduced. Dogs, cats, and hogs run wild in many places, and commit dire ravages. The native rat of New Zealand-a com

paratively harmless animal —is more easily and more fatally conquered by the invading species, than the Maori by the Armstrong gun and Enfield rifle. And what a conquest'it is ! Extirpation is its natural, its only consequence. The apteryx, like a ghost, vanishes at the crow of the settler's cock. The emeu and kangaroo retire before his sheep and horned cattle ; and retirement is but the incipient stage of extinction. What, then, will be the result if the schemes of naturalizing new beasts, new birds, and new fishes in their wild state succeed? The endemic species must be worsted in the encounter, and then Væ victis ! It is not as among the more highly developed forms of Europe—for surely we must so call those whose constitution enables them to do battle victoriously against their fellow-creatures. In England or in France acclimatization does not in most cases carry with it the penalty of death to other species; but in Australasia, unless care be taken, it will simply be another word for extirpation.

These reflections lead us to offer another suggestion to acclimatization societies, and one which they seem to have in their power to carry out.

While endeavouring to introduce new species, why should we neglect to retain the old ? If charity begins at home, surely our native animals deserve some of the care that there is such an inclination to bestow on distinguished foreigners? We have shown how Lord Breadalbane saved the eagles in his deer-forest from extermination, and how he was the chief agent in restoring the capercally to its former domain. There are many other animals on the verge of extinction in the British islands. Some of them are really useful in their way; others merely gladden the eye, or are interesting from their historical or poetical associations. Their fate is trembling in the balance : can we not make a slight effort to turn the scale in their favour? We are glad to see in a recent number of the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society a translation of Professor von Tschudi's eloquent appeal on behalf of the protection of small birds from a strictly econo

a mical point of view, and trust that farmers in this country will profit by its study; but we would rather devote the remainder of our space to a few remarks on some birds not indispensable to the agriculturist, and therefore not alluded to by him. There was a time, not many years ago, when the great skua was all but destroyed from its two or three nesting-places in Great Britain. It is stated that the stock on the island of Unst, the most northern of the Shetland group, was reduced to three pairs. One gentleman, Mr. Edmonstone, whose name deserves to be recorded with honour, interfered, affording the bird his protection, and it now resorts in no inconsiderable numbers to breed upon

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perty. During several years previous to 1838, when the last British-born bustard was killed in Norfolk, it would have probably been in the power of any of the great landowners in that county to have kept up the native breed ; and many we know would have gladly done so, had they known how. Yet we believe the end would have been effectually gained had some two or three cock-birds—easily enough procured from Germany been liberated on the East-Anglian “ brecks” early in the spring: for it appears that the males of this noble species had been all killed down, while several females yet remained, mourning their lost lords, and annually dropping unfertilized eggs in the waving corn-fields, “ when the bloom was on the rye.

All experiments to induce this noble fowl to breed in captivity have failed, and probably not even the most stringent Act of Parliament could now restore it to a station among England's denizens, when thirty years since the outlay of a few guineas, and a good understanding between a few country gentlemen, would have sufficed to retain it. But ten years ago the osprey still bred on some of the Sutherlandshire lochs. Now all we know of it as a British bird is, that every spring and autumn, most commonly the latter, a stray example or two, of unquestionably foreign origin, falls a victim to some professional punt-shooter on one or other of our great rivers. We understand that more than one Highland proprietor issued orders in its favour, but we doubt if any one ever took care to see they were carried out; for had the birds been left unmolested in their breeding-places, there would they still be found.* Then, again, how many of our constant

*

, feathered visitors have the misfortune to be accounted wonderful rarities, and when they appear have every gun in the neighbourhood levelled at them, until chance lays the unhappy hoopoe or oriole bleeding at the feet of some Mr. Winkle, who forthwith obtains an apotheosis as an ornithological hero in the county paper. The Times, much to its credit, occasionally finds room for a remonstrance against this silly practice, and we are sure that all the best naturalists view it with extreme disgust. In ninety-nine such cases out of a hundred nothing is ever gained to science: the “specimen” is rudely stuffed by the nearest “ taxidermist,” and is displayed in a glazed box to his admiring friends by the exultant bird-murderer as the “ Poluphloisboio thalasses of naturalists," which he had the good fortune to shoot on such a day at such a place. But still greater is the abhorrence which not only naturalists, but all persons with any humanity in their disposition, feel at the wanton and savage slaughter

* A very singular and almost unaccountable case of the recent extinction of a European bird--the francolin—was noticed by Lord Lilford in The Ibis for October 1862 (p. 352). See also the remarks made in the succeeding number of the same excellent ornithological magazine for January 1863 (pp. 113-116).

which yearly takes place at the few remaining spots around our coasts where sea-birds yet throng to build.* It is sickening to think of heaps (we are speaking literally) of winged kittiwakes and body-struck guillemots drifting out with the ebbing tide to be nibbled to death by fishes, while their callow young are perishing miserably on the cliffs above for want of the food which their parents met their fate in bringing. And all that a trainful of sea-side excursionists may enjoy (save the mark !) a holiday. Surely it is but a step from acclimatization to preservation, and a society formed for the promotion of the one object hardly exceeds its functions if it extends them to embrace the other. Only bring it home to the public mind that the destruction of an animal at its breeding place, or when it is seeking for its breeding-place, is a cruel, and consequently an unsportsmanlike act, and the practice will cease ; for the English people are, of all nations, at once the most prone to humanity and the most addicted to sport. We certainly think that the Acclimatization Society might work this change of opinion, and obtain strength for their other objects by the attempt.

The acclimatization of animals, then, on sound principles, and thus extended, we believe, deserves the utmost encouragement it can receive at the hands of every, one, for to all classes do its results appeal. The high-born dame may derive from her silk-worms or her aviary constant occupation and excitement of the most harmless description, even if no more practical results wait upon her ministrations. The humble cottager may in like manner form one more tie to his own home by attending to his modest poultry-yard. The mechanic solace himself in his hours of rest by the care which his dove-cote will demand. The sportsman will be better pleased with the day's shooting that affords him greater variety of game than with one of prolonged sameness, even though the bouquets of pheasants be unceasing, and each bird a "rocketter.” The farmer add to his substance from cattle newly introduced to his flocks and herds; and the manufacturer may gain by new kinds of raw material out of which to produce his fabrics.' The philosopher, the painter, and the poet draw fresh ideas to illustrate never-dying works; while the political economist thus will see the wealth, the health, and the happiness of his fellow-men augmented. It is an old saying, that “ he who makes two blades of grass grow where only one grew before, deserves well of his country," and the truth of the proverb is not confined to the improved cultivation of plants.

* The Farn islands off the Northumberland coast must be mentioned as a creditable exception. The protection to the birds nesting there is due to the efforts of the late Archdeacon Thorp.

ART. VIII.-THE POETRY OF OWEN MEREDITH.

Clytemnestra, the Earl's Return, the Artist, and other Poems. By

Owen Meredith. Chapman and Hall. 1855. The Wanderer. By Owen Meredith. Second edition. Chapman

and Hall. 1859. Lucile. By Owen Meredith. Chapman and Hall. 1860.

MR. OWEN MEREDITH's poetry has won a considerable share of general popularity. Two of the books at the head of this article are already out of print, and he himself refers in his last long poem, with modest self-congratulation, to the gratifying fact that several of his early poems have been set to music, and are favourites with the young ladies of the present day. He has established a certain position, therefore, in the world which entitles him to the benefit of serious criticism at the hands of all who are jealous of the fame of English literature.

Mr. Matthew Arnold has recently invented a new name for the quality which characterises permanent as contrasted with ephemeral fame, that fine clear-cut individuality of touch which does not merely stimulate the mind with transient little shocks of interest, but engraves the form of a poet's thought on the memory, as distant hills are chiselled out against a sunset sky;

- he calls it" distinction.” “Of this quality,” he says, “the world is impatient; it chafes against it, rails at it, insults it, hates it; it ends by receiving its influence and by undergoing its law. This quality at last invariably corrects the world's blunders and fixes the world's ideals. It procures that the popular poet shall not finally pass for a Pindar, nor the popular preacher for a Bossuet.” And it will, we feel no doubt, convince the readers of English poetry, after careful study, that the clever writer who composes under the name of Owen Meredith has no part or share in the true poetic faculty.

Mr. Owen Meredith is by no means what would generally be called a dull writer. His verses shimmer like shot-silk with antithesis, sentiment, and similes. There are „smart hits at times, that show a considerable knowledge of the world. He admires nature, and analyses character, and versifies with a fatal fluency. But the more you read of him, the more clear it becomes that he is a poet of what we may call the decorative school, and that even his decorative art is essentially meretricious. His poems remind us of the judgment passed by Eckermann (or shall wé rather say by Goethe's mind speaking through

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