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The order may not be very obvious, by which I place inflinEIs next to relations. But I consider them as a species of relation. They contribute, along with the animal organization, to a joint effect, in which view they are related to that organization. In many cases they refer from one animal to another animal; and, when this is the case, become strictly relations in a second point of view.
An Instinct is a propensity, prior to experience, and independent of instruction. We contend, that it is by instinct that the sexes of animals seek each other; that animals cherish their offspring; that the young quadruped is directed to the teat of hs dam; that birds build their nests, and brood with so much patience upon their eggs; that insects, which do not sit upon their eggs, deposit them in those particular situations, in which the young, when hatched, find their appropriate food; that it is instinct, which carries the » .* falmon, salmon, and some other fish, out of the sea into rivers, for the purpose of shedding theiij (pawn in fresh water,.
We may select out of th it catalogue the incubation of eggs. I entertain no doubt, but that a couple of sparrows hatched in au overk and kept separate, from the rest of; theiij species, would proceed, as, other sparrows d.e«, in, every office which related to the production and preservation of their brood. Assuming this fact, the thing is inexplicable upon any other hypothesis than that of an instinct, impressed upon the constitution of the animal. £0/, fir^:f what mould induce the female bjrd to prepare a nest before she lays her eggs? It is in vain to suppose her to be possessed of the faculty of reasoning; for no reasoning will reach the case. The fullness or distension which she might feel in a particular part of her body? from the growth and solidity of the egg within her, could not possibly inform her, tha£ me was about to produce something, which? when produced, was to be preserved and taken care of. Prior to experience, there was nothing to lead to this inserence, or to this suspicion. The analogy was all against it:
Y 3 for, for, in every other instance, What'issued from the body was cast out and rejected.
But, secondly, let us suppose the egg to be produced into day: How should birds know that their eggs contain their young t There is nothing either in the aspects 'or in the internal composition of art egg, which could lead even the most daring imagination to a conjecture, that it was hereafter to turn out, from under its hill/ a living' perfect: biraV The form of the egg' bears not the rudiments of a resemblance to that of the bird. Inspecting us contents, we find still less 'reason, if possible, to look for the result which actually takes place. If we should go so far, as, from the appearance of Order and distinction in the disposition of the liquid substances which we noticed in the egg,' to guess that it might be designed for the abo'de'ahd nutriment'b'f an animal, (which would be a'very bold hypothesis,) we should expect a tadpole dabbling in the flime, much rather than a dry, winged, feathered creature; a compound of parts and properties impossible to be used in a state of confinement in the egg, and bearing'no conceivable relation, either in quality or material, to any thing observed in it. From the white of an egg, would any one look for the feather of a goldfinch? or, expect from a simple uniform mucilage, the most complicated of all machines, the most diversified of all collections of substances? Nor. would the process of incubation, for some time at least, lead us to; suspect the event. Who that faw red streaks, shooting in the fine membrane which divides the white from the yolk, would suppose that these, were about to become bones and limbs? Who, that espied two discoloured points first making their ap.r pearance in the cicatrix, would have had the courage to predict, that these - points were to grow into the heart and head of a bird? It is difficult to strip the mind of its experience. It is difficult to resuscitate fum prise, when familiarity has once laid the sentiment asleep. But could we forget all.that we know, and which our sparrows never knew, about oviparous generation ;, could we divest ourselves of every information, but what we derived from reasoning upon, the appearances or quality discovered in the objects presented to us, I am convinced that Harlem quin coming out of an egg upon the stage, is not more astonishing to a child, than the
But admit the sparrow by some means to know, that within that egg was concealed the principle of a future bird, from what chymist was she to learn, that warmth was necessary to bring it to maturity, or that the degree of warmth, imparted by the temperature of her own body, was the degree required?
To suppose, therefore, that the female bird acts in this process from a fagacity and reason of her own, is to suppose her to arrive at con• elusions, which there are no premises to justify. . If our sparrow, sitting upon her eggs, expect y<?ong sparrows to come out of them, she forms, I will venture to fat, a" wild and extravagant expectation, in opposition td present appearances, arid to probability. She' must have penetrated into the order of nature, further than any faculties of outs will carry iis: and it hath been well observed, that this deep sagacity; if it be fagacity, subsists in conjunction with great stupidity, even in relation to the fame subject. *' A chymical operation," says Addison; "could not bfe followed with greater art or diligence, that is seen in hatching a chicken: yet is the process carried dft