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vise any thing better than what nature presents to his observation. Is not this therefore mechanism, which the mechanic, having a similar purpose in view, adopts? Is' the structure of a coat of mail to be referred to art? Is the fame structure of the lobster, conducing to the fame use, to be referred to any thing less than art?
Some, who may acknowledge the imitation, and assent to the inference which we draw from it, in the instance before us, may be disposed, possibly, to ask, why such imitations are not more frequent than they are, if it be true, as we alledge, that the fame principle of intelligence, design, and mechanical contrivance, was exerted in the formation of natural bodies, as we employ in the making of the various instruments by which our purposes are served. The answers to this question are, first, that it seldom happens, that precisely the fame purpose, and no other, is pursued in any work which we compare of nature' and of art; secondly, that it still seldomer happens, that we can imitate nature, if we would. Our materials and our workmanship are equally deficient. Springs and' wires, and cork and leather, produce a poor
r .* 2 B substitute substitute for an arm or a hand. In the example which we have selected, I mean of a lobster's shell compared with a coat of mail, these difficulties stand less in the way, than in almost any other that can be assigned; and the consequence is, as we have seen, that art gladly borrows from nature her contrivance, and imitates it closely." \ . .:
But to return to insects. I think it is in this class of animals, above all others, especially when we take in the multitude of species which the. microscope discovers,, that we are struck with what Cicero has called " the insatiable variety of nature." There are faid to be six thoufand species of flies; seven hundred and sixty butterflies; each different from all the rest. (St. Pierre.) The fame writer tells us from his own observation, that thirtyseven species of winged insects, with distinct tions well expressed, visited a single strawberry, plant in the course of three weeks'. Ray ob served, within the compass of a mile or two of his own house, two hundred kinds of butterflies, nocturnal and diurnal. , He likewise,
• Vol. i. p. 3.
— - asserts, asserts, but, I think, without any'grounds' of" exact computation, that the number of species' df insects, reckoning all sorts of them, may7 not be short of ten thousand *. Arid'in this1 vast variety of animal forms, (for the observa-1 tion is not confined to insects, though more1 applicable perhaps to them tharito any other1 class,) we are sometimes led to tak^ notice' of the different methods, or rather of the studio oufly diversified methodsj by which one and* the fame purpose is attained. In the article of breathing, for example, which was to be pro vided for in some way or other, beside the' ordinary varieties of lungs, gills, and breathing-' holes, (for insects in general respire, not'by theJ mouth, but through holes in the sides;) the' nymphæ of gnats have an apparatus to 'raise; their backs to the top of the water, and so take breath. The hydrocanthari do the like by thrusting their tails out of the water f. The maggot of the eruca labra has a long tail, one part sheathed within another, (but which it can draw out at pleasure,) with a starry tuft at the end, by which test, when expanded1 upon the surface, the insect both supports itself
• Wisd. of God, p. 33. t Derham, p> J*
2 B 2 in in the water, and draws in the air which is necessary. In the article of natural clothing, we have the skins of animals invested with scales, hair, feathers, mucus, froth; or itself turned into a shell or crust: in the no less necessary article of offence and desence, we have teeth, talons, beaks,horns, strings, prickles, with (the most singular expedient for the fame purpose) the power of giving the electric shock, and, as is credibly related of some animals, of driving away their pursuers by an intolerable sector, or of blackening the water through which they are pursued. The consideration of these appearances might induce us to believe, that variety itself, distinct from every other reason, was a motive in the mind of the Creator, or with the agents of his will.
To this great variety in organized life the Deity has given, or perhaps there arises out of it, a corresponding variety of animal appetites. For the final cause of this we have not far to seek. Did all animals covet the fame element, retreat, or food, it is evident how much sewer could be supplied and accommodated, than what at present live conveniently together, and find a plentiful subsistence. What one nature rejects, another
delights in; Food, which is nauseous to one tribe of animals, becomes, by that very property which makes it nauseous, an alluring dainty to another tribe. Carrion is a treat to dogs, ravens, vultures, fish. The exhalations of corrupted substances attract flies by crowds. Maggots revel in putrefaction.