cies of relation. The seres are manifestly made for each other. They form the grand relation of animated nature; universal, organic, mechanical: subsisting like the clearest relations of art, in different individuals; unequivocal, inexplicable without design. So much so, that were every other proof of contrivance in nature dubious or obscure, this alone would be sufficient. The example is complete. Nothing is wanting to the argument. I see no way whatever of getting over it. V. The teats of animals, which give suck, bear a relation to the mouth of the suckling progeny; particularly to the lips and tongue. Here also, as before, is a correspondency of parts; which parts subsist in different individuals. These are general relations, or the relations of parts which are found, either in all animals, or in large classes and descriptions of animals. Particular relations, or the relations which subsist between the particular configuration of one or more parts of certain species of animals, and the particular configuration of one or more other parts of the same animal, (which is the sort of relation that is perhaps most striking,) are such as the following: I. In the swan; the web foot, the spoon bill, the long neck, the thick down, the graminivorous stomach, bear all a relation to one another, inasmuch as they all concur in one design, that of supplying the occasions of an aquatic fowl, floating upon the surface of shallow pools of water, and seeking its food at the bottom. Begin with any one of these particularities of structure, and observe how the rest follow it. The web foot qualifies the bird for swimming; the spoon bill enables it to graze. But how is an animal, floating upon the surface of pools of water, to graze at the bottom, except by the mediation of a long neck? A long neck accordingly is given to it. Again, a warm-blooded animal, which was to pass its life upon water, required a defence against the coldness of that element. Such a defence is furnished to the swan, in the muffin which its body is wrapped. But all this outward apparatus would have been in vain, if the intestinal system had not been suited to the digestion of vegetable substances. I say, suited to the digestion of vegetable substances: for it is well known, that there are two intestinal systems found in birds, one with a membranous stomach and a gastric juice, capable of dissolving animal substances alone; the other with a crop and gizzard, calculated for the moistening, bruising and afterwards digesting, of vegetable aliment.



Or set off with any other distinctive part in the body of the swan; for instance, with the long neck. The long neck, without the web foot, would have been an encumbrance to the bird; yet there is no necessary connexion between a long neck and a web foot. In fact they do not usually go together. How happens it, therefore, that they meet only when a particular design demands the aid of both 2

II. This mutual relation, arising from a subserviency to a common purpose, is very observable also in the parts of a mole. The strong short legs of that animal, the palmated feet armed with sharp nails, the pig-like nose, the teeth, the velvet coat, the small external ear, the sagacious smell, the sunk protected eye, all conduce to the utilities or to the safety of its under-ground life. It is a special purpose, specially consulted throughout. The form of the feet fixes the character of the animal. They are so many shovels; they determine its action to that of rooting in the ground; and everything about its body agrees with this destination. The cylindrical figure of the mole, as well as the compactness of its form, arising from the terseness of its limbs, proportionably lessens its labor; because, according to its bulk, it thereby requires the least possible quantity of earth to be removed for its progress. It has nearly the same structure of the face and jaws as a swine, and the same office for them. The nose is sharp, slender, tendinous, strong; with a pair of nerves going down to the end of it. The plush covering, which, by the smoothness, closeness, and polish of the short piles that compose it, rejects the adhesion of almost every species of earth, defends the animal from cold and wet, and from the impediment which it would experience by the mould sticking to its body. From soils of all kinds the little pioneer comes forth bright and clean. Inhabiting dirt, it is, of all animals, the neatest.

But what I have always most admired in the mole is its eyes. This animal occasionally visiting the surface, and wanting, for its safety and direction, to be informed when it does so, or when it approaches it, a perception of light was necessary. I do not know that the clearness of sight depends at all upon the size of the organ. What is gained by the largeness or prominence of the globe of the eye is width in the field of vision. Such a capacity would be of Thouse to an animal which was to seek its food in the dark. The mole did not want to look about it; nor would a large advanced eye have been easily defended from the annoyance to which the life of the animal must constantly ex pose it. How indeed was the mole, working its way under ground, to guard its eyes at all? In order to meet this difficulty, the eyes are made scarcely larger than the head of a corking-pin; and these minute globules are sunk so deep in the skull, and lie so sheltered within the velvet of its covering, as that any contraction of what may be called the eye brows, not only closes up the apertures which lead to the eyes, but presents a cushion, as it were, to any sharp or protruding substance, which might push against them. This aperture, even in its ordinary state, is like a pin-hole in a piece of velvet, scarcely pervious to loose particles of earth. Observe then, in this structure, that which we call relation. There is no natural connexion between a small sunk eye and a shovel palmated foot. Palmated feet might have been joined with goggle eyes; or small eyes might have been joined with feet of any other form. What was it therefore which brought them together in the mole? That which brought together the barrel, the chain, and the fusee, in a watch; design: and design, in both cases, inferred from the relation which the parts bear to one another in the prosecution of a common purpose. As hath already been observed, there are different ways of stating the relation, according as we set out from a different part. In the instance before us, we may either consider the shape of the feet, as qualifying the animal for that mode of life and inhabitation to which the structure of its eyes co fines it; or we may consider the structure of the eye, as the only one which would have suited with the action to which the feet are adapted. The relation is manifest, whichever of the parts related we place first in the order of our consideration. In a word; the feet of the mole are made for digging; the neck, nose, eyes, ears, and skin, are peculiarly adapted. to an under-ground life; and this is

what J call relation. [Pl. XXX. fig. 1.]


CoMPENSATION is a species of relation. It is relation when the defects of one part, or of one organ, are supplicd O

by the structure of another part, or of another organ us, I. The short, unbending neck of the elephant, is compensated by the length and flexibility of his probos is. He ould not have reached the ground without it; or, if it be supposed that he might have fed upon the fruit, leaves, or branches of trees, how was he to drink? Should it be asked, why is the elephant's neck so short? it may be answered that the weight of a head so heavy could not have been supported at the end of a longer lever. To a form, therefore, in some respects necessary, but in some respects also inadequate to the occasion of the animal, a supplement is added, which exactly makes up the deficiency under which he labored. If it be suggested that this proboscis may have been produced, in a long course of generations, by the constant endeavour of the elephant to thrust out his nose (which is the general hypothesis by which it has lately been attempted to account for the forms of animated nature,) I would ask, how was the animal to subsist in the meantime, during the process, until this elongation of snout was completed? What was to become of the individual, whilst the species was perfecting? Our business at present is, simply to point out the relation which this organ bears to the peculiar figure of the animal to which it belongs. And herein all things correspond. The necessity of the elephant's proboscis arises from the shortness of his neck; the shortness of the neck is rendered necessary by the weight of the head. Were we to enter into an examination of the structure and anatomy of the proboscis itself, we should see in it one of the most curious of all examples of animal mechanism. [Pl XXX. fig. 2, 3, 4, 5.] The disposition of the ringlets and fibres, for the purpose, first of forming a long cartilaginous pipe; secondly, of contracting and lengthening that pipe; thirdly, of turning it in every direction at the will of the animal; with the superaddition at the end, of a fleshy production, of about the length and thickness of a finger, and performing the office of a finger, so as to pick up a straw from the ground; these properties cf the same organ, taken together, exhibit a specimen, no only of design, (which is attested by the advantage,) but of consummate art, and, as I may say, of elaborate preparation, in accomplishing that design. II. The hook in the wing of a bat is strictly a mechanical, and also a compensating contrivance. [Pl. XXX

fig. 6..]. At the angle of its wing there is a bent claw, exactly in the form of a hook, by which the bat attaches itself to the sides of rocks, caves, and buildings, laying hold of crevices, joinings, chinks, and roughnesses. It hooks itself by this claw; remains suspended by this hold; takes its fight from this position: which operations compensate for the decrepitude of its legs and feet. Without her hook, the bat would be the most helpless of all animals. She can neither run upon her feet, nor raise herself from the ground. These inabilities are made up to her by the contrivance in her wing: and in placing a claw on that part, the Creator has deviated from the analogy observed in winged animals.-A singular defect required a singular substitute. III. The crane kind are to live and seek their food amongst the waters; yet, having no web-feet, are incapable of swimming. To make up for this deficiency, they are furnished with long legs for wading, or long bills for groping; or usually with both. This is compensation. But I think the true reflection upon the present instance is, how every part of nature is tenanted by appropriate inhabitants. Not only is the surface of deep waters peopled by numerous tribes of birds that swim, but marshes and shallow pools are furnished with hardly less numerous tribes of birds that wade. IV. The common parrot has, in the structure of its beak, both an inconveniency, and a compensation for it When I speak of an inconveniency, I have a view to a dilemma which frequently occurs in the works of nature, viz. that the peculiarity of structure by which an organ is made to answer one purpose, necessarily unfits it for some other purpose. This is the case before us. The upper bill of a parrot is so much hooked, and so much overlaps the lower, that if, as in other birds, the lower chap alone had motion, the bird could scarcely gape wide enough to receive its food; yet this hook and overlapping of the bill could not be spared, for it forms the very instrument by which the bird climbs, to say nothing of the use which it makes of it in breaking nuts and the hard substances upon which it feeds. How, therefore, has nature provided for the opening of this occluded mouth 2 By making the upper chap movable, [Pl. XXX. fig. 7, as well as the lower. In most birds, the upper chap is connected, and makes but . one piece with the skull; but in the parrot, the upper chap is joined to the bone of the head by a strong membrane,

« VorigeDoorgaan »