Page images
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

dible swiftness, where no horse could travel this attraction as the unprotected child at all, if he could even live. Without sus hurt by the fall it has occasioned. What tenance, the gift, however, would be of no are, therefore, denominated causes, are noavail : this is anticipated and supplied. In thing more than determinations of the Deithat rigorous climate, so adverse to vege- ty ; which, as founded in infinite wisdom, tation through the greatest part of the year, may be uniform and unchangeable in a moss is, nevertheless, produced in profu- their nature. If, therefore, I put into the sion, hardly found in other climates, where earth a seed, “it may chance be of wheat it would be of little use ; this the animal or some other grain,' and trace the mirafinds beneath the snow by a peculiar in- cle of vegetation from its commencement stinct, and by this it is amply sustained. to its completion, when I observe it has This is a single evidence that the Supreme extracted from the earth matter hundredscares even for the humblest of buman be of times its own weight, and of a nature ings, the Laplander ; and I could no more totally dissimilar to the elements from bring myself to believe that it is not to His whence it springs, and for purposes essenplain intention that he is indebted for his tially different, I may notice, throughout, sustenance, or that such sustenance was a number of connected effects, but I disinsufficient, than I could, that the noble cern no cause beyond the will of the Dei. animal on which his existence depends, is ty. In like manner, if I regard the purthe product of an animated film fed upon poses for which this crop of graiu is evimoss, which never rested in its improving dently designed, namely, for food, and efforts, till it supplied itself with snow when, becoming such, it is, by quite as inshoes.

: explicable a process, partly converted into “ In a word, all the laws of the vegeta an animal substance, and becomes a porble, as well as the nature of animal, ex tion of myself, I again discern effects, but no istence, are plainly subservient to the so causes, beyond the will of the Deity. It is lace and sustentation of human beings ; thus, therefore, that I have treated the, and, in pursuing the proof of this to what subject under consideration throughout. eyer limits, we should not be in the pre- In establishing the balance between life dicament of some who think that mira- and its sustentation, I have pointed at the cles end where knowledge begins; but, plain indications of the Supreme will; on the contrary, we should find that, as that will once ascertained, it is as plain as our knowledge increased, the miracle of the indissoluble connexion between what the Divine wisdom and benevolence would are called causes and effects, that the baenlarge, till the feeding of an ancient Seer: lance of food and numbers is eternally esin the wilderness of Carmel by ravens, tablished.” would seem to make a far less demand upon the prescience and the power of the Mr Sadler, in a former part of his Deity, than the constant and mysterious . Dissertation, has spoken, as we have operation of that endless chain of causes. seen, of certain facts regarding miand effects, receiving its primary impulse · gratory animals, which have referfrom the same power, by which every sin ence to themselves, but he now algle being, rational or irrational, is sustain- ludes to others which refer plainly. ed and fed. We have, indeed, obscured to the welfare of our species. Na-; our intellects, and benumbed our feelings, ture thus affords a timely supply of by making use of words that, strictly sustentation to human beings, espe-> speaking, as we too frequently employ cially in the first stages of society, them, have no meaning. We talk of cau- when their numbers are few, and the ses and effects, as words of course, quite earth but partially cultivated. Many plain in their signification to the slender

edible quadrupeds, as Chauteauest capacity. As expressing facts deduced

have the periods of their from our observation of the laws of Nature, this phraseology may be allowable ; of birds, and like them, evidently ac

migration as exactly calculated, as that but when we have observed two or more facts in a certain, constant connexion with sities of men. Then, if we look to the

commodated to the utility and neceseach other, and have remarked the order of their priority, we are as far as ever

sea—from the prolific North, what infrom furnishing, either to the judgment numerable shoals are sent forth and dior the imagination, any light as to the rected, by some mysterious impulse, reason of such connexion. The motions to all the shores! Only think of the piof a grain of sand conform to certain laws geon species in North America! The which we have observed upon, and to this amount of a single flight of them steerconformity we give a name,-attraction ; ing towards the North, in order to supbut we know as little about the nature of ply that less fruitful region with abun

briand says,

dance, was calculated by Alexander cerning it, proceeding unobserved, in a Wilson, the celebrated Scottish orni- never-ending succession of renewals and thologist, to amount to 2,230,272,000, completions. Meantime, these innumeraor at least a brace of pigeons each to ble flights are almost untouched, and the every man, woman, and child in the inexhaustible bounties of the ocean barely world! Our insular position, Mr tasted ; and no wonder ; for the mother Sadler observes, prevents us from

Earth herself, nowhere fully cultivated, witnessing the migration of quadru- lies in many of her most fertile regions peds; and as to the fishes and the

totally neglected. Man, nevertheless, fowls, which obey the same benevo

age after age, has become more and more lent law, the unexampled richness of fastidious in the choice of his food, and our internal resources enables us to

more profuse in its use ; till, in this period overlook the addition to our food famine is raised : a cry, of which all the

of culpable luxury, the cry of prospective which the air and the ocean offer to

elements re-echo the falsehood, and which our acceptance, unless with a view rises to the throne of the Eternal as an to vary our luxuriant repasts. But insult on all those perfections through place us, he adds, in the inhospitable which he condescends to the very senses regions of nature, and how should of mankind.” we then regard the subject? This amazing provision would appear as

Near the end of the Dissertation, a perpetual repetition of the ancient Mr Sadler, after having proved alí miracle of the wilderness; and none his positions, and established the who were not divested of reason, as

balance of the food and numbers of well as feeling, would fail to recog- animated nature, alludes finely to a nise, in the timely supply, that hand system of reasoning pursued by the so visibly stretched forth in behalf wisest of the heathen philosophers, of his offspring.

which he thinks specially applicable · But there is another important to the present subject. Thus they purpose to be answered by the mi. inferred immortality from the intense gratory principle. Mr Sadler ven- desire for it implanted in the human iures to suggest that Nature, in im- soul, because, as far as they had scanposing it on so many and most im- ned nature, they saw no desire withportant orders of animal beings, pur out its appropriate gratification. posed to disperse them over the ha- Look again at the senses. For which bitable globe, as so many seeds of fu- of them has not the Deity provided an ture increase, wherever man should adequate and appropriate gratificabe found to avail himself of the boon. tion? If, says he, very beautifully, The cow probably was, in its unta when the sense of sight is awakened, it med state, migratory; the deer cer opens to a flood of“ bright effluence tainly is; and when we add the of bright essence increate,” perfectgreat number of birds that are-all ly sufficient for its purpose, namely, useful to man-Mr Sadler's sugges- to drink in the surrounding works tion seems right. Indeed, of all the of the Deity,---can we, can any man migratory tribes, he observes, those, believe that that eye must wax dim, and those ouly, are capable of being and become dark for ever, because domesticated and retained, that are another and a neighbouring sense, on serviceable for human sustentation. which all the rest depend, which “ In closing these thoughts on the na

equally longs for gratification, and is

equally capable of being gratified, ture and objects of the migratory princi- has no supply of its wants and deple in animal creation, I would pause to

sires, but is doomed to suffering, ask, who can trace, even in a single in privation, and destruction ? No! The stance, those dependent and connected laws of nature by which these supplies mouth, the teeth, the stomach of man are afforded to man? Who can trace the

are guarantees that God has providifferent stages of their progressive prepa

ded him with subsistence-these are ration, or measure, even in thought, the

patents for food,” that the Deity vastness of the repast which is ever pour- himself has granted; proofs, indeed, ing forth in its full maturity? Deep in

that numbers and food are balanced. the unfathomable ocean, or concealed in

The Dissertation closes with a nothe wild and wooded wastes of the inac- ble passage—than which indeed we cessible north, the mighty process is, while know few passages nobler in modern

English prose, Mr Sadler ha s been

we are thng feebly essaving to speak con.

pointing to the actual condition and their food. Is the eagle of the north seen existence of animated beings, in full thus pining away; with that eye which proof that their numbers and food lit its fires at the meridian blaze faded ; are balanced. Nothing can be clear. with those pinions with which he once er, he truly says, than that animal scaled th heavens, drooping; and the happiness is totally irreconcilable mighty talons with which he was wont with an insufficiency of food. If to strike and destroy, powerless and rethere be the alleged tendency in all laxed ;-dying for want of food ? Or is animated life to increase beyond the the majestic monarch of the animal crea“ nourishment provided for it”-if tion, the lion, found in his native seats, nature has scattered existence with

thus subdued and quailed by want, till,

weak and cowardly, he becomes the ready profusion, but has been sparing in its sustentation, then must there be prey of every careless obtruder : or otheruniversal misery through every tribe fault of other food, till his haunts are

wise has he to raven on his species in deof the animal creation. But he ap- strewed with the carcasses of his own peals to human experience if this be kind? I repeat the question, is the scene the case.

of nature one of general suffering, agony, “ To advert to that part of animated

and death? No :-such a condition, as nature, of which man takes little or no it respects the universal number of exisheed, and which is generally removed be

tences, is as a single exception to the vast yond the limits of his interference : I ask, plurality of cases; as it regards that single are they seen multiplying around us in un exception, the moment of actual suffering sustainable numbers? After having re- is probably short, in comparison with the presented nature as an arena of universal allotted term of enjoyment; nor can even carnage, where her offspring are

that individual instance be traced to an in

sufficiency in the general provision of Na• Never ending, still beginning,

ture for all animated beings. Fighting still, and still destroying,'

“ Turn we then from the view of this are these warring germs of existence, phantasma, formed by distorted principles though still feeding upon each other, star and distempered feelings, to the contemving? Does nature, I ask, exhibit these plation of nature, in the sober lights of scenes of unceasing strife and confusion, philosophy and truth. Let her secluded where slaughter is the sole and evident haumts be open to the inspection, I care business of life; to which want and famine not of whom, so that he have an eye to are to be superadded, to rectify the con see, and a heart to feel, the happiness of stant tendency to redundancy? Do the her animated progeny. Without sending insects sport awhile in the air, and, before such a one with Humboldt to the southern their natural date of being, drop by ex regions, swarming with universal animahausted myriads, and strew the ground tion; or with Acerbi to the north, which, with expiring animation? Do the birds notwithstanding our notions of it as a pour their faltering and unfinished songs, dreary solitude, is probably, both on earth and, adorned with the mockery of beauty and ocean, at least as luxuriant of life, and gaiety, drop from the branches, and let him penetrate into the wilder scenery flutter, and die at our feet? Do the fishes, with which this country even yet abounds, increasing so as to spread the devastation or lose himself in the seclusion of some through the other element, become torpid of those afforested demesnes which still and expire by millions, till the pure me exhibit nature in her loveliest, because dium to which they appertain is polluted most unconstrained attitudes, and which with their floating carcasses ? Or, if recall to our ideas that paradise which the these queries be dismissed through the poet of England has taught imagination door of absurdity, by saying that the con to restore. There, on the wane of some stant tendency of all these tribes of beings summer's day, and before the animal tribes to have too little food, is accompanied by have retired to their timely repose, let him a constant tendency to an excess of it; lay himself down upon the sloping cowwhich is precisely the argument founded slip-covered bank,' and, shaded by a caon mutual destruction, as the case is put nopy of flowering and luxuriant foliage, by those who maintain the superfecundity look and listen. He will find, according of all animated nature; to stop at once to a celebrated observer of nature, all the this loophole of retreat, let us ask whe- animal tribes, down to the insects, walther those animals, on which none others lowing in luxury; or, as Paley says of prey, are, in their native haunts, seen in them, so happy as not to know what to this constant state of inanition and death, do with themselves.' Close to his eye, to which would be the inevitable consequence which the clearness of the air and the

nearness of the obiects give a sort of mi.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

of their increasing beyond the balance of

croscopic acuteness, he sees innumerable of their own, replete with equal plenty insects, many of which, if he is not a prac- and joyousness. The wild animals, meantised entomologist, are minute and bril- time, occasionally scud past him, intent liant strangers; and if he is, are constant upon their pastime, from which his inly putting his knowledge to a severe test; trusion on their haunts startles them ; all full of life and enjoyment, leaping some of the nobler ones, whose stately about with incredible agility, climbing up forms excite his admiration, gaze at him the spiry grass, or disporting on the flowers at a distance, and pass on. Through an with which it is embroidered ; amongst opening vista of the wooded solitude, he these the bee is plying its busy harvest, sees a whole herd of these moving as by and filling up every interval of labour with one impulse ; every motion as buoyant as its song ; a conspicuous example, perhaps, though they were almost aerial. And far of the happy business of every inferior beyond the bounds of the surrounding dowing. If he chance to look to the roots main, a still more magnificent prospect of his verdant pillow, still he sees nature spreads before him. The surface of the swarming with animation; innumerable earth, to the distant horizon, is tesselated terrene insects strike his notice, many of with enclosures, and glows with many cothem, perhaps, resting during the sultry loured crops. Here the pastures are clothed hours, but whose labours he would have with flocks; there the valleys are covered witnessed had he been there at the dewy over with corn; the little hills rejoice on dawn instead of the close of the day, in every side; they shout for joy, they also innumerable shining threads suspended sing ! Human habitations are sprinkled from every point of grass, and investing over the prospect, like gems on the manthe whole surface of the meads with a tle of nature; and here and there they film of inconceivable fineness and lustre. cluster into a town; while the temples of Whichever way he looks, there is not a Divine worship,' which point with taper plant or a flower without its appropriate spire to heaven,' are seen rising as far as population. Further from him he sees the eye can stretch, and crown the bappy throngs still more innumerable,

prospect with the proof, that mankind are • Which Autter joyous in the solar beam,

neither insensate nor ungrateful ; that And fill the air, or float the dimpling stream,'

they know who it is that “gives them

rain and fruitful seasons, filling their all expressing, as far as motion and ap hearts with food and gladness. He gazes pearance without language can express it, till the tints of day fade, and the glorious the utmost measure of enjoyment. Nor prospect recedes from his sight. The busy are even sounds wanting to signify the tribes of life are hushed in repose, one soreign of universal pleasure. Far more litary and unrivalled songster only keeps unequivocal than the busy noise arising up the vigil in the temple of nature, but from the crowded haunts of human beings, in what strains does she charm the lisis that continuous murmur of unnumbered tening shades, and teach the night his wings, and the ceaseless hum, with which praise ! He looks up and beholds the their universal occupation is plied, which eternal stars successively rekindling their soothes and falls upon the ear in one con fires, and resuming their courses; and the tinued and unbroken unison, save when moon walking forth in her brightness. the exulting songs of the painted birds, All the near and transitory scenes of naresponding in innocent rivalry, add me ture thus cut off, the soul calls home its lody to this pleasing and perpetual note of scattered thoughts, and centres them in harmonious nature. In the shallows of loftier meditations concerning that mystethe clear stream which flows babbling at

rious being, whose works it had just been his foot, he sees multitudes of existences contemplating, and who now appears more which flit along like living shadows full intimately and awfully present. He rises, of activity and pleasure : while dimpling and retires to his wonted place: in a frame its surface, or gathering in clouds above of solemn devotion which recognises the it, another order of beings, that of insects Deity alone, and him only in his one saof different tribes and various degrees of cred attribute of unbounded and everlastbrilliancy, are disporting; forming a world ing goodness.”


A REJECTED Contributor is the bitterest of all enemies—but likewise the most impotent. To be rejected seems worse than to be cut up—and yet reason says that to be buried in the Balaam-Box is not so bad as to be scarified by the Knout. Observe-We never insult our Contributors, gentle or semple, as many editors do—but simply send the stupid ones asleep among the sumphs. Why then all that spleen-bile—and gall spluttered on Maga by unsuccessful suitors ? Though she --capricious coquette---repels, rejects, shuns, or declines their amorous advances, yet never never does she, like some vain beauties we could name, blab to the public ear the secret of their discountenanced loves. Why then should they themselves betray it, by sneakingly seeking to disparage her peerless charms ? A single syllable muttered against Maga lets the cat out of the bag- and all the world exclaims, “ Oh, ho!” Thenceforth the whey-faced whiner is known wherever he goes, to be a rejected article—other Magas look on him with suspicious eyes, conjecturing that there must be something amiss—and he dies at last of the yellow or black jaundice. Such conduct, to say the least of it, is very ungrateful. Were Maga to encourage the advances of elderly gentlemen, by softly treading upon their toes, laying her silken hand of long, white, slender, pink-nailed fingers on their arm, and with her warm, red, balmy mouth, almost touching their ear, asking in a silvery whisper “ If it did not thunder”-shrinking to their side all the while, with her frame all on the tremor like a sensitive plant quivering to the touch, then indeed would it be highly culpable in her, the coquette, to say-in reply to the question when popped-No-no-sir--you must excuse me-no—10—no!" And were she to add to the cruelty of refusal, the shame of exposure, publishing a monthly list of all the wretches who for her sake must wear the willow-then indeed might the rejected articles, unsatisfied with sympathy, call aloud for punishment. But how far different is her conduct! Never does she consign a suitor to the Balaam-Box without a tear! She sighs to see the tin-lid heaving to the “hotch” of the poor Contributor below! She shudders when

“ awbile the living hill
Heaves with convulsive throes, and all is still."

But farther. Though rejected twenty times, if you be a man or woman of talents or genius, persevere; and who knows but that on the twenty-first attempt, “ Your joy is like a deep affright,” to find yourself figuring before the whole world in a leading article? Some people are so huffy! An Editor must in with their article instanter—that very month—though perhaps the parcel arrives on the twentieth-the very day our excellent friend, Captain Bain, has gone blazing away out of the mouth of the Frith with the James Watt rejoicing in a ten thousand impression of a double number. Had his article been the only article in the whole wide world, it might perhaps have had some small chance of insertion—some time or other-before he died; but when you consider, that, on the very day his article arrived—and not only on that day, but every day before or sincescores of articles, over and above his article, had come flying from “a' the airts the win' can blaw”—an absolute shower of whitey-brown-you must see at once that there was no more chance of his article in particular being snapt up by Maga, than of any one particular fly being snapt up by one trout when all the Tweed was alive with green-tails. Yet the idiot-if he will allow us to call him so—after searching in vain all through our July number for his article—even among the Deaths and Marriages, and in among the Appendix of Bills—scrawls bis rage by return of post-screeching for his article—the restoration of his article-totally unaware-o the blind minds of men !-that his article had, on the very day of its arrival in Modern Athens, received Christian Burial, along with many other unfortunates who had been swept off by the same epidemic, and interred deep down below the power of Hare or Knox, under the Balaam-Box, that Patent SAFE.

« PreviousContinue »