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form the general integument of the skin. It often, however, becomes thicker, and sometimes even horny, by use. Thus it is always thicker in the sole of the foot and palm of the hand; and horny in the palms of blacksmiths and dyers; and still more so in the soles of those who walk bare-footed on burning sands. It is annually thrown off whole by many tribes of animals—as grasshoppers, serpents, and spiders — and as regularly renewed; and by some animals it is renewed still more frequently: it is shed not less than seven times by the caterpillar of the moth and butterfly before either becomes a chrysalis. There are a few plants that exfoliate their cuticle in the same manner, and as regularly renew it. The West India plane-tree throws it off annually.
From the cuticle shoots forth a variety of substances, which either protect or adorn it, the roots of which are not unfrequently imbedded in the true skin itself. Of the harder kind, and which serve chiefly as a defence, are the nails, scales, claws, and horns; of the softer and more ornamental kinds, are hair, wool, silk, and feathers.
HAIR is the most common production, for we meet with it not only in all mammals, but occasionally in birds, fishes, and insects, varying in consistency and fineness, from a down invisible to the naked eye, to a bristle strong enough to support, when a foot long, ten or twelve pounds weight without breaking.
WOOL is not essentially different in its chemical properties from hair, and it varies equally in the fineness and coarseness of its texture. It is generally supposed by the growers, that the fineness of
its texture depends upon the nature of the soil; yet of the two finest sorts we are at present acquainted with, that of Spain and that of New South Wales, which last is an offset from the Cape of Good Hope, and has yielded specimens of broad-cloth, manufactured in this country, as soft and silky as that of unmixed Merino wool-that of Spain is grown on a pure limestone soil, covered with small leguminous plants instead of with grass; and that of New South Wales on a soil totally destitute of lime, and covered with a long, rich, succulent grass alone.
Food, however, or climate, or both, must be allowed, under certain circumstances, to possess a considerable degree of influence; for it is a curious fact, that the hair of the goat and rabbit tribes, and the wool of the sheep tribe, are equally converted into silk by a residence of these animals in that district of Asia Minor which is called Angora, though we do not know that a similar change is produced by a residence in any other region; while, on the contrary, the wool of sheep is transformed into hair on the coast of Guinea.
The fine glossy SILK of the Angora goat is well known in this country, as being often employed for muffs and other articles of dress. How far these animals might be made to perpetuate this peculiar habit by a removal from Angora to other countries has never yet been tried. Upon the whole, the soil and climate of New Holland offer the fairest prospect of success to such an attempt; and under this impression I have for some time been engaged in an endeavour to export a few of each genus of these animals from Angora to Port Jackson.
Silk, however, is chiefly secreted by insects, as
some species of spider, whose threads, like the hair of the Angora goat, assume a silky gloss and lubricity, and the phalana mori, or silk-worm, which yields it in great abundance. Yet there are a few shell-fishes which generate the same, and especially the genus pinna, or nacre, in all its species; whence Reaumur calls this kind the sea silk-worm. It is produced in the form of an ornamental byssus or beard: the animal is found gregariously in the Mediterranean and Indian seas; and the weavers of Palermo manufacture its soft threads into glossy stuffs or other silky textures. And I may here observe, that there are various trees that possess a like material in the fibres of their bark, as the morus papyrifera, and several other species of the mulberry in consequence of which it has been doubted by some naturalists whether the silk-worm actually generates its cocoon, or merely eliminates it from the supply received as its food; but as the silk-worm forms it from whatever plants it feeds on, it is obviously an original secretion.
From the integument of the skin originates also that beautiful PLUMAGE which peculiarly characterises the class of birds, and the colours of which are probably a result of the same delicate pigment that produces, as we have already remarked, the varying colours of the skin itself; though, from the minuteness with which it is employed, the hand of chemistry has not been able to separate it from the exquisitely fine membrane in which it is involved. But it is impossible to follow up this ornamental attire through all its wonderful features of graceful curve and irridescent colouring,- of downy delicacy and majestic strength,-from the tiny rainbow that
plays on the neck of the humming-bird, to the beds of azure, emerald, and hyacinth, that tesselate the wings of the parrot tribe, or the ever-shifting eyes that dazzle in the tail of the peacock;-from the splendour and taper elegance of the feathers of the bird of paradise, to the giant quills of the crested eagle or the condur- that crested eagle, which in size is as large as a sheep, and is said to be able to cleave a man's skull at a stroke; and that condur which, extending its enormous wings to a range of sixteen feet in length, has been known to fly off with children of ten or twelve years of age.
Why have not these monsters of the sky been appropriated to the use of man? How comes it that he who has subdued the ocean and cultivated the earth; who has harnessed elephants, and even lions, to his chariot wheels, should never have availed himself of the wings of the eagle, the vulture, or the frigate pelican? That, having conquered the difficulty of ascending into the atmosphere, and ascertained the possibility of travelling at the rate of eighty miles an hour through its void regions, he should yet allow himself to be the mere sport of the whirlwind, and not tame to his use, and harness to his car, the winged strength of these aërial racers, and thus stamp with reality some of the boldest fictions of the heathen poets? The hint has, indeed, long been thrown out; and the perfection to which the art of falconry was carried in former times sufficiently secures it against the charge of absurdity or extravagance.
ON THE DIGESTIVE FUNCTION AND THE ORGANS CONTRIBUTORY TO IT: THE DIFFERENT KINDS
OF FOOD EMPLOYED BY DIFFERENT ANIMALS: CONTINUANCE OF LIFE THROUGH LONG PERIODS OF FASTING.
UNDER every visible form and modification matter is perpetually changing:- not necessarily so, or from its intrinsic nature; for the best schools of ancient times concur with the best schools of modern times, in holding its elementary principles to be solid and unchangeable; and we have seen, that, even in some of its compound, but gaseous, etherealized, and invisible forms, it is probably alike exempted from the law of change; while the Christian looks forward with holy hope to a period when this exemption will be general, and extend to every part and to every compound; to a period in which there will be "new heavens and a new earth," and what is now corruptible will "put on incorruption."
At present, however, we can only contemplate matter, under every visible form and modification, as perpetually changing; as living, dying, and reviving; decomposing into its primordial elements, and re-combining into new forms, and energies, and modes of existence. The germ becomes a seed, the seed a sapling, the sapling a tree: the embryo becomes an infant, the infant a youth, the youth a man; and having thus ascended the scale of ma