« PreviousContinue »
SCOTTISH ZOOLOGY.-No. 1. of Bishop Lesley's, during which no
advances seem to have been made in The science of zoology presents an the science in this country, or at least extensive field of observation to the no publication appeared." At last, an inquisitive mind. It makes us ac
every way qualified quainted with the forms, the organs, for illustrating the subject, and whose and the functions of animals; points out writings on the Scottish animals still to us those instincts which fit them stand unrivalled. The reader will at for acting a part in the great polity at once perceive that we allude to our of nature; and unfolds to us the laws illustrious countryman, Sir Robert which regulate their distribution SIBBALD. This laborious and intelover the different countries of the ligent naturalist collected, for many globe. It enables us to extend our years, the different productions of this dominion over the beings which sure country, and bequeathed his museum round us, by teaching us how to re- to the University of Edinburgh. The duce from a wild to a domestic state, catalogue of this museum, which he the useful animals of our own coun- published under the title, Auctatry, and how to translate the exotic rium Musæi Balfouriani e Musæo species which might be rendered sub- Sibbaldiano,” (Edin. 1694,) enables us servient to our agricultural or com- to form some conception of the exmercial prosperity. But, with all the tent of his acquaintance with the nanumerous attractions which this sci- tural history of this country. But, the ence presents, it has hitherto failed to work which has secured for its author excite so much interest in this part the greatest share of reputation, is the of the island as might have been ex- “ Scotia Illustrata,” (Edin. 168+;) pected. Few descriptive catalogues in which he enumerates all the anihave been published of our native mals which he considered as natives animals, so that we are but imper. of Scotland. It was his intention to fectly acquainted with the number or have given more extended descripthe distribution of the species; and tions of the species, as we find frefew attempts have been made to col- quent reference to a second volume of lect all the information on the sub- the “Scotia Illustrata," which, though ject, dispersed in the writings of dif- perhaps prepared by the author, neferent authors. It is our intention at ver was published. He, however, fulpresent to enumerate the different filled his purpose with regard to the naturalists who have contributed to cetaceous animals; and in his “ Phathe progress of Caledonian zoology, laenologia Nova" (Edin. 1692) gave and to point out the various works excellent descriptions of the different which they have published connect- kinds of whales which had been found ed with the subject.
in the Scottish seas, accompanied with The first author who contributed tolerably exact figures. He appears to illustrate the zoology of Scotland likewise to have prepared a work on was John Lesley, Bishop of Ross. the molluscous and crustaceous aniIn his well-known work, “ De Ori. mals, under the title, “ Observationes gine, Moribus, et Rebus Gestis Sco- de Aquatilibus Scotie,” to which he torum,” (Romæ, 1578,) he devotes frequently refers in the “ Auctathe first book to topographical inquir- rium.” This work, we fear, has been ies, and, at the same time, enumerates lost. In his topographical publicaa great number of our native quadru- tions, particularly his “ History of peils and birds. Several species, which, Fife and Kinross,” (Edin. 1710,) he in bis day, appear to have been na- added several new species to his list. tives of the country, have been since Upon a review of the labours of this extirpated, as the wild cattle, wolf, great man, we may justly style him and capercailzie, so that the notices the Father of Scottish Zoology. He which he gives respecting these are
could derive but little assistance from highly interesting. From the brief the labours of his predecessors, and manner in which he treats the sub- few have followed in the same career ject, it is difficult, in some cases, to with equal success. determine the species to which he re
the celebrated naturalfers.
ist and traveller, in the course of his Upwards of a hundred years elap- journeys through Scotland and the sed, after the appearance of this work Hebrides, collected many new facts
illustrative of our native zoology, and Natural History Society of Edinburgh communicated the result of his la- began to hold its meetings, and in bours in the “ Sketch of Caledonian 1811 was published the first volume Zoology,” prefixed to the “ Flora of its Memoirs. In these memoirs Scotica of Lightfoot,”(London, 1792.) there are some valuable papers illusThis sketch, which was composed a- trative of the zoology of Scotland, by bout the year 1777, contains a very different members of that useful ascomplete catalogue of our native qua- sociation. These contain descriptions drupeds, birds, reptiles, fishes, and of a greater number of new species crustaceous animals, In this cata- belonging to the different classes, than logue he omits some of the animals have been added to the Scottish Fauna which Sibbald had described, but he since the days of Sibbald. makes up the deticiency by the addi- In the British Zoology, frequent retion of several species which had not ferences are made to the authority of been previously observed as natives. the Reverend GEORGE Low, minister
About the year 1790, the publica- of Birsa, in Orkney, a naturalist who tion of the Statistical Account of had communicated many important Scotland commenced. This great na- reinarks to Mr Pennant. At the sugtional work, besides the vast body of gestion of the latter gentleman, Nir information, with regard to our popu. Low, in the year 1774, composed a lation, agriculture, and commerce, Fauna Orcadensis. Some time after contains many observations illustra- his death, which took place in 1795, tive of the manners and distribution the late Dr Barry, when composing of our native animals, which are not his History of Orkney, obtained the to be found in the writings of Sibbald manuscript, and inserted the whole or Pennant.
in that work, without acknowledging The late Dr WALKER, Professor of the source of his information. This Natural History in the University manuscript at length fell into the of Edinburgh, devoted the greater hands of Dr W. E. LEACH, of the part of a long life to the investigation British Museum, and was published of the natural history of Scotland. by Constable and Co. in 1813. Mr The materials which he collected Low enumerates all the species of were valuable, and his observations quadrupeds, birds, reptiles, and fishes, numerous; but his cabinet of objects natives of the islands of Orkney, and, in zoology has unaccountably been suf- in many instances, gives very correct fered to remain for years in one of the descriptions of their external characlow damp rooms of the old college, and ters. his manuscripts, many of which were Besides these publications, which revised by himself, have, in a great may be considered as containing the measure, been withheld from the pub- principal facts relative to the mumber lic. Those which were published in and systematic arrangement of the three volumes in 1808, met with a animals of Scotland, there are many very favourable reception. In the important observations dispersed in “ Economical History of the Hebri- local histories and tours. The writdes,” (2 vols.) many interesting re- ings of Martin, Wallace, Ure, Cordimarks may be found on the character ner, and Neill, are chiefly alluded to; of our domestic animals; and in the and to these may be added the Scots volume, containing “ Essays on Na- Magazine, a work in which may be tural History and Rural Economy,” found many important observations besides many valuable descriptions of on our native animals, chiefly in the particular species, there is a very ac- papers styled Monthly Memoranda. curate list of the mammiferous ani
From the preceding observations it mals of Scotland. This list is great- appears, that no complete list of our ly superior to those of Sibbald and native animals has been published Pennant, since there are attached to since the days of Sir Robert Sibbald. the Linnæan name of each species its The additions, however, which have specific character, provincial appella- since been made to the species in the tions, and physical and geographical different classes are numerous, and it distribution. How invaluable such a would be desirable to have a new list, list, embracing all the other classes of including all these discoveries, and aranimals !
ranged according to the modern prinIn the year 1808, the Wernerian ciples of the science. This desider.
tum we propose to supply in a series The " anecdote" is described as of communications to this Miscellany recounted, in the following terms, to The materials will be in part derived a circle of friends, by a retired officer from the authors whom we have now of rank and family, who, like Othello, enumerated, and from original mate- when " questioned of the story of his rials, collected in the course of our life,
was wont to charm the ear own observations. But as a list of with “ moving accidents by flood and names merely would be of no use to field.” the general reader, and would leave “ In the spring of the year 1788, the naturalist in many cases in doubt I departed from Miclosvar, in Tranwith regard to the species referred to, sylvania, with some recruits for my in consequence of the numerous syno- regiment, the hussars of Czekler, then nyms with which the science is bur- stationed in the vicinity of Orsova in dened, we shall imitate the example Hungary. In a village near the army, of Dr Walker, (in his Mammalia Sco- there dwelt a Bohemian, of singular tica, Essays, page 471,) and not only and imposing appearance, who ostengive the trivial name, but the specific sibly conducted the trade of a victualcharacter, synonyms, and physical ler, but was much consulted in priand geographical distribution of each vate as a fortuneteller. My raw solspecies.
diers,-a very superstitious set,-beManse of Flisk, 13th Jan. 1818. ought her to reveal their destinies ;
and while I ridiculed their motives, I
gaily presented my hand to the proTHE BOHEMIAN.
phetess. “ The twentieth day of the * Train'd, but yet savage, in her speaking month of August,” said she to me, with face,
a very significant air, without adding He mark'd the features of her vagrant another syllable. I pressed for an exrace."
planation, but she only repeated the " Seeking their fate, to her the simple run, same words with the same marked To her the guilty, theirs awhile to gesture ; and when I went away, she shun.”—
called after me “ the twentieth of Au“ Tracing the lines of life, assumed thro' gust.” It may easily be conceived, years,
that this date remained fixed in my Each feature now the steady falsehood
“We joined the army, and partook
of its dangers and fatigues. In this MR EDITOR,
war the Turks made no prisoners. The ingenious author of Waverley Their commanders put the price of a has-by means of the Astrologer ducat on our heads, and Janizaries excited' much curiosity and inquiry, and Spahis were equally emulous to relative to the history and habits of merit the reward. This measure was that acute, but savage and solitary particularly fatal to our outposts; people, sometimes styled Bohemians, scarcely a night passed without the but more familiarly “ the Gypsies ;” Turks coming in search of ducats ; and as I am inclined to think that, their expeditions were conducted with notwithstanding the rich humour of so much secresy, promptitude, and Edie Ochiltree, and the rare eccentri, intelligence, that they seldom failed ; city of Nicol Jarvie, the foreground and often at break of day, a part of of the pictures of this great artist is our camp was guarded only by lifeless still pre-eminently maintained by trunks. Meg Merrilies, I am induced to send “ The Prince of Cobourg imagined you a notice of a personage somewhat that, by sending strong piquets of caof her cast, which I lately met with valry beyond the chain of sentinels, in a collection of " interesting anec- he might protect them. These nightdotes,” published a few years ago on guards consisted of from one to two the Continent, but which I have not hundred troopers ; but the Turkish hitherto seen in an English dress. generals, irritated that their men Perhaps this account of a Bohemian should be disturbed in their lucrative fortuneteller, of no ordinary talent and traffic, dispatched more numerous boaddress, may prove not altogether un- dies against our detachments, by which acceptable to such of your readers as ineans a still greater profit was reaplove romantic adventure.
ed; and this service on our part bee came so fatal, that when an officer was foundly tranquil for an hour and three appointed to the command, he arrang- quarters, when an approaching noise ed his affairs previous to setting out. was heard, and in an instant, amidst
“ Things continued thus until the loud shouts of Alla, Alla, our front month of August. Some skirmishing rank was charged and overthrown, occurred, without changing the posi- partly by the fire, partly by the shock, tions of the armies ; but there was no of 700 or 800 Turks. An equal numa prospect of a general engagement. ber of the enemy were dismounted by About a week before the twentieth, their own impetuosity and our carathe Bohemian, from whom I had oc- bines; but they were completely accasionally purchased supplies, appear- quainted with the ground, and we el before me. She entered my tent, were thrown into disorder, surroundand requested I would bequeath her ed, and defeated. I received many a legacy, in the event of my death wounds, and my charger fell under happening on the day which she had me, fixing my right leg immoveably pointed out as the completion of my to this field of blood, where, all around, destiny. She even offered to make scenes of the most savage butchery ine a present of a hamper of Tokay, if were partially revealed by the appalher prediction failed. This wine was ling and momentary illumination of very rare and precious. The fortune- the fire-arms. Our troops fought with teller seemed to me bereft of under- the courage of despair; while the standing. In the situation I was Turks, superior in number, and stiplaced in, a proximate death was not mulated by opium, made a horrible improbable, but I had no reason to slaughter ; and in a little space not a apprehend it precisely on the twen- single Austrian remained capable of tieth. I agreed, however, to pledge resistance. Such was the twentieth of two chargers and fifty ducats against August. the Tokay; and the paymaster of the “The conquerors, having seized regiment, not without laughter, re- the horses, which were still fit for duced the wager into writing. service, and pillaged the dead and dy
“ The twentieth of August arrived; ing, finally began to cut off the heads, and it happened to be our turn to and place them in sacks which they provide the piquet ; two of my com- had brought for the purpose. The racles, however, had to take the com- corps of Czekler had ample means to mand before it fell to me. The even- know the ferocious disposition of the ing advanced, and the hussars were enemy, and my situation was consemounted and ready to march, when quently not very enviable, especially the surgeon arrived to announce the as I heard them urging dispatch, lest sudden and dangerous illness of the succour should arrive, and that the officer on duty; he, who succeeded night's work ought to produce two the invalid, and was immediately a- hundred ducats,-so very accurate was bove me, received orders to replace their information. him ; he hastily armed himself and “ In the meantime, they passed and joined the detachment; but his horse, repassed over me; and, while legs, which was uncommonly gentle and arms, and bullets, flew around, my docile, reared of a sudden, plunged horse received another wound, and his incessantly, and dismounted his mas- convulsive struggles enabled me to ter, who, in falling, fractured his leg. extricate my leg. I instantly arose, Behold my time come ; and I depart- and resolved to throw myself into the ed; but, I must candidly confess, not morass, in the hope of being sheltered in my usual spirits.
among the reeds. I had observed se"I commanded 80 men, who were veral of our people make the attempt joined by 120 from another regiment. unsuccessfully, but the firing had, in Our position was nearly a mile in a great measure, ceased, and the darkadvance of the left wing, and, as we ness gave me confidence. Although were protected by a deep and exten- the distance was trifling, the danger of sive morass, covered with lofty reeds, being whelmed in the waters was imwe did not consider videttes necessary. minent; nevertheless, I sprung over No one, however, quitted his saddle, men and horses, and overthrew more and the orders were, to remain till than one Turk who attempted to cut morning, sword in hand, and cara- me down. My good star, and my agibines loaded. All continued pro- lity, enabled me to attain the morass,
into which I only ventured to the chin-piece of my Hussar cap. I was
drawn the breast-pin from my shirt “I was buried in the mud to the Still I held him embraced ; and, whea middle; my hair rose erect at the ther he was proudly confident in his horrible images of the night, and the superior strength and the advantage twentieth of August was one of my of his arms, or that a fleeting remnant first thoughts. I counted my wounds, of pity had for an instant weighed on to the number of eight, but none ap- his heart, which the avail of a single peared dangerous, as they were chief- ducat soon outbalanced, he did not ly sabre cuts on my arms and body. seem to notice my actions, Just, The evenings of autumn in that coun- however, as he took out the breasttry are very, chill; I had, therefore, pin, I felt something heavy near his worn a thick pelisse, which had ma- waist; it was a steel hammer, occaterially protected me; at the same sionally used instead of the battle-axe time, I was very feeble.
in close combat. Already he held up "I listened to ascertain if the ene- my head with one hand, brandishing my had departed, but nothing came his enormous sabre with the other, o'er the ear but the groans of the coolly repeating, “ keep thyself quiet, wounded horses. As to the riders, that I may cut it off the more easily the Turks had rendered them quiet for thee." Assuredly these were the enough.
last words I should ever have heard, "I exerted myself to get out of but that nature, revolted at such a my place of concealment, which I ac- death with so irresistible an impulse, complished in about an hour, the that, in the same moment, I sprung traces which I had left among the from his grasp, tore the hannmer from reeds forming a safe guide ; but, al- his girdle, and dashed it, with my though this sanguinary warfare had whole strength, full in his face. The peculiarly hardened the feelings, still attack was unexpected,--the weapon in my lonely and defenceless state, I was massive,—the blow did not fail, could not subdue a movement of ap- and it was repeated with almost inprehension, when I first advanced credible celerity. The Arnaut reeled from this usylum. My regards were and fell, and his sabre escaped from naturally and immediately attracted his relaxed hold; I seized it, and I to the scene of massacre, where, of need scarcely add, plunged it repeata all my comrades, I singly stood in edly into his body. safety. But how shall I describe the "On recovering my breath, I made horror and alarm of finding myself, at to the outposts, directed by the glitter the very moment of supposed emanci- of their arms in the sun ; but all fled pation, rudely seized by the arm. On from me as a spectre ; and I was the looking up, I saw an Arnaut of gigan- same day seized with a high fever, tic stature, armed to the teeth, who and carried to the hospital. had returned to examine if there was “At the expiration of six weeks 1 yet any remaining plunder. Never recovered both of the fever and my was hope so bitterly disappointed. I wounds, and returned to the camp. addressed him in the Turkish lan- On my arrival, the Bohemian broughtguage, “ Take my watch,-my purse, me the Tokay, and I learnt from my
- ny uniform, but do not kill me.” companions, that, during my confine"All these," he replied, “ are mine; ment, this extraordinary woman, by and, what is more, thy head ;” and her predictions, which were in almost he deliberately began to unfasten the every instance accomplished to the