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man we prefer to Sir Robert Walpole, a statesman, whose maxim it was to keep us at peace with all the world.” I leave to your readers to judge, whether, from this opposition, Mr T. did not consider Sir Robert Walpole's character as directly the reverse of Chatham's ; whence it follows, as a necessary consequence, that since lord Chatham was the worst of ministers, Sir Robert must have been the best.
It is difficult to conceive what Mr T. would be at, when he talks of the madness “ of the war system.” Every friend to humanity must deplore the devastation and havock of war; but to conceive the idea of living in continual and universal peace, an idea very much talked of at present, is, I am afraid, one of those extravagancies into which mortals are at times apt to fall. It is an idea too exalted for our present system. Could we extinguish the guilty passions of ambition, revenge, avarice, superstition, envy, we might then enjoy the calm. which Mr T. so much desires. But I leave to the philosophers to decide, whether, even in that case, mankind would inherit a much greater degree of happiness than we do at present : or whether the world would not resemble a standing pool, or dead, inactive mass, where virtue would disappear as well as vice ; where there would be neither love nor hatred, hope nor fear, which, properly balanced, and mingled in the cup of life, form the true enjoyment of it. For my part I conceive the passions of mankind no less necessary to stir up and agitate the moral world, and to prevent a stagna. tion, than the winds are to prevent a stagnation of the sea. I am respectfully, Sir,
Your most humble servant, George's square, ?
MISOBRONTES. Sepi, 25. 1792. S
A SINGULAR PHENOMENON
RESPECTING A CATERPILLAR.
SIR, To the Editor of the Ber. This day, while another gentleman and I were paying.our devoirs at the temple of a certain goddess; we observed two or three caterpillars with something at the sides of two of them, of a yelowish coa lour'; which, upon a nearer inspection, we found to be a great number of cocoons of silk, differing only in size from those of the silk worm. On breaking one of these, a juicy substance came out. Being desirous of making further observations on these caterpillars, we brought into the house one with, and another without the cocoons. It was then about ten o'clock. In an hour and an half afterwards, we saw about eighteen living creatures making their way out of the last mentioned caterpillar, nearly about the middle of the body. They did not resemble the caterpillar in any respect; being of a yellowish colour, pointed, and blackish towards the head, and without any feet. As soon as they had made their of the body, they immediately commenced spinning cocoons, similar to those about the other caterpillar. By five o'clock they had completed their work. During all this time the mother lay perfectly mo
tionless. All this to us appeared so very surprising, knowing that all caterpillars first pass into the nymph or chrysalis state, and then become butterflies, at which period the eggs are deposited, that I determined to communicate to you what we had seen, in hopes that you, or if you think this letter worthy of insertion in your useful miscellany, some of your correspondents, would afford us some information or this subject. I am, Sir,
Your constant reader and admirer, Edinburgh, ?
JUVENIS. Sept. 23. 1792. S
P. S. It was my intention to send a drawing of the caterpillar ; but I think it best to send one of them, the other I shall keep to make further observations.
Observations on the above. ALONG with the above letter was sent, in a box, a caterpillar, which is exactly delineated in the mis. cellaneous plate, fig. 7. p. 244, with two parcels of cocoons of a yellowish colour, as there represented ; all of the natural size. The caterpillar was still alive on the 26th, but refused to eat. It continued to show signs of life for a day longer, when it fipally expired. The cocoons remain till this time, October 14th, without any change.
Of all the works of nature none appear more surprising to the contemplative mind than the phenonomena that respect reptiles and insects; two classes of animals extremely different in appearance, yet, in reality, connected with each other by the nearest relation. Among the reptile tribe there are three prin
cipal divisions which are produced from the eggs of insects, each of which admit a great number of lesser varieties. These are caterpillars, grubs, and maggots. Nor is the interposition of providence more conspicuously apparent in any one instance, than in that unerring instinct that directs the parent fly to deposit its eggs upon such substances as are fitted to afford proper food for the young, as soon as they shall be produced. In general caterpillars are deposited on plants, grubs in the earth, and maggots in animal substances.
But though this rule be general, it is not universal. The gall insects, whose eggs produce a species of maggot, are always deposited on plants peculiar to each species. And though I do not at present recollect any animal of the caterpillar tribe that lives on animal substances, yet it is by no means impofsible but there may be some of that kind. Whether the animals that issued from the body of these caterpillars were of this sort, or to what other class of reptiles they belong, remains to be ascertained. That they could not be the young of the caterpillar itself from which they issued, seems to be undeniable; as this would be a mode of procreation totally different from what is known to take place among that tribe of animals. From the observations of my correspondent, indeed, it does not seem to be of the caterpillar genus at all, as it wants feet; nor is the cocoon of the nature of that produ. ced by caterpillars in general ; for these are always made to envelope a chrysalis for a time; whereas, upon examining some of the small cocoons here alluded to, there is not the smallest appearance of a
chrysalis can be discovered. The outer envelope of these cocoons, is a substance in every respect resembling the outer part of a silk worm's cocoon, only the threads are much more tender, and in smaller quantity; for the greatest part of it consists of a ball con. taining an oblong bag, filled with a kind of thickitke juice, more resembling an egg without a fhell, than any thing to which I can liken it. What animal is to be produced from this egg I hall be glad to know.
It appears to me that the insect which ought to be produced from this species of cocoon, has deposited its eggs in the body of the caterpillar, which have there been hatched, like maggots in other animal substances, and which have subsisted on the caterpillar itself till the time of their transformation approached, when they have burst their confinement, and prepared for another state of existence; as is common with all animals of this kind.
The production of a silky web is by no means peculiar to the caterpillar genus. The web of a spider is well known ; and several kinds of snails produce occasionally threads of great strength, which they Have the power of availing themselves of for temperary uses ; but I know not if any of these retain strength for any permanence of time. I was myself witness to the strength of a rope of this sort last summer, which occasioned to me no little surprise. The fact I shall here relate, to see if
my readers can give any satisfactory elucidations on that subject.