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selves deep in the ground, in nests formed for the purpose. Snails we know have the singular power of continuing in life for many years. The animals though kept in a cabinet perfectly dry, and apparently dead during the whole time, yet recover life when placed in circumstances favourable for it.
These hypotheses are ingenious; but how far ei. ther of them are just, remains to be proved ; one great objection however occurs to both of them, viz. if these animals did actually bury themselves, and remain in the earth during the dry season, it must happen that they would often be found in that kind of torpid state in the earth. In no country of the world is the surface mould more apt to be examined than in India, where the business of digging tanks is so generally and universally practised, on a very large scale; and as these tanks will naturally be dug in the hollow places, where the fish would most abound, it must happen that their nests would thus be frequently discovered during these operations, if such did real. ly exist. But none of my informants had ever heard of any thing of this sort.
Another way in which we might suppose it pofsible that this phenomenon could be produced, is, that if filh by any accident should once be brought into these po ls, which we can conceive might happen in innumerable ways; and supposing the spawn of these ani. mals, like the seeds of plants, or the eggs of insects, to remair withoutiife untilcircumstances became favourable for their germinating, it might so happen that the spawn which was emitted immediately before the dry weather set in, being left deprived of the necessary mois
tire during the dry season, might retain its germinating quality, so as to become young fish on the first 12?l of the rain, as the silk worm's egg in the northern parts of Europe hatches immediately on being exposed to the heat of the summer's sun. In this case nothing would be wonderful but the sudden , growth of the fish to a size fit to be eaten, in so short a time after the rainy weather sets in. But as we know that, even in Europe, the growth of a young salmon, at a certain period, is amazingly rapid when compared with most other animals, and as vegetation in India during the rainy season, far exceeds any thing we here experience, we can form an idea of animal growth being, in certain circumstances, proportionally rapid. According to this hypothesis there seems to be nothing contradictory to the usual course of nature at least, and nothing that could be deemed to approach towards the miraculous.
On this supposition, however, one difficulty requires to be removed.
In this case it must happen, that when the pools of water are dried up, the filha which had not been caught must be found left dead upon the surface of the ground. And, in some cases, unless the natives be peculiarly assiduous in catching them, these must then be thus found in considerable quantities. My informants took no notice of this circumstance.
In short, we in Europe may form conjectures on this subject ; but it is those who are in India only who can observe the facts. I shall therefore deem it a particular favour if any gentle man in India, into whose hands this may fall, will have the goodness to
state the facts as distinctly as possible, and to explain the circumstances that may probably have given rise to the opinion, if it shall be found to be erroneous ;
if it be true that fish be really caught in these circumstances, it will be accounted singularly obliging, if the kind, or kinds of fish, thus found, be enumerated, their size and natural history, as far as it is known, given; and, if possible, figures of these animals. It is highly probable that when all matters are fairly stated, much of what appears wonderful in this narrative will disappear.
To the Editor of the Bée. IN of your
late numbers we were favoured by your correspondent Albanicus with an elaborate
panegyric on professor Stuart's elements of the philosophy of the buman mind. The panegyric however was not more elaborate than just ; if Socrates was preferable to all his predecessors in science, chiefly because he Jaboured to turn the attention of speculative men from obstruse inquiries, which few understand, and in which few were interested, to the business and manners of common life, much of the same merit belongs to Mr Stuart. More than one of his cotempoTaries perhaps may vie with him in profundity of thought, in accuracy of discrimination, and in beauty of arrangement; but I know not that I have ever read a metaphysical writer so generally intelligible, and so fraught with ingenious observations, equally instructive to the philosopher, the politician, the merchant, the mechanic, and even to the farmer.
Among a number that might be selected, the following remarks on the effects produced on the memory by committing to writing an acquired knowledge,' appear to meato deserve the atttention of every reader of your useful miscellany.
· The utility of writing, in enabling one generation to transmit its discoveries to another, and in thus giving rise to a gradual progress of the species, has been sufficiently illustrated by many others. Little attention however has been paid to another of its effects, which is no less important; I mean to the foun. dation which it lays for a perpetual progress in the intellectual powers of the individual.
• It is to experience, and to our own reflections, that we are indebted for the moft valuable part of our knowledge ; and hence it is, that although in youth the imagination may be more vigorous, and the genius more original than in advanced years, yet in the case of a man of observation and inquiry, the judgement may be expected, at least as long as his faculties remain in perfection, to become every day sounder and more enlightened. It is, however, only by the constant practice of writing, that the results of our experience, and the progress of our ideas, can be accurately recorded. If they are trusted merely to the memory, they will gradually vanish from it like a dream, or will come in time to be so blended with the suggestions of imagination, that we shall not be able to reason from them with any degree of confidence. What improvements in science might we not flatter ourselves with the hopes of accomplishing, had we only activity and industry to treasure up every plausible hint that occurs to us! Hardly a day passes, when many such do not occur to ourselves, or are suggested by others; and detached and insulated, as they may appear at present, some of them may perhaps afterwards, at the distance of years, furnik the key-stone of an important system.'
To the truth and importance of these observations, the experience of every thinkiag person, in every station of life, will bear ample testimony; at least I must confess that many hints have occurred to me, which, by having neglected to commit them at thre instant to writing, I have now irrecoverably lost, and which yet I would give a great deal to recal. The professor, as (was natural, instances particularly the improvements in science which might be expected from treasuring upevery plausible hint which occurs, or is suggested to us; but I think it is obvious that equal improvements might be expected from the same practice in every useful art of life.
It is recorded of one of the most learned divines and eloquent preachers of the last century, that his method of composing his weekly discourses was, after every sermon, to revolve upon the ensuing subject ; that being done, to pursue the course of study in which he was engaged, and to reserve the close of the week for the provision for next Saturday. By this practice not only a constant progress was made in science, but materials were unawares gained into the immediate future week. For he said, be the subjects treated of ever so distant, somewhat will infallibly fall in conducive to the present purpose.
Were the farmer, the mechanic, the tradesman, &c. to adopt a practice somewhat similar to this, it is not perhaps easy to be conceived how great im