תמונות בעמוד

but, at length, by employing an indigo which was quite pure, he succeeded perfectly. The moment a minute particle of a highly attenuated solution of this substance is applied to a drop of water in which are some pedunculated Vorticellæ, occupying the field of the microscope, the most beautiful phenomena present themselves to the eye. Currents are excited in all directions by the vibrations of the cilia, situated round the mouths of those animalcules, and are readily distinguished by the motions of the minute particles of indigo which are carried along with them; the currents generally all converging towards the orifice of the mouth. Presently the body of the vorticella, which had been hitherto quite transparent, becomes dotted with a number of distinctly circular spots, of a dark-blue color, evidently produced by particles of indigo accumulated in those situations. In some species, particularly those which have a contracted part, or neck, between the head and the body, as the Rotifer vulgaris, these particles may be traced in a continuous line in their progress from the mouth, through the neck, in the internal cavities.

“In this way, by the employment of coloring matters, Ehrenberg succeeded in ascertaining the existence of a system of digestive cavities in all the known genera of this tribe of animals. There is now, therefore, no reason for admitting that cuticular absorption of nutritive matter ever takes place among this order of beings. Whole generations of these transparent gelatinous animalcules may remain immersed for weeks in an indigo solution, without presenting any colored points in their tissue, except the circumscribed cavities above described.” — Vol. 11. pp. 92 - 95.

There is some difference in bulk between these little creatures, so ingeniously investigated, and the mighty whale, whose aorta, or main artery, “is larger in the bore," says Dr. Paley, “than the main pipe of the water-works at London Bridge ; and the water roaring in its passage through that pipe, is inserior in impetuosity and velocity to the blood gushing through the whale's heart.” But different as they are, in bulk and in organization, the monad and the whale, there is a chain, the links of which may be distinctly counted, which brings and binds them together; there is a grand and regular series,

in which they, with all beings of earth, are included. In this series, man also, with regard to his animal nature, occupies a place. But not so with regard to his mental and moral nature. Here the chain is broken, here the series is interrupted, and

"leaves all other animals at an immeasurable distance behind.”

“He alone,” says our author, “enjoys in perfection the gift


of utterance; he alone is able to clothe his thoughts in words; in him alone do we find implanted the desire of examining every department of nature, and the power of extending his views beyond the confines of this globe. On him alone have the high privileges been bestowed of recognising and of adoring the Power, the Wisdon, and the Goodness of the Author of the Universe, from whom his being has emanated, to whom he owes all the blessings which attend it, and by whom he has been taught to look forward to brighter skies and to purer and more exalted conditions of existence. Heir to this high destination, Man discards all alliance with the beasts that perish; confiding in the assurance that the dissolution of his earthly frame destroys not the germ of immortality which has been implanted within him, and by the developement of which the great scheme of Providence, here commenced, will be carried on, in a future state of being, to its final and perfect consummation.” —Vol. . p. 580.

Could we follow Dr. Roget through his connected course of exhibitions of divine workmanship in the structure of organized beings, and present to our readers instance after instance of the remarkable adaptations which have either come before his own observation, or which he has culled with great judgment from works of acknowledged authority, we should be sure of communicating both entertainment and instruction to those who have not seen his volumes; but for this we have neither time nor room. We cannot forbear, however, making one more extract from the work, taken from the chapter on the “Decline of the System.” On our own feelings, after we had accompanied the writer in his descriptions of the rise, the developement, and the various forms, uses, and arrangements of that system, the passage had an effect like the solemn catastrophe of a poem. But even apart from the connexion in which it stands, it will commend itself by its great beauty.

“ The period prescribed for its duration being at length completed, and the ends of its existence accomplished, the fabric can no longer be sustained, and preparation must be made for its inevitable fall. In order to form a correct judgment of the real intentions of nature, with regard to this last stage of life, its phenomena must be observed in cases where the system has been wholly entrusted to the operation of her laws. When death is the simple consequence of age, we find that the extinction of the powers of life observes an order the reverse of that which was followed in their evolution. The sensorial functions, which were the last perfected, are the first which decay ; and their decline is found to commence

with those mental faculties more immediately dependent on the physical conditions of the sensorium, and more especially with the memory, which is often much impaired, while the judgment remains in full vigor. The next faculties which usually suffer from the effects of age are the external senses; and the failure of sight and of hearing still farther contributes to the decline of the intellectual powers, by withdrawing many of the occasions for their exercise. The actual demolition of the fabric commences whenever there is a considerable failure in the functions of assimilation ; but the more immediate cause of the rapid extinction of life is usually the impediment which the loss of the sensorial power, necessary for maintaining the movements of the chest, creates to respiration. The heart, whose pulsations gave the first indications of life in the embryo, generally retains its vitality longer than any other organ; but, its powers being dependent on the constant oxidation of the blood in the lungs, cannot survive the interruption of this function; and on the heart ceasing to throb, death may then be considered as complete in every part of the system.

" It is an important consideration, with reference to final causes, that generally long before the commencement of this

last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history,' the power of feeling has wholly ceased, and the physical struggle is carried on by the vital powers alone, in the absence of all consciousness of the sentient being, whose death may be said to precede, for some time, that of the body. In this, as well as in the gradual decline of the sensorial faculties, and the consequent diminution both of mental and of physical sensibility in advanced age, we cannot fail to recognise the wise ordinances of a superintending and beneficent providence, kindly smoothing the path along which we descend the vale of life, spreading a narcotic mantle over the bed of death, and giving to the last moments of departing sensation the tranquillity of approaching sleep.” — Vol. 11. pp. 622 – 624.

As the structure and functions of animals can hardly be spoken of in many cases, without some notice of their “ history, habits, and instincts," which depend upon and grow out of their structure and functions, it was a difficult task for Dr. Roget to avoid interfering with the department assigned to his colleague, the Rev. Mr. Kirby. Considering this difficulty, he has kept within his own domain with praiseworthy exactness, and the two treatises will be found to throw light on each other. The reader who has well perused them both, will rise up no mean proficient, for general purposes, in the kindred sciences of natural history and natural theology.

Neither of these works, however, is calculated or intended to supersede “the unrivalled and inmortal work of Paley,” as Roget himself terms it. They are both much more methodical, in a scientific point of view, than Paley's, and in this respect superior to it; but, as a theological argument, Paley's has the advantage, in fulness, in precision, and in variety; and there is, besides, an idiomatic and easy stream of style running through it, a charm, a happiness about it, which make it universally popular and useful, and which entitle it to the name of “unrivalled and immortal."

F. W. P. G.

ART. II. - De l'Influence des Meurs sur les Lois, et de

l'Influence des Lois sur les Maurs. Par M. MATTER. Paris. 1832. 8vo.

pp. 475.

M. MATTER brings to the question of the reciprocal influence of manners and laws, proposed by the French Academy, an acute mind, a philosophical spirit, and extensive erudition. He succeeds in disengaging, and bringing forth to the light, truths of the greatest importance to the statesman and the philanthropist. The work before us is only a résumé of a larger one not yet completed. It is divided into four parts. The first part is taken up with general remarks on the question to be discussed, and on the sense in which the terms manners and laws are used by the author. The second part treats of the influence of manners upon laws; the third of the influence of laws on manners; and the fourth contains views and observations on the means offered by the reciprocal influence of manners and laws for the social melioration of nations.

The general facts, which, according to M. Matter, should serve as the basis of every political measure and of every species of legislation having for their object the glory and prosperity of nations, are these.

1. The influence of manners, - tastes, habits, customs, morals, on laws, and of laws on manners, is not always equally strong. It depends on circumstances, is variously modified, but it is always profound. Manners inspire laws, laws modify manners. Generally one is the copy, the expression, of the other. Sometimes, however, they are not in harmony. When

3D S. VOL. II. NO. II. 20


they are not, the social state is deranged, is in peril. But when the tendency of either is generous, moral, popular, and when the authority that directs them is the same, the danger of the conflict is not great. In opposite cases there is only disorder and revolt, or corruption and decline, in empires.

2. Manners exercise a stronger action than laws. They are anterior, they belong more intimately to man, are, so to speak, the man, the nations themselves. Laws come later than manners. They must necessarily resemble them, support themselves on them, and borrow from them their power. They have a strong and permanent authority only as they are recommended by established habits, dictated by general opinion, and sanctioned by the public adhesion. In this happy condition, laws give to manners the most august sanction, protect them, honor them, and assure them a salutary ascendency in all classes of society.

3. Manners without laws lose their purity, fail in force and influence. Laws without manners are null. “In vain,” says Socrates, “are the walls of the Portico covered with laws. It is not by decrees, but by principles of justice deeply imprinted in the hearts of its citizens, that a state is well governed.”

4. In the progress of the moral and legal civilization of nations, sometimes the laws, sometimes the manners are found in advance. Here it is the developement of manners, there it is the developement of legislation, that precedes. But whichever may precede, one always gains by what the other gains. The progress of law always leads to a progress of morality or of the individual, and a legislation having at all times in view the moral interests of humanity, so far from being a chimera, is the only legislation deserving the name. Every other is insufficient, defective, pitiable.

5. Manners have a greater importance than laws, for the prosperity of empires. Where they are very bad, good laws are impossible. Without good manners the best laws have but a feeble influence, and are often inoperative or mischievous. Without good manners or without good laws there is no lise for nations, and the corruption of both is the most active cause of their ruin.

According to M. Matter, to labor “to establish, preserve, and perfect the public morality is the most sacred duty of government.” It should attach itself to the dorninant senti

« הקודםהמשך »