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Full text of "The Cabinet of natural history and American rural sports"

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 

OF 

CHARLES WILLSON PEALE. 



The records of Natural History and of the Fine Arts in 
this country would be incomplete, without some notice of a 
man who was among the earliest to cultivate a taste for 
Painting, and the first to establish a Museum of Natural His- 
tory, even when the name of Museum was scarcely recog- 
nized from the European dictionaries. It would require 
more time than we can now bestow, to perform this duty 
with the minuteness which might be desired. We will, 
therefore, content ourselves with a slight sketch of his va- 
ried career. 

His father, Charles Peale, is still remembered by some 
of the oldest inhabitants of Maryland as a gentleman of libe- 
ral education and pglite manners; greatly respected as a 
teacher at Chestertown, where he occasionally oiKciated in 
the pulpit, when the clergyman of the parish happened to 
be absent. He was a native of Rutlandshire in England; 
proud of the freedom which Britons enjoyed, but still 
prouder of the advantages which he foresaw were to be de- 
veloped here. He died in the year 1750, leaving a widow 
and five children, of whom the eldest was Charles Willson, 
the subject of the present memoir; Margaret Jane, who 
first married a Britisli officer, afterwards Colonel Nathaniel 
Ramsay; St. George, who was distinguished as the head of 
the Land Office; Elizabeth Digby, who married Captain 
Polk; and James, who has been long distinguished as a 
painter of miniatures and still life. 

Charles Willson Peale was born at Chestertown, on the 
eastern shore of Maryland, April 16th, 1741. At an early 
age he was bound apprentice to a saddler in Annapolis; 
and the habits of industry which he acquired under the ob- 
ligations of that servitude, gave a character to the labours 
of his whole life, to which was added a perseverance from 
his own peculiar temperament, which seemed to delight in 
conquering difficulties. 

He was married before he was twenty-one years of age, 
and for several years carried on the business of his appren- 
ticeship; to which he successively added coach, clock and 
watch making, and something of the silversmith business. 
1 



But this variety of occupation, though it amused the eager 
and volatile fancy of a youth of very sanguine temperament, 
instead of advancing his interest, only accumulated around 
him embarrassments which distressed him for a long time. 

Hitherto he had thought but little of drawing; yet he 
had copied some prints with a pen and ink, had coloured 
prints on glass, and even painted an Adam and Eve from 
the inspiration of Milton. It was on a visit to Norfolk, 
where he went to purchase leather, that seeing a portrait 
and some landscapes painted by a Mr. Frazier, — instead of 
being stimulated by a display of excellence to aspire to excel- 
cnce in art — it was the badness of the performances which en- 
couraged him in the idea of surpassing them. He therefore se- 
cretly procured some pigments and canvass from a coach ma- 
ker, and soon surprised his friends by a landscape and por- 
trait of himself, in which he was represented holding a palette 
and brushes in his hand, with a clock in the background. He 
never could remember to whom he had given this portrait, 
or where it had been mislaid, till forty years afterwards, it 
was discovered tied up as a bag, and containing a pound or 
two of whiting; having travelled, unopened, during the 
revolutionar}' struggles, from place to place. This picture 
immediately drew him into notice, and procured him em- 
ployment, still further to the disadvantage of his original 
business. 

His mind was now wholly bent on painting, and it was 
necessary to procure the proper materials for it. He had 
never seen an easel or palette, and knew only the most 
common colours which the coach painters then used. For 
this purpose he travelled to Philadelphia, which was then 
a journey of some fatigue and peril; and in the well fur- 
nished shop of Christopher Marshall, was bewildered by 
the variety of colours, the names of which he had never be- 
fore heard. Some book on painting might relieve him from 
this embarassment, and Rivington's bookstore furnished him 
with the "Handmaid to the Arts." This, in the solitude 
of his lodgings, he studied day and night for nearly a week, 
before he could venture upon the selection and purchase of 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF 



his paints, with which he hastened back to Annapolis, eager 
to commence. 

Previous to this, there had been only three persons in 
Maryland, professing the art of portrait painting: Cain, 
Hesselius, and Woolaston. They were artists from the pa- 
rent country, who had made profitable circuits through the 
colonies, furnishing to the most wealthy families laudable 
portraits and groups in the style of the courtly Kneller. 
Mr. Hesselius. however, had married an American lady, 
and was living near Annapolis. To him our young artist 
looked for the benefit of instruction; and taking with him 
as a present one of his finest saddles, requested to see him 
paint a picture. Thus instructed, he succeeded in painting 
the portraits of several of his friends, much to their gratifi- 
cation and pleasure to himself, but little to the advantage of 
his neglected saddlery. 

Tempted by an offer of his brother in law, Captain Polk, 
he accompanied him in his schooner to Boston, where he 
became acquainted with IMr. Copley, who received him 
kindly and lent him a picture to copy. The sight of Mr. 
Copley's picture room afforded him great enjoyment and 
instruction. He returned with increased knowledge, and 
was patronized by Mr. Arbunkle, whose family he had 
painted; besides several neighbours in Virginia. On his 
return to Annapolis it was decided by his friends that he 
must go to England, and several gentlemen very liberally 
subscribed to raise a fund for that purpose, to be repaid by 
paintings on his return, which enabled him to undertake 
the voyage to London, furnished with letters of recommen- 
dation to Mr. West, Mr. Jennings, and others. 

Mr. West received him with the greatest kindness, and 
freely gave him instructions in drawing and painting. 
From an Italian he learned to model in wax; Mr. Flaxman 
senior, instructed him in the art of moulding and casting 
plaister figures. But when he had been more than a year 
in London, and his diminished funds reminded him of re- 
turning to America, Mr. West earnestly persuaded him to 
remain another year, kindly offering him a residence in his 
own house. Additional remittances from America, and 
some portraits which he painted in London, through the 
recommendations of Mr. Jennings, enabled him to prolong 
his stay; during which he made great improvement in oil 
painting, learned to paint in miniature, and executed some 
mezzotinto engravings. At this time Stuart and Trumbull 
were likewise students with Mr. West. 

On his return to America, he found constant employment 
at portrait painting, both in Annapolis and Baltimore. 
Here he invited his brothers St. George and James to join 
his family, and instructed them, as well as his sisters, in 
drawing and painting. To commemorate this happy groupe, 
he painted the large family piece which is in the Philadel- 



phia Museum, to which, in his old age, he added a faithful 
mastiff. In several visits which he had paid to Philadel- 
phia, having found employment, he determined to settle 
there, which he did in the year 1776; but the increasing 
troubles, produced by the contest with the parent country, 
excited his patriotism to join in popular meetings, where 
he was distinguished for his ardour. He raised a company 
of volunteers, which elected him their captain. With them 
he sought the army of General Washington, and was en- 
gaged in the battles of Trenton and Germantown; his fami- 
ly having retired from Philadelphia into the country, en- 
during many privations. 

In camp he painted the portraits of several distinguished 
officers, which was the commencement of his invaluable 
Gallery of American characters; and it was at the moment 
he was painting a miniature of General Washington at a 
small farm-house in New Jersey, a letter was received an- 
nouncing the surrender of Cornwallis. Mr. Peale had his 
table and chair near the window, and Washington was sit- 
ting on the side of a bed; the room being too small for 
another chair. His aid-de-camp. Colonel Tilghman, was 
present. It was an interesting moment; but the sitting 
was continued, as the miniature was intended for Mrs. 
Washington. 

Notwithstanding his fondness for the peaceful employ- 
ment of the pencil, he was influenced by the spirit of the 
times to join in public meetings, where, being often chair- 
man, he was drawn into notice, and appointed to offices of 
great responsibility. In 1779 he represented Philadel- 
phia in the Legislative Assembly, and zealously co-ope- 
rated in passing the law for the abolition of slavery. But 
he ever afterwards forbore meddling with politics, and 
scrupulously confined his attention to painting, mechanical 
inventions and occupations. At this time he was much em- 
ployed, being, for about fifteen years, the only portrait pain- 
ter in the western world. 

In the year 1735, the idea of making a Museum of Natu- 
ral History first occurred to him. It was suggested by some 
bones of the Mammoth which were brought to him to make 
drawings from them, and were placed in his picture gallery, 
which contained a valuable and increasing collection of 
portraits of characters distinguished in the revolutionary 
struggles. This new pursuit soon engrossed all his thoughts, 
and furnished a never-ending occupation for all his indus- 
try, ingenuit}', and perseverance. Unacquainted with the 
European modes of proceeding, he had every thing to dis- 
cover; and years elapsed before he could succeed in pre- 
serving his specimens of animals from the depredations of 
insects. The writer of this article has seen hundreds of 
birds and beasts, when better specimens were prepared, 
burnt in piles — a sacrifice on the altar of experience. Many 



CHARLES WILLSON PEALE. 



citizens and strangers contributed to enlarge his collection, 
and, in a few years, his picture gallery, at the corner of 
Lombard and Third streets, after several enlargements, was 
found to be too small for his JNIuseum. It was then remov- 
ed to the Philosophical Hall, and there was greatly aug- 
mented, especially with the skeleton of the Mammoth,* 
which was discovered in Ulster county, N. York State, and 
disinterred at great expense and labour. Thus, a few 
bones of the Mammoth accidentally suggested the idea of a 
Museum, which, subsequently furnished its founder with 
the means of procuring and displaying to the world the 
first skeleton of that antedeluvian wonder, since classified 



under the name of Mastadon; which, in its turn contributed 
to give character and value to a Museum that now ranks on 
an equality with the most celebrated of Europe, founded 
and supported as they are, by the wealth of powerful gov- 
ernments. 

Hitherto no person in America had presented the sub- 
ject of Natural History in the attractive shape of lectures. 
With the view of combining the result of his own observa- 
tions and discoveries, with the facts and observations that 
were to be found scattered in various European works, Mr. 
Peale delivered at the Museum a course of lectures at once 
popular and scientific, which were attended by the most 



* In the spring; of 1801, receiving information from a scientific correspon- 
dent in the State of New York, that in the autmnn of 1799 many bones of 
the Mammoth had been found in digging a marle-pit in tlie vicinity of Nevr- 
burgh, which is situated on the river Hudson, sixty-seven miles from the 
city of New York, my father, Charles Willson Peale, immediately proceed- 
ed to the spot, and through the politeness of Dr. Graham, whose residence on 
the banks of the Wall-kill enabled him to be present when most of the bones 
were dug up, received every information with respect to what had been 
done, and the most probable means of fiiture success. The bones that had 
been found were then in tlie possession of the farmer who discovered them, 
heaped on tlie floor of his garret or granary, where they were occasionally 
visited by the curious. These my father w-as fortunate to make a pur- 
chase of, together with the right of digging for the remainder, and, imme- 
diately packing them up, sent them on to Philadelphia. They consisted of 
all the neck, most of the vertebras of the back, and some of the tail; most of 
the ribs, in greater part broken ; both scapulte ; both humeri, with tlie radii 
and ulnae; one femur; a tibia of one leg, and a fibula of the other; some 
large fragments of the head ; many of the fore and hind feet bones ; the pel- 
vis, somewhat broken ; and a large fragment, five feet long, of one tusk, 
about mid-way. He therefore was jin want of some of tlie back and tail 
bones, some of the ribs, the under jaw, one whole tusk and part of the other, 
the breast bone, one thigh, and a tibia and fibula, and many of the feet 
bones. But as the farmer's fields were then in grain, the enterprise of fur- 
ther investigation was postponed for a short time. 

The whole of this part of the country abounding with morasses, soUd 
enough for cattle to walk over, containing peat, or turf, and sheU-marle, it is 
the custom of the farmers to assist each other, in order to acquire a quantity 
of the marie for manure. Pits are dug generally twelve feet long and five 
feet wide at the top, lessening to three feet at the bottom. The peat or turf 
is tlirown on lands not immediately in use ; and the marie, after mellowing 
through the winter, is in the spring scattered over the cultivated fields — the 
most luxuriant crops are the consequence. It was in digging one of these, 
on the farm of John JIasten, that one of the men, thrusting his spade deeper 
than usual, struck what he supposed to be a log of wood, but on cutting it to 
ascertain the kind, to his astonishment, he found it was a bone : it was quick- 
ly cleared from the surrounding earth, and proved to be that of the thigh, 
three feet nine inches in length, and eighteen inches in circumference, in the 
smallest part. The search was continued, and the same evening several 
other bones were discovered. The fame of it soon spread through the neigh- 
bourhood, and excited a genera] interest in the pursuit : all were eager, at 
the expense of some exertions, to gratify their curiosity in seeing the ruins 
of an animal so gigantic, of whose bones very few among them had ever 
heard, and over which they had so often imconsciousl}' trod. For the two 
succeeding days upwards of an hundred men were actively engaged, en- 
couraged by several gentlemen, chiefly physicians of the neighbourhood, 
and success the most sanguine attended their labours : but, unfortunately, 
the habits of the men requiring the use of spirits, it was afforded them in too 



great profusion, and tliey quickly became so impatient and unruly, that they 
had nearly destroyed the skeleton ; and, in one or two instances, using oxen 
and chains to drag them from the clay and marie, the head, hips, and tusks 
were much broken ; some parts being drawn out, and others left behind. So 
great a quantity of water, from copious springs, bursting from the bottom, rose 
upon the men, that it required several score of hands to lade it out, witli all the 
milk-pails, buckets, and bowls, they could collect in the neighbourhood. All 
their ingenuity was exerted to conquer difiieulties that every hour increased 
upon their hands; they even made and sunk a large cofier-dam, and within 
it found many valuable small bones. The fourth day so much water had 
risen in the pit, that they had not courage to attack it again. In this state 
we found it m 1801. 

It was a curious circumstance attending the purchase of these bones, 
that the sum which was paid for them was little more tlian one-third of what 
had been offered to the farmer for them by anotlier, and refused, not long be- 
fore. This anecdote may not be uninteresting to the moralist, and I shall 
explain it. The farmer of German extraction — and like many otliers in 
America, speaking the language of his fiitliers better than that of his coun- 
try — was born on his farm ; he was brought up to it as a business, and it 
continued to be his pleasure in old age ; not because it was likely to free hmi 
from labour, but because profit, and the prospect of profit, cheered him in it, 
imtil the end was forgotten in tlie means. Intent upon manuring his lands 
to increase its production, (always laudable), he felt no interest in the fossil- 
shells contained in his morass ; and had it not been for the men wlio dug 
with him, and those whose casual attention was arrested; or who were drawn 
by report to the spot, for him tlie bones might have rotted in the hole in which 
he discovered them ; this he confessed to me would have been his conduct, 
certain that after the surprise of the moment they were good for nothing but 
to rot as manure. But the learned physician, the reverend divine, to whom 
he had been accustomed to look upwards, gave importance to tlie objects 
which excited tlie vulgar stare of his more inquisitive neighbours : he there- 
fore joined his exertions to theirs, to recover as many of the bones as possible. 
With him, hope was every thing ; with the men curiosity did much, but rum 
did more, and some little was owing to certain prospects which they had of 
sharing in the future possible profit. It is possible he might have encouraged 
tills idea; his fear of it, however, seems to have given him some uneasiness; 
for when he was offered a small sum for the bones, it appeared too little to di- 
vide ; and when a larger sum, he fain would have engrossed the whole of it, 
or persuade himself that the real value might be something greater. Igno- 
rant of what had been offered him, my father's application was in a critical 
moment, and the farmer accepted his price, on condition that he should re- 
ceive a new gun for his son, and new gowns for his wife and daughters, with 
some other articles of the same class. The farmer was glad they were out 
of his granary, and tliat they were in a few days to be two hundred miles dis- 
tant ; and my father was no less pleased with the consciousness, and on 
which every one complimented him, that they were in the hands of one who 
would spare no exertions to make the best use of them. The neighbours. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF 



distinguished citizens, of both sexes, who enjoyed the op- 
portunity of seeing the objects which they heard explained. 
But it was not sufficient that he had written these lec- 
tures; they must be delivered by himself; a task, the difli- 



culty of which was increased by the recent loss of some of 
his front teeth. His ingenuity was soon at work to supply 
this deficiency, and with remarkable perseverance he suc- 
ceeded, first in ivory, and finally in making complete sets 



who had assisted the fanner in this discovery, envious of his good fortune, 
sued him for a sliare in the profit ; but they gained nothing more tlian a divi- 
dend ofthccosU; it appearing that they had been satisfied with the gratifi- 
cation of their curiosity, and the quality and quantity of tlie rum ; no one 
could prove that he had given them reason to hope for a share in the price of 
any thing his land might happen to produce. 

Not willing to lose the advantage of an uncommonly dry season, when the 
springs in tlie morass were low, we proceeded on the arduous enterprise. 
In New York every article was provided which might be necessary in sur- 
mounting expected difficulties ; such as a pump, ropes, pullies, augers, &c.; 
boards and plank were provided in the neighbourhood, and timber was in suf- 
ficient plenty on the spot. 

Confident that nothing could be done without having a perfect command 
of the water, tlie first idea was to drain it by a ditch; but the necessary dis- 
tance of perhaps half a mile, presented a length of labour that appeared 
immense. It was therefore resolved to throw tlie water into a natural basin, 
about sLxty feet distant, the upper edge of wliicli was about ten feet above 
the level of the water. An ingenious miUwright constructed the machinery, 
and, after a week of close labour, completed a large scaffolding and awheel 
twenty feet diameter, wide enough for three or four men to walk a-breast in : 
a rope round tliis turned a small spindle, which worked a chain of buckets 
regidated by a floating cylinder ; the water thus raised, was emptied into a 
trough, which conveyed it to the basin ; a ship's pump assisted, and, to- 
wards the latter part of the operation, a pair of half barrels, in removing the 
mud. This machine worked so powerfullj-, that in the second day the water 
was lowered so much as to enable them to dig ; and in a few hours tliey were 
rewarded with several small bones. 

The road which passed through tliis farm was a highway, and the atten- 
tion of every traveller was arrested by the coaches, wagons, chaises, and 
horses, which animated the road, or were collected at the entrance of the 
field : rich and poor, men, women, and children, all flocked to see the opera- 
tion ; and a swamp always noted as the solitary abode of snakes and frogs, 
became the active scene of curiosity and bustle : most of the spectators were 
astonished at the purpose which could prompt such vigorous and expensive 
exertions, in a manner so unprecedented, and so foreign to the pursuits for 
which they were noted. But the amusement was not wholly on their side; 
and the variety of company not only amused us, but tended to encourage the 
workmen, each of whom, before so many spectators, was ambitious of signal- 
izing himself by the number of his discoveries. 

For several weeks no e-xertions were spared, and tlie most unremitting were 
required to insure success ; bank afle rbank fell in ; the increase of water was 
a constant impediment, the extreme coldness of which benumbed the work- 
men. Each day required some new expedient, and the carpenter was al- 
ways making additions to the machinery ; every day bones and pieces of 
bones were found between six and seven feet deep, but none of the most im- 
portant ones. But the greatest obstacle to the search was occasioned by the 
shell marie which formed tlie lower stratum; this rendered thin by the springs 
at the bottom, was, by the weight of the whole morass, always pressed up- 
wards on the workmen to a certain height, which, without an incalculable 
expense, it w^.s impossible to prevent. Twenty-five hands at high wages 
were almost constantly employed at work which was so uncomfortable and 
severe, that nothing but their anxiety to see the head, and particularly the 
under jaw, could have kept up their resolution. The patience of employer 
and workmen was at length exhausted, and the work relinquished without 
obtaining those interesting parts, the want of which rendered it impossible 
to form a complete skeleton. 

It would not have been a very difficult matter to put tlicse bones together, 



and they would have presented the general appearance of the skeleton; but 
the under jaw was broken to pieces in the first attempt to get out the bones, 
and nothing but the teeth and a few fragments of it were now found ; the 
tail was mostly wanting, and some toe-bones. It was, therefore, a desirable 
object to obtain some knowledge of these deficient parts, but if possible to 
find some other skeleton in such order as to see the position, and correctly to 
ascertain the number of the bones. In the course of eighteen years there 
had been found within twelve miles of this spot, a bone or two in several dif^ 
ferent places; concerning these we have made particular inquiries, but 
found that most of the morasses had been since drained, and consequently 
either the bones had been exposed to a certain decay ; or else so deep, that a 
fortune might have been spent in the fruitless pursuit. But through the po- 
lite attention of Dr. Galatan, we were induced to examine a small morass, 
eleven miles distant from the former, belonging to Capt. J. Barber, where, 
eight years before, four ribs had been found in digging a pit. From the 
description which was given of their position, and the appearance of the mo- 
rass, we began our operations with all the vigour a certainty of success could 
inspire. Nearly a week was consumed in maldng a ditch, by which all the 
water was carried oft', except what a hand-pump could occasionally empty : 
the digging, therefore, was less difficult than that at Masten's, though still te- 
dious and unpleasant ; particularly as the sun, unclouded as it had been for 
seven weeks, poured its scorching rays on the morass, so circumscribed by 
trees, that the western breeze afibrded no refreshment ; yet nothing could ex- 
ceed the ardour of the men, particularly of one, a gigantic and athletic ne- 
gro, who exulted in choosing tlie most laborious tasks, although be seemed 
melting with heat. Almost an entire set of ribs were found, lying nearly to- 
gether, and very entire; but as none of the back bones were found near them 
(a sufficient proof of their having been scattered) our latitude for search was 
extended to very uncertam limits ; therefore, after working abont two weeks, 
and finding nothing belonging to the head but two rotten tusks, (part of one 
of tliem is with the skeleton here) three or four small grinders, a few verte- 
br<E of the back and tail, a broken scapula, some toe-bones, and the ribs, 
found between four and seven feet deep — a reluctant terminating pause en- 
sued. 

These bones were kept disti-'ctfrora those found at Masten's, as it would 
not be proper to incorporate inio one skeleton any other than the bones be- 
longing to it ; and nothing more was intended than collate the corresponding 
parts. These bones were chiefly valuable as specimens of the individual 
parts ; but no bones were found among tliem which were deficient in the for- 
mer collection, and therefore our chief object was defeated. To have failed 
in so small a morass was rather discouraging to the idea of making anotlier 
attempt; and yet the smallness of the morass was, perhaps, the cause of our 
failure, as it was extremely probable the bones we could not find were long 
since decayed, from being situated on the rising slope at no considerable 
depth, unprotected by the shell-marle, which lay only in the lower part of tlie 
basin forming the morass. When every exertion was given over, we could 
not but look at the surrounding unexplored parts with some concern, uncer- 
tain how near we might have been to the discovery of all that we wanted, 
and regretting the probability that, in consequence of the drain we had made, 
a few years would wholly destroy the venerable objects of our rcsearcii. 

Almost in despair at our failure in the last place, where so much was ex- 
pected, it was with very little spirit we mounted our horses, on another in- 
quiry. Grossing the Wall-kill at the falls, we ascended over a double swelling 
hill into a rudely cultivated country, about twenty miles west from the Hud- 
son, where, in a thinly settled neighbourhood, lived the honest farmer Peter 
Millspaw, who, three years before, had discovered several bones : from his 
log-hut he accompanied ua to the morass. It was impossible to resist th« 



CHARLES WILLSON PEALE. 



of porcelain teeth, not only for himself, but for his friends 
and others, at a time when no other person in the United 
States had succeeded in the attempt. 

About the period when the Museum was commenced, 
Loutherbourg in London had got up an exhibition of trans- 
parent paintings with moveable effects. A description of 
these excited an irresistible desire to effect the same pur- 
poses. Here was a vast field opened for his taste and in- 
vention; for his labour day and night, and his morning 
dreams. At length, the public in crowds witnessed, at the 
end of his long gallery of portraits, these magic pictures. 
A perspective view of Market street, gradually darkening 
into the gloom of night. The street lamps are successively 
lighted and sparkle in the diminishing perspective; the 
clouds disperse and the pale moon rises. Another picture 
represented a prospect in the country, dimly seen at night; 



— the cock crows, the horizon brightens gradually into the 
glow of sunrise, gay with the chirping of birds which fly 
from tree to tree; — presently the clouds arise, thick and 
dark, till brightened on their varying edges by the light- 
ning's flash, accompanied by the roll of thunder; — the rain 
begins to fall, increasing to a heavy shower; but it clears 
away and exhibits a splendid rainbow which commences 
and dies away gradually. Other pieces admirably repre- 
sented the battle between the Bon Homme Richard, com- 
manded by Paul Jones and the British frigate Serapis; and 
the gorgeous display of the temple of Pandemonium. 

Many years before this, an attempt was made to found an 
Academy of tiie Fine Arts by the few artists who found oc- 
cupation in Philadelphia, chiefly engravers, with Mr. Rush 
the carver, and some foreign artists then sojourning witli 
us. Landscape and miniature painters, and with them the 



solemnity of the approach to this venerable spot, which was surrounded by 
a fence of safety to the cattle without. Here we fastened our horses, and 
followed our guide into the centre of the morass, or rather marshy forest, 
where every step was taken on rotten timber and the spreading roots of tall 
trees, the luxuriant growth of a few years, half of which were tottering over 
our heads. Breathless silence had here taken her reign amid unhealthy 
fogs, and nothing was heard but the fearful crash of some mouldering branch 
or towering beach. It was almost a dead level, and the holes dug for the 
purpose of obtaining manure, out of which a few bones had been taken six or 
seven years before, were full of water, and connected with others containing 
a vast quantity; so that to empty one was to empty them all ; yet a last effort 
might be crowned with success ; and, since so many diflficulties had been 
conquered, it was resolved to embrace the only opportunity that now offered 
for any farther discovery. Machinery was accordingly erected, pumps and 
buckets were employed, and a long course of troughs conducted the water 
among the distant roots to a fall of a few inches, by which the men were en- 
abled, unmolested, unless by the caving in of the banks, to dig on every 
side from the spot where the first discovery of the bones had been made. 

Here alternate success and disappointment amused and fatigued us for a 
long while ; until, with empty pockets, low spirits, and languid workmen, 
we were about to quit the morass with but a small collection, though in good 
preservation, of ribs, toe, and leg bones, &,c. In the meanwhile, to leave no 
means untried, the ground was searched in various directions with long- 
pointed rods and cross-handics : afler some practice we were able to distin- 
guish by feeUng, whatever substances we touched harder than the soil ; and 
by this means, in a very unexpected direction, though not more than twenty 
feet from tlie first bones that were discovered, struck upon a large collection 
of bones which were dug to and taken up, with every possible care. They 
proved to be a humerus, or large bone of tlie right leg, with the radius and 
ulna of the left, the right scapula, the atlas, several toe-bones, and the great 
object of our pursuit, a complete under jaw ! 

After such a variety of labour and length of fruitless expectation, this 
success was extremely grateful to all parties, and the unconscious woods 
echoed with the repeated huzzas, which could not have been more animated 
if every tree had participated in the joy. "Gracious God, what a jaw ! how 
many animals have been crushed by it ! " was the exclamation of all ; a 
fresh supply of grog went around, and the hearty fellows, covered with mud, 
continued the search with increasing vigour. The upper part of the head 
was found twelve feet distant, but so extremely rotten that we could only 
preserve the teeth and a few fragments. In its form it exactly resembled the 
head found at Masten's ; but, as that was much injured by rough usage, 
this, from its small depth beneath the surface, had the cranium so rotted 
2 



away as only to show the form around the teeth, and thence extending to tlie 
condyles of the neck ; the rotten bone formed a black and greasy mould 
above that part which was still entire, yet so tender as to break to pieces on 
lifting it from its bed. 

This collection was rendered still more complete by the addition of those 
formerly taken up, and presented to us by Drs. Graham and Post. They 
were a rib, the sternum, a femur, tibia and fibula, and a patella or knee-pan. 
One of the ribs had found its way into an obscure farmhouse, ten miles 
distant, to which we fortunately traced it. 

Thus terminated this strange and laborious campaign of three months, 
during which we were wonderfully favoured, although vegetation suffered, 
by the driest season which had occurred within eight years. Our venerable 
relics were carefully packed up in distinct cases ; and, loading two wagons 
with them, we bade adieu to the vallies and stupendous mountains of Sha- 
wangunk : so called by their former inhabitants, the Indians of the Lenape 
tribe. The three sets of bones were kept distinct : with the two collections 
which were most numerous it was intended to form two skeletons, by still 
keeping them separate,and filling up the deficiencies in each by artificial imi- 
tations from the other, and from counterparts in tliemselves. For instance, 
in order to complete the first skeleton, which was found at Masten's, the \m- 
der jaw was to be modelled from this, which is the only entire one that has 
yet been discovered, although we have seen considerable fragments of at 
least ten different jaws; while, on the other hand, in the skeleton just dis- 
covered at Barber's, the upper jaw, which was found in the extreme of decay, 
was to be completed, so far as it goes, from the more solid fragment of the 
head belonging to the skeleton found at Masten's. Several feet-bones in this 
skeleton were to be made from that ; and a few in that were to be made from 
this. In this the right humerus being real, the imitation for the left one 
could be made with the utmost certainty ; and the radius and ulna of the 
left leg being real, those on the right side would follow, of course, &c. The 
collection of ribs in both cases was almost entire; therefore, having discov- 
ered from a correspondence between the number of vertebrse and ribs in botli 
animals, that there were nineteen pair of the latter, it was necessary in only 
four or five instances to supply the counterparts, by correct models from the 
real bones. In this manner the two skeletons were formed, and are in both 
instances composed of the appropriate bones of the animal, or exact imitations 
from the real bones in the same skeleton, or from those of the same propor- 
tion in the other. Nothing in either skeleton is imaginary; and what we 
have not unquestionable authority for, we leave deficient ; which happens in 
only two instances, the summit of the head, and the end of the tail. — God- 
man's Nat. Hist, by Rembrandt Peale. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF 



Italian Sculptor Ccracchi (who afterwards conspired against 
the life of Buonaparte). Among these Mr. Peale was the 
only portrait painter in oil. At his house the meetings 
were held, and the conversations were often interesting un- 
der all the excitements of imagination and genius; but they 
ended in a separation into two unproductive parties; the 
native artists contented with a school of art, and the for- 
eigners swelling with a mighty scheme of a national 
Academy. 

In the year 1794 another experiment was made at Mr. 
Peale's — an academy was formed; some plaister casts were 
collected, and arrangements were made to draw from the 
life. When the person (a baker) who was engaged to stand as 
the model, found himself surrounded by new faces and pene- 
trating eyes, he shrunk from the scrutiny, and precipitately 
fled. In this dilemma Mr. Peale stripped and presented 
himself as the model to his fellow artists. An exhibition 
was likewise got up, intended to be annual. It was opened 
in the Hall of Independence; comprised a very respectable 
display of pictures, cliiefly lent by private gentlemen, and 
was well attended by the public. 

It was not until ISIO that a foundation could be laid for 
a permanent Academy. Again the amateurs of the Arts 
were invited to meet at Mr. Peale's; but their number was 
so small, and their influence over the public mind so limited, 
that nothing but the most zealous exertions of Mr. Joseph 
Hopkinson could have availed in procuring the funds which 
were necessary to erect a suitable building, and to import 
from Europe the requisite plaister casts. Mr. Peale and his 
son, who was recently from Europe, laboured incessantly 
to mend and display these objects, and to organize the 
drawing academies. He lived to see and contribute to 
seventeen annual exhibitions. 

Early rising, temperate repasts, and industrious habits, 
had invigorated his constitution, and he had reached his 
eighty-fifth year with but little interruption to his health, 
and pleasantly talked of living to be at least a hundred years 
old. The manner of his death was strictly accordant with 
the peculiarities of his life; for it was not so much the con- 
sequence of old age as of too much youth, in imprudently 
carrying his own trunk to get up with a stage which he 
feared would leave him behind. This induced a violent 
palpitation and disorder of his heart, from which he had 
scarcely recovered, when he indiscreetly mounted the high- 
est ladder at the new building of the Arcade, the upper 
rooms of which were being constructed to hold his Museum. 
This brought on a relapse and his speedy and lamented 
death, in 1827; leaving his Museum as a joint stock to his 
cliildren; Raphael, Angelica Kaufman, Rembrandt, Ru- 



bens, Sophonisba Carriera, Linnsus, Franklin, Sybilla, 
Meriam, Elizabeth, and Titian. 

Few men have passed through a greater variety of scenes 
and occupations. Perhaps in the organization of his mind 
there was too great a propensity to indulge in every novel 
occupation; certainly there was a peculiarity of fancy which 
controlled him in these enjoyments; he loved to do what 
nobody around him could do, and exhibited the most ex- 
traordinary industry, perseverance, and ingenuity to accom- 
plisli his purposes. His chief delight, though of a cheerful 
and social temper, was to find himself alone in the trackless 
ocean of experiments, contending with the rough elements 
and surmounting difficulties as they followed in successive 
waves never sinking, never despairing. At first a saddler, 
harness and coach maker; then a silversmith and watchma- 
ker; it was not till his 26th year that his eyes opened to the 
boundless fields of art; but in this pursuit he mingled the 
greatest variety, painting in oil, in crayons, and in minia- 
ture; modelling in clay, wax and plaister; sawing his own 
ivory, moulding his glasses, and making the shagreen cases 
for the miniatures which he painted, at a time when none 
of these articles could be procured, owing to the derange- 
ments of a revolutionary war. He made himself a wooden 
mannequin or lay-figure, upon which to cast his draperies; 
made a violin and guitar, and assisted in the construction of 
the first organ built in Philadelphia. But it was chiefly in 
multitudinous operations connected with his Museum that 
he found continual employment for his invention and me- 
chanical propensities. Transparent paintings with change- 
able effects of light and colour, and figures in motion; the 
preservation of every variety of animals; the moulding of 
glass eyes, carving wooden limbs, upon which to stretch 
the skins of his quadrupeds, with anatomical accuracy, &c. 
Many precious months of his life were consumed in per- 
fecting, with Mr. J. H. Hawkins, their Polygraph, which 
became one of his untiring hobbies, as he never wrote a 
letter afterwards without preserving a cotemporaneous 
duplicate. 

For a number of years he supplied the dificiencies of his 
teeth with ivory of his own manufacture, and finally suc- 
ceeded in making them of porcelain, not only for himself 
and family, but for others, as he prided himself on being 
the only operator in this style in America. 

We shall close this sketch by an observation of Colonel 
Trumbull: "That an interesting comparison might be 
drawn between jNIr. Peale and his countryman Mr. West, 
who was a striking instance how much could be accom- 
plished with moderate genius, by a steady and undeviating 
course directed to a single object; to become the first His- 
torical painter of his age; whilst the other, with a more 



CHARLES WILLSON PEALE. vii 

lively genius, was able to acquire an extraordinary excel- However praiseworthy may have been his industry; 

lence in many arts, between which his attention was too remarkable or amusing his ingenuity; and productive his 

much divided. For had he confined his operations to one perseverance to the success of his INIuseum — he possessed 

pursuit he probably would have attained the highest excel- a higher claim to the remembrance and esteem of his coun- 

lence in the Fine Arts." trymen. He was a mild, benevolent, good man. 



TO 

VOLUME I. 



PORTRAIT OF CHARLES WILLSON PEALE. 

ENGRAVED TITLE PAGE. • 

Plate I. Common Deer, (Buck, Doe and Fawn), ... 3 

11. Ruffed Grouse or Pheasant, - - - - - 13 

III. Eed Fox, ..-.-.. 25 

IV. Quails or Partridges, ------ 37 

V. Newfoundland Dog, .--... 49 

VI. Rough Billed Pelican, - - - - - - 6 1 

VII. Prairie Wolves, ...... 73 

VJII. 3Ieadow Lark and Snow Bird, - - ... 85 

IX. Illustration of Woodcock Shooting, .... 97 

X. Goosander and Golden Ejed Duck, .... io9 

XI. Grisly Bears, . . . . . . 121 

XII. Robin and Blue Bird, - - . . . - 133 

XIII. Trout of the Brook and Lake, - . . . 145 

XIV. Woodcock, - - . . . . -158 
XV. Ground Squirrel, - - . . . . ^69 

XVI. Wild Swan, ^^^ 

XVII. American Argali, - . . . . . ^93 

XVIII. Rail, 206 

XIX. American Varying Hare, . - . . . 217 

XX. The Eed Tailed Hawk and American Sparrow Hawk, - . 229 

XXI. Canada Porcupine, - . . . . . 241 

XXII. Summer Duck or Wood Duck, - - . . . 252 

XXIIL Great Tailed Squirrel, . . . . . 265 

XXIV. Raven, 2^9 



XATURAL. HISTORY. 



No branch of human leai-ning is more intimately con- 
nected with the other sciences, than that of Natural His- 
tory, and none presents so inexhaustible a fund of inquiry 
and amusement. Placed as we are, in the midst of the mul- 
tiplied productions of nature, it is almost impossible even 
for the most unobservant, to avoid becoming more or less 
familiar with the manners of animals, the economy of ve- 
getables, and the general phenomena of the earth. From 
an acquaintance with these, manifold advantages have alrea- 
dy accrued to man, and it is but reasonable to suppose that 
a more intimate knowledge of them, will greatly increase 
the comfort and enjoyment of the whole human race. The 
agriculturist is obliged to acquaint himself, with the habits 
and characters of the domesticated animals he employs, 
with the qualities of the soil he cultivates, with the nature 
of the grain he raises, and with the effects of different me- 
teorogical changes. Even the fine arts, though generally 
considered as peculiarly appertaining to the domain of the 
imagination, greatly depend upon a knowledge of Natural 
History. A science, which when taken in its full extent, 
is so intimately connected with all our pursuits and plea- 
sures, forming in fact the basis of the other sciences, and 
far more useful than any for the ordinary purposes of life, 
can never be too generally or too industriously cultivated. 
Supposing that the study of animated nature is far more 
engaging to the generality of readers, and leaving the exa- 
mination of plants and minerals to the botanist and geologist; 
we shall endeavour in the succeeding sketches of our native 
animals, to present such only, as from their holding a more 

eminent rank among the brute creation, or from their being 
A 



peculiarly serviceable or injurious to man, are the most 
worthy of notice, and most likely to interest the observer. 
In attempting this, we shall not proceed in any regular 
or systematic order, or adhere to any system of classifica- 
tion in the arrangement of the subjects. But at tlie same 
time, the most sedulous attention will be paid to their syno- 
nomy and scientific description, and we shall strive to ex- 
plain their characters, with as much simplicity, elegance of 
expression, and certainty of information, as we can possi- 
bly attain. We, however, are far from considering, that 
the study of nature consists in the acquirement of words, 
the retention of names, or even the accurate description of 
species ; under the present elevated views of science, these 
are esteemed but subsidiary steps. A prejudiced adherence 
to mere nomenclature, as is forcibly observed by a late dis- 
tinguished writer, "shuts the door to all further improve- 
ment, and has impressed naturalists with an idea, that the 
highest object to be obtained, is to label the contents of a 
museum, and to arrange stuffed animals like quaint patterns 
in glass cases." We would "not wish it to be understood, 
however, that we consider nomenclature and scientific ar- 
rangement as useless or beneath the notice of a philosophic 
naturalist; far from it; experience has amply demonstrated 
that a neglect of these, must necessarily involve the sci- 
ences in an almost inextricable confusion, and retard, in- 
stead of facilitating the acquisition of knowledge. 

We do not aim at originality, but shall freely avail our- 
selves of the labours of our predecessors, adding however 
such new and interesting matter as we may become pos- 



NATURAL H) STORY, 
scsscd of,, in elucidation oi tlic subjects; our great aim the public, we leave the oandi 1 and judii;ious t« li-'cidc. 
being to preseat such a history of our different native aiii- In tJie formation of planv, tiic general aiid the statesman, 
nials, rjt may amuse whilst it instructs, and tend to invite the autJior and the i'rtist, are apt to rely too much on their 
or:r rea'lers to closer and more minute investigations. ov!i powers and the fortuitous concuiTPnc^ of favourable 

ctiti-n.'.tance'-. That which displayed elegance and splen- 
With these views we have undertaken riie present dour, when it existed 'only in idea, but too often becomes 
work; how far the execution may merit tlie approbation of mean atid uncouth •ss'hen brought into real existence. 

THE ET.HTORS. 



'f- 



CABINET OF NATURAL HI8TORY. 



^mmmi(©^ir mwm^^ i^(im^e* 



COMMON DEER. 
CERVUS VIRGINIANUS. 

[Plate I.] 
Cervus Virginianus. G^iBi^m.—FaUoiv Deer. Catesbt, 
App. ii. 28. Lawson, Carol. 123. — Virginian Deer. 
Pennant. Arct. Zool. i. 2,2.—Cariconfemelle. Buffon, 
12. pi. 44. — Cerfde la Louisiane. G. Cuv. Ossmen. 
Foss. iv. 34. Regn. animal, i. 263. — Cerfde Virginie. 
Desm. Mammal, sp. 679. p. 442.— Common Deer. 
GoDMAN. i. 306. — Peale's Museum. 

The word Deer is derived either from the Teutonic deor, 
or from the Greek @^^, and is very variously written and 
pronounced, not only by different nations, but also in differ- 
ent ages. These well known quadrupeds, belong to the great 
order of Pecora or Ruminants; an order, as is observed l)y 
Cuvier, exceedingly natural and well determined, nearly all 
the animals composing it, being formed on the same model, 
tlie Camel alone presenting some slight exceptions to the 
common character of the group. 

These characters are, having incisors or cutting teeth, in 
the lower jaw only, and these generally eight in number; 
their place in the upper jaw being supplied by a hardened 
gum. Between these incisors and the molars or grinding 
teeth, is a vacant space, except in some genera, which are 
provided with one or two canines. The molars, which are 
usually six in number, are marked on their crowns by two 
crescents, whose convexity is turned inwards in the upper 
jaw, and outwards in the lower. The feet are terminated by 
two toes covered by hoofs, which have flat surfaces closely 
applied to each other, giving the appearance of a single hoof, 
divided through the middle, whence the terms cloven footed, 
bifurcated, &c. The most singular peculiarity of these ani- 
mals is that of rumination, or of returning the food to the 
mouth, to be again masticated, after it has been once swal- 
lowed. This peculiarity arises from the structure of their 
stomachs, which are four in number— The first is called the 
paunch, and is destined to receive the half masticated food, 



when it is first swallowed ; the food soon passes into the se- 
cond or bonnet, which is small, globular, and lined by a 
membrane disposed like the cells of a honey comb. From 
this stomach, in which it undergoes a kind of preparation, 
the food is returned to the animal's mouth, to be subjected 
to a more complete mastication, after which it is again 
swallowed and passes into the third stomach or feck, whose 
internal membrane is arranged in longitudinal folds, like 
the leaves of a book; it then finally enters the fourth or true 
stomach in which it undergoes the process of digestion. 
The fat of ruminating animals is harder and more consistent 
than that of other quadrupeds, and is well known under the 
name of Tallow. Of all the numerous species of animals, 
none are so useful to man as those included in this order. 
They supply him with the mass of his food, and furnish a 
variety of substances indispensable to his comfort and hap- 
piness. 

The genus Deer, consists of such animals of this order as 
are furnished with deciduous horns or antlers, destitute of a 
horny sheath. They are generally remarkable not only for 
the elegance of their form, the symmetry of their propor- 
tions and swiftness of their motions, but also for the excel- 
lence of their flesh. Hence it is not surprising that they 
have been eagerly hunted in every age, as well for sub- 
sistence as for amusement. The most striking and curious 
parts of their conformation are the horns, or those osseous 
productions of the forehead which are detached and repro- 
duced annually, and which, except in the Rein Deer, are 
exclusively appropriated to the males. This annual shed- 
ding of the horns, however, is not peculiar to the whole 
genus, but appears to be restricted to such species as reside 
in cold or temperate climates, or in whom these appendages 
are of a large size. This provision of nature is a most in- 
explicable phenomenon as regards its utility, and yet the 
mode in which the process is effected is subordinate to fixed 
and immutable laws. 

The word horn, which is generally applied to the antlers 
of the Deer kind, is apt to lead to erroneous ideas on the 
subject, as this antler is a real bone, formed in the same 



THE CABINET 0¥ NATURAL HISTORY, 



: nd constimted of the same integral parts as other 
ii'.)rv..i. These protuberances begin to be developed at a 
given age ; Uie lirst appearance being a tubercle, which, iiv 
most cases, gradually rises into a simple antler, though in 
some s]K-ci(;s it branches off into ramilications; after a cer- j 
lain period the development is arrested, and finally the 
horn is detached and falls off. The learned translators of 
Bluraenbach's Comparative Anatomy* have given the fol- 
lowing explanation of this curious process. "The antler 
adlieres to the liorital hone, by its basis; and the substance of 
the two puLi ts being consolidated together, no distinction can 
be traced, when the antler is perfectly organised. But 
the skin of the forehead terminates at its basis, which is 
marked by an In-egular projecting bony circle, and there 
Is neither skin nor periosteumon the rest of it. The time 
of its remaining on the head, is one year; as the period of 
its fall approaches, a reddish mark of separation is observed 
helveen the process of the frontal bone and the antler. 
This becomes more and more distinctly marked, until fJie 
connexion is entirely destroyed. The skin of the forehead 
extends over the process of the frontal bone when the 
antler has fallen. At the period of its regeneration, a 
tubercle ai-ises from this process, and tekcs the form of the 
future antler, being still covered by a prolongation of the 
skins. The structure of the part at this time is soft and cai'- 
lilaginous; it is immediately invested by a true perios- 
teum, containing large a)id numerous vessels, which pene- 
trate the cartilage in every direction, and, hj^ the giadiial 
deposition of ossific matter, convert it into perfect bone. 
The vessels pass through openings in the projecting bonj- 
circle at the base of the antler ; the formatioji of this part 
proceeding in the saine ratio with that of the rest, the of -jn- 
inj^s ai'e contracted and the vessels are thereby pressed, 
till a complete obstruction ensues. The skin and perios- 
t.-iini tJien perish, become dry, and fall off; the surface of 
',.he antler remaining uncovered." 

The form and disposition of the antlers differ in every 
.species, and the flattened or palmated shape of them in some, 
seems to be a provision of nature to enable the animals to 
obtain their food from beneath the snow, for it is a re- 
markablf' fact tliat this structure is almost wholly confined 
TO such as inhabit high latitudes, and is developed in propor- 
tion to the length and severity of the climate. 

The sense of smell is very delicate in these animals, and 
Ihey are exceedingly select in- their choice of food, applying 
to it the nostrils, and sometimes the spiracula which seem 
to communicate, in some manner, with the olfiictory appara- 
tus. This spiraculuni or sinu.s is not found in all species, 
some having only a fold of tJie skin or none, whilst in 



others it forms ;i sack. The French call tliem larmiers, 
believing that thej^ are receptacles for tears; this idea hn:< 
also been adopted by fioets: thus, Shakspeare gives the fol- 
lowing touching description of a wounded stag: 

" Tho wictflicil animal heav'd forih nViili sr-oaiis, 
T.hal tlioir discliargc did stretch his leathern cor.t 
Almost to bursting : aud the big round tears 
Coiirstii one another down his innocent nose 
In piteous chase.'' 

The voice of the genus is in geneial disagreeable. The 
females produce one or two fawns at a time. In tempcr.'tte 
regions this takes place in the spriiig. The intellectual 
character of the Deer is far from contemptible; rendering 
the chase of the stag very curious. The anuisement ol' 
hunting has been as assiduously cultivated among civilized 
nations as with the savage tribes who depend upon it for their 
subsistence. In fact, it was considered as an art, and accom- 
modated with a set of technical phrases. Thus, in the old 
works on "Venerie," we find that the j'oung animal in tlv.' 
first six months of its life was called a calf or hind calf, it 
then became a /moMe>v then&pricket^ brock, or staggurJ ; 
next a stag, and after that a Aar/ .• the female, from a hind 
calf, becomes fir.st a hearse and tlien a hind. The stag is 
said to harbour in tlie place in v\ hich he resides; when he 
cries he is said to bell; the pri'V ' '-- '"■■'" is the slot; the 
tail the single; his cxcreu < • his horns are 

termed his head, and are, in Oraches; in the 

third year, spears; in the fotnt "n \HrM-, tv.t: part bearing the 
antlers is called tlie beam; he has also antlers, sur-anilers, 
and royal-antlers. These animals afford various articles of 
utility to man. The firm and solid texture of the horns fits 
them for handles to knives and other domestic utensils. The 
skin is dressed into excellent leather. The flesh, as we have 
before obsei-ved, affords a pleasant and wholesome food. 

The Common Deer is found from Canada on the north 
to Mexico on the south, and its western range is perhaps 
only limited by tlie ocean. This beautiful and delicate 
animal Is about three feet three inches in height at the 
shoulder, of a light and elegant form, witli a long tapering 
nose; the horns reclined on the head turn outwards, and then 
form a decided curve so as to present their extremities for- 
wards; the burr is of a moderate size, and just above it, on 
the internal side of the beam, is a single short nnller, inclin- 
ing inwards; the first horn is onlj' a simple pricket, which \h 
succeeded b)'- a fork on the summit; in the fifth year, the 
antJers consist of two cylindrical whitish and tolerabh- 
smootli shafts, separating into two or three snags on the pos- 
terior part of it upwards and outwards. In old animals the 
superior part of the beam flattens, aud the snags ami point 
become dichotomous; while the burr widens considerably, 
and sometimes throws out spurious collateral shoots. TIk.- 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



horns are usually about twenty inches in length, measured 
along the curve, but are subject to much variation, as in 
the fourth year animals have been killed with only single 
prickets of seven or more inches in length; this malforma- 
tion has given rise to a supposition that we had Deer with 
single horns in the United States. 

The summer coat of the male and female, is of a glossy 
cinnamon brown above; the under pai-t of the lower jaw, 
throat, belly, lower part of the limbs, posterior edges of 
the fore limbs, anterior part of the thighs and inferior 
surface of the tail, white. The front is gra)4sh, whilst 
the tip of the muzzle is of a deep brown, with two white 
spots upon the upper lip; and on the sides of the lower 
jaw, at the angles of the mouth, two triangular black spots 
are very generally found. The ears are long and pointed, 
the eyes peculiarly soft and beautiful. The fawn colour 
changes to a fine brown gray in winter. The fawn is of a 
lively fulvous brown, marked during the first year with 
numerous white spots; towards the latter part of the summer 
it loses these, and becomes gra3-ish. Mr. Say observes of 
these changes " in this state the Deer is said by the hunters 
to be in the gray. This coat is shed in the latter part of 
May and beginning of June, and is then substituted by 
the reddish coat. In this state, the animal is said to be in 
the red. Towards the last of August, the old bucks 
begin to change to the dark bluish colour; the doe com- 
mences this change a week or two later. In this state, 
they are said to be in the blue. This coat gradually 
lengthens until it again comes to the gray. The skin is 
said to be toughest in the red, thickest in the blue, and 
thinnest in the gray; the blue skin is the most valuable."* 

There appear to be several varieties of the Common 
Deer inhabiting this continent. Mr. Say notices one 
obtained in the neighbourhood of Engineer's cantonment, 
of which he saw three specimens. In this variety the 
feet were marked with a white triangle, the point upwards; 
and also having the black mark on the lower lip strongly 
characterised. Albinos are by no means uncommon among 
this species: Mr. Titian Peale saw three during the past 
summer, in Lycoming county in this State, of which he 
obtained a buck and fawn; these have since been added to 
the valuable collection in the Philadelphia Museum. 

The strongest variety, however, is the Long Tailed 
Fallow Deer, spoken of by Lewis and Clarke, and since 
described under the name of Cervus leuciirus, by Dr. 
Richardson, who observes that the name of C. niacronrus 
seems to have been intended to designate this species, 
but the characters authors have assigned to it, rather apper- 
tain to a variety of the Black Tailed Deer. This animal 



appears to bear a strong general resemblance, in size, form, 
and habits, to the Roebuck of Europe, and has hence 
obtained that name among the Scotch Highlanders, em- 
ployed by the Hudson's Bay Company, and that of 
Chevreidl, from the French Canadians. Mr. Douglas, 
who has given an account of it, in the Zoological Journal, 
says, it is the most common Deer in the districts adjoining 
the Columbia River, frequenting coppices composed of 
Corylus, Rubiis, Rosa, &c. on the declivities of low hills, 
or dry undulating grounds. Its gait is two ambling steps, 
and a bound, exceeding double the distance of the steps, 
from which it does not depart, even when closely pur- 
sued. In running, it carries its tail erect, which, from 
its unusual length, is the most remarkable feature about 
the animal. Lewis and Clarke say of it — " The Com- 
mon red Deer inhabit the Rocky Mountains about the 
Columbia, and down the river as far as where the tide water 
commences. They do not differ essentially from those of 
the United States, being the same in shape, .size, and 
appearance. The tail is, however, different, being of 
unusual length, far exceeding that of the Common Deer." 
These gentlemen were of opinion, that it was only a 
variety of the C. virginianus, and Dr. Richardson 
admits that it may eventually prove to be so. 

The males shed their horns in January ; soon after 
which the new ones begin to be developed; these arrive at 
their full growth towards the end of the summer, but 
continue in the velvet until the end of September, or 
beginning of November. At this time they are fattest and 
in the best condition, when the rutting season commences, 
and continues about a month, usually terminating about 
the end of December. This period is with the Deer a 
season of madness. His neck is then swollen, his e}-es are 
wild and glaring; he seems to forget his usual timidity and 
caution, and wanders through the forest unmindful of dan- 
ger, striking his horns with wild impetuosity against any 
obstacle that presents itself, and his voice becomes louder 
and harsher. "WTien two or more rival males court tlie 
favours of the same doe, dreadful combats ensue. They 
redouble their cries, paw the earth with their feet, and dash 
their heads against each other with impetuous fury. One is 
at length disabled, or obliged to seek safety in flight, but 
the victor is often forced to renew tlie conflict with a fresh 
opponent. These combats are sometimes fatal to both com- 
batants, from their horns becoming so entangled with each 
other, as to prevent their disengagement, the irritated ani- 
mals wear)'ing themselves with fruitless struggles, till they 
die from exhaustion and hunger, or fall an easy prey to 
wolves. In Maj. Long's Expedition, the following instance* 



* Long-'s Exped. to the Rocky Mi 

B 



* LoDg^"s Expcd. to ihe Rocky Mo 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY, 



is recorded. " As we were descending from one of these 
ridges, our attention was called to an unusual noise, pro- 
ceeding from a copse of low bushes on our right, at a few 
rods from the path ; on arriving at the spot, we found 
two buck deer, their horns fast interlocked with each 
other, and both much spent with fatigue; one in particular 
being so much exhausted, as to be unable to stand. As 
we perceived it would be impossible they should extricate 
themselves, and must linger in their present situation until 
they died of hunger, or were destroyed by the wolves, we 
despatched them with our knives, not without having first 
made an unavailing attempt to disentangle their antlers. " 
Mr. Say also appears to think that this is by no means 
an uncommon occurrence. 

The doe brings forth one or two, and sometimes, though 
very rarely, three fawns. When the period of parturi- 
tion comes on, she retires from the society of the young 
deer, in whose society she had spent the winter. She 
feels the tenderest affection for her offspring, and displays 
great sagacity in protecting and bringing it up. She 
carefully hides it in some dense thicket, from those 
numerous enemies of whom its life is in danger. Even 
the buck himself requires to be guarded against. But 
between courage and ingenuity, she proves herself a pow- 
erful protectress. In the defence of her young, she will 
sometimes oppose force to force in the boldest manner; at 
others, she, with the same unconcern for her own safety, 
offers herself to the chase, to mislead the hunter or beast 
of prey, from the covert in which she has secreted her 
young. 

Deer are supposed to live from thirty to forty years, 
though, judging from some instances of the longevity of 
the stag of Europe, (C elephus,) it is probable that this 
is underrated. Pliny tells us, that more than one hundred 
years after the death of Alexander the Great, some stags 
were taken with golden chains about their necks, which 
appeared to have been put upon them by command of that 
hero. 

The mild and peaceful character of Deer, affords them 
no protection from the hostilities of rapacious enemies. 
Wolves and other beasts of prey destroy vast numbers; but 
their chief enemy is man, wKo wars with the savage 
animals in his own defence, tyrannicps over the domestic 
because he finds their services useful, and pursues the 
gentle inhabitants of the forests, either for subsistence or 
amusement. From the earliest ages, the hunting of Deer 
has been pursued with eagerness, and many stratagems 
have been resorted to, for the purpose of slaying or cap- 
turing these timid animals. We cannot, at this time, allude 
to those employed in other countries, and will, therefore, 
confine our observations to such as have been successfully 



practised by our aboriginal tribes, and their more civilised 
successors. 

One mode practised by the Indians, is to imitate the cry 
of the male, or fawn. The voice of the male calling the 
female, is not very dissimilar to that caused by blowing 
into the muzzle of a gun or hollow cane, whilst that of 
the female calling the young, is ma Tua, pronounced 
very shortly. This is well simulated by the native tribes, 
with a stem of the Heracleum lanatinn, cut at the 
joint, leaving six inches of a tube; with this, aided by a 
head and horns of a full grown buck, which the hunter 
carries with him as a decoy, and which he moves back- 
wards and forwards among the long grass, alternately 
feigning the voice with the tube; the unsuspecting animal 
is attracted within a few yards, in the hope of finding its 
partner, when, instantly springing up, the hunter plants an 
arrow in his object* 

They are also shot by cautiously approaching them 
against the wind, the extreme acuteness of their smell 
enabling them to detect the approach of any one, in the 
opposite direction, even at very great distances. Hunters 
have also taken advantage of the extreme predilection of 
these animals for salt, and destroyed great numbers from 
coverts established in the vicinity of natural or artificial 
salines, or licks. An old hunter, in this State, has informed 
us that he killed thirty Deer in one season by this means. 
Many are also shot by taking advantage of their custom 
of resorting to the water side, at certain times of the day. 
The Indians, according to Catesby, were also in the habit 
of encompassing a vast space of country, and driving the 
animals in to some strait or peninsula, where they became 
an easy prey. 

Notwithstanding the natural timidity of Deer, they will 
fight desperatel)^, when wounded, or brought to bay. In 
this state they not only use their horns, but also inflict 
severe and oftentimes fatal wounds by leaping upwards and 
striking the hunter, on their descent, with the sharp edges 
of their hoofs. These wounds were formerly considered 
as peculiarly dangerous, particularly at certain seasons of 
the year: thus, it is asserted — 

If thou be hurt with hart, it brings thee to thy bier, 

But barber's hand will boar's hurt heal, thereof thou nced'st not fear. 

Whether this verse be founded on truth or fiction, it is 
certain, that the task of going in and killing a wounded 
Deer, is always attended with considerable peril. W^e are 
indebted to Mr. Titian Peale for an account of an adventure 
of this kind, which occurred to himself whilst attached to 
the Expedition to the Rocky Mountains. Messrs. Peale 

* Richardson. Fauna, bor. Am. 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



and Dougherty, (one of the hunters to the expedition,) being 
in search of Deer on Boyer River, one of the tributaries 
of the Missouri, discovered a fine buck, which was wounded 
by the latter in the shoulder, the animal, however, still 
being able to run, was again fired at by Mr. Peale and 
wounded in the fore leg of the opposite side; even this did 
not wholly disable it, although it so considerably retarded 
its progress, that they thought they should be able to run it 
down and then dispatch it; for the sake of greater speed 
tliey laid down their rifles, and pursued it, armed only 
with their knives. On coming up with the animal, it im- 
mediately stood at bay, and for a long time frustrated every 
attempt to wound it. Mr. Dougherty then determined, 
whilst Mr. Peale engaged the attention of the Deer, to 
throw himself under it, and in this position inflict the fatal 
stroke. This he attempted, but the infuriated animal, 
instead of leaping over him, as was expected, turned on 
him, and wounded him with its hoofs, in the manner 
already spoken of; whilst thus employed, however, Mr. 
Peale closed with it, and was fortunate enough to disable 
it so completely, as to rescue his companion from the im- 
minent danger to which he had so rashly exposed himself. 
Such was the force with which the animal struck, even 
when thus severely wounded, that Mr. Dougherty's 
clothes, including a thick blanket coat, were completely 
cut through, and a wound inflicted on his side. 

The Common Deer is said by our hunters to display 
great antipathy to rattle snakes, and to destroy them by 
leaping on them, and cutting them to pieces with their 
sharp hoofs; this fact, extraordinary as it may appear, is 
too well authenticated to be doubted. Col. Keatinge, in his 
travels in Spain, relates that the European stag has the same 
antipathy to vipers, and kills great numbers of them in a 
similar manner. 

The Deer is sometimes domesticated, which can be 
readily done, when it is taken young; it soon becomes 
attached to its captor and will learn to follow him like a 
dog. When they arrive at maturity, however, it is always 
dangerous to approach the bucks during the rutting season, 
as they will then attack every one, indiscriminately. 

The flesh of the Common Deer is well known to the 
epicures of our large cities, in the autumn and winter, at 
which times it is brought down in considerable quantities. 
This animal also affords a valuable article of commerce, in 
its skin, so well known under the name of buckskin. 
These are in great demand, and we can form some com- 
parative ideas of the aggregate number, and great extension 
of the species, from the quantity brouglit to our markets. 
Pennant states that as early as 1764, 25,027 skins were 
shipped to England from New York and Philadelphia. 
From the number annually destroyed, and the rapid settle- 



ment of the country, they are becoming much less common 
than they were a few years since, although their destruction 
during the breeding season is prohibited by law. This may 
preserve the race among us for a short time, but cannot 
prevent their final extermination. Kalm says, that an 
Indian, who was living in 1748, killed many Deer where 
Philadelphia now stands. The Indians prepare these skins 
for their own use, by scraping off the hair and fleshy mat- 
ter, and then smearing them with the brains of the animal 
until they feel soft and spongy, and lastly, suspending 
them over a fire made of rotten wood till they are well 
impregnated with the smoke. 



THE ANT-LION. 

The observations of the continental naturalists have 
made known to us a pitfall constructed by an insect, the 
details of whose operations are exceedingly curious — we 
refer to the grub of the Ant-lion [Myrmeleon formica- 
rius,) which, though marked by Dr. Turton and Mr. 
Stewart as British, has not (at least of late years) been 
found in England. As it is not, however, uncommon 
in France and Switzerland, it is probable it may yet be 
discovered in some spot hitherto unexplored, and if so, it 
will well reward the search of the curious. 

The Ant-lion grub being of a grey colour, and having 
its body composed of rings, is not unlike a woodlouse 
( Oniscus, ) though it is larger, more triangular, has only 
six legs, and most formidable jaws, in form of a reaping- 
hook, or a pair of calliper compasses. These jaws, how- 
ever, are not for masticating, but are perforated and tubu- 
lar, for the purpose of sucking the juices of ants upon 
which it feeds. Vallisnieri was, therefore, mistaken, as 
Reaumur well remarks, when he supposed that he had 
discovered its mouth. Its habits require that it should walk 
backwards, and this is the only species of locomotion which 
it can perform. Even this sort of motion it executes very 
slowly; and were it not for the ingenuity of its stratagems, 
it would fare but sparingly, since its chief food consists of 
ants, whose activity and swiftness of foot would otherwise 
render it impossible for it to make a single capture. Nature, 
however, in this, as in nearly every other case, has given 
a compensating power to the individual animal, to balance 
its privations. The Ant-lion is slow — but it is extremely 
sagacious; — it cannot follow its prey, but it can entrap it. 

The snare which tlie grub of the Ant-lion employs con- 
sists of a funnel-shaped excavation formed in loose sand, 
at the bottom of which it lies in wait for the ants that 
chance to stumble over the margin, and cannot, from the 
looseness of the walls, gain a sufficient footing to effect 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY, 



their escape. When the pitfall is intended to be small, 
it only thrusts its body backwards into the sand as far as it 
can, throwing out at intervals the particles which fall in 
upon it, till it is rendered of the requisite depth. 

By shutting up one of these grubs in a box with loose 
sand, it has lieen repeatedly observed constructing its trap of 
various dimensions, from one to three inches in diameter, 
according to circumstances. When it intends to make one 
of considerable diameter, it proceeds as methodically as the 
most skilful architect or engineer amongst ourselves. It 
first examines the nature of the soil, whether it be suffi- 
ciently dry and fine for its purpose, and if so, it begins by 
tracing out a circle, where the mouth of its funnel-trap is 
intended to be. Having thus marked the limits of its pit, 
it proceeds to scoop out the interior. ■ Getting within the 
circle, and using one of its legs as a shovel, it places there- 
with a load of sand on the flat part of its head, and it 
throws the whole with a jerk some inches beyond the 
circle. It is worthy of remark that it only uses one leg 
in this operation — the one, namely, which is nearest the 
centre of the circle. Were it to employ the others in 
digging away the sand, it would encroach upon the regu- 
larity of its plan. Working with great industry and 
adroitness in the manner we have just described, it quickly 
makes the round of its circle, and as it works backwards 
it soon arrives at the point where it had commenced. 
Instead, however, of proceeding from this point in the same 
direction as before, it wheels about and works around in 
the contrary direction, and in this way it avoids throwing 
all the fatigue of the labour on one leg, alternating them 
every round of the circle. 

Were there nothing to scoop out but sand or loose earth, 
the little engineer would have only to repeat the opera- 
tions we have described, till it had completed the whole. 
But it frequently happens in the course of its labours, 
sometimes even when they are near a close, that it will 
meet with a stone of some size which would, if suffered to 
remain, injure materially the perfection of its trap. But 
such obstacles as this do not prevent the insect from pro- 
ceeding : on the contrary, it redoubles its assiduity to 
remove the obstruction, as M. Bonnet repeatedly wit- 
nessed. If the stone be small, it can manage to jerk it 
out in the same manner as the sand; but when it is two 
or three times larger and heavier than its own body, it 
must have recourse to other means of removal. The larger 
stone it usually leaves till the last, and when it has removed 
all the sand which it intends, it then proceeds to try what 
it can do with the less manageable obstacles. For this 
purpose, it crawls backwards to the place where a stone 
may be, and thrusting its tail under it, is at great pains 
to get it properly balanced on its back, by an alternate 



motion of the rings composing its body. When it has 
succeeded in adjusting the stone, it crawls up the side of 
the pit with great care and deposits its burden on the 
outside of the circle. Should the stone happen to be 
round, the balance can be kept only with the greatest 
difficult}-, as it has to travel with its load upon a slope of 
loose sand which is ready to give way at every step; and 
often when the insect has carried it to the very brink, it 
rolls off its back and tumbles down to the bottom of the 
pit. This accident, so far from discouraging the Ant-lion, 
only stimulates it to more persevering efforts. Bonnet 
observed it renew these attempts to dislodge a stone, five 
or six times. It is only when it finds it utterly impossible 
to succeed, that it abandons the design and commences 
another pit in a fresh situation. When it succeeds in 
getting a stone beyond the line of its circle, it is not con- 
tented with letting it rest there; but to prevent it from again 
rolling in, it goes on to push it to a considerable distance. 

The pitfall, when finished, is usually about three inches 
in diameter at the top, about two inches deep, and gradually 
contracting into a point in the manner of a cone or funnel. 
In the bottom of this pit the Ant-lion stations itself to 
watch for its prey. Should an ant or any other insect 
wander within the verge of this funnel, it can scarcely fail 
to dislodge and roll down some particles of sand, which will 
give notice to the Ant-lion below to be on the alert. In 
order to secure the prey, Reaumur, Bonnet, and others 
have observed the ingenious insect throw up showers of 
sand by jerking it from its head in quick succession, till the 
luckless ant is precipitated within reach of the jaws of its 
concealed enemy. It feeds only on the blood or juice of 
insects; and as soon as it has extracted these, it tosses the 
dry carcase out of its den. Its next care is to mount the 
sides of the pitfall and repair any damage it may have 
suffered; and when this is accomplished, it again buries 
itself among the sand at the bottom, leaving nothing but its 
jaws above the surface, ready to seize the next victim. 

When it is about to change into a pupa, it proceeds in 
nearly the same manner as the caterpillar of the water- 
betony moth ( Cucullia scrophitlarise). It fii'st builds a 
case of sand, the particles of which are secured by threads 
of silk, and then tapestries the whole with a silken web. 
Within this it undergoes its transformation into a pupa, and 
in due time, it emerges in form of a four-winged fly, 
closely resembling the dragon-flies [Libelhdx,) vulgarly 
and erroneously called horse stingers. 

The instance of the Ant-lion naturally leads us to con- 
sider the design of the Author of Nature in so nicely 
adjusting, in all animals, the means of destruction and of 
escape. As the larger quadrupeds of prey are provided 
with a most ingenious machinery for preying on the 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



weaker, so are these furnished with the most admirable 
powers of evading their destroyers. In the economy of 
insects, we constantly observe, that the means of defence, 
not only of the individual creatures, but of their larvae and 
pupae, against the attacks of other insects, and of birds, is 
proportioned, in the ingenuity of their arrangements, to 
the weakness of the insect employing them. Those species 
which multiply the quickest have the greatest number of 
enemies. Bradley, an English naturalist, has calculated 
that two sparrows carry, in the course of a week, above 
three thousand caterpillars to the young in their nests. 
But though this is, probably, much beyond the truth, it is 
certain that there is a great and constant destruction of 
individuals going forward; and yet the species is never 
destroyed. In this way a balance is kept up, by which 
one portion of animated nature cannot usurp the means of 
life and enjoyment which the world offers to another 
portion. In all matters relating to reproduction. Nature is 
prodigal in her arrangements. Insects have more stages to 
pass through before they attain their perfect growth than 
other creatures. The continuation of the species is, there- 
fore, in many cases, provided for by a much larger number 
of eggs being deposited than ever become fertile. How 
many larvte are produced, in comparison with the number 
which pass into the pupa state; and how many pupEE perish 
before tliey become perfect insects! Every garden is 
covered with caterpillars; and yet how few moths and 
butterflies, comparatively, are seen, even in the most 
sunny season. Insects which lay few eggs are, commonly, 
most remarkable in their contrivances for their preserva- 
tion. The dangers to which insect life is exposed are 
manifold; and therefore are the contrivances for its preser- 
vation of the most perfect kind, and invariably adapted 
to the peculiar habits of each tribe. The same wisdom 
determines the food of every species of insect; and thus 
some are found to delight in the rose-tree, and some in the 
oak. Had it been otherwise, the balance of vegetable life 
would not have been preserved. It is for this reason that 
the contrivances which aui insect employs for obtaining 
its food are curious, in proportion to the natural difficulties 
of its structure. The Ant-lion is carnivorous, but he has 
not the quickness of the spider, nor can he spread a net 
over a large surface, and issue from his citadel to seize a 
victim which he has caught in his out works. He is 
therefore taught to dig a trap, where he sits, like the 
unwieldy giants of fable, waiting for some feeble one to 
cross his path. How laborious and patient are his opera- 
tions — how uncertain the chances of success! Yet he never 
shrinks from them, becaase his instinct tells him that by 
these contrivances alone can he preserve his own existence, 
and continue that of his species. — Lib. Ent. Knotvledge. 
C 



BASIN OF THE MISSISSIPPI, 

IN A GEOLOGICAL VIEW. 

The hydrographical basin of the Mississippi displays, 
on the grandest scale, the action of running water on the 
surface of a vast continent. This magnificent river rises 
nearly in the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude, and 
flows to the Gulf of INIexico in the twenty-ninth — a course, 
including its meanders, of nearly five thousand miles. It 
passes from a cold arctic climate, traverses the temperate 
regions, and discharges its waters into the sea, in the region 
of the olive, the fig, and the sugar-cane.* No river affords 
a more striking illustration of the law before mentioned, 
that an augmentation of volume does not occasion a propor- 
tional increase of surface, nay, is even sometimes attended 
with a narrowing of the channel. The Mississippi is a 
mile and a half wide at its junction with the Missouri, 
the latter being half a mile wide; yet the united waters 
have only, from their confluence to the mouth of the Ohio, 
a medial width of about three quarters of a mile. The 
junction of the Ohio seems also to produce no increase, but 
rather a decrease of surface.! The St. Francis, White, 
Arkansas, and Red rivers, are also absorbed by the main 
stream with scarcely any apparent increase of its width; 
and, on arriving near the sea at New Orleans, it is some- 
what less than half a mile wide. Its depth there is very 
variable, the greatest at high water being one hundred and 
sixty-eight feet. The mean rate at which the whole body 
of water flows, is variously estimated. According to 
some, it does not exceed one mile an hour. % The alluvial 
plain of this great river is bounded on the east and west 
by great ranges of mountains stretching along their respec- 
tive oceans. Below the junction of the Ohio, the plain is 
from thirty to fifty miles broad, and after that point it goes 
on increasing in width till the expanse is perhaps three 
times as great! On the borders of this vast alluvial tract 
are perpendicular cliffs, or " bluffs," as they are called, 
composed of limestone and other rocks. For a great dis- 
tance the Mississippi washes the eastern "bluffs;" and 
below the mouth of the Ohio, never once comes in contact 
with the western. The waters are thrown to the eastern 
side, because all the large tributary rivers enter from the 
west, and have filled that side of the great valley with a 
sloping mass of clay and sand. For this reason, the eastern 
bluffs ai-e continually undermined, and the Mississippi is 
slowly but incessantly progressing eastward. § 

The river traverses the plain in a meandering course, 
describing immense and uniform curves. After sweeping 

* Flint's Geography, vol. i. p. 21. t Ibid. p. 140. J Darby. 

^ Geograph. Descrip. of the Stale of Louisiana, by W. Darby, Philadelphia, 
1816. p. 102. 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY, 



round the half of a circle, it is precipitated from the point 
in a current diagonally across its own channel, to another 
curve of the same uniformity upon the opposite shore. 
These curves are so regular, that the boatmen and Indians 
calculate distances by them. Opposite to each of them, 
there is always a sand-bar, answering, in the convexity of 
its form, to the concavity of "the bend," as it is called. 
The i-iver, by continually wearing these curves deeper, 
returns, like many other streams before described, on its 
own tract, so that a vessel in some places, after sailing for 
twenty-five or thirty miles, is brought round again to 
within a mile of the place whence it started. When the 
waters approach so near to each other, it often happens at 
high floods that they burst through the small tongue of 
land; and, having insulated a portion, rush through what is 
called the " cut off" with great velocity. At one spot 
called the "grand cut off," vessels now pass from one 
point to another in half a mile, to a distance which it for- 
merly required twenty miles to reach. After the flood 
season, when the river subsides within its channel, it acts 
^vith destructive force upon the alluvial banks, softened 
and diluted by the recent overflow. Several acres at a 
time, thickly covered with wood, are precipitated into the 
stream; and the islands formed by the process before 
described, lose large portions of their outer circumfer- 
ence. 

Some years ago, when the Mississippi was regularly 
surveyed, all its islands were numbered, from the conflu- 
ence of the Missouri to the sea; but every season makes 
such revolutions, not only in the number but in the magni- 
tude and situation of these islands, that this enumeration is 
now almost obsolete. Sometimes large islands are entirely 
melted away — at other places they have attached them- 
selves to the main shore, or, which is the more correct 
statement, the interval has been filled up by myriads of 
logs cemented together by mud and rubbish. When the 
Mississippi and many of its great tributaries overflow their 
banks, the waters, being no longer borne down by the 
main current, and becoming impeded amongst the trees 
and bushes, deposit the sediment of mud and sand with 
which they are abundantly charged. Islands arrest the 
progress of floating trees, and they become in this manner 
reunited to the land; the rafts of trees, together with mud, 
constituting at length a solid mass. The coarser portion 
•subsides first, and the most copious deposition is found 
near the banks where the soil is most sandy. Finer par- 
ticles are found at the farthest distances from the river, 
where an impalpable mixture is deposited, forming a stiff 
unctuous black soil. Hence the alluvions of these rivers 
are highest directly on the banks, and slope back like a 
natural "glacis" towards the rocky cliffs bounding the 



great valley. The Mississippi, therefore, by the continual 
shifting of its course, sweeps away, during a gi-eat portion 
of the year, considerable tracts of alluvium which were 
gradually accumulated by the overflow of former years, 
and the matter now left during the spring-floods will be at 
some future time removed. 

One of the most interesting features in this basin is "the 
raft." The dimensions of this mass of timber were given 
by Darby, in 1816, as ten miles in length, about two 
hundred and twenty yards wide, and eight feet deep, the 
whole of which had accumulated, in consequence of some 
obstruction, during about thirty-eight years, in an arm of 
the Mississippi called the Atchafalaya, which is supposed 
to have been at some past time a channel of the Red River, 
before it intermingled its waters with the main stream. 
This arm is in a direct line with the direction of the 
Mississippi, and it catches a large portion of the drift wood 
annually brought down. The mass of timber in the raft is 
continually increasing, and the whole rises and falls with 
the water. Although floating, it is covered with green 
bushes, like a tract of solid land, and its surface is enli- 
vened in the autumn by a variety of beautiful flowers. 
Notwithstanding the astonishing number of cubic feet of 
timber collected here in so short a time, greater deposits 
have been in progress at the extremity of the delta in the 
Bay of Mexico. Unfortunately for the navigation of the 
Mississippi, some of the largest trunks, after being cast 
down from the position on which they grew, get their roots 
entangled with the bottom of the river, where they remain 
anchored, as it were, in the mud. The force of the current 
naturally gives their tops a tendency downwards, and by 
its flowing past, soon strips them of their leaves and 
branches. These fixtures, called snags or planters, are 
extremely dangerous to the steam-vessels proceeding up 
the stream, in which they lie like a lance in rest, con- 
cealed beneath the water, with their sharp ends pointed 
directly against the bow of vessels coming up. For the 
most part these formidable snags remain so still, that they 
can be detected only by a slight ripple above them, not 
perceptible to inexperienced eyes. Sometimes, however, 
they vibrate up and down, alternately showing their heads 
above the surface and bathing them beneath it. So im- 
minent is the danger caused by these obstructions, that 
almost all the boats on the Mississippi are constructed on 
a particular plan, to guard against fatal accidents. They 
have at their bows, a place called a snag-chamber, and 
confined only to boats calculated for the navigation of this 
river; the chamber is partitioned off, about fifteen feet 
from the stem, with very stout planks, well caulked, so 
that the remainder of the vessel is completely cut off from 
this room; and consequently, should a snag strike the 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



vessel and perforate her bow, no further mischief accrues, 
than the mere filling of this snag-chamber with water. 

The prodigious quantity of wood annually drifted down 
by the Mississippi and its tributaries, is a subject of geo- 
logical interest, not merely as illustrating the manner in 
which abundance of vegetable matter becomes, in the 
ordinary course of Nature, imbedded in submarine and 
estuary deposits, but as attesting the constant destruction of 
soil and transportation of matter to lower levels by the 
tendency of rivers to shift their courses. Each of these 
trees must have required many years, some of them many 
centuries, to attain their full size; the soil, therefore, 
whereon they grew, after remaining undisturbed for long 
periods, is ultimately torn up and swept away. Yet not- 
withstanding this incessant destruction of land and up- 
rooting of trees, the region which yields this never-failing 
supply of drift wood is densely clothed with noble forests, 
and is almost unrivalled in its power of supporting animal 
and vegetable life. 

Innumerable herds of wild deer and bisons feed on the 
luxuriant pastures of the plains. The jaguar, the wolf, and 
the fox, are amongst the beasts of prey. The waters teem 
with alligators and tortoises, and their surface is covered 
with millions of migratory water-fowl, which perform their 
annual voyage between the Canadian lakes and the shores 
of the Mexican gulf. The power of man begins to be 
sensibly felt, and the wilderness to be replaced by towns, 
orchards, and gardens. The gilded steam-boat, like a 
moving city, now stems the current with a steady pace — 
now shoots rapidly down the descending stream through 
the solitudes of the forests and prairies. Already does the 
flourishing population of the great valley exceed that of the 
thirteen United States when first they declared their inde- 
pendence, and after a sanguinary struggle were severed 
from the parent country. * Such is the state of a continent 
where rocks and trees are hurried annually, by a thousand 
torrents, from the mountains to the plains, and where sand 
and finer matter are swept down by a vast current to the 
sea, together with the wreck of countless forests and the 
bones of animals which perish in the inundations. When 
these materials reach tlie Gulf, they do not render the 
waters unfit for aquatic animals; but, on the contrary, the 
ocean here swarms with life, as it generally does where 
the influx of a great river furnishes a copious supply of 
organic and mineral matter. Yet many geologists, when 
they behold the spoils of the land heaped in successive 
strata, and blended confusedly with the remains of fishes, 
or interspersed with broken shells and corals, imagine that 
they are viewing the signs of a turbulent, instead of a tran- 

< * FliiU's Geography, vol. 1. 



quil and settled state of the planet. The}' read in such 
phenomena the proof of chaotic disorder, and reiterated 
catastrophes, instead of indications of a surface as habitable 
as the most delicious and fertile districts now tenanted by 
man. They are not content with disregarding the analogy 
of the present course of Nature, when they speculate on 
the revolutions of past times, but they often draw con- 
clusions concerning the former state of things directly the 
reverse of those to which a fair induction of facts would 
infallibly lead them. 

There is another striking feature in the basin of the Mis- 
sissippi, illustrative of the changes now in progress, which 
we must not omit to mention — the formation by natural 
causes of great lakes, and the drainage of others. These 
are especially frequent in the basin of the Red River in 
Louisiana, where the largest of them, called Bistineau, is 
more than thirty 7niles long, and has a medium depth of 
irom fifteen to twenty feet. In the deepest parts are seen 
numerous cypress-trees, of all sizes, now dead, and most of 
them with their tops broken by the wind, yet standing 
erect under water. This tree resists the action of air 
and water longer than any other, and, if not submerged 
throughout the whole year, will retain life for an extraor- 
dinary period.* Lake Bistineau, as well as Black Lake, 
Cado Lake, Spanish Lake, Natchitoches Lake, and many 
others, have been formed, according to Darby, by the 
gradual elevation of the bed of Red River, in which the 
alluvial communications have been so great as to raise its 
channel, and cause its waters, during the flood season, to 
flow up the mouths of many tributaries, and to convert 
parts of their courses into lakes. In the autumn, when 
the level of Red River is again depressed, the waters rush 
back again, and some lakes become grassy meadows, with 
streams meandering through them.t Thus, there is a 
periodical flux and reflux between Red River and some 
of these basins, which are merely reservoirs, alternately 
emptied and filled like our tide estuaries — with this difier- 
ence, that in the one case the land is submerged for 
several months continuously, and, in the other, twice in 
every twenty-four hours. It has happened, in several cases, 
that a bar has been thrown by Red River across some 
of the openings of these channels, and then the lakes 
become, like Bistineau, constant repositories of water. 
But even in these cases, their level is liable to annual 
elevation and depression, because the flood, when at its 
height, passes over the bar ; just as, where sand-hills close 

* Captains Clarke and Lewis found a forest of pines standing erect under 
water in the body of the Columbia River in North America, which they sup- 
posed, from the appearance of the trees, to have been only submerged about 
twenty years.— Vol. ii. p. 241. 
t Darby's Louisiana, p. 33. 



12 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY, 



the entrance of an estuary on the Norfolk or Suffolk coast, 
the sea, during some high tide or storm, has often breached 
the barrier and inundated again the interior country. 

The frequent fluctuations in the direction of river- 
courses, and the activity exerted by running water in 
various parts of the basin of the Mississippi, are partly, 
perhaps, to be ascribed to the co-operation of subterranean 
movements, which alter from time to time the relative 
levels of various parts of the surface. So late as the year 
1812, the whole valley, from the mouth of the Ohio to 
that of the St. Francis, including a front of three hundred 
miles, was convulsed to such a degree, as to create new 
islands in the river, and lakes in the alluvial plain, some 
of which were twenty miles in extent. We shall allude 
to this event when we treat of earthquakes, but may state 
here that they happened exactly at the same time as the 
fatal convulsions at Caraccas; and the district shaken was 
nearly five degrees of latitude farther removed from the 
great centre of volcanic disturbance, than the basin of the 
Red River, to which we before alluded.* When coun- 
tries are liable to be so extensively and permanently 
affected by earthquakes, speculations concerning changes 
in their hydrographical features must not be made without 
regard to the igneous as well as the aqueous causes of 
change. It is scarcely necessary to observe, that the ine- 
qualities produced even by one shock, might render the 
study of the alluvial plain of the Mississippi, at some future 
period, most perplexing to a geologist who should reason 
on the distribution of transported materials, without being 
aware that the configuration of the country had varied 
materially during the time when the excavating or remov- 
ing power of the river was greatest. The region convulsed 
in 1812, of which New Madrid was the centre, exceeded 
in length the whole basin of the Thames, and the shocks 
were connected with active volcanoes more distant from 
New Madrid than are the extinct craters of the Eyfel or 
of Auvergne from London. If, therefore, during the innu- 
merable eruptions which formerly broke forth in succession 
in the parts of Europe last alluded to, the basin of the prin- 
cipal river of our island was frequently agitated, and the 
relative levels of its several parts altered (an hypothesis in 
-perfect accordance with modern analogy), the difficulties 
of some theorists might, perhaps, be removed; and they 
might no longer feel themselves under the necessity of 
resorting to catastrophes out of the ordinary course of 
Nature, when they endeavour to explain the alluvial phe- 
nomena of that district. — Lyell's Geology. 



* Darby mentions beds of marine shells on the banks of Red River, which 
cem to indicate that Lower Louisiana is of recent formation : its elevation, per- 
aps, above the sea, may have been due to tlie same series of earthquakes which 
ontittues to agitate equatorial America. 



THE WISHTONWISH, 



OR PRAIRIE DOG. 



The name of Wishtonwish has lately become familiar, 
from a celebrated novel, by Cooper, bearing this title, 
which is the Indian name for an animal described by Say, 
in Long's Expedition. 

Mr. Cooper has mistaken the animal, and describes it 
as a bird, known by the name of Whippoorwill. Say 
remarks, that "this interesting and sprightly little animal 
has received the absurd -and inappropriate name of Prairie 
dog, from a fancied resemblance of its warning cry to the 
hurried barking of a small dog. This sound may be imi- 
tated with the human voice, Ijy the pronunciation of the 
syllable cheh, cheh, cheh, in a sibilated manner, and in 
rapid succession, by propelling the breath between the tip 
of the tongue and the roof of the mouth. 

As particular districts, of limited extent, are, in general, 
occupied by the burrows of these animals, such assem- 
blages of dwellings are denominated Prairie dog villages 
by hunters and others who wander in these remote regions. 

These villages, like those of man, differ widely in the 
extent of surface which they occupy; some are confined to 
an area of a few acres, others are bounded by a circumfer- 
ence of many miles. Only one of these villages occurred 
between the Missouri and the Pawnee towns; thence to the 
Platte they were much more numerous. 

The entrance to the burrow is at the summit of the little 
mound of earth brought up by the animal during the pro- 
gress of the excavation below. 

These mounds are sometimes inconspicuous, but gene- 
rally somewhat elevated above the common surface, though 
rarely to the height of eighteen inches. Their form is that 
of a truncated cone, on a base of two or tliree feet, perfo- 
rated by a comparatively large hole or entrance at the 
summit or in the side. The whole surface, but more 
particularly the summit, is trodden down and compacted, 
like a well worn pathway. The hole descends vertically 
to the depth of one or two feet, whence it continues in an 
oblique direction downward. 

A single burrow may have many occupants. We have 
seen as many as seven or eight individuals sitting upon one 
mound. As they pass the winter in a lethargic sleep, they 
lay up no provision of food for that season, but defend them- 
selves from its rigors by accurately closing up the entrance 
of the burrow. The further arrangements which the Prai- 
rie dog makes for its comfort and security are worthy of at- 
tention. He constructs for himself a very neat globular cell 
with fine dry grass, having an aperture at top, large enough 
to admit the finger, and so compactly formed that it might 
almost be rolled over the floor without receiving injury." 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



RUFFED GROUS, OR PHEASANT. 
TETRAO UMBELLUS. 

[Plate II.] 
^irct. Zool. p. 301, No. 179. — Ruffed Heath-cock, or 
Grous, Edw. 248. — La Gelinote hujiec de Pennsyl- 
vanie, Briss. i. 214.— P/. Enl. 104.— Buff. ii. 281.— 
Phil. Trans. 62, 393.— Tubt. Syst. 454. 

This is the Partridge of the eastern States, and the 
Pheasant of Pennsylvania, and the southern districts. It 
is represented in the plate of about one third of its size; 
and was faithfully copied from a perfect and very beautiful 
specimen in the collection of S. P. GriflSths, prepared by 
T. R. Peale. 

This elegant species is well known in almost every 
quarter of the United States, and appears to inhabit a very 
extensive range of countr}'. It is common at Moose fort, 
on Hudson's bay, in lat 51°; is frequent in the upper parts 
of Georgia; very abundant in the States of Kentucky and 
Indiana; and was found by captains Lewis and Clarke in 
crossing the great range of mountains that divide the 
waters of the Columbia and Missouri, more than three 
thousand miles, by their measurement, from the mouth of 
the latter. Its favourite places of resort are high moun- 
tains, covered with the balsam pine, hemlock, laurel, and 
such like evergreens. Unlike the Pinnated Grous, it 
always prefers the woods; is seldom or never found in 
open plains; but loves the pine-sheltered declivities of 
mountains, near streams of water. This great difference 
of disposition in two species, whose food seems to be 
nearly the same, is very extraordinary. In those open 
plains called the barrens of Kentucky, the Pinnated Grous 
was seen in great numbers, but none of the Ruffed; while 
in the high groves with which that singular tract of coun- 
try is interspersed, the latter, or Pheasant, was frequently 
met with; but not a single individual of the former. 

The native haunts of the Pheasant being a cold, high, 
mountainous and woody country, it is natural to expect 
that as we descend thence to the sea shores, and the low, 
flat and warm climate of the southern States, these birds 
should become more rare, and such indeed is the case. In 
the lower parts of Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, they are 
very seldom observed; but as we advance inland to the 
mountains, they again make their appearance. In the 
lower parts of New Jersey we indeed occasionally meet 
with them ; but this is owing to the more northerly situa- 
tion of the country; for even here they are far less numer- 
ous than among the mountains. 

Dr. Turton, and several other English WTiters, have 
spoken of a Long-tailed Grous, said to inhabit the back 



parts of Virginia, which can be no other than the present 
species, there being, as far as I am acquainted, only these 
two,* the Ruffed and Pinnated Grous, found native within 
the United States. 

The manners of the Pheasant are solitary; they are sel- 
dom found in coveys of more than four or five together, 
and more usually in pairs or singly. They leave their 
sequestered haunts in the woods early in the morning, and 
seek the path or road, to pick up gravel, and glean among 
the droppings of the horses. In travelling among the 
mountains that bound the Susquehanna, I was alwaj-s able 
to furnish myself with an abundant supply of these birds, 
every morning, without leaving the path. If the weather 
be foggy, or lowering, they are sure to be seen in such 
situations. They generally move along with great stateli- 
ness, spreading their long tails in a fan-like manner. The 
drumming, as it is usually called, of the Pheasant, is 
another singularity of this species. This is performed by 
the male alone. In walking through solitary woods fre- 
quented by these birds, a stranger is surprised by suddenly 
hearing a kind of thumping, very similar to that produced 
by striking two full-blown ox-bladders together, but much 
louder; the strokes at first are slow and distinct; but 
graduallj^ increase in rapidity till they run into each other, 
resembling the rumbling sound of very distant thunder, 
dying away gradually on the ear. After a few minutes 
pause, this is again repeated; and in a calm day may be 
heard nearly half a mile off. This drumming is most com- 
mon in spring, and is the call of the cock to his favourite 
female. In the early part of the season, it frequently hap- 
pens that this drumming attracts the attention of some 
rival cock, which is led to the spot from whence it pro- 
ceeds, when a most furious battle takes place between them 
as competitors for the hen, and owing to the gameness of 
these birds, it lasts for a considerable time; victory, how- 
ever, is generally on the side of the injured party, owing 
probably to the greater degree of fierceness with which he 
combats, in protection of his favourite, than that exhibited 
by his antagonist. They fight keenly, and strike exceeding 
hard with their wings, alternately seizing each other with 
their bills. This drumming is produced in the following 
manner. — {Vide Plate II.) The bird, standing on an 
old prostrate log, generally in a retired and sheltered 
situation, lowers his wings, erects his expanded tail, con- 
tracts his throat, elevates the two tufts of feathers on the 
neck, and inflates his whole body, something in the man- 
ner of the turkey cock, strutting and wheeling about with 

* Since Wilson's researches, four other species have been discovered, viz: 
Dusky Grous, Tetrao Obscurus. Spoded Grous, T. Canadensis. Long-tailed 
Grous, T. Pliasianellus, and Cock of the Plains, T. Uropliasianellus. — Syn. 
Birds. U. S. by C. L. Buonaparte. 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY, 



great stateliness. After a few manoeuvres of this kind, he 
begins to strike with his stiffened wings in short and quick 
strokes, whicli become more and more rapid until they run 
into each other as has been already described. This is 
most common in the morning and evening, though I have 
heard them drumming at all hours of the day. By means 
of this, the gunner is led to the place of his retreat; though 
to those unacquainted with the sound, there is great decep- 
tion in the supposed distance, it generally appearing to be 
much nearer tlian it really is. 

The Pheasant begins to pair in April, and builds its nest 
early in May. This is placed on the ground at the root of 
a bush, old log, or other sheltered and solitary situation, 
well surrounded with withered leaves. Unlike that of the 
Quail, it is open above, and is usually composed of dry 
leaves and grass. The eggs are from nine to fifteen in 
number, of a brownish white, without any spots, and 
nearly as large as those of a pullet. The young leave the 



With a good dog, however, they are easily found; and 
sometimes exhibit a singular degree of infatuation, by 
looking down, from the branches where they sit, on the 
dog below, who, the more noise he keeps up, seems the 
more to confuse and stupify them, so that they may be shot 
down, one by one, till the whole are killed, without 
attempting to fly off. In such cases, those on the lower 
limbs must be taken first, for should the upper ones be first 
killed, in their fall they alarm those below, who imme- 
diately fly off. This plan is more usually followed by 
persons residing amongst the mountains, and who are 
unskilled in shooting on the wing; and the dogs employed 
by them, are of the springing spaniel, or of some small 
breed addicted to much barking. But in the lower coun- 
tries and by sportsmen, the Pheasant is hunted with setter 
or pointer dogs, and is a very difficult bird to shoot in con- 
sequence of its great shyness, as it most commonly keeps 
in the thickest cover, and will fly at the near approach of 



nest as soon as hatched, and are directed by the cluck of the dog or sportsman, unless indeed the dog be particularly 



the mother, very much in the manner of the common hen. 
On being surprised, she exhibits all the distress and affec- 
tionate manoeuvres of the Quail, and of most other birds, 
to lead you away from the spot. I once started a hen 
Pheasant, with a single young one, seemingly only a few 
days old; there might have been more, but I observed 
only this one. The mother fluttered before me for a 
moment, but suddenly darting towards the young one, 
seized it in her bill, and flew off along the surface through 
the woods, with great steadiness and rapidity, till she was 
beyond my sight, leaving me in great surprise at the inci- 
dent. I made a very close and active search around the 
spot for the rest, but without success. Here was a striking 
instance of something more than what is termed blind 
instinct, in this remarkable deviation from her usual 
manoeuvres, when she has a numerous brood. It would 
have been impossible for me to injure this affectionate 
mother, who had exhibited such an example of presence of 
mind, reason, and sound judgment, as must have convinced 
the most bigotted advocates of mere instinct. To carry 
off a whole brood in this manner, at once, would have been 
impossible, and to attempt to save one at the expense of 
the rest, would be unnatural. She therefore usually takes 
the only possible mode of saving them in that case, by de- 
coying the person in pursuit of herself, by such a natural 
imitation of lameness as to impose on most people. But 
here, in the case of a single solitary young one, she in- 
stantly altered her plan, and adopted the most simple and 
effectual mean for its preservation. 

The Pheasant generally springs within a few yards, with 
a loud whirring noise, and flies with great vigour through 
the woods, beyond the reach of view, before it alights. 



trained to this kind of hunting. They are pretty hard to 
kill, and will often carry off a large load to the distance of 
two hundred yards, and drop dead. This bird, after its 
first or second flight, still finding itself pursued, often 
resorts to stratagem by either taking shelter in the fork of 
some tree, where it will remain immoveable, and suffer its 
enemy to pass immediately under it, or it will settle at the 
root of some thick bush or tree, and remain so until almost 
trodden upon; it will then rise, and darting off behind this 
intervening object, completely elude its pursuer. 

In deep snows they are usually taken in traps, commonly 
dead traps, supported by a figure 4 trigger; at this season, 
when suddenly alarmed, they will frequently dive into the 
snow, particularly when it has newly fallen, and coming 
out at a considerable distance, again take wing. Another 
manner of catching these birds, is by fencing off with dead 
brush-wood to the height of three or four feet, some nan ow 
thicket generally resorted to by them, and leaving it im- 
passable except through several holes placed at regular 
distances, into which nooses made of horse-hair are sus- 
pended; the Pheasant, after running along the fence, finds 
no other passage, attempts to get through these holes, and 
is almost sure to fall a victim to these artifices of the country 
boys. Sometimes in the depth of winter they approach 
the farm house, and lurk near the barn, or about the 
garden. They have also been often taken young and 
tamed, so as to associate with the fowls; and their eggs 
have frequently been hatched under the common hen; but 
these rarely survive until full grown. They are exceed- 
ingly fond of the seeds of grapes; occasionally eat ants, 
chesnuts, black berries, and various vegetables, and in the 
spring of the year the tender buds of the young 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



15 



Formerly they were numerous in the immediate vicinity 
of Philadelphia; but as the woods were cleared, and popu- 
lation increased, they retreated to the interior. At present 
there are very few to be found within several miles of the 
city, and those only singly, in the most solitaiy and retired 
woody recesses. 

In the uninhabited wilds of the north, fai- from the per- 
secuting energies of its great enemy, man, this bird be- 
comes almost as tame as the domestic fowl, and will seldom 
fly at the approach of the traveller, but contents itself by 
merely walking a short distance from his path to avoid him. 
In the State of Maine, Mr. T. R. Peale saw a great num- 
ber, and experienced this fact, as they could scarcely be 
made to fly; and if chased would only run but a few yards 
into the bushes, and then stop. 

The Pheasant is in best order for the table in September 
and October. At this season they feed chiefly on whortle- 
berries, and the little red aromatic partridge-berries, the 
last of which gives their flesh a peculiar delicate flavour. 
With the former our mountains are literally covered from 
August to November; and these constitute at that season 
the greater part of their food. During the deep snows of 
winter, they have recourse to the buds of alder, and the 
tender buds of the laurel. I have frequently found their 
crops distended with a large handful of these latter alone; 
and it has been confidently asserted, that after having fed 
for some time on the laurel buds, their flesh becomes highly 
dangerous to eat of, partaking of the poisonous qualities of 
the plant. The same has been asserted of the flesh of the 
deer, when in severe weather, and deep snows, they sub- 
sist on the leaves and bark of the laurel. Though I have 
myself eat freely of the flesh of the Pheasant, after empty- 
ing it of large quantities of laurel buds, without experi- 
encing any bad consequences, yet, from the respectabilit}'^ 
of those, some of them eminent physicians, who have par- 
ticularized cases in which it has proved deleterious, and 
even fatal, I am inclined to believe that in certain cases 
where this kind of food has been long continued, and the 
birds allowed to remain undrawn for several days, until 
the contents of the crop and stomach have had time to 
diffuse themselves through the flesh, as is too often the 
case, it may be unwholesome, and even dangerous. Great 
numbers of these birds are brought to our markets, at all 
times during fall and winter, some of which are brought 
from a distance of more than a hundred miles, and have 
been probably dead a week or two, unpicked and undrawn, 
before they are purchased for the table. Regulations, pro- 
hibiting them from being brought to market, unless picked 
and drawn, would very probably be a sufiicient security 
from all danger. At these inclement seasons, however, 
they are generally lean and dry, and indeed at all times 



their flesh is far inferior to that of the Quail, or of the 
Pinnated Grous. They are usually sold in Philadelphia 
market at from three quarters of a dollar to a dollar and a 
quarter a pair, and sometimes higher. 

The Pheasant or Partridge of New England, is eighteen 
inches long, and twenty-three inches in extent; bill a horn 
colour, paler below; eye reddish hazel, immediately above 
which is a small spot of bare skin of a scarlet colour; 
crested head and neck variegated with black, red brown, 
white and pale brown; sides of the neck furnished with a 
tuft of large black feathers, twenty-nine or thirty in num- 
ber, which it occasionally raises: this tuft covers a large 
space of the neck destitute of feathers; body above a bright 
rust colour, marked with oval spots of yellowish white, 
and sprinkled with black; wings plain olive brown, exte- 
riorly edged with white, spotted with olive; the tail is 
rounding, extends five inches beyond the tips of the wings, 
is of a bright reddish brown, beautifully marked with 
numerous waving transverse bars of black, is also crossed 
by a broad band of black within half an inch of the tip, 
which is bluish white, thickly sprinkled and speckled with 
black; body below white, marked with large blotches of 
pale brown; the legs are covered half way to the feet with 
hairy down, of a brownish white colour; legs and feet pale 
ash; toes pectinated along the sides, the two exterior ones 
joined at the base as far as the first joint by a membrane; 
vent yellowish rust colour. 

The female and young birds differ in having the ruff or 
tufts of feathers on the neck of a dark brown colour, as 
well as the bar of black on the tail inclining much to the 
same tint. 



HUNTING SPIDERS. 

There is a tribe of hunting Spiders that leap like 
tigers on their prey, and, what is more extraordinary, have 
the faculty of doing so sideways. One of these jumped 
two feet on a humble-bee. They approach the object of 
their intended attack with the noiseless and imperceptible 
motion of the shadow of a sun-dial. If the fly move, the 
Spider moves also, backwards, forwards, or sideways, 
and that with so much precision as to time and distance, 
that the two insects appear as if bound together by some 
invisible chain, or actuated by the same spirit. If the fly 
take wing and pitch behind the Spider, the head of the lat- 
ter is turned round to meet it so quickly that the human eye 
is deceived, and the Spider appears to be motionless. 
When all these manoeuvres bring the fly within its springs, 
the leap is made with fearful rapidity, and the pre}' struck 
down like lightning. The redeeming trait in the history of 
these cruel creatures is affection for their yoMng.—Fam.Lib. 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY, 



" By various sports, 
O'er hills, through vallies and by river's brink, 
Is life both sweeten'd and prolong'd." 



THE USEFULNESS OF SPORTING. 

It has often been said, that the benefit from any exer- 
cise depended very much upon the immediate effect on the 
mind and feelings, and that those amusements were conse- 
quently the most useful, that produced the greatest portion 
of gaiety and hope. 

Of all the active relaxations that can be enjoyed, few 
rank in the production of these charms of life, with the 
various modifications of sporting. 

Independent of the simple exercise which can be prac- 
tised in other modes, the mind and heart become so inter- 
ested that few of the ills of life can "bear with heavy 
hand" on the enthusiastic railer, or the industrious hunter 
of the woods. He forgets in the all-absorbing excitement, 
the pains of body or of mind diseased; throws aside the 
pressure of care, and loses in the thrilling luxury of the 
moment, the recollection of distresses that had almost borne 
him to the earth. Men who are fond of these amusements, 
are enabled by the simple exhileration of mind, to pass 
through exposure and fatigue, that in more dispassionate 
moments would have produced overwhelming exhaustion 
and disease, and in the infatuating enjoyment of successful 
sport, we feel transported to a state of bliss, the recollection 
of which 

"Will well repay, 
For many a long, cold night and weary day." 

To a sportsman the sight or sound of a gun, of a hunting 
dog or game bird, has music in them that will reach his 
very heart, and recall 

" Many a pleasure of days gone by," 

and even in the " sear and yellow leaf of existence," I have 
seen the remembrance of field-delights long since faded in 
the vista of years, recall a rejuvenescence of feelings that 
seemed to rob life of its tedium, and age of its feebleness. 

Of the advantages of sporting to the health, too much 
cannot be said. Whether confined to the diminutive cir- 
cumference of a boat, or roaming the wide, wild range of 
mountain forest, the immediate effects are immense. The 
circulation of the blood is increased and regulated, nervous 
derangements corrected, digestion improved, muscular 
pain and debility destroyed, and even some of the alarming 
complaints of the lungs more certainly removed, than by 
all tlie nostrums that ever emanated from a " licensed 



murderer." Many astonishing cures have been made by 
that most effective of all surgical instruments, the gun; 
and the fishing pole and box of worms have cheated death 
of more victims than the pestal and pill boxes of half the 
apothecaries. This I have often seen exemplified in cases 
that had long been targets for medical archery, and would 
still live in spite of the doctors; when, after every regular 
means had been used to "kill or cure" in vain, the patient 
has turned tail on the quackeries of science, and fled to 
the more grateful medicaments of country air and sylvan 
music, and instead of being cajoled into vain hope by 
bread pills, or frightened to death by long bills, he is 
consoled into certain health by administering lead pills, 
and charmed into a long life by being at the death of 
many a bill far more agreeable to the sight. 

Even some of the very serious complaints of the lungs, 
as discharges of blood, I have known entirely removed 
by these means; and in one gentleman of this city, the 
fatiguing amusement of partridge shooting, was his only 
effective remedy when the blood would appear at every 
cough. A physician of respectability, "who would infal- 
libly have consumption if he in the least exposed himself," 
according to the omniscient opinion of one of these retail- 
ers of health, was perfectly cured of all his ailments by the 
rugged labours of a sportsman. 

I have known cases of rheumatism, where the patient 
could with difficulty bring the gun to his shoulder in the 
beginning, entirely relieved in a few days. Diseases of 
the spine and painful affections of the head, if unattended 
by much fever, are almost invariably assisted by this recre- 
ation. Neither need the invalid fear from the exposure, 
though violent exertion should be avoided in the com- 
mencement, for the excitement of mind keeps up an arti- 
ficial warmth within, that seems to neutralize the cold 
without, and the muscles soon become so accustomed to 
the labour, that they are strengthened, and the nerves im- 
mediately invigorated. For dyspeptics, this remedy far 
surpasses all the humbugs of quacks, or scientific nonsense 
of the " regular bred," as being far more permanently use- 
ful, as well as more agreeable in the dose, than bran 
bread and black tea, with abundance of apothecary stuff; 
or having a loaf of bread made out of your abdomen by 
the New York system of kneading. 

I would not in the most distant manner insinuate, that a 
regular system of medical practice is not eminently useful 
in all these diseases at a particular stage, for by thus doing, 
my own personal interest might be deeply outraged; but 
there is a time in all cases, when the doctor becomes a 
nuisance and the apothecary a bore; and if physicians 
would but choose to learn the moment when their kind- 
nesses really ceased to be required, and show less interest 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



in a continuance of their visits, I believe the siitn of con- 
finement to the sick room, as well as the amount of medi- 
cal expenditures, would be materially diminished. 

So soon as the inflammatory stage has passed by, and 
that weak, irritable state of the system which follows 
almost every case, comes on, then is the time to forsake 
the "charms of medicine" and the luxury of the doctor's 
presence, and seek in fresh air and exercise that invigo- 
rating principle of health, that would be in the confined 
chamber like the mirage of the desert, 

" A splendid phantom, 
The child of Hope, but leading to despair." 

If citizens who are closely confined for most part of the 
day, instead of contenting themselves with a quiet ride 
on horseback, would "shoulder their gun and march 
away" occasionally, even for a few hours, it would pro- 
duce a renovation of strength as well as spirits for business, 
that would counterbalance, even in its pecuniary results, 
for all their abstraction from the cares of life, and the addi- 
tion to their stock of health}^, pleasant bodily feelings 
would contribute vastly to the aggregate of their earthly 
happiness. 

Many persons are deteiTed from exposure to the air and 
moisture of swamps and marshes, from a fear of fevers. It 
has long been known to physicians, that certain causes will 
produce disease, when acting on a system enfeebled by 
fatigue and abstinence, that would have passed innocuous 
under other circumstances; and it is also well ascertained, 
that the immediate effect of this debility is in the stomach. 
The stomach is also supposed the organ that is operated on 
by causes that produce fever, and hence the medical pro- 
verb, that the stomach is like a schoolboy, when unem- 
ployed it is generally in mischief Here then, is the 
great charm, of avoiding disease from exposure, keep the 
stomach busy, not by stimuli, for the debility is thus 
increased, but hy food slightly stimulating, as gingerbread, 
&c. The writer of this article, has had the benefit of 
some personal experieace on this subject, as well as exten- 
sive observation in others, and he is well assured that few 
of the fevers and colds that follow exposure, would occur, 
if care was taken to keep this great centre of the system 
well occupied. 

Persons starting on an expedition for sporting, often 
leave home in a hurry, and without laying in a sufficient 
stock of provender, and hence, hunt for hours on an 
empty stomach. Such persons soon fail in their exertions, 
and return home with headach, nausea and exhaustion, 
and in many instances with the seeds of maladies that 
"ripen unto death." 

All the pleasures of this world, may be made with 
E 



proper precaution, useful to our being, and become by 
abuse, curses to our very nature; and in the high and 
mighty pleasure now before us, whether in the mild, sub- 
dued and feminine search after 



" The glis 



of the watery world," 



or in the noble and gentlemanly enjoyment of the " detona- 
ting sport," the effects are unrivalled in the production of 
that happy state of mind and healthy condition of body, 
that can alone give melody to life and make us realize in 
this world 

" All the luxury of a Poet's dream.' 



THE CHOICE OF GUNS, 

ADAPTED FOR COMMON FIELD AMUSEMENTS. 

Observations on the choice of Guns best adapted 
for sporting purposes, and remarks relative to their manu- 
facture, by an old sportsman, well acquainted with the 
amusements of the field, and the work shops of Europe. 

On the choice of Guns. — The quality of a Gun depends 
on a variety of circumstances, and perfection in all the 
parts is seldom to be found, but as the barrels are of the 
greatest consequence, we shall treat of them first. The 
size of the calibre, and the length must depend on the 
game it is chiefly intended for. From two feet six, to two 
feet eight inches in length, with a calibre of eleven six- 
teenths or three quarters of an inch, is the size best adapted 
for grous, pheasants, rabbits, quails, and all such game as 
may be conveniently bagged, the weight should be from 
seven to eight pounds. If it be heavier it cannot be car- 
ried conveniently, nor the sportsman so well prepared for 
the contingencies of hunting, and consequently, game 
which rises unexpectedly generally escapes before the Gun 
can be brought to bear on it, especially in cover, of which 
the pheasant and several other species of game instinctively 
avail themselves, frequently rising behind a tree or bush 
and then fly off in a direct line, and thus elude the keenest 
sportsman. The author of this essay had long entertained 
the belief, that a Gun of weight and capacity, was the best 
calculated to insure a well filled bag, but a few years of 
experience convinced him of the error of his opinions. 
He made experiments alternately with light and heavy 
Guns and compared the amount of game killed with each, 
and always found that he was most successful with the 
lightest Gun, and accounts for it as follows. The heavy 
Gun was carried on his shoulder or in some other resting 
position, more than half of the day, not at all convenient 



18 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY, 



for a snap'* shot, while the lighter Gun was carried before 
him constantly, with his left hand under the barrel, and 
his right on the checquer of the stock, so that he was pre- 
pared to take advantage of every bird, or other object which 
rose unexpectedly before him. The barrels should always 
be made of the finest twisted nails, taken from the feet or 
old shoes of horses, which are wrought in bars; they are 
collected by the apprentice boys of blacksmiths, through- 
out England, and carefully treasured up until the Bir- 
mingham trader makes his periodical visit, not for the sole 
purpose of buying these nails, but for obtaining orders; 
and having settled his business with the master, he applies 
to the boys, and inquires how many^i'e* they have to dis- 
pose of. These pies are bunches of nails enclosed in a 
small ring of iron, of about three or four inches in diameter, 
and for which the trader generally pays at the rate of from 
ten to twelve cents per pound, and is the apprentices per- 
quisite. This article, properly prepared, constitutes the 
strongest and best material known in the trade for Gun 
barrels, excepting the Damascus iron, prepared from old 
Damascus sword blades. 

The real twisted stub barrels, as they are called, are 
generally confined to the London market, and sell very 
liigh. Those Guns which find their way into this country, 
are only imitations of the London article, but being pre- 
pared from well wrought iron, they so closely resemble 
the former article, as to defy detection except by the most 
skilful connoisseurs; and indeed the imitation has some- 
what the advantage in its general appearance, over the real 
article, as it respects its beauty, for being welded with thin 
alternate bars of very soft iron, the browning acid acts with 
greater rapidity and throws out a more distinct figure of 
the twist. But in making choice of a Gun, the barrel 
should be carefully examined, and if any rotten weldings, 
called greys by the workmen, should appear on them, or 
in the neighbourhood of the breech, such barrels should be 
rejected ; for although they may have withstood the proof 
charge, insisted on by an act of parliament, which is truly 
severe, they will not long resist the repeated insinuations of 
the saltpetre occasioned by numerous discharges, and is 
continually acting within the blemish, until sooner or later 
it will burst the Gun. These greys exist more or less in 
all twisted barrels, but least in the Damascus, on which 
account the latter are preferred, by many persons, to 
all others. The next in reputation are those which are 
termed the wire twist, and are known by their regular and 
formal lines, and are said to stand a very high proof 
charge. But it is of little importance to the sportsman, 
whether the barrels are made of twisted nails, Damascus 

* A snap shot is that, when a Gun is brought to bear immediately on the object, 
»l the moment it rests against the shoulder, and Bred at the same instant. 



blades, or wire, unless indeed they are sound and perfect 
of their kind. The next quality requisite in the barrel, is 
a smooth cylindrical calibre, free from what is called ring- 
bore; and the breech (the patent breech) should be at its 
entrance a continuation of the calibre, without a shoulder 
or set-off, which is very seldom the case with the factors, 
or what is called the export guns. As an article of trade, 
the London Guns are too high for the American market, 
ranging in price from two hundred, to three hundred and 
fifty dollars. Sales of this article are chiefly effected in 
England, France, and the East Indies. 

The common mode of tapping the barrels to receive the 
patent breech, is to cut the thread of the screw at once, in 
the best London mode; it is a rule to cut out about one 
fourth, or one third of the thickness of the barrels, before 
entering the tap, so as to admit the breech being cupped 
the full size of the calibre; such Guns shoot much stronger, 
and place their shot more regular, whilst those Guns which 
are less perfect in this particular, throw their shot in clus- 
ters, and in some instances in such masses as to resemble 
bullets, which are serious defects, existing more or less in 
all Guns in proportion to the shoulder or set-off of the 
breech, and may be explained in the following manner: 
The first pressure or effect of the powder, is on the centre 
of the shot, which is started some distance before it can 
act on the whole charge; consequently, the shot on the 
sides of the barrels becomes jammed, and from the great 
pressure of the centre shot, is united in masses of lead; 
and another consequent evil is, that the Gun becomes so 
foul, as to endanger the safety of the shooter, and is one of 
the principal causes why so many accidents occur, espe- 
cially among the French and German Guns of the cheaper 
kind, with which the American market is glutted, and 
which the wise sportsman will scrupulously avoid. These 
remarks, however, are not intended to apply to the French 
or German Guns of the better kind, and of which we shall 
treat in some future remarks. 

In choosing a Gun, attention should be paid to the lock, 
the cock of which should rise from its resting place, the 
nipple, perfectly free, and rather light, with a regular and 
even purchase until it comes to the full bent, or cock; the 
sear or dog, telling in the tumbler two sharp and distinct 
strokes, clear and with a sort of ringing sound, which is 
the best criterion for persons not skilled in mechanics, 
although these qualities are sometimes found in very bad 
and unsafe locks. When the cock is drawn back to its 
greatest extent, the main spring should be perfectly 
straight, and when let down again, possessing a gentle 
curve; the spring should not be too strong, but very lively, 
and free from friction. The other materials should be 
made of steel, in place of case hardened iron, and consider- 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



My freed, the back action is considered preferable, in con- 
sequence of its remaining clean considerably longer than 
any other kind. 

The stock should be sound and free from shakes or 
cracks, and the grain of the wood should run exactly with 
the bend at the breech, and the next important consideration, 
and on which the sportsman's chance of success greatly 
depends, is the length from the trigger to the heel-plate. 
This should be proportioned to the person and to the 
length of his arms; should his neck be long, the stock will 
require to be more crooked than for a shorter person — 
much depends on this for quick shooting. The manner 
tlie autlior adopted to prove these requisites, was to fix the 
eyes on any given object, then shutting them, bring up the 
Gun to the shoulder, and point it direct at the object to the 
best of his judgment; then opening his eyes, examine how 
far the muzzle of the piece is above or below the object; if 
above it, the stock may be considered too straight, or if 
below it, too crooked: in this way the hand generally 
coincides with the judgment, and when a Gun is found 
answering to both, it will be all important, particularly in 
snap-shooting, where the Gun is required to be raised and 
fired insfanter; in which case, success depends entirely on 
the co-operation of a quick hand, and a corresponding 
judgment; and to answer this purpose, no Gun is so well 
adapted as that on the percussion principle. 

The best shots seldom look along the barrels, but depend 
entirely on the obedience of the hand to the will. It is so 
with all who shoot well in cover, because they see no trees, 
or if they see them, such shots are not baffled by inter- 
vening objects, and many a bird is doomed to fall that 
would assuredly escape, where sight alone is depended on. 

Some persons try new Guns by firing them against a 
target, or fence, and commonly by the road side, to the 
great annoyance of those who happen to pass, at the time. 
This may be a popular mode, but it is certainly a very 
indifferent and reprehensible one. The principal object of 
trying a Gun in this way (as far as the author's observations 
have gone) is, to ascertain if the Gun will shoot close, and 
is condemned or approved, according to the number of 
shot placed in a given surface. But this is fallacious ; 
sometimes indeed the shot are examined with reference to 
their penetrating the wood, but the nature and condition of 
the wood is seldom taken into account, or the uniform 
manner in which the shot are planted. 

It is not generally known or believed, that a Gun may 
shoot too close, even for an expert shot. When used for 
birds on the wing there should be a certain medium, and 
to obtain this medium is the great desideratum. 

At a distance of from twenty to thirty-five yards most 
game is killed, and may be considered point blank for 



small or medium size shot, and an ounce, or one and a 
quarter ounces of shot at thirty yards, will cover regularly 
a disk twenty-four inches in diameter, so as to secure 
within that range such game as pheasant, grous, partridge, 
rabbit, snipe, &c. In Europe, thirty-five yards is the set- 
tled distance for trial, as game is larger than in America. 
Three-fourths of the game in the United States is killed 
within the distance of twenty-five yards, excepting deer, 
wild turkeys, and water-fowl, and which require a different 
class of Gun from that which we are now treating of. The 
author does not mean, that a gun should not be tried, on 
making a purchase, but he only objects to that practice as a 
standard or criterion, solely by which it is or ought to be 
judged; his own experience has taught him the following 
manner: Having satisfied himself of the requisites already 
pointed out, he charges with an ounce to an ounce a half of 
shot, according to the weight of the Gun, and size of the 
calibre, with as much fine quality powder as would occupy 
two-thirds of the cubic bulk of the shot, and then placing 
himself as near as safety will permit, to some object aimed 
at, procures another person to fire the gun: his motive in 
this, is to ascertain the manner in which the shot strikes 
the board or target, for, according to the rattling or chatter- 
ing of the shot against this object, so is the Gun condemned 
or approved. If the shot comes up all at once, with a sharp 
stroke resembling the single blow of a hammer, he is con- 
fident all is right on that point, and only approaches the 
target to see how the shot is planted, and if satisfied with 
this, he seeks no other mode of trial, but proceeds in search 
of game, and has never been disappointed in a single in- 
stance, during a practice of thirty years in the field, in 
which period he has been the proprietor and vender of 
some hundreds of Guns. 
October 19, 1830. 



HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 

About twelve miles above Bangor, in Maine, is a 
small island, inhabited by the Penobscot tribe of Indians; 
they reside in a village called Oldtown, so termed from a 
tradition among them, that their forefathers dwelt in the 
same spot, long before the appearance of the first whites in 
the country. In the burying ground is a large, moss grown 
cross, which bears a date of the beginning of the last cen- 
tury. These Indians are Catholics, and are peaceable, 
though dirty and lazy. At this place, in 18 — , I applied 
for a guide, in a projected hunting-expedition in the unset- 
tled part of the country to the N. W. of their village, and 
it was not without difficulty that two young men could be 
induced to venture with a white stranger, and they would 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY, 



not have consented, except by a special recommendation 

from their pastor, Mr. B , to whom I had taken letters. 

This reluctance arose from the unprincipled conduct of 
most of the whites towards them. 

At last, however, Mitchell, Louis, and Joe Soccous, 
agreed to accompany me to a part of the country in which 
I could kill Moose and Carabou, provided I understood 
hunting, as on this point, they appeared to place but little 
faith, as I had come from a distant and thickly settled 
country as well as from a great city; but above all, I car- 
ried a double barrelled percussion rifle with a hair trigger, 
&c. a weapon they had never seen. 

Friday, October 9, 18 — . Joined my two guides on 
the banks of the river; they had provided themselves with 
two birch bark canoes. I had a white companion, Mr. 
H. who was placed in the bow of one, and I in that of the 
other, the provisions and baggage occupying the centre of 
each. As the Indians had to dance with their friends 
nearly all night, and hear mass before parting with them 
this morning, it was eleven o'clock before we set out up 
the river. It was the first time I ever was in a birch bark 
canoe, and to a novice a " birch" is certainly a ticklish 
article; I was obliged to sit down on the bottom and hold 
myself as steady as possible, or tlie least motion to one side 
heeled the frail vessel, and it being a natural effort to 
throw oneself in the opposite direction, the evil was always 
increased rather than remedied; while Joe who paddled 
the boat, sat as firm and unconcerned as if he had neither 
jacket or powder to get wet, and was himself the passenger: 
sometimes, however, he exclaimed " 'spose um no still, 
him no paddle um canoe;" but in a few hours I ceased to 
give further trouble, and not only could balance myself, 
but began to paddle. Our canoes were about twelve feet 
long, and three wide at midships, and will carry but two 



take care of the camp, and enjoy a solitary pipe, whilst 
listening to the owls and journalizing. The scenery during 
the day was romantic, the timber consisting of oak, pop- 
lar, birch, and a very few pines; at one time we had a 
distant view of mount Kitahden, it was covered with snow 
and appeared about 60 miles distant. 

Our first night proved rainy, and as few people are fond 
of lying under wet bed clothes, we were off bright and 
early, passed some rapids which were very bad at this low 
stage of the water; in one or two places, the fall was full a 
foot perpendicular, and yet the Indians poled up them with 
a facility truly astonishing, as these small birch canoes are 
so light and appear so frail, that no one who had not seen 
them managed by an Indian would ever suppose that they 
could be conveyed over whirling rapids, with the safety of 
a common boat in smooth water. 

The river widened, and in many places was almost like 
a lake filled with islands of a fine rich soil, settled by 
Indians. We also passed some good farms on the main 
land, belonging to white people; but in general, the Indian 
farms were quite as comfortable in appearance as the 
whites. At noon, left the main river, and entered the 
Passedunky, through a narrow channel, with scarcely 
room for a canoe to pass amid a chaos of rocks: it soon, 
however, began to widen to more than one hundred yards, 
deep, and still, banks low, rich and matted, with a variety 
of timber and underwood, but heavy hemlocks stamped 
the prominent character of the scene. Through this still, 
deep water, we paddled about five miles; then through 
rapids and rocks a few miles further, to such another place 
where we landed to cook our dinner and mend one of the 
canoes, which had been damaged among the rocks. 

While these operations were performing by the Indians, 
H. and myself hunted for our supper, though our game 



persons and baggage, or six or eight hundred weight, and turned out rather scanty, as we 
weigh about 60 pounds. 

Ascended several rapids, by means of setting poles, the 
Indians standing up in the stern: at noon we landed to 
dine, but as we did not wish to lose time in cooking, made 
our dinners on raw pork and biscuit, our drink being sugar 
and water ; performed the necessary operation with an 
Indian of smoking our pipes, and continued our journey 
until night, when we encamped on a woody island. We 
had no tents, and as there was every appearance of rain 
before morning, Joe stretched his blanket on two poles, 
as a substitute. A mallard, some partridges (Pheasants, 
Tetrao umbellus) which I shot during the day, supplied 
us with an excellent supper, and made amends for our sorry 
dinner. Some squaws paid us a visit in our camp, with a 
present of choke berries in a neat little birch basket; my 
comrades returned the visit in the evening, leaving me to 



made but indifferent work 
among the pheasants, and were obliged to fill the deficiency 
with a bittern, which subsequently was displaced from that 
honor by better game. 

As evening approached, the Indians were just begging 
that I would halt the next day, as it was Sunday, and my 
New England friend saying that he was " conscientiously 
scrupulous" about travelling on the Sabbath, when a fine 
buck espyed us coming up the stream, but mistook us for 
other deer, as we all laid flat in the bottom of our canoes; 
nothing could be seen but the muzzle of my rifle, my eyes 
and the Indian's paddles; so completely was the poor 
animal deceived, that he swam within gun-shot before he 
discovered his mistake; we let him rise the bank out of 
the water as he made for the thicket, before I sent him a 
leaden messenger; one of the Indians and he entered the 
thicket together, and nothing was heard for some moments 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



21 



but the cracking of brush, and heavy jumps, until the yell 
of Mitchell Louis proclaimed victory. On coming up, we 
found he had seized the dying animal, and had received 
some tolerably severe wounds in the scuflBe, before he could 
use his knife. It turned out one of the largest bucks ever 
killed in this part of the country, and withal, exceedingly 
fat. We estimated his weight at near three hundred 
pounds, and as we were now overstocked with provision, 
the Indians availing themselves of my intention to remain 
encamped on Sunday, asked leave to travel all night to 
take the meat to their friends, on the river below, promis- 
ing to be back on Sunday night, which, of course, was 
granted, and they started, leaving us one of the canoes. 

H. and myself were now left many miles from any 
human being, surrounded by a gloomy hemlock swamp. 
He began collecting fuel and building a camp, while I 
played the part of cook. A plentiful supper, a social pipe 
oi esquepomgole,'* and a quantity of hemlock branches for 
a bed, closed the proceedings of the day. 

But Sunday did not end so comfortal)ly ; we were visited 
in the morning by six canoe loads of Indians, they had 
been up the river hunting, but were not very successful: 
with them they had the skins of sable and moose ; of the 
latter they had killed four, but how, was to me a mystery; 
as their guns were among the worst I had ever seen. On 
asking them what was the greatest distance at which they 
could kill a moose, they pointed to a spot about thirty yards 
distant. On receiving a present from us of fresh venison, 
pork, and biscuit, they departed. After which we were 
visited by two white trappers, in a " birch;" they were in 
search principally of musquash (Muskrat, Fiber zibethi- 
cus.) In the afternoon it began to rain, with a strong 
S. E. wind; fixed our tent in the best manner we could; 
the deficiency of a tent was again supplied by a blanket 
spread on two poles, and as we did not expect it to keep us 
dry, we were not disappointed, though it saved us in a 
great measure; our baggage and provisions were stowed 
under the canoe, turned bottom up, among the bushes. 

October 12th. Our Indian friends returned about dark, 
having travelled all last night and to day, with the excep- 
tion of about two hours, spent at breakfast with their wives 
and sisters. I took a short ramble in the woods back of us, 
in the afternoon, through the intervals of rain, but could 
not penetrate far, for mats of dead and falling timber cover- 
ed with moss, in such a manner, that it was like groping 
among huge masses of sponge, with a very uncertain foun- 
dation. Red squirrels {Sciurus Hudsonius) were the 

* Esquepomgole is the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy name for the mixture 
of tobacco and inner bark of red willow, (Comiis alba,) it is smoked by almost 
all the diflerent bands of North American Indians, but, of course, in different 
languages, is known under other names. 

F 



only living creatures to be seen; they were numerous, and 
form the principle food of the sable, which abound on the 
higher grounds; they pursue the squirrel from tree to tree, 
with as much activity as Mr. Audibon describes the rattle- 
snakes; (which, by the bye, is about as great a humbug as 
ever John Bull was gulled with. ) 

Heavy rain all night, but having brought with me an oil 
cloth coverlid, six feet square, we were kept tolerably 
dry under it, the only inconvenience was, that we had col- 
lected scarcely hemlock branches sufficient to keep us out 
of the puddles beneath; and as it was impossible to keep 
our fire, or to light it in the morning, we laid in bed until 
ten o'clock, when the rain ceasing, we cooked our break- 
fasts, loaded the canoes, and took leave of the great buck 
camp; poled up some very difficult rapids, where the fall 
was more than five feet in twenty yards. 

We went eight miles, and about three o'clock arrived at 
a saw mill and settlement of whites; had our dinners 
cooked at one of the houses, whilst the Indians mended 
the canoes, which had received some damage; an operation 
that is performed by covering the cracks with a composi- 
tion of resin and tallow, while a coal held over and blown 
melts it, at the particular places required. 

The old lady who cooked our dinners, had several fine 
daughters, who said they were all heartily sick of the 
woods, having resided here five years without any chances 
for husbands, which may fairly be considered a hard case. 
Made a portage across the mill dam, and left the last set- 
tlement on the Passedunky, where we left all our superfluous 
baggage. After proceeding some distance, came to an 
Indian camp of three fires (at each a family); as it was near 
evening, and they being relatives of our guides, we con- 
cluded to stop for the night; the camp was on a low flat 
point, covered with huge hemlocks, the dark shade of 
which heightened the romantic effect of a beautiful moon- 
light night, whilst the fires and dark moving figures 
enlivened the whole. One of the men was quite commu- 
nicative, and they dubbed him lawyer; he was very- 
anxious to hear all the news from me — said he had heard 
of an account in one of the Canada papers, of an adjust- 
ment of the boundary line of Maine, and wanted to know 
if we had heard of it, observing that all boundaries were 
bad that did not follow the courses of the streams: the 
three men are Passamaquoddys, and are married to Penob- 
scot squaws, who are now on their way to see their rela- 
tives at Old Town. 

Tuesday, I3th. Passed several rapids, rips, and shoots, 
schutes as they are called by the whites. Hills rise here 
directly from the river, leaving no bottoms, but are of 
slight elevation, and covered with heavy timber; larch, 
hemlock, &c. predominating. Proceeding a few miles 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY, 



further, wc opened suddenlj' on Lake Paoonook, and one 
of the most magnificent scenes I ever beheld burst upon us: 
the weather had cleared up bright and calm, the lake's 
surface was like a mirror, surrounded with mountains; a 
few clouds were skimming past, but leaving their summits 
clear above, the shore was lined with huge rocks of all 
shapes, and heavy timber, having all the varied hues of 
autumn, and beautifully contrasted, intermixed with the dif- 
ferent kinds of evergreens peculiar to northern regions. 
Not a sound was heard, except the cackling of log cock 
or pileated woodpeckers, and now and then the scream of 
a loon. Indians and all ceased paddling to enjoy and 
admire. 

Crossed the lake in nearly a north east direction; it is 
about nine miles in circumference, and very deep, abound- 
ing with fine fish, particularly Pickerel, some of which we 
tried to catch, but were unsuccessful. Entered the mouth 
of a small stream with low bushy banks, where we were 
led to believe we should see Moose and Carabou: H. and 
myself sat with our guns cocked for fear of making the 
least noise, whilst Mitchell and Joe, with the stillness of 
death, paddled up the serpentine course of the stream for 
several miles, until we came to the mouth of another 
stream, which we were told was to be the scene of our 
nightly hunts for moose; accordingly we retraced our way 
for some distance, so as not to alarm the game with our 
axes. Encamping about noon, we set all our musquash 
traps, and slept the remainder of the day. A partridge 
[Pheasant) came within six feet of our fire, and seemed 
quite uncertain whether we were friends or enemies, but 
as all our venison was gone, I felt sorry to prove myself 
amongst the latter; but so it was, and the poor bird formed 
part of a fricassee with musquash. Several moose birds 
(Corviis canadensis of Wilson) then appeared; they 
would sit on my coat as it hung on a bush, peck at the par- 
tridge which was already picked and hanging up, and eat 
fat pork off the kettle, which was placed a short distance 
from the fire; a few sleepless moments were emploved in 
the amusement of trying to catch them with fishing lines, 
but they were too cunning to swallow the bait without first 
picking it from the hook. At sundown, made our pre- 
parations and started to hunt moose by star light. H. and 
Mitchell Louis went in one direction towards lake Paoo- 
nook, whilst Joe and myself went up stream from the lake: 
had to make one or two portages over rocky rapids in deep 
hemlock shade, which deprived us of the little light we 
had received from the stars. Where the stream was wider, 
and more open on getting again into smooth water, Joe 
gave me my directions, as it was my first essay in this 
kind of hunting, and required me to be as silent as possi- 
ble while he sent the canoe over the dead water, like the 



silent flight of an owl in search of its prey. The moose 
repair at night along the banks of the stream, to feed on 
the small branches of ash, maple, and red willow, and con- 
stantly cross from one bank to the other, so that they are 
as frequently found in the water as along the shores; the 
Indians told me to watch sharply for their dark forms in 
the bushes, as well as in the water, as their dark colour is 
particularly adapted to conceal them in the night; we 
were frequently startled by the repeated splashes of 
musquash and aquatic birds. Joe often imitated the long 
braying call of the female, as it is now rutting season, but 
without success, for we hunted until midnight without 
seeing or hearing a single moose. When we returned, 
found the other canoe back before us with no better suc- 
cess. Took the canoes on shore, turned them bottom 
upwards, and with our heads beneath them by way of 
tents, we spent the rest of a clear frosty night. 

Next day set some sable traps, which are dead falls 
made with small logs, and then moved our quarters a mile 
or two up the western branch; we undertook to hunt on 
the hills, and I soon discovered the reason why all the 
hunting is done by the Indians in canoes, for the whites 
never hunt except in snow shoes; it is this, the country is 
crossed in every direction by lakes and streams, so that 
fires cannot spread here as they do in almost every other 
part of our country, and consequently the dead timber 
remains to rot, and is further protected from fire by vast 
beds of moss; therefore, the woods are full of dead and 
rotten timber, lying in confused masses among the rocks, 
all of which being covered with moss, a traveller in such 
places can never tell whether he is on terra firma, or 
mounted a considerable distance above it, on a net work of 
rotten logs, which every now and then let him down some 
fifteen or twent}' feet, without his being able to tell what 
kind of wild beast may occupy the den beneath him. 
Added to these difficulties, in other places the heavy snows 
in winter bend the long slender evergreens in the form 
of bows, in which position they remain with their tops 
near the ground; and as tliis goes on successively each 
winter, the evil is increased, until a hunter must be as 
agile as a sable or panther, to get through such spots; in 
fact, deer and the larger game, except bear, are not found 
in such places. 

At noon, Joe and myself again started in one of the 
canoes, up the stream until dark, to hunt moose on our way 
back in the night, whilst H. and ISIitchell Louis remained 
to set musquash traps, and prepare the camp against our 
return, which was about ten o'clock; saw plenty of moose 
and carabou signs going up, but none appeared fresh; some 
of the moose tracks were quite as large as those of oxen. 
We landed on an extensive cranberry bed, and in a short 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



25 



time collected as many berries as we could eat, and enough 
for our companions in camp. Bear signs were plent_y, but 
we would not lose time in hunting them. 

Soon after dark, came upon two deer which were in 
such thick bushes that we found it difficult, owing to the 
darkness, to make out their position, and did not fire for 
fear of alarming our larger game : this precaution was, 
however, unnecessary, as in a few minutes we heard the 
heavy reports of two muskets, which we then supposed 
were those of our companions, but on our return, to our 
disappointment found they had not seen any thing, nor 
discharged their guns, which threw the Indians into great 
perplexity to imagine who could be hunting in this part of 
the country, beside ourselves. After much consultation, 
they concluded they were Mohawks, as none of the Penob- 
scots or Passamaquoddj-s had left their town since the 
middle of summer; in addition to the guns we heard, there 
were frequent indications of traps having been set for mus- 
quash, and the places marked with slips of birch bark, in 
a particularly neat manner, foreign to the Indians of 
Maine, and as the Mohawks and Penobscots are not on 
very friendh^ terms, my friends became quite uneasy. 

The next morning it was clear, frosty, and colder 
than the preceding, enough so, to form ice in the little 
puddles as thick as a quarter of a dollar. Three mus- 



quash in the traps, which came just in time for breakfast; 
and as they are one of the greatest luxuries of the Penob- 
scots, I was pleased to find that my companions thought 
they were living in clover. The unlucky circumstance of 
another party having preceded us on tlie west branch, was 
a death blow to my little expedition. Since a suspicion has 
arisen of their being Mohawks, my guides began to waver, 
and acknowledge they do not know any thing about the 
country up this stream; and on the east branch, they say 
I have no chance of success in hunting moose and carabou, 
or in fact any game, as their tribe has been hunting 
there most of the summer. To all my inquiries about our 
course and game, Mitchell Louis, who seems to be the 
leader of the two, always replied, "dont know bejockly, 
may be we see um, may be he all gone, we go where you 
want um go, spose so," from all of which I drew the 
inference, that it was spending my time and money to 
little purpose to keep on with my present guides, unless 
we could ascend the west branch; but this, both Indians 
opposed by saying, the " Mohawks berry bad men, we 
not want to see um, may be kill um all the game too, den 
dat not good spose for you;" so that I was obliged, 
though reluctantly, to give the order "right about," and 
our canoes once more headed towards lake Paoonook. 




ARCHERY. being esteemed an eligible and useful amusement ; and if 
it can also be shown to possess some valuable qualifications 
The value of agreeable amusements has been acknow- which are not to be found in other diversions, the benefits 
ledged in every age, as the most important advantages to to be derived from its practice will be still more con- 
health and happiness are in a gi-eat measure subject to their spicuous. 

influence. If we find that both are interested and im- Archer}-, in fact, possesses many excellencies as an exer- 

proved by archery, it must prove a sufficient reason for its cise, which renders it one of the most useful of the gym- 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY. 



nastic sports. It is adapted for every age and every de- 
gree of strength; and the degree of exertion can always be 
proportioned, by increasing or diminishing the power of 
the bow employed. It is not necessarily laborious, as it 
may be relinquished as soon as it becomes irksome or 
fatiguing. 

It is recorded, that a king of Persia offered a reward to 
whoever could invent a new pleasure. Had such an induce- 
ment been held forth by the ladies of the present day, he who 
introduced Archery as a female amusement, might deserved- 
ly have claimed the prize. It is unfortunate that there are few 
diversions in the open air, in which women can join with 
satisfaction, or without overstepping those bounds which 
custom and innate delicacy have prescribed to the sex; and 
as their sedentary life renders exercise necessary to health, 
it is to be lamented that suitable amusements have been 
wanting, to invite them into the open air. Archery, how- 
ever, is admirably calculated to supply this deficiency, and 
in a manner the most desirable that could be wished. 

The bow is the most ancient and universal of all wea- 
pons, and has been found in use amongst the most barbar- 
ous and remote nations. In the days of David, the practice 
of this instrument of warfare appears to have been so gene- 
ral, that it is constantly made use of in the Bible as a figure 
of speech. Its earliest application, however, was for the 
purpose of procuring food ; and, notwithstanding the cele- 
brity of the English archers, it is a question among anti- 
quaries whether it was ever used by the Anglo-Saxons and 
Danes except for the chase, or as an amusement. All au- 
thorities agree, that it never was considered as a formidable 
weapon of offence in that country until after the Norman 
conquest, who introduced the general use of it and the cross- 
bow among their military retainers and serfs ; the differ- 
ence in the use of which is well exemplified in a simile 
made by the celebrated Bayle : "Testimony," says he, 
"is like the shot of a long bow, wliich owes its efficacy to 
the force of the shooter, whereas argument is like that of 
the cross-bow, equally forcible, whether discharged by a 
dwarf or a giant." It is now wholly relinquished among 
civilised nations as a hostile weapon, but still retains a pro- 
minent rank as affording a healthy and rational amusement. 
This exercise, which is exceedingly common in Europe, 
and more particularly in Great Britain, is scarcely known 
in this country; the only association of Bowmen in the 
United States, as far as we can learn, being in this city. 
We trust, however, that this fashion may be universally 
cultivated and approved, and that we may see the time 
when, with Statius, it will be said 

'• Pudor esl nescire sagiltas." 

Every information respecting the use of the Bow, can be 



readily obtained from the "Archer's Manual," a little 
work published by Mr. Hobson, of Philadelphia, under 
the superintendence of the "United Bowmen." Shooting 
apparatus can likewise be obtained without much difficulty, 
either in this city, or may be imported from Europe. 

We have been led into these remarks, from a wish to 
see this useful and agi-eeable amusement become general in 
our country, where there is such a dearth of invigorating 
exercises, with the exception of those of the chase. The 
association to which we have alluded, held their third 
annual prize meeting on the twenty-second of October, 
when the first prize, a silver bugle, was awarded to Mr. X. 
for the greatest value of hits, and the second, a silver 
grease box, for the hit nearest the centre of the target, to 
Mr. C. From the unfavourable state of the weather, the 
shooting was far from being equal to that on many of the 
ordinary practice meetings of the association. 



MISCEL,L.A]N Y. 



A PHEASANT was chased by a hawk, a few days 
since, from a swamp, and took refuge in the chimney of 
the dwelling house, on the farm of Mr. E. Seeley, in 
Cumberland county, N. J. and descended into the parlour, 
whence it was taken, and kept alive for several days. 

The same gentleman has a domestic fowl, which pro- 
duces regularly, eggs with double yolks, and about the' 
size of those of a turkey. 



In the following anecdote, Hogg tells a monstrous 
storjr, with an honest simplicity, that makes one laugh: — 
It's a good sign of a dog when his face grows like his 
master's. It's a proof he's aye glowerin' up in his mas- 
ter's een, to discover what he's thinking on; and then, 
without the word or wave o' command, to be aff to execute 
the widl o' his silent thocht, whether it be to wear sheep 
or run doon deer. Hector got sae like me, afore he dee'd, 
that I remember when I was owre lazy to gang to the kirk, 
I used to send him to take my place in the pew — and the 
minister never kent the difference. Indeed he ance asked 
me, next day, what I thocht o' the sermon; for he saw me 
wonderfu' attentive amang a rather sleepy congregation. 
Hector and me gied ane anither sic a look! and I was 
feared Mr. Paton wud hae observed it; but he was a sim- 
ple, primitive, unsuspectin' auld man — a very Nathaniel 
without guile, and he jealoused naething; tho' both Hector 
and me was like to split; and the dog after laughing in his 
sleeve, for mair than a hundred yards, could stand't nae 
longer, but was obliged to loup awa owre a hedge into a 
potato field, pretending to have scented partridges. 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



25 



RED FOX. 

CANIS (VULPES) FULVUS. 

Renard de l'l}-gi?iie. Palisot de Beauvois. JBuL soc. 
Phil. — Large Red Fox of the Plains. Lewis & 
Clark. — Red Fox. Sabine. App. to Franklin's Joiir- 
. ney, 656. Godman, vol. i. 276. — American Fox. 
Richardson, Faun. am. bor. 91. — Canis fulviis, 
Desm. Mamm. 203. Icon F. Cuv. Mam. Lit hog. — 
J. Doughty's Collection. 

The various species of the Fox have been classed by 
most natLiralists in the genus Canis Lin. together with the 
wolf and jackal. From these animals, however, they differ 
in man}' important particulars. In the dogs, the pupil of the 
eye is circular and diurnal; whilst in the Fox, it is linear 
and nocturnal. The tail is also more bushy, the nose more 
pointed, and the scent stronger than in the former. There 
is likewise a very marked dissimilarity in many of their 
habits and manners; thus the Fox burrows, which the dog 
does not, the voice of the former is rather a yelp than a 
bark, &c. From these considerations, some naturalists 
have wholly separated them from Canis under the title of 
Vulpes, and others, though retaining them in that genus, 
make them a subdivision or subgenus. 

The Fox belongs to the Digitigrada, or second tribe of 
the Carnivora, including such animals as support them- 
selves in walking, on the extremities of the toes. The 
digitigrade animals are subdivided, 1st. into such as have 
one tubercular or bruising grinder in the upper jaw; are 
destitute of a coecum, and whose body is very little larger 
than their head. This subdivision includes the genus 
Mustela of Linne, which has been split into several well 
marked genera; by more modern naturalists, as Mustela, L. 
Putorius, Cuv. Mephitis, Cuv. Lutra, Storr. 2d. Such 
as have two flat tubercular teeth in the upper jaw, and are 
furnished with a small coecum; these are, Canis, Lin. 
Vulpes, Gesner. Viverra, Cuv. Genetta, Cuv. Paradox- 
urus, Cuv. Herpestes, Illig. Suricata, Desm. Crossar- 
chiis, F. Cuv. 3d. Those which have no tubercular tooth in 
the lower jaw, which includes Felis, Lin. Hywna, Storr. 

Most of the species of the Fox have the same cunning and 
sagacity, the same eagerness after prey, and commit the 
same ravages among game, birds, poultry, and the lesser 
quadrupeds. They are exceedingly fond of honey, and 
will attack hives and the nests of the wild bee, for the 
sake of the spoil; in these exploits they frequently meet 
with so rough a reception, as to force them to retire, that 
they may roll on the ground and thus crush their nume- 
rous and vindictive assailants; but the moment they have 
effected this, they return to tlie charge and are generally 



successful. Foxes will also eat any sort of insect, fruit, 
&c. and are very destructive in vineyards. This latter 
propensity was observed at a very early period. " Take 
us the Foxes, the little Foxes that spoil the vines, for our 
vines have tender grapes."* 

But they do not limit themselves to the quantity of food 
necessary to appease the cravings of their appetite at the 
moment. Instinct appears to warn them, that although 
they may then be revelling in plenty, that future wants 
must also be provided against. Hence, when they invade 
a poultry yard, they kill all they can, and successively 
carry off every piece, concealing them in the neighbour- 
hood for a supply in time of need. Captain Lyon, in 
speaking of this trait of character in the arctic Fox, ob- 
serves, "Their first impulse on receiving food, is to hide 
it as soon as possible, even though suffering from hunger, 
and having no companion of whose honesty they are doubt- 
ful. In this case snow is of great assistance, as being 
easily piled over their stores, and then forcibly pressed 
down by the nose. I frequently observed my dog-fox, 
when no snow was attainable, gather his chain into his 
mouth, and in that manner carefully coil it so as to hide 
the meat. On moving away, satisfied with his operations, 
he of course, had drawn it after him again, and sometimes 
with great patience repeated his labors four or five times, 
until in a passion, he has been constrained to eat his food, 
without its having been rendered luscious by previous con- 
cealment, "t 

Foxes are very fond of basking in the sun; in fact their 
general time of rest is in the day time, during which pe- 
riod they appear listless and inactive, without they are 
excited by fear or some other stimulus. They sleep in a 
round form like the dog, and also resemble that animal in 
the ease with which they are awakened, it being almost 
impossible to come on them unawares, for even when they 
are in an apparently sound sleep, the slightest noise, made 
near them, will arouse them. The moment night sets in, 
all their faculties are awakened; they then begin their 
gambols and depredations, continuing in rapid and almost 
unceasing motion till day break. ]\Iost, if not all, the spe- 
cies live in burrows; these are generally composed of 
several chambers, and are provided with more than one 
entrance, by which they may make their escape in cases of 
extremity. One of the great characteristics of the Fox, is 
their extreme prudence and almost matchless cunning, 
which are exemplified not only in their stratagems to ob- 
tain prey, but also in their numerous wiles in order to 
avoid their pursuers. Dr. Richardson states, that- the 
arctic Fox appears to have the power of decoying other 

» Solomon's Song, ii. 15. t Lyon's Private Journal. 



26 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY, 



animals within his reach, by imitating their voices: this is 
confirmed by Captain Lyon, who states, "that while tent- 
ing, we observed a Fox prowling on a hill side, and heard 
him for several hours afterwards in different places, imi- 
tating the cry of a brent goose." Crantz, in his History of 
Greenland, informs us, that this species also exert an extra- 
ordinary degree of cunning in their mode of obtaining fish. 
They go into the water, and make a splash with their feet 
in order to excite their curiosity, and when they come up, 
seize them. The mode in which some species entrap 
water fowl is also extremely ingenious. They advance a 
little way into the water and afterwards retire, playing a 
thousand antic tricks on the banks. The fowl approach, 
and when they come near, the animal ceases, that he may 
not alarm them, moving only his tail about, and that very 
gently, till the birds approach so near that he is enabled to 
seize one or more.* But these are trifling displays of in- 
genuity in comparison to some which are related of these 
animals. Thus, Pliny says, that such is the sagacity of 
Foxes that they will not venture on any piece of ice until 
they have ascertained its thickness and strength, by apply- 
ing their ear to it. A late traveller in Norway, we believe 
Capell Brooke, states that the Foxes of the North Cape 
take sea fowl by letting one of their companions over the 
edge of a cliff by his tail, and where this does not enable 
them to reach their prey, that a line is formed of no incon- 
siderable length, by seizing each other's tails in their 
mouths. That credulous author, Pontoppidan, also informs 
us, " that a certain person was surprised on seeing a Fox 
near a fisherman's house, laying a parcel of fishes' heads in 
a row; he waited the event, the Fox hid himself behind 
them, and made a booty of the first crow that came for a 
bit of them." 

This character of cunning and extreme prudence in the 
Fox, renders him extremely difficult to be destroyed, or 
taken. As soon as he has acquired a little experience, he 
is not to be deceived by the snares laid for him, and the 
moment he recognizes them, nothing can induce him to 
approach them, even when suffering the severest pangs of 
hunger. The scent which the Fox leaves behind him 
being exceeding strong, he appears sensible of that cir- 
cumstance, and uses every artifice to bewilder his pursuers 
and throw them out of their track. He generally takes 
advantage of the wind, and often crosses rivers, swims 
down small streams or runs along the top of a wall, in 
order to interrupt the continuity of the scent, and puzzle 
the dogs. This timid and prudential character, however, 
completely disappears in the female when she has young 
ones to nurse and defend. Maternal instinct, which is 



forcibly felt by all species of animals, and effaces for a 
time their natural propensities, is peculiarly striking in the 
Fox. There is no sentiment so universal in its nature and 
so wholly disinterested as this; none in which personal 
danger is so completely unheeded and disregarded. A 
mother never hesitates an instant in facing the most appal- 
ling danger, or enduring the utmost privations, risking 
every thing, even life itself, for the preservation of her 
infant offspring. She that at other times was timid and 
gentle, now becomes bold, fierce, and resolute; unshaken 
by all that is trying, undeterred by all that is menacing. 
Thus the female Fox watches with unceasing care over her 
young, assiduously providing for all their wants, and ex- 
hibiting a fearlessness wholly different from her usual dis- 
position. Goldsmith relates a remarkable instance of this 
parental affection, which he says occurred near Chelmsford, 
in England. " A she Fox that had, as it would seem, but 
one cub, was unkennelled by a gentleman's hounds and 
hotly pursued. The poor animal, braving every danger, 
rather than leave her cub to be worried by the dogs, took 
it up in her mouth and ran with it in this way for some 
miles. At last, taking her way through a farmer's yard, 
she was assaulted by a mastiff, and at length obliged to drop 
her cub." 

The Fox goes with young about three months, and the 
litter is composed of from three to eight. The cubs, like 
puppies, are covered with hair, and are born blind. They 
remain in the burrow about three or four months, and soon 
after abandon their parents; at two years of age their 
growth is completed. 

As the vicinity of the Fox is productive of mischief and 
destruction, and as its cunning and sagacity augment its 
resources against danger, its chase has always afforded a 
subject of amusement and occupation. Many crowned 
heads have been passionately devoted to this sport Among 
others, Louis XIII. of France, gave it the preference over 
all others, and brought to perfection the employment of 
the hound, instead of the terrier, which had heretofore been 
constantly used for this purpose. This invigorating and 
healthful exercise is pursued with great ardour in some 
parts of our country, particularly in the southern States. 
From Custis's Recollections of Washington, it appears that 
previous to 1787, he was a keen Fox hunter: this bold and 
animating sport being well suited to his temperament, and 
his fondness for equestrian feats. His habit was to hunt 
three times a week; as is well known, Washington was a 
skilful and fearless rider, and ridiculed the idea of being 
unhorsed, provided the animal kept on his legs, he 
always followed the hounds, through all difficulties; was 
invariably in at the death, yielding to no man the honor of 
the brush. 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



Besides the chase, various means are resorted to, for the 
purpose of destroying these mischievous animals, which, 
though sometimes successful, often fail, from their extreme 
cunning, which enables them to avoid the best concerted 
schemes for their capture. Even when taken in a steel 
trap, it is said that they wll sacrifice a limb to escape — 

''by the indented steel 
With gripe tenacious held, the felon grieves, 
And struggles, but in vain, yet oft "lis known, 
When ev'ry ain has fail'd, the captive Fox 
Has shar'd the wounded joint, and with a limb 
Compounded for his life." — Somenilk. Cliase. 

The fur is valuable and much sought for, particularly 
that of the black or silver Fox, which sells for six times 
the price of any other, that is produced in North America. 
La Hontan speaks of a black Fox skin as being, in his time, 
worth its weight in gold. 

The different species of Fox are involved in much con- 
fusion. There are few animals of which travellers have 
spoken more, and yet there are scarcely any whose history 
has been treated of with less precision and method. As 
far as our researches have extended, the following appear 
to be the well determined species and varieties. As re- 
gards tliose of North America, we have followed Dr. Rich- 
ardson, who has paid particular attention to them, and 
whose acuteness and industry, deserves the thanks of 
every naturalist 

1. Canis (Vulpes) Vulgaris. Common Fox. 

Var. a. V. alopex. Brant Fox. 

b. V. crucigera. European cross Fox. 

2. V. lagopus. Arctic Fox. 

Var. a. V. fuliginosus. Sooty Fox. 

3. V. fulvus. Red Fox. 

Var. a. V. decussatus. American cross Fox. 
b. V. argentatus. Black, or silver Fox. 

4. V. Virginianus. Gray Fox. 

5. V. cinereo-argentatus. Swift Fox. 

6. V. corsac. Corsac Fox. 

Var. a. V. Karagan. Desert Fox. 

7. V. Niloticus. Egyptian Fox. 

There are a variety of other nominal species which we 
have omitted, not being able to satisfy ourselves respecting 
tliem. It is astonishing how little care is taken by travel- 
lers, to ascertain the proper names of the animals they 
describe in their journals, even when the means of infor- 
mation is within their reach. The history of the various 
species of the animal kingdom can only be the result of a 
long series of observations, which it is utterly impossible 
for a single individual to make. Hence, if travellers 
describe the same animal under different names, it loads 
science with a host of unnecessary species, and retards in- 
stead of advancing the progress of inquiry. 



The red Fox is an inhabitant of most parts of our conti- 
nent, but appears to occur in the greatest numbers to the 
north; they are so abundant in what are termed the fur 
countries, that Dr. Richardson says, that about eight thou- 
sand are annually imported into England from thence. 
They are, however, by far too numerous in the United 
States, giving manifest proofs of their presence in their 
depredations on the poultry yards. 

The general colour of this species in its summer coat, is 
" bright ferruginous on the back, head, and sides, less bril- 
liant towards the tail; under the chin white; the throat 
and neck a dark gray; and this colour is continued along 
the first part of the belly in a stripe of less width than on 
the breast; the under parts, towards the tail, are very pale 
red; the fronts of the fore legs and feet are black, (or dark 
brown,) and the fronts of the lower parts of the hind legs 
are also black; the tail is very bushy, but less ferruginous 
than the body, the hairs mostly terminated with black, and 
more so towards the extremity than near the root, giving 
the whole a dark appearance; a few of the hairs at the end 
are lighter, but it is not tipped with white." — Sabine. 
The colour of the tip, however, differs much; in some 
specimens, the white being very distinct, whilst in others 
this tint is scarcely discernible. This summer coat is long, 
fine, and brilliant, as winter approaches it gradually be- 
comes longer and denser, even the soles of the feet being 
completely covered with fur, which wears off in the sum- 
mer, leaving naked callous spots. 

It bears a strong resemblance to the common Fox of 
Europe, and was considered identical with that species 
until De Beauvois pointed out its differences. These, as 
stated by Dr. Richardson, are, that the American species 
has longer and finer fur, and is more brilliant in its colours. 
Its cheeks are rounder, its nose tliicker, shorter, and more 
truncated. Its eyes are nearer to each other. Its ears are 
shorter, the hair on its legs is longer, and the feet more 
covered with fur, its tail is also fuller and finer. The 
colour of the breast is more inclined to a gray, and that of 
the anterior part of the legs of a darker brown, being 
nearly black. Desmarest likewise mentions, that there is a 
difference in the form of the skulls of the two species. 

As there still exists no slight difference of opinion, as to 
whether this animal is a native; many persons considering 
that it is merely the European species which has become 
naturalized, whilst others appear to think that there are 
two distinct varieties, closely resembling each other, the 
one native and the other introduced; we will examine the 
grounds of the various hypotheses, before entering on a 
description of the habits and manners of the subject of our 
sketch. In doing this, we have thought it would be satis- 
factory to our readers, to cite the various authorities we 
have had occasion to consult on each side of the question. 



28 THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY, 

Pennant* under the head of European Fox, observes, shown to a Mr. Lenarton, an old Jersey man, who pro- 
<' It inhabits the northern parts of North America. This nounced it an English Fox. He said the red Fox was 
species gradually decreases to the southward in numbers imported into New York from England, by one of the 
and size; none are found lower than Pennsylvania. They first English governors, who was said to be a great sports- 
are supposed not to have been originally natives of that man, and turned out on Long Island, where they remained 
country. The Indians believe they came from the north for many years, but at last made their way on the ice to the 
of Europe, in an excessive hard winter, when the sea was main land and spread over the country. The red Fox and 
frozen. The truth seems to be, that they were driven in Canada hare are migrating south and west"* 
some severe season from the north of their own country. In another letter from a correspondent in the same work 
and have continued there ever since. The variety of the writer observes, "with us (Virginia) he is supposed 
British Fox with a black tip to the tail, seems unknown in to have been brought from the continent— Germany, I 
America." think — and not from the island of Great Britain. I re- 
Kalm says, " The red Foxes are very scarce here (New member well, when the first red Fox was seen in my native 
York); they are entirely the same with the European part of Virginia (in Goochland, on James' River,) and the 
sort. Mr. Bartram and several others assured me, that, sensation it created among sportsmen. This was about 
according to the unanimous testimony of the Indians, this fifteen years ago."t 

kind of Fox never was seen in the country before the Eu- Both the above writers also state, that the gray Fox ( V. 

ropeans settled in it. But of the manner of their coming Virginianus) disappears on the appearance of the red. 

over, I have two accounts. Mr. Bartram, and several This, however, is not the case, as in many parts they are 

other people, were told by the Indians, that these Foxes equally numerous. 

came into America soon after the arrival of the Europeans, Such, as far as we have been able to investigate, are the 

after an extraordinary cold winter, when all the sea to the proofs, that the red Fox is identical with the common Fox 

northward was frozen. But Mr. Evans and some others, of Europe, being in fact descended from it. On the other 

assured me that the following account was still known by hand many writers, as F. Cuvier, Desmarest, and Harlan, 

the people. A gentleman in New England, who had admit and describe the red Fox as a distinct species, but at 

much inclination for hunting, brought over a great number the same time state that the European Fox is also an inhabi- 

of Foxes from Europe, and let them loose in his terri- tant of North America. Dr. Richardson says, the latter 

tories, that he might be able to indulge his passion for is probably a native of New Caledonia, and further ob- 

hunting. This, it is said, happened at the very beginning serves, " Several of the voyagers who have visited the At- 

of New England's being peopled with European inhabi- lantic coast of North America, mention two kinds of red 

tants. These Foxes were believed to have so multiplied. Fox skins in possession of the natives; the one having a 

that all the red Foxes in the country were their off- fine, long, silvery fur, of a reddish yellow colour, (C. 

spring, "t It is due to Kalm to state, that he considers fulvus?) the other of a smaller size, having shorter and 

neither of these accounts as satisfactory. Custis states, coarser fur and less lively tints of colour (C. vulpes?) I 

<' The Foxes hunted fifty years ago were gray Foxes, with think it very probable that an investigation into the charac- 

one exception, this was a famous black Fox;" and in a ters of the American Foxes, will show that the reddish 

note says, "The red Fox is supposed to have been im- Fox of the Atlantic States is a variety of the C cinereus, 

ported from England to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, (Q. does Dr. Richardson mean the gray Fox by the C. 

by a Mr. Smith, and to have emigrated across the ice to cinereus?) which has been mistaken for the European 

Virginia, in the hard winter of 1779-80, when the Chesa- Fox. "J 

peake was frozen over. "J From the above contradictory and unsatisfactory ac- 

A correspondent in the American Sporting Magazine counts, we have been led to believe that there is but one 

says, " I think it probable that they were brought over species of red Fox in the United States, and the country 

and turned out at other places, and at very early periods, north of them; this opinion is strengthened by much col- 

In 1789, when quite a boy, I was at the death of the first lateral evidence. Thus, Dr. Richardson expressly states, 

red Fox killed in Perry county, Pennsylvania. Not a "It (the common Fox) does not exist in the countries 

person present, or any one who saw it for some days, had north of Canada, lying to the eastward of the Rocky 

ever seen or heard of an animal of the kind. At last it was Mountains, and consequently did not come under our 



• Arclic Zoolo^. 

t Travels in North America. 

t Recollections of Washington, (t 



t from Sporting Mag.) 



* American Turf Register and Sporting JIaga 

\ Ibid. i. 197. 

X Richardson, Faun. am. bor. 97. 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



29 



notice on the late expeditions."* This at once over- 
throws Pennant's account, and proves that the Fox he 
described as the same with the European, was in reality 
the V. fulvus. As to the first tradition, given by Kalm, 
none of the Indian tribes inhabiting New England could, 
possibly, possess any knowledge of the state of the sea to 
the north, as to this day, the tribes dwelling even 20 de- 
grees nearer its shores, are wholly ignorant of it; added to 
which, the intermediate nations have been from time im- 
memorial at war with their neighbours. As regards the 
introduction of common Foxes into our country from Eu- 
rope, for the purposes of hunting, we confess we are scep- 
tical, though we cannot absolutely deny the fact. But, 
even granting that they were thus introduced, it would by 
no means account for the great numbers of these animals 
which are now to be found, without allowing that their 
prolific powers have wonderfully increased by their change 
of climate. There is some discrepancy of opinion among 
authors, as to the colour of the tip of the tail in the com- 
mon Fox: Linnaeus, and most other writers, say it is 
white, whilst Desmarest asserts it is black. This part in 
the red Fox, as far as we can ascertain, is invariably 
whitish or white, and never black. 

Since we commenced this investigation, we have ex- 
amined a great number of skins of red Foxes, and inva- 
riably found all those which were acknowledged to be 
American, of one species, the fulvus. Without relying 
on our own researches alone, we have asked the opinion of 
others, and have found that our ideas were confirmed by 
those who have had ample opportunities for information on 
the subject Mr. T. Peale permits us to state, that during 
his excursions, and among the various specimens he has 
seen, he has never met with the common Fox as occurring 
in the United States. None of the cabinets in this city even 
contain a specimen of the V. vulgaris. 

The red Fox is about two feet, to two feet and a half, in 
length; the tail, with the fur, about sixteen inches; height, 
from fourteen to eighteen inches. It burrows in the sum- 
mer, and in winter sometimes takes shelter in the hollow 
of a tree, or under one which has fallen. Their usual 
haunts are in dense thickets, where they are with difficulty 
followed. The female brings forth in the spring, and has 
from four to five at a litter. The young are covered at 
birth with a soft downy fur, of a yellowish gray colour, 
the ferruginous hair not appearing till they are from five to 
six weeks old. When taken at an early age, this species 
may be domesticated to a certain degree, though they 
always retain some of their savage propensities. Dr. 
Richardson says he procured four cubs, a fortnight old, 

* Richardson, Faun, am, bor. 97. 



which were thought by the hunters to be the cross variety, 
but which eventually proved the common red Fox. These 
little creatures began very early to burrow in the sandy 
floor of the house in which he kept them, and to conceal 
themselves during the day. They, however, were very 
tame, and would come on being called, taking food from 
the hand and carrying it to their places of concealment, 
never eating when overlooked. 

A young one was also suckled at the Philadelphia Mu- 
seum, by a cat, who continued to nurse it for several 
weeks, when it was killed by a fall. They are unpleasant 
pets, from the fetor of their urine somewhat resembling 
that of the skunk. The red Fox, besides his depredations 
on the poultry yards, likewise preys on smaller animals of 
the rat kind, rabbits, &c. ; he is also fond of fish, and, in 
fact, rejects no kind of animal food that comes in his way. 
His flesh is rank and ill tasted, and is eaten only through 
necessity. 

The red Fox resembles his European congener, in his 
craftiness and cunning, exhibiting the same wiles to escape 
pursuit, and the same instinctive cautiousness of traps and 
snares. It is said, that the red Fox of the present day is 
killed in a much shorter time, and with more certainty, 
than formerly. When pursued, they are more apt to for- 
sake their haunts, and run for miles in one direction, than 
the gray, which is often killed, even after a severe chase, 
near the place from which it first set out. In this respect, 
the latter is more analogous to the European. The red 
Fox hunts for its food chiefly in the night time, but is also 
frequently seen in the day. In the winter season, their 
tracks are frequent on the borders of lakes and ponds, 
which they quarter somewhat like a pointer dog. They 
turn aside to almost every stump or twig appearing above 
ground, and void their urine on it. 

Various methods are made use of to entrap these suspi- 
cious animals, as steel or box traps, and falls made of logs, 
&c. ; but much nicety is required in setting them, or the 
Fox will avoid them. A very neat and successful mode of 
fixing a steel trap, has been described to us. After having 
fixed on a place which they frequent, the trap is to be 
opened and its exact form traced on the ground, and as 
much earth removed as will contain it without pressure: 
the sod removed from the top is to be laid over it, and the 
lines of separation covered with mould, and grass stuck in 
it. A bait of cheese is to be placed above, and in two or three 
places in the neighbourhood, and it is better to bait the 
spot in which the trap is set, for some days previous, to 
remove all fear. Some of the best trappers ascribe their 
success to the use of assafostida, castoreum, and other 
analogous substances, with which they rub their traps, and 
small twigs set up in the neighbourhood, alleging that 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY, 



these substances invariably attract the animals. The box 
trap has occasionally proved successful. The best plan is 
to vary the modes from time to time. 

CANIS rVULPES) FULVUS. 

Var. a. Decussatus. 
AMERICAN CROSS FOX. 
Eenard barri ou Tsinantonqne. Theodat. Canada, 
745. — European Fox. var. b. Cross Fox. Pennant, 
,9rct. Zool. i. 46. — Canis decussatus. Geoffrot, 
Desmarest, &c. 

The American decussatus appears to bear the same 
relation to the red Fox, as the European crucigera does 
to the common Fox. The Indians, observes Dr. Richard- 
son, consider it as a mere variety of the red Fox, and in 
fact, the gradations of colour between characteristic speci- 
mens of the cross and red Fox are so small, that the hunt- 
ers are often in doubt with respect to the proper denomi- 
nation of a skin. 

The following description of a very characteristic speci- 
men, is given by Mr. Sabine. 

"The front of the head gray, composed of black and 
white hairs, the latter predominating on the forehead; 
ears covered with soft black fur behind, and with long 
yellowish hairs within. The back of the neck and shoul- 
ders pale ferruginous, crossed with dark stripes; one ex- 
tending from the head over the back, the other passing it 
at right angles over the shoulders ; rest of the back gray, 
composed of black fur, tipped with white; the sides pale 
ferruginous, running into the gray of the back; the chin 
and all the under parts, as well as the legs, black; a few of 
the hairs being tipped with white; the under part of the 
tail and adjacent parts of the body, pale yellow; the gray 
colour of the back extends to the upper part of the tail at 
its commencement, the rest of the tail dark above and light 
beneath, tipped with white." 

F. Cuvier is inclined to think, that it is a variety of the 
argentatus, and Godman supposes that it may possibly be 
a mule produced between that Fox and the red. The fur 
of this species is valuable, and is much more esteemed than 
that of the red Fox, even where they are of equal fineness. 

C.MNIS (VULPES) FULVUS. 

Var. b. Argentatus. 
BLACK, OR SILVER FOX. 
Renard noir. Theodat. Canada. 744. — European 
Fox, var. a. black. Pennant, Arc. Zool. i. 46. — 
Renard noir ou argente. Geoff. Collec. de Mus. — 



Renard argentL F. Cuvier, Mamm. lith. livr. v. — 
Canis argentatus. Desmarest, Mamm. 203. Sabine, 
Harlan. — Black, or Silver Fox. Godman, i. 274. 

This variety is as rare in America as the analogous 
one is in Europe, a greater number than four or five being 
seldom taken in a season, at any one post of the fur com- 
panies. Capell Brooke observes of the European variety, 
" The silver, or black Fox is so rare, that seldom more 
than three or four are taken in the course of a year on the 
Lofoden Islands, and I have never heard of its being 
met with in any other part of Norway. " Pennant seems 
to think that this may arise from their superior cunning, 
for he remarks "that the more desirable the fur is, the 
more cunning, and difficult to be taken, is the Fox that 
owns it." This, however, is erroneous, it depending 
solely on the rarity of the animal. Dr. Godman says, it 
more closely resembles the gray Fox than any other, 
differing from it only, in the colour and copiousness of 
its fur. 

This Fox is sometimes of a rich lustrous black colour, 
with the exception of the end of the tail, which is white. 
But it varies much in this particular. " A fine specimen, 
preserved in the Hudson's Bay Museum, has the head and 
back hoary, most of the long hairs on those parts being 
white from the tip for a considerable way down. The 
downy fur at the root of the longer hairs, has a dark black- 
ish brown colour The nose, legs, sides of the neck and 
all the under parts, are dusky, approaching to black. The 
tail is black. Its ears are erect, triangular, but not verj^ 
acute, and are covered with a soft fur of a brownish black 
colour. In some individuals, the fur, which in most parts 
is hoary, has a shining black colour, unmixed with white, 
from the crown of the head to the middle of the back, and 
down the outside of the shoulders, being an approach to 
the cruciform arrangement."* 

This Fox resembles its kindred, in the unpleasant odour 
it diffuses. F. Cuvier mentions that its smell is very disa- 
greeable, but differs somewhat from that of the common 
Fox of Europe. The black Fox inhabits the same districts 
as the red Fox. 

» Richardson, O. C. 95. 

NOTE. — As we are very solicitous that the Natural History of our native 
animals should be extricated from the confusion and uncertainty in which it still 
remains; we would feel under obligations to any of our readers, who will furnish 
us with such information as they may possess respecting them. We are led to 
make this request, from a desire to render our work a repository of facts in Na- 
tural History, which will always serve for useful reference. As regards the 
opinion we have expressed with respect to the Red Fox, we shall be very willing 
to acknowledge our error, on the sight of the skin of the Common Fox, killed iu 
the United Slates, and will feel much indebted for such an opportunity of set- 
tling the question. 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



31 



WINTER WOLF-SKALLS, 

Or the manner of destroying Wolves in Sweden ; with 
Anecdotes of these ferocious animals. 

WoLF-SKALLS are not unfrequent during the winter, 
in the vicinity of Stoclcholm. These, as I have said, are 
conducted at that period of the year in a very different 
manner to what is usual in the summer time. I had hoped 
to have been a spectator on one of these occasions, but un- 
fortunately no chasse took place during my stay in the 
capital. 

There is a skall-plats, or hunting place, for Wolves, 
situated at less than four miles from Stoclvholm. This is 
an area marked out in the forest by a pathway of about 
four paces in width. It is in the form of a sugar loaf, and 
two thousand four hundred fathoms, or four thousand eight 
hundred yai-ds, in circumference. In the centi-e of the 
area, the lure, or carrion, to attract the Wolves, was de- 
posited; at its upper end are five screens, or lodges; these 
are intended for the accommodation of the sportsmen when 
a skall takes place; that in the centre is reserved for the 
use of such parts of the ro}^al family as may think proper 
to participate in the amusement. 

As soon as the snow falls, this skall-plats is watched 
both night and day by persons appointed for the purpose. 
When, therefore, it is discovered by the tracks that a suf- 
ficient number of Wolves are congregated at the carrion, a 
singular expedient is adopted to prevent those animals 
again retreating from the area. 

This is effected by extending a piece, or rather many 
pieces of canvass (Jagttyg,) on poles previously driven 
into the ground for the purpose, around the whole skall- 
plats. On this are painted, in very glaring colours, the 
heads of men, animals, &c. If the Wolves be once sur- 
rounded by this artificial barrier, it is said that the hideous 
figures, thus dangling in the wind, usually deter those ani- 
mals from leaving the place. 

As every thing is in readiness on the spot, this operation 
ought not to occup}'^ more than two hours: when it is com- 
pleted, information is sent off to the authorities, and the 
requisite number of people to form the cordon is instantly 
ordered out. 

When the men are assembled, a line of circumvallation 
is at once formed about the area. The nets are now set up 
around the smaller end of the skall-plats; these may be 
about seven feet in height, and may extend for one thou- 
sand, or one thousand five hundred paces in length. The 
people at tliis point remain stationary, whilst those who 
are placed at the broader extremity of the figure advance 
upon their comrades. There are several pathways across 



the plats, cut through the trees, and on reaching these the 
driving division halts and rectifies disorders. Thus the 
Wolves, or other wild beasts, are gradually forced towards 
the skreens, or lodges, where they ai'e of course readily 
slaughtered. 

The above plan of killing Wolves in the winter season is 
adopted in many parts of Sweden. 

Mr. Greiff has treated rather fully upon the several ways 
in which Wolves may be destroyed. I subjoin a few of 
that gentleman's observations regarding the winter-skalls. 

" The inducement to form a place of lure, must be de- 
rived from the reports which come in to the governor from 
the county, of the damage done by wild beasts during tlie 
summer. 

"When the Ofwer Jagmastare, or head forest ranger, has 
received intelligence on the preceding point, he examines 
the woods in those tracts where the Wolves have done 
most damage, and have probably whelped, and makes 
choice of the most suitable spot on which a place of lure 
can be formed. 

"A suitable spot means one which is covered with a 
tolerably thick wood of large trees, especially spruce, 
where the ground is undulating, and which contains fens 
and mosses ; and of such great extent, that the pathway 
(Skallgatan) does not pass over fields or plains which pre- 
vent the tracing of the animals, after a fall of snow or sleet. 
The wood must be left quiet from passengers, or woods- 
men, during the time of hunting, or, in other words, the 
winter season; and should be situated near the centre of 
the parish, whose peasants are to form the skall. A cot- 
tage should be near the place, that the under-huntsmen may 
find quarters, and have opportunity to call up in haste the 
men employed to fasten on the Jagttyg, or hunting-cloth, 
by which the daily watch of a whole division of the coun- 
try for this purpose will be avoided. 

"The hewing down of the trees, for the purpose of 
forming the skall-plats, or place of lure, should take place 
in the month of August or September, when the assistance 
of the authorities must be required. If the wood is not of 
the thickest and heaviest kind, the skall-plats should be 
ready in two to three days, with thirty to forty labourers 
per day." 

Mr. Greiff then describes the manner in which the skall- 
plats is to be prepared ; but as the particulars would proba- 
bly prove little interesting to the reader, I have thought it 
best to omit them. 

Mr. Greiff goes on to say : " When the skall-plats is 
ready, it must be kept undisturbed by the woodsmen and 
from all noise. 

" In the month of October, when the peasants begin to 
kill their worn-out horses, the head ranger gives them inti- 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY, 



mation tliat tliey shall, in conformity to orders from au- 
thority, transport them to the hunting or lure-place, and 
give the necessary orders for their skinning, and also that 
a huntsman is at hand to direct that the carrion should be 
laid in the proper place. 

" As soon as the ground is frozen, the hunting-cloth is 
brought out, which must be smoothed well down and 
beaten with fir branches, so that all shall be in order for 
the first falling snow; for the hunts which can be formed 
by the traces on the first snow, or before Christmas, are 
the surest. 

'< Two huntsmen must be ordered to keep watch at the 
skall-plats, the day on which the snow has fallen; and 
they should go round it three times a day, morning and 
evening, and once during the njght with a lantern of tin, 
made so that it only throws light from the bottom; the 
marks of the animals going in and out are to be carefully 
noted each time, and written down in a journal, and 
whether they follow each other in numbers, or go singly. 
<' An experienced huntsman will soon discover at what 
time the animals visit the carrion; the 8th, 11th, and 14th 
day is usually the period, after they have once eaten of it. 
It happens that Wolves, early in winter, get into the skall- 
plats and lie there several days, without their traces being 
discovered; and on such occasions, it is necessary to drive 
them gently out again, in order to ascertain their number. 
" Each time of going round the area, every track is to be 
swept out with a long broom; and if the huntsman at any 
time have occasion to step out of the pathway (Skallgatan,) 
the marks should be immediately swept out. Birds of 
prey, such as ravens and crows, must not be frightened 
away, because they entice the wild beasts by their cries, 
and give them confidence. 

"The huntsmen examine each his side of the skall- 
plats : should it be found, when they meet, that traces of 
animals having entered are sufficiently numerous to fasten 
up the hunting-cloths, the men for that purpose are called 
out immediately, and the fastening is to be executed with 
all possible expedition, and the whole ought to be finished 
within two hours. 

" The fastening ought to commence either at the top or 
at the bottom of the skall-plats, where two rolls of cloth 
should be lying ready : one man unloosens the roll — the 
other carries the pole on which it is wound: — they advance 
along the line, unwinding as they go. The roll should be 
wound round the pole, so that it unwinds correctly and 
easily. A third man fastens the cloth round the end of 
each stake. When the hunting-cloth is fastened up, the 
men so employed return each along his allotted distance, 
and rectifies what he finds amiss: the pieces of cloth ought 
to hang three feet from the ground. The huntsmen then 



reconnoitre the skall-plats, to ascertain whether the ani- 
mals have escaped during the fastening; if that be the case, 
the hunting-cloths are immediately taken down, wound up, 
and laid in their places. 

" When it is found that the animals are enclosed, mes- 
sengers, who ought to be always in readiness, should be 
immediately despatched, to apprise the people of the time 
of assembling for the hunt, and of the number required, 
according to the size of the skall-plats, reckoning eight, 
and at the utmost ten, hunting paces between each person. 
"From the moment it is ascertained that the animals 
are enclosed, and until the hunt takes place, the utmost 
silence should be observed at and about the skall-plats. 

" When the people are assembled, and the numbers 
communicated to the head ranger, they are to advance 
silently to the skall-plats: they are to be formed in two 
divisions, either at the top or at the bottom. A huntsman 
goes before each division, and a huntsman after. They 
place each peasant in his proper situation, and inform him 
what he is to attend to, namely, to stand on the outside 
of the hunting-cloths ; to remain silent ; and not to go 
from his post: but if the animals show themselves, he is to 
shake and strike against the cloths with his hunting-staff or 
spear. 

" The skalfogdar, or subordinate ofiicers of the hunt, 
are to be chosen from trusty people, who are acquainted 
with the locality ; soldiers are preferable : these, together 
with the superfluous huntsmen, are to be distributed among 
the body which is to advance, and should, for the preser- 
vation of better order, be distinguished by some badge. 

" Should there be any of the Royal Family present, the 
head-ranger himself should advance in the centre ; other- 
wise, a trusty huntsman, who should preserve a steady 
pace in his advance. 

" The driving division ought to advance slowly, because 

too much haste brings the people sooner into disorder. 

The movement ought to be effected without shots or cries; 

only they are to strike the trees with their hunting-poles, 

and examine carefully if any animal has hidden himself, or 

lies dead. 

" When the people have advanced to tlie farthest point, 

the wild animals which have been shot are to be conveyed 

to the King's skreen. 

" No otlier than good marksmen shall be allowed to 

carry a gun." 

Mr. Greiff has given some farther directions regarding 

the manner in which the Wolf-skall is to be organized and 

conducted. 

" During my stay at Stockholm, I visited the skall-plats 

of which I have just been speaking: — this was along with 

Mr. Arenius, the head-ranger of the district, who was 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



so obliging as to explain the nature and purport of every 
thing. 

On this occasion, I was in company with Count Charles 
Frederic Piper, a Swedish nobleman of high rank. The 
Count held the appointment of Forste Hofjagmastare, 
which may be rendered in French, (for in English I know 
of no equivalent,) Grand Veneur de la covr. As this is 
the second office in the gift of the Swedish Crown, in re- 
gard to the forests, I was of course at head quarters for 
sporting information. To this accomplished nobleman I 
am under the greatest obligations, as well for his attentions 
whilst I remained at Stockholm, as at an after period, 
when I partook of the hospitalities of his princely resi- 
dence at Lofstad. 

At this time, the ground was covered with snow to the 
depth of six or eight inches: there were then, as we saw 
by their tracks, one, if not two Wolves feeding upon the 
carrion. As there were more of those animals, however, 
known to be in the vicinity, which, it was daily expected, 
might follow the example of their comrades, — and as it 
was contrary to rule to call out the people, unless a greater 
number were within the skall-plats, INIr. Arenius did not 
feel himself justified in taking this step, which he much 
regretted as he was very anxious to gratify my curiosity, 
in witnessing the destruction of some of these pernicious 
beasts. Though no chasse took place whilst I remained 
in the capital, in the commencement of the following 
April, five wolves were one day slaughtered in this very 
skall-plats. 

Very considerable numbers of those animals are some- 
times killed in the winter-skalls: I have heard of as many 
as fifteen being shot in a day. On these occasions, wolves 
never, I believe, turn upon their assailants ; but, when 
they find escape impossible, they generally skulk, and en- 
deavour to hide themselves. Mr. Greiflfsays, they do not 
attempt to leap over the nets, but always endeavour to 
creep under them. 

No one is allowed to use balls at a Wolf-skall, for fear 
of accidents; these animals are therefore destroj^ed with 
large shot. 

Anecdotes of Wolves. — As usually happens when 
the weather is severe, the Wolves now became rather trou- 
blesome. Indeed, I heard of their committing many de- 
predations in different parts of the surrounding country: 
for this reason, I went on one or two little expeditions, un- 
der the idea that I might be enabled to destroy some of 
tliose voracious animals. 

Wolves are very partial to a pig. My plan of proceed- 
ing, therefore, was this: I caused one of these animals, of 
a small size, to be sewed up in a sack, with the exception 
of his snout; and I then placed him in my sledge. To the 
I 



back of this vehicle I fastened a rope of about fifty feet in 
length, to the extreme end of which was attached a small 
bundle of straw, covered with a black sheepskin ; this, 
when the sledge was in motion, dangled about in such a 
manner as to be a good representation of the pig. Thus 
prepared, I drove in the night time through such districts 
as were known to be frequented by Wolves. To attract 
these animals towards us we kept occasionally pinching 
the poor pig, who, not liking this treatment, made the 
forest ring again with his squeaks. 

This plan of shooting Wolves with the assistance of a 
pig is not very unfrequently resorted to in Scandinavia, 
when the weather is severe. If those dangerous animals 
happen to hear the cries of the pig, it is said they almost 
always approach immediately near to the sledge, when it 
is not, of course, difficult to kill them. 

All my expeditions, however, proved unsuccessful; for, 
owing to the wandering habits of the Wolves, I was never 
able to fall in with them. On some of these occasions I 
have suffered a good deal from cold ; as, from the necessity 
that existed of being always ready for action, it did not 
answer to be hampered with too much clothing. My poor 
pig, I remember, had once his ears so hard frozen, that 
they might have almost been broken off in the same man- 
ner as so much glass. 

About a week prior to this time, a peasant on his return 
home from Amal, one evening tied his horse up to his 
door, whilst he carried the harness within the house. At 
this moment, a number of Wolves made their appearance, 
when the frightened animal broke his bridle, and ran off at 
the top of his speed. The Wolves, however, gave chase 
to the horse, and soon succeeded in coming up with him in 
the forest, when they quickly destr03^ed him. 

During my excursion, I visited the spot where the poor 
animal met his doom, but, with the exception of a bone or 
two that were strewed about, not a vestige of the carcase 
was to be seen ; the Wolves having, by this time, devoured 
the whole of it. There was some blood on the snow, 
which was trodden down in the vicinity, in the same man- 
ner as if it had been gone over by a flock of sheep. 

Though I was generally quite alone, with the exception 
of my driver, during these expeditions, I do not apprehend 
I ran much personal risk; the greatest danger was from 
the horse proving unsteady, in the event of the Wolves 
making their appearance. In that case, the sledge would 
not improbably have been overturned, when I, in conse- 
quence, might have been left to my fate. From the 
Wolves themselves, under other circumstances, I enter- 
tained little apprehension, as I was usually armed with a 
good cutlass, and more than one gun. 

It is said, that people have incurred some jeopardy when 



34 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY. 



on these expeditions. The following anecdote was related 
to me by Mr. Garberg, at Gefle. Of the truth of the story, 
which occurred near to that place, that gentleman did not 
seem to entertain a doubt. 

About twenty years ago, during a very severe winter, 
and when there were known to be many Wolves roaming 
about the country, a Captain Nordenalder, together with 
several companions, started off on an excursion similar to 
those I have been describing. 

The party were provided with a large sledge, such as are 
used in Sweden to convey coke to the furnaces, a pig, and 
an ample supply of guns, ammunition, &c. They drove 
on to a great piece of water which was then frozen over, in 
the vicinity of Forsbacka, and at no great distance from 
the town of Geflc. Here they began to pinch ■'he ears, 
&c. of the pig, wlio of course squeaked out tremendously. 

This, as they anticipated, soon drew a multitude of fam- 
ished Wolves about their sledge. When these had ap- 
proached within range, the party opened a fire upon them, 
and destroyed or mutilated several of the number. All 
the animals that were either killed or wounded were 
quickly torn to pieces and devoured by their companions. 
This, as I have observed, is said invariably to be the case, 
if there be many congregated together. 

The blood with which the ravenous beasts had now glut- 
ted themselves, instead of satiating their hunger, only 
served to make them more savage and ferocious than be- 
fore; for, in spite of the fire kept up by the party, they 
advanced close to the sledge with the apparent intention of 
making an instant attack. To preserve their lives, there- 
fore, the Captain and his friends threw the pig on the ice; 
this, which was quickly devoured by the Wolves, had the 
effect, for the moment, of diverting their fury to another 
object. 

Whilst this was going forward, the horse, driven to des- 
peration by the near approach of the ferocious animals, 
struggled and plunged so violently, that he broke the shafts 
to pieces: being thus disengaged from the vehicle, the poor 
animal galloped off, and, as the story goes, succeeded in 
making good his escape. 

When the pig was devoured, which was probably hardly 
the work of a minute, the Wolves again threatened to 
attack the party; and as the destruction of a few out of so 
immense a drove as was then assembled, only served to 
render the survivors more blood-thirsty, the Captain and 
his friends now turned their sledge bottom up, and thus 
took refuge beneath its friendly shelter. 

In this situation, it is said, they remained for many 
hours, the Wolves in that while making repeated attempts 
to get at them, by tearing the sledge with their teeth. At 
length, however, assistance arrived, and they were then, 



to their great joy, relieved from their most perilous situ- 
ation. 

Captain Eurenius, when he was quite a boy, in com- 
pany with a brother who was younger than himself, once 
went on a similar expedition to those of which I have been 
speaking. 

It was in the depth of winter, the cold at the time being 
very severe, when these striplings proceeded in their 
sledge to an inlet of the Wenern, which was then sheeted 
with ice, and which was known to be much frequented by 
Wolves. 

They had a pig along with them, as usual, who, by the 
application of a corking-pin, they soon caused to open his 
pipes in such a manner that he might have been heard at 
two or three miles distance. These cries soon attracted 
the Wolves to the spot: when they had approached to 
within a short distance of the sledge. Captain Eurenius dis- 
charged his piece, and severely wounded, as he supposed, 
one of the number. 

The report of the gun, however, caused the horse to 
take fright, when capsizing the sledge, and smashing the 
shafts to pieces, he went off at full gallop, with the latter 
dangling at his heels. 

The Captain and his brother were now in a rather awk- 
ward predicament: they had, besides, lost their ammuni- 
tion, and had only one loaded gun left. Leaving the pig 
in the sledge to its fate, they therefore faced towards their 
home, from which they were distant several miles, at their 
best pace. In this while, as it may be supposed, they cast 
many an anxious look behind, to see if the Wolves were in 
pursuit. 

These fears, however, were at length relieved; for, after 
proceeding some way, they met their father and a posse of 
people advancing to their assistance ; these had seen the 
horse come galloping home with the broken shafts; when, 
knowing the nature of the service on which these two ad- 
venturers had been engaged, as well as the direction they 
had taken, they lost no time in hastening towards the spot. 
The meeting was a joyful one; the father being not a little 
delighted thus to find his sons in safety. 

The whole party then repaired to the scene of action: 
here they found the pig had been taken from the sledge 
and devoured. This also seemed to have been the fate of 
a wolf, — the same, it was supposed, that Captain E. fired 
at; for some pieces of skin, and bones, of one of those 
ferocious animals, were found near to the spot. 

During severe weather, when Wolves are famishing with 
hunger, their natural timidity, as I have said, forsakes 
them, and then they oftentimes conduct their attacks in the 
most daring manner. Among several instances of the kind 
which have come to my knowledge, I select the following: 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



In the depth of a hard winter, many years ago, Captain 
Eurenius and a friend were one evening transversing the 
Wenern lake, which was then firmly frozen over; this was 
at no great distance from the town of Wenersborg, situated, 
as I have said, at the southern extremity of that noble ex- 
panse of water. 

They were in a sledge, and jogging quietly along, when, 
suddenly, their horse pulled up, and became violently 
alarmed and agitated. For a while they were at a loss to 
divine the reason why the animal should be so much 
affrighted, but on looking ahead, they discovered a drove 
of twelve or fourteen Wolves; these presently approached 
to within a very short distance of their vehicle, and seemed 
to threaten them with an immediate attack. 

Very unfortunately, they had no gun along with them on 
this occasion; but both were armed with good swords. 
Captain E. therefore took the reins, whilst his friend jump- 
ing out of the sledge, posted himself, sabre in hand, imme- 
diately in front of the horse; by these means their ferocious 
assailants were kept at bay. Finding himself thus protect- 
ed, the poor animal again moved forward. 

The man now kept advancing a pace or two a-head of 
the horse, brandishing his sword all the while to drive off 
the Wolves; these were never more than a very short dis- 
tance from him, and often so near, that he could almost 
touch them with the point of his weapon. 

In this manner, the two travellers proceeded for five or 
six miles, and until they reached the very outskirts of the 
town of Wenersborg, when the Wolves thought it prudent 
to beat a retreat. 

Captain E. said, moreover, that the Wolves never attempt- 
ed to get into the rear of the sledge, but always kept in ad- 
vance of it. This, if it be practicable, is usually the case 
witli those animals; and is supposed to be owing to their 
dread of falling into an ambuscade. 

Some fifty years ago, when quite a boy. Captain Eure- 
nius was one starlight and very cold night, returning from 
a dance in the vicinity of Wenersborg. It was Christmas- 
time, and there were fifteen or sixteen sledges in company: 
most of the horses were provided with such bells as those 
of which I have made mention. In the middle of the 
cavalcade was a sledge occupied by a lady; at the back of 
the vehicle, as is frequently the case, sat the servant, who 
was driving; whilst on a bear-skin, which covered her feet, 
a favourite lap-dog was reposing. In passing through a 
wood, however, and in spite of the jingling of the bells, &c., 
a large Wolf suddenly sprang from a thicket, when, seizing 
the poor dog, he leaped over the sledge, and was out of sight 
in a thick brake on the opposite side of the wood in the 
course of a few seconds. 

A somewhat similar anecdote to the above was related to 
me by Lieutenant Oldenburg. 



Two of his friends, whose names I forget, when on a jour- 
ney in the winter-time, were accompanied by a favourite 
dog, which was following immediately in the rear of the 
sledge. All of a sudden, two famished Wolves dashed at 
the dog, who, to save himself, ran to the side of the vehicle, 
and jumped over the shafts between the horse and the body 
of the carriage. The Wolves, nothing deterred, had the 
audacity to take a similar leap; when, as ill-luck would 
have it, they got hold of the poor animal. 

The dog, however, was large and powerful, and his neck, 
besides, was armed with one of those formidable spiked 
collars so common to be seen in Sweden. From these 
causes, he was enabled to escape from the fangs of his assail- 
ants, when he at once sprang into the sledge, as if to claim 
protection from his masters. 

Here, however, the Wolves were afraid to pursue him, 
though, for a considerable distance, they still continued to 
follow the vehicle. On this occasion, both of Lieutenant 
O.'s friends were unarmed, and, in consequence, the beasts 
escaped with impunity. 

Another anecdote, of rather a curious nature, was told me 
by an acquaintance of mine in Wermeland. 

A peasant was one day crossing a large lake in his sledge, 
when he was attacked by a drove of Wolves. This fright- 
ened the horse so much, that he went off at full speed. 
There was at this time a loose rope hanging from the back 
of the vehicle, that had been used for binding hay, or other 
purposes: to the end of this a noose happened to be attach- 
ed. Though this was not intended to catch a Wolf, it 
fortunately effected that desirable object; for one of the fe- 
rocious animals getting his feet entangled within it, he was 
presently destroyed, owing to the pace at which the horse 
was proceeding. 

The poor peasant, at last, reached a place of safety. 
Though he had been dreadfully frightened during the chase, 
he not only found himself much sooner at the end of his 
journey than he had expected, but richer by the booty he 
had thus unexpectedly obtained. The skin of a Wolf, in 
Sweden, is worth, at this time, about fifteen rix-dollars, or 
as many shillings. 

The following circumstance, showing the savage nature 
of the Wolf, and interesting in more than one point of view, 
was related to me by a gentleman of rank attached to the 
embassy at St. Petersburg: it occurred in Russia some few 
years ago. 

A woman, accompanied by three of her children, were 
one day in a sledge, when they were pursued by a number 
of Wolves. On this, she put her horse into a gallop, and 
drove towards her home, from which she was not far dis- 
tant, with all possible speed. All, however, would not 
avail, for the ferocious animals gained upon her, and, at last, 
were on the point of rushing on the sledge. For the pre- 



servation of her own life and that of the remaining children, 
the poor, frantic creature now took one of her babes, and 
cast it a prey to her blood-thirsty pursuers. This stopped 
their career for a moment; but, after devouring the little 
innocent, they renewed the pursuit, and a second time came 
up with the vehicle. The mother, driven to desperation, 
resorted to the same horrible expedient, and threw her fero- 
cious assailants another of her offspring. To cut short this 
melancholy story, her third child was sacrificed in a similar 
manner. 

Soon after this, the wretched being, whose feelings may 
more easily be conceived than described, reached her home 
in safety. Here she related what had happened, and en- 
deavoured to palliate her own conduct, by describing the 
dreadful alternative to which she had been reduced. A 
peasant, however, who was among the by-standers, and 
heard the recital, took up an axe, and with one blow cleft 
her skull in two; saying, at the same time, that a mother 
who could thus sacrifice her children for the preservation 
of her own life, was no longer fit to live. 

This man was committed to prison, but the Emperor 
subsequently gave him a pardon. 

This gentleman related to me another curious circum- 
stance regarding Wolves: it happened at no great distance 
from St. Petersburg, only two years previously. 

A peasant, when one day in his sledge, was pursued by 
eleven of these ferocious animals: at this time, he was only 
about two miles from home, towards which he urged his 
horse at the very top of his speed. At the entrance to his 
residence was a gate, which happened to be closed at the 
time; but the horse dashed this open, and thus himself and 
his master found refuge within the court-yard. 

They were followed, however, by nine out of the eleven 
Wolves: but, very fortunately, at the instant these had 
entered the enclosure, the gate swung back on its hinges, 
and thus they were caught as in a trap. From being the 
most voracious of animals, the nature of these beasts, now 
that they found escape impossible, became completely 
changed: so far, indeed, from offering molestation to any 
one, they slunk into holes and corners, and allowed them- 
selves to be slaughtered almost without making resistance. 
It is said, that the mere act of striking a light with flint 
and steel, has often the effect of intimidating a Wolf; and 
that the rattling of a chain not unfrequently answers the 
like purpose. In the event of a person, when unarmed, 
being attacked by these blood-thirsty brutes, these things 
are worth knowing; for, though apparently trifling in them- 
selves, they might be the means of saving his life. 

In some parts of Scandinavia, when people are travelling 
during the winter-time over extended plains, lakes, &c. 
which are known to be much frequented by Wolves, it is 
the custom to attach a long rope to the back of the sledge; 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY, 

the serpentine motion that this makes, when the vehicle is 
proceeding, has, it is said, the effect of deterring these ani- 
mals from making their attacks. — Lloyd's Field Sports. 



INFLUENCE OF MUSIC UPON MICE. 

The following anecdote of the influence of music 
upon a Mouse, is related by Dr. Archer, of Norfolk. 

"On arainy evening in the winter of 1S15," says this gen- 
tleman, " as I was alone in my chamber, I took up my flute, 
and commenced playing. In a few minutes my attention 
was directed to a mouse that I saw creeping from a hole, 
and advancing towards the chair I was sitting in; I ceased 
playing, and it ran precipitately back to its hole: I began 
again shortly afterwards, and was much surprised to see it 
re-appear, and take its old position. The appearance of the 
little animal was truly delightful — it couched itself on the 
floor, shut its eyes, and appeared to be in ecstasy: I ceased 
playing, and it instantly disappeared again. This experi- 
ment I repeated frequently, with the same success, observ- 
ing that it was always differently affected, as the music va- 
ried from the slow and plaintive to the brisk or lively. 
It finally went off, and all my art could not entice it to 
return." 

A more remarkable instance of this fact was recently in- 
serted in the Philadelphia Medical and PhysicalJournal, 
communicated by Dr. Cramer, of Jefferson county. The 
circumstance, he says, was related to him by a gentleman 
of undoubted veracity. 

" One evening in the month of December, as a few offi- 
cers on board a British man of war, in the harbour of Ports- 
mouth, were seated round the fire, one of them began to 
play a plaintive air on the violin. He had scarcely per- 
formed ten minutes, when a mouse, apparently frantic, 
made its appearance in the centre of the floor, near the 
large table which usually stands in the ward room. The 
strange gestures of the little animal strongly excited the 
attention of the officers, who, with one consent, resolved to 
suffer it to continue its singular actions unmolested. Its 
exertions now appeared to be greater every moment — it 
shook its head, leaped about the table, and exhibited signs 
of the most extatic delight. It was observed, that in pro- 
portion to the gradation of the tones to the soft point, the 
feelings of the animal appeared to be increased, and vice 
versa. After performing actions, which an animal so di- 
minutive would at first sight seem incapable of, the little 
creature, to the astonishment of the delighted spectators, 
suddenly ceased to move, fell down, and expired, without 
evincing any symptoms of pain." — Sport. Mag. 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



QUAIL, OR PARTRIDGE. 
PERDIX VIRGINIANUS. 

[Plate IV. — Male and Female.] 
Arct. Zool. 318, No. 185.— Catesb. App. p. \2.— Vir- 
ginian Quail, TuRT. Syst. p. 460. — Maryland Q. 
Ibid. — Le Perdrix d^Jimerique, Briss. i. 231. — Buff. 
ii. 447. — Tetrao Virginianus, Linn. Syst. ed. 10, p. 
161. T. Marilandicus, id. ib. — Perdix Virginiana, 
Lath, Lid. Orn. p. 650. P. Marilanda, id. p. 651. — 
Caille de la Louisiane, Buff. PL Enl. 149. — J. 
Doughty's Collection. 

This well-known bird is a general inhabitant of North 
America, from the Northern parts of Canada and Nova 
Scotia, in which latter place it is said to be migratory, to the 
extremity of the peninsula of Florida; and was seen in the 
neighbourhood of the Great Osage village, in the interior of 
Louisiana. They are numerous in Kentucky and Ohio; 
Mr. Pennant remarks, that they have been lately intro- 
duced into the island of Jamaica, where they appear to 
thrive greatly, breeding in that warm climate twice in the 
year. Captain Henderson mentions them as being plenty 
near the Balize, at the Bay of Honduras. They rarely fre- 
quent the forest, and are most numerous in the vicinity 
of well cultivated plantations, where grain is in plenty. 
They, however, occasionally seek shelter in the woods, 
perching on the branches, or secreting among the brush 
wood; but are found most usually in open fields, or along 
fences sheltered by thickets of briars. Where they are not 
too much persecuted by the sportsmen, they become almost 
half domesticated; approach the barn, particularly in win- 
ter, and sometimes in that severe season mix with the poul- 
try, to glean up a subsistence. They remain with us the 
whole year, and often suffer extremely by long hard win- 
ters, and deep snows. Indeed, it often happens that whole 
coveys are found frozen to death, or so extremely reduced, 
as not possessing sufficient power to fly. An instance of 
this kind occurred in the centre of the city of Philadelphia. 
In the very severe winter of 1828, a quantity of rubbish 
was removed from the large lot of ground at the corner of 
Eleventh and Market streets, owned by S. Girard, esq. un- 
der which a covey of Partridges was discovered in so weak 
and famished a state, as to be taken by the hand. These 
birds, it is supposed, were hatched in this lot the preceding 
summer, as persons residing in that vicinity heard them 
frequently whistling through the season. During these 
protracted snows, the arts of man combine with the incle- 
mency of the season for their destruction, and to the ravages 
of the gun are added others of a more insidious kind. Traps 
are placed on almost every plantation, in such places as 



they are known to frequent. These are formed of lath, 
or thinly split sticks, somewhat in the shape of an obtuse 
cone, laced together with cord, having a small hole at top, 
with a sliding lid, to take out the game by. This is sup- 
ported by the common figure 4 trigger, and grain is scat- 
tered below, and leading to the place. By this contrivance 
ten or fifteen have sometimes been taken at a time. But, 
a more barbarous, and as equally successful a mode is em- 
ployed by many to entrap them, by fixing snoods made of 
horse hair across the paths and furrows of such fields, and 
thickets, as are frequented by these birds, especially their 
roosting grounds. This is done by driving into the ground 
small stakes, about ten inches in length, and two inches 
apart, to the distance of five or six feet, similar to a fence, 
leaving the spaces where the snoods are suspended much 
wider, and to the number, perhaps, of four or five. The 
Partridges, in running the path, finds this impediment, and 
attempt to pass through the wider spaces, and are caught 
by the neck, where they often remain in this cruel and 
most tormenting situation for days. These are sometimes 
brought alive to market, and occasionally bought up by 
sportsmen, who, if the season be very severe, sometimes 
preserve and feed them till spring, when they are humanely 
turned out to their native fields again, to be put to death, at 
some future time, secimdem artem. Between the months 
of August and March, great numbers of these birds are 
brought to the market of Philadelphia, where they are sold 
from eight to eighteen cents a piece. 

The Quail begins to build early in May. The nest is 
made on the ground, usually at the bottom of a thick tuft of 
grass that shelters and conceals it. The materials are 
leaves and fine dry grass, in considerable quantity. It is 
well covered above, and an opening left on one side for en- 
trance. The female lays from fifteen to twenty-four eggs, 
of a pure white without any spots; and during the period 
of incubation are remarkably tenacious of their nest, for 
rather than forsake it, they will frequently sacrifice their 
lives, and it is by no means an uncommon occurrence for 
them to fall victims to the scythe. The time of incubation 
has been stated to me by various persons at four weeks, 
when the eggs were placed under the domestic hen. The 
young leave the nest as soon as they are freed from the 
shell, and are conducted about in search of food by the 
female; are guided by her voice, which at that time resem- 
bles the twittering of young chickens, and sheltered by her 
wings, in the same manner as those of the domestic fowl; 
but with all that secrecy and precaution for their safety, 
which their helplessness and greater danger require. In 
this situation, should the little timid family be unexpectedly 
surprised, the utmost alarm and consternation instantly 
prevail. Sometimes, when an enemy approaches, (espe- 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY, 



cially the sportsman's dog,) the mother will instantly 
squat herself, and collect her little brood under her wings 
for protection, and at this time she will remain so perfectly 
tranquil as to permit the hand almost to grasp her, before 
she will attempt to escape; she will then throw herself in 
the path, fluttering along, and beating the ground with her 
wings, as if sorely wounded, using every artifice she is 
master of, to entice the passenger in pursuit of herself, ut- 
tering at the same time certain peculiar notes of alarm, 
well understood by the young, who dive separately amongst 
the grass, and secrete themselves till the danger is over; 
and the parent, having decoyed the pursuer to a safe dis- 
tance, returns, by a circuitous route, to collect and lead 
them off. This well known manoeuvre, which nine times 
in ten is successful, is honourable to the feelings and judg- 
ment of the bird, but a severe satire on man. The affec- 
tionate mother, as if sensible of the avaricious cruelty of 
his nature, tempts him with a larger prize, to save her 
more helpless offspring; and pays him, as avarice and 
cruelty ought always to be paid, with mortification and 
disappointment. 

The eggs of the Quail have been frequently placed under 
the domestic hen, and hatched and reared with equal suc- 
cess as her own ; though, generally speaking, the young 
Partridges being more restless and vagrant, often lose them- 
selves, and disappear. The hen ought to be a particularly 
good nurse, not at all disposed to ramble, in which case 
they are very easily raised. Those that survive, acquire all 
the familiarity of common chickens; and there is little 
doubt, that if proper measures were taken, and persevered 
in for a few years, that they might be completely domes- 
ticated. They have been often kept during the first sea- 
son, and through the whole of the winter, but have uni- 
formly deserted in the spring. Two young Partridges 
that were brought up by a hen, when abandoned by her, 
associated with the cows, which they regularly followed to 
the fields, returned with them when they came home in 
the evening, stood by them while they were milked, and 
again accompanied them to the pasture. These remained 
during the winter, lodging in the stable, but as soon as 
spring came, they disappeared. Of this fact I was inform- 
ed by a very respectable lady, by whom they were par- 
ticularly observed. 

It has been frequently asserted to me, that the Quails 
lay occasionally in each other's nests. Though I have 
never myself seen a case of this kind, I do not think it 
altogether improbable, from the fact, that they have often 
been known to drop their eggs in the nest of the common 
hen, when that happened to be in the fields, or at a small 
distance from the house. The two Partridges above men- 
tioned were raised in this manner; and it was particularly 



remarked by the lady, who gave me the information, that 
the hen sat for several days after her own eggs were hatch- 
ed, until the young Quails made their appearance. 

The Partridge, on her part, has sometimes been em- 
ployed to hatch the eggs of the common domestic hen. A 
friend of mine, who himself made the experiment, informs 
me, that of several hen's eggs which he substituted in 
place of those of the Partridge, she brought out the whole; 
and that for several weeks he occasionally surprised her in 
various parts of the plantation, with her brood of chickens; 
on which occasions she exhibited all that distressful alarm, 
and practised her usual manoeuvres for their preservation. 
Even after they were considerably grown, and larger than 
the Partridge herself, she continued to lead them about; 
but, though their notes, or call, were those of common 
chickens, their manners had all the shyness, timidity, 
and alarm of young Partridges ; running with great ra- 
pidity, and squatting in the grass, exactly in the manner 
of the Partridge. Soon after this they disappeared, having 
probably been destroyed by dogs, by the gun, or by birds 
of prey. Whether the domestic fowl might not by this 
method be very soon brought back to its original savage 
state, and thereby supply another additional subject for the 
amusement of the sportsman, will scarcely admit of a 
doubt. But the experiment, in order to secure its success, 
would require to be made in a quarter of the country less 
exposed than ours to the ravages of guns, traps, dogs, and 
the deep snows of winter, that the new tribe might have 
full time to become completely naturalized, and well fixed 
in all their native habits. 

About the beginning of September, the Quails being 
now nearly full grown, and associated in flocks, or coveys, 
of from four or five to thirty, afl"ord considerable sport to 
the gunner. And, perhaps, of all the feathered tribe 
which inhabit this country, none are persecuted with so 
much untiring vigor, as this interesting little bird; the 
delicacy of its flesh, its domestic qualities, and source of 
profit, seems to mark it for that destruction which continu- 
ally awaits it. 

Ranking high in our scale of game, and being univer- 
sally found in this country, the Partridge, by its familiar 
habits, invites the sportsman, who pursues it as a source 
of pleasurable recreation, superior to all others; and thus, 
between man, hawks, and vermin, is a continual war 
waged against this harmless bird, and every succeeding 
year adds to the number and avidity of its enemies, but so 
great is the fecundity of the Partridge, that instead of de- 
creasing in quantity, they appear to thrive, and multiph', 
in despite of the system of extermination carried on 
against them. The most are killed by man, and he may 
be fairly considered their greatest enemy; but, the Par- 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



tridge is more fearful of the hawk, for when pursued by 
this destructive bird, terror overcomes its instinct, and it 
will oftimes fly, unmindful of the consequences, against a 
tree or house with so much force, as to be killed; in fact, 
frequently their whole muscular powers become so paral- 
ized by dread, that it will suffer itself to be trodden upon, 
or taken, without making an eifort to escape. 

At this time, the notes of the male are most frequent, 
clear, and loud. His common or early call, consists of 
two notes, with sometimes an introductory one, and is 
similar to the sound produced by pronouncing the words 
<' Bob White." This call may bo easily imitated by 
whistling, so as to deceive the bird itself, and bring it near. 
While uttering this, he is usually perched on a rail of the 
fence, or on a low limb of an apple-tree, wliere he will 
sometimes sit, repeating at short intervals " Bob White," 
for half an hour at a time. It, however, is only practised 
after pairing in the spring, and conthiues through the sum- 
mer until about the middle of August, when it is substi- 
tuted by another call, which is used by them until the time 
of pairing comes on again. When a covey are assembled 
in a thicket or corner of a field, and about to take wing, 
they make a low twittering sound, not unlike that of young 
chickens; and when the covey is dispersed, they are called 
together again by a loud and frequently repeated note, pe- 
culiarly expressive of tenderness and anxiety. 

About the first of October they prepare for winter quar- 
ters, and at this time commences what is called their run- 
ning season, a singular habit of this bird, and may be ac- 
counted for, in some measure, as follows: In open and 
well cultivated grounds, their food and cover are destroyed 
by the husbandman, who turns the soil in order to put in 
his winter's grain ; added to this, are the few watering 
places and swamps to afford them the means of life and pro- 
tection, consequently, the birds, impelled bjr instinct, seek 
those places in low and swampy countries, where they can 
always procure water, and shelter from their enemies 
and the severity of winter. Thus, in the neighbour- 
hood of Philadelphia, and all populous cities, where the 
country is in a high state of cultivation, does this circum- 
stance of the Partridge occur; but, in New Jersey, Dela- 
ware, and the interior of other States, it seldom or never 
takes place. 

The food of the Partridge consists of grain, seeds, in- 
sects, and berries of various kinds. Buckwheat and Indian 
corn are particular favourites. In September and October 
the buckwheat fields afford them an abundant supply, 
as well as a secure shelter. They usually roost at night in 
the middle of a field, on high ground; and from the cir- 
cumstance of their dung being often found in such places, 
ia one round heap, it is generally conjectured tliat they 



roost in a circle, with their heads outwards, each individual 
in this position, forming a kind of guard to prevent sur- 
prise. They also continue to lodge for several nights in the 
same spot. 

The majority of Partridges in a covey, are males; hence, 
in the pairing season, it frequently happens that two cocks 
claim the same hen, and decide their right by combat, 
upon the truest principles of honor. A gentleman who 
was an eye witness to a battle between two male Par- 
tridges, during the past spring, stated that it lasted for a 
considerable time. His attention was attracted by a rust- 
ling noise in the bushes, accompanied with a twittering 
sound, and examining into the cause, he perceived these 
birds in close combat: after some time, one bird ran off to 
a considerable distance, and was followed closely by his an- 
tagonist, when they wheeled about, and returned to the 
same spot, where they renewed the fight with increasing 
vigor; then, in turn, the other bird acted in a similar man- 
ner, by running away, being chased by his antagonist, and 
in this way the battle was protracted for half an hour, and 
until the contending parties became so exhausted, that our 
friend put an end to the contest, by making them prisoners. 

The Partridge, like all the rest of the gallinaceous order, 
flies with a loud whirring sound, occasioned by the short- 
ness, concavity, and rapid motion of its wings, and the com- 
parative weight of its body. The steadiness of its horizon- 
tal flight, however, renders it no difficult mark for the 
sportsman, particularly when assisted by his sagacious 
pointer. The flesh of this bird is peculiarly white, tender, 
and delicate, unequalled, in these qualities, by that of any 
other of its genus in the United States. 

The Quail, as it is called in New England, or the Par- 
tridge, as in Pennsylvania, is nine inches long, and four- 
teen inches in extent; and will usually weigh from seven 
to eight, and sometimes nine ounces, each ; the bill is 
black; line over the eye, down the neck, and whole chin, 
pure white, bounded by a band of black, which descends 
and spreads broadly over the throat; the eye is dark hazel; 
crown, neck, and upper part of the breast, red brown; sides 
of the neck spotted with white and black, on a reddish 
brown ground ; back, scapulars, and lesser coverts, red 
brown, intermixed with ash, and sprinkled with black; ter- 
tials edged with yellowish white; wings plain and dusky; 
lower part of the breast and belly pale yellowish white; 
beautifully marked with numerous curving spots, or arrow 
heads of black; tail ash, sprinkled with reddish brown; 
legs very pale ash. 

The female differs in having the chin and sides of the 
head yellowish brown, in which dress it has been described 
as a different kind. There is, however, only one species of 
Quail at present known within the United States. 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY, 




A HUNTING EXCURSION. 

In the winter of 1817, (being a resident of Pike coun- 
ty, in the northern part of Pennsylvania,) I shouldered my 
rifle, and made a solitary hunting excursion after deer, 
along the big Buskill, a creek or tributary stream to the 
river Delaware, about one hundred miles north of Philadel- 
phia, and remarkable for the rocky, barren country, through 
which it finds its way. 

At this period, the population was thin and scattered, 
the nearest settlement, or town, being fifteen miles distant, 
save the habitation from which I made my egress, and a 
few other log dwellings in the neighbourhood. The rug- 
ged and barren soil offered no inducements to the toilsome 
hand of the pioneer, or agriculturalist. Wild animals 
were numerous; deer, bears, panthers, and wolves, seemed 
to be the sole inhabitants of this dreary solitude, while the 
horrid yell, and devastating howl of the two latter, only 
broke in upon the dull silence which reigned in this ro- 
mantic wild. 

The day on which I made the forementioned excursion, 
was cold, dreary, and threatening rain. I had travelled, per- 
haps, three miles before I succeeded in killing a deer, 
although I saw several, but out of range of my trusty rifle; 
this was a fine buck, and after divesting him of his offals, I 
as usual, hung him on a snag projecting from the side of a 
barren oak, until I could procure assistance to carry him 
home. Being somewhat fatigued, I sat me down to rest on 
a high, commanding spot, which was a craggy projecture, 
terminating with a considerable precipice. I remained in 
a contemplative mood, perhaps for fifteen minutes, when 
my attention was aroused by a crackling noise on the oppo- 
site side of the creek. I discovered it to proceed from a 
panther, of enormous size, that was approaching the place 
where I was seated, I however, soon lost sight of it, as it 



appeared to go towards the foot of the precipice, immedi- 
ately under my feet, and as I supposed, with the intention 
of rising the hill. I seized my rifle, and sheltered myself 
behind a large tree, and with breathless anxiety awaited 
the moment, when my antagonist would show his head 
at the top of the precipice; and, being thus prepared to let 
fly the messenger of death, I felt but little alarm, from the 
assurance of my ability to dispatch the monster, so soon as 
the opportunity offered. 

But, I had mistaken the course and object of the animal, 
and the precautionary steps I had taken, proved in the 
sequel, to have been my guarantee of safety, for I had 
scarcely adjusted every thing necessary in these cases, 
when I heard a yell, the most ferocious and terrific that 
the mind can conceive, and in a moment, the panther 
made a spring from the bottom of the precipice into a tree, 
twenty feet from the ground, foaming, yelling, and tearing 
the bark and branches with her claws, and distant from me 
about eighteen or twenty yards. The paroxysms of rage 
exhibited at this time by the creature, exceeded any thing 
I had ever before witnessed. I was then unable to account 
for it, there being no apparent cause to excite such actions, 
and the courage which I had acquired by long experience, 
was almost failing me; but, being convinced that my only 
safety was in the destruction of tliis terrible creature, I 
levelled my piece, and fired, but at the instant the trigger 
obeyed its impulse, the animal moved, and instead of kill- 
ing, I only added fury to my antagonist. She then sprung 
from the tree to a large limb of an adjoining black oak, 
commenced lashing the smaller limbs with her claws, curl- 
ing her tail, and darting fury from her eyes, sought the 
object of her anger, on whom she might wreak her ven- 
geance. 

I found that my security consisted in keeping perfectly 
quiet, and with much haste and trepidation, I succeeded in 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



re-loading my rifle; this quieted my fears, and I gained my 
usual confidence. By tliis time tlie panther, WTithing un- 
der the effect of the wound, yelled more terrible, if possible, 
than before, and seemed actuated solely by the spirit of the 
infernal regions, commenced springing on the rocks, then 
on some tree, but fortunately, always in that situation as to 
keep the tree behind which I stood, between us ; the last 
leap, however, that she made, was in the fork of a tree about 
fifteen yards from me, which completely uncovered me to 
the full view of this enraged monster. 

Whether the animal at the discovery, became daunted, or 
enjoying the self satisfaction of having her enemy within 
her reach, and thereby paused in order to glut her eyes 
more fully, preparatory to the destruction of her prey, or 
before she made her final leap, is impossible for me to 
divine; but, providentiallj' forme, it was thus, for this aw- 
ful moment of silence and hesitancy, enabled me to shoot 
the creature through the heart, and bring her lifeless at my 
feet Unaccustomed to see this animal do thus, I was en- 
deavouring to account for actions so extraordinary, in a 
variety of causes; but, on wending my way to my habita- 
tion, the mystery was solved. I overtook a hunter, who 
had in his arms two young panthers, and it appeared that 
this adventurous man had gone into the den of the mother, 
and robbed her of her kittens; this being the case, it is easy 
to account for the ferocity of the animal I had just killed, 
and from whose vengeance, I thanked my stars I had so luck- 
ily escaped. But my feelings towards the stranger were not 
of the most pacific kind, arising from the reflection of my dan- 
ger having been caused by his fool-hardiness, and I expressed 
myself to him on the subject in strong terms to that effect. 

The man, after hearing the story, turned pale and shud- 
dered, not at any danger he was then in, but from that 
which he had so fortunately escaped, for had the infuriated 
mother returned at the period he was in the den, the cubs 
he held in his arms, would, by the time I was conversing 
with him, have been sucking his blood, for, from his own 
tale, he could not have left the spot more than half an hour 
previous to my arrival. M. 



CHESAPEAKE DUCK SHOOTING. 

The Chesapeake Bay and its tributary streams, has, 
from its discovery, been known as the greatest resort of 
water fowl in the United States. This has depended on 
the profusion of their food, which is accessible on the im- 
mense flats, or shoals that are found near the mouth of the 
Susquehanna, the whole length of North-East and Elk 
rivers, and on the shores of the bay and connecting streams, 
as far south as York and James rivers. 
L 



The quantity of fowl of late years, has been decided- 
ly less than in times gone by; and the writer has met 
with persons who have assured him, the number has 
decreased one half in the last fifteen years. This change 
has arisen, most probably, from the vast increase in the 
destruction from the greater number of persons who now 
make a business or pleasure of this sport; as well as the 
constant disturbance they meet with on many of their feed- 
ing grounds, which induces them to distribute themselves 
more widely, and forsake their usual haunts. 

As early as the first and second week in October, the 
smaller Ducks, as the Buffel head, (anas albeola,) South 
southerly, (a. glacialis,) and the Ruddy, or Heavy tailed 
duck, (a. rubidus,) &c. begin to show themselves in the 
upper part of the bay, and by the last of the month, the 
Black head, (a. marila,) Widgeon, or Bald pate, (a. 
Americana,) Red head, (a. ferina,) and the Goose, (a. 
Canadensis,) appear, and rapidly distribute themselves 
down the bay. The Canvass back, (a. valisineria,) and 
the Swan (a. cygnus,) rarely, unless the weather to 
the north has been severe, appear in quantities till the 
middle of November. All these fowl, when first arrived, 
are thin and tasteless, from their privation during their mi- 
gration, and perhaps preparatory arrangements, and require 
some days at least, of undisturbed repose, to give them that 
peculiai- flavour, for which some of them are so celebrated. 
During the low tides succeeding their arrival, the birds sit 
on the flats far from the shores, and rarely rise to the wing 
unless disturbed; but when the spring tides render the 
water too deep for feeding, they commence their career, 
and pass down the bay in the morning, and return in the 
evening. Most of these fowl feed on the same grass, 
which grows abundantly on the shallows in the bay and 
adjacent waters, and has been called Duck-grass, (Vaxis- 
NERiA ,imericana. ) 

It grows from six to eighteen inches in length, and is 
readily pulled up by the root. Persons who have closely 
observed these Ducks while feeding, say, that the Canvass 
back, and Black head, dive and pull the grass from the 
ground, and feed on the roots, and the Red head, and Bald 
pate then consume the leaves. Indeed, although the Bald 
pate is a much smaller bird than the Canvass back, they 
have been seen to rob the latter, immediately on their re- 
turn from under the water, of all their spoil. 

All these larger Ducks are found together when feeding, 
but separate when on the wing. That they feed on the 
same grass, is evident, from the similarity of flavour, and 
those most accustomed to the article, have a difficulty in 
deciding on the kind of Duck from the taste. Indeed, the 
Bald pate is generally preferred by residents. Whilst 
speaking of flavour, I will remark, that the Swan under 



42 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY, 



five years of age, is probably the most luscious of all water 
fowl. It possesses the taste of the Goose, but more concen- 
trated, and is far more tender; and I have known persons 
nauseated by the extreme sweetness of the flesh. The 
length of time this bird can be preserved untainted is re- 
markable, having seen one of them still perfectly sweet 
four weeks after his death, and without any means having 
been employed, other than an exposure to the air during 
the time, most of which had been wet and warm. The age 
of the Swan may be known by the colour of the feathers, 
&c., the yearling being of a deep leaden tint, with a deli- 
cate red bill; the second year, he is of a lighter colour, 
with a white bill; the third season, his bill has become a 
jet black, but about one third of the plumage is still tipped 
with grey, and till he is five years of age, an occasional 
feather will present the tint of 3-outh. As they live perhaps 
to one hundred years or more, they become exceedingly 
tough and tasteless, and flying, as they generally do, in lines 
of from three to eight with a patriarch at the head, the lead- 
ing Swan is usually passed and the followers chosen. 
These elders have a note remarkably resembling, at a dis- 
tance, the common tin trumpet, and the intensity of their 
inharmonious scream is decreased by youth. 

" The lasl sweet notes of the expiring Swan" 

are as unknown in the Chesapeake, as 

"Memnon's music which at sun rise play'd." 

When more than one person are shooting, it is usual for 
each to name which Swan he will aim at, and if there be 
not enough for all, two will take a particularly good bird, 
and if it be killed, will decide its possession afterwards, by 
some play of chance. Few are willing to take the first 
bird, even though their position of last in the direction of 
flight, would compel them according to usage, to do so, not 
only from the difficulty and uselessness of killing the old 
ones, but there is much less chance of a stray shot from a 
neighbour's gun assisting in the destruction. 

In the autumn of 1829, the writer with another person, 
was on Abby Island, when seven Swans were approaching 
the point in one line, and three others a short distance be- 
hind them. The small group appeared exceeding anxious 
to pass the larger, and as they doubled the point at about 
sixty yards distance, the three formed with the second bird 
of the larger flock, a square of probably less than three feet. 
At this moment both guns were discharged, and three 
Swans were killed, and the fourth so much injured, that he 
left the flock and reached the water a short distance in the 
bay, but it being nearly dark, his direction was lost. 
These, with another that had been killed within an hour, 
and three which were subsequently obtained, were all of 



less than five years of age, and averaged a weight of 
eighteen pounds. 

The Swans never leave the open shores of the bay for 
the side streams, and the Geese rarely through the day, 
though they often retire to the little inlets to roost or feed 
at night. Few of these large game are found after their 
regular settlement, above Spesutie Island, but lay on the 
flats in mingled masses of from fifty to five hundred, down 
the western shores, even as far as the Potomac. During a 
still night, a few Swans may often be seen asleep in the 
middle of the bay, surrounded by a group of far more 
watchful Geese; and the writer was paddled at day break 
one morning within ten feet of an enormous sleeping Swan, 
who had probably depended for alarm on the wary Geese, 
by which he had been surrounded, but which, as we ap- 
proached had swam away. By an unforeseen occurrence, 
when a few seconds would have enabled us to have stunned 
him by a blow, he became alarmed, and started in a direc- 
tion that prevented a probable chance of killing, from our 
position, and tottering nature of the skiff. 

The strength of these birds is so great, that if we had at- 
tempted his capture without first disabling him, he would 
doubtless have upset the boat; for it has been known that a 
full grown Swan, and adults usually measure seven feet 
from tip to tip, is more than equal in strength, in three 
feet water, to a good sized man. 

By the middle of December, particularly if the weather 
has been a little severe, the fowl of every kind has become 
so fat, that I have seen Canvass back burst open in the 
breast in falling on the water; and spending less time in 
feeding, pass up and down the bay from river to river, in 
their morning and evening flights, and give at certain locali- 
ties, great opportunities for destruction. They pursue, 
even in their short passages, very much the order of their 
migratory movements, of the line or baseless triangle, and 
when the wind blows on the points which may lie in their 
course, the sportsman has great chances of success. These 
points or courses of the Ducks, are materially affected by 
the winds, for they avoid, if possible, an approach to the 
shore, but when a strong breeze sets them on these pro- 
jections of the land, they are compelled to pass within shot, 
and often over the land itself 

In the Susquehanna and Elk rivers, there are few of 
these points for shooting, and success depends in those 
places, in destroying them on their feeding grounds. 
After leaving the eastern point at the mouth of the Susque- 
hanna and Turkey Point, the western side of the Elk 
river, which are both moderately good for flying shooting, 
the first place of much celebrity is the narrows, between 
Spesutie Island and the western shore. These narrows 
are about three miles in length, and from three to five 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



hundred yards in breadth. By the middle of November, 
the Canvass backs particularly, begin to feed in this passage, 
and the entrance and out let, as well as many intermediate 
spots, become very successful stations. A few miles fur- 
ther down the western shore is Taylor's Island, which is 
situated at the mouth of the Rumney, and Abby Island at 
the mouth of Bush river, which are both celebrated for 
Ducks, as well as Swans and Geese. These are the most 
northerly points where large fowl are met with, and 
projecting out between deep coves where immense numbers 
of these birds feed, they possess great advantages. The 
south point of Bush river, or Legoe's point, and Robbins' 
and Rickett's points near Gunpowder river, are fruitful 
localities. Immediately at the mouth of this river is situ- 
ated Carroll's Island, which has long been known as a 
great shooting ground, and is in the rentage of a company 
at a high rate. Maxwell's point, as well as some others up 
this and other rivers, and even further down the bay, are 
good places, but less celebrated than those I have men- 
tioned. Most of these points are let out as shooting 
grounds to companies and individuals, and they are es- 
teemed so valuable, that intruders are treated severely. 

It has been ascertained, that disturbing the fowl on the 
feeding flats, is followed in most cases, by their forsaking 
those haunts, and seeking others ; hence, in the rivers 
leading to the bay near flying points, they are never an- 
noyed by boat shooting either by night or day, and al- 
though the discharge of guns from the shore may arouse 
them for a time, they soon return; whereas, a boat or sail 
in chase a few times, will make them forsake a favourite 
spot for days. 

From the great number of Ducks that are seen in all di- 
rections, one would suppose that there could be no doubt 
of success at any of the points in their course of flight; 
but whilst they have such correct vision as to distance, and 
wide range of space, unless attending circumstances are 
favorable, a sportsman may be da3-s without a promising 
shot. For the western side of the bay, and it is there the 
best grounds are found, the southerly winds are the most 
favourable; and, if a high tide is attended by a smart frost 
and mild south wind, or even calm morning, the number 
of birds set in motion becomes inconceivable, and they ap- 
proach the points so closely, that even a moderately good 
shot, can procure from fifty to one hundred Ducks a day. 
This has often occurred, and the author himself has seen 
eight fat Canvass backs killed at one discharge into a flock, 
from a small gun. 

To a stranger visiting these waters, the innumerable 
Ducks, feeding in beds of thousands, or filling the air with 
their careering, with the great numbers of beautiful white 
Swans resting near the shores, like banks of driven snow, 



he would naturally suppose the facilities for their destruc- 
tion were equal to their profusion, and with so large an 
object in view, a sportsman could scarcely miss his aim. 
But when he considers the great thickness of their cover- 
ing, the velocity of their flight, the rapidity and duration 
of their diving, and the great influence that circumstances of 
wind and weather have on the chances of success, it be- 
comes a matter of wonder how so many are destroyed. 

The usual mode of taking these birds, has been, till re- 
cently, by shooting from the points during the flight, or 
from the land or boats on their feeding grounds, or by 
toUng, as it is strangely termed, an operation by which the 
Ducks are sometimes induced to approach within a few feet 
of the shore, from a distance often of several hundred yards. 
This process, though it has been frequently described, may 
not be uninteresting to repeat. A spot is usually selected 
where the birds have not been much disturbed, and where 
they feed at three or four hundred yards from, and can ap- 
proach to within forty or fift}^ yards of the shore, as they 
will never come nearer than they can swim freely. The 
higher the tides and calmer the day, the better, for they 
feed closer to the shores and see more distinctly. Most 
persons on these waters, have a race of small, white or 
liver coloured dogs, which are familiarly called the toler 
breed, but which appear to be the ordinary Poodle. 

These dogs are extremely playful, and are taught to run 
up and down the shore, in sight of the ducks, either by the 
motion of the hand or by throwing chips from side to side. 
They soon become perfectly acquainted with their business, 
and as they discover the Ducks approaching them, make 
their jumps less high till they almost crawl on the ground, 
to prevent the birds discovering what tlie object of their 
curiosity may be. This disposition to examine rarities, 
has been taken advantage of, by using a red or black 
handkerchief by day, and white by night, in toling, or 
even by gently splashing the water on the shore. The 
nearest Ducks soon notice tlie strange appearance, what- 
ever the plan attempted, raise their heads, gaze intent- 
ly for a moment, then push for the shore. The rest fol- 
low suite, and the author has, on many occasions, seen 
thousands of them swimming in a solid mass direct to the 
object; and by removing the dog further into the grass, 
they have been brought within fifteen feet of the bank. 
When they have approached to about thirty or forty yards, 
their curiosity is generally satisfied, when they swim 
laterally up and down for a few seconds, and then retro- 
gade to their old spot. Whilst presenting the side view, is 
the moment to shoot, and forty or fifty Ducks have often 
been killed by a small gun. The Blackheads toll the most 
readily, then the Red heads, next the Canvass backs, and 
the Bald pates rarely; and this, is the ratio of their approach 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY. 



to the points in flying, although, if the Canvass hack has 
determined on his direction, few circumstances will change 
his course. The total absence of cover or precaution 
against exposure to sight, or even a large fire, will not turn 
these birds aside on such occasions. 

In ^_ym^ shooting, the Bald pate is a great nuisance, for 
they are so shy, that they not only avoid the points them- 
selves, but by their whistling and confusion of flight at such 
times, alarm others; and few days occur during the season, 
without many maledictions on their very existence. 

As simple as it may appear, to shoot with success into a 
solid mass of Ducks sitting on the water at forty or fifty 
yards distance, yet when you recollect, that you are placed 
nearly level with the water, the object opposed to the 
visual line, even though composed of hundreds, may be in 
appearance but a foot or two in width. To give, therefore, 
the best promise of success, old duckers recommend that 
the nearest Duck should be in perfect relief above the 
sight, whatever the size of the column, to avoid the com- 
mon result of over-shooting. The correctness of this prin- 
ciple was illustrated to the writer, in an instance in which 
he had toled to within a space between forty and seventy 
yards of the shore, a bed of certainly hundreds of Ducks. 
Twenty yards beyond the outside birds of the solid mass, 
were five Black heads, one of which was alone killed out of 
the whole number, by a deliberate aim into the middle of the 
large flock from a rest, by a heavy, well proved Duck gun. 

Before I leave the subject of sitting shooting, I will 
mention an occurrence that took place on Bush river, a 
few years since. A man whose house was situated near 
the bank, on rising early one morning, observed the river 
had frozen except an open space of ten or twelve feet in 
diameter, at about eighty yards from the shore nearly op- 
posite his house. The spot was full of Ducks, and with a 
heavy gun he fired into it; many were killed, and those 
that flew soon returned, and were again and again shot at, 
till fearful he was injuring those already his own, he 
ceased the massacre, and brought on shore ninety-two 
Ducks, most of which were Canvass backs.. 

The writer, three years since, had the use of a dog of 
the above species who had never, from his extreme youth, 
been taught, and the fourth or fifth attempt that was made at 
toling, as the Ducks neared him, he retired into the grass, 
stooped, and when he supposed they were within shot, im- 
mediately ceased his play, and at the sound of the click in 
cocking, laid flat down that he might be out of danger. 
This manoeuvre was observed frequently afterwards, and 
when he supposed the Ducks sufficiently near, no induce- 
ments could make him play. 

To prevent them running in, whilst toling, these dogs 
are not allowed to go into the water to bring out the 



Ducks, but another breed of large dogs of the Newfound- 
land and water spaniel mixture are employed. These ani- 
mals, whilst toling is in progression, or at a point, take ap- 
parently as much interest in success, as the sportsman him- 
self. During a flight, their eyes are incessantly occupied 
in watching the direction from whence the birds come, and 
I have frequently seen them indicate by their manner, the 
approach of a flock so distant, that the human eye would 
have overlooked it. As the Ducks come on, the dog lays 
down, but still closely observing them, and the moment 
the discharge occurs, jumps up to see the effect. If a Duck 
falls dead, they plunge in to bring it; but many of them 
wait to see how he falls, and whether he swims, and they 
seem to be as aware as the gunner, of the improbability 
of capture, and will not make the attempt, knowing, from 
experience, that a bird merely tvinged will generally save 
himself by swimming and diving. These dogs usually 
bring one Duck at a time out of the water; but a real New- 
foundland, who was with the author and his company this 
autumn, was seen on several occasions to swim twenty 
yards further, and take a second in the mouth to carry on 
shore. The indefatigability and ambition of these animals 
is remarkable, and a gentleman informed the author he 
had known his dog bring, in the space of one hour, twenty 
Canvass backs and three Swans from the water, when the 
weather was so severe that the animal was covered with 
icicles, and to prevent him freezing, he took his own great 
coat to envelop the dog during the time. Some dogs will 
dive a considerable distance after a Duck, but a crippled 
Canvass back, or Black liead, will swim so far under the 
water, that they can rarely be caught by the dog ; and it often 
has been observed, that the moment one of these Ducks, 
if merely winged, reaches the surface, he passes under, and 
however calm, cannot be seen again. To give an idea of 
the extreme rapidity with which a Duck can dive, I will 
relate an occurrence which was noticed by myself, and a 
similar one took place to another of the party the same 
day. A male South southerly was shot at in the water by 
a percussion gun, and after escaping the shot by diving, 
commenced his flight, and when about forty yards from the 
boat, he had acquired an elevation of a foot or more from 
the surface. A second percussion gun was discharged, and 
he dived from the wing at the flash, and though the spot of 
entrance was covered by the shot, he soon arose unharmed 
and flew. 

Canvass backs when wounded, on the streams near the 
bay, instantly direct their course for it, where they nestle 
among the grass on the shores till cured, or destroyed by 
eagles, hawks, gulls, foxes, or other vermin that are con- 
stantly on the search; and if a dead Canvass back be not 
soon secured, he becomes a prey to the gulls, who rarely 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



touch any other kind, so refined is their taste. I have seen 
severe contests take place betvi^een crippled Canvass backs 
and gulls, and although a pounce or two generally prevents 
further resistance, sometimes they are driven off. If the 
bird is remarkably savoury, the gull makes such a noise, 
that others are soon collected, vphen possession is determined 
by courage or strength. 

Another mode of taking Ducks, consists in placing 
gilling nets under water on the feeding grounds, and when 
they dive for food, their head and wings become entangled 
in the meshes, and they are drowned. This plan, though 
successful at first, soon drives the birds from these places; 
and in some cases, a few applications has entirely prevented 
their return for some weeks. Paddling upon them in the 
night, or day, produces the same effect; and although prac- 
tised to some extent on Bush river, is highly disapproved 
of by persons shooting from points. For the last three 
j'ears, a man has been occupied on this stream with a gun 
of great size fixed on a swivel in a boat, and the destruction 
of game on their feeding flats has been imitiense; but so un- 
popular is the plan, that many schemes have been privately 
proposed of destroying his boat and gun, and he has been 
fired at with ball so often, that his expeditions are at pre- 
sent confined to the night. Sailing with a stifi" breeze 
upon the Geese and Swans, or throwing rifle balls from 
the shore into their beds, is sometimes successful. 

Moonlight Goose shooting has not been a general prac- 
tice, but as these birds are in motion during light nights, they 
could readily be brought within range by " honking" them 
when fl3'ing. This sound is very perfectly imitated at Egg 
Harbour; and I have seen Geese drawn at a right angle from 
their course by this note. They can indeed be made to 
hover over the spot, and if a captive bird was employed, 
the success would become certain. 

Stool Ducks are little known, and from the very partial 
success in their employment the last fall bj^ the writer and 
his company, their usefulness seems very problematical. 

The art of shooting a Duck, is one difficult to acquire, 
the exceeding rapidity of their flight, rendering it necessary 
to direct the gun in advance, in proportion to their distance. 

It has been pretty well ascertained, that with a moderate 
wind, most of these birds can fly at the rate of a mile in a 
minute, or eighty-eight feet in a second; and, as no doubt 
an appreciable interval must elapse from the passage of the 
load from the barrel, till it reaches the object, in a distance 
of one hundred yards, an idea can be formed of the neces- 
sity of an allowance for flight. This interval is so distinct, 
that on most occasions the shot can be heard to strike, even 
at moderate distances, and when the result is fatal. Under 
ordinary circumstances, at forty yards the head is gene- 
rally aimed at; and at sixty, from six inches to a foot is 
M 



given; but, with a stifi" breeze to help them, even three or 
four feet becomes necessary. With Swan at sixty yards, 
the head is still aimed at, but the neck prolongs that part 
to two feet in advance of the body. None of these birds 
should be shot at, when advancing, for the thickness of the 
covering of the breast, as well as its rotunditj', diminish 
the chance of success; but experienced Duck shooters allow 
the bird to pass by them entirely, and then the shot strikes 
on a flatter surface as under the wing, and also passes in 
with the direction of the feathers. The same latitude of 
advance need not be allowed with the percussion gun, as 
with the flint, from the more instantaneous discharge, and 
this is one cause of failure in first use, and hence of the 
prejudice old duckers have to these guns. They have also 
conceived that a certain quantity of powder was necessary 
to kill, and finding that this proportion produced great 
recoil and uncertainty' of effect, have condemned the plan, 
without ascertaining that less powder was really necessary, 
from its more perfect combustion. Of the advantages of 
the percussion over the common gun in this amusement, 
where wet days are often the most successful, nothing need 
be said as to the greater certainty of explosion; its merits 
are so well known, that in two years there will probably be 
few flint guns on the bay. 

In this sport, it is all important to have guns that can 
bear a heavy charge without recoil, as great weight in the 
breech. Ordinary fowling pieces will not bear suflScient 
loads, and unless the bore be large, with a proportionate 
thickness of barrel, the large shot to be thrown, will not 
kill at a long distance. The most useful proportion for a 
double gun, is, weight of barrels from ten to eleven pounds; 
length, forty-two inches ; calibre, thirteen-sixteenths of an 
inch. This proportion has been ver}' accurately ascertain- 
ed, not only by experiments in England, but even in our 
own city; and within two years many such guns have ar- 
rived, in which the employment has confirmed the princi- 
ple. A few guns are in use, of a calibre of an inch and a 
half, and a weight of forty pounds, to be moved on a swivel. 
These have, on several occasions, killed eighty, or one 
hundred birds at a time, but they are verj' unwieldy, and 
only employed when the Ducks are sitting. The size of 
shot best adapted to this sport, is still a disputed point; but 
the writer, and many of his friends, have arrived at the con- 
clusion, that BB is the best for Ducks, and the smallest 
mould shot for Geese and Swan. The smaller the shot 
is, the greater the chance of striking, from the increase 
of the number of pellets; but unless it be of good size, 
it will not enter the feathers, and Canvass backs are 
so thickly covered, that smaller shot will rarely kill. 
When on the water at a moderate distance. No. 1. shot 
will be sufficiently large, and there being nearly double 



46 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY. 



the number of pellets, the birds struck will be in the same 
ratio. 

But, notwithstanding the apparent facilities that are offer- 
ed of success, this amusement is probably one of the most 
exposing to cold and wet, and those who undertake its en- 
joyment without a courage " screwed to the sticking point," 
will soon discover that 

" To one good, a thousand ills oppose." 

It is indeed, no parlour sport, and between creeping 
through mud and mire, often for hundreds of yards, to 
be at last disappointed, and standing exposed on points to 
the 

" Felling rain, or more llian freezing cold," 

for hours without even the promise of a shot, it would even 
try the patience of Franklin's glorious nibbler. It is, 
however, replete with excitement and charm, and to one 
who can enter on the pleasure, with a system formed for 
polar cold, and a spirit to endure 

" The weary toil of many a stormy day," 

it will yield a harvest of health and delight, that the "roam- 
er of the woods" can rarely enjoy. I. T. S. 



ADVICE TO YOUNG SPORTSMEN. 

When young men first take the field in pursuit of 
game, they are full of expectations, excited by the pros- 
pects of enjoyment; and, possessing youth, health and ac- 
tivity, seldom weigh the consequences of irregular habits, 
or the evils resulting from not observing a proper course of 
conduct, or the effect which the errors of their youth may 
have on their future life. Under these views, I have sug- 
gested the following advice: 

In associating with companions for your hunting excur- 
sions, choose, if possible, those who are calm in their mind, 
and deliberate in their movements, and free from that blus- 
tering spirit, which too often manifests itself in sportsmen. 
You will thereby avoid much danger, and those accidents 
which are mostly the effect of rashness and carelessness. 

Shun the company of a man who is continually cursing 
and swearing at his dogs, or on the slightest provocation, 
especially if he is unsuccessful in his enterprise, for it com- 
monly happens, that persons of these dispositions and 
habits, do not subject themselves to restraint, and will find 
excuse, no matter how trivial, to vend their anger, most 
generally on their dogs, and attribute their want of success 
to the error of these animals, when it originates altogether 



in their own turbulent passions. Shun such contaminating 
breath, as you would a contagious disease, that affects your 
very vitals. 

Never swear yourself, nor suffer any circumstance to 
make you commit yourself in a way that you would con- 
demn in others; neither permit the contingencies attending 
hunting excursions, such as misbehaviour of your com- 
panions, or dogs, to ruffle your disposition or excite anger; 
if your companion claims a bird to which you are entitled, 
or which has been shot on the discharge of both j'our guns, 
compromise your feelings and let him have it, it is but a 
bird, and not worth quarreling about; and, if he has been 
unjust in his claim, he will be ashamed of it. Should your 
dog commit error, chastise him, but keep yourself free 
from rage. Observing these rules, you will be more fitted 
for the pleasures of the field, more successful in your en- 
terprise, and avoid many unpleasant feelings to yourself 
and companions ; the labours of the day will end with 
calmness and pleasure, unmixed with rancorous feelings, 
and prove a period of recreation rather than toil. Choose 
cool weather for your season of shooting, your body then 
is more invigorated, and you will prevent considerable ex- 
citement and occasion for fever, which is more likely to 
attend warmer weather; beside, you perhaps can be better 
spared from your business. 

Do not let your excursions be marked with cruelty, 
either towards your dogs, or the innocent objects of your 
search ; let a moderate quantity of game suffice you always, 
and be not ambitious to excel, when that superiority is to 
be gained at the expense of much life, or labour ending in 
great fatigue to yourself. Beware displaying your art by 
shooting at harmless birds, such as swallows, robins, &c. 
for it is not only useless as a plan of practising to shoot, but 
cruel and disgraceful to him who employs it. 

Disclaim all braggarts of shooting, and found )-our prin- 
ciples on their failure, for I never yet saw a braggart, but 
had to back his performances with heavy oaths. These, 
generally, are the poorest shots, and most certainly the 
worst companions; for the man w-ho makes a statement, 
and endeavours to confirm it with an oath, is entirely un- 
worthy of confidence and respect; beside, persons who 
habituate themselves to this disgraceful and ungentlemanly 
practice, engender feelings, which in their nature are not 
only callous to truth, but to every sense of propriety; and 
there is nothing too ridiculous or incredible, either for 
them to relate as truth, or to be swallowed by them as such, 
when related by others; this is strongly verified in an old 
saying, "that it is even possible for a man to tell a lie so 
often, as to believe it himself for truth." This principle is 
more common amongst those who idle their time with a 
gun, lounge about taverns and drink to excess, but who, in 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



47 



the early stages of their career, might trace their decline to 
a "flask of brandy," which they always provided for 
their hunting excursions. 

I would advise you, therefore, to drink no spirituous 
liquors whatever, and discourage your friends from pro- 
viding a flask of brandy, for you may rest assured that all 
artificial stimulants of this nature, are never productive of 
good, but injurious to the health and disposition of those 
who use them, for they only excite but to enervate, and, 
are oftentimes productive of broils between friends, wliich 
frequently end in separation, and sometimes deadly strife. 
The best allay for thirst, is from the fountain which nature 
has provided, and by slaking your thirst with pure water, 
you will be enabled to withstand the fatigues of the day 
with more comfort both to j'our body and mind. 

It argues much against those who make frequent applica- 
tions of the bottle, or are stopping at every tavern to pro- 
cure a drink of liquor; these misgivings and derelictions of 
principle lead to further vice, and frequently bring the 
sportsman to a state of degradation, and the exercise of 
those habits which render him noxious to his family and 
friends, and to himself a source of disgust, and sometimes 
remorse. 

To check these inroads of vice, the young sportsman, in 
the commencement of his career, should mark out for his 
future guidance, certain rules from which he ought never 
depart; these rules should be founded on good principles, 
and by strictly observing them, he will subject all his 
pleasures to a proper sphere, tending much to sweeten life, 
and rob it of many of the concomitant evils, with which 
mortality is so replete. A celebrated writer justly ob- 
serves, " that benevolence requires, that the pleasures of 
sense should be made entirely subservient to health of body 
and mind, so that each person may best fill his place in life; 
best perform the several relative duties of it; and as far as 
in him lies, prolong his days to their utmost period, free 
from diseases and infirmities." 

Thus, by viewing and forming all your gratifications as 
subordinate steps to health, you may freely in this restrict- 
ed sense, pursue the various modifications of pleasure, as 
auxiliaries to the enjoyment of life; and by bridling 30ur 
desires, and discriminating between licentiousness and 
the moderate enjoyment of pleasure, and scrupulously 
adhere to the latter, you will no doubt lessen the anx- 
iety of indulgent fathers, or earnest solicitude of affec- 
tionate mothers ; escape many of the pains and ills of life, 
and pass down to a good old age, free from the keen retros- 
pection of having prodigally wasted your early days in 
cruelty, and the pursuit of those enjoyments, which for- 
ever elude the grasp, and only excite hope, in order to 
disappoint. 



ANECDOTE OF A GREY FOX. 

A FEW days smce, two gentlemen of Burlington coun- 
ty, N, J. went out to hunt rabbits, each provided with a 
gun, and but one dog. In a low bushy swamp, which 
they had just entered, the dog came upon the form of a 
Grey Fox. Reynard, of course, left his seat, and the 
party went off in keen pursuit. After a chase of about 
two miles, he entered a very dense thicket, composed prin- 
cipally of underbush and twigs, and making a circuit of 
this place, in order to deceive his enemies, returned to the 
place from whence he was first started. On his way 
thither, one of the persons (they had by this time sepa- 
rated) shot at, and evidently struck him, as he made three 
or four somersets, rolling himself into the form of a ball, 
and fell; but, instantly recovering, he succeeded in reach- 
ing the swamp, hunted closely by the dog, from whence he 
was again routed by his industrious pursuer. He now 
made for the thicket again, two miles off; chance threw 
the other sportsman in his way, and the poor Fox fell 
apparently dead at his very feet; but, ere the huntsman 
could secure him, he was gone. The thicket now became 
the scene of strife; Reynard played off his cunning full 
two hours and a half, (part of which was by moonlight) but 
it availed him nothing, as victory was decided in favour of 
the indefatigable dog and his masters, and our friend Vul- 
pes was sorely discomfited: he was carried home quite de- 
funct as they thought, and thrown into a corner of the 
room, the family sat down to supper; Reynard seeing all 
busily engaged, ventured to reconnoitre, and had cautiously 
raised himself on his fore legs, no doubt for this purpose, 
but on finding himself observed, resumed his quiescent 
state: one of the party, in order to ascertain whether the 
Fox was really alive, or not, passed a piece of lighted 
paper under his nose, but the inanimate log or stone ap- 
peared not more senseless at that moment. Finding all 
attempts to get off unavailing, he submitted to his destiny 
with a very good grace, and next morning was as well as 
ever, bating a slight wound in the shoulder, and a dirty 
skin. Reynard, we understand, is to be kept in durance 
until New Year, when he is to be again loosed for further 
sport; but, humanity would certainly dictate his final en- 
largement, especially as he exercised his cunning so ad- 
mirably to deceive his captors: he ma}^, also, have suffered 
death (in imagination) in its thousand forms, and, although 
he may, in former days, have trespassed on some good 
dame's poultry yard, and committed sundry other depre- 
dations, such as stealing whole flocks of geese by floating 
silently amongst, and drawing them one by one under 
water, &c. &c. ; we still think, that humanity should trace 
the discriminating line between cruelty and recreation, 
and sufl'er the " sly intruder" to escape with his life. 

Dec. 22, 1830. T. 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY, 



ANECDOTE OF A WILD GOOSE. 

Captain S , of N. J., while lying at anchor with 

his schooner, ofif Poole's Island, in the Chesapeake Bay, 
observed a Wild Goose, (which had been wounded) attempt 
to fly from the top of a hill to the water, but being unable 
to reach its place of destination, alighted about midway of 
the hill, where some cattle were grazing; one of which, 
seeing the stranger, and being unable exactly to make out 
its character, walked up, as is commonly the case with 
cattle, to smell it. The Goose, not fancying this kind of 
introduction, and perhaps unacquainted with the motives of 
the steer, seized him by the nose with so much firmness, 
as to set the creature bellowing, and actually ran off a 
considerable distance, before it could disengage this new 
enemy from its hold. The Goose then made for the bay, 
where it was chased by two boats from the schooner, and 
after much diversion, and an hour and a half's labour, they 
succeeded in capturing it. 



wet, cold, and hungry, find the fire out, and the meal pre- 
pared for you to consist of stale bread, beefsteak burnt up, 
and pye with crust as tough as sole leather. 



COMFORTS OF A SHOOTER. 

After a long ride to your hunting ground, and find- 
ing plenty of game, to be ordered off by the proprietor 
after killing but one bird; or wandering a long distance, to 
be overtaken by a heavy and continuous rain, or to be con- 
fined to the house in consequence of a tremendous rain, 
after having travelled the day before, many miles with a 
view of having a good hunt. 

To be in company with persons, whose dogs always 
flush the game, when yours are at a stand ; or to have a 
companion, who, the instant the dogs point, runs up and 
flushes the game, before you get within shooting distance, 
or (especially if you are a good shot, and himself an infe- 
rior one) makes it his common practice to shoot at the same 
bird with yourself, and claim it as having been killed by 
him. 

To have a companion, who, after shooting away all of 
his powder and shot, kills but one bird, attributes the fault 
to the gun, shot, or powder, and vends his angry feelings 
on his dog; or, after hunting all day, without seeing game, 
and towards evening the dogs come to a stand, expectation 
on tip-toe, but on coming up, find it to be either a lark, or 
where some partridges have been. 

To be in company with a stranger who professes to be a 
great shot, but on trial of his skill, proves him as likely to 
shoot yourself or the dog, as the bird in a mistake; or, to 
be intruded upon by some other sportsman, addicted to 
cursing, swearing, and hallooing at his dogs, sufficient to 
alarm a whole township. 

Comforting yourself in your ill-success, with a prospect 
of having a good supper; on your return to the tavern, 



MISCEL.L,AXY. 



A FRIEND from Pendleton furnishes us with the fol- 
lowing item of sporting intelligence. A young gentleman 
in Bath county, Mr. John Williams, recently killed two 
large bucks, the horns of which were so interlocked that 
they could not disengage themselves. There is no doubt 
they had had a combat, and from observations which Mr. 
W. made, he supposed they had been in this condition for 
several days. The horns were so securely fastened, that 
he could not separate them without breaking off one of the 
prongs. The bucks were killed at two shots, and the one 
which escaped the first ball, carried the other about one 
hundred yards before he met a leaden death." — Staunton, 
[f^a.) Sjjectator. 



RETALIATION. 
It is well known that in the good old days of our 
fathers, when New England was truly the land of steady 
habits, there would occasionally spring up a volatile and 
fun-loving character, whose disposition and habits formed 
a striking contrast with the upright and conscientious bear- 
ing of the puritans. There were two farmers of this cast 
who lived very near each other; one of them was the 
owner of very fine sheep, but who, having a decided anti- 
pathy to confinement would sometimes trespass on the en- 
closure of their master's neighbour. The other having 
caught them in one of these overt acts, determined to in- 
flict summary vengeance on the intruders and their owner. 
With this intent he proceeded to catch them, and running 
his knife through one of their hind legs, between the ten- 
don and the bone, immediately above the knee joint, put 
the other leg through the hole. In this condition the 
woolly flock decamped, leaving one quarter less tracks than 
when they came. The feeder of sheep kept his own coun- 
sel; and soon after, his neighbour's hogs having broken or 
dug into his enclosures, he took advantage of this opportu- 
nity for retaliation by cutting their mouths from ear to ear. 
In this way the four footed grunters, rather chop fallen, 
made their way to their own quarters. The owner of the 
swine soon made his appearance in a great rage, declaring 
his hogs were ruined, and that he would have redress. His 
neighbour made answer, that it was he who ruined them, 
" For, the fact is, friend, I didn't cut open them are hog's 
mouths, but seeing my sheep running on three legs, they 
split their mouths a laughing. " 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



49 



NEWFOUNDLAND DOG. 
C^NIS FAMILMRIS. VAR. SENSILIS. 

[Plate v.] 

Man exercises a more unlimited and singular sway 
over the Dog, than over any other any other animal; this 
is so complete that the whole species has become his pro- 
perty, each individual of it being identified with his mas- 
ter, whose orders, and even whose wishes, he is always 
solicitous to execute; he adopts his manners, and surren- 
ders his own feelings and propensities with cheerfulness 
and alacrity, remaining faithful even under the severest 
treatment; he calmly suffers and forgets the most cruel out- 
rages, or only remembers them to increase his devotion; 
and all this originates neither from necessity or constraint, 
but appears to arise from innate feelings of gratitude, and 
true friendship. The speed, strength, and scent of the 
Dog, have constituted him a powerful ally of man against 
other animals, and his services have, in all probability, 
contributed in no slight degree to have reclaimed man from 
the savage state, and induced him to adopt the pastoral, or 
second grade of civilization. 

In fact, it must be evident to every reflecting mind, that 
without the aid of this faithful animal, man could never 
have obtained the mastery he now holds over the rest of 
creation. To conceive the importance of this acquisition, 
let it be supposed that it had never been attained. With- 
out the assistance of the Dog, how could man have attempt- 
ed to reduce the other animals to a state of subjection? For 
his own safety, and to constitute himself master of the ani- 
mated world, it was absolutely necessary to form an alli- 
ance with some of the animals themselves, and to conciliate 
such as were capable of attachment and obedience, in order 
to oppose them to such as were possessed of opposite quali- 
ties. Hence, the domestication of the Dog seems to have 
been almost coeval with the history of man in a social state, 
and the result has been the conquest of the earth. 

The generic characters of the Dog are, having the face 
prolonged, and the naked, glandulous part of the nose more 
or less rounded; the cheeks somewhat elevated, the tongue 
smooth, and the ears erect, and pointed. This last charac- 
ter, however, becomes altered by domestication. Fore 
feet with five, and hinder feet with four toes, provided 
with strong, slightly curved nails, which are not retractile, 
as in the cats. The dental system in this genus is peculiar; 
there are in all forty-two teeth, namely, twenty in the 
upper jaw, and twenty-two in the lower, which are dis- 
posed as follows: Incisors |, canine \z\, molars fif . The 
incisors are placed on the same line, and are trilobed before 
they have been much used. The canines are conical, 
N 



acute, and smooth. The superior molars arc six in num- 
ber, on each side, viz. three small acute teeth or false cut- 
ting molars, having a single lobe, a bicuspid or carnivo- 
rous, and two small teeth with a flat crown. The inferior 
molars are seven in number, on each side, viz. four false 
molars, a carnivorous, and two tuberculous teeth. This 
genus, as we have mentioned in a former number, includes 
the domestic Dog, the fox, the wolf, and the jackal. All 
the species are endowed with very acute senses, especially 
that of smelling. They are carnivorous, even feeding on 
flesh, when in a putrid state; more or less intelligent. The 
generality of them unite in troops, for the purpose of taking 
their prey, which they follow by the scent. Some species 
live in burrows, but the greatest number inhabit woods and 
thickets. 

The specific characters of the domestic Dog, as given by 
Desmarest, are; tail curved upwards in a greater or less 
degree ; face more or less prolonged, or shortened ; hair 
very various as to colour, though in almost every in- 
stance where the tail is varied with white, this colour is 
terminal. Linnaeus assigned as a character of this species, 
that the tail inclined to the left side, but this, daily obser- 
vation proves to be incorrect. 

To dwell at greater length on the description or particu- 
lar qualities of this well known animal, would be superflu- 
ous. Instead, therefore, of entering into a detail of his 
character and uses, we shall principally call the attention of 
our readers to the diflerent opinions of naturalists, as res- 
pects the original species, with a few instances of his saga- 
city, attachment, and perseverance, as have occurred in the 
course of our reading. 

It must be obvious, even to the most unobservant, how 
exceedingly Dogs difler, not only in their habits, faculties, 
and propensities, but also in the form and proportions of 
their bodies, the infinite and incessant mixture of races, 
and the ramification of crosses, rendering it almost impos- 
sible to enumerate each distinct breed or variety. This 
however, has been attempted by several naturalists. The 
first systematic arrangement of these animals, which we 
have inet with, is that of Dr. Caius, who divides them into 
three classes: 1. Those of a generous nature. 2. Farm 
Dogs; and 3. Mongrels. After the time of this author, 
numbers of classifications have been given, all- more or less 
defective. Buffon has drawn up an elaborate genealogical 
table to prove that all the varieties may be traced back to 
the shepherd's dog, which he considers the original type, 
from its great sagacity. In this table he not only attempts 
to class the difierent varieties, but also to give an idea of 
the mode in which they have been produced, by the influ- 
ence of climate, and the commixture of breeds. It is con- 
structed in the form of a geographical chart, so as to pre- 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



serve as much as possible the position of the different cli- 
mates in which each variety is found. As has already been 
mentioned, the shepherd's Dog is assumed as the starting 
point. This variety, when transported into cold regions, 
becomes ugly and small; though in Russia he still main- 
tains his distinctive characters; in temperate climates, and 
among perfectly civilised nations, he loses his savage air, 
his erect ears, his rude long hair, and assumes the form of 
the mastiff, bull dog, or hound, which latter is the most dis- 
tant remove from the original stock. The hound, setter, 
and terrier, are of the same race, according to Buffon, and 
he states, that the same birth has produced all these varie- 
ties. If the hound be transported to Spain or Barbary, it 
will become either a spaniel or water Dog. The Irish grey- 
hound, when taken to the north, is converted into the great 
Danish Dog; and when transported to the south, becomes 
the common greyhound. But it would be useless to pur- 
sue the opinions of this beautiful but theoretical writer, to 
a greater length, particularly as it is by no means proved 
that the original stock was identical with the shepherd's 
Dog. 

Pennant has also given an arrangement of these animals, 
which is tolerably correct, though it is still deficient in 
rtiany particulars. The best which has been presented to 
the world, is that of F. Cuvier, who has paid much atten- 
tion to this intricate subject; this classification, which dif- 
fers much from that of Buffon, has also been adopted by 
Desmarest, and is as follows. He first divides them into 
three groups; Matins, Spaniels, and Dogues. 

I. Matins, or those Dogs having more or less elongated 
head, the parietal bones approaching each other, and the 
condyles of the lower jaw placed in a horizontal line with 
the upper jaw teeth. 

Var. A. New Holland Dog. C.f. Australasia. Desm. 
Dingo. Shaw. Inhabits New Holland. 

B. French Matin. C.f. laniarius. Linn. Matin, 

Buffon. France. 

C. Danish Dog. C. f. Danicus. Desm. Grand 

Danois. Buffon. 

D. Grey hound. C grains. Linn. Levrier, Buf- 

fon. This variety is still further subdivided. 

a. Irish grey hound. 

b. Scotch grey hound. 

c. Russian grey hound. 

d. Italian grey hound. 

e. Turkish grey hound. 

In this group may also be placed the Mhanian Dog. 

II. Spaniels, or Dogs having the head very moderately 
elongated, the parietal bones do not approach each other 
above the temples, but diverge and swell out so as to en- 
large the forehead and cerebral cavity. 



Var. E. Spaniel. C. f. extraritis. Linn. This also, is 
divided into many subvarieties. 
a. Small spaniel. Le petit epagneul. Bvffon. 
h. King Charles's spaniel. C. brevipilis. Linn. 
Le Gredin. Buffon. 

c. Le Pyrame. Buffon. We have no Eng- 

lish name for this Dog 

d. Maltese Dog. C. melitaus. Bichon. Buff. 

e. Lion Dog. C. leoninus. Linn. 

f. Calabrian Dog. This variety is originally 

from Spain, hence its English name. 

F. Water spaniel. C. aquaticus. Linn. Grand 

barbet. Buffon. 

a. Small water spaniel. Petit barbet. BtrrFON. 

b. Le Griffon. The intelligence of these Dogs 

appears to be more suceptible of develop- 
ment than in any of the other varieties. 

G. Hound. C. f. gallicus. Linn. Chien cou- 

rant. Buffon. 
H. Pointer. C avicularius. Linn. Braque. 

Buffon. 
a. Dalmatian pointer. Braque de Bengal. 

Buffon. 
I. Turnspit. C. f. vertagus. Linn. Basset a 

jambes droites. Buffon. 

a. Crooked legged turnspit. Basset a jambes 

torses. Buffon. 

b. Chien burgos. Buffon. 

K. Shepherd's Dog. C. f. domesticus. Linn. 
L. Wolf Dog. C. pomeranus. Linn. 
M. Siberian Dog. C. sibiricus. Linn. 
N. Esquimaux Dog. C. f. borealis. Desm. 
0. The Alco. C. / americanus. Linn. To this 
group should also be added, the Alpine span- 
iel, the Newfoundland Dog, the setter, and 
the terrier. 
III. Dogues, or Dogs having the muzzle more or less 
shortened, the skull high; the frontal sinuses large; the 
condyle of the lower jaw extending above the line of the 
upper jaw teeth. The cranium is smaller than in the two 
preceding groups. 

Var. P. Bull Dog. C.f. molossus. Linn. 
a. Thibet Dog. 
Q. Mastiff. C. f anglicus. Linn. 
R. Pug Dog. C.f. fricator. Linn. Le doguin. 

Buffon. 
S. Iceland Dog. C. f. islandicus. Linn. 
T. Small Danish Dog. C. f. variegatus. Linn. 
U. Bastard Pug. C. f. hybridus. Linn. Le 

roquet. Buffon. 
V. English Dog. C.f. britannicus. Desm. 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



Var. X. Artois Dog. Nearly approaching, and per- 
haps derived from R., now extinct. 
Y. Andalusian Dog. C. f. andalusia. Desm. 

Chien de cayenne. 
Z. Barbary Dog. C. f. segyptius. Linn. Chien 
liD-c. BurroN. 
It will be perceived, that this list only includes the well- 
marked varieties; there are hundreds of others, of which it 
is impossible to give any distinctive characters. Most of 
these are termed Mongrels, and by the French, chiens 
de rve. 

When we consider even these varieties, it is evident, that 
the modifications of the original species have been immense, 
and that they have existed for so great a length of time, as 
to render it almost impossible to come to any definite con- 
clusion on the subject; since, however, the shape of the 
head has attracted the attention of naturalists, it has been 
found that some domesticated Dogs correspond in this part 
of their configuration with the wild species much more than 
others, rendering it more than probable, that they are all 
collateral ramifications of the same original stock. 

At the same time that this is admitted, it must be confess- 
ed that the perplexities attendant on this intricate point, 
although lessened, are by no means removed, for the ques- 
tion immediately recurs, what is this original stock, or 
primitive species ? Is it the shepherd's Dog, as supposed 
by Bufibn; or, did it arise from a union between the seve- 
ral species of the genus Canis; or finally, is it one or other 
of these species, modified by domestication, and other con- 
curring circumstances? 

From some experiments, which appear to have been 
conducted with great care, Bufibn is of opinion, as before 
stated, that the wolf and the fox are widely different in 
their natures from the Dog, and that their species are so 
distinct and remote from each other, as to prevent any sex- 
ual intercouse, at least, in a state of captivity, and observes 
" that the Dog did not derive his origin from either the 
wolf or the fox, and that those who regard these two ani- 
mals as wild dogs, or vvho imagine the Dog to be a wolf or 
fox become domesticated, have deceived themselves. 

In this, however, BuflTon himself fell into an error, as 
Pennant, Daniel, Pallas, and others, all bring proofs that 
intercourse has taken place among the various species of 
the Dog kind and their congenus, but also, that these occur- 
rences are by no means uncommon. In a menagerie, 
which was exhibited in 1S28, in England, were two ani- 
mals, from a cross between the wolf and the domestic Dog, 
which had been bred in that country. A similar circum- 
stance is related by the celebrated John Hunter, in the 
Philosophical Transactions for 1787, and he thinks that it 
establishes the fact of the wolf and the Dog being of the 



same species; and, on the same ground, deduces the iden- 
tity of the Dog and the jackal. This idea is also held by 
Pennant, who says, that the original stock of Dogs in the 
old world, is derived from the above mentioned animals, 
and that their tamed oflspring, crossed with each other and 
with their parent stock, have gradually given rise to the 
numerous forms and sizes of the canine race. 

There is one great obstacle to the adoption of these opi- 
nions, arising from the manner in which all varieties of the 
Dog carry their tails, differing in this respect from all the 
other species of the genus. Even the Esquimaux Dog, 
which is in a half-reclaimed state, invariably carries his 
tail turned upward, whilst in the wolf of the same district, 
which he so closely resembles, it generally drops, espe- 
cially when running. Dr. Richardson, however, states, 
" that the latter practice (of curving the tail upwards) is not 
totally unknown to the wolf; although that animal, when 
under the observation of man, being generally apprehensive 
of change, or on the watch, seldom displays this mark of 
satisfaction. I have, however, seen a family of wolves play- 
ing together, occasionally carry their tails curled upwards." 

From a careful investigation of all the information we 
have been able to attain on this point, the opinion of ButTon, 
that the Dog is a separate and distinct species, appears the 
most plausible, though whether the shepherd's dog was 
the originial stock from which the numberless varieties 
now existing are derived, is very problematical. 

The wild dogs now found in various parts of the world, 
all appear to have originated from some of the domestic 
varieties, and to be easily reclaimable, never losing their 
respect for the human species. In fact, these animals never 
voluntarily separate themselves from man; even where they 
have no individual masters, they still frequent his abode. 
Thus they are found in this half-wild state in Lisbon, and 
in most of the Asiatic cities. In Cuba and India, however, 
they have partially assumed their native habits, hunting in 
packs, attacking and overcoming much superior animals, 
from their numbers. 

The females go with young about sixty-three days, and 
generally produce from three to five at a birth, though, in 
some instances, the litters are much larger. The puppies 
are born blind, the eye being closed with a membranous 
substance, which, in about nine or ten days, is ruptured 
by the action of the upper eye-lid. They also have their 
muzzle short and full, even in the varieties having elon- 
gated faces, as the greyhound; at the end of two months 
they begin to display their character, and to grow rapidly. 
In the fifth and sixth month they commence to shed their 
teeth, which are replaced, as in man, with others, which 
are never renewed. In the first months of their existence, 
both sexes discharge their urine in squatting down, but 



52 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



towards the end of a year the Dog raises his leg in perform- 
ing this act. The duration of a Dog's life is usually about 
fourteen or fifteen years, but they frequently suffer much 
from the effects of age. It is said, that the probable age of 
a Dog can be ascertained b}^ an examination of his teeth; 
in the earlier 3'ears they are exceedingly white and sharp 
pointed; but the farther he advances in life, the more they 
become covered with calculous scales near the gums, dis- 
coloured in all parts, and blunt and unequal at their points; 
but a still more certain indication of age, is a gray and 
hoary tinge above the nose to the eyes, and upon the front; 
this begins to appear about the tenth or eleventh year, and 
continues to increase till the last stage of life. 

As we have already observed, the Dog is carnivorous; 
he does not, however, eat every kind of animal food indis- 
criminately. Thus, most of the water birds, which have 
a strong fishy taste, are rejected by him, except when 
urged by great hunger. He is possessed of such strong di- 
gestive powers, as to derive nourishment from the hardest 
bones. When flesh cannot be procured he will feed on fish, 
fruits, succulent vegetables, and bread; and, indeed, in 
those countries where dog's flesh is considered as a gastro- 
nomic delicacy, he is wholly fed on vegetable food. The 
Dog drinks by lapping up the water with his tongue; this 
organ, also, is the only part of his body from which he 
perspires, hence, whenever he is using any violent exer- 
cise, it is suffered to loll out of the mouth. Before lying 
down, he generally walks several times round the spot on 
which he intends to repose. He sleeps but little, and sel- 
dom profoundly, the slightest noise causing him to spring 
up. During the time he is asleep, he frequently starts, or 
has a tremulous motion in his limbs. 

Besides the usual employment of Dogs in this country, 
as guards, or for the chase, they are extensively used by 
many nations to draw burdens, particularly among the in- 
habitants of the northern parts of this continent; and the 
weights they are capable of moving, especially over the 
ice, are truly astonishing. Captain Lyon, to whom we 
are indebted for an exceedingly interesting account of the 
Esquimaux variety of this animal, says he has seen a Dog 
draw one hundred and ninety-six pounds, the distance of 
a mile, in eight minutes. But their use as beasts of draught 
is not confined to these nations, the inhabitants of Holland 
have long used them for this purpose, and nothing is more 
common in Paris, than to see these animals dragging small 
carts with vegetables and meat. 

In some countries the flesh of the Dog is considered as a 
great luxury; this is especially the case in China, and in 
New Zealand. When used for this purpose, they are never 
suffered to eat animal food, but are kept in cages, and fat- 



tened with vegetables. They are killed by strangling, and 
the extravasated blood is carefully collected, and also forms 
a culinary delicacy. They grow very fat, and are allowed, 
even by such of our countrymen as have tasted their flesh, 
to be very palatable. But the taste for the flesh of these 
quadrupeds is not confined to the Asiatic countries, some 
of the Indian nations of this continent have the same taste. 
We also find that the ancients considered the flesh of young 
dogs to be excellent food. Hippocrates placed it on a foot- 
ing with beef and mutton; the Romans, who were no slight 
adepts in the gastronomic art, likewise admitted sucking 
puppies among their delicacies. 

Unfortunately, this sagacious and faithful animal is liable 
to disease, which is communicable to almost all animals that 
he may bite whilst labouring under it; the human species 
appears to be peculiarly liable, under such circumstances, 
to be inoculated with this horrible, and, alas! almost incu- 
rable malady. As other temporary diseases are sometimes 
mistaken for hydrophobia, we are induced to subjoin the 
following account of the symptoms, as laid down in a work 
on this disorder, by Chaussier and Orfila. 

"When this disease is in its forming stage, a Dog is 
sick, languid, and more dull than usual. He seeks retired 
spots, remains in a corner, does not bark, but growls con- 
tinually, at strangers, and refuses to eat or drink, without 
any apparent cause. His motions are unsteady, resembling 
those of a man almost asleep. At the end of three or four 
days, he leaves his master's house, and roves about in all 
directions; walking or running as if intoxicated, and has 
frequent falls. His hair is bristled up, his eyes haggard, 
fixed and sparkling; his head hangs down; his mouth is 
open, and full of frothy saliva; his tongue is protruded, 
and his tail hangs between his legs. He has, in most cases, 
but not invariably, a horror of water, the aspect of which 
seems to exasperate his sufl'erings. He experiences, at re- 
peated intervals, transports of fury, and strives to bite 
every object which presents itself, not even excepting his 
own master, whom, in fact, he now scarcely recognizes. 
At the end of about thirty-six hours he dies in convul- 
sions." 

There are few diseases in which quacks have more suc- 
cessfully imposed on the credulity of mankind, or in which 
even the best directed treatment has proved more ineffec- 
tual. At one time, great reliance was placed in the Orms- 
kirk remedy, which was superseded by a host of pretended 
antidotes derived from the vegetable kingdom, and what is 
extraordinary, from the most inert of these productions, 
such as chickweed, anagalis, water plaintain, and the 
skull-cap, none of which possess the slightest medical pro- 
perties. Some persons rely on what is termed worming 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



a Dog, as a preventative to his being attacked with mad- 
ness; this is absurd and utterly useless.'* The nature of our 
work will not permit us to enter on this subject at greater 
length, we must therefore refer such of our readers as wish 
further information on the subject, to the treatise above 
alluded to. There is one precaution, however, that should 
always be borne in mind; that where a dog bites any per- 
son, the animal should not be killed, but, should be se- 
curely confined, that the fact of the madness may be posi- 
tively ascertained. 

The variety of Dog so well known under the name of 
Newfoundland, has generally been considered by Natural- 
ists as a mongrel, allied to the Esquimaux and Indian; but 
this opinion is evidentl)^ erroneous, as he differs from those 
varieties in the form of his head, and the general robust- 
ness of his figure. When full bred and uncontaminated by 
the blood of any inferior variety, he is certainly the most 
imposing and noble of the canine race. Although, at first 
sight, his great size and strength convey a sensation of fear, 
the mild and expressive character of his countenance mani- 
fests that ferocity is far from being a predominant or dis- 
tinguishing trait of his character. 

Extremely docile and affectionate, this Dog maj^ be 
taught to perform actions which appear almost incredible, 
and which, seemingly, require no slight exercise of the 
reasoning faculties. Equally sagacious as persevering, he 
never relinquishes an undertaking as long as there remains 
the most distant hope of success. He seldom or ever offers 
offence, but will not receive an insult or injury with im- 
punity. The great pliability of his temper, peculiarly fits 
him for the use of man, as he never shrinks from any task 
that may be assigned him, but undertakes it with an ardour 
proportioned to the difficulty of the execution. A full 
sized Newfoundland Dog, from the nose to the end of the 
tail, measures about six feet and a half, the length of the 
tail being about two feet ; from one fore foot to the other 
over the shoulders, three feet four inches; round the head 
across the ears, two feet; round the upper part of the fore 
leg, ten inches; length of the head, fourteen inches. The 
feet are webbed, by which means he can swim with great 
quickness and facility. The body is covered with long 
shaggy hair; that on the legs and tail being very thick and 



* As some of our readers may be unacquainled -nilh this operation, we sub- 
join it. The worm, as it is termed, is the ligament which connects the tongue to 
the under part of the mouth. The tongue is to be raised, and the skin which 
covers the worm slit; a small awl is then to be introduced under the centre of it, 
to raise it up ; the farther end will make its appearance by a little force being 
used, and by being taken hold of with apiece of cloth, it may be easily removed. 
Great care must be taken not to break it. This operation should be performed 
at the time the pups are removed from the mother. It is said to prevent the Dog 
from biting, if he should be affected with madness, and to have proved perfectly 
efficacious in more than one instance; but this is at best but problematical. 



long. This Dog is not remarkable for symmetry of pro- 
portions, and his motions are heavy; consequentlj', he is 
not distinguished for speed. 

We are indebted to J. Browne Smith, Esq. for an op- 
portunity of figuring this majestic animal, from a remarka- 
bly fine and well marked specimen in his possession. The 
Philadelphia Museum is also enriched by a well prepared 
example of this Dog, which formerly belonged to Mr. 
Wistar, of Germantown. Both these animals, though not 
so large as the dimensions we have just given, afford excel- 
lent criteria of the form and general proportions of the 
animal. 

The Newfoundland Dog is habitually used in its native 
country, for the purposes of draught. They are easily 
broken in, and soon inured to the trammels of harness; 
three, four, or five are used in a sledge or other vehicle, 
and will convey a load of some hundreds weight for many 
miles with great ease. This, when once instructed in and 
accustomed to the road, they will do without any super- 
vision; and having delivered the load with which they 
have been entrusted, will return to the residence of their 
master, to receive their accustomed food, which generally 
consists of fish, either fresh or in a dried state, of both of 
which they are said to be extremely fond. Captain Brown* 
states, that in ISIO, it was computed that there were up- 
wards of two thousand of these Dogs, at and in the vici- 
nity of St. John's, Newfoundland. They are left to shift 
for themselves during the whole summer, and are not only 
troublesome to the inhabitants, but become absolute nui- 
sances, from starvation and disease. Contrary to their 
natural disposition, where properly taken care of, under 
these circumstances, they assemble in packs and prowl 
about like wolves for their prey, destroying sheep, poultiy, 
and every thing eatable within their reach. When the 
fishing season is over, and their inhuman masters again re- 
quire their services, they are reclaimed, and submit with 
cheerfulness to the tasks which are assigned them. The 
same author states, that this reclamation always gives rise to 
much confusion and litigation, the value of these periodi- 
cally deserted animals being estimated at from two to eight 
pounds each. 

In the year 1815, a dangerous disease resembling hydro- 
phobia appeared among them, owing, as was generall}^ 
supposed, to the hardships and starvation to which they 
were subjected. Persons bitten by them exhibited no 
symptoms of hydrophobia; and the disease was attributed, 
by the medical men of the island, to a fever induced by 
severe labour with insufficient nourishment upon salted 
food, and a scarcity of water, caused by the frozen state of 

* Biographical Sketches and Authentic Anecdotes of Dogs, p. 198 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



all the streams. Even while it is plenty, their unfeeling 
proprietors scarcely allow the exhausted animals time to 
slake their thirst. 

The qualifications of this Dog are not, however, confined 
to drawing burdens; as a watch Dog he is far more intelli- 
gent, and more to be depended on than the mastiff; and his 
services on navigable rivers are unequalled by any other of 
the species; he has even been broken in as a pointer, his 
sagacity and docility rendering his training an easy task. 

There are, however, some faults to which he is unfortu- 
nately too prone; — he is a most implacable enemy to sheep; 
when engaged in chase of a flock of these animals, he gene- 
rally singles out one of them, and if not prevented, which 
is no easy task, will never relinquish the pursuit until he 
has attained and mastered his victim. He always aims at 
the throat, but after having sucked the blood, leaves the 
carcass. He is, also, but too often inclined to be jealous of 
attentions paid by his master, either to other Dogs, or even 
to children, of this disposition we are acquainted with 
many instances. 

The Newfoundland Dog in his native country, seldom 
barks, and that, only when much provoked. His utter- 
ance appears an unnatural exertion, producing a noise be- 
tween a bark and a growl. His well known partiality for 
water, in which he appears in his proper element, diving 
and keeping beneath the surface for a considerable time, 
need not be commented on. The generality of the Dogs 
known under the name of Newfoundland, both in England 
and this country, are only half bred. 

We subjoin a few anecdotes of this animal, which we have 
derived from the work above cited. 

One of the magistrates of Harbour Grace had an animal 
of this kind, which was in the habit of carrying a lantern 
before his master at night, as steadily as the most attentive 
servant could do; stopping short when he made a stop, and 
proceeding when he saw him disposed to follow. If his 
owner was from home, as soon as the lantern was fixed in 
his mouth, and the command given, " Go fetch thy mas- 
ter," he would immediately set off, and proceed directly to 
the town, which lay at the distance of more than a mile 
from his place of residence. When there, he stopped at 
the door of every house, which he knew his master was in 
the habit of fi-equenting, and laying down his lantern would 
growl and beat at the door, making all the noise in his 
power, until it was opened. If his owner was not there, 
he would proceed farther in the same manner until he found 
him. If he had accompanied him only once to a house, 
this was sufficient to induce him to take that house in his 
round. 

Mr. Peter Macarthur informs me, says Capt. Brown, 
that in the year 1821, when opposite to Falmouth, he was 



at breakfast with a gentleman, when a large Newfoundland 
Dog, all dripping with water, entered the room, and laid 
a newspaper on the table. The gentleman informed the 
party, that this Dog swam regularly across the ferry every 
morning, went to the post office, and obtained the papers 
of the day. 

We might multiply these anecdotes, but the space allot- 
ted to this subject will only permit to add the following: 
we would, however, refer our readers to Capt. Brown's 
work, as presenting the most astonishing and almost incre- 
dible instances of sagacity in Dogs that have ever been 
presented to the public. 

A Mr. M'Intyre in Edinburgh, possesses a half-bred 
Newfoundland Dog, of which the author, after relating 
some extraordinary anecdotes, says, " A number of gen- 
tlemen, well acquainted with Dandie, are daily in the habit 
of giving him a penny, which he takes to a baker's shop 
and purchases a roll. One of these gentlemen was accosted 
by the Dog in expectation of his usual present. Mr. T. 
said, I have not a penny with me to-day, but I have one at 
home." On his return to his house, he heard a noise <at the 
door, which was opened by the servant, when in sprang 
Dandie to receive his penny. In a frolic, Mr. T. gave him 
a bad one, which he, as usual, carried to the baker, but 
was refused his bread. He immediately returned to Mr. 
T.'s, knocked at the door, and when the servant opened it, 
laid the penny at his feet, and walked off, seemingly with 
the greatest contempt. Although Dandie, in general, makes 
an immediate purchase of bread with the money he re- 
ceives, yet the following circumstance clearly demonstrates 
that he possesses more prudent foresight than many who 
are reckoned rational beings. One Sunday, when it was 
very unlikely that he could have received a present of 
money, Dandie was observed to bring home a loaf. Mr. 
M. being somewhat surprised at this, desired the servant 
to search the room to see if any money could be found. 
While she was engaged in this task, the Dog seemed quite 
unconcerned till she approached the bed, when he ran to 
her, and gently drew her back from it. Mr. M. then 
secured the Dog, which kept struggling and growling, 
while the servant went under the bed, where she found 
7 1-2 pence, under a bit of cloth; after this he was fre- 
quently observed to hide his money in a corner of a saw 
pit, under the dust." 

Notwithstanding the vigilance and watchfulness of this 
animal, he, like most others of his species, is terrified at 
the sight of a naked man. A tan-yard in Kilmarnock, in 
Scotland, was robbed by a thief, who took this method of 
overcoming the courage of a powerful Newfoundland Dog. 
This terror of Dogs at the sight of persons without clothes, 
arises from their being unaccustomed to such objects, and 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 55 

it appears to pervade most animals. In Schipp's curious unwelcome neighbour to flight, this was by turning his back 
memoir of his life, he mentions that a captain in East to the animal and looking at it through his legs. He de- 
India Company's service, was out shooting in India, he clared, that the moment the tiger saw this strange attitude, 
suddenly came on a large tiger, just as he had discharged he took to his heels, and was out of sight in a few mo- 
his gun, he had no time to load again, but for a time stood ments. 
his ground. At last he thought of a stratagem to put his 

INSCRIPTION 



MONUMENT OF A NEWFOUNDLAND DOG. 

BY LORD BYRON. 

When some proud son of man returns to earth, 

Unknown to glory, but upheld by birth. 

The sculptur'd art exhausts the pomps of woe. 

And storied urns record who rest below; 

When all is done, upon the tomb is seen. 

Not what he was, but what he should have been: 

But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend. 

The first to welcome, foremost to defend; 

Whose honest heart is still his master's own. 

Who labours, fights, lives, breathes, for him alone, 

Unhonour'd falls, unnoticed all his worth, 

Denied in Heaven the soul he held on earth: 

While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven. 

And claims himself a sole exclusive Heaven I 

Oh, man ! thou feeble tenant of an hour, 

Debas'd by slavery, or corrupt by power. 

Who knows thee well, must quit thee with disgust, 

Degraded mass of animated dust! 

Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat, 

Thy smiles hypocrisy, thy words deceit! 

By nature vile, ennobled but by name. 

Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame. 

Ye! who, perchance, behold this simple Urn, 

Pass on — it honours none you wish to mourn: 

To mark a Friend's remains these stones arise, 

I never knew but one, and here he lies. 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL fflSTORY 



THE SLOTH. 

From Walerton's Wanderings in South America. 

Let us now turn our attention to the Sloth, whose 
native liaunts have hitherto been so little known, and 
probably little looked into. Those who have written on 
this singular animal have remarked that he is in a perpe- 
tual state of pain, that he is proverbially slow in his move- 
ments, that he is a prisoner in space, and that as soon as 
he has consumed all the leaves of the tree upon which he 
had mounted, he rolls himself up in the form of a ball, and 
then falls to the ground. This is not the case. 

If the naturalists who have written the history of the 
Sloth had gone into the wilds, in order to examine his 
haunts and economy, they would not have drawn the fore- 
going conclusions; they would have learned, that though 
all other quadrupeds may be described while resting upon 
the ground, the Sloth is an exception to this rule, and that 
his history must be written while he is in the tree. 

This singular animal is destined by nature to be pro- 
duced, to live and to die in trees; and to do justice to him, 
naturalists must examine him in this his upper element. 
He is a scarce and solitary animal, and being good food, 
he is never allowed to escape. He inhabits remote and 
gloomy forests, where snakes take up their abode, and 
where cruelly stinging ants and scorpions, and swamps, 
and innumerable thorny shrubs and bushes, obstruct the 
steps of civilized man. Were you to draw your own con- 
clusions from the descriptions which have been given of 
the Sloth, you would probably suspect, that no naturalist 
has actually gone into the wilds with the fixed determina- 
tion to find him out and examine his haunts, and see whe- 
ther nature has committed any blunder in the formation of 
this extraordinary creature, which appears to us so forlorn 
and miserable, so ill put together, and so totally unfit to 
enjoy the blessings which have been so bountifully given to 
the rest of animated nature; for, as it has formerly been 
remarked, he has no soles to his feet, and he is evidently 
ill at ease when he tries to move on the ground, and then 
it is that he looks up in your face with a countenance that 
says, " Have pity on me, for I am in pain and sorrow." 

It mostly happens that Indians and Negroes are the peo- 
ple who catch the Sloth, and bring it to the white man: 
hence it may be conjectured that the erroneous accounts we 
have hitherto had of the Sloth, have not been penned down 
with the slightest intention to mislead the reader, or give 
him an exaggerated history, but that these errors have na- 
turally arisen by examining the Sloth in those places where 
nature never intended that he should be exhibited. 

However, we are now in his own domain. Man but 
little frequents these thick and noble forests, which extend 



far and wide on every side of us. This, then, is the proper 
place to go in quest of the Sloth. We will first take a near 
view of him. By obtaining a knowledge of his anatomy, 
we shall be enabled to account for his movements here- 
after, when we see him in his proper haunts. His fore- 
legs, or, more correctly speaking, his arms, are apparently 
much too long, while his hind-legs are very short, and look 
as if they could be bent almost to the shape of a corkscrew. 
Both the fore and hind legs, by their form, and by the man- 
ner in which they are joined to the body, are quite incapa- 
citated from acting in a perpendicular direction, or in sup- 
porting it on the earth, as the bodies of other quadrupeds 
are supported, by their legs. Hence, when you place him 
on the floor, his belly touches the ground. Now, granted, 
that he supported himself on his legs like other animals, 
nevertheless he would be in pain, for he has no soles to his 
feet, and his claws are very sharp and long, and curved; so 
that, were his body supported by his feet, it would be by 
their extremities, just as your body would be were you to 
throw yourself on all fours, and try to support it on the 
ends of your toes and fingers — a trying position. Were the 
floor of glass, or of a polished surface, the Sloth would actu- 
ally be quite stationary; but as the ground is generally 
rough, with little protuberances upon it, such as stones, or 
roots of grass, &c., this just suits the Sloth, and he moves 
his fore-legs in all directions, in order to find something to 
lay hold of; and when he has succeeded, he pulls himself 
forward, and is thus enabled to travel onwards, but at the 
same time in so tardy and awkward a manner, as to acquire 
him the name of Sloth. 

Indeed, his looks and his gestures evidently betray his 
uncomfortable situation; and as a sigh every now and then 
escapes him, we may be entitled to conclude that he is actu- 
ally in pain. 

Some years ago I kept a Sloth in my room for several 
months. I often took him out of the house, and placed 
him upon the ground, in order to have an opportunity of 
observing his motions. If the ground were rough, he 
would pull himself forwards by means of his fore-legs, at a 
pretty good pace; and he invariably shaped his course to- 
wards the nearest tree. But if I put him upon a smooth 
and well-trodden part of the road, he appeared to be in 
trouble and distress: his favourite abode was the back of a 
chair; and after getting all his legs in a line upon the top- 
most part of it, he would hang there for hours together, 
and often, with a low and inward cry would seem to invite 
me to take notice of him. 

The Sloth, in its wild state, spends its whole life in the 
trees, and never leaves them but through force, or by acci- 
dent. An all-ruling Providence has ordered man to tread 
on the surface of the earth, the eagle to soar in the expanse 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



of the skies, and the monkey and squirrel to inhabit the 
trees: still these may change their relative situations with- 
out feeling much inconvenience: but the Sloth is doomed 
to spend his whole life in the trees; and, what is more ex- 
traordinary, not upon the branches, like the squirrel and 
the monkey, but under them. He moves suspended from 
the branch, he rests suspended from it, and he sleeps sus- 
pended from it. To enable him to do this, he must have a 
very different formation from that of any other known 
quadruped. 

Hence, his seemingly bungled conformation is at once 
accounted for; and in lieu of the Sloth leading a painful 
life, and entailing a melancholy and miserable existence on 
its progeny, it is but fair to surmise that it just enjoys life 
as much as any other animal, and that its extraordinary 
formation and singular habits are but further proofs to en- 
gage us to admire the wonderful works of Omnipotence. 

It must be observed, that the Sloth does not hang head- 
downwards like the vampire. When asleep, he supports 
himself from a branch parallel to the earth. He first seizes 
the branch with one arm, and then with the other; and 
after that, brings up both his legs, one by one, to the same 
branch; so that all four are in a line: he seems perfectly at 
rest in this position. Now, had he a tail, he would be at a 
loss to know what to do with it in this position: were he to 
draw it up within his legs, it would interfere with them; 
and were he to let it hang down, it would become the sport 
of the winds. Thus his deficiency of tail is a benefit to 
him; it is merely an apology for a tail, scarcely exceeding 
an inch and a half in length. 

I observed, when he was climbing, he never used his 
arms both together, but first one and then the other, and 
so on alternately. Tliere is a singularity in his hair, dif- 
ferent from that of all other animals, and, I believe, hith- 
erto unnoticed by naturalists; his hair is thick and coarse 
at the extremity, and gradually tapers to the root, where it 
becomes fine as the finest spider's web. His fur has so 
much the hue of the moss which grows on the branches of 
the trees, that it is very difficult to make him out when he 
is at rest. 

The male of the three-toed Sloth has a longitudinal bar 
of very fine black hair on his back, rather lower than the 
shoulder-blades; on each side of this black bar there is a 
space of yellow hair, equally fine; it has the appearance of 
being pressed into the body, and looks exactly as if it had 
been singed. If we examine the anatomy of his fore-legs, 
we shall immediately perceive by their firm and muscular 
texture, how very capable they are of supporting the pen- 
dent weight of his body, both in climbing and at rest; and, 
instead of pronouncing them a bungled composition, as a 
celebrated naturalist has done, we shall consider them as 
P 



remarkably well calculated to perform their extraordinary 
functions. 

As the Sloth is an inhabitant of forests within the tro- 
pics, where the trees touch each other in the greatest pro- 
fusion, there seems to be no reason why he should confine 
himself to one tree alone for food, and entirely strip it of 
its leaves. During the many years I have ranged the 
forests, I have never seen a tree in such a state of nudity; 
indeed, I would hazard a conjecture, that, by the time the 
animal had finished the last of the old leaves, there would 
be a new crop on the part of the tree he had stripped first, 
ready for him to begin again, so quick is the process of 
vegetation in these countries. 

There is a saying amongst the Indians, that when the 
wind blows, the Sloth begins to travel. In calm weather 
he remains tranquil, probably not liking to cling to the brit- 
tle extremity of the branches, lest they should break with 
him in passing from one tree to another; but as soon as the 
wind rises, the brandies of the neighbouring trees become 
interwoven, and then the Sloth seizes hold of them, and 
pursues his journey in safety. There is seldom an entire 
day of calm in these forests. The trade-wind generally 
sets in about ten o'clock in the morning, and thus the Sloth 
may set off after breakfast, and get a considerable way be- 
fore dinner. He travels at a good round pace; and were 
you to see him pass from tree to tree, as I have done, you 
would never think of calling him a Sloth. 

Thus, it would appear that the difTerent histories we have 
of this quadruped are erroneous on two accounts: first, 
that the writers of them, deterred by difficulties and local 
annoyances, have not paid sufficient attention to him in his 
native haunts; and secondly, they have described him in a 
situation in which he was never intended by nature to cut 
a figure; I mean on the ground. The Sloth is as much at 
a loss to proceed on his journey upon a smooth and level 
floor as a man would be who had to walk a mile in stilts 
upon a line of feather beds. 

One day, as we were crossing the Essequibo, I saw a 
large two-toed Sloth on the ground upon the bank; how he 
had got there nobody could tell: the Indian said he had 
never surprised a Sloth in such a situation before: he would 
hardly have come there to drink, for both above and below 
the place, the branches of the trees touched the water, and 
afibrded him an easy and safe access to it. Be this as it may, 
though the trees were not above twenty yards from him, 
he could not make his way through the sand time enough 
to escape before we landed. As soon as we got up to him 
he threw himself upon his back, and defended himself in 
gallant style with his fore-legs. " Come, poor fellow," 
said I to him, " if thou hast got into a hobble to-day, thou 
shalt not suffer for it: I'll take no advantage of thee in mis- 



fortune; the forest is large enough both for thee and me to 
rove in: go thy ways up above, and enjoy thyself in these 
endless wilds; it is more than probable thou wilt never have 
another interview with man. So fare thee well." On 
saying this, I took up a long stick which was lying there, 
held it for liim to hook on, and then conveyed him to 
a high and stately Mora. He ascended with wonderful 
rapidity, and in about a minute he was almost at the top 
of the tree. He now went off in a side direction, and 
caught hold of the branch of a neighbouring tree; he then 
proceeded towards the heart of the forest. I stood look- 
ing on, lost in amazement at his singular mode of progress. 
I followed him with my eye till the intervening branches 
closed in betwixt us: and then I lost sight for ever of the 
two-toed Sloth. I was going to add, that I never saw a 
Sloth take to his heels in such earnest; but the expression 
will not do, for the Sloth has no heels. 

That which naturalists have advanced of his being so 
tenacious of life, is perfectly true. I saw the heart of one 
beat for half an hour after it was taken out of the body. 
The wourali poison seems to be the only thing that will 
kill it quickly. On reference to a former part of these wan- 
derings, it will be seen that a poisoned arrow killed the 
Sloth in about ten minutes. 

So much for this harmless, unoffending animal. He 
holds a conspicuous place in the catalogue of the animals of 
the new world. Though naturalists have made no mention 
of what follows, still it is not less true on that account. 
The Sloth is the only quadruped known, which spends its 
whole life from the branch of a tree, suspended by his feet. 
I have paid uncommon attention to him in his native 
haunts. The monkey and squirrel will seize a branch with 
their fore feet, and pull themselves up, and rest or run upon 
it; but the Sloth, after seizing it, still remains suspended, 
and suspended moves along under the branch, till he can 
lay hold of another. Whenever I have seen him in his 
native woods, whether at rest, or asleep, or on his travels, 
I have always observed that he was suspended from the 
branch of a tree. When his form and anatomy are atten- 
tively considered, it will appear evident that the Sloth can- 
not be at ease in any situation, where his body is higher, 
or above his feet. We will now take our leave of him. 



OBSERVATIONS ON THE NATURAL HISTORY 
OF THE CHAMELEON. 

By ROBERT SPITTAL, Esq. 
The singular habits of the Chameleon have ever ex- 
cited popular astonishment, and from their peculiar inter- 
est, claimed in a high degree the attention of the natural 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 

historian; and though it be now some time since, through 
his aid, many singular, but erroneous conclusions, con- 
cerning the nature and habits of this animal, have been 
dissipated, still we trust that the few remarks we intend to 
make, from personal observation — having had two of these 
animals in our possession for several months, some time 
ago — will not be deemed unworthy of attention. 

That the particular species to which our observations 
apply, may be identified, we may mention that it is desig- 
nated by Baron Cuvier, in his Regne Animal, " Le 
Chameleon ordinaire." It is a native of Europe, Asia, 
and Africa. Those in our possession were brought from 
the south of Spain, and measured about five inches in length, 
exclusive of the tail. On being touched, they conveyed an 
impression of cold to the hand, and, like other cold-blooded 
animals, were very sluggish in their motions; and, indeed, 
we have frequently observed them remain in the same 
posture, for liours together, firmly embracing the twig on 
which they stood, with their toes, having at the same time, 
the tail generally twisted around the same, or some adja- 
cent twig. 

When excited to motion, by the appearance of a fly, not 
within the range of their power, or otherwise, they pro- 
ceeded very slowly from branch to branch, moving first 
one extremity, then another, at the same time securing 
themselves by their tails ; and we have often observed 
them trust entirely to this organ, when descending from 
twig to twig, and sometimes been impressed with the simi- 
larity between their motions and those of some of the 
monkey tribes, having preliensile tails. 

Sluggish though the Chameleon generally be, there are 
particular organs which form eminent exceptions to this 
general remark, and this is particularly the case with the 
eyes. These organs, except when the animals were asleep, 
were used with great alacrity: and it is no exaggeration to 
say, that they were continually rolling in all directions, 
with the singular peculiarity of each eye having an inde- 
pendent motion, as mentioned by Cuvier and others. This 
fact we have frequently observed ; and it was not an un- 
common thing to see one eye directed upwards, and the 
other downwards; or one backwards, and the other in an 
opposite direction, at the same time. Thus, in a beautiful 
manner, one function is made to compensate for the want 
of another; for, though naturally sluggish in the motion of 
its body generally, it enjoys a more extensive sphere of 
vision than any other animal in similar circumstances; and 
is thus enabled to discover its prey over a much larger 
surface, than, did it not possess the extensive motion of its 
eyes mentioned, it otherwise could. 

They lived entirely upon insects, and these were tempted 
to approach by besmearing the twigs in the cage with honey. 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



59 



On observing one — which was easily known by their keep- 
ing one or both eyes stedfastly fixed on it for a short time — 
the method of attack pursued was to the following effect. 
They slowly moved towards their prej^, as if afraid to dis- 
turb it; at the same time keeping their eyes firmly fixed 
upon the insect until within a few inches of it, then on a 
sudden darting forth the tongue, and as suddenly withdraw- 
ing it, they secured their prey, which very voracious mas- 
tication and deglutition soon disposed of. 

The greatest distance to which we have observed the 
tongue protuded, was about five inches, generally less, 
never more. This organ, protruded by strong muscular 
power, is, we believe, chiefly returned to the mouth by an 
apparatus attached to its base, which acts by its resiliency, 
in a somewhat similar way to the elasticity of a silk purse, 
when drawn out, and suddenly let go. The better to ena- 
ble them to seize their prey, the extremity of the tongue 
folds up to a slight extent, somewhat like the extremity of 
the proboscis of an elephant; and moreover the organ is 
coated with an adhesive matter. 

According to the quantity of air in the lungs, the lateral 
dimensions of the Chameleon are more or less extended. 
We have observed them more than an inch and a half in 
breadth across the chest; sometimes, however, compressed 
to less than half an inch; their usual bulk was the medium 
between these. 

That the change of colour has an intimate relation to the 
bulk of the animal, or, in other words, to the quantity of 
air in the lungs, there is every evidence; and we shall 
now make a few remarks on that singular phenomenon, 
stating the various changes of colour observed, and at the 
same time the circumstances in which the animals were 
placed at the moment. The usual colour observed during 
the day, was a mixture of various shades of green, in irreg- 
ular spots; towards the head, these, however, sometimes 
assumed the form of stripes: sometimes these colours were 
slightly mixed with yellowish patches, and at other times 
with dark purple spots. 

Such were their usual colours for the most part of the 
day, while moving about, undisturbed in their cage, or 
amongst the twigs of a plant, in the search of food. When 
of the greenish hue mentioned, it was sometimes difficult to 
discover them amongst the leaves; and indeed it seems 
probable that this may be a provision of nature, to enable 
the Chameleon to procure its food, which consists chiefly 
of insects; and these, had the animal been of a colour more 
distinct from that of its natural habitation, trees, might 
have been deterred from approaching within a tangible dis- 
tance. 

At night, when asleep, the colour was of a yellow hue. 
Being desirous to ascertain the effect of light on them, 



while of that colour, we placed, for this purpose, a lighted 
candle, about three or four inches from the side of one of 
these animals, and allowed it to remain for a few minutes, 
the effect of wiiich was, that light brown spots began to 
appear, at irregular distances, on the side next the light. 
These spots gradually deepened in colour, until they attain- 
ed that of a dark brown. On the removal of the light to a 
distance, the spots as gradually disappeared, and the animal 
assumed its usual yellowish hue. 

A similar effect took place on imitating a shower of rain, 
by sprinkling water over the animals, but in a more rapid 
manner than on the application of the light. 

These two experiments we repeated several times, with 
similar results; and we believe the appearance of these spots 
to be owing to the irritation produced, in the first instance, 
by the heat and light; in the second, by the mechanical 
irritation of the water. The animals never awoke during 
these experiments, except when the artificial rain was too 
heavy, or continued for a long time. 

Shortly after these animals came into our possession, one 
of them escaped from the greenhouse in which they resided 
for a time; and it was not until after a very diligent search, 
that we discovered it amongst some long grass, of a colour 
which surprised us much. It appeared at first sight to be 
speckled black and white; on closer examination, however, 
the dark colour was purple, the light apparently a pale yel- 
low. These colours were in large irregular patches. 

While of tliis hue, its dimensions were unusually small, 
its sides were much compressed, and we may state gene- 
rally, that when of a dark colour, they were usually in a 
compressed state; for though in the case just mentioned 
there was an approach to a white at some places, still the 
dark colour was most profuse. 

On one occasion, we remarked the effects of strong pas- 
sion on these animals. Wishing to take one of them out of 
the cage in which they were usually confined, and approach- 
ing the hand towards it for that purpose, the animal 
retreated for a little at first, then on a sudden turned 
round and seized one of our fingers, without further mis- 
chief, however, than slightly raising the cuticle. At this 
moment the colour changed from the usual greenish mix- 
ture to that of a yellowish grey, spotted over, at the 
same time, with numerous red points, about the size of the 
head of a pin, while the animal became more bulky than 
we had ever seen it. 

Some days before death, which took place, partly, in 
consequence of the inclemency of the weather, but particu- 
larly, we believe, in consequence of the want of food at the 
time, the flies having nearly all disappeared, worms and 
other small animals were rejected, they gradually be- 
came weaker and weaker, left the twigs, and came to the 



60 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL fflSTORY 



floor of the cage. While in this weak state, their colour 
differed from any we ever observed them to assume while 
in health. They became of the following hues, viz. yel- 
low and purple. These colours were in large irregular 
patches, and seemed gradually to brighten as the animals 
became weaker, until on death they were brightest. 

With regard to the transparent property of the body of 
the Chameleon, we have only to say, that on one occasion, 
we are tolerably sure that we observed the shadow of the 
wires of the cage, during the bright sunshine, through the 
body of one of them, while in a compressed state. 

These remarks, we think, seem to show that the exist- 
ing opinions, which attribute the change of colour to the 
action of the lungs, as the chief cause, is correct; not we 
believe entirely, however, owing to the change of colour 
of the blood, according to the respiration, transmitted by 
the skin; but conjointly, with its effects on the integu- 
ments, rendering them more or less tense or flaccid; and 
thus enabling the surface to reflect different ra3'S of light at 
different times, according to the state of the integuments. 

It is curious to observe the opinions of naturalists con- 
cerning the change of colour in the Chameleon, and we 
have here subjoined those of the authors we have consulted 
on this point, in a tabular form. 



AUTHORS. 




Opinions concerning the causes of Change of Colour. 



The change of colour takes place when the animal becomes infla- 
ted. 
Takes the colour of bodies which it approaehes» except i-ed and 

From affections of the mind of animal. 
Reflection. 

disposition of parts that compose theskin giving a difFerentmo- 

ification to rays of light. 



skin reflecting colour of bodies a 



1 violet ; change in conse 
1 driven into skin at difien 



itensity of the 
e of different 



Chang 



hanges on exposure to sun ; colour seems to depend on s 
I health, temperature, and other unknown causes. 
iLiings render skin more or less transparent, and also chai 
I colour of the blood according as inflated. 
Perhaps from being seized with a kind of jaundice. 
Not from colour of objects it approaches. 
.From being very subject to jaundice. 
|Frora exposure to sun, changes colour. 
From objects on which they happen to be placed. 
According to sutes of animal. 
From exposure to sun. 
Fear, anger, and heat. 
Blood violet ; vessels and skin yellow ; hence upon quan 

blood driven to skin depends colour. 
According as blood is sent more or less rapidly in contact w 

fresh air iuspii.ed. 
According to their wants and passions, lungs render body n 

less transparent, and force the blood more or less to fl 

wards the skin ; that fluid coloured more or less brightly B 

;.io. fn r...an,w.r of air uken into lungs. 



From quantity of oxygen in lungs. 



However, with the exception of a few, including Dr. Rus- 
sell and Pliny, all seem to agree, that the colour of the 
Chameleon does not depend on that of the body on which 
it happens to be placed. 

Dr. Russell drew his conclusions from observing, that 
sometimes, while on a tree, the colour of the animal ap- 
proached to that of the bark; and again, while on the 
grass, after some time it became of a green hue. Now, 
these two colours are the most usual, as far as our observa- 
tion goes, which the Chameleon assumes, however situated. 
Coincidences such as these however, we admit, are cer- 
tainly liable to mislead, especially those, setting about an 
inquiry of this nature, under the influence of a precon- 
ceived theory. But indeed, Dr. Russell at the same time 
admits, that the Chameleon does not always assume the 
colour of the ground on which it is placed, and states, that, 
when put into a box lined with black, it sometimes became 
lighter in colour, and vice versa when put into a white one. 
Another objection to this theory is, that the Chameleon re- 
tains its hue for some time after removal from the spot 
where it had become of any particular colour, which could 
not be the case did it depend upon the colour of surround- 
ing objects. This fact we have often noticed, and with the 
exception of the somewhat ridiculous opinions of Linnaeus, 
Hasselquist, and Kircher, most of the authors we have 
quoted, either distinctly state, or from their observations on 
this subject entitle us to infer, that the lungs are the principal 
agents in the production of the change of colour, their ac- 
tion being apparently modified by the temperature of the 
air — light — passions or affections of the mind — state of 
health — various wants — and perhaps other unknown causes. 
Edin. Phil. Jour. 



These quotations show that the opinions of naturalists on 
this subject are very various, and even contradictory. 



THE BLACK SWAN. 
When the classical writers of antiquity spoke of the 
Black Swan as a proverbial rarity, so improbable as almost 
to be deemed impossible, little did they imagine that in 
these latter da}'S a region would be discovered, nearly equal 
in extent to the Roman empire even at the proudest period 
of its greatness, in which their " rara avis" would be found 
in as great abundance as the common wild Swan upon the 
lakes of Europe. Such, however, has been one of the 
least singular among the many strange and unexpected re- 
sults of the discovery of the great southern continent of 
New Holland. 

The Black Swans are found as well in Van Diemen's 
Land as in New South Whales and on the western coast of 
New Holland. They are generally seen in flocks of eight 
or nine together, floating on a lake; and when disturbed, 
flying off like wild geese in a direct line one after the other. 
They are said to be extremely shy, so as to render it difiicult 
to approach within gunshot of them. — Menag. Zool. Soc. 



'^ 



vn: 



^:^ 




AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



ROUGH BILLED PELICAN. 
PELECJiNVS ERYTHRORYNCHOS. 

[Plate VL] 

P. erythrorynchos. Gmel. i. 571. No. 15. — P. trachy- 
rynchos. Latham, index, 884. Phil. Trans, vol. 54, 
419. — Rough billed Pelican. Lath. Synops. 6. p. 586. 
Phu-adelphia Museum. 

The Pelicans belong to the family of Totipalmes, 
Cuv. which are distinguished by having their hind toe 
united to the others by a continuous membrane, notwith- 
standing which organization, they are almost the only web 
footed birds which perch on trees. They almost all fly 
well, and have short legs. 

This genus, as instituted by Linnseus, comprehended all 
of the palmated tribe, the base of whose bills are in a greater 
or less degree destitute of feathers, and having the nostrils 
placed in a groove running along the sides of the upper 
mandible, with their aperture so small as scarcely to be 
distinguished; and also, having a more or less dilated gul- 
let, and a very small tongue. Under this definition were in- 
cluded the Pelicans proper, the cormorants, gannets, &c. 
The observations of more recent naturalists, however, have 
shown the necessity of separating these birds into several 
distinct genera, restricting that of Pelecanus to such as 
are possessed of the following characteristics: ''Bill very 
long, broad, stout, straight, much depressed; upper man- 
dible convex at base, then plane, seamed on each side, 
ridge distinct, ending in a compressed, robust, and strongly 
hooked nail; lower broader, formed of two flexible cartila- 
ginous branches united at tip, supporting a naked mem- 
brane, capable of forming by distention a pouch of great 
size, extending beyond the throat; edges of the upper man- 
dible, plane internally, separated from the palate by two 
longitudinal, approximated, sharp processes; palate cari- 
nated, lower edges sharp; nostrils in the furrow, basal, 
linear, longitudinal, hardly distinguishable; tongue cartila- 
ginous, very small, obtuse and arcuated at tip. Head mo- 
derate, face and cheeks naked ; eyes rather large ; neck 
long, stoutisli; body massive. Feet nearly central, short, 
robust; tibia naked below; tarsi shorter than the second 
toe, stout, naked; middle toe longest, one third longer than 
the outer; hind toe shortest, hardly half as long as the 
middle one; connecting membrane broad, full, entire; 
nails falculate; the middle one with its edges entire, or 
pectinated. Wings moderate, ample ; second primary 
longest ; secondaries reaching to the primaries. Tail 
rounded of twenty feathers."* 

The female is very similar in appearance to the male, 

* C. L. Bonaparte. Synop. Birds of Ihe U. S. 

Q 



but the young differs greatly for a long time. They moult 
annually, and have a short, thick, and close plumage. 

The most remarkable peculiarity of these birds, is the 
bag or pouch attached to the lower mandible. This bag, 
when empty, the bird has the power of contracting into a 
very small compass, and of wrinkling it up until it scarcely 
hangs below the bill, though when fully extended, it is of 
an enormous size; it may be considered as its crop, as it 
serves all the purposes of that receptacle, and from being 
placed at the commencement, instead of the termination of 
the gullet, it enables them to retain food in it for a considera- 
able time, without becoming altered. When in pursuit of 
prey, the Pelican stows its spoils in this pouch, and when 
it is full, retires to the shore to devour the fruits of its in- 
dustry at leisure. In this manner also, the female carries 
food for her young, and when disgorging it, presses the 
bottom of the sac upon her breast, and thus discharges its 
contents. This mode of procedure has, in all probability, 
given rise to the poetic fable of her opening her breast, and 
feeding her young on her own blood. 

And like the kind life rendering Pelican, 
Refresh them with my blood* 

Except this opinion of the ancients was founded on the 
circumstance we have alluded to, we cannot comprehend 
how they could have attributed to this stupid bird, the admi- 
rable qualities and maternal affections for which it was cele- 
brated among them. When the membrane of which this 
pouch is composed is carefully prepared, it becomes as soft 
as silk, and is sometimes embroidered for work bags or 
purses. It is also used for tobacco pouches and shot bags, 
and among the negroes in the West Indies, it is thought 
that slippers formed from it are an infallible remedy against 
the gout; as well as convulsions in children. 

These birds are said to be torpid and inactive to the last 
degree, so that nothing can exceed their indolence but their 
gluttony, and the powerful stimulus of hunger is necessary 
to excite them to exertion. They however, fly well, and 
can remain on the wing for a long time, hovering over the 
surface of the sea at a considerable height, until they per- 
ceive a fish near the surface, when they dart down with 
great swiftness, and seldom fail in seizing it. They all 
swim with equal celerity, and dive with adroitness. It is 
also said by some authors,! that these birds unite in flocks 
for the purpose of taking their prey, forming a circle, 
and swimming towards its centre. W^hen they have con- 
tracted the space sufficiently, at a certain signal they all 
strike the water with their wings, thus frightening the fish 
to such a degree, that they fall an easy prey to their insa- 
tiable pursuers. These manceuvres take place during the 

* Hamlet. Act4. Sc.5. t Descounilz Voyag-es, d'unnaluralisle.t.ii. p.i4l. 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



morning and evening, as at these times the fish approach 
the surface of the water. 

At night, when their labours are over, and they have be- 
come glutted with food, they retire some distance from the 
shore, and remain perched on trees till the next day calls 
for a renewal of their exertions. Here also they repose 
during most part of the day, sitting in a solemn and awk- 
ward posture, looking as if they were half asleep. Their 
attitude is with the head resting upon the pouch, and this 
closely applied to the breast. Thus they spend their life 
between sleeping and eating, never breaking their repose 
till the calls of hunger render it indispensably necessary to 
fill their magazine for a fresh meal. Although their usual 
and favourite food is fish, when this fails them, they satisfy 
their appetite with reptiles and small quadrupeds. 

The female lays from two to four eggs; some species 
breeding on rocks near the water, making large deep nests, 
lined with soft weeds, others constructing them in man- 
grove and other trees overhanging the water. They are 
affectionate parents, although, from their natural timidity, 
they make but little resistance when robbed of their off- 
spring. The young, when excluded from the shell, are fed 
with fish that have been macerated for some time in the 
pouch of the mother. 

These birds are easily tamed, but they are useless and 
disagreeable domestics, as their insatiable gluttony renders 
it ditBcult to supply them with a sufficiency of food, and 
their flesh is so unsavoury and rank, as never to be eaten 
except from dire necessity; it is probable, however, that 
they might be trained for the purposes of fishing, in the 
same manner as the cormorant; indeed, one writer assures 
us that he saw a Pelican in South America, that was under 
such command, as to go off in the morning and return be- 
fore night, with its pouch distended with prey, part of 
which it was made to disgorge, and the remainder it was 
permitted to retain as a reward. Clavigero, in his History 
of Mexico, also states, that the Indians, in order to procure 
a supply of fish without any trouble, break the wings of a 
live Pelican, and after tying the bird to a tree, conceal 
themselves near the place; the screams of the suffering bird 
attract other Pelicans to the place, who, he says, throw up 
a portion of the provisions from their pouch for their im- 
prisoned companion; as soon as the savages perceive this 
to be done, they rush to the spot, and after leaving a little 
for the bird, carry off the remainder. 

According to Faber, this bird is not destitute of other 
qualifications. One was kept in the collection of the Duke 
of Bavaria above forty years, which seemed to be possessed 
of extraordinary sagacity. It was very fond of being in 
the company of mankind, and appeared extravagantly at- 
tached to musical sounds; if any one played on an instru- 



ment, it would stand perfectly still, turn its ear towards the 
sounds, and with its head stretched out seem to experience 
great pleasure. 

The Pelican attains great longevity: Gesner relates that 
the emperor Maximilian had a tame one that lived above 
eighty years, and always attended his army on their march. 
Aldrovandus also mentions one of these birds, which was 
kept at Mechlin, and was supposed to be fifty years old. 

Pelicans are found in the warm and temperate regions 
of the globe, and are generally to be seen in large flocks ; 
in some places they are exceedingly numerous ; thus, 
travellers assert that the lakes of India and Egj^pt, and 
the rivers Nile and Stryman, when viewed from the 
mountains, appear white with the vast flocks of these birds 
that continually cover their surface. 

These birds were early observed by mankind, for we 
find them classed among those which were forbidden as 
food to the Israelites as unclean, and are also alluded to in 
the Psalms. It is difficult to determine whether the bird 
spoken of by Aristotle, under the name of llfXixai,^ is 
really the Pelican of modern writers or not, though this 
seems to be the opinion of the French Academy. He says, 
that this bird frequents the banks of rivers, and swallows 
large quantities of shell fish, which, after having macerated 
in a pouch or crop which precedes its stomach, disgorges 
them to feed on the flesh, the heat having forced them to 
open. Cicero, in his treatise on the nature of the gods, re- 
peats this observation of tlie Greek naturalist, but calls the 
bird Platalea, whilst Pliny gives it the name of Platea. 
Buffon, in admitting that Aristotle had reference to the 
Pelican, also observes, that his description of its habits does 
not agree with those of our bird, being rather applicable to 
the spoonbill. Pliny, however, does not confound them, 
for, after describing the Platea, he gives a very good ac- 
count of the Pelican under the name of Onoc?'atalus,f at 
the same time, it should be noticed that both Cicero and 
Pliny, in speaking of the Platea, differ from Aristotle, in 
saying that the shell fish are received into the stomach of 
the bird, whilst the latter, as we have already stated, ob- 
serves that they are macerated in a pouch which precedes 
the true stomach. 

There is also considerable difficulty in determining the 
species of this genus, some authors multiplying them to a 
great extent, whilst others restrict them to two or three. 
Thus Cuvier says there is no difference between the com- 
mon Pelican, (P. onocratalus,) and the P. roseus, of 
which Sonnerat states, that the manillensis is the young. 
This has arisen in a great measure from the variations pro- 
duced by age not having been sufficiently observed. It 
may also arise from individuals of the same species, living 

* Book ix. chap. 10. + Book x. chap. C6. 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



in different countries, and hence not subject to the same 
physical circumstances. This, it is well known, will not 
only induce variations in colour, and size, but even in the 
form and development of certain parts. At the same time 
that we allow this, we agi-ee with Mr. Swainson, that too 
much latitude has been given to the meaning of the word 
variety, so that in its general acceptation, its definition be- 
comes impossible; its true meaning is, an animal or other 
production of nature, possessing one or more characters 
which are changeable and uncertain, and which, conse- 
quentlj-, will not serve as indications by which it may in- 
fallibljr be distinguished from all others. 

For the following account of the Rough billed Pelican, 
we are indebted to Mr. T. Peale, whose well earned repu- 
tation in natural history, requires no eulogy from us. 

This bird is entirely white, with the exception of the 
primaries and nine first secondaries, which are black, as are 
likewise the next six, except on their external edge ; crest, 
plumes of the breast and lesser wing coverts, with a faint 
tinge of yellow. Plumes of the crest silky, and about four 
inches in length; those of the neck very soft and pointed. 
Tertials, coverts, and feathers of the breast and belly, long 
and silk}-. Bill flesh coloured; pouch, orbits, legs and feet, 
orange j-ellow; a blackish spot on the pouch near the extre- 
mity of the bill, which assumes the appearance of inter- 
rupted lines when this part is distended. Tail rounded, 
consisting of twenty-two feathers, (in a specimen from the 
Missouri, there were twenty-four). All the specimens we 
have seen were destitute of the black spot on the bill, men- 
tioned by Latham. Spurious wings, black; first and fifth 
primaries equal, three intermediate feathers also equal, but 
longer than the first and fifth; shafts white, those of the 
secondaries black. Iris, dark brown. The dimensions of 
a fine specimen were, length, five feet two and a half inches; 
extent, seven feet nine and three quarter inches; bill, fif- 
teen and a quarter inches; tarsus, four and a quarter; height 
of rugosity on bill, two inches; weight, thirty pounds. 

To such of our readers as have visited the estuaries of 
the Florida coast, the demure and awkward attitude of this 
bird must be perfectly familiar. In that portion of our 
country, this species occurs in large flocks, but they are 
also often to be seen along the shores of the Mississippi and 
Missouri, imparting a peculiar character to the otherwise 
solitary scene, their solemn and quiet demeanor being in 
strict unison with the stillness of the uninhabited plains 
which surround them. They do not, however, remain 
throughout the whole year on our western waters, migra- 
ting to the south during the autumn months, and returning 
early in the spring. Specimens have been killed at Council 
Bluffs as early as the 8th of April, some of which were of 
great size, the pouch of one obtained by Mr. Peale, being 



capable of containing upwards of four gallons of water, 
although when empty, such was its elasticity, that it hung 
but a few inches below the bill. 

The individual from which our drawing was made, was 
shot, with its companion, a few miles below Philadelphia, 
and presented to the Museum by Mr. P. Brandt. These 
birds very seldom occur so far north on the Atlantic coast, 
the only other instance with which we are acquainted, were 
a pair which were killed in New York harbour a few years 
since. Latham, however, mentions that they are found in 
Hudson's bay. On the western rivers they may be seen as 
high as the 42d degi-ee. 

They build in societies, and seldom are found except in 
flocks. On the mangrove islands in Musquito river, East 
Florida, both the present species and the brown (P. /iisciis.) 
breed in vast numbers, but alwaj's select separate islands. 
Mr. Peale visited some of these spots during the winter, and 
although not the breeding season, found that they still col- 
lected in great numbers every night, for the purpose of 
roosting, apparently arriving from great distances and 
evincing strong attachment to the place of their birth. The 
mangroves were covered with the remains of old nests; 
these were principally composed of sticks, and several 
nests were to be seen in the same tree, generally at about 
eight to ten feet from the ground. We have no precise 
information as to the eggs, but believe that they are two in 
number, and of a white colour. In the months of June and 
July, the inhabitants of the surrounding country collect 
great numbers of the j-oung birds, before the)'' are able to 
fly, for the sake of the oil they afford ; this is said to burn 
freely, and to furnish a clear light. When flocks of these 
birds ai-e disturbed they rise in much confusion, but soon 
form in regular order, usually flying in long lines, though 
sometimes in a triangle like geese, with their long bills rest- 
ing on their breasts, in the manner represented in our plate. 

C. L. Bonaparte has confounded this bird with the fus- 
cus, from which, however, it appears to be very distinct, 
both in appearance and habits. The adult bird of the brown 
Pelican is blackish-ash, back and wings hoary; crown yel- 
lowish; neck deep chesnut, margined on each side with 
white. Middle nail serrated internall}^ In the species 
under consideration, the whole plumage is white, with 
the exceptions we have already noticed. The nail of the 
middle toe is smooth. In fact we should be more inclined 
to consider it as a variety of the onocrotalus than of the 
fuscus. But it differs from both these in its habits. The 
latter soar over the water and take their prey by plunging, 
whilst the Rough billed obtains its food in swimming, scoop- 
ing up mullets and other fish as with a net; it also occurs 
along rivers far in the interior, the other species being 
almost exclusively confined to the coast. 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 




SKATING. 

The present winter has afforded ample opportunity 
for indulgence in this delightful exercise. The Delaware 
has been fast bound for nearly a month, with a clear and 
extensive sheet of ice, upon which many of our citizens 
have displayed their skill in the art. Skating is both a 
manly and innocent amusement: it recommends itself in 
such a variety of pleasing shapes as to be diligently pursued 
by the young, and much talked of by the old: its remines- 
censes are of a character every way agreeable to the mind, 
and gratifying to the heart, and it may well be ranked 
among the noblest of pastimes. 

The art of Skating is of comparatively modern introduc- 
tion. It can only be traced to Holland, and seems to have 
been entirely unknown to the ancients. Some traces of 
the exercise in England, are to be found in the thirteenth 
century, at which period, according to Fitz-Steven, it was 
customary, in the winter when the ice would bear them, 
for the citizens of London to fasten tlie leg bones of ani- 
mals under the soles of their feet, and then by poles push 
themselves along upon the ice. The wooden skates shod 
with iron or steel, were brought into England from the 
low countries. With the Hollanders, Skating is more a 
matter of business than pleasure, for it is said, that the pro- 
duce of their farms is carried upon the heads of their men 
and women, to the towns and cities upon the borders of the 
canals, there to be sold, and articles of convenience and 
luxury purchased, and taken back in like manner to the 
country. Less attention is therefore paid by them to 
graceful and elegant movements, than to the acquirement 
of that speed wliich is necessary to what it is termed jour- 
ney skating, as long and rapid excursions are frequently 



made upon the ice, when the streams, natural and artificial, 
by which their country is intersected, are frozen over. 

Great improvement in the style of Skating has taken 
place within a few years past, and various figures practised, 
to which the earliest skaters were strangers. The forward 
and backward movements, commonlj', but as it is thought, 
improperly called High Dutch, show more ease and grace 
than any others within the range of the Skates; they require 
very little exertion, and if rightly performed, carry the 
Skater over the ice with amazing rapidity. In the former, 
the lower limbs should not be permitted to stride much — 
the swinging foot should alwa3's be brought down nearly 
parallel with the other, when about to receive the weight 
of the body, and at the same time, the body should incline 
to that side a little to the front, making an angle of about 
seventy degrees; in this position, the foot having hold of 
the ice will aid the inclination of the body in making a 
bold and lengthy curve, as also, a handsome sweeping 
motion. In the latter, or backward High Dutch, the 
swinging limb must always act as a balance to the body, 
and by it a perfect command of the necessary motions ac- 
quired; the limb should move in a line with the body kept 
nearly straight, and the toes pointed downward. In all 
forward, circular, and sweeping movements, the body 
should be kept as erect as possible, and stooping of the 
neck, head, and shoulders avoided. The Skater should 
never look at his feet, and seldom throw out his arms. 

In graceful Skating, very little muscular exertion is re- 
quired. The impelling motion should proceed from the 
mechanical impulse of the body thrown into such a position 
as to regulate the stroke. Chasinc;, running, and jumping, 
tend to give an imperfect idea of the art, and produce habits 
that are excessively difficult to break. Both feet should be 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



used alike — when a movement is performed by the one, it 
should be tried by the other. Too much Skating on the 
inside of the Skate prevents the acquirement of the more 
beautiful part of the art, resulting from the frequent and 
alternate use of the outer edge of each iron. Skating on the 
outer edge, being the most graceful action, is the most diffi- 
cult to perform, and requires much practice and great skill. 
The beautiful attitudes in which the body may be placed 
where the Skater has a perfect command of his balance, 
will amply repay him for any care he may have bestowed 
on the acquirement of this most fascinating part of the ex- 
ercise. It is scarcely possible, however, to reduce the art 
to any thing like a system. The best way to acquire a 
knowledge of it, is to begin when young, and select some 
good Skater as a pattern. 

Although it is asserted, by some modern writers, that 
the metropolis of Scotland has produced more instances of 
elegant Skaters, than any other city whatever, the opinion 
seems to be, that Philadelphia, in this particular, stands un- 
rivalled. The frequent facilities offered by the freezing of 
her noble rivers, must be borne in mind. There is scarcely 
a winter, in which Skating is not practised by a large por- 
tion of her population for weeks together, and the climate 
is of so fluctuating a character, as to prevent any very long 
interruption of the amusement during the cold season. 
Many gentlemen, well known to the community, have dis- 
played considerable skill, and uncommon grace in the art, 
and caused this interesting pastime to be generally noticed. 
It is recommended by its excellent effects upon the body 
and mind, and perhaps, of all the amusements resorted to, 
is productive of the least inconvenience, and may be en- 
joyed at trifling risk. Accidents upon the ice are rare; 
they are generally the result of great carelessness, and in 
Skating, are not more to be dreaded than those met with in 
the common amusements of youth. 

An entire abandonment of the old fashioned Skates, com- 
monly known by the name of gutters, dumps, rockers, &c. 
is strongly recommended. A proper Skate iron, is in shape 
very much like the runner of a sleigh, the curvature in it 
being very slight. The American Skates, after an im- 
proved plan, are now manufactured by Mr. Thomas W. 
Newton, No. 60 Dock street, and will, in the course of 
time, come into general use, and entirely supersede the 
foreign article. They are formed altogether of iron, the 
foot piece being a thin plate of that metal, and the runner 
fastened to it, by having several projecting points passing 
through holes drilled in the foot piece, and rivetted, form- 
ing a strong and immovable union, a point in which the 
common kind is very deficient. 

The principal advantages consist in the breadth of the 
foot plate, and the foot being brought viicch nearer the ice. 
R 



The plate being made right and left, gives the entire 
breadth of the sole of the boot. It is also a little hollowed 
and turned upwards in front, fitting the shape of the sole 
exactly, and so pleasantly, that a slight strapping suflSces to 
hold it firm. Instead of being strapped from toe to heel, 
as in the common way, the strap forms a bracing across 
the foot, with four attachments on each side. The pressure 
is thus so equalized as to make it very comfortable; upon 
taking off these Skates, after hours of use, no cramping of 
the foot is felt; the great advantage in having so many 
bearings of the straps is, that the pressure of the large and 
continually moving tendons of the instep is avoided. 

The runners are brought up in front till they turn over 
and touch the top of tlie foot, and being rounded on the 
edges and highly burnished, the appearance is light and 
handsome; this form is not given merely to please the eye, 
for if every Skater used this shape, those accidents which 
sometimes happen by two persons hooking the points of 
their Skates together, would never occur. The best im- 
provement, lately discovered, consists in making the run- 
ner the entire length of the foot, letting it come back to the 
extremity of the heel. 

That great desideratum, the firm fixture of the Skate to 
the heel, has, by a very simple plan, been perfected in the 
new kind; it is a small ketch at the extreme end of the 
heel, which is with great facility attached to a screw head 
that is fixed and ramains in the boot heel. 

The iron soled Skate is not a new invention; it was used 
in the family of the late Mr. Peale more than thirty years 
back. 

In the compilation of this article, we are indebted to one 
or two friends, adepts in the art of Skating, for their ideas 
upon the subject, and have also derived some assistance 
from a piece under that head, to be found in Nicholson's 
Encyclopedia. Should what we have written tend to 
bring this delightful pastime into general practice in the 
winter season, we shall be more than repaid for any little 
trouble its preparation may have occasioned. P. 



STRICTURE ON I. T. S. 

Messrs. Editors, 

In the second number of your interesting work, a cor- 
respondent has presented your readers with an entertain- 
ing and lengthy account of << Chesapeake Duck Shooting." 
I read it with considerable pleasure, as well from the faith- 
fulness of his description, as from a natural fondness I have 
for sporting, or for any thing that has a tendency to keep 
alive its spirit; in giving his ideas, however, of shooting, so 
far as relates to directing tlic gun in advance of the duck 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



to overcome the rapidity of its flight, I beg leave to differ, 
and, in doing so, I am well aware I oppose myself to the 
practice of many a good shot, whom custom and prejudice 
have confirmed in old habits. There are many ways, 
nevertheless of accomplishing the same end — what one 
would adopt, another rejects — and, after much experience, 
strengthened by the observations of others, I have found 
that more depends on quickness of eye in covering the 
bird, and a simultaneous touch of the trigger, than in any 
rule, as to distance, laid down by your correspondent. 
The great mistake with many, which leads them to adopt 
your correspondent's mode, is, that at the time of pulling 
the trigger, they stop the swing of the gun, and thus shoot 
behind the bird, whilst if the swing of the gun was kept 
up in a ratio corresponding with the flight of the bird, and 
trigger pulled when fairly covered, the result would ever 
be found effective, if within killing distance. When flint- 
guns were in general use, the necessity of shooting in 
advance was more obvious, as often times a considerable 
interval elapsed from the pull of trigger to the discharge of 
the gun; but, since the introduction of the percussion prin- 
ciple, the discharge and effect are so simultaneous, that a 
good eye and obedient hand are now only necessary. 

With regard to the effect of shot, when " heard to strike," 
I would also take the liberty of dissenting; the very cir- 
cumstance of the shot being heard to strike, is convincing 
to my mind of a want of sufiicient force to penetrate. This 
may be illustrated by discharging the contents of a shot- 
gun against a board fence, at a moderate distance: if the 
striking of the shot can be heard, it will be found on exami- 
nation of the fence, that their force has been ineffectual: 
but if, on the other hand, the action of the shot has been 
silent, their power will be evidenced by the fact of their 
penetration, in every part of the wood: it is the resistance 
of the shot by the object, that causes their action to be 
heard, and in no instance will they be found to be fatal, 
when this is the case. 

By giving the foregoing observations a place in the Cabi- 
net, you will oblige a 

Jan. 31, 1831. ' SPORTSMAN. 



AN EXTRAORDINARY WOLF HUNT. 

In the winter of 1815, I was called on with Capt. W 

by a neighbour, who had, the evening previous, seven sheep 
killed, by a Wolf, to assist him in the destruction of this 
animal. 

We were then residents of the village Deposit, in the 
county of Delaware, state of New York, about one hun- 
dred and fifty miles north of Philadelphia, and near the 



Pennsylvania line, and having the character of sportsmen, 
we were often called upon for like excursions, and priding 
ourselves as such, we never suffered any huntsmen of our 
neighbourhood to excel us in the chase, nor to take the 
lead when it depended on our individual exertions, having 
assisted in the destruction of many bears, wolves, and 
panthers, we were well known through the whole county, 
which was ninety miles in length. 

In engaging in the above enterprise, we were aware 
that we had difficulties to encounter of no ordinary cast, 
and knowing that many of our most experienced huntsmen 
had been in pursuit of this same Wolf repeatedly, without 
success, we were ambitious to excel, and, accordingly, 
entered into our engagement, with a determination to kill 
him. 

It is worthy of remark, that this Wolf was well known 
through the whole county for ten or twelve years, from 
the circumstance of having lost three toes off his left fore 
foot, by a steel trap, consequently, his track being different 
from those of other wolves, he commonly went by the 
name of the '■'three-legged Wolf.^' The depredations com- 
mitted by this animal were wonderful, as there was scarcely 
a farm-house in the county that he had not visited, and 
made havoc among their sheep, frequently destroying four- 
teen in a single night; every thing which could be devised 
for his destruction, was employed, but proved fruitless; he 
had grown wise by experience, so that he avoided every 
thing likely to entrap him, and had become so familiar 
with the chase, as to elude his pursuers with the greatest 
ease. About three weeks previous to our chase, this Wolf 
entered the premises of Judge Pine, at Walton, and killed 
for him nine sheep in one night; word was sent down at 
that time with an invitation for us to join them that day in 
order to destroy him. But knowing there were many pro- 
fessed hunters in that place, we sent word by the express, 
that " they must guard their own sheep, and if he came to 
us we would guard ours." Accordingly, three of their 
ablest hunters went in pursuit of him, and after a circuitous 
chase of three days, gave it up, and left him within ten 
miles of the place where they first started, and the very 
night after, the Wolf killed three sheep for one of the men 
who was chasing him the previous day; this circumstance 
discouraged them, and they relinquished the chase altoge- 
ther. It is well known amongst hunters, that a Wolf can 
withstand the utmost fatigue when he can find means to 
satisfy his hunger, and no human power can tire him down, 
but keep a Wolf constantly on the run, and out of the reach 
of food, he soon tires, because, being of exceeding ravenous 
disposition, his hunger returns quickly, and the means of 
satisfying being kept out of his reach, he will grow weaker 
and more weak, until they will give up with exhaustion; 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



67 



thus, this Wolf having had a hearty repast, the third 
night, his pursuers knew it would be fruitless to give him 
further chase, and therefore gave it up. 

It was not long, however, before this depredator paid us 
a visit, and destroyed, as beforementioned, seven sheep 
for the farmer that had requested us to join in the pursuit 
of him. 

We had never heard of a Wolf being run down with fatigue 
and starvation, but our acquaintance with the animal con- 
vinced us of the practicability of the thing, and knowing 
tills was the only probable chance we had to exterminate 
him, we agreed to follow him until this was the case, or 
an opportunity offered during the chase of shooting him 
with our rifles. 

When the request was made to me by our neighbour, 

Capt. W who was standing near, asked me what I 

thought of it? I replied, "he must die, or our word will 
be forfeited." "Well," says he, "let us fly to arms, but 
then, again, let us be satisfied that it is the ' three-legged 
Wolf.' " We went to the place where he had destroyed the 
sheep, and found to our satisfaction, that it was the old 
depredator we had heard so much about. We, without 
delay, prepared ourselves for the chase; our dress consisted 
of a complete suit of flannel, next to the skin, and over 
this another suit of strong linen or tow cloth (pantaloons 
and frock) to fit tight, and on our feet moccasins: this was 
our usual hunting dress, and required to be very strong, in 
consequence of briars, laurel, under-brush, and snags; in 
our frocks we had pockets sufficiently large to carry pro- 
vision for the day; thus equipped, with rifles in our hands, 
and dogs that would seize any wild animal, but a Wolf, we 
started. It was nine o'clock in the morning — there were 
fifteen ready to join us, and the ground was covered with 
a fine tracking snow, about eight inches deep. Some of 
the company were considered very fast runners, and those 
who are acquainted with the Catskill and Delaware moun- 
tains, are sensible that a horse cannot travel over them, 
and that every thing of the kind must be done on foot. 
We took the track, and followed it about three miles to 
the foot of a mountain; and our rule, on these occasions, 
was to keep a fast walk on the track until the animal jumped 
from his bed, and then the fleetest man was to go ahead at 
full speed. 

We found the Wolf had gone up this mountain, which 
was about three miles to the summit, and very steep in 
places, but about two-thirds of the way up, we aroused him 
from his bed, this we could tell by the snow that he had 
beaten down to repose on. We ascended the mountain as 
fast as we could, and, on arriving at the top, discovered 
that he had steered his course towards the Susquehannah. 
I then started off at full speed, and continued so for about 



two miles, when I looked behind to see what progress my 
companions were making. W — was close to me, but the 
others were just in sight — says he, " go on, H — if he 
keeps this course, about five miles ahead he will cross a 
large field, and if we run faster than he has previously 
been chased, we may surprise, and get a shot at him." I 
immediately recollected the field, and coincided with his 
reasoning. About one mile behind this field, we feared 
he would cross the Cooquago Creek, ascend a mountain, 
and enter a large windfall,* that was on the top of the 
mountain, as it is the case with most wild animals, when 
hard pressed, they will avail themselves of these difficult 
places to escape, and bears, wolves, or panthers, will glide 
through them with ease, when it is almost impossible for 
man. I therefore exerted myself to the uttermost, and, 
although the ground was covered with hemlock logs, &c. 
I did not heed them, but sprang over them with ease, I 
ran these five miles in a very short period, and as I ap- 
proached the field, I saw the Wolf about three hundred 
and fifty yards ahead, and finding that I could get no nigher 
to him, I levelled my rifle and fired, I saw the snow fly 
close to his side, but he went off unhurt. My rifle would 
drop her ball, in that distance, nearly three feet, conse- 
quently, I had to guess the proper range. In a moment, 
Capt. W — was by my side, and asked what I had done? I 
told him that I had not struck him. We continued our 
chase, and I loaded as I ran, and only stopped to put down 
the ball. 

It appears that this Wolf knew, by experience, (having 
been so often chased) how far exactly to keep ahead of his 
pursuers; but it was evident in these five miles we gained 
on and surprised him, for he was not fully aware of our 
Hearing him until my rifle ball struck within a foot of his 
side; this put him to a greater speed, and I did not recover 
my lost ground until I had run ten miles, so equal did we 
run, and part of the distance was run through the windfall 
spoken of. He kept his course to within a few miles of 
the Susquehannah river, and then turned towards the west 
Branch of the Delaware, and ascended a mountain which 
was covered with hemlock and laurel. The last four hours 
we run him so hard, that he would lie down every oppor- 
tunity he could get, and this laurel hill afforded him means 
of rest, for it was so thick we could hardly creep through 
it. In this place he took several turns to elude our pursuit, 
and one of us went back in order to way-lay him, in hopes 
that he would give an opportunity to shoot him, but the 
thicket being so dense, that we could see but a very short 
distance in it, and the Wolf glided out on the opposite side 

* A windfall is a place in the forest, where a hurricane has passed, and 
swept the trees to the ground, in a large confused mass, and mostly occurs 
on the tops of mountains, and in the most dense thickets. 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



and was off again. In this waj^ he got considerable rest, 
and would gain on us, but when he crossed from one moun- 
tain to another, we always pushed him hard, and would 
gain on him, as the mountain sides were generally more 
open, and even then he would occasionally rest, but would 
always choose some point or hillock, where he, being ele- 
vated, could see us without our seeing him. A Wolf, like 
a dog, always turns round once or twice before he lies 
down, but this fellow had become so fatigued that he would 
just drop himself every now and then, and again be off. 
He next made a bold push in order to reach another wind- 
fall and thicket about ten miles ahead, which, it appeared, 
he was well acquainted with, and which was close to the 
road that run from the town of Bainbridge to Deposit. — 
The sun now was but one hour high, and as he laid his 
course towards that place, through a clear open wood, on 
a regular descent, we pressed him hard for about five miles, 
when we again saw him <ibout four hundred yards from us, 
he saw us at the same time, and then he attempted to turn 
back again, so that he might reach the thicket which he 
had just left. I, however, cut him off, and he, seeing my 
manoeuvre, kept his former course — we began to think that 
he must be our's very soon, for we gained on him so fast, 
that I concluded it time to give him another ball, but un- 
fortunately he entered a thicket of beech brush of about 
two acres, which completely shielded him from my view. 
On coming up we found he had slipped out on the opposite 
side, and then made off for the beforementioned windfall. 
It was now getting dark, and we made for the public road, 
which we soon reached, and to our joy heard bells, which 
we at once recognized as coming from a sleigh owned by 
Capt. Edicks; we fired 08" our rifles, in order that this gen- 
tleman might know our direction. He was one of the 
company who started with us in the morning, but gave out, 
and knowing the direction the Wolf had taken, went home, 
procured his sleigh, and came out very seasonably to meet 
us, as we were then fifteen miles from home. Our dogs 
were of the best kind, and would follow us while they had 
life, but we had outrun them so much, that we had to wait 
a long time before they came up to us. It is remarkable, 
that these dogs would never touch the Wolf, they would 
join in and run with, but never injure him. We arrived at 
home about 9 o'clock, and found that W — and myself had 
been forsaken by all of the hunters, about the time when I 
fired at the Wolf crossing the field; they being so far be- 
hind us as scarcely to hear the rifle, gave up the idea of 
overtaking us, and returned home. By this time the report 
had gone abroad that we were in pursuit of the "three- 
legged Wolf," and old and young appeared full of anima- 
tion to join us in the hunt next day. We took great care 
in preparing ourselves for the next day's chase, in dress, 



victuals, and drink; we ate but lightly, and drank nothing 
but a little wine, and bathed our limbs well with brandy, 
previous to retiring to bed, and thus removed all stiffness 
and bruises which we had received through the day. 

Before the dawn of the next day, a company had assem- 
bled to the number of forty persons, fifteen of whom had 
agreed to enter the chase; the rest took horses and went in 
all directions, with a view to cut the Wolf off. In this 
county there were but few public roads, but a great num- 
ber called log roads, cut through the forest in order to carry 
logs to the river for rafting; into these roads were stationed 
many persons on horseback and in sleighs, while the party 
on chase went immediately to the spot where the Wolf was 
left the night previous. On arriving here, we found that 
he had lied down and remained the greater part of the 
night within four hundred yards of the place where we left 
him, then it appears he walked ofl' about two miles and fell 
in with a herd of Wolves, and kept with them about three 
miles further; then tacked about and steered his course back 
to within two miles of the village (Deposit) from which we 
had just set out, and near to the very place where he had 
killed the seven sheep the night before. It was a remark- 
able circumstance with this Wolf that he was never known 
to associate with other Wolves, and when he committed 
depredations it was always when alone; for Wolves seldom 
ever attack singly, but most generally in pairs, and it never 
could be satisfactorily accounted for why this depredator 
had no companions, unless it was, that it had been by such 
that he was led into a trap, which had cost him his toes, 
and nearly his life; hence the reason of his quitting the 
herd above spoken of. It was now late in the day, and we 
had gone out fifteen miles, and returned thirteen, before we 
juniptd him from his bed, and as soon as this was the case, 
the swiftest hunter took the lead, but it was some time be- 
fore we got into regular Indian file, and the woods seemed 
alive with men; but, after running about five miles, the 
fresh hands began to fall back, and by the time we reached 
ten miles, I looked behind, and seen only W — , who was 
within ten steps of me. As this was the first time that we 
had an opportunity of competing with some neighbouring 
crack hunters, and these having relinquished the chase, we 
plainly saw that the destruction of the Wolf depended 
solely on our own exertions; this circumstance, instead of 
discouraging, only animated us to persevere. The Wolf 
next steered his course for the upper part of the county, 
and we pressed him at a rapid pace ; one tried to excel the 
other, and I could generally take the lead of my companion 
in the morning, but his exceeding perseverance and good 
bottom, generally brought him ahead of me before night, 
and as a passing tribute to his prowess, I must say, that I 
never saw his equal, as a huntsman ; there was no difficulty 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



too great for him to overcome, no danger so formidable but 
he would face it, and he was as fearless of the consequences 
of attacking the most ferocious animals, as though they 
were but sheep; and hence, in the present difficult under- 
taking, he never uttered a discouraging word, and so intent 
was he on the destruction of this Wolf, that no reward 
would have made him relinquish the chase. 

We were satisfied that this animal was so tired, that he 
could not travel at night in seaixh of food, especially as he 
was leading oS" from the places of his former depredations 
towards the Susquehannah, and it was evident, by the re- 
peated beds he made in the snow, where he had thrown him- 
self down for momentary repose, that he could not sustain 
the chase much longer, he however soon changed his course, 
and turned in the direction of the river Delaware again. 

The way before us now, was down the mountain's side, 
through a clear, open woods, on a regular descent as far as 
the eye could reach, and at least twelve miles; my regular 
jumps were about eight feet; after running this distance, I 
saw the Wolf, just as I approached another hill, but too far 
from me to do execution, and had there been two miles 
more of this open wood, he certainly would have fallen a 
victim to our rifles. 

But ascending the hill he gained on us, and being sensi- 
ble that our footsteps were retarded, he would drop him- 
self in the snow every few paces, and get some rest. On 
the hill he entered another windfall, around which he took 
several turns, and although we waylaid him again, yet he 
slipped ofi" and made for a thicket about three miles further 
on. He was but a short distance from us, and W — and 
myself pressed on with greater speed, in order, if possible, 
to overtake him before he could reach this thicket, but in 
spite of all our eflbrts he succeeded without our once seeing 
him. W — then took the lead, and says he, " if we can 
but get him out of this thicket before dark, he is a dead 
Wolf, but we must crowd him hard before night." Be- 
fore us lay a large mountain, which w-e knew bordered on 
the river Delaware, and close to a small place called Dick- 
inson's city, and which consisted of four log houses, hav- 
ing derived its name from some early settlers; this was 
twelve miles distant from our village Deposit. The Wolf 
run this thicket for two miles and crossed a creek called 
Trout brook, then the road which leads to W^alton, and 
went up the aforesaid mountain; when we came to the 
road we met Mr. Mossman, who informed us that he saw 
the Wolf pass just before him, and ascend the mountain, 
and that he was but two minutes ahead of us. It being so 
dark, we gave up the chase for the day, and went down to 
Dickinson cit}\ Here, at a public house kept by Jesse 
Gilbert, we received a very comfortable repast, indeed, 
exceeding our expectations. About five miles from this 
S 



place, lived one Derrick Brewer, and much celebrated as a 
great runner, and huntsman; him, therefore, we deter- 
mined to have, if possible, to join us for the next day's 
hunt; we, accordingly, gave a man a handsome reward, and 
despatched him express after Brewer, with a request for 
him to meet us at Dickinson before day light: we then 
retired to rest, and arose before dawn of day much refreshed, 
and with better feelings, but somewhat sorer than the day 
previous. Brewer was ready, and after we eat a slight 
breakfast, (in which B. refused to join us) we started. It 
appears that this hunter would lace himself with a belt, and 
never eat until about nine o'clock, while we would not clog 
nature, and eat continually, but very slightly, which kept 
up a constant stimulus in our systems, as we always carried 
biscuit or doe-nuts with us, sufficient to last the day. See- 
ing the manner Brewer treated himself, W — says to him, 
" you must not take it amiss that if you do not eat break- 
fast, I tell you, you will not be able to keep up with us." 
"Well," says Brewer, "two o'clock will decide that." 
By the time it was fairly light, we were at the spot where 
we had left him the night previous, and we had not pro- 
ceeded more than three hundred yards up the hill, before 
we found his bed; this he had left of his own accord, and 
walked to the top of the hill, which was about a mile and a 
half to the summit, and then took to another road which 
led direct to Walton, and continued until he came close to 
Judge Pines' farm, a distance of fifteen miles, where he had 
a few weeks previous killed so many sheep, and there at 
the foot of another hill he had reposed for the remainder 
of the night. We soon aroused him, and he took directly 
up this hill, which was exceedingly steep, but up which 
we clambered, with slow progress, until we gained the 
top. We had walked fifteen miles, and as I was first on 
the summit of the hill, I looked down and saw W — about 
thirty yards from me, and Brewer fifty^behind him. The 
Wolf kept his course on the brow of that hill for three miles, 
and then left it and crossed the road which leads from Wal- 
ton to Franklin, on the Susquehannah, here I stopped and 
waited for my companions. W — was immediately by my 
side, but Brewer, on whom we depended so much, came 
up puffing and blowing; Says W — , "he is out of breath, 
his lacing wont do, he must give nature its bounds." 
The wood before us was open for six miles, and gradually 
ascending, but not so much as to prevent our taking rapid 
strides; as I neared the top I slacked for W — to come up, 
but Brewer was not in sight, and we expected he had 
given up and returned home. "Now," says W — , "if 
the Wolf keeps this course, we will have a regular descent 
for nine miles." I then started at full speed, guarding 
always against jumping into holes, (in which case, proba- 
bly, my legs would have been broken,) until I came within 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



two miles of the foot of the hill, when I saw the rascal 
about three hundred yards ahead, and he saw me at the 
same time. We now had it as hard as we could lay to, 
and I saw that I gained on him but slowly, and being with- 
in one hundred and seventy-five yards of him, I fired just 
as he was quartering on me, but he kept his course, and 
rose a high mountain immediately before us. I re-loaded, 
and proceeded on, and found that he had dropped in the 
snow so often, as to evince the greatest fatigue, and nothing 
but his very life stimulated him on. On this mountain 
were many windfalls, and other diflFicult places, almost im- 
passable for man, and had we been in chase of any other 
animal but the "three-legged Wolf," the number of diflS- 
culties at this time would have disheartened us, but' we 
were intent on victory, and our infatuation blinded us to 
difficulties, and made us callous to suffering. Brewer did 
not hear my rifle, but it appears that he persevered until he 
came to the spot just described, when he gave up and went 
home, and told the neighbours that he was certain that 
W — and myself would kill the Wolf before, as we had 
nearly killed him behind us. Our antagonist kept his 
course on this hill for seven miles, but it being covered 
with underbrush, we could not gain on him: the sun was 
gliding behind the distant hills, and the Wolf having so 
much start of us, we concluded to look out for quarters to 
spend the night; we accordingly ascended a high point on 
the mountain, and in a valley two miles distant we saw a 
house, whither we proceeded, and were immediately recog- 
nised by a young man, an inmate of the dwelling; he in- 
quired of us " what brought us there in our hunting dress, 
and with rifles." We told him we were after the "three- 
legged Wolf" "Ah," says he, "I know him well; I 
hope you will not leave him here, for only three weeks 
since he killed eleven sheep in one night for us, and last win- 
ter he killed eighteen others; has he not lost part of his left 
fore foot?" We told him we were satisfied that he knew 
him, as that was his description, and that we would never 
give him up until we destroyed him, unless a snow should 
fall so as to obliterate his track. This was fifty-two miles 
from our homes, in a direct line, and I have no doubt we 
run that day sixty miles, as we were then near Delhi, in 
the upper part of the county. 

We were treated with great hospitality by this family, 
whose name was Wilson, and every thing was done, to make 
us and our dogs comfortable, that could be devised; after 
drinking some tea and eating but little, we found that sleep 
was more desirable than any thing else, and we retired to 
rest. Our dogs did not reach the house for some time after 
our arrival, and then they were in a wretched condition; 
but the family exercised great humanity towards them, 
cially the children, who had taken them into the par- 



lour, and were rubbing them with dry napkins. We had 
requested the family to prepare us breakfast, and call us be- 
fore daylight, and so anxious were they to afford us every 
facility, that the children took turns in sitting up all night, 
for fear we might oversleep ourselves. When we arose, we 
found a repast prepared for us, with some doe-nuts to eat 
through the day. This, generally, was our daily food, 
and for drink we would catch up a handful of snow, as we 
ran, not allowing ourselves sufficient time to slake our 
thirst at a brook. 

Before light we started, and tracked our way up the 
mountain, and I can candidly say, I never felt better than 
at that time; my spirits were buoyant, and I trod with 
lighter footstep than any day previous: this was the fourth 
day of our hunt. I asked Capt. W — how he felt; says he, 
" I feel well, victory to-day, to-day the Wolf must die." 
But we felt keenly for our poor dogs; for, although they 
had been so well nursed, yet they could not move a step 
scarcely, without crying; and thus they continued yelping 
until they had followed us some miles. We would have 
left them at the farm-house, but they howled so tei-ribly, 
we were obliged to let them follow us. About light, we 
got on the Wolf's track again, and within three hundred 
yards found he had lied down, but had risen again in the 
night, voluntarily, and walked not more than ten yards, 
before he made another bed in the snow. It was evident 
his time was drawing to its close, for in the last bed he laid 
till we surprised him in the morning. His former plan 
was, after we had ceased chasing him, to run a few hun- 
dred yards, then lie down for about half of the night, 
and rise again, and travel off fifteen or twenty miles into 
the neighbourhood of his depredations, and then rest pre- 
paratory to the next nights havoc amongst sheep; but now 
it was pretty certain that we had tired him too much to 
waste any time after sheep, and that he did not possess 
power to travel much further. 

When we aroused him this time, he led right off from 
home, but we cared not whither he went so that he left a 
track for us to follow him; but this mountain was covered 
with underbrush, and he appeared to be well acquainted 
with every inch of ground he ran over, therefore we could 
not push him to the extent we desired, this he was well 
aware of, and he would choose the most dense and difficult 
part of the wood, but he omitted now, making his usual 
circuits about the windfalls, as he had no time to spare, and 
would continue his course direct. We followed him with 
renewed speed for about seven miles, when he left the 
mountain, and directed his course across a valley, six miles, 
to another mountain: through this valley was clear open 
wood, and we pressed him so hard, that he began to lengthen 
his jumps, and made no more beds in the snow, until he 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



71 



reached the above mountain, where he had opportunities 
again to rest, as the side on which he ran was so perpendi- 
cular that we made but slow progress. We found that he 
would drop himself to rest, every few steps, and just keep- 
ing so far ahead as to be out of our sight, although we were 
confident he saw us continually. On arriving at the lop of 
the mountain, we found he had made a start for a thicket, 
on the same mountain, before we could overtake him, but 
the course he was going was a gradual descent for about 
fifteen miles, until it terminated at the foot of another 
mountain, which was in that range called Pine Hill, on 
the head waters of the west branch of the Delaware river. 

I started off at full speed down this side of the mountain, 
making long jumps; I never felt better; and with ease to 
myself could run a mile in five minutes; my limbs felt in- 
vigorated, and my speed was superior to any of the former 
days. I continued so for nearly thirteen miles, and then 
came within sight of the Wolf He was then but two 
hundred yards in advance of me, and he had yet two miles 
further to go before he could reach the mountain, and this 
through open wood; he used every exertion to quicken his 
pace, but in spite of his efforts, I gained on him. I had run 
but one mile since I got sight of him, and when I was within 
forty yards of him, he looked behind at me, and seeing no 
possible chance of escaping, dropped his tail between his 
legs, and stopped; I ran within twenty yards, and shot a 
ball immediately through his body — he fell, and arose 
again ; crack went Capt. W. 's rifle, and down he dropped 
dead, in a moment my foot was on his neck; but we were 
at a loss to express our joy — we were in the midst of an 
extensive forest, and we knew not where; we charged our 
rifles, and gave four rounds in commemoration of the four 
days' chase. Our difficulties were not yet to an end, for 
we were determined to take him home, we accordingly cut 
a small stick, and twisted one end, fastened it to his upper 
jaw, and while one carried the rifles, the other dragged him 
on the snow. It appeared, on examining the Wolf, that 
I had struck him on the flank the day previous, when I 
fired at him, to about the depth of the ball, cutting the flesh, 
but not so as to retard his progress. W^e continued drag- 
ging him, and followed down a small branch, which, we 
were convinced, would either lead us to the Delaware, or 
Susquehannah: and, after proceeding about eight miles, 
came to a farm-house, occupied by a Mr. Sawyer; he soon 
recognized us, and seeing us dragging a Wolf, asked if we 
had the " three-legged Wolf?" and when we answered in 
the affirmative, says he, "I will hold a day of rejoicing, 
for I have but few sheep left from last winter, as he then 
killed nine, and eight of them were my best ewes, and, I 
suppose, he came here for more mutton. — Tell me," con- 
tinued he, "what I can do for you, and it shall be done." 



We asked him if he would take us in his sleigh towards 
our home, or until we could find some of our neighbours 
that would take us the balance of the way. We were then 
eighty miles from our village of Deposit, in a direct line, 
and he, without hesitation, agreed to do so. The next day 
we arrived at Walton; here were assembled, some of our 
companions who had started with us on the hunt from 
Deposit, having heard the course the Wolf had taken, had 
followed us as nigh as they could guess, and this being the 
last place they could hear of us, they concluded to remain 
here. The number of persons assembled at Walton, out 
of curiosity, was about one hundred, to see the result of 
the chase, as every farmer appeared to be deeply interested 
in the destruction of this Wolf; and making a calculation, 
we found that the persons assembled there alone, had sheep 
destroyed by him nearly to the amount of one thousand 
dollars. Wlien, therefore, they saw our success, it appeared 
as though they could not do too much for us; they escorted 
us home with fifteen sleighs (a distance of thirty miles) and 
our fame resounded throughout the whole county, with 
the benediction of "blessed is he that holdeth out to the 
end." T. M. H. 



PETRIFIED FOREST OF MISSOURI. 

The folllowing letter, directed to Mr. Peale, of the 
Philadelphia Museum, has been received, with a specimen 
of the petrified wood, taken from the forest, and a descrip- 
tion of this interesting change of nature attached to it; both 
are inserted at length, so that all doubts on the subject may 
be put to rest. 

Greensburgh, 5th Nov. 1S30. 

SiK, 

About eighteen months since I had received from Lieut. 
G. H. Crosman, of the U. S. Army, a specimen of the 
Petrifactions in the Forest of Missouri, with the intention 
of forwarding it by some convenient opportunitj^, to be 
deposited in your valuable Museum. Other engagements, 
however, have hitherto prevented me from carrying this 
intention into eflect, until my attention was this morning 
called to the subject by an article in the National Journal, 
of the 30th ult., extracted from the New York Evening 
Post, referring to an article in the Philadelphia Chronicle. 

It is evident, from the specimen now forwarded, as well 
as from the information received from Mr. Crosman, that it 
is a true petrifaction, and not merely an incrustation. The 
appearance would indicate a calcareous mineralizing matter; 
this, however, is not the fact, as proved by the application 
of sulphuric acid. It is evidently silicious, although I 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



have not taken the pains of making the experiment; 
although sufficiently apparent from its hardness, &c. 

I enclose the article in the Journal, to which I have 
alluded, and will forward the specimen with this, the first 
convenient opportunity. 

Very respectfully, your obd't servant, 

A. W. FOSTER. 

The following is attached to the specimen now in the 
Philadelphia Museum: — "Petrifaction of Wood. — This 
piece of petrified wood, was broken from the stump of a 
tree measuring fifteen feet in circumference, and about four 
feet in height, by actual measurement. It was found on 
the S. W. bank of the Missouri River, about thirty miles 
below the mouth of the Yellow Stone, and nearly opposite 
the junction of White Earth River with the Missouri, in 
lat. about 48° 15'," 

The most remarkable facts, concerning the petrfaci- 
tions of this region, are, that stumps, limbs and roots 
of trees of all sizes, broken into fragments, lie scattered 
over the country for a distance of thirty or forty miles, at 
an elevation above the level of the river, of at least five 
hundred feet, and at a point which is computed at six or 
seven thousand feet above the level of the Ocean. 

Surgeon Gale, of the Army, who, as well as myself, 
was attached to the military expedition that ascended the 
Missouri in 1825, from Council Bluffs to Two Thousand 
Mile Creek, and who accompanied me on an exploring 
and hunting excursion, across the country, from below the 
mouth of White Earth River, to the Y^ellow Stone, as- 
sisted in examining and measuring the stumps of some of 
those petrified trees, and he gave it as his opinion, that 
from the appearance of the country, some thousand years 
must have elapsed since a thick forest of timber stood 
where now nothing remains but these petrified fragments 

He was rather inclined to the opinion, that the kind of 
wood, was the cotton wood of the Missouri country, com- 
mon enough along the banks of the Missouri river and its 
tributaries. 

This subject furnishes abundant matter for the natural 
philosopher, for whose curiosity and speculation it is here 
submitted. G- H. CROSMAN, 

U. S. Army. 



DEFENCE OF THE PERCUSSION. 

The general opinion is, that shot is propelled to a greater 
distance and with more uniform velocity from a gun, in 
proportion as the force of powder exceeds the weight of 
shot; and it is upon this false supposition that the anti-per- 
cussionists have grounded their objections to detonating 



guns, by affirming, that "the explosion takes place so in- 
stantaneously that the whole of the load of powder is not 
ignited, and that a portion is driven out unexploded." 

It is well known that the resistance which bodies meet 
with in passing through a fluid, increases as the square of 
their velocity. Therefore a load of shot, passing through 
the air at a given rate, would meet with four times the re- 
sistance if its speed were doubled. Hence, if one drachm 
of powder will carry a load of shot forty yards with a given 
force, the power of two drachms would, it is true, give a 
double velocity to the shot at its egress from the muzzle of 
the gun; but the resistance being now four times greater 
than in the former instance, the force of it at the distance 
of forty yards would be very much diminished. 

I have shot three seasons with my present gun, which is 
a double-barrelled detonator. For the two first seasons I 
used the proportions for the load which I received from 
the gunmaker, and during that time I do not recollect to 
have killed a bird fartlier than forty paces. Thinking this 
might be improved upon, I determined to try the effect of 
reducing the quantity of powder; and having first loaded 
with the original charge (and No. 5 shot), I fired at a tin 
powder flask at the distance of forty measured yards, and 
struck it with five shots, but the marks were barely per- 
ceptible. I then reduced the quantity of powder (only) 
one quarter, and the shots made much deeper indentations 
in the tin than before. I then reduced the powder still 
further, to about two-thirds of the original charge, and the 
result answered my expectations fully: for I found five 
shots as firmly set in the tin as stone was ever set in gold. 
I measured the distance of two shots at birds: one was 
sixty-two paces, and the other sixty-three; in both instances 
the birds fell dead at the fire. 

I have from the first maintained that a detonator ignites 
more grains of powder than a flint and steel gun does. 
The result of my experiment has fully established my opin- 
ion upon this point. The fire from the copper cap being 
driven with considerable force into the load of powder, ig- 
nites the whole; the force of which explosion being too 
great for the weight of shot, diminishes at a certain distance 
the velocity of the latter. 

On the other hand, the fire communicates with the pow- 
der in the barrel of a flint and steel gun merely by the igni- 
tion of grain by grain; so that just as much of the powder, 
and no more, explodes as is sufficient to discharge the load. 

A proper regulation of the charge, therefore, seems alone 
requisite to make a detonator carry as strong as a flint and 
steel gun; and if the means for diminishing the force of 
the powder instead of increasing it, had been consulted, 
less time would have produced a more satisfactory result. 
Sporting Magazine. 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



PRAIRIE WOLF. 

CANIS LATRANS. 

[Plate VII.] 

Small Wolf. Du Pratz, Louisiana, vol. ii. p. 54. — 
Prairie Wolf. Lewis & Clark. — Canis latrans. 
Say, Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, i. p. 168. 
Richardson, Faun. Am. bor. 73. — Barking Wolf. 
GoDMAN, i. p. 260. — Philadelphia Museum. 



It is a subject of regret, that the information we 
respecting most of our native quadrupeds, and more espe- 
cially of those which are confined to the western portion of 
this continent, should be so exceedingly scanty and defec- 
tive; this is particularly the case with the subject of our pre- 
sent sketch; by far the greater proportion of our knowledge 
of the Prairie Wolf being derived from the description 
given of it by JNIr. Say, in the work above cited ; and that of 
Dr. Richardson, in his Fauna Americana Boreali; it is 
true, that it had been previously noticed by other travel- 
lers, but, their accounts are too succinct and confused to af- 
ford such data as are required, either to establish its identity, 
or to enable us to ascertain its peculiar habits. We shall, 
therefore, freely avail ourselves of the labours of the distin- 
guished naturalists, just mentioned, incorporating with their 
descriptions, such additional information as we have met, in 
the course of our investigations. 

The Prairie Wolf appears to have been well known to 
Indian traders, and by them distinguished from its kindred 
species, long before it was recognized by naturalists. Dr. 
Richardson states, that skins of this animal have always 
formed part of the Hudson Bay Company's importations, 
under the title of cased wolves; so called because they are 
not split open like the skins of larger animals, but stripped 
off and inverted as those of the fox and rabbit. 

They are found in the western parts of the United States 
and Canada, being extremely numerous in the prairies to 
the west of the Missouri, and also occur, though not so 
plentifully, in the vicinity of the Colombia. Their north- 
ern limit is about the fifty-fifth degree of north latitude; 
but our information as to their southern range is very 
vague, though it is probable that they are found in the 
northern provinces of Mexico. 

Their general colour is cinereous or grey, mixed with 
black, dull fulvous or cinnamon above. The hair is dusky 
plumbeous at base, dull cinnamon in the middle of its 
length, and grey or black at its extremity; it is longer on 
the vertebral line, than on other parts of the body. The 
ears are erect, rounded at tip and lined with grey hair; of 
T 



a cinnamon colour behind. The e^'elids are edged with 
black; the superior eyelashes are black beneath and at tip 
above; the supplemental lid is margined with blackish 
brown before and edged with the same colour behind; the 
iris is yellow and the pupil blue-black; there is a blackish- 
brown spot upon the lachrymal sac. The face is of a cin- 
namon colour, with a greyish tint on the nose; the lips are 
white, edged with black, and having three rows of black 
bristles. The head between the ears is grey, intermixed 
with a dull cinnamon colour, the hairs being dull plumbeous 
at base. The colour of the sides is paler than that of the 
back, with faint black bands above the legs, which are of a 
cinnamon colour on the outside, becoming brighter poste- 
riorily. The tail is straight, fusiform, and bushy, of a grey 
colour mixed with cinnamon, and having a spot near the 
base above and the tip black; beneath it is white. 

These animals differ exceedingly in their markings and 
general colour, some specimens not having the brown tints, 
but being almost wholly of a grey hue, with an intermix- 
ture of black in irregular spots and lines; other individuals 
have a broad black mark on the shins of the fore legs, like 
the European wolf Our representation is taken from well- 
preserved specimens in the Philadelphia Museum, obtained 
by Mr. T. R. Peale, whilst attached to the Expedition to 
the Rocky Mountains, under the command of Major Long. 

The Prairie Wolf is about three feet and a half in length, 
including the tail, which is about one foot. The ears are 
four inches in height from the top of the head. The extre- 
mity of the trunk of the tail, reaches the projection of the 
OS calcis, when the leg is extended. They bear so strong 
a resemblance to the domestic dog, so common in the In- 
dian villages, that Mr. Say is of opinion they are the ori- 
ginal stock from whence the latter is derived. Their 
bark also is very similar to that of the dog; in fact the first 
two or three notes cannot be distinguished from those of a 
small terrier, but these are succeeded by a prolonged yell. 
It was from this peculiarity of barldng, that Mr. Say be- 
stowed the specific name of latrans on this animal. This 
species does not diffuse the offensive odour, so remarkable 
in most of the other species, particularly the nubilus (Say. ) 

The Prairie Wolves occur in great numbers in the great 
western plains, uniting like their brethren the jackals, in 
packs for the purpose of hunting deer, which they fre- 
quently succeed in running down and killing, particularly 
in a hard winter when a crust forms on the snow. It is 
also said, that they will drive these animals into a lake and 
remain concealed in the vicinity, watching till the exhausted 
deer return, and fall an easy prey to their insatiate pursuers. 
This is the more probable, as it is well known that some of 
the other species of American wolves practice equally inge- 
nious stratagems to entrap animals of superior speed. Cap- 



74 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



tain Franklin gives the following interesting account of this 
mode of taking their prey. " So much snow," says he, 
" had fallen on the night of the 24th, that the track we in- 
tended to follow was completely covered; and our march 
to-day was very fatiguing. We passed the remains of two 
red deer, lying at the bases of perpendicular cliiTs, from the 
summits of which they had probably been forced by the 
wolves. These voracious animals, who are inferior in 
speed to the moose, or red deer, are said frequently to have 
recourse to this expedient, in places where extensive plains 
are bounded by precipitous cliffs. Whilst the deer are 
quietly grazing, wolves assemble in great numbers, and, 
forming a crescent, creep slowly towards the herd, so as 
not to alarm them much at first; when they perceive that 
they have fairly hemmed in the unsuspecting creatures, 
and cut off their retreat across the plain, they move more 
quickly, and with hideous yells terrify their prey, and 
urge them to flight by the only open way, which is to- 
wards the precipice; appearing to know that, when the 
herd is once at full speed, it is easily driven over the cliff 
— the rearmost urging on those that are before. The 
wolves then descend at their leisure, and feast on the 
mangled carcases." 

Mr. Say seems to think that they require an exercise of 
all their speed, to succeed in the chase of a deer or young 
buffalo, but from the statement of Dr. Richardson, and of a 
writer in the Sporting Magazine, it appears, that they are 
very swift and long winded, the former of these gentlemen 
states, that he was informed by a trader who had resided 
for many years in the Hudson Bay Company's possessions, 
that the only animal which surpassed the Prairie Wolf in 
swiftness, was the prong horned antelope. Notwithstand- 
ing their speed and cunning, they are often exposed to great 
distress for want of food, and are reduced to the necessity 
of satisfying their hunger with prairie mice, snakes, &c., 
and even of appeasing, in some degree, the cravings of ap- 
petite by distending their stomach with wild plums, and 
other equally indigestible food. They have been known 
to lay waste fields of corn, of which grain they are very 
fond when it is in a green state. They will also venture 
near the encampment of the traveller, and follow the hunter 
in hopes of partaking of any offals that may be left. 

The Prairie Wolf closely resembles the other species in 
rapacity and cunning; there are few animals that are more 
suspicious and mistrustful, or avoid snares and traps with 
such intuitive sagacity. Mr. Say gives the following ac- 
count of plans of taking them, which were attempted by 
Mr. Peale: "He constructed and tried various kinds of 
traps, one of which was of the description called a 'live 
trap,' a shallow box, reversed and supported at one end by 
the well known kind of trapsticks, usually called the ' figure 



four,' which elevated the front of the trap, upwards of three 
feet above its slab flooring; the trap was about six feet long, 
and nearly the same in breadth, and was plentifully baited 
with ofl'al. Notwithstanding this arrangement, a wolf actu- 
ally burrowed under the flooring, and pulled down the bait 
through the crevices of the floor; tracks of different sizes 
were observed about the trap. This procedure would seem 
the result of a faculty beyond mere instinct. 

" This trap proving useless, another one was constructed in 
a different part of the country, formed like a large cage, but 
with a small entrance on the top, through which the animals 
might enter, but not return; this was equally unsuccessful: 
the wolves attempted in vain to get at the bait, as they 
would not enter by the route prepared for them. 

"A large double 'steel trap' was next tried; this was 
profusedly baited, and the whole carefully concealed be- 
neath the fallen leaves. This was also unsuccessful. Tracks 
of the anticipated victims, were next day observed to be im- 
pressed in numbers on the earth near the spot; but still the 
trap, with its seductive charge, remained untouched. The bait 
was then removed from the trap, and suspended over it from 
the branch of a tree; several pieces of meat were also sus- 
pended in a similar manner from trees in the vicinity; the fol- 
lowing morning the bait over the trap alone remained. Sup- 
posing that their exquisite sense of smell, warned them of 
the position of the trap, it was removed, and again covered 
with leaves, and the baits being disposed as before, the leaves 
to a considerable distance around were burned, and the trap 
remained perfectly concealed by ashes, still the bait over the 
trap was avoided. Once only this trap was sprung, and had 
fastened, for a short time, on the foot of another species" — 
(C. nubilus — Say. J 

Not disheartened by these fruitless attempts, which were 
repeated and varied in every possible manner, Mr. Peale 
attempted another scheme, which eventuated in complete 
success. " This was a log trap, in which one log is ele- 
vated above another at one end, by means of an upright 
stick, which rests upon a rounded horizontal trigger stick 
on the inferior log." 

There can be but little doubt, that the Prairie Wolf might 
be domesticated, for it is a remarkable fact in the history 
of animals, that the larger carnivora are more readily and 
completely tamed than the smaller. This may arise from 
several causes, but the most prominent is, that although 
they are endowed with greater strength, they are likewise 
possessed of a superior degree of intelligence. Experience 
confirms the truth of this reasoning. There is no carni- 
vorous animal, that may not be tamed by proper treatment, 
and which will not become useful and even affectionate to a 
certain degree. But this disposition is evinced in very dif- 
ferent proportions by different species. Thus, the smaller 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



carnivora, even when most perfectly tamed, retain charac- 
ters pecuhar to themselves, which can never be eradicated; 
the cat, although caressed and fondled, seldom or ever for- 
gets the marked propensities of her race, whilst the dog, 
though infinitely more powerful, loses his natural peculia- 
rities to assume those of his master. Instinct appears to 
militate, in the strongest manner, against education, whilst 
those animals possessing more of that faculty approaching 
to human reason, are capable of acquiring habits and man- 
ners wholly at variance with their natural character. 



THE OSTRICH. 



Unequalled in stature among birds, strikingly peculiar 
in its form, singular in its habits, and eagerly sought after 
as furnishing in its graceful plumes one of the most elegant 
among the countless vanities both of savage and civilized 
life, the Ostrich has always excited a high degree of inte- 
rest in the minds even of the most superficial observers. 
But far more strongly does this feeling prevail in that of 
the reflecting naturalist, who does not regard this gigantic 
bird as an isolated portion of the great system of nature, 
but perceives in it one of those remarkable links in the 
complicated chain of the creation, too often invisible to 
human scrutiny, but occasionally too obvious to be over- 
looked, which connect together the various classes of ani- 
mated beings. With the outward form and the most essen- 
tial parts of the internal structure of Birds, it combines in 
many of its organs so close a resemblance to the Rumina- 
ting Quadrupeds, as to have received, from the earliest 
antiquity, an epithet indicative of that affinity which later 
investigations have only tended more satisfactorily to esta- 
blish. The name of Camel-Bird, by which it was known, 
not only to the Greeks and Romans, but also to the nations 
of the East; the broad assertion of Aristotle, that the 
Ostrich was partly Bird and partly Quadruped; and that of 
Pliny, that it might almost be said to belong to the Class 
of Beasts; are but so many proofs of the popular recognition 
of a well authenticated zoological truth. 

The Ostrich, in fact, is altogether destitute of the power 
of flight, its wings being reduced to so low a degree of 
development as to be quite incapable of sustaining its 
enormous bulk in the air. Its breast-bone is consequently 
flattened and uniform on its outer surface, like that of a 
Quadruped, offering no trace of the elevated central ridge 
so generally characteristic of Birds, and so conspicuously 
prominent in those which possess the faculty of supporting 
themselves long upon the wing. Its legs, on the contrarj^, 
are excessively powerful; and are put in action by muscles 



of extraordinary magnitude. This muscular power, toge- 
ther with the great length of its limbs, enables it to run 
with incredible swiftness, and to distance, with little exer- 
tion, the fleetest Arabian horses. The total want of 
feathers on every part of these members, and their division 
into no more than two toes, connected at the base by a 
membrane, a structure not unaptly compared to the elon- 
gated and divided hoof of the Camel, have always been 
considered striking points of resemblance between these 
animals: but there is another singularity in their external 
conformation which affords a still more remarkable coin- 
cidence. They are both furnished with callous protube- 
rances on the chest, and on the posterior part of the 
abdomen, on which they support themselves when at rest; 
and they both lie down in the same manner, by first 
bending the knees, and then applying the anterior callosity, 
and lastly, the posterior, to the ground. Add to this that, 
equally patient of thirst, and endowed with stomachs some- 
what similar in structure, they are both formed for inha- 
biting, to a certain extent, the same arid deserts, and it 
will readily be granted, that the affinity between these 
animals is not so fanciful as might, at first sight, be ima- 
gined. 

The family of Birds, of which the Ostrich forms the 
leading type, is remarkable for the wide dispersion of its 
several members; each of them vindicating, as it were, to 
itself, a distinct portion of the surface of tlie earth. The 
Ostrich, which is spread over nearly the whole of Africa, 
is scarcely known beyond the limits of the Arabian deserts; 
while the Cassowary occupies its place amid the luxuriant 
vegetation of the Indian Archipelago. The Emeu is con- 
fined to the great Australian Continent, and the Rhea to 
the southern extremity of the Western Hemisphere. And 
finally, returning homewards, we find the Bustard, the 
largest bird of this quarter of the globe, receding, it is 
true, in some particulars, from the typical form, but still 
fairly to be regarded as the representative of the family in 
Europe. Some species, however, belong to the same group 
with this latter bird, extend themselves over a considerable 
portion both of Africa and Asia. 

The principal external characters by which the birds 
above enumerated are connected together, consist in the 
absence of the hind-toe, of which not even a vestige re- 
main; in the length and power of their legs, which are 
completely bare of feathers; in the shortness of their wings, 
and their uselessness as organs of flight; in the length of 
their necks; and in their strong, blunt, flattened bills. The 
plumes of the more typical among them are distinguished 
by the want of cohesion between their barbs, a cohesion 
which, in other birds, is manifestly subservient to the 
purposes of flight, and which would, therefore, have been 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



superfluous in these, which never raise themselves above 
the surface of the ground. Their food is almost entirely 
vegetable, and consists of seeds and fruits, or, rarely, of 
eggs and worms. Between the crop, which is of enormous 
size, and the gizzard, which varies in thickness and power, 
several of them are furnished with an additional ventricle, 
analogous to the structure which prevails in Ruminating 
Quadrupeds. They occupy a station in some degree in- 
termediate between the Rasorial Birds and the Waders, 
approaching the latter in many particulars of their out- 
ward form, but much more closely connected with the 
former in their internal structure, in their food, and in 
their habits. 

Of the differential characters which give to the Ostrich 
the rank of a genus, the most important is founded on the 
structure of its feet, which have only two toes, both di- 
rected forwards, and connected at their base by a strong 
membrane; the internal being considerably larger than the 
external, and being furnished with a thick hoof-like claw, 
which is wanting in the latter. The legs are covered with 
a rugged skin, reticulated in such a manner as to present 
the appearance of large scales: they are completely naked 
throughout, even in the muscular part, which, like the 
under surface of the wings, is bare of feathers, and exhibits 
a flesh-coloured tinge. The wings are each of them armed 
with two plumeless shafts, resembling the quills of a Por- 
cupine. Instead of quill-feathers, they are ornamented 
with gracefully undulating plumes, and similar appendages 
terminate the tail. The long neck is covered on its upper 
half with a thin down, through which the colour of the 
skin is distinctly visible. The head is small in proportion 
to the magnitude of the bird, and is invested with the same 
kind of covering as the neck, except on its upper surface, 
which is bald and callous. The ears are naked on the 
outside, and hairy within; the eyes are large and brilliant, 
and so prominently placed as to enable both to obtain a 
distinct view of the same object at the same time. They 
bear a remarkable similarity to the eyes of mammiferous 
quadrupeds, and have frequently been compared to those 
of man, which they also resemble in the breadth and mo- 
bility of their upper lids, and in the lashes by which these 
organs are fringed. The beak is short, straight, broad at 
the base, and rounded at the point, flattened from above, 
downwards, extremely strong, and opening with a wide 
gape. The nostrils are seated near the base of the upper 
mandible, and are partly closed by a cartilaginous protu- 
berance. 

The African Ostrich is the only species to which the 
foregoing characters are applicable. It is generally from 
six to eight feet in height. The lower part of the neck of 
the male, and the whole of its body, are clothed with 



broad and short feathers of a deep black, intermingled with 
a few others, which are nearly white, and are barely visi- 
ble, except when the plumage is rufiled. In the female 
the general colour of the featliers is of a greyish, or ashy- 
brown, slightly fringed with white. In both sexes the 
lai-ge plumes of the wings and tail are beautifully white. 
The bill is of the colour of horn, becoming blackish towards 
the point. The iris is deep hazel. On the head and neck ^g 
the hairy down is clear white. In the young bird these 
parts, as well as the muscles of the legs, are covered like 
the rest of the body, with ash-coloured feathers, which fall 
off after the first year, and are not again produced. 

Tlie character of the Ostrich, like that of other granivo- 
rous birds, is extremely mild. It never makes use of its 
great muscular power to attack, and rarely even in its own 
defence. It generally has recourse to flight, as its most 
effectual security against danger; and were its intelligence 
equal to its velocity, this resource would seldom fail of 
success. The chase of these birds is accounted one of the 
most skilful and difficult exercises both for the Arab and 
his horse, requiring at once the most unwearied patience 
and the most reckless impetuosity. The former is abso- 
lutely necessary, in order to keep them within sight, and 
to watch their motions as they wheel round in a circle of 
greater or less extent, and the latter to seize the favourable 
opportunity of dashing down upon them in their course, 
and disabling them, which is generally effected by means 
of a stick thrown with dexterity between their legs. A 
chase of this kind will frequently last from eight to ten 
hours. When taken, they evince no ill humour, and after 
a time become in some degree docile, suffering themselves 
to be mounted and ridden like horses. M. Adanson, who 
had several times witnessed the spectacle in Senegal, de- 
clares, that even when mounted by two men, they outstrip- 
ped in speed an excellent English horse. In running they 
always expand their wings, not, as has been erroneously 
imagined, to catch the wind in order to assist them in their 
flight, for they do it indifferently, whether running with 
or against the wind, but, in all probability, to counterba- 
lance their great heighi, by the extension of these lateral 
appendages. 

Their natural food consists entirely of vegetable sub- 
stances, and more especially of seeds and the various kinds 
of grain, in pursuit of which they frequently commit the 
greatest devastation among the crops in cultivated countries. 
But so obtuse is the sense of taste in this bird, that it 
swallows with the utmost indifference, sometimes even 
with greediness, whatever comes in its way, whether of 
animal or mineral origin, partly for the purpose, as it 
should seem, of distending its stomach, and partly also to 
assist, like the gravel in the crops of our common poultry, 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



in the trituration of its food. Its fondness for the metals, 
in particular, was early remarked, and obtained for it the 
epithet of the " iron-eating Ostrich." Popular credulity 
even went so far as to assign to it the power of digesting 
these substances, and many are the allusions in our older 
writers to this fancied property. As an amusing illustra- 
tion of the prevalence of this belief, we may quote the fol- 
lowing characteristic lines from "The Boke of Philip 
Sparow," written by Master John Skelton, a laurelled poet 
of the reign of King Henry the Eighth: 

The Eslridge that will eate 
An horshowe so greate 
In the steade of meat 
Such fervent heat 
His stomake doth freat. 

We know not if the Ostriches of these days are given to 
the eating of horseshoes; but unquestionably they have a 
particular fancy for keys, nails, and other such easily dis- 
posed of articles. It would, however, be perfectly ridiculous 
to imagine that the stomach of this bird is capable of digest- 
ing metals, and converting them into food, although it is 
undoubtedly true, that after having lain in that organ for a 
length of time, they become corroded by its juices. M. 
Cuvier found in the stomach of an individual that died in 
the Paris Menagerie, nearly a pound weight of stones, bits 
of iron and copper, and pieces of money, worn down by 
constant attrition against each other, as well as by the action 
of the stomach itself. The human stomach, we may add, 
is equally capable of a similar exertion, although not so 
frequently called upon to put it to the test. Many of our 
readers will no doubt recollect the case of an American 
sailor, who died in one of the London hospitals in 1809, 
and who had swallowed, in the ten previous years, no 
fewer than thirty-five clasp-knives. Fragments of these, 
to the number of between thirty and forty, thirteen or 
fourteen of them being evidently blades, were found in his 
stomach after death. "Some of these," says Dr. Marcet, 
in his account of the case, " were remarkably corroded and 
reduced in size, while others were comparatively in a tole- 
rable state of preservation." More than one instance of a 
similar description has since been put on record. 

Although the Ostriches live together in large herds, the 
received opinion among naturalists is, that the males attach 
themselves to a single female. There is some diificulty in 
determining the number of eggs laid by the latter; some 
travellers estimating it as high as eighty, while others 
reduce it to ten. Of this latter opinion was Le Vaillant, 
whose authority is decidedly entitled to the highest respect 
on every subject connected witli the habits of birds, which 
he studied in a state of nature with the scrutinizing eye 
of a philosopher, and the patient zeal of a scientific observer. 
U 



He relates, however, a circumstance which once fell under 
his own observation, and which tends in some measure to 
reconcile these discordant statements, while at the same 
time it renders it questionable whether the Ostrich is not, 
occasionally at least, polygamous. Having disturbed a 
female from a nest containing thirty-eight eggs of unequal 
size, and having thirteen others scattered around it, he 
concealed himself at a short distance, and observed, during 
the day, no less than four females successively taking part 
in the maternal office. Towards the close of the evening, 
a male also took his share of the duty; and Le Vaillant 
remarks, that he has frequently had opportunities of veri- 
fying the fact, that the male bird sits as well as the female. 
In this case it would appear probable that several females 
had deposited their eggs in one common nest. The extra- 
ordinary number of eggs said to have been sometimes found, 
may also, perhaps, be accounted for by the fondness of the 
natives for these delicacies, which they abstract from the 
nest by means of a long stick, cautiously avoiding to intro- 
duce their hands, which, they affirm, would infallibly drive 
the bird to abandon the place. The Ostrich naturally con- 
tinues laying in order to complete her usual number; and in 
this way forty or fifty eggs may actually have been obtained 
from a single female. 

Within the torrid zone the eggs are merely laid in tlie 
warm sand, the female sometimes sitting upon them during 
the night; but, in general, the rays of the sun are sufficiently 
powerful to hatch them, without any assistance on her part. 
She does not, however, as has been commonly stated, ne- 
glect her offspring, but watches over them with as much 
solicitude as any other bird, hovering around the spot in 
which they are deposited, and if surprised in her occupation, 
making a short circuit, and constantly returning to the 
object of her care. This doubling kind of flight is regarded 
by the hunters as a certain sign of the vicinity of her eggs, 
as at all other times the Ostriches pursue, for a time at 
least, a direct and straight forward course. In the more 
temperate regions, and especially in the neighbourhood of 
the Cape, the Ostrich sits like other birds, always choosing 
the most retired and solitary places. Her nest consists 
merely of a pit of about three feet in diameter dug in 
the sand, which is thrown up around it so as to form an 
elevated margin. At some little distance are usually placed, 
each in a separate cavity in the sand, a number of rejected 
eggs, which are said to be intended to serve as nutriment 
for the young brood, as soon as hatched; a most remark- 
able instance of foresight, if tiuly stated, but not yet con- 
firmed beyond the possibility of doubt. 

The eggs are extremely hard, very weighty, and twenty 
or thirty times as large as those of our common hen. The 
colour of the shells is a dirty white, tinged with light 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



yellow. These are frequently formed into cups; and are 
used in various ways as ornaments by the natives of the 
countries in which they are found. The eggs themselves 
form, according to Thunberg, an article of considerable 
commerce at the Cape, where they are sold to the vessels 
that touch there, the thickness of their shells rendering 
them preferable for a sea-voyage to those of any other bird. 
They are generally regarded as great luxuries; but on this 
point there is some difference of opinion, M. Sonnini 
affirming that, either from habit or from prejudice, he could 
not bring himself to consider them so good as the eggs to 
which he had been accustomed; while M. Cuvier raptu- 
rously exclaims, that they are not merely to be regarded as 
delicacies, but are, in fact, "ipsissimse delicise;" an expres- 
sive but untranslatable phrase, which we can only render, 
in piebald English, the ne plus ultra of good eating. It 
is by no means improbable that, in the latter instance, 
the rarity of the dish conferred upon it a higher relish 
than its own intrinsic flavour would have warranted; as 
was undoubtedly the case when the dissolute Roman Em- 
peror, in Rome's degenerate days, ordered the brains of 
six hundred Ostriches to be served up to his guests at a 
single supper. 

The flesh of these birds was among the unclean meats 
forbidden to the Jews by the Mosaical law. It seems, 
however, to have been in especial favour with the Romans, 
for we read of its being frequently introduced at their 
tables. We are even told by Vopiscus, that the pseudo- 
Emperor Firmus, equally celebrated for his feats at the 
anvil and at the trencher, devoured, in his own imperial 
person, an entire Ostrich at one sitting. It is to be hoped 
that the bird was not particularly old ; for it is allowed on 
all hands, at least in the present day, that when it has 
reached a certain age, it is both a tough and an unsavoury 
morsel. The young are, nevertheless, said to be eatable; 
and we may well imagine that the haunch of such a bird 
would furnish a tolerably substantial dish. The Arabs, it 
may be added, have adopted the Jewish prohibition, and 
regard the Ostrich as an unclean animal; but some of the 
barbarous tribes of the interior of Africa, like the Struthio- 
phagi of old, still feed upon its flesh whenever they are 
fortunate enough to procure it. 

The Ostriches in the Society's collection would be truly 
a noble pair, were it not for an unnatural curve in the 
neck of the male, in consequence, it is said, of its having 
formerly swallowed something more than usually bulky, 
and hard of digestion. It was probably on account of this 
slight deformity that the female took upon herself, soon 
after their arrival in the Gardens, to tease and worry him 
in various ways, so that the poor bird was literally hen- 
pecked by his mate. This system of persecution was at 



length carried so far that it was found necessary to sepa- 
rate them, and the female has now the whole enclosure 
to herself. She is a remarkably fine bird, in excellent 
health and condition, and, when her neck is elevated to 
its utmost pitch, is fully eight feet in height. They were 
both, formerly, in the possession of the late Marchioness 
of Londonderry, on whose death they were presented to 
the Society, by the Marquis of Lothian, in the spring of 
the present year. — Menag. Zool. Society. 



From the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal. 

(ESTRUS HOMINIS, 

Or the Larva of a Gad-Fly, luhich deposits its Eggs in 
the Bodies of the Human Species. 

An accurate knowledge of the natural history of the 
genus CEstrus, (gad-fly or breeze) is of great importance in 
an economical point of view, when we consider that the 
most valuable of our domestic animals, the horse, ox, and 
sheep, form the usual nidus for their development and in- 
crease, and are frequently incommoded, sometimes essen- 
tially injured, or even destroyed, by their attacks. The 
insect called botts by farriers, is the larva of the CEstrus 
Equi, and, although Mr. Bracy Clark (to whom we owe 
the best account of that and other species of the genus) con- 
cludes that, upon the whole, they are not injurious to the 
horse, it appears from the accounts of Valisnieri, that the 
epidemic which proved so fatal to the horses of the Man- 
tuan and Veronese territories during the year 1713, was 
primarily occasioned by these larvae. The disease called 
staggers in sheep is likewise occasioned by an insect of 
this genus, [CEstrus ovis) and the hides of cattle are per- 
forated by another kind, which lives beneath the skin. 
The reindeer of the Laplanders, which has been said to 
unite in one animal the useful qualities of many, is more 
than almost any other a martyr to a species of gad-fly, 
probably peculiar to itself, and therefore named by natural- 
ists CEstrus Tarandi. 

That man himself, the "Lord of the Creation," should 
be the subject of similar attacks, is not so generally known. 
Humboldt, however, mentions, that he examined several 
South American Indians, whose abdomens were covered 
with small tumors, produced by what he inferred (for no 
very positive information seems to have been acquired on 
the subject) to have been the larva?, of some species of 
Qistrus. Larvfe of analogous forms have also been detected 
in the frontal and maxillary sinuses of Europeans; and the 
surgical and physiological journals of our own and other 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



countries, have reported extraordinary instances of flies, 
beetles, &c. working out their way from different parts of 
the human frame. 

Air. Clark mentions a case in which the gad-fly of the ox 
appears to have left its accustomed prey, and deposited its 
eggs in the jaw of a woman, who eventually died of disease 
produced by the botts which sprung from the eggs. Leeu- 
wenhoeck obtained maggots from a glandular swelling on 
the leg of a woman. These he fed with flesh till they 
assumed tlie pupa state, and afterwards produced a perfect 
insect as large as a flesh-fly. Lempriere, in his work on 
the Diseases of the Jlrniy in Jamaica, records the case of 
a lady, who, after recovering from a dangerous fever, died 
a victim to the maggots of a large blue fly, which sometimes 
buzzes about the sick in the West Indies, and which, in 
the case alluded to, made their way from the nose through 
the OS cribrijorine, and so to the brain. A revolting in- 
stance of scholechiasis is narrated in Bell's Weekly Mes- 
senger, as quoted by Messrs. Kirby and Spence. A pauper, 
of the name of Page, was in the habit of secreting the 
remnants of his food betwixt his shirt and skin. On one 
occasion, a piece of flesh was so concealed, when the poor 
man was taken ill and laid himself down to repose in a 
field in the parish of Scredington. The weather being hot, 
the meat speedily became putrescent, and was hloiun by 
the flies. The maggots, which were, of course, hatched 
almost immediately, after devouring the meat, proceeded to 
prey upon the body of the pauper, whose still living form, 
when discovered by some neighbouring inhabitants, present- 
ed a most appalling spectacle. He was carried to a surgeon, 
but died a few hours after the first dressing of his wounds. 
These, and other similar cases, ought not to be considered 
so much in the light of ordinary or natural effects, as the 
result of accidents produced by filth and disease. It is 
otherwise, however, with the gad-flies, whose natural habit 
appears to be to deposite their eggs beneath the skin, or 
among the hairs of quadrupeds, in a healthy or unimpaired 
condition. Although systematic authors have described an 
CEstrus hominis, said to deposite its eggs beneath the 
skin of man, and to produce ulcers, which sometimes prove 
fatal, yet nothing seems to have been added of late to these 
vague indications, in illustration of its real history. 

The following is an authentic instance, which lately 
occurred to our knowledge, and with the pai-ticulars of 
which we were favoured by Dr. A. Hill, of Greenock. 
George Killock, steward of the ship Cecilia, while in the 
harbour of George Town, Demerara, during the month of 
September, 1828, felt an extreme itching in a spot situated 
on the lower and back part of the right arm, which he 
frequently rubbed and scratched. The feeling was quite 
different from that caused by the bite of the musquito or 



sand-fly, with which he was sufficiently familiar. Ere 
long, something like a boil or indolent tumour formed, 
which occasioned great pain, as if a sharp instrument had 
been thrust into the arm, or as if suppuration was going on 
at the bones. This extreme pain came on periodically in 
paroxysms, and the arm was poulticed for a length of time. 
The swelling was not so great as to affect the movements 
of the joint, and as there was no appearance of its coming 
to a point, applications were given up. One day, about 
five weeks after the commencement of the pain, Kellock 
observed some bloody matter on his shirt sleeve, which he 
showed to the captain, when the latter distinctly perceived 
something in motion in the centre of a small orifice, which 
had become apparent on the tumour. The motion increased, 
till, to his surprise, the head of an insect protruded itself; 
and this it continued to do daily, though the animal was 
observed to withdraw into its burrow when any one came 
near, or even pointed at it. The pain at this time was so 
acute as to cause sickness. The chamber of the insect 
seemed exactly to fit its body, and merely admitted of its 
motions outwards and inwards. It occasionally discharged 
a quantity of blood-coloured matter. Many attempts were 
made to seize it, but it always instantly retreated, and the 
captain, not knowing but that it partook of the nature of 
the Guinea worm, with which he was well acquainted, was 
fearful of a forced extraction, lest it should break asunder, 
and leave a principal portion in the wound. However, it 
was observed to protrude more and more of its body every 
day, and, upon one occasion, it came out to the length of 
more than an inch. At last it dropt out of its own accord 
upon the cabin-floor, with a noise resembling that which a 
pebble would make on falling on the ground. It kept mo- 
ving and turning about for some time, like an earth-worm, 
but, ere long, shrunk into nearly half its previous size. The 
atmosphere was at this time cool, the ship being within 
a week's sail of Greenock. The insect lived for three days, 
and was then put into spirits, after which it shrunk still 
more. Calculating from the period at which the itching 
was first felt, it had lived in Killock's arm, in the larva 
state, for about six weeks. The wound healed readily, 
leaving externally the appearance of a small scar. 

In the 12th edition of the S)/sfe?na Natitrx, there is no 
mention of this insect. Gmelin, however, says, that it 
dwells beneath the skin of the abdomen six months, pene- 
trating deeper if it be disturbed, and becoming so dangerous 
as sometimes to occasion death. In Dr. Turton's General 
Syste77i of Nature, there is the following notice of this 
insect, or of one of which the habits are similar. '^CEstrus 
ho7ninis. Body entirely brown. Inhabits South America, 
Linne ap. Pall, No7-d. Beytr. p. 157. Deposites its eggs 
under the skin, on the bellies of the natives; the larva, if 



80 THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 

it be disturbed, penetrates deeper, and produces an ulcer sleeve of a pedestrian, works its way in a direction oppo- 

which frequently becomes fatal." site to that to which its beard is directed. 

We are informed that Killock, previous to this attack, 

while at work, usually wore his shirt-sleeves rolled up As further testimony to the above, the following is copied 

above his elbows; and that, while in George Town, Deme- J°™ the Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of 

rara, he generally slept on deck. It is easy then to sup- Philadelphia, being an extract of a letter from a genUeman 

pose, that the (Estrus, or parent fly, had availed itself of a f™"^ ^^^ose leg this larva was extracted, 

proper opportunitj' to deposite its egg upon his arm, proba- '« After a very sultry day's march, and being very much 

blj- by a slight puncture of the skin, by means of the ovi- fatigued, I went to bathe in the Chama, a small stream 

positor with which it is furnished. When the larva had emptying in the lagoon of Maracaibo. Not long after 

attained its full size, it dropped out, instinctively searching coming out of the water, I received a sting from some insect, 

for a covering of natural earth, in which to undergo the in the left leg, over the upper and forepart of the tibia; it 

intermediate state of pupa, which it is destined to assume was several days attended with a considerable degree of 

for a time before it becomes a winged insect. The instinct itching, but without any pain, and I continued on my 

of the parent, however admirable under ordinary circum- journey some few days longer, without experiencing much 

stances, was, of course, insufficient to provide against the inconvenience, except during several periods of perhaps 

accident of Killock's being a seafaring man,— and the larva two or three minutes continuance, when an acute pain came 

could not have attained the perfect state, for want of the on suddenly, and was severe whilst it continued, and then 



proper nidus in which the pupa is accustomed to repose. 
Had a flower-pot, containing earth, been on board the ves- 
sel, the different changes of the insect might have been 
observed, and our knowledge of the species completed. As 
it is, we are acquainted with the larva alone. Its descrip- 
tion is as follows: — 

Length, in its present shrivelled condition, seven-tenths 



as suddenly subsided. On my arrival and during my con- 
tinuance at II Rosario de Cucuta, I walked witli difficulty; 
there was a considerable tumefaction over the tibia, which 
had the appearance of an oi'dinary bile, (Phlegmon) in the 
centre there was a small black speck; the usual applications 
were used without any success, and the tumour became 
more irritated and inflamed, and thus it remained for some 



of an inch; circumference round the centre, or thickest days, attended at times with a most acute pain, which, for 

part, one inch; colour pale dingy apple-green, tinged with a few minutes was almost intolerable. 
brown. The mouth appears to have been somewhat tubu- " In returning to JNIaracaibo, I had to descend the Cotta- 

lar, but is furnished on its upper part with a pair of sharp, tumba in an open boat, without any shelter, and being wet 

minute, hooked crotchets, of a shining black colour, pro- to the skin by the cold rains which fell every night, I suf- 

bably for the purpose of adhering more firmly to the spot fered much, and was almost constantly tormented by the 

from which it was desirous to draw its food. The eyes tumour, which became more painful at those particular pe- 

are large and prominent; their colour brown. The body is riods than usual; during this passage, which lasted for twelve 

composed of nine rings or segments, exclusive of the head days, I was induced to scarify it, and had recourse to the 

and anal portion. There are thus, in all, eleven segments, usual topical applications, but without success. At times I 

besides the mouth, the exact number of which the larvje of imagined that I felt something moving, and suspected that 

the European species consist. There are no feet. These there was something alive beneath the skin, 
organs are, however, obviously supplied by transverse cir- « After my return to Maracaibo I became scarcely able 

cles of small black spines or hooks, with which the princi- to walk, and was in a manner confined to my quarters. In 

pal segments of the body are furnished; and, besides these, this situation I continued two weeks longer, the tumour 

there are several rounded unequal protuberances on the back having began to discharge, and without any diminution of 

and sides. The latter are possibly produced or rendered the painful periods. 

more apparent, by the decrease of size which has taken « Being now nearly worried out, it occurred to me to 

place. Supposing these minute spinous hooks to be, along try a poultice of tobacco, which was used for several nights, 

with the skin, under the control of muscular action, (and having previously scarified the tumour; during the day, I 

Lyonnet has beautifully exhibited the complicated muscular frequently dusted it with ashes of segars: as an ingredient, 

structure of another larva,) then, according to the direction I used rum instead of water, in making the poultice. On 

in which the hooks are pointed, a wriggling motion would the fourth morning after this remedy, I felt considerable 

produce either outward or inward progression, and serve relief, and on the fifth, with a forceps, I drew out the worm 

all the purposes of locomotive organs, just as (to use a which you have now in your possession, and which was 

familiar illustration) an ear of barley placed within the then dead. 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



81 



'< In a few days the sore assumed a healthy look, and in 
ten days was perfectly healed up — although, at times, I 
yet experience a heavy pain in the part from whence the 
worm has been taken. It had travelled on the periosteum, 
along the tibia for at least two inches. The severe pain 
which I experienced for those periods, I attribute to the 
irritation of some of the branches of the nerves distributed 
to the parts by the worm in its progress. Respecting this 
worm there are diflerent opinions among the Spaniards and 
Creoles. Ouche is the name it is called by some, who say 
it is produced by a worm which crawls on the body, from 
the ground, and penetrating the skin, increases in size. 
Others maintain that they are produced from the sting of a 
winged insect which they call Zancudo, others call the 
insect Husano; for my part I am rather inclined to think 
that they are produced from the sting of a winged insect 
which deposites its egg." 

Larva of OEslrus Hominis. 



THE VOICES OF BIRDS. 

RiTRAx sounds, the voices, the language of the wild crea- 
tures, as heard by the naturalist, belong to, and are in 
concord with the country only. Our sight, our smell, may 
perhaps be deceived for an interval by conservatories, hor- 
ticultural arts, and bowers of sweets; but our hearing can 
in no way be beguiled by any semblance of what is heard 
in the grove or the field. The hum, the murmur, the 
medley of the mead, is peculiarly its own, admits of no 
imitation, and the voices of our birds convey particular 
intimation, and distinctly notify the various periods of the 
year, with an accuracy as certain as they are detailed in our 
calendars. The season of spring is always announced as 
approaching by the notes of the rookery, by the jangle or 
wooing accents of the dark frequenters of its trees; and 
that time having passed away, these contentions and ca- 
dences are no longer heard. The cuckoo then comes, and 
informs us that spring has arrived; that he has journeyed 
to us, borne by gentle gales in sunny days; that fragrant 
flowers are in the copse and the mead, and all things telling 
of gratulation and of joy: the children mark this well- 
known sound, spring out, and cuckoo! cuckoo! as they 
gambol down the lane: the very plough-boy bids him wel- 
come in the early morn. It is hardly spring without the 
cuckoo's song; and having told his tale, he has voice for 
X 



no more — is silent or away. Then comes the dark, swift- 
winged martin, glancing through the air, that seems afraid 
to visit our uncertain clime: he comes, though late, and 
hurries through his business here, eager again to depart, 
all day long in agitation and precipitate flight. The bland 
zephyrs of the spring have no charms with them; but bask- 
ing and careering in the sultry gleams of June and July, 
they associate in throngs, and, screaming, dash round the 
steeple or the ruined tower, to serenade their nesting mates; 
and glare and heat are in their train. When the fervour of 
summer ceases, this bird of the sun will depart. The even- 
ing robin, from the summit of some leafless bough, or pro- 
jecting point, tells us that autumn is come, and brings 
matured fruits, chilly airs, and sober hours, and he, the 
lonely minstrel now that sings, is understood by all. These 
four birds thus indicate a separate season, have no interfe- 
rence with the intelligence of the other, nor could they be 
transposed without the loss of all the meaning they convey, 
which no contrivance of art could supply; and, by long 
association, they have become identified with the period, 
and in peculiar accordance with the time. 

We note birds in general more from their voices than 
their plumage; for the carols of spring may be heard in- 
voluntarily, but to observe the form and decoration of these 
creatures, requires an attention not always given. Yet we 
have some native birds beautifully and conspicuously fea- 
thered; the goldfinch, the chaffinch, the wagtails, are all 
eminently adorned, and the fine gradations of sober browns 
in several others, are very pleasing. Those sweet sounds, 
called the song of birds, proceed only from the male; and, 
with a few exceptions, only during the season of incuba- 
tion. Hence the comparative quietness of our summer 
months, when this care is over, except from accidental 
causes, where a second nest is formed; few of our birds 
bringing up more than one brood in the season. The red- 
breast, blackbird, and thrush, in mild winters, may conti- 
nually be heard, and form exceptions to the general 
procedure of our British birds; and we have one little 
bird, the woodlark, (alauda arborea) that, in the early parts 
of the autumnal months delights us with its harmony, and 
its carols may be heard in the air commonly during the 
calm sunny mornings of this season. Thej' have a softness 
and quietness, perfectly in unison with the sober, almost 
melancholy, stillness of the hour. The skylark, also, sings 
now, and its song is very sweet, full of harmony, cheerful 
as the blue sky and gladdening beam in which it circles 
and sports, and known and admired by all; but the voice 
of the woodlark is local, not so generally heard, from its 
softness must almost be listened for, to be distinguished, 
and has not any pretensions to the hilarity of the former. 
This little bird sings likewise in the spring; but, at that 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



season, the contending songsters of the grove, and the va- 
riety of sound proceeding from every thing that has utter- 
ance, confuse and almost render inaudible the placid voice 
of the woodlark. It delights to fix its residence near little 
groves and copses, or quiet pastures, and is a very unob- 
trusive bird, not uniting in companies, but associating in 
its own little family parties only, feeding in the woodlands 
on seeds and insects. Upon the approach of man, it crouches 
close to the ground, then suddenly darts away, as if for a 
distant flight, but settles again almost immediately. This 
lark will often continue its song, circle in the air, a scarcely 
visible speck, by the hour together; and the vast distance 
from which its voice reaches us in a calm day, is almost 
incredible. In the scale of comparison, it stands imme- 
diately below the nightingale in melody and plaintiveness; 
but compass of voice is given to the linnet, a bird of very 
inferior powers. The strength of the larynx and of the 
muscles of the throat in birds, is infinitely greater than in 
the human race. The loudest shout of the peasant is but a 
feeble cry, compared with that of the golden-eyed duck, 
the wild goose, or even this lark. The sweet song of this 
poor little bird, with a fate like that of the nightingale, 
renders it an object of capture and confinement, which few 
of them comparatively survive. I have known our country 
birdcatchers take them by a very simple but effectual me- 
thod. Watching them to the ground, the wings of a hawk, 
or of the brown owl, stretched out, are drawn against the 
current of air by a string, as a paper kite, and made to 
flutter and vibrate like a kestrel, over the place where 
the woodlark has lodged; which so intimidates the bird, 
that it remains crouchmg, and motionless as a stone, on 
the ground ; a hand-net is brought over it, and it is 
caught. 

From various little scraps of intelligence scattered 
through the sacred and ancient writings, it appears certain, 
as it was reasonable to conclude, that the notes now used 
by birds, and the voices of animals, are the same as uttered 
by their earliest progenitors. The language of man, with- 
out any reference to the confusion accomplished at Babel, 
has been broken into innumerable dialects, created or com- 
pounded as his wants occurred, or his ideas prompted; or 
obtained by intercourse with others, as mental enlargement 
or novelty necessitated new words to express new senti- 
ments. Could we find a people from Japan or the Pole, 
whose progress in mind has been stationary, without in- 
crease of idea, from national prejudice or impossibility of 
communication with others, we probably should find little 
or no alteration in the original language of that people; so, 
by analogy of reasoning, the animal, having no idea to 
prompt, no new want to express, no converse with others, 
(for a note caught and uttered merely, is like a boy mock- 



ing the cuckoo,) so no new language is acquired. With 
civilized man, every thing is progressive; with animals, 
where there is no mind, all is stationary. Even the voice 
of one species of birds, except in particular cases, seems 
not to be attended to by another species. That peculiar 
call of the female cuckoo, which assembles so many con- 
tending lovers, and all the various amatorial and caressing 
language of others, excites no influence generally, that I 
am aware of; with all but the individual species, it is a 
dialect unknown. I know but one note, which animals 
make use of, that seems of universal comprehension, and 
this is the signal of danger. The instant that it is uttered, 
we hear the whole flock, though composed of various spe- 
cies, repeat a separate moan, and away they all scuttle into 
the bushes for safety. The reiterated " twink, twink" of 
the chaffinch, is known by every little bird, as information 
of some prowling cat or weasel. Some give the maternal 
hush to their young, and mount to inquire into the jeopardy 
announced. The wren, that tells of perils from the hedge, 
soon collects about her all the various inquisitive species 
within hearing, to survey and ascertain the object, and add 
their separate fears. The swallow, that shrieking darts in 
devious flight through the air, when a hawk appears, not 
only calls up all the hirundines of the village, but is instantly 
understood by every finch and sparrow, and its warning 
attended to. As nature, in all her ordinations, had a fixed 
design and foreknowledge, it may be that each species had 
a separate voice assigned it, that each might continue as 
created, distinct and unmixed: and the very few deviations 
and admixtures that have taken place, considering the lapse 
of time, association, and opportunity, united with the pro- 
hibition of continuing accidental deviations, are very 
remarkable, and indicate a cause and original motive. 
That some of the notes of birds are, as language, designed 
to convey a meaning, is obvious, from the very different 
sounds uttered by these creatures at particular periods: the 
spring voices become changed as summer advances, and 
the acquirements of the early season have ceased; the sum- 
mer excitements, monitions, informations, are not needed 
in autumn, and the notes conveying such intelligences are 
no longer heard. The periodical calls of animals, croaking 
of frogs, &c. afford the same reasons for concluding that 
the sound of their voices by elevation, depression, or mo- 
dulation, conveys intelligence equivalent to an uttered 
sentence. The voices of birds seem applicable in most 
instances to the immediate necessities of their condition; 
such as the sexual call, the invitation to unite when dis- 
persed, the moan of danger, the shriek of alarm, the notice 
of food. But there are other notes, the designs and motives 
of which are not so obvious. One sex only is gifted with 
the power of singing, for the purpose, as Buffbn supposed, 



A^fD AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



of cheering his mate during the period of incubation; but 
this idea, gallant as it is, has such slight foundation in 
probability, that it needs no confutation: and, after all, 
perhaps, we must conclude, that, listened to, admired, and 
pleasing, as the voices of many birds are, either for their 
intrinsic melody, or from association, we are uncertain what 
they express, or the object of their song. The singing of 
most birds seems entirely a spontaneous effusion produced 
by no exertion, or occasioning no lassitude in muscle, or 
relaxation of the parts of action. In certain seasons and 
weather, the nightingale sings all day, and most part of the 
night; and we never observe that tlie powers of song are 
weaker, or that the notes become harsh and untunable, 
after all these hours of practice. The song-thrush, in a 
mild moist April, will commence his tune early in the 
morning, pipe unceasingly through the day, yet, at the 
close of eve, when he retires to rest, there is no obvious 
decay of his musical powers, or any sensible effort required 
to continue his harmony to the last. Birds of one species 
sing, in general, very like each other, with different degrees 
of execution. Some counties may produce finer songsters, 
but without great variation in the notes. In the thrush, 
however, it is remarkable, that there seems to be no regu- 
lar notes, each individual piping a voluntary of his own. 
Their voices may always be distinguished amid the choris- 
ters of the copse, yet some one performer will more particu- 
larly engage attention by a peculiar modulation or tune; and 
should several stations of these birds be visited in the same 
morning, few or none probably will be found to preserve 
the same round of notes; whatever is uttered, seeming the 
effusion of the moment. At times a strain will break out 
perfectly unlike any preceding utterance, and we may wait 
a long time without noticing any repetition of it. During 
one spring, an individual song-thrush, frequenting a favour- 
ite copse, after a certain round of tune, trilled out most 
regularly, some notes that conve3red so clearly the words, 
lady-bird! lady-bird! that every one remarked the resem- 
blance. He survived the winter, and in the ensuing season 
the lady-bird ! lady-bird ! was still the burden of our even- 
ing song; it then ceased, and we never heard this pretty 
modulation more. Though merely an occasional strain, 
yet I have noticed it elsewhere — it thus appearing to be a 
favourite utterance. Harsh, strained, and tense, as the 
notes of this bird are, yet they are pleasing from their 
variety. The voice of the blackbird is iniinitely more 
mellow, but has much less variety, compass, or execution; 
and he, too, commences his carols with the morning light, 
persevering from hour to hour without effort, or any sensi- 
ble faltering of voice. The cuckoo wearies us throughout 
some long May morning, with the unceasing monotony of its 
song; and, though there are others as vociferous, yet it is the 



only bird I know that seems to suffer from the use of the 
organs of voice. Little exertion as the few notes it makes 
use of, seem to require, yet, by the middle or end of June, 
it loses its utterance, becomes hoarse, and ceases from any 
further essay of it. The croaking of the nightingale in 
June, or the end of May, is not apparently occasioned by 
the loss of voice, but a change of note, a change of object; 
his song ceases when his mate has hatched her brood; vigi- 
lance, anxiety, caution, now succeed to harmony, and his 
croak is the hush, the warning of danger or suspicion to 
the infant charge and the mother bird. 

But here I must close my notes of birds, lest their actions 
and their ways, so various and so pleasing, should lure me 
on to protract 

" My tedious tale through many a page;" 

for I have always been an admirer of these elegant crea- 
tures, their notes, their nests, their eggs, and all the eco- 
nomy of their lives; nor have we throughout the orders of 
creation, any beings that so continually engage our atten- 
tion as these our feathered companions. Winter takes from 
us all the gay world of the meads, the sylphs that hover 
over our flowers, that steal our sweets, that creep, or 
gently wing their way in glittering splendour around us; 
and of all the miraculous creatures that sported their hour 
in the sunny beam, the winter gnat alone remains to 
frolic in some rare and partial gleam. The myriads of 
the pool are dormant, or hidden from our sight; the quad- 
rupeds, few and wary, veil their actions in the glooms of 
night, and we see little of them; but birds are with us 
always, they give a character to spring, and are identified 
with it; they enchant and amuse us all summer long with 
their sports, animation, hilarity and glee; they cluster 
round us, suppliant in the winter of our year, and, unre- 
pining through cold and want, seek their scanty meal 
amidst the refuse of the barn, the stalls of the cattle, or at 
the doors of our house; or, flitting hungry from one de- 
nuded and bare spray to another, excite our pity and 
regard; their lives are patterns of gaiety, cleanliness, ala- 
crity, and joy. — Jour, of a Naturalist. 



ANTS AND ANT-BEARS 

OF SOUTH AMERICA. 

In the far-extending wilds of Guiana, the traveller will 
be astonished at the immense quantity of Ants which he 
perceives on the ground and in the trees. They have nests 
in the branches, four or five times as large as that of the 
rook; and they have a covered way from them to the 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



ground. In this covered way thousands are perpetually- 
passing and repassing; and if you destroy part of it, they 
turn to, and immediately repair it. 

Other species of Ants again have no covered way; but 
travel, exposed to view, upon the surface of the earth. 
You will sometimes see a string of these Ants a mile long, 
each carrying in its mouth to its nest a green leaf, the size 
of a sixpence. It is wonderful to observe the order in which 
they move, and with what pains and labour they surmount 
the obstructions of the path. 

The Ants have their enemies, as well as the rest of ani- 
mated nature. Amongst the foremost of these stand the 
three species of Ant-bears. The smallest is not much larger 
than a rat; the next is nearly the size of a fox; and the 
third a stout and powerful animal, measuring above six 
feet from the snout to the end of the tail. He is the most 
inoffensive of all animals, and never injures the property 
of man. He is chiefly found in the inmost recesses of the 
forest, and seems partial to the low and swampy parts near 
creeks, where the Troely tree grows. There he goes up 
and down in quest of Ants, of which there is never the 
least scarcity; so that he soon obtains a sufficient supply of 
food, with very little trouble. He cannot travel fast; man 
is superior to him in speed. Without swiftness to enable 
him to escape from his enemies, without teeth, the posses- 
sion of which would assist him in self-defence, and without 
the power of burrowing in the ground, by which he might 
conceal himself from his pursuers, he still is capable of 
ranging through these wilds in perfect safety; nor does he 
fear the fatal pressure of the serpent's fold, or the teeth of 
the famished Jaguar. Nature has formed his fore-legs won- 
derfully thick, and strong, and muscular, and armed his 
feet with three tremendous sharp and crooked claws. 
Whenever he seizes an animal with these formidable wea- 
pons, he hugs it close to his body, and keeps it there till 
it dies through pressure, or through want of food. Nor 
does the Ant-bear, in the mean time, suffer much from loss 
of aliment, as it is a well-known fact, that he can go 
longer without food than, perhaps, any other animal, ex- 
cept the land tortoise. His skin is of a texture that perfectly 
resists tlie bite of a dog; his hinder parts are protected by 
thick and shaggy hair, while his immense tail is large 
enough to cover his whole body. 

Examine a figure of this animal, in books of natural histo- 
ry, or inspect a stuffed specimen in the best museums, and 
you will see that the fore-claws are just in the same forward 
attitude, as those of a dog, or a common bear, when he 
walks or stands. But this is a distorted and unnatural 
position; and, in life, would be a painful and intolerable 
attitude for the Ant-bear. The length and curve of his 



claws cannot admit of such a position. When he walks or 
stands, his feet have somewhat the appearance of a club- 
hand. He goes entirely on the outer side of his fore-feet, 
which are quite bent inwards; the claws collected into a 
point, and going under the foot. In this position he is 
quite at ease; while his long claws are disposed of in a 
manner to render them harmless to him, and arc prevented 
from becoming dull and worn, like those of the dog, which 
would inevitably be the case, did their points come in ac- 
tual contact with the ground; for his claws have not that 
retractile power which is given to animals of the feline 
species, by which they are enabled to preserve the sharp- 
ness of their claws on the most flinty path. A slight in- 
spection of the fore-feet of the Ant-bear, will immediately 
convince you of the mistake artists and naturalists have 
fallen into, by putting his fore-feet in the same position as 
that of other quadrupeds; for you will perceive that the 
whole outer side of his foot is not only deprived of 
hair, but is hard and callous; proof positive of its being 
in perpetual contact with the ground. Now, on the con- 
trary, the inner side of the bottom of his foot is soft and 
rather hairy. 

There is another singularity in the anatomy of the Ant- 
bear, I believe, as yet unnoticed in the page of natural 
history. He has two very large glands situated below the 
root of the tongue. From these is emitted a glutinous 
liquid, with which his long tongue is lubricated when he 
puts into the ants' nests. These glands are of the same 
substance as those found in the lower jaw of the wood- 
pecker. The secretion from them, when wet, is very 
clammy and adhesive, but, on being dried, it loses these 
qualities, and you can pulverize it betwixt your finger and 
thumb; so that, in dissection, if any of it has got upon the 
fur of the animal, or the feathers of the bird, allow it to 
dry there, and then it may be removed without leaving 
the least stain behind. 

The Ant-bear is a pacific animal. He is never the first 
to begin the attack. His motto maybe, "Noli me tan- 
gere." As his habits and his haunts differ materially from 
those of every other animal in the forest, their interests 
never clash, and thus he might live to a good old age, and 
die at last in peace, were it not that his flesh is good food. 
On this account, the Indian wages perpetual war against 
him, and as he cannot escape by flight, he falls an easy 
prey to the poisoned arrow, shot from the Indian's bow at 
a distance. If ever he be closely attacked by dogs, he 
immediately throws himself on his back, and if he be for- 
tunate enough to catch hold of his enemy with his tremen- 
dous claws, the invader is sure to pay for his rashness 
with the loss of life. — fVaterton. 




4 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



MEADOW LARK. 



may be found in market. They are generally considered, 
for size and delicacy, little inferior to the quail, or what 
is here usually called the partridge, and valued accord- 
ingly. I once met with a few of these birds in the month 
of February, during a deep snow, among the heights of 
the Alleghany, between Shippensburgh and Somerset, 
gleaning on the road, in company with the small snow- 
birds. In the States of South Carolina and Georgia, at the 
same season of the year, they swarm among the rice plan- 
tations, running about the yards and out-houses, accompa- 
nied by the Kildeers, with little appearance of fear, as if 
quite domesticated. 

These birds, after the building season is over, collect in 
flocks; but seldom fly in a close compact body; their flight 
is something in the manner of the grouse and partridge, 
laborious and steady; sailing, and renewing the rapid action 
of the wings alternately. When they alight on trees or 
bushes, it is generally on the tops of the highest branches, 
whence they send forth a long, clear, and somewhat melan- 
choly note, that, in sweetness and tenderness of expression, 
is not surpassed by any of our numerous warblers. This 
is sometimes followed by a kind of low, rapid chattering, the 
particular call of the female; and again the clear and plaintive 



JILJIUBA MAGNA. 

[Plate VIII.— Winter Plumage.] 

Linn. Syst. 2S9.— Crescent Stare, Arct. Zool. 330. No. 
192. — Latham, hi. 6. Var. A. — Le Fer-a-cheval, ou 
Merle a Collier d' Amerique, Buff. hi. p. 371. — 
Catesb. Car. i. pi. 33. — Bartram, p. 290. — Alauda 
magna, Linn. Syst. i. p. 167. Ed. 10. — Gmel. Syst. 

I. p. 801. — Merula Americana torquata, Briss. Av. 

II. p. 242. No. 15. — (Summer dress.) Sturnus ludo- 
vicianus, Linn. Syst. i. p. 290. — Gmel. Syst. i. p. 
802. — Brisson, II. p. 449. 4. /. 42. / 1. — Lath. Ind. 
Orn. I. 323. — Etoiirneau de la Louisiane. — Buff. hi. 

p. 192. — PI. Enl. 256. — J. Doughty's Collection. 

Though this well-known species cannot boast of the 
powers of song which distinguish that " harbinger of day," 
the Sky Lark of Europe, yet in richness of plumage, as 
well as in sweetness of voice (as far as his few notes ex- 
tend), he stands eminently its superior. He differs from 
the greater part of his tribe in wanting the long straight strain is repeated as before. They afford tolerable good 
hind claw, which is probably the reason why he has been amusement to the sportsman, being most easily shot while 
classed, by some late naturalists, with the Starlings. But on wing; as they frequently squat among the long grass, 
in the particular form of his bill, in his manners, plumage, and spring within gunshot. The nest of this species is built 
mode and place of building his nest, nature has clearly generally in, or below, a thick tuft or tussock of grass; it 
pointed out his proper family. is composed of dry grass, and fine bent laid at bottom, and 

v^'ound all around, leaving an arched entrance level with 
the ground ; the inside is lined with fine stalks of the same 
materials, disposed with great regularity. The eggs are 
four, sometimes five, white, marked with specks, and seve- 
ral large blotches of reddish brown, chiefly at the thick 
end. Their food consists of caterpillars, grub worms, 
beetles, and grass seeds; with a considerable proportion of 
gravel. Their general name is the Meadow Lark; among 
feed. They are rarely or never seen in the depth of the the Virginians they are usually called the Old Field Lark. 
woods; unless where, instead of underwood, the ground is The length of this bird is ten inches and a half, extent 
covered with rich grass, as in the Choctaw and Chickasaw sixteen and a half; throat, breast, belly, and line from the 
countries, where I met with them in considerable numbers 
in the months of May and June. The extensive and luxu- 
riant prairies between Vincennes and St Louis also abound 
with them. 

It is probable that in the more rigorous regions of the 
north they may be birds of passage, as they are partially so 
here; though I have seen them among the meadows of New each side by a stripe of black intermixed with bay, and 
Jersey, and those that border the rivers Delaware and another line of yellowish white passes over each eye back- 
Schuylkill, in all seasons; even when the ground was wards; cheeks bluish white, back and rest of the upper 
deeply covered with snow. There is scarcely a market parts beautifully variegated with black, bright bay, and 
day in Philadelphia, from September to March, but thev pale ochre: tail wedged, the feathers neatly pointed, the 
Y 



This species has a very extensive range; having myself 
found them in Upper Canada, and in each of the States from 
New Hampshire to New Orleans. Mr. Bartram also in- 
forms me that they are equally abundant in East Florida. 
Their favourite places of retreat are pasture fields and 
meadows, particularly the latter, which have conferred on 
them their specific name; and no doubt supplies them abun- 
dantly with the particular seeds and insects on which they 



eye to the nostrils, rich yellow; inside lining and edge of 
the wing the same; an oblong crescent, of deep velvetty 
black, ornaments the lower part of the throat; lesser wing- 
coverts black, broadly bordered with pale ash; rest of the 
wing feathers light brown, handsomely serrated with black; 
a line of yellowish white divides the crown, bounded on 



86 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



four outer ones on each side, nearly all white; sides, thighs, 
and vent pale yellow ochre, streaked with black; upper 
mandible brown, lower bluish white; eyelids furnished with 
strong black hairs: legs and feet very large, and of a pale 
flesh colour. 

The female has the black crescent more skirted with 
grey, and not of so deep a black. In the rest of her mark- 
ings, the plumage differs little from that of the male. I 
must here take notice of a mistake committed by Mr. Ed- 
wards, in his History of Birds, Vol. VI. p. 123, where, 
on the authority of a bird dealer of London, he describes 
the Calandre Lark (a native of Italy and Russia), as belong- 
ing also to North America, and having been brought from 
Carolina. I can say with confidence, that in all my excur- 
sions through that and the rest of the southern States, I 
never met such a bird, nor any person who had ever seen 
it. I have no hesitation in believing that the Calandre is 
not a native of the United States. 



SNOW-BIRD. 

FRINGILLA HUDSONM. 

[Plate VIIL] 

Fringilla Hudsonia, Turton, Syst. i. 56S. — Emberiza 
hyemalis, Id. 531. — Lath. i. 66. — Catesbv, i. 36. — 
Jlrct. Zool. p. 359, No. 223. — Passer nivalis, Bar- 
tram, /;. 291. — Fringilla hyemalis, Linn. Syst. Ed. 
10, I. ]}. 183, 30. — J. Doughty's Collection. 

This well-known species, small and insignificant as it 
may appear, is by far the most numerous, as well as the 
most extensively disseminated, of all the feathered tribes 
that visit us from the frozen regions of the north. Their 
migrations extending from the arctic circle, and probably 
beyond it, to the shores of the gulf of Mexico, spreading 
over the whole breadth of the United States, from the 
Atlantic Ocean to Louisiana; how much farther westward 
I am unable to say. About the twentieth of October, they 
make their first appearance in those parts of Pennsylvania 
east of the Alleghany mountains. At first they are most 
generally seen on the borders of woods, among the falling 
and decayed leaves, in loose flocks of thirty or forty toge- 
ther, always taking to the trees when disturbed. As the 
weather sets in colder, they approach nearer the farm-house 
and villages; and, on the appearance of what is usually 
called falling weather, assemble in larger flocks, and seem 
doubly diligent in searching for food. This increased acti- 
vity is generally a sure prognostic of a storm. When deep 
snow covers the ground, they become "'most half domesti- 



cated. They collect about the barn, stables, and other 
outhouses, spread over the yard, and even round the steps 
of the door; not only in the country and villages, but in 
the heart of our large cities; crowding around the threshold 
early in the morning, gleaning up the crumbs; appearing 
very lively and familiar. They have also recourse, at 
this severe season, when the face of the earth is shut up 
from them, to the seeds of many kinds of weeds, that still 
rise above the snow, in corners of fields, and low shel- 
tered situations, along the borders of creeks and fences, 
where they associate with several species of Sparrows. 
They are, at this time, easily caught with almost any kind 
of traps; are generally fat, and, it is said, are excellent 
eating. 

I cannot but consider this bird as the most numerous of 
its tribe of any within the United States. From the north- 
ern parts of the district of Maine, to the Ogechee river in 
Georgia, a distance, by the circuitous route in which I tra- 
velled, of more than 1800 miles, I never passed a day, and 
scarcely a mile, without seeing numbers of these birds, and 
frequently large flocks of several thousands. Other tra- 
vellers, with whom I conversed, who had come from 
Lexington, in Kentucky, through Virginia, also declared 
that they found these birds numerous along the whole road. 
It should be observed, that the road sides are their favour- 
ite haunts, where many rank weeds that grow along the 
fences, furnish them with food, and the road with gravel. 
In the vicinity of places where they were most numerous, 
I observed the small Hawk, {Falco sparverius) and seve- 
ral others of his tribe, watching their opportunity, or 
hovering cautiously around, making an occasional sweep 
among them, and retiring to the bare branches of an old 
cypress, to feed on their victim. In the month of April, 
when the weather begins to be warm, they are observed to 
retreat to the woods; and to prefer the shaded sides of 
hills and thickets; at which time the males warble out a 
few very low sweet notes; and are almost perpetually pur- 
suing and fighting with each other. About the twentieth 
of April they take their leave of our humble regions, and 
retire to the north, and to the high ranges of the Alleghany, 
to build their nests, and rear their young. In some of those 
ranges, in the interior of Virginia, and northward, about 
the waters of the west branch of the Susquehanna, they 
breed in great numbers. The nest is fixed in the ground, 
or among the grass, sometimes several being within a small 
distance of each other. According to the observations of 
the gentlemen residing at Hudson's bay factory, they arrive 
there about the beginning of June, stay a week or two, 
and proceed farther north to breed. They return to that 
settlement in the autumn on their way to the south. 

In some parts of New England I found the opinion 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



«t 



pretty general, that the Snow-bird in summer is transform- 
ed into the small Chipping Sparrow, which we find so 
common in that season. I had convinced a gentleman of 
New York of his mistake in this matter, by taking him to 
the house of a Mr. Gautier, there, who amuses himself by 
keeping a great number of native as well as foreign birds. 
This was in the month of July, and the Snow-bird appeared 
there in the same coloured plumage he usually has. Several 
individuals of the Chipping Sparrow were also in the same 
apartment. The evidence was therefore irresistible; but as 
I had not the same proofs to offer to the eye in New Eng- 
land, I had not the same success. 

There must be something in the temperature of the blood 
or constitution of this bird, which unfits it for residing, 
during summer, in the lower parts of the United States; as 
the country here abounds with a great variety of food, of 
which, during its stay here, it appears to be remarkably 
fond. Or, perhaps, its habit of associating in such numbers 



to breed, and building its nest with so little precaution, 
may, to insure its safety, require a solitary region, far from 
the intruding footsteps of man. 

The Snow-bird is six inches long, and nine in extent, 
the head, neck, and upper parts of the breast, body, and 
wings, are of a deep slate colour; the plumage sometimes 
skirted with brown, which is the colour of the young birds; 
the lower parts of the breast, the whole belly and vent, are 
pure white; the three secondary quill feathers next the body 
are edged with brown, the primaries with white; the tail 
is dusky slate, a little forked, the two exterior feathers 
wholly white, which are flirted out as it flies, and appear 
then very prominent; the bill and legs are of a reddish 
flesh colour; the eye bluish black. The female differs 
from the male in being considerably more brown. In the 
depth of winter the slate colour of the male becomes more 
deep and much purer, the brown disappearing nearly alto- 
gether. 




SNIPE SHOOTING. 

The season for shooting Snipe, commences in March, 
and generally continues until the middle of April, and 
when the birds are plentiful, affords considerable amuse- 
ment, and not a little toil, to the sportsman. 

So soon as the warm and genial influence of approaching 
spring, begins to revive mankind to activity, after the 
paralizing effects of winter, then it is that these birds make 
their appearance among us, while on their journey to the 
north; and, although poor on their first arrival, soon become 
fat by means of the rich feeding grounds, which lie adja- 
cent to this city, and are objects of eager pursuit, both 



by sportsmen and market dealers. The shooting campalgi, 
for the current year, opens on this species of game, and 
new zest being given for this favourite amusement, by the 
idleness of winter, multitudes of shooters are ready to take 
the field, in a general war of extermination, against these 
innocent visitants, so soon as their approach is known. On 
all the low grounds, which border the rivers Delaware and 
Schuylkill, may be seen, gunners of every age and class, 
armed with the unwieldy, rusty musket, to the superb 
double percussion gun, some for the recreative pleasure 
which the exercise produces, others as a source of profit; 
and again, those, who wish to while away the tedium of 
an idle life. 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



Shooting Snipe dexterously, has always been considered 
a difficult point to attain, and requires not only excellent 
judgment, but much deliberation. The silent and rapid 
manner which this bird springs from the ground, and the 
zig-zag figure of its flight, oftentimes disappoints expert 
shots, and puts them in doubt of their proficiency in the 
science. I have known excellent shots at other objects, 
miss Snipe five or six times in succession, but it is gene- 
rally attributable to the common fault of shooting too 
soon. 

In rising from the ground, the Snipe springs to the height 
of five or six feet, and darts ofl" in a zig-zag manner, at the 
commencement of which it utters a sound similar to the 
word scape, and after continuing in this way for a distance, 
perhaps, of twentj^ yards, directs a straight course, gradu- 
ally ascending, until it reaches a certain height in the air, 
when a few circuitous flights are performed, until another 
spot to settle is fixed upon; this determined, it gradually 
descends, and when near the earth, drops of a sudden in 
the grass. Owing to this habit of alighting, many unskilled 
persons are deceived, thinking it to be the effect of a mortal 
wound which causes the sudden stop, but on approaching 
the spot where it settles, to their amazement, find the bird 
will rise as freely as before. 

Our Snipe, although different in appearance from the 
JacA;-Snipe of England, is similar to it in habit, especially 
in this manner of alighting on the ground, and the follow- 
ing anecdoie, related by Thornhill, in his Shooting Direc- 
tory, may not be inappropriatcl)^ inserted here, as tending 
to show the disappointment of many, when in pursuit of 
this game. He says, " a most curious circumstance occur- 
red respecting a Jack-Snipe, that was sprung several times 
by a Mr. Molloy, formerly a quarter-master of the 64th 
regiment, while he was quartered at Geneva barracks, 
Ireland, is worth relating: He regularly, after his duty was 
done, or if he could possibly obtain leave for a day, used 
to equip himself for shooting, and always sprung this Jack- 
Snipe, at which he fired, and followed, and the bird used 
to pitch so close to him at times, that he was confident he 
had shot it, and used to run to take it up, when, to his 
great surprise, it would rise, and fly a little farther; he 
actually acknowledged he fired, one day, eighteen times 
at this bird, and, after shooting at it for the whole season, 
he happened to be crossing the bog it lay in, when he put 
it up, and exclaiming, "there's my old friend," threw his 
stick at it, and killed it on the spot; whenever after, any 
of his brother officers found a Jack-Snipe, they were 
always sure to say, "there goes Quartermaster Molloy." 

The proper manner of hunting Snipe is with the wind, 
as they not only lie much closer for the sportsman, 
but having great aversion to the wind acting against their 



feathers, will, immediately after rising, head the wind, 
and present a convenient cross shot, and should they be 
plentiful, it is most advisable to hunt them without dogs, 
as the sportsman can spring them himself with all conve- 
nience. It is also important to success, to reserve the 
fire until the irregularity of their flight is over, which 
rarely exceeds twenty yards, and this being point blank 
distance, will enable the shooter to kill his object, not only 
with greater certainty, but more satisfaction. 

At times, the Snipe are exceedingly shy, and difficult to 
approach, frequently springing up beyond the reach of your 
shot, and again so tranquil as not to fly until almost trod- 
den upon; satisfactory reasons for this difference have never 
yet, to my knowledge, been presented, but which, I think, 
may be accounted for as follows. Snipe, like woodcock, 
feed more during the night than the day, but more espe- 
cially moonlight nights, on which occasions their wander- 
ings are more severe and fatiguing, consequently, it will 
be found, that on days succeeding those moonlight nights, 
the Snipe, by reason of fatigue and satisfied appetite, 
become more sluggish and inclined to be dormant. Again, 
the migration of these birds always takes place during the 
night season, gradually through the whole month of March, 
and the early part of April, commencing about twilight in 
the evening, and subsiding at the same period the next 
morning, and will perform a journey, at a moderate calcu- 
lation, of three or four hundred miles at one flight. Now, 
when the sportsman encounters these birds the day after 
their migratory flight, they are found to be very tenacious 
of their resting-place, and quit it reluctantly; nor is it diffi- 
cult to detect them, for whilst those Snipe which have 
remained for days and recruited strength, will rise at too 
great a distance for a successful shot, make their usual circu- 
lar flight, and depart for some more distant feeding ground, 
these will spring up only at your feet, fly a short distance, 
and drop again into the grass, and continue these short 
flights, until repeated persecution drives them completely 
off. These birds, after a long flight, will remain in rich 
feeding ground for a number of days, and until they have 
satisfied the cravings of hunger, or become sufficiently re- 
cruited to continue their migration, when, being disturbed 
during the day, will make their final move the succeeding 
night. In this way, sportsmen have often been disap- 
pointed, when resorting to Snipe ground, find few, or no 
birds, where, the day previous, they were in the greatest 
abundance. 

The Snipe are occasionally to be found in swampy thick- 
ets, but more generally in open meadows, with a soft 
bottom, and more or less covered slightly with water, this 
kind of ground abounds in the neighbourhood of Philadel- 
phia, but since the excavation of the Chesapeake and 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



Delaware canal, numbers of sportsmen resort thither as a 
favourite place for shooting Snipe; at times they are scarce 
even in this place, and then again in vast numbers, so that 
the indefatigable sportsman is often rewarded for his ex- 
pense and toil. When this spot was first resorted to, for 
the purpose of shooting Snipe, I have been informed, that, 
so great a multitude of these birds have congregated in 
places, as to rival black-birds in the size of their flocks. 

The Snipe pass the middle States by the latter end of 
April, and reach their place of incubation, in the more 
northern climate, in the early part of May, where they 
remain until October, whence they return, and again afford 
amusement to our sportsmen, during the Indian Summer; 
at this period they are generally more fat and tender than 
in the spring, being mostly j^oung birds. They finally 
return to the southern States, and winter in the marshy and 
rice gi'ounds, with which those States abound. 

Although these birds are strictly migratory, there are 
instances when they remain with us through both summer 
and winter, as I have several times shot them in the heat 
of the former, and the severities of the latter. 

In habit, the Snipe is a solitary bird, and performs its 
journey alone, but, as has been stated before, they concen- 
trate in particularly rich feeding grounds, in such quanti- 
ties, that when disturbed, their rise is so simultaneous, as 
to have the appearance of flocks, and they will hover 
around in large bodies, unwilling to leave the spot, until 
they either disperse, or settle again in the grass, but their 
arrival at, and departure from, these places, is solitary. 
When this game is plentiful, I would advise the young 
sportsman, by all means, to practice on it in preference to 
any other; it is clear shooting, no objects interpose to dis- 
concert the mind, and direct it from the game; conse- 
quently, there is more time for deliberation. No. 9 shot, 
is sufficiently large for the purpose, as it requires but a 
slight wound to bring them to the ground — and one day's 
exercise with prudence, after these birds, will initiate the 
beginner into the science of shooting, more completely, 
than practising a whole week at useless swallows, or slug- 
gish rail. I_ 



REPLY TO "SPORTSMAN." 

Messrs. Editors, 

Your correspondent, the "Sportsman," has evinced so 
much courtesy in his remarks on my essay on Chesapeake 
Duck Shooting, that, though difiering in sentiment, I feel 
much pleasure in replying to his "" Stricture." With 
respect to his first observation, on the principle of aimino- 
Z ^ f o 



in advance of a bird, when at a great distance, the necessity 
of it has been so much an axiom with old duck shooters, 
that every argument with them would fail in overturning 
it. I imagine, from the sentiments of your correspondent, 
that his practice has been principally with ordinary game; 
where the rapidity of flight and distance of object have been 
so materially different from the case assumed by myself, 
that a comparison can scarcely be drawn. 

With a partridge or woodcock, the nearness of the object, 
and the comparative slowness of progression, destroy the 
necessity for any sensible difference in the direction of 
aim; for, it has been computed that these birds fly at the 
rate of from thirty to forty feet in a second of time, and being 
generally shot at within sixty yards distance, the spread of 
the load will cover all deficiency. 

With a bird at eighty or one hundred yards, whose 
motion is nearly ninety feet in that time, there can 
be no doubt of the absolute necessity for a certain allow- 
ance. Throwing aside the spreading of the shot, and 
estimating the load but as a single mass like a bullet, the 
subject assumes a more simple shape, and it is thus I will 
consider it. If the shooter ceases to move his gun when 
he begins to pull the trigger, there can be no question of the 
loss of time even with the most rapid motion of the lock; 
but I will take the fairest position of the matter, and allow 
that the gun is still covering the bird when the load is 
actually at the muzzle. The diagram before us, will assist 
in explaining the philosophy of the subject. 

I will consider A the breech of the 
gun, which is, for all purposes, suf- *e 
ficiently a point or centre of motion, 
and B the muzzle. A C the posi- 
tion of the gun when the shooter 
commences the operation of firing, 
E the bird at that moment; and ta- 
king a course that will bring it when 
at its nearest point, at a distance of 
one hundred yards from the person. 

We will suppose, although the relative proportions of dis- 
tance are not accurate in the design, that the process of 
pulling the trigger, and the passage of the load from the 
breech to the muzzle, occupies one second of time, and that 
during that interval, the muzzle has travelled to B, which 
we will assume as ten feet, the length of the barrel, of 
course changing the arc, and the bird has arrived at F, or 
eight j'-seven feet beyond E. Allowing the load to be 
attached to the muzzle, and the same rate of motion con- 
tinued, it would be under the influence of a power of a 
momentum of ten feet in a second, and which, in another 
second would carry it to D. But presuming this momen- 
tum was received, and the attachment to the gun destroyed. 



00 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



the tangential disposition would, of course, place it at I, 
in the same time. The " Sportsman" must allow, for the 
sake of his own argument, that the load must remain a 
sufficient length of time at the muzzle, to receive all the 
lateral motion of that part, however inappreciable the in- 
terval. The contents of the gun, therefore, has received, 
at the instant of its departure, a certain lateral progression, 
which there is nothing afterwards to increase, and, at the 
same time, a forward velocity of, we will say as a data, 
one hundred yards in a second. Whilst the load, there- 
fore, is passing through this space, the bird has arrived at 
H, which is exactly in a line with the gun, if it had con- 
tinued the same rate of swing. We have now two forces 
to consider, a forward one of one hundred yards in a second, 
and a side one of ten feet in a second, and as all uninfluenced 
impulses are in straight lines, a course exactly between the 
two will be the track of the load, and it will reach G, in 
a line diagonally drawn from B, to a point in a line with 
I. If it be thought that my time is extreme, take any 
proportion of it, and the result is the same. For instance, 
consider that one-twentieth of a second is required for a 
ball to pass one hundred yards, take the one-twentieth of 
eighty-seven feet, as the progress of the bird, and the 
same proportion of the advance of the gun, and you will 
have six inches as the arc for the muzzle, and more than 
four feet for the bird. 

As to the second objection of the " Sportsman," to hear- 
ing the sound of the shot strike the bird, I do not recol- 
lect to have ever met with a ducker but who believed that 
a sound that is distinctly heard immediately after the dis- 
charge, arose from that cause. When birds, at even a less 
distance than one hundred yards, are struck, and sufficiently 
hard to kill instantly, a noise is perceived that can have no 
other explanation, and I have often closed my eyes to be 
enabled to determine from this sound alone, the success of 
the shot. During the sporting of last season, it was a sub- 
ject of daily conversation with us, and the death of many 
ducks was successfully predicted by that means alone, and 
the particular gunner, who struck the bird, was frequently 
determined, and the fact proven by the examination of 
the entering pellets, when there was no indication of success 
till after all had discharged. Mr. Titian Peale, than whom 
there cannot be more experienced or philosophical author- 
ity, has informed me, that when large animals, as buffalo, 
elk, or deer, are struck by a ball, and death instantly fol- 
lows, this sound is distinctly heard, though a much less 
resounding body than feathers is impinged. A ball fired 
at an object as a board, or even a solid post, at one hundred 
yards, can be heard to strike, almost uniformly. The 
" Sportsman" forgets that this sound must return to the 
ear at a rate of 11 43 feet in a second, so that at one hundred 



yards, one-fourth of a second must elapse after the blow, 
before its report, which, allowing the discharge and effect 
are simultaneous, which they certainly are not, is suffi- 
cient to enable this noise to be heard. 

Before closing my remarks on the essay which excited 
the observations of the " Sportsman," I will express my 
regret at the errors in composition which are self-apparent 
in it, the piece having been written in haste, and my 
engagements preventing a subsequent correction. 

I. T. S. 



ON THE CHOICE OF GUNS. 

Messrs. Editors, 

In my communication of the 19th of October, 1830, I 
confined myself to a description of guns adapted princi- _^ 
pally for field purposes, or shooting small game. My object H 
in the present, is to speak of those kinds which are most o 
approved of by the '^ Still Shooter,'"^ whose object is to 
kill large game, and at a great distance, such as deer, geese, 
ducks, &c. There is, however, a diversity of opinion re- 
specting these guns, chiefly growing out of habit, owing 
to the peculiar notions of many persons, and their mode of 
hunting. It is notorious, that many a man who has a gun, 
thinks himself in possession of the very best in ike loorld, 
and his practice confirms him in his opinion, that is, the 
only one calculated to insure success. With such I am not 
going to dispute the point, but yield at once to all which 
they shall insist upon, as undeniable, and true to the very 
letter. 

In selecting a gun for the purpose of killing deer, turkey, 
wild ducks, &c. I would recommend one weighing from 
ten to twelve pounds, if single, and twelve to fourteen, if 
double-barrelled, of seven-eighths calibre, and about three 
feet three to three feet six inches in length, which is capa- 
ble of throwing from two to three ounces of shot, of any 
kind, and which will be found convenien* for carrying 
about. When, however, the object is boat-shooting, a 
different gun from this, altogether, is required. In the 
District of Columbia, it is the custom now, to use guns, 
weighing twenty-five or thirty pounds, of an inch, or an 
inch and a quarter calibre, from four to five feet in length, 
carrying from six to eight ounces of shot, and it is even 
asserted that ten ounces are frequently thrown at once! !! 
In the winter of 1827-8, a coloured man had been pro- 
vided with a small piece of cannon, (it could be called 

* A still shooter is one who remains stationary at some place, and only 
shoots when objects pass him, or who hunts without a dog, and steals upon his 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



nothing else) which weighed about sixty pounds, and was 
projected over the bow of a little, frail machine, which 
scarcely deserved the name of a boat, whilst he stretched 
himself in the bottom and paddled in the direction of the game, 
which floated in dense masses on the waters of the Poto- 
mac. The time chosen by this Nimrod of aquatic celebrity, 
for carrying on his murderous operations, was night, and 
being guided chiefly by the noise of the birds, he moved 
silently along until he conceived that he was at a proper 
distance to speed the fatal messengers. Experience had 
made him perfect in his art, his boat was previously trim- 
med so as to allow his gun to range about one degree above 
the level of the water; thus equipped, he would direct his 
piece carefully towards his intended and unsuspecting vic- 
tims, with his finger on the fatal trigger. He would then 
arouse them and make them take flight, by kicking the boat 
with his toes, but no sooner did he hear the noise of their 
wings, than the work of destruction was done. In one 
instance, this sable adventurer picked up sixty-three canvass 
back ducks, part of which he oflered for sale the next 
morning in Washington, the balance having been claimed 
by the parties who furnished the gun, according to certain 
stipulations entered into between them and the black. This 
gun was secured to the boat by a long cord, so that, in case 
of the upsetting of the boat, it might be found. I did not 
hear whether the parties alluded to, had used the same 
precautionary steps in regard to the man, in case he should 
have fallen overboard and got drowned. By repeated 
slaughter of this kind, how reasonable it is to imagine, that 
in a short time, this valuable luxury of the table will en- 
tirely disappear, and how salutary would be some law, 
which should regulate its introduction into market, &c. 

Leaving this mode of killing wild fowl to negroes and 
their quod companions, we will return to our former text, 
and to better associates. Having spoken of those guns best 
adapted for sportsmen, we would merely offer a remark 
respecting the advantage which the shot gun possesses 
over the rifle, in the hands of an expert shot, and who is 
an adept in the art of shooting on the wing, and whenever 
the backwoodsman can handle the shot gun to the per- 
fection he has managed the rifle, I know that his opi- 
nion will coincide with mine, for the execution amongst 
game, will be proof sufiScient to remove the most settled 
prejudices. 

In the first place, his chances are multiplied in propor- 
tion to the number of buck and other shot, and it is much 
easier to move a gun of ten or twelve pounds weight, and 
keep it in a line with a moving object, than a rifle, which 
will weigh from fifteen to twenty pounds. With respect 
to those who may occasionally indulge in aquatic specula- 
tions, I would suppose that a piece of twelve or fourteen 



pounds, single or double, and carrying a charge of three 
or four ounces, would be sufficiently large for all sports- 
man-like operations. A. 



A BEAR HUNT. 



Messrs. Editors, 

A FEW years since, when a resident of the town of Han- 
cock, Delaware County, State of New York, among my 
many hunting excursions, I experienced the following 
Bear Hunt, which, if you think sufficiently interesting for 
insertion in your Work on Rural Sports, you are welcome 
to it. 

In making hunting excursions, I always preferred the 
period when the ground was first covered with snow, and 
before the severity of the weather became so intense as to 
drive most of the wild animals to their dens, which is more 
particularly the case with Bears, where there is a scarcity 
of food; then they retire early to their winter quarters, 
and remain in a dormant state until the opening of spring. 
The season, however, to which I allude, afforded so plen- 
tiful a supply of beech and chesnuts, that the Bears roamed 
at large much longer than in ordinary cases, and seemed 
averse to den, although snow had fallen to a considerable 
depth. 

When this is the case they become exceedingly fat, and 
with them it is a period of much persecution, as many 
persons are actuated to pursue them, in consequence of 
considerable profit being yielded by the sale of their fat, 
whilst others do it to secure a necessary supply for the 
winter season. This fat is twofold more rich than lard, and 
is used in preference to it for various culinary purposes, 
but more especially for dough-nuts, an article greatly in 
vogue in newly settled countries, being convenient to 
carry, and usually adopted by hunters for their daily food, 
when on the chase. 

During the above period, I had a plentiful supply of 
good dogs; the number varying from five to nine, and 
most of the smooth cur breed. This description of dogs 
are much the best for hunting Bears; for, being active and 
ferocious, they worry their antagonist to such a degree, 
that he is compelled either to make a stand to defend him- 
self, or take a tree in order to avoid them. Their manner 
of attack is to seize, and spring back, whenever the Bear 
attempts to fight, and the moment he runs, seize him 
again; in this way, they surround him, and, although 
they cannot vitally affect him, do often compel him to 
climb a tree, or resort to other measures to rid himself of 
them. 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



On the day of the present hunt, I was joined by a very 
particular friend, and a great huntsman, and we took with 
us, for our day's sport, nine dogs, and two men to assist 
leading the dogs — five of these animals were experienced 
and well broken, but the other four were young, and about, 
for the first time, to range the forest after Bear. Our first 
course was direct to a mountain, where, we were confident, 
we should find Bears; we moved off at a rapid pace, and 
soon reached our place of destination. This mountain was 
covered with beech and chesnut trees, and the Bears had 
visited these so often, that their tracks were numerous, 
but old; at length we came to a spot where a Bear had been 
scratching up the snow, in search of food, and which he 
had left only the night previous; we followed his track for 
about one mile, when our dogs aroused him from his rest- 
ing place. Our old dogs were under such excellent com- 
mand, that we kept them constantly by our side, until we 
started the Bear afresh, when we let them off, in pursuit. 
Two of the dogs were hounds, and would constantly give 
tongue, whilst the curs would proceed silently in chase, 
and keep ahead of the former ; and, owing to this 
circumstance, the Bear was often surprised, because his 
attention having been attracted by the yelping of the 
hounds, would, as he thought, keep beyond reach of them, 
without putting himself to unnecessary speed — when, to 
his surprise, the silent dogs would often be close at his 
heels, and, coming up to him, would engage in con- 
flict, and stop him; this, we could always tell, as all the 
dogs would then join in general cry, when we would 
take the nearest course, by crossing in the direction of the 
sound. 

On coming up to the combatants, we found the Bear, 
an exceedingly large animal, and had already killed a 
young, and bitten one of the old dogs, so badly, that he 
could not remove from the bed* but on our approach, he 
made off again, fighting the dogs as he ran, and showed 
much aversion to treeing, and would, therefore, enter 
swamps and windfalls, but being so closely pursued by the 
dogs, no artifice of his would avail him, and had, at last, 
recourse to a large tree, where he remained free from his 
persecutors, who were assembled beneath him barking to 
but little purpose. 

It may, perhaps, be worthy to remark, for the informa- 
tion of those who know but little of these animals, that old 

*' A hiLd is a term used among hunters, signifying the spot where a Bear 
makes a stand against his adversaries, and is more particularly applied when 
the ground is covered with snow, as he generally confines himself to one spot, 
which is completely beaten down by the belligerents, and varies from ten to 
twenty feet in diameter. Sometimes the Bear gives battle sitting in an upright 
posture, and again, while laying on his back; and it frequently occurs, that he 
succeeds in beating off all his enemies, and will chase them some distance from 
this spot, but, unless he makes off to some other neighbourhood, will, universally, 
return again to the bed to wait for a fresh attack, 



Bears seldom tree, to clear themselves of dogs, if there is 
any possibility of escape without it, and when necessity 
compels them to this course, they will, on the approach 
of a human creature, in despite of every obstacle which 
may oppose them, descend to the ground, and take to 
flight; but young Bears will climb trees immediately, and 
often sufler hunters to approach beneath, and shoot them. 
Knowing the present animal to be an old and formidable 
antagonist, and judging from the noise of the dogs, that he 
was in a tree, my companion thought it most advisable to 
destroy him at once, lest he should kill more of our dogs, 
as by this time he had disabled another; he accordingly 
approached with much caution, until within about eighty 
yards of the tree, in which the Bear had taken refuge, 
when, with much deliberation, he fired at his head, and, 
being a first rate shot, I felt confident that the animal would 
have fallen dead; but, to our great surprise, the shot did not 
take effect, owing to the ball having struck, and glanced 
from a small dead limb, which was immediately in front of 
the Bear's head, but completely unnoticed by my friend. 
At the report of his rifle, the Bear descended backwards, 
for about ten feet, then doubled himself in the form of a 
hoop, and fell to the ground. 

It is well known among hunters, that, should an old Bear 
be surprised on a tree, he will never descend, by sliding 
down, but, like this Bear, roll himself up and fall, some- 
times from a most astonishing height, even forty or fifty 
feet, in which case he always alights on his rump, and 
when on the side of a hill, will roll like a hoop to the bot- 
tom. I have, in several instances, shot them after such 
falls, and found the extent of injury received, was a few 
slight bruises near the root of the tail. Experienced dogs 
are aware of this stratagem of the Bear, and, so soon as he 
lets go his hold, they will run from under the tree, to avoid 
his fall. This plan also, the Bear adopts to clear himself of 
dogs, as he knows, that should he descend the tree gradu- 
ally, he must encounter a host of enemies, the moment he 
reaches the ground. In the present instance, the dogs knew 
the character of their antagonist, and ran so far from under 
the tree, that the Bear had recovered from his fall, and ran 
three hundred yards ere they could overtake him. The 
battle now began to rage mostfuriousl}', and we were alarm- 
ed for the fate of our dogs, and endeavoured to shoot 
him but found it impossible to do so, without endan- 
gering some of the dogs. He then laid on his back, and 
would frequently drag some of the dogs into him, in order 
to squeeze them to death, but being broad across the chest, 
failed to effect his purpose; this, the old dogs knew well, 
and the moment he would seize them, they would close 
in with his breast, and slip out backwards from him. 

Our presence excited the dogs to fight with the utmost 



AND AMERICAiN RURAL SPORTS. 



ferocity, and exceeding coui-age, for half an hour, but the 
Bear was an overmatch for them, and we were fearful that 
he would bite them in pieces, and escape at last, without 
our being able to get a ball into him. Amongst our dogs 
was a favourite old dog, we called "Drive," and, without 
exception, the best dog to hunt I ever saw, and, withal, 
the most courageous; he had been our companion, both in 
toil and pleasure, for several years, and his encounters with 
wild animals were so numerous, that, often has been the 
time, that we carried him from the field of battle helpless 
and mangled, for miles, to our homes, but always on reco- 
vering, was eager to engage in deadly strife with any mon- 
ster of the forest. This old dog, in the present battle, had 
seized the Bear by the back of the neck with so firm a hold, 
as to disable him, in some measure, from injuring the other 
dogs. The Bear, however, endeavoured to rid himself of 
Drive in every possible way, but to no effect; thinking now 
it would be a good opportunity to despatch him, I resolved 
to try the virtue of mj' hunting knife, and approached him 
with a view of stabbing him, but the Bear immediately 
broke away from the dogs, and then threw himself on his 
back again, and when in this position, I stood my rifle 
against a tree, and attempted to make the fatal stroke, 
but the Bear anticipated my intention, and met my blow, 
with a stroke of his paw, with so much force as to knock 
the knife from my hand to a distance of thirty feet, and 
then arose, and made a bold push at me, but I showed him 
a light pair of heels, and being again seized by the dogs, 
deterred him from further pursuit. We then thought of 
other means, and commenced cutting large clubs; but whilst 
engaged at this, the Bear, disrelishing his new enemies, 
cleared himself of the dogs, which w-ere so disabled by this 
time, that they could hardly fight more, and made off at 
full speed. I seized my rifle, and just as he was springing 
over an old hemlock log, I fired at him, but being afraid 
of shooting the dogs, I shot too high, and only cut him 
across the rump as he pitched over the log, this put him 
to a stand, and he ascended a tree, to the height of about 
forty feet, when I approached, and shot him through the 
heart. 

We examined the dogs, and found, although badly 
wounded, they would be enabled to reach home with care 
and assistance. 

A few days previous to the above hunt, I had set a large 
spring-trap for Bears, made of iron, for the purpose, and 
acted similar to a spring rat-trap, but with square joints, 
and two large springs acting against them, with two smaller 
springs inside of these: beneath the jaws were arranged a 
number of iron spikes, so that, as soon as the trap sprung, 
it held its prisoner perfectly secure. These traps usually 
weighed forty or fifty pounds, to which were appended, by 
A a 



means of chains, clogs of wood, four or five feet in 
length, to prevent the caught animals from escaping. We, 
therefore, at the commencement of this day's chase, had 
sent our two men to the trap to ascertain, if any animal 
was caught; and while we were engaged in dressing the 
Bear we had just killed, these men came to us with infor- 
mation, that a large Bear was caught by the trap, and so 
securely, that there was no probability of his escaping, as 
the trap had closed upon him about eight inches above his 
paw. The day was drawing to its close, and having before 
us sufficient to employ the balance of time before night 
set in, we concluded to leave the trapped Bear for another 
day's excursion, and make arrangements to get home our 
dogs, in which we succeeded, and had them well provided 
for, until they would finally recover. 

The next morning, several of our neighbours joined us 
in our excursion after the caught Bear; our number amount- 
ed to eight or ten persons, full of glee, and with the pros- 
pect of a fine da}- 's sport, armed with but an axe, and one 
rifle, we sallied forth, with an addition to our list of dogs, 
after our sable antagonist. We soon reached the scene of 
our operations, and judged, the Bear must have been en- 
trapped several days, as he was somewhat fatigued; and, 
during his repeated endeavours to rid himself of the trap, 
had broken the bone of his leg, so that it held him merely 
by the skin and sinews. At our approach, however, he 
hobbled off, and seizing the trap in his mouth, and running 
on three legs, made considerable progress; but the young 
dogs soon fastened on him, and fought very handsomely, 
and, in order to give the Bear a better chance to defend 
himself, we cut him loose from the trap; being thus disen- 
cumbered, he boxed the dogs about pretty freely, until an 
old dog, which we had kept in reserve, seized him by the 
back of the neck, with so much ferocity, as to compel the 
Bear to back himself against a large hemlock log, which 
prevented the dogs from getting behind him, by which 
means he kept them at a respectful distance. As conside- 
rable time had elapsed since we first found him, we began 
to grow weary, and concluded, that if it was possible to 
master him, we would bind him and carry him home alive, 
for a sight to the ladies of our village; and having deter- 
mined on sport that day, we were unwilling to put an end 
to it, by destroying the Bear, especially as our number 
warranted the belief that we could take him home a pri- 
soner, or that eight or ten stout men could secure one 
disabled Bear — but here was the difficult}- — how were we 
to secure him, without danger to ourselves? Various plans 
were proposed, but none seemed practicable; at last J — , 
an old hunter, and a large athletic man, proposed the fol- 
lowing, which was to cut a long pole, with a large fork at 
one end, and crawl behind the Bear, and while his atten- 



94 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



tion was engaged by the dogs, force the fork against the 
back of his neck, and pin him to the ground, until the rest 
could secure him. This caused much diversion to the com- 
pany, as well from the singularity of the plan, as the sincere 
manner in which it was spoken by J—. He, however, 
nothing discouraged at their mirth, procured his pole, and, 
with great gravity, proceeded towards executing his plan. 
Confident of success, he approached the Bear with much 
caution, who heeded nothing but his antagonists in front, 
and was not aware of his new enemy. J — succeeded in 
reaching the log, on which he mounted, immediately over 
the Bear, and in the very spot he desired to stand; thus 
prepared, he made a push at the back of the Bear's neck, 
with his forked pole, thinking that, so soon as his antago- 
nist felt the pressure, he would counteract it by resistance, 
and therefore inclined the whole force of his body in that 
direction; during this time nothing could exceed the mirth 
of the party, the soberness with which the Bear defended 
himself, in his upright posture, and the ludicrous appear- 
ance of J—, when about yoking the Bear, created a scene 
of laughter not easily to be described; while some, unable 
to give vent sufficiently to their merriment, laid down and 
rolled about in the snow. Bruin, himself, was up to a thing 
or two, and envious of their mirth at his expense, conclu- 
ded to turn the joke upon his antagonist, for, just at the 
moment when J — pressed with all his force against him, 
instead of resisting the push, threw himself forward, which 
brought J — from his equilibrium, and tumbled him over 
the Bear's head, and before he could make another spring, 
Bruin made fair play at his breech, with a blow so well 
directed, as to remove the seat of his pantaloons completely, 
and then gave chase with open jaws; this was too much for 
the risible faculties of the party, who, being completely 
overcome, were rolling in the snow, convulsed with laugh- 
ter, and entirely heedless of the situation in which J — was 
placed, for the Bear was close at his heels, for forty yards, 
and would inevitably have caught him, had it not been for 
the old dog, which rushed on and seized the Bear, and 
brought him to a stand. J — , too, could not help joining 
the general mirth, occasioned by his defeat, although 



their curiosity was satisfied, we concluded to take a social 
glass, and try the effect of rum on Bruin; to treat him with 
a drink we thought no more than fair, after his rough usage, 
and accordingly poured down his throat a gill of old New 
England, when he also, like many others, showed a fond- 
ness for the cretur, and began to lick his chops for more. 
We then cut the withes from his legs, to see what efiect the 
liquor produced on him; he soon began to show signs 
of beastly intoxication, as he would shut his eyes, fold 
himself up, and appear to sleep, but, on touching him 
with a stick, he would rise, make a jump as far as he 
could, but no sooner touch the ground than he would 
lie down and fall to sleep again. We finally put an 
end to his existence, and distributed his remains among 
the company ; in all probability, we should have kept 
him alive, had it not been for the loss of his fore-paw, 
as this was the only injury he had received, being 
scarcely hurt by the dogs, and it may be worth sta- 
ting, that old bears, when fat, and in a wild state, seldom 
suffer much from dogs, even if numerous. In consequence 
of the length of their fur, and quantity of fat, the dogs 
cannot press their teeth into the Bear's flesh, and the ex- 
tent of suffering on the Bear's part, is only a little worri- 
ment from which they soon relieve themselves by climbing 
a tree. 

February 21, 1831. W. W. 



HUNTING IN INDIA. 

Of all the pleasant modes of travelling in the East, that 
of riding leisurely in the cool season over your ground, and 
making diversions to the right or left — as the country seems 
likely to promise sport — is the most so. Your tent is 
pitched under some wide-spreading banian tree, or in the 
midst of a cool grove of mangoes; where it is delicious to 
repose during the heat of the day — extended luxuriously 
upon a sofa, when all around are sunk to rest; to smoke a 



manilla cheroot, and with eyes half-shut to exhale the fra- 
pursued^ by his inveterate enemy, with a determined spirit grant clouds, and i«hale the cool breeze, which steals 
of revenge, in despite of his white flag, streaming from through the open doors of the tent. 



behind. This plan having failed, we procured a small sap- 
ling, and whilst the battle was raging, placed it across the 
Bear's back, and, by our weight, pressed him to the earth, 
when we succeeded in tying his legs together by withes; 
we also secured his mouth, for fear that, when ascending 
or descending hills, he probably would slide along the pole 
and bite us; having him perfectly secured, we carried him 
by passing a pole through his legs, to our homes, as a sight 
to our families, and a trophy of our perseverance. When 



Your dogs seem to 
enjoy it as much as yourself; they stretch, and yawn, and 
sigh, and, looking up in your face, beat the ground with 
their tails with every demonstration of extreme canine lux- 
ury; now and then snapping at the mosquitoes that buzz 
about the tent, and doubtless dreaming of the summer-flies 
of.their own dear land. 

I love dogs as much as horses; without them I really do 
not see how the world could go on. When the sun declines, 
you put on your straw hat and shoes, and stroll forth into 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



95 



the woods, with the certainty of getting a shot nineteen black whipper-in and several doriyas were waiting with 

times out of twenty. the hounds. As the gray dawn was hardly yet percepti- 

Never pass a tank without peeping over the mound that ble, I had ample time to look over this little pack by torch- 
surrounds it — you are almost sure of finding wild-fowl light. To home-bred English eyes the turn-out would 
there. Often and often have I, in one of these lazy strolls, seem but a poor one: only seven couples and a half were 
come suddenly upon hundreds of widgeon and teal; and so in the field; and, of these, three dogs were curs, a half- 
impudent were they frequently, that, even after firing at bred, between a fox-hound and the common Indian pariah 
them, the flock would only move into the middle, or to the dog. They prove, however, exceedingly useful in worry- 
further end of the tank, if it were a large one. ing the jackals; and, being fast, generally receive most of 

At this hour the quails and partridges leave the brakes, those severe bites at the finish, which might cow, if not 

where they have sheltered themselves during the sultry injure, the regular pack. 

noon, and feed in the stubbles. Jackals may be seen steal- The remaining six couples were some of the handsomest 

ing about the thickets in every direction, and little grey- dwarf fox-hounds I ever saw: one couple of bitches, espe- 

foxes bolt out before you like rabbits. cially, was such a perfect picture I could not help regretting 

The deer also may now be more easily approached whilst they had ever been sent to the deadly climate of the torrid 

intent upon feeding, and a stalking-horse may sometimes zone. 

be used with success: a bullock would be better, as they When I saw these hounds, two months afterwards, in 

are more accustomed to its appearance; but it is surprising the hot season, their condition had fallen off most lamenta- 

what a great dislike Indian cattle entertain for Europeans; bly; and many of them, I should think, would never get 

and this would often defeat the sportsman's manreuvre. over the rains. The hunting costume of India is ratlier 

Nothing is more annoying than, after wasting an hour antique: a cap, round coat, buckskin breeches, and, gene- 

in endeavouring to approach a herd of antelopes, to see rally, brown tops, characterise the fox-hunter of Bengal, 

them all start off, bounding up into the air, and kicking Some modern innovations have crept in; but, in general, 

their heels at you in scorn — just too, as you were within all Orientals are as wedded to ancient dustoora, or custom, 

long gun-shot, and enjoying in anticipation, the sweet cur- as John Company is to his monopoly of tea. 



rant-jelly and the savoury haunch. Antelope venison is, 
though, at the best, but very indifferent; being, generally, 
hard and stringy; whilst that of the spotted deer is, I think, 
superior to our own: it is, moreover, far less shy than the 
startlish gazelle, and the other species of antelope. In pitch- 
ing a tent, you should be sapient enough to recollect that 



The Judge was accoutred in this style; and mounted on 
one of the most perfect brown Arabs ever seen — called (if 
I remember rightly) Jimesbiiry, in honour of Nimrod's 
hunter of the same name. He had a stablefull of some 
other very fine horses, chiefly Arabs — but Amesbury beat 
them all. One (Champion) was a noble creature, and so 



the sun never stands still: I have seen men, even old docile, that the *_yce used to bring him into the breakfast- 
travellers, soft enough to encamp on the then shady side of room every morning, when my fair hostess honoured him 
the tree, and in an hour be exposed to the fiercest influence by supplying bread with her own hand for his unconscion- 
of the sun; which, under canvas, is no joke: frequently, the able stomach. Champion, once a good one, had received 
scorching heat has compelled me to take refuge under the a wrench in the loins at a big jump, and was then perfectly 
table, when compelled to encamp in a spot utterly desti- useless. 

tute of trees. It was on one of those delightful tropical Balasore is but a small Civil station, and only four or 

evenings in February, that I was yawning under an old five sportsmen joined us: one of them, Mr. Matthews, was 

tamarind tree, under which my tent was pitched, and gazing mounted on a noble chesnut stallion, said to be one of the 

upon the distant town of Balasore, and the wide prospect most perfect desert Arabs ever brought from the coast of 

which extends from the hills of Orissa to the sea, when a Yemen. He was very high for an Eastern horse, and his 



hat-less European came charging up to me at full speed, 
and in a second I recognized Mr. Patten, then joint judge, 
and magistrate of the district. 

At that time I was not aware that a pack of hounds ex- 



fiery and lasting vigour seemed almost too much for his 
rider. That horse was worth any sum. 

My kind friend, Mr. Pigou, the Judge of Cuttack (late 
of Jessore), who was my fellow-traveller, rode a stout ches- 



isted in these wilds; but so it was: and the result of our nut horse, of dubious breed, but which, though slow, went 

conference was, that we should unkennel a jackal (would I very well. 

might say a fox) at day-break. We soon found a jackal, and had a sharp burst of a quar- 

Before it was light we mounted our prads, and rode out ter of an hour, over ground full of holes and brambles, as 

from the residency to a village two miles distant, where a hard as granite, and over fields divided by little banks at 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL fflSTORY 



every twenty yards; and these are far more annoying to a 
British fox-hunter than the ox-fences of Leicestershire, or 
the stone-walls of the midland counties. They keep you 
and 3'our horse in a constant fret, and yet never give you 
a jump; excepting now and then, when yoxi come to some 
bamboo-fence about eight feet high, which will never 
break, and your only chance is to shut your eyes, stick 
in your spurs, and shout the exhilarating war-cry of 
" Charge!" 

We lost this jackal and found another, which gave us a 
slapping run of about half an hour; my mare had a bad 
cold, and began to blow; when, luckily for me, the in- 
creased heat of the Indian sun made the hounds throw up 
their noses, and enabled me to retreat with credit, though 
Mr. Patten's kindness had made a syce accompany me with 
a fresh horse, in case my own should knock up. 

At this moment I find that the ship is about to sail — so I 
must conclude without any more remarks on this gallant 
little pack; but, please God, hereafter I will renew my 
Indian reminiscences, if you and your readers are blessed 
with patience. Mr. James Patten is one of the boldest 
riders in India — his battered cap proves the frequency of 
his hair-breadth escapes. Once he jumped a tremendous 
well (an Indian one) which might appal Castor himself: 
his horse's hinder feet almost slipped in, when both must 
have perished. The best of it is, that he did it in cold blood, 
for the sake of a lark. 

I am sorry to add that Mr. P. has since, with the Cal- 
cutta hounds, broken his leg most desperately, in getting 
over a bank; but I trust that, by this time, he is at it 
again! — Sporting Mag. 



ANECDOTE OF A PHEASANT. 

Gentlemen, 

Observing, in your Cabinet of Natural History, an anec- 
dote respecting the occasional stupidity of the American 
Grouse, I send you the following extract from my note 
book, which may further illustrate the manners of that 
interesting bird. 

Along the eastern bank of the Hudson river, opposite 
to the city of Albany (N. Y. ), there lies a sandy, unculti- 
vated, and uninhabited tract of country, of considerable 
extent. This is covered with dwarf pines, and thick bushes 
of oak and whortleberry. The sportsman here, not unfre- 
quently, meets with the Grouse, which resort to these bar- 
rens, for the small acorns and berries which there abound. 

Every hunter knows that the Pheasant, or Grouse, 
though often shy and cunning, will, when worried by his 
dog, sometimes exhibit such a degree of stupidity, infatu- 



ation, and torpor, as to be caught by the hand. An 
instance of this singular trait occurred to me some time 
since. 

Just at sun-set, in the early part of October, 18 — , on 
returning home from a ramble in the country, with my 
friend, J. S. on the porch of the Eagle tavern, which is on 
the opposite bank of the river to the Grouse ground which 
I have just described, we were much surprised to see a 
large male pheasant [Tetrao Umbellus.) This fine bird 
was quite motionless, and seemed altogether unconcerned 
at the noise and crowd of citizens in this frequented and 
thickly settled portion of the town. We entered the Eagle 
by another way, and by gently opening the door to the 
porch, where the Pheasant had lodged himself, we captured 
him under a hat; though, by some mismanagement, he 
afterwards, fortunately made his escape. 

Having heard the discharge of some fowling-pieces dur- 
ing our walk, we supposed that this Pheasant had been 
frightened from his usual haunts on the opposite side of 
the river, and, in his alarm, took refuge here, even under 
the talons of the Eagle. 

Wishing you success in your interesting and meritorious 
attempt to illustrate the Natural History of our country, 
I remain, yours truly, 

JACOB GREEN. 



SPORTING CALCULATION. 

1st. In the course of a long day's hunting, it is 10 to 1 
in favour of a bold and good rider, well mounted, that he 
meets any accident at all. 

2d. Supposing he falls, it is 8 to 1 that either he or his 
horse is materially hurt. 

3d. It is 6 to 1 the horse is hurt, and not the rider. 
4th. If the rider is hurt, it is 12 to 1 that a bone is not 
broken. 

5th. It is 20 to 1, if a bone is broken, that the wound 
is not mortal. 

Ergo, lOx Sx 6 X 12 X 20=115,200 
:lXlXlXlXl=l 
And 115,200= 1 — thus stated, it details: 
That he has no fall, is 10 to 1 ; 
That himself or horse is not hurt, 80 to 1 ; 
That it is his horse and not himself, 480 to 1; 
That no bone is broken, 5,760 to 1 ; 
That the hurt is not mortal, 115,200 to 1. 
Ergo, out of 115,200 persons who go out hunting in the 
morning, only one is supposed to end his course in that way 
from the effect of that day's diversion. — ,5«n. of Sporting. 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



97 



WOODCOCK SHOOTING. 

[Plate IX.] 

There is, perhaps, no sport, in this country, which 
occupies the attention of the shooter so much as that 
of hunting Woodcocks; and, as the season approaches 
which embraces this favourite amusement, much anxiety, 
preparation, and solicitude, are wasted, in anticipating 
the pleasure which abundance of this game produces, 
and, for weeks before this period arrives, the talents of 
all the gunsmiths are called in requisition by sports- 
men, to supply any deficiencies which may be found 
existing in their stock of accoutrements. This undue ea- 
gerness, however, sometimes leads to great vexation and 
disappointment, and proves to be premature ; for, like the 
instability of most pleasures, the prospect of good shooting 
is often obscured by the storms of a single night, and those 
places of favourite resort by gunners, which sometimes 
yield rich harvests to their perseverance, are frequently 
rendered birdless by one heavy rain. This contingency 
attending Woodcock shooting, deters many from pursuing 
it who are extremely fond of the sport, and who prize it 
as superior to all others, but which circumstance alone is 
sufficient to bring it beneath the level of partridge shoot- 
ing. In Europe, this bird is considered a great luxury, 
and their scarcity in England enhances their value con- 
siderably more in the eye of the sportsman, but seldom 
affords so much amusement as other species of game: 
they are, however, in this country, so plentiful, that the 
season for shooting them, if prudently observed, adds much 
to enjoyment, and constitutes an era of great importance 
in the sporting world. 

No laws regulating the season for shooting Woodcock 
have, we believe, ever been enforced, except by the State 
of New Jersey, which restricts it to that period between 
tlie first of July and February; although several cities have 
so far noticed this game as to prohibit its sale in their 
market places, except during the above period. Sports- 
men, however, in every State, respect the proper season 
for shooting this bird, and are generally confined to those 
months: but there are many, who do not bear even the 
semblance of sportsmen, so unprincipled as never to regard 
law, either natural, moral, or statute, and destroy this bird 
indiscriminately whenever it is to be met with, often em- 
bracing the season of incubation, when the bird is so tame 
as almost to be taken by the hand, as more easily sacrificed 
to their inhuman and unfeeling propensities. In connec- 
tion with the pleasures attending Woodcock shooting, there 
are many inconveniences and difficulties, which call into 
exercise all the energies of the sportsman. Commencing 
Bb 



in the heat of summer, he is subject in his excursions to 
the scorching rays of the sun, and dampness and mud at- 
tends his every step, from which by the solary influence, 
often arises a damp vapour, almost, at times, suffocating, 
which enervates the system, and serves to create excessive 
fatigue; it thus becomes a season of toil, pain, and un- 
pleasant retrospection: when, if pursued during the only 
proper season, in the fall of the year, it would be one of 
the most delightful periods of enjoyment. 

This bird is known throughout the United States, under 
different names, as the snipe, big snipe, red-breasted snipe, 
and mud snipe, and, in some parts of the country, through 
ignorance, is not considered fit to eat, although they are 
generally held in the highest estimation as an article of 
luxury, and frequently command an extravagant price ; it 
is in October and November, that the Woodcock is in the 
best state for the table, but impatience in the sportsman 
urges him to war against them, so soon as the law will per- 
mit it. The favourite places of resort for Woodcocks 
are low, marshy grounds, swamps, and meadows, with soft 
bottoms, where cattle have been grazing, although during 
wet seasons they seek higher land, most generally corn- 
fields, to seek their food in the soft ploughed ground. It 
is no difficult matter to ascertain the presence of these birds 
in particular places, as the earth will be found perforated 
with numbers of holes made by their bills, while searching 
for worms beneath the surface of the ground. 

Throughout the month of July, and part of August, the 
Woodcocks are to be found in most grounds of the above 
description, and in seasons of excessive drought, are very 
numerous on tide watei creeks and shores of fresh water 
rivers — those extensive meaaows in the interior of New 
Jersey, near to Atsion Furnace, and frequently in the 
marshy flats, overgrown with reeds: they were also found 
in quantities in the meadows bordering the Cohansey river, 
in the lower part of Jersej', in 1S25, at which place three 
gentlemen, in the space of about two hours, on a very 
small spot, killed upwards of forty birds. But though 
the favourite places of resort for Woodcocks are in the re- 
gion of streams and muddy bottoms, yet, different from 
the snipe, they are averse to much water, and a heavy rain 
will disperse them over a wide extended country, and 
ground which sometimes produces abundance of this game, 
is found forsaken by them, the night succeeding a heavy rain. 

The Woodcocks, when found in meadow land, are easy 
birds to shoot, and require but an indifferent shot, and 
slight wounds to kill them, and are therefore sought after 
by young sportsmen in preference to other game; for, 
being exceeding sluggish in their movements, they afford 
excellent opportunities to the beginner to exercise himself 
in the science of shooting. When sprung from the ground, 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL fflSTORY 



these birds always give warning by a whistling noise with 
their wings, and seldom rise higher than a man's head, skim- 
ming over the ground with a slow and steady flight, to but 
a short distance, when they settle again in the grass — but 
their character is entirely changed, when the shooting 
is confined to bushes and thickets, as it then constitutes 
one of the most difficult feats to kill them, their course 
being very indirect and unsteadj', and differing altogether 
from the flight of other game, springing rapidly from the 
ground, and rising perpendicularly, until they clear the tops 
of the trees or bushes, when their flight becomes more steady, 
but out of reach, and it requires much experience and judg- 
ment to embrace the proper moment to shoot before they 
make the twistings and turnings, in order to pass between 
the trees, for this most generally disconcerts every one 
who is not an expert shot. 

To follow Woodcocks successfuly, two persons should al- 
ways hunt together, so that, when the birds are sprung, they 
will be the better able to mark the spot where they settle 
again; as success depends, in a great measure, on marking 
them properly, it is advisable for one to walk in the centre 
of the thicket, while the other keeps outside, as in narrow 
swamps, the birds will universally dart out of some open- 
ing, and fly along the edge, until they determine to settle 
again, and the chances of killing are twofold in favour of 
the one outside, besides the opportunities of marking. 

In Europe every sport has its particular description of 
dogs, to which their use is solely applied: thus, there is the 
stag-hound, and the fox-hound — for hunting hares the grey- 
hound — for the different vermin, the beagle, harrier and ter- 
rier — for grouse, the pointer; for partridges and pheasant, 
the setter, and for Woodcock the springer, or cocking 
spaniel. In this country, our sportsmen, for shooting pur- 
poses, confine themselves to the pointer and setter dogs, 
and are mostly guided in their choice by taste, rather than 
judgment, and use them indiscriminately for grouse, phea- 
sant, partridge, woodcock and snipe. The Springer is but 
little known here, and is, in fact, the only proper dog to 
hunt Woodcocks, as it never points, but is most assiduous 
in pursuit, and on the instant of springing the bird, gives 
warning to its master: but, in the absence of this dog, 
the setter is undoubtedly preferable to the pointer; the na- 
ture of the ground to be hunted over is more suited to his 
disposition and habits, and being less mindful also of 
briars and thickets, will not only perform more to the satis- 
faction of his master, but withstand greater fatigue than 
the pointer. 

The double gun should always be used after this des- 
cription of game, as the fault of shooting too soon occurs 
more frequently in cripples, than on any other ground, 
and success is threefold more in favour of the second dis- 



charge than the first fire, as the bird, by this period, has 
only gained the proper killing distance. "Very small shot, 
say No. 9, is sufficiently large to kill them, there being no 
American bird of the same magnitude which possesses so 
frail a skin, and is_more easily penetrated. 

After shooting at a bird, in case its flight continues, the 
course, and spot in which it settles, should be particularly 
marked; as it frequently happens they will fly to a much 
greater distance with a mortal wound, than otherwise, and 
many birds are lost to the sportsman, from his neglect in 
this point. 

Persons frequently return from Woodcock shooting un- 
successful, in consequence of not hunting the ground well; 
too much care cannot, therefore, be employed in beating a 
thicket, and very slow progress should alwa3's be made 
through high grass, as the tenacity of these birds to their 
places of repose will subject them to be almost trodden 
upon without taking wing, and it will be well for the 
sportsman to halt every few yards, as this will tend to flush 
them, when constant motion would keep them quiet. 

In October and November, the Woodcocks forsake their 
usual feeding-ground, and are to be found in tall, swampy 
woods, small streams, overgrown with bushes, and newly 
cleared land; their favourite food consists of insects, larva 
of insects, and earth-worms; therefore, when the approach- 
ing cold weather drives the latter deep into the ground, 
they then resort to woods and bush-land, where, beneath 
the leaves, they glean a subsistence on insects. This is the 
only proper season to shoot them; they are then fat, and 
much larger than in July, and generally free from vermin. 
In June, they are to be met with in almost every 
swampy meadow; but their number is generally confined 
to from two to six; as, however, the season advances, and 
the 3"0ung birds mature, the drought drives them to those 
wet feeding-grounds before mentioned, into which they 
sometimes concentrate in great numbers. These places 
are then resorted to by sportsmen, who frequently make 
most incredible havoc and waste of life among them, some- 
times killing such quantities, that before night approaches 
those birds killed in the morning are putrified. This un- 
necessary destruction of life should be avoided; it adds 
nothing to the sportsman's character as a good shot, and 
most certainly detracts from his feelings of humanity; 
that number should suffice which may be conveniently 
kept, and rendered suitable for the table. 

The Woodcock is considered a nocturnal bird, and does 
all its feeding and migratory flights during this season: in- 
deed, its sight is very imperfect in the day time, and the 
construction of the eye evidently unfits it for the glare of 
day: hence the reason why it selects, in low bushes and 
long grass, those sombre retreats from which it never vol- 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



untarily departs, until twilight approaches. This imper- 
fection in sight is strikingly manifested, when driven from 
their seclusion, as they seldom make long flights, and are 
always anxious to settle immediately, as though it was 
painful to sustain the dazzling light of the sun, and are as 
likely to rush into danger as to avoid it, frequently ap- 
proaching the sportsman sufficiently near to be stricken by 
the hand. The writer himself, during the past summer, while 
standing beneath the shade of a tree, observed a Wood- 
cock settle within a few feet of him, and actually remained 
some seconds before it took to flight again; but this appa- 
rent stupidity is only attributable to their imperfect vision, 
in the day time. But no sooner do the shades of evening 
appear, than they sally forth, from their thousand 
hiding-places, to seek their food in open glades and mea- 
dows. At this time, an expert shot may reap a rich reward 
to his watchfulness, should he station himself near to some 
dense swamp, where these birds are making continual in- 
gress and egress. 

Often, in his walks at twilight, along the secluded lane 
or lonely meadow, does the passenger observe an object 
like a phantom flit before his face, or spring from his path, 
with a whistling noise, and is lost in the impenetrable 
gloom which surrounds him: — it is this lonely bird, unable 
to sustain that light which gives life and gaiety to other 
birds, now breaking forth from every opening of the 
woody recess, to enjoy the comfort and protection which 
night affords, while seeking unmolested the means of sus- 
taining life. 

Woodcocks, although migrator}"-, remain frequently with 
us during the whole year — sometimes, when the streams 
are covered with ice, and the ground with snow; but their 
places of resort then, are in cedar swamps, and those 
springy woods, where the water never freezes, but is con- 
stantly oozing from the ground, and it appears remarkable 
how this bird, whose food consists altogether of worms and 
insects, should, at this season of the year, find means to 
sustain life; but Nature, ever provident in her resources, 
and bountiful to all her oflspring, has furnished this bird 
with a bill whose length and delicacy of touch enables it to 
penetrate deeply into the earth, and draw from thence its 
accustomed support. 



THE SEA. 



To those who are capable of only gazing upon its surface, 
the ocean is a sublime sight. "The waste of waters," as 
we are in the habit of calling it — though it be any thing but 
a waste, girdles the globe from pole to pole, and occupies 



nearly three-fourths of its surface. When, on some calm 
and pleasant day, when there is not a cloud to dapple the 
sky, or a breath to ruffle the waters, we look out from some 
lone promontory or beetling rock, upon the soft green face 
of ocean, and see it extending on and on in one glassy 
level, till it blend its farther blue so softly with that of the 
air, that we know not which is the sea and which sky, but 
are apt to fancy that this limpid watery curtain is drawn 
over the universe, and that the sun, the planets, and the 
stars, are islands in the same sea in which our own habita- 
tion is cast. In the soft but sublime contemplation, we find 
the mind expand with the subject; the fancy glides off to 
places more high than the line can measure, more deep 
than plummet can sound; we feel the link that binds us to 
creation; and finding it to be fair and lovely, our kindly 
feelings only are touched, and we exult in the general hap- 
piness of that of which we feel that we are a part. If then 
a vessel should come in sight, with the sun illuminating its 
canvass, like a beam of light on the blue sea, and moving 
slow and stately, not seeming to us to be in motion, and 
yet shifting miles before we can count minutes, how we 
long to be passengers — to walk upon the waters — to be 
wafted by the winds — to visit the remotest parts of the 
earth, without half the effort which is required before the 
sluggard can turn on his couch. Then, if we linger till 
the sun declines, and his beams are wholly reflected from 
the glowing surface, what an excess of brightness! An 
infinitude of burnished gold, and of burnished gold all 
living and in motion, stretches out at our feet; and as the 
reflected light upon the shore wakens a gentle zephyr of the 
air in that direction, the dimpling water plays in alternate 
sunshine and shade, as if the luminary had been broken to 
fragments, and gently strewed along its surface. 

But if the elements are in motion, if the winds are up — 
if the "blackness of darkness," which cloud upon cloud, 
rolling in masses and roaring in thunder, which answers to 
the call of the forked lightning, has flung its shadow upon 
the sea, so as to change the soft green to a dark and dismal 
raven blue, which gives all the effect of contrast to the 
spray that dances on the crests of the waves, chafes around 
the reef, dashes with angry foam against the precipice, or 
ever and anon, as the fitful blast puts on all its fury, covers 
the whole with reeking confusion, as if, by the force of the 
agitation, the very water had taken fire; — if one can stand 
so as to view the full swell of the tempest-tossed ocean side- 
ways, it is indeed a sjiirit-stirring sight! The dark trough, 
between every two ridges, appears as if the waters were 
cleft in twain, and both a pathway and a shelter displayed, 
while ridge courses after ridge in eager race, but with equal 
celerity. Some, indeed, appear to fall in their course, and 
to be trampled upon by those that are behind. They are 



100 



TIIE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



hit by one of those momentary gusts which fall; and where, 
as Burns expressively has it, the wind is every where 
blowing 

" As 'Iwould blaw ils last," 

it lashes a portion of the surge to a greater elevation than it 
can bear; or, some bank or hidden rock from below arrests 
it in its course; and down it thunders in brawling and foam, 
interrupting the succession, and embroiling its successors in 
its fate. 

Even when seen from the pebbly beach of a lee-shore, 
the ocean in a storm is a sight both to be enjoyed and re- 
membered. The wave comes rolling onward, dark and 
silent, till it meets with the reflux of its predecessor, which 
produces a motion to seaward on the ground, and throws the 
approaching wave off its equilibrium. Its progress is arrest- 
ed for a moment; the wall of water vibrates, and as it now 
meets the wind, instead of moving before it, its crest be- 
comes hoary with spray; it shakes — it nods — it curls for- 
ward, and for a moment the liquid column hangs suspended 
in the air; but down it dashes in one volume of snow-white 
foam, which dances and ripples upon the beach. There is 
an instant retreat, and the clean and smooth pebbles, as they 
are drawn back by the reflux of the water, emulate in more 
harsh and grating sounds the thunder of the wave. 

Here we may see what a wonderful thing motion is. 
What is so bland and limpid as still water! what substance 
half so soft and fine as the motionless atmosphere! The 
one does not loosen a particle of sand: the other — you 
must question with yourself, and even add a little faith to 
feeling, before you be quite sure of its existence. But arm 
them once with life, or with that which is the best emblem 
and the most universal indication of life, motion, and they 
are terrible both in their grandeur and their power. The 
sand is driven like stubble; the solid earth must give way; 
and the rocks are rent from the promontory, and flung in 
ruins along its base. Need we, therefore, wonder that the 
masts and cordage that man constructs should be rent as if 
they were gossamer, and his navies scattered like chaff? 

The grandest scenes, however, are found at those places 
where former storms have washed away all the softer parts, 
and the caverned and rifted rocks — the firm skeleton of the 
globe, as it were — stand out to contend with the turmoiling 
waters. The long roll of the Atlantic upon the Cornish 
coast; a south-easter upon the cliffs of Yorkshire, or among 
the stupendous caves to the eastward of Arbroath; a north- 
easter in the Bullers of Buchan; or, better still, the whole 
mass of the Northern ocean dashed by the bleak north wind 
against the ragged brows of Caithness and Sunderland; 
those — that especially — are situations in which, if it can be 
viewed in these islands, the majesty of the deep may be 



seen. Upon the last, in the acme of its sublimity, one dares 
hardly look. The wind blows ice; and the spray, which 
dashes thick over five hundred feet of perpendicular clifis, 
falls in torrents of chilling rain; while the vollied stones, 
which the surges batter against the cliffs, the hissing of the 
imprisoned air in the unperforated leaves, and the spouting 
water through those that are perforated, and the dashing and 
regurgitation of the latter, as it falls in the pauses of the 
commotion, produce a combination of the terrible, which 
the nerves of those who are unaccustomed to such scenes 
can hardly bear. 

And yet there is an enchantment — a fascination almost to 
madness — in those terrible scenes. Mere height often has 
this singular effect, which is alluded to by the Philosopher 
of Poets, in his admirable description of Dover cliff: 

"I'll look no more ; 
Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight 
Topple down headlong." 

But when the elements are in fury — when the earth is 
rocking, and the sea and sky reeling and confounding their 
distinctive characters in one tremendous chaos — when, in 
all that is seen, the common laws of nature seem to be abro- 
gated, and her productions of peace cast aside, in order that 
there may be an end of her works, and that the sway of 
"the Annarch old" may again be universal — the heroism 
of desperation — that which tempers the soldier to the strife 
of the field, and the sailor to the yet more terrible conflict 
on the flood — comes, and comes in its power — and the dis- 
position to dash into the thickest of the strife, and die in the 
death-struggle of nature, is one of the most powerful feel- 
ings of one who can enter into the spirit of the mighty 
scene. 

We leave those who allocate the feelings of men accord- 
ing to the scale of their artificial systems, to find the place 
of this singular emotion, and call it a good or an evil one, 
as they choose. But we have been in the habit of feeling 
and thinking that it is an impulse of natural theology — one 
of those unbidden aspirations toward his Maker which man 
feels when the ties that bind him to nature and the earth 
appear to be loosening, and there remains no hope, but in 
the consciousness of his God, and of that eternity, the gate 
of which is in the shadow of death. Thus, amid the fury 
of the elements, the unsophisticated hopes of man cling to 
Him, who " rideth in the whirlwind and directeth the 
storm." 

But beautiful or sublime as the ocean is, according to 
situation and circumstances, we should lose its value, were 
we to look upon it only as a spectacle, and were the emo- 
tions that it produced to be only the dreams of feeling, 
however touching, or however allied to religion. To ad- 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



mire and to feel are both essential and valuable parts of our 
nature ; but neitlier of them is so essential, as to know. 
That is the antecedent matter; because by it, and by it only, 
the admiration and the feeling can be properly directed. 
The first property of the ocean that strikes our sight, is its 
vast extent; and the first that addresses our understanding, 
is the vast extent of its usefulness. The evaporation of 
water from its surface, cleared from the impurities of the 
land, and adapted for the promoting of life and fertility, 
has already been mentioned. But the ocean is also the 
grand messenger of physical nature: that general law, or 
phenomenon of the constitution of matter, (for the laws 
and the phenomena of nature are the same) by which the 
earth is maintained in its orbit, and has the figure and con- 
sistency which it possesses, and by which the objects on its 
surface preserve their forms and their places, — that simple 
law occasions the tides of the ocean; and these, by moving 
in the very directions which an obedience to this law points 
out, produce currents, by means of which there is a con- 
stant circulation of the waters of the ocean through all parts 
of tlie earth's surface; and the immediate consequence is 
an equalization of warmth, by means of which, the ex- 
tremes, both of heat and cold, are mitigated, and the gene- 
ral fertility and comfort promoted. 



AN INQUIRY RESPECTING THE TRUE 
NATURE OF INSTINCT. 

BY OLIVER FRENCH, Esq. 

The mighty and various powers of man are wonderfully 
imaged forth in the sensible objects that surround him; 
and, in the march of science, such additional evidences are 
continually elicited, in conformation of this important truth, 
that we may perhaps be warranted in giving a philosophical 
assent to the sentiment of the poet, — 

That for the Instructed, lime will come 

When Ihey shall meet no object but may teach 
Some acceptable lesson to their minds 
Of human sufiering^s, or of human joy, 
For then shall all things speak of Man. 

WOEDSWOKTH. 

Nature's wide domain indeed exhibits a boundless theatre, 
in which moral and intellectual agency is ever active and 
employed; — strikingly manifesting its presence to the con- 
templative mind, in even the most common operations, the 
results of which have been denominated fixed laws: for 
what are these but the operations of such agency producing 
effects for particular ends and purposes, which ends and pur- 
poses are evidently intended to be subservient to the appli- 
cation to the powers of the human mind, in the adaptation 
Co 



of all lower things to the purposes suggested by man's 
reason in all the various products of the arts and sciences. 
These rise like a new creation from the apparently chaotic 
parts of Nature, and their production is strictly compre- 
hended within the universal plan of the Divine Artificer, 
who well knows how much to do for man, and what to 
leave within man's province, for the proper exercise of the 
faculties with which he endows him; and to aid him in 
which exercise, Nature is thus made to unfold a rich and 
fertile picture of moral and intellectual qualities. 

It would appear that traces of the delineation here alluded 
to might be found throughout the varied products of Na- 
ture; but in the animal kingdom we find a broad and certain 
basis for induction — the world of instinct, in which the 
various moral and intellectual powers of man are symboli- 
cally reflected, as in a mirror, even to his entrance into a 
glorious immortality. In this great division of the lower 
creation, the qualities of foresight, industry, integrity, jus- 
tice, and order, sociability and mutual aid and protection, 
self-devotion and magnanimity, are imaged forth with an 
astonishing fidelity and touch of truth: and in a manner no 
less astonishing and faithful are displayed the opposites of 
all these, — improvidence, idleness, dishonesty, injustice 
and disorder, unsociableness and mutual disregard, selfish- 
ness and cowardice. 

To the contemplative mind, final causes, natural and 
moral, are every where multiplied to the view, in the in- 
numerable parts of the great machinery of Creation. How 
forcibly, in numerous instances, are the destroying passions 
depicted; and how finely does the picture set oif the relative 
beauty of their opposites — the social virtues, which in the 
instincts of animals are not less faithfully delineated. 

This circumstance is really so striking, that, (if such an 
inquiry could be entered into a philosophical dissertation) 
we might be tempted to ask, whether these passions of in- 
ordinate self-love, giving birth to offensive violence, are not 
thus exhibited so as to affect the outward senses, through 
the medium of ferocious animals, in order to furnish us 
with the strongest possible perceptions of the nature of 
such passions in ourselves. But the creatures themselves 
are incapable of conceiving any thing respecting the nature 
of the moral and intellectual qualities which they thus ex- 
hibit, — to them virtue and vice are nothing: they are indeed 
but the passive mediums in which those qualities are repre- 
sented and illustrated, in the language of God in Nature, 
addressed to the human mind; and they seem to be but as 
types of things — of the mighty powers, moral and intellec- 
tual, which fill the mind of man, who alone is an inhabitant 
of the moral and intellectual world, as he is of the natural 
world. 

Man was called by the ancients a Microcosm, or little 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



world, — that is, a being whose moral and intellectual powers 
are represented in the subjects of nature, the utilities and 
ends of which latter are reflected in him, and, as a final 
cause, take their rise and origin from him, in the scale of 
creation: and, judging from all that has been said upon this 
subject, there can be little doubt, that as all natural things 
are subservient as means to things moral and intellectual, 
so the former, as much as possible, would seem to be made 
the emblems and representatives in which the latter may 
be contemplated. 

I have been led to offer these remarks on the final causes 
of lower existence, because I consider that they are so con- 
nected with the question of instinct, that, taken in a gene- 
ral point of view, they help to determine what sort of 
limited and subservient powers the brute creation may be 
expected, a priori, to possess. 

The above idea it appears very necessary to keep in mind, 
to prevent us from assigning to brutes, mental attributes 
above the sphere of their common nature, and as leading 
us to investigate those causes which alone appear properly 
and rationally adequate to the production of the wonderful 
system and order observable in their actions. It is from 
failing to retain steadily in the mind's view this necessary 
leading principle, that we are led into erroneous conclusions 
respecting the powers of the brute mind, and the operative 
means by which the actions of brutes are effected; which 
so much resemble the operations of human intellect, that as 
before observed, they may be said to represent and illus- 
trate them. 

On this account, considerable difficulty has been found in 
drawing a distinct line between the conscious discrimina- 
tive powers of brutes, and those of human rationality; and 
in affixing a true character to the mental principles in which 
the actions of the brute creation originate. 

Now it seems demonstrable that brutes are possessed of a 
limited conscious discrimination and determination; which 
discrimination and determination do not, however, embrace 
what is either moral, intellectual, or rational, as regards the 
consciousness of the creature: but as their actions involve 
in them causes or powers that are evidently of a moral, in- 
tellectual, and rational order, and which powers evidently 
act upon the mental constitution of brutes by impressing 
and guiding their conscious powers of discrimination and 
determination to action, according to the purposes or final 
causes of their being: — it maj-, therefore, be justly inferred 
that the Divine Energy does in reality act, not imme- 
diately, but mediately, or through the medium of moral 
and intellectual influences, upon the nature or consciousness 
of the creature, in the production of the various, and, in 
many instances, truly wonderful actions which they perform. 

If it be asked by what intermediate agency the opera- 



tions of brutes are thus directed ; — I reply that it is gene- 
rally admitted, by a large class of mankind, at least, that 
superior (yet intermediate) powers of some kind, are in 
actual connexion with the human mind, — though not lead- 
ing it blindly, as might be supposed to be the case with re- 
gard to brutes; — and if this be admitted, there remains no 
reasonable ground for denying the connexion and influence 
of similar powers, (whatever they may be), operating upon 
and disposing to certain ends the conscious natures of brutes; 
which natures, if we suppose them destitute of moral and 
intellectual consciousness, have need of the operation of 
such powers to direct them. The phenomena of brute ac- 
tion, indeed, are inexplicable upon any other grounds, but 
these once admitted, there appears to be nothing in the 
whole circle of instinctive operations which may not be 
satisfactorily accounted for. I will not even venture a sug- 
gestion as to the nature of the intermediate superior powers 
here alluded to; but their agency, I repeat, is plainly mani- 
fest in the conduct of brutes. 

Viewed, then, in this light, and explained in this man- 
ner, Providence is conspicuous in the operations of brute 
nature; and it is but reasonable to conclude that the Divine 
Being does indeed operate, by unseen mediums, of what- 
ever kind they be, as the Great Regulator of the whole. 

Facts have undoubtedly occurred to exemplify the opera- 
tion of such agency in special interferences of Providence, 
through the medium of the brute mind; of which the fol- 
lowing well authenticated instance must be regarded as a 
very striking one. 

At Ditchley, near Blenheim, now the seat of Viscount 
Dillon, but formerly of the Lees, Earls of Lichfield, is a 
portrait of Sir Henry Lee, by Jansen, with that of a mas- 
tiff dog which saved his life. One of Sir Henry's servants 
had formed the design of assassinating his master, and rob- 
bing the house; but on the night he had intended to perpe- 
trate it, the dog, for the first time, followed Sir Henry up 
stairs, took his station under his bed, and could not be 
driven thence; in the dead of the night, the servant, not 
knowing the dog was there, entered the room to execute his 
diabolical purpose; but was instantly seized by the dog, and 
being secured, confessed his intentions. In a corner of the 
picture are these lines: 

But in my do^, whereof I made no store, 
I find more love than those I trusted more. 

What an instance is this to show the operation of a supe- 
rior moral and intellectual power disposing the inclinations 
and perceptions of an animal, for a stated end; while the 
natural volitions of the creature, were at the same time ex- 
ercised by it in freedom towards the furtherance of this end! 
Whether we suppose the immediate means made use of to 
impress the animal's conscious mind, to be that of an ideal 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



103 



imagery or anticipated view of the intended act, with its 
accompaniments, the darkness, the silence, &c. &c. — and 
that when it really did begin to happen — when the man ac- 
tually entered the room at midnight, the animal seized him 
as described ; — or in whatever way we regard it as having 
been efifected, the operation of an intellectual power is most 
unequivocal. We cannot account for this cool and dispas- 
sionate magnanimity, which renders the brute animal un- 
mindful of itself, while extending its protection, and this 
with discrimination of circumstances, to man, unless by a 
directing energy, unseen by itself, acting upon its mind, 
and disposing it to use its immediate conscious faculties in 
operating according to a particular dictate; the animal, as to 
all its conscious faculties and bodily powers, being left in 
perfect freedom, although thus overruled by a presiding 
power, of which it is totally unconscious. We cannot 
otherwise account for the apparently complex nature of 
brutes, "which," as beautifully observed by Addison, 
"thus rises above reason, and falls infinitely short of it," 
and which " cannot be accounted for by any properties of 
matter, and at the same time works after so odd a manner, 
that one cannot think it the faculty, {as regards the crea- 
ture, he might have added) of an intellectual being." 

According to the view above taken, then, the brute, 
within the sphere of its consciousness, is in perfect free- 
dom; thus it is by no means an automaton, but gifted with 
a subordinate freedom of volition, discrimination and action, 
beneath the moral and intellectual sphere by wliich it is 
ruled and governed. 

The foregoing, however, it may perhaps be said, is an 
extraordinary instance of the actions of instinct. In reply 
to this, the question may be asked, — are not the most com- 
mon and ordinary instances of instinctive action equally 
illustrative of an intelligence superior to the conscious fa- 
culties of the creature; which intelligence must, therefore, 
operate upon its conscious perception, and constitute, as it 
were, theprimum mobile, actuating and impelling it to the 
most reasonable and circumstantial course of action that can 
be conceived, for arriving at the fulfilment of the ends for 
which it is brought into existence? Does the spider, in the 
curious act of weaving its web, think within itself, and 
say, ' I will extend my threads in this order, and connect 
and tie them together transversely, to secure my web from 
tlie rude vibrations of the air; and in the terminations which 
constitute the central point of my web, I will provide 
myself a seat, where I may sit and watch what happens, 
and be ready to seize and envelope every fly that is caught 
in my trap? — Or does the bee reason and say to itself, ' I 
will take my flight to such a field, where I know there is 
plenty of flowers, and I will gather wax and honey from 
them, and of the wax I will build contiguous cells in a par- 



ticular arrangement and form, and so disposed, that I and 
my companions may have free ingress and egress, and in 
process of time may lay up a large store of honey, sufficient 
for our necessities during the approaching winter, that we 
may not starve; and I will help to support, like a good 
citizen, the political and economical prudence of the com- 
munity?' 

We cannot surely conceive any such process of reflection 
as this to pervade the consciousness of the creatures, al- 
though their acts evidently include it in some way or other; 
and this I think amounts to a full proof, that reasoning is 
in no case the effect of instinct, as has been supposed by 
some philosophers; for it determines that the voluntary 
powers of animals, may be most forcibly directed to a par- 
ticular course of action, without any reasonable perception, 
either of the act or of its consequences, on the part of the 
animals themselves; and shows that the instinct of animals 
is governed by the influence of an intelligence, (acting in 
this case according to an uniform mode or fixed law,) which 
cannot be ascribed to the animals themselves; and which 
evidently acts upon them above the sphere of their proper 
consciousness. The same arguments are applicable to those 
cases, in which animals appear to act more immediately 
from the exigency of circumstances, that in these also they 
are similarly directed; as in the case of the ostrich, an ap- 
parently stupid bird, which, in Senegal, where the heat is 
great, sits only by night, when the coolness of the air 
would chill the eggs; and in the case of parent birds, when 
their nestlings are confined in cages, or tied to the nest; in 
which exigency, the old ones prolong their care, and con- 
tinue to supply them with food beyond the accustomed pe- 
riod.* It thus appears clearly evident, I think, that ani- 
mals do not act with a view to consequences, from their 
own proper consciousness; but that whenever they do so 
act, it is from a dictating energy operating above the sphere 
of their consciousness, and disposing them so to do: that 
the business of mental analysis and extraction, is perform- 
ed for them, as it were, in every instance in which they 
appear to exhibit proofs of it; and that properly speaking, 
there is nothing of design attributable to brutes in their ac- 
tions, but merely a subordinate voluntary principle, and 
discriminative perception, which may be termed natural, to 
distinguish it from what is moral, intellectual, and scienti- 



* A few years since a pair of sparrows wliicli had buill in the tliatch roof of a 
house at Poole, were observed to continue their regular visits to the nest long 
after the time when the young birds take flight. This unusual circumstance con- 
tinued throughout the year; and in the winter, a gentleman who had all along 
observed them, determined on investigating its cause. He therefore mounted a 
ladder, and found one of the young ones detained a prisoner, by means of a piece 
of string or worsted, which formed part of the nest, having become accidentally 
twisted round its leg. Being thus incapacitated for procuring its own subsist- 
ence, it had been fed by the continued exertions of its parents. B. 



104 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



fie; to which latter principles alone design can properly be 
referred. If the appearances of design in the animals be 
taken as proofs of such design being proper to them, we 
must be forced to admit that they are possessed of moral, 
intellectual and scientific reflection: but we might, upon 
this principle, argue the same thing of the plant, which, 
when placed in a cellar where but a partial light is admit- 
ted, turns itself towards the ray; namely, that as there is 
the appearance of design in the action, we must therefore 
attribute design to the subject in which wc perceive its ef- 
fects, and thus elevate the vegetable to the intellectual 
sphere: and we should actually do this, did we not stop 
short to consider the adequacy of the apparent agent to the 
production of the effect, as we behold it performed. 

It becomes necessary, then, to establish a test whereby 
the operation of the moral, intellectual and scientific powers 
here alluded to, may be ascertained; and whereby the line 
of demarcation may be distinctly drawn between man and 
brute. This test, I conceive, is included in the following 
propositions; viz. 1st, That moral qualities do not become 
objective in the minds of brutes; or, that the moral actions 
which they perform are not reflected upon or contrived by 
them as such; thus that they possess no moral conscious- 
ness, and consequently that no moral design can be attribut- 
ed to them; and therefore, that so much of moral design as 
appears conspicuous in their actions must be the effect of 
moral powers or energies acting upon them in a region of 
their minds above the sphere of their proper consciousness. 
2d, That intellectual and scientific qualities do not become 
objective in the minds of brutes; or, that the intellectual and 
scientific actions which they perform, are not reflected upon 
or contrived by them as such; thus that they possess no in- 
tellectual or scientific consciousness, and consequently that 
no intellectual or scientific design can be attributed to them: 
and therefore that so much of intellectual or scientific de- 
sign as appears conspicuous in their actions, must be the ef- 
fect of intellectual and scientific powers or energies, acting 
upon them in a region of their minds above the sphere of 
their proper consciousness. 

Admiring and respecting as I do the endeavours of all 
who are engaged in the promotion of philosophic inquiries, 
I cannot but think, that in the particular subject before us, 
too much has been done to confound the natures of man 
and brute, and to separate both from the Fountain of their 
existence. Man is what he is, and derives his superiority 
over the brute creation, from the circumstance that all 
things whatever become morally and scientifically objective 
to him; and the brute is what he is, and derives his infe- 
riority, from the total absence of this distinguished and en- 
nobling faculty. It is true that many specious arguments 
may be and have been advanced to prove that the brutes 



participate in human rationality, in kind, if not in 
but the ends which their natures are evidently destined to 
fulfil, would be, one might imagine, alone sufiicient to re- 
fute the supposition. For it is but reasonable to conclude, 
that the conscious powers of the creature will be according 
to the ends of its existence ; and as these ends are in 
the brute creation neither moral nor scientific, but pure- 
ly natural, and, as regards themselves, only subser- 
vient to what is moral and scientific, it thence would follow 
that they are not possessed in themselves of any moral, in- 
tellectual, or scientific conscious powers; — and are there- 
fore merely natural agents of a secondary class, in which 
such powers are exhibited. 

I proceed to consider the first of the foregoing proposi- 
tions. When we investigate the many and surprising in- 
stances in which the operations of the brute creation imply 
moral intention, reflection, and contrivance, we are at no 
loss to account for the opinion of that class of philosophers, 
who have attributed the mental inferiority of brutes to the 
mere want of adequate bodily organs; nevertheless, the in- 
tellectual consciousness of man shrinks from the acknow- 
ledgment that in one common principle of life originate the 
actions of man and brute: and that brutes, as to their mental 
constitution, are thus, as it were, " human imps lopt off 
from the common stock of intellect and rationality." 
There is something which seems powerfully to oppose the 
sentiment of sharing those high endowments with crea- 
tures of so inferior a nature ; and which irresistibly leads 
us seriously to examine the arguments which may be 
offered to prove that moral and intellectual powers reign 
over the conscious perception of the brute, and guide it to 
its proper exercise of those lower faculties, which it is left 
in freedom to use. The bee, we say, is a perfect political 
moralist, with respect to its actions, which evince the strict- 
est attention to the principles of order and economy, for 
the purposes of the establishment and preservation of a 
community; yet it is totally ignorant and unconscious of 
the very principles which it is so assiduous in the practice 
of; — not a ray of moral perception or consciousness can be 
attributed to it in a proper sense; it is, on the contrary, to- 
tally destitute of the means of discerning or reflecting upon 
the nature or order of the ends it is instrumental in accom- 
plishing, through the medium of its subordinate voluntary 
perceptions and powers. — Although it is in the habit of ex- 
ercising the most accurate science and means, for the fulfil- 
ment of these ends, it yet cannot look down with an ap- 
proving or disapproving perception upon the region or 
sphere of its natural powers; it evidently has no perception 
of any moral superiority in itself over the most vulgar 
worm that crawls. But if brute creatures were capable of 
moral consciousness, they would be capable of elevation in 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



the scale of being; and this little insect, the bee, judging 
from its actions, would, were it capable of that species of 
consciousness, not only rank above most of the larger classes 
of animals, but would, on the score of fidelity and integ- 
rity, put human nature to the blush. 

Were it not that much has been said in favour of the al- 
leged moral consciousness of brutes, it might perhaps be im- 
pertinent to proceed further in the endeavour to disprove it; 
but so strong are appearances in its favour, that, although 
we deny the affirmative in the abstract, by an unequivocal 
assent to the proposition, that brutes are not accountable 
beings; yet we are too ready to admit it in particular in- 
stances, in which we are wont to ascribe a moral conscious- 
ness to the particular moral action we see performed by an 
animal. There is a strong tendency to mistake the cause 
Instrumental for the cause principal, in this as in other 
cases; by which we ai-e insensibly led to assign the sum 
total of the attribute to the visible agent, without stopping 
to consider further of the matter. Thus gratitude, which 
is a moral quality in man, is thought to be moral also in the 
dog; but surely no one, upon mature consideration of the 
subject, will imagine that the dog reflects on the inclination 
or desire he feels to act in a manner which we view as grate- 
ful, and that he is pleased with the survey and reflection; — 
tliat the moral quality of his actions becomes objective to 
him; — and yet tliis is absolutely necessary in order to con- 
stitute a moral consciousness; for, to eflect this, it is not 
only necessary that the action be outwardly, or in effect 
moral, but that this moral action be reflected upon as such, 
in order that its moral quality may be thus perceived and 
felt. Moral consciousness can only be produced by the 
moral quality of the action becoming objective — by its being 
reflected upon from a superior eminence, and in a superior 
light, — by a soul within and above the lower, animal, or 
natural mind. But that brutes do not possess this higher 
conscious faculty, or soul, is made evident by this; — that if 
a particular individual of a species did possess it, such indi- 
vidual would be necessarily raised by it, as to its nature, 
which does not, in any case, occur. Thus, with respect to 
the gratitude and fidelity of the dog, no greater apparent 
moral sagacity can be exercised by any animal; yet being 
totally unable to contemplate his gratitude or fidelity in the 
abstract, as objects of a superior perception and conscious- 
ness, those virtues are to him as if they existed not: — to 
man alone this moral consciousness is proper, to the animal 
it is absolutely a nonentity; he is not in the smallest degree 
more moral on account of his apparent moral qualities, for 
they are indeed only apparently his own, because they do 
not reach down, if I may be allowed the expression, to the 
seat of his proper consciousness; but consist in powers or 
energies which act above it: he possesses an apparent 
Dd 



moral sagacity, but without any moral consciousness or per- 
ception concerning it. To make this plain by an example: 
the dog, if he saves his master from drowning, or preserves 
his life in any more remarkable manner, such as that in the 
instance we have before related, reflects not upon any 
moral nobleness or disinterestedness in the action; he is not 
at all the more refined for having performed an action, 
which, morally considered, would tend to raise his nature; 
on the contrary, he lives on as before, like the rest of his 
canine brethren, in no respect more elevated in the scale 
of being: and yet it is certain that in this action his highest 
natural powers of proper volition, and mental discrimina- 
tion and comparison, which we may term moral sagacity, 
have been brought into full exercise. 

But it will, perhaps, be objected, that animals experience 
delight in the exercise of moral qualities, as such; the dog, 
for instance, in gratitude. I answer, that every animal 
must necessarily have a delight annexed to that exercise of 
its powers by which it fulfils the end of its being: and the 
dog, as the natural guardian of man, has natural inclinations 
implanted in him, for the purpose of rendering him such; 
but his delight in the exercise of the inclinations, even 
when they are directed to moral acts, is purely natural, 
and in no wise 'moral: for, as already observed, no one in 
tliis case will imagine that the dog either reflects upon his 
gratitude, or is pleased with it as a moral quality. On the 
contrary, it is plain that the animal's delight is solely owing 
to its conscious mind being determined to the exercise of 
its natural qualities or inclinations, which are those of mo- 
rally unconscious obedience and friendship to man; this 
being the end for which he is created. 

The horse, who in his aptitude for war, discovers a 
quality necessary to render him instrumental in redress- 
ing the injuries of man, is characterised as an emulous and 
a generous animal; yet neither generosity nor emulation, 
considered as moral qualities, are objects of reflection to 
him; if they were, miserable indeed would be the fate of 
the devoted charger, whose latter existence is spent in the 
metamorphosis of a poor, patient, unpitied hack. But in 
the adorable economy of the Creator, it is provided that 
the sufierings of this noble animal shall be natural merely: 
he is incapable of being made conscious by reflection, either 
of the generosity, the emulation, or the pride, which his 
actions may have exhibited: although he has shown them 
all, they have not become objective to him, inasmuch as he 
is unfurnished with a morally conscious soul, by which 
alone this could be effected; and it is happy for him that 
neither glory nor emulation can be attributed to him, other- 
wise than as the unconscious subject in which those high 
qualities are exhibited. 

The mutual fidelity between the sexes, observable in 



106 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



doves and other birds, forms a distinguished feature in them in as many strange nests, belonging to these little 
moral instinct; yet we cannot suppose that the virtue of birds; for she never builds herself: she acts, in fact, as if 
chastity or of conjugal fidelity is at all intended by the crea- she calculated exactly what should and what would be 
ture, or attributable to it; although its actions are precisely done by others, for the rearing of her progeny. Another 
the same as if such moral end were contemplated and in- very curious circumstance noticed by Dr. Jenner, in con- 
tended by it: the polygamous species, indeed, have a claim nection with his remarks on the natural history of the 
equally as good as the monogamous, to the virtue of chastity, cuckoo, is the power exercised by birds, — which, he says, 
as far as regards their oivn conscious nature. But surely may arise from " so7ne hidden cause in the animal econo- 
there must be moral powers which act upon and guide the my," either of retarding or of accelerating the pro- 
natures of animals in order to produce these eflects, while duction of their eggs, according to circumstances. Moral 
the creature is accessary, in apparent freedom, and uncon- and intellectual design and active energy, above the con- 
scious of the power thus exerted on it; the wonderful ex- scious faculties of the creature, is surely evident in all this; 
hibition of conjugal and social affections in some species of for the creature is not a mere piece of mechanism, but has 
marine animals, in the Trichechi Boreales, for instance, is a manifest conscious freedom in the performance of its 
altogether superior to what can be explained upon any other peculiar natural acts; but which freedom is thus as mani- 
principles; they will die in protecting their mates and each festly controlled by superior influences, of which it is un- 
other. In their manners they are peaceable and harmless, conscious. How, otherwise, can we possibly account for 
bearing the strongest attachment to each other; but when the incessant endeavours of the young cuckoo to dislodge 
attacked, some will strive to overset the boat, by going be- its fellow inmates of the nest, while, as yet, it has scarcely 
neathit; others fling themselves on the rope of the hook by extricated itself from the egg: it cannot reflect upon the 
which their comrade is held, and endeavour to break it; necessity of its operations, either for ultimate preservation, 
while others again make efforts to wrench the instrument or for present convenience; yet it acts as if it did, and 
out of the body of their wounded companion: none desert takes the most effectual means for the accomplishment of 
him, but persist in their courageous efforts for his rescue, those ends. Will those who attribute design to such ac- 
even to the last! Their attachment to their mates is, if tions, say, that the design of taking the immediate steps 
possible, still more astonishing, and cannot be contemplated necessary for the preservation of the creature can reside 
without exciting the most vivid S3^mpathy and admiration, within its own consciousness? It surely cannot. — The 
It is indeed the most perfect lesson of fidelity and heroic final purposes which are the primary motives of its ac- 
devotion. If in this case we could suppose the creatures tions, are far above what it can either conceive or survey; 
capable of reflecting upon the nature of their actions, which otherwise the cuckoo must indeed be a " rara avis in ter- 
are the evident results of a moral influence, what must we ris," a feathered philosopher of no mean or despicable 
think of them? — or rather, what must we not think of talent. 

them? For it is to be observed, that this conduct is ac?a/;f- One of the strongest instances of apparent moral sa- 
ed to circumstances, and discovers an apparent rational gacity, is that well-known one recorded of the elephant, 
discrimination, as well as an apparent moral conscious- which is said to have taken place in Delhi. An elephant 
ness, in the means employed by the creatures towards the having killed his Cornac, or governor, it is related that the 
accomplishment of the ends which the exigency suggests. man's wife, in despair, threw her two children before the 
The controlling energies which direct the limited con- animal, saying, " Now you have destroyed their father, 
scious powers of brute creatures to particular ends, are you may as well put an end to their lives and mine," — 
wonderfully displayed again in the economy of the cuckoo, upon which the animal, relenting, and taking up the big- 
which lays its eggs in the nest of the hedge-sparrow, and in gest of the children with his trunk, placed him upon his 
those of other small birds; these birds, so far from molest- neck, and having thus adopted him for his Cornac, would 
ing the young intruder, — who, in a singularly curious man- never afterwards permit any other person to mount him. 
ner, expels its companions, the small birds' progeny, from In this case we cannot suppose the animal to have reflected 
the nest, in order that itself may be exclusively and ade- upon the deed of slaughter he had committed as lorong, 
quately fed by the parents, — feed and cherish it, till it ar- nor upon the act of atonement or reconciliation as right, 
rives at nearly its full growth; that is, until it is four or without making him an accountable agent; there are, how- 
five times the size of the foster-parents. The cuckoo, as ever, the strongest possible features of right and wrong, in 
if conscious that one of her overgrown nurslings would be the two acts and their attendant circumstances, which must 
quite sufficient for tlie hedge-sparrow or wagtail to attend unquestionably belong to an agency above the proper con- 
to and provide for, although she lays several eggs, deposits sciousness of the creature. For we have here a case of 



AND A]VIERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



107 



moral exigency, and also of reasoning and intellectual exi- 
gency; so much of moral and intellectual motive adapted 
to the circumstances and moral requirement of the case, 
that if the cause principal be referred to any power within 
the consciousness of the creature, we must inevitably pro- 
nounce it to be a moral and intellectual being. But surely 
we shall not assert this from the mere appearance of the 
thing, and without reference to the general quality of the 
animal's nature as a ivhole, which clearly, and for the 
reasons I have already dwelt upon, marks its limit, and de- 
signates it to be neither moral nor intellectual as to its pro- 
per consciousness ; — thus not at all so in itself, but only 
apparently so, by being acted upon by some power or 
agency aljove the stream of its consciousness; and which 
agency must unquestionably be of a moral and intellectual 
character, or it never could impel the animal to the exercise 
of those powers of which it is conscious, in the perform- 
ance of actions possessing the strongest possible moral cha- 
racteristics. ( To be Continued.) 



DWARFS. 



Among the varieties of nature in the human species, we 
may reckon Dwarfs and Giants. Deceived by some optical 
illusion, the ancient historians gravely mention whole na- 
tions of pigmies as existing in remote quarters of the world. 
The more accurate observations of the moderns, however, 
convince us that these accounts are entirely fabulous. 

The existence, therefore, of a pigmy race of mankind, 
being founded in error or in fable, we can expect to find 
men of diminutive stature only by accident, among men of 
the ordinary size. Of these accidental dwarfs, every coun- 
try, and almost every village can produce numerous in- 
stances. There was a time when these unfavourable chil- 
dren of Nature were the peculiar favourites of the great, 
and no prince, or nobleman, thought himself completely 
attended, unless he had a dwarf among the number of his 
domestics. These poor little men were kept to be laughed 
at, or to raise the barbarous pleasure of their masters, by 
their contrasted inferiority. Even in England, as late as 
the time of King James the First, the court was at one time 
furnished with a dwarf, a giant, and a jester. These the 
king often took a pleasure in opposing to each other, and 
often fomented quarrels among them, in order to be a con- 
cealed spectator of their animosity. 

It was in the same spirit that Peter of Russia, in the 
year 1710, celebrated a marriage of dwarfs. This monarch, 
though raised by his native genius far above a barbarian, 
was, nevertheless, still many degrees removed from actual 



refinement. His pleasures, therefore, were of the vulgar 
kind; and this was among the number. Upon a certain 
day, which he had ordered to be proclaimed several months 
before, he invited the whole body of his courtiers, and all 
the foreign ambassadors, to be present at the marriage of a 
pigmy man and woman. The preparations for this wedding 
were not only very grand, but executed in a style of bar- 
barous ridicule. He ordered, that all the dwarf men and 
women, within two hundred miles, should repair to the 
capital; and also insisted, that they should be present at the 
ceremony. For this purpose, he supplied them with proper 
vehicles; but so contrived it, that one horse was seen car- 
rying a dozen of them into the city at once, while the mob 
followed shouting and laughing from behind. Some of 
them were at first unwilling to obey an order, which they 
knew was calculated to turn them into ridicule, and did not 
come; but he soon obliged them to obey; and, as a punish- 
ment, enjoined that they should wait upon the rest at din- 
ner. The whole company of dwarfs amounted to seventy, 
beside the bride and bridegroom, who were richly adorned, 
and in the extremity of the fashion. For this company in 
miniature, every thing was suitably provided; a low table, 
small plates, little glasses, and, in short, every thing was 
so fitted, as if all things had been dwindled to their own 
standard. It was his great pleasure to see their gravity 
and their pride; the contention of the women for places, 
and the men for superiority. This point he attempted to 
adjust, by ordering that the most diminutive should take 
the lead; but this bred disputes, for none would then con- 
sent to sit foremost. All this, however, being at last set- 
tled, dancing followed the dinner, and the ball was opened 
with a minuet by the bridegroom, who measured exactly 
three feet two inches high. In the end matters were so 
contrived, that this little company, who met together in 
gloomy pride, and unwilling to be pleased, being at last fa- 
miliarized to laughter, joined in the diversion, and became, 
as the journalist tells us, extremely sprightly and entertain- 
ing. 

But the most complete history of a dwarf is preserved 
by M. Daubenton, in his Natural History. This dwarf, 
whose name was Baby, was well known, having spent the 
greatest part of his life at Luneville, in the palace of Stan- 
islaus, the titular king of Poland. He was born in the vil- 
lage of Plaisne, in France, in the year 1741. His father 
and mother were peasants, both of good constitutions, and 
inured to a life of husbandry and labour. Bab}', when born, 
weighed but a pound and a quarter. We are not informed 
of the dimensions of his body at that time, but we may 
conjecture they were very small, as he was presented on a 
plate to be baptized, and for a long time lay in a slipper. 
His mouth, although proportioned to the rest of his body. 



'■iki 



108 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



was not, at that time, large enough to take in the nipple; 
and he was, therefore, obliged to be suckled by a she-goat 
that was in the house; and that served as a nurse, attending 
to his cries with a kind of maternal fondness. He began 
to articulate some words when eighteen months old; and 
at two years he was able to walk alone. He was then fitted 
with shoes that were about an inch and a half long. He 
was attacked with several acute disorders; but the small- 
pox was the only one which left any marks behind it. 
Until he was six years old, he ate no other food but pulse, 
potatoes, and bacon. His father and mother were, from 
their povert}', incapable of affording him any better nour- 
ishment; and his education was little better than his food, 
being bred up among the rustics of the place. At six years 
old he was about fifteen inches high; and his whole body 
weighed but thirteen pounds. Notwithstanding this, he 
was well proportioned and handsome; his health was good, 
but his understanding scarcely passed the bounds of instinct. 
It was at that time that the king of Poland, having heard of 
such a curiosity, had him conveyed to Luneville, gave him 
the name of Baby, and kept him in his palace. 

Baby, having thus quitted the hard condition of a pea- 
sant, to enjoy all the comforts and the conveniences of life, 
seemed to receive no alteration from his new way of living, 
either in mind or person. He preserved the goodness of 
his constitution till about the age of sixteen, but his body 
seemed to increase very slowly during the whole time; 
and his stupidity was such, that all instructions were lost in 
improving his understanding. He could never be brought 
to have any sense of religion, nor even to show the least 
signs of a reasoning faculty. They attempted to teach 
him dancing and music, but in vain; he never could make 
any thing of music; and as for dancing, although he beat 
time with tolerable exactness, yet he could never remember 
the figure, but while his dancing-master stood by to direct 
his motions. Notwithstanding, a mind thus destitute of 
understanding was not without its passions, anger and 
jealousy. 

At the age of sixteen, Baby was twenty-nine inches high; 
at this he rested; but having thus arrived at his acme, the 
alterations of puberty, or rather, perhaps, of old age, 
came fast upon him. From being very beautiful, the poor 
little creature now became quite deformed; his strength 
quite forsook him; his back bone to bend; his head hung 
forward; his legs grew weak; one of his shoulders turned 
awry, and his nose grew disproportionably large. With 
his strength, his natural spirits also forsook him; and, by 
the time he was twenty, he was grown feeble, decripid, 
and marked with the strongest impression of old age. It 
had been before remarked by some, that he would die of 
old age before he arrived at thirty; and, in fact, by the 



time he was twenty-two, he could scarcely walk a hun- 
dred paces, being worn with the multiplicity of his years, 
and bent under the burthen of protracted life. In this year 
he died; a cold, attended with a slight fever, threw him 
into a kind of lethargy, which had a few momentary inter- 
vals; but he could scarcely be brought to speak. However, 
it is asserted that in the last five days of his life, he showed 
a clearer understanding than in his times of best health: 
but at length he died, after enduring great agonies, in the 
twenty-second year of his age. 

Baby, it is evident, was a creature calculated rather to 
excite pity or disgust than any other feeling, — a being as 
stunted in mind as in bod}^. But to these diminutive beings 
Nature does not always forget to give intellectual faculties. 
Jeffery Hudson, to whom Buffon alludes as the dwarf of 
the English court, was a brave and intelligent man. He 
killed, in a duel, Mr. Cutts, who had insulted him; and he 
served as a captain in the royal army. In modern times, 
we have seen an instance of a dwarf possessed of every 
mental and personal accompJishment. Count Borulawski 
was the son of a Polish nobleman attached to the party of 
King Stanislaus, and who lost his property in consequence 
of that attachment. His father had six children, three 
dwarfs, and three of the ordinary stature; and it is a singu- 
lar circumstance, that they were born alternately, a big and 
a little one. The count's youngest sister, who died at the 
age of twenty-three, was of a much more diminutive size 
than he was. He grew till he was thirty, when he was 
three feet two inches in height. The proportions of his 
figure were perfectly correct, which is rarely the case with 
dwarfs, and his look was manly and noble. His manners 
were full of grace and politeness; his temper was good; 
and he possessed a lively wit, united with an excellent 
memory and a sound judgment. Till the age of forty-one, 
he lived, in the enjo)-ment of perfect health, and of all the 
comforts of life, under the patronage of a lady who was a 
friend of the family. He then married a lady, of the mid- 
dle size, by whom he had three children, none of whom 
were dwarfs. To procure the means of subsistence for his 
family, he at first gave concerts in the principal cities of 
Germany; on which occasions he played upon the guitar, 
of which instrument he was a perfect master. At Vienna 
he was persuaded to turn his thoughts to England, where 
it was supposed that the public curiosity would in a little 
time benefit him sufliciently to enable him to live inde- 
pendent in a country so cheap as Poland. Borulawski ac- 
cordingly visited England, where he was admired, and ex- 
tensively patronized, by the nobility and gentry. He 
exhibited himself in most of the principal cities and towns, 
and wherever he went he gained friends. Borulawski died 
a few years since. He published his own Memoirs. Buffon. 




ariffon Vulture 







I 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



109 



GOOSANDER. 



MERGUS MERGJINSER. 

[Plate X.— Male.] 

VHarle, Briss iv. p. 231. 1. pi. 22. — Buff, viii, p. 
267. pi. 23. — Arct. Zool. No. 465.— Lath. Syn. in. 
p. 418. Mergus Merganser, Gmel, Syst. i. p. 544. 
No. 2.— Lath. Ind. Orn. p. 828, No. l.—Le Harle, 
Buff. PI. Enl. 951, male. — Grand Harle, Temm. 
Man d'Orn. p. 881. — J. Doughty's Collection. 

This large and handsomely marked bird belongs to a 
genus different from that of the Duck, on account of the 
particular form and serratures of its bill. The genus is cha- 
racterised as follows: ^^ Bill toothed, slender, cylindrical, 
hooked at the point; nostrils small, oval, placed in the 
middle of the bill; feet four toed, the outer toe longest." 
Naturalists have denominated it Merganser. In this coun- 
try, the birds composing this genus are generally known 
by the name of Fishermen, or Fisher ducks. The whole 
number of known species amount to only nine or ten, dis- 
persed through various quarters of the world; of these, four 
species, of which the present is the largest, are known to 
inhabit the United States. 

From the common habit of these birds in feeding almost 
entirely on fin and shell fish, their flesh is held in little es- 
timation, being often lean and rancid, both smelling and 
tasting strongly of fish; but such are the various peculiari- 
ties of tastes, that persons are not wanting who pretend to 
consider them capital meat. 

The Goosander, called by some the Water Pheasant, and 
by others the Sheldrake, Fisherman, Diver, &c. is a win- 
ter inhabitant only of the seashores, fresh water lakes, and 
rivers of the United States. They usually associate in small 
parties of six or eight, and are almost continually diving in 
search of food. In the month of April they disappear, 
and return again early in November. Of their particular 
place and manner of breeding, we have no account. Mr. 
Pennant observes that they continue the whole year in the 
Orknies, and have been shot in the Hebrides, or Western 
islands of Scotland, in summer. They are also found in 
Iceland and Greenland, and are said to breed there; some 
asserting that they build on trees; others that they make 
their nests among the rocks. 

The male of this species is twenty-six inches in length, 

and three feet three inches in extent, the bill three inches 

long, and nearly one inch thick at the base, serrated on 

both mandibles; the upper overhanging at the tip, where 

Ee 



each is furnished with a large nail; the ridge of the bill is 
black, the sides crimson red: irides red; head crested, 
tumid, and of a black colour glossed with green, which ex- 
tends nearly half way down the neck, the rest of which, 
with the breast and belly, arc white tinged with a delicate 
yellowish cream: back and adjoining scapulars black; pri- 
maries and shoulder of the wing brownish black; exterior 
part of the scapulars, lesser coverts, and tertials white; 
secondaries neatly edged with black, greater coverts white, 
their upper halves black, forming a bar on the wing, rest of 
the upper parts and tail brownish ash: legs and feet the co- 
lour of red sealing wax; flanks marked with fine semicircu- 
lar dotted lines of deep brown; the tail extends about three 
inches beyond the wings. 

This description was taken from a full pUimaged male. 
The young males, which are generally much more nume- 
rous than the old ones, so exactly resemble the females in 
their plumage for at least the first, and part of the second 
year, as scarcely to be distinguished from them; and what 
is somewhat singular, the crests of these and of the females 
are actually longer than those of the full grown male, 
though thinner towards its extremities. These circum- 
stances have induced some late Ornithologists to consider 
them as two different species, the young, or female, having 
been called the Dun Diver. By this arrangement they 
have entirely deprived the Goosander of his female; for 
in the whole of my examinations and dissections of the 
present species, I have never yet found the female in his 
dress. What I consider as undoubtedly the true female of 
this species, is figured beside him. They were both shot 
in the month of April, in the same creek, unaccompanied 
by any other, and on examination the sexual parts of each 
were strongly and prominently marked. The windpipe 
of the female had nothing remarkable in it; that of the 
male had two very large expansions, which have been 
briefly described by Willoughby, who says: " It hath a 
large bony labyrinth on the windpipe, just above the diva- 
rications; and the windpipe hath besides two swellings out, 
one above another, each resembling a powder puff. " These 
labyrinths are the distinguishing characters of the males, 
and are always found even in young males who have not 
yet thrown off the plumage of the female, as well as in the 
old ones. If we admit these Dun divers to be a distinct 
species, we can find no difference between their pretended 
females and those of the Goosander, only one kind of fe- 
male of this sort being known, and this is contrary to the 
usual analogy of the other three species, viz. the Red 
breasted Merganser, the Hooded and the Smew, all of 
whose females are well known, and bear the same com- 
parative resemblance in colour to their respective males, 
the length of crest excepted, as the female Goosander we 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL fflSTORY 



have figured bears to him. Having thought thus much 
necessary on this disputed point, I leave each to form his 
own opinion on the facts and reasoning produced. 



GOLDEN-EYE. 



^N^S CLANGULA. 



[Plate X.] 

Ze Garrot, Briss. vi. p. 416. 27. pi. 37. fig. 2. — Buff. 
IX. p. 222.— Jirct. Zool. No. 486. — Lath. Syn. in. 
p. 535.— Le Garrot, PI. Enl. 802. — Morrillon, Arct. 
Zool. II. p. 300. F.—Br, Zool. No. 276, 277.— Lath. 
Svpp. II. p. 535, No. 26, — Ind. Orn. p. 867, No. 87; 
*2. glancion, Id. p. 868, No. 88. — Gmel. Syst. i. p. 
523, No. 23; Id. p. 525, No. 26.— Temm. Man.d'Otn. 
I. p. 870. — Bewick, ii. p. 330. — J. Doughty's Col- 
lection. 

This Duck is well known in Europe, and in various 
regions of the United States, both along the seacoast and 
about the lakes and rivers of the interior. It associates in 
small parties, and may easily be known by the vigorous 
whistling of its wings, as it passes through the air. It 
swims and dives well; but seldom walks on shore, and then 
in a waddling awkward manner. Feeding chiefly on shell 
fish, small fry, &c. their flesh is less esteemed than that of 
the preceding. In the United States they are only winter 
visitors, leaving us again in the month of April, being then 
on their passage to the north to breed. They are said to 
build, like the wood duck, in hollow trees. 

The Golden-eye is nineteen inches long, and twenty-nine 
in extent, and weighs on an average about two pounds; the 
bill is black, short, rising considerably up in the forehead; 
tlie plumage of the head and part of our neck is somewhat 
tumid, and of a dark green with violet reflections, marked 
near the corner of the mouth with an oval spot of white; 
the irides are golden yellow; rest of the neck, breast, and 
whole lower parts white, except the flanks, which are 
dusky; back and wings black; over the latter a broad bed 
of white extends from the middle of the lesser coverts to 
the extremity of the secondaries; the exterior scapulars are 
also white; tail hoary brown; rump and tail coverts black; 
legs and toes reddish orange; webs very large, and of a 



dark purplish brown; hind toe and exterior edge of the 
inner one broadly finned; sides of the bill obliquely den- 
tated; tongue covered above with a fine thick velvetty 
down of a whitish colour. 

The full plumaged female is seventeen inches in length, 
and twenty-seven inches in extent; bill brown, orange near 
the tip; head and part of the neck brown, or very dark 
drab, bounded below by a ring of white; below that the 
neck is ash, tipt with white; rest of the lower parts white; 
wings dusky, six of the secondaries and their greater 
coverts pure white, except the tips of the last, which are 
touched with dusky spots; rest of the wing coverts cinerous, 
mixed with whitish; back and scapulars dusky, tipt with 
brown; feet dull orange; across the vent a band of cine- 
rous; tongue covered with the same velvetty down as the 
male. 

The young birds of the first season very much resemble 
the females; but may generally be distinguished by the 
white spot, or at least its rudiments, which marks the cor- 
ner of the mouth. Yet, in some cases, even this is variable, 
both old and young male birds occasionally wanting the spot. 

From an examination of many individuals of this species 
of both sexes, I have very little doubt that the Morillon of 
English writers {Jinas glaucion) is nothing more than the 
young male of the Golden-eye. 

The conformation of the trachea, or windpipe of the 
male of this species, is singular. Nearly about its middle 
it swells out to at least five times its common diameter, the 
concentric hoops or rings, of which this part is formed, fall- 
ing obliquely into one another when the windpipe is relax- 
ed; but when stretched, this part swells out to its full size, 
rings being then drawn apart; this expansion extends for 
about three inches; three more below this it again forms 
itself into a hard cartilaginous shell, of an irregular figure, 
and nearly as large as a walnut; from the bottom of this 
labyrinth, as it has been called, the trachea branches ofi" to 
the two lobes of the lungs; that branch which goes to the 
left lobe being three times the diameter of the right. The 
female has nothing of all this. The intestines measure five 
feet in length, and are large and thick. 

I have examined many individuals of this species, of 
both sexes and in various stages of colour, and can therefore 
affirm, with certainty, that the foregoing descriptions are 
correct. Europeans have differed greatly in their accounts 
of this bird, from finding males in the same garb as the 
females; and other full plumaged males destitute of the 
spot of white on the cheek; but all these individuals bear 
such evident marks of belonging to one peculiar species, 
that no judicious naturalist, with all these varieties before 
him, can long hesitate to pronounce them the same. 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 




ANGLING. 

[The following treatise on Angling, compiled from the 
works of several eminent writers, is respectfully submit- 
ted to those who feel interested in this most delightful 
amusement.] 

There is not, perhaps, a greater variety in the faces, than 
in the favourite pursuits of men. And this variety, which 
in many cases seems extraordinary, and almost unaccount- 
able, conduces as much to the happiness of the individual, 
as to the advantages of nations. This reflection naturally 
arises in the mind of the attentive observer, when he sees 
the enthusiasm with which many, and even those of lively 
tempers, pursue angling as an amusement. That a man 
should have a fondness for the active and inspiring toils of 
the chace, is what all, except lethargic people, can con- 
ceive; but that any, and particularly among the young, 
should take delight in merely throwing a line, and standing 
for hours poring upon a piece of water, seems to most men 
perfectly strange. Yet we all know there are many who 
follow this apparently dull, tedious and languid amusement, 
with a perseverance that nothing can overcome, and even 
with the poignancy of enjoyment which the shooter re- 
ceives, when he finds birds in abundance, or the hunter, 
when he follows the hounds in full cry after the fox, who 
has broke cover. 

Angling, however, though it would be a severe punish- 
ment to those who have no taste for it, from what they 



consider its dullness, must be admitted by all to be at least 
a most healthful exercise. Perhaps none is more capable 
of retoning a stomach which has been weakened by luxury. 
Its power to produce hunger is well known to all anglers. 
This arises partly from the exercise, the sharpness of the 
air on the banks of streams, and from being in sight of so 
much of what raises only the idea of quenching thirst. To 
those whose constitutions have been enervated by a too 
sedentary life, or by dissipation, we would earnestly re- 
commend it, as it does not, like most other rural amuse- 
ments, over-fatigue by the violence of exercise required. 
It affords a gentle exercise which, with the free circulation 
of pure air on the banks of trout streams, or large rivers, 
lends to recruit nature, and re-invigorate the system, by a 
sure, though a slow progress. 

There is a considerable degree of skill and experience 
required to find out the various kinds of flies that frequent 
certain streams, and to make artificial ones like them, or 
to prepare those kinds of bait the best calculated to allure 
the harmless fishes to their destruction. The scientific an- 
gler likewise knows well the influence of certain states of 
the atmosphere, cloudy or clear, in his art; what degree of 
warmth or cold, is best, or from which point the wind must 
blow, and how high or low, or what state the stream should 
be in after much rain, in order to insure success. With 
respect to the rapid trout streams of the north, the angler 
never fails to prepare his fishing tackle, when they have been 
in a state of red flood, to be ready, when they return to what 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



is called the black state, which is the intermediate one be- 
tween the former and that of their ordinary limpidness and 
purity. The red or muddy state, they say, renders the 
trout sick, and in the black they return to more than their 
usual appetite. A heavy summer shower is favourable for 
catching trout. Anglers tell us, that it beats the fly into 
the water, and prevents the fishes from perceiving the dis- 
tinction between the real and artificial: and, as to be wet- 
ted to the skin is nothing to those who are really fond of 
the sport, great quantities are often taken during these 
showers. 

Some imagine, there is little or no art in angling, but 
that the whole consists in drawing out the fish, after it has 
fixed itself to the fatal hook. That there is something more 
than this, however, and that both skill and dexterity are 
necessary to success, is proved from a fact known to all. 
Experienced anglers will catch numbers, while, in the 
same part of the stream, and under similar circumstances in 
other respects, those who are inexperienced, though they 
may get many a nibble, will not catch one. 

The well known methods of catching fish, consist of net- 
ting, snaring, bobbing, and angling with rod, hook and line, 
and variety of baits, living, artificial, or dead; and in the 
United States is not confined to particular places, but in 
every river, creek, brook, pond or lake, with which the 
country is so well provided, and the fish which claim the 
most attention of those who follow it as a sport, are the 
salmon, trout, rockfish, pike, chub, perch, catfish, eels, 
sunfish and roach, beside others which are peculiar to the 
lakes. The salmon is both a fresh and salt-water fish, and 
divides its time pretty equally between the two, but is 
more generally confined to the north, or climates of low 
temperature. When they have once entered a river, their 
progress is not easily stopped, frequently ascending those 
of the greatest length, and remarkable for their rapidity 
and strong vortexes. They always have their heads to the 
stream; and their muscular power must be very great, as 
they shoot up the rapids with the velocity of arrows. They 
are sensitive and delicate in the extreme, and equally avoid 
water that is turbid or tainted, and that which is dark with 
woods, or any other shade. They serve as a sort of wea- 
ther glasses, as they leap and sport above the surface of the 
water, before rain or wind; but during violent weather, 
especially if there be thunder, they keep close to the bot- 
tom; and they either hear better than many other species 
of fish, or they are more sensible to these concussions of 
the air produced by sound, as any loud noise on the bank 
throws them into a state of agitation . When their progress 
is interrupted by a cascade, they make wonderful efforts to 
surmount it by leaping; and as they continue to do that at 
places which a salmon has never been known to ascend, 



their instinct cannot be to go to the particular spot where 
they were spawned, but simply to some small and shallow 
stream. 

There is scarcely any time, unless when it thunders, or 
when the water is thick with mud, but you may chance to 
tempt the salmon to rise to an artificial fly. But the most 
propitious are critical moments; or, undoubtedly, when, 
clearing after a flood, the water has turned to a light whey, 
or rather brown colour; when the wind blows pretty fresh, 
approaching to a mackerel gale, against the stream or course 
of the river; when the sun shines through showers, or 
when the cloudy rack runs fast and thick, and at intervals 
discovers the pure blue ether from above. In these situa- 
tions of the water and of the weather, you may always de- 
pend upon excellent sport. 

The most difiicult thing for a beginner, is to throw the 
line far, neatly, and to make the fly first touch the water. 
A few attentive trials will, however, bring him to do it 
with dexterity. 

It should always be across the river, and on the far side, 
when you expect the fish to rise. If he appears, do not be 
too eager to strike, but give him time to catch the fly; then, 
with a gentle twist, fix the hook in his lip or mouth; if he 
is hooked in a bone, or feels sore, he will shoot, spring and 
plunge, with so much strength and vehemence, as to make 
the reel run with a loud whizzing noise, and your arms to 
shake and quiver most violently. In this situation, take 
out the line from the winch quickly, though with compo- 
sure, keeping it always at the same time stretched, but yet 
ever ready to yield to his leaping. Do not let it run to any 
great length, as it is then apt to be unmanageable, but rather 
follow him, and if he comes nearer, j-ou retire, and wind 
up as fast as possible, so as to have the line tight, and hold 
your rod nearly in a perpendicular situation. When he 
becomes calmer, he often turns sullen, and remains motion- 
less at the bottom of the water. Then cast a few stones 
upon the spot where you think he is, and this, in all proba- 
bility, will rouse him from his inactive position. Be cau- 
tious in the lifting and the throwing of them, as the salmon 
may spring at that instant, and break your tackle, should 
you be off your guard. Being again in motion, he gene- 
rally takes his way up the current: do not then check him, 
as by this way his strength will be the sooner exhausted. 
When, now fatigued, and no longer able to keep his direc- 
tion, he once more tries all his wiles in disengaging himself 
from the guileful and hated hook; he crosses and recrosses, 
sweeps and flounces through every part of the pool or 
stream; but, finding all his efforts to be vain, he at last, 
indignant at his fate, with immense velocity, rushes head- 
long down the stream. If the ground is rough or uneven, 
or if you cannot keep pace with him, give him line enough, 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



and when it slackens, wind up again, until you nearly ap- 
proach him. You will then, probably, observe him float- 
ing on his side, his motion feeble, and all his vigour gone. 
Being unable to make any farther resistance, it behoves you 
now to lead him gently to the nearest shelving shore; use 
no gaif, as it mangles the fish very much, but take him 
softly by the gills into your arms, or throw him, if not too 
heavy, upon the top of some adjacent bank. 

As the Salmon is seldom in the rivers in time for the 
spring fly, the May fly is often imitated as a lure for him, 
but is only an imitation, as it has to be made of gigantic 
dimensions. The onlj* fly of which a natural imitation 
makes a good salmon fly, is the dragon fly. The best baits 
are large, gaudy artificial flies, lob-worms, line fish baits, 
and muscles from the shell; the hook must be strong and 
large; bottom fishing, however, is usually more successful 
for salmon than fly fishing. 

The TROUT has justly been styled " the monarch of the 
brook," not only, perhaps, from the superiority of its meat 
over other fish, but from the great diversion in fishing for 
tliem, and the superior science required to constitute a suc- 
cessful fisherman. 

The plan usually followed for trout fishing, by those who 
may be called scientific trout-fishers, is with the artificial 
fly, attached to a long, fine line, wound upon a reel, which 
is fastened to the handle of the pole, and in consequence, 
of the great shyness of this fish, stand some distance from 
the water, to prevent being seen. The trout is a quick 
and sharp biter, and not very particular as to the kind of 
fly, rising as well to an artificial as a natural one; but, 
being very voracious, they fall victims more generally to 
those who are styled bottom fishers: in this case, the bait 
consists of lobworm, earth-worm, dung-worm and maggot. 
Fishing with an artificial fly is, certainly, a very pleasant 
and gentlemanly way of angling, and is attended with much 
less labour and trouble than bottom fishing. The fly-fisher- 
man has but little to carry, either in bulk or weight, nor 
has he the dirty work of digging clay, making ground baits, 
&c. &c. He may travel for miles, with a book of flies in 
his pocket, and a light rod in his hand, and cast in his bait, 
as he roves on the banks of a stream, without soiling his 
fingers; it is, therefore, preferred by many to every other 
way of angling. Yet fly-fishing is not without it disadvan- 
tages, for there are many kinds of fish that will not take a 
fly; whereas, all the difierent species which the fresh vvraters 
produce, will take a bait at bottom, at some season of the 
year; and it is also worthy of notice, that the angler who 
fishes at bottom has many months and days in the year, 
when the fish will so feed; consequently he has frequent 
opportunities of enjoying his amusement, when the fly- 
Ff 



fisherman is entirely deprived of the chance of sport, by 
very cold or wet weather, and the winter season. 

Trout delight most in sharp, shallow streams, sometimes 
lying under a large stone, or shelving clump, at other times 
swimming, and seemingly striving against the stream ; 
they are also found in such cold water, that no other fish 
can live therein. They will also live in clear, gravelly 
and sandy bottomed spring ponds, with a stream running 
through, but will not thrive so fast, or breed so well, as in 
rivers; after spawning, they retire into deep, still holes, 
and under shelving banks, and there remain during the 
winter season, in the course of which they become very 
poor, and lose the beautiful spots on their bodies, instead 
of which they are much infested with a worm or water- 
louse, and the heads of trout, at this season, seem much 
too large, and their whole appearance is lean, lank, and far 
from that of a beautiful fish: but when the days lengthen, 
and the sun gets suflicient power to warm and invigorate 
the elements, then the trout seems to have a new lease of 
his life, leaving his hiding-place, and getting among the 
gravel, in rapid parts of the streams, and with much hearty 
rubbing, speedily gets rid of his troublesome and filthy 
companions, who have so long infested, or stuck to him, 
and then soon recovers his former shape and colours. 

The next in the catalogue of our favourite fish, ranks the 
silvery ROCK fish, and which form not only a subject of 
the most common amusement, but is universally known 
in all the rivers and smaller tide-water streams throughout 
the United States. The manner of fishing, and prepara- 
tion necessary for it is so well known that a description is 
deemed unnecessarj-, at this time. The following selec- 
tion, however, from the American Turf Register and Sport- 
ing Magizine, describing the manner in which this fish is 
trolled for in the Susquehannah, may not be uninteresting. 

<'The season for trolling begins in the latter part of 
May, and commonly ends about the middle of July; but 
some years lasts during August. In the month of June, 
the rock fish generally bite best. To make good fishing, 
the river should not be very high nor low, muddy nor clear, 
but betwixt extremes, in these respects. If the water be 
clear, the fish dart ofi" at sight of the line ; and it is thought, 
they leave the rapids, when the river is rising, or muddy, 
to feed upon the flats in the Chesapeake. 

" Trolling is very much practised from Fort Deposit, to 
almost any given distance up the river, but not below. The 
grass that the ducks feed upon, grows too thick on the flats 
in tide-water for trolling, and the channel is uniformlj"- too 
deep. The rapids above, where the water is in manj' parts 
shoal, and the rocky bottom clear of grass, is the proper 
place for trolling. 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



" As I have never seen this method of fishing noticed in 
any sporting work, I propose giving such an account of it 
as, I hope, a reader who has never witnessed it will under- 
stand. The troller provides himself with a convenient 
sized, light, well corked skiff; it should be large enough to 
carry four persons, without sinking deep in the water. He 
must also take care to get two good oarsmen, accustomed to 
row among the rapids. The lines generally used are made 
of flax, (sometimes of cotton,) and twisted very hard, from 
ninety to one hundred and thirty feet long. On each line 
there are two brass or steel swivels, one about a foot from 
the hook, the other some twenty or more, according to the 
length of the line. The lines must be very strong, but not 
so thick as to be clumsy, and the steel hooks sharp, with 
large barbs. The figures of the hooks are made to vary 
according to the notions of their different owners, who fre- 
quently have them made to order, by smiths in the neigh- 
bourhood. The long-shanked hook is generally esteemed 
best. Old trollers are as particular about the shapes of their 
hooks, as cockers are about their gaffles. One end of the 
line is made fast to a cork or buoy, as large as a common 
seine cork. This cork is thrown overboard, when the hook 
catches against a stone or the limb of a tree; for the boat is 
under such head-way, and the line being nearly all out, if 
the fisherman holds on to his line he will break it. He, 
therefore, in such case, throws the buoy overboard, by 
which he can find his line, and goes back at his leisure to 
take it up, and disengage his hook. The bait consists of 
small fish, such as anchovies, minnows, chubs, &c. &c. If 
the troller intends starting at daybreak, (the usual hour,) 
he angles for his bait the afternoon previous, and buries 
them in the wet sand by the edge of some convenient 
stream, or keeps them in spring water. If they are ex- 
posed to the atmosphere during a warm summer night, they 
become tender, and tear from the hook. 

" Two persons generally fish from the same boat; one of 
them steers with one hand, and fishes with the other. Each 
fisherman lets his line out over the side of the boat nearest 
to him, and close to the stern, (where they sit,) holding it 
in his hand, a few inches from the water, and leaves the 
end attached to the cork in the bottom of the boat. He 
pays out nearly all his line, and keeps constantly pulling it, 
by short jerks, to feel if it is running over a rock or tree 
top. The boat is rowed as fast as possible across the river, 
from shore to shore, above, and as near to the falls as they 
can go, to avoid being swept down them. The rock fish 
lie below the falls and ripples, waiting for the small fish 
that are carried over by the current. Here then the bait 
falls over, with a constant rotary motion, like a live fish 
whirled over, side foremost, and struggles in vain against 
the falls. The swivels turn every time the bait turns, and 



prevent the line from twisting up into knots; and as there 
are no sinkers, the rapid head-way of the boat drags them 
along so fast that the lines have no time to sink. At sight 
of the bait tumbling over the falls, the rock-fish darts up- 
wards from his cavern in the rocks, and swallows hook 
and all. The bite of the rock is quick as lightning, and 
gives a sudden jerk to the arm of the fisherman. When 
he first discovers he is snared, he rises to the top of the 
water, and begins to lash it furiously with his forked tail, 
like 'a spirit conjured from the vasty deep,' then plunges 
down again to the bottom. He is dragged from thence by 
the fisherman, who hauls in his long line, hand over hand, 
until he brings his fish alongside of the boat. If he is of 
tolerable size, weighing only seven or ten pounds, the trol- 
ler lifts him into the boat by the line; but if the fish is 
large, he runs his arm down into the water, and lifts him in 
by his gills. The excitement that this scene produces in all 
those in the boat, is not to be described. One instant you 
see the fish making the water foam with his tail, the next 
you lose sight of him; one instant the troller feels him jerk- 
ing desperately backwards, the next he darts ahead towards 
the boat, carrying the line with him; and the fisherman, 
who ceases to feel him, is distressed for fear he has broken 
loose from the hook. The black oarsmen ease up rowing 
to laugh and shout with great glee. The troller's anxiety 
to secure his fish is so great, that he alone, of all the com- 
pany, is silent, and full of uneasiness, until he gets him into 
the boat. In this manner, it is not unusual to catch, with 
two lines, ten or twenty fish, varying in weight from five 
to twenty pounds each, in an hour — sometimes they are 
caught much larger. When the fish do not bite fast, the 
troller does not become wearied soon; his line is always 
out, and he is in constant expectation of feeling a bite, as 
the boat glides backwards and forwards across the river, in 
search of luck; he is not confined to one rock, like the 
sleepy angler. 

" This would be very dangerous sport to persons unac- 
customed to it ; let no presumptuous cits venture upon it by 
themselves. The flat-bottomed boat must be rowed through 
the most dangerous falls and whirlpools in the river. Some- 
times she is forced, at an imperceptible progress, against a 
current, running down at an angle of forty-five degrees. If 
one of the oarsmen happens to fail in strength, or to dip his 
oar with a false stroke, the current will snatch it upwards 
out of his hands, and the frail skiff will be dashed to pieces 
amongst the rocks. Often they are obliged to get out of 
the boat on some rock above water, and haul her over. A 
person unaccustomed to it, cannot rely upon his senses of 
hearing or seeing. He is first deafened by the stunning 
roar of the incessant flood, then sickened by the tossing of 
the skiff amongst the waves and eddies. The huge rocks 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



that rear themselves thick to oppose the rushing waters, 
covered with eagles and cormorants, and the little islands 
all see7n to be swimming backwards. And now she flies 
across a shoal — at first glimpse the little skill" seems to rest 
securely on the bottom; at the next, the solid bottom ap- 
pears deceitfully to recede from beneath her, and leave her 
to founder in the dark waters of a bottomless swirl. And 
again, before he is aware of it, she seems to have approach- 
ed so near the falls that nothing can prevent her from going 
over side foremost. All these false appearances rushing in 
succession, quick as thought, upon the mind of the troubled 
cockney, turn his brain with dizziness." 

The PERCH is another well known and popular fish, and 
in point of beauty ranking nearly equal to the former. 
Their favourite places of resort are about bridges, mill 
pools, in and near locks, about shipping, floats of timbers in 
navigable rivers and canals, and at the entrance of docks; 
also in deep and dark still holes, and in bending and still 
parts of rivers, at the mouths of sluices and flood gates, 
and near the sides where reeds and rushes grow. It is not 
necessary to wait long in a place, for if there are any perch 
about, and they are inclined to feed, they will soon take 
the bait; and if you meet with several of them in a still 
hole, and they are well on the feed, with care, you may 
often take them all; for, if not disturbed or alarmed by let- 
ting one fall from your hook, they will, one after the other, 
take the bait almost immediately after it settles in the water. 
Give plenty of time when you have a bite, that the fish 
may gorge before you strike, for more perch are lost by 
the angler striking too soon, when he perceives a bite, than 
by breaking the tackle, after they are fairly hooked. It is, 
therefore, of the first consequence that the angler, when 
fishing for perch where he has reason to think he shall meet 
with some heavy ones, to keep cool and collected when he 
perceives a bite, giving the perch two or three moments' 
time to gorge the bait before he strikes, because he then 
has an opportunity of fixing the hook securely in the perch's 
paunch, or stomach, from which place it will never draw; 
but if you strike too soon, that is, while the baited hook is 
only in the mouth, and if you do fix the hook in the roof of 
or the side of the mouth, recollect how tender and brittle 
that part of the perch is, and how frequently, by his plung- 
ing and struggling, the hook tears away from such a tender 
or insecure hold ; and when this does not occur, the hole 
which the hook has made soon becomes enlarged. If then, 
while you are playing a heavy perch, he unfortunately gets 
round or among some strong weeds, the line will become 
slack about the mouth of the fish, and the hook comes or 
draws away from its hold. 

Perch abound most in deep, dark, and sluggish rivers, 
but in those rivers whose currents run so strong and fast, 



search for perch, particularly in the bends and still parts 
thereof. When angling in these bends or coves of a river, 
or in still places laying under the wind, it is proper to keep, 
continuall}', gently moving or drawing your float a little 
to the right or left, or to lift it out of the water a few inches 
occasionally, and let it gently drop in again, as this way of 
acting frequently inclines fish to seize the bait, fearing it is 
moving away from them, though they have seen the bait 
stationary, but not being much on feed, would not take the 
trouble of moving for it, till it seemed likely to make its 
escape. 

When a heavy perch is hooked, play him until he is 
quite spent, before you attempt to land him, fearing he 
may be slightly hooked; by thus acting, the reader will see 
he not only secures a large perch, but very probably may, 
by such careful and skilful way of angling, fill his basket 
with them; and they are fish worth all the trouble attend- 
ing the taking, either for the anglers' own tables, or for 
making a present of: and also further note, that when perch 
are well on the feed, and you should be distressed for bait, 
you may bait your hook with the eyes of those other fish 
you have taken, or the eye of any other fish, and perch 
will freely take it. The proper depth to fish for perch is 
mid-water, or six inches from the bottom. When fishing 
for large perch you should bait with live minnows, or 
shrimps, on a floating line; the float should be a cork one, 
and of tolerable size; the line of India grass, or choice 
twisted gut from four to six yards long. The hooks from 
one to three, and size of No. 6. ; the bottom hook tie to 
about nine inches of gut; then loop it to the line above this; 
about eighteen inches higher up the line place another, 
which tie to about three inches and a half of gut; then take 
a leaden pellet, with a hole through it about an inch long, 
and as thick as a tobacco pipe, and fasten it securely to the 
line, within about eighteen inches of the bottom hook, 
and about eighteen inches above this, place another hook, 
secured as before described, and then your perch line is 
complete. Some anglers, when perch fishing in very deep 
water, say from sixteen to thirty feet, use four or five hooks 
on a line, but three will be found sufiicient for the deepest 
water, and in shallower two; because, though it is known 
that perch swim at all depths, yet experience will prove 
that two to one are killed on the bottom hook to what are 
killed with the highest up on the line; therefore, it is ne- 
cessary to place the float so as to let the bottom hook nearly 
touch the bottom. In still waters, when it is calm, if 
3^ou throw in the water occasionally a few handfulls of 
loose sand and gravel, it will often move the perch to feed; 
but when it is a mild breezy day, the perch are then on the 
rove, and will take a bait in good earnest; if there be nei- 
ther wind nor rain, your only chance to find perch on the 



116 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



feed, is to be after them early in the morning, and again to- 
wards night-fall, or evening. 

When live minnows, or any other small fish, are used for 

bait, the angler should frequently change the water in the 

kettle, and take the bait out with a very small net, similar 

to those used in removing gold and silver fish, onlj^ of a 

smaller mesh; or, if it is made of coarse gauze, it will do, 

because, putting a hot hand in the kettle distresses and 

alarms the bait, and frequently is the cause of several 

of them dying, which sometimes is an irreparable loss for 

the day, therefore it is necessary to provide against it. 

When fishing for perch, (or where they are small) with a 

worm bait, when they bite, let them run about the length 

of a yard or two, and then strike smartly: place the float 

on the line so that the bait should swim or hang about a 

foot from the bottom. The best baits for perch are, live 
minnows, or shrimps, the red earth-worm, grubs found 
among dung, and at the roots of cabbages, and young wasps. 
CHUB-fishing is rendered unpleasant from the circum- 
stance of their inhabiting inland streams, in the midst of 
rocks, stumps, and waters overgrown with bushes and 
trees, and, although beautiful fish, are not very choice food, 
and are seldom sought for, unless, indeed, in the absence 
of most other fish ; but the well known 

SUN fish, the inhabitant of every stream, and pond, is the 
first fish to which youth apply their dexterity. This beauti- 
ful little fish is not only sought after eagerly by the school- 
boy, but the more experienced angler oft times, on the 
margin of some lonely stream, enjoys a satisfaction peculiar 
to this kind of fishing, where, on the sandy beds beneath 
his feet, he carefully watches every motion of this little 
fish, sometimes eager to seize the fatal bait, and then sus- 
picious of the strange food, smells and darts back ever and 
anon, as though conscious his fatal enemy was lurking near 
to lure him to destruction. 

For Sun fishing, the float line is used altogether, with 
very small hooks, say No 8 or 9, baited with earth 
worms, and suffered to hang near the bottom of the water. Messrs. Editors, 



leaf bursting from the purple bud, — to scent the odours of 
the bank, perfumed by the violet, and enamelled, as it 
were, with the primrose and the daisy; — to wander upon 
the fresh turf, below the shade of trees; — and, on the sur- 
face of the waters, to view the gaudy flies sparkling, like 
animated gems, in the sunbeams, while the bright, beautiful 
trout, is watching them from below; — to hear the twitter- 
ing of tlie water birds, who, alarmed at your approach, hide 
themselves beneath the flowers and leaves of the water- 
lilies; — and, as the season advances, to find all these objects 
changed for others of the same kind, but better and brighter, 
till the swallow and the trout contend, as it were, for the 
gaudy ]May-fl)'; and till, in pursuing your amusement in 
the calm and balmy evening, you are serenaded bj' the 
cheerful thrush, performing the ofiices of maternal love, in 
thickets ornamented with the rose and woodbine." 

"There is, indeed, a calmness and repose about angling 
which belongs to no other sport, — hardly to any other ex- 
ercise. To be alone and silent, amid the beauties of nature, 
when she is just shaking off the last emblems of the win- 
ter's destruction, and springing into life, fresh, green, and 
blooming, — that, that is the charm. The osier bed, as the 
supple twigs register every fit of the breeze, displa)' the 
down on the under side of their leaves, and play like a sea 
of molten silver, for the production of which no slave ever 
toiled in the mine; and at that little nook where the stream, 
after working itself into a ripple through the thick matting 
of confervse and water-lilies, glides silently under the hollow 
bank, and lies dark, deep, and still as a mirror, is made ex- 
quisitely touching by the pendent boughs of the weeping 
willow that stands ' mournfully ever,' over the stilly 
stream." 



REJOINDER TO I. T. S. 



J 



They inhabit still waters, altogether, and are to found in 
ditches, on the margin of most brooks, and shallow rivers, 
with sandy bottoms, mill and other ponds, and the shady 
coves of creeks. 

A beautiful writer describes angling thus: 

" As to its practical relations, it carries us into the most 
wild and beautiful scenery of nature; amongst the mountain 
lakes, and the clear and lovely streams, that gush from the 
higher ranges of elevated hills, or make their way through 
the cavities of calcareous strata. How delightful, in the 
early spring, after the dull and tedious winter, when the 
frosts disappear, and the sunshine warms the earth and 
waters, to wander forth by some clear stream, — to see the 



I read, with much attention, the reply of I. T. S. to the 
remarks submitted by me in a former number on his mode 
of Duck Shooting. The arguments used to illustrate his 
views on the subject, however convincing to himself, I 
must confess have not had sufficient weight with me to 
change my way of thinking. A practice of many years at game 
of every description, from the snipe to the duck (notwith- 
standing the belief of your correspondent to the contrary, 
with respect the Litter bird) has full}' satisfied me, that the 
correct principle of shooting is not in advance of, but at 
the bird, with a swing of the gun proportionate to its flight, 
and that the mode adopted by him can never be depended 
on with certainty, as it is impossible to lay down any rule 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



as to distance, by which the gun is to be directed in advance 
of the bird, its flight varying at times from a greater to a 
less degree of velocity, as well as distance. In his essay on 
Duck shooting, he admits the necessity, even within the 
moderate space of sixty yards, of varying the direction of 
the gun from six inches to three or four feet; and I would 
ask, if this be the fact, what reliance can be placed on a 
mode of shooting liable to so much discretionary exercise 
on the part of the sportsman. In the diagram offered, the 
data there given, so far from supporting his position, and 
elucidating the subject, has only made its fallacy the more 
apparent; for if, as he supposes, it takes one second of 
time for the passage of the load from the breech to the muz- 
zle, and one second for a forward velocity of the contents 
in a hundred yards; two seconds must necessarily elapse 
before the shot would do execution at that distance: and esti- 
mating the flight of the duck at eighty-seven feet the second, 
it follows that it would require a direction of the gun twice 
eighty-seven feet, or one hundred and seventy-four feet in 
advance, in order to overcome the rapidity of its flight; or 
take any proportion of the above time, and, according to his 
own expression, "the result is the same." This latitude, , 
we should think, would stagger the faith of the oldest Duck 
shooter, and even I. T. S. must acknowledge his theory to 
be, however philosophically correct, practically unsound 
and defective. 

In this country, where, from the abundance of game, 
and the forbearance of restraint in its pursuit, the science of 
shooting, more than in any other, has been brought to its 
greatest perfection, the principle advanced by me is acted 
upon by the most skilful and practised shots, and its cor- 
rectness has been tested upon all game; for, let the bird fly 
fast or slow — with the rapidity of a duck, or the sluggishness 
of a rail — the sportsman who is governed by it, is satisfied 
that its truth can be relied on in every instance. If your 
correspondent would but reflect for a moment on the laws 
of motion, (and it is only on these, if I understand rightly, 
the argument rests, laying aside the opposing properties of 
air and gravitation) I think he would at once abandon his 
theory of shooting; for it must be evident to the conside- 
rate mind that the same laws will apply to the projectile 
force of a gun, as to any other object. It is a law of motion 
that, if a stone be thrown perpendicularly into the air, it 
will fall upon the very spot from whence it was sent; or a 
rifle firmly fixed, so as to project a ball in the same perpen- 
dicular manner into the air, would, on the descent of the 
ball again, receive it back to its original starting-place. 
Now it is evident, from the earth's motion, that the projec- 
tile body must receive a corresponding impulse, otherwise 
this rule could not be correct. It is computed that the mo- 
tion of the earth's surface is at the rate of 950 feet in a 



second; and if a stone were projected to such an height as to 
take but one second for its ascent and descent, it must follow 
that, (unless governed by this impulse) when it reached the 
ground, it would do so at a distance of 950 feet west of the 
spot from whence it was thrown. This effect, we are con- 
vinced, cannot take place. The experience of every one 
demonstrates to the contrary; for the motion of the earth is 
communicated to the stone, in common with all other things 
upon its surface. Again, if a ball be dropped from the top 
of the mast of a vessel, under rapid sail, it will not fall into 
the sea behind the vessel, as might be suspected, but will 
arrive on the deck, at the foot of the mast. Also, a per- 
son on horseback, riding at a fleetness of a mile in two 
minutes, would, by throwing an object perpendicularly into 
the air, receive it back into his hand again. Now, as the mo- 
tion of the earth is to the stone — the vessel to the ball — the 
fleetness of the horse to the object thrown up by the rider — so 
exactlyisthe swing of the gun, to the contents projected from 
it, at an object in a direct line. To depart from this system of 
reasoning, all philosophy is confounded, and rendered use- 
less, without any other guide than chance or misapprehen- 
sion. Upon this principle, aim might be directed on a bird, 
which, if possible, would describe a complete circle around 
you, and the gun hold her fire from the commencement 
until the bird had completed its flight, and on the discharge 
would strike the object, because, acting upon this principle, 
which governs nature in her movements, the projected body 
cannot be diverted from the line of aim, having partaken of 
the motion, as before mentioned. Persons may argue about 
allowances before the object; but it certainly does not look 
like either practice or science in him who upholds the 
theory; and a man may act strictly scientifically, or accord- 
ing to the laws before mentioned in shooting, (which, in fact, 
as before stated, is the case with all of the best shots) which 
practice teaches him is correct, without being able to des- 
cribe those laws that govern him in this practice; and a 
person may, also, by much experience, be enabled to shoot 
with a degree of certainty, on the principle advocated by 
your correspondent I. T. S. ; but rules having their foun- 
dation in error, can neither be depended on in the many 
contingencies of shooting, or recommended to those who 
wish to embrace this enchanting science as a recreative 
pleasure. 

I will merely say a word or two in relation to the 
" striking of shot," and I am done. I agree with I. T. 
S. as to the fact of shot being heard to strike. This 
position I have never denied — it is only against the efli- 
cacy of shot, when thus heard, that I contend. In the 
discharge of the contents of a gun, the proportion of 
shot which take effect on an object at a distance of thirty 
yards, to those that glance off, or are diverted from the 



11! 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



direct line of aim, is as one to 30, and it may by chance 
occur, "when birds, at even a less distance than one hun- 
dred yards, are struck, and sufficiently hard to kill in- 
stantly," that the sound of the action of the shot may be 
heard; but does I. T. S. seriously believe that those shot 
which produced this sound are the elfective shot? 

Here again, I would refer I. T. S. to the "production 
of sound," as a basis of my argument against him. In a 
case like this, where ocular demonstration is unavailing, we 
can only come to proof by analogous reasoning on philo- 
sophy; and, in the first place, I would remark that sound 
is created more intensely, frequently, by a weaker, than a 
greater force: as, for instance, the stroke of a woodman 
with his axe against a tree, is heard at a greater distance 
than would the sound produced by a ball propelled by a 
cannon, striking against the same object; or a rifle ball 
thrown by the hand against a board fence, would be heard 
more distinctly, than if propelled by the gun itself; or shot 
thrown on crusted snow, will create a rattling noise, when, 
if impelled by the gun, it is too indistinct to be heard: and 
yet, who does not immediately see the infinite difference 
between the propelling powers; and why does this lesser 
power create more sound than the greater? Simply, be- 
cause, by the action of one body against the other, a vibra- 
tory motion is produced in the air by the two sonorous 
bodies, and thus the sound is wafted to the ear; but in the 
case of the cannon, rifle, or gun, discharging their contents 
against the same bodies, their vibration is destroyed by 
one entering the other. So a bell, by resisting the clapper, 
produces a very great sound; but supposing the clapper 
stuck fast to the bell at every stroke, would one-fourth of 
the sound be produced? No. Then, just so it is with the 
compact feathers of a duck resisting the shot which pro- 
duces the sound so much contended for by I. T S. But 
the effective shot, being impelled with so much force as to 
sink into the flesh (a substance not sonorous) vibration is 
destroyed, and it produces no other sound, than by con- 
densing the air between the two surfaces, which would be 
too indistinct to be heard, even at a very trifling distance. 

I shall conclude my remarks, by observing that, how- 
ever I may differ in my views of the subject from your cor- 
respondent, to receive and compare his ideas, on matters 
connected with the science of Shooting, will ever be a 
source of gratification and plea.sure to a 

SPORTSMAN. 



AN EXCURSION TO THE CHESAPEAKE. 

In the fall of the year 1829, C. and myself contemplated 
visiting the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal, to gratify cu- 



riosity in witnessing this important work, and at the same 
time indulge in our favourite amusement of shooting, which 
the neighborJiood of the Canal, Back Creek, and the Elk 
River, abundantly affords. We accordingly started, and 
arrived in good condition at Chesapeake City, about two 
o'clock of the same day, much gratified with what we had 
seen, and delighted at the prospect of abundance of game, 
and the after part of the day was spent in reconnoitering 
preparative to an early start the next morning. Having 
received an invitation from our friend Mr. K., (who is the 
owner of some property at a place nearly opposite where 
an attempt is making to raise a city, to be called Bohemia 
City, but known at present by the name of Tick Town) to 
accompany him on a Partridge-shooting excursion, we em- 
braced his offer, and, after a day's hunt, without any 
thing material occurring, we returned to our hotel, with 
but few birds. 

Concluding the next day would afibrd us better success, 
we determined to set ofl" early, without a guide, and with- 
out having any particular place of destination in view. Ac- 
cordingly, we started, after an early breakfast, but the 
morning being very cool, and having frozen considera- 
bly the night before, rendered the ground over which we 
walked exceedingly bad, most of it having been newly ^W 
turned by the plough, and towards the middle of the day W^ 
became thawed, which caused it to be slippery, and very 
fatiguing to travel over; this, however, was relieved by oc- 
casionally flushing a covey of birds. About 12 o'clock we 
arrived on the banks of Elk River, the beauty of which 
amply repaid us for our walk. Hunger and thirst now 
laid their heavy hands upon us, having started without 
providing rations for the day, a very unusual circumstance 
with us, as we are firm believers in the doctrine of supply- 
ing the stomach with at least quant, suff., which caused 
us to direct our steps towards the first place likely to fur- 
nish us with refreshments; and after following the river 
several miles, and noting an innumerable quantity of ducks 
with which the river abounds, but entirely out of the range 
of our shot, we brought up to a miserable looking house, 
just as the old woman and her children were preparing to 
sit down to a dinner, composed of such materials as would 
have amply repaid a real disciple of the Epicurean school 
for a walk of such a distance; it was composed of fine Can- 
vass-back and Bald-pate ducks, with coffee. But how great 
was our disappointment, when we found the ducks were 
cooked without a particle of salt, or seasoning of any kind, 
and on asking if they had salt in the house, the answer was 
in the negative: when we were thinking about applying a 
substitute in ashes, as we had somewhere read the Indians 
do, who make use of this as a substitute on their fish — the 
little girl recollected an old fish-barrel was in the cellar, 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



119 



from which a crystal of salt was extracted; and being 
mashed between two stones, answered a most admirable 
purpose. We now set about our meal in good earnest; but 
such a substitute for bread as was arranged before us — being 
made of Indian meal, but sour, and of the consistency of 
glaziers' tough putty — no vegetables of any kind — the cof- 
fee thick, and no sweetening — were sufficient to appal the 
keenest appetite, and put a stop to further proceedings. On 
asking for sugar, the old woman said she thought herself 
doing very well if she could get coffee; sugar, of course, 
being a secondary consideration. After making a repast on 
such materials, hungry men not being particular, we learn- 
ed from the old woman that her son followed Duck-shoot- 
ing, and was in the practice of selling his game to Mr. , 

at the tavern where we put up, to which place he had now 
gone with some geese, as well as ducks. We determined 
to make our way back to the tavern, in the hope of meet- 
ing with and engaging him to take us out duck-shooting. 
After a fatiguing walk, we arrived just at dark, and had 
the pleasure of meeting with this sportsman for profit, ac- 
companied by his cousin, who followed the same business. 
The first thing was to secure the remaining geese and 
ducks, which were left unsold, to our host, our game bags 
being in a situation to hold considerable more; and as to re- 
turn home without some proof of our being good shots, 
after going so great a distance, would only subject us to 
the jeers of our friends; we, therefore, speedily arranged 
this part of our sport, and then agreed with them to take 
us out the next morning, paying a full price for their trou- 
ble. The plan of our operations was, that one of them 
should station himself on W'elsh's Point, at da3'light, the 
chance at that time being the most favourable, while the 
other should come for us in the boat. Accordingly, the 
next morning, we were up before the day dawned, and 
after breakfasting, our man arrived. The weather was cool 
and cloudy, which made it exceeding unpleasant to be 
rowed a distance of six miles in a small boat, without the 
ability of hardly stretching yourself in this miserable mode 
of conveyance. On our arrival at the Point, we found our 
man; but on inquiry ascertained, to our astonishment, that 
he had not thus far shot a duck, and had suSered the most 
important part of the day for shooting to pass by. While 

we were thus talking, says, " There is a duck you 

can shoot;" he immediately fired, and the duck fell into 
the water: this seemed a kind of evidence that the fellow 
was not telling us the truth, and we began to suspect he 
had been shooting and secreting them. One part of our 
bargain with these fellows was, to pay them what they asked 
for their services, to furnish them with ammunition, and 
the game they shot was to be ours. We now commenced 
loading our guns, and whilst preparing for action, 's 



attention was arrested by the elegant manner in which this 
man's dog (a large half-bred Newfoundland) was seen, with- 
out any direction from his master, to go into the water, and 
bring the duck, and could not refrain from going up to him 
and caressing him, when he immediately attacked him, and 
bit him in the hand, and lacerated it considerably, the pain 
from which alone would, on any ordinary occasion, have 
had the effect to destroy his sport for that time. 

An innumerable quantity of ducks were now to be seen 
swimming in the river and flying in all directions: in fact, 
to those who have never been there, and witnessed the 
numbers which are oftentimes to be seen, it would be in- 
credible. Our men proposed that we should remain on the 
Point, whilst they would go out in the boat, and endeavour 
to alarm the ducks, so that they should fly across the Point 
where we were secreted ; and, as the dog would not stay 
with us, they would take him along also, and return in time 
to pick up any ducks we should shoot that might fall in the 
water. They had not departed but a short time before it 
commenced raining, intermixed with snow; but this did 
not lessen our zeal, as we soon had several fine canvass- 
backs down in the water; but they floated from us, and, as 
our men did not come in as they promised, we lost sight of 
them entirely, and so in a short time were lost many other 
ducks also. Towards the close of the day, a boat was seen 
approaching us, which turned out to be our men, and to 
compensate us, we expected they had been very successful, 
which alone could have induced them to play us such an 
unfair game, and leave us so situated as to be prevented 
from getting those which we shot, or from leaving the 
place we were on, without considerable difficulty. But 
judge of our surprise, when these caiti^'s very gravely in- 
formed us they had not shot a single duck! Our suspicions 
were now confirmed, that they were not content with get- 
ting what they asked for their services, but the ready sale, 
and high price of these ducks, had operated upon them to 
conceal the game until we had departed. Impressed that 
no advantage would result from quarrelling with them, we 
concluded to make the best of it, and proposed to embark 
immediately, as we were wet, and almost perishing with 
cold; and after enjoying i\^& pleasures resulting from being 
rowed back a distance of five or six miles, in our wet 
clothes, the rain and sleet pelting us all the way, we ar- 
rived at the tavern pretty well changed in our feelings with 
regard to the anticipated pleasures of Chesapeake Duck- 
shooting, and determined to start for home in the morning, 
after buying all the game the tavern-keeper had, together 
with that which we purchased before, and the little 
we had got secundurn arteni, being put into a large 
box, and taking special care that it should be stripped in 
such manner that the game should be fully exposed, we 



120 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



left this place, where we were well satisfied we had been 
charged at a good price for other matters besides ducks. 
But all these vexatious circumstances, Mr. Editors, were 
counterbalanced by the gratification we experienced where- 
over our box was seen, by some such remarks as these: 
"Why, gentlemen, you have had grand luck!" — "Are 
these your birds? Wild geese too!" — and some ganders 
would ask us if these were not 

SWAN. 



VERNAL NATURE. 

" The lime of the singing of birds is come." 

There's a voice from the woods! — The winter had set 
His seal of ice where the flow'rets met, 
And long had he held his chilly reign, 
With storm and sleet, o'er the frozen plain. 
And his purest garlands of snow were hung 
On the ancient oak and the sapling young, 
And the sigh of the bleak and northern breeze, 
Was all that was heard from the leafless trees. 

The streams that had murmur'd thro' summer's sway, 

Then silently crept on their gloomy way, 

For their voices were chok'd by the tyrannous force 

Which Winter had set on their rippling course ; 

The shrill cicada that woke the night, 

Had shrunk away from the season's blight. 

For the hoary monarch had utter'd lis will, 

And the sounds from the forest were hush'd and still. 

But now there's a voice from the woods again! — 

It is not the language nor voice of men; 

It comes with a murmur soft and low, 

A sound that Nature is glad to know, 

Because it tells that the winter is past. 

That there's nought to fear from his raving blast, 

That the sceptre has dropp'd from his palsied hand, 

And Spring has come back to refresh the land. 

There's a voice from the woods! — 'Tis the rushing 

streams, 
That melt in the sun's reviving beams; 
From their mountain holds in their joy they foam, 
And leap, like the kids that around them roam; 
Away, from rock to rock, they go. 
Tossing their waters to and fro, 



As if they were things of life, to be 
Awake to the feelings of liberty. 

There's a voice from the woods! — 'Tis the voice of flower 

That breathe perfume from their forest bowers. 

As, peeping forth from their close retreat. 

They open their leaves the spring to greet. 

And when the earth is array'd in green. 

With their light blue petals are modestly seen; 

Or drest in their beautiful robes of red, 

Along its surface their odours shed. 

There's a voice from the woods! — 'Tis the warbler's son| 

That comes in melody, sweet and strong, 

From the depth of the gi'ove, on the balmy air, 

The first assurance that Spring is there; 

The wild deer arches his neck to hear, 

And drinks in the sound with a joyous ear. 

For it tells him that Nature again is awake. 

And he hurries to seek her, by mountain and lake. 

there's joy in the wood where the blue-bird has sung. 
For it tells, tho' the shoots and the flowers are young, 
That the forest again will be cover'd with leaves — 
That the field will again have its burthen of sheaves — 
That the bounties and blessings that come in its train. 
Will return with the season of dew-drops and rain; 
well may the poet thy eulogy sing, 
And hail thy wild melody, herald of Spring! 

C. W. T. 



MYSTERIOUS SOUNDS. 

The wide spread sail of a ship, rendered concave by a 
gentle breeze, is a good collector of sound. " It hap- 
pened," says Dr. Arnott, "once, on board a ship sailing 
along the coast of Brazil, far out of sight of land, that the 
persons walking on deck, when passing a particular spot, 
always heard very distinctly the sound of bells, varying as 
in human rejoicings. All on board came to listen, and were 
convinced; but the phenomenon was most mj'sterious. 
INIonths afterwards, it was ascertained that, at the time of 
observation, the bells of the city of St. Salvador, on the 
Brazilian coast, had been ringing on the occasion of a festi- 
val; their sound, therefore, favoured by a gentle wind, had 
travelled, perhaps, one hundred miles by smooth water, 
and had been brought to a focus by the sail on the particu- 
lar situation, or deep, where it was listened to. It appears, 
from this, that a machine might be constructed, having the 
same relation to sound that a telescope has to sight." 

Edin. Phil. Jour. 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



GRISLY BEAR. 
UHSUS HORRIBILIS.. 

[Plate XL] 

Grisly Bear. Mackenzie, voyages Si-c. 160. — Gj-isly, 
brown, white and variegated Bear. Lewis & Clark. 
— Grizzly Bear. Warden's United States. Godman 
Nat. Hist. i. p. 131. — Ursus Horribilis. Ord. Say. 
Expedit. to the Rocky Mountains, ii. p. 52. — Ursus 
Cinereus. Desm. Mammal. — Ursus Ferox. Lewis & 
Clark. Richardson. Faun. An. bor. 24. — Ursus 
Candescens. Hamilton Smith. Griffith's and King. 
ii. p. 229. & 5. No. 320.— Pe ale's Museum. 

The Grisly Bear belongs to a division of the carnivora, 
which, although far less sanguinary than the other groups 
of his formidable order, and endowed with a faculty of 
wholly subsisting on vegetable food, nevertheless contains 
some of the largest and most powerful of the destructive 
mammalia. This division, which comprehends several 
very closely allied genera, is termed Plantigrade, the indi- 
viduals comprising it treading on the whole sole of the foot, 
thus enabling them to raise and maintain themselves on 
their hinder legs with great facility. They have five toes 
on each foot, and are generally sluggish in their gait. 

The genus LTrsus, or the Bears, is characterised by their 
complete plantigrade walk, from their claws, which are five 
in number, incurved, large, and powerful, from the short- 
ness of their tail, and from the peculiarities of their dental 
system. They are extremely powerful, but clumsj^, slug- 
gish, and uncouth, generally feed on vegetable substances 
being in fact but semi-carnivorous. They will, how- 
ever, sometimes destroy the smaller animals, and, in case 
of necessity, will subsist on fish. They are also very fond 
of honey, and notwithstanding the clumsiness of their con- 
formation, exhibit no slight degree of agility in mounting 
trees in search of it. They never attack man except in 
self-defence, or under the influence of severe hunger ; and it 
is reported, that in the latter state they will associate toge- 
ther in search of animal food. Both sexes retire in the win- 
ter, and the period of parturition with the female is in the 
spring, after a gestation of seven months, when she produces 
from one to five at a birth. 

Great confusion has existed in the determination and clas- 
sification of the difi-erent species ; all the discussions that have 
been entered mto, in the hopes of elucidating this question, 
have ended in an acknowledgment of the difficulty of the 
undertaking. This is particularly the case with the Bears 
with brown fur, approaching more or less to black on the 
H h 



one side, and on the other to the lighter tints. Thus Cu- 
vier, in his last edition, says, that he is by no means convin- 
ced that any specific difference exists between the subject 
of our present illustration, and the Brown Bear of Europe. 

The only mode in which questions of this nature can be 
satisfactorily settled, is accurately to describe and represent 
such specimens as occur in diflerent countries, so that in 
time an approximation and comparison of them, in all the 
details of their organization, can be properly made. 

The Grisly Bear is indubitably the most formidable and 
powerful of all the quadrupeds which inhabit the northern 
regions of the American continent ; and it is not to be won- 
dered at, that a victory over an animal of such strength and 
ferocity, should be considered of such importance among the 
native tribes inhabiting the inhospitable regions where it is 
now found. 

Mr. Say, who was the first naturalist that describes this 
species, gives the following account of it: ''Hair long, short 
on the front, very short between and anterior to the e.ves, 
blacker and coarser on the legs and feet, longer on "the 
shoulders, throat, behind the thighs, and beneath the belly, 
paler on the snout; ears short, rounded ;//-o;i^ arcuated, the 
line of the profile continued upon the snout, without any in- 
dentation between the eyes ; eyes very small, destitute of 
any remarkable supplemental lid ; iris of a burnt sienna or 
light reddish brown colour, mufile of the nostrils black, the 
sinus very distinct and profound ; %?, particularly the 
superior, anteriorly extensive, with a few rigid hairs or 
bristles, tail very short, concealed by the hair. The hair 
gradually diminishes in length upon the leg, but the upper 
part oi the foot is more amply furnished. Teeth, incisors 
six, the lateral one with a tubercle on the exterior side, 
canines large, robust, prominent, a single false molar be- 
hind the canine, remaining molars four, of which the 
anterior one is very small, that of the upper particularly, 
that of the lower jaw resembling the second false molar of 
the dog. 

",/lnteriorfeet, claws elongated, slender fingers with five 
sub-oval naked tubercles, separated from the palm, from 
each other, and from the base of the claws by dense hair, 
palm on its anterior half naked, transversely oval, base of 
the palm with a rounded naked tubercle, surrounded by 
hair. Posterior feet with the sole naked, the nails mode- 
rate, more arcuated and shorter than those of the anterior. 
The nails do not diminish in the least in width at tip, but 
they become smaller towards that part, by diminishing from 
beneath. The Grisly Bears vary exceedingly in colour, 
and pass through the intermediate gradations, from a dark 
brown to a pale fulvous or greyish."* 

* ExpeJilinn to llie Rocky Moumaiiis. \o\. II, p. bt. 



122 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



The accounts of the dimensions of these animals difier ; 
they are reported to attain a weight exceeding 800 pounds, 
and Lewis and Clark mention one that measured nine feet 
in length, and add, that they had seen a still larger one, but 
do not give its dimensions. Governor Clinton received in- 
telligence of one said to be fourteen feet long, but even ad- 
mitting that there was no exaggeration in this statement, it 
is probable that the admeasurements were taken from a skin 
which had been stretched. The dimensions given by Mr. 
Say, which were taken from the two prepared specimens in 
the Philadelphia Museum, by no means give an idea of the 
size to which this animal attains, as these individuals died 
before they had reached their full growth ; these measure- 
ments are however valuable as presenting a correct view 
of the proportions of different parts of the body. 

From the account of Mr. Say, it appears that the Grisly 
Bear differs from the other species of the genus, by the 
elongation of its anterior claws, and the rectilinear or slight- 
ly arcuated form of its facial profile. Its nearest approach 
is to the Norwegian variety of the Alpine Bear, ( U. Jirc- 
tos,) from which however it differs in the particulars just 
stated, and by its shorter and more conical ears. The 
soles of its feet are longer and its heel broader than those 
of the Brown Bear of Europe. The shortness of its tail 
is also another remarkable characteristic. Dr. Richardson 
says it is a standing joke among the Indian-hunters, when 
they have killed a Grisly Bear, to desire any one unac- 
quainted with the animal, to take hold of its tail. 

The size of the feet and claws of this Bear, is a very 
striking peculiarity of the species ; of this some idea may be 
formed from the measurements given by Lewis and Clark. 
These gentlemen inform us, that the breadth of the fore foot, 
in one of the individuals observed by them, exceeded nine 
inches, whilst the length of the hind foot, exclusive of the 
claws, was eleven inches and three quarters, and its breadth 
seven inches. The claws of the fore feet of another speci- 
men measured more than six inches. The latter, as we 
have said, are considerably longer, and less curved than those 
of the hind feet, and do not narrow in a lateral direction as 
they approach their extremit}', but diminish only from be- 
neath, the point is consequently formed by the shelving of 
the inferior surface alone, their breadth remaining the same 
throughout the whole of their enormous length, and their 
power being proportionally increased ; an admirable pro- 
vision for enabling the animal to exercise to the fullust ex- 
tent his propensity for digging up the ground, either in 
search of food, or for other purposes. It appears, however, 
on the other hand, to unfit him for climbing trees, which he 
never attempts. — These claws are worn by the Indians as 
necklaces, and the fortunate individual who procures them 
by tlae destruction of the animal is highly honoured. 



Of the strength of this Bear, some estimation may be 
formed, from its having been known to drag the carcass of 
a Buffiilo, weighing at least a thousand pounds, to a con- 
siderable distance. Dr. Richardson gives the following 
story which he says is well authenticated. "A party of 
voyagers, who had been employed all day in tracking a 
canoe up the Saskatchewan, had seated themselves in the 
the twilight by a fire, and were busy in preparing their 
supper, when a large Grisly Bear sprung over their canoe 
that was tilted behind them, and seizing one of the party by 
the shoulder carried him off. The rest all fled in terror 
with the exception of a Metif, named Bourasso, who grasp- 
ing his gun followed the Bear as it was retreating leisurely 
with its prey. He called to his unfortunate comrade that 
he was afraid of hitting him, if he fired at the Bear, but the 
latter entreated him to fire immediately, without hesitation, 
as the Bear, was squeezing him to death, on this he took a 
deliberate aim, and discharged his piece into the body of 
the Bear, which instantly dropped its prey to pursue Bou- 
rasso. He escaped with diiBculty, and the Bear ultimately 
retreated to a thicket, where it was supposed to have died, 
but the curiosity of the party not being a match for their 
fears, the fact of its decease was not ascertained. The man 
who was rescued had his arm fractured, and was otherwise 
severely bitten by the Bear, but finally recovered."* 

The blow they can inflict with their fore paws is very se- 
vere, and from the size of the claws is often productive of 
serious consequences. The writer we have just quoted also 
mentions, that he was informed that there was a man living 
in the neighborhood of one of the British trading posts, 
who was attacked by a Grisly Bear, which sprung out of a 
thicket, and with one stroke of its paw, completely scalped 
him, laying bare the scull, and bringing the skin of the 
forehead down over the eyes. Assistance coming up, the 
Bear made off without doing him further injury, but the 
scalp not being replaced, the poor man lost his sight; al- 
though he thinks that his eyes are uninjured. Another in- 
stance of the same kind is given in Long's Expedition, of a 
hunter having received a blow from the fore paw of one of 
these animals, which destroyed his eye and crushed his 
cheek bone. 

The Grisly Bear is carnivorous, and, where excited by 
hunger, will indiscriminately slaughter every creature that 
cannot elude his pursuit, but he also will occasionally feed 
on vegetables, and is observed to be particularly fond of the 
roots of some species of Psoralea and Hedysarum. They 
also eat the fruits of various shrubs, as the bird cherry, the 
choke cherry, and the Hippophae canadensis, which latter 
produces a powerful cathartic effect on them. 

The young and gravid females hibernate, but the old 

*Ricliardson. Faun. Am. Bor. 27. 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



123 



males are found abroad at all seasons in quest of food. 
Mackenzie speaks of a den of these animals which was ten 
feet wide, five feet high, and six feet long. As this Bear 
roams over the snow, its foot marks are frequently seen in 
the spring, and when there is a crust upon the snow, the 
weight of the animal often causes it to crack and sink for a 
considerable distance round the spot trod upon. These im- 
pressions, somewhat obscured by a partial thaw, have been 
considered as the vestiges of an enormously large and un- 
known quadruped, and perhaps have given rise to the re- 
ports of there being live Mammoths on the Rocky moun- 
tains. 

The Grisly Bear is now found in the range of the Rocky 
Mountains, and the plains lying to the eastward of them, as 
far as latitude 61°, and perhaps even farther north. Accord- 
ing to Pike, it occurs as far south as Mexico. Lewis and 
Clark could not ascertain whether it inhabited the country 
between the western declivity of the Rocky Mountains and 
the sea coast. Dr. Richardson, on the authority of Mr. 
Drummond, says, they are most numerous in the woody 
district skirting the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains, 
especially where there are open prairies and grassy hills. 
From the traditions existing among the Delaware Indians 
respecting the big naked Bear, the last of which they be- 
lieve dwelt to the east of the Hudson river, there is some 
ground for a belief that this animal once inhabited the At- 
lantic States. 

The Grisly Bear appears to be very tenacious of life. 
Mr. Say infoi'ms us, one lived two hours, after having 
been shot through the lungs, and whilst in this state, pre- 
pared a bed for himself in the earth, two feet deep, and five 
feet long, having previously run a mile and a half. It is, 
in fact, very difficult to kill one of these animals by a single 
shot, except the ball penetrates the brain or the heart, and 
this seldom is effected from the form of the skull in the first 
case, and the thick coat of hair in the latter. To give a 
better idea of the danger attendant on the chase of these 
bears, we select the following instance from Lewis and 
Clark: 

One evening the men in the hindmost of one of Lewis 
and Clark's canoes perceived one of those Bears lying in 
the open ground about three hundred paces from Ihe river, 
and six of them, who were all good hunters, went to attack 
him. Concealing themselves by a small eminence, they 
were able to approach within forty paces unperceived; four 
of the hunters now fired, and each lodged a ball in his body, 
two of which passed directly through the lungs. The Bear 
sprang up and ran furiously with open mouth upon them ; 
two of the hunters, who had reserved their fire, gave him 
two additional wounds, and one breaking his shoulder- 
blade, somewhat retarded his motions. Before they could 



again load their guns, he came so close on them, that they 
were obliged to run towards the river, and before they had 
gained it, the Bear had almost overtaken them. Two men 
jumped into the canoe; the other four separated, and con- 
cealing themselves among the willows, fired as fast as they 
could load their pieces. Several times the Bear was struck, 
but each shot seemed only to direct his fury towards the 
hunter; at last he pursued them so closely that they threw 
aside their guns and pouches, and jumped down a perpendi- 
cular bank, twenty feet high, into the river. The Bear 
sprang after them, and was very near the hindmost man, 
when one of the hunters on shore, shot him through the 
head, and finally killed him. On examination, it was found 
that eight balls had passed through his body in different di- 
rections. 

Another instance is recorded by these travellers of the 
same character. An individual received five balls through 
his lungs, and five other wounds; notwithstanding which he 
swam more than half across a river to a sand bar, and sur- 
vived upwards of twenty minutes. 

From these and analogous facts, it is not to be wondered 
at that even white hunters should be willing to avoid an en- 
counter with so formidable an adversary, and that the In- 
dians, mostly unprovided with fire-arms, should never attack 
him, except in parties of six or eight, for having no wea- 
pons but bows and arrows, or the bad guns with which the 
traders supply them, they are obliged to approach very near 
the Bear, and as no wounds, except as we have stated, 
through the head or heart, are fatal, they frequently fall a 
sacrifice if they miss their aim. 

<' It appears, however, that the Bear will not attack man 
unless enraged or pressed by hunger. Mr. Drummond, the 
botanist, in his excursions over the Rocky mountains, had 
frequent opportunities ofobserving the manners of the Grisly 
Bears; and it often happened, that in turning the point of a 
rock or sharp angle of a valle)^, he came suddenly on one 
or more of them. On such occasions they reared on their 
hind legs, and made a loud noise like a person breathing 
quick, but much harsher. He kept his ground, without at- 
tempting to molest them, and they on their part, after atten- 
tively regarding him for some time, gradually wheeled 
round and gallopped off, though there is little doubt but that 
he would have been torn to pieces had he lost his presence 
of mind and attempted to fly. When he discovered them 
from a distance, he usually frightened them by beating on 
a large tin box, in which he carried his specimens of plants. 
He never saw more than four together, and two of these 
he supposes to have been cubs. He was only once attacked 
and then by a female, for the purpose of allowing her 
cubs time to escape. His gun on this occasion missed fire, 
but he kept her at bay with the stock of it, until some gen- 



124 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



tleman of the Hudson's Bay Company, with whom he was 
travelling, came up, and drove her off. In the latter end 
of June, 1826, he observed a male caressing a female, and 
soon afterwards, they both came towards him, but whether 
accidentally, or for the purpose of attacking him, he was 
uncertain. He ascended a tree, and as the female drew near, 
fired at and mortally wounded her. She uttered a few loud 
screams, which threw the male into a violent rage, and he 
reared up against the trunk of the tree in which Mr. Drum- 
mond was seated, but never attempted to ascend it."* This 
mode of escaping by ascending trees is frequently practised 
by hunters when pursued. Two instances are related by 
Lewis and Clark, and many others are to be found in the 
various authors who treat of this animal, where a hunter 
has been held a close prisoner for many hours, by the 
infuriated animal keeping watch at the foot of the tree. 

Notwithstanding the ferocity of the Grisly Bear, it would 
seem, that he is capable of a certain degree of domestication, 
especially when young. Governor Clinton says "that 
Dixon, an Indian trader, told a friend of his, that this ani- 
mal had been seen fourteen feet long; that notwithstandingits 
ferocity it had been occasionally domesticated, and that an 
Indian, belonging to a tribe on the head waters of the Mis- 
sissippi, had one in a reclaimed state, which he sportively 
directed to go into a canoe belonging to another tribe of In- 
dians, then returning from a visit ; the Bear obeyed, and 
was struck by an Indian ; being considered as one of the 
famil)', this was deemed an insult, resented accordingly, 
and produced a war between these nations. t 

It is also stated in Long's Expedition that a half-grown in- 
dividual was kept chained in the yard of the Missouri Fur 
Company, near Engineer Cantonment, and chiefly fed on 
vegetable substances; as it was observed, that he became 
furious when too plentifully supplied with an animal diet. 
He was in continual motion during the greater part of the 
day, pacing backwards and forwards to the extent of his 
chain. His attendants ventured to play with him, though 
in a reserved manner, fearful of trusting him too far, or of 
placing themselves absolutely within his grasp ; he several 
times broke loose from his chain, on which occasions he 
would manifest the utmost joy, running about the yard in 
every direction, rearing upon his hind feet, and capering 
about. "I was present on one of these occasions," ob- 
serves Mr. Say, " the squaws and children belonging to the 
establishment, ran precipitately to their huts and closed the 
doors; he appeared much delighted with his temporary 
freedom, and ran to the dogs which were straying about 
the yard, but they avoided him. In his round he came to 
me, and rearing up, placed his paws upon my breast ; wish- 



ing to rid myself of so rough a playfellow, I turned him 
around, upon which he ran down the bank of the river, 
plunged into the water, and swam about for some time."* 

]\Iost of our Philadelphia readers must remember the 
two young bears of this species which formerly were kept in 
the Menagerie of Peale's Museum. These individuals were 
procured by Pike, when on his expedition, about 1600 
miles from the nearest American post, and kept with the in- 
tention of presenting them to Mr. Jefferson, then president 
of the United States. When Pike first obtained them, they 
were carried for three or four days in the laps of his men on 
horseback, and afterwards in cage on a mule, but were al- 
ways let out, wherever the party halted. By this treat- 
ment, they became extremely docile when at liberty, fol- 
lowing the men like dogs. When well supplied with food 
they would play like young puppies with each other and 
the soldiers ; but the instant they were shut up in their cage 
they became cross and surly, and would worry each other 
until they were so exliausted that they were incapable of 
further exertion. 

When ]Mr. Peale received them, they were about a year 
old, and tolerably docile, but soon gave indications of the 
natural ferocity of their species. "As thej' increased in 
size they became exceedingly dangerous, seizing and tear- 
ing to pieces every animal they could lay hold of, and ex- 
pressing extreme eagerness to get at those accidentally 
brought within sight of their cage, by grasping the iron bars 
with their paws and shaking them violently, to the great 
terror of spectators, who felt insecure while witnessing such 
displays of their strength. In one instance an unfortunate 
monkey was walking over the top of their cage, when the 
end of the chain which hung from his waist dropped through 
within reach of the Bears ; they immediately seized it, 
dragged the screaming animal through the narrow aper- 
ture, tore him limb from limb, and devoured his mangled 
carcass almost instantaneously. At another time a small 
monkey thrust his arm through an opening in the cage to 
reach some object ; one of them immediately seized him, 
and with a sudden jerk, tore the whole arm and shoulder- 
blade from the body, and devoured it before any one could 
interfere. They were still cubs, and very little more than 
half grown, when their ferocity became so alarming as to 
excite continual apprehension lest they should escape, and 
they were killed in order to prevent such an event, "t 
Their skins were ably prepared, and now form part of the 
interesting collection in the Philadelphia Museum. 

There is also a full grown specimen in the Tower of Lon- 
don, which was presented to George the III. about seven- 
teen years since, by the Hudson's Bay Company. This 

* l.onj^'s ExpeHiiion lo Ihe Rockv fllountains, vol. 2 p. 55. 
t Godman's .Nai. llisl. Vol. 1. p. 133, 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



size is far superior to any Bear that has ever been seen in 
Europe, and his ferocity in spite of the length of time dur- 
ing which he has been a prisoner, and the attempts that 
have been made to conciliate him, still continues undimi- 
nished. He does not offer the slightest encouragement to 
familiarity on the part of his keepers, but treats them with 
as much distance as the most perfect strangers ; and although 
he will sometimes appear playful and good tempered, yet 
they know him too well to trust themselves within his 
grasp.* 

The Grisly Bear has long been known to the Indian 
traders as differing from the Black Bear in the inferiority of 
its fur, its greater strength and carnivorous habits. Every 
traveller through the region it frequents has also men- 
tioned it, thus the early French writers call it Ours-blanc. 
But Lewis and Clark were the first who described in so ac- 
curate a manner as to enable naturalists to ascertain that it 
was a distinct species ; this was pointed out by Dewitt Clin- 
ton from the description of these gentlemen in 1815. Mr. 
Ord, also, from the same materials, described it under the 
name of horribilis in the introduction to INIorse's geography 

in , this name having been adopted by Mr. Say, who 

was, as we have stated, the first naturalist that accurately 
described it from the actual inspection, we have followed 
him in assuming Mr. Ord's designation of it. Since this it 
has received the various specific names given in the list of 
synonomy at the commencement of this article. The Eng- 
lish name of Grisly has also been adopted as having been 
bestowed on it by Mackenzie as early as 1801, and as less 
liable to objection than that of grizzly which is founded on 
a colour that is common to other species. Those of our 
readers who wish for further information respecting this 
animal, will find ample details in Lewis and Clark's Tra- 
vels, Long's Expedition, Godman's Natural History, and 
Richardson's Fauna Americana Boreali, of which, as well as 
of a short sketch in that admirable work, the Tower Mena- 
gerie, we have freely availed ourselves in the foregoing 
account. 



THE GRIFFON VULTURE. 

Vultur Fulvus. Briss. 

There are few prejudices more deeply rooted in our 
nature, than that which delights in investing the animal 
creation with the feelings and the passions of mankind. 
We speak of the generosity of the Lion and the meekness 
of the Lamb, the magnanimity of the Eagle and the simpli- 



Toiver Menage: 



city of the Dove, as if the peculiar instincts manifested by 
each of these animals were the result of an impulse similar 
to that which actuates the human mind. But the truth is, 
that the qualities thus designated, in so far as they actually 
exist, are nothing more than the natural and necessary con- 
sequences of the animals' organization, specially fitted in 
each particular case for the performance of a special office, 
and concurring in the mass to the maintenance of that due 
equilibrium in the s_ystem of the universe on which its con- 
tinued existence mainly depends. 

The Vultures and the Eagles furnish a striking instance 
of the extent to which this prejudice has been carried. The 
latter, eminently qualified by their organization for seizing 
and carrying off a living prey, serve a useful purpose of 
nature by setting bounds to the multiplication of the smaller 
species both of quadrupeds and birds, which might other- 
wise become too numerous for the earth to support: while 
the former, disqualified by certain modifications in their 
structure for the performance of a similar task, are no less 
usefully employed in removing the putrefying carrion 
which but for them would infect the atmosphere with its 
unwholesome exhalations. Thus both are of equal impor- 
tance in the economy of nature; and both are stimulated to 
the performance of the particular service for which they 
were created, by the impulse of that instinct which is the 
immediate result of their organic structure. Instead, how- 
ever, of regarding them as alike the ministers of nature in 
the maintenance of her laws, man has chosen to fix upon the 
one a character for bravery and generosity, and to brand 
the other with the epithets of base, cowardl}^, and obscene. 
The Vultures, which are perhaps the most useful and cer- 
tainly the most inoffensive, have thus been consigned to 
perpetual infamy; while the Eagles, in the true cant of that 
military romance which has ever borne so great a sway 
over the passions of mankind, have been exalted, in com- 
mon with the warrior that desolates the world, into objects 
of admiration, and selected as the types and emblems of 
martial glory. 

From these fanciful associations we turn to the realities of 
nature, and proceed to indicate the characters by which the 
family of Vultures are distinguished from all other Birds of 
PreJ^ They consist in the entire or partial denudation of 
the head and neck, the latter of which is much elongated; 
the lateral position of the nostrils in a generally broad and 
powerful bill, curved only at its point, and clothed at its 
base by an extended cere; the nakedness of the tarsi, which 
are covered only with small reticulated scales; and the strong 
thick talons, somewhat blunted at the points, but little 
curved, and scarcely, if at all, retractile. Of these charac- 
ters the most obvious is the absence of feathers to a greater 
or less extent on the head and neck, a mark of distinction 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



which, like all the rest, is closely connected with the habits 
of the birds. Thus it has been pointed out that in other 
groups a falHng off or thinning of the feathers is the fre- 
quent result of feeding upon flesh especially when in a state 
of decay. The bareness of these parts in the Vultures ena- 
bles them morever to burrow in the putrid carcasses on which 
they prey without risk of soiling their plumage. 

Their largely extended nostrils and the great internal 
developement of these organs would seem to be of manifest 
use in guiding the Vultures to their prey, which they are 
generally believed to scent from an immense distance. It 
has, however, been lately maintained by a most acute obser- 
ver of the habits of birds, Mr. Audubon, that thi.s belief, 
which has been entertained from the earliest antiquity, is 
founded in error, and that the Vultures are directed to their 
prey by sight alone, the lofty pitch at which they fly and 
the surpassing excellence of their vision enabling them to 
detect it at an almost inconceivable distance. Several of 
the experiments brought forward by that gentleman in sup- 
port of his hypothesis, appear at first sight almost decisive 
of the question; but we cannot consent to abandon the re- 
ceived opinion, corroborated as it is to the fullest extent by 
the anatomical structure of the organs of smell, until repeated 
experiments shall have placed the fact beyond the possi- 
bility of doubt. 

It is almost unnecessary to point out the great utility of 
the strong deep curved bill of most of the Vultures in tear- 
ing to pieces the carcasses on which they feed, and consign- 
ing them in large masses to their maws. The nakedness of 
their legs may be regarded as dependent on the same causes 
and serving the same purposes as that of their heads and 
necks. But the character which has the strongest influence 
on their economy must be sought for in the structure of their 
claws. While the Falcons are enabled by means of their 
strongly curved, sharp-pointed, and highly retractile talons, 
to seize their victims with an irresistible grasp and to con- 
vey them through the air, the Vultures are restricted by the 
obtuseness of those organs, their want of the necessary cur- 
vature, and the almost total absence of retractility, to the 
use of their beaks alone in the seizure of their prey, which 
they are quite incapable of transporting with them in their 
flight, and are consequently compelled to devour upon the 
spot. It is to this simple modification in structure that they 
are chiefly indebted for that propensity for preying upon 
carrion, which has obtained for them all the opprobrious 
epithets that stigmatize them throughout the world. 

The Vulture family, which formed but a single genus in 
the Linnffian classification, has since been divided into seve- 
ral groups, some of which appear to us to be still capable, 
and deserving also, of further subdivision. We have already 
spoken of the South American group, of which the Condor 



furnishes the most conspicuous example; and we have now 
to turn our attention to another section, almost equally typi- 
cal in the family, the representatives of which are scattered 
over the three divisions of the Old Continent. It is in this 
section more particularly that we conceive a further separa- 
tion of species both practicable and desirable. M. Savigny 
has already effected it to a certain extent by the establish- 
ment of two well marked genera for the reception of the two 
European species; and Mr. Vigors has pointed out the pro- 
priety of separating the Angola Vulture of Pennant from the 
rest of the group. To these three strongly marked forms 
we would add the bird which furnishes the subject of the 
next following article as the type of a fourth, with which 
we doubt not that the Pondicherry Vulture of Latham would 
form a natural association. Of the remaining species we 
will not venture to speak, not having yet enjoyed the oppor- 
tunity of examining them in nature. 

The essential characters of the entire section consist, in 
addition to all the characteristic marks of the family, in the 
almost total want of feathers on the head and neck; in the 
position of the eyes on a level with the general surface of 
the head; in the prominence of the crop, which is covered 
by a naked and highly extensible portion of skin; in the 
transverse position of the nostrils at the base of a strong beak 
not surmounted by a fleshy caruncle; in the exposure of 
their auditory openings, which have no elevated margin; in 
the great strength of their legs; the comparative weakness 
of their blunt and unretractile claws; and the shortness of 
their first quill-feathcr, which is of equal length with the 
sixth, the third and fourth being the longest of the series. 
To these may be added the usually great elongation of their 
necks; the fleshy consistence of their tongues; the prolonga- 
tion of the middle toe, which is united to the outer by a 
membranous expansion at the base, but quite distinct from 
the inner, the latter being the shortest of the three and about 
equal in length to the posterior or thumb; and the length of 
the wings, which extend when closed beyond the extremity 
of the tail. The wings are, however, rarely brought close 
to the body, even when the bird is completely at rest; and 
this circumstance, together with the somewhat crouching 
posture in which the Vultures are compelled, by their defi- 
ciency in the power of grasping, to sustain themselves, has 
been frequently adverted to as affording a striking contrast 
with the bold, upright, and collected bearing of the Eagles. 

In subdividing the European Vultures, M. Savigny has 
characterized that which forms the subject of the present 
article by its naked transversely elongated and lunulate nos- 
trils; its tongue fringed with sharp points; and its tail com- 
posed of fourteen feathers. Its head and neck are covered 
with a short, thick, white down, which is wanting only at 
the lower part in front corresponding with the situation of 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



12r 



the crop, where the naked skin has a bluish tinge. A broad 
ruflf of pure white feathers surrounds the lower part of the 
neck; and the rest of the plumage, in the adult bird, is of a 
grayish brown, with the exception of the quill-feathers of 
the wings and tail, which are of a dusky black. The under 
parts are somewhat lighter than the upper; the bill is of a 
livid colour with a tinge of blue; the iris of a bright orange; 
and the legs and feet grayish brown, the feathers of the in- 
side of their upper part being pure white. In the female 
the colours appear to coincide exactly with those of the 
male; but the young birds are at first of a bright fawn, which 
is variegated, after the iirst and second changes of plumage, 
with patches of gray, and changes to the perfectly adult hue 
only after the close of the third year. 

This noble species of Vulture, which is one of the largest 
birds of prey of the Old Continent, measuring from three 
feet and a half to four feet in length, and more than twice as 
much in the expanse of its wings, is found on the lofty 
mountain chains of Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is not un- 
common during the summer in the Alps and Pyrenees, but 
is said to retreat in winter to the north of Africa, extending 
itself, according to Le Vaillant, to the Cape of Good Hope. 
M. Risso, however, informs us that it is stationary on the 
Alps in the vicinity of Nice. The Rock of Gibraltar, the 
Mountains of Silesia and the Tyrol, Greece and Turkey, 
are also spoken of as its European habitats: Egypt is indi- 
cated by Savigny; the Mountains of Ghilan in the north of 
Persia by Hablizl; and other localities still farther east are 
given by other writers. 

The nest of the Griffon Vulture is formed in the clefts of 
rocks. It lays from two to four eggs, which are of a grayish 
white, with numerous spots of a very light and diluted red. 
Like all the other birds of its tribe it feeds principally upon 
dead carcasses, to which it is frequently attracted in very 
considerable numbers. When it has once made a lodgment 
upon its prey, it rarely quits the banquet while a morsel of 
flesh remains, so that it is not uncommon to see it perched 
upon a putrefying corpse for several successive days. It 
never attempts to carry off a portion, even to satisfy its 
young, but feeds them by disgorging the half-digested mor- 
sel from its maw. Sometimes, but very rarely, it makes 
its prey of living victims; and even then of such only as 
are incapable of offering the smallest resistance; for in a 
contest for superiority it has not that advantage which is 
possessed by the Falcon tribes, of lacerating its enemy with 
its talons, and must therefore rely upon the force of its beak 
alone. It is onl}', however, when no other mode of satiat- 
ing its appetite presents itself, that it has recourse to the 
destruction of other animals for its subsistence. 

After feeding it is seen fixed for hours in one unvaried 
posture, patiently waiting until the work of digestion is 



completed and the stimulus of hunger is renewed, to enable 
and to urge it to mount again into the upper regions of the 
air and fly abroad in quest of its necessary food. If violently 
disturbed after a full meal, it is incapable of flight until it 
has disgorged the contents of its stomach, lightened of 
which, and freed from their debilitating effects, it is imme- 
diately in a condition to soar to such a pitch as, in spite of 
its magnitude, to become invisible to human siaiht. 

In captivity it appears to have no other desire than that of 
obtaining its regular supply of food. So long as that is 
afforded it, it manifests a perfect indifference to the circum- 
stances in which it is placed. An individual has been for 
three years an inhabitant of the Garden, and was for many 
years previous in the possession of Joshua Brookes, Esq., by 
whom it was presented to the Society. — Tower Menagerie. 



THE CHINCHILLA. 



Chinchilla Lanisrera. 



The peculiar softness and beauty of the fur of the Chin- 
chilla have been so long, so ornamentally, and so comfort- 
ably known to our fair countrywomen, that it would be 
paying their taste and curiosity a sorry compliment to ima- 
gine that they have no desire to become acquainted with the 
animal by which it is furnished. We are happy therefore to 
to have it in our power to gratify them, as well as the sci- 
entific zoologist, by a figure and description of so inter- 
esting a creature, the former the only one that has yet been 
given to the world, and the latter the first that has appeared 
in our language. 

Notwithstanding the extensive trade carried on in its 
skins, the Chinchilla might have been regarded until the 
last year almost as an unknown animal: for no modern 
naturalist, with the exception of the Abbe Molina, a native 
of Chili, who has written expressly on the Natural History 
of that country, had seen an entire specimen, living or dead; 
and the description given in his work added little of truth 
and much of error to the information that was to be derived 
from an inspection of the skins themselves in the imperfect 
state in which they are sent into the market. Still his ac- 
count contains many particulars relative to the habits of the 
animal, which are not to be met with elsewhere, and we 
shall therefore extract it entire; first, however, referring to 
such scanty notices in the works of former writers as appear 
to have been founded on original observation. 

The earliest account of the Chinchilla with which we 
have met is contained in Father Joseph Acosta's Natural 
and Moral History of the East and West Indies, published 



128 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



at Barcelona, in Spanish, in the year 1591. From an Eng- 
lish translation of this work,printed at London, in 1604, we 
extract the following sentence, which is all that relates to 
the animal in question. <'The Chinchilles is an other kind 
of small beasts, like squirrels, they have a woonderfiill 
smoothe and soft skinne, which they weare as a healthfuU 
thing to comfort the stomacke, and those parts that have 
needeof a moderate heate;" [as most "beasts" do; but the 
concluding part of the extract shows that this is spoken of 
the human natives, and not of the poor Chinchillas them- 
selves;] "they make coverings and rugges of the haire of 
these Chinchilles, which are found on the Sierre of Peru." 
We find these animals again mentioned, and nearly to the 
same purpose, in "The Observations of Sir Richard Haw- 
kins, Knight, in his Voyage into the South Sea, An. Dom. 
1593," published at London, in a small folio, in the year 
1622, and reprinted, three years afterwards, in the fourth 
part of "Purchas his Pilgrims." This hardy and adven- 
turous seaman appears, notwithstanding the somewhat con- 
temptuous manner in which he speaks of the "princes and 
nobles" that "laie waite" for these skins, to have been 
much of the same opinion with regard to their superior 
quality and comfort. It is worthy of remark that he treats 
them not as wool, in which light Acosta seems to have re- 
garded them, but as fur. "Amongst others," he says, 
(showing, by the by, as little respect for the niceties of 
grammar as the translator above quoted,) "they have little 
beastes, like unto a squirrel!, but that hee is grey, his skinne 
is the most delicate soft and curious furre that I have seene, 
and of much estimation, (as is reason,) in the Peru; few of 
them come into Spaine, because difficult to be come by, for 
that the princes and nobles laie waite for them, they call 
this beast Chinchilla, and of them they have great abun- 
dance." 

In the foregoing quotations the Chinchilla is only said to 
be like a Squirrel: later writers appear to have confounded 
them. Thus when Alonso de Ovalle, another Spaniard, 
whose "Historical Relation of the Kingdom of Chili" was 
published at Rome in 1646, says that "the Squirrels 
[Ardas] which are found only in the Valley of Guasco, are 
ash-coloured, and their skins are in great esteem for the 
fineness and softness of the fur," he evidently means the 
Chinchilla; for no species of Squirrel, whose fur is of any 
value, is found in that country. The same may also be said 
of an anonymous Italian author, (considered by some biblio- 
graphers, but we believe erroneously, to have been the 
Abbe Vidaure,) who published at Bologna in 1776, a Com- 
pendium of the Geographical, Natural, and Civil History 
of the Kingdom of Chili. This writer speaks of the Arda, 
which is the Spanish word for a Squirrel, as a species of 
Rat or Campagnol, of the size of a Cat, found only in the 



province of Copiapo, moderately docile, and covered with 
ash-coloured wool, as close and delicate as the finest cotton. 
But this confusion of species becomes tolerable if com- 
pared with another into which the same author has fallen 
when he speaks of the Chinche, the most insupportably 
offensive of all stinking animals, as having a remarkably 
soft fur, which is made into coverlets for beds. The 
responsibility, however, for the latter error must rest with 
Bufifon; who, after quoting Feuillee's excellent description 
of that abominable beast, adds: "it appears to me that the 
same animal is indicated by Acosta under the name of 
Chinchilla, which is not very different from that of Chin- 
che." How this great naturalist could have been led to 
confound two animals so essentially distinct in every parti- 
cular, of one of which he had a specimen in good preserva- 
tion, while the skins of the other, mutilated it is true, but 
still distinctly recognisable, might probably have been seen 
in the warehouse of every furrier, we are at a loss to con- 
jecture. The circumstance itself affords a striking proof of 
the obscurity in which the history of the Chinchilla was 
then involved, when the mere similarity of sound in the 
names was the solitary argument advanced in favour of so 
unfortunate a conjecture. The error was corrected by 
D'Azara, who is, however, himself mistaken in regarding 
the Chinche of Feuillee and Buffon as his Yagouare, and 
who adds nothing to what was already known with respect 
to the true Chinchilla. 

Molina's Essay on the Natural History of Chili was 
originally published in Italian at Bologna in 1782. In the 
preface the author candidly confesses that his materials are 
not sufficiently complete for a general Natural History of 
the countiy. They appear indeed to have consisted partly 
of the recollections of a vigorous mind, and partly of such 
imperfect notes as could only be made use of in the way of 
hints to recall to the memory some of those minor points 
which might otherwise have escaped it. It is obvious that 
under such circumstances, however careful the writer may 
have been to avoid mistakes, it is impossible to place in his 
descriptions that implicit confidence to which his acknow- 
ledged good faith would otherwise entitle him. In this 
work he describes the Chinchilla as a species of the Linnasan 
genus Mus, under the name of Mus laniger, by which ap- 
pellation it was received into Gmelin's Edition of the 
Systema Naturae, and continued to be known among natu- 
ralists, until M. Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire suggested that it 
ought rather to be regarded as a species of the genus separated 
by him from the Rats under the name of Hamster. This 
opinion was immediately adopted by zoologists, and seems 
to have been taken up by Molina himself, in a second 
edition of his Essay, published in ISIO, which contains 
some trifling additions to his former article on the Chin- 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



129 



chilla. "We proceed to translate from the latter those pas- 
sages which relate to the subject. 

"The Chinchilla," he says, "is another species of field- 
rat, in great estimation for the extreme fineness of its wool, 
if a rich fur as delicate as the silken webs of the garden 
spiders may be so termed. It is of an ash-grey, and suffi- 
ciently long for spinning. The little animal which produces 
it is six inches long from the nose to the root of the tail, 
with small pointed ears, a short muzzle, teeth like the 
house-rat, and a tail of moderate length, clothed with a deli- 
cate fur. It lives in burrows underground in the open 
country of the northern provinces of Chili, and is very 
fond of being in company with others of its species. It 
feeds upon the roots of various bulbous plants which grow 
abundantly in those parts; and produces twice a year five 
or six young ones. It is so docile and mild in temper that 
if taken into the hands it neither bites nor tries to escape; 
but seems to take a pleasure in being caressed. If placed 
in the bosom it remains there as still and quiet as if it were 
in its own nest. This extraordinary placidity may possibly 
be rather due to its pusillanimity, which renders it extremely 
timid. As it is in itself peculiarly cleanly, there can be no 
fear of its soiling the clothes of those who handle it, or of 
its communicating any bad smell to them, for it is entirely 
free from that ill odour which characterizes the other species 
of Rats. For this reason it might well be kept in the 
houses with no annoyance and at a trifling expense, which 
would be abundantly repaid by the profits on its wool. 
The ancient Peruvians, who were far more industrious than 
the modern, made of this wool coverlets for beds and valua- 
ble stuffs. There is found," he adds, "in the same north- 
ern provinces, another little animal with fine wool called the 
Hardilla, which is variously described by those who have 
seen it; but as I have never observed it m3'Self, I cannot 
determine to what genus it belongs." There can be little 
doubt, we should imagine, that this animal is identical with 
the Chinchilla, the latter, as we have already seen, being 
frequently spoken of by the name of Arda, the same with 
Harda, of which Hardilla is only the diminutive. 

We shall conclude our quotations of former notices with 
the following extract from Sehmidtmeyer's " Travels into 
Chile over the Andes," London, 4to., 1824; which fur- 
nishes some particulars, apparently derived from the travel- 
ler's own observation, that had not been touched upon by 
previous writers. " The Chinchilla," he says, "is a woolly 
field-mouse, which lives under ground, and chiefly feeds on 
wild onions. Its fine fur is well known in Europe; that 
which comes from Upper Peru is rougher and larger than 
the Chinchilla of Chile, but not always so beautiful in its 
colour. Great numbers of these animals are caught in the 
neighbourhood of Coquimbo and Copiapo, generally by 



boys with dogs, and sold to traders who bring them to 
Santiago and Valparayso, from whence they are exported. 
The Peruvian skins are either brought to Buenos Ayres 
from the eastern parts of the Andes, or sent to Lima. The 
extensive use of this fur has lately occasioned a very consi- 
derable destruction of the animals." 

Such is the history of our knowledge of this interesting 
animal until the arrival of a living specimen which was 
brought to England by the late expedition to the north-west 
coast of America, under the command of Captain Bcechey, 
and by him presented to the Zoological Society. An entire 
.skin, rendered particularly valuable in consequence of its 
having the skull preserved in it, was at the same time 
brought home by Mr. Collie, the surgeon of Captain 
Beechey's vessel, and deposited in the collection of the 
British Museum. We have thus fortunately placed within 
our reach the means of correcting many of the errors into 
which former writers have fallen with regard to it, and of 
giving a more complete description of it than has yet been 
laid before the world. 

To begin with its generic characters. The slightest in- 
spection of its teeth was sufficient to prove that it could no 
longer be associated with the groups in which it had been 
previously placed; and a closer examination served only to 
confirm the idea that it was equally distinct in character 
from every other known genus of Rodentia. In proof of 
the former part of this assertion we borrow from the Zoolo- 
gical Journal Mr. Yarrell's description of these organs, 
taken from the specimen before mentioned, with one indis- 
pensable alteration, of which that gentleman has himself 
since seen the necessity. He there describes the teeth as 
consisting of two incisors in each jaw, and of four molars on 
either side; the three anterior of the upper jaw formed of 
two parallel bony portions with three alternating lines of 
enamel, and the fourth having an additional portion of bone 
and enamel, but smaller than the two principal ones. The 
direction of the parallel laminse of these teeth is not at right 
angles with the line of the maxillary bone, but inclining 
obliquely from without backwards; and the molars of the 
lower jaw are placed still more obliquely than those of the 
upper. 

But the examination on which this statement was found- 
ed was made under circumstances of great disadvantage, 
inasmuch as it is almost impossible to obtain a distinct view 
of the teeth of any animal while the skull remains vvitliin 
the skin, from which it was of course not allowable in the 
present instance to remove it The necessity for the altera- 
tion to which we have before alluded has been rendered 
obvious only since the skin was transferred to the British 
Museum, by the extraction from the lower jaw of the two 
anterior molars of the right side, which are now shown 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



each to possess a smaller third lamina of bone, with its 
corresponding enamel, placed in front of, and not project- 
ing so far externally as, the two remaining portions of the 
tooth. This third lamina is separated from that next to it 
by a deep groove on the inner side, but on the outer there 
is no indication of such a division ; the inner surface of each 
of these teeth consequently offers two such grooves, while 
the outer presents no more than one. 

In the observations appended to his account of the teeth 
Mr. Yarrell appears to consider the Chinchilla as nearly 
allied to Mr. Brooke's new genus Lagostomus, of which a 
figure and description are contained in the last published 
part (the first of the sixteenth volume) of the Linnaean 
Transactions; and the general resemblance of form, together 
with the characters of the teeth as given in that notice, un- 
questionably warrant at least a close approximation. But 
we apprehend that the alteration above made in the descrip- 
tion of the teeth of the Chinchilla, together with the dis- 
crepancy in the number of the toes, which in our animal 
are four on the hind feet, while in Lagostomus they are but 
three, will be considered fully sufficient to establish a 
generic difference between them. The close affinity sub- 
sisting between these animals has been subsequently re- 
cognised by M. Cuvier, from the very imperfect materials 
in his possession, consisting only of mutilated skins of the 
one and drawings and descriptions of the other. In the 
new edition, just published, of his Regne Animal he re- 
gards them both as decidedly forming part of the same 
genus; but does not venture, until he shall have seen their 
teeth, to determine their position in the series, which he 
considers so uncertain as to render it doubtful whether 
they approach most nearly to the Guinea-pigs, the Lagomys 
or the Rats. In the removal of these doubts we are happy 
to assist by furnishing the proof that, although generically 
distinct, they both evidently belong to the same natural 
tribe, and contribute, along with Lagomys and Pedetes, to 
establish a connexion between the otherwise widely sepa- 
rated families of the Hares and the Jerboas. 

The length of the body in our specimen is about nine 
inches, and that of the tail nearly five. Its proportions are 
close-set, and its limbs comparatively short, the posterior 
being considerably longer than the anterior. The fur is 
long, thick, close, woolly, somewhat crisped and entangled 
together, grayish or ash-coloured above, and paler beneath. 
The form of the head resembles that of the Rabbit; the 
eyes are full, large, and black; and the ears broad, naked, 
rounded at the tips, and nearly as long as the head. The 
moustaches are plentiful and very long, the longest being 
twice the length of the head, some of them black, and others 
white. Four short toes, with a distinct rudiment of a 
thumb, terminate the anterior feet; and the posterior are 



furnished with the same number, three of them long, the 
middle more produced than the two lateral ones, and the 
fourth, external to the others, very short and placed far be- 
hind. On all these toes the claws are short, and nearly 
hidden by tufts of bristly hairs. The tail is about half the 
length of the body, of equal thickness throughout, and 
covered with long bushy hairs; it is usually kept turned 
up towards the back, but not reverted as in the Squirrels. 

To the account of its habits given by Molina we can only 
add that it usually sits upon its haunches, and is even able 
to raise itself up and stand upon its hinder feet. It feeds in 
a sitting posture, grasping its food and conveying it to its 
mouth by means of its fore paws. In its temper it is gene- 
rally mild and tractable, but it will not always suffer itself 
to be handled without resistance, and sometimes bites the 
hand which attempts to fondle it when not in a humour to 
be played with. 

Although a native of the alpine valleys of Chili, and 
consequently subjected in its own country to the effects of a 
low temperature of the atmosphere, against which its thick 
coat affords an admirable protection; it was thought neces- 
sary to keep it during the winter in a moderately warm 
room, and a piece of flannel was even introduced into its 
sleeping apartment for its greater comfort. But this indul- 
gence was most pertinaciously rejected, and as often as the 
flannel was replaced, so often was it dragged by the little 
animal into the outer compartment of its cage, where it 
amused itself with pulling it about, rolling it up and shaking 
it with its feet and teeth. In other respects it exhibits but 
little playfulness, and gives few signs of activity; seldom 
disturbing its usual quietude by any sudden or extraordinary 
gambols, but occasionally displaying strong symptoms of 
alarm when startled by any unusual occurrence. It is, in 
fact, a remarkably tranquil and peaceable animal unless 
when its timidity gets the better of its gentleness. 

A second individual of this interesting species has lately 
been added to the collection by the kindness of Lady Knigh- 
ton, in whose possession it had remained for twelve months 
previously to her presenting it to the Society. This 
specimen is larger in size and rougher in its fur than the 
one above described ; its colour is also less uniformly gray, 
deriving a somewhat mottled appearance from the numerous 
small blackish spots which are scattered over the back and 
sides. It is possible that this may be the Peruvian variety, 
mentioned in the extract from Schmidtmeyer's Travels, as 
furnishing a less delicate and valuable fur than the Chilian 
animal. It is equally good tempered and mild in its dispo- 
sition; and, probably in consequence of having been domi- 
ciliated in a private house instead of having been exhibited 
in a public collection, is much more tame and playful. In 
its late abode it was frequently suffered to run about the 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



room, when it would show oflf its agility by leaping to the 
height of the table. Its food consisted principally of dry 
herbage, such as hay and clover, on which it appears to 
have thriven greatly. That of the Society's original speci- 
men has hitherto been chiefly grain of various kinds, and 
succulent roots. 

When the new comer was first introduced into Bruton 
Street, it was placed in the same cage with the other speci- 
men; but the latter appeared by no means disposed to sub- 
mit to the presence of the intruder. A ferocious kind of 
scuffling fight immediately ensued between them, and the 
latter would unquestionably have fallen a victim, had it not 
been rescued from its impending fate. Since that time they 
have inhabited separate cages, placed side by side; and 
although the open wires would admit of some little familiarity 
taking place between them, no advances have as yet been 
made on either side. Such an isolated fact can, of course, 
have little weight in opposition to the testimony of Molina 
that the Chinchilla is fond of company. It is nevertheless a 
remarkable circumstance, and deserves to be mentioned in 
illustration of the habits of these animals. 



NATIONAL MUSEUM AT PARIS. 

Some Details respecting the Garden of Plants and the 
National Museum at Paris. By Mrs. R. Lee, (late 
Mrs. Bowdich.) 

Sir, — I have much pleasure in obeying your request, and 
sending you a few details concerning the Jardin du Roi in 
Paris, of which I have been an inmate during the last 
month. 

1 was much concerned to find that the lions, panthers, 
&c. with some of which I had long been acquainted, were 
all dead; and it is said that the classical-looking building 
they inhabited was unfavourable to their nature. Animals 
of this kind require not only warmth and shelter, but 
society; but in these dens a constant current of air rushes 
through, and the animals are totally excluded from the 
sight of each other. Still, however, there are some very 
fine bears of different species; some hysennas, one of which 
is very gentle, and holds his head close to the bars to be 
caressed; and some wolves. Among the latter is one 
whose hair is perfectly black, and shines like floss silk. 
He was brought when very young (I could almost have 
said a puppy), and presented to Baron Cuvier's daughter-in- 
law, who finding him so tame, desired he might have a dog 
for a companion, and be fed entirely on broth and cooked 



meat. Her orders have been obeyed, and the animal retains 
all his gentleness and docility; he never sees her but he 
stretches his paws through the bars to be shaken, and when 
she lets him loose he lies down before her, licks her feet, 
and shows every mark of joy and affection. In a small 
room, not open to public view, is a curious collection of 
squirrels, rackoons, martens, ichneumons, and some dogs, 
whose monstrous birth gives them a place there, in order to 
aid the researches of M. Geoffrey St. Hilaire. 

But the great attraction — the queen of the garden — is the 
giraffe, to whom I paid frequent visits. She is the only 
survivor of the three which left Africa much about the same 
time, and inhabits the large round building in the centre of 
the menagerie, called the Rotonde. Great care is taken to 
shelter her from the cold, and in the winter she has a kind 
of hood and cape, which reach the length of her neck, and 
a body cloth, all made of woollen materials. She is only 
suffered to walk in her little park when the sun shines upon 
it, and if care and attention can compensate for the loss of 
liberty, she ought to be the happiest of her kind. She 
stands about 124 feet high, and her skin, with its light 
brown spots, shines like satin; but I confess I was disap- 
pointed with regard to her beauty. She looks best when 
lying down, or standing perfectly upright, in which posture 
she is very dignified; but the moment she moves she be- 
comes awkward, in consequence of the disproportion of the 
hinder parts of her body, and the immense length of her 
neck, which, instead of being arched, forms an angle with 
her shoulders. When she gallops, her hind feet advance 
beyond those in front, and the peculiarity of gait caused by 
moving the hind and fore feet on the same side, at the same 
time, is very striking. She has great difficulty in reaching 
the ground with her mouth, and was obliged to make two 
efforts to separate her fore legs before she could reach a 
cistern placed on the pavement. Her head is of remarka- 
ble beauty, and the expression of her full black eyes is mild 
and affectionate; her tongue is long, black and pointed. 
She is extremely gentle, yet full of frolic and animation, 
and when walking in the menagerie, her keeper is obliged to 
hold her head to prevent her biting off the young branches 
of the trees. Her great delight, however, is to eat rose 
leaves, and she devours them with the greatest avidity. 
The African cows, witli humps on their shoulders, who 
supplied her with milk during her passage to Europe, areas 
gentle as their nursling, and when feeding her they come 
and softly push your elbows to have their share. Turning 
from the giraffe one day, and proceeding a yard or two in 
order to satisfy them, I suddenly felt something overshadow 
me, and this was no less than the girafle, who, without 
quitting her place, bent her head over mine, and helped 
herself to the carrots in my hand. Her keeper, named Ati, 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



and from Darfiir, is a tali well-proportioned black, and at 
his own request a little gallery has been erected for him in 
tlie stable of his charge, where he sleeps and keeps all his 
property. When in attendance he dresses in the turban, 
vest, and full trowsers of his country, but when lie walks 
into Paris he assumes the European costume, for in his 
native garb all the children in the streets reco£;nise him, and 
calling out, '■'■ Jiti '. Ati! comment va la giraffe?^'' hurt 
his consequence. He is to be found every Sunday evening 
at one of the Guinguettes in the neighbourhood, dancing 
with all his might, and during the week he devotes his 
leisure to the acquirement of reading and writing. 

The two elephants are mucli grown, and with the Asiatic 
they do not seem to make much progress; but the African is 
become very interesting; she performs various salutations 
and manoeuvres, obeys the voice of her keeper, kneels down 
to take him on her back, and seldom requires any other 
chastisement than a pull of one of her ears, which are very 
much larger than those of her Indian brother. 

Two very beautiful aviaries have been completed since 
my last visit to the Jardin. The one is appropriated to 
birds of prey, and contains some noble specimens of owls, 
eagles, and vultures; among the latter is the great Condor 
of the Andes (Vi'iltur Gryphus), which requires double the 
space allotted to any of the others. The second aviary 
contains many rare species of pheasants and other birds, 
and both of them have not only covered places for shelter, 
and stoves for heating them, but a large space covered with 
iron network, in which the thousands who weekly crowd 
to see them can watch their movements without the least 
difficulty. Near these are the parks appropriated to pea- 
cocks, domestic fowls, &c. and in which the crown and 
Numidian cranes, and the secretary bird, stalk about and 
dance at sunset, as if under their native skies. The various 
kinds of deer, the chamois, and other goats, are in high 
health; the beavers are thriving, as well as all the known 
species of lama. I was astonished at the fury with which 
these mild-looking animals fight; and on one occasion hav- 
ing caused them to be separated, I was much amused at the 
rage with which they pushed their noses through the rail- 
ings, till they touched, though their attempts to bite were 
fruitless. 

Without actual study, it would be difficult to ascertain 
the additions made of late years to the collection of compa- 
rative anatomy. Several rooms have been added since my 
first acquaintance with it, in 1819, and it is yearly receiving 
new treasures from travellers, or the efflarts of Baron Cu- 
vier, who may be said to have created this part of the 
establishment. The upper portion, containing the prepa- 
rations in spirits, &c. separated bones, skulls, teeth, and the 
,skeletons of the smaller animals, seems to be crowded; and 



the skeletons of the whales below, among the larger objects, 
excited my astonishment, that the whole Parisian world 
should have run mad after la bahine dcs Pays Bas, when 
those of the Jardin du Roi are nearly as large, and much 
more interesting, from the whalebone having been pre- 
served, and from the correct manner in which the parts 
have been put together. 

The collection of stuffed animals, at the first coup d' ceil, 
more completely conveys an idea of its immense riches than 
any other portion of the establishment. To see thousands 
of animals in their living attitudes, so happily prepared as 
to appear in actual movement, and then to pause and find 
all still and immoveable, gives an idea of enchantment 
which it is difficult to shake off, till increasing admiration 
at every step supersedes all other feelings, and till we finally 
turn from it lost in wonder at the magnificence of creation, 
and adore the mighty Hand which has formed these endless 
varieties, and yet bound the whole together in one common 
link. The division allotted to the stuffed deer, &c. has re- 
ceived several curious additions of the antelope kind; and 
there are two tufts of hair, said to belong to the tails of the 
grunting cow of the East, which is such an object of cu- 
riosity to naturalists, and which tufts are all that has yet 
been brought to Europe to prove its existence. The 
giraffes, camels, and oxen still stand together in this room, 
and the enormous basking shark has been hoisted to the 
ceiling. But we feel impatient to get to the birds, the ar- 
rangement of which, from their size, is more complete than 
can be admitted among the quadrupeds. The first cases 
contain the diurnal birds of prey; where the gypactos of 
the Alps seems in the act of pouncing on its victim, the 
secretary bird appears to have walked in from the menage- 
rie, and the falcon ready to soar from the wrist of the hunts- 
man. The owls of all countries succeed these; and passing 
by the splendid parrots, parroquets, toucans, &c. we stop 
for a long time before the Passeres. In this order every 
idea of exquisite form, grace, delicacy, brilliancy, and har- 
mony of colouring seems verified. The lyretails (Masnura), 
the parasol birds (Cephalopterus), the lovely birds of para- 
dise, the sugar birds, the gems of humming-birds blazing in 
the light, seem each to demand a whole day's admiration; 
and then come tbe-^allinacesp, with the red-breasted 
pigeon, looking as if an arrow had just pierced her heart; 
the horned and argus pheasants, &c. The ostrich, the rose 
colored flamingo, the sacred and the scarlet ibis; the kami- 
chi, said to bleed his sick companions with the spur upon 
his wing, all take their place among the Grallse: and next 
to these are the Palmipedes, from the far-famed albatross, 
the awkward-looking penguin, the frigate bird, the stupid 
boobies, to the common duck. 

The two end rooms are still full of bats, quadrupeds, and 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



monkeys. The centre of the rooms is filled with cases of 
Mollusca of the rarest and most beautiful species, both fossil 
and recent; the animals preserved in spirits occupy some of 
the lower shelves; the rest are filled with corallines and 
sponges; the cases above are lined with insects. 

Descending the staircase, we pass through those mighty 
ruins of former ages, the fossils, chiefly collected by Baron 
Cuvier; after which come the rocks and minerals. The 
reptiles, which cover the sides and ceilings of the next 
apartment, have lately been much extended; and the for- 
mer library having been appropriated to ichthyology, the 
books have been moved to the rooms of a deceased professor, 
and their place is now wholly occupied by fishes. Below 
these are three entirely new rooms, formed by turning the 
porter of the gate in the Rue du Jardin du Roi out of his 
habitation, and converting that and some lecture rooms into 
a gallery fur the heavier quadrupeds, such as elephants, hip- 
popotami, Slc. uii the ground floor. 

The galleries of botany are scarcely big enough to con- 
tain the piles of dried plants brought home by the naturalists 
of the expeditions of discovery; and the collection of woods 
and dried seeds bids fair very soon to exceed the limits 
assigned to it. The School of Botany, so beautifully ar- 
ranged according to the natural system, is three times as 
large as it was six years back. The wet summer has much 
injured the parterres; still, however, the daturas have been 
placed outside the green-houses; the salvias, amounting to 
large shrubs, were still in blossom; and the flower-garden, 
the garden of naturalization, and the medicinal parterres, 
were all blooming. In short, with the exception of living 
Carnivora, every department of this wonderful establish- 
ment has made the most astonishing progress, even within 
the last few years, and is now so perfect that we almost 
wish the treasures of nature exhausted, for fear the least 
alteration for the reception of additions should be detri- 
mental to its beauty. 

I cannot suppose it possible for an English amateur of 
natural history to turn from this little world of science and 
wonder without a sigh of regret — without dwelling on the 
causes, whatever they may be, which keep his own country 
in such deep arrears in this respect. That England, which 
perfects not only her own undertakings, but the under- 
takings of other nations, with a hundred fold the opportu- 
nity in her commercial connections, which preclude even 
the necessity of sending out travellers on purpose — that 
England should be thus outdone by her less enterprising 
neighbour, is a fact at which I cannot help grieving, but 
which I do not presume to investigate. I am. Sir, &c. 

S. Lee. 
3" Burton Street, Nov. 19. 



L I 



R B I X. 



TURD US MIGR.iTORIUS. 

[Plate XII.] 

Linn. Syst. i, p. 292, 6. — Turdiis Canadensis, Briss. 
II, p. 225, 9. — La Litorne de Canada, Burr, iii, p. 
307.— Grive de Canada, PL Enl. 556, \.— Fieldfare 
of Carolina, Cat. Car. 1, 29. — Red-breasted Thrush, 
Arct. Zool. II, No. 196.— Lath. Syn.u,p. 26.— Bar- 
tram, />. 290. — J. Doughty's collection. 

This well known bird, being familiar to almost every 
body, will require but a short description. It measures 
nine inches and a half in length; the bill is strong, an inch 
long, and of a full yellow, though sometimes black, or 
dusky near the tip of the upper mandible; the head, back 
Ol the neck, iiiul lull la blauk, the back and rump an ash 
colour; the wings are black edged with light ash; the inner 
tips of the two exterior tail feathers are white; three small 
spots of white border the eye; the throat and upper part of 
the breast is black, the former streaked with white; the 
whole of the rest of the breast, down as far as the thighs, is 
of a dark orange; belly and vent white, slightly waved 
with dusky ash; legs dark brown; claws black and strong. 
The colours of the female are more of the light ash, less 
deepened with black; and the orange on the breast is much 
paler and more broadly skirted with white. The name of 
this bird bespeaks him a bird of passage, as are all the dif- 
ferent species of Thrushes we have; but the one we are 
now describing being more unsettled, and continually 
roving about from one region to another, during fall and 
winter, seems particularly entitled to the appellation. 
Scarce a winter passes but innumerable thousands of them 
are seen in the lower parts of the whole Atlantic States, 
from New Hampshire to Carolina, particularly in the 
neighbourhood of our towns; and from the circumstance of 
their leaving, during that season, the country to the north- 
west of the great range of the Alleghany, from Maryland 
northward, it would appear that they not only migrate 
from north to south, but from west to east, to avoid the 
deep snows that generally prevail on these high regions for 
at least four months in the year. 

The Robin builds a large nest, often on an apple tree, 
plasters it in the inside with mud, and lines it with hay or 
fine grass. The female lays five eggs of a beautiful sea 
green. Their principal food is berries, worms and catter- 
pillars. Of the first he prefers those of the sour gum 
[Nyssa sylvatica). So fond are they of Gum berries, that 
wherever there is one of these trees covered with fruit, and 



134 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



flocks of Robins in the neighbourhood, the sportsman need 
only take his stand near it, load, take aim, and fire; one 
flock succeeding another with little interruption, almost the 
whole day; by this method prodigious slaughter has been 
made among them with little fatigue. When berries fail 
they disperse themselves over the fields, and along the 
fences, in search of worms and other insects. Sometimes 
they will disappear for a week or two, and return again in 
greater numbers than before; at which time the cities pour 
out their sportsmen by scores, and the markets are plenti- 
fully supplied with them at a cheap rate. In January, 
1807, two young men, in one excursion after them, shot 
thirty dozen. In the midst of such devastation, which con- 
tinued many weeks, and by accounts extended from Massa- 
chusetts to Maryland, some humane person took advantage 
of a circumstance common to these birds in winter, to stop 
the general slaughter. The fruit called poke-berries {Phy- 
tolacca decandra, Linn.) is a favourite repast w'lih. the 

Robin, after thcj- ai-c mdlo-n-od \>y the fi u:jt. The juiCO uf 

the berries is of a beautiful crimson, and they are eaten in 
such quantities by these birds, that their whole stomachs 
are strongly tinged with the same red colour. A paragraph 
appeared in the public papers, intimating, that from the great 
quantities of these berries which the Robins had fed on, 
they had become unwholesome, and even dangerous food; 
and that several persons had suffered by eating of them. 
The strange appearance of the bowels of the birds seemed 
to corroborate this account. The demand for, and use of 
them ceased almost instantly; and motives of self-preserva- 
tion produced at once what all the pleadings of humanity 
could not effect* When fat they are in considerable 
esteem for the table, and probably not inferior to the turdi 
of the ancients, which they bestowed so much pains on in 
feeding and fattening. The young birds are frequently and 
easily raised, bear the confinement of the cage, feed on 
bread, fruits, &c. sing well, readily learn to imitate parts of 
tunes, and are very pleasant and cheerful domestics. In 
these I have always observed that the orange on the breast 
is of a much deeper tint, often a dark mahogany or chesnut 
colour, owing no doubt to their food and confinement. 

The Robin is one of our earliest songsters; even in 
March, while snow yet dapples the fields, and flocks of 
them are dispersed about, some few will mount a post or 
stake of the fence, and make short and frequent attempts at 
their song. Early in April, they are only to be seen in 
pairs, and deliver their notes with great earnestness, from 



' Drayton, in his " View of South Carolina," p. 86, observes, that 
"the Robins in winter devour the berries of the Bead tree (Melia Azedarach,) 
in such large quantities, that after eating of them they are observed to fall down, 
and are readily taken. This is ascribed more to distension from abundant eating 
than from any deleterious qualities of the plant." The fact however, is, that they 
are literally choked, many of the berries being too large to be swallowed. 



the top of some tree detached from the woods. This song 
has some resemblance to, and indeed is no bad imitation of 
the notes of the Thrush or Thrasher ( Turdus rufus); but 
if deficient in point of execution, he possesses more simpli- 
city; and makes up in zeal what he wants in talent; so that 
the notes of the Robin, in spring, are universally known, 
and as universally beloved. They are as it were the pre- 
lude to the grand general concert, that is about to burst upon 
us from woods, fields, and thickets, whitened with blossoms, 
and breathing fragrance. By the usual association of ideas, 
we therefore listen with more pleasure to this cheerful bird 
than to many others possessed of far superior powers, and 
much greater variety. Even his nest is held more sacred 
among school boys than that of some others; and while they 
will exult in plundering a Jay's or a Cat-bird's, a general 
sentiment of respect prevails on the discovery of a Robin's. 
Whether he owes not some little of this veneration to the 
well known and long established chnroctcr of his namesake 
In Diiiahi, by a like association of ideas, I will not pretend 
to determine. He possesses a good deal of his suavity of 
manners, and almost always seeks shelter for his young in 
summer, and subsistence for himself in the extremes of 
winter, near the habitations of man. 

The Robin inhabits the whole of North America from 
Hudson's Bay to Nootka Sound, and as far south as Georgia, 
though they rarely breed on this side the mountains farther 
south than Virginia. Mr. Forster says, that about the be- 
ginning of May they make their appearance in pairs at the 
settlements of Hudson's Bay, at Severn river; and adds, a 
circumstance altogether unworthy of belief, viz. that at 
Moose fort they build, lay, and hatch in fourteen days ! but 
that at the former place, four degrees more north, they are 
said to take twenty-six days.* They are also common in 
Newfoundland, quitting these northern parts in October. 
The young during the first season are spotted with white 
on the breast, and at that time have a good deal of resem- 
blance to the Fieldfare of Europe. 

Mr. Hearne informs us, that the red-breasted Thrushes, 
are commonly called at Hudson's Bay the Red-birds; by 
some the Black-birds, on account of their note; and by 
others the American Fieldfares. That they make their 
appearance at Churchill river about the middle of May, 
and migrate to the south early in the fall. They are seldom 
seen there but in pairs; and are never killed for their flesh 
except by the Indian boys.t 

Several authors have asserted, that the Red-breasted 
Thrush cannot brook the confinement of the cage; and 
never sings in that state. But, except the Mocking- 
bird ( Turdus polyglottos), I know of no native bird which 



• Phil. Trans. Ixii. 399. 

t Journey to the Northern Ocean, 



8, quarto. Lond, 1795. 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



is so frequently domesticated, agrees better with confine- 
ment, or sings in that state more agreeably than the Robin. 
They generally suffer severely in moulting time, yet often 
live to a considerable age. A lady who resides near Tarry- 
town, on the banks of the Hudson, informed me, that she 
raised, and kept one of these birds for seventeen years; 
which sung as well, and looked as sprightly, at that age as 
ever; but was at last unfortunately destroyed by a cat. 
The morning is their favourite time for song. In passing 
through the streets of our large cities, on Sunday, in the 
months of April and May, a little after day-break, the 
general silence which usually prevails without at that hour, 
will enable you to distinguish every house where one of 
these songsters resides, as he makes it then ring with his 
music. 

Not only the plumage of the Robin, .is of many other 
birds, is subject to slight periodical changes of colour, but 
even the legs, feet, and bill; the latter, in the male, being 
frequently found tipt and ridged for half its length with 
black. In the depth of winter their plumage is generally 
best; at which time the full-grown bird, in his most perfect 
dress, appears as exhibited in the plate. 



BLUE BIRD. 



[Plate XIL] 

Le Rouge gorge bleu, Buffon, v. 212, PI. Enl. 390. — 
Blue. Warbler, Lath, ii, 446. — Catesb. i, 47. — Mota- 
cilla sialis, Linn. Syst. 336. — Bartram, j). 291. — 
Mofacilla sialis, Linn. Syst. i,p. 187, Ed. 10. — Gmel. 
Syst. I, p. 989. — Sylvia sialis, Lath. Ind. Orn. ii, 
522. — ViEiLLOT, Otis, de VJim. Sept. pi. 101, viale; 
102, female; 103, young. — La Gorge rouge de la Ca- 
roline, Buff. PI. Enl. 396, Jig. 1, 7nale; Jig. 2, fe- 
male. — J. Doughtt's collection. 

The pleasing manners and sociable disposition of this 
little bird entitle him to particular notice. As one of the 
first messengers of spring, bringing the charming tidings to 
our very doors, he bears his own recommendation always 
along with him, and meets with a hearty welcome from 
every body. 

Though generally accounted a bird of passage, yet so 
early as the middle of February, if the weather be open, he 
usually makes his appearance about his old haunts, the barn, 
orchard and fence posts. Storms and deep snows some- 
times succeeding, he disappears for a time; but about the 



middle of March is again seen, accompanied by his mate, 
visiting the box in the garden, or the hole in the old apple- 
tree, the cradle of some generations of his ancestors. 
" When he first begins his amours," says a curious and 
correct observer, "it is pleasing to behold his courtship, his 
solicitude to please and to secure the favour of his beloved 
female. He uses the tcnderest expressions, sits close by 
her, caresses and sings to her his most endearing warblings. 
When seated together, if he espies an insect delicious to her 
taste, he takes it up, flies with it to her, spreads his wing 
over her and puts it in her mouth."* If a rival makes his 
appearance, (for they are ardent in their loves), he quits her 
in a moment, attacks and pursues the intruder, as he shifts 
from place to place, in tones that bespeak the jealousy of his 
affection, conducts him with many reproofs beyond the ex- 
tremities of his territory, and returns to warble out his 
transports of triumph beside his beloved mate. The preli- 
minaries being thus settled, and the spot fixed on, they begin 
to clean out the old nest, and the rubbish of the former year, 
and to prepare for the reception of their future offspring. 
Soon after this another sociable little pilgrim (Molacilla 
domestica. House Wren), also arrives from the south, and 
finding such a snug birth pre-occupied, shows his spite, by 
watching a convenient opportunity, and in the absence of 
the owner popping in and pulling out sticks; but takes 
special care to make off as fast as possible. 

The female lays five, and sometimes six eggs, of a pale 
blue colour; and raises two, and sometimes three broods in 
a season; the male taking the youngest under his particular 
care while the female is again sitting. Their principal food 
are insects, particularly large beetles, and others of the co- 
leopterous kinds that lurk among old dead and decaying 
trees. Spiders are also a favourite repast with them. In 
fall they occasionally regale themselves on the berries of the 
sour gum; and as winter approaches, on those of the red 
cedar, and on the fruit of a rough hairy vine that runs up 
and cleaves fast to the trunks of trees. Ripe persimmons 
is another of their favourite dishes; and many other fruits 
and seeds which I have found in their stomachs at that sea- 
son, which, being no botanist, I am unable to particularize. 
They are frequently pestered with a species of tape-worm, 
some of which I have taken from their intestines of an 
extraordinary size, and in some cases in great numbers. 
Most other birds are also plagued with these vermin; but 
the Blue-bird seems more subject to them than any I know, 
except the Woodcock. An account of the different species 
of vermin, many of which I doubt not are non-descripts, 
that infest the plumage and intestines of our birds, would of 
itself form an interesting publication; but as this belongs 

* Letter from Mr. William Bartram to the amhor. 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



more properly to the entomologist, I shall only, in the 
course of this work, take notice of some of the most re- 
markable; and occasionally represent them in the same plate 
with those birds on which they are usually found. 

The usual spring and summer song of the Blue-bird is a 
soft, agreeable and oft-repeated warble, uttered with open 
quivering wings, and is extremely pleasing. In his motions 
and general character he has great resemblance to the Robin 
Red-breastof Britain ; and had he the brown olive of that bird 
instead of his own blue, could scarcely be distinguished 
from him. Like him he is known to almost every child; 
and shows as much confidence in man by associating with 
him in summer, as the other by his familiarity in winter. 
He is also of a mild and peaceful disposition, seldom fight- 
ing or quarrelling with other birds. His society is courted 
by the inhabitants of the country, and few farmers neglect 
to provide for him, in some suitable place, a sung little sum- 
mer house, ready fitted and rent free. For this he more 
than sufficiently repays them by the cheerfulness of his 
song, and the multitude of injurious insects which he daily 
destroys. Towards fall, that is in the month of October, 
his song changes to a single plaintive note, as he passes over 
the yellow, many coloured woods; and its melancholy air 
recals to our minds the approaching decay of the face of 
nature. Even after the trees are stript of their leaves, he 
still lingers over his native fields, as if loth to leave them. 
About the middle or end of November few or none of them 
are seen; but with every return of mild and open weather, 
we hear his plaintive note amidst the fields, or in the air, 
seeming to deplore the devastations of winter. Indeed he 
appears scarcely ever totally to forsake us; but to follow 
fair weather through all its journeyings till the return of 
spring. 

The Blue-bird, in summer and fall, is fond of frequenting 
open pasture fields; and there perching on the stalks of the 
great mullein, to look out for passing insects. A whole 
family of them are often seen, thus situated, as if receiving 
lessons of dexterity from their more expert parents, who 
■ can espy a beetle crawling among the grass, at a considerable 
distance; and after feeding on it, instantly resume their 
former position. But whoever informed Dr. Latham that 
" this bird is never seen on trees, though it makes its nest 
in the holes of them!" might as well have said, that the 
Americans are never seen in the streets, though they build 
their houses by the sides of them. For what is there in the 
construction of the feet and claws of this bird to prevent it 
from perching? Or what sight more common to an inhabit- 
ant of this country than the Blue-bird perched on the top 
of a peach or apple-tree; or among the branches of those 
reverend broadarmed chesnut trees, that stand alone in the 
middle of our fields, bleached by the rains and blasts of 



The Blue-bird is six inches and three quarters in length, 
the wings remarkably full and broad; the whole upper parts 
are of a rich sky blue, with purple reflections; the bill and 
legs are black; inside of the mouth and soles of the feet 
yellow, resembling the colour of a ripe persimmon; the 
shafts of all the wing and tail feathers are black; throat, 
neck, breast, and sides partially under the wings, chesnut; 
wings dusky black at the tips; belly and vent white; some- 
times the secondaries are exteriorly light brown, but the 
bird has in that case not arrived at his full colour. The 
female is easily distinguished by the duller cast of the back, 
the plumage of which is skirted with light brown, and by 
the red on the breast being much fainter, and not descend- 
ing near so low as in the male; the secondaries are also more 
dusky. This species is found over the whole United States; 
in the B.ihama islands where many of them winter; as also 
in Mexico, Brazil, and Guiana. 

Mr. Edwards mentions that the specimen of this bird 
which he was favoured with, was sent from the Bermudas; 
and as these islands abound with the cedar, it is highly pro- 
bable that many of those birds pass from our continent 
thence, at the commencement of winter, to enjoy the mild- 
ness of that climate as well as their favourite food. 

As the Blue-bird is so regularly seen in winter, after the 
continuance of a few days of mild and open weather, it has 
given rise to various conjectures as to the place of his re- 
treat. Some supposing it to be in close sheltered thickets, 
lying to the sun; others the neighbourhood of the sea, where 
the air is supposed to be more temperate, and where the 
matters thrown up by the waves furnish him with a constant 
and plentiful supply of food. Others trace him to the dark 
recesses of hollow trees, and subterraneous caverns, where 
they suppose he dozes away the winter, making, like Ro- 
binson Crusoe, occasional reconnoitering excursions from 
his castle, whenever the weather happens to be favourable. 
But amidst the snows and severities of winter, I have sought 
for him in vain in the most sheltered situations of the mid- 
dle States; and not only in the neighbourhood of the sea, 
but on both sides of the mountains. I have never, indeed, 
explored the depths of caverns in search of him, because I 
would as soon expect to meet with tulips and butterflies 
there, as Blue-birds, but among hundreds of woodmen, who 
have cut down trees of all sorts, and at all seasons, I have 
never heard one instance of these birds being found so im- 
mured in winter; while in the whole of the middle and 
eastern States, the same general observation seems to pre- 
vail that the Blue-bird always makes his appearance in 
winter after a few days of mild and open weather. On the 
other hand, I have myself found them numerous in the 
woods of North and South Carolina, in the depth of winter, 
and I have also been assured by different gentlemen of re- 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



137 



spectability, who have resided in the islands of Jamaica, 
Cuba, and the Bahamas and Bermudas, that this very bird 
is common there in winter. We also find, from the works 
of Hernandes Piso and others, that it is well known in 
Mexico, Guiana, and Brazil; and if so, the place of its win- 
ter retreat is easily ascertained, without having recourse to 
all the trumpery of holes and caverns, torpidity, hyberna- 
tion, and such ridiculous improbabilities. 

Nothing is more common in Pennsylvania than to see 
large flocks of these birds in spring and fall, passing, at con- 
siderable heights in the air; from the south in the former, 
and from the north in the latter season. I have seen, in the 
month of October, about an hour after sun-rise, ten or fif- 
teen of them descend from a great height and settle on the 
top of a tall detached tree, appearing, from their silence 
and sedateness, to be strangers, and fatigued. After a pause 
of a few minutes they began to dress and arrange their plu- 
mage, and continued so employed for ten or fifteen minutes 
more; then, on a few warning notes being given, perhaps 
by the leader of the party, the whole remounted to a vast 



height, steering in a direct line for the south-west. In pass- 
ing along the chain of the Bahamas towards the West In- 
dies, no great difficulty can occur from the frequency of 
these islands; nor even to the Bermudas, which are said to 
be 600 miles from the nearest part of the continent. This 
may seem an extraordinary flight for so small a bird; but it 
is nevertheless a fact that it is performed. If we suppose 
the Blue-bird in this case to fly only at the rate of a mile 
per minute, which is less than I have actually ascertained 
him to do over land, ten or eleven hours would be sufticient 
to accomplish the journey; besides the chances he would 
have of resting places by the way, from the number of ves- 
sels that generally navigate those seas. In like manner two 
days at most, allowing for numerous stages for rest, would 
conduct him from the remotest regions of Mexico to any 
part of the Atlantic States. When the natural history of that 
part of the continent and its adjacent isles, are better known, 
and the periods at which its birds of passage arrive and de- 
part, are truly ascertained, I have no doubt but these sup- 
positions will be fully corroborated. 




ENCOUNTER WITH A PANTHER. 

There is no subject on which the mind dwells with so 
much interest and intensity of thought, as the retrospect 
of past life — to call to remembrance the scenes of early 
youth — that period of existence which was spent in scenes 
of gaiety and pleasure — exploits, replete with danger — ex- 
cursions, pregnant with difficulties and hairbreadth escapes 



— these fill the mind with a train of thought inexpressibly 
interesting; and they become tenfold more delightful by 
the lapse of riper years. To the mind of him whose youth- 
ful days have been passed in the lonely wilds of a newly 
settled country, where every day's experience gave rise to 
some new event ; and ingenuity and prowess were often 
necessarily placed in competition with the ferocity of savage 
animals, it is a source of contemplation, embodying in itself 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL fflSTORY 



feasts of pleasure, known only to the hunter, after these 
seasons of adventure are past, and when age, with his hoary 
locks, unfits him for toilsome enterprise, in which it was 
once his delight to engage, and his glory to excel. Old 
age has not yet laid his paralyzing hand on me; still my 
occupations are changed: instead of the noble forests through 
which I have roamed in quest of the Bear, the Wolf, and 
the Panther, it is my lot to trudge the streets of this goodly 
city, and take my share of the trials and perplexities atten- 
dant on a city life; but the reminiscences of those early 
days come over my mind, with an influence at once salutary 
and soothing, when it is disturbed by any of those nameless 
perplexities to which human nature is heir. Under the 
influence of such feelings I determined (after an absence of 
several years) to revisit my native town, in the state of 
New York, and about 150 miles north of Philadelphia — 
that I engaged an old companion to accompany me once more, 
on a hunting excursion, the details of which I furnish with 
pleasure, if you think them sufficiently interesting for your 
"Cabinet." On arriving at the above mentioned place, two 
faithful and old companions claimed my particular regard, 
viz: a Rifle, which had served me in the hour of need, and 
had slain its thousands before I wielded it, and Lion, the 
faithful Dog that had never shrunk from danger, nor turned 
tail on the most savage monsters of the forest. These excited 
an impatience which could scarcely be restrained, and I 
eagerly embraced the first opportunity to roam the mountain 
wilds. My friend, who was ever willing, readily consented 
to an excursion the next day; but being somewhat indis- 
posed, he did not enter into it with the same spirit which 
marked his enterprises in former years — he had been re- 
peatedly informed by his men, who were cutting timber 
on a stream called " Shad Pound Brook," that a Panther 
had crossed the "Log road" several times during the winter, 
and as the snow had fallen to a considerable depth, the sup- 
position was, that it could not be far from that place. From 
the circumstance of their having short legs, they are much 
averse to travelling far; especially as at this time the depth 
of snow was eighteen inches, and it must have been hunger 
alone which urged this animal to travel in search of food. 
As this county had been hunted over so frequently by my 
friend and myself, we could judge pretty accurately of the 
neighbourhood in which the Panther was to be found, and 
as the mountain next beyond that, on which the men were 
cutting timber, was the place in which we would most likely 
find it, we resolved to take the sleigh as far as these men, 
and then seek the object of our pursuit on foot — we accord- 
ingly departed ; but on arriving at the spot where we intended 
leaving our sleigh, found our prospects even more gloomy 
than we had anticipated. We sank to our knees in the snow at 
every step; but, as I was anxious to kill something, we perse- 
vered with steady pace through many difficulties. We had not 



proceeded far, however, before fresh tracks of deer appeared ; 
they inclined down the mountain and across the hollow to 
the next mountain. It was agreed that I should follow 
until I could get a shot, which, the freshness of the tracks 
warranted a belief, would soon occur ; and that my compa- 
nion, who was somewhat indisposed, would continue his 
path alongside the mountain, and under the branches of the 
hemlock trees, where, the snow being of less depth, made 
it more agreeable to travel. I followed the tracks for some 
time, and expected at every step to see them spring up before 
me. Presently I heard my companion give two whoops — this 
was a signal preconcerted always, one call to ascertain the 
direction of each other — two in succession was the signal to 
approach the caller. But such was the intensity of my pur- 
suit after the deer, with the expectation of seeing them 
every moment, that I should certainly have disregarded the 
signal, had I not been apprehensive that my friend was 
overcome with fatigue: this determined me to obey it, 
when, to my agreeable surprise, I found on reaching 
him, that he had discovered the Panther's track, and nearly 
fresh. We set oflf in eager pursuit, reckless of the snow, 
and, after proceeding about one mile, saw where it had gone 
under a ledge of rocks and again came out and made several 
jumps. Here we thought we had aroused it ; conse- 
quently the dog was let ofi" in chase; he did not run more 
than three hundred yards, before he came upon two deer, 
after which he led off, and could only be recalled by dis- 
charging our rifles. We were here disappointed, the cause 
of the Panther's actions appeared to have been a disposition 
for play, springing and jumping about voluntarily. Af- 
ter Lion's return, and reloading our rifles, we proceeded. To 
all appearance, the animal must have made this track but the 
night previous, as most of their wanderings are during this 
season. About one mile further we came to another ledge 
of rocks, two hundred yards in length, and twelve or fifteen 
feet high, perpendicular, and like a wall — here the Panther 
had exercised its muscular powers, by springing to the top 
of these rocks and then to the ground again — thus, when 
undisturbed, this animal is dissimilar to others, always 
marking his travels by this kind of deviation, which seems 
to proceed from mere sportiveness, and is confined to 
this class; as they are not constructed for running or 
travelling a great distance, but possess rather great muscular 
strength, which they often call into exercise by this kind of 
diversion: the height and distance which a Panther can 
jump, is really astonishing, when their clumsy appearance 
is taken into consideration. This ledge of rocks skirted the 
side of the mountain to the distance of two hundred yards 
or more; at its termination was a cave, in which we sup- 
posed our antagonist had sought a place of repose — the 
mouth of this cave was an opening four feet high and two 
broad, the entrance descended gradually to the distance of 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



six feet, then horizontally about thirty, to the extreme end ; 
the ground outside was perhaps two feet higher than the 
floor of the den, in consequence of dirt, leaves, and other 
rubbish accumulating and dropping from the mountain side, 
and the water, by dripping from the rocks, had descended 
along the inclined part of the den, and so frozen, as to form 
a sheet of ice to a considerable depth into it. As we could 
discover no other opening to the cave but the one already 
mentioned, nor any track which could prove its departure 
from that spot, we felt confident that the Panther had taken 
refuge there. We had now a most formidable antagonist 
to contend with, and as several years had elapsed since I 
killed a wild animal, it was a moment of thrilling interest — 
to destroy an animal like (his was the sum total of my 
wishes, and the highest point to which a hunter desires to 
attain. I therefore requested of my companion permission 
to descend (as we were at this time on the ledge of rocks) 
and shoot the Panther, which I supposed was secreted be- 
neath our feet, and would make his appearance as soon as I 
approached the spot of his concealment. I accordingly de- 
scended, and it was not till then that we were certain he 
had taken refuge in the den. I approached within twenty 
feet of the cave, or to a distance which I considered per- 
fectly secure from the creature's jump, in case it made an 
attempt to come out, or that would give me the advantage 
of shooting before it could make a spring at me. Having 
encountered these animals frequently, I was cautious of ap- 
proaching too near; but my companion, who was still on the 
ledge of rocks, kept urging me to go up to the mouth 
of the den and endeavour to see the animal and shoot it; 
but I replied, "do not push me into difficulties too fast." 
He answered, that if I did not go to the mouth of the den, 
he would, and accordingly came down with that intention. 
Knowing so well the nature of our adversary, we used every 
precautionary measure, previous to an attack, and com- 
menced clearing the snow from the mouth of the cave, 
to a distance of twenty feet, so that, in case the Panther 
attacked us, we could retreat that distance without encum- 
brance to our feet. When this was done, we commenced 
pelting the mouth of the cave with snow balls; but it would 
not excite our enemy to motion. We drew the conclusion, 
from this circumstance, that the Panther, either from cowar- 
dice or security, would not risk an attempt to leave the 
cave. We approached the opening, and then the animal 
retired to the depth of its retreat. Our appearance now ex- 
cited its displeasure, which was manifested by tremendous 
growls, that made the rocks ring again: it still seemed 
unwilling to depart from a place, which offered so much 
security. We now resolved to try other measures to dislodge 
our enemy, and commenced by threshing at the aperture 
with a long stout pole; but this failed alike, with the other 
means we had employed to rouse it to action. Emboldened 



at last by its cowardice, we attempted to punch it; but 
this had no other effect than to produce the most appal- 
ling growls, and spitting like a cat. Lion, himself, seemed 
sensible of the creature's want of spirit; and was with diffi- 
culty restrained from dashing in to the combat, in which 
event, his life would have paid the forfeit, without ren- 
dering us any assistance. Being convinced that nothing 
would induce the Panther to leave its strong hold, I 
formed the resolution of shooting it, if possible, in its 
very den. I requested my friend to stand in readiness 
to shoot, or let the dog in, in case I failed, or the Pan- 
ther should spring at me. This arrangement made, I 
succeeded in getting a small distance into the cave, and 
after remaining some time, could see perfectly well. I 
found, however, that there was no chance to shoot it, even 
when so near; as, instead of getting to the extreme end of 
the den, the Panther had concealed itself behind a rock, 
which jutted so much above the bottom of the cave, as to 
shield it completely from my view. The animal's cowar- 
dice increased my courage so much, that I determined on 
using every means to destroy it. I requested my compa- 
nion to procure me a long pole to punch it with. My 
plan was to lay my rifle parallel with the pole, and the mo- 
ment the Panther seized the end with his mouth, to fire; 
and thus hoped to shoot him directly in the head; and should 
I be unsuccessful, and the Panther make a rush, I was to 
fall flat on my front, provided I could not get out in time, 
and let it run over me to escape. My friend, who was a 
bold man, and a first rate shot, was to kill it as soon as it 
appeared; or, if the Panther stopped to give me battle, was 
to let the dog enter and seize it ; and thus give me a 
chance to retire. I knew this was the only mode; for were 
I to present any obstacle to the animal's progress, as that it 
could not conveniently pass, my life would pay the forfeit 
in so doing: but I had good reason to doubt its courage, 
and, therefore, felt no great alarm for my safety. 

My friend having procured the pole, I put my plan into 
operation: the first push I made roused the anger and fero- 
city of my enemy, and convinced me that nothing but cow- 
ardice on its part saved me from utter destruction. The 
cave echoed and trembled with his growling. The Panther 
seized the end of the pole with so much fury as to bend it 
over the rock, and still kept its head from my view. So 
long as I tried to pull the stick, the animal kept a firm hold: 
but the moment I ceased pulling, it also relaxed its hold. 
The actions of this creature were so quick, that it was im- 
possible to direct aim at it with any degree of certainty; 
and on raising its head to seize the pole, the flashes from its 
eyes were distinct, but so quick were they out of sight, that 
it resembled, more than any thing else, sparks struck from 
a flint. So strong was this animal, that with both my hands, 
and utmost strength, I could not pull its head one inch. 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



After labouring for some time in this way, I requested my 
companion to procure me a pole much stouter than the first, 
so that, when the animal seized it, he could not press it be- 
hind the rock; and must of necessity keep its head in view. 
The pole, though not answering my expectations exactly, 
enabled me, nevertheless, to discharge my piece at the 
monster. I was exceedingly dcsirious of making a fatal 
shot, and as an hour had elapsed since I entered the den, I 
determined, at all hazards, to fire. Possibly I might hit — 
eight chances out of ten were in my favour of doing so — or 
that in case I missed, I could, with one spring, clear the 
mouth of the cave. Under these impressions, I thrust the 
pole once more at the Panther, and the moment it was 
seized, levelled my rifle and fired; at the next instant 
I made a spring at the opening; my feet slipped on 
the ice, and I slid backwards into the cave again. My 
friend, who was on the alert, seeing me fall, and apprehen- 
sive lest the Panther had seized me, let Lion loose: he 
sprang over me in an instant, and made an attack upon the 
common enemy, whose fury was now aroused to the highest 
pitch by the ineffectual shot: the odds were fearfully great, 
as a single blow of the monster's paw was sufficient to hurl 
the poor dog with violence against the rocks, and fortu- 
nately, beyond the reach of another, or his career would 
have ended on the spot. It may be supposed that I quit the 
cave with all convenient despatch; for had I remained, my 
condition might have been even worse than poor Lion's, 
whose shoulder and side exhibited three frightful scratches, 
of some fourteen inches long, which left four of his ribs 
entirely bare. Our efforts to dislodge the Panther, proved, 
thus far, unavailing; and having spent much time and labour, 
and the day being excessively cold, we thought of blocking 
him up until we could procure assistance, and the means 
necessary to accomplish his destruction, for we felt unwil- 
ling, after all our toil, to suffer him to escape. I recollected 
at this instant, that whilst in the cave, I thought I saw a 
ray of light or small aperture at the extreme end, when the 
Panther altered its position. I mentioned this circumstance 
to my companion, who proposed an examination of the back 
part, or outer side of the cavern, and I was to remain at 
the mouth, whilst he proceeded to examine. This cavern 
(as we have stated) was at the termination of the ledge of 
rocks, and jutted out considerably from the mountain, 
against which a gi-eat number of hemlock trees had fallen, 
and these being covered with snow at the time, prevented 
our seeing the exact conformation of the ledge, until I men- 
tioned the circumstance of my seeing the light. My friend 
proceeded there instantly, and soon returned with the infor- 
mation, that there was a small aperture in the rock about 
six inches wide and a foot long; that the Panther had com- 
pletely jammed up the hole with his rump; whilst his tail 
projected outside nearly its whole length. Here was a dis- 



covery. I shall never forget the expression of my friend's 
countenance, when he exclaimed, with great emphasis, "my 
gracious! I can take him by the tail! and I have a great 
mind to do so. I can then say, that I caught a full grown, 
live Panther by the tail." He might, indeed, have done 
so with impunity; but whether the measure would have 
been politic, was another consideration — one thing how- 
ever, was certain, that was, his destruction, for which we 
had been toiling in the midst of peril — it was now an easy 
task; the bullet might be driven through his very vitals, 
without incurring any personal risk. Would it, I thought, 
be an act of cruelty to destroy this cruelest of animals in his 
fancied security? or would it not rather be considered a 
service rendered to the community at large? This animal 
might, if suffered to escape, prowl around the settler's habi- 
tation, and carry off, in its unguarded moment, the helpless 
infant; for when hunger presses, it becomes bold and dar- 
ing, and nothing in the shape of food comes amiss. I accord- 
ingly placed my rifle near his rump, and fired, the ball 
coming out near his throat. It made one spring, and roared 
tremendously; bit the rocks, and with its claws attempted 
to enlarge the aperture, and get at us; but the wound was 
mortal, and it fell dead in the cave. We then entered, and 
fastening a withe around its neck, dragged it out: it proved to 
be a male of the largest size. We took it with us to our village 
(Deposit) from whence it was taken to Delphi, in the same 
county; and although Panthers were numerous there; yet 
the circumstance of his having been "caught by the tail," 
excited the astonishment of all who witnessed the magni- 
tude of the monster. T. M. H. 



ANECDOTE OF A CROW. 

The following circumstance was lately told me by an old 
gentleman, a member of the Society of Friends, and one 
in whose veracity I place the utmost reliance: About 
ten years ago as he was riding in his carriage from this city 
to his residence near Darby, passing a spot of marshy 
ground, he observed a Crow hover over it, presently dart 
down, and immediately ascend, bearing in its claws a Wood- 
cock, held oddly enough by one wing, and struggling vio- 
lently. As the direction in which the crow passed was 
directly across the road along which the gentleman was tra- 
velling, he formed the design of compelling his rapacious 
Crowship to release the captive. With his whip he struck 
several blows sharply upon the top of the carriage, and at 
the same time, raising a shout, the Crow dropped his bur- 
den, and flew screaming to the woods, and the Woodcock to 
his marsh, without having received any apparent injury. 
Believing the foregoing to be an unusual occurrence, I 
submit it for the speculation of the curious. A. B. 

May, 1S31. 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



CANINE ESTABLISHMENTS. 

The two largest establishments of this kind, not sporting 
ones, are in the hands of two persons, who might be the 
least expected to have them. The first is lier Royal High- 
ness the Duchess of York, who has a most numerous nur- 
sery of Dogs of the smaller species, of every age, and nearly 
of every country. Not having the happiness to enjoy any 
other nursery, they occupy many of her best apartments, 
and are carefully accommodated with cushions to rest their 
wearied limbs, when they incline to repose; and it requires 
some dexterity, on entering her Highness's apartments, to 
steer your way so scientifically, as not to tread on any of 
these sleeping beauties. 

Though some cynical philosophers might call this pur- 
suit a mode of getting through life dog-cheap, yet it affords 
some useful purposes. In the first place, it is at least, an in- 
nocent mode of passing time; and secondl)-, it has afforded 
many opportunities for the painter, of exercising his talent, 
and having his skill rewarded by the munificence of her 
Royal Highness, who has almost found constant employ- 
ment for the genius of an Animal painter, Mr. Chalon, in 
painting these favourites. 

We are not sure, we might not add another artist to the 
account, we mean the Undertaker, as we understand, many 
of the more favoured animals have been buried in the park 
at Oatlands, with all due ceremony and decorum, realizing 
the Elysium of Virgil — 

cadem sequilur tellure repostos 



The next Lady, who exhibits this remarkable attachment 
to the canine race, is the beautiful and amiable Viscountess 
Castlereagh, who has the same excuse to plead, as her Royal 
Highness of York — not having a nursery of her own, to en- 
gage her attention, or employ her time. Her Academy of 
Dogs, if we may be allowed the expression, is on a far differ- 
ent scale from those of the Duchess of York, hers being as 
diminutive as those of Lady Castlereagh are grand and mag- 
nificent. Whether the diplomatic interests of her Lord, 
may have favoured her wishes, is uncertain; but she pos- 
sesses dogs of different countries, wherever size and beauty 
are to be found. Whoever may have the good fortune to 
meet this accomplished lady, in her walks around her seat 
at North Carey, in Kent, will always find her surrounded 
and defended by a most powerful and magnificent party of 
dogs, looking "most terrible things," but seeming most 
perfectly obedient to her voice. Amongst her collection, 
we believe, she has Russian, Turkish, and Spanish dogs. 

The following whimsical anecdote is mentioned, as hav- 
ing occurred to her Ladyship, as she was taking one of her 
Nn 



accustomed walks, with her canine guard: a man who was 
walking on the road came up, and taking off his hat, said — 
" I suppose as how. Ma'am, you be a dog-fancier, or may- 
hap you exhibit with these here animals at different pleaces. 
as may be agreeable; if so be, as it may be suitable, I should 
be glad to join company, having a few dancing dogs of my 
own." 

Her Ladyship laughed, but with her accustomed grace and 
good-humour, informed the man — " She was not in that line 
of business." Scott. 



WHITE FISH OF THE LAKES. 

The White Fish is taken by both whites and Indians with 
a scoop net, which is fastened to a pole about ten feet long. 
It is hardly possible for me to describe the skill with which 
the Indians take these fish. But I will try. Two of them 
go out in a bark canoe, that you could take in your hand 
like a basket, and in the midst of the rapids, or rather just 
below where they pitch and foam most. One sits near the 
stern, and paddles; the other stands in the bow, and with 
the dexterity of a wire-dancer, balances " this egg-shell," 
that you or I would be certain to turn over in our attempts 
to keep steady. When a fish is seen through the water, 
which is clear as crystal, the place is indicated by the man 
with the net, when, by a dexterous and quick motion of the 
paddle, by the Indian holding it, he shoots the canoe to the 
spot, or within reach of it, when the net is thrown over the 
fish, and it is scooped up, and thrown into the canoe — mean- 
while the eye of the person in the stern is kept steadily 
fixed upon the breakers, and the eddy, and whirl, and fury, 
of the current; and the little frail bark is made to dance 
among them, lightsome as a cork; or is shot away into a 
smoother place, or kept stationary by the motion of that 
single paddle, as circumstances may require it. It is not 
possible to look at these fishermen Indians, and Canada 
French, and even boys and girls, flying about over these 
rapids, and reaching out this pole with a net to it, without a 
sensation of terror. Yet it has scarcely ever happened that 
any of them are lost; and I believe never, unless when 
they have been drunk. 

This fish being, in the universal estimation, the finest 
that swims, and resembles our shad, except its head, which 
is smaller and more pointed. Their weight varies from four 
to ten, and sometimes fourteen pounds. The meat is as 
white as the breast of a partridge; and the bones are less 
numerous and larger than in our shad. I never tasted any 
thing of the fish kind, not even excepting my Oneida trout, 
to equal it. It is said they do not retain this character after 
being salted; in this respect our shad and salmon have the 
preference. 



THF CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



REPLY TO SPORTSMAN'S REJOINDER. 

Messbs. Editors: — Your Correspondent, the ^^Sports- 
man," certainly deserves much credit for his ingenuity in 
discovering the assailable points in my argument, and I 
acknowledge there may be much truth in some parts of his 
reply — but I regret he has not comprehended my diagram, 
and on this miscomprehension, has founded a system of 
reasoning and proof entirely irrelevant to the case. In my 
explanation of the problem, I supposed that one second of 
time might elapse from the commencem,ent of pulling 
the trigger to the arrival of the load, which we will 
presume, to simplify the case, to be a ball, at the muzzle. 
This, I imagine, would not be much out of the way, for a 
sensible interval of time does ensue, after the finger begins 
to press the trigger, before the load issues from the barrel. 
When it has arrived at the very muzzle, and that muzzle 
still bearing full on the object, is the instant that my prin- 
ciple commences, the preceding being a mere introduction 
to the case. Let us imagine the gun and the object to be 
stationary, the ball will of course pass straight from one to the 
other. Let us suppose the bird alone to be in motion, at 
S7 feet in the second, the ball will necessarily, if it take a 
second to fly from the gun to where the bird was at the mo- 
ment of discharge, be S7 feet behind the bird. The ball 
has in this case but one motion, and that a forward one. 
We will now in addition give it a latteral force. The 
gun, of course, is useless to the load after it has issued, 
and its movement may therefore cease. The ball depends 
for its forward projection, on the powder, and for its late- 
ral power, on the motion of the gun, and on no other 
possible cause. Suppose the ball be thrown from a mere hol- 
low and no barrel to exist, it would necessarily go straight 
forward from its chamber to the point toward which it was 
directed. If we give it a tube to pass thro', up to the very ob- 
ject itself, it will reach the object it is true, but every inch it 
travels the route, it is receiving from this passage a lateral 
force which increases from the chamber, which we will 
take for the centre of motion, to the end, being from a 
unit, to 87 feet in the second. During the passage of the 
ball through a tube thus in motion, it will, whilst in the canal, 
perform a portion of an elipse — somewhat on the same prin- 
ciple that a body projected into the air will do it, to return to 
the same point from whence it started — being caused in one 
case, by the lateral pressure of the tube, and in the other, the 
attraction of gravitation, being in the latter instance a variable 
power, acting every instant in a difi'crent line according to 
the point over which the object is passing. In the case in 
dispute, the ball, so soon as it issues from the barrel, will 
pass in a right line, because gravitation is not considered, 
and the projectile has received all the forces that can influ- 
ence it. The ' Sportsman' does not object to the swing of the 



muzzle of an ordinary gun being 10 feet in the second; or 
he may take any distance he may choose, for, a principle 
that is ^'■2}hilosophically correct," cannot be invalidated 
by a change of proportion alone. When the ball has there- 
fore arrived at the end of the barrel, it will have passed thro' 
a given distance from the centre of motion, and acquired 
the sole lateral power of the part to which it may be at the 
instant attached, and if it remain attached, and the muzzle per- 
form a circle, would arrive at the same point again, in a time 
exactly according to the rate of motion of the part to which 
it was fixed. We will however let it loose during some part 
of the revolution, and how fast will it go, allowing it has 
received no impulse other than the circulatory motion of 
the part. Certainly not more rapidly than the source of its 
motion, the muzzle, exactly as in "Sportsman's" case of a 
man on a fleet horse, the object thrown, possessing precisely 
the same forward momentum, and returning by the power of 
gravitation to his hand, — or in the sailing ship, the object 
retaining a certain force parallel to the surface of the 
earth, besides the downward gravitation, and arriving at the 
foot of the mast, simply, because the foot of the mast is tra- 
velling at the same identical rate that the head is, and the 
falling body possessing precisely the same momentum. — 
Please tell me, Messrs. Editors, where the parallelism can 
be, between these instances of "Sportsman" and the shoot- 
ing, for he certainly proves by them, that a projected body 
receives the lateral momentum of the part from whence 
it issues, and no more. In his illustrations, he forgets that 
every point and body considered, are moving at the same 
rate — whereas, in the shooting problem, the breech of the 
gun may be supposed a Jixed centre of motion, around 
which the other bodies are revolving, and each possessing 
a different rapidity in proportion to its distance from the 
centre. Let me take another instance of the "Sports- 
man," for I certainly desire to afford him every ad- 
vantage in my power. We will allow, the surface of the 
earth moves at the rate of 950 feet from west to east 
in a second of time, and will imagine a tower sufficiently 
elevated above its surface, the top of which, must describe a 
a circle as much greater than the surface of the earth as 
will require in the revolution round the axis, a circulatory 
momentum of 1000 feet in the second to preserve its rela- 
tive situation. Suppose a body to be projected from the earth 
at the foot, exactly towards the top of the tower. At start- 
ing, it possesses a lateral force of 950 feet in the second, 
and during a second, has arrived at the same height as this 
supposed point. Now where will it be ? The answer is 
self-evident, it will be 50 feet behind the object towards 
which it was directly pointed at the moment of its departure. 
It still retains its side force of 950 feet in a second, and on 
returning to the earth at the expiration of the second second, 
will reach the point from whence it started, although tha*. 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



point will be now 1900 feet to the east. But in its flight, it will 
have made a mathetnatical angle, from a direct line drawn 
from the point of emission to the centre of the earth, the 
maximum of its altitude being 50 feet west of a perpendi- 
cular, but as in measurable distances this would be inappre- 
ciable, it need not be considered. Let us reverse the case, 
and suppose a body let fall from this point in the air which 
is passing forward at 1000 feet, and it reaches the earth 
which is travelling at 950 feet in the second. Now where 
will the body touch on the surface ? Just 50 feet in advance 
of the foot of the tower. 

All this proves, that if the muzzle of the gun be passing 
laterally at the rate of 10 feet in the second, the ball can 
possibly receive but the same momentum, and whether the 
load be one second or the 20th part, in passing to the object, 
the proportion will be the same. 

In addition to all this, the duck-shooters who live at 
Egg-harbour and on the Chesapeake, have always advis- 
ed to give a certain allowance. I have conversed with 
scores of them, and have never heard a variance of senti- 
ment, and in objecting to a short gun, the reason they have 
urged was, that they had to give their aim so much 
advance. At sixty yards, heavy shot will scatter several 
feet when fired from the best gun, and therefore, many 
birds are struck, when the mass of the load may have passed 
far behind the duck. 

In common game, it would be absurd to make any allow- 
ance, from the slowness of flight, and general nearness of 
object, and where the number of pellets is so great, the 
space covered, will be more than sufficient. It is with a 
ball alone, the matter can be determined. 

With respect to the rest of "Sportsman Rejoinder," his 
explanation and reasoning are certainly convincing, and 
it gives me much pleasure to acknowledge the cor- 
rectness of his philosophy. That a peculiar sound can 
be heard when ducks are struck, there is no doubt, though 
it is more than probable, the non-entering pellets produce 
it ; although, as I before remarked, a ball that passes 
through a deer can be heard distinctly to strike. My object 
was merely to prove, that sufficient time did elapse, for the 
sound to be heard distinctly by the shooter, and that rarely 
a duck was killed, without sorne of the shot being heard im- 
pinging, and old duck shooters have informed me they 
could say without hesitation, from the sound alone, what 
part of the bird received the load. I. T. S. 



Extract of a Letter from a Gentleman in the Country 
to his Friend in Philadelphia. 

'• There is now in the grove near the house, a cock phea- 
sant which drums every A&y. Yesterday morning as I 
came out of the east door, which leads from the house to 



the office, a favourite peacock was standing close to it, and 
I heard behind a lilac bush, two or three yards from the 
door, the pheasant's peculiar clucking noise: as I wished 
not to disturb him, I walked on towards the office; but had 
scarcely passed the bush ere he went ofl" with a whirr, almost 
touching Jack, the peacock, who seemed to mistake the noise 
for that of some missile aimed at him. He took to his wings, 
his long tail, which spreads ten feet, dangling after him, and 
scolding all the way, flew to one of the tall trees on the lake 
shore, where he spent an hour on the liighest branch, appa- 
rently in deep reflection as to the cause of his alarm. I saw 
him afterwards with his long neck stretched out, treading 
most gently on tiptoe, and examining with his keen eyes 
behind the lilac bush. It is not a trifle that will frighten 
Jack. He is very familiar, and comes at a call to take an}' 
thing from your hand. He possesses great courage, and has 
several battles daily with two superb wild turkey co^s of 
great size and most brilliant plumage, which we have do- 
mesticated. Last jcar, when they were in their second 
season, he beat them both, but this year they overpower 
him with their great weight; and besides, they are now 
joined by a son, a lialf-blood, which renders the battle very 
unequal. But Jack's rule is, never to decline a combat of- 
fered by them, and the servants have very frequently to 
use switches to separate the belligerents. Whilst I write, 
I hear Jack's shout of defiance on the south side of the office, 
answered by the war cry gobble of the turkies on the north, 
and I shall have to ring the bell for some mediator to in- 
terpose between them." May, 1831. 



Notes of a Naturalist. By Jacob Gbeen, M. D. 
SAGACITY OF A DOG. 

'Tis thought by some, that all animals are surrounded by 
an odoriferous atmosphere, and that each species, and even 
each individual, emits a volatile principle peculiar to itself 
I knew a person whose sense of smell was so exceedingly 
delicate as to enable him to distinguish his friends by this 
odorous principle alone. From some recent experiments 
of a French chemist, this odour is found in the blood, and 
may be readily produced from it by the addition of a little 
strong sulphuric acid. Every one familiar with rural em- 
ployments knows, that after sheep have been washed or 
shorn, there is great confusion among the flock; the lambs 
and ewes run bleating about, and it is some time before the 
mother and the offspring recognize each other. This embar- 
rassment, is, no doubt, occasioned by the loss or the dimi- 
nution, in intensity, of the volatile odoriferous principle 
peculiar to each. It has been long ago remarked, that the 
brute creation recognize each other more from the smell 
than the sight. The following anecdote may serve still 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



farther to illustrate this curious subject. It was recorded in 
my diary some years ago. 

At my boarding house in Albany, there is an old family 
dog, called Cesar. This animal seems to have a special and 
violent antipathy to all swine: the moment a hog makes 
his appearance in the street, or in the extensive yard attach- 
ed to the house, Cesar will dash upon it, and worry it in 
the most violent manner. Among the servants in our esta- 
blishment, we have a little French barber named Ferdinand: 
now Ferdinand and Cesar are almost inseparable friends; 
Cesar espouses the cause of his master, right or wrong, on 
all occasions; and Ferdinand protects his canine liend, with 
the enthusiasm of his countrymen, from all the assaults of 
cook, scullion, or lackey. In process of time, Ferdinand, 
by the consent of our host, established a piggery in the 
yard, and who, but Cesar, has undertaken to watch over 
his little herd, which arc permitted occasionally to roam 
about in the streets of the city. Ferdinand's hogs are all 
entirely white, and often after their excursions abroad, they 
are accompanied home by a host of acquaintances of the like 
colour; but Cesar never suffered one of the strangers to re- 
main on our premises. He knows his master's property 
much better than he does himself; and should he not be 
present when they are fed, he is always called to ascertain 
if any strangers are present, and it is surprising with what 
quickness and certainty he discovers, and unceremoniously 
ejects them . 

It is well known that our Indians keep their various 
troops of horses, which are pastured in the wilds of Florida, 
separate from each other, by means of dogs trained up for 
the purpose. These dogs differ, however, from Cesar, in- 
asmuch as he is self taught, and this when eight or nine 
years of age. Bartram in his Travels relates the story of 
an Indian dog who kept his master's horses together on a 
wide plain, about ten miles distant from his wigwam. The 
dog when hungry came home for his food, but never re- 
mained there during the night. — See Bartram's Travels, 
pp. 222-3. 

While noticing the sagacity of the dog, I will state two 
other facts, which, though they have been frequently wit- 
nessed by sportsmen, are perhaps worth recording. 

On a shooting party the other day in company with some 
friends, we killed a rabbit, and our pointer slut, Venus, 
while fetching the rabbit in her mouth, came to a dead 
point at a pheasant about twenty yards distant. 

My friend, J. B., informs me, that when hunting with 
three dogs, it frequently happened, that when one of his 
dogs pointed a bird, the second dog would point the 
first, though out of scent of the bird, and the third dog, per- 
haps not seeing the first, would set at the second; thus 
forming a kind of telegraph of two or three hundred 
yards, to the sportsman. J. G. 



INSTINCT OF THE SPIDER. 

The wonderful ingenuity frequently exercised by most 
animals, in securing the means of sustenance, must be fa- 
miliar to every observer of nature. In no class of animals 
are the instincts resorted to for the purpose of obtaining 
food, more surprising than in that which is considered the 
lowest in the scale of animal life. For this end we often 
find many insects endowed with a kind of foresight, and 
apparently exercising a degree of philosophic induction, 
and a knowledge of the laws of mechanics, which are not 
surpassed by all the boasted powers of man. The little pit 
falls constructed by the Lion-ant, and the ingenious means 
used by many of our common insects to entrap their prey, 
must be familiar to most of your readers. The following 
instance of ingenuity and mechanical skill used by a small 
House-spider in lifting the carcase of a large fly a foot or two 
from the floor, may be depended upon. 

Some days since a little Spider was observed under an 
arm chair, running to and fro, and exhibiting marks of 
great bustle and anxiety. Upon watching its proceedings 
its nest was soon found under the bottom of the chair, and 
the dead body of a fly, much larger and heavier than itself, 
was seen lying on the carpet below. It was evidently the 
intention of the Spider to raise up this heavy load and to 
deposit it safely in its storehouse for future use; but how, 
with its strength, could this be effected? He commenced 
his tedious and singularly scientific operation by attaching 
a line, or strong fibre of his web, to one of the legs of the 
chair about four inches from the floor, and then fastening 
the fibres to the body of the fly, he extended the line to the 
opposite leg of the chair, and there fastened it about the 
same height from the floor as in the first instance. As 
the fly lying on the carpet was much nearer the one of the 
legs of the chair than the other, the two lines which formed 
an angle with the body, were of different lengths. As the 
Spider now slowly moved along the longest end of the line, 
the weight of the fly was thus overcome by a mechanical 
advantage, and raised a little distance from the floor. 
Every one knows that the lever is the most simple of all 
the mechanical powers, and one to which all the others may 
be referred. In the contrivance of the Spider it will be 
noticed that that form of the lever which is used where the 
fulcrum is at one end, ihe power at the other, and the weight 
between them, the Spider, having ascertained that portion 
of his lever which, when depressed, would lift his prey 
to the greatest altitude, fastened it in that position, by a clue, 
which reached from that part to the floor. By repeating 
this same operation several times, the fly was at last safely 
deposited in his nest above. I must not forget, however, to 
mention that when each new lever was constructed, the 
weight was carefully detached from all the fastenings below. 

J. G. 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



COMMUNICATION FROM SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY. 
with a drawing of trout. 

Dear E., 

I RECEIVED a few days ago, from Messrs. Doughty, the 
four numbers which they have published of their " Cabinet 
of Natural History and American Rural Sports," accompa- 
nied by a letter, which is entitled to a verj' courteous an- 
swer. They suppose that I could render them some assist- 
ance in their work; but what time have I to write, except, 
currente calamo, in the way I usually talk to you, pen in 
hand? I am not acquainted, personally, with either of 
those gentlemen; but I know perfectly well the style and 
manner of one of them, in his beautiful landscapes, and 
could point out one of his pieces among an hundred others. 
I wish the editors every success which they can desire; but 
how can I assist them in their present work ? To be sure, 
I could tell some hunting stories for their book; but many 
around you could do the same, as all our countrymen are 
marksmen; yet, it is probable, that, of your citizen-shoot- 
ers, the most expert at bagging woodcock and snipe, have 
never shot, as I have, an elk when at his full long trot, just 
as, from left to right, he crossed a small opening in the 
thicket, with a rifle ball, so exactly through the heart, as to 
bleed him to death before he could take twenty steps after 
the trigger was drawn; and then, with the assistance of a 
companion of the forest, stretched his skin on a pole, at- 
tached to two forked sticks, in time to form a shelter from 
a severe thunder storm, and couched myself, dry and com- 
fortable, under it, while a deluge of rain fell unceasingly 
throughout the ensuing night. And, perhaps, you have no 
one near you, unless it may be Mr. T. R. Peale, who could 
say, as I could, that he eat a slice of a buffalo, admirably 
roasted, in fifteen minutes after the rifle was discharged 
which killed the animal. But Mr. P. must know how ex- 
peditiously hungry hunters can prepare a meal, without 
thinking of Macbeths advice. 



" If it were done, when 'lis done, tlien 'twere well 
It were done quickly," 

which, I believe, has been quoted in the Cows Gastrono- 
mique. How well Peale or Doughty could sketch the 
scene! One person is kindling a fire of dry sticks and 
leaves; another, having cut the skin just over the hump, is 
slicing with his scalping knife, that delicate morsel so well 
known to all hunters in the "far west;" while a third is 
employed in fixing the pieces on slender rods, like skewers, 
and sticking one end into the ground, the other being sloped 
at a proper angle to the clear blaze, and almost touching the 
flame. I should like to know which of your restaurateurs 
could furnish a dish equal to that repast — the side of the 
o 



piece sliced away, when roasted to the depth of half an 
inch, and while that was, as novel writers say, " discussed," 
a new surface was presented to the fire — the noble animal 
that furnished the meal, lying invitingly by the side of the 
party, his dark head with its curled hair and short horns, 
presenting, like the black bull's head of Ravenswood, with 
his " I bide my time;" but serving as a better omen to the 
partakers of the feast. Some fastidious persons may turn 
from this as an Abyssinian repast: but there is no squeam- 
ishness of that kind to be found in the prairies. Ask Mr. 
T. R. P. whose looks bespeak him a very gentlemanly as 
well as amiable man, what he thinks of the relish of the buf- 
falo hump, eaten in that way, in the western prairies. I 
assure you, that it would not require the appetite of Gudgel, 
the fat caterer for the Abbey, in the Hunt of Gildon. The 
boar Crowdie would have been nothing to the bos ferus — 
the bos ferus! why, that is the phrase of Cooper's Dr. Bat- 
tius in his prairie! What an abominable caricature he has 
made of that Dr. Bat! a " Vespertilio horribilis," indeed! 
I am mortified and vexed at Cooper for losing so fine an op- 
portunity of displaying a naturalist in all his glory. How 
a botanist might have raved! How a geologist might have 
ranted! — and yet, all been true to nature. Most absurd 
Dr. Bat! Cooper would never have suffered you on ship- 
board; or if by any means you had got there, long Tom 
Coffin would have thrown j'ou overboard with as little com- 
punction as he would feel at harpooning a whale. 

Do you know * * * *? Perhaps not; for he endea- 
vours to keep out of sight. He likes to see every thing; 
but to avoid being seen himself Almost infantine in his 
simplicity — simplex munditiis emphatically. Impassion- 
ed only in his particular pursuit. If he met Venus, attired 
by the Graces, walking in Chesnut street, he would take no 
notice of her; or if, by any possible chance, he did observe 
her, he would think her but so-so; yet in the seclusion of 
his study — (I am almost tempted to describe his study to 
you) — he can write in the fervid style of a lover, about " a 
most exquisite collection of reptiles!" Ah! I wish * * * * 
had sat for' his picture! Instead of the rude bistre daub 
of Dr. Bat, what beautiful drawing might have been ex- 
pected! What strong lights and shadows, with here and 
there a demi-tint, or neutral colour, slightl}' appearing 
through them, would have been thrown on the canvass by 
the painter — in general, a master of his art. I wish you 
knew * * * *. His plain face, and his plain garb, would 
not attract your eyes. You might be in his company for a 
month and take no notice of him ; and he would take none of 
you, if he thought you were of the common herd — that is, 
engaged only in the common business, or common amuse- 
ments of life — the ignobile vulgus, as he considers them, 
great as well as small; for the wealth of "Rothschild's or 
the Barings" is nothing in his view, except as it might be 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



made subservient to the collection of a cabinet of zoology, 
ichthyology, geology, mineralogy, &c. &c. Solomon him- 
self did not behold the pleasures that distract mankind with 
more contempt, when in his silly and well known fit of dis- 
gust, he said, that " all was vanity." But draw out * * * *. 
Ask him why acotyledonous stiped and culmiferous plants, 
bivalve mollusci and chambered univalves were created be- 
fore the depositions of the last of the arglllite; or why the 
ncotj^ledonous and monocotyledonous plants before the 
animals, and you shall hear him talk — "Good gods! how 
lie will talk!" as the mad poet makes one of his heroines 
say of Alexander the Great. The enthusiasm of a geologi- 
cal friend of mine, with whom I have the honour some- 
times to correspond, and who in his last published work 
says, that "the brilliant constellation of resplendent iumi-. 
naries," (alluding to certain persons whom he names, who 
have written about stones and earth,) "who began at this 
epoch to enlighten both subterranean hemispheres," is no- 
thing to * * * * when thoroughly excited by his favourite 
subject. I believe the greatest regret that ***** ever ex- 
perienced was, that he could not have lived during that re- 
mote state of our globe, when animals of the Saurian family, 
seventy feet long, (their necks thirty feet,) swam and 
sported in the vast profound. He really sighs for the days 
longpast of the megalosaurus and the pleslosaurus! "What," 
said he to me one day, his eyes flashing at the thought, 
"what a glorious time they must have had! Ah, there 
can be nothing like it now!" And yet *' * * '* must think 
that the world is rapidly growing better; for he says that 
the inferior animals are all dying off as fast as they can; and 
that the plastic hand of nature is occupied in preparing the 
materiel for the formation of superior ones to occupy their 
places; and he is as confident as of any thing at present before 
his eyes, that the time will soon come, (by soon, I believe he 
means only ten or twenty thousand years,) when every 
thing inferior to man will have perished, and myriads of 
genera, infinitely his superior, will have been created. For 
my own part, I am far from being satisfied that this will be 
a pleasant state for poor man to be in; for I remember when I 
was a school-boy, I always objected to change from the 
head of one class, and take my seat at the tail of the one next 
above it. I would have made no objection to jump to the 
middle of the form; but never liked the equivocal honour 
of the single step. Burns appears to have been of the same 
opinion of * * * *, and, like our naturalist, thought that na- 
ture, having tried " her prentice hand," went on improving 
her skill by practice. 

I wish I were enthusiastic; for I like enthusiastic people. 
The sensation must at all times be delightful. How difier- 
ently do different eyes behold the same object! An Eng- 
lish traveller, in his journal, while descending the Missis- 
sippi, says that the alligators looked like black logs on the 



water, drifting with the current; and that one day, he 
took a canoe, and went off to kill one, fired at it, and when 
he picked it up, found it to be a large bull-frog, weighing 
nearly four pounds. What a bathos this is! I will say 
nothing about Audebon's alligators — since his story of the 
rattlesnake, I keep clear of Audebon; but how does one of 
our own honest chroniclers and lovers of nature describe 
the alligator? "Behold him rushing from the flags and 
reeds. His enormous body swells. His plaited tail, bran- 
dished on high, floats upon the lake. The waters, like a 
cataract, descend from his opening jaws. Clouds of smoke 
issue from his dilated nostrils. The earth trembles with 
his thunder." This is something quite Osslanic; although 
I must confess that I do not see how his tail could float on 
the lake, while he was brandishing it on high. 

One man shall tell you, in homely phrase, that the In- 
dian on horseback was very near getting a shot at a deer; 
but that the deer ran off. Another person, properly im- 
bued with the sublime and beautiful, in narrating the same 
thing, says, " The red warrior, whose plumed head flashes 
lightning, whoops in vain. His proud, ambitious horse 
strains and pants; the earth glides from under his feet; his 
flowing mane dances in the wind as he comes up, full of 
vain hopes: but the bounding buck views his' rapid ap- 
proach, lifts aloft his antlered head, erects his white flag, 
and his shrill whistle says to his fleet and free associates, 
' Follow!' In a few minutes he distances his foe, turns about 
and laughing says, ' How vain! Go chase meteors In the 
azure plains above, or hunt butterflies in the fields about 
your towns.'" I will make no comparison between this 
horse and that of the poet, whose speed devoured the 
ground; nor between this laughing buck and the war-horse 
which cried, ha! ha! — nor will I stop to notice the tauto- 
logy of his lifting aloft his head, nor "the azure plains 
above," which existed in his philosophy; but I will say to 
my acquaintance Cooper, as the above-mentioned buck, 
or any other sensible animal might say, even without the 
buck's peculiar and emphatic whistle. Do, for Heaven's 
sake, my good fellow, banish the miserable Dr. Bat from 
the prairie, and send him to hunt butterflies about your 
towns. 

But how I have wandered I I began this with the inten- 
tion of sending you for "The Cabinet," a drawing by a 
young lady of your acquaintance, of the particular kind of 
Trout found in Silver I.,ake, and, so far as I know, to be 
found in Pennsylvania only in this and another lake, about 
three miles from it. I believe this species has not been de- 
scribed in any work on Ichthyology. It is not among the 
sixty -two varieties of Salmo, described by Shaw. Le Sieur 
knew it not. But as I think that the conductors of " The 
Cabinet of Rural Sports" do not desire to load their work 
with names in "heathen Greek," nor care about the differ- 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



ence between a malacoterj'gian and an acanthopterian; nor 
between the chondropterygian and the branchrostegous, I 
shall say nothing on that subject. The drawing will de- 
scribe the species very exactly. You know its habitat, 
and can say that this fine variety of the finest genus of fishes, 
lives in a lake of pure water, where it may, at its discretion, 
vary the temperature from that which is found near the 
surface, affected by the sun's rays, to that at an hundred 
feet depth, where, throughout the year, Fahrenheit's ther- 
mometer remains at 46*^ 

Do you remember our letting a black bottle down with a 
line to the greatest depth of the lake, in order to ascertain 
the temperature there, and after bringing it up full — the 
pressure of the water having forced in the cork, which we 
had left in the bottle as we found it — our discussion as to 
what could have given the water at the bottom its singular 
taste and deep colour; and conjecturing that at the depth to 
which the bottle had been sunk, there must be some pecu- 
liar kind of aquatic plant — unknown, undisturbed, a treasure 
for the botanist, if it could be got at — which had given to 
the contents of the bottle its strange taste and hue? — and on 
our taking the bottle to the house, to get others to form 
their conjectures on a subject so important to science, our 
being asked where we had got the bottle, and whether be- 
fore letting it down, we had poured out the wine that was 
in it? But to return to our Trout: Ask Dr. D. what he 
would give to hook and land safely, a trout twenty-four and 
a half inches long and six pounds weight. This beats yours; 
the largest you caught weighed only four pounds and three 
quarters, and measured twenty-three inches. Don't dis- 
pute this; for the. weight and measure were all correctly 
"booked down." 

You know that in the outlet, or stream from the lake, 
none of the lake trout were ever found; and that in the 
lake we have never seen but one of the creek trout, and that 
was an uncommonly large one. In other lakes, and there 
are many small ones in this county, where there are none of 
the lake trout, the red-spotted trout of the streams, or salmo 
fontinalis, is the common and only one. That the two 
may be compared, they are both shown on the paper which 
is enclosed. The lake trout is longer, more slender, and 
has a forked tail. You know that this trout will not rise at 
a fly, like the common trout of the streams; and that it is 
caught only with small fish as bait. The two kinds differ 
much in size; the lake trout is seldom caught so small as 
one pound weight, the creek trout seldom so large. I have 
been frequently puzzled to imagine where the small lake 
trout keep themselves. One of your citizens, whose ideas 
of rivers were probably formed from the Delaware at Phi- 
ladelphia, when he saw the Susquehanna at Wilkesbarre, ex- 
pressed his surprise that a river could be so little. From 
the description given to me of the trout in the lakes north 



of this, in the states of New York, Vermont, &c., I think 
they are of the same species as those in Silver Lake; but I 
believe the latter to be their southern limit. 

I have not observed the colours of the lake trout to vary 
at different times of the year; but the colours of the male of 
the red-spotted trout change very much, and are deeper and 
much more brilliant at one season than at another; like the 
males of most kinds of birds, whose feathers become gayer 
at the time of courtship; so Ihat the honeymoon garb of 
some of them, makes them look like different birds from 
what they are the rest of the year. So it is with the creek 
trout, of which the drawing represents one in his Septem- 
ber dress, his back of a rich olive, lighter on the sides, 
sprinkled with brilliant spots of vermilion, and his fins 
tinted with vermilion, a rich black, and a pure white. You 
have seen a dying dolphin — not the dolphin of the ichthy- 
ologists — the porpus or delphinus tergo recurvo, which the 
ancient writers say was so fond of music, and (fide majus!) 
carried Arion when he was cast, like a bait, upon the waters; 
but the dolphin of the sailors, the coryphcena hipjmris — 
and therefore you know how suddenly and how surprisingly 
the colours of a fish may be changed. 

Old Walton says, that "in England trout spawn about 
October or November; but in some rivers a little sooner or 
later." Their spawning time here is much the same. How 
I admired old Walton when I was a boy ! I believe I have 
read every thing which has been published on the " dis- 
portes in fishynge," from his celebrated work down to the 
"New, Plain, and Complete Treatise on the Art of Ang- 
ling, by T. F. Salter, Esq.," adorned with a plate of the 
author, but terribly out of costume for a fisherman — publish- 
ed in 1825, which you sent me about two years ago. I 
have even read the Nautical Idylls of Hugo Grotius, and 
the Piscatory Eclogues of Sannazarius, in hopes of glean- 
ing something from them, which might be useful to the 
"brothers of the angle:" but the latter was much like a ce- 
lebrated breeder of cattle sending for Miss Edgeworth's 
Treatise on Irish Bulls. 

I think I was about twelve years of age, when I first read 
old Isaac's treatise, " being," as he says in his title page, 
"a Discourse of Fish and Fishing, not unworthy the peru- 
sal of most Anglers;" and I have never forgot some stanzas 
of his Angler's song, particularly the one: 



'■ When I the thoughllesss trout esp 
Devour my worm, or simple fly, 
How poor, how small a thing I find 
Can captivate a greedy mind ! 
But when none bite, the wise I prai: 
Whom hope of profit ne'er betrays. 



That is, I admired the poetic fisherman; but fear I never 
learnt any thing from the fishing moralist; and when the 



148 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



trout did not bite, I, as a boy might be supposed to do, at- 
tributed the faihire, not to the philosophy of the fish, but to 
their want of appetite. 

I love fly-fishing; because it is fishing divested of much of 
its barbarity. I mean, of course, the ar^^j^CiV// fly. It is all 
very fair to catch a voracious fish, while he is endeavouring to 
gobble up what he supposes a nice little fly. I always disliked 
to use live bait, and never did when I could avoid it. Walton 
had many kind feelings, and in instructing you how to impale 
a frog in such a manner as to keep the poor devil alive as long 
as possible, he pathetically urges it upon j'ou to "use him as 
though you loved himf for which affectionate admonition 
he has been sneered at most unmercifully by half a dozen peo- 
ple, who although they may be very accomplished writers, 
are no fishermen. But in my early fishing daj-s, I learnt more 
humanity from Thomson than from any other person, and 
for a long time, whenever I thought of going a fishing, I 
had humming in my ears: 

'* But let not on your hook the tortured worm, 
Convulsive, twist in agonizing folds j 
Which by rapacious hunger swalluwed deep, 
Gives, as you tear it from the bleeding breast 
Of the weak, harmless, uncomplaining wretch. 
Harsh pain and horror to the tender hand." 

These lines saved many a worm. It was Thomson, I 
think, who, some lady said, showed plainly in his works, 
that he was a great fisherman and a great swimmer; but 
who, notwithstanding the lady's sagacity, and I must say 
that she drew a very fair inference, judging from his works, 
never took a fishing rod in his hand, and never went into 
the water. Thomson's worm puts me in mind of a time 
when I was trying to entice into my pouch some Trout from 
the Choconut creek — You have been there with me — They 
were shy, and I thought I would try some other bait, and 
searching around I found a worm. My head had been 
running on mixed mathematics, and the doctrine of 
chances — a foolish thing to puzzle one's self with when fish- 
ing. As I sauntered along, I had been proving to myself 
that the probability of two subsequent events, both happen- 
ing, is equal to the product of the probability of the hap- 
pening of those events, considered separately. Q. E. D. 
And had demonstrated the thing in my head most scholas- 
tically, when I said to myself, — Here is this poor worm. 
What was the chance that in the immense extent of this 
globe, it should be here, in this spot; and in the great 
lapse of time since the formation of worms, that this very 
one should have existed at all; and if existing, been here, 
at this point of time; and that I — the individual / — 
should be here now, of all times; and be here in this spot 
in all space, for the purpose of catching a Trout. That be- 
ing here, at this time, of all times past, present, and to 



come, / should have found this worm, of all the worms of 
the earth, and should put it on this hook, among the trillions 
of hooks, to catch a particular trout, in this particular creek, 
of all the creeks in the world. And yet that chance has 
become a certainty! Prove me that, Mr. De Moivre! 
Poh! poh! 'tis all a folly, and it shan't happen; and you 
shan't be put upon this hook, nor be eaten by that trout, 
poor little worm. There, go off with you — wriggle away 
as fast as you can, and thank the doctrine of chances for 
your escape; and I'll bother myself no more with them: I 
dare say it was they that made me lose that last trout. 

What fishing may be compared with fly-fishing for trout, 
in a fine, clear, spring brook, overarched by spreading 
beeches, birches, and elms! — the day so warm as to give a 
pleasing consciousness of the protection derived from the 
majestic trees — the water so clear as to tempt you from the 
bank to walk into the stream, that runs dancing over stones 
and pebbles, or whirling around rocks, as if for the purpose 
of forming lurking places for the trout. You throw your 
fly, and they see it in its light descent, and dart at it; but 
one, more alert than his fellows, springs out of the water 
and seizes it, before it reaches the surface! I am sure, my 
dear E., that you will always recollect that fishing when 
we caught thirty-six dozens, (or was it it thirty-five and a 
half? I always said that; but you contended that it was 
thirty-six,) and the boy who attended with the horse and 
panniers, could scarcely put them away, wrapped up in the 
fresh green leaves, as fast as we caught them. Do you re- 
collect the pool, where I stood over my knees in the water, 
and from one place, caught my fishing-l)ag full three times 
over — the boy being called that often to empty it ? When, 
as the fly was descending, we could see trout dashing from 
difierent parts of the clear water, to the point where it was 
expected to fall, and the surface would be thrown into 
ebullition by the struggle among them to see who should 
be the fortunate fellow to seize it? Do you recollect what 
a delicious hmch we made that day, about twelve o'clock, 
you may call it a dejeuner a-la-fourchette, if you please 
— having been walking in the stream, the forest all the 
way overhead, from sunrise — how we sat on the bank, sub 
tegmine fagi, with our feet in the water, and how often you 
exclaimed, " How delightful this is!" Do you remember 
how the pellucid stream put us in mind of Professor 
Carlyle's translation from the Arabic poet, in lines which 
might be supposed to describe the limpid rivulet before 



" So smooth the pebbles on its shore. 

That not a maid can thither stray, 
But counts her strings of jewels o'er, 

And thinks the pearls have slipped away." 

Do you recollect, as we lay thrown back upon the grass, 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



149 



my story of my friend H. D. ? the best of all men, although 
not the best of fishermen, who was out with me on the same 
stream, and near the same place, one time when I caught 
twenty dozens, and he two fish less than one dozen; that 
wondering what had become of him, I sat down on the 
bank to wait for him, and at length saw him coming to- 
wards me, very slowly, walking in the middle of the 
stream, his spectacles — near-sighted — enabling him to 
choose the deepest parts of it, his line rolled round his rod, 
and his rod on his shoulder. He would have passed with- 
out seeing me, and when I said, " Why H., what are you 
about? Are you tired of fishing?" "Oh, no!" he re- 
plied, "not at all — I am delighted with it: but this is the 
best part of it. I don't care about the Trout: you can catch 
enough for both of us." 

Do you remember another story I told you, of another 
person, who accompanied me to catch Trout ? After miss- 
ing him for a long time, I heard him call at the full extent 
of his lungs, "I have caught one! I have caught one!!" — 
and looking up the stream, I saw him holding his rod out in 
triumph, with something dangling at the end of his line. 
Observing my attention, he cried, " What shall I do with 
it ? Shall I kill it before I take it ofi"?" And when, in his 
exultation, he came down to me with it, holding his rod at 
arm's length before him, I found his captive to be a misera- 
ble chub, about as long as his finger! A Dr. Battius of a 
fish! — Plague on Dr. Bat! having spoken of him, I can't 
get rid of the vagabond. You know we never caught chub 
— never sufiered them to bite. 

Do you remember what a supper we made on Trout, that 
night, at our bivouac ? What exquisite sauce our day's 
fishing had provided for us? How delightfully our cook 
dressed the fish? How many you eat? — we always chose 
the small ones, not more than six or seven inches long — 
How thirsty you were when you awoke, sometime after 
midnight, from your bed of fragrant boughs? How horror- 
struck, when, half-dead with thirst, you found that there 
was no water in the tent? How your impatience would 
not let you wait until our cook could be roused to bring 
water from the spring? How you went yourself, in the 
dark, over logs and through bushes, down to the stream? 
And how you kept me awake the rest of the night, with 
your groans of tribulation and repentance at having drank so 
much cold water? And do you also remember, that, after- 
wards, during your rambles in Europe, when visiting the 
classic ground of Petrarch, you wrote to me that much as 
the Trout of Vaucluse were famed, you could say — for you 
had just had one for your dinner — that they were not to be 
compared, by a thousand degrees, to the Trout of Silver 
Lake? 

And there you are, in Philadelphia, you who can recol- 
lect all this, plodding away at your profession! Well, I 
Pp 



won't check you. Go on, and prosper! Only consider it 
your duty, during the warm weather of every year, to come 
up to our hills, and taking a little " idle time not idly 
spent," lay in a stock of health by breathing our pure air, 
and bathing in our clear streams. R. H. R. 



AN INQUIRY RESPECTING THE TRUE 
NATURE OF INSTINCT. 

(Concluded from page 101.) 

If brutes then are incapable of viewing moral qualities 
objectivel}', and reflecting upon them as such, they must ne- 
cessarily be destitute of that perception of moral differ- 
ences, with which the power of exercising their moral saga- 
city must be connected; moral sagacity, therefore, cannot 
exist at all in them otherwise than apparently ; and this 
conclusion is exactly what a candid estimation of brute 
powers seems to lead to; namely, that they are actuated by 
moral energies of which they are not conscious, and which 
therefore are not properly theirs; and that these energies 
operating upon their proper conscious perceptions — which 
may be termed natural perceptions, to distinguish them 
from those which are moral and intellectual, — furnish 
the motive principles which serve to induce them to apply 
their conscious powers in a certain manner; — thus produc- 
ing what is apparently moral in them, without their being 
conscious that it is so, and which thus is really not so as to 
them. The seat of these moral energies within them, there- 
fore, appears to be a secret region in their minds, above 
the seat of their natural perceptions; the latter serving as a 
plane, as it were, for the operation of such superior powers, 
which, under the Divine control, dispose them to the fulfil- 
ment of the ends they are designed for. 

In this manner it is possible to account for those surpris- 
ing appearances of moral excellence in the actions of ani- 
mals, which we observe them to display, and which are so 
totally above their proper conscious powers: — a moral excel- 
lence, which, as we have seen, appears in many instances 
more perfect and undeviating than that of the generality of 
human agents, and which, therefore, cannot be the result of 
any conscious freedom in the creature, unless we suppose 
them, in particular instances, raised higher in moral per- 
ception and determination than even man himself. It is 
by confounding the limited freedom of brute action with 
the superior energies, which, unknown to them, actuate 
their conscious powers, that their nature has been so far mis- 
taken, as to be considered the same in kind with, and only 
differing in degree from, that of man. 

Herein then consists one proper limitation of the brute 
mind : — although apparently moral, it is in reality not so, but 
merely natural, and is operated upon by moral causes above 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



its own consciousness, and which lead it to the perform- 
ance of actions which, in effect, are moral, as considered 
objectively by the human mind. 

From a comparison of this view of the nature of the con- 
sciousness of animals with that of man, the latter agent alone 
appears capable of considering and appreciating the nature 
of his own actions, and those of the inferior creation ; he 
alone is conscious of moral, intellectual, and scientific ener- 
gies and perceptions; and being, in consequence of this 
moral and intellectual faculty, at liberty to estimate and 
direct all lower operations, is in moral and intellectual, as 
well as in natural freedom; whereas the brute is in the latter 
only. From the most dispassionate survey of brute nature, 
it does not appear that the creatures have any reflex percep- 
tion respecting the qualities of their own discernment, or of 
the moral energies, or scientific powers, which they dis- 
play: on the contrary, it appears sufficiently evident that 
\vith respect to any perception of their own qualities in the 
abstract, tlie wisest is no wiser than the dullest, and the dull- 
est is equally wise with the wisest; the most moral as little 
so as the least, and vice versa: the Peacock has no more 
perception of the pride he is famed for, than the Horse or 
the Lion have of their generosity; than the Fox has of his 
cunning, or the Tiger of his cruelty. 

From these considerations, there is in appearance the 
strongest probability that the moral world, good and evil, 
may be in action upon, although above the stream of, the 
natural world, or above the consciousness of lower exist- 
ence; and that the former may thus operate upon the latter 
as a cause upon an effect. But be this as it may, it appears 
certain, that moral qualities being objective in the mind of 
man, he alone is possessed of moral consciousness and moral 
freedom of action; thus is an inhabitant of both the moral 
and the natural world ; and that as moral qualities do not 
become objective in the minds of brutes, or as the moral 
actions which they perform are not reflected upon by them, 
as such, nor are, in any respect the effects of moral choice 
and discrimination on their parts, they are therefore not 
possessed of moral consciousness, nor of moral freedom of 
action; and thus are not inhabitants of the moral world, — 
although acted upon by it, — but of the natural world only. 

Having thus concluded my preliminary remarks on the 
moral qualities exhibited by brutes, I proceed to consider 
those which are of an intellectual and scientific character, — 
to the illustration, consequently, of the second proposition 
given in a former page. As moral perception appears to be 
excluded from the conscious sphere of the brute mind, so 
neither do brutes appear to possess any reflex power of con- 
templating the principles of intelligence and science by 
which, or rather according to which, they act. They 
appear to possess no power of taking an intellectual recog- 
nizance of this intelligence and science so remarkable in 



many of their actions; and may be considered as possessing 
only an inferior, or what may be called animal mind, capa- 
ble of being influenced or directed, but incapable of viewing 
or appreciating the powers or energies which thus influ- 
ence and direct it in the most essential of its actions. Man 
is endowed with the love of science; he, therefore, expe- 
riences a delight proper to his nature as a scientific agent, 
from the contemplation of a means which is instrumental in 
the accomplishment of an end: he is also gifted with the 
love of usefulness, and therefore receives a moral delight 
from the accomplishment of the end itself, which science is 
the means of effecting. Not so the brute : — the architectural 
contrivance and discrimination of the Beaver, which is ne- 
vertheless much inferior to that of various species of Ter- 
mites; — the surprising intelligence of the Hive-bee and 
others of the Apes; — the ingenious mechanism of the Spi- 
der: — all these determinations of instinct, which, when 
viewed in connexion with the animals in whom they are 
displayed, are so astonishing, form no objects of contem- 
plation to them, while to the human mind they are the sub- 
jects of intellectual perception and reflection, advancing in 
many instances even to sublimity. 

When we observe, in the insect world, in beings appa- 
rently the most insignificant, an intelligence the most per- 
fect, presenting the most wonderful foresight, provision, 
and design, we are led at once to the recognition of this 
intelligence, as a principle which cannot, with any degree 
of propriety, be attributed to the creature, as properly its 
own; and we perceive, that in these instances, thus to attri- 
bute it to those humble animals, would be to raise them to 
an eminence far above the most sagacious quadrupeds. 

Innumerable are the instances among insects, in which 
the agency of intellectual and scientific powers, altogether 
superior to the proper consciousness of the creatures is to 
be observed; and it may be remarked, that as we descend 
in the scale of sentient being, this intellectual agency ap- 
pears to develop itself in a manner proportionably more 
wonderful ; so as to afford the most substantial evidences of 
the reality of its existence and operation. 

That Bees exercise the principles of a science, of which 
they are wholly unconscious, is beautifully exemplified in 
the construction of their cells; the general form of these, it 
is well known, is that which includes a greater space than 
any other which could be given to them, without leaving a 
void space between the contiguous cells; each of which, 
from this circumstance, supplies one of the walls of each of 
the six cells which surround it. But " it is to be remarked, 
that though the general form of the cells is hexagonal, that 
of those first begun is pentagonal, the side next the top of 
the hive, and by which the comb is attached, being much 
broader than the rest; whence the comb is more strongly 
united to the hive than if these cells were of the ordinary 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



shape. It of course follows, that the base of these cells, in- 
stead of being formed like those of the hexagonal cells of 
three rhomboids, consists of one rhomboid and two trape- 
ziums. 

Here then are effects both of geometry and philosophy, al- 
though the creatures are neither geometricians nor philoso- 
phers. They indeed act precisely as geometricians and 
philosophers would act, were they to undertake construct- 
ing the same thing with the same end in view. Neither 
can we conceive them in their process of collecting honey 
and storing it up, as actuated by any reflection upon the na- 
ture of the act; or as contemplating a season of winter when 
their labours must cease. Actuated by an impressing influ- 
ence to gather and store up, and led to the immediate 
means and to the best mode of applying them, their con- 
sciousness, although it reaches to and embraces the whole 
of the sensible detail of the operations to which it is direct- 
ed, and includes a gratification resulting from the exercise 
of its inferior powers, reaches no further: their conscious 
world consists of the sensible images of flowers, and fields, 
and combs, and honey; in these, as to themselves, "they 
live, and move, and have their being:" — they advance no 
higher; — they know nothing of a regular hexagon, separate 
from a honey comb, nor can they reason upon the conse- 
quences of their actions. 

Reason, intelligence, and science, therefore, cannot, as 
is asserted by some philosophers, be the result of instinct; 
or the Bee would certainly be a reasoner: it must be evident, 
on the contrary, that its consciousness can reach only to the 
immediate inferior acts themselves, to which it is directed 
by a potent energy operating upon its nature. 

Exercising in voluntar}' consciousness the inferior powers 
just mentioned, the animal is led and informed by an influ- 
ence, impressing its conscious mind, and producing the 
effects of the most perfect science; thereby accomplishing 
those objects which constitute the ends of its existence. No 
effect can be produced without a cause, and the Bee is 
either a scientific and intellectual being, or it is the instru- 
ment of an agency that is of such a quality, operating in and 
upon its animal mind, in a sphere above its proper percep- 
tion. 

Other less familiar, but not less wonderful instances of 
the mechanical and even philosophical powers exerted in 
the actions of insects, are exhibited to us in whatever quar- 
ter we contemplate their economy. The larva of a small 
Moth, (P. Tinea serratella L.) constructs a little cylin- 
drical tower for its residence upon the surface of a leaf, and 
uses the utmost ingenuity to fix and retain it in a position 
perpendicular to the site, by attaching silken threads from a 
protuberance at its base to the surrounding surface; and 
when the stability of its habitation is threatened by exter- 
nal violence, it produces a vacuum by drawing itself up to 



the summit of its tower, which at other times it completely 
fills; " and thus as effectually fastens it to the leaf as if an 
air-pump had been employed;" and in order to preserve 
the power of forming this vacuum, the insect never eats 
through the lower epidermis, or inferior surface of his es- 
planade on the leaf: — yet so insignificant is this little crea- 
ture as to its bulk, that its castle appears like a small spine 
on the leaf to which it is attached. 

Equally curious is the history of insect architecture in 
other instances, as in the Aquatic Spider, (Aranea aqua- 
tica,) whose habitation " is built in the midst of water, and 
formed, in fact, of air!" This creature spins a frame-work 
for her intended chamber, which she attaches to the leaves 
of aquatic plants growing at the bottom of the water, and 
having spread over the threads which form this frame-work 
a transparent varnish resembling liquid glass, and very elas- 
tic, she next spreads over her belly a pellicle of the same 
material, and ascending to the surface of the water, by some 
means not fully ascertained, transfers a bubble of air be- 
neath this pellicle, and then descending to her structure, 
discharges the bubble into it, until, by successively repeat- 
ing the operation, she effects the expansion of her aerial 
sub-aquatic tenement to its proper habitable dimensions. 

The entire history, indeed, of the various species of the 
Spider and of the Bee teems with wonders, and supplies an 
ample stock of evidence in support of the proposition, that 
they are guided and instructed by an intelligence which 
they do not themselves perceive. But as their history may 
be seen at large in the excellent work on Entomology from 
which our illustrations from that science have hitherto been 
derived, I forbear to swell the catalogue; and shall con- 
clude this branch of the subject, by adducing from the same 
work, two remarkable instances, exemplifying, in the larva 
of a species of Myrmeleon, and in the Termes fatalis, 
the most extraordinary and surprising operations, totally 
incompatible with any conscious scientific ability of the 
creatures; appending to these some remarks on the infe- 
rences drawn by Messrs. Kirby and Spence, from a singu- 
lar case of instinct, adapted to contingency in the Humble- 
Bee. 

The first-mentioned insect, whose length, when full- 
grown, is about half an inch, and whose shape slightly resem- 
bles that of the Wood-louse, is an inhabitant of the south 
of Europe, feeds upon the juices of Ants and other insects, 
digging a conical hole or pit for the purpose of entrapping 
them. This it effects by tracing a circle in a soil of loose, 
dry sand, and excavating with surprising dexterity, a furrow 
within the included space; loading its flat head by means 
of one leg, with a portion of the sand, which it jerks adroitly 
over the boundary; and working backwards till it arrives 
at the part of the circle whence it started; it then traces a 
new circle and proceeds with the work, constantly throw- 



152 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



ing the sand from the interior, till it completes its pit to the 
bottom or apex. It is indefatigable in its labours, and re- 
lieves the leg which it uses as a shovel to load its head, by- 
working through each successive circle in an opposite direc- 
tion, and thus exercising each leg alternately, always work- 
ing with the one next the centre. When it meets with 
stones too large to be jerked from its head, it contrives to 
get them poised upon its back, and if in ascending the sides 
of the pit, the stone should be again precipitated, in renew- 
ing its attempt to carry it up, it avails itself of the channel 
made by the falling stone, as a road, against the sides of 
which it can support and direct its load in the ascent. Sta- 
tioned at the bottom of its little pit, if an Ant should stum- 
ble over the margin it hastens the descent and capture of its 
prey by the fall of little loads of sand which it jerks in 
quick succession upon the escaping insect. All this how- 
ever is surpassed by the Termites, whose nests are formed 
of clay, and are as large as huts, being generally of no less 
a height than twelve feet, and broad in proportion, and 
which when in clusters resemble an Indian village, and may 
at a distance be mistaken for one. The interior of one of 
these structures presents a most surprising skill and intelli- 
gence, both in the construction and appropriation. The 
apartments, avenues, and communications, consisting of 
vaulted chambers, built of various materials, galleries con- 
structed spirally for the facility of ascent, arches or bridges 
of communication, said to be projected, not excavated, are 
appropriated for royal and other apartments, nurseries, 
magazines, &c. No one can surely contemplate the gigan- 
tic, and at the same time scientific, operations of these won- 
derful creatures, — which j^et are scarcely the fourth of an 
inch in length, — without feeling struck by the manifesta- 
tion of an agency far above the discrimination of the sub- 
jects in whose actions it is presented, and whose economy 
is justly characterized as "a miracle of nature." 

But the operations of an intelligence in the conduct of the 
insect race, superior to the conscious faculties of the creature, 
is made still more manifest by its appearance not only in 
what has been called blind instinct, — which term itself, 
rightly interpreted, must imply the existence of controlling 
influences, — but also by its development in strictly contin- 
gent acts, affording evidences of the same intelligent de- 
sign and adaptation, in agreement with what such particular 
circumstances require. That such do really occur, the fol- 
lowing extract will satisfactorily demonstrate: 

" In the course of his ingenious and numerous experi- 
ments, M. Huber put under a bell glass about a dozen Hum- 
ble-Bees, without any store of wax, along with a comb of about 
ten silken cocoons, so unequal in height, that it was impossi- 
ble the mass should stand firmly. Its unsteadiness disquieted 
the Humble-Bees extremely. Their afiection for their 
young led them to mount upon the cocoons, for the sake of 



imparting warmth to the inclosed little ones, but, in attempt- 
ing this, the comb tottered so violently, that the scheme 
was almost impracticable. To remedy this inconvenience, 
and to make the comb steady, they had recourse to a most 
ingenious expedient. Two or three bees got upon the 
comb, stretched themselves over its edge, and with their 
heads downwards, fixed their fore-feet on the table upon 
which it stood, whilst with their hind-feet they kept it from 
falling. In this constrained and painful posture, fresh bees 
relieving their comrades when weary, did these affectionate 
little insects support the comb for nearly three days! at the 
end of this period they had prepared a sufiiciency of wax, 
with which they built pillars that kept it in a firm position: 
but by some accident afterwards these got displaced, when 
they had again recourse to their former manoeuvre for sup- 
plying their place, and this operation they perseveringly 
continued, until M. Huber, pitying their hard case, relieved 
them by fixing the object of their attention firmly on the 
table. 

"It is impossible," the authors remark, "not to be 
struck with the reflection that this most singular fact is in- 
explicable on the supposition that insects are impelled to 
their operations by a blind instinct alone. How could mere 
machines have thus provided for a case, which in a state of 
nature has probably never occurred to ten nests of Humble- 
Bees since the creation? If, in this instance, these little 
animals were not guided by a process of reasoning, what is 
the distinction between reason and instinct? How could 
the most profound architect have better adapted the means 
to the end — how more dexterously shored up a tottering 
edifice, until his beams and his props were in readiness ?" 

A process of reasoning, or intellectual deduction, is here 
certainly incontrovertible, but this, at the same time, is so 
much beyond the nature and condition of the creature, that 
we cannot suppose it performed within its proper conscious- 
ness. What, then, in this case, and if in this case, in 
every other, is the distinction between reason and instinct? 
It is, I apprehend, this: reason is a deduction of intellect 
within the conscious perception of the subject whose actions 
exhibit it: — instinct is a similar deduction of intellect, not 
within, but above the conscious perception of the subject 
whose actions exhibit it. For a consciousness of possess- 
ing and exercising such intelligence cannot exi.st without 
elevating its subject to that intellectual freedom which is 
the proper and distinguishing characteristic of human ra- 
tionality. 

If we ascend to the higher classes of animals, fewer in- 
stances occur of those operations which include in them 
principles of science; and the actions of this character 
which are to be observed among such animals, do not appear 
to arise from a conscious free principle, but to be the result 
of a dictation, similar to that by which the operations of the 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



insect world are carried on; as in the case of the Beaver in 
the construction of his dam and hut. In the higher orders of 
animals, indeed, we lose sight of the more astonishing dis- 
plays of science which abound in some of the inferior tribes, 
as in insects; — as if to mark that such science is not the con- 
scious property of the brute nature. Thus the Mammalia 
appear to be more particularly the subjects, in which a mo- 
ral intelligence is operative, and thus are capable of being 
rendered more immediately instrumental to the moral uses 
to which many species of them are directed by man: where- 
as the insect tribes appear to be more particularly the sub- 
jects in which a scientific intelligence is displayed; I say 
more particularly, because the agencies in all cases are evi- 
dently both moral and scientific, although operating diverse- 
ly, so as to produce the appearance of such distinction ; for in 
every case the influent agency must be moral as regarding 
the end; and scientific as regarding the means; and in the 
larger quadrupeds, the efiects of moral intelligence are as 
finely illustrated by the Horse, the Elephant, the Camel, 
and the Dog, as are the effects of scientific intelligence in 
the operations of insects. In every case in which science 
is displayed in the actions of quadrupeds, it is evidently, as 
respects the creatures, as much above any conscious percep- 
tion of their own, as it is in the case of insects: — in this 
respect the Bee and the Beaver are both on a par, and it 
would be unreasonable to concede a perception of science to 
the latter, and at the same time to deny it to the former. 
Neither does the Dog possess any advantage over the Bee 
or the Beaver in this respect; the instinctive science he 
displays in the chase is evidently not objectively reflected 
upon by him, which is manifest from the fact that his ordi- 
nary nature is not at all elevated or refined by any percep- 
tions or conclusions which would result from the view of 
his acute instinctive discriminations. The Dog, as we all 
know, is a keen and clever sportsman; but if, in this case, 
his discriminations were the result of reflection, — if he had 
the power of consciously reflecting in himself, at the time of 
the chase, on what was proper to be done, and on the best 
means of procedure; and if this power were not derived 
from some hidden principle of impulse, acting upon his con- 
scious nature, he would have the power to reflect, subse- 
quently, both upon the means and the action, the whole of 
which would thus be made the object of his proper reflec- 
tion. He would thus be able to take an intellectual view 
of the chase, and of his own peculiar capabilities; the door 
of analysis would be opened to him; and, contrary to the 
fact, he would thus advance at least one step in the scale of 
intellect. If, however, we admit, — what seems to accord 
alike with reason and with fact — that his conscious mind 
must have been, in this exercise of his instinct, impressed 
by an agency above it, no such consequence as that alluded 
to would follow, from the most wonderful display of adroit- 

Qq 



ness and discrimination. The impression ceasing or subsid- 
ing with the requirement, would leave him precisely where 
it found him; and accordingly we find, that the Hound, who 
displays the most consummate skill and manoeuvre in the 
chase, remains stationary, and does not ascend into the scale 
of intellectual consciousness; nor can he, as to intellectual 
superiority, be ranked above the contemned and undignified 
Cur. 

The incongruities in the actions of brutes, afford again 
striking proofs, that they act under the operation of an in- 
telligence superior to the plane of their proper perception; 
and which, if we consider it as affecting them through a 
limited channel, by particular impressions on their con- 
scious faculties, will account for the wonderful operations 
performed by many of them, who are not in any wise re- 
markable for their general sagacity ; whose traits of perfec- 
tion are circumscribed by an exceedingly narrow limit, and 
which are yet, within that limit, truly astonishing. " With 
what caution does the hen provide herself a nest in places 
unfrequented and free from noise and disturbance ? When 
she has laid her eggs in such a manner that she can cover 
them, what care does she take in turning them fre- 
quently that all parts may partake of the vital warmth ? 
When she leaves them to provide for her necessary suste- 
nance, how punctually does she return before they have 
time to cool, and become incapable of producing an animal r 
In the summer j'ou see her giving herself greater freedoms, 
and quitting her care for above two hours together, but in 
winter, when the rigour of the season would chill the prin- 
ciples of life and destro}' the j'oung one, she grows more 
assiduous in her attendance, and stays away but half the 
time. When the birth approaches, with how much nicety 
and attention does she help the chick to break its prison; 
not to notice her covering it from the injuries of the wea- 
ther, providing it proper nourishment, and teaching it to 
help itself; nor to mention her forsaking the nest, if, after 
the usual time of reckoning, the j'oung one does not make 
its appearance. A chemical operation could not be followed 
with greater art and diligence than is seen in the hatching 
of a chick; though there are many other birds that show an 
infinitely greater sagacity in all the fore-mentioned particu- 
lars. 

" But, at the same time, the hen that has all this seeming 
ingenuity, (which is indeed absolutelj^ necessary for the 
propagation of the species,) considered in other respects, is 
without the least glimmerings of thought or common sense. 
She mistakes a piece of chalk for an egg, and sits upon it in 
the same manner: she is insensible of any increase or dimi- 
nution in the number of those she lays: she does not distin- 
guish between her own and those of another species, and 
when the birth appears, of never so different a bird, will 
cherish it for her own. In all these circumstances, which 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



do not carry an immediate regard to the subsistence of her- 
self or her species, she is a very idiot." 

A similar incongruity, incompatible with the rational ex- 
ercise of the intellectual principle of foresight, upon the 
supposition of that principle being proper to the mind of 
the creature, is exhibited by the Hamster Rat, {3Iiis Cri- 
cetus.) The principle of foresight, as exhibited in this 
animal, who lays up food, " not for his winter's support, 
(since during that season he always sleeps,) but for his nour- 
ishment previously to the commencement, and after the 
conclusion of his state of torpidity," cannot be considered 
as a principle of which he has any consciousness whatever; 
for had the Hamster a conscious perception and apprecia- 
tion of such a principle, he would be led to apply it in other 
cases, as well as in that of storing up food for the preserva- 
tion of his life; but as if to demonstrate the irrationality of 
the animal, he attacks, with blind fury, the largest quadru- 
ped that comes in his way; instead of seeking safety by 
flight, like most other creatures in whom the principle of 
caution is observable; and which a rational foresight would 
necessarily impel him to, when menaced with destruction 
by a gigantic adversary. 

The Arctic Fox, as Crantz relates, enters the water and 
splashes with his foot to bring up the fish, which he then 
seizes; and the Greenland women, profiting by his example, 
employ with success a similar artifice: the Fox surely does 
not reflect either upon the act or the means, as the women 
must do; in him the act is evidently spontaneous, and does 
not flo^v from any thought, of which analysis is predicable. 

The limitation of the brute mind, and its exclusion from 
intellectual consciousness, or proper reflection, is also appa- 
rent in the inutility of speech to such animals as can be 
taught to articulate, in effecting any thing beyond imitation; 
evincing, clearly, the incommunicability of the power of 
reason to the creature; — while, at the same time, it illus- 
trates the power of the influence of the human mind, as 
exerted upon the mind and faculties of the animal, and ascer- 
tains the limit of that influence. There can be no reason- 
ing without reflection, no reflection without intellectual 
freedom: if this reflection and this freedom were the attri- 
bute of the brute, — how, I ask, should we deny him a share 
of human consciousness. Does this consciousness, in kind, 
exist in the brute mind ? and are they endowed with it for 
no other purpose than to produce, — what it could not fail to 
produce, — the sensible perception of their own individual 
degradation ? — or, would it not follow, upon such an admis- 
sion of the rationality of brutes, that we should be very 
likely to see the fable realized of the Mice holding a coun- 
cil to " bell the Cat," and absolutely devising a successful 
stratagem to effect their purpose? Is there, upon such a 
principle, any ground for asserting, that, with proper care, 
we might not be able to rear a few four-legged philosophers 



and mechanicians, of at least tolerable erudition and science? 
or rather, the principle being admitted, can it be safely de- 
nied that they do not already exist? 

I am aware that there is a class of actions which are, in 
great measure, modifications arising from the influence of 
education and habit, and which, perhaps, appear more 
strongly than any others, to favour the supposition that 
brutes are possessed, in some degree, of the power of analy- 
sis and reason; but as this appearance is of so prominent a 
character, and is so closely allied to their specific mental 
capabilities, I purpose to enter upon a more particular con- 
sideration of it in the course of these essays. I shall only 
remark, for the present, that the natures of brutes no doubt 
evince a strong susceptibility of being influenced, within cer- 
tain limits, by the human mind; but this susceptibility of 
subservience to human intelligence, so far from militating 
against the views here offered of the proper nature of brutes, 
appears rather to strengthen and confirm the position, that 
they are affected by influences above their own conscious- 
ness; and that the wisdom of the Creator has so constituted 
their natures, as to be affected by the influence of mediate 
agencies, in order to the production of the various ends which 
it may be necessary should be accomplished through their 
instrumentality. 

I need scarcely remark that the general views attempted 
to be established by the foregoing observations, cannot be 
adequately illustrated in the limited survey of a Preliminary 
Essay: — their further development must rest upon a more 
extended examination of the particular functions, which, 
taken collectively, form the brute economy. Certain it is, 
however, that the liberty and freedom of the human mind 
forms the basis of its rationality and intelligence, which is 
no doubt aided by an influent light and perception received 
from the source of all Being; the consciousness of which 
influence connects him more immediately with that Source; 
— and that the absence of freedom in the brute mind, in 
this respect forms the basis of its irrationality, and demon- 
strates that the influent light and perception which gives 
birth to the surprising actions we see animals perform, forms 
no part of their conscious nature. Thus brutes are evidently 
connected with the Author of Creation, though in a manner 
more remote than man. 

The freedom of man consists in his being able to take a 
survey from an eminence, as it were, of the various discri- 
minations which he himself efiects, and which, by various 
agencies, are effected throughout lower existence; hence, 
although man possesses a lower or animal mind, similar, as 
considered distinctly and by itself, to the brute mind, and 
which inferior mind or region he looks down upon from an 
intellectual eminence, it is evident that his consciousness 
respecting even the things of tliis inferior region is illumin- 
ed, by the glorious light of intellect and rationality which 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



is proper to him. The brute, on the contrary, does not 
survey from an elevated sphere, the discriminations which 
he himself effects, nor those of nature which are in opera- 
tion around him; although these discriminations, as effected 
by himself and by the other subjects of creation around 
him, are calculated to lead him on in the road of analysis, 
did he but possess the proper faculty. May we not then 
infer, — That intellectual and scientific qualities do not be- 
come objective in the minds of brutes; or, that the intel- 
lectual and scientific actions which they perform, are not 
1 upon or contrived by them as such; thus that they 
no intellectual or scientific consciousness, and, con- 
sequently, that no intellectual or scientific design can be at- 
tributed to them; and, therefore, that so much of intellectual 
or scientific design as appears conspicuous in their actions, 
must be the effect of intellectual and scientific powers or 
energies, acting upon them in a region of their minds above 
the sphere of their proper consciousness? 

Zoological Journal. 



MIGRATION OF BIRDS. 

The migration of birds is a singular provision of nature, 
and though the rapidity of their motion makes their passage 
across the widest seas a matter easily accomplished, yet the 
instinct which leads them to change their latitude with the 
seasons is worthy of notice; the more so, that it is also one 
of the resources of man in a state of nature. The same 
necessity, that of finding food, seems to actuate both. The 
Siberian hordes follow the course of vegetation, moving to 
the south as the winter cold nips the vegetation of the north; 
and to the north, as the summer heat parches it in the south. 
The Esquimaux, on the other hand, move to the south in 
summer, and support themselves by hunting, while they 
return northward to the sea in winter, to feed upon seals 
and other breathing natives of the deep, which must keep 
open holes in the ice to preserve their existence. In like 
manner, the migratory flights of birds appear to be chiefly 
influenced by the necessity of seeking food, though partly 
also by the finding of proper places for rearing their 
young. 

From the nature of their powers of motion, the seasonal 
migrations of quadrupeds are necessarily limited. If they 
be inhabitants of islands, they cannot pass over the sea; 
and upon continents, large rivers, mountains, or desarts, 
limit their range. In Britain, the stag and the roe, which 
are found only in the uplands in the warm season, find 
their way to the warm and sheltered plains in the winter; 
and on more extensive lands some of the quadrupeds take 
longer journies; but they are all comparatively limited, 
and extensive migrations are performed only by those ani- 
mals that can make their pathvs^ays in the sea or the air. 



The seal, which, during summer, is found in such numbers 
on the dreary shores of Greenland, Jan Maj-en, and Spitz- 
bergen, finds its way to Iceland in the winter; but its 
migration is limited; and numbers still remain in the most 
northern regions that have been visited. The inhabitants 
of the water, have, indeed, less necessity for seasonal 
changes of abode than those of the land; as the water 
undergoes less change of temperature, and as some of those 
sea animals which, like the seal, require to come frequently 
to the surface to breathe, do not require to remain long 
above water, or have much of their bodies exposed to the 
air. The grand inconvenience which they seek to avoid, 
appears to be the labour of keeping open those breathing 
holes, without which they could not live under the ice. Or 
if there is any other instinct, it may be t?ie desire of escap- 
ing their enemies, as the bears and the northern people 
watch them at their holes, and make them a sure and easy 
prey. Those who have not thought rightly upon the sub- 
ject, are apt to say that they could not know of those 
dangers, and therefore could not seek to avoid them with- 
out experience. But that is part of the general error into 
which we are so apt to fall when we begin the study of 
nature. We make ourselves the standard of comparison, 
and think of the animals not only as if they had to deal 
with men, but as if they actually were men themselves. 
Whereas, in their natural state they need no teaching, and 
the danger, or the means of life, and the instinct by which 
the one is avoided, and the other secured, are co-existent. 
We are in the habit of attributing superior sagacity to ani- 
mals in certain stages of their being; as we give the "old 
fox" credit for greater cunning. That may be, indeed, 
must be, true, as regards the arts of man, because the 
means to which he resorts for the capture or destruction of 
animals are not natural, and thus it would be a violation of 
the law of nature to suppose that they should be met by a 
natural instinct. In situations which nature produces, the 
children of nature are never at a loss; but as the contri- 
vances of man are no part of her plans, it would be con- 
trary to the general law to suppose that they should be 
instinctively provided against these. That they do learn 
a little wisdom from experience, is a proof that they are 
not mere machines; that they are something more than 
mechanical; that life, in the humblest thing that lives, is 
different in kind from the action of mere matter; and that 
there runs through the whole of organized being, a philo- 
sophy which man, when he thinks of it, must admire, but 
which he cannot fathom. The animal, or even the plant, 
is not like an engine, confined to certain movements which 
it cannot vary, but has a certain range of volition (if we 
may give it the name) by means of which it can deviate a 
little from that which would otherwise be its path, if that 
path contain ought that is dangerous or inconvenient. Thus, 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL fflSTORY 



if we would come to the living productions of nature with 
minds fit for learning those lessons which they are so well 
calculated for imparting, we must equally avoid two ex- 
tremes, the one of which would lead us to confound organic 
being with the mere inorganic clods of the valley, and the 
other would lead us to confound their instantaneous im- 
pulses with deliberation, and measure instinct by the stand- 
ard of reason. 

The migrations of birds are more remarkable, and have 
been more early and more carefully observed; and that 



thus, while in migration they seek their own immediate 
comfort, they preserve other races of being. In some of 
the species, too, they preserve a portion of their own race. 
It has been mentioned that the young of the swan are una- 
ble to migrate the first year; and of most migratory birds, 
there are always a few that are unable for the fatigue of 
migration. If the strong did not go away, the whole of the 
weak, and in cases like that of the swan, the whole of the 
young, would perish. After the moulting takes place, in 
most birds, perhaps in all of them in a state of nature, the 



birds should have a greater range, is in perfect accordance paternal instinct ceases to operate; they feel no more for the 

with the general law of nature. The apparatus with which i— ~J -'"•^•--^ t. i. r. ...ir __,__• i_„ 

the majority of birds are furnished for preparing their food 

for digestion in the stomach, confines that food within a 

smaller compass tl^n the food of the quadrupeds. With 

the exception of the birds of prey, which can rend other 

animals for their subsistence, and are thus capable of living 

at all seasons of the year, the birds must subsist upon soft 

substances, as insects and their larvffi, or the seeds, and 

green and succulent leaves of plants; while quadrupeds, 

beino- furnished with organs of mastication which, along 

with the saliva, reduce their food to a sort of pulp before 

it be swallowed, can subsist upon dry leaves and bark, and 

even upon twigs. Thus, in even the coldest countries. 



brood of that year. It is each for itself individually durino 
the necessity of the winter; and when the genial warmth 
of the spring again awakens the more kindly feelings, the 
objects of those feelings are a new brood. In her march, 
nature never looks back; her instinct is fixed on the pre- 
sent, and thus leads to the future, without any reference to 
that experience which the progress of reason and thought 
requires. In consequence of this, the strong would take 
the food from the weak, the active from the feeble, .and the 
full-grown from their offspring, if nature were not true to 
her purpose, and prompted the powerful to wing their way 
to regions in which food is more easily to be found, and 
leave the young and the feeble to pick up the fragments that 



there is still some food for a portion of those quadrupeds are left, in those places which they are unable to quit, 
that live upon vegetables; and these again afford subsistence 
for the carnivorous ones, as well as for the more powerful 
birds of prey. In very cold places too, the smaller quad- 
rupeds, and even some of the larger ones, are so constituted 
that they hibernate, or pass the winter in a state of tor- 
pidity, in which they have no necessity for food, and con- 
sequently none for change of place. 



It has been said that the teachableness which is the cha- 
racteristic of man, has nothing to do with the instincts of 
the animals; but it does not follow that he should not take 
a lesson from those instincts; because the instincts of ani- 
mals and the reason of man are all intended to forward the 
very same objects — the good of the individual and of the 
race. Now, in this very fact of the migration of birds. 



But in the severity of the northern winter, the food of simple and natural as it may seem, and unheeded as it is 



the feathered tribes fails. The earth and the waters are 
bound up in ice, so that the worms and larvs are beyond 
their reach; the air, which in summer is so peopled with 
insects, is left without a living thing; the buds of the lowly 
evero-reen shrubs, and those seeds which have fallen to the 
ground, are hid under that cold but fertilizing mantle of 
snow, which, cold as it seems, secures the vegetation of the 
coming summer; the berries and capsules that rise above 
the snow are soon exhausted; and the buds of the alpine 
trees are generally so enveloped in resin and other indi- 
gestible matters, that they cannot be eaten. Thus the birds 
must roam in quest of food: nor is it a hardship,— it is a 
wise provision. Were they to remain, and had they access 
to the embryos of life in their then state, one season would 
go far to make the country a desart; and even the birds 
would be deprived of their summer subsistence for them- 
selves and their young. They are also provided with 
means by which they can transport themselves, in average 
states of the weather. 



ithout much inconvenience; and 



by careless observers, we have an example worth copying, 
even in the most refined and best governed society. The 
strong and the active go upon far journeys, and subsist in 
distant lands, and leave what food there is for their more 
helpless brethren. Would men do the same — would they 
temper the work to the capacity of the worker, in the way 
that it is done by the instincts of those migratory birds — 
the world would be spared a deal of misery. It is thus 
that, in the careful study of nature, man stands reproved 
at the example of the lower creatures, and learns, by doing 
by reason as they do by instinct, to be grateful to that 
Power, " who teacheth us more than the beasts of the field, 
and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven." 

The migrating birds that spend part of the year in the 
British islands, may be divided into two classes, — su7n- 
mer birds and winter birds; but of both classes some are 
only occasional visitants, and others are mere birds of 
passage, tarrying only for a short time, as they are on their 
route to other countries. 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



The two general classes observe the same law in both of 
their migratory instincts — the finding of food, and of fit 
places for the rearing of their young. The general motion 
for these two purposes is in opposite directions — they move 
toward warmer regions in search of food, and toward colder 
ones in order to build their nests. The winter birds come 
to us for food, and the summer ones for nidification. The 
winter ones never are those that feed upon land insects, and 
but seldom those that feed upon seeds; because when they 
come, there are few of these. They are chiefly water- 
birds, in some sense or other. They frequent the shores of 
the seas, the inland lakes, or the margins of springs, rivu- 
lets, and rivers, and they swi.m or wade, or merely run 
along the bank, according to their nature; and resort to 
those haunts where their food is to be found with the most 
unerring certainty. They are all common inhabitants of 
regions farther to the north, have reared their broods there, 
and remained till the supply of food began to fail. The 
extent of their flight southward depends upon the severity 
of the winter; they come earlier, and extend farther, when 
that is severe; and their departure is accelerated by a warm 
spring, and retarded by a cold one. Though the diffusion 
of the same species of birds be much more extended than 
that of the same species of quadrupeds, there is still a va- 
riation according to the longitude. The birds of passage 
which appear in Britain are not exactly the same as those 
either of continental Europe or of America; and that ac- 
counts for the appearance of the occasional visiters. A 
strong wind from the east, during the time of their flight, 
often wafts a continental bird to our shores; and a strong 
wind from the west occasionally brings us an American 
visiter. The flight of birds is, therefore, a sort of augury, 
though a very difierent sort from that believed in by the 
superstitions of antiquity. It has no connexion with the 
ofiBces or fortunes of men, but it tells what kind of season 
prevails in those climes whence the visiters come. The 
early appearance of the winter birds is a sure sign of an 
early winter in the northern countries; and the early 
appearance of the summer ones is just as sure a sign of an 
early and genial spring in the south. 

The migration of our winter visitants is a very simple 
matter; we can easily understand why birds, when their 
supply of food begins to fail, should fly ofi" in a warm direc- 
tion; but the return — the general migration northward for 
the purpose of rearing their young, is, at first consideration, 
a more difficult matter. Yet when we think a little, the 
difficulty ceases, and the one movement becomes no more a 
miracle or a marvel than the other. Very many of the 
summer birds feed upon insects; and summer insects are 
more abundant in the northern regions than in the south. 
This happens particularly with the water-flies, of which there 
are supposed to be several generations in the course of a 
Rr 



long summer's day; and the short night at that season occa- 
sions little interruption to their production. The same 
causes which produce the greater supply of insect food, in- 
crease the daily period during which the bird can hunt, 
and this gives it a farther facility of finding food, over 
what it would have in the comparatively short days farther 
to the south. But the breeding time is that at which the 
birds are called upon for extraordinary labour. During the 
period that the nest is building, there is a new occupation 
altogether; and the nests, even of very small birds, are 
constructed with so much care, that that and the finding of 
subsistence demand more than the average power of indus- 
try. When the female begins to sit on the eggs, the feed- 
ing of her partially depends upon the male; and when the 
young are hatched, their support, till they are in a condition 
for supporting themselves, requires a considerable portion 
of the time and industry of both parents. When the young 
are fledged, the parent birds still require long days: the 
operation of moulting, by which their tattered plumage is 
replaced by a new supply, exhausts them: thus they have 
long days, and also food in abundance, when they are least 
able to make exertions in search of it; and by the time that 
the decreasing supply warns them that it is time to seek 
more southern climes, they are in prime feather and vigor- 
ous health, and able to sustain the fatigues of the voyage. 
The return, too, is, generally speaking, after the autumnal 
equinox, so that in their migration southward, they have 
the same advantage of a longer day than in places north- 
ward. Thus, even in this common-place matter — a matter 
which is so common-place that few take the trouble of heed- 
ing it, and almost none inquire farther than saying that it 
is the instinct of birds, — we may trace as perfect a succes- 
sion of antecedent and consequent, or as we say, of cause 
and efiect, as in any other part of the works or economy of 
creation. We ought, indeed, to guard very carefully 
against stopping at the word instinct, or indeed at any other 
word which is so very general that we cannot attach a clear 
and definite meaning to it. Those general words are the 
stumbling-blocks and barriers in the way to knowledge; 
and when we turn to them who take upon themselves the 
important business of instruction, and ask them for an ex- 
planation, they but too frequently give us a word, and 
when we get one, in our own language or in any other, to 
which we can attach no meaning, the path to knowledge is 
closed. Perhaps there are few words by which it is more 
frequently closed than this same word, "instinct;" because 
we are apt to rest satisfied with it as an ultimate or insulated 
fact, and never inquire into that chain of phenomena of 
which it forms a part. Now nothing in nature stands alone: 
— Creation needs no new fiat; but the succession of events 
throughout all her works depends on laws which are uner- 
ring, because they are not imposed by any thing from 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



without, but are the very nature and constitution of the 
beings that appear to obey them. It is this which makes 
nature so wonderful, which so stamps upon it the impress 
of an almighty Creator: — its parts and phenomena are mil- 
lions; the primary power that puts all in motion, is but 
One. 

These reflections have been a little extended, because 
they are often in danger of being overlooked; and because 
the tranquil shore of an expansive lake is one of the best 
scenes for contemplation, — one at which the several ele- 
ments and their inhabitants are more easily brought to- 
gether than at almost any other. But it is not the broad 
expanse of water, with its mountains and its majestic 
scenery, that is alone worthy of our contemplation. The 
mountain tarn, which gleams out in the bosom of some 
brown hill or beetling rock, like a gem in the desert, when 
one does not expect it; — the sheet of glittering water amid 
encircling forests; and the shelving pool amid undulated 
green hills, with its margins alternating of white marie, 
clean pebbles, and sedgy banks, have all their beauty and 
their respective inhabitants. It is true that the osprey and 
the fishing-eagle do not there display their feats of strength, 
and the wild swan does not bring forth her young, or even 
often visit; but our old friend the heron is there, and she 
finds new associates with whom she can dwell in peace. 
British Naturalist. 



WOODCOCK. 
SCOLOPAX MINOR. 
[Plate XIV.] 
Arct. Zool. p. 463, No. 365.— Turt. Syst. 396, 



Scolo- 
p. 714, No. 2. Gen. Syn. 



pax minor, Lath. Ind. Orn 

3, p. 131. — J. Doughty's Collection. 

This bird is universally known to our sportsmen. It 
arrives in Pennsylvania early in March, sometimes sooner; 
and I doubt not but in mild winters some few remain with 
us the whole of that season. During the day, they keep to 
the woods and thickets, and at the approach of evening seek 
the springs, and open watery places, to feed in. They soon 
disperse themselves over the country to breed. About the 
beginning of July, particularly in long-continued hot 
weather, they descend to the marshy shores of our large 
rivers, their favourite springs and watery recesses, inland, 
being chiefly dried up. To the former of these retreats 
they are pursued by the merciless sportsman, flushed by 
dogs, and shot down in great numbers. This species of 
amusement, when eagerly followed, is still more laborious 
and fatiguing than that of Snipe-shooting; and from the 
nature of the ground, or cripple as it is usually called, viz. 



deep mire, intersected with old logs, which are covered and 
hid from sight by high reeds, weeds, and alder bushes, the 
best dogs are soon tired out; and it is customary with sports- 
men, who regularly pursue this diversion, to have two sets 
of dogs, to relieve each other alternately. 

Tiie Woodcock usually begins to lay in April. The 
nest is placed on the ground, in a retired part of the woods, 
frequently at the root of an old stump. It is formed of a 
few withered leaves, and stalks of grass, laid with very 
little art. The female lays four, sometimes five, eggs, 
about an inch and a half long, and an inch or rather more in 
diameter, tapering suddenly to the small end. These are 
of a dun clay colour, thickly marked with spots of brown, 
particularly at the great end, and interspersed with others 
of a very pale purple. The nest of the Woodcock has, in 
several instances that have come to my knowledge, been 
found with eggs in February; but its usual time of begin- 
ning to lay is early in April. In July, August, and Sep- 
tember, they are considered in good order for shooting. 

The Woodcock is properly a nocturnal bird, feeding 
chiefly at night, and seldom stirring about till after sunset. 
At such times, as well as in the early part of the morning, 
particularly in spring, he rises by a kind of spiral course, to 
a considerable height in the air, uttering at times a sudden 
quack, till having gained his utmost height, he hovers 
around in a wild, irregular manner, making a sort of mur- 
muring sound; then descends with rapidity as he rose. 
When uttering his common note on the ground, he seems 
to do it with difficulty, throwing his head towards the 
earth, and frequently jetting up his tail. These notes and 
manffiuvres are most usual in spring, and are the call of the 
male to his favourite female. Their food consists of vari- 
ous larvse, and other aquatic worms, for which, during the 
evening, they are almost continually turning over the 
leaves with their bill, or searching in the bogs. Their 
flesh is reckoned delicious, and prized highly. They re- 
main with us till late in autumn; and on the falling of the 
first snows, descend from the ranges of the Alleghany, to 
the lower parts of the country, in great numbers; soon 
after which, viz. in November, they move ofi'to the south. 

This bird, in its general figure and manners, greatly re- 
sembles the Woodcock of Europe, but is considerably less, 
and very diSerently marked below, being an entirely dis- 
tinct species. A few traits will clearly point out their dif- 
ferences. The lower parts of the European Woodcock are 
thickly barred with dusky waved lines, on a yellowish white 
ground. The present species has those parts of a bright fer- 
ruginous. The male of the American species weighs from five 
to six ounces, the female eight: the European twelve. The 
European Woodcock makes its first appearance in Britain 
in October and November, that country being in fact only 
its winter quarters; for early in March they move off to 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



the northern parts of the continent to breed. The Ameri- 
can species, on the contrary, winters in countries south of 
the United States, arrives here early in March, extends its 
migrations as far, at least, as the river St. Lawrence, breeds 
in all the intermediate places, and retires again to the south 
on the approach of winter. The one migrates from the 
torrid to the temperate regions; the other from the tempe- 
rate to the arctic. The two birds, therefore, notwith- 
standing their names are the same, differ not only in size 
and markings, but also in native climate. Hence the 
absurdity of those who would persuade us, that the Wood- 
cock of America crosses the Atlantic to Europe, and 
vice versa. These observations have been thought neces- 
sary, from the respectability of some of our own writers, 
who seem to have adopted this opinion. 

How far to the north our Woodcock is found, I am un- 
able to say. It is not mentioned as a bird of Hudson's 
Bay; and being altogether unknown in the northern parts 
of Europe, it is very probable that its migrations do not 
extend to a very high latitude; for it may be laid down as 
a general rule, that those birds which migrate to the arctic 
regions in either continent, are very often common to both. 
The head of the Woodcock is of singular conformation, 
large, somewhat triangular, and the eye fixed at a remarka- 
ble distance from the bill, and high in the head. This con- 
struction was necessary to give a greater range of vision, 
and to secure the eye from injury while the owner is 
searching in the mire. The flight of the Woodcock is slow. 
When flushed at any time in the woods, he rises to the 
height of the bushes or under wood, and almost instantly 
drops behind them again at a short distance, generally run- 
ning ofl'for several yards as soon as he touches the ground. 
The notion that there are two species of Woodcock in this 
country probably originated from the great difference be- 
tween the male and female, the latter being considerably 
the larger. 

The male Woodcock is ten inches and a half long, and 
sixteen inches in extent; bill a brownish flesh colour, black 
towards the tip, the upper mandible ending in a slight nob, 
that projects about one-tenth of an inch beyond the lower,* 
each grooved, and in length somewhat more than two 
inches and a half; forehead, line over the eye, and whole 
lower parts, reddish tawny; sides of the neck inclining to 
ash; between the eye and bill, a slight streak of dark 
brown; crown, from the fore-part of the eye backwards, 
black, crossed by three narrow bands of brownish white; 
cheeks marked with a bar of black, variegated with light 

* Mr. Pennant, {Arct. Zool. p. 463.) in describing Ihe American Woodcock 
says, Ihat the lower mandible is much shorter than the upper. From the appear- 
ance of his figure it is evident that the specimen from which that and his de- 
Bcription were taken, had lost nearly half an inch from the lower mandible, 
probably broken off by accident. Turton and others have repeated this mis- 
take. 



brown; edges of the back and of the scapulars, pale bluish 
white; back and scapulars, deep black, each feather tipt or 
marbled with light brown and bright ferruginous, with 
numerous fine zigzag lines of black crossing the lighter 
parts; quills plain dusky brown; tail black, each feather 
marked along the outer edge with small spots of pale brown, 
and ending in narrow tips of a pale drab colour above, and 
silvery white below; lining of the wing bright rust; legs 
and feet a pale reddish flesh colour; eye very full and 
black, seated high, and very far back in the head; weight 
five ounces and a half, sometimes six. 

The female is twelve inches long, and eighteen in extent; 
weighs eight ounces; and differs also in having the bill very 
near three inches in length; the black on the back is not 
quite so intense; and the sides under the wings are slightly 
barred with dusky. 

The young Woodcocks, of a week or ten days old, are 
covered with down of a brownish white colour, and are 
marked from the bill, along the crown to the hind-head, 
with a broad stripe of deep brown; another line of the same 
passes through the eyes to the hind-head, curving under 
the ej'e; from the back to the rudiments of the tail runs 
another of the same tint, and also on the sides under the 
wings; the throat and breast are considerably tinged with 
rufous; and the quills, at this age, are just bursting from 
their light blue sheaths, and appear marbled as in the old 
birds; the legs and bill are of a pale purplish ash colour, 
the latter about an inch long. When taken, they utter a 
long, clear, but feeble, peep, not louder than that of a mouse. 
They are far inferior to young Partridges in running and 
skulking; and should the female unfortunately be killed, 
may easily be taken on the spot. 



INDIAN HUNTERS. 

A GOOD hunter is, among the Indians, as much distin- 
guished as a valiant warrior, and is always more wise and less 
depraved. When hunting, every Indian is attentive to his 
duty, and nothing but his duty. He forgets quarrelling, 
gaming, (which also is one of his vices, ) and even his ferocity. 
Some of the traders, who follow everyyear in their train, have 
assured me that the winter Indian and the summer Indian 
are totally different beings. During summer, he is always 
in a state of indolence, which degrades and brutifies man in 
his most civilized and best educated state: the winter he 
passes in labour, which tames and softens characters the 
most reckless and ferocious. In hunting, the Indians are 
indefatigable, though engaged in exercise incessant and most 
laborious; and the success with which they pursue their vari- 
ous game through both prairies and forests, in lakes and rivers, 
displays strongly the acuteness of their understandings. 

Beltrami. 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 




TREATISE ON BREAKING DOGS. 



One of the most important things to the shooter is the 
possession of a good setter or pointer Dog. On this de- 
pends, in a great measure, his pleasure and success — and 
this necessary auxiliary to his recreations is within the 
reach of every man, who can either shoot well, or will give 
as much time and perseverance as the subject requires. To 
break a Dog properly, it is necessary to possess skill, pa- 
tience, and perseverance; and without these two latter 
qualities, it will be useless for any one to undertake it. It 
is to the want of these properties, we may attribute the fact 
of being overrun with useless or half-broken Dogs. It will 
be well for every young sportsman to consider this subject 
properly, and to make himself acquainted with every rule 
necessary to the attainment of this grand object; and, under 
these considerations, I have, by consulting various authors, 
and my own experience, submitted the following rules, 
which, if strictly followed, cannot fail to complete the 
education of a Dog. 

In choosing a Dog, it is difficult to say which of the two 
breeds is best, viz. the setter or pointer; they both possess 
the same qualities, and the choice must be pretty much a 
matter of fancy.* I have always given preference to the 

* A Dog should not be chosen solely for his capacity to stand at game, as this 
principle is not always confined to the pointer or setter Dog. I knew a Dog 
which was half bull, set a partridge with as much stanchness as any setter Dog; 
and I have also seen a hound, and spaniel, do the same thing; and Daniels, in 
his Rural Sports, makes mention of a celebrated sow, so perfect in this habit, as 
to rival the most sagacious pointer or setter. 



setter, because the best Dog I ever owned, or saw, was a 
setter Dog. Others give preference to pointer Dogs, be- 
cause their experience warranted the same determination. 
The main point, however, to decide, is, whether they have 
descended from an indubitable stock; this ascertained, the 
rest depends altogether on their education. Those who 
favour the latter, argue that they possess more fleetness, 
bottom, and tractability, and can withstand the fatigue and 
heat of suinmer without water better than setters. To this 
last reason I cheerfully subscribe, but the former I doubt. 
The setter has advantages over the other in cold weather, 
is more willing to enter thickets and difficult places, and 
takes to water more freely, and possesses an equal degree of 
sagacity — however, the choice being made, the master 
should procure the Dog before he is six months old. This 
is necessar}-, in order to give liiin all the advantages of an 
early education, and is of more importance than many per- 
sons are aware of: for the impressions given to a young 
Dog, are like those on youth — the strongest; beside, the 
Dog is growing up by his master's side, becomes habituated 
to his actions, language, and government, and gives advan- 
tages, when the period arrives for training in the field, 
which can then only be properly appreciated. Every 
sportsman should break his own Dog. This is of the 
first importance, if he wishes to possess a good one and 
enjoy comfort while hunting him. A Dog purchased of a 
stranger, or given to another to break, has, in a great mea- 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



sure, to undergo a severe training and a second course of 
education, wlien he comes into the possession of his new mas- 
ter, before he is habituated to this master's style — hence the 
strong necessity of every sportsman attending to the educa- 
tion of his own Dog. To this circumstance may be attri- 
buted the reason, why many gentlemen, who, being de- 
lighted with the actions of strange Dogs, have purchased 
them at extravagant prices, and on trial of these Dogs, sepa- 
rately from their original owners, have proved but inferior 
animals; and, being disgusted, have parted with them im- 
mediately, at any price, and the first vender cursed as a 
swindling knave. But a little reflection will convince any 
reasonable person, that the fault is neither the Dog's nor 
the original owners, but is entirely owing to the first im- 
pressions, given during the season of immaturity, having 
been so radical as to admit of no alteration by the second 
owner. Few Dogs will hunt during the first and second 
year's training, so well with a stranger as with the man 
who broke them; and it will be well for all who wish to 
purchase young Dogs, (no matter how exalted their cha- 
racters,) to try them separately from their masters. 

Another important thing is worthy of great consideration, 
and this is the impropriety of lending Dogs — at all events, 
if a gentleman has feelings of generosity sufiicient to oblige 
his friend in this way, he ought never to do so until after 
the second season of training; for it is not until this period 
that a Dog may be said to have completed his education, 
or that his impressions are deep-rooted. The practice of 
lending Dogs is certainly a bad one, and frequently the 
lent Dog is injured by his master's generosity. But then 
this description of sportsmen, when appealed to, argues in 
himself — how can I disoblige my friend? I have enjoyed 
pleasure with my Dog and gun; he has none. Shall I not 
contribute to him the same means of enjoyment, which I 
have used myself so often? But, still, I fear injury to my 
Dog. And then reflecting that he was created a social 
being, and placed in circumstances whereby he may add, 
perhaps, one day of pleasure to his importunate friend, he 
casts off the unnatural feelings of selfishness, and fulfils 
this duty of social life. 

I do not recommend that a Dog should be loaned, only 
under particular circumstances, and the owner may do so, 
by proper discrimination, without as much risk of injuring 
the Dog, as the chance of ofl'ending his friend, or bearing 
the imputation of being a selfish man. 

In naming a Dog, it is recommended that short and ex- 
pressive names, (of one syllable, if possible,) should be 
adopted, and avoid all those words ending in o, or sounding 
like the words used in training; also, to adopt other 
names for those common-place words now in use, as great 
confusion sometimes prevails in consequence of two or 
three Dogs hunting together which are named alike. I 
Ss 



once had the prospect of a fine day's shooting entirely 
ruined from this circumstance. My Dog and my friend's 
being named so much alike, that the former kept around 
my heels the whole day, in consequence of the latter, 
(which was a headstrong dog,) having been hallooed at con- 
tinually by his master. 

Supposing now your Dog is six months old, it will be 
necessary that he should follow you in your walks abroad, 
and repeatedly taken to the fields and suffered to race 
about, and enter bushes and thickets, and chase every bird 
without restraint. This will give him spirit and anima- 
tion, which will continually grow on him; and it is not ad- 
visable to check or speak harshly to him, but encourage 
this spirited disposition as much as possible. You should 
always, before feeding him, make him crouch at your feet, 
using, at the same time, the words, "down," or " close," 
or " down charge;" or it is better to habituate him to do 
so, by raising your hand and saying softly, hush. Endea- 
vour, at all times, to use him to words spoken in a low 
voice, as some future day will convince }-ou of the neces- 
sity of doing so, when you may be surrounded with scat- 
tered game — silence, then, will, in a great measure, gua- 
rantee your success, and these early lessons will have, at 
that period, a salutary effect on him; and, as a reward to 
his obedience, feed him. The same plan may, and should 
be used to learn him to stand at a piece of meat. This 
should be done by using the word " toho.'" This simple 
word, so universally known and adopted, has been proved 
by experience, to act as magic on the instinct of the setter 
and pointer Dogs; and it is doubtful whether another word 
could be adopted to supply its place with the same success; 
therefore it should be very early engrafted on his memory, 
as it is the most important of the very few words necessary 
to break a Dog. If he is brought to stand, (and a very few 
lessons will answer the purpose,) give him the meat that was 
before him. By rewarding a 3'oung Dog in this way, with 
food, he may be learned many things, and it is well worth 
the trial of learning him to bring articles, as a ball, gloves, 
apples, or sticks; and always, when obedient, reward him 
with food. Idle moments may be frequently spent in this 
way, to learn a young Dog a variety of little things of this 
kind; not that these things are intrinsically valuable in them- 
selves, but they habituate a Dog to strict obedience, and 
the sounds and actions used in learning him these little 
tricks are so various and many, and he becomes so familiar 
to your words and actions, that when his services at some 
future day, may be required for more important affairs, his 
obedience can be depended on, and his readiness to serve 
you will, in a measure, become mechanical, because he has 
been so completely schooled to your expressions. In all 
your endeavours, at this age, to learn him, do it by reward- 
ing; and never, (if it is possible for you to avoid it,) chas- 



162 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY. 



tise him. This can be done if the tutor will be patient. 
Chastisement will dispirit and frighten a young Dog, when 
the opposite treatment will make him love and obey you. 
The disposition in children to learn, has frequently been 
checked, if not destroyed, by severity; and disgust to the 
book and school excited by harshness on the part of the 
master; therefore, when you give your young Dog meat, 
make him halt at the word " toho," before he is suffered to 
eat it, and a very few lessons, in this wa}', will so habituate 
him to that expression, that, so soon as he, in the field, sees 
another Dog standing at game, will understand the word 
when you remind him of it. The capacity of a young Dog 
will admit of much instruction, but if you wish your instruc- 
tion to be effective, in things pertaining to the field, you 
should give him tuition at home and before he has hunted in 
company with another Dog. Many persons condemn this 
plan, as being different altogether from the duties of the 
field, but the same reasons may be urged against the neces- 
sity of training our military in the streets, as being unlike 
the field of war; but does not the soldier often call into exer- 
cise, in the field of battle, those tactics he learned at home? 
It is in consequence of many persons, neglect of, or preju- 
dice against, this early instruction, that many Dogs are only 
half what they might have been. 

We now suppose your Dog to be nine months old; he is 
then strong and has attained nearly his full size, and at the 
proper age to commence training in the field. He should 
then be taken, (if possible,) in company with an old, well- 
broken Dog, without the gun, until he acquires the habit of 
ranging pretty well; and to make him spirited, he should 
be suffered to chase the birds as they rise. This will excite 
much keenness and love for hunting, as well as a disposition 
to range well. It is all important, that a Dog should pos- 
sess great spirit; for an animal of this kind can be trained 
with less difficulty and more satisfaction, than one of the 
contrary disposition. It is much easier to check an impe- 
tuous Dog, than give spirit to one deficient of this principle. 
When you find that your young Dog is sufficiently keen 
after game, you, moderately and by gradual means, 
should check him, and then you may hunt him with a gun; 
and as this is, perhaps, the first time he has seen or heard a 
gun discharged, it may have the effect of frightening him 
from you, and making him return home. This sometimes 
proves to bean unpleasant and unfortunate circumstance, as 
it may be found difficult to get him to follow you to the 
field again, should you have a gun in your hand. In this 
case, I would advise, that he be frequently taken to the 
field, and tied to some stake or tree, and having provided a 
pistol, commence firing at .some distance from him, gradually 
approaching the Dog at every few discharges, until you 
think firing immediately over him will not materially affect 
him. It is proper, also, to take some meat, and, at every 



few discharges, pause, feed, and caress him. At first, 
in all probability, he will make several eff'orts to escape, but 
finding them unavailing, he will lie down in a sullen mood, 
until, by a number of discharges, he becomes regardless of 
the gun. 

This plan I have followed successfully, and have known 
others to do so too; but the best and most natural plan, 
however, is, to hunt the young Dog in company with seve- 
ral others, and not separately, and the carelessness of 
these Dogs to the report of the gun, will give him confi- 
dence also; and a few hours shooting will entirely divest 
him of all fear of the gun. 

The sportsman should not fail to caress him at every fire, 
and if he entertains doubts of his stability, he should pro- 
vide a small quantity of meat to be given him. This will 
gain his confidence, when all other means prove fruitless, 
and by giving him the birds to smell and mouth, he will 
get an insight into the object of your pursuit, and make him 
familiar to the scent of the game also. This is an impor- 
tant period with the Dog, and the master should by no 
means leave it unimproved; for, half a day followed up 
strictly on this principle, will excite spirit, and his fear 
being overcome, he will take pleasure in ranging out freely 
with the other Dogs. Many young Dogs, at this time, are 
ruined, because the fear which takes hold of a Dog sinks 
him spiritless to the ground, or deranges him for the time, 
when anger or impatience in the sportsman causes him to 
treat the frightened animal with undue severity, discour- 
ages him from further hunting, and is useless ever after. 

When you have hunted your Dog several days, the style 
of his hunting should be strictly regarded by you, as of the 
next importance. If he ranges with his head high and nose 
well up, there will be no difficulty in breaking him to your 
mind; but if, on the contrary, he should hunt with his nose 
to the ground, in a manner as if trailing game, the sports- 
man will have many difficulties to surmount before he can 
break him of this habit. Every effort, however, should be 
made to correct it; for a Dog of this kind will frequently 
flush game before he can possibly scent it, owing to the cir- 
cumstance of his nose being confined in the grass and stub- 
ble, and following the trail of the birds. Game always 
become restless, and will generally take wing, if an object 
which pursues them follows directly in their wake; and 
this is the case with all Dogs which hunt nose down. 

But it is different with a Dog that ranges with a high 
head, as birds, when they find a Dog pass backwards and 
forwards promiscuously, will either rest quiet or merely 
endeavour to avoid them by running, and do not appear 
alarmed so long as the Dog will keep from trailing them. 
Beside, it gives this Dog a greater superiority over the 
other, for the reason that all effluvium ascends and is scat- 
tered more or les.s, according to tiie temperature of the 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



atmosphere, sometimes spreading over a considerable sur- 
face: therefore, when a Dog by ranging witli a high head, 
enters the area of this effluvium, his olfactory nerves detect 
the course whence it proceeds, and then his sphere of 
ranging contracts gradually, until it becomes a gentle, 
straight-forward trot, and by a final stop marks the spot 
where the game lies concealed. Effluvium, like smoke, 
ascends rapidly or skims the surface of the ground, accord- 
ing to the density or rarit}^ of the air, and should the wind 
be blowing gently on damp and lowering days, or when 
the atmosphere is dense, a Dog that ranges with his nose 
well up, will smell or receive this effluvium at a most asto- 
nishing distance: and this explains the great difference 
which is manifested frequently by the same Dog. There- 
fore, the advantage of'this description of Dogs over the for- 
mer, is so great, that it is worth every experiment to make 
a Dog hunt with his nose well up. And to effect this, it is 
necessary that whenever your Dog shows a disposition to 
put his nose to the ground, he should be spoken to sharply, 
" hold up," and repeated angrily every time he acts in this 
way. This will make him uneasy, and generally break 
him from a sneaking walk or trot into a handsome canter, 
and frequent repetition of this scolding will generally pro- 
duce the desired effect. But should simple means, like 
these, prove unavailing, after a fair and patient trial, the 
sportsman must resort to a more severe measure; and this 
will be the application of the "puzzle-peg," or more pro- 
perly, the "muzzle-peg."* The advantage of this instru- 
ment is, to prevent the Dog from putting his nose to the 
ground, and when hunting in high grass or stubble, by rea- 
son of its continually catching the weeds, &.C., creates so 
much uneasiness to the Dog, that he will be obliged to keep 
his head high, in order to avoid these troublesome objects; 
and a few hours, on several days, will give him a habit of 
ranging with his nose up, and if, while in this position, he 
should be brought to scent and stand game, his instinct will 
soon point out the superior manner of the two, and he will 
most likely ever after follow it, for most of the sagacious 
traits in Dogs are the effect of experience. 



* The " muzzle-peg" is a piece of pine wood, in 
shape like the figure, of about three fourths of an 
inch in thickness, and two and a half inches broad 
at one end, to taper down to about one and a hall 
inches to the other end, and of sufficient length to 
pass from the Dog's throat, under his jaw, eight 
inches beyond his nose. The broad end should 
be fastened to a strap, in order to buckle round 
his neck; and the smaller end fastend inside or 
behind his lower tusks, by means of a buckskin 
cord. This instrument will put the Dog to much 
inconvenience, at first, and he will try his best to 
rid himself of it J but finding hisefibrts unavailing, 
will follow quietly after you for some time, but 
will soon become accustomed to it, and then range abou 




It should always be the sportsman's peculiar care, to 
keep his Dog steady at his work, and never suffer him to 
loiter about, or stand gazing at the other Dogs. But to 
effect this, it is necessary that the sportsman himself be 
active and persevering; for if the master will loiter and idle 
his time by sitting on a stump or fence, it is natural to sup- 
pose that in the early stages of training, the Dog will follow 
his example, either by resting in the field or at his master's 
feet, or stand gazing at him or the other Dogs: therefore 
give force to your precepts by examples of industry, and 
whenever your Dog shows a disposition to lag, or smell the 
ground for small birds or ground mice, speak out to him 
sharply — "holdup!" "take care, sirrah!" This will be 
sufficient to answer every purpose. I. 



FINAL ANSWER TO I. T. S. 

Gextlemen, 

I will not occupy much of your space in replying to the 
last communication of I. T. S. The subject of contro- 
versy between us can never, I apprehend, be satisfactorily 
decided by rules of philosophy, or correctly illustrated by 
diagram. The practice of the sportsman must, in the end, 
determine him, and his deliberation and judgment alone, 
render him proficient in the art. If, in my argument in a 
former number, with reference to the diagram of I. T. S., 
I adopted a mode of reasoning which he supposes irrelevant 
to the case, I regret it as sincerely as himself; as it was not 
my wish to misapprehend him. Upon a review, however, 
of that argument, and applying it to his late illustration of 
the subject, I find so little reason for retraction, that I am 
willing to go with him from his own starting place, and let 
his principle commence at the precise point of time he 
wishes. It is in the latitude of time which j^our corres- 
pondent allows for the passage of the contents of the gun 
to its object, that Ins great mistake lies; and when he takes 
as his ground-work, the same time for the effect of the shot 
on passing from the muzzle, as for the flight of the bird in 
87 feet, he cannot expect to build upon it a system of rea- 
soning convincing or satisfactory to your readers. The 
precise period of time consumed in the passage of the con- 
tents of a gun to the object, cannot be correctly determined; 
but admitting, as I. T. S. does, in practical shooting, that 
six inches allowance is necessary for a duck in his ordinary 
flight, at sixtv yards distance, and supposing the duck to 
fly at the rate of 87 feet in the second; it follows that but 
the 1 74th part of a second would elapse for the effect of the 
shot, from the first touch of the trigger. And supposing, 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



again, a sensible interval of time to ensue after the finger 
begins to press the trigger, before the load issues from the 
barrel, does it not seem evident, that were that interval 
sunk by placing the load at the muzzle, when bearing full 
on the object, that the discharge and effect must be so nearly 
simultaneous, as hardly to admit of a perceptible difference 
in time? Now, going upon the principle that I support, 
of " keeping up the swing of the gun, in proportion to the 
flight of the bird," and not altering its bearing upon it 
when pulling trigger, the load is always, as it were, kept at 
tlie muzzle of the gun. No time being lost in the passage 
of the contents from the breech or in pulling trigger, and 
allowing a certain lateral, in connexion with the forward 
force of the shot, and several feet for its spread, it appears 
almost impossible, with good cover or aim, for a bird ever 
to escape. The mode of shooting in advance, I am aware, 
is practised by many sportsmen, but it appears to be, as I 
before observed, the consequence of habit and confirmed 
prejudice, and, in a great measure, attributable to the fact 
of the swing of the gun being stopped at the time of pulling 
trigger, thereby rendering a certain allowance necessary. 
At best, it is but a very uncertain mode of shooting, and 
liable to too much discretionary exercise, which the ardour 
of the sportsman seldom admits of, and which can never be 
relied on in emergencies. Let I. T. S. but try the experi- 
ment of shooting on my plan, on his next excursion to the 
Chesapeake, and I feel assured he will never again i-esort to 
his own. I have conversed with many of our best shots on 
the subject, who all decidedly coincide with me in my 
views. I was much amused with the reply of an old 
sportsman, (a man who follows shooting for a living, and, 
than whom few better shots can be found,) to a question 
put to him, as to his mode of directing the gun. He had 
just come out of the marsh, covered with mud and mire, 
and with the best evidence of his success — a bag full of 
game. " B.," said I, " were a duck to pass you at fifty or 
sixty yards distance, it is more than probable you could kill 
it." " I think so." '« Tell me, now, in taking j'our aim, 
how much headway would you give; six inches or a foot?" 
"Headway," replied he smiling; "why, as for that, I 
think I might kill it as soon by giving it a foot ahead as a 
foot behind." 

The subject having now been viewed in all its different 
bearings, I am satisfied to leave it to sportsmen to pronounce 
on the merits of our respective modes; and, on closing, 
cannot but express my gratification at the courtesy and for- 
bearance which has been manifested by your correspondent 
throughout this discussion, and the candour with which he 
has admitted or acknowledged the correctness and force of 
my argument, when convinced in his mind of its truth. 

SPORTSMAN. 



Count de Launay's 
DESCRIPTION OF A FOX HUNT. 

Sir — By my vord, Mr. Redacteur, I voud me much 
relate von vare great chasse I have me just vitnessed avec 
des chiens de Monsieur Craving, at the chateau ol mi Lor 
Chichester, von league from this ville. 

I vas me sitting at mine dejeune ce matin ven I view 
von gentlemans ride past upon a vite cheval, vit him a 
coleure de rouge coat on, and von long vip in him hand. 
Vat for dis gentleman coat ? I demande of de vaiter ; shall 
it be de king? "No, sare," said he, "it be Monsieur 
Jacque Bunco going a honting." — " Vot him hunt?" said 
I. — " De Fox," said he. "Ah de Renard ! I have me 
moch heard of this hont de Renard in Angleterre ; I most 
me certainly go. I vill me get my pistolets tout suite." — 
"You must have an orse," said the vaiter. "Certaine- 
ment ! " said I ; " a vite orse same as Monsieur Bunce : " 
but the stoopid vellow got me von black, at vich I vas 
much enrage, as I thought I vood be ridicule, for I did me 
see another gentlemans on a vite orse same as Monsieur 
Bunce ; and de stoopid vellow brought von saddle sans 
chose pour les pistolets, and so being in moch hurry I did 
me pot them in mine surtout poche." 

A great fracas vas at my behind, and ven I look me 
round I shall find von fine English lady attired in rouge 
and blue, gallop along de street in moch haste, and anoder 
gentlemans on anoder vite cheval same as Monsieur Bunce 
gallop vit her, and him had rouge on also. 

At de chateau varc many peoples had come, and a large 
flock of dogs, and two gentlcmens in rouge habits and black 
bonnets, who vere grand chasseurs under JNIonsieur Crav- 
ing, de grand maitre de chiens. — " Ou est votre mousquet ? 
vere is 3'our musket ? " said I to von of these gentlemens, 
but he touch him bonnet and said noting. Then com Mon- 
sieur Craving, and they both did de same to him. " How 
be de vind, George ? " said he to the grossest von ; " shall 
ve have moch scent to-day ? " — " De vind be in de East," 
said George, " but I think de scent may do." — " Vill you 
accept som scent from me ? " said I to George, offering 
him von flacon. " Be it gin ? " said he. "No, not gin, 
but bouquet du Roi, vare fine scent, trois franc cinque sous 
per bouteille." By my vord the stoopid dem vellow he 
did him drink de perfume, and then he spit it out. 

" Ve shall go," said Monsieur Craving ; and avay ve all 
vent in moch speed. "Vere de Renard ? vere de Renard ?" 
I demanded. " Hold your jaw ! " said von gentlemans in 
dc bonnet, " you vill make him steal away." — " Ah, him 
steal moch poulet, moch turque, n'est-ce-pas ? de same in 
France, de same in France ; him vare great voleur ; I shall 
him shoot, I shall him shoot ! " 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



" De gentleman be mad," said Monsieur Craving, ven I 
produced my pistolet. " Hav a care, George, he vill him- 
self shoot." — " Pas de tout ! pas de tout ! I vill me shoot 
de Renard sans doute, but not non myself." Just den dere 
vas great scream — Oh dear ! him poor gentlemans be moch 
hurt I fear. — " Gone avay ! gone avay ! forvard ! forvard ! 
hoop ! hoop ! tallivo ! tallivo ! " shouted Monsieur Crav- 
ing and all de other gentlemens : some blew a trumpet, 
and de flock of dogs came up howling and barking. " Old 
hard ! " said Monsieur Craving, " old hard ! Pray, sare, 
do you think you can catch de Fox yourself?" said he. 
" I vill me try," said I, " but vere him be ? " — " Dere him 
go," said Monsieur Bunce, as de dogs began to howl vonce 
more, and all de gentlemens gallop after them. " I vill be 
first," I said. So I charge de whole flock of dogs, and 
knocked over three of dem. Oh how dem swore because 
I beat dem all ! Then ve got to end of vood, and I thought 
de Renard should him come back again ; but Monsieur 
Bunce he jomped a gate, and then look back at me, and 
said, "now, you tinker, catch dem if you can." De gate 
vas open, and I gallop along in great haste, for ve vare all 
in moch hurry ; but I arrive at von vare large fosse, and de 
lady in rouge demande voud I take it? " Si vous plait, 
madame : " and I spur mine orse, but de stoopid bete tom- 
bled into it ; and voud you believe it, but de lady jomp 
over it and me and my orse ? 

" Pick up de pieces," said von gentlemans as he passed 
by. "Vot, old poy, are you floored already?" said anoder. 
<'Com to me, and I vill help you up," said a third, as him 
gallop along. Indeed they all make some compliment as 
they pass ; but my orse him manage to get up, and I 
found I should not be much damage; so I gallop again over 
de soft grass for great distance, mine orse blowing vare 
moch. 

" This dem Fox will never stop," I said : " by my vord 
it is quite ridicule riding after him in this stoopid manner ; 
he will surely never dare find his way back to mi Lor Chi- 
chester's poulets ; so vy should ve fatigue us to hont him 
any further." 

" Shov along, ye skrew," said a gentlemans, vondering 
at vot I vos stop; " de Fox is sinking." — "Vothim no 
svim ? but vere de vater ? " — " Dere he go, up de hill," 
said he ; but how de Fox could sink up de hill I could me 
not discover ; but Monsieur George make moch noise, as 
did IVIonsieur Craving and all de oder gentlemens ; and at 
last I saw de dogs overtake de Renard near von vood. He 
vas kill, but Monsieur George took him up and vip de dogs 
avay, and all de gentlemens got off orse and valk about ; 
and Monsieur Craving com to me and said, « Sare, you 
vare near kill my best hound, but make me de pleasure to 
accept de broosh." — " Thank you, sare ? " said I ; " but I 
T t 



should prefere von comb," parceque mine hair vas moch 
disorder ; and Monsieur Craving laugh and say, "it be de 
Fox's broosh I ofier you sare ; you have rode vare veil, 
and I am moch think you will make von vare fine spors- 
man." But I say to him, "I thank you, Monsieur Crav- 
ing, for dis compliment ; but, by my vord, your English 
hont de Renard is much ridicule : j'ou have now com 
trois league after dis dem animal, tired your horse, dirty 
your breeches, tore your habit, throw mod in my face, and 
ven you catch de creature you give him to de dog. If 
you desire a Renard, set von trap, and catch him by de leg, 
or let Monsieur George shoot him vit de mousquet as him 
com out of de vood, but never give yourself de trouble of 
honting him in this fashion." 

But Monsieur Craving him laugh moch, and say, " Sare, 
I tink you shall not comprehend our sport." — "Perhaps 
not," I say, "because I shall not tink it sport : derefore I 
vill you vish bon jour." — Your vare obedient and vare 
humble servant, C DE LAUNAY. 



PIGEON SHOOTING, 

(by the new tore club.) 

Op all the themes that writers ever chose 
To try their wits upon in verse or prose, 
A Pigeon-shootiiig match would surely be 
The last selected for sweet poesy. 
But having made this choice, proceed we now, 
Despite the frown that sits on any brow. 
In airy nothings we take no delight, 
A vision is no more, however bright; 
No fancied pictures you will here behold, 
Plain truth, rough hewn, alone, these lines unfold. 

"We now are on the ground; come, let us see. 
Where shall we stand? why faith, beneath this tree; 
Here, sheltered from the sun, the breezes court, 
And pleasantly enjoy this old mens' sport." 
Behold the trapper ofi" with shoes and coat, 
While anxious D***s opens wide his throat. 
And roars, comeM****ll! B****s! H****n! come, 
Let's make a match for any modest sum. 
But S** v*******n swears he won't agree 
Unless the pigeons are as big as he. 
I***c C**t**t is willing to go in 
If their good landlord buys of him his gin. 
R***r will shoot a match (oh, the great gods!) 
With any one who gives him lots of odds. 
Then M*«***n oflers B-^'^^^^^y a bet. 
One out of ten, which makes the old man fret. 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



" Fa know I cannot do '/, and Jarvis, tew, 

"And if I could, why hang me if I deiv." 

W**d is content, (a good, kind-hearted soul,) 

Either to shoot, or help to drain a bowl. 

Whilst honest H****s shouts, "Confound my eyes! 

Let's go to work! such humbugs I despise." 

At length a match is made, six on a side; 

And now to kill his birds is each man's pride. 

J. M****ll first advances to the scratch, 

A gunner, whom 'tis pretty hard to match. 

"I'm ready — pull!" away the pigeon flies. 

The gun 's discharged, and it as certain dies. 

Next quick-eyed B**' 's steps into his place, 

A man whose shooting can no one disgrace. 

He kills his bird, and laughs to see it fall, 

Because it flew as though not struck at all. 

There, with a single gun, goes A****w H*****!!; 

The bird is off — it falls as dead as mutton. 

" Of that I was quite sure — I knew she 'd kill, 

"Just hold her strait, and she'll do what you will." 

Now comes V*******n, many call him S*m, 

A worthy fellow, with a deal of whim, 

" Is that bird fat?" he asks, " which way 's his head? 

"I want to have a chance to shoot him dead. 

"There, let him go — I'm ready!" out it tumbles, 

He kills it coming, then at the trapper grumbles, 

" Why don't you mind? I want the bird thrown higher, 

"Do so again, and damme if I fire." 

And now left-handed R***r toes the mark, 

A better creature ne'er saw Noah's ark. 

He shuffles at the score, uplifts his gun. 

Sharply cries "Pull!" and then the work is done. 

The bird has scarcely time to leave the spot 

Before he feels the effect of patent shot. 

The shooter then, with length of back opprest, 

Stooping, turns round, and brings his gun to rest. 

Then B***n W*«d the scratch approaching slow, 

Says, "I can't shoot;" unwilling seems to go. 

At length he says, « I'm ready, pull the string!" 

The bird is loos'd, his gun is heard to ring. 

The inoffensive pigeon thinks to fly. 

But, like too many more, is doomed to die. 

" 'Twas all an accident," the gunner says. 

But men will lie in these degenerate days. 

While pious F*****k cries, " if thus you serve us, 

" From all such accidents may God preserve us!" 

Next I. C**t**t, with broad good natur'd face, 

His eye upon his lock, assumes his place, 

Says calmly, " I am ready, let him go;" 

The pigeon says, I will, the gun says no! 



A fair and honest chance the bird receives, 
But the fell shot too sure his body cleaves. 
Thirty or forty yards he gets away. 
Then takes a last farewell of the bright day. 
And now the name of B*****y is bawl'd. 
Or English tvhitehead, as by some he's call'd. 
Up to the score he moves with little ease, 
"I'm reedy, sir, now let go when ya please." 
The obedient trapper, to his duty true, 
Pull'd on the string, away the pigeon flew; 
His big-bored gun re-echoes o'er the field. 
And the poor bird is forced his life to yield. 
Now J***b S******d, quiet, easy soul, 
Is call'd, as being next upon the roll; 
He comes directly, asks where he shall stand, 
Then firmly puts his foot upon the sand, 
"There, let un go! I'll kill un sure as death. " 
His word 's his bond, the bird 's depriv'd of breath. 
A truer aim at pigeons few men take, 
And a real crack shot he no doubt will make. 
Next in rotation see J. H****s come, 
A real good fellow, any thing but grum; 
Lively and hearty, honest as the day. 
Which, for a Yorkshireman, is much to say; 
Half through his nose he bids the trapper " pull !" 
High the bird flies, with shot he fills him full; 
Laughing, he leaves the scratch, despite the slaughter, 
Goes to the bar, and calls for gin and water. 
Then R. B. F*****k, with his roguish look, 
Stepp'd from the crowd, and strait his station took; 
The trap is open'd, up the pigeon mounts. 
And soon the blood flows from its vital founts. 
Last comes the cook, by some call'd blund'ring D***s, 
By all who know him thought a rara avis. 
Dearly he loves the poet and his song, 
Always means right, though mostly doing wrong. 
He tells the trapper to let go his bird — 
'Tis done — and yet no gun's report is heard: 
For he a borrow'd instrument had got. 
Whose trigger went too hard — he lost his shot 
Theoutscouts now are heard, bang! bang! pop! pop! 
But the freed pigeon is not seen to drop; 
Over the fields and woods he flies along. 
They stare and swear that one poor bird is gone. 
Thus they go on, and shoot at ten birds each; 
Some they knock down, while some fly out of reach. 
Now one gun snaps, another misses fire. 
Which make their owners grumble loud in ire; 
At length they 're through — the clerk is ask'd to say 
Which contending squad has won the day. 



AND AJIERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



This being ascertained, the winners smile, 
But with no taunting jibes their mouths defile. 
Then to the house resort, (except some stickers,) 
And there regale them with the INIajor's" liquors. 

D. J. 



• Major Rose, who formerly kept llie tavern on the ground where the Xe 
Pigeon Club shot their matches. 



PROSPECT OF GAIME. 

The season for shooting Woodcocks will open on the 
5th of July, according to law, but the work of destruction 
has already commenced in the neighbourhood of this city, 
and some parts of New Jersey. The birds, however, are 
small, and poor, and can only be valued for the sport of 
hunting them, and not for their fitness for the table. The 
season, thus far, has been favourable to the increase of this 
species of game, which indeed appears to be more plentiful 
than for many preceding years, there being scarcely a spot 
of ground adapted to the habits of the Woodcock, which 
does not contain them. 

This is a fortunate thing for our sportsmen, whose regret 
at the severities of the past winter will find some allevia- 
tion in being able to pursue this bird in anticipation of 
the usual fall's sport after quails — and I would here most 
strenuously advise my fellow sportsmen, especially those 
whose impatience mostly outweighs their prudence — to let 
the season for woodcock and rail suffice them for the year, 
and in no instance during the approaching fall, destroy 
quails — one winter's protection to these birds, will repair, 
in a great measure, the havoc, which the protracted snows 
of the past winter have made on this favourite game, and 
the foresight and prudence of one year will advance the 
means of recreation two-fold. 

I am pleased to say, and it may be satisfactory to many 
sportsmen to know, that there is yet a remnant of quails 
in existence, which has been cherished either by some 
friendly hand, or the vigorous constitutions of the birds 
have buffeted the inclemencies of a winter unprecedented 
in its severities. Through the middle and lower part of 
New Jersey, as far as Cape INIay, an occasional " Boh 
White" may be heard, and in the neighbourhood of Phi- 
ladelphia, and counties adjacent, as well as other States, 
this bird is also heard. 

I was informed that a gentleman, during the latter part 
of this spring, who was standing in front of his house, 
which borders the river Delaware, a few miles above this city, 
observed some unusual appearance in the water, and seem- 
ed like a number of rats swimming to the shore; on approach- 



ing the spot, however, he discovered it to be a covey of 
quails, which had, no doubt, attempted to pass from Jersey 
to Pennsylvania, but, by reason of the width of the river, 
they were unable to do so, and settling in the water, were 
obliged to make up the deficiency in their flight by swim- 
ming; through wet and fatigue they were nearly exhausted, 
but a few minutes rest recruited their strength, and enabled 
them to continue their migration. 

This circumstance, in some measure, accounts for the 
reason, why, during harvest, and until the middle of Sep- 
tember, the region about Philadelphia has hitherto been 
so plentifully sprinkled with coveys of quails — for, being 
of a rich soil, and aflbrding abundant food, it invites the 
migration of these birds from New Jersey, and which 
remain with us until the farmers plough their ground again 
for the winter's grain, when the means of subsistence being 
in a great measure destroyed, they commence running 
until the Delaware impedes their progress, over which 
they fly in accumulated numbers, to spend the winter in 
Jersey; the soil of the latter place not being able to sus- 
tain the same degree of cultivation as the former, much 
food and cover for the quails consequently remain, and 
hither they resort until the subsequent spring. M. 

Philada. June 27, 1831. 



SHOOTING MATCH. 

Ax interesting Pigeon match, for Five Hundred Dollars 
a side, was decided on Wednesday, June 22d, 1S31, at 
Cornell's near Bristol, Pa. The parties were Messrs. 
T. P. G. and J. L., of Philadelphia, against Dr. G. W. 
and JMr. H. S., of New Jersey. Each person shot at 
twenty birds, twenty yards from the trap, and stood as 
follows: 



INIr. T. P. G. . 

Mr. J. L 19 JMr. H. S. 



34 32 

Being won by the former party by two birds. 

The Shooting was represented to have been very fine; 
each person shooting, in his turn, at five birds, until the 
twenty shots were accomplished. ]\Ir. J. L. killed his 
first seventeen birds, missed the eighteenth, and killed the 
other two birds, making the nineteen killed. 

Mr. H. S. counted only 15 birds, but 19 were killed by 
him, the other 4 having fallen dead out of bounds. 

The Jersey gentlemen challenged the successful party to 
a second trial, on a future day, but the challenge was de- 
clined. 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



BUFFALO HUNT. 

We set out on the 24th July from Lake Travers, of 
which we took leave witli a salute of musketry; this same 
day the buffaloes made their appearance. My horse gave 
notice of their approach by the ardour with which he was 
animated. He was the finest horse of the party, and as I 
had often dismounted and walked a little to rest him, he 
was in the best condition, and the most spirited in this extra- 
ordinary chase. 

Following the traces of Mr. Renville, who is renowned 
as a hunter, even among the Indians, I gave my horse the 
reins, and let him go in pursuit of the first bufialo we saw. 
I soon came up with and passed him, though he was two 
miles ofi', and having turned him, we drove him towards our 
people, to give them the pleasure of so new a scene, and I 
shot him before their eyes. At the same time, Mr. Yef- 
fray, one of the gentlemen of Lake Travers, who was our 
guide, killed another at a little distance; and in the even- 
ing the driver, who carried my baggage in his wagon, 
brought us a third. For the first time, plenty reigned in 
our camp; — there was no wood, but the buSalo's dung, 
which lay scattered about in abundance, formed an admira- 
ble substitute. It makes an astonishingly strong fire. 

The surprise I felt on a near view of this animal was 
equal to my pleasure in hunting it; its appearance is truly 
formidable. In size it approaches the elephant. Its flow- 
ing mane, and the long hair which covers its neck and 
head, and falls over its eyes, are like those of the lion. It 
has a hump like a camel, its hind quarters and tail are like 
those of the hippopotamus, its horns like those of the large 
goat of the Rocky Mountains, and its legs like those of 
an ox. 

The following day we found the great chief encamped in 
this prairie, near the Sioux river, Ciantapa-Watpa, which 
serves as an outlet to the waters of Lake Travers. He was 
in a new and very clean tent; he offered us the tongues and 
humps of buffaloes, which are great delicacies, very nicely 
cured; but he preserved a most invincible gravity and taci- 
turnity. Whenever we turned our eyes, we saw innume- 
rable herds of buffaloes. I begged the major to endeavour 
to induce the chief to give us the sight of a buffalo hunt with 
bows and arrows, but he replied, with his usual com- 
plaisance, that he could not stop. 

I let him go on: and Mr. Renville prevailed on the 
chief to satisfy my curiosity. We galloped towards a 
meadow which was perfectly black with them. My horse, 
who now regarded neither rein nor voice, plunged into the 
centre of the herd, dividing it into halves, and turned seve- 
ral of them. The chief, who followed me with Mr. Ren- 
ville, let fly his arrow and shot a female buffalo; she still 
endeavoured to escape, but the motion of her body in run- 



ning caused the arrow to sink deeper into the wound, and 
when she fell the whole barb had entered. 

Never did I see attitudes so graceful as those of the chief. 
They alternately reminded me of the equestrian statue of 
INIarcus Aurelius on the capitol at Naples, and that of the 
great Numidian king. Altogether it was the most astonishing 
spectacle I ever saw. I thought I beheld the games and com- 
bats of the ancients. I played nearly the same part as the 
Indians of former ages, who thought the first European they 
saw on horseback was a being of a superior order; while 
the chief with his quiver, his horse, and his victim, formed 
a group worthy the pencil of Raphael or the chisel of 
Canova. I was so enchanted by this living model of classi- 
cal beauty, that I forgot my part in the chase, and was only 
aroused to a recollection of it b}' the voice of the chief, who 
pointed to a young buffalo, which I fired at and killed. 
His majesty did me the honour to say I was an excellent 
shot. Any of our grands veneurs who should receive 
such a compliment from one of our kings, would be immor- 
talized, and the court poets would dispute the honour of 
celebrating his glories. Mr. Renville killed a buffalo. 

Wolves also appeared on the scene, and formed very 
curious episodes, intimately connected with the principal 
action, according to all the rules of the Epopea. 

These animals are as fond of the delicious flesh of the 
buffalo as man; but as they are too weak to attack, they 
employ cunning to entrap him. Wherever they see hun- 
ters, they immediately follow in their track, and take what- 
ever advantage circumstances may chance to afford. Some- 
times they regale themselves upon the offal which is left on 
the field; sometimes they follow those which they see have 
been wounded, and which the hunters do not go in pursuit 
of; on this occasion they showed quite a new contrivance. 
Three of them joined our charge upon the great herd, and 
at the moment the females were so occupied in making 
their own escape that they could not defend their young 
ones, each wolf seized upon a calf, strangled it, and dragged 
it off the field: when we had got to a little distance they 
returned and regaled themselves with their prey. When 
they are pressed by hunger, and no hunters come to their 
aid, they have recourse to another stratagem still more sur- 
prising. They approach five or six of a herd without 
appearing to have any design of attacking them. The buf- 
faloes, who do not condescend to be afraid, pay no attention 
to them whatever — they neither avoid nor attack them. 
The wolves then single out their victim, which is always a 
female, as the most delicious food, and invariably the fattest 
of the herd. Whilst two or three keep her attention en- 
gaged in front by pretending to play with her, one of the 
strongest and most active seizes her behind by the teats, and 
when she turns round to drive him off, those in front fly at 
her throat and strangle her. — Beltrami. 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



GROUND SQUIRREL. 
SCIURUS (TJl MIJl S) L YS TE RI. 

[Plate XV.] 

Sciurus Lysteri. — Rat, Sytiops. Quad. 216. — Sciurus 
Striatus. Klein, Pull. Glires, 378. — Gjiel. Schreb. 
tab. 221. — Sciurus Carolinensis, Briss. Eeg. Jin. 15.5. 
No. 9. — Ecureuil Suisse. — Desm. 339, 5 p. 547.— Es- 
curieux Suisses. — Sugar d-Theodat, Cunuda, P. 746. 
Ground Squirrel, Lawsox, Carolina, P. 124. — Cates- 
by, Carol. Vol. 2. p. 75.— Edwards, Vol. 4, t. ISl. 
Kalm, Vol. I. p. 322. L i. — Godman, Vol. 2. p. 142. 
Striped Dormouse, Pennant — .^rct. Zool. Vol. 1. p. 
126. — Hackee, United States. — J. Doughty's Collec- 
tion. 

The beautiful little animal whose biography and descrip- 
tion we are about relating, is known to most of the inabi- 
tants of the United States, being found in all districts of 
the country, as far north as the 50th parallel; its chief ha- 
bitation, however, appears to be in the vicinage of man, 
although numbers may be seen on the shores of Lakes Hu- 
ron and Superior. It is the first wild animal which at- 
tracts the notice of infancy, who grow to manhood with 
so intimate an acquaintance with it, that it is unnoticed 
either for its beauty, or interesting habits, because familiari- 
ty has made it common ; but in a minute investigation of 
its habits and properties, its beauties are more fully deve- 
loped, and a close investigation of its foresight, and appa- 
rent wisdom, will lead us to admire an animal from which 
important instruction may be derived. 

Associated with the Ground Squirrel, are many pleasing 
little reminiscenses, it recalls the mature mind to days 
of boyhood, when that period was often wasted in the idle 
enjoyment of persecuting this common inhabitant of the 
wood, when hours and days were spent in almost fruitless 
exertion to make it prisoner, when the country schoolboy 
exhausted his truant hours, in more severe labour by chas- 
ing from fence to fence, or from tree to tree, this active 
animal — than days of study would create, and when the 
rambles by the brook's margin, or through the lonely 
wood, were mostly enlivened by the spirited chirping of 
the Ground Squirrel. 

Often, too, in the solitary wilds of our country, where 
nature appears almost forsaken of animated life, does the 
traveller find a companion in this pretty Squirrel, while it 
is passing swiftly from stone to stone, or scudding along the 
fences by the road side. These fences, which are commonly 
the ziz-zag or worm fences, afibrd them fine shelter from 
U u 



their enemies, and a secure and regular path for their 
fleetness. 

The favourite places of resort for the Ground Squirrel 
are woods embedded with rocks and stones, the margin of 
shaded brooks or creeks, along fences, old walls, and banks 
adjacent to forests. They live in the ground, and their 
burrows, are mostly at the foot of stumps or trees, and be- 
side rocks, extending to a considerable distance beneath 
the surface, having several branches from the principal pas- 
sage, each of which is terminated by a store-house for their 
winter supplies; and, as they feed on the various kinds of 
nuts, the products of our forests, they deposit each in a se- 
parate cell, accumulating, through the summer and autumn, 
a most incredible quantity of provisions for the emergencies 
of winter. This provident store is never impaired, until 
the severities of the climate confines them to their burrows. 
During the summer season, they eat corn, wheat, rye, 
cherry-stones, acorns, &c. Their favourite food, however, 
is chesnuts, and in forests where these trees abound, num- 
bers of these animals may always be found. Their bur- 
rows frequently possess two entrances, to afford them 
either a more easy access to their cells, or to escape more 
readily from their enemies. 

These animals are seldom seen on trees, unless driven 
there for refuge, but may be found at all hours of the day, 
during the warm weather, sitting on the summit of some 
rock, stump, or fence, in a manner as represented in the 
plate, where, if unmolested, they will remain for hours, 
whistling and chattering away the tedium of a summer's day, 
making so much noise as to be heard from the most re- 
mote recess of the wood. Should they be intruded on at 
this period, their noise will cease, and after a short pause, 
watching the progress of the intruder, they will glide ra- 
pidly into their holes, with a shrill cry or whistle peculiar 
to this action. They are timid animals, and seldom wan- 
der far from their burrows, except in search of food, and, 
as the early morning and late evening are devoted to this 
purpose, it requires much wariness in the pursuer to sur- 
prise them, and if successful in doing this, they will then 
ascend the nearest trees, which, if somewhat detached from 
other trees, they are frequently captured. They are con- 
sidered the most untameable of their species, and can sel- 
dom be reduced to familiarity, but will generally bite their 
keeper, and survive only a short time, if imprisoned. 

These Squirrels never migrate, but, if undisturbed, keep 
possession of the same tenements, year after year during 
the short period of their existence, and in the first open 
weather of spring, they disincumber their habitations of 
all rubbish, preparatory to gathering in the harvest for the 
next winter; then may found at the mouths of their bur- 
rows, the shells of hickory, beach, and chesnuts, acorns, 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



cherry-stones, &c. these, as had been before stated, forni 
their principal food, and while it lasts, they will not for- 
sake their burrows, unless by protracted cold weather, 
they completely exhaust their store of provisions, and are 
of necessity compelled to leave their habitations to seek 
further supplies, in which case they resort to granaries and 
barns, and, if possible, to places where fruits have been 
stored. Something remarkable in tlie character of these 
Squirrels is their large cheeks, which are capable of being 
distended to a considerable extent, and in which they carry 
their food to their habitations; differing in this respect from 
most other Squirrels; they are classed by some with the 
subgenus Tamias. A celebrated writer observes, that 
"during harvest they fill their mouths so full with corn 
that their cheeks are quite distended, and in this manner, 
carry it to their concealed store. They give great prefer- 
ence to certain kinds of food; and, if, after filling their 
mouths with rye, they chance to meet with wheat, they 
discharge the one that they may secure the other." 

The Ground Squirrel is about six inches in length from 
the nose to the root of the tail, which is about three and a 
half inches long. The general colour of the head and up- 
per parts of the body is reddish brown; all the hairs on 
these parts being grey at the base. The eye-lids are whitish, 
and from the external angles of each eye a dark line towards 
the nose and cars, while on each cheek there is a reddish 
brown line. The short, rounded ears are covered with fine 
hairs, which are on their outside of a reddish brown colour, 
and within of a whitish gra}', the upper part of the neck, 
shoulders, and base of the hair on the back, are of a grey 
brown, mingled with whitish. On the back there are five 
longitudinal black bands, which are at their posterior parts 
bordered slightly with red. The middle one begins at the 
back of the head, the two lateral ones on the shoulders; 
they all terminate at the rump, whose colour is red. On 
each side two white separate the lateral black bands. The 
lower part of the flanks and sides of the neck are of a paler 
red; the exterior of the fore-feet is of a gre3'ish yellow, the 
thighs and hind-feet are red above. The fur, covering the 
throat, chin, belly, and inner surface of the extremities, is 
longer and thinner than that on the dorsal aspect, and is 
white throughout its whole length. There is no defined 
line of separation betwixt the colours of the back and belly. 
The tail is not bushy, and is brown for a small space at its 
root, afterwards greyish approaching to black on its upper 
surface, the black hairs predominating over the whitish 
ones, underneath it is reddish brown with a margin of 
hoary black. Eyes large and black, ears ovate, rounded 
and erect, whiskers long, fine, and of a black colour. There 
are also several long black hairs springing upwards from the 
eye-brows. The fore-feet have four toes, and an imperfect 



thumb, the palm is marked with five tubercles, three of 
which are situated at the root of the toes, and two larger 
ones behind, on the inner side of one of these there is a 
minute wart in place of a thumb, entirely covered by a 
thin, roundish nail; the claws are curved, compressed and 
sharp pointed, convex above and channelled underneath. 
There are five toes on the hind feet; the three middle ones 
nearly of equal length, the outer and inner ones shorter; 
the hind part of the soles hairy. 



PICTURED ROCKS OF LAKE SUPERIOR. 

Just before sun-down, we described something on the 
main opposite Grand island, and near the point of the 
Detour. On approaching it, it turned out to be one of 
those formations which are so common on these shores. It 
was a perfect vase. Mr. Lewis took an exact sketch of 
it. Its base is in yellow sand stone, which is six feet above 
the water of the lake. It stands about two miles west of 
the point opposite the south-western side of Grand island. 
The colour of the vase is nearly that of white sand stone, 
a little shaded in places with yellow. Its stem is about 
five feet high, and the body of the vase about twelve feet, 
with dimensions in all respects exactly adapted to these 
elevations. The trees that rise out of it are the fir, and 
their height is about ten feet. Evergreen and the aspen 
form the back ground. 

The sun was down when we arrived at Grand island. 
We made several attempts to land on the main, but found 
no good encamping place. Our company were yet behind. 
We continued on. The moon shone brightly, and the 
surface of the water was undisturbed and pure, except by 
the motion imparted to it by our canoe. 

" Blue were the waters — blue the sky, 
Spreads like an ocean hung on high, 
Bespangled with those isles of light. 
So wildly spiritually bright." 

Lewis, whose voice is fine, added additional enchant- 
ment to the scene by singing some of his favourite airs. 

We had thoughts of proceeding on to the point of Grand 
island, where we had breakfasted on our way up, but by 
the light of the moon we saw a beautiful encamping place 
on the island, about four miles from it, and as it was grown 
late, we determined to occupy it. Our men rounded the 
point, and occupied one of the prettiest encamping grounds 
I have seen, except that on Point Ke-we-wa-na. Gover- 
nor Cass and the party arrived in half an hour after, and 
stopped on the point, about four hundred yards from us. 
Guns were fired from the trading post on the main, the 
same we visited on going up, and found deserted, and a 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



fire lit upon the shore — the usual signals, and imports a 
welcome and a good landing, &.C. Those of our party we 
had sent for the copper rock were there; and hearing the 
voyageurs in the Governor's canoe, built the fire, and fired 
the guns. They came over — and late as it was, we learn- 
ed more, in detail, the history of their attempt, and failure, 
to bring away the copper rock. How much I regret this 
failure! Thermometer, sun-down, 68°. 

Thursday, ^ug- 17. T. sun-rise, 58°. — I was anxious 
to know how the morning would appear. The pictured rocks 
were now, at the commencement, not over six miles from 
us: and having procured a sketch of the vase, I was more 
than ever anxious to get also the outlines of those mightier 
formations. The morning was cloudy! The west looked 
black, and a wind from that quarter would have efi'ectually 
destroyed all my hopes of getting the sketches of the rocks. 
We determined, however, to embark, and wait the result 
of this tempest — gathering in the west, on the south side 
of Grand island. JNIeanwhile, I examined the encamping 
ground. Near our tent I found the frame of a large lodge, 
and just back of it, the kind of frame on which the Indians 
dry their fish. It is built over a square hole in the ground, 
of about six feet by three, where the fire is built. Near 
the lodge was a pole of about thirty feet high. At its 
top hung some badges of the superstition of these people. 
It was an offering for their sick! From those offerings, we 
inferred a child had been the subject of their anxieties. 
Near the top of the pole is a small cap, suspended by a small 
string — to which is attached, also, a strip of fur. Below 
these is a little child's covering, not more than ten inches 
by twelve, with no sleeves, with a feather from the wing 
of a hawk suspended from near the shoulder-straps. Be- 
low, there is a piece of red and white ribband, and ten feet 
below all, hangs a small hoop, tied round with wattap, 
which confines to it a parcel of white feathers. 

Now, all this is said to have been devised by their Jossa- 
keed, or conjurer — or their Maakudaytveckoovyga, or 
priest; and such offerings are generally the result of some 
dream, or of some more systematized plan of imposing 
upon the credulity of these unenlightened and helpless 
people. 

At six o'clock in the morning, we were opposite the first 
formation of the line of the rocky and pictured scenery. I 
have had some views taken that I think will be interest- 
ing. The first is an urn and a monument, with a stream of 
water running into the lake from between them. This 
stream is nearly equi-distant, between the two, but some- 
thing nearer the monument. The urn is about sixty feet 
in circumference, and of the most exact proportions as to 
height and figure. Its pedestal, or base, rests upon yellow 
sand-stone, and not more than ten feet from the water's 



edge, and nearly on a line with it. The pitch of the stream 
is about twenty feet, and in width, it is about six feet. The 
monument stands about thirty feet back of a line drawn 
from the urn and along the margin of the lake. It is par- 
tially hid with trees. It rises out of a grove, and looks 
like a sacred place, and just such as we would fancy a mo- 
nument would appear in. The urn and monument are dis- 
tant from each other about one hundred yards. 

It will not do for me to indulge in any reflections on this 
singular sepulchral arrangement; or to question nature as 
to these designs. Here is the urn, the naiad, and the mo- 
nument; and art might profit by a view of their construc- 
tion and arrangement. The views taken of them are in 
all respects correct. 

I noticed in a general way the appearance of the Pic- 
tured rocks, on coming up. I shall now only refer to 
those parts of them which I have had sketched. 

The next point which struck my observation with most 
force, was what I have called Castle rock. After Mr. 
Lewis had sketched this wonderful mass of singular and 
fortification-like arrangement, which is about three hun- 
dred feet high, and one hundred and fifty wide, which he 
did from some hundred yards in the lake, we approached 
it. We had got within about fifty feet of its base, when, 
on looking up, we found ourselves under the drip from its 
edges above — proceeding further in. I saw mj^ men look- 
ing up, and apparently shrinking from its projecting sides. 
They inquired where I wished to go ? I told them, into 
that largest opening. " Mon Dieuf they exclaimed, and 
INIr.* L. begged that we might go back. I wished to look 
into this opening, and did so. I confess I felt something 
horror struck, for in addition to the projecting walls, which 
are of sand-stone, and crumble at the touch, the sounds that 
came out of these apertures were most unearthly! One of 
the men got out of the canoe, and sat in a recess just in 
front of the opening. 

This opening is about forty feet wide, and ten deep. On 
the right, a circular passage way winds into the body of 
the rock, with a roof of thirty feet, supported on pillars, 
averaging about twelve inches in circumference, but the 
length of the canoe prevented my winding my way into 
this inner world. After surveying this recess for half an 
hour, numerous fish swimming beneath us, and becoming 
familiarized to the danger, we came out and continued 
down the coast of similar formations, but all varying, for 
about five miles, when we came to that which I call 
Cave rock. This we approached also, and found the tops 
to overhang in all the threatening postures of the first. 
Near this, and connected with it, and on the right, is a 
pile of ruins, which are the remains of one of these im- 
mense formations, that having been undermined by the ac- 



172 



tion of the waters, had tumbled down, and no doubt agi- 
tated the lake for miles around. 

This view, gives some ideas of the continuation of this 
rock-bound shore, in the sections of which the walls are 
formed. All along the cornice of these rocks the colour 
is white, and stained with brown, as if by time, and the 
action of the elements; and here and there huge fragments 
are broken off as if by the same agents. Their bases are 
uniformly, or nearly so, of yellow sand stone. The whole, 
looks like the work of art; and as if, I have before said, 
giants had been the workmen. 

The Governor, on parting from me in the morning, bade 
me, very formally, farewell — said he was very sorry to 
leave me, but that we should meet at the Sault. There I 
expected myself I should have the pleasure of seeing him, 
and not before. I knew these sketches must occupy Mr. 
Lewis for some time; and so made my mind up to have 
a lonely voyage to the St. INIary's. 

Sun-set brought us to the Grand Marais, having come 
sixty miles to-day. We encamped on the same spot where 
our tent was pitched in going up, and now, doubtless, for 
the last time. We are at least twenty miles behind the 
Governor and our party — and perhaps one hundred in ad- 
vance of the militar}'. About nine miles from the Grand 
Marais passed some Indians encamping for the night. Got 
some fish of them; and gave them in exchange pork and 
flour. The chief came wading into the lake, holding out 
his hand, saying, " Boo-Shoo — Boo-Shoo," — and on re- 
ceiving the pork and flour, was confounded at his unex- 
pected good luck, and seemed grateful. Thermometer, 
sun-down, 66°. 

The moon is at her full. The stars are nearly all quench- 
ed in her unusual splendour. The firmament looks like 
one vast mirror, and this lovely bay resembles it. It would 
be difficult, from the appearance, to determine which is the 
original, and which the reflection. On landing, I walked 
down on the bar, where, on going up, we had exercised 
ourselves so freely. But the evening — the varied and 
golden light in the west, and the full moon, silent, and 
silvery, and bright, and thoughts of home absorbed my 
reflections — and here it was I felt all the force and beauty 
of the following lines: — 

'•■ The moon is up, and yet il is not night— 
Sun-set divides the day with her— a sea 
Of glory streams along the Alpine height — 

Heaven is free 
From clouds, but of all colours seem to be 
Melted to one vast Iris of the west, 
Where the day joins the past eternity. 
While on the other hand, meek Dian's crest 
Floats through the azure air. 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



Yon sunny sea heaves brightly, and remains, 
Fill'd with the face of heav'n, which, from afar 
Comes down upon the waters ; all its hues, 
From the rich sun-set to the rising star. 
Their magical variety diffuse: 
And now they change ; a paler shadow strews 
Its mantle o'er the mountains 3 parting day 
Dies like the dolphin, whom each pang imbues 



With E 
Thel 






lain 



grr.y. 



A single star is at her side, and reigns 
With her o'er half the lovely heav'n ; 



While contemplating the stillness, and wrapt in the sil- 
very mantle of this night-scenery, I heard a footstep — on 
looking round, I recognized it to be one of my men — the 
steersman. "Sir," said he, "I have come to say, that if 
it is your pleasure, now that we have eaten and rested, we 
are willing to go on — the night is bright, and we will make 
your pallet in the canoe." 1 assented, when the canoe was 
soon in the water, the tent down, the pallet that had been 
spread, rolled up, and in half an hour, and at ten o'clock, 
we were going out of this bay, and gliding over the surf of 
the lake as it broke upon the beach. The stillness which I 
had been enjoying, was broken by the chaunting of the 
voyageurs. I stretched myself down on my pallet, that 
was unrolled and spread out on the bottom of the canoe, 
and pulling my blankets over me, went to sleep. Thermo- 
meter, sun-rise, 58°. 

Friday, ^dugust I8th. — The voyageurs have been gra- 
tified. Their object was to overtake and pass the Go- 
vernor and the rest of the company whilst they slept. At 
half past one, the entire silence awaking me, I lifted my 
head, and looking out, saw five barges drawn up on the 
shore, and the smoke of the fires at which the company had 
cooked their evening repast; and at three, the provision 
barges, and those who had been despatched to the Onta- 
nagon, and who also got ahead of me whilst I was delayed 
before the Pictured rocks, and just beyond, at Twin river, 
the Governor, Mr. Holliday, and Mr. Johnson. I had got 
into a doze again, but every thing becoming so perfectly 
still, I was awakened, and looking out, saw the tents, and 
that all was silent. We passed them all, and continued on 
to White-fish point, where we breakfasted. Just as we had 
embarked, after breakfast, we saw in the distance the lit- 
tle fleet. I soon discovered the determination of the voy- 
ageurs was to make the entire traverse of this immense 
bay, from TFhite-Jish, to Gross point. It is true, the 
morning was calm ; but there is danger in the undertak- 
ing, and it is never attempted but under the fairest prospects. 
We had proceeded but about one-third of the way, when 
the wind breezed up, and fortunately for us, it was fair. 
We put our sail, and scudded before it. When two- 
thirds of the way across, we saw, by standing up in the 
canoe, the boats following — their sails just visible. We 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



had got within ten miles of Gross cape when the wind 
rose into a storm. The waves were making, fast, when 
the paddles were resorted to, which, together with the 
wind, forced us under the shelter of Gross point just in 
time. We feared for our company, but keeping on, and now 
in calmer water upon the river St. Mary, and at three 
o'clock, I bade, perhaps, a final farewell to Lake Superior, 
and its billowy and changeful surface; its moon-light scene- 
ry; its broken and barren shores; its Grand Sables; its Pic- 
tured rocks; its islands, and its solitude. I felt grateful 
for the protection I had experienced, and for the safety of 
all concerned; and gratified at having been made able to 
feed the hungry, and to assist in planning measures which 
we hope may prove in future a source of supplies, in part, 
at least, for the miserable and starving beings among whom 
we have been. 

At five o'clock arrived at the Sault de St. Marie. It 
was our intention to go down the rapids, but our voyageurs 
dissuaded us from it, assuring us that the canoe was too 
deep, and that none of the crew knew the way well enough 
to avoid, with certainty, the rocks which are no where 
more than a few feet beneath the surface of the foam of the 
rapids. 

We entered by the way of the race which had been cut 
by the soldiers to let in the water for a saw mill, which has 
been destroj-ed by fire since we left here; and at five, p. m. 
had the gratification of being once more in a place where 
the rights of hospitality had been extended to us; and al- 
though it is only on the threshold of civilized life, so great 
was the change from solitude to it, that I felt on seeing 
these few log houses covered with bark, and the fort, 
and the faces of the inhabitants, as if I had entered a popu- 
lous town. We were scarcely in our quarters before the 

landlady, Mrs. H , announced the deaths of John 

Adams and Thomas Jefferson, and handed us the papers 
which teem with the feelings, and reflections, and honours 
of the people, on an occasion so unexampled! 

In an hour after our arrival, the Governor and Mr. Hol- 
liday were seen careering it over the rapids, and flying by 
us. They were surprised on seeing us, having passed us 
at Grand island, and not expecting our arrival, at least, un- 
til to-morrow. Tour to the Lakes. 



HOW SPIDERS EFFECT THEIR AERIAL EXCURSIONS. 

By John Blackwell, Esq. F. L. S. 

Although it is well known that spiders sometimes as- 
cend into the atmosphere through the instrumentality of 
fine lines of a viscous gummy matter, which proceed from 
X X 



the papilla; situated at the extremity of the abdomen, yet 
the manner in which these aerial jonrneys are effected 
still remains involved in obscurit}', and considerable diver- 
sity of opinion exists as to the particular species of spider 
by which they are undertaken. This deficiency leaves 
open a wide field for speculation; and accordingly we find, 
that natural historians have ascribed this interesting occur- 
rence to several distinct causes, — such as the agency of 
winds, evaporation, and electricity: the exercise of pecu- 
liar physical powers, with which the spiders that produce 
gossamer have been supposed to be endowed; and the ex- 
treme levity of the webs of these insects, which are repre- 
sented by some writers on the subject to be of less specific 
gravity than atmosphere air : but that each of these hypo- 
theses is unfounded, and in direct opposition to facts, will 
be rendered evident by the following observations and ex- 
periments, from which a satisfactory solution of the diffi- 
culty, it is hoped, will be obtained. 

That gossamer, which usually abounds most in the months 
of September and October, is perceived to ascend into the 
atmosphere only in serene bright weather, is, I believe, 
generally allowed: it is also admitted, the gossamer in the 
air is invariably preceded by gossamer on the ground. 
These, as will appear in the sequel, are circumstances of 
much importance in the present investigation; every me- 
thod of accounting for the ascent of the webs and spiders, 
however plausible, which does not imply their concurrence, 
being necessarily erroneous. 

But to proceed to my own researches: — A little before 
noon on the 1st of October, 1S26, which was a remarkably 
calm sunny daj', the thermometer in the shade ranging 
from 55°-5 to 64°, I observed that the fields and hedges in 
the neighbourhood of Manchester were covered over, by 
the united labours of an immense multitude of spiders, with 
a profusion of fine shining lines, intersecting one another 
at every angle, and forming a confused kind of net-work. 
So extremely numerous were these slender filaments, that in 
walking across a small pasture my feet and ankles were 
thickly coated with them: it was evident, however, not- 
withstanding their great abundance, that they must have 
been produced in a very short space of time, as early in 
the morning they were not sufficiently conspicuous to at- 
tract my notice; and on the 30th of September they could 
not have existed at all; for on my referring to my me- 
teorological journal, I find that a strong gale from the 
south prevailed during the greater part of that day. 

A circumstance so extraordinary could not fail to excite 
curiosity; but what more particularly arrested my atten- 
tion was the ascent of an amazing quantity of webs of an 
irregular complicated structure, resembling ravelled silk of 
the finest quality and clearest white. They were of various 



174 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



shapes and dimensions, some of the largest measuring up- 
wards of a yard in length, and several inches in breadth in 
the widest part; while others were almost as broad as long, 
presenting an area of a few square inches only. 

These webs, it was quickly perceived, were not formed 
in the air, as is generally believed, but at the earth's sur- 
face. The lines of which they were composed being 
brought into contact by the mechanical action of gentle 
airs, adhered together, till by continual additions they were 
accumulated into flakes or masses of considerable magni- 
tude, on which the ascending current, occasioned by the 
rarefaction of the air contiguous to the heated ground, acted 
with so much force as to separate them from the objects 
to which they were attached, raising them in the atmos- 
phere to a perpendicular height of at least several hun- 
dred feet. I collected a number of these webs about mid- 
day as they rose, and again in the afternoon, when the up- 
ward current had ceased and they were falling, but scarce- 
ly one in twenty contained a spider; though on minute in- 
spection I found small winged insects; chiefly aphides, en- 
tangled in most of them. 

From contemplating this unusual display of gossamer, 
my thoughts were naturally directed to the animals which 
produced it ; and the countless myriads in which they 
swarmed almost created as much surprise as the singular 
occupation that engrossed them. Apparently actuated by 
the same impulse, all were intent upon traversing the re- 
gions of air; accordingl}-, after gaining the summits of va- 
rious objects, as blades of grass, stubble, rails, gates, &c., 
by the slow and laborious process of climbing, they raised 
themselves still higher by straightening their limbs; and 
elevating the abdomen, by bringing it from the usual ho- 
rizontal position into one almost perpendicular, they emitted 
from their spinning-apparatus a small quantity of the glu- 
tinous secretion with which they construct their webs. This 
viscous substance being drawn out by the ascending cur- 
rent of rarefied air into fine lines several feet in length, 
was carried upward, until the spiders feeling themselves 
acted upon with sufficient force in that direction, quitted 
their hold of the objects on which they stood, and com- 
menced their journey by mounting aloft. 

Whenever the lines became indequate to the purpose for 
which they were intended, by adhering to any fixed body, 
they were immediately detached from the spinners, and so 
converted into terrestrial gossamer by means of the last 
pair of legs, and the proceedings just described were re- 
peated; which plainly proves that these operations result 
from a strong desire felt by the insects to efiect an ascent. 
But what, it may be asked, is the exciting cause of this 
singular propensity. It has been suggested that hunger, 



or an inclination to procure some favourite kind of food, 
may supply the requisite stimulus. These suppositions, 
however, are discountenanced by the plump appearance 
which the animals exhibit; by their total disregard of such 
winged insects as happen to be placed within their power; 
by their utter inability to regulate their motions, while 
afloat, in any other manner than by letting out or drawing 
in the lines by which they are conveyed through the air, 
and thus promoting their ascent or descent; by the unsuita- 
bleness of the lines for securing their prey; and lastly, by 
the uncertainty when a favourite day for their purpose may 
occur, or even that one may occur at all. 

Were I to hazard a conjecture on the subject, I should 
be disposed to attribute the manifest anxiety of these in- 
sects to change their quarters, to a feeling of insecurity oc- 
casioned by their proximity to one another; — the prodi- 
gious numbers which in favourable seasons are usually con- 
gregated together afi"ording the more powerful individuals 
an opportunity, seldom neglected by these voracious crea- 
tures, of making an easy prey of the weaker: and this opi- 
nion is strengthened, if not confirmed, by the fact, that 
they are chiefly animals which have not arrived at maturi- 
ty that undertake their migrations. 

I have asserted, that when the spiders which produce 
gossamer perform their aerial journeys, they are borne 
upward by an ascending current of rarefied air acting on 
the slender lines which proceed from their spinners. I 
shall now endeavour to prove that this curious atmosphe- 
rical phenomenon, which well deserves the attention of 
meteorologists, afibrds them the only available means of 
accomplishing their object; and that the hypotheses pre- 
viously adverted to are quite irreconcileable with facts, and 
consequently must be erroneous. 

It has been already stated, that gossamer is never seen 
floating in the air except in calm sunny weather; its buoy- 
ancy, therefore, evidently does not depend upon the agency 
of winds, usually so called: indeed it is probable that winds 
never do take an upward direction, unless influenced by 
some extraordinary circumstance or local peculiarity; the 
ascent of gossamer, on the contrary, is frequently observ- 
ed to take place over a great extent of country on the same 
day. It was noticed on the 1st of October, for example, 
in England, Wales, and Ireland. 

If a satisfactory explanation of this interesting fact can- 
not be derived from the operation of winds, it is still less 
likely to be deduced from the action of evaporation or elec- 
tricity; for, not to insist upon the probable, I had almost 
said absolute, insufficiency of these powers considered as 
agents, experiments show that the spiders do not select 
those periods for making an ascent when the evaporating 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



force is unusually great, or the electricity of the atmos- 
phere is remarkable for its intensity. 

But though each of the alleged causes just adverted to 
appears incompetent to produce the required effect, yet one 
abundantly adequate may perhaps be found in the physical 
endowments of the animals themselves, or in the extreme 
lightness of their webs: these two last-named suppositions 
therefore merit a careful examination. 

If the spiders do impel their lines upward by the volun- 
tary exercise of some animal function which has hitherto 
eluded the researches of physiologists, it follows, that when 
the communication is interrupted, the lines, unless influ- 
enced by some other force, must necessarily fall. Now the 
reverse of this uniformly ensues: for if the insects, after 
having commenced their ascent, are suddenly separated 
from the lines to which they are attached, the latter still 
continue to ascend, their motion being accelerated by their 
diminished gravity, but the former are rapidly precipitated 
to the ground. The conclusion is obvious. The buoyancy 
of the lines cannot be occasioned by the beings which pro- 
duce them; and the ascent of large flakes of web unoccupied 
by spiders, before alluded to, confirms this opinion. 

Perhaps the buoyance of lines from which spiders have 
been detached, and of webs although destitute of these in- 
sects, may be regarded as facts powerfully contributing to 
establish the idea that this animal secretion is specifically 
lighter than the mixed gases which compose the atmos- 
phere. The fallacy of this notion, however, is easily proved 
by experiment. In the comparatively still air of a room 
without fire, both the lines and webs descend slowly to the 
floor, the latter falling with the greater degree of velocity. 

Were these productions lighter than atmospheric air, or 
were the spiders capable of effecting an ascent without the 
help of adventitious aid, a calm though cloudy daj^ might 
answer their purpose; but as considerable warmth is re- 
quired to produce an ascending current of rarefied air 
strong enough to bear them from the earth, a bright as well 
as still day is indispensable. 

Founded on results obtained from an experiment which 
has been frequently made, but never conducted with suffi- 
cient care, is the belief entertained by many eminent en- 
tomologists that spiders can forcibly propel or dart out 
threads from their papillae. Now as this process would, 
contrary to my own experience, imply the exercise of a 
physical power peculiar to these creatures, and as attempts 
have been made to explain on this principle the fabrication 
of their webs in situations where their ordinary mode of 
proceeding could not be employed, 1 determined to repeat 
the experiment from which so strange a conclusion has been 
deduced. With this view, having procured a small branch- 
ed twig, I fixed it upright in an earthen vessel containing 



water, its base being immersed in the liquid, and upon it 
I placed several of the spiders which produce gossamer. 
Whenever the insects thus circumstanced were exposed to 
a current of air, either naturally or artificially produced, 
they directly turned the thorax towards the quarter whence 
it came, even when it was so slight as scarcely to be per- 
ceptible, and elevating the abdomen, they emitted from 
their spinners a small portion of glutinous matter, which 
was instantly carried out in a line, consisting of four finer 
ones, with a velocity equal, or nearly so, to that with which 
the air moved, as was apparent from observations made on 
the motion of detached lines similarly exposed. The spi- 
ders, in the next place, carefully ascertained whether their 
lines had become firmly attached to any object or not, by 
pulling at them with the first pair of legs; a' 1 if the result 
was satisfactory, after tightening them surficiently they 
made them fast to the twigs; then discharging from their 
spinners, which they applied to the spot where they stood, 
a little more of their liquid gum, and committing them- 
selves to these bridges of their own constructing, they pass- 
ed over them in safety, drawing a second line after them as 
a security in case the first gave way, and so effected their 
escape. 

Such was invariably the result when the spiders were 
placed where the air was liable to be sensibly agitated: I 
resolved therefore to put a bell-glass over them; and in this 
situation they remained seventeen days, evidently unable 
to produce a single line by which they could quit the 
branch they occupied without encountering the water at 
its base ; though on the removal of the glass they re- 
gained their liberty with as much celerity as in the instances 
already recorded. 

This experiment, which from a want of due precaution 
in its management has misled so many distinguished natu- 
ralists, I have tried with several of the geometric spiders, 
and always with the same success. Placed under the bell- 
glass, or in any close vessel, they in vain endeavoured to 
make their escape from the branch to which they were 
confined, but in the disturbed air of an inhabited room 
they readily accomplished their object. 

Instances of long-sustained abstinence from food by in- 
sects of the genus Aranea, unaccompanied by any mani- 
fest diminution of vital energy, have been given by various 
observers. In adding another case to the list it is proper to 
remark, that it must be received solely on my own autho- 
rity. 

Some of the spiders which produce gossamer were procur- 
ed on the 2d of October, and inclosed in glass phials with 
ground stoppers, where they were suffered to remain till the 
lethof December, an interval of seventy-five days, without 
either food or moisture; yet at the expiration of that period, 



176 



THE CABINET OF NATURAL HISTORY 



the only alterations perceptible in their external condition 
were a small decrease in bulk, and a slightly wrinkled ap- 
pearance, pnrticularly of the abdomen: but their functions 
were seemingly unimpaired; for on warm days, or when 
excited by artificial heat, they were lively in their mo- 
tions, and to the last continued to produce their threads, 
which were often destroyed for the purpose of ascertaining 
whether they would be replaced by others with apparently 
the same facility as at the time of their capture. 

It is particularly deserving of notice, that these insects, 
though unable to climb up the smooth perpendicular sides 
of the phials on their first introduction, soon contrived to 
traverse the interior of their prisons in every direction. 

In order to illustrate their manner of proceeding on this 
occasion, the case of an individual has been selected for de- 
scription, — the same method, with a few trivial modifica- 
tions, being pursued by all. Elevating the abdomen, and 
pressing the spinning-apparatus against the side of the 
phial, this spider emitted from its papillae a little viscous 
fluid, which on exposure to the air hardened into a minute 
semi-transparent speck; then moving to a short distance, 
and drawing out a thread after it, one end of which re- 
mained fixed to the spot it had connected this filament 
with another part of the phial by applying the spinners as 
before. Several lines being thus produced, the spider 
speedily raising itself upon them above the bottom of the 
phial, promoted its undertaking by repeating the process 
just described; every step so gained enabling it to carry its 
operations still higher. 

From the cylindrical figure of the phial, it follows that 
all the lines attached to its sides by their extremities, such 
as were vertical alone excepted, formed with those sides 
chords to arcs of various magnitudes. Lowering itself from 
one of these chords to another, and applying the spinners 
to each in succession, the spider soon connected the whole 
of them together by a line; then ascending again to the 
greatest altitude it could attain, and dropping down by a 
thread to the bottom of the phial, over which it walked to 
the opposite side; it there drew the thread tight and made 
it fast, having prevented it from coming in contact with 
the glass previously by raising the abdomen a little. To 
this oblique line it united others, extending them in differ- 
ent directions, till by these means it established a commu- 
nication with every part of the phial. As there was some 
difficulty in tracing these operations with the unassisted 
eye, lenses of the magnifying powers of six and eight were 
employed. 

The spiders seen ascending into the atmosphere on the 
1st of October were of two distinct species; but as the 
technical difference of insects has engaged only a small 
share of my attention, I shall leave the task of identifying 



them to those who are more familar than myself with this 
branch of entomology. The subjoined remarks on some 
of the characteristics of these insects, which are more con- 
veniently illustrated by the pen than the pencil, may serve 
to facilitate this object. 

One species has four of its eight eyes much larger than 
the other four. Two pairs situated in the front or fore- 
part of the head are arranged thus °. .° , the relative size of 
the dots being nearly the same as that of the eyes. The 
other pair of small ones is placed in the upper part of the 
head, and on each side of it one of the remaining pair of 
large ej'es is seated. The spider has the abdomen rather 
depressed; the anterior limbs, which it raises in a menacing 
manner when any thing approaches it, are longer than 
the posterior ones; and it moves in a lateral direction with 
almost as much ease and expedition as it does straight 
forward. The largest individuals of this species observed 
to be conveyed through the atmosphere by a current of 
air acting upon their lines, measured one-sixth of an inch 
between the extreme points of the head and abdomen; one- 
tenth of an inch across the broadest part of the abdomen; 
and weighed about a quarter of a grain. 

The second species has also four eyes of a greater magni- 
tude than the other four. The arrangement and relative 
S'ze of three pair placed in the fore-part of the head may 
be thus expressed by dots :..: ; one of the other pair of 
large eyes being situated on each side of the head. Spi- 
ders of this species have the last pair of legs longer than 
the first, and move with great celerity, but rarely in a 
lateral direction. They vary considerably in colour, some 
being of a much darker hue than others, and these are fre- 
quently without the pale longitudinal line which extends 
the whole length of the thorax, and sometimes even on 
to the abdomen of the lighter-coloured specimens. The 
largest individuals seen floating in the air were somewhat 
inferior in weight and dimensions to the largest of the pre- 
ceding species observed under similar circumstances*. 

Trans. Linn. Soc. 

' Is this the Aranea dorsalis of the Svstema Katurw, Gmelin's Edit.? 



FOUNTAIN TREES. 

The Fountain Trees are very extraordinary vegeta- 
bles, growing in one of the Canary Islands, and likewise 
said to exist in some other places. Of these remarkable 
trees, we have the following account in Glasse's History of 
the Canary Islands: "There are only three fountains of 
water in the whole island of Hiero, where the Fountain 
Tree grows. The great cattle are watered at those foun- 
tains, and at a place where water distils from the leaves of 



AND AMERICAN RURAL SPORTS. 



a tree. Many writers have made mention of this famous 
tree, some in such a manner as to make it appear miraculous; 
others again positively deny its existence; among whom is 
Feyjoo, a modern Spanish critic. But he, and those who 
agree with him in this matter, are as much mistaken, as 
those who would make it appear miraculous. 

" The author of the ' History of the Discovery and Con- 
quest of the Canaries,' has given a particular account of this 
remarkable vegetable, which I shall here insert at large: 
The district in which this tree stands, is called Tigulahe; 
near to which, and in the steep rocky ascent that sur- 
rounds the whole island, there is a narrow gutter, com- 
mencing at the sea, and continuing to the summit of the 
cliff, where it is joined with a valley that is terminated by 
the sleep front of a rock. On the top of this rock grows a 
tree, called in the language of the ancient inhabitants, garse, 
or ' sacred tree,' which for many 3-ears has been preserved 
sound, fresh, and entire. Its leaves constantly distil such 
a quantity of water, as is sufficient to furnish drink to every 
living creature in Hiero; nature having provided this 
remedy for the drought of the island. Nobody knows of 
what species this tree is, only that it is called (ill, and 
stands by itself at the distance of a league and a half from 
the sea. The circumference is about twelve spans, the 
diameter four, and its height from the ground to the top 
of the highest branch forty spans. The branches are thick 
and extended; the lowest commence about an ell from the 
ground; and the circumference of the whole of them is 
about a hundred and twenty feet. The fruit resembles an 
acorn, and tastes somewhat like the kernel of a pine-apple, 
but is softer and more aromatic. The leaves appear like 
those of the laurel, but are larger, wider, and more curved: 
they come forth in a perpetual succession, so that the tree 
always remains green. 

" On the north side of this tree are two large tanks, or cis- 
terns, of rough stone; or rather, one cistern divided, each 
half being twenty feet square, and sixteen spans in breadth. 
One of these contains water for the drinking of the inhabi- 
tants; and the other that which they use for their cattle and 
domestic purposes. 

<' Every morning, near this part of the island, a cloud or 
mist rises from the sea, which the south and east winds 
force against the above-mentioned steep cliff; so that the 
cloud having no vent but by the gutter, gradually ascends 
it, and from thence advances slowly to the extremity of the 
valley, where it is checked by the front of the rock which 
terminates the valley. It then rests upon the thick leaves 
and wide spreading branches of the tree, from whence it 
distils in drops during the remainder of the day, until it is 
at length exhausted; in the same manner that we see water 
drip from the leaves of trees after a heavy shower of rain. 
Yy 



This distillation is not peculiar to the garse or till, for 
some bresos which grow near it, also drop water; but their 
leaves being few and narrow, the quantity is so trifling, 
that though the natives catch some of it, yet they make 
little account of any but what distils from the garse; which, 
together with the water of some fountains, and what is saved 
in the winter season, is sufficient to serve them and their 
flocks. The tree yields most water in those years when 
the easterly winds have prevailed for a continuance; for, by 
these winds only, the clouds, or mists, are drawn hither 
from the sea. 

" A person lives on the spot near which this curious tree 
grows, who is appointed to take care of it and its water, 
and is allowed a house to live in, together with a certain 
salary. He every day distributes to each family in the 
district, seven pots of water, besides what he gives to the 
principal people of the island." 

Whether the tree which yields water at the present time, 
be the same as that mentioned in the above description, we 
cannot determine; but it is probable there has been a suc- 
cession of them; for Pliny, describing the Fortunate 
Islands, says, "In the mountains of Ambrion are trees 
resembling the plant ferula, from which water may be pro- 
cured by pressure. What comes from the black kind is 
bitter, but that which the white yields is sweet and 
potable." 

Trees yielding water, however, are "not peculiar to the 
island of Hiero; for travellers inform us of one of the same 
kind on the island of St. Thomas, in the Gulf of Guinea; 
and in " Cockburn's Voyages," we find the following 
account of a dropping tree, near the mountains of Fera Paz, 
in America: — 

" On the morning of the fourth day, we came out on a 
large plain, in the middle of which stood a tree of unusual 
size, spreading its branches over a vast compass of ground. 
Curiosity led us up to it. We had perceived at some dis- 
tance, the ground about it to be wet, at which we were 
rather surprised, as well knowing there had no rain fallen 
for near six months past, according to the certain course of 
the season in that latitude; and that it was impossible to be 
occasioned by a fall of dew, we were convinced by the sun's 
having power to exhale all moisture of that nature a few 
minutes after its rising. At length, to our great amaze- 
ment, we saw water dropping, or, as it were distilling, 
pretty fast from the end of every leaf of this tree, which 
might not improperly be termed miraculous ; at least it 
was so with respect to us, who had been labouring four 
days through extreme heat, without receiving the lea