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BL 180 .P3 1879 

Paley, William, 1743-1805 

Natural theology 


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JUN 9 1914 


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l8 79 . 

Rntered, according to Act of Oungress, in the year 1854, tj 


la the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of M&sstichuMttfc 


Several years since the publishers of this valuable and very popnluf 
work engaged the services of Dr. John Ware, of this city, to prepare an 
improved edition, by the addition of forty elegant pages of the illustra- 
tions of Paxton, with references to the same in the text; extensive 
notes, original and selected ; a vocabulary of scientific term<s, etc. ; with 
a view of adapting it more perfectly to the wants of our colleges and 
schools, so as thereby to increase its circulation and usefulness. 

The sale, with these additions and improvements, has been gradually 
on the increase, until it has become very generally introduced into our 
best schools and colleges throughout the country; and having passed 
through some forty or more editions, the publishers found the plates, by 
constant use, very much worn, and in some cases imperfect. They 
have consequently procured an entirely new and beautiful set of illus- 
trations, which, with other improvements, render the work all that can 
be desired, and in view of which they anticipate a wider and stili more 
extensive sale of the work. 

Boston, January, 1854. 




The present edition of the Natural Theology of Dr. Paley was andes 
taken witn the view of making this admirable work more extensively 
useful than it could ever be under the form in which it has been usuall) 
circulated. A great proportion of those who have read it must have sensi 
bly felt the disadvantage under which they labor in comprehending the 
descriptions; and of course the arguments of the author, from the want 
of a knowledge of the subjects to which they relate. No man could so 
well supply the want of this knowledge, by clearness of statement and 
description, as Dr. Paley; ana it is probable that few other writers would 
have made a book so intelligible, which relates to subjects remote from 
common observation, without the aid of plates and illustrations. Still it 
must be imperfectly comprehended in many important parts, except bv 
those acquainted with the sciences from which his illustrations are drawn. 
Enough it is true may be understood by all, to carry them along with the 
argument, and produce a general conviction of its truth. But the concep- 
tions even of professional readeis would be much more clear, definite, and 
aatisfactory, were the description aided by visible representations. 

It was the original design of the publishers to ^ave merely attached thp 
plates and references of Paxton, which have bee.i published in England 
and in this country in a separate volume, to the t»xt of Dr. Paley. It 
was, however, suggested to them that the value of their edition might be 
increased by the addition of Notes, and they had madb arrangements for 
this purpose and were going on with the work, when Mr. Paxton's edition 
if the Natural Theology fell into their hands, containing, beside the 
j. l&tes, a considerable number of Notes. From these Notes a selection has 
been made of such as seemed most valuable and interesting. A numbei 
of Notes have also been made up of quotations from the excellent treatise 
of Mr. Charles Bell on Animal Mechanics, published in the Library of 
Useful Knowledge ; a tract which cannot be too highly recommended 
K> the perusal of those who take pleasure in studying the indications of a 
nrtee and benevolent Providence in the works of creation. 

A few additional Notes have also been subjoined, which have aot b©«« 
befoi 3 published. 


It seems to be supposed by some, that the progress made in science 

*5nce the writing of this work must have furnished ample materials foi 

valuable additions to it. It will readily appear, however, upon reflection. 

that this is not likely to be the case, and that no particular advantage tu 

the argument is to be expected from bringing it down, as it is often ex 

pressed, to the present state of science, O he object of the work is, nol 

to teach science in its connexion with Natural Theology, a plan entirely 

different, and one upon which distinct works may, and have been written, 

t>ut to gather materials from the knowledge communicated by science, 

wherewith to construct an argument for the existence and attributes of 

God. The excellence of such a work, then, will not consist in the num- 
Der of illustrations, or in the copiousness and completeness of the materi- 
als, but in the judgment with which they are selected, and the aptness 
with which they are made to bear upon the question at issue. 

So far, therefore, as the argument is concerned, no additional strengtn 
will be given to it by new" discoveries in science. As Dr. I'aiey has him- 
self admitted, a single case thoroughly made out, proves all that can be 
proved, and, generally speaking, the most familiar instances which cat, 
be selected and made intelligible are the best for this purpose, and win 
have the greatest inlluence u jon men's minds. All the knowledge, there- 
fore, which is necessary for the completeness and strength of the argu- 
ment was possessed long ago. 

Still there is an advantage in selecting and arguing from a variety of 
examples, arising out of the different constitutions of men's minds, or 
their different habits of thinking and reasoning. Some are more affected 
Dy examples of one kind, and some by those of another. In this way 
much more might be done in the way of illustrating and enforcing the 
argument, and holding it up in every possible light, than has been attempt- 
ed in the present edition. The principal object here had in view, has 
been to make such additions, as with tne help of the engraved views, 
would bring the argument, as stated by the author, clearly within reach 
of all readers. 

To give a correct edition, various English and American copies have 
been consulted, in which variations have been found; but those readings 
have been adopted, which appeared best to comport with that familiarity, 
and originality of expression, which gives its principal charm, and ita 
great force and clearness to Dr Paley's style. 

J W 





The following work was undertaken at your Lordship's recom- 
mendation; and amongst other motives, for the purpose of making the 
most acceptable return I could make for a great and important benefit 
conferred upon me. 

It may be unnecessary, yet not perhaps, quite impertinent, to state to 
your Lordship and to the reader, the several inducements that have led 
me once more to the press. The favor of my first and ever honored 
patron had put me in possession of so liberal a provision in the church, a9 
abundantly to satisfy my wants, and much to exceed my pretensions. 
Your Lordship's munificence, in conjunction with that of some other ex- 
cellent Prelates, who regarded my services with the partiality with 
which your Lordship was pleased to consider them, hath since placed me 
in ecclesiastical situations, more than adequate to every object of reason- 
able ambition. In the meantime, a weak, and, of late, a painful state 
of health, deprived me of the power of discharging the duties of my sta- 
tion, in a manner at all suitable, either to my sense of those duties, or to 
my most anxious wishes concerning them. I\Ty inability for the public 
functions of my profession, amongst other consequences, left me much at 
leisure. That leisure was not to be lost. It was only in my study that I 
could repair my deficiencies in the church. It was only through the pres9 I could speak. These circumstances, in particular, entitled your 
Lordship to call upon me for the only species of exertion of which I was 
capable, and disposed me, without hesitation, to obey the call in the best 
manner that I could. In the choice of a subject I had no place left for 
doubt : in saying which, I do not so much reter, either to the supreme 
importance of the subject, or to any skepticism concerning it with which 
the present times are charged, as I do, to its connexion with the subjects 
treated of in my former publications. The following discussion alone was 
wanted to make up my works into a system : in which works, such as 
diej are, the public have now before them, the svidences of natural reli 



gion, the evidences of revealed religion, and an account of the duties thai 
result from both. It is of small importance, that they have been written 
in an order, the very reverse of that in which they ought to be rea<2. I 
commend therefore the present volume to your Lordship's protection, not 
only as, in all probability, my last labor, but as the completion of a c>5!\ 
sislent and compiehensive design. 

Hitherto, my Lord, I have been speaking of myself and not of my Pa- 
tron. Your Lordship wants not the testimony of a dedication, nor any 
testimony from me : I consult therefore the impulse of my own minJ 
alone when I declare, that in no respect has my intercourse with vour 
Lordship been more gratifying to me, than in the opportunities, whici* 
it has afforded me, of observing your earnest, active, and unwearied 
solicitude, for the advancement of substantial Christianity: a solicitude, 
nevertheless, accompanied with that candor of mind, which suffer> no 
subordinate differences of opinion, when there is a coincidence in the main 
intention and object, to produce an alienation of esteem, or diminution of 
favor. It is fortunate for a country, and honorable to its government, 
when qualities and dispositions like these are placed in high and influential 
stations. Such is the sincere judgment which I have formed of your 
Lordship's character, and of its public value: my personal obligations I 
can never forget. Under a due sense of both these considerations, »! beg 
leave to subscribe myself, with great respect and gratitude, 

My Lord, 
Your Lordship's faithful 

And most devoted servant, 





Ml «.ORD„ 

To your suggestion the world is indebted for the existence of Di. 
Paley's valuable work on Natural Theology. The universal and perma- 
neix* esteem in which it has been held in this country, and its favorable 
reception in France, even after the desolating influence of the Revolution, 
ha\c abundantly approved your Lordship's selection both of the subject 
?nd of the person to whom you intrusted it. 

lu booking round, then, for a patron for these Illustrations, it was 
natural to have recourse to him who was the original suggestor of the 
work which it is their object to explain. Nor was I disappointed in my 
wich; your Lordship not only condescending to approve of the design, 
but to encourage me in its prosecution, by your very liberal support. 
Fo» this distinguished honor you will believe me deeply sensible ; and 
if I may indulge the hope that my humble efforts will increase the utility 
of »c eminent a w riter, I shall consider it the highest gratification. 

I am, -my Lord, 

With great veneration, 
Your Lordship's most obliged, 

And obedient servant, 



Chapter P«* 

1. Sta.e of the Argument, . . • • • 6 

2. State of the Argument, continued, • • .8 

3. Application of the Argument, . ... 13 

4. Of the succession )f Plants and Animals, ... 31 

5. Application of the Argument, continued, .... 35 

6. The Argument cumulative, ..... 44 

7. Of the mechanical and immechanical parts and functions of 

Animals and Vegetables, ...... 45 

8. Of mechanical Arrangement in the human Frame— Of the 

Bones, ......... 52 

9. Of the Muscles, ....... 74 

10. Of the Vessels of animal Bodies, .... 90 

11. Of the animal Structure, regarded as a Mass, . . 109 

12. Comparative Anatomy, • 122 

13 Peculiar Organizations, . 137 

14. Prospective Contrivances, . . . . . • 145 

15. Relations, 149 

16. Compensation, • 157 

17. The Relation of animated Bodies to inanimate Nature, . 166 

18. Instincts, 170 

19 Of Insects, ....... .180 

20 Of Plants, . 193 

21 Of the Elements, .... . 207 

22 Astronomy, .... , . 212 

23. Personality of the Deity, . . . 229 

24. Of the Natural Attributes of the Deity, . . 246 

25. The Unity of the Deity, . 249 

26 The Goodness of ths Deity, 252 

27. Conclusim, . . . . . ; . 292 

Vocabulary. . . .... . 29^ 




In ci :ssing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against 
% stoAe, and were asked how the stone came to be there; 
i might possibly answer, that, for anything 1 knew to the 
contrary, it had lain there forever: nor would it perhaps 
uc very easy to show the absurdity of this answer. But 
suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it 
should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that 
place ; I should hardly think of the answer which I had be- 
fore given, that, for anything I knew, the watch might 
have always been there. Yet why should not this answer 
seive for the watch as well as for the stone? Why is it 
not as admissible in the second case, as in the first? For 
this reason, and for no other, viz. that, when we come to 
inspect the watch, we perceive (what we could not dis- 
cover in the stone) that its several parts are framed and put 
together for a purpose, e. g. that they are so formed and ad- 
justed as to produce motion, and that motion so regulated 
19 to point out the hour of the day ; that if the different 
parts had been differently shaped from what they are, of a 
different size from what they are, or placed after any other 
manner, or in any other order, than that in which they 
are olaced, either no motion at all would have been carried 
on in the machine, or none which would have answered the 
use that is now served by it. To reckon up a few of the 
plainest of these parts, and of their offices, all tending to one 
res.: t: [See Plate I.] — We see a cylindrical box containing 
h. coiled elastic spring, which, by its endeavor to relax itself, 
turnis round the box. We next observe a flexible chain (ar- 
tificially wrought for the sake of flexure) communicating the 
aetiou of the s\ ring from the box to the fusee. We then 



find a series of wheels, the teeth of which catch in, and 
apply to each other, conducting the motion from the fusee 
to the balance, and from the balance to the pointer; and at 
the same time, by the size and shape of those wheels, so 
regulating that motion, as to terminate in causing an index 
by an equable and measured progression, to pass over a 
given space in a given time. We take notice that the 
wheels are made of brass in order to keep them from rust ; 
the springs of steel, no other metal being so elastic; that 
over the face of the watch there is placed a glass, a material 
employed in no other part of the work; but in the room of 
which, if there had been any other than a transparent sub- 
stance, the hour could not be seen without opening the 
case. This mechanism being observed (it requires indeed 
an examination of the instrument, and perhaps some pre- 
vious knowledge of the subject, to perceive and understand 
it; but being once, as we have said, observed and under- 
stood,) the inference, we think, is inevitable ; that the 
watch must have had a maker; that there must have exist- 
ed, at sometime, and at some place or other, an artificer or 
artificers, who formed it for the purpose which we find it 
actually to answer ; who comprehended its construction, 
and designed its use. 

I. Nor would it, I apprehend, weaken the conclusion, 
that we had never seen a watch made: that we had never 
known an artist capable of making one ; that we were alto- 
gether incapable of executing such a piece of workman- 
ship ourselves, or of understanding in what manner it was 
performed ; all this being no more than what is true of some 
exquisite remains of ancient art, of some lost arts, and, to 
the generality of mankind, of the more curious produc- 
tions of modern manufacture. Does one man in a million 
know how oval frames are turned? Ignorance of thir; kind 
exalts our opinion of the unseen and unknown artist's skill, 
if he be unseen and unknown, but raises no doubt in our 
minds of the existence and agency of such an artist, at 
gome former time, and in some place or other. Nor can 
I perceive that it varies at all the inference, whether the 
question arise concerning a human agent, or concerning an 
agent of a different species, or an agent possessing, in 
some respects, a different nature. 

II. Neither, secondly, would it invalidate our conclu 
sion, that the watch sometimes went wrong, or that it sel- 
dom went exactly right. The purpose of the machinery, 
*he design and the designer, might be evident, and in the 
case supposed would be evident, in whatever way we tw« 


counted for the irregularity of the movement, or whethc* 
we could for it or not. It is not necessary that ♦» 
machine be perfect, in order to show with what design ii 
was made: still less necessary, where the only question is, 
whether it were made with any design at all. 

III. Nor, thirdly, would it bring any uncertainty into the 
argument, if there were a few parts of the watch, concern- 
ing which we could not discover, or had not yet discovered, 
in what manner they conduced to the general effect; or 
even some parts, concerning which we could not ascer- 
tain whether they conduced to that effect in any manner 
whatever. For, as to the first branch of the case ; if by 
the loss, or disorder, or decay of the parts in question, the 
movement of the watch were found in fact to be stopped, 
or disturbed, or retarded, no doubt would remain in our 
minds as to the utility or intention of these parts, although 
we should be unable to investigate the manner according 
to which, or the connexion by which, the ultimate effect 
depended upon their action or assistance ; and the more 
complex is the machine, the more likely is this obscurity to 
arise. Then, as to the second thing supposed, namely, 
that there were parts which might be spared, without pre- 
judice to the movement of the watch, and that we had prov- 
ed this by experiment — these superfluous parts, even if we 
were completely assured that they were such, would not 
vacate the reasoning which we had instituted concerning 
other parts. The indication of contrivance remained, with 
respect to them, nearly as it was before. 

IV. Nor, fourthly, would any man in his senses think 
the existence of the watch, with its various machinery, ac- 
counted for, by being told that it was one out of possible 
combinations of material forms; that whatever he had 
found in the place where he found the watch, m-ist have 
contained some internal configuration or other; and tha*. 
this configuration might be the structure now exhibited, 
viz. of the works of a watch, as well as a different structure. 

V. Nor, fifthly, would it yield his inquiry moie satisfac- 
tion to be answered, that there existed in things a principle 
of order, which had disposed the parts of tlie watch into 
their present form and situation. He neve* knew a watch 


made by the principle of order; nor can Le even foim to 
himself an idea of what is meant by a principle of order 
distinct from the intelligence of the watchmaker. 

VI. Sixthly, he would be surprised to hear that the 
mechanism of the watch was no proof of contrivance, only 
a motive t induce the mind to think so. 


VII. And not less surprised to be informed, that the 
v/atch in his hand was nothing more than the result of the 
laws of metallic nature. It is a perversion of language to 
assign any law as the efficient, operative cause of anything 
A law presupposes an agent; for it is only the mode ac- 
cording to which an agent proceeds: it implies a power; 
for it is the order, according to which that power acts 
Without this agent, without this power, which are both dis- 
tinct from itself, the law does nothing ; is nothing. The 
expression, "the law of metallic nature," 'xiay sound strange 
and harsh to a philosophic ear; but it seems quite as justi- 
fiable as some others which are more familiar to him, such 
as "the law of vegetable nature," "the law of animal na- 
tire," or indeed as "the law of nature" in general, when 
assigned as the cause of phenomena, in exclusion of agen- 
cy and power; :>r when it is substituted into the place of 

VIII. Neither, lastly, would our observer be driven out 
of his conclusion, or from his confidence in its truth, by 
being told that he knew nothing at all about the matter. 
He knows enough for his argument. He knows the utility 
of the end : he knows the subserviency and adaptation of the 
means to the end. These points being known, his igno- 
rance of other points, his doubts concerning other points, 
affect not the certainty of his reasoning. The conscious- 
ness of knowing little need not beget a distrust of that 
which he does know. 



Suppose, in the next place, that the person who found 
•he watch, should, after sometime, discover, that, in ad- 
dition to all the properties which he had hitherto observed 
(n it, it possessed the unexpected property of producing, 
in the course of its movement, another watch like itself, 
(the thing is conceivable ;) that it contained within it a 
mechanism, a system of parts, a mould for instance, or a 
complex adjustment of lathes, files, and other tools, evident- 
ly and separately calculated for this purpose; let us in- 
quire, what effect ought such a discovery to have uoonhis 
forme conclus'jn. 


I. The first effect would be to increase his admiration 
of the contrivance, and his conviction of the consummate 
skill of *he contriver. Whether he regarded the ob- 
ject of t'.ie contrivance, the distinct apparatus, the intri- 
cate, yet in many parts intelligible mechanism, by which 
it was carried on, he would perceive, in this new observa 
tion, nothing but an additional reason for doing what he 
had already done, — for referring the construction of the 
watch to design, and to supreme art. If that construction 
without this property, or, which is the same thing, before 
this property had been noticed, proved intention and art 
to have been employed about it, still more strong would 
the proof appear, when he came to the knowledge of this 
farther property, the crown and perfection of all the rest. 

II. He would reflect, that though the watch before him 
were, in some sense, the maker of the watch which was 
fabricated in the course of its movements, yet it was in a 
very different sense from that in which a carpenter, for 
instance, is the maker of a chair; the author of its con- 
trivance, the cause of the relation of its parts to their use. 
With respect to these, the first watch was no cause at all 
to the second: in no such sense as this was it the author 
of the constitution and order, either of the parts which 
the new watch contained, or of the parts by the aid and 
instrumentality of which it was produced. We might pos- 
sibly say, but with great latitude of expression, that a 
stream of water ground corn; but no latitude of expres- 
sion would allow us to say, no stretch of conjecture could 
lead us to think, that the stream of water built the mill, 
though it were too ancient for us to know who the builder 
was. What the stream of water does in the affair, is 
neither more nor less than this ; by the application of an 
unintelligent impulse to a mechanism previously arranged, 
arranged independently of it, and arranged by intelligence, 
an effect is produced, viz. the corn is ground. But the 
effect results from the arrangement. The force of the 
stream cannot be said to be the cause or author of tne 
effect, still less of the arrangement. Understanding and 
plan in the formation of the mill were not the less neces* 
sary, for any share which the water has in grinding the 
corn ; yet is this share the same as that which the watch 
would have contributed to the production of the new watch, 
upon the supposition assumed in the last section. There- 

III. Though it be now no longer probable, that the 
individual watch which our (bserve* 1 had found was mad a 


immediately by the hand of an artificer, yet doth not Lis 
alteration in any-wise affect the inference, that an artificei 
had been originally employed and concerned in the pro- 
duction. The argument from design remains as it was. 
Marks of design and contrivance are no more accounted 
for n)w than they were before. In the same thing, we 
may ask for the cause of different properties. We may 
ask for the cause of the color of a body, of its hardness, of 
its heat; ai.d these causes may be all different. We arc 
now asking for the cause of that subserviency to a :se, 
that relation to an end, which we have remarked in the 
watch before us. No answer is given to this question by 
telling us that a preceding watch produced it. There can- 
not be design without a designer; contrivance, without a 
contriver; order, without choice; arrangement, without 
anything capable of arranging; subserviency and relation 
to a purpose, without that which could intend a purpose; 
means suitable to an end, and executing their office ir. 
accomplishing that end, without the end ever having been 
contemplated, or the means accommodated to it. Arrange- 
ment, disposition of parts, subserviency of means to an end, 
relation of instruments to a use, imply the presence of in- 
telligence and mind. No one, therefore, can rationally be- 
lieve, that the insensible, inanimate watch, from which the 
watch before us issued, was the proper cause of the me- 
chanism we so much admire in it; — could be truly said to 
have constructed the instrument, disposed its parts, assign 
ed their otfice, determined their order, action, and mutual 
dependency, combined their several motions into one re- 
sult, and that also a result connected with the utilities of 
other being3. All these properties, therefore, are as much 
unaccounted for as they were before. 

IV. Nor is anything gained by running the difficulty 
farther back, i. e. by supposing the watch before us to have 
)een produced from another watch, that from a former, 
and so on indefinitely. Our going back ever so far brings 
us no nearer to the least degree of satisfaction upon the 
subject. Contrivance is still unaccounted for. We still 
want a contriver. A designing mind is neither supplied 
by this supposition, nor dispensed with. If the difficulty 
w< re diminished the farther we went back, by going back 
indefinitely we might exhaust it. And this is the only 
case to which this sort of reasoning applies. Where there 
is a tendency, or, as we increase the number of terms, a 
continual approach towards a limit, there, Dy supposing the 
number of terms to be what is tailed infinite, we may con- 


c*,ive the limit to be attained: but where there is n: such 
tendency, or approach, nothing is effected by lengthening 
the series. There is no difference, as to the point in ques- 
tion, (whatever there may be as to many points,) between 
one series and another; between a series which is finite, 
and a series which is infinite. A chain, composed of an 
infinite number of links, can no more support itself, than 
a chain composed of a finite number of links. And of this 
we are assured, (though we never can have tried the ex- 
periment because, by inci easing the number of links, 
from ten, for instance, to a hundred, from a hundred to g 
thousand, &c. we make not the smallest approach,. we ob- 
serve not the smallest tendency, towards self-support. 
There is no difference in this respect (yet there may bo 
a great difference in several respects) between a chain of 
a greater or less length, between one chain and another, 
between one that is finite and one that is infinite 
This very much resembles the case before us. The 
machine which we are inspecting demonstrates, by its 
construction, contrivance and design. Contrivance must 
have had a contriver; design, a designer; whether the 
machine immediately proceeded from another machine or 
not. That circumstance alters not the case. That other 
machine may, in like manner, have proceeded from a for- 
mer machine: nor does that alter the case; contrivance 
must have had a contriver. That former one from one 
preceding it: no alteration still; a contriver is still neces- 
sary. No tendency is perceived, no approach towards a 
diminution of this necessity. It is the same with any and 
every succession of these machines; a succession of ten, 
of a hundred, of a thousand; with one series as with an- 
other; a series which is finite, as with a series which is 
infinite. In whatever other respect* they may differ, in 
this they do not. In all, equally, ccntrivance and design 
are unaccounted for. 

The question is not simply, How came the first watch 
into existence? which question, it may be pretended, is 
done away by supposing the series of watches thus pro- 
duced from one another to have been infinite, and conse- 
quently tc have had no such first, for which it was neces- 
sary to provide a cause. This, perhaps, would have been 
nearly the state of the question, it' nothing had been before 
us but an unorganized, unmechanized substance, without 
mark or indication of contrivance. It might be difficult tc 
show that such substance could not have existed from eter- 
nity, either in succession (if it were possible, which I think 


it is viot, for unorganized bodies to spring from one another, 
or by individual perpetuity. But that is not the question 
now. To suppose it to be so, is to suppose that it mad6 
no difference whether we had found a watch or a stone. 
As it is, the metaphysics of that question have no place; 
for, in the watch which we are examining, are seen con- 
trivance, design; an end, a purpose; means for the end, 
adaptation to the purpose. And the question which ir- 
resistibly presses upon our thoughts, is, whence this con- 
trivance and design? The thing required is the intending 
mind, the adapting hand, the intelligence by which that 
hand was directed. This question, this demand, is lot 
shaken off, by increasing a number or succession of sub- 
stances, destitute of these properties; nor the more, by in- 
creasing that number to infinity. If it be said, that, upon 
the supposition of one watch being produced from another 
in the course of that other's movements, and by means of 
the mechanism within it, we have a cause for the watch in 
my hand, viz. the watch from which it proceeded: I deny, 
that for the design, the contrivance, the suitableness of 
means to an end, the adaptation of instruments to a use, (all 
which we discover in a watch,) we have any cause what- 
ever. It is in vain, therefore, to assign a series of such 
causes, or to allege that a series may be carried back to 
infinity ; for I do not admit that we have yet any cause at 
all of the phenomena, still less any series of causes eithei 
finite or infinite. Here is contrivance, but no contriver; 
proofs of design, but no designer. 

V. Our observer would farther also reflect, that the 
maker of the watch before him, was, in truth and reality, 
the maker of every watch produced from it; there being 
no difference (except that the latter manifests a more ex- 
quisite skill) between the making of another watch with 
his own hands, by the mediation of files, lathes, chisels, &c. 
and the disposing, fixing, and inserting of these instru- 
ments, or of others equivalent to them, in the body of the 
watch already made, in such a manner as to form a new 
watch in the course of the movements which he had given 
to the old one. It is only working by one set of tools in- 
stead of another. 

The conclusion which the first examination of the watch, 
of its works, construction, and movement, suggested, was, 
that it must have had, for the cause and author of that con- 
struction, an artificer, who understood its mechanism, and 
designed its use. This conclusion is invincible. A second 
examination presents us with a new discovery The watch 


is found, in the course of its movement, to produce anoth- 
er watch, similar to itself: and not only so, but we perceive 
in it a system or organization, separately calculated for thai 
purpose. What effect would this discovery have or ought 
it to bive, upon our former inference? What, as hath al- 
ready been said, but to increase, beyond measure, our ad 
miration of the skill which had been employed in the for- 
mation of such a machine! Or shall it, instead of Inis 
all at once turn us round to an opposite conclusion, viz 
that no art or skill whatever has been concerned in the 
business, although all other evidences of art and skill re- 
main as they were, and this last and supreme piece of art 
be now added to the rest? Can this be maintained with- 
out absurdity? Yet this is atheism. 



This is atheism: for every indication of contrivance, ev- 
ery manifestation of design, which existed in the watch, ex- 
ists in the works of nature; with the difference, on the side 
of nature, of beirg greater and more, and that in a degree 
which exceeds all computation. I mean, that the contriv- 
ances of nature surpass the contrivances of art, in the com- 
plexity, subtilty, and curiosity of the mechanism; and still 
more, if possible, do they go beyond them in number an'" 
variety: yet, in a multitude of cases, are not less evidently 
mechanical, not less evidently contrivances, not less evi- v 
dently accommodated to their end, or suited to their office, 
than are the most perfect productions of human ingenuity. 

I know no better method of introducing; so large a sub- 
ject , than that of comparing a single thing with a single thing ; 
an eye, for example, with a telescope. As far as the ex- 
amination of the instrument go as, there is precisely the 
same proof that the eye was made for vision, as there la 
that the telescope was made for assisting it. They are 
made upon the same principles; both being adjusted to the 
laws by which the transmission and refraction of rays of 
light are regulated. 1 speak not of the origin of the laws 
themselves; but such laws being fixed, the construction, 
in both cases, is adapted to them. For instance; these 
laws require, in order to produce the same effect, that the 
tays of light, in passing from water into the eye, should bo 



refracted by a more convex surface than when it passes 
out of air into the eye. Accordingly we find, that the eye 
of a fish, in that part of it called the crystalline lens, is much 
rounder than the eye of terrestrial animals. [Plate II. fig. 1.] 
What plainer manifestation of design can there be than thi9 
difference ? What could a mathematical instrument-make; 
have done more, to snow his knowledge of his principle, 
his application of that knowledge, his suiting of his means 
to his end; I will not say to display the compass or excel- 
lence of his skill and art, for in these all comparison is 
indecorous, but to testify counsel, choice, consideration, 
purpose ? 

To some it may appear a difference sufficient to destroy 
all similitude between the eye and the telescope, that the 
one is a perceiving organ, the other an unperceiving instru- 
ment. The fact is, that they are both instruments. And, 
as to the mechanism, at least as to mechanism being em- 
ployed, and even as to the kind of it, this circumstance va- 
ries not the analogy at all. For, observe what the consti- 
tution of the eye is. [Plate II. fig. 2.] It is necessary, in 
order to produce distinct vision, that an image or picture of 
the object be formed at the bottom of the eye. Whence this 
necessity arises, or how the picture is connected with the 
sensation, or contributes to it, it may be difficult, nay we 
"ft'ill confess, if you please, impossible for us to search out. 
But the present question is not concerned in the inquiry. It 
may be true, that, in this, and in other instances, we trace 
mechanical contrivance a certain way; and that then we 
come to something which is not mechanical, or which is in- 
scrutable. But this affects not the certainty of our inves- 
tigation, as far as we have gone. The difference between 
in animal and an automatic statue, consists in this, — that, 
in the animal, we trace the mechanism to a certain point, 
and then we are stopped ; either the mechanism becoming 
foo subtile for our discernment, or something else beside 
"iie known laws of mechanism taking place: whereas, in 
:ie automaton, for the comparatively few motions of which 
\ is capahJe, we trace the mechanism throughout. But, 
ap to the limit, the reasoning is as clear and certain in the 
one case as in the other. In the example before us, it is a 
matter of certainty, because it is a matter which experience 
and observation demonstrate, that the formation of an lin- 
age at the bottom of the eye is necessary to perfect vision 
The image itself can be shown. Whatever affects the dis- 
tinctness of the image, affects the distinctness of the vision. 
The fo?mation then ot such an image being necessary (n*« 


matter how) to the sense of sight, ana to the exercise of 
that sense, the apparatus by which it is formed is con- 
structed and put together, not only with infinitely more art, 
but upon the selfsame principles of art, as in the telescope 
or the camera obscura. The perception arising from the 
image may be laid out of the question; for the production 
of the image, these are instruments of the same kind. 
The end is the same; the means are the same. The pur- 
pose in both is alike, the contrivance for accomplishing 
that purpose is in both alike.* The lenses of the telescope, 
[Plate II. fig. 3, 4.] and the humours of the eye, bear a 
complete resemblance to one another, in their figure, their 
position, and in their power over the rays of light, viz. ir 
bringing each pencil to a point at the right distance from 
the lens; namely, in the eye, at the exact place where ihe 
membrane is spread to receive it. How is it possible, un- 
der circumstances of such close affinity, and under the 
operation of equal evidence, to exclude contrivance from 
the one, yet to acknowledge the proof of contrivance hav- 
ing been employed, as the plainest and clearest of all pro- 
positions, in the other? 

The resemblance between the two cases is still more ac- 
curate, and obtains in more points than we have yet repre- 
sented, or than we are, on the first view of the subject, 
aware of. In dioptric telescopes there is an imperfection 
of this nature. Pencils of light, in passing through glass 
lenses, are separated into different colors, thereby tinging 
the object, especially the edges of it, as if it were viewed 
through a prism. To correct this inconvenience had been 
long a desideratum in the art. At last it came into the 
mind of a sagacious optician, to inquire how this matter 
was managed in the eye; in which there was exactly the 
same difficulty to contend with as in the telescope. His 
observation taught him, that, in the eye, the evil was cur- 
ed by combining lenses composed of different substances, 
i, e. of substances which possessed different refracting 
powers. Our artist borrowed thence his hint, and pro- 
duced a correction of the defect by imitating, in glasses 

* The comparison with the lens of the telescope is not perfectly exact 
for the crystalline lens is a substance composed of concentric layers, of 
unequal density, the hardness of which increases from the surface to th« 
centre/ and hence possesses a more refractive power than any artificial 
lens. Mr. Ramsden supposes that this texture tends to correct the aber- 
ration occasioned by the spherical form of the cornea, and the focus of 
each oblique pencil of rays falls accurately on the co icaNe surface of 
the retiia — Pax ton 


made from different materials, the effects of the diffeiein 
humours through which the rays of light pass before they 
.each the bottom of the eye. Could this be in the eye 
without purpose, which suggested to the optician the only 
effectual means of attaining that purpose?* 

But farther; there are other points, not so much perhaps 
of strict resemblance between the two, as of superiority ot 
the eye over the telescope, which being found in the laws 
that regulate both, may furnish topics of fair and just com- 
parison. Two things were wanted, to the eye, which 
were not wanted (at least in the same degree) to the teles 
cope: and these were the adaptation of the organ, first 
to different degrees of light; and, secondly, to the vast 
diversity of distance at which objects are viewed by the 
naked eye, viz. from a few inches to as many miles. These 
difficulties present not themselves to the maker of the 
telescope. He wants all the light he can get; and he 
never directs his instrument to objects near at hand. In 
the eye, both these cases were to be provided for; and for 
the purpose of providing for them a subtile and appropriate 
mechanism is introduced: — 

* " It does not appear that the hint of this discovery was taken by 
Mr. Dollond from the structure of the eye, as supposed by our author, 
but was obtained in a different manner. This circumstance does not 
however lessen the force of the reasoning. The principle thus applied 
in the construction of achromatic telescopes, has been since carried still 
farther, and in its new application, illustrates more strongly, if possible, 
the point so well insisted on by Dr. Paley, namely, the resemblance be- 
tween the eye and our optical instruments. In the best achromatic tei?- 
Bcopes, composed of the different kinds of glass, according to the discov • 
ery of Mr. Dollond, white or luminous objects are not shown perfectly free 
from color, their edges being tinged on one side with a claret colored, 
and on the other with a greenish fringe. This remaining imperfection 
has been got rid of by the combination of solid and fluid lenses in the 
object and eye-glasses of telescopes. For this beautiful discovery science 
is indented to Dr. Blair of Edinburgh, who found that by placing a con- 
cave lens of muriatic acid with a metallic solution, between two convex 
lenses of glass, a combined lens was formed which refracted rays with 
perfect regularity and equality. A lens like this has been used with 
great advantage. The most important point is, however, to consider 
this improvement in its application to the argument, and it will be seen 
how much nearer this construction brings the telescope to the eye. In 
Dollond's telescope there is a combination of solid lenses of different 
substances. — In Blair's, a combination of fluid and solid ; which is ex- 
actly the case in the human eye. The only difference is, that in the eve 
there is a solid lens between two fluid ones ; and in tn/3 telescope a fluid 
between two solid. The combination is closely similar, ?nd the final causo 
in both, probably the same, namely, to correct the unequal refraction of 
light, (see Edinburgh Journal of Science, No. VIII., p. 212, and Library 
of Useful Knowledge, Nos. I. and II.) Ed. 


I. In order to exclude excess of light, when it is ex 
cessive, and to render objects visible under obscurer degrees 
of it, when no more can be had, the hole or aperture in 
the eye, through which the light enters, is so formed, as to 
contract or dilate itself for the purpose of admitting a great- 
er or less number of rays at the same time. The cham- 
ber of the eye is a camera obscura,* which, when the light 
is too small, can enlarge its opening; when too strong, 
can again contract it; and that without any other assist- 
ance than that of its own exquisite machinery. It is far- 
ther abo, in the human subject, to be observed, that this 
hole in the eye, which we call the pupil, under all its dif- 
ferent dimensions, retains its exact circular shape. Tr.ja 
is a structure extremely artificial. Let an artist only try 
to execute the same; he will find that his threads and 
strings must be disposed with great consideration and con- 
trivance to make a circle, which shall continually change 
its diameter, yet preserve its form. This is done in the 
eye by an application of fibres, i. e. of strings, similar, in 
their position and action, to what an artist would and must 
employ, if he had the same piece of workmanship to per- 
form. [Plate II. Fig. 5 & 6.] | 

* As the rays of light flowing from all the points of an object through 
(he pupil of the eye, by the refraction of the lens and humours of the 
aye, form an exact representation at the bottom of the eye on the retina ; 
bo the camera obscura, by means of a lens refracting the rays, exhibits a 
picture of the scene before it on the opposite wall. — Paxton. 

t Some eminent anatomists have doubted the muscularity of the iris, 
and have given very different explanations of its motions, attributing the 
contraction and dilatation either to the varied impulse of the blood in its 
vessels, or to its own vita propria. The enlightened physiologist Magen- 
die affirms, that the latest researches upon the anatomy of the iris proves 
its muscular structure, and that it is composed of two layers of fibres, the 
external, Plate II. (Fig. 5.) radiated, which dilate the pupil, the other 
(Fig. 6.) circular, which contract the pupil. The external circular 
fibres appear to be supported by a species of ring, which each of the ra- 
diated fibres contribute to form, and in which they slide during the- alter- 
nate contractions and relaxations of the pupil. — Paxton. 

There is a curious circumstance in the way in which light produces thp 
contraction of the opening of the iris, which strengthens very much the ar 
gurnent derived from design manifested in its structure and adaptation to its 
purpose. The object of the iris, it is to be observed, has reference to the 
quantity of light to be admitted upon the retina or expansion of *he optic 
neive. It is the state of the retina then which regulates the motions of the 
iris, an J it is the action of the lijihton the retina which causes those mo- 
tions and not its action upon the iris itself This has been shown by a very 
delicate experiment. If a ray of light be accurately thrown in such a 
diiection, that it shall fall upon the circle of the iris itself, and not pa* 
through its aperture, no contraction of the aperture takes place; but if il 



II. The second difficulty which has been stated, was the 
suiting of the same organ to the perception of objects tha. 
lie near at hand, within a few inches, we will suppose, of 
the eye, and of objects which are placed at a considerable 
distance from it, that, for example, of as many furlongs; 
(I speak in both cases of the distance at which distinct 
vision can be exercised.) Now this, according to the 
principles of optics, that is, according to the laws by which 
the transmission of light is regulated, (and these laws are 
fixed,) could not be done without the organ itself under- 
going an alteration and receiving an adjustment, that 
might correspond with the exigency of the case, that is to 
say, with the different inclination to one another under 
which the rays of light reached it. Rays issuing from points 
placed at a small distance from the eye, and which conse- 
quently must enter the eye in a spreading or diverging 
order, cannot, by the same optical instrument in the same 
state, be brought to a point, i. e. be made to form an image, 
in the same place with rays proceeding from objects situat- 
ed at a much greater distance, and which rays arrive at the 
eye in directions nearly (and physically speaking) parallel. 
It requires a rounder lens to do it. The point of concourse 
behind the lens must fall critically upon the retina, or the 
vision is confused;* yet other things remaining the same, 
this point, by the immutable properties of light, is carried 
farther back when the rays proceed from a near object than 
when they are sent from one that is remote. A person who 
was using an optical instrument, would manage this matter 
by changing, as the occasion required, his lens or his tele- 
scopes; or by adjusting the distance of his glasses with hig 
hand or his screw: but how is it to be managed in the eye? 
What the alteration was, or in what part of the eye it took 
place, or by what means it was effected, (for if the known 

be so thrown as to pass through the aperture, and fall upon the retini 
without touching the iris at all, still a contraction of the iris immediately 
takes place. So that light upon the iris alone occasions no contraction, 
although it is the part which really contracts when the same light falli 
upon a distant part. The design here is too obvious to need being en- 
larged upon. I low could the iris acquire the power of contracting when 
light falls on another membrane, for the protection of that membrane > 
although it does not contract when the light falls upon itself alone ? — [Ed. 
* The focus of the refracted rays must fall exactly on the retina, sa 
^hat the point of vision may be neither produced beyond it, nor shorten 
ed so as not to reach it. The latter defect exists in short-sighted per 
sons, from too great convexity of the cornea or lens. The former is tht 
defect cf long-sighted persons, in whom there is an opposite confoinuu 
tion of those parts.- Paxton. 


s which govern the refraction of light be maintained, 
some alteration in the state of the organ there must be,^ 
had long formed a subject of inquiry and conjecture. 
The change, though sulhcient for the purpose, is so minute 
as to elude ordinary observation. Some very late discove- 
ries, deduced from a "laborious and most accurate inspection 
of the structure and operation of the organ, seem at length 
to have ascertained the mechanical alteration which tht» 
parts of the eye undergo. It is found, that by the action of 
certain muscles [PI. II. fig. 7.] called the straight muscles, 
and which action is the most advantageous that could be 
imagined for the purpose, — it is found, I say, that whenever 
the eye isdirectedtoanear object, three changes are produc- 
ed in it at the same time, all severally contributing to the ad - 
justment required. The cornea, or outermost coat of the 
eye, is rendered more round and prominent; the crystalline 
lens underneath is pushed forwards; and the axis of 
vision, as the depth of the eye is called, is elongated 
These changes in the eye vary its power over the rays of 
light in such a manner and degree as to produce exactly 
the effect which is wanted, viz. the formation of an image 
upon the retina, whether the rays come to the eye in a 
state of divergency, which is the case when the object is 
near to the eye, or come parallel to one another, which is 
the case when the object is placed at a distance. Can any- 
thing be more decisive of contrivance than this is? The 
most secret laws of optics must have been known to the 
author of a structure endowed with such a capacity of 
change. It is as though an optician, when he had a 
nearer object to view, should rectify his instrument by 
putting in another glass, at the same time drawing out 
also his tube to a different length. 

Observe a new-born child first lifting up its eyelids 
What does the opening of the curtain discover? The an- 
terior part of two pellucid globes, which, when they come 
to be examined, are found to be constructed upon strict op- 
tical principles ; the selfsame principles upon which we 
ourselves construct optical instruments. We find them 
perfect for the purpose of forming an image by refraction; 
composed of parts executing different offices ; one part 
having fulfilled its office upon the pencil of light, deliver- 
ing it over to the action of another part; that to a third, 
and so onward; the progressive action depending ror ita 
success upon the nicest and minutest adjustment of the 
i>arts concerned; yet these parts so in fact adjusted *s t<? 


produce, not by a simple action or effect, but by a combi- 
nation of actions and effects, the result which is ultimately 
wanted. And forasmuch as this organ would have to ope- 
rate under different circumstances, with strong degrees ol 
light and with weak degrees, upon near objects, and upon 
remote ones, and these differences demanded, according tc 
the laws by which the transmission of light is regulated, a 
corresponding diversity of structure ; that the aperture, 
for example, through which the light passes, should be 
larger or less ; the lenses rounder or flatter, or that their 
distance from the tablet, upon which the picture is delinea- 
ted, should be shortened or lengthened : this, I say, being 
the case, and the difficulty to which the eye was to be 
adapted, we find its several parts capable of being occa- 
sionally changed, and a most artificial apparatus provided 
to produce that change. This is far beyond the common 
regulator of a watch, which requires the touch of a foreign 
hand to set it; but it is not altogether unlike Harrison's con- 
trivance for making a watch regulate itself, by inserting 
within it a machinery, which, by the artful use of the dif- 
ferent expansion of metals, preserves the equability of the 
motion under all the various temperatures of heat and cold 
in which the instrument may happen to be placed. The 
ingenuity of this last contrivance has been justly praised. 
Shall, therefore, a structure which differs from it, chiefly by 
surpassing it, be accounted no contrivance at all ? or, if it 
be a contrivance, that it is without a contriver? 

But this, though much, is not the whole : by different 
species of animals the faculty we are describing is possess- 
ed, in degrees suited to the different range of vision which 
their mode of life, and of procuring their food, requires. 
Birds, for instance, in general, procure their food by means 
of their beak; and, the distance between the eye and the 
point of the beak being small, it becomes necessary that 
they should have the power of seeing very near objects 
distinctlv. On the other hand, from being often elevated 
much above the ground, living in air, and moving through 
it with great velocity, they require, for their safety, as well 
as for assisting them in descrying their prey, a power 
of seeing at a great distance; a power, of which, in birds 
of rapine, surprising examples are given. The fact ac- 
cordingly is, that two peculiarities are found in the eyes 
of birds, both tending to facilitate the change upon which 
the adjustment of the eye to different distances depends. 
The one is a bony, yet, ii. most species, a flexible rim of 


hoop,* [Plate III. fig. 1, 2.] surrounding the broadest part 
of the eye; which, confining the action of the muscles to 
vhat part, increases the effect of their lateral pressure upon 
the orb, by which pressure its axis is elongated for the pur- 
pose of looking at very near objects. The other is an ad- 
ditional muscle, called the marsupium, [Plate III. fig. 3, 4, 
6.] to draw, upon occasion, the crystalline lens back, and 
to fit the same eye for the viewing of very distant objects 
By these means, the eyes of birds can pass from one ex 
treme to another of their scale of adjustment, with more 
ease and readiness than the eyes of other animals. 

The eyes of jishes also, compared with those of terres- 
trial animals, exhibit certain distinctions of structure adap- 
ted to their state and element. We have already ob- 
served upon the figure of the crystalline compensating by 
its roundness the density of the medium through which 
their light passes. To which we have to add, that the eyes 
of fish, in their natural and indolent state, appear to be 
adjusted to near objects, in this respect differing from the 
human eye, as well as those of quadrupeds and birds. The 
ordinary shape of the fish's eye being in a much higher 
degree convex than that of land animals, a corresponding 
difference attends its muscular conformation, viz. that it is 
throughout calculated for flattening the eye. 

The iris also in the eyes of fish does not admit of con- 
traction. This is a great difference, of which the proba- 
ble reason is, that the diminished light in water is never 
too strong for the retina. 

In the eel, [Plate III. fig. 5.] which has to work its head 

* The flexible rim, or hoop, consists of bony plates, which in all 
birds occupy the front of the sclerotic; lying close together and overlap- 
ping each other. These hony plates in general form a slightly convex 
ring, Fig. 1, but in the accipitres they form a concave ring, as in Fig. 2, 
the bony rim of a hawk. It is a principle in optics, that the rays of li^ht, 
passing through a lens, will be refracted to a point or focus beyond tho 
lens, and this focus will be less distant in proportion as the lens approach- 
es to a sphere in shape. This principle is very naturally applied to the 
explanation of the use of this apparatus. These scales partly lying over 
each other, so as to allow of motion, will, on the contraction of the 
straight muscles inserted into and covering them, move over each other, 
and diminish the circle of the sclerotica; and thus the cornea, which ia 
immediately within the circle made by these scales, must be pressed 
forward* and rendered more convex, from the focus of the eye becoming 
altered, ox its axis being elongated. This consequent convexity of the 
cornea renders small objects near the animal very distinct. Without this 
structure a biro, would be continually liable to dash itself agaiust tree 
when flving in .t thick forest, and would be unable to see the murV 
•hjects on which it sometimes feeds. — Paxton. 


througli sand and gravel, the roughest and harshest sub< 
stances, there is placed before the eye, and at some dis- 
tance from it, a transparent, horny, convex case or cover- 
ing, which, without obstructing the sight, defends the or- 
gan. To such an animal, could anything be more wanted, 
or more useful? 

Thus, in comparing the eyes of different kinds of ani- 
mals, we see, in their resemblances and distinctions, one 
general plan laid down, and that plan varied with the vary- 
ing exigencies to which it is to be applied. 

There is one property, however, common, I believe, to 
all eyes, at least to all which have been examined,* namely, 
ihat the optic nerve enters the bottom of the eye, not in the 
centre or middle, but a little on one side; not in the point 
where the axis of the eye meets the retina, but between 
that point and the nose. The difference which this makes 
is, that no part of an object is unperceived by both eyes at 
the same time. 

In considering vision as achieved by the means of an 
image formed at the bottom of the eye, we can never re- 
flect without wonder upon the smallness, yet correctness, 
of the picture, the subtilty of the touch, the fineness of the 
lines. A landscape of five or six square leagues is brought 
into a space of half an inch diameter; y<i the multitude of 
objects which it contains, are all preserved; are all discrim- 
inated in their magnitudes, positions, figures, colors. The 
prospect from Hampstead-hill is compressed into the com- 
pass of a sixpence, yet circumstantially represented. A 
stage-coach, travelling at its ordinary speed for half an 
hour, passes, in the eye, only over one-twelfth of an inch, 
yet is this change of place in the image distinctly per- 
ceived throughout its whole progress; for it is only by 
means of that perception that the motion of the coach it- 
self is made sensible to the eye. If anything can abate 
our admiration of the smallness of the visual tablet compar- 
ed with the extent of vision, it is a reflection, which the 
view of nature leads us, every hour, to make, viz. that in 
he hands of the Creator, great and little are nothing. 

Sturmius held, that the examination of the eye was 
a cure for atheism. Besides that conformity to optical 
principles which its internal constitution displays, and 
which aione amounts to a manifestation of intelligence hav 
ing been exerted in the structure ; besides this, which forms 

* The eve of the seal or sea-calf, I understand, js. an exception -^ Mem 
Acad Paris, 170] , p. 123. 


no doubt, the leading character of the organ, there is to be 
seen, in everything belonging to it and about it, an ex- 
traordinary degree of care, and anxiety for its preservation, 
due. if we may so speak, to its value and its tenderness. If 
is lodged in a strong, deep, bony socket, composed by the 
junction of seven different bones,* hoik wed out at their 
edges. In some few species, as that of the coatimondi,"}' 
the orbit is not bony throughout; but whenever this is the 
case, the upper, which is the deficient part, is supplied by 
a cartilaginous ligament ; a substitution which shows the 
same care. Within this socket it is embedded in fat, of 
all animal substances the best adapted both to its repose 
and motion. It is sheltered by the eyebrows; an arch of 
hair, which, like a thatched penthouse, prevents the sweat 
fend moisture of the forehead from running down into it. 

But it is still better protected by its lid. Oftiie super- 
ficial parts of the animal frame, I know none which, in 
its office and structure, is more deserving of attention than 
the eyelid. It defends the eye; it wipes it; it closes it in 
sleop.J Are there, in any work of art whatever, purposes 
more evident than those which this organ fulfils? or an 
apparatus for executing those purposes more intelligible, 
mo<e appropriate, or more mechanical ? If it be overlooked 
by „he observer of nature, it can only be because it is ob- 
vious and familiar. This is a tendency to be guarded 
against. We pass by the plainest instances, whilst we are 
exploring those which are rare and curious; by which con- 
duct of the u iderstandino- we sometimes neglect the 
strongest observations, being taken up with others, which, 
though more recondite and scientific, are, as solid argu- 
ments, entitled to much less consideration. 

In order to keep the eye moist and clean, (which qualities 
are necessary to its brightness and its use,) a wash is con- 
stantly supplied by a secretion for the purpose; and tho 
superfluous brine is conveyed to the nose through a perfora- 
tion in the bone as large as a goose-quill. [Plate IV. fig. 1 .] 
When once the fluid has entered the nose, it spreads itself 
upon the inside of the nostril, and is evaporated by the cur- 
rent of warm air, which, in the course of respiration, is con- 

* Heister, sect 89. t Mem. of the R. Ac. Paris, p. 117. 

t The muscles which accomplish these actions are seen in Tab. XIV. 
Fig. 1, 2. The eyelids also moderate the force of a too brilliant light, 
ath* exclude, by a partial closure, that excess of it which would offend 
the eye. The eyelashes have a similar office, that of regulating the 
quantity of light : and it is believed, that they protect the eye from the 
•mail particJ* of dust that float in the air. — Paxton. 


tinually passing over it. Can any pipe or outlet for cany 
ing off the waste liquor from a dye-house or a distillery, be 
more mechanical than this is? Tt is easily perceived, that 
the eye must want moisture : but could the want of the eye 
generate the gland which produces the tear, or bore the hole 
by which it is discharged, — a hole through a bone? 

It is observable, that this provision is not found in fish; 
the element in which they live supplying a constant lotion 
to the eye. 

It were, however, injustice to dismiss the eye as a piece 
of mechanism, without noticing that most exquisite of all 
contrivances, the nictitating membrane, which is found in 
the eyes of birds and of many quadrupeds. [Plate IV. fig. 
2.] Its use is to sweep the eye, which it does in an in- 
stant; to spread over it the lachrymal humour; to defend 
it also from sudden injuries: yet not totally, when drawn 
upon the pupil, to shut out the light. The commodious 
ness with which it lies folded up in the inner corner of 
the eye, ready for use and action, and the quickness with 
which it executes its purpose, are properties known and 
obvious to every observer: but what is equally admirable, 
though not quite so obvious, is the combination of two 
different kinds of substance, muscular and elastic, and or 
two different kinds of action, by which the motion of this 
membrane is performed. It is not, as in ordinary cases, 
by the action of two antagonist muscles, one pulling for- 
ward and the other backward, that a reciprocal change is 
effected; but it is thus: The membrane itself is an elastic 
substance, capable of being drawn out by force like a piec« 
of elastic gum, and by its own elasticity returning, when 
the force is removed, to its former position. Such being 
its nature, in order to fit it up for its office, it is connected 
by a tendon or thread with a muscle in the back part of 
the eye: this tendon or thread, though strong, is so fine 
as not to obstruct the sight, even when it passes across it; 
and the muscle itself, being placed in the back part of the 
eye, [Plate IV. fig. 3, 4, and 5,] derives from its situation 
the advantage, not only of being secure, but of being out 
of the way; which it would hardly have been in any posi- 
tion that could be assigned to it in the anterior part of the 
orb, where its function lies. When the muscle behind tfie 
eye contracts, the membrane, by means of the communi- 
cating thread, is instantly drawn over the fore-part of it. 
When the muscular contraction (which is a positive, and, 
most probably, a voluntary effort,) ceases to be exerted 
the elasticity alone of the membrane brings it back again 


jo its position.* Does not this, if anything can lo it, be- 
speak an artist, master of his work, acquainted with hig 
materials? " Of a thousand other things," say the French 
academicians, "we perceive not the contrivance, because 
we understand them only by the effects, of which we Know 
not the causes: but we here treat of a machine, all the 
parts whereof are visible; and which need only to be 
looked upon to discover the reasons of its motion and ac- 

In the configuration of the muscle which, though placed 
behind the eye, draws the nictitating membrane over the 
eye, there is, what the authors just now quoted, deserved- 
ly call a marvellous mechanism. I suppose this structure 
to be found in other animals; but, in the memoirs from 
which this account is taken, it is anatomically demonstrat- 
ed only in the cassowary. The muscle is passed through 
a loop formed by another muscle; and is there inflected, 
as if it were round a pulley. This is a peculiarity; and 
observe the advantage of it. A single muscle with a 
straight tendon, which is the common muscular form, would 
have been sufficient, if it had had power to draw far 
enough. But the contraction, necessary to draw the mem- 
brane over the whole eye, required a longer muscle than 
could lie straight at the bottom of the eye. Therefore, 
in order to have a greater length in a less compass, the 
cord of the main muscle makes an angle. This, so, far, 
answers the end; but, still farther, it makes an angle, 
»iot round a fixed pivot, but round a loop formed by another 
muscle; which second muscle, whenever it contracts, oi 
course twitches the first muscle at the point of inflection 
and thereby assists the action designed by both. 

One question may possibly have dwelt in the reader's 
mind during the perusal of these observations, namely, Why 
should not the Deity have given to the animal the faculty 
of vision at once'? Why this circuitous perception; the 
ministry of so many means; an element provided for the 
purpose; reflected from opaque substances, refracted 
throigh transparent ones; and both according to precise 
laws; then, a complex organ, an intricate and artificial ap- 
paratus, in order, by the operation of this element, and in 
conformity with the restrictions of these laws, to produce an 
image upon a membrane communicating with the brain? 

* Phil. Tran. 1796. 

r Memoirs for a Natural History of Anima/s ^y the Royal Academy 
of Sciences at Paris, done into English by order of the Royal Society 
1701, p. 249. 


Wherefore all this? Why make the difficulty in o^der 
to surmount it? If to perceive objects by some other 
mode than that of touch, or objects which lay out of 
the reach of that sense, were the thing purposed ; coula not 
a simple volition of the Creator have communicated tie ca- 
pacity ? Why resort to contrivance, where power is omnip- 
otent? Contrivance, by its very definition and nature, is 
the refuge of imperfection. To have recourse to expedi- 
ents, implies difficulty, impediment, restraint, defect of 
power. This question belongs to the other senses, as well 
as to sights; to the general functions of animal life, as nu- 
trition, secretion, respiration; to the economy of vegeta- 
bles; and indeed to almost all the operations of nature. 
The question, therefore, is of very wide extent; and 
amo*ngst other answers which may be given to it, beside rea 
sons of which probably we are ignorant, one answer is this: 
It is only by the display of contrivance, that the existence, 
the agency, the wisdom of the Deity, could be testified to 
his rational creatures. This is the scale by which we as- 
cend to all the knowledge of our Creator which we possess, 
s ) far as it depends upon the phenomena, or the works of na- 
f are. Take away this, and you take away from us every sub- 
ject of observation, and ground of reasoning; I mean as ou: 
rational faculties are formed at present. Whatever is done 
God could have done without the intervention of instru- 
ments or means: but it is in the construction of instru- 
ments, in the choice and adaptation of means, that a ere a-" 
tive intelligence is seen. It is this which constitutes the 
order and beauty of the universe. God, therefore, has 
been pleased to prescribe limits to his own power, and to 
work his ends within those limits. The general laws of 
matter have perhaps the nature of these limits; its inertia, 
its reaction ; the laws which govern the communication of 
motion, the refraction and reflection of light, the constitu- 
tion of fluids non-elastic and elastic, the transmission of 
Bound through the latter; the laws of magnetism, of elec- 
tricity; and probably others, yet undiscovered. These aro 
general laws; and when a particular purpose is to be e£ 
fected, it is not by making a new law, nor by the susper* 
sion of the old ones, nor by making them wind, and bend, 
and yield to the occasion ; (for nature with great steadiness 
adheres to and supports them;) but it is, as we have seen 
n the eye, by the interposition of an apparatus, correspond- 
ing with these law *, and suited to the exigency which re- 
Bults from them, that the purpose is at length attained. As 
wa have said, therefore, God proscri h ~ r Mmits to his power, 


thai he may let in the exercise, and thereby exhibit denion- 
Btrations of his wisdom. For then, i. c. such laws and lim- 
itations being laid down, it is as though one Being should 
have fixed certain rules; and, if we may so speak, provid- 
ed certain materials; and, afterwards, have committed to 
another Being out of these materials, and in subordination 
to theso rules, the task of drawing forth a creation: a sup- 
position which evidently leaves room, and induces indeed a 
necessity for contrivance. Nay, there may be many such 
agents, and many ranks of these. We do not advance this 
as a doctrine either of philosophy or of religion; but we say 
that the subject may safely be represented under this 
view, because the Deity, acting himself by general laws, 
will have the same consequences upon our reasoning, 
as if he had prescribed these laws to another. It has been 
said, that the problem of creation was, " attraction and 
matter being given, to make a world out of them:" and, 
as above explained, this statement perhaps does not convey 
a false idea. 

We have made choice of the eye as an instance upon 
which to rest the argument of this chapter. Some single 
example was to be proposed; and the eye offered itself un- 
der the advantage of admitting of a strict comparison with 
optical instruments. The ear, it is probable, is no less 
artificially and mechanically adapted to its office than the 
eye. But we know less about it: we do not so well un- 
derstand the action, the use, or the mutual dependency of 
its internal parts. Its general form, however, both external 
and internal, is sufficient to show that it is an instrument 
adapted to the reception of sound; that is to say, already 
knowing that sound consists in pulses of the air, we per- 
ceive, in the structure of the ear, a suitableness to receive im- 
pressions from this species of action, and to propagate these 
impressions to the brain. For of what does this structure 
consist? [PI. V. fig. 1.] An external ear, (the concha,) calcu- 
lated, like an ear-trumpet, to catch and collect the pulses of 
which we have spoken; in large quadrupeds, turning to 
Lhe sound, and possessing a configuration, as well as mo- 
tion, evidently fitted for the office: of a tube which leads 
into the head, lying at the root of this outward ear, the 
folds and sinuses thereof tending and conducting the air 
towards it: of a thin membrane, like the pelt of a drum, 
stretched across this passage upon a bonv rim: of a chain 
of moveable, and infinitely curious bones, forming a com- 


munication, and the only communication that can Le ob- 
served, between the membrane last mentioned and the in- 
terior channels and recesses of the skull: of cavites, sim- 
ilar in shape and form to wind instruments of music, being 
spiral or portions of circles: of the eustachian tube, like 
the hole in a drum, to let the air pass freely into and out of 
the barrel of the ear, as the covering membrane vibrates, or 
as the temperature may be altered: the whole labyrinth 
hewn out of a rock; that is, wrought into the substance of 
the hardest bone of the body. This assemblage of con* 
nected parts constitutes together an apparatus, plainly 
enough relative to the transmission of sound, or of the im- 
pulses received from sound, and only to be lamented in not 
being better understood. 

The communication within, formed by the small bones of 
the ear, is, to look upon, more like what we are accustomed 
to call machinery, than anything I am acquainted with in 
animal bodies. [PI. V. fig. 2.] It seems evidently designed 
to continue towards the sensorium, the tremulous motions 
which are excited in the membrane of the tympanum, or 
what is better known by the name of the " drum of the ear." 
The compages of bones consists of four, which are so dis 
posed, and so hinge upon one another, as that if the mem- 
brane, the drum of the ear, vibrate, all the four are put in 
motion together; and, by the result of their action, work 
the base of that which is the last in the series, upon an 
aperture which it closes, and upon which it plays, and 
which aperture opens into the tortuous canals that lead to 
the brain. This last bone of the four is called the stapes. 
The office of the drum of the ear is to spread out an ex- 
tended surface, capable of receiving the impressions of 
sound, and of being put by them into a state of vibration. 
The office of the stapes is to repeat these vibrations. It is 
a repeating frigate, stationed more within the line. From 
which account of its action may be understood, how the 
sensation of sound will be excited by anything which 
communicates a vibratory motion to the stapes, though not, 
as in all ordinary cases, through the intervention of the 
membrana tympani. This is done by solid bodies applied 
to the bones of the skull, as by a metal bar held at one 
end between the teeth, and touching at the other end a 
tremulous body. It likewise appears to be done, in a con- 
siderable degree, by the air itself, even when this mem- 
brane, the drum of the ear, is greatly damaged. Either 
in the natural or preternatural state of the organ, the use 
pf the chain cf bones is to pro "agate the impulse in a di 


reckon towards the brain, and to propagate it with the ad- 
vantage of a lever; which advantage consists in increasing 
the force and strength of the vibration, and at the same 
time diminishing the space through which it oscillates; 
30th of which changes may augment or facilitate the stiil 
deeper action of the auditory nerves. 

The benefit of the eustachian tube to the organ, may be 
made out upon known pneumatic principles. Behind tho 
drum of the ear is a second cavity, or barrel, called the 
tympanum. The eustachian tube is a slender pipe, but 
sufficient for the passage of air, leading from this cavity 
into the back part of the mouth. Now, it would not have 
done to have had a vacuum in this cavity; for, in that case, 
the pressure of the atmosphere from without would have 
burst the membrane which covered it. Nor would it have 
done to have filled the cavity with lymph or any other 
secretion; which would necessarily have obstructed, both 
the vibration of the membrane and the play of the small 
bones. Nor, lastly, would it have done to have occupied 
the space with confined air, because the expansion of that 
air by heat, or its contraction by cold, would have distend- 
ed or relaxed the covering membrane, in a degree inconsis- 
tent with the purpose which it was assigned to execute. 
The only remaining expedient, and that for which the 
eustachian tube serves, is to open to this cavity a commu- 
nication with the external air. In one word; it exactly 
answers the purpose of the hole in a drum. 

The membrana tympani itself, likewise, deserves all the 
examination which can be made of it. It is not found in 
the ears of fish; which furnishes an additional proof of 
v/hat indeed is indicated by everything about it, that it is 
appropriated to the action of air, or of an elastic medium. 
It bears an obvious resemblance to the pelt or head of 8 
drum, from which it takes its name. It resembles also a 
drum-head in this principal property, that its use depends 
upon its tension. Tension is the state essential to it. Now 
we know that, in a drum, the pelt is carried over a hoop, 
and braced, as occasion requires, by the means of strings 
attached to its circumference In the membrane of the 
ear, the same purpose is provided for, more simply, but not 
less mechanically, nor less successfully, by a different ex 
pedient, viz. by the end of a bone (the handle of the mul 
leus) pressing upon its centre. It is only in very large 
animals that the texture of this membrane can be discern- 
ed In the Philosophical Transactions for the year 1800, 
ivol i.) Sir Everard Home has given some curious observa 


( : :ons upon the ear, and the drum of the ear of an elephant 

[PI v. fig 4.] He discovered in it what he calls a radiated 
muscle, that is, straight muscular fibres, passing along the 
membrane from the circumference to the centre; from the 
bony rim which surrounds it towards the handle of the 
malleus to which the central part is attached. This mus 
cle he supposes to be designed to bring the membrane into 
unison with different sounds: but then he also discovered, 
that this muscle itself cannot act, unless the membrane be 
drawn to a stretch, and kept in a due state of tightness, 
by what miy be called a foreign force, viz. the action ol 
the muscles of the malleus. Our author, supposing his ex- 
planation of the use of the parts to be just, is well founded 
in the reflection which he makes upon it: "that this mode 
of adapting the ear to different sounds, is one of the most 
beautiful applications of muscles in the body; the median" 
ism is so simple, and the variety of effects so great." * 

In another volume of the transactions above referred to, 
and of the same year, two most curious cases are related, 
of persons who retained the sense of hearing, not in a 
perfect, but in a very considerable degree, notwithstanding 
he almost total loss of the membrane we have been de- 
scribing In one of these cases, the use here assigned to 

* A3 the ear of man and fish has been described, it may not be im- 
proper in this place to state, that the other classes of animals are no less 
admirably provided with an ear, adapted to their peculiar habits and 

In amphibious animals the organ of hearing has an intermediate struc- 
ture; in some species of this class, the ear resembling fish, in others it 
more resembles the formation of terrestrial animals. 

There is an important addition to this organ in birds: viz. a cochlea atd 
proper tympanum. 

In quadrupeds we find a more complicated organization; to collect the 
vibrations of sound, they have an external ear, and all those parts, though 
of a different figure, which belong to the human ear. 

The capacity for enjoyment of music is mental, but all the cur'oui 
varieties of sound, which are the source of this enjoyment, are communi- 
cated by the mechanical provisions of the ear. We are astonished at the 
varieties of sensation; the ear is capable of perceiving four or five hundred 
variations of tone in sound. 

** Hence we may conceive a prodigious variety in the same tone, 
arising from irregularities of it occasioned by constitution, figure, situation 
or manner of striking the sonorous body; from the constitution of the 
clastic medium, or its being disturbed by other motions; and from the 
constitution of the ear itself, upon which the impression is made. A 
rlute, a violin, a hautboy, a French horn, may all sound the same tone, 
and be easJy distinguishable. Nay, if twenty human voices ^und the 
same note, and with equal strength, there will be some difference." 
Reid's Enquiry, page 98. — Parton. 


.hat membrane, of modifying the impressions of sound b)> 
change of tension, was attempted to be supplied by strai 
ing the muscles of the outward ear. " The external ear, ' 
we are told, '* had acquired a distinct motion upward and 
backward, which was observable whenever the patient 
istened to anything which he did not distinctly hear; 
when he was addressed in a whisper, the ear was seen im 
mediately to move ; when the tone of voice was louder, 
it then remained altogether motionless." 

It appears probable, from both these cases, that a collate 
ral, if not principal, use of the membrane, is to cover and 
protect the barrel of the ear which lies behind it. Both 
the patients suffered from cold: one, " a great increase ol 
deafness from catching cold;" the other, " very considera- 
ble pain from exposure to a stream of cold air." Bad ef- 
fects therefore followed from this cavity being left open to 
the external air; yet, had the Author of nature shut it up by 
any other cover, than what was capable, by its texture, o{ 
receiving vibrations from sound, and, by its connexion 
with the interior parts, of transmitting those vibrations to 
the brain, the use of the organ, so far as we can judgp 
must have been entirely obstructed. 



The generation of the animal no more accounts for the 
contrivance of the eye or ear, than, upon the supposition 
stated in a preceding chapter, the production of a watch 
by the motion and mechanism of a former watch, would 
account for the skill and intention evidenced in the watch 
so produced; than it would account for the disposition of 
the wheels, the catching of their teeth, the relation of the 
several parts of the works to one another, and to their com- 
mon end; for the suitableness of their forms and places to 
their offices, for their connexion, their operation, and the 
useful result of that operation. I do insist most strenu- 
ously upon the correctness of this comparison; that it 
holds as to everv mode of specific propagation; and that 
whatever was true of the watch, under the hypothesis 
above mentioned, is true of plants and animals. 

I. To begin with the fructification of plants. Can it be 
dcubted but that the seed contains a particular organize 


tion? Whether a latent plantule with the means of tem- 
porary nutrition, or whatever else it be, it encloses an or 
ganization suited to the germination of a new plant. Has 
the plant which produced the seed anything more to d 
with that organization, than the watch would have Ijad to 
do with the structure of the watch which was produced in 
the course of its mechanical movement ? I mean, Has it any- 
thing at all to do with the contrivance? The maker and con- 
triver of one watch, when he inserted within it a mechanism 
suited to the production of another watch, was, in truth, 
the maker and contriver of that other watch. All the prop- 
erties of the new watch were to be referred to his agency: 
the design manifested in it, to his intention: the art, to him 
as the artist: the collocation of each part to his placing* 
the action, effect, and use, to his counsel, intelligence, and 
workmanship. In producing it by the intervention of a 
former watch, he was only working by one set of tools in 
stead of another. So it is with the plant and the seed 
produced by it. Can any distinction be assigned between 
the two cases; between the producing watch, and the pro- 
ducing plant; both passive, unconscious substances; both, 
by the organization which was given to them, producing 
their like, without understanding or design; both, that is, 

II. From plants we may proceed to oviparous animals, 
from seeds to eggs. Now, I say, that the bird has the same 
concern in the formation of the egg which she lays, as the 
plant has in that of the seed which it drops; and no 
other, nor greater. The internal constitution of the egg 
is as much a secret to the hen, as if the hen were inan 
imate. Her will cannot alter it, or change a single feather 
of the chick. She can neither foresee nor determine o. 
which sex her brood shall be, or how many of either; yel 
the thing produced shall be, from the first, very different 
in its make, according to the sex which it bears. So far, 
therefore, from adapting the means, she is not beforehand 
apprized of the effect. If there be concealed within that 
Bmooth shell a provision and a preparation for the produc- 
tion and nourishment of a new animal, they are not of hei 
providing or preparing: if there be contrivance, it is none 
of hers. Although, therefore, there be the difference of 
iife and perceptivity between the animal and the plant, it ia 
a difference which enters not into the account. It is a for- 
eign circumstance. It is a difference of properties not 
employed. The animal function and the vegetable fimc 
tion are alike destitute of any design which can operate upon 


k he form of the thing produced. The plant has no de* 
sign in producing the seed, no comprehension of the na- 
ture or use of what it produces; the bird with respect to its 
vgg> is not above the plant with respect to its seed. Neith- 
er the one nor the other bears that sort of relation to what 
proceeds from them, which a joiner does to the chair which 
he makes. Now a cause, which bears this relation to the 
effect, is what we want, in order to account for the suita- 
bleness of means to an end, the fitness and fitting of one 
thing to another, and this cause the parent plant or ani- 
mal does not supply. 

It is farther observable concerning the propagation of 
plants and animals, that the apparatus employed exhibits 
no resemblance to the thing produced; in this respect 
holding an analogy with instruments and tools of art. The 
filaments, antherre, and stigmata of flowers, bear no more 
resemblance to the young plant, or even to the seed, which 
is formed by their intervention, than a chisel or a plane 
does to a table or chair. What then are the filaments, 
antherse, and stigmata of plants, but instruments strictly 
so called? * 

III. We may advance from animals which bring forth 
eggs, to animals which bring forth their young alive: and 
of this latter class, from the lowest to the highest; from 
irrational to rational life, from brutes to the human species; 

* Nearly akin to the reproduction of plants and animals by generation, 
is the reproduction of parts of animal bodies which have been destroyed, 
and the reparation of those which have been injured. To say nothing of 
the reproduction of limbs in crustaceous animals, the wonderful but well 
attested fact, of the formation of a new eye in an animal of the "lizard kind, 
in the plaie of one which had been cut out of the socket, is one which no 
atheistical theory can approach, in the way of explanation. In the pro- 
cess by which a new eye is formed, the apparatus, instruments and 
materials, employed, bear no resemblance to the organ to be farmed. The 
small capillary vessels of the root of the eye, construct a new eye, out of 
the blood which circulates in them. To use a mode of expression like 
that of our author — the vessels which thus construct a new eye, bear no 
more resemb.ance to it, than a chisel or a plane, to a table or a chair; and 
the blood out of which it is m; de, no more resemblance to it when made, 
than the metallic ores when taken out of the mine, to a complete and 
perfectly constructed watch. In this case, we find a contrivance exist- 
ing in a whole race of animals, for the accomplishment of a purpose 
which it is not called upon to accomplish in one instance out of a thousand. 
If ths reader will examine the several atheistical modes of evading the force 
of tho argurrents for the existence of Clod, referred to in the next 
chapter, as w ill as in various other parts of this volume, he will find that 
they signally fail in their application to this case. — Ed. 


without perceiving, as we proceed, any alteiation «vnatcvet 
in the terms of the comparison. The rational animal does 
not produce its offspring with more certainty or success 
Jian the irrational animal; a man than a quadruped, a 
quadruped than a bird; nor (for we may follow the grada- 
tion through its whole scale) a bird than a plant; nor a 
plant than a watch, a piece of dead mechanism, would do, 
upon the supposition which has already so often been re- 
peated. Rationality therefore has nothing to do in the 
business. If an account must be given of the contrivance 
which we observe; if it be demanded, whence arose either 
the contrivance by which the young animal is produced, 
or the contrivance manifested in the young animal itself, it 
is not from the reason of the parent that any such account 
can be drawn. He is the cause of his offspring in the same 
sense as that in which a gardener is the cause of the tulip 
which grows upon his parterre, and in no other. We ad- 
mire the flower; we examine the plant; we perceive the 
conduciveness of many of its parts to their end and office; 
we observe a provision for its nourishment, growth, pro- 
tection, and fecundity; but we never think of the gardener 
in all this. We attribute nothing of this to his agency; 
yet it may still be true, that without the gardener w*» 
should not have had the tulip: just so it is with the suc- 
cession of animals even of the highest order. For the 
contrivance discovered in the structure of the thing pro- 
duced, we want a contriver. The parent is not that contri- 
ver. His consciousness decides that question. He is in total 
ignorance why that which is produced took its present form 
rather than any other. It is for him only to be astonished 
by the effect. We can no more look therefore to the intel- 
ligence of the parent animal for what we are in search of, 
a cause of relation, and of subserviency of parts to their use, 
which relation and subserviency we see in the procreated 
body, than we can refer the internal conformation of an 
acorn to the intelligence of the oak from which it dropped, 
or the structure of the watch to the intelligence of the 
watch which produced it; there being no difference, as fax 
as argument is concerned, between an intelligence which 
u< not exerted, and a intelligence which does not exist. 




Every observation which was made in our first chap- 
ter, concerning the watch, may be repeated with strict pro- 
priety concerning the eye; concerning animals; concern- 
ing plants; concerning, indeed, all the organized parts of 
the works of nature. As, 

J. When we are inquiring simply after the existence of 
an intelligent Creator, imperfection, inaccuracy, liability 
to disorder, occasional irregularities, may subsist in a con- 
siderable degree, without inducing any doubt into the 
question: just as a watch may frequently go wrong, seldom 
perhaps exactly right, may be faulty in some parts, defec- 
tive in some, without the smallest ground of suspicion from 
thence arising that it was not a watch; not made; or not 
made for the purpose ascribed to it. When faults are 
pointed out, and when a question is started concerning the 
skill of the artist, or the dexterity with which the work is 
executed, then, indeed, in order to defend these qualities 
from accusation, we must be able, either to expose some 
intractableness and imperfection in the materials, or point 
out some invincible difficulty in the execution, into which 
imperfection and difficulty the matter of complaint may be 
resolved; or if we cannot do this, we must adduce such 
specimens of consummate art and contrivance, proceeding 
from the same hand, as may convince the inquirer of the 
existence, in the case before him, of impediments like those 
which we have mentioned, although, what from the nature 
of the case is very likely to happen, they be unknown an<4 
unperceived by him. This we must do in order to vindi- 
cate the artist's skill, or, at least, the perfection of it; as 
we must also judge of his intention, and of the provision 
employed in fulfilling that intention, not from an instance 
in which they fail, but from the great plurality of instances 
in which they succeed. But, after all, these are different 
questions from the question of the artist's existence; or, 
which is the same, whether the thing before us be a work of 
art or not: and the question ought always to be kept sepa- 
rate in the mind. So likewise it is in the works of nature 
Irregularities and imperfections are of little or no weight 
in the consideration, when that consideration relates sim- 
ply V the existence of a Creator. When tlie argument v e» 


spects his attributes, they are of weight; but are then to 
be taken in conjunction (the attention is not to rest upon 
them, but they are to be taken in conjunction) with the 
unexceptionable evidences which we possess, of skill, 
power, and benevolence, displayed in other instances; 
which evidences may, in strength, number, and variety, be 
such, and may so overpower apparent blemishes, as to in- 
duce us, upon the most reasonable ground, to believe, that 
*hese last ought to be referred to some cause, though we 
be ignorant of it, other than defect of knowledge or of be- 
nevolence in the author. 

II. There may be also parts of plants and animals, as 
there were supposed to be of the watch, of which, in seme 
instances, the operation, in ochers, the use, is unknown 
These form different causes; for the operation may be un- 
known, yet the use be certain. Thus it is with the lungs of 
animals. It does not, I think, appear, that we are acquainted 
with the action of the air upon the blood, or in what man- 
ner that action is communicated by the lungs; yet we find 
that a very short suspension of their office destroys the 
life of the animal. In this case, therefore, we maybe said 
to know the use, nay we experience the necessity, of the 
organ, though we be ignorant of its operation. Nearly the 
same thing may be observed of what is called the lympha- 
tic system. We suffer grievous inconveniences from its dis- 
order, without being informed of the office which it sus- 
tains in the economy of our bodies. There may possibly 
also be some few examples of the second class, in which 
not only the operation is unknown, but in which experi- 
ments may seem to prove that the part is not necessary; 
or may leave a doubt, how far it is even useful to the plant 
or animal in which it is found. This is said to be the case 
with the spleen; which has been extracted from dogs, with- 
out any sensible injury to their vital function. Instances 
i«t *he former kind, namely, in which we cannot explain 
the operation, may be numerous; for they will be so iii 
proportion to our ignorance. They will be more or fewe 
to different persons, and in different stages of science 
Every improvement of knowledge diminishes their number 
There is hardly, perhaps, a year passes that does not, in 
the works of nature, bring some operation, or some mode 
of operation, to light, which was before undiscovered, — pro- 
bably unsuspected. Instances of the second kind, namely, 
where the part appears to be totally useless, I believe to be 
extremely rare; compared with the number of those of 
uhich the use is evident they are beneath any assignable 


proportion; and, perhaps, have never be*n submitted to a 
irial and examination sufficiently accurate, long enough 
continued, or often enough repeated. No accounts which 
I have seen are satisfactory. The mutilated animal may 
live and grow fat, (as was the case of the dog deprived of 
its spleen,) yet may be defective in some other of its func- 
tions; which, whether they can all, or in what degree of 
ugor and perfection, be performed, or how ong preserv- 
ed, without the extirpated organ, does not seem to be as- 
certained by experiment. But to this case, even were it 
fullv made out, may be applied the consideration which we 
suggested concerning the watch, viz. that these superfluous 
parts do not negative the reasoning which we instituted 
concerning those parts which are useful, and of which we 
know the use. The indication of contrivance, with re- 
spect to them, remains as it was before. 

III. One atheistic way of replying to our observations 
upon the works of nature, and to the proofs of a Deity 
which we think that we perceive in them, is to tell us, that 
all which we see must n ?cessarily have had some form, and 
that it might as well be its present form as any other. Let 
us now apply this answer to the eye, as we did before to 
the watch. Something or other must have occupied that 
place in the animal's head; must have filled up, we will 
say, that socket: we will say also, that it must have been 
of that sort of substance which we call animal substance, 
as flesh, bone, membrane, cartilage, &c. But that it should 
have been an eye, knowing as we do, what an eye com- 
prehends, — viz. that it should have consisted, first, of a se- 
ries of transparent lenses (very different, by the by, even in 
their substanee, from the opaque materials of which the rest 
of the body is, in general at least, composed; and with 
which the whole of its surface, this single portion of it ex- 
cepted, is covered:) secondly, of a black cloth or canvass 
(the only membrane of the body which is black) spread 
at behind these lenses, so as to receive the image formed 
/ pencils of light transmitted through them; and placed 
at the precise geometrical distance at which, and at which 
alone, a distinct image could be formed, namely, at the 
concourse of the refracted rays: thirdly, of a large nerve 
communicating between this membrane and the brain; 
without which, the action of light upon the membrane, 
however modified by the organ, would be lost to the pur- 
poses of sensation: — that this fortunate conformation of 
parts should have been the lot, not of one Vidividual out 
of many thousand mdividuals, like the great r rizo in a lot- 



tery, or like some singularity in nature, but the happy 
chance of a whole species; nor of one species out of many 
thousand species, with which we are acquainted, but of 
by far the greatest number of all that exist; and ihat uider 
varieties, not casual or capricious, but bearing marks 
of being suited to their respective exigencies: — that all 
this should have taken place, merely because something 
must have occupied those points in every animal's fore- 
head, — or, that all this should be thought to be accounted 
for, by the short answer, "that whatever was there, must 
have had some form or other," is too absurd to be made 
more so by any augmentation. We are not contented 
with this answer; we find no satisfaction in it, by way of 
accounting for appearances of organization far short of 
those of the eye, such as we observe in fossil shells, petri- 
fied bones, or other substances which bear the vestiges of 
animal or vegetable recrements, but which, either in re- 
spect of utility, or of the situation in which they are dis- 
covered, may seem accidental enough. It is no way of 
accounting even for these things, to say that the stone, for 
instance, which is shown to us, (supposing the question to 
be concerning a petrification,) must have contained some 
internal conformation or other. Nor does it mend the an- 
swer to add, with respect to the singularity of the confor- 
mation, that, after the event, it is no longer to be comput- 
ed what the chances were against it. This is always to be 
computed, when the question is, whether a useful or imi- 
tative conformation be the produce of chance, or not: I de- 
sire no greater certainty in reasoning, than that by which 
chance is excluded from the present disposition of the nat- 
ural world. Universal experience is against it. What 
does chance ever do for us? In the human body, for in- 
stance, chance, i. e. the operation of causes without design, 
may produce a wen, a wart, a mole, a pimple, but never an 
eye. Amongst inanimate substances, a clod, a pebble, a 
liquid drop might be; but never was a watch, a telescope, 
an organized body of any kind, answering a valuable pur- 
pose by a complicated mechanism, the effect of chance 
In no assignable instance hath such a thing existed without 
intention somewhere. 

IV. There is another answer, which has the same ef- 
fect as the resolving of things into chance; which answer 
would persuade us to believe, that the eye, the animal to 
which it belongs, every other animal, every plant, indeed 
every organized body which we see, are only so many out 
oT t 1 -' nocsiblc varieties and combinations of being, which 


the lapse of infinite ages has brought into existence; that 
the present world is the relic of that variety; millions of 
other bodily forms and other species having perished, be- 
ing by the defect of their constitutions incapable of preser- 
vation, or of continuance by generation. Now there is no 
foundation whatever for this conjecture in anything which 
we observe in the works of nature; no such experiments 
are going on at present; no such energy operates, as that 
which is here supposed, and which should be constantly 
pushing into existence new varieties of beings: Nor are 
there any appearances to support an opinion, that every 
possible combination of vegetable or animal structure has 
formerly been tried. Multitudes of conformations, both of 
vegetables and animals, may be conceived capable of exist- 
ence and succession, which yet do not exist. Perhaps 
almost as many forms of plants might have been found in 
the fields, as figures of plants can be delineated upon paper. 
A countless variety of animals might have existed, which 
do not exist. Upon the supposition here stated, we should 
see unicorns and mermaids, sylphs and centaurs, the fan- 
cies of painters, and the fables of poets, realized by exam- 
ples. Or, if it be alleged that these may transgress the 
limits of possible life and propagation, we might, at least, 
have nations of human beings without nails upon their fin- 
gers, with more or fewer fingers and toes than ten; some 
with one eye, others with one ear, with one nostril, or with- 
out the sense of smelling at all. All these, and a thousand 
other imaginable varieties, might live and propagate. We 
may modify any one species many different ways, all con- 
sistent with life, and with the actions necessary to preserva- 
tion, although affording different degrees of conveniency 
and enjoyment to the animal. And if we carry these mod- 
ifications through the different species which are known to 
subsist, their number would be incalculable. No reason 
can be given why, if these deperdits ever existed, they 
have now disappeared. Yet, if all possible existences have 
been tried, they must have formed part of the catalogue. 

But, moreover, the division of organized substances into 
animals and vegetables, and the distribution and sub-distri- 
bution of each into genera and species, which distribution 
is not an arbitrary act of the mind, but founded in the 
order which prevails in external nature, appear to me to 
contiadict the supposition of the present world being the 
remains of an indefinite variety of existences; of a variety 
which rejects all plan. The hypothesis teaches, that every 


possible variety of being hath, at one time or other, fouml 
its way into existence, (by what cause or in what manner ig 
not said,) and that those which were badly formed, perish- 
ed; but how or why those which survived should be cast, 
as we see that plants and animals are cast, into regular 
classes, the hypothesis does not explain; or rather, the hy- 
pothesis is inconsistent with this phenomenon. 

The hypothesis, indeed, is hardly deserving of the con- 
sideration which we have given to it. What should wo 
think of a man who, because we had never ourselves seen 
watches, telescopes, stocking mills, steam engines, &c 
made, knew not how they were made, or could prove 
by testimony when they were made, or by whom,— 
would have us believe that these machines, instead of de 
riving their curious structures from the thought and design 
of their inventors and contrivers, in truth derive them from 
no other origin than this, viz. that a mass of metals and oth- 
er materials having run when melted into all possible fig- 
ures, and combined themselves in all possible forms and 
shapes, and propoitions, these things which we see, are 
what were left from the accident, as best worth preserving; 
and, as such, are become the remaining stock of a maga- 
zine, which, at one time or other, has, by this means, con- 
tained every mechanism, useful and useless, convenient 
and inconvenient, into which such like materials could be 
thrown? I cannot distinguish the hypothesis as applied 
to the works of nature, from this solution, which no one 
would accept, as applied to a collection of machines. 

V. To the marks of contrivance discoverable in animal 
bodies, and to the argument deduced from them, in proof of 
design, and of a designing Creator, this turn is sometimes 
attempted to be given, viz. that the parts were not intended 
for the use, but that the use arose out of the parts. This 
distinction is intelligible. A cabinet maker rubs his ma- 
hogany with fish skin; yet it would be too much to assert 
that the skin of the dogfish was made rough and granulated 
on purpose for the polishing of wood, and the use of cabinet- 
makers. Therefore the distinction is intelligible. But I 
think that there is very little place for it in the works of 
nature. When roundly and generally affirmed of them, as 
it hath sometimes been, it amounts to such another stretch 
of assertion, as it would be to say, that all the implements 
of the cabinet-maker's workshop, as well as the fish skin, 
were substances accidentally configurated, which he had 
picked up, and converted to his use; that his adzes, saws 
</a.ies and gimlets, were not mads, as we suppose, to hew 


eu\, smooth, shape out, or bore wood with; but that, these 
things being made, no matter with what design, or whether 
with any, the cabinet-maker perceivec- that they were ap- 
plicable to his purpose, and turned them to account. 

But, again. So far as this solution is attempted to he ap- 
plied to those parts of animals, the action of which does 
not depend upon the will of the animal, it is fraught with 
still more evident absurdity. Is it possible to believe that 
the eye was formed without any regard to vision; that it 
W£s the animal itself which found out, that, though formed 
with no such intention, it would serve to see with; and 
that the use of the eye, as an organ of sight, resulted from 
this discovery, and the animal's application of it? The same 
question may be asked of the ear; the same of all the 
senses. None of the senses fundamentally depend upo~ 
the election of the animal; consequently, neither upon his 
sagacity, nor his experience. It is the impression which 
objects make upon them, that constitutes their use. Under 
that impression, he is passive. He may bring objects to the 
sense, or within its reach; he may select these objects: but 
over the impression itself he has no power, or very little; 
and that properly is the sense. 

Secondly, There are many parts of animal bodies which 
seem to depend upon the will of the animal in a greater 
degree than the senses do, and yet, with respect to which, 
this solution is equally unsatisfactory. If we apply the so- 
lution to the human body, for instance, it forms itself into 
questions, upon which no reasonable mind can doubt; such 
as, whether the teeth were made expressly for the mastica- 
tion of food, the feet for walking, the hands for holding; 
or whether, these things being as they are, being in fact 
in the animal's possession, his own ingenuity taught him 
that they were convertible to these purposes, though no 
such purposes were contemplated in their formation. 

All that there is of the appearance of reason in this 
way of considering the subject is, that, in some cases, 
the organization seems to determine the habits of the ani- 
mal, and its choice, to a particular mode of life; which ; 
in a certain sense, may be called "the use arising out of 
he part." Now to all the instances, in which there is any 
place for this suggestion, it may be replied, that the organ- 
ization determines the animal to habits beneficial and salu- 
tary to itself; and that this effect would not be seen so 
regularly to follow, if the several organizations did not 
bear a concerted and contrived relation to the substance 
by which the animal was surrounded They wouH. othcr- 


wise, be capacities without objects; powers without em- 
ployment. The web foot determines, you say, the duck 
(o swim: but what would that avail, if there were no water 
to swim in? The strong hooked bill, and sharp talons, 
of one species of bird, determine it to prey upon animals, 
the soft straight oill, and weak claws, of another species, 
determine it to pick up seeds: but neither determinations 
could take effect in providing for the sustenance of the 
birds, if animal bodies and vegetable seeds did not lie with- 
in their reach. The peculiar conformation of the bill, and 
tongue, and claws of the woodpecker, [PI. XXVII. fig. 1, 
2, 3] determines that bird to search for his food amongst 
the insects lodged behind the bark, or in the wood, of de- 
cayed trees: but what would this profit him, if there were 
no trees, no decayed trees, no insects lodged under their 
bark, or in their trunk? The proboscis with which the 
bee is furnished, determines him to seek for honey: but 
what would that signify, if flowers supplied none? Facul- 
ties thrown down upon animals at random, and without 
reference to the objects amidst which they are placed, 
would not produce to them the services and benefits which 
we see; and if there be that reference, then there is in 

Lastly^ the solution fails entirely when applied to plants 
The parts of plants answer their uses, without any concur 
rence from the will or choice of the plant. 

VI. Others have chosen to refer everything to a princi 
pie of order in nature. A principle of order is the word* 
but what is meant by a principle of order, as different 
from an intelligent Creator, has not been explained eithei 
by definition or example; and, without such explanation, 
it should seem to be a mere substitution of words for rea- 
sons, names for causes. Order itself is only the adaptation 
of means to an end: a principle of order, therefore, can 
only signify the mind and intention which so adapts them. 
Or, were it capable of being explained in any other sense, 
is there any experience, any analogy to sustain it? Was 
a watch ever produced by a principle of order ? and why 
might not a watch be so produced as well as an eye ? 

Furthermore, a principle of order, acting blindly and 
without choice, is negatived by the observation, that order 
is not universal; which it would be, if it issued from a cOn- 
Btant and necessary principle; nor indiscriminate, which if 
would be, if it issued from an unintelligent principle. Where 
order is wanted, there we find it; where order is not want- 
ed, i e. where, if it prevailed, it would be useless, there tv« 


do not find it. In the structure of the eye, (for we adhere to 
our example,) in the figure and position of it* several parts, 
the most exact order is maintained. In the forms of rock 
and mountainj in the lines which bound the coasts of con- 
nents and islands, in the shape of bays and promontories, 
no order whatever is perceived, because it would have been 
superfluous. No useful purpose would have arisen from 
moulding rocks and mountains into regular solids, bound 
ing the channel of the ocean by geometrical curves, 01 
from the map of the world resembling a table of diagrams 
in Euclid's Elements, or Simpson's Conic Sections. 

VII. L astly, the confidence which we place in our ob- 
servationsPupoh the works of nature, in the marks which 
we discover of contrivance, choice, and design, and in our 
reasoning upon the proofs afforded us, ought not to be 
shaken, as it is sometimes attempted to be done, by bring- 
ing forward to our view our own ignorance, or rather the 
general imperfection of our knowledge of nature. Nor, 
in many cases, ought this consideration to affect us, even 
when it respects some parts of the subject immediately 
under our notice. True fortitude of understanding consists 
in not suffering what we know to be disturbed by what we 
do not know. If we perceive a useful end, and means 
adapted to that end, we perceive enough for our conclusion 
If these things be clear, no matter what is obscure. The 
argument is finished. For instance; if the utility of vision 
to the animal which enjoys it, and the adaptation of the eye 
to this office, be evident and certain, (and I can mention 
nothing which is more so,) ought it to prejudice the infer- 
ence which we draw from these premises, that we cannot 
expla'n the use of the spleen? Nay, more; if there be parts 
of the eye, viz. the cornea, the crystalline, the retina, in 
their substance, figure, and position, manifestly suited to 
the formation of an image by the refraction of rays of light, 
at least, as manifestly as the glasses and tubes of a dioptric 
telescope are suited to that purpose; it concerns not the 
proof which these afford of design, and of a designer, tha 
there may perhaps be other parts, certain muscles, for in- 
etance, or nerves in the same eye, of the agency or effect 
of which we can give no account; any more than we 
should be inclined to doubt, or ought to doubt, about *he 
construction of a telescope, viz. for what purpose it was 
constructed, or whether it were constructed at all, because 
there belonged to it certain screws and pins, the use or 
action of which we did not comprehend. I take it to be a 
general way rf infusing doubts and scruples into the mind 


to recur tc its own ignorance, its own imbecility: to tell 
us that upon these subjects we know little; that little im- 
perfectly; or rather, that we know nothing properly about 
the matter. These suggestions so fall in with our con- 
sciousnesses, as sometimes to produce a general distrust of 
our faculties and our conclusions. But this is an unfound* 
2d jealousy. The uncertainty of one thing, does not ne- 
cessarily affect the certainty of another thing. Our ig- 
norance of many ooints need not suspend our assurance of 
a few Before we yield, in any particular instance, to the 
skepticism which this sort of insinuation would induce, we 
ought accurately to ascertain, whether our ignorance or 
doubt concern those precise points upon which our conclu- 
sion lests. Other points are nothing. Our ignorance of 
other points may be of no consequence to these, though 
they be points, in various respects, of great importance. 
A just reasoner removes from his consideration, not onlv 
what he knows, but what he does not know, touching mat- 
ters not strictly connected with his argument, i. e. not 
forming the very steps of his deduction; beyond these, 
his knowledge and his ignorance are alike relative. 



Were there no example in the world of contrivance ex- 
cept that of the eye, it would be alone sufficient to support 
the conclusion which we draw from it, as to the nece&oity 
of an intelligent Creator. It could never be got rid of; 
because it could not be accounted for by any other suppo- 
sition, which did not contradict all the principles we pos- 
sess of knowledge: the principles, according to which thing9 
do, as often as they can be brought to the test of experi- 
ence, turn out to be true or false. Its coats and humours 
constructed as the lenses of a telescope are constructed, 
for the refraction of rays of light to a point, which forms 
the proper office of the organ: the provision in its muscles 
for turning its pupil to the object, similar to that which is 
given to the telescope by screws, and upon which power 
of direction in the eye, the exercise of its office as an 
optical instrument depends; the farther provision for ita 
defence, fo» its constant lubricity and moisture, which we 
see in its socket ar.d its lids, in its gland for the secretion 


of the matter of tears, its outlet or communication with the 
nose for carry ng off the liquid after the eye is washed with 
it; these provisions compose altogether an apparatus, a 
system of parts, a preparation of means, so manifest in their 
design, so exquisite in their contrivance, so successful in 
Jieir issue, so precious, and so infinitely beneficial in their 
use, as, in my opinion, to bear down all doubt that can ba 
raised upon the subject. And what I wish, un ler the title 
of the present chapter, to observe is, that if other parts 
of nature were inaccessible to our inquiries, or even if 
other parts of nature presented nothing to our examination 
out disorder and confusion, the validity of this example 
would remain the same. If there were but one watch in 
the world, it would not be less certain that it had a maker 
If we had never in our lives seen any but one single kind 
of hydraulic machine, yet, if of that one kind we understood 
the mechanism and use, we should be as perfectly assured 
that it proceeded from the hand, and thought, and skill of 
a workman, as if we visited a museum of the arts, and caw 
collected there twenty different kinds of machines foi 
drawing water, or a thousand different kinds for othei 
purposes. Of this point, each machine is a proof, inde • 
pendently of all the rest. So it is with the evidences of & 
divine agency. The proof is not a conclusion which liea 
at the end of a chain of reasoning, of which chain each 
instance of contrivance is only a link, and of which, if one 
link fail, the whole falls; but it is an argument separately 
supplied by every separate example. An error in stating 
an example affects only that example. The argjment is 
cumulative, in the fullest sense of that term. The eye 
proves it without the ear; the ear without the eye. The 
proof in each example is complete; for when the design of 
the part, and fcAe conduciveness of its structure to that de- 
sign is shown, the mind may set itself at rest; no future 
wmsidoration can detract anything from the force of h* 



It is not that every part of an animal or vegetable naa 
not proceeded from a contriving mind; or that every part 
U not constructed *¥**h a new to its proper end said pur- 


pose, according to the laws belonging to and governing 
the substance or the action made use of in that part, or 
that each part is not so constructed as to effectuate its 
purpose whilft it operates according to these laws; but it 
is because these laws themselves are not in all cases equal- 
ly understood; or, what amounts to nearly the same thing, 
are not equally exemplified in more simple processes, and 
more simple machines; that we lay dowr. the distinction, 
here proposed, between the mechanical parts and ether 
parts of animals and vegetables. 

For instance; the principle of muscular motion, viz. 
upon what cause the swelling of the belly of the muscle 
and consequent contraction of its tendons, either by an 
act of the will, or by involuntary irritation, depends, is 
wholly unknown to us. The substance employed, whether 
it be fluid, gaseous, elastic, electrical, or none of these, or 
nothing resembling these, is also unknown to us: of course, 
the laws belonging to that substance, and which regulate 
its action, are unknown to us. We see nothing similar 
to this contraction in any machine which we can make, 
or any process which we can execute. So far (it is con- 
fessed) we are in ignorance, but no farther. This power 
and principle, from whatever cause it proceeds, being as- 
sumed, the collocation of the fibres to receive the princi- 
ple, the disposition of the muscles for the use and applica- 
tion of the power, is mechanical; and is as intelligible as 
the adjustment of the wires and strings by which a puppet 
is moved. We see, therefore, as far as respects the sub- 
ject before us, what is not mechanical in the animal frame, 
and what is. The nervous influence (for we are often 
obliged to give names to things which we know little 
about) — I say the nervous influence, by which the belly, 
or middle, of the muscle is swelled, is not mechanical. 
The utility of the effect we perceive; the means, or the 
preparation of means, by which it is produced, we do not 
But obscurity as to the origin of muscular motion bring! 
no doubtfulness into our observations upon the sequel o( 
the process: Which observations relate, 1st, to the con 
gtitutior of the muscle; in consequence of which consti- 
tution, the swelling of the belly or middle part is neces- 
sarily and mechanically followed by a retraction of the 
tendons: 2dly, to the number and variety of the muscles, and 
the corresponding number and variety of useful powers— 
whicli they supply to the animal; which is astonishingly 
great: 3dly, to the judicious, (if we may be permitted to 
use that erm, ir speaking of the author or of the works 


of nature,) to the wise and well-contrived disposition of 
each muscle for its specific purpose; for moving the joint 
this way, and that way, and the other way; for pulling 
and drawing the part to which it is attached, in a determi- 
nate and particular direction; which is a mechanical oper 
ation, exemplified in a multitude of instances. To mention 
only one: The tendon of the trochlear muscle of the eye, 
'.o the end that it may draw in the line required, is passed 
through a cartilaginous ring, at which it is reverted, exact y 
in the same manner as a rope in a ship is carried over q 
block or round a stay, in order to make it pull in the direction 
which is wanted. [PI. V. fig. l.J All this, as we have 
said, is mechanical; and is accessible to inspection, as ca- 
pable of being ascertained, as the mechanism of the au- 
tomaton in the Strand. Suppose the automaton to be put in 
motion by a magnet, (which is probable,) it will supply us 
with a comparison very apt for our present purpose. Of 
the magnetic effluvium, we know perhaps as little as we do 
of the nervous fluid. But, magnetic attraction being as- 
sumed, (it signifies nothing from what cause it proceeds,) 
we can trace, or there can be pointed out to us, with per- 
fect clearness and certainty, the mechanism, viz. the steel 
bars, the wheels, the joints, the wires, by which the motion 
so much admired is communicated to the fingers of the im 
age: and to make any obscurity, or difficulty, or contro- 
versy in the doctrine of magnetism, an objection to our 
knowledge or our certainty concerning the contrivance, or 
the marks of contrivance, displayed in the automaton, 
would be exactly the same thing, as it is to make our ig- 
norance (which we acknowledge) of the cause of nervous 
agency, or even of the substance and structure of the 
nerves themselves, a ground of question or suspicion as to 
the reasoning which we institute concerning the mechani- 
cal part of our frame. That an animal is a machine, is a 
proposition neither correctly true nor wholly false. The 
distinction which we have been discussing will serve to 
show how far the comparison, which this expression im- 
plies, holds; and wherein it fails. And whether the dis- 
tinction be thought of importance or not, it is certainly of 
importance to remember, that there is neither truth noi 
justice in endeavouring to bring a cloud over our under- 
standings, or a distrust into our reasonings upon this sub- 
ject, by suggesting that we know nothing of voluntary 
motion, of irritability, of the principle of life, of sensation, 
of animal heat, upon all which the animal functions de- 
pend; for, ouv ignorance of these parts of the animal frame 


concerns not at all our knowledge of the mechanical parts 
of the same frame. I contend, therefore, that there i3 
mechanism in animals; that this mechanism is as proper- 
ly such, as it is in machines made by art; that this me- 
chanism is intelligible and certain; that it is not the less 
so, because it often begins or terminates with something 
which is not mechanical: that whenever it is intelligible 
and certain, it demonstrates intention and contrivance, as 
well in the works of nature as in those of art; and that it 
is the best demonstration which either can afford. 

But whilst I contend for these propositions, I do not 
exclude myself from asserting, that there may be, and that 
there are, other cases, in which, although we cannot ex- 
hibit mechanism, or prove indeed that mechanism is em- 
ployed, we want not sufficient evidence t~ conduct us to 
the same conclusion. 

There is what may be called the chem^al part of our 
frame; of which, by reason of the imperfection of our 
chemistry, we can attain to no distinct knowledge; I 
mean, not to a knowledge, either in degree or kind, similar 
to that which we possess of the mechanical part of our 
frame. It does not, therefore, afford the same species of 
argument as that which mechanism affords ; and yet it may 
afford an argument in a high degree satisfactory. The gas 
trie juice, or the liquor which digests the food in the stom 
achs of animals, is of this class. Of all menstrua, it is the 
most active, the most universal. In the human stomach, for 
instance, consider what a variety of strange substances, and 
how widely different from one another, it, in a few hours, re- 
duces to a uniform pulp, milk, or mucilage. It seizes upon 
everything, it dissolves the texture of almost everything 
that comes in its way. The flesh of perhaps all animals; 
the seeds and fruits of the greatest number of plants; the 
roots, and stalks, and leaves of many, hard and tough as 
[hey are, yield to its powerful pervasion. The change 
wrought by it is different from any chemical solution which 
we can produce, or with which we are acquainted, in this 
respect as well as many others, that, in our chemistry, par- 
ticular menstrua act only upon particular substances. Con- 
sider, moreover, that this fluid, stronger in its operation 
than a caustic alkali or mineral acid, than red precipitate, 
or aqua-fortis itself, is nevertheless as mild, and bland, and 
inoffensive to the touch or taste, as saliva or gum-water, 
which it much resembles. Consider, I say, these several 
oroperties of the digestive organ, and of the juice with 
*hich it is supplied, or rather with which it is made to sup- 


ply itself, and you will confess it to be entitled tc a name, 
which it has sometimes received, that of "tie chemical 
wonder of animal nature." 

Still we are ignorant of the composition of this fluid, and 
of the mode of its action; by which is meant, that we are 
not capab'e, as we are in the mechanical part ofour frame, 
of collating it with the operations of art. And this I call 
Ihe imperfection ofour chemistry; for should the time ev- 
er arrive, which is not perhaps to be despaired of. when we 
can compound ingredients, so as to form a solvent which 
will act in the manner in which the gastric juice acts, we 
may be able to ascertain the chemical upon 
which its efficacy depends, as well as from what part, and 
by what concoction, in the human body, these principles 
arc generated and derived. 

In the meantime, ought that, which is in truth the de- 
fect ofour chemistry, to hinder us from acquiescing in the 
inference, which a production of nature, by its place, its 
properties, its action, its surprising efficacy, its invaluable 
use, authorises us to draw in respect of a creative design? 

Another most subtile and curious function of animal bod- 
ies is secretion. This function is semi-chemical and semi- 
mechanical; exceedingly important and diversified in its 
effects, but obscure in its process and in its apparatus. 
The importance of the secretory organs is but too well at- 
tested by the diseases, which an excessive, a deficient, or a 
vitiated secretion is almost sure of producing. A single 
secretion being wrong, is enough to make life miserable, 
or sometimes to destroy it. Nor is the variety less thai, 
vhe importance. From one and the same blood ( I speak 
'>f the human body) about twenty different fluids are sepa- 
rated; in their sensible properties, in taste, smell, color, 
and consistency, the most unlike one another that is possi- 
ble; thick, thin, salt, bitter, sweet: and, if from our own 
we pass to other species of animals, we find amongst Iheir 
secretions not only the most various, but the most opposite 
properties; the most nutritious aliment, the deadliest poi- 
L'on; the sweetest perfumes, the most fetid odors. Of 
thene the greater part, as the gastric juice, the saliva, the 
bile, the slippery mucilage which lubricates the joints, the 
tears which moisten the eye, the wax which defends the 
ear, are, after they are secreted, made use of in the animal 
economy; are evidently subservient, and are actually con- 
tributing to the utilites of the animal itself. Other fluids 
seem to be separated only to be rejected. That this also 
,s necessary (though why it was originally necessarv wo 



cannot tell) is shown by the consequence of the separation 
u eing long suspended; 'which consequence is disease and 
death. Akin to secretion, if not the same thing, is assim- 
ilation, by which one and the same blood is converted into 
bone, muscular flesh, nerves, membranes, tendons; things 
as different as the wood and 'iron, canvass and cordage, of 
which a ship with its furniture is composed. We have no 
operation of art wherewith exactly to compare all this, for no 
other reason perhaps than that all operations of art are ex- 
ceeded by it. No chemical election, no chemical analysis 
cr resolution of a substance into its constituent parts, no me- 
chanical sifting or divison, that we are acquainted with, in 
perfection or variety, come up to animal secretion. Never- 
theless, the apparatus and process are obscure; not to say 
absolutely concealed from our inquiries. In a few, and only 
a few instances, we can discern a little of the constitution 
of a gland. In the kidneys of large animals, we can trace 
the emulgent artery dividing itself into an infinite number 
of branches; their extremities everywhere communicating 
with little round bodies, in the substance of which bodies 
the secret of the machinery seems to reside, for there the 
change is made. We can discern pipes laid from these 
round bodies towards the pelvis, which is a basin within 
the solid of the kidney. (PI. VI. fig. 2.) We can discern 
these pipes joining and collecting together into larger pipes; 
and when so collected, ending in innumerable papillae, 
through which the secreted fluid is continually oozing into 
its receptacle. This is all we know of the mechanism of 
a gland, even in the case in which it seems most capable 
of being investigated. Yet to pronounce that we know 
nothing of animal secretion, or nothing satisfactorily, and 
with that concise remark to dismiss the article from our 
argument, would be to dispose of the subject very hastily 
and very irrationally. For the purpose which we want, that 
of evincing intention, we know a great deal. And what we 
know is this. We see the blood carried by a pipe, conduit, 
or duct, to the gland. We see an organized apparatus, bo 
its construction or action what it may, which we call that 
gland Ve see the blood, or part of the blood, after it 
has passed through and undergone the action of the gland, 
coming from it by an emulgent vein or artery, i. e. by an- 
other pipe or conduit. And we see also at the same time 
a new and specific fluid issuing from the same gland by its 
excretory duct, i. e. by a third pipe or conduit; which new 
fluid is in some cases discharged out of the body, m more 
iases retained within it, and there executing some impoi- 


tant and intelligent office. Now supposing, or admitting, 
thai we know nothing of the proper internal constitution of 
a gland, or of the mode of its acting upon the blood; then 
our s'iuaticn is precisely like that of an unmechanical look- 
er-on, who stands by a stocking-loom, a coin-mill, a earri- 
ng-machine, or a threshing-machine, at work, the fabric 
irA mecbinism of which, as well as all that passes within, 
cs hidden from his sight by the outside case; or, if seen, 
would hi too complicated for his uninformed, uninstructed 
Understanding '„o comprehend. And what is that situation? 
This epecta*jr, ignorant as he is, sees at one end a mate 
rial enter Ine machine, as unground grain the mill, raw cot- 
ton the carding-machine, sheaves of unthreshed corn the 
threshing-machine; and, when he casts his eye to the other 
e;;d of the apparatus, he sees the material issuing from it 
in anew state; and, what is more, in a state manifestly 
adapted to future uses ; the grain in meal fit for the making 
of bread, the wool in rovings ready for spinning into 
threads, the sheaf in corn dressed for the mill. Is it ne- 
cessary that this man, in order to be convinced that design, 
that intention, that contrivance has been employed about 
the machine, should be allowed to pull it to pieces; should 
be enabled to examine the parts separately; explore their 
action upon one another, or their operation, whether simul- 
taneous or successive, upon the material which is presented 
to them? He may long to do this, to gratify his curiosity; 
he may desire to do it to improve his theoretic know- 
ledge ; or he may have a more substantial reason for re- 
questing it, if he happen, instead of a common visiter, to 
be a mill wnght by profession, or a person sometimes call- 
ed in to repair such-like machines when out of order; but, 
for the purpose of ascertaining the existence of counsel 
and design in the formation of the machine, he wants no 
such intromission or privity. What he sees is sufficient. 
The effect upon the material, the change produced in it, 
the utility of that change for future applications, abundantly 
testify, be the concealed part of the machine or of its con- 
struction what it may, the hand and agency of a contriver. 
If any confirmation were wanting to the evidence which 
the animal secretions afford of design, it may be derived, 
as has been already hinted, from their variety, and from 
their appropriation to their place and use. They all come 
from the same blood: they are all drawn off by glands: yet 
the produce is very different, and the difference exactly 
adapted to the work which is to be done, or the end to be 
answei ed. No account can be given of this, without re- 


sorting to appointment. Why, for instance, is the saliva 
which is diffused over the seat of taste, insipid, whilst so 
many others of the secretions, the urine, the tears, and the 
sweat, are salt? Why does the gland within the ear sepa- 
rate a viscid substance, which defends that passage; the 
gland in the upper angle of the eye, a thin brine, which 
washes the ball? Why is the synovia of the joints mu- 
cilaginous; the bile bitter, stimulating, and soapy? Why 
does the juice which flows into the stomach, contain pow- 
ers, which make that organ the great laboratory, as it is by 
ti3 situation the recipient, of the materials of future nutii- 
tion? These are all fair questions; and no answer can bo 
given to them, but what calls in intelligence and intention. 
My object in the present chapter has been to teach three 
things: first, that it is a mistake to suppose that, in reason- 
ing from the appearances of nature, the imperfection of 
our knowledge proportionably affects the certainty of our 
conclusion; for in many cases it does not affect it at all: 
secondly, that the different parts of the animal frame may 
be classed and distributed, according to the degree of ex- 
actness with which we can compare them with works of 
art: thirdly, that the mechanical parts of our frame, or 
those in which this comparison is most complete, although 
constituting, probably, the coarsest portions of nature's 
workmanship, are the most proper to be alleged as proofs 
and specimens of design. 



We proceed, therefore, to propose certain examples ta* 
ken out of this class: making choice of such as, amor.gst 
those which have come to our knowledge, appear to be the 
most striking, and the best understood; but obliged, per- 
haps, to postpone both these recommendations to a third » 
that of the example being capable of explanation without 
pla*es, or figures, or technical language. 


1 challenge any man to produce, in the joints and 
pivots of the most complicated or the most flexible ma 
•thine hat was ever oontrved, a construction more artifi 


cial, or more evidently artificial, than that whfch is seen 
in the vertebrae of the human neck. [PL VII. fig. 1.] Two 
things were to be done. The head was to have the power 
of bending forward and backward, as in the act of nodding, 
stooping, looking upward or downward; and, at the same 
time, of turning itself round upon the body to a certain 
extent, the quadrant we will say, or rather, perhaps, a hun- 
dred a'ld twenty degrees of a circle. For these two pur- 
poses, two distinct contrivances are employed: [PI. VII. 
fig. 2, 3, 4.] First, the head rests immediately upon the 
uppermost of the vertebrae, and is united to it by a hinge* 
joint; upon which joint the head plays freely forward and 
backward, as far either way as is necessary, or as the liga- 
ments allow; which was the first thing required. — But 
then the rotatory motion is unprovided for. Therefore, 
secondly, to make the head capable of this, a farther me- 
chanism is introduced; not between the head and the up- 
permost bone of the neck, where the hinge is, but between 
that bone, and the bone next underneath it. It is a me- 
chanism resembling a tenon and mortice. This second, 
or uppermost bone but one, has what anatomists call a pro- 
cess, viz. a projection, somewhat similar, in size and shape, 
to a tooth; which tooth, entering a corresponding hole or 
socket in the bone above it, forms a pivot or axle, upon 
which that upper bone, together with the head which it 
oupports, turns freely in a circle; and as far in the circle 
as the attached muscles permit the head to turn. Thus 
'ire both motions perfect, without interfering with each 
other. When we nod the head, we use the hinge-joint, 
which lies between the head and the first bone of the neck 
When we turn 'he head round, we use the tenon and mor 
tice. which runs between the first bone of the neck and the 
second. We see the same contrivance, and the same prin- 
ciple, employed in the frame or mounting of a telescope, 
It is occasionally requisite, that the object-end of the in 
dtrument be moved up and down, as well as horizontally, 
or equatoripJly. For the vertical motion, there is a hinge, 
upon which the telescope plays; for the horizontal oi 
equatorial motion, an axis upon which the telescope and 
the hinge turn round together. And this is exactly the 
mechanism which is applied to the motion of the head, 
nor wi'l any one here doubt of the existence of counsel and 
design, except it be by that debility of mind, which can 
trust to its own reasonings in nothing. 

We may add, that it was on another account also, ex- 
pedient, tha the motion of the head backward md for- 



ward should be performed upon the upper surface of the 
first vertebra: for, if the first vertebrae itself had bent for- 
ward, it would have brought the spinal marrow, s.t the verj 
beginning of its course, upon the point of the tooth. 

II. Another mechanical contrivance, not unlil e the last 
in its object, but different and original in its meai s, is seen 
in what anatomists call the fore-arm; that is, in the arm 
from the elbow to the wrist. [PI. VIII fig. 1, 2.] Here, 
for the perfect use of the limb, two motions are wanted; a 
motion at the elbow backward and forward, which is called 
a reciprocal motion; and a rotatory motion, by which the 
palm of the hand, as occasion requires, maybe turned up- 
ward. How is this managed? The fore-arm, it is well 
known, consists of two bones lying alongside each other, 
but touching only towards the ends. One, and only one of 
these bones, is joined to the cubit, or upper part of the arm, 
at the elbow; the other alone, to the hand at the wrist. 
The first by means, at the elbow, of a hinge-joint, (which 
allows only of motion in the same plane,) swing j backward 
and forward, carrying along with it the other btae, and 
the whole fore-arm. In the meantime, as often a.j there is 
occasion to turn the palm upward, that oth'.T bone, to 
which the hand is attached, rolls upon the first, by the 
help of a groove or hollow near each end of one bone, 
to which is fitted a corresponding prominence in the other 
If both bones had been joined to the cubit, or upper arm, 
at the elbow, or both to the hand at the wrist, the 
thing could not have been done. The first was to be at 
liberty at one end, and the second at the other: by which 
means the two actions may be performed together. The 
great bone, which carries the fore-arm, may be swinging 
upon its hinge at the elbow, at the very time that the les 
ser bone, which carries the hand, may be turning round it 
in the grooves. The management also of these grooves, 
or rather of the tubercles and grooves, is very observable 
The two bones are called the radius and the ulna. Above, 
e. e. towards the elbow, a tubercle of the radius plays into 
a socket of the ulna; whilst below, i. e. towards the wrist, 
♦he radius finds the socket, and the ulna the tubercle. A 
single bone in the fore-arm, with a ball and socket joint at 
the elbow, which admits of motion in all directions, might, 
in some degree, have answered the purpose of both moving 
the arm and turning the hand. But how much better it is 
accomplished bv the present mechanism, any person mav 
convince himself, who puts the ease and quickness, with 
nrhi"*, 1 '. he can shake his hand at the wrist circularly, (inov 


mg likewise, if he pleases, his arm at the elbc;v at the 
same time,) in competition with the comparatively slow and 
laborious motion with which his arm can be made to turn 
round at the shoulder, by the aid of a ball and socket joint. 

Ill The spine, or back bone, is a chain of joints of very 
wonderful construction. [PI. IX. fig. 1, 2.] Various, dif- 
ficult, and almost inconsistent offices were to be. executed 
by the same instrument. It was to be firm, yet flexible, 
(now I know no chain made by art, which is both these; 
for bv firmness I mean, not onlv strength, but stability:) 
Jinn, to support the erect position of the body; flexible, to 
allow of the bending of the trunk in all degrees of curva- 
ture. It was farther also (which is another, and quite a 
distinct purpose from the rest) to become a pipe or conduit 
for the safe conveyance from the brain, of the most important 
fluid* of the animal frame, that, namely, upon which all 
voluntary motion depends, the spinal marrow ; a substance 
not only of the first necessity to action, if not to life, but 
of a nature so delicate and tender, so susceptible, and so 
impatient of injury, as that any unusual pressure upon it, 
or any considerable obstruction of its course, is followed 
by paralysis or death. Now the spine was not only to 
furnish the main trunk for the passage of the medullary 
substance from the brain, but to give out, in the course of 
its progress, small pipes therefrom, which, being afterwards 
indefinitely subdivided, might, under the name of nerves, 
distribute this exquisite supply to every part of the body. 
The same spine was also to serve another use not less want- 
ed than the preceding, viz. to afford a fulcrum, stay, or 
basis, (or, more properly speaking, a series of these) foi 
the insertion of the muscles which are spread over ihf 
trunk of the body; in which trunk there are not. as in the 
limbs, cylindrical bones, to which they can be fastened 
and, likewise, which is a similar use, to furnish a suppoi 
for the ends of the ribs to rest upon 

Bespeak of a workman a piece of mechanism whicL 
shall comprise all these purposes, and let him set about to 
contrive it; let him try his skill upon it; let him feel the 

* It seems proper to remark here, that the form of expression made 
use of in this case implies what is not strictly true. The spinal marrow, 01 
more properly the spinal nerve, is not a fluid but a solid cord extending 
from the brain down through the canal of the spine, from which branehei 
are distribute 1 to ail parts of the body. Dr. I'aley in this instance prob- 
ably had in view the animal spiri s, a subtile fluid, which was formerly 
Delie\ed to be seated in the >rain, And carried through the nerves to tin* 
differ* nt par's. — Ed. 


difficulty of accomplishing the task, before he be *ioid how 
the same thing is effected in the animal frame. Nothing* 
will enable him to judge so well of the wisdom which hag 
been employed; nothing will dispose him to think of it so 
truly. First, for the firmness, yet flexibility, of the spine, 
it is composed of a great number of bones (in the human 
subject, of twenty-four) joined to one another, and compact- 
ed by broad bases. Tbe breadth of the bases upon which 
the parts severally rest, and the closeness of the junction, 
give to the chain its firmness and stability; the number of 
parts, and consequent frequency of joints, its flexibility. 
Which flexibility, we may also observe, varies in different 
parts of the chain: is least in the back, where strength 
more than flexure, is wanted; greater in the loins, which 
it was necessary should be more supple than the back, 
and greatest of all in the neck, for the free motion of the 
head. Then, secondly, in order to afford a passage for 
the descent of the medullary substance, each of these 
bones is bored through the middle in such a manner, as 
that, when put togettier, the hole in one bone falls into a 
line, and corresponds with the holes in the two bones con- 
tiguous to it. By which means the perforated pieces, 
when joined, form an entire, close, uninterrupted channel; 
at least, whilst the spine is upright, and at rest. But, as 
a settled posture is inconsistent with its use, a great diffi- 
culty still remained, which was to prevent the vertebra; 
shifting upon one another, so as to break the line of the 
canal as often as the body moves or twists; or the joints 
gaping externally, whenever the body is bent forward, and 
the spine thereupon made to take the form of a bow. These 
dangers, which are mechanical, are mechanically provided 
against. The vertebrre, by means of their processes and 
projections, and of the articulations which some of these 
form with one another at their extremities, are so locked in 
and confined, as to maintain, in what are called the bodies or 
broad surfaces of the bones, the relative position nearly un- 
altered; and to throw the change and the pressure, produced 
by flexion, almost entirely upon the intervening cartilages, 
the springiness and yielding nature of whose substance ad- 
mi's of all the motion which is necessary to be performed 
upon them, without any chasm being produced by a separa- 
.ion of the pa>-ts. I say, of all the motion which is necessa- 
ry; for although we bend our backs to every degree almost 
of inclination, the motion of each vertebrae is very small: 
Buch is the advantage we receive from the chain beinp 
f mposed of so many links, the spine of so many bone* 


Had it consisted of three or four bones only, in bonding 
the body the spinal marrow must have been bruised at 
every angle. The reader need not be told, that these inter- 
vening cartilages are gristles; and he may see them in 
perfection in a loin of veal. Their form also favors the 
same intention. They are thicker before than behind; so 
that, when we stoop forward, the compressible substance of 
the cartilage, yielding in its thicker and anterior oart to the 
force which squeezes iU, brings the surfaces of the adjoining 
vertebra nearer to the being parallel with one; another than 
they were before, instead of increasing the inclination of 
their planes, which must have occasioned a fissure or open- 
ing between them. Thirdly, for the medullary canal giv- 
ing out in its course, and in a convenient order, a supply 
of nerves to different parts of the body, notches are made 
in the upper and lower edge of every vertebra, two on 
each edge, equi-distant on each side from the middle line 
of the back. When the vertebrae are put together, these 
notches, exactly fitting, form small holes, through which 
the nerves, at each articulation, issue out in pairs, in order 
to send their branches to every part of the body, and with 
an equal bounty to both sides of the body. The fourth 
purpose assigned to the same instrument is the insertion 
of the bases of the muscles, and the support of the ends 
of the ribs; and for this fourth purpose, especially the for 
merpartofit, a figure, specifically suited to the design, 
and unnecessary for the other purposes, is given to the 
constituent bones. Whilst they are plain, and round, and 
smooth, towards the front, where any roughness or projec 
tion might have wounded the adjacent viscera, they run 
out behind, and on each side, into long processes, to which 
processes the muscles necessary to the motions of the trunk 
are fixed; and fixed with such art, that, whilst the verte- 
brae supply a basis for the muscles, the muscles help to 
keep these bones in their position, or by their tendons to 
tie them together. 

That most important, however, and general property, viz 
the strength of the compages, and the security againt lux- 
ation, was to be still more specially consulted: for where 
so many joints were concerned, and where, in every one, 
derangement would have been fatal, it became a subject ol 
studious precaution. For this purpose, the vertebrae are 
articulated, that is, the moveable joints between them are 
formed by means of those projections of their substance, 
which we have mentioned under the name of processes; 
and these so lock in with, and overwrap one another, a 


o secure the body of the vertebne, not only from i cc ldent 
ally slipping, but even from being pushed out of its place 
Dy any violence short of that which would break the bone. 
I have often remarked and admired this structure in the 
chine of a hare. In this, as in many instances, a plain ob- 
server of the animal economy may spare himself the disgust 
of bein<j present at human dissections, and yet learn enough 
for his information and satisfaction, by even examining thr 
bones of tk e animals which come upon his table. Let him 
take, for example, into his hands, apiece of the clean-pick- 
ed bone of a hare's back; consisting, we will suppose, of 
three vertebrae. He will find the middle bone of the three 
so implicated by means of its projections or processes, with 
the bone on each side of it, that no pressure which he can 
use, will force it out of it",s place between them. It will 
give way neither forward, nor backward, nor on ei'her side. 
In whichever direction he pushes, he perceives, in the 
form, or junction, or overlapping of the bones, an impedi- 
ment opposed to his attempt ; a check and guard against 
dislocation. In one part of the spine, he will find a still 
farther fortifying expedient, in the mode according to 
which the ribs are annexed to the spine. Each rib rests 
ipon two vertebrae. That is the thing to be remarked, 
md any one may remark it in carving a neck of mutton 
The manner of it is this: the end of the rib is divided by 
a middle ridge into two surfaces; which surfaces are join- 
ed to the bodies of two contiguous vertebrae, the ridge ap- 
plying itself to the intervening cartilage. Now this is the 
very contrivance which is employed in the famous iron 
bridge at my door at Bishop-Wearmouth ; and for the same 
purpose of stability; viz. the cheeks of the bars, which pass 
between the arches, ride across the joints, by which the 
pieces composing" each arch are united. Each cross- bar 
rests upon two of these pieces at their place of junction; 
and by that position resists, at least in one direction, any 
tendency in either piece to slip out of its place. Thus 
perfectly, by one means or the other, is the danger of slip- 
ping laterally, or of being drawn aside out of the line of the 
back, provided against: and to withstand the bones being 
pulled asunder longitudinally, or in the direction of that 
line, a strong membrane runs from one end of the chain tc 
the other, sulhcient to resist any force which is ever likeh 
to act in the direction of the back, or parallel to it, ana 
consequently to secure the whole combination in their 
©laces. The general result is, that not only the motions of 
rhe h unan body necessary for the ordinary offices of life 


are performed with safety, but that it is an accident hari- 
ly ever heard of, that even the gesticulations of a harlequin 
distort his spine. 

Upon the whole, and as a guide to those who may be in- 
clined to carry the consideration of this subject farther, 
there are three views under which the spine ought to be 
regarded, and in all which it cannot fail to excite our ad- 
miration. These views relate to its articulations, its liga- 
ments, and its perforation, and to the corresponding advan- 
tages which the body derives from it, for action, for strength, 
and for that which is essential to every part, a secure com 
munication with the brain.* 

* It will be useful to append to the remarks of Dr. Paley upon the 
mechanism of the spine and of other parts of the body, some observations 
by a very eminent anatomist and surgeon now living, who has lately 
considered the subject of Animal Mechanism in its connexion with Natu 
ral Theology, and has presented some striking and original views. 
These observations have been published as one of the treatises of the 
Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, which forms the ninth 
number of the series. These extracts will be the more instructive asgiv 
ing views of a professional observer in confirmation of those of our au- 
thor ; and they will also serve as additional illustrations of the same great 
truths which he has endeavoured to enforce. — Ed. 

" The spinal column, as it is called, serves three purposes : .t is the 
great bond of union between all the parts of the skeleton; it forms a tube 
for the lodgement of the spinal marrow, a part of the nervous system as 
important to life as the brain itself ; and lastly, it is a column to sustain 
the head. 

We now see the importance of the spine, and we shall next explain 
how the various offices are provided for. 

If the protection of the spinal marrow had been the only object of 
this structure, it is natural to infer that it would have been a strong and 
unyielding tube of bone; but, as it must yield to the inflexion of the body, 
it cannot be constituted in so strict an analogy with the skull. It must, 
therefore, bend; but it must have no abrupt or considerable bending at 
one part; for the spinal marrow within would in this way suffer. 

By this consideration we perceive why there are twenty-four bones in 
the spine, each bending a little; each articulated or making a joint with 
ts fellow; all yielding in a slight degree, and, consequently, permitting 
.11 the whole spine that flexibility necessary to the motions of the body. 
It is next to be observed that, whilst the spine by this provision moves in 
every direction, it gains a property which it belongs more to our present 
purpose to understand. The bones of the spine are called vertebra; at 
each interstice between these bones, there is a peculiar gristly substance, 
which is squeezed out from between the bones, and, therefore, permit* 
them to approach and play a little in the motions of the body. This 
gristly substance is enclosed in an elastic binding, or membrane of grea. 
strength, which passes from the edge or border of one vertebra, to the bor- 
der of the one next it. When a weight is upon the body, the so r t giisUo 
w presged out, and the membrane yields: the moment the weight *s ntmo^ 


The structure of the spine is not in general djfferetit hi 
different animals. In the serpent tribe, however, it is con- 
ed, the membranes recoil by their elasticity, the gristle is pressed into la 
place, and the bones resume their position. 

We can readily understand how great the influence of these twenty 
four joinings must be in giving elasticity to the whole column ; and how 
much this must tend to the protection of the brain. Were it not for this 
interposition of elastic r.iateiial, every motion of the body would j. rodi co 
ajar to the delicate texture of the brain, and we should suffer almost as 
much in alighting on our feet, as in falling on our head. It is, as we have 
already remarked, necessary to interpose thin plates of lead or slate be- 
tween the different pieces of a column to prevent the edges (technically 
called arrises) of the cylinders from coming in contact, as they would, ia 
that case, chip or split off. 

But there is another very curious provision, for the protection of the 
brain; we mean the curved form of the spine. If a steel spring, perfectly 
straight, be pressed between the hands from its extremities, it will resist, 
notwithstanding its elasticity, and when it does give way, it will be with 
a jerk. 

Such would be the effect on the spine if it stood upright, one bone 
perpendicular to another; for then the weight would bear equally; the 
spine would yield neither to one side nor to the other; and, consequently, 
there would be a resistance from the pressure on all sides being balanced. 
We, therefore, see the great advantage resulting from the human spine 
being in the form of an italic f. It is prepared to yield in the direction 
of its curves; the pressure is of necessity more upon one side of the col- 
umn than on the other; and its elasticity is immediately in operation 
without a jerk. It yields, recoils, and so forms the most perfect spring; 
admirably calculated tocarrythe head without jar, or injury of any kind. 

The most unhappy illustration of all this is the condition of old age. 
The tables o^the skull are then consolidated, and the spine is rigid: if an 
old man should fall with his head upon the carpet, the blow, which would 
be of no consequence to the elastic frame of a child, may to him prove 
fatal; and the rigidity of the spine makes every step which he takes, vi- 
brate to the interior of the head, and jar on the brain. 

We have hinted at a comparison between the attachment of the spine 
to the pelvis and the insertion of the mast of a ship nto the hull. The 
mast goes directly through the decks without touching them, and the 1 ee] 
of the mast goes into the step, which is formed of large solid pieces of 
oak timber laid across the keelson. The keelson is an inner keel resting 
upon the floor-timbers of the ship and directly over the proper keel. 
These are contrivances for enlarging the base on which the mast /eetfl 
as a column; for as, in proportion to the height and weight of a column. 
Its base must be enlarged, or it would sink into the earth; so, if the matt 
were to bear upon a point, it would break through the bot'om of tho 

The mast is supported upright by the shrouds and stays. The shrouds 
secure it against the lateral or rolling motion, and the stavs and backstays 
ogainst the pitching of the ship. These form what is termed the standing 

The mast does not bear upon the deck or on the beams of the ship; in- 
deed f .bere is a spa^e covered with canvass between the deck and the 


giderably varied; but with a strict reference to the convent* 
ency of the animal. [PI. IX. fig. 3, 4, 5] For, whereas in 

We often hear of a new ship going to sea lo stretch her rigging; that 
is, to permit the shrouds and stays to be stretched by the motion of the 
ship, after which they are again braced tight; for if she were overtaken 
by a storm before this operation, and when the stays and shrouds wore 
relaxed, the mast would lean against the upper deck, by which it would 
be sprung or carried away. Indeed, the greater proportion of masts that 
are lost are lost in this manner. There are no boats which keep the sea 
tn ouch storms as those which navigate the gulf of Finland. Their masta 
ire not attached at all to the hull of the ship, but simply rest upon the 

Although the spine has not a strict resemblance to the mast, the con • 
tiwances of the ship-builder, however different from the provisions of na- 
ture, show what object is to be attained; and when we are thus made 
aware of what is necessary to the security of a column on a moveable 
base, we are prepared to appreciate the superior provisions of nature for 
giving security to the human spine. 

The human spine rests on what is called the pelvis, or basin; — a circle 
of bones, of which the haunches are the extreme lateral parts; and the sa- 
crum (which is the keystone of the arch) may be felt at the lower part 
of the back. To this central bone of the arch of the pelvis the spine is 
connected; and, taking the similitude of the mast, the sacrum is as the 
step on which the base of the pillar, like the heel of the mast, is socket- 
ed or morticed. The spine is tied to the lateral parts of the pelvis by 
powerful ligaments, which may be compared to the shrouds. They se- 
cure the lower part of the spine against the shock of lateral motion or 
rolling; but, instead of the stays to limit the play of the spine forwards 
and backwards in pitching, or to adjust the rake of the mast, there is a 
very beautiful contrivance in thelower part of the column. 

The spine forms here a semicircle which has this effect; that whether 
by the exertion of the lower extremities, the spine is to be carried forward 
upon the pelvis, or whether the body stops suddenly in funning, the jar 
which would necessarily take place at the lower part of the spine, if it 
stood upright like a mast, is distributed over several of the bones of the 
spine; and, therefore, the chance of injury at any particular part is di- 

For example, the sacrum, or centre bone of the pelvis, being carried 
forward, as when one is about to run, the force is communicated to the 
lowest bone of the spine. Rut, then, the surfaces of these bones stand 
with a very si'ght degree of obliquity to the line of motion; the shock 
communicated from the lower to the second bone of the vertebrae is still in 
a direction very nearly perpendicular to its surface of contact. The same 
takes place in the communication of force from the second to the thin', 
and from the third to the fourth; so that before the shock of the horizontal 
motion acts upon the perpendicular spine, it is distributed over four bones 
of that column, instead of the whole force being concentrated upon the 
joining of any two. 

If the column stood upright, it would be jarred at the lowest point of 
contact with its base. But by forming a semicircle, the motion would 
produce ajar en the very lowest part of the column, and which is distrib- 
uted over a considerable portion of the column; and in point rf fact, (hia 
part of the spine never gives way. Indeed, we should be inclined to of- 



quadrupeds tne number of vertebrae is from thirty o forty . 
in the serpent it is nearly one hundred and fifty where- 
as in men and quadrupeds the surfaces of the bones are 
fiat, and these flat surfaces laid one against the other, and 
bound tight by sinews; in the serpent the bones play one 
within another like a ball and socket,* so that they have 
a free motion upon one another in every direction; that is 
to say, in men and quadrupeds, firmness is more consulted; 
"*n seipents, pliancy. Yet even pliancy is not obtained at 
the expense of safety. The backbone of a serpent, for 
coherence and flexibility, is one of the most curious pieces 
of animal mechanism with which we are acquainted. The 
chain of a watch, (I mean the chain which passes between 
.he spring-barrel and the fusee,) which aims at the same 
properties, is but a bungling piece of workmanship in com- 
parison with that of which we speak. "j* 

IV. The reciprocal enlargement and contraction of the 
chest to allow for the play of the lungs, depends upon a 
simple yet beautiful mechanical contrivance, referrible to 
the structure of the bones which enclose it. [PI. X. fig. 1 
The ribs are articulated to the backbone, or rather to its side 

fer this model to the consideration of nautical men, as fruitful in hints 
for improving naval architecture. 

Every one who has seen a ship pitching in a heavy sea, must have 
asked himself why the masts are not upright, or rather, why the fore mast 
stands upright, whilst the main and mizzen masts stand oblique to the deck 
or, as the phrase is, rake aft or towards the stern of the ship. 

The main and mizzen masts incline backwards, because the strain is 
greatest in the^brward pitch of the vessel; for the mast having received 
an impulse forwards, it is suddenly checked as the head of the ship rises; 
but the mast being set with an inclination backwards, the motion falls 
more in a perpendicular line from the head to the heel. This advantage 
s lost in the upright position of the foremast, but it is sacrificed to a supe- 
rior advantage gained in working the ship; the sails upon this mast act 
more powerfully in swaying the vessel round, and the perpendicular posi- 
tion causes the ship to tack or stay better; but the perpendicular position, 
as we have seen, causes the strain in pitching to come at right angles t« 
the mast, and is, therefore, ir^re apt to spring. 

These considerations give aa interest to the fact, that the human spine, 
from its utmost convexity near its base, inclines backwards." — BelP& 
Treatise on Animal Mechanics. 

*l)er. I'liys. Theol. p. 396. 

+ In fish, which have more elastic, but less flexibfe. bodies, the structure 
of the spine diri'ers. The end of each vertebra is a cup containing a viscid 
fluid, which keeps the bones from approaching nearer to each other than 
he mean state of the elasticity of the lateral ligaments ; the fluid is in- 
compressible, therefore forms a ball round which the bony cups mov ; 
the ball having no cohesion, the centre of motion is always adapted t .as 
*han^e which the joint undergoes without produring friction.-— Fa.' ,/i 


projections obliquely : * that is, in their natural position, thev 
bend or slope from the place of articulation downwards 
But the basis upon which they rest at this end being fixed 
the consequence of the obliquity, or the inclination down- 
wards, is, that when they come to move, whatever pulls 
the ribs upwards, necessarily, at the same time, draws 
them out; and that, whilst the ribs are brought to a right 
angle with the spine behind, the sternum, or part of the 
chest to which they are attached in front, is thrust forward. 
The simple action, the afore, of the elevating muscles does 
the business; whereas, if the ribs had been articulated with 
the bodies of the vertebra? at right angles, the cavity of the 
thorax could never have been farther enlarged by a change 
of their position. If each rib had been a rigid bone, ar- 
ticulated at both ends to fixed bases, the whole chest had 
been immoveable. Keill has observed, that the breastbone 
in an easy inspiration, is thrust out one-tenth of an inch 
and he calculates that this, added to what is gained to the 
space within the chest by the flattening or descent of the 
diaphragm, leaves room for forty-two cubic inches of air to 
enter at every drawing-in of the breath. When there is a 
necessity for a deeper and more laborious inspiration, the 
enlargement of the capacity of the chest may be so increas- 
ed by effort, as that the lungs may be distended with seventy 
or a hundred such cubic inches. | The thorax, says Schel- 
hammer, forms a kind of bellows, such as never have been, 
nor probably will be, made by any artificer. J 

* For the mode of articulation of the ribs with the vertebrae, see Plate 
IX. Fig. 1 and 2. 

t Anat. p. 229. 

$ The thorax, or chest, is composed of bones and cartilages, so dis- 
posed as to sustain and protect the most vital parts, the heart and lungs, 
and to turn and twist with perfect facility in every motion of the body; 
and to be in incessant motion in the act of respiration, without a moment's 
interval during a whole life. In anatomical description, the thorax is 
formed of the vertebral column, or spine, on the back part, the ribs on 
either side, and the breastbone, or sternum, on the fore part. But th© 
thing most to be admired is the manner in which these bones are united, 
and especially the manner in which the ribs are joined to the breastbone, 
by the interposition of cartilages, or gristle, of a substance softer than 
bone, and more elastic and yielding. By this quality they are fitted for 
protecting the chest against the effects of violence, and even for sustaining 
life after the muscular power of respiratioi has become too feeble to con- 
tinue without this support. 

If the ribs were complete circles, formed of bone, and extending from 
t'le spine to the breastbone, life would be endangered by any accident;J 
f-'icture; and even the rubs and jolts to which the human frame is con 
j-iually erposed, '^ould be toe much far their delicate and brittle textura 


V The patella, or kneepan is a c irious little b ne , in 
•ts form and office, unlike any other hone of the body. [PI 
X. fig. 2, 3.] It is circular: the size of a crown piece; 
pretty thick; a little convex on both sides, and covered with 
a smooth cartilage. It lies upon the front of the knee: and 
the powerful tendons, by which the leg is brought forward, 
jass into it, (or rather it makes a part of their continu- 
ation,) from their origin in the thigh to their insertion in 

f>iif these evils are avoided by the interposition of the elastic cartilage. 
On their fore part the ribs are eked out, and joined to the breastbone by 

neans of cartilages, of a form corresponding to that of the ribs, being, as 
it were, a completion of the arch of the rib, by a substance more adapted 
to yield in every shock or motion of the body. '\ he elasticity of this 
portion subdues those shocks which would occasion the breaking of the 
ribs. We lean forward, or to one side, arid the ribs accommodate 
themselves, not by a change of form in the bones, but by the bending or 
filasticity of the cartilages. A severe blow upon the ribs does not break 
them, because their extremities recoil and yield to the violence. It is only 
in youth, however, when the human frame is in perfection, that this pli- 
ancy and elasticity have full effect. When old age approaches, the car- 
tilages of the ribs become bony. They attach themselves firm I v to the 
breastbone, and the extremities of the ribs are fixed, as if the whole arch 
were formed of bone unyielding and inelastic. Then every violent blow 
upon the side is attended with fracture of the rib, an accident seldom oc- 
curring in childhood, or in youth. 

But there is a purpose still more important to be accomplished by 
means of the elastic structure of the ribs, as partly formed of cartilage. 
This is in the action of breathing, or respiration; especially in the more 

lighly-raised respiration which is necessary in great exertions of bodily 

strength, and in violent exercise. There are two acts of breathing — ex~ 

... ~ 

viratwn, or the sending forth of the breath ; and inspiration, or the 

drawing in of the breath. When the chest is at rest, it is neit ter in a 
state of expiration nor in that of inspiration ; it is in an intermediate con- 
dition between these two acts. And the muscular effort by which either 
inspiration or expiration is produced, is an act in opposition to the elastic 
property of the ribs. The property of the ribs is to preserve the breast in 
the intermediate state between expiration and inspiration. The musclea 
of respiration are excited alternately, to dilate or to contract the cav'ty 
ok the chest, and, in doing so, to raise or to depress the ribs. Hence it 
is, that both in inspiration and in expiration the elasticity of the ribs ia 
Cal.ed into play; and, were it within our province, it would be easy to 
ghow, that the dead power of the cartilages of the ribs preserve life by 
respiration, after the vital muscular power would, without such assistance, 
be too weak to continue life. 

It will at once be understood, from what has now been explained, how, 
•n age, violent exercise or exertion, is under restraint, in so far as it de- 
pends on respiration. The elasticity of the cartilages is gone, the circle 
of the ribs is now unyielding, and will not allow that high breathing, that 
Budden and great dilating and contracting of the cavity of the chest, which 
is required for circulating the blood through the lungs, and relieving the 
heart amidst the more tumultuous flowing of the blood which exercisa 
«ud e*ertioi )roduce. — Bell's Treatise on Animal Mechanics. 


vht tibia. It protects both the tendon and the joint from 
any injury which either might suffer by the rubbing ni'one 
•against the other, or by the pressure of unequal surfaces. 
It also gives to the tendons a very considerable mechan- 
ical advantage, by altering the line of their direction, and 
by advancing it farther out from the centre of motion; and 
this upon the principles of the resolution of force, upon 
which principles all machinery is founded. These are its 
uses. But what is most observable in it is, that it appears 
to be supplemental, as it were, to the frame; added, as it 
anould almost seem, afterward; not quite necessary, but 
very convenient. It is separate from the other bones; that 
is, it is not connected with any other bones by the com- 
mon mode of union. It is soft, or hardly formed, in infan- 
cy; and produced by an ossification, of the inception or 
progress of which no account can be given from the struct- 
ure or exercise of the part. 

VI. The shoulder-blade is, in some material respects, a 
very singular bone: appearing to be made so expressly 
for its own purpose, and so independently of every other 
reason. [PI. X. fig. 4.] In such quadrupeds as have no 
collar-bones, which are by far the greater number, the 
shoulder-blade has no bony communication with the trunk, 
either by a joint, or process, or in any other way. It does 
not grow to, or out of, any other bone of the trunk. It 
does not apply to any other bone of the trunk; (I know not 
whether this be true of any second bone in the body, ex- 
cept perhaps the os hyoVdes.) [PI. X. fig. 5.] In strict- 
ness, it forms no part of the skeleton. It is bedded in the 
flesh; attached only to the muscles. It is no other than a 
foundation bone for the arm, laid in separate, as it were, 
and distinct, from the general ossification. The lower 
limbs connect themselves at the hip with bones which form 
a part of the skeleton; but this connexion, in the upper 
limbs, being wanted, a basis, whereupon the arm might 
be articulated, was to be supplied by a detached ossifica- 
tion for the purpose. 

I. The above are a few examples of bones made re- 
markable by their configuration: but to almost all the 
bones belong joints; and in these, still more clearly than 
in the form or shape of the bones themselves, are seen 
both contrivance and contriving wisdom. Every joint is a 
curiosity, and is also strictly mechanical. There is the 
hinge-joint, and the mortice and tenon joint; each as 
manifestly sucn, and as accurately defined, as any which 
can be produced out of a cabinet-makei's sho ; and one 


c the oilier prevails, as either is adapted to the motion 
winch is wanted: e. g. a mortice and tenon, or ball and 
socket joint, is no* squired at the knee, the leg standing 
in need only of a motion backward and forward in the 
same plane, for which a hinge-joint is sufficient; a mortice 
and tenon, o ball and socket joint, is wanted at the hip, 
that not only the progressive step may be provided for, but 
the interval between the limbs may be enlarged or contract- 
ed at pleasure. Now, observe, what would have been the 
inconvemency, i. e. both the superfluity and the defect of 
articulation, if the case had been inverted: if the ball and 
socket joint had been at the knee, and the hinge-joint at 
the hip. The thighs must have been kept constantly to- 
gether, and the legs have been loose and straddling. There 
would have been no use, that we know of, in being able to 
turn the calves of the legs before ; and there would have 
been great confinement by restraining the motion of the 
thighs to one plane. The disadvantage would not have 
been less, if the joints at the hip and the knee had been 
both of the same sort; both balls and sockets, or both hin- 
ges: yet why, independently of utility, and of a Creator 
who consulted that utility, should the same bone (the 
thigh-bone) be rounded at one end, and channelled at the 

The hinge-joint is not formed by a bolt passing through 
the two parts of the hinge, and thus keeping them in their 
places; but by a different expedient. A strong, tough, 
parchment-like membrane, rising from the receiving bones, 
and inserted all round the received bones a little below 
their heads, encloses the joint on every side. This mem- 
brane ties, confines, and holds the ends of the bones to- 
gether; keeping the corresponding parts of the joint, i. e. 
the relative convexities and concavities, in close application 
o each other.* 

For the ball and socket joint, beside the membrane al 
ready described, there is in one important joint, as an 
additional security, a short, strong, yet flexible ligament, 
'nserted by one end into the head of the ball, by the other 

* This membrane is the capsular, or bursal ligament, common ft 
every movable joint. It certainly connects the bones together, but doe? 
not possess much strength: its chief use is to produce and preserve the 
synovia in .be part where it is required. The security and strength of 
the hinge -jcint depends on certain ligaments called lateral ligaments, and 
the endons of those muscles which pass over it. In the particular in 
stance of the knee, from its being the largest joint in ihe body, there is 
a* we shall presently find, an additiona contrivance to prevent dislocation 




into hi bottom of the cup; which ligament keeps tho 
two parts of the joint so firmly in their place, that none of 
the motions which the limb naturally performs, none of the 
jerks and twists to which it is ordinarily liable, nothing 
less indeed than the utmost and the most unnatural vio- 
lence, can pull them asunder [PI. XI. fig. 1.] It is 
hardly imaginable, how great a force is necessary, even 
to stretch, still more to break, this ligament; yet so flexible 
s it, as to oppose no impediment to the suppleness of the 
joint * By its situation also, it is inaccessible to injury 
from sharp edges. As it cannot be ruptured, (such is its 
strength,) so it cannot be cut, except by an accident which 
would sever the limb. If I had been permitted to frame a 
proof of contrivance, such as might satisfy the most dis- 
trustful inquirer, I know not whether I could have chosen 
an example of mechanism more unequivocal, or more free 
from objection, than this ligament. Nothing can be more 
mechanical; nothing, however subservient to the safety, 
less capable of being generated by the action of the joint 
I would particularly solicit the reader's attention to this 
provision, as it is found in the head of the thigh-bone ; to 
its strength, its structure, and its use. It is an instance 
upon which I lay my hand. One single fact, weighed by 
a mind in earnest, leaves oftentimes the deepest impres- 
sion. For the purpose of addressing different understand- 
ings and different apprehensions — for the purpose of senti- 
ment, for the purpose of exciting admiration of the Crea- 
tor's works, we diversify our views, we multiply examples; 
but for the purpose of strict argument, one clear instance 
is sufficient; and not only sufficient, but capable, perhaps, 
of generating a firmer assurance than what can arise from 
a divided attention. 

The ginglymiiSj or hinge-joint, does i ot, it is manifest, 
admit of a ligament of the same kind with that of the ball 
and socket joint, but it is always fortified by the species ot 
agament of which it does admit. The strong, firm, invest- 
ing membrane, above described, accompanies it in every 
part; and in particular joints, this membrane, which is 
properly a ligament, is considerably stronger on the sides 
than either before or behind, in order that the convexities 
may play true in their concavities, and not be subject to 
slip sideways, which is the chief danger; foi the muscular 

* This ligament is also common to all quadrupeds, even in the more 
large and unwieldy, as the Hippopotamus and Rhinoceros — it is wanting 
in the elephant only, whose limbs, ill qualified for active increments, do 
uol seem to require this security to the joint. — Paxton. 


tendons generally restrain the part 3 from going farther 
than they ought to go in the plane oi their motion. In the 
knee, which is a joint of this form, J.nd of great importance, 
there are superadded to the corr.non provisions hi the 
stability of the joint, two strong ligaments which cross 
each other; and cross each other in such a manner, as to 
secure the joint from being displ& zed in any assignable di- 
rection. [PI. XI. fig. c 2.] "I think," says Cheselden, 
"that the knee cannot be completely dislocated withou* 
breaking the cross ligaments."* We can hardly help com- 
paring this with the binding up of a fracture, where the fil- 
'et is almost always strapped across, for the sake of giving 
firmness and strength to the bandage. 

Another no less important joint, and that also of the gin- 
glymus sort, is the ankle; yet, though important, (in order, 
perhaps, to preserve the symmetry and lightness of the 
.imb,) small, and, on that account, more liable to injury. 
[PI. XI fig 4.] Now this joint is strengthened, i. e. is 
defended fro»n dislocation, by two remarkable processes or 
prolongations of the bones of the leg: which processes form 
the protuberances that we call the inner and outer ankle. 
It is part of each bone going down lower than the other 
part, and thereby overlapping the joint: so that, if the 
joint be in danger of slipping outward, it is curbed by the 
inner p r ojcct'on, i. e. that of the tibia; if inward, by the 
outer projection, i. e. that of the fibula. Between both, it 
is looked in its position. I know no account that can be 
given of this structure, except its utility. Why should the 
tibia terminate, at its lower extremity, with a double end, 
and the fibula the same, but to barricade the joint on both 
sides by a continuation of part of the thickest of the bone 
over it ? f 

* Ches. Anat. ed. 7th, p. 45. 

t The most obvious proof of contrivance is the junction of the fcot to 
the bones of the leg at the ankle-joint. The two bones of the leg, called 
the tibia and the fibula, receive the great articulating bone of the foot 
(the astragalus) between them. And the extremities of these bones of 
the leg project so as to fcrm the outer and inner ankle. Now, when we 
gtep forward, and whilst the foot is raised, it rolls easily upon the enda 
of these bones, so that the tve may be directed according to the inequali- 
ties of the ground wear^t tread upon; but when the foot is planted, 
and the body is carried O^vard perpendicularly over the foot, the joint 
of the leg and Toot oec'jtn* , fixed, and we have a steady base to rest upon. 
We next observe, 'Iiat, in talking', the heel first touches the ground. If 
the bones of the ie^ ,ve- ^ i erpendicular over the part which first touches 
the ground, we /no>'',*i c .ne down with a sudden jolt, instead of which 
M 1 descend in a Sdinioirc' j, the centre of which is the point of the heel. 

And when the toes Lave come to the ground we are far from losing \h« 


The joint at the shoulder compared with the joint at the 
hip, though both ball and socket joints, discovers a differ- 
ence in their form and proportions, well suited to the dif- 
ferent offices which the limbs have to execute. The cup 
or socket at the shoulder is much shallowor and flatter 
than it is at the hip, and is also in part formed of caitilago 
set round the rim of the cup. The socket, into which the 
head of the thigh-bone is inserted, is deeper, and made 
of more solid materials.* This agrees with the duties as- 

advantages of the structure of the foot, since we stand upon an e'astie 
arch, the hinder extremity of which is the heel, and the anterior the halls 
cf the toes. A finely formed foot should he high in the instep. The 
walk of opera dancers is neither natural nor heautiful; hut the surprising 
exercises which they perform give to the joints of the foot a freedom of 
motion almost like that of the hand. We have seen the dancers, in their 
morning exercises, stand for twenty minutes on the extremities of their 
toes, after which the effort is to hend the inner ankle down to the floor, 
in preparation for the Bolero step. By such unnatural postures and ex- 
ercises the foot is made unfit for walking, as may he ohserved in any of 
the retired dancers and old figurantes. By standing so much upon the 
toes, the human foot is converted to something more resembling that of a 
quadruped, where the heel never reaches the ground, and where the paw 
is nothing more than the phalanges of the toes. 

This arch of the foot, from the heel to the toe, has the astragalus, re- 
sembling the keystone of an arch; but, instead of being fixed, as in ma 
sonry, it plays freely between two bones, and from these two bones, a 
strong elastic ligament is extended, on which the bone rests, sinking 01 
rising as the weight of the body bears upon it, or is taken off, and this it 
is enabled to do by the action of the ligament which runs under it. 

This is the same elastic ligament which runs extensively along the back 
of the horse's hind leg and foot, and gives the fine spring to it, but whicr 
.s sometimes ruptured by the exertion of the animal in a leap, producing 
irrecoverable lameness. 

Having understood that the arch of the foot is perfect from the heel tf 
the toe, we have next to observe, that there is an arch from side to side 
for when a transverse section is made of the bones of the foot, the ex 
posed suffice presents a perfect arch of wedges, regularly formed like thf 
stones of an arch in masonry. If we look down upon the bones of the 
foot, we shall see that they form a complete circle horizontally, leaving 
a space in their centre. These bones thus form three different arches — 
forward; across; and horizontallv: they are wedged together, and bound 
by ligaments, and this is what we alluded to when we said that the fonn 
dations of the Eddystone were not laid on a better principle; but our id 
niratioii is more excited in observing, that the bones of the foot are not 
only wedged together, like the courses of stone for resistance, but that 
sihiity is combined with elasticity and lightness. 

Notwithstanding the mobility of the foot in some positions, yet when 
the weight of the body bears directly over it, it becomes immovable, and 
the bones of the leg must be fractured before the foot yields. 

BelVs Treatise on .inimal Mechanics. 

* The socket for the head of the thigh-bone is indetd deeper than that 
it the shoulder, bu *he " n.iterials " which form the concavities are the 


signed to each part. The arm is an instrument of motion 
piincipally, if not solely. Accordingly the shallowness of 
the socket at the shoulder, and yieldingness of the car- 
tilaginous substance with which its edge is set round, and 
which in fact composes a considerable part of its concavi- 
ty, are excellently adapted for the al.owance of a free mo- 
tion and a wide range; both which the arm wants. 
Whereas, the lower limb, forming a part of the column of 
the body; having to support the body, as well as to be the 
means of its locomotion; firmness was to be consulted, as 
well as action. With a capacity for motion, in all direc- 
tions indeed, as at the shoulder, but not in any direction 
to the same extent as in the arm, was to be united stabili- 
ty, or resistance to dislocation. Hence the deeper excava- 
.ion of the socket; and the presence of a less proportion 
of cartilage upon the edge. 

The suppleness and pliability of the joints we every 
moment experience; and the firmness of animal articu- 
lation, the property we have hitherto been considering, 
may be judged of from this single observation, that, at 
any given moment of time, there are millions of animal 
joints in complete repair and use, for one that is disloca- 
ted; and this, notwithstanding the contortions and wrench- 
es to which the limbs of animals are continually subject. 

II. The joints, or rather the ends of the bones which 
form them, display also, in their configuration, another use. 
The nerves, blood-vessels, and tendons, which are neces- 
sary to the life, or for the motion of the limbs, must, it is 
evident, in their way from the trunk of the body to the 
place of their destination, travel over the movable joints; 
and it is no less evident, that, in this part of their course, 
they will have, from sudden motions, and from abrupt 
changes of curvature, to encounter the danger of compres- 
sion, attrition, or laceration. To guard fibres so tender 
against consequences so injurious, their path is in those 
parts protected with peculiar care; and that by a provision 
in the figure of the bones themselves. The nerves which 
supply the fore-arm, especially the inferior cubital nerves, 
are at the elbow conducted, by a kind of covered way, be- 
tween the condyles, or rather under the inner extuberances 
of the bone, which composes the upper part of the arm.* 

»arna; both are solid bone covered by cartilage, and both have a rim of 
a strong fibro-cartihginous texture, not only for the purpose of rendering 
the socket deeper, but for preventing frnctures of the rim in robust txer 
tises, to which, were it bonv, it would be very liable — Paxton. 
f.'haa. An T) 255, ed. 7th 


At the hue, the extremity of the thigh-bone is divided by a 
sinus or cleft into two heads or protuberances: and these 
heads on the back part stand out beyond the cylinder of 
the bone. Through the hollow, which lies between the 
hind parts of these two heads, that is to say . under the 
ham, between the hamstrings, and within the concave re- 
cess of the bone formed by the extuberances on each side; 
in a word, along a defile, between rocks, pass the greal 
vessels and nerves which go to the leg.* Who led these 
vessels by a road so defended and so secured? In the joint 
at the shoulder, in the edge of the cup which receives the 
head of the bone, is a notch which is joined or covered at 
the top with a ligament. Through this hole, thus guarded, 
the blood-vessels steal to their destination in the arm, in- 
stead of mounting over the edge of the concavity ."[ 

III. In all joints, the ends of the bones, which work 
against each other, are tipped with gristle. In tne uall 
and socket joint, the cup is lined, and the ball capped with 
it. The smooth surface, the elastic and unfriable nature 
of cartilage, render it of all substances the most proper for 
the place and purpose. I should, therefore, have pointed 
this out amongst the foremost of the provisions which have 
been made in the joints for the facilitating of their action, 
had it not been alleged, that cartilage in truth is only 
nascent or imperfect bone ; and that the bone in these 
places is kept soft and imperfect, in consequence of a more 
complete and rigid ossification being prevented from taking 
place by the continual motion and rubbing of the surfaces; 
which being so, what we represent as a designed advan 
tage, is an unavoidable effect. I am far from being con- 
vinced that this is a true account of the fact; or that, if it 
were so, it answers the argument. To me, the surmount- 
ing of the ends of the bones with gristle, looks more like a 
plating with a different metal, than like the same metal kept 
in a different state by the action to which it is exposed 
At all events, we have a great particular benefit, though 
arising from a general constitute n: but this last not being 
quite what my argument requires, lest I should seem by 
applying the instance to overrate its value, I have though* 
it fair to state the question which attends it. 

IV. In some joints, very particularly in the knees, there 
are loose cartilages or gristles between the bones, and with- 
in the joint, so that the ends of the bones, instead of work- 
ing upon one another, work upon the intermediate cartila 
ges. [PI. XL fig. 3.] Cheselden has observed J that the 

• Ches. An. p. 35. t lb. 30. t lb. p. 13. 


contrivance of a loose ring is practised by mechanics, where 
the friction of the joints of any of their machines is great, 
as between the parts of crooked-hinges of large gates, or 
under the head of the male screw of large vices. The 
cartilages of which we speak, have very much of the form 
of these rings. The comparison moreover shows the rea- 
son why we find them in the knees rather than in other 
joints. It is an expedient, we have seen, which a mechan- 
ic resorts to, only when some strong and heavy work is to 
be done. So here the thigh bone has to achieve its motion 
at. the knee, with the whole weight of the body pressing 
upon it, and often, as in rising from our seat, with the whole 
weight of the body to lift. It should seem also, from Ches- 
elden's account, that the slipping and sliding of the loose 
cartilages, though it be probably a small and obscure, 
change, humored the motion of the end of the thigh-bone, 
under the particular configuration which was necessary to 
be given to it for the commodious action of the tendons; 
(and which configuration requires what he calls a variable 
socket, that is, a concavity, the lines of which assume a 
different curvature in different inclinations of the bones.) 
V. We have now done with the configuration: but 
there is also in the joints, and that common to them all, 
another exquisite provision, manifestly adapted to their use, 
and concerning which there can, I think, be no dispute, 
namely, the regular supply of a mucilage, more emollient 
and slippery than oil itself, which is constantly softening 
and lubricating the parts that rub upon each other, and 
thereby diminishing the effect-of attrition in the highest 
possible degree.* For the continual secretion of this im- 
portant liniment, and for the feeding of the cavities of the 
joint with it, glands are fixed near each joint; the excre- 
tory ducts of which glands dripping with their balsamic 
contents, hang loose like fringes within the cavity of the 
joints. A late improvement in what are called friction 
wheels, which consists of a mechanism so ordered, as to be 
regularly dropping oil into a box, which encloses the axis, 
the nave, and certain balls upon which the nave revolves, 
may be said, in some sort, to represent the contrivance' in 
the animal joint; with this superiority, however, on the 

* This mucilage is termed synovia ; vulgarly called joint oil, but it 
has no property of oil. It is very viscid, and at the same time smooth 
and shppery to the touch; and therefore better adapted than any oil to 
lubricate the interior of the joints and prevent ill effects from friction. 

Paa ton 


part of the joint, viz. that here, the oil is not only drojped, 
but made* 

In considering the joints, there is nothing,, which 
ought to move our gratitude more than the reflection, how 
well they wear. A limb shall swing upon its hinge, 01 
play in its socket, many hundred times in an hour, for six- 
ty years together, without diminution of its agility: which 
is a long time for anything to last; for anything so much 
worked and exercised as the joints are. This durability 1 
should attribute, in part, to the provision which is made for 
the preventing of wear and tear, first by the polish of the 
cartilaginous surfaces, secondly, by the healing lubrication 
of the mucilage; and, in part, to that astonishing property 
of animal constitutions, assimilation; by which, in every 
portion of the body, let it consist of what it will, substance 
is restored, and waste repaired. f 

* A joint then consists of the union of two bones, of such a form as to 
permit the necessary motion; but they are not in contact; each articulat- 
ing surface is covered with cartilage, to prevent the jar which would re- 
sult from the contact of the bones. This cartilage is elastic, and the 
celebrated Dr. Hunter discovered that the elasticity was in consequence 
of a number of filaments closely compacted, and extending from the sur- 
face of the bone, so that each filament is perpendicular to the pressure 
m?de upon it. The surface of the articulating cartilage is perfectly 
smooth, and is lubricated by a fluid called synovia, sygnifying a muci- 
lage, a viscous or thick liqv.or. This is vulgarly called joint oil, but it 
has 10 property of oil, although it is better calculated than any oil to lu- 
bricate the interior of the joint. 

Wl en inflammation comes upon ajoint, this fluid is not supplied, and 
the joint is stiff, and the surfaces creak upon one another like a hing" 1 
without oil. A delicate membrane extends from bone to bone, confining 
this lubricating fluid, and forming the boundary of what is termed the 
cavity of the joint, although, in fact, there is no unoccupied space. Ex- 
ternal to vhis capsule of the joint, there are strong ligaments going from 
point to point of the bones, and so ordered as to bind them together 
without preventing their proper motions. From this description of a 
single joint, we can easily conceive what a spring or elasticity is given to 
the foot, where thirty-six bones are joined together. — HeWs Treatise on 
Animal Mechanics. 

+ If the ingenious author's mind had been professionally called to con- 
template this subject, he would have found another explanation. There 
Li no resemblance between the provisions against the wear and tear of 
machinery and those for the preservation of a living part. As the struc 
ture of the parts is originally perfected by the action of the vessels, the 
function 3r operation of the part is made the stimulus to those vessels. 
The cuticle on the hands wears away like a glove; but the pressure stim 
nlates the living surface to force successive layers of skin under that vrhich 
is wearing, or, as the anatomists call it, desquamating; by which they 
mean, that the cuticle does not change at once, but comes oft' in squamae, 
or scales. The teeth are subject to pressure in chewing or masticating, 
and they would, by this action, have been driven deeper in the jaw, and 


Movable joints, I think, compose the curiosity . f bcnes* 
but their union, even where no motion is intendea or want- 
ed, carries marks of mechanism and of mechanical wis- 
dom. The teeth, especially the front teeth, are one 
bone fixed in another, like a peg driven into a board. The 
sutures of the skull are like the edges of two saws clap- 
ped together, in such a manner as that the teeth of one 
enter the intervals of the other.* We have sometimes one 
bone lapping over another, and planed down at the edges; 
sometimes also the thin lamella of one bone received into 
a narrow furrow of another. In all which varieties, wo 
seem to discover the same design, viz. firmness of juncture, 
without clumsiness in the seam. 



(Muscles, with their tendons, are the instruments hy 
which animal motion is performed. It will be our business 

rendered useless, had there not been a provision against this mechanicaf 
effect. This provision is a disposition to grow, or rather to shoot out of 
their sockets; and this disposition to project, balances the pressure whicl 
they sustain* and when one tooth is lost, its opposite rises, and is in dan- 
ger of being lost also, for want of that very opposition. — Bell's Treatisi 
on Animal Mechanics. 

* Most of the bones of the skull are composed of two plates or tablets, 
with an intermediate spongy, vascular substance; the outer tablet is^&- 
rnis, having the edges curiously indented and united by a dove-tailed 

tare; the inner from its brittleness is called vitreous, and therefore 

erely joined together in a straight line ; this mode of union is not acci- 
dental — not the result of chance, but design. The author of the treatise 
on " Animal Mechanics " gives the following admirable illustration of the 
structure: — 

" Suppose a carpenter employed upon his own material — he would 
join a box with regular indentations by dove-tailing, because he knows 
that the material on which he works, from its softness and toughness, 
admits of sucb adjustment of its edges. The processes of bone shoot in- 
to the opposite cavities with an exact resemblance to the fox-tail wedge 
of the carpenter. 

" But if a workman in glass or marble were to join these materials, he 
would smooth the edges and unite them by cement; for if he could suc- 
ceed in indenting the line of union, he knows that his material would 
chip off on the slightest vibration. 

" Now apply this principle to the skull, the outer table, which resem- 
bles wood, is indented and dove-tailed; the inner glassy ta^le has it* 
edoee simply laid in contact." — Paxton. 


t*> jv int out instances in which, and properties with respect 
fo »vhich, the disposition of these muscles is as strictly 
mechanical, as that of the wires and strings of a puppet.* 

I. We may observe, what I believe is universal, an ex- 
act relation between the joint and the muscles which move 
it. Whatever motion the joint, by its mechanical construc- 
tion, is capable of performing, that motion, the annexed 
muscles, by their position, are capable of producing. For 
example; if there be, as at the knee and elbow, a hinge- 
joint, capable of motion only in the same plane, the lead- 
ers, as they are called, i. e. the muscular tendons, are 
placed in oirections parallel to the bone, so as, by the con- 
traction or relaxation of the muscles to which they belong 
to produce that motion and no other. If these joints were 
c°pable of a freer motion, there are no muscles to produce 
it. Whereas at the shoulder and the hip, where the bal 1 
and socket joint allows by its construction of a rotatory 01 
sweeping motion, tendons are placed in such a position, 
and pull in such a direction, as to produce the motion of 
which the joint admits. For instance, the sartorius or 
tailor's muscle, rising from the spine, running diagonally 
across the thigh, and taking hold of the inside of the main 
bone of the leg, a little below the knee, enables us, by its 
contraction, to throw one leg and thigh over the other; 
giving effect, at the same time, to the ball and socket join?, 
at the hip, and the hinge-joint at the knee. [PI. XII. fig. 1.] 

There is, as we have seen, a specific mechanism in the 
bones, for the rotatory motions of the head and hands; there 
is, also, in the oblique direction of the muscles belonging to 
them, a specific provision for the putting of this mechanism 
of the bones into action. [PL XII. fig. 2.] And mark the 
consent of uses. The oblique muscles would have 
been inefficient without that particular articulation; that 
particular articulation would have been lost, without the 
oblique muscles. It may be proper, however, to observe 
with respect to the head, although I think it does not vary 
!he case, that its oblique motions and inclinations are »flen 
motions in a diagonal, produced by the joint action of mus- 

* Muscles are the fleshy parts of the body which surround the bone9, 
having a fibrous texture; a muscle being composed of a number of mus- 
cular faciculi, which are composed of fibres still smaller; thene result 
from fibres of a less volume, until by successive division we arrive at 
very small fibres no longer divisible. These muscular fibres are longer 
O' shorter according to the muscles to which they belong; and every fi- 
bre is fixed by its two extremities to tendon or aponeurosis, which are 
the " wires and strings which conduct the muscular power wher the* 
•ontrict. — Paxton. 


cles tying in straight direction. But whether the puU be sm« 
gle or combined, the articulation is always such, as „o be 
capable of obeying the action of the muscles. The oblique 
muscles attached to the head, are likewise so disposed, as 
to be capable of the steadying the globe, as well as of, mov- 
ing it. The head of a new-born infant is often obliged to 
be filleted up. After death, the head drops and rolls in 
every direction. So that it is by the equilibre of the mus- 
cles, by the aid of a considerable and equipollent muscular 
force in constant exertion, that the head maintains its erect 
posture. The muscles here supply what would otherwise 
be a great defect in the articulation; for the joint in the 
neck, although admirably adapted to the motion of the head, 
is insufficient for its support. It is not only by the means of 
a most curious structure of the bones that a man turns his 
head, but by virtue of an adjusted muscular power, that lie 
even holds it up. 

As another example of what we are illustrating, viz. con 
formity of use between the bones and the muscles, it has 
been observed of the different vertebra?, that their proces- 
ses are exactly proportioned to the quantity of motion which 
the other bones allow of, and which the respective muscles 
are capable of producing. 

II. A muscle acts only by contraction. Its force is ex- 
erted in no other way. When the exertion ceases, it relax- 
es itself, that is, it returns by relaxation to its former state; 
but without energy. This is the nature of the muscular 
fibre: and being so, it is evident that the reciprocal ener- 
getic motion of the limbs, by which we mean motion with 
force in opposite directions, can only be produced by the 
instrumentality of opposite or antagonist muscles; of flexors 
and extensors answering to each other. For instance, the 
biceps and brachiseus internus muscles, placed in the front 
part of the upper arm, by their contraction bend the elbow; 
and with such degree of force, as the case requires, or the 
strength admits of. [PI. XIII. fig. 1.] The relaxation of 
these muscles, after the effort, would merely let the fore- 
arm drop down. For the back stroke, therefore, and that 
the arm may not only bend at the elbow, but also extend and 
straighten itself, with force, other muscles, the longus and 
brevis brachiseus extemus, and the anconeus, placed on 
the hinder part of .he arms, by their contractile twitch fetch 
back the fore-arm into a straight line with the cubit, with 
no les; force than that with which it was bent out of it 
The same thing obtains in all the limbs, and in every riov 
%ble part of the body. A finger is not bent and straiglten 


cd, without the contraction of two muscles taking place. It 
is evident, therefore, that the animal functions require that 
particular disposition of the muscles which we describe by 
the name of antagonist muscles. And they are according- 
ly so disposed. Every muscle is provided with an adversa- 
ry. They act, like two sawyers inapit by an opposite pull; 
and nothing surely can more strongly indicate design and 
attention to an end, than their being thus stationed; than 
this collocation. The nature of the muscular fibre being 
what it is, the purposes of the animal could be answered by 
no other. And not only the capacity for motion, but the 
aspect and symmetry of the body, is preserved by the mus- 
cles being marshalled according to this order, e. g. the 
mouth is holden in the middle of the face, and its angles 
kept in a state of exact correspondency, by several mi scles 
drawing against, and balancing each other. [See PI. XI .fig. 
3.] In a hemiplegia, when the muscles on one side are vveak- 
ened, the muscles on the other side draw the mouth awry. 

Ill Another property of the muscles, which could only 
be the result of care, is, their being almost universally so 
disposed, as not to obstruct or interfere with one another's 
action. I know but one instance in which this impediment 
is perceived. We cannot easily swallow whilst we gape. 
This, I understand, is owing to the muscles employed in 
the act of deglutition, being so implicated with the muscles 
of the lower jaw, that, whilst these last are contracted, the 
former cannot act with freedom. The obstruction is, in 
this instance, attended with little inconveniency ; but it 
shows what the effect is where it does exist; and what 
loss of faculty there would be if it were more frequent. 
Now, when we reflect upon the number of muscles, not fewer 
than four hundred and forty-six in the human body, known 
and named,* how contiguous they lie to each other, in lay- 
ers, as it were, over one another, crossing one another, 
sometimes embedded in one another; sometimes perforat- 
ing one another; an arrangement, which leaves to each its 
liberty, and its full play, must necessarily require meditatiop 
and counsel 

IV. The following is oftentimes the case with the mus- 
cles. Their action is wanted, where thei • situation would 
be inconvenient. In which case, the body of the muscle is 
placed in some commodious position at a distance, and 
made to communicate with the point of action, by slender 

* Keill's Anat. p. 295, edit. 3. There are, however, five fcandred 
and \ ventv -sevec mwi les described by more modern anatomists. 

Faa ton. 


strings or wires. If the muscles which mo/e the fingers 
had been placed in the palm or back of the hand, thej 
would have swelled tha* part to an awkward and clumsy 
thickness. The beauty, the proportions of the part wou.d 
have been destroyed. They are, therefore, disposea in the 
arm, and even up to the elbow; and act by long tendons, 
strapped down at the wrist, and passing under the ligaments 
to the fingers, and to the joints of the fingers, which they 
are severally to move. [PI. XIII. fig. 1 , 2.] In like man- 
ner, the muscles which move the toes, and many of the 
joints of the foot, how gracefully are they disposed in the 
calf of the leg, ins ead of forming an unwieldy tumefaction 
in the foot itself The observation may be repeated of the 
muscle which draws the nictitating membrane over the eye. 
Its office is in the front of the eye; but its body is lodged 
in the back part of the globe, where it lies safe, [PI. IV. fig 
2, 3,] and where it encumbers nothing.* 

V. The great mechanical variety in the figure of the 
muscles may be thus stated. It appears to be a fixed law, 
that the contraction of a muscle shall be towards its centre 
Therefore, the subject for mechanism on each occasion is, 
so to modify the figure, and adjust the position of the mus- 
cle, as to produce the motion required, agreeably with this 
law. This can only be done by giving to different muscles 
a diversity of configuration, suited to their several offices, 
and to their situation with respect to the work which they 
iiave to perform. On which account we find them under 
a multiplicity of forms and attitudes; sometimes with 
double, sometimes with treble tendons, sometimes with 
none: sometimes one tendon to several muscles, at other 
times one muscle to several tendons. The shape of the 
organ is susceptible of an incalculable variety, whilst the 
original property of the muscle, the law and line of its con- 
traction, remains the same, and is simple. Herein the 
muscular system may be said to bear a perfect resemblance 
to our works of art. An artist does not alter the native 

* The convenience and beauty of the tendons seem only an ulterior 
object, their necessity and utility principally claim our attention. The 
fon;e which a muscle possesses is as the number of the muscular fibres, 
but a limited numl $r of fibres only can be fixed to any certain point of 
bo le destined to be loved, therefore the contrivance is, to attach them 
t.o a cord, called a sh.ew or tendon, which can be conveniently conducted 
and fixed to the bone. If we are desirous of moving a heavy weight, 
we tie a strong cord to it, that a greater number of men may apply theii 
strength. Thus a similar effect is produced — the muscular fibres are the 
moving powers, the tendons are the cords attached *o the point to b<# 
moved.- -Paxton. 


quality )f his materials, or their laws of action. He taken 
these as he finds them. His skill and ingenuity are em- 
ployed in turning them, such as they are, to his account, 
by giving to the parts of his machine a form and relation, 
in which these unalterable properties may operate to the 
production of the effects intended. 

VI. The ejaculations can never too often be repeated ;, -— 
How many things must go right for us to be an hour at 
ease! how many more, to be vigorous and active! Yel 
vigor and activity are, in avast plurality of instances, pre- 
served in human bodies, notwithstanding that they depend 
upon so great a number of instruments of motion, and not 
withstanding that the defect or disorder sometimes of a very 
small instrument, of a single pair, for instance, out of the 
four hundred and forty-six muscles which are employed, 
may be attended with grievous inconveniency. There is 
piety and good sense in the following observation taken 
out of the Religious Philosopher: "With much compas- 
sion," says this writer, "as well as astonishment at the 
goodness of our loving Creator, have I considered the sad 
state of a certain gentleman, who, as to the rest, was in 
pretty good health, but only wanted the use of these two 
little muscles that serve to lift up the eyelids, [PI. XIV. fig. 
1, 2,] and so had almost lost the use of his sight, being 
forced, as long as this defect lasted, to shove up his eyelids 
every moment with his own hands!" In general we may 
remark, how little those who enjoy the perfect use of their 
organs, know the comprehensiveness of the blessing, the va- 
riety of their obligation. They perceive a result, but they 
think little of the multitude of concurrences and rectitudes 
which go to form it. 

Besides these observations, which belong to the muscu 
lar organ as such, we may notice some advantages of struc- 
ture, which are more conspicuous in muscles of a certain 
class or description than in others. Thus: 

I. The variety, quickness, and precision, of which mus- 
cular motion is capable, are seen, I think, in no part 
go remarkable as in the tongue. It is worth any man's 
while to watch the agility of his tongue; the wonderful 
promptitude with which it executes changes of position, and 
the perfect exactness. Each syllable of articulated sound 
requires for its utterance a specific action of the tongue 
and of the parts adjacent to it. Tht disposition and con- 
figuration of the mouth, appertaining to every letter and 
word, is not only peculiar, but, if nicely and accurately 
attended to, pe \ eptible to the sight , insomuch, that curioua 


persons have availed themselves of this circumstance to 
teach the deaf to speak, and to understand what is said by 
others In the same person, and after his habit of speak- 
ing is formed, one, and only one, position of the parts, will 
produce a given articulate sound correctly. How instan- 
taneously are these positions assumed and dismissed! 
how numerous are the permutations, how various, yet how 
infallible! Arbitrary and antic variety is not the thing we 
admire; but variety obeying a rule, conducing to an effect, 
and commensurate with exigencies infinitely diversified. I 
believe also that the anatomy of the tongue corresponds 
with these observations upon its activity. The muscles of 
the tongue are so numerous and so implicated with one 
another, that they cannot be traced by the nicest dissec- 
tion ; nevertheless (which is a great perfection of the organ,) 
neither the number, nor the complexity, nor what might 
seem to be the entanglement of its fibres, in anywise im 
pede its motion, or render the determination or success of 
;ts efforts uncertain. 

I here entreat the reader's permission to step a little out 
of my way, to consider the parts of the month, in some of 
their other properties. It has been said, and that by an 
eminent physiologist, that, whenever nature attempts to 
work two or more purposes by one instrument, she does 
both or all imperfectly. Is this true of the tongue, regard- 
ed as an instrument of speech, and of taste; or regarded 
as an instrument of speech, of taste and of deglutition? 
So much otherwise, that many persons, that is to say, nine 
hundred and ninety-nine persons out of a thousand, by the 
instrumentality of this Oiie organ, talk, and taste, and swal- 
low, very well. In fact, the constant warmth and moisture 
of the tongue, the thinness of the skin, the papilbje upon 
its surface, qualify this organ for its office of tasting, as 
much as its inextricable multiplicity of fibres do for the 
rapid movements which are necessary to speech. Animate 
which feed upon grass, have their tongues covered with a 
perforated skin, so as to admit the dissolved food to the pa- underneath, which, in the meantime, remain defend- 
ed from the rough action of the unbruised spiculse.* 

T Papilla; are small bodies situated on the surface and sides of the 
tongue; they are furnished by the extreme filaments of the gustatory 
nerve, through which medium we acquire the sense of tasting. In hei 
oivorous animals the papillae are sharp pointed and directed backwards 
t.o assist in laying hold of the grass. In the cat kind there is a horny Of 
prickly set covering the tongue, rendering it rough, and enabling it t<J 


There are brought together within the cavity of the 
mouth more distinct uses, and parts executing more dis 
tinct offices, than I think can be found lying so tear to 
one another, or within the same compass, in any other por* 
tion of the body: viz. teeth of different shape,* first for 
cutting; set ondly for grinding: muscles, most artificially 
disposed foi carrying on the compound motion of the low- 
<er jaw, half lateral and half vertical, by which the mill is 
worked: fountains of saliva, springing up in different parts 
of the cavity for the moistening of the food, whilst the 
mastication is going on: glands, y to feed the fountains; a 
muscular constriction of a very peculiar kind in- the back 
part of the cavity, for the guiding of the prepared aliment 
into its passage towards the stomach, and in many cases 
for carrying it along that passage; for, although we may 
imagine this to be done simply by the weight of the food 
itself, it in truth is not so, even in the upright posture of the 
human neck; and most evidently is not the case with 
quadrupeds, with a horse for instance, in which, when 
pasturing, the food is thrust upward by muscular strength, 
instead of descending of its own accord. 

In the meantime, and within the same cavity, is going 
on another business, altogether different from what is here 
described, that of respiration and speech. In addition 
therefore, to all that has been mentioned, we have a pas- 
sage opened, from this cavity to the lungs, for the admis- 
sion of air, exclusively of every other substance; we have 
muscles, some in the larynx, and without number in the 
tongue, for the purpose of modulating that air in its passage, 
with a variety, a compass, and precision, of which no othei 
musical instrument is capable. And, lastly, which in my 
opinion crowns the whole as a piece of machinery, we have 
a specific contrivance for dividing the pneumatic part from 

!akc firmer hold of the prey. Birds also have a similar contrivance. Ill 
fish the tongue is covered by a number of teeth, serving the same purpose. 

Pax ton. 

* Ii each jaw there are four incisores, or cutting teeth, two canine 
flrhich maybe ranked with the former, only more pointed; four small 
molar, and six larsre molar or grinding teeth. And as the teeth cf ani- 
mals indicate the food on which they are destined to subsist, so from 
analogy we may infer that man is called to use either animal or vegetable 
a'iments, or both, i. e. keeps a mean between graminivorous and carniv- 
orous animals, in the structure and complication of his digestive appara- 
tus, without deserving on that account to be called omnivorous: for it is 
known, that, a great number of the substances upon which animals feed 
are of no use in the support of man. — Paxton. 

1 The principal of these are the parotids, see Plate XX. 


the mechanical, and for preventing one set of actions in 
terfering with the other. Where various functions ara 
united, the difficulty is to guard against the inconve- 
niences of a too great complexity. In no apparatus put 
together by art, and for the purposes of art, do I know such 
multifa' ious uses so aptly combined, as in the natural or- 
ganiza.ion of the human mouth; or, where the structure, 
compared with the uses, is so simple. The mouth, with all 
these intentions to serve, is a single cavity; is one machine, 
with its parts neither crowded nor confused, and each un- 
embarrassed by the rest: each at least at liberty in a de- 
cree sufficient for the end to be attained. If we cannot 
3at and sing at the same moment, we can eat one moment, 
and sing the next: the respiration proceeding freely all the 

There is one case, however, of this double office, and 
that of the earliest necessity, which the mouth alone could 
not perform; and that is, carrying on together the two ac- 
tions of sucking and breathing. Another route, therefore, 
is opened for the air, namely, through the nose, which Jet? 
the breath pass backward and forward, whilst the lips, in die 
act of sucking, are necessarily shut close upon the body 
from which the nutriment is drawn. This is a circum- 
stance which always appeared to me worthy of notice. 
The nose would have been necessary, although it had not 
been the organ of smelling. The making; it the seat of a 

© © © 

sense, was superadding a new use to a part already wanted; 
was taking a wise advantage of an antecedent and a con- 
stitutional necessity. 

But to return to that which is the proper subject of the 
present secticn — the celerity and precision of muscular mo- 
tion. These qualities may be particularly observed in the 
execution of many pieces of instrumental music, in which 
the changes produced by the hand of the musician are ex- 
ceedingly rapid; are exactly measured, even when most 
minute; and display, on the part of the muscles, an obedi- 
ence of action, alike wonderful for its quickness and its 

Or let a person only observe his own hand whilst he ia 
writing: the number of muscles which are brought to 
bear upon the pen: how the joint and adjusted operation 
of se\eral tendons is concerned in every stroke, yet that 
five hundred such strokes are drawn in a minute. Not a 
letter can be turr ed without more than one, or two, or three 
terdinous 1 rtracuons, definite, both as to the choice of 


the tendon, and as to the spree through which the re- 
traction moves; yet how currently d >cs the work proceed 
and when we look at it, how faithful have the musciet 
been to their duty, how true to the order which endeavoui 
or habit hath inculcated! For let it be remembered, tha 
whilst a man's hand-writing is the same, an exactitude of 
order is preserved, whether he write well or ill Thes« 
two instances, of music and writing, show not only th« 
quickness and precision of muscular action, but the do 

II. Regarding the particular configuration of muscles. 
sphincter or circular muscles appear to me admirable piece* 
of mechanism. [PI. XIV. fig. 3.] It is the muscular pow- 
er most happily applied; the same quality of the musculai 
substance, but under a new modification. The circular 
disposition of the fibres is strictly mechanical ; but, though 
the most mechanical, is not the only thing in sphincters 
which deserves our notice. The regulated degree of con- 
tractile force with which they are endowed, sufficient for 
retention, yet vincible when requisite; together with their 
ordinary state of actual contraction, by means of which 
their dependence upon the will is not constant, but occasion- 
al, gives to them a constitution, of which the conveniency 
is inestimable. This their semi-voluntary character, is ex- 
actly such as suits with the wants and functions of the ani- 

III. We may also, upon the subject of muscles, observe, 
that many of our most important actions are achieved by 
the combined help of different muscles. Frequently, a 
diagonal motion is produced by the retraction of tendons 
pulling in the direction of the sides of the parallelogram. 
This is the case, as hath been already noticed, with some 
of the oblique nutations of the head. Sometimes the num- 
ber of co-operating muscles is very great. Dr. Nieuentyt, 
in the Leipsic Transactions, reckons up a hundred musclc9 
that are employed every time we breathe; yet we take in, 
or let out, our breath, without reflecting what a work is 
thereby performed; what an apparatus is laid in, of instru- 
ments for the service, and how many such contribute their 
assistance to the effect! Breathing with ease, is a blessing 
of every moment; yet, of all others it is that which wc 
possess with the least consciousness. A man in an asthma 
<s the only man who knows how to estimate 't. 

IV. Sir Everard Home has observed,* that the most 
important and the most delicate actions are performed in the 

*rhil. Tram, part » 1*00. p S 


body by the smallest muscles; and he mentkiis, as \iu 
examples, the muscles which have been disco*, ered in the 
iris of the eye, and the drum of the ear. The tenuity of 
these muscles is astonishing. They are microscopic hairs; 
must be magnified to be visible; yet they are real, effective 
muscles; and not only such, but the grandest and most pre- 
cious of our faculties, sight and hearing, depend upon their 
health and action. 

V. The muscles act in the limbs with what is called a 
mechanical disadvantage. The muscle at the shoukU r, 
[PI. XIII. fig. 1. f.] by which the arm is raised, is fixed 
nearly in the same manner as the load is fixed upon ;i 
steelyard, within a few decimals, we will say, of an inch, 
from the centre upon which the steelyard turns. In this 
situation, we find that a very heavy draught is no more 
than sufficient to countervail the force of a small lead 
plummet, placed upon the long arm of the steelyard, at the 
distance of perhaps fifteen or twenty inches from the cen- 
tre, and on the other side of it. And this is the disadvantage 
which is meant. And an absolute disadvantage, no doubt, 
would be, if the object were to spare the force of museu- 

dr contraction. But observe how conducive is this consti- 
tution to animal conveniency. Mechanism has always in 

iew one or other of these two purposes; either to move a 
great weight slowly, and through a small space ; or to move 
a light weight rapidly, through a considerable sweep. For 
the former of these purposes, a different species of lever, 
and a different collocation of the muscles, might be better 
than the present; but for the second, the present structure 
is the true one. Now so it happens, that the second, and 
not the first, is that which the occasions of animal life prin- 
cipally call for. In what concerns the human body, it is 
of much more consequence to any man to be able to carry 
his hand to his head with due expedition, than it would be 
to have the power of raising from the ground a heavier load 
(of two or three more hundred weight, we will suppose,) 
Jhanhe can lift at present. This last is a faculty, which on 
(some extraordinary occasions he may desire to possess, 
but the other is what he wants, and uses every hour and 
minute. In like manner, a husbandman, or a gardener, 
will do more execution, by being able to carry his scythe, 
his rake, or his flail, with a sufficient despatch through a 
sufficient s^a.ce, than if, with greater strength, his motions 
were proportionably more confined and slow. It is the 
same with a mechanic in the use of his tools. It is the 
%ame also with other animals in the use of their limbs, la 


general, the vivacity of their motions would be ill cxcnun^ed 
for greater force under a clumsier structure. 

We have offered our observations upon the structure of 
muscles in general; we have also noticed certain species 
of muscles; but there are also single muscles, which bear 
marks of mechanical contrivance, appropriate as well a& 
particular. Out of many instances of this kind, we select 
the following: — 

I. Of muscular actions, even of those which are vcu 
understood, some of the most curious are incapable of pop- 
ular explanation ; at least, without the aid of plates ana 
figures.* This is in a great measure the case, with a very 
familiar, but, at the same time, a very complicated motion — 
that of the lower jaw; and with the muscular structure by 
which it is produced One of the muscles concerned may, 
however, be described in such a manner, as to be, I think, 
sufficiently comprehended for our present purpose. The 
problem is to pull the lower jaw down. The obvious method 
should seem to be, to place a straight muscle, viz. to fix a 
string from the chin to the breast, the contraction of which 
would open the mouth, and produce the motion required at 
once. But it is evident that the form and liberty of the 
neck forbid a muscle being laid in such a position; and 
that, consistently with the preservation of this form, the 
motion, which we want, must be effectuated by some muscu- 
lar mechanism disposed farther back in the jaw. The me- 
chanism adopted is as follows: [PI. XV. fig. 1, 2.] A 
certain muscle called the digastric, rises on the side of the 
face, considerably above the insertion of the lower jaw, 
and comes down, being converted in its progress into a 
round tendon. Now, it is evident, that the tendon, whilst 
it pursues a direction des< aiding towards the jaw, must, 
by its contraction, pull the jaw up, instead of down. What 
then was to be done? This, we find is done: The de- 
scending tendon, when it is got low enough, is passed 
through a loop, or ring, or pulley, in the os hyoides, and 
then made to ascend: and, having thus changed its line of 
direction, is inserted into the inner part of the chin: by 
which device, viz. the turn at the loop, the action of the 
muscle (which in all muscles is contraction) that before 
would have pulled the jaw up, now as necessarily draws it 
down. " The mouth," says Heister, " is opened by means 
of this trochlea in a most wonderful and elegant manner." 

II. What contrivance can be more mechanical than 

* The want of the aid of plates and figures, the author here ex 
presses, is now supplied in this Boston edition. 



the following, viz. a slit in one tendon to let ant ;ner tea 
doc pass through it? This structure is found in the ten- 
dona which move tho toes and fingers. The long tendon 
as it is called, in the foot, which bends the first joint of the 
toe, passes through the short tendon which bends the sec- 
ond joint; which course allows to the sinew more libeity, 
and a more commodious action than it would otherwise 
have been capable of exerting.* [PI. XVI. fig. 1 , 2.] There 
is nothing, I believe, in a silk or cotton mill, in the belts, 
or straps, or ropes, by which motion is communicated fiom 
one part of the machine to another, that is more artificial, 
or more evidently so, than this perforation. 

III. The next circumstance which I shall mention, un- 
der this head of muscular arrangement, is so decisive a 
mark of intention, that it always appeared to me, to super- 
sede, in some measure, the necessity of seeking for any 
other observation upon the subject; and that circumstance 
is, the tendons, which pass from the leg to the foot, being 
bound down by a ligament at the ankle. [PI. XVI. fig. 3.] 
The foot is placed at a considerable angle with the leg 
It is manifest, therefore, that flexible strings, passing along 
the interior of the angle, if left to themselves, would, when 
stretched, start from it. The obvious preventive is to tie 
them down. And this is done in fact. Across the instep, 
or rather just above it, the anatomist finds a strong liga- 
ment under which the tendons pass to the foot. The ef 
feet of the ligament as a bandage, can be made evident to 
the senses; for if it be cut, the tendons start up. The 
simplicity, yet the clearness of this contrivance, its exact 
resemblance to established resources of art, place it amongst 
vhe most indubitable manifestations of design with which 
we are acquainted. 

There is also a farther use to be made of the present 
example, and that is, as it precisely contradicts the opin- 
ion, that the parts of animals may have been all formed 
oy what is called appetency, i. e. endeavour, perpetuated, 
and imperceptibly working its effect, through an incalcul- 
able series of generations. We have here no endeavour, 
jut the reverse of it; a constant renitency and reluctance 
The endeavour is all the other way. The pressure of the 
rigament constrains the tendons; the tendons react upon 
i'lO pressure of the ligament. It is impossible that the lig- 
ament should ever have been generited by the exercise of 
t\i*f tenden, or in the course of that exercise, forasmuch as 

♦Chea. Anat. p. 94, 119 


the foice of the tendon perpendicularly resists the fibre 
which confines it, and is constantly endeavouring, not to 
form, but to rupture and displace, the threads of which the 
ligament is composed. 

Keill has reckoned up, in the human body, four hundred 
and forty-six muscles, [See note, p. 77,] dissectible and de- 
scribable ; and hath assigned a use to every one of the num- 
ber. This cannot be all imagination. 

Bishop Wilkins hath observed from Galen, that there aie, 
at least, ten several qualifications to be attended to in each 
particular muscle ; ^iz. its proper figure; its just magni- 
tude; its fulcrum; its point of action, supposing the figure 
to be fixed; its collocation, with respect to its two ends, the 
upper and the lower; the place; the position of the whole 
muscle; the introduction into it of nerves, arteries, and 
veins. How are things, including so many adjustments, to 
be made, or, when made, how are they to be put together, 
without intelligence? 

I have sometimes wondered, why we are not struck 
with mechanism in animal bodies, as readily and as strong- 
ly as we are struck with it, at first sight, in a watch or a 
mill. One reason of the difference may be, that anima! 
bodies are, in a great measure, made up of soft, flabby 
substances, such as muscles and membranes; whereas we 
have been accustomed to trace mechanism in sharp lines, 
in the configuration of hard materials, in the moulding, 
chiseling, and filing into shapes, such articles as metals or 
wood. There is something, therefore, of habit in the case; 
but it is sufficiently evident, that there can be no proper 
rbason for any distinction of the sort. Mechanism may 
be displayed in one kind of substance, as well as in the 

Although the few instances we have selected, even aa 
they stand in our description, are nothing short perhaps 
of logical proofs of design, yet it must not be forgotten, 
that, in every part of anatomy, description is a poor sub* 
Btitute for inspection. It is well said by an able anato- 
mist,* and said in reference to the very part of the sub- 
ject which we have been treating of: — " Imperfecta hoec 
musculorum descriptio, non minus arida est legentibus. 
quam inspectantibus fuerit jucunda eorundem praeparatio 
Elegantis? ma enim mechanices artificia, creberrime in 
illis obvia verbis nonnisi obscure exprimuntur* carnium 

* Sterno in Bla3. Anat. Animal, p. 2. c. 4. 


outem ductu, tendinum colore, insertionum proportion* 
at trochlearium. distributione, oculis exposita, omnen su« 
perant admiral ionem." 

Tlie following remarks upon the structure of the tendons, from the An» 
imal Mechanics already quoted, will form an instructive addition to he ht9> 
going chapter, to the subject of which they bear a near relation. — Ez 

Of the Cordage of the Tendons. 

Where lature has provided a perfect system of columns and 
levers, and pullies, we may anticipate that the cords by which the 
force of the muscles is concentrated on the movable bones, must 
ne constructed with as curious a provision lor their offices. In 
this surmise we shall not be disappointed. 

To understand what is necessary to the strength of a rope or 8 
cable, we must learn what has been the object of the improve- 
ments and patents in this manufacture. The first process in rope- 
making, is hatchelling the hemp: that is, combing out the short 
fibres, and placing the long ones parallel to one another. The 
second is, spinning the hemp into yarns. And here the principle 
must be attended to, which goes through the whole process in 
forming a cable ; which is that the fibres of the hemp shall 
bear an equal strain: and the difficulty may be easily conceived, 
since the twisting must derange the parallel position of the fibres. 
Each fibre, as it is twisted, ties the other fibres together, so as to 
form a continued Jine, and it bears, at the same time, a certain por- 
tion of the strain, and so each fibre alternately. The third step of 
the process is making the yarns. Warping the yarns, is stretching 
them to a certain length; and for the same reason, that so much 
attention has been paid to the arrangement of the fibres for the 
yarns, the same care is taken in the management of the yarns for 
the strands. The fourth step of the process is to form the strands 
into ropes. The difficulty of the art has been to make them bear 
alike, especially in great cables, and this has been the object of pa- 
tent machinery. The hardening, by twisting, is also an essential 
part of the process of rope-making: for without this, it would be 
little better than extended parallel fibres of hemp. In this twist- 
ing, first of the yarns, and then of the strands, those which are on 
the outer surface must be more stretched than those near the cen- 
tre; consequently, whe:i there is a strain upon the rope, the outer 
fibres will break first, and the others in succession. It is to avoid 
this, that each yarn and each strand, as it is twisted or hardened, 
shall be itself revolving, so that when drawn into the cable, the 
whole component parts may, as nearly as possible, resist the strain 
in an equal degree; but the process is not perfect, and this we 
must conclude from observing how different the construction of a 
tendon is from that of a rope. A tendon consists of a strong cord 
apparently fibrous ; but which, by the art of the anatomist, may 
be separate 1 nto lesser cords, and these, by maceration, can be 


shown to consist of cellular membrane, the common tissue that 
gives firmness to all the textures of the animal body. The pecu 
'iarity here results merely from its remarkable condensation. But 
the cords of which the larger tendons consists, do not lie paralle 
to each other, nor are they simply twisted like the strands of a 
rope; they are, on the contrary, plaited or interwoven together. 

If the strong tendon of the heel, or Achilles tendon, be taken as 
an example, on first inspection, it appears to consist of parallel 
fib:es, but by maceration, tlnse fibres are found to be a web of 
twisted cellular texture. If you take your handkerchief, and, 
slightly twisting it, draw it out like a rope, it will seem to consist 
of parallel cords; such is, in fact, so far the structure of a tendon. 
But, as we have stated, there is something more admirable than 
this, for the tendon consists of subdivisions, which are like the strands 
of a rope; but instead of being twisted simply as by the process 
of hardening, they are plaited or interwoven in a way that could 
not be imitated in cordage by the turning of a wheel. Here then 
is the difference — by the twisting of a rope, the strands cannot 
resist the strain equally, whilst we see that this is provided for in 
the tendon by the regular interweaving of the yarn, if we may so 
express it, so that every fibre deviates from the parallel line in the 
same degree, and, consequently, receives the same strain when the 
tendon is pulled. If we seek for examples illustrative of this 
strueture of the tendons, we must turn to the subject of ship-rig 
ging, and see there how the seaman contrives, by undoing the 
strands and yarns of a rope, and twisting them anew, to make his 
splicing stronger than the original cordage. A sailor opens the ' 
ends of two ropes, and places the strand of one opposite and be- 
tween the strand of another, and so interlaces them. And this ex- 
plains why a hawser-rope, a sort of small cable, is spun of three 
strands ; for as they are necessary for many operations in the rigging 
of a ship, they must be formed in a way that admits of being cut 
and spliced, for the separation of three strands, at least, is necessa- 
ry for knotting, splicing, whipping, mailing, <Scc, which are a few 
of the many curious contrivances for joining the ends of ropes, 
and for strengthening them by filling up the interstices to preserve 
them from being cut or frayed. As these methods of splicing and 
plaiting in the subdivisions of the rope make an intertexture strong 
er than the original rope, it is an additional demonstration, if any 
were wanted, to show the perfection of the cordage of an animal 
machine, since the tendons are so interwoven ; and until the yarns 
of one strand be separated and interwoven with the yarns of 
another strand, and this done with regular exchange, the most ap- 
proved patent ropes must be inferior to the corresponding part of 
the animal machinery. 

A piece of cord of a new patent has been shown to us, which is 
'Said to be many times stronger than any other cord of the same 
diameter. Jt is so far upon the principle here stated, that the 
strands are plaited instead of being twisted ; but the tendon hag 
still its superioikv, for the lesser yarns of each strand in it are in- 
terwoven with those of other strands. It however, gratifies us o 
«ee» that the principle we draw from the animal body is here coo- 


finned. It may be asked, do not the tendons of tne human bodj 
someti nes break ? They do ; but in circumstances which 011I3 
add to the interest of the subject. By the exercise of the tendons 
(and their exercise is the act of being pulled upon by the mus 
cles, or having a strain made on them,) they become firmer and 
stronger; but in the failure of muscular activity, they become less 
capable of resisting the tug made upon them, and if, after a long 
confinement, a man has some powerful excitement to muscular 
exertion, then the tendon breaks. An old gentleman, whose habits 
have been long staid and sedentary, and who is very guarded in his 
walk, is upon an annual festival tempted to join the young people 
in a dance ; then he breaks his tendo Achilles. Or a sick person, 
long confined to bed, is, on rising, subject to a rupture or hernia, 
because the tendinous expansions guarding against protrusion of 
the internal parts, have become weak from disuse. 

Such circumstances remind us that we are speaking of a living 
body, and that, in estimating the properties of the machinery, we 
ought not to forget the influence of life, and that the natural ex- 
ercise of the parts, whether they be active or passive, is the 
stimulus to the circulation through them, and to their growth and 



The circulation of the blood, through the bodies of men 
and quadrupeds, and the apparatus by which it is carried 
on, compose a system, and testify a contrivance, perhaps 
the best understood of any part of the animal frame. The 
lymphatic vessels or the nervous system, may be more sub- 
tile and intricate; nay, it is possible that in their structure 
they may be even more artificial than the sanguiferous; 
but we do not know so much about them. 

The utility of the circulation of the blood I assume as 
an acknowledged point. One grand purpose is plainly 
answered by it; the distributing to every part, every ex- 
tremity, every nook and corner of the body, the nourish- 
ment which is received into it by one aperture. What en 
ters at the mouth finds its way to the fingers' ends. A more 
difficult mechanical problem could hardly, I think, be pro- 
posed, than to discover a method of constantly repairing 
the waste, and of supplying an accession of substance to 
erery oart of a complicated machine, at the same time. 

This s)s- f en presents itself under two views: firsj, the 


disposition of t le blood-vessels, i. e. the laying of the pipes 
and secondly, the construction of the engine at the centre 
viz. the heart, for driving the blood through them. 

I. The diaposition of the blood-vessels, as far as regards 
»;he supply of the body, is like that of the water pipes in a 
city, viz. large and main trunks branching off by smaller 
pipes (and these again by still narrower tubes) in every 
direction, and towards every part in which the fluid, which 
they convey, can be wanted. So far the water pipes, 
which serve a town, may represent the vessels which carry 
the blood from the heart. But there is another thing 
necessary to the blood, which is not wanted for the water; 
and that is, the carrying of it back again to its source. 
For this office,, a reversed system of vessels is prepared, 
which, uniting at their extremities with the extremities of 
the first system, collects the divided and subdivided stream- 
lets, first by capillary ramifications into larger branches; 
secondly, by these branches into trunks: and thus returns 
the blood (almost exactly inverting the order in which it 
went out) to the fountain whence its motion proceeded. All 
which is evident mechanism. 

The body, therefore, contains two systems of blood-ves- 
sels, arteries and veins. Between the constitution of the 
svstems there are also two differences, suited to the func- 
tions which the systems have to execute. The blood, in 
going out, passing always from wider into narrower tubes; 
and, in coming back, from narrower into wider; it is evi- 
dent, that the impulse and pressure upon the sides of the 
blood-vessel, will be much greater in one case than the 
other. Accordingly, the arteries which carry out the blood, 
are formed with much tougher and stronger coats, than the 
veins which brin£ it back. That is one difference: Uie 
other is still more artificial, or, if I may so speak, indicates, 
still more clearly, the care and anxiety of the artificer 
Forasmuch as in the arteries, by reason of the great force 
with which the blood is urged along them, a wound or rup- 
ture would be more dangerous than in the veins ; these 
vessels are defended from injury, not only by their texture, 
but by their situation; and by every advantage of situation 
which can be given to them. They are buried in sinuses, 
or they creep along grooves, made for them in the bones; 
for instance, the under edge of the ribs is sloped and fur- 
rowed solely for the passage of these vessels. Sometimes 
they proceed in channels, protected by stout parapet** on 
each side; which last description is remarkable in the 
bones of the fingers these being hollowed out, ***\ th* 


under side, like a scoop, and with such a concavity that the 
finger may be cut across to the bone, without hurting the 
artery which runs along it. At other times, the arteries 
pass in canal? wrought in the substance, and in the very 
middle of the substance of the bone; this takes place in 
the lower jaw; and is found where there would, otherwise, 
be danger of compression by sudden curvature. All this 
care is wonderful, yet not more than what the importance 
of the case required. To those who venture their lives 
in a ship, it has been often said, that there is only an inch 
joard betweer hem and death: but in the body itself, es- 
pecially in the arterial system, there is, in many parts, only 
a membrane, a skin, a thread. For which reason, this sys- 
tem lies deep under the integuments; whereas the veins, in 
which the mischief that ensues from injuring the coats is 
much less, lie in general above the arteries; come nearei 
to the surface; are more exposed. 

It mav oe farther observed concerning tne two systems 
taken together, that though the arterial, with its trunks 
and branches and small twigs, may be imagined to issue or 
proceed, in other words, to grow from the heart, like a plant 
from its root, or the fibres of a leaf from its foot-stalk, (which 
however, were it so, would be only to resolve one mechanism 
into another,) yet the venal, the returning system, can never 
be formed in this manner. The arteries might go on shoot- 
ing out from their extremities, i. e. lengthening and sub- 
dividing indefinitely; but an inverted system, continually 
uniting its streams, instead of dividing, and thus carrying 
back what the other system carried out, could not be refer- 
red to the same process. 

II. The next thing to be considered is the engine which 
works this machinery, viz. the heart. [PI. XVII. fig. 1.] 
For our purpose it is unnecessary to ascertain the principle 
upon which the heart acts. Whether it be irritation excited 
by the contact of the blood, by the influx of the nervous 
fluid, or whatever else be the cause of its motion, it is some- 
thing which is capable of producing, in a living muscular 
fibre, reciprocal contraction and relaxation. This is the 
power we have to work with; and the inquiry is, how this 
power is applied in the instance before us. There is pro- 
vided, in the central part of the body, a hollow muscle, in- 
vested with spiral fibres, running in both directions, the 
avers intersecting one another; in some animals, however, 
appearing to be semicircular rather than spiral. By the 
contraction of these fibres, the sides of the muscular cavities 
are necessarily squeszed together, so as to force out from 


them any fluid wnich they may at that time ccntain: by 
the relaxation of the same fibres, the cavities are in their 
turn dilated, and, of course, prepared to admit every fluid 
which may be poured into them. Into these cavities are 
inserted the great trunks, both of the arteries which carry 
out the blood, and of the veins which bring it back. This 
is a general account of the apparatus: and the simplest idea 
of its action is, that, by each contraction, a portion of blood 
is forced by a syringe into the arteries; and, at each 
dilatation, an equal portion is received from the veins. This 
produces, at each pulse, a motion, and change in the mass 
of blood, to the amount cf what the cavity contains, which, 
in a full-grown human heart, I understand, is about an 
ounce, or two table-spoons full. How quickly these changes 
succeed one another, and by this succession how sufficient 
they are to support a stream or circulation throughout the 
system, may be understood by the following computation, 
abridged from Keill's Anatomy, p. 117. ed. 3: " Each ven- 
tricle will at least contain one ounce of blood. The heart 
contracts four thousand times in one hour; from which it 
follows, that there pass through the heart, every hour, 
four thousand ounces, or three hundred and fifty pounds of 
blood. Now the whole mass of blood is said to be about 
twenty-five pounds; so that a quantity of blood, equal to the 
whole mass of blood, passes through the heart fourteen times 
in one hour; which is about once every four minutes." 
Consider what an affair this is, when we come to very large 
animals. The aorta of a whale is larger in the bore than 
the main pipe of the water-works at London bridge; and 
the water roaring in its passage through that pipe is in- 
ferior in impetus and velocity, to the blood gushing from 
the whale's heart. Hear I r. Hunter's account of the dis- 
section of a whale: — " The aorta measured a foot diame- 
ter. Ten or fifteen gallons of blood are thrown out of the 
heart at a stroke with an immense velocity, through a tube 
of a foot diameter. The whole idea fills the mind with won- 

The account which we have here stated, of the injec- 
tion of blood into the arteries by the contraction, and of 
the corresponding reception of it from the veins bv the di- 
latation of the cavities of the heart, and of the circulation 
being thereby maintained through the blood-vessels of the 
body, is true, but imperfect. The heart perforins this of- 
fice, but it is in conjunction with another of equal curiofi 

* Dr Hunter's account of the dissection of a whale Phil. Trans 


ty and importance. It was necessary thai .he b ood jhould 
be successively brought into contact, or contiguity, or prox* 
imity, with the air. I do not know that the chemical rea- 
son, upon which thiss necessity is founded, has been yet 
sufficiently explored. It seems to be made to appear, that 
the atmosphere which we breathe is a mixture of two kinds 
of air; one pure and vital, the other, for the purposes of 
life, effete, foul, and noxious: that when we have drawn 
in our breath, the blood in the lungs imbibes from the air, 
thus brought into contiguity with it, a portion of its pure in- 
gredient, and. at the same time, gives out the effete or 
corrupt air which it contained, and which is carried away, 
along with the halitus, every time we respire. At least, 
by comparing the air which is breathed from the lungs 
with the air which enters the lungs, it is found to have 
lost some of its pure part, and to have brought away with 
it an addition of its impure part. Whether these experiments 
satisfy the question, as to the need which the blood stands 
in of being visited by continual accesses of air, is not for 
us to inquire into, nor material to our argument: it is suf- 
ficient to know, that in the constitution of most animals, 
such a necessity exists, and that the air, by some means or 
other, must be introduced into a near communication with 
the blood. The lungs of animals are constructed for thia 
purpose. They consist of blood-vessels and air-vessels, ly- 
ing close to each other; and wherever there is a branch 
of the trachea or windpipe, there is a branch accompanying 
it of the vein and artery, and the air-vessel is always in the 
middle between the blood-vessels.* The internal surface 
of these vessels, upon which the application of the air to 
the blood depends, would, if collected and expanded, be, 
in a man, equal to a superficies of fifteen feet square. Now, 
in order to give the blood in its course the benefit of this 
organization, (and this is the part of the subject with which 
we are chiefly concerned,) the following operation takoa 
place. As soon as the blood is received by the heart 
from the veins of the body, and before that is sent : ;it 
again into its arteries, it is carried by the force of the 
contraction of the heart, and by means of a separate and 
supplementary artery, to the lungs, and made to enter 
the vessels of the lungs; from which, after it has under- 
gone the action, whatever it be, of that viscus, it ia 
brought back by a large vein on^e more to the heart, in 
wide', when thus concocted and prepared vo be thence 

* Keill's Anat. \ 121 


distributed anew into he system. This ass gns to the 
heart a double office. The pulmonary circulation is a 
system within a system and one action of the heart is the 
origin of both. 

For this complicated r unction, four cavities become ne- 
cessary; and four are accordingly provided: two, call- 
ed ventricles, which send out the blood, viz. one into the 
lings, in the first instance; the other into the mass ; after 
»t has returned from the lungs: two others also, called 
auricles, which receive the blood from the veins; viz. one, 
as it comes immediately from the body ; the other, as the 
same blood comes a second time after its circulation 
through the lungs. So that there are two receiving cavi- 
ties, and two forcing cavities. The structure of the heart 
has reference to the lungs; for without the lungs, one of 
each would have been sufficient. The translation of the 
blood in the heart itself is after this manner. The receiv- 
ing cavities respectively communicate with the forcing 
cavities, and, by their contraction, unload the received 
blood into them. The forcing cavities, when it is their 
turn to contract, compel the same blood into the mouths of 
the arteries. 

The account here given will not convey to a reader, ig 
norant of anatomy, anything like an accurate notion of the 
/brm, action, or use of the parts, (nor can any short an£ 
popular account do this;) but it is abundantly sufficient to 
testify contrivance; and although imperfect, being true as 
far as it goes, may be relied upon for the only purpose for 
which we offer it, the purpose of this conclusion. 

"The wisdom of the Creator," saith Hamburgher, "is 
in nothing seen more gloriously than in the heart." And 
how well doth it execute its office! An anatomist, who 
understood the structure of the heart, might say before- 
hand that it would play; but he would expect, I think, 
from the complexity of its mechanism, and the delicacy 
of many of its parts, that it should always be liable to de- 
rangement, or that it would soon work itself out. Yet 
shall this worderful machine go, night and day, for eight* 
years together, at the rate of a hundred thousand stroke* 
every twenty-four hours, having, at every strode, a giea. 
resistance to overcome; and shall continue this action foi 
this length of time, without disorder and without wean* 

But farther: from the account which has been given o 
the mechanism of the heart, it is evident that it must re 
quite the interposition of valves; that the success indeed 


of its action must depend upon these; for when an/ one of 
its cavities contracts, the necessary tendency of the force 
will be to drive the enclosed blood, not only into the mouth 
of the artery where it ought to go, but also back again in- 
to the mouth of the vein from which it flowed. In like 
manner, when by the relaxation of the fibres the same cav- 
ity is dilated, the blood would not only run into it from the 
vein, which was the course intended, but back from the ar- 
cry, through which it ought to be moving forward. The 
way of preventing a reflux of the fluid, in both these cases, 
is to fix valves, which, like flood-gates, may open away to 
the stream in one direction, and shut up the passage against 
it in another. [PI. XVII. fig. 2, 3, 4.] The heart, constitut- 
ed as it is, can no more work without valves than a pump 
can. When the piston descends in a pump, if it were not 
for the stoppage by the valve beneath, the motion would 
only thrust down the water which it had before drawn up 
A similar consequence would frustrate the action of the 
heart. Valves, therefore, properly disposed, i. e. properly 
with respect to the course of the blood which it is neces- 
sary to promote, are essential to the contrivance. And 
valves so disposed, are accordingly provided. A valve is 
placed in the communication between each auricle and its 
ventricle, lest when the ventricle contracts, part of the blood 
should get back again into the auricle, instead of the whole 
entering, as it ought to do, the mouth of the artery. A valve 
is also fixed at the mouth of each of the great arteries which 
take the blood from the heart; leaving the passage free, so 
long as the blood holds its proper course forward; closing 
it, whenever the blood, in consequence of the relaxation of 
the ventricle, would attempt to flow back. There is some 
variety in the construction of these valves, though all the 
valves of the body act nearly upon the same principle, and 
are destined to the same use. In general they consist of 
a thin membrane, lying close to the side of the vessel, and 
consequently allowing an open passage whilst the stream 
r ins one way, but thrust out from the side by the fluid get- 
ting behind it, and opposing the passage of the blood, when 
it would flow the other way.* Where more than one mem- 
brane is employed, the different membranes only compose 

* The veins and absorbent vessels present in their cavities folds of a 
parabolic form, called valves, like the semilunar valve; the one edge 
adheres to the sides of the vein, the other is loose; the first is farthest 
From the heart, the other nearer. The number of valves is greatest whens 
ihe blood flows contrary to the force of its own weight. See Fig. 7. 



one Vtive Their joint action fulfils the office of a \A>e. 
for instance; over the entrance of the right auricle of the 
neart into the right ventricle, three of these skins or mein- 
oranes are fixed, of a triangular figure, the bases of the 
triangles fastened to the flesh; the sides and summits 
loose; but, though loose, connected by threads of a deter- 
minate length, with certain small fleshy prominences ad- 
joining. The effect of this construction is, that, when (he 
ventricle contracts, the blood endeavouring to escape in all 
directions, and amongst other directions pressing upwards, 
gets between these membranes and the sides of the heart; 
and thereby forces them up into such a position, as that, 
together, they constitute, when raised, a hollow cone, (the 
strings, before spoken of, hindering them from proceeding 
or separating farther;) which cone, entirely occupying the 
passage, prevents the return of the blood into the auricle 
A shorter account of the matter may be this: So long as the 
blood proceeds in its proper course, the membranes which 
compose the valve are pressed close to the side of the ves- 
sel, and occasion no impediment to the circulation: when 
the blood would regurgitate, they are raised from the side 
of the vessel, and, meeting in the middle of its cavity, shut 
up the channel. Can any one doubt of contrivance here 
or is it possible to shut our eyes against the proof of it? 

This valve, also, is not more curious in its structure, 
than it is important in its office. Upon the play of the 
valve, even upon the proportioned length of the strings or 
fibres which check the ascent of the membranes, depends, 
as it should seem, nothing less than the life itself of the 
animal. We may here likewise repeat, what we before ob 
served concerning some of the ligaments of the body, that 
they could not be formed by any action of the parts them- 
selves. There are cases in which, although good uses ap- 
pear to arise from the shape or configuration of a part, yet 
that shape or configuration itself may seem to be produced 
by the action of the part, or by the action or pressure of 
adjoining parts. Thus the bend, and the internal smooth 
concavity of the ribs, may be attributed to the equal pres- 
sure of the soft bowels; the particular shape of some bones 
and joints, to the traction of the annexed muscles, or to 
t lie position of contiguous muscles. But valves could not 
be so formed. Action and pressure are all against them. 
The blood, in its proper course, has no tendency to pro- 
duce such things; and, in its improper or reflected current, 
has a tendency to prevent their production. Whilst wo 
o«'.e, therefore the ee and necessity of this machinery, we 



can look to no other account of its origin or formatk n than 
the intending mind of a Creator. Nor can we without au« 
miration reflect, that such thin membranes, such weak ami 
tender instruments, as these valves are, should be able i«i 
hold out for seventy or eighty years. 

Here also we cannot consider but with gratitude, how 
happy it is that our vital motions are involuntary. Wo 
should have enough to do, if we had to keep our hearta 
beating, and our stomachs at work. Did these things <*e 
pend, we will not say upon our effort, but upon our bidding, 
our care, or our attention, they would leave us leisure for 
nothing else. We must have been continually upon the 
watch, and continually in fear; nor would this constitution 
have allowed of sleep. 

It might perhaps be expected, that an organ so precious, 
of such central and primary importance as the heart is, 
should be defended by a case. The fact is, that a mem- 
branous purse or bag, made of strong, tough materials, is 
provided for it; holding the heart within its cavity; sitting 
ioosely and easily about it; guarding its substance, without 
confining its motion ; and containing likewise a spoonful 
or two of water, just sufficient to keep the surface of the 
heart in a state of suppleness and moisture. How should 
such a loose covering be generated by the action of the 
heart ? Does not the enclosing of it in a sack, answering 
no other purpose but that enclosure, show the care that has 
been taken of its preservation? 

One use of the circulation of the blood probably (amongst 
other uses) is, to distribute nourishment to the different 
parts of the body. How minute and multiplied the ramifi- 
cations of the blood-vessels, for that purpose, are; and 
how thickly spread, over at least the superfices of the body, 
is proved by the single observation, that we cannot prick 
the point of a pin into the flesh, without drawing blood, 
i. e. without finding a blood-vessel. Nor, internally, is their 
diffusion less universal. Blood-vessels run along the sur- 
face of membranes, pervade the substance of muscles, per- 
forate he bones. Even into every tooth, we trace, through 
a wnall hole in the root, an artery to feed the bone, as well 
as a vein to bring back the spare blood from it; both which, 
with the addition of an accompanying nerve, form a thread 
only a little thicker tnan a horse-hair. 

Wherefore, when the nourishment taken in at the mouth 
has once reached, and mixed itself with the blood, every 
part of the body is in the way of being supplied with it 
And this introduces another grand topic ; namely, the man 


<er in which the aliment gets into the blood; which is a 
subject distinct from the preceding, and brings us to the 
consideration of another entire system of vessels. 

II. For this necessary part of the animal economy, an 
apparatus is provided, in a great measure capable of being 
what anatomists call demonstrated, that is, shown in tho 
dead body; — and a line or course of conveyance, which wo 
can pursue by our examinations. 

First, The food descends by a wide passage into the in- 
testines, undergoing two great preparations on its way; 
one, in the mouth by mastication and moisture — (can it be 
doubted with what design the teeth were placed in the 
road to the stomach, or that there was choice in fixing them 
in th'3 situation?) The other, by digestion in the.stomach 
itsc-lf. Of this last surprising dissolution I say nothing, 
because it is chemistry, and I am endeavouring to display 
mechanism. The figure and position of the stomach (I 
speak all along with a reference to the human organ) are 
calculated for detaining the food long enough for the action 
of its digestive juice. [PI. XVIII. fig. 1.] It has the shape 
of the pouch of a bagpipe; lies across the body; and the 
pylorus, or passage by which the food leaves it, is somewhat 
higher in the body than the cardia, or orifice by which it 
enters; so that it is by the contraction of the muscular 
coat of the stomach, that the contents, after having under- 
gone the application of the gastric menstruum, are gradually 
pressed out. In dogs and cats, this action of the coats of 
the stomach has been displayed to the eye. It is a slow 
and gentle undulation, propagated from one orifice of the 
stomach to the other. For the same reason that I omitted, 
for the present, offering any observation upon the digestive 
fluid, I shall say nothing concerning the bile or the pan- 
creatic juice, farther than to observe upon the mechanism, 
viz. that from the glands in which these secretions are 
elaborated, pipes are laid into the first of the intestines, 
through which pipes the product of each gland flows into 
that bowel, [PI. XVIII. fig. 2,] and is there mixed with 
the aliment, as soon almost as it passes the stomach; ad- 
ding also as a remark, how grievously this same bile of- 
fends the stomach itself, yet cherishes the vessel that lies 
next to it. 

Secondly, We have now the aliment in the intestines 
converted into pulp; and, though lately consisting of ten 
different viands, reduced to nearly a uniform substance, 
and to a state fitted for yielding its essence, which is called 
chyle, but which is milk, or more nearly rcsembiing milk 


than any other liquor with which it can be .Dmpared. Fc ; 
the straining off this fluid from the digested aliment in th8 
course of its long progress through the body, myriads of 
capillary tubes, i. e. pipes as small as hairs, open their ori- 
fices into the cavity of every part of the intestines. [PI. 
XIX.] These tubes, which are so fine and slender as not 
to be visible unless when distended with chyle, soon unite 
into larger branches. The pipes, formed by this union, 
terminate in glands, from which other pipes of a still larger 
diameter arising, carry the chyle from all parts, into a 
common reservoir or receptacle. This receptacle is a 
bag large enough to hold about a table-spoon full ; and from 
this vessel a duct 01 main pipe proceeds, climbing up the 
back part of the chest, and afterwards creeping along the 
gul!et till it reach the neck. Here it meets the river: here 
it d scharges itself into a large vein, which soon conveys 
the chyle, now flowing along with the old blood, to the 
heart. This whole route can be exhibited to the eye; 
nothing is left to be supplied by imagination cr conjec- 
ture. Now, beside the subserviency of this whole structure, 
to a manifest and necessary purpose, we may remark two 
or three separate particulars in it, which show, not only the 
contrivance, but the perfection of it. We may remark, 
first, the length of the intestines, which, in the human sub- 
ject, is six times that of the body. Simply for a passage, 
these voluminous bowels, this prolixity of gut, seems in no- 
wise necessary; but, in order to allow time and space foi 
the successive extraction of the chyle from the digested 
aliment, namely that the chyle which escapes the lacteals 
of one part of the guts, may be taken up by those of some 
other part, the length of the canal is of evident use and 
conduciveness. Secondly, we must also remark their per- 
istaltic motion; which is made up of contractions, follow- 
ing one another like waves upon the surface of a fluid, anc 
uot unlike what we observe in the body of an earth-worm 
crawling along the ground; and which is effected by the 
joint action of longitudinal and of spiral, or rather perhaps 
of a great number of separate semicircular fibres. This 
curious action pushes forward the grosser part of the ali- 
ment a the same tim3 that the more subtile parts, which 
we call chyle, are, by a series of gentle compressions, 
squeezed into the narrow orifices of the lacteal vessels. 
Thirdly, it was necessary that these tubes, which we denom- 
inate lacteals, or their mouths at least, should be as nar- 
row as possible, in order to deny admission into the blood 
to any particle which is of size enough to make a odge- 


merit afterwards m the small arteries, and thereby to ob- 
struct the circulation: and it was also necessary that this 
extreme tenuity should be compensated by multitude; for, 
a large quantity of chyle (in ordinary constitutions, not 
less, it has been computed, than two or three quarts in a 
day) is, by some means or other, to be passed through 
them Accordingly, we find the number of the lacteals 
exceeding all powers of computation ; and their pipes so 
fine and slender, as not to be visible, unless filled, to the nak 
ed eye; and their orifices, which open into the intestines, 
so small, as not to be discernible even by the best micro- 
scope Fourthly, the main pipe, whiHi carries the chyle 
from the reservoir to the blood, viz. the thoracic duct, be- 
ing fixed in an almost upright position, and wanting that 
advantage of propulsion which the arteries possess, is fur- 
nished with a succession of valves to check the ascending 
fluid, when once it has passed them, from falling back 
These valves look upward, so as to leave the ascent free, 
but to prevent the return of the chyle, if, for want of suffi- 
cient force to push it on, its weight should at any time 
cause it to descend. Fifthly, the chyle enters the blood 
in an odd place, but perhaps the most commodious place 
possible, viz. at a large vein near the neck, so situated with 
respect to the circulation, as speedily to bring the mixture 
to the heart. And this seems to be a circumstance of 
great moment; for had the chyle entered the blood at an 
artery, or at a distant vein, the fluid, composed of the old 
and new materials, must have performed a considerable 
part of the circulation, before it received that churning in 
the lungs, which is probably, necessary for the intimate 
and perfect union of the old blood with the recent chyle 
Who could have dreamed of a communication between the 
cavity of the intestines and the left great vein near the 
neck? Who could have suspected that this communication 
should be the medium through which all nourishment is 
derived to the body? or this the place, where, by a side 
inlet, the important junction is formed between the blood 
and the material which feeds it? 

II. We postponed the consideration of digestion, lest it 
should interrupt us in tracing the course of the food to .ie 
blood; but, in treating of the alimentary system, so 
cipal a part of the process cannot be omitted. 

Of the gastric juice, the immediate agent by which that 
change which food undergoes in our stomachs is effected 
we shall take our account, from the numerous, careful, and 
varied experiments of the Abbe Spallanzani. 



1. It is not a simple diluent, but a real solvent A 
quarter of an ounce of beef had scarcely touched the sto- 
mach of a crow, when the solution began. 

2. It has not the nature of saliva; it has not the nature 
of bile; but is distinct from both. By experiments out of 
the body it appears, that neither of these secretions acts 
upon the alimentary substances, in the same manner as the 
gastric juice acts. 

3 Digestion is not putrefaction; for, the digesting fluid 
resists putrefaction most pertinaciously; nay, not only 
checks its farther progress, but restores putrid substances 

4. It is not a fermentative process; for the solution 
begins at the surface, and proceeds towards the centre, 
contrary to the order in which fermentation acts and 

5. It is not the digestion of heat, for, the cold maw of 
a cod or sturgeon will dissolve the shells of crabs or lob- 
sters, harder than the sides of the stomach which contains 

In a word, animal digestion carries about it the marks of 
being a power and a process completely sui generis; dis- 
tinct from every other; at least from every chemical pro- 
cess with which we are acquainted. And the most wonder- 
ful thing about it is its appropriation; its subserviency to 
the particular economy of each animal. The gastric juice 
of an owl, falcon, or kite, will not touch grain; no, not 
even to finish the macerated and half-digested pulse which 
is left in the crops of the sparrows that the bird devours. 
In poultry, the trituration of the gizzard, and the gastric 
juice, conspire in the work of digestion. The gastric juice 
will not dissolve the grain whilst it is whole. Entire grains 
of barley, enclosed in tubes or spherules, are not affected 
by it. But if the same grain be by any means broken or 
ground, the gastric juice immediately lays hold of it. Here 
then is wanted, and here we find, a combination of mechan- 
ism and chemistry. For the preparatory grinding, the giz- 
zard lends its mill. And, as all mill-work should be strong, 
its structure is so, beyond that of any other muscle belonging 
to the animal. The internal coat also, or lining of the giz- 
zard, is, for the same purpose, hard and cartilaginous. But, 
forasmuch as this is not the sort of animal substance suited 
for the reception of glands, or for secretion, the gastric juice 
in this family, is not supplied, as in membranous stomachs, 
by the stomach itself, but by the gullet, in which the feed 
»ng glands are placed, and from which it trickles down into 
;he storiach. 


In snee| , the gastric fluid has no effect in digesting 
plants, unless they have been previously masticated. It only 
produces a slight maceration; nearly such as common wa- 
ter would produce, in a degree of heat somewhat exceed- 
ing the medium temperature of the atmosphere. But pro- 
vided that the plant has been reduced to pieces by chewing, 
the gastric juice then proceeds with it, first by softening its 
substance; next, by destroying its natural consistency ; and, 
lastly, by dissolving it so completely, as not even to sparo 
the toughest and most stringy parts, such as the nerves of 
the leaves. 

So far our accurate and indefatigable Abbe. — Dr. Ste 
vens of Edinburgh, in 1777, found, by experiments trieiJ 
with perforated balls, that the gastric juice of the sheep and 
the ox speedily dissolved vegetables, but made no impres- 
sion upon beef, mutton, and other animal bodies. Dr. Hun- 
ter discovered a property of this fluid, of a most curious 
kind ; viz. that in the stomachs of animals which feed up- 
on flesh, irresistibly as this fluid acts upon animal substan- 
ces, it is only upon the dead substance, that it operates at 
all. The living fibre suffers no injury from lying in con- 
tact with it. Worms and insects are found alive in the 
stomachs of such animals. The coats of the human stom- 
ach, in a healthy state, are insensible to its presence: yet, 
in cases of sudden death, (wherein the gastric juice, not 
having been weakened by disease, retains its activity,) it 
has been known to eat a hole through the bowel which con- 
tains it.* How nice is this discrimination of action, yet 
how necessary ? 

But to return to our hydraulics. 

III. The gall-bladder is a very remarkable contrivance 
It is the reservoir of a canal. [PI. XVIII. fig. 1,2] It 
does not form the channel itself, i. e. the direct communi- 
cation between the liver and the intestine which is by an- 
other passage, viz. the ductus hepaticus, continued undei 
the name of the ductus communis; but it lies adjacent tc 
this channel, joining it by a duct of its own, the ductus 
cysticus ; by which structure it is enabled, as occasion 
may require, to add its contents to, and increase the flow 
of bile into the duodenum. And the position of the gall- 
Dladder is such as to apply this structure to the best advan- 
tage. In its natural situation, it touches the exterior sur- 
face of *he stomach, and consequently is compressed by the 
d'stensi -»n of that vessel: the effect of which compression 

* Phil. Trans, vol. lxii. p. 447. 


is, to force out fro n the bag, and send into the duodenum 
an extraordinary quantity of bile, to meet the extraordinary 
demand which the repletion of the stomach by food is aboul 
to occasion.* Cheselden describes! the gall-bladder as 
seated against the duodenum, and thereby liable to have its 
fluid pressed out, by the passage of the aliment through that 
cavity; which likewise will i »ave the effect of causing it to 
be received into the intestine, at a right time, and in a due 

There may be other purposes answered by this contri- 
vance; and it is probable that there are. The contents of 
the gall-bladder are not exactly of \he same kind as what 
passes from the liver through the direct passage. J It is 
possible that the gall may be changed, and for some pur- 
poses meliorated, by keeping. 

The entrance of the gall-duct into the duodenum, furnish- 
es another observation. Whenever either smaller tubes 
are inserted into larger tubes, or tubes into vessels and 
cavities, such receiving tubes, vessels, or cavities, being 
subject to muscular constriction, we always find a con- 
trivance to prevent regurgitation. In some cases, valves 
are used; in other cases, amongst which is that now be- 
fore us, a different expedient is resorted to; which may 
be thus described: The gall-duct enters the duodenum 
obliquely: after it has pierced the first coat, it runs near 
two fingers' breadth between the coats, before it opens into 
the cavity of the intestine.^ The same contrivance is used 
in another part, where there is exactly the same occasion 
for it, viz. in the insertion of the ureters in the bladder. 
These enter the bladder near its neck, running obliquely foi 
the space of an inch between its coats. || It is, in both 
cases, sufficiently evident, that this structure has a ne- 
cessary mechanical tendency to resist regurgitation; for, 
whatever force acts in such a direction as to urge the fluid 
back into the orifices of the tubes, must, at the same time, 
stretch the coats of the vessels, and thereby compress that 
part of the tube, which is included between them. 

IV. Amongst the vessels of the human body, the pipe 
which conveys the saliva from the place where it is made, 
to the place where it is wanted, deserves to be reckoned 
amongst the most intelligible pieces of mechanism with 
which we are acquainted. [PI. XX. fig. 1 , 2.] The saliva, 
we all know, is used in the mouth; but much of it is 

* Keill's Anat. p. 64. t Anat p. 164 

t Keill's from Malpighius p. 62 § Keill's Anat. p 62. 

11 Chea. Anat. p. 2 30. 


manufactured on the outside of the cheek, b\ the parotid 
gland, whim lies between the ear and the angle of the low- 
er jaw. In order to carry the secretion to its destina- 
tion, there is laid from the gland, on the outside, a pipe 
about the thickness of a wheat straw, and about three fin- 
gers' breadth in length; which, after riding over the masse- 
ter musc'e, bores for itself a hole through the very middle 
of the cheek; enters by that hole, which is a complete per- 
foration of the buccinator muscle, into the mouth; ar d there 
discharges its fluid very copiously. 

V. Another exquisite structure, differing indeed from 
the four preceding instances in that it does not relate to 
the conveyance of fluids, but still belonging, like these, to 
the class of pipes, or conduits of the body, is seen in the 
larynx. [PI. XXI. fig. 1, 2.] We all know that there go 
down the throat two pipes, one leading to the stomach, the 
other to the lungs; the one being the passage for the food, 
the other for the breath and voice : we know also that both 
these passages open into the bottom of the mouth; the gullet, 
necessarily, for the conveyance of the food; and the wind- 
pipe, for speech, and the modulation of sound, not much 
less so; therefore the difficulty was, the passages being so 
contiguous, to prevent the food, especially the liquids, which 
we swallow into the stomach, from entering the windpipe, 
t. e. the road to the lungs; the consequence of which er- 
ror, when it does happen, is perceived by the convulsive 
throes that are instantly produced. This business, which 
is very nice, is managed in this manner. The gullet (the 
passage for food) opens into the mouth like the cone or 
upper part of a funnel, the capacity of which forms indeed 
the bottom of the mouth. Into the side of this funnel, at 
the part which lies the lowest, enters the windpipe, by a 
chink or slit, with a lid or flap, like a little tongue, accu- 
rately fitted to the orifice. The solids or liquids which we 
swallow, pass over this lid or flap, as they descend by the 
funnel into the gullet Both the weight of the food, and 
he action of the concerned 1.1 swallowing, con- 
tribute to keep the lid close down upon the aperture, whilst 
anything is passing; whereas, by means of its natural car- 
tilaginous spring, it raises itself a little as soon as the food 
is passed, thereby allowing a free inlet and outlet for the 
respiration of air by the lungs. And we may here remark 
the almost complete success of the expedient, viz. how sel- 
dom it fails of its purpose, compared with the number of 
instances in which it fulfils it. Reflect how frequently we 
Bwalhw. how constantly we breathe. In a city feast, foi 


example, what deglutition, what anhelation! yet does this 
.ittle eartilage, he epiglottis, so effectually interpose its of- 
fice, so securely guard the entrance of the windpipe, that 
whilst morsel after morsel, draught after draught, are cours- 
ing one another over it, an accident of a crumb or a drop 
slipping into this passage, (which nevertheless must be 
opened for the breath every second of time,) excites in the 
whole company, not only alarm by its danger, but surprise 
by its novelty. Not two guests are choked in a century.* 

There is no room for pretending that the action of the 
parts may have gradually formed the epiglottis: I do not 
mean in the same individual, but in a succession of genera- 
tions. Not only the action of the parts has no such ten- 
dency, but the animal could not live, nor consequently the 
parts act, either without it, or with it in a half-formed state. 
The species was not to wait for the gradual formation or 
expansion of a part which was, from the first, necessary to 
the life of the individual. 

Not only is the larynx curious, but the whole windpipe 
possesses a structure adapted to its peculiar office. It is 
made up (as any one may perceive by putting his fingers 
to his throat) of stout cartilaginous ringlets placed at 
small and equal distances from one another. Now this is 
not the case with any other of the numerous conduits of 
the body. The use of these cartilages is to keep the pas- 
sage for the air constantly open; which they do mechanic- 
ally. A pipe with soft membranous coats, liable to col- 
lapse and close when empty, would not have answered here; 
although this be the general vascular structure, and a 
structure which serves very well for those tubes which are 
kept in a state of perpetual distension by the fluid they en- 
close, or which afford a passage to solid and protruding 

Nevertheless (which is another particularity well worthy 

* The same genera] structure of these parts is found in all other animalg 
of the same class with mankind, but there is a singular variation from it 
in the elephant, by which, if possible, the influence of a deriving intelli- 
gence is more wonderfully exemplified than in the ordinary structure. It 
is well known that this animal drinks by sucking up the liquid into its 
trunk, and then after thrusting the end of it into its mouth, blowing the 
liquid into its throat. In this case, the act of blowing through the trunk 
and swallowing, must be both jroinjj on at the same instant, and not in 
successive instants as in man. The liquid must be passing down the 
throat, while the epiglottis is open and the air issuing. In order to pro- 
vide against interfe ence, a channel is provided on each side of the epig- 
ottis, along which e drink passes quietly on, without running into the 
a indpipe. — Ed. 


of notice) these r igs are not complete, lr«*c is. are not car 
tiliiginous and stiff all round; but theii hinder part, which 
is contiguous to the gullet, is membranous and soft, easily 
yielding to the distensions of that organ occasioned by the 
descent of solid food. The same lings are also bevelled oh 
at the upper and lower edges, the better to clo©e upon out, 
another, when the trachea is compressed or shortened 

The constitution of the tracn^a may suggest likewise ai\ 
other reflection. The membrane which lines its inside, is 
perhaps, the most sensible initable membrane of the body 
It rejects the touch of a crumb of bread, or a drop of water, 
with a spasm which convulses the whole frame; yet, left to» 
itself, and its proper office, the intromission of air alone 
nothing can be so quiet. It does not even make itself felt 
a man does not know that he has a trachea. This capaci 
ty of perceiving with such acuteness, this impatience o< 
offence, yet perfect rest and ease when let alone; are pro- 
perties, one would have thought, not likely to reside in the 
same subject. It is to the junction, however, of these al- 
most inconsistent qualities, in this, as well as in some other 
delicate parts of the body, that we owe our safety and our 
comfort; — our safety to their sensibility, our comfort to 
their repose. 

The larynx, or rather the whole wind.pipe taken together, 
(^for the larynx is only the upper part of the windpipe,) be- 
sides its other uses, is also a mu&ical instrument, that is to 
say, it is mechanism expressly ac'apted to the modulation of 
sound; for it has been found upon trial, that, by relaxing 
or tightening the tendinous brands at the extremity of the 
windpipe, and blowing in at the other end, all the cries 
and notes might be produced of which the living animal 
was capable. It can be sounded, just as a pipe or flute is 
sounded. Birds, says Bonnet, have at the lower end of 
the windpipe, a conformation like the reed of a hautboy, 
for the modulation of their notes. A tuneful bird is a ven- 
triloquist. The seat of the song is in the breast. TPl. 
XXI. fig. 3.] 

The use of the lungs in the system has been said to be 
obscure: one use however is plain, though, in some sense, 
external to the system, and that is, the formation, in con- 
unction with the larynx, of voice and speech. They are, to 
animal utterance, what the bellows are to the organ. 

For the sake of method, we have considered animal bo- 
dies under three divisions: their bones, their muscles, and 
their vessels; and we have stated our observations upon 


„hese parts separately. But this is to diminish the strengtl 
of the argument. The wisdom of the Creator is seen, not 
'n their separate but their collective action; in their mutu- 
al subserviency and dependence; in their contributing to- 
gether to one effect, and one use. It has been said, that a 
man cannot lift his hand to his head, without rinding enough 
to convince him of the existence of a God. And it is well 
said; for he has only to reflect, familiar as this action is, 
and simple as it seems to be, how many things are requisite 
for the performing of it: how many things which we undei- 
ptand, to say nothing of many more, probably, which we 
do not; viz. first, a long, hard, strong cylinder, in order to 
give to the arm its firmness and tension; but which, being 
rigid, and in its substance inflexible, can only turn upon 
joints: secondly, therefore, joints for this purpose, one at 
the shoulder to raise the arm, another at the elbow to bend 
it; these joints continually fed with a soft mucilage to make 
the parts slip easily upon one another, and holden together 
by strong braces, to keep them in their position: then, third- 
ly, strings and wires, i. e. muscles and tendons, artificially 
inserted for the purpose of drawing the bones in the direc- 
tions in which the joints allow them to move. Hitherto we 
seem to understand the mechanism pretty well; and, under 
standing this, we possess enough for our conclusion: never- 
theless, we have hitherto only a machine standing still; a 
dead organization — an apparatus. To put the system in a 
state of activity, to set it at work, a farther provision is ne- 
cessary, viz. a communication with the brain by means of 
nerves. We know the existence of this communication, 
because we can see the communicating threads, and can 
trace them to the brain: its necessity we also know, be- 
cause if the thread be cut, if the communication be inter- 
cepted, the muscle becomes paralytic : but beyond this we 
know little, the organization being too minute and subtile 
for our inspection. 

To what has been enumerated, as officiating in the single 
act of a man's raising his hand to his head, must be added 
likewise, all that is necessary, and all that contributes to the 
growth, nourishment, and sastentation of the limb, the re- 
pair of its waste, the preservation of its health: such as the 
circulation of the blood through every part of it; its lym- 
phatics, exhalants, absorbents; its excretions and integu- 
ments. All these share in the result; join in the effect; and 
how all these, or any of them, come together without a de- 
signing, disposing intelligence, it is impossible to conceive 





Contemplating an animal body in its collective .apacity, 
w*i cannot forget to notice, what a number of instruments 
Ere brought together, and often within how small a *om- 
pass. It is a cluster of contrivances. In a Canary bird, 
for instance, and in the single ounce of matter which com- 
poses its body, (but which seems to be all employed,) we 
have instruments for eating, for digesting, for nourishment, 
for breathing, for generation, for running, for flying, for 
seeing, for hearing, for smelling, each appropriate, — each 
entirely different from all the rest. 

The human, or indeed the animal frame, considered as 
a mass or assemblage, exhibits in its composition three 
properties, which have long struck my mind as indubitable 
evidences, not only of design, but of a great deal of atten- 
tion and accuracy in prosecuting the design 

I. The first is, the exact correspondency of the two 
3ides of the same animal; the right hand answering to tho 
left, leg to leg, eye to eye, one side of the countenance to 
the other; and with a precision, to imitate which in any 
tolerable degree, forms one of the difficulties of statuary, 
and requires, on the part of the artist, a constant attention 
to this property of his work, distinct from every other. 

It is the most difficult thing that can be to get a wig 
made even; yet how seldom is thence awry! And what 
care is taken that it should not be so, the anatomy of its 
bones demonstrates. The upper part of the face is com- 
posed of thirteen bones, six on each side, answering each 
tc each, and the thirteenth, without a fellow, in the m'd- 
dle: the lower part of the face is in like manner composed 
of six bones, three on each side respectively corresponding, 
and the lower jaw in the centre. In building an arch, could 
more be done in order to make the curve true, i. e. the 
parts equi-distant from the middle, alike in figure and po- 
sition ? 

The exact resemblance of the eyes, considering how 
compounded this organ is in its structure, how various and 
how delicate are the shades of color with which its iris is 
tinged; how differently, as to effect upon appe tnmce, the 
eye may be mounted in its socket, and how differently in 
different 1 eads eyes actually are set, — is a property of on 



imal bodies much to be admired. Often thousand eyes, 1 
do net know that it would be possible to match one, except 
with its own fellow; or to distribute them into suitable pairs 
by any other selection than that which obtains. 

This regularity of the animal structure is rendered more 
remarkable by the three following considerations: — First, 
the limbs, separately taken, have not this correlation of 
parts; but the contrary of it. A knife drawn down the 
chine, cuts the human body into two parts, externally equal 
and alike; you cannot draw a straight line which will di- 
vide a hand, a foot, the leg, the thigh, the check, the eye, 
the ear, into two parts equal and alike. Those parts which 
ire placed upon the middle or partition line of the body, or 
srhich traverse that line, as the nose, the tongue, the lips, 
may be so divided, or, more properly speaking, are double 
-.rgans; but other parts cannot. This shows that the cor 
»cspondency which we have been describing, does not 
arise by any necessity in the nature of the subject: for, if 
necessary, it would be universal ; whereas it is observed only 
in the system or assemblage: it is not true of the separate 
parts; that is to say, it is found where it conduces to beau- 
ty or utility ; it is not found where it would subsist a* the 
expense of both. The two wings of a bird always corres- 
pond: the two sides of a feather frequently do not. In cen- 
tipedes, millepedes, and that whole tribe of insects, no two 
legs on the same side are alike; yet there is the most exact 
parity between the legs opposite to one another. 

2. The next circumstance to be remarked is, that whilst 
the cavities of the body are so configurated, as externally 
to exhibit the most exact correspondency of the opposite 
aides, the contents of these cavities have no such corres- 
pondency. A line drawn down the middle of the breast, 
divides the thorax into two sides exactly similar; yet these 
two sides enclose very different contents. The heart liea 
on the left side; a lobe of the lungs on the right; balancing 
each other neither in size nor shape. The same thing 
hold.-, of the abdomen. The liver lies on the right side,* 
without any similar viscus opposed to it on the left The 
spleen indeed is situated over against the liver; but agree- 
ing with the liver neither in bulk nor form. There is no 
equipoliency between these. The stomach is a vessel both 
irregular in its shape, and oblique in its position. The fold- 
ings and doublings of the intestines do not present a v ai *i-y 

* The principal lobe of the liver is on the right, but a smaller i> Ktend 
ed hto the left side. See Plate XXII. 


ol sides. iet that symmetry which depends upon the cor- 
relation o. the sides, is externally preserved throughout the 
whole trunk; and is the more remarkable in the lower parts of 
it, as the integuments are soft ; and the shape, consequent- 
ly, is not, as the thorax is by its ribs, reduced by natural 
stays. It is evident, therefore, that the external proportion 
doc 3 not arise from any equality in the shape or pressure 
of the internal contents. What is it indeed but a correc- 
tion of inequalities? an adjustment, by mutual compensa- 
tion, of anomalous forms into a regular congeries? the ef- 
fect, in a word, of artful, and, if we might be permitted so 
to speak, of studied collocation? 

3. Similar also to this, is the third observation; that an 
internal inequality in the feeding vessels is so managed, 
as to produce no inequality in parts which were intended 
to correspond. The right arm answers accurately to the 
left, both in size and shape; but the arterial branches, 
which supply the two arms, do not go off from their trunk, 
in a pair, in the same manner, at the same place, or at 
the same anirle. Under which want of similitude, it ir. 
very difficult to conceive how the same quantity of bloor 
should be pushed through each artery: yet the result i 
right; the two limbs, which are nourished by them, per 
ceive no difference of supply, no effects of excess or de- 

Concerning the difference of manner, in which the sub- 
clavian and carotid arteries, upon the different sides of 
the body, separate themselves from the aorta, Cheselden 
seems to have thought, that the advantage which the left 
gain by going off at a much more acute angle than the 
right, is made up to the right by their going off together 
in one branch.* It is very possible that this may be the 
compensating contrivance; and if it be so, how curious, 
how hydrostatical? 

II. Another perfection of the animal mass is package 
[PI. XXII. fig. 1.] I know nothing which is so surprising 
Examine the contents of the trunk of any large animal 
Take notice how soft, how tender, how intricate they are 
how constantly in action, how necessary to life! Reflect 
upon the danger of any injury to their substance, any de- 
rangement of their position, any obstruction to their office. 
Observe the heart pumping at the centre, at the rate of 
eighty strokes in a minute: one set of pipes carrying the 
stream away from it, another set bringing, in its coirse, tho 

* Ches. Anat. p. 1S4. ed 7. 


fluid back to it again; the lungs performing their elab )rate 
office, viz. distending and contracting their many thousand 
vesicles, by a reciprocation which cannot cease for a min- 
ute; the stomach exercising its powerful chemistry; the 
bowels silently propelling the changed aliment; collecting 
from it, as it proceeds, and transmitting to the blood an 
incessant supply of prepared and assimilated nourishment; 
that blood pursuing its course; the liver, the kidneys, the 
pancreas, the parotid, with many other known and dis- 
tinguishable glands, drawing off' from it, all the while, 
their proper secretions. These several operations, togeth- 
er with others more subtile but less capable of being inves- 
tigated, are going on within us, at one and the same time 
Think of this ; and then observe how the body itself, the case 
which holds this machinery, is rolled, and jolted, and tossed 
about, the mechanism remaining unhurt, and with very 
ittle molestation, even of its nicest motions. Observe a rope 
dancer, a tumbler, or a monkey: the sudden inversions and 
contortions which the internal parts sustain by the postures 
into which their bodies are thrown; or rather observe the 
shocks which these parts, even in ordinary subjects, some- 
times receive from falls and bruises, or by abrupt jerks and 
twists, without sensible, or with soon-recovered damage. 
Observe this, and then reflect how firmly every part must 
be secured, how carefully surrounded, how well tied down 
and packed together. 

This property of animal bodies has never, I think, been 
considered under a distinct head, or so fully as it deserves. 
f may be allowed, therefore, in order to verify my observa- 
tion concerning it, to set forth a short anatomical detail, 
though it oblige me to use more technical language than 1 
should wish to introduce into a work of this kind. 

1. The heart (such care is taken of the centre of life) 
is placed between the soft lobes of the lungs; tied to the 
mediastinum and to the pericardium; which pericardium id 
not only itself an exceedingly strong membrane, but adheres 
firmly to the duplicature of the mediastinum, and, by itg 
point, to the middle tendon of the diaphragm. The heart 
is also sustained in its place by the great blood-vessels which 
issue from it * 

2 Th*; lungs are lied to the sternum by the mediasti- 
num, before; to the vertebrae by the pleura, behind. It 
seems indeed to be the very use of the mediastinum (which 
is a me Tibrane that goes straight through the middle of the 

* Keill's Anat. p. 107. ed. tf. 


thorax, from the breast to the back) to keep the contents 
of the thorax in their places; in particular to hinder one 
lobe of the lungs from incommoding another, or the parts 
of the lungs from pressing upon each other when we He on 
one side.* 

3. The liver is fastened in the body by two ligament9, 
the first, wh'ch is large and strong, comes from the cover- 
ing of tlu diaphragm, and penetrates the substance of the 
Siver; the second is the umbilical vein, which, after birth, 
degenerates into a ligament. The first, which is the prin- 
cipal, fixes the liver in its situation, whilst the body holds 
an erect posture; the second prevents it from pressing up- 
on the diaphragm when we lie down; and both together 
sling or suspend the liver when we lie upon our backs, so 
that it may not compress or obstruct the ascending vena 
cava.t to which belongs the important office of returning 
the blood from the body to the heart. 

4. The bladder is tied to the naval by the urachus, trans- 
formed into a ligament: thus, what was a passage for the 
urine to the foetus, becomes, after birth, a support or stay 
to the bladder. The peritoneum also keeps the viscera 
from confounding themselves with, or pressing irregularly 
upon, the bladder: for the kidneys and bladder are contain- 
ed in a distinct duplicature of that membrane, being there- 
by partitioned off from the other contents of the abdomen. 

5. The kidneys are lodged in a bed of fat. 

6. The pancreas, or sweetbread, is strongly tied to the 
peritonaeum, which is the great wrapping sheet, that encloses 
all the bowels contained in the lower belly. J 

7. The spleen also is confined to its place by an adhe- 
sion to the peritonaeum and diaphragm, ai d by a connexion 
with the omentum. § It is possible, in my opinion, that 
the spleen may be merely a stuffing, a soft cushion to till 
up a vacancy or hollow, which, unless occupied, would 

eave the package loose and unsteady: for, supposing that 
it answers no other purpose than this, it must be vascular, 
and admit of a circulation through it, in order to be kep. 
alive, or be a part of a living body. 

8. The omentum, epiploon, or caul, is an apron ikJ* 
ed up, or doubling upon itself, at its lowest part. The up- 
per edge is tied to the bottom of the stomach, to the spleen 
as hath already been observed, and to part of the duode- 
num. The reflected edge also, after forming the doubling 

* Keill's Anat. p. 119. ed. 3. t Ches, Anat. p. 162. 

t Keill's Anat. p. 57. § dies. Anat. p. IT»7 


comes up behind the front flap and is tied to the colon ana 
adjoining viscera.* 

9. The septa of the brain probably prevent one part 
of that organ from pressing with too great a weight upon 
another part. The processes of the dura mater divide the 
cavity of the skull, like so many inner partition walls, and 
thereby confine each hemisphere and lobe of the brain to 
the chamber which is assigned to it, without its being liable 
to rest upon, or incommode the neighbouring parts. The 
preat art and caution of packing is to prevent one thing 
hurling another. This, in the head, the chest, and the 
abdomen, of an animal body, is, amongst other methods, 
provided for by membranous partitions and wrappings, 
which keep the parts separate. 

The above may serve as a short account of the manner 
in which the principal viscera are sustained in their places. 
But of the provisions for this purpose, by far, in my opin- 
ion, the most carious, and where also such a provision was 
most wanted, is in the guts. It is pretty evident, that a 
long narrow tube (in man, about five times the length of 
the body) laid from side to side in folds upon one another, 
winding in oblique and circuitous directions, composed al- 
so of a soft and yielding substance, must, without some ex- 
raordinary precaution for its safety, be continually displac- 
ed by the various, sudden, and abrupt motions of the body 
which contains it. I should expect that, if not bruised or 
wounded by every fall, or leap, or twist, it would be entan- 
gled, or be involved with itself, or, at the least, slipped and 
shaken out of the order in which it is disposed, and which 
order is necessary to be preserved for the carrying on of 
the important functions, which it has to execute in the ani- 
mal economy. Let us see, therefore, how a danger so seri- 
ous, and yet so natural to the length, narrowness, and tubu- 
lar form of the part, is provided against. The expedient 
is admirable, and it is this; the intestinal canal, through- 
out its whole progress, is knit to the edge of a broad fat 
membrane called the mesentery. [PI. XXII. fig. 2.] It forma 
the margin of this mesentery, being stitched and fastened 
to it like the edging of a ruffle: Deing four times a» long as 
the mesentery itself, it is what a sempstress would call, 
* pucKered or gathered on" to it. This is the nature of 
the connexion of the gut with the mesentery; and being 
thus joined to, or rather made a part of the mesentery, it is 
folded and wi apped up together with it. Now the mesen- 
tery, ha ing i considerable dimension in breadth, being in 

* Ches Anat. p. 149. 


its substance, w'thal, both thick and suety s capable of a 
close and safe folding, in comparison of what the intestinal 
tube wDuld admit of, if it had remained loose. The me- 
sentery, likewise, not only keeps the intestinal canal in its 
proper place and position, under all the turns and windings 
of its course, bul sustains the numberless small vessels, the 
arteries, the veins, the lympheducts, and, above all, the 
lacteals, which lead from or to almost every point cf its 
coats and cavity. This membrane, which appears to be 
the great support and security of the alimentary apparatus, 
is itself strongly tied to the first three vertebrae of the loins.* 

III. A third general property of animal forms is beauty 
I do not mean relative beauty, or that of one individual 
above another of the same species, or of one species com- 
pared with another species; but I mean generally, the pro- 
vision which is made in the body of almost every animal, 
to adapt its appearance to the perception of the animals 
with which it converses. In our own species, for example, 
only consider what the parts and materials are, of which 
the fairest body is composed; and no farther observation 
will be necessary to show, how well these things are wrap- 
ped up, so as to form a mass, which shall be capable of 
symmetry in its proportion, and of beauty in its aspect; how 
the bones are covered, the bowels concealed, the rough- 
nesses of the muscles smoothed and softened; and how 
over the whole is drawn an integument, which converts the 
disgusting materials of a dissecting-room into an object of 
attraction to the sight, or one upon which it rests, at least, 
with ease and satisfaction. Much of this effect is to be at- 
tributed to the intervention of the cellular or adipose mem- 
brane, which lies immediately under the skin; is a kind 
of lining to it; is moist, soft, slippery, and compiessible; 
everywhere filling up the interstices of the muscles, and 
forming thereby the roundness and flowing line, as well as 
the evenness and polish of the whole surface. 

All which seems to be a strong indication of design, and 
of a design studiously directed to this purpose. And it be- 
ing once allowed, that such a purpose existed with respect 
to any of the productions of nature, we may refer, with a 
considerable degree of probability, other particulars to the 
game intention; such as the tints of flowers, the plumage 
of birds, the furs of beasts, the bright scales of fishes, the 
painted wings of butterflies and beetles, the rich colors and 
spotted lustre of many tribes of insects 

* Keill's Anat. p. 45. 


There are parts also of animals ornamental, and the 
properties oy which they are so, not subservient, that we 
know of, to any other purpose. The irides of most ani- 
mals are very beautiful, without conducing at all, by their 
beaut v, to the perfection of vision; and nature ccjld in no 
part have employed her pencil to so much advantage, 
because no part presents itself so conspicuously to the 
observer, or communicates so great an effect to the whole 

In plants, especially in the flowers of plants, the princi- 
ple of beauty holds a still more considerable place in tbeii 
composition; is still more confessed than in animals. Why, 
for one instance out of a thousand, does the corolla of 
the tulip, when advanced to its size and maturity, change 
its color? The purposes, so far as we can see, of vegeta- 
ble nutrition, might have been carried on as well by its 
continuing green. Or, if this could not be, consistently 
with the progress of vegetable life, why break into such a 
variety of colors? This is no proper effect of age, or 
of declension in the ascent of the sap; for that, like 
the autumnal tints, would have produced one color on 
one leaf, with marks of fading and withering. It seems a 
lame account to call it, as it has been called, a disease 
of the plant. Is it not more probable, that this property, 
which is independent, as it should seem, of the wants and 
utilities of the plant, was calculated for beauty, intended 
for display ? 

A ground, I know, of objection, has been taken against 
the whole topic of argument, namely, that there is no such 
thing as beauty at all; in other words, that whatever is 
useful and familiar, comes of course to be thought beauti- 
ful; and that things appear to be so, only by their alliance 
with these qualities. Our idea of beauty is capable of be- 
ing so modified by habit, by fashion, by the experience of 
advantage or pleasure, and by associations arising out of 
that experience, that a question has been made, whether it 
be not altogether generated by these causes, or would have 
any proper existence without them. It seems, however, a 
carrying of the conclusion too far, to deny the existence of 
the principle, viz. a native capacity of perceiving beauty, 
on account of the influence, or of varieties proceeding 
from that influence, to which it is subject, seeing that prin- 
ciples the most acknowledged are liable to be affected in 
.he same manner. I should rather argue thus: the ques- 
tion respects objects of sight. Now every other sense hath 
ts distincticn of agreeable and disagreeable Some tastes 


offend the palate, others gratify it. n brutes and insects, 
this distinction is stronger and more regular than in man 
Every hors« , ox, sheep, swine, when at liberty t<~ choose, 
and when in a natural state, that is, when not vitiated by 
habits forced upon it, cats and rejects the same plants. 
Many insects which feed upon particular plants, will rather 
die than change their appropriate leaf. All this looks like 
a determination in the sense itself to particular tastes. In 
like manner, smells affect the nose with sensations pleasur- 
able or disgusting. Some sounds, or compositions of sound, 
delight the ear; others torture it. Habit can do much in 
all these cases, (and it is well for us that it can; for it is 
this power which reconciles us to many necessities,) but has 
the distinction, in the meantime, of agreeable and disa- 
greeable, no foundation in the sense itself? What is true 
of the other senses, is most probably true of the eye, (the 
analogy is irresistible,) viz. that there belongs to it an orig- 
inal constitution, fitted to receive pleasure from some im- 
pressions, and pain from others. 

I do not however know, that the argument which al- 
leges beauty as a final cause, rests upon this concession. 
We possess a sense of beauty, however we come by it. It 
in fact exists. Things are not indifferent to this sense; 
all objects do not suit it; many, which we see, are agree- 
able to it; many others disagreeable. It is certainly not 
the effect of habit upon the particular object, because the 
most agreeable objects are often the most rare; many, 
which are very common, continue to be offensive. If they 
be made supportable by habit, it is all which habit can do; 
they never become agreeable. If this sense, therefore, be 
acquired, it is a result; the produce of numerous and com- 
plicated actions of external objects upon the senses, and of 
the mind upon its sensations. With this result, there 
must be a certain congruity to enable any particular object 
to please: and that congruity, we contend, is consulted in 
the aspect which is given to animal and vegetable bodies. 
IV. The skin and covering of animals is that upon 
which their appearance chiefly depends, and it is that part 
which, perhaps, in all animals is most decorated, and most 
free from impurities. But were beauty, or agreeableness 
of aspect, entirely out of the question, there is another 
purpose answered by this integument, and by the collo- 
cation of the parts of the body beneath it, which is of 
still greater importance; and that purpose is concealment. 
Were it possible to view through the skin the mechanism 
our bodies, the sight would friphte is out of our wits 


1 Durst w* make a single movement," asks a lively French 
writer, '' or stir a step from the place we were in, if we saw 
our blood circulating, the tendons pulling, the lungs Mow- 
ing, the humours filtrating, and all the incomprehensible 
assemblage of fibres, tubes, pumps, valves, currents, piv- 
ots, which sustain an existence, at once so frail, and so pre- 
sumptuo .s?" 

V. Of animal bodies, considered as masses, there is 
another property, more curious than it is generally thought 
Jo be; which is the faculty of standing: and it is more 
remarkable intwo-legged animals than in quadrupeds, and, 
most of all, as being the tallest, and resting upon the small- 
est base, in man.* There is more, I think, in the matter 
than we are aware of. The statue of a man, placed loosely 
upon its pedestal, would not be secure of standing half an 
hour. You are obliged to fix its feet to the block by bolts 
and solder; or the first shake, the first gust of wind, is sure 
to throw it down. Yet this statue shall express all the 
mechanical proportions of a living model. It is not, there- 
fore, the mere figure, or merely placing the centre of grav- 
ity within the base, that is sufficient. Either the law of 
gravitation is suspended in favor of living substances, or 
something more is done for them, in order to enable them 
to uphold their posture. There is no reason whatever to 
doubt, but that their parts descend by gravitation in the 
same manner as those of dead matter. The gift, there- 
fore, appears to me to consist, in a faculty of perpetually 
shifting the centre of gravity, by a set of obscure, indeed, 
but of quick-balancing actions, so as to keep the line 
of direction, which is aline drawn from that centre to the 
ground, within its prescribed limits. Of these actions it 
may be observed, first, that they in part constitute what wd 
call strength. The dead body drops down. The mere 
adjustment, therefore, of weight and pressure, which may 
be the same the moment after death as the moment before, 
does not support the column. In cases also of extreme 

Anatomy explains the mode in which the weight of the body is 
transmitted to the feet; and we have seen that the muscles which prevent 
ihe head from falling forward in standing, have their fixed point in the 
neck; that those which perform the same office with regard to the verte- 
bral column, have theirs in the pelvis; that those which preserve the pel- 
vis in equilibrium are attached to the tl ighs, or to the bones of the legs 
.hat those which prevent the thighs from falling backward are inserted into 
.he tibia; and lastly, that those that \ -eserve the tibia in their verti- 
cal position have f'leir fixed point in the feet; these preserve us firn» in 
a sta iding position - Paxton 


weakness, the patient cannot stand uprignt. Secondly, 
that these actions are only in a small degree voluntary. A 
man is seldom conscious of his voluntary powers in keep- 
ing himself upon his legs. A child learning to walk is the 
greatest posture-master in the world; hut art, if it may he 
so called, sinks into habit; and he is soon ahle to poise 
himself in a great variety of attitudes, without heing sen- 
sible either of caution or effort. But still there must he 
an aptitude of parts, upon which habit can thus attach; a 
previous capacity of motions which the animal is thus taught 
to exercise: and the facility with which this exercise 
is acquired forms one object of our admiration What 
parts are principally employed, or in what manner each 
contributes its office, is, as hath already been confessed, 
difficult to explain. Perhaps the obscure motion of the 
bones of the feet may have their share in this effect. 
They are put in action by every slip or vacillation of the 
body, and seem to assist in restoring its balance. Certain 
it is, that this circumstance in the structure of the foot, 
viz. its being composed of many small bones, applied to, 
and articulating with one another, by diversely shaped sur- 
faces, instead of being made of one piece, like the last of 
a shoe, is very remarkable.* I suppose also, that it would 
be difficult to stand firmly upon stilts or wooden legs, though 
their base exactly imitated the figure and dimensions 
of the sole of the foot. The alternation of the joints, 
the knee-joint bending backward, the hip-joint forward; 
the flexibility, in every direction, of the spine, especially 
in the loins and neck, appear to be of great moment in 
preserving the equilibrium of the body. With respect to this 
last circumstance, it is observable, that the vertebras are so 
confined by ligaments, as to allow no more slipping upon 

* [See Plate XL] There is no part of the human frame which is rnoro 
wonderfully constructed than the foot. It has the requisite strength to 
support the weight of the body, and often an additional burden; flexibil'ty, 
that it may be adapted to the inequalities of the surface on which we tread; 
and elasticity, to assist in walking, running, and springing from the ground. 
This advantage we possess from the number of joints, the arch of the 
foot being composed of twenty-six bones. These bones have a con- 
siderable play on each other; and as each articulating surface is cover 
ed with cartilage, the essential property of which is elasticity, the 
jarring is thus prevented which would result from a contact of the 

" The first question which naturally arises, is, Why there should be 
go many bones? The answer is — In order that thee may be so many 
joints ; foi the structure of a joint not only permits motion but bestows 
elasticity. ' ' — Paxton 


tbeir bases, than what is just sufficient to break the snocn 
which any violent motion may occasion to the body. A 
certain degree also of tension of the sinews appears to be 
essential to an erect posture; for it is by the loss of this, 
*hat the dead or paralytic body drops down. The whole 
is a wonderful result of combined powers, and of very 
complicated operations. Indeed, that standing is not so 
simple a business as we imagine it to be, is evident from 
i*he strange gesticulations of a drunken man, who has lost 
aie government of the centre of gravity. 

We have said that this property is the most worthy of 
observation in the human body: but a bird, resting upon 
its perch, or hopping upon a spray, affords no mean speci- 
men of the same faculty. A chicken runs off as soon as it 
is hatched from the egg; yet a chicken, considered geo- 
metrically, and with relation to its centre of gravity, its 
line of direction, and its equilibrium, is a very irregular 
solid. Is this gift, therefore, or instruction? May it not 
be said to be with great attention, that nature hath balanc- 
ed the body upon its pivots? 

I observe also in the same bird a piece of useful me- 
chanism of this kind. In the trussing of a fowl, upon bend- 
ing the legs and thighs up towards the body, the cook find*< 
that the claws close of their own accord. Now let it be 
remembered, that this is the position of the limbs, in which 
the bird rests upon its perch. And in this position it sleeps 
in safety; for the claws do their office in keeping hold of 
the support, not by any exertion of voluntary power, which 
sleep might suspend, but by the traction of the tendons in 
consequence of the attitude which the legs and thighs take 
by the bird sitting down, and to which the mere weight of 
the body gives the force that is necessary. 

VI. Regarding the human body as a mass; regarding 
the general conformations which obtain in it; regarding 
also particular parts in respect to those conformations; we 
shall be led to observe what I call " interrupted analogies." 
The following are examples of what I mean by these terms, 
and I do not know how such critical deviations can, by 
any possible hypothesis, be accounted for without design. 

1. All the bones of the body are covered with a peri- 
osUi«m, except the teeth; where it ceases, and an enamel 
of i\ory, which saws and files will hardly touch, comes into 
its place. No one can doubt of the use and propriety of 
his difference; of the "analogy" being thus "interrupted;" 
of the rule, which belongs to the conformation of the bones 
f jjpir.g where it does stop; for, had so exquisitely sensi- 


ble a membrane as the periosteum invested the teoth, as u 
invests every other bone of the body, ilwir action, necessa- 
ry exposure, and irritation, would have subjected the ani- 
mal to continual pain. General as it is, it was not the sort 
of integument which suited the teeth. What they stood in 
need of, was a strong, hard, insensible, defensive coat; and 
exactly such a covering is given to them, in the ivory 
enamel which adheres to their surface. 

2. The scarf-skin, which clothes all the rest of the body, 
gives way, at the extremities of the toes and fingers, to nails. 
A man has only to look at his hand, to observe with what 
n»cety and precision, that covering, which extends over 
every other part, is here superseded by a different sub- 
stance, and a different texture. Now, if either the rule 
had been necessarv, or the deviation from it accidental 
this effect would not be seen. When I speak of the rule 
being necessary, I mean the formation of the skin upon the 
surface being produced by a set of causes constitutedwith- 
out design, and acting, as all ignorant causes must act, by 
a general operation. Were this the case, no account could 
be given of the operation being suspended at the lingers' 
ends, or on the back part of the fingers, and not on the 
foie part. On the other hand, if the deviation were acci- 
dental, an error, an anomalism; were it anything else than 
settled by intention; we should meet with nails upon other 
parts of the body. They would be scattered over the sur 
face., like warts or pimples. 

3. All the great cavities of the body are enclosed by 
membranes, except the skull. Why should not the brain be 
content with the same covering as that which serves for the 
other principal organs of the body? The heart, the lungs, 
the liver, the stomach, the bowels, have all soft integuments, 
and nothing else. The muscular coats are all soft and 
membranous. I can see a reason for this distinction in the 
final cause, but in no other. The importance of the brain 
(o life, (which experience proves to be immediate,) and the 
extreme tenderness of its substance, make a solid caso 
more necessary for it, than for any other part; and such a 
case the. hardness of the skull supplies. When the small- 
est portion of this natural casket is lost, how carefully, yet 
how imperfectly is it replaced by a plate of metal? If an 
anatomist should say, that this bony protection is not con 
fined to the brain, but is extended along the course of the 
spine, I answer, that he adds strength to the argument. If 
ne remark, that the chest also is fortified by bones, I reply, 
that T should have alleged this instance myself, if the ribs 



nad not appeared subservient to the purpose of mum n an 
well as of defence What distinguishes the skull from tverv 
other cavity is, that the bony covering completely surrounds 
its contents, and is calculated, not for motion, but solely for 
defence. Those hollows, likewise, and inequalities, which 
we observe in the inside of the skull, and which exactly (it 
the folds of the brain, answer the important design of ket p- 
ng ".he substance of the brain steady, and of guarding H 
Bgainst concussions 



Whenever we find a general plan pursued, yet with 
such variations in it as are, in each case required by the 
particular exigency of the subject to which it is applied, we 
possess, in such plan and such adaptation, the strongest evi- 
dence that can be afforded of intelligence and design; an 
evidence which most completely excludes every other 
hypothesis. If the general plan proceeded from any fixed 
necessity in the nature of things, how could it accommodate 
tself to the various wants and uses which it had to serve 
under different circumstances, and on different occa?*cns? 
Arkwright's mill was invented for the spinning of cxtton. 
We see it employed for the spinning of wool, fla^, and 
hemp, with such modifications of the original principle, 
such variety in the same plan, as the texture of those dif- 
ferent materials rendered necessary. Of the machine's 
being put together with design, if it were possible to doubt, 
whilst we saw it only under one mode, and in one form, 
when we came to observe it in its different applications, 
with such changes of structure, such additions, and supple 
ments, as the special and particular use in each case de- 
manded, we could not refuse any longer our assent to the 
proposition, "that intelligence, properly and strictly so 
called, (including under that name, foresight, consideration, 
reference to utility,) had been employed, as well in the 
primitive plan, as in the several changes and accommoda- 
tions which i is made to undergo." 

Very much of this reasoning is applicable to what has 
been called Comparative Anatomy. In their general econ- 
omy, in the outlines of the plan, in the construction as well 
as offices of their principal parts, there exists between ai? 


large terrestrial animals a close resemblance. In all ife m 
Bustained, and the body nourished by nearly the same ap- 
paratus. The heart, the lungs, the stomach, the liver, the 
kidneys, are much alike in all. The same fluid (for no 
distinction of blood has been observed) circulates through 
their vessels, and nearly in the same order. The same 
cause, therefore, whatever that cause was, has been con- 
cerned in the origin, has governed the production of these 
different animal forms. 

When we pass on to smaller animals, ir to the inhabi- 
tants of a different element, the resemblai ce becomes more 
distant and more obscure; but still the | Ian accompanies 

And, what we can never enough comi.iend, and which it 
is our business at present to exemplify, the plan is attend- 
ed, through all its varieties and deflections, by subservien- 
cies to special occasions and utilities. 

I. The covering of different animals (though whether I 
am correct in classing this under their anatomy I do not 
know) is the first thing which presents itself to our observa- 
tion; and is, in truth, both for its variety, and its suitable- 
ness to their several natures, as much to be admired as any 
part of their structure. We have bristles, hair, wool, furs, 
feathers, quills, prickles, scales; yet in this diversity both 
of material and form, we cannot change one animal's coat 
for another, without evidently changing it for the worse; 
taking care however to remark, that these coverings are, in 
many cases, armor as well as clothing; intended for pro- 
tection as well as warmth. 

The human animal is the only one which is naked, and the 
only one which can clothe itself. This is one of the proper- 
ties which renders him an animal of all climates, and of 
all seasons. He can adapt the warmth or lightness of his 
covering to the temperature of his habitation. Had ho 
been born with a fleece upon his back, although he might 
have been comforted by its warmth in high latitudes, it 
would have oppressed him by its weight and heat, as the 
species spread towards the equator. 

What art, however, does for men, nature has, in many 
instances, done for those animals which are incapable of 
irt. Their clothing, of its own accord, changes with 
their necessities. This is particularly the case with that 
hrge tribe of quadrupeds which are covered with furs. 
Every dealer in hare-skins and rabbit-skins, knows how 
much the fur is thickened by the approach of winter. It 
seems to be a part of the same constitution and the same 


design, tha. wool in hot countries, degenerate «, as it is 
called, b ut n truth (most happily for the animal's ease) 
passes into hair; whilst, on the contrary, that hair on the 
dogs of the polar regions, is turned into wool, or some- 
thing very like it. To which may be referred, what natural 
ists have remarked, that bears, wolves, foxes, hares, which 
do not take the water, have the fur much thicker on the 
back than the belly: whereas in the beaver it is the thick- 
est upon the belly; as are the feathers on waterfow . 
We know the final cause of all this; and we know no 

The covering of birds cannot escape the most vulgar ob- 
servation. Its lightness, its smoothness, its warmth; — the 
disposition of the feathers all inclined backward, the down 
about their stem, the overlapping of tneir tips, their differ- 
ent configuration in different parts, not to mention the va- 
riety of their colors, constitute a vestment for the body ; 
so beautiful, and so appropriate to the life which the animal 
is to lead, as that, I think, we should have had no concep- 
tion of anything equally perfect, if we had never seen it, 
or can now imagine anything more so. Let us suppose 
(what is possible only in supposition) a person who had 
never seen a bird, to be presented with a plucV ed pheasant, 
and bid to set his wits to work, how to contrive for it a 
covering which shall unite the qualities of warmth, levity, 
and least resistance to the air, and the highest degree of 
each; giving it also as much of beauty and ornament as 
he could afford. He is the person to behold the work of 
the Deity, in this part of his creation, with the sentiments 
which are due to it. 

The commendation, which the general aspect of the 
feathered world seldom fails of exciting, will be increased 
by farther examination. It is one of those cases in which 
the philosopher has more to admire than the common ob- 
server. Every feather is a mechanical wonder. If we 
look at the quill, we find properties not easily brought 
together, — strength and lightness. I know few thugs 
more remarkable than the strength and lightness of the 
very pen with which I am writing. If we cast our eye 
to the upper part of the stem, we see a material, made for 
the purpose, used in no other class of animals, and in no 
othe ; * part of birds; tough, light, pliant, elastic. The 
pith, also, which feeds the feathers, is, amongst animal 
substances, sui generis: neither bone, flesh, membrane, 
nor tendon. 

But the artificia! part of a feather is the beard, or, as il 


is sometimes, I believe, called, the vane. By the btarda 
are meant, what are fastened on each side of the stem, and 
what constitute the breadth of the feather; what we usual- 
ly strip ofT, from one side or both, when we make a pen. 
The separate pieces of laminae, of which the beard is 
composed, are called threads, sometimes filaments, or rays. 
Now the first thing which an attentive observer will remark 
is, hew much stronger the beard of the feather shows it- 
self to be, when pressed in a direction perpendicular to its 
plane, than when rubbed, either up or down, in the line of 
the stem; and he will soon discover the structure which 
occasions this difference, viz. that the laminae, whereof 
these beards are composed, are flat, and placed with their 
flat sides towards each other; by which means, whilst they 
easily tend for the approaching of each other, as any one 
may perceive by drawing his finger ever so lightly upwards, 
they are much harder to bend out of their plane, which is 
the direction in which they have to encounter the impulse 
and pressure of the air, and in which their strength is 
wanted and put to the trial. 

This is one particularity in the structure of a feather; 
a second is still more extraordinary. Whoever examines 
a feather, cannot help taking notice, that the threads or la- 
minae, of which we have been speaking, in their natural 
state unite; that their union is something more than the 
mere apposition of loose surfaces; that they are not part- 
ed asunder without some degree of force; that nevertheless 
there in no glutinous cohesion between the*- , that, there- 
fore, by some mechanical means or other, they catch or 
clasp among themselves, thereby giving to the beard or 
vane its closeness and compactness of texture. Nor is this 
all: when two laminae, which have been separated by acci- 
dent or force, are brought together again, they immediately 
reclasp; the connexion, whatever it was, is perfectly re- 
covered, and the beard of the feather becomes as smooth 
and firm as if nothing had happened to it. Draw your fin- 
ger down the feather, which is against the grain, and you 
break probably the junction of some of the contiguous 
threads; draw your finger up the feather, and you restoro 
all things to their former state. This is no common con- 
trivance: and now for the mechanism by which it is ef- 
fected.* The threads or laminae above mentioned, are in- 

* By the aid of the microscope it appears, that the laminae are not flat, 

as they arpear to the unassisted eye, but are semi-tubular, having on 

her outward edge a series of bristles, termed in the text fibres, set in pair* 

opposite one another, which clasp with the bristles of the approximate 



terlaced with one another; and the interlacing is perform* 
ed by means of a vast number of fibres, or teeth, which 
the laminae shoot forth on each side, and which hook and 
grapple together. A friend of mine counted fifty of these 
fibres in one twentieth of an inch. These fibres are crook- 
ed ; but curved after a different manner: for those which 
proceed from the thread on the side towards the extremity 
jf the feather, are longer, more flexible, and bent down 
ward; whereas those which proceed from the side towards 
the beginning, or quill-end of the feather, are shorter, firm- 
er, and turn upwards. The process then which takes 
place is as follows: When two laminae are pressed to- 
gether, so that these long fibres are forced far enough over 
the short ones, their crooked parts fall into the cavity made 
by the crooked parts of the others; just as the latch that is 
fastened to a door enters into the cavity of the catch fixed 
to the door-post, and there hooking itself, fastens the door; 
for it is properly in this manner, that one thread of a 
feather is fastened to the other. 

This admirable structure of the feather, which it is easy 
to see with the microscope, succeeds perfectly for the use 
to which nature has designed it; which use was, not only 
that the laminae might be united, but that when one thread 
or lamina has been separated from another by some exter- 
nal violence, it might be reclasped with sufficient facility 
and expedition.* 

In the ostrich, this apparatus of crotchets and fibres, of 
hooks and teeth, is wanting: and we see the consequence 
of the want. The filaments hang loose and separate from 
one another, forming only a kind of down; which consti- 
tution of the feathers, however it may fit them for the flow- 
ing honors of a lady's head-dress, may be reckoned an 
imperfection in the bird, inasmuch as wings, composed of 
these feathers, although they may greatly assist it in run- 
ning, do not serve for flight. 

But under the present division of our subject, our busi- 
ness with feathers is, as they are the covering of the bird. 
And herein a singular circumstance occurs. In the small 
order of birds which winter with us, from a snipe down- 

laminag, and cause that adhesiveness observable between the several 
amino? of the vane. 

The bristles are not of the same form on each side of one lamina ; the 
ower tier, Tab. XXIII. fig. 6. form a simple and slight curve, while the 
upper, fig. 7. terminate with three or four little hooks, which serve to 
catch the simple corresponding bristle, fig. 6. of the next lanviia. 

* The abjve account is taken from Memoirs for a Natural History of 
Animals by the Royal Academy of Paris, published 1701, p. 20.9. 


wards, let he external color of the feathers be what it 
will, their Creator has universally given them a bed of 
black down next their bodies. Black, we know, is the 
warmest color; and the purpose here is, to keep in the 
heai, arising from the heart and circulation of the blood. 
It is farther likewise remarkable, that this is not found in 
larger birds; for which there is also a reason: — small birds 
are much more exposed to the cold than large ones; foras- 
much as they present, in proportion to their bulk, a much 
larger surface to the air. If a turkey were divided into a 
number of wrens, (supposing the shape of the turkey and 
the wren to be similar,) the surface of all the wrens would 
exceed the surface of the turkey, in the proportion of the 
length, breadth, (or, of any homologous line,) of a turkey 
to that of a wren; which would be, perhaps, a proportion 
of ten to one. It was necessary, therefore, that small 
birds should be more warmly clad than large ones: and this 
seems to be the expedient by which that exigency is pro- 
vided for. 

II. In comparing different animals, I know no part of 
their structure which exhibits greater variety, or, in that 
variety, a nicer accommodation to their respective conve- 
niency, than that which is seen in the different formations 
of their mouths. Whether the purpose be the reception of 
aliment merely, or the catching of prey, the picking up 
of seeds, the cropping of herbage, the extraction of juices, 
the suction of liquids, the breaking and grinding of food, 
the taste of that food, together with the respiration of air, 
and, in conjunction with it, the utterance of sound; these 
various offices are assigned to this one part, and, indiffer- 
ent species, provided for, as they are wanted, by its differ- 
ent constitution. In the human species, forasmuch as 
there are hands to convey the food to the mouth, the mouth 
is flat, and by reason of its flatness, fitted only for recep- 
tion; whereas the projecting jaws, the wide rictus, the 
pointed teeth of the dog and his affinities, enable them to 
apply their mouths to snatch and seize the objects of their 
pursuit. The full lips, the rough tongue, the corrugated 
cartilaginous palate, the broad cutting teeth of the ox, the 
deer, the horse, and the sheep, qualify this tribe for brows- 
ing upon their pasture; either gathering large mouthfula 
at once, where the grass is long, which is the case with 
the ox in particular; or biting close, where it is short, 
whicn the horse and the sheep are able to do, in a degree 
that one could hardly expect. The retired under jaw of a 
swine works in the ground, after the protruding snout lik" 


q prong or ploughshare, has made its way to the roots up^ri 
which it feeds. A conformation so happy was not the gift 
of chance. 

In birds, this organ assumes a new character; new both 
in substance and in form; but in both, wonderfully adapted 
to the wants and uses of a distinct mode of existence. We 
nave no longer the fleshy lips, the teeth of enamelled bone; 
but we have, in the place of these two parts, and to perform 
the office of both, a hard substance (of the same nature 
with that which composes the nails, claws , and hoofs of 
quadrupeds) cut out into proper shapes, and mechanically 
suited to the actions which are wanted. The sharp edge 
and tempered point of the sparrow's bill picks almost every 
kind of seed from its concealment in the plant; and not 
only so, but hulls the grain, breaks and shatters the coats 
of the seed, in order to get at the kernel. The hooked beak 
of the hawk tribe separates the flesh from the bones of the 
animals which it feeds upon, almost with the cleanness and 
precision of a dissector's knife. The butcher-bird trans- 
fixes its prey upon the spike of a thorn, whilst it picks its 
Dones. In some birds of this class, we have the cross bill, 

e. both the upper and lower bill hooked, and their tips 
crossing. The spoon bill, enables the goose to graze, to 
collect its food fr^m the bottom of pools, or to seek it 
amidst the soft or li i substances with which it is mixed. 
The long tapering t>ill of the snipe and woodcock, pene- 
trates still deeper into moist earth, which is the bed in which 
the food of that species is lodged. This is exactly the in- 
strument which the animal wanted. It did not want 
strength in its bill, which was inconsistent with the slender 
form of the animal's neck, as well as unnecessary for the 
Kind of aliment upon which it subsists ; but it wanted 
length to reach its object. 

But the species of bill which belongs to birds that live 
by suction, deserves to be described in its relation to that 
office. They are what naturalists call serrated or dentated 
bills; the inside of them, towards the edge, being thickly 
set with parallel or concentric rows of short, strong, sharp- 
pointed prickles. These, though they should be called 
ieeth, are not for the purpose of mastication, like the teeth 
of quadrupeds: nor yet, as in fish, for the seizing and retain- 
ing of their prey; but for a quite different use. They 
form a filter The cluck by means of them discusses the 
mud; examining with great accuracy the puddle, the brake, 
every mixture which is likely to contain her food. The 
operatior is thus carried on: — The liquid or semi -liquid sub* 


stances, in which the animal has plunged her bi!», si g 
draws, by the action of her lungs, through the narrow in- 
terstices which lie between these teeth; catching, as the 
stream passes across her beak, whatever it may happen to 
bring along with it, that proves agreeable to her choice, 
and eas'ly dismissing all the rest. Now, suppose the pur- 
pose to have been, out of a mass of confused heterogene- 
ous substances, to separate for the use of the animal, or 
rather to enable the animal to separate for its own, those few 
paiticles which suited its taste and digestion; what more 
artificial, or more commodious instrument of selection, 
could have been given to it, than this natural filter?* Tt has 
been observed, also, (what must enable the bird to choose 
and distinguish with greater acuteness, as well, probably, 
as what increases its gratification and its luxury,) that the 
bills of this species are furnished with large nerves, that 
they are covered with a skin, — and that the nerves run 
down to the very extremity. In the curlew, woodcock, and 
snipe, there are ihrcc pairs of nerves, equal almost to the 
optic nerve in thickness, which pass first alorg the roof of 
the mouth, and then along the upper chap, down to the 
point of the bill, long as the bill is. [PI. XXIII. fig. 1.] 

But to return to the train of our observations. — The sim- 
ilitude between the bills of birds and the mouths of quad- 
rupeds, is exactly such as, for the sake of the argument, 
might be wished for. It is near enough to show the con- 
tinuation of the same plan; it is remote enough to exclude 
the supposition of the difference being produced by action 
or use. A more prominent contour, or a wider gape might 
be resolved into the effect of continued efforts, on the part 
of the species, to thrust out the mouth, or open it to the 
stretch. But by what course of action, or exercise, or en- 
deavour, shall we get rid of the lips, the gums, the teeth; 
and acquire, in the place of them, pincers of horn? By 
what habit shall we so completely change, not only the 
shape of the part, but the substance of which it is compos- 
ed? The truth is, if we had seen no other than the mouths 
of quadrupeds, we should have thought no other could have 
been formed: little could we have supposed, that all the 
purposes of a m »uth furnished with lips, and armed with 

* There is a remarkable contrivance of this kind in the genus balwyxa, 
or proper whale. Numerous parallel plates of the substance called 
whalebone, "over the palatine surface of the uper jaw, and descend ver- 
tically into tne mouth; the lower edges are fringed by long fibres, wine* 
semi the .mimal, when taking in the water, to retain the tnnUuscse, 
with wbi h the watei abounds, and which constitiite its food-- -Paxton 


teeth, could be answered by an instrument which hadnonw 
of these; c( uld be supplied, and that with many additional 
advantages, by the hardness, and sharpness, and figure of 
the bills of birds. 

Everything about the animal mouth is mechanical. The 
teeth of fish have their points turned backward, like the 
teeth of a wool or cotton card. The teeth of lobsters work 
one against another, like the sides of a pair of shears. In 
many insects, the mouth is converted into a pump or sucker, 
fitted at the end sometimes with a wimble, sometimes with 
a forceps; by which double provisions, viz. of the tube and 
the penetrating form of the point, the insect first bores 
through the integuments of its prey, and then extracts the 
juices. And, what is most extraordinary of all, one sort of 
mouth, as the occasion requires, shall be changed into an- 
other sort. The caterpillar could not live without teeth; 
in several species, the butterfly formed from it could not 
use them. The old teeth therefore, are cast off with the 
exuviae of the grub ; a new and totally different apparatus as- 
sumes their place in the fly. Amid these novelties of form, 
we sometimes forget that it is, all the while, the animal's 
mouth; that, whether it be lips, or teeth, or bill, or beak, 
or shears, or pump, it is the same part diversified: and it 
is also remarkable, that, under all the varieties of configura- 
tion with which we are acquainted, and which are very 
great, the organs of taste and smelling are situated near 
each other. 

III. To the mouth adjoins the gullet: in this part also, 
comparative anatomy discovers a difference of structure, 
adapted to the different necessities of the animal. In 
brutes, because the posture of their neck conduces little 
to the passage of the aliment, the fibres of the gullet, which 
act in this business, run in two close spiral lines, crossing 
each other: in men these fibres run only a little obliquely 
from the upper end of the oesophagus to the stomach, into 
which, by a gentle contraction, they easily transmit the 
descending morsels; that is to say, for the more laborioua 
deglutition of animals, which thrust their food up instead 
of down, and also through a longer passage, a proportion- 
ably more powerful apparatus of muscles is provided; more 
powerful, rot merely by the strength of the fibres, which 
might be attributed to the greater exercise of their force, 
but in their collocation, which is a determinate circum- 
stance, and must have been original. 

IV. Tie gullet leads to the intestines; here, likewise, 
as before, comparing quadrupeds with man, under a gene- 


ral simili.udd wc meet with appropriate difTei ences. The 
valvules connivzntes, or, as they are by some ealled, the 
semilunar valves, found in the human intestine, are want 
mg in that of brutes. These are wrinkles or plaits of the 
innermost coat of the guts, the effect of which is, to retard 
the progress of the food through the alimentary canal. It 
is easy to understand how much more necessary such a 
provision may be to the body of an animal of an erect pos- 
ture, and in which, consequently, the weight of the food 
is added to the action of the intestine, than in that of n 
quadruped, in which the course of the food, from its en- 
trance to its exit, is nearly horizontal: but it is impossible 
to assign any cause, except the final cause, for this distinc- 
tion actually taking place.* [PI. XXIII. fig. 2.] So far 
as depends upon the action of the part, this structure was 
more to be expected in a quadruped than in a man. In 
truth, it must in both have been formed, not by action, but 
in direct opposition to action, and to pressure; but the op- 
position which would arise from pressure, is greater in the 
upright trunk than in any other. That theory therefore is 
pointedly contradicted by the example before us. The 
structure is found where its generation, according to the 
method by which the theorist would have it generated, is 
the most difficult; but (observe) it is found where its effect 
is most useful. 

The different length of the intestines in carnivorous and 
herbivorous animals, has been noticed on a former occasion. 
The shortest, I believe, is that of some birds of prey, in 
which the intestinal canal is little more than a straight pas- 
sage from the mouth to the vent. The longest is in the 
deer kind. The intestines of a Canadian stag, four feet 
high, measured ninety-six feet.")" The intestines of a sheep, 
unravelled, measures thirty times the length of the bodv 
The intestines of a wild cat is only three times the length 
of the body. Universally, where the substance upon which 
the animal feeds is of slow concoction, or yields its ch)le 

* It may be questioned, whether these extremely soft rugae cr fo!dj 
of the villous coat of the intestine can in the least retard the passage of 
the food through i.s canal ; nor does the erect attitude of man require 
them ; for since there are as many of the convolutions of the intestines 
ascending as there are descending, the weight of the food can have no 
influence in the action of the intestine: it is certain, however, that this 
arrangement of the internal coat, affords a more extensive surface foi 
the lacteals and secreting vessels ; and this appears to be the ?eal u»4 
of the valvules conniventes. — Paxtnn. 

+ Mem. of Acad. Paris, 1701, p. 170 


with i.iore difficulty, there the passage is circuitous and 
dilatory, that time and space may be allowed for the change 
and the absorption which are necessary. Where the food 
is soon dissolved, or already half assimilated, an unneces- 
sary, or perhaps hurtful, detention is avoided, by giving to 
it a shorter and a readier route. 

V. In comparing the bones of different animals, we are 
struck, in the bones of birds, with a propriety, which c uld 
only proceed from the wisdom of an intelligent and design- 
ing Creator. In the bones of an animal which is to flv, the 
two qualities required are strength anc lightness. Where- 
in, therefore, do the bones of birds (I speak of the cylindri- 
cal bones) differ in these respects from the bones of quad- 
rupeds ? In three properties; first, their cavities are much 
larger in proportion to the weight of the bone than in tho-;e 
of quadrupeds; secondly, these cavities are empty; thirdly, 
the shell is of a firmer texture than the substance of other 
bones. It is easy to observe those particulars, even in 
picking the wing or leg of a chicken. Now, the weight 
being the same, the diameter, it is evident, will be greater 
.n a hollow bone than in a solid one, and with the diame- 
ter, as every mathematician can prove, is increased, cceteris 
paj^ibiis, the strength of the cylinder, or its resistance to 
breaking. In a word, a bone of the same weight would 
not have been so strong in any other form; and to have 
made it heavier, would have incommoded the animal's 
flight. Yet this form could not be acquired by use, or the 
bone become hollow and tubular by exercise. What appe- 
tency could excavate a bone? 

VI. The lungs also of birds, as compared with the lung9 
of quadrupeds, contain in them a provision, distinguishingly 
calculated for this same purpose of levitation; namely, a 
communication (not found in other kinds of animals) be- 
tween the air-vessels of the lungs and the cavities of the 
body; so that by the intromission of air from one to the 
other (at the will, as it should seem, of tie animal,) its body 
can be occasionally puffed out, and its tendency to descend 
in the air, or its specific gravity, made less. The bodies 
of birds are blown up from their lungs (which no o'her ani- 
mal bodies are,) and thus rendered buoyant. 

VII. All birds are ovivaroas. This likewise carries 
on the work of gestation with as little increase as possible 
of the weight of the body. A gravid uterus would have 
been a troublesome burden to a bird in its flight. The ad- 
vantage, in this respect, of an oviparous procreation is, thai 
whilst the whole brood ar* 1 hatched together, the eggs are 


excluded singly, and at considerable intervals. Ten, fif- 
teen, or twenty young birds may be produced in one cletch 
or covey, yet the parent bird have never been encum- 
bered by the load of more than one full-grown egg at one 

VIII. A principal topic of comparison between animals, 
is in their instruments of motion. These come before us 
under three divisions; feet, wings, and fins. I desire any 
man to say, which of the three is best fitted for its use; 01 
whether the same consummate art be not conspicuous in 
them all. The constitution of the elements in which the 
motion is to be performed, is very different. The animal 
action must necessarily follow that constitution. The 
Creator, therefore, if we might so speak, had to prepare for 
different situations, for different difficulties ; yet the purpose 
is accomplished not less successfully in one case than in the 
otner; and, as between wings and the corresponding limbs 
of quadrupeds, it is accomplished without deserting the 
general idea. The idea is modified, not deserted. Strip 
awing of its feathers, and it bears no obscure resemblance 
to the fore leg of a quadruped. The articulations at the 
shoulder and the cubitus are much alike; and, what is a 
closer circumstance, in both cases the upper part of the 
limb consists of a single bone, the lower part of two. 

But, fitted up with its furniture of feathers and quills, it 
becomes a wonderful instrument, more artificial than its 
first appearance indicates, though that be very striking: at 
least, the use which the bird makes of its wings in flying 
is more complicated, and more curious, than is generally 
known. One thing is certain, that if the flapping of the 
wings in flight were no more than the reciprocal motion o. 
the same surface in opposite directions, either upwards and 
downwards, or estimated in any oblique line, the bird 
would lose as much by one motion as she gained by another. 
The skylark could never ascend by such an action as this; 
for, though the stroke upon the air by the underside of her 
wing would carry her up, the stroke from the upper side, 
when she raised her wing again, would bring her down. 
In order, therefore, to account for the advantage which the 
bird derives from her wing, it is necessary to suppose that 
the surface of the wing, measured upon the same plane, is 
contracted whilst the wing is drawn up; and let out to its 
full expansion, when it descends upon the air for the pur- 
pose of moving the body by the reaction of that element. 
Now, the form and structure of the wing, its external con- 
vexity, the disposition and particularly the •overlapping, 



of its hrger feathers, the action of the muscles, * and oints 
of the pinions, are all adapted to this alternate adjustmen. 
of its shape and dimensions. Such a twist, for instance, 
or semirotatory motion, is given to the great feathers of the 
wing, that they strike the air with their flat side, but rise 
from the stroke slantwise. The turning of the oar in row- 
ing whilst the rower advances his hand for a new stroke. 
is a similar operation to that of the feather, and takes ita 
name from the resemblance. I believe that this faculty is 
not found in the great feathers of the tail. This is tlio 
place also for observing, that the pinions are so set up- 
on the body, as to bring down the wings, not vertically, 
but in a direction obliquely tending towards the tail ; which 
motion, by virtue of the common resolution of forces, does 
two things at the same time; supports the body in the air 
and carries it forward. 

The steerage of a bird in its flight is effected partly 
by the wing. >ut in a principal degree by the tail. And 
herein we meet with a circumstance not a little remarka- 
ble. Birds with long legs have short tails, and in their 
flight place their legs close to their bodies, at the same 
time stretching them out backwards as far as thev can. 
In this position the legs extend beyond the rump, and be- 
come the rudder; supplying that steerage which the tail 
could not. 

From the wings of birds, the transition is easy to the 
ns offish. They are both, to their respective tribes, the 
instruments of their motion; but in the work which they 
have to do, there is a considerable difference, founded on 
this circumstance. Fish, unlike birds, have very nearly 
the same specific gravity with the element in which they 
move. In the case of fish, therefore, there is little or no 
weight to bear up; what is wanted, is only an impulse suffi- 
cient to carry the body through a resisting medium, or to 
maintain the posture, or to support or restore the balance 
of the body, which is always the most unsteady where 
there is no weight to sink it. For these offices the fins are- 
as large as necessary, though much smaller than wings, 

* There are three powerful muscles (the fleshy part of the breast) 
called pectoral muscles, which, with other smaller on the bones of the 
wing which are analogous to the arm, press with vigor on the air, the 
elasticity of which gives support. " And it is remarkable that the gene- 
ral resemblance which the best form of windmill sails bears to the fea- 
thers of the wings of birds is striking, and one of those beautiful instances 
of truly mathematical principles on which the works of creation are con 
structed."- Paxton. 



their action mechanical, their position, ami the muscles by 
which they are moved, in the highest degree convenient 
The following short account of some experiments upon fish, 
made for the purpose of ascertaining the use of their (ins, will 
he the best confirmation of what we assert. In most fish, 
beside the great fin, the tail, we find two pair of fins upon 
the sides, two single fins upon the back, and one upon the 
belly, or rather between the belly and the tail. The bal- 
ancing; use of these organs is proved in this manner. Of 
the large-headed fish, if you cut off the pectoral fins i. e. 
the pair which lies close behind the gills, the head falls 
prone to the bottom ; if the right pectoral fin only be cut 
off, the fish leans to that side; if the ventral fin on the 
same side be cut away, then it loses its equilibrium entire- 
y; if the dorsal and ventral fins be cut off, the fish reels 
to the right and left. When the fish dies, that is, when 
the fins cease to play, the belly turns upwards. The use 
of the same parts for motion is seen in the following obser- 
vation upon them when put in action. The pectoral, and 
particularly the ventral fins, serve to raise and depress 
the fish: when the fish desires to have a retrograde motion, 
a stroke forward with the pectoral fin effectually produces 
it; if the fish desire to turn either way, a single blow with 
the tail the opposite way, sends it round at once: if the 
tail strike both ways, the motion produced by the double 
lash is progressive, and enables the fish to dart forwards 
with an astonishing velocity.* The result is not only in 
some cases the most rapid, but in all cases the most ger- 
tle, pliant, easy animal motion with which we are acquain. 
ed. However, when the tail is cut off, the fish loses a 
motion, and gives itself up to where the water impels it 
The rest of the fins, therefore, so far as respects motion 
seem to be merely subsidiary to this. In their mechanica. 
use, the anal fin may be reckoned the keel; the ventral 
fins, out-riggers; the pectoral muscles, the oars: and if 
there be any similitude between these parts of a bjat and 
h fish, observe, that it is not the resemb ance of imitation, 
bjt the likeness which arises from applying similar me- 
chanical means to the same purpose. 

We have seen that the tail in the fish is the great in- 
strument of motion. Now, in cetaceous or warm-blooded 

♦Goldsmith's History of Animated Nature, vol. iv. p. 134. The 
velocity with which fish swim from one part of the glohe to another is 
»sti>nishing; when a ship is sailing at the rate of fourteen miles an hour, 
h* porpoises will pass it with as much ease as when at anchor 



fish, which are obliged to rise every two or three minutes 
to the surface to take breath, the tail, unlike what it is i» 
other fish, is horizontal; its stroke consequently perpen 
dicular to the horizon, which is the right direction foi 
sending the fish to the top, or carrying it down to the bot- 

Regarding animals in their instruments of motion we 
have only followed the comparison through the first great 
division of animals into beasts, birds, and fish. If it were 
our intention to pursue the consideration farther, I should 
take in that generic distinction amongst birds, the web^ 
foot of water-fowl. It is an instance which may be point- 
ed out to a child. The utility of the web to water-fowl, 
the inutility to land-fowl, are so obvious, that it seems im- 
possible to notice the difference without acknowledging 
the design. I am at a loss to know, how those who deny 
the agency of an intelligent Creator, dispose of this exam 
pie. There is nothing in the action of swimming, as car- 
ried on by a bird upon the surface of the water, that should 
generate a membrane between the toes. As to that mem- 
brane, it is an exercise of constant resistance. The only 
supposition I can think of is, jhat all birds have been orig- 
inally water-fowl, and web-footed; that sparrows, hawks, 
linnets, &c. which frequent the land, have, in process 
of time, and in the course of many generations, had this 
part worn away by treading upon hard ground. To such 
evasive assumptions must atheism always have recourse! 
and, after all, it confesses that the structure of the feet 
of birds, in their original form, was critically adapted to 
their original destination! The web-feet of amphibious 
quadrupeds, seals, otters, &c. fall under the same obser 

IX. The Jive senses are common to most large ani 
mals: nor have we much difference to remark in their con- 
stitution; or much, however, which is referable to mech- 

The superior sagacity of animals which hunt their prey 
and which, consequently, depend for their livelihood upon 
their nose, is well known in its use; but not at all known 
in the organization which produces it. 

The external ears of beasts of prey, of lions, tigers, 
wolves, have their trumpet part, or concavity, standing foi 
wards, to seize the sounds which are before them, viz. tho 
sounds of the animals which they pursue or watch. The 
ears of animals of flight are turned backward, to give no- 
tice of the approach of their enemy from behind, whence 


he m .y steal upon them unseen. This is a critical distinc- 
tion; and is mechanical: but it may be suggested, and ) 
think not without probability, that it is the effect of con 
tinued habit. 

The eyes of animals which follow their prey by night 
as cats, owls, &c. possess a faculty not given to those or 
other species, namely, of closing the pupil entirely. The 
final cause of which seems to be this: — It was necessary 
for such animals to be able to descry objects with very 
small degrees of light. This capacity depended upon the 
superior sensibility of the retina; that is, upon its being 
affected by the most feeble impulses. But that tenderness 
of structure, which rendered the membrane thus exquisite- 
ly sensible, rendered it also liable to be offended by the 
access of stronger degrees of light. The contractile range, 
therefore, of the pupil is increased in these animals, so as 
to enable them to close the aperture entirely: which in- 
cludes the power of diminishing it in every degree; where- 
by at all times such portions, and only such portions of 
light are admitted, as may be received without injury to 
.he sense. 

There appears to be also in the figure, and in some prop- 
erties of the pupil of the eye, an appropriate relation to 
the wants of different animals. In horses, oxen, goats, 
sheep, the pupil of the eye is elliptical; the transverse 
axis being horizontal; by which structure, although the 
eye be placed on the side of the head, the anterior elon- 
gation of the pupil catches the forward rays, or those 
which come from objects immediately in front of the ani 
real's face 



I believe that all the instances which I shall collect 
andei this title, might, consistently enough with technical 
laguage, have been placed under the head of Comparative 
J-Jtiatomy. But there appears to me an impropriety in the 
use which that term hath obtained: it being, in some sort, 
absurd to call that a case of Comparative Anatomy, in 
which there is othing to "compare;" in which a confor 
tiat'or is found in one animal, which hath nothing proper* 


y answering to it in another.* Of this kind are the exam 
pies which I have to propose in the present chapter: and 
me reader will see that, though some of them be the strong- 
est, perhaps, he will meet with under any division of our 
subject, they must necessarily be of an unconnected and 
miscellaneous nature. To dispose them, however, into 
some sort of order, we will notice first, particularities of 
structure which belong to quadrupeds, birds, and fish, as 
such, or to many of the Kinds included in these classes of 
animals; and then, such particularities as are confined to 
one or two species. 

I. Along each side of the neck of large quadrupeds, 
rans a stiff, robust ligament, which butchers call the 
pax wax. No person caa carve the upper end of a crop of 
beef without driving his knife against it. It is a tough, 
strong, tendinous substance, braced from the head to the 
middle of the back; its office is to assist in supporting the 
weight of the head. It is a mechanical provision, of which 
this is the undisputed use; and it is sufficient, and not 
more than sufficient, for the purpose which it has to exe- 
cute. The head of an ox or a horse is a heavy weight, 
acting at the end of along lever, (consequently with a great 
purchase,) and in a direction nearly perpendicular to the 
joints of the supporting neck. From such a force, so ad- 
vantageously applied, the bones of the neck would be 
in constant danger of dislocation, iftney were not fortified 
by this strong tape. No such organ is found in the hu- 
man subject, because, from the erect position of the head, 
(the pressure of it acting nearly in the direction of the 
spine,) the junction of the vertebras appears to be sufficient- 
ly secure without it. This cautionary expedient, therefore, 
is limited to quadrupeds: the care of the Creator is seen 
where it is wanted. 

♦The objection here made to the use of the term, Comparative Anato 
niy, does not seem well founded. As commonly employed, it is intended 
fcj designate the anatomy of animals compared with that of men and of 
one another. It is only by comparison that the use of parts can bo dis- 
covered. Generally, conformations found in one animal have something 
corresponding to them in other animals; but even where this is not the 
case, a comparison is not the less necessary to discover the use of the 
conformation. Thus, particularly, in the first instance mentioned by the 
author, he points out the function of the pax wax by the very process 
which he affirms cannot have place. It is by comparing the neck of large 
quadrupeds in which this provision is found, with that of man in which ii 
is not found, and by comparing the position maintained by man with that 
maintained by quadrupeds, that he illustrates the object for which this 
crnvisk i is made. — Ed. 


II The oil with which birds prune their feathers, ana 
.he organ which supplies it, is a specific provision for the 
winged creation. On each side of the rump of birds is ob 
served a sraal] nipple, yielding upon pressure a butter-like 
subrftance, which the bird extracts by pinching the pap with 
its bill. With this oil, or ointment, thus procured, the bird 
dresses its coat; and repeats the action as often as its own 
sensations teach it that it is in any part wanted, or as the ex 
eretion may be sufficient for the expense. The gland, the 
pap, the nature and quality of the excreted substance, the 
manner of obtaining it from its lodgment in the body, the 
application of it when obtained, form, collectively, an evi- 
dence of intention which it is not easy to withstand. Noth- 
ing similar to it is found in unfeathered animals. What 
blind conatus of nature should produce it in birds? should 
not produce it in beasts? 

III. The air-bladder also of el fish, [PI. XXIII. fig. 3,] af- 
fords a plain and direct instance, not only of contrivance, 
but strictly of that species of contrivance which we denom- 
inate mechanical. It is a philosophical apparatus in the body 
of an animal. The principle of the contrivance is clear; the 
application of the principle is also clear. The use of the or- 
gan to sustain, and, at will, also to elevate the body of the 
fish in the water, is proved by observing, what has been tried, 
that, when the bladder is burst, the fish grovels at the bot- 
tom; and also, that flounders, soles, skates, which are with- 
out the air-bladder, seldom rise in the water, and that, with 
effort. The manner in which the purpose is attained, and 
the suitableness of the means to the end, are not d: lieu It 
to be apprehended. The rising and sinking of a fish in 
water, so far as it is independent of the stroke of the fins 
and tail, can only be regulated by the specific gravity of 
the body. When the bladder contained in the body of 
the fish, is contracted, which the fish probably possesses a 
muscular power of doing, the bulk of the fish is contracted 
along with it; whereby, since the absolute weight remains 
the same, the specific gravity, which is the sinking f >rce, 
is increased, and the fish descends; on the contrary, when, 
in consequence of the relaxation of the muscles, the elas- 
ticity of the enclosed and now compressed air restores the 
dimensions of the bladder, the tendency downwards be- 
comes proporticmably less than it was before, or is turned 
into a contrary tendency. These are known properties of 
bodies immersed in a fluid. The enamelled figures, or 
little glass bubbles, in ajar of water, are made to rise and 
ial b^ thf same artifice. A diving machine might bft 


made to ascend and descend, upon the like princ pie , nuune« 
ly, by introducing into the inside of it an air-vessel, which 
by its contraction would diminish, and by its distension en- 
large, the bulk of the machine itself, and thus render it 
specifically heawer, or specifically lighter, than the water 
which surrounds it. Suppose this to be done, and .he ar- 
tist to solicit a patent for his invention: the inspectors of 
Jhe model, whatever they might think of the use o] value 
of the contrivance, could, by no possibility, ent< r tain a 
question in their minds, whether it were a contrivance or 
not. No reason has ever been assigned — no reason can be 
assigned, why the conclusion is not as certain in the fish 
as it is in the machine; why the argument is not ab firm in 
one case as the other. 

It would be very worthy of inquiry, if it were possible to 
discover, by what method an animal, which lives constantly 
in water, is able to supply a repository of air. The ex 
pedient, whatever it be, forms part, and perhaps the most 
curious part, of the provision * Nothing similar to the air- 
bladder, is found in land-animals; and a life in the watei 
has no natural tendency to produce a bag of air. Nothing 
can be farther from an acquired organization than this is. 

These examples mark the attention of the Creator to 
the three great kingdoms of his animal creation, and to their 
constitution as such. — The example which stands next in 
point of generality, belonging to a large tribe of animals, or 
rather to various species of that tribe, is the poisonous tooth 
of serpents. 

I. The fang of a viper is a clear and curious example 
of mechanical contrivance. [PI. XXIII. fig. 4, 5.] It is a 
perforated tooth, loose at the root: in its quiet state, lying 
down flat upon the jaw, but furnished with a muscle, which 
with a jerk, and by the pluck as it were of a string, sud- 
denly erects it. Under the tooth, close to its root, and 
communicating with the perforation, lies a small bag con- 
taining the venom. When the fang is raised, the closing of 
the jaw presses its root against the bag underneath, and the 

* Much obscurity still exists concerning the exact purpose which tha is intended to perform. But with regard to the manner in which 
it is supplied with air, there seems no reason to doubt that it is effected 
by a secretion from the blood. It is an established fact in physiology, 
that many of the internal surfaces of the body have the power of producing 
gases in this way. In the air-bag of many fishes a very vascular organ is 
found which has been called the air-gland; and in some species vessels 
have been discovered conveying the air from this gland into the cavity o» 
the bag. E^en where this gland does not exist, it is probable that the in- 
ternal surface of tli3 sag may perform the s/rne office. — Ed. 


force of this compression sends out the fluic* with a con 
Biderable impetus through the tube in the middle of the 
tooth. What more unequivocal, or effectual apparatus 
could be devised, for the double purpose of at once inflic- 
ting .he wound and injecting the poison? Yet, though 
lodged in the mouth, it is so constituted, as, in its inoffen- 
sive and quiescent state, not to interfere with the animal's 
ordinary office of receiving its food. It has been observed 
also, that none of the harmless serpents, the black snake, 
the blind worm, &c. have these fangs, but teeth of an equal 
size; not movable, as this is, but fixed into the jaw. 

II. In being the property of several different species, 
the preceding example is resembled by that which I shall 
next mention, which is the bag of (lie opossum. [PI. XXIV. 
fig. 1,2,3.] This is a mechanical contrivance, most proper- 
ly so called. The simplicity of the expedient renders the 
contrivance more obvious than many others, and by no 
means less certain. A false skin under the belly of the 
animal forms a pouch, into which the young litter are re- 
ceived at their birth; where they have an easy and constant 
access to the teats; in which they are transported by the 
dam from place to place; where they are at liberty to run 
in and out; and where they find a refuge from surprise and 
danger. It is their cradle, their conveyance, and their 
asylum. Can the use of this structure be doubted of ? Nor 
is it a mere doubling of the skin; but it is a new organ, 
furnished with bones and muscles of its own. Two bones 
are placed before the os pubis, and joined to that bone as 
their base. These support, and give a fixture to, the mus- 
cles, which serve to open the bag. To these muscles there 
are antagonists, which serve in the same manner to shut it; 
and this office they perform so exactly, that, in the living 
animal, the opening can scarcely be discerned, except when 
the sides are forcibly drawn asunder.* Is there any action 
in this part of the animal, any process arising from that 
action, by which these members could be formed? Anv 
account to be given of the formation, except design? j 

* C'oldsmith's Nat. Hist. vol. iv. p. 244. 

t There is a very considerable numberof animals possessed of the samo 
structure which is here described as existing in the opossum, to which the 
attention of naturalists has been more particularly called since the first pub 
lication of this work. The animals of this kind are called marsupial, from 
tne pouch or marsupium which distinguishes them. This provision also 
has a relation to circumstances in the reproduction of these animals to 
which Dr. Pa'.cy has not referred. He appears merely to regard it as a 
place of refuge and deposit for the young; somewhat in the same way as 
the wings of a Iwn are fcr its brood The fact is that the young ol thes« 


III. As a particularity, yet appertaining to more spec'ea 
han one, and also as strictly mechanical; we may notice 
a circumstance in the structure of the clcucs of certain 
birds. The middle claw of the heron and cormorant, is 
toothed and notched like a saw. [PI. XXV. fig. 1.] 
These birds are great fishers, and these notches assist 
them in holding their slippery prey. The use is evident; 
but the structure such as cannot at all be accounted for 
by the effort of the animal, or the exercise of the part. 
Some other fishing birds have these notches in their bills, 
and for the same purpose. The gannet, or Soland goose, 
nas the edges of its bill irregularly jagged, that it may hold 
its prey the faster. [PL XXV. fig. 2.] Nor can the struc- 
ture in this, more than in the former case, arise from the 
manner of employing the part. The smooth surfaces, 
and soil flesh of fish, were less likely to notch the bills of 

animals are born prematurely, and in a very imperfect and unformed state; 
and the pouch of the parent seems properly intended for a residence during 
the completion of the process of developement. The kangaroo is an in- 
stance of this kind. When full grown it is six feet in extreme length, 
and weighs an hundred and fifty pounds. When born it is only one inch 
in length, and weighs but twenty grains. The fore legs are scarcely dis- 
tinguishable, and the hind ones, which in the adult state form half the 
length of the body, are marked only by slight projections at the parts 
where they are afterwards to grow. In fact the kangaroo at birth is as 
imperfectly formed as the young of any other animal would be when but 
a quarter part of the proper period of its growth within its parent had 

It is remarkable that it has never yet been ascertained whether these 
little embryos are conveyed by the parent animal, or whether they find 
their own way, into the pouch. Having scarce the exercise of any of the 
senses, and being without limbs, it seems almost impossible they should 
make their way there by their own exertions. However this may be, 
they are found in the pouch closely attached, and as it were glued to the 
nipples, by the mouth or rather by that aperture which afterwards be- 
comes a mouth. Here they remain, never quitting their hold, until a 
sufficient period has elapsed for their growth to be completed, and they 
have thus arrived in regard to form and structure upon an equality with 
other animals at the usual period of birth. When this is accomplished, 
they undergo, as it were, a second birth, and emerge from the pouch: but 
return occasionally for the purpose of feeding, and for that of protec- 
tion from danger. 

No marsupial animal was known before the discovery of America, of 
which the opossum is a native; and this animal was at first almost regar 
ded as a sort of exception to the laws of nature; since the discovery of 
New Holland, however, and the investigation of its natural history, it 
has been found that the marsupial animals, so far from forming an excep- 
tion to ;he general construction of animals on that continent, constitutd 
the prevailing model. With a very few exceptions, all the native animate 
>f N'av HolUa are of the ^tiarsuj "al tribe. — Ed. 


Dirds, than the hard bodies upon vhich many othei species 

We now come to particularities strictly so called, as be- 
in & limited to a single species of animal. Of these I shah 
take one from a quadruped and one from a bird. 

I. The stomach of the camel is well known to re am 
large quantities of water, and to retain it unchanged for a 
considerable length of time. [PI. XXVI.] This property 
qualities it for living in the desert. Let us see, therefore,, 
what is the internal organization, upon which a faculty bc 
rare, and so beneficial, depends. A number of distirct 
sacks or bags (in a dromedary thirty of these have been 
counted) are observed to lie between the membranes of 
the second stomach, and to open into the stomach near 
the top by small square apertures. Through these ori 
rices, after the stomach is full, the annexed bags are fillet. 
from it; and the water so deposited is, in the first place, not 
liable to pass into the intestines; in the second place, is kept 
separate from the solid aliment; and, in the third place, is 
out of the reach of the digestive action of the stomach, or 
of mixture with the gastric juice. It appears probable, or 
rather certain, that the animal, by the conformation of its 
muscles, possesses the power of squeezing back this water 
from the adjacent bags into the stomach, whenever thirst 
excites it to put this power in action. 

II. Th 1 ! tongue of the woodpecker, is one of those singu- 
larities, which nature presents us with when a singular 
purpose is to be answered. [PI. XXVII. fig. 1 and 2.] It is a 
particular instrument for a particular use: and what elso 
but design, ever produces such? The woodpecker lives 
chiefly upon insects, lodged in the bodies of decayed or de- 
caying trees. For the purpose of boring into the wood, it 
is furnished with a bill, straight, hard, angular, andshaip. 
When, by means of this piercer, it has reached the tells oi 
the insects, then comes the office of its tongue; which 
tongue is, first, of such a length that the bird can dart it 
out three or four inches from the bill, — in this respect cif- 
fering greatly from every other species of bird; in the sec- 
ond place, it is tipped with a stiff, sharp, bony thorn; and 
in the third place, (which appears to me the most remark- 
able property of all,) this tip is dentated on both sides, like 
the beard of an arrow or the barb of a hook. The descrip- 
tion of the part declares its uses. The bird having expos- 
ed the retreats of the insects by the assistance of its bill, 
with a motion inconceivably quick, launches out at them 
this long tongue, transfixes* t iem upon the barbed needle at 


the end of it, and thus draws its prey within its mouth 
[f this he not mechanism, what is? Should it be said, that, 
by continual endeavours to shoot out the tongue to the 
stretch, the woodpecker species may by degrees have 
lengthened the organ itself beyond that of other birds, 
what account can be given of its form, of its tip? How, in 
particular, did it get its barb, its dentation? These barbs, 
in my opinion, wherever they occur, are decisive proofs ( 
mechanical contrivance. 

III. I shall add one more example, for the sake of is 
r ovelty. It is always an agreeable discovery, when, having 
remarked in an animal an extraordinary structure, we come 
at length to rind out an unexpected use for it. The follow r - 
ing narrative, which Goldsmith has taken fromBufTon, fur- 
nishes an instance of this kind. The babyrouessa, or In- 
dian hog, a species of wild boar, found in the East Indies, 
has two bent teeth, more than half a yard long, growing 
upwards, and (which is the singularity) from the upper jaw 
[PL XXVII. fig. 4.] These instruments are not w r anteo 
for offence; that service being provided for by two tusks is- 
suing from the upper jaw, and resembling those of the com- 
mon boar; nor does the animal use them for defence 
They might seem therefore to be both a superfluity and an 
encumbrance. But observe the event: the animal hitches 
one of these bent upper teeth upon the branch of a tree, and 
Jien suffers its whole body to swing from it. This is its 
manner of taking repose, and of consulting for its safety. 
It continues the whole night suspended by its tooth, both 
easy in its posture, and secure; being out of the reach of 
animals which hunt it for prey.* t 

* Goldsmith's Natural History, vol. iii. p. 195. 

t There does not seem to be any sufficient authority for ascribing this 
use to the tusks of this animal. Indeed one does not readily see how it 
could in the way described swing itself clear of its enemies, except by first 
climbing the tree; vhich is not pretended. The fact is doubted, it is be- 
lieved, by many naturalists, and the opinion probably was in the first place 
founded upon mere conjecture. A modern and distinguished traveller has 
these remarks upon the subject. " Philosophers had long puzzled them- 
selves in conjectures what the design or nature could be, as she does no- 
thing without design, in giving to this animal a pair of large, curved tusks, 
pointing inwards to the face in such a manner as made it sufficiently clear 
they could not be used either for attack or defence, for procuring food, or 
for assisting the mastication of it when procured. At length it occurred, 
or was discovered, by whom I do not recollect, that the animal is fond ol 
seeping in a standing posture, and, that having a large, ponderous head, 

finds a conveniency in hanging it upon the branch of a tree or shrub 
v.'ithin the reach of its tusks, which serve on such occasions for hooks. 
This is at least an ingenious discovery, and may be true; but if so th« 




f c\n hardly imagine to myself a more distinguishing 
Oic.k, and consequently a more certain proof of design, than 
preparation, i. e. the providing of things beforehand which 
are not to be used until a considerable time afterwards: for 
this implies a contemplation of the future, which belongs 
only to intelligence. 

Of these prospective contrivances, the bodies of animals 
furnish various examples. 

I. The human teeth afford an instance, not only of pros- 
pective contrivance, but of the completion of the contrivance 
being designedly suspended. [PI. XXVIII. fig. 1 and 2.] 
They are formed within the gums, and there they stop; the 
fact being, that their farther advance to maturity would not 
only be useless to the new-born animal, but extremely in its 
way ; as it is evident that the act of sucking, by which it is for 
s >metime to be nourished, will be performed with more ease 
both to the nurse and to the infant, whilst the inside of the 
mouth, and edges of the gums, are smooth and soil, than if 
set with hard pointed bones. By the time they are wanted, 
the teeth are ready. They have been lodged within the 
gums for some months past, but detained as it were in 
their sockets, so long as their farther protrusion would in- 
terfere with the office to which the mouth is destined. IS a 
ture, namely, that intelligence which was employed in cre- 
ation, looked beyond the first year of the infant's life; yet, 
whilst she was providing for functions which were after 
that term to become necessary, was careful not to incom- 
mode those which preceded them. What renders it more 
probable that this is the effect of design, is, that the teeth 
are imperfect, whilst all other parts of the mouth are 
perfect. The lips are perfect, the tongue is perfect; the 

habits of the animal must vary according to local circurr stances. Tb« 
sanio species, or one so like it that the difference is not distinguishable 
by any description or drawing that I have seen, is common among the 
rocks on the deserts of Southern Africa, where, within the distance cf a 
hundred miles, there is neither tree nor shrub, except a few stunted heaths 
or shrivelled everlastings, thinly scattered ovur the barren smface In 
Buch situations, where I have hunted and taken them, it would certain- 
ly be no easy matter for the babyrouessa to find a peg to hang its hoad 
upon." — Barrow's Voyage to Cochin- China. — Ed 


jaws, the palate, the pharynx, the larynx, are all perfect 
the teeth alone are not so. This is the fact with respect 
to the human mouth: the fact also is, that the parts above 
enumerated are called into use from the beginn jig ; whereas 
the teeth would be only so many obstacles and annoyances, 
tf they were there. When a contrary order is necessary, 
a contrary order prevails. In the worm of the beetle, as 
hatched from the egg, the teeth are the first things which 
arrive at perfection. The insect begins to gnaw as soon 
as it escapes from the shell, though its other parts be only 
gradually advancing to their maturity. 

What has been observed of the teeth, is true of the horns 
of animals, and for the same reason. The horn of a calf 
or a lamb does not bud, or at least does not sprout to any 
considerable length, until the animal be capable of brows- 
ing upon its pasture; because such a substance upon the 
forehead of the young animal, would very much incommode 
the teat of the dam in the office of giving suck. 

But in the case of the teeth, of the human teeth at least 
the prospective contrivance looks still farther. A succession 
of crops is provided, and provided from the beginning; a 
second tier being originally formed beneath the first, which 
do not come into use till several years afterwards. And 
this double or suppletory provision meets a difficulty in 
the mechanism of the mouth, which would have appeared 
almost insurmountable. The expansion of the jaw (the 
consequence of the proportionable growth of the animal, 
and of its skull,) necessarily separates the teeth of the first 
set, however compactly disposed, to a distance from one 
another, which would be very inconvenient. In due time, 
therefore, i. e. when the jaw has attained a great part of 
Its dimensions, a new set of teeth springs up (loosening 
and pushing out the old ones before them,) more exactly 
fitted to the space which they are to occupy, and rising also 
in such close ranks, as to allow for any extension of 
line which the subsequent enlargement of the head may 

II It is not very easy to conceive a more evidently 
prospective contrivance than that which, in all viviparous 
animals, is found in the milk of the female parent. At the 
momtnt the young animal enters the world, there is it* 
maintenance ready for it. The particulars to be remarked 
in this economy are neither few nor slight. We have, first, 
the nutritious quality of the fluid, unlike, in this respect 
every other excretion of the body; and in which nature 
Hitherto remains unimitated, neither cookery nor chemistrr 


kaving been able to make milk out of grass, we have 
secondly, the organ for its reception and retention ; we have, 
thirdly, the excretory duct, annexed to it; and we have, 
lastly, the determination of the milk to the breast, at the 
particular juncture when it is about to be wanted. We 
have all these properties in the subject before us ; and 
they are all indications of design. The last circumstance 
is the strongest of any. If I had been to guess beforehand, 
[ should have conjectured, that at the time when there 
was an extraordinary demand for nourishment in one part 
of the system, there would be the least likelihood of a re- 
dundancy to supply another part. The advanced preg- 
nancy of the female has no intelligible tendency to fill the 
breast with milk. The lacteal system is a constant won- 
der; and it adds to otl er causes of our admiration, tha* 
the number of the teats and paps in each species is found 
to bear a proportion to the number of the young. In the 
sow, the bitch, the rabbit, the cat, the at, which have 
numerous litters, the paps are numerous, a id are disposed 
along the whole length of the belly: in the cow and mare 
they are few. The most simple account of this, is :o re- 
fer it to a designing Creator. 

But, in the argument before us, we are entitled to con- 
sider not only animal bodies when framed, but the circum- 
stances under which they are framed: and in this view 
of the subject, the constitution of many of their parts id 
most strictly prospective. 

III. The eye is of no use at the time when it is formed. 
It is an optical instrument made in a dungeou; construct- 
ed for the refraction of light to a focus, and perfect for its 
purpose, before a ray of light has had access to it; geo 
metrically adapted to the properties and action of an ele- 
ment with which it has no communication. It is about 
indeed to enter into that communication; and this is pre- 
cisely the thing which evidences intention. It is provid- 
ing for the future in the closest sense which can be given 
to these terms; for it is providing for a future change, not 
for the then subsisting condition of the animal, not for 
any gradual progress or advance in that same condition, 
hut for anew state, the consequence of a great ana sudden 
alteration, which the animal is to undergo at its birth. Is 
it to be believed that the eye was formed, or, which is the 
same thing, that the series of causes was fixed by which 
.he eye is formed, without a view to this change; withou* 
ft prospect of that condition, in which its fabric, of no use 
at ©resent, is about to be of the greatest ; without a con 


sideration of the qualities of that element, hitherto enl re- 
ly excluded, but with which it was hereafter to hold so in 
timate a relation? A young man makes a pair of specta- 
cles for himself against he grows old; for which spectacles 
he has no want or use whatever at the time he makes them. 
Could this be done without knowing and considering 
the defect of vision to which advanced age is subject? 
\\ ould not the precise suitableness of the instrument to its 
purpose, of the remedy to the defect, of the convex lens 
to the flattened eye, establish the certainty of the conclu- 
sion, that the case, afterwards to arise, had been consider- 
ed beforehand, speculated upon, provided for? all which 
are exclusively the acts of a reasoning mind. The eye 
formed in one state, for use only in another state, and in a 
different state, affords a proof no less clear of destination to 
a future purpose, and a proof proportionably stionger, as 
the machinery is more complicated, and the adaptation more 

IV. What has been said of the eye, holds equally true 
of the lungs. Composed of air-vessels, where there is no 
air; elaborately constructed for the alternate admission and 
expulsion of an elastic fluid, where no such fluid exists; 
this great organ, with the whole apparatus belonging to it, 
lies collapsed in the fcetal thorax, yet in order, and in read- 
iness for action, the first moment that the occasion requires 
its service. This is having a machine locked up in store 
for a future use; w'hich incontestably proves, that the case 
was expected to occur, in which this use might be experi- 
enced: but expectation is the proper act of intelligence. 
Considering the state in which an animal exists before its 
birth, I should look for nothing less in its body than a sys- 
tem of lungs. It is like finding a pair of bellows in the 
bottom of the sea; of no sort of use in the situation in 
which they are found; formed for an action which was im- 
possible to be exerted; holding no relation or fitness to the 
element which surrounds them, but both to another e e- 
ment in another place. 

As part and parcel of the same plan, ought to be men- 
tioned, in speaking of the lungs, the provisionary contri- 
vances of the foramen ovale anJ. ductus arteriosus. [PI. 
XXIX.] In the fcetus, pipes are laid for the passage of the 
blood through the lungs; but, until the lungs be inflated 
by the ir.spi'ration of air, that passage is impervious, or in a 
great degree obstructed. What then is to be done? What 
would an artist, what would a master do upon the occasion ? 
HewouM endeavour, most probably, to provide a temporary 


passage, which might carry on the communication requir- 
ed, until the other was open. Now this is the tiling which 
is actually done in the heart: instead of the circuitous route 
through the lungs, which the blood afterwards takes before 
it gets from one auricle of the heprt to the other, a portioa 
of the blood passes immediately from the right auricle to 
the left, through a hole placed in the partition which sepa- 
rates these cavities. This hole anatomists call the fora- 
men ovale. There is likewise another cross cut, answering 
the same purpose, by what is called the ductus arteriosus, 
lying between the pulmonary artery and the aorta. But 
both expedients are so st" ictly temporary, that after birth 
the one passage is closed, and the tube which forms the 
other shrivelled up into a ligament. If this be not contri 
ance, what is? 
TJut, forasmuch as the action of the air upon the blood 
in the limgs appears to be necessary to the perfect concoc- 
tion of that fluid, i. e. to the life and health of the animal, 
(otherwise the shortest rout might still be the best,) how 
comes it to pass that the fcetus lives, and grows, and thrives, 
without it? The answer is, that the blood of the foetus 
is the mother's; that it has undergone that action in her 
.labit; that one pair of lungs serves for both. When *he 
animals are separated, a new necessity arises; and to meet 
this necessity as soon as it occurs, an organization is pre- 
pared. It is ready for its purpose; it only waits for the 
atmosphere; it begins to play the moment the air is admit- 
ted to it. 



When several different parts contribute to one effect; 
or, which is the same thing, when an effect is produced 
by the joint action of different instruments ; the litness of 
such parts or instruments to one another, for the purpose of 
producing, by their united action, the effect, is what I call 
relation; and wherever this is observed in the works of 
nature or of man, it appears to me to carry along with it 
decisive evidence of understanding, intention, art. In 
examining, /or instance, the several parts of a watch, the 
spring, the barrel, the chain, the fusee, the balance, the 
wheels of various sizes, forms, and positions, what is r 



which wduIg take an observer's attention, as most plainlj 
evincing a constructs n, directed by thought, deliberation, 
and contrivance? It is the suitableness of theije parts to 
one another; first, in the succession and order in which 
they act; and, secondly, with a view to the effect finally 
produced. Thus, referring the spring to the wheels, ha 
sees in it that which originates and upholds their mo- 
tion; in the chain, that which transmits the motion to the 
fusee; in the fusee, that which communicates it to the 
wheels: in the conical figure of the fusee, if he refei back 
again to the spring, he sees that which corrects the ine- 
quality of its force. Referring the wheels to one another, 
he notices, first, their teeth, which would have been without 
use or meaning, if there had been only one wheel, or if the 
wheels had had no connexion between themselves, or com- 
mon bearing upon some joint effect; secondly, the corres- 
pondency of their position, so that the teeth of one wheel 
catch into the teeth of another; thirdly, the proportion ob- 
served in the number of teeth of each wheel, which de- 
termines the rate of going. Referring the balance to the 
rest of the works, he saw, when he came to understand its 
action, that which rendered their motions equable. Lastly, 
in looking upon the index and face of the watch, he saw 
the use and conclusion of the mechanism, viz. marking the 
succession of minutes and hours; but all depending upon 
the motions within, all upon the system of intermediate 
actions between the spring and the pointer. What thus 
struck his attention in the several parts of the watch, he 
might probably designate by one general name of " rela- 
tion; " and observing with respect to all cases whatever, 
in which the origin and formation of a thing could be as- 
certained by evidence, that these relations were found in 
things produced by art and design, and in no other things, 
he would rightly deem of them as characteristic of such 
productions. — To apply the reasoning here described to the 
works of nature. 

The animal economy is full; is made up of these rela 
lions : — 

I. There are, first, what in one form or other belong to all 
animals, the parts and powers which successively act upon 
their food. Compare this action with the process of a 
manufactory. In men and quadrupeds, the aliment is 
first broken and bruised by mechanical instruments of 
mastication, viz. sharp spikes or hard knobs, pressing 
against or rubbing upon one another: thus ground and 
comminute 1, it is carried by a pipe into the stomach, where 


it waits to v&dfcrgo a great chemical action, which wt call 
digestion: when digested, it is delivered through an orifice, 
which opens and shuts as there is occasion, into the first 
intestine; theie, after being mixed with certain proper in- 
gredients, poured through a hole in the side of the vessel, 
it is farther dissolved; in this state, the milk, chyle, or 
part which is wanted, and which is suited for animal nc jr- 
ishment, is strained off by the mouths of very small tubrs, 
opening into the cavity of the intestines: thus freed from 
its grosser parts, the percolated fluid is carried by a long, 
winding, but traceable course, into the main stream of the 
old circulation; which conveys it, in its progress, to every 
part of the body. Now, I say again, compare this with the 
irocess of a manufactory; with the making of cider, for ex- 
Ample: with the bruising of the apples in the mill, thesqueez- 
ng of them when so bruised in the press, the fermentation 
in the vat, the bestowing of the liquor thus fermented in the 
hogsheads, the drawing off into b Dttles, the pouring out for 
use into the glass. Let any one show me any difference 
between these two cases, as to the point of contrivance. 
That which is at present under our consideration, the " re- 
'ation" of the parts successively employed, is not more 
clear in the last case, than in the first. The aptness of the 
jaws and teeth to prepare the food for the stomach, is, at 
least, as manifest, as that of the cider-mill to crush the 
apples for the press. The concoction of the food in the 
stomach is as necessary for its future use, as the fermenta- 
tion of the stum in the vat is to the perfection of the liquor. 
The disposal of the aliment afterwards; the action and 
change which it undergoes, the route which it is made to 
take, in order that, and until that, it arrive at its destina- 
tion, is more complex indeed and intricate, but, in the 
midst of complication and intricacy, as evident and certain, 
as is the apparatus of cocks, pipes, tunnels, for transferring 
the cider from one vessel to another; of barrels and bottles 
for preserving it till fit for use, or of cups and glasses foi 
bringing it, when wanted, to the lip of the consumer. The 
character of the machinery is in both cases this, that on< 
part answers to another part, and every part to the fina 

This parallel, between the alimentary operation and somo 
of the processes of art, might be carried farther into detail 
Spallanzani has remarked* a circumstantial resemblance 
oetween Jhe stomachs of gallinaceous fowls and the stiuo 

* Diss. T. Sect liv. 


t ire of corn-mills. Whilst the two sides of the gizzard per 
form the office of the mill-stones, the craw or crop supplies 
the place of the hopper. When our fowls are abundantly 
supplied wkh meat they soon fill their craw: but it doea 
not immediately pass thence into the gizzard; it always 
enters in very small quantities, in proportion to the progress 
of trituration; — in like manner as, in a mill, a receiver ia 
fiycd above the two large stones which serve for grinding 
the corn; which receiver, although the corn be put into it 
by bushels, allows the gran 'o dribble only in small quan- 
tities, into the central hole in the upper mill-stone. 

But we have not done with the alimentary history. There 
subsists a general relation between the external organs of 
an animal by which it procures its food, and the internal 
powers by which it digests it. # Birds of prey, by their 
talons and beaks, are qualified to seize and devour many 
species, both of other birds and of quadrupeds. The con- 
stitution of the stomach agrees exactly with the form of the 
members. The gastiic juice of a bird of prey, of an owl, 

*This subject of the relation of parts, and the correspondence of one 
part of the animal structure to all the others which is here briefly spoken 
of by cur author, has since been made, in the hands of some distinguished 

fatomists, of immense importance in a scientific point of view. The 
.flowing extract from Mr. BelVs Treatise on Animal Mechanics, 
nows how extensively it is capable of being considered, and what inter- 
esting results may be drawn from it. — Ed. 

" What we have to state has been the result of the studies of many 
naturalists; but although they have labored, as it were, in their own de- 
partment of comparative anatomy, they have failed to seize upon it with 
the privilege of genius, and to handle it in the masterly manner of Cuvier. 
** Suppose a man ignorant of anatomy to pick up a bone in an unex- 
plored country, he learns nothing, except that some animal has lived and 
died there; but the anatomist can, by that single bone, estimate, not mere- 
ly the size of the- animal, as vveli as if he saw the print of its foot, but 
the form and joints of the skeleton, the structure of its jaws, and teeth, 
the nature of its food, and its internal economy. This, to one ignorant of 
the subject, must appe::; wonderful, but it is after this manner that the 
anatomist proceeds; let us suppose that he has taken up that portion of 
hone in the limb of the quadruped which corresponds to the human wrist; 
and that he finds that the form of the bone does not admit of free motion 
in various directions, like the paw of the carnivorous creature. It is ob- 
vious, by the structure of the part, that the limb must have been merely 
for supporting the animal, and for progression, and not for seizing prey. 
This leads him to the fact that there were no bones resembling those of 
the hand and fingers, or those of the claws of the tiger; for the motion* 
which that conformation of bones permits in the paw, would be useless, 
without the rotation of the wrist — he concludes that these bones were 
formed in one mass, like the cannon-bone, pastern-bone, and cothn-boneg 
>** the horse's foot. 

* The moticr limited to flection and extension of the foot cf a hoofed 


a faiCon, or a kite, acts upon the animal fibre alone; it wilj 
not act upon seeds or grasses at all. On the other hand 
the conformation of the mouth of the sheep or of the ox is 
suited for browsing upon herbage. Nothing about tltese 
animals is fitted for the pursuit of living prey. Accord- 
ingly it has been found by experiments, tried not many 
years ago, with perforated balls, that the gastric juice of 
ruminating animals, such as the sheep and the ox, speedily 
dissolves vegetables, but makes no impression upon animal 
bodies. This accordancy is still more particular. The 
gastric juice, even of granivorous birds, will not act upon 
he grain whilst whole and entire. In performing the ex- 

nnimal implies the absence of a collar-bone and a restrained motion in 
the shoulder-joint; and thus the naturalist, from the specimen in his hand, 
has got a perfect notion of all the bones of the anterior extremity! 
The motions of the extremities imply a condition of the spine which 
unites them. Each bone of the spine will have that form which per- 
mits the bounding of the stag, or the galloping of the horse, but it will 
not have that form of joining which admits the turning or writhing of 
the spine, as in the leopard or the tiger. 

" And now he comes to the head: — the teeth of a carnivorous animal, 
he says, would be useless to rend prey, unless there were claws to hold 
»t, and a mobility of the extremities like the hand, to grasp it. lie con 
iders, therefore, that the teeth must have been for bruising herbs, ind 
die back teeth for grinding. The socketing of these teeth in the jaw gives 
a peculiar form to these bones, and the muscles which move them are 
also peculiar; in short, he forms a conception of the shape of the pjraji. 
From this point he may set out anew, for by the form of the teeth, he 
ascertains the nature of the stomach, the length of the intestines, and all 
the peculiarities which mark a vegetable feeder. 

" Thus the whole parts of the animal system are so connected with 
one another, that from one single bone or fragment of bone, be it of the 
jaw, or of the spine, or of the extremity, a really accurate conception of 
the shape, motions, and habits of the animal, may be formed 

" It will readily be understoo.1 that the same process of reasoning will 
ascertain, from a small portion of a skeleton, the existence of a carmvo 
rous animal, or of a fowl, or of a bat, or of a lizard, or of a fish ; and 
what a conviction is here brought home to us, of the extent of that piaa 
which adapts the members of every creature to its proper office, and yet 
exhibits a system extending through the whole range of animated beings, 
.whose motions are conducted by the operation of muscles and bones! 

" After all, this is but a part of the wonders disclosed through the 
knowledge of a thing so despised as a fragment of bone. It carries us 
into another science ; since the knowledge of the skeleton not only 
teaches us the classification of creatures, now ali\e, but affords proofs of 
the former existence of animated beings which are not now to be found on 
the surface of the earth. We are thus led to an unexpected conclusion 
from such premises; not merely the existence of an individual animal, 
or race of animals; but even the changes which the globe itself has un 
lergone in times before all existing records, and before the creation of 
u^an beings to inhabit the earth, are opened to our contemplation " 


perin sut of digestion with the gastric juice in vessels, tho 
grain must be crushed and bruised before it be submitted 
to the menstruum; that is to say, must undergo by art with- 
out the body, the preparatory action which the gizzard ex- 
erts upon it within the body; or no digestion will take place. 
So strict, in this case, is the relation betweeen the offices 
assigned to the digestive organ, between the mechanical 
operation, and the chemical process. 

II. The relation of the kidneys to the bladder, and ot 
the areters to both, i. e. of the secreting organ to the ves- 
Bel receiving the secreted liquor, and the pipe laid from one 
to the other, for the purpose of conveying it from one to 
the other, is as manifest as it is amongst the different ves 
sels employed in a distillery, or in the communications be* 
tween them. The animal structure in this case being sim- 
ple, and the parts easily separated, it forms an instance of 
correlation which may be presented by dissection to every 
>ye, or which indeed, without dissection, is capable of be- 
ng apprehended by every understanding. This correla 

(ion of instruments to one another fixes intention some- 
/vhene: especially when every other solution is negatived 
Dy the conformation. If the bladder had been merely an 
expansion of the ureter, produced by retention of the fluid, 
.here ought to have been a bladder for each ureter. One 
receptacle, fed by two pipes, issuing from different sides of 
ihe body, yet from both conveying the same fluid, is not 
to be accounted for by any such supposition as this. 

III. Relation of parts to one another accompanies Ua 
hroughout the whole animal economy. Can any relation 

be more simple, yet more convincing, than this, that the 
eves are so placed as to look in the direction in which the 
legs move and the hands work? It might have happened 
very differently if it had been left to chance. There were 
at least three-quarters of the compass out of four to have 
erred in. Any considerable alteration in the position of 
the eye, or the figure of the joints, would have disturbed 
ihe line, and destroyed the alliance between the sense and 
ihe limbs. 

IV. Rut relation perhaps* is never so striking, as when 
it subsists, not between different parts of the same thing, 
bit between different things. The relation between a 
lock and a key is more obvious than it is between differ- 
ent parts of the lock. A bow was designed for an arrow, 
and an arrow for a bow: and the design is more evident 
for their being separate implements. 

N<r do the works of the Deity want this clearest spe- 

reiatio^s 155 

cies of relation. The sexes are manifestly nade for eac\ 
other They form the grand relation of animated nature 
universal, organic, mechanical: subsisting like the clear 
est relations of art, in different individuals; unequivocal, 
inexplicable without design. 

So much so, that were every other proof of contrivance 
in nature dubious or obscure, this alone would be suffi- 
cient. The example is complete. Nothing is wanting to 
the argument. I see no way whatever of getting over it. 

V. The teats of animals, which give suck, bear a ie- 
lation to the mouth of the suckling progeny; particularly 
to the lips and tongue. Here also, as before, is a corres« 
pondencv of parts ; which parts subsist in different indi- 

These are general relations, or the relations of parts 
which are found, either in all animals, or in large classes 
and descriptions of animals. Particular relations, or the 
•elations which subsist between the particular configura- 
tion of one or more parts of certain species of animals, 
and the particular configuration of one or more other parts 
of the same animal, (which is the sort of relation that is 
perhaps most striking,) are such as the following: 

I. In the swan; the web foot, the spoon bill, the long 
neck, the thick down, the graminivorous stomach, bear all 
a relation to one another, inasmuch as they all concur ir. 
one design, that of supplying the occasions of an aquatic 
fowl, floating upon the surface of shallow pools of water, 
and seeking its food at the bottom. Begin with any one 
of these particularities of structure, and observe how the 
rest follow it. The web foot qualifies the bird for swimming ; 
the spoon bill enables it to graze. But how is an animal, 
floating upon the surface of pools of water, to graze at the 
bottom, except by the mediation of a long neck? A long 
reck accordingly is given to it. Again, a warm-blooded 
animal, which was to pass its life upon water, required a 
defence against the coldness of that element. Such a de- 
fence is furnished to the swan, in the muffin which its body 
'S wrapped. But all this outward apparatus would have 
been in vain, if the intestinal system had not been suited 
to the digestion of vegetable substances. I say, suited ta 
the d'^estion of vegetable substances: for it is well known, 
that there are two intestinal systems found in birds, one 
with a membranous stomach and a gastric juice, capable 
of dissolving animal substances alone; the other with n 
cror and gizzard, calculated for the moistening, bruisino 
and afterwards digesting, of vegetable aliment. 


Or e 3t off with any other distinctive part in he budy 
of the swan; for instance, with the long neck. The long 
neck, without the web foot, would have been at encum- 
brance to the bird; yet there is no necessary connexion 
between a long neck and a web foot. In fact they do not 
usually go together. How happens it, therefore, that they 
meet only when a particular design demands the aid o! 


II. This mutual relation, arising from a subserviency 
ro a common purpose, is very observable also in the parts 
of a mole. The strong short legs of that animal, the pal- 
mated feet armed with sharp nails, the pig-l&e nose, the 
teeth, the velvet coat, the small external ear, the sagacious 
smell, the sunk protected eye, all conduce to the utilities 
or to the safety of its under-ground life. It is a specia' 
purpose, specially consulted throughout. The form of the 
feet fixes the character of the animal. They are so many 
shovels; they determine its action to that of rooting in the 
griound; and everything about its body agrees with this 
destination. The cylindrical figure of the mole, as well as 
the compactness of its form, arising from the terseness of 
its limbs, proportionably lessens its labor; because, accord- 
ing to its bulk, it thereby requires the least possible quanti- 
ty of earth to be removed for its progress. It has nearly 
the same structure of the face and jaws as a swine, and 
the same office for them. The nose is sharp, slender, 
tendinous, strong; with a pair of nerves going down to 
the end of it. The plush covering, which, by the smooth 
ness, closeness, and polish of the short piles that compose 
it, rejects the adhesion of almost every species of earth, 
defends the animal from cold and wet, and from the imped- 
iment which it would experience by the mould sticking to 
its body. From soils of all kinds the little pioneer comes 
foith bright and clean. Inhabiting dirt, it is, of all animals, 
liia neatest. 

But what I have always most admired in the :nole is its 
ujts. This animal occasionally visiting the surface, and 
.vanting, for its safety and direction, to be informed when 
it dees so, or when it approaches it, a perception of light 
was necessary. I do not know that the clearness of sight 
depends at all upon the size of the organ. What is gained 
by the largeness or prominence of the globe of the eye is 
width in the field of vision. Such a capacity would be of 
no use to an animal which was to seek its food in the dark. 
The mole did not want to look about it; nor would a large 
advanced eye have been easily defended from the anncy- 


ance to which the life of the animal must constantly ex 
pose it. How indeed was the mole, working its way un- 
der ground, to guard its eyes at all? In order to meet 
this difficulty, the eyes are made scarcely larger than the 
head of a "orking-pin; and these minate globules are sunk 
so deep IE -he skull, and lie so sheltered within the velvet 
of its covering, as that any contraction of what may he 
called the eye brows, not only closes up the apertures 
which lead to the eyes, but presents a cushion, as it were, 
to any sharp or protruding substance, which might push 
against them. This aperture, even in its ordinary state, is 
like a pin-hole in a piece of velvet, scarcely pervious to 
loose particles of eartJ* 

Observe then, ii» t nis structure, that which we caii re- 
lation. There is no natural connexion between a small 
sunk eye and a shovel palmated foot. Palmated feet might 
have been joined with goggle eyes; or small eyes might 
have been joined with feet of any other form. What was 
it therefore which brought them together in the mole? 
That which brought together the barrel, the chain, and the 
fusee, in a watch; design: and design, in both cases, in- 
ferred from the relation which the parts bear to one an- 
other in the prosecution of a common purpose. As hath 
already been observed, there are different ways of stating 
the relation, according as we set out from a different part. 
In the instance before us, we may either consider the 
shape of the feet, as qualifying the animal for that mode 
of life and inhabitation to which the structure of its eyes 
co i es it; or we may consider the structure of the eye, 
as ii.e only one which would have suited with the action 
to which the feet are adapted. The relation is manifest, 
whichever of the parts related we place first in the order 
of our consideration. In a word; the feet of the mole are 
made for digging; the neck, nose, eyes, ears, and skin, are 
peculiarly adapted to an under-ground life; and this is J call relation. [PI. XXX. fig. 1.1 



Compensation is a species of relation. It is re Jit km 
when the defects of one part, or of one organ, are supplied 



by the structure of another part, or of an >ther crgan 

I. The short, unbending neck of the elephant, is com- 
pensated by the length and flexibility of his probos is. He 
could not have reached the ground without it; or, if it be 
supposed that he might have fed upon the fruit, leaves, or 
branches of trees, how was he to drink? Should it be 
asked, why is the elephant's neck so short? it may be an- 
swered that the weight of a head so heavy could not have 
been supported at the end of a longer lever. To a form, 
therefore, in some respects necessary, but in some respects 
also inadequate to the occasion of the animal, a supple- 
ment is added, which exactly makes up the deficiency un- 
der which he labored. 

If it be suggested that this proboscis may have been 
produced, in a long course of generations, by the constant 
endeavour of the elephant to thrust out his nose (which is 
the general hypothesis by which it has lately been attempt- 
ed to account for the forms of animated nature,) I would 
ask, how was the animal to subsist in the meantime, dur- 
ing the process, until this elongation of snout was com- 
pleted? What was to become of the individual, whilst 
the species was perfecting? 

Our business at present is, simply to point out the rela- 
tion which this organ bears to the peculiar figure of the 
animal to which it belongs And herein all things corres- 
pond. The necessity of the elephant's proboscis arises 
from the shortness of his neck; the shortness of the neck 
is rendered necessary by the weight of the head. Were 
we to enter into an examination of the structure and anat- 
omy of the proboscis itself, we should see in it one of the 
most curious of all examples of animal mechanism. [PI 
XXX. fig. 2, 3, 4, 5.] The disposition of the ringlets 
and fibres, for the purpose, first of forming a long cartilag- 
inous pipe; secondly, of contracting and lengthening that 
pipe; thirdly, of turning it in every direction at the will 
of the animal; with the superaddition at the end, of a 
fleshv production, of about the length and thickness of a 
finger, and performing the office of a finger, so as to pick 
up a straw from the ground; these properties cf the same 
organ, taken together, exhibit a specimen, no onlv of de- 
sign, (which is attested by the advantage,) but of consum- 
mate art and, as I may say, of elaborate preparation, in 
accomplisning that design. 

II The hook in the wing of a bat is strictly a me- 
chanical, ar.i also a compensating contrivance. [PI XXX 


fig. 6 "1 At le angle of its wing there is a bent claw, 
exactly in the form of a hook, by which the bat at- 
taches itself to the sides of rocks, caves, and buildings, 
laying hold of crevices, joinings, chinks, and roughnesses 
It hooks itself by this claw ; remains suspended by this 
hold; takes its flight from this position: which operations 
compensate for the decrepitude of its legs and feet. With- 
out her hook, the bat would be the most helpless of all 
animals. She can neither run upon her feet, nor raise 
herself from the ground. These inabilities are made up 
to her by the contrivance in her wing: and in placing 
a claw on that part, the Creator has deviated from the 
analogy observed in winged animals. — A singular defect 
required a singular substitute. 

III. The crane kind are to live and seek their food 
amongst the waters; yet, having no web-feet, are incapa- 
ble of swimming. To make up for this deficiency, they 
are furnished with long legs for wading, or long bills for 
groping; or usually with both. This is compensation. But 
I think the true reflection upon the present instance is, 
how every part of nature is tenanted by appropriate in- 
habitants. Not only is the surface of deep waters peopleo 
by numerous tribes of birds that swim, but marshes and 
shallow pools are furnished with hardly less numerous tribes 
of birds that wade. 

IV. The common parrot has, in the structure of its 
oeak, both an inconveniency, and a compensation for it 
When I speak of an inconveniency, I have a view to a di- 
lemma which frequently occurs in the works of nature, viz. 
that the peculiarity of structure by which an organ is made 
to answer one purpose, necessarily unfits it for sime other 
purpose. This is the case before us. The upper bill of a 
parrot is so much hooked, and so much overlaps the lower, 
that if, as in other birds, the lower chap alone had motion, 
the bird could scarcely gape wide enough to receive it;i 
food: yet this hook and overlapping of the bill could not 
be spared, for it forms the very instrument by which the 
bird climbs, to say nothing of the use which it makes o* 
it in breaking nuts and the hard substances upon which it 
fteds. How, therefore, has nature provided for the open- 
ing of this occluded mouth? By making the upper chap 
movable, [PI. XXX. fig. 7,] as well as the lower. In 
most birds, the upper chap is connected, and makes but 
one piece with the skull; but in the parrot, the upper chap 
is joined to the bone of the head by a strong membrane 


placed on each side of it, which lifts and depresses it tf 

V. The spider's web is a compensating contrivance 
The spider lives upon flies, without wings to pursue (hem; 
a case, one would have thought, of great difficulty, yet 
provided for; and provided for by a resource, which no 
stratagem, no effort of the animal, could have produced, 
had not both its external and internal structure been speci- 
fica ly adapted to the operation. 

VI. In many species of insects, the eye is fixed; and 
consequently without the power of turning the pupil to the 
object. This great defect is, however, perfectly compensat- 
ed; and by a mechanism which we should not suspect. 
The eye is a multiplying glass, with a lens looking in 
every direction and catching every object. By which 
means, although the orb of the eye be stationary, the field 
of vision is as ample as that of other animals, and is 
commanded on every side. [PL XXX. fig. 8.] When 
this lattice-work was first observed, the multiplicity and 
minuteness of the surfaces must have added to the surprise 
of the discoverv. Adams tells us, that fourteen hundred 
of these reticulations have been counted in the two eyes of 
a drone bee. 

In other cases the compensation is effected by the num- 
ber and position of the eyes themselves. [PI. XXX. fig. 9.] 
The spider has eight eyes, mounted upon different parts o' 
the head; two in front, two in the top of the head, two ot 
each side. These eyes are without motion; but, by then 
situation, suited to comprehend every view which the wants 
or safety of the animal may render it necessary for it to take 

VII. The Memoirs for the Natural History of Animals, 
published by the French Academy, A. D. 1687, furnish us 
with some curious particulars in the eye of a chameleon. 
[PL XXXI. fig. 1.] Instead of two eyelids, it is covered 
by an eyelid with a hole in it. This singular structure ap- 
pears to be compensatory , and to answer to some other sin- 
gula! (ties in the shape of the animal. The neck of the 
chameleon is inflexible. To make up for this, the eye is 
go prom nent, as that more than half the ball stands out oi 
the head. By means of which extraordinary projection, 
the pupil of the eye can be carried by the mjscles in every 
direction, and is capable of being pointed towards every 
object. But then, so unusual an exposure of the globe of 
,he eye requires, for its lubricity and defence, a more that] 

* Goldsmith's Nat. Hist. vol. v. D. 274. 


I Jinary protection of eyelid, as well as a more than ot- 
diaary supply of moisture ; yet the motion of an eyelid, 
formed according to the common construction, would be 
'mpeded, as it should seem, by the convexity of the organ. 
The aperture in the lid meets this difficulty. It enables 
the animal to keep the principal part of the surface of the 
eye under cover, and to preserve it in a due state of hu- 
midity without shutting out the light; or without perform- 
ing every moment a nictitation, which, it is probable, would 
je more laborious to this animal than to others. 

VIII. In another animal, and in another part of the 
animal economy, the same Memoirs describe a most re- 
markable substitution. The reader will remember what 
we have already observed concerning the intestinal canal; 
that its length, so many times exceeding that of the body, 
promotes the extraction of the chyle from the aliment, by 
giving room for the lacteal vessels to act upon it through 
a greater space. This long intestine, wherever it occurs, 
is in other animals disposed in the abdomen from side to 
side in returning folds. But, in the animal now under 
our notice, the matter is managed otherwise. The same 
intention is mechanically effectuated; but by a mechanism 
of a different kind. The animal of which I speak is an 
amphibious quadruped, which our authors call the alope- 
cias, or sea-fox. [PI. XXXI. fig. 2, 3.] The intestine 
is straight from one end to the other: but in this straight 
and consequently short intestine, is a winding, corkscrew, 
spiral passage, through which the food, not without several 
circumvolutions, and in fact by along route, is conducted 
to its exit. Here the shortness of the gut is compensated 
by the obliquity of the perforation. 

IX. But the works of the Deity are known by expe- 
dients. Where we should look for absolute destitution; 
where we can reckon up nothing but wants, some contr 
vance always comes in to supply the privation. A snail 
without wings, feet, or thread, climbs up the stalks ol 
plants, by the sole aid of a viscid humour discharged frorr 
her skin. She adheres to the stems, leaves, and fruits 
of plants, by means of a sticking plaster. A muscle, 
which might seem, by its helplessness, to lie at the mere) 
of every wave that went over it, has the singular power of 
spinning strong tendinous threads, by which she moon 
her shell to rocks and timbers. A cockle, on the contrary, 
by means of its stiff tongue, works for itself a shelter in th( 
aand. The provisions of nature extend to cases the most 
desperate A lobster lias in its constitutor 3 difficulty sc 

O * 


great, that one could hardly conjecture beforehand how 
nature would dispose of it. In most animals, the skin 
grows with their growth. If, instead of a soft skin, there 
be a shell, still it admits of a gradual enlargement. If the 
shell, as in the tortoise, consists of several pieces, the ac- 
cession of substance is made at the sutures. Bivalve shells 
grow bigger by receiving an accretion at their edge; it is 
the same with spiral shells at their mouth. The simplici- 
y of their form admits of this. But the lobster's shell be- 
ing applied to the limbs of the body, as well as to the bod 
itself, allows not of either of the modes of growth whic . 
are observed to take place in other shells. Its hardnesis 
resists expansion; and its complexity renders it incapable 
of increasing its size by addition of substance to its edg« 
How then was the growth of the lobster to be provided fo ? 
Was room to be made for it in the old shell, or was it ) 
be successively fitted with new ones? If a change of sh II 
became necessary, how was the obster to extricate hiins^ /f 
from his present confinement? How was he to uncase iAs 
buckler, or draw his legs out of his boots? The process, 
which fishermen have observed to take place, is as foil ;ws: 
At certain seasons, the shell of a lobster grows soft, the 
animal swells its body, the seams open, and tho claws 
burst at the joints. When the shell has thus become loose 
upon the body, the animal makes a second effort, and by 
a tremulous, spasmodic motion, casts it orF. In this state, 
the liberated but defenceless fish retires into holes in the 
rock. The released body now suddenly pushes its growth. 
in about eight and forty hours, a fresh concretion of hu- 
mour upon the surface, i. e. a new shell, is formed, adapted 
in every part to the increased dimensions of the animal 
This wonderful mutation is repeated every year. 

If there be imputed defects without compensation, I 
mould suspect that they were defects only in appearance. 
Thus, the body of the sloth has often been reproached 
Tor the slowness of its motions, which has been attributed 
vi an imperfection in the formation of its limbs. But it 
.night to be observed, that it is this slowness which alone 
suspends the voracity of the animal. He fasts during his 
migration from one tree to another; and this fast may be 
necessary for the relief of his over-charged vessels, as wel! 
as to allow time for the concoction of the mass of coarse 
and hard food which he has taken into his stomach. The 
tardir ess of his pace seems to have reference to the capac- 
'U o\ nis organs, ai i to his propensities with respect to 


food, i e is calculated to counteract the effects of reple- 

Or there may be cases in which a defect is artificial, and 
compensated by the very cause which produces it. Thus 
the sheep, in the domesticated state in which we see i , is 
destitute of the ordinary means of defence or escape; is 
incapable either of resistance or flight. But this is not go 
with the wild animal. The natural sheep is swift and 
active; and if it lose these qualities when it comes undei 
the subjection of man, the loss is compensated by his pro- 
tection. Perhaps there is no species of quadruped what 
ever, wlvch suffers so little as this does from the depreda- 
tion of animals of prey. 

For the sake of making our meaning better understood, 
we have considered this business of compensation under 
certain particularities of constitution, in which it appears 
to be most conspicuous. Tl is view of the subject neces- 
sarily limits the instances to s.ngle species of animals. But 
there are compensations, perhaps not less certain, which 
extend over large classes, and to large portions of living 

I. In quadrupeds, the deficiency of teeth is usually com- 
pensated by the faculty of rumination. The sheep, deer, 
and ox tribe, are without fore-teeth in the upper jaw. These 
ruminate. The horse and ass are furnished with teeth in 
the upper jaw, and do not ruminate. In the former class, 
the grass and hay descend into the stomach nearly in the 
state in which they are cropped from the pasture, or gath- 
ered from the bundle. In the stomach, they are softened 
by the gastric juice, which in these animals is unusually 
copious. Thus softened and rendered tender, they are 
returned a second time to the action of the mouth, where 
the grinding teeth complete at their leisure the trituration 

* Blumenbach states, in his Manual of Natural History, that he had 
conversed with many Hollanders who had lived in Guiana, and from 
them collected, that this apparently miserable animal is rather an en- 
viable one. First, he nourishes himself entirely from leaves, and, there- 
fore, when he has once climbed a tree, he can live on the same dish a 
quarter of a year. Secondly, he does not drink at all. Thirdly, on a 
tree he is exposed to but few eiemies, and when the sloth marks that 
a tiger-cat is climbing up abrinch, it goes softly to the end of the 
jranch, and rocks it till the tiger-cat falls otT, so that seldom is there 
an instance that a tiger-cat surprises one: even upon the ground, so 
sowerful are the claws of the sloth, and so fearful its cries, that ita 
enemies generally get the worst. So idle is Buffon's declamation agabsf 
the goodness and wisdom of Providence, drawn from this beast. 



which is necessary, bit which was before left imperfect. \ 
.'.ay, the trituration which is necessary; for it appears from 
experiments, tr at the gastric fluid of sheep, for example, 
rtas no eflec in digesting plants, unless they have been 
areviously mas'icated; that it only produces a slight mac- 
eration, nearly as common water would do in a like degree 
)f heat ; but that when once vegetables are reduced to 
pieces by mastication, the fluid then exerts upon them its 
specific operation. Its first effect is to soften them, and to 
destroy their natural consistency; it then goes on to dis- 
solve them; not sparing even the toughest parts, such as 
the nerves of the leaves.* 

I think it very probable, that the gratification also of the 
animal is renewed and prolonged by this faculty. Sheep, 
deer, and oxen, appear to be in a state of enjoyment whilst 
diey are chewing the cud. It is then, perhaps, that they 
best relish their food. 

II. In birds, the compensation is still more striking 
They have no teeth at all. What have they then to make 
up for this severe want? I speak of granivorous and 
herbivorous birds; such as common fowls, turkeys, ducks, 
geese, pigeons, &.c. for it is concerning these alone that 
the question need be asked. All these are furnished with 
a peculiar and most powerful muscle called the gizzard; 
the inner coat of which is fitted up with rough plates, which, 
by a strong friction against one another, break and grind 
the hard aliment as effectually, and by the same mechani- 
cal action, as a coffee-mill would do. It has been proved 
by the most correct experiments, that the gastric juice 
of these birds will not operate upon the entire grain; not 
eve ; i when softened by water or macerated in the crop. 
Therefore, without a grinding machine within its body, 
without the trituration of the gizzard, a chicken would have 
starved upon a heap of corn. Yet why should a bill and a 
gizzard go together ? Why should a gizzard never be found 
where .here are teeth? 

Nor does the gizzard belong to birds as such. A giz- 
zard is not found in birds of prey. Their food requires 
not to be ground down in a mill. The compensatory con- 
trivance goes no farther than the necessity. In both clas- 
ses of birds, however, the digestive organ within the body 
bears a strict and mechanical relation to the external in- 
struments for procuring food. The soft membranous sto- 
mach, ^companies the hooked, notched beak; (he short 

* Spall, dis. III. Sect. 140. 


muse jlar legs; the strong, sharp, crooked talons: Tre car- 
tilaginous stomach attends that conformation of bill and 
toes, which restrains .the bird to the picking of seeds, or 
the cropping of plants. 

111. But to proceed with our compensations. — A very 
numerous and comprehensive tribe of terrestrial animals! 
are entirely without feet; yet locomotive; and in a very 
considerable degree swift in their motion. How is the 
tant of feet compensated? It is done by the disposition 
?f the muscles and fibres of the trunk. In consequence of 
the just collocation, and by means of the joint action of 
longitudinal and annular fibres, that is to say, of strings 
«md rings, the body and train of reptiles* are capable of be- 
ing reciprocally shortened and lengthened, drawn up and 
stretched out. The result of this action is a progressive, 
and in some cases, a rapid movement of the whole body, 
in any direction to which the will of the animal determines 
it. The meanest creature is a collection of wonders. Thd 
play of the rings in an earth-worm as it crawls; the undu 
latory motion propagated along the body; the beards o: 
prickles with which the annuli are armed, and which tin 
animal can either shut up close to its body, or let out to la} 
hold of the roughness of the surface upon which it creeps; 
and the power arising from all these, of changing its place 
and position, affords, when compared with the provisions 
for motion in other animals, proofs of new and appropriate 
mechanism. Suppose that we had never seen an animal 
move upon the ground without feet, and that the problem 
was; muscular action, i. e. reciprocal contraction and rel 
axation being given, to describe how such an animal might 
be constructed, capable of voluntarily changing place 
Something, perhaps, like the organization of reptiles 
might have been hit upon by the ingenuity of an artist; 01 
might have been exhibited in an automaton, oy the com- 
bination of springs, spiral wires, and ringlets; but to the 
solution of the problem would not be denied, surely, tho 

♦Contraction and expansion is the mode of progression in worms, hn\ 
oof. in reptiles; in the class of serpents locomotion consists simply of re- 
peated horizontal undulations, viz. flexion and extension. Thus the head 
oeing the fixed point, the body and tail assume several curves; the tail 
thtu becomes the fixed point, the curvatures are straightened, and thus the 
animal advances with a serpentine motion. Hy these successive curva- 
tures and right lines alternating, it moves forward at each step nearly tho 
length of the whole body; the ribs, which Sir K. Home considers to ac. 
us feet, having nothing to do with locomotion unless as affording a fulcrum 
tor the muscles.— Paxton 


praise of invention and of successful thought: least t. f ali 
could it ever be questioned, whether intelligence had been 
employed about it, or not. 



We have already considered relation, and under differ- 
ent views; but it was the relation of parts to parts, of the 
parts of an animal to other parts of the same animal, or of 
another individual of the same species. 


But the bodies of animals hold, in their conshinition and 
properties, a close and important relation to natures alto- 
gether external to their own ; to inanimate substances, and 
to the specific qualities of the?e; e. g. they hold a strict 
relation to the elements by which they are surrounded. 

I. Can it be doubted, whether the wings of birds bear 
a relation to air, and the fins of fish to water? They are 
instruments of motion, severally suited to the properties 
of the medium in which the motion is to be performed: 
which properties are different. Was not this difference 
contemplated, when the instruments were differently con- 

II. The structure of the animal ear depends for its use, 
not simply upon being surrounded by a fluid, but upon the 
specific nature of that fluid. Every fluid would not serve: 
its particles must repel one another, it must form an elastic 
medium: for it is by the successive pulses of such a medi- 
um, that the undulations excited by the surrounding body 
are carried to fhe organ; that a communication is formed 
Detween the object and the sense; which must be done be- 
fore the internal machinery of the ear, subtile as it is, can 
act at all. 

III. The organs of voice and respiration are, no less 
than the ear, indebted for the success of their opera- 
tion to the peculiar qualities of the fluid in which the 
animal is immersed. They, therefore, as well as the ear, 
are constituted upon the supposition of such a fluid, i. e. of 
a fluid with snch particular properties, being always pres- 
ent. Chang: the properties of the fluid, and the organ 
*.ani ot act; change the organ, and the properties of the 
'Juit 1 would bo lost The structure therefore, of our or* 


gang, and the properties of our itmosphore ire made fo: 
one another. Nor does it alter the relation, whether you 
allege the organ to be made for the element, which seems 
the most natural way of considering it,) or the element as 
prepared for the organ. 

IV. But there is another fluid with which we have to do. 
with properties of its own; with laws of acting, and of ho- 
ng acted upon, totally different from those of air and water, 
imd that is light. To this new, this singular element; to 
qualities perfectly peculiar, perfectly distinct and remote 
from the qualities of any other substance with which we 
are acquainted, an organ is adapted, an instrument is cor- 
rectly adjusted, not less peculiar amongst the parts of the 
body, not less singular in its form, and in the substance of 
which it is composed, not less remote from the materials, 
the model, and the analogy of any other part of the animal 
frame, than the element to which it relates is specific 
amidst the substances with which we converse. If this 
does not prove appropriation, I desire to know what would 
prove it. 

Yet the element of light and the organ of vision, how 
ever related in their office and use, have no connexion 
whatever in their original. The action of rays of light 
upon the surfaces of animals, has no tendency to breed eyes 
in their heads. The sun might shine forever upon living 
bodies, without the smallest approach towards producing the 
sense of sight. On the other hand also, the animal eye 
does not generate or emit light. 

V. Throughout the universe there is a wondertul p o- 
porfioimig of one thing to another. The size of animals, 
of the human animal especially, when considered with re- 
spect to other animals, or to the plants which grow around 
him, is such, as a regard to his conveniency would have 
pointed out. A giant or a pigmy could not have milked 
goats, reaped corn, or mowed grass; we may add, could 
not have rode a horse, trained a vine, shorn a sheep, with 
the same bodily ease as we do, if at all. A pigi y would 
have been lost amongst rushes, or carried off by />irds of 

It may be mentioned likewise, that the model and the 
materials of the human body being what they are, a much 
greater bulk would have broken down by its own weight 
The persons of men who much exceed the ordinary stat- 
ure, betray this tendency. 

VI. Again (and which includes a vast variety of paitk*« 
.liars, and those of the greate&t importance;) how close i? 


the suitableness of the earth and sea to their several in 
nabitants; and of these inhabitants, to the places of theii 
appointed residence! 

Take the earth as it is; and consider the corresponden- 
cy of the powers of its inhabitants with the properties and 
condition of the soil which they tread. Take the inhab- 
itants as they are; and consider the substances which the 
earth yields for their use. They can scratch its surface, 
and its surface supplies ail which they want. This is the 
length of their faculties! and such is the constitution of 
the globe, and their own, that this is sufficient for all their 

When we pass from the earth to the sea, from land to 
water, we pass through a great change; but an adeqrate 
change accompanies us of animal forms and functions, of 
animal capacities and wants ; so that correspondency remains. 
The earth in its nature is very different from the sea, and 
the sea from the earth ; but one accords with its inhabitants 
as exactly as the other. 

VII. The last relation of this kind which I shall men- 
tion is that of sleep to night; and it appears to me to be 
a relation which was expressly intended. Two points are 
manifest: first, that the animal frame requires sleep; sec 
ondly, that night brings with it a silence, and a cessation 
of activity, which allows of sleep being taken without in- 
terruption, and without loss. Animal existence is made 
up of action and slumber; nature has provided a season for 
each. An animal which stood not in need of rest, would 
always live in daylight. An animal which, though made 
for action, and delighting in action, must have its strength 
repaired by sleep, meets by its constitution the returns of 
day and night. In the human species, for instance, were 
the bustle, the labor, the motion of life, upheld by the 
constant presence of light, sleep could not be enjoyed with- 
out being disturbed by noise, and without expense of that 
time which the eagerness of private interest would not con- 
tentedly resign. It is happy therefore for this part of the 
creation, I mean that it is conformable to the frame and 
wants of their constitution, that nature, by the very dispo- 
sition of her elements, has commanded, as it were, and 
imposed upon them, at moderate intervals, a general inter- 
mission of their toils, their occupations, and pursuits. 

But it is not for man, either solely or principally, that 
night is made. Inferior, but less perverted natures, taste 
Its solace, and expect its return with greater exactness 
and advantage than he does I have often observed, and 


never observed but to admire, the satisfactic: no less than 
the regularity, with which the greatest part of the irration- 
al world yield to this soft necessity, this grateful vicissi- 
tude: how comfortably the birds of the air, for example, 
address themselves to the repose of the evening; with what 
alertness they resume the activity of the day! 

FS T or does it disturb our argument to confess, that certain 
species of animals are in motion during the night, and at 
rest in the day. With respect even to them, it is still true, 
that there is a change of condition in the animal, and an 
external change corresponding with it. There is still the 
relation, though inverted. The fact is, that the repose of 
other animals sets these at liberty, and invites them to their 
food or their sport. 

If the relation of sleep to night, and, in some instances, 
its converse, be real, we cannot reflect without amazement 
upon the extent to which it carries us. Day and night are 
things close to us; the change applies immediately to our 
sensations; of all the phenomena of nature, it is the most 
obvious and the most familiar to our experience; but in its 
cause, it belongs to the great motions which are passing 
in the heavens. Whilst the earth glides round her axle, 
she ministers to the alternate necessities of the animals 
dwelling upon her surface, at the same time that she obeys 
the influence of those attractions which regulate the order 
of many thousand worlds. The relation therefore of sleep 
to night, is the relation of the inhabitants of the earth to 
ttie rotation of their globe; probably it is more; it is a re- 
lation to the system, of which that globe is a part; and stiL 
farther, to the congregation of systems, of which theirs is 
only one. If this account be true, it connects the meanest 
individual with the universe itself: a chicken roosting upon 
its perch, with the spheres revolving in the firmament. 

VIII. But if any one object to our representation, that 
the succession of day and night, or the rotation of the earth 
upon which it depends, is not resolvable into central at- 
traction, we will refer him to that which certainly is, — to 
he change of the seasons. Now the constitution of ani- 
mals susceptible of torpor, bears a relation to winter, simi- 
lar to that which sleep bears to night. Against not only tho 
cold, but the want of food which the approach of winter 
induces, the Preserver of the world has provided in many 
animals by migration, in many others by torpor. As one 
example out of a thousand; the bat, if it did not seep 
through the winter, must have starved, as the moths and 
flying insects, upon which it feeds, disappear. But the 


transition from summer to winter carries js L ,to the very 
midst of physical astronomy; that is to say, into the midst 
of those laws which govern the solar system at least and 
nrobably all the heavenly bodies. 



The order may not be very obvious, by which I place 
instincts next to relations. But I consider them as a 
species of relation. They contribute, along with the ani- 
mal organization, to a joint effect, in which view they are 
related to that organization. In many cases, they refer 
from one animal to another animal; and when this is the 
case, become strictly relations in a second point of view. 

An instinct is a propensity prior to experience, and 
independent of instruction. We contend,, that it is by 
instinct that the sexes of animals seek each other; that 
animals cherish their offspring; that the young quadruped 
is directed to the teat of its dam; that birds build their 
nests, and brood with so much patience upon their eggs; 
that insects which do not sit upon their eggs, deposit them 
in those particular situations, in which the young, when 
hatched, find their appropriate food; that it is instinct 
which carries the salmon, and some other fish, out of the 
sea into rivers, for the purpose of shedding their spawn in 
fresh water. 

We may select out of this catalogue the incubation of 
eggs. I entertain no doubt, but that a couple of sparrows 
hatched in an oven, and kept separate from the rest of 
their species, would proceed as other sparrows do, in every 
office which related to the production and preservation of 
their brood. Assuming this fact, the thing is inexplicable 
lipor. any other hypothesis than that of an instinct impress- 
ed upon the constitution of the animal. For, first, what 
should induce the female bird to prepare a nest before she 
lays her eggs? It is in vain to suppose her to be possess- 
ed of the faculty of reasoning; for no reasoning will reach 
the case. The fulness or distention which she might fee 
in a particular part of her body, from the growth and so* 
lidity of the egg within her, could not possibly inform her 
that she was about to produce something, which, when pro^ 


duced, was to be preserved and taken care of. Prior to 
experience, there was nothing to lead to this inference, of 
to this suspicion. The analogy was all against it; for, in 
every other instance, what issued from the body, was cast 
out and rejected. 

But, secondly, let us suppose the egg to be produced 
into day; how should birds know that their eggs contain 
iheir young? there is nothing, either in the aspect, or in the 
internal composition of an egg, which could lead even the 
most daring imagination to conjecture, that it was here- 
after to turn out from under its shell, a living, perfect 
bird. The form of the egg bears not the rudiments of a 
resemblance to that of the bird. Inspecting its contents, 
we find still less reason, if possible, to look for the result 
which actually takes place. If we should go so far, as, 
from the appearance of order and distinction in the dis- 
position of the liquid substances which we noticed in the 
egg, to guess that it might be designed for the abode ana 
nutriment of an animal, (which would be a very bold hy- 
pothesis,) we should expect a tadpole dabbling in the slime, 
much rather than a dry, winged, feathered creature; a 
compound of parts and properties impossible to be used in 
a state of confinement in the egg, and bearing no conceiv- 
able relation, either in quality or material, to anything ob- 
served in it. From the white of an egg, would any one 
look for the feather of a goldfinch? or expect from a sim- 
ple uniform mucilage, the most complicated of all ma- 
chines, the most diversified of all collections of substances? 
nor would the process of incubation, for sometime at least, 
lead us to suspect the event. Who that saw red streaks 
shooting in the fine membrane which divides the white 
from the yolk, would suppose that these were about to be- 
come bones and limbs? Who that espied two discolored 
points first making their appearance in the cicatrix, would 
have had the courage to predict, that these points were to 
grow into the heart and head of a bird ? It is difficult to 
strip the mind of its experience. It is difficult to resusci- 
tate surprise, when familiarity has once laid the sentiment 
asleep. But could we forget all that we know, and which 
our sparrows never knew, about oviparous generation: 
could we divest ourselves of every information, but what we 
derive from reasoning upon the appearance or quality 
discovered in the objects presented to us, I am convinced 
that Harlequin coming out of an egg upon the stage, is not 
more astonishing to a child, than the hatching of a chick- 
en both would be and ought to be, to a philosopher. 


But admit the sparrow by some means o know, tha. 
within that egg was concealed the principle of a future 
bird, from what chemist was she to learn, that warmth was 
necessary to bring it to maturity, or that the degree of 
warmth, imparted by the temperature of her own body, was 
the degree required? 

To suppose, therefore, that the female bird acts in this 
process from a sagacity and reason of her own, is to sup- 
pose her to arrive at conclusions which there are no prem- 
ises to justify. If our sparrow, sitting upon her eggs, 
expect young sparrows to come out of them, she forms, I 
will venture to say, a wild and extravagant expectation, in 
opposition to present appearances, and to probability. She 
must have penetrated into the order of nature, farther than 
any faculties of ours will carry us; and it hath been well ob- 
served, that this deep sagacity, if it be sagacity, subsists in 
conjunction with great stupidity, even in relation to the same 
subject. " Achemical operation, " says Addison, " could not 
be followed with greater art or diligence, than is seen in 
hatching a chicken; yet is the process carried on without 
the least glimmering of thought or common sense. The 
hen will mistake a piece of chalk for an egg; is insensible 
of the increase or diminution of their number; does not dis- 
tinguish between her own and those of another species; is 
frightened when her supposititious breed of ducklings take 
the water." 

But it will be said, that what reason could not do for 
the bird, observation, or instruction, or tradition, might. 
Now, if it be true, that a couple of sparrows, brought up 
from the first in a state of separation from all other birds, 
would build their nest, and brood upon their eggs, then 
there is an end of this solution. What can be the tradi- 
tionary knowledge of a chicken hatched in an oven ? 

Of young birds taken in their n^sts, a few species breed 
when kept in cages; and they which do so, build their 
nests nearly in the same manner as in the wild state, and 
sit upon their eggs. This is sufficient to prove an instinct, 
without having recourse to experiments upon birds hatched 
by artificial heat, and deprived from their birth of all 
communication with their species; for we can hardly bring 
ourselves to believe, that the parent bird informed her un- 
fledged pupil of the history of her gestation, her timeiy 
preparation of a nest, her exclusion of the eggs, her long 
incubation, and of the joyful eruption at last of her expected 
offspring; all which the bird in the cage must have learned 
in her infancy . if v e resolve her conduct into institulun 


Unless we will rather suppose, that she remembers bei 
uwn escape from the egg; had attentively observed the 
conformation of the nest in which she was nurtured; ana 
had treasured up her remarks for future imitation: which 
is not only extremely improbable, (for who, that sees a 
brood of cl.llow birds in their nest, can believe that they 
are taking a plan of their habitation?) but leaves unac- 
counted for, one principal part of the difficulty, "the pre- 
caution of the nest before the laying of the egg." This 
she could not gain from observation in her infancy. 

It is remarkable also, that the hen sits upon eggs which 
she has laid without any communication with the male, 
and which are therefore necessarily unfruitful; that secret 
she is not let into. Yet, if incubation had been a sub- 
ject of instruction or of tradition, it should seem that this 
distinction would have formed part of the lesson; wherea? 
the instinct of nature is calculated for a state of nature; 
the exception here alluded to taking place chiefly, if not 
solely, amongst domesticated fowls, in which nature is 
forced out of her course. 

There is another case of oviparous economy, which is 
still less likely to be the effect of education than it is ever, 
in birds, namely that of moths and butterflies, which de 
posit their eggs in the precise substance, that of a cabbage 
for example, from which, not the buttevfly herself, but the 
caterpillar which is to issue from her egv, draws its ap- 
propriate food. The butterfly cannot taste the cabbage 
Cabbage is no food for her; yet in the cabbage, not by 
chance, but studiously and electively, she lays her eggs 
There are, amongst many other kinds, the willow cater- 
pillar, and the cabbage caterpillar: but we never find upon 
a willow the caterpillar which eats the cabbage ; nor the con- 
verse. This choice, as appears to me, cannot in the butter- 
fly proceed from instruction. She had no teacher in her 
caterpillar state. She never knew her parent I do not 
see, therefore, how knowledge, acquired by experience, if 
it ever were such, could be transmitted from one genera- 
tion to another. There is no opportunity either for instruc- 
tion or imitation. The parent race is gone, before the new 
brood is hatched. And if it be original reasoning in the 
butterfly, it is profound reasoning indeed. She must re- 
member her caterpillar state, its tastes and habits; of which 
memory she shows no signs whatever. She must conclude 
from analogy, for here her recollection cannot serve her, 
that the little round body which drops from her abdomen, 
v'l a: a future period produce a living creature, not like 



herself, but like the caterpillar, which she remembers her&* i 
once tD have been. Under the influence of these reflections, 
she goes about to make provision for an order of things, 
which she concludes will, sometime or other, take place. 
And it is to be observed, that not a few out of many, but 
that all butterflies argue thus, all draw this conclusion; all 
act upon it. # 

But suppose the address, and the selection, and the plan, 
which we perceive in the preparations which many irra- 
tional animals make for their young, to be traced to some 
probable origin; still there is left to be accounted for, that 
which is the source and foundation of these phenomena, 
that which sets the whole at work, the rrroo/>;, the parent- 
al affection, which I contend to be inexplicable upon any 
other hypothesis than that of instinct. 

For we shall hardly, I imagine, in brutes, refer their 
conduct towards their offspring to a sense of duty, or of 
decency, a care of reputation, a compliance with public 
manners, with public laws, or with rules of life built upon 
a long experience of their utility. And all attempts to ac- 
count for the parental affection from association, I think, 
fail. With what is it associated ? Most immediately with 
the throes of parturition, that is, with pain, and terror, and 
disease. The more remote, but not less strong association 
that which depends upon analogy, is all against it. Every- 
thing else, which proceeds from the body, is cast away and 

In birds, is it the egg which the hen loves? or is it the 
expectation which she cherishes of a future progeny, that 
keeps her upon her nest? What cause has she to expect 
delight from her progeny? Can any rational answer be 
given to the question, why, prior to experience, the brood- 
ing hen should look for pleasure from her chickens? It 
does not, I think, appear, that the cuckoo ever knows her 

* The dragon-fly is an inhabitant of the air, and could not exist in 
water; yet in this element, which is alone adapted for her young, she 
drops her eggs. 

Not less surprising is the parental instinct of the gad-fly, ( Gastero- 
philw> eqxii) whose larvae are destined to be nourished in the stomach 
and intestines of the horse! flow shall the parent convey them there. 
By a mode truly extraordinary — Flying round the animal she curiously 
poises her body while she deposits her eggs on the hairs of his skin. 
Whenever therefore the horse chances to lick the part of his body to 
which they are attached, they adhere to the tongue, and from thence pass 
intc the stomach and intestines. And what increases our surprise is, that 
the fly places her eggs almost exclusively on the knee and the shoulder 
on those paits the horsa is sure to lick. — Paxton. 


young yet, in her way, she is as careful in making provi 
sion ft I them, as any other bird. She does not leave hei 
egg in ijvery hole. 

The salmon suffers no surmountable obstacle to oppose 
her progress up the stream of fresh rivers. And what does 
she do there: She sheds a spawn, which she immediately 
quits, in order to return to the sea; and this issue of her 
body she never afterwards recognises in any shape what- 
ever. Where shall we find a motive frr her efforts anc 
ner perseverance? Shall we seek it in argumentation, or 
in instinct? The violet crab of Jamaica performs a fa- 
tiguing march of some months' continuance, from the 
mountains to the sea-side. When she reaches the coast, 
she casts her spawn into the open sea; and sets out upon 
ner return home. 

Moths and butterflies, as hath already been observed, 
seek out for their eggs those precise situations and sub- 
stances, in which the offspring caterpillar will find its ap- 
propriate food. That dear caterpillar the parent butterfly 
must never see. There are no experiments to prove that 
she would retain any knowledge of it, if she did. How 
shall we account for her conduct ? I do not mean for her 
art and judgment in selecting and securing a maintenance 
Tor her young, but for the impulse upon which she acts 
What should induce her to exert any art, or judgment, or 
choice, about the matter? The undisclosed grub, the ani- 
mal which she is destined not to know, can hardly be the 
object of a particular affection, if we deny the inlluence 
of instinct. There is nothing, therefore, left to her, but 
that of which her nature seems incapable, an abstract anx- 
iety for the general preservation of the species; a kind of 
patriotism ; a solicitude lest the butterfly race should cease 
from the creation. 

Lastly, the principle of association will not explain the 
discontinuance of the affection when the young animal 
is grown up. Association, operating in its usual way, 
would rather produce a contrary effect. The object would 
become more necessary by habits of society: whereas 
birds and beasts, after a certain time, banish their ofF- 
spring; disown their acquaintance; seem to have even no 
knowledge of the objects which so lately engrossed the 
attention of their minds, and occupied the industry and 
labor of their bodies. This change, in different animals 
takes place at different distances of time from the birth, 
but the tine always corresponds with the ability of the 
vcung anima' to maintain itself; never anticipates it Iq 


the sparrow tribe, when it is perceived that the young 
brood can fly and shift for themselves, then the parents 
forsake them forever; and though they continue to live 
together, pay them no more attention than they do toother 
birds in the same flock.* I believe the same thing is true 
of all gregarious quadrupeds. 

In this part of the case, the variety of resources, expedi- 
ents, and materials, which animals of the same species are 
said to have recourse to, under different circumstances, and 
when differently supplied, makes nothing against the doc- 
trine of instincts. The thing which we want to account 
for, is the propensity. The propensity being there, it is 
probable enough that it may put the animal upon different 
actions, according to different exigencies. And this adap- 
tation of resources may look like the effect of art and con- 
sideration, rather than of instinct; but still the propensity is 
nstinctive. For instance, suppose what is related of the 
woodpecker to be true, that, in Europe, she deposits her 
eggs in cavities, which she scoops out in the trunks of soft 
or decayed trees, and in which cavities the eggs lie con- 
cealed from the eye, and in some sort safe from the hand 
of man; but that, in the forests of Guinea and the Brazils, 
which man seldom frequents, the same bird hangs her 
nest to the twigs of tall trees; thereby placing them out of 
the reach of monkeys and snakes; i. e. that in each situa- 
tion she prepares against the danger which she has most 
occasion to apprehend: suppose, I say, this to be true, and 
to be alleged, on the part of the bird that builds these nests, 
as evidence of a reasoning and distinguishing precaution, 
still the question returns, whence the propensity to buila 
at all ? 

Nor does parental affection accompany generation by any 
universal law of animal organization, if such a thing were 
intelligible. Some animals cherish their progeny with the 
most ardent fondness, and the most assiduous attention; 
others entirely neglect them; and this distinction always 
meets the constitution of the young animal, with respect 
to its wants and capacities. In many, the parental care 
extends to the young animal; in others, as in all oviparous 
fish, it is confined to the egg, and even, as to that, to the 
disposal of it in its proper element. Also, as there is 
generation without parental affection, so is there parental 
mstinct, or what exactly resembles it, without generation 
In the bee tribe, the grub is nurtured neither by the fathe? 

* Goldsmith's Nat. Tlist vol. iv. p. 244 


northn mother, but by the neutral bee. Probably the case 
»s the same with ants. 

I am not ignorant of the theory which resolves instinct 
into sensation; which asserts, that what appears to have 
a view and relation to the future, is the result onl/ of the 
present disposition of the animal's body, and of pleasure 
or pain experienced at the time. Thus the incubation of 
-ggs is accounted for by the pleasure which the bird ig 
supposed to receive from the pressure of the smooth con- 
vex surface of the shells against the abdomen, or by tho 
relief which the mild temperature of the egg may afford 
to the heat of the lower part of the body, which is observ- 
ed at this time to be increased beyond its usual state. This 
present gratification is the only motive with the hen for 
sitting upon her nest; the hatching of the chickens, is with 
respect to her, an accidental consequence. The affection 
of viviparous animals for their young is, in like manner, 
solved by the relief, and perhaps the pleasure, which they 
receive from giving suck. The young animal's seeking, 
in so many instances, the teat of its dam, is explained from 
the sense of smell, which is attracted by the odour of 
milk. The salmon's urging its way up the stream of fresh 
water rivers, is attributed to some gratification or refresh- 
ment, which, in this particular state of the fish's body, she 
receives from the change of element. Now of this theory 
t may be said, 

First, that of the cases which require solution, there are 
1 3W to which it can be applied with tolerable probability , 
that there are none to which it can be applied without 
strong objections, furnished by the circumstances of the 
case. The attention of the cow to its calf, and of the ewe 
to its lamb, appear to be prior to their sucking. The at 
traction of the calf or lamb to the teat of the dam, is not 
explained by simply referring it to the sense of smell 
What made the scent of milk so agreeable to the lamb, 
that it should follow it up with its nose, or seek with its 
mouth the place from which it proceeded? No observation, 
no experience, no argument could teach the new dropped 
animal, that the substance from which the scent issued, 
was the material of its food. It had never tasted milk be- 
fore its birth. None of the animals, which are not de- 
signed for that nourishment, ever offer to suck, or to seek 
nit any such food. What is the conclusion, but that tho 
BUgescent parts of animals are fitted for their use, and 
the knowledge of that use put into them? 


We assert, se:ondly, that, even as to the cases in whicr 
Ihe hypothesis has the fairest claim to consideration, il 
does not at all lessen the force of the argument for inten 
tion and design. The doctrine of instincts is that o* ap- 
petencies, superadded to the constitution of an animal, lor 
the effectuating of a purpose beneficial to the species. The 
above-stated solution would derive these appetencies from 
organization; but then this organization is not less speci- 
fically, not less precisely, and, therefore, not less evidently 
adapted to the same ends, than the appetencies themselves 
would be upon the old hypothesis. In this way of consid- 
ering the subject, sensation supplies the place of foresight; 
but this is the effect of contrivance on the part of the 
Creator. Let it be allowed, for example, that the hen is 
induced to brood upon her eggs by the enjoyment or re- 
lief which, in the heated state of her abdomen, she ex- 
periences from the pressure of round smooth surfaces, or 
from the application of a temperate warmth. How comes 
this extraordinary heat or itching, or call it what you will, 
which you suppose to be the cause of the bird's inclina- 
tion, to be felt, just at the time when the inclination itself 
is wanted ; when it tallies so exactly with the internal 
constitution of the egg, and with the help which that con- 
stitution requires in order to bring it to maturity ? In my 
opinion, this solution, if it be accepted as to the fact, ought 
to increase, rather than otherwise, our admiration of the 
contrivance. A gardener lighting up his stoves, just when 
he wants to force his fruit, and when his trees require the 
heat, gives not a more certain evidence of design. So 
again; when a male and female sparrow come together, they 
do not meet to confer upon the expediency of perpetuating 
their species. As an abstract proposition, they care not 
the value of a barley-corn, whether the species be perpetu- 
atec 1 or not: they follow their sensations; and all those 
consequences ensue, which the wisest counsels could have 
dictated, which the most solicitous care of futurity, which 
the most anxious concern for the sparrow world could have 
produced. But how do these consequences ensue? Tne 
eensations, and the constitution upon which they depend, 
are as manifestly directed to the purpose which we see 
fulfilled by them; and the train of intermediate effects, as 
manifestly laid ana planned with a view to that purpose; 
that is to say, design is as completely evinced by the phe 
nomena, as it would be v even if we suppose the operations 
to begin, or to be carried on, from what some will allow to 
x te alone properly called instincts, *hat is, from desires di- 


rected to a future e»id, and having no accomplishment of 
gratification distinct from the attainment of that end. 

In a word ; I should say to the patrons of this opinion, 
Be it so: be it, that those actions of animals which we re- 
fer to instinct, are not gone about with any view to their 
consequences, but that they are attended in the animal 
with a present gratification, and are pursued for the sake ol 
that gratification alone; what does all this prove, but that 
the prospection, which must be somewhere, is not in tho 
animal, but in the Creator? 

In treating of the parental affection in brutes, our busi- 
ness lies rather with the origin of the principle, than with 
the effects and expressions of it. Writers recount these 
with pleasure and admiration. The conduct of many kinds 
of animals towards their young, has escaped no observer, 
no historian of nature. "How will they caress them," 
says Derham, " with their affectionate notes; lull and quiet 
them with their tender parental voice; put food into their 
mouths; cherish and keep them warm; teach them to 
pick, and eat, and gather food for themselves; and, in a 
word, perform the part of so many nurses, deputed by the 
sovereign Lord and Preserver of the world, to help such 
young and shiftless creatures!" Neither ought it, under 
this head, to be forgotten, how much the instinct costs the 
animal which feels it; how much a bird, for example, gives 
up, by sitting upon her nest; how repugnant it is to her 
organizfition, her habits, and her pleasures. An animal, 
formed for liberty, submits to confinement in the very sea- 
son when everything invites her abroad: what is more; an 
animal delighting in motion, made for motion, all whose 
motions are so easy and so free, hardly a moment, at other 
times, at rest, is, for many hours of many days together, 
fixed to her nest, as close as if her limbs were tied down by 
pins and wires. For my part, I never see a bird in that 
situation, but I recognise an invisible hand, detaining the 
contented prisoner from her fields and groves, for the pur- 
pose, as the event proves, the most worthy of the sacrifice, 
the most important, the most beneficial. 

But the loss of liberty is not the whole of what the pro- 
creant bird suffers. Harvey tells us, that he has often 
found the female wasted to skin and bone bj sitting upon 
her eggs. 

One observation more, and I will dismiss the subject 
The pairing of birds, and the non-pairing of boasts, forms 
a distinction between the two classes, which shows that th« 
conjuga instinct is modified with a reference to utility 


founded on the condition of the offspring. In quadrupeds, 
the young animal draws its nutriment from the body of th« 
dam. The male parent neither does, nor can contribute 
any part to its sustentation. In the winged race, the 
young bird is supplied by an importation of food, to procure 
k.-.d bring home which, in a sufficient quantity for the de- 
mand of a numerous brood, requires the industry of both 
parents. In this difference, we see a reason for the vagrant 
instinct of the quadruped, and for the faithful love of the 
feathered mate. 



We are not writing a system of natural history ; there 
fore we have not attended to the classes into which the 
subjects of that science are distributed. What we had to 
observe concerning different species of animals, fell easily, 
for the most part, within the divisions which the course of 
our argument led us to adopt. There remain, however, 
some remarks upon the insect tribe, which could not prop- 
erly be introduced under any of these heads; and which 
therefore, we have collected into a chapter by themselves. 

The structure, and the use of the parts of insects, are 
less understood than that of quadrupeds and birds, not only 
by reason of their minuteness, or the minuteness of their 
parts (for that minuteness we can in some measure fol- 
low with glasses,) but also by reason of the remoteness of 
their manners and modes of life from those of larger ani- 
mals. For instance: insects, under all their varieties of 
form, are endowed with antennae, [PI. XXXII. fig. 2, 3.] 
which is the name given to those long feelers that rise 
from each side of the head; but to what common use or 
want of the insect kind, a provision so universal is subser- 
vient, has not yet been ascertained: and it has not \>een 
ascertained, because it admits not of a clear, or very pro- 
bable comparison, with any organs which we pos^s-j our- 
selves, or with the organs of animals which refiftfd'jo our- 
selves in their functions and faculties, or with \A)'.c\\ »ve ye 
better acquainted than we are with insects. tYe want a 
ground of analogy. This difficulty stands ip cur way as to 
some particulars in the insect constitution iv/iieh we mighf 
«vish to be acquainted with. Neverthel' ij , iherc are mant 


contrivances in the bodies of insects, neither dubious in 
their use, nor obscure in their structure, and most properly 
mechanical. These form parts of our argument. 

I. The elytra, or scaly wings of the genus of scarabseus 
or beetle, furnish an example of this kind. The true wing 
of the animal is a light transparent membrane, liner than 
the finest gauze, and not unlike it. It is also, when ex- 
panded, in proportion to the size of the animal, very large. 
In order to protect this delicate structure, and perhaps 
also to preserve it in a due state of suppleness and humidi- 
ty, a strong hard case is given to it, in the shape of the 
horny wing which we call th* elytron. When the animal 
is at rest, the gauze wings lie folded up under this impene- 
trable shield. When the beetle prepares for flying, he 
raises the integument, and spreads out his thin membrane 
to the air. And it cannot be observed without admiration, 
what a tissue of cordage, i. e. of muscular tendons, must 
run in various and complicated, but determinate directions, 
along this fine surface, in order to enable the animal, either 
to gather it up into a certain precise form, whenever it 
desires to place its wings under the shelter which na- 
ture hath given to them; or to expand again their folds, 
tvhen wanted for action. [PI. XXXII. fig. 1.] 

In some insects, the elytra cover the whole body; in oth 
crs, half; in others, only a small part of it; but in all, they 
completely hide and cover the true wings. [PI. XXXII 

Also, many or most of the beetle species lodge in holes in 
the earth, environed bv hard rough substances, and have 
frequently to squeeze their way through narrow passages; 
in which situation, wings so tender, and so large, could 
scarcely have escaped injury, without both a firm covering 
to defend them, and the capacity of collecting themselves 
up under its protection. 

II. Another contrivance, equally mechanical and equal- 
ly clear. is the awl or borer, fixed at the tails of various 
species of flies; and with which they pierce, in some 
case?, plants; in others, wood; in others, the skin and 
flesh of animals; in others, the coat of the chrysalis of in- 
sects of a different species from their own; and in others, 
even lime, mortar, and stone. I need not add, that hav 
ing pierced the substance, they deposit their eggs in the 
hole. The descriptions which naturalists give of this organ, 
are such as the following: it is a sharp-pointed instru- 
ment, which, in its inactive state, lies concealed in the 
extremity of th-5 abdomen, and which the animal draws 




out at pleasure, for the purpose of making & pun ture in 
the leaves, stem, or bark, of the particular plant which ia 
suited to the nourishment of its young. In a sheath which 
divides and opens whenever the organ is used, there ia 
enclosed a compact, solid, dentated stem, along which runs 
a gutter or groove, by which groove, after the penetration 
is effected, the egg, assisted in some cases by a peristaltic 
motion, passes to its destined lodgement.* In the cestrus 
or gad-fly, the wimble draivs out like the pieces of a spy- 
glass; the last piece is armed with three hooks, and is able 
to bore through the hide of an ox. Can anything more 
be necessary to display the mechanism, than to relate the 
fact? [PI. XXXII. fig. 3, 4.] 

III. The stings of insects, though for a different pur- 
pose, are, in their structure, not unlike the piercer. Tho 
sharpness to which the point in ail of them is wrought; the 
temper and firmness of the substance of which it is compos- 
ed; the strength of the muscles by which it is darted out, 
compared with the smallness and weakness of the insect, 
and with the soft and friable texture of the rest of the body; 
are properties of the sting to be noticed, and not a little to 
be admired. The sting of a bee will pierce through a goat- 
skin glove. It penetrates the human flesh more read- 
ily than the finest point of a needle. The action of the 
sting affords an example of the union of chemistry and 
mechanism, such as, if it be not a proof of contrivance, 
nothing is. First, as to the chemistry; how highly con- 
centrated must be the venom, which, in so small a quantity, 
can produce such powerful effects! And in the bee we 
may observe, that this venom is made from honey, the only 
food of the insect, but the last material from which I should 
have expected that an exalted poison could, by any pro- 
:ess or digestion whatsoever, have been prepared. In the 
next place, with respect to the mechanism, the sting is not 
a simple, but a compound instrument. The visible sting, 
though drawn to a point exquisitely sharp, is, in strictness, 
on y a sheath; for, near to the extremity maybe perceived 
by the microscope two minute orifices, from which orifices, 
«n the act of stinging, and, as it should seem, after the point 

* There are numerous variations in the structure of this organ; an exam- 
ple of the one just mentioned is seen in the ovipositor of the buprestis, 
Fig. 9. It consists of three long and sharp laminae, the two lateral ones 
forming a sheath to the intermediate one, which is the tube which conveyi 
the egg. In some cases the instrument forms a saw, or what Pa ey bera 
calls a dentated stem, which conveys the eggs, as in the tenthredo, cicv'a 
timbex, &c. — Paxton. 


-ii the mun sting has buried itself in the flesh, are launch- 
ed out two subtile rays, which may be called the true or 
proper stings, as being those through which the poison ia 
infused into the puncture already made by the exterior sting. 
I have said, that chemistry and mechanism are here united. 
by which observation I meant, that all this machinery, 
would have been useless, tehim imbelle, if a supply of 
poison, intense in quality, in proportion to the smallness of 
the drop, had not been furnished to it by the chemical 
elaboration which was carried on in the insect's body; and 
that, on the other hand, the poison, the result of this pro- 
cess, could not have attained its effect, or reached its 
enemy, if, when it was collected at the extremity of the 
abdomen, it had not found there a machinery, fitted to con- 
duct it to the external situations in which it was to operate, 
viz. an awl to bore a hole, and a syringe to inject the fluid. 
Yet these attributes, though combined in their action, are 
independent in their origin. The venom does not breed 
the sting; nor does the sting concoct the venom. [PI 
XXXII. fig. 5.] 

IV. The proboscis, with which many insects are en- 
dowed, comes next in order to be considered. [PI. XXXII. 
fig. 6,7,8.] It is a tube attached to the head of the animal. 
In the bee, it is composed of two pieces connected by a 
joint; for if it were constantly extended, it would be too 
much exposed to accidental injuries; therefore, in its in- 
dolent state, it is doubled up by means of the joint, and 
; n that position lies secure under a scaly penthouse. In 
many species of the butterfly, the proboscis, wh< n not in 
use, is coiled up like a watch spring. In the same bee. 
the proboscis serves the office of the mouth, the insect 
having no other: and how much better adapted it is, than 
a mouth would be, for collecting of the proper nourish- 
ment of the animal, is sufficientlv evident. The food of 
the bee is the nectar of flowers; a drop of syrup, lodged 
deep in the bottom of the corollas, in the recesses of the 
petals, or down the neck of a monopetalous glove. Into 
these cells the bee thrusts its long narrow pump, through 
the cavity of which it sucks up this precious fluia, inacces- 
sible to every other approach. It is observable also, that 
the plant is not the worse for what the bee does to it. The 
harmless plunderer rifles the sweets, but leaves the flowei 
uninjured. The ringlets of which the proboscis of the bee 
is composed, the muscles by which it is extended and 
contracted, form so many microscopical wonders The 
agility also with which it is moved, can hardly fail to ex- 


cite admiration But it it enough for our purpose to ob- 
serve in general, the suitableness of the structure to the 
use, of the means to the end, and especially the wisdom 
by which nature has departed from its most general anal- 
ogy (for animals being furnished with mouths are such,) 
when the purpose could be better answered by the devia- 

In some insects, the proboscis, or tongue, or trunkj is 
shut up in a sharp-pointed sheath, which sheath, being of 
a much firmer texture than the proboscis itself, as well aa 
sharpened at the point, pierces the substance which con- 
tains the food, and then opens within the wound, to allow 
the enclosed tube, through which the juice is extracted, to 
perform its office. Can any mechanism be plainer than 
this is; or surpass this? 

V. The metamorphosis of insects from grubs into moths 
and flies, is an astonishing process. A hairy caterpillar 
is transformed into a butterfly. Observe the change. We 
have four beautiful wings, where there were none before; 
a tubular proboscis, in the place of a mouth with jaws anc 
teeth; six long legs, instead of fourteen feet. In another 
case, we see a white, smooth, soft worm, turned into a 
black, hard, crustaceous beetle, with gauze wings. These, 
as I said, are astonishing processes, and must require, as 
it should seem, a proportionably artificial apparatus. The 
hypothesis which appears to me most probable is, that, in 
the grub, there exist at the same time three animals, one 
within another, all nourished by the same digestion, and 
by a communicating circulation; but in different stages of 
maturity. The latest discoveries made bv naturalists seem 
to favour this supposition. The insect already equip- 
ped with wings, is descried under the membranes, both 
of the worm and nymph. In some species, the proboscis, 
the antennas, the limbs and wings of the fly, have been 
observed to be folded up within the body of the caterpillar; 
and with such nicety as to occupy a s^nall space only undei 
the two first wings. This being so, the outermost animal, 
which, besides its own proper character, serves as an integu-> 
meet to the other two, being the farthest advanced, dies, 
as we suppose, and drops off first. The second, the pupa 
or chrysalis, then offers itself to observation. This also, 
in its turn, dies; its dead and brittle husk falls to pieces, 
and makes way for the appearance of the fly or moth 
Now. if this be the case, or indeed whatever explication 
De adopted, we have a prospective contrivance of the mosl 
curious kind; we have organizations three deep, vet a vaa- 


ular system, which supplies nutrition, growth, and life, tc 
a.l of them together 

VI. Almost all insects are oviparous. Nature keeps 
her bu.terflies, moths, and caterpillars, locked up during 
the winter in their e££ state: and we have to admire the 
various devices to which, if we may so speak, the same 
nature hath resorted, for the security of the egg. Many 
insects enclose their eggs in a silken web; others cover 
them with a coat of hair torn from their own bodies; some 
glue them together; and others, like the moth of the silk 
worm, glue them to the leaves upon which they are depos 
ited, that th.3y may not be shaken off by the wind, or wash- 
ed away by rain: some again make incisions into leaves, 
and hide an egg in each incision; whilst some envelope 
their eggs with a soft substance, which forms the first ali- 
ment of the young animal: and some again make a hole in 
the earth, and having stored it with a quantity of proper 
food, deposit their eggs in it. In all which we are to ob- 
serve, that the expedient depends, not so much upon the 
address of the animal, as upon the physical resources of 
his constitution. 

The art also with which the young insect is coiled up in 
the egg, presents, where it can be examined, a subject of 
great curiosity. The insect, furnished with all the members 
which it ought to have, is rolled up into a form which 
seems to contract it into the least possible space; by which 
contraction, notwithstanding the smallnessof the egg, it has 
room enough in its apartment, and to spare. This folding 
of the limbs appears to me to indicate a special direction, 
for, if it were merely the effect of compression, the coN 
location of the parts would be more various than it is. In 
the same species, I believe, it is always the same. 

These observations belong to the whole insect tribe, or 
to a great part of them. Other observations are limited 
to fewer species; but not, porhaps, less important or satis- 

1. The organization in the abdomen of the silkworm, 
or spider, whereby these insects form their thread, is aa 
incontestably mechanical as a wire-drawer's mill. In the 
body of the silkworm are two bags, remarkable for their 
form, position, and use. [PI. XXXIII. fig. 1.] They wind 
round the intestine; when drawn out, they are ten inches 
in length, though the animal itself be only two. Within 
these bags is collected a glue; and communicating with 
the bags, are two paps or outlets, perforated, like a giater 
bv a n an ber of sn all holes. The glue or 211m, being pass* 



ed through these minute apertures, form hairs ot u mosf 
imperceptible fineness; and these hairs, when joined, com- 
pose the silk which we wind off from the cone, in which 
the silkworm has wrapped itself up: in the spider, the web 
is formed from this thread. In both cases, the extremity of 
the thread, by means of its adhesive quality, is first at- 
tached by the animal io some external hold; and the end 
being now fastened to a point, the insect, by turning round 
its body, or by receding from that point, draws out the 
thread through the holes above described, by an operation, 
as hath been observed, exactly similar to the drawing of 
wire. The thread, like the wire, is formed by the hole 
hrough which it passes. In one respect there is a dif- 
ference. The wire is the metal unaltered, except in figure. 
In the animal process, the nature of the substance is some- 
what changed as well as the form; for, as it exists within 
the insect, it is a soft clammy gum or glue. The thread 
acquires, it is probable, its firmness and tenacity from the 
action of the air upon its surface, in the moment of expo- 
sure; and a thread so fine is almost all surface. This 
property, however, of the paste is part of the contrivance 
[PI. XXXIII. fig. 2.] 

The mechanism itself consists of the bags or reservoirs 
mto which the glue is collected, and of the external holes 
communicating with these bags: and the action of the 
machin . is seen in the forming of a thread, as wire is form- 
ed, by fore' tig the material already prepared through holes 
of proper dimensions. The secretion is an act too subtile 
for our discernment, except as we preceive it by the pro- 
duce. But one ,\ing answers to another; the secretory 
glands to the q llity and consistence required in the 
secreted substance; the bag to its reception: the outlets 
and orifices are constructed, not merely for relieving 
the reservoirs of theii burden, but for manufacturing the 
contents into a form a» ! texture, of great external use, or 
rather indeed of future necessity to the life and functions 
of the insect. 

II. Bees, under one character or other, have furnished 
every naturalist with a set of observations. I shall in 
this place confine myself to one; and that is, the relatioj 
which obtains between the wax and the honey. No per- 
son who has inspected a bee-hive, can forbear remarking 
how commodiously the honey is bestowed in the comb, and 
amongst other advantages, how effectually the fermenta 
tion of the honey is prevented by distributing it into smal* 
r,e Is fact is, that when the honey is separated from 


the cmb, and put into jars, it runs into fermentatioi , with 
a much less degree of heat than what takes place in a 
hive. This may be reckoned a nicety ; but, independently 
of any nicety in the matter, I would ask, what could the 
bee do with the honey if it had not the wax? how, at least, 
could it store it up for winter? The wax, therefore, an- 
Bwers a purpose with respect to the honey; and the honey 
constitutes that purpose with respect to the wax. This i -; 
the relation between them. But the two substances, 
though together of the greatest use, and without each 
other of little, come from a different origin. The bee finds 
the honey, but makes the wax. The honey is lodged in 
the nectaria of flowers, and probably undergoes little alter- 
ation; is merely collected: whereas the wax is a ductile, te- 
nacious paste, made out of a dry powder, not simply by 
kneading it with a liquid, but by a digestive process in the 
body of the bee. What account can be rendered of facts 
so circumstanced, but that the animal, being intended to 
feed upon honey, was, by a peculiar external configuration, 
enabled to procure it? that, moreover, wanting the honey 
when it could not be procured at all, it was farther endued 
with the no less necessary faculty of constructing reposi- 
tories for its preservation? which faculty, it is evident, must 
depend primarily, upon the capacity of providing suitable 
materials. Two distinct functions go to make up the 
ability. First, the power in the bee, with respect to wax, 
of loading the farina of flowers upon its thighs. Microsco- 
pic observers speaK of the spoon-shaped appendages with 
which the thighs of bees are beset for this very purpose; 
but, inasmuch as the art and will of the bee may be sup- 
posed to be concerned in this operation, there is, secondly, 
that which doth not rest in art or will — a digestive faculty 
which converts the loose powder into a stiff substance. 
This is a just account of the honey and the honey-comb , and 
this account, through every part, carries a creative intelli- 
gence along with it. 

The sting; also of the bee has this relation to the honey, 
that it is necessary for the protection of a treasure which 
invites so many robbers. 

Til. Our business is with mechanism. In the panorpa 
tribe of insects, there is a forceps in the tail of the male 
insect, with which he catches and holds the female. [Pi 
XXXIII. fig. 3.] Are a pair of pincers more mechanical 
than this provision in its structure? or is any structure 
more clear and certain in itt design? 


IV. St. Pierre tells us,* that in a fly with six: fee*, (1 
do not remember that he describes the species,) the pair 
next the head and the pair next the tail, have brushes at 
their extremities, with which the fly dresses, as there may 
be occasion, the anterior or the posterior put of its body; 
but that the middle pair have no such brushes, the situation 
of these legs not admitting of the brushes, if they were 
there, being converted to the same use. This is a very ex- 
act mechanical distinction. 

V. If the reader, looking to our distributions of science, 
wish to contemplate the chemistry, as well as the mechan- 
ism of nature, the insect creation will afford him an ex- 
ample. I refer to the light in the tail of a glow-worm. Two 
points seem to be agreed upon by naturalists concerning it: 
first, that it is phosphoric; secondly, that its use is to 
attract the male insect. The only thing to be inquired 
after, is the singularity, if any such there be, in the nat- 
ural history of this animal, which should render a pro- 
vision of this kind more necessary for it than for other 
insects. That singularity seems to be the difference which 
subsists between the male and the female ; which difference 
is greater than what we find in any other species of animal 
whatever. The glow-worm is a female caterpillar; the 
male of which is a fly; lively, comparatively small, dis- 
similar to the female in appearance, probably also as distin- 
guished from her in habits, pursuits, and manners, as he 
is unlike in form and external constitution. [PI. XXXIII. 
fig. 4, 5.] Here then is the adversity of the case. The 
caterpillar cannot meet her companion in the air. The 
winged rover disdains the ground. They might nevei 
therefore be brought together, did not this radiant torch 
direct the volatile mate to his sedentary female. 

In this example, we also see the resources of art antici- 
pated. One grand operation of chemistry is the making 
of phosphorus: and it was thought an ingenious devise, 
to make phosphoric matches supply the place of lighted 
tapers. Now this very thing is done in the body of the 
glow-worm. The phosphorus is not only made, but kin- 
dled; and caused to emit a steady and genial beam, for 
the purpose which is here stated, and which I believe to 
be the true one. 

VI. Nor is the last the only instance that entomology 
affords, in which our discoveries, or rather our projects, 
tu n ou to be imitations of nature. Some years ago, a 

* Vol. i. p. 342 


plan was s ggested, o producing propulsion by reaction ii 4 
this way: By the force of a steam-engine, a stream oi 
water was to be shot out of the stern of a boat; the im- 
Duise of which stream upon the water in the river, was to 
oush the boat itself forward; it is, in truth, the principle 
by which sky-rockets ascend in the air. Of the use or 
practicability of the plan I am not speaking; nor is it my 
concern to praise its ingenuity: but it is certainly a cor 
trivance. Now, if naturalists are to be believed, it is 
exactly the device which nature has made use of, fc r the 
motion of some species of aquatic insects. The larva of 
the dragon-fly, according to Adams, swims by ejecting 
water from its tail ; is driven forward by the reaction of 
water in the pool upon the current issuing in a direction 
Dackward from its body. [PI. XXXIII. fig. 6.] 

VII. Again: Europe has lately been surprised by the 
elevation of bodies in the air by means of a balloon. The 
discovery consisted in finding out a manageable substance, 
which was, bulk for bulk, lighter than air; and the appli- 
cation of the discovery was, to make a body composed of 
this substance bear up, along with its own weight, some 
heavier body which was attached to it. This expedient, 
so new to us, proves to be no other than what the author 
of nature has employed in the gossamer spider. We fre- 
quently see this spider's thread floating in the air, and 
extended from hedge to hedge, across a road or brook of 
four or five yards width. The animal which forms the 
thread has no wings wherewith to fly from one extremity 
to the other of this line; nor muscles to enable it to spring 
or dart to so great a distance: yet its Creator hath laid 
for it a path in the atmosphere; and after this manner. 
Though the animal itself be heavier than air, the thread 
which it spins from its bowels is specifically lighter. This 
is its balloon. The spider, left to itself, would drop to the 
ground; but being lied to its thread, both are supported. 
We have here a very peculiar provision: and to a contem- 
plative eye it is a gratifying spectacle, to see this insect waft- 
ed on her thread, sustained by a levity not her own, and 
traversing regions, which, if we examined only the body of 
the animal, might seem to have been forbidden to its nature. 

I must now crave the reader's permission to introduce 
into this place, for want of a better, an observation or two 
upon the tribe of animals, whether belonging to land or 
water, which are covered by shells. 

I. The skclk of snails are a wonderful, a mechan/caj 


and, if one might so speak concerning the works of nature, 
an original contrivance. Other animals have their prope" 
retreats, their hybernacula also, or winter-quarters, but the 
snail carries these about with him. He travels with hia 
tent; and this tent, though, as was necessary, both light 
and thin, is completely impervious either to moisture or air. 
The young snail comes out of its egg with the shell upon 
its back; and the gradual enlargement whicli the shell 
receives, is derived from the slime excreted by the animal's 
skin. Now the aptness of this excretion to the purpose, its 
propel ty of hardening into a shell, and the action, whatever 
it be, of the animal, whereby it avails itself of its gift, and 
of the constitution of its glands, (to say nothing of the work 
beino; commenced before the animal is born,") are things 
which can, with no probability, be referred to any other 
cause than to express design; and that not on the part of 
the animal alone, in which design, though it might build 
the house, could not have supplied the material. The will 
of the animal could not determine the quality of the ex- 
cretion. Add to which, that the shell of a snail, with its 
pillar and convolution, is a very artificial fabric; whilst a 
snail, as it should seem, is the most numb and unprovided 
of all artificers. In the midst of variety, there is likewise 
a regularity, which would hardly be expected. In the 
same species of snail, the number of turns is usually, if 
not always, the same. The sealing up of the mouth of 
the shell by the snail, is also well calculated for its warmth 
and security ; but the cerate is not of the same substance 
with the shell. 

II. Much of what has been observed of snails belongs 
to shell-jisli and their shells, particularly to those of the 
univalve kind; with the addition of two remarks: one of 
which is upon the great strength and hardness of most of 
these shells. I do not know whether, the weight being 
given, art can produce so strong a case as are some of these 
ehells. Which defensive strength suits well with the life 
of an animal, that has often to sustain the dangers of a 
stormy element, and a rocky bottom, as well as the attacks 
of voracious fish. The other remark is, upon the property, 
in the animal excretion, not only of congealing, but of con- 
gealing, or, as a builder would call it, setting, in water, and 
into a cretaceous substance, firm and hard. This property 
is much more extraordinary, and, chemically speaking, 
more specific, than that of hardening in the air; which 
may be reckoned a kind of exsiccation, like the drying ot 
clay into bricks. 


III. In the bivalve order of shell-.lsh, cockles, muscles, 
oysters, &c. what contrivance can be so simple or so clear, 
as the insertion at the back, of a tough, tendinous substance, 
that becomes at once the ligament which binds the two 
shells together, and the hinge upon which they open and 

IV. The shell of a lobster's tail, in its articulations and 
overlapping, represents the jointed part of a coat of mail; 
or rather, which I believe to be the truth, a coat of mail ia 
an imitation of a lobster's shell. The same end is to be 
answered by both; the same properties, therefore, are re- 
quired in both, namely, hardness and flexibility, a covering 
which may guard the part without obstructing its motion. 
For this double purpose, the art of man, expressly exeicis- 
ed upon the subject, has not been able to devise anything 
better thai' what nature presents to his observation. Is not 
this, therefore, mechanism, which the mechanic, having a 
similar purpose in view, adopts? Is the structure of a coat 
o{ mail to be referred to art ? Is the same structure of the 
lobster, conducing to the same use, to be referred to any- 
thing less than art? 

Some, who may acknowledge the imitation, and assent 
to the inference which we draw from it in the instance be- 
fore us, may be disposed, possibly, to ask, why such imita- 
tions are not more frequent than they a*e, if it be true, aa 
we allege, that the same principle of intelligence, design, 
and mechanical contrivance, was exerted in the formation 
of natural bodies, as we employ in the making of the vari- 
ous instruments by which our purposes are served? The 
answers to this question are, first, that it seldom happens 
that precisely the same purpose, and no other, is pursueo 
m any work which we compare, of nature and of art; sec- 
ondly, that it still more seldom happens, that we can imitate 
nature, if we would. Our materials and our workmanship 
are equally deficient. Springs and wires, and cork and 
leather, produce a poor substitute for an arm or a hand. In 
the example which we have selected, I mean a lobster's 
^hell compared with a coat of mail, these difficulties stand 
less in the way, than in almost any other that can be as- 
signed: and the consequence is, as we have seen, that art 
gladly borrows from nature her contrivance, and imitates 
it closely. 

But to return to insects. I think it is in this class of 
Animals above all others, especially when we take in the 


i:\ultitude of species which the microscope discovers, that 
we are struck with what Cicero has called "the insatiabU 
variety of nature." There are said to be six thousand 
species of flies; seven hundred and sixty butterflies; each 
different from all the rest, (St. Pierre.) The same writer 
tells us, from his own observation, that thirty-seven species 
of winged insects, with distinctions well expressed, visited 
a single strawberry plant in the course of three weeks.* 
Ray observed, within the compass of a mile or two of nis 
own house, two hundred kinds of butterflies, noctural and 
diurnal. He likewise asserts, but I think without any 
grounds of exact computation, that the number of species 
of insects, reckoning all sorts of them, may not be short 
often thousand. t And in this vast variety of animal forms 
(for the observation is not confined to insects, though more 
applicable perhaps to them than to any other class) we are 
sometimes led to take notice of the different methods, or 
rather of the studiously diversified methods, by which 
one and the same purpose is attained. In the article of 
breathing, for example, which was to be provided for in 
some way or other, besides the ordinary varieties of lungs, 
gills, and breathing-holes (for insects in general respire, 
not by the mouth, [PI. XXXIII. fig. 7,] but through holes 
in the sides,) the nymphag of gnats have an apparatus to 
raise their backs to the top of the water, and so take breath 
[PI. XXXIII. fig. 8.] The hydrocanthari do the like by 
thrusting their tails out of the water. J The maggot of the 
eruca labia [PI. XXXIII. fig. 9,] has a long tail, one part 
sheathed within another, (but which it can draw out at 
pleasure,) with a starry tuft at the end, by which tuft, 
when expanded upon the surface, the insect both supports 
itself in the water, and draws in the air which is necessary. 
In the article of natural clothing, we have the skins of ani- 
mals invested with scales, hair, feathers, mucus, froth; or 
itself turned into a shell or crust: in the no less necessary 
article of offence and defence, we have teeth, talons, beaks, 
horns, stings, prickles, with (the most singular expedient 
for the same purpose) the power of giving the electric 

* Vol. i. p. 3. 

t Wisdom of God, p. 23. The number of species of insects known 
to entomologists, and preserved in cabinets, is at present not less than 
forty thousand. This number, however, must probably form a small 
proportion of the whole number which exist upon the earth. — See Kirly 
and Spence's Entomology. — Ed. 

t Dei ham, p 7 


shock,* and, as is credibly related of some animals, of 
driving away their pursuers by an intolerable fcetor, or of 
blackening the water through which they are pursued. j" 
The consideration of these appearances might induce us to 
believe, that variety itself, distinct from every other reason, 
was a motive in the mind of the Creator, or with the 
agents of his will. 

To this great variety in organized life, the Deity has 
given, or perhaps there arises out of it, a corresponding 
variety of anima 1 . appetites. For the final cause of this 
we have not far to seek. Did all animals covet the same 
element, retreat, or food, it is evident how much fewer 
could be supplied and accommodated, than what at present 
live conveniently together, and find a plentiful subsistence. 
What one nature rejects, another delights in. Food which 
is nauseous to one tribe of animals, becomes, by that very 
property which makes it nauseous, an alluring dainty to 
another tribe. Carrion is a treat to dogs, ravens, vultures, 
fish. The exhalations of corrupted substances attract flies 
by crowds. Maggots revel in putrefaction. 



I think a designed and studied mechanism to be, in 

general, more evident in animals than in plants; and it ia 

innecessary to dwell upon a weaker argument, where a 

* The raja torpedo, gymnotus electricus, and some other fish, have 
d curious apparatus of nerves, which in its effects may be compared 
to an electrical battery. In. the first named fish, the electrical organs 
are situated between the head and the pectoral fir.s. When the integu- 
ments are raised the organ appears, consisting of some hundred pentagonal 
and hexagonal cells, filled with a glairy fluid. Minute blood-vessels are 
dispersed over it, and its nerves are of extraordinary size. When the 
hand is applied to the electrical organs, a benumbing effect is instantly felt 
in the fingers and the arm. When caught in a net, it has been known to 
give a violent shock to the hands of the fisherman who ventures to seize 
it. Phil. Trans. 1816, p. 120. Ibid. 1817, p. 32. — Paxton. 

t The several species of sepia; or cuttle fish have this faculty-. 
They possess a bag situated on, or near the liver, called the i?ik-bag, 
from its containing a black fluid, the contents of which are discharged 
by a muscular sheath compressing the body of the animal. By this 
singular evacuation the creature renders the surrounding element so black 
and bitter, when in danger of being attacked, that an enemy will not 
pursue it. — lb. 

J 94 or pl a:* is. 

stronger is at hand. There are, however, l lew ob9erva» 
tions upon the vegetable kingdom, which lie bo d.rectly in 
our way, that it would be improper to pass b/ them with- 
out notice. 

The one great intention of nature in the structure of 
plants, seems to be the perfecting of the seed; and, wha« 
is part of the same intention, the prese. ving of it until it 
be perfected. This intention shows itself, in the first place, 
by the care which appears to be taken, to protect and ripen, 
by every advantage which can be given co them of situa* 
tion in the plant, those parts which most immediately con- 
tribute to fructification, viz. the ant he ra3, the stamina, ar.d 
(he stigmata. These parts are usually lodged in the cer- 
tre, the recesses, or the labyrinths of the flower; during 
their tender and immature state, are shut up in the stalk, 
or sheltered in the bud: as soon as they have acquired 
firmness of texture sufficient to bear exposure, and are 
ready to perform the important office which ip assigned to 
them, they are disclosed to the light and air, by the burst- 
ing of the stem, or the expansion of the petals; after which, 
they have, in many cases, by the very form of the flowei 
during its blow, the light and warmth reflected upon them 
from the concave side of the cup. V"iat is called also the 
sleep* of plants, is the leaves or petals disposing themselves 

* ** The periodical change in the direction of leaves, which has been 
called the 'Sleep of Plants,' is undeniably connected with the stimulating 
operation of light. It is established, •hat during the clear light of the 
eun, the leaves become erect, and move their upper surface to the lMit, 
whilst, on the contrary, during the absence of light, they either hang 
downwards, and turn to the horizon, or they take an upright position, so 
that the under surface of the leaves is turned more outward. On account 
of this particular position of what has been called ' Sleeping Plants,' we 
car not properly ascribe this direction to sleep, because the leaves do 
sometimes even raise themselves during this state with greater energy, 
and press upon the stem or leaf-stalk, for the purpose of turning thei'j 
lower surface outwards. This change is much rather, therefore, the con 
sequence of the contest between the activity of the plant, and the gre* 
activity of nature. This change is the more evident, and the sleep &l 
leaves the more striking, the finer and more compounded the organiza 
tion of the leaves are. We hence most frequently observe it in the pin 
nated leaves of leguminous plants, although also in some others, as Lb 

That an internal and self-dependent activity is to be taken inio a& 
count in this sleep of plants, is plain from the fact that this sleep does 
not equally follow from a short withdrawing of the light, but only frcm 
its complete and long-continued removal; as also from this other cir- 
cumstance, that leaves fall asleep or awake at fixed hours, whethei 
the sky be serene or troubled, exactly as happens with regard to ani- 
•aals Other stimula, too, and especially heat, have a great iaflueuca 


in such a manner as to shelter the young stems, buds, or 
fruit. They turn up, or they fall down, according as this 
purpose renders either change or position requisite. In 
the growth of corn, whenever the plant begins to shoot, the 
iwo upper leaves of the stalk join together, embrace the 
ear, and protect it till the pulp has acquired a certain de- 
gree of consistency. In some water plants, the flowering 
ond fecundation are carried on within the stem, which at- 
tei wards opens to let loose the impregnated seed.* The 
pea or papilionaceous tribe, enclose the parts of fructifi- 
cation within a beautiful folding of the internal blossom, 
sometimes called, from its shape, the boat or keel; itself 
also protected under a penthouse formed by the external 
petals. This structure is very artificial; and what adds to 
the value of it, though it may diminish the curiosity, very 
general. It has also this farther advantage, (and it is an 
advantage strictly mechanical,) that all the blossoms turn 
their backs to the wind, whenever the gale blows strong 
enough to endanger the delicate parts upon which the seed 
depends. I have observed this a hundred times in a field 
of peas in blossom. It is an aptitude which results from 
the figure of the flower, and, as we have said, is strictly 
mechanical; as much so as the turning of a weather-board 
or tin cap upon the top of a chimney. Of the poppy, and 
of many similar species of flowers, the head, while it is 
growing, hangs down, a rigid curvature in the upper part 
of the stem giving to it that position; and in that position 
it is impenetrable by rain or moisture. When the head 
has acquired its size, and is ready to open, the stalk erects 
itself, for the purpose, as it should seem, of presenting the 
flower, and with the flower, the instruments of fructifica- 
tion, to the genial influence of the sun's rays. This al- 
ways struck me as a curious property ; and specifically as 
well as originally, provided for in the constitution of the 
plant, for, if the stem be only bent by the weight of the 
head, how comes it to straighten itself when the head is 
the heaviest? These instances show the attention of na- 
ture to this principal object, the safety and maturation of 
the parts upon which the seed depends. 

In frees, especially in those which are natives of colder 
climates, this point is taken up earlier. Many of these trees 
(observe in particular the ash and the norse-chestnut) pro- 

opon this phenomenon, because, in the cold, leaves awaken later, and 
fall more easily asleep, notwithstanding the influence of light." Vid« 
Elements of the Philosophy of Plants by Decandolle. — Fax ton 
* Phil. Trans, par. i. 1796j p. 502 


duce the embryos of the leaves and flc '* ers in one vgm 
and bring them to perfection the following. There is a 
winter tlierefore to be gotten over. Now what we are to re- 
mark is, how nature has prepared for the trials and sever- 
ities of that season. These tender embryos are, in the 
first place, wrapped up with a compactness which no art 
can imitate; in which state they compose what we call tho 
bud This is not all. The bud itself is enclosed in scales; 
which scales are formed from the remains of past leaves, 
and the rudiments of future ones. Neither is this tho 
whole. In the coldest climates a third preservative is ad- 
ded, by the bud having a coat of gum or resin, which, being 
congealed, resists the strongest frosts. On the approach 
of warm weather, this gum is softened, and ceases to be a 
hinderance to the expansion of the leaves and flowers. All 
this care is part of that system of provisions, which has for 
its object and consummation the production and perfecting 
of the seeds. 

The seeds themselves are packed up in a capsule, a 
vessel composed of coats, [PI. XXXIV. fig. 1,] which, 
compared with the rest of the flower, are strong and tough. 
From this vessel projects a tube, through which tube the 
farina, or some subtile fecundating effluvium that issues 
from it, is admitted to the seed. And here also occurs a 
mechanical variety, accommodated to the different circum- 
stances under which the same purpose is to be accomplish- 
ed. In flowers which are erect, the pistil is shorter than 
the stamina; [PI. XXXIV. fig. 2,] and the pollen, shed 
from the antherse into the cup of the flower, is caught in 
its descent by the head of the pistil, called the stigma. But 
how is this managed when the flowers hang down, (as 
does the crown imperial, for instance,) and in which posi- 
tion the farina, in its fall, would be carried from the stig- 
ma, and not towards it ? The relative length of the parts 
is now inverted. The pistil in these flowers is usually 
longer instead of shorter than the stamina, [PI. XXXIV. 
fig. 3,] that its protruding summit may receive the pollen 
as it drops to the ground. In some cases (as in the nigel- 
la,) [PI. XXXIV. fig. 4,] where the shafts of the pistils 
or styles are disproportionably long, they bend down their 
extremities upon the antherse, that the necessary approxi 
mation may be effected.* 

* Amongst the various means which nature has provided for the pur 
pose of assisting the impregnation of plants, that afforded by the agencj 
nf insect is not on-3 of the least. In the spring and summer raotia 


But (to pursue this great work in its progress) the im< 
pregnation, to which all this machinery relates, being com- 
pleted, the other parts of the flower fade and drop off, whilst 
the gravid seed-vessel, on the contrary, proceeds to increase 
its bulk, always to a great, and in some species (in the 
gourd, for example, and melon,) to a surprising compara- 
tive size; assuming in different plants an incalculable va- 
riety of forms, but all evidently conducing to the security 
of the seed. By virtue of this process, so necessary but 
so diversified, we have the seed at length, in stone-fruita 

numerous species of these lively little beings may be seen in almost 
every expanded flower; and whether they are in search of honey, which 
is contained in the nectaries of many flowers, or whatever may be the 
object of their attraction, by being continually on the move, they, no 
doubt, further the dispersion of the pollen, and thus, in a great measure, 
contribute to the fertility of the plants they visit. 

In many plants, as those which belong to the Pinnsean class dicecia, 
where the stamens and pistils are in separate flowers, and those flowers 
situated on two separate plants of the same species, the operation of 
insects, or the efficacy of winds, is indispensably necessary to the per- 
fecting the fruit, by transporting the pollen of the one to the stigma of 
the other. 

Some plants, indeed, that have perfect, or united flowers, have the 
anthers so situated that it is almost impossible the pollen can, of itself, 
reach the stigma; in this case insects generally become the auxiliaries 
to the fertilization of the seed. An instance of this may be seen in the 
aristohchia clematitis. "According to Professor Willdenow, the flow- 
er of this plant is so formed, that the anthers of themselves cannot im 
pregnate the stigma; but this important affair is devolved upon a par- 
ticular species of tipula, (T. pennicornis.) The throat of the flower 
is lined with dense hair, pointing downward so as to form a kind of fun- 
nel, or entrance like that of some kinds of mouse-traps, through which 
the insects may easily enter but not return: several creep in, and, un- 
easy at their confinement, are constantly moving to and fro, and so de- 
posit the pollen upon the stigma: but when the work intrusted to them is 
completed, and impregnation has taken place, the hair which prevented 
Jieir escape shrinks, and adheres closely to the sides of the flower, and 
these little go-betweens of Flora at length leave their prison. A writer, 
however, in the Annual .Medical Review (ii. 400,) doubts the accuracy of 
this fact, on the ground that he could never find T. pennicornis, though 
A. clematitis has produced fruit two years at Brompton." Introduc- 
tion to Entomology, by k'irby and Spence, vol. i. p. 298. 

That the tipitla pennicornis does enter the flowers of aristohchia 
tlematitis, as recorded by Professor Willdenow, I can confidently af- 
firm, from having observed them in great plenty in the inflated base of 
the corolla every year, for these last fifteen years, in the Oxford Botanic 
Garden, where the plant generally forms fruit. The first time I found 
this insect in the flowers of the above species of aristohchia, was on 
the 12th of July, 1812, at Godstow, near Oxford, where the plant wm 
then growing in a wild state near the ruins of the nunnery. 

P or the ab we observations the editor is indebted to an exei*ent do* 
anist, Mr W. Baxter.- -Paxton. 



and nuts, incased in a strong shell, the shell itself enclosed 
in a pulp or husk, by which the seed within is, or hath 
been, fed; or, more generally, (as in grapes, oranges, and 
the numerous kinds of berries,) plunged over head in a 
glutinous sirup, contained within a skin or bladder: at 
other times (as in apples and pears) embedded in the heart 
of a firm fleshy substance; or (as in strawberries) piicked 
into the surface of a soft pulp. 

These and many other varieties exist in what we call 
fruits* In pulse, and grain, and grasses; in trees, and 
shrubs, and flowers; the variety of the seed-vessels is in- 
computable. We have the seeds (as in the pea tribe) reg- 
ularly disposed in parchment pods, which, though soft and 
membranous, completely exclude the wet, even in the 
heaviest rains! the pod also, not seldom (as in the bean) 
lined with a fine down ; at other times (as in the senna) 
distended like a blown bladder: or we have the seed 
enveloped in wool (as in the cotton plant,) lodged (as in 
pines) between the hard and compact scales of a cone, or 
barricadoed (as in the artichoke and thistle) with spikes 

* From the conformation of fruits alone, one might be led, even with- 
out experience, to suppose, that part of this provision was destined for 
the utilities of animals. As limited to the plant, the provision itself 
eeems to go beyond its object. The flesh of an apple, the pulp of an 
orange, the meat of a plum, the fatness of the olive, appear to be more 
than sufficient for the nourishing of the seed or kernel. r l he event shows, 
that this redundancy, if it be one, ministers to the support and gratifica- 
tion of animal natures ; and when we observe a provision to be more 
than sufficient for one purpose, yet wanted for another purpose, it is not 
unfair to conclude, that both purposes were contemplated together. It 
favors this view of the subject to remark, that fruits are not (which 
they might have been) ready altogether, but that they ripen in succes- 
sion throughout a great part of the year; some in summer; some in au- 
tumn: that some require the slow maturation of the winter, and supply 
the spring; also that the coldest fruits grow in the hottest places. Cu- 
cumbers, pine-apples, melons, are the natural produce of warm climates, 
and contribute greatly, by their coolness, to the refreshment of the inha- 
bitants of those countries. 

" The eatable part of the cherry or peach first serves the purposes of 
perfecting the sped or kernel, by means of vessels passing through the 
ftone, and which are very visible in a peach-stone. After the kernel is 
perfected, the stone becomes hard, and the vessels cease their functions. 
But the substance surrounding the stone is not then thrown away as use- 
less. That which was before only an instrument for perfecting the ker- 
nel now receives and retains to itself the whole of the sun's influence, 
and thereby becomes a grateful food to man. Also, what an evident 
maiK of design is the stone protecting the kernel ! The intervention of 
ihe stone prevents the second use »«om interfering with the first." 



and prickles; in mushrooms, placed under a penthouse; in 
ferns, within slits in the back part of the leaf; or (which is 
the most general organization of all) we find them covered 
by strong, close tunicles, and attached to the stem accoid- 
ing to an order appropriated to each plant, as is seen in 
the several kinds of grain, and of grasses. 

In which enumeration, what we have first to notice is, 
jnity of purpose under variety of expedients. Nothing 
can be more single than the design; more diversified than 
the means. Pellicles, shells, pulps, pods, husks, skin, 
scales, armed with thorns, are all employed in prosecuting 
the same intention. Secondly; we may observe, that, ir 
all these cases, the purpose is fulfilled within a just and 
limited degree. We can perceive, that if the seeds of planti 
were more strongly guarded than they are, their greatei 
security would interfere with other uses. Many speciea 
of animals would suffer, and many perish, if they could 
not obtain access to them. The plant would overrun the 
soil ; or the seed be wasted for want of room to sow itself. 
It is sometimes as necessary to destroy particular species 
of plants, as it is at other times to encourage their growth. 
Here, as in many cases, a balance is to be maintained be- 
tween opposite uses. The provisions for the preservation 
of seeds appear to be directed, chiefly, against the incon- 
stancy of the elements, or the sweeping destruction of 
inclement seasons. The depredation of animals, and the 
injuries of accidental violence, are allowed for in the abun- 
dance of the increase. The result is, that out of the many 
thousand different plants which cover the earth, not a sin- 
gle species, perhaps, has been lost since the creation. 

When nature has perfected her seeds, her next care ig 
to disperse them. The seed cannot answer its purpose 
while it remains confined in the capsule. After the seeds 
therefore are ripened, the pericarpium opens to let them 
out: and the opening is not like an accidental bursting, 
but, for the most part, is according to a certain rule in each 
plant. What I have always thought very extraordinary; 
nuts and shells, which we can hardly crack with our teeth, 
divide and make way for the little tender sprout which pro- 
ceeds from the kernel. Handling the nut, I could hardly 
conceive how the plantule was ever to get out of it There 
are cases, it is said, in which the seed-vessel, by an elastic 
jerk at the moment of its explosion, casts the seed to a 
distance. We all however know, that many seeds (those 
of the most composite flowers, as of the thistle, dandelion, 
&c ) a>e endowed with what are not improperly called wing's 


tfiat is, downy appendages, by which they are enabled to 
float in the air, and are carried oftentimes by the wind to 
great distances from the plant which produces them. It 
is the swelling also of this downy tuft within the seed-vessei, 
that seems to overcome the resistance of its coats, and to 
open a passage for the seed to escape. 

But the constitution of seeds is still more admirable than 
either their preservation or their dispersion. In the body 
of the seed of every species of plant, or nearly of every one. 
provision is made for two grand purposes; first, for the 
safety of the germ; secondly, for the temporary support of 
the future plant. The sprout, as folded up in the seed, is 
delicate and brittle beyond any other substance. It can- 
not be touched without being broken. Yet, in beans, peas, 
grass-seeds, grain, fruits, it is so fenced on all sides, so 
shut up and protected, that, whilst the seed itself is rudely 
handled, tossed into sacks, shovelled into heaps, the sacred 
particle, the miniature plant, remains unhurt. It is won- 
derful also, how long many kinds of seeds, by the help 
of their integuments, and perhaps of their oils, stand out 
against decay. A grain of mustard seed has been known 
to lie in the earth for a hundred years; and, as soon as it 
hath acquired a favorable situation, to shoot as vigorously 
as if just gathered from the plant. Then, as to the second 
point, the temporary support of the future plant, the matter 
stands thus. In grain, and pulse, and kernels, and pippins, 
the germ composes a very small part of the seed. The 
rest consists of a nutritious substance, from wMch the 
sprout draws its aliment for some considerable time after 
it is put forth; viz. until the fibres, shot out from the other 
end of the seed, are able to imbibe juices from the earth, 
in a sufficient quantity for its demand. It is owing to this 
constitution, that we see seeds sprout, and the sprouts 
make a considerable progress without any earth at all. It 
is an economy also, in which we remark a close analogy 
between the seeds of plants, and the eggs of animals. The 
same point is provided for, in the same manner, in both. 
In the egg, the residence of the living principle, the cica 
irix, forms a very minute part of the contents. The white, 
and the white only, is expended in the formation of the 
chicken. The yolk, very little altered, or diminished, is 
wrapped up in the abdomen of the young bird when it 
quits the shell, and serves for its nourishment, till it have 
learned to pick its own food. This perfectly resembles the 
first nutrition of a plant. In the plant, as well as in the 
animal, the structure has every chaiacter of contrivance 


belonging t<~» 1.: in both, it breaks the transition from pre 
pared to unpre )ared aliment ; in both, it is prospective and 
compensatory. In animals which suck, this intermediate 
nourishment is supplied by a different source 

In all subjects, the most common observations are the 
best, when it is their truth and strength which have made 
them common. There are, of this sort two concerning 
plants, which it falls within our plan to notice. The first 
i elates to what has already been touched upon, their ger 
mination. When a grain of corn is cast into the ground, 
this is the change which takes place. From one end o. 
the grain issues a green sprout; from the other, a number ot 
wnite fibrous threads. [PI. XXXIV. fig. 5.] How can this 
be explained ? Why not sprouts from both ends ? Why not 
fibrous threads from both ends? To what is the difference 
to be referred, but to design; to the different uses which 
the parts are thereafter to serve ; uses which discover 
themselves in the sequel of the process? The sprout, or 
plumule, struggles into the air; and becomes the plant, of 
which, from the first, it contained the rudiments: the fibres 
shoot into the earth ; and thereby both fix the plant to the 
ground, and collect nourishment from the soil for its sup- 
port.* Now, what is not a little remarkable, the parts 

* " The seed, the last production of vigorous vegetation, is wonder 
fully diversified in form. Being of the highest importance to the re- 
sources of nature, it is defended above all other parts of the plant, by soft, 
pulpy substances, as in the esculent fruits, by thick membranes, as in the 
leguminous vegetables, and by hard shells, er a thick ^jdermis, as in the 
palms and grasses. 

" In every seed there is to be distinguished, first, the or&an of nour- 
ishment; secondly, the nascent plant, or the pi wne; thirdly, the nascent 
root, or the radicle. 

" In the common garden bean, the organ of nourishment is divided in- 
to two lobes called cotyledons; the plume is the small white point be- 
tween the upper part of the lobes; and the radicle is the small curved cone 
at their base. 

" In wheat, and in many of the grasses, the organ of nourishment is a 
Bingle part, and these plants are called monocotyledonous. In othei 
cases it consists of more than two parts, when the plants are called pohje- 
otyledonous. In the greater number of instances it is, however, simply 
divided into two, and is dicotyledonous. 

" The matter of the seed, when examined in its common state, nppeart 
dead and inert; it exhibits neither the forms nor the functions of lifts 
But let it be acted upon by moisture, heat, and air, and its organized 
powers are soon distin:':ly developed. The cotyledons expand, tha 
membranes burst, the r-dicle acquires new matter, descends into lh« 
soil, and the plume rises towards the free air. By degrees, the organs 
of nourishment of dicotyledonous plants become vascular, and are c^ 
veiled into seed leaves, and the perfect plant appears above the P">1 


issuing from the seed take their respective directi )ns, into 
whatever position the seed itself happens to be cast. II 
the seed be thrown into the wrongest possible position, 
that is, if the ends point in the ground the reverse of what 
they *ught to do, everything, nevertheless, goes on right. 
The sprout, after being pushed down a little way, makes 
a bend, and turns upwards: the fibres, on the contrary, 
after shooting at first upwards, turn down Of this extraor- 
dinary vegetable fact, an account has lately been attempted 
to be given: " The plumule, (it is said,) is stimulated by 
the air into action, and elongates itself when it is thu9 
most excited; the radicle is stimulated by moisture, and 
elongates itself when it is thus most excited. Whence 
one of these grows upward in quest of its adapted object, 
and the other downward"* Were this account better 
verified by experiment J than it is, it only shifts the con- 
Nature has provided the elements of germination on every part of the 
surface; water and pure air and heat are universally active, and the 
means for the preservation and multiplication of life, are at once simple 
and grand." Sir H. Davy's Elements of Agricultural Chemistry, 
i ed. p. 70. — Pax ton. 

* Darwin's Phytologia, p. 144. 

t " Gravitation has a very important influence on the growth of plants 
and it is rendered probable, by the experiments of Mr. Knight, that they 
owe the peculiar direction of their roots and branches almost entirely to 
its force. 

" That gentleman fixed some seeds of the garden bean on the circum 
ference of a wheel, which in one instance was placed vertically, and in 
the other horizot/nlly, and made to revolve, by means of another wheel 
worked by water, m -uch a manner, that the number of the revolutions 
could be regulated; the beans were supplied with moisture, and were plac- 
ed under circumstances favorable to germination. The great velocity 
of motion given to the wheel was such, that it performed 250 revolutions 
in a minute. It was found that in all cases the beans grew, and that the 
direction of the roots and stems was influenced by the motion of the 
wheel. When the centrifugal force was made superior to the force of 
grav.'tation, which was supposed to be done when the vertical wheel per- 
formed 150 revolutions in a minute, all the radicles, in whatever way 
they were protruded from the position of the seeds, turned their points 
outwards from the circumference of the wheel, and in their subsequent 
growth receded nearl*- at right angles from its axis; the germens (plum- 
ules) on the contrary, k the opposite direction, and in a few days their 
points all met in the ce... e of the wheel. 

"When the centrifugal force was made merely to modify the force of 
gravitation in the horizontal wheel, where the greatest velocity of revolu- 
tion was given, the radicles pointed downwards about ten degrees below, 
and the germens (plumules) as many degrees above the horizontal line of 
the wheel's motion; and the deviation from the perpendicular was less ia 
proportion, as the motion was less rapid. 

"These ficts afford a rational solution of this curious problem, respect- 


trivance. It does net disprove the contrivance; it only re- 
moves it a little farther back. Who, to use our author'} 
own language, "adapted the objects?" Who gave sucl. 
a quality to these connate parts, as to be susceptible of dif 
,ereni " stimulation;" as to be " excited " each only by ita 
own element, and precisely by that which the success ol 
the vegetation requires? I say, "which the success of the 
vegetation requires:" for the toil of the husbandman woula 
lave been in vain; his laborious and expensive preparation 
of the ground in vain; if the event must, after all, depend 
upon the position in which the scattered seed was sown 
Not one seed out of a hundred would fall in a right di 

Our second observation is upon a general property cf 
climbing plants, which is strictly mechanical. In these 
plants, from each knot or joint, or as botanists call it, ax- 
illa, of the plant, issue, close to each other, two shoots, 
one bearing the flower and fruit; the other, drawn out into 
a wire, a long, tapering, spiral tendril, that twists itself 
round anything which lies within its reach. Considering, 
that in this class two purposes are to be provided for, (and 
together,) fructification and support, the fruitage of the 
plant, and the sustentation of the stalk, what means could 
be used more effectual, or, as I have said, more mechanical, 
lhan what this structure presents to our eyes? Why, ox 
how, without a view to this double purpose, do two shoots, 
of such different and appropriate forms, spring from the 
same joint, from contiguous points of the same stalk? It 
never happens thus in robust plants, or in trees. "We 
see not, (says Ray,) so much as one tree, or shrub, or 
herb, that hath a firm and strong stem, and that is able to 
mount up and stand alone witliDUt assistance, furnished 
with these tendrils." Make only so simple a comparison 

ing which, different philosophers have given such different opinions; soma 
referring it to the nature of the sap, as De la Hire, others as Darwin, to 
the living powers of the plant, and the stimulus of air upon the leaves, 
and of moisture upon the roots. The effect is now shown to be connect- 
ed uith mechanical causes; and there seems no other power in nature to 
which it can with propriety he referred but gravity, which acts universal- 
ly, and which must tend to dispose the parts to take a uniform direction. 
" The direction of the radicles and germ ens (plumules) is such, that 
both arc supplied with food, and acted upon by those external agents wnich 
are necessary for their developement and growth. The roots come in 
contact with the fluids in the ground; the leaves are exposed to light 
and air; and the same grand law which preserves the planets in their or« 
b»*s is thus essential to the functions of vegetable life." — Davy's El. Agr. 
Cham. iL Ed. p. 32 — Paxton. 


as that between a pea and s bean. Why does the pea pu» 
forth tendrils, the bean not; but because the stalk of the 
pea cannot support itself, the stalk of the bean can? We 
may add also, as a circumstance not to be overlooked, that 
in the pea tribe these clasps do not make their appearance 
till they are wanted; till the plant has grown to a height 
to stand in need of support. 

This word " support" suggests to us a reflection upon 
the property of grasses, of corn, and canes. The hollow 
*teriLs of these classes of plants are set, at certain intervals, 
with joints. These joints are not found in the trunks of 
trees, or in the solid stalks of plants. Theie maybe oilier 
uses of these joints ; but the fact is, and it appears to be 
at least one purpose designed by them, that they corrobo- 
rate the stem; which, by its length and hollowness, would 
otherwise be too liable to break or bend. 

Grasses are Nature's care. With these she clothes the 
earth; with these she sustains its inhabitants. Cattle feed 
upon their leaves; birds upon their smaller seeds; men 
upon the larger: for few readers need be told, that the 
plants which produce our bread-corn belong to this class. 
In those tribes, which are more generally considered as 
grasses, their extraordinary means and powers of preserva 
tion and increase, their hardness, their almost unconquer- 
able disposition to spread, their faculties of reviviscence, 
coincide with the intention of nature concerning them. 
They thrive under a treatment by which other plants are de- 
stroyed. The more their leaves are consumed, the more 
their roots increase. The more they are trampled upon, 
the thicker they grow. Many of the seemingly dry and 
dead leaves of grasses revive, and renew their verdure, in 
the spring. In lofty mountains, where the summer heats 
are not sufficient to ripen the seeds, grasses abound, which 
are viviparous, and consequently able to propagate them- 
selves without seed. It is an observation, likewise, which 
has often been made, that herbivorous animals attach them* 
selves to the leaves of grasses; and, if at liberty in then 
pastures to range and choose, leave untouched the straws 
which support the flowers.* 

The general properties of vegetable nature, or proper 
ties common to large portions of that kingdom, are almost 
*11 which the compass of our argument allows to bring for- 
ward. It is impossible to follow plants into their several 
species. We may be allowed, however, to single out three 

• With BoL Ar vol. i. o. 28. ed. 2d. 


01 four of these species as worthy of a particular notice 
either by some singular mechanism, or by some ;>eculiai 
provision, or by both. 

I. In Dr Darwin's Botanic Garden (1. 395, note,) is the 
following account of the vallisncria, as it lias been observ- 
ed in the river Rhone.— [PI. XXXV. fig. 1, 2, 3.] " Thev 
have roots at the bottom of the Rhone. The flowers of 
the female plant float on the surface of the water, and are 
furnished with an elastic, spiral stalk, which extends or 
contracts as the water rises or falls; this rise or fall, from 
the torrents which flow into the river, often amounting 
to many feet in a few hours. The flowers of the male plant 
are produced under water; and as soon as the fecundat- 
ing farina is mature, they separate themselves from the 
plant, rise to the surface, and are wafted by the air, or 
borne ny the currents, to the female flowers." Our atten- 
tion h this narrative will be directed to two particulars; 
first to the mechanism, the "elastic spiral stalk," which 
lengthens or contracts itself according as the water rises or 
falls; secondly, to the provision which is made for bring- 
ing the male flower, which is produced under water, to the 
female flower which floats upon the surface. 

II. My second example I take from Withering. (Ar- 
rang. vol. ii. p. 209. ed. 3.) " The cuscuta Europcea is a par- 
asitical plant. [Plate XXXVI.] The seed opens and puts 
forth a little spiral body, which does not seek the earth to 
take root, but climbs in a spiral direction, from right to left, 
ap other plants, from which, by means of vessels, it draws 
its nourishment." The ' 'little spiral body" proceeding from 
the seed, is to be compared with the fibres which seeds 
send out in ordinary cases: and the comparison ought 
to regard both the form of the threads and the direction 
They are straight; this is spiral. They shoot downwards; 
this points upwards. In the rule, and in the exception, we 
equally perceive design. 

III. A better known parasitical plant is the evergreen 
snrub, called the mistletoe. What we have to remark in it 
is a singular instance of compensation. No art has ye 
made these plants take root in the earth. Here therefore 
might seem to be a mortal defect in their constitution. Let 
us examine how this defect is made up to them. The seeds 
are endued with an adhesive quality, so tenacious, that, if 
they be rubbed upon the smooth bark of almost any tree, 
they will stick to it. And then what follows? Roots spring 
mg from these seeds, insinuate their fibers into the woody 
substance of the tree; and the event is, that a mistletoe 


plant is produced next winter;* of no other p'ant do the 
roots refuse to shoot in the ground; of no other plant da 
the seeds possess this adhesive, generative quality, when 
applied to the bark of trees. 

IV. Another instance of the compensatory system is in 
the autumnal crocus, or meadow saffron, (colchicum autum- 
nale.) [PI. XXXVII. ] I have pitied this poor plant a 
thousand times. Its blossom rises out of the ground in the 
most forlorn condition possible; without a sheath, a fence, 
a calyx, or even a leaf to protect it; and that, not in the 
spring, not to be visited by summer suns, but under all the 
disadvantages of the declining year. When we come, how- 
ever, to look more closely into the structure of this plant, 
we find that, instead of its being neglected, nature has 
gone out of her course to provide for its security, and to 
make up to it for all its defects. The seed-vessel, which in 
other plants is situated within the cup of the flower, or just 
beneath it, in this plant lies buried ten or twelve inches 
under ground within the bulbous root. The tube of the 
flower, which is seldom more than a few tenths of an inch 
long, in this plant extends down to the root. The stiles 
in all cases reach the seed-vessel; but it is in this, by an 
elongation unknown to any other plant. All these singu- 
larities contribute to one end. " As this plant blossoms late 
in the year, and probably would not have time to ripen its 
seeds before the access of winter, which would destroy 
them, Providence has contrived its structure such, that this 
important office may be performed at a depth in the earth 
out of reach of the usual effects of frost. "| That is to say. 
in the autumn nothing is done above ground but the busi- 
ness of impregnation ; which is an affair between the an- 
therse and the stigmata, and is probably soon over. The 
maturation of the impregnated seed, which in other plants 
proceeds within a capsule, exposed together with the rest 
of the flower to the open air, is here carried on, and during 
the whole winter, within the heart, as we may say, of the 
earth, that is " out of the reach of the usual effects of 
frost." But then a new difficulty presents itself. Seeds, 
though perfected, are known not to vegetate at this depth 
in the earth. Our seeds, therefore, though so safely lodged, 
would after all, be lost to the purpose for which all seeds 
are intended. Lest this should be the case, " a second 
admirable provision is made to raise them above the surface 
when tbey are perfected, and to sow them at a proper dis- 

* Withering, Bot. Arr. vol. i. p. 203, ed. 2d. 
t Withering's Botanical Arrangement p. 360. 

OF PLANTS. 20*) 

tance;" viz. the germ grows up in the spring, upon a fruit 
stalk, accompanied with leaves. The seeds now, in com- 
mon with those of other plants, have the benefit of the sum- 
mer, and are sown upon the surface. The order of vege- 
tation externally is this: — The plant produces its flowers ir 
September; its leaves and fruits in the spring following. 

V. I give the account o** the dioncea muscipida, [Plate 
XXXVIII.] an extraordinary American plant, as some late 
authors have related it: but whether we be yet enough ac- 
quainted witti the plant, to bring every part of this account 
to the test ol repeated and familiar observation, I am unable 
to say. Its leaves are jointed, and furnished with two rows 
of strong prickles; their surfaces covered with a number of 
minute glands, which secrete a sweet liquor that allures 
the approach of flies. When these parts are touched by 
the legs of flies, the two lobes of the leaf instantly spring 
up, the rows of prickles lock themselves fast together, and 
squeeze the unwary animal to death."* Here, under a 
new model, we recognise the ancient plan of nature, viz. 
the relation of parts and provisions to one another, to a 
common office, and to the utility of the organized body to 
which they belong. The attracting sirup, the rows of 
strong prickles, their position so as to interlock the joints 
of the leaves; and what is more than the rest, that sin- 
gular irritability of their surfaces, by which they close at 
a touch; all bear a contributory part in producing an ef- 
fect, connected either with the defence, or with the nu- 
trition of the plant. 



When* we come to the elements, we take leave of our 
mechanics; because we come to those things, of the or- 
ganization of which, if they be organized, we are confess- 
edly ignorant. This ignorance is implied by their name. 
To say the truth, our investigations are stopped long 
before we arrive at this point. But then it is for our 
comfort to find, that a knowledge of the constitution of the 
elements is not necessary for us. For instance, as Addison 
has well observed, "we know water sufficiently, when we 

* Smellie's Phil, of Nat. His v. ' l p. 5. 


know how to boil, how to freeze, how to evaporate, how t<s 
make it fresh, how to make it run or spout out in wliai 
quantity and direction we please, without knowing what 
water is." The observation of this excellent writer has 
more propriety in it now, than it Lad at the time it was 
made: for the constitution, and the constituent parts of 
water, appear in some measure to have been lately discov- 
ered; yet it does not, T think, appear, that we can make 
any better or greater use of water since the discovery, than 
we did before it. 

We can never think of the elements, without reflecting 
upon the number of distinct uses which are consolidated 
in the same substance. The air supplies the lungs, sup- 
ports fire, conveys sound, reflects light, diffuses smells ; 
gives rain, wafts ships, bears up birds. 'E; v9wto$ ra nuna y 
water, besides maintaining its own inhabitants, is the uni- 
versal nourisher of plants, and through them of terrestrial 
animals; is the basis of their juices and fluids; dilutes 
their food; quenches their thirst; floats their burdens 
Fire warms, dissolves, enlightens; is the great promoter 
of vegetation and life, if not necessary to the support of 

We might enlarge, to almost any length we pleased, up- 
on each of these uses; but it appears to me almost sum" 
cient to state them. The few remarks which I judge it 
necessary to add, are as follow: 

I. Air is essentially different from earth. There ap- 
pears to be no necessity for an atmosphere's investing our 
globe; yet it does invest it: and we see how many, how 
various, and how important are the purposes which it 
answers to every order of animated, not to say of organ- 
ized beings, which are placed upon the terrestrial surface. 
I think that every one of these uses will be understood 
upon the first mention of them, except it be that of reflect' 
ing light, which may be explained thus — If I had the pow 
er of seeing only by means of rays coming directly from 
the sun, whenever I turned my back upon the luminary, 
I should find myself in darkness. If I had- the power of 
seeing by reflected light, yet by means only of light 
reflected from solid masses, these masses would shine, 
indeed, and glisten, but it would be in the dark. The 
hemis,>.iere, the sky, the world, could only be illuminated, 
as it is illuminated, by the light of the sun being from all 
sides, and in every direction, reflected to the eye by parti- 
cles, as n imerous, as thickly scattered, and as wideh 
diffused, ai are those of the air 


Another general quality of the atmosphere is the power 
vf evaporating fluids. The adjustment of this quality to 
our use is seen in its action upon the sea. In the sea, 
water and salt are mixed together most intimately; yet 
the atmosphere raises the water, and leaves the salt. Puro 
and fresh as drops of rain descend, they are collected from 
brine. If evaporation be solution, (which seems to ba 
probable,) then the air dissolves the water, and not the salt. 
Upon whatever it be founded, the distinction is critical, so 
much so, that when we attempt to imitate the process by 
art, we must regulate our distillation with great care and 
nicety, or, together with the water, we get the bitterness, 
or, at least, the distastefulness, of the marine substance: 
and, after all, it h owing to this original elective power in 
the air, that we can effect the separation which we wish, 
by any art or means whatever. 

By evaporation, water is carried up into the air; by the 
converse of evaporation, it falls down upon the earth. And 
how does it fall? Not by the clouds being all at once re- 
converted into water, and descending like a sheet; not in 
rushing down in columns from a spout; but in moderate 
drops, as from a colander. Our watering-pots are made to 
imitate showers of rain. Yet, a priori, I should have 
thought either of the two former methods more likely to 
have taken place than the last. 

By respiration, flame, putrefaction, air is rendered unfit 
for the support of animal life. By the constant operation 
of these corrupting principles, the whole atmosphere, if 
there were no restoring causes, would come at length to be 
deprived of its necessary degree of purity Some of these 
causes seem to have been discovered, and their efficacy 
ascertained by experiment. And so far as the discovery 
has proceeded, it opens to us a beautiful and a wonderful 
economy. Vegetation proves to be one of them. A sprig 
of mint corked up with a small portion of foul air placed 
in the light, renders it again capable of supporting life or 
flame. Here, therefore, is a constant circulation of bene- 
fits maintained between the two great provinces of organ- 
ized nature. The plant purifies what the animal has 
poisoned; in return, the contaminated air is more than 
ordinarily nutritious to the plant. Jlgitation with water 
turns out to be another of these restoratives. The foulest 
air, shaken in a bottle with water for a sufficient length of 
time, recovers a great degree of its purity. Here then 
again, allowing for the scale upon which nature works, we 
Fee the salutan effects of storms and tempests. The y^sty 



waves which confound the heaven and the se *. are doin? 
the very thing which was done in the bottle. Nothing can 
ne of greater importance to the living creation, than the 
salubrity of their atmosphere. It ought to reconcile us, 
therefore, to these agitations of the elements, of which we 
sometimes deplore the consequences, to know, that they 
tend powerfully to restore to the air that purity, which so 
many causes are constantly impairing. 

II. In water, what ought not a little to be admired, aro 
those negative qualities which constitute its purity. Ha<f 
it been vinous, or oleaginous, or acid; had the sea been 
filled, or the rivers flowed, with wine or milk; fish, con 
stitJted as they are, must have died; plants, constituted 
as they are, would have withered; the lives of animals 
which feed upon plants, must have perished. Its very in- 
sipidity, which is one of those negative qualities, renders 
it the best of all menstrua. Having no taste of its own, 
it becomes the sincere vehicle of every other. Had there 
oeen a taste in water, be it what it might, it would have 
infected everything we ate or drank, with an importunate 
repetition of the same flavor. 

Another thing in this element, not less to be admired, 
is the constant round which it travels; and bv which, with 
out suffering either adulteration or waste, it is continually 
offering itself to the wants of the habitable globe. From 
the sea are exhaled those vapors which form the clouds; 
these clouds descend in showers, which, penetrating into 
'.he crevices of the hills, supply springs; which springs 
flow in little streams into the valleys; and there, uniting, 
become rivers; which rivers, in return, feed the ocean. So 
there is an incessant circulation of the same fluid; and not 
one drop probably more or less now than there was at the 
creation. A particle of water takes its departure from the 
surface of the sea, in order to fulfil certain important ofTi 
ces to the earth; and, having executed the service whic 
was assigned to it, returns to the bosom which it left. 

Some have thought, that we have too much water upoi 
the globe, the sea occupying above three quarters of its 
whole surface. But the expanse of ocean, immense as i 
is, may be no more than sufficient to fertilize the earth. 
Or, independently of this reason, I know not why the sea 
may not have as good a right to its place as the land. It 
may proportionably support as many inhabitants; minister 
to as large an aggregate of enjoyment. The land only af- 
fords a habitab i surface; the se : is habitable to a greal 


III Of fire, we have said that it dissolves. The onlv 
idea probably which this term raised in the reader's mind, 
was that of fire melting metals, resins, and some other 
substances, fluxing ores, running glass, and assisting us in 
mai.y of our operations, chemical or culinary. Now these 
are only uses of an occasional Kind, and give us a very 
imperfect notion of what fire does for us. The grand im- 
portance of this dissolving power, the great office indeed of 
file in the economy of nature, is keeping things in a state 
o.' solution, that is to say, in a state of fluidity. Were it 
not for the presence of heat, or of a certain degree of it, al. 
fluids would be frozen. The ocean itself would be a quar- 
ry of ice ; universal nature stiff' and dead. 

We see, therefore, that the elements bear not only a 
strict relation to the constitution of organized bodies, but 
a relation to each other. Water could not perform its of- 
fice to the earth without air; nor exist, as water, without fire. 

IV. Of light, (whether we regard it as of the same 
substance with fire, or as a different substance,) it is alto- 
gether superfluous to expatiate upon the use. No man dis- 
putes it. The observations, therefore, which I shall offer, 
respect that little which we seem to know of its constitution. 

Light travels from the sun at the rate of twelve million 
of miles in a minute. Urged by such a velocity, with 
what force must its particles drive against, (I will not say 
the eye, the tenderest of animal substances, but) every 
substance, animate or inanimate, which stands in its way! 
It might seem to be a force sufficient to shatter to atoms 
the hardest bodies. 

How then is this effect, the consequence of such pro- 
digious velocity, guarded against? By a proportionable 
minuteness of the particles of which light is composed. It is 
impossible for the human mind to imagine to itself any- 
thing so small as a particle of light. But this extreme ex- 
ility, though difficult to conceive, it is easy to prove. A drop 
of tallow, expended in the wick of a farthing candle, shall 
send forth rays sufficient to fill a hemisphere of a mile di- 
ameter; and to fill it so full of these rays, that an aperturo 
not larger than the pupil of an eye, wherever it be placed 
within the hemisphere, shall be sure to receive some of 
them. What floods of light are continually poured from 
the sun, we cannot estimate; but the immensity of the 
sphere which is filled with its particles, even if it readied 
no farther than the orbit of the earth, we can in some sort 
compute; and we have reason to believe, that throughout 
th s wholr region, the particles of light l ie, in latitude at 


least j near to one another. The spissitude of the sun's 
rays at the earth is such, that the number which falls upon 
a burning glass of an inch diameter, is sufficient, when 
concentrated, to set wood on fire. 

The tenuity and the velocity of particles of light, as as- 
certained by separate observations, may be said to be pro- 
portioned to each other; both surpassing our utmost stretch 
of comprehension; but proportioned. And it is this pro- 
portion alone which converts a tremendous element into a 
welcome visiter. 

It has been observed to me by a learned friend, as hav- 
ing often struck his mind, that if light had been made by 
a common artist, it would have been of one uniform color; 
whereas, by its present composition, we have that variety 
of colors which is of such infinite use to us for the dis 
tinguishing of objects ; which adds so much to the beauty of 
the earth, and augments the stock of our innocent pleasures 

With which may be joined another reflection, viz. that, 
considering light as compounded of rays of seven different 
colors, (of which there can be no doubt, because it can 
be resolved into these rays by simply passing it through a 
prism,) the constituent parts must be well mixed and blend- 
ed together, to produce a fluid so clear and colorless as 
a beam of light is, when received from the sun. 



My opinion of astronomy has always been, that it is not 
A\t best medium through which to prove the agency of an 
intelligent Creator; but that, this being proved, it shows, 
beyond all other sciences, the magnificence of his opera 
tions. The mind, which is once convinced, it raises to 
sublimer views of the Deity than any other subject affords; 
but it is not so well adapted as some other subjects are to 
the purpose of argument. We are destitute of the means 
of examining the constitution of the heavenly bodies. The 
very simplicity of their appearance is against them. We 

* For the articles in this chapter marked with an asterisk, I am indebtei 
to some ohliginw communications received (through the hands of the I.ort 
Bishop of Elphin) from the Rev. J. Brinkley IX D. Andrew's Professot 
?f Astronomy in the Jniversity of Duhlin. 

AST110N0MY 21 I 

see nothing but bright points, luminous circles, or the 
phases of spheres reflecting the light which falls upon them. 
Now we deduce design from relation, aptitude, and cor- 
respondence of parts. Some degree therefore of com- 
plexity is necessary to render a subject fit for this species 
of argument. But the heavenly bodies do not, except per* 
hap?, in the instance of Saturn's ring, present themselves to 
our observation as compounded of parts at all. This, 
which may be a perfection in them, is a disadvantage to us, 
as inquirers after their nature. They do not come 'within 
our mechanics. 

And what we say of their forms, is true of their motions 
Their motions are carried on without any sensible interme- 
diate apparatus ; whereby we are cut off from one principal 
ground of aigumentation — analogy. We have nothing 
wherewith to compare them; no invention, no discovery, 
no operation or resource of art, which,* in this respect, 
resembles them. Even those things which are made to im- 
itate and represent them, such as orreries, planetaria, celes- 
tial globes, &.c. bear no affinity to them, in the cause and 
principle by which their motions are actuated. I can as- 
sign for this difference a reason of utility, viz. a reason why 
though the action of terrestrial bodies upon each other be, 
in almost all cases, through the intervention of solid or 
fluid substances, yet central attraction does not operate in 
this manner. It was necessary that the intervals between 
the planetary orbs should be devoid of any inert matter 
either fluid or solid, because such an intervening substance 
would, by its resistance, destroy those very motions which 
attraction is employed to preserve. This may be a final 
cause of the difference; but still the difference destroys 
the analogy.* 

Our ignorance, moreover, of the sensitive natures by 
which other planets are inhabited, necessarily keeps frocn 
us the knowledge of numberless utilities, relations, and 
subserviencies, which we perceive upon our own globe. 

After all; the real subject of admiration is, that we un« 
dersrand so much of astronomy as we do. That an animal 
confined to the surface of one of the planets; bearing a 

* The moon has no perceptible atmosphere: and as no effects have 
been observed like those which would be produced by vapors or exhala- 
tions fro-'i it.s surface, it is possible that there are no fluids upon it 
There is no reason, however, from these circumstances, for denying tho 
existence of sensitive beings upon it, although they must be very dif 
ferently constituted froir ourselves to who ja air and water are essential'* 
necessary. — Fazton. 


lea-s proportion to it than the smallest microscopic insect* 
does to the plant it lives upon; ttat this little, busy, in 
quisitive creature, by the use of senses which were given 
to it for its domestic necessities, and by means of the as* 
sistance of those senses which it has had the art to procure, 
should have been enabled to observe the whole system of 
worlds to which its own belongs; the changes of place 
of the immense globes which compose it; and with such 
accuracy, as to mark cut, beforehand, the situation in the 
heavens in which they will be found at any future point of 
ime, and that these bodies, after sailing through recrions 
-.f void and trackless space, should arrive at the place where 
they were expected, not within a minute, but within a few 
seconds of a minute, of the time prefixed and predicted: all 
this is wonderful, whether we refer our admiration to the 
constancy of the heavenly motions themselves, or to the 
perspicacity and precision with which they have been no- 
ticed by mankind. Nor is this the whole, nor indeed the 
chief part of what astronomy teaches. By bringing reason 
to bear upon observation, (the acutest reasoning upon the 
exactest observation) the astronomer has been able, out 
of the confusion (for such it is) under which the motions 
of the heavenly bodies present themselves to the eye of 
a mere gazer upon the skies, to elicit their order and their 
real paths. 

Our knowledge, therefore, of astronomy is admirable, 
though imperfect; and, amidst the confessed desiderata and 
desideranda which impede our investigation of the wisdom 
of the Deity, in these the grandest of his works, there are 
to be found, in the phenomena, ascertained circumstances 
and laws, sufficient to indicate an intellectual agency in 
three of its principal operations, viz. in choosing, in deter- 
mining, in regulating: in choosing, out of a boundless va- 
riety of suppositions which were equally possible, that 
which is beneficial; in determining, what, left to itself, had 
a thousand chances against conveniency, for one in ita 
fuvor; in regulating subjects, as to quantity and degree, 
which, by their nature, were unlimited with respect to 

* Hooke describes a minute animalcule, which he discovered with a mi- 
croscope, upon a vine. From his data an estimate may be made of its 
bulk; but it is not so easy to fix upon any determinate quantity for the 
size of the plant. However, to put the case strongly, let the bulk of it 
be taken as equal to that of a cylinder one inch in diameter and a mile in 
length. Such a cylinder would contain above 345 cubic feet, and yet il 
would be many milhon times less when compared with the animalcule, 
ihan the earth id when compared with the bulk of a man. — Patton, 


cither It will be our business to offer, under each of these 
heads, a few instances, such as best admit of a popular ex- 

I. Amongst proofs of choice, one is, fixing the source 
of light and heat in the centre of the system. The sun ia 
ignited and luminous; the planets which move round him, 
cold and dark. There seems to be no antecedent neces- 
sity for this order. The sun might have been an opaque 
mass; some one, or two, or more, or any, or all the planets, 
globes of lire. There is nothing in the nature of the heav- 
enly bodies, which requires that those which aie stationa- 
ry should be on fire, that those which move should be cold; 
for, in fact, comets are bodies on fire,* or at least capable 
of the most intense heat, yet revolve round a centre; noj 
does this order obtain between the primary planets ana 
their secondaries, which are all opaque. When we con- 
sider, therefore, that the sun is one; that the planets 
going round it are at least seven ;'|" that it is indifferent to 
their nature, which are luminous and which are opaque, 
and also, in what order, with respect to each other, these 
two kinds of bodies are disposed; we may judge of the im- 
probability of the present arrangement taking place by 

If, by way of accounting for the state in which we find 
the solar system, it be alleged (and this is one amongst the 
guesses of those who reject an intelligent Creator) that the 
planets themselves are only cooled or cooling masses, and 
were once, like the sun, many thousand times hotter than 
'ed-hot iron; then it follows, that the sun also himself 
mist be in his progress towards growing cold; which puts 
an end to the possibility of his having existed, as he is, 

* It may be reasonably doubted whether comets are ever absolutely 
** on fire," and yet some of them, from their near approach to the sun, 
must certainly be " capable of intense heat." If we conceive the earth 'a 
distance from the sun to be divided into 1000 parts, the comet of 16S0 
was, at one time, not more Jistant than six of those parts from the sun. 
From hence Sir I. Newton calculated that it was exposed to a heat which 
was 2000 times creater than that of a red-hot iron. — Paxton. 

t The seven planets here alluded to are Mercury, Venus, tne Earth, 
Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the Georgium Sidus : we now know that there 
are four more, Ceres, Pallas, Juno, and Vesta; the first of these was discov- 
ered in 1801 , the second was observed in March, 1S02, the third was not 
discovered till 1804, nor the last till 1807. Now Dr. Paley's dedication 
is dated July, 1802; it is very possible, therefore that this 22d chapter 
was written before he had heard of Pallas, and even while it vvns yet 
doubtful whether Ceres was a comet or a planet. This will explain the 
reason for his having qualified the expression, and having said " at least 

216 ASTKOftOMk'. 

from eternity. This consequence arises out of the hypoth 
esis with still more certainty, if we make a part of it, what 
the philosophers who mantain it have usually taught, that 
the planets were originally masses of matter, struck off in 
a state of fusion from the body of the sun by the percus- 
sion of a comet, or by a shock from some other cause, with 
which we are not acquainted: for, if these masses, partak- 
ing of the nature and substance of the sun's body, have in 
process of time lost their heat, that body itself, in time 
likewise, no matter in how much longer time, must lose its 
heat also, and therefore be incapable of an eternal dura- 
tion in the state in which we see it, either for the time to 
come, or the time past. 

The preference of the present to any other mode of dis- 
tributing luminous and opaque bodies, I take to be evident. 
\t requires more astronomy than I am able to lay before 
Jhe reader, to show, in its particulars, what would be the 
effect to the system, of a dark body at the centre, and of 
one of the planets being luminous; but I think it manifest, 
without either plates or calculation, first, that sup-posing 
he necessary proportion of magnitude between the central 
and the revolving bodies to be preserved, the ignited planet 
would not be sufficient to illuminate and warm the rest of 
the system; secondly, that its light and heat would be im- 
parted to the other planets much more irregularly than 
light and heat are now received from the sun. 

(*) II. Another thing, in which a choice appears to be 
exercised, and in which, amongst the possibilities out o 
which the choice was to be made, the number of those 
which were wrong bore an infinite proportion to the num 
ber of those which were right, is in what geometricians 
call the axis of rotation. This matter I will endeavour 
to explain. The earth, it is well known, is not an exac 
globe, but an oblate spheroid, something like an orange. 
Now the axes of rotation, or the diameters upon which such 
a body may be made to turn round, are as many as can be 
drawn through its centre to opposite points upon its whole 
surface: but of these axes none are permanent, except 
either its shortest diameter, i. e. that which passes through 
the heart of the orange from the place where the stalk is 
inserted into it, and which is but one; or its longest diame- 
ters, at right angles with the former, which must all ter- 

... . 

minate in the single circumference which goes round the 

thickest part of the orange. The shortest diameter is 
Jmt upon which in fact the earth turns; and it is, as the 
reader sees, what it ought to be, a permanent axis; where- 


as, had blind chance, had a casual impulse, had a stroke or 
push at random, set the earth a-spinning, the odds were in- 
tin te, but that they had sent it round upon a wrong axis 
And what would have been the consequence? The differ- 
ence between a permanent axis and another axis is this 
When a spheroid in a state of rotatory motion gets upon a per- 
manent axis, it keeps there ; it remains steady and faithful to 
its position; its poles preserve their direction with respect 
to the plane and to the centre of its orbit: but whilst it 
turns upon an axis which is not permanent, (and the num- 
ber of those we have seen infinitely exceeds the number 
of the other,) it is always liable to shift and vacillate from 
one axis to another, with a corresponding change in the 
inclination of its poles. Therefore, if a planet once set of] 
revolving upon any other than its shortest, or one of its long- 
est axis, the poles on its surface would keep perpetually 
changing, and it never would attain a permanent axis of 
rotation. The effect of this unfixedness and instability 
would be, that the equatorial parts of the earth might be- 
come the polar, or the polar the equatorial ; to the utter de- 
struction of plants and animals, which are not capable of 
interchanging their situations, but are respectively adapted 
to their own. As to ourselves, instead of rejoicing in our 
temperate zone, and annually preparing for the moderate 
vicissitude, or rather the agreeable succession of seasons 
which we experience and expect, we might come to be 
locked up in the ice and darkness of the arctic circle, with 
bodies neither inured to its rigors, nor provided with shel- 
ter or defence against them. Nor would it be much bet- 
ter, if the trepidation of our pole, taking an opposite course, 
should pbee us under the heats of a vertical sun. But if 
it would fare so ill with the human inhabitant, who can 
live under greater varieties of latitude than any other ani- 
mal ; still more noxious would this translation of climate 
have proved to life in the rest of the creation ; and most 
perhaps of all, in plants. The habitable earth, and its 
beautiful variety, might have been destroyed by a simple 
mischance in the axis of rotation.* 

*The earth being an oblate spheroid, we may suppose it to be cut by 
a plane passing through A B, Fig. 3, Plate XXXIX, whicn may represent 
its axis, and the common section of this plane with the spheroid will be 
an ellipse like A DUE; of tins ellipse A B will be an axis ; and, from 
the property of the curve, it will also be the shortest line which can 
be drawn through the centre C. If now the diameter D E be drawn at 
right angles to A B, it will be the longest line which can be drawn in the 
ellipse, and it will represent a diameter of the eXjuatcr. As the jJanfc 



III. AW this, however, proceeds upon a supr osition o' 
the earth having been formed at first an oblate spheroid 
There is another supposition ; and perhaps our limited in 
formation will not enable us to decide between them. The 
second supposition is, that the earth, being a mixed mass 
somewhat fluid, took, as it might do, its present form, by 
the joint action of the mutual gravitation of its parts rnd 
its rotatory motion. This, as we have said, is a point in 
the history of the earth which our observations are not 
sufficient to determine. For a very small depth below the 
surface (but extremely small, less, perhaps, than an eight- 
thousandthf part, compared with the depth of the centre) 
we find vestiges of ancient fluidity. But this fluidity must 
have gone down many hundred times farther than we can 
penetrate, to enable the earth to take its present oblato 
form; and whether any traces of this kind exist to that 
depth, we are ignorant. Calculations were made a few 
years ago, of the mean density of the earth, by comparing 
he force of its attraction with the force of attraction of a 
rock of granite, the bulk of which could be ascertained, 
and the upshot of the calculation was, that the earth upon 
an average, through its whole sphere, has twice the density 
of granite, or about five times that of water. Therefore it 
cannot be a hollow shell, as some have formerly supposed; 
nor can its internal parts be occupied by central fire, or by 
water. The solid parts must greatly exceed the fluid parts; 
and the probability is, that it is a solid mass throughout, 
composed of substances more ponderous the deeper we go. 
Nevertheless, we may conceive the present face of the 
«arth to have originated from the revolution of a sphere 
covered by a surface of a compound mixture; the fluid an* 
solid parts separating, as the surface becomes quiescent 
Here then comes in the moderating hand of the Creator 
If the water had exceeded its present proportion, even but 
by a trifling quantity compared with the whole globe, al5 

passing through A B is not confined to one situation more than anothei 4 
D E may represent any " one of the longest axes of the spheroid," an4 
will, as well is A B, always be a " permanent axis of rotation." Bat 
if any other c atneter, as G H, is taken, the earth could not continue to 
revolve perms lently about it. — Paxton. 

t The " deep St. John," one of the deepest mines in the Hartz, vva# 
found by M. Deluc to sink 1359 feet. This was in 1778, and it may, 
since that time, have been carried lower, but probably not to the depth 
of the mine of Valenciana in New Spain, the bottom of which, according 
to Humboldt, is 16S1 feet below the surface. Now the diameter of the 
earth being about 7912 miles, " the eight-thousandth part of the depth v 
she centra" must be 2611 feet, or nearlv half a mile.— Ibid. 


he land would have Deen covered: had there been much 
ess than there is, there would not have been enough to 
fertilize the continent.* Had the exsiccation been pro- 
gressive, such as we may suppose to have been produced 
by an evaporating heat, how came it to stop at the point at 
which we see it? Why did it not stop sooner; why at all? 
The mandate of the Deity will account for this; nothing 
else will. 

IV. Of centripetal forces. By virtue of the simplest 
[aw that can be imagined, viz. that a body continues in 
the state in which it is, whether of motion or rest; and if in 
motion, goes on in the line in which it was proceeding, 
and with the same velocity, unless there be some cause for 
change: by virtue, I say, of this law, it comes to pass 
(what may appear to be a strange consequence) that cases 
arise, in which attraction, incessantly drawing a body to- 
wards a centre, never brings, nor ever will bring, the body 
to that centre, but keep it in eternal circulation round it. 
If it were possible to fire off a cannon ball with a velocity 
of five miles in a second, and the resistance of the air could 
be taken away, the cannon ball would forever wheel round 
the earth, instead of falling down upon it."f This is the 
principle which sustains the heavenly motions. The Deity, 
having appointed this law to matter, (than which, as we 
have said before, no law could be more simple,) has turned 
it to a wonderful account in constructing planetary systems. 
The actuating cause in these systems, is an attraction, 
which varies reciprocally as the square of the distance* 
that is, at double the distance, has a quarter of the force, 
at half the distance four times the strength ; and so on. 
Now, concerning this law of variation, we have three 
th'ngs to observe: First; that attraction, for anything we 
Know about it, was just as capable of one law of variation 

* Nearly three quarters of the earth's surface are covered by the sea. 
Now evaporation is proportionate to the surface of the fluid, and conse- 
quently a less expanse of waters would not have afforded a sufficient sup- 
ply of rain, which does not now fall upon the whole, in greater quantities 
than are required " to fertilize the earth." — Pax ton. 

t If a body be projected horizontally from a station A, Fig. 6, Plate 
XXX IX, which is at a certain height, its weight or the force of gravity 
will draw it towards the earth. It may be supposed to come down, 
for example, at B. But from the tendency which the body has to con 
tinue in the state of motion which is communicated to it, it will be cam 
ea farther before it falls, if it is projected with a g.eater /orce. Hence, 
if this force be increased it may be made to reach C 1 : by a greater increase, 
it may be carried to D; or even round to A, frorv «r.,eace it original] » 
te out - Ibid. 


as of another: Secondly; that out of an infinite number A 
possible laws, those which were admissible for the purpose 
of supporting the heavenly motions, lay within certain nar- 
row limits' Thirdly; that of the admissible laws, or those 
which come within the limits prescribed, the law- that actu 
ally prevails is the most beneficial. So far as thete propo- 
sitions can be made out, we may be said, I think, to prove 
choice and regulation; choice, out of boundless variety; 
and regulation, of that which, by its own nature, was, in 
respect of the property regulated, indifferent and inde» 

First then, attraction, for anything we know about it, 
was originally indifferent to all laws of variation depend- 
ing upon change of distance, i. e. just as susceptible of one 
law as of another. It might have been the same at all 
distances; it might have increased as the distance increas- 
ed: or it might have diminished with the increase of the 
distance, yet in ten thousand different proportions from 
he present; it might have followed no stated law at all 
If attraction be what Cotes, with many other Newtonians, 
have thought it to be, a primordial property of matter, not 
dependent upon, or traceable to, any other material cause; 
then, by the very nature and definition of a primordial 
property, it stood indifferent to all laws. If it be the agen- 
cy of something immaterial, then also, for anything we 
know of it, it was indifferent to all laws. If the revolu- 
tion of bodies round a centre depend upon vortices, nei- 
ther are these limited to one law more than another. 

There is, I know, an account given of attraction, which 
should seem, in its very cause, to assign to it the law 
which we find it to observe; and which, therefore, makes 
that law, a law, not of choice, but of necessity: and it is 
the account, which ascribes attraction to an emanation 
from the attracting body. It is probable, that the influence 
of such an emanation will be proportioned to the spissituda 
of the rays of which it is composed; which spissitude, 
supposing the rays to \ssue in right lines on all sides from 
a point, will be reciprocally as the square of the distance.* 

* Let the light of a candle fall upon a square object like A B C D, Fig. 
4, Plate XXXIX, and if a screen be placed parallel to the object and at 
double the distance, the shadow E F G H, received upon it, will be fjur 
times the size of the object itself. For the rays passing in straight li':ea 
by the angies A, B, C, D, the sides E F, F G, G H, II E, must be each 
double of A B, B C, C D, D A: therefore the shadow may be divided 
into four squares each equal in size to the object. At three times the dis- 
tance from the candle, the sides of the shadow would each be three times 
vj large as the sidea of the object, and its area would, therefore, rbntaui 


Tlie mathematics of this solution we do not call in question 
the question witn us is, whether there be any sufficient 
reason to believe, that attraction is produced by an eman- 
ation. For my part, I am totally at a loss to comprehend 
low particles streaming from a. centre should draw a bodv 
owards it. The impulse, if impulse it be, is all the other 
yay. Nor shall we find less difficulty in conceiving a con- 
lux of particles, incessantly flowing to a centre, and car- 
rying down all bodies along with it, that centre also 
iself being in a state of rapid motion through absolute 
ipace: for by what source is the stream fed, or what be- 
comes of the accumulation? Add to which, that it seems 
to imply a contrariety of properties, to suppose an ethereal 
fljid to net, but not to resist; powerful enough to carry 
down bodies with great force towards a centre, yet, in- 
consistently with the nature of inert matter, powerless and 
perfectly yielding with respect to the motions which result 
from the projectile impulse. By calculations drawn from 
ancient notices of eclipses of the moon, we can prove that, 
if such a fluid exist at all, its resistance has had no sensi- 
ble effect upon the moon's motion for two thousand five 
hundred years. The truth is, that, except this one 
circumstance of the variation of the attracting force at 
different distances agreeing with the variation of the 
spissitude, there is no reason whatever to support the 
hypothesis of an emanation; and, as it seems to me, 
almost insuperable reasons against it. 

(*) II. Our second proposition is, that whilst the pos- 
sible laws of variation were infinite, the admissible laws, 
or the laws compatible with the preservation of the system, 
lie within narrow limits. If the attracting force had va- 
ried according to any direct law of the distance, let it have 
been what it would, great destruction and confusion would 
have taken place. The direct simple proportion of the 
distance would, it is true, have produced an ellipse, but 
the perturbing forces would have acted with so much ad- 
vantage, as to be continually changing the dimensions of 
the ellipse, in a manner inconsistent with our terrestrial 

nit3 times the space. For the same reason if the distance be increased 
four, five, or six times, the area of the shadow will contain sixteen, twenty- 
five, or thirty-six scfuares, each equal to the object. JNow the quantity 
of light which falls upon the object would, if it had not been intercepted, 
v ave spread over that part of the screen, which is occupied by the shad- 
ow; and as the surface is increased, over which a certain quantity of rayg 
is spread, in the same ratio their spissitude or density will be diminished 
consequently this spissitude will be reciprocally as the squares of the di* 
finces. — Paxton. ■* 


creation Foi instance; if the planet Saturn, so large aua 
so remote, had attracted the earth, both in proportion to 
the quantity of matter contained in it, which it does ; and 
also in aay proportion to its distance; i. e. if it had pulled 
the harder for being the farther off, (instead of the reverse 
of it,) it would have dragged out of its course the globe 
which we inhabit, and have perplexed its motions, to a de- 
gree incompatible with our security, our enjoyments, and 
probably our existence. Of the inverse laws, if the cen- 
tripetal force had changed as the cube of the distance, or 
in any "ligher proportion, that is (for I speak to the un 
learned,) if, at double the distance, the attractive force had 
been diminished to an eighth part, or to less than that, the 
consequence would have been, that the planets, if they 
once began to approach the sun, would have fallen into his 
body; if they once, though by ever so little, increased 
their distance from the centre, would forever have receded 
from it. The laws, therefore, of attraction, by which a 
system of revolving bodies could be upholden in their mo- 
tions, lie within narrow limits, compared with the possible 
laws. T much underrate the re- e *ricion, when I say that, 
in a scale of a mile, they are confined to an inch. All 
direct ratios of the distance are excluded, on account of 
danger from perturbing forces; all reciprocal ratios, except 
what lie beneath the cube of the distance, by the demon- 
strable consequence, that every the least change of distance 
would, under the operation of such laws, have been fatal to 
the repose and order of the system. We do not know, 
that is, we seldom reflect, how interested we are in this 
matter. Small irregularities may be endured; but changes 
within these limits being allowed for, the permanency of 
our ellipse is a question of life and death to our whole sen- 
sitive world. 

(*) III. That the subsisting law of attraction falla 
within the limits which utility requires, when these limits 
bear so small a proportion to the range of possibilities upon 
which chance might equally have cast it, is not, with any 
appearance of reason, to be accounted for by any othei 
cause than a regulation proceeding from a designing mind 
But our next proposition carries the matter somewhat far- 
ther. We say, in the third place, that, out of the different 
laws which lie within the limits of admissible laws, the 
best is made choice of; that there are advantages in this 
particular law which cannot be demonstrated to belong to 
any other law; and, concerning some of which, it can be 
demonstrated that they do no belong to any othei 


(*) 1. Whist this law prevails between each panicle 
of matter, the united attraction of a sphere, composed of 
that matter, observes the same law. This property of the 
law is necessary, to render it applicable to a system com- 
posed of spheres, but it is a property which belongs to no 
other law of attraction that is admissible. The law of va 
;iation of the united attraction ism no other case the same 
as the law of attraction of each particle, one case except* 
ed, and that is of the attraction varying directly as thedis' 
tance;* the inconveniency of which law, in other respects, 
we have already noticed. 

We may follow this regulation somewhat fartrfer, and still 
more strikingly perceive that it proceeded from a designing 
mind. A law both admissible and convenient was requisite. 
In what way is the law of the attracting globes obtained? 
Astronomical observations and terrestrial experiments 
show, that the attraction of the globes of the system is made 
up of the attraction of their parts; the attraction of each 
globe being compounded of the attractions of its parts. Now, 
the admis-sible and convenient law which exists, could not 
be obtained in a system of bodies gravitating by the united 
gravitation of their parts, unless each particle of matter 
were attracted by a force varying by one particular law 
viz. varying inversely as the square of the distance; for, if 
the action of the particles be according to any other law 
whatever, the admissible and convenient law which is adopt 
ed could not be obtained. Here then are clearly shown reg 
ulation and design. A law both admissible and convenient 
was to be obtained: the mode chosen for obtaining that law 
was by making each particle of matter act. After this choice 
was made, then farther attention was to be given to each 
particle of matter, and one, and one only particular law of 
action to be assigned to it. No other law would have an- 
swered the purpose intended. 

(*) 2. All systems must be liable to perturbations. And 
therefore, to guard against these perturbations, or rather to 
guard against their running to destructive lengths, is per- 
haps the strongest evidence of care and foresight that can 
be g'ven. Now we are able to demonstrate of our lavv of 

* Let A, Fig. 5, Plate XXXIX, represent a sphere composed of par- 
ticks, which mutually attract each other with a force, which varies re- 
ciprocally a.s the squares of the distances ; their united attraction, on a 
similar particle P without the sphere, will be according to the same law 
that is, the particle will be attracted towards the sphere with a force, 
which will also vary reciprocally as the square of C P, its distance from 
'he centre of the sphere. — Paxton. 


attraction, what can be demonstrated of no other, and wha. 
qualifies the dangers which arise from cross but unavoidable 
influences, that the action of the parts of our system upon 
one another will not cause permanently increasing irregu- 
larities, but merely periodical or vibratory ones; that is, 
they \v : ll come to a limit, and then go back again. This we 
can demonstrate only of a svstem, in which the following 
properties concur, viz. that the force shall be inversely as 
the square of the distance; the masses of the revolving bo- 
dies small, compared with that of the body at the centre; the 
orbi.s not much inclined to one another; and their eccen- 
tricity little. In such a system the grand points are secure. 
The mean distances and periodic times, upon which depend 
our temperature and the regularity of our year, are constant. 
The eccentricities, it is true, will still vary, but so slowly, 
and to so small an extent, as to produce no inconveniency 
from fluctuation of temperature and season. The same as 
to the obliquity of the planes of the orbits. For instance, 
the inclination of the ecliptic to the equator will never 
change above two degrees, (out of ninety,) and that will 
require many thousand years in performing. 

It has been rightly also remarked, that if the great 
planets, Jupiter and Saturn, had moved in lower spheres, 
their influences would have had much more effect, as to 
disturbing the planetary motions, than they now have. 
While they revolve at so great distances from the rest, they 
act almost equally on the sun and on the inferior planets; 
which has nearly the same consequence as not acting at all 
upon either. 

If it be said that the planets might have been sent round 
the sun in exact circles, in which case, no change of dis- 
tance from the centre taking place, the law of variation of 
the attracting power would have never come in question, 
one law would have served as well as another; an answer 
to the scheme may be drawn from the consideration of these 
same perturbing forces. The system retaining in other 
respects its present constitution, though the planets had 
been at first sent round in exact circular orbits, they could 
not have kept them: ajid if the law of attraction had not 
been what it is, or, at least, if the prevailing Jaw had trans- 
gressed the limits above assigned, every evagation would 
have been fatal: the planet once drawn, as drawn it neces- 
sarily must have been, out of its course, would have wan 
dered in endless error. 

(*) V. What we have seen in the law of the ccntripeta' 
force, viz. a choice guided by views of utilitj , and a choicr 


of one aw out of thousands which mignt equal]}' have 
taken p ice, we see no less in the figures of the planetary 
orbits. It was not enough to fix the law of the centripetal 
force, though by the wisest choice; for even under that 
law, it wns still competent to the planets to have moved in 
paths possessing so great a degree of eccentricity, as, in 
the course of every revolution, to be brought very near to 
0*'j sun, and carried away to immense distances from him. 
The comets actually move in orbits of 'his sort; and had 
the planets done so, instead of going round in orbits near 
\y circular, the change from one extremity of temperature 
to another must, in ours at least, have destroyed every ani- 
mal and plant upon its surface. JSow, the distance from 
the centre at which a planet sets off, and the absolute 
force of attraction at that distance, being fixed, the figure 
of his orbit, its being a circle, or nearer to, or farther off 
from a circle, viz. a rounder or a longer oval, depends 
upon two things, the velocity with which, and the direction 
in which, the planet is projected. And these, in order to 
produce a right result, must be both brought within certain 
narrow limits. One, and only one, velocity united with 
one, and only one, direction, will produce a perfect circle 
And the velocity must be near to this velocity, and the di- 
rection also near to this direction, to produce orbits, such 
as the planetary orbits are, nearly circular; that is, ellipses 
with small eccentricities. The velocity and the direction 
must both be right. If the velocity be wrong, no direction 
will cure the error; if the direction be in any considerable 
degree oblique, no velocity will produce the orbit required. 
Take for example the attraction of gravity at the surface of 
the earth. The force of that attraction being what it is, out 
of all the degrees of velocity, swift and slow, with which a 
ball might be shot off, none would answer the purpose of 
which we are speaking, but what was nearly that of five 
miles in a second.* If it were less than that, the body 

* The moon describes in one second of time nearly two-thirds of a 
mile in its orbit round the earth: and if its distance were dimi dshed it 
might still continue to revolve nearly in a circle round the same (entre, 
if its velocity were increased so as to compensate for the greater attrac- 
tion, which would now draw it constantly out of the lectilinear direc 
ticn, in which it would otherwise move. This distance nay be supposed 
to be diminished till the moon is brought near to the eaith's surface, and 
t would, under these circumstances, still continue to complete its revolu- 
tion, if its velocity were increased to about five miles in a second. Now 
for the descriptnn of such a revolution, there is no difference between 
the moon and any other mateiial substance at the same distance; for they 
\ould bo J \c : drawn down through the same space in the same time b^ 


wou.d not get round at all, but would come to the ground , 
if it were in any considerable degree more than that, the 
bodv would take one of those eccentric courses, those long 
ellipses of which we have noticed the inconveniency.* If 
the velocity reached the rate of seven miles in a second, 
or went beyond that, the ball would fly off from the earth, 
and never be heard of more. In like manner with respect 
to the direction; out of the innumerable angles in which 
he ba 1 might be sent off, (I mean angles formed with a 
line drawn to the centre,) none would serve but what was 
nearly a right one; out of the various directions in which 
the cannon might be pointed, upwards and downwards, 
every one would fail, but what was exactly or nearly hori- 

the force of attraction towards the earth's centre; and therefore a cannon 
ball projected parallel to the horizon with this velocity would (if there 
were no resistance from the air or other accidental circumstance) com- 
plete its circular revolution, and come back to the place from which it 
had set out, in a few minutes less than an hour and a half, which is 
equivalent to the velocity of about five miles in a second. — Paxton. 

* The ball is supposed to be fired from a place not far from the earth's 
surface, it can therefore be easily conceived that if its direction is much 
depressed below the horizon, it must be soon brought down to the ground; 
out it is not equally obvious that an elevation of any magnitude would 
ikewise prevent its completing its revolution round the earth. Abstract- 
ing from the air's resistance, and of course omitting the supposition of a 
projectile force sufficient to carry the ball off into infinite space, it will 
move in the curve of an ellipse, of which one of the foci is situated in 
the centre of the earth. Now a body moving uninterruptedly in an 
ellipse must return in time to the same point from which it set out. The 
body therefore which, when projected from A, Fig. 6, PI. XXXIX, 
comes down to the earth at C, would have continued its course along 
the dotted line and returned to A, if the mass of matter in the earth had 
oeen collected together at its centre, so as not to interfere with the mo 
tion of the projectile. Let us now conceive the body to be projected 
back from C, with the velocity which it had acquired in its fall, and 
with the direction in which it reached the earth, it would then pass 
through A, and come down on the other side of A I, in just the same 
curve, in which it had fallen from A to C. The same would apply to 
bodies projected upwards from B or D ; and if the velocities of projec- 
tion Aere less or greater than what would have been acquired in falling 
"rom A, the bodies would still turn, but at some less or more distant 
point The longest diameter, however, of the ellipsis in which they 
move must always pass through the earth's centre, and if- the bo lies rise 
on one side of this diameter they must fall down on the other. Now it 
will be seen that the curves at B, C, and D, make the angles ABI, ACl, 
AD J less, as the body is supposed to go farther and farther befoie it falls, 
and that the curves, in which the body can complete a revolution near 
the surface, will in all its parts be nearly parallel to it. Hence tl e can- 
don ball fired upwards will come back again to the ground and not be 
able completely to go round the earth upon any other supposition except 
ag that of its being fired in nearly an horizontal direction. — Faxton. 


Kontal. The same thing holds true o lie planets; of out 
.iwn among the rest. We are entitled, therefore, to ask, 
and to urge the question, Why did the projectile velocity 
and projectile direction of the earth happen to he near- 
ly those which would retain it in a circular form? Why 
not one of the infinite number of velocities, one of the 
infinite number of directions, which would have made it 
approach much nearer to, or recede much farther from, the 
sun ? 

The planets going round, all in the same direction, and 
all nearly in the same plane, afforded to Buffo n a ground 
for asserting, that they had all been shivered from the sun 
oy the same stroke of a comet, and by that stroke project- 
ed into their present orbits. Now, besides that this is to 
attribute to chance the fortunate concurrence of velocity 
and direction which we have been here noticing, the hy- 
pothesis, as I apprehend, is inconsistent with the physical 
iaws by which the heavenly motions are governed. If the 
olanets were struck ofT from the surface of the sun, they 
»vould return to the sun again. Nor will this difficulty be 
jot rid of, by supposing that the same violent blow which 
shattered the sun's surface, and separated large fragments 
from it, pushed the sun himself out of his place; for the 
consequence of this would be, that the sun and system 
of shattered fragments would have a progressive motion, 
which indeed may possibly be the case with our system; 
but then each fragment would, in every revolution, return 
.o the surface of the sun again. The hypothesis is also 
contradicted by the vast difference which subsists between 
the diameters of the planetary orbits. The distance of 
Saturn from the sun (to say nothing of the Georgium Sidus' 
is nearly twenty-five times that of Mercury; a disparity 
which it seems impossible to reconcile withBuffon's scheme 
Bodies starting from the same place, with whatever differ- 
ence of direction or velocity they could set off, could not 
flave been found, at these different distances from the cen- 
tre, still retaining their nearly circular orbits. They must 
have been carried to their proper distances before they 
were projected.* 

* " If we suppose the matter of the system to be accumulated in the 
centre by its gravity, no mechanical principles, with the assistance of 
thi3 power of gravity could separate the vast mass into such parts as the 
gun and planets; and after carrying them to their different distances, pro- 
ject them in their several directions, preserving still the equality oC action 
and reaction, or the state of the centre of gravity of the system. Such 
<ui exquisite structure cf tilings could only arise from the contrivance and 


To conclude; In astronomy, the great thing rs to raise 
the imagination to the subject, and that oftentimes in oppo- 
sition to the impression made upon the senses. An allu- 
sion, for example, must be gotten over, arising from the 
distance at which we view the heavenly bodies, viz. the 
apparent slow?iess of their motions. The moon shall take 
some hours in getting half a yard from a star which it 
touched. A motion so deliberate, we may think easily gui- 
ded. But what is the fact? The moon, in fact, is, all this 
while, driving through the heavens, at the rate of consid- 
erably more than two thousand miles in an hour; which is 
more than double of that with which a ball is shot oil' from 
the mouth of a cannon. Yet is this prodigious rapidity as 
much under government, as if the planet proceeded ever 
so slowly, or were conducted in its course inch by inch. 
It is also difficult to bring the imagination to conceive (what 
yet, to Judge tolerably of the matter, it is necessary to con- 
ceive) how loose, if we may so express it, the heavenly 
bodies are. Enormous globes, held by nothing, confined 
by nothing, are turned into free and boundless space, each 
to seek its course by the virtue of an invisible principle; 
but a principle, one, common, and the same in all; and as- 
certainable. To preserve such bodies from being lost, from 
running together in heaps, from hindering and distracting 
one another's motions, in a degree inconsistent with any 
continuing order; i. e. to cause them to form planetary sys- 
tems, systems that, when formed, can be upheld, and more 
especially, systems accommodated to the organized and 
sensitive natures which the planets sustain, as we know to 
be the case, where alone we can know what the case is, 
upon our earth: all this requires an intelligent interposi- 
tion, because it can be demonstrated concerning it, that it 
requires an adjustment of force, distance, direction, and ve- 
locity, out of the reach of chance to have produced; an 
adjustment, in its view to utility, similar to that which we 
see in ten thousaL . subjects of nature which are nearer to 
us, but in power, and in extent of space through v. hich 
ihat power is exerted, stupendous. 

But many of the heavenly bodies, as the sun and fixed 
stars, are stationary. Their rest must be the effect of an 

powerful influences of an intelligent, free, and most potent agent. The 
game powers, therefore, which at present govern the material universe, 
and conduct its various motions, are very different from those which 
were necessary to have produced it from nothing, or to have disposed il 
in the admirable form in which it now proceeds."— Maclauriri*s Ac 
C&unt of A r ewton's Phil. p. 407, ed. 3. 


absence or of an equilibrium of attractions. It proves also, 
that a projectile impulse was originally given to some of the 
heavenly bodies, and not to others. But farther; if attrac- 
tion act at all distances, there can be only one quiescent 
centre of gravity in the universe: and all bodies whatever 
must be approaching this centre, or revolving round it 
According to the first of these suppositions, if the duration 
of the world had been long enough to allow of it, all its 
parts, all the great bodies of which it is composed, must 
have been gathered together in a heap round this point 
No changes, however, which have been observed, afford 113 
the smallest reason for believing, that either the one su r 
position or the other is true: and then it will follow, that 
attraction itself is controlled or suspended by a superior 
agent : that there is a power above the highest of the pow- 
ers of material nature; a will which restrains and circum- 
scribes the operations of the most extensive * 



Contrivance, if established, appears to me to prove 
everything which we wish to prove. Amongst other things, 
it proves the personality of the Deity, as distinguished from 
what is sometimes called nature, sometimes called a prin- 

* It must here, however, be stated, that many astronomers deny that 
any of the heavenly bodies are absolutely stationary. Some of the 
brightest of the fixed stars have certainlv small motions; and of the rest 
the distance is too great, and the intervals of our observation too short, 
to enable us to pronounce with certainty that they may not have the same. 
The motions in the fixed stars which have been observed, ure considered 
o'cher as proper to eacL of them, or as compounded of the motion of our 
g\stem, and of motions proper to each star. By a comparison of these 
motions, a mution in our system is supposed to be discovered. By con- 
tinuing this anology to other, and to all systems, it is possible to suppose 
that attraction is unlimited, and that the whole material universe is revolv- 
ing round some fixed point within its containing sphere or space. — Paley. 

The milky way is known to derive its appearance from a congeries of 
\ery small stars, but there are luminous spots in the heaven, which cannot 
be separated into distinct stars by the most powerful telescopes; these 
have been observed in some instances to alter their form, which Sir \V. 
Herschell attributed to the mutril attraction of the luirinous particles 
tvhich composed tnem. 


ciple: vhich terms, in the mouths of those who use them 
philosophically, seem to be intended to admit and to express 
an efficacy, but to exclude and to deny a personal agent. 
Now that which can contrive, which can design, must be 
a person. These capacities constitute personality, for they 
imply consciousness and thought. They require that which 
can perceive an end or purpose; as well as the power of 
providing means, and of directing them to their end.* 
They require a centre in which perceptions unite, and from 
which volitions flow; which is mind. The acts of a mind 
prove the existence of a mind; and in whatever a mind 
resides, is a person. The seat of intellect is a person 
We have no authority to limit the properties of mind to 
any particular corporeal form, or to any particular circum- 
scription of space. These properties subsist in created 
nature under a great variety of sensible forms. Also every 
animated being has its sensorium ; that is, a certain portion 
of space, within which perception and volition are exerted. 
This sphere may be enlarged to an indefinite extent; 
may comprehend the universe; and, being so imagined, 
may serve to furnish us with as good a notion as we are 
capable of forming, of the immensity of the Divine Nature, 
i. e. of a Being, infinite, as well in essence as in power 
yet nevertheless a person. 

" No man hath seen God at anytime." And this, I be 
lieve, makes the great difficulty. Now it is a difficulty 
which chiefly arises from our not duly estimating the state 
of our faculties. The Deity, it is true, is the object of 
none of our senses: but reflect what limited capacities an 
iinal senses are. Many animals seem to have but one 
sense, or perhaps two at the most; touch and taste. Ought 
such an animal to conclude against the existence of odors, 
sounds, and colors? To another species is given the 
sense of smelling. This is an advance in the knowledge 
of the powers and properties of nature: but, if this favored 
animal should infer from its superiority over the class 
last described, that it perceived everything which was per- 
ceptible in nature, it is known to us, though perhaps not 

Some of the fixed stars appear double, and even multiple when highly 
magnified. The same great astronomer, whom we have just mentioned 
was induced to believe that these were separate systems, and his s">n, 
assisted by Mr. South, has established that some of them have undo^bt 
edly a revolution round a common centre of gravity analogous V 'be 
notions of the sun and planets. — Paxton. 

* Priestley's Letl ?«•«: to a Philosophical Unbeliever, p. 153, cd. 2 


suspected by the animal itself, that it proceeded upcn a 
false and presumptuous estimate of its faculties. To an 
other is added the sense of hearing; which lets in a clasg 
of sensations entirely unconceived by the animal before 
spoken of; not only distinct, but remote from any which it 
had ever experienced, and greatly superior to them. Yet 
this last animal has no more ground for believing that its 
senses comprehend all tilings, and all properties of things 
which exist, than might have been claimed by the tribes of 
animals beneath it ; for we know that it is still possible to 
possess another sense, that of sight, which shall disclose 
to the percipient a new world. This fifth sense makes the 
animal what the human animal is: but to infer, that possi- 
bility stops here; that either this fifth sense is the last 
sense, or that the five comprehend all existence, is just as 
unwarrantable a conclusion, as that which might have 
been made by any of the different species which possess-ed 
fewer, or even by that, if such there be, which possessed 
only one. The conclusion of the one-sense animal, and 
the conclusion of the five-sense animal, stand upon the 
same authority. There may be more and other senses 
than those which we have. There may be senses suited 
to the perception of the powers, properties, and substance 
of spirits. These may belong to higher orders of rationa. 
agents: for there is not the smallest reason for supposing 
that we are the highest, or that the scale of creation stops 
with us. 

The great energies of nature are known to us only b^ 
their effects. The substances which produce them, are a3 
much concealed from our senses as the divine essence it- 
self. Gravitation, though constantly present, though con 
stantly exerting : .ts influence, though everywhere around 
us, near us. and within us; though diffused throughout 
all space, and penetrating the texture of all bodies with 
which we are acquainted, depends, if upon a fluid, upon a 
fluid which, though both powerful and universal in its 
operation, is no object of sense to us; if upon any other 
<dnd of substance or action, upon a substance and action 
from which we receive no distinguishable impressions. Is 
it then to be wondered at, that it should, in some measure, 
be the same with the Divine Nature? 

Of this, however, we are certain, that whatever the Deity 
be, neither the universe, nor any part of it which we see, 
can be He. The universe itself is merely a collective 
name: its parts are all which are real; or which are things. 
Now inert matter is out of the question and organized 


substances ir. elude marks of contrivance. But whatevei 
includes marks of contrivance, whatever, in its constitution, 
testifies design, necessarily carries us to something beyond 
itself, to some other being, to a designer prior to, and out 
of itself. No animal, for instance, can have contrived its 
own limbs and senses; can have been the author to itself 
of the design with which they were constructed. That 
supposition involves all the absurdity of self-creation, i. e 
of acting without existing. Nothing can be God, which ia 
ordered by a wisdom and a will which itself is void of, 
which is indebted for any of its properties to contrivance 
ab extra. The not having that in his nature which requires 
the exertion of another prior being (which property ia 
sometimes called self-sufficiencv, and sometimes self-corn- 
prehension,) appertains to the Deity, as his essential dis- 
tinction, and removes his nature from that of all things 
which we see. Which consideration contains the answer 
to a question that has sometimes been asked, namely: Why, 
since something or other must have existed from eternity, 
may not the present universe be that something? The 
contrivance perceived in it proves that to be impossible. 
Nothing contrived can, in a strict and proper sense, be 
eternal, forasmuch as the contriver must have existed before 
the contrivance. 

Wherever we see marks of contrivance, we are led for 
its cause to an intelligent author. And this transition of 
the understanding is founded upon uniform experience. 
We see intelligence constantly contriving; that is, we see 
intelligence constantly producing effects, marked and dis- 
tinguished by certain properties; not certain particular 
properties, but by a kind and class of properties, such as 
relation to an end, relation of parts to one another, and to 
a common purpose. We see, wherever we are witnesses 
to the actual formation of things, nothing except intelli- 
gence producing effects so marked and distinguished. Fur- 
nished with this experience, we view the productions of 
nature. We observe them also marked and distinguished 
in the same manner. We wish to account for their origin. 
Our experience suggests a cause perfectly adequate to this 
account. No experience, no single nstance or example, 
can be offered in favor of any other. In this cause, there- 
fore, we ought to rest; in this cause the common seiise of 
mankind has, in fact, rested, because it agrees wit! that 
which in all cases is the foundation of knowledge -the 
undeviating course of their experience. The jeason hr, g is 
ihc same as that by which we conclude any ancieM ay- 


* eurances to have been the effects of volcanoes or inunda- 
tions, namely, because they resemble the effects which lire 
and water produce before our eyes; and because we have 
never known these effects to result from any other opera- 
tion. And this resemblance may subsist in so many cir- 
cumstances, as not to leave us under the smallest doubt 
in forming our opinion. Men are not deceived by this 
reasoning: for whenever it happens, as it sometimes does 
happen, that the truth comes to be known by direct infor- 
mation, it turns out to be what was expected. In like 
manner, and upon the same foundation (which in truth is 
that of experience) we conclude that the works of nature 
proceeded from intelligence and design, because, in the 
properties of relation to a purpose, subserviency to a use, 
they resemble what intelligence and design are constantly 
producing, and what nothing except intelligence and de- 
sign ever produce at all. Of every argument, which 
would raise a question as to the safety of this reasoning, 
it may be observed, that if such argument be listened to, 
it leads to the inference, not only that the present order 
of nature is insufficient, to prove the existence of an intelli- 
gent Creator, but that no imaginable order would be suf- 
ficient to prove it; that no contrivance, were it ever so me- 
chanical, ever so precise, ever so clear, ever so perfectly 
like those which we ourselves employ, would support this 
conclusion. A doctrine to which, I conceive, no sound 
mind can assent. 

The force, however, of the reasoning is sometimes sunk 
by our taking up with mere names. We have already no- 
ticed,* and we must here notice again, the misapplication 
of the term " law," and the mistake concerning the idea 
which that term expresses in physics, whenever such idea 
is made to take the place of power, and still more of an in- 
telligent power, and, as such, to be assigned for the cause 
of anything, or of any property of anything, that exists. 
This is what we are secretly apt to do, when we speak of or- 
ganized bodies (plants for instance, or animals,) owing their 
production, their form, their growth, their qualities, their 
beauty, their use, to any law or laws of nature; and when 
we are contented to sit down with that answer to our inqui- 
ries concerning them. I say once more, that it is a per- 
version of language to assign any law as the efficient oper- 
ative cause of anything. A law presupposes an agent, for 
it is only tin mode according to which an agent proceeds, 

* Chap. I. sec. v\« 



t implies a power, for it is the order according to which 
that power acts. Without this agent, without this po«ver, 
which are both distinct from itself, the "law'' does noth- 
ing — is nothing. 

What has been said concerning "law," holds true cf 
mechanism. Mechanism is not itself power. Mechanism, 
without power, can do nothing. Let a watch be contrived 
and constructed ever so ingeniously; be its parts ever so 
many, ever so complicated, ever so finely vrought, or arti- 
ficially put together, it cannot go without a weight or spring, 
1. e. without a force independent of, and ulterior to, its me- 
chanism The spring acting at the centre, will produce 
different motions and different results, according to the 
variety of the intermediate mechanism. One and the self- 
same spring, acting in one and the same manner, viz. by 
simply expanding itself, may be the cause of a hundred dif- 
ferent, and all useful, movements, if a hundred different and 
well-devised sets of wheels be placed between it and the 
final effect; e. g. may point out the hour of the day, the 
day of the month, the age of the moon, the position of the 
planets, the cycle of the years, and many other serviceable 
notices: and these movements may fulfil their purposes 
with more or less perfection, according as the mechanism 
is better or worse contrived, or better or worse executed, 
or in a better or worse state of repair ; but in all cases, it 
is necessary that the spring act at the centre. The course 
of our reasoning upon such a subject would be this: by 
inspecting the watch, even when standing still, we get a 
proof of contrivance, and of a contriving mind having been 
employed about it. In the form and obvious relation of its 
parts, we see enough to convince us of this. If we pull 
the works in pieces, for the purpose of a closer examination, 
we are still more fully convinced. But when we see the 
watch going, we see proof of another point, viz. that there 
is a power somewhere and somehow or other, applied to 
it; a power in action; — that there is more in the subject 
han the mere wheels of the machine; — that there is a 
secret spring, or a gravitating plummet; — in a word, that 
there is force and energy, as well as mechanism. 

So then, the watch in motion establishes to the observer 
two conclusions: One; that thought, contrivance, and de- 
sign, have been employed in the forming, proportioning, 
and arranging of its parts; and that whoever or wherever 
he be, or were, such a contriver there is, or was: The other, 
that force or power, distinct from mechanism, is at this 
nvcs'3iit tim' acting upon it If I saw a hand-mill even a. 


rest, I should see contrivance; but if I saw it grinding, 1 
should be assured that a hand was at the windlass, though 
in another room. It is the same in nature. In the works 
of nature we trace mechanism; and this alone proves 
contrivance: but living, active, moving, productive nature 
proves also the exertion of a power at the centre; for, 
wherever the power resides may be denominated the centre. 

The intervention and disposition of what are called 
'* second causes," fall under the same observation. This 
disposition is or is not mechanism, according as we can or 
cannot trace it by our senses and means of examination 

That is all the difference there is ; and it is a difference 
which respects our faculties, not the things themselves. 
Now, where the order of second causes is mechanical, what 
is here said of mechanism strictly applies to it. But it 
would be always mechanism (natural chemistry, for in- 
stance, would be mechanism) if our senses were acute 
enough to descry it. Neither mechanism, therefore, in 
the works of nature, nor the intervention of what are call- 
ed second causes, (for I think that they are the same 
thing,) excuses the necessity of an agent distinct from both. 

If, in tracing these causes, it be said, that we find cer- 
tain general properties of matter which have nothing in 
them that bespeaks intelligence, I answer, that still the 
managing of these properties, the pointing and directing 
them to the uses which we see made of them, demands in- 
telligence in the highest degree. For example: suppose 
animal secretions to be elective attraction, and that such 
and such attractions universally belong to such and such 
substances; in all which there is no intellect concerned; 
still the choice and collocation of these substances, the fix- 
ing upon right substances, and disposing them in right 
places, must be an act of intelligence. What mischief 
would follow, were there a single transposition of the se- 
cretory organs; a single mistake in arranging the glanda 
which compose them! 

There may be many second causes, and many courses 
of second causes, one behind another, between what we 
observe of nature and the Deity; but there must be in- 
telligr nee somewhere; there must be more in nature than 
what we see; and, amongst the things unseen, there must 
be an intelligent, designing author. The philosopher be- 
holds with astonishment the production of things around 
him. Unconscious particles of matter take their stations, 
and severally range themselves in an order, so as to become 
collectively plan's or animals, i e organized bodies, with 


parts bearing strict am 1 evident relation to one another 
and to the utility of the whole: and it should seem thai 
these particles could not move in any other way than aa 
they do; for they testify not the smallest sign of choice, or 
liberty, c: discretion. There may be particular intelligent 
beings gjiding these motions in each case; or they may 
be the result of trains of mechanical dispositions, fixed 
beforehand by an intelligent appointment, and kept in ac- 
tion by a power at the centre. But, in either case, there 
must be intelligence. 

The minds of most men are fond of what they call a 
principle, and of the appearance of simplicity, in account- 
ing for phenomena. Yet this principle, this simplicity, 
resides merely in the name; which name, after all, com- 
prises, perhaps, under it a diversified, multifarious, or pro- 
gressive operation, distinguishable into parts. The power 
in organized bodies, of producing bodies like themselves, 
is one of these principles. Give a philosopher this, and 
he can get on. But he does not reflect, what this mode of 
production, this principle (if such he choose to call it) re- 
quires; how much it presupposes; what an apparatus of in- 
struments, some of which are strictly mechanical, is neces- 
sary to its success; what a train it includes of operations and 
changes, one succeeding another, one related to another, 
one ministering to another ; all advancing, by intermediate, 
and frequently, by sensible steps, to their ultimate result' 
Yet, because the whole of this complicated action is wrap- 
ped up in a single term, generation, we are to set it down 
as an elementary principle; and to suppose, that when we 
have resolved the things which we see into this principle, 
we have sufficiently accounted for their origin, without the 
necessity of a designing, intelligent Creator. The truth is, 
generation is not a principle, but a process. We might 
as well cal 1 the casting of metals a principle; we might, so 
far as appears to me, as well call spinning and weaving 
principles: and then, referring the texture of cloths, the 
fabric of muslins and calicoes, the patterns of diapers and 
damasks, to these, as principles, pretend to dispense with 
intention, thought, and contrivance, on the part of the ar- 
tist; or to dispense, indeed, with the necessity of any artist 
at all, either in the manufacturing of the article, or in the 
fabrication of the machinery by which the manufacture 
was carried on. 

And after all, how, or in what sense, is it true, that ani- 
mals produce their like? A butterfly, with a broboscis in- 
stead of a mouth, with four wings and six legs, produces a 


hairy caterpillar, with jaws and teeth, and fourteen r eet 
\ frog produces a tadpole. A black beetle, with gauze 
wings, and a crusty covering, produces a white, smooth, 
soP. worm; an ephemeron fly, a cod-bait maggot. These, 
by a progress through different stages of life, and action, 
and enjoyment, (and in each state provided with imple 
merts and organs appropriated to the temporary nature 
whiih they bear,) arrive at last at the form and fashion of 
the parent animal. But all this is process, not principle; 
and proves, moreover, that the property of animated bodies, 
of producing their like, belongs to them, not as a primordial 
property, not by any blind necessity in the nature of things, 
but as the effect of economy, wisdom, and design; because 
the property itself assumes diversities, and submits to devi- 
ations dictated by intelligible utilities, and serving distinct 
Durposes of animal happiness. 

The opinion, which would consider " generation" as a 
principle in nature; and which would assign this principle 
as a cause, or endeavour to satisfy our minds with such a 
cause, of the existence of organized bodies, is confuted, in 
my judgment, not only by every mark of contrivance dis- 
coverable in those bodies, for which it gives us no contriver, 
offers no account whatever; but also by the farther consid- 
eration, that things generated possess a clear relation to 

things not generated. If it were merely one part of a gen- 
ts o J r © 

erated body bearing a relation to another part of the same 
body, as the mouth of an animal to the throat, the throat 
to the stomach, the stomach to the intestines, those to the 
recruiting of the blood, and by means of the blood, to the 
nourishment of the whole frame; or if it were only one 
generated body bearing a relation to another generated 
body, as the sexes of the same species to each other, 
animals }f prey to their prey, herbivorous and granivo- 
~ous animals to the plants or seeds upon which they feed, 
t might be contended, that the whole of this correspon 
dency was attributable to generation, the common origin 
from which these substances proceeded. But what shall 
we say to agreements which exist between things generat- 
ed and things not generated? Can it be doubted, was it 
ever doubted, but that the lungs of animals bear a relation 
to the air, as a permanently elastic' fluid? They act in it 
and by it, they cannot act without it. Now, if generation 
produced the animal, it did not produce the air: yet their 
properties correspond. The eye is made for light, and light 
for the eye. The eye would be of no use without light, 
and light perhaps of htt i without eyes yet oue is produc- 


ed by generation; the other not. The ear depends upon 
undulations of lir. Here are two sets of motions: first, of 
,he pulses of the air; secondly, of the drum, bones, ant 
nerves of the ear: sets of motions bearing an evident re 
ference to each other: yet the one, and the apparatus foi 
the one, produced by the intervention of generation; the 
other altogether independent of it. 

If it be said, that the air, the light, the elements, the 
world itself, is generated; I answer, that I do not compre- 
hend he proposition. If the term mean anything similar 
io wnat it means when applied to plants or animals, the 
proposition is certainly without proof; and, I think, draw? 
as near to absurdity as any proposition can do, which does 
iiot include a contradiction in its terms. I am at a loss to 
conceive, how the formation of the world can be compared 
to the generation of an animal. If the term generation 
signify something quite different from what it signifies on 
ordinary occasions, it may, by the same latitude, signify 
anything. In which case, a word or phrase taken from the 
language of Otaheite, would convey as much theory con- 
cerning the origin of the universe, as it does to talk of its 
being generated. 

We know a cause (intelligence) adequate to the appear- 
ances which we wish to account for; we have this cause 
continually producing similar appearances; yet, rejecting 
this cause, the sufficiency of which we know, and the ac- 
tion of which is constantly before our eyes, we are invited 
to resort to suppositions destitute of a single fact for their 
support, and confirmed by no analogy with which we are 
acquainted. Were it necessary to inquire into the motives 
of men's opinions, I mean their motives separate from their 
arguments, I should almost suspect, that, because the proof 
of a Deity drawn from the constitution of nature is not only 
popular but vulgar, (which may arise from the cogencv of 
the proof, and be indeed its highest recommendation,) 
and because it is a species almost of puerility to take up 
with it; for these reasons, minds, which are habitually in 
search of invention and originality, feel a resistless inclina- 
tion to strike off into other solutions and other expositions. 
The truth is, that many minds are not so indisposed to any- 
thing which can be offered to them, as they are to the 
flatness of being content with common reasons; and, what 
is most to be lamented, minds conscious of superiority are 
the most liable to this repugnancy 

The " suppositions" here alluded to, all agree in one 
*haractc:: they all endeavour to dispense with the necessi 


ty in nature, of a particular personal intelligence, that 
is to say, with the exertion of an intending, contriving 
mind, m the structure and formation of the organized con- 
stitution which the world contains. They would resolve 
all productions into unconscious energies, of a like kind, in 
that respect, with attraction, magnetism, electricity, Sec. 
without anything farther. 

In this the old system of atheism and the new agree 
And I much douht, whether the new schemes have advanc- 
ed anything upon the old, or done more than changed th«s 
terms of the nomenclature. For instance, I could nevci 
see the difference between the antiquated system of atoms, 
and Buffon's organic molecules. This philosopher, having 
made a planet by knocking off from the sun a piece of melt- 
ed glass, in con-sequence of the stroke of a comet; and hav- 
ing set it in motion by the same stroke, both round its own 
axis and the sun, finds his next difficulty to be, how to 
bring plants and animals upon it. In order to solve this 
difficulty, we are to suppose the universe replenished with 
particles endowed with life, but without organization or 
benses of their own; and endowed also with a tendency to 
marshal themselves into organized forms. The concourse 
of these particles, by virtue of this tendency, but without 
intelligence, will, or direction, (for I do not find that any 
of these qualities are ascribed to them,) has produced the 
living forms which we now see. 

Very few of the conjectures which philosophers hazard 
upon these subjects, have more of pretension in then than 
the challenging you to show the direct impossibility of the 
hypothesis. In the present example, there seemed to be 
a positive objection to the whole scheme upon the very 
face of it; which was that, if the case were as here repre- 
sented, new combinations ought to be perpetually taking 
place; new plants and animals, or organized bodies which 
were neither, ought to be starting up before our eyes every 
day. For this, however, our philosopher has an answer 
Whilst so many forms of plants and animals are already in 
existence, and, consequently, so many "internal moulds," 
as he calls them, are prepared and at hand, the organic 
particles run into these moulds, and are employed in supply- 
ing an accession of substance to them, as well for their 
growth, as for their propagation. By which means things 
keep their ancient course. But, says the same philoso- 
pher, should any general loss or destruction of the pre- 
sent constitution of organized bodies take place ; the parti- 
cles, for want of ''moulds" 'nto which they might enter, 


would run into different combinations, and replenish th« 
waste with new species of organized substances. 

Is there any history to countenance this notion? Is ii 
known, that any destruction has been so repaired? any 
desert thus repeopled ? 

So far as I remember, the only natural appearance men- 
tioned by our author, by way of fact whereon to build his 
hypothesis, the only support on which it rests, is the forma- 
tion of worms in the intestines of animals, which is here 
ascribed to the coalition of superabundant organic parti- 
cles, floating about in the first passages; and which have 
combined themselves into these simple animal forms, for 
want of internal moulds, or of vacancies in those moulds, 
into which they might be received. The thing referred to, 
is rather a species of facts, than a single fact; as some 
other cases may, with equal reason, be included under it 
But to make it a fact at all, or in any sort applicable to 
the question, we must begin with asserting an equivocal 
generation, contrary to analogy, and without necessity: 
contrary to an analogy, which accompanies us to the very 
limits of our knowledge or inquiries; for wherever, either 
in plants or animals, we are able to examine the subject 
we find procreation from a parent form: without necessity, 
for I apprehend that it is seldom difficult to suggest me 
thods, by which the eggs, or spawn, or yet invisible rudi- 
ments of these vermin, may have obtained a passage into 
the cavities in which they are found.* Add to this, that 
their constancy to their species, which, I believe, is as regu- 
'ar in these as in the other vermes, decides the question 
against our philosopher, if in truth any question remained 
upon the subject. 

Lastly; these wonder-working instruments, these " in- 
ernal moulds," what are they after all? what, when exam- 
-neri, but a name without signification; unintelligible, if not 
jelf-contradictory ; at the best, differing in nothing from the 
<r essential forms" of the Greek philosophy? One short 
sentence of BufTbn's work exhibits his scheme as follows: 
"When this nutritious and prolific matter, which is diffus- 
ed throughout all nature, passes through the internal mould 
of an animal or vegetable, and finds a proper matrix, or re- 
ceptacle, it gives rise to an animal or vegetable of the same 
species." Does any reader annex a meaning to the expires? 

* I trust I may be excused for not citing, as another fact which is to 
confirm the hypothesis, a grave assertion of* this writer, that the branch- 
es of trees upon which the stag feeds, break out again in his horn* 
Such facts merit no discussion. 


Bion, "internal mould," in this sentence? Ought it „hen 
to be said that though we have little notion of an inteinal 
mould, we have not much more of a designing mind? The 
very contrary of this assertion is the truth. When wo 
speak of an artificer or an architect, we talk of what is com- 
prehensible to our understanding, and familiar to our expe- 
rience. We use no other terms, than what refer us for their 
meaning to our consciousness and observation; wheat express 
the cf^istant objects of both; whereas names, like that we 
have mentioned, refer us to nothing; excite no idea: convey 
a sound to the ear, but I think do no more. 

Another system, which has lately been bivught forward, 
and with much ingenuity, is that of appetencies. The prin- 
ciple, and the short account of the theory, is this: Pieces 
•jf soft, ductile matter, being endued with propensities or 
appetencies for particular actions, would, by continual en- 
deavours, carried on through a long series of generations, 
work themselves gradually into suitable forms; and at 
length acquire, though perhaps by obscure and almost im- 
perceptible improvements, an organization fitted to the ac- 
tion which their respective propensities led them to exert. 
A piece of animated matter, for example, that was endued 
with a propensity to fly, though ever so shapeless, though 
no other we will suppose than a round ball, to begin with, 
would, in a course of ages, if not in a million of years, 
perhaps in a hundred millions of years, (for our theorists, 
having eternity to dispose of, are never sparing in time,) ac- 
quire wings. The same tendency to locomotion in an 
aquatic animal, or rather in an animated lump which migh; 
happen to be surrounded by water, would end in the pro- 
duction of fins; in a living substance, confined to the solid 
earth, would put out legs and feet; or, if it took a different 
turn, would break the body into ringlets, and conclude by 
trawling upon the ground. 

Although I have introduced the mention of this theory 
into this place, I am unwilling to give to it the name of an 
atheistic scheme, for two reasons: first, because, so far as 
I am able to understand it, the original propensities, and 
the numberless varieties of them (so different, in this re- 
spect, from the laws of mechanical nature, which are few 
and simple,) are, in the plan itself, attributed to the ordina- 
tion and appointment of an intelligent and designing Crea- 
tor; secondly, because, likewise, that large postulatum, 
which is a 1 along assumed and presupposed, the faculty 
in living bodies of producing other bodies organized like 
themselves, seems to be referred to the same cause; at 



least is not attempted to be accounted for by any othei. In 
one important respect, however, the theory before us coin- 
cides with atheistic systems, viz. in that, in the formation 
of plants and animals, in the structure and use of their parts, 
it does away final causes. Instead of the parts of a plant 
or animal, or the particular structure of the parts, having 
been intended for the action or the use to which we see 
.horn applied, according to this theory, they have themselves 
grown out of that action, sprung from that use. Th^the- 
ory therefore dispenses with that which we insist upon, the 
necessity, in each particular case, of an intelligent, design- 
ing mind, for the contriving and determining of the forma 
which organized bodies bear. Give our philosopher these 
appetencies; give him a portion of living irritable matter 
(a nerve, or the clipping of a nerve) to work upon; give 
also to his incipient or progressive forms, the power, in 
every stage of their alteration, of propagating their like; 
and, if he is to be believed, he could replenish the world 
with all the vegetable and animal productions which we at 
present see in it. 

The scheme under consideration is open to the same ob- 
jection with other conjectures of a similar tendency, viz. a 
total defect of evidence. No changes, like those which the 
theory requires, have ever been observed. All the changes 
in Ovid's Metamorphoses might have been effected by these 
appetencies, if the theory were true: yet not an example, 
nor the pretence of an example, is offered of a single 
change being known to have taken place. Nor is the or- 
der of generation obedient to the principle upon which this 
theory is built. The mammae * of the male have not van- 
ished by inusitation; nee cur tor um, per multa scecula Ju- 
dceorum propagini deest prceputium. It is easy to say, and 
it has been said, that the alterative process is too slow to 
be perceived; that it has been carried on through tracts of 
immeasurable time; and that the present order of things is 
the result of a gradation, of which no human records can 
trace the steps. It is easy to say this; and yet it is still 
true, that the hypothesis remains destitute of evidence. 

The analogies which have been alleged, are of the fol- 
lowing kind. The bunch of a camel is said to be no other 
than the effect of carrying burdens; a service in which 

* I confess myself totally at a loss to guess at the reason, either final 
or efficient, for this part of the animal frame, unless there be some foun 
dation for an opinion, of which I draw the hint from a paper of Sir Eve- 
rard Home's, (Phil. Transac. 1799, p. 2,) viz. that the maoimiB of the 
*rtiiB mav be f Tmed before the sex is determined. 


the species has been employed from the most ar cient times 
of the world The first race, by the daily loading of the 
back, would probably find a small grumous tumour to be 
foimed in the flesh of that part. The next progeny would 
br njj this tumour into the world with them. The life to 
which they were destined would increase it. The cause 
which first generated the tubercle being continued, it would 
go on, through every succession, to augment its size, till it 
attained the Tbrm and the bulk under which it now appears 
This may serve for one instance: another, and that also of 
the passive sort, is taken from certain species of birds 
Birds of the crane kind, as the crane itself, the heion, bit- 
tern, stoik, have, in general, their thighs bare of feathers 
This privation is accounted for from the habit of wading in 
water, and from the effect of that element to check the 
growth of feathers upon these parts; in consequence of 
which, the health and vegetation of the feathers declined 
through each generation of the animal; the tender down, 
exposed to cold and wetness, became weak, and thin, and 
rare, till the deterioration ended in the result which we see, 
of absolute nakedness. I will mention a third instance, 
because it is drawn from an active hab.t, as the two last 
were from passive habits; and that is the 'pouch of the pe- 
lican. The description, which naturalists give of this organ, 
is as follows: " From the lower edges of the under chap 
hangs a bag, reaching from the whole length of the bill to 
the neck, which is said to be capable of containing fifteen 
quarts of water. This bag the bird has a power of wrink- 
ling up into the hollow of the under chap. When the bag 
is empty, it is not seen; but when the bird has fished with 
success, it is incredible to what an extent it is often dilated 
The first thing the pelican does in fishing, is to fill the bag; 
and then it returns to digest its burden at leisure. The 
oird preys upon large fishes, and hides them by dozens in 
its pouch. When the bill is opened to its widest extent, a 
person may run his head into the bird's mouth, and conceal 
it in this monstrous pouch, thus adapted for very singular 
purposes."* Now this extraordinary conformation is noth 
ing more, say our philosophers, than the result of habit; 
not of the habit or effort of a single pelican, or of a single 
race of pelicans, but of a habit perpetuated through a long 
series of generations. The pelican soon found the con- 
veniency of reserving in its mouth, when its appetite was 
glutted the remainder of its prey, which is fish. The ful* 

* Goldsmith, vol. vi. p. 52 


ness pioduced by this attempt, of course stretched .%e 
skin which lies between the under chaps, as being the 
most yielding part of the mouth. Every distension in- 
creased the cavity. The original bird, and many genera- 
tions which succeeded him, might find difficulty enough in 
making the pouch answer this purpose: but future pelicans, 
entering upon life with a pouch derived from their progen- 
itors, of considerable capacity, would more readily accel- 
erate its advance to perfection, by frequently pressing 
down the sack with the weight of fish which it might now 
be made to contain. 

These, or of this kind, are the analogies relied upon. 
Now, in the first place, the instances themselves are unau- 
thenticated by testimony; and, in theory, to say the least 
of them, open to great objections. Who ever read of ca- 
mels without bunches, or with bunches less than those with 
which they are at present usually formed? A bunch, not 
unlike the camel's, is found between the shoulders of the 
buffalo; of the origin of which it is impossible to give the 
account which is here given. In the second example; Why 
should the application of water, which appears to promote 
and thicken the growth of feathers upon the bodies and 
breasts of geese and swans, and other water-fowls, have 
divested of this covering the thighs of cranes? The third 
instance, which appears to me as plausible as any that can 
be produced, has this against it, that it is a singularity re- 
stricted to the species; whereas, if it had its commence- 
ment in the cause and manner which have been assigned, 
the like conformation might be expected to take place in 
other birds which feed upon fish. How comes it to pass, 
that the pelican alone was the inventress, and her descen- 
dants the only inheritors, of this curious resource? 

But it is the less necessary to controvert the instances 
themselves, as it is a straining of analogy beyond all lim- 
its of reason and credibility, to assert that birds, and beasts, 
and fish, with all their variety and complexity of organiza- 
tion, have been brought into their forms, and distinguished 
into their several kinds and natures, by the same process 
(even if that process could be demonstrated, or had it ever 
been actually noticed) as might seem to serve for the grad- 
ual generation of a camel's bunch, or a pelican's pouch 

The solution, when applied to the works of nature gen~ 
erally, is contradicted by many of the phenomena, and to- 
tally inadequate to others. The ligaments or strictures, by 
which the tendons are tied down at the angles of the joints, 
joul 3 by no possibility, be formed by the motion or exer 


rise of the tendons themselves; hy any appetency exciting 
Jhcse parts into action; or by any tendency arising there- 
from. The tendency is all the other way; the conatus in 
constant opposition to them. Length of time does not help 
the case at all, but the reverse. The valves also in the 
blood-vessels, could never be formed in the manner which 
our theorist proposes. The blood, in its right and natural 
course, has no tendency to form them. When obstruct- 
ed or refluent, it has the contrary. These parts could 
not grow out of their use, though they had eternity to 
grow in. 

The senses of animals appear to me altogether incapable 
of receiving the explanation of their origin which this theo- 
ry affords. Including under the word " sense" the organ 
and the perception, we have no account of either. How 
will our philosopher get at vision, or make an eye? How 
should the blind animal effect sight, of which blind animals, 
we know, have neither conception nor desire ? Affecting 
it, by what operation of its will, by what endeavour to see, 
could it so determine the fluids of its body, as to inchoate 
the formation of an eye; or suppose the eye formed, would 
the perception follow? The same of the other senses 
And this objection holds its force, ascribe what you will to 
the hand of time, to the power of habit, to changes too slow 
to be observed by man, or brought within any comparison 
which he is able to make of past things with the present: 
concede what you please to these arbitrary and unattested 
suppositions, how will they help you? Here is no incep 
tion. No laws, no course, no powers of nature which pre 
vail at present, nor any analogous to these, could give com- 
mencement to a new sense. And it is in vain to inquire 
how that might proceed, which could never begin. 

I think the senses to be the most inconsistent with the 
hypothesis before us, of any part of the animal frame. But 
other parts are sufficiently so. The solution does not 
apply to the parts of animals which have little in them of 
jnotion. If we could suppose joints and muscles to be grad 
ually formed by action and exercise, what action or exercise 
could form * skull, or fill it with brains ? No effort of the 
animal could determine the clothing of its skin. What co- 
net I us could give prickles to the porcupine or hedgehog, or 
to the sheep its fleece? 

In the last place: What do these appetencies mean when 
applied to plants? I am not able to give a signification to 
the term, \\hich can be transferred from animals to plants, 
or which is common to both Yet a no less successful or- 


gamzation is found in plants, than what obtains in animals 
A solution is wanted for one as well as the other. 

Upon the whole; after all the schemes and struggles of 9 
reluctant "Dhilosophy, the necessary resort is to a Deity 
The marks of design are too strong to be gotten over 
Design must have had a designer. That designer mua 
ttave been a person. That person is God. 



Tt is an immense conclusion, that there is a God*, a 
perceiving, intelligent, designing Being; at the head of cre- 
ation, and from whose will it proceeded. The attributes of 
such a Being, suppose his reality to be proved, must be 
adequate to the magnitude, extent, and multiplicity of his 
operations: which are not only vast beyond comparison with 
those performed by any other power, but, so far as respects 
our conceptions of them, infinite, because they are unlimit- 
ed on all sides. 

Yet the contemplation of a nature so exalted, however 
surely we arrive at the proof of its existence, overwhelms 
our faculties. The mind feels its powers sink under the 
subject. One consequence of which is, that from painful 
abstraction the thoughts seek relief in sensible images. 
Whence may be deduced the ancient, and almost univer- 
sal propensity to idolatrous substitutions. They are the 
resources of a laboring imagination. False religions usu- 
ally fall in with the natural propensity; true religions, or 
such as have derived themselves from the true, resist it. 

It is one of the advantages of tbe revelations which we 
acknowledge, that whilst they reject idolatry with its many 
pernicious accompaniments, they introduce the Deity to 
human appr 3hension, under an idea more personal, more 
determinate, more within its compass, t'lan the theology 
.« nature can do. And this they do by representing him 
t xclusively under the relation in which he stands to our- 
selves; and, for the most part, under some precise charac- 
ter, resulting from that relation, or from the history of his 
providences. Which method suits the span of our intellects 
much better than the universality which enters into the 
idea of God, as deduced from the views of nature. When, 
therefore, these representations are well fou.ided in poml 


of a ithority, (tor all depends upon that,) they afford aeon 
descension to the state of our faculties, of which, they who 
have most reflected upon the subject, will be the first to 
acknowledge the want and the value. 

Nevertheless, if we be careful to imitate the documents 
of our religion, by confining our explanations to what con- 
cerns ourselves, and do not affect more precision in our 
ideas than the subject allows of, the several terms which 
are employed to denote the attributes of the Deity, may be 
made, even in natural religion, to bear a sense consistent 
with truth and reason, and not surpassing our compre- 

These terms are, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipres- 
ence, eternity, self-existence, necessary existence, spiritu 

"Omnipotence," "omniscience," "infinite" power 
"infinite" knowledge, are superlatives ; expressing our con 
ception of these attributes in the strongest and most elevated 
„erms which language supplies. We ascribe power to the 
Deity under the name of " omnipotence," the strict and cor 
rect conclusion being, that a power which could create such 
a world as this is, must be, beyond all comparison, greater 
than any which we experience in ourselves, than any which 
we observe in other visible agents ; greater also than any 
which we can want, for our individual protection and pres- 
ervation, in the Being upon whom we depend. It is a 
power, likewise, to which we are not authorised, by our 
observation or knowledge, to assign any limits of space 
or duration. 

Very much of the same sort of remark is applicable to 
the term, " omniscience," infinite knowledge, or infinite 
wisdom. In strictness of language, there is a difference 
between knowledge and wisdom; wisdom always suppos- 
ing action, and action directed by it. With respect to the 
first, viz. knowledge, the Creator must know, intimately, 
the constitution and properties of the things which ne cre- 
ated; which seems also to imply a foreknowledge of their 
action upon one another, and of their changes; at least, so 
far as the same result from trains of physical and necessary 
causes. His omniscience also, as far as respects things 
present, *s deducible from his nature, as an intelligent be* 
'ng, joined with the extent, or rather the universality, of 
his operations. Where he acts, he is; and where he is, 
ne perceives. The wisdom of the Deity, as testified in the 
works of creation, surpasses all idea we have of wisdom, 
drawn, from the highest intellectual DDerations of the highest 


class of intelligent beings with whom we are acquainted, 
and, which s of the chief importance to us, whatever be its 
compass or extent, which i' is evidently impossible that we 
should be able to determine, it must be adequate to the 
conduct of that order of things under which we live. And 
his is enough. It is of very inferior consequence, by what 
terms we express our notion, or rather our admiration, of 
this attribute. The terms, which the piety and the usage 
of language have rendered habitual to us, may be as pro- 
per as any other. We can trace this attribute much beyond 
adiat is necessary for any conclusion to which we have 
occasion to apply it. The degree of knowledge and power, 
requisite for the formation of created nature, cannot, with 
respect to us, be distinguished from infinite. 

The divine " omnipresence" stands, in natural theology, 
uy.»m this foundation: — In every part and place of the uni- 
verse, with which we are acquainted, we perceive the exer- 
tion of a power, which we believe, mediately Or immediate- 
ly, to proceed from the Deity. For instance: in what part 
or point of space, that has ever been explored, do we not 
discover attraction? In what regions do we not find light? 
In what accessible portion of our globe do we not meet 
with gravity, magnetism, electricity? together with the 
properties also and powers of organized substances, of veg- 
etable or of animated nature? Nay, farther, we may ask, 
what kingdom is there of nature, what corner of space, in 
which there is anything that can be examined by us, where 
we do not fall upon contrivance and design? The only re- 
flection perhaps which arises in our minds from this view 
of the world around us is, that the laws of nature every- 
where prevail; that they are uniform and universal. But 
what do we mean by the laws of nature, oi by any law? 
Effects are produced by power, not by laws. A law cannot 
execute itself. A law refers us to an agent. Now an 
agency so general, as that we cannot discover its absence, 
or assign the place ir. which some effect of its continued 
energy is not found, may, in popular language at least, 
and, perhaps, without much deviation from philosophical 
strictness, be called universal: and, with not quite the 
same, but with no inconsiderable propriety, the person, or 
Being, in whon. that power resides, or from whom it is de- 
rived, may be taken to be omnipresent. He who upholds 
all things by his power, may be said to be everywhere 

This is called a virtual presence. There is also whar 
metaphysicians de ^minate an essential ubiquity; and 


which idea the language of Scripture seems to favor: but 
the former, I think, goes as far as natural theology carries 

" Eternity" is a negative idea, clothed with a positive 
name. It supposes, in that to which it is applied, a present 
existence; and is the negation of a beginning or an end of 
that existence. As applied to the Deity, it has not been 
controverted by those who acknowledge a Deity at all. 
Most assuredly, there never was a time in which nothing 
existed, because that condition must have continued. The 
universal blank must have remained; nothing could rise 
up out of it; nothing could ever have existed since: noth- 
ing could exist now. In strictness, however, we have no 
concern with duration prior to that of the visible world. 
Upon this article, therefore, of theology, it is sufficient to 
know, that the contriver necessarily existed before the 

•' Self-existence" is another negative idea, viz. the nega- 
.1011 of a preceding cause, as of a progenitor, a maker, an 
author, a creator. 

"Necessary" existence means demonstrable existence 

" Spirituality" expresses an idea, made up of a negative 
part, and of a positive part. The negative part consists in 
th 3 exclusion of some of the known properties of matter, 
especially of solidity, of the vis inertice, and of gravitation. 
The positive part comprises perception, thought, will, 
oower, action; by which last term is meant, the origination 
of motion; the quality, perhaps, in which resides the essen- 
tial superiority of spirit over matter, " which cannot move, 
unless it be moved; and cannot but move, when impelled 
by another."* I apprehend that there can be no difficulty 
in applying to the Deity both parts of this idea. 



Of the " Unity of the Deity," the proof is, the uniform* 
ty of plan observable in the universe. The universe icsell 
is a system; each part either depending upon other parts, 
or being connected with other parts by some common ia^r 
of moti m. or by the presence of some common substai-ce 

* Bishop Wilkin's Principles of Nat Rel. p. 106 


One principle of gravitation causes a stone to drop toward* 
the earth, and the moon to wheel round it. One law of at- 
traction carries all the different planets about the sun. This 
philosophers demonstrate. There are also other points of 
agreement amongst them, which may be considered as 
marks of the identity of their origin, and of their intelli- 
gent Author. In all are found the conveniency and stability 
derived from gravitation. They all experience vicissi- 
tudes of days and nights, and changes of season. They all, 
at least Jupiter, Mars, and Venus, have the same advanta- 
ges from their atmosphere as we have. In all the planets, 
the axes of rotation are permanent. Nothing is more prob- 
able, than that the same attracting influence, acting accord- 
ing to the same rule, reaches to the fixed stars: but, if this 
be only probable, another thing is certain, viz. that th-3 
same element of light does. The light from a fixed star 
affects our eyes in the same manner, is refracted and reflect- 
ed according to the same laws, as the light of a candle 
The velocity of the light of the fixed stars is also the same 
as the velocity of the light of the sun, reflected from the 
satellites of Jupiter. The heat of the sun, in kind, differs 
nothing from the heat of a coal fire. 

In our own globe, the case is clearer. New countries 
are continually discovered, but the old laws of nature are 
always found in them: new plants perhaps, or animals, but 
always in company with plants and animals which we 
already know: and always possessing many of the same 
general properties. We never get among such original, or 
totally different, modes of existence, as to indicate, that we 
are come into the province of a different Creator, or under 
the direction of a different will. In truth, the same order 
of things attends us wherever we go. The elements act 
upon one another, electricity operates, the tides rise and 
fall, the magnetic needle elects its position in one region 
of the earth and sea as well as in another. One atmos- 
phere invests all parts of the globe, and connects all; one 
gun illuminates; one moon exerts its specific attraction upon 
all parts. If there be a variety in natural effects, as, e. g. 
in the tides of different seas, that very variety is the result 
of the same cause, acting under different circumstances. 
In many cases this is proved; in all, is probable. 

The inspection and comparison of living forms, add to 
this argument examples without number. Of all large ter- 
restrial animals, the structure is very much alike ; their 
senses nearly the same ; their natural functions and pas- 
sions lea'lv the same; their viscera nearly the same, botb 


tu substance, shape, and office: digestion, nutrition, cir 
culation, secretion, go on, in a similar manner, in all. The 
great circulating fluid is the same; for, I thinK, no differ 
ence has been discovered in the properties of blood, from 
whatever animal it be drawn. The experiment of trarsfu 
sion proves, that the blood of one animal will serve for an- 
other. The skeletons also of the larger terrestrial animals, 
show particular varieties, but still under a great general 
affinity The resemblance is somewbat less, yet sufficiently 
evident, between quadrupeds and birds. They are all alike 
in five respects, for one in which they differ. 

In jisk, which belong to anotber department, as it weie 
oi nature, the points of comparison become fewer. But wo 
never lose sight of our analogy, e. g. we still meet with a 
stomach, a liver, a spine; with bile and blood; with 
teeth; with eyes, — (which eyes are only slightly varied from 
our own, and which variation, in truth, demonstrates, not 
an interruption, but a continuance of the same exquisite 
Mian; for it is the adaptation of the organ to the clement, 
viz. to the different refraction of light passing into the eye 
out of a denser medium.) The provinces, also, themselves 
of water and earth, are connected by the species of ani- 
mals which inhabit both; and also by a large tribe of aquat- 
ic animals, which closely resemble the terrestrial in their 
internal structure; I mean the cetaceous tribe, which have 
hot blood, respiring lungs, bowels, and other essential 
parts, like those of land animals. This similitude, surely, 
bespeaks the same creation and the same Creator. 

Jnsects and shell-fish appear to me to differ from othei 
classes of animals the most widely of any. Yet even here, 
beside many points of particular resemblance, there exists 
a general relation of a peculiar kind. It is the relation of 
inversion; the law of contrariety: namely, that whereas, 
in other animals, the bones, to which the muscles are at- 
tached, lie within the body; in insects and sheli-fish they 
ie on the outside of it. The shell of a lobster performs to 
the animal the office of a bone, by furnishing to the ten- 
dons that fixed basis 01 immovable fulcrum, without which, 
mechanically, they could not act. The crust of an insect 
is its shell, and answers the like purpose. The shell also 
of an oyster stands in the place of a bone; the bases af the 
muscles being fixed to it, in the same manner as, in other 
animals, they are lixed to the bones. All which (undei 
wonderful varieties, indeed, and adaptations of form ) con* 
losses an imi< ition, a remembrance, a carrying on, of the 
-aine plan 


The observations here made are equally applicable to 
plants; but, I think, unnecessary to be pursued. 

It is a very striking circumstance, and alone sufficient to 
prove all which we contend for, that in this part likewise 
of organized nature, we perceive a continuation of the sex- 
ual system. 

Certain however it is, that the whole argument for the 
divine unity, goes no farther than to a unity of counsel. 

It may likewise be acknowledged, that no arguments 
wfticn we are in possession of, exclude the ministry of sub- 
ordinate agents. If such there be, they act under a pre- 
siding, a controlling will; because they act according to 
certain general restrictions, by certain common rules, and, 
as it should seem, upon a general plan: but still such 
agents, and different ranks, and classes, and degrees of 
them, may be employed. 



The proof of the divine goodness rests upon two proposi- 
tions, each, as we contend, capable of being made out by 
observations drawn from the appearances of nature. 

The first is, " that in a vast plurality of instances in 
which contrivance is perceived, the design of the contri- 
vance is beneficial/ 1 

The second, "that the Deity has superadded pleasure 
to animal sensations, beyond what was necessary for any 
other purpose, or when the purpose, so far as it was neces- 
sary, might have been effected by the operation of pain." 

First, " in a vast plurality of instances in which contr- 
ivance is perceived, the design of the contrivance is bent' 
filial. " 

No productions of nature display contrivance so mani- 
festly as the parts of animals; and the parts of animals have 
all of them, I believe, a real, and, with very few exceptions, 
all of them a known and intelligible, subserviency to the 
use of the animal. Now, when the multitude of animals is 
considered, the number of parts in each, their figure and 
fitness, the faculties depending upon them, the variety of 
species, the complexity of structure, the success, in sc 
many cases, and felicity of the result, we can never reflect; 
without tkt profoundest adoration, upon the character of 


that Being from whom all these things have proceeded: we 
cannot help acknowledging, what an exertion of benevo- 
lence creation was; of a benevolence how minute in its 
care, how vast in its comprehension! 

When we appeal to the parts and faculties of animals 
md to the limbs and senses of animals in particular, we 
state, I conceive, the proper medium of proof for the con- 
clusion which we wish to establish. I will not say that 
the insensible parts of nature are made solely for the sensi- 
tive parts; but this I say. that, when we consider the be- 
nevolence of tl*e Deity, we can only consider it in relation; 
to sensitive be ng. Without this reference, or referred to 
anything else, the attribute has no object; the term has 
no meaning. Dead matter is nothing. The parts, there- 
fore, especially the limbs and senses of animals, although 
they constitute, in mass and quantity, a small portion of the 
material creation, yet, since they alone are instruments of 
perception, they compose what may be called the whole of 
visible nature, estimated with a view to the disposition of 
its Author. Consequently, it is in these that we are to seek 
his character. It is by these that we are to prove, that the 
world was made with a benevolent design. 

Nor is the design abortive It is tt happy world after all. 
The air, the earth, the water, teem with delighted exist- 
ence. In a spring noon, or a summer evening, on which- 
ever side I turn my eyes, myriads of happy beings crowd 
upon my view. "The insect youth are on the wing." 
Swarms of new-born flies are trying their pinions in the 
air. Their sportive motions, their wanton mazes, their 
gratuitors activity, their continual change of place without 
use or pjrpose, testify their joy, and the exultation which 
they feel in their lately discovered faculties. A bee amongst 
the flowers in spring, is one of the most cheerful objects that 
can be looked upon. Its life appears to be all enjoyment; 
so busy, and so pleased: yet it is only a specimen of insect 
life, with which, by reason of the animal being half domesti- 
cated, we happen to be better acquainted than we are with 
that, of others. The whole winged insect tribe, it is proba- 
ble, are equally intent upon their proper employments, and 
under every variety of constitution, gratified, and perhaps 
equally gratified, by the offices which the Author of their 
nature has assigned to them. But the atmosphere is not 
the only scene of enjoyment for the insect race. Plants 
are covered with aphides, greedily sucking their juices, 
and corsfanMy, as it should seem, in the act of sucking h 



cannot be doubted but that this is a state of gratijcation 
What else should fix them so close to the operation, and 
so long? Other species are running about, with an alacr'ty 
in their motions, which carries with it every mark of plea- 
sure. Large patches of ground are sometimes ha*f covered 
with these brisk and sprightly natures. If we look to what 
the waters produce, shoals of the fry of fish frequent the 
margins of rivers, of lakes, and of the sea itself. These 
are so happy, that they know not what to do with themselves 
Their attitudes, their vivacity, their leaps out of the water, 
their frolics in it, (which I have noticed a thousand times 
with equal attention and amusement,) all conduce to show 
their excess of spirits, and are simply the effects of that 
excess. Walking by the seaside, in a calm evening, upon 
a sandy shore, and with an ebbing tide, I have frequently 
remarked the appearance of a dark cloud, or rather, very 
thick mist, hanging over the edge of the water, to the 
height, perhaps, of half a yard, and of the breadth of two 
or three yards, stretching along the coast as far as the eye 
could reach, and always retiring with the water. When 
this cloud came to be examined, it proved to be nothing 
else than so much space, filled with young shrimps, in the 
act of bounding into the air from the shallow margin of the 
water, or from the wet sand. If any motion of a mute ani- 
mal could express delight, it was this: if they had meant 
to make signs of their happiness, they could not have done 
it more intelligibly. Suppose then, what I have no doufo 
of, each individual of this number to be in a state of posi 
tive enjoyment; what a sum, collectively, of gratification 
and pleasure have we here before our view! 

The young of all animals appear to me to receive plea>* 
ure simply from the exercise of their limbs and bodily fa( 
ulties, without reference to any end to be attained, or anj 
use to be answered by the exertion. A child, withou* 
knowing anything of the use of language, is in a high de 
gree delighted with being able to speak. Its lncessan: 
repetition of the few articulate sounds, or perhaps of tho 
single word which it has learned to pronounce, proves this* 
point clearly. Nor is it less pleased with its first success- 
ful endeavours to walk, or rather to run, (which preceder 
walking,) although entirely ignorant of the importance of 
the attainment to its future life, and even without apply- 
ing it to any present purpose. A child is delighted with 
speaking, without having anything to say; and with walk- 
ing, without knowing where to go. And, prior to both 
ihest> I an disposed to believe, that the waking hours of 


l&Jancy are agreeably taken up with the exercise of vision, 
or perhap ;, more properly speaking, with learning to see 
But it is not for youth alone that the great Parent of 
creation hath provided. Happiness is found with iho 
purring cat, no less than with the playful kitten; in tho 
armed chair of d )zing age, as well as in either the sprightli- 
neis of the dance, or the animation of the chase. To novel 
ty, to acuteness of sensation, to hope, to ardor of pursuit, 
succeeds what is, in no inconsiderable degree, an equiva- 
lent for them all, " perception of ease." Herein is the exact 
difference between the young and the old. The young are 
not happy, but when enjoying pleasure ; the old are happy, 
when free from pain. And this constitution suits witli the 
degrees of animal power which they respectively possess. 
The vigor of youth was to be stimulated to action by 
impatience of rest; whilst, to the imbecility of age, quiet- 
ness and repose become positive gratifications. In one im- 
portant respect the advantage is with the old. A state of 
ease is, generally speaking, more attainable than a state of 
pleasure. A constitution, therefore, which can enjoy ease, 
is preferable to that which can taste only pleasure. The 
same perception of ease oftentimes renders old age a 
condition of great comfort; especially when riding at its 
anchor after a busy or tempestuous life. It is well describ- 
ed by Rousseau, to be the interval of repose and enjoy- 
ment, between the hurry and the end of life. How far tho 
same cause extends to other animal natures cannot be judg- 
ed of with certainty. The appearance of satisfaction, with 
which most animals, as their activity subsides, seek and 
enjoy rest, affords reason to believe, that this source of 
gratification is appointed to advanced life, under all, or 
most, of its various forms. In the species with which we 
are best acquainted, namely, our own, I am far, even as an 
observer of human life, from thinking that youth is its hap- 
piest season, much less the only happy one: as a Christian, 
J am willing to believe that there is a great deal of truth in 
t le following representation given by a very pious writer, 
a 3 well as an excellent man.* " To the intelligent and 
viiluous, old age presents a scene of tranquil enjoyments, 
of obedient appetite, of well-regulated affections, of ma- 
turity in knowledge, and of calm preparation tor immor- 
tality. In this serene and dignified state, placed as it were 
*>n the confines of two worlds, the mind of a good man 
reviews what is past with the complacency of an approving 
conscience; and looks forward with humble confidence in 

* Father's instructions; by Dr. Perci 'al of Manchester, p. 3 IT 


the meicy of God, and with devout aspirations towaids his 
eternal and ever increasing favor." 

What is seen in different stages of the same life, is still 
nmre exemplified in the lives of different animals. Animal 
enjoyments are infinitely diversified. The modes of life to 
which the organization of different animals respectivelv de- 
termines them, are not only of various but of opposite kin Is. 
Yet each is happy in its own. For instance; animals of 
prey live much alone; animals of a milder constitution, in 
society. Yet the herring, which lives in shoals, and the 
sheep, which live in flocks, are not more happy in a crowd, 
or more contented amongst their companions, than is the 
pike, or the lion, with the deep solitudes of the pool, or the 

But it will be said, that the instances which we have heie 
brought forward, whether of vivacity or repose, or of appa- 
rent enjoyment derived from either, are picked and favor- 
able instances. We answer, first, that they are instances, 
nevertheless, which comprise large provinces of sensitive 
existence; that every case which we have described, is the 
case of millions. At this moment, in every given moment 
of time, how many myriads of animals are eating their 
food, gratifying their appetites, ruminating in their holes, 
accomplishing their wishes, pursuing their pleasures, taking 
their pastimes! In each individual, how many things must 
go right for it to be at ease; yet how large a proportion out 
of every species is so in every assignable instant! Sec- 
ondly, we contend, in the terms of our original proposition, 
that throughout the whole of life, as it is diffused in nature, 
and as far as we are acquainted with it, looking to the 
average of sensations, the plurality and the preponderancy 
is in favor of happiness by a vast excess. In our own 
species, in which perhaps the assertion may be more ques- 
tionable than in any other, the prepollency of good over 
evil, of health, for example, and ease, over pain and dis- 
tress, is evinced by the very notice which calamities excite 
What inquiries does the sickness of our friends produce! 
What conversation their misfortunes! This shows that the 
common course of things is in favor of happiness; that 
happiness is the rule, misery the exception. Were the 
order reversed, our attention would be called to examples 
of health and competency, instead of disease and want. 

One great cause of our insensibility to the goodness o' 
the Creator, is the very extensiveness of his bounty. We 
piize but little what we share only in common with the rest, 
01 w'th the generality of our species When we hear of 


alessings, we think forthwith of successes, of prosperous 
'ortunes. of honors, riches, preferments, i. e. of those ad- 
vintages and superiorities over others, which we hopper 
either to possess, or to be in pursuit of, or to covet. The 
common benefits of our nature entirely escape us. Yet 
hese are the great things. These constitute what most 
properly ought to be accounted blessings of Providence; 
what alone, if we might so speak, are worthy of its care. 
Nightly rest and daily bread, the ordinary use of our limbs, 
and senses, and understandings, are gifts which admit of no 
comparison with any other. Yet, because almost every 
man we meet with possesses these, we leave them out ot 
our enumeration. They raise no sentiment: they move no 
gratitude. Now herein is our judgment perverted by our 
selfishness. A blessing ought in truth to be the more sat- 
isfactory, the bounty at least of the donor is rendered more 
conspicuous, by its very diffusion, its commonness, its cheap- 
ness; by its falling to the lot, and forming the happiness, 
of the great bulk and body of our species, as well as of our- 
selves. Nay, even when we do not possess it, it ought to 
be matter of thankfulness that others do. But we have a 
different way of thinking. We court distinction. That 
is not the worst; we see nothing but what has distinc- 
tion to recommend it. This necessarily contracts our 
views of the Creator's beneficence within a narrow com- 
pass; and most unjustly. It is in those things which are so 
common as to be no distinction, that the amplitude of the 
divine benignity is perceived. 

But pain, no doubt, and privations exist, in numerous 
instances, and to a degree, which, collectively, would be 
very great, if they were compared with any other thing than 
with the mass of animal fruition. For the application, 
herefore, of our proposition to that mixed state of things 
which these exceptions induce, two rules are necessary, and 
both, I think, just and fair rules. One is, that we regard 
those effects alone which are accompanied with proofs of 
intention: The other, that when we cannot resolve all ap- 
pearances into benevolence of design, we make the few 
give place to the many; the little to the great; that we take 
our judgment from a large and decided preponderancy, if 
there be one. 

I crave leave to transcribe into this place, what I have 
said upon this subject in my Moral Philosophy: — 

" When God created the human species, either he wish- 
ed their happiness, or he wished their misery, or he was 
uidiffeienl and ur~oncerned about cither 



**■ Tf hthad wished our misery, he might have made sure 
uf his purpose, by forming our senses to be so many sores 
and pains to us, as they are now instruments of gratis nation 
and enjoyment: or by placing us amidst objects so ill 
suited to our perceptions, as to have continually offended 
us, instead of ministering to our refreshment and delight. 
He might have made, for example, everything we tasted, 
bill 3r ; everything we saw, loathsome* everything we 
ouMied, a sting; every smell, a stench; and every sound, 
* discord 

" If he had been indifferent about our happiness or mis- 
. -y, we must impute to our good fortune (as all design by 
Oiis supposition is excluded) both the capacity of our senses 
*o receive pleasure, and the supply of external objects fitted 
to produce it. 

"But either of these, and still more both of them, be- 
ing too much to be attributed to accident, nothing remains 
but the first supposition, that God, when he created the 
numan species, wished their happiness; and made for them 
the provision which he has made, with that view and for 
that purpose. 

" The same argument may be proposed in different terms; 
thus: Contrivance proves design: and the predominant 
tendency of the contrivance indicates the disposition of the 
designer. The world abounds with contrivances: and all 
the contrivances which we are acquainted with, are direct- 
ed to beneficial purposes. Evil, no doubt, exists; but is 
never, that we can perceive, the object of contrivance. 
Teeth are contrived to eat, not to ache; their aching now 
and then is incidental to the contrivance, perhaps insepara- 
ble from it: or even, if you will, let it be called a defect in 
the contrivance; but it is not the object of it. This is a 
distinction which well deserves to be attended to. In de- 
scribing implements of husbandry, you would hardly say of 
the sickle, that it is made to cut the reaper's hand; though, 
from the construction of the instrument, and the manner 
of using it, this mischief often follows. But if you had oc- 
casion to describe instruments of torture or execution: this 
engine, you would say, is to extend the sinews; this to dis- 
locate the joints; this to break the bones; this to scorch 
the so es of the feet. Here pain and misery are the very 
objects of the contrivance. Now, nothing of this sort is 
to be found in the works of nature. We never discover a 
train of contrivance to bring about an evil purpose. No 
analomisf ever discovered a system of organization calcu- 
o<el to produce pain and disease; 01 in explaining the 


parts of the human body, ever said, this is to irritate, 
this to inflame; this duct is to convey the giavel to tin? 
kidneys; this gland to secrete the humour which forms the 
gout: if by chance he come at a part of which lie knows 
not the use, the most he can say is, that it is useless; no 
one evei suspects that it is put there to incommode, to an 
noy, or t torment." 

The two cases which appear to me to have the most of 
difhcu' ,y in them, as forming the most of the appearance of 
excep on to the representation here given, are those of vtn 
omous animals, and of animals preying upon one another 
These properties of animals, whereverthey are found, must, 
I think, be referred to design; because there is, in all cases 
of the first, and in most cases of the second, an express and 
distinct organization provided for the producing of them. 
Under the first head, the fangs of vipers, the stings of wasps 
and scorpions, are as clearly intended for their purpose, as 
any animal structure is for any purpose the most incontest- 
ably beneficial. And the same thing must, under the se- 
cond head, be acknowledged of the talons and beaks of 
birds, of the tusks, teeth, and claws of beasts of prey, of the 
shaik's mouth, of the spider's web, and of numberless wea- 
pons of offence belonging to different tribes of voracious 
insects. We cannot, therefore, avoid the difficulty by say- 
ing, that the effect was not intended. The only question 
open to us is, whether it be ultimately evil. From the con- 
fessed and felt imperfection of our knowledge, we ought to 
presume, that there may be consequences of this economy 
which are hidden from us: from the benevolence which 
pervades the general designs of nature, we ought also to 
presume, that these consequences, if they could enter into 
our calculation, would turn the balance on the favorable 
side. Both these I contend to be reasonable presumptions. 
Not reasonable presumptions, if these two cases were the 
only cases which nature presented to our ouservation; hi\ 
reasonable presumptions under the reflection, that the cas* 
es in question are combined with a multitude of intentions, 
all proceeding from the same author, and all, except these, 
directed to ends of undisputed utility. Of the vindications, 
however, of this economy, which we are able to assign, 
such as most extenuate the difficult v, are the following. 

With respect to venomous bites and stings, it may be ob- 
served, — 

I. That the animal itself being regarded, the faculty 
complained of is good: being conducive, in all cases, ta 
the defence of the animal, in some cases, to the subduing 


of its | rey; and in some, probably, to the killing of it, when 
caught, by a mortal wound, inflicted in the passage to the 
stomach, which may be no less merciful to the victim than 
salutary to the devourer. In the viper, for instance, the 
poisonous fang may do that which, in other animals of 
prey, is done by the crush of the teeth. Frogs and mice 
might be swallowed alive without it. 

2. But it will be said, that this provision, when it ccmes 
to the case of bites, deadly even to human bodies and to 
those of large quadrupeds, is greatly overdone; that it might 
have fulfilled its use, and yet have been much less delete- 
rious than it is. Now I believe the case of bites, which 
produce death in large animals (of stings I think there are 
none,) to be very few. The experiments of the Abbe Fon- 
tana, which were numerous, go strongly to the proof of this 
point. He found that it required the action of five exaspe- 
rated vipers to kill a dog of a moderate size; but that, to 
the killing of a mouse or a frog, a single bite was sufficient; 
which agrees with the use which we assign to the faculty. 
The A.bbe seemed to be of opinion, that the bite even of 
the rattlesnake would not usually be mortal; allowing, how- 
ever, that in certain particularly unfortunate cases, as when 
the puncture had touched some very tender part, pricked a 
principal nerve for instance, or, as it is said, some more 
considerable lymphatic vessel, death might speedily ensue. 

3. It has been, I think, very justly remarked, concerning 
serpents, that, whilst only a few species possess the veno- 
mous property, that property guards the whole tribe. The 
nost innocuous snake is avoided with as much care as a 
riper. Now the terror with which large animals regard 
this class of reptiles, is its protection; and this terror is 
founded in the formidable revenge, which a few of the num- 
ber, compared with the whole, are capable of taking. The 
species of serpents, described by Linnaeus, amount to two 
hundred and eighteen, of which thirty-two only are poi- 

4. It seems to me, that animal constitutions are pro- 
vided, not only for each element, but for each state of the 
elements, i. e. for every climate, and for every emperature; 
and that part of the mischief complained of, arises from an- 
imals (the human animal most especially) occupying situ- 
ations upon the earth which do not belong to them, nor 
were ever intended for their Habitation. The folly and 
wickedness of mankind, and necessities proceeding from 
these causes, have driven multitudes of the species to seek 
a refuge amongst burning sands whilst countries, blessed 


with 1 ospitable skies, and with the most fertile soils, re- 
main imiost without a human tenant. We invade the ter- 
ritories of wild beasts and venomous reptiles, and then com 
plain that we are infested by their bites and stings. Some 
accounts of Africa place this observation in a strong point 
of view. "The deserts," saysAdanson, " are entirely bar- 
ren, except where they are found to produce serpents; and 
in such quantities, that some extensive plains are almost 
entirely covered with them." These are the natures ap- 
propriated to the situation. Let them enjoy their exist- 
ence; let them have their country. Surface enough will 
be left to man, though his numbers were increased a hun- 
dred fold, and left to him, where he might live exempt 
from these annoyances. 

The second case, viz. that of animals devouring one 
another, furnishes a consideration of much larger extent. 
To judge whether, as general provision, this can be deem- 
ed an evil, even so far as we understand its consequences, 
which, probably, is a partial understanding, the following 
reflections are fit to be attended to. 

1. Immortality upon this earth is out of the question 
Without death there could be no generation, no sexes, no 
parental relation, i. e. as things are constituted, no animal 
happiness. The particular duration of life, assigned to dif- 
ferent animals, can form no part of the objection; because, 
whatever that duration be, whilst it remains finite and lim- 
ited, it may always be asked, why it is no longer. The 
natural age of different animals varies, from a single day 
to a century of years. No account can be given of this; 
nor could any be given, whatever other proportion of life 
had obtained amongst them. 

The term then of life in different animals being the same 
a3 it is, the question is, what mode of taking it away is the 
best even for the animal itself? 

Now, according to the established order of nature, (which 
we must suppose to prevail, or we cannot reason at all upon 
the subject,) the three methods by which life is usually put 
an end to, are acute diseases, decay, and violence. The 
simple and natural life of brutes, is not often visited by acute 
distempers; nor could it be deemed an improvement of 
their lot, if they were. Let it be considered, therefore, in 
what a condition of suffering and misery a brute animal is 
placed, which is left to perish by decay. In human sickness 
or infirm ty, there is the assistance of man's rational fel- 
low creatures, if no to alleviate his pains, at least to mh> 


ster to nis necessities, and to supply the place of his own 
ictivity A mute, in his wild and natural state, does every 
Lhing for himself. When his strength therefore, or his 
speed, or his limbs, or his senses fail him, he is delivered 
over, either to absolute famine, or to the protracted wretch- 
edness of a life slowly wasted by the scarcity of food. Is 
it then to see the world rilled with drooping, superannua- 
ted, half starve J, helpless, and unhelped animals, that you 
would alter the present system of pursuit and prey? 

2. Which system is also to them the spring of motion 
and activity on both sides. The pursuit of its prey forma 
the employment, and appears to constitute the pleasure, of 
a considerable part of the animal creation. The using of 
the means of defence, or flight, or precaution, forms also 
the business of another part. And even of this latter tribe, 
we have no reason to suppose, that their happiness is much 
molested by their fears. Their danger exists continually; 
and in some cases they seem to be so far sensible of it, as 
to provide in the best manner they can against it; but it 
is only when the attack is actually made upon them, that 
they appear to suffer from it. To contemplate the insecu- 
rity of i.heir condition with anxiety and dread, requires a 
degree of reflection, which (happily for themselves) they do 
not possess. A hare, notwithstanding the number of its 
dangers and its enemies, is as playful an animal as any 

3. But, to do justice to the question, the system of animal 
destruction ought always to be considered in strict connex- 
ion with another property of animal nature, viz. superfecun- 
clity. They are countervailing qualities. One subsists by 
the correction of the other. In treating, therefore, of the 
subject under this view, (which is, I believe, the true one,) 
our business will be, first, to point out the advantages which 
are gained by the powers in nature of a superabundant mul- 
tiplication; and then to show, that these advantages are 
so many reasons for appointing that system of animal hos- 
tilities, which we are endeavouring to account for. 

In almost all cases, nature produces her supplies with 
profusion. A single cod-fish spawns, in one season, a 
greater number of eggs than all the inhabitants of England 
amount to. A thousand other instances of prolific genera- 
tion might be stated, which, though not equal to this, would 
carry on the increase of the species with a rapidity which 
outruns calculation, and to an immeasurable extent. Th«* 
advantagesof such a constitution are tw>: first tha it tend* 


to keep the world always full: whilst, seccn lly, it allows 
the proportion between the several species of animals to be 
differently modiiied, as different purposes require, or as 
different situations may afford for them room and food 
Where this vast fecundity meets with a vacancy fitted to 
-eceive the species, there it operates with its whole effect; 
l iere it pours in its numbers, and replenishes the waste 
We complain of what we call the exorbitant multiplication 
of some troublesome insects; not reflecting that larg3 por- 
tions of nature might be left void without it. If the ac 
counts of travellers may be depended upon, immense tracts 
of forest in North America would be nearly lost to sensitivo 
existence, if it were not for gnats. " In the thinly inhab 
itc-d regions of America, in which the waters stagnate and 
the climate is warm, the whole air is filled with crowds of 
these insects." Thus it is, that where we look for solitude 
and deathlike silence, we meet with animation, activity, 
enjoyment; with a busy, a happy, and a peopled world. 
Again; hosts of mice are reckoned amongst the plagues of 
the northeast part of Europe; whereas vast plains in Sibe- 
ria, as we learn from good authority, would be lifeless with- 
out them. The Caspian deserts are converted by their 
presence into crowded warrens. Between the Volga and 
the Yaik, and in the country of Hyrcania, the ground, says 
Pallas, is in many places covered with little hills, raised by 
the earth cast out in forming the burrows. Do we so 
envy these blissful abodes, as to pronounce the fecundity 
by which they are supplied with inhabitants, to be an evil; 
a subject of complaint, and not of praise? Farther; by 
virtue of this same superfecundity, what we term destruc- 
tion, becomes almost instantly the parent of life. What we 
call blights, are oftentimes legions of animated beings, 
claiming their portion in the bounty of nature. What cor- 
rupts the produce of the earth to us, prepares it for them. 
And it is by means of their rapid multiplication, that they 
take possession of their pasture; a slow propagation would 
not meet the opportunity. 

But in conjunction with the occasional use of this fruit- 
fulness, we observe, also, that it allows the proportion be- 
tween the several species of animals, to be differently mod- 
ified, as different purposes of utility may require. When 
the forests of America come to be cleared, ana the swamps 
drained, our gnats will give place to other inhabitants. If 
the population of Europe should spread to the north and 
Ihe east, the mice will retire before the husbandmai and 


the shepherd, and yield their station to herds and 'locks. If, 
what concerns the human species, it may be a part of the 
scheme of Providence, that the earth should be inhabited 
by a shifting, or perhaps a circulating population. In this 
economy, it is possible that there may be the following ad- 
vantages: When old countries are become exceedingly 
corrupt, simpler modes of life, purer morals, and better in- 
stitutions, may rise up in new ones, whilst fresh soils reward 
he cultivator with more plentiful returns. Thus the diffei- 
ent portions of the globe come into use in succession as 
he residence of man; and, in his absence, entertain 
other guests, which, by their sudden multiplication, fill the 
chasm. In domesticated animals, we find the effect of their 
fecundity to be, that we can always command numbers; 
we can always have as many of any particular species as 
we please, or as we can support. Nor do we complain of 
its excess; it being much more easy to regulate abundance, 
than to supply scarcity. 

But then this superfeciinditij, though of great occasional 
use and importance, exceeds the ordinary capacity of nature 
to receive or support its progeny. All superabundance 
supposes destruction, or must destroy itself. Perhaps there 
is no species of terrestrial animals whatever, which would 
not overrun the earth, if it were permitted to multiply in 
perfect safety; or offish, which would not fill the ocean: at 
least, if any single species were left to their natural increase 
without disturbance or restraint, the food of other species 
would be exhausted by their maintenance. It is necessary, 
therefore, that the effects of such prolific faculties be cur- 
tailed. In conjunction with other checks and limits, all sub- 
servient to the same purpose, are the thinnings which take 
place among animals, by their action upon one another. In 
some instances we ourselves experience, very directly, the 
use of these hostilities. One species of insects rids us of 
another species; or reduces their ranks. A third species, 
perhaps, keeps the second within bounds; and birds or liz- 
ards are a fence against the inordinate increase by which 
even these last might infest us. In other more numerous, 
and possibly more important instances, this disposition of 
things, although less necessary or useful to us, and of course 
less obsei ved by us, may be necessary and useful to certain 
other species; or even for the preventing of the loss of cer- 
tain species from the universe: a misfortune which seems 
U) be studiously guarded against. Though there may be 
the appearance ^f failure in some of the detaUs of Nature's 


Rrorks, in her great purposes there never are. Hei specie* 
iiever fail. The provision which was originally made for 
sontinuing the replenishment of the world, has proved itself 
to be effectual through a long succession of ages. 

What farther shows, that the system of destruction 
amorgst animals holds an express relation to the system of 
fecundity; that they are parts indeed of one compensatory 
scheme; is, that in each species the fecundity bears a 
proportion to the smallness of the animal, to the weakness, 
io tlie shortness of its natural term of life, and to the dan- 
gcis and enemies by which it is surrounded. An elephant 
produces but one calf: a butterfly lays six hundred eggs. 
Birds of prey seldom produce more than two eggs: the 
spairow tribe, and the duck tribe, frequently sit upon a 
dozen. In the rivers, we meet with a thousand minnows 
for one pike; in the sea, a million of herrings for a single 
shark. Compensation obtains throughout. Defenceless- 
ness and devastation are repaired by fecundity. 

We have dwelt the longer upon these considerations, be- 
cause the subject to which they apply, namely, that of ani- 
mals devouring one another, forms the chief, if not the only 
instance, in the works of the Deity, of an economy, stamp- 
ed by marks of design, in which the character of utility can 
be called in question. The case of venomous animals is of 
much inferior consequence to the case of prey, and in 
some degree, is also included under it. To both cases, it 
is probable that many more reasons belong, than those of 
which we are in possession 

Our first proposition, and that which we have hither- 
to been defending, was, "that, in a vast plurality of in 
stances in which contrivance is perceived, the design of the 
contrivance is beneficial." 

Our second proposition is, "that the Deity has ad- 
ded pleasure to animal sensations, beyond what was neces- 
sary for any other purpose, or when the purpose, so far as 
it was necessary, might have been effected by the opera- 
tion of pain." 

This proposition may be thus explained: The capaci- 
ties which, according to the established course of nature, are 
necessary to the support or preservation of an animal, how- 
ever manifestly they may be the result of an organization 
contrived for the purpose, can only be deemed an act or 
a part of the same will, as that which decreed the exis- 
tence of the animal itself; because, whether the creation 
proceed* J from a benevolent or a malevolent being these 


capacities must have been given, if the animal existed a. 
all. Animal properties therefore, which fall under this de- 
scription, do not strictly prove the goodness of God: they 
may prove the existence of the Deity; they may prove a 
high degree of power and intelligence: but they do not 
prove his goodness: forasmuch as they must have been 
fo ind in any creation which was capable of continuance, 
although it is possible to suppose, that such a creation 
might have been produced by a being, whose views rested 
upon misery 

But there is a class of properties, which may be said to 
be superadded from an intention expressly directed to hap- 
piness; an intention to give a hpppy existence distinct from 
the general intention of providing the means of existence m 
and that is, of capacities for pleasure, in cases wherein, 
so far as the conservation of the individual or of the species 
»s concerned, they were not wanted, or wherein the pur- 
pose might have been secured by the operation of pain. 
The provision which is made of a variety of objects, not 
necessary to life, and ministering only to our pleasures; and 
the properties given to the necessaries of life themselves, 
by which they contribute to pleasure as well as preserva- 
tion; show a farther design than that of giving existence.* 

A single instance will make all this clear. Assuming 
the necessity of food for the support of animal life; it is re- 
quisite, that the animal be provided with organs, fitted for 
the procuring, receiving, and digesting of its food. It may 
also be necessary, that the animal be impelled by its sensa- 
tions to exert its organs. But the pain of hunger would do 
all this. Why add pleasure to the act of eating; sweetness 
and relish to food? Why a new and appropriate sense 
for the perception of the pleasure? Why should the juice 
of a peach, applied to the palate, affect the part so different- 
ly from what tt does when rubbed upon the palm of the 
hand? This is a constitution, which, so far as appears to 
me, can be resolved into nothing but the pure benevolence 
of the Creator. Eating is necessary; but the pleasure at- 
tending it is not necessary; and that this pleasure depend* 
not only upon our being in possession of the sense of tast«, 
which is different from every other, but upon a particular 

* See this topic considered in Dr. Balguy's Treatise upon the Divin* 
Benevolence. This excellent author, first, I think, proposed it; ana 
nenily in the terms in which it is here stated. Some other observation* 
»><ui under tlu? howl, are taken from that treatise. 


state of the organ in which i v resides, a felicitous adapta- 
tion of the organ to the object, will be confessed by any 
one, who may happen to have svpetienced that vitiation of 
taste which frequently occurs in foyers, when every taste is 
irregular, and every one bad. 

In mentioning the gratifications cf Jhe palate, it may be 
said, that we have made choice of a htfliug example. I am 
not of that opinion. They afford a share of enjoyment to 
man: but to brutes, I believe that they are of very great 
importance. A horse at liberty passes a rreat part of hia 
waking hours in eating. To the ox, the sheep, the deer, 
and other ruminating animals, the pleasure is doubled 
Their whole time almost is divided between browsing upon 
their pasture and chewing their cud. Whatever the pleas- 
ure be, it is spread over a large portion of their existence 
If there be animals, such as the lupous fish, which swallow 
their prey whole, and at once, without any time, as ii should 
seem, for either drawing out, or relishing the taste in the 
mouth, is it an improbable conjecture, that the seat of taste 
with them is in the stomach? or, at least, that a sense c< 
pleasure, whether it be taste or not, accompanies the disso- 
lution of the food in that receptacle, which dissolution in 
general is cariied on verv slowly? If this opinion be right, 
they are more than repaid for their defect of palate. TI:e 
feast lasts as long as the digestion. 

In seeking for argument, we need not stay to insist up.^n 
the comparative importance of our example; for the obser- 
vation holds equally of all, or of three at least, of the oth^i 
senses. The necessary purposes of hearing might have 
been answered without harmony; of smell, without fra- 
grance; of vision, without beauty. Now, "If the Deity 
had been indifferent about our happiness or misery, we 
must impute to our good fortune (as all design by this suppo- 
sition is excluded) both the capacity of our senses to receive 
pleasure, and the supply of external objects fitted to excite 
It." I allege these as two felicities, for they are different 
things, yet both necessary: the sense being formed, tae 
objects which were applied to it might not have suited it, 
(he ibiects being fixed, the sense might not have ajrreea 
witn them. A coincidence is here required, which no acci- 
dent can account for. There are three possible suppositions 
upon the subject, and no more. The first, that the sens* 3 ; 
by its original constitution, was made to suit the object. th« 
second, that the object, by its original constitution, was 
nmde to suit the sense: the third, that the sense is re con- 


stituted, as to be able, either universally, or with.n ck «*in 
limits, by habit and familiarity, to render every oojec. 
pleasant. Whichever of these suppositions we adopt, the 
effect evinces, on the part of the Author of Nature, a stu- 
dious benevolence. If the pleasures which we derive from 
any of our senses depend upon an original congruity be- 
tween the sense and the properties perceived by it, we 
know by experience, that the adjustment demanded, with 
respect to the qualities which were conferred upon the 
objects that surround us, not only choice and selection, 
out of a boundless variety of possible qualities, with which 
these objects might have been endued, but a proportioning 
also of degree, because an excess or defect of intensity 
spoils the perception, as much almost as an error in the 
kind and nature of the quality. Likewise the degree of 
dulness or acuteness in the sense itself, is no arbitrary 
thing, but in order to preserve the congruity here spoken 
of, requires to be in an exact or near correspondency 
with the strength of the impression. The cluiness of the 
senses forms the complaint of old age. Persons in fe- 
vers, and, I believe, in most maniacal cases, experience 
great torment from their preternatural acuteness. An in- 
creased, no less than an impaired sensibility, induces a 
state of disease and suffering. 

The doctrine of a specific congruity between animal 
senses and their objects, is strongly favored by what is ob- 
served of insects in the selection of their food. Some of 
these will feed upon one kind of plant or animal, and upon 
no other: some caterpillars upon the cabbage alone; some 
upon the black currant alone. The species of caterpillar 
which eats the vine, will starve upon the elder; nor will 
that which we find upon fennel, touch the rosebush. Some 
insects confine themselves to two or three kinds of plants 
or animals. Some again show so strong a preference, as 
to afford reason to believe, that, though they may be driv- 
en by hunger to others, they are led by the pleasure of 
taste to a few particular plants alone: and all this, as if 
should seem, independently of habit or imitation. 

But should we accept the third hypothesis, and even car- 
ry it so far, as to ascribe everything which concerns the 
question to habit, (as in. certain species, the human spe- 
cies most particularly, there is reason to attribute some- 
thing,) we have then before us an animal capacity, not !esa 
perhaps to be admired than the native congruities which 
the other scheme adopts* It cannot be shown to result 


from any fixed necessity in nature, that what is frequently 
applied to the senses should of course become agreeable to 
them. It is, so far as it subsists, a power of accommoda- 
tion provided in these senses by the Author of their struc- 
ture, and forms a part of their perfection. 

In whichever way we regard the senses, they appear to 
be specific gifts, ministering, not only to preservation, but 
to pleasure. But what we usually call the senses are prob- 
ably themselves far from being the only vehicles of enjoy- 
ment, or the whole of our constitution, which is calculated 
tor the same purpose. We have many internal sensations 
S the most agreeable kind, hardly referable to any of the 
"ve senses. Some physiologists have holden, that all se- 
cretion is pleasurable; and f .iat the complacency which in 
health, without any external assignable object to excite it, 
we derive from life itself, is the effect of our secretions go- 
ing on well wi'hin us. All this may be true; but if true, 
what reason can be assigned for it, except the will of the 
Creator? It may reasonably be asked, why is anything a 
pleasure? and I know of no answer which can be returned 
o the question, but that which refers it to appointment. 
We can give no account whatever of our pleasures in the 
simple and original perception; and, even when physical 
&ensations are assumed, we can seldom account for them in 
.he secondary and complicated shapes in which they take 
the name of diversions. I never yet met with a sportsman, 
who could tell me in what the sport consisted; who could 
resolve it into its principle, and state that principle. I 
have been a great follower of fishing myself, and in its 
cheerful solitude have passed some of the happiest hours of 
a sufficiently hapny life; but to this moment, I could never 
trace out the source of the pleasure which it afforded me. 

The " quantum in rebus inane!" whether applied to our 
amusements or to our graver pursuits, (to which in truth 
it sometimes equally belongs,) is always an unjust com- 
plaint. If trifles engage, and if trifles make us happy, the 
true reflection suggested by the experiment, is upon the 
tendency of nature to gratification and enjoyment; which 
is, in other words, the goodness of its Author toward his 
sensitive creation. 

Rational natures also, as such, exhibit qualities which 
help to confirm the truth of our position. The degree of 
understanding found in mankind, is usually much greatei 
than what is necessary for mere preservation. The pleasure 
of chocking fcr themselves, and of prosecuting the object 



of their choice, should seem to be ai, original soarce of 
enjoyment. The pleasures received (Vom things, great, 
beautiful, or new, from imitation, or fiom the liberal arts 
are in some measure, not only superadded, but unmixed, 
gratifications, having no pains to balance them.* 

I do not know whether our attachment to property be 
not something more than the mere dictate of reason, or 
even than the mere effect of association. Property com- 
municates a charm to whatever is the object of it. It ia 
the first of our abstract ideas; it cleaves to us the closest 
and the longest. It endears to the child its plaything, to 
the peasant his cottage, to the landholder his estate. It 
supplies the place of prospect and scenery. Instead of 
coveting the beauty of distan' situations, it teaches every 
man to find it in his own. It gives boldness and gran- 
deur to plains and fens, tinge and coloring to clays and 

All these considerations come in aid of our second pro- 
position. The reader will now bear in mind what our two 
propositions were. They were, firstly, that in a vast plu- 
rality of instances in which contrivance is perceived, the 
design of the contrivance is beneficial: secondly, that the 
Deity has added pleasure to animal sensations beyond what 
was necessary for any other purpose; or when the purpose, 
so far as it was necessary, might have been effected by the 
operation of pain. 

Whilst these propositions can be maintained, we are 
authorised to ascribe to the Deity the character of benevo- 
lence: and what is benevolence at all, must in him be in- 
finite benevolence, by reason of the infinite, that is to say, 
the incalculably great, number of objects upon which it ia 

Of the origin of evil, no universal solution has been 
discovered; I mean, no solution which reaches to all casea 
of complaint. The most comprehensive is that which 
arises from the consideration of general rules. We may, I 
think, without much difficulty, be brought to admit the four 
following points: first, that important advantages may ac- 
crue to the universe, from the order of nature proceeding ac- 
cording to general laws: secondly, that general laws, how 
ever well set and constituted, often thwart and cross one 
another: thirdly, that from these thwar.ings and crossings, 
frequent particular inconveniences wit arise: and. *oM*-'h 

* Balguy on the Divine Benevolence. 


ly tLaf it agrees with our observation to suppose, that 
gome degree of these inconveniences takes place in the 
works of nature. These points may be allowed; and it 
may also be asserted, that the general laws with which we 
are acquainted, are directed to beneficial ends. On the 
other hand, with many of these laws we are not acquaint- 
ed at all, or we arc totally unable to trace them in theii 
branches, and in their operation; the effect of which igno- 
rance is, that they cannot be of importance to us as meas- 
ures by which to regulate our conduct. The conservation 
of tl em may be of importance in other respects, or to other 
beings, but we are uninformed of their value or use; unin- 
formed, consequently, when, and how far, they may or may 
not be suspended, or their effects turned aside, by a presi- 
ding and benevolent will, without incurring greater evil9 
than those which would be avoided. The consideration, 
therefore, of general laws, although it may concern the 
question of the origin of evil very nearly, (which I think it 
does.) rests in views disproportionate to our faculties, and 
in a knowledge which we do not possess. It serves rather 
to account for the obscurity of the subject, than to supply 
us with distinct answers to our difficulties. However, 
whilst we assent to the above stated propositions as princi- 
ples, whatever uncertainty we may find in the application, 
we lay a ground for believing, that cases of apparent evil, 
for which ice can suggest no particular reason, are govern- 
ed by reasons, which are more general, which lie deeper 
in the order of second causes, and which on that account 
are removed to a greater distance from us. 

The doctrine of imperfections, or, as it is called, of evils 
of imperfection, furnishes an account, founded, like the 
former, in views of universal nature. The doctrine is 
briefly this: — It is probable, that creation may be bettei 
replenished by sensitive beings of different sorts, than by 
sensitive beings all of one sort. It is likewise probable, 
that it may be better replenished by different orders of be- 
ings rising one above another in gradation, than by beings 
possessed of equal degrees of perfection. Now, a grada- 
tion of such beings, implies a gradation of imperfections 
No class can justly complain of the imperfections which 
belong to its place in the scale, unless it were allowable 
for it to complain, that a scale of being was appointed in 
rature; for which appointment there appear to be reasons 
of wisdom and goodness. 

In ike manner, Jiniteness, or what is resolvable into 


finiteness, in inanimate subjects, can never be a just sub^ 
ject of complaint, because if it were ever so, it would be 
always so: we mean, hat we can never reasonably de- 
mand that things should be larger or more, when the same 
demand might be made, whatever the quantity or number 

And to me it seems, that the sense of mankind has so 
far acquiesced in these reasons, as that we seldom complain 
of evils of this class, when we clearly perceive them to be 
such. AVhat i have to add, therefore, is, that we ought not 
lo complain of some other evils which stand upon the same 
foot of vindication as evils of confessed imperfection. We 
never complain, that the globe of our earth is too small; 
nor should we complain, if it were even much smaller. Bui 
where is the difference to us, between a less globe, and 
part of the present being uninhabitable? The inhabitants 
of an island may be apt enough to murmur at the sterility 
of some parts of it, against its rocks, or sands, or swamps; 
but no one thinks himself authorised to murmur, simply 
because the island is not larger than it is. Yet these are 
the same griefs. 

The above are the two metaphysical answers which have 
been given to this great question. They are not the worse 
for being metaphysical, provided they be founded (which 1 
think they are) in right reasoning: but they are of a na- 
ture too wide to be brought under our survey, and it is of- 
ten difficult to apply them in the detail. Our speculations, 
therefore, are perhaps better employed when they confine 
themselves within a narrower circle. 

The observations which follow, are of this more limited, 
but more determinate, kind. 

Of bodily pain, the principal observation, no doubt, is 
that which we have already made, and already dwelt upon, 
viz. " that it is seldom the object of contrivance ; that when 
it is so, the contrivance rests ultimately in good." 

To which, however, may be added, that the annexing of 
pain to the means of destruction is a salutary provision, 
inasmuch as it teaches vigilance and caution; both give 
notice of danger, and excites those endeavours which may 
be necessary to preservation. The evil consequence which 
sometimes arises from the want of that timely intimation of 
danger which pain gives, is known to the inhabitants of 
cold countries by the example of frost-bitten limbs. I have 
conversed with patients who have lost toes and fingers by 
this cause. The> ha'e in general told me, that they were 


totally unconscious of an) local uneasiness at the time 
Some I have heard declare, that whilst they were about 
their employment, neither their situation, nor the state ot 
the air vvas unpleasant. They felt no pain; they suspect- 
ed no mischief; till, by the application of warmth, they 
discove-ed, too late, the fatal injury which some of their ex- 
tremities had suffered. I say that this shows the use of pain, 
and that, we stand in need of such a monitor. I believe 
also, that the use extends farther than we suppose, or can 
now trace; that to disagreeable sensations we, and all an- 
imal.3, owe, or have owed, many habits of action which aio 
salutary, but which are become so familiar, as not easily to 
be referred to their origin. 

Pain also itself is not without its alleviations. It may be 
violent and frequent; but it is seldom both violent and long 
continued: and its pauses and intermissions become posi- 
tive pleasures. It has the power of shedding a satisfaction 
over intervals of ease, which I believe few enjoyments ex 
ceed. A man resting from a fit of the stone or gout, is, foi 
the time, in possession of feelings which undisturbed health 
cannot impart. They may be dearly bought, but still they 
are to be set against the price. And, indeed, it depends 
upon the duration and urgency of the pain, whether they be 
dearly bought or not. I am far from being sure, that a mar,. 
is not a gainer by suffering a moderate interruption of bod- 
ily ease for a couple of hours out of the four-and-twenty. 
Two very common observations favor this opinion: one is, 
that remissions of pain call forth, from those who experi- 
ence them, stronger expressions of satisfaction and of grati- 
tude towards both the author and the instruments of their 
relief, than are excited by advantages of any jther kind: 
the second is, that the spirits of sick men do not sink in 
proportion to the acuteness of their suffering-. ; but rather 
apoear to be roused and supported, not by pain, but by the 
hign degree of comfort which they derive from its cessa- 
tion, or even its subsidency, whenever that occurs; and 
which they taste with a relish that diffuses some portion of 
mental complacency over the whole of that mixed state ol 
sensations in which disease has placed them. 

In connexion with bodily pain may be considered bodily 
disease, whether painful or not. Few diseases are fatal 
I have before me the account of a dispensary in the neigh- 
bourhood which states six years' experience as follows: 
"admitted 6,420— cured 5,476— dead 234." And this 1 
suppose nearly ie agree with what other similar institutions 


exhib t. Now, in all these cases, some disordei mu^t have 
been felt, or the patients would not have applied for a rem 
edy; yet we see how large a proportion of the maladies 
which were brought forward, have either yielded to propel 
treatment, or, what is more probable, ceased of their own 
accord. We owe these frequent recoveries, and where re- 
covery d >es not take place, this patience of the human con- 
stitution under many of the distempers by which it is visit- 
ed, to ,*vo benefactions of our nature. One is, that she 
works within certain limits; allows of a certain latitude 
within which health maybe preserved, and within the con- 
fines of which it only suffers a graduated diminution. Dif- 
ferent quantities of food, different degrees of exercise, dif- 
ferent portions of sleep, different states of the atmosphere 
are compatible with the possession of health. So likewis 
t is with the secretions and excretions, with many internal 
(unctions of the body, and with the state, probably, of most 
of its internal organs. They may vary considerably, not 
only without destroying life, but without occasioning any 
high degree of inconveniency. The other property of our 
nature, to which we are still more beholden, is its constant 
endeavour to restore itself, when disordered, to its regular 
course. The fluids of the body appear to possess a power 
of separating and expelling any noxious substance which 
may have mixed itself with them. This they do in erup- 
tive fevers, by a kind of despumation, as Sydenham calls 
it, analogous in some measure to the intestine action by 
which fermenting liquors work the yeast to the surface 
The solids, on their part, when their action is obstructed, 
not only resume that action, as soon as the obstruction is 
removed, but they struggle with the impediment. They 
take an action as near to the true one, as the difficulty and 
the disorganization, with which they have to contend, will 
allow of. 

Of mortal diseases, the great use is to reconcile us to 
death. The horror of death proves the value of life. But 
it is in the power of disease to abate, or even extinguish, 
this horror; which it does in a wonderful manner, and of- 
tentimes by a mild and imperceptible gradation. Every 
man who has been placed in a situation to observe it, is 
surprised with the change which has been wrought in him- 
self, when he compares the view which he entertains of 
death upon a sick-be J, with the heart-sinking dismay with 
which he should some time ago have met it in health 
There is no similitude between the sensations of a mar 


ed to execution, and the calm expiring of a patient at the 
close of his disease. Death to him is only the last of a 
long train of changes; in his progress through which, it is 
possible that he may experience no shocks or sudden tran- 

Death itself, as a mode of removal and of succession, is 
so connected with the whole order of our animal world, that 
almost everything in that world must he changed, to be 
able to do without it. It may seem likewise impossible tr 
separate the fear of death from the enjoyment of life, 01 
the perception of that fear from rational natures. Brutes 
are, in a great measure, delivered from all anxiety en this 
account by the inferiority of their faculties; or rather, they 
seem to be armed with the apprehension of death just suf- 
ficiently to put them upon the means of preservation, and 
no farther. But would a human being wish to purchase 
this immunity, at. the expense of those mental powers 
which enable him to look forward to the future? 

Death implies separation: and the loss of those whom 
we love must necessarily be accompanied with pain. To 
the brute creation, nature seems to have stepped in with 
some secret provision for their relief, under the rupture of 
their attachments. In their instincts towards their off- 
spring, and of their offspring to them, I have often been 
surprised to observe how ardently they love, and how soon 
they forget. The pertinacity of human sorrow (upon 
which, time also, i>t length, lays its softening hand) i& 
probably, therefore, in some manner connected with the 
qualities of our rational or moral nature. One thing how- 
ever is clear, viz. that it is better that we should possess 
affections, the sources of so many virtues and so many 
joys, although they be exposed to the incidents of life, as 
well as the interruptions of mortality, than, by the want of 
Uiem, be reduced to a state of selfishness, apathy, and 

Of other external evils, (still confining ourselves to 
what are called physical or natural evils,) a considerable 
part come within the scope of the following observation: 
The great principle of human satisfaction is engagement 
It is a most just distinction, which the late Mr. Tucker has 
dwelt upon so largely in his works, between pleasures in 
which we are passive, and pleasures in which we are ac- 
tive. And, I believe, every attentive observer of human 
life will assent to his position, that however grateful the 
sensations may occasionally be in which we are passive, it 


is not these, but the latter class of our pleasures, which ''on 
stitute satisfaction; which supply that regular stream ot 
moderate and miscellaneous enjoyments, in which happi- 
ness, as distinguished from voluptuousness, consists. Now 
for rational occupation, which is, in other words, for the 
very material of contented existence, there would be no 
place left, if either the things with which we had to do 
were absolutely impracticable to our endeavours, or if they 
were too obedient to our uses. A world, furnished with 
advantages on one side, and beset with difficulties, wants, 
and inconveniencies on the other, is the proper abode of 
free, rational, and active natures, being the fittest to stim- 
ulate and exercise their faculties. The very refractoriness 
of the objects they have ",o deal with, contributes to this 
purpose. A world in which nothing depended upon our- 
selves, however it might have suited an imaginary race of 
beings, would not have suited mankind. Their skill, pru- 
denc, industry; their various arts, and their best attain- 
ment 3 , from the application of which they draw, if not their 
highest, their most permanent gratifications, would be insig- 
nificant, if things could be either moulded by our volitions, 
or, of their own accord, conformed themselves to our views 
and wishes. Now it is in this refractoriness that we dis- 
cern the seed and principle of physical evil, as far as i 
arises from thai which is external to us. 

Civil evils, or the evils of civil life, are much more easily 
disposed of than physical evils; because they are, in truth, 
of much less magnitude, and also because they result, by a 
kind of necessity, not only from the constitution of our na- 
ture, but from a part of that constitution which no one 
would wish to see altered. The case is this: Mankind 
will in every country breed vp to a certain point of distress. 
That point may be different in different countries or ages 
according to the established usages of life in each. It will 
also shift upon the scale, so as to admit of a greater or less 
number of inhabitants, according as the quantity of provi- 
sion, which is either produced in the country, or supplied 
to it from other countries, may happen to rary. But there 
must always be such a point, and the species will always 
breed up to it. The order of generation proceeds by some- 
thing like a geometrical progression. The increase of 
provision, under circumstances even the most advanta- 
geous, can only assume the form of an arithmetic series 
Whence it follows, that the population will always overtake 
he provision, will pass beyond the line of plenty, and will 


continue to increase till checked by the difficulty of pro- 
curing subsistence.* Such difficulty theiefbre, along with 
its attendant circumstances, must be found in every old 
country: and these circumstances constitute what we call 
poverty, which necessarily imposes labor, servitude, re- 

It seems impossible to people a country with inhabitants 
who shall be all in easy circumstances. For suppose the 
thing to be done, there would be such marrying and giving 
in marriage amongst them, as would in a few years change 
the face of affairs entirely; i. e. as would increase the con- 
sumption of those articles, which supplied the natural or 
habitual wants of the country, to such a degree of scarcity, 
as must leave the greatest part of the inhabitants unable to 
procure them without toilsome endeavours, or, out of the 
different kinds of these articles, to procure any kind except 
that which was most easily produced. And this, in fact, 
describes the condition of the mass of the community in 
all countries; a condition unavoidably, as it should seem, 
resulting from the provision which is made in the human, 
in common with all animal constitutions, for the perpetuity 
and multiplication of the species. 

It need not however dishearten any endeavours for the 
public service, to know that population naturally treads up- 
on the heels of improvement. If the condition of a people 
be meliorated, the consequence will be, either that the mean 
happiness will be increased, or a greater number partake ot 
it; or, which is most likely to happen, that both effects will 
take place together. There may be limits fixed by nature 
to both, but they are limits, not yet attained, nor even ap- 
proached, in any country of the world. 

And when we speak of limits at all, we have respect on- 
ly to provisions for animal wants. There are sources, and 
means, and auxiliaries, and augmentations of human hap- 
piness, communicable without restriction of numbers; as 
capable of being possessed by a thousand persons as by 
one. Such are those which flow from a mild, contrasted 
with a tyrannic government, whether civil or domestic; 
those which spring from religion; those which grow out 
of a sense of security; those which depend upon habits of 
virtue, sobr'^ty, moderation, order; those, lastly, which 
arc found 'n the possession of well-directed tastes and de- 
sires, coi pared with the dominion of tormenting, j>erni 
jious, c>~ tradictory, unsatisfied, and unsatisfiable passions. 

♦See t of this subject, In a late treatise upon populttiou. 



The distinctions of civil life are ap enough to be re 
garded as evils, by those who sit under them: but, in my 
opinion, with very little reason. 

In the first place, the advantages which the higher con 
ditions of life are supposed to confer, bear no proportion in 
value to the advantages which are bestowed by nature 
The gifts of nature always surpass the gifts of fortune 
How much, for example, is activity better than attendance; 
beauty than dress; appetite, digestion, and tranquil bowe.s s 
than all the studies of cookery, or than the most costlj 
compilation of forced or far-fetched dainties? 

Nature has a strong tendency to equalisation. Habit, 
the instrument of nature, is a great leveller; the familiari* 
ty which it induces, taking off the edge both of our plea- 
sures and our sufferings. Indigencies which are habitual 
keep us in ease, and cannot be carried much farther. Sc 
that, with respect to the gratifications of which the senses 
are capable, the difference is by no means proportionable 
to the apparatus. Nay, so far as superfluity generates 
fastidiousness, the difference is on the wrong side. 

It is not necessary to contend, that the advantages de- 
rived from wealth are none, (under due regulations they 
are certainly considerable,) but that they are not greater 
than they ought to be. Money is the sweetener of human 
toil, the substitute for coercion, the reconciler of labor 
with liberty. It is, moreover, the stimulant of enterprise 
in all projects and undertakings, as well as of diligence in 
the most beneficial arts and employments. Now did afflu- 
ence, when possessed, contribute nothing to happiness, or 
nothing beyond the mere supply of necessaries; and the 
secret should come to be discovered; we might be in dan- 
ger of losing great part of the uses which are at present 
derived to us through this important medium. Not only 
would the tranquillity of social life be put in peril by the 
want of a motive to attach men to their private concerns; 
bi.t the satisfaction which all men receive from success in 
their respective occupations, which collectively constitutes 
the great mass of human comfort, would be done away in 
its very principle. 

With respect to station, as it is distinguished from rich- 
es, whether it confer authority over others, or be invested 
with honors which apply solely to sentiment and imagina- 
tion, the truth is, that what is gained b; rising through the 
ranks of life, is not more than sufficient to draw forth the 
exertions of those who are engaged in the pursuits which 


lead to advancement, and which in general are such as 
ought *o be encouraged. Distinctions of this sort are sub- 
jects much more of competition than of enjoyment: and in 
that competition their use consists. It is not, as hath been 
rightly observed, by what the Lord Mayor feels in his 
coach, but by what the apprentice feels who gazes at him, 
(hat the public is served. 

As we approach the summits of human greatness, the 
comparison of good and evil, with respect to personal com- 
fort, becomes still more problematical ; even allowing to am- 
bition all its pleasures. The poet asks, "What is grandeur, 
what is power?" The philosopher answers, " Constraint 
and plague: et in maxima quaque fortuna minimum 
licere." One very common error misleads the opinion of 
mankind upon this head, viz. that universally, authority is 
pleasant, submission painful. In the general course of hu- 
man affairs, the very reverse of this is nearer to the truth 
Command is ai;x.ety, obedience ease. 

Artificial distinctions sometimes promote real equality. 
Whether they be hereditary, or be the homage paid tooffice, 
or the respect attached by public opinion to particular pro- 
fessions, they serve to confront that grand and unavoidable 
distinction which arises from property, and which is most 
overbearing; where there is no other. It is of the nature of 
property, not only to be irregularly distributed, but to run 
into large masses. Public laws should be so constructed as 
to favor its diffusion as much as they can. But all that 
can be done by laws consistently with that degree of gov- 
ernment of his property which ought to be left to the sub- 
ject, will not be sufficient to counteract this tendency. 
There must always therefore be the difference between 
rich and poor; and this difference will be the more grind- 
ing, when no pretension is allowed to be set up against it. 

So that the evils, if evils they must be called, which 
spring either from the necessary subordinations of civil 
life, or from the distinctions which have, naturally, though 
not necessarily, grown up in most societies, so long as they 
are unaccompanied by privileges injurious or oppressive to 
the rest of the community, are such as may, even by the 
most depressed ranks, be endured with very little prejudice 
to their comfort. 

The mischiefs of which mankind are the occasion to ono 
another, by their private wickednesses and cruelties; by 
tyrannical exercises of power; by rebellions against just 
authority; by wars, by national jealousies and competi- 


tions operating to the destruction of their countries, or b) 
other instances of misconduct either in individuals or soci 
eties, are all to be resolved into the character of man as & 
free agent. Free agency in its very essence contains lia- 
bility to abuse. Yet, if you deprive man of his free agency, 
you subvert his nature. You may have order from him and 
regularity, as you may from the tides or the trade-winds, 
but you put an end to his moral character, to virtue, to merit, 
to if 'countableness, to the use indeed of reason. To which 
must be added the observation, that even the bad qualities 
of mankind have an origin in their good ones. The case 
is this: human passions are either necessary to human wel- 
fare, or capable of being made, and, in a great majority of 
instances, in fact made, conducive to its happiness. These 
passions are strong and general; and perhaps would not an- 
swer their purpose unless they were so. But strength and 
generality, when it is expedient that particular circum- 
stances should be respected, become, if left to themselves, 
excess and misdirection. From which excess and misdi- 
rection, the vices of mankind (the causes no doubt of 
much misery) appear to spring. This account, whilst it 
shows us the principle of vice, shows us, at the same time, 
the province of reason and of self-government; the want also 
of every support which can be procured to either from the 
aids of religion; and it shows this, without having recourse 
to any native gratuitous malignity in the human constitu- 
tion. Mr. Hume, in his posthumous dialogues, asserts 
indeed of idleness, or aversion to labor (which he states to 
lie at the root of a considerable part of the evils which 
mankind suffer, ) that it is simply and merely bad. But 
how does he distinguish idleness from the love of ease? or 
is he sure, that the love of ease in individuals is not the 
chief foundation of social tranquillity? It will be found, I 
believe, to be true, that in every community there is $ 
large class of its members, whose idleness is the best qual- 
ity about them, being the corrective of other bad ones. 
If it were possible, in every instance, to give a right de- 
termination to industry, we could never have too much of 
it. But this is not possible, if men are to be free. And 
without this, nothing would be so dangerous as an inces- 
sant, universal, indefatigable activity. In the civil world, 
as well as in the material, it is the vis inertia which keep? 
'.hmgs ii .heir places. 


Naturai Theology has ever been pressed with tins 
question: Why, under the regency of a supreme and be- 
nevolent Will, should there be, in the world, so much as 
there is of the appearance of chance? 

The question in its whole compass lies beyond oui 
reach: but there are not wanting, as in the origin of evil, 
answers which seem to have considerable weight in partic- 
ular cases, and also to embrace a considerable number of 

I. There must be chance in the midst of design: by 
which we mean, that events which are not designed, neces- 
sarily arise from the pursuit of events which are designed. 
One man travelling to York, meets another man travelling 
co London. Their meeting is by chance, is accidental, 
and so would be called and reckoned, though the journeys 
which produced the meeting were, both of them, under- 
taken with design and from deliberation. The meeting, 
though accidental, was nevertheless hypothetically necessa- 
ry, (which is the only sort of necessity that is intelligible:) 
for, if the two journeys were commenced at the time, pur- 
sued in the direction, and with the speed, in which and 
with which they were in fact begun and performed, the 
meeting could not be avoided. There was not, therefore, 
the less necessity in it for its being by chance. Again, 
the rencounter might be most unfortunate, though the er- 
rands, upon which each party set out upon his journey, 
were the most innocent or the most laudable. The by 
effect may be unfavorable, without impeachment of the 
proper purpose, for the sake of which the train, from the 
operation of which these consequences ensued, was put in 
motion. Although no cause acts without a good purpose, 
accidental consequences, like these, may be either good 01 

II. The appearance of chance will always bear a pro- 
portion to the igi orance of the observer. The cast of a 
d:e as regularly follows the laws of motion, as the going of 
a watch; yet, because we can trace the operation of those 
laws through the works and movements of the watch, and 
cannot trace them in the shaking and throwing of the die, 
(though the laws be the same, and prevail equally in both 
cases,) we call the turning up of the number of t he die 
chance, the pointing of the index of the watch machinery, 
order, or by some name which excludes chance. I* is the 
same in those events which depend upon the will of a free 
B id rational agent. The verdic' of a jury, the sentence ol 



a jucLe, the resolution of an assembly, the issue of a con 
tested election, will have more or less of the appearance 
of chance, might, be more or less the subject of a wager, 
according as we were less or more acquainted with the 
reasons which influenced the deliberation. The differ- 
ence resides in the information of the observer, and not 
in the tiling itself; which, in all the cases proposed, 
proceeds from intelligence, from mind, from counsel, from 

Now when this one cause of the appearance of chance, 
viz. the ignorance of the observer, conies to be applied to 
the operations of the Deity, it is easy to foresee how fruit- 
f il it must prove of difficulties, and of seeming confusion. 
It is only to think of the Deity, to perceive, what variety 
of objects, what distance of time, what extent of space 
and action, his counsels may, or rather must, comprehend. 
Can it be wondered at, that, of the purposes which dwell in 
such a mind as this, so small a part should be known to 
us? It is only necessary, therefore, to bear in our thought, 
that in proportion to the inadequateness of our information, 
will be the quantity, in the world, of apparent chance. 

III. In a great variety of cases, and of cases compre- 
hending numerous subdivisions, it appears, for many rea- 
sons, to be better that events rise up by chance, or, more 
properly speaking, with the appearance of chance, than ac- 
cording to any observable rule whatever. This is not sel- 
dom the case even in human arrangements. Each person's 
place and precendency in a public meeting, may be deter- 
mined by lot. Work and labor may be allotted. Tasks 
and burdens may be allotted: — 

Operumque laborem 

Partibus aequabat justis, aut sorte trahebat. 

Military service and station may be allotted. The dis- 
tribution of provision may be made by lot, as it is in a sail- 
or's mess; n some cases also, the distribution of favors 
may be made by lot. In all these ca&es, it seems to be ac- 
knowledged, that there are advantages in permitting events 
to chance, superior to those which would or could arise 
from regulation. In all these cases, also, though events 
rise up in the way of chance, it is by appointment that they 
do so. 

In other events, and such as are independent of human 
will, the reasons for this preference of uncertain y to rule, 
appear to be still stronger. For example, it seems to be 
expedient thai the period of human life should be uncertain 


Did mortality follow any fixed rule, it would produce a se- 
curity in those that were at a distance from it, which would 
lead to the greatest disorders; and a horror in those who 
approached it, similar to that which a condemned 
feelj on the night before his execution. But, that death be 
uncertain, the young must sometimes die, as well as the 
old. Als , were deaths never sudden, they who are in 
health wou.d be too confident of life. The strong and the 
active, who want most to be warned and checked, would 
live without apprehension or restraint. On the other hand, 
were sudden deaths very frequent, the sense of constant 
jeopardy would interfere too much with the degree of ease 
and enjoyment intended for us; and human life be too pre- 
carious for the business and interests which belong to it. 
There could not be dependence either upon our own lives, 
or the lives of those with whom we are connected, suffi- 
cient to carry on the regular offices of human society. 
The manner, therefore, in which death is made to occur, 
conduces to the -purposes of admonition, without overthrow- 
ing the necessary stability of human affairs. 

Disease being the forerunner of death, there is the same 
reason for its attacks coming upon us under the appear- 
ance of chance, as there is for uncertainty in the time oJ 
death itself. 

The seasons are a mixture of regularity and chance. 
They are regular enough to authorise expectation, whilst 
their being in a considerable degree irregular, induces, on 
the part of the cultivators of the soil, a necessity for per- 
sonal attendance, for activity, vigilance, precaution. It is 
this necessity which creates farmers; which divides the 
profit of the soil between the owner and the occupier; which, 
by requiring expedients, by increasing employment, and 
by rewarding expenditure, promotes agricultural arts and 
agricultural life, of all modes of life the best, being Lie 
most conducive to health, to virtue, to enjoyment. I 
believe it. to be found in fact, that where the soil is the 
most fruitful, and the seasons the most constant, there the 
condition of the cultivators of the earth is the most de- 
pressed. Uncertainty, therefore, has its use, even to those 
who sometimes complain of it the most. Seasons of scar- 
city themselves are not without their advantages. They 
call forth new exertions; thev set contrivance and inffcnui- 
t) at work; they givebrth to improvements in agriculture 
and economy; theypromc f .e the investigation and manage- 
ment of public resources 


Again; there are strong intelligible reasons, why there 
should exist in human society great disparity of wealth 
and station; not only as these things are acquired in dif- 
ferent degrees, but at the first setting out of life. In order, 
For instance, to answer the various demands of civil life, 
(here ought to be amongst the members of every civil soci- 
ety a diversity of education, which can only belong to an 
original diversity of circumstances. As this sort of dispar- 
ity, which ought to take place from the beginning of life, 
nust, ex hypothesi, be previous to the merit or demerit of 
ihe persons upon whom it falls, can it be better disposed of 
than by chance? Parentage is that sort of chance: yet it 
is the commanding circumstance which in general fixes 
each man's place in civil life, along with everything which 
appertains to its distinctions. It may be the result of a 
beneficial rule that the fortunes or honors of the father de- 
volve upon the son; and, as it should seem, of a still more 
necessary rule, that the low or laborious condition of the 
parent be communicated to his family; but with respect to 
the successor himself, it is the drawing of a ticket in a lot- 
lery. Inequalities therefore of fortune, at least the great- 
est part of them, viz. those which attend us from our birth, 
and depend upon our birth, may be left, as they are left, to 
chance, without any just cause for questioning the regency 
of a supreme Disposer of events. 

But not only the donation, when by the necessity of the 
case they must be gifts, but even the acquirability of civil 
advantages, ought perhaps, in a considerable degree, to lie 
at the mercy of chance. Some would have all the virtuous 
rich, or at least removed from the evils of poverty, with- 
out perceiving, I suppose, the consequence, that all the 
poor must be wicked. And how such a society could be 
kept in subjection to government, has not been shown; 
for the poor, that is, they who seek their subsistence by 
constant manual labor, must still form the mass of the com- 
munity; otherwise the necessary labor of life could not be 
carried on; the work would not be done, which the wants 
of mankind, in a state of civilisation, and still more in a 
state of refinement, require to be done. 

It appears to be also true, that the exigencies of social 
life call not only for an original diversity of external circum- 
stances, but for a mixture of different faculties, tastes, and 
tempers. Activity and contemplation, restlessness and qui- 
et, co .rage and timidity, ambition and contentedness, not 
'o sav even in lolence and dulness, are all wanted in the 


world, all conduce to the well going on of human affairs, 
just as the rudder, the sails, and the ballast of a ship, all 
perform their part in the navigation. Now, since these 
characters require for their foundation dilfereut original 
talents, different dispositions, perhaps also different bodily 
constitutions; and since, likewise, it is apparently expe- 
dient, that they be promiscuously scattered amongst the 
different classes of society; can the distribution of talents, 
dispositions, and the constitutions upon which they depend 
be better made than by chance? 

The oppnsites of apparent chance are, constancy and 
sensible interposition; every degree of secret direction be- 
ing consistent with it. Now, of constancy, or of fixed and 
known rules, we have seen in some cases the inapplicabili- 
ty; and inconveniences which we do not see, might attend 
their application in other cases. 

Of sensible interposition we may be permitted to remark, 
that a Providence, always and certainly distinguishable, 
would be neither more nor less than miracles rendered fre- 
quent and common. It is difficult to judge of the state 
into which this would throw us. It is enough to say, that 
it would cast us upon a quite different dispensation from 
that under which we live. It would be a total and radical 
change. And the change would deeply affect, or per- 
haps subvert, the whole conduct of human affairs. I can 
readily believe, that, other circumstances being adapted to 
it, such a state might be better than our present state. 
It may be the state of other beings; it may be ours hereaf- 
ter. But the question with which we are now concerned 
is, how far it would be consistent with our condition, sup- 
posing it in other respects to remain as it is? And in this 
question there seems to be reasons of great moment on the 
negative side. For instance; so long as bodily laho. 
continues, on so many accounts, to be necessary for the 
bulk of mankind, any dependency upon supernatural aid, 
by unfixing those motives which promote exertion, or by 
relaxing those habits which engender patient industry, 
might introduce negligence, inactivity, and disorder, into 
the most useful occupations of human life; and thereby 
deteriorate the condition of human life itself. 

As moral agents, we should experience a still greatei 
alteration; of which more will be said under the next 

Although therefore the Deity, who possesses the power 
of winding and turning, as he pleases, the course of causes 


which issue from himself, do in fact interpose to altei 01 
intercept effects, which without such interoosition would 
have taken place; yet it is by no means incredible, that his 
Providence, which always rests upon final good, may have 
made a reserve with respect to the manifestation of his in- 
terference, a part of the very plan which he has appointed 
for our terrestrial existence, and a part conformable with, 
or in some sort required by, other parts of the same plan. 
It is at any rate evident, that a large and ample province 
remains for the exercise of Providence, without its being 
naturally perceptible by us; because obscurity, when appli- 
ed to the interruption of laws, bears a necessary proportion 
to the imperfection of our knowledge when applied to the 
laws themselves, or rather to the effects which these laws, 
under their various and incalculable combinations, would 
of their own accord produce. And if it be said, that the 
doctrine of Divine Providence, by reason of the ambigu- 
ity under which its exertions present themselves, can be 
attended with no practical influence upon our conduct; 
that, although we believe ever so firmly that there is a Prov- 
idence, we must prepare, and provide, and act, as if there 
were none; I answer that this is admitted; and that we 
farther allege, that so to prepare, and so to provide, is con- 
sistent with the most perfect assurance of the reality of a 
Providence: and not only so, but that it is probably, one 
advantage of the present state of our information, that oui 
provisions and preparations are not disturbed by it. Or if 
it be still asked, of what use at all then is the doctrine, if 
it neither alter our measures nor regulate our conduct? 1 
answer again, that it is of the greatest use, but that it is a 
doctrine of sentiment and piety, not (immediately at least) 
of action or conduct; that it applies to the consolation of 
men's minds, to their devotions, to the excitement of grat- 
itude, the support of patience, the keeping alive and the 
strengthening of every motive for endeavouring to please 
cur Maker; and that these are great uses. 

Of all views under which human life has ever been con- 
sidered, the most reasonable, in my judgment, is that which 
regards it as a state of probation. If the course of the 
world were separated from the contrivances of nature, I do 
not know that it would be necessary to look for any other 
account of it than what, if it may be called an account, la 
contained in the answer, that events rise up by chance 
But since the contrivances of nature decidedly evince inten- 
VMii and since the course of the world and the coatrivan 


ces of nature have the same author; we are, by th? force 
of this connexion, led to believe, that the appearance un- 
der which events take place, is reconcilable with the sup- 
position ofdesign on the part of the Deity. It i° enough 
that they be reconcilable with this supposition, and it is un- 
doubtedly true, that they may be reconcilable, though we 
eannot reconcile them. The mind, however, which contem- 
plates the works of nature, and in those works sees so much 
o r means directed to ends, of beneficial effects brought about 
by wise expedients, of concerted trains of causes terminat- 
ing in the happiest results; so much, in a word, of counsel, 
intention, and benevolence; a mind, I say, drawn into tho 
habit of thought which these observations excite, can hardly 
turn its view to the condition of our own species, without 
endeavouring to suggest to itself some purpose, some de- 
sign, for which the state in which we are placed is fitted, 
and which it is made to serve. Now we assert the most 
probable supposition to be, that it is a state of moral 
probation; and that many things in it suit with this hy- 
pothesis, which suit no other. It is not a state of unmixed 
happiness, or of happiness simply: it is not a state of de- 
signed misery, or of misery simply: it is not a state of re- 
tribution: it is not a state of punishment. It suits with none 
of these suppositions. It accords much better with the idea 
of its being a condition calculated for the production, exer- 
cise, and improvement of moral qualities, with a view to a 
r uture state, in which these qualities, after being so pro- 
duced, exercised, and improved, may, by a new and more 
favoring constitution of things, receive their reward, or be- 
come their own. If it be said, that this is to enter upon a 
religious rather than a philosophical consideration, I an 
swer, that the name of religion ought to form no objec- 
tion, if it shall turn out to be the case, that the more reli- 
gious our views are, the more probabi'ity they contain 
The degree of beneficence, of benevolent intention, and of 
power, exercised in the construction of sensitive beings, 
goes strongly in favor, not only of a creative, but of a con- 
tinuing care, that is, of a ruling Providence. The degree 
of chance which appears to prevail in the world, requires to 
oe reconciled with this hypothesis. Now it is one thing to 
maintain the doctrine of Providence along with that of a fu- 
ture state, and another thing without it. In my opinio^ 
the two doctrines must stand or fall together. For although 
more of this apparent chance may perhaps upon other prin- 
ciples, be accounted for, than is generally supposed, y«f 


a future state alone rectifies all disorders: and if it can be 
shown, that the appearance of disorder is consistent with 
ne uses of life as a preparatory state, or that in some re- 
bpects it promotes these uses, then, so far as this hypo- 
thesis may be accepted, the ground of the difficulty is done 

In the wide scale of human condition, there is not per- 
haps one of its manifold diversities which does not bear 
ttpo the design here suggested. Virtue is infinitely vari- 
ous There is no situation in which a rational being is 
placed, from that of the best instructed Christian down 1o 
the condition of the rudest barbarian, which affords not 
room for moral agency ; for the acquisition, exercise, and 
display of voluntary qualities, good and bad. Healt) and 
sickness, enjoyment and suffering, riches and poverty, 
knowledge and ignorance, power and subjection, liberty 
and bondage, civilisation and barbarity, have all their offi- 
ces and duties, all serve for the formation of character: for 
when we speak of a state of trial, it must be remembered, 
that characters are not only tried, or proved, or detected 
but that they are generated also, and formed by circumstan 
ces. The best dispositions may subsist under the most de- 
pressed, the most afflicted fortunes. A West Indian slave, 
who, amidst his wrongs, retains his benevolence, I, for my 
part, look upon, as amongst the foremost of human candi- 
dates for the rewards of virtue. The kind master of such 
a slave, that is, he who, in the exercise of an inordinate 
authority, postpones in any degree his own interest to his 
slaves' comfort, is likewise a meritorious character: but 
still he is inferior to his slave. All however which I con- 
tend for is, that these destinies, opposite as they may be 
in every other view, are both trials; and equally such. 
The observation may be applied to every other condition; 
to the whole range of the scale, not excepting even its 
lowest extremity. Savages appear to us all alike; but it 
is owing to the distance at which we view savage life, that 
we perceive in it no discrimination of character. I make 
no doubt, but that moial qualities, both good and bad, are 
called into action as much, and that they subsist in as 
great a variety in these inartificial societies as they are, or 
do, in polished life. Certain at least it is, that the good 
or ill treatment which each individual meets with, depends 
more upon the choice and voluntary conduct of those about 
him, than it does, or ought to do, under regular civil insti- 
tutions, and the coercion of public laws. So again, to turr 


oui eyes to the other end of the scale, namely, that part 
of it which is occupied hy mankind enjoying the benefits 
of learning, together with the lights of revelation, there 
also, the advantage is all along probationary, Christianity 
itself, I mean the revelation of Christianity, is not oniy 
a blessing, but a trial. It is one of the diversified means 
by which the character is exercised: and they who require 
of Christianity, that the revelation of it should be univer- 
sal, may possibly be found to require, that one species of 
probation should be adopted, if not to the exclusion of 
others, at least to the narrowing of that variety which the 
wisdom of the Deity hath appointed to this part of his 
moral economy.* 

New if this supposition be well founded; that is, if it be 
true tnat our ultimate, or most permanent happiness will 
depend, not upon the temporary condition into which we 
are cast, but upon our behavior in it; then is it a much 
more fit subject of chance than we usually allow or appre- 
hend it to be, in what manner the variety of external cir- 
cumstances which subsist in the human world, is distributed 
amongst the individuals of the species. "This life being 
a state of probation, it is immaterial," says Rousseau, 
"what kind of trials we experience in it, provided they 
produce their effects." Of two agents who stand indiffer- 
ent to the moral Governor of the universe, one may be ex- 
ercised by riches, the other by poverty. The treatment 
of these two shall appear to be very opposite, whilst in 
truth it is the same: for though, in many respects, there 
be great disparity between the conditions assigned, in one 
main article there may be none, viz. in that they are alike 
trials; have both their duties and temptations, not less ar- 
duous or less dangerous in one case than the other; so that 
if the final award follow the character, the original distribu 
tion of the circumstances under which that character is 
formed, may be defended upon principles not only of jus- 
tice but of equality. What hinders, therefore, but that man- 
kind may draw lots for their condition? They take their 

* The reader will observe, that I speak of the revelation of Christian- 
ity as distinct from Christianity itself. That dispensation may ahoady 
be universal. That part of mankind which never heaid of Christ's nr me, 
may nevertheless be redeemed, that is, be placed in a better condition, 
with respect to their future state, by his intervention; may be the objects 
of his benignity and intercession, as well as of the propitiatory virtue of 
his passion. But this is not " natural theology," therefore I will not 
Owoil longer upon it. 



portion of faculties and opportunities, as any unki own 
cause, or concourse of causes, or as causes acting for other 
purposes, may happen to set them out : but the event is gov 
erned by that which depends upon themselves, the applica- 
tion of what they have received. In dividing the talents, 
no rule was observed; none was necessary: In rewarding 
the use of them, that of the most correct justice. The chief 
difference at last appears to be, that the right use of more 
talents, i. e. of a greater trust, will be more highly reward- 
ed, than the right use of fewer talents, i. e. of a less trust 
And since, for other purposes, it is expedient that there bs 
an inequality of concredited talents here, as well, probably, 
as an inequality of conditions hereafter, though all remuner- 
atory; can any rule, adapted to that inequality, be more 
agreeable, even to our apprehensions of distributive justice 
than this is? 

We have said that the appearance of casualty, which 
attends the occurrences and events of life, not only does 
not interfere with its uses, as a state of probation, but that 
it promotes these uses. 

Passive virtues, of all others the severest and the most 
sublime; of all others, perhaps, the most acceptable to the 
Deity ; would, it is evident, be excluded from a constitution, 
in which happiness and misery regularly followed virtue and 
vice. Patience and composure under distress, affliction, 
and pain; a steadfast keeping up of our confidence in God, 
and of our reliance upon his final goodness, at the time 
when everything present is adverse and discouraging; and 
(what is no less difficult to retain) a cordial desire for the 
happiness of others, even when we are deprived of our own : 
these dispositions, which constitute, perhaps, the perfec- 
tion of our moral nature, would not have found their pro- 
per office and object in a state of avowed retribution; and 
in which, consequently, endurance of evil would be only 
submission to punishment. 

Again: One man's sufferings may be another man's 
trial. The family of a sick parent is a school of filial 
piety. The charities of domestic life, and not only these 
but all the social virtues, are called out by distress Bu* 
then, misery, to be the proper object of mitigation, or of 
that benevolence which endeavours to relieve, must be real 
ly or apparently casual. It is upon such sufferings alone 
that benevolence can operate. For were there no evils in 
the world, but what were punishments, properly and intel 
Mgibly guch, benevolence would only stand in the way o( 


Justice. Such evils, consistently with the administration 
of moral government, could not be prevented or alleviated, 
that is to say, could not be remitted in whole or in part, 
except by the authority which inflicted them, or by an ap- 
pellate or superior authority. This consideration, which is 
founded in our most acknowledged apprehensions of the na- 
ture of penal justice, may possess its weight in the Divine 
counsels. Virtue perhaps is the greatest of all ends. In 
human beings, relative virtues form a large part of the whole. 
Now relative virtue presupposes, not only the existence of 
evil, without which it could have no object, no material to 
work upon, but that evils be, apparently at least, misfortunes; 
that is, the effects of apparent chance. It may be in pur- 
suance, therefore, and in furtherance of the same scheme 
of probation, that the evils of life are made so to present 

I have already observed, that, when we let in religious 
considerations, we often let in light upon the difficulties of 
nature. So in the fact now to be accounted for, the degree 
of happiness which we usually enjoy in this life, may be 
better suited to a state of trial and probation, than a great- 
er degree would be. The truth is, we are rather too much 
delighted with the world, than too little. Imperfect, broken, 
and precarious as our pleasures are, they are more than suffi- 
cient to attach us to the eager pursuit of them. A regard 
to a future state can hardly keep its place as it is. If we 
were designed, therefore, to be influenced by that regard, 
might not a more indulgent system, a higher, or more unin- 
terrupted state of gratification, have interfered with the de- 
sign? At least it seems expedient, that mankind should 
be susceptible of this influence, when presented to them, 
that the condition of the world should not be such as to 
exclude its operation, or even to weaken it more than it 
does. In a religious view (however we may complain of 
them in every other,) privation, disappointment, and satiety, 
aic not without the nost salutary tendencies. 




L-r all cases, wherein the mind feels itself m danger of 
being confounded by variety, it is sure to rest upon a fov* 
strong points, or perhaps upon a single instance. Amongst 
a multitude of proofs, it is one that does the business. If 
we observe in any argument, that hardly two minds fix 
upon the same instance, the diversity of choice shows the 
strength of the argument, because it shows the number and 
competition of the examples. There is no subject in which 
the tendency to dwell upon select or single topics is so usu- 
al, because there is no subject, of which, in its full extent, 
the latitude is so great, as that of natural history applied to 
the proof of an intelligent Creator. For my part, I take 
my stand in human anatomy; and the examples of mechan- 
ism I should be apt to draw out from the copious catalogue 
which it supplies, are the pivot upon which the head turns 
the ligament within the socket of the hip-joint, the pulley 
or trochlear muscles of the eye, the epiglottis, the bandages 
which tie down the tendons of the wrist and instep, the slit 
or perforated muscles at the hands and feet, the knitting of 
the intestines to the mesentery, the course of the chyle into 
the blood, and the constitution of the sexes as extended 
throughout the whole of the animal creation. To these 
instances the reader's memory will go back, as they are 
severally set forth in their places; there is not one of the 
number which I do not think decisive; not one which is 
not strictly mechanical; nor have I read or heard of any 
solution of these appearances, which, in the smallest de- 
gree, shakes the conclusion that we build upon them. 

But, of the greatest part of those, who, either in this book 
or any other, read arguments to prove the existence of a 
God, it will be said, that they leave off only where they be- 
gan; that they were never ignorant of this great truth, nev- 
er doubted of it; that it does not, therefore, appear what is 
gained by researches from which no new opinion is learned, 
and upon the subject of which no proofs were wanted. 
Now I answer, that, by investigation, the following points 
are always gained, in favor of doctrines even the most gen- 
erally acknowledged, (supposing them to be true,) viz. 
stability and impression. Occasions will arise to try the 
firmness of our most habituil opinions. And upon these oc- 


casions, it is a matter of incalculable use to feel our foun- 
dation; to find a support in argument for what we had ta*en 
ud upon authority. In the present case, the arguments 
upon which the conclusion rests, are exactly such as a 
truth of universal concern ought to rest upon. " They are 
sufficiently open to the views and capacities of the unlearn- 
ed, at the same time that they acquire new strength and 
lustre from the discoveries of the learned." If they had 
been altogether abstruse and recondite, they would noi 
have found their way to the understandings of the mass of 
mankind; if they had been merely popular, they might 
have winted solidity. 

But, secondly, what is gained by research in the stability 
of our conclusion, is also gained from it in impression. 
Physicians tell us, that there is a great deal of difference 
between taking a medicine, and the medicine getting into 
the constitution. A difference not unlike which, obtains 
with respect to those great moral propositions, which ought 
to form the directing principles of human conduct. It is 
one thing to assent to a proposition of this sort ; and another, 
and a very different thing, to have properly imbibed its in- 
fluence. I take the case to be this: Perhaps almost every 
man living has a particular train of thought, into which his 
mind glides and falls, when at leisure from the impressions 
and ideas that occasionally excite it; perhaps, also, the 
train of thought here spoken of, more than any other thing, 
determines the character. It is of the utmost consequence, 
therefore, that this property of our constitution be well reg- 
ulated. Now it is by frequent 01 continued meditation upon 
a subject, by placing a subject in different points of view, 
by induction of particulars, by variety of examples, by ap- 
plying principles to the solution of phenomena, by dwelling 
upon proofs and consequences, that mental exercise is drawn 
into any particular channel. It is by these means, at least, 
that we have any power over it. The train of spontaneous 
thought, and the choice of that train, may be directed to 
different ends, and may appear to be more or less judiciously 
fixed, according to the purpose, in respect of which we con- 
sider it: but, in a moral view, I sr all not, I believe, be con- 
tradicted when I say, that, if one train of thinking be more 
desirable than another, it is that which regards the pheno- 
mena of nature with a constant reference to a supreme 
intelligent Author. To have made this the ruling, the habit- 
ual sentiment of ou* minds, is to have laid the foundation 
*f everything whic u s religious. The world thenceforth 



becomes a temple, and life itself one continued act of ado- 
ration. The change is no less than this , that whereas form- 
erly God was seldom in our thoughts, we can now scarcely 
look upon anything without perceiving its relation to him. 
Every organized natural body, in the provisions which it 
contains for i.s sustentation and propagation, testifies a 
care, on the part of the Creator, expressly directed to these 
purposes. We are on all sides surrounded by such bodies; 
examined in their parts, wonderfully curious; compared 
with one another, no less wonderfully diversified. So that 
the mind, as well as the eye, may either expatiate in vari 
ety and multitude, or fix itself down to the investigation 
of particular divisions of the science. And in either case 
it will rise up from its occupation, possessed by the subject, 
in a very different manner, and with a very different degree 
of influence, from what a mere assent to any verbal pro- 
position which can be formed concerning the existence of 
the Deity, at least that merely complying assent with which 
those about us are satisfied, and with which we are too 
apt to satisfy ourselves, will or can -produce upon the 
thoughts. More especially may this difference be per- 
ceived, in the degree of admiration and of awe with which 
the Divinity is regarded, when represented to the under- 
standing by its own remarks, its own reflections, and its 
own reasonings, compared with what is excited by any 
language that can be used by others. The works of nature 
want only to be contemplated. When contemplated, they 
have everything in them which can astonish by their great- 
ness: for, of the vast scale of operation through which our 
discoveries carry us, at one end we see an intelligent Pow- 
er arranging planetary systems, fixing, for instance, the 
trajectory of Saturn, or constructing a ring of two hundred 
thousand miles diameter to surround his body, and be sus- 
pended like a magnificent arch over the heads of his in- 
habitants; and, at the other, bending a hooked tooth, con- 
certing and providing an appropriate mechanism, for the 
clasping and reclasping of the filaments of the feather of the 
humming bird. We have proof, not only of both these 
works proceeding from an intelligent agent, but of then 
proceeding from the same agent: for, in the first place, we 
can trace an identity of plan, a connexion of system, from 
Saturn to our own globe: and when arrived upon our globe, 
we can, in the second place, pursue the connexion through 
all the organized, especially the animated, bodies which it 
supports. We cau observe marks of a common relation 

conclusion. 29a 

aa well to one another as to the elements of which their 
habitation is composed Therefore one mind hath planned 
or at least hath prescribed, a general plan for all these pro- 
ductions One Being 1 as been concerned in all. 

Under this stupendous Being we live. Our happiness, 
our existence, is in his bands. All we expect must come 
from him. Nor ought we to feel our situation insecure. 
In every nature, and in every portion of nature, which we 
ean descry, we find attention bestowed upon even the mi- 
nutest parts. The hinges in the wings of an earwig, and 
the joints of its antennas, are as highly wrought, as if the 
Creator had nothing else to finish. We see no signs of 
diminution of care by multiplicity of objects, or of distrac- 
tion of thought by variety. We have no reason to fear, 
therefore, our being forgotten, or overlooked, or neglected. 

The existence and character of the Deity, is, in every 
view, the most interesting of all human speculations. In 
none, however, is it more so, than as rt facilitates the be- 
lief of the fundamental articles of Revelation. | It is a step 
to have it proved, that there must be something in the world 
more than what we see. It is a farther step to know, that 
amongst the invisible things of nature, there must be an in- 
telligent mind, concerned in its production, order, and sup- 
port. These points being assured to us by Natural The- 
ology, we may well leave to Revelation the disclosure of 
many particulars, which our researches cannot reach, re- 
specting either the nature of this Being as the original cause 
of all things, or his character and designs as a moral gov- 
ernor^ and not only so, but the more full confirmation of 
other particulars, of which, though they do not lie alto- 
gether beyond our reasonings and our probabilities,- the 
certainty is by no means equal to the importance. The 
true theist will be the first to listen to any credible commu- 
nication of Divine knowledge. Nothing which he has 
learned from Natural Theology, will diminish his desire 
of faither instruction, or his disposition to receive it with 
humility and thankfulness. He wishes for light: he re- 
joices in light. His inward veneration of this great Being, 
will incline him to attend with the utmost seriousness, not 
only to all that can be discovered concerning him by re- 
searches into nature, but to all that is taught by a revela- 
tion, which gives reasonable proof of having proceeded 
from him.^ 

But above every i ther article of revealed religion, doea 
the anterior belief oi a Deity bear w' h the strongest foice 

296 conci usiow 

upon that gtand point, which gives indeed interest and 1m 
portance to all the rest — the resurrection of the human 
dead. The thing might appear hopeless, did we not see 
a power at work adequate to the effect, a power under the of an intelligent will, and a power penetrating the 
inmost recesses of all substance. I am far from justifying 
the opinion of those, who "thought it a thing incredible 
that God should raise the dead:" but I admit, that it is first 
necessary to be persuaded, that there is a God to do so. 
This being thoroughly settled in our minds, there seems to 
be nothing in this process (concealed and mysterious as wo 
confess it to be) which need to shock our belief. They 
who have taken up the opinion, that the acts of the human 
mind depend upon organization, that the mind itself indeed 
consists in organization, are supposed to find a greater dif- 
ficulty than others do, in admitting a transition by death to 
a new state of sentient existence, because the old organiza- 
tion is apparently dissolved. But I do not see that any im- 
practicability need be apprehended even by these; or that 
the change, even upon their hypothesis, is far removed 
from the analogy of some other operations, which we know 
with certainty that the Deity is carrying on. In the ordi- 
nary derivation of plants and animals from one another, a 
particle, in many cases, minuter than all assignable, all con- 
ceivable dimension; an aura, an effluvium, an infinitesimal, 
determines the organization of a future body; does no less 
than fix, whether that which is about to be produced shall 
be a vegetable, a merely sentient, or a rational being; an 
oak, a frog, or a philosopher; makes all these differences , 
gives to the future body its qualities, and nature, and spe- 
cies. And this particle, from which springs, and by which 
is determined a whole future nature, itself proceeds from, 
and owes its constitution to, a prior body; nevertheless, 
which is seen in plants most decisively, the incepted organ- 
ization, though formed within, and through, and by a pre- 
ceding organization, is not corrupted by its corruption, or 
destroyed by its dissolution; but, on the contrary, is some- 
times extricated and developed by those very causes ; sur- 
vives and comes into action, when the purpose for wlncb 
it was prepared requires its use. Now an economy which 
nature has adopted, when the purpose was to transfer an 
organization from one individual to another, may have some- 
thing analogous to it, when the purpose is to transmit an 
organization from one state of being to another state: and 
they who found thought in organization, may see something 


in this analogy applicable to their difficulties, for, what* 
ever can transmit a similarity of organization will answer 
their purpose, because, according even to their own theorv, 
it may be the vehicle of consciousness; and because con 
sciousness carries identity and individuality along with it 
through all changes of form or of visible qualities. In the 
most general case, that, as we have said, of the derivation 
of plants and animals from one another, the latent organi 
zation is either itself similar to the old organization, or 
bas the power of communicating to new matter the olo 
organic form. But it is not restricted to this rule. There 
are other cases, especially in the progress of insect life, in 
which the dormant organization does not much resembie 
that which encloses it, and still less suits with the situation 
in which the enclosing body is placed, but suits with a dif- 
ferent situation to which it is destined. In the larva of the 
hbellula, which lives constantly, and has still long to live, 
under water, are descried the wings of a fly, which two 
years afterwards is to mount into the air. Is there nothing 
in this analogy? — It serves at least to show, that even in 
the observable course of nature, organizations are formed 
one beneath another; and, amongst a thousand other in 
stances, it shows completely, that the Deity can mould anc 
fashion the parts of material nature, so as to fulfil any pur- 
pose whatever which he is pleased to appoint. 

They who refer the operations of mind to a substance 
totally and essentially different from matter, (as most cer- 
tainly these operations, though affected by material caus- 
es, hold very little affinity to any properties of matter with 
which we are acquainted,) adopt perhaps a juster reasoning 
and abetter philosophy; and by these the considerations 
above suggested are not wanted, at least in the same de- 
gree. But to such as find, which some persons do find, an 
insuperable difficulty in shaking off an adherence to those 
analogies which the corporeal world is continually suggest- 
ing to their thoughts; to such, I say, every consideration 
will be a relief, which manifests the extent of that intelli- 
g jnt power which is acting in nature, the fruitfulness of 
it* resources, the variety, and aptness, and success of its 
means; most especially every consideration which tei ds to 
show, that, in the translation of a conscious existence, 
there is no ev*n in their own way of regarding it, any- 
thing greatiy beyond, or totally unlike, what takes place 


in such parts t probably small parts) of the order of nature 
as are accessible to our observation. 

Again; if there be those who think, that the contracted 
ness and debility of the human faculties in our present 
state, seem ill to accord with the high destinies which the 
expectations of religion point out to us, I would only ask 
them, whether any one, who saw a child two hours after its 
birth, could suppose that it would ever come to understand 
fluxions;* or who then shall say, what farther amplification 
of intellectual powers, what accession of knowledge, what 
advance and improvement, the rational faculty, be its con- 
stitution what it will, may not admit of, when placed amidst 
new objects, and endowed with a sensorium adapted, as it 
undoubtedly will be, and as our present senses are, to the 
perception of those substances, and of those properties of 
things, with which our concern may lie. 

Upon the whole; in everything which respects this awful, 
but, as we trust, glorious change, we have a wise and 
powerful Being (the author, in nature, of infinitely various 
expedients, for infinitely various ends) upon whom to rely 
for the choice and appointment of means, adequate to the 
execution of any plan which his goodness or his justice 
may have formed, for the moral and accountable part of his 
terrestrial creation. That great office rests with him: be 
it ours to hope and to prepare, under a firm and settled 
persuasion, that, living and dying, we are his; that life is 
passed in his constant presence, that death resigns us t«j 
his merciful disposal. 

* See Sea :h's Light of Nature, passim. 



Abdomen, the cavity of the belly. 

Accretion, a growth; increase in size or extent 

Jldifose, fatty, containing fat. 

Alkalies, a peculiar class of chemical substances which have the pof 
erty of com bit mg with and neutralizing the properties of acids. 

Anconosus, the name of one of the muscles which extend the e.Taow 

Anal, a term applied to one of the fins of fish, situated near the anus 01 

Anhelation, breathing hard or panting. 

Annular, in the form of a ring. 

Annuli, rings — applied to the muscular fibres which surroua* the bodies 
cf some animals like rings. 

Antennae, organs of touch, situated near the mouths of insects having 
many joints. 

Anther ae, small bodies which contain the pollen or fertilizing dust of 
flowers ; the antherae are fixed generally on the ends of slender fila- 
ments, and surround the germ or seed vessel. 

Aortc, the main artery of the body, which receives the blood directly 
from the heart and distributes it to the body. 

Auricle, a cavity of the heart. Its external shape gives it the appear- 
ance of an appendage to the organ, and its name is derived from its 
supposed resemblance to an ear, (auricula.) 

Automaton, a machine having a power of motion within itself, but des- 
titute of life. 


buccinator, the principal muscle of the cheek. 

Biceps, one of the muscles which bend the elbow-joint. 

'Bivalve, consisting of two valves or shells, as in shell-fish — t g tk« 

Qrachicsus, the name of two muscles moving the arm. 
t/ rvis, ahort. 


.,alyx, the flower cup ; the external or outermost part of the flowei, 
generally resembling the leaves in color, and containing the olhe 
parts of the flower within it. It is often wanting. 

I ' timer o obscura, or dark chamber. An optical instrument in which 
the rays of light from external objects are made to pass through a con- 
vex lens into a dark box where they are received upon a screen, and 
pro luce a representation of external objects. 

Capsule, the seed v^jssel of plants. 

Carnivorous, feeding or living on ffesh. 


Carotid, the name of the arteries which pass up the neck op »ach side 
of the windpipe, and convey the blood to the head. 

Cartilaginous, gristly; formed from or consisting of gristle. 

Cellular, consist' ug S ceils. 

Centripetal, having a tendency towards the centre. Ail bodies on th« 
surface, have a tendency to fall towards the centre of the earth. 

Cetaceous, of the whale kind. 

Chrysalis, an insect in the second stage of its metamorphosis. 

Cicatrix, a scar. 

Comminuted, broken up into small pieces. 

Conatus, attempt, endeavour, effort. 

Condyles, prominences at the ends of some of the bones which are in* 
tended to aflbrd surfaces for the formation of joints. 

Congeries, a heap or pile of bodies accumulated together. 

Connate, produced or being born together; having their origin at tha 
same time, and from the same cause. 

Convolution, the turning, rolling, or winding of anything. The convo- 
lutions of a snail's shell are the spiral windings of the tube in which it 
exists around a central pillar or basis. 

Cornea, the transparent coat at the front part of the eye, through which 
we see the pupil and the iris. 

Corolla. This term includes what are commonly called the leaves of 
the flower, viz. the various colored leaves which give their beauty 
and fragrance to most flowers. 

Cretaceous, formed of, or consisting of chalk. It is applied not merely 
to substances consisting of chalk, commonly so called, but to a variety 
of others, which resemble it merely in having the same chemical com- 
position, such as the shells of shell-fish, &c. 

Cubital, an anatomical term used to designate parts in, and relating to 
the cubit or fore-arm, which extends from the elbow to the hand. 


Deglutition, the act of swallowing. 

Diaphragm, a muscular membrane which is stretched completely acresa 
the cavity of the body like a curtain, and divides the chest from the? 
belly, and by its contraction performs an important part in the act of 

Dioptric, a term applied to that part of the science of optics which 
treats of the passage of light through, and its refraction by means of, 
transparent substances. 

Dorsal, appertaining to the back. 

Ductus arteriosus, a duct or canal leading from the pulmonary arts! 'eg 
to the aorta, by which the blood is before birth conveyed from the pul- 
monary arteries to the aorta without passing through the lungs. It is 
closed after birth. 

Duodenum, the first of the small intestines, being the next in order 
to the stomach, and receiving the food from it. 


Elytra, the external, hard, scaly wings of many insects, such as tha 

Entomology, the science relating to insects. 
Epiglottis, a valve which covers the passage from thf mouth nto lh« 

V.ruca labra, the name of an insect. 


Eustachian, applied to parts first discovered Dy Enstachius. 
Exility, slenderness, smallness. 

Exuviae, the cast off* skins, shells, or other coverings of animals 
Exsiccation, drying, parting with moisture to air or heat. 
Evagation, wandering, deviation from an appointed course. 


Farina. This word is sometimes used instead of pollen for the fe: till* 
zing dust produced from the stamens and anthers of flowers, and col- 
lected by bees. It is so used by our author. 

Fibula, a small long bone, extending from the knee to the ankle-joint, 
parallel to and connected with the tibia or principal bone of the icg 03 
its outside. The lower end of it forms the outer ankle. 

Foramen ovale, or oval hole, an opening in the foetal state, bKwees 
the two ventricles of the heart, permitting the passage of blood frcm 
on 3 to the other. It is closed after birth. 

Fusee, see Plate of the part3 of the watch. 


Gallinaceous. Birds of a particular order, living generally upon grains 

or seeds of plants, of a stately aspect, and confined powers of flight. 

Such are the common domestic fowl, the turkey, the peacock, &c. 
Gestation, the art of carrying the young within the body of the parent, 

whether in the state of the egg or of the living foetus. 
Graminivorous, living or feeding upon grass. 
Granivorous, living or feeding upon grain* and seeds. 
Gregarious, herding together — flocking together — assembling in herds 

and companies. 


Halitus, the watery vapor which is thrown out from the lungs with the 
air at every act of respiration. 

Hemiplegia, a paralvsis or palsy of one half of the body, consisting in a 
loss of the sense of feeling, or of the power of voluntary motion; or of 

Herbivorous, living upon herbs, or rather upon vegetable substances irj 
general. A term used in contra-distinction to carnivorous. 

Homologous, having the same relation or proportions. Lines drawn 
through any two similar bodies of different sizes, are said to be homo- 
logous when they are drawn through corresponding parts of each. 

Hybernacula, the habitations, coverings, or retreats in which animal* 
pass the winter. Animals when residing in them are general'y Ja 8 
torpid state. 

Hydrocunthari, a name of insects 


Ignited, a chemical term applied to a body raised to a high degree cf 

Inertia, a property of all matter which disposes it to remain in the stat» 

in which it is, whether of motion or rest. 
TnSj plural Irides ; the colored ring surrounding the pupi! of the e)e. 


Lachrymal, appertaining to or relating to the tears, or to the apparatus 

for their production. 
Lacieili, capillary or hair-like vessels opening upon the internal surface 



of the intestines, absorbing the chyle or nutritious fluid prepaied by 
the digestive organs from the food, and conveying it through the me- 
sentery to the thoracic duct and thence into the circulating mass of the 

Lamella, a thin plate or edge. 

Laminae, thin plates or layers. 

Larynx, the upper part of the windpipe, including the organs of voice 

Lens, a circular glass whose surfaces are either convex or concave. Il 
is also applied to any other transparent body of the same shape, as ice, 
crystal, or diamond. 

Levitation, the making an object lighter ; giving to it a buoyant ten- 

hongus, long. A name applied to several muscles of the jody on a©, 
count of their length when compared with other muscles. 

Lubricity, facility of the slipping or gliding of one surface over another 
witnoui friction, whether in consequence of the smoothness of the sur 
faces, or the interposition of some soft, slippery fluid, or substance. 

Lubricate, to give lubricity. 

Luxation, dislocation of a bone, throwing a bone out of joint. 

Lymphatics, small vessels in the bodies of animals carrying lymph. 


Masseter, a strong muscle which closes the jaw in chewing, situated at 

the back part of the cheek towards the ear. It may be felt in chewing. 
Mediastinmn, a fold of the membrane lining the chest, by which it is 

divided into two cavities. 
Medullary, formed or consisting of marrow. Applied to the substance 

of the brain and nerves, and to that in the cavities of some of the bones. 
Menstruum, anv liquid or fluid in which another body is dissolved. 
Mesentery, a double fold of the membrane lining the abdomen and cover- 

inff the intestines, by which the latter are suspended, and are connected 

to the walls of the cavity. It gives passage to vessels, nerves, and to 

the lacteals. 
Monopetalous, applied to flowers consisting of a single petal or flower 



A r ectaria, that part of the corolla of plants which produces honey. 
Nictitating, winking. Applied generally to the third eyelid of birds .\n<J 

some other animals. 
A'igella, the name of a plant. 
JVymphae, insects in the second preparatory state, before their fina 



Oblate. A sphere flattened at the poles is said to be oblate. 
Oesophagus, the tube or canal which conveys food from the mouth to Ov 

Omentum, the caul; a kind of apron formed of fat and membrane which 

hangs down and covers the intestines within the abdomen. 
Os hyoides, the bone of the tongue and throat. 
Os pubis, the bone which arches forward from the pelvis, and supperw 

the lower part of the belly. 
Ossification, a change of structure into bone. 
Ovipaious, bringing forth or bearing young by means of eggs. 



Pahnated, having a palm like that of the hand. 

Pancreas, a gland within the abdomen, just below the stomacn, and 

providing a fluid to assist in digestion. 
Papillae, little projections on the surface of organs, as on the tongue 

which are the seats of sensation. 
Papilionaceous, of or resembling butterflies. Applied to a certain t: Le 

of flowers on account of their resemblance in shape to those insects. 
Pectoral, of or relating to the chest. 
Pelvis, the broad flat basin, constituting the lower part of the abdomen, 

composed principally of the broad flat bones usually called the hip and 

haunch bones. 
Peritonaeum, a membrane lining the cavity of the abdomen and giving 

a close covering to all its contents. 
Peristaltic, applied to the crawling, worm-like motion of the intestines. 
Pericardium, the bag containing the heart. 
Pericarpium, a kind of seed vessels of plants. 
Periosteum, the membrane which adheres to, and closely invests the 

surface of bones. 
Petals, the flower leaves, or leaves of the corolla of plants. 
Pharynx, the cavity at the back part of the mouth which receives the 

food just before swallowing, and transmits it to the oesophagus. 
Phosphoric, of or resembling phosphorus. 
Pistil, the part of a flower intended to receive the pollen or fertilizing 

dust of the stamens. 
Piston, a movable cylinder in the tube of some machines, intended to 

take oflf'rv its motion the pressure of the air, or to receive the impulse 

from steam as in the pump and steam-engine. 
Plantule, a little plant. Applied to the part which first sprouts from the 

3eed when it begins to grow. It refers to the same part with Plumule. 
Pleura, the membrane lining the chest. 
Plumule, see plantule. 

Pneumatic, of or relating to the air or wind. 
Pollen, the fertilizing dust of flowers, produced by the stamens, and falling 

upon the pistils in order to render a flower capable of producing seed 

or fruit. 
Primordial, original. 


Radicle, the little root which is first sent out by a seed when it begins to 

Refraction, generally applied to the change of direction which takes place 

when a ray of light moves from one medium into another of a diflertnt 

Renitency, resistance. 
Rstina, a very sensible and delicate membrane at the back part of the 

eye, intended to receive the images of objects like the screen of a camera 

obscura. Supposed to be an expansion of the nerve of the eye. 
Rictus, the extent of the mouth when opened widely as in gaping 

Sanguiferous, carrying blood. 
Sensorium, the seat or centre of sensations, to which all the impressions 

made upon the exferual organs of sense are transu tted, and where 

they are perceived. 


Spheroid, approaching in form to, or resembling a sphere. 

Spiculae, spines or sharp projections. 

Sternum, the breast bone. 

Stigma, plural, stigmata; the extremity of the pistil of plants. 

Storgee, the sentiment or instinct of parental affection. 

Stum, an unfermented mass of liquor. 

Subclavian, a term applied to parts which are situated beneath the ohm 

cle or collar bone as the subclavian artery, &c. 
Sugescent, employed in sucking. 
Sui generis, of a peculiar kind or character. 
Sutures, the union of bones by their edges, without movable joints, 

as in the flat bones of the skull. The edges in this case are often 

notched like the teeth of a saw, and the line of union resembles a 

seam. Whence called a suture. 
Synovia, the liquid which lubricates the internal surfaces of the joints to 

give facility of motion. 


relum imbelle, a harmless weapon. 

Thorax, the chest. 

Tibia, the main bone of the leg, extending from the knee to the foot. 

Its projecting extremity forms the inner ankle, and its ends enter into 

the formation of both the knee and ankle joints. 
Trachea, the windpipe. 
Tubercle, a swelling or prominence. 


Umbilical, proceeding from or relating to the navel or umbilicus. 
Univalve, consisting of a single valve or shell, such as the snail, cockta. 
Urachus, a vessel leading from the bladder to the navel before birth, 

which is converted into a ligament after birth. 
Ureter, the tube conveying the urine from the kidneys to the bladder 


Vallisneria, the name of a plant. 

Valvulae conniventes, folds formed by the internal membrane of the 
intestines, constituting partial valves, and intended to retard the pas- 
sage of the food. 

Vascular, containing or consisting of vessels. 

Vena cava, one of the great veins which brings the blood from the as 
tremities of the body to the heart. 

Ventral, of or appertaining to the belly. 

Ventricle, a term applied to several small internal cavities in the body, 
a9 the ventricles of the brain and of the heart. 

Vertebrae, the separate bones constituting the back bone. 

Viscus, plural Viscera; the internal organs of the body, as ■ungs, heart, 
stomach, liver, brain, &c. 

Viviparous, producing or bringing forth young alive. 

Vortex, plural Vortices; anything whirled round. The heavenly bod- 
ies ha\e been formerly supposed to be carried around in their orbits by 
certain v truces or whirlpools which were imagined to exist. 















The eye of birds and of the 




The lachrymal apparatus 


and nictitating membrane 316 


The human ear, and tym- 

panum of the elephant . 




Trochlear muscle of the eye 




Vertebrae of the human 

J 1 1 L f\ ••••••• 




Bones of the arm .... 





The chest, patella, and 

shoulder-blade .... 



The hip, knee and ankle- 




The sartorius and oblique 

muscles of the head . . 




The muscles of the arm . 



The muscles that raise the 
eye-lids, and sphincter or 


circular muscles . . . 



The digastric muscle . . 




The tendons of the toes . 





The stomach, gall-bladder, 




The lacteals and thoracic 



The parotid gland . . . 






Package of the viscera and 



Nerves of the bill of a duck 


— Valvulae conniventes — 


Chap. XIII. Air-bladder 


of a fish, and fang of the 


viper .... 





The opossum 376 

Claw of the heron — Bill of 

the Soland goose . . 379 
Stomach of the camel . . 382 
Tongue of the woodpecker, 
and skull of the baby- 

rouessa 38d 

Temporary and permanent 

teeth 388 

Foramen ovale, and ductus 

arteriosus 391 

Fore extremity of the mole 
— Head of the elephant — 
Finger-like extremity of 
the proboscis — Section of 
the proboscis — Bat's wing 
— Bill of the parrot — 
Eyes of insects — Eyes of 

a spider 394 

The chameleon, and intes- 
tine of the sea-fox . . . 397 
The wings of the beetle, 
awl, sting of the bee, pro- 
boscis, &c 400 

Silk secretors of the silk- 
worm — Spinnerets of the 
spider — Panorpa commu- 
nis — Female and male 
glow-worm — Larva libel- 
iulae — Breathing spiracu- 
loe — Pupa of gnat — Stra- 
tyomis chameleon . . . 408 
The capsule, pistil, stamina 
of nigella; plumule, and 

radicle 406 

Vallisneria 409 

Cuscuta Europaea .... 412 
The autumnal crocus . . 415 
The dionaea muscipula . .418 
Astronomy 422 



Plate I. — the watch. 

Fig. 1 . The box, or barrel, containing the main spnng, which « 
die first power; and the chain, which communicates the pow«ii 

Fig. 2. The fusee and great wheel. The fusee is tapered at the 
top to correct the irregular recoil of die spring. The great wheel 
Dims — 

Fig. 3. The centre wheel and pinion, which makes one revolution 
in an hour, carries the minute nand, and turns — 

Fig. 4. The third wheel and pinion, which turns the contrite 

Fig. 5. The contrite wheel, which makes one revolution in a 
minute, and turns the balance or escape wheel. 

Fig. 6. The balance wheel, which acts upon the pallats of the 
verge, and escapes or drops from one pallat to another alternately, 
thereby keeping the balance in constant vibration. 

Fig. 7. The balance verge and balance or pendulum spring, which 
regulates the whole machine. 

Fig. 8. The cannon pinion, affixed to the centre whee 1 arbour, 
on which the minute hand is placed. 

Fig. 9. The minute wheel. 

Fig. 10. The hour wheel The two last mentioned wheels are 
turned by the cannon pinion, and having a greater number of teeth, 
move much slower than the cannon pinion, and mark the hour by 
the hand on the dial. 

The above is a description of the several wheels alluded to by 
Paley. Their relative s.tuation, and combined movement rcay 
be seen by the simple inspection of a watch. 






rc^ 3 * 




Plate II. — the eye. 

Fig. 1. The crystalline lens of a fish; it is proportionality .arger 
than in other animals, and perfectly spherical. 

Fig. 2. A section of the human eye. It is formed of Tarioua 
toats, or membranes, containing pellucid humours of different de- 
grees of density, and calculated for collecting the rays of light into 
a focus, upon the nerve situated at the bottom of the eye-ball. 

The external membrane, cdled sclerotic, is strong and firm, and 
is toe support of the spherical figure of the eye : it is deficient in the 
centre, but that part is supplied by the cornea, which is transparent 
and projects like the segment of a small globe from one of larger 
size. The interior of the sclerotic is lined by the choroid, which is 
covered by a dark mucous secretion, termed pig mentum nigrum, in- 
tended to absorb the superfluous rays of light. The choroid is rep- 
resented in the plate by the black line. The third and inner mem- 
brane, which is marked by the white line, is the retina, the expanded 
optic nerve. 

Within these coats of the eye, are the humours, a, the aqi<cous 
humour, a thin fluid like water ; 6, the crystalline lens, of a dense 
texture; c, the vitreous humour, aveiy delicate gelatinous substance, 
named from its resemblance to melted glass. Thus the crystalline 
is more dense than the vitreous, and the vitreous more dense than 
he aqueous humour: they are all perfectly transparent, and togeth- 
er make a compound lens, which refracts the rays of light issuing 
from an object, d, and delineates its figure e, in the focus upon the 
Teiina, inverted. 

Fig. 3. The lens of the telescope. 

Fig. 4. The crystalline lens, or, as it has been called, the crystal 
line humour, of the eye. 

Fig. 5, 6. A plan of the circular and radiated fibres which tne 
ins is supposed to possess; the former contracts, the latter dilatei 
the pupil, or aperture formed by the inner margin of the iris. 

Fig. 7. a, a, a, a, the four straight muscles, arising from the bot- 
tom of the orbit, where they surround, c, the optic r.crve; and art 
inserted by broad, thin tendons at the fore part of the globe of tin 
eve into tie tunica sclerotica. 



Plate III. — the eye of birds and of the eej~ 

Fia. 1,2. T^ie flexible rim, or hoop, of the eye of birds, consist- 
ing of bony plates, which occupy the front of the sclerotic; lying 
close together and overlapping each other. These bony plates in 
general form a slightly convex ring, Fig. 1, but in the accipitres 
they form a concave ring, as in Fig. 2, the bony rim of a hawk. 

Fig. 3, 4, 6. Exhibit the marsupium; it arises from the back of 
the eye, proceeding apparently through a slit in the retina; it pas- 
ses obliquely into the vitreous humour, and terminates in that part, 
as in the eagle. Fig. 3, a section of the eye of the falco chrysaetos. 
In some species it reaches the lens, and is attached to it as in Fig. 
4, 6. In the plate the marsupium is marked with a *. 

Fig. 5. The head of an eel ; the skin is represented turned back ; 
and as the transparent, horny covering of the eye, a, a, is a cuticular 
covering, it is separated with it. Other fish have a similar, insensi- 
ble, dense, and thick adnata, which is designed to protect the eyej 
and it seems esj eoially necessary, as fish have no eyelids, 





Plate IV. — the lachrymal apparatus* and nictitatinq 


Fig. 1. a, is the organ which supplies this fluid, called the lachry- 
mal glands it is situated at the outer and upper part of the orhit of 
the eye. This is the gland which secretes or separates the tears 
from the hlood. There are five or six ducts or tuhes, 6, which con 
vey this fluid to the globe of the eye, for the purpose of keeping it 
moist, and for facilitating its movements ; the motion of the eyelid 
diffuses the tears, and c, c, the puncta lachrymalia, take up the su- 
perfluous moisture, which passes through </, the lachrymal sac and 
duct into the nostril at e. 

Fig. 2. The nictitating membrane, or third eyelid ; it is a thin 
semi-transparent fold of the conjunctive, which, in a state of rest, 
lies in the inner corner of the eye, with its loose edge nearly verti- 
cal, but can be drawn out so as to cover the whole front of the 
globe. In this figure it is represented in the act of being drawn 
over the eye. By means of this membrane, according tc Cavier, the 
eagle is enabled to look at the sun. 

Fig. 3. The two muscles of the nictitating membrane are veiy 
singular in their form and action ; they are attached to the back of 
the sclerotica; one of them, a, which from its shape is called quad- 
ratus, has its origin from the upper and back part of the sclerotica; 
its fibres descend towards the optic nerve, and terminate in a cur- 
ved margin with a cylindrical canal in it. The other muscle, 6, 
which is called pyramidalis, arises from the lower and back part of 
the sclerotica. It has a long tendinous chord, c, which passes through 
the canal of the quadratus, a, as a pulley, and having arrived at the 
lower and exterior part of the eye-ball, is inserted into the loose 
edge of the nictitating membrane. This description refers also to 
Fig. 4, a profile of the eye, and Fig. 5, the membrane and its mo»- 
cles detached from ihe eye. 

Cc* 317 



Fig. 1. The organ of hearing; a, the external ear ; b, the rneatut 
cmditorius externus, or outward passage ot'the ear ; leading to c, the 
mcmbrana tympani, or drum ; d, the ossicula auditus, or little bones 
of the ear; e, the semicircular canals ;f, the cochlea; g, a section of 
the eustachian tube, which extends from the cavity of the tympa- 
num, to the back of the mouth or fauces. 

Fig. 2. The bones of the ear magnified, a, the 7?ialleus,or mal- 
let, connected by a process to the tympanum ; the round head is 
lodged in the body of, b, the tnow, or anvil, and the incus is united 
to, c, the os orbicidare, or round bone, and this to, d, the stapes, or the 
stirrup. These bones are named from their shape, and the names 
assist in conveying an idea of their form. They are united by lig- 
aments, and form an uninterrupted chain to transmit the vibrations 
of the atmosphere. 

Fig. 3. The labyrinth, so named from the intricacy of its **avi 
ties ; it is situated in the petrous part of the temporal bone, and con- 
sists of the vestibule, or central cavity, three semicircular canals, and 
cochlea, so named from its resemblance to the windings of a snail 
shell, and is best explained by the plate, Fig. 1, and 3. 

The vibrations of sounds, striking against the membrana tympa- 
ni, are propagated by the intervention of these four littles bones, to 
the water Utnl&med within the cavities of the labyrinth; and by 
means of this water the impression is conveyed to the extremities 
of the auditory nerve, and finally to the brain. 

Fish require no tympanum, nor external opening to the ear; the 
fluid in which they live is the medium for conducting sounds 
through the bones of the head. 

Fig. 4. The tympanum of th« elevhant, of its natura) size, show- 
ing its radiated fibres, supposed to be muscular. 





Plate VI. - trochlear muscle of the eye, and kidney. 

Fig. I. Thfc trochlear or superior oblique muscle, arises with tli6 
itraight muscles from the bottom of the orbit, its muscular portion, 
a, is extended over the upper part of the eye-ball, and gradually as- 
sumes the form of a smooth, round tendon b, which passes through 
the pulley, ;, and is fixed to the inner edge of the orbit, a\ then re- 
turning backwards and downwards, € is inserted into,y, the sclerotic 
membrane. The use of this muscle is to bring the eye forwards, 
and to turn the pupil downwards and upwards. 

Fig. 2. A section of the human kidney ; a, the emulgent artery, 
which conveys the blood to, 6, the papilla, where the peculiar fluid 
is secreted ; from whence it passes by tubes into, c, the pelvis; e, the 
ureter, or tube, which conducts the secretion to its receptacle; a\ 
the emulgent vein, for returning the blood, after it has beep submit- 
ted to the acti >n of the gland. 



Plate VII. — vertebrje of the he man neck. 

Fig. 1. A representation of the head and the neck ; the latter is 
composed of seven bones called vertebra. 

Fig. 2. Exhibits the first and second vertebrae, with their mode 
of connexion. The uppermost vertebra, termed the atlas, from its 
supporting the globe of the head, has an oval concave surface on 
either side, a, a, for the reception of two corresponding convex 
surfaces placed on the lower part of the head, in such a manner 
as only to admit of the action of bending and raising the head 

Fig. 3. The atlas. 

Fig. 4. The second vertebra, called dentata, has two plane sur 
faces, a, a, adapted to the planes, a, a, Fig. 3, of the atlas: and this 
manner of articulation provides for the turning of the head laterally 
in almost every direction. Fig. 2. and 4, 6, 6, show the tooth-like 
process which affords a firm pivot for the production of the lateral 
motion just described. This process is received into a correspond- 
ing indentation of the atlas, Fig. 3, 6, and a strong ligament passes 
behind it, serving as an effectual security against dislocation, and 
consequent compression of the spinal marrow. Fig. 4, d, marks 
the situation for the spinal marrow, which passes through the ring 
of each vertebra. The letter, c, indicates a perforation in the lat- 
eral process ; and, as there is a corresponding perforation in each 
lateral, or as k is termed, transverse process of the seven cervical 
vertebre, a contl mous passage is thus formed for the protection 
nf two important blood -vessels destined to supply the brain. 





Plate VIII. — boxes of the arm. 

Fig. I. a, the humerus ; the head, 6, is a portion of a sphere, an J 
exhibits an example of the ball and socket, or universal joint ; c, th* 
hinge-joint, instanced in the elhow ; d, the radius ; c, the ulna, "ttm 
radius belangs more peculiarly to the wrist, being the bone which 
sup|>orts the hand, and which turns with it in all its revolving mo- 
tions. The ulna principally belongs to the elbow-joint, for by it we 
perform all the actions of bending or extending the arm. 

Fig. 2. a, the humerus: 6, shows the connexion of the radius, 
with c, the ulna, at the elbow. The mode of articulation at the 
wrist is seen. Fig. 1. 

Dd* 329 



Fig. 1. The hitman spine, so named from the series of sharp pro- 
c»sses projecting from the posterior part of the vertebrae. The 
spine consists of seven vertebra? of the neck, distinguished by the 
perforations in their transverse processes ; of twelve belonging tc 
the back, and marked by depressions for the heads of the ribs ; and, 
lastly, of Jive belonging to the loins, which are larger than the other 

Fig. 2. A separated dorsal vertebra: a, the body of the vertebra, 
6, the ring through which the spinal marrow passes : c, c, the artic- 
ulating surfaces to which the ribs are united. 

Fig. 3. The vertebra of a very large serpent, drawn from a spe- 
cimen belonging to the Anatomy School of Christ Church, Oxford, 
This figure shows the socket of the vertebra. 

Fig. 4. The ball or rounded joint, evidently calculated for ex- 
tensive motion. 

Fig. 5. A part of the spine of the same reptile; it is exceedingly 
strong, each bone being united to the other by fifteen surfaces of 







ifni"^ . 




)li i A 




A Us 



fill fiCT 



'■■ !s' 





Plate X. — the chest, patella, 4.nd shoclder-blale. 

Fig. 1. The spine, ribs, and sternum, constitute the frame work 
of the chest or thorax. Referring, however, to the plate, or to nature, 
wc observe that the ribs are not continued throughout from the spine 
to the sternum, but intervening cartilages complete the form of the 
rhest, by connecting the end of the first ten ribs to the breast bone. 
This is a farther provision, relative to the mechanical function of 
the lungs, deserving notice. The muscles of respiration enlarge 
the capacity of the ohest by elevating the ribs; and during the 
momentary interval of muscular action, the cartilages, from their 
great elasticity, restore the ribs to their former position. 

Fig. 2. Represents the true shape of the patella, the anterior 
surface convex. Fig. 3, the posterior surface, which has two con- 
cave depressions adapted to the condyles of the thigh bone. The 
projection of the patella, as a lever, or pulley, removes the acting 
force from the centre of motion, by which means the muscles have 
a greater advantage in extending the leg. That this bone is " un 
like any other in the body," is a mistake ; such bones are numerous, 
though less obvious, for they do not exceed the size of a pea: these 
are called sesamoid bones, and are formed in the flexor tendons of 
the thumb, and sometimes in the fingers. They are frequently 
found under the tendons of some of the muscles. Two of these 
sort of bones are constantly found under the articulation of the great 
toe with the foot : some also are discovered, though not so constant 
ly, under the corresponding joints of the other toes. The sesamoid 
bones, like the patella, remove their tendons from the centre of mo 
tion. facilitate their glidings over the bone, and protect their artic- 

Fig. 4. The shoulder-blade {scapula) is joined to the collar bone 
oy ligaments, and to the thorax by powerful muscles which are ca- 
pable of sustaining immense weights, and wnose action gives tho 
various directions to the arm, and enables it freely to revolve at the 

Fig 5. The as hyoides, a small bone situated at the root of the 
tongue. It serves as a lever or point for attaching the muscles of 
the tongue, larynx, and those of deglutition. 




F a. 1. The capsular ligament is here opened in order to show 
the ligament of the hip, named the round ligament. It allows con- 
siderable latitude of motion, at the same time that it is the great 
safeguard against dislocation. 

Fig. 2 and 4. The crucial or internal ligaments of the knee-joint 
arise from each side of the depression between the condyles of the 
thigh-hone ; the anterior is fixed into the centre, the posterior intc 
the back of the articulation of the tibia. This structure properly 
limits the motions of the joint, and gives the firmness requisite for 
violent exertions. Viewing the form of the bones, we should con- 
sider it one of the weakest and most superficial, but the strength of 
its ligaments and the tendons passing over it, render it the most 
secure, and the least liable to dislocation of any joint in the whole 

Fig. 3. One of the interariicidar cartilages of the knee, from their 
shape called semilunar; it is also represented in situ, Fig. 2. The 
outer edge of each cartilage is thick, the inner concave edge thin 
the sockets for the condyles of the thigh-bone are thus rendered 
deeper, and the cartilages are so fixed as to allow a little play on 
the tibia, by which the joint moves with great freedom. 

A moving cartilage is not common, but is peculiar to those joints 
whose motions are very frequent, or which move under a great 
weight. It is a contrivance found at the jaw-bone, the inner head 
of the collar-bone and the articulation of the wrist, as well as at the 
knee. The obvious use is to lessen friction and facilitate motion. 

Fig. 4. a, the fibula; b, the tibva,the lower extremities of which, 
;, </, form the outer and inner ankle, and receive, c, the great artic- 
ulating bone of the foot, called the astragalus between them. When 
the foot sustains the weight of the body the joint is firm, but when 
raised it easiy *o,is f n tne ends of these bones, so that the toe is 
directed to tiie place on which we intend to step. 







Fig. 1. a, a, the sartorius, is the longest mus* le of tie whole 
fabric : it is extended obliquely across the thigh from the fore part 
of the hip, to the inner side of the tibia. Its office is to bend the 
unee, and bring the leg inwards. 

Fig. 2. There are two pairs of oblique muscles ; a, a, the obliquus 
capitis superior, arising from the transverse process of the atlas, and 
inserted into the occipital bone ; 6, 6, the obliquus capitis inferior 
arising from the spinous process of the dentata, and inserted into 
the transverse process of the atlas. These muscles roll *Jie head 
on oue side, an j. draw it backwards. 

Ee* 341 


Plate XIII. — the muscles of the irm. 

Fig. 1. a, the biceps, (biceps flexor cubiti) arise oy two portions 
from the scapula ; they form a thick mass of flesh in the middle 
of the arm, which is finally inserted into the upper end of the ra- 
dius ; b, the brachifBus internus, arises from the middle of the os 
humeri, and is inserted into the ulna. Both these muscles bend the 
fore-arm. c, the longus et brevis brachittus externus ; these are bet- 
ter named as one muscle, triceps extensor cubiti. It is attached to 
the inferior edge of the scapula, and to the os humeri, by three 
distinct heads, winch unite and invest the whole back part of the 
none, becoming a strong tendon which is implanted into the elbow. 
It is a powerful extensor of the fore-arm. d, the anconams, a small 
triangular muscle, situated at the outer side of the elbow : it assists 
the last muscle. 

Fig. I and 2. e, c, the annular ligament of the wrist, under 
which pass the tendons of the muscles of the fingers. 

T * \ fc ine deltoid muscle; the muscle at the shoulder bj 
*» i j »* arm is raised. 







Fig. 1. A front view of this muscle, named levator palpebral su- 
venoris: Fig. 2. a profile of the same in its natural position. This 
nuscle arises within the orhw, j^.j j s inserted by a broad tendon 
n f .o the upper eye-lid. Its name is expressive of its use. 

Fig 3. Exhibits examples of sphincter muscles : a, a, the orbi- 

^dans palpebrarum, encircling the eyelid ; it closes the eye, and 

ompresses it with spasmodic force, when injured by particles of 

•tist, &c 6, the orbicularis oris., surro'u jing the mouth • its chief 

*e is to contract the (m* 




Plate XV.— the digastric muscle. 

Fig. 1 and 2. The digastric muscle has its origin, a, at the 
lower part of the temporal bone ; it runs downwards and for- 
wards, and forms a strong, round tendon, 6, which passes 
through a perforation in the stylo-hyoideus muscle, /; it is 
then fixed by a strong ligament, c, to the os hyoides, d; it 
again becomes fleshy, runs upwards, and is inserted into, e, the 
chin. This description differs from Dr. Paley's, and it will be 
found by reference to dissections or the plate that the os hy- 
oides furnishes a stay or brace instead of a pulley, and that the 
loop or ring is in the stylo-hyoideus fttogulei. 






Fig. 1. a, the tendon of the long flexor of the toes, which divides 
about the middle of the foot into four portions, passing through the 
slits in, 6, the shori flexor tendons. Fig. 2. explains a similar cou- 
trivaiice belonging to each finger: a, a tendon of the^exor sublimis ; 
6, a tendon of the flexor profundus, passing through it. 

Fig. 3. a, 6, tendons of the extensor muscles of the toes; c.a 
tendon of a flexor of the foot. These are bound down and retain- 
ed in situ by, e, the annular ligament of the instep, which consists 
of two distinct cross bands, going from the outer ankle tc the innui 
ankle and neighbouring bones. 

Ff * 353 


Plate XVII. — the heart. 

Fig. 1. A section of the human heart ; a, a, the s ipenor and in 
ferior vena cava, the > eins which convey the blood to the. 6, right 
auricle ; and thence into, c, the corresponding ventricle ; from this 
ventricle the blood is impelled through, e, the pulmonary aiiery, in- 
to the lungs ; and returning hyff, the pxdmonary veins, it is receiv- 
ed into, g, the left aur'cle ; it flows next into, h, the le/l ventricle ; 
which by its contract on distributes the blood through the general 
arterial system: — j, the aorta, the great artery which transmits 
blood to the different paits of the body, from whence it is returned 
by veins to the cavai ; k, the right subclavian ; I, the right carotid 
arteries, originating from one common trunk ; m, the left carotid ; 
n, the left subclavian ; d, the valves of the right ; i, the vaives of 
the left ventricle. 

Fig. 2. The valves of the right side (tricuspid valves) separated 
from the heart ; a, a, a, the carnace columnm, or muscular fibres of 
the valves ; b, b, b, the chorda tendincm, or tendinous filaments which 
are attached to, c, the valves. 

Fio. 3. Exhibits the artery cut open with the form of the semilu- 
nar valves. 

Fig. 4. A portion of the artery filled, showing how effectually 
the valves prevent the retrograde motion of the blood in the aorta 
and pulmonary artery. 

Fig. 5, 6. A section of a cutting and grinding tooth, showing 
the apertures at the root and the cavities for the vessels and nerves, 
which supply the bony part of the te^th, the enamel not being ar 
organized substance. 



k 1 




Flats XVIII. — the stomach, gall-bladder, &«. 

Fio. 1. a. the stomach; 6, the cardia ; c, the pylorus. The gastric 
,uice is a secretion derived from the inner membrane of the stom- 
ich, and digestion is principally performed by it. In the various 
orders of animated beings it differs, being adapted to the food on 
vvhich they are accustomed to subsist. The food, when properly 
nasticated, is dissolved by the gastric fluid, and converted into 
hymt ; so that most kinds of the ingesta lose their specific qualities • 
dnd the chemical changes to which they would otherwise be liable, 
as putridity and rancidity, &c. are thus prevented. 

In this plate, h, the liver is turned up, in order to show the gall' 
bladder which is attached to its concave surface ; rf, the duodenum; 
e, part of the small intestines ; f, the pancreas ; and g, ihe spleen. 

Fig. 2. Explains the several ducts and their communication with 
the duodenum; a, the gall-bladder ; 6, the ductus cysticus; vvhich 
uniting with, c, the ductus hepaticus, forms, rf, the ductus communis ; 
which, after passing between the muscular and inner coats of the 
intestine, opens into it at c. f, the pancreatic duct. The bile is said 
to become more viscid, acrid, and bitter, from the thinner parts being 
aheorl>ed during its retention in the gall-bladder. 



Pirate XIX. — the lacteals, and thoracic duct. 

The figure in this plate represents the course of the food, from its 
ei- ranee at the mouth to its assimilation with the blood ; a, the oesoph- 
agus, extending from the pharynx to, 6, the stomach ; where the ali- 
mentary matter, having undergone the digestive process, is converted 
into chyme, a soft, homogeneous sulistance, and escapes at c, the py- 
lorus, into, d, the intestines. In this plate a large portion of the lat- 
ter is spread out to show a |>art of the absorbent system, called lac- 
teals : these collect and imbibe the chyle, or milky juice from the 
chyme, and transmit it through e, e, the mesenteric glands, into one 
general receptacle, f, (receptaculum chyli,) from which, g, the tho- 
racic duct ascends in a more or less tortuous direction to the lower 
vertebrae of the neck, and after forming an arch, it descends and 
enters h, the left subclavian vein, at the point where that vein is 
united with the internal jugular. The absorbents of the right side 
frequently form a trunk, wliicV ei.V;rs :i^e right subclavian vein. 





Plate XX. — the parotid olahd. 

Fie. 1. A dissection to exhibit the parotid gland. 

Fig. 2. Explains the former; a, a, the integuments turned back | 
b, the parotid gland ; c, its pipe or duct passing over the masseter 
then perforating, </, the buccinator muscle, and opening into the 
mouth opposite the second molar tooth. The flow of saliva intc 
the mouth is incessant, and it is one of tl*e most useful digestive 
fluids. It is favorable to the maceration and division of the food, 
it assists it in deglu ition and transformation into chyme ; it also 
renders more easy the motions of the tongue in speech and 

Gg* 365 


Plate XXI. — the larynx. 

Fig. 1 The larynx, pharynx, &c. a, the os hyoides, ft, the epiglottu 
pressed down, thus covering the glottis, or opening of the larynx ,♦ 
as it does in the act of deglutition. 

Fig. 2. Exhibits the larynx, and trachea; which is a continua- 
tion of the former; ft, the epiglottis ; g, the arytenoid cartilages ; e 
the thyroid cartilage, exceedingly strong, for the protection of the 
upper part of the air tube ; d, the cartilaginous ringlets of the trachea 
or wind-pipe, each forming nearly two-thhds of a circle, and com 
pleted by £ a soft membrane, which, from its apposition to, e, Fig. 
1, the cesopJiagus, accommodates itself to tne substances passing 
into the stomach. 

Fig. 3. The larynx or upper part of the wind-pipe of a bird 
This is called the inferior larynx, where the vocal organ is formed 
by a compression of the trachea, for it is here contracted into a 
narrow chink, and divided into two openings by a slender bone, 
or tense membrane, which, in producing sounds, resembles the 
mechanism of a musical instrument. In the plate this part of the 
larynx is a little turned up to show the tendinous band at this ex- 
tremity stretched across it, which is furnished from the surrounding 
parts with muscles to modulate the tone. 




lii L ltlMHI! 

Plate XXII. — package of the viscera, and mesentery. 

Fig 1. In this plate the parietes of the chest and abdomen, with 
the omentum, are removed to show the viscera in situ; a, the 
heart; b, the aorta; c, the descending vena cava; d, the lungs divi- 
ded by the mediastinum into two portions ; three lobes belong to 
the right, and two to the left portion of the lungs; e, the diaphragm, 
ir that muscle which separates the thorax from the abdomen ; f, the 
liver ; g, the gall-bladder ; h, the stomach ; i, the spleen ; k, the large 
intestines ; I, the small intestines ; m, the bladder. 

The viscera of the thorax and abdomen, i. e. the viscera of or- 
ganic life, are irregidarly disposed. The agents of volition are 
double, but the histruments of involuntary motion, namely, the in- 
terior life, are single, and at least are irregular in their form. 

The several viscera are correctly described in the Theology, and 
sufficient is said for the purposes for which they are introduced. 
To the supposed use of the spleen only an objection must be taken : 
various hypotheses have been entertained as to its office, but none 
are conclusive; the most probable is, that it is a source of supply 
of blood for furnishing the gastric secretion, or that the blood un- 
dergoes some important change in it. 

Fig. 2. The mesentery. This membrane is formed by a reflec- 
tion of the peritonaeum from each side of the vertebrae ; it connects 
the intestines loosely to the spine, to allow them a certain degree 
of motion, yet retains them in their places; and furnishes their ex- 
terior covering. Between the lamina? of, a, the mesentery, are re- 
ceived the glands, vessels, and nerves ; and its extent admits of a 
prober distribution of each. 


Plate XX11L — nerves of the bill of a duck, valvule 


Fig. 1. The upper mandible of the duck, on which are distri- 
buted the first and second branches of the fifth pair of nerves; the 
former passing through the orbit to the extremity of the bill, and, 
together with the latter, supplying the whole palatine surface. 
This gustatory sensibility is the more necessary to those races ot 
birds called palmipedes, such as penguins, the wild goose, ducks, 
fee. and the gralla?, such as water-hens, curlews, woodcocks, &c. 
their sight being of no assistance to them in finding their prey in 
the mire. 

Fig. 2. A small portion of the human intestine cut open in 
order to show the valvxdcR conniventes. It may be questioned, 
whether these extremely soft rugse or folds of the villous coat of 
the intestine can in the least retard the passage of the food through 
its canal ; nor does the erect attitude of man require them ; for, 
since there are as many of the convolutions of the intestines ascend- 
ing as there are descending, the weight of the food can have no in- 
fluence in the action of the intestine : it is certain, however, that 
this arrangement of the internal coat, affords a more extensive sur- 
face for the lacteals and secreting vessels ; and this appeal^ to be the 
real use of the valvidrE conniventes. 

Fig. 3. The air-bladder in the roach. This vessel differs in size 
and shape, in different species of fish ; generally communicating, 
by one or more ducts, either with the oesophagas or stomach ; by 
which means the fish receives or expels the air, thus sinking or 
rising without effort: but as some are destitute of this organ, it is 
considered as an accessary instrument of motion. Such fish live 
almost uniformly at the bottom of the water. 

Fig. 4. The head of a viper of the natural size. 

Fig. 5. The Jang magnified, at the root of which is the gland 
w.iich secretes the venom : a hair is represented in the tube through 
which the poison is ejected. 

Fig. 6, 7 See note, o. 126. 





Plate XXIV. — the opossum. 

Fig. 1. The American opossum ; (didelphis marsupialis Virginia' 
uu) The body of the animal is of a grayish yellow color, some 
iairs entirely Mark, with others entirely white ; the tail furnished 
with scales ; the hands, nose, and ear* naked. The female has the 
whole length of the belly cleft or siit, and appears like a person's 
waistcoat buttoned only at the top and bottom. This cavity the 
animal has the power of firmly closing. Within are thirteen teats, 
extremely small, one in the centre, and the rest ranged round it. 

Fie. 2. One of ?h<* young of the opossum. 

Fig. 3. The j>elvis of the opossum; a, a, the two bones (ossa 
mvrsupialia) placed on the anterior pan called the ossa pubis. 

The kangaroo and several other animals of New Holland have 
a similar structure. 

Hh* 377 


Plate XXV. — claw or the heron, and bill or the solanjj 


Via 1. The middle aaw of the heron. 

Fig. 2. The head of the Soland goose, [pelicanus bassanus) drawn 
from a specimen in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. This oird 
inhabits the coldest parts of Great Britain, more especially the north- 
em isles of Scotland. The inhabitants of St. Kilda make it their 
principal article of food, and are said to consume annually nea 
90,OCO vcung birds, beside an amazing quantity of eggs. 




Plate XXVI. — stomach of the camel. 

The figure in this plate exhibits the cells in the stomach of the 
camel, from a preparation in the museum of the Royal College 
of Surgeons, London. In the camel, dromedary, and lama, 
there are four stomachs, as in horned ruminants ; but the struc- 
ture, in some respects, differs from those of the latter. The 
camel tribe have in the first and second stomach numerous 
cells, several inches deep, formed by bands of muscular fibres 
crossing each other at right angles ; these are constructed so 
as to retain the water, and completely exclude the food. In a 
camel dissected by Sir E. Home, the cells of the stomach were 
found to contain two gallons of water; but in consequence of 
the muscular contraction, which had taken place immediately 
after death, he was led to conclude this was a quantity much 
less than these cavities were capable of receiving in the living 
animal. See Lectures on Comparative Anatomy, by Sir E. 
Home, vol. i. p. 168. 

Mr. Bruce states, in his Travels, that he procured four gal- 
lons of water from a camel, which from necessity he slaugh- 
tered in Upper Egypt. 


Plate XXVII. — tongue of the woodpecker, and skull 9 


Fig. 1. The head of the woodpecker, (picus viridis.) 

Fig. 2. The tongue, the natural size. 

Fig. 3. The claw of the same bird, referred to in Chap. V. 

Fig. 4. The skull of the babyrouessa, from a specimen in th« 
Anatomy School, Christ Church, Oxford. 

This animal is nearly the size of the common hog, and instead of 
bristles, is covered w ith fine short and woolly hair, of a deep brown 
or black color, ft is also distinguished by the extraordinary position 
and form of the upper tusks, which are not situated on the eAge of 
the jaw, as ir. ^ther animals, but are placed externally, perforating 
the skin of the snout, ana turning upwards towards the forehead. 

The babyrouessa is found in large herds in many parts of Java 
Amboina, and other Indian islands, and feeds on vegetable* 





Plate XXVIII. — temporary and permanent teeth. 

t io. 1. The gums and outer plate of the bone are removed 
sf\>wing the teeth of the infant, as they exist at the time of its birth 
they are without roots, and contained in a capsule within the jawa 

Fig. 2. In this figure, also, the outer alveolar plate of the jaws 
has been removed to show the succession of teeth. This is the 
state at six years of age. The temporary teeth are all shed between 
the ages of seven and fourteen, and are supplied by the permanent 
teeth already nearly perfectly formed, and situated at the roots of 
the former. 

B* 389 


Plate XXIX. — foramen ovale, and ductus * fo*eAiosus 

Fig. 1. A view of the faBtal heart; a, the ascendiag. 6, the de- 
fending vena cava ; c, the right auricle; </, e, f, marc tiie elevated 
ring of the foramen ovale, or the opening between tta two auricles. 

Fig. % The foetal heart ; a, the pulmonary artery ; 6, 6, its 
branches ; c, the ductus arteriosus, or canal for transmitting the blood 
into, d, the aorta. As the lungs are useless in the foetus, unless aa 
a ** prospective contrivance," the heart has to cany on a single cir- 
culation only : the free communication between the two auricles 
identities tnem as one cavity ; and u.*i ventricles a)*** force the 
hlood into one ve*wR». ihe acrta. 





Plate XXX. — fore extremity of the mole — he id of thf 



Fig. 1. Is the fore extremity of the mole ; a, the os humeri, is po- 
cnliar, not only for its shortness, but in being articulated by b, one head 
to the scapula, and by c, another to the clavicle ; it is altogether of such a 
nature as tc turn the palm outwards for working. 

The foot, or we may name it the hand, has eleven bones in the carput 
or wrist, whxh is two more than the carpus of man. One cf which, d t 
is remarkable, and from its shape is called the falciform bone; it givel 
the shovel form to the hand. 

Fig. 2. The head of the Elephant. 

Fig. 3. and 4. The digitated extremity of the proboscis. 

Fig. 5. A transverse section of the proboscis, showing, a, a, the two 
tubes or nostrils. Between the external integuments and the tubes are 
two sets of small muscles ; an inner one running in a transverse, and an 
outward one in a longitudinal direction : b, b, the transverse faciculi of 
muscles, some of which run across the proboscis, others in a radiated, and 
some in an oblique direction : c, c, the radiated, and d, d, the oblique fi- 
bres approximate the skin and the tubes, without contracting the cavity of 
the latter. The others, which pass across the proboscis, contract both 
the surface of the organ, and the canals it contains ; they can, at the same 
time, elongate the whole or a part of it : e, e, the longitudinal faciculi, 
forming four large muscles, which occupy all the exterior of the organ. 

Fig. 6. The extended wings of the bat. Ostrologically considered, 
they are hands, the bony stretches of the membrane being tho finger 
bones extremely elongated : a, a, the thumb, is short, and armed with a 
nooked nail, which these animals make use of to hang by, and to creep. 
The hind feet are weak, and have toes of equal length, armed also with 
hooked nails ; the membrane constituting the wing, is continued from the 
feet to the tail. 

Fig. 7. The upper mandible of the parrot, which is articulated with 
the cranium by an elastic ligament, admitting of a considerable degree 
of motion. 

Fig. 8. An eye compounded of a number of lenses. The eyes of in- 
ects differ widely from vertebrated animals, by being incapable of mo- 
tion ; the compensation, therefore, is a greater number of eyes, or an eye 
compounded of a number of lenses. Hook computed the lenses in a 
horse-fly to amount to 7,000, and Leuwenhoek found the almost incredi 
ble number of 12,000 in the dragon-fly. 

Fig. 9. The eyes of a spider, drawn frcm nature. The number ol 
eyes in insects varies from two to sixteen. The spider here referrea to 
answers the description of the garden spider. (Epeira Diadema,) the 
eyes of which are planted on three tur ercles, fttw on the central one, an4 
two on each side of the lateral ones. 


Plate XXXI. — the chameleon, and intestine of the 


Fit*. 1. The chameleon, drawn from one of the species preserved 
'n the Anatomy School, Christ Church, Oxford. The eyes of tnia 
creature are veiy peculiar: they are remarkably large, and project 
more than half their diameter. They are covered with a single 
eye-lid, with a small opening in it opposite the pupil. The eye-lid ia 
granulated like every part of the surface of the body, with tins differ- 
ence, over the eye the granulations are disposed it) concentric circles 
which form folds in that part to which the eye is turned : and aa 
the lid is attached to the front of the eye, so it follows all its move- 
ments. The neck is not "inflexible," but its shortness, and the 
structure of the cervical vertebra? exceedingly limit the motion ; 
this, however, is admirably compensated by the not less singular 
local position than motion of the eye, as the animal can see behind, 
before, or on either side, without turning the head. 

Fig. 2. The spiral intestine of the sea-fox ctit open ; taken from 
a preparation in the museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, 
London. The sea-fox is not, as Paley supposes, a "quadruped ;" 
but a species of shark, (squalus vulpes.) The convoluted intestinal 
rube is also found in some other genera offish. In this specimen 
the internal membrane is converted into a spiral valve, having 
'hiily-six coils ; so that the alimentary substances, instead of passing 
speedily away, by proceeding round the turns of the valve, traverse 
i very considerable circuit: an extensive surface for the absorbents 
is thus provided. 

Fig. 3. The spiral valve removed, showing the mode of its 




2 a 

Plate XXXII. — the wings of the beetle, awl, stins of 


Fig. 1. Is an instance of the horny and gauze wings in one of 
the most heautiful of the beeile class of this country, the cetonia 
aurata, or rose chafer; showing the expanded elytra, a, a: the true 
wings, 6, b. 

Elytra are the wing covers of all the coleoptera order. They 
are frequently grooved, and curiously ornamented, in some spe- 
cies with scaly variegations of metallic lustre, as in the diamond 
oeetle, and some species of Buprestis. One of the latter, of extra- 
ordinary brilliancy, forms an object in the "Cabinet of Beauty " 
in the Ashmolean Museum. The use of the elytra is to protect the 
wings and body ; and they are of some assistance in flying. 

Fig. 2, A specimen of the elytra covering half the body in the 
tar-wig, (forficula auricularia:) one of the elytra is extended, and 
the membranous wing unfolded ; showing the numerous diverging 
nenmres, or "muscular tendons," which run in horny tubes, to keep 
the wing extended, a, a, antenna usually consist of a number of tu- 
bular joints, with a free motion in each, enabling the insect to give 
them every necessary flexure; they vary in number and in shape 
in the various orders, and are covered with hair, down, or bristles, 
frequently elegant and diversified, as every one may observe. En- 
tomologists conceive, that the antenna?, by a peculiar structure, 
may collect notices from the atmosphere, receive vibrations, and 
communicate them to the sensorium, which, though not precisely 
to be called hearing, is something analogous to it, or may answei 
that purpose. 

Fig. 3. The awl of the oestrum bovis, or gad-fy, highly magni- 
fied. It is formed of corneous substance, consisting of four joints, 
which slip into each other: the last of these terminate in five 
points, three of which are longer than the others, and are hooked : 
when united, they form an instrument like an auger or gimlet, 
with which the skin is pierced in a few seconds. 

Fig. 4. One of the hooks. 

Fig. 5. The sting of a bee, drawn from nature as it appears ny 
means of a magnifier of very high powers: a, a, a, a, the appara- 
tus for projecting the sting ; b, the exterior, c, the interior sheath of, 
a\ the true sting, which is divided into two parts barbed at the sides 
e, the bag which contains the poison. 

Fig. G. The proboscis of a bee extended , a, a, the case oi 
sheath ; b, the tube ; c, the exterior; d, the interior fringes; e, the 
tongue ; /, f, the exterior, g, g, the interior paipi. 

Fig. 7. The appearance of the proboscis when contracted, anc 
folded up. 

Fig. 8. The head of a butterfly, showing the coiled prol-wcis 

Via. 9. Ovipositor of the buprestis 

Kk* 401 

Plate XXXIII. — silk secretors of the silkworm— spiw 




Fig. 1. The organs for forming the silk consist of two long vessel* 
They unite to form the spinneret (fusulus) through which the larva draw 
ihe silken thread employed in fabricating its cocoon, a, a, the silk bags 
b, the spinneret. 

Fig. 2. The web of spiders is also a kind of silk, remarkable for its 
lightness and tenuity; it is spun from four or six anal spinnerets, the fluic 
matter forming the web being secreted in adjacent vessels, a, b, c, d 
the spinnerets. 

Fig. 3. Panorpa communis, (Linn.) is an insect frequently seen h 
meadows during the early part of summer. It is a long-bodied fly, 
of moderate size, with four transparent wings, elegantly variegated with 
deep brown spots. 

Fig. 4. The female glow-worm. 

Fig. 5. The male of the same insect. 

Fig. 6. The larva of some dragon-flies (ceshra and libellula, F.) swim 
by strongly ejecting water from the anus. By first taking in the water, 
and then expelling it, they are enabled to swim. This may be seen by 
putting one of these larva into a plate with water. We find that while 
the animal moves forward, a currant of water is produced by this pump- 
ing in a contrary direction. Sometimes it will raise its tail out of tht 
water, when a stream of water issues from it. 

Fig. 7. The spiracula, or breathing pores of insects, are small ori 
hces in the trunk or abdomen, opening into a canal called the trachea , 
by which the air enters the body, or is expelled from it. In the larvae or 
caterpillars, a trachea runs on each side of the body, under the skin, and 
generally opens e^mally by nine or ten apertures or spiraculae ; from 
these the same number of air-vessels of a silver color pass off to be dis- 
persed through the body, a, a, spiracula ; b> 6, trachea. 

Fig. 8. The pupae of gnats suspend themselves on the surface of the 
«vater, by two auriform respiratory organs on the anterior part of the trunk, 
their abdomen being then folded under the breast ; when disposed to de- 
scend, the animal unfolds it, and with sudden strokes whk:h she givet 
with it and her anal swimmers to the water, she swims from right to 
left, as well as upwards and downwards, with the greatest ease. 

Fig. 9. This is a well known fly, (stratyonis chamcsleon, F.) cha- 
meleon fly. In its first state it inhabits the water, and often remains 
supported by its radiated tail, consisting of beautiful feathered hairs or 
plumes, on the surface, with its head downwards. But when it is dis- 
posed to seek the bottom or to descend, the radii of the tail is formed into 
a concavity including in it an air bubble ; this is its swim bladder, and by 
the bending of its body from righ to left, contracting itself into the form 
of the letterS, and then extend ng itself <<gaii» into a straight line, it 
moves itself in any direction. 






Plate XXXIV. — the capsule, pistil, stamina, 


Fig. 1. The capsule or seed-vessel of the poppy: (papaver 
Bomniferum :) it is divided to exhibit its internal structure. 

Fig. 2. Is an instance of an erect flower, the agave Amer- 
icana in which the pistil is shorter than the stamina, a, the 
pistil; 6, the stigma; c, the stamina, ; d, the antherse. 

Fig. 3. A flower of the crown-imperial. The relative 
length of the parts is now inverted, a, the pistil, 6, the 

Fig. 4. A blossom of the nigella. 

Fig. 5. A grain of barley, showing the plumule and radiclt 
growing from it. 



Plate XI IX 1 " — vallisnfria. 

F^*. 1. Valisneria spiralis. The female plant, tfcc ft WWi &f 
vhich are purple. This is drawn from a specimen in the posses- 
ion of Dr. Ogle. 

Fig. 2. The male plant, producing white flowers ; these when 
nature rise like air bubhles, and suddenly expanding when they 
each the surface of the water, float about in such abundance as to 
wover it entirely. " Thus their pollen is scattered over the stigmas 
% the first mentioned blossoms, whose stalks soon afterwards re- 
9 .me their spiral figure, and the fruit comes to maturity at the bet 
joi of the water." 

v w. 3. One of the separated mate flowers magnified. 


Plate XXXVI. — cuscuta suropjsa. 

This plant is a native of England, and is found in hedges, on 
clover, or on beans, where it provrs exceedingly injurious to the 
crop. It flowers from June to August. The drawing was taken 
from a specimen which grew in the Physic Gardens, Oxford. It 
is represented twining about some nettles, on which it annually 
attaches itself. 

u Of all the parasitical plants, the dodder (cuscuta) tribe are the 
most singular, trusting for their nourishment entirely to those veg- 
etables about which they twine, and into whose tender bark they 
insert small villous tubercles serving as roots, the original root of 
the dodder withering away entirely, as soon as the young stem lias 
fixed itself to any other plant; so that its connexion with the earth 
a cut ofE " English Botany, p. 55. 



Plate XXXVII. — the autumnal crocus. 

The coichicum autumnale. This plant before us exhil its a mods 
of fructification scarcely paralleled among British vegetables. The 
flowers appearing very late in autumn, the impregnated germen 
remains latent under ground close to the bulb till the following 
spring, when the capsule rises above the surface accompanied by 
several long upright leaves, and the seeds are ripened about June, 
after which the leaves decay. See British Botany, vol. i. p. 133. 
The plant is represented as it appears in spring ; the root is divided 
to show the seed vessel near the bulb. The flower is remarkable 
for the length of its tube. 






Plate XXXVIII. — the dionjea muscipcla. 

r rhe dionaa muscipula, or Venus's fly-trap. Some parts of this 
plant are so remarkable as to deserve a particular description. It is 
a native of North Carolina; the root perennial; leaves all radical, 
supported on long fleshy and strongly veined footstalks, leaving a 
small portion of this next the leaf naked : the leaf itself consists of 
two semi-oval lobes jointed at the back, so as to allow them to fold 
close together ; they cire fleshy, and when viewed through a lense 
glandular, sometimes of a reddish color on the upper surface ; the 
sides of both lobes are furnished with a row of cartilaginous ciliae 
which stand nearly at right angles with the surface of the leaf, and 
lock into each other when they close. Near the middle of each lobe 
are three small spines, which are supposed to assist in lestroying 
the entrapped insect. In warm weather me lobes are fully expanded 
and highly irritable, and if a fly or other insect at this time light 
upon them they suddenly close, and the poor animal is impiisoned 
till it dies. See Curtis's Botanical Magazine, No. 785. 



Plate XXXJX. — astkohomt. 

Fig. i, 2. The remarkable ring which surrounts the planet 

Fig. 3. The earth an ob'itf/; spheroid. See note, p. 217. 

Fig. 4. See note, p. 2U) 

Fig. 5. See note, p. 221 1 

Fie. 6. Centripetal forces illustrated. See notes, pp. 219, 256* 



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