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vail in one county from that which is followed in another, without any attending circumstances that could authorise a difference, the one of which is much better than the other, and prevented from being made universal, merely by ignorance and established custom. Such ignorance ought to be removed; and on that account I am eager to mention the practice that prevails in London in carrying burdens, by which not only the danger of injuring the health of the labourer is removed, but also a man can with ease carry a burden a half heavier than he could by the Edinburgh mode; it is simply thus:
A firm cushion stuffed with straw in the form of a crescent, the two horns joined by a piece of belt, is put on the fhoulders, the joining belt being passed over the forehead to prevent the whole from slipping off. The cushion being as deep as the height of the head and neck, the whole weight of the burden rests upon it, and of course ultimately on the shoulders, whilst the man stands nearly erect, (the position in which he has the most carrying strength,) and the head remains unhurt. This very simple and efficacious instrument, the London porters' call a knot; and in my opinion it ought to be recommended to all persons carrying burdens, and particularly to the baker's apprentices.
But if the porters in London discover more judgement than those of Edinburgh, the Leith carters on the other hand excel those of London in a still higher degree; for there can be no doubt, that a single man with a poor horse not worth ten pounds, and a lig Leith cart, will perform as much, I would even ven
ture to say more work, in a day, than a lubberly London carter with his huge waggon and three horses like elephants, can do; as could be easily demonstrated were it not for taking up too much of your
It is by thus comparing the practice of the people in one part of the country, with that of another, in things that are common to both, that the mind of a sensible man is enlarged by travelling; and in this way it may prove useful even to Edinburgh Aug. 1793.
A CITY TRAVELLER.
THOUGHTS ON WHAT IS CALLED VARIETIES, OR DIF
FERENT BREEDS OF DOMESTIC ANIMALS, SUGGEST-
THESE observations may tend to explain in some measure the cause of a fact that has been often noted, but never, that I know of, accounted for; viz. that animals in a w ld state, preserve in general, a great uniformity of colour, and are little diversified in appearance, whereas among domesticated animals, a much greater variety is observable in the colour and appearance of the individuals of the same kind.
This phenomenon I think may be thus explained. when an individual of an uncommon colour or ap. pearance chances to be produced, especially for the first time, among a race of domestic animals, which before that period were generally uniform, it would
be looked upon as a great curiosity, it would of course be valued-preserved with care-and its descendants, if bearing marks of the same sort, also preserved. A male and female of this kind being once obtained, this diversified breed would be perpetuated; and these afterwards intermingling with others, would destroy the uniformity of appearance of the wild breed. Another diversity of colour or appearance, being in the same way selected, this also would occasion fresh room for new diversities. By a similar mode of selection, continued for ages, some persons fancying one variety, and some another, it must at last happen that the diversities will become so numerous, as that the original breed can scarcely be distinguished from the others.
Now, although similar accidental diversities of an individual, sometimes occur in a state of nature, these, for the reasons above afsigned, are quickly lost; and the general breed continues unvaried. That such diversities sometimes do occur among wild animals, is well known by every collector of natural curiosities. I have myself seen a blackbird, T. merula, of a milk white colour, that was shot in a wild state. I once saw a rook mottled black and white, exactly like a magpie, among a great flock of others. I have seen a tame white mouse; and a whole nest of young mice were once brought to me, consisting of ten or twelve, which were either white or mottled, and I think few or none of them were entirely of the ordinary mouse colour. This I presume had been the progeny of a mouse probably pure white, with a mate of the usual colour. If among this nestling,
Oct. 16. there were a male and a female pure white, there is little room to doubt but a breed of white mice, might have been procreated, if these had been shut up together. I was at that time so much hurt by the ravages of mice, that I was glad to get them all destroyed, so that no experiment was made of it; I have since regretted it was not done; and this shows exactly what may be expected to be done among domestic animals, and what does actually happen among wild animals, in cases of this kind. Probably no marks of the white black bird, or of the pied rook, were preserved among the progeny, or they would be soon absorbed in the general mass.
Another circumstance that may occasion a diversity among domestic animals, which has not been much attended to, though individuals must have, on many occasions, remarked it is, that though the family likeness, if you please, or the distinguishing peculiarity of the breed, will sometimes be totally wanting in one individual of the breed, yet there is a tendency to revert to it; and it will often happen that the progeny of that accidental* variety, will resemble the parent stock more than the immediate parent himself. A man, for example, who, from a casual individual deviation, bears no resemblance to his father, may have a child that is the exact picture of its grandfather. In like manner a horse, which has been casually black, though descended from a breed, the general colour of which is white or grey, may
*We call accidental such circumstances as we cannot account for in matters of this sort.
produce a grey or white foal, even from a black mare. Instances of this kind sometimes occur; but these are matters not worth pursuing farther at pre
The diversities that man may thus artificially produce in the animal creation, may be not unaptly compared to many of those produced among vegetables, by attentive observation and careful selection, nearly of the same kind. It often happens, that the leaves of a tree or plant, from the operation of some cause that eludes our search, become either wholly part blotched, or stained with stripes of white or yellow or red, in various ways. If plants having these peculiarities are multiplied, either by parting the roots, by cuttings, by buds, or by layers, as the nature of the plant admits, the peculiarities are often preserved, without variation, for any length of time; and thus a new variety is produced, which never would have propagated its kind so as to perpetuate it, but for the attention and care of the cultivator*. In this manner are our nurseries and gardens filled
It frequently happens among plants, that a single branch or twig only is thus blotched in the parént stock, while all the rest of the plant retains its original colour; and it is well known that if the coloured branch, and that of the natural hue, be both separately propagated they each for the most part retain the colour and qualities of the parent branch from which they were taken.
The diversities in this respect are various. I have just now in my possession, a plant of the scarlet Lychnis vulgò, LICHNIS Chalcedonica, obtained from seeds, a variety of a white colour. This if propagated by slips, preserves its variety; but at the present time it is in flower, and having several stems, one of these has showed itself of a red col our, though it is only a branch from a larger stem, all the other flowers <f which are white.