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It was my first design to glance over these remaining sections, and endeavour to express my opinion of their merit. But the task is arduous, and it becomes necefsary for me to decline it. It was my chief design to excite a spirit of popular curiosity concerning Buchanan's original poems. For since Ruddiman's edition in 1715, they have not, as far as I can learn, been published in this country.
J. T. C.
To the Editor
of the Bee.
THE instinct of animals is an inexhaustible theme. By instinct, I mean that powerful propensity impressed by nature, on the minds of animate objects, by which they are, without deliberation, impelled to adopt measures for the propogation and preservation of the species. It seems to be only incidentally connected with the reasoning powers. Instinct is often found to be strongest in animals whose reasoning powers are of the weakest sort. Among animals which possess the power of reason in a strong degree, especially those who have superadded to that, the faculties which we call imagination, and sensibility, the natural instincts are frequently so far overborne and modified by these, as to be in some measure obliterated in them. Hence it is, that of all the animals with which we are acquainted, the natural instincts of man, unless it be in mere infancy, are the least perceptible; and his propensities of course, the most vanous. The human instincts are controuled by reason, and influenced by imagination, and swayed by the sympathetic affections, to
such a degree, as often to afsume a direction totally different, in one person, from what they do in another, in the same circumstances. There are only a very few cases in which the instincts of man operate invariably in the same manner on all the species.
The instincts of animals always act the most invariably in regard, 1st, To the immediate preservation of life, by means of food; 2dly, the propogation of the species; 3dly, the care of the young; and 4thly, the guarding against external injury. In the first instance, man is nearly on a footing with other animals; in the second, he deviates from them in several particulars, owing to the influence of the moral principle, and the other faculties above alluded to, controuling, and modifying the mere animal instinct. In the third case, the difference between man and other animals is exceeding great; and in the last case, man so far excells all other animals, as to have subjected the whole animate creation to his sway, and compelled them to minister to his wants in a thousand various ways.
The instinct of animals, as it operates for the preservation of their young, has ever appeared the most interesting to man, because it seems to indicate that they pofsefs a certain fhare of that delicate sensation which we have denominated sensibility. This sensation in man is so intimately connected with the power of the imagination, which, when vigorous, is productive of such inexpressible delight to the mind, that he is disposed, involuntarily, to attribute the same kind of sensation to mere animals, in this instance, that he himself feels in a similar situation. "There seems,
however, to be great reason to believe that here he judges without sufficient reason, for, as in the intercourse of the sexes, except in the human species, and pairing animals, mere animal gratification is blindly pursued without selection of objects; so in the care of the young, a similar animal instinct appears to operate with the same irresistable power for a short time, after which short period it totally, and entirely subsides, without ever being farther recognised, unless when it happens accidentally to be connected, as it in some cases is, with the gregarious instinct. The eagle nourishes its young with the most sedulous care, and defends them from insult at the hazard of its life without the smallest hesitation; but in a few months, he drives them from his own rock, with furious blows; nor ever from that period recognizes them more. The lionefs, in like manner, suckles her young with the most tender solicitude: in their defence exposes herself to every danger, and denies herself the morsel when pinched for hunger, that her young may enjoy an abundant repast; but in a few months fhe drives them from her den, nor ever after takes the smallest notice of them nor their concerns.
The same temporary fury, if I may adopt that phrase, operates even upon the most timid animals in defence of their young. The cow, in her native state, becomes a most desperate afsailant of every animal that approaches her calf; even the sheep, the meekest of all animals, will butt at the dog, or any other creature that approaches her lamb; the will fiercely turn upon them, and, with a determined aspect, stamp with her feet, and threaten the afsailant; an
exertion that the timid ewe never is capable of in her own defence. In a fhort time, however, the lamb is lost in the flock, and the mother soon knows it no
The love of children, and the consequent exertions for their preservation, seems to be so intimately connected with the finer feelings of the human mind, that we can scarcely divest ourselves of the idea that those animals which discover a very strong attachment for their young are of a superior cast, in point of understanding, to others. But this conjecture seems to be ill founded. The common hen is one of the most stupid, and in consequence of that stupidity, one of the most indocile animals we know. She can be taught to come upon a call, in hopes of getting food, and this seems to be the utmost stretch of her docility. She is not only a stupid, but a timid animal in general; but when she has her young brood to take care of, fhe becomes furious in their defence; no danger will alarm her, nor can any force make her abandon her young: If they are dispersed, fhe flies around them like a fury, endeavouring to collect them, and drive off the annoying objects; fhe may be hurt, fhe may be maimed, the may be driven off for a moment, but will not abandon them; fhe always returns to the charge, nor can fhe, while in life, be made to desert them. If her brood be under her wings, fhe will sit quietly on some occasions, and suffer any distress rather than subject her young fry to insult. I once saw a hen, in this situation, attacked by another brood mother, that had sat quietly above her young till the other had deliberately picked a hole through her skull, into the very brain. Yet this VOL. vii. M
Jan. 18, stupid animal, which is so resolute during a short period, in defence of her young, abandons them entirely in a few weeks, nor ever afterwards seems to have the smallest attachment to, or even recollection of them. Nor is this animal instinct, in favour of their young, peculiarly vivid in those creatures that are of a mild and inoffensive disposition, as we would naturally expect hould be the case. We might indeed expect that the most ravenous carnivorous animals would be the boldest, when attacked, in defence of their young; because this seems congenial to the natural disposition of such animals; but we would not expect that they should be strongly affected with grief at their misfortunes, or mourn over them after their death. The hen is as furious in defence of her young as any animal can be ; but when a chicken is once dead, the abandons it with as much seeming unconcern as if it were a clod of clay. Her care extends to its defence only while it is in life, nor does the seem to be sensible of any pain it may suffer. This is not the case with the bear. The great white bear of Nova Zembla is a carnivorous animal, and one of the most intrepid that is known on the globe.
A few years since, the crew of a boat belonging to a fhip in the whale fishery shot at a bear, at a fhort distance, and wounded it. The animal immediately set up the most hideous yells, and ran along the ice towards the boat. Before it reached it, a second shot was fired, and hit it. This seryed only to encrease its fury. It presently swam to the boat; and in attempting to get on board, reached its forefoot upon the gunnel; but one of the crew having a hatchet, cut it