ePub 版


'PAGE 2, LINE 6.

*££HE most Jkilful artist. Artists have indeed executed pieces of mechanism which we cannot enough admire 'or their design and beauty. Curious instances of these may be seen described by Baier, Derham, Neickel, &c. but when these performances are examined by the microscope, and compared with iniects, the difference appears exceedingly striking. By that instrument, the parts appear polifned and wrought with the most consummate art; the masterpieces of human ingenuity appear gross and rugged. The interior mechanism of insects, it is impossible for man to imitate, and puts them beyond all comparison,'

Page 2,1. 17.

Ishe lion is unconscious of his Jirength. This must be understood, merely of that knowledge which is the result of reflection and reasoning, of which man alone is capable; jbr as to the knowledge acquired from sensation, it does not appear that this can be denied to brutes, since it is in consequence of sensation alone, that they act. Would the lion, for instance, attack with so much courage, if he were not conscious of the superiority of his strength? or, would the nightingale pass whole hours in singing, if it did not feel pleasure in the exercise of its voice?

Page I»» Page Io, 1. ac; ,

*Many cur'iout men. Here the author enumerates several collections in Germany, and in Holland; and Mr Lyonet, in a note, mentions one that he had omitted: but, as these have now passed into other hands, we thought it needless to translate this part of the work.

Page ii, 1. 13.

Maria Sibylla Merian. This lady was a native of Frankfort on the Maine. She" acquired a taste for the study of insects, by breeding silk- worms. After having studied those of her native place, she went to' Nuremberg, where she con-£ tinued her researches. In 1679, she published the first part of her description of European insects, and in 1683* the second. She afterwards came to the United Provinces, Where the fame animals continued the object of her studies at Frieselarid and Amsterdam; The opportunities she there had, of feeing those that were brought from the Indies, inspired her with the desire os undertaking a voyage to America. She departed in 1699, for Surinam, where she remained two years, employed in delineating the most beautiful insects of those countries; and, she afterwards published her work, in a magnificent edition, adorned with plates of exquisite beauty.

Page it, 1. 28.

The edition which was printed. This work contains only the mere delineation of a great number of insects, without any description. The plates are engraved with taste} many of the figures give a pretty accurate representation of the originals; but others are very imperfect, and in general, the specific differences are but little attended to. This cotlection cannot be of great use to the naturalist, because Hoefnagel did not follow his insects through their different changes, b'ut contented himself with painting them in the state in which chance presented (hem to him, without observing either order ot method.

Page 12,1. 9;

These drawings. Among those who have' given US representations of insects, in their different forms, I know' none Who have performed she task so well as Mr L' Admirar iff Amsterdam. He has begun to publish his work on infect** sects, in folio, which will, as he supposes, contain about 400 pages of letter press, and 100 plates. After having painted each animal from nature, he etches them himself. The eight plates, which have only yet been publiihed, are an evidence of his ability, and make us expect with impatience, the performance, of his work, which he seems at present to have discontinued. In imitation of Mad. Merian, he proposes to represent each insect on the plant it uses sot Food: if he had spared himself this trouble, his book would hot have been less valued by the learned. These superfluous ornaments serve but to divert the attention from the principal object; which is in some measure lost, when suri rounded by so many accessory objects, greater than itself; and a treatise on insects, ornamented with so many plants* looks more like a botanical performance;

Page 13,1. cj.

Twenty five thousand times. One would suppose there was here some error in the text: for how can we imagines that the author would mention, as a remarkable circumstance, a microscope which magnified twenty five thousand times, when he speaks afterwards, in this introduction, of a microscope which magnified lixteeri millions of times?

Page 13, 1; iaji:

Ph. Bonanni. Bonanni did not content himself, with treating merely of the wings of Insects: we have of his, at Volume in quarto, the first part of which contains diffuse discussions on equivocal generation, and he does his utmost to prove, that corruption may produce living beings. His manner of reasoning, is singular in this, that all his arguments proceed from his ignorance of Natural History. He could not conceive, how certain plants, of certain insects were produced, therefore, they were generated from putrefaction. The gnat, fdr instance, which every body knows, proceeds from an aquatic maggot, generated by other gnats', is produced, according to him, frqm slacked lime: and his! argument is, that he does not know, whence gnats are produced, but he has often seert them on walls, newly whitened. Is not this an excellent proof, that wet lime can create ghats? and yet, it is his way of seasoning. After this essay, which he might well have spared himself the trouble of publishing, he describes several fljeEsji.and thest

N a ;treats treats of the construction of microscopes, and lastly, sptafe of the objects he has examined, with the help of these instruments. It is on this occasion, that he describes the wings of some flics, and the little plumes on those of butterflies. Such is the [ Ian of his work. The plates are indifferent enough, and what he fays, of insects, appears ta fiie, very superficial.

Page 16,1. i.

1 return to Blancard. The pompous title of this book, and even the manner in which it is here mentioned, would make one believe, that Blancard had treated the subject much more at large than he has done. Would one imagine, that his whole work contains only the description, (and that too, not always compleat,) of seventeen caterpillars, one false caterpillar, twelve maggots which change into flies, and four sorts of gall insects, three beetles, one ephemera, six aphides, one spider, one shelled, and one naked snail, amounting only to forty seven different insects? Mr Frisch, in the preface to his fourth book on insects, reckons only forty six, among which he fays, there are only eleven caterpillars. There must be some error in his calculation, or some difference in the editions. But however this may be,, the greater part of Blaneard's figures are exceedingly well engraved.

Page I 6,1. 19. *

Frisch. This author is very accurate in his description of the external parts of insects. He does net enter into any anatomical details, but, to make amends for this deficiency, he gives a very Liiliful history, and often very complete, of a great number of infects, containing many curious and enteresting facts. The number of 300 insects, which he seems to have proposed to publish, has obliged him, in order to make it complete, to give only a mere description of these animals in their perfect state, without any historical detail. His plates, though they do nat come from the hand of » master, represent, (at least many of them) their originals, tolerably well. It is to be wished, that the author had treated his subject methodically, and that he had written in a language more generally understood; his work would, in thatrtase, have been much more useful to the world. Each part os that work appeared separately; the first was printed in 1720, and the last in 17 j8. The whole make a pretty ty thick quarto volume, and the more instructive, as it contains the description of a very great number of German infects especially those of the environs of Berlinand thus facilitates the knowledge of such as are peculiar to that country. His work, however, would have been still more useful, had the author been careful to distinguish the insects he found in the neighbourhood, or in the environs of the place of his residence, from those he may have procured eliewhere.

On this occasion, I cannot help remarking, that it would tend greatly to the advancement of Natural History, if those who pubiisti on insects, would apply to the study of such insects only, as-are to be found in the neighbourhood of their own place of residence. This would give them an, opportunity of repeating their experiments, as often as they should judge it necessary for the ascertainment of a fact; and, being limited to a small district, they would more easily discover what it contained, and this could not fail of making them find a great number of insecte, which are still entirely unknown, and will continue so, as long as people content themselves, with making, in different places, vain and superficial investigations.

I with also, that those who write on such subjects, would take particular care, to cause each animal be represented of its natural size; to express the outline with accuracy, and to trace minutely, the form and colour of the spots, and to mark with precision, the light and dark parts, that nothing may be wanting, which may serve to characterise the specific differences in the various species of insects, of the fame genus.

This circumstance, it must be confessed, has hitherto been very much neglected. There are but very few works which are rot liable to some blame in this respect: for, unless a .naturalist be himself an able draughtsman, and have the requisite talent, of expressing with accuracy, the nice and delicate characters which distinguish insects of the fame genus, k will be very difficult for him to publish any thing of a siniflied nature on the subject. The persons employed to make such designs, though expert enough in their art, rarely satisfy our expectation. Being accustomed to draw from, fancy, and to follow their own manner, to make their subject picturesque, and to improve upon nature, they have not patience to fellow her, step by step, in the delineation of an

N n 2 anima},

« 上一頁繼續 »