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dost. A famous Chemist, a man worthy of credit, has at least assured me that they may be reduced to the state of water. I think myself therefore still the more intitled to conclude that all bodies without exception are composed of the same matter and are derived from the same origin.
The distance between the two kingdoms is so very i indistinct that it is difficult so fay where the one ends and the other begins. We fee for instance that corals are the limits between the mineral and the vegetable kingdoms. They are minerals in matter and hardness, vegetables in their manner of growth; and this has made them be classed as marine plants. The passage from vegetables to animals is not less abrupt. Here we find the Zoophytes which the old Botanists supposed to be as much related to animals as to plants. Here also we find Insects which in many circumstances approach to the nature of vegetables but which in others so nearly resemble animals that it is impossible to deny them a place in that kingdom.
On examining insects we find that they are not furnished with bones like other animals, nor indeed have they any occasion for such. Let large and hea■ vy bodies enjoy these for the purpose of supporting their mass of flesh, and of preventing them from finking under their burthen. But to light and small bodies like those of insects, whose substance properly speaking is not flesh, and which support themselves sufficiently, bones would be of no use. It is likewise peculiar to insects to be destitute of blood. That which is seen on killing a flea or a bug, is only what they have pillaged from some other animal. They have however a fort of lymph, which performs to them the fame animal functions which the blood does to others*
ls we compare insects with the greater animals; they will appear extremely small. ".Ian, the hydra; the crocodile, the whale, the eagle, and the elephant, are millions of times larger than many insects. When likewise We compare insects among themselves, how different are they in this respect from one another f How minute is the fly Serapico, and that which lives on meal, and which we can hardly discern without the aid of the microscope? How minute mud not that worm be which is found in vinegar, when according to Mr Leewenhoeck myriads of them are found in st single drop of th^t liquor! How many times mud not a mite, which, to our eyes appears no larger than a point, exceed those minute animalcules! And how diminutive dees not a mite in its turn appear when' compared with the larger insects. It is this comparison, which has obtained for some of them the title Great, which they would not have merited had they been opposed to the animals of large size. It is accordingly in a relative fense that we must understand the term, when we apply it to a species of East India Scorpions, which are nearly a foot long; or to a sort of spiders of the fame country, nearly as large as one's fist. These large insects would them^ selves be very small, when compared to an ox or a camel. |
The skin of insects is different from that of other animals. It pretty much resembles parchment, but varies a good deal, in the different species. In some it is tender, in others hard. In the crab it is a sort of enveloping crust. In the oyster a shell in which the animal is enclosed. Some are covered with scales like fishes, others with feathers like birds^ Some have a thick and coriaceous skin, others have it smooth, like the human; while others have it rough, like those of quadrupeds. Their body is composed of several rings which are so many different ent incifuresj more or less' deep* and often much more so thaii'thosc of the serpent or lobster;
They have not exactly the same number of metrU hers which the ether animals are furnished wittu The- legs are wanting to some, the wings to fcM thers 5 perhaps they may have something less also, or something more in their viscera } bu't from thence it does not follow that their bodies ard imperfect as some philosophers have imagined. An animaUis considered to be perfect when it is furnished with all the parts that are necessary for its sub* fisting in the state appointed for it. The privation of those which are absolutely necessary to another species is no proof of imperfection. A house built according to the rules of architecture, would neves be considered as an imperfect edifice, because it had' not so many apartments as a palace. The perfection of a compound does not consist in the abundance of its parts, but solely in their proportion and aptitude for the functions they are destined to perform, Each insect is therefore as perfect in its species as the other animals in theirs; and it would be as absurd to deny them this quality as it would be extravagant to maintain that man is not perfect without wings, th6 horse without fins, or silh.es without feet.
These pretended defects, and their dirninutivd size have made insects be regarded with contempt; but the enlighined naturalist considers them in a very different light. Every Insect however small it may be, is furnished with all the parts that are neceflary" for it; As no one of them can be taken from it without maiming it, so no one couiu be added without surcharging it with an useless load; in (his its perfection consists. I will not. fay with St Augustine that the foul of a fly is as perfect as the
F' son sun when if is mofl brilliant; but I would willrngFjf' ask, with that father, what are the springs that put in1 motion limbs so delicate, which transport those small" bodies from one place to another to supply their necessities and which urge and direct their feet or extend and agitate their wings when they run or fly? 1 agree with hint that there are many things marvellous in these functions; but I find still mere tn the minuteness of the creatures which; perform them. If therefore I were to appretiate the soul of an insect, that consideration would appear to me at least as proper for exalting its excellence as the other. Indeed, how wonderful is k to behold organized machines moving and acting, fifty of which put together would not make the volume of a grain of sand! How delightful would it not be could we perceive those parts the delicacy of which is so great that they are invisible to our senses L When we consider all this, what can we think or what can we fay, but that God is admirable in all his works, and that the structure of these little animals which creep on the earth, furnishes us with as abundant matter for ado:ring the power, the wisdom and goodness of the' Creator, as the stars which traverse the wide extent' of Heaven!
Of Tii£ Division Of Insects.
In considering insects with regard to their external form only, they may be conveniently comprehended in two general classes. The first will include . those which have not feet, and the second those which have. Insects of this last class. may be subdivided into two different orders. The one have wings, the other want them; and as all those with wings do not resemble one another, hence arises a new subdivision. Some have the wings quite naked, while nature in order to preserve those of others hath covered them with a cafe. There is besides still another distinction to be made among those with uncovered wings; for in some they are perfectly smooth and transparent, in others they are mealy. In these last the cover is sometimes only partial.
In order to avoid confusion it will be pToper never to give the general name of worm but to those insects which are destitute of feet, excluding every other to which the word is generally applied. 'However this may be, we must enumerate among the insects without feet, the three species of leeches which are known; that of rivers, of stagnant waters and of the sea. To them must be a.dded the Gordius, F a which