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species of the and Virginian cemerple grows; there the
quently variegated with colours of violet and purple. There the broad-leaved custard apple grows; there the leather-leaved and Virginian clematis ; and there various species of aloe; all unwitnessed by the human eye.
Before the arrival of Europeans, how multitudinous were the unseen plants of every form and colour, shedding their perfumes at the Cape, and along the south-west coast of Africa; among which rises a plant, which, as it opens its leaves and diffuses its fragrance in the night, we may call the “ Nightingale Flower.” In New Holland what vast multitudes are there even now, which the human eye has never seen! How many in Japan and in China; how many in the Society and Philippine islands; in those of Tinian and Juan Fernandez; among the Alapachian and Alleghany mountains; and, above all, among the glens and recesses of Mexico and Peru, with the Andes and the Cordilleras, rearing their gigantic peaks over their heads. How numerous these are, we may, in some degree, judge from the circumstance, that Dr. Clarke procured specimens of 60 new species of plants during his tour in Syria, Greece, and Egypt; that Professor Smith collected 250 new species in his voyage up the Congo; and but for the loss of Hooper's 800 packages of seeds, plants, madrepores, and zoophytes, from the Tartarian coast, which were lost in the shipwreck of the Alceste, we should have had ample opportunity of considerably extending our knowledge of vegetable beauty. In the delicious recesses of the Taurida, and, indeed, throughout the whole Russian and Turkish empires, what mines of vegetable wealth are still in store for botanical research! In those countries, botany is scarcely known even in its rudiments. Spain, too, is almost as much unsearched, as it was in the days of Linnæus; Father Camello's book on the plants of the Philippine islands exhibits only a partial collection; and Plumiere himself would wish to have spent a hundred years in America.
How many millions, too, are there at the bottom of the sea, forming shades to innumerable fishes, that never quit their native beds: all of which speak' a language, far more emphatical, than the thunders of the Vatican.
They have their mountains and valleys; their plains, recesses, and caves, in which to strike root; inhabitants to wonder at their calyxes, petals, and corollas; to feed upon their redundancies; and to shelter their spawn. In the Red Sea and upon the coast of Patagonia, as well as in the vast bosom of the Atlantic, these plants are so high, that they rise from the bottom of the ocean to the top; and in some places so numerous, that they impede the progress of the largest ship.
The present names of botanical orders and classes are sufficiently explicit, as far as they extend: but they give no indication of the soil, to which the various plants are attached; and none of their habits, fruits, or natures. Shrub is classed with root; and tree with flower. Even
1 Vid. Linn. Biblioth. Botanica, part vii. Floristæ, s. viii. Hisp. p. 96.
Vid. Description de Plantes d'Amerique: also, Nova Plantarum Americanarum genera. Paris, 1703.
· Linnæus classed flowers by the stamen;. Tournefort by the corolla : he also divided flowers into families : radiated, flosculous, semiflosculous, rosaceous, papillonaceous, cruciform, tubular, lip-forn, and lily-form.
the genus itself respects but little those general characteristics. The winter cherry of Madeira, the love apple of South America, and the egg plant of Africa, are classed in the same genus with the deadly nightshade ; the Spanish nut with the fleur de luce; the cereus grandiflorus with the melon thistle; and the sloe with the laurel. The moving plant has a motion almost animal; and yet it is associated with the French honeysuckle, which has none. I am inclined, also, to the belief, that plants are of three genders. For walking, one day, on the banks of the Usk, I observed a comfrey', which, upon inspection, seems worthy of forming a new class. It has five stamens and one pistyl; but between each stamen is a flat spiral stamen, without anthers. The water-horehound? has two stamens; and it is frequently found with two filaments beside the stamens, without anthers. It blossoms in July and August; is a hardy perennial; and belongs to the class and order of Diar:dria Monogynia. These can be neither male nor female: they are probably, therefore, neuters; bearing some analogy with the neuters of insects. Daisies, and other plants of the same class, have yellow tubular florets in the centre, which contain both males and females; but the florets, composing the ray, have pistyls only. We may associate these with unmarried women.
XI. Upon investigating the Cambridge botanical collection, containing about 11,500 species of plants, I found that in the first thirteen classes there are 918 genera; in all Symphytum.
? Lycopus Europæus.
of which I observed, that there were only 49, in which the marriages are equal; and that there were in those 49 not more than 227 species 1.
This is a curious and highly remarkable result: inasmuch as it establishes the fact that in vegetable societies the polyandrian law prevails more extensively and systematically, than the polygamous one does in the animal. And what is even still more remarkable, it will be seen by investigation, that out of the whole 11,500 species, there is not one hermaphrodite plant, in which the males exceed the females.
Roe deer live in distinct families, like patriarchs, with their children, and never intermix with strangers. In the whale-tailed manati prevails the strict marriage law of one male to one female. The ursine, leonine, and other seals, associate in flocks, one male with eight, thirty, and sometimes fifty females. These, also, keep themselves in families; and will never associate with other flocks; not even with those in their own neighbourhood. Among wild horses, antelopes, and other quadrupeds, we find, also, one husband to many wives: but among bees and ants, one wife to many husbands. Vegetables, therefore, in respect to marriages, assimilate more with
Genera. Species. i 1st Class 1 male and 1 female . 20 . 59
2d . . 2 ditto and 2 ditto
. . 4 ditto and 4 ditto
insects than with quadrupeds. In respect to numbers, vegetable organizations are even beyond the power of fluxions !
XII. “ But Nature's engagements are engagements, which throw no gold into the purse; nor will they gain supporters for my escutcheon !” Thus says the man of the world. When we see a violet, hiding itself under a bramble; an heliotrope courting the rays of the sun; or a fuschia hanging its vermilion petals, with its windingsheet of purple; when we behold the bee, so tenacious of her mysteries, that from the first morning of the animal creation, she still preserves her secrets; when we listen to the jug, the pause, and the warble of the nightingale; when we behold the unexampled splendour of the diamond beetle, the majestic coquetry of the swan, or the graceful pride and modesty of the stag,—do we admire and wonder only ? Or do we lift our thoughts to Heaven, and celebrate with silent admiration the gigantic hand, that formed them? And shall men— But why waste a single word upon them? The wonder is, that Nature should have stooped to form them.
Milton, alive to all the graces of the material world, finely describes the transports of our first parent, when newly created, at the sight of those beauties, which adorned the garden of Eden. Buffon has a similar description ; and it constitutes one of the most eloquent passages of that celebrated naturalist.
In Milton's fourth book nothing, in the language of description, can be more admirable, than the general picture