Page images

times with double tendons, somc- wanted the use of these two little times with treble tendons, sometimes muscles that serve to lift up the eye. with none; sometimes one tendon lids, and so had almost lost the use to several muscles, at other times of his sight, being forced, as long one muscle to several tendons. The as this defect lasted, to shove up his shape of the organ is susceptible of eye-lids every moment with his own an incalculable variety, whilst the hands!" In general, we may reoriginal property of the muscle, mark how little those who enjoy the the law and line of its contraction, perfect use of their organs, know remains the same; and is simple. the comprehensiveness of the bles. Herein the muscular system may be sing, the variety of their obligation. said to bear a perfect resemblance to They perceive a result, but they our works of art. An artist does think little of the multitude of connot alter the native quality of his currences and rectitudes which go materials, or their laws of action. to form it. Ile takes these as he finds them. Beside these observations, which ļlis skill and ingenuity are employ- belong to the muscular organ as ed in turning them, such as they such, we may notice some advanare, to his account, by giving to the tages of structure which are more -parts of his machine a form and re- conspicuous in muscles of a certain lation, in which these unalterable class or description than in others. properties may operate to the pro. Thus, duction of the effects intended.

I. The variety, quickness, and 6. The ejaculations can never too precision of which muscular motion often be repeated. How many things is capable, are seen, I think, in no biust go right for us to be an hour part so remarkably as in the tongue. at ease! How many more to be vi. It is worth any man's while to watch gorous and active! Yet vigour and the agility of his tongue; the won. activity are, in a vast plurality of derful promptitude with which it instances, preserved in human bo. executes changes of position, and dies, notwithstanding that they de. the perfect exactness. Each syllapend upon so great a number of in. ble of articulated sound requires for struments of motion, and notwith its utterance a specific action of the standing that the defect or disorder tongue, and of parts adjacent to it. sometimes of a very small instru. The disposition and configuration of ment, of a single pair, for instance, the month, appertaining to every out of the four hundred and forty- letter and word, is not only pecu. six muscles which are employed, liar, but, if nicely and accurately may be attended with grievous in- attended to, perceptible' to the conveniency. There is picty and sight; insomuch that curious per"good sense in the following obser. sons have availed themselves of this vation taken out of the Religious circumstance to teach the dumb to Philosopher: 5 With much com- speak, and to understand what is passion,” says this writer,

said by others. In the same per. well as astonishment at the good. son, and after his habit of speaking Dess of our loving Creator, have I is formed, one, and only one posi. considered the sad state of a cer. tion of the parts will produce a tain gentleman, who, as to the rest, given articulate sound correctly. was in pretty good health, but only How instantaneously are these posi


leo amets surface, qualify this organ for its is not so, even in the upright posTarkastatlice of tasting, as much as its in- ture of the human neck; and most T** 2ED: xtricable multiplicity of fibres do evidently is not the case with quadFor mor the rapid movements which are rupeds; with a horse, for instance, Crozpuma lecessary to speech. Animals which in which, when pasturing, the food

channel'eed upon grass, have their tongues is thrust upward by muscular *** Mais overed with a perforated skin, so strength, instead of descending of ciculated pls to admit the dissolved food to the its own accord. Fice a year hapillæ underneath, which, in the Lad of pinean time, remain defended from Tuition as he rough action of the unbruised siness, altogether diferent from what word, is There are brought together within tion and speech. In addition, thercarired that ne parts of the mouth in some of their other properties. It has been said, and hex 1'an instrument of speech, of taste, and of deglutition? So much otherwise, that lier his hd many per:ons, that is to say, nine hundred and ninety-nine persons out of a thouOle, and sand, by the instrumentality of this one organ, talk, and taste, and swallow, very

tions assumed and dismissed: how tinct uses, and parts executing more numerous are the permutations, how distinct offices, than I think can be various, yet how infallible? Arbic found lying so near to one another, trary and antic variety is not the or within the same compass, in any thing we admire; but variety obey- other portion of the body, viz. ing a rule conducing to an effect, teeth of different shape; first for and commensurate with exigencies cutting, secondly for grinding : mus. 1? infinitely diversified. I believe also cles, most artificially disposed for **** that the anatomy of the tongue carrying on the compound inotion

corresponds with these observations of the lower jaw, half lateral, and

upon its activity. The muscles of half vertical, by which the mill is bit fail the tongue are so numerous and so worked : fountains of saliva, spring

mplicated with one another, that ing up in different parts of the ca. inte ta they cannot be traced by the nicest vity, for the moistening of the food, ro Plissection ; nevertheless, which is a whilst the mastication is going on:

great perfection of the organ, nei. glands to feed the fountains : a mus. de het *ther the number, nor the complexi cular constriction of a very pecu

y, nor what might seem to be the liar kind in the back part of the we di Bantanglement of its fibres, in any cavity, for the guiding of the preof wise impede its motion, or render pared aliment into its passage to

he determination or success of its wards the stomach, and in many s desviem a fforts uncertain.*

cases for carrying it along that pas. In fact, the constant warmth and sage: for, althongh we may ima. se vertet Moisture of the tongue, the thin, gine this to be done simply by the n of nitress of the skin, the papillæ upon weight of the food itself, it in truth

In the mean time, and within the same cavity, is going on another bu.

is here , that of . ja nisthe cavity of the mouth more dis- fore, to all that has been mentioned,

* I here entreat the reader's permission to step a little out of my way to consider hat by an eminent physiologist, that, whenever nature attempts to work two or more purposes by one instrument, she does both or all imperfectly. Is this true of the tongue, regarded as an instrument of speech, and of taste : or regarded as

[ocr errors]

omuch tiel

[ocr errors]



3 L 2


[ocr errors]

we have a passage opened from this sarily shut close upon the body, cavity to the lungs, for the admis from which the nutriment is drawn. sion of air, exclusively of every This is a circumstance which always other substance: we have muscles, appeared to me worthy of notice. some in the larynx, and without The nose would have been neces. number in the tongue, for the pur sary, although it had not been the pose of modulating that air in its organ of smelling. The making it passage, with a variety, a compass, the seat of a sense, was superadding and precision, of which no other a new pse to a part already wanted; musical instrument is capable. And, was taking a wise advantage of an lastly, which, in my opinion, crowns antecedent and a constitutional nethe whole as a piece of machinery, cessity. we have a specific contrivance for dividing the penumatic part from the mechanical, and for preventing one of the Succession of Plants and Ani. set of actions interfering with the mals. From the same. other. Where varions functions are united, the difficulty is to guard The generation of the animal no against the inconveniencies of a too more accounts for the contrivance of great complexity. In no apparatus the eye or the car, than, upon a supput together by art, and for the pur. position stated in a preceding chapposes of art, do I know such multi- ter, the production of a watch by farious uses so aptly combined as in the motion and mechanism of a the natural organization of the hu- former watch, would account for man mouth; or where the structure the skill and intention evidenced in compared with the uses, is so simple. the watch so produced; than it The mouth, with all these intentions would account for the disposition of to serve, is a single cavity; is one the wheels, the catching of their machine; with its parts neither teeth, the relation of the several crowded nor confused, and each parts of the works to one another, anembarrassed by the rest ; each at and to their common end, for the least at liberty, in a degree, suflici- suitableness of their forms and ent for the end to be attained. If places to their offices for their con. we cannot eat and sing at the same nection, their operation, and the moment, we can eat one moment, useful result of that operation. I and sing the next; the respiration do insist most strenuously upon the proceeding freely all the wbile. correctness of this comparison; that

There is one case, however, of it holds as to every other mode of this double oflice, and that of the specific propagation; and that what. (earliest) necessity, which the mouth Ever was true of the watch, under alons could not perform; and that the hypothesis above mentioned, is is, carrying on together the two ac. true of plants and animals. tions of sucking and breathing. 1. To begin with the fructifica. Another route', therefore, is open- tion of planis. Can it be doubted ed for the air, namely, through the but that the seed contains a particu. nose, which lets the breath pass lar organization? Whether a la. backward and forward, whilst the tent plantulo with the means of tem. lips, in the act of sucking, are neces. porary nutrition, or whatever else it


[ocr errors]

be, it incloses an organization suit. feather of the chick. She can nei. ed to the germination of a new ther foresee nor determine of which olant.

Has the plant which pro- sex her brood shall be, or how many zuced the seed any thing more to do of either; yet the thing produced

with that organization than the shall be, from the first, very differvatch would have to do with the ent in its make, according to the tructure of the watch which was sex which it bears. So far, there. produced in the course of its me- fore, from adapting the means, she -hanical movement? I mean, has is not before-hand apprized of the t any thing at all to do with the effect. If there be concealed with. contrivance? The maker and con in that smooth shell a provision and river of one watch, when he in a preparation for the production and ierted within it a mechanism suited nourishment of a new animal, they co the production of another watch, are not of her providing or prewas, in truth, the maker and con. paring : if there be contrivance, it river of that other watch. All the is none of hers. Although, thereproperties of the new watch were to fore, there be the difference of life be referred to his agency; the de- and perceptivity between the ani. sign manifested in it, to his inten: mal and the plant, it is a difference tion; the art to him as the artist, which enters not into the account, the colocation of each part to his It is a foreign circumstance. It is placing; the action, effect, and use, a difference of properties not em

to his counsel, intelligence, and ployed. The animal function and * 'workmanship. In producing it by the vegetable function are alike des .

the intervention of a former watch, titute of any which can operate upon he was only working by one set of the form of the thing produced. tools instead of another. So it is The plant has no design in producwith the plant, and the seed produc- ing the seed, no comprehension of ed by it. Can any distinction be as. the nature or use of what it pro.

signed between the two cases; be- duces : the bird, with respect to its # tween the producing watch, and the egg, is not above the plant with re- producing plant? both passive, un. "spect to its seed. Neither the one

conscious substances; both, by the nor the other bears that sort of re

organization which was given to lation to what proceeds from them Link them, producing their like, without which a joiner does to the chair

understanding or design, both, that which he makes. Now a cause, is, instruments.

which bears this relation to the ef. 2. From plants, we may proceed fect, is what we want, in order to to oviparous animals; from seeds to account for the suitableness of eggs. Now I say that the bird has

means to an end, the fitness and fit. the same concern in the formation of ting of one thing to another; and il the egg which she lays, as the plant this cause the parent plant or ani.

has in that of the seed which it mal does not supply. pedrops, and no other, nor greater. It is further observable concernÁ The internal constitution of the egg ing the propagation of plants and

is as much a secret to the hen, as if animals, that the apparatus employ. the hen were inanimate. Her willed exhibits no resemblance to the sannot alter it, or change a single thing produced; in this respect

3 L3



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

holding an analogy with instruments end and office: we observe a pro. and tools of art. The filaments, vision for its nourishment, growth, antheræg, and stigmata of flowers protection, and fecundity: but we bear no more resemblance to the never think of the gardener in all young plant, or even to the seed, this. We attribute nothing of this which is formed by their intervená to his agency; yet it may still be tion, than a chisel or plane does to true, that without the gardener, we a table or chair. What then are the should not have had the talip. Just filaments, antheræ, and stigmata of so it is with the succession of ani. plants, but instruments, strictly so mals even of the highest order. For called ?

the contrivance discovered in the 3. We may advance from animals structure of the thing produced, we which bring forth eggs, to animals want a contriver. The parent is not which bring forth their young alive; that contriver. His consciousness and, of this latter class, from the decides that question. He is in total lowest to the highest, from irrational ignorance why that which is pro. to rational life, from brutes to the duced took its present form rather human species ; without perceiving, than any other. It is for him only as we proceed, any alteration what. to be astonished by the effect. We ever in the terms of the comparison. can no more look, therefore, to the The rational animal does not pro. intelligence of the parent animal for duce its offspring with more cer what we are in search of, a cause tainty or success than the irrational of relation and of subserviency of animal : a man than a quadruped, a parts to their use, which relation quadruped than a bird ; nor (for we and subscrviency we see in the pro. may follow the gradation through created body, than we can refer the its whole scale) a bird than a plant; internal conformation of an acorn to nor a plant than a watch, a piece of the intelligence of the oak from dead mechanism, would do, upon which it dropped, or the structure the supposition which has already so of the watch to the intelligence of often been repeated. Rationality, the watch which produced it; there therefore, has nothing to do in the being no difference, as far as argubusiness. If an account must be ment is concerned, between an in. given of the contrivance which we telligence which is not exerted, and observe; if it be demanded, whence an intelligence which does not exist. arose either the contrivance by which the young animal is produced, or the contrivance manifested in the Troo Letters on the subject of Public young animal itsell, it is not from

Education, from the celebrated the reason of the parent that any Coreper. such account can be drawn. He is the cause of his offspring in the same To the Rev. William Unwin. sense as that in which a gardener is My dear friend, Sept. 7, 1780. the cause of the tulip which grous As many gentlemen as there are upon his parterre and in no other. in the world, who have children, We admire the fiower; we examiue and heads capable of reflecting on the plant; we perceive the condu. the important subject of their edu. civeness of many of its parts to tbeir cation, so many opinions there are


« PreviousContinue »