Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

ceives her, warns all his companions. Many thousands examples might be produced to prove that brutes have a power of expressing their ideas, and sentiments to each other.

the poor

The following retaliation is a convincing proof of the powers of communicating ideas, or language, between the Storks, as well as the power of memory with which they are endowed.

A wild stork was brought by a farmer in the neighbourhood of Hamburgh, into his poultry-yard, to be the companion of a tame one, which he had long kept there; but the tame stork disliking a rival, fell upon stranger, and beat him so unmercifully, that he was compelled to take wing, and with some difficulty escaped. About four months afterwards, however, he returned to the poultry-yard, recovered of his wounds, and attended by three other storks, which no sooner alighted, than they altogether fell upon

the tame stork, and killed him. The poet says,

The stork's the emblem of true piety :
Because when age has seized, and made his dami:
Unfit for flight, the grateful young one takes
His mother on his back, provides her food;
Repaying thus her tender care of him
Ere he was fit to fly, by bearing her.

Soloman, also, takes notice of the stork, for he says, Go to the desert, my son, observe the young stork in the wilderness; let him speak to thy heart; he beareth on his wings his aged sire; he lodgeth him with safety, and supplieth him with food.

In the London newspapers for October 1802, there was the following announcement. “ A few days ago died, in Half-Moon-Street, Piccadilly, the celebrated parrot of Colonel O Kelly. This singular bird sang a number of songs in perfect time and tune. She could express her wants articulately, and give her orders in a manner nearly approaching to rationality. Her age was not known; it was however more than thirty years, for previously to that period, Mr. 0: Kelly bought her at Bristol for a hundred guineas. The colonel was repeatedly offered five hundred guineas a-year for the bird, by persons who wished to make a public exhibition of her ; but this, out of tenderness to the favourite, he constantly refused.” She could not only repeat a great number of sentences, but answer questions put to her. When singing she beat time with all the appearance of science; and so accurate was her judgment that, if hy chance she mistook a note, she would revert

to the bar where the mistake was made, correct herself, and still beating regular time, go through the whole with wonderful exact

ness.

Mr. Locke, in his “ Essay on the Human Understanding,” gives an account of a parrot which would answer any question so correctly, that, to all appearance, she wanted little of that rationality of which the human species make so much boast.

Pliny, also, gives the sanction of his authority of the two sons of the emperor Claudius having given some nightingales so classical an education, that they could speak both Greek and Latin fluently, and every day invent some new expressions of their own.

Lord Kames seems to dissent from the opinions of those above quoted; for, in his 66 Sketches of the History of Man," says, “ Whether man be provided by nature with a faculty to distinguish innocent animals from what are noxious, seems not a clear point: such a faculty may be thought unnecessary to man, being supplied by reason and experience. But as reason and experience have little influence on brute animals, they undoubtedly possess that faculty. A beast of prey would be ill fitted for its station, if nature did not teach it what creatures to attack, and what to avoid. A rabbit is the prey of the ferret. Present à rabbit, even dead, to a young ferret that had never seen a rabbit; it throws itself upon the body, and bites it with fury. A hound has the same faculty with respect to a hare; and most dogs have it. Unless directed by nature, innocent animals would not know their enemy till they were in its clutches. A hare flies with precipitation from the first dog it ever saw; and a chicken, upon the first sight of a kite, cowers under its dam. Social animals, without scruple, connect with their own kind, and as readily avoid others. Birds, are not afraid of quadrupeds; not even of a cat, till they are taught by experience that a cat is their enemy. They appear to be as litile "afraid of a man naturally; and upon that account are far from being shy when left unmolested. In the uninhabited island of Visia Grande, one of the Philippines, Kempfer says, that birds may be taken with the hand. Hawks, in some of the South Sea Islands, are equally tame. At Port Egmont, in the Falkland Islands, geese, far from being sky, may

be knocked down with a stick. The birds that inhabit certain rocks hanging over the sea, in the island of Annabon, take food readily out of a man's hand. In Arabja Felix, foxes and

show no fear of man;

apes

the inhabitants of hot countries having no notion of hunting. In the uninhabited Islan 1 Bering, adjacent to Kamskatka, foxes are s? little shy that they scarce go out of a man's

way.

When we begin to scrutinize this part of his lordship's preliminary discourse, we are wrapt in amazement, that such a palpable error would have escaped this profound philosopher: for how is it possible to reconcile the former with the latter part of his discourse? “ Reason and experience, (says he,) have little influence on brute animals.” When, in the latter part of the same subject, he proves, from various histories, that it is reason and and experience alone which make the brute animals afraid of man, and of one another, “ Birds, (he adds,) are not afraid of quadrupeds; not even of a cat, till they are taught by experience that a cat is their enemy.

In a late conversation with a North coun try farmer, who had a very large dog of the wolf kind; we were told that this dog was the most peaceable, tractable, and docile animal that ever lived: and, although he had been brought up, in a great manner, with a flock of sheep, and had been daily in their company for some years, no one ever knowing

H

« ZurückWeiter »