« 前へ次へ »
Caballus var., by which he means nothing else than the sheltie, or Zetland pony. These ponies, we are told, are very sagacious; so much so, that, in crossing the mossy hills, they of themselves select the best 'road,' though there be not the ' vestige of a foot-print.' (II. 207.)-Var. 2. of the Ovis aries of Linnæus, that is, the short-tailed sheep, is found in Zetland !-So it is throughout the north of Europe. A long discussion on the blindness of sheep is here introduced; which is natural enough from an author who has written a yolume on ophthalmia.
After mentioning the varieties of the Porcus [Sus] scrofa, and of the Canis familiariș, to be found in the islands, the author adds, that the remaining quadrupeds are universally known, and present nothing peculiar.' The ferret is, according to the Doctor, one of these remaining quadrupeds; and as it has geneTally been regarded as a native only of Africa, we expected some remarks on the anomaly of its existence as a denizen of Zetland. Not a word, however, is said on the subject; and we are there, fore inclined to adopt the least violent supposition, which certainly is, that the author has fallen into a blunder, and has mistaken either the polecat or the weasel for the ferret.
Although there are 'no birds peculiar to Zetland, nor any in it which have not been anatomically [technically) described in systems of ornithology,' yet the Doctor announces, that his opportunities ' have enabled him to acquire certain facts, respecte ing the economy of some of them, which are not generally known.' Some of these facts evince a good deal of credulity on the part of the author. For example, the following:
· The erne, or white-tailed eagle, sometimes attacks the halibut, a fish which grows to an immense size. He strikes his claws in the fish with all his force, determined not to forego his hold, and, although but rarely, is sometimes drowned, in the attempt to carry off his prey. When he has overcome the halibut, he raises one of his wings, which serves as a sail, and, if favoured by the wind, in that attitude drifts toward the land. The moment he touches the shore, he begins to eat out and disengage his claws; but if discovered before this can be effected, he falls an easy prey to the first assailant. I know a gentleman, who, having seen an eagle entangled in this manner, attacked and killed him on his arrival on shore.'
The common crow of Zetland, is the Hooded, or Royston Crow. The author gravely informs us, that these crows seldom associate, unless for the purpose of holding what is called the crar's court; '--$name derived probably from the similarity of this “institution," as it is still more gravely styled, to the site tings of the law-tings already mentioned :
· This institution exhibits a curious fact in their history. Num. bers are seen to assemble on a particular hill or field from many different points. On some occasions, the meeting does not appear to be complete before the expiration of a day or two. As soon as all the deputies have arrived, a very general noise and croaking ensue ; and, sliortly after, the whole fall upon one or two indivi. duals, whom they persecute and beat until they kill them. When this has been accomplished, they quietly disperse.'
The season of the year at which these craw-courts are held, is not mentioned. We believe the term will generally be found to be intermediate between Hilary and Easter; and we think it much more probable that the object of such assemblies is the making up of matches, than the trial and punishment of delina quents. Some days may elapse before they can adjust their rivalships and jealousies, and some fighting is exceedingly natural; but we are persuaded, that if the Doctor will himself take the trouble of attending a craz"-court, he will find that the members, which came to the assizes one by one, go off by pairs at the end of the session.
Of the black Guillemottes and the Auks, it is remarked, that • they fly when under the water, using their wings the same as when in che air.' To overcome the resistance of a fluid so much heavier than themselves, muet require very strenuous exertions in these birds. If the Doctor would himself make the experiment of submarine progress, he would be sensible of this, although doubtless possessed of much greater 'alacrity in sinking' than an auk or a black guillemotte. These subaqueous exertions, he chooses to style flying, while other people call them diving, and confine their notions of flying, to motion through the air.
The Larus nævius of Linnæus, we are told, is ' nothing but the young of the great black-backed, blue-backed and common gulls, and therefore does not deserve a distinctive appellation in the NOSOLOGY! [what is this?] of naturalists.' (II. 263.)-The oyster-catcher (Hæmatopus ostralegus) is alleged to be " very improperly so named--the limpet being the chief and almost on. ly food of that bird : the oyster it can neither catch nor open.'
The Zetland list of Amphibia, embraces only the otter and the great and common seal. The seal, we are told, ' more nearly approaches to the character of a fish, as he is never seen nearer the shore than below the high-water mark of the tide.' (II. 292.) It is amusing, however, to find, in the very next page, that one of these semi-fishes ' became so tame, that it lay along the fire among the dogs, bathed in the sea, and returned to the house ; bụt, having found the way to the byres [cow-houses], used to
steal steal there unobserved, and suck the cows. On this account it was dismissed, and sent to its native element,' II. 293.
The Doctor chooses to place the whale-tribe at the head of his fishes; although other' votaries of the science,' remarking that they have no gills, and that they suckle their young, have, notwithstanding their residence in the ocean, ranked them among the mammalia. A narwhal, or sea-unicorn, ran ashore in Zet. land, we are told, in September 1808: Of this curious animal, it would have been desirable to have possessed a correct description and drawing.-- We have not room to enter on the fishes, properly so called. We perceive nothing very new or interesting in the list.
• Insecta et Vermes' bring up the rear. Under this title, we certainly expected, and should have liked to have seen, a sketch of the entomology of the islands; but the author assures us, that the insects are few in number-'not worth knowing'-and therefore, that an enumeration is unnecessary!'
It is a fortunate thing, however, that the sea is more abundantly supplied.'- Myriads of unknown species,' the Doctor affirms, 'reside on its shores, and in its rocky caverns.' We were indulging the thought, that a Pallas or an Ellis might here spend a happy lifetime in making discoveries ; — when, reflecting on his palpable insufficiency in botany and mineralogy, we began to suspect, that possibly these myriads of nondescript vermes might exist only in the Doctor's own brain, who might, all the while, be as profoundly ignorant about insects and zoophytes, as we had found him to be concerning plants and minerals. The fact turns out to be so. He first condemns the whole race of marine vermes, as' unworthy of the labour and time' bestowed on them; and then pleads this doctrine as an excuse for passing over these myriads of nondescripts. He condescends, however, to say, that he will give an enumer. ation of the more remarkable.' The reader's surprize will not, perhaps, be less than ours, when he is informed, that the first of the more remarkable' of these • unknown species,' is the
partin, or large crab !!—and that this is followed by the hermit-crab, the lobster! and some others equally rare ! We are warned, that those articles ' marked with an asterisk, have not been previously met with on the coast of Zetland.' Among those distinguished by this sign, it is amusing to find some of the best known and most general productions of the country. Thus, the common bernacle is not only marked, but is introduced to our notice under two different titles, ' * Balanus communis,' and 'B. bolanusi' yet it covers' every sea-rock in the British islands, and
is universally known in Zetland by the name of roother. •' *Patella pellicida' is a shell which, we believe, every child in Zet. land knows by the name of Lady Limpet ; and " *Spongia pal. mata' is familiar to every fisierman by the various appellations of Bokie-man's glove, Trowie's glove, and Mermaid's glove. A. mong the Zoophyta, the only species worth notice, Dr Edmondston prosesses to have derived from Professor Jameson. He mentions, on his own authority, the Gorgonia nobilis, or true red coral; but we should be nearly as much surprized to find that this tropical production existed in the Zetland seas, as we should be to discover the ferret really to be a native of the islands. *
Upon the whole, the book is bad : and though it does state some facts that ought to be generally known, bears evident marks not only of haste and carelessness, but of absolute and utter ignorance of the subjects it affects to discuss. A few slight engrav. ings would have saved us a great deal of incomprehensible description; and correct drawings of the Door-holm,--the Drongs,-of a very curious ruin in the island of Mousa, in the form of a cir. eular castle,--and of Noss-holm and its cradle, would have been acceptable ; especially as we understand that Mr Pennant blunders egregiously, both in his representations and descriptions of some of these places. A paitry map is prefixed, of the size of an octavo page. We can say little about it, as we do not happen to have a microscope at hand.
Art. VIII. A Letter on the Differences in the Structure of Cal
culi, which arise from their being formed in different Parts of the Urinary Passages; and on the Effects that are produced on them by the internal Use of Solvent Medicines, from Mr William Brande to Everard Home esq. F. R. S. (From the Philosophical Transactions for 1808, Part II.) Seme Observations on Mr Brande's Paper on Calculi. By Everard
Home esq. F. R.S. (From the same Volume.) An Account of a Calculus from the Human Bladder, of uncommon Magnitude. By Sir James Earle, F. R.S. (From Phil. Trans. for 1809, Part II.)
Observations on the Effects of Magnesia in preventing an increased
Formation of Uric Acid, with some Remarks on the Composition of the Urine. Communicated by Mr William T. Brande, F.R.S.
to the Society for the Improvement of Animal Chemistry, and by them to the Royal Society. (From the Phil. Trans. for 1810, Part I.)
On Cystic Oxide, a ne Species of Urinary Calculus. By William
Hyde Wollaston, M. D. Sec. R.S. (From the same Work, Part II.)
"HESE curious and valuable papers relate to one of the most ex1 cruciating torments with which the Divine Providence has, for wise purposes, decreed that the lot of man should be mingled, during his existence in this world. Indeed, were it not that custom teaches us to consider mental afflictions as, in the general, more severe than any bodily pains, (and, no doubt, to some natures, they are, beyond all comparison, more unbearable), we should be disposed to rank the dreadful complaint which we are about to treat of, as the worst of human maladies. To investigate the nature of the Stone, for the purpose of discovering solvents which might remove it, has accordingly been long considered as one of the noblest problems in practical chemistry, and among the best services which that science could render to the healing art. It may be remembered, that to this investigation we owe the brilliant discoveries of Dr Black, which, by disclosing the nature of fixed air and of the alkaline earths, paved the way for all the modern improvements in chemical knowledge. Those great acquirements in speculative science were the compensations which he obtained for his disappointment in a search far more important and interesting to humanity,--as the navigators of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries discovered the New World, and explored its strange recesses, while occupied in the pursuit of an earthly paradise, or a fountain of health and youth. Even the legislature of this country took some part in those inquiries, and gave rewards to the discoverers of solvents. The most noted instance is that of Stevenson ; and here the money was granted upon the faith of a cure said to be performed, the body not having been examined after death. We need scarcely add, that the medicine thus patronized, and, as it were, privileged, has long since been completely exploded ; and though, in its failure, the Parliament resembled the celebrated philosopher whose name we have mentioned, we do not remember that its investigations were, like his, rewarded by any other discoveries.
The hopelessness of the search for solvents, has lately turned the attention of the chemists and physiologists to another probiem;