Natural history: general and particular, by the Count de Buffon, translated into English. Illustrated with above 260 copper-plates, and occasional notes and observations by the translator. [pt.3]
Buffon, Georges Louis Leclerc, comte de, 1707-1788.
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ALL our knowledge is derived from com|paring the relations and discrepancies which subsist between different objects. If brute animals had no existence, the nature of man would be still more incomprehensible. Having formerly considered man as a detached being, let us now institute a comparison between him and the other animals. Let us examine the na|ture of the animal world; let us investigate their organization, and study their general oeconomy. This inquiry will enable us to draw particular in|ferences, Page  209 to discover relations, to reconcile appa|rent differences, and, from a combination of facts, to distinguish the principal effects of the living machine, and lead us to that important science, of which man is the ultimate object.

I shall begin with explaining the subject, and by reducing it to its just limits.

The general properties of matter, being com|mon to animated as well as inanimated beings, belong not to our subject*. The qualities pos|sessed by plants as well as animals, ought like|wise to be rejected. It is for this reason that we have treated of nutrition, of growth, of re|production, and even of generation, properties common to the plant and animal, before enter|ing upon those qualities which are peculiar to, and constitute animated bodies.

In the next place, as many beings are com|prehended in the class of animals, whose orga|nization differs greatly from that of man, and the more perfect animals, we shall likewise keep these out of our view, and examine such only as make the nearest approaches to ourselves.

But, as man is not a simple animal, and as his nature is superior to that of other animals, we shall endeavour to investigate the cause of this superiority, in order that we may be enabled to distinguish what is peculiar to him, from what he possesses in common with other animated be|ings.

Page  210 Having thus circumscribed our subject, and lopt off its extremities, we shall proceed to the general division of it. Before giving a detail of the various parts, and of their functions, let us attend to the general results of the animal ma|chine; and, before reasoning upon the causes, let us enumerate and describe the effects.

An animal is distinguished by two modes of existence, that of motion, and that of rest, which alternately succeed one another during the whole of life. In the former, all the springs of the machine are in action; in the latter, all is at rest, excepting one part, and that part acts e|qually when the animal is asleep and when it is awake. This part, therefore, is absolutely necessary, since the animal cannot exist in any manner without it. This part is likewise inde|pendent of the other, because it can act alone; and the other part depends upon this, because it cannot act without its assistance. The one is a fundamental part of the animal oeconomy, because it acts continually, and without inter|ruption; the other is less essential, because it acts only by alternate intervals.

This first division of the animal oeconomy is general, and seems to be well founded. It is not so difficult to examine an animal when a|sleep, as when awake and in action. This di|stinction is essential, and not a simple change of condition, as in an inanimated body, which is equally indifferent to rest or motion; for an inanimated body would continue perpetually in Page  211 either of these states, unless it were constrained to change, by the application of some impelling or resisting force. But an animal changes its state by its own proper powers. It passes na|turally, and without restraint, from motion to rest, and from rest to motion. The moment of awaking returns as necessarily as that of sleep, and both happen independent of foreign causes; because the animal can exist during a certain time only in either state; and continued walking or sleeping would be equally fatal to life.

The animal oeconomy, then, may be divided into two parts; the first of which acts perpetually without any interruption, and the second acts by intervals only. The action of the heart and lungs, in animals which respire, and the action of the heart in the foetus state, constitute the for|mer; and the action of the senses, joined to the movements of the members, constitute the lat|ter.

If we conceive the existence of beings endow|ed by Nature with this first part of the animal oeconomy only, though deprived of sense and progressive motion, they would still be animated, and would differ in nothing from animals asleep. An oyster, or a zoophyte, which appear not to possess either external senses, or the power of progressive motion, are animals destined to sleep continually. A vegetable, in this view, is a sleeping animal: And, in general, every orga|nized being, deprived of sense and motion, may Page  212 be compared to an animal constrained by Nature to perpetual sleep.

Sleep, in the animal, therefore, is not an ac|cidental state induced by the exercise of its func|tions while awake: It is, on the contrary, an essential mode of existence, and serves as a basis to the animal oeconomy. Our being commen|ces with sleep; the foetus sleeps perpetually; and the infant consumes most of its time in that state.

Sleep, therefore, which appears to be a state purely passive, a species of death, is, on the con|trary, the original condition of animated beings, and the very foundation of life itself. It is not a privation of certain qualities and exertions, but a real and more general mode of existence than any other. With sleep our existence com|mences: All organized beings, which are not en|dowed with senses, remain perpetually in this condition; none exist in continued action; and the existence of every animal consists more or less of this state of repose.

If the most perfect animal were reduced to that part alone which acts perpetually, it would not differ, in appearance, from those beings to which we can hardly ascribe the name of Ani|mal. With regard to external functions, it would have a striking resemblance to a vegetable; for, though the animal and vegetable differ in external organization, they both exhibit the same results: They both receive nourishment, Page  213 grow, expand, and are endowed with internal movements and a vegetating life. On this sup|position, they would be equally deprived of progressive motion, action, and sentiment; and they would have no external or apparent cha|racter of animation. But, if this internal part be clothed with a proper cover, or, in other words, if it be endowed with senses and mem|bers, animal life will instantly manifest itself; and, in proportion to the quantity of sense and members contained in this cover, the animation will be more complete, and the animal more perfect. It is this envelope or cover, therefore, which constitutes the distinction between diffe|rent animals. The internal part, which is the basis of the animal oeconomy, is common to e|very animated being, without exception; and, as to its mōde, it is nearly the same in man and in all animals which consist of flesh and blood. But the external cover is exceedingly diversified, and the greatest differences originate from the extremities of this cover.

To illustrate this subject, let us compare the body of a man with that of a horse, an ox, &c. The internal part, which acts perpetually, name|ly the heart and lungs, or the organs of circula|tion and respiration, is nearly the same in man and in the animal. But the external cover is extremely different. The solids of the animal's body, though composed of parts similar to those of the human frame, differ prodigiously in Page  214 number, magnitude, and position. The bones are more or less shortened, rounded, lengthened, flattened, &c. Their extremities are more or less elevated, or hollowed; and several of them are sometimes united into one. Some, as the clavicles, are entirely wanting; the number of others is augmented, as the cartilages of the nose, the vertebrae, the ribs, &c. Of others, the num|ber is diminished, as the bones of the carpus, metacarpus, tarsus, metatarsus, phalanges, &c. which give rise to great varieties in the figure of animals, compared with that of the human body.

We will be still farther convinced, that the principal distinctions between the body of man, and those of the other animals, arise from the extremities, if we attend to the following cir|cumstances. Let us divide the body into three principal parts, the trunk, the head, and the members. The head and members, which are the extremities of the body, constitute the chief differences between man and the other animals. By examining these three principal parts, we find that the greatest differences in the trunk are found at its superior and inferior extremities; for the animals have no clavicles on the superior extremity of the trunk, and the inferior is ter|minated by a tail, which consists of a certain number of external vertebrae, which exist not in man. In the same manner, the inferior extre|mity of the head, or jaw-bones, and the superior, Page  215 or frontal bone, differ widely in man and the quadrupeds: The jaw-bones of most animals are greatly lengthened, and their frontal bones, on the contrary, are contracted. In fine, by comparing the members of a brute with those of a man, it is easy to perceive that they differ chiefly in their extremities; for, at the first glance of the eye, nothing has less resemblance to the human hand, than the foot of a horse or an ox.

Regarding the heart, therefore, as the centre of the animal machine, it is obvious that man resembles the other animals in this and the neighbouring parts; and that the farther from this centre, the differences become more consi|derable, till we arrive at the extremities, where they are by much the greatest. But, where this centre, or the heart itself, differs, then the ani|mal is infinitely removed from man, and posses|ses nothing in common with the creatures under consideration. In most insects, for example, the organization of this principal part of the animal oeconomy is singular. Instead of a heart and lungs, we find parts which perform similar func|tions, and for that reason have been regarded as analogous to those viscera, but which, in reality, are very different, both in their structure, and in the result of their action. Insects, accordingly, differ as much as possible from man and the qua|drupeds. A slight variation in the central parts is always accompanied with an amazing differ|ence Page  216 in the external configuration. The heart of a turtle is of a singular structure; and its figure is so extraordinary, that it has no resem|blance to any other creature.

In contemplating men, quadrupeds, birds, fishes, and reptiles, what a prodigious variety occurs in the figure and proportion of their bo|dies, in the number and position of their mem|bers, in the substance of their flesh, bones, and integuments? The quadrupeds have tails and horns; and all their extremities differ remark|ably from those of man. The cetaceous animals live in a different element; and, though they generate in a manner similar to the quadrupeds, their figure is extremely different, being totally deprived of inferior extremities. The birds dif|fer still more from man, by their beak, their fea|thers, their flying, and their multiplication by means of eggs. The fishes and amphibious ani|mals are still farther removed from the human figure; and the reptiles are entirely destitute of members. Thus we find, that the greatest di|versity consists in the envelope or external cover, the internal structure, on the contrary, being nearly the same: All animals are furnished with a heart, a liver, a stomach, intestines, and organs of generation. These, therefore, ought to be regarded as the most essential parts of the ani|mal oeconomy, because they are the most con|stant, and least subjected to variation.

Page  217 But it is worthy of remark, that, even in this cover, some parts are more constant than others. None of these animals are deprived of all the senses. In treating of the senses, we explained what might be their species of feeling. We know not the nature of their smelling and taste; but we are certain, that they are all endowed with the sense of seeing, and perhaps also with that of hearing. The senses, therefore, may be considered as another essential part of the animal oeconomy, as well as the brain, which is the ori|gin of all sensation. Even the infects, which differ so much in their central parts from other animals, have something analogous to a brain, and its functions are similar to those of the other animals: And those animals, as the oister, which seem to be deprived of a brain, ought to be re|garded as beings only half animated, and as forming the shade between animal and vege|table life.

Thus we have discovered the brain and the senses to be a second essential part of the animal oeco|nomy. The brain is the centre of the envelope or cover, as the heart is the centre of the internal part of the animal. It is from the brain that the external parts receive their power of moving and acting, by means of the spinal marrow and the nerves, which are only prolongations of this marrow: And, as the heart and the whole inte|rior parts communicate with the brain and ex|ternal Page  218 cover, by means of the distribution of blood-vessels, the brain has a similar communi|cation with the internal parts by the ramifica|tions of the nerves. This union is intimate and reciprocal; and, though the functions of the two organs be totally different, they cannot be sepa|rated, without instant destruction to the animal.

The heart, and the whole internal parts, act continually, without the smallest interruption, and independent of external causes. But the senses and envelope act only by alternate inter|vals, and successive vibrations excited by exter|nal causes. Objects act upon the senses, and this action is modified by the senses, and transported, in this modified form, to the brain, where the impression first receives the appellation of Sensa|tion: The brain, in consequence of this impres|sion, acts upon the nerves, and communicates the vibrations it receives; and these vibrations produce progressive motion, and all the other external actions of the body. When a body is acted upon by any cause, it is well known, that the body re-acts upon the cause. Thus objects act upon animals by means of the senses, and animals re-act upon objects by their external movements; and, in general, action is the cause, and re-action the effect.

The effect, it may be said, is not, in this case, proportioned to the cause: In solid bodies, which follow the laws of mechanism, action and re|action are always equal. But, in the animal Page  219 body, re-action, or external motion, seems to be incomparably greater than action; and, conse|quently, progressive motion, and the other ex|ternal movements, ought not to be regarded as simple effects of the impressions of objects upon the senses. To this objection I reply, that, though effects, in certain circumstances, appear to be proportioned to their causes; yet there are in nature innumerable instances where the effects have no proportion to their apparent causes. A single spark of fire will inflame a magazine of powder, and blow up a citadel. A slight friction produces, by electricity, a concussion so violent, that it is communicated to great distances, and affects equally a thousand persons at the same time. It is not, therefore, surprising that a slight impression on the senses should produce a violent re-action in the animal body, manifesting itself by external movements.

Causes which admit of measurement, and the quantity of whose effects can be exactly estima|ted, are not so numerous as those whose qualities and manner of acting are perfectly unknown; and, consequently, the proportion they may have to their effects must be equally unknown. To measure a cause, it must be simple; its action must be constant, and uniformly the same, or, at least, it must vary only according to a known law. Now, most effects in nature are produced by a combination of different causes, the action of which varies, and which observe no constant Page  220 law; and, of course, they can neither be mea|sured, nor estimated, but by endeavouring to ap|proach the truth by probable conjectures.

I pretend not, therefore, to lay it down as a demonstrated fact, that progressive motion, and the other external movements of animals, have no other cause but that of the impressions of ob|jects upon the senses. I only say, that the fact is probable, and seems to be founded on strong analogies: For I find, that all organized beings, which are deprived of senses, are likewise depri|ved of the power of progressive motion, and that all those which are endowed with senses, enjoy likewise the loco-motive faculty. I also find, that this action of objects upon the senses often makes the animal move instantaneously, and even in|voluntarily; and that, when the movement is determined by the will, it is always the effect either of the immediate action of objects upon the senses, or of the remembrance of a former impression.

To render this matter more clear, let us analyze the physical laws of our own actions. When an object strikes any of our senses, and produces an agreeable sensation, and, of course, a desire, this desire must have a relation to some quality or mode of our enjoyment. We cannot desire an object in any other way than to have an inclina|tion to see, hear, taste, smell, or touch it; and this desire is only to gratify more fully either that sense with which we perceive the object, or some Page  221 of our other senses at the same time; or, in other words, to heighten the agreeableness of the first sensation, or to excite another, which is a new mode of enjoying an object: For, the moment we perceive our object, if we could fully enjoy it by all the senses at once, we would have no|thing to desire. Desire, then, originates from our being ill situated with regard to the object perceived. We are either too near or too di|stant from it. We, therefore, naturally change our situation; because, at the same time that we perceive the object, we also perceive the obstruc|tion to the full enjoyment of it, arising from the distance or proximity of our situation. Hence the movements we perform in consequence of desire, and the desire itself, proceed entirely from the impression made by the object upon our senses.

When we perceive an object with the eye, and have an inclination to touch it, if it be near, we seize it with our hand, and, if at a distance, we move forward in order to approach it. A man, when deeply occupied with study, if he be hungry, will lay hold of bread which he feels under his hand, and even carry it to his mouth and eat it, without being conscious of his having acted in this manner. These motions necessarily result from the first impression made by the ob|ject; and they would never fail to succeed the impression, if this natural effect were not opposed by other impressions, which, by acting at the Page  222 same time, often weaken and efface the action of the first.

An organized being, therefore, without sen|sation, as an oyster, which probably enjoys the sense of feeling very imperfectly, is deprived not only of progressive motion, but of sentiment and intelligence; because each of them would equal|ly excite desire, and this desire would manifest itself by external movements. I am uncertain whether beings deprived of senses have any per|ception of their own existence; if they have, it must be very imperfect, since they are unable to perceive the existence of others.

To illustrate this subject still farther, let us suppose a man, at the moment he wishes to ap|proach an object, suddenly deprived of all his members, would he not endeavour to trail his trunk along the ground in order to gratify his desire? Nay, were he reduced to a globular form, and actuated by the same desires, though depri|ved of every faculty of motion, he would still exert all his force to obtain a change of situa|tion: But, on this supposition, as he could only act against the point that supported him, he would still evince his passion by raising his body. Thus external and progressive motion depend not on the organization and figure of the body, since, whatever be the confirmation of any being, if endowed with senses and a desire of gratifying them, it would not fail to move.

Page  223 The facility, the quickness, the direction, and the continuation of motion, depend, it is true, upon external organization: But the cause, prin|ciple, and determination of it, proceed solely from desire, excited by the impression of objects upon the senses; for, if a man were deprived of sight, he would make no movement to gratify his eyes. The same thing would happen if he were de|prived of any of the other senses; and, if depri|ved of every sense, he would remain perpetually at rest; and no object would excite him to move, though, by his external conformation, he were fully capable of motion.

Natural wants, as that of taking nourishment, are internal movements, which necessarily excite desire or appetite. These movements may pro|duce external motion in animals; and, provided they are not entirely deprived of external senses, relative to these wants, they will act in order to supply them. Want is not desire; the former differs from the latter as cause differs from effect; desire, therefore, cannot be produced with|out the intervention of senses. Whenever an animal perceives an object fitted to supply its wants, desire is instantly excited, and action or motion succeeds.

The action of external objects must necessarily produce some effect; and it is easy to perceive that this effect is animal motion, since every time the senses are struck in the same manner, the same movements uniformly succeed. But how Page  224 does the action of objects excite desire or aver|sion? How shall we obtain a clear conception of the operation of that principle to which the senses communicate their notices? The senses are only the middle term between the action of objects and animal action. This principle, however, has the power of determining all our motions; for it can modify and alter the ani|mal action, and even sometimes counteract it, notwithstanding the impression of objects.

With regard to man, whose nature is so dif|ferent from that of other animals, this question is difficult to solve; because the soul participates all our movements; and it is not easy to distin|guish the effects of this spiritual substance from those produced solely by the material part of our frame. Of this we can form no judgment but by analogy, and by comparing our actions to the natural operations of the other animals. But, as this spiritual substance has been conferred on man alone, by which he is enabled to think and reflect, and, as the brutes are purely material, and neither think nor reflect, and yet act, and seem to be determined by motives, we cannot hesitate in pronouncing the principle of motion in them to be perfectly mechanical, and to de|pend absolutely on their organization.

I apprehend, therefore, that, in the animal, the action of objects on the senses produces an|other on the brain, which I consider as a ge|neral internal sense, that receives all the impres|sions Page  225 transmitted to it by the external senses. This internal sense is not only susceptible of vi|brations from the action of the senses, but is ca|pable of retaining, for a long time, the vibrations thus excited; and it is the continuation of these vibrations that constitute impressions, which are more or less deep, in proportion to the duration of the vibrations.

The internal sense, therefore, differs, in the first place, from the external senses by the facul|ty which it possesses of receiving every species of impression; while the external senses are only affected in one mode, corresponding to their con|formation: The eye, for instance, is not more affected with sound than the ear with light. 2dly, The internal sense differs from the external senses, by the duration of the vibrations excited by external causes. In every other article, both these species of senses are of the same nature. The internal sense of a brute, as well as its ex|ternal senses, are pure results of matter and me|chanical organization. Like the animal, man possesses this internal material sense; but he is likewise endowed with a sense of a very different and superior nature, residing in that spiritual substance which animates us, and superintends our determinations.

Hence the brain of an animal is a general sense, which receives all impressions transmitted to it by the external senses; and these impres|sions or vibrations continue longer in the internal Page  226 than the external senses. Of this we may easily form a conception, since the duration of impres|sions, even on the external senses, is very diffe|rent. The impression of light on the eye is well known to last much longer than that of sound on the ear. A rapid succession of sounds can be heard distinctly; but a succession of colours equally rapid confounds the eye. It is for this reason that the vibrations transmitted to the in|ternal sense by the eye are stronger than those conveyed by the ear, and that we describe ob|jects which we have seen in a more lively man|ner than those we have heard. The vibrations excited by objects on the eye seem to continue longer than those made upon any of the other senses; and, therefore, it appears to participate more of the nature of the internal sense. This might be proved by the quantity of nerves ex|panded on the eye; for it alone receives nearly as many as the three organs of hearing, smelling, and tasting.

The eye, therefore, may be regarded as a continuation of the internal sense. It consists, as was remarked in another place, almost en|tirely of nervous fibres, and is only a prolon|gation of the organ in which the internal sense resides. It is not, of course, surprising that it should make the nearest approach to this inter|nal sense. Its impressions are not only more durable, but, like the internal sense, it possesses Page  227 powers of a nature superior to those of the other senses.

The eye exhibits external marks of internal impressions. It expresses desire or aversion ex|cited by agreeable or disagreeable objects. Like the internal sense, it is active; but all the other senses are purely passive: They are simple or|gans, destined for the reception of external im|pressions, but incapable of preserving or reflect|ing them.

When any of the senses, it must be allowed, are long and strongly acted upon, the vibrations continue some time after the action of the ob|ject has ceased. But the eye possesses this power in a supereminent degree; and it is only exceed|ed by the brain, which not only preserves the impressions received, but propagates their ac|tion by communicating vibrations to the nerves. The external organs of sense, the brain, the spinal marrow, and the nerves, which are ex|panded over the whole body, ought to be re|garded as one continued mass, as an organic machine, of which the senses are the parts to which the action of external objects is applied. The brain is the fulcrum or basis; and the nerves are the parts which receive motion from the acting powers. But what renders this machine diffe|rent from all others is, that its fulcrum not only resists and re-acts, but is even active itself; be|cause it long retains received impressions. And, as this internal sense, the brain and its mem|branes, Page  228 is very large, and endowed with great sensibility, it can admit many successive and con|temporary vibrations, and retain them in the same order they were received; because each im|pression communicates vibrations to one part only of the brain, and successive impressions af|fect the same part, or contiguous parts, in a dif|ferent manner.

If we suppose an animal deprived of a brain, but endowed with an external sense of great ex|tent and sensibility, as an eye, for example, ha|ving a retina as large as the brain, and possessing the faculty of retaining received impressions; it is certain, that an animal of this kind would see, at the same time, both present objects, and those which it had formerly seen; because, on this supposition, the vibrations always remaining, and the extent of the retina being large enough to receive them on different parts, the animal would perceive, at the same time, both present and past objects; and would, therefore, be me|chanically determined to act according to the number or force of the vibrations produced by the images, corresponding with, or opposite to this determination. If the number of images fitted to excite desire surpassed those suited to produce aversion, the animal would necessarily be deter|mined to move, in order to gratify this appetite: But, if the number and force of different images were equal, the animal, having no superior mo|tive, would remain at rest. I say, that all this Page  229 would happen mechanically, and without the intervention of memory; for, by seeing and be|ing acted upon by all the images at the same time, those which correspond with desire would be opposed by those that correspond with aver|sion, and from this equilibrium, or from the ex|cess in number or force of one set of images a|bove another, the animal could alone be deter|mined to rest or to action.

From these facts it appears, that, in brutes, the internal sense differs only from the external senses, by the faculty it possesses of retaining re|ceived impressions. This faculty is alone suffi|cient to explain all the actions of animals, and to give us some idea of what passes within them. It likewise demonstrates the essential and infinite difference between them and us, and, at the same time, enables us to distinguish what we possess in common with them.

Animals have some senses of exquisite acute|ness; but, in general, they are not all equal to those of man: And, it is worthy of remark, that the degrees of excellence in the senses fol|low not the same order in the brute, as in the human species. The sense most analogous to thinking is that of touch; and this sense is more perfect in man than in the other animals. The sense of smelling is most analogous to instinct and appetite; and the brute enjoys it in a supe|rior degree. Hence man should excell in know|ledge, and the brute in appetite. In man, the Page  230 first sense for excellence is touching, and smel|ling is the last: In the brute, the sense of smel|ling is the first, and that of touching is the last. This difference has a perfect correspondence to the nature of each. The sense of seeing is ex|ceeding imperfect and delusive, without the aid of that of touching; and the former, according|ly, is less perfect in the brute than in man. The ear, though perhaps equally well constructed in the animals as in man, is not nearly so useful to them, because they are deprived of speech, which, in man, depends on the ear, an organ which gives activity to this sense, and enables him to communicate his ideas: But hearing, in the brute, is a sense almost entirely passive. Hence man enjoys the senses of touching, seeing, and hearing, more perfectly, and that of smelling more imperfectly, than the animal; and, as taste is an internal smelling, and is more analogous to appetite than any of the other senses, the animals also possess it in a superior degree, as ap|pears from their invincible aversion against cer|tain aliments, and their natural appetite for such as correspond to their constitutions: But man, if he were not instructed, would eat the fruit of the mancinella like an apple, and the hemlock like parsley.

The excellence of the senses is the gift of na|ture; but art and habit may bestow on them a greater degree of perfection. A musician, whose ear is accustomed to harmony, is shocked with Page  231 discord: A painter, with one glance of his eye, perceives a number of shades which escape a com|mon observer. The senses and even the appetites of animals may also be improved. Some birds learn to sing, and to repeat words; and the ar|dor of a dog for the chace may be increased by rewarding him for his labours.

But this excellence and improvement of the senses are most conspicuous in the brute, who always appears to be more active and intelligent in proportion to the perfection of his senses. Man, on the contrary, has too great a portion of reason and genius to bestow much attention to the improvement of his ear or his eye. Persons who are short-sighted, dull of hearing, or insen|sible of smell, suffer not, for that reason, any diminution of capacity: An evident proof that man is endowed with something superior to an internal animal sense, which is a material organ, similar to the external organs of sensation, and differs from them only by the faculty of retaining received impressions. But the soul of man is a superior sense, or spiritual substance, totally dif|ferent, both in its action and essence, from the nature of the external senses.

We mean not, however, to maintain that man is not possessed of an internal material sense, a|nalogous to the external senses. Inspection a|lone is sufficient to establish this point. In man, the brain is proportionally larger than in any other animal, which is an evident proof of his Page  232 being endowed with this internal material sense. What I mean to inculcate, is, that this sense is infinitely superior to the other. It is subject to the commands of the spiritual substance, which, at pleasure, suppresses, or gives rise to all its o|perations. In the animal, this sense is the prin|ciple which determines all its movements; but, in man, it is only an intermediate and secondary cause of action.

But, let us examine more closely the powers of this internal material sense. When we have once fixed the extent of its action, every thing beyond this limit must, of necessity, originate from the spiritual sense, and we will be furnish|ed with a criterion for distinguishing what we possess in common with the other animals, and in what articles we excell them.

The internal material sense receives indiffe|rently every impression conveyed by the exter|nal senses. These impressions proceed from the action of objects, and quickly pass through the external senses, where they only excite momen|tary vibrations. But their progress stops at the brain, and produce, in this organ of the internal sense, vibrations which are both distinct and du|rable. These vibrations give rise to desire or aver|sion, according to the present state and disposition of the animal. Immediately after birth, the young animal begins to respire, and to feel a desire for food. The organ of smelling receives the ef|fluvia of the milk contained in the dugs of the Page  233 mother. Vibrations are excited in this sense by the odorous particles, and these vibrations are transmitted to the brain, which, in its turn, acts upon the nerves; and the animal is thus stimu|lated to make the proper movements, or, in o|ther words, to open its mouth, in order to pro|cure the nourishment desired. The senses pe|culiar to appetite being more obtuse in man than in the brutes, the new-born child feels only the desire of taking nourishment, which he announ|ces by crying. But he is incapable of procu|ring it himself; neither is he stimulated by the sense of smelling; his mouth must be applied to the breast, before he can use the means of gra|tifying his appetite. Then, indeed, the senses of smelling and of touching communicate vibra|tions to the brain, which, by re-acting on the nerves, stimulates the child to make the neces|sary motions for receiving and sucking the milk. It is only by the senses of appetite, namely, those of smelling or tasting, that the brute animal is apprised of the presence of nourishment, or of the place where it is to be found. Its eyes are not yet open; and, though they were, they would not, at first, be capable of determining it to use the proper efforts. The eye, which is a sense more analogous to intelligence than to ap|petite, is open in man from the moment of birth; but remains shut, in most other animals, for se|veral days. The senses of appetite, on the con|trary, are more perfect and mature in the young Page  234 animal than in the infant. This affords another proof, that, in man, the organs of appetite are less perfect than those of intelligence; and that, in the animal, the organs of intelligence are more imperfect than those of appetite.

The same remark may be made with regard to progressive motion, and all the other exter|nal movements. It is long before the infant can use its members, or has strength enough to change place. But a young animal soon ac|quires these faculties. These powers, in the a|nimal, are all relative to appetite, which is ve|hement, quickly unfolded, and the sole princi|ple of motion. But appetite, in man, is feeble, long before it is unfolded, and ought not to have such influence, as intelligence, upon the deter|mination of his movements. Man, therefore, is, in this respect, later in arriving at maturity.

Hence, every circumstance, even in physics, concurs in demonstrating that the brutes are ac|tuated by appetite only, and that man is influ|enced by a superior principle. The only doubt that remains is the difficulty of conceiving how appetite alone should produce, in animals, effects so similar to those produced in men by intelli|gence; and how to distinguish the actions we perform in consequence of our intellectual powers, from those which originate from the force of appetite. I despair not, however, of being able to remove this difficulty.

Page  235 The internal material sense, as formerly re|marked, retains, for a long time, the vibrations it receives. This sense, the organ of which is the brain, is common to every animal, and re|ceives impressions transmitted to it by each of the external senses. When an object acts upon the senses, this action produces lasting vibrations in the internal sense, and these vibrations com|municate motion to the animal. When the impression proceeds from the senses of appetite, the movement is determined, the animal either advances to lay hold of the object, or flies to a|void it. This motion may be uncertain, when the impression is transmitted by the senses ana|logous to intelligence, as the eye, and the ear. When an animal sees or hears for the first time, he feels the impression of light or of sound; but the motions produced must be uncertain, because these senses have no relation to appetite. It is only by repeated acts, and after the animal has joined to the impressions of seeing or hearing those of smelling, tasting, or touching, that he feels a determination to approach or retire from objects which experience alone renders analo|gous to his appetite.

To illustrate this subject, let us examine the conduct of an animal that has been instructed by man. A dog, for example, though excited by the most violent appetite, will not venture to wrest, from the hand of his master, the object that would gratify him; but he, at the same time, Page  236 makes a number of movements in order to ob|tain it. Does not the dog, in this case, seem to combine ideas? Does he not appear to desire, and to fear, in a word, to reason nearly in the same manner as a man, when violently tempted to take what belongs to another, but is restrained by the fear of punishment? This is the vulgar mode of accounting for the conduct of animals. We naturally transfer our own motives to ani|mals, when placed in similar circumstances; and the analogy is said to be well founded, because in man, and in the animal, the conformation of both the internal and external senses is simi|lar. Though this analogy, however, were just, is not something more required? Is it not neces|sary that the animals should, on some occasions, do every thing which we perform? But the con|trary is evident: Animals never invent, nor bring any thing to perfection; of course, they have no reflection; they uniformly do the same things in the same manner. This destroys the force of the analogy so much, that we may even doubt of its reality: We ought, therefore, to inquire, whether the actions of brutes proceed not from principles entirely different from those which actuate men, and whether their senses alone are not sufficient to produce their actions, with|out the necessity of ascribing to them the powers of reflection.

Their internal sense is strongly agitated by e|very thing that relates to their appetites. A Page  237 dog would instantly seize the object he desires, if his internal sense retained not impressions of pain, that had formerly accompanied this action. But the animal has received new qualities from external impressions: This prey is not presented to a simple dog, but to a dog that has been beat: Every time he implicitly obeyed the dictates of appetite, has been followed with blows: The impressions of pain, therefore, uniformly accom|pany those of appetite, because they have always been made at the same time. The animal being thus acted upon at once by two contrary impul|ses, which mutually destroy each other, he re|mains in equilibrio, between two equal powers. The cause determining him to motion being coun|terbalanced, he makes no effort to obtain the object of his desire. But, though the vibrations occasioned by appetite and aversion, or by plea|sure and pain, destroy the effects of each other, a third vibration, which always accompanies the other two, is renewed in the brain of the animal, by the action of his master, from whose hand he has often received his food: And, as this third vibration is not counterbalanced by any opposite power, it becomes a cause sufficient to excite motion. The dog is, therefore, determined to move towards his master, and to frisk about till his appetite be fully gratified.

In the same manner, and upon the same prin|ciples, may all the actions of animals, however complicated they appear, be explained, without Page  238 the necessity of attributing to them either thought or reflection. Their internal sense is sufficient to produce every motion they perform. One thing only remains to be illustrated, and that is the nature of their sensations, which, according to the present doctrine, must be very different from ours. Have the animals, it may be ask|ed, no knowledge, no sentiment, or no conscious|ness of their existence? Since you pretend to explain all their actions by mechanism, do you not reduce them to mere machines, or insensible automatons?

If I have properly explained myself, the read|er ought to perceive, that, so far from depriving animals of all powers, I have already allowed them the possession of every thing but thought and reflection. Their feelings are even more exquisite than ours. They are conscious of their actual or present existence; but they have no knowledge of that existence which is past. They have sensations; but they want the faculty of comparing them, or of forming ideas; for ideas are only the results of the association or compa|rison of sensations.

Let us consider each of these articles separate|ly. The feelings of animals are more exquisite than those of man. This, I imagine, has al|ready been sufficiently proved by what was re|marked concerning the excellence of their senses relative to appetite; by their natural and invin|cible aversion against certain objects, and their Page  239 uniform and determined attachment to others; and by their faculty of instantly distinguishing with certainty what is salutary or noxious. A|nimals, therefore, as well as men, are capable of pleasure and pain. They have no knowledge of good and evil; but they feel the distinction. Whatever is agreeable to them is good, and whatever is disagreeable is bad. Both are only relations conformable or repugnant to their na|ture and organization. The pleasure of tickling, and the pain of an wound, are common to us and the animals; because they depend absolutely upon an external material cause, namely, a weak|er or stronger action in the nerves, which are the organs of sensation. Every thing that acts gently on these organs gives pleasure; and every thing that acts with violence is the cause of pain. All sensations, then, are sources of pleasure, when they are temperate and natural; but, when too violent, they produce pain, which, in physics, is the extreme, rather than the opposite of plea|sure.

Disagreeable sensations are excited by a light too brilliant, too near an approach to fire, loud noises, strong smells, insipid or coarse victuals, and hard friction. But a gentle light, a mode|rate heat, a soft sound, a delicate perfume, a fine favour, and slight friction, produce sensations of the most agreeable kind. Thus every gentle application to the senses is pleasure, and every shock, or violent impression, is pain. As the Page  240 causes, therefore, which give rise to violent im|pressions, occur more seldom in nature than those that produce soft and moderate movements; and as animals, by the exercise of their senses, soon acquire the habit of avoiding hurtful objects, and of distinguishing and approaching such as are a|greeable to them, the sum of agreeable sensations must exceed that of the disagreeable; and there|fore the quantity of pleasure must be greater than that of pain.

If animal pleasure consists of whatever flatters the senses, and if, in physics, what flatters the senses be every thing that corresponds to nature; if, on the other hand, pain be whatever wounds the organs, and is repugnant to nature; if, in a word, pleasure be physical good, and pain phy|sical evil, it is evident, that every sentient being must enjoy more pleasure than pain; for every thing that corresponds with his nature, contri|butes to his preservation, or supports his exist|ence, is pleasant; and every thing that tends to his destruction, to derange his organization, or to change his natural condition, is pain. It is by pleasure alone, therefore, that a sentient be|ing can continue to exist; and, if the sum of agreeable sensations surpassed not that of the dis|agreeable, deprived of pleasure, he would first languish for want of good, and, loaded with pain, he would next perish by a superabundance of evil.

Page  241 In man, physical good and evil constitute the smallest part of his pleasures and pains. His i|magination, which is never idle, is a constant source of unhappiness; for it presents to the mind nothing but vain phantoms, or exaggerated pictures. More occupied by these illusions than by real objects, the mind loses both its faculty of judging and its empire: It compares chime|ras only; it sees only at second hand, and often sees impossibilities. The will, of which the mind has now no command, becomes a burden: In sine, his extravagant desires are real pains, and his vain hopes are at most but false pleasures, which vanish as soon as the mind resumes its fa|culty of discerning and of judging without pas|sion.

Thus, when we search for pleasure, we create to ourselves pain; we are miserable from the moment we desire to augment our happiness. Good exists only within ourselves, and it has been bestowed on us by Nature; evil is external, and we go in quest of it. The peaceable enjoy|ment of the mind is our only true good: We cannot augment this good, without the danger of losing it: The less we desire, the more we possess: Whatever we wish beyond what Nature has bestowed on us is pain; and nothing is plea|sure but what she offers us.

Now, pleasures innumerable are constantly presented to us by Nature: She has provided for our wants, and fortified us against pain: Physi|cal Page  242 good infinitely exceeds physical evil. It is not, therefore, realities, but chimeras, which we ought to dread. Neither bodily pain, nor disease, nor death, are formidable; but agitation of mind, the passions, and languor, are the only evils we have to apprehend.

The animals have only one mode of acquiring pleasure, the exercise of their sensations to gratify their desires. We also possess this faculty: But we are endowed with another source of pleasure, the exercise of the mind, the appetite of which is the desire of knowledge. This source of plea|sure would be more pure and copious, were its current not interrupted by our passions, which destroy all contemplation. Whenever they ob|tain the ascendant, reason is silenced, or only makes feeble and unavailing efforts. We, of course, lose all relish of truth; the charm of illu|sion augments; error fortifies its dominion, and drags us on to misery: For what misery can be greater than no longer to see things as they are, to have the faculty of judging perverted by pas|sion, to act only according to its dictates, to ap|pear, consequently, unjust or ridiculous to others, and, lastly, to be obliged to despise ourselves, whenever we can command a moment's re|flection?

In this state of darkness and illusion, we would willingly change the nature of the soul; she has been bestowed on us for the purposes of know|ledge, and we would employ her only for those Page  243 of sensation. If we could extinguish her light entirely, instead of regretting the loss, we would envy the condition of idiots. As we only rea|son by intervals, and as these intervals are bur|densome to us, and pass in secret reproaches, we wish to suppress them. Thus, proceeding always from illusion to illusion, we voluntarily seek to lose sight of ourselves, and to terminate the whole by forgetting our existence.

Uninterrupted passion is madness; and mad|ness is the death of the soul. Violent passions, with intervals, are paroxysms of folly, diseases of the mind, whose danger consists in their fre|quency and duration. Wisdom is only the sum of these intervals of health which we enjoy be|tween the paroxysms of passion, and this sum is not entirely made up of happiness; for we then perceive that the mind has been diseased; we accuse our passions; we condemn our actions. Folly is the germ of misery, and wisdom un|folds it. Most people who call themselves un|happy, are passionate men, or, in other words, fools, who have some intervals of reason, during which they perceive their folly, and, of course, feel their misery: And as, in the elevated con|ditions of life, there are more false appetites, more vain pretensions, more disordered passions, more abuse of the mind, than in the inferior, men of birth and opulence must unquestionably be the most unhappy.

Page  244 But, let us turn from these melancholy ob|jects, these humiliating truths, and consider the wise man, who alone merits examination. He is both master of himself and of events. Con|tent with his condition, he desires not to live in any other manner than he has always lived: Possessed of sufficient resources, he seldom re|quires the aid of others. Occupied perpetually in exercising the faculties of his mind, he im|proves his understanding, cultivates his genius, acquires fresh sources of knowledge; and, being neither tormented with disgust nor remorse, he enjoys the universe, by enjoying himself.

Such a man is, doubtless, the happiest being in nature. To the pleasures of the body, which he possesses in common with the other animals, he joins those of the mind, that are peculiar to him. He has two modes of being happy, which mutually aid and fortify each other; and if, by disease or accident, he be afflicted with pain, he suffers less than the fool: He is supported by the strength of his mind, and reason affords him consolation: Even in suffering pain, he has the pleasure of perceiving that he is able to en|dure it.

Health, in man, is more feeble and precarious than in any other animal. He is oftener sick; his sickness is of longer duration; and he dies at every age. The brutes, on the contrary, seem to run through the space allotted to their exist|ence with firm and equal steps. This circum|stance Page  245 appears to proceed from two causes, which, though very different, mutually contribute to produce the same effect. The first is the agita|tion of mind occasioned by the derangement of our internal material sense. The passions have an influence on health, and introduce disorder into the vital principles. The majority of men lead either a timid or contentious life, and most of them die of chagrin. The second is the im|perfection of those of our senses which are analo|gous to appetite. The brute animals distinguish better what is agreeable to their nature: They are never deceived in the choice of their ali|ment; they never exceed in their pleasures; guided only by the perception of their actual wants, they remain satisfied, and never search for new sources of gratification. But man, inde|pendent of wishing for excess in every article, independent of that ardour with which he seeks to destroy himself by attempting to force nature, is not so alert in distinguishing the effects of par|ticular species of food. He despises simple ali|ment, and prefers compounded dishes, because his taste is corrupted, and because he has con|verted the sense of pleasure into an instrument of debauchery, which can only be gratified by irritation.

It is not, therefore, surprising that we are more subject to diseases than the brutes, since we cannot, like them, distinguish so easily what is noxious or salutary to our frame. Our experi|ence, Page  246 in this article, is less certain than their sen|timent. Besides, we even abuse those sensations of appetite, which they possess in a more perfect degree: In brutes, these sensations are the means of health and preservation; but, in man, they be|come the causes of malady and destruction. In|temperance alone is more fatal to man than the united force of all the other evils incident to hu|man nature.

By these considerations we are led to believe, that the feelings of animals are more determined and more exquisite than ours; for, though it were allowed that brutes frequently poison them|selves, it must likewise be granted, that they ne|ver take poison but when concealed among other food, or when so pressed with hunger, that they eat whatever is presented to them; and many instances have occurred where animals have perished for want, rather than eat what was re|pugnant to their constitution.

The superior strength of sentiment in brutes may be still farther proved, by attending to their sense of smelling, which, in most animals, is so powerful, that they smell farther than they see: They not only scent actual objects at a distance, but they can trace them by their effluvia long after they are gone. Such a sense is an univer|sal organ of perception; it is an eye that sees objects, not only where they are, but where they have been. In a word, it is a sense by which the animal is enabled to distinguish with certain|ty Page  247 what is agreeable to its nature, and by which it perceives what is fitted to gratify its appetite. Hence brute animals enjoy, in a superior degree, the senses relative to appetite; and, of course, have feelings more exquisite than those of men. They are likewise conscious of their actual ex|istence; but retain no consciousness of their past existence. This latter proposition, as well as the first, merits consideration.

In man, consciousness of existence is composed of the perception of actual existence, as well as remembrance of past existence. Remembrance is a perception equally present with the first im|pression; it even sometimes affects us more strongly than actual sensations. As these two species of sensation are different, and as the mind has the faculty of comparing and forming ideas from them, the consciousness of our existence is more certain and extensive, in proportion to the number and frequency of past objects recalled by the memory, and to the frequent combining and comparing of them with each other, and with present objects. Each object is accompanied with a certain number of sensations, or different existences, relative to the different states in which it was originally perceived. This number of sensations, by the comparison made between them by the mind, becomes a succession or train of ideas. The idea of time, and indeed every other idea, originates from the comparison of our sensations. But this train of ideas, or of Page  248 existences, often presents itself to us in an order or arrangement very different from that in which our sensations were received. It is the arrange|ment of our ideas that we perceive, and not the order of our sensations; and in this consist chiefly the differences of character and of ge|nius; for two men, though similar in organiza|tion, and educated in the same manner, and though they received their sensations in the same order, might, notwithstanding, think very dif|ferently. As the temperament of their minds was not the same, and as each combined and compared similar sensations in a manner peculiar to himself, the general results of these compari|sons, or the ideas, genius, and character acqui|red, would likewise be different.

Some minds are peculiarly active in compa|ring sensations and forming ideas. Such men are always the most ingenious, and, if not pre|vented by circumstances, make the most brilliant figure in life. There are others, whose minds being more obtuse, allow every sensation to e|scape, but such as make strong impressions: These men have less genius and vivacity than the former. Lastly, there are other men, and these constitute the multitude, who have so little activity of mind, and so great an aversion from thinking, that they never compare or combine sensations, at least, quickly. The sensations must be strong, and repeated a thousand times, before their minds can be roused to compare Page  249 them, or to form ideas. These men are exceed|ingly stupid, and only differ from the brutes by the small number of ideas which their minds have formed with so much labour.

The consciousness of our existence being thus composed not only of our actual sensations, but of the train of ideas which results from a com|parison of our sensations, and of our past exist|ences, it is evident, that the more ideas a man possesses, he is more certain of his existence; that his existence is proportioned to his genius; and that, by the power alone of reflection, we are conscious of our former existence, and that we will continue to exist, the idea of future be|ing only the inverse comparison of the present with the past; for, in this view, the present is past, and the future present.

Now, the power of reflection being denied to brutes, it is obvious, that they cannot form ideas, and, consequently, that their consciousness of their existence must be less certain and less extensive than ours; for they have no idea of time, no knowledge of the past, or of the future. Their consciousness of existence is simple; it depends solely on the sensations which actually affect them, and consists of the internal feelings produced by these sensations.

We may, perhaps, acquire some notion of the consciousness of existence which animals possess, by reflecting on our own condition, when Page  250 strongly occupied with any object, or so vio|lently agitated with passion as to preclude every reflex idea of ourselves. This condition is ex|pressed by saying, A man is absent, or out of himself. We are out of ourselves when fully immersed in actual sensations, and especially when these sensations are violent, rapid, and leave the mind no leisure to reflect. In this state, we feel every degree of pleasure and pain; we even retain the consciousness of our existence, without any sensible participation of the mind. This condition, in which we have only momen|tary impressions of our existence, is the habitu|al state of animals; deprived of ideas, and fur|nished with sensations, they know not their ex|istence, but they feel it.

To illustrate this difference more fully, let us compare the powers and actions of brute ani|mals with those of man. Like us, they have senses, and receive impressions from exernal objects. They have also an internal sense, an organ which retains the vibrations excited by these impressions; and, consequently, sensations, which, like ours, may be renewed, and are more or less strong and durable. Still, however, they have neither imagination, understanding, nor memory; because they possess not the power of comparing their sensations, and because these three faculties of the mind depend upon this power.

Page  251 Have brute animals no memory? The con|trary, I shall be told, is demonstrably evident: Do they not recollect, after long absence, the persons with whom they have lived, the places where they dwelt, the roads they frequented? Do they not remember the chastisements they had suffered, the caresses they had received, the lessons they had been taught? Every thing con|curs in showing that, though deprived of imagi|nation and reason, they possess an active, exten|sive, and, perhaps, more faithful memory than our own. But, however striking these appear|ances may be, and however strong the prejudices to which they have given rise. I imagine it is capable of demonstration that they are deceitful, and that the brutes have no knowledge of past events, no idea of time, and, of course, no me|mory.

In man, memory originates from the faculty of reflection; for our remembrance of past e|vents supposes not only a continuation of the impressions made upon the internal material sense, or a renewal of former sensations, but likewise the comparison the mind makes between its sensations, or the ideas it forms. If memory consisted not in the renovation of past sensations, these sensations would be represented in our in|ternal sense, without leaving any determined impressions; they would be exhibited without order or connection, like the ravings of persons mad or intoxicated, where objects are so de|ranged Page  252 and confused, that no remembrance of them is retained; for we cannot remember things that have no relation to those which have preceded or followed them. No isolated sensa|tion, however strong, can leave any traces on the mind. Now, it is the mind alone that ascer|tains the relations of objects, by the comparison it makes between them, and connects our sen|sations by a continued train of ideas. Memory, therefore, consists in a succession of ideas, and necessarily supposes the existence of the power by which they are produced.

But, to leave no room for doubt on this im|portant point, let us examine that species of re|membrance left by our sensations, when unac|companied with ideas. Pain and pleasure are sensations of the purest and strongest kind; yet our recollection of these feelings is feeble and confused. We only remember that we felt pleasure or pain; but our remembrance is indi|stinct: We cannot figure either the species, the degree, or the duration of those feelings which af|fected us so powerfully; and still less are we able to have clear ideas of those which have been seldom repeated. A violent pain, for example, which is felt but once, continues only a few moments, and differs from all former pains, would neces|sarily be soon forgot. We might recollect that we felt a great pain; but, while we distinctly remembered the circumstances which attended it, Page  253 and the time when it happened, we would have only a faint impression of the sensation itself.

Why is every thing that passed in our infancy entirely obliterated? Why do old men recollect what happened in their youthful years better than what occurred during their old age? Can there be a stronger proof that sensations alone are insufficient for the production of memory, and that it has no existence but in the train of ideas which the mind forms from its sensations? In infancy, our sensations are perhaps as lively and rapid as in middle age; yet they leave little or no traces behind them; because, at this period, the power of reflection, which alone forms ideas, is almost totally inactive; and, when it does act, its comparisons are superficial, and it is incapable of reducing objects to any regular arrangement. At the age of maturity, reason is fully unfold|ed, because the power of reflection is at its me|ridian. We then derive from our sensations all the fruit they can produce, and we form various orders of ideas and chains of thought, each of which, by being frequently revolved, makes an impression so deep and indelible, that, when old age arrives, the same ideas recur with more force than those derived from present sensations; be|cause, at that period, our sensations are slow and feeble, and the mind itself participates the lan|guor of the body. Infancy is totally occupied with the present time: In mature years, we en|joy equally the past, the present, and the future; Page  254 and, in old age, we have but slight feelings of the present, we turn our eyes to futurity, and only live in the past. Do not these differences depend entirely on the arrangement the mind has made of its sensations; and are they not more or less connected with the faculty we possess, at different ages, of forming, acquiring, and retain|ing ideas? Neither the prattling of the child, nor the garrulity of old age, have the tone of reasoning, because they are equally deficient in ideas; the first is yet unable to form them, and the last has lost the faculty.

An idiot, whose senses and bodily organs ap|pear to be perfectly sound, possesses, in common with us, every kind of sensation, and, if he li|ved in society, and were obliged to act like other men, he would possess them in the very same or|der. But, as these sensations give rise to no i|deas; as there is no correspondence between his mind and his body; and, as he has not the facul|ty of reflection; he is, of course, deprived of me|mory, and of all knowledge of himself. With regard to external powers, this man differs not from the brutes; for, though he has a soul, and possesses the principle of reason, as this principle remains inactive, and receives no intelligence from the bodily organs, it can have no influence on his actions, which, like those of the brute animals, are solely determined by his sensations, and by the consciousness of his actual existence and present wants. Thus, an idiot and a brute Page  255 are beings whose operations are in every respect the same; because the latter has no soul, and the former makes no use of it: Both want the power of reflection, and, consequently, have neither understanding, imagination, nor memo|ry; but they both possess sensations, feelings, and the faculty of moving.

If it shall still, however, be asked, Do not idiots and brutes often act as if they were deter|mined by the knowledge of past objects? Do they not recollect the person with whom they have lived, the places where they dwelt, &c.? Do not these actions necessarily imply the exer|tions of memory? and, does not this prove that memory flows not from the power of reflec|tion?

The reader ought to recollect, that I have al|ready distinguished two species of memory, which, though they resemble each other in their effects, proceed from very different causes: The first is occasioned by the impressions of our ide|as; and the second, which I would rather call reminiscence than memory, is only a renewal of our sensations, or of the vibrations that produced them. The first is an emanation of the mind, and, as already remarked, is more perfect in man than the second. But the latter is only a renovation of the vibrations of the internal ma|terial sense; and it alone is possessed by idiots and brute animals. Their former sensations are re|newed by actual sensations; the principal and Page  256 present recall the accessory and past images; they feel as they formerly felt, and consequently act as they formerly acted; they perceive the present and the past; but they have not the ca|pacity of distinguishing, or comparing objects, and, of course, have no proper knowledge of them.

I am aware that dreams will be adduced as another proof of the memory of brutes. It is undeniable, that the objects which occupy ani|mals when awake, are likewise presented to them during sleep. Dogs bark in their sleep; and, though this barking be feeble, it is easy to distin|guish the sounds peculiar to the chace, to anger, to desire, to complaint, &c. It is, therefore, unque|stionable, that dogs have a lively and active me|mory, and very different from what has been a|bove described, since it acts independent of ex|ternal causes.

To obviate this difficulty, we must examine the nature of dreams, and inquire whether they proceed from the mind, or depend solely on our internal material sense. If we can prove that they reside entirely in the latter, the objection will not only be removed, but a new demon|stration will be furnished against the understand|ing and memory of brutes.

Idiots, whose minds are totally inactive, dream like other men: Dreams, therefore, are produ|ced independent of the mind. Brute animals, though they have no mind, not only dream, but Page  257 I am tempted to think that all dreams are inde|pendent of mind. Let any man reflect upon his dreams, and endeavour to discover why the parts of them are so ill connected, and the events so ridiculous and absurd. The chief reason, I have always thought, proceeds from this circum|stance, that dreams are entirely derived from sen|sations, and not from ideas. The idea of time, for example, never enters into dreams: Persons whom we never saw are represented; we even see those who have been long dead in the same form as when they were alive; but they are al|ways connected with present objects and persons, or with those which are past. It is the same with the idea of place: In dreams we never see per|sons where they are; objects must be seen where they are not, or they cannot be perceived at all. If the mind acted, it would instantly reduce this chaos of sensations to order. But, instead of acting, the mind generally allows these illusory representations to succeed each other in the order they occur; and, though each object appears in lively colours, the succession is often confused, and always chimerical. If, however, the mind be half roused by the absurdity of the represen|tations, or by the mere force of the sensations, a glimmering of light breaks in upon the dark|ness, and produces a real idea in the midst of chimeras; we then begin to dream, or rather to think, that the whole may be only a dream. Though this action be only a feeble exertion of Page  258 the mind, it is neither a sensation nor a dream; it is a real thought or reflection; but, as it has not strength enough to dissipate the allusion, it mixes with, and becomes part of the dream, and allows the succession of images to proceed; so that, when we awake, we imagine we have dreamed what we in reality thought.

In dreams we see much, but seldom under|stand: Though we feel in the most lively man|ner, we never reason: Images and sensations succeed each other; but the mind never unites or compares them. We have, therefore, sensa|tions, but no ideas; for ideas are the results of compared sensations. Hence dreams reside on|ly in the internal material sense; they are pro|duced without the intervention of the mind; and, therefore, constitute a part of that material or purely animal reminiscence which we have formerly mentioned. Memory, on the contra|ry, cannot exist without the idea of time, with|out the actual comparison of former ideas; and, since ideas enter not into dreams, it is obvious, that they can neither be a consequence, nor an effect, nor a proof of memory. But, though i|deas should sometimes accompany dreams, though the somnambulists, who walk, speak sensibly, answer questions, &c. in their sleep, should be quoted to prove that ideas are not so entirely ex|cluded from dreams as I pretend, it is sufficient for my purpose that dreams may be produced by the renewal of sensations alone, without the intervention of mind: For then brute animals Page  259 can only have dreams of this species; and these dreams, instead of supposing the existence of memory, indicate, on the contrary, nothing more than a material reminiscence.

I am, however, far from believing that som|nambulists are really occupied with ideas: The mind seems to take no part in their actions; for, though they go about and return, they act without reflection or knowledge of their situ|ation. They are neither conscious of the dan|gers nor inconveniencies which accompany their expeditions. The animal faculties are alone em|ployed, and even not the whole of them. A somnambulist, therefore, is in a more stupid state than that of an idiot; because he exerts only a part of his senses; but an idiot employs the whole, and enjoys extensively every species of feeling: And as to the people who speak during sleep, they never say any thing new. The an|swering some trivial questions, the repetition of some common phrases, prove not the action of the mind: All this may be performed indepen|dent of the thinking principle. Why may not a man asleep speak without thinking, since per|sons fully awake, especially when occupied with passion, utter many things without reflection?

With regard to the occasional cause of dreams, or the reason why former sensations are renew|ed, without being excited by present objects, it may be remarked, that we never dream during a profound sleep. Every thing is then extin|guished; Page  260 we sleep both externally and internally. But the internal sense sleeps last, and awakes first; because it is more active, and more su|sceptible of impressions than the external senses. We dream most, when our sleep is least perfect and profound. Former sensations, especially those which require no reflection, are renewed. The internal sense, occupied with actual sensa|tions, on account of the inactivity of the exter|nal senses, exercises itself with its past sensations. The strongest always present themselves first; and the stronger they are, the supposed situations become more keenly interesting. It is for this reason that dreams are almost perpetually either dreadful or ravishing.

It is not even necessary that the external senses should be absolutely lulled, before the internal sense can exert its independent powers: The simple inaction of these senses is sufficient to pro|duce this effect. The habit of going to repose at stated times often prevents us from sleeping easily. The body and its members are softly extended without motion; the eyes are involved in darkness; the tranquility of the place, and the silence of the night, render the ear useless; the other senses are equally inactive; all is in a state of repose, but nothing as yet entirely lulled or asleep. In this condition, and when the mind is also unoccupied with ideas, the internal material sense alone exerts itself. This is the season of illusive images and fleeting shades. We are a|wake, Page  261 and yet we feel the effects of sleep. If we be in health and vigour, the succession of i|mages and illusions is enchanting. But, when the body is disordered, or fatigued, the images are of a different nature: We are then torment|ed with hideous and threatening phantoms, which succeed each other with equal whimsicalness and rapidity. This scene of chimeras may be cal|led a magic lanthorn which fills the brain with illusions, when void of all other sensations: The objects of this scene are more lively, numerous, and disagreeable, in proportion to the weakness of the body and delicacy of the nerves; for, the vibrations occasioned by real sensations being, in a state of weakness or disease, much stronger and more disagreeable than in a healthy state, the re|presentations of these sensations, produced by a renewal of the same vibrations, must likewise be more lively and painful.

In fine, we remember dreams for the same reason that we remember former sensations: The only difference between us and the brutes is, that we can distinguish dreams from ideas or real sen|sations; and this capacity of distinguishing is a result of comparison, an operation of memory, which includes the idea of time. But the brutes, who are deprived of memory and of the faculty of comparing past and present time, cannot di|stinguish their dreams from their actual sensa|tions.

Page  262 In the article concerning the nature of man, I imagine I have proved, in a satisfactory man|ner, that animals possess not the power of reflec|tion. Now, the understanding, which is a re|sult of this power, may be distinguished by two different operations: The first is the faculty of comparing sensations, and forming ideas from them; and the second is the power of comparing the ideas themselves, and forming a chain of reasoning. By the first operation, we acquire particular ideas, or the knowledge of sensible ob|jects: By the second, we form general ideas, which are necessary for the acquisition of abstract truths. The brute animals possess neither of these faculties, because they have no understanding; and the understanding of the bulk of mankind seems to be limited to the first of the above ope|rations.

If all men were equally capable of comparing and generalizing ideas, they would equally exhi|bit their ingenuity by new productions, which would be always different from those of others, and often more perfect; all men would be en|dowed with inventive powers, or, at least, with the capacity of improving and perfecting. But this is by no means the case: Reduced to a ser|vile imitation, most men execute only what they have seen performed by others; they think only from memory, and in the same order as others have thought; their understanding is limited en|tirely Page  263 to form and imitation, and their power of reflecting is too feeble for invention.

Imagination is another faculty of the mind: If, by imagination, we understand the power of comparing images with ideas, of illuminating our thoughts, of aggrandizing our sensations, of painting our sentiments, in a word, of perceiving with rapidity all the qualities and relations of objects, this power is the most brilliant and most active faculty of the mind, and the brutes are still more devoid of it, than either of understand|ing or memory. But there is another species of imagination, which depends solely on corporeal organs, and is common to us with the brutes, namely, that tumultuary emotion excited by ob|jects analogous or opposite to our appetites, that lively and deep impression of the images of ob|jects, which perpetually and involuntarily re|curs, and forces us to act, like the brutes, with|out deliberation or reflection. By this represen|tation of objects, which is more active than their presence, every thing is exaggerated, and paint|ed in false colours. This species of imagination is the grand enemy of the human mind: It is the source of illusion, the mother of those pas|sions which, in spite of the efforts of reason, rule over us, and render us the unhappy theatre of a perpetual combat, in which we are almost con|stantly vanquished.

Page  264


The internal man is double. He is composed of two principles, different in their nature, and opposite in their action. The mind, or prin|ciple of all knowledge, wages perpetual war with the other principle, which is purely material. The first is a bright luminary, attended with calmness and serenity, the salutary source of science, of reason, and of wisdom. The other is a false light, which shines only in tempest and obscurity, an impetuous torrent, which involves in its train nothing but passion and error.

The animal principle is first unfolded. As it is purely material, and consists in the duration of vibrations, and the renewal of impressions formed in the internal material sense, by objects analogous or opposite to our appetites, it begins to act, and to guide us, as soon as the body is capable of feeling pain or pleasure. The spiri|tual principle appears much later, and is only unfolded and brought to maturity by means of education: It is by the communication of others thoughts alone that the child becomes a thinking and rational creature. Without this communi|cation, it would be stupid or fantastical, according to the natural inactivity or activity of its internal material sense.

Page  265 Let us view a child when left at full liberty, and removed from the observation of his guide. We may judge of what passes within him from his external actions. He neither thinks nor re|flects. He follows indifferently every path to pleasure. He obeys all the impressions of ex|ternal objects. He acts without reason. Like the young animals, he amuses himself by run|ning and bodily exercise. He goes and returns, without design or preconceived project. His actions are desultory, and without order or con|nection. But, when called upon by his parents, or those who have learned him to think, he in|stantly composes himself, gives a direction to his actions, and shows that he has retained the thoughts which had been communicated to him. The material principle has absolute sway during infancy, and would continue to reign alone through life, if the spiritual principle were not unfolded and put in motion by education.

It is easy, by reflection, to perceive the ex|istence of these two principles. There are mo|ments, and even hours and days, in which we can distinguish with certainty both their exist|ence, and the contrariety of their action. I re|fer to those times of indolence, of fatigue, or disgust, when we are unable to form any deter|mination, when our actions and desires are dia|metrical opposite; to that condition or disease called vapours, with which the sedentary and idle are so often affected. If we examine ourselves Page  266 when in this state, we will seem to be divided into two distinct beings, the first of which, or the rational faculty, blames what is done by the second, but has seldom force enough to overcome it; the latter, on the contrary, being composed of all the illusions of sense and imagination, com|mands, and often overpowers the former, and forces us to act contrary to our judgment, or makes us remain idle, though we have a desire of acting.

When the rational faculty reigns, a man feels a tranquil possession of himself and his affairs; but he perceives, at the same time, that this is only acquirable by a kind of involuntary abstrac|tion from the presence of the other principle. But, when the irrational principle assumes the dominion, we resign ourselves with ardour to dis|sipation, to appetite, and to passion, and hardly reflect upon the very objects which occupy us so entirely. In both these states, we are happy: In the first, we command with satisfaction; and, in the second, we have still greater pleasure in obeying. As only one of these principles is then in action, and is not opposed by the other, we are sensible of no internal conflict; our existence appears to be simple, because we feel but one impulse: It is in this unity of action that our happiness consists; for, whenever reason accuses our passions, or when the violence of passion makes us hate the admonitions of reason, we then cease to be happy; we lose the unity of Page  267 our existence, in which alone tranquillity con|sists; an internal conflict commences; the two persons oppose each other; and the two princi|ples manifest themselves by producing doubts, inquietude, and remorse.

We may hence conclude, that the most mise|rable of all states takes place, when these two sovereign powers of human nature exert equally their greatest efforts, and produce an equilibrium. This is that ultimate point of disgust, which makes a man abhor himself, and leaves no other desire but that of ceasing to exist, no other power but that of arming with fury against himself.

What a dreadful condition! I have painted its darkest shade. But how many black clouds must precede? All the situations adjacent to this state of equilibrium, must be replete with melan|choly, irresolution, and misery. Even the body itself falls a victim to the agitations produced by these internal conflicts.

The happiness of man consists in the unity of his internal frame: During infancy, he is happy, because the material principle reigns alone, and is in perpetual action. The constraints, remon|strances, and even the chastisements of parents, affect not the basis of happiness in children. No sooner do they obtain their liberty, than they re|sume all the spring and gaiety which they re|ceive from the novelty and vivacity of their sen|sations. If a child were entirely left to himself, Page  268 his happiness would be complete; but it would cease, and be succeeded with a long train of mi|sery. We are therefore obliged to lay him un|der certain restraints, which frequently make him uneasy; but these transitory pains are the germs of all his future good.

In youth, when the mental principle begins to act, and might even serve for our guide, a new material sense springs up, and assumes such an absolute dominion over all our faculties, that the soul seems to yield itself a willing victim to the impetuous passions excited by this sense. The material principle now gains a more complete command than it formerly possessed; for it not only subdues reason, but perverts it, and employs it as an instrument of gratification: We neither think nor act, but with a view to approve and to satisfy this passion. As long as this intoxi|cation continues, we are happy: External oppo|sition and difficulties seem to corroborate the u|nity of this internal principle; they fortify the passion; they fill the intervals of languor; they rekindle the flame, and turn all our views to the same object, and all our powers towards the ac|complishment of the same end.

But this happy scene passes away like a dream; the charm vanishes; and disgust and a frightful void succeed the plenitude of agreeable feelings with which we had been occupied. The mind, when roused from this lethargy, recognises itself with difficulty. It has lost by slavery the habit Page  269 of commanding, together with its strength. It even loves servitude, and goes in quest of a new tyrant, a fresh object of passion, which, in its turn, soon disappears, and is succeeded by ano|ther, whose duration is still shorter. Thus excess and disgust continue to multiply; pleasure flies from our embrace; the organs are debilitated, and the material sense, in place of governing, has not even the power to obey. After a youth spent in this manner, nothing remains but an enervated body, a feeble and esseminate mind, and a total incapacity of employing either.

It has been remarked, that, in the middle pe|riod of life, men are most subject to those lan|guors of mind, that internal malady which is distinguished by the name of vapours. At this age, we still search after the pleasures of youth. This is the effect of habit, and not of any natu|ral propensity. In proportion as we advance in years, instead of pleasure, we more frequently feel the incapacity of enjoyment. Our desires are so often contradicted by our weakness, that we condemn both our actions and the passions which we wish in vain to gratify.

It is, besides, at this age, that cares and solici|tude arise: We then assume a certain state, or, in other words, either from chance or choice, we enter upon a particular course of life, which it is always shameful to abandon, and often dange|rous to pursue. We proceed, therefore, between two rocks equally formidable, contempt and a|version. Page  270 The efforts we make to avoid them weaken our powers, and throw a damp upon our spirits: For, after long experience of the injustice of men, we acquire the habit of regard|ing every individual as necessarily vicious; and, after we are accustomed to prefer our own re|pose to the opinions of the world, and after the heart, rendered callous by the frequent wounds it has received, has lost its sensibility, we easily arrive at that state of indifference, that indolent tranquillity, of which we would formerly have been ashamed. Ambition, the most powerful motive of elevated minds, which is regarded at a distance as the noblest and most desirable of all objects, and which stimulates us to the per|formance of great and useful actions, has no at|tractions to those who have approached it, and proves a vain and deceitful phantom to those who fall behind in the pursuit. Indolence takes place of ambition, and seems to offer to all men an easier acquisition of more solid good. But it is preceded by disgust, and followed by languor, that dreadful tyrant of thinking minds, against which wisdom has less influence than folly.

It is hence apparent, that the difficulty of re|conciling man to himself originates from his be|ing composed of two opposite principles; and that this is the source of his inconstancy, irreso|lution, and languor.

Brute animals, on the contrary, whose nature Page  271 is simple and purely material, feel no internal conflicts, no remorse, no hopes, no fears.

If we were deprived of understanding, of me|mory, of genius, and of every faculty of the soul, nothing would remain but the material part, which constitutes us animals. We would still have wants, sensations, pleasure, pain, and even passions; for what is passion but a strong sensation, which may every moment be renew|ed? Now, our sensations may be renewed in an internal material sense; we would, therefore, possess all the passions, at least all those which the mind, or principle of intelligence, can nei|ther produce nor foment.

But the great difficulty is to distinguish clear|ly the passions peculiar to man from those which are common to him and the brutes. Is it cer|tain, or even probable, that the animals have passions? Is it not, on the contrary, agreed, that every passion is a strong emotion of the mind? Ought we not, therefore, to search somewhere else, than in the spiritual principle, for the seeds of pride, of envy, of ambition, of avarice, and of all the other passions which govern us?

To me it appears, that every thing which go|verns the mind is extraneous to it; that the principle of intelligence is not the principle of sentiment; that the seeds of the passions exist in our appetites; that all illusions proceed from the senses, and reside in our internal material sense; that, at first, the mind has no participation in Page  272 these illusions, but by its silence; and that, when the mind does give any countenance to them, it is subdued, and, when it assents, it is totally per|verted.

Let us then distinguish man's physical from his moral passions: The one is the cause; the other the effect. The first emotion originates in the internal material sense: The mind may receive, but it cannot produce this emotion. Let us likewise distinguish instantaneous emotions from those that are durable, and we shall, at once, perceive, that fear, horror, anger, love, or ra|ther the desire of enjoyment, are sensations, which, though durable, depend solely on the im|pressions of objects upon our senses, combined with the subsisting impressions of our former sensations; and, consequently, that those passions must be common to us and the other animals: I say, that the actual impressions of objects are combined with the subsisting impressions of our former sensations; for nothing is horrible or alluring, either to man or the brutes, when seen for the first time. This is fully proven by ex|perience: A young animal will run into the flames the first time a fire is presented to it. A|nimals acquire experience only by reiterated acts, the impressions of which remain in their internal sense; and, though their experience be not natural, it is not less sure, and even renders the animal more circumspect; for a great noise, a violent motion, an extraordinary figure, sud|denly, Page  273 and for the first time, seen or presented, produce in the animal a shock, the effect of which resembles the first expressions of fear: But this feeling is instantaneous; and, as it cannot be combined with any former sensation, it can only excite a momentary vibration, and not a durable emotion, which the passion of fear ne|cessarily implies.

A young inhabitant of the forest, when sud|denly struck with the sound of a hunter's horn, or with the report of a gun, starts, bounds, and flies off, solely from the violence of the shock which he felt. But, if this noise ceases, and has been attended with no injury, the animal recog|nises the ordinary silence of nature; he composes himself, stops, and returns to his peaceable re|treat. But age and experience soon render him timid and circumspect. If he feels himself wounded or pursued, after hearing a particular sound, the painful sensation is preserved in his internal sense; and, whenever he again hears the same noise, the painful sensation is renewed, and, combining with the actual impression, pro|duces a durable passion, a real fear; the animal flies with all his speed, and often abandons for ever his former abode.

Fear, then, is a passion of which brute ani|mals are susceptible, though they feel not our rational or foreseen apprehensions. The same remarks apply to horror, anger, and love; though brutes have none of our reflex aversions, our Page  274 durable resentments, or our constant friendships. Brute animals possess all those primary passions, which suppose no intelligence, no ideas, and are founded only on the experience of sentiment, or repeated feelings of pleasure and pain, and a renewal of former sensations of the same kind. Anger, or natural courage, is remarkable in those animals who have exerted their strength, and found it superior to that of others. Fear is the offspring of weakness; but love is common to all animals. Love is an innate desire, the soul of nature, the inexhaustible fountain of existence, the germ of perpetuity infused by the Almighty into every being that breathes the breath of life. It softens the most ferocious and obdurate hearts, and penetrates them with a genial warmth. It is the source of all good; by its attractions it unites the most savage and brutal tempers, and gives birth to every pleasure. Love! Thou di|vine flame! Why dost thou constitute the hap|piness of every other being, and bring misery to man alone? Because this passion is only a phy|sical good. Notwithstanding all the pretences of lovers, morality is no ingredient in the com|position of love. Wherein does the morality of love consist? In vanity; the vanity arising from the pleasure of conquest, an error which pro|ceeds from our attempts to exalt the importance of love beyond its natural limits; the vanity of exclusive possession, which is always accompa|nied with jealousy, a passion so low, that we u|niformly Page  275 wish to conceal it; the vanity proceed|ing from the mode of enjoyment, which only multiplies efforts, without increasing our plea|sures. There is even a vanity in relinquishing the object of our attachment, if we first wish to break it off. But, if we are slighted, the humi|liation is dreadful, and turns into despair, after discovering that we have been long duped and deceived.

Brute animals suffer none of these miseries. They search not after pleasure where it is not to be found. Guided by sentiment alone, they are never deceived in their choice. Their desires are always proportioned to the power of gratifica|tion. They relish all their enjoyments, and at|tempt not to anticipate or diversify them. But man, by endeavouring to invent pleasures, de|stroys those which correspond to his nature; by attempting to force sentiment, he abuses his be|ing, and creates a void in his heart which no|thing can afterwards fill up.

Thus, every thing that is good in love belongs to the brutes as well as to man; and, as if this passion could never be pure, the animals even seem to feel a small portion of jealousy. Jea|lousy, in the human species, always implies some distrust of ourselves, a tacit acknowledgment of our own weakness. The animals, on the con|trary, seem to be jealous in proportion to their force, ardour, and habits of pleasure; because our jealousy proceeds from ideas, and theirs from Page  276 sentiment. They have enjoyed, and they desire to enjoy more. They feel their strength, and they beat off all that endeavour to occupy their place. Their jealousy is not the effect of reflec|tion. They turn it not against the object of their love. They are only jealous of their pleasures.

But, are animals limited solely to those pas|sions we have described? Are fear, anger, hor|ror, love, and jealousy, the only permanent af|fections they are capable of feeling? To me it appears, that, independent of these passions, of which natural sentiment, or rather the experi|ence of sentiment, renders animals susceptible, they possess other passions, which are commu|nicated to them by education, example, habit, and imitation. They have a species of friend|ship, of pride, and of ambition. And though, from what has been said, it is apparent that the operations they perform are not the effects of thought or reflection; yet, as the habits we have mentioned seem to suppose some degree of in|telligence, and to form the shade between man and the brute creation, this subject merits a careful examination.

Can any thing exceed the attachment of a dog to his master? Some of them have been known to die on the tomb in which he had been laid. But, (not to quote prodigies or he|roes), with what fidelity does the dog attend, follow, and protect his master! With what anxi|ety does he seek his caresses! With what doci|cility Page  277 and alacrity does he obey him! With what patience does he suffer his ill humour, and even his chastisements, though often unjust! With what gentleness and humility does he endeavour to regain his favour! In a word, what agitation and chagrin does the dog discover when his master is absent; and what excess of joy on his return! In all these expressions, is it possible to mistake the genuine characters of friendship? Are these characters equally strong and ener|getic, even in the human species?

This friendship, however, is the same with that of a lady for her goldfinch, of a child for its toy, or a dog for its master. Both attach|ments are equally blind and void of reflection: That of animals is only more natural, because it arises from their wants; while that of the other is nothing but an insipid amusement, in which the mind has no share. These puerile attach|ments are kept alive by habit, and acquire all their strength from a vacancy of brain. A taste for whims, the worship of idols, and, in a word, an attachment to inanimated objects, indicate the highest degree of stupidity; and yet there are many makers and worshippers of idols; and many are fond of the soil which they have tilled.

All attachments, therefore, are acquired with|out the intervention of the mind; for they uni|formly arise when we think least, and they ac|quire force, and become habitual, by want of reflection. If an object pleases our senses, we Page  278 instantly love it; and, if this object continues for some time to occupy our attention, we con|vert it into an idol.

But friendship necessarily implies the power of reflection. It is of all attachments the most worthy of man, and the only one which degrades not his nature. Friendship is the offspring of reason. The impressions of sense have no share in its production. It is the mind of our friend that we love; and to love a mind, implies that we have one, and that we have employed it in the investigation of knowledge, and in distin|guishing the qualities of different minds. Friend|ship, therefore, supposes, not only the existence of an intelligent principle, but the actual exer|tions of this principle in reflecting and reason|ing.

Thus friendship belongs only to man; and, though the brutes may be allowed to have at|tachments, sentiment alone is sufficient to attach them to those whom they often see, and by whom they are fed and taken care of. It is still more sufficient to attach them to objects with which they are obliged to be much connected. The attachment of mothers to their young pro|ceeds from their being long occupied in car|rying them in the womb, and in produ|cing and suckling them. In some species of birds, the fathers seem to have an attachment for their offspring, and to provide for the mo|thers during incubation: This attachment ori|ginates from their being employed in building Page  279 the nest, and from the pleasure they receive from the females, which continue in season long after impregnation. But, in the other animals, whose season of love is short, whenever it is past, the males have no attachment to the females. Where there is no nest, no common operation to be performed, the fathers, like those of Spar|ta, have no regard to their posterity.

The pride and ambition of animals are effects of their natural courage, or of the sentiments a|rising from their strength, agility, &c. Large animals seem to despise the audacious insults of the smaller ones. Their courage and ardour are even capable of being improved by education and example; for they are susceptible of every thing, except reason. In general, brute animals can learn to repeat the same action a thousand times, to perform in succession what they only did by intervals, to continue an action a long time, which they were accustomed to finish in an instant, to do voluntarily what at first was the effect of force, to perform habitually what they once executed by chance, and to do, of their own accord, what they see performed by others. Of all the results of the animal ma|chine, that of imitation is the most admirable. It is the most delicate, as well as the most exten|sive principle of action, and makes the nearest approach to thought: And though, in animals, the cause of it be purely material, its effects have always been astonishing. Men never admired Page  280 the apes, till they saw them imitate human ac|tions. It is not, indeed, an easy matter to distin|guish some copies from the originals. There are, besides, so few who can clearly perceive the difference between genuine and counterfeit ac|tions, that, to the bulk of mankind, the apes must always excite surprise and humiliation.

The apes, however, are more remarkable for talents than genius. Though they have the art of imitating human actions, they are still brutes, all of which, in various degrees, possess the talent of imitation. This talent, in most a|nimals, is entirely limited to the actions of their own species. But the ape, although he belongs not to the human species, is capable of imitating some of our actions. This power, however, is entirely the effect of his organization. He imi|tates the actions of men, because his structure has a gross resemblance to the human figure. What originates solely from organization and structure, is thus ignorantly ascribed, by the vul|gar, to intelligence and genius.

By the relations of motion, a dog learns the habits of his master; by the relations of figure, an ape mimics human gestures; and, by the re|lations of organization, a goldfinch repeats mu|sical airs, and a parrot imitates speech, which forms the greatest external difference between one man and another, and between man and the other animals; for, by means of language, one man discovers a superiority of knowledge and Page  281 genius, while others express by it nothing but confused or borrowed ideas; and, in an idiot, or in a parrot, it serves only to mark the last degree of stupidity, the incapacity, in either, to produce thought or reflection, though both be endowed with proper organs for expressing what passes within them.

It is still easier to prove that imitation is a re|sult of mere mechanism. The most perfect imi|tation depends on the vivacity with which the internal material sense receives the impressions of objects, and the facility of expressing them by the aptness of external organs. Men whose senses are most delicate and easily affected, and whose members are most agile and flexible, make the best actors, the best mimics, the best monkeys. Children, insensibly, and without re|flection, imitate the actions, the gestures, and the manners of those with whom they live: They are extremely alert in repeating and coun|terfeiting. Most young people, though they see only with the eyes of the body, are very dexte|rous in perceiving ridiculous figures. They are struck with every strange form or new represen|tation. The impression is so strong that they relate it with enthusiasm, and copy it with ease and with gracefulness. Children, therefore, pos|sess, in a superior degree, the talent of imitation, which supposes more perfect organs, and a more happy disposition of members, to which nothing is so repugnant as a strong dose of good sense.

Page  282 Thus, among men, those who reflect least, have generally the strongest imitative talents. It is not, therefore, surprising, that this talent should appear in those animals who have no reflection. They ought even to possess it in the highest de|gree of perfection, because they have nothing to oppose its operation, no principle to excite a de|sire of differing from each other. Among men, all the diversity of character, and variety of ac|tion, proceed entirely from the mind. But brute animals, who have no mind, and consequently are destitute of that principle which can alone give rise to variety of character, or of personal accomplishments, must, when they resemble each other in organization, or are of the same species, do the same things in the same manner, and i|mitate one another more perfectly than one man can imitate the actions of another man. Of course, the talent of imitation possessed by the brute animals, so far from implying thought or reflection, proves that they are absolutely depri|ved of both.

It is, for the same reason, that the education of animals, though short, is always successful. They soon acquire, by imitation, all the know|ledge of their parents. They not only derive experience from their own feelings, but, by means of imitation, they learn the experience acquired by others. Young animals model them|selves entirely upon the old: They see the latter approach or fly, when they perceive particular Page  283 objects, hear certain sounds, or smell certain odours. At first, they approach or fly without any other determining principle but that of imi|tation; and afterwards they approach or fly of their own accord, because they have then acqui|red the habit of flying or approaching, whenever they feel the same sensations.

Having thus compared man with the brutes, when taken individually, I shall now compare man in society with the gregarious tribes, and endeavour to investigate the cause of that species of industry which is so remarkable in some ani|mals, even of the lowest and most numerous or|ders. What marvellous feats are not daily a|scribed to certain insects? The talents and wis|dom of the bee are admired with envy: They are said to possess an art peculiar to themselves, the art of perfect government. A bee-hive, say the eulogists of this insect, is a republic where every individual labours for the community, where every thing is distributed and arranged with a foresight, an equity, and a prudence, that is truly astonishing: The policy of Athens itself was not more perfect, or better conducted: The more we examine these insects, they exhibit fresh objects of admiration; an unalterable and uni|form system of government, a profound respect for the sovereign, an anxious attention to his wellfare and inclinations, an ardent love to their country, an incredible assiduity in labouring for the public good, the greatest disinterestedness, Page  284 joined to the strictest oeconomy, the finest geo|metry, combined with the most elegant architec|ture, &c. But, were I to run over the annals of this republic, and to retail all the incidents in the oeconomy of these insects, which have excited the admiration of their historians, I should never come to an end.

Independent of that attachment which men acquire for their favourite subjects, the more they observe, and the less they reason, their ad|miration is proportionally augmented. Can any thing be more gratuitous than this blind admira|tion of bees, than the pure republican principles ascribed to them, than that singular instinct which rivals the most sublime geometry, which solves, without hesitation, the difficult problem of build|ing, in the most solid manner, in the least possible space, and with the greatest possible oeconomy? These eulogies are not only excessive, but ridi|culous: A bee ought to hold no higher rank in the estimation of a naturalist, than it actually holds in nature. This wonderful republic, there|fore, must always appear, in the eye of reason, to be only an assemblage of small animals, which have no other relation to man, but that of fur|nishing him with wax and honey.

I here blame not curiosity, but absurd excla|mation, and false reasoning. To examine the operations of bees, to observe the progress of their labours, to describe their generation, their metamorphoses, &c. these are objects worthy the Page  285 attention of philosophers. But it is the morali|ty, and even the theology ascribed to insects, that I cannot hear with patience: It is the marvel|lous feats first invented, and then extolled by naturalists, which I wish to examine: It is the in|telligence, the foresight, and even the knowledge of futurity, which have, with so much com|plaisance, been falsely lavished upon them, that I must endeavour to reduce to their just value.

The genius of solitary bees, it is allowed on all hands, is vastly inferior to that of the grega|rious species; and the talents of those which as|sociate in small troops, are less conspicuous than of those that assemble in numerous bodies. Is not this alone sufficient to convince us, that the seeming genius of bees, is nothing but a result of pure mechanism, a combination of movements proportioned to numbers, an effect which appears to be complicated, only because it depends on millions of individuals? Has not every congru|ity, and even disorder itself, the appearance of harmony, when we are ignorant of the cause? From apparent order to actual intelligence, there is but one step; for men are always more dis|posed to admire, than to reason.

It must, therefore, be admitted, that bees, ta|ken separately, have less genius than the dog, the monkey, and most other animals: It will likewise be admitted, that they have less docility, less attachment, and less sentiment; and that they possess fewer qualities relative to those of Page  286 the human species. Hence we ought to acknow|ledge, that their apparent intelligence proceeds solely from the multitude united. This union, however, presupposes not intellectual powers; for they unite not from moral views: They find themselves assembled together without their con|sent. This society, therefore, is a physical as|semblage ordained by Nature, and has no depen|dence on knowledge or reasoning. The mother bee produces at one time, and in the same place, ten thousand individuals, which, though they were much more stupid than I have supposed them, would be obliged, solely for the preserva|tion of their existence, to arrange themselves into some order. As they all act against each other with equal forces, supposing their first move|ments to produce pain, they would soon learn to diminish this pain, or, in other words, to afford mutual assistance: They, of course, would exhi|bit an air of intelligence, and of concurring in the accomplishment of the same end. A super|ficial observer would instantly ascribe to them views and talents which they by no means pos|sess: He would explain every action: Every o|peration would have its particular motive, and prodigies of reason would arise without number; for ten thousand individuals produced at one time, and obliged to live together, must all act in the very same manner; and, if endowed with feeling, they must acquire the same habits, assume that arrangement which is least painful Page  287 or most easy to themselves, labour in their hive, return after leaving it, &c. Hence the origin of the many wonderful talents ascribed to bees, such as their architecture, their geometry, their order, their foresight, their patriotism, and, in a word, their republic, the whole of which, as I have proved, has no existence but in the imagi|nation of the observer.

Is not Nature herself sufficiently astonishing, without ascribing to her miracles of our own creation? Are not the works of the Almighty sufficient to demonstrate his power? and do we imagine that we can enhance it by our weak|ness? If possible, this is the very way to degrade his perfections. Who gives the grandest idea of the supreme Being; he who sees him create the universe, arrange every existence, and found nature upon invariable and perpetual laws; or he who inquires after him, and discovers him conducting and superintending a republic of bees, and deeply engaged about the manner of fold|ing the wings of a beetle?

Some animals unite into societies, which seem to depend on the choice of those that compose them, and, consequently, make a nearer approach to intelligence and design than that of the bees, which has no other principle than physical neces|sity. The elephants, the beavers, the monkeys, and several other species of animals, assemble in troops, for defending each other, and for the purpose of carrying on some common operations. If these Page  288 societies were less disturbed, and, if they could be observed with equal ease as that of the bees, we should doubtless discover wonders of a very dif|ferent nature, which, notwithstanding, would be only effects of physical laws. When a multi|tude of animals of the same species are assembled in one place, a particular arrangement, a certain order, and common habits, must be the necessary results*. Now, every common habit, so far from having intelligence for its cause, implies nothing more than a blind imitation.

Society, among men, depends less upon phy|sical than moral relations. His weakness, his wants, his ignorance, and his curiosity, soon taught him the necessity of associating: He soon found that solitude was a state of war and of danger; and he sought for safety, peace, and society. He augmented his own power and his knowledge, by uniting them with those of his fellow-creatures. This union was the best use he ever made of his rational faculties. Man commands the universe solely because he has learned to govern himself, and to submit to the laws of society.

Every thing has concurred to render man a social animal: Though large and polished socie|ties certainly depend upon custom, and some|times on the abuse of reason, they were unque|stionably preceded by smaller associations, which had no basis but that of nature. A family is a Page  289 natural society, which has deeper and more per|manent foundations, because it is accompanied with more wants, and more causes of attachment. Man differs from the other animals: When he comes into the world, he hardly exists. Naked, feeble, and incapable of action, his life depends on the aid of others. The weaknesses of in|fancy continue long. The necessity of support is converted into a habit, which, of itself, is ca|pable of producing a mutual attachment between the child and its parents. But, as the child ad|vances, he gradually acquires more force, and has less need of assistance. The affection of the parents, on the contrary, continues, while that of the child grows daily less. Thus love de|scends more than it ascends. The attach|ment of the parent becomes excessive, blind, and invincible; and that of the child remains cold and inactive, till the seeds of gratitude are unfolded by reason.

Thus human society, even when confined to a single family, implies the existence of the ra|tional faculty; that of gregarious animals, who seem to unite from choice and convenience, im|plies experience and sentiment; and that of in|sects, which, like the bees, are associated with|out design or motive, implies nothing at all. Whatever may be the effects of this latter asso|ciation, it is clear, that they have neither been foreseen nor conceived by the creatures which pro|duced them, and that they result solely from the Page  290 universal laws of mechanism established by the Almighty. Suppose ten thousand automatons assembled in the same place, all endowed with the same force, and determined, by a perfect resemblance in their external and internal struc|ture, and by a uniformity in their movements, to perform the same operation, a regular work would be the necessary result. They would exhibit the relations of regularity, of resem|blance, and of position; because these depend up|on the relations of motion, which we have sup|posed to be equal and uniform. The relations of juxta-position, of extension, and of figure, would also appear; because we have supposed a given and circumscribed place: And, if we be|stow on these automatons the smallest degree of sensation, just as much as is necessary to make them feel their existence, to have a tendency to self-preservation, to avoid what is hurtful, to de|sire what is agreeable, &c. their operations will be not only regular, proportioned, similar, and equal, but they will have the air of the highest symmetry, solidity, convenience, &c.; because, in the process of their labours, each of the ten thousand individuals has assumed that arrange|ment which was most commodious to itself, and has, at the same time, been obliged to act, and to arrange itself in the manner least incommo|dious to the rest.

Shall I enforce this argument still farther? The hexagonal cells of the bee, which have been Page  291 the subject of so much admiration, furnish an additional proof of the stupidity of these insects: This figure, though extremely regular, is no|thing but a mechanical result, which is often exhibited in some of the most rude productions of nature. Crystals, and several other stones, as well as particular salts, &c. constantly assume this figure. The small scales in the skin of the roussette, or great bat, are hexagonal, because each scale, when growing, obstructs the progress of its neighbour, and tends to occupy as much space as possible. We likewise find these same hexagons in the second stomach of ruminating animals, in certain seeds, capsules, and flowers, &c. If we fill a vessel with cylindrical grain, and, after filling up the interstices with water, shut it close up, and boil the water, all these cy|linders will become hexagonal columns. The reason is obvious, and purely mechanical. Each cylindrical grain tends, by its swelling, to occu|py as much space as possible; and therefore, by reciprocal compression, they necessarily assume an hexagonal figure. In the same manner, each bee endeavours to occupy as much space as pos|sible, in the limited dimensions of the hive; and, therefore, as the bodies of the bees are cylindri|cal, they must necessarily make their cells hex|agonal, from the reciprocal obstruction they give to each other.

The genius of bees has been estimated accor|ding to the regularity of their works. Bees are Page  292 said to be more ingenious than wasps, hornets, &c.; for, though the latter are acquainted with architecture, their fabrics are more rude and ir|regular. But it was not considered by the abet|tors of this opinion, that the greater or less re|gularity depends solely on the number and fi|gure, and not on the intelligence of these crea|tures. In proportion to the greatness of the number, there are more equal and opposite for|ces in action, and, of course, more mechanical restraint, and more regularity and apparent per|fection in their works.

Those animals, therefore, who most resemble man in figure and organization, notwithstand|ing the eulogists of insects, will still remain su|perior to all others, in their internal qualities: And, though these qualities be infinitely diffe|rent from those of man, though they are only, as has been proved, the results of experience and feeling; yet they greatly exceed the qualities of insects. As every operation of nature is con|ducted by shades, or slight gradations, a scale may be formed for ascertaining the intrinsic qua|lities of every animal, by taking, for the first point, the material part of man, and by placing the animals successively at different distances, in proportion as they approach or recede from that point, either in external form, or internal orga|nization. Agreeable to this scale, the monkey, the dog, the elephant, and other quadrupeds, will hold the first rank; the cetaceous animals, Page  293 who, like the quadrupeds, consist of flesh and blood, and are viviparous, will hold the second; the birds, the third, because they differ more from man than the quadrupeds or cetaceous a|nimals; and, were it not for oisters and polypi, which seem to be the farthest removed from man, the insects would be thrown into the low|est rank of animated beings.

But, if the animals be deprived of understand|ing, of genius, of memory, and of all intelli|gence; if their faculties depend on their senses, and be limited entirely to the exercise of expe|rience and of feeling, how can we account for that species of foresight which some of them seem to possess? Could feelings alone determine them to amass provisions in summer to nourish them during the rigours of winter? Does not this im|ply a comparison of time, a rational anxiety concerning their future comfort and subsistence; Why do birds build nests, if they know not that they will be useful for depositing their eggs and rearing their young? It is unnecessary to multi|ply facts of the same nature.

Before solving these questions, or reasoning concerning the above and similar facts, it is ne|cessary to ascertain their reality: Instead of be|ing retailed by lovers of the marvellous, if they had been examined by men of sense, and collect|ed by philosophers, I am persuaded, that all these pretended miracles would have soon disappeared, and that, by cool and dispassionate reflection, the Page  294 cause of each particular fact might have been discovered. But, let us admit the truth of all these facts; let us allow to the animals foresight, and even a knowledge of the future, can this be ascribed to their intellectual powers? If this were really the case, their intelligence would be great|ly superior to ours: For our foresight is entire|ly conjectural; our notions concerning futurity are always doubtful, and founded on probabi|lities. Hence brute animals, who see the future with certainty, since they determine before hand, and are never deceived, would be endowed with a principle of knowledge superior to the human mind. I ask, whether this conclusion be not equally repugnant to religion and to reason?

It is impossible, therefore, that the brutes have a certain knowledge of the future from an in|tellectual principle similar to ours. Why, then, ascribe to them, upon such slight grounds, a quality so sublime? Why unnecessarily degrade the human species? Is it not less unreasonable to refer the cause to mechanical laws, established, like the other laws of nature, by the will of the Creator? The certainty with which animals are supposed to act, and the stability and uniformity of their determinations, sufficiently evince them to be the effects of pure mechanism. To doubt, to deliberate, to compare, are the essential cha|racters of reason. But movements and actions which are always decisive, and always certain, Page  295 indicate, at the same time, both mechanism and stupidity.

But, as the laws of nature are only general effects, and, as the facts in question are limited and particular, it would be less philosophic, and more unworthy of the ideas we ought to enter|tain of the Creator, to embarrass his will thus gratuitously with a vast number of petty statutes, of which one must be enacted for bees, another for owls, a third for field-mice, &c. Should we not, on the contrary, exert all our efforts to reduce these particular effects to more general ones? And if that be impossible, let us record them, and wait patiently till new facts and new analogies enable us to investigate their causes.

Let us, however, examine if these facts be so inexplicable and so marvellous, or even if they be properly authenticated. The foresight a|scribed to ants is now discovered to be a vulgar error. They remain in a torpid state during winter. Their provisions, therefore, are only a superfluous mass, collected without design, and without any knowledge of the future; for, on the supposition of this knowledge, they would be endowed with the faculty of foreseeing what was perfectly useless. Is it not natural for ani|mals, that have a fixed abode, to which they are accustomed to transport their provisions, to col|lect more than they can consume? Is not feel|ing alone, guided by the habit they have acqui|red of transporting their food, in order that they Page  296 may use it in tranquillity, sufficient to account for this phaenomenon? Does not this demon|strate that they are only endowed with feeling, and not with reason? For the same reason, bees collect more wax and honey then they have oc|casion for: Man profits not, therefore, by their intelligence, but by their stupidity. Intelligence would necessarily determine them to collect no more than they could consume, and to save themselves the trouble of amassing a superfluous quantity, especially after they learn from expe|rience, that this labour is lost, that the overplus is uniformly taken from them, and that this a|bundance is the sole cause of the desolation and destruction of their society. What demonstrates this superfluous labour to be the effect of feeling alone is, that we can oblige them to work as much as we please. As long as there are flowers in any country, the bee continues to extract from them honey and wax. If bees were trans|ported from one region to another, so as to af|ford them a constant succession of fresh flowers, their labours would never cease. The amassing disposition of the bee, therefore, is not an effect of foresight, but a movement produced by feel|ing; and this movement is continued as long as the objects which give rise to it exist.

I have bestowed particular attention on the oeconomy of field-mice. Their holes are ge|nerally divided into two apartments; in one of them they deposit their young, and, in the Page  297 other, every thing that is agreeable to their pa|lates. When made by themselves, their holes are not large, and can receive only a small quan|tity of provisions: But, when they find a large space under the trunk of a tree, there they take up their abode, and fill it with all the grain, nuts, &c. they can collect. Hence the quan|tity of provisions amassed, instead of being pro|portioned to the wants of the animal, depend entirely on the capacity of the place where they happen to be deposited.

Thus the provisions of the ant, of the field|mouse, and of the bee, are discovered to be on|ly useless and disproportioned masses, collected without any view to futurity, and the minute and particular laws of their pretended foresight are reduced to the general and real law of feel|ing. The sagacity and foresight ascribed to birds originate from the same cause. To account for the construction of their nests, it is unnecessary to have recourse to a particular law established by the Almighty in their favour. To this ope|ration they are led by degrees. They first find a proper place, and then bring materials to ren|der it more commodious. The nest is only a place which they can distinguish from all others, and where they can live in tranquillity. Love is the sentiment that stimulates and directs them in this operation. The male and female require the aid of each other. They feel a strong mu|tual attachment; they endeavour to conceal Page  298 themselves, and to retire from the rest of the world, which is now become more dangerous to them than ever. They, therefore, retreat to the forest, to places the most obscure and inac|cessible; and, to render their situation more comfortable, they collect straw, leaves, &c. and form them, with incessant labour, into a common habitation. Some, less dexterous or less sensual, make coarse and rude nests; others, contented with what they find already made, have no o|ther habitation than the holes they meet with, or the nests which are presented to them. All those operations are effects of organization, and de|pend upon feeling, which, however exquisite in degree, can never produce reasoning; and still less can it produce that intuitive foresight, that certain knowledge of futurity, which have been ascribed to the feathered tribes.

This doctrine may be farther proved by a few familiar examples. Birds, instead of knowing the future, are even ignorant of what is past. A hen cannot distinguish her own eggs from those of another bird. She perceives not that the young ducks whom she has hatched belong not to her. She broods over chalk eggs, from which nothing can be produced, with equal in|dustry as if they were her own. She has no knowledge, therefore, either of the past or the future, and is still more deceived with regard to the present. Why do not domestic poultry make nests as well as other birds? Is it because Page  299 the male belongs to many females? or rather, is it not because, being accustomed to be out of the reach of inconvenience and danger, they have no occasion to conceal themselves, no habit of seeking for safety in retreat and solitude? This admits of proof by facts; for wild birds of the same species perform actions which are entirely neglected when in a domestic state. The wild duck and wood-hen build nests; but none are made by these birds when domesticated. The nests of birds, therefore, the cells of bees, the collections of food laid up by the ant, the field|mouse, &c. suppose not any intelligence in those animals, nor proceed from particular laws esta|blished for each species, but depend, like every other animal operation, on number, figure, mo|tion, organization, and feeling, which are gene|ral of laws of nature, and common to all animated beings.

It is by no means astonishing that man, who is so little acquainted with himself, who so often confounds his sensations and ideas, who so sel|dom distinguishes the productions of the mind from those of the brain, should compare himself to the brute animals, and make the only diffe|rence between them consist in the greater or less perfection of their organs: It is not surprising that he should make them reason, understand, and determine in the same manner with himself; and that he should attribute to them not only those qualities which he possesses, but even those Page  300 of which he is deprived. Let man, however, examine, analyze, and contemplate himself, and he will soon discover the dignity of his being; he will perceive the existence of his soul; he will cease to degrade his nature; he will see, at one glance, the infinite distance placed by the Supreme Being between him and the brutes.

God alone knows the past, the present, and the future. Man, whose existence continues but a few moments, perceives only these mo|ments: But a living and immortal power compares these moments, distinguishes and ar|ranges them. It is by this power that man knows the present, judges of the past, and foresees the future. Deprive him of this divine light, and you deface and obscure his being; no|thing will remain but an animal equally igno|rant of the past and the future, and affectable only by present objects.

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MAN changes the natural condition of ani|mals, by forcing them to obey and to serve him. A domestic animal is a slave desti|ned to the amusement, or to aid the operations of men. The abuses to which he is too fre|quently subjected, joined to the unnatural mode of his living, induce great alterations both in his manners and dispositions. But a savage animal, obedient to Nature alone, knows no laws but those of appetite and independence. Thus the history of savage animals is limited to a small number of facts, the results of pure Nature. But the history of domestic animals is complicated, and warped with every thing relative to the arts employed in taming and subduing the native wildness of their tempers: And, as we are ig|norant what influence habit, restraint, and ex|ample, may have in changing the manners, de|terminations, movements, and inclinations of a|nimals, it is the duty of the naturalist to exa|mine them with care, and to distinguish those facts which depend solely on instinct, from those that originate from education; to ascertain what is proper to them from what is borrowed; to separate artifice from nature; and never to con|found Page  302 the animal with the slave, the beast of burden with the creature of God.

Man holds a legitimate dominion over the brute animals, which no revolution can destroy. It is the dominion of mind over matter; a right of nature founded upon unalterable laws, a gift of the Almighty, by which man is enabled at all times to perceive the dignity of his being: For his power is not derived from his being the most perfect, the strongest, or the most dexterous of all animals. If he hold only the first rank in the order of animals, the inferior tribes would unite, and dispute his title to sovereignty. But man reigns and commands from the superiority of his nature: He thinks; and therefore he is master of all beings who are not endowed with this inestimable talent. Material bodies are likewise subject to his power: To his will they can oppose only a gross resistance, or an obstinate inflexibility, which his hand is always able to o|vercome, by making them act against each other. He is master of the vegetable tribes, which, by his industry, he can, at pleasure, augment or di|minish, multiply or destroy. He reigns over the animal creation; because, like them, he is not only endowed with sentiment and the power of motion, but because he thinks, distinguishes ends and means, directs his actions, concerts his operations, overcomes force by ingenuity, and swiftness by perseverance.

Page  303 Among animals, however, some are more soft and gentle, others more savage and ferocious. When we compare the docility and submissive temper of the dog with the fierceness and rapa|city of the tigre, the one appears to be the friend, and the other the enemy of man. Thus his empire over the animals is not absolute. Many species elude his power, by the rapidity of their flight, by the swiftness of their course, by the obscurity of their retreats, by the element which they inhabit: Others escape him by the minuteness of their bodies; and others, instead of acknowledging their sovereign, attack him with open hostility. He is likewise insulted with the stings of insects, and the poisonous bites of serpents; and he is often incommoded with im|pure and useless creatures, which seem to exist for no other purpose but to form the shade between good and evil, and to make man feel how little, since his fall, he is respected.

But the empire of God must be distinguished from the limited dominion of man. God, the creator of all being, is the sole governour of na|ture. Man has no influence on the universe, the motions of the heavenly bodies, or the revo|lutions of the globe which he inhabits. He has no general dominion over animals, vegetables, or minerals. His power extends not to species, but is limited to individuals; for species and the great body of matter belongs to, or rather consti|tutes Nature. Every thing moves on, perishes, Page  304 or is renewed by an irresistible power. Man himself, hurried along by the torrent of time, cannot prolong his existence. Connected, by means of his body, to matter, he is forced to submit to the universal law, and, like all other organized beings, he is born, grows, and perishes.

But the ray of divinity with which man is animated, ennobles and elevates him above every material existence. This spiritual substance, so far from being subject to matter, is entitled to govern it; and though the mind cannot com|mand the whole of nature, she rules over indi|vidual beings. God, the source of all light and of all intelligence, governs the universe, and e|very species, with infinite power: Man, who possesses only a ray of this intelligence, enjoys, accordingly, a power limited to individuals, and to small portions of matter.

It is, therefore, apparent, that man has been enabled to subdue the animal creation, not by force, or the other qualities of matter, but by the powers of his mind. In the first ages of the world, all animals were equally independent. Man, after he became criminal and savage, was not in a condition to tame them. Before he could distinguish, choice, and reduce animals to a domestic state, before he could instruct and command them, he behoved to be civilized him|self; and the empire over the animals, like all other empires, could not be established previous to the institution of society.

Page  305 Man derives all his power from society, which matures his reason, exercises his genius, and u|nites his force. Before the formation of society, man was perhaps the most savage and the least formidable of all animals. Naked, without shel|ter, and destitute of arms, the earth was to him only a vast desert peopled with monsters, of which he often became the prey: And, even long after this period, history informs us, that the first heroes were only destroyers of wild beasts.

But, when the human species multiplied and spread over the earth, and when, by means of society and the arts, man was enabled to conquer the universe, he made the wild beasts gradually retire; he purged the earth of those gigantic animals, whose enormous bones are still to be found; he destroyed, or reduced to a small num|ber, the voracious and hurtful species; he op|posed one animal to another; and, subduing some by address, and others by force, and at|tacking all by reason and art, he acquired to himself perfect security, and established an em|pire, which knows no other limits than inacces|sible solitudes, burning sands, frozen mountains, or dark caverns, which serve as retreats to a few species of ferocious animals.

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THE reduction of the horse to a domestic state, is the greatest acquisition, from the animal world, ever made by the art and indu|stry of man. This noble animal partakes of the fatigues of war, and seems to feel the glory of victory. Equally intrepid as his master, he en|counters danger and death with ardour and magnanimity. He delights in the noise and tu|mult of arms, and annoys the enemy with reso|lution and alacrity. But it is not in perils and conflicts alone that the horse willingly co-ope|rates with his master; he likewise participates of human pleasures. He exults in the chace and the tournament; his eyes sparkle with e|mulation in the course. But, though bold and intrepid, he suffers not himself to be carried off by a furious ardour; he represses his movements, and knows how to govern and check the natu|ral Page  307 vivacity and fire of his temper. He not on|ly yields to the hand, but seems to consult the inclination of the rider. Uniformly obedient to the impressions he receives, he flies or stops, and regulates his motions entirely by the will of his master. He, in some measure, renounces his very existence to the pleasure of man. He delivers up his whole powers; he reserves no|thing, and often dies rather than disobey the mandates of his governour.

These are features in the character of the horse whose natural qualities have been matured by art, and tamed with care to the service of man. His education commences with the loss of liber|ty, and is completed by restraint. The slavery of the horse is so antient and so universal, that he is rarely seen in a natural state. When em|ployed in labour, he is always covered with the harness; and, even during the time destined for repose, he is never entirely delivered from bonds. If sometimes permitted to roam in the pastures, he always bears the marks of servitude, and of|ten the external impressions of labour and pain. His mouth is deformed by the perpetual friction of the bit; his sides are galled with wounds, or furrowed with cicatrices; and his hoofs are pierced with nails. The natural gestures of his body are constrained by the habitual pressure of fetters, from which it would be in vain to deli|ver him; for he would not be more at liberty. Those horses, the servitude of which is most Page  308 mild, which are kept solely for the purposes of luxury and magnificence, and whose golden chains only gratify the vanity of their masters, are more dishonoured by the elegance of their trappings, and by the plaits of their hair, than by the iron shoes on their feet.

Art is always excelled by nature; and, in a|nimated beings, liberty of movement constitutes the perfection of their existence. Examine those horses which have multiplied so prodigiously in Spanish America, and live in perfect freedom. Their motions are neither constrained nor mea|sured. Proud of their independence, they fly from the presence of man, and disdain all his care. They search for, and procure the food that is most salutary and agreeable. They wan|der and frisk about in immense meadows, and collect the fresh productions of a perpetual spring. Without any fixed habitation, or other shelter than a serene sky, they breathe a purer air than in those musty vaults in which we con|fine them, when subjected to our dominion. Hence wild horses are stronger, lighter, and more nervous than most of those which are in a domestic state. The former possess force and dignity, which are the gifts of nature; the lat|ter have only address and gracefulness, which are all that art can bestow.

These wild horses are by no means feroci|ous in their temper; they are only wild and fiery. Though of strength superior to most ani|mals, Page  309 they never make an attack. But, when they are assaulted, they either disdain the enemy, frisk out of his way, or strike him dead with their heels. They associate in troops from no other motive than the pleasure of being toge|ther; for they have no fear; but acquire a mu|tual attachment to each other. As grass and vegetables constitute their food, of which they have enough to satisfy their appetite, and, as they are not carnivorous, they neither make war with other animals, nor among themselves. They dispute not about their common nourish|ment, and never have occasion to snatch prey from each other, the general source of quarrels and combats among the rapacious tribes. Hence they live in perpetual peace; because their appe|tites are simple and moderate, and they have no objects to excite envy.

All these features are apparent in young hor|ses, bred together in troops. Their manners are gentle, and their tempers social; their force and ardour are generally rendered conspicuous by marks of emulation. They anxiously press to be foremost in the course, to brave danger in traversing a river, or in leaping a ditch or pre|cipice; and, it has been remarked, that those which are most adventurous and expert in these natural exercises, are the most generous, mild, and tractable, when reduced to a domestic state.

Wild horses are mentioned by several antient authors. Herodotus takes notice of white sa|vage Page  310 horses on the banks of the Hypanis in Scythia; and, in the northern part of Thrace, beyond the Danube, he remarks, there were wild horses, covered all over with hair, five inches long. Aristotle says, they were to be found in Syria; Pliny, in the northern regions; and Stra|bo, in Spain and the Alps. Among the mo|derns, Cardan says the same thing of Scotland, and the Orkney isles*; Olaus, of Muscovy; Dapper, of the island of Cyprus, where he says, there were beautiful wild horses, of great strength and swiftness*; and Struys, of the island of May, one of the Cape de Verds, where he saw wild horses of a small stature*. Leo of Africa likewise relates, that there were wild horses in the deserts of Africa and Arabia; and he assures us, that he saw, in the solitudes of Numidia, a colt with white hair, and a crisped mane*. Marmol confirms this fact, by inform|ing us, that small wild horses, some of them of an ash-colour, and others white, with short curl|ed hair and manes, are to be found in the Ly|bian and Arabian deserts*: He adds, that they out-run the dogs and domestic horses. We likewise learn, from the Lettres Edifiantes*, that there are small wild horses in China.

Page  311 But, as Europe is now almost equally peopled, wild horses are no where to be found in this quarter of the globe. Those in America are the offspring of domestic horses, transported origi|nally from Europe by the Spaniards. In these uninhabited, or rather depopulated regions, hor|ses have multiplied prodigiously. That this species of animal was unknown in the New World, appears from the terror and astonish|ment expressed by the Mexicans and Peruvians at the sight of horses and their riders. The Spaniards carried great numbers of horses to these regions, both with a view to their ser|vice, and to the propagation of the breed. Ma|ny were, accordingly, left on the islands, as well as on the Continent, where they have multiplied like other wild animals. M. le Salle*, in the year 1685, saw, near the bay of St Louis, in North America, these horses grazing in the mea|dows; and they were so wild that he could not approach them. The author of the history of the Bucaniers* remarks, 'That troops of hor|ses, to the number of 500, are sometimes seen in the island of St Domingo, who all run to|gether; that, when they perceive a man, they all stop; and that one of them approaches to a certain distance, blows through his nostrils, takes flight, and is instantly followed by the Page  312 whole troop.' He adds, that he is uncertain whether these horses have degenared by be|coming wild; but that he found none of them so handsome as those of Spain, though they sprung from the same race. 'They have,' he continues, 'very gross heads and limbs, and long necks and ears. The inhabitants tame them with ease, and then train them to labour. In taking them, gins of ropes are laid in the places where they frequent. When caught by the neck, they soon strangle themselves, unless some person arrives to disentangle them. They are tied to trees by the body and limbs, where they are left for two days without victuals or drink. This trial is generally sufficient for rendering them more tractable, and they soon become as gentle as if they had never been wild; and, even if they should by accident re|gain their liberty, they never resume their sa|vage state, but know their masters, and allow themselves to be approached, and retaken with ease*.'

Page  313 These facts prove horses to be naturally of gentle dispositions, and much disposed to asso|ciate with man. They never forsake the abodes of men, to regain their liberty in the forests. They discover, on the contrary, great anxiety to return to the stable, where they find only coarse food, which is always the same, and of|ten measured to them more by the rules of oe|conomy, than by the strength of their appetite. But the sweets of habit supply all they have lost by slavery. After being oppressed with fatigue, the place of repose is full of delight. They smell it at a distance, can distinguish it in the midst of great cities, and seem uniformly to pre|fer bondage to liberty. They form a second nature out of those habits to which they have been forced to submit; for horses, after being abandoned in the forests, have been known to neigh continually, in order to be heard, to run to the voice of man, and even to grow meagre, and die in a short time, though sur|rounded with a profusion of nourishment.

Thus, it is obvious, the manners of a horse originate entirely from his education, which is accomplished by a care and industry bestowed by man upon no other animal; but he is amply rewarded by the perpetual services of this noble and laborious creature.

Page  314 The foals are separated from their mothers at the age of five, six, or at most seven months; for experience shows, that, when allowed to suck ten or eleven months, though generally fatter and larger, they are not of equal value as those which have been more early weaned. Af|ter six or seven months, the foals are removed from their mothers, and are fed twice a-day with bran and a little hay, the quantity of which is augmented in proportion as they advance in age. They are confined to the stables as long as they discover any anxiety to return to their mo|thers. But when this inquietude is gone, they are allowed to go out, and are conducted to the pasture: They must not, however, be permitted to graze when their stomach is empty. An hour before being put to the grass, they should have a little bran, be made to drink, and should never be exposed to great colds or to rain. In this manner they pass the first winter. In the month of May following, they may be allow|ed to pasture freely every day, and to remain out continually till the end of October, only ob|serving not to permit them to eat the after|maths. If accustomed to feed upon this de|licate herbage, they will reject hay, which ought nevertheless, together with bran, to be their principal food during the second winter. They are managed in the same manner, namely, al|lowing them to pasture in winter during the day, and in summer during both day and night, Page  315 till they arrive at the age of four years, when they are confined to dry food*. This change of nourishment requires some precautions. Du|ring the first eight days, they should have only straw; and a few vermifuge draughts may be given, to destroy those worms which may have been engendered by the bad digestion of crude herbs. M. de Garsault* recommends this prac|tice, the utility of which he had often experi|enced. It is, however, an established fact, that the stomachs of horses, at all ages, and in all circumstances, whether they feed upon grass, or upon oats and hay, are perpetually stuffed with a prodigious multitude of worms*. The sto|mach of the ass is always in the same condition; and yet none of these animals are incommoded by this species of vermin. These worms, there|fore, ought not to be regarded as an accidental malady, occasioned by the indigestion of crude herbs, but rather as an effect depending on the common food and ordinary digestion of the horse and ass.

After young colts are weaned, they should not be put into too warm a stable, otherwise they will be rendered too delicate and too sen|sible to the impressions of the air. They should Page  316 be often supplied with fresh litter, and kept clean by frequent friction. But they ought neither to be tied nor handled till they are near three years of age. The manger and rack should not be too high; for the necessity of stretching their neck and raising their head, may induce a habit of keeping them in that position, which would spoil their neck. When 12 or 18 months old, their tails should be cut; the hair will shoot af|terwards, and become stronger and thicker. At the age of two years, the male colts should be put with the horses, and the females with the mares. Without this precaution, the young males would fatigue and enervate themselves.

At the age of three years, or three and a half, we should begin to dress the colts, and to render them tractable. At first, a light easy saddle should be placed on them, and allowed to remain two or three hours each day. They should like|wise be accustomed to receive a snaffle into their mouths, and to allow their feet to be lifted and struck, in imitation of shoeing. If destined for the coach or the draught, they ought to be har|nessed as well as snaffled. A bridle is unneces|sary at first: By means of a halter or cavesson on their nose, they may be made to trot up and down on a smooth piece of ground, with only a saddle and harness on their bodies: And, when they turn easily, and approach, without fear, the man who holds the longe or halter, they may then be mounted and dismounted, without Page  317 making them walk, till they be four years old; for, before this period, a horse has not strength enough to walk with a rider on his back. But, at four years, they may be mounted, and walk|ed or trotted at small intervals*. When a coach|horse is accustomed to the harness, he may be yoked with a bred horse, and guided with a longe or halter passed through the bridle, till he begins to know his duty. The coachman may next try to make him draw, with the assistance of a man to push him gently behind, and even to give him some slight lashes. All this education should be gone through, before the young horses have their diet changed; for, after being fed with grain or straw, they are more vigorous, and con|sequently less docile, and more difficult to* break*.

The bit and the spur have been contrived to command the obedience of horses; the bit for the direction, and the spur for the quickness of their movements. Nature seems to have destined the mouth solely for receiving the impressions of taste and of appetite. But the mouth of the Page  318 horse is endowed with such an amazing sensibili|ty, that, to this organ, in place of the eye and ear, man applies for conveying the indications of his will to this animal. The slightest motion or pres|sure of the bit gives him notice, and determines his course. This organ of sensation has no fault but that of perfection; its too great sensibility requires the most dexterous management; for the smallest abuse spoils the mouth, by render|ing it insensible to the impressions of the bit. The senses of seeing and hearing cannot be blunted in this manner: But it is probable, that all attempts to govern horses by these organs have been found inconvenient. Besides, the signs transmitted by the touch have a stronger effect upon animals in general, than those conveyed by the eye or ear. The situation of a horse's eyes, with regard to his rider or conductor, is extremely unfavourable: And, though they be often animated and conducted by the ear, it ap|pears that the use of this organ is abandoned to the coarser species of horses; for, in the menage, they are seldom addressed by the ear. In a word, when horses are well educated, the small|est pressure of the thighs, the slightest movement of the bit, are sufficient to direct them. Even the spur is almost useless, being seldom employed but to force them to exert violent motions: And when, from the ignorance of the horseman, he gives the spur, and at the same time retracts the bridle, the horse, finding himself incited on Page  319 one side and restrained on the other, is obliged to rear, or make a perpendicular bound.

By means of the bridle, the horse is taught to keep his head in the most beautiful and advan|tageous situation, and the smallest sign or slight|est movement of the rider is sufficient to make the animal assume its different paces. The trot is perhaps the most natural motion of a horse; but the pace, and even the gallop, are most easy to the rider; and these are the two motions which are most in request. When a horse lifts his fore|leg in order to walk, this movement must be made with steadiness and facility, and the knee must likewise be bended. The lifted leg must appear, for a moment, to be supported, and when let down, it must be firm, and equally supported on the ground, before the head receive any impression from this movement; for, when the leg falls suddenly down, and the head sinks at the same time, this motion is generally made to give a speedy relief to the other leg, which is not strong enough alone to support the whole weight of the body. This is a very great defect in a horse. It is also worthy of remark, that, when he rests on his heels, it is a sign of weakness*; and when he supports himself on his toes, it is an unnatural and fatiguing attitude, which the horse cannot long continue.

Page  320 Walking, though the slowest of all motions, ought to be brisk, light, and neither too long nor too short. Lightness depends much on the freedom of the shoulders, and is distinguished by the manner in which the horse, in walking, car|ries his head. If he carries his head high and steady, he is generally vigorous and light. When the movement of the shoulders is not sufficient|ly free, the limbs are not lifted high enough, and the horse is apt to stumble upon the road. In walking, a horse should raise his shoulders, and lower his haunches*. He should also ele|vate Page  321 and support his leg; but, if he supports it too long, and allows it to fall down slowly, he Page  322 loses every advantage of lightness; his walk be|comes hard, and he is good for nothing but state and parade.

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Page  323 But lightness is not the only good quality in the movements of the horse: They should like|wise be equal and uniform both before and be|hind: For, if the crupper vibrates when the shoulders are supported, his motion will be jolt|ing and incommodious to the rider. The same thing happens, when the horse lengthens so much the step of the hind-leg, that the foot lights beyond the print of the fore-foot. Horses with short bodies are subject to this fault. Those whose legs cross each other, or hew, have an unsteady motion; and, in general, long-bodied horses are most commodious to the rider, because he is placed at a greater distance from the two centres of motion, the shoulders and haunches, and is of course less jolted.

Page  324 The general mode of walking among quadru|peds is to lift, at one time, a fore-leg and a hind-leg of opposite sides. As their bodies rest on four points which form an oblong square, the most commodious manner of moving is to change two at a time in the diagonal; so that the centre of gravity of the animal's body may always remain nearly in the direction of the two points of sup|port which are not in motion. In the three na|tural movements of the horse, namely, the walk, the trot, and the gallop, this mode is always ob|served, though with some variations. In walking there are four beats or times of moving: If the right fore-leg moves first, the left hind-leg instant|ly follows; then the left fore-leg moves, and is instantly followed by the right hind-leg. Thus the right fore-foot rests first on the ground, then the left hind-foot, next the left fore-foot, and, lastly, the right hind-foot, which makes a mo|tion consisting of four beats and three intervals, of which the first and third are shorter than the middle one. In the trot, there are only two beats: If the right fore-leg parts from the ground, it is accompanied, at the same time, by the left hind-leg; then the left fore-leg moves at the same time with the right hind-leg; so that, in this motion, there are but two beats and one interval; the right fore-leg and the left hind-leg rests on the ground at the same time, and the same thing happens with regard to the left fore-leg and the right hind-leg. In the gallop, Page  325 there are commonly three beats: The left hind-|leg moves first and rests first on the ground; then the right hind-leg is raised along with the left fore-leg, and both rest on the ground at the same time; and, lastly, the right fore-leg is raised instantly after the left fore-leg and the right hind-leg, and falls last upon the ground. Thus in the gallop, there are three beats and two intervals: In the first interval, when the motion is quick, the four legs, for an instant, are in the air at the same time, and the four shoes appear at once. When the horse has supple limbs and haunches, and moves with agi|lity, the gallop is most perfect, and the feet fall at four times, first, the left hind-leg, then the right hind-leg, next the left fore-leg, and, lastly, the right fore-leg.

Horses generally gallop upon the right foot, in the same manner as they set out in walking or trotting, with the right fore-leg. In gallop|ing, they first cut the road with the right fore-|leg, which is farther advanced than the left; and the right hind-leg, which immediately follows the right fore-leg, is likewise farther advanced than the left hind-leg. Hence the left leg, which bears the whole weight, and pushes the others forward, has the greatest fatigue; so that it would be proper to learn horses to gallop al|ternately upon the left and right legs; because it would enable them to continue this violent motion much longer. This is practised at the Page  326 menage, but perhaps for no other reason, but because, in galloping round a circle, the centre of which is sometimes on the right, and some|times on the left, the rider is frequently obliged to change his hand.

In walking, the horse raises his feet very little above the surface; in trotting, he elevates them a little more, and, in galloping, still higher. The walk ought to be smart, light, and sure; the trot should be firm, quick, and equally sup|ported, and the fore-legs pushed with rapidity by the hind ones. The trotting horse should carry his head pretty high, and keep his body straight; for, if the haunches rise and fall alternately at every movement, and if the crupper rocks, the animal is too weak for this motion. To throw the fore-legs out, is another fault: They ought always to be on the same line with those behind, and to efface their prints*. When one of the hind-legs moves, and if the fore-leg on the same side rests too long, the movement becomes hard by this resistance. It is for this reason, that the interval between the two beats of the trot ought to be short: But, however short it may be, this resistance is sufficient to make the trot harder than the walk or gallop.

Page  327 The spring of the hocks contributes as much to the motions of galloping as that of the loins. While the latter make an effort to elevate and push forward the anterior parts, the spring of the hocks breaks the stroke and softens the shock. Hence the more uniform and strong the spring of the hocks, the gallop is softer and more rapid.

Though walking, trotting, and galloping be the natural and ordinary movements of horses, yet some of them have another natural motion, known by the name of ambling, or pacing; which is very different from the other three; and, though less quick than the hard trot or gallop, it appears, at first sight, to be extremely fati|guing to the animal. The foot of the horse, in this movement, grazes the surface still nearer than in walking, and each step is much longer. But, what is singular, to make a pace, the two legs of the same side part from the ground at the same time, the fore and hind leg, for ex|ample, of the right side, and then the two legs of the left side; so that each side of the body alternately want support, which must greatly fa|tigue the animal, who is obliged to support a balance forced by the rapidity of a movement which is hardly elevated above the ground; for nothing but the rapidity of the motion, and the smallness of the elevation, could possibly prevent the creature from falling on his side. In the motion of pacing, as in that of trotting, there are Page  328 only two beats. This movement, which is very laborious to the horse, and in which he ought not to be indulged excepting on smooth ground, is very easy to the rider; it has not the hardness of the trot, because the hind leg moves along with the fore one, and creates no resistance to the motion. We are told by connoisseurs, that horses which naturally amble, never trot, and that they are much weaker than those that have no such movement. Colts, indeed, often assume this mode of moving, when forced to go quick, and when they have not strength enough to trot or to gallop; and even good horses, after being fa|tigued, or when they begin to decay, are apt, when pushed, to amble spontaneously*.

The amble may therefore be regarded as a mo|tion occasioned by weakness or defect. But there are two other movements assumed spontaneously by weak or decayed horses, which are still more defective than that of the amble, and are known by the name of Broken ambles. The one is a motion between walking and ambling, and the other between trotting and galloping. Both proceed from great fatigue, or weakness in the loins, and are conspicuous in many of our hack|ney and post-horses.

Of all quadrupeds, the horse possesses, along with grandeur of stature, the greatest elegance and proportion of part. By comparing him with the animals immediately above or below Page  329 him, we find that the ass is ill made; that the head of the lion is too large; that the limbs of the ox are too slender and too short, in propor|tion to the size of his body; that the camel is deformed; and that the grosser animals, as the rhinoceros and elephant, may be considered as rude and shapeless masses. The great difference between the head of man and that of the qua|drupeds, consists in the length of their jaws, which is the most ignoble of all characters. But, though the jaws of the horse be very long, he has not, like the ass, an air of imbecility, nor, like the ox, of stupidity. The regularity and proportion of the parts of his head give him a light and sprightly aspect, which is well sup|ported by the beauty of his chest. He elevates his head, as if anxious to exalt himself above the condition of quadrupeds. In this noble attitude, he regards man face to face. His eyes are open and lively, his ears handsome and of a proper height, being neither too long, like those of the ass, nor too short, like those of the bull. His mane adorns his neck, and gives him the ap|pearance of strength and of courage. His long bushy tail covers and terminates with advantage the extremity of his body. His tail, very different from the short tails of the deer, ele|phant, &c. and from the naked tails of the ass, camel, rhinoceros, &c. is formed of long thick hairs which seem to arise from his crupper, because the trunk from which they proceed is very short. Page  330 He cannot, like the lion, elevate his tail, but, though pendulous, it becomes him better: And, as he can move it from side to side, it serves him to drive off the flies which incommode him; for, though his skin be very firm, and well gar|nished with close hair, it fails not to be extreme|ly sensible.

The attitude of the head and neck contributes more than all the other parts of his body, to give him a graceful aspect. The superior part of the neck from which the mane issues, should first rise in a straight line from the withers, and then, as it approaches the head, form a curve nearly similar to that of a swan's neck. The inferior part of the neck should have no curva|ture, but rise in a straight line from the poitrel, or breast, to the under jaw, with a small inclina|tion forward. If it rose in a perpendicular direc|tion, its symmetry and gracefulness would be di|minished. The superior part of the neck should be thin, with little flesh near the mane, which ought to be garnished with long delicate hair. A fine neck should be long and elevated, but propor|tioned to the general size of the animal. When too long, the horse commonly throws back his head; and, when too short and fleshy, the head is heavy to the hand. The most advan|tageous position of the head is, when the front is perpendicular to the horizon.

The head of a horse should be thin and mea|gre, and not too long. The ears should be Page  331 small, erect, but not too stiff, narrow, and placed on the upper part of the head, at a proper distance from each other. The front should be narrow and a little convex, the eye-pits, or spaces between the eyes and ears, well filled, and the eye-lids thin; the eyes should be pretty large and prominent, clear, lively, and full of fire; the pupil should be ra|ther large, the under jaw a little thick, but not fleshy, the nose somewhat arched, the nostrils open and deep, and divided by a thin septum or partition. The mouth should be delicate and moderately split, lips thin, the withers sharp and elevated, the shoulders flat, and not confined; the back equal, a little arched lengthways, and raised on each side of the back-bone, which ought to have the appearance of being sunk; the flanks should be short and full, the crupper round and plump, the haunches well furnished with muscular flesh, the dock or fleshy part of the tail firm and thick, the thighs large and fleshy, the hock round before, broad on the sides, and tendinous behind; the shank thin be|fore, and broad on the sides; the tendon, (or tendo Achillis) prominent, strong, and well de|tached from the leg-bone, and the fetlock some|what prominent, and garnished with a small tuft of long hair behind; the pasterns should be of a middling length, and pretty large; the coronet a little elevated, the hoof black, solid, and shining, the instep high, the quarters round, the heels broad, and a little prominent, Page  332 the frog thin and small, and the sole thick and concave.

Few horses possess all these perfections. The eyes are subject to many faults, which it is often difficult to distinguish. In a sound eye, two or three soot-coloured spots appear through the cornea above the pupil; for, unless the cornea be clean and transparent, these spots cannot be seen. When the pupil is small, long, and nar|row, or surrounded with a white circle, or when it is of a greenish blue colour, the eye is unque|stionably bad*.

Without entering into a long detail, the fol|lowing general remarks will enable the reader to form a judgment of the principal perfections and imperfections of a horse. The motion of the ears affords a tolerable criterion: When a horse walks, the point of his ears should incline forwards; when fatigued, his ears hang down; and, when angry, or of a malignant disposition, he points alternately one of his ears forwards, and another backwards. Every horse turns his ears to that side from which he hears any noise; and, when struck on the back or on the crup|per, he turns his ears backward. Horses with hollow eyes, or with one eye smaller than the o|ther, have generally a bad sight. Those whose mouths are dry, have not such good constitutions Page  333 as those that have moist mouths, and foam with the bit*. The shoulders of a saddle-horse should be flat, supple, and not too fleshy. A draught-horse, on the contrary, ought to have thick, round, fleshy shoulders. If, however, the shoulders of a saddle-horse be too meagre, and the bones advance too much through the skin, it is an indication that his shoulders are not free, and that, of course, he will be unable to under|go much fatigue. Another defect of a saddle-horse is to have the poitrel, or breast, too pro|minent, and the fore-legs inclined or placed too far backward; because, in this case, he is subject to lean heavy upon the hand in galloping, and e|ven to stumble and fall. The length of the legs should be proportioned to the stature of the horse. When the fore-legs are too long, he is not steady on his feet; and, when too short, he bears heavy on the hand. It has been remark|ed, that mares are more liable than horses to be low before, and that stone-horses have thick|er necks than mares or geldings.

It is of great importance to know the age of a horse. The eye-pits of old horses are commonly hollow: But this mark is equivocal; for young horses begot by old stallions have likewise hol|low eye-pits. The teeth afford the best criterion of the age of horses. The horse has, in all, 40 teeth, viz. 24 grinders, 4 canine, or tushes, and Page  334 12 fore-teeth. Mares have either no dog-teeth, or very short ones. The canine and fore-teeth on|ly afford indications of the age. Five days af|ter birth, the fore-teeth begin to shoot. These first teeth are round, short, and not very solid; and they fall out, at different times, to be repla|ced by others. At two years and a half, the four middle fore-teeth fall out, two above and two below. The next year, other four are shed, one on each side of the first, which are now re|placed. At four years and a half, other four fall out, always on each side of those that were for|merly shed and replaced. These last four foal-teeth are succeeded by other four, which grow not near so quickly as the first eight. It is from these four, called corner teeth, that the age of a horse is distinguished; and they are easily known, being always the third, both a|bove and below, reckoning from the middle to the extremity of the jaw. They are hol|low, and have a black mark in their ca|vities. At four and a half, or five years, these teeth hardly rise above the gums, and their ca|vities are very perceptible. At six years and a half, the cavities begin to fill up, and the mark gradually diminishes till the animal is seven and a half, or eight years, when the cavities are per|fectly filled, and the mark totally effaced. Af|ter this period, the age is attempted to be disco|vered by the tushes or canine teeth. These four teeth lie immediately adjacent to the other four Page  335 above described. Neither the tushes nor grinders shed. At the age of three years and a half, the two tushes of the under jaw generally begin to shoot; the two of the upper jaw appear at the age of four, and, till six years be completed, they are very sharp. At ten years, the tushes of the upper jaw seem to be blunted, worn out, and long, because the gums retract with age; and the more this appearance takes place, the older is the horse. From ten to thirteen or fourteen years, there are hardly any marks by which the age may be discovered. Some hairs of the eye-brows, indeed, begin to grow white; but this mark is equally equivocal as that derived from the depth of the eye-pits; for, it has been remarked, that horses begot by old stallions and old mares, have white hairs in the eye-brows at the age of nine or ten. The teeth of some horses are so hard, that they wear not by eating, and never lose the black mark. But these hor|ses are easily known, because the cavities of their teeth are perfectly filled up, and their tushes are very long*. The age of a horse may likewise be known, though with less precision, by the bars or ridges of the palate, which are effaced in proportion as he advances in years.

At the age of two years, or two and a half, the horse is in a condition to propagate; and the mares, like most other females, are still sooner ripe for this operation. But the foals produced from such early embraces, are weakly, Page  336 or ill-formed. The horse should never be ad|mitted to the mare till he is four or four and a half; and even this period is too early, except|ing for coarse or draught-horses. When fine horses are wanted, the male should not be ad|mitted to the mare before he is six years old; and Spanish stallions not till they be full seven. The mares may be one year younger: They generally come in season from the end of March to the end of June. But their chief ardour for the horse lasts not above 15 days or three weeks; and, during this critical period, the mare should be admitted to the stallion: He ought to be sound, vigorous, well-made, and of a good breed. To procure fine saddle-horses, foreign stallions, as Arabians, Turks, Barbs, and Andalousians, are preferable to all others. Next to these, British stallions are the best; because they originally sprung from those above mentioned, and are very little degenerated. Italian stallions, especially those of Naples, are extremely good. With mares of a proper size, they produce excellent horses for the saddle; and, with strong large mares, they produce good coach-horses. It is alledged, that, in France, Britain, &c. the Arabian and Barbary stallions generally beget horses larger than themselves; and that those of Spain, on the contrary, produce a breed more diminutive. The best stallions for coach-horses are those of Naples, Denmark, Holstein, and Friesland. The stallions for saddle-horses should be* four feet Page  337 eight or ten inches, and five feet*, at least, for coach-horses. Neither ought the colour of stal|lions to be overlooked, as a fine black, gray, bay, sorrel, &c. All party-coloured, or ill defined colours, ought to be banished from the stud, as well as every horse which has white extremities. Besides these external qualities, a stallion should be endowed with courage, tractability, and spi|rit; he should have agility, a sensible mouth, and sure limbs; his shoulders should be perfectly free, and his haunches supple; he should have a spring and elasticity in his whole body, especial|ly in his hind legs; and he ought to be trained and dressed in the riding-school. These precautions in the choice of a stallion are the more necessary, because it has been found by experience, that he communicates to his offspring almost all his good or bad qualities, whether natural or acquired. A horse naturally cross, skittish, restive, &c. pro|duces foals of the same dispositions: And, as the defects of conformation and the vices of the humours are more certainly perpetuated than the qualities of the temper, one should reject from the stud every horse that is deformed or diseased, extremely vicious, glandered, broken-winded, frantic, &c.

In our climate, the mare contributes less to the beauty of her offspring than the stallion; but she contributes more, perhaps, to their stature and constitution. It is, therefore, of great im|portance, Page  338 that mares for breed should be sound, tall, large, and roomy in the trunk of the body, and good nurses. For elegant horses, Spanish and Italian mares are best; but, for draught|horses, those of Britain and Normandy are pre|ferable. However, when the stallions are good, fine horses may be produced from mares of any country, provided they be well made and of a good breed; for, if the mares have sprung from a bad stallion, their offspring are generally de|fective. In horses, as in the human species, the young very frequently resemble either their male or female predecessors; only, it would appear, that, among the horse-kind, the female contri|butes less to the work of generation than in the human species. The son more frequently re|sembles his mother than the foal does the mare from which he is produced; and, when the foal happens to resemble his mother, the likeness is generally confined to the anterior parts of the body, as the head and neck.

To judge of the resemblance of children to their parents, the comparison ought not to be made till after the age of puberty. For, at this period, so many changes take place, that a per|son, with whom we were formerly familiar, we will hardly, at first sight, be able to distinguish. In the human species, the son, after puberty, of|ten resembles the father, and the daughter the mother, and, not unfrequently, each retains a partial likeness to both parents; and this family-likeness Page  339 is generally recognisable in uncles, aunts, and in every ascending or descending branch. Among horses, as the male contributes more to the offspring than the female, mares very fre|quently produce foals which have a great re|semblance to the stallion, or which always re|semble the father more than the mother. And, even when the mare has been begot by a bad horse, it often happens, that, though served by a good stallion, and though handsome herself, her offspring, though beautiful and well made at first, gradually decline as they grow up; and other mares, sprung from a good race, produce foals, which, though they have an unpromising aspect when young, improve as they advance in years.

These facts, though they seem to concur in proving that the males have greater influence on the offspring than the females, appear not to be sufficient to render this point altogether unque|stionable. It is by no means surprising, that stal|lions, which are always selected from a great number, generally imported from a warm cli|mate, and fed and managed with the greatest care and circumspection, should prevail, in the business of generation, over common mares, bred in a cold country, and often subjected to hard labour. If mares were selected from warm climates, managed with equal attention, and ser|ved with the common stallions of our own coun|try, I have not the smallest doubt, that, in this Page  340 case, the superiority of the females would be equally apparent as that of the males; and, in general, that, among horses, as well as the hu|man species, the influence of both parents, when placed in equal circumstances, is nearly the same. What renders this opinion both more natural and more probable, is the well known fact, that, in studs, the number of females produced is e|qual to that of the males; which is a clear proof, that, with regard to sex at least, the female contributes her full proportion.

But, to return to our subject. When the stal|lion is chosen, and the mares are assembled, an|other stone-horse should be allowed to teaze them, for no other purpose but to discover those which are in season. Those that are not in proper condition repel his attacks. But, instead of al|lowing him to proceed with the mares which are in season, he is led off, and the true stallion is substituted in his place. This trial is chiefly useful for discovering the condition of such mares as have never produced; for those which have produced are commonly in season nine days af|ter their delivery, and may be safely covered on the tenth day. Nine days after, their condition may be tried by the above proof, and, if still in season, they should be covered a second time, and so on every ninth day, till their ardour a|bates, which happens a few days after concep|tion. But, to conduct this matter properly, requires considerable attention and expence. The Page  341 stud should be established on good ground, and its dimensions proportioned to the quantity of mares and stallions employed. This ground should be divided into several apartments, and well fenced with ditches or hedges. The impreg|nated mares, and those which are suckling their young, should have the richest pasture. Another enclosure, where the grass is less rich, should contain the uncovered mares, those that have not conceived, and the female foals; for a rich pasture makes them grow too fat, and weakens the generative faculty. Lastly, the young male foals and geldings should be confined to the driest and most unequal part of the ground, that, by ascending and descending the eminences, they may acquire a freedom in their limbs and shoulders. This last enclosure should be well fenced from that which contains the mares, to prevent the young horses from enervating them|selves by premature efforts. If the field be suf|ficiently extensive, each of these enclosures should be divided into two, and grazed alter|nately by horses and oxen. This mode of gra|zing improves the pasture; for the ox repairs what is injured by the horse. Each park should likewise be furnished with a pond, which is bet|ter than a running water, and also with trees to shelter the animals from too much heat; but, to prevent accidents, all old stumps should be root|ed out, and deep holes filled up. These pastures will afford sufficient nourishment to the stud du|ring Page  342 the summer; but, in winter, the mares and foals should be put into stables, and fed with hay, excepting in very fine weather, when they may be set out to pasture during the day. The stal|lions should be always kept in the stables, fed with a greater proportion of straw than of hay, and moderately exercised till the time of cover|ing, which generally lasts from the beginning of April till the end of June. During this pe|riod, they should be fed plentifully, but with nothing more than their ordinary food.

When the stallion is conducted to the mare, to augment his ardour, he should be well dressed. The mare should have the shoes taken off her hind feet; for some of them are apt to kick at the approach of the stallion. One man holds the mare by the head, and two others lead the stal|lion by long reins. When in a proper situa|tion, he should be assisted by the hand, and by turning aside the tail of the mare; for the op|position of a single hair might wound him in a dangerous manner. The stallion sometimes quits the mare without consummating. If the trunk of his tail near the crupper vibrates before he descends, we may be certain that he has consum|mated; for this motion always accompanies e|mission. After consummation, the act should not be reiterated; but he ought to be carried back immediately to the stable, there to remain two days: For, though a horse might be able to cover every day during the season; yet, if only Page  343 admitted once in two days, he is both more vi|gorous and more successful. During the first seven days, therefore, let him have four differ|ent mares, and, on the ninth, let him again co|ver the first mare, and so on as long as they continue in season. When one of the mares ceases to be ardent, another should be substituted in her place; and, as many are impregnated at the first, second, or third time, a stallion, mana|ged in this manner, may cover 15 or 18 mares, and produce 10 or 12 foals, during the three months that these amours continue. Stallions throw out a vast profusion of seminal fluid; mares likewise emit, or rather distill, a fluid du|ring the time they are in season; and, as soon as they are pregnant, these emissions cease. This fluid was called Hippomanes by the Greeks; and of it they are said to have made love-po|tions, which rendered horses, in particular, fran|tic with desire. The Hippomanes in totally different from the fluid found in the membranes that cover the foal, which was first discovered and described by M. Daubenton*. The ap|pearance of the hippomanes is the most certain mark of ardour in mares. This passion may like|wise be discovered by the swelling of the under part of the vulva, and by the frequent neighing of the mares, who, at this period, have a strong desire of approaching the horse. After a mare has been covered, she may be led to the pasture Page  344 without any other precaution. The first foal is always more puny than the subsequent ones: To compensate this defect, a mare should be served, for the first time, with a large stallion. The differences in the figures of the horse and mare should be attended to, in order to correct the faults of the one by the perfections of the other; and no disproportioned conjunctions ought to be admitted, as of a small horse and a large mare, or of a large horse and a small mare; for the produce of such conjunctions will either be small or ill-proportioned. In order to improve nature, we must advance by gradual steps: A plump, but handsome horse, for example, may be admitted to a mare that is too gross, a small mare to a horse a little taller, a mare with a bad fore-hand to a horse with a fine head, neck, &c.

It has been remarked, that studs kept in dry light soils produce active, nimble, and vigorous horses, with nervous limbs and strong hoofs; while those kept in moist ground, and in too rich pasturage, have generally large heavy heads, gross bodies, thick legs, bad hoofs, and broad feet. It is easy to perceive that these differences proceed from the varieties in climate and food. But the necessity of crossing the breed, to pre|vent the degeneration of horses, is more difficult to understand, and of more importance to be known.

There is in Nature a general prototype of e|very species, upon which each individual is mo|delled, Page  345 but which seems, in its actual production, to be depraved or improved by circumstances; so that, with regard to certain qualities, there appears to be an unaccountable variation in the succession of individuals, and, at the same time, an admirable uniformity in the entire species. The first animal, the first horse, for example, has been the external and internal model, upon which all the horses that have existed, or shall exist, have been formed. But this model, of which we know only copies, has had, in com|municating and multiplying its form, the power of adulterating or of improving itself. The o|riginal impression is preserved in each individual. But, among millions of individuals, not one ex|actly resembles another, nor, of course, the mo|del from which they sprung. This difference, which shows that Nature is not absolute, but knows how to vary her works by infinite shades, is equally conspicuous in the human species, in all animals, and in all vegetables. What is sin|gular, this model of the beautiful and the excel|lent, seems to be dispersed over every region of the earth, a portion of which resides in all cli|mates, and always degenerates, unless united with another portion brought from a distance. In order, therefore, to obtain good grain, beau|tiful flowers, &c. the seeds must be changed, and never sown in the same soil that produced them. In the same manner, to have fine horses, dogs, &c. the males and females of different Page  346 countries must have reciprocal intercourse. Without this precaution, all grain, flowers, and animals degenerate, or rather receive an impres|sion from the climate so strong as to deform and adulterate the species. This impression remains; but it is disfigured by every feature that is not essential. By mixing races, on the contrary, or by crossing the breed of different climates, beau|ty of form, and every other useful quality, are brought to perfection; Nature recovers her spring, and exhibits her best productions.

I mean not to enter into a detail of the causes of these effects; but shall confine myself to such conjectures as most readily present themselves. We know by experience, that animals or vege|tables, transported from distant climates, often degenerate, and sometimes come to perfection, in a few generations. This effect, it is obvious, is produced by the difference of climate and of food. The operation of these two causes must, in process of time, render such animals exempt from, or susceptible of certain affections, or cer|tain diseases. Their temperament must suffer a gradual change. Of course, their form, which partly depends on food and the qualities of the humours, must also, in the course of generations, suffer an alteration. This change, it is true, is hardly perceptible in the first generation; be|cause the male and female, which we supposed to be the origin of this race, being fully grown, had received their form and structure before they Page  347 were transported. The new climate and new food may change their temperament; but cannot have influence upon the solid and organic parts sufficient to alter their form. The first genera|tion of these animals, therefore, will not suffer any change in their figure; nor, at the instant of birth, will the stock be vitiated or depraved. But the young and tender stranger will feel a much stronger impression from the climate than its father or mother experienced. The opera|tion of food will likewise be so great as to in|fluence the organic parts during the time of the animal's growth: A change will, of course, be introduced into its form; the seeds of imperfec|tion will be sown, and appear, in a sensible man|ner, in the second generation, which will not only labour under its own proper defects, or those proceeding from its growth and nourish|ment, but inherit all the vices of the second stock. Lastly, the imperfections and deformities trans|mitted to the third generation, being combined with the influence of the climate and food du|ring the growth of the animal, will become so great as to obliterate entirely the characters of the original stock. Hence, in a few generations, animals transported into a climate different from their own, lose all their distinctive qualities, and acquire those peculiar to the country they are obliged to inhabit. In France, Spanish or Bar|bary horses, when the breed is not crossed, be|come French horses sometimes in the second ge|neration, Page  348 and always in the third. Instead of preserving the breed distinct, therefore, it is ne|cessary to cross it every generation, by admitting Spanish or Barbary horses to the mares of the country. It is singular, that this renewing of the race, which is only partial, produces better effects than if it were complete. A Spanish horse and mare will not produce such fine horses in France, as those bred from a Spanish horse and a French mare. This may easily be con|ceived, if we attend to the compensation of de|fects which necessarily happens, when males and females of different countries are allowed to in|termix. Every climate, by its influence, joined to that of the food, gives a certain conformation of parts, which errs either by excess or defect. When a warm climate produces redundancies in particular parts, a cold climate gives rise to deficiencies in the same parts: Hence, when a|nimals of opposite climates intermix, an exact compensation is effected. As the most perfect work of nature is that in which there are fewest defects, and as the most perfect forms are those which have fewest deformities, the production of two animals, whose faults exactly compensate each other, will be the most perfect of the kind. Now, this compensation being always completest, when animals of remote, or rather of opposite climates are joined, the compound resulting from the mixture is more or less perfect, in proportion as the excess or defects in the constitution of Page  349 the father are opposed to those peculiar to the mother.

To have good horses, therefore, in the tempe|rate climate of France, stallions should be brought from the warmest or the coldest countries. The Arabian or Barbary horses ought to have the preference; and, after them, those of Spain and of Naples. With regard to cold climates, the horses of Denmark should be preferred, and, next to them, those of Holstein and Friesland. All these stallions, when admitted to French mares, will produce very fine horses; and they will al|ways be better and more beautiful, in propor|tion as the climate is more remote from that of France; so that the Arabian horse is preferable to the Barb, and the Barb to the Spanish. In the same manner, stallions brought from Denmark will produce finer horses than those brought from Friesland. When stallions from very warm or very cold countries cannot be procured, they should be brought from England or Ger|many, or even from the southern provinces of France to the northern. Some advantage is always obtained by serving mares with strange horses; for, when those of the same race, and in the same stud, are allowed to intermix, they infallibly degenerate in a very short time.

The influence of climate and of food upon the human species, is not so great as upon other animals. The reason is obvious. Man defends himself better than any other animal from the Page  350 intemperance of the climate. He accommodates his lodging and his cloaths to the nature of the season. His food is more various, and, conse|quently, does not operate in the same manner upon every individual. The defects or redun|dancies which proceed from these two causes, and which are so constant and so perceptible in the animals, are by no means equally conspicu|ous in man. As migrations have often happen|ed, as whole nations have intermixed, and as many men travel and disperse themselves through every quarter of the globe, it is not surprising that the human race are less subject to the in|fluence of climate, and that strong, handsome, and even ingenious men, are to be found in e|very country. It is probable, however, that, from an experience, of which all remembrance is now lost, men had discovered the evils that result from alliances of the same blood; for, e|ven among the most unpolished nations, a bro|ther has rarely been permitted to marry his sister. This custom, which, among Christians, is a di|vine law, and which is observed by other people from political motives, may have originally been founded on observation. Policy, unless when derived from physical considerations, never ex|tends in a manner so general and so absolute. But, if men once discovered by experience that their race degenerated, when intercourse was permitted among children of the same family, they would soon regard the alliances of different Page  351 families, as a law established by Nature. In a word, we may presume from analogy, that, in most climates, men, like other animals, would degenerate after a certain number of genera|tions.

The variety in the colour of animals is ano|ther effect to be ascribed to the influence of cli|mate and food. Wild animals which live in the same climate, are of the same colour, varying only in brightness or deepness, according to the seasons of the year. Those, on the contrary, which live under different climates, differ likewise in colour; and domestic animals are so prodi|giously varied, that we have horses, dogs, cats, &c. of every kind of colour. But the stag, the hare, &c. are uniformly of the same colour. The injuries received from the climate, which are always the same, and the constant eating of the same food, produce this uniformity in the wild animals. The care of man, the luxury of shelter, and the variety of nourishment, ef|face and variegate the original colours in do|mestic animals. The mixture of foreign races, especially when the males and females are not of the same colour, produce the same effect, and sometimes give rise to beautiful varieties, as the pied horses, in which the white and black are often disposed in a manner so fanciful, as to seem to be rather the operation of art than of nature.

In coupling horses, regard should be had to the stature and the colour: The figures should Page  352 be contrasted, and the breed crossed by stallions from the most opposite climates. Horses and mares brought up in the same stud should never be allowed to intermix. These are essential re|quisites. But there are other circumstances which ought not to be neglected. For example, in a stud, no mares, with short tails, should be kept; because, being unable to defend themselves from the flies, they are perpetually tormented. The continual agitation occasioned by the stinging of these insects, diminishes the quantity of milk, which has so great an influence on the constitu|tion and stature of the foal, that its vigour is al|ways proportioned to the goodness of its nurse. Brood-mares should be chosen from those which have been always pastured, and never fatigued with labour. Mares which have been long nou|rished in a stable with dry food, and afterwards turned out to grass, conceive not at first. Time is necessary to accustom them to this new kind of nourishment.

The common season of mares is from the be|ginning of April to the end of June; but the ardour of some not unfrequently appears at a more early period. An ardour so premature should be repressed; because the foal would be brought forth in cold weather, and, consequent|ly, suffer both from the intemperance of the season, and from bad milk. If this ardour ap|pears not till after the month of June, it should likewise be repressed; because the foal would be Page  353 produced in summer, and would not acquire strength enough to resist the rigours of winter.

Instead of conducting the stallion to the mare, it is not uncommon to allow him to go loose in the parks where the mares are feeding, and to single out such as are in season. By this me|thod the mares conceive more readily. But it injures the stallion more in six weeks, than he would be by six years exercise, moderated and conducted in the manner above directed.

When the impregnated mares begin to grow heavy, they should be separated from those which are not in that condition, to prevent them from receiving any injury. Their period of gestation is generally eleven months and some days. They bring forth in a standing posture, while almost all other quadrupeds lie down. When the de|livery is difficult, they require the assistance of man; and, when the foal is dead, it is extracted with cords. As in most animals, the colt first presents its head. In escaping from the uterus, it breaks the membranes, and the waters flow a|bundantly. The waters are accompanied with several solid masses, formed by the sediment of the liquor of the allantoides. Those masses, called hippomanes by the antients, are not, as they sup|posed, pieces of flesh attached to the head of the foal. They are, on the contrary, separated from the foal by the amnios. Immediately after birth, the mare licks the foal: But she never touches Page  354 the hippomanes, though the antients assert that she instantly devours it.

It is usual to cover a mare nine days after she has foaled, that no time may be lost, and that every possible profit may be derived from the stud. It is certain, however, that her strength being divided, she is unable to nourish both a foal and a foetus so successfully as if she had but one at a time. To procure excellent horses, therefore, the mares should be covered but once in two years, which would make them live long|er, and hold more surely; for, in ordinary studs, it is well if a half or two thirds bring forth in a year.

Mares, though impregnated, can suffer to be covered; and yet there are no instances of su|perfoetation. In general, they are capable of producing to the age of 14 or 15 years, and the most vigorous produce not after 18. Stallions, when properly managed, retain their prolific powers to the age of 20 years, and sometimes longer: And, as in man, those which began too early are soonest extinguished; for the large horses, which come sooner to maturity than fine ones, and are employed as stallions at the age of four years, are commonly useless at 15.

The life of horses, as in every other species of animals, is proportioned to the time of their growth. Man, who grows 14 years, can live six or seven times as long, i. e. 90 or 100. The horse, whose growth is accomplished in four Page  355 years, can live six or seven times as much, i. e. 25 or 30. The exceptions to this rule are so few, that no conclusions can be drawn from them: And, as the large horses come sooner to maturity than the delicate ones, their lives are likewise shorter, and they are superannuated in 15 years.

In horses, and most other quadrupeds, the growth of the posterior parts seems at first to be greater than that of the anterior. But, in man, the growth of the inferior parts is at first less than that of the superior: For the thighs and legs of infants are, in proportion to their bodies, much less than those of adults. The hinder legs of the foal, on the contrary, are so long that they can reach his head, which is by no means the case after he acquires his full growth. But this difference proceeds not so much from the ine|quality in the total growth of the anterior and posterior parts, as from the unequal lengths of the fore and hind feet, which uniformly holds through all nature, and is most remarkable in quadrupeds. Man's feet are larger, and like|wise sooner formed, than his hands. The great|est part of the horse's hind leg is only a foot, be|ing composed of bones corresponding to the tarsus, metatarsus, &c. It is not, therefore, sur|prising, that this foot should be sooner expand|ed than the fore-leg, the inferior part of which represents the hand, being composed of the bones of the carpus, metacarpus, &c. This difference Page  356 is easily perceived immediately after a foal is brought forth. The fore-legs, when compared with the hind ones, are proportionably much shorter than they are to be afterwards. Besides, the thickness which the body acquires, though independent of the proportional growth in length, increases the distance between the hind|feet and the head, and, consequently, prevents the animal, when full grown, from reaching it.

In all animals, each species varies according to the climates; and the general results of these varieties constitute different races. Of these we can only distinguish the most remarkable, or those that sensibly differ from each other, passing over the intermediate shades, which here, as in all the operations of nature, are infinite. We have even augmented their mumber and confu|sion by cherishing the mixture of races. If the expression may be used, we have dealt roughly with nature by bringing into our climates the horses of Asia and of Africa. By introducing into France the horses of every country, the primitive race cannot now be recognised; so that, to distinguish horses, there remains only a few slight characters produced by the actual influence of the climate. These characters would be still better marked, and the differences more sensible, if the races of each climate were pre|served without mixture. These small varieties would be more apparent, and less numerous. Page  357 But there would be a certain number of great varieties, which every man could distinguish with ease. Instead of which, habit, and even long experience, are necessary to enable us to know the horses of different countries. On this subject we have no light but what is derived from the books of travellers, the works of New|castle, Garsault, Gueriniere, &c. and some re|marks communicated to us by M. de Pignerolles, master of horse to the King of France, and pre|sident of the academy of Angers.

The Arabian horses are the most beautiful. They are larger, more fleshy, and handsomer than the Barbs. But, as they are seldom brought into France, few observations have been made with regard to their perfections or defects.

Barbary horses are more common. They have a long, fine neck, not overcharged with hair, and well divided from the withers. The head is small and beautiful. The ears are handsome and properly placed. The shoulders are light and flat. The withers are thin and well raised. The back is straight and short. The flank and sides are round, and the belly not too large. The haunch-bones are properly concealed; the crupper is some|what long, and the tail placed rather high. The thigh is well formed, and rarely flat. The limbs are fine, handsome, and not hairy. The tendon is prominent, and the foot well made; but the pastern is often long. They are of all colours, but generally grayish. In their movements, they Page  358 are apt to be careless, and require to be checked. They are swift, nervous, light, and make ex|tremely fine hunters. These horses appear to be the most proper for improving the breed. Their stature, however, is not so large as could be wished. They are seldom above four feet eight inches*, and never exceed four feet nine. It is confirmed by repeated experience, that, in France, England, &c. they produce foals which grow larger than their parents. Of the Barba|ry horses, those of the kingdom of Morocco are said to be the best, and next to these are the Barbs from the mountains. The horses of Mau|ritania are of an inferior quality, as well as those of Turkey, Persia, and Armenia. All the horses of warm climates have smoother and shorter hair than those of other countries. The Turkish horses are not so well proportioned as the Barbs. Their necks are generally slender, their bodies long, and their legs too thin. They are, however, excellent travellers, and have a long wind. It will not be thought surprising, that the bones of animals are harder in warm than in cold climates. It is for this reason, that, though they have thinner shank bones than the horses of this country, their limbs are stronger.

The Spanish horses, which hold the second rank after the Barbs, have a long, thick, hairy neck. The head is rather gross and fleshy. The ears are Page  359 long, but well situated. The eyes are full of fire, and their air is bold and noble. The shoul|ders are thick and the chest broad. The reins are often a little low, the sides round, and the belly frequently too big. The crupper is gene|rally round and large, though in some it is some|what long. The limbs are fine and not hairy; the tendons in the legs are prominent; the pa|stern is sometimes too long, like that of the Barb; the foot is rather long, like that of the mule; and the heel is often too high. The Spanish horses of the best race are thick, plump, and of a low stature. Their movements are likewise quick and supple; and they are re|markable for spirit and boldness. Their colour is commonly black, or a dark chesnut, though they are to be found of all colours. Their noses and limbs are seldom white. These marks are disliked by the Spaniards, who never breed from those which have them. Their favourite mark is a star in the fore-head; and they esteem a horse without a single spot, as much as we despise him. Both of these prejudices, though opposite to each other, are perhaps equally ill founded; for we find excellent horses with all kinds of marks, or with no marks whatever. These little differences in the coats of horses, seem to have no dependence on their disposi|tions or internal constitution; but take their rise from external circumstances*; for a slight Page  360 wound on the skin produces a white spot. Be|sides, Spanish horses, of whatever kind, are all marked in the thigh, with the mark of the stud from which they were taken. They are gene|rally of a small stature, though some of them are four feet nine or ten inches*. Those of Up|per Andalusia are said to be the best, though their heads be often too long. But their other rare and excellent qualities make this fault be overlooked. They are obedient, couragious, graceful, spirited, and more docile than the Barbs. For those talents they are preferred to all the horses of the world, for the purposes of war, of pomp, or of the manage.

The finest English horses, in their conforma|tion, resemble those of Arabia and Barbary, from which they originally sprung. Their heads, however, are too large, though handsome; and their ears are too long, but well situated. By the ears alone, an English horse may be distin|guished from a Barb. But the great difference lies in their stature; for the English horses are much larger and plumper, being commonly four feet ten, and even five feet high*. They are of all colours, and distinguished by every sort of Page  361 mark. They are generally strong, vigorous, hardy, capable of enduring much fatigue, and excellent either for hunting or the course. But they want grace and docility; they are stiff, and have little play in their shoulders.

The English race-horses are extremely fleet, and are managed with great dexterity by their riders. I cannot give a better example than by relating the substance of a letter I received from a respectable nobleman*, dated London, 18. Feb. 1748. Mr Thornhill, post-master of Stilton, laid a bet, that he would ride three times the road from Stilton to London, or 215 English miles, in 15 hours. He set out from Stilton on the 29th day of April 1745, and, after mount|ing eight different horses on the road, arrived at London in three hours fifty-one minutes. He instantly set off from London, and, having mounted only six horses, he reached Stilton in three hours fifty-two minutes. For the third course, he used seven of the same horses, and fi|nished it in three hours forty-nine minutes. So that he not only gained his bet, but, instead of fifteen hours, he had performed what he had undertaken in eleven hours thirty-two minutes. I suspect that no example of such fleetness was ever exhibited at the Olympic games.

The Italian horses were formerly much hand|somer than they are now; because, for some time past, the breed has been neglected. How|ever, the Neapolitan horses are still excellent for Page  362 carriages. But, in general, they have large heads and thick necks; they are also untrac|table, and, of course, not easily managed. These defects are compensated by the stateliness of their form, by their high spirit, and by the grace|fulness of their motions.

The Danish horses, both on account of size and beauty, are preferred to all others for car|riages. Some of them are perfect models; but their number is small: For most of them are not very regularly formed, having thick necks, gross shoulders, backs too long and too low, and cruppers too narrow in proportion to the thick|ness of their fore-parts. But they are all grace|ful in their movements; and, in general, they are excellent for war and for pomp. They are of all colours; and the tiger-spotted horses are peculiar to Denmark.

Germany produces very sine horses: But, though generally bred from Barbary, Turkish, Spanish, and Italian horses, most of them are heavy and short-winded; and therefore ill qualified for hunting or coursing. The horses of Hungary and Transylvania, on the contrary, are light and nimble. To prevent their neigh|ing in time of war, and also, it is said, to improve their wind, the Hungarians slit the nostrils of their horses. I have never had an opportunity of ascertaining the fact, that horses, whose no|strils are slit, lose the power of neighing. But I should rather imagine, that this operation only Page  363 renders their neighing more feeble. It is re|marked of the Hungarian, Croatian, and Polish horses, that they are noted for retaining what is called the mark in their teeth till they be very old.

The Dutch horses answer very well for draw|ing coaches, and are commonly used in France for that purpose. The best kind are brought from the province of Friesland: Those of Bergue and Juliers are also very good. The Flemish horses are much inferior to the Dutch. Almost the whole of them have large heads, and broad feet; and their legs are subject to humours. These two last faults render them very unfit for carriages.

In France there are horses of all kinds; but few of them are handsome. The best saddle|horses are brought from the Limosin. They resemble the Barbs, and are excellent for the chace. But they grow very slowly, require much care when young, and must not be used till they arrive at the age of eight years. There are likewise good ponies in Auvergne, Poitou, and Burgundy. But, next to the Limosin, Nor|mandy furnishes the finest horses. They are not so good for the chace; but they make bet|ter war-horses. They are plump, and soon ac|quire their full growth. Good coach-horses, lighter and more alert than those of Holland, are bred in Lower Normandy and Cotentin. Franche-Comté and the Boulonnois furnish us Page  364 with very good draught-horses. In general, the French horses have their shoulders too wide, while those of the Barb are too narrow.

Having described those horses with which we are best acquainted, we shall now give the rela|tions of travellers concerning foreign horses, of which we have little knowledge. There are good horses in all the islands of the Archipela|go. Among the antients, the horses of Crete were in high estimation for agility and swift|ness*. However, horses are now little used in that island, on account of the ruggedness of the country, which is every where mountainous, and full of inequalities. The best horses in these islands, and even in Barbary, are of the Arabian race. The native horses of the kingdom of Morocco are much smaller than those of Arabia, but very nimble and vigorous*. Mr Shaw al|ledges *, that the breed of Egypt and of Tingi|tania is superior to those of the neighbouring countries; and yet, more than a century ago, excellent horses were found throughout all Bar|bary: These Barbary horses, he says, never stumble; and they stand still when the rider dis|mounts, or drops the bridle. They walk very fast, and gallop with great rapidity; but they are never allowed to trot or amble, these move|ments being considered by the natives as rude Page  365 and vulgar. He adds, that the Egyptian horses are superior to all others both in stature and in beauty. But these Egyptian, as well as most of the horses of Barbary, sprung originally from the Arabians, which are unquestionably the handsomest horses in the world.

According to Marmol*, or rather Leo Afri|canus *, whom Marmol has copied almost ver|batim, the Arabian horses are descended from the wild horses in the deserts of Arabia, of which studs were formed very antiently, and which multiplied so greatly, as to spread over all Asia and Africa. They are so swift as to out-run the ostrich. The Arabs of the desert and the people of Lybia rear numbers of these horses for the chace. They never use them either in war, or for travelling. They pasture them as long as the grass remains, and, when it fails, they feed them with dates and camel's milk, which make them nervous, light, and meagre. They catch the wild horses in snares, and, when young, they eat their flesh, which they esteem to be very delicate. These wild horses are small, and commonly of an ash-colour, though some of them are white; and the hair of the mane and tail is short and crisped. Curious relations, concerning the Arabian horses, are given by o|ther travellers*, of which I shall only mention some of the principal facts.

Page  366 There is not an Arabian, however poor, who has not his horses. They generally ride upon mares, having learned from experience, that mares endure fatigue, hunger, and thirst, better than horses. These mares are so gentle, that, though numbers of them are often left together for whole days, they never strike or do each o|ther the smallest injury. The Turks, on the contrary, are not fond of mares; but they pur|chase from the Arabs those horses which they intend not to use as stallions. The Arabs pre|serve with great care, and for an amazing length of time, the races of their horses. They know all their alliances and genealogies*; and they di|stinguish Page  367 their races into three different classes. The first, which are of a pure and antient race on both sides, they call Nobles; the second are likewise of an antient race, but have been de|graded by vulgar alliances; and the third class consists of their common horses. The latter sell at a low price. But those of the first class, and even of the second, among which some indivi|duals are not inferior to the nobles, are exces|sively dear. Mares of the noble class are never permitted to be covered but by horses of the same quality. The Arabs, by long experience, know all the races of their horses, as well as those of their neighbours. They know their Page  368 names, sirnames, colours, peculiar marks, &c. When a family have no noble stallions, they borrow one of a neighbour to cover their mares, which is performed in presence of witnesses, who give an attestation of it, signed and sealed, be|fore the secretary of the Emir, or some other public person. This attestation contains the names of the horse and mare, and a complete history of their pedigrees. When the mare has foaled, witnesses are again called, and another attestation is made, including a description of the foal, and the day of its birth. These attesta|tions enhance the value of their horses, and they are always delivered to the purchasers. The smallest mares of this first class are worth 500 crowns; and many of them sell at a 1000 crowns; and even higher prices are sometimes given. As the Arabs live in tents, these tents serve them likewise for stables. The mare and her foal, the husband and his wife and children, sleep together promiscuously. The infants of|ten lie on the body, or on the neck of the mare or foal, without receiving any injury from these animals, which seem afraid to move, for fear of hurting them. These mares are so accustom|ed to society, that they submit to every kind of familiarity. The Arabs never beat their mares; but treat them gently, and talk and reason with them. They are so careful of them as to allow them always to walk, and never spur them, un|less the occasion be very urgent. Hence, when|ever Page  369 the creatures perceive the rider's heel make an approach to their sides, they instantly set off with incredible swiftness, and leap hedges and ditches as nimbly as stags. If their riders chances to fall, they are so well trained, that they stop short, even in the most rapid gallop. All the Arabian horses are of a middle stature, very easy in their carriage, and rather meagre than fat. They are dressed every morning and evening with so much care, that not a spot of dirt is left on their skin, and their legs, mane, and tail, are washed. Their tails are allowed to grow long; and the comb is seldom used, to prevent the hair from being broken. During the day, they are not permitted to eat; but are watered twice or thrice. At sun-set, a bag, containing about half a bushel of barley, is pas|sed over their heads, and fastened to the neck. This bag is not removed till next morning, when the barley is entirely consumed. In the month of March, when the grass is good, they are turned out to pasture. This is also the sea|son in which the mares are covered; and, on these occasions, water is employed in the same manner as in other countries. After the spring is past, the horses are taken from the pasture; and, during the rest of the year, they are allow|ed neither grass nor hay, and rarely straw, barley being their only food. At the age of a year or ten months, the Arabians cut the manes of their foals, with a view to make them grow long and Page  370 bushy. When two years, or two years and a half old, they are mounted, having never, before that period, been either saddled or bridled. Every day, from morning to night, all the Arabian hor|ses stand saddled at the tent-doors.

This race of horses is spread over all Barbary; and the great men among the Moors, and even among the Negroes along the Gambia and Se|negal, have Arabian horses of great beauty. In|stead of barley or oats, they are fed with maize, reduced to a powder, which is mixed with milk, when they require to be fattened. In this warm climate, they are allowed little water*. On the other hand, the Arabian horses are dis|persed over Egypt, Turkey, and, perhaps, Persia, where very considerable studs were formerly kept. Marc Paul* mentions one of these studs which contained ten thousand white mares; and he says, that, in the Province of Balascia, there is a vast number of large nimble horses, with hoofs so hard as to require no shoes.

The Levant horses, like those of Persia and Arabia, have very hard hoofs: They are shoed, however; but with shoes extremely light and thin. In Turkey, Persia, and Arabia, the same manner of feeding and dressing horses is ob|served. Their litter is made of their own dung, which is first dried in the sun, to remove Page  371 the disagreeable smell, and then reduced into a powder. Of this a bed is laid in the stable or tent, about four or five inches thick. This lit|ter lasts very long; for, after being soiled, it is dried a second time in the sun, which clears it entirely from its offensive odour.

In Turkey there are Arabian, Tartarian, and Hungarian horses, beside the native horses of that country, which last are exceedingly handsome*, swift, and spirited. But they are delicate, and soon fatigued. They eat little, are easily heat|ed, and their skin is so sensible, that they are unable to bear the friction of a comb; in place of which, they are brushed, and washed with water. These horses, though beautiful, are in|ferior to the Arabians, and even to those of Per|sia; the latter, next to the Arabians*, being the handsomest and best horses of the East. The pasture in the plains of Media, of Persepolis, of Ardebil, and of Derbent, is extremely fine; and a prodigious quantity of horses, most of which are beautiful and excellent, are raised there by order of government. Pietro della Valle* pre|fers the common horses of Persia to the finest Neapolitan horses. They are generally of a middle stature*; and some of them are very small, but Page  372 strong and active*; while others exceed the size of the English saddle-horses*. They have light heads, and fine necks. Their ears are handsome and well situated. They have slen|der legs, sine cruppers, and hard hoofs. They are docile, spirited, bold, and capable of endu|ring great fatigue. They are extremely swift, and never stumble. They are robust, and so easily nourished, that their only food is barley mixed with cut straw; and they are grazed du|ring six weeks of the spring only. Their tails are allowed to grow long; and they are never gelded. Coverings are used to defend them from the injuries of the weather. Peculiar care and attention are bestowed upon them; and they are managed by a simple bridle, without em|ploying the spur. Great numbers of them are transported to Turkey and the Indies. Those travellers, who bestow so much praise upon the Persian horses, allow, however, that the Arabi|ans are superior in agility, courage, strength, and beauty; and that they are more valued, e|ven in Persia, than the horses of that country.

The horses which are bred in the Indies are very indifferent*. Those used by the great men of the country are brought from Persia and A|rabia. Page  373 They are fed with hay during the day; and, at night, in place of barley and oats, they get pease boiled with sugar and butter. This nourishing diet supports them, and gives them some degree of strength; without it, they would soon perish, the climate not being adapted to their constitution. The native horses of India are very small. Some of them are so exceed|ingly diminutive, that, Tavernier informs us, the young Prince of Mogul, aged about seven or eight years, generally rode on a handsome little creature, whose stature exceeded not that of a large grayhound*. Very warm climates, it would appear, are destructive to horses. Those of the Gold Coast, of Juida, of Guiney, &c. are likewise extremely bad. They carry their head and neck very low. Their movements are so feeble and tottering, that one is apt to imagine they are always ready to fall. If not continu|ally beat, they would not stir a limb; and the greatest part of them are so short, that the feet of the rider almost touch the ground*. They are, besides, very untractable, and fit only to be eaten by the Negroes, who are equally fond of horses flesh as that of dogs*. This appetite for horses flesh is common to the Negroes and Ara|bians, and discovers itself in Tartary, and even Page  374 in China*. The Chines horses are as bad as those of India, being feeble, sluggish, ill made, and very small*: Those of Corea exceed not three feet in height*. Almost all the horses of China are gelded; and they are so timid, that they cannot be used in war. It may, indeed, be affirmed, that the Tartarian horses made the conquest of China. The horses of Tartary are very proper for the purposes of war. Though not of the largest size, they are strong, vigorous, bold, fiery, and extremely swift. Their hoofs are hard, but too narrow; their heads are light, but too small; their necks are long and stiff; and their limbs are too long. Notwithstanding these faults, they may be regarded as good hor|ses; for they are indefatigable, and run with a|mazing rapidity. The Tartars, like the Arabi|ans, live with their horses. At the age of seven or eight months, they are mounted by children, who walk and gallop them by turns. In this manner they are gradually trained; and they are accu|stomed to suffer long abstinence. But they are not mounted for hunting or travelling, till they arrive at six or seven years of age, when they are Page  375 obliged to undergo the most incredible fatigues*; as walking two or three days without stopping; receiving, for four or five days on end, only a handful of herbage every eight hours; and, at the same time, kept from drinking for 24 hours, &c. These horses, which are so robust in their own country, become seeble and useless when transported to China or the Indies: But they thrive very well in Persia and Turkey. In Little Tartary, there is a race of small horses, of which the natives are so fond, that they never permit them to be sold to strangers. They possess all the good and bad qualities peculiar to the horses of Great Tartary; which demonstrates, that the influence of the same manners and education create, in these animals, the same dispositions and temperament. In Circassia and Mingrelia, there are many horses still handsomer than those of Tartary. Fine horses are also to be found in the Ukraine, in Walachia, in Poland, and in Swe|den. But we have no particular information concerning their excellencies or defects.

If we consult the antients as to the qualities of horses in different countries, we shall find*, that the Greek horses, and especially those of Thessaly and Epirus, were in high estimation, and were excellent for the purposes of war; Page  376 that those of Achaia were the largest then known; that the handsomest came from Egypt, where they were very numerous, and where Solomon sent to purchase them at a very high price; that, in Ethiopia, on account of the great heat of the climate, the horses did not thrive; that Arabia and Africa furnished the handsomest, lightest, and best horses, either for travelling or for the course; that those of Italy, and particu|lary, of Apulia, were likewise very good; that Sicily, Cappadocia, Syria, Armenia, Media, and Persia, produced excellent horses, which were remarkable for lightness and fleetness; that those of Sardinia and Corsica were small, but bold and vivacious; that the horses of Spain resem|bled those of Parthia, and excelled in war; that, in Transylvania and Walachia, there were swift horses, with light heads, long manes which hang down to the ground, and bushy tails; that the Danish horses were handsome, and fine leap|ers; that those of Scandinavia were small, but well-formed, and very agile; that the horses of Flanders were remarkable for strength; that the Gauls furnished the Romans with good hor|ses for the purposes of riding and carrying bur|dens; that the German horses were ill-formed, and so vicious, that no use was made of them; that the horses of Switzerland were numerous, and good for war; that those of Hungary were also very good; and, lastly, that the Indian horses were small and very feeble.

Page  377 From all these facts, it is apparent, that the Arabian horses have always been, and still are, the best horses of the world, both for beauty and goodness; that from them, either directly, or by the mediation of the Barbs, are derived the finest horses in Europe, in Africa, and in Asia; that Arabia is, perhaps, not only the ori|ginal climate of horses, but the best suited to their constitution; since, instead of crossing the breed by foreign horses, the natives anxiously preserve the purity of their own race; that, at least, if Arabia be not the best climate for horses, the Arabs have produced the same effect, by the scrupulous and perpetual attention they have paid towards ennobling the race, and never permit|ting individuals to mix which were not the most handsome, and of the finest quality; and that, by the same attention, continued for ages, they have improved the species far beyond what Na|ture would have performed in the most favour|able climate. It may still farther be concluded, that climates rather warm than cold, and above all, dry countries, are best adapted to the nature of horses; that, in general, the small are better than the large horses; that care is equally ne|cessary to them as food; that, by familiarity and caresses, we procure more advantage from them, than by force and chastisement; that the horses of warm countries have their bones, hoofs, and muscles, more firm and compact than those of our climates; that, though heat is more con|formable Page  378 to the nature of these animals than cold, yet excessive heat is exceedingly hurtful to them; that excessive cold is not less injurious; and, in fine, that their constitution and disposi|tions depend almost entirely upon climate, food, care, and education.

The practice of gelding horses, so generally diffused over Europe and China, is unknown in Persia, Arabia, and many other parts of the east. This operation greatly diminishes their strength, courage, sprightliness, &c.; but it endows them with gentleness, tranquility, and docility. In performing it, the animal is thrown on his back, by means of ropes fixed to his legs; the scro|tum is opened with a sharp knife; and the testes, with their vessels, and the ligaments which sup|port them, are removed. The wound is then closed up; and the patient is bathed twice a day with cold water. His food, during this period, consists of bran drenched in water, with a view to cool him. The operation should be perform|ed in spring or autumn, much heat, or much cold, being equally dangerous. With regard to the age at which it should be executed, the prac|tice differs in different places. In certain pro|vinces of France, horses are gelded at the age of a year or eighteen months, or as soon as the testes are very apparent without the body. But the most general and most rational custom is to de|lay the operation till the age of two or three years; because, when protracted this long, the Page  379 animal retains more of the qualities peculiar to the male sex. Pliny says, that, if a horse be gelded before he loses his milk-teeth, they never shed. But I know, from repeated observation, that this remark is false. The antients, it is probable, were led into this error, by an analogy drawn from the stag, roe-buck, &c.; for the horns of these animals never fall off after castra|tion. Geldings lose the power of impregnating; but there are many examples of their being still able to copulate.

Horses of all colours, like most animals co|vered with hair, moult or cast their hair every year, commonly in the spring, and sometimes in autumn. As they are then weaker than at any other period, they require more care, and should be more plentifully fed. Some horses likewise cast their hoofs, especially in moist and marshy countries, as in Holland*.

Mares and geldings neigh less frequently than perfect horses. Their voices are also neither so full nor so deep. In horses of every kind, five different species of neighing, expressive of differ|ent passions, may be distinguished. In the neigh proceeding from joy, the voice is long protracted, and begins and terminates with sharp sounds: The horse, at the same time, flings, but without any inclination to strike. In the Page  380 neigh of desire, whether from love or friend|ship, the horse does not fling, the voice is long continued, and finishes with graver sounds. The neigh of anger, during which the animal flings and strikes with fury, is very short and sharp. The neigh of fear, during which he also flings, is not longer than that of anger; the voice is grave and hoarse, and seems as if it proceed|ed entirely from the nostrils. This neigh re|sembles the roaring of a lion. The noise ex|pressive of pain is not so much a neigh, as a groan or snorting uttered with a grave voice, and following the alternate motions of respira|tion. It has likewise been remarked, that horses which neigh most frequently from motives of joy or desire, are the best and most generous. The voice of unmutilated horses is stronger than that of geldings or mares. The female voice, even from the moment of birth, is weaker than that of the male. At two years, or two and a half, which is the age of puberty, the voice both of males and females, as in man and other ani|mals, becomes stronger and more grave.

When the horse is fired with love, he shows his teeth, and has the appearance of laughing. He likewise shows them when angry and incli|ned to bite. He sometimes thrusts out his tongue to lick, but less frequently than the ox, though the latter is less sensible of caresses. The horse remembers injuries much longer than the ox, and is also more easily dispirited. His na|tural Page  381 disposition, which is bold and impetuous, makes him exert his whole force at once; and, when he perceives that still more is requisite, he grows indignant, and obstinately refuses to act. But the ox, who is naturally slow and slothful, seldom employs his whole strength, and is not so easily disheartened.

The horse sleeps much less than man. When in good health, he never lies above two or three hours at a time. He then rises to eat. After being much fatigued, and after filling his belly, he lies down a second time. But, upon the whole, he sleeps not above three or four hours in the twenty-four. There are also some horses which never lie down, but sleep standing; and even those which are accustomed to lie down, sometimes sleep on their feet. It has been re|marked, that geldings sleep oftener and longer than perfect horses.

All quadrupeds drink not in the same manner, though all are under an equal necessity of ex|ploring with the head that liquor which they have no other method of apprehending, except|ing the monkey, and some other animals that have hands, and can drink like man, when a proper vessel is presented to them; for they car|ry it to their mouth, pour out the liquor, and swallow it by the simple movement of deglutition. This is the ordinary way in which man drinks, because it is the most commodious. But he can vary his method of drinking, by contracting Page  382 the lips, and sucking the fluid, or rather by sink|ing both mouth and nose into it, and then per|forming the motions necessary to swallowing. He can even seize a fluid by the simple motion of his lips; or, lastly, he can stretch out and expand his tongue, make a kind of little cup of it, and, in this manner, though with some diffi|culty, satisfy his thrist. Most quadrupeds might also drink in different ways: But, like man, they follow that which is most convenient. The dog, whose mouth opens wide, and whose tongue is long and slender, drinks by lapping, or licking, with his tongue, which he forms into a kind of cup or scoop, fills at each time, and thus carries a sufficient quantity of fluid into his mouth. This method he prefers to that of dipping his nose into the water. The horse, on the contrary, whose mouth is too small, and whose tongue is too thick and too short, for forming a scoop, and who, besides, drinks with more avidity than he eats, briskly sinks his mouth and nose deep into the water, which he swallows plentifully by the simple motion of deglutition*. But this obliges him to drink without drawing his breath; while the dog respires at his nose during the time he is drinking. After running, when the respiration is short and laborious, horses should Page  383 be allowed to drink at leisure, and to breathe as often as they incline. Neither should they be permitted to drink water that is too cold; for, independent of the colics frequently occasioned by very cold water, it often cools their nose to such a degree, as brings on rheums, and perhaps lays the foundation of the disease called glanders, the most obstinate of all maladies to which this noble animal is subject. It has lately been discovered, that this disease is seated in the pituitary mem|brane*; and that it is a genuine rheum, which in time produces an inflammation in that mem|brane. Besides, those travellers who give a de|tail of the diseases of horses in warm countries, alledge not that the glanders is equally frequent in Arabia, Persia, and Barbary, as in cold cli|mates. Hence I am led to conjecture, that this malady is owing to the superior coldness of the water; because these animals are obliged to keep their noses in the water a considerable time, which might be prevented by never allowing them to drink very cold water, and by always drying their nostrils after drinking. Asses, which dread cold more than horses, and resemble them so greatly in their internal structure, are not equal|ly subject to the glanders, which is owing, per|haps, to their drinking in a different manner from the horse; for, instead of sinking the nose into the water, they barely touch it with their lips.

Page  384 I shall mention no more of the diseases of horses. It would extend Natural History be|yond all bounds, if, to the history of each ani|mal, we were to join that of its diseases. How|ever, I cannot finish the history of the horse, without regretting that the health of this useful and valuable animal should be still abandoned to the blind care, and often absurd and cruel practice, of a set of men who have neither un|derstanding nor letters. Of the art, called by the antients Medicina Veterinaria, we now hardly know more than the name. If any physician would turn his views to this subject, and make it a principal object of his inquiry, I am convinced that he would be amply reward|ed for his trouble; and that he would not only acquire a fortune, but obtain the highest repu|tation. This species of the medical art would by no means be conjectural, or so difficult as the other. The manners, the food, the influence of sentiment, and all the other causes of disorders, being less complicated in these animals than in man, their diseases must also be more simple, and, of course, more easily investigated and treat|ed with success. To these advantages may be added the perfect liberty of making experiments, of trying new remedies, and of arriving, with|out fear or reproach, to a most extensive know|ledge of this kind, from which, by analogy, de|ductions might be drawn of the greatest utility to the art of curing men.

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WE have already described the manner in which the horses of Arabia are treated, and given a detail of the pains and attention be|stowed on their education. This dry and warm country, which appears to be the original cli|mate of this beautiful animal, and most conform|able to its nature, permits or requires a number of usages that cannot be practised, with equal effect, in any other region. In France, and o|ther northern nations, it is impracticable to train and feed horses in the same way as is done in warm climates. But men, who are interested in these useful creatures, will not be displeased to learn how they are managed in countries less favoured by heaven than Arabia, and how they conduct themselves, when they act independent of the human species, and when left entirely to their own dispositions and instincts.

Horses are differently fed, according to the different countries to which they are transported, and the different uses to which they are destined. Those of the Arabian races intended for hunting in Arabia or Barbary, seldom eat herbage or grain. Their common food, which consists of dates and camels milk, is given them every morn|ing Page  386 and night. These aliments, instead of fat|tening them, render them meagre, nervous, and very fleet. They spontaneously suck the she|camels, whom they follow* till the time they are ready for mounting, which is not before the age of six or seven years.

In Persia, the horses are exposed night and day to the open air. But, to protect them from the injuries of the weather, from damp vapours, and from rain, they are covered, especially in winter, with cloths; and sometimes an addition|al covering is added, which is made of hair, and very thick. A spot of dry even ground is pre|pared for them, greater or smaller according to their number, which is swept and kept extreme|ly clean. Here they are all tied to a long rope, which is well stretched, and firmly fixed at each end to two iron rods stuck in the earth. Their halters, however, are sufficiently free to allow them to move with ease. To prevent them from hurting each other, their hind-legs are tied with a rope, which has iron buckles at each extremity; these are brought about to the fore part of the horses, and fastened to the ground by pegs, but loose enough to allow them to lie down or to rise at their pleasure. When put into stables, they are managed in the same man|ner. Xenophon informs us, that this practice was observed in his days; and it is alledged, that, by this means, the animals are rendered Page  387 more gentle, and tractable, and less peevish a|mong themselves; qualities extremely useful in war, when vicious horses, tied up in squadrons, often injure one another. For litter, the Persi|ans use only sand or dry dust, upon which their horses lie down and sleep as well as if it were straw*. In other countries, as Arabia and the Mogul empire, the horses are littered with their own dung, well dried and reduced to a powder*. The eastern horses are never allowed to eat from the ground, or even from a rack; but are served with barley and cut straw in pocks tied to their heads; for, in these climates, no hay is made, nor do the natives cultivate oats. In spring, they are fed with grass or green barley, and great care is taken to give them only as much as is barely necessary; for too much nourishment makes their legs swell, and soon renders them useless. These horses, though ridden without bridle or stirrups, are easily managed. They carry their heads very high, by means of a sim|ple snaffle, and run with great rapidity and sure|ness upon the worst roads. The whip and spur are very seldom employed. The latter, when used, consists only of a single point fixed to the heel of the boot. Their common whips are made of small strips of parchment knotted and twisted. A few lashes with this whip are suffi|cient for every purpose of the rider.

Page  388 Horses are so numerous in Persia, that, though excellent, they sell cheap. Some of them are very tall and heavy; but all of them are more remarkable for strength, than for grace|fulness and beauty. For easy travelling, the Per|sians use pacing horses, which are taught this motion by tying the fore-foot to the hind-foot on the same side: When young, their nostrils are slit, from a notion that it makes them breathe more freely. These horses travel so well, that they perform with ease a journey of eight leagues without stopping*.

But Arabia, Barbary, and Persia, are not the only climates which produce good and handsome horses. Even in the coldest countries, if not too moist, these animals succeed better than in very warm climates. The beauty of the Danish horses, and the excellence of those of Sweden, Poland, &c. are universally known. In Iceland, where the cold is excessive, and where often no other food can be had than dried fishes, the hor|ses, though small, are extremely vigorous*; some of them are indeed so diminutive as to be fit for carrying children only*. Besides, they are so plentiful in this island, that the shepherds tend their flocks on horseback. Their number is not expensive; for their food costs nothing. Such as the owners can apply to no immediate use, they mark, and turn out to the mountains. Page  389 There they soon become wild; and, when want|ed, are hunted in troops, and caught with long ropes. When the mares foal in the mountains, the proprietors put their peculiar marks on the young, and leave them there for three years. Those horses which are brought up in the moun|tains, are generally more handsome, bold, and fleet, than those raised in stables*.

The Norwegian horses are likewise small, but well-proportioned. Most of them are yellow, with a black line running the whole length of the back. Some of them are chesnut, and others of an iron-gray colour. These horses are very sure-footed, travel with great caution through the rough paths of the mountains, and slide down steep declivities, by bringing their hind-feet un|der their bellies. They defend themselves a|gainst the assaults of the bear. When a stallion, in company with mares or foals, perceives this voracious animal, he makes them stay behind, approaches, and boldly attacks the enemy, whom he beats with his fore-feet, and generally kills. But, if the horses attempt to defend themselves by striking with their hind-feet, they are infallibly gone; for the bear leaps upon their backs, where he sticks with such force as suffocates them in a short time*.

The horses of Nordland never exceed four feet and a half in height*. The nearer we ap|proach Page  390 to the pole, we find that horses become smaller and weaker. Those of West Nordland are of a singular form. They have large heads and eyes, short necks, large poitrels, narrow withers, long thick bodies, short loins; the up|per part of their legs is long, and the under short and naked; their hoofs are small and hard; their tails and manes are large and bushy; and their feet are small, but sure, and never defended with shoes. These horses are good, seldom restive or stubborn, and climb with patience the highest mountains. The pasture in Nord|land is so excellent, that, when horses are brought from thence to Stockholm, they seldom remain above a year without losing their flesh and their vigour. On the contrary, when horses are car|ried from more northern countries to Nordland, though sickly for the first year, they recover their strength*.

Excess of heat or of cold seems to be equally hostile to the stature of horses. The Japanese horses are generally small, though some of them are of a tolerable size. The latter probably come from the mountains of that country. The same remark applies to the horses of China. We are assured, however, that those of Tonquin are nervous, of a good size, gentle, and easily trained to any kind of exercise*.

Page  391 It is well known, that horses bred in dry warm climates degenerate, and even cannot live, in moist countries, however warm. But they suc|ceed very well in all the mountainous countries of our continent, from Arabia to Denmark and Tartary, and, in America, from New Spain to the lands of Magellan. It is, therefore, neither heat nor cold, but moisture alone, that is noxious to these animals.

There were no horses in America when it was discovered. But, in less than two centuries af|ter a small number of them had been transported thither from Europe, they multiplied so prodi|giously, especially in Chili, that they sold at very low prices. Frezier remarks, that this great increase was still more surprising, because the Indians eat horses, and kill many of them by fatigue and bad management*. The horses carried by the Europeans to the most eastern parts of our continent, as the Philippine islands, have likewise multiplied exceedingly*.

In the Ukraine*, and among the Cossacks a|long the river Don, the horses live wild in the fields and forests. In that large and thinly Page  392 peopled country comprehended between the Don and the Nieper, the horses go in troops of three, four, or five hundred, and have no shelter even when the ground is covered with snow, which they remove with their fore-feet in quest of food. These troops are guarded by two or three men on horseback; and it is only in severe win|ters that they are lodged for a few days in the villages, which, in this country, are very distant from each other. These troops of horses give rise to some remarks, which seem to prove that men are not the only animals who live in socie|ty, and obey, by compact, the commands of one of their own number. Each of these troops have a chief whom they implicitly obey; he di|rects their course, and makes them proceed or stop at his pleasure. This chief likewise gives orders for the necessary arrangements and mo|tions, when the troop is attacked by robbers or by wolves. He is extremely vigilant and alert: He frequently runs round the troop; and, when he finds any horses out of their rank, or lagging behind, he gives them a push with his shoulder, and obliges them to take their proper station. These animals, without being mounted or con|ducted by men, march in nearly as good order as our trained cavalry. Though at perfect li|berty, they pasture in files and brigades, and form different companies, without ever mixing or separating. The chief occupies this important and fatiguing office for four or five years. When Page  393 he becomes weaker and less active, another horse, ambitious of command, and who feels his own strength, springs out from the troop, attacks the old chief, who, if not vanquished, keeps his command; but, if beat, enters with shame in|to the common herd; and the conqueror takes the lead, is recognised as sovereign, and obeyed by the whole troop*.

In Finland, when the snows are dissolved in the month of May, the horses depart from their masters, and go into certain districts of the fo|rests, as if they had previously fixed a rendez|vous. There they form different troops, which never separate or intermix. Each troop take a different district of the forest for their pasture. To this territory they confine themselves, and never encroach on the lands belonging to other troops. When the grass is exhausted, they de|camp, and take possession of a fresh pasturage in the same order as before. The police of their society is so well regulated, and their marches so uniform, that their owners always know where to find their horses, when they have oc|casion for them; and those which are carried off, after having performed their task, return, of their own accord, to their companions in the woods. In the month of September, when the weather turns bad, they quit the forest, march Page  394 home in troops, and each takes possession of his own stable.

These horses are small, but good and spirited, without being vicious. Though generally very docile, some of them resist when their owners offer to take them, or to yoke them in carriages. When they return from the forests, they are fat and in fine order. But the perpetual labour they undergo during the winter, and the small quantity of food they receive, soon make them lose their flesh. They roll on the snow as other horses do on the grass. They pass the night, indif|ferently, either in the court or in the stable, even during the most violent frosts*.

These horses, which live in troops, and are often removed from the dominion of man, form the link or shade between domestic and wild horses. Of the latter there are some in the island of St Helena, which, after being transported thither from Europe, became so savage and fe|rocious, that, rather than suffer themselves to be taken, they leap over the highest precipices into the sea*. In the environs of Nippes, some of them are not larger than asses; but they are rounder, and well proportioned. They are vi|vacious, indefatigable, and possess a strength and dexterity beyond what could be expected from them. In Saint Domingo, the horses are of a middle stature, and much esteemed. Numbers Page  395 of them are taken with snares and ropes; but most of these continue to be extremely restless and skittish*. There are also horses in Virgi|nia, which, though sprung from the domestic kind, have become so ferocious in the woods, that it is difficult to approach them, and, when taken, they belong to the person who apprehends them. They are commonly so stubborn that it is no easy matter to tame them*. In Tartary, and particularly in the country between Urgenz and the Caspian sea, birds of prey are employed in hunting wild horses. These birds are trained to seize the horse by the neck and head, who fatigues himself by running, but is unable to disengage himself* from his tormentor. The wild horses in the country of the Mongous and Kakas Tartars, differ not from those which are tame. They are found in great numbers upon the western coast; and some appear in the coun|try of the Kakas which borders on the Harni. These wild horses are so swift, that they often escape the arrows of the most dexterous hun|ters. They march in numerous troops; and, when they chance to meet with tamed horses, they surround them and oblige them to fly*. In Congo, considerable numbers of wild horses are still to be found*. They are sometimes Page  396 seen also in the environs of the Cape of Good Hope; but they are seldom taken, because the inhabitants prefer the horses transported from Persia*.

When formerly treating of the horse, I re|marked, that, from all the observations of the breeders of horses, the male appeared to have greater influence upon the offspring than the female; and I then gave some reasons which rendered the universality of this fact doubtful, and even made it probable that the influence of the male and female were equal. But numerous experiments and observations have now convin|ced me, that, not only in horses, but in man and every other animal, the male has more influence on the external form of the young than the fe|male, and that, in every species, the male is the principal type of the race.

I have said*, that, in the common order of Nature, it is not the males, but the females, which constitute the unity of the species: But this prevents not the male from being the true type of each species; and, what I have advan|ced concerning unity, ought to be extended only to the greater facility of representing the species possessed by the female, though she submits to the embraces of different males. This point I have fully discussed in my history of birds*, Page  397 and, in the present work, under the article Mule; from which it appears, that, though the female seems to have more influence upon the specific character of the breed, she never improves it, the male alone enjoying the faculty of support|ing the purity of the race, and of rendering it more perfect.

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THIS animal, even when examined with minute attention, has the appearance of a degenerated horse. The exact similarity in the structure of the brain, lungs, stomach, intestinal canal, heart, liver, and other viscera, and the great resemblance of the body, legs, feet, and whole skeleton, seem to support this opinion. The slight differences which take place between these two animals may be attributed to the long continued influence of climate and food, and to a fortuitous succession of many generations of small wild horses, who, by gradually degenera|ting, at last produced a new and permanent spe|cies, or rather a race of similar individuals, all marked with the same defects, and differing so widely from the genuine horse, as to be regard|ed as constituting a new species. The greater variety in the colour of horses than of asses ap|pears to favour this idea: This circumstance Page  399 shows that the former have been longer in a do|mestic state; for the colour of all domestic ani|mals varies much more than that of wild ones of the same species. Besides, the wild horses mentioned by travellers are generally small, and have, like the ass, gray hair, and a naked tail, tufted at the extremity. Some wild, as well as domestic horses, have likewise a black line on the back, and other characters which make them nearly approach to the ass.

On the other hand, if we attend to the differ|ences of temperament, dispositions, manners, and, in a word, of the general result of the or|ganization of these two animals, particularly the impossibility of their commixture, so as to form a common, or even an intermediate species, ca|pable of procreating, the opinion, that they were originally distinct species, equally removed from each other as at present, will appear to be the most probable. The ass, besides, differs mate|rially from the horse, in smallness of stature, thickness of the head, length of the ears, hard|ness of the skin, nakedness of the tail, the form of the buttocks, and the dimensions of the ad|jacent parts, the voice, the appetite, the manner of drinking, &c. Is it possible that animals so essentially different, should spring from the same original stock? Are they, to use the language of nomenclators*, of the same family? Or rather, Page  400 are they not, and have they not always been, distinct animals?

Philosophers will perceive the extent, the dif|ficulties, and the importance of this question, which we shall here discuss, only because it for the first time occurs. It relates to the produc|tion of beings, and, for its illustration, requires that we should consider Nature under a new point of view. If, from the immense number of animated beings which people the universe, we select a single animal, or even the human body, as a standard, and compare all other organized beings with it, we shall find that each enjoys an independent existence, and that the whole are di|stinguished by an almost infinite variety of gra|dations. There exists, at the same time, a pri|mitive and general design, which may be traced to a great distance, and whose degradations are still slower than those of figure or other exter|nal relations: For, not to mention the organs of digestion, of circulation, or of generation, without which animals could neither subsist nor reproduce, there is, even among the parts that contribute most to variety in external form, such an amazing resemblance as necessarily conveys the idea of an original plan upon which the whole has been conceived and executed. When, for example, the parts constituting the body of a horse, which seems to differ so widely from that of man, are compared in detail with the human frame, instead of being struck with the differ|ence, Page  401 we are astonished at the singular and al|most perfect resemblance. In a word, take the skeleton of a man, incline the bones of the pel|vis, shorten those of the thighs, legs, and arms, lengthen the bones of the feet and hands, join the phalanges of the fingers and toes, lengthen the jaws by shortening the frontal bone, and, lastly, extend the spine of the back: This ske|leton would no longer represent that of a man, but would be the skeleton of a horse; for, by lenghening the back-bone and the jaws, the number of vertebrae, ribs, and teeth, would like|wise be augmented; and it is only by the num|ber of these bones, which may be regarded as accessory, and by the prolonging, contracting, or junction of others, that the skeleton of a horse differs from the skeleton of a man. But, to trace these relations more minutely, let us examine separately some parts which are essential to the figure of animals, as the ribs: These we find in man, in all quadrupeds, in birds, in fish|es, and the vestiges of them are apparent even in the shell of the turtle: Let us next consider, that the foot of a horse, so seemingly different from the hand of a man, is, however, composed of the same bones, and that, at the extremity of each finger, we have the same small bone, re|sembling a horse-shoe, which bounds the foot of that animal. From these facts we may judge, whether this hidden resemblance is not more wonderful than the apparent differences; whe|ther Page  402 this constant uniformity of design, to be traced from men to quadrupeds, from quadru|peds to the cetaceous animals, from the ceta|ceous animals to birds, from birds to reptiles, from reptiles to fishes, &c. in which the essen|tial parts, as the heart, the intestines, the spine, the senses, &c. are always included, does not in|dicate, that the Supreme Being, in creating ani|mals, employed only one idea, and, at the same time, diversified it in every possible manner, to give men an opportunity of admiring equally the magnificence of the execution and the sim|plicity of the design?

In this view, not only the horse and ass, but man, monkeys, quadrupeds, and every species of animal, may be considered as one family. But from this are we warranted to conclude, that, in this great and numerous family, which were brought into existence by the Almighty alone, there are lesser families conceived by Na|ture, and produced by time, of which some should only consist of two individuals, as the horse and ass, others of several individuals, as the weasel, the ferret, the martin, the pole-cat, &c; and, at the same time, that, among vege|tables, there are families consisting of ten, twenty, thirty, &c. plants? If these families really ex|isted, they could only be produced by the mix|ture and successive variation and degeneration of the primary species: And, if it be once admitted that there are families among plants and ani|mals, Page  403 that the ass belongs to the family of the horse, and differs from him only by degenera|tion; with equal propriety may it be concluded, that the monkey belongs to the family of man; that the monkey is a man degenerated; that man and the monkey have sprung from a common stock, like the horse and ass; that each family, either among animals or vegetables, has been derived from the same origin; and even that all animated beings have proceeded from a single species, which, in the course of ages, has pro|duced, by improving and degenerating, all the different races that now exist.

Those naturalists who, on such slight founda|tions, have established families among animals and vegetables, seem not to have considered, that, if their doctrine were true, it would reduce the product of the creation to any assignable number of individuals, however small: For, if it were proved, that animals and vegetables were really distributed into families, or even that a single species was ever produced by the degene|ration of another, that the ass, for instance, was only a degenerated horse, no bounds could be fixed to the powers of Nature: She might, with equal reason, be supposed to have been able, in the course of time, to produce, from a single individual, all the organized bodies in the uni|verse.

But this is by no means a proper representa|tion of Nature. We are assured by the autho|rity Page  404 of revelation, that all animals have partici|pated equally of the favours of creation; that the two first of each species were formed by the hands of the Almighty; and we ought to believe that they were then nearly what their descen|dants are at present. Besides, since Nature was observed with attention, since the days of Aristotle to those of our own, no new species have appeared, notwithstanding the rapid move|ments which break down and dissipate the parts of matter, notwithstanding the infinite variety of combinations which must have taken place during these twenty centuries, notwithstanding those fortuitous or forced commixtures between animals of different species, from which nothing is produced but barren and vitiated individuals, totally incapable of transmitting their monstrous kinds to posterity. Were the external or in|ternal resemblances of particular animals, there|fore, still greater than they are between the horse and ass, they should not lead us to con|found these animals, or to assign them a com|mon origin. For, if they actually proceeded from the same stock, we would be enabled to bring them back to their primitive state, and thus, with time, destroy the supposed operations of time.

It should likewise be considered, that, though Nature proceeds with gradual, and often imper|ceptible steps; yet the intervals or marks of di|stinction are not always equal. The more dig|nified Page  405 the species, they are always the less nu|merous, and separated by more conspicuous shades. The diminutive species, on the con|trary, are very numerous, and make nearer ap|proaches towards each other. For this reason, we are often tempted to erect them into families. But it should never be forgotten, that these fa|milies are of our own creation; that we have contrived them to ease our memories, and to aid our imagination; that, if we cannot comprehend the real relations of all beings, it is our own fault, not that of Nature, who knows none of those spurious families, and contains, in fact, nothing but individuals.

An individual is a solitary, a detached being, and has nothing in common with other beings, excepting that it resembles, or rather differs from them. All the similar individuals which exist on the surface of the earth, are regarded as composing the species of these individuals. It is neither, however, the number, nor the collec|tion, of similar individuals, but the constant suc|cession and renovation of these individuals, which constitutes the species. A being, whose duration was perpetual, would not make a spe|cies. Species, then, is an abstract and general term, the meaning of which can only be appre|hended by considering Nature in the succession of time, and in the constant destruction and re|novation of beings. It is by comparing present individuals with those which are past, that we Page  406 acquire a clear idea of species; for a comparison of the number or similarity of individuals is only an accessory idea, and often independent of the first: The ass resembles the horse more than the spaniel does the grayhound; and yet the latter are of the same species, because they produce fertile individuals; but, as the horse and ass pro|duce only unfertile and vitiated individuals, they are evidently of different species.

It is in the characteristic diversities of species, therefore, that the intervals in the shades of na|ture are most conspicuously marked. We may even affirm, that these intervals between diffe|rent species are the most equal and constant, since we can draw a line of separation between two species, that is, between two successions of individuals who reproduce, but cannot mix; and, as we can also unite into one species two successions of individuals who reproduce by mixing. This is the most fixed and determined point in the history of nature. All other simi|larities and differences which can be found in the comparison of beings, are neither so real nor so constant. These intervals are the only lines of separation which shall be followed in this work. We shall introduce no artificial or arbi|trary divisions. Every species, every succession of individuals, who reproduce and cannot mix, shall be considered and treated separately; and we shall employ no other families, genera, or|ders, and classes, than what are exhibited by Nature herself.

Page  407 Species being thus confined to a constant suc|cession of individuals endowed with the power of reproduction, it is obvious that this term ought never to be extended beyond animals and vege|tables, and that those nomenclators who have employed it to distinguish the different kinds of minerals have abused terms and confounded ideas. We should not, therefore, consider iron as one species, and lead as another species: They ought only to be regarded as two different metals, and should be distinguished by lines of separation very different from those employed in the di|stinctions of animals or vegetables.

But to return to the degeneration of beings, and particularly to that of animals. Let us ex|amine more closely the proceedings of Nature in the varieties she offers to our consideration: And, as we are best acquainted with the human spe|cies, let us observe how far the varieties of it extend. Among men, all the gradations of co|lour, from black to white, are exhibited: They likewise differ, by one half, in height of stature, thickness, strength, swiftness, &c. But their mind is always the same. This latter quality, however, belongs not to matter, and ought not to be treated of in this place. The others are the common variations of Nature effected by the influence of climate and of food. But these dif|ferences in colour and dimensions prevent not the Negro and White, the Laplander and Pata|gonian, the giant and dwarf, from mixing toge|ther Page  408 and producing fertile individuals; and, consequently, these men, so different in appear|ance, are all of one species, because this uniform reproduction is the very circumstance which con|stitutes distinct species. Beside these general varieties, there are others of a more particular nature, and yet fail not to be perpetuated; as the enormous legs of the race of St Thomas in the island of Ceylon*; the red eyes and white hair of the Dariens and Chacrelas; the six fin|gers and toes peculiar to certain families*, &c. These singular varieties are accidental redun|dancies or defects, which, originating from some individuals, are propagated from generation to generation, like hereditary diseases. But they ought not to be regarded as constituting parti|cular species; since these uncommon races of men with gross limbs, or with six fingers, are capable of mixing and of producing fertile in|dividuals: The same remark is applicable to all other deformities which are communicated from parents to children.

Thus far only the errors of Nature and the varieties among men extend. If there are indi|viduals who degenerate still farther, they pro|duce nothing, and change not the constancy and unity of the species. Hence man constitutes but one and the same species; and, though this species be, perhaps, the most numerous, capri|cious, Page  409 and irregular in its actions; yet all the diversities in movement, food, climate, and other combinations which may be conceived, have not produced beings so different from each other as to constitute new species, and, at the same time, so similar to ourselves as to be considered as be|longing to us.

If the Negro and the White could not propa|gate, or if their productions remained barren, they would form two distinct species; the Ne|gro would be to man what the ass is to the horse; or, rather, if the White were man, the Negro would be a separate animal, like the mon|key; and we would be entitled to pronounce that the White and the Negro had not a common origin. But this supposition is contradicted by experience; for, as all the varieties of men are capable of mixing together, and of transinitting the kind, they must necessarily have sprung from the same stock or family.

A slight disparity of temperament, or some accidental defect in the organs of generation, will render two individuals of the same species barren. A certain degree of conformity in the structure of the body, and in the organs of ge|neration, will enable two animals, of different species, to produce individuals, similar to none of the parents, resembling nothing fixed or per|manent; and, therefore, incapable of producing. But, what an amazing number of combinations are included in the supposition, that two ani|mals, Page  410 a male and a female, of a particular spe|cies, should degenerate so much as to form a new species, and to lose the faculty of producing with any other of the kind but themselves? It is still more incredible that the offspring of such degenerated creatures should follow exactly the same laws which are observed in the procreation of perfect animals: For a degenerated animal is a vitiated production; and how should an ori|gin that is vitiated, depraved, and defective, con|stitute a new stock, and not only give rise to a succession of permanent and distinct beings, but even to produce them in the same manner, and according to the same laws which regulate the propagation of animals whose race is pure and uncorrupted?

Though, therefore, we cannot demonstrate, that the formation of a new species, by means of degeneration, exceeds the powers of Nature; yet the number of improbabilities attending such a supposition, renders it totally incredible: For, if one species could be produced by the degene|ration of another, if the ass actually originated from the horse, this metamorphosis could only have been effected by a long succession of almost imperceptible degrees. Between the horse and ass, there must have been many intermediate a|nimals, the first of which would gradually recede from the nature and qualities of the horse, and the last would make equal advances to those of the ass. What is become of these intermediate be|ings? Page  411 Why are their representatives and descen|dants now extinguished? Why should the two extremes alone exist?

We may, therefore, without hesitation, pro|nounce the ass to be an Ass, and not a degene|rated horse, a horse with a naked tail. The ass is not a marvellous production. He is neither an intruder nor a bastard. Like all other ani|mals, his family, his species, and his rank, are ascertained and peculiar to himself. His blood is pure and untainted: And, though his race be less noble and illustrious, it is equally unalloyed, and as antient as that of the horse. Why, then, should an animal so good, so patient, so tempe|rate, and so useful, be treated with the most so|vereign contempt? Do men despise, even in the brute-creation, those who serve them best, and at the least expence? The horse we educate with great care; we dress, attend, instruct, and exercise him: While the poor ass, abandon|ed to the brutality of the meanest servants, or to the malicious abuse of children, instead of ac|quiring, is rendered more stupid and indocile, by the education he receives. If he had not a great stock of good qualities, they would neces|sarily be obliterated by the manner in which he is treated. He is the sport and pastime of ru|sticks, who conduct him with a rod, who beat, overload, and abuse him, without precaution or management. We consider not, that, if the horse had no existence, the ass, both in himself and with regard to us, would be the first, hand|somest, Page  412 most beautiful, and most distinguished animal in the creation. He holds, however, only the second, instead of the first rank; and, for that reason, he is neglected and despised. It is comparison alone that degrades him. We view and judge of him, not as he is, but in com|parison with the horse. We forget that he is an ass, that he has all the qualities and endow|ments peculiar to his species; and we contem|plate the figure and qualities of the horse, which the ass neither has, nor ought to possess.

In his disposition, the ass is equally humble, patient, and tranquil, as the horse is proud, ar|dent, and impetuous▪ Chastisement and blows he endures with constancy, and perhaps with courage. He is temperate both as to the quan|tity and quality of his food. He eats content|edly the hardest and most disagreeable herbage, which the horse and other animals pass by and disdain. With regard to water, he is extremely nice. He drinks only from the clearest brooks he can find. In drinking, he is equally mode|rate as in eating. He never sinks his nose in the water, being afraid, as has been alledged, of the shadow of his ears*. As no body takes the trouble of combing him, he often rolls on the grass, among thistles or ferns. Without paying any regard to the load he carries, he lies down and rolls as often as he can, seemingly with à view to reproach the neglect of his master; for he Page  413 never wallows, like the horse, in the mire or in water. He is even afraid of wetting his feet, and turns off the road to avoid a puddle. His legs are also drier and cleaner than those of the horse. He is so susceptible of education, as to be sometimes exhibited in public shews*.

The ass, when young, is gay, handsome, nimble, and even graceful. But, whether from age or maletreatment, he soon loses these qualities, and becomes sluggish, untractable, and stubborn. He discovers no ardour but in love. When under the influence of this passion, he is so furious that nothing can restrain him; and, by excessive in|dulgence, he sometimes dies soon after gratifi|cation. As his love rises to a degree of mad|ness, his attachment to his progeny is likewise excessive. We are told by Pliny, that when the young is separated from the mother, she will pass through flames to rejoin it. Though com|monly abused, the ass has a great affection for his master, whom he scents at a distance, and distinguishes him from every other person. He knows likewise the places where his master puts up, and the roads which he frequents. His eyes are exceedingly good; his sense of smelling is admirable, especially when in quest of a female. His ear is excellent, which has contributed to make him be ranked among the timid animals, who are all said to have long ears and acute hearing. When oppressed with too great a load, Page  414 he discovers his uneasiness by inclining his head, and lowering his ears. When tormented by a|buse, he opens his mouth and draws back his lips in a most disagreeable manner, which gives him an air of scorn and derision. If his eyes be covered, he stands immoveably still; and, when lying on one side, if the one eye rests on the ground, and the other be covered with a stone or any other opaque body, he will continue in that situation, without making the smallest effort to rise. He walks, trots, and gallops like the horse: But all his movements are slower and more circumscribed. Though he can run, when he first sets out, with confiderable swiftness, he only continues his career for a short time; and, whatever pace he assumes, if pushed hard, he is soon fatigued.

The horse neighs; but the ass brays: The last is performed by a very loud, long, disagree|able, discordant cry, consisting of discords alter|nately sharp and flat. He seldom brays but when pressed with hunger or love. The voice of the female is more clear and piercing than that of the male. When gelded, the ass brays with a low voice; and, though he makes the same efforts and the same motions of the throat, yet the sound reaches to no great distance.

Of all quadrupeds, the ass is least infested with lice or other vermin, which seems to be owing to the superior hardness and dryness of his skin. Page  415 For the same reason, he is less sensible to the whip, or the stinging of flies, than the horse.

At the age of two years and a half, the first middle cutting teeth fall out, and the others on each side soon follow. They are replaced in the same time and in the same order as those of the horse. The age of the ass is also distinguishable, as in the horse, by the same marks in the teeth.

The ass, when too years and a half old, is ca|pable of procreating. The female is still more early, and equally lascivious, which last is as|signed as the reason for her want of fecundity. She rejects the cause of conception, unless the ar|dour of her desire be repressed by blows. With|out this precaution, she is seldom impregnated. The ordinary season of love is the months of May and June. When pregnant, she soon becomes cool; and, in the eighth month, the milk appears in her paps. In the twelfth month, she brings forth; and solid masses are often found in the liquor of the amnios, similar to the hippomanes of the foal. Seven days after deli|very, her ardour returns, and she is in a condition to receive the male. Thus the female ass may be said to be capable of perpetually nourishing and engendering. She produces but one colt; and there are very few examples of her bring|ing forth two at a time. At the end of five or six months, the colt may be weaned, especially if the mother be pregnant, to enable her to af|ford proper nourishment to the foetus. The Page  416 jack-ass should be chosen from the largest and strongest of his species. He should be at least three years of age, and should never exceed ten. He should have long limbs, a strong body, an elevated and small head, vivacious eyes, large nostrils and chest, fleshy loins, broad ribs, flat buttocks, a short tail, and shining, soft hair of a deep gray colour.

The ass, like the horse, takes three or four years before he arrives at full maturity; and, of course, he lives to the age of 25 or 30 years. The females are said to live longer than the males. But this circumstance is probably owing to the females being often pregnant, and more humanely treated; while the males are perpe|tually persecuted with blows and excessive la|bour. They sleep less than the horse, and never lie down to sleep but after vast fatigue. The jack-ass lives longer than the stallion. The ar|dour of the former increases with his years; and, in general, the health of this animal is more permanent and established than that of the horse. The ass is less delicate, and subject to much fewer distempers. The antients mention no other disease of the ass but the glanders, to which, as formerly remarked, he is still less liable than the horse.

Of asses there are different races, as well as of horses: But they are not equally known; be|cause they have neither been taken care of nor traced with the same attention. It cannot, how|ever, Page  417 admit of a doubt, that they all originated from warm climates. Aristotle assures us*, that, in his time, there were no asses in Scythia, or other northern nations, nor even in France, the climate of which, he remarks, was too cold: He adds, that cold climates either render them barren, or make them degenerate, which is the reason why they are small and feeble in Illyrica, Thracia, and Epirus. They are still so in France, though they have been long naturalized, and though, within these two thousand years, the cold of the climate has been greatly diminished by the cutting down of vast forests, and the draining of marshes. But it is more certain, that they have not long resided in Sweden and other northern countries*. They appear to have come originally from Arabia, and to have passed from Arabia to Egypt, from Egypt to Greece, from Greece to Italy, from Italy to France, and from thence to Germany, Britain, Sweden, &c.; for it is a known fact, that they are weak and small in proportion to the coldness of the cli|mate.

This migration appears to be well supported by the relations of travellers. Chardin remarks,

'That there are two kinds of asses in Persia, one of which is slow and heavy, and used only for carrying burdens; the other race come from Arabia, and are the handsomest and finest Page  418 asses in the world. They have a glossy skin, a high head, and nimble limbs: They move well, and are employed only for riding. The saddles which are put upon them resemble round pannels, flattened above. They are made of woolen cloth, or of tapestry, with trappings and stirrups. The rider sits nearer the crupper than the neck. Some of these asses cost 400 livres, and they cannot be had for less than 25 pistoles. They are dressed like horses, and are never learned any motion but that of pacing. The art of training them consists of tying each fore-foot to the hind foot of the same side with two cords, which are made of the length that the ass is to pace, and are suspended by another cord passed un|der the girth to the stirrup-leather. They are exercised by grooms, every morning and evening, to this kind of motion. Their noses are slit, to make them breathe more freely; and they go so quick, that a horse must gal|lop in order to keep up with them.'

It were to be wished that the Arabians, who preserve with so much care, and for so long a time, the races of their horses, would pay equal attention to their asses: From the above passage, and other sources of information, however, it appears, that Arabia is the original and best cli|mate for both animals. From Arabia the asses passed into Barbary* and Egypt, where they Page  419 are large and handsome. In India and Guiney*, they are larger, stronger, and more useful than the horses of these countries. They are in high estimation at Madura*, where one of the most considerable tribes of Indians revere them in a peculiar manner, because they believe that the souls of all the nobility pass into the bodies of asses. Lastly, the number of asses exceeds that of horses in all the southern regions from Sene|gal to China. Wild asses are likewise more common than wild horses. The Latins, copy|ing the Greeks, called the wild ass onager, which should not be confounded, as most naturalists and travellers have done, with the zebra, because the zebra is an animal of a different species from that of the ass. The onager, or wild ass, is not striped like the zebra, and is not nearly of so e|legant a figure. Wild asses are found in some of the islands of the Archipelago, and particularly in that of Cerigo*. There are many of them in the deserts of Lybia and Numidia*. They are gray, and run so fleet, that they can only be overtaken in the chace by the best Barbary hor|ses. When they see a man, they give a loud cry, fling up their heels, stop, and fly not till he makes a near approach. They are caught in snares and gins made of ropes. They pasture Page  420 in troops; and their flesh is eaten by the natives. In the days of Marmol, there were wild asses in Sardinia; but they were smaller than those of Africa; and Pietro della Valle says, that he saw a wild ass in Bassora*. He differed not in fi|gure from the domestic ass, only his colour was clearer, and he had, from the head to the tail, a line of white hair. He was also more vivacious and swift than common asses. Olearius relates*, that one day the King of Persia invited him to the top of a small building, in form of a theatre, to partake of a collation of fruits and sweat-meats; that, after the repast, thirty-two wild asses were introduced; that the King amused himself by shooting a few bullets and arrows at them; that he then allowed the same privilege to some of the nobility and ambassadors; that it was no small entertainment to see these asses running about, biting, and kicking each other, with se|veral arrows sticking in their bodies; and that, when the whole were killed in presence of the King, they were sent to Ispahan for the royal family, the Persians being extremely fond of ass's flesh, &c. It does not appear, however, that all these 32 wild asses were taken in the forests: It is more probable that they were brought up in large parks for the pleasure of chacing and eating them.

Neither asses nor horses were found in Ame|rica, though the climate of South America is Page  421 very agreeable to their nature. Those transport|ed thither by the Spaniards, and left in large islands, or in the continent, have multiplied ex|ceedingly. They pasture in troops, and are ta|ken by snares, like the wild horses.

The jack-ass and mare produce the large mules; and the horse and she-ass produce the smaller mules, which differ, in several respects, from the former. But, as we mean to treat of the generation of mules, jumars, &c. in a se|parate dissertation, we shall finish the history of the ass with the uses men derive from this ani|mal.

Wild asses being unknown in our climates, we cannot determine whether their flesh makes a wholesome or savoury dish. But this we know, that the flesh of the domestic ass is worse, hard|er, and more disagreeably insipid than that of the horse. Galen says, that it is a pernicious a|liment, and produces diseases. The milk of the ass, on the contrary, is an approven remedy and specific against certain distempers. The use of this remedy has been transmitted to us by the Greeks. To have good milk, the she-ass should be young, healthy, and plump, not long after delivery, and uncovered; the colt should be ta|ken from her; she ought to be kept by herself, and fed with hay, oats, barley, and such salu|tary herbs as may have an influence on the ma|lady. The milk should never be allowed to Page  422 cool, nor even be exposed to the air, which in|jures it in a very short time.

As the skin of the ass is very hard and elastic, it is applied to many different uses. It is em|ployed for making sieves, drums, shoes, and poc|ket-book parchment, which is laid over with a slight coat of plaster. The ass skin is likewise used by the eastern nations for making their sa|gri or chagrin*. It is also probable, that the bones of the ass are harder than those of other animals, since the antients preferred it for ma|king their best sounding flutes.

In proportion to his size, the ass can carry more weight than any other animal. As he is fed at very little expence, and requires hardly any care, he is of great use for different kinds of country-business. He may likewise be used for riding: All his motions are soft, and he is not so apt to stumble as the horse. In countries where the land is light, he is often yoked in the plough; and his dung, in strong moist land, is an excellent manure.

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Plate XII. ASS.

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THE surface of the earth, adorned with its verdure, is the common and inexhaustible source, from which man and other animals derive their subsistence. Every animated being in na|ture is nourished by vegetables; and these, in their turn, are supported by the spoils of all that has lived or vegetated. Destruction is necessa|ry to life: It is only by the destruction of beings, that animals can live and multiply. God, when Page  424 he created the first individuals of each species of animal and vegetable, not only bestowed form on the dust of the earth, but gave it animation, by infusing into those individuals a greater or smaller quantity of active principles, of living organic particles, which are indestructible*, and common to every organized being. These par|ticles pass from body to body, and are equally the causes of life, of the continuation of the spe|cies, of growth, and of nutrition. After the dissolution of the body, after it is reduced to ashes, those organic particles, upon which death has no influence, survive, circulate through the universe, pass into other beings, and produce life and nourishment. Hence, every production, every renovation or increase by means of gene|ration, of nutrition, or of growth, implies a pre|ceding destruction, a conversion of substance, a translation of organic particles, which never multiply, but, uniformly subsisting in equal numbers, render Nature always equally anima|ted, the earth equally peopled, and equally re|splendent with the original glory of that Being by whom it was created.

Taking beings in general, therefore, the total quantity of life remains always the same; and death, which seems to be an universal destroyer, annihilates no part of that primitive life which is common to all organized bodies. Like all Page  425 subordinate powers, Death attacks individuals only. His blows are confined to the surface: He destroys the form, but has no influence on the matter. He is unable to injure Nature; his strokes, on the contrary, make her shine with additional lustre. She permits him not to annihilate the species, but allows him, successive|ly, to mow down individuals, with a view to demonstrate her independence both of Death and of Time, to give her an opportunity of exert|ing, at every instant, her power, which is al|ways active, and of manifesting the extent of her resources, by her fertility, and, by a perpe|tual renovation of beings, to make the universe a theatre always filled with objects which attract our attention by their grandeur and their novel|ty.

It is apparent, therefore, that a succession of beings cannot otherwise be effected than by mu|tual destruction. For the nourishment and sub|sistence of animals, vegetables or other animals must be sacrificed: And as, both before and af|ter this destruction, the quantity of life remains always the same, Nature seems to be indifferent whether particular species be more or less con|sumed. Like an oeconomical parent, however, in the midst of fulness and affluence, she fixes limits to her expence, and prevents any unne|cessary waste, by bestowing on few animals the instinct of feeding on flesh, while she has mul|tiplied, profusely, both the species and the indi|viduals Page  426 of those which live upon plants. In the vegetable kingdom, she seems even to be prodi|gal of species, which are every where diffused, and endowed with an astonishing fecundity. Man, it is probable, has contributed not a little to promote the intentions of Nature, by main|taining, and even establishing, this order upon the earth; for, in the ocean, we actually per|ceive that indifference which we have supposed. Fishes of every kind are almost equally voraci|ous. They live upon their own or different species, and perpetually devour each other, with|out annihilating any particular kind; because their secundity is proportioned to the depreda|tions they commit, and the whole consumption reverts to the advantage of reproduction.

Man knows how to exercise his power over animals. He selects those whose flesh is most agreeable to his palate, makes them his domestic slaves, and multiplies them far beyond what Na|ture would have done. By his industry in pro|moting their increase, he seems to have acquired a right to sacrifice them. But he extends this right farther than his necessities demand. He makes war against savage animals, birds, and fishes. He does not even limit himself to those of the climate he inhabits, but goes to foreign nations, and to the midst of the ocean, in quest of new luxuries. All Nature seems to be insuf|ficient to satisfy the intemperance and caprice of his appetite. Man alone consumes more flesh Page  427 than all the other carnivorous animals in the world. He is unquestionably the greatest de|stroyer; and he is so, more from abuse than ne|cessity. Instead of enjoying, with moderation, the benefits presented to him, instead of dispen|sing them with equity, or making reparation in proportion to his waste, by renewing what he annihilates, the rich man places his chief glory in consuming at table more in one day than would be sufficient to feed many families. His abuse is not confined to the animals, but extends to his fellow-men, many of whom languish with famine and misery, and labour only to satiate the vanity and luxurious appetite of the opulent, who kill the poor by want, and put an end to their own existence by excess.

Man, notwithstanding, like some other ani|mals, might live upon vegetables. Flesh, which appears so analogous to flesh, affords not better nourishment than grain or bread. That nutri|ment which contributes to the expansion, growth, and support of the body, consists not of the in|ert and visible matter of which the texture of flesh and of herbs is composed, but of the orga|nic particles contained in both these substances; for the ox, in browsing the herbage, acquires as much flesh as man, or other animals, who live entirely on carnage and blood. There is but one difference between these two kinds of ali|ment: When the quantities are equal, flesh, corn, and seeds, contain a greater number of Page  428 organic particles than herbage, or the leaves, roots, and other parts of plants. Of this fact we are ascertained by examining infusions of these substances: So that man, and the other carnivorous animals, whose stomachs and inte|stines are not so capacious as to admit a great deal of aliment at a time, are unable to devour herbage in quantities sufficient to afford the num|ber of organic particles necessary for nourishing them. It is for this reason, that man, and the other animals who have but one stomach, can subsist only upon flesh and seeds, which contain, in a small volume, a great number of these or|ganic nutritive particles: While the ox, and o|ther ruminant animals, who have several sto|machs, one of which is remarkably capacious, and, consequently, can admit a large quantity of herbage, are enabled to extract from this mass a number of organic particles sufficient for their nourishment, growth, and multiplication. Here the quantity compensates the quality of the nutriment. But the stock is the same. It is the same matter, the same organic particles, which nourish man, the ox, and all other animals.

It will be objected, that the horse has but one stomach, and a very small one; that the ass, the hare, and other animals which live upon herbs, have likewise but one stomach; and, conse|quently, that this theory, however probable, is not well founded. These apparent exceptions, however, so far from weakening, seem to con|firm Page  429 the truth of it: For, though the horse and the ass have but one stomach, they have sacs or pouches in their intestines, so large, that they may be compared to the paunch of ruminant a|nimals; and hares have a blind gut so long and wide, that it is equivalent, at least, to a second stomach. Thus, it is by no means surprising, that these animals are properly nourished by herbage alone: And, in general, it will always hold, that the different modes of feeding among animals depend on the total capacity of their stomach and intestines: For ruminating ani|mals, as the ox, the sheep, the camel, &c. have four stomachs, and intestines of a prodigious length; and herbage alone is sufficient nourish|ment for them. Horses, asses, hares, rabbits, Guiney-pigs, &c. have only one stomach; but they have a blind gut equivalent to a second stomach; and they feed upon herbage and grain. The wild boar, the hedge-hog, the squirrel, &c. whose stomach and intestines are of a mean ca|pacity, eat little herbage, but principally live upon seeds, fruits, and roots: And those animals which, in proportion to the size of their bodies, have small stomachs and intestines, as the wolf, the fox, the tiger, &c. are obliged to choose food of the most succulent kind, and which contains the greatest number of organic particles, and, of course, to live upon flesh, blood, seeds, and fruits.

Page  430 It is obvious, therefore, that the diversity of tastes perceived in the appetites of different ani|mals, arises not from the superior agreeableness of particular kinds of food to their palates, but from a physical cause necessarily depending on the structure of their bodies: For, if they were not oftener determined by necessity, than by taste, how could they devour corrupted carrion with equal avidity as fresh and succulent flesh? Why should they eat, without distinction, every species of flesh? We see, that domestic dogs, who have the liberty of making a choice, con|stantly refuse certain meats, as pork, woodcocks, thrushes, &c. But wild dogs, wolves, foxes, &c. eat, indiscriminately, the flesh of swine, woodcocks, birds of every kind, and even frogs; for I once found two frogs in the stomach of a wolf. When they can procure neither flesh nor fish, they eat fruits, seeds, grapes, &c. But they uniformly prefer those kinds of food which, in a small volume, contain a great quantity of nu|triment, or rather of organic particles, proper for nourishing and supporting their bodies.

If these proofs should not appear to be suffi|ciently strong, let us attend to the manner of feeding cattle, when the object is to fatten them. They are first castrated, which obstructs the passage through which the greatest quantity of organic particles escape. Then, instead of allowing them to feed, as usual, on herbage alone, they are served with bran, corn, turnips, and, in a Page  431 word, with food more substantial than grass*. The quantity of flesh, juices, and fat, soon aug|ment; and, from a flesh naturally hard and dry, good and succulent meat is produced, which is used as the basis of our best dishes.

From what has been advanced, it is likewise a consequence, that man, whose stomach and in|testines are proportionally of no great capacity, could not live upon herbage alone. It is an in|contestible fact, however, that he can live pretty well upon bread, herbs, and the seeds of plants; for we know whole nations, and particular or|ders of men, who are prohibited by their reli|gion from eating any animal substance. But these examples, though supported by the autho|rity of Pythagoras, and recommended by some physicians, appear insufficient to convince us, that the health and multiplication of mankind would be improved by feeding solely upon pot|herbs and bread; especially when it is considered, that the country-people, whom the luxury and sumptuousness of the opulent reduce to this mode of living, languish and die much sooner than men of the middle rank of life, who are equally strangers to want and to excess.

Next to man, the carnivorous animals are the greatest destroyers. They are at once the ene|mies Page  432 of Nature and the rivals of the human kind. A constant attention, joined to the most indefa|tigable industry, are necessary to protect our flocks, poultry, &c. from birds of prey, and from the rapacious jaws of the wolf, fox, weasel, mar|tin, &c. A perpetual war is requisite to defend even our grain, fruits, and garments, against the voracious attacks of rats, caterpillars, beetles, mites, &c.; for insects are to be ranked among those animals which are more destructive than useful. But the ox, the sheep, and other herbi|vorous animals, are not only the most precious and most useful to man, but they consume less, and are maintained at the smallest expence. With regard to this article, the excellence of the ox is superior to that of any other creature; for he restores to the earth as much as he takes from it: He even enriches and improves the ground on which he feeds. The horse, on the con|trary, and most other animals, impoverish, in a few years, the best pasture-lands*.

But these are not the only advantages which man derives from the ox. Without the aid of this useful animal, both the poor and the opu|lent would find great difficulty in procuring sub|sistence; the earth would remain uncultivated; our fields and gardens would become parched and barren. All the labour of the country de|pends Page  433 upon him. He is the most advantageous domestic of the farmer. He is the very source and support of agriculture. Formerly the ox constituted the whole riches of mankind; and he is still the basis of the riches of nations, which subsist and flourish in proportion only to the cul|tivation of their lands and the number of their cattle: For in these all real wealth consists; every other kind, even gold and silver, being only sic|titious representations, have no value, but what is conferred on them by the productions of the earth.

The form of the ox's back and loins show that he is not equally qualified for carrying bur|dens as the horse, the ass, or the camel. But the thickness of his neck, and broadness of shoulders, point him out as destined for the yoke. Though his chief strength lies in his shoulders, yet, in many provinces of France, they oblige him to draw by the horns. In support of this practice, it is alledged, that, when yoked in this manner, he is more easily managed. His head, I allow, is so very strong, that he may draw tolerably well by the horns; but still he would draw with much more advantage if yoked by the shoulders. Nature seems to have intended him for the plough. The largeness of his body, the slow|ness of his movements, the shortness of his legs, and even his tranquility and patience under la|bour, concur in rendering him superior to every other animal for cultivating the ground, and o|vercoming Page  434 that constant resistance which the earth opposes to his efforts. The horse, though perhaps equal in strength, is not so well-fitted for this kind of labour. His limbs are too long, and his motions too sudden and violent. Be|sides, he is impatient, and easily disheartened*. When employed in this heavy work, which re|quires more perseverance than ardour, more force than quickness, and more weight than spring, we rob the horse of all the nimbleness of his motions, and all the graces of his gait and atti|tudes.

Of those animals which man forms into flocks, and whose multiplication is his principal object, the females are more useful than the males. The produce of the cow is almost perpetually renew|ed. The flesh of the calf is equally wholesome and delicate; the milk is an excellent food, e|specially for children; butter is used in most of our dishes; and cheese is the principal nourish|ment of our peasants. How many poor fami|lies are reduced to the necessity of living entirely on their cow? Those very men, who toil from morning to night, who groan and are bowed down with the labour of ploughing the ground, obtain nothing from the earth but black bread, Page  435 and are obliged to yield to others the flour and substantial part of the grain. They raise rich crops, but not for themselves. Those men who breed and multiply our cattle, who spend their whole lives in rearing and guarding them from injuries, are debarred from enjoying the fruits of their labour. They are denied the use of flesh, and obliged, by their condition, or rather by the cruelty of the opulent, to live, like horses, upon barley, oats, coarse pot-herbs, &c.

The cow may likewise be used in ploughing; and, though her strength is not equal to that of the ox, she frequently supplies his place. But, when employed in this way, she should be matched, as nearly as possible, with an ox of the same stature and strength, or with another cow, in order to maintain the equality of the draught, and to keep the plough in equilibrium between the two forces, which facilitates the labour, and makes the furrows more regular. From six to eight oxen are often employed in stiff land, and particularly in rough fallow-grounds, which rise in large masses. But two cows are sufficient for light soils; and, in very light land, the length of the furrow drawn at once may be far|ther extended. The antients limited the length of the furrow, to be drawn without any inter|ruption in the motion of the cattle, to 120 paces; after which they were allowed to stop, for a few moments, to recover their breath, before going on with the same furrow, or beginning a Page  436 new one. But the antients delighted in the study of agriculture, and gloried in ploughing them|selves, or at least in encouraging their labourers, and rendering both them and the cattle as easy as possible. Among the moderns, however, those who enjoy the most luxurious productions of the earth, are least acquainted with the means of encouraging or supporting the arts of culti|vation.

Propagation is the principal use of the bull. Though he may likewise be trained to labour; yet his obedience is uncertain, and it is always necessary to guard against the improper exertions of his strength. Nature has endowed the bull with a bold and untractable disposition. In the rutting season, he becomes perfectly ungovern|able, and often furious. But castration, while it destroys the source of these impetuous emo|tions, diminishes not his strength. On the contrary, it makes him larger, heavier, and more fit for the labour to which he is destined. It also changes his dispositions; for, after this o|peration, he becomes more tractable, more pa|tient, and less troublesome to his neighbours. A flock of bulls would exhibit a scene of the most frightful discord; they could neither be intimidated nor conducted by man.

The manner of performing castration is well known to the country-people. Different modes, however, are practised, and their effects are per|haps not properly attended to. In general, the Page  437 time most proper for castration, is that which immediately precedes puberty, which happens at the age of 18 months or two years. When performed more early, the animals seldom sur|vive *. However, when young calves are ca|strated soon after birth, and survive an operation so dangerous at that period of life, they become larger and fatter oxen, than if it had been de|layed till the second, third, or fourth year. But, in the latter case, they preserve more of their na|tural activity and courage: And, when delayed till the sixth, seventh, or eight year, the animals hardly lose any of the qualities peculiar to the male sex. They are more impetuous and un|tractable than other oxen; and, in the season of love, they are apt to harrass the females, from whom they should be carefully separated: For copulation, or even contact with oxen, produces warty tumors on the parts of the cow, which it is necessary to remove with the actual cautery. This disease* is supposed to proceed from a cer|tain purulent and corrosive matter ejected from oxen, which have either been castrated, or had their testes twisted and compressed, with a view to destroy their power of generating.

Page  438 The females generally come in season in the spring; and, in France, most of them receive the bull and are impregnated from the 15th of April to the 15th of July; but some are earlier and others later. Their time of gestation is nine months; and they bring forth in the beginning of the tenth. Hence our calves are numerous from the 15th of January to the 15th of April. They are also plenty during the whole summer, and become more rare in autumn. The marks of ardour in the cow are not equivocal. She then lows more frequently and with more vio|lence than at any other time. She mounts upon cows, oxen, and even upon the bull. The exter|nal parts swell, and become prominent. When her ardour is greatest, she ought to be gratified; for, if allowed to abate, she is apt not to retain.

The bull, like the stallion, should be chosen from the handsomest of his kind. He should be large, well made, and in good condition as to fatness. His eyes should be black, his aspect bold, his front open, his head short, his horns thick, short, and black, his ears long and bushy, his muzzle large, his nose short and straight, his neck fleshy and thick, his chest and shoulders large, his loins firm, his back straight, his legs thick and fleshy, his tail long and well covered with hair, his tread firm and sure, and his hair of a reddish colour*. Cows often hold at the first, second, or third time; and, as soon as they Page  439 are impregnated, though the symptoms of ar|dour still appear, the bull refuses to cover them: But, in general, their ardour ceases immediately after conception, and they spontaneously repel the approaches of the bull.

Cows with young, when improperly mana|ged, or put to the plough, carriage, &c. are sub|ject to abortion; they should, therefore, be care|fully watched and attended, to prevent them from leaping hedges or ditches. They should also be fed on rich pasture, and in parks which are not too moist or marshy. Six weeks, or two months, before bringing forth, their ordi|nary quantity of food should be enlarged*, by putting grass into their stalls in summer, and, in winter, by giving them bran, lucern, saintfoine, &c. From this period, no milk should be drawn from them, the whole of it being necessary for nourishing the foetus. In some cows, the milk dries up entirely a month or six weeks before they bring forth; but those which have milk to the last, make the best mothers and the best nurses. This late milk, however, is commonly bad, and in small quantity. The delivery of the cow re|quires still more attention than that of the mare; for the former is weaker and more exhausted by the operation. She ought to be put into a stable, Page  440 to have good litter, and to be fed, for ten or twelve days, with bean-flour, or oats, diluted in salted water, and plenty of lucern, saintfoine, or good grass*. This time is generally sufficient for the recovery of her strength; after which she may gradually return to her usual mode of living and pasturing. During the first two months, her milk, which is then not good, should be solely appropriated to the nourishment of the calf.

That the calf may be kept warm, and suck as often as it chooses, it should be allowed to re|main constantly with the mother for the first five or six days. After this period, the calf, if always left with the mother, would exhaust her by sucking too much. It is sufficient to let calves suck twice or thrice a-day; and, to improve their flesh and fatten them quickly, they should every day be fed with raw eggs, boiled milk, and bread. At the end of four or five weeks, calves managed in this manner are fit for the butcher. When designed for the market, they may be allowed to suck only 30 or 40 days*. But those which are intended to be brought up, Page  441 should have suck two months at least; for the longer they are allowed to suck, they become the larger and stronger cattle. Calves brought forth in the months of April, May, and June, are best for raising; those that come later into the world, being unable to resist the rigour of winter, generally languish and die with cold. At the end of two, three, or four months, and before weaning them entirely, they should be fed with good grass or tender hay, to accu|stom them gradually to their future nourish|ment. They should then be separated from the mother, and never again be permitted to ap|proach her either in the stable or the field. In summer, they should be pastured every day from morning to night. But, as soon as the cold commences in autumn, they should be turned out to pasture late in the morning, and brought back to the stable early in the evening: And, during winter, as cold is extremely hurtful to them, they should be kept warm in a close well littered stable. Along with their usual food, they should have saintfoin, lucerne, &c. and never be allowed to go out, excepting in soft weather*. During the first winter, which is the most dangerous period of their existence, they require a great deal of attention. In the succeeding summer, they acquire strength suffi|cient Page  442 to fortify them against the attacks of the second winter.

The cow arrives at the age of puberty in eighteen months, and the bull in two years*. But, though they are then capable of generating, they should not be admitted to each other till they be three years old. From three to nine years, these animals are in their greatest vigour. After this period, both cows and bulls are only sit for being fattened and delivered to the but|cher. As they acquire their full growth in two years, the duration of their life, like that of most other animals, is nearly seven times two, or four|teen years, few of them ever exceeding this age.

In all quadrupeds, without exception, the voice of the male is stronger and deeper than that of the female. Though the antients alledge, that the cow, the ox, and even the calf, have deeper voices than the bull; yet the contrary is certain; for the voice of the bull reaches much farther. The bellowing of the bull not being a simple sound, but composed of two or three octaves, the highest of which strikes the ear most forcibly, may have given rise to this deception: But, when we listen attentively, we perceive, at the same time, a sound much graver than is ut|tered by the cow, the ox, or the calf, whose low|ings are also a great deal shorter. The bull never bellows, but when stimulated by love; the low|ings Page  443 of the cow proceed oftener from terror or timidity, than from any other cause; and pain, hunger, or the absence of the mother, pro|duce the complaints of the calf.

The heaviest and most sluggish animals are not those which sleep longest or most profoundly. The slumbers of the ox are slight and short. The slightest noise rouses him. He lies commonly on the left side; and the left kidney is always larger and fatter than the right.

The ox, like other domestic animals, varies in colour. The reddish colour, however, is most common, and in highest estimation. Some praise the black colour; and others maintain, that bay oxen live longest; that the brown soon decay and lose their spirit; and that the gray, the dap|pled, and the white, are of no value for the pur|poses of labour, and should only be fattened for slaughter. But, whatever be the colour of an ox, his coat ought to be smooth, shining, thick, and soft to the touch; for, when rough and unequal, it indicates bad health, or a weak constitution. A good ox for the plough should neither be too fat nor too lean; his head ought to be short, his ears large and well covered with hair, his horns strong, shining, and middle-sized, his fore-head broad, his eyes large and black, his muzzle thick and flat, his nostrils wide, his teeth white and even, his lips black, his neck fleshy and strong, his shoulders thick and massy, his chest large, his dewlap long, and extending as far as Page  444 his knees, his loins very broad, his belly wide and prominent, his flanks large, his haunches long, his crupper thick, his legs and thighs large and nervous, his back straight and plump, his tail as long as to reach the ground, and covered with fine bushy hair, his feet firm, his skin thick and pliable*, his muscles well raised, and his toes or hoofs broad and short*. He should likewise feel the goad with sensibility, obey the call of his driver, and be well-trained. But it is only by degrees, and by beginning at an early period, that the ox can be taught patiently to bear the yoke, and to allow himself to be con|ducted with ease. At the age of two and a half, or three years at most, we should begin to tame and accustom him to the yoke. If longer de|layed, he often becomes perfectly ungovern|able. Patience, mildness, and even caresses, are the only means which should be employed. Force and harsh treatment serve no other pur|pose than to dispirit and render him totally un|manageable. He should be stroaked and cares|sed; and he should occasionally be fed with boiled barley, bruised beans, and other aliments of the same kind, mixed with a little salt, of all which he is extremely fond. His horns, at the same time, should be frequently tied. Some Page  445 days afterwards, he may be yoked to the plough along with another ox of the same stature, which has been previously trained. They should be tied up together at the manager, and led to the same pasture, in order to make them thoroughly acquainted, and acquire the habit of having al|ways the same movements. At first the goad should never be used; for it contributes to ren|der them untractable. He should be forced to work only a little at a time; for, when not thoroughly broke, he is soon fatigued. For the same reason, he should be fed more plentifully than usual.

The ox ought to labour only from three to ten years; for, when he works till he be farther advanced in years, the quality of the beef is in|jured. The age of this animal is known by his teeth and horns. The middlemost fore-teeth fall out when he is ten months old, and are re|placed by others which are broader, but not so white. At the age of sixteen months, those next to the former shed, and are succeeded by others. At the age of four years, the whole cutting teeth are renewed; and they are then even, long, and pretty white. In proportion as the ox advances in years, these teeth wear and become black and unequal. The same thing happens to the bull and cow. Thus neither sex nor castration have any influence on the growth or shedding of the teeth. Neither do these circumstances produce any alteration in the casting of the horns; for, Page  446 at the age of three years, the bull, cow, and ox, shed their horns*, which are replaced by others, and which, like the second teeth, never fall off. The horns of the ox and cow are longer and thin|ner than those of the bull. The growth of the second horns is not uniform. The first year, which is the fourth of the animal's age, two neat pointed horns, terminated near the head by a kind of ring, arise. In the following year, this ring mounts farther from the head, being pushed forward by a new horny cylinder, which is likewise terminated by another ring, and so on; for the horns continue to grow as long as the animal lives. These rings are very apparent; and, by their number, the ox's age may be easily counted, by adding three years to the number of intervals between the rings.

The horse eats slowly, but almost perpetually. The ox, on the contrary, eats fast, and fills his stomach in a very short time; after which, he lics down to ruminate. This difference in eat|ing, proceeds from the different conformation of their stomachs. The ox, whose two first sto|machs consist of but one large bag, can, without Page  447 inconveniency, quickly throw in a great quan|tity of herbage, which, by means of chewing the cud, he digests at leisure. But the stomach of the horse, which is single and small, can only receive a small quantity of food; and he, there|fore, fills it gradually, in proportion as the her|bage dissolves, and passes into the intestines, where the decomposition of the aliment is chiefly effec|ted. Having examined, in the ox and horse, the successive product of digestion, particularly in the decomposition of hay, I remarked, in the ox, that, when the aliment was passing into that part of the paunch which forms the second sto|mach, it was reduced to a kind of green paste, resembling boiled spinage; that, under this form, it is retained in the folds of the third stomach; that the decomposition is completed in the fourth stomach; and that hardly any thing passes into the intestines, excepting faeces or dregs. But, in the horse, the hay is not decomposed, either in the stomach or first portions of the intestines, where it only becomes more soft and pliable, being ma|cerated by the liquor which surrounds it. With very little alteration, it arrives at the caecum and colon. It is chiefly in these two intestines, whose extraordinary capacity corresponds with that of the paunch of ruminant animals, that the food of horses is decomposed. But the decom|position is never so complete, as that which is ef|fected in the fourth stomach of the ox.

Page  448 For these reasons, and even from inspecting the parts, it is easy to conceive how rumination is performed, and why the horse neither rumi|nates nor vomits. Rumination is only a vomit|ing without much effort, occasioned by the re|action of the first stomach upon its contents. The ox completely fills his two first stomachs, or portions of the paunch. This membrane, when distended, re-acts with great force on the food it contains, which is very little cut by chew|ing, and whose volume is greatly augmented by fermentation. If the aliment were liquid, this contracting force would make it pass into the third stomach, which communicates with the other by a narrow canal, whose orifice is situated in the superior part of the first, and nearly as high as that of the gullet. Hence this canal can on|ly admit the food, after it is reduced to a more fluid form. The drier parts must, therefore, rise into the gullet, the orifice of which exceeds that of the canal. When the food comes back into the mouth, the animal chews it again, and macerates it with a fresh quantity of saliva, which gradually liquifies it to such a degree, as enables it to pass through the canal into the third sto|mach, where it is still farther diluted before it enters the fourth. It is in this last stomach that the hay, which is there reduced to a perfect mucilage, is completely decomposed. To con|firm the truth of this explanation, it may be re|marked, that, as long as these animals suck, or Page  449 are nourished with milk, and other liquid ali|ments, they never ruminate; and that, in win|ter, when they are fed with dry aliment, they ruminate much oftener than during summer, when the grass is tender and succulent. The stomach of the horse, on the contrary, is small; the orifice of the oesophagus is narrow, and that of the pylorus very large. These circumstances alone render rumination impracticable; for the food contained in this small stomach, though perhaps it suffers a greater compression than from the stomach of the ox, cannot mount upwards; because it descends with greater ease through the pylorus, which is much wider than the gul|let. To pass through the pylorus, it is not even necessary that the hay be reduced to a soft mash; for the contracting force of the stomach is ca|pable of pushing it through, when almost dry. This difference of structure, therefore, enables the ox to ruminate, and prevents the horse from performing that function. But there is another singularity in the horse, which absolutely pre|vents him from vomiting, and, consequently, from chewing the cud. The alimentary canal, by coming in a very winding direction into the stomach, the coats of which are exceedingly thick, makes a gutter in piercing them, so ob|lique, that, instead of being opened by the con|vulsive motions of the stomach, they only serve to shut it the closer. Though this, as well as other differences of structure observable in the Page  450 bodies of these two animals, are derived from Nature, because they are invariably the same; yet, in the development of the soft parts particularly, there are differences apparently constant, which, nevertheless, may, and of|ten are varied by particular circumstances. The great capacity of the ox's paunch, for ex|ample, is not solely a production of Nature. Its original conformation, on the contrary, is vari|ed, and its capacity gradually enlarged, by the fermentation and great volume of the aliments it receives: For, in a calf that has never eat grass, though not very young, the paunch is pro|portionally much less than in the adult. Hence this uncommon capaciousness of the paunch proceeds from the extension occasioned by the great mass of aliment daily devoured. Of this I was convinced by an experiment, which ap|pears to be decisive. I fed two lambs, of equal ages, and weaned, at the same time, the one with bread, and the other with grass. At the end of twelve months, when both were opened, I found that the paunch of the latter was much larger than that of the former.

It is alledged, that oxen which eat slowly, sup|port labour longer than those that eat quickly; that the oxen of dry and elevated countries are more active, vigorous, and healthful, than those which are fed in low moist grounds; that they are stronger when fed with dry hay than with soft grass; that they are more difficulty habi|tuated Page  451 to a change of climate than horses; and, for this reason, that oxen designed for labour ought never to be brought from any great di|stance.

As the oxen are idle in winter*, they may be fed with straw and a little hay. But, in the la|bouring season, they should have more hay than straw, and even a little bran or oats. In win|ter, if the hay be scarce, they should be fed with cut grass, or rather with the young shoots and leaves of the ash, elm, oak, &c. But of these last they should be allowed only small quanti|ties; because indulgence in this kind of food, of which they are exceedingly fond, sometimes occasions a bloody urine. Lucerne, saintfoine, vetches, whether green or dry, lupins, turnips, boiled barley, &c. afford them excellent nourish|ment; and, as they never use more than is ne|cessary, they should always have as much as they will take. They should not be permitted to pasture till the middle of May; because young herbage is too crude for them; and, though they eat it with avidity, it sometimes makes them uneasy. They should be pastured during the whole summer, and, about the middle of Page  452 October, they should be brought back to the stall, always taking care not to make their chan|ges from green food to dry, or from dry to green, too rapid, but to accustom them gradual|ly to these different kinds of aliment.

Great heat is perhaps more hurtful to those animals than great cold. During summer, they should be set to work very early in the morn|ing, put into the stable, or left to graze under the shade of trees, in the middle of the day, and not yoked again till three or four o'clock after noon. In spring, autumn, and winter, they may be wrought, without interruption, from eight or nine in the morning to five or six in the evening. Though they require not so much attention as the horse; yet, to keep them vigo|rous and healthful, they should be daily curried and washed; their hoofs should likewise be rubbed over with grease. They should also have drink, at least twice a day. Though the horse loves muddy and lukewarm water, the ox al|ways prefers that which is fresh and clean.

Though the cow, in general, requires the same food and management as the ox; yet, the milk-cow demands particular attention, both in the choice and treatment of her. It is said, that black cows give the best milk; and that white cows furnish the greatest quantity of it. But, whatever be the colour of a milk-cow, she ought to be plump, to have lively eyes, and a light|ness in her motions. She should likewise be Page  453 young, and give plenty of good milk. In sum|mer, she should be milked twice a-day, and on|ly once in winter*; and, when an increase in the quantity of milk is required, she ought to have more succulent food than herbage.

Good milk is neither too thick nor too thin. Its consistence should be such, that a small drop ought to preserve its spherical figure, without running. It should also be very white; when of a yellow|ish or blueish colour, it is of no value. Its taste should be sweet, without any degree of bitter|ness or sharpness. Its flavour should be agree|able. In the month of May, and during the summer, milk is better than in winter; and it is never perfectly good, but when the cow is of a proper age, and in good health. The milk of young heifers is too thin, and that of old cows is too dry, and too thick, especially in winter. These different qualities of milk are proportion|ed to the quantities of oily, caseous, and serous particles it contains. Thin milk has too great a quantity of serous particles; too thick milk has the opposite quality; and milk that is too dry, has not enough of the oily and serous par|ticles. The milk of a cow in season, or when near the end of gestation, or soon after delivery, is bad. In the third and fourth stomachs of a sucking calf, there are clots of curdled milk, which, after being dried in the air, become Page  454 runnet, or that well known substance which coagulates milk. The longer the runnet is kept, its strength increases, and a small quantity of it is sufficient to make a great deal of cheese.

Both cows and oxen are fond of wine, vine|gar, and salt; and they devour a dressed salled with great avidity. In Spain, and some other countries, they put one of those salt stones, cal|led salegres, and which are found in the salt|mines, near the young calves in the stable. They lick this stone during the time their mo|thers are pasturing, which excites their appetite, or creates thirst to such a degree, that, when the mothers return, the calves suck greedily, and, by this means, they grow and fatten much sooner than those to whom no salt is given. For the same reason, when oxen lose their appetite, they are served with grass drenched in vinegar, or sprinkled with salt. To make them fatten quickly, salt, as it increases their appetite, may also be administered. It is common to begin to fatten them at the age of ten years. If long|er delayed, success is not so certain, neither is their flesh equally good. They may be fattened in all seasons; but summer is preferable, because less expence is incurred; and, by beginning in May or June, they are fit for the butcher before the end of October. Whenever we begin to fatten oxen, they should no longer be allowed to labour. They ought to drink frequently, to have plenty of succulent food, sometimes mixed Page  455 with a little salt; and they should be permitted to ruminate and sleep in the stable during the heat of the day. By this treatment, in four or five months, they will be so fat as to be hardly able to walk, or be conducted to any distance but by very short journies. Cows, and even bulls whose testicles have been twisted, [tau|reaux bistournes], may also be fattened. But the flesh of the cow is drier than that of the ox; and the flesh of the bull, even when maimed, is red, hard, and has a strong disagreeable taste.

Bulls, cows, and oxen, are fond of licking themselves, especially when lying at their ease. To prevent this practice, which is supposed to retard their fattening, it is common to besmear every part of the body they can reach with their own dung*. If this precaution be ne|glected, they swallow great quantities of hair, which, being an indigestible substance, remains in the stomach, and forms a kind of balls, called aegagropilae, of a size so considerable as to hurt the powers of digestion. These balls, in process of time, are covered with a brown crust, which, though formed of mucilage, becomes hard and polished. They are only found in the maw; and, if any hairs enter into the other stomachs, or bowels, they are probably discharged along with the faeces.

Page  456 Animals which, like the horse and ass, have cutting teeth in both jaws, browse short grass with more ease than those that want these teeth in the upper jaw. The sheep and goat, indeed, cut very close, because they are small animals, and have thin lips. But the ox, whose lips are thick, can only eat long grass. It is for this reason that he does no injury to the pasture on which he feeds. As he only bites off the ex|tremities of young herbage, the roots are not disturbed, and the growth is very little retarded. The sheep and goat, on the contrary, cut the plants so close to the ground, that the stems are destroyed and the roots spoiled. Besides, the horse always selects the shortest and most tender, allowing that which is longer and harder to ri|pen and shed the seeds. But the ox devours all the large stems, and gradually destroys the coar|ser kinds of grass. Hence, in a few years, grass pastured by the horse degenerates, while the ox always improves the herbage on which he feeds*.

The domestic ox, which ought not to be con|founded with the urus, the buffalo, or the bison, seems to be a native of our temperate climates, excessive heat or excessive cold being equally Page  457 hurtful to him. Besides, this species, so abun|dantly diffused over all Europe, is not found in the equatorial regions, and extends not, in Asia, beyond Armenia and Persia, nor, in Africa, be|yond Egypt and Barbary: For, in India, the southern parts of Africa, and even in America, their native cattle are either bisons, which have a protuberance on their backs, or other animals of a different species, to whom travellers have gi|ven the name of oxen. Those found at the Cape of Good Hope, and in many parts of America, were transported thither from Europe by the Dutch and Spaniards. In general, countries which are somewhat cold, seem to be more a|greeable to our oxen than warm climates. They are likewise larger and taller in proportion to the moistness of the climate, and the richness of the pasture. The largest oxen are those of Den|mark, Podolia, the Ukraine, and Calmuck Tar|tary*. Those of Britain, Ireland, Holland, and Hungary, are larger than those of Persia, Tur|key, Greece, Italy, France, and Spain; and the Barbary oxen are the most diminutive. The Dutch, I am assured, bring annually from Denmark a great number of large meagre cows, which give more milk than those of France. The milch-cows, called Lath-backs, which are numerous in Poitou, Aunis, and the fens of Charpente, have probably been derived Page  458 from this race; for they are larger, leaner, and yield more milk and butter than the common kind. They may be milked during the whole year, excepting four or five days before they bring forth; but they require excellent pasture. Though they eat not more than ordinary cows, as they continue always meagre, all their super|fluous nourishment is converted into milk. But, whenever ordinary cows feed for some time in rich pastures, they become fat, and cease to give milk. With a bull of this race, and common cows, a bastard kind is produced, which is more fertile in milk than the ordinary race. This ba|stard race frequently bring forth two calves at a birth, and likewise give milk during the whole year. Cows form a part of the riches of Hol|land, from which considerable quantities of but|ter and cheese are annually exported. The Dutch cows give twice as much milk as the French cows, and six times more than those of Bar|bary*.

In Ireland, Britain, Holland, Switzerland, and other northern countries, great quantities of beef are salted and smoked, both for the pur|poses of trade, and for the use of the navy. These countries also export a prodigious number of hides. The skin of the ox, and even of the calf, are used for many purposes. The grease is likewise a substance of great utility. The dung of the ox is the best manure for dry and light Page  459 soils. The horn of this animal afforded to men the first instrument for drinking, for augment|ing sounds, for introducing light into houses, and for making lanthorns. It is now moulded into boxes, combs, spoons, and other articles of ma|nufacture. But I must conclude; for Natural history ends where the history of arts com|mences.


IN Tartary and Siberia, the oxen are extreme|ly numerous. At Tobolski there are also vast quantities of black cattle*. I formerly men|tioned, that, in Ireland, both the oxen and cows frequently want horns: But this happens only in the southern parts of the island, and in some maritime places, where the grass is either scarce, or of a bad quality; which is an additional proof, that the horns are produced by redundant nou|rishment*. In places adjacent to the sea, the Page  460 Irish feed their cows with fish boiled into a kind of pap; these animals are not only accustomed to this kind of food, but they are very fond of it; and, it is said, their milk is not affected with any disagreeable smell or taste*.

The cows and oxen of Norway are, in gene|ral, very small. In the islands along the Nor|wegian coast, they are somewhat larger. This difference must proceed from better pasture, and from their being allowed, in these islands, to live without restraint; for they are left at absolute liberty, with no other guides than being accom|panied, in winter, with a few rams, which are accustomed to scrape the snow from the ground, and to uncover the grass both for themselves and the other cattle. Here they often become so ferocious, that they can only be taken by means of ropes. These half-wild cows give very little milk. When pasture is scarce, they eat sea-weeds, mixed with boiled fish*.

The European cattle have multiplied so pro|digiously in South America, that, at Buenos|aires, and some degrees beyond it, no man thinks of appropriating them. The hunters kill thousands of them solely for the sake of their Page  [unnumbered]

Page  461 hides and tallow. They are hunted on horse|back, and their pursuers either ham-string them, or take them in toils made of strong leather straps*. In the island of Saint-Catharine, up|on the coast of Brazil, there are a few small oxen, whose flesh is flabby and disagreeable to the taste. Both these defects are occasioned by bad nourishment; for, as they have little pa|sture, they are chiefly fed upon wild gourds*.

In some countries of Africa, oxen are very numerous. Between Cape Blanc and Sierra-Leona, the woods and mountains are covered with wild cows, which are generally of a brown colour, with sharp, black horns. They multi|ply so fast, that, if they were not perpetually hunted, both by Europeans and Negroes, their number would be infinite*. In the provinces of Duguela, and Tremecen, and other parts of Barbary, as well as in the deserts of Numidia, there are wild cows of a dark chesnut colour. They are very small, but nimble, and they go in flocks, sometimes to the number of two hun|dred*.

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THAT all domestic animals originally ex|isted in a wild or savage state, seems to be an incontestible fact: The history of those al|ready given furnishes ample proof of this posi|tion; for we still find horses, asses, and bulls, living totally independent of the human race. Can man, who has subjected so many millions of individuals, boast of having conquered and enslaved an entire species? As all animals were created without his aid, is it not reasonable to suppose, that Nature bestowed on them the fa|culty of existing and of multiplying without his assistance? If, however, we attend to the weak|ness and stupidity of the sheep; if we consider, that this helpless animal is even unable to save himself by flight; that all the carnivorous ani|mals are not only his mortal enemies, but prefer him to every other prey; that the species are not very fertile; that the life of individuals is short, &c. we would be tempted to think, that Page  463 the sheep was originally committed to the pro|tection and guardianship of man, and that, with|out his aid, this animal could neither subsist nor multiply, especially as no wild sheep have ever been found in the deserts. Wherever man has not the dominion, the lion, the tiger, and the wolf, reign by the laws of force and of cruelty. These sanguinary and rapacious animals live longer and multiply faster than the sheep. In a word, if our flocks, which are now so prodi|giously numerous, were still abandoned, the number and voracity of their enemies would annihilate the species in a very short time.

It is, therefore, probable, that, without the as|sistance of man, the sheep could never have sub|sisted, or continued its species in a wild state. The female is absolutely devoid of every art, and of every mean of defence. The arms of the ram are feeble and awkward. His courage is only a kind of petulance, which is useless to himself, incommodious to his neighbours, and is totally destroyed by castration. The wedder is still more timid than the sheep. It is fear alone that makes sheep so frequently assemble in troops: Upon the smallest unnusual noise, they run close together; and these alarms are always accompanied with the greatest stupidity*. They Page  464 know not how to fly from danger, and seem not even to be conscious of the hazard and inconve|nience Page  465 of their situation. Wherever they are, there they remain obstinately fixed; and neither rain nor snow can make them quit their station. To force them to move, or to change their route, they must be provided with a chief, who is learn|ed to begin the march: The motions of this chief are followed, step by step, by the rest of the flock. But the chief himself would also con|tinue immoveable, if he were not pushed off by the shepherd, or by his dog, an animal which perpetually watches over their safety, which de|fends, directs, separates, assembles, and, in a word, communicates to them every movement necessary to their preservation.

Of all quadrupeds, therefore, sheep are the most stupid, and derive the smallest resources from instinct. The goat, who so greatly re|sembles the sheep in other respects, is endowed with much more sagacity. He knows how to conduct himself on every emergency: He a|voids danger with dexterity, and is easily re|conciled to new objects. But the sheep knows neither how to fly nor to attack: However im|minent her danger, she comes not to man for assistance so willingly as the goat; and, to com|plete the picture of timidity and want of senti|ment, she allows her lamb to be carried off, without attempting to defend it, or showing any marks of resentment. Her grief is not even expressed by any cry different from that of ordi|nary bleating*.

Page  466 But this animal, so contemptible in itself, and so devoid of every mental quality, is, of all o|thers, the most extensively useful to man. From the sheep we are at once supplied both with food and cloathing, without mentioning the particular advantages derived from the milk, the fat, the skin, the bowels, the bones, and the dung. To this animal, Nature seems to have given nothing that redounds not to the immedi|ate advantage and conveniency of man.

Love, which, in animals, is the most active and most general sensation, seems to be the only one that communicates vivacity to the ram. When under the influence of this passion, he be|comes petulant, fights, and sometimes even at|tacks the shepherd. But the ewe, though in Page  467 season, discovers not the smallest emotion: Her instinct extends no farther than not to refuse the approaches of the male, to choose her food, and to distinguish her own offspring from those of the rest of the flock. The perfection, or cer|tainty of instinct, always augments in proportion to the mechanism, or innateness of the cause by which it is produced*. A young lamb, in the midst of the most numerous flocks, searches for, and discovers its mother, without ever once com|mitting a mistake. It has been alledged, that sheep are susceptible of the pleasures of music; that they feed with more appetite, have better health, and fatten sooner, by the sound of the pipe. But the remark is more probable, that music serves only to amuse the shepherd, and that the origin of the art was derived from this solitary and inactive kind of life.

These animals, so simple and dull in their in|tellect, are likewise very feeble in their consti|tution. They cannot continue long in motion▪ Travelling weakens and extenuates them. When they run, they pant, and soon lose their breath. Page  68 The ardour of the sun is equally incommodious to them, as moisture, frost, and snow. They are subject to many diseases, most of which are contagious. A redundancy of fat often kills them, and always renders the ewes barren: They bring forth with difficulty, frequently miscarry, and require more care than any other domestic animal*.

When the ewe is about to bring forth, she should be separated from the rest of the flock, and watched, in order to be ready to assist her in delivery. The lamb frequently presents cross|ways, or by the feet. In such cases, if not as|sisted, the mother's life is in great danger. When she is delivered, the lamb should be raised on its feet, and the milk should be drawn from the paps of the mother. As this first milk is bad*, and would be hurtful to the lamb, it should not Page  469 be permitted to suck till a fresh stock has accu|mulated. The lamb is kept warm, and shut up for three or four days with the mother, that it may learn to know her. To recover the strength of the ewe, she should be fed, for some time, with good hay, grinded barley, or bran mixed with a little salt. Her water should be luke|warm, and whitened with the flour of wheat, beans, or millet. At the end of four or five days, she may be allowed to return by degrees to her ordinary mode of living, and to pasture among her neighbours*; but, to prevent the milk from being chaffed, she should not be con|ducted to any great distance. Some time after, when the lamb has acquired strength, and begins to frisk about, it may be allowed to follow its mother to the fields.

All the lambs which have the appearance of feebleness are generally sent to the butcher; and those only are kept which are most vigo|rous, largest, and best covered with wool. Lambs of the first litter are never so good as those of succeeding litters. When we want to rear lambs which are brought forth in the months of October, November, December, January, or Fe|bruary, they are kept in the stable, and only al|lowed to go out to suck every morning and Page  470 evening, till the beginning of April. Some time before this last period, they are fed with a little grass every day, to accustom them to their new species of nourishment. They may be weaned when a month old; but it is better to suckle them six weeks or two months. White lambs are always preferred to those which are black or spotted; because white wool gives a higher price than that of any other colour.

In the temperate weather of spring or autumn, the lambs may be castrated at the age of five or six months, or even a little later*. There are two methods of performing this operation. The testicles are either removed by incision, or the vessels which terminate in them are destroyed by a strait ligature. Castration renders lambs sick and melancholy. To prevent the disgust which succeeds, they should have bran mixed with salt for two or three days.

At the age of twelve months, rams, ewes, and wedders, lose the two fore-teeth of the under jaw: Six months after, the two neighbouring teeth likewise fall out; and, at three years of Page  471 age, they are all replaced, and are then equal and pretty white. But, in proportion as the animal increases in years, the teeth begin to lose their enamel, and become blunt, unequal, and black. The age of the ram may be known by his horns, which appear the first year, and often at birth, and have a fresh ring added to them every year that he lives. Ewes seldom have any horns; but, in place of them, they have two bony pro|tuberances. Some ewes, however, have two, and even four horns. These ewes are every way similar to the common kind; and their horns are from five to six inches long, and less twisted than those of the ram. When ewes have four horns, the two anterior ones are shorter than the other two. The ram is capable of ge|nerating in 18 months, and the ewe can produce when a year old. But it is better to prevent all communication between them till the ewe be two years of age, and the ram three. The young produced at more early periods, and even the first productions of these animals, are always feeble and ill-conditioned. One ram is more than sufficient to serve 25 or 30 ewes*. The ram should always be selected from the strongest and most handsome of his species. They should be garnished with horns; for hornless rams, of which there are some in our climates, are less Page  472 vigorous and less proper for propagating*. A good and beautiful ram should have a strong thick head, a wide front, large black eyes, a flat nose, big ears, a thick neck, a long high body, a large crupper and reins, massy testicles, and a long tail. The best rams for breeding are those which are of a white colour, well covered with wool upon the belly, the tail, the head, the ears, and as far as the eyes. Ewes, whose wool is most abundant, most bushy, largest, most silky, and whitest, are always to be preferred, especial|ly if, at the same time, they are large, have thick necks, and walk nimbly. It has also been remarked, that those which are rather meagre than fat, are the best breeders.

The season of ewes is from the beginning of November to the end of April. However, when nourished with stimulating food, as bread made of hemp-seed, and salted water, they conceive at any time*. Ewes are allowed to be covered Page  473 three or four times; after which they are sepa|rated from the rams, who prefer the aged ewes, and despise those that are younger. During the rutting season, ewes should not be exposed to rainy or stormy weather; for moisture prevents conception, and a clap of thunder often produces an abortion. A day or two after copulating, they are allowed to return to their ordinary mode of living; for, if the use of salted water, hemp|seed-bread, and other stimulating food, were continued, they would infallibly miscarry. They carry five months, and bring forth in the begin|ning of the sixth. They generally produce one lamb, but sometimes two. In warm climates, they can produce twice a year; but, in France, and in colder climates, only once. To have lambs in the month of January, the ram is ad|mitted to the ewes towards the end of July, or beginning of August. Those which are cover|ed in September, October, and November, pro|duce in February, March, and April. We may also have plenty of lambs in May, June, July, August, and September; and they only become rare in October, November, and December. The ewes give milk abundantly for seven or eight months. This milk affords pretty good nou|rishment Page  474 to children and country-people*. It makes very good cheese, especially when mixed with cow-milk. The time of milking ewes is immediately before they go out to the field, or soon after their return. In summer, they may be twice milked every day, and once in winter.

Ewes, when with young, grow fat; because they then eat more than at any other period. As they frequently hurt themselves, and mis|carry, they sometimes become barren, and some of them produce monsters. However, when properly managed, they bring forth during life, i. e. for ten or twelve years; but they are ge|nerally old and useless at the age of seven or eight years. The ram, who lives twelve or four|teen years, becomes unfit for propagating when eight years old. He should then be castrated, and fattened along with the old ewes. The flesh of the ram, even after being castrated and fat|tened, has always a disagreeable taste: That of the ewe is flabby and insipid. But the flesh of the wedder furnishes the most succulent and best of all our common dishes.

When men want to form a flock with a view to profit, they purchase ewes and wedders at the age of eighteen months, or two years, and a hundred of these might be managed by a single shepherd*. If vigilant, and aided by a good Page  475 dog, he will lose very few of them. When con|ducting them to the fields, he ought to go be|fore, accustom them to the sound of his voice, and to following him without stopping, or go|ing aside among the corn, or the vines, where they commit great devastation. The sea-coasts, or plains on the tops of hills, afford them the best pasture. But low, moist, and marshy grounds, should always be avoided. During winter, they are fed, in the stable, with bran, turnip, hay, straw, lucerne, saintfoine, ash and elm leaves, &c. When the weather is not very bad, they should be allowed, chiefly for the sake of exercise, to go out every day. In this cold season, they are not led to the fields before ten in the morn|ing, where they remain for four or five hours: After which they are made to drink, and are conducted back about three o'clock afternoon. In spring and autumn, on the contrary, they are led out as soon as the sun has dissipated the moi|sture, or hoar-frost, and are not brought back till sun-set. In these two seasons, it is sufficient to make them drink once a-day, and immedi|ately before they return to the stable, where they must always have forage, but in smaller quantity than during winter. It is only in summer that they ought to feed entirely in the fields, where they are conducted twice a-day, and also made to drink twice. They are brought out at day-break, allowed to feed four or five hours, and, after drinking, are led back to the fold, or some Page  476 other shady place. About three or four o'clock afternoon, when the excessive heat begins to di|minish, they are again pastured till night comes on. Were it not for the ravages of the wolf, they ought to remain in the field during the whole night, as is practised in Britain, which would make them both more vigorous and more healthful. As the rays of the sun, when very warm, are apt to affect these animals with a vertigo, they should always be pastured with their heads turned from the sun, so that the body may form a kind of shade to defend the head. Lastly, to preserve their wool, they should not be allowed to feed among thorns, briars, thistles, &c.

In dry elevated grounds, where the wild thime and other odoriferous plants abound, the flesh of the sheep is of a better quality, than when fed in low moist plains. But sandy downs on the sea-coast produce the best mutton, because the herbage is saltish, and nothing improves the relish of mut|ton so much as pasture of this kind: Besides, it gives an agreeable savour to the milk of the ewe, and increases its quantity. These animals are extremely fond of salt, and, when given in mo|derate quantities, it is very salutary. In some places, a bag of salt, or a salt-stone, is put into the fold, which the creatures lick alternately.

Every year, those which begin to grow old, should be separated from the flock, for the pur|pose of fattening, because then a different ma|nagement Page  477 is necessary. If, in summer, they should be conducted to the field before sun-ri|sing, that they may feed upon grass moistened with dew. Nothing contributes more to fatten wedders than water taken in great quantities; and nothing retards their fattening more than the heat of the sun. For this reason, they should be put into the fold or shade at eight or nine o'clock in the morning, before the heat becomes too violent; and they ought to have a little salt, in order to excite their appetite for water. They should be led out a second time, about four o'clock afternoon, to fresh and moist pastures. By this treatment, they acquire, in two or three months, all the appearances of being fleshy and fat. But this fat, which originates from the great quantities of water drunk by the ani|mal, is only a kind of pursy swelling, and would soon occasion the rot, if not prevented by killing them immediately after they acquire this falla|cious appearance. Even their flesh, instead of being firm and juicy, is frequently very loose and insipid. To produce good mutton, beside the treatment above recommended, the animals should have better nourishment than grass. In winter, and indeed in all seasons, they may be fattened by keeping them in stables, and feeding them with the flour of barley, oats, wheat, beans, &c. mixed with salt, to increase their appetite for drink. But, whatever mode be followed, it should be executed as quickly as possible; for Page  478 they cannot be fattened a second time*, most of them dying by diseases of the liver.

Worms are frequently found in the livers of animals: A description of those of the wed|der and ox may be seen in the Journal des Sa|vans*, and in the German Ephimerides*. It was formerly imagined, that these worms were peculiar to ruminating animals: But M. Dauben|ton discovered the same species in the liver of the ass; and it is probable they exist in several other quadrupeds. Butterflies, it has likewise been said, are sometimes found in the liver of the wedder. M. Rouillé communicated to me a let|ter from M. Gachet de Beausort, physician at Montiers, of which the following is an extract: 'It is an old remark, that our Alpine wedders, which are the best in Europe, sometimes sud|denly lose their flesh; that their eyes turn white and gummy; that their blood grows serous, having hardly any red globules; that their tongues are parched; and that their noses are stuffed with a yellow purulent mucus: Though the creatures continue to eat plentifully, these symptoms are accompanied with extreme debi|lity, and at last terminate in death. From re|peated dissections, it has been discovered, that the animals had always butterflies in their li|vers. These butterflies were white, and fur|nished with wings; and their heads were near|ly Page  479 oval, hairy, and about the size of those of the silk-worm fly. Above seventy, which I squeezed out of the two lobes, convinced me of the truth of this fact. The convex part of the liver was also in a mangled condition. The butterflies are found in the veins only, and ne|ver in the arteries. Small butterflies, and like|wise small worms, have been discovered in the cystic duct. The vena portarum and capsala Glissonii were so soft, as to yield to the slight|est touch. The lungs, and other viscera, were sound,' &c. If Dr Gachet de Beausort had been more particular in his description of these butterflies, he might, perhaps, have removed the suspicion, that the animals he saw were only the common worms found in the liver of the sheep, which are very flat, broad, and of a figure so singular, as to appear, at first sight, to be rather leaves than worms.

The wool of the sheep is shorn every year. In warm countries, where no danger arises from making the animal quite bare, they do not sheer the wool, but tear it off; and this operation is performed twice a-year. But in France, and in colder climates, the fleece is shorn only once a-year, and a part of it is allowed to remain, in order to protect the animal from the inclemency of the weather*. The operation is performed Page  480 in the month of May, after washing the sheep, to render the wool as clean as possible. The month of April is too cold; and, if delayed till June or July, the wool does not grow sufficient|ly long to protect the animal from the cold of winter. The wool of the wedder is generally better, and in greater quantity, than that of the ewe or ram. The wool upon the neck and a|bout the top of the back, is of a better quality than that upon the thighs, the tail, the belly, &c. and that taken from dead or diseased animals, is the worst. White wool is preferred to gray, Page  481 brown, or black, because it is capable of being dyed any colour; and smooth sleek wool is bet|ter than that which is curled. It is even alled|ged, that wedders, whose wool is curled, are not so good as the others.

Land may be much improved by folding sheep: For this purpose a piece of ground is in|closed, and the flock shut up in it every night during the summer-season. The dung, urine, and heat of the animals soon meliorate exhaust|ed, cold, or barren grounds. A hundred sheep, in one summer, will fertilize eight acres of land for six years.

It has been remarked by the antients, that all ruminating animals have suet: But this remark, strictly speaking, holds only with regard to the sheep and goat: The suet of the wedder is more copious, whiter, drier, firmer, and better than that of any other animal. Fat or grease is very different from suet, the former being always soft, while the latter hardens in cooling. The greatest quantity of suet is found about the kid|neys; and the left kidney furnishes more than the right. There are also considerable quanti|ties in the epiploon or web, and about the in|testines; but it is not near so firm or good as that of the kidneys, the tail, and other parts of the body. Wedders have no other grease but suet; and this matter is so prevalent in their bo|dies, that their whole flesh is covered with it. Even the blood contains a considerable quantity Page  482 of suet; and the semen is so charged with it, as to give that liquor a different appearance from that of other animals. The semen of men, of the dog, horse, ass, and probably of every animal which affords not suet, dissolves with cold; or, when exposed to the air, becomes more and more fluid from the moment it escapes from the body. But the semen of the ram, and perhaps of every animal that has suet, hardens and loses its fluidity with its heat. I remarked this dif|ference when examining these liquors with the microscope: That of the ram fixes a few se|conds after coming from the body; and, in or|der to discover the living organic particles, of which it contains prodigious numbers, its flui|dity must be preserved by the application of heat.

In the sheep, the taste of the flesh, the fineness of the wool, the quantity of suet, and even the size of the body, vary greatly in different countries. In France, the province of Berri abounds most in sheep. Those about Beauvais, and in some other parts of Normandy, are fatter and more charged with suet. They are very good in Burgundy; but the best are fed upon the sandy downs of our maritime provinces. The Italian, Spanish, and even the English wools, are finer than the French wool. In Poitou, Provence, the environs of Bayonne, and several other parts of France, there is a race of sheep which have the appearance of being foreign. They are larger, stronger, and Page  [unnumbered]

Plate XIV. RAM
Page  [unnumbered]
Plate XV. EWE
Page  483 better covered with wool than the common kind. They are likewise more prolific, producing fre|quently two lambs at a time. The rams of this race engender with the common ewes, and pro|duce an intermediate kind. In Italy and in Spain, there are a great variety of races; but they ought all to be regarded as of the same species with our common sheep, which, though so numerous and diversified, extend not beyond Europe. Those animals with a long broad tail, so common in Asia and Africa, and which are called Barbary sheep by travellers, appear to be a species dif|ferent from the ordinary kind, as well as from the Pacos and Lama of America.

As white wool is most valued, black or spot|ted lambs are generally slaughtered. In some places, however, almost all the sheep are black; and black lambs are often produced by the com|mixture of white rams with white ewes. In France, there are only white, brown, black, and spotted sheep: But in Spain, there is a reddish kind; and, in Scotland, there are some of a yel|lowish colour. But all these varieties of colour are more accidental than those produced by dif|ferent races, which, however, proceed from the influence of climate, and the difference of nou|rishment.

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I here give figures of a ram and ewe, of which drawings were sent me by the late Mr Colinson, fellow of the Royal Society of London, under the names of the Walachian ram and ewe. As this learned naturalist died soon afterwards, I could not discover whether these sheep, whose horns are extremely different from those of the ordinary kind, be common in Walachia, or whe|ther they are only an accidental variety.

In the northern parts of Europe, as Denmark and Norway, the sheep are not good; but, to improve the breed, rams are occasionally import|ed from England. In the islands adjacent to Norway, the sheep remain in the fields during the whole year; and they become larger and produce finer wool than those which are under the care and direction of men. It is alledged, that those sheep, which enjoy perfect liberty, al|ways sleep, during the night, on that side of the island from whence the wind is to blow next day. This natural indication of the weather is care|fully attended to by the mariners*.

The rams, ewes, and wedders of Iceland, dif|fer chiefly from ours, by having larger and thick|er horns. Some of them have three, four, and Page  [unnumbered]

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Page  485 even five horns. But this peculiarity of having more horns than two, must not be considered as common to the whole race of Iceland sheep; for, in a flock of four or five hundred, hardly three or four wedders can be found with four or five horns, and these are sent to Copenhagen as ra|rities. As a farther proof of their being scarce, they give a higher price in Iceland than the common kind*.

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THOUGH the species of animals are sepa|rated from each other by an interval, which Nature cannot overleap; yet some species ap|proach so near to others, and their mutual rela|tions are so numerous, that space is only left for a bare line of distinction. When we compare these neighbouring species, and consider them in relation to ourselves, some appear to hold the first rank for utility, and others seem to be only auxiliary species, which might, in many respects, supply the place of the first. Thus the ass might nearly supply the place of the horse, and the goat that of the sheep. The goat, like the sheep, affords both milk and suet in considerable quan|tities. His hair, though coarser than wool, is capable of being made into very good cloth; his skin is more valuable than that of the sheep; and the flesh of the kid makes a near approach Page  487 to that of the lamb, &c. These auxiliary species are more rustic and robust than the principals: The ass and the goat require not near so much attention as the horse and the sheep. They every where find the means of subsistence, eating al|most indiscriminately the grossest as well as the most delicate plants. They are less affected by the influence of climate, and can better dispense with the aid of man. The less they depend on us, the more they seem to belong to Nature; and, instead of regarding these subaltern species as degenerated productions of the principal spe|cies, instead of considering the ass as a degenera|ted horse, it would be more consonant to reason, to say, that the horse is an improved ass; that the sheep is a more delicate kind of goat, which we have trained, raised to greater perfection, and propagated for our own use; and, in general, that the most perfect species, especially among domestic animals, derive their origin from those wild and less perfect kinds which make the near|est approach to the former. The powers of Na|ture, when united to those of man, are greatly augmented.

Independent of reasonings of this kind, the goat is a distinct species, and perhaps still far|ther removed from the sheep than the ass from the horse. The buck as willingly copulates with the ewe, as the jack-ass with the mare; and the ram embraces the she-goat in the same manner as the horse intermixes with the she-ass. But, Page  488 though these commixtures be frequent, and some|times prolific, no intermediate species has been formed between the goat and sheep. The two species are distinct, and still remain at the same distance from each other. No change has been effected by these mixtures; they have given rise to no new or middle race of animals. They have only produced individual differences, which have no influence on the unity of each primitive spe|cies, but, on the contrary, confirm the reality of their characteristic and essential distinction.

In many cases, however, we cannot distinguish these characteristic differences with sufficient certainty: In others, we are obliged to suspend our judgment; and, in the greatest number, we have not a single ray of light to direct us: For, independent of the uncertainty arising from the contradictory testimonies with regard to histori|cal facts; independent of the doubts resulting from the inaccuracy of those who have endea|voured to study Nature, the greatest obstacle to the advancement of knowledge proceeds from our ignorance of many effects which time alone has not been able to exhibit, and which will not be discovered even by posterity, without num|berless experiments, and the most accurate inve|stigation. In the mean time, we wander in dark|ness, perplexed between probabilities and preju|dices, ignorant even of possibilities, and every moment confounding the opinions of men with the operations of Nature. Examples are innu|merable: Page  489 But, without leaving our subject, we know that the he-goat and ewe, and the ram and she-goat, procreate together: We have still to learn, however, whether the mules produced by these commixtures be barren or fruitful. Be|cause mules produced by the mixture of the horse with the she-ass, or the jack-ass with the mare, are sterile, we conclude that mules of every kind must likewise be deprived of the power of trans|mission. But this opinion may be false. The antients assert positively, that the mule produces at the age of seven years; and that it likewise produces with the mare*. They tell us, that the she-mule is capable of conception; but that she is unable to bring her fruit to perfection*. The truth of these facts, which obscure the real, distinctions of animals, as well as the theory of generation, should be either confirmed or de|stroyed. Besides, though we had a distinct knowledge of all the species of animals around us, we are still ignorant of what might be pro|duced by intermixture with each other, or with foreign animals. We have no proper informa|tion concerning the jumar, an animal said to be produced by the cow and jack-ass, or by the mare and bull. We know not whether the ze|bra can produce with the horse or ass, or the Page  490 broad-tailed Barbary ram with the common ewe; whether the chamois goat be only the common goat in a wild state, and whether an intermedi|ate race might not be formed by their mixture; whether the monkeys really differ in species, or whether they form but one species, diversified, like that of the dog, by a great number of dif|ferent races; whether the dog can produce with the fox and the wolf, the stag with the cow, &c. Our ignorance of all these facts is almost invincible; for the experiments necessary to a|scertain them would require more time, atten|tion, and expence, than the life or fortune of most men can permit. I employed several years in making trials of this kind, of which an ac|count shall be given when I treat of mules. But, in the mean time, I acknowledge, that they af|forded me very little information, and that most of my experiments were abortive.

Upon the determination of these and similar facts, however, our knowledge of the distinction of species, and of the genuine history of ani|mals, as well as the manner of treating them, chiefly depends. But, since we are deprived of this necessary knowledge; since it is impossible, for want of facts, to establish analogies, or to lay a proper foundation for reasoning, there is no other method left us, than to proceed, step by step, to consider each animal individually, to regard as different species all those which spontaneously procreate together, and to write their history in Page  491 detached articles; reserving a power of uniting or separating them, as soon as we shall acquire a more perfect knowledge, either from our own experience, or that of other men.

It is for this reason, that, though there are many animals which resemble the sheep and goat, we here confine ourselves entirely to the dome|stic kinds. We know not whether the foreign kinds could intermix with the common species, and produce new races. We are, therefore, au|thorised to consider them as distinct species, till sufficient evidence is procured, that the foreign kinds can procreate with the common, and pro|duce fertile individuals: This is the only cha|racter which constitutes the reality of what is called species both in the animal and vegetable kingdoms.

The goat is superior to the sheep both in sen|timent and dexterity. He approaches man spontaneously, and is easily familiarized. He is sensible of caresses, and capable of a considerable degree of attachment. He is stronger, lighter, more agile, and less timid than the sheep. He is a sprightly, capricious, wandering, lascivious ani|mal. It is with difficulty that he can be confined to a flock. He loves to retire into solitude, to climb steep and rugged places, to stand and even to sleep on the points of rocks, and the edges of the most frightful precipices. The female anxiously searches for the male; and they unite with ar|dour. They are robust and easily nourished; Page  492 for they eat almost every herb, and are injured by a very inconsiderable number. The bodily temperament of the goat, which, in all animals, has a great influence on the natural dispositions, is not essentially different from that of the sheep. These two animals, whose internal organization is almost entirely similar, are nourished, grow, and multiply in the same manner; and their diseases are the same, excepting a few to which the goat is not subject. The goat fears not, like the sheep, too great a degree of heat. He chear|fully exposes himself to the sun, and sleeps un|der his most ardent rays, without being affected with a vertigo, or any other inconveniency. He is not afraid of rain or storms; but he appears to feel the effects of severe cold. The external actions and movements of animals, which, as formerly remarked, depend more upon the strength and variety of their sensations, than the structure of their bodies, are, for this reason, more vivacious, and less limited in the goat than in the sheep. The inconstancy of the goat's dis|position is marked by the irregularity of his actions. He walks, stops short, runs, leaps, ap|proaches, retires, shows, and conceals himself, or flies off, as if he were actuated by mere caprice, and without any other cause than what arises from an excentric vivacity of temper. The suppleness of his organs, and the strength and nervousness of his frame, are hardly sufficient to Page  493 support the petulance and rapidity of his natural movements.

That these animals are naturally friends to man, and that, even in uninhabited countries, they betray no savage dispositions, is apparent from the following fact. In the year 1698, an English vessel having put into the island of Bonavista, two Negroes came aboard, and offered gratis to the captain as many goats as he plea|sed. The captain having expressed his astonish|ment at this offer, the Negroes replied, that there were only twelve persons on the island; that the goats had multiplied so greatly as to become extremely troublesome; and that, in|stead of being caught with difficulty, they obsti|nately followed the men, like other domestic animals*.

The male is in a capacity of engendering when he is a year old, and the female when she is seven months. But the fruits of such prema|ture embraces are feeble and imperfect; and, for this reason, they are generally restrained till they arrive at the age of eighteen months or two years. The he-goat is a beautiful, vigorous, and ardent animal. In the course of two or three months, one male is sufficient for more than 150 females. But this ardour, which soon con|sumes him, lasts only three or four years; and, at the age of five or six, he is old and enerva|ted. Hence, a male for breeding should be Page  494 large, handsome, and not exceeding two years of age. His neck should be short and fleshy; his head light; his ears pendent; his thighs thick; his limbs firm; his hair black, thick, and soft; and his beard long and bushy. The choice of the female is not of equal importance. It may only be remarked, that those which have large bodies, thick thighs, a light walk, long and capacious udders, and soft bushy hair, ought to be preferred. The females are in season du|ring the months of September, October, and November: But, when allowed to approach the male, they are willing to receive him, and are capable of producing, in all seasons. They, however, hold much surer in autumn; and the months of October and November are preferred; because the young kids are brought forth when the grass is tender. They go with young about five months, and are delivered in the beginning of the sixth. They suckle their young a month or six weeks. Thus, six months and a half should be reckoned between the time when they are covered, and that when the kid begins to feed upon pasture.

When pastured along with sheep, the goats always take the lead of the flock. They love to feed separately upon the tops of hills, and prefer the most elevated and rugged parts of mountains. They find sufficient nourishment in heathy, barren, and uncultivated grounds. They do infinite mischief when permitted to go Page  495 among corn, vines, copses, or young plantations; for they eat with avidity the tender bark and young shoots of trees, which generally proves fatal to their growth. They carefully avoid moist ground, marshy meadows, and rich pas|tures. They are seldom reared in plain coun|tries, where they never thrive, and where their flesh is always bad. Vast quantities are reared in warm climates; and they are never put into stables. In France, they would perish, if not sheltered during winter. They require no lit|ter in summer; but, in winter, as moisture is very hurtful to them, they should be frequently supplied with fresh litter, and never allowed to lie upon their own dung. They are conducted to the fields very early in the morning, grass covered with dew, which is injurious to sheep, being extremely salutary to goats. As they are untractable and wandering animals, one man, however robust and active, is unable to manage above fifty of them. They are never permitted to go out during snow or hoar-frost; but are fed in the stable with herbage, small branches of trees collected in autumn, cabbages, turnips, and other roots. The more they eat, the quan|tity of their milk is the greater. To increase the quantity of milk still more, they are made to drink much, by mixing a little nitre or salt with their water. The milk may be drawn from them five days after bringing forth; and they continue to yield considerable quantities of Page  496 it every morning and evening, for four or five months. The female produces but one kid, though sometimes two, seldom three, and never more than four. She is fertile from one year or eighteen months, till she be seven years of age. The male may propagate as long, and perhaps longer, if he were properly managed; but he is seldom employed above five years. He is then sent to be fattened among the old and young male goats, which have been castra|ted, to render their flesh more tender and suc|culent. These are fattened in the same manner as wedders. But, whatever attention is bestow|ed on them, or however they are fed, their flesh is never so good as mutton, excepting in very warm climates, where mutton is always ill ta|sted.

The strong odour of the he-goat proceeds not from his flesh, but from his skin. These ani|mals, which are not permitted to grow old, might perhaps live ten or twelve years. When|ever they cease to multiply, they are killed; and the older they are, their flesh is the worse. Both males and females, with very few excep|tions, are furnished with horns. The colour of their hair is exceedingly various. It is said, that those which are white, and have no horns, give most milk; and that the black goats are the strongest. Though the food of those animals costs almost nothing, yet they fail not to bring considerable profit. Their flesh, tallow, hair, Page  497 and skin are valuable commodities. Their milk is more wholesome and better than that of the sheep: It is used as a medicine, curdles easily, and makes very good cheese. As it contains only few oily particles, the cream should never be separated from it. The females allow them|selves to be sucked by infants, to whom their milk affords very good nourishment. Like cows and sheep, they are sucked by the viper, and still more by a bird called the goat-sucker, which fixes on their paps during the night, and, it is said, makes them lose their milk*.

The goat has no cutting teeth in the upper jaw. Those of the under jaw fall out, and are replaced in the same time, and in the same or|der, as the teeth of the sheep. The age of the goat is indicated by the teeth and the knobs of the horns. The number of teeth in the she-goat Page  498 is not uniform: They are generally few-|er than those of the male, whose hair is also more rude, and his beard and horns longer. These animals, like the ox and sheep, have four stomachs, and chew the cud. Their species is more universally diffused than that of the sheep. Goats, every way similar to our own, are found in many parts of the world. They are only smaller in Guiney and other warm climates, and larger in Muscovy and other northern regions. The goats of Angora, or of Syria, with pendent ears, are of the same species with ours; for they intermix together, and produce even in our climates. The horns of the male are equally long with those of the common kind; but they are directed and contorted in a different man|ner. They extend horizontally from each side of the head, and form spirals nearly like those of a screw. The horns of the female are short, bend backwards, downwards, and then advance forwards, so as to terminate near the eyes; but their direction and contour are not always uni|form. The present description was taken from a male and female in the royal menage. Like most-Syrian animals, their hair was very long and bushy, and so fine, that cloths, as beautiful and glossy as silken stuffs, are made of it.

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We are informed by Pontoppidan*, that goats are so numerous in Norway, that, from the port of Bergen alone, 80, 000 raw hides are annually exported, without reckoning those which have been dressed. Goats, indeed, seem to be well adapted to the nature of this country: They search for their food upon the tops of the highest and most rugged mountains. The males are very courageous; they fear not the attack of a single wolf, and even assist the dogs in de|fending the flock.

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The HOG, the HOG of SIAM, and the WILD BOAR*.

I HAVE joined these three animals, because they form but one species. The one is the wild animal, the other two are the same ani|mal, only in a domestic state. Though they differ in some external marks, and perhaps like|wise in some habits; yet, as these differences are not essential, but relative to their condition, as their nature is not altered by their slavery, and, lastly, as they can produce, by intermix|ture, Page  501 fertile individuals, the only character which constitutes a distinct and permanent species, they ought not to be treated as separate animals.

These animals are remarkably singular: Their species is solitary and detached. It is approach|ed by no neighbouring species, which, like that of the horse and ass, and of the sheep and goat, may be regarded as principal or as accessory. Neither is it subject to a variety of races, like that of the dog. It participates of several species; but differs essentially from the whole. Let those who wish to limit the immensity of Nature to the contracted views of imperfect systems, attend to this animal, and they will discover, that it eludes all their methodical arrangements. Its extremi|ties, which are cloven-hoofed, have no resem|blance to those that are whole-hoofed. It even resembles not the cloven-hoofed animals; be|cause, though it appears to have only two toes, it has actually four concealed within. It has no resemblance to the digitated quadrupeds; because it walks only on two toes, and the other two are neither so situated, nor extended so far, as to serve the purposes of walking. It has, therefore, equivocal or ambiguous characters, of which some are apparent and others concealed. Shall we consider this as an error of Nature, and maintain that the two internal toes should not be reckoned? But this error is constant. Besides, in this animal, the other bones of the foot have no resemblance to those of cloven-footed ani|mals; Page  502 and there are other differences still more striking: For the latter have horns and no teeth in the upper jaw; they have four stomachs, chew the cud, &c. But the hog has no horns, only one stomach, does not ruminate, and has cutting teeth both above and below. It is evi|dent, therefore, that he belongs neither to the genus of whole-hoofed, nor to that of cloven-hoofed. He has as little pretension to be rank|ed with the digitated quadrupeds; for he differs from them not only in the extremity of his foot, but still more in his teeth, stomach, intestines, internal parts of generation, &c. All that can be said is, that, in some respects, he forms the link between the whole and cloven-footed ani|mals, and, in others, between the cloven-footed and digitated animals; for, in the number and arrangement of his teeth, he differs less from the whole-hoofed quadrupeds than from the other kinds. He also resembles them in the prolon|gation of the jaws, and, like them, he has but one large stomach; but, by an appendix attached to it, as well as by the position of the intestines, he seems to approach towards the cloven-footed or ruminant animals. He likewise resembles them in the external parts of generation; and, at the same time, he resembles the digitated quadrupeds in the form of his legs, in the habit of his body, and in the number of his progeny. Aristotle* is Page  503 the first writer who divided quadrupeds into whole-|hoofed, cloven-hoofed, and digitated, and he al|lows that the hog is an ambiguous genus. But the only reason he assigns is, that, in Illyrica, Poeonia, and some other places, there are whole-hoofed hogs. This animal still affords a kind of exception to two general laws of nature, namely, that the larger the animals, they are the less prolific; and that digitated animals are the most prolific. The hog, though of a size far beyond mediocrity, produces more than any other quadruped. By this surprising fecundity, as well as by the struc|ture of the ovaria of the female, it seems to con|stitute the extremity of the viviparous species, and to approach to those of the oviparous. In fine, the hog seems to be of an equivocal nature, or rather he appears so to those who mistake the hypothetical arrangement of their ideas for the common order of Nature, and who only per|ceive, in the infinite chain of being, some con|spicuous points to which they incline to refer every natural phaenomenon.

To circumscribe the sphere of Nature, is not the proper method of acquiring the knowledge Page  504 of her. We cannot judge of her, by making her act agreeably to our particular and limited views. We can never enter deeply into the de|signs of the author of Nature, by ascribing to him our own ideas. Instead of limiting the powers of Nature, we ought to enlarge and ex|tend them; we should regard nothing as im|possible, but believe that every thing which can have existence, really exists. Ambiguous species, and irregular productions, would not then excite surprise, but appear to be equally necessary as o|thers, in the infinite order of things. They fill the intervals, and constitute the intermediate points of the chain. These beings present to the hu|man intellect, curious examples, where Nature, by appearing to act upon an unusual model, makes a greater display of her powers, and af|fords us an opportunity of recognising singular characters, which indicate that her designs are more general than our contracted views, and that, if she has made nothing in vain, neither are her operations regulated by the designs which we attribute to her.

Does not this singular conformation of the hog merit a few reflections? He appears not to have been constructed upon any original or per|fect model; for he is a composition of different animals. Some of his parts, for example, the toes above described, the bones of which are per|fectly formed, are evidently of no use to him. Nature, therefore, in the construction of beings, Page  505 is by no means subjected to the influence of fi|nal causes. Why should she not sometimes give redundant parts, when she so often denies those which are essential? How many animals are de|prived of senses and of members? Why should we imagine, that, in each individual, every part is useful to its neighbour, and necessary to the whole? Is it not enough that they exist toge|ther, that they never injure each other, that they can grow and expand without mutual destruc|tion? Every thing which is not so hostile as to destroy, every thing that can subsist in connec|tion with other things, does actually subsist: And, perhaps, in most beings, there are fewer relative, useful, or necessary parts, than those which are indifferent, useless, or redundant. But, as we always wish to make every thing refer to a certain end, when parts have no apparent uses, we either suppose that their uses are concealed from us, or invent relations which have no ex|istence, and tend only to throw an obscure veil over the operations of Nature. It is the inten|tion of true philosophy, to instruct us how ob|jects exist, and the manner in which Nature acts: But we pervert this intention, by attempting to investigate why objects are produced, and the ends proposed by Nature in producing them.

This general and presumptuous prejudice, which serves only to conceal our ignorance, is both useless, and prevents the discovery of natu|ral truths. Without deviating from our subject, Page  506 some examples may be given where those in|tentions, which we so arrogantly ascribe to Na|ture, are evidently false and contradictory. The phalanges of the hand or foot are said to be formed for the purposes of producing fingers and toes; yet, in the hog, the phalanges are useless, because they give rise to no toes which benefit the animal; and cloven-hoofed animals have small bones in their feet, which do not e|ven form phalanges. Hence, if Nature intend|ed to produce toes in these animals, it is evident, that, in the hog, she has only half-executed her design, and, in the others, that she has hardly begun it.

The allantois is a membrane accompanying the foetus of the sow, the mare, the cow, and several other animals. As this membrane ad|heres to the bladder of the foetus, it was said to be destined for the reception of the urine dis|charged during the time of gestation. At the instant of birth, an inconsiderable quantity of li|quor is found in the allantois. In the cow this liquor is perhaps most abundant; and yet the allantois contains only a few pints: The capa|city of the membrane is here so great, that no proportion subsists between it and the liquor. This membrane, when filled with air, forms a double bag in the shape of a crescent, about thir|teen or fourteen feet long, by nine, ten, eleven, and sometimes twelve broad. Is a vessel, capable of containing several cubic feet, necessary for the Page  507 reception of three or four pints of fluid? The bladder of the foetus, if not pierced at the bot|tom, would itself be sufficient to contain this quantity, as it does in man and other animals, in which no allantois has hitherto been disco|vered. Hence this membrane is not designed for receiving the urine of the foetus, nor for any purpose that we can ascribe to it; for, if it were filled, as, according to our mode of reason|ing, it ought sometimes to be filled, it would be as large as the body of the mother. Besides, as it bursts at the moment of birth, and is thrown away along with the other membranes which invest the foetus, it is equally useless then as it was before.

The number of paps, in every species of ani|mals, it has been said, is proportioned to the number of young which the female is capable of producing and suckling. But why should the male, who never produces, have generally the same number of paps? And why should the sow, which often produces eighteen, and even twenty pigs, have only twelve paps, and some|times fewer? Does not this prove that the ope|rations of Nature are not to be judged of by final causes, or moral fitness, but by examining the manner in which she acts, and by employing, to acquire a knowledge of her, all those physical relations exhibited to us by the immense variety of her productions. I allow, that this method, which is the only path that can conduct us to Page  508 real knowledge, is incomparably more difficult than the other, and that there are innumerable facts in Nature, to which, like the preceding, it cannot be applied with success. However, in|stead of searching for the use of this great ca|pacity in the allantois, and finding that it neither serves, nor can serve, any purpose, we ought to inquire into those physical relations which may indicate the origin of its production. By ob|serving, for example, that, in animals whose stomach and intestines are not very large, the allantois is either very small, or does not exist; and that, consequently, the production of this membrane has some connection with the great capacity of the intestines, &c. In the same man|ner, by considering, that the number of paps is not equal to the number of young, admitting only the most prolific animals to have the great|est number of paps, we may conjecture, that this numerous production depends on the confor|mation of the internal parts of generation, and that the paps, depending also externally on the same parts, there is, between the number or ar|rangement of these parts, and that of the paps, a physical relation which ought to be investi|gated.

But I only point out the true path, this not being a proper place for prosecuting such nice discussions. However, I must remark, that nu|merous productions depend more upon the struc|ture of the internal parts of generation than any other cause: They depend not upon the quan|tity Page  509 of seminal fluid, otherwise the horse, the stag, the ram, and the goat, would be more pro|lific than the dog, the cat, and other animals which secrete less semen in proportion to their size. But the prolific powers of the latter far exceed those of the former. Neither does the number of young depend upon the frequency of coition; for, in the sow and bitch, one em|brace is sufficient for the production of a nume|rous progeny. The longer or shorter time oc|cupied in discharging the semen, seems likewise to have no influence on the number of young; for the dog remains long only in consequence of an obstacle arising from the structure of the parts; and, though the boar is retained by no such obstacle, and continues longer than most animals; yet no conclusion can be drawn from this circumstance in favour of a numerous pro|geny, since the cock requires but an instant to impregnate all the eggs which a hen can pro|duce in the course of a month. I shall after|wards unfold the ideas I have here accumulated, solely with a view to demonstrate, that a simple probability, or conjecture, when founded on physical relations, brings more light and greater advantages than the whole group of final causes put together*.

To the peculiarities already related, some o|thers remain to be added. The fat of the hog differs from that of almost every other quadru|ped, Page  510 not only in its consistence and quality, but in its position in the body of the animal. The fat of man, and of those animals which have no suet, as the dog, the horse, &c. is pretty equal|ly intermixed with the flesh. The suet of the sheep, goat, deer, &c. is placed at the extremities of the flesh. But the lard of the hog is neither mixed with the flesh, nor collected at its extre|mities. It covers the whole animal in the form of a thick, distinct, and continued stratum be|tween the flesh and the skin. This phaenome|non likewise takes place in the whale and other cetaceous animals.

What is still more singular, the hog sheds not his fore-teeth; they continue to grow during life. He has six cutting teeth in the under jaw, and a corresponding number in the upper. But, by an irregularity, of which there is not another example in Nature, the figure of the six teeth in the under jaw is different from that of those in the upper; for, instead of being sharp and cutting, the latter are long, cylindrical, blunt at the points, and form nearly a right angle with those in the upper jaw; so that their extremities apply to each other in a very oblique manner.

Tusks, or very long canine teeth, are peculiar to the hog, and two or three other species of animals. They differ from other teeth, by ex|tending out of the mouth, and continuing to grow during life. In the elephant and sea-cow, Page  511 they are cylindrical, and several feet in length. In the wild boar and male hog, I have seen the tusks from nine to ten inches long. They are flat, sharp, and bend in a circular form. They sink very deep in the socket; and, like those of the elephant, they have a cavity at their superior extremity. The tusks of the ele|phant and sea-cow are placed in the upper jaw, and there are no canine teeth in the under jaw. But the male hog and wild boar have tusks in both jaws; and those of the under jaw are most useful to the animal, and also most dangerous; for it is with them that the wild boar wounds those who attack him.

The common sow, the wild sow, and the ca|strated domestic boar, have likewise four canine teeth in the under jaw; but they are much less than those of the male, and never extend be|yond the mouth. Beside these sixteen teeth, namely, twelve cutting and four canine, they have twenty-eight grinders, which make forty-four in all. The tusks of the wild boar are lar|ger, his snout stronger, and his head longer than those of the domestic hog. His feet are also larger, his toes more separated, and his bristles is always black.

Of all quadrupeds, the hog is the most rude and brutal. The imperfections of his form seem to have an influence on his nature and dis|positions. All his habits are gross; all his ap|petites are impure; all his sensations are confi|ned Page  512 to a furious lust, and a brutal gluttony. He devours indiscriminately every thing that comes in his way, even his own progeny, the moment after their birth. This voraciousness seems to proceed from the perpetual cravings of his stomach, which is of an immoderate size; and the grossness of his appetites, it is probable, arises from the bluntness of his senses of taste and of feeling. The rudeness of the hair, the hardness of the skin, and the thickness of the fat, render these animals less sensible to blows. Mice have been known to lodge upon a hog's back, to eat his skin and his fat, without his showing any marks of sensibility. The o|ther senses of the hog are very good. It is well known to the hunters, that the wild boar hears and smells at a great distance; for, in or|der to surprise him, they are obliged to watch him in silence during the night, and to place themselves opposite to the wind, that he may not perceive the smell, which never fails to make him turn back.

The imperfection of the senses of taste and feeling in the hog, is farther augmented by a le|prous disease, which renders him almost totally insensible. This malady proceeds, perhaps, less from the texture of the flesh or skin, than from the natural dirtiness of the animal, and the cor|ruption that must result from the putrid food he sometimes devours; for the wild boar, who generally lives upon grain, fruits, acorns, and Page  513 roots, is not subject to this distemper; neither is the pig while it continues to suck. There is no method of preventing it, but by keeping the domestic hog in a clean stable, and feeding him with wholesome nourishment. His flesh will become excellent, and his fat firm and brittle, if he is kept for fifteen days or three weeks in a paved stable, without litter, and always clean, giving him only dry wheat to eat, and allowing him to drink very little. For this purpose, a hog of a year old, in good health, and half-fat|tened, should be chosen.

The ordinary method of fattening hogs is to give them plenty of barley, acorns, cabbages, boiled peas, roots, &c. and water mixed with bran. In two months they are fat; their lard is thick, but neither firm nor white; and their flesh, though good, is somewhat insipid. They may be fattened much cheaper in woody coun|tries, which produce acorns, and other nuts, by leading them into the forests during au|tumn, when chesnuts, acorns, beech-mast, &c. fall and quit their husks. They eat indiscrimi|nately all wild fruits, and soon fatten, especial|ly if, on their return in the evening, they be served with lukewarm water mixed with a little bran and pease-meal. This drink makes them sleep, and take on fat to such a degree, that they sometimes are unable to walk, or move them|selves. They fatten much sooner in autumn than in any other season, both because their Page  514 food is more plentiful, and because they lose less by perspiration than in the summer months.

In fattening hogs, it is unnecessary to delay, as we do with other cattle, till they be full grown; for, the older they are, they fatten with more difficulty, and their flesh is not equally good. Castration, which ought always to pre|cede the fattening of hogs, is generally perform|ed at the age of six months, and in the spring or autumn; because great heat or great cold renders the wound dangerous or difficult to cure; for the operation is commonly performed by in|cision, though sometimes by a simple ligature. When castrated in spring, they are fattened the following autumn, and are seldom allowed to live two years. However, they continue to grow during the second, third, fourth, and even the fifth year. Those which are remarkable for their size and corpulence, are too old, and have been several times fed in the forest. The continuance of their growth seems not to be li|mited to four or five years. The boars kept for propagation grow larger during the sixth year; and the wild boar is larger and fatter, in proportion to the number of his years.

The life of the wild boar may be extended to twenty-five or thirty years*. Aristotle says, that hogs in general live twenty years; and adds, that both males and females are fertile till they arrive at the age of fifteen. They can en|gender Page  515 at the age of nine or twelve months; but it is better to restrain them till they be eighteen months or two years. The first litter of the sow is not numerous; and, when only one year old, her pigs are weak, and even imperfect. She may be said to be in season at all times. Though full, she solicits the approach of the male. This may be regarded as an excess among animals; for almost every other species refuse the male after conception. The ardour of the sow, though almost perpetual, is, however, marked by pa|roxysms and immoderate movements, which al|ways terminate by her wallowing in the mire. She, at the same time, emits a thick whitish fluid. She goes four months with young, brings forth in the beginning of the fifth; and soon afterwards solicits the male, is impregnated a second time, and, of course, brings forth twice a-year. The wild sow, which every way resembles the domestic kind, produces only once a-year. This differ|ence in fertility is probably owing to want of nourishment, and the necessity of suckling her pigs much longer than the domestic sow, which is never allowed to nurse her young above fifteen days or three weeks. Only eight or nine of the litter are kept longer; the rest are sold. In fif|teen days, pigs are excellent food. As many females are unnecessary, and as castrated hogs bring most profit, their flesh being best, only two females, and seven or eight males, are left with the mother.

Page  516 The male chosen for propagation should have a thick body, rather square than long, a large head, a short flat snout, large depending ears, small fiery eyes, a large thick neck, a flat belly, broad thighs, thick, short legs, and strong, black bristles. White hogs are never so strong as the black kind. The sow ought to have a long body, a large belly, and long dugs. She should also be of a placid temper, and sprung from a proli|fic race. Immediately after conception, she should be separated from the male, who is apt to injure her. When she brings forth, she should be fed plentifully, and watched to prevent her from devouring some of her young. Still great|er attention is necessary to keep off the male, who would destroy the whole litter. The fe|males are covered in the beginning of spring, that the pigs may be brought forth in summer, and have time to acquire strength and become fat before winter. But, when two litters are wanted annually, the male is given in Novem|ber, that the female may bring forth in March; and she is covered a second time in the begin|ning of May. Some sows produce regularly every five months. The wild sow, which pro|duces but once a-year, receives the male in Ja|nuary or February, and brings forth in May or June. She suckles her young three or four months: She conducts, follows, and allows them not to separate from her till they be two or three years old; and it is not uncommon to see a Page  517 wild sow accompanied with two or three litters. The domestic sow is not allowed to suckle her pigs above two months. At the end of three weeks, they are led to the fields along with the mother, to accustom them gradually to feed as she does. Five weeks afterwards, they are weaned, and get, every morning and evening, a little milk mixed with bran, or only lukewarm water and boiled vegetables.

Hogs are fond of earth-worms and particular roots, as those of the wild carrot. It is in search of these worms and roots, that they dig the ground with their snouts. The wild boar, whose snout is longer and stronger than that of the do|mestic kind, digs deeper, and always nearly in a straight line: But the common hog digs ir|regularly and more lightly. As they do much mischief in cultivated fields, they should be fed in the forests, or in fallow land.

Wild boars, which have not passed their third year, are called by the hunters flock-beasts (bêtes de compagnie); because, previous to this age, they do not separate, but follow their common mother. They never wander alone, till they have acquired strength sufficient to resist the at|tacks of the wolf. These animals, when they have young, form a kind of flocks; and it is upon this alone that their safety depends. When attacked, the largest and strongest front the e|nemy, and, by pressing all round against the weaker, force them into the centre. The do|mestic Page  518 hogs defend themselves in the same man|ner, and have no occasion to be guarded by dogs. But, as they are obstinate and untractable, an active and robust man is unable to manage more than fifty of them. In autumn and winter, they are conducted to the woods, where wild fruits abound; in summer, they are led to moist grounds, where they find plenty of worms and roots; and, in spring, they are allowed to go on waste or fallow lands. They are led out twice a-day from March to October, and feed from the time that the dew is dissipated in the morning, till ten o'clock, and from two in the afternoon till the evening. In winter, they are let out only once a-day, when the weather is fine; for dew, snow, and rain, are hurtful to them. When overtaken with a storm, or even a great rain, they often desert the flock one after another, and run and cry till they arrive at the stable-door. The youngest cry oftenest, and loudest. This cry, which differs from the ordinary grunt|ing, resembles the cries they utter when bound with ropes, in order to be slaughtered. The male cries less frequently than the female. The wild boar seldom cries, unless when he is wounded in combat. The wild sow cries oftener; and, when suddenly frighted, she blows with such violence as to be heard at a great distance.

Though extremely gluttonous, they never at|tack or devour other animals; but they some|times eat putrid flesh. Wild boars have been Page  519 observed eating the flesh of horses, and the skin of the roebuck, and claws of birds have been found in their stomachs. But, perhaps, this proceeds more from necessity than instinct. It cannot, however, be denied, that they are very fond of blood, and of fresh and bloody flesh; for hogs devour their own young, and even in|fants in the cradle. Whenever they find any succulent, moist, or unctuous substance, they first lick, and then swallow it. In their return from the fields, I have seen a whole herd stop round a piece of new ploughed clay-land, which, though but slightly unctuous, they all licked, and some of them swallowed considerable quantities of it. Their gluttony, as formerly remarked, is equally gross as their nature is brutal. They have no sentiments which are very distinct. The pigs hardly know their mother, or, at least, they are extremely apt to mistake her, and to suck the first sow that will permit them. Fear and ne|cessity seem to confer more sentiment and in|stinct upon wild hogs. The young are more attached to their mother, and she appears to be more attentive to them, than the domestic sow. In the rutting season, the male follows the fe|male, and generally remains with her about thirty days in the thickest and most solitary re|cesses of the forest. He is then more ferocious than ever: When another male endeavours to occupy his place, he becomes perfectly furious; and they fight, wound, and often kill each other. Page  520 The wild sow is never furious but when her pigs are attacked: And it may, in general, be remark|ed, that, in almost all wild animals, the males, during the rutting season, and the females, after they bring forth, become more or less furious.

The wild boar is hunted with dogs, or killed by surprise during the night, when the moon shines. As he flies slowly, leaves a strong odour behind him, and defends himself against the dogs, and often wounds them dangerously, fine hunt|ing dogs are unnecessary, and would have their nose spoiled, and acquire a habit of moving slow|ly by hunting him. Mastiffs, with very little training, are sufficient. The oldest, which are known by the track of their feet, should only be attacked: A young boar of three years old is difficult to hunt down; because he runs very far without stopping. But the older boars do not run far, allow the dogs to run near, and of|ten stop to repel them. During the day, he commonly remains in his soil, which is in the most sequestrated part of the woods. He comes out in the night in quest of food. In summer, when the grain is ripe, it is easy to surprise him among the cultivated fields, which he frequents every night. As soon as he is slain, the hunters cut off his testicles, the odour of which is so strong, that, in a few hours, it would infect the whole flesh. The snout of an old boar is the only part that is esteemed; but every part of the castrated and young boar, not exceeding one Page  521 year fed, makes delicate eating. The pork of the domestic boar is still worse than that of the wild boar; and it can only be rendered fit for eating by castration and fattening. The an|tients* castrated the young boars which they could carry off from their mothers, and return|ed them to the woods, where they grew fat, and their pork was much better than that of dome|stic hogs.

To those who live in the country, the profits arising from the hog are well known. Pork sells nearly as dear as beef; the lard brings double or triple the price; the blood, the intestines, the feet, the tongue, are all prepared and used as food. The dung of the hog is colder than that of other animals, and should not be used but in grounds which are too warm and too dry. The fat of the intestines and web, which differs from common lard, is employed for greasing axles of wheels and many other purposes. Sieves are made of the skin, and brushes, pencils, &c. of the bristles. The flesh of the hog takes salt better, and keeps longer than that of any other animal.

This species, though very numerous, and dif|fused over Europe, Asia, and Africa, existed not in the New Continent, till they were transported thi|ther, and to most of the American islands, by the Spaniards. In many places they have multiplied Page  522 greatly, and become wild. They resemble our boards; and their bodies are shorter, and their snout and skin thicker than the domestic hogs, which, in warm climates, are all black, like the wild board.

By a ridiculous prejudice, which superstition alone could support, the Mahometans are depri|ved of this useful animal. They have been told that it is unclean; and, therefore, they dare not either touch or feed it. The Chinese, on the contrary, are extremely fond of pork. They rear hogs in numerous flocks, and pork is their most common food. This circumstance is said to have prevented them from embracing the religion of Mahomet. The Chinese hogs, as well as those of Siam and India, differ a little from the common kind. They are smaller, have shorter legs, and their flesh is whiter and more delicate. They are reared in several places of France; and they intermix and produce with the domestic hog. Numbers of them are rear|ed by the Negroes; and, though there are few of them among the Moors, or in the countries inhabited by Mahometans; yet wild boars are as common in Asia and Africa as in Europe.

Hence these animals affect not any particular climate: But the boar, by becoming domestic, seems to have degenerated more in cold than in warm countries. A very slight alteration of climate is sufficient to change their colour. In the northern provinces of France, and even in Page  523 Viverais, the hogs are generally white; but in Dauphiny, which is at no great distance, they are all black; and those of Languedoc, Pro|vence, Spain, Italy, India, China, and America, are of the same colour. The hog of Siam has a greater resemblance to the common hog than to the wild boar. The ears furnish the most evi|dent mark of degeneration; for they become more supple, soft, inclined, or pendulous, in proportion as the animal is altered, or rather as he has been softened by education in a domestic state: And, in fact, the ears of the domestic hog are more flexible, longer, and more inclined than those of the wild boar, which ought to be regarded as the model of the species.

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I have little to add concerning the hogs of Europe, of Siam, and of China, which inter|mix together, and therefore constitute but one species. Those of Europe are considerably lar|ger than the other races; and their size might be still farther augmented, if they were allowed to live longer. Mr Colinson, Fellow of the Royal Society of London, informed me, by a letter dated January 30. 1767, that a hog, which was fattened by Mr Joseph Leastarm, and killed by one Meek, a butcher in Cheshire, weighed 850 pounds, including head, intestines, &c.

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