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have been imported into this country, several new species have been obtained possessing this peculiarity, that they are tinged with the most brilliant colours, arising, as it is supposed, from excessively fine lines, which, decomposing the light, cause the splendid irridescent appearance which they present.
The great beauty of the patterns which are engraven on the “coats” of the loricated species have always rendered them highly interesting to microscopists, proving that it is not in the complicated organisation of man alone that the energies of nature are expended, but that the humble animalcule of the ditch bears equally the impress of her hand.
The above constitute, if I may so term them, “ the external characters” of the infusoria ; but we must not omit a slight examination of their internal organisation, as it is thereupon, especially the diges. tive apparatus, that Ehrenberg has based his classification. By feeding the polygastrica with either carmine or indigo in a minute state of division, he was, as he supposes, -enabled to discern the several stomachs, and observe the process by which the nutrition of the body was carried on. Professor Rymer Jones, Dr. Carpenter, and Meyer, question, however, the existence of a continuous tube, with the appended sacculi. They positively state," that no such tube has ever been seen, neither have separate particles been traced on their passage from one part of the body to the other along such a canal: and what appears a more fatal objection is, that the globules themselves have been seen to perform a kind of circulation through the body, changing their relative positions to each other, and sometimes escaping by the anal orifice. It is true, that globules, lying loose in the general parenchynia of the body, are frequently to be seen, whilst the complicated organ described by Ehrenberg is more difficult of verification; on this point, further evi. dence is still wanting, which the ample means now furnished to microscopists will, no doubt, shortly supply.”
The rotatoria, however, being animals of a higher grade, and endowed with functions more active and energetic than their relations the polygastrica, we find in them the several systems more highly developed, and a complexity of structure corresponding to their superior organisation; they derive their name from the circlets of cilia which surround the mouth, and it is in this division we observe the compound wreaths, which, when in full action, are the most magnificent objects that can well be imagined. Their bodies are entirely naked, being un. protected even by a gelatinous case, so that the whole of the internal structure is plainly visible; the principal feature in which is, the apparatus for the mastication of food, consisting of two jaws, acting hori. zontally upon a median piece or anvil, having the hard macillæ bent upon themselves at a right, or rather an acute angle: the transverse or dental part, which beats on the surface of the anvil, being divided into two or more sharp spines ;" these are moved by powerful muscles, which enable the creature effectually to reduce the most refractory morsels before its passage into the digestive cavity.
The cephalic cilia, when consisting of more than one wreath, are collected into groups, situated on the lobes which surround the mouth, and their motions are regulated by the same voluntary muscles which bend and modify the form of the body; they are developed in long and narrow longitudinal fibres, reaching from the anterior to the posterior part-a set of antagonistic fibres for diminishing the breadth of the animal, and at the same time retaining its length, being disposed in transverse bands around the body.
The alimentary canal is, more or less, a simple tube, extending the whole length of the body, and terminating, generally, above the sheath of claspers by which they attach themselves when stationary. Distinct vascular and respiratory systems have likewise been recognised, but the mere mention of these must suffice; as these parts, together with the above, are not easily understood, when unaccompanied by illustrations.
Such, then, is a brief outline of the habits and economy of the infusorial animalcules, which, though insignificant in themselves, have played a very important part in the former epochs of the world's history, and still influence, to a great extent, the position of various portions of the surface of our globe. It is well known, vast layers of rock, several feet in thickness, have been found to consist solely of the exuviæ or hard parts of these animals; and that, in the berg-mehl, or “ mountain meal,” of Tuscany, no less than nineteen different kinds have been discovered, nearly the whole of which are existing in the waters of the present day; and further, in corroboration of their geological importance in the fossil state, I may mention, that in the Bilin district of Bohemia, where the Tripoli slate of commerce, so much used for polishing, occurs in large quantity, the uppermost stratum is wholly made up of the shields of these little beings; verifying the beautiful anticipation of Young
“Where is the dust that has not been alive.” I must not, however, pursue this interesting subject further; to those of my readers who can appreciate the beauty of these atoms and the wisdom manifested in their creation, I need not repeat the thoughts which they suggest: minds which are daily trained to habits of reflection will readily furnish an application of the design which they are intended to convey, and to those who may consider that I have dwelt too long on a class of objects whose utility is shown merely in an indirect and uncertain manner, I can only apologise in the words of the great philosopher, Boyle,
“ That nothing can be unworthy of being investigated by man, which was thought worthy of being created by God.”
TRIUMPH OF GENIUS.
THERE is nothing more disgraceful to a country boasting a high degree of civilisation, than the neglect of eminent talents, whether they are exerted for the instruction or for the amusement of mankind. While we would not deny to those who have bled or fallen in the defence of their country, the praise which they undeniably deserve, yet it should ever be remembered that the triumphs of genius redound
more to the honourof a nation than the most extensive conquests obtained by physical force, than successful combats on land, or victories on the ocean. The glare which the sack of cities, the destruction of navies, and the slaughter of armies, throw around the history of empires, offends, while it dazzles, the eye of contemplation ; but the bloodless trophies of intellectual superiority, the monuments which genius erects, where temples once rose to ignorance and superstition, are surveyed with a delight which ennobles our frail nature, and increases the ardour of our longings after perfection. But nations should nurture the blos. soms of genius if they would hope to gather its fruits. Should the reward of merit be withheld, we shall seldom be benefited by its exertions. Few, comparatively speaking, possess great mental endowments, and of these few, perhaps, the major part live and die unknown. When, by chance or by choice, we are led into some village churchyard, where the waving grass or the osier-bound hillock is the only memorial of the nameless dead, we may suppose, without difficulty, that many of nature's nobility, men “ of whom the world was not worthy," mingle their ashes with the common clay.
“ For knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll;
And froze the genial current of their soul.” Although it is the duty of every nation to respect and reward men of literary genius, yet, unfortunately, there is a long catalogue of authors, who, though possessed of the most astonishing abilities, have been exposed to suffer all the complicated miseries of want. The nations of Europe are made infamous by their ingratitude to those extraordinary characters who alone can render them conspicuous in future ages. England, unfortunately, partakes largely of this general re. proach. Otway died of hunger; Butler and Dryden were reduced to extreme indigence; and Savage spent the greater part of a miserable existence in hopeless penury; Goldsmith was involved in debt throughout the whole of his life; Chatterton, frenzied by contumely and neglect, in a moment of despair, committed suicide, and even Johnson, previous to the publication of his “ London," endured the greatest pecuniary distress; he passed whole nights in the street, he remained for days together without food, and it was, doubtless, in the bitterness of his spirit, that he penned the following line :
“Slow rises worth, by poverty depressed." The contrast, however, in this respect, between the present and the past century, is as pleasing as it is instructive. Authors of genius, or even industry, may now gain not only the applause of posterity, but a present reputation; not only can they lay hold on the wreath of fame, but a considerable share of this world's goods is within their reach. A literary man is no longer a pauper, ex officio; indeed, sneers at the poverty of the denizens of Grub-street, would be as untrue now, as one hundred years ago they were coarse and unfeeling. This is, indeed, a change for the better! Many have said that the acquisition of wealth is a mercenary object, beneath the attention and degrading to the character of a man of genius. But, surely, he who by his
immortal works benefits not only his own country and age, but all countries and all ages, is at least as worthy of reward as any one who, however reputably engaged he may be in the prosecution of his business, yet never moves beyond the petty limits of his own sphere, and whose influence is too limited to enable him to be of much service to the great interests of mankind.
Again, the respect which is now cheerfully accorded to literature and to men of letters, is evinced by the society in which they move. An author of any consideration is now admitted into the highest circles ; and not, as formerly, in the situation of a paltry dependant, not as a mere curiosity-a lion to be gaped at by the aristocratic vulgar; not as a “ joker of jokes " to set a duke's table in a roar, but as an equal, as one of nature's aristocracy, as one who, if less adorned with the insignia of rank and wealth, yet stands on the pedestal of his own, and not of another's greatness, and possesses treasures which are far more his own than the honours, the riches, or the privileges of the hereditary nobleman.
“ Nam quæ non fecimus ipsi, vix ea nostra voco." This is as it should be, and it is desirable that, not only in the mansions of the nobility, but in the palace of the Sovereign herself, men of genius were received and treated as citizens who confer far greater benefits on their country than those who possess wealth only to abuse it, who exert their vast influence for the meanest and most despicable ends, yet who nevertheless have the right of entrée to those halls, whence is excluded the man whose reputation will endure when the supercilious lordling, or the sceptred monarch himself, are alike forgotten.
While, then, we perceive the respect in which knowledge and its possessors are held, while we mark the declining empire of the sword, and watch the rising influence of reason's weapon, the pen,-shall we, upon whom life is just opening,—shall we be excusable if for frivolous and transient pleasures we neglect that mental culture which is productive not only of the highest benefits, but also of the purest satis. faction. It is not only our bounden duty to improve to the utmost those talents with which we are all, in some degree, endowed, but it is our best interest and our wisest policy so to do. Various as are the situations and circumstances of life, knowledge is invariably precious ; sometimes it is only valuable, but oftener it is absolutely indispensable. It is not necessary that all should be classical scholars; it is not necessary that all should be deeply versed in the arts and sciences, or antiquarian adepts in the musty minutiæ of half-forgotten ages; but it is, above all things, necessary now-a-days, that a considerable portion of general knowledge should be possessed by every one who has at heart his success in his pursuits, his happiness in life, or his estimation in society. And this information must be of a sound and correct nature. The dreams of poetry, beautiful as they are, will, if indulged in, unfit the mind for the common cares and accidents of life; nor is it from the novel or the romance that we should derive our ideas of history, philosophy, or morals. Let the history of the world, the account of the rise, meridian, and decline of men, of empires, and of opinions, be deeply
studied, not to desire the return of former times and customs, not to extract therefrom an unmeaning formula of dandy politics, but to learn from those ages of suffering that are past, how to avoid suffering in future. Others may enter with equal pleasure and profit into the arcana of science, and ponder over the principles of those discoveries which have so incalculably benefited mankind. But let it never be forgotten that there is a knowledge to which all these things should be secondary ; these pursuits, indeed, will, if followed out, endue us with worldly wisdom, but to be “ wise unto salvation”-and what wisdom is soimportant ?- can only be attained by the study of the Holy Scriptures. Before this eternal wisdom, all the wonders of science, all the revelations of history, all the pleasures of imagination sink into insignificance.
In the increasing desire after, and admiration of, knowledge, we may discern the signs of a happier-of a golden age. That golden age, the departure of which poets have been fondly and foolishly deplored, is yet to come. All that has hitherto usurped its title is but the hallucination of fancy, the ignis fatuus of history. We are now approaching another and a better era, the earliest radiance of which already streaks the horizon.
“Aspice, venturo lætentur ut omnia sæclo.” Let us not, then, remain indifferent to the events which are passing around us, but to the best of our abilities, endeavour to hasten the advent of that glorious age. The reward of those who labour in this field, will be the success of their efforts. We may not live to behold, but we are living to anticipate ; we are warranted by the word of God in believing that an era will come, when, amid the consummation of all that is beautiful, the throne of freedom shall rise triumphant over the ruins of all that is base in the universe, and when knowledge and religion shall have made manifest to nations, as well as to individuals, the truth of those invisible realities by which we are each and all of us surrounded.
THE MORAL LAW SUITED TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF
[As one of the most beautifully-conducted arguments we have perused
on the moral evidence in favour of Divine Revelation, we insert the
subjoined Lecture, delivered some years since in the metropolis.] The subject which in this course of lectures is allotted to me is expressed in the following words : “ The Law given from Mount Sinai, suited to the circumstances of man, and of universal adaptation."
The idea that I have formed of the object of the committee of the Christian Instruction Society, in establishing this course of lectures, is this :-that the lecturer is to endeavour to support the proposition in which the subject of the lecture is stated, to show that the proposition is true, and then, that being true, it involves an argument in behalf of divine revelation. I do not consider that we meet primarily for Christian worship, though I think it right that we who conduct these