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Sixty years ago Europe would have been infallibly plunged into flames from the Arctic Ocean to the Mediterranean, under onetenth of the temptations which sovereigns and people have now resisted. Arbitration supersedes war, if it does not prevent it; and such a community of accord and tractability of disposition have been observable among governments of all descriptions, as

appears to promise well for future tranquillity. Most sincerely is it to be hoped, that the worst may now be really past,—that the political system of the civilized part of the world may survive undamaged in its usefulness and power, and that the state of Europe may experience no more disturbances than such as have here been chronicled.

From the Westminster Review.


1.-A Familiar Introduction to the History of Insects; being a new and greatly improved edition of the "Grammar of Entomology." By Edward Newman, F.L.S., Z.S., &c. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row. 2.-Popular British Entomology; containing a familiar and technical description of the Insects most common to the various localities of the British Isles. By Maria E. Catlow. London: Reeve, Benham and Reeve, King William Street, Strand. 1848.

"Bright troops of virgin moths and fresh-born butterflies."

But their purpose in collecting these beautifal creatures, with a few honorable exceptions, seems to have been limited to the formation of pretty pictures by the arrangement of the gaily colored insects, according to the caprice or the taste of their captors.

It is a well established fact, that the at-weavers and the Sheffield cutlers have long tention of observant minds has ever been been noted for their enthusiasm in search of more or less attracted to the wonders of the insect world from a very remote period. We meet with numerous references to insects in the most ancient records which have been preserved to us; and in the oldest of these the industry and foresight of certain insects, and the ravages of others, are specially brought under our notice. Nor is it difficult to account for this. The splendid hues of many insects, the remarkable forms of others, and the curious habits of all, are well calculated to excite the admiration even of those who know nothing of them scientifically; while the extensive injuries committed by associated bands of creatures, individually so insignificant, could scarcely fail to confer importance upon an enemy, against whose invasions the sufferers must have felt themselves to be altogether powerless.

The publication of Kirby and Spence's invaluable "Introduction to Entomology" gave a new direction to the study of insects, and taught their collectors that there was a far higher purpose to be attained than the mere admiration of elegant forms and gay colors. It showed beyond dispute that the external forms of these creatures are the least curious and least instructive sources of interest attaching to them; and the popular style of the work at once secured for it an elevated rank in scientific literature, which, notwithstanding sundry unavoidable minor errors of detail, it will ever retain. In consequence of the acknowledged merit of this work, we shall not hesitate to borrow from its valuable pages such illustrative passages as may tend to further the object we have in view,

The scientific study of insects may be traced back to a much earlier period on the Continent than in our own country; but we very much doubt whether, even there, the same class of individuals were ever so devoted to the pursuit as, to their honor, they have long been among ourselves. Crabbe's "friend, the weaver,' "" was no imaginary the vindication of the study of insects personage; nor is the poet's description of from the charge of being either a frivolous his hero's ardent pursuit of this" untaxed or an unprofitable mode of occupying time. and undisputed game," by any means a But although this admirable work did mere creation of the fancy. The Spitalfields much towards diffusing a taste for the study

of insect life, and consequently tended | vers, the authority for each being scrupugreatly to dispel much of the ignorance lously given. Having by this means exhiwhich had previously prevailed relative to bited the kind of material the young entonumerous obscure points of insect economy, mologist has to work upon, the author, in yet even at the present day it is by no the second book, proceeds to give lucid dimeans unusual to meet with persons, tolera-rections for the "Collection and Preservably well informed upon other points, who tion of Insects," with the mode of investiwould see nothing suspicious in the famous gating them. In the third book he treats Virgilian recipe for the production at will of of the "Physiology or Anatomy of Insects;" a swarm of bees from the carcass of a pur- and in the fourth, of their "Classification." posely slaughtered ox, or in Kircher's direc- The whole is illustrated by numerous beautitions for breeding serpents; who can be-ful wood-cuts, with two exceptions drawn lieve, with Hamlet, that the "sun breeds upon the blocks by the author himself; and maggots in a dead dog;" that a horse-hair the character of the book is well expressed will turn to an eel; and that Aphides are by the words of the preface, where it is spothe effect, and not the cause of honey-dew.ken of as "a simple introduction, a kind of The size and price of Kirby and Spence's "reading-made-easy,' to the youthful buttervolumes unfortunately placed them beyond fly-hunter;" and this is precisely the sort of the reach of general readers; they conse- work required by those interesting members quently remained sealed books to precisely of the community.

that class who would the most gladly have But this excellent work is only introducavailed themselves of the valuable informa- tory; and consequently contains no specific tion contained in them. No effort to remedy this, at least none that we are aware of, was made before the appearance of the three volumes on insects in Charles Knight's "Library of Entertaining Knowledge," which were precisely the description of books to rivet the attention of the reader, and to lead him on to examine for himself. In these volumes, the substance of Kirby and Spence's "Introduction," and of other generally inaccessible works, in most cases given in the very words of the authorities, is combined with much original matter from the pen of Professor Rennie, the compiler of the work. The three volumes are, moreover, profusely illustrated with wood-cuts, and their low price places them within the reach of all though not free from error, they are admirably calculated to awaken and diffuse a taste for the observation of insects and their habits.

descriptions or characters beyond those of the classes and orders; these could not have been added without defeating the author's object, by increasing the bulk and enhancing the price of his book, with but little adequate advantage to the purchaser. Other books are thus necessary to those whom Mr. Newman has assisted over the threshold of the science. The embarrassment consequent on the very abundance of the materials for study offered by this science, must obviously render the opportunity of consulting accurate figures of insects an advantage of primary importance to the young entomologist. Unfortunately, however, the extent of the subject has precluded the possibility of givmore than a selection of the most typical forms in any general work, even when confined to British insects; and the necessarily high price of standard illustrated books on Entomology, confines the possession of such The best popular guide to the scientific publications to the wealthy. For example, study of Entomology that we are acquainted even such admirable works as those of with, is Mr. Newman's "Familiar Intro- Stephens and Curtis, in which are given deduction to the History of Insects." Being scriptions of all known British insects, alhimself practically well acquainted with the though the illustrations are confined to a subject, and knowing from experience pre- figure of one species in each genus, so excisely the sort of aid required by beginners, tensive is the subject that they are both very the author has made it his aim throughout voluminous and very expensive. Several the volume to give the best kind of informa- volumes of Jardine's "Naturalist's Library” tion in the plainest language; and in this published at a moderate price, are devoted endeavor he has been eminently successful to insects, and contain beautiful figures and The volume is divided into four books. The good descriptions of a goodly number of first of these "The History of Insects" British insects, and consequently did much -contains a series of histories of some of towards supplying the want; and Miss Catthe most remarkable species, copied for the low's pretty little volume, just published by most part from the works of original obser- the Messrs. Reeve, will be found an excel

lent accompaniment to Mr. Newman's "In- | enumerate the various useful arts and machines to troduction;" in fact we know of no more which they have given birth, not aware that He acceptable present to the young student of Entomology than these two books. Miss Catlow's Popular British Entomology" contains an introductory chapter or two upon classification; these are followed by brief generic and specific descriptions in English of above two hundred of the commoner British species, together with accurate figures of about seventy of those described. The work is beautifully printed, and the figures for the most part nicely colored; and will be quite a treasure to any one just commencing the study of a fascinating science.

The publishers of Miss Catlow's little book have in preparation a charming popular work on Entomology, to be called "Episodes on Insect Life." We have been favored with a sight of the proof sheets, and must say that the book is admirably adapted to induce the reader to dip below the surface, and to make himself further acquainted with more of the sober realities of insect life, which, we can assure him, he will find fully as interesting as those so temptingly shown up in these delightful episodes. Many of the illustrations are exceedingly droll; insects being made to figure in them in all sorts of funny characters, and the humor displayed in the descriptions is quite on a par with that of the illustrations, which we must not omit to say are exquisitely drawn on stone in the German style.

But from this digression on books we

must return to insects.

who teaches man knowledge' has instructed these despised insects to anticipate him in many of them. vention of turning earth into artificial stone, a very The builders of Babel doubtless thought their inhappy discovery; yet a little bee had practised this art, using indeed a different process, on a small scale, and the white ants on a large one, ever since the world began. Man thinks that he stands unrivalled as an architect, and that his buildings are without a parallel among the works of the inent opinion did he attend to the history of insects: ferior order of animals. He would be of a differ he would find that many of them have been ar chitects from time immemorial; that they have had their houses divided into various apartments, and containing staircases, gigantic arches, domes, colonnades, and the like; nay, that even tunnels their own size, as to be twelve times bigger than are excavated by them so immense, compared with that projected by Mr. Dodd to be carried under the Thames at Gravesend. The modern fine lady, who prides herself on the lustre and beauty of the scarlet hangings which adorn the stately walls of her drawing-room, or the carpets that cover its floor, fancying that nothing so rich and splendid was ever seen before, and pitying her vulgar an and rushes, is ignorant all the while, that before cestors, who were doomed to unsightly whitewash she or her ancestors were in existence, and even before the boasted Tyrian dye was discovered, a little insect had known how to hang the walls of its cells with tapestry of a scarlet more brilliant than any her rooms can exhibit, and that others daily weave silken carpets, both in tissue and tex ture infinitely superior to those she so much admores. No female ornament is more prized and costly than lace, the invention and fabrication of which seems the exclusive claim of the softer sex.

But even here they have been anticipated by these little industrious creatures, who often defend In their "Introductory letter," Kirby their helpless chrysalis by a most singular coverand Spence set forth the claims of their sci-ing, and as beautiful as singular, of lace. Other ence to a consideration equal, if not supe-tures. What vast importance is attached to the arts have been equally forestalled by these crearior, to those of the other branches of Natural History. They show the sources of pleasure opened to the entomologist from the inexhaustible nature of the subject, the infinite variety and beauty of insects, their curious habits, the instruments of attack and defence with which they are provided for their own protection, as well as those expressly intended for the construction of habitations for their progeny; and, above all, the religious instruction to be drawn from an acquaintance with these wonderful From this letter, we make an interesting extract, showing that in most of his boasted inventions, man has long been anticipated by the insect race.

little creatures.

"The lord of the creation plumes himself upon his powers of invention, and is proud to

invention of paper! For near six thousand years one of our commonest insects has known how to make and apply it to its purposes; and even pasteboard, superior in substance and polish to any we can produce, is manufactured by another. We imagine that nothing short of human intellect or an air-pump-yet a spider is in the daily habit can be equal to the construction of a diving-bell of using the one, and, what is more, one exactly similar in principle to ours, but more ingeniously contrived; by means of which she resides unwetted in the bosom of the water, and procures the necessary supplies of air by a much more simple process than our alternating buckets-and the the other, producing a vaccum when necessary for caterpillar of a little moth knows how to imitate its purposes, without any piston besides its own body. If we think with wonder of the populous cities which have employed the united labors of man for many ages to bring them to their full extent, what shall we say to the white ants, which

"That insects should thus have forestalled us

require only a few months to build a metropolis Another family of bees includes the upcapable of containing an infinitely greater number holsterers, which excavate burrows in the of inhabitants than even imperial Nineveh, Baby-earth for the reception of their eggs. These lon, Rome or Pekin, in all their glory? burrows they line with an elegant tapestry in our inventions, ought to urge us to pay a closer of leaves or flowers, cut from the living One of these bees selects the brilattention to them and their ways than we have plants. hitherto done, since it is not at all improbable that liant scarlet petals of the poppy for the drathe result would be many useful hints for the impery of her apartments. After having exprovement of our arts and manufactures, and per- cavated a burrow about three inches in depth, haps for some beneficial discoveries. The painter and polished its sides, she flies to the popmight thus probably be furnished with more brilliant pigments, the dyer with more delicate tints, pies, cuts oval pieces out of their flowers, and the artizan with a new and improved set of and returns to her cell with these portions tools. In this last respect insects deserve particu- so cut out carried between her legs. The lar notice. All their operations are performed with petals of poppies, before they are fully exadmirable precision and dexterity; and though panded, are much wrinkled; the bee manthey do not usually vary the mode, yet that mode ages to smooth out the wrinkles, and otheris always the best that can be conceived for at-wise fit the pieces to the places they are to taining the end in view. The instruments also with which they are provided are no less wonder-occupy. Placing three or four coats at the ful and various than the operations themselves. bottom, she overlays her walls with the brilThey have their saws, and files, and augurs, and liant tapestry, proceeding from below upgimlets, and knives, and lancets, and scissors, and wards until the whole is covered. An egg forceps, with many other similar implements; is then deposited, a supply of food provided, several of which act in more than one capacity, and the upper portion of the lining folded and with a complex and alternate motion to which in so as to envelope the contents of the cell, we have not yet attained in the use of our tools. the mouth of which is last of all closed with Nor is the fact so extraordinary as it may seem at earth. first, since He who is wise in heart and wonderful in working, is the inventor and fabricator of the apparatus of insects; which may be considered as a set of miniature patterns drawn for our use by a Divine hand."-Introd. i. 14.

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The proceedings of the other upholsterer bees are equally curious; they usually select the green leaves of trees for the lining of their burrows, which are filled with several thimble-shaped cells, placed one within the other, the rounded end of one fitting into the mouth of that next below it.

The wonderful building operations of the white ants form the subject of a most interesting paper by Smeathman, quoted by Mr. Newman from the "Philosophical Transactions." This chapter is too long for extract we must therefore beg to refer our readers to the work itself, with the assurance that the perusal will amply repay the trouble; but we may be allowed to quote a summary account of the labors of these insects from Kirby and Spence.

There is no exaggeration in these statements. The little stone-making insect first alluded to is a member of the family of mason-bees, all of which build their solid houses of artificial stone, formed principally of grains of sand selected with great care, one by one, and formed into masses with their own viscid saliva. With these masses of sand, transported singly in her jaws to the site of her building, the little architect constructs a number of cells, in each of which she deposits an egg, together with a supply of provision to be ready for the young larva on its exclusion the vacuities between the cells "That such diminutive insects (for they are are filled up with the same material as the cells themselves are formed of, and the whole scarcely a fourth of an inch in length), however numerous, should, in space of three or four years, is finally covered with a coating of coarser be able to erect a building twelve feet high, and of grains of sand. The mass of cells thus a proportionate bulk, covered by a vast dome, finished looks more like a splash of mud adorned without by numerous pinnacles and turcasually thrown on the wall than anything rets, and sheltering under its ample arch myriads else, and is so hard as not to be easily pene- of vaulted apartments of various dimensions, and trated by a knife; but hard as it is, certain constructed of different materials-that they should, parasitic insects contrive to pierce the struc-moreover, excavate, in different directions and at ture with their boring instruments, and to deposit their eggs in the cells; the larva proceeding from the eggs of these intruders leading from the metropolis into the adjoining devour the provision stored up by the indus-country to the distance of several hundred feettrious cell-builders, whose care for the safety of their offspring is thus frustrated.

different depths, innumerable subterranean roads or tunnels, some twelve or thirteen inches in diame

ter, or throw an arch of stone over other roads

that they should project and finish the (for them) vast interior staircases or bridges lately described

--and, finally, that the millions necessary to exe-lence threaten to disturb the perpendicularcute such Herculean labors, perpetually passing ity of the habitation, the tenant instantly to and fro, should never interrupt or interfere with creates a vacuum in the lower portion by each other, is a miracle of nature, or, rather, the

Author of nature, far exceeding the most boasted ascending to the upper part; its body fills works and structures of man: for, did these crea- the upper portion, and thus leaves the lowtures equal him in size, retaining their usual inermost free of air; the vacuum so caused stincts and activity, their buildings would soar to serving to attach the tent quite firmly to the the astonishing height of more than half a mile, leaf. and their tunnels would expand to a magnificent cylinder of more than three hundred feet in diameter; before which the pyramids of Egypt and the aqueducts of Rome would lose all their celebrity,

and dwindle into nothing."--Introd. i. 512.


with insect economy, is that succession of One of the most curious things connected changes from the egg to the perfect state through which all insects pass. In reference to these changes, or metamorphoses, as they are called, which equal in wonder while they surpass in interest any of the transformations recorded in the pages of Ovid, Kirby and Spence have some appropriate remarks which are by no means exaggerated.

"Were a naturalist to announce to the world

Examine the nest of the common wasp. This is generally formed in an underground cavity, usually in a bank; it is oval in shape, about sixteen or eighteen inches long, and twelve or thirteen broad. A well-peopled nest will contain at least 16,000 cells, similar in shape to those of the honey bee, and like them disposed in combs or layers; but the discovery of an animal, which, for the first five years of its life, existed in the form of a serunlike those of the bee, the cells of the pent; do not contain honey, are not formed in weaving a shroud of pure silk of the finest texture, which then, penetrating into the earth, and double layers, and do not consist of wax, contracted itself within this covering into a body but of the same substance as the external without external mouth or limbs, and resembling, envelope of the nest. What is this substance? more than anything else, an Egyptian mummy; No other than paper, of a grayish color, and which, lastly, after remaining in this state which the insect instinctively knew how to without food and without motion for three years manufacture from the fibres of wood, detach-longer, should, at the end of that period, burst its ed by their jaws from posts, rails, or other places, long, long before the art of making paper as we now see it was discovered by man; and the pasteboard nests of another wasp, a native of Ceylon, vie in whiteness, solidity, and polish with the most superior article of that description ever fabricated by the most celebrated manufacturers.

The spider alluded to as having forestalled the diving-bell, forms her curious habitation at the bottom of the water. She spins a number of loose threads, which are attached to the leaves and stems of water-plants; over this frame-work she next spreads a transparent varnish, impervious to water; then by ascending to the surface she manages to carry down into the chamber thus formed a bubble of air, and fills the chamber by repeating her visits to the surface a sufficient number of times to effect its distension, each time carrying down a bubble of air.

ering, and start into day a winged bird,-what silken cerement, struggle through its earthly covthink you would be the sensation excited by this strange piece of intelligence? After the first doubts of its truth were dispelled, what astonishment would succeed! Amongst the learned, what surmises!-what investigations! Amongst the vulwould be interested in the history of such an ungar, what eager curiosity and amazement! All heard of phenomenon ; even the most torpid would flock to the sight of such a prodigy.”—Introd. i. 58.

And yet, without exciting much surprise, this is what is continually going on under our eyes: with divers modifications of minor import, it is the course through which have passed the countless hosts of insects, many of which were formerly believed to be the result of spontaneous generation—an absurd idea, by no means exploded in our own days. Harvey's aphorism-omne vivum ex ovo-is no less true of the most minute insect than On the under side of the leaves of pear- of the gigantic ostrich. On the score of trees may often be seen, in spring, a number variety the advantage is indeed on the side of spine-like projections, about a quarter of of the insect: for while the chick, when it an inch high, and not much thicker than a breaks the shell of its prison, is in all repin. These are the silken tents of a little spects a bird, and as such fitted to inhabit caterpillar, which preys upon the paren- the same element as its parent, the young chyma or pulp of the leaf. The tent is at- insect frequently passes the preliminary tached to the leaf by a number of silken stages of its existence in a medium which threads; but should any extraordinary vio-would be fatal to its perfect progenitor. The

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