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XCI. THE STUDY OF NATURAL HISTORY.
1. How to give habits of enterprise, patience, accurate observation, above all, how to develop the physical powers without engendering brutality and coarseness-are questions becoming daily more puzzling, while they need daily more to be solved in an age of enterprise, travel and emigration like the present. Without undervaluing other branches of science, it may be safely affirmed that natural history, or the history of the natural products of the earth, is capable of affording more to interest and instruct, more to refresh and relax, the well-disposed mind, on a very slight acquaintance with it, than any other pursuit.
2. Not a step can the learner advance in it but he meets with wonders that had never entered into his conception. The more he knows, the more he desires to know, and the further he advances, the more does he perceive how much delight is yet in store for him. The beneficent Creator of all has not only ordained that every part of his works should be good, should be adapted to answer its designed end and should contribute, in the highest degree of which it is capable, to the well-being of his creatures, but he has made everything "beautiful in its season."
3. He has so formed the mind of man that it derives pleasure from the contemplation of the glorious works around us. And it is, therefore, a worthy employment of our faculties to encourage this pleasure, and to place it upon a more solid and extended foundation than that afforded by the mere forms and colors of objects, however beautiful these may be. One great source of the pleasure derived from the inquiry into the structure and mode of existence of the living beings around us arises from the adaptation of their parts to each other and of the whole to the place it has to occupy.
4. The philosopher who studies the motions of the heavenly bodies, and the station of this earth among them, traces these adaptations no less clearly, but it requires profound and longcontinued study to be able to comprehend them aright. The
naturalist, however, can discern them, with far less research, in every plant that grows, in every animal that breathes, and he meets with a constant variety which prevents him from growing weary of the pursuit. Yet it is my conviction that the young are too frequently kept in ignorance of the wonders and beauties around them; and, whilst encouraged to learn many languages and read many books, they remain unacquainted with the bright volume of creation the pages of which are daily and hourly unrolled before them, "written," to use the impressive words of Lord Bacon, "in the only language which hath gone forth to the ends of the world unaffected by the confusion of Babel."
5. If boys were acquainted with the wonderful structure of insects, and of other animals low in the scale, they would not be found sticking pins into flies or tormenting cats; nor, when men, would they treat those noble domestic animals, the horse and the ox, with cruelty. The girl who has learned to derive enjoyment from observing the operations and watching the metamorphoses of insects, who knows their history and is conversant with their structure, habits and curious economy, and can tell you even of the parasites that feed on them, will mark these circumstances in animals higher in the scale and, ascending to her own species, will learn also the elevation of her own nature.
6. The young person who, in strolling through the fields and woods, can tell you the name of every wild flower and every bird you see, can inform you as to its habits, the time of its appearance and in what regions of the earth it is to be found, possesses a fund of useful and entertaining knowledge which must lend a charm to every ramble, and make his or her society prized by all who have souls to recognize and admire the manifold indications in creation of providential bounty and omniscient skill. If you seek an immunity from unprofitable day-dreaming, learn to create in your mind an interest in these natural facts.
7. The just relations of all created things to one another prove them to be the work of one almighty Designer. The
great globe may be considered as a museum, furnished forth with the works of the Supreme Being, man being placed in the midst of it, as alone capable of comprehending and valuing it. And if this be true, as certainly it is, what then becomes man's duty? Moralists and divines, with Nature herself, testify that the purpose of so much beauty and perfection being made manifest to man is that he may study and celebrate the works of God. If we have no vital and intelligent faith in the things which are seen, how shall we believe those that are not seen?
8. A happy sensibility to the beauties of nature should therefore be actively cherished and developed by the young. It engages them to contemplate the Creator in his wonderful works; it purifies and harmonizes the soul and prepares it for moral and intellectual discipline; it supplies a never-failing source of amusement; it contributes largely to bodily health; and as a strict analogy subsists between material and moral beauty, it leads the heart by an easy transition from the one to the other, and thus recommends virtue for its transcendent loveliness and makes vice appear the object of aversion and pity.
SELECT ETYMOLOGIES.-Conception : L. concep'tio; fr. concip'io, concep'tum, to take hold of; con, intens., and cap'io, cap'tum, to take; h., ac-cept, anti-cipate (an'li —an'te, before), capable, capacious, caption, captious, captivate, captive, cater, con-ceit, de-ceive, de-ception, e-man-cipate (e, out of, mancip'ium, a possession, a slave; fr. man'us, the hand, cap'io, I take), ex-cept, im-per-ceptible, inter-cept, oc-cupy, parti-cipate (pars, par'tis, a part), perceive, per-ception, pre-cept, prince (pri'mus, first, and capio), prin-cipal, receive, re-cipe (take or receive; imperative mood of recip'io), sus-ceptible, etc.... Conviction: L. convictio; fr. convin'co, convic'tum, to completely conquer; fr. con, intens., and vin'co, vic'tum, to conquer; h., con-vince, e-vince (to prevail, to prove), e-vict, in-vincible, pro-vince (lit., a conquered country), vanquish, victory. . . . Immunity: L. immu'nitas, exemption from public service; fr. im—in and mu'nus, mu'neris, a service or office, a gift: mu'nis, ready to serve; h., com-mon (L. commu'nis), com-municate L. (commu'nico, communica'tum, to divide a thing with one), com-munion, com-munity, muni-cipal (fr. municip'ium, a free city; fr. mu'nis and cap'io, I take), muni-ficent (lit., gift-making), re-muneration. . . . Parasite: Gr. parasilos, one who eats at another's expense at table; fr. par'a, beside, and sit'èō, I feed; fr. sis, wheat, food. . . . Stomach: Gr. stŏm'achos, the alimentary canal; fr. stom'a, a mouth.
1. THE noise and bustle which ushered in the morning were sufficient to dispel from the mind of the most romantic visionary in existence any associations but those which were immediately connected with the rapidly-approaching election. The beating of drums, the blowing of horns and trumpets, the shouting of men and tramping of horses, echoed and re-echoed through the streets from the earliest dawn of day, and an occasional fight between the light skirmishers of either party at once enlivened the preparations and agreeably diversified their character.
2. "Well, Sam," said Mr. Pickwick as his valet appeared at his bedroom door just as he was concluding his toilet; "all alive to-day, I suppose?" "Reg'lar game, sir," replied Mr. Weller; "our people's a-collecting down at the Town Arms, and they're a hollering themselves hoarse already." "Ah!" said Mr. Pickwick; "do they seem devoted to their party, Sam ?" "Never see such devotion in my life, sir." "Energetic, eh?" said Mr. Pickwick. "Uncommon," replied Sam; "I never see men eat and drink so much afore; I wonder they ain't afeerd of bustin'."
3. "That's the mistaken kindness of the gentry here," said Mr. Pickwick. "Wery likely," replied Sam, briefly. "Fine, fresh, hearty fellows they seem," said Mr. Pickwick, glancing from the window. "Wery fresh," replied Sam; "me and the two waiters at the Peacock has been a-pumpin' over the independent woters as supped there last night." "Pumping over independent voters!" exclaimed Mr. Pickwick. "Yes," said Sam; "every man slept vhere he fell down; we dragged 'em out one by one this mornin' and put 'em under the pump, and they're in reg'lar fine order now. Shillin' a head the committee paid for that 'ere job."
4. "Can such things be?" exclaimed the astonished Mr. Pickwick. "Lord bless your heart, sir!" said Sam; "why where was you half baptized? That's nothin', that ain't." "Nothing?" said Mr. Pickwick. "Nothin' at all, sir," replied
Sam. "The night afore the last day of the last election here the opposite party bribed the barmaid at the Town Arms to hocus the brandy and water of fourteen expected electors as was a-stoppin' in the house." "What do you mean by hocusing brandy and water?" inquired Mr. Pickwick.
5. "Puttin' laud'num in it," replied Sam. "Blessed if she didn't send 'em all to sleep till twelve hours arter the election was over! They took one man up to the booth in a truck fast asleep, by way of experiment, but it was no go-they wouldn't let him vote; so they bro't him back and put him to bed again.” "Strange practices, these," said Mr. Pickwick, half speaking to himself and half addressing Sam. "Not half so strange as a miraculous circumstance as happened to my own father at an election-time in this wery place, sir," replied Sam. “What was that?" inquired Mr. Pickwick.
6. "Why, he drove a coach down here once," said Sam; "'lection-time came on, and he was engaged to vun party to bring down woters from London. Night afore he was a-goin' to drive up, committee on t'other side sends for him quietly, and away he goes with the messenger, who shows him in— large room, lots of gen'l'm'n, heaps of papers, pens and ink, and all that 'ere. 'Ah, Mr. Weller,' says the gen'l'm'n in the chair; 'glad to see you, sir; how are you?' 'Wery well, thank'ee, sir,' says my father; 'I hope you're pretty middlin',' says he. 'Pretty well, thank'ee, sir,' says the gen'l'm'n; 'sit down, Mr. Weller-pray sit down, sir.'
7. "So my father sits down, and he and the gen'l'm'n looks wery hard at each other. 'You don't remember me?' says the gen'l'm'n. 'Can't say I do,' says my father. 'Oh, I know you,' says the gen'l'm'n; 'know'd you ven you vas a boy,' says he. 'Well, I don't remember you,' says my father. 'That's wery odd,' says the gen'l'm'n. 'Wery,' says my father. 'You must have a bad memory, Mr. Weller,' says the gen'l'm'n. 'Well, it is a wery bad 'un,' says my father. 'I thought so,' says the gen'l'm'n. So then they pours him out a glass of wine, and gammons him about his driving, and gets