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decomposition arrested by its abstraction, so that the imbedded mammoth remains at this moment in the same state that it was four thousand years ago; and in which, under the same circumstances, it undoubtedly would be, four thousand or four millions years hence; on the other hand, the possibility of the dissipation of all the constituent parts of matter, or their fixation in the state of glass, resulting from the agency of indefinitely increased heat: or, lastly, let us consider the tremendous effects of condensed electricity in the form of lightning:—and we shall necessarily acknowledge that though in their usual state the constituents of the atmosphere are among the most tranquil agents of nature, yet, when their power is concentrated, they are the most awfully energetic. In the mineral kingdom the most characteristic property of the several species appears to be a disposition to a peculiar mode of mutual attraction among the particles composing the individuals belonging to them; from which attraction, when exerted under the most favourable circumstances, result that symmetry and regularity of form, to which the term crystal has been applied. The transparency and degree of hardness of crystals are various, and depend much upon external circumstances. The form is fundamentally the same for each species, though capable of being modified according to known laws; and the substance is chemically the same throughout its whole extent. Every atom of a crystallized mass of gypsum consists of water, lime, and sulphuric acid, united in the same proportions as are found to exist in the whole mass, or in any given part of it. The individuals of the vegetable kingdom differ very remarkably from those of the mineral, both in form and substance. In their form we see nothing like the mathematical precision of crystallization; and in their substance they differ widely, according to the part of the vegetable which is examined: so that, independently of previous knowledge of the species, we could hardly discover any natural relation between the several constituent parts of the individual. What is there in the insulated leaf of a rose or of a peach tree, that would lead us to expect the fruit of the one or the flower of the other! But the most remarkable line of distinction between vegetables and the individuals of the preceding kingdom consists in their mode of increase and reproduction. Minerals can only increase, as such, by the apposition of particles specifically similar to themselves; and can only be originally produced by the immediate combination of their constituent elements. But vegetables have an apparatus within them, by means of which they can assimilate the heterogeneous particles of the surrounding soil to their own nature; and they have also the power of producing individuals specifically the same as themselves: in common language, they are capable of contributing to their own growth, and to the continuation of their species. And as they produce these effects by means of internal organs adapted to the purpose, they are hence denominated organized bodies. The individuals of the animal kingdom very closely resemble those of the vegetable in the two properties just described. The respective organs differ, as we might expect, in their form and position; but in their functions or mode of action, there is a strong analogy, and even similarity, throughout. But animals differ from vegetables more remarkably than these do from every unorganized form of matter, in being endued with sensation and volition; properties which extend the sphere of their relations to such a degree, as to raise them immeasurably above all other forms of matter in the scale of existence. In distributing the individuals of the material world among these four kingdoms of nature, there occasionally prevails considerable obscurity, not only with respect to the true place which an individual ought to occupy in the scale of a particular kingdom; but even with respect to the question, under which of the four kingdoms it ought to be arranged; b
this obscurity arising of course from the points of resemblance apparently balancing, or more than balancing, the points of difference. Let us for instance, in the atmospherical kingdom, take a fragment of a perfectly transparent crystal of pure ice; and, under ordinary circumstances, it would be difficult, either by the sight or the touch, to distinguish it from a fragment of transparent quartz, or rock crystal; indeed the transfer of the original term xpdoraxxos, from the one to the other, shows the close resemblance of the two. Some minerals again so nearly resemble vegetables in form, as to have given rise to specific terms of appellation, derived from the vegetable kingdom; as flos ferri, mineral agaric, &c. And, lastly, many of the animals called sea-anemones so far resemble the flower called by the same name, that their real character is at first very doubtful to those who are unacquainted with the animals of that genus. But, omitting these rare and equivocal instances, and avoiding the confinement of abstract definitions, we may safely affirm that, of all the kingdoms of nature, the individuals of the animal kingdom have the most extensive and important relations to the surrounding universe. And I need not here insist on the obvious inference, that if among the kingdoms of nature animals hold the first rank, in consequence of the importance of these relations, among animals themselves the first rank must be assigned to man.
The Physical Character of Man, compared with that of other Animals.
ALTHOUGH, when viewed in the aggregate of his faculties, moral as well as physical, man confessedly holds the first rank among animals; yet, if we exclude from our consideration those intellectual powers and moral qualities by which he is essentially characterized, and confine our view to his mere animal nature, we find that he scarcely differs in any important point from any of the species of the higher classes. In each there is the same necessity for air, and sleep, and food; and the nature of the food and the mode of its digestion are not materially different: the nutrient fluid extracted by the process of digestion is converted into blood of the same character, and distributed in the same manner through the system: the constituent parts of the body and their mode of growth are almost precisely the same; for the bone, muscle, tendon, skin, hair, and brain of the horse, or deer, or tiger, or bear, scarcely differ in their physical or chemical characters from the corresponding parts in man: similar secretions, as the bile, tears, and saliva, are separated by similarly constructed organs; and similar parts become similarly diseased: the special senses of sight, hearing, taste, and smell, are exercised through the medium of similar organs, simply modified according to the particular wants of individual species: the sources of mere bodily pain or pleasure are generally the same: the instinctive affections, passions, and propensities are the same, and are manifested in the same way; the angry look of a dog, for instance, bespeaking the internal feeling as strongly as that of a man; and the playful and rapid movements of the young puppy resembling the careless hilarity of childhood, no less than the stayed motions and wary eye of the aged hound resemble the sedateness of the aged human being. Probably, however, it would be nearer the truth, were we to say that man, if divested of his intellectual powers, and endued merely with his animal nature, would be inferior to the brutes; for, possessing, as is the case, very few of the prospective or preservative instincts, he would be unable, without the aid of his intellectual powers, to provide for some of his most imperious wants. But we may go even further than this. Let us suppose, for instance, a community of human individuals, who, though not gifted with a sufficient degree of intellectual powers to instruct others, or improve themselves, were yet endued with them to a degree sufficient to render them, if the opportunity offered, docile to a certain extent, and capable of executing many of the common offices of life; (and what town or village does not present to our observation individual instances of such unhappy shadows of human nature ?) how could a community like this exist; in which, though all, by the terms of the supposition, were capable of learning something, yet none would be capable of teaching anything? of what use under these circumstances would be that “instrument of instruments” the human hand, where there was no presiding mind to direct its movements? And, with respect to that wonderful auxiliary of the human powers, how incorrect is the reflection of those who have asserted that men are superior to brutes, only because they possess this instrument: and how truly philosophical is the opposite reflection, that man is not superior to other animals because he possesses this instrument; but he is provided with such an in