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What good would sight and hearing do to a creature, that cannot move itself to or from the object, wherein at a distance it perceives good or evil? and would not quickness of sensation be an inconvenience to an animal that must be still where chance has once placed it, and there receive the afflux of colder or warmer, clean or foul water, as it happens to come to it?'
I shall add to this instance out of Mr. Locke another out of the learned Dr. More, who cites it from Cardan, in relation to another animal which Providence has left defective, but at the same time has shown its wisdom in the formation of that organ in which it seems chiefly to have failed. What is more obvious and ordinary than a mole? and yet what more palpable argument of Providence than she? the members of her body are so exactly fitted to her nature and manner of life: for her dwelling being under ground where nothing is to be seen, nature has so obscurely fitted her with eyes, that naturalists can scarce agree whether slie have any sight at all, or no. But for amends, what she is capable of for her defence and warning of danger, she has very eminently conferred upon her; for she is exceeding quick of hearing. And then her short tail and short legs, but broad fore-feet armed with sharp claws; we see by the event to what purpose they are, she so swiftly working herself under ground, and making her way so fast in the earth as they that behold it cannot but admire it. Her legs therefore are short, that she need dig no more than will serve the mere thickness of her body; and her fore-feet are broad, that she may scoop away much earth at a time; and little or no tail she has, because she courses it not on the ground, like the rat or mouse, of whose kindred she is ; but lives under the earth, and is fain to dig herself a dwelling there. And she making her way through so thick an element, which will not yield
easily as the air or the water, it had been dangerous to have drawn so long a train behind her; for her enemy might fall upon her rear, and fetch her out, before she had completed or got full possession of her works.'
I cannot forbear mentioning Mr. Boyle's remark upon this last creature, who I reinember somewhere in his works observes, that though the mole be not totally blind (as it is commonly thought) she has not sight enough to distinguish particular objects. Her eye is said to have but one humour in it, which is stipposed to give her the idea of light, but of nothing else, and is so formed that this idea is probably painful to the animal. Whenever she comes up into broad day she might be in danger of being taken, unless she were thus affected by a light striking upon her eye, and immediately warning her to bury herself in her proper element. More sight would be useless to her, as none at all might be fatal.
I have only instanced such animals as seem the most imperfect works of nature; and if Providence shews itself even in the blemishes of these creatures, how much more does it discover itself in the several endowments which it has variously bestowed upon such creatures as are more or less finished and completed in their several faculties, according to the condition of life in which they are posted.
I could wish our Royal Society would compile a body of natural history, the best that could be gathered together from books and observations. If the several writers among them took each his particular species, and gave us a distinct account of its original, birth and education; its policies, hostilities, and alliances, with the frame and texture of its inward and outward parts, and particularly those that distinguish it from all other animals, with their peculiar aptitudes for the
state of being in which Providence has placed them, it would be one of the best services their studies could do mankind, and not a little redound to the glory of the all-wise Contriver.
It is true, such a natural history, after all the disquisitions of the learned, would be infinitely short and defective. Seas and deserts hide millions of animals from our observation. Innumerable artifices and stratagems are acted in the howling wilderness' and in the great deep,' that can never come to our knowledge. Besides that there are infinitely more species of creatures which are not to be seen without, nor indeed with the help of the finest glasses, than of such as are bulky enough for the naked eye to take hold of. However, from the consideration of such animals as lie within the compass of our knowledge, we might easily form a conclusion of the rest, that the same variety of wisdom and goodness runs through the whole creation, and puts every creature in a condition to provide for its safety and subsistence in its proper station.
Tully has given us an admirable sketch of natural history, in his second book concerning the Nature of the Gods; and thiạt in a stile so raised by metaphors and descriptions, that it lifts the subject above raillery and ridicule, which frequently fall on such nice observations when they pass through the hands of an ordinary writer.
No 122. FRIDAY, JULY 20, 1711.
Comes jucundus in ria pro vehiculo est.
PUBL. Syr. Frag. Anagreeable companion upon the road is as good as a coach.
A MAN's first care should be to avoid the reproaches of his own heart; his next, to escape the censures of the world. If the last interferes with the former, it ought to be entirely neglected; but otherwise there cannot be a greater satisfaction to an honest mind, than to see those approbations which it gives itself seconded by the applauses of the public. A man is more sure of his conduct, when the verdict which he passes upon his own behaviour is thus warranted and confirmed by the opinion of all that kuow hini.
My worthy friend Sir Roger is one of those who is not only at peace within himself, but beloved and esteemed by all about him. He receives a suitable tribute for his universal benevolence to mankind, in the returns of affection and good-will, which are paid him by every one that lives within his neighbourhood. I lately met with two or three odd instances of that general respect which is shewn to the good old knight. He would needs carry Will Wimble and myself with him to the country assizes. As we were upon the road Will Wimble joined a couple of plain men who rid before us, and conversed with them for some time; during which my friend Sir Roger acquainted me with their characters.
• The first of them,' says he, that has a spaniel by his side, is a yeoman of about an hundred pounds a
year, an honest man. He is just within the game-act, and qualified to kill an hare or a pheasant. He knocks down a dinner with his gun twice or thrice a week; and by that means lives much cheaper than those who have not so good an estate as himself. He would be a good neighbour if he did not destroy so many partridges. In short, he is a very sensible man; shoots flying; and has been several times foreman of the petty-jury.
The other that rides along with him is Tom Touchy, a fellow famous for “taking the law” of every body. There is not one in the town where he lives that he has not sued at a quarter sessions. The rogue had once the impudence to go to law with the Widow. His head is full of costs, damages, and ejectments. He plagued a couple of honest gentlemen so long for a trespass in breaking one of his hedges, till he was forced to sell the ground it inclosed to defray the charges of the prosecution : his father left him fourscore pounds a year; but he has cast and been cast so often, that he is not now worth thirty. I suppose he is going upon the old business of the willow-tree.'
As Sir Roger was giving me this account of Tom Touchy, Will Wimble and his two companions stopped short till we came up to them. After having paid their respects to Sir Roger, Will told him that Mr. Touchy and he must appeal to him upon a dispute that arose between them. Will it seems had been giving his fellow-traveller an account of his angling one day in such a hole: whien Tom Touchy, instead of hearing out his story, told him that Mr. Such a One, if he pleased, might - take the law of him' for fishing in that part of the river. My friend Sir Roger heard them both, upon a round trot; and after having paused some time told them with the air of a man who would not give his judgment rashly, that much might