Изображения страниц

therefore, that a preacher muft fpeak without book, because a player does fo, is furely unreafonable; unless you are willing to allow prompters, and pauses, and intervals of recollection, to the former, as well as to the latter; which, as the one cannot difpenfe with, the other will never demand.

3. The cafe of fenators in debate, and of law. yers in their pleadings, is equally foreign from the prefent purpofe. It is their ambition, not only to vindicate their own fentiments or party, but alfo to confute whatever may be urged on the other fide. To commit a difcourfe to Memory, is not the preparation that will fit them for fuch a task; because it must often be impoffible for them to forefee with certainty, what topicks it may be requifite to infift upon. It is by a perfect knowledge of the subject in queftion, and of the laws of his country, and by talents for extemporary fpeaking, derived from nature and improved by habit, that the lawyer, and the fenator, is enabled to acquit himself with honour in his publick appearances. And, of multitudes whofe intereft it would be to excel in this way, how few are ever able to rife to diftinction! In our two houses of Parliament, there are about feven hundred and eighty members; who, from their rank and education, muft be confidered as men of the higheft accomplishments; and yet the good fpeakers in this affembly, the most auguft in the world, are not very numerous a proof, that the mode of fpeaking, which there commands attention, is a talent not often met with, even among the most enlightened of mankind. Now, clergymen muft appear in publick every Sunday, prepared to inftruct the


people in their duty, and to advance nothing but what they are fuppofed to have feriously examined beforehand, and found to be agreeable to reason and revelation. They have no oppofition to combat by extemporary arguments; and they are, and ought to be, accountable to the church, if they affert any thing repugnant to found doctrine. But fenators and lawyers are allowed the greatest freedom of fpeech; and, if they keep within the bounds of decency, are not refponfible for what they may urge in behalf of their caufe, or party.

In Italy and France, fermons are generally pronounced without notes. But they are at the fame time accompanied with much theatrical gesture; and the confequence is, that the people confider them rather as an amusement, than as a part of the church-fervice. In England, the established clergy do for the most part read their fermons : and England has produced a greater number of good preachers, than any other country in Europe.



Remarks on the Memory of Brutes.-


SHALL now make a few remarks on the Memory of Brutes. That many of them have this faculty, is undeniable. We find, that whelps, as well as children, once burned, avoid the fire; and that horfes, oxen, and dogs, and many other animals, not only have their knowledge of nature enlarged by experience, but also derive from man various arts and habits, whereby they become useful to him, in war, hunting, agriculture, and other employments. Moft of thefe creatures know their fellows, and keepers: nay dogs and horfes learn to do certain things, on hearing certain words articulated. Beagles obey the voice of the hunter, and purfue, or defift from purfuit, as he commands; and the warhorfe is acquainted, not only with the voice of his rider, but also with the fummons of the drum and trumpet; as hunting-courfers are, with the opening of the hounds, and the found of the horn. Goats, fheep, and oxen, and even poultry, of their own accord, repair in the evening to their homes parrots acquire the habit of uttering words; and finging birds, of modulating tunes and bees, after an excurfion of several miles (as naturalifts affirm) return, each to her

hive; nor does it appear that they mistake another for their own, even where many are standing contiguous. Lions fpare him who attends them, when they would tear in pieces every thing elfe: doves fly to the window where they have been fed; and the elephant is faid to poffefs a degree of remembrance not many removes from rationality. I might mention too the dog of Ulyffes, who knew his mafter after twenty years abfence *; for the story is probable, though it may not be true as well as what is recorded in Aulus Gellius, of Androclus and his lion †: who, having received mutual civilities from each other in the defarts of Africa, renewed their acquaintance when they met in the circus at Rome, and were infeparable companions ever after. That the inhabitants of the water have memory, we cannot doubt, if we believe what Pliny, in his Natural History, Bernier, in his account of Indoftan, and Martial, in fome of his epigrams, have mentioned, of fishes kept in ponds, that had learned to appear, in order to be fed, when called by their respective names. Whether shellfishes, and fnails, and worms, and other torpid animals, have at any time given figns of Memory, I am not able to determine.

In fome particulars requifite to the prefervation of brutes, inftinct feems to fuperfede the neceffity of Remembrance. Young bees, on the first trial, extract honey from flowers, and fashion their combs, as fkilfully as the oldeft; and the fame thing may be remarked of birds building their nefts; and of brute animals, in general,

Hom. Odyff. xvii. 300.
Plin. Hift. x. 89. Mar. iv. 30. x. 30,


+ A. Gellius. v.


adopting, when full grown, the voice and the manner of life, which nature has appropriated to the fpecies. Some late authors pretend, that birds learn to fing from their parents; and that a lark, for example, which had never heard the lark's fong, would never fing it. But this I cannot admit, because my experience leads to a different conclufion; though I allow, that many animals have the power of imitating, by their voice, thofe of another fpecies. If this theory be juft; then a bird gets its note, as a man does his mother-tongue, by hearing it; and, therefore, the fongs of individual birds will be as various nearly, as the languages of individual men; fo that the larks of France would have one fort of note, thofe of Italy another, and those of England a third. I would as foon believe, that a dog, which had never heard any other voice, than that of a man, or of a fwine, would not bark, but fpeak, or grunt.-Man is taught by experience, what is fit to be eaten or to be drank. But brutes feem to know this by instinct. The mariner, who lands in a defart ifland, is cautious of tasting such unknown fruits, as are not marked by the pecking of birds. Dogs, and other animals, may be poisoned by the fuperiour craft of men; but leave them to themselves, and they are feldom in danger of taking what is hurtful, though they fometimes fuffer from fwallowing too much of what is good. And fome of thefe creatures, when their health is difordered, are directed by instinct to the proper medicine.

Without Memory, brutes would be incapable of difcipline; and fo, their ftrength, fagacity, and swiftness, would be in a great measure unferviceable to man. Nor would their natural in


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »