« ElőzőTovább »
counted fatigue and pain as nothing in comparison with the great desire he felt to know the results. If then there be any merit in the discoveries, I must share the honour with him; and I have great satisfaction in rendering him this act of public justice."
We gladly give a place to this generous testimony, because, in the translation which we have seen of Huber's work, the preface which contains it is altogether omitted ; and it is only right that this faithful and intelligent man should share whatever of earthly immortality belongs to the name of his master. But the present reward of such an one, and we may
add of his wife and children, who equally shared in those studies which served to alleviate his misfortune, must have been found in the answer of a good conscience and the cheerful gratitude of him whom they delighted to serve. The whole
is a delightful instance of what a united family may achieve in
bearing one another's burdens," and how the greatest of all bodily misfortunes may with such assistance become no obstacle in the pursuit even of subjects which demand the fullest exertion of all our faculties. *
As to Huber himself, we took up his book with the not unreasonable prejudice of not liking to be led by a
blind guide,” and with the common notion that all his discoveries had been proved the
* As there is a rose without a thorn, so is there a bee without a sting. Captain Basil Hall discovered these in the neighbourhood of Tampico; and it was one of the highest compliments, and at the same time gratifications, that Huber ever received, when Professor Prevost procured and sent to him a hive of this species in his old age.
mere work of an imagination naturally rendered more lively by being severed from the view of external objects. We confess ourselves to have been entirely misled. Like
enthusiast who ventures to brave the prejudices of satisfied mediocrity by the bold statement of his discoveries, he met with a torrent of ridicule and abuse, which he hardly lived to see stemmed: but, as in the case of Abyssinian Bruce, further research is daily proving his greatest wonders to be true. Though fancy must always throw some little of her colouring over a subject such as thisfor all imputation of human motives to such creatures must be merely fanciful-yet Huber's facts are now admitted unchallenged. To him we are indebted for the knowledge that wax is produced from honey, of the impregnation of the queen-bee, of the existence of fertile workers, of artificial queens, of the use of the antennæ, of the senses and respiration of bees, and of endless discoveries in their general economy and management. Many, indeed most, of these things had been suggested before, but Huber, by his earnest zeal and captivating style, achieved for bees what Scott has done for his native lochs and mountains-he wrote them into notice and interest; —and he confirmed or refuted by actual experiment the floating notions of his predecessors, so that, though not positively the first originator of the doctrines that are generally referred to him, and though succeeding ages will doubtless question and improve upon his theories, Huber's name will ever remain in bee-knowledge—what that of Bacon is in induetive
philosophy—and Newton in science—and Watt in steam.*
Dr. Bevan's may be considered the standard work on our domestic bee. He has exhausted
every of information on the subject, whether from old writers or living authorities. We sometimes, perhaps, wish that he had been less chary of his own observations, for he seems often to have allowed them to give place to quotations from other authors. A glance at his “table of contents” will show the varied subjects into which his inquiries branch out, and no where will the bee-master find more pleasing or satisfactory information.
Bees have obtained little notice from the British legislature. In France and other continental kingdoms remission of taxes has sometimes been made in proportion to the number of hives kept by the peasant. The English common-law on the subject
* We can never read any account of Huber without reflecting, with regret, how much his lot would have been lightened, especially after his Maria's death, had he lived to witness the blessed invention of Books for the Blind. It was made in France shortly before the Revolution; and down to a very recent period our Blind Asylums derived their supplies from Paris, where several books of the English Bible and the Prayer-Book were executed in raised letters with very fair skill and effect. But in our country, within the last two or three years, one of a rarely gifted brotherhood, Mr. Henry Frere, of Poets' Corner, Westminster, has discovered a new method of raising the impress, which almost rivals in merit the original invention. We have before us part of the Scriptures done in this new style; the page is beautiful to look at; and we know, through the experience of an afflicted friend, how vastly more legible it is to a blind person's finger than the best done in the old way—also how much more durable it is. We trust this note may serve to fix the attention of benevolent persons on this happy novelty, and so further the adoption of it, until the whole Bible at least shall thus be made accessible to the private, the solitary study of the blind.
is also very
indefinite. It is a vulgar error to suppose that, if you keep up ringing, and are in sight
your bees, you may legally follow them into your neighbour's grounds, or that it is unlawful to keep an empty hive in your garden. Good neighbourship, however, should prove stronger in both these cases than
any defects or bonds of law. They almost come under the enactments of the Cruelty to Animals Prevention Act, but not quite; indeed, it would be a very nice question for our courts, whether they are domesticated animals or feræ naturæ.
The following story will perhaps settle the question of Tithe bees without the aid of the Commissioners. It is that of an ancient gentleman whose parish priest insisted on having the tenth swarm. After much debate
"• It shall be done,' quoth the gentleman. It fortuned within two daies the gentleman had a great swarme, the which he put into a hive, and toward night carried them home to the parson's house ; the parson, with his wife and familie, he found at supper in a faire hall; the gentleman saluted them, and told the parson he had brought him some bees. 'I, mary,' quoth the parson, • this is neighbourly done; I pray you carry them into my garden.' 'Nay, by troth,' quoth the gentleman, 'I will leave them even here.' With that he gave the hive a knock against the ground, and all the bees fell out; some stung the parson, some stung his wife, and some his children and family ; and out they ran as fast as they could shift into a chamber, and well was he who could make shift for himself, leaving their meate cold upon the table in the hall. The gentleman went home carrying his emptie hive with him.”—See Cotton,
We must pass by many curious anecdotes of wildbee hunting, with which all modern bee-books abound, and the assistance which the bee-cuckoo and honey-ratel afford to one another, and to man. A hunt in the prairies, however, described by Washington Irving, is too good to be omitted.
“ We had not been long in the camp, when a party set out in quest of a bee-tree, and being curious to witness the sport, I gladly accepted an invitation to accompany them. The party was headed by a veteran bee-hunter, a tall lank fellow in homespun garb, that hung loosely about his limbs, and a straw hat, shaped not unlike a bee-hive; a comrade, equally uncouth in garb, and without a hat, straddled along at his heels, with a long rifle on his shoulder. To these succeeded half a dozen others, some with axes, and some with rifles; for no one stirs from the camp without fire-arms, so that he may be ready either for wild deer or wild Indian. After proceeding some distance, we came to an open glade on the skirts of the forest. Here our leader halted, and then advanced quietly to a low bush, on the top of which I perceived a piece of honey-comb. This, I found, was the bait or lure for the wild bees. Several were humming about it, and diving into its cells. When they had laden themselves with honey, they would rise up in the air, and dart off in one straight line, almost with the velocity of a bullet. The hunters watched attentively the course they took, and then set off in the same direction, stumbling along over twisted roots and fallen trees, with their eyes turned up to the sky. In this way they traced the honey-laden bees to their hive, in the hollow trunk of a blasted oak, where, after buzzing about for a moment, they entered a hole about sixty feet from the ground. Two of the beehunters now plied their axes vigorously at the foot of the tree, to level it with the ground. The mere spectators and amateurs, in the mean time, drew off to a cautious distance,