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sea vegetables can be applied, there is not one so valuable as that to which they may be converted when in a state of putrescence, in the form of manure for promoting the inferests of agriculture and vegetation upon land.
How surprising that these pliant productions of the bed of the ocean, when worn out, or in a state of decay, should possesy the amazing qualities of rendering more fertile our fields and meadors, of causing the barren tracts to bring forth, and of renovating the exhausted powers of the cultivated districts ! On this strange circuit of reproduction, we cannot say, "out of the eater came forthi meat, and out of the strony came forth sweetness ;" but we have abundant reason to remark, that out of death came forth life, that out of putrefaction came forth vitality!
ANIMAL FLOWERS. Half removed from the objects I have just been considering, I observe on my way to those of a higher order, a number of curious productions in the form of fleshy excrescences among the rocks and stones, some with their hearls drawn close together, and others spread out at top in all the luxuriance of a full blown flower*. These on
we be exposed, without taking into consideration the darkness that must still have hung over our mental horizon, had it not been for the invigorating powers of those magical instruments that have brought a new creation to our notice ! -For some of the uses of glass, see p. 20, No. xiv. Cheap Mag.
* In Hugh's Natural History of Barbadoes, an account is given of Several species of animal flowers found in that island ; but these, it has been observed, are found in as great variety on the coast of Gal. loway, in Scotland, as any where in the West Indies, and are repeat. edly taken notice of in Sir J. SINCLAIR'S Statistical Account of Scoi. land, particularly by Mr LITTLE, minister of Colvend, Mr MUIRHEAD, minister of Urr, and Mr MARSHALL, minister of Buitile; but these curicus, productions of nature do not appear to be confined to the southern part of the Scottish coașt, for I have observed them in abundance within these few days, on the rocky shore in the neigh. bourhood of Dunbar; and although the general appearance in this quarter is of a red, or blocdy colour, yet I have witnessed several of diversified bues; one of which of a most beautiful appearance, with all its variegated rays fully expanded, was pointed out to me by my. son, in a shallow situation, among the rocks beneath the Ducbess of
account of their firm adherence to a particular spot, and apparent want of sensibility, might be taken for vegetables, but upon minute examination they will be found to constitute part of that superior class or uniting link betwixt the vegetable and animal creation, that I had oc. casion to mention in my paper upon Quadrupeds, under the appellation of Animal Flowers*, -Let us attend to the operations of one of them, and we shall soon discover, that what at first wore the appearance of a still, inanimate, full blown flower, has something of a living and active principle in it.' Touch its diverging rays or filaments, and see how they contract ;-but in this you may say it does no more than the sensitive plant ;-nake however another experiment, and put a shell-fish on its orifice, belold how it extends itself to receive it, with what efforts it sucks it in, and how the under part of the body swells as it forces the food into the stomach. It is not, however, capable of digesting the shelly substance, and see with what artifice it dis. gorges it, aster having stript it of its contents. These are certainly not the properties of mere vegetables.---Put what is that other one about ? " It lias put forth in aru' ray all its little fleshy horns or feelers; with some of them it has laid hold of an insect, which it is in the act of
conveying Roxburgh's park. In the situation in which it was discovered, it was well exposed to view, and appeared equally destitute of ani. mation as one of the flowers which decorate our gardens ; on being touched, however, it soon withdrew its numerous spreading filaments, and the whole assumed the appearance of a plain unformed mass.
These, on account of the resemblance they are supposed to bear to that flower in particular, have been generally styled Sea Anemon. ies; but in different situations, the form appears to vary as well as their colouring; for if these substances, when they issue from their holes in the rocks, on the island of Barbadoes, have the appearance of fine radiated flowers, of a pale yellow, or a bright straw colour, tinged with green, and of a form resembling that of a single garden marigold, it would seem, that some of those found in the south coast of Scotland, are not only diversified in point of colouring, but are pleasantly varied in their form and shape ; some resembling the şun.Rower; some the hundred-leaved-rose; and the greater 'number bearing the likeness of the poppy; while those which I have had an opportunity of observing, do not seem, when fully blown, to have a striking analogy to any of these flowers, but have much the appeare ance of a Scotch thistle, when in its half-contracted state. * See No. Xvir, page 158, Cheap Mag.
conveying to its mouth*; it soon is made to disappear in the aperture, and the dilating of the under extremity, or stalk of the flower, plainly evinces its progress downwards ; these, are certainly the functions of animal life, and from these and such like actions, what at first might appear as nothing more than vegetables, have justly been denominated Animal Flowers ; while, from their being capable of propagation by cuttings, and of being multiplied by divi. sions, they may with equal propriety be designated Saltwater, or Sea Polypuses, and be reckoned among the wonders of the Almighty in the deept.
Tenacious hold, nor will the dwelling leave. If the wonderful productions we have just been contemplating, may be considered as part of the connecting link betwixt the vegetable and animal kingdoms, the lowest gradation of this species may be accounted that which unites the animal to the fossil class; but what a prodigious variety of these exist, from the humble Oyster, which ve
After remarking, that the lively colours, and elegant forms of the Polypus, on the coast of Colvend, were equal to any thing related by natural historians respecting the sea-flowers of any other country, Mr MUIRHEAD proceeds to say: "To see a lower of purple, of green, blue, and yellow, &c. striving to catch a worm, is really amusing."
+ That these substances resemble polypuses, by the singular property of being multiplied and grafted by slips, experience has put be. yond a doubt. The reproductive power of the Barbadoes animal. flower is prodigious Many people coming to see these strange creatures, and occasioning some inconvenience to a person, through whose grounds they were obliged to pass, he resolved to destroy the objects of their curiosity; and that he might do so. effectually, caused all the holes out of which they appeared, to be carefully bored and drilled with an iron instrument, so that we cannot suppose but their bodies must have been entirely crushed to a pulp; nevertheless, they appeara ed again in a few weeks from the very same places !
Many persons, struck with the variety and beauty of shells, have made the collection of them the principal pursuit of their lives ; but, 23 is observed, (in the continuation of BUFFON,) it is to those men
getates in its shell, to the ponderous Tortoise that grazes the acquatic meadow*, or the wondrous Lobster that, shoots with rapidity accross the gulpht.
The distinguishing appendage of this class, and that from which they derive their name, is the bard crustaceous covering in which their bodies are enveloped, and how admirably fitted are they by this natural bulwark for that particular station in which Providence has placed them; for how could such soft and tender bodies have been otherwise defended and protected from injury among the many rugged and uneven masses where their habitations are assigned, and how could they escape from their numerous enemies, had they not the power of withdrawing and shutting themselves up, on the approach of danger, within their shelly covering. But besides this, there are several things remarkable in each individual species of this order, wbich demonstrates the whole to be fitted in the best possible manner for their various situations, habits, and
propensities, and to be the workmanship of the same BEING; whose wisdom and goodness are so conspicuously displayed in his other works. G G3
who have contemplated something more than the outsides of these animals, that we must resort for information on their nature and
* The great Mediterranean Turtle is the largest of any known species. One of these was caught in 1729 at the mouth of the Loire, said to be nearly 8 feet in length, and 2 over!
+ The wondrous Lobster.--The lobster, indeed, may be well styled wondrous. According to STURM, it is one of the most extraordinary creatures that exists. An animal, (observes this writer,) whose skin is a shell, and which it casts off every year, to clothe itself with new armour: An animai, whose flesh is in its tail and legs, and whose hair is in the inside of its breast; whose stomach is in its head; and which is changed every year for a new one, and which new, one.be gins by consuming the old: An animal which carries its eggs within its body, till they become fruitful, and then carries them outwar:lly under its tail: An animal which can throw off its legs when they become troublesome, and can replace them with others; ani lastly, an animal whose eyes are placed in moveable hoids. So singular a creature will long remain a mystery to the human mind. It affords new subject, however, to acknowledge and adore the power and wis · dom of the Creator, .
The Limpet, stationed as a sentinel on the top of the rock, and oft exposed to the mid-day's heat when the tide is out, as well as to the continual tossings and agitations of its waves when it is covered, is safely lodged in a little cone, impervious to the most penetrating rays of the sun, and so firmly cemented to the rock by means of the broad muscular surface he presents, that neither storny or tem-pest can prevail to loosen his grasp, or make him relin. quish his firm hold. The Muscle is not provided by nature with such a strong and firm sheet-anchor, but she is taught to supply the defect by art, and to spin to herself cables, by which she can be moored in security to her favourite spot*. The Periwinkle does not attach itself so firmly as either of these, nor has she the means or the power to do so; but her stony habitation is almost proof against accident, and she can roll about in safety, hermetically sealed up under her scaly covering. The Cockle þurrows deep in the sand or mud, and its edges are notched, in order to enable it to clasp more firmly together. The Nautilus, which can exist either as a diver or swimmer, and lives sometimes at the bottom, sometimes on the sure face of the ocean, has a power of contracting and drawing itself into its shell when it has occasion to descend to the bottom, and of unfolding and expanding its oars and sails, when it has an inclination to sport on the surface. The Cutler, or Razor Fish, never creeps, but penetrates per. pendicularly into the sand; and bow vicely is its long and slender shell formed for this purpose. The Crab is provided with claws and feet for scrambling about, but amongst such rugged precipices, and with so many enemies to encounter, it must often be at the expense of a limb; and, lo! it is endowed with the singular property of sbaking off and reproducing a new one at pleasuret. The
The sea has its spinners as well as the land ; and, if the common muscles may be compared to the caterpillars, the Pinnac Marinæ, v:hich are a larger species, may be likened to the spiders,
Nature has given this singular power to these creatures for the preservation of their lives, in their frequent quarrels.-In these, one crab lays hold of the claw of another, and crushes it so, that it would bleed to death, had it not the power of giving up the limb in the strange manner described by paturalists. If one of the outer joints