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We must now make an end of our extracts with giving the following anecdotes illustrative of the skill and proficiency of the Chinese in the useful arts. We omit a most execrable piece of fine writing, which is dashed into the passage, about the 'soaring nature of the mind; adamants, fibres, spectres, ores and other figures.
Having often obferved numbers of blind perfons, but never having met a wooden leg, or a deformed limb here, I concluded that good oculifts were very rare, and that death was the ufual confequence of a fracture. The viceroy told me I was right in my conje&ure; but when I told him of many things in England, and which I had brought people with me to inftruct the Chinese in, if it had been allowed, fuch as the reanimating drowned perfons by a mechanical operation, reftoring fight to the blind by the extraction or depreffion of the glaucoma, and repairing and amputating limbs by manual dexterity, both he and his compapions feemed as if awakened out of a dream, and could not conceal their regret for the court's coldness and indifference to our difcoveries. From the manner of these gentlemen's inquiries, the remarks which they made, and the impreffions they feemed to feel, I have conceived a much higher opinion of their liberality and underftanding. Whether in these two refpects the minifter be really inferior to them, or whether he acts upon a certain public fyftem, which often fuperfedes private conviction, I know not; but certain it is, that in a conversation with him at Gehol, when I mentioned to him fome recent inventions of European ingenuity, particularly that of the air-balloon, and that I had taken care to provide one at Pekin, with a perfon to go up in it, he not only difcouraged that experiment, but most of the others which, from a perufal of all the printed accounts of this country, we had calculated and prepared for the meridian of China. Whatever taste the emperor Cam-hi might have fhown for the fciences, as related by the Jefuits in his day, his fucceffors have not inherited it with his other great qualities and poffeffions; for it would now feem that the policy and vanity of the court equally concurred in endeavouring to keep out of fight whatever can manifeft our pre-eminence, which they undoubtedly feel, but have not as yet learned to make the proper ufe of. It is, however, in vain to attempt arresting the progrefs of human knowledge.-I am indeed very much mistaken, if all the authority and all the addrefs of the Tartar government will be able much longer to ftifle the energies of their Chinese fubjects. Scarcely a year now paffes without an infurrection in some of the provinces. It is true, they are ufually foon fuppreffed; but their frequency is a ftrong fymptom of the fever within. The paroxyfm is repelled; but the difeafe is not cured.' II. 363-365.
From Canton, the embassy proceeded to Macao; where Lord Macartney falls into that breach of the tenth commandment, so usually committed by Englishmen. Because the possession of that settlement is held by the Portuguese, on terms equally useless and degrading to them' (which we should fancy is rather
their own affair than our's), he is for our getting it from them by all means. 'If,' says he, they made a difficulty of parting with it to us on fair terms, it might easily be taken from them by a small force from Madras, and the compensation and irregularity be settled afterwards.'-II. p. 396. This monstrous sentiment is so unlike the rest of Lord Macartney's conduct, that we wish his biographer had omitted it, although he found it in his private journal. To publish is rather worse than to write such a thing. Lord Macartney was not bred under a late government at Calcutta; nor had England, in his day, bowed her lofty head to the example of France, in the profligate policy of later times.
ART. IV. Nouvelles Obfervations fur les Abeilles, adreffeés à M. Charles Bonnet, par François Huber.
New Obfervations on the Natural History of Bees. By Francis Huber. Tranflated from the original. 12mo. pp. 300. J. Ariderfon, Edinburgh. Longman & Co. London. 1806.
TH HE natural hiftory of the common bee has been more carefully examined, and more amply treated of than that of any other of the infect tribe. Yet fo complicated and extraordinary are fome of the proceffes of nature, that the moft diligent obfervers were long utterly unable to account for fome circumftances in the history of this infect, and published to the world the most oppofite explanations. Several of the most important and intricate problems, however, feem now to be finally refolved by the Genevefe obferver M. Huber, of whole valuable little work we purpose to lay before our readers a pretty full analyfis. We regard the facts contained in this volume as extremely important to the naturalift; for they not only greatly elucidate the hiftory of this wonderful infect, but prefent fome fingular facts in phyfiology hitherto unknown, and even unfufpected.
For the fake of those who may never have made bees the particular object of their study, it may not be unacceptable, previously to sketch, in a very few words, the ftriking outlines of their hi tory; and to explain fome terms generally employed in treating of them.
A hive contains three kinds of bees. 1. A fingle queen-bee, diftinguishable by the great length of her body, and the proportional fhortness of her wings. 2. Working-bees, female non-breeders, or, as they were formerly called, neuters, to the amount of many thoufands: these are the fmallest fized bees in the hive, and
are armed with a fting. 3. Drones or males, to the number perhaps of 1500 or 2000: thefe are larger than the workers, and of a darker colour; they make a greater noife in flying, and have no fting. The whole labour of the community is performed by the workers they elaborate the wax, and conftruct the cells; they ⚫ collect the honey, and feed the brood. The drones, numerous as they are, ferve no other purpofe than to infure the impregnation of the few young queens that may be produced in the course of the feafon; and they are regularly maffacred by the workers in the beginning of autumn.
It is the office of the queen-bee to lay the eggs. These remain about three days in the cells before they are hatched. white worm then makes its appearance, (called indifferently worm, larva, maggot or grub): this larva is fed with honey for fome days, and then changes into a nymph or pupa.* After paffing a certain period in this ftate, it comes forth a perfect winged infect.
M. Huber fets out with defcribing the kind of improved glafs hive which he employed in his experiments, and which he himself invented. He ftyles it the leaf-hive or book-hive, (ruche en feuillets, or ruche en livre), from its opening and fhutting somewhat in the manner of the leaves of a book. It confifts of several frames or boxes a foot fquare, and in width fifteen French lines, or fixteen English, that is, an inch and one third: the boxes are placed parallel to each other, and connected together by hinges. Availing himself of a known inftinct in the bees leading them to complete any piece of a comb in the direction in which they find it begun, unless they meet with fome infurmountable obftacle ; he placed pieces of comb in each box, in fuch a pofition as to induce them to build perpendicular to the horizon. The lateral furfaces of the combs were thus only three or four lines distant from the glass panes; and, by opening the different divifions of the hive fucceffively, both furfaces of every comb were, at pleasure, brought fully into view. M. Huber did not experience any difficulty in introducing fwarms into thefe leaf-hives; and he found, that after the lapfe of about three days, when the colony was fairly established, the bees fubmitted patiently to his daily infpections. Their tranquillity he afcribes, with fome probability, to the furprize, and perhaps fear, produced by the fudden admiffion
Some authors employ the terms chryfalis and aurelia in fpeaking of bees, as if they were fynonymous with nympha: but a nymph is diftinguished by being always rather foft, of a pale or dull colour, and exhibiting the traces of the extremities; while a chryfalis or aurelia is cruftaceous, and generally, as implied in the name, of a golden yellow colour,
of the light; for he observed that they were always lefs tractable after sunset, An engraved plan of the leaf-hive accompanies the work; and from it, along with the explanation given by the author, we have no doubt that any perfon, fond of observing the wonderful economy of the bufy tribe, might eafily construct such a hive; and we believe that he would alfo find it most excellently adapted to the purpofe in view. Both the queen-bee and the drones being confiderably larger than the working bees, by adapting glafs-tubes exactly to the fize of the workers, both queens and drones may be effectually excluded or effectually kept prifoners, as the nature of the experiments may require.
The work appears in the form of letters, written, or supposed to be written, by M. Huber to the late M. Bonnet, the celebrated author of the Contemplation de la Nature. Nine of the letters are occupied with the natural history of the queen bee; three treat of the formation of swarms; and the last, or thirteenth letter, contains some economical considerations on bees. The experiments are detailed with great perspicuity; pretty much in the familiar style in which they had been entered in M. Huber's jour nal: by this means, the reader is in some measure led to consider himself as looking on, or assisting the author to perform them. Subjoined to the first letter, there is an epistle from M. Bonnet to Huber, in which that philosopher suggests a number of experiments, the prosecution and results of several of which, are related in the subsequent part of the work.
In the first two letters, he treats of the impregnation of the queen bee, a subject hitherto involved in the most profound obscurity. The drones are evidently males; but the most careful observation had never been able to detect any thing like sexual intercourse between them and the queen bees. Schirach (a German naturalist, well known for his discoveries concerning bees) boldly denied that such intercourse was necessary to her impreg nation; and in this he is stoutly supported by our countryman Bonner. Swammerdam, again, remarking that the drones, at certain seasons, when collected in clusters, exhaled a strong odour, broached an opinion that this odour, proceeding from whole clusters of drones, was a kind of aura seminalis, which produced fecundation by penetrating the body of the female. There are generally from 1500 to 2000 males in a hive, while there are only two or three queens to be impregnated in a season; and Swammerdam seemed to have found, in his hypothesis, an easy explanation of this enormous disproportion in the numbers of the sexes. Réaumur, however, combated this fanciful doctrine; and our author has confuted it by direct experiment. He confined all the drones of a hive in a tin case, perforated with minute holes, sufficient to allow any emanation to escape. This tin case
was placed in a well inhabited hive, where there was a young queen, who could not fail to be subjected to the odour; but she remained barren.
Maraldi was the first to suggest another hypothesis, which apparently possessed a greater degree of probability; he imagined that the eggs were fecundified by the drones, after being deposited in the cells, in a way analogous to the fecundation of the spawn of fishes by the milters. Mr Debraw of Cambridge, (in Phil. Trans. 1777), strenuously supported this doctrine, and gave it a certain degree of plausability, by referring to numerous experiments: he even affirmed, that the milt-like fluid of the drones might be seen in the cells. The supposition that the drones performed this important office, satisfactorily accounted for the prodigious numbers of them found in a hive. But Mr Debraw does not seem to have attended to this circumstance,that great numbers of eggs are laid by the queen between the months of September and April, which prove fertile, although in that season there exist no males to supply the milt-like liquor. M, Huber is of opinion, that the appearance of a fluid had been merely an optical illusion, arising from the reflexion of the light at the bottom of the cell. He made the direct experiment of rigidly excluding every male from a hive, and yet found that eggs laid by the queen in this interval were as fertile as when the males were admitted. Mr Debraw's opinion, therefore, must be erroneous; for the fertility of these eggs must have depended on the previous impregnation of the queen herself, and not on any thing that could happen after they were deposited.
M. Hattorf, in a memoir published in Schirach's work, deavoured to show that the queen is impregnated by herself. This was also M. Schirach's opinion; and it seems to be that of Mr Bonner. It is an opinion, however, that requires no refutation. The cautious Huber, remarking how much confusion had arisen from making experiments with queens taken indiscriminately from the hive, (the source of the error just mentioned), thenceforward selected those which were decidedly in a virgin state, and with whose history he was acquainted from the moment they had left the cell.
The illustrious Linnæus was of opinion that the queen-bees formed an actual union with the drones; and he seems even to have suspected that this union proved fatal to the latter. His opinion on both points has now been verified. For, from many experiments made in the course of the years 1787 and 1788, M. Huber found, that the young queens are never impregnated as long as they remain in the interior of the hive: if confined within its walls,
Hiftoire Naturelle de la Reine des Abeilles, 1772.