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Having mentioned this author, of whose sensible observations I have more than once availed myself, I shall conclude the present paper, by quoting the striking remarks with which he closes his dialogue on corn. We have had recourse to a thousand expedients to secure the enjoyment of this grain, and to alleviate the labors it costs We employ hard and polished instruments to facilitate the toil of rearing it, and consign the most painful part of the fatigue to horses and oxen. We accelerate the necessary motions and despatch of husbandry by wheels and levers, and a hundred other machines, which are useful in gathering, threshing, transporting, grinding, and baking. But, as dexterous and inventive as man has been for the mitigation of his labors, and the frugal management of his time, corn, which is the best and most necessary nourishment, obliges him to submit to a perpetual round of inevitable toils. It is here that the Deity has made necessity prevail over indolence, more than in any other instance whatever; and although his Providence alone increases what man endeavors to propagate by plantation and culture, He is more desirous to conceal his gifts and benefactions under the veil of human labor, than to render us inactive by supplying us with a constant flow of liberalities, which would only cost us the pains of collecting them together."
BIRDS.-THEIR STATE IN AUTUMN.
THERE are several peculiarities incident to the state of the winged tribes in this season, which require some notice.
may not be improper to notice. This method is to cover the heap, after having been two years exposed to the action of the air, with a thin surface of quicklime, which is then to be dissolved by sprinkling it over with a small quantity of water. "This lime causes the grains to shoot to the depth of two or three fingers, and encloses them with an incrustation, through which neither air nor insects can penetrate."
The breeding season is now over, but many of the young broods still receive the tender care of the mother bird. Their parental employment has been assigned as one reason of the general silence of these delightful musicians of the grove during the months of autumn. Whatever truth there may be in such a reason, there can be no doubt of the fact. With the exception of the few birds mentioned in a former paper, there are scarcely any of our native songsters which exert their musical powers at this season. They may be seen, however, flying in flocks or in families; and it is interesting to remark the judicious and tender attentions of the parent to the instruction of the young. The chief care of the migrating birds seems to be, to prepare their brood for their long and perilous journey. As if anticipating the necessity of a powerful and accustomed wing, they urge them to frequent flights, and incite them, by various arts, expertly to employ the power bestowed on them by the Creator, of finding their way through the trackless air.
Every thing is mysterious in the operations of instinct, and leads us directly and irresistibly from the creature to the Creator. We cannot believe that the feathered tribes, with their stinted faculties, have any real knowledge of what either they themselves, or their young ones, may require in encountering their distant aerial voyage; nor can it easily be supposed, indeed, that they have any previous anticipations as to the nature and extent of the journey they have to undertake. They do not reason, and form resolutions, in the same way as man. Whatever may be said of those occasional deviations from the practices of their species, and those accommodations to circumstances, which appear to imply a higher principle, there can be no doubt that all their great and common movements are nothing more than instinctive impulses. Among this number must be ranked their migratory propensities; and it is doubtless the same principle which incites them to take the preparatory steps. They train their young to flight, without knowing why. This is the first part of that unreasoning impulse to change their residence, impressed upon them by the Supreme Intelligence
-a Divine energy, the object of which they do not understand, but which most wonderfully guides them to the previous means, as well as to the ultimate action.
The following beautiful verses of an American poet, addressed to a Waterfowl, finely allude to this instinct of migration, and to the feelings it ever ought to inspire.
"Whither, 'midst falling dew,
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day,
Vainly the fowler's eye
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
Seek'st thou the plashy brink
Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,
There is a Power whose care
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast,―
Lone wandering, but not lost.
All day thy wings have fanned,
And soon that toil shall end;
Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest
Thou 'rt gone; the abyss of heaven
He who, from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
Will lead my steps aright."
It is chiefly during the months of autumn that these remarkable migrations take place, which I have noticed in the Winter' volume. On this subject, all that remains for me, at present, is, to state a few particulars,
referring the reader to that part of the work for more general details of the nature and principle of this very remarkable movement.
On looking over a list of British birds, which migrate during the course of this season, I find that there are thirteen different kinds which leave the country in August, twenty-nine in September, and nine in October; while, neither in the preceding nor the subsequent months, are there any departures. On the other hand, the place of these emigrants is supplied from the north, by fifteen species which arrive in August, ten which arrive in September, and eight which arrive in October. Numbers also arrive during the winter months, of which seven kinds appear in November, seventeen in December, and five in January.
It is worthy of remark, that of the birds which leave the British shores during autumn, upwards of thirty species frequent the heaths and woods, or the fields, hedges, and gardens; while but a few are inhabitants of the shores, lakes, and rivers; whereas, of those which visit the country, at this season, to become winter residents, there are but eight species which do not haunt the water, most of these being found on the seabeach. The reason for this it is not difficult to understand. In winter, the food of birds becomes scarce in the hills, valleys, and forests; but it is otherwise in the marshy and inland waters, and on the shores of the ever-flowing and ebbing sea, where various inhabitants of the watery element are generally accessible; always indeed on the beach during the reflux of the tide, and in other places, when the frost is not so intense as to bind even the fountains and running streams in icy chains. It is striking to observe the economy of Providence in this respect. He has sent the summer birds to southern climes, in search of the food which is ready to fail them, while, from sterner regions, He has invited fowls of other wing, and other habits, to reap the new harvests which He has provided for them, in conformity with their constitution, and the peculiar nature of the locality, and the season.
One of the most interesting and familiar tribes of birds
is that of the swallow. It consists of several distinct families, whose habits are various. Of these the martlet, or swift, departs among the first of the feathered race. The following remarks on this migration, extracted from the Mirror of the Months,' are worthy of notice. "In the middle of this month, (August,) we shall lose sight entirely of that most airy, active, and indefatigable of all the winged people, the temple-haunting martlet.' Unlike the rest of its tribe, it breeds but once in the season; and its young having now acquired much of their astonishing power of wing, young and old all hurry away together, no one can tell whither. The sudden departure of the above singular species of the swallow tribe, when every thing seems to conform together for their delight; when the winds are hushed, and the summer still lingers, and the air, in which they feed, is laden with plenty for them, and all the troubles and anxieties attendant on the coming of their young broods are at an end,—that, at the very moment when all these favorable circumstances combine to make them happy, they should suddenly disappear, is one of those facts which have hitherto baffled all inquirers. All that we can make of this mysterious departure, is, to accept it as an omen, the earliest and most certain, that the departure of summer is nigh at hand.”
There is yet another, and a more important truth which we may confidently deduce from this phenomenon, when we view it in connexion with the lessons taught by other analogies, which is, that the instinct that leads these aerial travellers so suddenly, and without any known material cause, to take their flight from our shores, doubtless directs them to regions where a still more abundant supply of grateful food is provided for them; where their presence is necessary for preserving the due balance of nature, by the destruction of the insects of another climate, and where they can securely spend the wintermonths amidst a profusion which would soon have been denied them in their native haunts. We may not certainly know that Africa is their destination, although the presumptions for this belief are pregnant; but we do certainly know that, to whatever quarter they migrate, they