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when casually, or even contemptuously pronounced, they fail not to produce the most falutary effect. The truth of this observation is établished by a wonderful event which happened formerly in the city of Canniacoutcham.
• A Bramin, whose name was Alamelan, being much addi&ted to intemperance, abandoned his family, and attached himself to a woman, whose very tribe rendered her infamous. From this time he lived the most abominable life, turned out a thief and a lot, and became a compound of jealoufy, lasciviousness, and almost every crime. Indeed, after his first shameful com
ommerce with this woman, the only good action of his life consisted in giving the pame of Na. rayanen to one of the numerous children she brought him. In his old age, the messengers of hell came to seize him. But in this moment of terror, wilhing for the assistance of his son, he began to call for him by name. At the words · Narayana! Narayana! the mi. nisters of Vichnou appeared and rescued him from the executioners of infernal vengeance. The latter contended, that it was unjuit io rob them of their prey, and asserted their right to a villain, who deserved every punishment they could inflict, and whose crimes were not allociated with a single virtue. The ministers of Vichnou granted the truth of this accusation, but affirmed, in reply, that the sacred name which he had pronounced had blotted out his offences.-To this it was answered, that by the utterance of the name in question, the Bramio had only called on his son, and that nothing having been farther from his thoughts than inploring the aid of Vichnou ; this casual effect could not merit the favour of the Deity, Fire, said the messengers of Vichnou, though one touch it without thinking of fore, will nevertheless burn him who touches it. Poison also destroys him who has swallowed it carelessly and without delign. And in the same manner does the name of God contain in its very essence the power of annihilating fins.'
Had we been moderators in this dispute, we should have fided with the ministers of Yamin, as superior to their adversaries both in theological knowlege and dialectical dexterity. Butour de cision would have been the effect of ignorance and prejudice : for the Bagavadam tells us that victory declared for the Gioifters of Vichnou, and Alfamelan escaped with impunity.
Histoire Naturelle des Quadrupedes Ovipares, et des Serpens,.&c. i.e. The Natural Hiftory of Oviparous Quadrupeds, and Serpents. By the Count de la Cepede, Keeper of the Royal Museum, and Member of several learned Societies. Vol. I. 40. pp. 651. Paris. 1788. Imported by Mr. Eimsley, in London,
HE late celebrated Count de BUFFON, finding the great
work on Natural History which he had undertaken, much too large a task for an individual to accomplish, especially when
his health began to decline, committed the class of animals, which is the subject of the present work, to his intimate friend, the Count DE LA Cepede. The literary productions of this lively and eloquent writer, have often engaged our attention, and while they have conveyed instruction on different subjects in natural philosophy and polite literature, they have afforded no small degree of pleasure by the animated style of the noble writer, and by the ardent zeal for the cultivation of science, with which he seems to be inspired. To say that M. de BUFFON could not have had a better coadjutor, might perhaps be a questionable affertion; but we think ourselves justifiable in sayo ing, that he hath chosen one, who hath executed the work afligned to him, in a manner, if not superior, at least equal to that in which even M. DE BUFFON himself would have perform. ed it. How far indeed he may have been aslifted by the papers, or by verbal hints of the great naturalist, does not appear from any part of the work; there can however, be little doubt but that he had made some observations on this class of animals, and that, most probably, Count DE LA CEPEDE had access to them,
The Author bath diftributed the animals described in this volume, into three classes ; viz. ift, Oviparous Quadrupeds with Tails : 2d, Oviparous Quadrupeds without tails: and 3d, Biped Reptiles. The first class is subdivided into the two genera of Tortoise and Lizard; the second into Grenouilles, Raines, and Crapauds t; and the third, containing only two fpecies, makes but one genus.
The marks which the Author has chosen for forming the characteristic diftinctions of the genera and species are judicious, They are such as are constant, fuffering no change by climate, foil, food, or other accidents; being present both in the male and female; and most frequently both in the young and old animals.
In the specific descriptions, which are very ample, and generally accompanied with figures, the Author has carefully examined and compared what former writers have said on the subject; and hath always quoted authorities for such particulars as he had no opportunity of obtaining by his own actual obfervation.
The tortoises are divided into two kinds ; viz. those inhabiting the fea, and those living in fresh water, or on the land.
* See Rev. lxvii. p. 289. Ixviii. p. 613. lxxi. p. 495 and 501.
+ We have here given the French generic names, because there is only one English word, viz. frog, answering to the two French words grenouilles and rainés. Crapaud is a toad. APP, Rev. Vel, LXXIX. Rr
Of the fix sea tortoises or Turtles, which the Count has dea scribed, two have only been very flightly mentioned by pre. ceding naturalists or travellers; one of them he calls Nafcorns, sufficiently distinguished from the rest by a horny protuberance on the nose: it is briefly noticed by GRONOVIÚs in his Museum, II. p. 8). N° 69, and seems to have been confounded by Linne with his Testudo imbricata, which furnishes the beautiful shell, in common use, and known by the name of tortoise-hell. The Naficorne, or horn-nosed turtle, is an inhabitant of the American seas near the equator, and is used for food. The Author expresses a wish that travellers would examine it more minutely, as its history is but little known at present. He calls the other la Tortue écaille-vert, or green-scaled turtle; it inhabits the south sea, near Cape Blanco, in New Spain; it is more delicate food than the common turtle, and its shell, having a beautiful greenith caft, is much valued by artificers.
As a specimen of the attention which the Author has given to the habits and economy of the animals described, we shall give the substance of his account of the manners of the Turtle.
The tortoise has, from time immemorial, been deemed the emblem of dulness and inactivity; the turtle, on the contrary, may be considered as the emblem of prudence. This quality, which, in animals, is the consequence of the dangers to which they are exposed, ought not to be thought extraordinary in turtles, when it is considered that their great utility makes them the objects of our most diligent search; and this search is the more eagerly pursued in proportion as it is less difficult and more profitable. If, however, some parts of their history tend to prove their superior inftinct, others, and indeed the greater number of them, thew that turtles are endowed rather with paffive than active qualities. Finding an abundant nourishment on the coafts which they inhabit, feeding sparingly, and contenting themselves with the sea weed on which they graze, they are under no necessity of disputing with each other about an aliment which they find in such abundance. Being able, as is the case with the other tortoises, and all oviparous quadrupeds, to pass several months and even above a year without taking the least nourishment, they form a tranquil troop; they court not each other's company, but being assembled, they remain together without conftraint; they do not unite themselves into a warlike body, by a carnivorous inftinct, the more easily to procure a prey that is difficult to conquer, but being conducted to the same places, by the fame defires and the same inclinations, they preserve a peaceful union. Defended by a bony fhell, extremely strong, and so hard that the heaviest weights can scarcely crack it, and having no oftenfive armour, the society has nothing to fear,
Mildness, and the power of resifting offered violence, are qualities which characterise the turtle; and to these qualities, perhaps, the Greeks alluded, when they made the turtle a companion of Beauty,-- when Phidias placed it as a symbol at the feet of Venus.
The breeding season commences about the end of March, or the beginning of April, and the females soon after repair to sandy coasts, in order to lay their eggs. They prefer sand that is free from mud and flime, or remains of marine bodies, where the heat of the sun may more easily hatch the eggs, which are abandoned as soon as they are laid. It does not appear that the female, as hath been said, poffefses an indifference for her young. Though the leaves her eggs on the sand, yet the thews great marks of care for her progeny, by digging a hole about a foot diameter and two feet deep, in wbich about 100 eggs are depofited, that are afterward covered with a thin layer of sand, in order to be concealed from sight. They generally lay thrice, making the intervals between the layings, about a fortnight or three weeks. From experience of dangers, or, perhaps, to avoid the scorching heat of the sun, the turtles always choose to go on shore in the night to lay their eggs; and, most probably, these nocturnal journeys have given rise to the opinion of the ancients, that the turtles fat on their eggs during the night only: but it is by the heat of the sun alone that the eggs are hatched; which they commonly are in the space of 20 or 25 days. The young turtles proceed dire&tly to the water; but many of them, unable to bear the shock of the waves, are thrown back on the shore, and become the prey of sea-fowl, crocodiles, tigers, and other animals; so that few escape. To this source of destruction, we may add the number of eggs that are destroyed by man, the great devourer of all; who diligente ly searches for this delicate and nutritive food.
During the whole breeding season, viz. from April to September, the fishermen make repeated visits to the turtle coafts, to search for the eggs, and catch the young, which they put into enclosures built of Atakes, within high water mark; where they are kept, and fed, until they have arrived at their proper size for use. These parks, however, contain but a small stock; fo that the filhermen are obliged to use various other means for procuring them. The most usual method is to watch, especially on moon-light nights, for the females, when they come on shore to lay. The sailors turn them on their backs, and, the day following, cut them in pieces and salt them, together with their intestines, and eggs. The filhermen of the Antilles, and of the Bahama Ines, who go to the coast of Cuba and other neighbouring islands, generally load their Chips in about fix weeks or two months, and carry their falted turtle to different RI2
parts of the West Indies and America; where it is fold cheap, as food for the negroes, in several colonies.
Let not, however, the good citizens of London, who adore the callipath, or callipee, have any apprehension of a scarcity of this delicious food, from this immense consumption ; for the Count DF La Cepede affures us, that a turtle gives existence to about 300 individuals yearly, every one of which, in a very Mort space of time, is capable of producing as many. It is astonishing to think of the vast number of these animals that a fingle female will produce, in the whole course of its life t. So that were their multiplication uninterrupted, all the coafts of the torrid zone might soon be covered with these most useful quadrupeds, if only the thirtieth part of their offspring fhould arrive at a state of perfection.
Of the eighteen land or fresh-water tortoises, the Count has described four species, before unknown, to which he has given the names Yellow, Chagrine, Reddish, and Blackish Tortoise. The yellow tortoise is now firft defcribed from a living individual in the French king's poffeffion. It is a native of America, and of the island of Afcenfion. The length of his shell is 77 inches. The head, legs, and shell, are spotted with numerous goldcoloured spots, mostly contiguous, on a deep green ground, which make a very beautiful appearance. The chagrine tortoise was brought from the Eaft Indies by M. SONNERAT, and differs from the rest in the conformation of its shell, which has the appearance of two thells, one much less, placed on the back of the other. The upper shell is spotted or ftudded; hence the name. The individual from which the description and drawing were taken being dead, and wanting the legs, the Author is not pofitive whether it is a sea or land tortoise; from analogy only he has placed it in the second divifion. The reddifh tortoise was also brought dead from the East Indies by the fame gentleman; its diftinguithing characteristic is a chesnut coloured Aattish shell, with pliable scales. The black tortoise is described from a shell only, in the king's museum.
Count DE LA Cepede distributes the lizards into eight divifions. In the first are comprehended the crocodile of the Nile, or alligator of the Indies; the black crocodile of the river Senegal; the gavial or crocodile of the Ganges; and eight other I'maller species. The second divifion contains the iguana, the basilisk, and three other species. In the other fix divisions, the different species are arranged according to the number and form
* The Count cannot, surely, mean every one, because some must be males. + Which is generally above an hundred years.