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Hence a man accustomed to smoke tobacća, at the usual interval feels a confused pain, and the fame may be observed in persons addicted to drinking, who are in a very uneasy restless flate at the time they are in the habit of recurring to the bottle,
The pain of habit is less under our power than any other pain that arises from want of gratification: hunger and thirst are more eafily endured, especially the first, than an unusual intermission of an habitual pleasure: persons are often heard to declare, that they would sooner forego fleep and food, than tobacco.
The pain of want arising from habit, seems directly opposite to that of fatiety. MODERATE PLEASURES. are augmented gradually by reiteration, till they become habitual, and then they are at their height: but they are not long stationary; for from that point they gradually decay, till they vanish altogether.
The PAIN occasioned by want of gratification, runs a different course; it increases uniformly; and at last becomes extreme, when the pleasure of gratification is reduced to nothing
Few experiments have yet been instituted with a view to shew how far this accommodating principle in nature may be extended in different species of plants and ani,
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mals. It is known, however, that the lamb and the dove can be made carnivorous; and that the hawk, laying afide its natural propensity for flesh, can be brought by art to live upon grain. The horses in Hudson's Bay eat all kind of animal food, and we are assured, by the most authentic authors, that in Iceland, not only black cattle, but also the sheep, are almost entirely fed upon fith during the winter season. I have known, fays the immortal HUNTER, for above thirty years, that the hawk tribe can be made to feed upon bread ; for to a tame kite I first gave fat, which it eat very readily; then tallow and butter ; and afterwards small balls of bread rolled in fat or butter; and by decreasing the fat gradually, it at last eat bread alone, and seemed to thrive aş well as when fed with meat *.
So very much do some individuals of the vegetable tribe accommodate themselves to different situations, to foil, to climate, and the state of cultivation, that those naturalists who have not been accustomed to nice and accurate discriminations, have frequently mistaken the variations of the same plants for so many species. These variations may be daily feen, by examining the plant as it grows on the mountains, in the vallies, in the * Vide Observations on the Animal Economy, by John HUNTER, P. 535.
garden, or in the fields ; or by bringing it from a rudo uncultivated state, where it sometimes lays aside its formidable prickles, and changes the colour and structure of its flowers. We may add, that animals covered with down or hair have it thick or thin, long or short, according to the different exigencies of climate.
In all living bodies, it frequently happens that several characteristic distinctions, as the colour, the features, and several diseases * which originally were the effect of circumstance, do at last come so fixed in the system, that they are afterwards transmitted to posterity through some generations.
* Nothing is more certain than that there are hereditary diseases, or what comes to the same thing, predisposition to such. Men of fortune and opulence have it in their power to obey the laws of nature and of love; and yet how common are the examples of such men acting an interested part in their matrimo. nial engagements. Instead of following the dictates of nature, they disregard the high privilege they enjoy, sacrifice their taste, their passion, and often their happiness during life, at the Shrine of gold. To accomplish this sordid end, they often embrace deformity, disease, ignorance, peevishness, and every thing that is disgusting to the generous mind. The consequences do not affect them only, but the public. Men of rank, in all nations and governments, are the natural guardians of the state. For these important purposes, their minds Íbould be noble, generous, and bold; and their bodies should be strong, masculine, fit to encounter the fatigues of war, and to repel every hostile assault that may be nade upon their country. But, when men of this description, whatever be their motives, intermarry with weak, deformed, puny, or dis. eased females, their progeny muft of necessity degenerate. The strength, beauly, and symmetry of their ancestors, are, perhaps, for ever loft. What is ftill more to be regretted, debility of body is almost invariably accompanied with weakness of mind. Thus, by the avarice of one individual, a noble and gene
With regard to animals and vegetables this fact is undoubted.
rous race is completely destroyed. By reversing this conduct, it is true, the breed may again be mended; but to repair a single breach, many generations, endowed with prudence and circumspection, will be requisite. A successive degeneration, however, is an infallible consequence of imprudent or interested marriages of this kind. One puny race may for some time be succeeded by another, till at last their constitution become so feeble, that the animals lose even the faculty of multiplying their species. This gradual degeneration is a great cause of the total extinction of some of our noble families. That it should be so, is a wise and beneficent institution of nature ; for if such debilitated races were continued, an universal degeneration might soon take place, and mankind would be unable to perform the duties, or to undergo the labour of life. NATURE thus first chastises, and at last extirpates, all those who act contrary to her established laws.
SOME PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS ON HABIT.
If all the year were playing holidays,
There is not a common saying which has a better turn of fense in it, than what we often hear in the mouths of the vulgar, that custom is second nature. It is indeed able to form the man anew, and to give him inclinations and capacities altogether different from those he was born with. Dr. Plot, in his History of Staffordshire, tells us of an idiot that chancing to live within the sound of a clock, and always amusing himself with counting the hour of the day whenever the clock struck, the clock being spoiled by some accident, the idiot continued to strike and count the hour without the help of it, in the fame manner as he had done when it was intire. Though I dare not vouch for the truth of this story, it is very certain that custom has a mechanical effect upon the body, at the same time that it has a very extraordinary influence upon the mind.