Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

The ombre, the pratincole, and the theath-bill, are new genera.

The first is found on the coast of Africa, and was unknown to Linnæus ; but is scarcely diftinguithable for any remarkable properties. The pratincole is taken from the palfer. It is the hirundo pratincola of Linnæus, and partakes of the nature of the aquatic walking fowl. In general we think it better not to deltroy genera, the most natural association for any mode of claslification ; but this instance is so striking, where the species differs essentially in manners from its companions, that we dare not accuse our respectable au- . thor of temerity. The account of the sheath-bill we shall felect, from its novelty ; the umbre has been already described by Buffon and Brown ; but this bird has not yet Mared the attention of any ornithc lozist.

· White Sheath-bill.' • Bill strong, thick, a little convex; the top of the upper mandible covered with a corneous sheath. • Nostrils small, just appearing beyond the sheath.

Tongue round above, flat beneath, and pointed at the end • At the bend of the wing a blunt knob.

• Legs stout, gallinaceous, bare a little way above the knee; toes edged with a thick membrane, the middle one connected to the outer as far as the firit joint; claws channelled beneath.'

• Size of a large pigeon : length from fifteen to eighteen inches, Bill black at the base ; over the nostrils a horny appendage, which covers them, except juft on the fore part; and descends so low on each side, as to hang over part of the under mandible; this is movable, and may be raised upwards, or depresled so as to lay fiat on the bill: round the base, between that and the eyes, and round them, the parts are bare, and covered only with warty excrescences, of a white, or pale orange-colour; over the eye a brown or blackish one, larger than the rest : irides dull lead-colour; the plumage is all over as white as snow: at the bend of the wing is a blunt blackish knob: the legs are bare a little way above the knees, and are two inches long, stout, and of a reddish colour : claws black. In young birds the tubercles round the eyes are very small, or wholly wanting

These inhabit New Zealand, and several other parts explored by our late circumnavigators ; and are apt to vary in. regard to the colour of their extremities, as well as size, in the different places in which they have been seen. In those from Kerguelen's land some had brown legs, with the toes black; and others the legs white, or a pale blue. In one met with ac Staaten Land, the legs were black; and the bill, in some specimens, of a pale brown.

• T'hese birds haunt the sea-fhores in flocks, and feed on shellfiA and carrion. In respect to their being used for food, our voyagers differ greatly; some of them put it in competition with the duck; while others tell us that it is worse than carrion ; for it had such a horrid offensive smell, that they could not venture to taste the fielh, and that at a time when they were not easily disguited: we may therefore venture to conclude, that those who praised it as a delicacy, were at least very hungry.'

voye

Many of the Linnæan genera are divided, so as to form others; and our author's genera are, on that account, somewhat multiplied. To this we do not object: the same may, probably be done with advantage in other departments of natural history. The Scolopax, Lin. is divided between the curlew and snipe: the g. gallinule, of our author, comprehends the rallus grex, Lin, and the other species are taken from the fulica. The remaining species of the fulica are comprehended under Mr. Latham's genus of coot. The phalarope is comprised in the order of birds with pinnated feet'; and the species are taken from the tringa, Lin. The colymbus, Lin. makes the grebe, the guillemot, and the diver. The penguin of Mr. Latham is almost a new genus, in consequence of the additions to this part of zoology. It borrows only the phaeton demersirs, and the diomedea demerfa from the old systems; and is a natural and proper affociation. In the genus of petrel, late observations have discovered an anomaly, which injures part of the definition of Linnæus.

• Mares cylindro fupra basin roftri decumbente, truncato.' Some fpecies of the procellaria have, however, been examined, which have the nostrils distinct; and this difference forms a convenient method of arranging the fpecies.

We have thus mentioned a few of the principal variations from the more common systems. They will evince the judgment and attention of the author, and teach our readers how much they may expect from the work itself. It woald be endless to mention all the new species, and ufeless to remark every minuter deviation. The wild and tame swan are, in our author's opinion, diftinct fpecies. This distinction partly arises from the distribution of the afpera arteria, which, in the wild kind, seems to penetrate the breast bone, This conformation is observed in many birds; and is particularly mentioned by our author, in different species, whose cry is loud and fhrill. One species of this kind has attracted the attention of monf. Daubenton, who expressly says, in his dissertation on that fubject, in the last volume of the French Memoirs, that in the wild swan, the trachea paffes along the sternum, enters a cavity placed in the spine of that bone, and rises again to pass, at last, into the chest.' (Hist. de l'Academiè Royale des Sciences, pour l'annee, 1781, p. 12). The me

moire

S 2

moire by mons. Daubenton contains many curious observations, and we would refer our author to it. The final cause of this ftructure is not certain ; for it is found in some species, whose note is low and soft.

The last volume of Mr. Latham contains more general entertainment than the former ones; and we wished to extract fome parts of this kind ; but our article is already suficiently extended, and we are willing to preserve the distinction between the goofander and the dun-diver, which have been hi. cherto confounded.

• An opinion has prevailed among later authors, that the goolander and dun-diver were male and female only, and not diftinct species; but perhaps this conjecture may not be fo firmly eftablished as not to admit of the intrusion of a differenc fentiment: and the following facts lead us again to separate thein into different species.

• In the first place, the dun diver is ever less than the goof ander; and individuals of that bird differ greatly in size among themselves: and, if we admit the last described as a variety only, in an exireme degree, we may alío add, that the creft is considerably longer and fuller in the one esteemed as the female, than in that thought to be the male; a circumstance ob. served in no other bird that is furnished with a creft at all; for in such the females, in many cases, have not even the rudi. sene of one. Again, some of the dun-divers have been proved zo have a labyrinth, as well as the goosander : by this is meant an enlargement of the bottom of the wind-pipe, just before the entrance into the lungs : and as it is only found in th sales of the duck kind, we have a right to conclude the same in respeit to the birds in question, especially as they are the neareit link to the duck genus. But a far more intereiting cir, comitance than any of the above-noted is, that some of the larger dun-divers have really proved, on dislection, to be males. This discovery I owe to the attention of Dr. Heysam, who informs me that he has more than once found it to be fo. The lait he met with of that fex, was at Carlisle, in the month of December. He likewife observes, that the dun-diver is infi. nitely more common in Cumberland than the goosander, at Jeast ten or fifteen of the first to one of the last, which indeed is to scarce there, tha: he never had an opportunity of diffecting more than one, which, however, turned out to be a male. Häving said thus much, there is no way to reconcile the present opinion of authors, but by suppoling the posibility of the young birds of both sexes retaining the female plumage for a certain number of years, before they attain that of the male, as is the case in some birds : but in allowing this circumstance, we must suppose them likewife capable of propagating their {pecies; which, if true, is not very usual in animals before they arrive at maturity.'

Wc

2

We need scarcely repeat our opinion of this valuable work. These last volumes, instead of disgracing the author of the former ones, add another leaf to his wreath; and the little which is wanting, will probably be fupplied in the Appendix. We shall then boast of an ornithology in English, complete in its several parts, and equally accurate in its arrangement and distinctions.

Remarks on the Disease lately described by Dr. Hendy, under the

Appellation of the Glandular Disease of Barbadoes. By John

Rollo. Small 8vo. 25. Dilly. IT. T is an humorous mistake, probably of the printer, when

this disease is said to be of a sceptic * tendency.' Indeed when doctors differ, the patients are generally in doubt, and unable to decide. In the remarks before us, Mr. Rollo examines Dr. Hendy's history at some length, and endeavours to show, that the fever precedes rather than follows the glandular affection. For this purpose, 'he adduces the testimony of Dr. Hillary, and the particular cases described by Dr. Hendy, In our review of that work t, we were of opinion, that the fever was really secondary; and, after a very careful examination of these Remarks, we still think so, because it is distinguished by no peculiar type ; it sometimes is not terminated by sweating; and, as the disease proceeds, it is less distinguishable, respecting the time of its attack, from the exacerbation of the local disease. In every explanation of the symptoms, the pain in the inguinal gland is subsequent to some other effect on the lymphatics of the limb, and that is prior to the swelling ; whatever, therefore, may be the primary cause, we should not, at the first occurrence, expect any local appearance before the general disease. Mr. Rollo seems much embarrassed to support his own opinion of the nature of the disease, on the one side, and to avoid the depofition of morbid matter on the other. He seems to think, that the lymphatic glands suffer as a part of the whole fyltem, from the fame cause which produces fever; therefore the local arfection, according to his own opinion, is coeval in existence with the fever, though posterior in appearance.

On the whole, we think our author too severe on Dr. Hillary and Dr. Hendy, to whom he is obliged for a very large fare of the bulk of his pamphlet.

We thall Select what ja more peculiarly his ovn, remarking only that we do not recollect any authority for this effect of salt marshes.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Along the windward sea-coast of Barbadoes, from Oistins to Bridgetown, the ground is in many places low and marshy, The marshes are occasionally covered with the spray of the sea in formy weather. In moderate and dry weather they drain, but I believe never become thoroughly dry. Many of the in, habitants of the island repair to theie marshes to sport with the lives of different species of birds, that annually visit, and are found to hover chiefly over these places, and it is aftonishing to fee with what induftry, and perseverance, this game is pursued. Parties are formed, tents are erected near the marsh, and the bowl circulates with potent punch, until the signal is given for the appearance of birds; then every one gets slowly out of the tent in a bended potture, or creeps along the ground to watch an opportunity to fire. After which, they retire to the tent until another Agnal is made, and thus they spend a whole day inebriated, or much fatigued, and often wetted, they retire in the evening to their reļpective homes, and they return early next morning to the sport.

• May not the effluvium of these marshes, as impregnated with sea-salt, produce a febrile disease, remarkably different from that produced by the effluvium of marshes not imprego nated with it? and may not this effluvium act in producing our disease in people pre-disposed? This will be rendered fomewhat probable by observing, that among those people who are fond of fowl gaming, or those who accompany them for social purposes, or for fervice, this disease will be found very generally to haspen. Also, to my knowlege, the gentleman in Dr. Hendy's N° 19, lived in a situation near the river, and a marshy ground to windward of Bridgetown. This river is chiefly formed by the sea; every tide raises it; but its edges in diferent places are swampy and limy. I have been sensible of a disagreeable smell from this river, when I have had the pleasure of being in the gentleman's house. Two of this gentleman’s family have unfortunately had the complaint; and, befides theie, the mulatto woman of the 14th case was a servant in the family.'

In a town, on the southern coast of this island, we have been informed, that there is a peculiar kind of irregular intermittent, called from the name of the place the Seaton-fick; (the fick: nefs, we fuppose, peculiar to Seaton), and that this town is in the neighbourhood of salt marshes. Though we have heard this account from good authority, our situation is too remote to enable us to asceriain it by a particular enquiry. We mention it, chiefly to enable cûr author to add an additional fupport to, if the fact should appear capable of supporting, bis Tyftem. To others it may be a subject worth examination,

A View

« PreviousContinue »