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where it was so straight that they could not give to the cells their ordinary depth. The queen, however, laid eggs in them, and the workers daily nourished the grubs, and closed the cells at the period of transformation. A few days afterwards he was surprised to perceive in the lids holes more or less large, out of which the grubs partly projected, the cells having been too short to admit of their usual movements. He was curious to know how the bees would proceed. He expected that they would pull all the grubs out of the cells, as they commonly do when great disorders in the combs take place. But he did not sufficiently give credit to the resources of their instinct. They did not displace a single grub
— they left them in their cells; but as they saw that these cells were not deep enough, they closed them afresh with lids much more convex than ordinary, so as to give to them a sufficient depth ; and from that time no more holes were made in the lids.
* The working-bees, in closing up the cells containing larvæ, invariably give a convex lid to the large cells of drones, and one nearly flat to the smaller cells of workers; but in an experiment instituted by Huber to ascertain the influence of the size of the cells on that of the included larvæ, he transferred the larvæ of workers to the cells of drones. What was the result? Did the bees still continue blindly to exercise their ordinary instinct ? On the contrary, they now placed a nearly flat lid upon these large cells, as if well aware of their being occupied by a different race of inhabitants.
“On some occasions, bees, in consequence of Huber's arrangements in the interior of their habitations, have begun to build a comb nearer to the adjoining one than the usual interval ; but they soon appeared to perceive their error, and corrected it by giving to the comb a gradual curvature, so as to resume the ordi. nary distance.
In another instance, in which various irregularities had taken place in the form of the combs, the bees, in prolonging one of them, had, contrary to their usual custom, begun two separate and distant continuations, which in approaching instead of joining would have interfered with each other, had not the bees, ap. parently foreseeing the difficulty, gradually bent their edges so as to make them join with such exactness that they could afterwards continue them conjointly." — pp. 576, 577.
We observe in all these instances, that neither the ruling purpose, which is the preservation and nourishment of their young, nor the general form and character of the cradle-cell, is ever changed. The bees can modify their work just enough to avoid what may be termed the ordinary casualties of the hive. When extraordinary disorders in the combs take place, such as cannot be met by slight repairs or trifling changes, Huber tells us that they pull the grubs out of the cells 10 perish, demolish the structure, and begin anew. We quote a portion of the authors' very just remarks on these slight variations of instinct.
“Bees cemented their combs, when becoming heavy, to the top of the hive with mitys, in the time of Aristotle and Pliny. as they do now; and there is every reason to believe that then, as now, they occasionally varied their procedures, by securing them with wax or with propolis only, either added to the upper range of cells, or disposed in braces and ties to the adjoining combs. But if in thus proceeding they were guided by reason, why not under certain circumstances adopt other modes of strengthening their combs? Why not, when wax and propolis are scarce, employ mud, which they might see the martin avail herself of so successfully ? Or why should it not come into the head of some hoary denizen of the hive, that a little of the mortar with which his careful master plasters the crevices between his habitation and its stand might answer the end of mitys? Si seulement ils élevoient une fois des câbanes quarrées' (says Bonnet, when speaking as to what faculty the works of the beaver are to be referred), mais ce sont éternellement des câbanes rondes ou ovales': and so we might say of the phenomena in question — Show us but one instance of bees having substituted mud or mortar for mitys, pissoceros, or propolis, or wooden props for waxen ties, and there could be no doubt of their being here guided by reason. But since no such instance is on record ; since they are still confined to the same limits — however surprising the range of these limits — as they were two thousand years ago; and since the bees emerged from their pupæ but a few hours before will set themselves as adroitly to work, and pursue their operations as scientifically as their brethren, who can boast the experience of a long life of twelve months' duration ;we must still regard these actions as variations of instinct." — p. 583.
Instincts have sometimes been called innate habits, and it must be confessed that the parallel thus indicated is a very just and striking one. Cuvier long since remarked, that animals guided by instinct appear, like a man in a dream, to be haunted by one idea, or, like a somnambulist, to perform a very difficult task without being conscious of it. In the human mind, frequent repetition appears to unite the parts of a long and complex mental process into one whole, so that the several volitions that are required follow each other with as much order and facility as if they were links of the same chain. There is no need of delay in order to dwell upon any part of the operation, and consider what is to be done next. The needful step is suggested precisely at the right moment, and instantly performed, so that we have no recollection that any effort of the will was necessary, and we say that the whole was performed unconsciously. Thus, an absent-minded man may undertake a long walk by a route with which he is perfectly familiar, his mind being occupied all the while with some knotty subject of thought which has nothing to do with the cause of his excursion; and he arrives safely at the desired point, without being aware of the bodily exertion he has made, or of having paid a moment's attention to a single object on the road or to a single incident of his journey. There may be several diverging routes, yet he constantly selects the right path, without being aware that he has ever exercised a choice. At each step, a distinct volition is required to lift his foot from the ground ; but he is no more aware of it than a rapid writer is that a separate determination of the will is necessary for the smallest stroke or curve in every letter in his manuscript. Speaking fancifully, we may say that there is a latent idea in his mind, never rising into the sphere of consciousness, which still governs every motion of his will, and brings out the desired result at last, though the man himself is as ignorant of the process whereby it was obtained as if he was a mere machine. The very phrase "absent-minded” implies that his mind had nothing consciously to do with any part of the operation.
The bee, in constructing the comb, works like a somnambulist, or like this person laboring under absence of mind. It reflects not upon the object of its labors; for, having had the experience but of one season, or perhaps of one day, it knows not what that object is. Foresight it has not, unless it be the foresight of a god rather than a man ; for human foresight is nothing but the reflection of past scenes upon the mirror of the future. It is not conscious of design or contrivance ; for this implies preconceived ideas of ends not yet realized, and such ideas we have seen it cannot possess. The bee toils on just as unconsciously as the man moves his limbs in that dreamy walk; there is a purpose, a useful end,
to be obtained by the exertion, but neither of them is aware of it at the moment. In the man, indeed, the purpose was preconceived, and it will come back to his mind at the end of the walk. The bee knows nothing of a purpose, but toils on as an humble instrument in the hands of another. Its vocation is that only of the common laborer, to bring bricks and mortar for the construction of those wonderful cells which are built by a divine architect, the same who fashioned the curious mechanism of the bee's own body, and who appears in this instance at least, if not in every other, constantly superintending and acting in his own works.
A writer in the Zoological Journal for 1824, Mr. J. O. French, who has speculated very boldly on the metaphysical part of our subject, supposes the fundamental distinction between the human and the brute mind to consist in the want of ability, on the part of the latter, to become objective to itself, or to reflect upon its own moral and intellectual qualities as such, or as proper objects in themselves considered of desire or aversion. When stated in this form, the theory appears objectionable, because it must ever remain destitute of proof; supposing that animals did possess this faculty, they could never manifest it to man, for, the process being purely intellectual, it can be made known to others only by language ; brutes have no power of communicating pure thought. The fact, that the animal mind does not improve, or that it has no power of educating itself, is held to indicate this defect; but there are many other supposable imperfections in the mental constitution which are equally inconsistent with the power of self-improvement. Consciousness of defect may or may not suggest the means of progress or melioration. Mr. French's theory, in truth, amounts to no more than this, that animals never act from reflection, but always from impulse. They will certainly make no progress, if they act in this manner.
To recur to the illustration just given, the operation that is continued from the mere force of habit will never be improved. If our pedestrian suddenly quickens or slackens his pace, it is a sure sign that he has begun to think about the object of his journey. So a practised musician may play a familiar tune without appearing to bestow any attention upon it; though the required movements of the fingers are very swift, and it is certain that a distinct volition is required for every touch, he will continue to converse upon some indifferent topic with as much apparent readiness as if his hands were at rest. Yet most certainly he will never become a better musician than he is at present, if he continues to play only in this manner. In order to improve, he must pause and dwell upon the process, note the defects in his execution, and by distinct and conscious effort try to remove them.
Here we see an obvious reason why the instincts of animals do not become more acute and remarkable, as they advance in age. Acting under them as a man acts when guided only by habit, ignorant of the object of their toil, and therefore never reflecting upon the best means for attaining that object, their last labor is precisely like their first. Their physical powers improve ; the dog and the horse, by practice, become more swift, and the senses of the elder animals often appear more acute than those of their young. But their instincts are unchangeable, and consequently, when not trained by man, their modes of operation are never altered.
But how do we account for the great changes and improvements of which they are undoubtedly susceptible, under regular training, when man seeks to increase their powers, in order that they may become more convenient instruments of his will? It will probably be found that all the marvellous changes effected in this way are attributable to the imitative faculty, and to the continued association of reward or pleasure with one class of actions, while punishment is invariably connected with others. That animals are often governed by sympathy, and show a strong propensity to mimic the actions of their fellows as well as of other animals, is a familiar fact. The monkey has become proverbial for his inclination to mimicry ; most singing birds may be taught portions, at least, of regular tunes; and wild animals generally are most easily tamed, when in the company of their domesticated brethren.
The wonderful feats which they may be brought, through much labor and attention, to accomplish in this way, are no proofs whatever of the existence of the reflecting faculty, or of any of the higher endowments of mind. Sympathy and imitation often appear as blind propensities even in man. A yawn will often pass round quickly, through a whole circle of companions, without one of them being conscious of it. “The mob,” to quote an instance from Adam Smith, " when they are gazing at a dancer on the slack rope, naturally writhe and twist and balance their own bodies, as they see him do, and