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“ A swarm,
laying ; and he remarks, that no queen ever has a great laying till she be eleven months old. It is only after finishing this laying, that she is able to undertake the journey implied in leading a swarm ; for, previously to this, "latum trahit alvum,” which unfits her for flying, There appears to be a secret relation between the production of male eggs and the construction of royal cells. The great laying commonly lasts thirty days : and regularly on the twentieth or twenty-first, several royal cells are founded.
2dly, “ When the larvæ hatched from the eggs laid by the queen in the royal cells are ready to transform to nymphs, this queen leaves the hive, conducting a swarm along with her; and the first swarm that proceeds from the hive is uniformly conducted by the old queen." p. 205. M. Huber remarks, that it was necessary that instinct should impel the old queen to lead forth the first swarm ; for that she being the strongest, would never have failed to have overthrown the younger competitors for the throne. An old queen, as has been already said, never quits a hive at the head of a swarm, till she have finished her laying of male eggs; but this is of importance, not merely that she may be lighter and fitter for flight, but that she may be ready to begin with the laying of workers' eggs in her new habitation, workers being the bees first needed in order to secure the continuance and prosperity of the newly founded commonwealth.
3dly, “ After the old queen has conducted the first swarm from the hive, the remaining bees take particular care of the royal cells, and prevent the young queens successively hatched, from leaving them, unless at an interval of several days between each." p. 207. Under this head, he introduces a number of general remarks, some of which may prove useful. he observes, is never seen, unless in a fine day; or, to speak more correctly, at a time of the day when the sun shines, and the air is calm. Sometimes we have observed all the precursors of swarming, disorder and agitation ; but a cloud passed before the sun, and tranquillity was restored; the bees thought no more of swarming. An hour afterwards, the sun having again appeared, the tumult was renewed ; it rapidly augmented ; and the swarm departed.” p. 211. A certain degree of tumult commences as soon as the young queens are hatched, and begin to traverse the hive. The agitation soon perrades the whole bees; and such a ferment then rages, that M. Huber has often observed the thermometer in the hive rise suddenly from about 92° to above 104°. This suffocating heat he considers as one of the means employed by nature for urging the bees to go off in swarms. weather, one strong hive has been known to send off four swarms in eighteen days.
4thly, “ The young queens conducting swarms from their native hive, are still in a virgin state.” p. 221. The day after being settled in their new abode, they generally set out in quest of the males, and this is usually the fifth day of their existence as queens. Old queens conducting the first swarms require no renewal of their intercourse with the male, a single interview being sufficient to fecundate all the eggs that a queen will lay for at least two years. This is considered by Mr. Bonner as quite an incredible circumstance; insomuch that he remarks, either in a sarcastick, or in a very innocent style, that if a queen bee “ should continue for seven or eight months with about 12,050 impregnated eggs in her ovarium, it certainly would make her appear very large !"* The worthy bee master seems to have fancied that an egg could not be fecundated till it were of the full size, and ready for exclusion. It is a fact, however, ascertained beyond contro
* Bonner on Bees, p. 69.
versy by M. Huber, that "a single copulation is sufficient to impregnate the whole eggs that a queen will lay in the course of at least two years. I have even reason to think, he adds, that a single copulation will impregnate all the eggs that she will lay during her whole life ; but I want absolute proof for more than two years." p. 54.
Towards the close of the eleventh letter, we have some remarks on the wonderful instincts of bees; and in hazarding these, M. Huber is duly cau. tious. He resolves all into what Shakspeare calls a “ruling nature;" and disapproves both of Réaumeur for ascribing wisdom and foresight to them, and of Buffon for considering them as mere automata. We do not imagine he would be at all more indulgent to our learned countryman Mr. Knight, who, in a late paper on the economy of bees,* has intimated his belief that they can hold consultations, and communicate different kinds of intelligence to each other. " If their language,” he goes the length of saying, “ be not in some degree a language of ideas, it appears to be something very similar."
In the twelfth letter, we find additional observations on queens that lay only the eggs of drones, or whose fecundation has been retarded. The instinct of such queens seems to be impaired. They show no antipathy to royal cells, but pass quietly over them without indicating any emotion ; while other queens exhibit the greatest enmity against those of their own sex that are in the nymphine state. Some observations are added on the effects produced by mutilating the bodies of queens. Swammerdam had asserted, that if the wings of queens be cut, they are rendered sterile. This appeared rather strange'and improbable. M. Huber accordingly found, that the cutting of the wings of impregnated queens produced no effect on them; and he concludes, certainly with great probability, that Swammerdam had cut the wings of virgin queens, who had not therefore been able to seek the males in the air, and so remained barren. The amputation of one antenna, M. Huber found, had no bad effect on a queen; but when deprived of both, she was much deranged. She dropped her eggs at random; and when the bees fed her, she often missed her aim in attempting to catch hold of the morsel they presented to her. M. Huber placed two queens deprived of the antennæ in the same hive. The loss of their feelers seemed to have put an end to their natural animosity. They passed and repassed each other, without taking the least notice. Both of them constantly endeavoured to leave the hive. M. Huber declares, that he cannot say whether the antenna be the organs of touch or smell; but he suggests that they may possibly fulfil both functions at once. It seems fully as probable that they are the instruments of a peculiar sense, of the nature of which we have no conception, and for which, consequently, we have no name.
In the thirteenth and last letter, we have several useful observations on the economical treatment of bees. It has already been hinted, that M. Huber's leaf-hive might be employed with advantage by practical men. It is well calculated, for example, for producing artificial swarms, on the principle of Schirach's discovery. "In the leaf-hive we can see whether the population is sufficient to admit of division,-if the brood is of proper age, if males exist or are ready to be produced for impregnating the young queen." By means of it, also, bees may be induced to work much more in wax than they would naturally do. “ Here, says M. Huber, I am led to what I believe is a new observation. While naturalists have directed our admiration to the parallel position of the combs, they have overlooked another trait in the industry of bees, namely, the equal distance uniformly be
• Phil. Trans. 1807, part ii.
tween them. On measuring the interval separating the combs, it will generally be found about four lines. Were they too distant, it is very evident the bees would be much dispersed, and unable to communicate their heat reciprocally ; whence the brood would not be exposed to sufficient warinth. Were the combs too close, on the contrary, the bees could not freely traverse the intervals, and the work of the hive would suffer." p 263. This instinct being admitted, it is evident that bees may he induced to construct new combs, by merely separating those already built, so far asunder, that they may have room to build others in the interval.
The cause of the bees, which has been so eloquently and pathetically pleaded by the poet of the Seasons, is supported by M. Huber on a principle more intelligible, perhaps, and more persuasive, to most country bee masters,viz. interest. He deprecates the destruction of bees, and recommends to the cultivator to be content with a reasonable share of the wealth of the hive; arguing, very justly we believe, that a little taken from each of a number of hives, is ultimately much more profitable, than a greater quan. tity obtained by the total destruction of a few.
M. Huber, in the conclusion, promises to give to the publick a separate work on the economical management of bees. This has not yet been published; but the experience and sagacity of the author lead us to anticipate in it, the most useful, practical book that has ever appeared on the subject. We may observe, however, that to the edition printed at Paris in 1796 is subjoined a “ Manuel-pratique de la Culture des Abeilles," by a Frenchman. This little tract contains, in our opinion, a good deal of useful information, exhibiting the most recent and improved plans adopted in France. A translation of it, we conceive, would have been a valuable addition to the work now before us.
Upon the whole, M. Huber's treatise is both an entertaining and an instructive little volume. Throughout the performance, however, a want of arrangement is conspicuous; and in this respect the original is still more faulty than the translation ; for the translator has, with propriety, removed to an appendix some minute anatomical details, which interrupt and darken the narrative; and has, on the other hand, engrossed in the text some im. portant and closely connected passages which are improperly thrown into foot notes in the original.
The author mentions in his preface, that he had long been deprived of sight, and was obliged to depend on an assistant in making his experiments. We should not wonder if the reader should agree with us in being at first somewhat mortified at this intelligence, and should wish that the author had seen every thing with his own eyes. We should really be surprised if he did not smile with us at finding this untoward looking circumstance actually considered as an advantage by the translator ; for, after mentioning the cir. cumstance, the translator, in his preface, immediately adds : “ Thus these discoveries may be said to acquire double authority !" Now, it seems pretty evident, that though a naturalist's assistant may possess a pair of very good eyes, he may yet be quite inadequate to the task of intelligibly describing what he sees. M. Huber, however, fortunately enjoyed in Francis Burnens, a philosophick assistant, who himself appears to have entered with enthusiasm into the pursuit, and to have conducted the experiments, not only with the most patient assiduity, watching every occurrence oculis emissitiis, but with great address, and no small share of steadiness and couragequalities indispensable in those who attempt to work among the stinging nations.
In respect to the translation, it is anonymous; but bears intrinsick marks of Scottish extraction. In his preface, the translator observes : “ It is vain to attempt a translation of any work without being, to a certain degree, skilled in the subject of which it treats. Some parts of the original of the following treatise, it must be acknowledged, are confused, and some so minute, that it is extremely difficult to give an exact interpretation. But the general tenour, though not elegant, is plain and perspicuous; and such has it been here retained.” We should be sorry to detract from this modest claim. The translation is certainly always plain, and it is generally perspicuous. The extracts we have given may be considered as affording a fair specimen of the whole. We must not conceal, however, thai in some few instances it is careless and faulty. The sense is entirely mistaken at page 112 ; and at page 23 inextricable confusion s produced by his choosing to render, “ reigning queens" by the extraordinary phrase of “ virgin females.” Upon the whole, however, the translation is better than that of most French books.
As Mr. Bonner's treatise is pretty well known, and his opinions generally circulated, especially in Scotland, we have thought it not amiss, in the course of the preceding analysis, to state the chief points in which M. Huber differs from him; and we confess that it has appeared to us that in these cases our countryman generally stands corrected by the Genevese observer. They appear both to have been engaged in making their experiments and observations about the same time, from 1788 to 1791. M. Huber, however, possessed several eminent advantages. He was directed in his researches by one of the first philosophers of the day, M. Bonnet. He was not restrained in his experiments by any considerations of time or expense; and he was aided by an assistant peculiarly expert in working among bees. Our Bonner, on the other hand, was so much restricted, both as to expense and time, having a family to support by his daily earnings at the loom ; and he long laboured under a very peculiar and almost incredible disadvantage,—that of residing in the midst of a populous city ; for we understand it to be a fact, that his apiary was for some years kept in a garret in Glasgow.
The practical directions contained in Mr. Bonner's book, are, we have no doubt, in general excellent; but many of them are of partial application only, being peculiarly adapted to the climate of North Britain ; and it must not be concealed, that this climate is unfavourable to the cultivation of bees. In this respect, it is inferiour, not only to the climate of France or Italy, but even to that of Denmark or Russia ; for in these last countries, the bees remain, during the whole winter, in a state approaching to torpor, and never leave their hives till the frost has fairly broken up, when, as is well known, the genial season immediately commences, and continues steady for several months. With us, on the contrary, the great changeableness of the weather in the months of March, April, and May, opposes an almost insurmountable obstacle to that extensive culture of those insects, so enthusiastically projected by the worthy bee master ; and if we be not misinformed, the issue of some pretty extensive trials made by the author himself, under the patronage of the indefatigable president of the Board of Agriculture (sir John Sinclair) has not much tended to encourage those high expectations.
FROM THE EDINBURGH REVIEW. Notice de la Vie et des Ecrits de George Louis Le Sage de Geneve, Membre de l'Academie et de l'Institut de Bologne, &c. &c. Redigée après ses Notes, par Pierre Prevost. A Geneve, chez Paschoud.
THE biographical sketch here announced, has more than an ordinary claim to the attention of the reader. The subject of it is a philosopher, who, beside the peculiarities incident to genius, had several that belonged exclusively to himself. These he was careful to study and explain ; and the notes which he has left behind him, seem to entitle him to the rare eu. logy, of having given an accurate and candid delineation of his own character. His biographer, too, had the advantage of being intimately acquainted with the person whom he has undertaken to describe, and has been attentive to mark whatever appeared singular in the constitution or progress of his mind.
George Lewis Le Sage was born at Geneva in 1724, to which city his father, a native of France, had for some time retired, and lived by giving private lessons in mathematicks and natural philosophy. The son was early initiated in these studies ; receiving, at the same time, in all the branches of literature, as liberal a course of education as his father's limited income would allow. A marked opposition, however, in their tastes and intellectual propensities, prevented the son from reaping, from his father's instructions, all the advantages that might have been expected. The old man was well informed; but his knowledge was very much confined to facts, and was accompanied with little tendency to reason or to generalize. His son, again, even when a boy, delighted in connecting his ideas by general and abstract principles, and was not more inquisitive about facts, than about the relations in which they stood to one other. This propensity arose, in some measure at least, from the weakness of his memory, which forced him to study the most just and constant connexions among things, in order to prevent both words and ideas from escaping his recollection entirely.
“ It was thus,” says M. Prevost,“ that we saw him, in his maturer years, and particularly in his old age, avoiding, with the greatest care, whatever could trouble the order of his thoughts, and substituting, with much art, a logical series of mental operations to the effort which the recollection of a single uncon. nected fact would necessarily have cost him."
The history of Le Sage does, indeed, illustrate, in the clearest manner, the relation between the faculties of memory and abstraction, and the power which each has to supply the deficiencies of the other. Generalization gives us a command over our ideas more complete than we can ever derive from the mere efforts of memory. It holds in its hand the clue by which this latter faculty must be guided through the labyrinth of things; and there is room to doubt, whether the power thus given to the mind is not the main source of the delight arising from abstract and philosophick speculation. Were the memory in itself to become so perfect, as to be independent of connecting principles, generalization would not be necessary, and perhaps would rarely be attempted.
Two minds, both disposed to the acquisition of knowledge, could hardly be constituted with less conformity to one another, than those of Le Sage and his son. When the young man was labouring to classify his ideas, and to reduce them under general heads, the father was perpetually starting objections to his rules, and bringing forward the instances most difficult to be reduced to any general principle of arrangement. This seemed to proceed, not from any desire to embarrass or distress his son, but from a dislike which he had conceived (singular, doubtless, in a mathematician) to general me