« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
told that he was even wont to amuse himself by the composition of Latin verses. It was at sea, too, that our own Cook acquired for himself those high scientific, and we may even add literary accomplishments, of which he showed himself to be possessed. This celebrated navigator was born in Yorkshire in 1728. His parents were poor peasants, and all the school education he ever had was a little reading, writing, and arithmetic, for which he was indebted to the liberality of a gentleman in the neighbourhood. He was apprenticed, at the age of thirteen, to a shopkeeper in the small town of Snaith, near Newcastle, and it was while in this situation that he was first seized with a passion for the sea. After some time, he prevailed upon his master to give up his indentures, and he then entered as one of the crew of a coastingvessel engaged in the coal trade. He continued in this service till he reached his twenty-seventh year, when he exchanged it for that of the navy, in which he soon distinguished himself so greatly that he was, three or four years after, appointed master of the Mercury,' which belonged to a squadron then proceeding to attack Quebec. Here he first showed the proficiency he had already made in the scientific part of his profession, by an admirable chart which he constructed and published of the River St. Lawrence. He felt, however, the disadvantages of his ignorance of mathematics; and, while still assisting in the hostile operations carrying on against the French on the coast of North America, he applied himself to the study of Euclid's Elements,' which he soon mastered, and then began that of astronomy. A year or two after this, while again stationed in the same quarter, he communicated to the Royal Society an account of a solar eclipse which took place on the 5th of August, 1766, deducing from it, with great exactness and skill, the longitude of the place of observation; and his paper was printed in the ‘Philosophical Transactions. He had now completely established his reputation as an able and scientific seaman; and it having been determined by Government, at the request of the Royal Society, to send out qualified persons to the South Sea to observe the approaching transit of the planet Venus over the sun's disc-a phenomenon which promised several interesting results to astronomy-Cook was appointed to the command of the ‘Endeavour,' the vessel fitted out for that purpose. He conducted this expedition, which, in addition to the accomplishment of its principal purpose, was productive of a large accession of important geographical discoveries, with the most consummate skill and ability and was, the year after he returned home
appointed to the command of a second vessel destined for the same region, but having in view more particularly the determination of the question as to the existence of a southern polar continent. He was nearly three years absent upon this
voyage; but so admirable were the methods he adopted for preserving the health of his seamen, that he reached home with only the loss of one man from his whole crew. Having addressed a paper to the Royal Society upon this subject, he was not only chosen a member of that learned body, but was further rewarded by having the Copley gold medal voted to him for his experiments. Of this second voyage he drew up the account himself, and it has been universally esteemed a model in that species of writing. All our readers know the termination of Cook’s distinguished
His third voyage, undertaken for the discovery of a passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic along the north coast of America, although unsuccessful in reference to that object, was fertile in geographical discoveries, and equally creditable with those by which it had been preceded, to the sagacity, good management, and scientific skill of its unfortunate commander. The death of Captain Cook took place at Owyhee (now more usually written Hawaii,) the principal island of the Sandwich group, in a sudden tumult of the natives, on the 14th of February, 1779.
The news of the event was received with general lamentation, not only in our own country, but throughout Europe. Pensions were bestowed upon his widow and three sons by the Government; the Royal Society ordered a medal to be struck in commemoration of him; his eulogy was pronounced in the Florentine Academy; and various other honours were paid to his memory, both by public bodies and individuals. Thus, by his own persevering efforts, did this great man raise himself from the lowest obscurity to a reputation wide as the world itself, and certain to last as long as the age in which he flourished shall be remembered by history. But better still than even all this fame-than either the honours which he received while living, or those which, when he was no more, his country and mankind bestowed upon his memory-he had exalted himself in the scale of moral and intellectual being; had won for himself, by his unwearied striving, a new and nobler nature, and taken a high place among the instructors and best benefactors of mankind. This alone is true happiness—the one worthy end of human exertion or ambition-the only satisfying reward of all labour and study, and virtuous activity or endurance. Among the shipmates with whom Cook mixed when he first went to sea,
there was, perhaps, no one who ever raised himself above the condition to which he then belonged, in point of outward circumstances, or enlarged in any considerable degree the knowledge or mental resources he then possessed. And some will, perhaps, say that this was little to be regretted, at least on their own account; that the many who spent their lives in their original sphere were probably as happy as the one who succeeded in rising above it. But this is to cast but a hasty glance on human nature, and the scene of things in which we are placed. That man was never truly happy-happy upon reflection and while looking to the past or the future-- who could not say to himself that he had made something of the faculties God had given him, and had not lived altogether without progression, like one of the inferior animals. We do not speak of mere wealth or station :these are comparatively nothing; are as often missed as attained, even by those who best merit them; and do not of themselves constitute happiness when they are attained. But there must be some consciousness of an intellectual or moral progress, or there can be no satisfaction—no self-congratulation on reviewing what of life may be already gone-no hope in the prospect of what is yet to come. All men feel this, and feel it strongly; and, if they could secure for themselves the source of happiness in question by a wish, they would avail themselves of the privilege with sufficient alacrity. Nobody would pass his life in ignorance, if knowledge might be had by merely looking up to the clouds for it: it is the labour necessary for its acquirement that scares them. Yet it is, in truth, from the exertion by which it must be obtained, that knowledge derives at least half its value; for to this entirely we owe the sense of merit in ourselves which the acquisition brings along with it, and hence no little of the happiness of which we have just described its possession to be the source. Besides that, the labour itself soon becomes an enjoyment.
To the example of Cook, if it were necessary, we might add those of others of his countrymen, who, since his time, have shown, in like manner, the possibility of uniting the cultivation of literature and science to the most zealous performance of the duties of the same laborious profession. For instance, Vancouver was a sailor formed under Cook; and to him we owe an interesting and ably written account of the voyage which he made round the world in 1790 and the four following years. Lieutenant Flinders commanded the expedition sent out in 1801 to survey the coast of New Holland, and afterwards published an account of his voyage, accompanied by a volume of charts, which are considered as placing the author in the highest rank of modern hydrographers. In particular we ought not here to forget the late Lord Collingwood, second in command to Nelson at Trafalgar, and in all respects a man of first-rate merit, who, although he never sent any production to the press, has been proved by his correspondence, published since his death, to have been in reality one of the best of writers. Yet he was only thirteen when he first entered the navy, and during the remainder of his life he was scarcely ever ashore-circumstances which used to make his acquaintances wonder not a little where he got his style. He had always, however, been fond of reading and the study of elegant literature; and he found that even a life at sea afforded him many opportunities of indulging his taste for these enjoyments.
Lord Collingwood may be said to have been, in all respects, a perfect illustration of Woro orth's fine les on the character of “ The Happy Warrior :”—
“Whose powers shed round him in the common strife,
Or mild concerns of ordinary life,
He who though thus endued as with a sense
More brave for this, that he hath much to love.”.
NATURAL HISTORY SECTION.
THE CLASSIFICATION OF ANIMALS.
HE science which treats of animals is called Zoology, from zoon, the Greek word for an animal, and logos, a word or reasoning. One of the chief objects which
naturalists have in view is the classification of all living creatures, that is, their arrangement according to family likeness into groups, classes, orders, and so on. Were we to give the complete classification in full here, it would be useless, because very few young persons could possibly remember it. We shall therefore confine ourselves to mentioning the four great groups, viz., - Vertebrata, Mollusca, Articulata, and Radiata.
1. The animals belonging to the first of these groups are distinguished by the possession of a skull and vertebral column or backbone, and are hence called Vertebrate animals, or Vertebrata.
2. Those belonging to the second group have, among other characteristics, the body covered with a skin which is moist and soft, and from this circumstance they are termed Mollusca.
3. Those comprised in the third group have a jointed structure, and as the word articulus means a little joint, they are termed Articulata.
4. Those of the fourth group, or such of them as are the most fitting representatives of its characteristics, have a rayed structure, either in the outline of the body or in the arrangement of its parts, and are hence known as rayed animals, or Radiata.
Each of these groups of animals exhibits well-marked modifications of the nervous system, so that they are distinguishable by internal structure as well as by external appearance.
Each group is subdivided into smaller groups termed classes. Classes are again divided into orders, orders into families, families into genera, and genera into species.
The following table will convey a general idea of the manner in which animals are distributed among the several classes :