Imágenes de páginas

SALVINIA. I have not seen this plant from the United States.

AZOLLA.-A. microphylla, Klfs., from California, is certainly distinct from A. caroliniana, though Hooker unites them. The latter species was collected by Drummond about New Orleans.

Art. IX.- On the Beneficent Distribution of the Sense of Pain;

by Mr. G. R. ROWELL.

Read before the Aslımolean Society of Oxford, 30 May, 1917, and communicated by the

Author, to the Edinb. New Phil. Jour., vol. xlii, p. 335, from which it is here cited.

Having had, in my youth, an aversion to animal food, from an idea that it was cruel to destroy life for the purpose of obtaining it, I have been led by that feeling, and a few rather extraordinary circumstances which have come under my notice, to pay some attention to the effects produced by injuries to various animals; which investigation has caused such a complete change in my opinions on the use and distribution of the sense of pain, that, so far from considering it an infliction, I now believe it to be one of the most necessary senses we possess; that, like all other senses, it is given to animals in as great a degree as it is necessary and useful to them; that no animals have a greater sense of pain than is necessary for the preservation of the class to which they belong; that those which are designed for food, suffer little when killed, in comparison to what other animals would feel from the same infliction; and that some are totally devoid of the sense of pain.

ulo ascendente, oblique securiformi versus basin angusta!o, margine superiori minore, inferiori magis convexo, lateribus compresso; rhaphide brevi, dente inferiori obtuso divergente, superiori vix ullo ; receptaculo coriaceo indurato, fusco-atro, cicatricibus concoloribus scabrato, paleis angustis persistentibus tecto; soris utrum. que decem; foliolis flabelliformibus, margine arcuatim excisis, apice integris, utrumque albo-pilosis.

Very distinct from the other North American Marsileæ, it approaches an undescribed species from New Holland, M. Drummondii, A. Braun, mss., nearer than any other. What I formerly called stomata, (vide this Journal, l. c.,) I find now to be nothing but the cicatrir, or the place of insertion of the paleæ. In the other North American species: these scars have a red margin, which is wanting in M. macropoda.

A fourth species is M. mucronata, A. Braun, collected by Geyer in the Northwestern Territory, (this Journal, 1. c.)

A fifth has been collected, 18:37, by T. Lindheimer in Western Texas, on the upper waters of the Guadaloupe River.

Marsilea tenuifolia, Engelm. mss.: stipitibus singulis e basi petioli ortis, receptaculo dimidio brevioribus; receptaculo ascendente, oblique obovato, margine supe. riore vix convexo subrecto, lateribus compresso; rhaphide brevi, dentibus approximatis superiore inferiorem paulo superante ; paleis brevibus, adpressis, sparsis, cicatricibus rubro-marginatis; soris utrumque 9-10; foliolis angusiis oblique lanceolatis, apice oblique truncatis, inæqualiter dentatis, parce adpressi pilosis.

Nearly related to M. mucronata and M. restita; but distinguished by the shorter stipe, more erect fruit, and shape of the leaflets.-A. Braun. SECOND SERIES, Vol. VI, No. 16.—July, 1848.


In submitting this paper to the consideration of the Ashmolean Society, I beg to state distinctly, that I do not pretend to any knowledge of anatomy, but have been led to my conclusions by what appears to be the effect of injuries upon different animals. I do not attempt to assign any cause for the difference of the amount of pain, whether it be that the nerves are less sensitive, or less numerons in some classes than in others, or whether it is owing to the want of reflecting faculties, but only to show that there is such a difference.

I do not know that there is any thing new in the opinions I advance; but as I have had more than ordinary opportunities of witnessing the effect of wounds on some classes of animals, I submit this paper, believing that the consideration of the subject is calculated, in the highest degree, to excite feelings of gratitude and admiration of the merciful designs of Providence; and as the discovery of the use of the vapor of ether has recently brought the sense of pain under the consideration of this Society, I hope the paper will be in some degree interesting.

There can be little doubt that the sense of pain is of the first importance to man, to guard and warn him from injury. The skin is very sensitive, the body being thus enveloped in a membrane susceptible of the slightest injury, while the heart, lungs, brain, and other vital internal parts that are thus guarded, are almost insensible ; but although the lungs are, in a great degree, insensible of pain during consumption, they are extremely sensible of the impurities of the air, thus guarding against the inhalation of anything injurious. As the hands, and especially the fingers, are very liable to injury, the sense of pain is great in those parts; and I believe there may be more real pain from a gathering in the finger, than from very many of the most fatal complaints. The exterior coating of the eye is extremely sensitive; while the back and interior portions of that organ are almost insensible. The sense of pain in the mouth guards the throat, and in the stomach is a warning against our eating anything that is injurious. Rheumatic pains are bad; but how many more fatal cases would arise from colds, &c., if man was not warned by pain and inconvenience of the bad effects upon his constitution of sudden changes of temperature.

One of the best ways to judge of the value of anything, is to consider how we could do without it; and it will be well to do so in the present case. Thus, if a man had not the sense of pain, he might sit by a fire, and in his absence of mind, put his foot upon it, and soon find himself minus that useful member; he might have lime blown into his eyes, and thus loose his sight if not warned by the pain; in fact, there would be no end to his dangers if not possessed of that useful monitor, which guards him from injury, and is a check to his excesses. There may be pains and sufferings, the use of which it may be difficult to see ; but I would rather attribute this to a want of knowledge, than believe that the rule which holds good in so many cases does not hold good in all. In fact, the beneficial use of the sense of pain to man is so evident, and has been pointed out so long since in Paley's Natural Theology, that I should not have said anything upon the point, but that I considered it necessary for the elucidation of my subject, as regards its uses and distribution among the lower classes of animals.

Before I enter farther upon the subject, it will be necessary to consider what may be taken as a proof of pain; convulsions are considered by many as a sign of suffering, but I believe it is generally allowed by the medical profession that the opinion is erroneous: the cry of animals cannot always be depended on as indicative of pain, which is proved by the noise a pig will make when taken hold of. It is also necessary to make allowance for the struggling under restraint which is natural to all wild animals. The only criterion to decide the question is to consider what is the effect of mutilations on the health of animals, and how far such injuries interfere with their usual habits and appetites.

I will now state a few cases, to show that injuries, apparently the most dreadful, have but little effect on many of the brute creation.

The first case which forcibly took my attention, was seeing a horse that was feeding by the side of the road between St. Clement's and Headington hill, have its leg broken by a coach-wheel passing over it just above the fetlock joint; the poor beast showed evident signs of pain at the moment, the bone being dreadfully crushed, and protruding in parts through the skin. A number of persons collected around, but no one liked to dispatch it, and on their standing aside, so that it might get out of the way of things passing, the moment the horse got to the side of the road it began grazing, showing no other sign of pain than holding up the injured leg.

Another case is that of a post-horse, which was going along the road between Botley and Ensham, about twelve years since, when it came down with such violence that the skin and sinews of both the fore fetlock joints were so cut that on its getting up again the bones came through the skin, and the two feet turned up at the back of the legs, the horse walking upon the ends of the leg bones. The man who was with it would not consent to its being killed till be had informed his master, (who, I believe, was Mr. Masters of Staple Hall Inn, Witney ;) the horse was therefore put into a field by the road side, and was found the next morning quietly feeding about the field, with the feet and skin forced nearly half way up the leg bones, and where it had been walking about, the holes made in the ground by the leg bones were three or four inches deep.

A similar accident once happened to a coach-horse, the property of the late Mr. Costar of Oxford ; it was found, when the coach stopped to change horses, to have dislocated the fetlock joints, and from the worn appearance of the ends of the leg bones, must have run a considerable distance along the road in that state.

I do not lay much stress on this case, as it is not very surprising that a spirited horse, in harness with others, should continue running under such circumstances; but in the former case, there was nothing to excite the horse but its hunger, and if the pain had been equal to what such a dreadful injury would seem to indicate, it would probably, if in ever such a famished state, have gone upon its knees to feed, rather than upon the injured parts.

It is curious to observe the apparent indifference with which some animals will devour parts of their own bodies. I once kept tame dormice, and, in shutting the cage door, accidentally caught the tail of one of them, when it squeaked out and left the skin of about two thirds of its tail sticking to the door. Whether the cry was caused by pain or fear, I cannot decide ; but it went about the cage for a few minutes apparently rather uneasy, it then took hold of its tail with its paws and eat all the injured part, and then seemed as well as ever.

Rats will often eat their tails when in confinement, if kept short of food; and the habit of eating their own tajls is not uncommon amongst the monkey tribe. I know a person who used to dip the end of his monkey's tail in tobacco water to keep it from being eaten, and some of the monkeys in the London Zoological Garden may at times be seen enjoying themselves in this way; but from whatever cause this propensity may arise, I believe it is never indulged in by the monkeys with prehensile tails; their tails seem to be too useful to be so wantonly disposed of, and I have no doubt are therefore possessed of a much greater share of the sense of pain.

A few years since, the Quarterly Review, in a notice of the Dean of Westminster's work on the bones found in the cave at Kirkdale, stated that an old hyena kept in the Jardin des Plantes at Paris, had its leg broken, when one night it bit off the leg at the broken part, and eat it.

The emasculation of large cattle seems a very barbarous operation, the parts being cut with hot instruments; yet I saw an aged bull after undergoing that operation, walk away very unconcernedly, and then after grazing for about half an hour, he lay down and chewed his cud apparently quite comfortable.

Pigs make a sad outcry when being killed, but I believe it is caused by fear and the uncomfortable way in which they are held, rather than by pain. I once saw a large pig which had been stuck, get away from the men who were holding it, and there was not the least cry after it had got out of their hands, al

though it was bleeding to death; when smaller pigs are killed by sticking them, and then letting them run about till they drop, there is no cry after they are let go; and if stuck skilfully, without taking hold of them, there is no more noise than a mere grunt or squeak, about the same as there would be if the pig had a slight blow with the end of a stick; and I have no doubt that a pig may feel more pain from a heavy blow, than from being killed in the usual manner. When it is considered that the nose of a pig is so very useful to the animal from its habit of routing in the earth, and may therefore be very sensitive, it does seem probable that the opinion is correct, that a pig feels more pain from having a ring put through its nose, than in being killed.

I have stated these cases to shew that the pain felt by brutes is much less than would be felt by man under similar injuries. My object is to shew the probability, that as the sense of pain is not so necessary or useful to brutes, they have it in a less degree.

In the next class of animals to which I shall allude, that is, rabbits and hares, I will endeavor to shew that the use of the sense of pain is, in a great degree, or almost completely, superseded by other senses, and that their sense of pain is very trifling, compared to that of most other quadrupeds. There can be little doubt that, although so very prolific, very few rabbits or hares in a wild state die of old age, as they are the food of a large class of beasts of prey. Foxes, wild-cats, martins, pole-cats, stoats and weasels, could not exist without them; they are their natural prey, against the least of which the rabbit or hare has no means of defense when once caught; therefore the sense of pain would be of no use to them, either to warn them from danger or to cause them to exert themselves to escape; but a slight examination of the form of both rabbits and hares, will shew that they have other means of defense : their eyes are not placed in the front of the head as in beasts of prey, but on the side of the head, very prominent, so that they are enabled to see before, behind, and all around them; their ears also can be turned this way or that way to catch the slightest sound, added to which, they have a degree of timidity which keeps them always on the alert.

With regard to their sense of pain, it is well to know that a hare never, or very seldom, cries out when shot, even if she receives her death-wound, if she can run a few yards and hide herself; but if her legs are broken, or she is in any way stopped from running, even if caught in a net, which can give her no real pain, she utters most piteous screams; when followed by dogs, her screams always begin before they have actually caught her, and it is worthy of notice that she is much more readily dispatched than perhaps any other animal of her size.

Rabbits resemble hares in this respect, as they utter no cry when wounded, but will do so from fear; if run down by a stoat

« AnteriorContinuar »