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No. 121 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

I shall add to these general Observations, an Instance which Mr. Lock has given us of Providence even in the Imperfections of a Creature which seems the meanest and most despicable in the whole animal World. We may, says he, from the Make of an Oyster, or Cockle, conclude, that it has not so many nor so quick Senses as a Man, or several other Animals: Nor if it had, would it, in that State and Incapacity of transferring it self from one Place to another, be bettered by them. What good would Sight and Hearing do to a Creature, that cannot move it self to, or from the Object, wherein at a distance it perceives Good or Evil? And would not Quickness of Sensation be an Inconvenience to an Animal, that must be still where Chance has once placed it; and there receive the Afflux of colder or warmer, clean or foul Water, as it happens to come to it. [3]

I shall add to this Instance out of Mr. Lock another out of the learned Dr. Moor, [4] who cites it from Cardan, in relation to another Animal which Providence has left Defective, but at the same time has shewn its Wisdom in the Formation of that Organ in which it seems chiefly to have failed. What is more obvious and ordinary than a Mole? and yet what more palpable Argument of Providence than she? The Members of her Body are so exactly fitted to her Nature and Manner of Life: For her Dwelling being under Ground where nothing is to be seen, Nature has so obscurely fitted her with Eyes, that Naturalists can hardly agree whether she have any Sight at all or no. But for Amends, what she is capable of for her Defence and Warning of Danger, she has very eminently conferred upon her; for she is exceeding quick of hearing. And then her short Tail and short Legs, but broad Fore-feet armed with sharp Claws, we see by the Event to what Purpose they are, she so swiftly working her self under Ground, and making her way so fast in the Earth as they that behold it cannot but admire it. Her Legs therefore are short, that she need dig no more than will serve the mere Thickness of her Body; and her Fore-feet are broad that she may scoop away much Earth at a time; and little or no Tail she has, because she courses it not on the Ground, like the Rat or Mouse, of whose Kindred she is, but lives under the Earth, and is fain to dig her self a Dwelling there. And she making her way through so thick an Element, which will not yield easily, as the Air or the Wafer, it had been dangerous to have drawn so long a Train behind her; for her Enemy might fall upon her Rear, and fetch her out, before she had compleated or got full Possession of her Works.

I cannot forbear mentioning Mr. Boyle’s Remark upon this last Creature, who I remember somewhere in his Works observes, [5] that though the Mole be not totally blind (as it is commonly thought) she has not Sight enough to distinguish particular Objects. Her Eye is said to have but one Humour in it, which is supposed to give her the Idea of Light, but of nothing else, and is so formed that this Idea is probably painful to the Animal. Whenever she comes up into broad Day she might be in Danger of being taken, unless she were thus affected by a Light striking upon her Eye, and immediately warning her to bury herself in her proper Element. More Sight would be useless to her, as none at all might be fatal.

I have only instanced such Animals as seem the most imperfect Works of Nature; and if Providence shews it self even in the Blemishes of these Creatures, how much more does it discover it self in the several Endowments which it has variously bestowed upon such Creatures as are more or less finished and compleated in their several Faculties, according to the condition of Life in which they are posted.