CHAP. 4. (5.)—BEES.
But among them all, the first rank, and our especial admiration, ought, in justice, to be accorded to bees, which alone,
of all the insects, have been created for the benefit of man.
They extract honey and collect it, a juicy substance remarkable
for its extreme sweetness, lightness, and wholesomeness. They
form their combs and collect wax, an article that is useful for
a thousand purposes of life; they are patient of fatigue, toil at
their labours, form themselves into political communities, hold
councils together in private, elect chiefs in common, and, a thing
that is the most remarkable of all, have their own code of morals.
In addition to this, being as they are, neither tame nor wild,
so all-powerful is Nature, that, from a creature so minute as to
be nothing more hardly than the shadow of an animal, she has
created a marvel beyond all comparison. What muscular
power, what exertion of strength are we to put in comparison
with such vast energy and such industry as theirs? What display of human genius, in a word, shall we compare with the
reasoning powers manifested by them? In this they have, at
all events, the advantage of us-they know of nothing but what
is for the common benefit of all. Away, then, with all questions
whether they respire or no, and let us be ready to agree on
the question of their blood; and yet, how little of it can possibly exist in bodies so minute as theirs.—And now let us
form some idea of the instinct they display.