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THOUGHT.



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MIND IN ANIMALS.



PROFESSOR LUDWIG BUCHNER,

AUTHOR OF ' FORCE AND MATTER," ' MAN, AND HIS PLACE IN

NATURE," ETC., ETC.



Translated, with the Author's permission, from tfa German of
the Third Revised Edition,

BY

ANNIE BESANT.




LONDON :
FREETHOUGHT PUBLISHING COMPANY,

28, STONECUTTER STREET, E.G.
1880.



LONDON :

I-R1NTE1) BY ANNIE BESANT AND CHARLES BRADLAUGH,
28, STONECUTTER STREET, B.C.



ADVERTISEMENT.



IN issuing, under the name of the " INTERNATIONAL LIBRARY OF
SCIENCE AND FREETHOUGHT," a series of books of which the pre-
sent volume is the first, the FREETHOUGHT PUBLISHING COMPANY
desires to place at the service of English Freethought the
weapons wielded against superstition in foreign countries as well
as those forged in England itself. The writings of foreign
scientists are not as well known in England as their merit
deserves ; there are some valuable text-books such as those of
Gegenbaur and of Thome which have their place on the book-
shelf of the student; but the aim of the FREETHOUGHT PUBLISHING
COMPANY is to issue such works as will reach the general reader,
as well as the scientific student, and render Buchner, Hiickel
and others as well-known to the English public as are Huxley
and Darwin. German science is one of the glories of the world ;
it is time that it should lend in England that same aid to Free-
thought which in Germany has made every educated man a
Freethinker. France will contribute to this new library some of
the works of her leading sceptics ; and Italy, also, has furnished
help to Freethought which will not be forgotten. English and
American works will not be excluded, and it is hoped that a real
service will be done to progress by thus popularising in one
country the knowledge gained in many lands by the earnest
searchers after truth.



2091 057



PREFACE. TO THE FIRST EDITION.



IF the author of this book had had to choose a title for it
after it was written he would have called it "A Romance
of the Animal World." For the contents both seem and
are romantic and wonderful, although with the exception
of such doubtful or possibly doubtful observations as are
given on the authority of the writer himself there is
nothing therein which does not rest on scientific investi-
gation or on the evidence of trustworthy observers, who, at
different times and in different places, have had co-incident
experiences, and whose accounts bear the stamp of sober
research, and are the simple description of things they actually
saw. But as histories (of nations as of individuals), related
just as they really happened and still are daily happening,
are full of more wonderful and more startling occurrences,
of grander tragedy and more irresistible comedy, of more
apparently impossible and incredible things and events
than are told in fiction, and leave far behind them the
boldest fancies of poets and novelists, so it is also with
nature; she is wont, the more we peer into her secrets, to
bring the most marvellous, the mightiest and the most
astonishing forms out of the simplest and the least differen-
tiated. That " Mind in Animals " especially is in reality a
far other, higher and more complex thing than had hitherto
been generally conceived, and indeed than the ruling schools



of philosophy desired (and still desire) to admit, can be un-
known to none who is acquainted with animals, not alone-
from hearsay and from philosophic writings, but from his
own intercourse with them, from his own observation, or
from the works and teachings of real and unprejudiced
observers. For such observation furnishes continually, and
with overwhelming fullness, the most startling and incontro-
vertible examples and proofs, that between the thinking,,
willing, and feeling of men and of animals there is the most
striking similarity, and often a mere difference of degree.
But even among comparatively educated people it has been
little thought and felt that this rule applies also to those
classes of animals which appear to be so far below us as
those treated of in the present work ; our intellectual vanity
will have to submit to bitter humiliation and rebuke in con-
templating the proceedings or the societies and deeds of
these unjustly despised, but yet, in spite of their minuteness^
wonderful creatures. But the greater the humiliation from
the one point of view, the greater from the other is the
satisfaction arising from the renewed proof of the sublime
unity of Nature ; and hence that the same intellectual or
spiritual principle, call it reason, understanding, soul, in-
stinct, or propensity, pervades the whole organised series,.
even if in the most manifold modifications and variations,,
from below to above, from above to below.

Starting from this last standpoint, the author has not
thought it necessary to widen the circle of his observations
over the whole of the comparatively narrow and yet infinitely
wide and rich sphere of intelligent insect life ; he considers it
better, according to the true and ancient proverb, Multum non
multa, to treat a single species thoroughly, rather than many
species cursorily and superficially, thus falling into the common,



blunder of writers on Animal Psychology, who are wont
rather to be dazzled by the overwhelming mass of materials
than to be enlightened thereby. For it is just in the indi-
vidual and in the minute, rather than in the general, that
the truth of the above-named principle shines out most
clearly and most strikingly ; and it is here, at the same time,
that we shall find the most easily recognisable land-marks
for further researches in this direction. And this is so,,
although the proposed sketch does not pretend to lay claim
to completeness, and although the writer has been compelled
by the limits of a popular work to confine himself to the
most necessary and to the most commonly known things,
and to make many distasteful abridgements. Even those
who turn away from the philosophical meaning and tendency
of the observations herein recorded, and only desire enter-
tainment, or entertaining instruction, will also, the author
hopes, not be disappointed in reading the book, although the-
thoughtful reader is enabled to enjoy a special pleasure of
his own in the likeness to the doings of men which lies on
the surface and indeed presses itself on his attention. The
well-known philosopher, Daumer, who has passed from
Radicalism to piety, has indeed made the characteristic
remark that many glimpses into the minds of animals ''must
make one shudder." But this can only be when anyone
clings to the antiquated notion that animals are beings
entirely and essentially distinct from men, and that all they
do can only be the outcome of unconscious and unchange-
able instincts. All others must feel a true intellectual joy
when they recognise in the psychical world that same law of
the origin and development of organic life, that has been
demonstrated in physical things by Lamarck, Oken, Darwin,.
Hack el, and others



h will naturally be understood that the narrowing of the
subject to a relatively small field of Animal Psychology
compels the author to use only a very small number out of
the many hundreds of facts and observations on the intel-
lectual life of animals, which have been sent to him from
&11 parts of the world in answer to his public request, and for
which he here again returns his public acknowledgment ;
further, the greater number of these communications give the
result, as might be expected, of daily and private observa-
tions on the more accessible animals. The author therefore
ventures to refer his respected correspondents to a later work
from his own pen which, as compared with the present
book, undertakes a far wider task. He will therein endeavor,
by means of a psychological classification, to trace the dif-
ferent affections and manifestations of man's emotional and
intellectual life throughout the great circles of the animal
world. Here also most of the communications will be found
under the names of the several observers, and the author
trusts that this will be accepted as his personal acknowledg-
ment for individual help.

Darmstadt, October, 1876.



PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITIOX.



THE great interest which has been aroused by the publi-
cation of the improved edition of this work makes it
possible to issue this third edition, despite the comparatively
short time that has elapsed and the unfavorable nature of
the times for literary enterprises. The book has again been
most carefully revised, and has been enriched and rendered
more complete by many new additional facts taken from the
researches and communications of Lubbock, McCook,
Graber, Espinas, Taschenberg, Miiller, Dzierzon, and
others. Especially worthy of thanks are the researches
carried on in Philadelphia by the Rev. H. C. McCook, on the
habits of ants and spiders ; these, like the communications
of the above named investigators, confirm and complete in
almost every particular the facts already published ; this is
notably the case with the results given in the admirable
work of Dr. A. Forel on the ants of Switzerland. "We
cannot deny ourselves the pleasure of here quoting the ex-
cellent remarks of M. A. Espinas, the author of the book
on " Animal Societies " (translated into German by Vieweg,
1879), although we do not thereby wish to give the idea
that our own volume owes its existence to any motives save
to those of simple love of truth and of popular instruction or
instructive amusement. M. Espinas says : " To elevate
animal societies is at the same time to elevate those of men,



who so widely surpass and rule them. We think that we-
shall better promote civilisation if we show that man is the
last step of an advancing progress, than if we isolate him in
the universe and leave him to rule a world bare of intelli-
gence and of emotion." Equally well does the same author
speak in another place, wherein he argues against those who-
above all things will not admit any comparison between the
intellectual powers of men and beasts : " It is clear
that we can only comprehend an intelligence, of whatever
kind it may be, 'when we can find its analogue in our own
intellectual life. This is a necessity of Animal Psychology
to which we must absolutely hold fast."

The promises made by the author at the close of the pre-
face of the first edition have been partly redeemed by the
issue, by M. A. Hofman, of Berlin, of the work on " Love
and love habits of the Animal World," as one of the pub-
lications of the " Universal Society of German Literature."
The author further hopes that he may have time and oppor-
tunity to fulfil the remaining part of his promise before
very long. It will doubtless interest readers of this volume
to hear that a Dutch translation has appeared under the
title of " Uit het Leven der Dieren, vertaald door R. E.
de Haan " (Nimwegen, published by Bloomert and Tim-
merman), and that a French translation of this third edition
will shortly be issued in Paris by Reinwald.

Darmstadt, March, 1880.



INTRODUCTION.



CHAPTER I.
HISTORICAL REVIEW.

THE question of mind in animals and of their intellectual
capacities as compared with those of men is as old as
man's thought ; it can scarcely be accepted as a brilliant
testimony to human philosophy and its progress, that the
different points of view from which this question has been
judged stand out against each other to-day with almost the
same distinctness as was the case some thousand years ago,
although lately the influence of the Darwinian theory, and
the more accurate knowledge of the remarkable facts of
heredity, have thrown a heavy weight into the scale of the
opinion hitherto rejected by the majority. This opinion
has been urged or denied less from scientific than from
egoistical motives ; it was feared lest man and his place in
nature should be lowered and degraded if animals were
allowed the possession of intellectual powers like or allied
to those of man. Just as if " our superiority over the
animals " (as Lord Brougham says in his '' Discourse on
Instinct") "was not great enough to banish and make ridicu-
lous every feeling of jealousy in this respect, even if we
regard the difference between ourselves and them as a ques-
tion of degree and not of kind."

There was indeed in their exceedingly slight knowledge
of animals and of their habits an excuse for the philosophers
of antiquity, which cannot be admitted for the philosophers
of to-day. Nevertheless, Anaxagoras, with philosophic in-
sight, calls man the wisest of animals ; Socrates calls him
a beautiful, and Plato a civilised animal. Their disciple,



2 INTRODUCTION.

Aristotle who far surpassed his predecessors in scientific
knowledge approached more nearly to the solution of
the question, for he had caught a glimpse of the gradations
of organised beings. He sees in the minds of animals traces
of the properties of human minds and human reflection, and
maintains that the mind of the child scarcely differs in
aught from the mind of the animal ("Natural History,""
Book 8). He regards the elephant as the most intelligent
of animals. The Roman Pliny, although too credulous,
does the same in relating wonderful anecdotes about
animals. Also the Roman poet, Virgil (70 B.C.), speaks
very lovingly in his poems about the breeding of animals,
and in describing the wonderful doings of bees declares
that a portion of the divine spirit dwells in these creatures.
Plutarch (B.C. 50) in his treatise on reason in animals
makes himself merry over the opinion taught in the
schools of the cynics and stoics and still defended to-day
that animals in reality possess neither emotion nor thought,
and that the identity of their actions with those of men is
only apparent. " As for those," he says, " who judge so
clumsily and are so barefaced as to maintain that animals
feel neither joy, nor anger, nor fear, that the swallow has
no forethought, and the bee no memory, but that it is a
mere appearance when the swallow shows forethought, or
the lion anger, or the hind timidity I do not know how
they would answer those who should say that they must then
also admit that animals do not see, nor hear, nor have
voices, but that they only apparently see, hear, and have
voices ; that in fact they do not really live at all, but only
appear to have life. For the one contention would not be
more antagonistic to manifest fact than is the other."

Plutarch seems also to embrace the opinion, about which
there is now so much controversy, that the difference be-
tween animals of the same race is not nearly so great as
that between man and man.

The great Roman physician, Claudius Galen, of Per-
gamus, whose system of medicine ruled the world for more
than a thousand years, gives it plainly to be understood in his
writings that he ascribes reflection and power of determi-
nation to animals, and that they only differ from men as to
degree. He also, like Anaxagoras, calls man the wisest of
animals.



INTRODUCTION. 3

The first writer of the Christian era who troubled himself
about animals, and combatted their more and more strongly
emphasised inferiority to man, was Celsus, who lived in the
second century after Christ, and who followed the material-
istic philosophy of the Epicureans as adapted by the
Platonists. He fought with wit and acuteness against
Christianity, and also against the Judreo-Christian theory
that everything was created for the sake of man, and that
he was the final cause of the universe. He maintained, as
regards animals, that their bodies differed in no important
respect from those of men, and that in intellectual qualities
they were in many things higher rather than lower than
men, since they had a kind of intelligible government, and
observed justice and love. His proofs in support of this
argument he draws from the life of bees and ants and with
what justice the reader of this book will find abundant
evidence.

" If men," proceeds Celsus, " want to separate themselves
from animals because they inhabit towns, make laws, and
set up a government, yet all this proves nothing ; bees and
ants do the same. Bees have their king, whom they ac-
company and obey ; they have their wars, their victories,
their massacres of the conquered ; they have towns and
suburbs, regular hours of work, penalties for the lazy and
the bad ; they hunt and punish hornets . . . ." He
awards the same praise to the ants and to their prudence
and care for the future. They help each other to carry
heavy loads. " Out of the seeds and fruits which they
collect they put on one side those which have begun to sprout,
so that they may not affect the others, and that they may
serve as food for the winter." They speak to each other
when they meet, and do not mistake their road. Celsus
even thinks that they have their own burying grounds.
" If anyone were able to look down upon the earth from
heaven, what difference would he see between the works of
men and those of ants and of bees ? "

The Christian Middle Ages, enemy of all natural investi-
gation, could evidently make no peace with such theories.
In spite of the vigorous opposition of Rorarius, the learned
nuncio of Clement VII. to the Court of the Emperor
Ferdinand in Hungary, who brought forward a mass of
facts in support of the reasoning powers of animals, and



4 INTRODUCTION.

maintained, like Celsus, that they often put their reason to
a better use than did men, the Church upheld the contrary
view, going even as far as the famous, or at least notorious,
contention of the French philosopher, Descartes (1596 to
1650), which, as is well-known, takes away from animals
-all conscious feeling and emotion, and only regards them as
living machines, or as automata. Descartes, however, is
not the only holder of this opinion. He borrowed it from
a predecessor, the Spanish physician, Gomez Pereira, who
in his " Antoniana Margarita," published in the sixteenth
century, first maintained that animals had neither intellec-
tual feeling nor capacity of thought, and that, above all,
they had no minds, but were only machines controlled by
external circumstances. Descartes, whose whole philosophy
rests on the dualism of matter and spirit, admits nevertheless
that animals do many things better than men ; but they
therein follow, he asserts, only a blind instinct, or a
mechanical impulse communicated through their external
organs, just as a watch, an artificial machine, measures time
better than a man^ with all his intellect and reason.
According to Descartes, the feelings and emotions of animals
are an empty show ; a welcome piece of news for animal-
tormentors! " After the error of Atheism," says Descartes,
" there is none which leads weak minds further from the
path of virtue than the idea that the minds of animals re-
semble our own, and therefore that we have no greater right
to a future life than have gnats and ants, while, on the
contrary, our mind is quite independent of the body, and
does not therefore necessarily perish with it."

This extreme opinion made a great success in its time, so
that no man could call himself a Cartesian without declaring
that animals were machines.

Besides, the all-powerful devil of the Middle Ages got
mixed up in the matter, and was held to be the author of
the unmistakable manifestations of reason in animals, by
those who sought for some ground for them ; while, on the
contrary, others did not hesitate to impute this same author-
ship to the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth, through
the mediation of so-called instinct, which God had im-
planted in the minds of animals for their preservation and
increase a guiding and irresistible natural propensity,
inborn, unchangeable, independent of experience and



INTRODUCTION. O

training, and acting appropriately without consciousness of
the object aimed at. The word instinct is derived from
the Latin instinguere, to excite or to allure, and therefore
necessarily connotes an exciter or allurer. Therefore
Ccesalpinius says, very properly, from this point of view :
Deus est anima brutorum God is the mind of animals.

It is evident that under such circumstances the question
of the mind of animals could never become a scientific
study ; scientific investigation of the intellectual and
emotional powers of animals in comparison with those of
man, in fact comparative psychology, was impossible. The
subject was either dealt with as a mere collection of curi-
osities, an innocent amusement, an intellectual pastime, or,
more usually, the purely theological standpoint was taken,
and the endeavor was made to use this theme as so many
similar ones drawn from Nature merely as an object of
pious wonder.

The Cartesian theory had given rise to much controversy
in its time, and the hostile philosophy of Leibnitz, teaching
organic gradation and the unbroken unity of all living things,
both of men and of animals, had called up against it a host of
writers. The most important of these productions for our
position was the small work of Jenkin Thomasuis, published
in 1713, who supported against Descartes and in the
spirit of his own time and of Leibnitz the immateriality,
and therefore the immortality, of the animal soul. The
German editor of the book, Professor Bajer, also declared
against instinct, and held that among the various opinions
of the learned on the mind of animals, that which saw in
animals the analogue of the human mind was the most
conformable to man's natural judgment, and the most use-
ful for throwing light on animal actions. In like fashion
Professor Reclam, another author on the same question
(" Body and Mind," 1850, p. 384), wrote very well : " We
therefore conclude that we ought entirely to give up the ex-
pression ' instinct,' for we only can and should apply it to
such actions of animals as we can explain in no other way,
and we ought, remembering Kepler's warning, to seek
for every other explanation before we use a word so inde-
finite and so apt to mislead." In fact, those who deny this,
and who will not compare the intellectual faculties of
animals with those of men, must renounce all scientific



6 INTRODUCTION.

conceptions of these faculties, since there is no other rule
wherewith to measure them, and the word " instinct " as
will presently be further shown is only a paraphrase of
our ignorance, and depends in countless cases on demon-
strably false representations.* The French philosopher,
Condillac, the able tutor of the Infant of Parma, who, by
his victorious struggle against the innate ideas of Locke,
gave the death-stroke to the vanishing relics of the Car-
tesian philosophy, had used the argument against Descartes
that animals were far removed from machines, since they
felt like ourselves, avoided danger, gained expertness, and
supplied their own wants as did human beings. " Man is
wont to say," remarks Condillac, " that animals obey in-
stinct and man reason, without knowing what is to be
conveyed bv these two words. The actions of animals can
only be explained on three principles ; either as the result
of mere mechanism, or of blind impulse which neither
reasons nor judges, or as the outcome of something which
reasons, judges and understands. Since I have proved that
both the first explanations are utterly unsatisfactory, the
last alone remains." Linnaeus, Buffon who made the
admirable remark that we were compelled to marvel the
more at the intelligence of animals, the more we observed
and the less we theorised Voltaire, G. F. Meier (in his
famous " Search after a new system of Animal Intelligence,"
1750), C. Bonnet, and many others spoke more or less
against the Cartesian philosophy. The last especially, an
excellent naturalist and a distinguished thinker (1770),
refers to the contrivances of insects, especially of wasps and
bees, and to the artistic talent of the beavers, which last
are brought in immediately after the bees. (!)

Even the Jesuit father, Bonjeant, who found so much
intelligence in animals that he thought it could only be due
to the help of the devil or devils, turned against Descartes
with the words: "All the Cartesians in the world will
never persuade me that a dog is a mere machine. Imagine
a man who should love his clock as a man loves his dog,
and who should pet it because he believed it loved him and
was of opinion that it struck the hours consciously and out

* Compare on this point the admirable treatment of the mind of
animals, by L. H. Morgan, in " The American Beaver and his Works,"



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