Samuel Butler's Canterbury Pieces By Samuel Butler


C.  That is nonsense; as you asked me what impression I derived from
the book, so now I ask you - Page 10
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C. That Is Nonsense; As You Asked Me What Impression I Derived From The Book, So Now I Ask You, And I Charge You To Answer Me.

F. Well, I assent to the justice of your demand, but I shall comply with it by requiring your assent to a few principal statements deducible from the work.

C. So be it.

F. You will grant then, firstly, that all plants and animals increase very rapidly, and that unless they were in some manner checked, the world would soon be overstocked. Take cats, for instance; see with what rapidity they breed on the different runs in this province where there is little or nothing to check them; or even take the more slowly breeding sheep, and see how soon 500 ewes become 5000 sheep under favourable circumstances. Suppose this sort of thing to go on for a hundred million years or so, and where would be the standing room for all the different plants and animals that would be now existing, did they not materially check each other's increase, or were they not liable in some way to be checked by other causes? Remember the quail; how plentiful they were until the cats came with the settlers from Europe. Why were they so abundant? Simply because they had plenty to eat, and could get sufficient shelter from the hawks to multiply freely. The cats came, and tussocks stood the poor little creatures in but poor stead. The cats increased and multiplied because they had plenty of food and no natural enemy to check them.

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