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tioritanoes, a tribe in Peru“, the Carribees", and the inhabitants of Nootka Sound", is no longer to be doubted: also in New Zealand d.
Knight is said to have found “man-eaters” on the coast of Labradore e ; and when the American Indians go to war, they put a large kettle on the fire, as an emblem, that they are about to destroy their enemies, and will have the satisfaction of eating them after they are dead. Even in King George's Sound, where the natives are reported to be mild and inoffensive, they offered to our ships human skulls, bands, and feet, with the flesh hanging upon them, by way of barter, with the same indifference, that they would have offered beef or mutton.
That the Indians of Hudson's Bay, also, have this disgusting propensity, is attested by Mr. Swaine, Mr. Ellis, and Mr. Hearne ? The first of these gentlemen assured Dr. M‘Keevor 5, that he knew an Indian woman, who dug up one of her own relatives, and fed upon the body for several days. And Mr. Ellis says, that an Indian, in his route to Hudson's Bay, with his wife and family, finding but little game on the way, subsisted, for some time, on two of their children. Lam. berth and M‘Keevor, also, assure us, that the North American Indians frequently drink the blood of their wives, and the wives of their husbands, when they are weak, or seriously indisposed. They open a vein, and quaff the blood, warm from the wound.
a Garc. de la Vega. Hist. des Incas. i. c. 12. b Bancroft's Nat. Hist. 260. c Cook, 3rd Voy. ii. 271. d Earle says, the New Zealanders are brave, active, generous, unwearied in obliging, faithful, and industrious : yet, that they are cannibals; and he is persuaded that nothing will cure them of this dreadful propensity, but the introduction of animals. They, nevertheless, have a great dislike to liquors of all kinds, though fond of tobacco. “Why,” inquire they of the sailors,“ do you like to make yourselves mad?” — Vid. Earle's Residence in New Zealand,
e Purchas's Pilgrims, iii. 827. f Voy. to Hudson's Bay, p. 65. & Voy. up the Copper-Mine River, p. 85.
h Trav. through the United States of America.
i Voy. to Hudson's Bay, 61.
The Paramahausans of Hindostan are even more disgusting than these ; for they eat the putrid bodies, which they find floating down the Ganges. They esteem the brain the most exquisite of food; and many of them have been seen, near Benares, floating on dead bodies, feasting upon them raw.
We have now to relate a still more curious custom. The Derbices slew their fathers and ate them. The Indians, also, ate the bodies of their parents : and when Darius inquired of the Greeks, what reward could induce them to follow such example ? they replied, “ No recompense under heaven!” They shrunk with horror at the bare suggestion ; but we are told, that when the Indians were advised to burn the bodies of their friends, their horror and disgust was fully equal to that of the Greeks : grounding their preference to their own custom on the piety of making themselves the tombs of their parents! Strabo accuses the Irish of this practice a.
INFLUENCE OF CLIMATE.
To contrast and variety of climate has been attributed the principal lines and shades of national characters. Mons. Denina, in a paper, preserved in the “ Memoirs of the Berlin Academy ;” and Tasso, in his parallel between France and Italy; have given it as their decided opinion, that a country, marked with gentle eminences, and gradually rising mountains, are the most remarkable for men of genius, talents, and learning. Vitruvius b and Vegetius C attribute to climate an influence on the temper and constitution of men : to the same influence Servius refers the subtlety of the Africans, the fickleness of the Greeks, and the poverty of genius of the Gauls.
a Lib. iv. 201. “ They live on human flesh," says he, “and think it a duty to eat the bodies of their deceased parents." Solinus says, “ When they gain a victory, they drink the blood of the slain.”—C. xxiii. b Lib. vi.
De Militari, i. 2.
That climate has an important influence, and is the principal cause of the difference in national characters, has been, also, maintained with considerable ingenuity by Montesquieu. That celebrated writer imagines climate to exercise its principal power over the manners; while Cicero«, Winkleman, Machiavelli', and the Abbé du Bos', with equal plausibility, argue for its influence over the mind. But as great events belong exclusively to no age, great genius belongs exclusively to no nation. Neither is there a virtue exercised, a talent cultivated, or a science improved, that may not be exercised, cultivated, and improved, in the torrid and frigid zones, as well as in the temperate. Absurd, then, is the dogma, which would inculcate, that man may be born in “ too high or too low a latitude, for wisdom or for wit.” Both these hypotheses may, therefore, justly be doubted; for Greece has produced its Lycurgus : China its Confucius ; and Rome its Pliny: France its Fenelon ; Spain its Cervantes ; Portugal its Camöens ; and Poland its Casimir. England has produced its Newton ; Switzerland its Gessner; Germany its Klopstock; Sweden its Linnæus ; and, to crown the argument, Iceland its two hundred and forty poets ! This is sufficient for the hypothesis of Du Bos.
That climate affects the manners is equally ideal: for the crimes of the west have been equal to those of the east; and the vices of the south equal to the vices of the north. They differ not in their number, but in their quality : for what is vice in one part of the world is not considered vice in another. Thus the Jews esteem it a sin to eat swine; and the natives of Rud-bâr regard it an abomination to eat doves. The use of wine is as strictly forbidden in Turkey, as the possession of more wives than one is in Europe. War in Japan a De Fato, c. 4.
o Discorsi, iii. c Reflections on the Imitation of the Paintings and Sculptures of the Greeks.
is looked upon with horror ; in Europe it is associated with glory.
When Du Bos says, that the most sublime geniuses are not born great, but only capable of becoming such a ; and when he says, that want debases the mind; and that genius, reduced through misery to write, loses one-half of its vigour ; it is impossible not. to acknowledge the propriety of his observations. But when he proceeds to assert, that genius is principally the result, as it were, of climate , we must proceed to facts.
Nor can we implicitly give faith to the assertion of Tacitus, that the times, which have produced eminent men, have also produced men, capable of estimating their merits. For eminent men have been produced in many ages, that possessed no power of forming adequate estimates of their value: and their rewards have, therefore, arisen out of the applause and admiration of posterity. In fact,—there is scarcely an evil, that does not arise out of the reluctance, or the inability, of men to estimate real benefits.
Sir John Chardin seems to have given the tone to the opinions of Du Bos. “The temperature of hot climates," says he', “ enervates the mind as well as the body; and dissipates that fire of imagination, so necessary for invention. People are incapable, in those climates, of such long watchings and strong applications, as are requisite for the productions of the liberal and mechanic arts." But though this hypothesis, in my opinion, is destitute of data and solidity, as a whole,
there is, assuredly, great truth, great ingenuity, and great · beauty, in many of the arguments, adduced to support it.
But let us speak of results. Has not poetry been cultivated on the burning shores of Hindostan; in Java; in China; in Persia ; in Arabia ; in Palestine; in Greece; in Italy; in Germany; in France; in Great Britain ; and in a Vol. ii. ch. viii.
6 Vol. ii. ch. ix. c Description of Persia, ch. vii.
Iceland? Thus we see, that poetry has been successfully cultivated in every species of soil; and in every degree of latitude. That the poetry of one country is not suited to the readers of another is only a confirmation of the opinion, that the beauty of poetry, as well as that of the person, is relative: all nations relishing their own poetry most.
In respect to architecture. There we shall find, that experience militates in toto against the hypothesis. The wall of China ; the pagodas of India ; the mosques of the Mahometans; the ruins of Palmyra and Balbec; Memphis ; Thebes, and the Pyramids ; St. Sophia of Constantinople ; Athens ; Rome; France and England : what do all these objects, cities, and countries prove, but that architecture has been practised in every climate? The only difference consists in the diversity of tastes : some countries delighting in the greatness of bulk, and others in the greatness of manner.
I am even disposed to doubt the extensiveness of the argument in respect to health. In Columbo (Ceylon) are assembled every tint of the human skin a : African negroes ; Caffres; Javans; Chinese; Hindoos; Persians; Armenians; Malays; Cingalese; Malabars; Arabs; Moors; Portuguese; Dutch ; English ; and every species of half castes ! They all enjoy health. That is, almost of itself, sufficient to prove, that health does not depend upon the parallels of latitude, The human frame is, in fact, adapted to Equatorial heat and Arctic cold b. The chief precaution in founding settlements, therefore, is reduced to that of avoiding situations, in which heat is accompanied by moisture.
In regard to virtue. If one order of men is found in a country, capable of exercising every species of benevolence ;
a Perceval. b Sir Everard Home suggests, that if Europeans, in hot climates, were to wear white garments, lined inside with black covering, it would, probably, prevent the scorching of the skin.