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adopted in the present times by philosophers of the highest name, and has received countenance from some very accurate observers of my own acquaintance. For my own part, I must acknowledge that I entertain great doubts about the fact, as I cannot conceive what aid the ventriloquist could derive in the exercise of his art, from such an extraordinary power, if it were really in his possession. My opportunities, however, of witnessing such exhibitions have been but few, and never af forded me access to a particular examination of the performer; I would be understood, therefore, rather to propose a query for the consideration of others, than to give a decided opinion of my own.* That the imagination alone of the spectators, when skilfully managed, may be rendered subservient, in a consider. able degree, to the purposes of the ventriloquist, I am fully sa tisfied; and I am rather inclined to think that, when seconded by such powers of imitation as some mimics possess, it is quite sufficient to account for all the phenomena of ventriloquism of which I have ever heard.

Suppose, for example, a ventriloquist to personate a father in the attitude of listening from a window to the voice of his child, who is exposed to some sudden and imminent danger below. It is easy to conceive him possessed of such theatrical skill, as will transport in imagination the audience to the spot where the child is supposed to be placed, and so rivet their attention to what is passing there, as will render his imitation of its feeble and distant cries a much more imposing illusion than it would otherwise be: or, to take a case which is seldom omitted among feats of ventriloquism,-suppose the performer to carry on an imaginary dialogue up a chimney with a chimney-sweeper in danger of suffocation. How imperfect an imitation of a person in such unusual circumstances will be sufficient, if aided by tolerable theatrical powers, to produce such a

and of locality, that so unnatural a modification of speech is rendered subservient to the purposes of the impostor.

In Plato's Dialogue, entitled Sophista, the following words occur: Evros UTOMEVOV OS ATONov Eugunaex. (Plato, Ed. Serrani, Vol. I. p. 252. C.) Mr. Gray remarks on this passage, that Eurycles was an Erguulos, and that those who had the same faculty were called after him Euryclita. Serranus translates aroro, importunum et absurdum. Is it not more reasonable to suppose that Plato used the word aтorov in its literal, and, in this case, much more appropriate sense, to denote the distinguishing faculty of a ventriloquist, by which he contrives to appear without place or position, or, which comes to the same thing, to change his apparent place at pleasure: in the words of Seneca Nusquam est, qui ubique est. (Sen. Epist. 2.)

* I shall ever regret that the state of my health rendered it impossible for me to attend the extraordinary, and, by all accounts, unparalleled performances lately exhibited in Scotland by M. Alexandre.


degree of resemblance as will occasion that amusing surprise and wonder, which are, more or less, the objects of all the Imitative Arts. Even in the case of painting, a perfectly complete deception is never the aim of the artist; as a great part of the pleasure arises from the perception of the difficulty surmounted, and consequently would be diminished if the painter should to appearance have achieved an impossibility. Deception," (says Sir Joshua Reynolds) "which is so often "recommended by writers on the theory of painting, instead "of advancing the art, is, in reality, carrying it back to its "infant state."* Diderot plainly entertained the same idea, and has expressed it still more explicitly, and with much greater precision. "Les arts d'imitation sont toujours fondés "sur une hypothèse ; ce n'est pas le vrai qui nous charme, "c'est le mensonge approchant de la verité le plus prés "possible."+ In these few words, Diderot has conveyed completely my notion of the source of the pleasure afforded by the imitations of the ventriloquist.

From the very interesting and intelligent narrative of Captain Lyon, it appears that the art of ventriloquism is not unknown among the Esquimaux, and that it is employed by them for the same purposes to which it was so often made subservient in the ancient world. The following passage appears to me so curious, that I shall transcribe the whole of it.

"Amongst our Igloolik acquaintances, were two female and 66 a few male wizards, of whom the principal was Toolemak. "This personage was cunning and intelligent, and, whether "professionally, or from his skill in the chase, but perhaps "from both reasons, was considered by all the tribe as a man "of importance. As I invariably paid great deference to his "opinion on all subjects connected with his calling, he freely "communicated to me his superior knowledge, and did not "scruple to allow of my being present at his interview with "Tornga, or his patron spirit. In consequence of this, I took


an early opportunity of requesting my friend to exhibit his "skill in my cabin. His old wife was with him, and by much "flattery, and an accidental display of a glittering knife and some beads, she assisted me in obtaining my request. All light excluded, our sorcerer began chanting to his wife with

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Reynold's Works, Vol. III. p. 176. Third edition.

† Diderot, Observation sur un ouvrage intitule, "Garrick et les Acteurs An


glois." Memoires Historiques, &c. par M. le Baron de Grimm, Tom. I. p. 100. Londres, chez Colburn, 1814.


great vehemence, and she, in return, answered by singing "the Amna-aya, which was not discontinued during the whole "ceremony. As far as I could hear, he afterwards began turn"ing himself rapidly round, and, in a loud powerful voice, "vociferated for Tornga with great impatience, at the same

time blowing and snorting like a Walrus. His noise, im"patience, and agitation, increased every moment, and he at "length seated himself on the deck, varying his tones and "making a rustling with his clothes.

"Suddenly the voice seemed smothered, and was so mana"ged as to sound as if retreating beneath the deck, each mo"ment becoming more distant, and ultimately giving the idea "of being many feet below the cabin, when it ceased entirely. "His wife now, in answer to my queries, informed me very se"riously, that he had dived, and that he would send up Tornga. "Accordingly, in about half a minute, a distant blowing was "heard very slowly approaching, and a voice, which differed "from that we at first had heard, was at times mingled with "the blowing, until at length both sounds became distinct, and "the old woman informed me that Tornga was come to answer "my questions. I accordingly asked several questions of the "sagacious spirit, to each of which inquiries I received an an66 swer by two loud slaps on the deck, which I was given to "understand was favourable. A very hollow, yet powerful "voice, certainly much different from the tones of Toolemak, "now chanted for some time, and a strange jumble of hisses, groans, shouts, and gabblings like a turkey, succeeded in ra"pid order. The old woman sang with increased energy; ❝and, as I took it for granted that this was all intended to as


tonish the Kabloona, I cried repeatedly that I was very much "afraid. This, as I expected, added fuel to the fire, until the "poor immortal, exhausted by its own might, asked leave to "retire. The voice gradually sunk from our hearing, as at "first, and a very indistinct hissing succeeded in its advance, "it sounded like the tone produced by the wind on the base "chord of an Eolian harp; this was soon changed to a rapid "hiss like that of a rocket, and Toolemak, with a yell, an"nounced his return. I had held my breath at the first dist"ant hissing, and twice exhausted myself, yet our conjuror did "not once respire, and even his returning and powerful yell "was uttered without a previous stop or inspiration of air.

What follows is a farther proof of the extent and versatility of the imitative powers possessed by some of these savages.

Captain Lyon's Private Journal, pp. 359, 360. C


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"Ohotook, and his intelligent wife Iligliak, paid me a visit, "and from them I obtained the names of many birds and ani"mals, by showing specimens and drawings. Their little boy, "an ugly and stupid-looking young glutton, astonished me by "the aptitude with which he imitated the cries of each crea"ture as it was exhibited. The young ducks answering the "distant call of their mother, had all the effect of ventrilo"quism: indeed, every sound, from the angry growl of a bear, "to the sharp hum of a miskitoe, was given in a wonderful "manner by this boy."

"" *

* Captain Lyon's Private Journal, pp. 149, 150.

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General Observations.

HITHERTO We have been employed in analyzing the Human Understanding into those simple faculties from which our various intellectual operations result. The analysis is, after all, probably far from being complete; but I hope it is sufficiently distinct and comprehensive to afford an explanation of the most important phenomena, and to illustrate the method by which the science may be farther advanced by future inquirers.

Of the Faculties which have passed under review in the former parts of this work, some traces are to be found in the minds of all men. Even Abstraction, that faculty which, more than any other, requires cultivation for its developement, is exercised, on many occasions, by children and savages, although in a very inferior degree to that of which speculative minds are capable. These faculties, therefore, may be considered as essential capacities of the human understanding, and as characteristical endowments of our species.

From the various possible combinations and modifications of these faculties result all the varieties of genius and of intellectual character among men. What are the original disparities in their capacities, it is impossible for us to ascertain; but, from

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