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principles, or following out a chain of reasoning to its proper results
. They possess only that kind of acuteness which proceeds from active knowing faculties jumping to a visible conclusion. The Caribs were never able to comprehend the doctrines of Christianity, and although many were baptized as a means of protection against one of their own demons, they always considered Christianity as ridiculous and unworthy of men.
Justice was not publicly administered amongst them. Every one was his own avenger, and was held in contempt if he did not resent injuries. They almost never stole from each other ; so that when any thing was missing from their huts, their first exclamation was, “ A Christian has been here." After describing their diabolical treatment of their enemies and prisoners of war, and giving a horrid picture of atrocity and inhumanity, the author adds, “I confess that the sun would be right in abandoning these barbarians, rather than assisting at such detestible solemnities ; but, to act justly, he must also retire from many of the countries of the continent of America, and even from some of those of Africa and Asia, where like cruelties are perpetrated.”
The Caribs were extremely fond of their children, and the mothers were tender and excellent nurses ; which trait corresponds with the great development of Philoprogenitiveness in all the Carib skulls without exception, of which the Phrenological Society possesses casts. They were scarcely less kind to the children of their neighbours, when the parents were absent in war. They left the infant the free use of its limbs, and allowed it to roll about on the ground; and by this constant exercise most of them were able to walk at six inonths old, and all of them were finely formed,—deformity, except from wounds, being unknown amongst them. They were carefully taught the various qualifications of an able warrior ; to draw the bow, endure hunger and fatigue, and cherish revenge against their enemies. To fit them for the first of these duties, it was a common practice for the parents, almost as soon as the child was able to walk, to tie its breakfast by a thread to the branch of a tree, put a bow and arrow into its hands, and tell it to eat when it could bring it down ; and no pity was shewn them if it failed. As the children grew older, the breakfast was suspended from a higher and higher branch, till at last their dexterity in cutting the thread became almost incredibly great. This may serve as a hint in our systems of education.
In accordance with their deficient reasoning powers, the author remarks, that their language cannot express any relation “which does not fall under the notice of their five senses, except the names of some good and evil spirits; but beyond this they have no word to express any thing spiritual, such as understanding,
memory, or will, and they have no comparatives or superlatives.” They have names for only four colours, white, black, yellow, and red. Can this last have relation to a small development of the organ of Colouring ? They are easily managed by kindness, but harshness totally fails. They have a strict regard for cleanliness, which, he says, is extraordinary in savages.
The naiveté of the author, in commenting on the omission of swaddling in the treatment of infants, as was the universal custom in Europe when he wrote, is very amusing. He says that the Carib mothers allow their infants to tumble about on beds of cotton or dried leaves, without either bandage or swaddling clothes; and that “ nevertheless (neantmoins) they do not become deformed, but grow marvellously well, and most of them become so robust that they can walk when six months old," and all of them are straight and well made!! This he seems to have considered a truly marvellous result, and it never once occurred to his simple and civilized understanding, that the savages were in this respect reaping the reward of fulfilling the intentions of Nature, while his deformed country women were enjoying the necessary fruits of their own absurd aberrations. The modern Europeans may gather an useful lesson from the testimony now quoted, if they choose to avail themselves of it.
In a future number we shall probably describe the Carib character at greater length.
THE BOOK OF APHORISMS. By a MODERN PYTHAGOREAN. Glasgow : W. R. M‘Phun.
1834. 12mo. Pp. 224.
This is a very entertaining and readable book, well fitted for the perusal of loungers who like to pick up knowledge where their aim is only to be amused. The title gives but an imperfect idea of its contents, for it contains much that can hardly be classed under the denomination of Aphorisms. Though of unequal merit, its contents display, in general, much humour, sagacity, and knowledge of human nature. The topics are extremely multifarious, but are mostly satirical, humorous, literary, pugilistic, and philosophical. The style of the Aphorisms is pithy and concise. There are among them some acute phrenological allusions and remarks ; a very natural circumstance in a work from the pen of the “ Modern Pythagorean,"—this personage being identical with the Philosopher of Sleep, whose work *, deeply tinged with Phrenology, was noticed in our 39th Number. We subjoin a few of the Aphorisms as a sample.
* The Philosophy of Sleer. By Robert Macnish.
“Never believe a man to be clever on the authority of any
of his acquaintances. These reputed geniuses are very often blockheads.
“ Those who are most ardently solicitous of obtaining praise, and make the greatest efforts to attain it, are generally less successful than those who give themselves no trouble about the matter. The latter often do unconsciously what procures this kind of incense; while the extreme care and anxiety of the former very often defeat the purpose they have in view,--so perversely do people refuse a man what he longs for, and give him what he is indifferent about."
“ There are some persons whose wrath is felt to be formidable, and excites respect, even when grounded upon no rational provocation. There are others, in whom the display of this passion, though ever so justifiable, only gives rise to laughter, and is felt to be utterly ridiculous. Nor does this necessarily depend upon the appearance and physical strength of the individual,—for I have seen strong men whose anger, like that of a child, was matter of derision, and excited neither respect nor fear; while that of others, weak in body and insignificant in aspect, was at once acknowledged to impress the spectators with both feelings, and to inspire them with emotions of involuntary respect. All this depends upon the force of the individual's character. A A dwarf with a great share of such energy may excite more respect than a giant who is destitute of it. Had Frederick the Great moved in ordinary life, the unimposing slightness of his appearance would not have stood in the way of making his resentments be powerfully felt. It is owing to such causes that there are some men whom people are indifferent about angering, and others whom they would not offend for almost any consideration.” “ The most difficult thing in the world is to talk good non
No person can do it but one of first-rate ability. The nonsense of a man of genius is better than other people's sense.”
“I never knew a person with a badly developed head who was a believer in Phrenology."
“Great power of mind, and great elegance of manners, are nearly incompatible. It is difficult for a man of genius to be an adept in the graces of the drawing-room. Powerful minds have an originality and intractability about them, which render it extremely difficult for them to fall into that ease and conventional politeness, which are considered to constitute the finished gentleman. The politeness of a man of genius is more that of nature than of art.“
“ It was a good remark of Swift's, that a man was too proud to be vain. Vanity and pride are the moral antipodes of each other: there is not the slightest affinity between them. A really
proud man has such a high opinion of himself, as to be indifferent about what others think of him: a vain man has such misgivings about himself, that he is constantly on the qui vive for approbation, and for ever doing what he conceives will procure it."
“Great linguists are, for the most part, great blockheads. say nothing of Sir William Jones, the Admirable Crichton, and other exceptions to the rule ; but, generally speaking, what I state holds true. To master a variety of languages, requires only one talent, and that by no means a high one, viz. a good verbal memory, which is sometimes possessed in great perfection even by simpletons and idiots. "It is difficult for men of very strong and original minds to become good linguists; they are so much taken up with substantialities, that they think little about words. Res, non verba, quæso, is their motto. The knowledge of a number of languages does not communicate a single new idea ; it only gives the power of expressing what you already know, in a variety of ways. • I would rather,' as Spurzheim says, 'acquire one new idea than twenty ways of expressing an old one. If men of great genius are occasionally formidable as linguists, they are so in spite of their genius, which rather stands in their way than assists them; and they would have been still greater linguists, if they had possessed their powerful verbal memory accompanied with less original talent.”
“ If you hear a man pretending to be very stupid, depend upon it he thinks himself a very clever fellow."
“ Persons with small, tine, compressed lips, have generally much sensitiveness of character, accompanied with great irritability, and a tendency to be finical and particular."
“ Should you meet with a young man who is exceedingly sensible, and neither talks nor can relish nonsense, you may rely upon it he has no genius of any kind. If, in addition to his great load of sense, he is a theatrical critic, and bores the company about acting, actors, and such stuff, you may safely pronounce him a blockhead."
“ Decision of character is often confounded with talent. This is particularly the case with the fair sex. A bold, masculine, ective woman always gets the name of clever, although her intellect may be of an humble order, and her knowledge contemptible.”
“ Never judge of a man's honesty or talents by the certificates he produces
. Such documents are just as likely—or rather much more so—to be false as true. The greatest knave can, at all times, obtain them in proof of his integrity ; and any illiterate blockhead may, by their means, make himself appear one of the most learned and accomplished men of the age. No de
gree of knavery or stupidity is the least bar in the way of obtaining the most splendid and unqualified testimonials."
“ The most obvious inferences often escape the observation of the most sensible men. Take the following as an example :Sir William Hamilton thought he had the phrenologists by the heels when he discovered that Voltaire, who despised religion, had a large organ of Veneration. This was absurd. Voltaire was a notorious free-thinker. He did not believe in Christianity, and consequently could not venerate it.”
“ One of the greatest mysteries is the expression of the hu. man eye. It depends upon something beyond mere organization, for I have seen the eyes of two persons which in their structure and colour were, apparently, quite the same, and yet the ocular expression of each individual was perfectly different Some owe the expression of their countenance chiefly to the eyes, others to the mouth ; nor is it, upon the whole, easy to say which feature is the most expressive. The intellect, I believe, is more especially communicated by the eyes, and the feelings by the mouth. I never knew a man of imaginative genius who had not fine eyes."
“ It has been the occasion of surprise to many, that Switzerland, the most romantic country in Europe, has never produced a poet. They imagine that the scenery should generate poetry in the minds of the inhabitants; but this is confounding the cause with the effect. It is not the scenery which makes the poet, but the mind of the poet which makes poetry of the scenery: Holland, perhaps the tamest district in the world, has produced some good poets; and our own immortal Milton was born and brought up amid the smoke of London. Spenser, the most fanciful of poets, was also a Cockney."
“ In the modern education of children, too much time is devoted to the cultivation of the mind, and too little to that of the body. What is the consequence ? The intellect, from such premature and excessive exertion, and the body, from an opposite cause—a want of exertion—are both injured. The mind should never be forced on, but allowed to acquire strength with the growth of the body; and the invigoration of the latter, above all, ought to be encouraged, as upon it depends most materially the future health of the individual. Education should be made a pastime with children, and not a task. The young mind, when forcibly exerted, becomes weakened, and a premature decay of its energies takes place. It is scandalous, as well as absurd, to see the manner in which children are confined several hours together within the walls of a school-house. Some
-. parents declare that they cannot bear to see their offspring idle; but when a child is enjoying itself in the open air, and acquir