Imágenes de páginas

fire of Plato : and deservedly, he adds, may it claim the name of spirit, as abounding more than all the other parts in the radical moisture, that first, that last, that primary element, by which it is not only nourished itself, but which it prepares and imparts liberally to the system around it, pervading constantly for that very purpose every part of the body, that it may thereby unite to itself, nourish, cherish, and preserve alive, the organs wbich it fabricates, performing that office in a manner not unlike to that of the planets, and more especially of the sun and moon, which, wheeling perpetually round in their orbits, impart their heat and their vivifying influence to every thing below. In a word, with Harvey, the blood is literally the life-it is the animating principle, or the substance, of which the anima is only the act.

The blood being thus regarded as the source of all sensation, perception, and intelligence, it naturally occurred to medical men that, if the sanguineous system in any animal were changed, its whole nature would be thereby completely changed, and even that by giving to an old man the blood of a vigorous youth, the strength of the former might be renewed, and a new lease of life obtained again and again. Their experiments, says Dr. Barclay, were first confined to injections of small quantities of medicated waters into the veins of the lower animals. Dr. Lower claims the merit of being the first who thought of injecting a much more congenial fluid, of extracting the whole blood from an animal, and of substituting the blood of others in its stead. In his

preparations for such an experiment, he procured a dog of an ordinary size and two mastiffs, and began his operation by opening the jugular vein of the small dog, and by permitting its blood to flow till it ceased to howl, became feeble, and fell into convulsions : he then transfused the arterial blood of one of the mastiffs till the vessels of the small dog were again filled : and thus repeatedly emptying and filling the vessels of the small dog, until he had exhausted the blood of the mastiffs, which consequently died, he closed the incision in the jugular vein of the small dog, which on being untied leaped from the table, fawned upon its master, and to get off the blood rolled upon the grass as if no particular accident bad happened. An account of this experiment was inserted in the Transactions of the Royal Society for the year 1.665 ; and excited, as was to be expected, no small curiosity and speculation in most parts of Earope. For a time, as Dr. Barclay informs us, all former distinctions between noble and ignoble blood were entirely forgotten, or at least disregarded.

A a


A few ounces from the veins of a plebeian, or from the arteries of a calf or sheep, were found to improve the qualities of blood that had flowed through the veins of a long and illustrious race of ancestry. At last, however, the unfortunate result of some experiments incautiously performed, or performed upon persons who were not likely to derive any benefit from a change of their fluids, occasioned an order from the French king, and another from the Pope, prohibiting all such experiments in future.

We cannot follow the author through his analysis of the opinions entertained by Hunter, Abernethy, Deleuze, and Grew, on the vital principle. We recommend, however, this portion of the work to the attention of the juvenile reader, as being extremely well suited to guide his inquiries amidst the discordant conclusions of modern pbysiologists. As to the particular notions of Dr. Barclay himself, we are not supplied with the means of forming a decided judgment. It is clear, however, that he is disposed to coincide with those who maintain the existence of a separate vital principle, whose office it is to direct the processes of organization, and to superintend the structure of animal as well as vegetable bodies. But he does not attempt any illustration either of the precise nature of that principle considered as a constituent part of human nature, or of the mode in which it regulates those functions on which the growth and decay of the human body are known to depend. Respecting with the utmost sincerity the motives on which this hypothesis is founded, we must conefss that except in the expression which denotes it, the doctrine of a vital principle is to us equally destitute of meaning with the animating principle, the indivisible atoms, spermatic powers, organic particles, formative appetencies, formative propensities, formative nisuses, pre-existing monads, semina rerum, plastic natures, occultqualities, or chemical affinities. The darkness which broods over this mystical investigation is not dispelled by the substitution of one phrase for another; and the words vital principle accordingly do not convey clearer ideas to our mind than venus genetrix, or venus physique, or vis formatrix, or archeus, or calidum innatum, or natura creatrix, or vis essentialis, materia vitæ, secreta facultas, or anima mundi. The subject, in short, is incomprehensible, and we shall never ·be able to understand what life is, or how it is perpetuated, in the countless species of animals and vegetables which the Great Creator has made. We cannot allow ourselves to drop the pen

without heartily recommending this very learned and laborious book to all who have any desire to peruse an outline of the opinions of almost every writer of any note who, since the very dawn of philosophy in ancient Europe down to the present day, has published on the subject of Life and Organization.

ART. II. Travels in South Africa, undertaken at the

Request of the London Missionary Society ; being a Narrative of a Second Journey in the Interior of that Country. By the Rev. John Campbell. With a Map and coloured

Prints. 2 Vols. 8vo. pp. 706. Westley. 1822. ART. III. Travels in the Interior of Southern Africa. By

William J. Burchell, Esq. Vol. I. with an entirely new Map and numerous Engravings. pp. 598. 41. 14s. 6d.

Longman and Co. 1822. Messrs. Campbell and Philip were dispatched by the Directors of the London Missionary Society, to visit their stations in South Africa, at the close of the year 1818. The first of these gentlemen alone proceeded into the interior; and his present work may be considered as the manifesto of his employers. Mr. Burchell's object in going over much of the same ground, eight years before, shall be stated in his own words; for we cannot substitute any others which would convey so just a notion of his general manner and matter :

“ To view the admirable perfection of Nature in a new light, and not less beautiful in the wilds of Africa, was the irresistible motive which led me on : while the charms which novelty of scenery, heightened by the interesting consideration of Human Nature under forms perfectly new to me, and a philosophical contempla. tion of the various objects which in these untrodden regions incessantly present themselves, to a mind constituted to feel them, inspire an enthusiasm which none can know but those who have been placed under these circumstances. How pitiable are those cold-hearted beings, whose amusements and views, whose whole life, and even thoughts, are artificial. Doomed to breathe the thick air of Insensibility ; to feed on the gross food, and wallow in the mire, of Sensuality and Selfishness; greedy of every thing which, among men, passes by the name of enjoyment, they never dream of the genuine pleasure which Nature bestows only on those who view, with a broad admiring eye, the beauty and perfection of all her works, equally stupendous in the smallest insect, and the glorious picture of the starry heavens.” Burchell, P. 504. Haying put our readers in possession of the motives which

acquainted these travellers with the Bushmen and the Koranas, we shall endeavour to compare the several impressions which each of them received from his visit.

Mr. Campbell's first intention was not to proceed farther northward than Lattakoo. (Litá (a) kun, or Takoon, according to Mr. Burchell). A favourable opportunity, however, presented itself in this town of penetrating much higher into the interior: and before his return he advanced nearly 200 miles, in a North-easterly direction, beyond his original limit. The two largest cities which he observed were Mashow and Kurreechane. The population of the first is placed by him at 12,000 inhabitants: the last, which is more civilized than its southern neighbours, he believes may contain not less than 16,000. On his return he visited several towns on the banks

river Krooman, and arrived at the Cape once more, after an absence of ten months.

The banks of the Gamka present some beautiful scenery; and they are profusely covered with luxuriant and fragrant mimosas. The circumference shaded by one of these was paced by Mr. Campbell in sixty-six steps. The plant itself consisted of seventeen long shoots, proceeding from one parent stump; it was clothed with a lively green foliage, and thickly studded with innumerable flowers, glittering in the sun “like so many newly-coined guineas. The cattle of the travellers were pastured round it; “ coveys (Mr. C. is no sportsman) of pheasants were flying over it, butterflies of great beauty were extracting their food from its honeyed treasures, and lizards of various hues were enjoying its shade.” This is a picture which might serve for a more northern African latitude, when Geographers shall have ascertained the precise site of the delicious garden of the Hesperides.

In crossing the country of the wild Bushmen the heat was excessive, and its effects most powerful. The thermometer in the shade rose to more than 100°. The sugar became “hard as brick;" the ink was dried up in the inkstand; the water in all the vessels was “ as hot as tea is generally drank ;” and no part of the waggon which bad been exposed to the sun could be touched with impunity. The Koranas whom the travellers met were friendly, and all asked for spirits by a most appropriate name, fire-water. One of them had a long wide incision across his back to cure a pain in the loins; and such as were not painted with red ochre, had their foreheads ornamented with huge plaisters of cow-dung. Mr. Campbell remarks that taste is very capricious.

The civilized Americans themselves have scarcely a greater aversion to water than the Busbmen. One, who was not distinguished above his fellows by dirtiness, when asked how long it was since he had washed himself? could not tell, but after considering a little, said it must be a long time. Some others being advised to take to batbing, were much diverted with the idea of washing, but seemed unable to apprehend what end could be answered by it. Grease, of all kinds, is the substitute for water; and as this is accumulated in fresh strata, at every opportunity, the odour is somewhat ungrateful: insomuch that the Bushmen never drink of the fountain nearest their kraal; well knowing that the scent left bebind would frighten away the animals who came to water, and thus diminish their means of subsistence. But this is an old com. plaint,

Romæ cum Bocchore nemo lavatur. Mr. Burchell once entertained some female visitors from a Busbman kraal. They first eagerly drank off a bowl of liquid hippopotamus fat; and then, carefully scraping out with their hands whatever adhered to the sides, smeared it over their bodies.

Lattakoo is thought to contain about 4000 inhabitants, all of whom are great snuff-takers. The king, whose name is Mateebe, seems well disposed to the Missionaries. “The infants cry or weep exactly as they do in England; but tbose who are above three or four years of age bawl out yo---yoo---yoo---yoo---yo; y o---yo---y ---YO---yo.” Vol. I. P. 90. We have heard children of three or four do this also in England ; and, if we recollect right, Foote, in like manner, in his Trip to Calais, makes his Philosophic Traveller remark, that pigs on both sides the Channel speak the same tweekée weekée language.

One of the districts into which Lattakoo is divided is occupied by five hundred Bootshuanas, under their captain Malawoo. This terrific personage has a black beard, about an inch long, on his upper lip and the lower part of his chin. The skin of a long serpent is wrapped round his forehead, and the head of the animal hangs over his brow. In return for some snuff, of which part was taken by himself, part was divided among his wives and principal officers, and the remainder which adhered to his hand," was drawn up very clean by an aged man,” he presented Mr. Campbell with a calabash of thick milk. But the gift was like the supper with which the fox entertained his long-necked guest; the hole in the side being of such dimensions that the dainty could not be reached by any ordinary extension of the tongue.

years old

« AnteriorContinuar »