21 NOVEMBER 1840, Page 13


Is a very able work; embracing an extensive view of the history of man both in a savage and civilized state, with sometimes an analysis of his social and sometimes an examination of his political con- dition. It displays very extensive melding, guided by a sound knowledge of moral and economical science ; each being rendered available to the writer's purpose by his possession of a searching acumen. The facts collected are interesting in themselves, and the style of the author is sometimes quietly humorous and fre- quently eloquent. In short, The Natural History of Society will not only present the reader with an interesting description of the vary- ing characteristics of mankind as they develop themselves under the varying circumstances of physical condition, but may serve as an able and useful commentary on universal history.

The main fault of the work is want of unity, not merely of pur- pose, but of conclusion : and this want seems to have arisen from preconceived prejudices—from Dr. TAT eon's having conic to his task as much to establish theories already formed, as to follow truth and logic whithersoever they should lead him. One of these prede- termined purposes is to prove the identity of' all the varieties of the human race, and their equal capacity for civilization : in which the Doctor has not merely to contend with the opinions (whether true or false) of certain anatomists, but with the historical fact that some races, when brought into contact with others, are ab- sorbed or destroyed. Another main object is to show that savage man cannot civilize himself: and assuming this, he proceeds to assert the truth of the Mosaic narrative of the Creation, because, says he, it gives just such an account of the origin of man as might be ex- pected,—though the only indication of skill imparted to Adam is in the direction to " keep and dress" the garden of Eden, which certainly cannot in itself be received as evidence of a very high civilization. Another purpose of Dr. TAYLOR is to destroy the exploded paradoxes of ROUSSEAU and others as to the superior virtue, intelligence, and happiness of savage life ; in which it is scarcely necessary to say that he succeeds. But whether success or failure attends his efforts, this result equally follows, that he is liable to be drawn aside front an analysis of the condition of mankind in the different phases in which it has been preserved for us by letters, in order to introduce facts which forward his preconceptions ; or he is tempted to torture the text befbre hint to furnish proofs of what he wants to establish, instead of deducing front it that truth, and only that truth, which it contains.

These remarks relate to the execution of the work, not to its plan, which is sufficiently comprehensive and well-arranged. Taking the aphorisms of Insinni, or rather of ARISTOTLE—that the true nature of any thing must be sought in its perfection, not in its cor- ruption ; tooth that the state, or society, exists anterior to govern- ment and independent of it—Dr. 'Payson unties that civilization is the true characteristic of man, and barbarism its corruption ; and that society of some kind is essential to the continuance of the species, and must be Ibund in any state however savage. lie then examines the respective conditions of civilized and barbarous man, as they are displayed in the domestic and social relations, and as respects property, war, indigence, arts, superstitions, and other habits of life or peculiarities of opinion, in order to deduce the superiority of civilization. This analysis is followed by an in- vestigation into the lost civilization of the New World; which, it is interred, was connected with that of Asia, from the strong resemblance the American monuments bear to those of India and Egypt, and the scientific symbols to those of China. To this compendious view of a curious subject, very well treated, succeeds an inquiry into the civilization of the antediluvian world, and of the ages following the flood, as depicted in the Mosaic writings and the book of Job. Dr. TAYLOR then takes a survey of' the principal nations of antiquity—Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Persia, Tyre, Car- thage, Greece, and Rouse; less, however, for an analytical dis- play of what is strictly civilization, than fbr all account. of their political institutions and their general characteristics as states. The results flowing from the decline of Polytheism and the esta- blishment of Christianity are next considered : these are fidlowed by a precis of the changes produced by the invasion of the bar- barians, and by the progress of civilization during the middle ages A chapter on the conservative principles of society concludes the work : and, dealing with Sunday schools, mechanics institutions, factory labour, and similar things, it offers, in its minuteness, a strange contrast to the broad characteristics of the human race, and the decline and fall of mighty empires, that have occupied the pre- ' ceding portions of the work ; although the section abounds in useful hints, sensible views, or suggestions proceeding from a right- thinking mind.

In a book drawn from books, it is somewhat difficult to decide where originality begins and compilation ends; but perhaps the true criterion decisive attic former is, where the whole view is the author's own, and he leaves a general and a new impression upon his readers. The flicts, of course, must be derived from other authors, and a writer is not to advocate false conclusions because somebody has already deduced the truth ; but if we see him, in different sections of his work, following, to a great degree, the courses of his predecessors, and if' there seems a want of distinct purpose as well as of a perfect consistency of end, we may without injustice rank the work amongst compilations, though compilations of a high class. In this category we incline to place Dr. TAYLOR'S Natural ty. Society; for we find him indebted in entire parts to several authors—as, for example, to GUIZOT in the chapter on the Progress of Civilization in Europe during the Middle Ages : not that he servilely follows them, or that he may not even draw conclusions different from theirs, but that he is indebted to them for the facts of his narrative and the main course of his narration, and that had they not written, neither probaby would Dr. TAYLOR. And tracing this in a few instances, we infer its probability in other cases. The want of vain, too, that we formerly spoke of, may arise from this cause, as well as front the reasons we enumerated.

Soundness of view may also be held as a test of true originality ; for a man may advance new notions without their being founded on Nature, and what is not deduced from her is fancy rather than philosophy. Something of this kind is visible in 1)r. TAYLOR. Thus he declares Brahminism " hostile to civilization, because it produces stagnancy in moral life and fixes limits to the exercise of the intellect " : but so did the civilization of the Egyptians ; so, in fact, does all systematized religion : it is only necessary to com- pare the llindoos with savages or barbarians to acknowledge that tbey had made great advances in civilization. Neither is Dr. TAYLOR'S logic always of the soundest. Speaking of the religion of savages, he adduces the following anecdotes from Bus as an in- stance of "tribes scarcely rising above the brute creation." SAVAGES ON TOROLOGY.

Of the immortality of the soul they have not the least conception. To all my inquiries on this subject they answered, " No Arafura has ever returned to us after death, therefore we know nothing of a future state, and this is the first time we heard of it." Their idea was ;Sari, ?Judi, ludah (when you are dead there is an end of you.) Neither have they any notion of the creation of the world. They only answered, " None of us are aware of this ; we have never heard any thing about it, and therefore do not know who has done it at all." To convince myself more fully respecting their want of knowledge of a Supreme Being, I den-lauded of them on whom they called for help m their need, when, far front their homes engaged in the Trepang fishery, their vessels were overtaken by violent tempests, and no human power could save them, their wives and children, from destruction ? The eldest among them, after haying consulted the others, answered, that they knew not on whom they could call for assistance; but begged me, if I knew, to be so good as to inform them. I was at length tired of asking questions ; and aid my best to give them a notion of the creation of the world and of a future state. 1 remarked to them, how wonderful it was that a small grain of seed sprang up into a spreading tree ; that the different sorts never axed; that every thing which surrounded us was in a constantly progressive state of creation and decay ; and that all these things could never have taken place but for the supaiineinknee of an all-wise Providence. The Arufaras nodded their heads, to show- that my words appeared to have some truth in theta. At length, one of them, who had listened with particular attention, demanded of me where this .11-ruling Being took up its abode. I answered, that the Deity was present everywhere ; not only among us, but in every plant which, through his goodness and power, lie has furnished us for our food. This idea was too abstruse for the Arafuras ; for one of them answered-- Then this God is certainly in your arrack, for 1 never feel happier than 10,2111 have drunk plenty of it. "

To us the replies of the "savages" seem any thing but brutish. The natives of the Anil Islands were ignorant of revelation, and of the speculations of philosophy ; but they were deficient in compre- hension, not in acuteness—their conclusions were sound from their premises. In his chapter on war amongst uncivilized races, 1)r. TAYLOR fails sometimes in the inferences from his filets. A single Chinese junk trading with one petty tribe in the Indian Archipelago to the ex- elusion of another, may seem a ludicrous cause of hostilities, tested by our notions of trade ; but the principle involved is the same as in all the coninwreiol wars waged by the nations of Europe, and our Chinese crusade originates in a similar source. " Pigs" oral " sweet potato-grounds" have a mean sound, but they were of as much importance to the New Zealand chiefs as " who is to rule Syria" can possibly be to anybody in Great Britain. Wars are less frequent in civilized life, because the responsibilities and tics of civilized life are greater : more people have to determine the question ; much greater prcparations must be made ; and (putting life aside) more must be lost, and much more risked. If nothing but justice and abstract reasons restrained civilized men, Lord Patsualsrox would have had Europe at. war by this time, without any belli- gerent being able to publish so good a declaration as Mr. W

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Old Worremadloo threw oil' his mat. took spear, and began to address his tribe and the Omit. lie made strong appeals to them against the injustice . and itigaatitude of 3lootiewhy's conduct towards them—recited many injuries

which he and his tribe had suffered from Moodcwhy for a long period—men- tioned instances of his bad conduct in the time that his father's bones were removed from the Aboodu Pa to their family vault—stated acts of kindness which he had shown to Moodewhy at different times—and said that he had twice saved his tribe from total ruin. In the present instance, Moodewhy had killed three of his hogs. Every time he mentioned his loss, the recollection seemed to nerve afresh his aged sinews; he shriek his hoary beard, stamped with indignant rage, and poised his quivering spear. Ile exhorted his tribe to be hold and courageous, and declared that he would lead them in the morn- ing against the enemy, and rather than submit, he would be killed and eaten. All that they wanted was firmness and courage ; he knew well the enemies they had to meet—their hearts did not lie deep ; and if they were resolutely opposed they would yield.

Though some of the facts which Dr. TAYLOR has collected in his development of the inferiority of savages do not always bear out his conclusions, they are all very curious, and many of them very striking. From these and the comments upon them, as the most readable parts of the volumes, we will take our first quota- tions.


The slave.dealers of the last century relate countless anecdotes of similar barbarity among the African tribes, and their account is fully confirmed by the Missionaries. Father Labnt mentions one instance of this worse than brutal disregard of natural tics, wldch is too curious to be omitted. He tells us that being one day, during the year 1654, in his convent of St. Salvador, a native of Congo came into the church and made such loud and doleful lamentations, that he gathered round him all the inhabitants of the convent. They eagerly in- (mired what dreadful calamity had befallen him, but so extreme was his AM- tion, that lie was long unable to make an answer. After much labour, and many kind attempts at consolation, lie at length unfolded the nature of his grief. He told them that he was reduced to the estrous of misery and de-• spair ; lie had sold Ids children, his wives, his only sister, his vounger brothers, and finally his father and mother ; lie was therelbre in great distress, because there was not one of his family left whom lie could turn into money. The worthy Capuchins were astounded ; at first they could not forbear from laugh- ing at so strange a complaint; they then endeavoured to show him what an unnatural monster he was, and how justly he merited sufferings far more se- vere than those he endured. lie coolly replied that he had done nothing but what had been constantly practised in that country ; and there could be no crime in reducing them to that slavish condition to which he himself had run the risk of being reduced by them.


Another source of error is the absence of indigence and disease in savage tribes. But a brief examination will show that this absence is more apparent than real ; and that in this case also uniformity has been mistaken for per- fection.

It is generally agreed that indigence consists in the want of sonic things ab- solutely necessary to existence. Such a state cannot exist in barbarous life; the savage either lives or dies; be is never precisely rich or poor ; whilst the means of subsistence are afforded, he exists from hand to mouth ; when they fail, there is no one from whom be can beg or borrow, and few whom be can plunder. With Lim destitution is death. It is true that he can support hunger, thirst, pain, to a degree which we cannot approach ; that he will feed out subsIttoceS from which we shrink with horror. But there are limits to his powers of endurance : when these are passed, he sinks unnoticed aisd un known ; there is no one to record that a unit has been subtracted from the amount of human existence. The uniformity which travellers and voyagers have discovered in savage life, is a condition but one degree higher than absolute starvation. Those who sink below it, disappear instantaneously, and are as if they had never been.

For is similar reason, severe diseases are rarely seen by the casual visiters of savage tribes. Death is their doctor, and the grave their hospital. These who have resided amongst them, testify that diseases are produced by the priva- tions endured at one period and the repletion in which they indulge when :s time of plenty arrives. But unless the cure is rapid, the termination of the disease must be fatal. When patients are heft entissly to nature, it is found that nature presses very hard for an immediate payment of her debt.

We will pass faun the chapters on savage life to those which in- vestigate civilization as displayed in Scripture.

A NEW vim ot"rns PALL.

Every Biblical student is aware that the verb "to know," and its derivative "knowledge," are used in Hebrew to signify physical perception at least as frequently as mental reflection. There are fruits which do, in a very remark- able degree, influence our sensations; opium, hemp-seeds, and the juice of the grape for instance, produce soporific and exhilarating effects. It is therefore very possible that the fruit of the tree of knowledge might have had a stimu- lating efficacy, and might, therefore, fur obvious reasons, have been prohibited. The love of excitement is universal in the !lumen race, people will often rim into extreme peril fur the mere sake of determining how they would feel under such circumstances ; and the description of an untried sensation, even though it should be a painful one, excites an earliest desire fur its perception. III the prohibition of this fruit, physical results are denounced, not as chastisements, but as natural and ii . cessary consequences. " In the day that thou eatest thereof, dying thou shalt she "; intimating that the fruit would produce emi- stitutional effects whirls would resider mortality inevitable. Than viewed, the prohibition ceases to be a capricious test ; it becomes a salutary warning; designed, like every other dime law, for the preservation and prosperity of God's creatures. The obedience required of Adam and Eve was not sub- mission to an arbitrary mandate, but the observance of at condition necessary to their contio mules: iu the paradisaical state ; it was the reasonable adherence to law, not the Idiod homage to the will of a despot.

Our closing extracts shall be taken from the closing chapters ; which, though not very intimately connected with the subject, have some excellent remarks.


One of the most striking of these elements is confidence ; it is impossible to travel through a manufacturing district without being astounded at beholding the millions of property that remain at the mercy of the ashes of a tobacco- pipe. Were flu re any danger of such an insurrectiun as the Jacquerie, or Jack Cade rebellion among the operatives, all the military force of .England could not defend the property accumulated its the single county of Lancaster. If Swing and Rock took cotton instead of corn for the subject of their experi- ments, the mischief; which could Ily no possibility be prevented, would be in- calculable. But capitalists invest their money in mills and machinery without any dread of the incendiary, and operatives behold the structures rise without ever anticipating that they will become their prisons. When a foreigner, some time since, asked a party of operatives if they slid not reglad time Has of Man- chester as a kind re Bastille, they not only laughed him to scorn, but were thoroughly persuaded of his insanity.


Among the operatives there is continually manifested a growing sense of the superiority of moral force to physical strength. Mischievous as strikes and turns-out are, they exhibit features which must afford some consolation to the philanthropist and the moralist. There is a firmness of purpose displayed on these measles's, au iron spirit of enduraoce, which it would be the worst of all mistakes to confound with sulky obstinacy; it is the repose of conscious strength ; it is founded on a mistaken notion of right, but in spite of the mis- take, the notion of rectitude whenever present, cannot but he influential, and hence it is an invariable rule, that whenever a strike has led to an act of vio- lence, the whole matter is at once ended—the moral cohesion which held the workmen together is melted and solved by crime ; each nran is anxious to dis- claims, any participation its outrage, and quietly returns to his employment.