22 FEBRUARY 1873, Page 13


agree with you in having no mind to submit myself to Euthanasian any more than Athanasian mercies, and I should like 'to call attention to a point about the Euthanasian proposal which has not been noticed.

The scheme is not revolutionary, but reactionary. It is a slightly 'modified survival or revival of a practice common to most animals and many tribes of men in the savage condition. At the Crystal Palace Aquarium not long ago I saw a crab euthanatising a sickly fish, doubtless from the highest motives. I was so unenlightened as to think the sight unpleasant, and feel rather glad that we have -outgrown the fashion in Europe.

But the savages do the thing thoroughly and consistently, at all ,events. I have read of some tribes whose custom combines the principles of Euthanasia and natural selection in a much more elegant and perfect manner than has occurred to the Birmingham c essayist. From time to time, the oldest people are set to hang by their hands on the branch of a tree, and those who fall off first are pronounced incurably helpless, and duly killed and eaten, to the great relief of themselves and the community. Observe also the admirable ingenuity with which this method avoids casting an

invidious responsibility on any one.—I am, Sir, &c., H.