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NOTES ON THE MONTH.
DEATH OF THE ELEPHANT.-There is something very touching in the fate of this noble animal. He was twenty-two years old, and had been confined for seventeen years in a crib, in which he had barely room enough to turn round. Habit is second nature, but not such habit as this: it was purely unnatural; and instead of getting used to it, the poor creature felt it harder and harder upon him every year, till, after alternate fits of frenzy and patience, it drove him mad. A crib as if they had taken his measure for itNature contradicted at every pore-seventeen years of alternate frenzy and patience and madness at last, and all to enable another animal on two legs to put so many shillings in his pocket a-day. The elephant has been called half-reasoning." If the imprisoners of this poor beast had reasoned but half, or a quarter, like human beings, they would at least have given him plenty of room, and provided him with a suitable companion. If they could not do this, they were bound not to put their fellow-creature to such agonies. What right had they to "confine and pester" him in this "pinfold," for their sorry purposes, any more than elephants, if they were lords of the world, would have to confine one of us in a living coffin, and show to the astonishment of elephant-kind the brute they call a Man? We know nothing of the persons concerned, and might possibly be told that they were not ill-natured men-that they did not think deeply enough on the point, &c. We know what tricks the want of a proper amount of reflection plays with persons accounted humane and even intelligent; but something in the shape of selfinterest is too apt to be found at the bottom of such mysteries; and surely the constant sight of these miseries on the part of the animal, and of an animal too of a nature so gentle and reasonable, might have opened the eyes of his keepers a little more as fellow-beings, however they might be inclined to shut them as exhibitors. It is fearful to think of the way in which madness may have come upon this poor beast. Human beings have often enough to do to steer clear of it through the miseries that assail them; but they know, as a matter of information, that it often has been steered clear of; they know, by reflection, the uses of patience; they know, above all, the utility of cultivating the bodily health; generally speaking, they are able to cultivate it, more or less; they can more or less procure intervals of recreation and liberty; a little relief enables them to hope, and to get more; and in numberless cases, where absolute cheerfulness does not return, the habit of endurance is not exercised for nothing; "years," as the poet says, bring the philosophic mind." But our poor elephant, gifted with just enough reason to be patient to no purpose, and to fret and wonder himself into madness, is met at every turn by the impossibility of recreating and saving himself; and it is worth while to consider how many other animals are in his situation, who, not being reasonable as he, have not his chances of exciting our sympathy. The doers of this evil are bound to make amends for it by turning it to good account; and then, and then only, ought their consciences to be easy. It has been well represented in a daily paper, (and no true Englishman will be slow to repeat it,) that the French have set us a wise and humane example in these matters by their establishment in the Jardin des Plantes, where every animal in the menagerie has comparatively free bounds, and the nature of the country from which he comes is attended to in the local circumstances placed around him. No driving of an elephant mad there, and then being compelled to butcher him! There the elephant walks about in a field, is provided with sheds, &c., and takes, like at lordly captive, his Eastern refreshment of a bath. And so it is, "after their kind,"
with all the rest of the animals.
HOW TO MAKE PROFESSIONAL GENTLEMEN HEALTHY.-Take any given professional gentleman, not too clever; confine him to a room large enough to let him grow fat in; let him grow fat accordingly, so as to fill up the said room, head and sides; see that he has fits of delirium at spring, and a pretty exasperated state of endurance all the rest of the year; then send for a file
of soldiers to put the requisite quantity of bullets in him, when he grows dangerous; and at last, when you have despatched him, and are cutting him up for the benefit of the showman, the most ingenious of his professional brethren will be sure to declare (as they did at the dissection of the elephant) that "the appearance of the body denotes the most perfect health!!" Perfect health after a state of fifteen years perfectly unnatural!!! Oh, blessed news for the corpulent and the sedentary! Oh, Sydenham, Boerhaave, and Hunter, where are your pericrania ?
CASE OF DOMESTIC HORROR.-One of those stories of secret and pertinacious cruelty, which occasionally transpire to the horror of the world, aud which, it is to be feared, exist in more instances than the world suspect, has appeared, with the names and abode of the parties, in the Birmingham Journal. It is of two brothers and a sister, all uninarried, who have confined their elder brother, a lunatic, for a period of fifteen years in a garret. The situation in which he was found, neglected, and reduced to a condition far worse than that of a beast in a den, may be better conceived than described. Provisions were furnished him through the wall. His thigh had been broken, and left, it is supposed, to re-unite of its own accord. Prior to his incarceration, he is said to have been able to drive the cattle, go on errands, and give a rational answer to a plain question. At the time when he was discovered, he was a brute creature, bearded and clawed; and he shrieked at the light of day. He was taken to the County Asylum, at Stafford. Such cases appear to baffle the guesses of humanity. People, when they first hear of them, can only wonder, and shudder, and fear that there may be others of the like nature. There have, indeed, been worse; and may exist more, in places we little dream of. The story of the Countess of C ****, (confined for many years by her husband,) the most popular of the productions of Madame de Genlis, was founded on fact. The same lady, in her Memoirs, (vol. 1. p. 35 of the English translation,) gives an account of a M. de Châlons, a handsome, but unpleasant-looking man, with the reputation of a saint, in whose garden were found "several skeletons" of the victims of his seduction, that he had made away with. This is a case of another sort. With respect to those of the nature before us, we fear that nothing more is required for the consumination of this height of domestic tyranny, than an excess of that very consciousness of being in the wrong, which leads minds of a more delicate and intellectual texture into sorrow and reformation. Conscious error, for all its gay looks in some instances, and its austere ones in others, is nervous, and requires the dram-drinking of a wilful perseverance to go on with and keep it steady.
ROYAL MAGNANIMITY.-The French papers inform us that, as the King was passing through the Elysian Fields, on his way back from St. Gerinain, the fore wheels of his carriage separated from the hind ones, and he was obliged to go into one belonging to his suite, "which he did with his usual sang-froid and gaiety." Oh, wonderful superiority of princes, not to be cast down by a harmless accident! And Oh, blessed privilege of ditto, to be praised
CHARACTERISTIC NAMES.-A copy of a treaty of peace between the United States and a tribe of Indians has appeared in the American papers, to which are annexed the names of the Chiefs and others concerned. These warriors make their mark, as many a knight and prince used to do in Europe. The Constable Du Guesclin could not write. Charlemagne could not write. Some of the Indian names are very curious, and recall to us the times when our own names had a meaning, and were first borne by our ancestors. There is Stan-au-pat, the bloody hand (a name that would have suited an old Ulster chieftain); Pah-can-wah, the old head; Coo-wooh-war-e-scoon-hoon, the long-haired bear; Ta-hah-son, the lip of the old buffalo; Ou-cous-non-nair, the good buffalo; and a fellow that looks like an exclamation, Ah-reo-squish, the buffalo that has horus. One of the appellations is strikingly romantic Wah-tah-an, the light in the night. Some are very deprecatory and sly; such
as, Coon-ca-ne-nos-see, the bad bear; Chan-no-te-ne-na, the chief that is afraid; and Chan-son-nah, the fool chief. These resemble the denominations assumed by academies in Italy, the Insipids, the Stupids, &c. some of which, as Mr. Dunlop observes, are not so ironical as they pretend to be.
DEATH OF THE KING OF PORTUGAL.-This event is openly attributed, in the royal bulletins, to indigestion. It is the first time, we believe, that a cause of death so undignified, yet so frequent, was ever avowed in public, at least in a civilized country, and among the higher classes. But the natural dignity of royalty is supposed to supersede every ordinary consideration. It is a delicacy beyond delicacy; a sentiment, which the thrones of Spain and Portugal have inculcated above all others. We are far from quarrelling with the avowal for its own sake. We only wish the motive were as philosophic as the confession. Indigestion is the commonest and least avowed cause of disease and mortality that exists; and, what is worse, it is mere indigestion, the consequence of eating and drinking too much, and not taking enough exercise-indigestion, abstracted from those other causes and cares to which people, out of an instinct of the fact, are so fond of attributing their respective maladies, in preference to this one. Other causes aggravate it, and may have done so in the instance of the King of Portugal, who had a good deal of trouble in his family; but there is a vast difference between the troubles of a rational liver, and one who is eternally exasperating his nerves and faculties with excess. "Is there no other way," says Adam in Paradise Lost,
- Is there no other way, besides
In what thou eat'st and drink'st, seeking from thence
The King of Portugal was a heavy, gloomy man, with a narrow mind, and a countenance painfully staring and void of expression. Since the death of Louis the XVIIIth, he was accounted the greatest eater among crowned sto machs,-for "heads" can hardly be said to belong to kings of this class. He was fifty-nine years of age, and was the son of his grand-uncle, the late Queen having married her father's brother, by dispensation of the Pope. Sovereign dynasties, as it is, are thought to do no good to the stock by intermarrying so much with one another. How much must the chance of deterioration be increased by matches of this kind?
REGENT'S PARK.-A letter has appeared in the newspapers, respecting the exclusion of the public from the interior of this park, the arguments of which would surely be triumphant, if reason and humanity settled such matters. Indeed, in the present instance, we are not without hope that they will; for the author's intentions are evidently so good, his mode of proceeding so handsome, and the exclusion complained of so unpopular and unnecessary, that we do not see by what arguments the excluders can meet him, or on what grounds Parliament could desire to uphold them. The letter is addressed to the leading members of Parliament; a method of obtaining his end, which, he says, he has been induced to try by his unwillingness to make himself conspicuous or offensive, before he has recourse to the unpleasant alternative of calling a public meeting to petition. It was originally asserted that the interior of the Park was to be given up to the public. It has, however, been railed off, and all that is left to the public is the horse and carriage road, fit for no pedestrians but stout ones, there being no escape for women, children, and invalids, from alarm or accident. "See the invalid," says the letter, "newly risen from the bed of sickness, with just strength enough to crawl for a little air to the outskirts of the town, casting his anxious eye by turns to the curvetting and bounding of the ill-managed steed in the road, and to the secure path within the railing, on which he fully supports himself. See the amiable
mother, charging herself with the care of two or three little children, whom all her attention cannot restrain from straggling on the carriage-way, (who are indeed scarcely safe on the foot-path,) and consider how securely they might take their exercise, and inhale health and vigour in the space now reserved for the pranked-up promenade of a few fine ladies and gentlemen, who have every means of recreation without it." We are at a loss what to imagine can be said to this. The commissioners, it seems, allege," first, that if the Park
is thrown open, the property will be deteriorated;" which the author of the
letter denies, by referring to the houses that border the other Parks, the dearest residences in London; and, "secondly, that the young plantations would be injured, and such numbers crowd into the Park that the walks would be spoiled;" which the writer as briefly refutes, by referring to the other Parks and to Kensington Gardens, neither the plantations nor the walks being injured in those places. The author, from personal experience, recollects the time (and so does the writer of this paragraph) when the fields in this quarter were open, and afforded a delightful evening walk to the young and the industrious, to children with their parents, and to respectable men when the business of the day was over. There is still room for all: the increase of knowledge and of the love of books has not tended to diminish a sense of their rights, or a thirst after natural pleasures; the present administration, being wise and liberal, can afford to be generous; and a demand so reasonable and even so politic, being laid before such men, and in such a manner, we repeat that we cannot conceive on what grounds the interests of so great and important a majority can be set aside by the paltry arithmetic of a few housejobbers.
WEBER. When this celebrated composer presided the other evening at Covent-Garden, he gave an instance of delicacy and consideration, which speaks volumes in behalf of the natural greatness of his talent. Whenever, the audience applauded him, he bowed not only to them but to the performers in the orchestra, thus handsomely dividing with the latter the praises directed to his music. We will undertake to say, that M. Von Weber is an enthusiastic panegyrist of Mozart and his other illustrious brethren. Musicians, like painters and poets, have been accused of excessive jealousy; but this is a misfortune which does not happen to the greatest of them; or when it does, the case is an exception. Haydn told the father of Mozart, that his son would beat them all; and when the grateful father received the compliment as too excessive and good-natured, the old man, hand on his heart, said, Upon my honour, I think so." Cimarosa, pestered with the eulogies of a foolish admirer, a painter, who kept preferring him to Mozart, asked him at length, with equal delicacy and mortification," what he should think, if any body thought to compliment him by saying he was superior to Raphael.' (Perhaps, however, the painter, not being very wise, might have thought such a panegyrist in the right.) A friend of our's, after the performance of Winter's divine opera of Il Ratto di Proserpina (by the way, why do they not reproduce it?) saw the composer go up in a transport of gratitude to Mrs. Billington, and reverently kiss her hand.
HUMAN SUFFERING FROM SHIPWRECK.-One of the most horrible cases of shipwreck, if not the most horrible, that we ever remember to have read of, was lately witnessed and relieved by his Majesty ship Blonde, Captain Lord Byron. It was an American vessel bound to Liverpool. A tremendous gale from the N. N. W. had made a complete wreck of her. Some of the seamen, together with the boats &c. had been washed overboard. The rest, consisting of thirteen persons, including women, were reduced to every extremity the most affecting and revolting to human nature. Several crawled about the deck like ideots, and died raving mad, owing to their drinking the salt water. The rest supported their shocking existence by feeding on the bodies of the dead, necessity having so far blunted the sensations of humanity, that a female passenger showed herself the least disturbed of all in preparing
the bodies, and quenching her thirst with the blood. One of the deceased had been her lover; and she did not hesitate, in a manner apparently defying and heartless, to the pen refuses to proceed. Let it not be thought, however, that these indescribable extremes argue any thing against human nature. This very woman, who could so use the blood that was dearest to her, perhaps for that very reason, is described as having given a dreadful shriek on hearing of the man's death; and the master's wife, who ate of the brains of one of the apprentices, and thought it delicious, is " a good-looking, respectable young woman, the mother of a boy seven years old." Nature refuses to let us suffer beyond a certain pitch. We either die, or faint away, (as on the rack,) or lose our senses, or become reckless, as long as the necessity lasts. We disdain to keep measures with a misery that seems to defy and insult over us; and, out of our very horror at the idea of such extremities, grapple with and laugh them down.
ROSSINI AND THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON."-At a conversazione at the Marchioness of S.'s, Rossini observed Lady L. leani g on the arm of the great Captain of the age;" upon which he placed himself on the other side of her Ladyship, and said that her situation was a most happy one, she being then between the two greatest men in Europe!!! It is said the Duke of Wellington thought it no joke." Morning Paper. We are sorry the Duke felt the matter to be so grave a one; but the truth is, it is really a startling case to bring two descriptions of talent at issue in this manner. Rossini appears to be as foolish a fellow on the side of personal vanity, as he is clever in point of his art; or indeed more so, for his vanity cannot well be surpassed; whereas, whatever he may think of " great captains," there are greater musicians living than he. More than one German surpasses him, though not so immediately popular. Compared with Winter alone, he is a rattling school-boy. But it is difficult to ascertain the rank at which we ought to estimate military talent, compared with other sorts of genius. Some persons, who are all for fancy and imagination, rate it at a very low pitch; while others, who see the mighty part it plays in settling the destinies of nations, will suffer no merit to stand by the side of it. Of the former description of persons, it may be safely affirmed that they do not judge like those whom they most admire; poets having been remarkable, above all other men of genius, for doing justice to every kind of ability, this one in particular. Of the blind admirers of conquest, it may be affirmed as safely, that they confound effect with cause, and are so moved with the noise and devastation of gunpowder, as to take every train that sets it in motion for a profound maThere are four things which seem necessary to the proof of great genius: first, great excellence in a high and difficult art; second, rarity of appearance among mankind, which is rather an accompaniment of the first quality, than any thing different from it; third, a power in the spectator to distinguish between cause and effect, and genius and good luck; and fourth, a great general understanding, comprising an acute and liberal ception of the excellences of other arts, as in the instance of the poets just mentioned. Upon examining these points, we shall find some reason perhaps to suspect that the genius for war has been overvalued by mankind; and that it is most admired where the faculties of the mind are most beaten down by circumstances that may or may not be owing to intellectual superiority. It has frequently been observed, that whole ages pass away without the production of a great poet, painter, or musician, whereas military talent is never wanting where circumstances require it. The first step towards getting at the truth in this matter would be, to enquire into the nature of military talent, which seems to consist of something of the mathematical faculty, united to great presence of mind.