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Lorsqu'ils courent sur des montagnes remplies de precipices affreux, ils sautent de rochets en rochets à une tres grande distance, et gravissent de leurs quatre pieds sur les plus pointus.” « The savage, or mountain sheep, strongly resemble the goat in their gait, and the reign-deer in their hair. They have two twisted horns like the sheep of Orda ; except that they are larger. In the full grown sheep, indeed, each horn weighs from twenty-five to thirty pounds. These animals are as active as goats in their movements, and, in running, bend back their horns on their backs. When they are pursued on mountains full of frightful precipices, they leap from rock to rock to a prodigious distance, and on the steepest of them they adhere with all their feet."
But in the same country the common sheep die of the rot on the plains. « Le Kamtchatka et les environs des mers orientales et de Pengina n'ont point de paturages propres aux moutons, parceque l'humidité, et l'herbe trop abondante en suc; cause une espece de phtisie qui les fait perir en peu de tems.” Tome i. “Kamtskatka and the environs of the eastern seas and the sea of Penginsk have no pasture suited to sheep, since the humidity and the too succulent grass occasion a kind of phthisis which quickly destroys them.”
It is a miserable thing to observe the low estimate which some naturalists make of the qualities of this ill-fated animal, although in his wild state he is certainly as respectable for strength and courage as his size entitles him to be. I lately saw a ram exhibited in Piccadilly, much taller than the common ones, measuring nearly three feet four inches to the top of the head, exclusively of the horns, covered with hair, every where strong and coarse, but long and shaggy at the mane. The lad in attendance rode on his back across the room, without any apparent inconvenience. At the sight of this I could not help reflecting that by domesticating the sheep and applying it to our cruel purposes, we load it with fat till the slightest exertion puts it out of breath; so that we even render it liable to roll over and be cast, as the shepherds call it, there often to lie on its back until the crows pick its eyes out, or until it perishes from inability to regain its legs. It is indeed no just matter of surprise that the domesticated sheep can never recover its wild state. After robbing the unfortunate creature of its own warm clothing, we keep it ready for the knife in a state of incipient rot, and then we exclaim, what a dull, sluggish, stupid looking animal is this ! I shudder at the thought which forces itself on my mind. Tell me, reader, is that originally noble creature man more, or is he less deteriorated than the mouflon ?
Mr. Blumenbach, a German naturalist, appears to have committed an error in making the mouflon, or argali
, in opposition to Pallas and Buffon, a species distinct from the domesticated sheep;
for much as the parent race may differ from these in some respects, and great as is the superiority of the argali, orwild sheep, in strength and spirit, still Pliny and Columella tell us that it breeds with the common sheep. This animal has a very wide range. While it is found in Corsica and Sardinia, in the Greek islands,
and in Barbary, Pallas had the opportunity and the satisfaction of examining it in the mountains of Siberia. It reaches the size of a small stag, is very compact in its frame, and has immense horns. One of these in the Academical Museum of Gottingen, and not a perfect one, weighs nine pounds. The varieties of the breeds of domestic sheep in different parts of the world are so considerable, that it is difficult to conceive how Mr. Blumenbach, to be consistent, should allow them to be producible by accidental causes. The many horned sheep, with four and sometimes five horns, are frequent in Iceland, Norway, and Russia. In the West Indies, and in other hot climates, what is wool in England becomes thin hair. There is a breed of sheep in Africa which have tails weighing about forty pounds : the ovis strepsiceros, the Walachian sheep, have horns both twisted and spiral.
The domestication of the hog produces so subversive a change in its constitution, that a little round animal, sui generis, and not unlike a pea in dimensions, is generated in its flesh, totally un. known in the wild boar ; which if it bring not again into doubt the long exploded doctrine of equivocal generation, may lead at least to the inquiry whether animal semina themselves may not be formed by circumstances. Blumenbach states in his work, «De generis humani varietate nativa," that the wild sow breeds only once a year, and the tame one twice. In his “Manual,” &c. p. 119, he records the following facts: that wild swine have longer snouts and a form of the skull altogether different; short erect ears ; larger canine teeth than the domestic swine; that they want that layer of fat between the skin and muscles observed in bacon. In the island of Cuba, where hogs were introduced from Europe, they have become twice as large as their European parents ; and in Cubagua they have acquired a vast size, and have hoofs half a span long.
The difference of the flavor of the hog when omnivorous, and when carefully reared on vegetables, is generally known and acknowledged. Pork, indeed, may have been so grossly fed as to occasion sickness in the stomach, and violent effects in the bowels, soon after it is eaten : and this, when the food, though unnatural, shall have fallen very short of those disgusting excesses in which Boccacio tells us that with his own eyes he saw that animal indulge during the plague at Florence.
The wild animals, on the contrary, escape the evils above etu
merated, as far as we are permitted to judge. Contagious distempers likewise we may conclude to be unknown among them; for we are never told by sportsmen, or by the country people, that the hares, the foxes, the crows, or any other tribe of untamed animals, are lying dead in numbers through the fields ; nor is there reason to believe that they are subject to any debility, save that irremediable failure of strength consequent on their having reached the usual period of existence appointed to their kind by the Creator.
As to what relates to the medical part of this question, to which I here acknowledge with due humility my own incompetence, one can scarcely open the works of any celebrated physician without being impressed in favor of Dr. Lambe's theory of diseases. Hippocrates, Galen, Sydenham, Haller, Arbuthnot, Cheyne, all, though in distant ages, furnish inadvertently their share of evidence in its support: nay, even authors so various as Homer, Hesiod, Euripides, Sir Thomas More, Lord Bacon, Gassendi, Montes. quieu, Voltaire, Rousseau, Gibbon, Adam Smith, (not to mention many other men of strong intellect and high estimation) have left passages in their writings which demonstrate that their minds were sometimes occupied by speculations on the beneficial effects of a cooling regimen. To give instances from a few of these authors :
“And where the far-fam'd Hippemolgian strays,
ILIAD, lib. 13. These lines prove Homer's opinion of the corrective effects of extreme temperance. The poet was not aware that milk was only a good diet comparatively, and not the very best that could be used. Man naturally is not at all a drinking animal. Fruits at least supply all the liquid he stands in need of.
In Athenæus there is a quotation from Diphilus in Parasito, which I will here give in the Latin translation, and then in an English one.
“ Disce jam quantum mortalibus inalum
Nunc, ejus causa, indigna et atrocia fiunt omnia." « Now learn what an evil to mortals their stomach is, what crimes it dictates to them, compelled as it were by necessity.
VOL. XIX. Pam. NO. XXXVIII. 2 K
Take away this from the body, and no one will advertently injure his neighbour: whereas, at present, every meanness, every atrocity, is committed for its sake."
Euripides says, “This wretched stomach of ours subdues us all. Into this we pour every thing ; which is what we never do with any other vessel. We carry our bread in a bag, but not our broth, unless we wish to lose it. We convey our flummery in one kind of vessel, our prepared lentils in another, but the stomach, in defiance of the indignation of the gods, takes all things into itself, whether suited to it or not; and to this cause may be attributed the vices and miseries which abound on all sides of us."
Galen tells us, “ That the state of the mind is determined by the temperament of the body.”
Gassendi, in his celebrated letter to Van Helmont, uses this argument : “ As to what relates to flesh, it is indeed true that man may be sustained on meat; but how many things does man do which are contrary to his nature ! Such is the perversion of manners now by a general contagion enamelled into him, that he seems to have become a new creature. Hence the doctrines of morality and philosophy are directed to no other object than to recal mankind to the paths of nature which they have abandoned."
Again, “ Cicero has excellently stated that man was destined to a better occupation than that of pursuing and cutting the throats of dumb creatures."
Cheyne has remarked that the juices of the body are always in a highly deranged and diseased state wherever those violent passions exist, of grief, revenge, or love, which absorb the unhappy patient. “ The juices,” says he, “ are already inflamed or putrefied, acrimonious or arsenical."
I refer the reader to what Voltaire has written in his « Essai sur les Meurs," and elsewhere, on the Brachmans.
“ Salubris utique victus est excarnis, quem hactenus descripsimus, ut et hominem suum bene alat, et vitam ad multos annos producat, et morbos ex aliqua nimia sanguinis acrimonia et spissitudine ortos aut arceat aut sanet." Haller, Elem. Phy. Vol. vi.
“ This food then which I have hitherto described, and in which flesh has no share, is salutary ; in so much that it fully nourishes a man, protracts life to an advanced period, and prevents or cures such disorders as are attributable to the acrimony or grossness of the blood.”
He also states a fact respecting our great geometrician, which I will not omit, accustomed as we justly are to venerate his opinions. « Newtonus, dum optica scribebat, solo penè vino pane et aquâ vixit."- Ibid. p. 198.
Gibbon, in speaking of a blood-thirsty race of men, whose very name is proverbial, says, “ Yet if it be true that the sentiment of compassion is imperceptibly weakened by the sight and practice of domestic cruelty, we may observe that the horrid objects which are disguised by the arts of European refinement, are exhibited in their naked and most disgusting simplicity in the tent of a Tartarean shepherd. The ox, or the sheep, are slaughtered by the same hand from which they are accustomed to receive their daily food, and the bleeding limbs are served, with very little preparation, on the table of their unfeeling murderer.” « In the far greater part of the uncultivated waste (part of the desert of which I have spoken elsewhere ) the vegetation of the grass is quick and luxuriant; and there are few places so extremely barren, that the hardy cattle of the north cannot find some tolerable pasture.”— Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. iv. p. 344.
Living, indeed, as our species is accustomed to do, it cannot be truly said that we have ever seen real men and women. Their original beauty in a perfect state of health equalled, no doubt, or surpassed that of the Apollo of Belvedere, and the Venus de Medicis ;' nor is there, I apprehend, any other ground on which the point so long in dispute between the French and German critics in the fine arts can be satisfactorily explained concerning a strict adherence to the existing forms of nature in painting and sculpture maintained by the former, and a toiling aspiration after ideal beauty in contempt of nature, such, at least, as we now see her, so ably contended for by the latter. Treating of “ The perfect nature of the Greeks,” Winkelmann, in his “ Reflections on Painting and Sculpture,” says, “ The happy situation of their country was, however, the basis of all; and the want of resemblance which was observed between the Athenians and their neighbours beyond the mountains, was owing to the difference of air and nourishment. Under a sky so balanced between heat and cold, the inhabitants cannot fail of being influenced by both. Fruits grow ripe and mellow, even such as are wild improve their natures.” “ Such a sky," says Hippocrates, “ produces not only the most beautiful of men, but harmony between the inclinations and the shape."2 « Of which Georgia, that country of
'The Apollo may very well have been a portrait as well as the Venus, which is suspected to have been so; those peculiarities being however observed by the artist who produced that astonishing work, which are known to inark the deification of the statue. Some of the men of the South Sea Islands are, or were, as handsome as can easily be imagined. They live very much on fruits and vegetables, or rather, they did lide until Captain Cook conceived that they must be miserable without beef and mutton. He took compassion upon then, and they have since lost their former health.
Nepi TOTWV, p. 288, Edit. Foesji.