gan never felt fear. He will not turn on his heel to save his life. Who is there to mourn for Logan? Not one.”
Before we condemn the Indians of this continent as wanting genius, we must consider that letters have not yet been introduced among them. Were we to compare them in their present state with the Europeans North of the Alps, when the Roman arms and arts first crossed those mountains, the comparison would be unequal, because, at that time, those parts of Europe were swarming with numbers; because numbers produce emulation, and multiply the chances of improvement, and one improvement begets another. Yet I may safely ask, How many good poets, how many able mathematicians, how many great inventors in arts or sciences, had Europe North of the Alps then produced? And it was sixteen centuries after this before a Newton could be formed. I do not mean to deny that there are varieties in the race of man, distinguished by their powers both of body and mind. I believe there are, as I see to be the case in the races of other animals. I only mean to suggest a doubt, whether the bulk and faculties of animals depend on the side of the Atlantic on which their food happens to grow, or which furnishes the elements of which they are compounded? Whether Nature has enlisted herself as a Cis or Trans-Atlantic partizan? I am induced to suspect there has been more eloquence than sound reasoning displayed in support of this theory; that it is one of those cases where the judgment has been seduced by a glowing pen; and whilst I render every tribute of honor and esteem to the celebrated Zoologist, who has added, and is still adding, so many precious things to the treasures of science, I must doubt whether in this instance he has not cherished error also, by lending her for a moment his vivid imagination and bewitching language. (4.)
- See letter of J. B. Gibson in Appendix iv.
- 1. Clavigero, 120.
- No writer, equally with M. de Buffon, proves the power of eloquence and uncertainty of theories. He takes any hypothesis whatever, or its reverse, and furnishes explanations equally specious and persuasive. Thus in his xviii. volume, wishing to explain why the largest animals are found in the torrid zone, he assumes heat as the efficient principle of the animal volume. Speaking of America, he says: “La terre y est froide impuissante a produire les principes actifs, a developer les germes des plus grandes quadrupedes auxquels il faut, pour croitre et se multiplier, toute la chaleur toute l'activité que le soleil peut donner a la terre amoureuse.”—Page 156. “L'ardeur des hommes, et la grandeur des animaux dependent de la salubrité, et de la chaleur de l'air.”—Ib. 160. In his Epochs again when it is become convenient to his theory to consider the bones of the Mammoth found in the coldest regions, as the bones of the elephant, and necessary to explain how the elephant there should have been six times as large as that of the torrid zone, it is cold which produces animal volume. “Tout ce qu'il y a de colossal et de grand dans la nature, a eté formé dans les terres du Nord.”—1. Epoques, 255. “C'est dans les regions de notre Nord que la nature vivante s'es't elevée a ses plus grandes dimensions.”—Ib. 263.