Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/516

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

1. Amiability, which guarantees security to his human associates.
2. Patience, or submission to discipline and training.
3. Courage, which gives self-confidence and steadiness.
4. A disposition to obedience, with cheerfulness.

Before entering upon a discussion of the intellectual powers and moral qualities of the elephant in accordance with the outlines just given, I wish to state that in matters involving facts I shall confine myself strictly to my own observations made on Elephas Indicus, except where otherwise stated. A point to which we ask special attention from beginning to end is, that in endeavoring to estimate the mental capacity of the elephant, we shall base no arguments upon any particularly intelligent individual of a given race or species, as is always done in discussions of intelligence in the dog, the cat, the horse, parrot, and ape. On the contrary, it is the intention to reveal the mental capacity of every elephant living, tame or wild, of both the Indian and African species, except a few individuals with diseased minds. It is not to be shown how successfully an elephant has been taught by man, but how all elephants in captivity have been taught, and what every wild elephant is known to be capable of. In endeavoring to determine the mental status of the dog, horse, cat, ape, or elephant, or even human beings, the average intelligence of all the members of an entire species, or at least an entire race, should be the objective point of the inquiry.

Under the head of intellectual qualities we have first to consider the elephant's

 

Powers of Independent Observation and Reasoning, or Reasoning from Cause to Effect.

While many wonderful stories are related of the elephant's sagacity and independent powers of reasoning, it must be admitted that an indefinitely greater number of much more wonderful anecdotes are told on equally good authority of dogs. But the circumstances in the case are wholly to the advantage of the dog, and against the elephant. While the former roams at will through his master's house and out-door premises, through town and country, mingling freely with all kinds of men and domestic animals, with unlimited time and liberty to lay plans and execute them, the elephant in captivity is chained to a stake, with no liberty of action whatever, aside from eating and drinking, and amusing himself by swaying his body, swinging one foot, or switching his tail. Such a ponderous beast can not be allowed to roam at large among human beings, and he never leaves his stake and chain except under the guidance of his mahout, who directs his every act. There is no telling what wonderful powers of reasoning captive elephants might develop if they could only enjoy the freedom accorded all dogs, except the blood-hound, bull-dog, and a few others.