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the beauties of their handsome sister; and this little experience was of service to me, for afterwards, when I did not want to be troubled with the numerous beggars who besiege the traveller with requests for every thing they see, I used to station at the entrance of my hut one of their women, and it was seldom or never that the men would then intrude, and if they did, some trifle, or a word from my keeper, always sent them away. The husband or the father of the woman, however, always came up on leaving our halting place to receive the gift which was expected, and which, when I came to know their customs better, I took care to reserve for them. A few needles, a piece of blue Surat cloth for the head, and another sor their principal male friend, is all and more than they expect; whilst the freedom from annoyance and constant watching which is secured, is of great service to the traveller after a long day's journey.'
They encountered another hostile tribe, who were conciliated by the clever diplomacy of their Ras, or leader, Ohmed Mahomed.
• Ohmed Mahomed, anxious to secure friends among the Wahamas, paid every attention to those we met in this place, and on one of the women bestowed a piece of blue sood, or half a dollar, whilst I was called upon to make some present to the Galla Slayer. Our meeting with this party was most fortunate, as they proved grateful for the little presents they all received from us, and advocated our cause with good effect in the subsequent calahms of their tribe. This was the object which made Ohmed Mahomed so assiduously cultivate their friendship, and to induce them to accompany us for the next two or three days, until we were out of that part of the country which the Wahama people commanded, he promised each of the four men half a dollar. The youngest of the women it was proposed should live with me, but I was ungallant enough to object to this, for although I did not mind her sitting in the hut during the day, I would insist on her not remaining there for the night. She did not seem to understand this at all, so I gave Zaido a piece of sood to free me from the lady's presence. He, however, mistook my meaning altogether, and being a stingy kind of character, intimated with some dumby kind of antics, that it was all right withont such a sacrifice as that. I could not stand this, so hurried off to Ohmed Medina, and explained to him that as I was a Christian I could not take a Mahommedan wife, especially as I was not going to become a settler in these parts. He very good naturedly came and relieved me from my dilemma, by saying I was an invalid, and the woman taking the hint, instead of sleeping in my hut, laid down her mat, like Ruth at the feet of Boaz, and slept across the entrance.'
Like all Orientals, these savages have a perfect natural politeness; they are an exceedingly clever people, with a quick perception and great enjoyment of humour, a quality rare in savages. During the long hours of the frequent balts, the rival claims of their respective religions, the Arabs all professing Mahommedanism, were a continual subject of discussion, and
they appear wonderfully well read in the history of their own faith. Mr. Johnston told them that he could not receive the Koran as the word of God because
My book, the New Testament, did not testify to the truth of Mahomed's mission, as theirs did to that of Jesus. This plea was met by a curious tirade against Poulos (St. Paul), whom they charge with having falsified the gospels, by striking out the name of Mahomed wherever it appeared. I have since learned that all the foundation they have for this accusation is the circumstance of one of the forms of the name Mahomed, “Onmed,” having the same signification in Arabic as the Greek word for Comforter, one of the designations of the Holy Ghost, and the coming of which was certainly promised by Christ.
• A long afternoon was occupied in discussing this subject, and during the conversation my Islam friends exhibited the greatest politeness, never interrupting me as 1 stammered away in bad Arabic, until some one of them, comprehending my meaning, interpreted it more fully to the rest; and as I understood a good deal more than I could speak, I was always able to know whether they had caught my idea or not. Neither proud intolerance, nor obstinate bigotry, occasioned one hasty or disparaging expression. All sat in their usual silent manner whilst another spoke, squatting upon their heels, which, in order to be more comfortable, as it was a lengthy debate, were raised a little by two small stones placed beneath them. The same courtesy marked all the conversations I had with them. During this morning's march, Ohmed Medina, in a joking manner, said, that the English were not a nation of men like themselves, but a nation of women, because they allowed themselves to be governed by a queen. I retorted by saying that the
" that the English women were as strong as the Dankalli men," a remark which Obmed Mahomed immediately translated into their language.'
After endless detentions Mr. Johnston at length arrived at the kingdom of Shoa, which had become a promised land to him. By this time he had had enough of savage life, and says he should have little hesitation in giving his vote, if the question were between the extreme absolutism of Shoa, or the extreme liberty of the Dankalli tribes; and this, notwithstanding that the first act of Shoan government in his case was to arrest him on his placing his foot in the country, and to confine him for several days with a sentinel over him, by way of testing his disposition and character. He arrived at the frontier town towards the end of May, and was immediately imprisoned, his letters taken from him, and a note which he had despatched to Captain Harris at Shoa intercepted. But with his usual boldness and activity he managed to escape, and fled, alone, and ignorant of the road, in the direction he thought would lead to Shoa. The kindness and hospitality he met with from these savages, especially from the women, who took him into their huts, welcomed
and fed him, goes far to support his opinion that they would amply repay exertions to improve and civilize them.
For what relates to his residence in Shoa we must refer to the book itself, of which extracts do not give a complete impression, that being derived from the variety of details rather than from any isolated facts or observations. Frank, courageous, and full of mechanical resource, Mr. Johnston was admirably suited to carry on a friendly intercourse with savages, and accordingly, in spite of the prejudice against him created in the mind of the king, as he seems to imply by unfriendly conduct on the part of the commander of the British mission, he became a decided favourite after he had succeeded in obtaining an interview with that monarch.
The book contains the usual amount of geological and geographical speculation, and makes considerable pretensions to ethnological sagacity; but its real merits must rest on the lively impression which in the mere recital of his personal adventures he incidentally gives of the ways and characteristics of a people as yet scarcely known to Europe, though separated by so short a distance from some of the principal seats of European commerce and influence in Africa and Asia.
Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation. London,
Churchill, 1844. The formation of theories is peculiar to the human mind, and most men have some cherished offspring of the kind – how formed they know not, and how proved they care as little. They are matters of individual possession and sources of individual pleasure; and it would be cruel to deprive our fellow-creatures of such sources of innocent satisfaction, were it not that these same theories occasionally exercise a pernicious influence upon their moral and social conduct. It will, however, be generally remarked, that those who are most prone to theorise are least habituated to reason. In fact, the formation of a theory is an act of imagination-it is akin to poetic creation, or rather, identical with it --being always founded upon analogies, either verbal or material. Mere verbal analogy is now, however, left to the poet and the declaimer; and our theorists employ themselves upon material and sensible analogies. Our forefathers in science would have called them hypotheses-ourallest philosophers (especially the mathematicians) still call them so. They reserve the name of theory for those hypotheses which express the definite numerical laws of causal activity and mutual relation; and the deductions from which, by synthetic processes, are found to agree with the phenomena (or to predict them) to which the inquiry relates. Of these, the theory of gravitation is not only the most complete, but by far the most completely established ; and next to this, though far below it, the undulatory theory of light takes its place amongst the physical sciences. Mere speculatists, however, form their hypotheses on all subjects and call them theories; and such theories, boldly propounded, usually gain as much attention and deference from the multitude, as though these crude, unproved, and contradictory hypotheses were invested with the irresistible array of demonstrations by which the theory of gravitation is fortified.
There are in our cosmical system certain phenomena, which come under the notice of all, too frequently and forcibly, not to induce the most indolent mind to speculate in some way or other; and, therefore, speculate every man will : and if not supplied with some hypothesis by others, he will form one of his own, adapted to the limited character of the phenomena which he takes into account. The speculations, however, of the unlearned and the unread class in science, are not likely to be other than too jejune and preposterous to effect any serious mischief in the intellectual world. The class of speculators most to be dreaded, is composed of men of extensive reading, active imagination, and great vigour of language; and who are, withal, only possessed of conclusions without their reasons: who have considered the phenomena apart from their rationale: and who are ignorant of the peculiar character of the methods of investigation adopted by those who have built up the edifice of science, step by step, to its present attitude. Such men speculate with a fearful boldness, calculated to unhinge the mind of the student, and to deprave the accurate taste which he may otherwise be forming in respect of methods of investigation; and by dressing out most unsound doctrines in philosophy in the meretricious costume so captivating to the young, render him a complete libertine in science !
The author of the Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation is a seer of this class : one who can draw upon imagination without limit, and create worlds with a dash of his wizard penone who can form suns and planets without end, out of a ' fiery mist'-animalise the dull lump of inorganic matter-and spiritualise, like another Frankenstein, the animal to which his fancy had given birth. The style of the work, too, as a literary composition is of the first order; and the phantasmæ succeed each other with such a fascinating rapidity as almost to compel us, in spite of our own efforts to the contrary, to suspend our logical functions, and revel in the beautiful dream without once suspecting its fallacy. The startling conclusions, however, at which he arrives will compel every reader who is acquainted with the natural sciences as a man of science, and possessing the habits of investigation which science inevitably produces, to pause: and in reviewing with care the steps through which the author has led him, divested of that illusion of style and earnestness of manner, whose novelty has now worn off, he will discover much that is exceptionable as argument, and much, too, that is altogether incommensurate with the conclusions so dogmatically enunciated.
The author has chosen to robe himself in the invisible coat;' and the attention excited by the work has given rise to much curiosity respecting his identity. He is invested with many names well known in the scientific world ; but he has not, that we are aware, been traced home to his lair.' His mental character, acquirements, and mode of thinking bespeak the medical profession as his worldly status, and the dogmatical and flowery style of his composition would bespeak him a hospital-lecturer of barely mature age for his office.' His learning is that of the lecturer-shewy rather than profound—and effective rather than systematic: it is learning 'got up,' not science investigated; it is knowledge taken at second-hand and upon trust, not elaborated in his own mind nor fully comprehended as to its exact demonstration.
We shall briefly state his general conclusions, and proceed to examine the principal steps by which this new principia has
The entire phenomena of the universe, animate and inanimate, are due to two principles or laws, imposed by the Creator upon some unknown primordial æther which originally filled all space, and which the author likens to ' a universal Fire-Mist.' (p. 30.) The 'mysteries of nature ultimately resolve themselves' into two universal laws. The 'inorganic department has the one final comprehensive law, GRAVITATION; the organic, the other great department of mundane things, rests in like manner on one law, that is, DEVELOPMENT. Nor may even these be after all twain, but only branches of one still more comprehensive law, the expression of that unity which man's wit can scarcely separate from Deity itself.' (p. 362.)
The first statement is clear as to its meaning at first sight, since the term by which it is expressed is universally understood: the second will require an explanation, which we shall presently give, of the sense in which it is used. The concluding part of the above quotation is a distinct statement that we have no other idea of the Deity than as an abstract impersonation of the laws of nature--a mere conception of the mind, of which
been built up.