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and all the organs of fpeech are alike, and yet the orang-outang does not fpeak; his brain is exactly of the fame form and proportion, and yet he does not think. Can there be a stronger proof that matter alone, however perfectly organized, can neither produce thought nor words, which are its figns, unless it be animated by a fuperior principle?'
How this celebrated naturalift could fuppofe, after the hiftory he has given of the homo fylveftris, that it does not think, is very amazing. How far Mr. Buffon may be obliged to regu late his opinions by the religion of his country, we do not know; but it seems impoffible, that a perfon fo well acquainted with animal nature fhould not be convinced, that not only the homo fylveftris thinks, but that brutes in general both think and reafon; for though they may commonly act in confequence of what we are pleafed to call inftinct, yet nothing can be more demonftrable, than that many of their actions are the refult of reflection, the confequence of a comparison of ideas and as to his conclufion, that even words cannot be produced without that fuperior principle, that aura divina, he is certainly wrong upon his own principles; for parrots and other birds are taught to fpeak, though, according to our Author, they are without this fouffle divin. The truth of the matter we apprehend to be, that the diftinction between man and brute confiits entirely in the quantity or degree of the power of thinking or reafoning, in the fame manner as brutes differ from each other, in proportion as the neceflities of their fituation required, and not in any particular perflatus, or favour from our Creator, except what confifts in the more perfect formation of the brain; for if it were otherwife, how comes it that an accidental depreflion upon our reafoning organ fhould fo entirely annihilate this peculiarly divine principle, as to deprive a man of all thought and reafon in an inftant? Befides, there is evidently a much greater diftance between the apparent reafon of one brute and another, (the homo fylveftris and the oyster, for instance) than between the firft of these and ourselves. Mr. Buffon was, perhaps, under a neceffity of denying thought to the brute creation, becaufe he muft otherwife have allowed, that brutes have fouls, or that matter can think; either of which being granted, might prove rather too much. Thanks to our good fortune, that we do not live in a country where a man is obliged to facrifice his reafon to modes of prescribed faith!
We shall now tranflate the author's account of the Gibbon, an animal of which we do not remember ever before to have met with a defcription. The Gibbon always walks upright, even when he moves upon four feet, his fore legs or arms, being fo Jong as to reach the ground, even when he is in an erect pof
ture. I faw him alive. His height did not exceed three feet; but he was young, and a captive: fo that we may prefume, when full grown and in a state of nature, that he is a foot taller. He has not the leaft appearance of a tail; but that which evidently diftinguishes him from other apes, is the amazing length of his arms, which are as long as his body and legs together. His face is furrounded by a circle of grey hair, fo that it has the appearance of being fet in a round frame, which has a very extraordinary effect. His eyes are round, but funk; his ears naked, his face depreffed, of a tawny colour, and much resembling that of a man.-This fpecies of ape appeared to be of a mild difpofition. His motions were neither rude nor precipitate. He took the food which was given him with great gentleness; which food confifted chiefly of bread, fruit, and almonds. He was very fearful of cold and moisture, and lived but a fhort time out of his native country. He is originally an inhabitant of the Eaft Indies, particularly of Coromandel, Malaca, and the Malucca iflands'.
To this hiftory of the Gibbon fucceeds a recapitulation of the particulars of what we have here tranflated, under the title of diftin&tive characters of this fpecies, which is followed by a defeription, confifting of another repetition almost verbatim, of the preceding history and character. After this our indefatigable author gives a table of the dimenfions of all the external parts of its body. He then defcribes minutely all the viscera, &c. to which is added a table of their several dimensions; also an anatomical account of its fkeleton; to which is fubjoined another table, fhewing minutely the dimenfions of each bone. To this fucceed five plates, exhibiting the animal when living, its vifcera, fkeleton, &c.
This volume contains, befides those we have mentioned, a description, equally minute, of a great number of baboons, monkeys, &c. to which is fubjoined a very long differtation on the degeneration of animals. In the beginning of this differtation M. Buffon, tied down by the Mofaic' account of the creation, labours to prove that the difference of colour and make, between the inhabitants of the earth, is merely the effect of climate. The change, fays he, is now become fo great, that one might be apt to fuppofe, that the Negro, the Laplander, and the White people, were of different fpecies; if we had not been affured, that there was but one man originally created, and if we did not find, by experience, that the Negro, the Laplander, and the White, will promifcuoufly unite and propagate. His first argument reminds us of a very intelligent Spaniard, who being asked his opinion concerning the folar fyftem, replied, that the arguments in favour of the earth's motion round the fun were fo unanfwerable, that if the Old Teftament had not
taught the contrary, he should furely have believed it. As to his fecond argument, he totally destroys its weight by informing us, when fpeaking of mules, that they are not incapable of propagation, as hath been generally imagined: These are his words, Et ce mulet qu'on a regardé de tout tems comme une production viciée, comme un monftre compofe de deux natures, et que par cette raifen l'on a jugé incapable de fe reproduire lui-même et de former lignée, n'et cependant pas auffi profondement léfé qu'on fe l'imagine d'aprés ce prejugé, puisqu'il n'est pas reelement infecond, et que fa fterilité ne dépend que de certaines circonflances exterieures et particulieres. Moreover, in (peaking of foxes, wolves, and dogs, he tells us, that tho' he did not fucceed in the experiments he made, yet he is firmly of opinion that, in a state of nature, they would breed promifcuously; that is to fay, either of the first with the latter. So that the argument taken from the prolific union of a negro male with a white female, to prove that mankind are of one fpecics, is no argument at all.
Notwithstanding thefe flight ftrictures, we retain all due veneration for the abilities and affiduity of Mr. de Buffon and we esteem his work as a capital addition to the catalogue of books in natural history.
Obfervations Hiftoriques et Geographique, &c.
Obfervations Hiftorical and Geographical concerning thofe barbarous nations that inhabited the banks of the Danube, and the borders of the Euxine fea. By M. de Peyffonnel, formerly his moft Chriftian Majefty's conful to the Khan of the Tartars, afterwards conful-general in the kingdom of Candie, now conful at Smyrna, correfpondent of the Royal Academy of Infcriptions, &c. 4to. Paris 1765.
S the origin of those arts and sciences that have done the
to human ingenuity, is, for the most
part, difficult to be inveftigated, and frequently inacceffible to every thing but conjecture; fo it happens too, that the rife of thofe nations that have made the greateft figure in the revolu tions of empire, is involved in the fame obfcurity-Both thefe circumftances proceed from the fame caufe. Arts in their firft principles and progrefs to perfection, and nations in their uncultivated and unafpiring ftate, were not of consequence fufficient either to be enquired after, or recorded. Hence it is that fo little has hitherto been known concerning the origin of thofe innumerable hords, that overflow the eaftern and the western empires. Those remains of fcience, and of learned curiofity, that might have formed their annals and inveftigated their origine, funk down before them, and they diffufid the influences
of univerfal ignorance, that the effects of their rapine and barbarity might be unknown.
The first accounts that hiftory, not indeed quite divested of fable, affords us concerning the northern emigrants, is that of the Scythians, who left Colchos in purfuit of Jason, and fettled on the western borders of the Euxine fea. Thefe may be confidered as the first colonies of the Fontic Scythia, and of the country of the Getes and Daces,-For this opinion we have the authority of Juftin, who tells us likewife, that fuch of the Scythians as continued their pursuit of Jafon, paffed along the Danube, and at length, with their boat on their fhoulders, they traverfed the country as far as Aquilea, where not finding the Argonauts, and being ashamed to return into their own country without fuccefs, they fettled in thofe parts which afterwards took the name of Iftria, from these people who came from the Ifter, or Danube. There they founded a republic called Refpublica Polenfis, or the Republic of Exiles, the word pola in the Scythian language having that fignification. Thofe Getes above-mentioned, became, under the denomination of Goths, the most confiderable of all the eastern barbarians that made incurfions into the Roman empire. Yet by ..thofe incurfions chriftianity was introduced amongst them about the time of the emperor Gallienus.The bishops whom they had made prifoners infpired them with a love of that religion by their virtues; and, if we may believe Mr. Peyffonnel, by their miracles. However, they received their inftructions, and churches were built amongst them. Philoftorgus remarks, that under the emperor Conftantine, a great multitude of Goths were driven from their country on account of their religion, and that the emperor fettled them in Myfia. Protogenes affifted at the council of Nice in quality of bifhop, and it appears that his jurifdiction extended over Dacia, Dardany, and the neighbouring countries, and, of confequence, over thofe barbarous nations which Aurelian had permitted to fettle on this fide the Danube; yet we find that the Bishop of Theffalonica was charged with the publication of the decrees of that council, not only in Greece and Macedonia, but alfo in the two Scythias.
Scarcely was chriftianity eftablifhed amongst the Gothic nations, when perfecutions on account of religious opinions took place; and the fury of barbarous and fuperftitious blindness transferred itself to the fupport of fects and fchifms. The Christians, moreover, in general, were heavily perfecuted by fuch of the Goths as were yet unconverted; but thofe people met with a fcourge in their turn, and became a prey to the Huns, who paffed the Palus Mæotis, attacked and totally routed them. One tribe of the Goths, called Tervinges, applied to the emperor Valens for permiffion to fettle in Thrace. Their deputy on
this occafion was Ulfilas their bishop, who, to make his court to the emperor, embraced Arianifm, and inftructed his people in the fame principles. It was this Ulfilas who taught the Goths the use of letters; his characters were the Greek, and he tranflated into their language the holy fcriptures.—Valens permitted the Goths to fettle in Thrace, but the troublesome conduct of the Roman officers, foon afforded them a pretext for revolting, and they spoiled the provinces where they had been fuffered to refide. The emperor found it neceffary to put an end to the Perfian war, which he had then upon his hands, in order to reduce thefe infurgents. Their king declared that he would be fatisfied with permiffion for his fubjects to continue in Thrace, but the emperor would not liften to his proposals, and haftened to give them battle, before his nephew Gratian, who had fucceeded Valentinian in the empire of the weft, could divide with him the honours of the victory. The battle was fought near Adrianople, on the ninth of Auguft 378; the Romans were conquered, and hardly one third of their army efcaped. The emperor being wounded, and taking refuge in the houfe of a peasant until his wounds were dreffed, it was prefently fet on fire, and he perished in the flames. This victory laid open the Roman territories to the ravages of the Goths from east to west, and they carried their rapine as far as the Alps.
. It is evident, however, that thefe Goths would not have invaded, nor even have fought admittance into the Roman dominions, had they not, as we have before obferved, been driven out of their own by the incurfion of the Huns. Thefe Huns were the most northern of those barbarous nations, and inhabited that part of the European Sarmatia, which lies along the Tanais, together with the angle, which that river forms above the Cafpian fea. Claudian gives us the following defcription of this People:
Et genus extremos Scythia vergentis in ortus,
Claud. in Ruf. v. 323. lib. I. Ammianus Marcellinus tells us, that the Huns, a people little known to the ancients, occupied a tract of country between the Palus Maotis and the frozen fea; but by thefe, he certainly must have meant the ancient Mofcovites: Hunnorum gens veterum monumentis leviter nota ultra Paludes Maoticas, Glacialem