is the maturity of the Samoyede girls, that many of them become mothers at the age of twelve, and some even at eleven years. They are not, however, very prolific; for after thirty they ceafe to bear children.

We should scarce expect to find hyfterics and vapours fhewing themselves among Samoyedes, Laplanders, Oftiaks, Yakoutes, and Tungufians. The Author nevertheless affures us, that many of these northern gentry, especially the females, are subject to an aftonishing irritability of the nervous fyftem. On any fudden alarm, they are thrown into fwoonings, and lose their fenfes ; and when they recover from these fits, by flow degrees, they feel an extreme weakness and lownels of fpirits, for a confiderable time afterwards. There are many of them who cannot endure to hear a person whistle, or to be touched unexpectedly, or even to hear any moderate noife or found, without lofing their fenfes, or being much difordered.'

Extraordinary ideas of impurity are as little to be expected among these people as the vapours: and yet we find these fame Samoyedes treat the fair fex, at certain ftated periods, and for a long time, even two months, after child-birth, with loathing and abhorrence. At these times, a Samoyede woman is confidered and treated as an abominable being. She is not permitted to touch any victuals, or to prefent the fmalleft thing to a man, In her walks, fhe muft not even traverse his path. This quarantine, however, is at length terminated by a fumigation, made over burning deer's hair; which is applied likewife to all the places on which fhe has fat, and to the utenfils or clothes fhe has used or touched.

Very different feem to be the ideas of the Tungufians. We are afraid we shall make the Reader's ftomach revolt, when we relate, that they confider the human placenta as a high delicacy, either boiled, when it is called Oedeghal, or roafted, under the title of Silama. This is prefented to the father, as a tidbit; the woman herself taftes of it; but none except the best friends of the family are allowed to partake of it.-Superftition, however, probably has no fmal! fhare in thefe proceedings, both of the Samoyede and Tungufian.

Of all the nations defcribed in this volume, the inhabitants of the Eastern Islands appear to approach most nearly to a flate of nature. These islands, which have not been long difcovered, are ficuated between the eastern coaft of Afia and the western fhore of America. Among the inhabitants, who pay only a kind of voluntary tribute to Ruffia, there reigns the most perfect equality. They have neither chiefs nor fuperiors, neither laws nor punishments. Sometimes, indeed, a turbulent fpirit forms to himself a party more or lefs numerous, who arrange themselves under his banner, and follow his commands; but

this happens chiefly when fatisfaction is to be obtained, or revenge gratified. Whenever the inhabitants of other islands vifit them in small bands or companies, they are well received: but if the company be numerous, they are attacked; and the conflict continues, till one party is diflodged, or perhaps destroyed.

The law of the strongeft, the only one with which they seem to be acquainted, takes place among them as it were by common consent. They frequently go and drive away fuch of their neighbours as poffefs the greateft plenty, to feize on their fuperfluity; and this way of taking poffeffion is generally practifed with fo little ceremony or artifice, that one would imagine the others thought it their duty immediately to yield to the exterminators.'-We fhall felect a few more particulars refpecting these men of nature; the account of whom appears to us to be the most interesting, and the beft drawn up of any in this volume.

They live almoft wholly under ground. Some of these sepulchres are very large; extending even 300 feet in length, and 30 in breadth; containing a whole community or village, conLifting of two or three hundred perfons. Here not only the children, but the adult of both fexes go quite naked.-Thefe pits indeed are fo hot, that dress would be inconvenient.-A ftranger, fays the Author, on first entering these pits, must think himself defcending into hell. A gloomy darkness, a thick smoke, a heat often infupportable, the pale light of stinking lamps, a number of beings all wild and naked, that have nothing human but the figure, a great abundance of vermin, food the most miferable and difgufting that can be imagined, the noise and din of the inhabitants, the most shocking naftiness, a horrible ftench worse than that of Styx-form the picture prefented to a stranger, on his descent into these fubterranean caverns.'

Notwithstanding this feeming contempt of drefs, they take great pains to render themselves amiable, by operations performed on their own persons.-' The generality both of men and women have two deep incifions made, when young, in the lower lip, and a hole in the cartilaginous feparation of the noftrils. When they have a mind to be dreffed gaily (which happens very often, as they have a great defire of pleafing) they fix in the incifions of the lip two flender teeth turned upwards, and fmoothly polifhed, of about two inches in length. Through the hole in the bridge of the nofe, they pafs the little bone of a bird, to fwell out the noftrils. The fmarter among them make a third incifion in the lip, in which they fix fome coloured ftone.

The truth of certain practices afcribed to our friends the Otabeiteans has been queftioned by fome. Our Author affirms, that


thefe Eastern Iflanders' practise propagation in public, not only at home, but in the open air, and before all the world. And this happens the more frequently, as both fexes are very amorous in their dispositions. The women are likewise delivered in the prefence of whoever happens to be by, without the leaft thought of privacy or concealment.'

From what we have already faid concerning the mode of living of these people, and particularly of the corrupt air which they muft breathe in their fubterranean apartments, it will appear almost incredible that they should enjoy that good conftitution, and conftant health, which the Author afcribes to them; who adds, that they preferve their vigour to a very advanced age. The itch, fevers, nay the fcurvy, and feveral other dif tempers, fo common elsewhere, are very rare among them. Their teeth continue white, even, and folid, to extreme old age:-and yet thefe people are remarkably gluttonous; they eat the carcafes of land and fea animals found by accident, in a raw ftate, as well as putrid fifh. Salt is unknown to them. For a treat, they fwill the blubber of porpoifes, whales, and other fith, whofe liquid fat they fwallow with great avidity. It is true, they have not yet acquired a tafte for any kind of spirituous liquor; their only drink being water, and even fea water, when it would cost them too much trouble to procure fresh. In short, fays the Author, excepting their fellow creatures and We must infects, nothing efcapes the jaws of thefe iflanders. obferve, however, that they are not deftitute of fresh animal food, and of various wild fruits, and efculent vegetables.

It is remarkable that these Islanders, who cannot be supposed ever to have had a communication with any other part of the world till very lately, nevertheless reckon their small concerns by the decennary arithmetic; counting from 1 to 10 in units, from thence upwards by tens.


Towards the close of the volume, the Author has given an account of the religion, if it may be fo called, of the numerous Pagan nations that inhabit the Ruffian empire; or rather of the principal religious fyftem of the three, which are profeffed in thefe extenfive regions. Thefe are the Schamane, the worship of Lama, and that of the Bramines. The first of these is said to be the fource from whence the other two have fprung; and to be undoubtedly one of the most ancient that exifts, or at leaft that is known among the nations of the East.

This volume is terminated by a differtation on the formation, of mountains, and the changes this globe has undergone; particularly with regard to the empire of Ruffia. The obfervations contained in this effay appear evidently to have been written by one who has attentively confidered this difficult fubject: but his remarks and reafonings are too numerous and complicated to admit of abridgment,


ART. III. PARMENIDES, five de Stabiliendis per Adplicationem Prin cipiorum Dunatocefpicorum ad Res, Senju, & Experientia Cognofcendas Scientie Cofmologica Fundamentis. Quo omnis eorum Philofophiæ evertetur, qui Mundi Materiam, aut ipfam Subftantiam divinam, aut a Deo numerice diverfam effe fentiunt, oftenditurque, in Univerfum omnia unum effe, quæ vero plura videntur, ea relativa effe omnia, abfoluti nihil. Auctore Joanni Theodoro van der Kemp. 8vo. 7 s. bound. Edinburgh, Neill; London, Dilly. 1781.


UCH, alas! is the tafte of the prefent age, that few, we apprehend, of our learned Readers will have the patience to go through the whole even of the bare title of this work above given; unless, indeed, the fingularity of it fhould excite their curiofity. With refpect to ourelves, we must honeftly confefs, that the task of analyfing it exceeds our abilities. The inquirer into its scope and character must be content with a few short extracts from it; and these must neceffarily be given in the Author's own language:-for into what modern tongue can we intelligibly tranflate fuch paffages as the following; which are honestly taken at random. or at least not felected on account of any claim to fuperior obfcurity?

The learned Author- for learned-as well as profound, as far as words go-he certainly is-thus exprefies himself in his Preface, with respect to his defign in compofing it:

Hæc igitur ultima mihi cura fuit, ut oftenderem, in univerfum omnia effe unum, non idem, omnium vero unam effe, eandemque ideam, unamque rationem fufficientem, fi vero plura reperiantur, ea effe plura non uno, non plura uno: quum autem hæc propofitio non uno modo in ea, quæ fenfus continuo nobis obtrudunt, incurrere videretur, id efficere ftudui, ut omnes intelligerent, ipfum hoc univerfum omnium omnino rerum fyftema, cujus partem creatam fenfu percipimus, artificiofâ refolutione in Deum fecedere & nihilum, adeoque in mundo creato omnia esse relativa, abfoluti nihil, & ens finitum, etiam fimpliciffimum, ex nonentibus effe compofitum.

The Author thus defines the place, or, as he calls it, the internal place of bodies:

Entis locus (internus vulgo dictus) eft contingentia defectús in fimultanes rerum oraine per perfectionem metaphyficam entis fublati. Si huic contingentiæ ipfe defectus comitetur, locus dicitur vacuus, fublato actu defectu, plenus audiet.'

Thefe extracts will give the inquifitive Reader fome idea of this fingular production of the eighteenth century. Here follows another, concerning un ov, Anglicè, NOTHING; a perfonage who fuftains a very confequential figure in almost every page of this work:

• EQ autem nihil per fe non aliud quam purum nibil, unde de¿cimus, limitatum nihil non effe purum nihil; fed tantum materialiter

terialiter nihil, formaliter non nihil, pro diverfa vero limitis ratione tale, vel tale.'

We shall only add one quotation more-- About NOTHING:

• Nibil hoc per fe non unum eft, nec multa, nec eft, nec concipi poteft, nec omnino habet aliquid, quod fenfus, aut intellectum moveat, nec aliquid de eo predicare licet, nec accurate loquendo dicere, nihil ESSE nihil, fed tantum, nihil NON ESSE nihil, et NON ESSE unum.'

We might, perhaps, in time, comprehend, and relifh all this, had not our tastes, and, we fear, that of the age, been debauched by the familiar, gentleman-like, and, at least feemingly, intelligible metaphyfics of your Humes, Prieflleys, and Prices; which appear mere chit-chat, and table talk, when compared with the crabbed contents of this dark volume, fwelled to the bulk of no lefs than 500 pages. The Author may perhaps complain of our mutilated quotations as unfair: but, notwithstanding all his ancient and modern metaphyfical learning and ingenuity, we apprehend that our fhort extracts from his performance will, at this time of day, be as well understood without, as with the context; except, indeed, by the few who ftill retain fome reverence for the antiquated jargon of the fchools, and are difposed to hail with pleasure the refurrection of fubftantial forms, and their numerous and nearly forgotten fuite.-It is not the leaft fingular circumftance attending this publication, that the Author has figned each copy with his own hand, left, as he declares, fpurious copies of it should get abroad.

We are forry to fee fo much learning and ingenuity fo egregiously mifapplied, as well as fo palpably mif-timed. With the powers here exhibited, had they been properly directed, the Author might have enlightened, inftead of blinding, or-which amounts pretty much to the fame thing-dazzling his readers.

ART. IV. A Treatise on Experience in Phyfic. 2 Vols. 8vo. 12 s. Wilkie. 1782.


E learn, from a fhort advertisement prefixed, that this Work was originally published in German, by Dr. Zimmermann, firft phyfician to his Majefty at Hanover, &c.; ' whose merit is already well known in this country, by his Treatife on the Dyfentery, and his Effay on National Pride.' It is divided into five books, in the firit of which the Author treats of the different ways in which men acquire knowledge; and of true and falfe experience. Erudition, and its influence on experience, particularly the medical, conflitutes the fubject of the fecond book. In the third, the Author treats of the genius for obfervation, and of the influence which this talent, well or ill directed, has on experience. In the fourth book,


« VorigeDoorgaan »