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products, are able to support the plastic or formative processes; that neither starch, sugar, nor fat, can sustain the process of respiration. Nay, it may excite still greater astonishment to add, that these substances, even when mixed, no matter in what proportions, are destitute of the property of digestibility without the presence of certain other substances; so much so, indeed, that if
these other conditions be excluded, the above-named compounds are utterly unable to effect the continuance of life and the vital phenomena."
He then proceeds to explain that these matters are the salts of the blood, and to examine, with his usual acuteness when dealing with chemical phenomena, the part played by the alkalis in the nutritive process. We must remark, however, that even here the absence of the true anatomical point of view renders his teaching incomplete; for he only takes into account the part played by the inorganic substances as conditions of vital phenomena (such as promoting digestibility and nutrition), entirely overlooking their part as integral elements of tissue, on which many of the properties of tissues depend. It is from this mistaken view, we imagine, that he omits water from the list ; yet anatomy assures us that water is an essential element of tissue; and its enormous preponderance in quantity is the expression of its preeminence in nutritive quality, and explains the paradox of water being, longo intervallo, the most nutritious of all articles. Life, we know, may be prolonged for weeks without any organic food being taken, if water be freely supplied; but life will not continue many days if water be withheld. If, therefore, the purpose of Food be to sustain the organism, that article which sustains it longest, and can with least immunity be withheld, must be the most nutritive of all; and water claims pre-eminence over beef.
Water is so abundant around us,
*Chemical Letters, p. 382.
and it passes in and out of the system with such freedom, that we are naturally disposed to overlook the fact of its forming a constituent, tolerably constant in amount. Many of its uses are accurately known. It ration would be impossible, and gives dissolves gases, without which respithe tissues their elasticity, the humours their fluidity. It is the great condition of chemical change. If the lungs were formed precisely as they are, with the single exception of having no moisture on their surfaces, Respiration could not be effected; as we see when the fish is taken out of water, and its gills become dry by evaporation. The cornea of the eye owes its transparency to water, and the removal of that small quantity would render vision a mere perception of a local change in temperature. But it is unnecessary to rehearse the manifold properties of water in the vital organism, we have said enough to show its eminence as Food.
Common Salt (chloride of sodium) is another constant and universal substance which claims rank as Food. It forms an essential part of all the organic fluids and solids, except the enamel of the teeth; + a statement to which attention is called, because Liebig, in an obscure passage, ‡ seems to deny that it, forms part of the tissues, declaring that in muscle chloride of potassium is abundant, but no chloride of sodium; a mistake, as the analyses of Von Bibra, Barral, and others, clearly show. Common salt is always found in the blood, in quantities which vary within extremely narrow limits, forming 0421 per cent of the entire mass, and as much as 75 per cent of the ashes. This quantity is wholly independent of the surplus in food for the surplus is either not absorbed or is carried away in the excretions and perspiration; § and this shows it to be an anatomical constituent, not an accident. If too little salt be taken in the food, instinct forces
ROBIN and VERDEIL: Traité de Chimie Anatomique, ii. 175; and LEHMANN 404; iii. 80.
Chemical Letters, p. 405-6.
§ De Blainville has noticed that people living on the coast, or eating salted meats, have a decided increase of salt in their perspiration.
every animal to supply the deficiency by eating it separately.
"The wild buffalo frequents the salt licks of North-Western America; the
wild animals in the central parts of Southern Africa are a sure prey to the hunter who conceals himself beside a salt spring; and our domestic cattle run peacefully to the hand that offers them a taste of this luxury. From time immemorial it has been known that without salt man would miserably perish; and among horrible punishments, entailing certain death, that of feeding culprits on saltless food is said to have prevailed in barbarous times.'
When Cook and Forster landed in Otaheite they astonished the natives who saw them eating white powder with every morsel of meat; and every one remembers Man Friday's expressive repudiation of salt. But the savages who ate no "white powder," ate fish, and cooked their flesh in sea-water, rich in salt. In several parts of Africa men are sold for salt; and on the gold coast it is the most precious of all commodities. On the coast of Sierra Leone a man will sell his sister, his wife, or his child for salt, not having learned the art of distilling it from the sea.
The properties of salt are manifold. It forms one of the essential conditions of vital processes. It renders albumen soluble, and is necessary for digestion, being decomposed in the stomach into hydrochloric acid for the gastric process, and soda for the bile. It has also a most important property, namely, that of regulating the interchange of fluids through the walls of the vessels, in accordance with that law of endosmosis, on which so many vital processes depend,
but which we cannot stop now to explain. So great are the services of salt that we may confidently endorse the statement of Dr Bence Jones, that it is "a substance as essential to life as nitrogenous food, or nonnitrogenous food and water," + and if so essential, then assuredly Food.
It would lead us too far, and the excursion would be unnecessary, to examine separately all the inorganic substances taken as Food; enough has already been said to justify the classification, which places the inorganic beside the organic substances, as one of the two great divisions into which the question naturally falls. If we do not dine off minerals, nor find ourselves pleasantly munching a lump of chalk as we should munch a lump of bread; if, as a general rule, we eat mineral substances only in combination with organic substances, and not separately, the rule is absolute which forces us to eat organic substances only in combination with inorganic, because no pure organic substance can be found. may seem absurd to talk of eating inorganic food, because we rarely eat it separately; but in that sense it is absurd to talk of eating organic food, because organic substance, free from all admixture of the inorganic, has never been eaten by any man.
And here for the present we must pause, having spent much effort in clearing the ground for some exposition of the positive state of our knowledge on the subject, by removing those encumbrances in the shape of hypotheses which do harm to science when, as is too frequently the case, they are accepted as explanations.
* JOHNSTON: Chemistry of Common Life, p. 400. + BENCE JONES: On Gravel, Calculus, and Gout, p. 46.
SULLIVAN ON CUMBERLAND.
SHUT up, in autumn weather, in the beautiful valley of Patterdale, we wiled away part of our time very pleasantly in talk with such of the peasantry as were idle enough to give us their company. We were rather curious to discover if we could, from personal conversation with the living men, what traditions of the olden time still lingered amongst the mountains, what superstitions or peculiar modes of thought might still be traced among their inhabitants. We may as well confess at once that, although we were often much interested in the conversation, as well of the miners who work in that district, as of its shepherds and agricultural labourers, we made no discovery of the kind we were in search of. We have listened to accounts of accidents which have taken place up in the mines, told in a careless, loose, shambling sort of manner, and yet in a language so graphic, and so correct withal, that if a short-hand writer had got it upon his notes, he would not wish to change a single word of it. We have heard a shepherd describe the aspect of the valley and the hills in mid-winter, when day after day the snow falls silently on all the mountains, and then suddenly a west wind, charged with heavy rains, converts, in a few hours, all the snow into one rushing, roaring flood, that comes sweeping down from every side into the valley-we have heard him describe such a scene in a manner which only Christopher North could have excelled. But neither miner nor shepherd mingled with his narrative any peculiar superstition, nor when the conversation was directly turned to the subject of fairies, or demons, or the black art, did they treat these once mysterious - topics in any other temper than that of mere and abrupt contempt. They had not the interest in them of the scholar or the antiquarian; they saw them only in one aspect, as so much nonsense, and dismissed them
accordingly. Such at least was our experience; others who have mingled more intimately with these people than we can pretend to have done, may have a different tale to tell.
Tre honest and intelligent countryman under whose roof we lodging, fairly turned the tables upon ourselves. If you want instances of absurd credulity," he said, "it is in great towns, not in the country that you should look for them. Every now and then, in the Penrith and Carlisle newspapers, I see some paragraph about spirit - rapping,' mediums,' and 'seers,'-I know not what-and educated gentlewomen, it seems, write books upon such stuff. Shame upon them! We do perhaps rant and rave a little in this valley of Patterdale, but such gross credulity, such downright lying and deception as must be going on in London and New York, beats all I ever heard or read of." We had to make the best defence we could for the cities of London and New York, thus compromised in the eyes of our host, by certain elegant extracts he had encountered in the corners of his Penrith newspaper. We were glad to beat a retreat from the subject.
But a few days after this conversation-by way, perhaps, of compensation for the defeat we had sustained
-our landlord brought us a book which had been lately written by a learned gentleman of the neighbourhood, and from which, he said, we might probably obtain the sort of information we were in search of. We found in Mr Sullivan's book both more and less than we were thus led to anticipate. It did not enter so fully as we had hoped, into the traditionary beliefs of the people; and, on the other hand, it led us into the old ethnological questions, how England, and these northern counties in particular, came to be peopled at all, and in what proportion by the Celt, or the Saxon, or the Dane. Into
Cumberland and Westmoreland, Ancient and Modern, the People, Dialect, Superstitions, and Customs. By J. SULLIVAN.
these questions we were not disposed to enter, and Mr Sullivan will excuse us if, at the present moment, we pass rapidly over what is in fact the main subject of his work, and content ourselves with gleaning from it some of those more amusing, if less instructive, details which concern the living population of the counties of Cumberland and Westmoreland.
Yet we must say of Mr Sullivan's book that in no part of it is it tedious or uninstructive. As an ethnologist, Mr Sullivan has the merit of impartiality he is not the champion of the Dane, or the Saxon, or the Celt; he is willing to give to each of these his due share in the production of what are now the people of Great Britain and Ireland. The outline of his scheme is that which, in the main, has been generally received; but in stead of the division into Celts and Cymri, he prefers the names of Hiberno-Celtic and Cambro-Celtic which is, indeed, a more cautious nomenclature-because it marks a distinction between the tribes or nations supposed to have peopled this island, according to localities in these islands themselves, without involving any hypothesis as to the part of the Continent from which they
It is as an etymologist as one who has especially applied a knowledge of languages, classical and barbaric, to detect the origin of our Cumberland names of places, hills, and rivers that Mr Sullivan chiefly claims to be distinguished. Not familiar ourselves with "Norse roots," and knowing nothing of the Celtie (Hiberno or Cambro), we cannot estimate the value of Mr Sullivan's labours in this peculiar field of inquiry; but we can call into court a witness who appears to be authorised to speak on this subject. In a paper read before the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, Mr Craig Gibson describes Mr Sullivan as one of the most acute and best informed of those writers who have lately turned their attention to the ethnology of Cumberland and Westmoreland, as indicated in the
local etymology."* We are happy in being able to adduce this testimony in favour of a painstaking and laborious scholar; and we beg it to be remembered that the substantial merit here assigned to our author may very well cohere with some peculiarities of style and manner calculated, occasionally, to provoke a smile in the reader, and that although Mr Sullivan may not throw much light on the broad general questions of ethnology, his book may be useful to those whose studies lie in this especial field of etymology.
Mr Sullivan, like all etymologists we have ever known, gives very good advice-which he does not always follow. He makes some very sound observations on the folly of building on mere similarity of sound. When Latin was the only language familiarly known to our scholars, every word was derived from the Latin. When Saxon came to be studied, Saxon etymologies were everywhere discovered. Now that the dialects of the Danes and other Northmen are added to our erudite accomplishments, the ground is everywhere overrun with "Norse roots" instead of Saxon.
Quite fearful is the amount of knowledge that is now required of a man before he can claim to be an etymologist; and when he has mastered some dozen languages he has still the hardest of all tasks to learn-he has to put a curb on his own ingenuity, to throw away his own discoveries, to practise a self-restraint and a self-sacrifice beyond what human vanity can endure. No etymologist ever did submit to the rules which he can lay down very wisely for others. No human virtue can resist the temptation of a new derivation. All that we can expect is, that, as each discoverer is as severe a critic of the new derivations of others, as he is indulgent to his own, this field of inquiry will, on the whole, be kept tolerably clear from any great blunders.
"No portion of language," writes Mr Sullivan, "has been less investigated than that of the names of persons and places, and none is so diffi
*The People of the English Lake District: A Paper read before the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, by A. CRAIG GIBSON, Esq.
cult. With proper respect for the efforts of persons who have already occupied themselves with such subjects, but with a higher respect for scientific truth, I must say that ethnography, based on this department of language, is not a case for that particular kind of blind-man's buff, mis-called etymology." Yet Mr Sullivan himself is not indisposed to play at this "blind-man's buff," and the guesses he makes are manifestly, in some instances, of the wildest description. In the thick of the game he clasps our Shakespeare round the waist, and calls out Jacques-pierre! (James' Stone), from no authority that we can gather, but a certain analogy he detects with Robespierre (Robert's Stone).
It will be already perceived that Mr Sullivan has some peculiarities of style, some eccentricities of diction; but these, we observe, are chiefly noticeable at the commencement of his book. He gets clear of them as he proceeds, and falls into a natural and unconstrained mode of expressing himself. The preface opens in the following manner. After mentioning that the present publication grew out of some letters printed in the Kendal Mercury, it continues thus :-
"In the production of his first essay, the author conceived he was called upon to bring into alto-relief the parts of his subject hitherto neglected or slightednamely, Celtic and Norse. But since then, local archaeology has been looking up; the ethnography of the district, with Norse in the ascendant, has been several times before the public in the form of lectures; and the Norse element especially has been treated in an elaborate work, the Northmen in Cumberland and
Westmoreland, by Mr R. Ferguson. Thus, though, in the author's opinion, much of the matter that made its appearance might be regarded as self-explosive, yet, when Norse became the diggings for Cumbrian etymologists, it ceased to need any special fostering from him; and this must account for what may appear, to 'Norsemen,' an undue prominence given to Celtic. And to Mr Ferguson's work, any person desirous of seeing Norse well advocated-Norse against 'All England'-is referred."
It is necessary to read the passage carefully over, and more than once,
before we feel quite satisfied what, or who, it is that is "self-explosive," or what precisely this new quality of authorship may be. We presume that Mr Sullivan does not mean that his own writing has this dangerous property; it must be Mr Ferguson who is self-explosive. Mr Ferguson and other Norsemen have been at these new etymological "Diggings," and, instead of good gold, have extracted certain explosive materials. This must be the meaning of the passage. But this being the case, we rather think that there was an additional reason here why Mr Sullivan should not have withdrawn his fostering care from a cause that has fallen into such strange hands; he should have taken the spade and the pick-axe from these disastrous or incapable diggers.
We have given the opening of the preface; here is its conclusion. The author quite pathetically resigns his offspring to its fate. "And now," he adds, "having said enough, or more than enough, he is compelled to lay down his book, as the Hebrew woman placed her child among the flags by the river-side, and stood afar off to watch what might happen to it." May it prove to be a "goodly child"-may it live and prosper! We are not Pharaoh's daughter to take it out of the river; nor are we the cruel Pharaoh to cut short its days we merely push the flags aside, and look in, and pass on. Let the parent still keep watch, and see what will happen to it."
We said that Mr Sullivan's views of the manner in which these islands inhabitants are, in the main, such as came to be peopled by their present views on ethnology can be said to be are generally accepted (if, indeed, any generally accepted); but this does not prevent him from occasionally indulging in a little hypothesis of his own. We will give two instances, which, if they should not help to extricate the reader out of any of his difficulties, have at least the merit, somewhat rare in an ethnological hypothesis, of being rather amusing. When Mr Sullivan steps out of the beaten track, and pursues a course of his own, he does it with a certain confident eccentricity of movement