« PreviousContinue »
vent the women and children from being alarmed: where this was not done, the man at the helm of the boat, on approaching the bathing-houses, called out, with a Stentorian voice,' boah, which was a signal for the females to move off.
There is a race of people, however, in the interior, near the foot of the mountains, inhabiting towns and villages situated round a large lake, to whose character, very different certainly from that of the Malays, Mr. Anderson has not done justice. We allude to that singular race of people, the Battas, whose features, language, and customs, cannot be considered as of Tartar or Malay origin; but point evidently to a Hindu extraction. In the memoranda given to our author as principal heads of inquiry, is included · T'he practice of cannibalism, if prevalent in any district, and to what extent, and where?' and it must be confessed he lost no occasion of inquiring into this revolting practice. Seeing among the soldiers of the sultan of Delli a man of a particularly ferocious appearance,
he took occasion to converse with him, and was informed by him, he says, of his own accord, that he had eaten human flesh seven times, as also what parts of the body had the most delicate flavour. Two or three other Battas, in the same service, told him they had done the same, and that the hope of feasting on human carcasses was their chief inducement for engaging with the sultan, of whose force, consisting of about 400 men, one third, at least, were Battas--quite sufficient, we should suppose, to eat up the other two thirds in the course of a month or two. At another place the Sultan Ahmet had about 200 of these Battas in constant employ, in his pepper gardens, where hundreds of naked children were running about. At Soonghal the principal inhabitants were Battas, employed in the cultivation of the pepper vine; and the bones, skulls of buffaloes and some large monkeys, found in their houses, had so great a resemblance to human bones, as to raise a suspicion in our traveller's mind that he had got into the country of the cannibals. At Batabara he fell in with another stout ferocious-looking fellow,' whom he ventured, however, to question concerning cannibalism, He said that young men were soft, and their flesh watery. The most agreeable and delicate eating was that of a man whose hair had begun to turn grey.' This may account for the paucity of old men and women that were met with, and also for the safety of the swarms of naked children which ran about among the multitudes of Battas employed by the Malays. Some, it seems, can relish no other food but human flesh.
* The rajab of Tanab Jawa, one of the most powerful and independent Batta chiefs, if he does not eat human flesh every day, is amicted with a pain in his stomach, and will eat nothing else. He orders one of his slaves (when no enemies can be procured, nor crininals, for execution)
to go out to a distance, and kill a man now and then, which serves him for some time, the meat being cut into slices, put into joints of bamboo, and deposited in the earth for several days, wbich softens it. The parts usually preferred, however, by epicures, are the feet, hands, ears, navel, lips, tongue, and eyes. This monster, in the shape of a man, is not content with even this fare, but takes other and more brutal methods for gratifying his depraved appetite. A Batta, when he goes to war, is always provided with salt and lime-juice, which he carries in a small mat bag on his left side. He who is the first to lay his hands upon an enemy, at a general assault of a fort, obtains particular distinction by seizing a certain part of the body with his teeth. The head is immediately cut off. If the victim is warm, the blood is greedily drank by these savages, bolding the head by the hair above their mouths.'--p. 224.
We cannot help thinking that the Malays, who are a shrewd people, and the Batta chiefs, who are by no means wanting in intelligence, on discovering Mr. Anderson's anxiety about mené eaters, indulged him with the above, and many other similar stories contained in his narrative, by way of quizzing and laughing at his credulity. They seemed quite surprized, he says, that he should entertain a doubt of this laudable practice. They even offered to give him a practical proof of it: I might,' says he, have seen the disgusting ceremony of eating human flesh, had I chosen to accompany the Rajah to the fort which he was about to attack; but thinking it not improbable that some poor wretch might be sacrificed to show me the ceremony, I declined witnessing it.' The gentleman did wisely no doubt in declining the offer in question, as his entertainers might, peradventure, have taken a fancy to himself. They brought him the head, however, of a victim which they said they had just devoured, and this is his main proof. A Batta, who had seen the human heads which no long time ago were stuck upon Temple Bar, would have just as good proof for saying that the people of London were cannibals. After all, then, it is quite clear that he knows nothing about the matter except from hearsay. Every account which he gives of their villages, of the decent conduct of the men, the modesty and bashfulness of the women, the cleanliness of their houses, makes us revolt from the belief that such a practice exists. He observed a freedom in the manners of these people different from what he had met with elsewhere in the East. • The
young men and women were playing, and pinching each other, and showing other symptoms of the softer passion, like the country lads and lasses at a wake at home.' He farther states that this district of the Battas abounds in the finest ponies he ever saw, as fat as possible; cows in noble herds; and pigs, goats, dogs, and poultry innumerable: surrounded, as the Battas are, by well cultivated fields, and all these « unequivocal marks of plenty,' he may well
exclaim, “strange, that a people having such abundance of cattle and vegetable productions should be tempted to devour each other!'*
Now, what is the real state of the case with regard to these singular people—a people not only industrious at home, but accustomed to carry their industry into districts inhabited by a different race of men, who are, compared with the Malays, in a state of affluence, who have a written language, and a regular code of laws? Why the fact is, that they do eat human flesh; but they eat it legally-are cannibals by law. Mr. Marsden has been sufficiently explicit on this subject, his account has since been confirmed by Sir Stamford Raffles, and it is this:—That they do not eat human flesh as the means of satisfying the cravings of nature, nor do they seek after it as a gluttonous delicacy; that they eat it as a species of ceremony; as a mode of showing their detestation of certain crimes, by an ignominious punishment; and occasionally, but very rarely, as a savage display of revenge and insult to their unfortunate enemies; that the objects of this barbarous repast are prisoners taken in war, mostly those wounded, and offenders condemned for certain capital crimes, especially for adultery. In these last cases the unhappy victim, after a trial in the public market-place, is delivered into the hands of the injured party, by whom he is tied to a stake; lances are thrown at him by the offended husband, his relations and friends, and when mortally wounded, they run up to him, cut pieces from the body with their knives, dip them in salt, lemonjuice and red pepper, (which are sent by the Rajah, who must confirm the sentence,) slightly broil them over a fire prepared for the purpose, and swallow the morsels with a degree of savage enthusiasm.
* All that can be said,' observes Mr. Marsden, in extenuation of the horror of this diabolical ceremony, is, that no view appears to be entertained of torturing the sufferers, of increasing or lengthening out the pangs of death ; the whole fury is directed against the corpse, warm indeed with the remains of life, but past the sensation of pain.' In truth, had we not the recent instance so near home, of the
We have frequently had occasion to combat the absurd nonsense of travellers, talking about cannibals, and their delighting in human flesh; but the following fact, so stated by a Mr. Somebody, at one of those ghostly meetings where such things are got up for the edification of the lady-subscribers, outdoes every thing that Mr. Anderson has set down, even that grizzled beards do not sprout from gristly fiesb. 'A party of missionaries, with their attendants, were attacked by a whole arty of cannibals, who, after putting the whole of them to death, made a feast of their bodies, every one of which they devoured, except one, and in this one the wellknown cannibal chief, Chingoo, cut a large circular hole in the centre, through which he pat his own head, and thus carrying the dead body on his shoulders, marched triumphantly at the head of his devouring army. This happened in New Zealand; but as they were all killed—and eaten, except him who was converted into an anthropophagistic necklace—we must ask who brought the story to London?
savage and brutal conduct of the Poissardes of Paris, devouring the flesh, and the raw flesh too, of the unhappy victims of retolutionary frenzy, we should almost be inclined to doubt the existence of the practice among the Battas, even to the limited extent described by Mr. Marsden.
Art. VI.-Memoirs of Antonio Canova, with a critical Ana
lysis of his Works, and an Historical View of Modern Sculpture. · By S. Memes, A. M., Member of the Astronomical Society
of London, &c. 1825. THIS is a book of some merit, and more pretension; it contains
much useful information concerning art, many just remarks on sculpture, is written with an anxious regard for truth, and displays abundance of enthusiasm about the person and productions of its hero. But the learning and the good taste in sculpture which the author possesses, ought to have been united with a style less ornate and laborious. To communicate useful information in a simple and concise way is not the excellence of Mr. Memes. The polished graces of Canova's marbles have seduced his pen
into a cumbrous and glossy style of composition; and it requires some caution in perusal, to follow out the story of the artist's busy career among his biographer's crowded images and grand circumlocutions. All indeed that is worth knowing of the life of the distinguished sculptor can soon be told—it was a period of solitary thought and secluded labour, and his existence was only marked by the works of genius which the world received so willingly from his hand.
Antonio Canova, the only child of Pietro Canova a stonecutter, was born in a mud walled cottage in the little village of Possagno, among the Venetian bills, on the first day of November in the year 1757. His father died when he was three years old;
his mother iparried again in a few months, and left her son to the charity of his paternal grandfather Pasino Canova. Antonio was weak in person, and feeble in constitution: this but endeared him the inore to his grandmother Catterina Cecatto, who nursed him with the tenderest care, and sung him ballads of his native hills, infusing a love of poetry into his heart, of which he ever afterwards acknowledged the value. Io his tenth year he began to cut stone, and it was his grandfather's wish that he should succeed him as hereditary mason of the village. The weakness of his body and his extreme youth were ill suited for a laborious trade. Old Pasino, who was a man above the common mark, indulged him in modelling of flowers, and in drawing of animals, and such was
his success that, in his twelfth year, he obtained the notice of the noble family of the Falieri who had a palace in the neighbourhood. As the notice of the great can rarely be purchased but by something like a miracle--something like a miracle is told to account for the good fortune and fame of Canova. A great feast was given by the Falieri, the dinner was set forth and the guests assembled, when the domestics discovered that a crowning ornament was wanting to complete the beauty of the dessert, and old Pasino tried in vain to invent something suitable. Young Antonio called for butter, and instantly modelled a lion with such skill and effect as excited the astonishment of the guests—the artist was called in, and he came blushing to receive the caresses of the company and the first applauses of that kind and opulent family. Its head had the sense to see Canova's genius, and the generosity to encourage him. He carried Antonio to Venice in his fifteenth year, in troduced him to the Academy of Arts, and opened his own palace doors to him, both as a residence and a study. The youth's diligence was unwearied-he studied early and late-be drew, he painted, he modelled and he carved. His ambition expanded with bis years, his skill kept pace with his ambition, and he was distinguished among the artists of Venice, by a laborious diligence of band, a restless activity of fancy, and an enthusiastic longing for fame. When he imagined that he could conceive with truth, and execute with facility, he modelled the group of Orpheus and Eurydice as large as life, and carved it in soft Venetian stone. It obtained such applause that the artist exclaimed, this praise has made me a sculptor. A statue of Esculapius was his next work; he carved it in marble, and it is still to be seen in a villa near Venice. It is chiefly remarkable for the circumstance of having received a visit from the artist, a few months before his death when the just conception of the figure, and the skill with which it was executed, seemed to fili him with surprize and sorrow. He looked at it for some time, and said, 'for these forty years my progress has not corresponded with the indications of excellence in this work of my youth. He studied diligently amongst the remains of ancient art. He also sought for beauty in the safe school of nature, and stored his mind and his sketchbook with images of loveliness, to be used when fortune smiled and the riper judgment of age had sobered down the vehemence of youth.
The people of Venice felt the beauty of Canova's works, and stimulated his genius and rewarded his merit with a small pension. "Soon after his twenty-third birthday,' says the member of the Astronomical Society of London, our artist for the first time beheld the shores of the Adriatic disappear as he directed his course to the more classic banks of the Tiber. Which means