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To come to the point at once, I beg to say
that I have not the least belief in the Noble
Savage. I consider him a prodigious nuisance,
and an enormous superstition. His calling
rum fire-water, and me a pale face, wholly
fail to reconcile me to him. I don't care
what he calls me. I call him a savage, and I
call a savage a something highly desirable to be
civilised off the face of the earth. I think a mere
gent (which I take to be the lowest form of
civilisation) better than a howling, whistling,
clucking, stamping, jumping, tearing savage.
It is all one to me, whether he sticks a
fishbone through his visage, or bits of trees
through the lobes of his ears, or birds' feathers
in his head; whether he flattens his hair
between two boards, or spreads his nose over
the breadth of his face, or drags his lower
lip down by great weights, or blackens his
teeth, or knocks them out, or paints one
cheek red and the other blue, or tattoos
himself, or oils himself, or rubs his body with fat,
or crimps it with knives. Yielding to
whichsoever of these agreeable eccentricities, he is a
savagecruel, false, thievish, murderous;
addicted more or less to grease, entrails, and
beastly customs; a wild animal with the
questionable gift of boasting; a conceited,
tiresome, bloodthirsty, monotonous humbug.

Yet it is extraordinary to observe how some
people will talk about him, as they talk about
the good old times; how they will regret his
disappearance, in the course of this world's
development, from such and such lands where
his absence is a blessed relief and an
indispensable preparation for the sowing of the
very first seeds of any influence that can exalt
humanity; how, even with the evidence of
himself before them, they will either be
determined to believe, or will suffer themselves to
be persuaded into believing, that he is
something which their five senses tell them
he is not.

There was Mr. Catlin, some few years ago,
with his Ojibbeway Indians. Mr. Catlin was
an energetic earnest man, who had lived
among more tribes of Indians than I need
reckon up here, and who had written a
picturesque and glowing book about them.
With his party of Indians squatting and
spitting on the table before him, or dancing
their miserable jigs after their own dreary
manner, he called, in all good faith, upon his
civilised audience to take notice of their
symmetry and grace, their perfect limbs, and
the exquisite expression of their pantomime;
and his civilised audience, in all good faith,
complied and admired. Whereas, as mere
animals, they were wretched creatures, very
low in the scale and very poorly formed; and
as men and women possessing any power of
truthful dramatic expression by means of
action, they were no better than the chorus
at an Italian Opera in Englandand would
have been worse if such a thing were possible.

Mine are no new views of the noble savage.
The greatest writers on natural history found
him out long ago. BUFFON knew what he
was, and showed why he is the sulky tyrant
that he is to his women, and how it happens
(Heaven be praised!) that his race is spare
in numbers. For evidence of the quality of
his moral nature, pass himself for a moment
and refer to his "faithful dog." Has he ever
improved a dog, or attached a dog, since his
nobility first ran wild in woods, and was
brought down (at a very long shot) by POPE?
Or does the animal that is the friend of man,
always degenerate in his low society?

It is not the miserable nature of the noble
savage that is the new thing; it is the
whimpering over him with maudlin admiration,
and the affecting to regret him, and the
drawing of any comparison of advantage
between the blemishes of civilisation and the
tenor of his swinish life. There may have
been a change now and then in those diseased
absurdities, but there is none in him.

Think of the Bushmen. Think of the two
men and the two women who have been
exhibited about England for some years. Are
the majority of personswho remember
the horrid little leader of that party in his
festering bundle of hides, with his filth and
his antipathy to water, and his straddled legs,
and his odious eyes shaded by his brutal
hand, and his cry of "Qu-u-u-u-aaa!"
(Bosjesman for something desperately insulting
I have no doubt)—conscious of an affectionate
yearning towards that noble savage, or is it
idiosyncratic in me to abhor, detest, abominate,
and abjure him? I have no reserve on this
subject, and will frankly state that, setting
aside that stage of the entertainment when

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