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In his published account of the ascent of
Mont Blanc, which is an excellent little
book, Mr. ALBERT SMITH describes, with very
humorous fidelity, that when he was urged
on by the guides, in a drowsy state when he
would have given the world to lie down and
go to sleep for ever, he was conscious of being
greatly distressed by some difficult and
altogether imaginary negotiations respecting
a non-existent bedstead; also, by an impression
that a familiar friend in London came
up with the preposterous intelligence that
the King of Prussia objected to the party's
advancing, because it was his ground. But,
these harmless vagaries are not the present
question, being commonly experienced under
most circumstances where an effort to fix
the attention, or exert the body, contends
with a strong disposition to sleep. We have
been their sport thousands of times, and
have passed through a series of most
inconsistent and absurd adventures, while trying
hard to follow a short dull story related
by some eminent conversationalist after

No statement of cannibalism, whether
on the deep or the dry land, is to be
admitted supposititiously, or inferentially,
or on any but the most direct and positive
evidence: no, not even as occurring among
savage people, against whom it was in earlier
times too often a pretence for cruelty and
plunder. MR. PRESCOTT, in his brilliant
history of the Conquest of Mexico, observes
of a fact so astonishing as the existence of
cannibalism among a people who had attained
considerable advancement in the arts and
graces of life, that " they did not feed on
human flesh merely to gratify a brutish appetite,
but in obedience to their religiona
distinction," he justly says, " worthy of
notice." Besides which, it is to be remarked,
that many of these feeding practices rest on
the authority of narrators who distinctly saw
St. James and the Virgin Mary fighting at
the head of the troops of Cortes, and who
possessed, therefore, to say the least, an
unusual range of vision. It is curious to
consider, with our general impressions on the
subjectvery often derived, we have no doubt,
from ROBINSON CRUSOE, if the oaks of men's
beliefs could be traced back to acornshow
rarely the practice, even among savages, has
been proved. The word of a savage is not
to be taken for it; firstly, because he is a
liar; secondly, because he is a boaster;
thirdly, because he often talks figuratively;
fourthly, because he is given to a superstitious
notion that when he tells you he has his
enemy in his stomach, you will logically
give him credit for having his enemy's
valour in his heart. Even the sight of
cooked and dissevered human bodies among
this or that tattoo'd tribe, is not proof. Such
appropriate offerings to their barbarous,
wide-mouthed, goggle-eyed gods, savages
have been often seen and known to make.
And although it may usually be held as
a rule, that the fraternity of priests lay
eager hands upon everything meant for
the gods, it is always possible that these
offerings are an exception: as at once
investing the idols with an awful character,
and the priests with a touch of disinterestedness,
whereof their order may occasionally
stand in need.

The imaginative people of the East, in the
palmy days of its romancenot very much
accustomed to the sea, perhaps, but certainly
familiar by experience and tradition with
the perils of the deserthad no notion of
the " last resource " among civilised human
creatures. In the whole wild circle of the
Arabian Nights, it is reserved for ghoules,
gigantic blacks with one eye, monsters like
towers, of enormous bulk and dreadful
aspect, and unclean animals lurking on the
seashore, that puffed and blew their way into
caves where the dead were interred. Even
for SINBAD the Sailor, buried alive, the
story-teller found it easier to provide some
natural sustenance, in the shape of so many
loaves of bread and so much water, let down
into the pit with each of the other people
buried alive after him (whom he killed with
a bone, for he was not nice), than to invent
this dismal expedient.

We are brought back to the position almost
embodied in the words of Sir John Richardson
towards the close of the former chapter.
In weighing the probabilities and improbabilities
of the " last resource," the foremost
question isnot the nature of the extremity;
but, the nature of the men. We submit that
the memory of the lost Arctic voyagers is
placed, by reason and experience, high above
the taint of this so easily-allowed connection;
and that the noble conduct and example of such
men, and of their own great leader himself,
under similar endurances, belies it, and
outweighs by the weight of the whole universe
the chatter of a gross handful of uncivilised
people, with a domesticity of blood and
blubber. Utilitarianism will protest "they
are dead; why care about this? " Our reply
shall be, " Because they ARE dead, therefore
we care about this. Because they served
their country well, and deserved well of her,
and can ask, no more on this earth, for her
justice or her loving-kindness; give them
both, full measure, pressed down, running
over. Because no Franklin can come back, to
write the honest story of their woes and
resignation, read it tenderly and truly in the
book he has left us. Because they lie
scattered on those wastes of snow, and are as
defenceless against the remembrance of
coming generations, as against the elements
into which they are resolving, and the winter
winds that alone can waft them home, now,
impalpable air; therefore, cherish them
gently, even in the breasts of children.
Therefore, teach no one to shudder without
reason, at the history of their end. Therefore,