Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/418

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414 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

informs us that Moses was ' an hundred 'and twenty years old ; his eye was not dim nor his natural force abated.' There is nothing in- credible in this record, for similar instances are not very rare. A colored woman died in Philadelphia in January, 1906, who seemed to have pretty clear recollections of Washington at Valley Forge. Her friends claimed for her the age of one hundred and thirty-five. A writer in a recent issue of the Monthly Rpview mentions a number of Kaffirs still living in 1885 who professed to have taken part in a battle in 1818. Burton made the acquaintance of a chief, whom he described in 1857 as a very old man; but eighteen years later Cameron found him still ruling his people and very little changed in appearance. While Humboldt was in Lima an Indian died there at the age of one hundred and forty-three. " Blindness overtook him at the age of one hundred and thirty, but till that misfortune he used to walk three or four leagues daily." He also declares that during his five years' residence in Mexico and South America he saw no person afflicted with bodily disease or even with squinting. Tschudi says that one hundred and thirty years ' with unimpaired faculties ' is not at all uncommon in Peru. These references are doubtless to natives; and what is true of the so-called lower races does not necessarily hold good of the more advanced peoples. Among the more recent cases that are thoroughly authenticated are the Hon. David Work, of Fredericton, 1ST. B., who died in 1905, nearly one hundred and two years old. He was a man of mark in his community, and mentally and physically sound almost to the end. The celebrated French chemist, Chevreul, who died in Paris in 1889, was about a year older. John Wesley at eighty-five writes that he is " not quite so agile as he was in times past and his sight is a little decayed." Most persons, unless their observations have been very limited, have met individuals who lived close upon fivescore years or even beyond. Several Eoman writers likewise give 120 years as the utmost limit of human life. Sight is preeminently the civilizing sense ; upon it all progress depends, or, as Oken expresses it, " Sight is the light sense. Through it we become acquainted with universal relations, this being reason. Without the eye there would be no reason." The same thought is expressed in the Sermon on the Mount : " The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is unclouded your whole body will be lighted up ; but if your eye be diseased your whole body will be dark." Not only painting, sculpture and architecture are dependent upon sight, but language also as soon as it becomes the transmitter of experience, whether inner or outer, from age to age. Those peoples that never cultivate speech beyond the point where it is perceived by the ear alone, never advance farther than the primitive stage. But as soon as speech becomes cognizable by the sight, it can be employed to fix the experience and the accumulated knowledge of each generation. It is by means of our eyesight that we are able to learn the

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