Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 26.djvu/225

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213
STARVATION.

sian, Polish, and indeed all the Slav races, credit the Jews with the use of this rite to this day, and it is one of the many groundless reasons that they hold for the constant persecution of that race. They believe that at the Passover a child is killed and eaten with many dark and unheard-of observances. How thoroughly this absurd tradition is credited may be learned from the perusal of the recent criminal trials in Hungary.

It has been a pleasant task to the writer to attempt, in the above pages, to excuse the habit of cannibalism among its votaries. It is always unpleasant to remain silent when one hears a comrade unfairly aspersed; just so it has been with the writer when he has read or heard of the unjust estimation in which all cannibals are held. Many, in fact most writers improperly and wrongly charge cannibalism with being a morbid and unnatural appetite; in most cases it is nothing but the expression of a natural want. The demand and desire for human flesh would die out in nearly all places were the other flesh obtainable. In those regions where cannibalism still flourishes much may be done, and is done, by the example of the first white settlers—the traders—and the teaching of the missionary, but teaching and example alone will never suffice to remedy the evil; the root of the matter must be gone to; and, to cure it, many and varied animals that are fit for food must be introduced, when the thing will right itself.—Gentleman's Magazine.

 

STARVATION: ITS MORAL AND PHYSICAL EFFECTS.
By NATHANIEL EDWARD DAVIES, L. R. C. P.

THE recent case of cannibalism at sea opens up some curious questions as to the effects of fasting on the moral nature of man. To the superficial observer, death by starvation simply means a wasting of the body, a horrible agony, an increasing weakness, a lethargic state of the brain, and a sleep from which there is no awakening; but is this all that it means? While this is going on, let us consider whether or not the intellectual faculty, and with it the power of distinguishing right from wrong, is not also undergoing a process of wasting and death, even before that of the material part, for, however dangerous it may be to received opinions to associate the material nature of brain with the moral nature of our being, we are bound to do so to elucidate some of the facts connected with this case.

Reasoning by analogy, we find that, in many cases of bodily disease, the state of the mind is the first indicator of the mischief going on in the system. Take even such a simple thing as indigestion, which, as every one must know, is only a manifestation of a deranged stomach, and what do we find? That the lowness of spirits induced