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“ To man she gave, in that proud hour,
The boon of intellectual power.”-MOORE.
and animals deviate from these relations in proportion as they increase in stupidity and ferocity.
12. Why may we feel assured that all the varieties of man sprung from one original ?
Because we have, first, the Scriptural history of man's creation ; and, secondly, scientific investigations entirely support the unity of man's origin.
Whilst attention was exclusively directed to the extremes of colour and of form, the result of the first vivid impressions derived from the senses was a tendency to view these differences as characteristics, not of mere varieties, but of originally distinct species. The permanence of certain types in the midst of the most opposite influences, especially of climate, appeared to favour this view, nolwithstanding the shortness of the time to which the historical evidence applied. But the many intermediate gradations of the tint of the skin and the form of the skull, which have been made known by the rapid progress of geographical science in modern times ; the analogies derived from the history of varieties in animals, both domesticated and wild ; and to the positive observations collected respecting the limits of fecundity in hybrids.
So long as the western nations were acquainted with only a part of the earth's surface, partial views almost necessarily prevailed ; tropical heat and a black colour of the skin appeared to be inseparable. When the first Portuguese navigators sailed for purposes of discovery to the shores of Africa, it was confidently predicted by learned men of the time that if ever they returned they would be as black as the negro race.
When we take a general view of the dark coloured African nations, and compare them with the natives of the Australasian Islands, and with the Papuas and Alfourous, we see that a black skin, woolly hair, and negro features, are by no means invariably associated.
13. By maintaining the unity of the human species, we at the same time repel the cheerless assumption of superior and inferior races of men. There are families of “Happy the man who sees a God employed
In all the good and ill that chequer life!"-COWPER.
nations more readily susceptible of culture, more highly civilized, more ennobled by mental cultivation than others; but not in themselves more noble. All are alike designed for freedom; for that freedom which in rude conditions of society belongs to individuals only, but, where states are formed, and political institutions enjoyed, belongs of right to the whole community. “If,” in the words of Wilhelm von Humboldt, “ we would point to an idea which all history throughout its course discloses, as ever establishing more firmly and extending more widely its salutary empire-if there is one idea that contributes more than any other to the often contested, but still more often misunderstood, perfectibility of the whole human species, it is the idea of our common humanity; tending to remove the hostile barriers which prejudices and partial views of every kind have raised between men; and to cause all mankind, without distinction of religion, nation, or colour, to be regarded as one great fraternity, aspiring towards one common aim, the free development of their moral faculties. This is the ultimate and highest object of society; it is also the direction implanted in man's nature, leading towards the indetinite expansion of his inner being."
THE STRUCTURE OF THE HUMAN FRAME — THE BONES, MUSCLES,
TENDONS, LIGAMENTS, NERVES, ETC.
14. Why is the position of the human face exactly adapted to the erect attitude ?
Because in that posture the plane of the orbits is nearly horizontal; the cavities of the nose are in the best direction for inhaling odours proceeding from before or from below them ; the jaws do not project in front of the forehead and chin. If the posture were changed, as painful an effort would be required to examine an object in front of the body as is now necessary to keep the eyes fixed on the zenith, and the heavens would be almost hidden from our view;
the nose would be unable to perceive any other odours than those which proceeded from the earth or from the body itself; and the teeth and lips would be almost useless, for they would scarcely touch an object on the ground before the forehead and chin were in contact
“ Ye chief, for whom the whole creation smiles;
At once the head, the heart, the tongue of all,
with it; while the view of that which they attempted to seize would be obstructed by the nose and cheeks.
15. Why is a horizontal posture unfitted for the human body ?
Because if man were to attempt such a posture he would be compelled to rest on his knees, with his thighs bent towards the trunk ; an attempt to advance them would be painful, and with his legs and feet would be immoveable and useless. Or, he must elevate his trunk on the extremities of his toes, throwing his head downwards, and exerting himself very forcibly at every attempt to bring forward the thighs by a rotary motion at the hip-joint. In either case, the only useful joint would be that at the hip, and the legs would be scarcely superior to wooden or rigid supports.
16. Why is the variation of animal bodies most common in the centre, whilst towards the extremities there is comparative uniformity ?
Because the central parts, as the skull, spine, and ribs, are in their offices permanent; whilst the extremities, as the hands and feet, are adapted to every exterior circumstance. In all animals the office of the cranial part of the skull is to protect the brain, that of the spine to contain the spinal marrow, and that of the ribs to perform the part of respiration. It is unnecessary, therefore, for these parts to vary in shape, while their offices remain the same. But the shoulder, on the contrary, must vary in form, as it does in motion, in different animals ; so must the shape of the bones and of the joints more distant from the centre be adapted to their various actions, and the wrist, the ankle, and the bones of the fingers and toes must change more than all the rest, to accommodate the extremities to their diversified offices.
17. Why cannot a statue stand upright on its feet without support, although it may be a model of symmetry in all its parts, and is placed in that attitude which is the most adapted to man ?
Because a statue has but one centre of gravity, and when that
“ W'nat if the foot, ordained the dust to tread,
Or hand, to toil, aspired to be the head?”– POPE.
is so shifted as that the perpendicular through it to the centre of the earth falls in any way without the base of the statue—that is, without a figure formed by lines joining all the external points of the feet upon which the statue rests—the statue must necessarily fall to the earth with all the passiveness of a mass of matter of any other shape. The human body, on the other hand, has a muscular feeling of the centre of gravity, in consequence of which, if that centre inclines so much on one side that the position is beginning to become unstable, the motions and flexions of the limbs instantly shift the centre of gravity, or rather shift the attitude of the body, so as to accommodate it to that centre.
18. The centre of gravity in the body is somewhere in the height of it, varying a little with the form ; and if this centre is kept in the perpendicular, the body will always maintain the position of the greatest stability, whatever may be the flexures or motions of the other parts; or the centre of gravity may move so as to be over any one point in the base and yet be stab'o, only the stability will always be less the nearer that the body is to one side of the base, and the farther it is from the opposite side. The number of positions which the body can assume while on the same base of the two feet is almost beyond the power of arithmetic ; and as the positions of the feet themselves may be also greatly varied, the command which we have of the body by means of our power of working it upon its centre of gravity is truly wonderful.
19. Why is the sole of the foot arched ?
Because by this arrangement the weight of the body is made to fall on the summit of the arch, which is supported by a strong ligament, and this method of support, as is demonstrated by bridges and other buildings, is the strongest and most secure that can be devised.
20. Why is the human hand the most important member of the whole body?
Because it is the hand which gives the power of execution to the mind; and it is the relative position of one of the fingers to the other four which principally stamps the character of the hand; for the thumb, by its capability of being brought into opposition with each of the other fingers, enables the hand to adapt
“ All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body nature is, and God the soul."_POPE.
itself to every shape, and gives it that complete dominion which it possesses over the various forms of matter.
21. Why is the hand divided into several parts?
Being thus constructed the hand is capable of applying a portion or the whole of its functions, according to the size, form, and weight of the object it designs to handle.
22. Thus the smallest things we take up with the tips of our fingers; those which are a little larger w take up with the same fingers, but not with the tips of them ; substances still larger we take up with three fingers, and so on with four or all the five fingers, or even with the whole hand; all which we could not do were not the hand divided, and divided precisely as it is.
23. Why are the hands made equal to and inclined towards each other?
Because when bodies of a great weight and large size are to be grasped on opposite sides, it is necessary that the instruments which lift them should be capable of this combined action.
24. Why are the extremities of the fingers soft and round ?
If they had been otherwise formed, or made of bone instead of flesh, we could not then lay hold of such minute bodies as thorns or hairs. For, in order that a body may be firmly held, it is necessary that it be in some degree enfolded in the substance holding it ; which condition could not have been fulfilled by a hard or bony material.
25. Why are the fingers of an unequal length ?
This difference in the length of the fingers serves innumerable purposes in connection with the arts and ordinary operations of life ; thus a pen, a pencil, a brush, an engraving tool, a sword, a hammer, &c., may be more securely grasped, and used with greater facility ; for if the fingers were of an equal length, one would get in the way of the other, and prevent the whole from performing their office properly.