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THE

ECLECTIC MUSEUM

OF

FOREIGN LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART.

остоBER, 1843.

BLAZE'S HISTORY OF THE DOG. From the Quarterly Review.

has brought together some curious matter on the different uses to which the dog has Histoire du Chien chez tous les Peuples du and cruelty, as well as by the gratitude and been put by the superstition, ignorance,

Monde. Par Elzéar Blaze. Paris. 8vo. 1843.

Ir is somewhat singular that the dog, who is the universal favorite and companion of man, should not have found a pen among his myriad admirers to trace his history with the fulness it deserves. He has, indeed, in addition to the place that he occu pies in the various works on natural history, been frequently made the subject of specific treatises. But all the books that we have seen are poor, when contrasted with the abundance of the materials-with the innumerable anecdotes that are scattered on every side, and the rare opportunity that is presented for original observ. ation by an animal who accompanies us from the cradle to the grave, and who lives with us nearly upon the footing of our fellow-man -semi-homo canis. It was, therefore, with unusual pleasure that we saw the announcement of the work of M. Blaze, which professes to be a history of the dog among all the nations of the world; and the expectation raised by the title was increased tenfold by the preface, in which we are told that the book is the fruit of twenty years of study and attention. Unhappily there is an utter disproportion between the result and the time and labor expended. Twenty months would have been an ample allowance for what has cost M. Blaze as many years. He VOL. III. No. II.

10

intelligence of man-the more welcome that it is frequently derived from antiquated authors who are little known, and not at all read. But even this part of the subject is far from being exhausted, while all that relates to the habits and instincts of the canine race is, relatively to its importance, extremely meagre. It is strange that M. Blaze, who is evidently a sportsman rather than a man of science, should have neglected the things in which he might be supposed to be most interested and best informed. A graver fault than that of omission is the insertion of some altogether gratuitous strokes of irreverence and indelicacy, which must be as injurious to the work as they are disgraceful to the author. For the rest M. Blaze writes throughout with French vivacity, and often, inspired by his love for the dog, with eloquence. Whatever his defects, he possesses at least that prime requisite for his task-a true enthusiasm for his hero.

If we were to take our notions of the dog from most of the words derived from his name, or proverbs and comparisons into which he enters, we should imagine that he was among the lowest of the brute creation. From the Greek xuwv, a dog, proceeded xvxg, or cynic, one who snarls like a dog; and sundry compounds, such as xuvoredos, impudent as a dog, abundautly testify, that

the canine family, like some of higher pre-propriate instincts may be vices in us. But tensions, gains nothing in respectability by as words break no bones, and, where you pursuing its genealogy into distant ages. cannot understand them, wound no feelings The Romans were not more complimentary either, we should care little by what names than the Greeks; and to come at once to the dog had been called, if he was treated our own time we have the French canaille with practical kindness. and cagnard, both derived from the Latin canis, and applied, the first to the scum of the population, the second to an idle and slothful man that only cumbers the earth. Comparisons, it is said, are odious, and the whole canine race, without distinction of species, must be entirely of that opinion. They have been the standing similitude for things that are mean, hateful, and disgusting the type of contentiousness, impudence, avarice, lust, gluttony-of furies, demons, parasites, thieves, lawyers, and last of all, with a sad want of gallantry to one party and injustice to both, of women. The married man, says one classical sage, needs no watch-dog at his gate

de Grève.

Like every animal that was not clovenfooted, and did not chew the cud, he was unclean to the Jews, and consequently with them he was safe from sacrifice. Heathens, on the contrary, made a religion of that which was an impiety to Israel, and the dog contributed his full proportion to the mountains of flesh that palpitated on the altar. The Romans, who without fastidiousness immolated him to the gods, whipped him annually for a criminal, and then impaled him, because his ancestors had slept on the night on which the Gauls attempted to seize the Capitol. The folly and cruelty of this Roman commemoration was surpassed, however, by a custom which existed till the reign of Louis XIV., in the meNon opus est, uxor latrat in æde tuâ,' &c. &c. M. Blaze has collected a variety of these tropolis of France, where it was the wont forms of speech, and has generally defended of the civic authorities in full costume to his client with zeal and success from the burn yearly a number of cats, for what imputations they convey. Is the dog call-offence, we are not informed, on the Place ed filthy?" he is much less so," he reThe sacrifice of the dog, if legends are plies, "than certain men of your acquaintance and mine." Is he exclaimed against true, brought upon him another distinction as greedy?"I should like to see you," that of being eaten. Porphyry relates that retorts his advocate, "if you had only a a part of his carcass having fallen from the single mess for your dinner, and some one altar, the priest picked it up, and burning his attempted to snatch it away." St. Chry- fingers with the smoking flesh, put them sostom speaks of the dog as fawning on suddenly in his mouth. The taste was so you when you face him, and slyly biting savory, that, the ceremony ended, he ate his you when your back is turned. "I ask fill of the dog, and took the rest to his wife. pardon of St. Chrysostom," says M. Blaze, However this may be, the dog somehow or "but he has libelled the dog. I have known, other found his way to the larder. Hippoand still know, many men of this descrip. crates says he was eaten by the Greeks, tion, but never a dog." At least, then, he and the Romans considered him to be so is a thief.-"No," answers M. Blaze, "be-great a delicacy, that a puppy was promicause he has no idea of meum and tuum, nent at some of their most sumptuous feasts. and if you will but teach him, you may In China, it is well known, he is fattened leave him to sleep when he is famished upon vegetables like an ox or a pig, and near a roasted fowl. Moreover he is often accused of thefts he has never committed. The servants charge him with their iniquities, and he has no tongue to defend himself."

Whatever praise has been ascribed to the dog in proverbial expressions, is the excep. tion and not the rule; and why-since the individual is always thought and spoken of with love-has the race been selected for comparison with what is odious and offensive? The simple reason, we imagine, is their domesticity, which constantly exposing all their actions to the view of man, they form the prominent image when we see in our kind the qualities of brutes, whose ap.

publicly sold in butchers' shops. Numerous savages hold him in high estimation, often preferring him to all other meat, and reserving him for their chiefs. The sale of dog-flesh for human food is carried on secretly in Paris, though forbidden by the government, who extend a formal sanction to the traffic in horse-flesh. M. Blaze, who has frequently eaten both, prefers dog. Buffon, on the contrary, thought it extremely disagreeable. But as those nations who relish it most keep their dogs exclusively on vegetables and fish, and will never touch a European breed that is carnivorously fed, neither Buffon nor Blaze can have tasted the viand in perfection.

actually revealed is worthy to be set against a fraction of the agonies of its thousand martyrs! M. Blaze assures us that in every great town in France there are people whose sole occupation is to collect the subjects for these monstrous experiments. We have shuddered to read, and find it impossible to write, his details of scenes which might lead us to question which was the brute and which the man.

liquid of extraordinary virtue.

Black has been an ominous hue for man and for beast, and black dogs, in the common creed, were the agents of magicians, and the earthly form of the Evil One himself. Cornelius Agrippa was always accompanied by one of these animals, and his friend and disciple, Wierus, in order to disprove the universal notion that the dog was a demon, was obliged to publish that he had not only the appearance, but all the habits of his species, (see Bayle's

In Lapland the dog is killed for his skin, and in countries where no other motive hastens his death, the necessity there is to place a limit upon population still brings numbers to a violent end. The dox-tax in England has proved a measure of beneficence by stifling in its birth superfluous life, since few under these circumstances rear a useless progeny. Elsewhere nearly all the dogs that are born are suffered to grow up, and running about the streets The physicians of former days employed mangy and half-starved, their existence be- the dog in a manner hardly less revolting comes a nuisance to the public and a burthen in the cure of disease. He was opened to themselves. In France the chiffonniers alive, and applied warm as a rare specific are commissioned to knock the wanderers to assuage pain. They had sometimes the on the head. A few years since the gov- mercy to cut his throat, and wait the exernment of Bombay was obliged to send a piration of life before the afflicted members cargo of dogs to be destroyed out at sea, were plunged in his vitals. He entered in order to relieve the city of their inordi- largely into the Pharmacopoeia. His bones nate numbers without offence to the Par- were pounded for powders, his fat melted sees, who regard them with reverence. for ointments, his carcase distilled for a But less delicacy is observed in various great towns of the East. A man armed with a heavy bludgeon drags a dead dog through the street, which bringing about him all the curs of the neighborhood, he mows them down right and left with his club. It is said that they set upon him from a knowledge of his evil designs: Lord Bacon, indeed, has mentioned it as a matter of notoriety that, whenever the dogs of a town are condemned, their instinct re. veals the errand of the executioner. The sacrifice of the dog was simple ig-article on Agrippa.) Even so late as 1702, norance, to kill him for food is a question of taste, to check his unlimited increase a matter of compulsion. But to butcher him for sport is a wanton inhumanity, of which the untutored savage has left the distinetion to civilized nations. It was in the country of Virgil and Cicero that English mastiffs, transmitted to Rome by a special officer maintained in our island for the purpose, were exposed in the amphithea tre to deadly combats with the beasts of the forest. It was in England herself that the practice found perhaps its most sedulous imitators-that lions were fought, bulls baited, and that the contests of dogs, who tore one another till they died on the spot, became a fashionable amusement. But of all the cruelties of which the dog has been the We have seen the dog the victim of man. victim, the greatest, unquestionably, are Man has frequently, on the other hand, been those perpetrated in the name of science. the victim of the dog. The prohibition to the Experiments within a certain limit are per- Jews, recorded in the book of Deuteronomy, haps excusable in the interests of humani- to make an offering in the temple of the ty. But to dissect living animals as a regular system-to butcher them by scores and hundreds! What discovery could justify such abomination? And still more, what discovery that these barbarities have

the French soldiers who defended Landau against the arms of the Imperialists, were firmly persuaded that the dog of their general was a familiar spirit, the real author of all the military movements, and a pledge, by virtue of his supernatural powers, of certain victory. Popular credulity was sometimes wrought on in a contrary direction by crafty monks. Baronius affirms that the dogs refused the bread which was thrown them by the assassins of Thomas à Becket. They took, according to M. Blaze, the same method to express their disapprobation of a young man who married his cousin without a dispensation, sternly refusing to partake of the delicacies of his wedding banquet.

price of the dog, shows that he had attained a marketable value, which is a clear proof that he was already domesticated. But he still preserved much of his natural ferocity. The flesh torn by beasts was ordered to be

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