A Plea for the Fijians

Or, can nothing be said in favor of roasting one’s equals?

It is with a feeling of no mean satisfaction, that, in this year of 1859, the philosopher can calmly propose the investigation of a subject, the mere mention of which would have created universal disgust, and even horror, at a period not long past. Thanks to the progress of liberal ideas and sound criticism, we are able, in the middle of the ever-memorable Nineteenth Century, serenely to examine anew those questions which for entire centuries stolid prejudice and narrow dogmatism considered settled, and adjudicatcd in the High Court of Humanity for all times to come. However signal the progress of our age may be in the useful arts and in æsthetics, especially in upholstery, in chemistry, in the government of large cities, and in the purity of commerce, in pottery, pills, and poetry, and in the dignity of politics, nothing, we may venture to say, will so distinctly and so broadly characterize the period in which we happily live, when the future historian shall sweep with his star-seeker over the past, as the joyful fact, that we, above all others, have divested ourselves of long-cherished errors, hugged by our forefathers as truths full of life and vigor, and have, indeed, so to speak, founded a Novum Organon in fact and reality, while the great Bacon proposed one in mind and theory. To our enlightened age it was reserved to return to polygamy, after nearly three thousand dragging years of dull adhesion of our race to tiresome monogamy, leaping back by one bound over the whole European Past into ancient and respectable Asia. Ex Oriente luz; ex Oriente gaudia seraglii! It is in our blessed epoch that atheism, by some, and pantheism, by others, are boldly taught and vindicated, as once they were by Greeks or Orientals, and with an earnestness and enthusiasm very different from the sneer with which Encyclopædists of Voltaire’s time attacked Christianity and Deism. To prove, however, the magnificent many-sidedness of our noble times, it is we that have returned once more to pictures of the Virgin Mary with winking and with weeping eyes, or to her apparitions talking patois, as that of La Valette, and to a hundred things in the Church, cautiously passed over sub silentio in the last century, but now joyously proclaimed and sustained with defiant erudition by English and German doctores graves, and by the Parisian “Univers,” which, openly rejoicing in the English blood spilt by the Sepoys, — for it is but Protestant blood, and that of hateful freemen, — heraIds the second or third advent of universal love and Papacy. It is in our age that representative, and indeed all institutional government, for the first time, is called effete parliamentarism, a theatrical delusion, for which; according to the requirements of advanced civilization, the beneficent, harmonious, and ever-glorious Cæsarism, pur et simple, must be substituted, as it was once sublimely exhibited in the attractive Cæsars of Rome, those favorites of History and very pets of Clio. In the time of Tiberius, as President Troplong beautifully and officially expressed it, “Democracy at last seated herself on the imperial throne, embodied in the Cæsars, — those worshipful incarnations of democracy, brought to our view in the tableaux of Suetonius and by the accounts of Tacitus. We have at last returned to Cæsarism, or Asiatic absolutism, improved by modern light, and making the emperor a Second Providence, opening and shutting the mouths of the universal-suffrage people, for words or bread, as imperial divinity finds best. This is the progress of our age in Europe, while we, in this hemisphere, have taken, for the first time in history, a rational view of party strife, and with unclouded intelligence maintain that judges and presidents are, and ought to be, party exponents, doing away with those once romantic, but certainly superannuated ideas of Country, Justice, Truth, and Patriotism. All real progress tends toward simplification; and how simple are the idea of party and the associations clustering around this sacred word, compared with the confusing and embarrassing unreality of those ideas and juvenile feelings we have mentioned last!

But we have not done yet with the glory of our age. It is this, the decennium we are soon going to close, that has risen to that enviable eminence whence slavery is declared a precious good of itself; a hallowed agent of civilization, an indispensable element of conservatism, and a foundation of true socialism. From this lofty eminence the seer-statesman—rising far above the philosophical sagacity displayed by Aristotle and Varro, when they discussed the sacred topic—proclaims that Capital ought to own, and has a divine right to own, and always more or less does own, Labor; and that, since Labor constitutes the whole humanity of the laboring man, it clearly follows that he himself must be owned, if his labor be owned. Would you own the bird without its cage? Generous gospel of the rich! Blessed are the wealthy!

It is the destiny of the middle of the nineteenth century—well may we be forgiven, if we pronounce it with some pride—unhesitatingly to defend the African slave-trade, and to smile at what sickly philanthropists used to consider the unutterable woe, the unmeasured crime, and the diabolical hard-heartedness of that traffic. We have changed all this; and, to say the truth, it was high time to discover that the negro-trade forms a charming chapter in the history of Europe, and that the protracted efforts to put it down were unchristian and unstatesmanlike. Pitt, Roscoe, Wilberforce, Burke, Washington, Franklin, Madison, Adams, Lowndes, — puny names! short-sighted men! By the African slave-trade, creatures that are hardly deserving the name of men, on account of organic, intellectual, and moral incapacity, are forcibly carried into the regions of Christian religion and civilization, there to become civilized in spite of their unfitness for civilization. The mariners, usually occupied in risking life or health merely for the sake of base traffic and filthy lucre, are suddenly transformed into ministering agents of civilization and religion. It gives a priestly character to the captain of a slave-ship, — to him that is willing to break the laws of his country, even daring the gallows, for the benefit of the sable brother, and of his law-abiding conservative society. How different from those dark times when the poet could say, — Homo ignoto homini lupus est! The missionary only endeavors to carry the Church to Africa; the slave-trader carries Africa to the Church, to civilization, and to the auction-table.

There are but two more returns to truth and justice necessary, — the Inquisition and the Witch-Trials. These restored, we may safely congratulate ourselves on having regained the ground on which our race stood before the Reformation, that untoward event, whence all the mischief dates that has befallen man in the shape of human rights, liberty, and other deplorable things, as lately a grave writer—not a Catholic, nor a Jew either—gravely assured us. Gentle readers, let us not be impatient. Progress has been of late so rapid, that many of you, it is to be hoped, will yet have an opportunity of hailing the return of those two noble institutions, pro majore gloriâ Dei, for which they always existed, as long as chill and misty skepticism did not extinguish their glowing poetry. Ah! happy times! poetic age! when there existed not only “words that burn,” but also laws that burned!

In the mean time, it may not be inappropriate to commence the consideration of a topic somewhat farther removed from us, but which, according to our humble opinion, ought not to remain wholly beyond the limits of a candid, liberal, and unprejudiced examination, — we mean the important question, Whether the choicest of all substances, the most delicate of all muscular texture, that substance of which kings, philosophers, policemen, and supporters of crinoline are fashioned by the plastic hand of Nature, ought forever to be excluded from the reproductive process of wasted energy and proportionably consumed nervous and cerebral fibre. Reader, do not shrink; grant us a patient ear. You do not know how rapidly you may change your own opinion and feelings. Do you not remember with what awe we first read in the “Almanach des Gourmands,” that a certain sauce piquante was so fine that with it a man would eat his own mother? This was only twenty years ago yet ill of us, now, are helping a high-bred gentleman, trading, on a gigantic scale; in the hones of his great ancestor. What sublimity of peddling!

To those who say, It is unnatural to eat our friends, we would answer, that it is the office of civilization to remove us farther and farther from Nature. Analyze the present magnitude called Lady, and you can arithmetically state it, how little of it is nature-woman, and how much is hoop-civilization. To those, again, who object, that it is too primitive, we would reply, that the highest civilization is always a return to Nature, which is likewise exemplified by many of our ladies in the ball-room, — we mean by their upper portion.

But revenons a nos moutons. The Rev. Messrs. Williams and Calvert, missionaries, for many long years, among the Fijians, state, in their recently published work, that those unsophisticated children of Nature eat “long pig,” — as they call, with graceful humor, roast-man, in contradistinction to “short-pig,” by which they designate our squealing fellow-roasters, — from three different motives. — When a chief has a gala-day, or desires to signal his arrival by a right royal feast, it is considered befitting to slaughter some men, to let the blood run in the path of royalty, and to have on the table some roast-homme. Our Captain Wilkins told us, years ago, that, for this roast-homme, a plump Fijiana, of some twelve or thirteen years, is preferred. They know very well what is good! — The second motive is hatred. When a Fijian mortally hates a person, he endeavors to kill him; and having killed the enemy, why should the victim not be eaten? — Lastly, it would seem that affectionate regard, especially for a favorite wife, sometimes rises to a mordant passion and an unconquerable longing for material assimilation, — so much so, that the loving husband roasts his Penelope, and neighbors are invited to participate in his better fourth or fifth, as the polygamic case may be. Perhaps, years after, when with less demonstrative nations the memory of the beloved one would have passed away, the Fijian Fidelio may smack his lips, and exclaim, with Petrarch’s fervor, —

Perchè Morte fura
Prima i migliori, e laseia star i reiz
Questa aspettata al regno degli Dei
Cosa bella mortal passa e non dura.

Now we are very anxious not to be misunderstood by our readers. In writing this paper, we do not mean to urge the reintroduction of Cannibalism among us at once. The public mind may not yet be ripe for it; but we desire to assist in placing the subject in its proper light, and in showing that an enlightened impartiality can find very much in defence of the Fijians, — more, indeed, than the Rev. Mr. Froude has been able to accumulate in favor of his wife-devouring hero, — or than Mr. Spratt can say in favor of humanization in general, and the breaking-up of the Union in particular, by the reopening of the African slave-trade, — or than our venerable chief-justice has contrived to say in favor of reintroducing slavery in conquered territory, where positive law had abolished or excluded it, by the abstract Constitution itself; proprio vigore, (not quite unlike a wagoner, it seems to us, that carries the soil of distant parts, ipsâ adhesione, as it sticks to his boots, into the tavern-room,) without special law, which even the ancient civilians very stupidly declared to be necessary. First, you will remember, it was passionately maintained that the Constitution of the United States does not know the Common Law; and now it is insisted that Common Law (so far as slavery is concerned) is as inherent in the Constitution as the black pigment is in the negro. You cannot wash it out; it inheres physiologically in the Constitution. I tell you, reader, we are fast people indeed; we travel fast in our opinions, with now and then a somerset for the delectation of the philosopher.

Let us sit down, and have a philosophical conversation; above all, let us discard sentiment, feeling, — what you call heart, and all that sort of thing. You know how much mischief Las Casas has done by allowing his feelings to interfere when the Spaniards roasted Indians, from what he chose to call diabolical lust of gold, and sheer, abstract cruelty. Poor. Bishop! He belonged to the softs. Let us be philosophers, economists, and, above all, Constitutionalists. Some philosophers, indeed, have said that all idea of Right and Wrong, and the idea that there is a difference between the two, must needs, first of all, start from sentiment; but leave, I implore you, such philosophic fogyism behind you.

First, then, as to the principle of Right. It is a fact, that most tribes and races, probably all nations in their earliest days, have killed old and useless parents, and have eaten enemies, once slain, — perhaps friends, too. Some nations carried the eating of human flesh far down into their civilized periods and into recent times. The Spaniards found the civilized Aztecs enjoying their petits soupers of babes à la Tartare, or gorgeous dinners on fattened heroes aux truffes. Have you forgotten that from that fine Introduction to Prescott’s “Conquest of Mexico” a flavor of roast “long pig” steams into our nostrils as from a royal kitchen? Eating our equals, therefore, is sound Common Law of all mankind, even more so than slavery, for it exists before slavery can be introduced. Slavery is introduced when the prisoner of war may be made to work, — when the tilling of the soil has commenced; though then not always; for we now know that slavery was introduced among the Greeks at a comparatively late period: but killing parents and eating enemies exists in the hunter’s state, and at those periods when people find it hard work to obtain food, each one for himself, to keep even a starved body and a little bit of soul together. Chewing our neighbor is even better, for it is older Common Law, than the universal buying of a wife and consequent selling of daughters which exists even now over far the greater portion of the globe. We take it that our species began with eating itself without paying for the rare. Partaking of our neighbor precedes all lex scripta, all statute law, all constitutions. As to ourselves in particular, whose law is the English law, we know that the Druids sacrificed human beings to their gods; and every one knows full well, that man, when in gastronomic contact with the gods, always appropriates the most savory morsels and the largest portions of the sacrifice to himself, leaving to the ethereal taste of Jove or Tezcatlipoca the smell of some burnt bones or inwards. Yet there is no law on record abolishing human sacrifices. We know, indeed, that some Teutonic tribes, when they adopted Christianity, positively prohibited the eating of horse-flesh, but no law ever forbade to honor our fathers and mothers by making them parts of our feasts; so that no lawyer of the true sort will deny, that, to this day, the right of sacrificing fellow-men, and the reasonable concomitant of eating the better portion of the sacrifice, still exists. Greeks and Romans have sacrificed men; why should not we? That men have their individual rights is no valid objection. Rights depend exclusively upon the law; and the law, we have shown, does not grant equal rights (at least, not equal destinations) to the Eater and the Eatee; for it seems to be one thing to eat, and another to be eaten. It was a very silly maxim of the ancient Civil Law, That the law, the regula, is derived from the right (jus), not the jus from the law. Has not a Supreme Court in one of our States lately denied to a negro even the right to choose between liberty and slavery, — the choice being left to him by his deceased master, — because the creature (which, when doing wrong, is responsible and has a will imputed to him) has no will to choose, because it cannot have any, says the Supreme Court of that State?

However, it will doubtless be objected by some, that it is simply disgusting to eat our fellow-creatures of the same species, — that it is unnatural and against our religion, — and that so remarkable a diversity of taste can be explained only on the ground of our belonging to different races. We do not believe that the Fijians belong to a different race. Fijian, or Fijician, results, by a slight change of letters, from the word Phœnician; and there can he no doubt that the Fijians are descendants of those Phœnicians who, according to Herodotus, sailed, in the reign of the Egyptian King Necho, from the Persian Gulf round the Cape of Good Hope, and entered the Mediterranean through the Pillars of Hercules. How they came to be wafted to the opposite hemisphere is not for us to explain, nor do we know it. Suffice it to say, that Fijician and Phœnician are the same word. Possibly old Admiral Hanno preceded Captain Cook. Who can prove the contrary?

As to the first of these objections, we admit that some people may feel a degree of aversion to roast-homme; but so does the Mahometan abominate roast “short pig”; and a Brahmin, taken to Cincinnati and its environs, at the sanguinary hog-murder time, would die outright, of horror. We almost died, ourselves, at the sickening sight of that porcian massacre. De gustibus non est disputantibus, as our colonel used to say. Disgust is the result of a special treaty of amity and reciprocity between the stomach and the imagination, differing according to difference in the contracting parties. We have known many persons who would not touch mutton, and others who would rather starve than eat oysters; while we ourselves revolt at sour-krout, which, nevertheless, millions of Germans, French, and Americans consider delicious. Disgust is arbitrary; it does not furnish us with a philosophical ground for argumentation. The Fijian does not feel disgust at the flavor of a well-roasted white sailor; and as long as he does not insist upon our relishing his fare, what right have we to ask him to feel disgusted? When the panther-tailed Aztec priest fattened his prisoner, or carried along the children decked with wreaths, soon to be smothered in their own juice, he cannot have felt disgust, any more than the Malay, of whom Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles tells us, that, with epicurean refinement, he cut the choicest bits from his living prisoner, in order to baste them to a turn and season them with choice pepper.

Is it unnatural? We have once seen, with our own eyes, a very large unroasted “small pig” devour one of her own piglets, whilst the others lustily drew nourishment from the grunting mother. It took our appetite away for forty-eight hours; yet it was nature; and in some portions of Europe, people express the highest degree of fondness by the expressive phrase, — “I could eat you.” We may rely upon it, that, as Mr. Agassiz says, — “There is no difference in kind, but only in degree.”

With reference to religion, we readily acknowledge that dining à la Fijienne does not appear exactly to be a divine institution, as slavery has recently been discovered to be. From olden times it used to be the belief of superstitious man that there was a divine afflatus in liberty; but our profound theological scholars and Biblical critics have found out that the divinity is on the other side. Neither Tertullian nor Austin, neither St. Bernard nor any Pope, good or bad, neither Luther, Bossuet, Calvin, nor Baxter, no commentator, exegetist, or preacher, ever found out, what these profoundest inquirers have at length discovered, that slavery is divine, like matrimony. Had they discovered this great truth before the Catholic Church settled the number of sacraments, there must have been eight instead of seven. Why was their advent so late?

Possibly these grave and candid, deep and fervent theologians, whose opinions on theology are quoted everywhere, whose works are spread over the globe, and whose lore is stupendous, may yet discover that there is a divine flavor even in a soup á la Mexicaine. One thing, however, is quite certain, namely, — that there is no prohibition of digestively assimilating our neighbor with ourselves from one end of the Bible to the other. Was not Fielding’s parson logical, who preferred punch to wine, because it is nowhere spoken ill of in Scripture? When Baron Viereck was rebuked by a friend for having given his daughter in marriage to the King of Denmark, the Queen, undivorced, continuing to occupy the throne, the shrewd father replied, that he had found no passage in the Bible that prohibits a King of Denmark from having two wives; and has not the democratic Fijian as good a right to that logic as the noble Baron had?

To say the truth, all these objections are founded mainly upon sentiment, and we trust that morbid sentimentality will have no weight in an age which ridicules the horror of the British Commons at the descriptions of the middle passage, and demands calm judgment when the question arises, how to increase the number of representatives and the profits on sugar and cotton, — in our poetic age, in which republican senators have openly declared their chivalrous allegiance to the sovereign substance of which night-caps are made, and petticoats, — to His Majesty, King Cotton, — not a very merry king, it must be owned, as young King Charles was, or old King Cole, but still a worthy sovereign; for, after all, he is but a new and most bulky avatar of Almighty Dollar.

No objection whatsoever can be made to the deglutinatio Fijiana on the score of utility. The islands of the Fijians are but small; no Fijian Attila can lead forth his hosts into neighboring countries; no Fijian Goths can pour down from Polynesian Alps into an Oceanic Italy; no Athenians can there send sons and gods to a Corcyra; and no Fijian Miles Standish can there walk up and down before his pipe-clayed bandoleers in foreign colonies. How, then, can an over-increase of population be more harmoniously prevented than by making the young and sleek furnish the starving with a plump existence? Is it not, economically viewed, the principle of Dr. Franklin’s smoke-consuming pipe applied to the infinitely more important sphere of human existence? The festive table, to which, according to the great Malthus, Nature declines inviting a large portion of every well-peopled country, will never be known by the happy Fijian Say or Senior, so long as wise conservatism shall not change its old and sacred laws, and shall allow Nature to invite one happy portion as guests, and another happy portion as savory dishes. It is Nature in nudest simplicity, as it is exhibited in half-a-dozen mice in a deep kettle, of whom one survivor and material representative remains. The Chinese expose female infants, and lawful infanticide has been abolished in some districts of the British East Indies within these thirty years only. Would it not be wiser to reassimilate the tender dear ones, and think of them ever after with smacking memory?

It is true, indeed, that, upon the whole, Fijian gastronomy leers more toward the tender sex than toward that which in our country wears the trousers uncrinolined. But, we submit, is this a fair objection? Why is the tender sex more tender? Lately, when an orator had strongly expressed himself against the maxim of patriotic office-hunters, — “To the victor belong the spoils,” he was very logically asked, — “And pray, Sir, to whom should the spoils belong, if not to the victor?” So we would ask, should any one complain of girls being thus economized by men, — “Who, in the name of common sense, should, if not men? Would you have them perform that sacrificial duty for one another?”

But whatever may be thought, by some of our lovely readers, of this last argument, (which henceforth may be termed argumentum marcianum,) and which, in the case before us, will always be an ex parte argument, all will agree that no objection can be taken to making repasts on porcus longus once fairly killed, — for instance, on heroes stretched on the battle-field. This was the cogent argument of the New Zealander, after baptism, — used in discussing the topic with the Rev. Mr. Yale. Willing to give up slaughtering fellow-men for the sake of eating them, he could not see why it was not wicked to waste so much good food.

If it were objected, that, admitting the making of your enemy’s flesh flesh of your own flesh would necessarily lead to skirmishes, “surprise-parties,” and battles for the sole purpose of getting a dinner, — to a sort of pre-prandial exercise, as in fishing, we would simply answer, “Too late!” Our friends who desire the reopening of the African slave-trade declare that they wish to buy slaves only. When statesmen, and missionaries, and simple people with simple sense and simple hearts, cry out to them, “Stop! for the sake of our common Father, stop! By reopening the slave-trade, you revive the vilest crimes, and, for every negro ultimately sold to you on the coast, you cause the murder of at least tea in the interior, not to speak bf those that are coolly massacred in the barracoon, when no demand exists,” — the satisfactory reply is: “We have nothing to do with all that; we do not travel beyond the record. We buy the negro who is a slave what made him a slave we do not care to know. The pearl in the market does not show the toil of the fisher.” And so the Fijian would properly reply: “Do not mix up different subjects. I rescue my departed brother from ignominious decay, and remake a man of him. How he came to depart, — that belongs to quite a different chapter.”

This utilitarian view acquires a still greater importance when applied to criminals under sentence of capital punishment. Soon after Beccaria, it was asked, if we mistake not, by Voltaire: “Of what use is the dead body of a criminal? You cannot restore the victim to life by the execution of the murderer.” And many pardons in America have been granted on the assumption that no satisfactory answer could be given to the philosophical question: “What use can the swinging body of the poor creature be to any one?” The Fijian alone has a perfectly satisfactory reply.

The missionaries, already named in this paper, give a long account of the execution of a supposed Fijian conspirator, which ends with these words: “At last he was brought down to the ground by a club; after which he was eaten.”

We can discern many advantages to be derived from the introduction of what we will call patés penitentiares.

There would be no waste of food.

The sentence of the judge would sound more civilized; for, instead of hearing the odious words, “You shall be handed by the neck until you are dead,” words would be pronounced somewhat like these: “You shall be taken to Delmonico, and there and by him be served up on such a day, as scélérat en papillotes.”

There would be a greater readiness in jurors to convict interesting criminals, who now-a-days cannot be found guilty, — especially were a law passed that the jury should have the criminal. We read in the “Scottish Criminal Trials,” that a woman, clearly convicted of an atrocious murder, was, nevertheless, found not guilty. The astonished lord justiciary asked the foreman, how it was possible to find the prisoner not guilty, with such over-whelming evidence, and was answered: “Because, my laird, she is purty.” Would not the delicacy of the prisoner have been an additional reason for finding her guilty with Fijian jurors?

Fourthly, there would be an obvious national advantage in some countries, in which the government is at one and the same time busily engaged in finding cheap food for the people, and in transporting annually many hundreds of political suspects to killing colonies. It is, indeed, surprising, that so sagacious and parental a government as that of Napoleon the Third, — may His Majesty be long preserved for the civilization of France, the peace of Europe, and the glory of mankind in general! — it is surprising, that his all-providing and all-foreseeing government has not long ago discovered how the craving of the national stomach for food, and of the popular mind for political purification, might be stilled by no longer transporting political offenders and suspects to French Guiana or Lambessa, where they uselessly and ignobly perish, but by sentencing them, instead, to the enviable lot of making a feast for their brethren. Would not every Socialist, receiving permission thus to help feed society, exclaim: C’est magnifique! mais c’est sublime!

When Robespierre was in the zenith of his guillotinacious glory, the bonnes would sit around the scaffold, minding children and knitting stockings, to see the head of a marquis or of a shoemaker fall. We leave it to every reader, whether there would not be more historic unity and poetic completeness in the tableau, were we to read that these good creatures dined upon the ci-devant, after the execution.

Imperial Rome is the beau idéal of the present government of la belle France; and we must own, that, when perusing the exhilarating pages of Suetonius, it has often occurred to our mind that there is something wanting in the list of high deeds related of those superb specimens of humanity exhibited in the Caligulas and Heliogabali. They did so much for cookery! Yet they seem never to have risen above an indirect consumption of their subjects, by feeding their lobsters with ignoble slaves; never did they directly bestow upon Roman freemen the honor of being served up for the imperial table. Nero murdered his mother and bade his teacher open his own veins. Would it not read much more civilized, if the annals of the empire were telling us: Nero, jam dicus, leniter dixit: O Seneca, Pundit delectabilis et philosophe laute, quis dubitet te libentissime mihi hodie proferre artocreatem stoicum?

Strange as it may appear to some readers, that thus the polished Romans might have learned a lesson of civilization from the Fijians, they will not reject our suggestion, when they reflect, that, only a short time ago, they were, probably, as much surprised at finding the government of so great a country as France adopting imperial Rome as a model body-politic. Familiarize your mind with the idea, and all difficulties vanish. It is only the last step which costs, — not the first.

There are many more reasons that might be urged in favor of the Fijians. We are not aware that the reverend missionaries have given any statistical tables, showing a regularity in the annual numbers of consumed persons, male and female, classed according to the reasons why consumed; but no one can doubt that such tables might be given, and if so, the whole question of anthropophagism could be very easily Buckled up in a tidy little valise. The Fijians, in the plural, we take it, have little or nothing to do with it; it is the abstract, will-less, impersonal Fijian—who, according to the learned Ferrari, would be called, now, Podesta Fijian, now Consul Fijian, now Papa Fijianus, — that snuffs the flavor of his own dear natural pot à feu; and Right or Wrong, Just or Unjust, Commendable or Revolting, are school-boy distinctions, no longer recognized by the philosophical historian, who treats all moral questions and national movements like questions of natural philosophy, — like social chemistry, in which so puerile a word as poison has no place. Arsenic is arsenic with certain effects, and nothing more; and society poisons itself annually to such an amount, arithmetically expressed.

We ask leave to add two suggestions in favor of the Fijians, both, it would seem, of philosophic importance. If you do not like the Fijian national dish, — national in more than one sense, — have the dear sons of Nature, as Carlyle probably would call them, not the right to reply, — “We do not like your sauerkraut, if you are a German; your polenta, if you are an Italian; your olla podrida, if you are a Spaniard; nor your grit, if you are a Dane; your bacon and greasy greens, if you are a Southerner; nor your baked beans, if you are a Northerner; nor any other stuff called national dishes, — all of which are vile, except English roast-beef and plum-pudding, and Neapolitan maccaroni.”

The other suggestion is this: Is it likely that Nature has placed the Fijians exactly in the same meridian with Greenwich, which in some measure may be called the meridian of civilization, for nothing? — is it likely that all the solar and cosmic influences which must result from this fact have really left the Fijian in that state of hyper-brutality which you think is proved by his ménage? Is it, we ask, fairly to be supposed? We think not.

We do not presume to know whether we have carried conviction to the minds of our readers; but even if we have not, — if we have only been sufficiently fortunate to give the first impulse to the great inquiry, we shall be satisfied. If we consider the history of some opinions now openly preached and vehemently maintained, — how timidly they were first hinted at, within our own recollection, and with what surprising rapidity they have risen to an unblushing amplitude, rustling and sweeping proudly and defiantly along the Broadway of human events and opinions, — how that which but a lustre ago was wicked is now virtuous, — we see no reason for despair; and our century may yet witness the time when it will be considered the highest mixture of philosophic courtesy and Christian urbanity to make the most graceful semi-lateral bow, as you pass your friend in the street, and, kissing the tip of your finger, to lisp, with bending head and smiling eye, —

“May I never disagree with you!”