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the timidity the animal displays, that, except at certain seasons of the year, he would rather retreat than pursue a man, and such dread of fences or artificial barriers does he exhibit, that a paling of rushes lightly bound together will keep a herd of elephants from the most tempting rice-fields. Another elephantine trait often exhibited in our menageries is sure-footedness; an elephant will go wherever man can pass, if the passage be wide enough for his body and the ground solid enough to bear his weight.
How are the elephants captured? One way is this. Moors who are trained for the purpose devote themselves entirely to the capture. Two of them go out together and find a herd of elephants. They select their intended victim, steal up close behind him while at rest, and endeavor to fix a noose around one of his hind legs with a rope of elk’s-hide, which is their only implement. They watch their opportunity, and when the elephant raises his leg the noose is secured. Then ensues the struggle.
“ Should the noosing be effected in open ground, and no tree of sufficient strength be at hand round which to wind the rope, one of the Moors, allowing himself to be pursued by the enraged elephant, entices him towards the nearest grove, where his companion, dexterously laying hold of the rope as it trails along the ground, suddenly coils it round a suitable stem, and brings the fugitive to a standstill. On finding himself thus arrested, the natural impulse of the captive is to turn on the man who is making fast the rope, a movement which it is the duty of his colleague to prevent, by running up close to the elephant's head, and provoking the animal to confront him by irritating gesticulations and taunting shouts of Dah! dah! a monosyllable the sound of which the elephant peculiarly dislikes. Meanwhile the first assailant, having secured one noose, comes up from behind with another, with which, amidst the vain rage and struggles of the victim, he entraps a fore-leg, the rope being as before secured to another tree in front, and the whole four feet having been thus entangled, the capture is completed.”
Next comes the taming. A rude shelter is built for the captors, fires are kindled in the neighborhood, and the siege begins. Hunger, fire, smoke, and the ropes around his legs, and then kind treatment, food, and a bath, usually subdue the temper of the most obstinate in a few weeks, and his masters may venture to take him home.
As he is still too morose to submit to be ridden, and as it would be equally impossible to lead or to drive him by force, the ingenuity of the captor is displayed in alternately irritating and eluding him, but always so attracting his attention as to allure him along in the direction in which they want him to go.”
The capture of a whole herd or family is a state festival; thousands must assist, and months perhaps are consumed in its preparation ; the object being to supply the government stud and the temples. The season chosen is that between seed-time and harvest, when all the agriculturists are comparatively at leisure.
“In selecting the scene for the hunt, a position is chosen which lies on some old and frequented route of the animals in their periodical migrations in search of forage and water; and the vicinity of a stream is indispensable, not only for the supply of the elephants during the time spent in inducing them to approach the enclosure, but to enable them to bathe and cool themselves throughout the process of training the captives.”
In constructing this enclosure or corral, care is taken to avoid disturbing the trees or brushwood within the included space, and especially on the side by which the elephants are to approach. The corral our author describes was 500 feet by 250 in extent. The object is to get the elephant within this trap.
“ For this purpose it is often necessary to fetch a circuit of many miles in order to surround a sufficient number, and the caution to be observed involves patience and delay; as it is essential to avoid alarming the elephants, which might otherwise escape. Their disposition being essentially peaceful, and their only impulse to browse in solitude and security, they withdraw instinctively before the slightest intrusion, and advantage is taken of this timidity and love of seclusion to cause only just such an amount of disturbance as will induce them to return slowly in the direction which it is desired they should take. Several herds are by this means concentrated within such an area as will admit of their being completely surrounded by the watchers; and day after day, by degrees they are moved gradually onward to the immediate confines of the corral. When their suspicions become awakened, and they exhibit restlessness and alarm, bolder measures are adopted for preventing their escape. Fires are kept burning at ten paces apart, night and day, along the circumference of the area in which they are detained ; a corps of from two to three thousand beaters is completed, and pathways are carefully cleared through the jungle so as to keep open a communication along the entire circuit. At last the elephants are forced onwards so close to the enclosure that the investing cordon is united at either end with the wings of the corral, the whole forming a circle of about two miles, within the area of which the herd is detained to await the signal for the final drive.”
In such preparations as these, two months had been consumed, and now all was ready for the final drive of the three herds which had been entrapped.
“Suddenly the signal was made, and the stillness of the forest was broken by the shouts of the guards, the rolling of the drums and tomtoms, and the discharge of muskets; and, beginning at the most distant side of the area, the elephants were urged forward at a rapid rate towards the entrance into the corral. The watchers along the line kept silence only till the herd had passed them, and then, joining the cry in their rear, they drove them onward with redoubled shouts and noises. The tumult increased as the terrified rout drew near, swelling now on one side, now on the other, as the herd in their panic dashed from point to point in their endeavors to force the line; but they were instantly driven back by screams, muskets, and drums."
At last, after all this unceasing labor, the herds dash into the corral, and the capture is made. The process of tying the legs is precisely similar to that before described.
Taken as a separate work, the Monograph of the Elephant is more open to criticism than the other chapters. Too much importance is attached to such matters as the various derivations of the word elephant, and the childish opinions entertained by ancient authors. The narrative wants arrangement, and the author has paid the penalty of this deficiency by appearing to contradict himself several times.
The study of the fauna of Ceylon reveals to us two very curious facts, - that the animals and plants are quite distinct from those of India, and that they are very similar to, if not identical with, those of Sumatra and the neighboring islands. This carries us back to remote ages, when the Himalayas were islands, and India was beneath the sea. Ceylon may have formed part of a vast continent including Sumatra and Borneo. Whether this was the case or not, it is evident that Ceylon was what naturalists call a centre of development, and must have been united, not with India, although but sixty miles distant and joined to it now for a portion of the way by a coral reef, but with Sumatra and Borneo.
This is but one of the many interesting topics which the work before us suggests; and although too little is yet known of Asiatic natural history to settle fairly such important questions as might be raised, we may hope that the favorable reception of this and similar works will stimulate naturalists to pursue investigations which must result in the proudest monuments of human intellect, when man learns to read aright the Book of Nature from the hand of God.
Art. VI.- 1. Memoir, Letters, and Remains of ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE. Translated from the French.
With large Additions. Boston: Ticknor and Fields. 1862. 2 vols.
16mo. 2. Democracy in America. By ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE.
Translated by HENRY REEVE, Esq. Edited, with Notes, by FRANCIS BOWEN, Alford Professor in Harvard University, Cambridge: John Bartlett. 1862. 2 vols. 12mo.
The collection of letters which has been given to the world in the volumes before us, will be valuable to the public, no less for the entertainment they yield than for the instruction they impart. They are illustrative, not only of the fine genius of M. de Tocqueville, but also of his private habits and character. The affection which he evinces toward his family and friends, the zest with which he partook of the recreations of retirement, and the discreet attention which he bestowed on minor duties, acquaint us with his domestic virtues. The lofty views of politics and ethics which abound in all his letters enable us to comprehend the depth and purity of his mind. The grace and beauty of their style is surpassed only by their logical consistency, their energy, and the familiar gravity with which the subjects are treated. They seem to
have flowed spontaneously from the breast of the writer; and, nevertheless, to have been subjected to a strict mental process of discrimination and judgment. They are evidently the creations of a reflective, and yet sensitive intellect, refined by observation, modified by experience, firm in its convictions, and deeply absorbed in the great problem to which the author devoted the greater part of his life, - the future of governments and nations. They are published at a most opportune period.
Ancient political foundations are apparently undergoing great and continual changes; symptoms of momentous commotions already appear; and the question whether democracy can or cannot survive the excesses of its own elements, is put to the test with all the severity which a conflict between twenty millions and nine millions can produce. The rapid sale of these volumes encourages the hope that the wise and moderate precepts therein contained may be speedily disseminated through our community; and this new light may serve to lead us to more rational conceptions of our own system, teaching us to survey our dangers with calmness, and enlightening our judgment as to the means of averting them.
The most valuable portions of M. de Tocqueville's correspondence, indeed, are omitted in the present issue; but while we deeply regret that M. de Beaumont, the editor of the volumes, should be compelled to deprive us of the observations of such a mind concerning the most important epochs of modern French history, we may readily perceive why the suppression was necessary, when we consider that the French press of the present day is fettered by a stern and cautious censorship.
active was De Tocqueville in the occurrences of the Revolution of 1848, and subsequently, during the suspense which preceded, and was wickedly terminated by, the usurpation of the 2d of December, and so bitter was his opposition to the centralization of power in the person of the present Emperor, that his letters concerning these events cannot be flattering to the present government, or to the principles by which despotic authority now holds the French people enthralled. We are led to hope, however, that, when the future shall restore freedom of speech and action, this correspondence, doubtless