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our physiological readers, and the medical world in general, that the stomach, and not the head, is unquestionably the seat of thought in the human subject. Whatever may be our merit in having_confirmed this fact, we do not by any means claim it as a discovery. Buffon long ago asserted the same thing, Persius had already dubbed the stomach a master of arts, and in spite of the craniologists, who look for the developement of the disposition in bumps upon the skull, and of the physiognomists, who seek the same thing in the visage, it is observable that in our proverbs and colloquial phrases, which may be termed the concentrated wisdom of nations, the defrauded stomach asserts its superiority, and is universally treated as the depository of reason and our intellectual citadel. What should we say of a people who should establish their capital upon an extreme frontier, instead of the centre and heart of the country, and why should we suppose nature to be less provident in this respect than men? We admit all the affections of our nature to emanate from the heart, which is coming very near to the stomach, and consequently to the truth; while we absurdly give the head credit for the higher exercises of an intellectual faculty, which we do not by any means admit in our vulgar parlance. The truth of the phrase may, perhaps, be hardly deemed a sufficient excuse for its coarseness when the common people familiarly say of a stupid fellow, that he has "no guts in his brains," yet it may be defended as a shrewd, sound, and pertinent expression, spite of its cacophony to fastidious ears polite. Nay, do not they who even affect purism in their discourse, almost unconsciously assign all our emotions to the intestinal region, when they habitually say of a coward, that he has no stomach for fighting, and of themselves when any thing lingers unpleasantly in their recollection, that it sticks in their stomach? and have they not warrant of authority from our best authors for making this important ventricle the organ of almost every human affection? Spenser could even read the expression of a man's stomach in his face-"Stern was his look, and full of stomach;" Shakspeare, wishing to give an idea of Wolsey's ambitious mind, tells us that he was a man "of an unbounded stomach ;" and speaking elsewhere of two pugnacious adversaries, he exclaims, "High-stomach'd are they both and full of ire," whence in all probability arose our term of belly-gerent powers, applied to parties in a state of hostility. Butler talks of the trumpet and drum, "That makes the warriors stomach come," thus using the word as synonymous with courage; and, in this figurative sense, it is obvious that the sick Hibernian perpetrated no bull when he consented to have a blister put upon his back, although, as he said, "it went quite against his stomach."
Do we not currently say of a person deficient in compassion, that he has no bowels? and when we sympathise with others in distress, is it not customary to make use of a very sensible phrase, and exclaim that our bowels yearn towards them? When we have laid our spirit in the Red Sea, or, in other words, when we have drowned our stomach, and consequently our reason, in Burgundy, we adapt ourselves to a vulgar error, and declare that the wine has got up into our heads, whereas it is notorious that it has gone down into the intestines. Such are the absurdities to which we are driven in our attempts to bolster up a preposterous and untenable system. In the good old republican times of Rome, we know that the limbs rebelled against the belly, which
they could not have done, had not the latter been considered the head; and we are moreover told in history, that Menenius Agrippa appeased an insurrection of the populace, simply by reminding them that the senate was as much entitled to their obedience, as was the stomach to the implicit subserviency of all the members, including the head:-Happy the people who listen with such reverence to the dictates of the digestive ventricle !
But we have still higher authority for the opinions of the ancient nations upon this subject, some of whom seem to have invested it with divine honours, Philip expressly asserting, "There are many whose god is their belly." If we search the Jewish Proverbs again for the popular opinion as to the seat of the soul, we shall find it distinctly indicated in the following passage: "The words of a tale bearer go down into the innermost parts of the belly, and wound the very bottom of the soul;" and in another place, "Preserve the lessons of wisdom; if thou keep it within thy belly, in thine heart, it will not break out upon thy lips."-Many people, perhaps, are not aware that they have a sort of Boa Constrictor within them, the great alimentary canal being generally six times the length of the body to which it appertains, though it always lies coiled up like a serpent; and if we reflect that the reptile which it so closely resembles, was in ancient times the great type of wisdom and subtlety as well as of eternity, we shall be the less surprised that they sagaciously domiciliated the soul in this snakelike intestine. With what contradictory reluctance do we moderns, affording justice by halves, make the stomach responsible for our melancholy thoughts, while all our "nimble, fiery and delectable shapes," must forsooth be emanations from the skull, a body in its very nature bulbous, inert, opaque. Heavens! what heaped-up libels are thrown upon the spleen, one of the most innocent of our viscera! for what fantastic and yet melancholy capriccios is it not indicted; Pope himself, no very credulous personage, not hesitating to accuse it of converting men into talkative goose pies, and maidens into bottles! And thou too, recipient of the liver, much-injured Hypochondre! have not maligners charged thee with gloom, wretchedness, horror, and every atrabilarious enormity with which we are afflicted, even up to madness itself, as if the stomach could deprive us of reason, without having the power to confer it? What infatuation possesses us? When we are deficient in virtuous courage we arraign our intestines, accusing ourselves of being lily or pigeon-livered and lacking gall; an insult sticks in our gizzard; we speak of learning as the food of the mind, of pedants who have swallowed more reading that they can digest; and although no metaphor can make the fumes of water mount into the head, we talk of a poet who has once tasted the Pierian spring, as having his imaginative faculty instantly inspired. We attribute to the stomach, in short, all the functions of the soul, and yet deny its residence where these its magisterial powers are perpetually exercised. Verily we are a fantastical generation.
Having, as we flatter ourselves, satisfactorily restored this dementated ventricle to its due honours, we shall have the less to say upon the insubordination of modern stomachs, because it is to be feared there are very few of our readers sufficiently ventripotent to deny the fact. Our omnivorous ancestors, fearless of bile and defying indigestion,
made every thing disappear before them; the coats of their stomach were dreadnoughts, they had nothing to do but enact the words of the song which we can only quote, and "Masticate, denticate, chump, grind, and swallow," while victuals could be found and jaws would wag. How have we fallen off from the sprightly appetite and loyal viscera of the Emperor Clodius Albinus, who would swallow for his breakfast 500 figs, 100 peaches, 10 melons, 20 pounds weight of grapes, 100 gnat-snappers and 400 oysters-a meal which moveth Lipsius irreverently to ejaculate, "Fie upon him; God keep such a curse from the earth!" Our Danish Sovereign Hardiknute was so indiscriminate a gormandizer, that he was called by an historian Bocca di Porco, or swine's mouth; and our records are by no means deficient in instances of men to whom a similar compliment might justly be applied. But we pigmy-boweled performers of the present day are a squeamish and qualmy race, living in perpetual terror of the tyrant Bile, and in subjection to the night-mare Indigestion; poring over Peptic Precepts, Cook's Oracles, Accum's Poison in the pot, and Philip's Treatise on the Stomach, and yet after all unable to bring that eternal focus of revolt and disorder, that Ireland of our bodily system, into the peaceful performance of its peristaltic duties. Stomach-ichs for stomach-aches are by no means lacking: calomel we gulp in all its manifold modifications; and pills of all calibres and constructions, like so many balls and bullets, do we fire in successive volleys against our mutinous viscera, but all in vain. They "bear a charmed life;" the curse of the serpent is upon us, and all our miseries are condemned to go upon the stomach. Sir John Barleycorn, the liege lord of our sturdy progenitors, is proscribed and excommunicated by our modern anti-bilious doctors; one forbids solids, another liquids ; fish, flesh, and fowl, are alternately under ban and prohibition; this sends us to Cheltenham, that to Harrogate, a third to Tunbridge; we pay all and obey all, and finally all return as bilious, blue-pillish, and blue-devilish as ever, while the birds and beasts that surround us are most provokingly gormandizing without the smallest necessity for calling in Abernethy, or consulting Wilson Philip. Ostriches, since that celebrated one of old who swallowed the key of the cellar, continue their ferrugivorous propensities with impunity; fowls, for the purpose of triturating their food, swallow and digest small flints, which Mr. Macadam should look to, if, as it is rumoured, his pounding process is to be introduced in the Poultry; and Cormorants will swallow half a dozen times their own weight in a day without the aid of Lady de Crespigny's dinner-pills. It is really too much that we should be at the same moment half choked with bile, and ready to burst with envy.
And what is the hidden cause of this recent change in our system, of this inappeasable spirit of rebellion in our intestines? This is the question we must previously decide if we would apply an efficient remedy to the disease. Some have attributed it to the great increase of riches and consequent diffusion of luxury, whereby indolence of limbs and activity of jaws, perilous concomitants for the health, have been united in a greater number of individuals than formerly; some to the villainous adulteration of all our victuals; some to the lateness of our dinner-hours, whence the alimentary region is alternately irritated by inanition, and burthened with over-repletion. Shrewd and plausible surmises are these, perhaps true to a limited and subsidiary extent, but
still far from embracing the paramount cause of the evil. No; if we would fathom this mystery to the bottom, we must bear in mind what has been already so happily established-videlicet, that the stomach is the seat of thought; and if we only allow it the same power of sympathy as the rest of our system is known to possess, we shall be instantly furnished with a clue to the whole enigma. If we can tell from the odour or discoloration of a vessel what liquor it has contained; if the face of man is so modulated by his spirit as to become the index of his soul; if the inspirer, in short, invariably stamps its character upon the organ, we have only to inquire the mental peculiarity of the age, in order to know with certainty its effect upon the stomach, which is the seat of the mind. And what is the predominant passion of modern times, but rebellion, revolution, Radicalism, Carbonarism, and moral disorder, whence by sympathy we have the physical riots of bile, livercomplaints, sourness, grumbling in the gizzard, rejection of legitimate food, vomitings, nausea, stubbornness, and in one word Insubordination of the stomach? How can we have intestine commotions in our provinces without expecting them in our bowels? or hold ourselves entitled to digest our food, when we are daily violating some digest of political law? This is the secret of all our visceral derangements, from dysentery to constipation, from the pericardium to the peritonæum; and having pointed out the real seat and cause of the evil, we will not travel beyond our province, but leave to others the suggestion of the proper remedy. To us it appears a case that may especially come within the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Society, for the preservation of our bodily is surely not less important than that of our political constitution; and as our stomachs have manifestly been disordered by the action of our minds, so may our deceased minds be best medicated by re-action of the viscera. The Society has long gone against the stomach of the nation; and if they wish to take their revenge, at the same time that they render themselves really useful, they should henceforward go against the nation's stomach.
LETTERS FROM THE EAST.-NO. XI.
AT an early hour on the following day, we quitted this Arab camp. The wilderness through which we travelled, afforded a variety of romantic scenes. In a few hours we came to a long and steep defile, and soon afterwards reached a well, the only one in the surrounding region : it was in the sand, and a flight of steps descended to it. The Arabs stopped to give their camels water here, and said we should soon be at their camp. It was near mid-day when we arrived at it. It consisted of fourteen tents ranged in a line, the chief's being at the end; he gave us the tent adjoining his own, and we took possession of our new abode. All these tents had only three sides, were flat at top, and quite open in front. Each contained a family, by whom these wanderers were received with joy; indeed they seemed to feel that they were now at their own home and their own threshold. But such a home as that Arab camp was, has probably been but rarely seen; it was a perfect prison of nature, and stood in the midst of a naked valley of white sand, about three hundred yards broad and a mile in length, and was inclosed on every side by black and lofty precipices: we had entered it by a winding and narrow defile, and it appeared to have no outlet. It was useless for our captors to keep a strict eye over our motions, as they had hitherto done, for every attempt at escape would have been in vain. They gave us some bread and dates for dinner, and we then strove to amuse ourselves as well as we could. But so destitute was this place of all resources, either for the imagination or the senses, and so dreary was its aspect, that our spirits sunk involuntarily, and the hours passed most heavily along.
Could the eye but have rested on one cheering object, a spot of verdure or shade, even a lonely palm-tree, there would have been something to have solaced our tædium; but from morning till night nothing was to be seen but the precipices and the bright sand, on which the sun glared so fiercely, that it was often painful to gaze upon. The other sheiks now parted from Hassan, and went to their homes. In the evening we sat round the fire at the door of our tent, drank coffee, and smoked a pipe to pass the time, and the Arabs sometimes joined us. The hatred these people bear to the monks is excessive; they made use of every oath in their language when abusing them, and a chief took a piece of brown bread from his vest and held it up-" Is this good,” said he, "for us to eat, while in the convent they have it so white ?" The sons of devils and of perdition, they declared, should not be feasting within their walls in that manner. Another cause of their hatred was the Book of Might, which they protested and believed the priests kept in the convent, and buried it for the greater part of the year in the earth. They said this book had power, whenever it was opened and exposed to the air, to bring rain upon the earth, so that their hearts were made glad, and their deserts refreshed. But the priests, out of the malice they bore to the Arabs, kept it in general buried deep; in consequence they were seldom blessed with any rain. The ignorance of these Bedouins was very great; they professed to be Mohammedans, but they never made use of prayer, nor was the least appearance of devotion ever