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From The Westminster Review. [he writes), but only seemed to have, is a docANIMAL INTELLIGENCE.*
trine or notion as old as the days of the cynics “ANIMAL intelligence,” says Mr. Ro- and stoics, and is ridiculed by Plutarch in his manes, in his admirable lecture on the discourse on the sagacity of animals. subject, delivered before the British As- Aristotle too, author of the most ancient work sociation in Dublin, 1878, “is a subject
on animals which has come down to us, exwhich has always been of considerable presses himself of much the same persuasion ; interest to philosophical minds, but the mal than man regulates his actions in any
he is unwilling to concede that any other aniinterest attaching to it has of late years degree by reasonable considerations. Seneca, been greatly increased by the significance a stoic, in conformity with the doctrines of his which it has acquired in relation to the sect, declared that the homogeneity of the theory of descent.”
actions of men and beasts is merely apparent, We cannot be surprised that the doc- their natures being altogether different. . trines of Darwin, so clearly and forcibly What we call the feelings of beasts, whether enunciated as to have convinced the vast good or evil, are, he thinks, feelings only in majority of scientists of the fact that life, appearance. Descartes may be said to have common alike to man and the lower ani- adopted this opinion, for hé intimated in his
“Discourse on Method” that all the lower mals, may be traced backwards to its source in the very lowest protoplasmic much as a clock or a watch; that all their
animals are mere unreasoning machines as forms, should have likewise revived the actions may by explained by tbe laws of mechancient controversies of schoolmen and anism. Montaigne, on the contrary, is jophilosophers, with regard to the proper clined to extol beasts to the disparagement of psychological position of the whole of man. Buffon grants them everything pos. animated nature, as viewed from the sessed by man except thought and reflection. standpoint of civilized and philosophic The opinion af Leibnitz was not very differman, who now finds himself placed indu- ent from that of Buffon. Réaumur is inclined bitably at the head of the whole. Do to admit that there is intelligence in the lower
animals. Condillac asserts that the beaver the lower animals, in sharing with man vitality and all its accompaniments of
builds his rampart and the bird its nest from pain, disease, and death, share with him boldt, Darwin, and Smellie asserted that the
forethought and judgment. Helvetius, Humalso that indefinable unknown quality or actions of brutes are the result of reasoning essence denominated mind? Do the ac- similar to that of man. Salmasius was of the tions of the lower animals proceed froin same opinion. Frederick Cuvier, brother of internal consciousness and reflection akin the baron and keeper of the Jardin des Plantes, to that of man although differing in de- not only declared that they had intelligence of gree, or are they simply automatic move the same kind as that of man, but endeavored ments, directed by instinct, or necessity, to distinguish the different degrees of it in or by the superior will of man the mas- different species of animals. Lord Brougham
These are the problems which have (“ Dialogues on Instinct ”iv.) says, “I know occupied the minds of philosophers in all not why so much unwillingness should be ages. The Rev. J. Selby Watson, in his shown by some excellent philosophers to allow
intelligent faculties and a share of reason to very interesting book on the “ Reasoning the lower animals.” * Power in Animals,” gives an epitome of the opinions of various writers upon the
Looking only to the summary here subject from Aristotle downwards. given, it might be assumed that the balThat beasts had no real thought or feeling | naturalists inclined to the rejection of
ance of opinion among philosophers and
the hypothesis that the lower animals are I. Mind in the Lower Animals in Health and Disease. By W. Lander Lindsay, M.D., F.R.S.E., endowed with mental faculties similar to
those of man, but against this must be 2. Presidential Address to the Biological Section
placed the universal testimony of men in of the British Associition. By Professor St. GEORGE MIVART, F.R.S., F.L.S., F.G.S. Shefield. 1879. all ages, who, although neither philoso
3. Animal Intelligence. A Lecture delivered before the British Association by GEORGE J. ROMANES, M.A., * Reasoning Power in Animals, by Rev. J. Selby F.L.S. Dublin. 1878.
Watson, p. 2, et seg.
phers nor naturalists, have yet been atten- haps equally undeserved good character tive observers of such of the lower ani- attached to others. In Egypt, every town mals as may have fallen in their way, and had its special divinity regarded with have, moreover, as hunters, been com- aversion elsewhere; and the same feel. pelled to study the habits of their prey ings may probably be traced through Asia with greater attention and more minute. Minor, Greece, and Rome, and through ness, and with far more abundant oppor- Europe, even to our own shores, existing tunities, than the philosopher, seated in in the present day in the national emblems his study, aided only by books, or perhaps adopted or assigned, and which occupy so the dry skeleton of the animal whose prominent a position in the various comic mental powers he undertakes to measure, papers. We remember the time when, supplemented by an occasional visit to a during the French occupation of Rome, menagerie, where the same animal is seen to crow like a cock was an Italian chalat its worst, in a wholly artificial and de- lenge, leading frequently to bloodshed. graded condition. With regard to do. We cannot doubt that it was some mesticated animals, which alone usually observed resemblance between man and fall within the scope of ordinary non-sci- beast which led to the adoption of the entific observers, we shall have much to totem, although the selection was in most say later; meanwhile, let us just glance cases the result of accident or of a dream, at the position occupied by the lower ani- for we believe that among many savages mals in the mythologies, traditions and each man has, in addition to the tribal fables of the ancients and of modern totem, his own individual symbol, which savages, as indicative of the esteem, inde is either the first animal he meets after pendent of philosophy, in which they have the probationary fasting which accompabeen and are held by the vast majority of nies his admission to manhood, or some mankind.
animal revealed to him in a dream during It is among the cultured Egyptians the same period. In like manner, obserthat we find vereration for the various vation, based upon near acquaintance with good qualities of animals degenerating the habits of the lower animals, joined to into absolute worship, and into that that poetic and imaginative temperament strange weird conception of the transmi- which characterizes the infancy and youth gration of souls, a belief which could of humanity, whether as races or individonly have originated among those who uals, was doubtless the foundation of all saw no insuperable barrier between man those fables and legends which form the and other animals. The same feeling has folklore of so many nations, and have deled uncivilized man in all ages to look generated into our own nursery tales, in upon certain animals with reverence as which, as a rule, animals are endowed not representing in some manner their de- only with human reason, but with human ceased ancestors. More especially is this speech, and almost invariably outwit their the case with regard to serpents and human adversaries. * birds, which seem to be almost univer- In all these cases imagination has magsally looked upon as the abodes of de- nified an observed peculiarity or natural parted human spirits; but in addition to characteristic, but there is no scientific these, almost every tribe has adopted deduction, no reasoning as to the possome especial animal as a symbol or to-sibility or probability of animals having tem, an object of reverence, representing assumed the rôle assigned to them. The in a peculiar manner the head of the savage notes the cunning of the fox or the tribe, and which therefore may not be killed or eaten by that tribe, although free
* The superstitions derived from this infantine stage
of human society have hardly yet died out among civto every other; and there can be little ilized maukind. The belief in were-wolves can hardly doubt that it is to this capricious selec- yet be said to be extinct, and in the last century many tion of tribal totems that we must at an unlucky wretch doomed as a witch was gravely actribute the undeservedly bad character cat. Among African tribes to the present day, men are
cused of having metamorphosed herself into a black assigned to certain animals, and the per- said to turn themselves at will into leopards and jackals
. jackal in escaping the snare of the hunter, science, seeing something extraordinary, and does not stop to consider whether if not almost supernatural, in the most that cunning is the result of instinct or of ordinary actions of the lower animals, intelligence, but assumes him to be en- and giving to these acts a significance far dowed with reason equal to or superior to greater than if they had been performed his own, seeing that under similar circum- by man, be avows that “the general stances he would gladly have acted with scope of the present work is to show how the same foresight; he consequently sees superior certain animals are to whole no difficulty in believing that the spirit of races or classes of mankind, both morally some chief famed for sagacity has assumed and mentally, and how essentially alike the form of the fox, and acted in and moral and mental influences and operathrough him. The same holds good with tions are in man and other animals." * regard to other animals and their charac- Now, it is the latter part of this propoteristics, whether of speed, strength, fe- sition which is at present a matter of rocity, or gentleness.
dispute between naturalists and philosoBut this minute insight into the habits phers, and we imagine there are few, if and special characteristics of the lower any, cautious and candid investigators animals, and their consequent undue ex- who would be willing to concede an inaltation, does not satisfy the needs of nate superiority to the mental powers of modern scientific inquiry. If the fox is the lower animals, although it may be cunning, the scientist desires to have the conceded that many of them show excause of that cunning demonstrated, he traordinary sagacity and powers of adapmust know whether it is a natural or ac- tation which can hardly be relegated to quired characteristic; whether all foxes that very vague but convenient term inplaced in the same position would act in stinct, which is supposed to be so much precisely the same manner, or whether more powerful in the lower animals than they would show individuality and inde in man. We do not hesitate in ranging pendent reasoning powers. Now, many ourselves among those who regard the naturalists of the present day, and notably mind of animals as differing from that of Darwin, Huxley, Lubbock, and many for- man in degree rather than in kind, looking eign naturalists, have done much to throw upon it as capable of development by edulight upon the numerous difficult problems cation, and varying in individuals even as with which the subject of animal intelli- in the human race, but we do not believe gence is surrounded, but we can hardly this view is likely to be advanced by such imagine that the book which we have sentences as the following, taken almost placed at the head of this article (“ Mind at random from the book before us :in the Lower Animals,” by Dr. W. Lander
The most promising of all animals on whom Lindsay) will greatly advance the cause
to try the effects of moral education are the of science; for, although the author has anthropoid apes, such as the orang and the shown unwearied zeal and industry in col- chimpanzee. We know how human-like has lecting from all sources anecdotes illus- been their behavior when they have been civtrative' of the mental capacity of the lower ilized by man, made his servants or compananimals, and in arranging them under ions on board ship or in his household. We certain beads more or less appropriate, know how in them politeness or refinement of he is so plainly the advocate rather than manners may be developed, and all the usages the judge, and takes up the cause of his of good society; how they can behave at table clients so injudiciously, as to invest the and take their meals; how they can act as whole subject with an air of unreality domestic or other service. But we do not yet
substitutes for the negro in various kinds of likely to cast ridicule and contempt, rath- know how good they can be made, to what er than respect and admiration upon his
extent or in what directions their moral nature advocacy. He seems in truth to have en can be developed. I believe that, could only tered upon his task with a foregone con- they be induced to bestow them, the patient clusion: starting from the platform of the savage rather than that of the man of * Mind in the Lower Animals, vol. i., p. 187.
efforts of our missionaries in this direction - Jing their legs together, they formed a chain on our anthropoid poor relations instead of hanging downwards over the edge of the pail. on their fellow-creatures and countrymen the The foremost or downward rat grasped the negro — might produce results of a startling drowning — and as it subsequently proved character results that might put an end, drowned - young one in its fore-paws, and once and for all, to current sneers as to the both rescuer and rescued were then drawn up. psychical connection between men and mon and out. When found to be dead, the res
cuers gazed at their young comrade in mute Again, in the chapter entitled “Relig- their fore-paws, and departed without making
despair, wiped the tears from their eyes with ious Feeling in Other Animals,” Dr.
any attempt to resuscitate it.* Lindsay says:
We quote this passage because Dr. Church attendance by dogs is, and has long Lindsay has himself laid special stress been, a common phenomenon in the pastoral districts of Scotland. Scotch shepherds, both upon it, by reiterating it in another chapter
"Some in Highland and Lowland, are a devout, church. (on “Laughter and Weeping "').t attending race; and, so far at least' as con- old rats finding a young one dead by cerns regularity of attendance upon the ordi- drowning, wiped the tears from their
eyes nances of worship and demure and decorous with their fore-paws - thus proving himbehavior thereat, their dogs, or “collies,” are self incapable of distinguishing between equally devout. These Scotch collies fre- the probable and the improbable, or absoquently have particular seats or pews - or at lutely absurd; for, although rats might least their equivalent lairs or crouching-places possibly attempt to rescue a drowning
- in church; and there, when no attempt is comrade in the manner described, the made by them — as it sometimes is - at psalm: particular incident of wiping the tears singing, the animals rest quietly and sedately until the completion of the service. It may away with the fore-paws, which Dr. Lindbe, and probably is, the case, that they fre- say has so gravely reproduced, stamps quently coil themselves comfortably and com
the whole episode as unreal and unworthy pose themselves to sleep as soon as the service of credit. Nevertheless, Dr. Lindsay has has begun; but that a similar process is quite collected together from the writings of as common and much more conspicuous and naturalists of world-wide repute a mass inexcusable in men, I have no room for doubt- of evidence not easily to be gainsaid in ing, inasmuch as I have over and over again favor of the high mental powers of the myself seen in country- aye, and in city - lower animals, but for the origin and churches in Scotland, people, mostly males, be bounds of that mental capacity we must it in fairness explained, deliberately composing themselves for a good sound sleep before the turn to the investigations of others. service begins. Í
The subject of animal intelligence las
specially occupied the attention of the BritSuch writing as this is surely inconsis- ish Association during the two last meettent and ludicrous in a professedly scien- ings, for although the biological section has tific treatise, and although Dr. Lindsay always devoted itself more or less to the acknowledges the desirability or necessity investigation of questions leading to comof verifying as far as possible the truth of parisons between man and the lower the incidents quoted, he yet appears to animal kingdom, it has been chiefly conhave allowed himself to be too easily concerned with bodily structure, rather than vinced, or to have been led by his love mental development. But at the Dublin of the marvellous to accept as literally true meeting Mr. Romanes was selected to those minute details which have only been give an evening lecture upon this subadded as embellishments by facetious nar-ject, and last year at Sheffield, Professor rators. Take, for example, the tale of the St. George Mivart made it the subject of rats satirized by the Saturday Review. his opening address as president of the Dr. Lindsay quotes, from “ The Animal biological section. Particular interest World,' an incident given in an American attaches to the utterances of two men so paper which, says that veracious journal, well known to science, not only because “may well put Christians to the blush.”
of the thorough character of their investiA young rat had fallen into a pail of pig- gations, but because they represent the food. Six older ones held a consultation so
two modern schools of thought, the one earnest in its character as to lead them to confessing himself a thorough evolutionignore the presence of human onlookers. ist, a disciple of Darwin, believing “ that They decided on an ingenious scheme of res mind is everywhere one,” the other procue, and successfully carried it out. Entwin- fessing himself a follower of Buffon, dis.
* Mind in the Lower Animals, vol. i., p. 230. t Ibid.
* Mind in the Lower Animals, vol. i., p. 94. † Ibid., p. 324.
trusting or disbelieving the doctrines of least indispensable antecedents to the exercise evolution, and consequently seeing a fun- of our intellectual activity. I have no wish to damental distinction between the mind of ignore the marvellous powers of animals or man and that of the lower animals. " The the resemblance of their actions to those of obvious difference,” says Professor Mi
No one can reasonably deny that many vart, “ between the highest powers of
of them have feelings, emotions, and senseman and animals has led the common exercise voluntary motion and perform actions
perceptions similar to our own; that they sense of mankind to consider them to be grouped in complex ways for definite ends; of radically different kinds, and the ques that they to a certain extent learn by experition which naturalists now profess to ence, and can combine perceptions and remiinvestigate, is whether this is so or niscences so as to draw practical inferences,
directly apprehending objects standing in difHe then goes on to say:
ferent relations one to another, so that, in a
sense, they may be said to apprehend relations. But we may doubt whether many who enter they will show liesitation, ending apparently, upon this inquiry do not enter upon it with after a conflict of desires, with what looks like their minds already made up, that no such rad- choice or volition, and such animals as the dog ical difference can by any possibility exist. will not only exhibit the most marvellous fidel
Surely, however, if we profess to investi- ity and affection, but will also manifest evi. gate a question, we ought in honesty to believe dent signs of shame, which may seem the that there is a question to investigate, and if outcome and indication of incipient moral evidence should seem to show that intellect perceptions.* cannot be analyzed into sense but is an ultimate, it ought to be accepted, at the least Now, we fail to see why the same feel. provisionally, as such, even at the cost of ings expressing themselves by similar having to regard its origin as at present inex. outward signs should be assumed to be plicable. *
real, the outcome of the higher intellecIt is, however, evident that Professor tual life in man, and only simulated in Mivart does not enter upon this task free the lower animals. Take, for instance, from bias; he has made up his mind that shame, which Professor Mivart allows is the mental differences between man and sometimes exhibited by dogs, why should the lower animals are radical, and he un- in the human species, be supposed to be
the moral perception, which causes shame dertakes to prove his theory by a complicated method of reasoning which we wanting in the dog when exhibiting the certainly cannot look upon as convincing, quality, which therefore can hardly, be
outward tokens of that confessedly mental Starting with the hypothesis that man possesses two sorts of faculties, the accounted for by instinctive perceptions higher and the lower, he goes on to say:
apart from mind? Again, Professor MiIt is, of course, impossible for us thoroughly to comprehend the minds of dogs or birds,
That we have automatic memory, such as because we cannot enter into the actual ex: animals have, is obvious; but the presence of perience of such animals, but by understand intellectual memory (or memory proper) may ing the distinction between our own higher be made evident by the act of searching our and lower faculties we may, I think, more or minds (so to speak) for something which we less approximate to such a comprehension. know we have fully remembered before, and It may, I believe, be affirmed that no animal thus intellectually remember to have known, but man has as yet been shown to exhibit true though we cannot now bring it before our ima concerted action, or to express by external agination. signs distinct intellectual conceptions -proc- And he quotes from Mr. Clarke, as folesses of which all men are normally capable. lows: But just as some plants simulate the sense, perception, voluntary motions, and instincts When the circumstances of any present case of animals, without there being a real identity differ from those of any past experience, but between the activities thus superficially simi- imperfectly resemble those of many past exlar, so there may well be in animals, actions periences, parts of these and consequent simulating the intellectual apprehensions, rati- actions, are irregularly suggested by the laws ocinations and volitions of man, without there of resemblance, until some action' is hit on being any necessary identity between the ac- which relieves pain or gives pleasure. For tivities so superficially alike. More than this, instance, let a dog be lost by his mistress in a it is certain, a priori, that there must be such field in which he has never been before. The resemblance, since our organization is similar presence of the group of sensations which we to that of animals, and since sensations are at know to indicate his mistress is associated
• Presidential Address, by Professor St. George 'Mivart.
* Presidential Address, by Professor St. George Mivart.