Punch, 41 (1861), 257.
Men and Monkeys
Essay, Drollery; Illustration, Drollery
Animal Behaviour, Zoology, Controversy, Human Species, Human Development, Language
Insists that Paul B Du Chaillu (if he is believed in spite of John E Gray's rebuttals) 'must have lived in a queer society in Africa'. Adds that the 'animal and human' 'brutes' that he found there 'bear no little resemblance' to people in 'far more civilised localities', especially in central England. Provides several examples of this, including the 'uncle-hunters, who have done their best to worry those rich relatives to death, having bled them (through their bankers) as much as well was possible'. Adds that the 'nest-building ape' which Du Chaillu claims to have discovered has a 'civilised' equivalent: the men who, with as much skill as the ape, make 'nests and know well how to feather them', and who share with the nest-building ape the tendency to spend much of their time 'up a tree' (i.e. hard up). Observes that 'customs' considered 'savage, brutal, and inhuman' in gorillas are 'actually applauded' in civilised communities, including living 'on one's relations' and asking how a deceased rich man will 'cut up' (how his estate will be divided). Concludes that although 'we may boast of our superior intelligence', there are still some 'Educated Englishmen' who 'behave themselves in no way better than Gorillas'. The illustration shows a gorilla being measured for a suit by a decidedly 'Agitated Tailor', who complains about the length of his customer's arm.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005-07
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