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Atlantic islands, which were said to be distant 10,000 furlongs from the coast of Africa. They are called,' says Plutarch, the Fortunate Isles.' Rain only falls there, as it is said, in moderate showers; the seasons of the year are temperate ; and gentle breezes abound, bringing with them soft dews, which so enrich the soil, that it bears, untilled, plenty of delicious fruits, and supports its inhabitants, who enjoy an immunity from toil."— Lyon's Travels.
These islands were described by Juba, an African prince, and one of the oldest travellers and geographers. According to him, one of the islands was called Canaria, (now Grand Canary,) from its containing a number of dogs of a great size. In his time the islands seem to have been but very partially inhabited. During a long lapse of time—that is, from the period when Juba wrote, in Cæsar's time, to the 14th century-history is silent as to the state of the Fortunate Isles. In the 15th century, Cadamosto, the Spanish navigator, and discoverer of the Cape de Verd Islands, waged war against the Guanches; and at that period the population of Grand Canary amounted to 9,000, and that of Teneriffe to 5,000. “ The natives of the latter island are said to have been of great, and even gigantic stature.” This assertion is certainly not verified by the remains of Guanches found at the present day. They were a people of very simple habits, and possessed of very few arts; were ignorant of the use of metals, and are said to have plowed the land by means of the horns of bullocks. They believed in a future state, and worshipped a Supreme Being, whom they termed Achubarahan, the author and preserver of all good things. They also believed in a malignant being, termed Guayotta, and placed the abode of the wicked in the burning crater of Teneriffe.”
“ What remained of the Guanches," says Humboldt,“ perished mostly in 1494, in the terrible pestilence called the Modorra, which was attributed to the quantity of dead bodies left exposed to the air by the Spaniards, after the battle of La Laguna. The nation of the Guanches was therefore extinct at the beginning of the sixteenth century. A few only were found at Candelaria and Guimar."
“ The practice of embalming bodies and laying them up in mummy-caves or catacombs in the sides of mountains, is the most curious circumstance in the history of the Guanches; it is at least that which has attracted the greatest attention. The mummies were placed erect upon their feet against the sides of the caves ; chiefs had a staff placed in their hands, and a vessel of milk standing by them.” The vessels that were shown me in the museum at Santa Cruz, as those found along with the mummy, were rude wooden bowls. A similar practice was observed by the ancient Peruvians. “ Nicol, an English traveller, states, that he had seen 300 of these corpses together, of which he says, that the flesh was dried up, and the bodies as light as parchment. Scorey was assured that in the sepulchre of the kings of Guimar there was to be seen a skeleton measuring fifteen feet, the skull of which contained eighty teeth.” As this, however, is but parole or hearsay
evidence, little reliance can be placed upon it. “ The bodies were imbued with a sort of turpentine, and dried before a slow fire, or in the sun. This desiccation was so complete, that the whole mummies were found to be remarkably light; and Blumenbach informs us, that he possesses one which, with its integuments entire, weighs only seven and a half pounds, which is nearly one-third less than the weight of an entire skeleton of the same stature, recently stripped of the skin and muscular flesh. The corpses are decorated with small laces, on which are hung little disks of baked earth.” In the Guanche mummy that I had an opportunity of examining, and to which I before referred, the thongs or laces with which the coverings were decorated, and which were part of the skin in which it was enveloped, were knotted in a very peculiar manner, and evidently with some design. It was not unlike the knotted thongs or Quippoe writing found among the ancient Mexicans. As to the little disks of baked clay to which Dr. Prichard refers, and those pieces of bone which I mentioned in the text, and concerning which the tradition current in the Canaries is, that they were used as money, a remarkable circumstance came under my observation while the first edition of this work was printing. In a most singular and extensive bone-heap, discovered in Dunshaughlin, in the county of Meath, and which I have had an opportunity of examining, there were found, along with some human remains, and a vast collection of antiquities, several circular bone disks, and some cut out of bits of slate, precisely similar to those at Teneriffe. Their use is supposed to have been for spinning thread ; may not those of the Guanches have been used for a like purpose ?
I am much indebted to Mr. Barnwell, on whose ground they were found, for liberty to examine these curious relics, as well as for the bones found in the same situation. I may also remark, that the form of the cranium of this Teneriffe mummy coincided in many respects with the forms of those Celtic heads found in Irish tumuli.
“Mr. Golberry took much pains to collect information respecting the mode used by the Guanches in preparing their mummies, and he has described a mummy in his possession which he selected from among many others still remaining in his time in the mummy-caves at Teneriffe. Of this, he says, the hair was long and black; the skin dry and flexible, of a dark brown colour; the back and breast covered with hair ; the belly and breast filled with a grain resembling rice; the body wrapped in bandages of goat's skin."
Colonel Bory de St. Vincent, in his celebrated and elaborate work upon the Canary Archipelago, (Essais sur les Isles Fortunees,) has laboured to prove their Egyptiau origin, and Blumenbach is inclined to a like opinion; while Dr. Prichard states that there is not sufficient proof to establish identity of origin, or any connexion between the Guanches and the Egyptians. He says—“there seems to be a sufficient evidence in what remains of the languages of the Guanches, to prove their descent from the Berbers of Atlantica. It is difficult to imagine how such a people as the Berbers
of Shúlúh, who are not known to have practised navigation, could find their way from Africa to the Canaries ; but many seas have been traversed by rude, and even by savage people, under circumstances apparently still more unfavourable; and the first population of many countries, notwithstanding all that has been said to the contrary by some writers, has certainly been spread along the sea-coasts, and across seas, for traversing which the races of men thus dispersed, appear to have been in general but ill provided." The Frenchman, to whose work I have already referred, seemed to have anticipated this objection of a distant voyage, and has ventured an opinion that the Canary Archipelago once formed part of a vast Atlantic continent, separated from that of Africa by a narrow strait, (not broader than that of Gibraltar,) called Cape Bojador; and that the elevated portion of these islands was a continuation of the Atlas mountains, which remained standing during some powerful convulsion that rent the surrounding portion of the Atlantic continent from them. But it requires no such plausible but unproved assertions to account for the peopling of an island not more than 200 miles from the main land -a gale of wind would have sent the simplest boat or raft across in forty-eight hours.
Glass, in his history of the Canaries, gives us a description of the mode of embalming of the Guanches, taken from an old Spanish MS. “First they carried it (the body) to a flat stone, where they opened it, and took out the bowels; then twice a-day they washed the porous parts of the body, viz. the arm-pits, behind the ears, the groins, between the fingers, and the neck, with cold water. After washing it sufficiently, they anointed those parts with sheep's butter, and sprinkled them with a powder made of the dust of decayed pine-trees, and a sort of brush-wood, which the Spaniards call Bressos, together with the powder of pumice-stone; then they let the body remain till it was perfectly dry, when the relations of the deceased came and swaddled it in sheep or goat-skins dressed, girding all tight with long leathern thongs ; they put it in the cave which had been set apart by the deceased for his burying-place, without any covering. The king could be buried only in the cave of his ancestors, in which the bodies were so disposed as to be known again. There were particular persons set apart for this office of embalming ; each sex performing it for those of their own. During the process, they watched the bodies very strictly, to prevent the ravens from devouring them; the wife or husband of the deceased bringing them victuals, and waiting on them during the time of their watching.” This account bears a strong resemblance to the mode of preservation used by the Egyptians. Another point of similitude between the two nations is, that the incisor teeth of both were ground down, either by their particular food, or, what is more probable, by some artificial process. Blumenbach gives a representation of the skull of a Guanche, in the fifth Decade of his collection ; and this has many points in common with the white Egyptian race. At the same time, it has also some resemblance to the Celtic races to which I before referred, in the
flattened crown, the projecting occiput, and the great length in its anteroposterior diameter. In a Guanche mummy in the museum of Cambridge, each of the toes and fingers is bound separately by a strip of leather, the same as we find in the higher class of Egyptians. Mr. Marsden has given a table of affinities between the Berber or Numidian, and the Guanche tongues, which in many respects is synonymous with that of the 'Tuariks near Egypt, as shown by the vocabulary of Mr. Norneman.
On the whole, there seem to be many points of resemblance between the Guanches of the Canaries, and one of the races of the ancient Egyptians.
Since the first edition of this work appeared, I had an opportunity of examining some Guanche remains at Paris. One of these, the skull of a full-grown male, discovered by Mons. Bertelot at St. Tesedro, on the road leading to Laguna, in Teneriffe, presented the following peculiarities : The points of sustentation were the last molar teeth and the posterior margin of the foramen magnum. It was characterised by its great length from before, backwards, or in the antero-posterior diameter, not unlike the form of skull found in the oldest monuments in Ireland—the occipital bone projecting niore than ordinarily on the side view ; it presented a good oval, with rather a high, marked forehead, and prominent frontal sinuses, similar to those I have already described in the heads in this country. There was some lateral projection of the cheek-bones, and the orbits were rather square, in this respect approaching the Mongolian or Turanian races. The nasal bones were remarkably strong and projecting, so that this race must have had very large prominent noses. The sphenoid bone articulated with the parietal by a suture three-quarters of an inch long. The sutures generally were well marked, and the skull was rather thick and dense in structure.
In the skeleton of a small female, in the collection of the Jardin du Roi, the head possessed similar characters; and the pelvis, which was roomy and well-formed, had its greatest diameter in the antero-posterior direction.
As I obtained several of these animals during our stay at Algiers, I may be permitted to offer some observations on them. There were two descriptions--the first and most common, about an inch and a half long-the Amphioxus Lanceolatus of Yarrell; and the Limax of Pallas, who first noticed it. The body is diaphanous, and enclosed in a thin flexible envelope, pot circular, but preserving a five, and in some instances a seven-sided figure. This in every respect resembles the calamus or pen of some of
the Mollusca, especially that in the common cuttle-fish. These little animals had a power of attaching themselves to each other in a remarkable manner, sometimes clustering together, and at others, forming a string six or eight inches long; the whole mass seemed to swim in unison, and with great rapidity, going round the vessel with a snake-like form and motion. They adhered to one another by their flat sides—when in line, the head of one coming up about one-third on the body of the one before it; no doubt those sides are of use in forming this attachment. The other variety was thinner, and from two and a half to three inches long, having a large dorsal fin, which moved continually in an extraordinary manner, describing a circle by rotating upon its narrow base. The mouth was a circular disk, surrounded by ciliæ that continued in constant motion. When put into a tumbler of water, it moved round the glass, and although no eyes were perceptible, it carefully avoided the finger, or any substance put in its way, stopping suddenly, or turning aside from it. Both these animals when taken out of the water kept up a strong pulsatory motion for some time. The small one (the Amphiozus Lanceolatus) by this means pumped out of its interior a quantity of air and water; and they could be seen coming to the surface to inhale, and a globule of air was observed floating through the internal cavity. In the larger species the internal tube was perfectly distinct, and of a blue colour. When put into spirits and water it died almost immediately, and turned opaque. A number of circular bands also appeared on it. Mr. Yarrell, in his beautiful work on British fishes, has placed this singular little animal among the finny tribe. With all due deference to that learned naturalist, I would suggest the following reasons for it belonging to the mollusca :—The absence of vertebral column, the transparency, and the thin flexible skeleton of the animal being external.
REMARKS ON THE LINEN OF THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS.
The great antiquity of the manufacture of linen, and the numerous uses to which it has been applied by the ancients and moderns, gives this subject a degree of interest, almost greater, perhaps, than any other connected with the arts and manufactures. This is increased by the difference of opinion that exists at present amongst professed antiquaries : those of the continent, in many cases, maintaining that all the specimens of woven fabrics found by them in Egypt, or brought home from that country, excepting those made of silk and wool, were composed of cotton ; while the British antiquaries, with few exceptions, maintain, that all similar articles