Professor Lumohltz's Lecture.


One of the most interesting lectures delivered in Cambridge this year was that given last night under the auspices of the Natural History society of Harvard, by Professor Carl Lumholtz, of the Royal Academy of Sciences, of Christiana. Although but a short notice of the lecture could be given, the large lecture-room of the Jefferson Physical Laboratory was completely filled by an audience which followed with the greatest interest the fascinating recital of the remarkable experiences of Professor Lumholtz among the cannibal aborigines of Australia. The lecture was unusually long, but the attention of the audience was held throughout. The interest in the lecture was greatly increased by the excellent views of Astralian scenery and natives, and also by the delightful touches of humor with which he enlivened his narrative.

After a description of the chief physical and natural characteristics of the country, its flora, fauna, peculiar scenery, which makes the landscape grotesque rather than picturesque, he went on to tell how he happened to visit "the land of the dawning" as a naturalist and investigator. The description of his life among the natives, of its dangers, trials, and compensations, was one of the most interesting portions of the lecture.

What Professor Lumholtz had to say of the natives themselves was, however, the most instructive part of the talk. He is the only European who has ever made this people a study. They are unquestionably the lowest of the human race in the scale of civilization; everything connected with their life proves this. The language is very simple, the vocabulary being extremely limited: there are no general words, as the natives do not make the simplest generalization; whole ideas are expressed by single words, and everything marks a primitive phase of human life. This is even more clearly shown in their weapons and other instruments. The civil customs are similar to those of other people who rank low in civilization. Their religious ideas are very limited; there is no idolatry among the Australians, but their few religions conceptions take the form of the lowest superstitions. To civilization, and Christianity they have not proved susceptible; they are without future, without home, without hope-a doomed people.