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I submit that considerable mental capacity has been exhibited by a primitive race which, on discovering the utility of so novel a substance, could adopt it in place of a material they had previously exclusively used. I think also that no little independence of thought is exercised by the individual who can so modify the force, direction, and methods of his blows as to adapt them to the successful production of the desired implements under such changed conditions. The work is. I submit, superior to that shown in the chipped flints of our prehistoric ancestors in Europe, which were made from a much less delicate and intractable material. It is questionable whether any white man could do it, even if he had had as lengthened experience as 'Flint Jack’in the art of chipping flint.

If imagination is indicative of mental power, the 'folklore' of the aborigines collected and published by Mrs. Langloh Parker, or the legends recorded by Messrs. Baldwin, Spencer, and Gillen, show that it is possessed by them in an eminent degree, both fully equal to those of any of the other primitive races hitherto rated as of higher intellectual capacity. The Honourable Edward Lamb, a former Minister for Lands in Queensland, tells me that he on more than one occasion owed his safety to the bright intelligence of his black companions when exploring. He says that boys of fourteen or fifteen, when riding with him, would converse on subjects of common interest, pointing out animals, birds, stones, trees, plants, &c., giving the native name, and explaining the uses and properties of each as realised by their people. When in camp at night they would point out the stars, giving a name to each, and often recounting the native belief relating to them.

Dr. Walter Roth, in the preface to his Ethnological Studies of the North-Western Queensland Aborigines, says:

I would also draw the attention of the reader to the chapter on the sign language, which I first accidentally hit upon at Roxburgh Downs, on the Upper Georgina. I was out on horseback with some blacks, when one of the boys riding by my side suddenly asked me to halt, as a mate of his in front was after

some emus, consisting of a hen bird and her young progeny. As there had been, apparently to me, no communication whatsoever between the boy in front and the one close to me, separated as they were by a distance of quite 150 yards, I naturally concluded that my informant was uttering a falsehood, and told him so in pretty plain terms, with the result that after certain mutual recriminations he explained on his hands how he had received the information, the statement to be shortly afterwards confirmed by the arrival of the lad himself with the dead bird and some of the young in question. The possibility of such signs being ideagrams, the actual expression of ideas, led me on step by step to making a study of what I subsequently discovered to be an actual, well-defined şign language, extending through the entire North-Western districts of Queensland. It may be interesting to note that I have during the past few months discovered traces of a gesture language, with some of the ideagrams expressed by identical signs, in the coastal district around Rockhampton.

This was written in September 1897. How close is here the resemblance to the gesture language of Southern Europe, especially of Italy, where civilisation has existed for upwards of two thousand years !

I do not claim any originality in my assertion that the Australian aboriginal is possessed of a high order of intelligence, for the same statement has been made by many others before ; but the fact has been so little accepted that its reiteration, with the additional evidence which has come under my own observation, is fully justified.

The mental degradation of the autochthones of Australia has been so generally and unhesitatingly asserted that with the average writer on ethnology it has become an accepted phrase. In addition to others that I have not time to look up, two instances have recently come under my notice which show how carelessly assertions to this effect are made.

One occurs at page 110 in The American Negro, by William Hannibal Thomas, who says: “The Australian Negro, the zero, so to speak, of all anthropological analysis, who is of such low development as to be incapable of dealing with other than units of ideas, as well as of numbers.' The other is in Asia and Europe, by Meredith Townsend, which speaks of the Australian blacks as being the lowest of savages.' Both books were published in 1901.

To show how little foundation there justly is for such perfunctory statements I will support my own experiences as before related with quotations from good authorities, the first being from the Aborigines of Australia, by Bishop Hale, of Perth, W.A., and subsequently of Brisbane, Queensland, who says: 'A shepherd, Adams, has taken to wife a native woman, who had been brought up at some settler's station and was partially educated. Adams could not read, and the black wife taught the white husband to read.'

Again, Mr. James Dawson, in Australian Aborigines, published in Melbourne in 1881, records the following very remarkable evidence :

The inspection of the aboriginal school at Ramahyuck, in Gippsland, during the last eleven years gives a percentage of results higher than the other State schools in Victoria ; and while no doubt this excellence is largely due to the regularity with which the children attend school and to the skill and zeal of the gentlemen who taught them, it fairly shows that aboriginal children are at least equal to others in power of learning those branches of education which are taught in the State schools of Victoria. On several occasions of examination by a Government inspector the percentage of the Ramahyuck School was a hundred, a result unparalleled by any other school in the colony.

Other instances of the mental capacity of the Australian aborigines might be collected, but I submit that they would add but little to the evidence which I have endeavoured to set forth in this paper.

Should enough interest be aroused in any reader to make the effort appear worth while, I would suggest that he should inspect the implements and

of this race in some large museum. Careful examination will show them to possess a design and finish indicative of great ability in the makers.





The two most considerable painters of whom, within the last few years, Death has deprived France have been-if we put aside for the moment Puvis de Chavannes, with his noble and tranquil vision of the elder world-Eugène Boudin and Henri Fantin-Latour. Practically they were contemporaries. Boudin was born in 1824 ; Fantin in 1837. Boudin died in 1898; Fantin in 1904. And each, although, or perhaps because, their themes and their achievements were so different, esteemed the other and the other's work. "Tous mes compliments. Enfin !' wrote Fantin to Boudin, when, in 1883, the‘painter of the Channel' was at length ' medalled.' And, last Spring, in Paris, when, in an hour's talk, that I hoped then might often berepeated, Fantin spoke to me of Boudin, it was of his modesty, as. well

, of course, as of his merit. There is nothing inappropriate in studying for a while these two artists together. They were both striking and potent individualities.


One side of Fantin's art—his exquisite Flower Painting-we, in England, were the first to appreciate. Let us boast where we may. The best of the Criticism of thirty years ago discerned and did justice to the charm of those astonishing, so brilliant, and yet so placid canvases, on which, in very truth, the rose blossoms and the zinnia has lasting life. Most of the finest Flower-pieces Fantin was ever to paint had already then been painted. From 1865 to 1875—or the end of the Seventies it may be—is the great time for his Flowers. It was the best of them that English Criticism had then the chance, and did not then neglect the chance, of appreciating. But in England Fantin's reputation was helped not only by Criticism. The interesting etcher, Edwin Edwards, and his wife-greatly répandus in the artistic world of that time-alert, enthusiastic, as well as influential-were, one or other of them, during long years—first one and then the other, to be absolutely accurate-of infinite service to his name. One or


VOL. LVII-No. 335


two of the dealers, too, “pushed him’ with intelligence; and in England, as a Flower painter, Fantin's place has long been secure.

But there are other sides of his art which the Public here has not had equal opportunities of understanding. Not that opportunities have been wanting altogether. Comparatively lately, Mr. R. Gutekunst and Mr. van Wisselingh have made brave shows of Fantin's Lithographs ; and in his Lithographs only once has Fantin treated a Flower subject. It is a rare piece, and an interesting piece, but not a wholly satisfactory one—a large lithograph of Roses. I take it Fantin promptly recognised that Lithography was not the medium for Flowers, and that on that account the experiment-quite as successful as it could hope to be—was never repeated. Fantin's other lithographs, the mass of his lithographs—most of them admirable altogether—deal exclusively with the Figure. The figure draped, or the figure nude ; the figure of the little bourgeoise, the figure of Eve, the figure as it was suggested to Fantin by the musical romances of Wagner or Berlioz ; but in any case the Figure. These things, then, have been seen lately-I may say more of them by-and-bye--but, speaking broadly, looking back over what is now a generation, allowing for certain exceptions, opportunities have been wanting, here in England, of seeing anything but the Flower pictures. Sometimes, indeed—but it has been very seldom, and chiefly in quite minor examples—we have seen in England the Portraiture ; and the Portraiture, like the Ideal Subjects in Painting and in Lithography, is a side of Fantin's art that it behoves us to know.

But before we glance at that, and at his treatment of the Figure, whether in Painting or Lithography, and before we try to assign to him his place in the Art by which this country best knows him, let us think of the man himself—a man of the South, who had little of Southern temperament; a man typically French, withal; yet the exponent of that side of French character which finds itself content-in a life recueilli, in a life enfermé almost, and at the most uneventful — with a more than English domesticity. Give him his brushes at least --give him his wife, his sister; Music ; Books that he may be read to—and a very passion of domesticity was Fantin's. “Je vais nul part,' he said to me, last April, excusing himself à propos of what I learnt had been Whistler's mild reproaches to him, in that he had failed to pay a visit to that illustrious settler. In the Rue des Saints Pères once, and then again in the Rue du Bac, lived some time the genius of Etching. Fantin lived in a quarter that at least abutted upon that one-he lived in the Rue des Beaux Arts. But the distance was great for a visit. Fantin, I believe, had made a bonne promenade if he had taken the air a little on that light Bridge that spans the Seine hard by—the windy Pont des Arts. I said to M. Durand Ruel, quite lately—to the hale veteran who must have known him from youth-that Fantin had not looked his age, and had not in any way seemed it. 'Il sortait peu,' said M. Durand Ruel, significantly, in full explanation of a death every lover of Fine Art must be sorry for; and I recalled a greyness in the visage not quite in accord with the vivacity of the clear and light blue eye. 'Il sortait peu'-and everything had been said. It reminded me of another and more active vice of Age, that the excellent Henry Vaughan-himself then all but a nonagenarian--signalled to me as in his opinion the most certain precursor of Death. 'He has taken to driving in a brougham,' Henry Vaughan remarked, of a common acquaintance. 'He has taken to driving in a brougham.' The end was near.

But it is of Fantin's life, and his work in it-not of his death, nor of the likelihood of its approach-that I am writing; and—a last word upon the gloomier matter-Death was at least avert for awhile, there is no doubt, by the delightful painter's long Summer sojourning at Buré in the Eure. There, in his own corner of pastoral France—his corner by adoption, I mean—in the direction of La Beauce, which is France's granary, Fantin had the air about him, the quiet air of the belle saison, and, within his sight, roses and dahlias -zinnias, too, in the September days.

Fantin's birthplace was Stendhal's birthplace—Grenoble. His father was a painter, and gave the boy his first lessons. But when to Paris came Fantin, in what was only just young manhood, it was in the studio of Lecoq de Boisbaudran that he received what people speak of as ' training Training, of course, has never made a Master. It has opened, however, some possibilities of mastery; and that Paris studio, in 1857, brought the painter into connection not only with men whose names are to-day forgotten, but with people of genius, who have survived. Of these, the two most conspicuous are Whistler, named already, and Alphonse Legros—in other words, the sybarite of Art and Art's most typical ascetic. And with both, because of real intellectual range, Fantin had sympathy. All threo are, in one's sentiment and thought, curiously bound together, not only by a possession of qualities sterling, austere, and delicate (and austerity in Art could be Whistler's as much as it could be any other's), but likewise because one feels of them, especially, that fashionable or unfashionable, liked or not liked, it is in the very air, somehow, that they outlast our day. Fantin outlasts our day, not less than either of his comrades. In 1859 he was refused in Paris, as Whistler very soon was refused, or ignored, in London.

The austerity of Fantin was shown in nothing more than in his Portraiture. He painted intellect and he painted temperament; he painted Age and Youth ; but the Age must have taken on nothing of artificial—the Youth must have nothing of self-assertiveness ; not much even of expansiveness, nothing of smartness—it is the youth of the refined Bourgeoisie, restricted and content, that knows not the manners of the Parc Monceau, nor the manners of the Faubourg.

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