I joined just because of Dogly's comment.
Yes, he was lame, he was constantly in pain and sick from causes his contemporary doctors could not explain. For some reason, we think we have a better understanding now, but there are so many theories, it's not worth getting into them.
But I wanted to address your concern with the materials used in this cane. First, it's highly unlikely that the two creatures killed to make this cane were killed only in order to do so. They were and are still used for meat and other uses. Whale blubber was the #1 resource for the raw material to make heating and lamp oil until oil processing became easier and more popular sometime in the early 1900s. That is millions of households contributing to whale deaths. Think of it as analogous to wearing leather today, just a byproduct of a huge commercial industry. That may not rub you right either, but certainly it makes it more palatable.
There were no endangered species lists at time (though he was writing about and starting the first ones, the surely didn't include either of these) and it was near impossible to know the eventual outcome at the time. Granted it sure seems like elephants are in a different league to a Brit in terms of exoticism and therefore possibly reasons to not kill it, they are not to many cultures. These cultures kill them for food and all the same uses as people generally kill animals.
So, I stick by the idea that it is similar to wearing leather and jewelry made from kangaroo or wallaby (for relative exoticism), he wasn't misguided or an asshole (for using this cane), it was just normal, and he did need it.
It seems that my statement of "way cool" has a conflicting interpretation.
I appreciate the historical aspect of it and it was way different during his lifetime before we had such a "list".
I do not condone such a thing for just a novelty sake.
I grew up in SE Arizona where the American Indian culture fascinates me. They did not make it a habit of killing just because it was fun or profitable. They used as much of what they killed with minimal waste. This included bones made into tools and jewelery. So I do not consider it "vain" or distasteful being how things were back then. My guess if he were around today he wouldn't of donned such accessories.
I will still eat meat and wear clothing items made with leather. The 'faux" material does not cut it out here in the desert when you need durable long lasting material. I live where I cant just simply go to the store at a whim to replace things.
Does this make a bad person?
I do know that unfortunately in the modern world things are done for the vanity, novelty or because it's taboo.
So we have a case of that was then and this is now. Standards, rules, laws and morals have changed. So it is unfair to compare what is right today to what was right then.
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