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The Descent Of Man

Chapter VII

 

ON THE RACES OF MAN.

The nature and value of specific characters–Application to the races of
man–Arguments in favour of, and opposed to, ranking the so-called races of
man as district species–Sub-species–Monogenists and polygenists–
Convergence of character–Numerous points of resemblance in body and mind
between the most distinct races of man–The state of man when he first
spread over the earth–Each race not descended from a single pair–The
extinction of races–The formation of races–The effects of crossing–
Slight influence of the direct action of the conditions of life–Slight or
no influence of natural selection–Sexual selection.

Sexual selection is a form of natural selection in which organism of one biological sex chooses their mating partner of another biological sex. The theory of natural selection was put forward by English scientist Charles Darwin in 1871, he felt natural selection alone is not capable of nonendurance of adaptation for certain species. Click Qprofit System trading to know more.

It is not my intention here to describe the several so-called races of men;
but I am about to enquire what is the value of the differences between them
under a classificatory point of view, and how they have originated. In
determining whether two or more allied forms ought to be ranked as species
or varieties, naturalists are practically guided by the following
considerations; namely, the amount of difference between them, and whether
such differences relate to few or many points of structure, and whether
they are of physiological importance; but more especially whether they are
constant. Constancy of character is what is chiefly valued and sought for
by naturalists. Whenever it can be shewn, or rendered probable, that the
forms in question have remained distinct for a long period, this becomes an
argument of much weight in favour of treating them as species. Even a
slight degree of sterility between any two forms when first crossed, or in
their offspring, is generally considered as a decisive test of their
specific distinctness; and their continued persistence without blending
within the same area, is usually accepted as sufficient evidence, either of
some degree of mutual sterility, or in the case of animals of some mutual
repugnance to pairing.

Independently of fusion from intercrossing, the complete absence, in a
well-investigated region, of varieties linking together any two closely-
allied forms, is probably the most important of all the criterions of their
specific distinctness; and this is a somewhat different consideration from
mere constancy of character, for two forms may be highly variable and yet
not yield intermediate varieties. Geographical distribution is often
brought into play unconsciously and sometimes consciously; so that forms
living in two widely separated areas, in which most of the other
inhabitants are specifically distinct, are themselves usually looked at as
distinct; but in truth this affords no aid in distinguishing geographical
races from so-called good or true species.

Now let us apply these generally-admitted principles to the races of man,
viewing him in the same spirit as a naturalist would any other animal. In
regard to the amount of difference between the races, we must make some
allowance for our nice powers of discrimination gained by the long habit of
observing ourselves. In India, as Elphinstone remarks, although a newly-
arrived European cannot at first distinguish the various native races, yet
they soon appear to him extremely dissimilar (1. ‘History of India,’ 1841,
vol. i. p. 323. Father Ripa makes exactly the same remark with respect to
the Chinese.); and the Hindoo cannot at first perceive any difference
between the several European nations. Even the most distinct races of man
are much more like each other in form than would at first be supposed;
certain negro tribes must be excepted, whilst others, as Dr. Rohlfs writes
to me, and as I have myself seen, have Caucasian features. This general
similarity is well shewn by the French photographs in the Collection
Anthropologique du Museum de Paris of the men belonging to various races,
the greater number of which might pass for Europeans, as many persons to
whom I have shewn them have remarked. Nevertheless, these men, if seen
alive, would undoubtedly appear very distinct, so that we are clearly much
influenced in our judgment by the mere colour of the skin and hair, by
slight differences in the features, and by expression.

There is, however, no doubt that the various races, when carefully compared
and measured, differ much from each other,–as in the texture of the hair,
the relative proportions of all parts of the body (2. A vast number of
measurements of Whites, Blacks, and Indians, are given in the
‘Investigations in the Military and Anthropolog. Statistics of American
Soldiers,’ by B.A. Gould, 1869, pp. 298-358; ‘On the capacity of the
lungs,’ p. 471. See also the numerous and valuable tables, by Dr.
Weisbach, from the observations of Dr. Scherzer and Dr. Schwarz, in the
‘Reise der Novara: Anthropolog. Theil,’ 1867.), the capacity of the lungs,
the form and capacity of the skull, and even in the convolutions of the
brain. (3. See, for instance, Mr. Marshall’s account of the brain of a
Bushwoman, in ‘Philosophical Transactions,’ 1864, p. 519.) But it would be
an endless task to specify the numerous points of difference. The races
differ also in constitution, in acclimatisation and in liability to certain
diseases. Their mental characteristics are likewise very distinct; chiefly
as it would appear in their emotional, but partly in their intellectual
faculties. Every one who has had the opportunity of comparison, must have
been struck with the contrast between the taciturn, even morose, aborigines
of S. America and the light-hearted, talkative negroes. There is a nearly
similar contrast between the Malays and the Papuans (4. Wallace, ‘The
Malay Archipelago,’ vol. ii. 1869, p. 178.), who live under the same
physical conditions, and are separated from each other only by a narrow
space of sea.

We will first consider the arguments which may be advanced in favour of
classing the races of man as distinct species, and then the arguments on
the other side. If a naturalist, who had never before seen a Negro,
Hottentot, Australian, or Mongolian, were to compare them, he would at once
perceive that they differed in a multitude of characters, some of slight
and some of considerable importance. On enquiry he would find that they
were adapted to live under widely different climates, and that they
differed somewhat in bodily constitution and mental disposition. If he
were then told that hundreds of similar specimens could be brought from the
same countries, he would assuredly declare that they were as good species
as many to which he had been in the habit of affixing specific names. This
conclusion would be greatly strengthened as soon as he had ascertained that
these forms had all retained the same character for many centuries; and
that negroes, apparently identical with existing negroes, had lived at
least 4000 years ago. (5. With respect to the figures in the famous
Egyptian caves of Abou-Simbel, M. Pouchet says (‘The Plurality of the Human
Races,’ Eng. translat., 1864, p. 50), that he was far from finding
recognisable representations of the dozen or more nations which some
authors believe that they can recognise. Even some of the most strongly-
marked races cannot be identified with that degree of unanimity which might
have been expected from what has been written on the subject. Thus Messrs.
Nott and Gliddon (‘Types of Mankind,’ p. 148), state that Rameses II., or
the Great, has features superbly European; whereas Knox, another firm
believer in the specific distinctness of the races of man (‘Races of Man,’
1850, p. 201), speaking of young Memnon (the same as Rameses II., as I am
informed by Mr. Birch), insists in the strongest manner that he is
identical in character with the Jews of Antwerp. Again, when I looked at
the statue of Amunoph III., I agreed with two officers of the
establishment, both competent judges, that he had a strongly-marked negro
type of features; but Messrs. Nott and Gliddon (ibid. p. 146, fig. 53),
describe him as a hybrid, but not of “negro intermixture.”) He would also
hear, on the authority of an excellent observer, Dr. Lund (6. As quoted by
Nott and Gliddon, ‘Types of Mankind,’ 1854, p. 439. They give also
corroborative evidence; but C. Vogt thinks that the subject requires
further investigation.), that the human skulls found in the caves of
Brazil, entombed with many extinct mammals, belonged to the same type as
that now prevailing throughout the American Continent.

Our naturalist would then perhaps turn to geographical distribution, and he
would probably declare that those forms must be distinct species, which
differ not only in appearance, but are fitted for hot, as well as damp or
dry countries, and for the Artic regions. He might appeal to the fact that
no species in the group next to man–namely, the Quadrumana, can resist a
low temperature, or any considerable change of climate; and that the
species which come nearest to man have never been reared to maturity, even
under the temperate climate of Europe. He would be deeply impressed with
the fact, first noticed by Agassiz (7. ‘Diversity of Origin of the Human
Races,’ in the ‘Christian Examiner,’ July 1850.), that the different races
of man are distributed over the world in the same zoological provinces, as
those inhabited by undoubtedly distinct species and genera of mammals.
This is manifestly the case with the Australian, Mongolian, and Negro races
of man; in a less well-marked manner with the Hottentots; but plainly with
the Papuans and Malays, who are separated, as Mr. Wallace has shewn, by
nearly the same line which divides the great Malayan and Australian
zoological provinces. The Aborigines of America range throughout the
Continent; and this at first appears opposed to the above rule, for most of
the productions of the Southern and Northern halves differ widely: yet
some few living forms, as the opossum, range from the one into the other,
as did formerly some of the gigantic Edentata. The Esquimaux, like other
Arctic animals, extend round the whole polar regions. It should be
observed that the amount of difference between the mammals of the several
zoological provinces does not correspond with the degree of separation
between the latter; so that it can hardly be considered as an anomaly that
the Negro differs more, and the American much less from the other races of
man, than do the mammals of the African and American continents from the
mammals of the other provinces. Man, it may be added, does not appear to
have aboriginally inhabited any oceanic island; and in this respect, he
resembles the other members of his class.

In determining whether the supposed varieties of the same kind of domestic
animal should be ranked as such, or as specifically distinct, that is,
whether any of them are descended from distinct wild species, every
naturalist would lay much stress on the fact of their external parasites
being specifically distinct. All the more stress would be laid on this
fact, as it would be an exceptional one; for I am informed by Mr. Denny
that the most different kinds of dogs, fowls, and pigeons, in England, are
infested by the same species of Pediculi or lice. Now Mr. A. Murray has
carefully examined the Pediculi collected in different countries from the
different races of man (8. ‘Transactions of the Royal Society of
Edinburgh,’ vol. xxii, 1861, p. 567.); and he finds that they differ, not
only in colour, but in the structure of their claws and limbs. In every
case in which many specimens were obtained the differences were constant.
The surgeon of a whaling ship in the Pacific assured me that when the
Pediculi, with which some Sandwich Islanders on board swarmed, strayed on
to the bodies of the English sailors, they died in the course of three or
four days. These Pediculi were darker coloured, and appeared different
from those proper to the natives of Chiloe in South America, of which he
gave me specimens. These, again, appeared larger and much softer than
European lice. Mr. Murray procured four kinds from Africa, namely, from
the Negroes of the Eastern and Western coasts, from the Hottentots and
Kaffirs; two kinds from the natives of Australia; two from North and two
from South America. In these latter cases it may be presumed that the
Pediculi came from natives inhabiting different districts. With insects
slight structural differences, if constant, are generally esteemed of
specific value: and the fact of the races of man being infested by
parasites, which appear to be specifically distinct, might fairly be urged
as an argument that the races themselves ought to be classed as distinct
species.

Our supposed naturalist having proceeded thus far in his investigation,
would next enquire whether the races of men, when crossed, were in any
degree sterile. He might consult the work (9. ‘On the Phenomena of
Hybridity in the Genus Homo,’ Eng. translat., 1864.) of Professor Broca, a
cautious and philosophical observer, and in this he would find good
evidence that some races were quite fertile together, but evidence of an
opposite nature in regard to other races. Thus it has been asserted that
the native women of Australia and Tasmania rarely produce children to
European men; the evidence, however, on this head has now been shewn to be
almost valueless. The half-castes are killed by the pure blacks: and an
account has lately been published of eleven half-caste youths murdered and
burnt at the same time, whose remains were found by the police. (10. See
the interesting letter by Mr. T.A. Murray, in the ‘Anthropological Review,’
April 1868, p. liii. In this letter Count Strzelecki’s statement that
Australian women who have borne children to a white man, are afterwards
sterile with their own race, is disproved. M. A. de Quatrefages has also
collected (Revue des Cours Scientifiques, March, 1869, p. 239), much
evidence that Australians and Europeans are not sterile when crossed.)
Again, it has often been said that when mulattoes intermarry, they produce
few children; on the other hand, Dr. Bachman, of Charleston (11. ‘An
Examination of Prof. Agassiz’s Sketch of the Nat. Provinces of the Animal
World,’ Charleston, 1855, p. 44.), positively asserts that he has known
mulatto families which have intermarried for several generations, and have
continued on an average as fertile as either pure whites or pure blacks.
Enquiries formerly made by Sir C. Lyell on this subject led him, as he
informs me, to the same conclusion. (12. Dr. Rohlfs writes to me that he
found the mixed races in the Great Sahara, derived from Arabs, Berbers, and
Negroes of three tribes, extraordinarily fertile. On the other hand, Mr.
Winwood Reade informs me that the Negroes on the Gold Coast, though
admiring white men and mulattoes, have a maxim that mulattoes should not
intermarry, as the children are few and sickly. This belief, as Mr. Reade
remarks, deserves attention, as white men have visited and resided on the
Gold Coast for four hundred years, so that the natives have had ample time
to gain knowledge through experience.) In the United States the census for
the year 1854 included, according to Dr. Bachman, 405,751 mulattoes; and
this number, considering all the circumstances of the case, seems small;
but it may partly be accounted for by the degraded and anomalous position
of the class, and by the profligacy of the women. A certain amount of
absorption of mulattoes into negroes must always be in progress; and this
would lead to an apparent diminution of the former. The inferior vitality
of mulattoes is spoken of in a trustworthy work (13. ‘Military and
Anthropological Statistics of American Soldiers,’ by B.A. Gould, 1869, p.
319.) as a well-known phenomenon; and this, although a different
consideration from their lessened fertility, may perhaps be advanced as a
proof of the specific distinctness of the parent races. No doubt both
animal and vegetable hybrids, when produced from extremely distinct
species, are liable to premature death; but the parents of mulattoes cannot
be put under the category of extremely distinct species. The common Mule,
so notorious for long life and vigour, and yet so sterile, shews how little
necessary connection there is in hybrids between lessened fertility and
vitality; other analogous cases could be cited.

Even if it should hereafter be proved that all the races of men were
perfectly fertile together, he who was inclined from other reasons to rank
them as distinct species, might with justice argue that fertility and
sterility are not safe criterions of specific distinctness. We know that
these qualities are easily affected by changed conditions of life, or by
close inter-breeding, and that they are governed by highly complex laws,
for instance, that of the unequal fertility of converse crosses between the
same two species. With forms which must be ranked as undoubted species, a
perfect series exists from those which are absolutely sterile when crossed,
to those which are almost or completely fertile. The degrees of sterility
do not coincide strictly with the degrees of difference between the parents
in external structure or habits of life. Man in many respects may be
compared with those animals which have long been domesticated, and a large
body of evidence can be advanced in favour of the Pallasian doctrine (14.
The ‘Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication,’ vol. ii. p. 109.
I may here remind the reader that the sterility of species when crossed is
not a specially-acquired quality, but, like the incapacity of certain trees
to be grafted together, is incidental on other acquired differences. The
nature of these differences is unknown, but they relate more especially to
the reproductive system, and much less so to external structure or to
ordinary differences in constitution. One important element in the
sterility of crossed species apparently lies in one or both having been
long habituated to fixed conditions; for we know that changed conditions
have a special influence on the reproductive system, and we have good
reason to believe (as before remarked) that the fluctuating conditions of
domestication tend to eliminate that sterility which is so general with
species, in a natural state, when crossed. It has elsewhere been shewn by
me (ibid. vol. ii. p. 185, and ‘Origin of Species,’ 5th edit. p. 317), that
the sterility of crossed species has not been acquired through natural
selection: we can see that when two forms have already been rendered very
sterile, it is scarcely possible that their sterility should be augmented
by the preservation or survival of the more and more sterile individuals;
for, as the sterility increases, fewer and fewer offspring will be produced
from which to breed, and at last only single individuals will be produced
at the rarest intervals. But there is even a higher grade of sterility
than this. Both Gartner and Kolreuter have proved that in genera of
plants, including many species, a series can be formed from species which,
when crossed, yield fewer and fewer seeds, to species which never produce a
single seed, but yet are affected by the pollen of the other species, as
shewn by the swelling of the germen. It is here manifestly impossible to
select the more sterile individuals, which have already ceased to yield
seeds; so that the acme of sterility, when the germen alone is affected,
cannot have been gained through selection. This acme, and no doubt the
other grades of sterility, are the incidental results of certain unknown
differences in the constitution of the reproductive system of the species
which are crossed.), that domestication tends to eliminate the sterility
which is so general a result of the crossing of species in a state of
nature. From these several considerations, it may be justly urged that the
perfect fertility of the intercrossed races of man, if established, would
not absolutely preclude us from ranking them as distinct species.

Independently of fertility, the characters presented by the offspring from
a cross have been thought to indicate whether or not the parent-forms ought
to be ranked as species or varieties; but after carefully studying the
evidence, I have come to the conclusion that no general rules of this kind
can be trusted. The ordinary result of a cross is the production of a
blended or intermediate form; but in certain cases some of the offspring
take closely after one parent-form, and some after the other. This is
especially apt to occur when the parents differ in characters which first
appeared as sudden variations or monstrosities. (15. ‘The Variation of
Animals,’ etc., vol. ii. p. 92.) I refer to this point, because Dr. Rohlfs
informs me that he has frequently seen in Africa the offspring of negroes
crossed with members of other races, either completely black or completely
white, or rarely piebald. On the other hand, it is notorious that in
America mulattoes commonly present an intermediate appearance.

We have now seen that a naturalist might feel himself fully justified in
ranking the races of man as distinct species; for he has found that they
are distinguished by many differences in structure and constitution, some
being of importance. These differences have, also, remained nearly
constant for very long periods of time. Our naturalist will have been in
some degree influenced by the enormous range of man, which is a great
anomaly in the class of mammals, if mankind be viewed as a single species.
He will have been struck with the distribution of the several so-called
races, which accords with that of other undoubtedly distinct species of
mammals. Finally, he might urge that the mutual fertility of all the races
has not as yet been fully proved, and even if proved would not be an
absolute proof of their specific identity.

On the other side of the question, if our supposed naturalist were to
enquire whether the forms of man keep distinct like ordinary species, when
mingled together in large numbers in the same country, he would immediately
discover that this was by no means the case. In Brazil he would behold an
immense mongrel population of Negroes and Portuguese; in Chiloe, and other
parts of South America, he would behold the whole population consisting of
Indians and Spaniards blended in various degrees. (16. M. de Quatrefages
has given (‘Anthropological Review,’ Jan. 1869, p. 22), an interesting
account of the success and energy of the Paulistas in Brazil, who are a
much crossed race of Portuguese and Indians, with a mixture of the blood of
other races.) In many parts of the same continent he would meet with the
most complex crosses between Negroes, Indians, and Europeans; and judging
from the vegetable kingdom, such triple crosses afford the severest test of
the mutual fertility of the parent forms. In one island of the Pacific he
would find a small population of mingled Polynesian and English blood; and
in the Fiji Archipelago a population of Polynesian and Negritos crossed in
all degrees. Many analogous cases could be added; for instance, in Africa.
Hence the races of man are not sufficiently distinct to inhabit the same
country without fusion; and the absence of fusion affords the usual and
best test of specific distinctness.

Our naturalist would likewise be much disturbed as soon as he perceived
that the distinctive characters of all the races were highly variable.
This fact strikes every one on first beholding the negro slaves in Brazil,
who have been imported from all parts of Africa. The same remark holds
good with the Polynesians, and with many other races. It may be doubted
whether any character can be named which is distinctive of a race and is
constant. Savages, even within the limits of the same tribe, are not
nearly so uniform in character, as has been often asserted. Hottentot
women offer certain peculiarities, more strongly marked than those
occurring in any other race, but these are known not to be of constant
occurrence. In the several American tribes, colour and hairiness differ
considerably; as does colour to a certain degree, and the shape of the
features greatly, in the Negroes of Africa. The shape of the skull varies
much in some races (17. For instance, with the aborigines of America and
Australia, Prof. Huxley says (‘Transact. Internat. Congress of Prehist.
Arch.’ 1868, p. 105), that the skulls of many South Germans and Swiss are
“as short and as broad as those of the Tartars,” etc.); and so it is with
every other character. Now all naturalists have learnt by dearly bought
experience, how rash it is to attempt to define species by the aid of
inconstant characters.

But the most weighty of all the arguments against treating the races of man
as distinct species, is that they graduate into each other, independently
in many cases, as far as we can judge, of their having intercrossed. Man
has been studied more carefully than any other animal, and yet there is the
greatest possible diversity amongst capable judges whether he should be
classed as a single species or race, or as two (Virey), as three
(Jacquinot), as four (Kant), five (Blumenbach), six (Buffon), seven
(Hunter), eight (Agassiz), eleven (Pickering), fifteen (Bory St. Vincent),
sixteen (Desmoulins), twenty-two (Morton), sixty (Crawfurd), or as sixty-
three, according to Burke. (18. See a good discussion on this subject in
Waitz, ‘Introduction to Anthropology,’ Eng. translat., 1863, pp. 198-208,
227. I have taken some of the above statements from H. Tuttle’s ‘Origin
and Antiquity of Physical Man,’ Boston, 1866, p. 35.) This diversity of
judgment does not prove that the races ought not to be ranked as species,
but it shews that they graduate into each other, and that it is hardly
possible to discover clear distinctive characters between them.

Every naturalist who has had the misfortune to undertake the description of
a group of highly varying organisms, has encountered cases (I speak after
experience) precisely like that of man; and if of a cautious disposition,
he will end by uniting all the forms which graduate into each other, under
a single species; for he will say to himself that he has no right to give
names to objects which he cannot define. Cases of this kind occur in the
Order which includes man, namely in certain genera of monkeys; whilst in
other genera, as in Cercopithecus, most of the species can be determined
with certainty. In the American genus Cebus, the various forms are ranked
by some naturalists as species, by others as mere geographical races. Now
if numerous specimens of Cebus were collected from all parts of South
America, and those forms which at present appear to be specifically
distinct, were found to graduate into each other by close steps, they would
usually be ranked as mere varieties or races; and this course has been
followed by most naturalists with respect to the races of man.
Nevertheless, it must be confessed that there are forms, at least in the
vegetable kingdom (19. Prof. Nageli has carefully described several
striking cases in his ‘Botanische Mittheilungen,’ B. ii. 1866, ss. 294-369.
Prof. Asa Gray has made analogous remarks on some intermediate forms in the
Compositae of N. America.), which we cannot avoid naming as species, but
which are connected together by numberless gradations, independently of
intercrossing.

Some naturalists have lately employed the term “sub-species” to designate
forms which possess many of the characteristics of true species, but which
hardly deserve so high a rank. Now if we reflect on the weighty arguments
above given, for raising the races of man to the dignity of species, and
the insuperable difficulties on the other side in defining them, it seems
that the term “sub-species” might here be used with propriety. But from
long habit the term “race” will perhaps always be employed. The choice of
terms is only so far important in that it is desirable to use, as far as
possible, the same terms for the same degrees of difference. Unfortunately
this can rarely be done: for the larger genera generally include closely-
allied forms, which can be distinguished only with much difficulty, whilst
the smaller genera within the same family include forms that are perfectly
distinct; yet all must be ranked equally as species. So again, species
within the same large genus by no means resemble each other to the same
degree: on the contrary, some of them can generally be arranged in little
groups round other species, like satellites round planets. (20. ‘Origin
of Species,’ 5th edit. p. 68.)

The question whether mankind consists of one or several species has of late
years been much discussed by anthropologists, who are divided into the two
schools of monogenists and polygenists. Those who do not admit the
principle of evolution, must look at species as separate creations, or in
some manner as distinct entities; and they must decide what forms of man
they will consider as species by the analogy of the method commonly pursued
in ranking other organic beings as species. But it is a hopeless endeavour
to decide this point, until some definition of the term “species” is
generally accepted; and the definition must not include an indeterminate
element such as an act of creation. We might as well attempt without any
definition to decide whether a certain number of houses should be called a
village, town, or city. We have a practical illustration of the difficulty
in the never-ending doubts whether many closely-allied mammals, birds,
insects, and plants, which represent each other respectively in North
America and Europe, should be ranked as species or geographical races; and
the like holds true of the productions of many islands situated at some
little distance from the nearest continent.

Those naturalists, on the other hand, who admit the principle of evolution,
and this is now admitted by the majority of rising men, will feel no doubt
that all the races of man are descended from a single primitive stock;
whether or not they may think fit to designate the races as distinct
species, for the sake of expressing their amount of difference. (21. See
Prof. Huxley to this effect in the ‘Fortnightly Review,’ 1865, p. 275.)
With our domestic animals the question whether the various races have
arisen from one or more species is somewhat different. Although it may be
admitted that all the races, as well as all the natural species within the
same genus, have sprung from the same primitive stock, yet it is a fit
subject for discussion, whether all the domestic races of the dog, for
instance, have acquired their present amount of difference since some one
species was first domesticated by man; or whether they owe some of their
characters to inheritance from distinct species, which had already been
differentiated in a state of nature. With man no such question can arise,
for he cannot be said to have been domesticated at any particular period.

During an early stage in the divergence of the races of man from a common
stock, the differences between the races and their number must have been
small; consequently as far as their distinguishing characters are
concerned, they then had less claim to rank as distinct species than the
existing so-called races. Nevertheless, so arbitrary is the term of
species, that such early races would perhaps have been ranked by some
naturalists as distinct species, if their differences, although extremely
slight, had been more constant than they are at present, and had not
graduated into each other.

It is however possible, though far from probable, that the early
progenitors of man might formerly have diverged much in character, until
they became more unlike each other than any now existing races; but that
subsequently, as suggested by Vogt (22. ‘Lectures on Man,’ Eng. translat.,
1864, p. 468.), they converged in character. When man selects the
offspring of two distinct species for the same object, he sometimes induces
a considerable amount of convergence, as far as general appearance is
concerned. This is the case, as shewn by von Nathusius (23. ‘Die Rassen
des Schweines,’ 1860, s. 46. ‘Vorstudien fur Geschichte,’ etc.,
Schweinesschadel, 1864, s. 104. With respect to cattle, see M. de
Quatrefages, ‘Unite de l’Espece Humaine,’ 1861, p. 119.), with the improved
breeds of the pig, which are descended from two distinct species; and in a
less marked manner with the improved breeds of cattle. A great anatomist,
Gratiolet, maintains that the anthropomorphous apes do not form a natural
sub-group; but that the orang is a highly developed gibbon or
semnopithecus, the chimpanzee a highly developed macacus, and the gorilla a
highly developed mandrill. If this conclusion, which rests almost
exclusively on brain-characters, be admitted, we should have a case of
convergence at least in external characters, for the anthropomorphous apes
are certainly more like each other in many points, than they are to other
apes. All analogical resemblances, as of a whale to a fish, may indeed be
said to be cases of convergence; but this term has never been applied to
superficial and adaptive resemblances. It would, however, be extremely
rash to attribute to convergence close similarity of character in many
points of structure amongst the modified descendants of widely distinct
beings. The form of a crystal is determined solely by the molecular
forces, and it is not surprising that dissimilar substances should
sometimes assume the same form; but with organic beings we should bear in
mind that the form of each depends on an infinity of complex relations,
namely on variations, due to causes far too intricate to be followed,–on
the nature of the variations preserved, these depending on the physical
conditions, and still more on the surrounding organisms which compete with
each,–and lastly, on inheritance (in itself a fluctuating element) from
innumerable progenitors, all of which have had their forms determined
through equally complex relations. It appears incredible that the modified
descendants of two organisms, if these differed from each other in a marked
manner, should ever afterwards converge so closely as to lead to a near
approach to identity throughout their whole organisation. In the case of
the convergent races of pigs above referred to, evidence of their descent
from two primitive stocks is, according to von Nathusius, still plainly
retained, in certain bones of their skulls. If the races of man had
descended, as is supposed by some naturalists, from two or more species,
which differed from each other as much, or nearly as much, as does the
orang from the gorilla, it can hardly be doubted that marked differences in
the structure of certain bones would still be discoverable in man as he now
exists.

Although the existing races of man differ in many respects, as in colour,
hair, shape of skull, proportions of the body, etc., yet if their whole
structure be taken into consideration they are found to resemble each other
closely in a multitude of points. Many of these are of so unimportant or
of so singular a nature, that it is extremely improbable that they should
have been independently acquired by aboriginally distinct species or races.
The same remark holds good with equal or greater force with respect to the
numerous points of mental similarity between the most distinct races of
man. The American aborigines, Negroes and Europeans are as different from
each other in mind as any three races that can be named; yet I was
incessantly struck, whilst living with the Feugians on board the “Beagle,”
with the many little traits of character, shewing how similar their minds
were to ours; and so it was with a full-blooded negro with whom I happened
once to be intimate.

He who will read Mr. Tylor’s and Sir J. Lubbock’s interesting works (24.
Tylor’s ‘Early History of Mankind,’ 1865: with respect to gesture-
language, see p. 54. Lubbock’s ‘Prehistoric Times,’ 2nd edit. 1869.) can
hardly fail to be deeply impressed with the close similarity between the
men of all races in tastes, dispositions and habits. This is shewn by the
pleasure which they all take in dancing, rude music, acting, painting,
tattooing, and otherwise decorating themselves; in their mutual
comprehension of gesture-language, by the same expression in their
features, and by the same inarticulate cries, when excited by the same
emotions. This similarity, or rather identity, is striking, when
contrasted with the different expressions and cries made by distinct
species of monkeys. There is good evidence that the art of shooting with
bows and arrows has not been handed down from any common progenitor of
mankind, yet as Westropp and Nilsson have remarked (25. ‘On Analogous
Forms of Implements,’ in ‘Memoirs of Anthropological Society’ by H.M.
Westropp. ‘The Primitive Inhabitants of Scandinavia,’ Eng. translat.,
edited by Sir J. Lubbock, 1868, p. 104.), the stone arrow-heads, brought
from the most distant parts of the world, and manufactured at the most
remote periods, are almost identical; and this fact can only be accounted
for by the various races having similar inventive or mental powers. The
same observation has been made by archaeologists (26. Westropp ‘On
Cromlechs,’ etc., ‘Journal of Ethnological Soc.’ as given in ‘Scientific
Opinion,’ June 2nd, 1869, p. 3.) with respect to certain widely-prevalent
ornaments, such as zig-zags, etc.; and with respect to various simple
beliefs and customs, such as the burying of the dead under megalithic
structures. I remember observing in South America (27. ‘Journal of
Researches: Voyage of the “Beagle,”‘ p. 46.), that there, as in so many
other parts of the world, men have generally chosen the summits of lofty
hills, to throw up piles of stones, either as a record of some remarkable
event, or for burying their dead.

Now when naturalists observe a close agreement in numerous small details of
habits, tastes, and dispositions between two or more domestic races, or
between nearly-allied natural forms, they use this fact as an argument that
they are descended from a common progenitor who was thus endowed; and
consequently that all should be classed under the same species. The same
argument may be applied with much force to the races of man.

As it is improbable that the numerous and unimportant points of resemblance
between the several races of man in bodily structure and mental faculties
(I do not here refer to similar customs) should all have been independently
acquired, they must have been inherited from progenitors who had these same
characters. We thus gain some insight into the early state of man, before
he had spread step by step over the face of the earth. The spreading of
man to regions widely separated by the sea, no doubt, preceded any great
amount of divergence of character in the several races; for otherwise we
should sometimes meet with the same race in distinct continents; and this
is never the case. Sir J. Lubbock, after comparing the arts now practised
by savages in all parts of the world, specifies those which man could not
have known, when he first wandered from his original birthplace; for if
once learnt they would never have been forgotten. (28. ‘Prehistoric
Times,’ 1869, p. 574.) He thus shews that “the spear, which is but a
development of the knife-point, and the club, which is but a long hammer,
are the only things left.” He admits, however, that the art of making fire
probably had been already discovered, for it is common to all the races now
existing, and was known to the ancient cave-inhabitants of Europe. Perhaps
the art of making rude canoes or rafts was likewise known; but as man
existed at a remote epoch, when the land in many places stood at a very
different level to what it does now, he would have been able, without the
aid of canoes, to have spread widely. Sir J. Lubbock further remarks how
improbable it is that our earliest ancestors could have “counted as high as
ten, considering that so many races now in existence cannot get beyond
four.” Nevertheless, at this early period, the intellectual and social
faculties of man could hardly have been inferior in any extreme degree to
those possessed at present by the lowest savages; otherwise primeval man
could not have been so eminently successful in the struggle for life, as
proved by his early and wide diffusion.

From the fundamental differences between certain languages, some
philologists have inferred that when man first became widely diffused, he
was not a speaking animal; but it may be suspected that languages, far less
perfect than any now spoken, aided by gestures, might have been used, and
yet have left no traces on subsequent and more highly-developed tongues.
Without the use of some language, however imperfect, it appears doubtful
whether man’s intellect could have risen to the standard implied by his
dominant position at an early period.

Whether primeval man, when he possessed but few arts, and those of the
rudest kind, and when his power of language was extremely imperfect, would
have deserved to be called man, must depend on the definition which we
employ. In a series of forms graduating insensibly from some ape-like
creature to man as he now exists, it would be impossible to fix on any
definite point where the term “man” ought to be used. But this is a matter
of very little importance. So again, it is almost a matter of indifference
whether the so-called races of man are thus designated, or are ranked as
species or sub-species; but the latter term appears the more appropriate.
Finally, we may conclude that when the principle of evolution is generally
accepted, as it surely will be before long, the dispute between the
monogenists and the polygenists will die a silent and unobserved death.

One other question ought not to be passed over without notice, namely,
whether, as is sometimes assumed, each sub-species or race of man has
sprung from a single pair of progenitors. With our domestic animals a new
race can readily be formed by carefully matching the varying offspring from
a single pair, or even from a single individual possessing some new
character; but most of our races have been formed, not intentionally from a
selected pair, but unconsciously by the preservation of many individuals
which have varied, however slightly, in some useful or desired manner. If
in one country stronger and heavier horses, and in another country lighter
and fleeter ones, were habitually preferred, we may feel sure that two
distinct sub-breeds would be produced in the course of time, without any
one pair having been separated and bred from, in either country. Many
races have been thus formed, and their manner of formation is closely
analogous to that of natural species. We know, also, that the horses taken
to the Falkland Islands have, during successive generations, become smaller
and weaker, whilst those which have run wild on the Pampas have acquired
larger and coarser heads; and such changes are manifestly due, not to any
one pair, but to all the individuals having been subjected to the same
conditions, aided, perhaps, by the principle of reversion. The new sub-
breeds in such cases are not descended from any single pair, but from many
individuals which have varied in different degrees, but in the same general
manner; and we may conclude that the races of man have been similarly
produced, the modifications being either the direct result of exposure to
different conditions, or the indirect result of some form of selection.
But to this latter subject we shall presently return.

ON THE EXTINCTION OF THE RACES OF MAN.

The partial or complete extinction of many races and sub-races of man is
historically known. Humboldt saw in South America a parrot which was the
sole living creature that could speak a word of the language of a lost
tribe. Ancient monuments and stone implements found in all parts of the
world, about which no tradition has been preserved by the present
inhabitants, indicate much extinction. Some small and broken tribes,
remnants of former races, still survive in isolated and generally
mountainous districts. In Europe the ancient races were all, according to
Shaaffhausen (29. Translation in ‘Anthropological Review,’ Oct. 1868, p.
431.), “lower in the scale than the rudest living savages”; they must
therefore have differed, to a certain extent, from any existing race. The
remains described by Professor Broca from Les Eyzies, though they
unfortunately appear to have belonged to a single family, indicate a race
with a most singular combination of low or simious, and of high
characteristics. This race is “entirely different from any other, ancient
or modern, that we have heard of.” (30. ‘Transactions, International
Congress of Prehistoric Archaeology’ 1868, pp. 172-175. See also Broca
(tr.) in ‘Anthropological Review,’ Oct. 1868, p. 410.) It differed,
therefore, from the quaternary race of the caverns of Belgium.

Man can long resist conditions which appear extremely unfavourable for his
existence. (31. Dr. Gerland, ‘Ueber das Aussterben der Naturvolker,’
1868, s. 82.) He has long lived in the extreme regions of the North, with
no wood for his canoes or implements, and with only blubber as fuel, and
melted snow as drink. In the southern extremity of America the Fuegians
survive without the protection of clothes, or of any building worthy to be
called a hovel. In South Africa the aborigines wander over arid plains,
where dangerous beasts abound. Man can withstand the deadly influence of
the Terai at the foot of the Himalaya, and the pestilential shores of
tropical Africa.

Extinction follows chiefly from the competition of tribe with tribe, and
race with race. Various checks are always in action, serving to keep down
the numbers of each savage tribe,–such as periodical famines, nomadic
habits and the consequent deaths of infants, prolonged suckling, wars,
accidents, sickness, licentiousness, the stealing of women, infanticide,
and especially lessened fertility. If any one of these checks increases in
power, even slightly, the tribe thus affected tends to decrease; and when
of two adjoining tribes one becomes less numerous and less powerful than
the other, the contest is soon settled by war, slaughter, cannibalism,
slavery, and absorption. Even when a weaker tribe is not thus abruptly
swept away, if it once begins to decrease, it generally goes on decreasing
until it becomes extinct. (32. Gerland (ibid. s. 12) gives facts in
support of this statement.)

When civilised nations come into contact with barbarians the struggle is
short, except where a deadly climate gives its aid to the native race. Of
the causes which lead to the victory of civilised nations, some are plain
and simple, others complex and obscure. We can see that the cultivation of
the land will be fatal in many ways to savages, for they cannot, or will
not, change their habits. New diseases and vices have in some cases proved
highly destructive; and it appears that a new disease often causes much
death, until those who are most susceptible to its destructive influence
are gradually weeded out (33. See remarks to this effect in Sir H.
Holland’s ‘Medical Notes and Reflections,’ 1839, p. 390.); and so it may be
with the evil effects from spirituous liquors, as well as with the
unconquerably strong taste for them shewn by so many savages. It further
appears, mysterious as is the fact, that the first meeting of distinct and
separated people generates disease. (34. I have collected (‘Journal of
Researches: Voyage of the “Beagle,”‘ p. 435) a good many cases bearing on
this subject; see also Gerland, ibid. s. 8. Poeppig speaks of the “breath
of civilisation as poisonous to savages.”) Mr. Sproat, who in Vancouver
Island closely attended to the subject of extinction, believed that changed
habits of life, consequent on the advent of Europeans, induces much ill
health. He lays, also, great stress on the apparently trifling cause that
the natives become “bewildered and dull by the new life around them; they
lose the motives for exertion, and get no new ones in their place.” (35.
Sproat, ‘Scenes and Studies of Savage Life,’ 1868, p. 284.)

The grade of their civilisation seems to be a most important element in the
success of competing nations. A few centuries ago Europe feared the
inroads of Eastern barbarians; now any such fear would be ridiculous. It
is a more curious fact, as Mr. Bagehot has remarked, that savages did not
formerly waste away before the classical nations, as they now do before
modern civilised nations; had they done so, the old moralists would have
mused over the event; but there is no lament in any writer of that period
over the perishing barbarians. (36. Bagehot, ‘Physics and Politics,’
‘Fortnightly Review,’ April 1, 1868, p. 455.) The most potent of all the
causes of extinction, appears in many cases to be lessened fertility and
ill-health, especially amongst the children, arising from changed
conditions of life, notwithstanding that the new conditions may not be
injurious in themselves. I am much indebted to Mr. H.H. Howorth for having
called my attention to this subject, and for having given me information
respecting it. I have collected the following cases.

When Tasmania was first colonised the natives were roughly estimated by
some at 7000 and by others at 20,000. Their number was soon greatly
reduced, chiefly by fighting with the English and with each other. After
the famous hunt by all the colonists, when the remaining natives delivered
themselves up to the government, they consisted only of 120 individuals
(37. All the statements here given are taken from ‘The Last of the
Tasmanians,’ by J. Bonwick, 1870.), who were in 1832 transported to
Flinders Island. This island, situated between Tasmania and Australia, is
forty miles long, and from twelve to eighteen miles broad: it seems
healthy, and the natives were well treated. Nevertheless, they suffered
greatly in health. In 1834 they consisted (Bonwick, p. 250) of forty-seven
adult males, forty-eight adult females, and sixteen children, or in all of
111 souls. In 1835 only one hundred were left. As they continued rapidly
to decrease, and as they themselves thought that they should not perish so
quickly elsewhere, they were removed in 1847 to Oyster Cove in the southern
part of Tasmania. They then consisted (Dec. 20th, 1847) of fourteen men,
twenty-two women and ten children. (38. This is the statement of the
Governor of Tasmania, Sir W. Denison, ‘Varieties of Vice-Regal Life,’ 1870,
vol. i. p. 67.) But the change of site did no good. Disease and death
still pursued them, and in 1864 one man (who died in 1869), and three
elderly women alone survived. The infertility of the women is even a more
remarkable fact than the liability of all to ill-health and death. At the
time when only nine women were left at Oyster Cove, they told Mr. Bonwick
(p. 386), that only two had ever borne children: and these two had
together produced only three children!

With respect to the cause of this extraordinary state of things, Dr. Story
remarks that death followed the attempts to civilise the natives. “If left
to themselves to roam as they were wont and undisturbed, they would have
reared more children, and there would have been less mortality.” Another
careful observer of the natives, Mr. Davis, remarks, “The births have been
few and the deaths numerous. This may have been in a great measure owing
to their change of living and food; but more so to their banishment from
the mainland of Van Diemen’s Land, and consequent depression of spirits”
(Bonwick, pp. 388, 390).

Similar facts have been observed in two widely different parts of
Australia. The celebrated explorer, Mr. Gregory, told Mr. Bonwick, that in
Queensland “the want of reproduction was being already felt with the
blacks, even in the most recently settled parts, and that decay would set
in.” Of thirteen aborigines from Shark’s Bay who visited Murchison River,
twelve died of consumption within three months. (39. For these cases, see
Bonwick’s ‘Daily Life of the Tasmanians,’ 1870, p. 90: and the ‘Last of
the Tasmanians,’ 1870, p. 386.)

The decrease of the Maories of New Zealand has been carefully investigated
by Mr. Fenton, in an admirable Report, from which all the following
statements, with one exception, are taken. (40. ‘Observations on the
Aboriginal Inhabitants of New Zealand,’ published by the Government, 1859.)
The decrease in number since 1830 is admitted by every one, including the
natives themselves, and is still steadily progressing. Although it has
hitherto been found impossible to take an actual census of the natives,
their numbers were carefully estimated by residents in many districts. The
result seems trustworthy, and shows that during the fourteen years,
previous to 1858, the decrease was 19.42 per cent. Some of the tribes,
thus carefully examined, lived above a hundred miles apart, some on the
coast, some inland; and their means of subsistence and habits differed to a
certain extent (p. 28). The total number in 1858 was believed to be
53,700, and in 1872, after a second interval of fourteen years, another
census was taken, and the number is given as only 36,359, shewing a
decrease of 32.29 per cent! (41. ‘New Zealand,’ by Alex. Kennedy, 1873,
p. 47.) Mr. Fenton, after shewing in detail the insufficiency of the
various causes, usually assigned in explanation of this extraordinary
decrease, such as new diseases, the profligacy of the women, drunkenness,
wars, etc., concludes on weighty grounds that it depends chiefly on the
unproductiveness of the women, and on the extraordinary mortality of the
young children (pp. 31, 34). In proof of this he shews (p. 33) that in
1844 there was one non-adult for every 2.57 adults; whereas in 1858 there
was only one non-adult for every 3.27 adults. The mortality of the adults
is also great. He adduces as a further cause of the decrease the
inequality of the sexes; for fewer females are born than males. To this
latter point, depending perhaps on a widely distinct cause, I shall return
in a future chapter. Mr. Fenton contrasts with astonishment the decrease
in New Zealand with the increase in Ireland; countries not very dissimilar
in climate, and where the inhabitants now follow nearly similar habits.
The Maories themselves (p. 35) “attribute their decadence, in some measure,
to the introduction of new food and clothing, and the attendant change of
habits”; and it will be seen, when we consider the influence of changed
conditions on fertility, that they are probably right. The diminution
began between the years 1830 and 1840; and Mr. Fenton shews (p. 40) that
about 1830, the art of manufacturing putrid corn (maize), by long steeping
in water, was discovered and largely practised; and this proves that a
change of habits was beginning amongst the natives, even when New Zealand
was only thinly inhabited by Europeans. When I visited the Bay of Islands
in 1835, the dress and food of the inhabitants had already been much
modified: they raised potatoes, maize, and other agricultural produce, and
exchanged them for English manufactured goods and tobacco.

It is evident from many statements in the life of Bishop Patteson (42.
‘Life of J.C. Patteson,’ by C.M. Younge, 1874; see more especially vol. i.
p. 530.), that the Melanesians of the New Hebrides and neighbouring
archipelagoes, suffered to an extraordinary degree in health, and perished
in large numbers, when they were removed to New Zealand, Norfolk Island,
and other salubrious places, in order to be educated as missionaries.

The decrease of the native population of the Sandwich Islands is as
notorious as that of New Zealand. It has been roughly estimated by those
best capable of judging, that when Cook discovered the Islands in 1779, the
population amounted to about 300,000. According to a loose census in 1823,
the numbers then were 142,050. In 1832, and at several subsequent periods,
an accurate census was officially taken, but I have been able to obtain
only the following returns:
Native Population         Annual rate of decrease
per cent., assuming it to
(Except during 1832 and     have been uniform between
1836, when the few         the successive censuses;
foreigners in the islands    these censuses being taken
Year        were included.)             at irregular intervals.

1832             130,313
4.46
1836             108,579
2.47
1853             71,019
0.81
1860             67,084
2.18
1866             58,765
2.17
1872             51,531

We here see that in the interval of forty years, between 1832 and 1872, the
population has decreased no less than sixty-eight per cent.! This has been
attributed by most writers to the profligacy of the women, to former bloody
wars, and to the severe labour imposed on conquered tribes and to newly
introduced diseases, which have been on several occasions extremely
destructive. No doubt these and other such causes have been highly
efficient, and may account for the extraordinary rate of decrease between
the years 1832 and 1836; but the most potent of all the causes seems to be
lessened fertility. According to Dr. Ruschenberger of the U.S. Navy, who
visited these islands between 1835 and 1837, in one district of Hawaii,
only twenty-five men out of 1134, and in another district only ten out of
637, had a family with as many as three children. Of eighty married women,
only thirty-nine had ever borne children; and “the official report gives an
average of half a child to each married couple in the whole island.” This
is almost exactly the same average as with the Tasmanians at Oyster Cove.
Jarves, who published his History in 1843, says that “families who have
three children are freed from all taxes; those having more, are rewarded by
gifts of land and other encouragements.” This unparalleled enactment by
the government well shews how infertile the race had become. The Rev. A.
Bishop stated in the Hawaiian ‘Spectator’ in 1839, that a large proportion
of the children die at early ages, and Bishop Staley informs me that this
is still the case, just as in New Zealand. This has been attributed to the
neglect of the children by the women, but it is probably in large part due
to innate weakness of constitution in the children, in relation to the
lessened fertility of their parents. There is, moreover, a further
resemblance to the case of New Zealand, in the fact that there is a large
excess of male over female births: the census of 1872 gives 31,650 males
to 25,247 females of all ages, that is 125.36 males for every 100 females;
whereas in all civilised countries the females exceed the males. No doubt
the profligacy of the women may in part account for their small fertility;
but their changed habits of life is a much more probable cause, and which
will at the same time account for the increased mortality, especially of
the children. The islands were visited by Cook in 1779, Vancouver in 1794,
and often subsequently by whalers. In 1819 missionaries arrived, and found
that idolatry had been already abolished, and other changes effected by the
king. After this period there was a rapid change in almost all the habits
of life of the natives, and they soon became “the most civilised of the
Pacific Islanders.” One of my informants, Mr. Coan, who was born on the
islands, remarks that the natives have undergone a greater change in their
habits of life in the course of fifty years than Englishmen during a
thousand years. From information received from Bishop Staley, it does not
appear that the poorer classes have ever much changed their diet, although
many new kinds of fruit have been introduced, and the sugar-cane is in
universal use. Owing, however, to their passion for imitating Europeans,
they altered their manner of dressing at an early period, and the use of
alcoholic drinks became very general. Although these changes appear
inconsiderable, I can well believe, from what is known with respect to
animals, that they might suffice to lessen the fertility of the natives.
(43. The foregoing statements are taken chiefly from the following works:
Jarves’ ‘History of the Hawaiian Islands,’ 1843, pp. 400-407. Cheever,
‘Life in the Sandwich Islands,’ 1851, p. 277. Ruschenberger is quoted by
Bonwick, ‘Last of the Tasmanians,’ 1870, p. 378. Bishop is quoted by Sir
E. Belcher, ‘Voyage Round the World,’ 1843, vol. i. p. 272. I owe the
census of the several years to the kindness of Mr. Coan, at the request of
Dr. Youmans of New York; and in most cases I have compared the Youmans
figures with those given in several of the above-named works. I have
omitted the census for 1850, as I have seen two widely different numbers
given.)

Lastly, Mr. Macnamara states (44. ‘The Indian Medical Gazette,’ Nov. 1,
1871, p. 240.) that the low and degraded inhabitants of the Andaman
Islands, on the eastern side of the Gulf of Bengal, are “eminently
susceptible to any change of climate: in fact, take them away from their
island homes, and they are almost certain to die, and that independently of
diet or extraneous influences.” He further states that the inhabitants of
the Valley of Nepal, which is extremely hot in summer, and also the various
hill-tribes of India.