Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

judgment." It would make an amusing and im- question much stress has rightly been laid on the portant subject of inquiry, in what cases of phys- period of utero-gestation, as deciding the identity ical science, and yet more of morals and metaphys- or difference of species, we think sufficient imics, new terms might be adopted, with the effect portance has not been attached to the relation of removing doubts and closing controversies en- and adaptation of the sexes of each species to gendered by the faulty or fluctuating use of more one another. This remark very especially apancient names. It is manifest, however, that such plies to the bolder doctrine of transmutation of corrections must never be needlessly or arbitrarily species already discussed. A double transmumade, lest the ambiguity created be greater than tation would in every case be required, and with that removed. And as respects the term in ques- adaptations in every successive stage of change tion, though it has no etymological merits, we which it would defy any calculation of possible doubt whether any could be adopted, expressing chances to meet or explain. in a more convenient form the relation which it professes to describe.

With the impossibility of entering fully into this subject of species, we gladly avail ourselves of the summary which Sir C. Lyell has given, at the end of his 37th chapter, of the conclusions reasonably deduced from our actual knowledge of the conditions and changes of animal and vegetable life existing around us.

1st. There is a capacity in all species to accommodate themselves to a certain extent to a change of external circumstances, this extent varying greatly according to the species.

We cannot hesitate, then, in believing that the permanent individuality of species is the intention and general law of creation. We consider that the variations themselves of which species are rendered capable (doubtless for wise and sufficient purposes) do, by the limits imposed on their extent, express the same general law. And if objection be still taken to the immensity of the numbers of species thus presumed, we answer that he must be indeed an infant in physical science, who would limit the scope of creation by his own conceptions, or define the numbers therein employed by his own narrow use and comprehension of them.

2nd. When the change of situation they can endure is great, it is usually attended by some modifications of the form, color, size, structure, or other particulars; but the mutations thus superinduced it is otherwise. are governed by constant laws, and the capability of so varying forms part of the permanent specific

character.

3rd. Some acquired peculiarities of form, structure, and instinct, are transmissible to the offspring; but these consist of such qualities and attributes only as are intimately related to the natural wants and propensities of the species.

4th. The entire variation from the original type which any given kind of change can produce, may usually be effected in a short period of time, after which no further deviation can be obtained by continuing to alter the circumstances, though ever so gradually-indefinite divergence, either in the way of improvement or deterioration, being prevented, and the least excess beyond the defined limits being fatal to the existence of the individual.

Though we may seem again to have deserted our immediate subject, reflection will show that The physical history of man is based on the same general grounds as that of the rest of the animal creation. Man stands at the head; but in a physical sense he does so simply as the highest in a series of animal types, connected by close though perhaps unequal links, and subject to the same general laws determining He forms a genus to himself on every principle the origin, distribution, and variations of species. of just classification; and it is the conclusion of Prichard and his compeers that this genus differs from all other genera of the animal kingdom, in containing but one species. Still, we must hold it ever in view that Man is a part of the great scale of animal life; and we shall speedily see how many arguments and analogies may be drawn, as to all that regards his physical history, from those inferior forms of being which exist, for his uses or contemplation, in the world around him.

5th. The intermixture of distinct species is guarded against by the aversion of the individuals composing them to sexual union, or by the sterility of the mule offspring. It does not appear that true hybrid races have ever been perpetuated for several This is especially true as respects the inquiry generations, even by the assistance of man; for the to which we now come, having already in part cases usually cited relate to the crossing of mules premised our opinion upon it, viz., whether there with individuals of the pure species, and not to the be one species or more of the genus Man?— intermixture of hybrid with hybrid.

6th. From these considerations it appears that species have a real existence in nature, and that each was endowed, at the time of its creation, with the attributes and organization by which it is now distinguished.-Principles of Geology, 7th edit.,

p. 585.

These conclusions we believe to be valid in all essential points. We suspect if male and female juries of each species could be summoned upon the question of its distinct individuality, they would speedily return an affirmative verdict; and, perchance, with some surprise and amusement at the doubt submitted to them. While in arguing this

whether (to put the most cogent case in front) the perfect Negro and the perfect European, seeing the strong contrasts and diversities they exhibit, can be rightly deemed of the same species?—and whether, to explain other striking varieties in the races of men, it be needful to extend yet further this view of their specific differences? In discussing these points we must limit ourselves to the reasons best fitted to elucidate the conclusions obtained.

The question naturally first occurs—and it is a question which in its nature becomes an argument -if man be not a single species, how many spe

cies of the human being must we count on the each condition includes a liability to such variaearth? The Negro is the most striking contrast tions, more or less, for every species; and it to the European; but the beardless yellow Mon- would seem a general fact that this increases as golian also has characteristics so strongly marked, we rise upwards in the scale of animal life. In that we cannot concede the difference of species in the higher animals, and notably in man, this capacthe one case without admitting it in the other. ity for variation shows itself peculiarly in all that How, or where, are we to stop in these admis- regards the instincts, habits, and mental faculties, sions, when we find diversities alike in kind, and as modified by climate, food, culture, and other different only in degree, existing everywhere contingencies. In the phenomena more strictly of around us; and determining those divisions into physical organization, a lesser amount of change races, of which some have retained the same dis- is likely to occur; yet here also (and it will soon tinctive characters from the earliest periods of his- occur to us as an important point in the argutory? The question is further perplexed by the ment) the familiar experience of every one will inintermixture of races and varieties; rendering it dicate to him innumerable such varieties, more difficult, if not impossible, to define any such prim- striking as the research is more extended and itive separation of origin, as the phrase of dif- minute. ferent species implies. Multiplicity, then, in this case becomes itself an argument for unity. No lines of demarcation are found sufficiently strong to render the plurality of species natural or probable. Every such line is traversed by others, which, while effacing its distinctness, do all point to a certain common origin-expressing in this what we believe to be the unity of the species over the earth.

Taking these circumstances into account, our demand for proof of the identity of species will be limited to such conformity to the several criteria above stated as may be general-never admitting more than a certain amount of deviation from the common characters-the deviations themselves alike in kind under like conditions, and prone to return to this primitive standard when the causes of change are removed. The latter phenomenon, This manner of putting the argument, how-strikingly attested by many well known facts in ever, though strong, is obviously not conclusive. natural history, will be at once felt as a cogent It is rendered much more forcible by a regard argument for the unity of the species in which in detail to those conditions which may fitly be such variations occur, however widely they may considered as showing the identity or diversity alter the aspect of the races and breeds included of species; and, further, by analogies derived from under it. the variations of species in other parts of the Submitting the case of the human being to these animal creation. From these two sources, con- criteria, which have helped to solve the most curring in the evidence they afford, we derive doubtful questions as to other species, we may conclusions as certain as any that can be had in confidently say that an affirmative answer is dethose parts of physical science into which math-rived from all, as to the proper unity of Man. ematical proof does not enter.

In truth each point has been directly or silently

And first, as to the criteria which best deter- conceded, except those which regard configuramine the identity or diversity of species-an in- tion, color, and certain other bodily peculiariquiry of singular interest in its connection with ties on the one hand, and on the other the equalthe physiology both of animal and vegetable life. ity of the mental endowments and capacities. On Limiting our present view to the former, and to these points discussions have been raised; and the part of the scale more approximate to man, with the effect, as we have before stated, of we may name the following conditions as those leading some inquirers to the persuasion that the which must mainly determine the result in each corporeal and mental diversities of the Negro and particular case :—the anatomical structure in all Caucasian cannot be explained otherwise than by its parts the average duration of life-the re-supposing a difference of species-thus sanctionlation of the sexes and laws of propagation, ing the vague and uninstructed belief which the including the periods of utero-gestation and num- ignorant or interested have so often adopted as ber of progeny-the production, or otherwise, to this matter. It may be doubted whether this of hybrid progeny by mixed breeding—the lia-opinion, in its distinct form, has now many adbility to the same diseases-and the possession vocates; and we might not think it needful to of the same instincts, faculties, and habits of dwell on the argument more minutely were it action and feeling. It will be readily admitted not that the reasonings apply almost equally to that wherever individuals or groups of beings that modified view before mentioned, which, withconcur as to these general conditions, there the out denying the identity of the species, affirms proof of identity of species is complete. But we that there were different pairs, of different prim have already alluded to that capacity for varia-itive types, placed separately on the earth. tion within certain limits in each species, which Every argument, of course, which tends to show may as justly be called a law of nature as the that one species is capable of undergoing the division into species itself; and we are in no in- variations actually found among mankind, must stance whatever entitled to expect entire conform- apply pro tanto to this latter doctrine also. ity to the several conditions stated above. In recurring to them hereafter it will be seen that

Looking first, then, to the anatomical part of the question-the characters most dwelt upon in

[ocr errors]

the discrimination of the different races of men | ars, all derived, as we have reason to believe, are the skeleton, and particularly the skull and from the Mongolian stock, present three gradapelvis—the stature-the color of the skin-and tions of change from the pyramidal to the ellipthe nature of the hair. In all the systems of tical type, and bearing proportion to the degree arrangement of these races, the figure of the skull of civilization attained by each. Again, we has formed a principal feature; the differences in have various testimony that the Negro head, so this structure-so important in the organ it en- strongly marked in its characters, is gradually closes-being such as are obvious to the most approximating to the European form, where succareless observer. The early researches and col- cessive generations of Negroes, without actual lections of Camper and Blumenbach have been intermixture, have been in constant communication since much extended, and new specimens of crania with European people and habits. obtained from various parts of the world, particu- As a particular feature of the cranium, the larly from the two American continents; to which facial angle, determining the relation of the line latter class the valuable investigations of Drs. of the forehead to that of the face, is a subject Warren and Morton have been especially directed. of interest, even to the most common observers, These new acquisitions have often proved impor- in its seeming connection with the intellectual tant in furnishing links between cranial forms development and expression. Its great diversity more widely dissociated to our previous knowledge. in different individuals is well known; and the Nevertheless the main differences are strongly enough marked to justify a division into races upon this character, though naturalists have not hitherto wholly agreed in that to be adopted. The one originally proposed by Blumenbach included five races-the Caucasian, Ethiopian, Mongolian, Malayan, and American-and this with little modification was long acquiesced in. The later researches of Dr. Prichard, founded on more ample materials, led him to reduce the chief types of cranial form, and the distinction of races founded thereon, to three only, which he characterizes, from their several peculiarities, as the prognathous, the pyramidal, and the oval or elliptical. The prognathous, or that marked by the predominance of the jaws, is the cranial type of the lower Negro and Australian races-the pyramidal crania, connected with broad, lozenge-formed faces, furnish a type common to the Mongolian or Tartar nations, the Laplanders, Esquimaux, Hottentots,ilies, and in races of mankind. The value of the and many of the American races-the oval or elliptical cranium expresses the form common to the Caucasian races and all the more highly civilized nations of the world.

same variation, within certain limits, extends to different races. Naturalists have busied themselves in giving exact measurement to the angle, both in man and the inferior animals; and with results which at first were held by not a few of them to sanction the idea that the Negro was an inferior species, and descending nearer in this part of his development to the Orang-outang or Chimpanzee. But more exact researches have corrected various errors in these results, both as regards the monkey and the man; degrading the former from his acquired rank, and restoring to the latter his identity with the rest of the human species. In truth, the average diversity in this part of the cranial form in the Negro is far below the occasional deviations of the same kind in the European; and both must be regarded as effects of that general law of variation of species, which shows itself alike in individuals, in fam

last remark will be manifest as respects both this particular topic and all other parts of the question; and we shall have occasion to recur to it again, as one of the keystones of the argument.

While acquiescing in this division, we may add What we have thus stated respecting the dithat we do so simply from its being the one most versities of the skull in different races, and the natural and comprehensive, where some division inferences therewith connected, will exempt us is required for the clear elucidation of the subject. from saying much as to the other anatomical Under the view we entertain that the various points in the question. The form of the pelvis, distinctions of cranial form, endlessly multiplied the length of the forearms, the position of the in detail, are secondary, and all derived from a head in reference to the vertebral column as well common source, we can attach no higher impor- as the color of the skin and character of the hair. tance than this to the classifications proposed. have all been cited in proof of a specific differOur present knowledge enables us to follow these ence between the Negro and European stock, and more strongly marked types into each other, the closer relation of the former to certain species through all the intermediate links; and we can of the quadrumana. But the argument has been go yet further, and affirm that some of these disproved in each case-partly by enlarged inchanges are taking place under our own eyes. quiry, as in the instance of Professor Weber's The Turks of Europe and Western Asia are valuable researches on the pelvis-partly by more doubtless of the same stem as the Turks of Cen- exact admeasurements and the application of that tral Asia; yet they have gained, probably within system of averages which has contributed so a few centuries, the cranial form and facial feat-greatly to the progress of science-partly, again, ures of the Caucasian races; while those retain- by those general considerations we have already ing their original seat and manner of life retain propounded as to the varieties naturally incident also the pyramidal skull and Mongolian characters to the same species, the graduation of all these of the race. The Laplanders, Finns, and Magy-varieties into each other, and the occurrence of

the same or larger deviations in individuals or families as in races of men. Take, for example, the color of the skin, to which the latter class of arguments chiefly applies, and the diversities of which are at least as prominent as those of figure. The extreme contrasts in this case are the Negro and the Albino. The latter is clearly an accidental variety; but, as such, becomes, from its marked characters, a valuable exponent of all other varieties of color. That part of the structure of the skin, which is called the pigment-cell, is evidently capable of undergoing great changes in its secretions from climate, manner of life, and those more mysterious causes connected with generation and the hereditary transmission of bodily features and peculiarities, the mighty influence of which we everywhere see, but which our ignorance makes it difficult yet to subject to particular laws. Time is manifestly an element of the greatest importance here. The amount of change of which we have evidence, even within short periods, is the proof of the capacity for far greater change where time is prolonged, and any particular community so placed as to be exposed continually to the operation of the same physical

causes.

The exuberance of the subject is such that we can but give a slight indication of it here. Those who desire to pursue it further will find ample means of doing so in the many works on Natural History, Physiology, &c., which have lately appeared.* The main point in the argument is this; that other species, and notably the races of domesticated animals, exhibit varieties precisely of the same kind as those occurring in mankind-much more extensive in degree-and in most cases derived from similar causes. The outline of this argument, as applied to the horse, the dog, the ox, the hog, the sheep, the domestic fowl, &c., will be understood by every one. We know, and regard without surprise, those vast diversities of size, figure, color, habits of life, and even instincts of action, which distinguish the various breeds of these animals, separating them all more or less from what we may regard as the original stock of each species. It is only indeed in certain instances that this primitive stock can be ascertained amidst the varieties that have been impressed upon it; the best evidence being that of reversion to the original form in those cases where the artificial conditions of domestication are altered or withdrawn.

When to these considerations we add the par- Selecting one instance in illustration, let it be ticular evidences upon which we have already so the Dog-that singular animal, which Cicero well much dwelt, namely, the fact that nature produces affirms to be created for the especial uses of man. frequent varieties in all races as striking as are What is there in the diversities of the human species the extreme diversities amongst them; and, comparable to those which this animal exhibits in secondly, that there is an entire continuity in the size, in the form of the muzzle and cranium, in the gradations which occur in nature from one diver- color, quality, and quantity of its covering, in the sity to another, we present the argument in the sounds it utters, in its intelligence and habits of most complete form it can assume. Thus, to life? What more different in aspect than the bulltake a single but striking example of the first dog, the Newfoundland dog, the Cuba dog, the case-a Negro may have an Albino offspring pug-dog, and the greyhound? Yet we cannot without pigment-cells a fact that includes at reasonably doubt (the dog itself, whatever its race, once all those minor varieties of color which are certainly does not doubt) the entire identity of the so familiar to us in the same community, and even species. It has been justly stated by M. F. Cuvier in the same family. The continuous gradations that if we begin to number the breeds of this aniof color from the Negro to the native of northern mal as species, we must count up to fifty at least. Europe, though less obvious to common knowl-A question still exists among naturalists whether edge, have been so well substantiated by travel- or not the wolf may be considered its original lers and men of science, that no remaining doubt can exist on the subject. The same two methods af argument (of which we are anxious that our readers should understand the full value) apply equally to the hair of the Negro; which, though called woolly, has been well ascertained to have no relation to wool, and is found to graduate through a series of changes into the ordinary hair of the European races, in one or other of the many varieties which these races present.

The argument for the unity of the human species might perhaps be sufficient, even if it ended here. But it is exceedingly strengthened from a source to which we have more than once alluded, viz., the analogies presented by the inferior species of animal life. We have already said that man, physically considered, (and it must be added intellectually also,) is subject to this questioning by analogy, and it is very pointedly true in the great question of species and varieties.

type. This point-to be settled hereafter by more exact knowledge of the utero-gestation of the wolf and its hybrid relations to the dog-does in no way affect the general argument. What concerns us here is the amount of variation of which the species is capable, and the varieties actually produced by nature or culture, and very especially by the intimate connection of the dog with the uses, habits, and affections of man. These are the illustrations we seek for, and they are abundantly furnished; indicating not merely those changes which are brought about in the individual by the conditions in which he is placed, but still more remarkably those which are transmitted to offspring, and become more or less hereditary in its breeds. Going beyond this again, we find proof in the his

Without any undue preference, we would refer to the copious writings of Dr. Carpenter on these subjects, as distinguished by great ability, and very exact knowledge, brought down to the most recent time.

tory of the same animal, (whicn is made known to is nothing improbable in this view, when we reus even from mummies in the tombs of ancient gard the changes and diversities, actually existing Egypt,) of there being a limit speedily attained to around us. What we are called upon both by these deviations from a primitive type. And we reason and analogy to admit, is a line of ultimate have further authentic evidence that where dogs limit to such deviations, assigned doubtless to us, are removed from the homes and influence of man as to other created beings, by the great Creator they lapse again into a wild state, assume a common and Governor of the whole. form and color distinct from that of their domesticated state, and often even lose the power of barking, which some have supposed to be an acquired quality not natural to the species.* The dingo of Australia and the dhole of India are instances of such seeming relapse to a wild and more primitive

state.

We have hitherto spoken only of those physical conditions of the human being, by which we consider the unity of the species to be vindicated, and which go yet further to render probable the derivation of the whole from a single source. We must not let the argument stop here. The proof rises in value and certitude as we admit the intellectual Similar illustrations might be given from the and moral endowments of man into the question. other domestic animals we have named, but less It is very true that from this source, as well as striking as they become less intimately associated from physical configuration, arguments have been with man. They all offer examples of that re- drawn, and strongly insisted upon, by those who markable class of facts to which we have just al- maintain the specific inferiority of certain races. luded as a main element of the varieties of race- The mental faculties of the Negro in particular those, to wit, which regard the transmission from have been placed in pointed contrast with those of one generation to another of qualities or instincts the European; and the inference thenee derived artificially acquired, but which, so transmitted and that, whether individually or in communities, the maintained by use, tend to become hereditary in the former is incapable of reaching the intellectual breed. The extent to which this capacity for change standard of the latter, or an equal grade of civilproceeds the relative permanence of the changes ization in social life. The advocate for identity so induced the parts of structure or functions of species has been triumphantly called upon to most liable to them-the conditions favoring or produce instances from the Negro race of any high limiting their progress-these are all questions attainments in literature or philosophy; and, in infinitely curious and instructive, and still largely default of these, summary judgment has been taken open to future research. They are connected close-out against the whole race in question. ly, moreover, with the history and theory of anal- Now, on a subject of this kind, we must not be ogous variations in man—the manner of operation governed by mere words, however plausible or being similar, and the extent and limit of deviation sanctioned by common use. The term civilization defined by the same general laws. In these domes- is one of those vague generalities often applied tic species more especially, we have, in the manner for convenience or fashion, with very slender warin which certain acquired qualities become heredi-ranty of facts. How frequently is it defined and tary in particular breeds, an index to the formation tested by conditions belonging to our own usages, of races among mankind. The inquiry, so con- and which are totally inapplicable to other climates ducted, gains in value and importance when we or different circumstances of life! We talk much reflect on its relation to the future destinies of of civilized Europe, and, as matter of general comman; and see in this power of transmission of parison, the expression may be justified. acquired faculties, the possible element of new must not neglect the fact, that there are districts and higher conditions of our own species. There in Ireland-others, much larger, we could name *Every student of the natural history of the dog is in the very centre of France-which hardly rank bound to complete his education at Constantinople. Neg-in real civilization above many of the Negro comlecting the beauties of the Bosphorus, the mosques, se munities of Soudan. If we go into the great cities raglios, and kiosks, he will find ample scope for study in this great canine commonwealth, or rather group of reof the United States, New York, and Philadelphia, publics-for the Turkish capital is parcelled out into a comparison between the free Negro population districts by the dogs themselves, wholly irrespectively and the quarters peopled by Irish emigrants would, of the vast human population tenanting it, with which they have little other concern than as consumers of their we venture to say, be decidedly to the advantage of offal. The canine citizens of Constantinople have no the former. human masters, nor other home than its narrow, steep, and tortuous streets; but they live under certain munici pal regulations of their own, which it would be curious to investigate in detail. That which forbids any interloper of the species to enter other than his own district on pain of being devoured, seems a necessary effect of nunbers pressing hard on the means of subsistence. The dogs of Constantinople are a meagre, sullen, wolfish looking race, covered with scars and bruises from horses' hoofs, indolent from being ill-fed, seemingly careless of life or limb from the same cause. Basking under the mid-day sun, they scarcely move away from man or beast trampling upon them. The political economist, as well as the naturalist, might find many analogies and various materials for study in this great community of dogs, thus strangely insulated from man in the midst of human multitudes.

But we

eminent advancement in literature and science. We are asked for examples of some Even were the demand reasonable on other grounds, seeing the condition under which the Negro has hitherto been placed, we should meet it by asking for similar examples of native growth among the forty millions of Selavonian race who people the vast plains of European Russia. We might variously multiply instances to the same effect, but we prefer resting the case upon what we believe to be an assured fact, viz., that where Negro communities have been associated with European races through a series of generations, their capacities and habits

« VorigeDoorgaan »