Puslapio vaizdai

gather, that by a race he barely means what we would rather call a form. He sees a man with striking peculiarities, among other very different men; and he pronounces at first sight, "This man is of such and such a race." Yet he does not mean that his peculiarities must all have come from distant ancestors, running back indefinitely; for, we have seen, he believes all the races to have been propagated out of one primitive stock. A person who admits this, ought, we think, to give more weight to climate and localities than Dr. Pickering does. For instance, when he finds black Ethiopians on the lowlands, and fair men with features half Indian, half European, on the very elevated table-land of Abyssinia, he ought to attribute something to their local position. If Papuans and Hottentots can have been once propagated out of Arabs or Persians, it seems irrational to confine ourselves to the idea that such changes happened once only, and once for all. Dr. Pickering seems tied fast by the difficulty that three hundred years have not altered the European races in America, although this space of time has altered the plants and some of the animals imported thither. This surely proves too much for him. If it proves anything, it shows that mankind is of many original breeds; and of how many, it is then impossible to guess; they are to be counted by hundreds. But it appears obvious to reply, that civilized man shields himself from the elements, artificially preserves his habits, and with them much of his native type for many centuries longer than in the savage state would happen. On the other hand, it is too obvious to insist, that we must, on any theory, claim not hundreds, but tens of thousands of years for a Persian or Arab race to grow into mop-headed Papuans and square-faced Chinese. Give us but a geologer to mete out the age of the human species, and physiologists will probably feel no further difficulty about the possible origin of man from a single stock.

At the same time, it seems to us there is extraordinary confusion of thought among our best writers on this whole subject. They assume that "unity of species" can mean nothing else but derivation from a single pair of human progenitors, and, therefore, derivation from a single spot in the earth's surface. But this is not at all what we mean


when we attribute unity of species to any of the inferior animals. Indeed, it seems unimaginable, in the case of those weak races on which the stronger feed, that the Creative Power should have originally produced a single pair only, so as to expose the species to inevitable destruction by the loss of one life. No one who speaks of rabbits or sparrows as all of one species," means to express any opinion concerning the past history and origination of the breed; he speaks of a present fact, unembarrassed by speculative difficulties. So, too, when we call mankind a single species, we mean to assert that this group of animals has certain intimate similarities, which associate it into one, and put a chasm between it and all others. These similarities of body and mind are such, that men and women, of any two races that can be picked out at random, are capable of entering into family relationships and common interests. They not only may have common offspring, but a common sense of Right, and Duty, and Religion—a common understanding and sympathy: so that there is neither physiological or mental impediment to any two races being fused into a single nation, possessed of all the attributes of humanity. This intimate congruity of body and mind is an undeniable fact, the moral importance of which is pre-eminent, and the moral influence of which ought not to be risked upon any theory or mythological opinion concerning the origin of Man. The unity of the species, and the moral rights of the individuals who possess its moral nature, remain unaffected, whether mankind have sprung from one or from a thousand pair of progenitors-whether these were brought suddenly into existence by a supreme fiat, or were gradually developed out of an inferior race, which had as yet no self-controlling moral faculties whatever. The fears of philanthropists on this matter have risen out of an ill-grounded and superstitious morality, according to which (it seems), if some antiquarian could prove that the most ancient Celts were a species of monkey, it would at once be legitimate for us to shoot the Welsh for winter sport, and pickle their little children as delicacies for the table.

The numerical estimate formed by Dr. Pickering of the eleven races is as follows, in millions :—

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

But we hardly think he has given evidence that these eleven can, on his own theory, comprise the whole human race. Concerning the Kaffirs and other people of Africa (as Congo and the neighbouring regions), also concerning the primitive inhabitants of South America, nothing that we can remember appears in his pages. A map of the world is intended to exhibit, by various colours, his views concerning the dispersion of these eleven races; but, as often happens, the tints are so like one another, and so illexhibited in the very minute patterns, that we can make nothing of it.

Dr. Pickering does not appear to value much the aid of Comparative Grammar in assisting these researches: or, perhaps, rather we should say, that he looked to other minds, especially to a Mr. Hale, to discuss this side of the extensive discussion. Marsden, we believe, was the first to enter on the interesting question of the relation of the Malay and Polynesian languages; and since his day it has become increasingly manifest that the district of Oceanica contains more materials than any other part of the globe for elucidating the vexed problem concerning the diffusion of Man. One broad fact of contrast strikes us as deserving attention. Ever since Marsden, it has been recognized,— and, in spite of Crawfurd's objections, the conclusion has been reinforced by Humboldt,-that a single tongue, with only secondary modifications, reaches from Madagascar to Easter Island, through the space of 200 degrees of longitude. Contrast this phenomenon with the infinite multiplicity of languages in North America, where no two neighbouring tribes can understand one another! We can only explain this, as implying that in the former case. human nations migrated in considerable masses, so as to retain their primitive speech; in the latter, single families plunged into the forest, and became so isolated as to lose all restraint on the tendency to re-invent language, and

*This epithet, with him, includes black Brahmins and Arabs, and (here) excludes white Abyssinians.

lose the old stock of words. May not this throw light on the great multiplicity of tongues which have astonished investigators in the region of the Caucasus? Vast mountains, like dense forests, which afford facilities for solitary life to single families, so that a single tribe may break up into ten in the course of a century, must be expected to produce in barbarous ages an immense variety of tongues mutually unintelligible.

The mythology of nations is as liable to change as their language; identity of mythology is, therefore, so much the stronger proof of relationship-except, indeed, where it can be accounted for as a speculation suggested by their physical circumstances. The Tonga islanders plant their gods in an oceanic "island of the blessed," similar to that described by Pindar, and believe earthquakes to be caused by the gigantic god Muwi, the earth-supporter and earthshaker, who, however, does not, like Neptune, strike it with his trident, but, like the Typhos of Pindar, turns on his side when uncomfortable. Once upon a time, the ocean covered all the earth, and the god Tongaloa came down to fish. Having let down from the sky his hook and line, he caught something of immense weight, which resisted his efforts to raise it. Believing that he had hooked an enormous fish, he exerted all his strength: at last his line broke, just as he was heaving his burden above the surface. He had raised a vast mass of rock, the points of which projected above the water, and formed the islands of Tonga.-Compare this with the Greek story of Delos and other islands. Altogether, we are not sure that inquirers make sufficient allowance for the tendency of man to invent like tales under like circumstances. Yet it is not by accident that Mawi is also the name of a Tahitian god (Prichard calls him the Prometheus of the Tahitians);-Mauwi also is the mythical ancestor of the New Zealanders, who, with his brothers, is believed by them to have fished up New Zealand. Maui also appears as the name of an island close to Hawaii; but this, perhaps, is a coincidence which denotes nothing.

It has been known, since the time of Sir William Jones, that many Sanskrit roots enter into the Malay. Marsden showed that the phenomenon existed on a very great scale, and Dr. Leyden remarked that the Sanskrit words are far

purer in the Malay than in the Pali and in any modern Indian languages. Hence it has become a curious problem to decide on the nature of the relationship indicated. Bopp has boldly maintained that the Malay is to an earlier Sanskrit only what the Romance languages are to Latin; but this conclusion is not as yet substantiated, and the theory is more plausible which attributes the Sanskritism of the Malay to an Indian influence proceeding from Java. In all this, a field of wide research appears, where it may be anticipated that the phenomena will be found more and more numerous, and more and more fruitful of results, in proportion to the zeal and accomplishments of the inquirers.

Dr. Pickering subjoins to his work a number of curious and elaborate tables concerning the introduction of various plants and animals into America, the islands of the Pacific,-Equatorial Africa,-Southern Arabia, Hindostan,and Egypt. These last seem to warn us that an element of mere hypothesis enters his tables, and that they are not pure fact of observation or of testimony. Nevertheless, the mass of absolute information in them is great, and we suppose is hardly elsewhere accessible. We look on it as so praiseworthy a zeal in a London bookseller to furnish the English public with the rare scientific works of the United States, that we earnestly hope the reception given to Dr. Pickering's volume by our libraries will encourage similar importations.

« AnkstesnisTęsti »