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D . A r P L E T O N AN D C' O ^f P A N Y ,
c\ ' T^ W'J AND 551 BROADWAY.
UNITY OF THE HUMAN SPECIES.
EMPIRES AND KINT.DOMS OP NATURE. â€” THE HUMAN KINGDOM. â€”
ANTHROPOLOGICAL METHOD 1
GENERAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL DOCTRINES ; MONOGENIS.M AND POLY-
SPECIES AND RACK IN THE NATURAL SCIENCES .... 35
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CROSSING BETWEEN VEGETABLE AND ANIMAL RACES AND SPECIES ;
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CROSSING BETWEEN IHMAN GROUPS. â€” UNITY OF THE HUMAN
OIJIGIN OF TIIK IIUM.VN SPFXIES.
ORIGIN OP SPECIES. â€” HYruTllESES Ol' TKANSMl TATION.â€” DARWINIS 1 89
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â€” â™¦ â€”
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GKNKRAL onsKllVATIONS.â€” EXTERNAL CHARACTERS . . . 349
ANATOMICAL tllAH.VCTER.S ........ 370
rHY.SIOLOOICAL CHARACTER.S JOD
PATHOLOGICAL CHARACTERS 422
PSYCHOLOGICAL CHARACTERS OF THE HUMAN SPECIES.
IKTELLECTCAL CEAIIACTERS 431
MORAL CIIAU\CTER3 459
RELIGIOUS CHARACTERS 473
THE HUMAN SPECIES.
UNITY OF THE HUMAN SPECIES.
EMPIRKS AND KINGDOMS OF NATURE. â€” THE HUMAN
KINGDOM. â€” ANTHROPOLOGICAL METHOD.
I. The naturalist -vvlio meets -with an object for the first
time, instinctively asks the question : â€” What is this object ?
This question leads to another : â€” With what other objects
shall I class it ? To what group, and, in the first place, to
what kingdom does it belong ? Is it a mineral, a plant, or
an animal ?
The answer is not always easy. We know that, in what
may be called the basis of each Jcingdom, there are ambigu-
ous forms, whose nature has long been, and still is, the sub-
ject of contention among naturalists. We know that polyps
were long regarded as plants, and that nullipores, at first
taken for polyps, are now divided between the vegetable and
mineral kingdoms ; and, finally, we know that even now,
botanists and zoologists dispute over certain diatoms and
transfer them from one kingdom to the other.
Similarly the (juestion has been a.sked : â€” What is man ?
and it has been answered from several points of view. To
the naturalist it has but one meaning', and sijrnifics in which
kingdom must man be placed ? or Ijctter : is man an animal?
2 The Human Sj)ccics.
In spite of all the differences Avhich a comparison of man
with the mammalia presents, should he be classed with
tliem ? This question is similar to that which Peysonnel
is said to have asked himself, when, struck by the special
phenomena presented by the coral, he asked himself whether
the object before him was a vegetable.
It is evident that, in order to solve the first problem which
arises from a study of the natural history of man, we must
have a clear idea Avhat are these great groups of beings,
which are called kingdoms ; we must give an account of
the characters which distinguish and separate them from
each other, and then of their true scientific meaning. It
will be sufficient for the purpose to explain the well-known
laws of Linnaeus, supplementing the theory of the immorUil
Swede by some ideas borrowed from Pallas and de Candolle,
and by one of the fundamental conceptions which Adamson
and A. L. de Jussieu have almost equally contributed to in-
troduce into science.
11, It is impossible for anyone, whether learned or otherwise,
not to recognise at once the difference between two kinds of
objects very distinct from each other : inanimate bodies and
organised beings. Those are the two groups into which
Pallas has divided kingdoms under the name of empires.
Their distinction is generally easy, and I shall confine my-
self to recalling some of the most es.scntial differences.
Inanimate bodies, when placed under favourable circum-
stances, last for an indelinite time, neither taking nor giving
anytiiing to the surrounding world ; organised beings, under
whatever conditions they are placed, only last for a fixe<l
period of time, and, during this existence, undergo every
moment losses of substance which they repair by means of
materials taken from without. Inanimate bodies, even
when they asstime the fixed and definite form of crystals,
arc formed indejtendently of all other bodies resembling
them ; they have from their conmicncemcnt fixed forms,
and increa.se sinij)ly by snj)erposition of new layers. Every
organised Ix'ing is connected either directly or indirectly
Empires and Kingdoms of N'alurc. 3
Avith a similar bcinf,^ in the interior of which it first appeared
in the form of a germ, tlien grew and acquired its definite form
In other words, filiation, nutrition, birth and death, arc so
many characteristics of the organised being, of which no
trace is found in inanimate bodies. I agree witli Pallas in
making inanimate bodies compose tlie Inorganic Empire,
and organised beings the Organic Empire.
I must here make an observation, the importance of wliich
will be easily understood.
Tiie existence of the two groups which have been recog-
nised by the good sense of the general public as well as by
the science of Pallas, is a fact al)solutely independent of all
hypothesis. Whatever explanation we may propose to ac-
count for the differential phenomena which distinguish them,
these phenomena will not the less exist ; the inanimate body
will never be an orifanised being.
To attempt, under any pretext whatever, to reconcile or
confound these two kinds of objects with each other, is to
go in direct opposition to all the progress made for more
than a century, and especially during the last few years, in
physics, chemistry and ph3'siology. It is inexplicable to me
that some men, whose merits I otherwise acknowledge,
should have recently again compared crystals to the simplest
living forms, to the sarcodic organisms, as they were called
by Dujardin, who discovered them, and was the first to give
a comprehensive theory of them from minute observations.
A change of name is useless ; the things remain the same,
and protoplasm has the same properties as sarcode. The
animals, whose entire substance they seem to form, have not
altered their nature ; whether monera or amoeba?, these
forms are the antipodes of the crystal from every point of
A crystal, as M. Naudin has well remarked, closely re-
semblfs one of those regular piles of .shot which may be seen
in every arsenal. It only incre.'ises from the exterior, as the
pile is increased when the soldier adds a fresh layer of shot ;
4 The IJiDiian Species.
its molecules arc just as immovable as the balls of iron. It
is exactly the contrary with the organised being, and the
simpler its composition the greater the contrast. The small
size of the moneron and the ania'ba prevents, it is true,
certain observations. I appeal, however, to all those natu-
ralists who have studied certain marine sponges in a living
state. They must like myself have remarked the strange
activity of the mial x'ddYl][)Ool in the semi-sarcodic substance
which surrounds their siliceous or horny skeleton ; they will
have seen the sea water in which they arc placed move with
a rapidity which it never exhibits when in contact with any
The reason is that, in the organised being, the repose of
the crystal is replaced by an incessant movement ; that,
instead of remaining immovable and unalterable, the mole-
cules are unceasingly undergoing transformation, changing
tlieir composition, producing fresh substances, retaining some
and rejecting others. Far from resembling a pile of shot,
the organised being may much rather be compared to the
combination of a number of physico-chemical apparatus,
constantly in action to burn or reduce materials borrowed
from without, and ever making use of their own substance
for its incessant renewal.
In other Avords, in the crystal once formed the forces
remain in a state of stable equilibrliim, which is only in-
terrupted by the influence of exterior causes. Hence the
)Â»ossibility of its indefinite continuance without any change
either of its forms or of its properties. In the organised
being the C(juilibrium is unstable, or rather, there is no equi-
librium ])r(iperly so called. Every moment the organised
being ex|)eiids as much furcc liS mailer, and owes its con-
tinuance solely to the balance of the <jain and loss. Hence
the possibility of a modification nf its jiropertics and fnriii
without its ccjLsiug to exist.
Such art' lln' bare facts which rest upon no hypothesis what-
ever; and how can wc, in the jircsence of these facts, com pan'
the crystal which grows in a saline solution to the germ which
Empires and Kiiit^doius of Nature. 5
becomes in succession embryo, foetus, and finally a complete
animal ? How can we confuse the inanimate hothj with the
The two groups arc easily separated by the phenomena
they exhibit. It is the same Avith the causes of the phe-
Naturalists and physiologists are here divided. Some
would have it that the cause, or the causes, are identical,
and that conditions, which are almost accidental, alone de-
termine the difl'erence in the results by changing their mode
of action. In their opinion the formation of a crystal or of
a moneron is only a rpiestion of residtant.
Others consider living beings a.s the result of a cau.sc
entirely different from those which act in inanimate bodies,
and refer to this cause alone everything which takes place
in these beings.
These two methods appear to me, from the exclusive
element in each, to be equally ill-founded. It cannot be
denied that phenomena identical with those characteristic
of inanimate bodies are found in organised beings, and we
have, therefore, no scientific reason to attribute them to
But organised beings have also their special phenomena
radically distinct from, or even opposed to, the former. Is it
possible to refer all of them to one, or to several, identical
causes? I think not. For this reason, I admit with a great
number of eminent men of every age and country, and, I
believe, with the majority of those that respect modern
science, that organised beings owe their distinctive charac-
teristics to a Special Cause, to a Siyecial Foire, to Life,
which in them is a.ssociated with the inorganic forces. Fur
this reason I consider it legitimate to call them Living
I shall often, however, return to this class of considera-
tions, in order to make it quite clear in what sense I take
these words. Force, and Life.
III. The two Empires of Pallas are themselves sub-
6 TJic Human Species.
divided into Kingdoms, -wliicli arc characterised by special
facts and plienonieua, becoming more and more complicated
as we ascend the scale of nature.
And, in the first place, I distinctly admit with de Candolle
the existence of a Sidereal Kingdom. To any one who
considers, as far as we are able, the little that we know of
the universe, the celestial bodies, suns, planets, and comets
or satellites only appear as molecules of the great All which
fills indefinite Space. One general phenomenon which is
uncliangeable, however varied in its forms, is, as it were, the
attribute of these bodies. All, whether gaseous or solid,
obscure or luminous, hot or cold, move within curves of the
same nature, obeying the laws discovered by Kepler. It is
now well known that fuved sUirs do not exist.
In order to explain this phenonunon philosophers have
admitted the existence of a force which they have called
Gravitation, the effect of which is to precipitate the stars
towards one another, as if they mutually attracted each other,
whilst obeying the laws of Newton. Now it is well known
that the great Englishman himself gave no opinion upon the
mode of action of this force, and that he hesitated between
the hypothesis of Attraction and that of Tmpuhion. The
first should prevail as being more in acconlance with the
immediate results of observation ; but the second also has
had serious partisans, among wlioin I will only mention
M. de Tessan.
Thus Newton, in spite of all his genius, cannot tell us
what wa.s the cause of the movement of the stars ; he was
iKjt even able to determine the immediate mode of action of
tiiis cause ; and yet there is not a scientific term more
universally received than that of Gravitation, there is not a
case in which the expression Force is more generally ac-
cepted. Tlie reason <Â»l" this is, that in the presence of
general facts and groups of phenomena, it is necessary to
make use of terms as simple as possible. AVe must, however,
avoid the delusion of thiidiing tliat itamliifj is ecjuivalent to
explain in fj.
Empires and Ki)i!^douis of N'ature. 7
In cases analogous to that of which we have been treating,
tlie word Force merely indicates the presence of an Un-
Jcnoiun Cause, which gives rise to a group of fixed pfieno-
mena. In assigning names to each of the Forces or
Unknown Causes to which we consider ourselves able to
refer certain groups of phenomena, we facilitate the demon-
stration and discussion of the facts. The scientific man
knows very well that he cannot go beyond this.
It is in this sense, and in this sense alone, that I have
used above the expressions Force and Life. Astronomers
consider gravitation the unknown cause of the movement of
the stars; I consider Life as the unknown cause of the
phenomena which arc characteristic of organised beings.
It may be that both gravitation and Life, as well as the
other general forces are merely as x, of which the equation
has not yet been discovered. I shall presently return to
Be this as it ijiay, whatever our -real ignorance, whatever
the Cause of ^Yhich we are here treating, and though Iin-
indalon i\\o\\\i\ one day replace Attraction in our Theories,
the facts would still remain the same. The stars would
still be distributed through space, and subject to the laws of
Newton and Kepler; they would still constitute a perfectly
distinct whole, in the part assigned to the bodies which
compose it, and in the nature of the relations which unite
them. They would still form the Sidereal Kinfjdom.
This kingdom is then characterised by u general i^he-
iwmeiW)}, the Keplerian Movement, which may be attri-
buted to a single force, namely that oi gravitation.
IV. Let us now return to the Earth, the only celestial
body which we can study in detail. Modem discoveries,
however, judging from the relation of the elements and their
mutual action, make it almost certain that the greatest
similarity exists between the stars distributed in space,
between all those at least which form part of our hcavon.s.
Let us first establi.sh the fact that upon our globe we
again meet with the Koplerian Movement in falling bodies.
8 TJie Human Species.
Attraction is here represented by Wei[jht. Gravitation re-
appears with all its laws, acting upon grains of dust as it
acts upon Avorlds. The parts of the whole, of cosmos, as
Humboldt would have said, cannot escape from the force
which governs the whole.
But upon the surface of our Earth and in its interior, as
far as we have been able to penetrate either by direct
observation or scientific induction, we notice the appearance
of other movements which are not subject to the laws of
Kepler or Newton ; phenomena appear which are entirely
new and perfectly distinct from those due to gravitation.
They are the physico-chemical phenomena. From their
number and their difference in character they were long
attributed to the action of distinct forces which were called
Electricity, Heat, Magnetism, etc. Modern science, however,
by transforming, so to speak, one into the other, has demon-
strated their original unity. Physicists refer them all to
nothing more than so many manifestations of the undula-
tions of ether. The vibration of the latter is then the
fundamental phenomenon from which all the others rise.
But this ether is absolutely hypothetical ; its nature is
perfectly unknown ; no one knowing whence it acquires
this quantity of movement, which, according to actual
theory, should be subject neither to increase nor diminution.
Now, in reality, we have here the Unknown cause of all
physico-chemical phenomena. For this reason, and also for
convenience, we shall give a name to this unknown cause,
to ih'iH force, and call it Etlicrodynamy (Etherodynamie).
But is not Etherodynamy only a particular form, a simple
modification, or an eticct of gravitation ? Are not tlicso
two forces only different manifestations of a more general
force ? Many eminent men are much inclined to admit
one or other of these hypotheses. Still, up to the present
time, the facts do not seem to me to shew nmch agreement
with them. Etherodynamy is displayed even in space and
among the stars by variable, locali.sed and temporary jiheno-
mena; the action of gravitation is niic, universal and
Empires and Kingdoms of Nature. 9
constant. Man has always been able to exercise a certain
amount of control over tiic former; he can produce at will
light and heat ; modern science cannot act ujjon the second.
We can neither augment nor diminish, reflect or refract, or
polarise weight ; we cannot aiTest its action. Even in the
full of bodies the regularity in the acceleration of tlie motion
l)roves that the cause of this movement is subject to no
alteration. Here then is no iranmnutation of force i\vc\\\x\x
to that in a machine worked by electricity or heat.
But whatever be the progress of science, and though M.
de Tessan's theory should be confirmed by experiment, the
difference between the phenomena would not be diminished ;
the conclusions to be draw^n from the facts in connection
with the question we are here discussing would remain the
It is scarcely necessary to remark that the physico-
chemical phenomena produced by etherodynamy can act
upon masses or be exclusively molecular. They are in all
cases similar to those which depend upon gravitation, they
are subject to invariable laws and are always repeated in
a similar manner when produced under similar circum-
No antagonism, it is true, exists between gravitation and
etherodynamy. It is no less true that the action of the
first is always disturbed in a peculiar manner by that of the
second, and that in some phenomena it seems as if the
latter would neutralise the former. This fact is most
strikingly shown in some of the commonest experiments in