body of cavalry 10,000 strong. A rear-guard of 80,000 picked
men covered the retreat of the emigrants. A Russian officer,
who was detained a prisoner for part of the journey, and has
])reserved these details for us, estimated the whole assemblage
at more than 600,000 souls.
The Kalmucks felt the necessity for haste, in order to
cf-cape the attempts which would assuredly be made by
Russia to detain them. In seven days they had accom-
Exod7is of the Kalni7icks from iJie Volga. 183
plished more than 100 leagues, with the weather dry but
cold. Many of the cattle had succumbed, and the want of
milk was beginning to be felt, even for the children. On
arriving at the banks of the Djem, they met with their first
serious disaster ; an entire clan, numbering 9000 horsemen,
was massacred by Cossacks.
At the first intelligence of this flight, however, Catherine
had despatched an army with instructions to bring back the
fugitives. The latter had to pass, at a distance of eighty
leagues from the Djem, a defile which must be taken at any
price. They advanced by forced marches. Unfortunatel}'
snow set in, and they were obliged to stop for ten days. On
arriving at the defile, they found it occupied by Cossacks,
who were however routed, defeated, and massacred by
The defile was passed, but they were forced to redouble
their speed, for the Russian army was upon them. They
killed and salted all the remaining cattle, and left behind
every incapable woman or child, and all their aged or sick.
The winter increased in severity, and though they burnt all
their saddles and waggons, every encampment was marked
by hundreds of frozen corpses. At length the spring came
to alleviate their sufferings, and in the beginning of June,
they crossed the Torgai, which flows into Lake Aksakal, to
the N.N.E. of Lake Aral. In five months the emigrants had
accomplished 700 leagues ; they had lost more than 250,000
souls, whilst the camels alone remained of all their animals.
The Russian officer, Weseloff, who was shortly after set at
liberty, wa.s able to regain the Volga with no other guide
than that of the trail of corpses left upon the route.
The unfortunate fugitives had hoped to enjoy a rest after
having crossed the Torgai. But the Russian army still
followed, and was even reinforced by terrible auxiliarie.s, the
Bashkirs and Kirgliises, hereditary enemies of the Kalmucks.
This light cavalry was now in advance, and it would be
necessary to fight with them while still flying from the
Russians. They were also obliged to skirt the desert, where
184 The Human Species.
they would have perished from hunger, and to cut their way-
through countries where the inhabitants rose in arms to
protect their temtories against the famished invaders.
Winter had given place to Summer ; the emigrants suffered
as much from the heat as they had done from the cold, so
that the rate of mortality was unaltered.
At length, in the month of September, the horde reached
the frontiers of China. For many days they had had no
water. At the sight of a small lake tliey all rushed forward
to quench their thirst ; the confusion was general, when the
Bashkirs and Kirghises, who had never for a moment ceased
to harass the fugitives, threw themselves upon the infatuated
crowd, and would, in all probability, have annihilated them.
Fortunately, the Emperor Kien-long was hunting in the
neighbourhood, accompanied, as usual, by a small army.
Informed of the arrival of the Kalmucks, he had recognised
them in the distance. The sound of his artillery restored
the courage of those who were allowing themselves to be
massacred, and their persecutors suffered a bloody defeat.
It should be added that Kien-long distributed amongst
those whom he had saved, the lands which are occupied by
their descendants at the present time.
The exodus of the Kalmucks is a sufficient answer to
every argument tliat can be advanced on the subject of
primitive migration by land. In eight months, in spite of
the intense extremes of cold and heat, of incessant attacks
from implacable enemies, and in spite of hunger and thirst,
this nation had accomplished a distance equal in a straight
line to one-eighth of the circumference of the earth. If we
take into consideration all the enforced detours, we ought
probably to double the amount. With such facts as these,
how can we doubt the possibility of still longer expeditions
for a tribe advancing peacefully by stages, and having only
to contend against the difficulties presented by the soil or
wild beasts \
MIGRATIONS BY SEA. — POLYNESIAN MIGRATIONS. — MIGRA-
TIONS TO NEW ZEALAND.
I. The greater number of the defenders of autochthony
allow that there is no fundamental impossibility in migration
by land, but maintain that it is different in migrations by
sea. The peopling of America, and especially that of Poly-
nesia, by emigrants from our great continent, is, in their
opinion, far more than could possibly be undertaken or
accomplished by nations unacquainted with the science of
astronomy, and the improved method of navigation. Accord-
ing to them, geographical conditions, winds and currents,
must oppose an insurmountable obstacle to any enterprise of
Starting from Polynesia, let us see how much truth there
is in these assertions. This will be taking, so to speak, the
bull by the horns, for no other part of the globe seems to
justify to such an extent, the opinions of autochthonists.
II. Polynesia is not quite so isolated as we are accustomed
to think. A study of the map alone should be sufficient to
justify us in holding that a maritime people, accustomed to
the navigation of the Malay Archipelago, might, on some
occa.sion, have pushed as far as New Guinea. This fact is
now established above all dispute. Beyond Ne^v Guinea,
the Archipelago of New Britain and the Salomon Islands
would put, so to speak, any fairly adventurous navigators on
their way to the Fiji Islands; once arrived at this archipelago,
however little they may have been impelled by the spirit of
discovery, they must easily have reached Polynesia properly
so called. New Zealand to the south, and the Sandwich
1 86 The Hnnian Species.
Islands to the north, remain, however, beyond the limits of
this route, as it is pointed out by geography.
For bold mariners to be stopped in their advance, winds
and currents must have been invariably contrary and irre-
sistible. The stronger the belief in the universality and
absolute constancy of the trade winds in these regions, the
more was this action atiributed to them. But the investi-
gations which have been carried on in the interests of
science, the writings of Commander Maury, and the charts
of Captain Kerhallet, have taught us that the vaiiable
winds due to the cloud-ring extend over almost twenty
degrees in the maritime area in question. We know, more-
over, that every year the monsoon drives back the trade
winds and blows beyond the Sandwich and Tahiti Islands,
so that instead of the winds being contrary, the}'- are, for
many months, very favrourable for ships sailing eastward.
Considerations drawn from currents lead almost to the
same* conclusions. In tlie Pacific, the equatorial current
running from east to west forms in reality two great
distinct oceanic streams separated by a large counter
current flowing in the reverse direction. The latter skirts
almost the whole northern portion of the Polynesian area ;
it thus, as it were, forms the outlet from the Indian Archi-
pelago. There is every indication of its having played
some part in the history of the dispersion of races in all
parts of Oceania and to the east of the Malay peninsula.
Finally, we know that there is no absolute regularity in
the atmospheric phenomena in the regions of the Pacific,
any more than elsewhere. This ocean has in common with
utliers its typhoons and its tempests, which suddenly change
the direction of the winds and carry sliips before them in
spite of currents. Ishmds, both large and small, with
which it is besot, must often have been visited by sailors
who had thus lost their way, of which we shall presently
Far from being impossible, the peopling of Polynesia by
navigators starting from the Indian Archipelago is relatively
Migrations by Sea. 187
easij at certain times of the year, provided only that the
navigators are courageous and not afraid of losing sight of
land. Now Ave know the character of the Malay popula-
tions in this respect.
Aofain, those Avho have taken all these circumstances into
consideration, Malte-Brun, Homme, Lesson, Ricnzi, Beechey,
Wilkes and others, have not hesitated to regard Polynesia
as having been peopled by migrations advancing from west
HI. Writers, on the contrary, who have only consulted
the imperfect knowledge which we till lately possessed of
these seas, and the ordinary direction of the winds, have
either believed in autochthony or have invented various
theories to explain the presence of man in this multitude of
islands and remote islets.
Ellis held that the Polynesians had been conveyed from
America to Oceania by winds and currents, but this hypo-
thesis has had scarcely any adherents. It is in too direct
contradiction with all the physical, philological, and .social
characters, which refer the Polynesians to the Malay races
as strongly as they separate them from the Americans.
Dumont d'Urville has proposed a theory which, at first
sight, is more satisfactory, and still has a few supporters.
In his opinion, Polynesia is the remains of a great continent
which was originally connected with Asia. This land sank
after some geological revolutions ; the sea covered the
plains and hills, the highest summits only being now
visible and forming the present archipelago. The Poly-
nesians are the descendants of those who survived the
This hypothesis has the advantage of preserving those
relations which were broken by that of Ellis. And, curious
to relate, it agrees with the tradition of the deluge as
preserved by the Tahitians. They say that the great inun-
dation happened without either rain or tempest. It was
the sea which rose and covered the whole earth with the
exception of a flat rock where one man and a woman took
1 88 The Human Species.
refuge. We might say that there Avas nothing in this
account but a mistake which is easily understood. The
sea never rises, but the land may sink, and other people
besides the Tahitians have been deceived.
Nevertheless, we cannot accept the theory of Dumont
d'Urville. It is in contradiction to the zoological facts so
thoroughly investigated by Darwin and Dana. If some of
the atolls of Oceania shew signs of subsidence, a great
number of islands offer incontestable proofs of upheaval,
and Tahiti itself is one of the latter.
But the most serious argument which can be brought
against d'Urville is derived from the inhabitants themselves.
If travellers agree upon one point, it is that from the
Sandwich Islands to New Zealand, from the Tonga Islands
to Easter Island, all the Polynesians belong to the same
race, and speak the same language with mere variations of
Now the Polynesian area, the limits of which I have
just pointed out, is of greater extent than the whole of
A.sia. What would an Asiatic Polynesia be like, if that
continent were to sink beneath the waters and leave only
the summits of its mountains visible, where some repre-.
sentatives of the present inhabitants might take refuge ?
Is it not at once evident that each archipelago, and often
each island, would have its own race and language ?
The considerations drawn from the identity of popula-
tions and languages in Polynesia are of themselves sufficient
to justify the assertion that all the Islanders have a common
origin ; and consequently, that, starting from some unknown
point, they have, in their advance from archipelago to archi-
pelago, peopled by degrees the maritime world in which we
Horatio Hale, the eminent anthropologist of the scientific
expedition of the United States, was the first to approach
the problem from a general point of view ; he solved it as
far as he was able with the data collected by himself, and
sketched the first chait of Polynesian migrations. Fresh
Polynesian Migrations. 189
facts have been obtained since that time. Sir George Grey
has published the liistorical songs of the Maories ; Thomson,
Shortiantl, and Hoclistetter have brought to light fresh tradi-
tions ; M, Remy published a history of Hawaii arranged by
a native. M. Gaussin has carried off the prize in philology
by his admirable work upon the Polynesian language ; the
Ddpot of the French Marine has received special documents
from Tahiti to which General Ribourt, Admiral Lavaud, and
Admiral Bruat have added the results of their own re-
searches. These unpublished materials have been liberally
placed at my disposal, and I have added to them some
facts which have been forgotten. I have thus been able to
confirm, from a general point of view, the conclusions of
Hale, making, however, some important modifications, and
to complete, again with some modifications, his chart of
migrations. My readers will understand that I cannot here
enter into a detailed discussion, and I must beg to refer
them to my work upon The Polynesians and their Migra-
tions. I shall confine myself to a short summary of the
results which, I believe, it demonstrates.
IV. Both physical and philological characters show that
the Polynesians are a branch of those Malay races which
are divided into numerous groups by shades of difference,
sometimes strongly marked. It is to one of these groups
which are least distant from the white type that the nations
in question must be referred.
The starting point of these migrations, which were to
extend so far into the east, was Boeroe Island, which is
represented in all maps between Celebes and Coram. This
conclusion, already proposed with some diffidence by Hale,
seems to me to be placed beyond a doubt by all the tradi-
tions collected at Tonga by Mariner, with whose work the
learned American seems to have been unacquainted.
On quitting the Malay seas, the emigrants must have
followed as nearly as possible the course given above.
Repulsed doubtless by the black races which then, as now,
occupied New Guinea, they passed Melanesia. Some canoes,
IQO The Hwnan Species.
however, probably separated from the others, reached the
eastern extremity of this great island, and there founded a
colony recently discovered by Commander Moresby. It is
this colony which has doubtless furnished the several archi-
pelagos of Melanesia with at least a part of the Polynesian
elements which have been observed by several travellers.
We know, however, thanks to the researches of M. de
Rochas, that the Polynesian elements of the little archi-
pelago of the Loyalty Islands is due to an emigration
passing in 1770 from the Willis Islands to New Caledonia.
The great stream of emigration must have left all
]\Ielanesia to the south, and have separated into three
branches. One would arrive at the Samoa Islands, another
at the Tonga Islands, and a third at the Fiji Islands. The
two first archipelagos were evidently uninhabited, the latter
already possessed by a black population. An alliance was
at first made, however, between the aborigines and the
emigrants, but before long the %mr of races broke out, the
Malays were expelled, probably leaving behind them some
of their women. In this manner the mixed character of
the Fijian population was produced, with which all travellers
have been struck. The ejected Malays gained the Tonga
Islands. Finding them occupied by fellow-countrymen they
attacked and defeated them. Instead of massacring or
enslaving them they invented serfdom, an institution which
has only been met with in this archipelago.
Whilst the Malay colonies founded in the Fiji and
Tonga Islands were dispersed and desolated by a fratricidal
war, those in the Samoan archipelago prospered. The
population became denser : the spirit of adventure was not
as yet extinguished, fresh emigrations took to the sea,
advancing in the direction which had led to tbe first
discoveries. At this period the island of Savai played an
important part, according to the universal testimony of
Polynesian traditions. Its name appears in almost all the
archipelagos, scarcely modified by local dialects, in the
Sandwich Islands and in New Zealand, in the Marquesa.s
Polynesian Aligratiojis. 191
Islands as well as in Tahiti, and as far as the Mauaia Islands.
Finally, Tupaia, in drawing tJie curious map, which has been
preserved by Forster, designates Savai" as the mother of all
the others, and represents it as much larger than Tahiti.
This is an error, but this very error proves beyond a doubt
the importance of this locality from our present point of
With the exception of a single emigration, which passed
directly from Tonga to the Marquesas Islands, it is from
the Samoan archipelago, and from Savai in particular, that
all the great expeditions appear to have started, which
formed secondary centres elsewhere. Tahiti and the Manaia
Islands are the two principal. The former peopled the
north of the Pomotous and part of the Marquesas, which,
in turn, sent out colonists to the Sandwich Islands, where,
however, they had been preceded by the Tahitians. The
latter, in which there were both Tahitians and Samoans,
pushed their colonies as far as Rapa, to the Gambler Islands,
to the south-east extremity of Polynesia and to New Zealand
in the south-west.
V. We have only isolated and very incomplete accounts of
the greater number of these migrations. Though sufficient
to remove all doubt as to the fact, they tell us nothing of
the circumstances which accompanied or followed them. It
is quite otherwise when we come to consider New Zealand.
Thanks to the songs collected by Sir George Grey, we possess
the detailed history of this colonisation. This exception is
doubly fortunate as giving us information upon a number
of important points, and precisely in reference to those
islands which, from being situated at a great distance from
Polynesia, properly so called, f\ivour autochthonic hypotheses
more than ail the rest of the area. It seems to me, there-
fore, to be advisable to enter into a few details upon the
It is the inhabitants of Rarotonga, one of the principal
islands of Manaia, who had the honour of discovering and
colonising New Zealand. An emigration from Tonga may,
192 The Htiman Species.
however, at some unknown period have possibly joined'
The Christopher Columbus of this little world was a
certain Ngahue, who was compelled to fly from his country
to escape the persecutions of a queen, who wished to rob
him of a jasper stone. It was doubtless chance which led
him to New Zealand. He here discovered several pieces of
jasper, which probably restored him to the favour of the
female chief, for we do not hear that he was molested on
his return to Rarotonga.
During the absence of Ngahue a general war had broken
out in his island. The vanquished party followed the advice
of the traveller, who persuaded them to go and occupy the
recently discovered land with him. Several chiefs joined
together and constructed six canoes, the names of which
are still preserved. The song translated by Sir George
Grey informs us that one of them, the Araiva, was made of
a tree which had been felled in Rarotonga, situated on the
other side of Hawaiki. This was one of those secondary
Sava'is which I have mentioned above, and the place from
which the emigrants started. "Once," says one of those
songs already quoted, " our ancestors separated ; some were
left at Hawaiki, and others came here in canoes."
The same song describes the accidents of the voyage, the
storms which the navigators met with, the care bestowed
upon the first culture of the soil, the exploring expeditions
undertaken in the new country, and the disagreements
which occurred between the different crews. They show that
the connection with the mother country continued to exiht
for some time, so much so indeed that a young woman
accomplished the voyage with only a few companions, and
warlike expeditions started sometimes from Hawaiki and
sometimes from the colony to avenge some of those outrages
which were considered by these races as demanding the life
of the offender.
There is nothing 'astonishing in these passages. The
Polynesians knew perfectly well how to direct their course
Polynesian Migrations. 193
at sea by the stars, and the route from one point to another
once observed was inscribed, if we may use the expression,
in a song which would never be forgotten. They had a very
correct general idea of the whole of their maritime world.
The map drawn by Tupaia, which I have reproduced in my
book, is equal to those of our savants of the Middle Ages,
while it embraces a considerable area. Tupaia had seen for
himself several of the islands which he represents. Accord-
ing to the calculations of Cook, he must have gone westward
to a distance of 1,000 miles. But it was from the sacred
songs of his country tliat he acquired his knowledge of the
rest of Polynesia, and was able to sketch it with tolerable
As to the canoes in question, they were the same as the
pirogues, which are mentioned by all travellers with admira-
tion, and are declared by Cook to be very suitable for long
voyages. This is a fact which is often established by the
very precise details contained in some of the songs translated
by Sir George Grey. We see, for example, one of the
emigrant chiefs, Ngatoro-i-Rangi, " mount upon the roof of
the hut constructed upon the platform which joined the two
canoes." We have only to add that the Araiva and other
similar vessels generally carried 1-10 warriors, and it will at
once appear how devoid of foundation are the assertions of
those writers who declare these voyages to have been im-
po.ssible for want of suflficient means of transport.
VI. The various documents which we now possess have
not only been of service in proving beyond a doubt the
general fact of migrations, and in acquainting us with the cir-
cumstances by which some of them were accompanied ; they
even enable us to indicate with very tolerable exactness the
date of some of the most important.
Thi.s result is generally obtained by the genealogies of the
principal fiimilies. Each forms a kind of litany, which is
sung in fixed rhythm, and of which each verse contains the
name of a chief and those of his wifie and son. Anyone,
therefore, capable of remembering a song of one hundred
194 '^^^^' Human Species.
verses may easily learn the longest of these genealogies.
Confided to memory by the Arejyos or Keepers of the
Arcldves, they were preserved with jealous care. Thomson
informs us that in New Zealand a serious inquiry was made
into these verbal documents, and their authenticity was so
well established, that they have an equal value in matters of
justice with our deeds.
Now, in the Marquesas, Gattanewa, the friend of Porter,
who was descended from the first colonists of the Tongan
portion of the archipelago, had only eighty-eight predecessors.
At Hawai, the genealogy of the Tamehameha, according to
M. Remy, is contained in seventy-five verses. In 1840,
according to Williams, Rarotonga was governed by the twenty-
ninth descendant of Karika, the founder of the colony. In the
Gambler Islands M. Maigret saw the twenty-seventh reigning
chief since the arrival of the first colonists from Rarotonga.
Hale has shown very clearly that the Hawaian genealogy
contains at the outset, like many others in Europe, some
fabulous personages. He considered it necessary to remove
the first twenty-two verses. Some such correction should
very probably be made in that of the Marquesas Islanders.
As to those of Rarotonga and the Gambler Islands they are
too recent to have been already contaminated by fable.
Hale, guided by considerations which I cannot here dis-
cuss, attributes to each verse of these genealogies the value
of a fjeneration, from twenty-five to thirty years. Thomson
and M. Rem} - , however, having had time to gather more
precise information, regard them as indicating merely reigns.
Calculating the mean duration of these reigns from that given
by the list of French kings from Clovis to Louis XVII., we
obtain as a result 21*13 years.
According to those data, the arrival of the Tongans iu the
Marquesas Islands must have taken place in the year 417 of