production, the object and the result are fundamentally the
It is true that the language of animals is most rudimentary
and, in this respect, in harmony with the inferiority of their
intelligence. We might say that it was almost entirely
composed of interjections. Such as it is, however, this
2 2 The Human Species.
language is sufficient for the wants of the mammalia and
birds who understand it perfectly, while man himself can
learn it without very much trouble. The hunter can dis-
tinguish the accents of anger, love, pleasure, sorrow, the call
and the signal of alarm and makes use of these indications
as an unfailing guide, and often imitates these accents and
cries in such a manner as to deceive the animal. Of course
I exclude from the language of brutes, the song, properly so
called, of birds, that of the nightingale for example. It
appears to me void of all meaning, as are the notes of a
singer, and I do not believe in the interpretation of Dupont
It is not, therefore, in the plienomena connected with the
intelligence that we shall find the basis of a fundamental
distinction between man and animals.
But in man the existence has been proved of fundamental
phenomena of which nothing either in living beings or
inanimate bodies has hitherto been able to give us any con-
ception. 1st. Man has the perception of moral good and
evil independently of all physical welfare or suffering. 2nd.
Man believes in superior beings who can exercise an in-
fluence upon his destiny. 3rd. Man believes in the prolon-
gation of his existence after this life.
The last two phenomena have always been so closely
connected that it is natural to refer them to the same
faculty, to that namely of Religion. The first depends on
Psychologists attribute religion and morality to the reason,
and make the latter an attribute of man. But with the
reason they connect the highest phenomena of the intelli-
gence. In my opinion, in so doing they confound and refer
to a common origin, facts entirely different. Thus since
they are unable to recognise either moraUty or religion in
animals, Avhich in reality do not possess these two faculties,
they are forced to refuse them intelligence also, although the
same animals, in my opinion, give decisive proof of their
possession of tliis faculty every moment.
The Human Kingdom. 23
The generality of the phenomena which we are discussing
is, I believe, indisputable, especially since the investigation
to which it has been subjected by the Society of Anthro-
pology in Paris, where the question of the human kingdom
has been long and seriously discussed. I cannot here re-
produce the discussion, even in an abridged form, but refer
my readers either to the summary in my Rapport sur les
progres de Vanthroxiologie en France, or to the Bulletins
of the Society. I shall, moreover, go into this subject in
some detail in the chapters devoted to the moral and reli-
gious characters of the human races.
A host of manifestations of human activity are derived, as
so many consequences, from the three facts which I have
pointed out. Customs and institutions of every kind are
connected with them ; they alone explain some of the great
events which change the destiny of nations and the face of
For reasons which I have several times pointed out already,
we must give a name to the Unknown Cause from which
are derived the phenomena of morality and religion. We
will call it the Human mind (I'ame humaine).
I must here repeat the formal declaration which I have
often made already. When I employ this term, which is
established by custom, it is with the understanding that I
strictly confine myself within the limits imposed upon any-
one who intends to be exclusively faithful to science, experi-
ment and observation. I consider the human principle as
the Unknown Cause of exclusively human phenomena. To
go beyond that would be to encroach upon the domain of
philosophy or theology. To them belongs the solution of
the formidable problems raised by the existence of the
'something' which makes a man of an organism entirely
animal, and I give everyone leave to choose from the pro-
posed solutions the one Avhich agi-ees most satisfactorily with
the demands of his own feelings and reason.
But whatever this solution may be, it will in no way affect
the phenomena ; those Avhich I have just described will
24 The Human Species.
neither be diminished nor modified. Now they exist in man
alone, and it is impossible to deny their importance. Thus
they distinguish man from the animal as much as the
phenomena of intelligence distinguish the animal from the
plant, and as the phenomena of life distinguish the plant
from the mineral. They are, therefore, the attributes of a
kingdom, which we will call the Huiiuin Kingdom.
From this conclusion it will seem that I am at variance
with Linnaeus, whose idea I have, however, only developed
and stated more precisely. In fact, the immortal author of
the Sijstema Naturoi has placed his Eomo sapiens amongst
the mammalia in the class of primates, and has made him
conorenous with the gibbon. This is because Linnaeus had
recourse to the System in order to establish his nomen-
clature. To classify man as well as other beings, he has
made an arbitrary choice of a certain number of character-
istics, and only taken those into consideration which were
furnished by the body.
But the language of Linnaeus is very different, even in his
remarks relating to the genus Homo, and still more so in
the kind of introduction entitled Imperiiim Naturce. He
there almost places man in opposition with all beings, and
particularly with animals, and in such terms as necessarily
to suggest the idea of a human Jdngclom.
The reason of this is that here Linnaeus no longer speaks
of physical man, but of man as a whole. Now, thanks to
the labours of Adanson, Jussieu and Cuvier, naturalists
now know that this is the right course to pursue in judging
of the relations which exist between beings. The Natural
Method no longer allows the choice of such or such a gi'oup of
characteristics ; it demands, together with an appreciation of
their relative value, a consideration of all. It is on this
account that I have been led to admit the existence of this
human kingdom, Avhich has been already proposed under
several appellations by some eminent men, but to which I
believe myself to have given a more precise and rigorous
The Human Kingdom.
The table given above must then be completed in the fol-
lowing manner : â€”
r Phenomena of the Keplerian movement
I Physico-chemical phenomena ....
<. Vital phenomena
I Phenomena of voluntary movement .
( Phenomena of morality and religion .
Thus in the human kingdom we find by the side of the
phenomena which characterise it all those which we have met
with in the inferior kingdoms. We are consequently forced
to admit that all the /orcfs and all the unknown causes to
which we have attributed these effects are acting in man.
From this point of view man deserves the name which has
sometimes been given to him of microcosm.
We have seen that in the vegetable kingdom the in-
animate forces perform their functions under the control, so
to speak, of Life, which afterwards, in the animal, showed
incontestable signs of its subordination to the animal mind
Life now appears under similar conditions with regard to the
human mind. In the most characteristic human actions, the
intelligence almost always plays the most prt)minent part
from the executive point of view ; but it is manifestly under
the direction of the human mind. All legislation affects to
rest upon the one foundation of morality and of justice,
which is only a form of it ; the immediate cause of the
Crusades, of the spread of the Arabs, and the conquests of
Islam, was religious fervour. The true legislator and the
great leader are indeed necessarily men of high intelligence,
but IS it not clear that in the cases mentioned the intelli-
gence has been placed at the service of morality or of
religion, and consequently of the Unhioivn Cause to which
man owes these faculties ?
But however preponderating the part claimed by this
26 The Iluuiaji Species.
cause in acts exclusively liuuKiu may be, it lias nothing to do
â– with those phenomena which have their origin in the intel-
ligence alone. The learned mathematician who seeks by the
aid of the most profound abstractions the solution of some
great problem, is completely without the moral or religious
sphere into which, on the contrary, the ignorant, simple-
minded man enters when he struggles, sutlers, or dies for
justice or for his faith.
IX. It was necessary to recall all the facts and theories
which I have just summed up, in order to facilitate the com-
prehension and the justification of the method which alone
can guide us in anthropological studies.
The object of anthropology is the study of man as a
species. It abandons the matcvial indicidual to phy-
siology and medicine; the intellectual and moral indi-
vidual to philosophy and theology. It has, therefore, its
own special field of study, and on that account alone its
special cpiestions, whicii often could not be solved by pro-
cesses borrowed from cognate sciences.
In fact, in some cjuestions, and in some of the most fuuda-
niental ones, the difiiculty lies in the interpretation of pheno-
mena connected with those which are characteristic of all
living beings. For tiie very reason that they are to a certain
extent obscure in man, we cannot seek for an explanation of
them in man, since he becomes, so to speak, the \mknown
cjuantity of the problem. An endeavour to solve the problem
by the study of man, who is the object of it, would be equi-
valent to a mathematician representing the value of x in
terms of j- itself.
How docs the uiathematician proceed ? He seeks in the
data of the problem for a certain number of hnoivii quan-
tities equivalent to the niiknown quanlitij, and by means
of tiicHC (juantitics he determines the value of r.
The anthropologist must act in the sanie manner. But
where must he seek for the known (piantities which will en-
able him to state the eipiation i
The answer to this question will be fouml in wli.it we have
Anthropological Mel hod. 27
said above, and in tlic table of kingdoms. Man, altliough he
lias liis special and exclusively human phenomena, is above
all an organiscil and living being. From thi.s point of
view he is the scat of phenomena common to animals and
plants ; he is subjected to tlie same laws. In his physical
organisation he is nothing more than an animal, somewhat
superior in certain respects to the most highly developed
species, but inferior in others. From this point of view he
presentij organic and physiological phenomena identical with
those of animals in general, and of mammalia in particular;
and the laws which govern these phenomena are the same
in both casc3.
Now plants and animals have been studied for a much
longer period than man, and from an exclusively scientific
point of view, without any trace of the prejudice and party
feeling which often interferes with the study of man. With-
out having penetrated very deeply into all the secrets of vege-
table and animal life, science has acquired a certain number
of fixed and indisputable results which constitute a founda-
tion of positive knowledge, and a safe starting point. It is
there that the anthropologist must seek the known quan-
tidt's of which he may stand in need.
Whenever there is any doubt as to the nature or significa-
tion of a phenomenon observed in man, the corresponding
phenomena must be examined in animals, and even in plants ;
they must be compared with what takes place in ourselves,
and the results of this comparison accepted as they are exhi-
bited. What is recognised as being true for other organised
beings cannot but be true for man.
This method is incontestably scientific. It is similar to
that of modern physiologists, who, since they are unable to
experiment upon man, experiment upon animals, and form
thtir conclusions upon the former from the latter. But the
physiologist devotes his attention to the individual only,
and, therefore, examines little more than those groups which
in their organisation approach most nearly to the being whoso
history he wishes to explain. The anthropologist on the con-
28 TJic Ilitman Species.
trary studies the fqKcies. The questions with wliich he lia,s
to deal are niucli more general, so he is forced to direct his
attention to phints as well as to animals.
This method is accompanied by its criterion ; it allows the
control of tlie various answers which are often made to one
question. The means of estimation are simple and easily
In anthropology, every solution to l)c sound, that is to
say, true, should refer man in everything which is not exclu-
sively human to the general recognised laws for other organ-
ised and living beings.
Every solution which makes or tends to make, man an ex-
ception, by representing liim as free from those laws which
govern other organised and living beings, is unsound and
Again, when we reason and form our conclusions in this
manner, we remain faithful to the mathematical method.
To be received as true, a solution of a given problem must
agree with admitted axioms, with truths previously proved.
Every hypothesis which leads to results at variance with
these axioms or these truths, is, on that account alone, de-
clared false. In anthropology, tlic axiom or the truth which
serves as a criterion is the fundamental, physical, and physio-
logical identity of man with other living beings, with animals,
with mammalia. All hvpotheses at variance with this truth
should be rejected.
Such are the ab.solute rules which have always acted as
my guide in anthropological studies. I do not pretend to
liave invented them. 1 have scarcely done more than for-
mulate what has been more or less explicitly admitted by
Linna-us, Huffon, l..amarck, IJlumenbach, Cuvier, the two
CJeoffroy St, Hilaire, J. Miiller, IJumboldt, etc. But, on
the one hand, my illustri(Â»us predeces.sors have seldom
treated the subject with sufticient precision, and have
too often r)mitted tÂ«) give the reasons for their decisions.
On the other hand these principles have been, and are
daily forgotten by men who, in other respects, enjoy with
Anthropological Method. 29
justice the title of great authorities. As I shall be com-
pelled to (lisjij^'rec with them, I thought it necessary to
show clearly the general ideas which serve as a foundation
for my own scientific convictions. The reader will thus be
able to appreciate and discern the causes of this difference
GENERAL ANTHUOPOLOGICAL DOCTRINES; MONOGENISM
I. As soon as we have determined the phice which shouhl
be assigned to man in the great order of tlie universe, the
first question Avhich rises is, whether there is one human
species, or several.
It is well known that this question has caused a division
amongst anthropohigists. The Pobjfjcnists regard the diifer-
cnces of lieight, features, and colour, which distinguish the
inhabitants of different countries of the globe, as funda-
mental ; the MonofjenistH consider these ditTcrences merely
as the result of accidental conditions, which have modified,
in various degrees, a primitive type. The former- hold that
there are several human apccka perfectly independent of
each other ; the latter that there is hut one species of man
which is dividetl into several races, all of which arc derived
from a common stock.
Ifowcver slight may be our familiarity with the language
of zoology and botany or their applications, it is evident that
the (|iie.stion before us is a ])urely scientific one, and entirely
witiiin the }Â»rovincc of the natural sciences. Unfortunately
the di.scussion has by no means been confined to this
A dogma supported by the authority of the Book wliich
is liehl in almost e(pial respect l>y (Miristian.s, Jews and
Mussulmans, has long referred the origin of all men without
opposition to a single father and mother. Nevertheless, the
first blow aimed at this ancient belief was founded upon
the some book. In Hi'*"' l-i Peyri-re, a Protestant gentle-
I^Tonogcnisin and Polygcnism. 31
man in CondiT.s army, interpreting to the letter the two
narratives of the creation contained in the Bible as well as
various particulars in the history of Adam and of the
Jewish nation, attempted to prove that the latter alone
were descended from Adam and Eve ; that they had been
preceded by other men who had been created at the same
time as the animals in all parts of the habitable globe ; that
tlic descendants of these Freadamites were identical with
the Gentiles, who were always so carefully distinguished
from the Jews. Thus we see that polygcnism generally
reganled as the result of Free Tliowjld was biblical and
dogmatic in origin.
La Peyrt-re attacked the Adamic dogma in the name of
the respect due to the text of a sacred Book. The philo-
sophers of the eighteenth century spoke in the name of
Science and Reason. It is to them that the school of
Pulygeuists in reality owe their origin. But it is easy to
see that the greater number of them were only guided in
their writings by a controversial spirit, their chief aim was
the destructiun of a dogma. Unfortunately, the same pre-
possession appears in too many works published in our
own day. On the other hand certain monogonists arc
guilty of seeking in religious doctrines arguments in favour
of their theory, and anathematising their adversaries in the
name of dogma.
Social and political prejudices in addition to dogmatic
and anti-dogmatic prejudices have helped to make still
more okscure a question already very difficult in itself. In
the United States in particular the advocates of slavery and
its opponents have often fought upon this ground. Further
still in LSH Mr. Calhoun, Minister of Foreign AtTairs, when
replying to the representations made to him by France and
England on the subject of slavery, did not hesitate to
defend the institutions of his country by urging the radical
differences, which, according to him, separated the Negro
from thÂ»! White man.
Bcsidrs lliosc polygenists who are intlucnced by pre-
32 TJtc Human Species.
judices almost or entirely unscientific, there are sincere
and disinterested men of science >vho believe in the multi-
plicity of human origins. Foremost among the latter are
medical men, who arc accustomed to the study of the
individual and >Yho only possess a slight familiarity with
the study of the sjyecies. Then again there are palaeon-
tologists, who from the nature of their work are compelled
only to take into account morphological resemblances and
differences, without even t\irning their attention to facts of
reproduction or of Jlliation. Finally, there are entomolo-
gists, conchologists, etc., who, exclusively interested in the
distinction of innumerable species by purely external charac-
ters, are entirely ignorant of physiological phenomena, and
iud'^e livinrr beinfrs as thcv would fossils.
On the other hand, monogcnism reckons among its
partisans nearly all tho.se naturalists who have turned their
attention to the phenomena of life, and among them some
of the most illu.strious. In spite of the difference of their
doctrines, liuffon and Linnieus, Cuvier and Lamarck, Blain-
ville and the two Geotfroys, Miiller the physiologist and
Humboldt agree upon this point. Apart from any influence
which the name of the.se great men might exercise, it is
clear that I share thfir opinion. I have on diflcrent occa-
sions explained the purely scientific reasons for my con-
victions. I shall now endeavour to sum them up in as few
words as possible.
II. Let us first establish the importance of the ([uestion.
It escapes many minds and I have lieard a doubt expre.s.sed
tipon it by men who havo enthusiastically followed anthro-
pological studies. It is, however, ca.siiy j)rovod.
If the human grotjps liave appeared with iill their dis-
tinctive characters in the i.solated condition, and in the
various localities where geography teaches us to seek
thtm ; if we can trace them up to stocks originally distinct,
thus constituting so many niwcIhI sjn'rirs, then the study of
them is one of the most simple, presenting no more diffi-
culty than that of aniiii.il or vegetable species. There
I^fonogcnism and Polygcnism. 33
would be nothing singular in the diversity of the groups.
It would be sufficient to examine and describe them one
after the other, merely determining the degree of offiniiu
W'tween them. At most we should have to fix their limits
ami to discover the influence which groups geographically
brought in contact had been able to exercise upon each
If, on the contrary, these groups can be traced to one
common primitive stock, if there is hxd one single species of
man, the ditferenccs, sometimes so striking, which separate
the groups, constitute a problem similar to that of our
animal and vegetable races. Further, man is found in all
parts of the globe, and we must account for this dispersion ;
we must explain how the same species has been able to
accommodate itself to such opposite conditions of existence
as those to which the inhabitants of the pole and the
ecjuator are subject. And lastly, the simple afftniln of
naturalists is changed into consanguinity; and the problems
ofJiHation are added to those of variation, migration, and
It is clear that, independently of every religious, philo-
sophical, or social consideration, this science will dififer
entirely in character as we consider it from a polygcnistic
point of view, or according to theories of monogenism.
III. If the former of these doctrines claims such a large
inindxir of adherents, the reason may fur the most part be
found in the causes mentioned above. But its seductive
simplicity and the facility which it seems to lend to the
interpretation of facts also stand for a great deal. Unfor-
tunately these advantages are only apparent. Polygenism
conceals or denies difficulties ; it does not suppress them.
They arc suddenly revealed, like submarine rocks, to anyone
who tries, however little, to go to the root of the matter.
The case is the same with this doctrine as with the Hi/stems
of classification formerly employed in botany and zoology
which resteil upon a small number of arbitrary data. They
Will' uii.lMiilitiiiJy very convenient, but po-sises-sed the serious
34 TJic Human Species.
fault of being conducive to most erroneous opinions from a
destruction of true relations and an imposition of false
Monogenism acts in the same manner as the Xatiwal
Method The zoologist and the botanist are by this method
brought face to face with each problem which is put before
them under every aspect It often displays the insufficiency
of actual knowledge, but it is the only means of destroying
illusions, and of preventing a belief in false explanations.
It is the same with Monogenism. It also brings the
anthropologist face to face with reality, forces him to inves-
tigate every question, shows him the whole extent of each,
and often compels him to confess his inability to solve them.
But by this very means it protects him against error, pro-
voking him to fresh investigation, and from time to time
rewards him with some great progress which remains an
acquisition for ever.
I shall return to these considerations, the truth of which
will be better understood when the principal general ques-
tions of anthropoh^gy have been reviewed. Henceforward I
shall attempt to justify as briefly as possible the preceding
criticisms and eulogies.
SPECIES AND RACE IN THE NATURAL SCIENCES.
I. The question of the unity or nuiltiplicity of the human
species may be stated in the foUowing terms : are the
tlitferences which distinguish tlie human groups characteristic
of ftpccies or of race ?
It is evident that the question depends entirely upon the
two words species and race. It is then absolutely necessary
to determine as accurately as possible the sense of each, and
yet there are anthropologists, such as Knox, for instance, who
declare that any discussion or investigation in connection
with this subject is idle. There are others, like Dr. Nott,