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Lectures on comparative anatomy, physiology, zoology, and the natural history of man online

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of sheep, the origin of which he has not yet been able to trace,
that carry very thin fleeces of a coarse shaggy kind of wool ;
which circumstance, he thinks, may naturally have given rise to
the report. But he never observed a sheep that had been brought
from England to carry wool of the same sort with those native
sheep : on the contrary, though he has known them live there
several years, these English sheep carried the same kind of close
burly fleece that is common in England ; and, in as far as he
could observe, it was equally free from hairs.

The differences in stature, again, have been very confidently
ascribed to adventitious causes. A temporate climate, pure air,
copious food, tranquillity of mind, and healthy occupation, have
been thought favourable to the full development of the human
frame ; while e.xtreme cold, bad and unwholesome food, noxious
air, and similar causes, have been thought capable of reducing
the dimensions of the body below the ordinary standard. That
these causes may have some effect on individuals I do not deny,
although I believe that it is very slight : but the numerous ex-
amples of large people in cold countries, and diminutive men in
warm climes, induce me to deny altogether its operation on the
race. The tall and large-limbed Patagonians, certain North
American tribes, and some of the German races inhabit cold
situations ; the Mongols, who are small in stature, live in warm

The facts and observations adduced in this section lead us
manifestly to the following conclusions ; 1st. That the differences
of physical organization and of moral and intellectual qualities,
which characterize the several races of our species, are analogous
in kind and degree to those which distinguish the breeds of the
• Dr. Anderson on the Different kiyids of Sheep; appendix ii.


domestic animals ; and must, therefore, be accounted for on the
same principles. 2dly, That they are first produced, in both
instances, as native or congenital varieties ; and then transmitted
to the offspring in hereditary succession. 3dly, That of the
circumstances which favour this disposition to the production of
varieties in the animal kingdom, the most powerful is the state
of domestication. 4thly, That external or adventitious causes,
such as climate, situation, food, way of life, have considerable
effect in altering the constitution of man and animals ; but that
this effect, as well as that of art or accident, is confined to the
indindual, not being transmitted by generation, and, therefore,
not affecting the race. 5thly, That the human species, therefore,
like that of the cow, sheep, horse, and pig, and others, is single ;
and that all the differences which it exhibits, are to be regarded
merely as varieties.

If, in investigating the subject, we are satisfied vntli comparing
the existing races of men to those of the domestic animals, and
with bringing together the characteristic marks, on which the
distinctions are grounded in the two cases, as I have done in
several preceding chapters, we shall have no difficulty in arriving
at the fifth conclusion. If, however, we should carry ourselves
back, in imagination, to a supposed period, when mankind con-
sisted of one race only, and endeavour to show how the numerous
varieties, which now occupy the different parts of the earth, have
arisen out of the common stock, and have become so distinct
from each other, as we find them at present, we cannot arrive at
so satisfactory a decision ; and we experience further embarrass-
ment from the fact, that the races have been as distinctly marked,
and as completely separated from the earliest peiiods, to which
historical e\adence ascends, as they now are. The same remarks,
in great measure, are true concerning anunals ; so that, on this
ground, no difficulty prevents us from recognising the vmity of
the human species, which is not equally applicable to them.


Ditiiiun of the Human Species into Jive Varieties.

After taking into consideration the principal circumstances
which characterize the several races of man, and amving, by the
proof that aU such distinctions are produced in a still greater
degree among animals, chiefly of the domesticated kinds, from
the ordinary sources of degeneration, at the conclusion that there


is only one species, it remains for me to inquire how many varie-
ties ought to be recognised in this species, and to enumerate the
characters by which they may be distinguished. As there is no
circumstance, whether of corporeal structure, or of mental endow-
ment, which does not pass by imperceivable gradations into the
opposite character, rendering all those distinctions merely rela-
tive, and reducing them to differences in degree, it is obvious
that any arrangement of human varieties must be in great
measure arbitrary. Our imperfect knowledge of several tribes
constitutes another very serious difficulty. A complete and
accurate arrangement cannot therefore be expected at present ;
and it is more advisable to adopt a general one, which may
answer the purposes of classifying the facts already known, and
affording points of comparison in aid of future inquiry, than to
attempt the details and minuter distinctions, for which we must
depend on further investigation.

I think it best to follow the distribution proposed by Blumen-
BACH, although it is not free from objection ; and although the
five varieties, under which he has arranged the several tribes of
our species, ought rather to be regarded as principal divisions,
each of them including several varieties.

This acute and judicious naturahst divides the single species,
which the genus Homo contains, into the Caucasian, Mongolian,
Ethiopian, American, and Malay varieties. He regards the
Caucasian as the primitive stock. It deviates into two extremes
most remote and different from each other ; namely, the Mongo-
lian on one side, and the Ethiopian on the other. The two other
varieties hold the middle places between the Caucasian and the
two extremes ; that is, the American comes in between the Cau-
causian and Mongolian ; and the Malay between the Caucasian
and Ethiopian.

The following marks and descriptions will serve to define these
five varieties. But it is necessary to observe, in the first place,
that on account of the multifarious diversity and gradation of
characters, one or two are not sufficient for determining the race,
consequently, that an enumeration of several is required ; and,
secondly, that even this combination of characters is subject to
numerous exceptions in each variety. The migrations of the
several races in quest of more eligible abodes, the changes of
situation consequent on invasion, war, and conquest, and the
intermarriages to which these lead, account for much of this
uncertainty. Thus the Mongolian and Caucasian varieties have


been much intermixed in Asia ; the latter and the Ethiopian in

I. Caucasian Variety.* Characters. A white skin, either
with a fair rosy tint, or inclining to brown ; red cheeks ; hair
black, or of the various lighter colours, copious, soft, and gene-
rally more or less curled or waving. Iri'des dark in those with
brown skin, light (blue, gray, or greenish) in the fair or rosy
complexioned. Large cranium with small face : the upper and
anterior regions of the former particularly developed : and the
latter falling perpendicularly under them. Face oval and
straight, with features distinct from each other ; expanded fore-
head, narrow and rather aquiline nose, and small mouth ; front
teeth of both jaws perpendicular ; lips, particularly the lower,
gently turned out ; chin full and rounded. Moral feelings and
intellectual powers most energetic, and susceptible of the highest
development and culture.

It includes all the ancient and modern Europeans exce])t the
Laplanders and the rest of the Finnish race ; the former and
present inhabitants of Western Asia, as far as the river Ob, the
Caspian Sea, and the Ganges ; that is, the Assyrians, Medes,
and Chaldeans ; the Sarmatians, Scythians, and Parthians ;
the Philistines, PhcEnicians, Jews, and the inhabitants of Syria
generally ; the Tatars,t properly so called ; the several tribes
actually occupying the chain of Caucasus ; the Georgians, Circas-
sians, Mingrelians, Armenians; the Turks,;!: Persian3,§ Arabi-"
ans,|l Afghauns,^ and Hindoos** of high cast; the northern

• The name of this variety is derived from Mount Caucasus, because in its
neighbourhood, and particularly towards the south, we meet with a very
beautiful race of men, the Georgians ; see the quotation from Chardin, at p.
229 ; and because, so far as the imperfect lights of history and tradition extend,
the original abode of the species seems to have been near the same quarter.

+ For an account of the people, to whom this name of Tatar has been applied
at various periods of history, and of those to whom it is more strictly appli-
cable, see Adelung's Mith'ridates, v. i. p. 453, and following. Portraits of
Tatars are given by Com. le Brun, Voyage par la Moscovte, en Perse, S/c. ; v. i.
pp. 97, 104.

t Adelung, loc. cil. For portraits see Denon, Voyage, Ssc. ; pi. lOG, 107 :
also Description de I'Egypte ; etat moderne, costumes en portraits, particularly
V. ii. pi. 2.

i Portraits in C. Le Brun, v. i. pi. 85 — 88. Representations of the ancient
Persian form may be seen in the fragments of Persepolitan sculpture ; ibid. v. ii.
pi. 138, 142 ; and in the plates of antiqiiities in Mr. Morier's Travels in Persia,

II Denon, Voyage dans la Haute ct Basse Egypte ; pi. 104, 105, 109, 110, 112.

V Some indifferent figures in Elphinstone s .Account of Cauhul serve to show
the phj'sical traits.

** li\iQ\\ana.n's .Tourney from Madras, &c. Portrait of Krishner Rajah, curtor
or sovereign of Mysore; and of Nandi Rajah, his maternal grandfather
(Hindoos) : v. i. frontispiece, and p. (i7. Portraits of three sons of Tippoo
Sultan (Mussulmen) ; v. iii. pi. 35, 36, 37. Our knowledge of the several tribes
which occupy the great Indian peninsula, is not yet suliicicnt to enable us to
class them satisfactorily. The crania of Hindoos, which I have seen, belong
to the Caucasian type ; and the. great artist, Mr. W. Daniel, who has probably


Africans including not only those north of the Great Desert,
but even some tribes placed in more southern regions ; the Egyp-
tians,* AbyssinianSjt and Guanches.

When these numerous races are assigned to one variety, their
assemblage will not be understood to indicate that they are all
ahke in physical and moral traits. The distribution of our species
into five divisions must be regarded in a very general view ; and
this general conformity is not inconsistent with A'arious and
strongly marked modifications. The latter are more numerous
in the Caucasian than in the other varieties ; perhaps from
greater natural softness, delicacy, or flexibility of organization,
concurring with the influence of more ancient and complete civili-
zation. In surveying the distinctions of moral and intellectual
endowments, we feel uncertain how much ought to be ascribed
to original difference, and how much to the powerful influence
of government, education, religion, and other analogous causes.
I think, however, it will appear, that most of the virtues and
talents which adorn and ennoble man, have existed from early
times in a higher degree among the Celtic and German than
among the Slavonic and Oriental people : while the latter have
usually displayed a more sensual character than the former.

Blumenbach is inclined to believe that the primitive form

of the human race was that which belongs to the Caucasian

variety, of which the most beautiful specimens are now exhibited

by the Georgians, Turks, Greeks, and some Europeans. From

the finely- formed skull of this race, as from a primitive configu-

surveyed the country, the antiquities, and the people more extensively than
any other person, and whose matchless drawings have made us so well ac-
quainted with the prodigious architectural achievements of the natives, as well
as with the scenery of India, has informed mo that the finest examples of such
forms, both in features and general proportions, abound in India. He never
saw any specimens of Negro characters either in countenance or hair ; although
some tribes, as the Malabars, are very dark coloured. The sculptured repre-
sentations of the human fonn in the oldest of their subterranean temples
correspond to the physical traits of the modern Hindoos ; and this conformity

was particularly noticed by Mr. Morier in the caves of Canarcli in Salsette.

SecondJourney inPersia, p. 22. Thereare numerous varieties, as wemight expect
in so extensive a region. Dubois informs us that the agriculturists are nearly
as dark as Kaffers, while the Brahmans and those not exposed to the sun are
comparatively light. He compares the hue of the Brahmans to copper, or
rather a bright infusion of colTee. He adds, " I have seen people in the south
of France as dusky as the greater number of Brahmans, and, perhaps, more so.
Their women, who are still more sedentary, and less exposed to the rays of
the sun, are still lighter in complexion than the males." Some wild hordes
on the hills and forests of Malabar are less deei)ly tinged than any of the casts
which have been mentioned. " In the woods of the Coorga country, there is
one of those communities called Malay Koodieru, who do not yield in point
of complexion to the Spaniards or Portuguese."— TJeicn/jZion of the Character,
Manners, SfC. of the Peniile of India ; ch. xv.

* Heads of Copts., Denon, pi. 10.3, 108. Figures of two fresco paintings in the
sepulchres of Thebes ; Bruce, pi. 6, 7. Description de VEgypte ; etat moderne ;
costumes et portraits. -^ Five portraits iu Bruce, pi. 2, 3.


ration, the other forms descend by an easy and simple grada-
tion, on the one hand to the Mongohan, and on the other to the
Ethiopian variety. The greatest mental powers have been
bestowed on this variety, so that they have discovered nearly all
the arts and sciences ; indeed, almost our whole treasure of lite-
rature and knowledge has been derived from the same quarter.
These nations have the most intelligent and expressive counte-
nance, and the most beautiful bodily proportions. They occupy
the middle regions of the globe, while the extremities are filled
by others. The most ancient and most early civilized nations
have belonged to this division ; to which, also, according to the
observation of Blumenbach, there is a disposition to return
in the other races, as may be observed in the South Sea Islands,
and in some parts of Africa ; while this does not easily deviate
into the dark coloured varieties.

If we admit the Caucasian to have been the primitive form of
man, are we to suppose that the skin was rosy, the hair yellow
or red, and the eyes blue, or that the former had a tendency to
brown, and that both the latter were dark ? We can have little
hesitation in adopting the latter opinion ; for those characters
belong to all of this race except the Germans, which have occu-
pied the more distant regions.

In support of the opinion, that the original stock of the
human species had the characters of the Caucasian variety, it
may be stated that the part of Asia, which seems to have been
the cradle of the race, has always been, and still is, inhabited by
tribes of that formation, and that the inhabitants of Europe, in
great part, may be traced back for their origin to the west of
Asia. I think, however, that we have not the data necessary for
establishing a satisfactory conclusion on this point. We cannot
yet assume it as a point fully proved, that all the varieties of man
have been produced from one and the same breed.

II. The Mongolian Variety is characterized by olive
colour, which in many cases is very light, and black eyes ; black,
straight, strong, and thin hair ; little or no beard ; head of a
square form, \vith small and low forehead ; broad and flattened
face, mth the features running together ; the glabella flat and
very broad ; nose small and flat ; rounded cheeks projecting
externally ; narrow and linear aperture of the eyelids ; eyes
placed very obliquely ; slight projection of the chin ; large ears ;
thick Ups. The stature, particularly in the countries near the
North Pole, is inferior to that of Europeans.


It includes the numerous more or less rude, and in great part
Nomadic tribes, which occupy central and northern Asia ; as
the Mongols, Calmucks, and Burats,* the Mantchoos or Mand-
shursj Daourians, Tungooses, and Coreans : the Samoiedes.f
Yn.kagirs, Coriacks, Tschutski, and Kamtschadales ; I the Chi-
nese § and Japanese ; i| the inhabitants of Thibet and Bootan,
those of Tungquin, Cochin China, Ava, Pegu, Cambodia, Laos,
and Siam ; the Finnish races of northern Europe, as the Lap-
landers ; and the tribes of Esquimaux extending over the nor-
thern parts of America, from Bering's Strait to the extremity of

" The Calmucks, and all the Mongolian tribes," says Pallas,
" are characterized by obliquity of the eyes, which are depressed
towards the nose, and by the rounded internal angle of the
eyelids ; by thin, black, and scarcely curved eyebrows ; by the
nose, which is altogether small and flat, being particularly broad
towards the forehead ; by high cheek-bones ; a round head and
face. Black-brown irides, large and thick lips, short chin,
white teeth remaining firm and sound even in advanced age, and
large ears standing off from the head, are universal." " They
are of middling size, and we see very few tall people amongst
them ; the women are particularly small, and very delicately
formed." %

That the characters of the ancient Huns corresponded to this
description, may be collected from the short l)ut expressive
portrait, which Jornandes has drawn of Attila : " Forma
brevis, lato pectore, capite grandiore, minutis oculis, rarus
barba, canis aspersis, simo naso, teter colore, originis suEe signa

Mr. Barrow says that "the Mantchoo Tatars are scarcely
distinguishable from the Chinese by external appearances : the
Chinese are rather taller, and of a more slender and delicate
frame than the Tatars, who are in general short, thick, and
robust. The small eye, elliptical at the end next the nose, is a
predominating feature in the cast of both the Chinese and Tatar
coimtenance, and they have the same high cheek-bones and
pointed chins. The native colour, both of Chinese and Tatars,

• The fijjures in the plates of Pallas, Histor. nachrichlen ilher die Mongol,
F'olkenchajten.giyn some idea of the general characters of the Mongoliaa tribes,
t Voyage de Corn. Le Brun, v. i. pi. 7, 8, and 9.
t Cooli's Voyage to the Pacific; pi. 75 and 76.
} Barrow's Travels in China; frontispiece, and p. 50.
II LansdoriTs Voyages, %c. v. i. pi. 16, p. 316.
T Pallas, Histor. nachricht. Th. i. pp. 98 and 99.


seems to be that tint between a fair and a dark complexion,
which we distinguish by the word branet or brunette ; and the
shades of this complexion are deeper or lighter, according as
they have been more or less exposed to the influence of climate.
The women of the lower class, who labour in the fields, or who
dwell in vessels, are almost invariably coarse, ill-featured, and of
a deep or brown complexion, like that of the Hottentots. We
saw women in China, though very few, who might pass for
beauties even in Europe. A small black or dark brown eye, a
short rounded nose, generally a little flattened, lips considerably
thicker than in Europeans, and black hair, are universal." *

Mr. Turner informs us that the people of Thibet have in-
variably black hair, small black eyes with long pointed corners,
as if extended by artificial means, eyelashes so thin as to be
scarcely perceptible, and eyebrows but slightly shaded. Below
the eyes is the broadest part of the face, which is rather flat, and
narrows from the cheek-bones to the chin. Their skins are
remarkably smooth, and most of them arrive at a very advanced
age before they can boast ev^en the earliest rudiments of abeard.
Their complexion is not so dark by many shades as that of the
European Portuguese. "f

The Esquimaux are formed on the Mongolian model, although
they inhabit countries so different from the abodes of the origi-
nal tribes of central Asia.

" The male Esquimaux have rather a prepossessing physiogno-
my, but with very high cheek-bones, broad foreheads, and small
eyes, rather further apart than those of an European. The
corners of their eyelids are drawn together so close, that none
of the white is to be seen ; their mouths are wide, and their
teeth wide and regular. The complexion is a dusky yellow, but
some of the young women have a little colour bursting through
this dark tint. The noses of the men are rather flattened, but
those of the women are rather prominent. The males are,
generally speaking, between five feet five inches, and five feet
eight inches high, bony and broad-shouldered ; but do not
appear to possess much muscular strength. The flesh of all the
Esquimaux feels soft and flabby, which may be attributed to the
nature of their food. But the most surprising peculiarity of this
people is the sraallness of their hands and feet." J

• Travph m China, pp. IS'i, 185.

+ .iccnunt of an Embassy lo the Cotirt of ilic Tcslioo Lama, pp. 84, 8j. He
observed the same character of countenance in the Regent of Thibet (241,) in
the i>erson second in rank, a Mantchoo Tatar (p. 247,) and in the mother of
the new Lama (p. 336.)

t Chappell's Narrative of a Foyage to Hudson's Bay, pp. 58, 59.


The same characters belong to the several tribes of Esqui-
maux, which are scattered over the whole breadth of the Ame-
rican continent. Humboldt* mentions the affinity of the
languages at the two extreme points; and Dr. CLARKf has
noticed the complete resemblance of the dresses, ornaments,
weapons, &c. brought by Mr. Chappell from Hudson's Straits
to those in a collection made by Commodore Billings in the
north-west extremity of the continent.

Similar descriptions might be quoted of the other people in-
cluded under this variety.

HI. In the Ethiopian Variety the skin and eyes are
black ; the hair black and woolly ; the skull compressed laterally
and elongated towards the front ; the forehead low, narrow, and
slanting ; the cheek-bones are prominent ; the jaws narrow and
projecting ; the upper front teeth oblique ; the chin recedes.
The eyes are prominent ; the nose broad, thick, flat, and con-
fused with the extended jaw ; the lips, and particularly the upper
one, are thick. The knees turn in in many instances.

All the natives of Africa, not excluded in the first variety,
belong to this.

The striking peculiarities of the African organization, and
particularly the great diflference between its colour and our own,
have led many persons to adopt the opinion of Voltaire, J who
had not a sufficient knowledge of physiology and natural his-
tory to determine the question, that the Africans belong to a
distinct species. I have shown, in the preceding divisions of
this article, that there is no one character so peculiar and com-
mon to the Africans, but that it is found frequently in the other
varieties, and that Negroes often want it ; also, that the cha-
racters of this variety run by insensible gradations into those of
the neighbouring races, as will be immediately perceived by
comparing together different tribes of this race, as the Foulalis,
Jaloffs, Mandingoes, Kaffers, and Hottentots, and carefully
noting how in these gradational differences they approach to the
Moors, New Hollanders, Arabians, Chinese, &c.

Again, great stress has been laid on the fact, that the Negroes
resemble more nearly than the Europeans, the monkey tribe
the fear of being drawn into the family, even as distant relations,
has, I believe, induced many to place our black brethren in
distinct species ; while others have brought forward this ap-

• Personal JVarratire, v. iii. p. 291.

t Chappell's Voyage, S;c. Introductory Advertisement ; and Appendix E.

t See the quotation of his opinion at p. 167.


proximation to the simaei, with the view of degrading the African
below the standard of the human species, and thereby palliating

Online LibraryWilliam LawrenceLectures on comparative anatomy, physiology, zoology, and the natural history of man → online text (page 43 of 45)