Зображення сторінки
PDF
[merged small][ocr errors]

species of apes. Neither Darwin nor any of his adherents ever asserted anything of the sort, but on the contrary they maintain that the ancestors of mankind branched off, in the first or earliest part of the tertiary period, from species of the Catarrhine group long since extinct . If this conjecture is to be recognized by science, the intermediate and transitional forms from these apes of the eocene period to the man of the present time, must be somewhere discovered. From the moment that the separate links in the chain of transmutations of form become known to us, no thoughtful man will longer doubt as to the process. But till then every other hypothesis is equally justified, and so far geological discoveries afford no promise that this gap will necessarily be filled up either sooner or later.

We cannot conclude these observations without answering the accusation which may perhaps be silently made, that we leave out of sight the intellectual functions of mankind. We at once repeat what Darwin1 1 has already said, that the motions of conscience as connected with repentance, and the feelings of duty, are the most important differences which separate us from the animal; that in the latter there is no capability of solving a mathematical problem, or of admiring a landscape painting, or a manifestation of power; neither can any reflection take place respecting the correlation of phenomena, and still less as to the hypothesis of a First Cause or a Divine Will."

The greatest differences between man and animals will first claim attention during the investigation of the evolutionary history of speech; and the history of national customs likewise tacitly contains the best argument for the superior dignity of mankind. Yet all these facts in no way concern us in assigning to man his position in the animal kingdom, any more than the position of the elephant in a zoological system can be affected by its sagacity. Man is only entitled to that rank in a morpho. logical system which, in future ages, when nothing is left of our race but a sufficient number of fossil bones, a thinking being

"Darwin, Descent of Man, vol. i. chap. ii. Haeckel, History of Creation, vol ii. p. 344. London, 1876. "Darwin, Descent of Man, vol. i. chap. ii.

would assign to him in a scientific arrangement of the animal kingdom. According to the principles of comparative anatomy and by systematic requirements, he would then be separated from the apes of the present geological era only as an order or a sub-order.

II.—THE UNITY OR PLURALITY OF SPECIES OF THE
HUMAN RACE.

The attempt to classify all the most similar creatures under one name, dates from the time when in the growth of language the invention of the name perfected the class. In nations which have remained at a low stage of civilization, we find names for different species of oaks, but none for the genus oak, nay, not even one for tree. The distinctive marks are therefore apprehended before the analogous qualities. Names for dog, wolf, and fox arose from a need of intelligible communication respecting the outer world, and with the names, a classification was already accomplished. Linnaeus was the first who scientifically justified such use of language. Scarcely a century and a half therefore has elapsed since the idea of species was first instituted; and Linnaeus himself did not imagine species to have been created for ever invariable in number, but believed that new ones might be produced from the mongrels of dissimilar representatives of the genera. Goethe, on the other hand, still maintained that Nature knows only individuals, and that species exist only in school books. As soon as terms were to be invented for the typical varieties of the human race, a dispute arose as to whether the nations of the earth are divisible into different species or only into different varieties. Often, as in this instance, it is the highest and most obscure problems which most strongly attract the inexperienced, hurrying them on to premature and utterly worthless conclusions. Nor was it even with unprejudiced minds that anthropologists approached this difficult question, for some endeavoured to harmonize their conclusions with the Hebrew legend of the creation of a first human pair, while others strove to establish the plurality of species in order to withdraw the sympathy of humanity from the negro, and to hush the appeals of conscience against the degradation of man into a beast Definitions of Species. J

of burden in tropical husbandry. It is a remarkable fact, that this dispute as to the unity or plurality of species should have occupied the attention of men before a single definition of species had found universal or even general acceptance. "We reckon in one and the same species," says Blumenbach, "those animated beings which are so analogous in structure and form that their differences can have originated only from variation. But we regard as separate species, those of which the differences are so essential that they cannot be explained by the recognized influences of variation, if this expression is allowable." 1

It is strange that Blumenbach, otherwise so acute, should not have perceived that in this play of words everything remains vague, since he assumes the idea of variation to be known, and therefore leaves it undefined. Moreover, if we can imagine that a being exactly similar to ourselves both in bodily structure and in mental functions, had miraculously descended from the planet Mars, Blumenbach must have agreed with us in reckoning it a member of the same species. This would have been the case in Cuvier's opinion also, for " the species," he says, "is the sum of all living beings descended from one another and from common ancestors, and those which resemble them as much as they resemble one another."2 Thus Cuvier and Blumenbach did not as yet insist that all the members of the same species should possess common ancestors.

A common descent was however postulated by the elder De Candolle. "The species," so ran his definition, "is the association of all individuals which reciprocally resemble each other more than others, and from whose union proceed fertile offspring, which again, in their turn, reproduce themselves in successive generations, so that their descent from a single being can be inferred." 3

Here at last species seemed to be sharply and well defined. All animated beings, however striking the differences perceptible in their structure and form, would be included in one species

1 Dc generis humani varietate nativa, p. 66. Ed. 3. Gottingen, 1795.

* Quatrefages, Rapport sur les progres de 1'Anthropologic, p. 56. Paris, 1867.

1 Ibid. p. 104.

whenever they generate fertile offspring which, as well as their descendants, effect fertile crosses in their turn. Sterility in the offspring, or even in the second generation, was decisive of the contrary. Flourens also adhered to this mark of recognition. "Fertility," he says, "is the foundation of the persistency of specific character. Different species generate hybrids of limited fertility."* Drawing the definition still closer, De Quatrefages says, "The species includes all more or less similar individuals which descend, or can be supposed to descend, from a single ancestral pair in unbroken succession."5

Before we decide as to the value of this definition of species, we will first inquire whether the hybrids of different races of mankind possess the characteristic of fertility. That Aryan Hindoos and Dravidas, Chinese and Europeans, Arabs and Negresses can generate hybrids, and that these hybrids in their turn produce offspring, has probably never been disputed, but on the other hand, it is frequently maintained that Mulattoes die out in subsequent generations, and in Central America, women of mixed blood are commonly considered barren. The cause of this phenomen, which is certainly frequent, is not however physiological, but an immoral course of life.6 The fact that in the islands of Cuba and St . Domingo, the half-caste population has increased to hundreds of thousands, attest at least that the offspring of South European Creoles and Negroes are fruitful. Only one observer has affirmed the entire sterility of Mulattoes in Jamaica, and the statement was not left without contradiction.7 In America a hybrid race, the Zambos, has arisen, descendants of Negroes and the women of the so-called red aborigines.8 They

* Flourens, Examen du livre de Mr. Darwin sur l'origine des especes, p. 21. Paris, 1864.

5 Unite de l'espece humaine, p. 54. Paris, 1861.

8 On this point of dispute, which it is impossible to settle in the absence of strict observations, the author has questioned German merchants long resident in Cuba, and invariably received the answer that mulatto women of every conceivable degree of fertility are not uncommon, and that the frequent unproductiveness of such women must be ascribed to early excesses.

? P. Broca, Hybridity in the Genus Homo, p. 36. London, 1864.

* Cases in which negresses form unions with the indigenous men of America are, as might be expected, very rare.

Fertility of Hybrids. . 9

are frequently found' among the Creek Indians of the United States, as well as in Central America; and on the coasts of Ystmo and New Granada the population already bears distinct marks of semi-African blood. In the former dependencies of Spain, the hybrids of Europeans and American women may be reckoned by millions; Ladinos, as they are termed in Mexico; Cholos, in Ecuador, Peru, and Chili, and collectively known as Mestizios. If hybrids are rarities in Australia, this, as judicial investigations have attested, is because the natives themselves habitually destroy the half-castes.10 Tasmanian women have likewise given birth to numerous hybrids, for James Bonwick knew and names the mother of thirteen half-caste children.11 Paul Broca was therefore falsely informed when he denied the existence of half-caste Australians and Tasmanians," and thus fall to the ground the conclusions which he pronounced with unwarranted assurance. But it is still more significant that half-castes are bom of unions between Europeans and Hottentots, for if any race of men have a claim to be regarded as a separate species, it is undoubtedly these aboriginal inhabitants of the Cape.13 Finally in remote islands, such as Tristan dAcunha, various crosses between English, Dutch, Mulattoes, and Negresses have taken place.14 To judge by experience in the vegetable kingdom, as Darwin observes, threefold crosses betwixt Negroes, Indians, and Europeans, as they occur in America, afford the most certain proof of the reciprocal fertility of the parental forms.15

Even were it no longer disputed that all the families of mankind, however different, were capable of generating hybrids, we should still be no nearer a decision as to the unity or plurality of the human

* According to the Second Annual Report of the Board of Indian Commissioner^, vol. iii. p. 412. Washington, 1871.

10 Charles Darwin, Descent of Man, vol. i. p. 194. Also Edward John Eyre, Central Australia, vol. ii. p. 324 London, 1845.

11 The Last of the Tasmanians, p. 316. London, 1870. "Broca, p. 47.

11 In their own country, these mongrels are sometimes called hybrids, sometimes Griquas, but this latter designation has been so misapplied that it no longer conveys any strict anthropological idea. Fritsch, Die Eingebomen Siidafrika's, p. 376.

"Quatrefages, Rapport, p. 477. "Descent of Man, voL i. p. 198.

« НазадПродовжити »