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Title: The Moral and Intellectual Diversity of Races

With Particular Reference to Their Respective Influence in the Civil and Political History of Mankind

Author: Arthur, comte de Gobineau

Release Date: August 17, 2011 [eBook #37115]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1



E-text prepared by Fritz Ohrenschall, Sarah Thomson,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team


Transcriber's Note:

Skip to Editor's Preface or list of Contents


















By J. C. NOTT, M. D.,


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855, by


in the Office of the Clerk of the District Court of the United
States in and for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.



This Work,






[Pg vii]


It has been truly observed that a good book seldom requires, and a bad one never deserves, a long preface. When a foreign book, however, is obtruded on the notice of the public, it is but just that the reasons for so doing should be explained; and, in the present case, this is the more necessary, as the title of the work might lead many to believe that it was intended to re-agitate the question of unity or plurality of the human species—a question which the majority of readers consider satisfactorily and forever settled by the words of Holy Writ. Such, however, is not the purpose of either the author or the editor. The design of this work is, to contribute toward the knowledge of the leading mental and moral characteristics of the various races of men which have subsisted from the dawn of history to the present era, and to ascertain, if possible, the degree to which they are susceptible of improvement. The annals of the[Pg viii] world demonstrate beyond a doubt, that the different branches of the human family, like the individual members of a community, are endowed with capacities, different not only in degree but in kind, and that, in proportion to these endowments, they have contributed, and still contribute to that great march of progress of the human race, which we term civilization. To portray the nature of these endowments, to estimate the influence of each race in the destinies of all, and to point out the effects of mixture of races in the rise and fall of great empires, has been the task to the accomplishment of which, though too extensive for one man, the author has devoted his abilities. The troubles and sufferings of his native country, from sudden political gyrations, led him to speculate upon their causes, which he believes are to be traced to the great variety of incongruous ethnical elements composing the population of France. The deductions at which he arrived in that field of observation he subjected to the test of universal history; and the result of his studies for many years, facilitated by the experiences of a diplomatic career, are now before the American public in a translation. That a work, on so comprehensive a subject, should be exempt from error, cannot be expected, and is not pretended; but the aim is[Pg ix] certainly a noble one, and its pursuit cannot be otherwise than instructive to the statesman and historian, and no less so to the general reader. In this country, it is peculiarly interesting and important, for not only is our immense territory the abode of the three best defined varieties of the human species—the white, the negro, and the Indian—to which the extensive immigration of the Chinese on our Pacific coast is rapidly adding a fourth, but the fusion of diverse nationalities is nowhere more rapid and complete; nowhere is the great problem of man's perfectibility being solved on a grander scale, or in a more decisive manner. While, then, nothing can be further removed from our intentions, or more repugnant to our sentiments, than to wage war on religion, or throw ridicule on the labors of the missionary and philanthropist, we thought it not a useless undertaking to lay before our countrymen the opinions of a European thinker, who, without straining or superseding texts to answer his purposes, or departing in any way from the pure spirit of Christianity, has reflected upon questions which with us are of immense moment and constant recurrence.

H. H.

Philadelphia, Nov. 1, 1855.

[Pg xi]


[Pg 13]


Before departing on one's travels to a foreign country, it is well to cast a glance on the map, and if we expect to meet and examine many curiosities, a correct itinerary may not be an inconvenient travelling companion. In laying before the public the present work of Mr. Gobineau, embracing a field of inquiry so boundless and treating of subjects of such vast importance to all, it has been thought not altogether useless or inappropriate to give a rapid outline of the topics presented to the consideration of the reader—a ground-plan, as it were, of the extensive edifice he is invited to enter, so that he may afterwards examine it at leisure, and judge of the symmetry of its parts. This, though fully sensible of the inadequacy of his powers to the due execution of the task, the present writer has endeavored to do, making such comments on the[Pg 14] way, and using such additional illustrations as the nature of the subject seemed to require.

Whether we contemplate the human family from the point of view of the naturalist or of the philosopher, we are struck with the marked dissimilarity of the various groups. The obvious physical characteristics by which we distinguish what are termed different races, are not more clearly defined than the psychical diversities observable among them. "If a person," says the learned vindicator of the unity of the human species,[1] "after surveying some brilliant ceremony or court pageant in one of the splendid cities of Europe, were suddenly carried into a hamlet in Negro-land, at the hour when the sable tribes recreate themselves with dancing and music; or if he were transported to the saline plains over which bald and tawny Mongolians roam, differing but little in hue from the yellow soil of their steppes, brightened by the saffron flowers of the iris and tulip; if he were placed near the solitary dens of the Bushman, where the lean and hungry savage[Pg 15] crouches in silence, like a beast of prey, watching with fixed eyes the birds which enter his pitfall, or greedily devouring the insects and reptiles which chance may bring within his grasp; if he were carried into the midst of an Australian forest, where the squalid companions of kangaroos may be seen crawling in procession, in imitation of quadrupeds, would the spectator of such phenomena imagine the different groups which he had surveyed to be the offspring of one family? And if he were led to adopt that opinion, how would he attempt to account for the striking diversities in their aspect and manner of existence?"

These diversities, so graphically described by Mr. Prichard, present a problem, the solution of which has occupied the most ingenious minds, especially of our times. The question of unity or plurality of the human species has of late excited much animated discussion; great names and weighty authorities are enlisted on either side, and a unanimous decision appears not likely to be soon agreed upon. But it is not my purpose, nor that of the author to whose writings these pages are introductory, to enter into a contest which to me seems rather a dispute about words than essentials. The distinguishing physical characteristics of what we term races of man are recognized[Pg 16] by all parties, and whether these races are distinct species or permanent varieties[2] only of the same, cannot affect the subject under investigation. In whatever manner the diversities among the various branches of the human family may have originated, whether they are primordial or were produced by external causes, their permanency is now generally admitted. "The Ethiopian cannot change his skin." If there are, or ever have been, external agencies that could change a white man into a negro, or vice versa, it is obvious that such causes have either ceased to operate, or operate only in a lapse of time so incommensurable as to be imponderable to our perceptions, for the races which now exist can be traced up to the dawn of history, and no well-authenticated instance of a transformation under any circumstances is on record. In human reasoning it is certainly legitimate to judge of the future by the experiences of the past, and we are, therefore, warranted to conclude that if races have preserved their identity for the last two thousand years, they will not lose it in the next two thousand.

[Pg 17] It is somewhat singular, however, that while most writers have ceased to explain the physical diversities of races by external causes, such as climate, food, etc., yet many still persist in maintaining the absolute equality of all in other respects, referring such differences in character as are undeniable, solely to circumstances, education, mode of life, etc. These writers consider all races as merely in different stages of development, and pretend that the lowest savage, or at least his offspring, may, by judicious training, and in course of time, be rendered equal to the civilized man. Before mentioning any facts in opposition to this doctrine, let us examine the reasoning upon which it is based.

"Man is the creature of circumstances," is an adage extended from individuals to races, and repeated by many without considering its bearing. The celebrated author of Wealth of Nations[3] says, "that the difference between the most dissimilar characters, between a philosopher and a common street porter, for example, arises, not so much from nature, but from habit and education." That a mind, which, with proper nurture, might have graced a philosopher, should, under unfavorable[Pg 18] circumstances, remain forever confined in a narrow and humble sphere, does not, indeed, seem at all improbable; but Dr. Smith certainly does not mean to deny the existence of natural talents, of innate peculiar capacities for the accomplishment of certain purposes. This is what they do who ascribe the mental inequality of the various branches of the human family to external circumstances only. "The intellectual qualities of man," say they, "are developed entirely by education. The mind is, at first, a perfect blank, fitted and ready to receive any kind of impressions. For these, we are dependent on the political, civil, and religious institutions under which we live, the persons with whom we are connected, and the circumstances in which we are placed in the different periods of life. Wholly the creatures of association and habit, the characters of men are formed by the instruction, conversation, and example of those with whom they mix in society, or whose ideas they imbibe in the course of their reading and studies."[4] Again: "As all men, in all nations, are of the same species, are endowed with the same senses and feelings, and receive their[Pg 19] perceptions and ideas through similar organs, the difference, whether physical or moral, that is observed in comparing different races or assemblages of men, can arise only from external and adventitious circumstances."[5] The last position is entirely dependent on the first; if we grant the first, relating to individuals, the other follows as a necessary consequence. For, if we assume that the infinite intellectual diversities of individuals are owing solely to external influences, it is self-evident that the same diversities in nations, which are but aggregations of individuals, must result from the same causes. But are we prepared to grant this first position—to assert that man is but an automaton, whose wheelwork is entirely without—the mere buffet and plaything of accident and circumstances? Is not this the first step to gross materialism, the first argument laid down by that school, of which the great Locke has been stigmatized as the father, because he also asserts that the human mind is at first a blank tablet. But Locke certainly could not mean that all these tablets were the same and of equal value. A tablet of wax receives an impression which one of marble will not; on the former is easily effaced what the[Pg 20] other forever retains. We do not deny that circumstances have a great influence in moulding both moral and intellectual character, but we do insist that there is a primary basis upon which the degree of that influence depends, and which is the work of God and not of man or chance. What agriculturist could be made to believe that, with the same care, all plants would thrive equally well in all soils? To assert that the character of a man, whether good or wicked, noble or mean, is the aggregate result of influences over which he has no control, is to deny that man is a free agent; it is infinitely worse than the creed of the Buddhist, who believes that all animated beings possess a detached portion of an all-embracing intelligence, which acts according to the nature and capacity of the machine of clay that it, for the time, occupies, and when the machine is worn out or destroyed, returns, like a rivulet to the sea, to the vast ocean of intelligence whence it came, and in which again it is lost. In the name of common sense, daily observation, and above all, of revelation, we protest against a doctrine which paves the road to the most absurd as well as anti-religious conclusions. In it we recognize the fountain whence flow all the varied forms and names under which Atheism disguises itself. But it is[Pg 21] useless to enter any further upon the refutation of an argument which few would be willing seriously to maintain. It is one of those plausible speculations which, once admitted, serve as the basis of so many brilliant, but airy, theories that dazzle and attract those who do not take the trouble of examining their solidity.

Once we admit that circumstances, though they may impede or favor the development of powers, cannot give them; in other words, that they can call into action, but cannot create, moral and intellectual resources; no argument can be drawn from the unity of species in favor of the mental equality of races. If two men, the offspring of the same parents, can be the one a dunce, the other a genius, why cannot different races, though descended of the same stock, be different also in intellectual endowments? We should laugh at, or rather, pity the man who would try to persuade us that there is no difference in color, etc., between the Scandinavian and the African, and yet it is by some considered little short of heresy to affirm, that there is an imparity in their minds as well as in their bodies.

We are told—and the objection seems indeed a grave one—that if we admit psychical as well as physical gradations in the scale of human races,[Pg 22] the lowest must be so hopelessly inferior to the higher, their perceptions and intellectual capacities so dim, that even the light of the gospel cannot illumine them. Were it so, we should at once abandon the argument as one above human comprehension, rather than suppose that God's mercy is confined to any particular race or races. But let us earnestly investigate the question. On so vital a point the sacred record cannot but be plain and explicit. To it let us turn. Man—even the lowest of his species—has a soul. However much defaced God's image, it is vivified by His breath. To save that soul, to release it from the bondage of evil, Christ descended upon earth and gave to mankind, not a complicated system of philosophy which none but the learned and intellectual could understand, but a few simple lessons and precepts, comprehensible to the meanest capacity. He did not address himself to the wise of this world, but bade them be like children if they would come unto him. The learned Pharisees of Judea jeered and ridiculed him, but the poor woman of Canaan eagerly picked up the precious crumbs of that blessed repast which they despised. His apostles were chosen from among the lowly and simple, his first followers [Pg 23]belonged to that class. He himself hath said:[6] "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." How then shall we judge of the degree of intellect necessary to be a follower of Jesus? Are the most intellectual, the best informed men generally the best Christians? Or does the word of God anywhere lead us to suppose that at the great final judgment the learned prelate or ingenious expositor of the faith will be preferred to the humble, illiterate savage of some almost unknown coast, who eagerly drinks of the living water whereof whosoever drinketh shall never thirst again?

This subject has met with the attention which its importance deserves, at the hands of Mr. Gobineau, and he also shows the fallacy of the idea that Christianity will remove the mental inequality of races. True religion, among all nations who are blessed with it and sincerely embrace it, will purify their morals, and establish friendly relations between man and his fellow-man. But it will not make an intellectually inferior race equal to a superior one, because it was[Pg 24] not designed to bestow talents or to endow with genius those who are devoid of it. Civilization is essentially the result of man's intellectual gifts, and must vary in its character and degree like them. Of this we shall speak again in treating of the specific differences of civilization, when the term Christian civilization will also be examined.

One great reason why so many refuse to recognize mental as well as physical differences among races, is the common and favorite belief of our time in the infinite perfectibility of man. Under various forms this development-theory, so flattering to humanity, has gained an incredible number of adherents and defenders. We believe ourselves steadily marching towards some brilliant goal, to which every generation brings us nearer. We look with a pity, almost amounting to contempt, upon those who preceded us, and envy posterity, which we expect to surpass us in a ratio even greater than we believe ourselves to surpass our ancestors. It is indeed a beautiful and poetic idea that civilization is a vast and magnificent edifice of which the first generation laid the corner-stone, and to which each succeeding age contributes new materials and new embellishments. It is our tower of Babel, by which we, like the first men after the flood, hope to reach heaven and escape the ills of[Pg 25] life. Some such idea has flattered all ages, but in ours it has assumed a more definite form. We point with pride to our inventions, annihilating—we say—time and distance; our labor-saving machines refining the mechanic and indirectly diffusing information among all classes, and confidently look forward to a new era close at hand, a millennium to come. Let us, for a moment, divest ourselves of the conceit which belongs to every age, as well as to every country and individual; and let us ask ourselves seriously and candidly: In what are we superior to our predecessors? We have inventions that they had not, it is true, and these inventions increase in an astonishing ratio; we have clearer ideas of the laws which govern the material world, and better contrivances to apply these laws and to make the elements subservient to our comfort. But has the human mind really expanded since the days of Pythagoras and Plato? Has the thinker of the nineteenth century faculties and perceptions which they had not? Have we one virtue more or one vice less than former generations? Has human nature changed, or has it even modified its failings? Though we succeed in traversing the regions of air as easily and swifter than we now do broad continents and stormy seas; though we count all the[Pg 26] worlds in the immensity of space; though we snatch from nature her most recondite secrets, shall we be aught but men? To the true philosopher these conquests over the material world will be but additional proofs of the greatness of God and man's littleness. It is the vanity and arrogance of the creature of clay that make him believe that by his own exertions he can arrive at God-like perfection. The insane research after the philosopher's stone and the elixir of life may be classed among the many other futile attempts of man to invade the immutable decree: "Thus far, and no farther." To escape from the moral and intellectual imperfections of his nature, there is but one way; the creature must humbly and devoutly cast himself into the ever-open arms of the Creator and seek for knowledge where none knocketh in vain. This privilege he has enjoyed in all ages, and it is a question which I would hesitate to answer whether the progress of physical science has not, in many cases at least, rather the effect of making him self-sufficient and too confident in his own powers, than of bringing him nearer to the knowledge of the true God. It is one of the fatal errors of our age in particular, to confound the progress of physical science with a supposed moral progress of man. Were it so, the[Pg 27] Bible would have been a revelation of science as well as of religion, and that it is not is now beginning to be conceded, though by no means so generally as true theology would require; for the law of God was intended for every age, for every country, for every individual, independent of the state of science or a peculiar stage of civilization, and not to be modified by any change which man might make in his material existence. With due deference, then, to those philosophers who assert that the moral nature of the human species has undergone a change at various periods of the world's history; and those enthusiasts who dream of an approaching millennium, we hold, that human nature has always been the same and always will be the same, and that no inventions or discoveries, however promotive of his material well-being, can effect a moral change or bring him any nearer to the Divine essence than he was in the beginning of his mundane existence. Science and knowledge may indeed illumine his earthly career, but they can shed no light upon the path he is to tread to reach a better world.

Christ himself has recognized the diversity of intellectual gifts in his parable of the talents, from which we borrow the very term to designate those gifts; and if, in a community of pure and faithful[Pg 28] Christians, there still are many degrees and kinds of talents, is it reasonable to suppose that in that millennium—the only one I can imagine—when all nations shall call on His name with hope and praise, all mental imparities of races will be obliterated? There are, at the present time, nations upon whom we look down as being inferior in civilization to ourselves, yet they are as good—if, indeed, not better—Christians than we are as a people. The progress of physical science, by facilitating the intercourse between distant parts of the world, tends, indeed, to diffuse true religion, and in this manner—and this manner only—promotes the moral good of mankind. But here it is only an instrument, and not an agent, as the machines which the architect uses to raise his building materials do not erect the structure.

One more reason why the unity of the human species cannot be considered a proof of equal intellectual capability of races. It is a favorite method of naturalists to draw an analogy between man and the brute creation; and, so far as he belongs to the animal kingdom, this method is undoubtedly correct and legitimate. But, with regard to man's higher attributes, there is an impassable barrier between him and the brute, which, in the heat of argument, contending parties have not[Pg 29] always sufficiently respected. The great Prichard himself seems sometimes to have lost sight of it.[7] Thus, he speaks of "psychological" diversities in varieties of the same undoubted species of animal, though it is obvious that animals can have no psychological attributes. But I am willing to concede to Mr. Prichard all the conclusions he derives from this analogy in favor of unity of the[Pg 30] human species. All dogs, he believes, are derived from one pair; yet, there are a number of varieties of dogs, and these varieties are different not only in external appearance, but in what Mr. Prichard would call psychological qualities. No shepherd expects to train a common cur to be the intelligent guardian of a flock; no sportsman to teach his hounds, or their unmixed progeny, to perform the office of setters. That the characteristics of every variety of dogs are permanent so long as the breed remains pure, every one knows, and that their distinctive type remains the same in all countries and through all time, is proved by the mural paintings of Egypt, which show that, 2,000 years B. C., they were as well known as in our day.[8] If, then, this permanency of "psychological" (to take Mr. Prichard's ground) diversity is compatible with unity of origin in the dog, why not in the case of man? I am far from desiring to call into question the unity of our species, but I contend that the rule must work both ways, and if "psychological" diversities can be permanent in the branches of the same species of animals, they can be permanent also in the branches of the human family.

[Pg 31] In the preceding pages, I have endeavored to show that the unity of species is no proof of equal intellectual capability of races, that mental imparities do not conflict with the universality of the gospel tidings, and that the permanency of these imparities is consistent with the reasoning of the greatest expounder of the unity theory. I shall now proceed to state the facts which prove the intellectual diversities among the races of man. In doing so, it is important to guard against an error into which so many able writers have fallen, that of comparing individuals rather than masses.

What we term national character, is the aggregate of the qualities preponderating in a community. It is obvious that when we speak of the artistic genius of the Greeks, we do not mean that every native of Hellas and Ionia was an artist; and when we call a nation unwarlike or valorous, we do not thereby either stigmatize every individual as a coward, or extol him as a hero. The same is the case with races. When, for example, we assert that the black race is intellectually inferior to the white, it is not implied that the most intelligent negro should still be more obtuse than the most stupid white man. The maximum intellect and capacity of one race may greatly exceed the minimum of another, without placing them on[Pg 32] an equality. The testimony of history, and the results of philanthropic experiment, are the data upon which the ethnologist must institute his inquiries, if he would arrive at conclusions instructive to humanity.

Let us take for illustration the white and the black races, supposed by many to represent the two extremes of the scale of gradation. The whole history of the former shows an uninterrupted progress; that of the latter, monotonous stagnation. To the one, mankind owes the most valuable discoveries in the domain of thought, and their practical application; to the other, it owes nothing. For ages plunged in the darkest gloom of barbarism, there is not one ray of even temporary or borrowed improvement to cheer the dismal picture of its history, or inspire with hope the disheartened philanthropist. At the boundary of its territory, the ever-encroaching spirit of conquest of the European stops powerless.[9] Never,[Pg 33] in the history of the world, has a grander or more conclusive experiment been tried than in the case of the negro race. We behold them placed in immediate possession of the richest island in the richest part of the globe, with every advantage that climate, soil, geographical situation, can afford; removed from every injurious contact, yet with every facility for constant intercourse with the most polished nations of the earth; inheriting all that the white race had gained by the toil of centuries in science, politics, and morals; and what is the result? As if to afford a still more irrefragable proof of the mental inequality of races, we find separate divisions of the same island inhabited, one by the pure, the other by a half-breed race; and the infusion of the white blood in the latter case forms a population incontestably and avowedly superior. In opposition to such facts, some special pleader, bent upon establishing a preconceived notion, ransacks the records of history to find a few isolated instances where an individual of the inferior race has displayed average ability, and from such exceptional[Pg 34] cases he deduces conclusions applicable to the whole mass! He points with exultation to a negro who calculates, a negro who is an officer of artillery in Russia, a few others who are employed in a counting-house. And yet he does not even tell us whether these raræ aves are of pure blood or not, as is often the case.[10] Moreover, these instances are proclaimed to the world with an air of triumph, as if they were drawn at random from an inexhaustible arsenal of facts, when in reality they are all that the most anxious research could discover, and form the stock in trade of every declaimer on the absolute equality of races.

Had it pleased the Creator to endow all branches of the human family equally, all would then have pursued the same career, though, perhaps, not all with equal rapidity. Some, favored by circumstances, might have distanced others in the race; a few, peculiarly unfortunately situated, would have lagged behind. Still, the progress of all would have been in the same direction, all would have had the same stages to traverse. Now is this[Pg 35] the case? There are not a few who assert it. From our earliest infancy we are told of the savage, barbarous, semi-civilized, civilized, and enlightened states. These we are taught to consider as the steps of the ladder by which man climbs up to infinite perfection, we ourselves being near the top, while others are either a little below us, or have scarcely yet firmly established themselves upon the first rounds. In the beautiful language of Schiller, these latter are to us a mirror in which we behold our own ancestors, as an adult in the children around him re-witnesses his own infancy. This is, in a measure, true of nations of the same race, but is it true with regard to different races? It is little short of presumption to venture to combat an idea perhaps more extensively spread than any of our time, yet this we shall endeavor to do. Were the differences in civilization which we observe in various nations of the world, differences of degree only, and not of kind, it is obvious that the most advanced individual in one degree must closely approach the confines of a higher. But this is not the case. The highest degree of culture known to Hindoo or Chinese civilization, approaches not the possessor one step nearer to the ideas and views of the European. The Chinese civilization is as[Pg 36] perfect, in its own way, as ours, nay more so.[11] It is not a mere child, or even an adult not yet arrived at maturity; it is rather a decrepit old man. It too has its degrees; it too has had its periods of infancy, of adult age, of maturity. And when we contemplate its fruits, the immense works which have been undertaken and completed under its ægis, the systems of morals and politics to which it gave rise, the inventions which signalized its more vigorous periods, we cannot but admit that it is entitled in a high degree to our veneration and esteem.[12] Moreover it has excellencies [Pg 37]which our civilization as yet has not; it pervades all classes, ours not. In the whole Chinese empire, comprising, as it does, one-third of the human race, we find few individuals unable to read and write; in China proper, none. How many European countries can pretend to this? And yet, because Chinese civilization has a different tendency from ours, because its course lies in another direction, we call it a semi-civilization. At what time of the world's history then have we—the civilized nations—passed through this stage of semi-civilization?

The monuments of Sanscrit literature, the magnificent remains of palaces and temples, the great number of ingenious arts, the elaborate systems of metaphysics, attest a state of intellectual culture,[Pg 38] far from contemptible, among the Hindoos. Yet their civilization, too, we term a semi-civilization, albeit it is as little like the Chinese as it is like anything ever seen in Europe.

Few who will carefully investigate and reflect upon these facts, will doubt that the terms Hindoo, Chinese, European civilization, are not indicative of degrees only, but mean the respective development of powers essentially different in their nature. We may consider our civilization the best, but it is both arrogant and unphilosophical to consider it as the only one, or as the standard by which to measure all others. This idea, moreover, is neither peculiar to ourselves nor to our age. The Chinese even yet look upon us as barbarians; the Hindoos probably do the same. The Greeks considered all extra-Hellenic peoples as barbarians. The Romans ascribed the same pre-excellency to themselves, and the predilections for these nations, which we imbibe already in our academic years from our classical studies, cause us to share the same opinion, and to view with their prejudices nations less akin to us than they. The Persians, for instance, whom the Greeks self-complacently styled outside-barbarians, were, in reality, a highly cultivated people, as no one can deny who will examine the facts which[Pg 39] modern research has brought to light. Their arts, if not Hellenic, still attained a high degree of perfection. Their architecture, though not of Grecian style, was not inferior in magnificence and splendor. Nay, I for one am willing to render myself obnoxious to the charge of classical heresy, by regarding the pure Persians as a people, in some respects at least, superior to the Greeks. Their religious system seems to me a much purer, nobler one than the inconsistent, immoral mythology of our favorites. Their ideas of a good and an evil power in perpetual conflict, and of a mediator who loves and protects the human race; their utter detestation of every species of idolatry, have to me something that prepossesses me in their favor.

I have now alleged, in a cursory manner, my principal reasons for considering civilizations as specifically distinct. To further dilate upon the subject, though I greatly desire to do so, would carry me too far; not, indeed, beyond the scope of the inquiries proposed in this volume, but beyond the limited space assigned for my introduction. I shall add only, that—assuming the intellectual equality of all branches of the human family—we can assign no causes for the differences of degree only of their development. Geographical position cannot explain them, because the people who have made the greatest advance, have[Pg 40] not always been the most favorably situated. The greatest geographical advantages have been in possession of others that made no use of them, and became of importance only by changing owners. To cite one of a thousand similar instances. The glorious Mississippi Valley, with its innumerable tributary streams, its unparalleled fertility and mineral wealth, seems especially adapted by nature for the abode of a great agricultural and commercial nation. Yet, the Indians roamed over it, and plied their canoes on its rivers, without ever being aware of the advantages they possessed. The Anglo-Saxon, on the contrary, no sooner perceived them than he dreamed of the conquest of the world. We may therefore compare such and other advantages to a precious instrument which it requires the skill of the workman to use. To ascribe differences of civilizations to the differences of laws and political institutions, is absolutely begging the question, for such institutions are themselves an effect and an inherent portion of the civilization, and when transplanted into foreign soils, never prosper. That the moral and physical well-being of a nation will be better promoted when liberty presides over her councils than when stern despotism sits at the helm, no one can deny; but it is obvious that the nation must first be prepared to[Pg 41] receive the blessings of liberty, lest they prove a curse.

Here is the place for a few remarks upon the epithet Christian, applied to our civilization. Mr. Gobineau justly observes, that he knows of no social or political order of things to which this term may fitly be said to belong. We may justly speak of a Brahminic, Buddhistic, Pagan, Judaic civilization, because the social or political systems designated by these appellations were intimately connected with a more or less exclusive theocratical formula. Religion there prescribed everything: social and political laws, government, manners, nay, in many instances, dress and food. But one of the distinguishing characteristics of Christianity is its universality. Right at the beginning it disclaimed all interference in temporal affairs. Its precepts may be followed under every system of government, in every path of life, every variety of modes of existence. Such is, in substance, Mr. Gobineau's view of the subject. To this I would add a few comments of my own. The error is not one of recent date. Its baneful effects have been felt from almost the first centuries of the establishment of the Church down to our times. Human legislation ought, indeed, to be in strict accordance with the law of God, but to commend one system as[Pg 42] Christian, and proscribe another as unchristian, is opening the door to an endless train of frightful evils. This is what, virtually, they do who would call a civilization Christian, for civilization is the aggregate social and political development of a nation, or a race, and the political is always in direct proportion to the social progress; both mutually influence each other. By speaking of a Christian civilization, therefore, we assert that some particular political as well as social system, is most conformable to the spirit of our religion. Hence the union of church and State, and the influence of the former in temporal affairs—an influence which few enlightened churchmen, at least of our age, would wish to claim. Not to speak of the danger of placing into the hands of any class of men, however excellent, the power of declaring what legislation is Christian or not, and thus investing them with supreme political as well as spiritual authority; it is sufficient to point out the disastrous effects of such a system to the interests of the church itself. The opponents of a particular political organization become also the opponents of the religion which advocates and defends it. The indifferentism of Germany, once so zealous in the cause of religion, is traceable to this source. The people are dissatisfied with their political[Pg 43] machinery, and hate the church which vindicates it, and stigmatizes as impious every attempt at change. Indeed, one has but to read the religious journals of Prussia, to understand the lukewarmness of that people. Mr. Brace, in his Home Life in Germany, says that many intelligent natives of that country had told him: Why should we go to church to hear a sermon that extols an order of things which we know to be wicked, and in the highest degree detestable? How can a religion be true which makes adherence to such an order a fundamental article of its creed?

One of the features of our constitution which Mr. De Tocqueville most admires, is the utter separation of church and State. Mere religious toleration practically prevails in most European countries, but this total disconnection of the religious from the civil institutions, is peculiar to the United States, and a lesson which it has given to the rest of the world.

I do not mean that every one who makes use of the word Christian civilization thereby implies a union of church and State, but I wish to point out the principle upon which this expression is based, viz: that a certain social and political order of things is more according to the spirit of the Christian religion than another; and the consequences which[Pg 44] must, or at least may, follow from the practical acceptation of this principle. Taking my view of the subject, few, I think, will dispute that the term Christian civilization is a misnomer. Of the civilizing influence of Christianity, I have spoken before, but this influence would be as great in the Chinese or Hindoo civilizations, without, in the least, obliterating their characteristic features.

Few terms of equal importance are so vaguely defined as the term civilization; few definitions are so difficult. In common parlance, the word civilization is used to designate that moral, intellectual, and material condition at which the so-called European race, whether occupying the Eastern or the Western continent, has arrived in the nineteenth century. But the nations comprised in this race differ from one another so extensively, that it has been found necessary to invent a new term: enlightenment. Thus, Great Britain, France, the United States, Switzerland, several of the States of the German Confederacy, Sweden, and Denmark, are called enlightened; while Russia, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Brazil, and the South American republics are merely civilized. Now, I ask, in what does the difference consist?

Is the diffusion of knowledge by popular education to be the test? Then Great Britain and[Pg 45] France would fall far below some countries now placed in the second, or even third rank. Denmark and China would be the most civilized countries in the world; nay, even Thibet, and the rest of Central Asia, would take precedence before the present champions of civilization. The whole of Germany and Switzerland would come next, then the eastern and middle sections of the United States, then the southern and western; and, after them, Great Britain and France. Still retaining the same scale, Russia would actually be ranked above Italy, the native clime of the arts. In Great Britain itself, Scotland would far surpass England in civilization[13].

[Pg 46] Is the perfection to which the arts are carried, the test of civilization? Then Bavaria and Italy are the most civilized countries. Then are we far behind the Greeks in civilization. Or, are the useful arts to carry the prize? Then the people showing the greatest mechanical genius is the most civilized.

Are political institutions to be the test? Then the question, "Which is the best government?" must first be decided. But the philosophic answer would be: "That which is best adapted to the genius of the people, and therefore best answers the purposes for which all government is instituted." Those who believe in the abstract superiority of any governmental theory, may be compared to the tailor who would finish some beau-ideal of a coat, without taking his customer's measure. We could afford to laugh at such theorists, were not their schemes so often recorded in blood in the annals of the world. Besides, if this test be admitted, no two could agree upon what was a civilized community. The panegyrist of constitutional monarchy would call England the only civilized country; the admirer of municipal liberty would point to the Hanse towns of the Middle Ages, and[Pg 48] their miserable relics, the present free cities of Germany; the friend of sober republicanism would exclude from the pale of civilization all but the United States and Switzerland; the lover of pure democracy would contend that mankind had retrograded since the time of Athens, and deplore that civilization was now confined to some few rude mountain or nomadic tribes with few and simple wants; finally, the defender of a paternal autocracy would sigh for the days of Trajan or Marcus Aurelius, and hesitate whether, in our age, Austria or Russia deserved the crown.

Neither pre-eminence in arts and sciences, nor in popular instruction, nor in government, can singly be taken as the test of civilization. Pre-eminence in all, no country enjoys. Yet all these are signs of civilization—the only ones by which we distinguish and recognize it. How, then, shall we define this term? I would suggest a simple and, I think, sufficiently explicit definition: Civilization is the continuous development of man's moral and intellectual powers. As the aggregate of these differs in different nations, so differs the character of their civilization. In one, civilization manifests itself in the perfection of the arts, either useful or polite; in another, in the cultivation of the sciences; in a third; in the care bestowed upon[Pg 49] politics, or, in the diffusion of knowledge among the masses. Each has its own merits, each its own defects; none combines the excellencies of all, but whichever combines the most with fewest defects, may be considered the best, or most perfect. It is because not keeping this obvious truth in view that John Bull laughs (or used to laugh) self-complacently at Monsieur Crapaud, and that we ourselves sometimes laugh at his political capers, forgetting that the thinkers of his nation have, for the last century at least, led the van in science and politics—yes, even in politics.[14] It is, for the same reason, that the Frenchman laughs at the German, or the Dutchman; that the foreigner cannot understand that there is an American civilization as well, and, bringing his own country's standard along with him, finds everything either too little or too great; or, that the American, going to the native[Pg 50] soil of the ripest scholars in the world, and seeing brick and mortar carried up by hand to the fourth story of a building in process of erection,[15] or seeing five men painfully perform a job which his youngest son would have accomplished without trouble by the simplest, perhaps self-invented, contrivance, revolves in his own mind how it is possible that these people—when the schoolmaster is abroad, too—are still so many centuries "behind the time." Thus each nation has its own standard by which it judges its neighbors; but when extra-European nations, such as the Chinese or Hindoos, are to be judged, all unite in voting them outside barbarians.

Here, then, we have indubitable proofs of moral and intellectual diversities, not only in what are[Pg 51] generally termed different races, but even in nations apparently belonging to the same race. Nor do I see in this diversity ought that can militate against our ideas of universal brotherhood. Among individuals, diversity of talent does not preclude friendly intercourse; on the contrary, it promotes it, for rivals seldom are friends. Neither does superior ability exempt us from the duties which we owe to our fellow-man.

I have repeatedly made use of the analogy between societies and the individuals that compose them. I cannot more clearly express my idea of civilization than by recurring to it again. Civilization, then, is to nations what the development of his physical and intellectual powers is to an individual; indeed, it is nothing but the aggregate result of all these individual powers; a common reservoir to which each contributes a share, whether large or small. The analogy may be extended further. Nations may be considered as themselves members of societies, bearing the same relations to each other and to the whole, as individuals. Thus, all the nations of Europe contribute, each in its own manner and degree, to what has been called the European civilization. And, in the same manner, the nations of Asia form distinct systems of civilizations. But all these systems ultimately tend[Pg 52] to one great aim—the general welfare of mankind. I would therefore carefully distinguish between the civilizations of particular nations, of clusters of nations, and of the whole of our species. To borrow a metaphor from the mechanism of the universe, the first are like the planets of a solar system, revolving—though in different orbits, and with different velocities—around the same common centre; but the solar systems again—with all their planets—revolve round another, more distant point.

Let us take two individuals of undoubted intellect. One may be a great mathematician, the other a great statesman. Place the first at the head of a cabinet, the second in an observatory, and the mathematician will as signally fail in correctly observing the changes in the political firmament, as the other in noting those in the heavenly. Yet, who would decide which had the superior intellect? This diversity of gifts is not the result of education. No training, however ingenious, could have changed an Arago into a Pitt, or vice versa. Raphael could under no circumstances have become a Handel, or either of them a Milton. Nay, men differ in following the same career. Can any one conceive that Michael Angelo could ever have painted Vandyke's pictures, Shakspeare written[Pg 53] Milton's verses, Mozart composed Rossini's music, or Jefferson followed Hamilton's policy? Here, then, we have excellencies, perhaps of equal degree, but of very different kinds. Nature, from her inexhaustible store, has not only unequally, but variously, bestowed her favors, and this infinite variety of gifts, as infinite as the variety of faces, God has doubtless designed for the happiness of men, and for their more intimate union, in making them dependent one on another. As each creature sings his Maker's praise in his own voice and cadence, the sparrow in his twitter, the nightingale in her warble, so each human being proclaims the Almighty's glory by the rightful use of his talents, whether great or small, for the promotion of his fellow-creatures' happiness; one may raise pious emotion in the breast by the tuneful melody of his song; another by the beauty and vividness of his images on canvas or in verse; a third discovers new worlds—additional evidences of His omnipotence who made them—and, by his calculations, demonstrates, even to the sceptic, the wonderful mechanism of the universe; to another, again, it is given to guide a nation's councils, and, by His assistance, to avert danger, or correct evils. Fie upon those who would raise man's powers above those of God, and ascribe diversity of talents to[Pg 54] education and accident, rather than to His wisdom and design. Can we not admire the Almighty as well in the variety as in a fancied uniformity of His works? Harmony consists in the union of different sounds; the harmony of the universe, in the diversity of its parts.

What is true of a society composed of individuals, is true of that vast political assemblage composed of nations. That each has a career to run through, a destiny to fulfil, is my firm and unwavering belief. That each must be gifted with peculiar qualities for that purpose, is a mere corollary of the proposition. This has been the opinion of all ages: "The men of Bœotia are noted for their stolidity, those of Attica for their wit." Common parlance proves that it is now, to-day, the opinion of all mankind, whatever theorists may say. Many affect to deride the idea of "manifest destiny" that possesses us Anglo-Americans, but who in the main doubts it? Who, that will but cast one glance on the map, or look back upon our history of yesterday only, can think of seriously denying that great purposes have been accomplished, will still be accomplished, and that these purposes were designed and guided by something more than blind chance? Unroll the page of history—of the great chain of human events,[Pg 55] it is true, we perceive but few links; like eternity, its beginning is wrapt in darkness, its end a mystery above human comprehension—but, in the vast drama presented to us, in which nations form the cast, we see each play its part, then disappear. Some, as Mr. Gobineau has it, act the kings and rulers, others are content with inferior roles.

As it is incompatible with the wisdom of the Creator, to suppose that each nation was not specially fitted[16] for the part assigned to it, we may[Pg 56] judge of what they were capable of by what they have accomplished.

History, then, must be our guide; and never was epoch more propitious, for never has her lamp shone brighter. The study of this important science, which Niebuhr truly calls the magistra vitæ, has received within our days an impulse such as it never had before. The invaluable archæological treasures which the linguists and antiquarians of Europe have rescued from the literature and monuments of the great nations of former ages, bring—as it were—back to life again the mouldered generations of the dim past. We no longer content ourselves with chronological outlines, mere names, and unimportant accounts of kings and their quarrels; we seek to penetrate into the inner life of those multitudes who acted their part on the stage of history, and then disappeared, to understand the modes of thought, the feelings, ideas, instincts, which actuated them, and made them what they were. The hoary pyramids of the Nile valley are forced to divulge their age,[Pg 57] the date of a former civilization; the temples and sepulchres, to furnish a minute account of even the private life of their builders;[17] the arrow-headed characters on the disinterred bricks of the sites of Babylon and Nineveh, are no longer a secret to the indefatigable orientalists; the classic writers of Hindostan and China find their most zealous scholiasts, and profoundest critics, in the capitals of Western Europe. The dross of childish fables, which age after age has transmitted to its successor under the name of history, is exposed to the powerful furnace of reason and criticism, and the pure ore extracted, by such men as Niebuhr, Heeren, Ranke, Gibbon, Grote. The enthusiastic lover of ancient Rome now sees her early history in clearer, truer colors than did her own historians.

[Pg 58] But, if history is indispensable to ethnology, the latter is no less so to a true understanding of history. The two sciences mutually shed light on one another's path, and though one of them is as yet in its infancy, its wonderful progress in so short a time, and the almost unparalleled attention which it has excited at all hands, are bright omens for the future. It will be obvious that, by ethnology, we do not mean ethnography, with which it has long been synonymous. Their meaning differs in the same manner, they bear almost the same relation to one another as geology and geography. While ethnography contents herself with the mere description and classification of the races of man, ethnology, to borrow the expressive language of the editor of the London Ethnological Journal, "investigates the mental and physical differences of mankind, and the organic laws upon which they depend; seeks to deduce from these investigations principles of human guidance, in all the important relations of social and national existence."[18] The importance of this study cannot be better expressed than in the words of a writer in the North British Review for August, 1849: "No one that has not[Pg 59] worked much in the element of history, can be aware of the immense importance of clearly keeping in view the differences of race that are discernible among the nations that inhabit different parts of the world.... In speculative history, in questions relating to the past career and the future destinies of nations, it is only by a firm and efficient handling of this conception of our species, as broken up into so many groups or masses, physiologically different to a certain extent, that any progress can be made, or any available conclusions accurately arrived at."[19]

But in attempting to divide mankind into such groups, an ethnologist is met by a serious and apparently insurmountable difficulty. The gradation of color is so imperceptible from the clearest white to the jettest black; and even anatomical peculiarities, normal in one branch, are found to exist, albeit in exceptional cases, in many others; so that the ethnographers scarce know where to stop in their classification, and while some recognize but three grand varieties, others contend for five, for eleven, or even for a much greater number. This difficulty arises, in my estimation, mainly from the attempt to class mankind into different[Pg 60] species, that is, groups who have a separate origin; and also, from the proneness to draw deductions from individual instances, by which almost any absurdity can be sustained, or truth refuted. As we have already inveighed against the latter error, and shall therefore try to avoid falling into it; and as we have no desire to enter the field of discussion about unity or plurality of species, we hope, in a great measure, to obviate the difficulties that beset the path of so many inquirers. By the word race[20] we mean, both here and in the body of the[Pg 61] work, such branches of the human family as are distinguished in the aggregate by certain well-defined physical or mental peculiarities, independent of the question whether they be of identical or diverse origin. For the sake of simplicity, these races are arranged in several principal classes, according to their relative affinities and resemblances. The most popular system of arrangement is that of Blumenbach, who recognizes five grand divisions, distinguished by appellations descriptive either of color or geographical position, viz: the White, Circassian, or European; the Yellow, Altaic, Asiatic, or Mongolian; the Red, American, or Indian; the Brown, or Malay; and, lastly, the Black, African, or negro. This division, though the most commonly adopted, has no superior claims above any other. Not only are its designations liable to very serious objections, but it is, in itself, entirely arbitrary. The Hottentot differs as much from the negro as the latter does from the Malay; and the Polynesian from the Malay more than the American from the Mongolian. Upon the same[Pg 62] principle, then, the number of classes might be indefinitely extended. Mr. Gobineau thought three classes sufficient to answer every purpose, and these he calls respectively the white, yellow, and black. Mr. Latham,[21] the great ethnographer, adopts a system almost precisely similar to our author's, and upon grounds entirely different. Though, for my own part, I should prefer a greater number of primary divisions, I confess that this coincidence of opinion in two men, pursuing, independent of, and unknown to each other, different paths of investigation, is a strong evidence of the correctness of their system, which, moreover, has the merit of great simplicity and clearness.

It must be borne in mind that the races comprised under these divisions, are by no means to be considered equal among themselves. We should lay it down as a general truth, that while the entire groups differ principally in degree of intellectual capacity, the races comprised in each differ among themselves rather in kind. Thus, we assert upon the testimony of history, that the white races are superior to the yellow; and these, in turn, to the black. But the Lithuanian and the Anglo-Saxon both belong to the same group of races, and[Pg 63] yet, history shows that they differ; so do the Samoyede and the Chinese, the negro of Lower Guinea, and the Fellah. These differences, observable among nations classed under the same head, as, for instance, the difference between the Russians and Italians (both white), we express in every day's language by the word "genius." Thus, we constantly hear persons speak of the artistic, administrative, nautical genius of the Greeks, Romans, and Phenicians, respectively; or, such phrases as these, which I borrow from Mr. Gobineau: "Napoleon rightly understood the genius of his nation when he reinstated the Church, and placed the supreme authority on a secure basis; Charles I. and his adviser did not, when they attempted to bend the neck of Englishmen under the yoke of absolutism." But, as the word genius applied to the capacities or tendencies of a nation, in general implies either too much or too little, it has been found convenient, in this work, to substitute for it another term—instinct. By the use of this word, it was not intended to assimilate man to the brute, to express aught differing from intellect or the reasoning capacity; but only to designate the peculiar manner in which that intellect or reasoning capacity manifests itself; in other words, the special adaptation of a nation for the[Pg 64] part assigned to it in the world's history; and, as this part is performed involuntarily and, for the most part, unconsciously, the term was deemed neither improper nor inappropriate. I do not, however, contend for its correctness, though I could cite the authority of high names for its use in this sense; I contend merely for its convenience, for we thereby gain an easy method of making distinctions of kind in the mental endowments of races, in cases where we would hesitate to make distinctions of degree. In fact, it is saying of multitudes only what we say of an individual by speaking of his talent; with this difference, however, that by talent we understand excellency of a certain order, while instinct applies to every grade. Two persons of equal intellectual calibre may have, one a talent for mathematics, the other for literature; that is, one can exhibit his intellect to advantage only in calculation, the other only in writing. Thus, of two nations standing equally high in the intellectual scale, one shall be distinguished for the high perfection attained in the fine arts, the other for the same perfection in the useful.

At the risk of wearying the reader with my definitions, I must yet inflict on him another which is essential to the right understanding of the following pages. In common parlance, the terms[Pg 65] nation and people have become strictly synonymous. We speak indifferently of the French people, or the French nation; the English people, or the English nation. If we make any distinction at all, we perhaps designate by the first expression the masses; by the second, rather the sovereignty. Thus, we say the French people are versatile, the French nation is at war with Russia. But even this distinction is not always made.

My purpose is to restore the word nation to its original signification, in which it expresses the same as the word race, including, besides, the idea of some sort of political organization. It is, in fact, nothing but the Latin equivalent of that word, and was applied, like tribe, to a collection of individuals not only living under the same government, but also claiming a closer consanguinity to one another than to their neighbors. It differs from tribe only in this respect, that it is applied to greater multitudes, as for instance to a coalescence of several closely-allied tribes, which gives rise to more complicated political forms. It might therefore be defined by an ethnologist as a population consisting of homogeneous ethnical elements.

The word people, on the contrary, when applied to an aggregation of individuals living under the same government, implies no immediate consanguineous [Pg 66]ties among them. Nation does not necessarily imply political unity; people, always. Thus, we speak of the Greek nation, though the Greeks were divided into a number of independent and very dissimilar sovereignties; but, we say the Roman people, though the whole population of the empire obeyed the same supreme head. The Russian empire contains within its limits, besides the Russians proper, an almost equal number of Cossacks, Calmucks, Tartars, Fins, and a number of other races, all very different from one another and still more so from the Russians, not only in language and external appearance, but in manners, modes of thinking: in one word, in instincts. By the expression Russian people I should therefore understand the whole population of that empire; by Russian nation, only the dominant race to which the Czar belongs. It is hardly possible to exaggerate the importance of keeping in view this distinction, as I shall prove by another instance. The Hungarian people are very nearly equally divided (exclusive of about one million Germans) into two nations, the Magyars and the Sclaves. Not only have these two, though for centuries occupying the same soil, remained unmixed and distinct, but the most intense antipathy exists between them, which only requires an occasion to display itself in acts[Pg 67] of bloodshed and relentless cruelty, that would make the tenants of hell shudder. Such an occasion was the recent revolution, in which, while the Magyars fought like lions for their independence, the Sclaves, knowing that they would not participate in any advantage the others might gain, proved more formidable opponents than the Austrians.[22]

If I have been successful in my discrimination between the two words, it follows plainly that a member of one nation, strictly speaking, can no more become a member of another by process of law, than a man, by adopting a child, can make it the fruit of his loins. This rule, though correct in the abstract, does not always apply to individual cases; but these, as has already been remarked, cannot be made the groundwork of general deductions. In conclusion of this somewhat digressional [Pg 68]definition, I would observe that, owing to the great intermixture of the European populations, produced by their various and intimate mutual relations, it does not apply with the same force to them as to others, and this I regard as the reason why the signification of the word has become modified.

If we will carefully examine the history of great empires, we shall be able, in almost every instance, to trace their beginning to the activity of what, in the strictest sense of the word, may be called a nation. Gradually, as the sphere of that nation expands, it incorporates, and in course of time amalgamates with foreign elements.

Nimrod, we learn from sacred history, established the Assyrian empire. At first, this consisted of but little more than the city of Babylon, and must necessarily have contained a very homogeneous population, if from no other cause than its narrow geographical limits. At the dawn of profane history, however, we find this empire extending over boundless tracts, and uniting under one rule tribes and nations of the most dissimilar manners and tongues.

The Assyrian empire fell, and that of the Medes rose on its ruins. The Median monarchy had an humble beginning. Dejoces, says tradition, united the independent tribes of the Medes. Later, we[Pg 69] find them ruling nations whose language they did not understand, whose manners they despised.

The Persian empire exceeded in grandeur its mighty predecessors. Originating in a rebellion of a few liberty-loving tribes, concerted and successfully executed by a popular leader (Cyrus), two generations of rulers extended its boundaries to the banks of the Nile. In Alexander's time, it was a conglomeration of a countless number of nations, many of whom remained under their hereditary rulers while rendering allegiance, and paying tribute to the great king.

I pass over the Macedonian empire, as of too short a duration to be a fair illustration. The germ of the Roman empire consisted of a coalescence of very closely allied tribes: Romulus's band of adventurers (who must have come from neighboring communities), the Sabines, Albans, and Latins. At the period of its downfall, it ruled, at least nominally, over every then known race.

In all these instances, the number of which might be further increased, we find homogeneousness of population at first, ethnical mixture and confusion at the end. "But what does this prove? will be asked. That too great an extension of territory is the cause of weakness? The idea is old, and out of date in our times, when steam and electricity [Pg 70]bring the outskirts of the largest empire in closer proximity than formerly were the frontiers of the humblest sovereignty." Extension of territory does not itself prove a cause of weakness and ruin. The largest empire in the world is that of China, and, without steam or electricity, it has maintained itself for 4,000 years, and bids fair, spite of the present revolution, to last a good long while yet. But, when extension of territory is attended with the incorporation of heterogeneous masses, having different interests, different instincts, from the conqueror, then indeed the extension must be an element of weakness, and not of strength.

The armies which Xerxes led into Greece were not Persians; but a small fragment of that motley congregation, the élite, the leaven of the whole mass, was composed of the king's countrymen. Upon this small body he placed his principal reliance, and when, at the fatal battle of Salamis, he beheld the slaughter of that valiant and noble band, though he had hundreds of thousands yet at his command, he rent his garments and fled a country which he had well-nigh conquered. Here is the difference between the armies of Cyrus and those of Xerxes and Darius. The rabbles which obeyed the latter, perhaps contained as much valor as the ranks of the enthusiastic followers of the[Pg 71] first, though the fact of their fighting under Persian standards might be considered as a proof of their inferiority. But what interest had they in the success of the great king? To forge still firmer their own fetters? Could the name of Cyrus, the remembrance of the storming of Sardis, the siege of Babylon, the conquest of Egypt, fire them with enthusiasm? Perhaps, in some of those glorious events, their forefathers became slaves to the tyrants they now serve, tyrants whose very language they do not understand.

The last armies of tottering Rome were drafted from every part of her boundless dominions, and of the men who were sent to oppose the threatening barbarians of the north, some, it might be, felt the blood of humbled Greece in their veins; some had been torn from a distant home in Egypt, or Libya; others, perhaps, remembered with pride how their ancestors had fought the Romans in the times of Juba, or Mithridates; others, again, boiled with indignation at the oppression of their Gallic brethren;—could those men respect the glorious traditions of Rome, could they be supposed to emulate the former legions of the proud city?

It is not, then, an extensive territory that ruins nations; it is a diversity of instincts, a clashing[Pg 72] of interests among the various parts of the population. When each province is isolated in feelings and interests from every other, no external foe is wanted to complete the ruin. Ambitious and adroit men will soon arise who know how to play upon these interests, and employ them for the promotion of their own schemes.

Nations, in the various stages of their career, have often been compared to individuals. They have, it is said, their period of infancy, of youth, of manhood, of old age. But the similitude, however striking, is not extended further, and, while individuals die a natural death, nations are supposed always to come to a violent end. Probably, we do not like to concede that all nations, like all individuals, must ultimately die a natural death, even though no disease anticipates it; because we dislike to recognize a rule which must apply to us as well. Each nation fancies its own vitality imperishable. When we are young, we seldom seriously think of death; in the same manner, societies in the period of their youthful vigor and energy, cannot conceive the possibility of their dissolution. In old age and decrepitude, they are like the consumptive patient, who, while fell disease is severing the last thread that binds him to the earth, is still forming plans[Pg 73] for years to come. Falling Rome dreamed herself eternal. Yet, the mortality of nations admits of precisely the same proof as that of individuals—universal experience. The great empires that overshadowed the world, where are they? The memory of some is perpetuated in the hearts of mankind by imperishable monuments; of others, the slightest trace is obliterated, the vaguest remembrance vanished. As the great individual intelligences, whose appearance marks an era in the history of human thought, live in the minds of posterity, even though no gorgeous tombstone points out the resting-place of their hull of clay; while the mausoleum of him whose grandeur was but temporary, whose influence transient only, carries no meaning on its sculptured surface to after ages; even so the ancient civilizations which adorned the globe, if their monuments be not in the domain of thought, their gigantic vestiges serve but to excite the wonder of the traveller and antiquary, and perplex the historian. Their sepulchres, however grand, are mute.[23]

[Pg 74] Many have been the attempts to detect the causes why nations die, in order to prevent that catastrophe; as the physicians of the Middle Ages, who thought death was always the consequence of disease, sought for the panacea that was to cure all ills and thus prolong life forever. But nations, like individuals, often survive the severest attacks of the most formidable disease, and die without sickness. In ancient times, those great catastrophes which annihilated the political existence of millions, were regarded as direct interpositions of Providence, visiting in its wrath the sins of a nation, and erecting a warning example for others; just as the remarkable destruction of a noted individual, or the occurrence of an unusual phenomenon was, and by many is even now, ascribed to the same immediate agency. But when philosophy discovered that the universe is governed by pre-established, immutable laws, and refused to credit miracles not sanctioned by religion; then the dogma gained ground that punishment follows the commission of sin, as effect does the cause; and national calamities had to be explained by other reasons. It was[Pg 75] then said, nations die of luxury, immorality, bad government, irreligion, etc. In other words, success was made the test of excellency and failure of crime. If, in individual life, we were to lay it down as an infallible rule, that he who commits no excesses lives forever, or at least very long; and he who does, will immediately die; that he who is honest in his dealings, will always prosper more than he who is not; we should have a very fluctuating standard of morality, since it has pleased God to sometimes try the good by severe afflictions, and let the wicked prosper. We should therefore be often called upon to admire what is deserving of contempt or punishment, and to seek for guilt in the innocent. This is what we do in nations. Wicked institutions have been called good, because they were attended with success; good ones have been pronounced bad, because they failed.

A more critical study of history has demonstrated the fallibility of this theory, which is now in a great measure discarded, and another adopted in its stead. It is argued that, at a certain period in its existence, a nation infallibly becomes degenerated, and thus falls. But, asks Mr. Gobineau, what is degeneracy? A nation is said to be degenerated when the virtues of its ancestry are lost. But why are they lost? Because [Pg 76]the nation is degenerated. Is not this like the reasoning in the child's story-book: Why is Jack a bad boy? Because he disobeys his parents. Why does he disobey his parents? Because he is a bad boy.

It is necessary, then, to show what degeneracy is. This step in advance, Mr. Gobineau attempts to make. He shows that each race is distinguished by certain capabilities, which, if its civilizing genius is sufficiently strong to enable it to assume a rank among the nations of the world, determine the character of its social and political development. Like the Phenicians, it may become the merchant and barterer of the world; or, like the Greeks, the teacher of future generations; or, like the Romans, the model-giver of laws and forms. Its part in the drama of history may be an humble one or a proud, but it is always proportionate to its powers. These powers, and the instincts or aspirations which spring from them, never change as long as the race remains pure. They progress and develop themselves, but never alter their nature. The purposes of the race are always the same. It may arrive at great perfection in the useful arts, but, without infiltration of a different element, will never be distinguished for poetry, painting, sculpture, etc.; and vice versa. Its nature[Pg 77] may be belligerent, and it will always find causes for quarrel; or it may be pacific, and then it will manage to live at peace, or fall a prey to a neighbor.

In the same manner, the government of a race will be in accordance with its instincts, and here I have the weighty authority of the author of Democracy in America, in my favor, and the author's whom I am illustrating. "A government," says De Tocqueville,[24] "retains its sway over a great number of citizens, far less by the voluntary and rational consent of the multitude, than by that instinctive, and, to a certain extent, involuntary agreement, which results from similarity of feelings, and resemblances of opinions. I will never admit that men constitute a social body, simply because they obey the same head and the same laws. A society can exist only when a great number of men consider a great number of things in the same point of view; when they hold the same opinions upon many subjects, and when the same occurrences suggest the same thoughts and impressions to their minds." The laws and government of a nation are always an accurate reflex of its manners and modes of thinking. "If, at first, it would appear," says Mr. Gobineau, "as if, in some cases, they were the[Pg 78] production of some superior individual intellect, like the great law-givers of antiquity; let the facts be more carefully examined, and it will be found that the law-giver—if wise and judicious—has contented himself with consulting the genius of his nation, and giving a voice to the common sentiment. If, on the contrary, he be a theorist like Draco, his system remains a dead letter, soon to be superseded by the more judicious institutions of a Solon who aims to give to his countrymen, not the best laws possible, but the best he thinks them capable of receiving." It is a great and a very general error to suppose that the sense of a nation will always decide in favor of what we term "popular" institutions, that is to say, such in which each individual shares more or less immediately in the government. Its genius may tend to the establishment of absolute authority, and in that case the autocrat is but an impersonation of the vox populi, by which he must be guided in his policy. If he be too deaf or rash to listen to it, his own ruin will be the inevitable consequence, but the nation persists in the same career.

The meaning of the word degeneracy is now obvious. This inevitable evil is concealed in the very successes to which a nation owes its splendor. Whether, like the Persians, Romans, &c., it is[Pg 79] swallowed up and absorbed by the multitudes its arms have subjected, or whether the ethnical mixture proceeds in a peaceful manner, the result is the same. Even where no foreign conquests add suddenly hundreds of thousands of a foreign population to the original mass, the fertility of uncultivated fields, the opulence of great commercial cities, and all the advantages to be found in the bosom of a rising nation, accomplish it, if in a less perceptible, in a no less certain manner. The two young nations of the world are now the United States and Russia. See the crowds which are thronging over the frontiers of both. Both already count their foreign population by millions. As the original population—the initiatory element of the whole mass—has no additions to its numbers but its natural increase, it follows that the influent elements must, in course of time, be of equal strength, and the influx still continuing, finally absorb it altogether. Sometimes a nation establishes itself upon the basis of a much more numerous conquered population, as in the case of the Frankish conquerors of Gaul; then the amalgamation of ranks and classes produces the same results as foreign immigration. It is clear that each new ethnical element brings with it its own characteristics or instincts, and according to the[Pg 80] relative strength of these will be the modifications in government, social relations, and the whole tendencies of the race. The modifications may be for the better, they may be for the worse; they may be very gradual, or very sudden, according to the merit and power of the foreign influence; but in course of time they will amount to radical, positive changes, and then the original nation has ceased to exist.

This is the natural death of human societies. Sometimes they expire gently and almost imperceptibly; oftener with a convulsion and a crash. I shall attempt to explain my meaning by a familiar simile. A mansion is built which in all respects suits the taste and wants of the owner. Succeeding generations find it too small, too dark, or otherwise ill adapted to their purposes. Respect for their progenitor, and family association, prevent, at first, very extensive changes, still each one makes some; and as these associations grow fainter, the changes become more radical, until at last nothing of the old house remains. But if it had previously passed into the hands of a stranger, who had none of these associations to venerate and respect, he would probably have pulled it down at once and built another.

An empire, then, falls, when the vitalizing principle [Pg 81]which gave it birth is exhausted; when its parts are connected by none but artificial ties, and artificial ties are all those which unite races possessed of different instincts. This idea is expressed in the beautiful image of the inspired prophet, when he tells the mighty king that great truth, which so many refuse to believe, that all earthly kingdoms must perish until "the God of Heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed."[25] "Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee, and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them."[26]

I have now illustrated, to the best of my abilities, several of the most important propositions of[Pg 82] Mr. Gobineau, and attempted to sustain them by arguments and examples different from those used by the author. For a more perfect exposition I must refer the reader to the body of the work. My purpose was humbly to clear away such obstacles as the author has left in the path, and remove difficulties that escaped his notice. The task which I have set myself, would, however, be far from accomplished, were I to pass over what I consider a serious error on his part, in silence and without an effort at emendation.

Civilization, says Mr. Gobineau, arises from the combined action and mutual reaction of man's moral aspirations, and the pressure of his material wants. This, in a general sense, is obviously true. But let us see the practical application. I shall endeavor to give a concise abstract of his views, and then to point out where and why he errs.

In some races, says he, the spiritual aspirations predominate over their physical desires, in others it is the reverse. In none are either entirely wanting. According to the relative proportion and intensity of either of these influences, which counteract and yet assist each other, the tendency of the civilization varies. If either is possessed in but a feeble degree, or if one of them so greatly outweighs the other as to[Pg 83] completely neutralize its effects, there is no civilization, and never can be one until the race is modified by intermixture with one of higher endowments. But if both prevail to a sufficient extent, the preponderance of either one determines the character of the civilization. In the Chinese, it is the material tendency that prevails, in the Hindoo the other. Consequently we find that in China, civilization is principally directed towards the gratification of physical wants, the perfection of material well-being. In other words, it is of an eminently utilitarian character, which discourages all speculation not susceptible of immediate practical application.

This well describes the Chinese, and is precisely the picture which M. Huc, who has lived among them for many years, and has enjoyed better opportunities for studying their genius than any other writer, gives of them in his late publication.[27]

[Pg 84] Hindoo culture, on the contrary, displays a very opposite tendency. Among that nation, everything is speculative, nothing practical. The toils of human intellect are in the regions of the abstract where the mind often loses itself[Pg 85] in depths beyond its sounding. The material wants are few and easily supplied. If great works are undertaken, it is in honor of the gods, so that even their physical labor bears homage to the invisible rather than the visible world. This also is a tolerably correct picture.

He therefore divides all races into these two categories, taking the Chinese as the type of the one and the Hindoos as that of the other. According to him, the yellow races belong pre-eminently to the former, the black to the latter, while the white are distinguished by a greater intensity and better proportion of the qualities of both. But this division, and no other is consistent with the author's proposition, by assuming that in the black races the moral preponderates over the physical tendency, comes in direct conflict not only with the plain teachings of anatomy, but with all we know of the history of those races. I shall attempt to show wherein Mr. Gobineau's error lies, an error from the consequences of which I see no possibility for him to escape, and suggest an emendation which, so far from invalidating his general position, tends rather to confirm and strengthen it. In doing so, I am actuated by the belief that even if I err, I may be useful by inviting others more capable to the task of investigation. Suggestions on important[Pg 86] subjects, if they serve no other purpose than to provoke inquiry, are never useless. The alchemists of the Middle Ages, in their frivolous pursuit of impossibilities, discovered many invaluable secrets of nature and laid the foundation of that science which, by explaining the intimate mutual action of all natural bodies, has become the indispensable handmaiden of almost every other.

The error, it seems to me, lies in the same confusion of distinct ideas, to which I had already occasion to advert. In ordinary language, we speak of the physical and moral nature of man, terming physical whatever relates to his material, and moral what relates to his immaterial being. Again, we speak of mind, and though in theory we consider it as a synonyme of soul, in practical application it has a very different signification. A person may cultivate his mind without benefiting his soul, and the term a superior mind, does not necessarily imply moral excellency. That mental qualifications or acquisitions are in no way connected with sound morality or true piety, I have pointed out before. Should any further illustrations be necessary, I might remark that the greatest monsters that blot the page of history, have been, for the most part, men of what are called superior minds, of great intellectual attainments.[Pg 87] Indeed, wickedness is seldom very dangerous, unless joined to intellect, as the common sense of mankind has expressed in the adage that a fool is seldom a knave. We daily see men perverting the highest mental gifts to the basest purposes, a fact which ought to be carefully weighed by those who believe that education consists in the cultivation of the intellect only. I therefore consider the moral endowments of man as practically different from the mental or intellectual, at least in their manifestations, if not in their essence. To define my idea more clearly, let me attempt to explain the difference between what I term the moral and the intellectual nature of man. I am aware of the dangerous nature of the ground I am treading, but shall nevertheless make the attempt to show that it is in accordance with the spirit of religion to consider what in common parlance is called the moral attributes of man, and which would be better expressed by the word psychical, as divisible into two, the strictly moral, and the intellectual.

The former is what leads man to look beyond his earthly existence, and gives even the most brutish savage some vague idea of a Deity. I am making no rash or unfounded assertion when I declare, Mr. Locke's weighty opinion to the contrary notwithstanding, that no tribe has ever been discovered [Pg 88]in which some notion of this kind, however rude, was wanting, and I consider it innate—a yearning, as it were, of the soul towards the regions to which it belongs. The feeling of religion is implanted in our breast; it is not a production of the intellect, and this the Christian church confirms when it declares that faith we owe to the grace of God.

Intellect is that faculty of soul by which it takes cognizance of, classes and compares the facts of the material world. As all perceptions are derived through the senses, it follows that upon the nicety of these its powers must in a great measure depend. The vigor and delicacy of the nerves, and the size and texture of the brain in which they all centre, form what we call native intellectual gifts. Hence, when the body is impaired, the mind suffers; "mens sana in corpore sano;" hence, a fever prostrates, and may forever destroy, the most powerful intellect; a glass of wine may dim and distort it. Here, then, is the grand distinction between soul and mind. The latter, human wickedness may annihilate; the former, man killeth not. I should wish to enter more fully upon this investigation, not new, indeed, in speculative science, yet new in the application I purpose to make of it, were it not for fear of wearying my reader, to whom my only[Pg 89] apology can be, that the discussion is indispensable to the proper investigation of the moral and intellectual diversities of races. When I say moral diversities, I do not mean that man's moral endowments, strictly speaking, are unequal. This assertion I am not prepared to make, because—as religion is accessible and comprehensible to them all—it may be supposed that these are in all cases equal. But I mean that the manifestation of these moral endowments varies, owing to causes which I am now about to consider. I have said that the moral nature of man leads him to look beyond the confines of the material world. This, when not assisted by revelation, he attempts to do by means of his intellect. The intellect is, as it were, the visual organ by which the soul scans the abyss between the present and the future existence. According to the dimness or brightness of this mental eye, are his perceptions. If the intellectual capacity is weak, he is content with a grovelling conception of the Deity; if powerful, he erects an elaborate fabric of philosophical speculations. But, as the Almighty has decreed that human intellect, even in its sublimest flight, cannot soar to His presence; it follows that the most elaborate fabric of the philosopher is still a human fabric, that the most perfect human theology is still human, and[Pg 90] hence—the necessity of revelation. This divine light, which His mercy has vouchsafed us, dispenses with, and eclipses, the feeble glimmerings of human intellect. It illumines as well the soul of the rude savage as of the learned theologian; of the illiterate as of the erudite. Nay, very often the former has the advantage, for the erudite philosopher is prone to think his own lamp all-sufficient. If it be objected that a highly cultivated mind, if directed to rightful purposes, will assist in gaining a nobler conception of the Deity, I shall not contradict, for in the study of His works, we learn still more to admire the Maker. But I insist that true piety can, and does exist without it, and let those who trust so much in their own powers beware lest they lean upon a broken staff.

The strictly moral attributes of man, therefore, those attributes which enable him to communicate with his Maker, are common—probably in equal degree—to all men, and to all races of men. But his communications with the external world depend on his physical conformation. The body is the connecting link between the spirit and the material world, and, by its intimate relations to both, specially adapted to be the means of communication between them. There seems to me nothing irrational or irreligious in the doctrine that, according [Pg 91]to the perfectness of this means of communication, must be the intercourse between the two. A person with dull auditory organs can never appreciate music, and whatever his talents otherwise may be, can never become a Meyerbeer or a Mozart. Upon quickness of perception, power of analysis and combination, perseverance and endurance, depend our intellectual faculties, both in their degree and their kind; and are not they blunted or otherwise modified in a morbid state of the body? I consider it therefore established beyond dispute, that a certain general physical conformation is productive of corresponding mental characteristics. A human being, whom God has created with a negro's skull and general physique, can never equal one with a Newton's or a Humboldt's cranial development, though the soul of both is equally precious in the eyes of the Lord, and should be in the eyes of all his followers. There is no tendency to materialism in this idea; I have no sympathy with those who deny the existence of the soul, because they cannot find it under the scalpel, and I consider the body not the mental agent, but the servant, the tool.

It is true that science has not discovered, and perhaps never will discover, what physical differences correspond to the differences in individual[Pg 92] minds. Phrenology, starting with brilliant promises, and bringing to the task powers of no mean order, has failed. But there is a vast difference between the characteristics by which we distinguish individuals of the same race, and those by which we distinguish races themselves. The former are not strictly—at least not immediately—hereditary, for the child most often differs from both parents in body and mind, because no two individuals, as no two leaves of one tree, are precisely alike. But, although every oak-leaf differs from its fellow, we know the leaf of the oak-tree from that of the beech, or every other; and, in the same manner, races are distinguished by peculiarities which are hereditary and permanent. Thus, every negro differs from every other negro, else we could not tell them apart; yet all, if pure blood, have the same characteristics in common that distinguish them from the white. I have been prolix, but intentionally so, in my discrimination between individual distinction and those of race, because of the latter, comparative anatomy takes cognizance; the former are left to phrenology, and I wished to remove any suspicion that in the investigation of moral and intellectual diversities of races, recourse must be had to the ill-authenticated speculations of a dubious science. But, from the data of comparative anatomy, attained [Pg 93]by a slow and cautious progress, we deduce that races are distinguished by certain permanent physical characteristics; and, if these physical characteristics correspond to the mental, it follows as an obvious conclusion that the latter are permanent also. History ratifies the conclusion, and the common sense of mankind practically acquiesces in it.

To return, then, to our author. I would add to his two elements of civilization a third—intellect per se; or rather, to speak more correctly, I would subdivide one of his elements into two, of which one is probably dependent on physical conformation. The combinations will then be more complex, but will remove every difficulty.

I remarked that although we may consider all races as possessed of equal moral endowments, we yet may speak of moral diversities; because, without the light of revelation, man has nothing but his intellect whereby to compass the immaterial world, and the manifestation of his moral faculties must therefore be in proportion to the clearness of his intellectual, and their preponderance over the animal tendencies. The three I consider as existing about in the following relative proportions in the three great groups under which Mr.[Pg 94] Gobineau and Mr. Latham[28] have arranged the various races—a classification, however, which, as I already observed, I cannot entirely approve.

Intellect Feeble Mediocre Vigorous.
Animal Propensities Very strong Moderate Strong.
Moral Manifestations Partially latent Comparatively developed Highly cultivated.

But the races comprised in each group vary among themselves, if not with regard to the relative proportion in which they possess the elements of civilization, at least in their intensity. The following formulas will, I think, apply to the majority of cases, and, at the same time, bring out my idea in a clearer light:—

If the animal propensities are strongly developed, and not tempered by the intellectual faculties, the moral conceptions must be exceedingly low, because they necessarily depend on the clearness, refinement, and comprehensiveness of the ideas derived from the material world through the senses. The religious cravings will, therefore, be contented with a gross worship of[Pg 95] material objects, and the moral sense degenerate into a grovelling superstition. The utmost elevation which a population, so constituted, can reach, will be an unconscious impersonation of the good aspirations and the evil tendencies of their nature under the form of a good and an evil spirit, to the latter of which absurd and often bloody homage is paid. Government there can be no other than the right which force gives to the strong, and its forms will be slavery among themselves, and submissiveness of all to a tyrannical absolutism.

When the same animal propensities are combined with intellect of a higher order, the moral faculties have more room for action. The penetration of intellect will not be long in discovering that the gratification of physical desires is easiest and safest in a state of order and stability. Hence a more complex system of legislation both social and political. The conceptions of the Deity will be more elevated and refined, though the idea of a future state will probably be connected with visions of material enjoyment, as in the paradise of the Mohammedans.

Where the animal propensities are weak and the intellect feeble, a vegetating national life results. No political organization, or of the very[Pg 96] simplest kind. Few laws, for what need of restraining passions which do not exist. The moral sense content with the vague recognition of a superior being, to whom few or no rites are rendered.

But when the animal propensities are so moderate as to be subordinate to an intellect more or less vigorous, the moral aspirations will yearn towards the regions of the abstract. Religion becomes a system of metaphysics, and often loses itself in the mazes of its own subtlety. The political organization and civil legislation will be simple, for there are few passions to restrain; but the laws which regulate social intercourse will be many and various, and supposed to emanate directly from the Deity.

Strong animal passions, joined to an intellect equally strong, allow the greatest expanse for the moral sense. Political organizations the most complex and varied, social and civil laws the most studied, will be the outward character of a society composed of such elements. Internally we shall perceive the greatest contrasts of individual goodness and wickedness. Religion will be a symbolism of human passions and the natural elements for the many, an ingenious fabric of moral speculations for the few.

I have here rapidly sketched a series of pictures[Pg 97] from nature, which the historian and ethnographer will not fail to recognize. Whether the features thus cursorily delineated are owing to the causes to which I ascribe them, I must leave for the reader to decide. My space is too limited to allow of my entering into an elaborate argumentation. But I would observe that, by taking this view of the subject, we can understand why all human—and therefore false—religions are so intimately connected with the social and political organization of the peoples which profess them, and why they are so plainly mapped out on the globe as belonging to certain races, to whom alone they are applicable, and beyond whose area they cannot extend: while Christianity knows no political or social forms, no geographical or ethnological limits. The former, being the productions of human intellect, must vary with its variation, and perish in its decay, while revelation is universal and immutable, like the Intelligence of which it is the emanation.

It is time now to conclude the task, the accomplishment of which has carried me far beyond the limits I had at first proposed to myself. If I have so long detained the reader on the threshold of the edifice, it was to facilitate his after progress, and to give him a chart, that he may not lose himself in[Pg 98] the vast field it covers. There he may often meet me again, and if I be sometimes deemed officious with my proffered explanations, he will at least give me credit for good intentions, and he may, if he chooses, pass me without recognition. Both this introduction and notes in the body of the work were thought necessary for several reasons. First, the subject is in some measure a new one, and it was important to guard against misconception, and show, right at the beginning, what was attempted to be proved, and in what manner. Secondly, the author wrote for a European public, and many allusions are made, or positions taken, upon an assumed knowledge of facts, of which the general reader on this side of the ocean can be supposed to have but a slight and vague apprehension. Thirdly, the author has, in many cases, contented himself with abstract reasoning, and therefore is sometimes chargeable with obscureness, on which account familiar illustrations have been supplied. Fourthly, the volume now presented to the reader is one of a series of four, the remainder of which, if this meets the public approbation, may in time appear in an English garb. But it was important to make this, as much as possible, independent of the others and complete in itself. The discussion of the moral and intellectual [Pg 99]diversities of the various groups of the human family, is, as I have before shown, totally independent of the question of unity or diversity of species; yet, as it increases the interest attached to the solution of that question, which has been but imperfectly discussed by the author, my esteemed friend, Dr. J. C. Nott, who has so often and so ably treated the subject, has promised to furnish, in notes and an appendix, such additional facts pertaining to his province as a naturalist, as may assist the reader in arriving at a correct opinion.

With regard to the translation, it must be observed that it is not a literal rendering of the original. The translator has aimed rather at giving the meaning, than the exact words or phraseology of the author, at no time, however, departing from the former. He has, in some instances, condensed or omitted what seemed irrelevant, or useless to the discussion of the question in this country, and in a few cases, he has transposed a sentence to a different part of the paragraph, where it seemed more in its place, and more effective. To explain and justify these alterations, we must remind our readers that the author wrote for a public essentially different from that of the translator; that continental writers on grave subjects are in general more intent upon vindicating their opinions[Pg 100] than the form in which they express them, and seldom devote that attention to style which English or American readers expect; to which may be added that Count Gobineau wrote in the midst of a multiplicity of diplomatic affairs, and had no time, even if he had thought it worth his while, to give his work that literary finish which would satisfy the fastidious. Had circumstances permitted, this translation would have been submitted to his approbation, but at the time of its going to press he is engaged in the service of his country at the court of Persia.

For obtruding the present work on the notice of the American public, no apology will be required. The subject is one of immense importance, and especially in this country, where it can seldom be discussed without adventitious circumstances biassing the inquirers. To the philanthropist, the leading idea of the book, "that different races, like different individuals, are specially fitted for special purposes, for the fulfilment of which they are accountable in the measure laid down in Holy Writ: 'To whom much is given, from him much will be asked,' and that they are equal only when they truly and faithfully perform the duties of[Pg 101] their station"—to the philanthropist, this idea must be fraught with many valuable suggestions. So far from loosening the ties of brotherhood, it binds them closer, because it teaches us not to despise those who are endowed differently from us; and shows us that they, too, may have excellencies which we have not.

To the statesman, the student of history, and the general reader, it is hoped that this volume will not be altogether useless, and may assist to a better understanding of many of the problems that have so long puzzled the philosopher. The greatest revolutions in national relations have been accomplished by the migrations of races, the most calamitous wars that have desolated the globe have been the result of the hostility of races. Even now, a cloud is lowering in the horizon. The friend of peace and order watches it with silent anxiety, lest he hasten its coming. The spirit of mischief exults in its approach, but fears to betray his plans. Thus, western and central Europe now present the spectacle of a lull before the storm. Monarchs sit trembling on their thrones, while nations mutter curses. Nor have premonitory symptoms been wanting. Three times, within little more than half a century, have the eruptions of that ever-burning political volcano—France—shaken [Pg 102]the social and political system of the civilized world, and shown the amount of combustible materials, which all the efforts of a ruling class cannot always protect from ignition. The grand catastrophe may come within our times. And, is it the result of any particular social condition, the action of any particular class in the social scale, the diffusion of any particular political principles? No, because the revolutionary tendencies are various, and even opposite; if republican in one place, monarchical in another; if democratic in France, aristocratic in Poland. Nor is it a particular social class wherein the revolutionary principle flourishes, for the classes which, in one country, wish subversion, in another, are firmly attached to the established order of things. The poor in Germany are proletarians and revolutionists; in Spain, Portugal, and Italy, the enthusiastic lovers of their king. The better classes in the former country are mostly conservative; in the latter, they are the makers, or rather attempters, of revolutions. Nor is it any particular social condition, for no class is so degraded as it has been; never was poverty less, and prosperity greater in Europe than in the present century; and everywhere the political institutions are more liberal than ever before. Whence, then, this gathering storm? Does it exist only in[Pg 103] the minds of the visionary, or is it a mere bugbear of the timorous? Ask the prudent statesman, the traveller who pierces the different strata of the population; look behind the grates of the State-prisons; count—if this be possible—the number of victims of military executions in Germany and Austria, in 1848 and 1849; read the fearful accounts of the taking of Vienna, of Rome, of Ancona, of Venice, during the same short space of time. Everywhere the same cry: Nationality. It is not the temporary ravings of a mob rendered frantic by hunger and misery. It is a question of nationality, a war of races. Happy we who are removed from the immediate scene of the struggle, and can be but remotely affected by it. Yet, while I write, it seems as though the gales of the Atlantic had blown to our peaceful shores some taints of the epidemic that rages in the Old World. May it soon pass over, and a healthy atmosphere again prevail!

H. H.

Mobile, Aug. 20, 1855.

[Pg 105]




Perishable condition of all human societies—Ancient ideas concerning this phenomenon—Modern theories.

The downfall of civilizations is the most striking, and, at the same time, the most obscure of all the phenomena of history. If the sublime grandeur of this spectacle impresses the mind with awe, the mystery in which it is wrapped presents a boundless field for inquiry and meditation to a reflecting mind. The study of the birth and growth of nations is, indeed, fraught with many valuable observations: the gradual development of human societies, their successes, conquests, and triumphs, strike the imagination in a lively manner, and excite an ever increasing interest. But these phenomena, however grand and interesting, seem[Pg 106] susceptible of an easy explanation. We consider them as the necessary consequences of the intellectual and moral endowments of man. Once we admit the existence of these endowments, their results will no longer surprise us.

But we perceive that, after a period of glory and strength, all societies formed by man begin to totter and fall; all, I said, because there is no exception. Scattered over the surface of our globe, we see the vestiges of preceding civilizations, many of which are known to us only by name, or have not left behind them even that faint memorial, and are recorded only by the mute stones in the depths of primeval forests.[30] If we glance at our modern States, we are forced to the conclusion that, though their date is but of yesterday, some of them already exhibit signs of old age. The awful truth of prophetic language about the instability of all things human, applies with equal force to political bodies and to individuals, to nations and their civilizations. Every association of men for social and political purposes, though protected by the most ingenious social and political ties and contrivances, conceals among the very elements of its life, the[Pg 107] germ of inevitable destruction, contracted the day it was formed. This terrible fact is proved by the history of all ages as well as of our own. It is owing to a natural law of death which seems to govern societies as well as individuals; but, does this law operate alike in all cases? is it uniform like the result it brings about, and do all civilizations perish from the same pre-existing cause?

A superficial glance at the page of history would tempt us to answer in the negative, for the apparent causes of the downfall of the great empires of antiquity were very different in each case. Yet, if we pierce below the surface, we find in this very necessity of decay, which weighs so imperiously upon all societies without exception, the evidence of the existence of some general, though concealed, cause, producing a natural death, even where no external causes anticipate it by violent destruction. We also discover that all civilizations, after a short duration, exhibit, to the acute observer, certain intimate disturbances, difficult to define, but whose existence is undeniable; and that these present in all cases an analogous character. Finally, if we distinguish the ruin of civilizations from that of States (for we sometimes see the same culture subsist in a country under foreign domination, and survive the destruction of the political body which[Pg 108] gave it birth; while, again, comparatively slight misfortunes cause it to be transformed, or to disappear altogether), we become more and more confirmed in the idea that this principle of death in all societies is not only a necessary condition of their life, independent, in a great measure, of external causes, but is also uniform in all. To fix and determine this principle, and to trace its effects in the lives of those nations, of whom history has left us records, has been my object and endeavor in the studies, the results of which I now lay before the reader.

The fact that every human agglomeration, and the peculiar culture resulting from it, is doomed to perish, was not known to the ancients. Even in the epochs immediately preceding ours, it was not believed. The religious spirit of Asiatic antiquity looked upon the great political catastrophes in the same light that they did upon the sudden destruction of an individual: as a demonstration of Divine wrath, visiting a nation or an individual whose sins had marked them out for signal punishment, which would serve as an example to those criminals whom the rod had as yet spared. The Jews, misunderstanding the meaning of the promise, believed their empire imperishable. Rome, at the very moment when the threatening clouds lowered[Pg 109] in the horizon of her grandeur, entertained no doubt as to the eternity of hers.[31] But our generation has profited by experience; and, as no one presumes to doubt that all men must die, because all who came before us have died; so we are firmly convinced, that the days of nations, as of individuals, however many they be, are numbered. The wisdom of the ancients, therefore, will afford us but little assistance in the unravelling of our subject, if we except one fundamental maxim: that the finger of Divine Providence is always visible in the conduct of the affairs of this world. From this solid basis we shall not depart, accepting it in the full extent that it is recognized by the church. It cannot be contested that no civilization will perish without the will of God, and to apply to the mortal condition of all societies, the sacred axiom by which the ancients explained certain remarkable, and, in their opinion, isolated cases of destruction, is but proclaiming a truth of the first order, of which we must never lose sight in our researches after truths of secondary importance. If it be further added that societies perish by their sins, I willingly accede to it; it is but drawing a[Pg 110] parallel between them and individuals who also find their death, or accelerate it, by disobedience to the laws of the Creator. So far, there is nothing contradictory to reason, even when unassisted by Divine light; but these two truths once admitted and duly weighed, the wisdom of the ancients, I repeat, affords no further assistance. They did not search into the ways by which the Divine will effected the ruin of nations; on the contrary, they were rather inclined to consider these ways as essentially mysterious, and above comprehension. Seized with pious terror at the aspect of the wrecks, they easily imagined that Providence had specially interfered thus to strike and completely destroy once powerful states. Where a miracle is recorded by the Sacred Scriptures, I willingly submit; but where that high testimony is wanting, as it is in the great number of cases, we may justly consider the ancient theory as defective, and not sufficiently enlightened. We may even conclude, that as Divine Justice watches over nations unremittingly, and its decrees were pronounced ere the first human society was formed, they are also enforced in a predeterminate manner, and according to the unalterable laws of the universe, which govern both animated nature and the inorganic world.

[Pg 111] If we have cause to reproach the philosophers of the earlier ages, for having contented themselves, in attempting to fathom the mystery, with the vindication of an incontestable theological truth, but which itself is another mystery; at least, they have not increased the difficulties of the question by making it a theme for a maze of errors. In this respect, they rank highly above the rationalist schools of various epochs.

The thinkers of Athens and Rome established the doctrine, which has retained its ground to our days, that states, nations, civilizations, perished only through luxury, enervation, bad government, corruption of morals, fanaticism. All these causes, either singly or combined, were supposed to account for the downfall of civilizations. It is a necessary consequence of this doctrine, that where neither of these causes are in operation, no destructive agency is at work. Societies would therefore possess this advantage over individuals, that they could die no other but a violent death; and, to establish a body politic as durable as the globe itself, nothing further would be necessary than to elude the dangers which I enumerated above.

The inventors of this thesis did not perceive its bearing. They considered it as an excellent means for illustrating the doctrine of morality, which, as[Pg 112] is well known, was the sole aim of their historical writings. In their narratives of events, they were so strongly preoccupied with showing the happy rewards of virtue, and the disastrous results of crime and vice, that they cared little for what seemed to furnish no illustration. This erroneous and narrow-minded system often operated contrary to the intention of the authors, for it applied, according to occasion, the name of virtue and vice in a very arbitrary manner; still, to a great extent, the severe and laudable sentiment upon which it was based, excuses it. If the genius of a Plutarch or a Tacitus could draw from history, studied in this manner, nothing but romances and satires, yet the romances were sublime, and the satires generous.

I wish I could be equally indulgent to the writers of the eighteenth century, who made their own application of the same theory; but there is, between them and their teachers, too great a difference. While the ancients were attached to the established social system, even to a fault, our moderns were anxious for destruction, and greedy of untried novelties. The former exerted themselves to deduce useful lessons from their theory; the latter have perverted it into a fearful weapon against all rational principles of government, which they stigmatized by every term that mankind holds[Pg 113] in horror. To save societies from ruin, the disciples of Voltaire would destroy religion, law, industry, commerce; because, if we believe them, religion is fanaticism; laws, despotism; industry and commerce, luxury and corruption.

I have not the slightest intention of entering the field of polemics; I wished merely to direct attention to the widely diverging results of this principle, when applied by Thucydides, or the Abbé Raynal. Conservative in the one, cynically aggressive in the other, it is erroneous in both.

The causes to which the downfall of nations is generally ascribed are not the true ones, and whilst I admit that these evils may be rifest in the last stages of dissolution of a people, I deny that they possess in themselves sufficient strength, and so destructive an energy, as to produce the final, irremediable catastrophe.

[Pg 114]



Fanaticism—Aztec Empire of Mexico.—Luxury—Modern European States as luxurious as the ancient.—Corruption of morals—The standard of morality fluctuates in the various periods of a nation's history: example, France—Is no higher in youthful communities than in old ones—Morality of Paris.—Irreligion—Never spreads through all ranks of a nation—Greece and Rome—Tenacity of Paganism.

Before entering upon my reasons for the opinion expressed at the end of the preceding chapter, it will be necessary to explain and define what I understand by the term society. I do not apply this term to the more or less extended circle belonging to a distinct sovereignty. The republic of Athens is not, in my sense of the word, a society; neither is the kingdom of Magadha, the empire of Pontus, or the caliphat of Egypt in the time of the Fatimites. These are fragments of societies, which are transformed, united, or subdivided, [Pg 115]by the operation of those primordial laws into which I am inquiring, but whose existence or annihilation does not constitute the existence or annihilation of a society. Their formation is, for the most part, a transient phenomenon, which exerts but a limited, or even indirect influence upon the civilization that gave it birth. By the term society, I understand an association of men, actuated by similar ideas, and possessed of the same general instincts. This association need by no means be perfect in a political sense, but must be complete from a social point of view. Thus, Egypt, Assyria, Greece, India, China, have been, or are still, the theatres upon which distinct societies have worked out their destinies, to which the perturbations in their political relations were merely secondary. I shall, therefore, speak of the fractions of these societies only when my reasoning applies equally to the whole. I am now prepared to proceed to the examination of the question before us, and I hope to prove that fanaticism, luxury, corruption of morals, and irreligion, do not necessarily occasion the ruin of nations.

All these maladies, either singly or combined, have attacked, and sometimes with great virulence, nations which nevertheless recovered from them, and were, perhaps, all the more vigorous afterward.

[Pg 116] The Aztec empire, in Mexico, seemed to flourish for the especial glory and exaltation of fanaticism. What can there be more fanatical than a social and political system, based on a religion which requires the incessant and profuse shedding of the blood of fellow-beings?[32] Our remote ancestors, the barbarous nations of Northern Europe, did indeed practise this unholy rite, but they never chose for their sacrifices innocent victims,[33] or, at least, such as they considered so: the shipwrecked and prisoners of war, were not considered innocent. But, for the Mexicans, all victims were alike; with that ferocity, which a modern physiologist[34] recognizes as a characteristic of the races of the New World, they butchered their own fellow-citizens indiscriminately, and without remorse or pity. And yet, this did not prevent them from being a powerful, [Pg 117]industrious, and wealthy nation, who might long have continued to blaspheme the Deity by their dark creed, but for Cortez's genius and the bravery of his companions. In this instance, then, fanaticism was not the cause of the downfall.[35]

[Pg 118]Nor are luxury or enervation more powerful in their effects. These vices are almost always peculiar to the higher classes, and seldom penetrate the whole mass of the population. But I doubt whether among the Greeks, the Persians, or the Romans, whose downfall they are said to have caused, luxury and enervation, albeit in a different form, had risen to a higher pitch than we see them to-day in some of our modern States, in France, Germany, England, and Russia, for instance. The two last countries are especially distinguished for the luxury prevalent among the higher classes, and yet, these two countries seem to be endued with a vitality much more vigorous and promising than most other European States. In the Middle Ages, the Venetians, Genoese, Pisanese, accumulated in their magazines the treasures and luxuries of the world; yet, the gorgeous magnificence of their palaces, and the splendid decorations of their vessels, did certainly not diminish their power, or subvert their dominion.[36]

[Pg 120] Even the corruption of morals, this most terrible of all scourges, is not necessarily a cause of national ruin. If it were, the prosperity of a nation, its power and preponderance, would be in a direct ratio to the purity of its manners; and it is hardly necessary to say that this is not the case. The odd fashion of ascribing all sorts of imaginary virtues to the first Romans, is now pretty much out of date.[37] Few would now dare to hold up as models of morality those sturdy patricians of the old school, who treated their women as slaves, their children as cattle, and their creditors like wild beasts. If there should still be some who would[Pg 121] defend so bad a cause, their reasoning could easily be refuted, and its want of solidity shown. Abuse of power, in all epochs, has created equal indignation; there were deeper reasons for the abolition of royalty than the rape of Lucretia, for the expulsion of the decemvirs than the outrage of Appius; but these pretexts for two important revolutions, sufficiently demonstrate the public sentiment with regard to morals. It is a great mistake to ascribe the vigor of a young nation to its superior virtues; since the beginning of historical times, there has not been a community, however small, among which all the reprehensible tendencies of human nature were not visible, notwithstanding which, it has increased and prospered. There are even instances where the splendor of a state was owing to the most abominable institutions. The Spartans are indebted for their renown, and place in history, to a legislation fit only for a community of bandits.[38]

[Pg 122]So far from being willing to accord to youthful communities any superiority in regard to morals, I have no doubt that, as nations advance in age and consequently approach their period of decay, they present to the eyes of the moralist a far more satisfactory spectacle.[39] Manners become milder; [Pg 124]men accommodate themselves more readily to one another; the means of subsistence become, if not [Pg 125]easier, at least more varied; reciprocal obligations are better defined and understood; more refined theories of right and wrong gain ground. It would be difficult to show that at the time when the Greek arms conquered Darius, or when Greek liberty itself fled forever from the battle-field of Chæronæa, or when the Goths entered Rome as victors; that the Persian monarchy, Athens, or the imperial city, in those times of their downfall, contained a smaller proportion of honest and virtuous people than in the most glorious epochs of their national existence.

But we need not go so far back for illustrations. If any one were required to name the place where the spirit of our age displayed itself in the most complete contrast with the virtuous ages of the world (if such there were), he would most certainly point out Paris. Yet, many learned and pious persons have assured me, that nowhere, and in no epoch, could more practical virtue, solid piety, greater delicacy of conscience, be found than within the precincts of this great and corrupt city. The ideal of goodness[Pg 126] is as exalted, the duties of a Christian as well understood, as by the most brilliant luminaries of the Church in the seventeenth century. I might add, that these virtues are divested of the bitterness and severity from which, in those times, they were not always exempt; and that they are more united with feelings of toleration and universal philanthropy.[40] Thus we find, as if to counterbalance the fearful aberrations of our own epoch, in the principal theatre of these aberrations, contrasts more numerous and more striking, than probably blessed the sight of the faithful in preceding ages.

I cannot even perceive that great men are wanting in those periods of corruption and decay; on the contrary, these periods are often signalized by[Pg 127] the appearance of men remarkable for energy of character and stern virtue.[41] If we look at the catalogue of Roman emperors, we find a great number of them as exalted in merit as in rank; we meet with names like those of Trajan, Antoninus Pius, Septimius Severus, Alexander Severus, Jovian; and if we glance beneath the throne, we see a glorious constellation of great doctors of our faith, of martyrs, and apostles of the primitive church; not to consider the number of virtuous pagans. Active, firm, and valorous minds filled the camps and the forums, so that it may reasonably be doubted whether Rome, in the times of Cincinnatus, possessed so great a number of eminent men in every department of human activity. Many other examples might be alleged, to prove that senile and tottering communities, so far from being deficient in men of virtue, talent, and action, possess them probably in greater number than young and rising states; and that their general standard of morals is often higher.

Public morality, indeed, varies greatly at different periods of a nation's history. The history of the French nation, better than any other, illustrates[Pg 128] this fact. Few will deny that the Gallo-Romans of the fifth and sixth centuries, though a subject race, were greatly superior in point of morals to their heroic conquerors.[42] Individually taken,[Pg 129] they were often not inferior to the latter in courage and military virtue.[43] The intermixture of the two races, during the eighth, ninth, and tenth centuries, reduced the standard of morals among the whole nation to a disgraceful level. In the three succeeding centuries, the picture brightens again. Yet, this period of comparative light was succeeded by the dark scenes of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, when tyranny and debauchery ran riot over the land, and infected all classes of society, not excepting the clergy; when the nobles robbed their vassals, and the commonalty sold their country to a foreign foe. This period, so distinguished for the total absence of patriotism, and every honest sentiment, was emphatically one of decay; the state was shaken to its very foundation, and seemed ready to bury under its ruins so much shame and dishonor. But the crisis passed; foreign and intestine foes were vanquished; the machinery of government reconstructed on a firmer basis; the state of society improved. Notwithstanding its bloody follies, the sixteenth century dishonors less the annals of the nation than its predecessors, and it formed the transition period to the age of those pure and ever-brilliant lights, Fenelon, Bossuet, [Pg 130]Montausier, and others. This period, again, was succeeded by the vices of the regency, and the horrors of the Revolution. Since that time, we have witnessed almost incredible fluctuations of public morality every decade of years.

I have sketched rapidly, and merely pointed out the most prominent changes. To do even this properly, much more to descend to details, would require greater space than the limits and designs of this work permit. But I think what I have said is sufficient to show that the corruption of public morals, though always a great, is often a transient evil, a malady which may be corrected or which corrects itself, and cannot, therefore, be the sole cause of national ruin, though it may hasten the catastrophe.

The corruption of public morals is nearly allied to another evil, which has been assigned as one of the causes of the downfall of empires. It is observed of Athens and Rome, that the glory of these two commonwealths faded about the same time that they abandoned their national creeds. These, however, are the only examples of such a coincidence that can be cited. The religion of Zoroaster was never more flourishing in the Persian empire, than at the time of its downfall. Tyre, Carthage, Judea, the Mexican and Peruvian[Pg 131] empires expired at the moment when they embraced their altars with the greatest zeal and devotion. Nay, I do not believe that even at Athens and Rome, the ancient creed was abandoned until the day when it was replaced in every conscience, by the complete triumph of Christianity. I am firmly convinced that, politically speaking, irreligion never existed among any people, and that none ever abandoned the faith of their forefathers, except in exchange for another. In other words, there never was such a thing as a religious interregnum. The Gallic Teutates gave way to the Jupiter of the Romans; the worship of Jupiter, in its turn, was replaced by Christianity. It is true that, in Athens, not long before the time of Pericles, and in Rome, towards the age of the Scipios, it became the fashion among the higher classes, first to reason upon religious subjects, next to doubt them, and finally to disbelieve them altogether, and to pride themselves upon scepticism. But though there were many who joined in the sentiment of the ancient "freethinker" who dared the augurs to look at one another without laughing, yet this scepticism never gained ground among the mass of the people.

Aspasia at her evening parties, and Lelius among his intimates, might ridicule the religious[Pg 132] dogmas of their country, and amuse themselves at the expense of those that believed them. But at both these epochs, the most brilliant in the history of Greece and Rome, it would have been highly dangerous to express such sentiments publicly. The imprudence of his mistress came near costing Pericles himself dearly, and the tears which he shed before the tribunal, were not in themselves sufficiently powerful to save the fair sceptic. The poets of the times, Aristophanes, Sophocles, and afterwards Æschylus, found it necessary, whatever were their private sentiments, to flatter the religious notions of the masses. The whole nation regarded Socrates as an impious innovator, and would have put to death Anaxagoras, but for the strenuous intercession of Pericles. Nor did the philosophical and sceptical theories penetrate the masses at a later period. Never, at any time, did they extend beyond the sphere of the elegant and refined. It may be objected that the opinion of the rest, the mechanics, traders, the rural population, the slaves, etc., was of little moment, as they had no influence in the policy of the state. If this were the case, why was it necessary, until the last expiring throb of Paganism, to preserve its temples and pay the hierophants? Why did men, the most eminent and enlightened, the most[Pg 133] sceptical in their religious notions, not only don the sacerdotal robe, but even descend to the most repugnant offices of the popular worship? The daily reader of Lucretius[44] had to snatch moments of leisure from the all-absorbing game of politics, to compose a treatise on haruspicy. I allude to the first Cæsar.[45] And all his successors, down to Constantine, were compelled to unite the pontificial with the imperial dignity. Even Constantine himself, though as a Christian prince he had far better reasons for repugnance to such an office[Pg 134] than any of his predecessors, was compelled to compromise with the still powerful ancient religion of the nation.[46] This is a clear proof of the prevalence of the popular sentiment over the opinion of the higher and more enlightened classes. They might appeal to reason and common sense, against the absurdities of the masses, but the latter would not, could not, renounce one faith until they had adopted another, confirming the old truth, that in the affairs of this world, the positive ever takes precedent over the negative. The popular sentiment was so strong that, in the third century, it infected even the higher classes to some extent, and created among them a serious religious reaction, which did not entirely subside until after the final triumph of Christianity. The revolution of ideas which gradually diffused true religion among all classes, is highly interesting, and it may not be altogether irrelevant to my subject, to point out the principal causes which occasioned it.

In the latter stages of the Roman empire, the armies had acquired such undue political preponderance, [Pg 135]that from the emperor, who inevitably was chosen by them, down to the pettiest governor of a district, all the functionaries of the government issued from the ranks. They had sprung from those popular masses, of whose passionate attachment to their faith I have already spoken, and upon attaining their elevated stations, came in contact with the former rulers of the country, the old distinguished families, the municipal dignitaries of cities, in fact those classes who took pride and delight in sceptical literature. At first there was hostility between these latter and the real rulers of the state, whom they would willingly have treated as upstarts, if they had dared. But as the court gave the tone, and all the minor military chiefs were, for the most part, devout and fanatic, the sceptics were compelled to disguise their real sentiments, and the philosophers set about inventing systems to reconcile the rationalistic theories with the state religion. This revival of pagan piety caused the greater number of the persecutions. The rural populations, who had suffered their faith to be outraged by the atheists so long as the higher classes domineered over them, now, that the imperial democracy had reduced all to the same level, were panting for revenge; but, mistaking their victims, they directed[Pg 136] their fury against the Christians. The real sceptics were such men as King Agrippa, who wishes to hear St. Paul[47] from mere curiosity; who hears him, debates with him, considers him a fool, but never thinks of persecuting him because he differs in opinion; or Tacitus, the historian, who, though full of contempt for the believers in the new religion, blames Nero for his cruelties towards them.

Agrippa and Tacitus were pagan sceptics. Diocletian was a politician, who gave way to the clamors of an incensed populace. Decius and Aurelian were fanatics, like the masses they governed, and from whom they had sprung.

Even after the Christian religion had become the religion of the state, what immense difficulties were experienced in attempting to bring the masses within its pale! So hopeless was in some places the contest with the local divinities, that in many instances conversion was rather the result of address, than the effect of persuasion. The genius of the holy propagators of our religion was reduced to the invention of pious frauds. The divinities of the groves, fields, and fountains, were still worshipped, but under the name of the saints, the martyrs, and the Virgin. After being for a[Pg 137] time misdirected, these homages would finally find the right way. Yet such is the obstinacy with which the masses cling to a faith once received, that there are traces of it remaining in our day. There are still parishes in France, where some heathenish superstition alarms the piety, and defies the efforts of the minister. In Catholic Brittany, even in the last centuries, the bishop in vain attempted to dehort his flock from the worship of an idol of stone. The rude image was thrown into the water, but rescued by its obstinate adorers; and the assistance of the military was required to break it to pieces. Such was, and such is the longevity of paganism. I conclude, therefore, that no nation, either in ancient or modern times, ever abandoned its religion without having duly and earnestly embraced another, and that, consequently, none ever found itself, for a moment, in a state of irreligion, which could have been the cause of its ruin.

Having denied the destructive effects of fanaticism, luxury, and immorality, and the political possibility of irreligion, I shall now speak of the effects of bad government. This subject is well worthy of an entire chapter.

[Pg 138]



Misgovernment defined—Athens, China, Spain, Germany, Italy, etc.—Is not in itself a sufficient cause for the ruin of nations.

I am aware of the difficulty of the task I have undertaken in attempting to establish a truth, which by many of my readers will be regarded as a mere paradox. That good laws and good government exert a direct and powerful influence upon the well-being and prosperity of a nation, is an indisputable fact, of which I am fully convinced; but I think that history proves that they are not absolute conditions of the existence of a community; or, in other words, that their absence is not necessarily productive of ruin. Nations, like individuals, are often preyed upon by fearful diseases, which show no outward traces of the ravages within, and which, though dangerous, are not always fatal. Indeed, if they were,[Pg 139] few communities would survive the first few years of their formation, for it is precisely during that period that the government is worst, the laws most imperfect, and least observed. But here the comparison between the body political and the human organization ceases, for while the latter dreads most the attack of disease during infancy, the former easily overcomes it at that period. History furnishes innumerable examples of successful contest on the part of young communities with the most formidable and most devastating political evils, of which none can be worse than ill-conceived laws, administered in an oppressive or negligent manner.[48]

Let us first define what we understand by bad government. The varieties of this evil are as various as nations, countries, and epochs. It were impossible to enumerate them all. Yet, by classing them under four principal categories, few varieties will be omitted.

A government is bad, when imposed by foreign influence. Athens experienced this evil under the thirty tyrants. Yet she shook off the odious[Pg 140] yoke, and patriotism, far from expiring, gained renewed vigor by the oppression.

A government is bad, when based upon absolute and unconditional conquest. Almost the whole extent of France in the fourteenth century, groaned under the dominion of England. The ordeal was passed, and the nation rose from it more powerful and brilliant than before. China was overrun and conquered by the Mongol hordes. They were ejected from its territories, after having previously undergone a singular transformation. It next fell into the hands of the Mantchoo conquerors, but though they already count the years of their reign by centuries, they are now at the eve of experiencing the same fate as their Mongol predecessors.

A government is especially bad, when the principles upon which it was based are disregarded or forgotten. This was the fate of the Spanish monarchy. It was based upon the military spirit of the nation, and upon its municipal freedom, and declined soon after these principles came to be forgotten. It is impossible to imagine greater political disorganization than this country represented. Nowhere was the authority of the sovereign more nominal and despised; nowhere did the clergy lay themselves more open to censure. Agriculture and industry, following the same[Pg 141] downward impulse, were also involved in the national marasmus. Yet Spain, of whom so many despaired, at a moment when her star seemed setting forever, gave the glorious example of heroic and successful resistance to the arms of one who had hitherto experienced no check in his career of conquest. Since that, the better spirit of the nation has been roused, and there is, probably, at this time, no European state with more promising prospects, and stronger vitality.[49]

[Pg 142] A government is also very bad, when, by its institutions, it authorizes an antagonism either between the supreme power and the nation, or among the different classes of which it is composed. This was the case in the Middle Ages, when the kings of France and England were at war with their great vassals, and the peasants in perpetual feud with the lords. In Germany, the first effects of the liberty of thought, were the civil wars of the Hussites, Anabaptists, and other[Pg 143] sectaries. Italy, at a more remote period, was so distracted by the division of the supreme authority for which emperor, pope, nobles, and municipalities contended, that the masses, not knowing whom to obey, in many instances finished by obeying neither. Yet in the midst of all these troubles, Italian nationality did not perish. On the contrary, its civilization was at no time more brilliant, its industry never more productive, its foreign influence never greater.

If communities have survived such fearful political tempests, it cannot well be said that national ruin is a necessary cause of misgovernment. Besides, wise and happy reigns are few and far between, in the history of every nation; and these few are not considered such by all. Historians are not unanimous in their praise of Elizabeth, nor do they all consider the reign of William and Mary as an epoch of prosperity for England. Truly this science of statesmanship, the highest and most complicated of all, is so disproportionate to the capacity of man,[50] and so various are the opinions concerning it, that nations have early and frequent opportunities of learning to accommodate [Pg 144]themselves to misgovernment, which, in its worst forms, is still preferable to anarchy. It is a well-proved fact, which even a superficial study of history will clearly demonstrate, that communities often perish under the best government of a long series that came before.[51]

[Pg 146]



Skeleton history of a nation—Origin of castes, nobility, etc.—Vitality of nations not necessarily extinguished by conquest—China, Hindostan—Permanency of their peculiar civilizations.

If the spirit of the preceding pages has been at all understood, it will be seen that I am far from considering these great national maladies, misgovernment, fanaticism, irreligion, and immorality, as mere trifling accidents, without influence or importance. On the contrary, I sincerely pity the community which is afflicted by such scourges, and think that no efforts can be misdirected which tend to mitigate or remove them. But I repeat, that unless these disorganizing elements are grafted upon another more destructive principle, unless they are the consequences of a greater, though concealed, evil; we may rest assured that their ravages are not fatal, and that society, after a[Pg 147] shorter or longer period of suffering, will escape their toils, perhaps with renewed vigor and youth.

The examples I have alleged seem to me conclusive; their number, if necessary, might be increased to any extent. But the conviction has already gained ground, that these are but secondary evils, to which an undue importance has hitherto been attached, and that the law which governs the life and death of societies must be sought for elsewhere, and deeper. It is admitted that the germ of destruction is inherent in the constitution of communities; that so long as it remains latent, exterior dangers are little to be dreaded; but when it has once attained full growth and maturity, the nation must die, even though surrounded by the most favorable circumstances, precisely as a jaded steed breaks down, be the track ever so smooth.

Degeneracy was the name given to this cause of dissolution. This view of the question was a great step towards the truth, but, unfortunately, it went no further; the first difficulty proved insurmountable. The term was certainly correct, etymologically and in every other respect, but how is it with the definition. A people is said to be degenerated, when it is badly governed, abuses its riches, is fanatical, or irreligious; in short, when it has lost[Pg 148] the characteristic virtues of its forefathers. This is begging the question. Thus, communities succumb under the burden of social and political evils only when they are degenerate, and they are degenerate only when such evils prevail. This circular argument proves nothing but the small progress hitherto made in the science of national biology. I readily admit that nations perish from degeneracy, and from no other cause; it is when in that wretched condition, that foreign attacks are fatal to them, for then they no longer possess the strength to protect themselves against adverse fortune, or to recover from its blows. They die, because, though exposed to the same perils as their ancestors, they have not the same powers of overcoming them. I repeat it, the term degeneracy is correct; but it is necessary to define it, to give it a real and tangible meaning. It is necessary to say how and why this vigor, this capacity of overcoming surrounding dangers, are lost. Hitherto, we have been satisfied with a mere word, but the thing itself is as little known as ever.[52] The step beyond, I shall attempt to make. [Pg 149]

In my opinion, a nation is degenerate, when the blood of its founders no longer flows in its[Pg 150] veins, but has been gradually deteriorated by successive foreign admixtures; so that the nation,[Pg 151] while retaining its original name, is no longer composed of the same elements. The attenuation of the original blood is attended by a modification of the original instincts, or modes of thinking; the new elements assert their influence, and when they have once gained perfect and entire preponderance, the degeneration may be considered as complete. With the last remnant of the original ethnical principle, expires the life of the society and its civilization. The masses, which composed[Pg 153] it, have thenceforth no separate, independent, social and political existence; they are attracted to different centres of civilization, and swell the ranks of new societies having new instincts and new purposes.

In attempting to establish this theorem, I am met by a question which involves the solution of a far more difficult problem than any I have yet approached. This question, so momentous in its bearings, is the following:—

Is there, in reality, a serious and palpable difference in the capacity and intrinsic worth of different branches of the human family?

For the sake of clearness, I shall advance, à priori, that this difference exists. It then remains to show how the ethnical character of a nation can undergo such a total change as I designate by the term degeneracy.

Physiologists assert that the human frame is subject to a constant wear and tear, which would soon destroy the whole machine, but for new particles which are continually taking the form and place of the old ones. So rapid is this change said to be, that, in a few years, the whole framework is renovated, and the material identity of the individual changed. The same, to a great extent, may be said of nations, only that, while the individual [Pg 154]always preserves a certain similarity of form and features, those of a nation are subject to innumerable and ever-varying changes. Let us take a nation at the moment when it assumes a political existence, and commences to play a part in the great drama of the world's stage. In its embryo, we call it a tribe.

The simplest and most natural political institution is that of tribes. It is the only form of government known to rude and savage nations. Civilization is the result of a great concentration of powerful physical and intellectual forces,[53] which, in small and scattered fragments, is impossible. The first step towards it is, therefore, undoubtedly, the union of several tribes by alliance or conquest. Such a coalescence is what we call a nation or empire. I think it admits of an easy[Pg 155] demonstration, that in proportion as a human family is endowed with the capacity for intellectual progress, it exhibits a tendency to enlarge the circle of its influence and dominion. On the contrary, where that capacity is weak, or wanting, we find the population subdivided into innumerable small fragments, which, though in perpetual collision, remain forever detached and isolated. The stronger may massacre the weaker, but permanent conquest is never attempted; depredatory incursions are the sole object and whole extent of warfare. This is the case with the natives of Polynesia, many parts of Africa, and the Arctic regions. Nor can their stagnant condition be ascribed to local or climatical causes. We have seen such wretched hordes inhabiting, indifferently, temperate as well as torrid or frigid zones; fertile prairies and barren deserts; river-shores and coasts as well as inland regions. It must therefore be founded upon an inherent incapacity of progress. The more civilizable a race is, the stronger is the tendency for aggregation of masses. Complex political organizations are not so much the effect as the cause of civilization.[54] A tribe with superior intellectual [Pg 156]and physical endowments, soon perceives that, to increase its power and prosperity, it must compel its neighbors to enter into the sphere of its influence. Where peaceful means fail, war is resorted to. Territories are conquered, a division into classes established between the victorious and the subjugated race; in one word, a nation has made its appearance upon the theatre of history. The impulse being once given, it will not stop short in the career of conquest. If wisdom and[Pg 157] moderation preside in its councils, the tracks of its armies will not be marked by wanton destruction and bloodshed; the monuments, institutions, and manners of the conquered will be respected; superior creations will take the place of the old, where changes are necessary and useful;—a great empire will be formed.[55] At first, and perhaps for a long time, victors and vanquished will remain separated and distinct. But gradually, as the pride of the conqueror becomes less obtrusive, and the bitterness of defeat is forgotten by the conquered; as the ties of common interest become stronger, the boundary line between them is obliterated. Policy, fear, or natural justice, prompts the masters to concessions; intermarriages take place, and, in the course of time, the various ethnical elements are blended, and the different nations composing the state begin to consider themselves[Pg 158] as one. This is the general history of the rise of all empires whose records have been transmitted to us.[56] An inferior race, by falling into the hands[Pg 159] of vigorous masters, is thus called to share a destiny, of which, alone, it would have been incapable. Witness the Saxons by the Norman conquest.[57] But, if there is a decided disparity in[Pg 160] the capacity of the two races, their mixture, while it ennobles the baser, deteriorates the nobler; a new race springs up, inferior to the one, though superior to the other, and, perhaps, possessed of peculiar qualities unknown to either. The modification of the ethnical character of the nation, however, does not terminate here.

Every new acquisition of territory, by conquest or treaty, brings an addition of foreign blood. The wealth and splendor of a great empire attract crowds of strangers to its capital, great inland[Pg 161] cities, or seaports. Apart from the fact that the conquering race—that which founds the empire, and supports and animates it—is, in most cases, inferior in numbers to the masses which it subdued and assimilated; the conspicuous part which it takes in the affairs of the state, renders it more directly exposed to the fatal results of battles, proscriptions, and revolts.[58] In some instances,[Pg 162] also, it happens that the substratum of native populations are singularly prolific—witness the Celts and Sclaves. Sooner or later, therefore, the conquering race is absorbed by the masses which its vigor and superiority have aggregated. The very materials of which it erected its splendor, and upon which it based its strength, are ultimately the means of its weakness and destruction. But the civilization which it has developed, may survive for a limited period. The forward impulse, once imparted to the mass, will still propel it for a while, but its force is continually decreasing. Manners, [Pg 163]laws, and institutions remain, but the spirit which animated them has fled; the lifeless body still exhibits the apparent symptoms of life, and, perhaps, even increases, but the real strength has departed; the edifice soon begins to totter, at the slightest collision it will crumble, and bury beneath its ruins the civilization which it had developed.

If this definition of degeneracy be accepted, and its consequences admitted, the problem of the rise and fall of empires no longer presents any difficulty. A nation lives so long as it preserves the ethnical principle to which it owes its existence; with this principle, it loses the primum mobile of its successes, its glory, and its civilization: it must therefore disappear from the stage of history. Who can doubt that if Alexander had been opposed by real Persians, the men of the Arian stock, whom Cyrus led to victory, the issue of the battle of Arbela would have been very different. Or if Rome, in her decadence, had possessed soldiers and senators like those of the time of Fabius, Scipio, and Cato, would she have fallen so easy a prey to the barbarians of the North?

It will be objected that, even had the integrity of the original blood remained intact, a time must have come when they would find their masters. They would have succumbed under a series of[Pg 164] well-combined attacks, a long-continued overwhelming pressure, or simply by the chances of a lost battle. The political edifice might have been destroyed in this manner, not the civilization, not the social organization. Invasion and defeat would have been reverses, sad ones, indeed, but not irremediable. There is no want of facts to confirm this assertion.

In modern times, the Chinese have suffered two complete conquests. In each case they have imposed their manners and their institutions upon the conquerors; they have given them much, and received but little in return. The first invaders, after having undergone this change, were expelled; the same fate is now threatening the second.[59] In this case the vanquished were intellectually and numerically superior to their victors. I shall mention [Pg 166]another case where the victors, though intellectually superior, are not possessed of sufficient numerical strength to transform the intellectual and moral character of the vanquished.

The political supremacy of the British in Hindostan is perfect, yet they exert little or no moral influence over the masses they govern. All that the utmost exertion of their power can effect upon the fears of their subjects, is an outward compliance. The notions of the Hindoo cannot be replaced by European ideas—the spirit of Hindoo civilization cannot be conquered by any power, however great, of the law. Political forms may change, and do change, without materially affecting the basis upon which they rest; Hyderabad, Lahore, and Delhi may cease to be capitals: Hindoo society will subsist, nevertheless. A time must come, sooner or later, when India will regain a separate political existence, and publicly proclaim [Pg 167]those laws of her own, which she now secretly obeys, or of which she is tacitly left in possession.

The mere accident of conquest cannot destroy the principle of vitality in a people. At most, it may suspend for a time the exterior manifestations of that vitality, and strip it of its outward honors. But so long as the blood, and consequently the culture of a nation, exhibit sufficiently strong traces of the initiatory race, that nation exists; and whether it has to deal, like the Chinese, with conquerors who are superior only materially; or whether, like the Hindoos, it maintains a struggle of patience against a race much superior in every respect; that nation may rest assured of its future—independence will dawn for it one day. On the contrary, when a nation has completely exhausted the initiatory ethnical element, defeat is certain death; it has consumed the term of existence which Heaven had granted it—its destiny is fulfilled.[60]

[Pg 168] I, therefore, consider the question as settled, which has been so often discussed, as to what would have been the result, if the Carthaginians, instead of succumbing to the fortune of Rome,[Pg 170] had conquered Italy. As they belonged to the Phenician family, a stock greatly inferior to the Italian in political capacity, they would have been absorbed by the superior race after the victory, precisely as they were after the defeat. The final result, therefore, would have been the same in either case.

The destiny of civilizations is not ruled by accident; it depends not on the issue of a battle,[Pg 171] a thrust of a sword, the favors or frowns of fickle fortune. The most warlike, formidable, and triumphant nations, when they were distinguished for nothing but bravery, strategical science, and military successes, have never had a nobler fate than that of learning from their subjects, perhaps too late, the art of living in peace. The Celts, the nomad hordes of Central Asia, are memorable illustrations of this truth.

The whole of my demonstration now rests upon one hypothesis, the proof of which I have reserved for the succeeding chapters: the moral and intellectual diversities of the various branches of the human family.

[Pg 172]



Antipathy of races—Results of their mixture—The scientific axiom of the absolute equality of men, but an extension of the political—Its fallacy—Universal belief in unequal endowment of races—The moral and intellectual diversity of races not attributable to institutions—Indigenous institutions are the expression of popular sentiments; when foreign and imported, they never prosper—Illustrations: England and France—Roman Empire—European Colonies—Sandwich Islands—St. Domingo—Jesuit missions in Paraguay.

The idea of an innate and permanent difference in the moral and mental endowments of the various groups of the human species, is one of the most ancient, as well as universally adopted, opinions. With few exceptions, and these mostly in our own times, it has formed the basis of almost all political theories, and has been the fundamental maxim of government of every nation, great or small. The prejudices of country have no other cause; each nation believes in its own superiority[Pg 173] over its neighbors, and very often different parts of the same nation regard each other with contempt. There seems to exist an instinctive antipathy among the different races, and even among the subdivisions of the same race, of which none is entirely exempt, but which acts with the greatest force in the least civilized or least civilizable. We behold it in the characteristic suspiciousness and hostility of the savage; in the isolation from foreign influence and intercourse of the Chinese and Japanese; in the various distinctions founded upon birth in more civilized communities, such as castes, orders of nobility and aristocratic privileges.[61] Not even a common religion can extinguish [Pg 174]the hereditary aversion of the Arab[62] to the Turk, of the Kurd to the Nestorian of Syria; or the bitter hostility of the Magyar and Sclave, who, without intermingling, have inhabited the same[Pg 175] country for centuries. But as the different types lose their purity and become blended, this hostility of race abates; the maxim of absolute and permanent inequality is first discussed, then doubted. A man of mixed race or caste will not be apt to admit disparity in his double ancestry. The superiority of particular types, and their consequent claims to dominion, find fewer advocates. This dominion is stigmatized as a tyrannical usurpation of power.[63] The mixture of castes gives rise to the political axiom that all men are equal, and, therefore, entitled to the same rights. Indeed, since there are no longer any distinct hereditary classes, none can justly claim superior merit and privileges. But this assertion, which is true only where a complete fusion has taken place, is applied to the whole human race—to all present, past, and future generations. The political axiom of equality which, like the bag of Æolus, contains so many tempests, is soon followed by the scientific. It is[Pg 176] said—and the more heterogeneous the ethnical elements of a nation are, the more extensively the theory gains ground—that, "all branches of the human family are endowed with intellectual capacities of the same nature, which, though in different stages of development, are all equally susceptible of improvement." This is not, perhaps, the precise language, but certainly the meaning. Thus, the Huron, by proper culture, might become the equal of the Englishman and Frenchman. Why, then, I would ask, did he never, in the course of centuries, invent the art of printing or apply the power of steam; why, among the warriors of his tribe, has there never arisen a Cæsar or a Charlemagne, among his bards and medicine-men, a Homer or a Hippocrates?

These questions are generally met by advancing the influence of climate, local circumstances, etc. An island, it is said, can never be the theatre of great social and political developments in the same measure as a continent; the natives of a southern clime will not display the energy of those of the north; seacoasts and large navigable rivers will promote a civilization which could never have flourished in an inland region;—and a great deal more to the same purpose. But all these ingenious and plausible hypotheses are contradicted by facts.[Pg 177] The same soil and the same climate have been visited, alternately, by barbarism and civilization. The degraded fellah is charred by the same sun which once burnt the powerful priest of Memphis; the learned professor of Berlin lectures under the same inclement sky that witnessed the miseries of the savage Finn.

What is most curious is, that while the belief of equality may influence institutions and manners, there is not a nation, nor an individual but renders homage to the contrary sentiment. Who has not heard of the distinctive traits of the Frenchman, the German, the Spaniard, the English, the Russ. One is called sprightly and volatile, but brave; the other is sober and meditative; a third is noted for his gravity; a fourth is known by his coldness and reserve, and his eagerness of gain; a fifth, on the contrary, is notorious for reckless expense. I shall not express any opinion upon the accuracy of these distinctions, I merely point out that they are made daily and adopted by common consent. The same has been done in all ages. The Roman of Italy distinguished the Roman of Greece by the epithet Græculus, and attributed to him, as characteristic peculiarities, want of courage and boastful loquacity. He laughed at the colonist of Carthage, whom he pretended to recognize among[Pg 178] thousands by his litigious spirit and bad faith. The Alexandrians passed for wily, insolent, and seditious. Yet the doctrine of equality was as universally received among the Romans of that period as it is among ourselves. If, then, various nations display qualities so different; if some are eager for war and glory; others, lovers of their ease and comfort, it follows that their destinies must be very diverse. The strongest will act in the great tragedy of history the roles of kings and heroes, the weaker will be content with the humbler parts.

I do not believe that the ingenuity of our times has succeeded in reconciling the universally adopted belief in the special character of each nation with the no less general conviction that they are all equal. Yet this contradiction is very flagrant, the more so as its partisans are not behindhand in extolling the superiority of the Anglo-Saxons of North America over all the other nations of the same continent. It is true that they ascribe that superiority to the influence of political institutions. But they will hardly contest the characteristic aptitude of the countrymen of Penn and Washington, to establish wherever they go liberal forms of government, and their still more valuable ability to preserve them, when once established. Is not[Pg 179] this a very high prerogative allotted to that branch of the human family? the more precious, since so few of the groups that have ever inhabited the globe possessed it.

I know that my opponents will not allow me an easy victory. They will object to me the immense potency of manners and institutions; they will show me how much the spirit of the government, by its inherent and irresistible force, influences the development of a nation; how vastly different will be its progress when fostered by liberty or crushed by despotism. This argument, however, by no means invalidates my position.

Political institutions can have but two origins: either they emanate from the people which is to be governed by them, or they are the invention of a foreign nation, by whom they are imposed, or from whom they are copied.

In the former case, the institutions are necessarily moulded upon the instincts and wants of the people; and if, through carelessness or ignorance, they are in aught incompatible with either, such defects will soon be removed or remedied. In every independent community the law may be said to emanate from the people; for though they have not apparently the power of promulgating it, it cannot be applicable to them unless it is consonant[Pg 180] with their views and sentiments: it must be the reflex of the national character.[64] The wise law-giver, to whose superior genius his countrymen seem solely indebted, has but given a voice to the wants and desires of all. The mere theorist, like Draco, finds his code a dead letter, and destined soon to give place to the institutions of the more judicious philosopher who would give to his compatriots "not the best laws possible, but such only as they were capable of receiving." When Charles I., guided by the fatal counsels of the Earl of Strafford, attempted to curb the English nation under the yoke of absolutism, king and minister were treading the bloody quagmire of theories. But when Ferdinand the Catholic ordered those terrible, but, in the then condition of the nation, politically necessary persecutions of the Spanish Moors, or when Napoleon re-established religion and authority in France, and flattered the military spirit of the nation—both these potentates had rightly understood the genius of their subjects, and were building upon a solid and practical foundation.

[Pg 181] False institutions, often beautiful on paper, are those which are not conformed to the national virtues or failings, and consequently unsuitable to the country, though perhaps perfectly practicable and highly useful in a neighboring state. Such institutions, were they borrowed from the legislation of the angels, will produce nothing but discord and anarchy. Others, on the contrary, which the theorist will eschew, and the moralist blame in many points, or perhaps throughout, may be the best adapted to the community. Lycurgus was no theorist; his laws were in strict accordance with the spirit and manners of his countrymen.[65] The Dorians of Sparta were few in number, valiant, and rapacious; false institutions would have made them but petty villains—Lycurgus changed them into heroic brigands.[66]

The influence of laws and political institutions is certainly very great; they preserve and invigorate the genius of a nation, define its objects, and help to attain them; but though they may develop[Pg 182] powers, they cannot create them where they do not already exist. They first receive their imprint from the nation, and then return and confirm it. In other words, it is the nation that fashions the laws, before the laws, in turn, can fashion the nation. Another proof of this fact are the changes and modifications which they undergo in the course of time.

I have already said above, that in proportion as nations advance in civilization, and extend their territory and power, their ethnical character, and, with it, their instincts, undergo a gradual alteration. New manners and new tendencies prevail, and soon give rise to a series of modifications, the more frequent and radical as the influx of blood becomes greater and the fusion more complete.

England, where the ethnical changes have been slower and less considerable than in any other European country, preserves to this day the basis of the social system of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The municipal organization of the times of the Plantagenets and the Tudors flourishes in almost all its ancient vigor. There is the same participation of the nobility in the government, and the same manner of composing that nobility; the same respect for ancient families, united to an appreciation of those whose merits raise them above their class. Since the accession of James I.,[Pg 183] and still more since the union, in Queen Anne's reign, there has indeed been an influx of Scotch and Irish blood; foreign nations have also, though imperceptibly, furnished their contingent to the mixture; alterations have consequently become more frequent of late, but without, as yet, touching the original spirit of the constitution.

In France, the ethnical elements are much more numerous, and their mixtures more varied; and there it has repeatedly happened that the principal power of the state passed suddenly from the hands of one race to those of another. Changes, rather than modifications, have therefore taken place in the social and political system; and the changes were abrupt or radical, in proportion as these races were more or less dissimilar. So long as the north of France, where the Germanic element prevailed, preponderated in the policy of the country, the fabric of feudalism, or rather its inform remains, maintained their ground. After the expulsion of the English in the fifteenth century, the provinces of the centre took the lead. Their efforts, under the guidance of Charles VII., had recently restored the national independence, and the Gallo-Roman blood naturally predominated in camp and council. From this time dates the introduction of the taste for military life and foreign conquests, peculiar [Pg 184]to the Celtic race, and the tendency to concentrate and consolidate the sovereign authority, which characterized the Roman. The road being thus prepared, the next step towards the establishment of absolute power was made at the end of the sixteenth century, by the Aquitanian followers of Henry IV., who had still more of the Roman than of the Celtic blood in their veins. The centralization of power, resulting from the ascendency of the southern populations, soon gave Paris an overweening preponderance, and finally made it, what it now is, the sovereign of the state. This great capital, this modern Babel, whose population is a motley compound of all the most varied ethnical elements, no longer had any motive to love or respect any tradition or peculiar tendency, and, coming to a complete rupture with the past, hurried France into a series of political and social experiments of doctrines the most remote from, and repulsive to, the ancient customs and traditional tendencies of the realm.

These examples seem to me sufficient to prove that political institutions, when not imposed by foreign influence, take their mould from the national character, not only in the first place, but throughout all subsequent changes. Let us now examine the second case, when a foreign code is,[Pg 185] nolens volens, forced upon a nation by a superior power.

There are few instances of such attempts. Indeed, they were never made on a grand scale, by any truly sagacious governments of either ancient or modern times. The Romans were too politic to indulge in such hazardous experiments. Alexander, before them, had never ventured it, and his successors, convinced, either by reason or instinct, of the futility of such efforts, had been contented to reign, like the conqueror of Darius, over a vast mosaic of nations, each of which retained its own habits, manners, laws, and administrative forms, and, at least so long as it preserved its ethnical identity, resembled its fellow-subjects in nothing but submission to the same fiscal and military regulations.

There were, it is true, among the nations subdued by the Romans, some whose codes contained practices so utterly repugnant to their masters, that the latter could not possibly have tolerated them. Such were the human sacrifices of the Druids, which were, indeed, visited with the severest penalties. But the Romans, with all their power, never succeeded in completely extirpating this barbarous rite. In the Narbonnese, the victory was easy, for the Gallic population had[Pg 186] been almost completely replaced by Roman colonists; but the more intact tribes of the interior provinces made an obstinate resistance; and, in the peninsula of Brittany, where, in the fourth century, a British colony re-imported the ancient instincts with the ancient blood, the population, in spite of the Romans, continued, either from patriotism or veneration for their ancient traditions, to butcher fellow-beings on their altars, as often as they could elude the vigilance of their masters. All revolts began with the restoration of this fearful feature of the national creed, and even Christianity could not entirely efface its traces, until after protracted and strenuous efforts. As late as the seventeenth century, the shipwrecked were murdered, and wrecks plundered in all the maritime provinces where the Kimric blood had preserved itself unmixed. These barbarous customs were in accordance with the manners of a race which, not being yet sufficiently admixed, still remained true to its irrepressible instincts.

One characteristic of European civilization is its intolerance. Conscious of its pre-eminence, we are prone to deny the existence of any other, or, at least, to consider it as the standard of all. We look with supreme contempt upon all nations that are not within its pale, and when they fall under our influence, we attempt to convert them to our[Pg 187] views and modes of thinking. Institutions which we know to be good and useful, but which persuasion fails to propagate among nations to whose instincts they are foreign, we force upon them by the power of our arms. Where are the results? Since the sixteenth century, when the European spirit of discovery and conquest penetrated to the east, it does not seem to have operated the slightest change in the manners and mode of existence of the populations which it subjected.

I have already adduced the example of British India. All the other European possessions present the same spectacle. The aborigines of Java, though completely subjugated by the Dutch, have not yet made the first step towards embracing the manners of their conquerors. Java, at this day, preserves the social regulations of the time of its independence. In South America, where Spain ruled with unrestrained power for centuries, what effect has it produced? The ancient empires, it is true, are no longer; their traces, even, are almost obliterated. But while the native has not risen to the level of his conqueror, the latter has been degraded by the mixture of blood.[67] In the North, a different method has been pursued, but with results equally negative; nay, in the eyes of philanthropy, more deplorable;[Pg 189] for, while the Spanish Indians have at least increased in numbers,[68] and even mixed with their masters, to the Red-Man of the North, the contact with the Anglo-Saxon race has been death. The feeble remnants of these wretched tribes are fast disappearing, and disappearing as uncivilized, as uncivilizable, as their ancestors. In Oceanica, the same observation holds good. The number of aborigines is daily diminishing. The European may disarm them, and prevent them from doing him injury, but change them he cannot. Where-ever he is master, they no longer eat one another, but they fill themselves with firewater, and this novel species of brutishness is all they learn of European civilization.

There are, indeed, two governments framed by nations of a different race, after our models: that of the Sandwich Islands, and that of St. Domingo. A glance at these two countries will complete the[Pg 190] proof of the futility of any attempts to give to a nation institutions not suggested by its own genius.

In the Sandwich Islands, the representative system shines with full lustre. We there find an Upper House, a Lower House, a ministry who govern, and a king who reigns; nothing is wanted. Yet all this is mere decoration; the wheel-work that moves the whole machine, the indispensable motive power, is the corps of missionaries. To them alone belongs the honor of finding the ideas, of presenting them, and carrying them through, either by their personal influence over their neophytes, or, if need be, by threats. It may be doubted, however, whether the missionaries, if they had no other instruments but the king and chambers, would not, after struggling for a while against the inaptitude of their pupils, find themselves compelled to take a more direct, and, consequently, more apparent part in the management of affairs. This difficulty is obviated by the establishment of a ministry composed of Europeans, or half-bloods. Between them and the missionaries, all public affairs are prearranged; the rest is only for show. King Kamehameha III. is, it seems, a man of ability. For his own account, he has abandoned tattooing, and although he has not yet succeeded in dissuading all his courtiers from this agreeable practice,[Pg 191] he enjoys the satisfaction of seeing their countenances adorned with comparatively slight designs. The mass of the nation, the country nobility and common people, persist upon this as all other points, in the ancient ideas and customs.[69] Still, a variety of causes tend to daily increase the European population of the Isles. The proximity of California makes them a point of great interest to the far-seeing energy of our nations. Runaway sailors, and mutineers, are no longer the only white colonists; merchants, speculators, adventurers of all sorts, collect there in considerable numbers, build houses, and become permanent settlers. The native population is gradually becoming absorbed in the mixture with the whites. It is highly probable that, ere long, the present representative form of government will be superseded by an administration composed of delegates from one or all of the great maritime powers.

[Pg 192] Of one thing I feel firmly convinced, that these imported institutions will take firm root in the country, but the day of their final triumph, by a necessary synchronism, will be that of the extinction of the native race.

In St. Domingo, national independence is intact. There are no missionaries exercising absolute, though concealed, control, no foreign ministry governing in the European spirit; everything is left to the genius and inspiration of the population. In the Spanish part of the island, this population consists of mulattoes. I shall not speak of them. They seem to imitate, in some fashion, the simplest and easiest features of our civilization. Like all half-breeds, they have a tendency to assimilate with that branch of their genealogy which does them most honor. They are, therefore, capable of practising, in some degree, our usages. The absolute question of the capacity of races cannot be studied among them. Let us cross the mountain ridge which separates the republic of Dominica from the empire of Hayti.

There we find institutions not only similar to ours, but founded upon the most recent maxims of our political wisdom. All that, since sixty years, the voice of the most refined liberalism has proclaimed in the deliberative assemblies of[Pg 193] Europe, all that the most zealous friends of the freedom and dignity of man have written, all the declarations of rights and principles, have found an echo on the banks of Artibonite. No trace of Africa remains in the written laws, or the official language; the recollections of the land of Ham are officially expunged from every mind; once more, the institutions are completely European. Let us now examine how they harmonize with the manners.

What a contrast! The manners are as depraved, as beastly, as ferocious as in Dahomey[70] or the country of the Fellatahs. The same barbarous love of ornament, combined with the same indifference to form; beauty consists in color, and provided a garment is of gaudy red, and adorned with imitation gold, taste is little concerned with useless attention to materials or fitness; and as for cleanliness, this is a superfluity for which no one cares. You desire an audience with some high functionary: you are ushered into the presence of an athletic negro, stretched on a wooden bench, his head wrapped in a dirty, tattered handkerchief, and surmounted by a three-cornered hat, profusely decorated with[Pg 194] gold. The general apparel consists of an embroidered coat (without suitable nether-garments), a huge sword, and slippers. You converse with this mass of flesh, and are anxious to discover what ideas can occupy a mind under so unpromising an exterior. You find an intellect of the lowest order combined with the most savage pride, which can be equalled only by as profound and incurable a laziness. If the individual before you opens his mouth, he will retail all the hackneyed common-places that the papers have wearied you with for the last half century. This barbarian knows them by heart; he has very different interests, different instincts; he has no ideas of his own. He will talk like Baron Holbach, reason like Grimm, and at the bottom has no serious care except chewing tobacco, drinking spirits, butchering his enemies, and propitiating his sorcerers. The rest of the time he sleeps.

The state is divided into two factions, not separated by incompatibility of politics, but of color—the negroes and the mulattoes. The latter, doubtless, are superior in intelligence, as I have already remarked with regard to the Dominicans. The European blood has modified the nature of the African, and in a community of whites, with good models constantly before their eyes, these men[Pg 195] might be converted into useful members of society. But, unfortunately, the superiority of numbers belongs at present to the negroes, and these, though removed from Africa by several generations, are the same as in their native clime. Their supreme felicity is idleness; their supreme reason, murder. Among the two divisions of the island the most intense hatred has always prevailed. The history of independent Hayti is nothing but a long series of massacres: massacres of mulattoes by the negroes, when the latter were strongest; of the negroes by the mulattoes, when the power was in their hands. The institutions, with all their boasted liberality and philanthropy, are of no use whatever. They sleep undisturbedly and impotently upon the paper on which they were written, and the savage instincts of the population reign supreme. Conformably to the law of nature which I pointed out before, the negro, who belongs to a race exhibiting little aptitude for civilization, entertains the most profound horror for all other races. Thus we see the Haytien negroes energetically repel the white man from their territory, and forbid him even to enter it; they would also drive out the mulattoes, and contemplate their ultimate extermination. Hostility to the foreigner is the primum mobile of their local policy. Owing[Pg 196] to the innate laziness of the race, agriculture is abandoned, industry not known even by name, commerce drivelling; misery prevents the increase of the population, while continual wars, insurrections, and military executions diminish it continually. The inevitable and not very remote consequence of such a condition of things is to convert into a desert a country whose fertility and natural resources enriched generations of planters, which in exports and commercial activity surpassed even Cuba.[71]

[Pg 197] These examples of St. Domingo and the Sandwich Islands seem to me conclusive. I cannot, however, forbear, before definitely leaving the subject, from mentioning another analogous fact, the peculiar character of which greatly confirms my position. I allude to the attempts of the Jesuit missionaries to civilize the natives of Paraguay.[72]

These missionaries, by their exalted intelligence and self-sacrificing courage, have excited universal admiration; and the most decided enemies of their order have never refused them an unstinted tribute of praise. If foreign institutions have ever had the slightest chance of success with a nation, these assuredly had it, based as they were upon[Pg 198] the power of religious feelings, and supported and applied with a tact as correct as it was refined. The fathers were of the pretty general opinion that barbarism was to nations what childhood is to the individual, and that the more savage and untutored we find a people, the younger we may conclude them to be. To educate their neophytes to adolescence, they therefore treated them like children. Their government was as firm in its views and commands as it was mild and affectionate in its forms. The aborigines of the American continent have generally a tendency to republicanism; a monarchy or aristocracy is rarely found among them, and then in a very restricted form. The Guaranis of Paraguay did not differ, in this respect, from their congeners. By a happy circumstance, however, these tribes displayed rather more intelligence and less ferocity than their neighbors, and seemed capable, to some extent, of conceiving new wants and adopting new ideas. About one hundred and twenty thousand souls were collected in the villages of the missions, under the guidance of the fathers. All that experience, daily study, and active charity could teach the Jesuits, was employed for the benefit of their pupils; incessant efforts were made to hasten success, without hazarding it by rashness. In spite of all these cares,[Pg 199] however, it was soon felt that the most absolute authority over the neophytes could hardly constrain them to persist in the right path, and occasions were not wanting that revealed the little real solidity of the edifice.[73]

When the measures of Count Aranda deprived Paraguay of its pious and skilful civilizers, the sad truth appeared in complete light. The Guaranis, deprived of their spiritual guides, refused all confidence in the lay directors sent them by the Spanish crown. They showed no attachment to their new institutions. Their taste for savage life revived, and at present there are but thirty-seven[Pg 200] little villages still vegetating on the banks of the Parana, the Paraguay, and Uraguay, and these contain a considerable nucleus of half-breed population. The rest have returned to the forest, and live there in as savage a state as the western tribes of the same stock, the Guaranis and Cirionos. I will not say that the deserters have readopted their ancient manners completely, but there is little trace left of the pious missionaries' labors, and this because it is given to no human race to be oblivious of its instincts, nor to abandon the path in which the Creator has placed them.

It may be supposed, had the Jesuits continued to direct their missions in Paraguay, that their efforts, assisted by time, would have been crowned with better success. I am willing to concede this, but on one condition only, always the same: that a group of Europeans would gradually have settled in the country under the protection of the Jesuit directors. These would have modified, and finally completely transformed the native blood, and a state would have been formed, bearing probably an aboriginal name, whose inhabitants might have prided themselves upon descending from autochthonic ancestors, though as completely belonging to Europe as the institutions by which they might be governed.

[Pg 201]



America—Ancient empires—Phenicians and Romans—Jews—Greece and Rome—Commercial cities of Europe—Isthmus of Darien.

It is impossible to leave entirely out of the question the influence which climate, the nature of the soil, and topographical circumstances, exert upon the development of nations. This influence, so much overrated by many of the learned, I shall investigate more fully, although I have rapidly glanced at it already, in another place.

It is a very common opinion that a nation living under a temperate sky, not too warm to enervate the man, nor too cold to render the soil unproductive; on the shores of large rivers, affording extensive and commodious means of communication; in plains and valleys adapted to varied cultivation; at the foot of mountains pregnant with the[Pg 202] useful and precious ores—that a nation thus favored by nature, would soon be prompted to cast off barbarism, and progress rapidly in civilization.[74] On the other hand, and by the same reasoning, it is easily admitted that tribes, charred by an ardent sun, or benumbed by unceasing cold, and having no territory save sterile rocks, would be much more liable to remain in a state of barbarism. According to this hypothesis, the intellectual powers of man could be developed only by the aid of external nature, and all his worth and greatness are not implanted in him, but in the objects without and around. Specious as is this opinion at first sight, it has against it all the numerous facts which observation furnishes.

Nowhere, certainly, is there a greater variety of soil and climate than in the extensive Western Continent. Nowhere are there more fertile regions, milder skies, larger and more numerous rivers. The coasts are indented with gulfs and bays; deep and magnificent harbors abound; the most valuable riches of the mineral kingdom crop out of the ground; nature has lavished on the soil her choicest and most variegated vegetable productions, [Pg 203]and the woods and prairies swarm with alimentary species of animals, presenting still more substantial resources. And yet, the greater part of these happy countries is inhabited, and has been for a series of centuries, by tribes who ignore the most mediocre exploration of all these treasures.

Several of them seem to have been in the way of doing better. A meagre culture, a rude knowledge of the art of working metals, may be observed in more than one place. Several useful arts, practised with some ingenuity, still surprise the traveller. But all this is really on a very humble scale, and never formed what might be termed a civilization. There certainly has existed at some very remote period, a nation which inhabited the vast region extending from Lake Erie to the Mexican Gulf. There can be no doubt that the country lying between the Alleghany and the Rocky Mountains, and extending from Lake Erie to the Gulf of Mexico, was, at some very remote epoch, inhabited by a nation that has left remarkable traces of its existence behind.[75] The remains[Pg 204] of buildings, inscriptions on rocks, the tumuli,[76] and mummies which they inclose, indicate a high degree of intellectual culture. But there is no evidence that between this mysterious people and the tribes now wandering over its tombs, there is[Pg 205] any very near affinity. However this may be, if by inheritance or slavish imitation the now existing aborigines derive their first knowledge of the arts which they now rudely practise, from the former masters of the soil, we cannot but be struck by their incapacity of perfecting what they had been taught; and I see in this a new motive for adhering to my opinion, that a nation placed amid the most favorable geographical circumstances, is not, therefore, destined to arrive at civilization.

On the contrary, there is between the propitiousness of soil and climate and the establishment of civilization, a complete independence. India was a country which required fertilization; so was Egypt.[77] Here we have two very celebrated centres of human culture and development. China, though very productive in some parts, presented in others difficulties of a very serious character. The first events recorded in its history are struggles with rivers that had burst their bonds; its heroes are victors over the ruthless flood; the ancient [Pg 206]emperors distinguished themselves by excavating canals and draining marshes. The country of the Tigris and Euphrates, the theatre of Assyrian splendor and hallowed by our most sacred traditions, those regions where, Syncellus says, wheat grew spontaneously, possess a soil so little productive, when unassisted by art, that only a vast and laborious system of irrigation can render it capable of giving the means of subsistence to its inhabitants. Now that the canals are filled up or obstructed, sterility has reassumed its former dominion. I am, therefore, inclined to think that nature had not so greatly favored these countries as is usually supposed. Yet, I shall not discuss this point.

I am willing to admit that China, Egypt, India, and Mesopotamia were regions perfectly adapted in every respect to the establishment of great empires, and the consequent development of brilliant civilizations. But it cannot be disputed that these nations, to profit by these superior advantages, must have previously brought their social system to a high degree of perfection. Before the great watercourses became the highways of commerce, industry, or at least agriculture, must have flourished to some extent. The great advantages accorded [Pg 207]to these countries presuppose, therefore, in the nations that have profited by them, a peculiar intellectual vocation, and even a certain anterior degree of civilization. But from these specially favored regions let us glance elsewhere.

When the Phenicians migrated from the southeast, they fixed their abode on an arid, rocky coast, inclosed by steep and ragged mountains. Such a geographical situation would appear to preclude a people from any expansion, and force them to remain forever dependent on the produce of their fisheries for sustenance. The utmost that could be expected of them was to see them petty pirates. They were pirates, indeed, but on a magnificent scale; and, what is more, they were bold and successful merchants and speculators. They planted colonies everywhere, while the barren rocks of the mother country were covered with the palaces and temples of a wealthy and luxurious community. Some will say, that "the very unpropitiousness of external circumstances forced the founders of Tyre and Sidon to become what they were. Necessity is the mother of invention; their misery spurred them on to exertion; had they inhabited the plains of Damascus, they would have been content with the peaceful products of agriculture, [Pg 208]and would probably never have become an illustrious nation."[78]

And why does not misery spur on other nations placed under similar circumstances? The Kabyles of Morocco are an ancient race; they have had sufficient time for reflection, and, moreover, every possible inducement for mere imitation; yet they have never imagined any other method for alleviating their wretched lot except petty piracy. The unparalleled facilities for commerce afforded by the Indian archipelago and the island clusters of the Pacific, have never been improved by the natives; all the peaceful and profitable relations were left in the hands of foreign races—the Chinese, Malays, and Arabs; where commerce has fallen into the hands of a semi-indigenous or half-breed population, it has instantly commenced to languish. What conclusions can we deduce from these observations than that pressing wants are not sufficient for inciting a nation to profit by the natural facilities of its coasts and islands, and that some special aptitude is needed for establishing a commercial [Pg 209]state even in localities best adapted for that purpose.

But I shall not content myself with proving that the social and political aptitudes of races are not dependent on geographical situations, whether these be favorable or unfavorable; I shall, moreover, endeavor to show that these aptitudes have no sort of relation with any exterior circumstances. The Armenians, in their almost inaccessible mountains, where so many other nations have vegetated in a state of barbarism from generation to generation, and without any access to the sea, attained, already at a remote period, a high state of civilization. The Jews found themselves in an analogous position; they were surrounded by tribes who spoke kindred dialects, and who, for the most part, were nearly related to them in blood. Yet, they excelled all these groups. They were warriors, agriculturists, and merchants. Under a government in which theocracy, monarchy, patriarchal authority, and popular will, were singularly complicated and balanced, they traversed centuries of prosperity and glory. The difficulties which the narrow limits of their patrimonial domain opposed to their expansion, were overcome by an intelligent system of emigration. What was this famous Canaan? Modern travellers bear witness to the[Pg 210] laborious and well-directed efforts by which the Jewish agriculturists maintained the factitious fertility of their soil. Since the chosen race no longer inhabits these mountains and plains, the wells where Jacob's flocks drank are dried up; Naboth's vineyard is invaded by the desert, Achab's palace-gardens filled with thistles. In this miserable corner of the world, what were the Jews? A people dextrous in all they undertook, a free, powerful, intelligent people, who, before losing bravely, and against a much superior foe, the title of independent nation, had furnished to the world almost as many doctors as merchants.[79]

Let us look at Greece. Arcadia was the paradise of the shepherd, and Bœotia, the favored land of Ceres and Triptolemus: yet, Arcadia and Bœotia play but a very inferior part in history. The wealthy Corinth, the favorite of Plutus and Venus, also appears in the second rank. To whom pertains the glory of Grecian history? To Attica, whose whitish, sandy soil afforded a scanty sustenance to puny olive-trees; to Athens, whose principal commerce consisted in books and statues. Then to Sparta, shut up in a narrow valley between masses of rocks, where victory went in search of it.

Who would dare to assert that Rome owed her[Pg 211] universal empire to her geographical position? In the poor district of Latium, on the banks of a tiny stream emptying its waters on an almost unknown coast, where neither Greek nor Phenician vessel ever landed, except by accident, the future mistress of the world was born. So soon as the nations of the earth obeyed the Roman standard, politicians found the metropolis ill-placed, and the eternal city was neglected: even abandoned. The first emperors, being chiefly occupied with the East, resided in Greece almost continually. Tiberius chose Caprea, in the centre of his empire. His successors went to Antioch. Several lived at Trebia. Finally, a decree deprived Rome of the very name of capital, and gave it to Milan. If the Romans have conquered the world, it is certainly in spite of the locality whence issued forth their first armies, and not on account of its advantages.

In modern history, the proofs of the correctness of my position are so abundant, that I hardly know how to select. I see prosperity abandoning the coasts of the Mediterranean, evidence that it was not dependent on them. The great commercial cities of the Middle Ages rise where no theorist of a preceding age could have predicted them. Novogorod flourishes in an almost arctic region, Bremen on a coast nearly as cold.[Pg 212] The Hanse-towns of Germany rise in a country where civilization has scarcely dawned; Venice appears at the head of a long, narrow gulf. Political preponderance belongs to places before unknown. Lyons, Toulouse, Narbonne, Marseilles, Bordeaux, lose the importance assigned them by the Romans, and Paris becomes the metropolis—Paris, then a third-rate town, too far from the sea for commerce, too near it for the Norman barges. In Italy, cities formerly obscure, surpass the capital of the popes. Ravenna rises in the midst of marshes; Amalfi, for a long time, enjoys extensive dominion. It must be observed, that in all these changes accident has no part: they all are the result of the presence of a victorious and preponderating race. It is not the place which determines the importance of a nation, it is the nation which gives to the place its political and economical importance.

I do not, however, deny the importance of certain situations for commercial depots, or for capitals. The observations made with regard to Alexandria and Constantinople, are incontestable.[80] There are, upon our globe, various points which may be called the keys of the world. Thus, it is[Pg 213] obvious that a city, built on the proposed canal which is to pierce the Isthmus of Darien, would act an important part in the affairs of the world.

But, such a part a nation may act well or badly, or even not at all, according to its merits. Aggrandize Chagres, and let the two oceans unite under her walls, the destiny of the city would depend entirely on the race by which it was peopled. If this race be worthy of their good fortune, they will soon discover whether Chagres be the point whence the greatest benefits can be derived from the union of the two oceans; and, if it is not, they will leave it, and then, untrammelled, develop elsewhere their brilliant destinies.[81]

[Pg 215]



The term Christian civilization examined—Reasons for rejecting it—Intellectual diversity no hindrance to the universal diffusion of Christianity—Civilizing influence of Christian religion by elevating and purifying the morals, etc.; but does not remove intellectual disparities—Various instances—Cherokees—Difference between imitation and comprehension of civilized life.

By the foregoing observations, two facts seem to me clearly established: first, that there are branches of the human family incapable of spontaneous civilization, so long as they remain unmixed; and, secondly, that this innate incapacity cannot be overcome by external agencies, however powerful in their nature. It now remains to speak of the civilizing influence of Christianity, a subject which, on account of its extensive bearing, I have reserved for the last, in my consideration of the instruments of civilization.

[Pg 216] The first question that suggests itself to the thinking mind, is a startling one. If some races are so vastly inferior in all respects, can they comprehend the truths of the gospel, or are they forever to be debarred from the blessing of salvation?

In answer, I unhesitatingly declare my firm conviction, that the pale of salvation is open to them all, and that all are endowed with equal capacity to enter it. Writers are not wanting who have asserted a contrary opinion. They dare to contradict the sacred promise of the Gospel, and deny the peculiar characteristic of our faith, which consists in its accessibility to all men. According to them, religions are confined within geographical limits which they cannot transgress. But the Christian religion knows no degrees of latitude or longitude. There is scarcely a nation, or a tribe, among whom it has not made converts. Statistics—imperfect, no doubt, but, as far as they go, reliable—show them in great numbers in the remotest parts of the globe: nomad Mongols, in the steppes of Asia, savage hunters in the table-lands of the Andes; dark-hued natives of an African clime; persecuted in China;[82] tortured in Madagascar; perishing under the lash in Japan.

[Pg 217] But this universal capacity of receiving the light of the gospel must not be confounded, as is so often done, with a faculty of entirely different character, that of social improvement. This latter consists in being able to conceive new wants, which, being supplied, give rise to others, and gradually produce that perfection of the social and political system which we call civilization. While the former belongs equally to all races, whatever may be their disparity in other respects, the latter is of a purely intellectual character, and the prerogative of certain privileged groups, to the partial or even total exclusion of others.

With regard to Christianity, intellectual deficiencies cannot be a hindrance to a race. Our religion addresses itself to the lowly and simple, even in preference to the great and wise of this earth. Intellect and learning are not necessary[Pg 218] to salvation. The most brilliant lights of our church were not always found among the body of the learned. The glorious martyrs, whom we venerate even above the skilful and erudite defender of the dogma, or the eloquent panegyrist of the faith, were men who sprang from the masses of the people; men, distinguished neither for worldly learning, nor brilliant talents, but for the simple virtues of their lives, their unwavering faith, their self-devotion. It is exactly in this that consists one great superiority of our religion over the most elaborate and ingenious systems devised by philosophers, that it is intelligible to the humblest capacity as well as to the highest. The poor Esquimaux of Labrador may be as good and as pure a Christian as the most learned prelate in Europe.

But we now come to an error which, in its various phases, has led to serious consequences. The utilitarian tendency of our age renders us prone to seek, even in things sacred, a character of material usefulness. We ascribe to the influence of Christianity a certain order of things, which we call Christian civilization.

To what political or social condition this term can be fitly applied, I confess myself unable to conceive. There certainly is a Pagan, a Brahmin,[Pg 219] and Buddhistic, a Judaic civilization. There have been, and still are, societies so intimately connected with a more or less exclusive theological formula, that the civilizations peculiar to them, can only be designated by the name of their creed. In such societies, religion is the sole source of all political forms, all civil and social legislation; the groundwork of the whole civilization. This union of religious and temporal institutions, we find in the history of every nation of antiquity. Each country had its own peculiar divinity, which exercised a more or less direct influence in the government,[83] and from[Pg 220] which laws and civilization were said to be immediately derived. It was only when paganism began to wane, that the politicians of Rome imagined a separation of temporal and religious power, by attempting a fusion of the different forms of worship, and proclaiming the dogma of legal toleration. When paganism was in its youth and vigor, each city had its Jupiter, Mercury, or Venus, and the local deity recognized neither in this world nor the next any but compatriots.

But, with Christianity, it is otherwise. It chooses no particular people, prescribes no form of government, no social system. It interferes not in temporal matters, has naught to do with the material[Pg 221] world, "its kingdom is of another." Provided it succeeds in changing the interior man, external circumstances are of no import. If the convert fervently embraces the faith, and in all his actions tries to observe its prescriptions, it inquires not about the built of his dwelling, the cut of his garments, or the materials of which they are composed, his daily occupations, the regulations of his government, the degree of despotism, or of freedom, which pervades his political institutions. It leaves the Chinese in his robes, the Esquimaux in his seal-skins; the former to his rice, the latter to his fish-oil; and who would dare to assert that the prayers of both may not breathe as pure a faith as those of the civilized European? No mode of existence can attract its preference, none, however humble, its disdain. It attacks no form of government, no social institution; prescribes none, because it has adopted none. It teaches not the art of promoting worldly comforts, it teaches to despise them. What, then, can we call a Christian civilization? Had Christ, or his disciples, prescribed, or even recommended any particular political or social forms,[84] the term would then be[Pg 222] applicable. But his law may be observed under all—of whatever nature—and is therefore superior to them all. It is justly and truly called the Catholic, or Universal.

And has Christianity, then, no civilizing influence? I shall be asked. Undoubtedly; and a very great one. Its precepts elevate and purify the soul, and, by their purely spiritual nature, disengage the mind from worldly things, and expand its powers. In a merely human point of view, the material benefits it confers on its followers are inestimable. It softens the manners, and facilitates the intercourse between man and his fellow-man; it mitigates violence, and weans him from corrosive vices. It is, therefore, a powerful promoter of his worldly interests. But it only expands the mind in proportion to the susceptibility of the mind for being expanded. It does not give intellect, [Pg 223]or confer talents, though it may exalt both, and render them more useful. It does not create new capacities, though it fosters and develops those it finds. Where the capacities of an individual, or a race, are such as to admit an improvement in the mode of existence, it tends to produce it; where such capacities are not already, it does not give them. As it belongs to no particular civilization, it does not compel a nation to change its own. In fine, as it does not level all individuals to the same intellectual standard, so it does not raise all races to the same rank in the political assemblage of the nations of the earth. It is wrong, therefore, to consider the equal aptitude of all races for the true religion, as a proof of their intellectual equality. Though having embraced it, they will still display the same characteristic differences, and divergent or even opposite tendencies. A few examples will suffice to set my idea in a clearer light.

The major portion of the Indian tribes of South America have, for centuries, been received within the pale of the church, yet the European civilization, with which they are in constant contact, has never become their own.[85] The Cherokees, in the northern part of the same continent, have nearly[Pg 224] all been converted by the Methodist missionaries. At this I am not surprised, but I should be greatly so, if these tribes, without mixing with the whites, were ever to form one of the States, and exercise any influence in Congress. The Moravians and Danish Lutheran missionaries in Labrador and Greenland, have opened the eyes of the Esquimaux to the light of religion; but their neophytes have remained in the same social condition in which they vegetated before. A still more forcible illustration is afforded by the Laplanders of Sweden, who have not emerged from the state of barbarism of their ancestors, though the doctrine of salvation was preached to them, and believed by them, centuries ago.

I sincerely believe that all these peoples may produce, and, perhaps, already have produced, persons remarkable for piety and pure morals; but I do not expect ever to see among them learned theologians, great statesmen, able military leaders, profound mathematicians, or distinguished artists;—any of those superior minds, whose number and perpetual succession are the cause of power in a preponderating race; much less those rare geniuses whose meteor-like appearance is productive of permanent good only when their countrymen are so constituted as to be able to understand them,[Pg 225] and to advance under their direction. We cannot, therefore, call Christianity a promoter of civilization in the narrow and purely material sense of some writers.

Many of my readers, while admitting my observations in the main to be correct, will object that the modifying influence of religion upon the manners must produce a corresponding modification of the institutions, and finally in the whole social system. The propagators of the gospel, they will say, are almost always—though not necessarily—from a nation superior in civilization to the one they visit. In their personal intercourse, therefore, with their neophytes, the latter cannot but acquire new notions of material well-being. Even the political system may be greatly influenced by the relations between instructor and pupil. The missionary, while he provides for the spiritual welfare of his flock, will not either neglect their material wants. By his teaching and example, the savage will learn how to provide against famine, by tilling the soil. This improvement in his condition once effected, he will soon be led to build himself a better dwelling, and to practise some of the simpler useful arts. Gradually, and by careful training, he may acquire sufficient taste for things purely intellectual, to learn the alphabet, [Pg 226]or even, as in the case of the Cherokees, to invent one himself. In course of time, if the missionaries' labors are crowned with success, they may, perhaps, so firmly implant their manners and mode of living among this formerly savage tribe, that the traveller will find among them well-cultivated fields, numerous flocks, and, like these same Cherokees, and the Creeks on the southern banks of the Arkansas, black slaves to work on their plantations.

Let us see how far facts correspond with this plausible argument. I shall select the two nations which are cited as being the furthest advanced in European civilization, and their example will, it seems to me, demonstrate beyond a doubt, how impossible it is for any race to pursue a career in which their own nature has not placed them.

The Cherokees and Creeks are said to be the remnants or descendants of the Alleghanian Race, the supposed builders of those great monuments of which we still find traces in the Mississippi Valley. If this be the case, these two nations may lay claim to a natural superiority over the other tribes of North America.

Deprived of their hereditary dominions by the American government, they were forced—under a treaty of transplantation—to emigrate to regions[Pg 227] selected for them by the latter. There they were placed under the superintendence of the Minister of War, and of Protestant missionaries, who finally succeeded in persuading them to embrace the mode of life they now lead. Mr. Prichard,[86] my authority for these facts, and who derives them himself from the great work of Mr. Gallatin,[87] asserts that, while all the other Indian tribes are continually diminishing, these are steadily increasing in numbers. As a proof of this, he alleges that when Adair visited the Cherokee tribes, in 1762, the number of their warriors was estimated at 2,300; at present, their total population amounts to 15,000 souls, including about 1,200 negroes in their possession. When we consider that their schools, as well as churches, are directed by white missionaries; that the greater number of these missionaries—being Protestants—are probably married and have children and servants also white, besides, very likely, a sort of retinue of clerks and other European employees;—the increase of the aboriginal population becomes extremely doubtful,[88] while it is easy to conceive the[Pg 228] pressure of the white race upon its pupils. Surrounded on all sides by the power of the United States, incommensurable to their imagination; converted to the religion of their masters, which they have, I think, sincerely embraced; treated kindly and judiciously by their spiritual guides; and exposed to the alternation of working or of starving in their contracted territory;—I can understand that it was possible to make them tillers of the earth.

It would be underrating the intelligence of the humblest, meanest specimen of our kind, to express surprise at such a result, when we see that, by dexterously and patiently acting upon the passions and wants of animals, we succeed in teaching them what their own instincts would never have taught them. Every village[Pg 229] fair is filled with animals which are trained to perform the oddest tricks, and is it to be wondered at that men submitted to a rigorous system of training, and deprived of the means of escaping from it, should, in the end, be made to perform certain mechanical functions of civilized life; functions which, even in the savage state, they are capable of understanding, though they have not the will to practise them? This were placing human beings lower in the scale of creation than the learned pig, or Mr. Leonard's domino-playing dogs.[89] Such exultation on the part of the believers in the equality of races is little flattering to those who excite it.

I am aware that this exaggeration of the intellectual capacity of certain races is in a great measure provoked by the notions of some very learned and distinguished men, who pretend that between the lowest races of men, and the highest of apes there was but a shade of distinction. So[Pg 230] gross an insult to the dignity of man, I indignantly reject. Certainly, in my estimation, the different races are very unequally endowed, both physically and mentally; but I should be loath to think that in any, even in the most degraded, the unmistakable line of demarcation between man and brute were effaced. I recognize no link of gradation which would connect man mentally with the brute creation.

But does it follow, that because the lowest of the human species is still unmistakably human, that all of that species are capable of the same development? Take a Bushman, the most hideous and stupid of human families, and by careful training you may teach him, or if he is already adult, his son, to learn and practise a handicraft, even one that requires a certain degree of intelligence. But are we warranted thence to conclude that the nation to which this individual belongs, is susceptible of adopting our civilization? There is a vast difference between mechanically practising handicrafts and arts, the products of an advanced civilization, and that civilization itself. Let us suppose that the Cherokee tribes were suddenly cut off from all connection with the American government, the traveller, a few years hence, would find among them very unexpected and singular institutions, [Pg 231]resulting from their mixture with the whites, but partaking only feebly of the character of European civilization.

We often hear of negroes proficient in music, negroes who are clerks in counting-rooms, who can read, write, talk like the whites. We admire, and conclude that the negroes are capable of everything that whites are. Notwithstanding this admiration and these hasty conclusions, we express surprise at the contrast of Sclavonian civilization with ours. We aver that the Russian, Polish, Servish nations, are civilized only at the surface, that none but the higher classes are in possession of our ideas, and this, thanks to their intermixture with the English, French, and German stock; that the masses, on the contrary, evince a hopeless inaptitude for participating in the forward movement of Western Europe, although these masses have been Christians for centuries, many of them while our ancestors were heathens. Are the negroes, then, more closely allied to our race than the Sclavonic nations? On the one hand, we assert the intellectual equality of the white and black races; on the other, a disparity among subdivisions of our own race.

There is a vast difference between imitation and comprehension. The imitation of a civilization does[Pg 232] not necessarily imply an eradication of the hereditary instincts. A nation can be said to have adopted a civilization, only when it has the power to progress in it unprompted, and without guidance. Instead of extolling the intelligence of savages in handling a plough, after being shown; in spelling and reading, after they have been taught; let a single example be alleged of a tribe in any of the numerous countries in contact with Europeans, which, with our religion, has also made the ideas, institutions, and manners of a European nation so completely its own, that the whole social and political machinery moves forward as easily and naturally as in our States. Let an example be alleged of an extra-European nation, among whom the art of printing produces effects analogous to those it produces among us; where new applications of our discoveries are attempted; where our systems of philosophy give birth to new systems; where our arts and sciences flourish.

But, no; I will be more moderate in my demands. I shall not ask of that nation to adopt, together with our faith, all in which consists our individuality. I shall suppose that it rejects it totally, and chooses one entirely different, adapted to its peculiar genius and circumstances. When the eyes of that nation open to the truths of the Gospel, it perceives that its earthly course is as encumbered [Pg 233]and wretched as its spiritual life had hitherto been. It now begins the work of improvement, collects its ideas, which had hitherto remained fruitless, examines the notions of others, transforms them, and adapts them to its peculiar circumstances; in fact, erects, by its own power, a social and political system, a civilization, however humble. Where is there such a nation? The entire records of all history may be searched in vain for a single instance of a nation which, together with Christianity, adopted European civilization, or which—by the same grand change in its religious ideas—was led to form a civilization of its own, if it did not possess one already before.

On the contrary, I will show, in every part of the world, ethnical characteristics not in the least effaced by the adoption of Christianity. The Christian Mongol and Tartar tribes lead the same erratic life as their unconverted brethren, and are as distinct from the Russian of the same religion, who tills the soil, or plies his trade in their midst, as they were centuries ago. Nay, the very hostilities of race survive the adoption of a common religion, as we have already pointed out in a preceding chapter. The Christian religion, then, does not equalize the intellectual disparities of races.

[Pg 234]


Rapid survey of the populations comprised under the appellation "Teutonic"—Their present ethnological area, and leading characteristics—Fondness for the sea displayed by the Teutonic tribes of Northwestern Europe, and perceptible in their descendants.

Several of the ideas expressed by the author in the course of the two next following chapters, seemed to the annotator of this volume to call for a few remarks on his part, which could not conveniently be condensed within the limited space of foot-notes. Besides, the text is already sufficiently encumbered with them, and any increase in their length or number could not but be displeasing to the eye, while it would divert attention from the main subject. He has, therefore, taken the liberty—an unwarranted one, perhaps—of introducing his remarks in this form and place.

The leading proposition in this volume is, that the civilization originated and developed by a race, is the clearest index of its character—the mirror in which its principal features are truthfully reflected. In other[Pg 235] words, that every race, capable of developing a civilization, will develop one peculiar to itself, and impossible to every other. This the author illustrates by the actual state of our civilization, which he asserts to be originated by the Teutonic race, but modified in proportion to the admixture of that race with a different blood. To clearly comprehend his idea, and to appreciate the value of his arguments, it is, therefore, necessary for the reader to take a rapid survey of the populations comprised under the appellation Teutonic, and to examine into the present geographical extension of that race. This I shall endeavor to do, not, indeed, by entering into an elaborate ethnological disquisition—a task greatly beyond my powers, and the due performance of which would require a space much larger than the whole of this volume—but by merely grouping together well-known facts, in such a manner as to set the author's idea in a clearer light.

The words Teutonic and Germanic are generally used synonymously, and we shall not depart from this custom. Strict accuracy, however, would probably require that the term Teutonic should be used as the general appellation of all those swarms of northern warriors, who, under various names, harassed and finally subverted the overgrown dominion of ancient Rome, while the term Germanic would apply to a portion of them only. The Northern Barbarians, as the Romans contemptuously styled them, all claimed to belong to the "Thiudu," or the nation par excellence, and from that word the term Teutonic is supposed to be derived. Many of their descendants still retain the name: Teutsch or Deutsch (German). The Romans called them Germanes, from the boastful title of "the warlike," or "the[Pg 236] men of war," which the first invading tribes had given themselves. These Germanes of the Romans were again divided into two classes, the Saxon tribes, and the Suevic; terms expressive of their mode of life, the former having fixed habitations and inclosed farms, the latter cultivating the fields by turn, and being prone to change their abodes. The first class comprised many other tribes besides those who figure in history, under the name of Saxons, as the invaders and conquerors of Britain. But as I desire to avoid all not well-authorized distinctions, I shall use the terms Teutonic and Germanic indiscriminately.

The Germans appear to have been at all times an eminently warlike and courageous race. History first speaks of them as warriors alarming, nay, terrifying, the arrogant Romans, and that not in the infancy of Rome's power, when the Samnites and Volscians were formidable antagonists, but in the very fulness of its strength, in the first vigor of youthful manhood, when Italy, Spain, part of Gaul, the northern coasts of Africa, Greece, Syria, and Asia Minor, were subdued to the republican yoke. Then it was that the Cimbri and Teutones invaded and harassed Italy, chilling the mistress of the world with fear.

The Germans next meet us in Cæsar's Commentaries. The principal resistance which the future usurper experienced in subduing Gaul, appears to have been offered, not by the Gallic population, but either by German tribes, settled in that country, or German armies from the right banks of the Rhine, who longed to dispute the tempting prize with the Romans. The great general twice crossed the Rhine, but probably more for the éclat of such an exploit, than with the hope[Pg 237] of making permanent conquests. The temporary successes gained by his imperial successors were amply counterbalanced by the massacre of the flower of the Roman armies.

At the end of the first five centuries after Christ, nothing was left of the great Roman empire but ruins. Every country in Northern, Western, and Southern Europe acknowledged German masters. The tribes of the extreme north had entered Russia, and there established a powerful republic; the tribes of the northwest (the Angles and Saxons) had conquered Britain; a confederation of the southern tribes, under the name of Franks, had conquered Gaul; the various Gothic tribes of the east, the Heruli, the Longobardi, Ostrogoths, etc., had subjected Italy to their arms, and disputed its possession among themselves. Other Gothic tribes (the Visigoths, Burgundians, and Vandals) had shared with the Franks the beautiful tracts of Gaul, or had carried their victorious arms to Spain, and the northern coasts of Africa. The three most beautiful and most fertile countries of Europe, to this day, retain the name of their conquerors—England, France, Lombardy.

It is impossible now to determine with accuracy the amount of German blood in the populations of the various states founded by the Teutonic tribes. Yet certain general results are easily arrived at in this interesting investigation.

Thus, we know that Germany, notwithstanding its name, contains by no means a pure Germanic population. The fierce Scythian hordes, whom Attila led on to the work of devastation, after the death of their leader, incorporated themselves with various of the Teutonic[Pg 238] tribes. They form one of the ethnical elements of the population of Italy, but especially of the south and southeast of Germany. While, therefore, the population of Northern Germany is comparatively pure Teutonic, that of the southern and eastern portion is a mixture of Teutonic and Sclavonian elements.

The Danes, Swedes, and Norwegians, are probably the most Germanic nations of continental Europe.

In Spain, the Visigoths were, in a great measure, absorbed by the native population, consisting of the aboriginal Celtiberians and the numerous Roman colonists. In the tenth century, an amalgamation began with the eastern blood brought by the Arab conquerors.

Italy, already at the time of the downfall of Rome, contained an extremely mixed population, drawn thither by the all-absorbing vortex of the Eternal City. In the north, the Germanic element had time to engraft itself in some measure; but the south, passing into the hands of the Byzantine emperors, received an addition of the already mixed Greek blood of the east.

Gaul, at the time of the Frankish conquest, was an extremely populous country. Beside the aboriginal Gauls, the population consisted of numerous Roman colonists. The Mediterranean coast of Gaul had, from the earliest times, received Phenician, Carthaginian, and Greek settlers, who founded there large and prosperous cities. The original differences in the population of Gaul are to this day perceptible. The Germanic element preponderates in the north, where already, in Cæsar's time, the Germans had succeeded in making permanent settlements, and in the northeast, where the Burgundians had well-nigh extirpated and completely [Pg 239]supplanted the Gallic natives.[90] But everywhere else,[91] the Germanic element forms but a small portion of the population, and this is well illustrated by the striking resemblance of the character of the modern French to that of the ancient Gauls. But though vastly inferior in numbers, the descendants of the German conquerors, for one thousand years, were the dominant race in France. Until the fifteenth century, all the higher nobility were of Frankish or Burgundian origin. But, after the Celtic and Celto-Roman provinces south of the Loire had rallied around a youthful king, to reconquer their capital and best territories from the English foe, the Frankish blood ruled with less exclusive sway in all the higher offices of the state; and the distinction was almost entirely lost by the accession of the first southern dynasty, that of the Bourbons, towards the end of the sixteenth century. The corresponding variations in the national policy and the exterior manifestations of the national character, Mr. Gobineau has rapidly pointed out elsewhere.[92]

While the population of France presents so great a mixture of various different races, and but a slight infusion of German blood, that of England, on the contrary, is almost purely Teutonic. The original inhabitants of the country were, for the most part, driven into the mountain fastnesses of Wales by the German invaders, where they preserve, to this day, their original[Pg 240] language. Every subsequent great addition to the population of England was by the German race. The Danes, and, after them, the Normans, were tribes of the same stock as the Saxons, and all came from very nearly the same portion of Europe. It is obvious, therefore, that England, even after the Norman conquest, when, for a time, the upper and the lower classes spoke different languages, contained a more homogeneous population than France did at the same, or any subsequent epoch. In England, from the Saxon yeoman up to the proudest Norman lord, all belonged to the great German race; in France, only the nobility, while the peasants were Gauls. The wars between the two countries afford a striking proof of the difference of these two races. The battles of Cressy, of Poitiers, and of Agincourt, which will never be forgotten so long as English poetry can find an echo in an English breast, were won by the English against greatly superior numbers. "Victories, indeed, they were," says Macaulay, "of which a nation may justly be proud; for they are to be attributed to the moral superiority of the victors, a superiority which was most striking in the lowest ranks. The knights of England found worthy rivals in the knights of France. Chandos encountered an equal foe in Du Guesclin. But France had no infantry that dared to face the English bows and bills." The Celt has probably, at no time, been inferior to the Teuton in valor; in martial enthusiasm, he exceeds him. But, at a time when bodily strength decided the combat, the difference between the sturdy Saxon and the small, slight—though active—Gaul, must have been great.

In this rapid and necessarily imperfect sketch, I have endeavored to show the relative proportion of the Teutonic [Pg 241]blood in the population of the various countries of Europe. I have endeavored to direct the reader's attention to the fact, that though it forms an element in the population of all, it exists in perfect purity in but few, and that England presents a happy fusion of some of the most distinguished branches of the German family. If we now glance at the United States, we shall there find—at least in the first years of her national existence—a pendant to what has been asserted of England. The elements of the population of the original thirteen States, were almost exclusively of English, Lowland Scotch, Dutch, and Swedish blood; that is to say, decidedly Germanic. Ireland was as yet slightly represented. France had made but inconsiderable contributions to the population. Since we have assumed a rank among the great powers of the earth, every portion of the inhabited globe has sent us its contingent of blood, yet even now, the great body of the nation belongs to the Teutonic race.

Much has been said of the effects of ethnical mixture. Many consider it as decidedly beneficial, others as decidedly deleterious. It seems to me susceptible of mathematical demonstration, that when a very inferior race amalgamates with one of higher order, the compound—though superior to the one, must be inferior to the other. In that case, therefore, mixture is injurious. But when various branches of the same race, or nearly cognate races mix, as in the case of the Saxons, Angles, Danes, and Normans, the mixture cannot but be beneficial. For, while none of the higher qualities are lost, the compound presents a felicitous combination of some of the virtues peculiar to each.

[Pg 242]If our civilization received its tone and character from the Teutonic race, as Mr. Gobineau asserts, this character must be most strikingly displayed wherever that race forms the preponderating element of the population.

Before investigating this question, we must cast a glance on the manners and modes of thinking that characterized this race in the earliest times. Unfortunately, but few records are left to assist us in forming a judgment. Tacitus's celebrated treatise was, probably, more an imaginary sketch, which he wished to hold up to a people sunk in luxury and vice, as were his countrymen. In our times, the North American Indian has often been held up as a model of uncorrupted simplicity, and many touching romances have been written on the theme, now rather hackneyed and out of fashion. But though the noble Roman may have highly colored the picture, the incorruptible love of truth, which shines so brilliantly in all his works, assures us of the truth of its outlines.

Of one thing we can entertain no doubt, viz: that history nowhere shows us our Germanic forefathers in the same state of barbarism that we find other races—many of the American Indians, the South-Sea Islanders, and others. In the earliest times they practised agriculture, they cultivated rye, barley, oats and wheat. Many of the tribes had regular farms, which were inclosed. They knew how to work iron, an art which even the most civilized of the American Indians had never learned. They had extensive and complicated political relations, often forming themselves in vast confederacies. But, above all, they were an eminently[Pg 243] chaste people; they respected woman,[93] and assigned to her her legitimate place in the social circle. Marriage with them was a sacred institution.

The greatest point of superiority of our civilization, over all preceding and contemporaneous ones—a point which Mr. Gobineau has omitted to mention—is the high rank which woman occupies in the modern structure of society. The boasted civilizations of Greece and Rome, if superior in others, are vastly inferior to us in this respect. And this glorious superiority we owe to the pure and chaste manners of our forefathers.

Representative government, trial by jury, and all the discoveries in political science upon which we pride ourselves most, are the necessary development of their simple institutions, to which, indeed, they can be distinctly traced.

I have purposely selected these two characteristics of the German races—respect for woman, and love of liberty, or, what is more, a capacity for establishing and preserving liberal institutions. The question now resolves itself into this: Does woman occupy the highest rank, do liberal institutions best flourish where the Germanic race is most pure? I will not answer the question, but beg the reader to compare the more Germanic countries with those that are less so—England, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Northern Germany, with France, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Russia; the United States and Canada, with Mexico and the South American republics.

[Pg 244]Mr. Gobineau speaks of the utilitarian character of the Germanic races, but furnishes no proofs of his assertion. I shall therefore endeavor to supply the deficiency.

Those countries which ethnology tells us contain the most Germanic populations, viz: England, the northern States of Europe, including Holland, and the United States, have the entire commerce, and nearly all the manufacture of the whole world in their hands. They have given to mankind all the great inventions which shed an everlasting lustre over our era. They, together, possess nine-tenths of all the railroads built in the world, and the greater part of the remaining tenth was built by their enterprise and capital. Whatever perfection in the useful arts one of these countries attains, is readily adopted by all; slowly only, and sometimes never by any of the others.

On the other hand, we find that the polite arts do not meet, in these countries, with a very congenial soil. Artists may flock thither, and, perhaps, reap a harvest of gold; but they seldom stay. The admiration which they receive is oftenest the mere dictate of fashion. It is true that England, Denmark, Holland, Sweden, and the United States, have produced some eminent artists, but the mass of the population do not exhibit that innate taste, that passionate fondness for the arts, which we find among all classes in Italy, Spain, and to some extent in France and Southern Germany.

Before I conclude this hasty sketch, for which I crave the reader's indulgence, I wish to draw attention to a striking instance of the permanency of ethnical characteristics. The nations that most fondly and most successfully plough the briny main, are the English, the[Pg 245] Americans, the Swedes, Danes, Dutch. Notwithstanding the littleness of these latter, they have successfully competed in maritime discovery with larger nations; and even now, own considerable and far distant colonial possessions. The Dutch, for a time, were the greatest maritime power in the world, and to this day carry on an extensive and profitable commerce. History tells us that the forefathers of these nations were distinguished by the same nautical genius.

The real Saxons—the invaders of England—are mentioned already in the middle of the second century, by Ptolemy, as skilful sailors. In the fourth and fifth century, they became dreaded from their piracies. They and their confederates, the Angles, originally inhabited the present Holstein, and the islands in the vicinity of the Baltic coast. Their neighbors, the Danes, were equally famous for maritime exploits. Their celebrated vykings still live in song and tale. Their piratical incursions and settlements in England, are known to every schoolboy. How familiar the Normans were with the watery element, is abundantly proved by history. They ascended the Rhine, and other rivers, for hundreds of miles, marking their landing-place by devastation.

Of the Angle, the Saxon, the Dane, and the Norman, the present Englishman and his adventurous brother of Massachusetts, are lineal descendants. The best sailors in our commercial navy, next to the native sailors, are the Danes and the Swedes. Normandy, to this day, furnishes the best for the French service.—H.

[Pg 246]



Mr. Guizot's and Mr. W. von Humboldt's definitions examined. Its elements.

The reader will here pardon me an indispensable digression. I make use at almost every moment of a term comprising in its extensive signification a collection of ideas which it is important to define accurately: civilization. The greater or less degree in which this term is applicable to the social condition of various nations, is my only standard for the comparative merit of races. I also speak of a European civilization, in contradistinction to others of a different character. It is the more necessary to avoid the least vagueness, as I am under the disagreeable necessity of differing from a celebrated writer, who has assumed the special task of determining the meaning and comprehensiveness of this expression.

Mr. Guizot, in his History of Civilization in Modern Europe,[Pg 247] makes use of a term which seems to me to give rise to a serious confusion of ideas, and lead to positive errors. He says that civilization is a fact.

Now, either the word fact must here be understood in a sense much less strict and precise than common usage requires, a sense so indistinct—I might almost say elastic—as has never pertained to it, or what we comprehend under the term civilization cannot be expressed by the word fact. Civilization is not a fact; it is a series, a concatenation of facts, more or less logically united, and resulting from ideas often sufficiently diverse: ideas and facts continually reproduce each other. Civilization is a term applied to a certain state or condition in which a society exists—a condition which is of its own creation, bears its character, and, in turn, reacts upon it. This condition is of so variable a nature, that it cannot be called a fact; for a fact cannot be variable without ceasing to be a fact. In other words, there is more than one civilization: there are various kinds. Thus, a civilization may flourish under every form of government, and it does not cease to exist when civil commotions destroy or alter that form.

Let it not be understood that I esteem governmental forms of little importance. Their choice[Pg 248] is intimately connected with the prosperity of the society: if judicious, promoting and developing it; if unpractical, endangering its destruction. But I speak not here of the temporary prosperity or misery of a society. I speak of its civilization; and this is a phenomenon whose causes must be sought elsewhere, and deeper than in transient political forms. Its character, its growth, fecundity, or barrenness, depends upon elementary principles of far greater importance.

But, in Mr. Guizot's opinion, civilization is a fact, a unity; and it is of an essentially political character. Let us see how he defines it. He has chosen a series of hypotheses, describing society in various conditions, and then asks if the state so described is, in the general opinion of mankind, the state of a people advancing in civilization—if it answers to the signification which mankind generally attaches to this word.[94]

"First imagine a people whose outward circumstances are easy and agreeable; few taxes; few hardships; justice is fairly administered; in a word, physical existence, taken altogether, is satisfactorily and happily regulated. But, with all this, the moral and intellectual energies of this[Pg 249] people are studiously kept in a state of torpor and inertness. It can hardly be called oppression; its tendency is not of that character—it is rather compression. We are not without examples of this state of society. There have been a great number of little aristocratic republics, in which the people have been thus treated like a flock of sheep, carefully tended, physically happy, but without the least intellectual and moral activity. Is this civilization? Do we recognize here a people in a state of moral and social advancement?"

I know not whether such a people is in a state of advancement, but it certainly may be in a very advanced state of civilization, else we should find ourselves compelled to class among the savages or barbarians all those aristocratic republics of ancient and modern times, which answer Mr. Guizot's description. But the common sense of mankind would never ratify a method which ejected from within the pale of civilization not only the Phenicians, Carthaginians, and Lacedæmonians, but even Venice, Genoa, Pisa, the free cities of Germany—in fact, all the powerful municipalities of the last centuries. But, besides this mode of proceeding being too paradoxical and restrictive, it seems to me to encounter another difficulty. Those little aristocratic states, to whom, on account[Pg 250] of their form of government, Mr. Guizot denies the aptitude for civilization, have, for the most part, never been in possession of a special culture peculiar to themselves. Powerful as many of them have been, they assimilated, in this respect, with nations differently governed, but of consanguineous affinity; they formed a fragment only of a greater and more general civilization. Thus, the Carthaginians and Phenicians, though at a great distance from one another, had a similar mode of culture, the type of which must be sought in Assyria. The Italian republics participated in the same ideas and opinions which developed themselves in the bosom of neighboring monarchies. The imperial cities of Thuringia and Suabia, although perfectly independent in a political point of view, were nevertheless intimately united with the general progressive or retrogressive movement of the whole German race. Mr. Guizot, therefore, by assigning to the people of different countries degrees of merit proportionate to the degree and form of their liberty, creates unjustifiable subdivisions in the same race, and makes distinctions without a difference. A lengthy discussion is not in its place here, and I shall therefore proceed rapidly. If, however, it were necessary to enter into a controversy, might we not justly protest against recognizing any inferiority [Pg 251]in the case of Genoa, Pisa, Venice, and others, when compared with countries like Milan, Naples, or Rome?

Mr. Guizot has himself foreseen this difficulty, and removed the objection. If he does not recognize a state of civilization among a people "mildly governed, but in a state of compression," neither does he accord this prerogative to another, "whose outward circumstances are less favorable and agreeable, although supportable, but whose intellectual and moral cravings have not been entirely neglected; among whom pure and elevated sentiments have been cultivated, and religious and moral notions reached a certain degree of improvement, but among whom the desire of liberty has been stifled; where a certain portion of truth is doled out to each, but no one permitted to seek for it himself. This is the condition to which most of the populations of Asia are sunk, because theocratical governments there restrain the progress of mankind; such, for instance, is the state of the Hindoos."

Thus, besides the aristocratic nations of the earth, we must moreover exclude from the pale of civilization the Hindoos, Egyptians, Etruscans, Peruvians, Thibetans, Japanese—nay, even modern Rome and her territories.

[Pg 252]I omit the last two hypotheses, because, thanks to the first two, the state of civilization is already restricted within boundaries so contracted that scarce any people on the globe is justified in pretending to it. A nation, then, can be called civilized only when it enjoys institutions happily blending popular liberty and the requisite strength of authority for maintaining order; when its progress in material well-being and its moral development are co-ordinate in a certain manner, and no other; where religion, as well as government, is confined within limits accurately defined, which neither ever transgresses; where each individual possesses clearly determinate and inalienable rights. According to this formula, no nation can be civilized unless its political institutions are of the constitutional and representative form, and consequently it is impossible to save many European nations from the reproach of barbarism. Then, measuring the degree of civilization by the perfection of this same and only political form, we are compelled to place in a second rank all those constitutional states which have ill employed the engine of parliament, to reserve the crown exclusively for those who know how to make good use of it. By this reasoning, I am forced to consider[Pg 253] as truly civilized, in the past as well as the present, none but the single English nation.[95]

[Pg 254]I sincerely respect and admire that great people, whose victories, industry, and universal commerce have left no portion of our globe ignorant of its puissance and the prodigies it has[Pg 256] performed. But still, I do not feel disposed to respect and admire in the world no other: it would seem to me too humiliating and cruel to humanity to confess that, since the beginning of time, it has never succeeded in producing a civilization anywhere but upon a small island of the Western Ocean, has never discovered the laws and forms which produce this state until the reign[Pg 257] of William and Mary. Such a conception of civilization might seem to many rather a little too narrow and restrictive. But there is another objection. If we attach the idea of civilization to a political form, reason, observation, and science will soon lose their vote in the decision of the question, which must thenceforth be left to the passions and prejudices of parties. There will be some whose preferences will lead them stoutly to deny that the institutions of the British Isles are the "perfection of human reason:" their enthusiasm, perchance, will be expended in praising the order established in St. Petersburg or in Vienna. Many, again, and perhaps the greater number of all living between the Rhine and the Pyrenees, will sustain to the last that, notwithstanding a few blemishes, the most polished, the most civilized country of the world is la belle France. The moment that the decision of the degree of intellectual culture becomes a matter of preference, a question of sentiment, to come to an understanding is impossible. Each one will think him the man most advanced in civilization who shall coincide with his views about the respective duties of the governing and the governed; while those who are unfortunate enough to differ, will be set down as men behind the age, little better than barbarians, mere "old[Pg 258] fogies," whose visual organs are too weak for the dazzling lights of the epoch; or else as daring, incendiary innovators, who wish to destroy all established order, and sap the very foundation of civilization. I think few will differ from me in considering Mr. Guizot's definition as defective, and the source from which he derives civilization as not the real one.

Let us now examine Baron W. Von Humboldt's definition. "Civilization," says that celebrated statesman, "is the humanization of nations in their outward institutions, in their manners, and in the inward feelings upon which these depend."[96]

Here we meet with a defect of the very opposite kind to that which I took the liberty to point out in Mr. Guizot's definition. The formula is too vague, the boundary lines too indistinct. If civilization consists in a softening of manners, more than one untutored tribe, some extremely low in the scale of races, might take precedence over several European nations whose character contains more acerbity. There are in the South Sea[Pg 259] Islands, and elsewhere, very inoffensive populations, of exceedingly gentle manners, and kind, accommodating dispositions; yet, though we may praise them, no one would think of placing them, in the scale of civilization, above the rough Norwegians, or even above the ferocious Malays, who, dressed in brilliant garments of their own fabric, and upon skilfully constructed vessels of their own making, traverse the Indian seas, at the same time the terror and scourge of maritime commerce, and its most successful votaries. This observation could not escape so great a mind as William Von Humboldt's; and he therefore imagines, besides civilization, a higher degree of development, which he calls culture, and by which he declares that nations gain, above their gentle manners, "science and the arts."[97] When the world shall have arrived at this higher state, it will be peopled by affectionate and sympathetic beings, very erudite, poetic, and artistic, but, by reason of this same reunion of qualities, ignoring the grosser wants of existence: strangers to the necessity of war, as well as those of rude mechanical toil.

When we reflect upon the limited leisure that[Pg 260] the mass of even those can enjoy whose lot is cast in the happiest epoch, to abandon themselves to purely intellectual occupations—when we consider how incessant and arduous must ever be the strife of man with nature and the elements to insure the mere means of subsistence, it will soon be perceived that the philosopher of Berlin aimed less at depicting realities than at drawing from the domain of abstraction certain entities which appeared to him beautiful and sublime, and which are so, indeed, and at causing them to act and move in a sphere as ideal as themselves. If any doubts should still remain in this respect, they are soon dispelled when we arrive at the culminating point of the system, consisting of a third and last degree superior to the two others. This greatest point of perfection is that upon which stands the finished man (der Gebildete); that is to say, the man who, in his nature, possesses "something higher and more inward or essential; a clear and comprehensive faculty of seeing all things in their true light; a recognition and appreciation of the ultimate goal of man's moral and intellectual aspirations, which diffuses itself harmoniously over all his feelings and his character."[98]

[Pg 261]We here have a regular gradation from man in a civilized or "humanized" state, to the man of cultivation—the philosopher, the poet, the artist; and thence still higher to the finished, the perfect man, who has attained the greatest elevation possible to our species; a man who, if I seize rightly Mr. Humboldt's idea, had his living counterpart in Gœthe, as that towering mind is described to us in its olympic serenity. This theory rests upon no other basis than Mr. Von Humboldt's perception of the immense difference between the civilization[Pg 262] of a nation and the comparative height of perfection attained by great, isolated individualities. This difference is so great that civilizations different from ours, and perhaps inferior to it, have produced men in some respects superior to those we admire most.

Upon this point I fully coincide with the great philosopher whose theory I am unfolding. It is perfectly correct, that our state of development—what we call the European civilization—produces neither the profoundest nor the sublimest thinkers, nor the greatest poets, nor the most skilful artists. Yet I venture to differ from the illustrious philologist in believing that to give a practical meaning to the word civilization, it is necessary to divest one's self, if but for a moment, from the prejudices or prepossessions resulting from the examination of mere details in any particular civilization. We must take the aggregate result of the whole, and not make the requisites too few, as in the case of the man of the first degree, whom I persist in not acknowledging as civilized merely because his manners are gentle; nor too many, as in the case of the sage of the third, for then the development of human faculties would be limited to a few individuals, and would produce results purely isolated and typical.

[Pg 263]The Baron Von Humboldt's system, however, does honor to that exquisite and generous sensibility, that grand sublimity which was the dominant characteristic of this great mind; and in its purely abstract nature may be compared to the fragile worlds of Brahmin philosophy. Born from the brain of a slumbering god, they rise in the air like the irised bubbles that the child blows from the suds, bursting and succeeding one another as the dreams that amuse the celestial sleeper.

But the character of my researches permits me not to indulge in mere abstractions, however brilliant and attractive; I must arrive at results tangible to practical sense and common experience. I do not wish, like Mr. Guizot, to investigate the conditions more or less favorable to the prosperity of societies, nor, like Mr. William Von Humboldt, to speculate upon the isolated elevation of individual intelligences; my purpose is to encompass, if possible, the aggregate power, moral as well as material, which is developed in great masses of men. It is not without trepidation that I engage in a path in which two of the most admired men of our century have lost themselves; and to avoid the errors into which they have fallen, I shall descend to first principles, and define civilization by first investigating from what causes it results.[Pg 264] If the reader, then, will follow me patiently and attentively through the mazes into which I am forced to enter, I shall endeavor to throw as much light as I am capable of, upon this inherently obscure and abstruse subject.

There is no human being so degraded, so brutish, in whom a twofold instinct, if I may be permitted so to call it, is not manifest; the instinct which incites to the gratification of material wants, and that which leads to higher aspirations. The degree of intensity of either of these two is the first and principal measure of the differences among races. In none, not even in the lowest tribes, are the two instincts precisely balanced. Among some, the physical wants or animal propensities preponderate; in others, these are subordinate to the speculative tendencies—the cravings for the abstract, the supernatural. Thus, the lowest of the yellow races seem to me to be dominated rather by the first, the physical instinct, without, however, being absolutely deprived of all capacity for abstractions. On the contrary, among the majority of the black races of corresponding rank, the habits are less active than pensive; imagination there attaches greater value to the things of the invisible than to those of the visible world. I do not thence deduce any[Pg 265] conclusion of superior capacity for civilization on the part of those latter races over the former, for history demonstrates that both are equally insusceptible to attain it. Centuries, thousands of years, have passed by without either of them doing aught to ameliorate their condition, because they have never been able to associate a sufficient number of ideas with the same number of facts, to begin the march of progress. I wish merely to draw attention to the fact, that even among the lowest races we find this double current differently constituted. I shall now follow the ascending scale.

Above the Samoyedes on the one hand, and the Fidas and Pelagian negroes on the other, we must place those tribes who are not content with a mere hut of branches, and a social condition based upon force only, but who are capable of comprehending and aspiring to a better condition. These are one degree above the most barbarous.

If they belong to the first category of races—those who act more than they think, among whom the material tendency predominates over that for the abstract—their development will display itself in a greater perfection of their instruments of labor, and of war, in a greater care and skill in their ornaments, etc. In government, the warriors[Pg 266] will take precedence over the priests; in their intercourse with others, they will show a certain aptitude and readiness for trafficking. Their wars, though still characterized by cruelty, will originate rather in a love of gain, than in the mere gratification of vindictive passions. In one word, material well-being, physical enjoyments, will be the main pursuit of each individual. I find this picture realized among several of the Mongol races, and also, to some extent, among the Quichuas and Azmaras of Peru.

On the other hand, if they belong to the second category—to those who have a predominating tendency for the speculative, the abstract—less care will be bestowed upon the material interests; the influence of the priests will preponderate in the government; in fact, we perceive a complete antithesis to the condition above described. The Dahomees, of Western Africa, and the Caffres of the south, are examples of this state.

Leaving those races whose progressive tendency is not sufficiently vigorous to enable them to extend their influence over great multitudes,[99] we come to those of a higher order, in whom this tendency is so vigorous that they are capable of[Pg 267] incorporating, and bringing within their sphere of action, all those they come in contact with. They soon ingraft their own social and political system upon immense multitudes, and impose upon vast countries the dominion of that combination of facts and ideas—more or less co-ordinate—which we call a civilization. Among these races, again, we find the same difference, the same division, that I already pointed out in those of inferior merit—in some the speculative, in others the more materially active tendency predominates. It is, indeed, among these races only, that this difference has important consequences, and is clearly perceptible. When a tribe, by incorporating with it great multitudes, has become a people, has founded a vast dominion, we find that these two currents or tendencies have augmented in strength, according to the character of the populations which enter into the combination, and there become blended. Whatever tendency prevails among these populations, they will proportionably modify the character of the whole. It will be remarked, moreover, that at different periods of the life of a people, and in strict accordance with the mixture of blood and the fusion of different elements, the oscillation between the two tendencies becomes more violent, and it may happen that[Pg 268] their relative proportion changes altogether; that one, at first subordinate, in time becomes predominant. The results of this mobility are important, as they influence, in a sensible manner, the character of a civilization, and its stability.[100]

For the sake of simplicity, I shall distinguish the two categories of races by designations expressive of the tendency which predominates in them, and shall call them accordingly, either speculative or utilitarian.[101] As I have before observed, these terms imply neither praise nor blame. I use them merely for convenience, to designate the[Pg 269] leading characteristic, without thereby expressing a total absence of the other. Thus, the most utilitarian of the speculative races would closely approximate to the most speculative of the utilitarian. At the head of the utilitarian category, as its type, I place the Chinese; at the head, and as the type of the other, the Hindoos. Next to the Chinese I would put the majority of the populations of ancient Italy, the first Romans of the time of the republic, and the Germanic tribes. On the opposite side, among the speculative races, I would range next to the Hindoos, the Egyptians, and the nations of the Assyrian empire.

I have said already that the oscillations of the two principles or tendencies sometimes result in the preponderance of one, which before was subordinate, and thus the character of the civilization is changed. Minor modifications, the history of almost every people presents. Thus, even the materialistic utilitarian tendency of the Chinese has been somewhat modified by their amalgamation with tribes of another blood, and a different tendency. In the south, the Yunnan particularly, where this population prevailed, the inhabitants are much less exclusively utilitarian than in the north, where the Chinese element is more pure. If this admixture of blood operated so slight a change in the[Pg 270] genius of that immense nation, that its effects have ceased, or make themselves perceptible only in an exceedingly slow manner, it is because its quantity was so extremely small, compared to the utilitarian population by which it was absorbed.

Into the actual populations of Europe, the Germanic tribes infused a strong utilitarian tendency, and in the north, this has been continually recruited by new accessions of the same ethnical element; but in the south (with some exceptions, Piedmont, and the North of Spain, for example), the Germanic element forms not so great a portion of the whole mass, and the utilitarian tendency has there been overweighed by the opposite genius of the native populations.

Among the speculative races we have signalized the Hindoos. They are endowed in a high degree with the tendency for the supernatural, the abstract. Their character is more meditative than active and practical. As their ancient conquests incorporated with them races of a similar disposition, the utilitarian element has never prevailed sufficiently to produce decided results. While, therefore, their civilization has arrived at a high degree of perfection in other respects, it has lagged far behind in all that promotes material comfort, in all that is strictly useful and practical.

[Pg 271]Rome, at first strictly utilitarian, changed its character gradually as the fusion with Greek, Asiatic, and African elements proceeded, and when once the ancient utilitarian population was absorbed in this ethnical inundation, the practical character of Rome was lost.

From the consideration of these and similar facts, I arrive at the conclusion, that all intellectual or moral activity results from the combined action and mutual reaction of these two tendencies, and that the social system can arrive at that development which entitles it to the name of civilization, only in races which possess, in a high degree, either of the two, without being too much deficient in the other.

I now proceed to the examination of other points also deserving of notice.

[Pg 272]



Definition of the term—Specific differences of civilizations—Hindoo, Chinese, European, Greek, and Roman civilizations—Universality of Chinese civilization—Superficiality of ours—Picture of the social condition of France.

When a tribe, impelled by more vigorous instincts than its neighbors, succeeds in collecting the hitherto scattered and isolated fragments into a compact whole, the first impetus of progress is thus given, the corner-stone of a civilization laid. But, to produce great and lasting results, a mere political preponderance is not sufficient. The dominant race must know how to lay hold of the feelings of the masses it has aggregated, to assimilate their individual interests, and to concentrate their energies to the same purposes. When the different elements composing the nation are thus blended into a more or less homogeneous mass, certain principles and modes of thinking become[Pg 273] general, and form the standard around which all rally. These principles and modes of thinking, however, cannot be arbitrarily imposed, and must be resulting from, and in the main consonant with, pre-existing sentiments and desires.[102] They will be characterized by a utilitarian or a speculative tendency, according to the degree in which either instinct predominates in the constituent elements of the nation.

This harmony of views and interests is the first essential to civilization; the second is stability, and is a natural consequence of the first. The general principles upon which the political and social system rests, being based upon instincts common to all, are by all regarded with the most affectionate veneration, and firmly believed to be perpetual. The purer a race remains, the more conservative will it be in its institutions, for its instincts never change. But the admixture of foreign blood produces proportionate modifications in the national ideas. The new-comers introduce instincts and notions which were not calculated upon in the social edifice. Alterations therefore become necessary, and these are often wholesome, especially in the youthful period[Pg 274] of the society, when the new ethnical elements have not as yet acquired an undue preponderance. But, as the empire increases, and comprises elements more and more heterogeneous, the changes become more radical, and are not always for the better. Finally, as the initiatory and conservative element disappears, the different parts of the nation are no longer united by common instincts and interests; the original institutions are not adapted to their wants; sudden and total transformations become common, and a vain phantom of stability is pursued through endless experiments. But, while thus vacillating betwixt conflicting interests, and changing its purpose every hour, the nation imagines itself advancing to some imaginary goal of perfection. Firmly convinced of its own perpetuity, it holds fast to the doctrine which its daily acts disprove, that one of the principal features of a civilization is God-like immutability. And though each day brings forth new discontents and new changes equally futile, the apprehensions of the day are quieted with the expectations of to-morrow.

I have said that the conditions necessary for the development of a civilization are—the aggregation of large masses, and stable institutions resulting from common views and interests. The sociable[Pg 275] inclinations of man, and the less noble attributes of his nature, perform the rest. While the former bring him in intimate and varied connections with his fellow-men, the latter give rise to continual contests and emulation. In a large community, a strong fist is no longer sufficient to insure protection and give distinction, and the resources of the mind are applied and developed. Intellect continually seeks and finds new fields for exertion, either in the regions of the abstract, or in the material world. By its productions in either, we recognize an advanced state of society. The most common source of error in judging foreign nations, is that we are apt to look merely at the exterior demonstrations of their civilization, and because, in this respect, their civilization does not resemble ours, we hastily conclude that they are barbarous, or, at least, greatly inferior to us. A conclusion, drawn from such premises, must needs be very superficial, and therefore ought to be received with caution.

I believe myself now prepared to express my idea of a civilization, by defining it as

A state of comparative stability, in which a large collection of individuals strive, by peaceful means, to satisfy their wants, and refine their intelligence and manners.

[Pg 276]This definition includes, without exception, all the nations which I have mentioned as being civilized. But, as these nations have few points of resemblance, the question suggests itself: Do not, then, all civilizations tend to the same results? I think not; for, as the nations called to the noble task of accomplishing a civilization, are endowed with the utilitarian and speculative tendencies in various degrees and proportions, their paths must necessarily lie in very divergent directions.

What are the material wants of the Hindoo? Rice and butter for his nourishment, and a piece of cotton cloth for his garment. Nor can this abstemiousness be accounted for by climate, for the native of Thibet, under a much more rigorous sky, displays the same quality. In these peoples, the imaginative faculty greatly predominates, their intellectual efforts are directed to abstractions, and the fruits of their civilization are therefore seldom of a practical or utilitarian character. Magnificent temples are hewn out of mountains of solid rock at an expense of labor and time that terrifies the imagination; gigantic constructions are erected;—all this in honor of the gods, while nothing is done for man's benefit, unless it be tombs. By the side of the miracles wrought by the sculptor's chisel, we admire the finished masterpieces of a[Pg 277] literature full of vigor, and as ingenious and subtle in theology and metaphysics, as beautiful in its variety: in speculative efforts, human thought descends without trepidation to immeasurable depths; its lyric poetry challenges the admiration of all mankind.

But if we leave the domain of idealistic reveries, and seek for inventions of practical utility, and for the sciences that are their theoretical basis, we find a deplorable deficiency. From a dazzling height, we suddenly find ourselves descended to a profound and darksome abyss. Useful inventions are scarce, of a petty character, and, being neglected, remain barren of results. While the Chinese observed and invented a great deal, the Hindoos invented but little, and of that little took no care; the Greeks, also, have left us much information, but little worthy of their genius; and the Romans, once arrived at the culminating point of their history, could no longer make any real progress, for the Asiatic admixture in which they were absorbed with surprising rapidity, produced a population incapable of the patient and toilsome investigation of stern realities. Their administrative genius, however, their legislation, and the useful monuments with which they provided the soil of their territories, attest sufficiently the practical[Pg 278] character which, at one time, so eminently characterized that people; and prove that if the South of Europe had not been so rapidly submerged with colonists from Asia and the North of Africa, positive science would have been the gainer, and less would have been left to be accomplished by the Germanic races, which afterward gave it a renewed impulse.

The Germanic conquerors of the fifth century were characterized by instincts of a similar kind to those of the Chinese, but of a higher order. While they possessed the utilitarian tendency as strongly, if not stronger, they had, at the same time, a much greater endowment of the speculative. Their disposition presented a happy blending of these two mainsprings of activity. Where-ever the Teutonic blood predominates, the utilitarian tendency, ennobled and refined by the speculative, is unmistakable. In England, North America, and Holland, this tendency governs and preponderates over all the other national instincts. It is so, in a lesser degree, in Belgium, and even in the North of France, where everything susceptible of practical application is understood with marvellous facility. But as we advance further south, this predisposition is less apparent, and, finally, disappears altogether. We cannot attribute [Pg 279]this to the action of the sun, for the Piedmontese live in a much warmer climate than the Provençals and the inhabitants of the Languedoc; it is the effect of blood.

The series of speculative races, or those rendered so by admixture, occupies the greater portion of the globe, and this observation is particularly applicable to Europe. With the exception of the Teutonic family, and a portion of the Sclavonic, all other groups of our part of the world are but slightly endowed with the faculty for the useful and practical; or, having already acted their part in the world's history, will not be able to recommence it. All these races, from the Gaul to the Celtiberian, and thence to the variegated compounds of the Italian populations, present a descending scale from a utilitarian point of view. Not that they are devoid of all the aptitudes of that tendency, but they are wanting in some of the most essential.

The union of the Germanic tribes with the races of the ancient world, this engrafting of a vigorous utilitarian principle upon the ideas of that variegated compound, produced our civilization; the richness, diversity, and fecundity of our state of culture is the natural result of that combination of so many different elements, which[Pg 280] each contributed their part, and which the practical vigor of our Germanic ancestors, succeeded in blending into a more or less harmonious whole.

Wherever our state of civilization extends, it is characterized by two traits; the first, that the population contains a greater or less admixture of Teutonic blood; the other, that it is Christian. This last feature, however, as I said before, though the most obvious and striking, is by no means essential, because many nations are Christian, and many more may become so, without participating in our civilization. But the first feature is positive, decisive. Wherever the Germanic element has not penetrated, our civilization cannot flourish.[103]

[Pg 281]This leads me to the investigation of a serious and important question: "Can it be asserted that all the European nations are really and thoroughly civilized?" Do the ideas and facts which rise upon the surface of our civilization, strike root in the basis of our social and political structure, and derive their vitality from that source? Are the results of these ideas and facts such as are conformable to the instincts, the tendencies, of the masses? Or, in other words, have the lowest strata of our populations the same direction of thought and action as the highest—that direction which we[Pg 282] may call the spirit or genius of our progressive movement?

To arrive at a true and unbiassed solution of this question, let us examine other civilizations, different from ours, and then institute a comparison.

The similarity of views and ideas, the unity of purpose, which characterized the whole body of citizens in the Grecian states, during the brilliant period of their history, has been justly admired. Upon every essential point, the opinions of every individual, though often conflicting, were, nevertheless, derived from the same source, emanated from the same general views and sentiments; individuals might differ in politics, one wishing a more oligarchical, another a more democratic government; or they might differ in religion, one worshipping, by preference, the Eleusinian Ceres, another the Minerva of the Parthenon; or in matters of taste, one might prefer Æschylus to Sophocles, Alceus to Pindar. At the bottom, the disputants all participated in the same views and ideas, ideas which might well be called national. The question was one of degree, not of kind.[104]

[Pg 283]Rome, previous to the Punic wars, presented the same spectacle; the civilization of the country was uniform, and embraced all, from the master to the slave.[105] All might not participate in it to the same extent, but all participated in it and in no other.

[Pg 284]But in Rome, after the Punic wars, and in Greece, soon after Pericles, and especially after Philip of Macedon, this character of homogeneity began to disappear. The greater mixture of nations produced a corresponding mixture of civilizations, and the compound thus formed exceeded in variety, elegance, refinement, and learning, the ancient mode of culture. But it had this capital inconvenience, both in Hellas and in Italy, that it belonged exclusively to the higher classes. Its nature, its merits, its tendencies, were ignored by the sub-strata of the population. Let us take the civilization of Rome after the Asiatic wars. It was a grand, magnificent monument of human genius. It had a cosmopolitan character: the rhetoricians of Greece contributed to it the transcendental spirit, the jurists and publicists of Syria and Alexandria gave it a code of atheistic, levelling, and monarchical laws—each part of the empire furnished to the common store some portion of its ideas, its sciences, and its character. But whom did this civilization embrace? The men engaged in the public administration or in great monetary enterprises, the people of wealth and of leisure. It was merely submitted to, not adopted by the masses. The populations of Europe understood nothing of those Asiatic and African contributions to the civilization; the inhabitants [Pg 285]of Egypt, Numidia, or Asia, were equally uninterested in what came from Gaul and Spain, countries with which they had nothing in common. But a small minority of the Roman people stood on the pinnacle, and being in possession of the secret, valued it. The rest, those not included in the aristocracy of wealth and position, preserved the civilization peculiar to the land of their birth, or, perhaps, had none at all. Here, then, we have an example of a great and highly perfected civilization, dominating over untold millions, but founding its reign not in their desires or convictions, but in their exhaustion, their weakness, their listlessness.

A very different spectacle is presented in China. The boundless extent of that empire includes, indeed, several races markedly distinct, but I shall speak at present only of the national race, the Chinese proper. One spirit animates the whole of this immense multitude, which is counted by hundreds of millions. Whatever we think of their civilization, whether we admire or censure the principles upon which it is based, the results which it has produced, and the direction which it takes; we cannot deny that it pervades all ranks, that every individual takes in it a definite and intelligent part. And this is not because the country is[Pg 286] free, in our sense of the word: there is no democratic principle which secures, by law, to every one the position which his efforts may attain, and thus spurs him on to exertions. No; I discard all Utopian pictures. The peasant and the man of the middle classes, in the Celestial Empire, are no better assured of rising by their own merit only, than they are elsewhere. It is true that, in theory, public honors are solely the reward of merit, and every one is permitted to offer himself as a candidate;[106] but it is well known that, in reality, the families of great functionaries monopolize all lucrative offices, and that the scholastic diplomas often cost more money than efforts of study. But[Pg 287] disappointed or hopeless ambition never leads the possessor to imagine a different system; the aim of the reformer is to remedy the abuses of the established organization, not to substitute another. The masses may groan under ills and abuses, but the fault is charged, not to the social and political system, which to them is an object of unqualified admiration, but to the persons to whose care the performance of its duties is committed. The head of the government, or his functionaries, may become unpopular, but the form itself, the government, never. A very remarkable feature of the Chinese is that among them primary instruction is so universal; it reaches classes whom we hardly imagine to have any need of it. The cheapness of books, the immense number and low price of the schools, enable even the poorest to acquire the elements of knowledge, reading and writing.[107] The[Pg 288] laws, their spirit and tendency, are well known and understood by all classes, and the government prides itself upon facilitating the study of this useful science.[108] The instinct of the masses is decidedly averse to all political convulsions. Mr. Davis, who[Pg 289] was commissioner of H. B. Majesty in China, and who studied its affairs with the assiduity of a man who is interested in understanding them well, says that the character of the people cannot be better expressed than by calling them "a nation of steady conservatives."[109]

Here, then, we have a most striking contrast to the civilization of Rome in her latter days, when governmental changes occurred in fearfully rapid succession, until the arrival of the nations of the north. In every portion of that vast empire, there were whole populations that had no interest in the preservation of established order, and were ever ready to second the maddest schemes, to embark in any enterprise that seemed to promise advantage, or that was represented in seductive colors by some ambitious demagogue. During that long period of several centuries, no scheme was left untried: property, religion, the sanctity of family relations, were all called in question, and innovators in every portion of the empire, found multitudes ever disposed to carry their theories into practice by force. Nothing in the Greco-Roman world rested on a solid basis, not even the imperial unity, so indispensable, it would seem, to the mere[Pg 290] self-preservation of such a state of society. It was not only the armies, with their swarm of improvisto Cæsars, that undertook the task of shaking this palladium of national safety; the emperors themselves, beginning with Diocletian, had so little faith in monarchy, that they willingly made the experiment of dualism in the government, and finally found four at a time not too many for governing the empire.[110] I repeat it, not one institution, not one principle, was stable in that wretched state of society, which continued to preserve some outward form, merely from the physical impossibility of assuming any others, until the men of the north came to assist in its demolition.

Between these two great societies, then, the Roman empire, and that of China, we perceive the[Pg 291] most complete contrast. By the side of the civilization of Eastern Asia, I may mention that of India, Thibet, and other portions of Central Asia, which is equally universal, and diffused among all ranks and classes. As in China there is a certain level of information to which all attain, so in Hindostan, every one is animated by the same spirit; each individual knows precisely what his caste requires him to learn, to think, to believe. Among the Buddhists of Thibet, and the table-lands of Asia, nothing is rarer than to find a peasant who cannot read, and there everybody has the same convictions upon important subjects.

Do we find this homogeneity in European nations? It is scarce worth while to put the question. Not even the Greco-Roman empire presents incongruities so strange, or contrasts so striking, as are to be found among us; not only among the various nationalities of Europe, but in the bosom of the same sovereignty. I shall not speak of Russia, and the states that form the Austrian empire; the demonstration of my position would there be too facile. Let us turn to Germany; to Italy, Southern Italy in particular; to Spain, which, though in a less degree, presents a similar picture; or to France.

[Pg 292]I select France. The difference of manners, in various parts of this country, has struck even the most superficial observer, and it has long since been observed that Paris is separated from the rest of France by a line of demarcation so decided and accurately defined, that at the very gates of the capital, a nation is found, utterly different from that within the walls. Nothing can be more true: those who attach to our political unity the idea of similarity of thoughts, of character—in fine, of nationality, are laboring under a great delusion. There is not one principle that governs society and is connected with our civilization, which is understood in the same manner in all our departments. I do not speak here merely of the peculiarities that characterize the native of Normandy, of Brittany, Angevin, Limousin, Gascony, Provence. Every one knows how little alike these various populations are,[111] and how they differ in their tendencies and modes of thinking. I[Pg 293] wish to draw attention to the fact, that while in China, Thibet, India, the most essential ideas upon which the civilization is based, are common to all classes, participated in by all, it is by no means so among us. The very rudiments of our knowledge, the most elementary and most generally accessible portion of it, remain an impenetrable mystery to our rural populations, among whom but few individuals are found acquainted with reading and writing. This is not for want of opportunities—it is because no value is attached to these acquisitions, because their utility is not perceived. I speak from my own observation, and that of persons who had ample facilities, and brought extensive information and great judgment to the task of investigation. Government has made the most praiseworthy efforts to remedy the evil, to raise the peasantry from the sink of ignorance in which they vegetate. But the wisest laws, and the most carefully calculated institutions have proved abortive. The smallest village affords ample opportunities for common education; even the adult, when conscription forces him into the army, finds in the regimental schools every facility for acquiring the most necessary branches of knowledge. Compulsion is resorted to—every one who has lived in the provinces knows with what[Pg 294] success. Parents send their children to school with undisguised repugnance, for they regret the time thus spent as wasted, and, therefore, eagerly seize the most trifling pretext for withdrawing them, and never suffer them to exceed the legal term of attendance. So soon as the young man leaves school, or the soldier has served his time, they hasten to forget what they were compelled to learn, and what they are heartily ashamed of. They return forever after to the local patois[112] of their birthplace, and pretend to have forgotten the French language, which, indeed, is but too often true. It is a painful conclusion, but one which many and careful observations have forced upon me, that all the generous private and public endeavors to instruct our rural population, are absolutely futile, and can tend no further than to enforce an outward compliance. They care not for the knowledge we wish to give them—they will not have it, and this not from mere negligence or apathy, but from a feeling of positive hostility to[Pg 295] our civilization. This is a startling assertion, but I have not yet adduced all the proofs in support of it.

In those parts of the country where the laboring classes are employed in manufactures principally, and in the great cities, the workmen are easily induced to learn to read and write. The circumstances with which they are surrounded, leave them no doubt as to the practical advantages accruing to them from these acquisitions. But so soon as these men have sufficiently mastered the first elements of knowledge, to what use do they, for the most part, apply them? To imbibe or give vent to ideas and sentiments the most subversive of all social order. The instinctive, but passive hostility to our civilization, is superseded by a bitter and active enmity, often productive of the most fearful calamities. It is among these classes that the projectors of the wildest, most incendiary schemes readily recruit their partisans; that the advocates of socialism, community of goods and wives, all, in fact, who, under the pretext of removing the ills and abuses that afflict the social system, propose to tear it down, find ready listeners and zealous believers.

There are, however, portions of the country to which this picture does not apply; and these exceptions [Pg 296]furnish me with another proof in favor of my proposition. Among the agricultural and manufacturing populations of the north and northeast, information is general; it is readily received, and, once received, retained and productive of good fruits. These people are intelligent, well-informed, and orderly, like their neighbors in Belgium and the whole of the Netherlands. And these, also, are the populations most closely akin to the Teutonic race, the race which, as I said in another place, gave the initiative to our civilization.

The aversion to our civilization, of which I spoke, is not the only singular feature in the character of our rural populations. If we penetrate into the privacy of their thoughts and beliefs, we make discoveries equally striking and startling. The bishops and parish clergy have to this day, as they had one, five, or fifteen centuries ago, to battle with mysterious superstitions, or hereditary tendencies, some of which are the more formidable as they are seldom openly avowed, and can, therefore, be neither attacked nor conquered. There is no enlightened priest, that has the care of his flock at heart, but knows from experience with what deep cunning the peasant, however devout, knows how to conceal in his own bosom some fondly cherished traditional idea or belief, which reveals itself only at[Pg 297] long intervals, and without his knowledge. If he is spoken to about it, he denies or evades the discussion, but remains unshaken in his convictions. He has unbounded confidence in his pastor, unbounded except upon this one subject, that might not inappropriately be called his secret religion. Hence that taciturnity and reserve which, in all our provinces, is the most marked characteristic of the peasant, and which he never for a moment lays aside towards the class he calls bourgeois; that impassable barrier between him and even the most popular and well-intentioned landed proprietor of his district.

It must not be supposed that this results merely from rudeness and ignorance. Were it so, we might console ourselves with the hope that they will gradually improve and assimilate with the more enlightened classes. But these people are precisely like certain savages; at a superficial glance they appear unreflecting and brutish, because their exterior is humble, and their character requires to be studied. But so soon as we penetrate, however little, into their own circle of ideas, the feelings that govern their private life, we discover that in their obstinate isolation from our civilization, they are not actuated by a feeling of degradation. Their affections and antipathies [Pg 298]do not arise from mere accidental circumstances, but, on the contrary, are in accordance with logical reasoning based upon well-defined and clearly conceived ideas.[113] In speaking of their[Pg 299] religious notions awhile ago, I should have remarked what an immense distance there is between our doctrines of morals and those of the peasantry, how widely different are their ideas from those[Pg 300] which we attach to the same word.[114] With what pertinacious obstinacy they continue to look upon every one not peasant like themselves, as the people of remote antiquity looked upon a foreigner. It is true they do not kill him, thanks to the singular and mysterious terror which the laws, in the making of which they have no part, inspire them; but they hate him cordially, distrust him, and if they can do so without too great a risk, fleece him without scruple and with immense satisfaction. Yet they are not wicked or ill-disposed. Among themselves they are kind-hearted, charitable, and obliging. But then they regard themselves as a distinct race—a race, they tell you—that is weak, oppressed, and that must resort to cunning and stratagem to gain their due, but which, nevertheless, preserves its pride and contempt for all others. In many of our provinces, the laborer believes himself of much better stock than his former lord[Pg 301] or present employer. The family pride of many of our peasants is, to say the least, as great as that of the nobility during the Middle Ages.[115]

It cannot be doubted that the lower strata of the population of France have few features in common with the higher. Our civilization penetrates but little below the surface. The great mass is indifferent—nay, positively hostile to it. The most tragic events have stained the country with torrents of blood, unparalleled convulsions have destroyed every ancient fabric, both social and political. Yet the agricultural populations have never been roused from their apathetic indifference,[116] have never taken any other part but that[Pg 302] to which they were forced. When their own personal and immediate interests were not at stake, they allowed the tempests to blow by without concern, without even passive sympathy on one side or the other. Many persons, frightened and scandalized at this spectacle, have declared the peasantry as irreclaimably perverse. This is at the same time an injustice, and a very false appreciation of their character. The peasants regard us almost as their enemies. They comprehend nothing of our civilization, contribute nothing to it of their own accord, and they think themselves authorized to profit by its disasters, whenever they can. Apart from this antagonism, which sometimes [Pg 303]displays itself in an active, but oftener in a passive manner, it cannot be doubted that they possess moral qualities of a high order, though often singularly applied.

Such is the state of civilization in France. It may be asserted that of a population of thirty-six millions, ten participate in the ideas and mode of thinking upon which our civilization is based, while the remaining twenty-six altogether ignore them, are indifferent and even hostile to them, and this computation would, I think, be even more flattering than the real truth. Nor is France an exception in this respect. The picture I have given applies to the greater part of Europe. Our civilization is suspended, as it were, over an unfathomable gulf, at the bottom of which there slumber elements which may, one day, be roused and prove fearfully, irresistibly destructive. This is an awful, an ominous truth. Upon its ultimate consequences it is painful to reflect. Wisdom may, perhaps, foresee the storm, but can do little to avert it.

But ignored, despised, or hated as it is by the greater number of those over whom it extends its dominion, our civilization is, nevertheless, one of the grandest, most glorious monuments of the human mind. In the inventive, initiatory quality[Pg 304] it does not surpass, or even equal some of its predecessors, but in comprehensiveness it surpasses all. From this comprehensiveness arise its powers of appropriation, of conquest; for, to comprehend is to seize, to possess. It has appropriated all their acquisitions, and has remodelled, reconstructed them. It did not create the exact sciences, but it has given them their exactitude, and has disembarrassed them from the divagations from which, by a singular paradox, they were anciently less free than any other branch of knowledge. Thanks to its discoveries, the material world is better known than at any other epoch. The laws by which nature is governed, it has, in a great measure, succeeded in unveiling, and it has applied them so as to produce results truly wonderful. Gradually, and by the clearness and correctness of its induction, it has reconstructed immense fragments of history, of which the ancients had no knowledge; and as it recedes from the primitive ages of the world, it penetrates further into the mist that obscures them. These are great points of superiority, and which cannot be contested.

But these being admitted, are we authorized to conclude—as is so generally assumed as a matter of course—that the characteristics of our civilization are such as to entitle it to the pre-eminence[Pg 305] among all others? Let us examine what are its peculiar excellencies. Thanks to the prodigious number of various elements that contributed to its formation, it has an eclectic character which none of its predecessors or contemporaries possess. It unites and combines so many various qualities and faculties, that its progress is equally facile in all directions; and it has powers of analysis and generalization so great, that it can embrace and appropriate all things, and, what is more, apply them to practical purposes. In other words, it advances at once in a number of different directions, and makes valuable conquests in all, but it cannot be said that it advances at the same time furthest in all. Variety, perhaps, rather than great intensity, is its characteristic. If we compare its progress in any one direction with what has been done by others in the same, we shall find that in few, indeed, can our civilization claim pre-eminence. I shall select three of the most striking features of every civilization; the art of government, the state of the fine arts, and refinement of manners.

In the art of government, the civilization of Europe has arrived at no positive result. In this respect, it has been unable to assume a definite character. It has laid down no principles. In[Pg 306] every country over which its dominion extends, it is subservient to the exigencies of the various races which it has aggregated, but not united. In England, Holland, Naples, and Russia, political forms are still in a state of comparative stability, because either the whole population, or the dominant portion of it, is composed of the same or homogeneous elements. But everywhere else, especially in France, Central Italy, and Germany, where the ethnical diversity is boundless, governmental theories have never risen to the dignity of recognized truth; political science consisted in an endless series of experiments. Our civilization, therefore, being unable to assume a definite political feature, is devoid, in this respect, of that stability which I comprised as an essential feature in my definition of a civilization. This impotency is not found in many other civilizations which we deem inferior. In the Celestial Empire, in the Buddhistic and Brahminical societies, the political feature of the civilization is clearly enounced, and clearly understood by each individual member. In matters of politics all think alike; under a wise administration, when the secular institutions produce beneficent fruits, all rejoice; when in unskilled or malignant hands, they endanger the public welfare, it is a misfortune to be regretted[Pg 307] as we regret our own faults; but no circumstance can abate the respect and admiration with which they are regarded. It may be desirable to correct abuses that have crept into them, but never to replace them by others. It cannot be denied that these civilizations, therefore, whatever we may think of them in other respects, enjoy a guarantee of durability, of longevity, in which ours is sadly wanting.

With regard to the arts, our civilization is decidedly inferior to others. Whether we aim at the grand or the beautiful, we cannot rival either the imposing grandeur of the civilization of Egypt, of India, or even of the ancient American empires, nor the elegant beauty of that of Greece. Centuries hence—when the span of time allotted to us shall have been consumed, when our civilization, like all that preceded it, shall have sunk in the dim shades of the past, and have become a matter of inquiry only to the historical student—some future traveller may wander among the forests and marshes on the banks of the Thames, the Seine, or the Rhine, but he will find no glorious monuments of our grandeur; no sumptuous or gigantic ruins like those of Philæ, of Nineveh, of Athens, of Salsetta, or of Tenochtitlan. A remote posterity[Pg 308] may venerate our memory as their preceptors in exact sciences. They may admire our ingenuity, our patience, the perfection to which we have carried inductive reasoning—not so our conquests in the regions of the abstract. In poesy we can bequeath them nothing. The boundless admiration which we bestow upon the productions of foreign civilizations both past and present, is a positive proof of our own inferiority in this respect.[117]

[Pg 309]Perhaps the most striking features of a civilization, though not a true standard of its merit, is the degree of refinement which it has attained. By refinement I mean all the luxuries and amenities of life, the regulations of social intercourse, delicacy of habits and tastes. It cannot be denied that in all these we do not surpass, nor even equal, many former as well as contemporaneous civilizations. We cannot rival the magnificence of the latter days of Rome, or of the Byzantine empire; we can but imagine the gorgeous luxury of Eastern civilizations; and in our own past history we find periods when the modes of living were more sumptuous, polished intercourse regulated by a higher and more exacting standard, when taste was more cultivated, and habits more refined. It is true, that we are amply compensated by a greater and more general diffusion of the comforts of life; but in its exterior manifestations, our civilization compares unfavorably with many others, and might almost be called shabby.

Before concluding this digression upon civilization, [Pg 310]which has already extended perhaps too far, it may not be unnecessary to reiterate the principal ideas which I wished to present to the mind of the reader. I have endeavored to show that every civilization derives its peculiar character from the race which gave the initiatory impulse. The alteration of this initiatory principle produces corresponding modifications, and even total changes, in the character of the civilization. Thus our civilization owes its origin to the Teutonic race, whose leading characteristic was an elevated utilitarianism. But as these races ingrafted their mode of culture upon stocks essentially different, the character of the civilization has been variously modified according to the elements which it combined and amalgamated. The civilization of a nation, therefore, exhibits the kind and degree of their capabilities. It is the mirror in which they reflect their individuality.

I shall now return to the natural order of my deductions, the series of which is yet far from being complete. I commenced by enouncing the truth that the existence and annihilation of human societies depended upon immutable and uniform laws. I have proved the insufficiency of adventitious circumstances to produce these phenomena, and have traced their causes to the various capabilities [Pg 311]of different human groups; in other words, to the moral and intellectual diversity of races. Logic, then, demands that I should determine the meaning and bearing of the word race, and this will be the object of the next chapter.

[Pg 312]



Systems of Camper, Blumenbach, Morton, Carus—Investigations of Owen, Vrolik, Weber—Prolificness of hybrids, the great scientific stronghold of the advocates of unity of species.

It will be necessary to determine first the physiological bearing of the word race.

In the opinion of many scientific observers, who judge from the first impression, and take extremes[118] as the basis of their reasoning, the groups of the human family are distinguished by differences so radical and essential, that it is impossible to believe them all derived from the same stock. They, therefore, suppose several other genealogies besides that of Adam and Eve. According to this doctrine, instead of but one species in the genus homo, there would be three, four, or even more, entirely[Pg 313] distinct ones, whose commingling would produce what the naturalists call hybrids.

General conviction is easily secured in favor of this theory, by placing before the eyes of the observer instances of obvious and striking dissimilarities among the various groups. The critic who has before him a human subject with a skin of olive-yellow; black, straight, and thin hair; little, if any beard, eyebrows, and eyelashes; a broad and flattened face, with features not very distinct; the space between the eyes broad and flat; the orbits large and open; the nose flattened; the cheeks high and prominent; the opening of the eyelids narrow, linear, and oblique, the inner angle the lowest; the ears and lips large; the forehead low and slanting, allowing a considerable portion of the face to be seen when viewed from above; the head of somewhat a pyramidal form; the limbs clumsy; the stature humble; the whole conformation betraying a marked tendency to obesity:[119] the critic who examines this specimen of humanity, at once recognizes a well characterized and clearly[Pg 314] defined type, the principal features of which will readily be imprinted in his memory.

Let us suppose him now to examine another individual: a negro, from the western coast of Africa. This specimen is of large size, and vigorous appearance. The color is a jetty black, the hair crisp, generally called woolly; the eyes are prominent, and the orbits large; the nose thick, flat, and confounded with the prominent cheeks; the lips very thick and everted; the jaws projecting, and the chin receding; the skull assuming the form called prognathous. The low forehead and muzzle-like elongation of the jaws, give to the whole being an almost animal appearance, which is heightened by the large and powerful lower-jaw, the ample provision for muscular insertions, the greater size of cavities destined for the reception of the organs of smell and sight, the length of the forearm compared with the arm, the narrow and tapering fingers, etc. "In the negro, the bones of the leg are bent outwards; the tibia and fibula are more convex in front than in the European; the calves of the legs are very high, so as to encroach upon the hams; the feet and hand, but particularly the former, are flat; the os calcis, instead of being arched, is continued nearly[Pg 315] in a straight line with the other bones of the foot, which is remarkably broad."[120]

In contemplating a human being so formed, we are involuntarily reminded of the structure of the ape, and we feel almost inclined to admit that the tribes of Western Africa are descended from a stock which bears but a slight and general resemblance to that of the Mongolian family.

But there are some groups, whose aspect is even less flattering to the self-love of humanity than that of the Congo. It is the peculiar distinction of Oceanica to furnish about the most degraded and repulsive of those wretched beings, who seem to occupy a sort of intermediate station between man and the mere brute. Many of the groups of that latest-discovered world, by the excessive leanness and starveling development of their limbs;[121] the disproportionate size of their heads; the excessive, [Pg 316]hopeless stupidity stamped upon their countenances; present an aspect so hideous and disgusting, that—contrasted with them—even the negro of Western Africa gains in our estimation, and seems to claim a less ignoble descent than they.

We are still more tempted to adopt the conclusions of the advocates for the plurality of species, when, after having examined types taken from every quarter of the globe, we return to the inhabitants of Europe and Southern and Western Asia. How vast a superiority these exhibit in beauty, correctness of proportion, and regularity of features! It is they who enjoy the honor of having furnished the living models for the unrivalled masterpieces of ancient sculpture. But even among these races there has existed, since the remotest times, a gradation of beauty, at the head of which the European may justly be placed, as well for symmetry of limbs as for vigorous muscular development. Nothing, then, would appear more reasonable than to pronounce the different types of mankind as foreign to each other as are animals of different species.

Such, indeed, was the conclusion arrived at by those who first systematized their observations, and attempted to establish a classification; and so far[Pg 317] as this classification depended upon general facts, it seemed incontestable.

Camper took the lead. He was not content with deciding upon merely superficial appearances, but wished to rest his demonstrations upon a mathematical basis, by defining, anatomically, the distinguishing characteristics of different types. If he succeeded in this, he would thereby establish a strict and logical method of treating the subject, preclude all doubt, and give to his opinions that rigorous precision without which there is no true science. I borrow from Mr. Prichard,[122] Camper's own account of his method. "The basis on which the distinction of nations[123] is founded, says he, may be displayed by two straight lines; one of which is to be drawn through the meatus auditorius (the external entrance of the ear) to the base of the nose; and the other touching the prominent centre of the forehead, and falling thence on the most prominent part of the upper jaw-bone, the head being viewed in profile. In the angle produced by these two lines, may be said to consist, not only the distinctions between the skulls of the[Pg 318] several species of animals, but also those which are found to exist between different nations; and it might be concluded that nature has availed herself of this angle to mark out the diversities of the animal kingdom, and at the same time to establish a scale from the inferior tribes up to the most beautiful forms which are found in the human species. Thus it will be found that the heads of birds display the smallest angle, and that it always becomes of greater extent as the animal approaches more nearly to the human figure. Thus, there is one species of the ape tribe, in which the head has a facial angle of forty-two degrees; in another animal of the same family, which is one of those simiæ most approximating in figure to mankind, the facial angle contains exactly fifty degrees. Next to this is the head of an African negro, which, as well as that of the Kalmuc, forms an angle of seventy degrees; while the angle discovered in the heads of Europeans contains eighty degrees. On this difference of ten degrees in the facial angle, the superior beauty of the European depends; while that high character of sublime beauty, which is so striking in some works of ancient statuary, as in the head of Apollo, and in the Medusa of Sisocles, is given by an angle which amounts to one hundred degrees."

[Pg 319]This method was seductive from its exceeding simplicity. Unfortunately, facts were against it, as happens to a good many theories. The curious and interesting discoveries of Prof. Owen have proved beyond dispute, that Camper, as well as other anatomists since him, founded all their observations on orangs of immature age, and that, while the jaws become enlarged, and lengthened with the increase of the maxillary apparatus, and the zygomatic arch is extended, no corresponding increase of the brain takes place. The importance of this difference of age, with respect to the facial angle, is very great in the simiæ. Thus, while Camper, measuring the skull of young apes, has found the facial angle even as much as sixty-four degrees; in reality, it never exceeds, in the most favored specimen, from thirty to thirty-five. Between this figure and the seventy degrees of the negro and Kalmuc, there is too wide a gap to admit of the possibility of Camper's ascending series.

The advocates of phrenological science eagerly espoused the theory of the Dutch savant. They imagined that they could detect a development of instincts corresponding to the rank which the animal occupied in his scale. But even here facts were against them. It was objected that the[Pg 320] elephant—not to mention numerous other instances—whose intelligence is incontestably superior to that of the orang, presents a much more acute facial angle than the latter. Even among the ape tribes, the most intelligent, those most susceptible of education, are by no means the highest in Camper's scale.

Besides these great defects, the theory possessed another very weak point. It did not apply to all the varieties of the human species. The races with pyramidal skulls found no place in it. Yet this is a sufficiently striking characteristic.

Camper's theory being refuted, Blumenbach proposed another system. He called his invention norma verticalis, the vertical method. According to him,[124] the comparison of the breadth of the head, particularly of the vertex, points out the principal and most strongly marked differences in the general configuration of the cranium. He adds that the whole cranium is susceptible of so many varieties in its form, the parts which contribute more or less to determine the national character displaying such different proportions and directions, that it is impossible to subject all these diversities to the measurement of any lines and[Pg 321] angles. In comparing and arranging skulls according to the varieties in their shape, it is preferable to survey them in that method which presents at one view the greatest number of characteristic peculiarities. "The best way of obtaining this end is to place a series of skulls, with the cheek-bones on the same horizontal line, resting on the lower jaws, and then, viewing them from behind, and fixing the eye on the vertex of each, to mark all the varieties in the shape of parts that contribute most to the national character, whether they consist in the direction of the maxillary and malar bones, in the breadth or narrowness of the oval figure presented by the vertex, or in the flattened or vaulted form of the frontal bone."

The results which Blumenbach deduced from this method, were a division of mankind into five grand categories, each of which was again subdivided into a variety of families and types.

This classification, also, is liable to many objections. Like Camper's, it left out several important characteristics. Owen supposed that these objections might be obviated by measuring the basis of the skull instead of the summit. "The relative proportions and extent," says Prichard, "and the peculiarities of formation of the different parts of the cranium, are more fully discovered[Pg 322] by this mode of comparison, than by any other." One of the most important results of this method was the discovery of a line of demarcation between man and the anthropoid apes, so distinct, and clearly drawn, that it becomes thenceforward impossible to find between the two genera the connecting link which Camper supposed to exist. It is, indeed, sufficient to cast one glance at the bases of two skulls, one human, and the other that of an orang, to perceive essential and decisive differences. The antero-posterior diameter of the basis of the skull is, in the orang, very much longer than in man. The zygoma is situated in the middle region of the skull, instead of being included, as in all races of men, and even human idiots, in the anterior half of the basis cranii; and it occupies in the basis just one-third part of the entire length of its diameter. Moreover, the position of the great occipital foramen is very different in the two skulls; and this feature is very important, on account of its relations to the general character of structure, and its influence on the habits of the whole being. This foramen, in the human head, is very near the middle of the basis of the skull, or, rather, it is situated immediately behind the middle transverse diameter; while, in[Pg 323] the adult chimpantsi, it is placed in the middle of the posterior third part of the basis cranii.[125]

Owen certainly deserves great credit for his observations, but I should prefer the most recent, as well as ingenious, of cranioscopic systems, that of the learned American, Dr. Morton, which has been adopted by Mr. Carus.[126]

The substance of this theory is, that individuals are superior in intellect in proportion as their skulls are larger.[127] Taking this as the general rule, Dr. Morton and Mr. Carus proceed thereby to demonstrate the difference of races. The question to be decided is, whether all types of the human race have the same craniological development.

To elucidate this fact, Dr. Morton took a certain number of skulls, belonging to the four principal human families—Whites, Mongolians, Negroes, and North American Indians—and, after carefully closing every aperture, except the foramen magnum, he measured their capacity by filling them with well dried grains of pepper. The results of this measurement are exhibited in the subjoined table.[128]

[Pg 324]

of skulls
Maximum. Minimum.
White races 52 87 109 75
Yellow races { Mongolians 10 83 93 69
Malays 18 81 89 64
Copper-colored races 147 82 100 60
Negroes 29 78 94 65

The results given in the first two columns are certainly very curious, but to those in the last two I attach little value. These two columns, giving the maximum and minimum capacities, differ so greatly from the second, which shows the average, that they could be of weight only if Mr. Morton had experimented upon a much greater number of skulls, and if he had specified the social position of the individuals to whom they belonged. Thus, for his specimens of the white and copper-colored races, he might select skulls that had belonged to individuals rather above the common herd.[129] But[Pg 325] the Blacks and Mongolians were not represented by the skulls of their great chiefs and mandarins. This explains why Dr. Morton could ascribe the figure 100 to an aboriginal of America, while the most intelligent Mongolian that he examined did not exceed 93, and is surpassed even by the negro, who reaches 94. Such results are entirely incomplete, [Pg 326]fortuitous, and of no scientific value. In questions of this kind, too much care cannot be taken to reject conclusions which are based upon the examination of individualities. I am, therefore, unable to accept the second half of Dr. Morton's calculations.

I am also disposed to doubt one of the details in the other half. The figures 100, 83, and 78, respectively indicating the average capacity of the skull of the white, Mongolian, and negro, follow a clear and evident gradation. But the figures 83, 81, and 82, given for the Mongol, the Malay, and the red-skin, are conflicting; the more so, as Mr. Carus does not hesitate to comprise the Mongols and Malays into one and the same race, and thus unites the figures 83 and 81—by which he receives, as the average capacity of the yellow race, 82, or the same as that of the red-skins. Wherefore, then, take the figure 82 as the characteristic of a distinct race, and thus create, quite arbitrarily, a fourth great subdivision of our species.

This anomaly supports the weak side of Mr. Carus's system. The learned Saxon amuses himself by supposing that, just as we see our planet pass through the four stages of day, night, morning twilight, and evening twilight, so there must be four subdivisions of the human species, corresponding [Pg 327]to these variations of light. He perceives in this a symbol,[130] which is always a dangerous temptation to a mind of refined susceptibilities. The white races are to him the nations of day; the black, those of night; the yellow, those of morning; the red, those of evening. It will be perceived how many ingenious analogies may be brought forward in support of this fanciful invention. Thus, the European nations, by the brilliancy of their scientific discoveries and their superior civilization, are in an enlightened state, while the blacks are plunged in the gloomy darkness of ignorance. The Eastern nations live in a sort of twilight, which affords them an incomplete, though powerful, social existence. And as for the Indians of the Western World, who are rapidly disappearing, what more beautiful image of their destiny can be found than the setting sun?

Unfortunately, parables are no arguments, and Mr. Carus has somewhat injured his beautiful theory by unduly abandoning himself to this poetical current. Moreover, what I have said with regard to all other ethnological theories—those of Camper, Blumenbach, and Owen—holds good of this: Mr. Carus does not succeed in systematizing [Pg 328]regularly the whole of the physiological diversities observable in races.[131]

The advocates for unity of species have not failed to take advantage of this inability on the part of their opponents to find a system which will include the many varieties of the human family; and they pretend that, as the observations upon the conformation of the skull cannot be reduced to a system which demonstrates the original separation of types, the different varieties must be regarded as simple divergencies occasioned by adventitious and secondary causes, and which do not prove a difference of origin.

This is crying victory too soon. The difficulty of finding a method does not always prove that none can be found. But the believers in the unity of species did not admit this reserve. To set off their theory, they point to the fact that certain [Pg 329]tribes, belonging to the same race, instead of presenting the same physical type, diverge from it very considerably. They cite the different groups of the mixed Malay-Polynesian family; and, without paying attention to the proportion of the elements which compose the mixtures, they say that if groups of the same origin can assume such totally different craniological and facial forms, the greatest diversities of that kind do not prove the primary plurality of origins.[132] Strange as it may be to European eyes, the distinct types of the negro and the Mongolian are not then demonstrative of difference of species; and the differences among the human family must be ascribed simply to certain local causes operating during a greater or less lapse of time.[133]

[Pg 330]The advocates for the plurality of races, being met with so many objections, good as well as bad, have attempted to enlarge the circle of their arguments, and, ceasing to make the skull their only study, have proceeded to the examination of the entire individual. They have rightly shown that the differences do not exist merely in the aspect of the face and formation of the skull, but, what is no less important, they exist also in the shape of the pelvis, the relative proportion of the limbs, and the nature of the pilous system.

Camper and other naturalists had long since perceived that the pelvis of the negro presented certain peculiarities. Dr. Vrolik extended his researches further, and observed that in the European race the differences between the male and female pelvis are much less distinctly marked, while the pelvis of the negro, of either sex, partakes in a very striking degree of the animal character. [Pg 331]The Amsterdam savant, starting from the idea that the formation of the pelvis necessarily influences that of the fœtus, concludes that there must be difference of origin.[134]

Mr. Weber has attacked this theory with but little success. He was obliged to allow that certain formations of the pelvis occur more frequently in one race than in another; and all he could do, was to show that the rule is not without exceptions, and that some individuals of the American, African, or Mongol race presented the forms common among the European. This is not proving a great deal, especially as it never seems to have occurred to Mr. Weber that these exceptions might be owing to a mixture of blood.

The adversaries of the unity doctrine pretend that the European is better proportioned. They are answered that the excessive leanness of the extremities among those nations which subsist principally on vegetable diet, or whose alimentation is imperfect, is not at all surprising; and this reply is certainly valid. But a much less conclusive reply is made to the argument drawn from the excessive development of bust among the mountaineers of Peru (Quichuas) by those who[Pg 332] are unwilling to recognize it as a specific characteristic; for to pretend, as they do, that it can be explained by the elevation of the Andes, is not advancing a very serious reason.[135] There are in the world many mountain populations who are constituted very differently from the Quichuas.[136]

The color of the skin is another argument for diversity of origin. But the opposite party refuse to accept this as a specific characteristic, for two reasons: first, because, they say, this coloration depends upon climatic circumstances, and is not permanent—which is, to say the least of it, a very bold assertion; secondly, because color is liable to indefinite gradations, by which white insensibly passes into yellow, yellow into black, so that it is impossible to find a line of demarcation sufficiently decided. This fact simply proves the existence of innumerable hybrids; an observation to which the advocates for unity are constantly inattentive.

With regard to the specific differences in the[Pg 333] formation of the pile, Mr. Flourens brings his great authority in favor of the original unity of race.[137]

[Pg 334]I have now passed rapidly in review the more or less inconsistent arguments of the advocates of unity; but their strongest one still remains. It is of great force, and I therefore reserved it for the last—the facility with which the different branches of the human family produce hybrids, and the fecundity of these hybrids themselves.

The observations of naturalists seem to have well established the fact that half-breeds can spring only from nearly related species, and that even in that case they are condemned to sterility. It has been further observed that, even among closely allied species, where fecundation is possible, copulation is repugnant, and obtained, generally, either by force or ruse, which would lead us to suppose that, in a state of nature, the number of hybrids is even more limited than that obtained by the intervention of man. It has, therefore, been concluded that, among the number of specific characteristics, we must place the faculty of producing prolific offspring.

[Pg 335]As nothing authorizes us to believe that the human race are exempt from this law, so nothing has hitherto been able to shake the strength of this objection,[138] which, more than all the others, holds the advocates for plurality in check. It is, indeed, affirmed that, in certain portions of Oceanica, indigenous women, after having brought forth a half-breed European child, can no longer be fecundated by compatriots. If this assertion be admitted as correct, it might serve as a starting point for further investigations; but at present it could not be used to invalidate the admitted principles of science upon the generation of hybrids—against the deductions drawn from these it proves nothing.

[Pg 336]



The language of Holy Writ in favor of common origin—The permanency of their characteristics separates the races of men as effectually as if they were distinct creations—Arabs, Jews—Prichard's argument about the influence of climate examined—Ethnological history of the Turks and Hungarians.

The believers in unity of race affirm that types are different in appearance only; that, in fact, the differences existing among them are owing to local circumstances still in operation, or to an accidental peculiarity of conformation in the progenitor of a branch, and that, though they all, more or less, diverge from the original prototype, they all are capable of again returning to it. According to this, then, the negro, the North American savage, the Tungoose of North Siberia, might, under favorable circumstances, gain all the physical and mental attributes which now distinguish the European. Such a theory is inadmissible.

[Pg 337]We have shown above that the only solid scientific stronghold of the believers in unity of species is the prolificness of human hybrids. This fact, which seems at present so difficult to refute, may not always present the same difficulties, and would not, by itself, suffice to arrest my conclusions, were it not supported by another argument which, I confess, appears to me of greater moment: Scripture is said to declare against difference of origin.

If the text is clear, peremptory, and indisputable, we must submit; the most serious doubts must disappear; human reason, in its imperfection, must bow to faith. Better to let the veil of obscurity cover a point of erudition, than to call in question so high and incontestable an authority. If the Bible declares that mankind are descended from the same common stock, all that goes to prove the contrary is mere semblance, unworthy of consideration. But is the Bible really explicit on this point? The sacred writings have a much higher purpose than the elucidation of ethnological problems; and if it be admitted that they may have been misunderstood in this particular, and that without straining the text, it may be interpreted otherwise, I return to my first impression.

The Bible evidently speaks of Adam as the[Pg 338] progenitor of the white race, because from him are descended generations which—it cannot be doubted—were white. But nothing proves that at the first redaction of the Adamite genealogies the colored races were considered as forming part of the species. There is not a word said about the yellow nations, and I hope to prove, in my second volume, that the pretended black color of the patriarch Ham rests upon no other basis than an arbitrary interpretation. At a later period, doubtless, translators and commentators, who affirmed that Adam was the father of all beings called men, were obliged to bring in as descendants of the sons of Noah all the different varieties with whom they were acquainted. In this manner, Japheth was considered the progenitor of the European nations, while the inhabitants of the greater portion of Asia were looked upon as the descendants of Shem; and those of Africa, of Ham. This arrangement answers admirably for one portion of the globe. But what becomes of the population of the rest of the world, who are not included in this classification?

I will not, at present, particularly insist upon this idea. I dislike the mere appearance of impugning even simple interpretations if they have the sanction of the church, and wish merely to[Pg 339] intimate that their authority might, perhaps, be questioned without transgressing the limits established by the church.[139] If this is not the case, and we must accept, in the main, the opinions of the believers in unity, I still do not despair that the facts may be explained in a manner different from theirs, and that the principal physical and moral differences among the branches of the human family may exist, with all their necessary consequences, independently of unity or plurality of origin.

The specific identity of all canines is acknowledged,[140] but who would undertake the difficult task of proving that all these animals, to whatever variety they may belong, were possessed of the same shapes, instincts, habits, qualities? The same is the case with many other species, the equine, bovine, ursine, etc. Here we find perfect identity of origin, and yet diversity in every other respect, and a diversity so radical, that even intermixture can not produce a real identity of character in the several types. On the contrary, so long[Pg 340] as each type remains pure, their distinctive features are permanent, and reproduced, without any sensible deviation, in each successive generation.[141]

This incontestable fact has led to the inquiry whether in those species which, by domestication, have lost their original habits, and contracted others, the forms and instincts of the primitive stock were still discernible. I think this highly improbable, and can hardly believe that we shall ever be able to determine the shape and characteristics of the prototype of each species, and how much or how little it is approached by the deviations now before our eyes. A very great number of vegetables present the same problem, and with regard to man, whose origin it is most interesting and important for us to know, the inquiry seems to be attended with the greatest and most insurmountable difficulties.

Each race is convinced that its progenitor had precisely the characteristics which now distinguish[Pg 341] it. This is the only point upon which their traditions perfectly agree. The white races represent to themselves an Adam and Eve, whom Blumenbach would at once have pronounced Caucasians; the Mohammedan negroes, on the contrary, believe the first pair to have been black; these being created in God's own image, it follows that the Supreme Being, and also the angels, are of the same color, and the prophet himself was certainly too greatly favored by his Sender to display a pale skin to his disciples.[142]

Unfortunately, modern science has as yet found no clue to this maze of opinions. No admissible theory has been advanced which affords the least light upon the subject, and, in all probability, the various types differ as much from their common progenitor—if they possess one—as they do among themselves. The causes of these deviations are[Pg 342] exceedingly difficult to ascertain. The believers in the unity of origin pretend to find them, as I remarked before, in various local circumstances, such as climate, habits, &c. It is impossible to coincide with such an opinion, for, although these circumstances have always existed, they have not, within historical times, produced such alterations in the races which were exposed to their influence as to make it even probable that they were the causes of so vast and radical a dissimilarity as we now see before us. Suppose two tribes, not yet departed from the primitive type, to inhabit, one an alpine region in the interior of a continent, the other some isolated isle in the immensity of the ocean. Their atmospheric and alimentary conditions would, of course, be totally different. If we further suppose one of these tribes to be abundantly provided with nourishment, and the other possessing but precarious means of subsistence; one to inhabit a cold latitude, and the other to be exposed to the action of a tropical sun; it seems to me that we have accumulated the most essential local contrasts. Allowing these physical causes to operate a sufficient lapse of time, the two groups would, no doubt, ultimately assume certain peculiar characteristics, by which they might be distinguished from each other. But no imaginable[Pg 343] length of time could bring about any essential, organic change of conformation; and as a proof of this assertion, I would point to the populations of opposite portions of the globe, living under physical conditions the most widely different, who, nevertheless, present a perfect resemblance of type.

The Hottentots so strongly resemble the inhabitants of the Celestial Empire, that it has even been supposed, though without good reasons, that they were originally a Chinese colony. A great similarity exists between the ancient Etruscans, whose portraits have come down to us, and the Araucanians of South America. The features and outlines of the Cherokees seem to be perfectly identical with those of several Italian populations, the Calabrians, for instance. The inhabitants of Auvergne, especially the female portion, much more nearly resemble in physiognomy several Indian tribes of North America than any European nation. Thus we see that in very different climes, and under conditions of life so very dissimilar, nature can reproduce the same forms. The peculiar characteristics which now distinguish the different types cannot, therefore, be the effects of local circumstances such as now exist.[143]

[Pg 344]Though it is impossible to ascertain what physical changes different branches of the human family may have undergone anterior to the historic epoch, yet we have the best proofs that since then, no race has changed its peculiar characteristics. The historic epoch comprises about one half of the time during which our earth is supposed to have been inhabited, and there are several nations whom we can trace up to the verge of ante-historic ages; yet we find that the races then known have remained the same to our days, even though they ceased to inhabit the same localities, and consequently were no longer exposed to the influence of the same external conditions.

Witness the Arabs. As they are represented on the monuments of Egypt, so we find them at present, not only in the arid deserts of their native land, but in the fertile regions and moist climate of Malabar, Coromandel, and the islands of the Indian Ocean. We find them again, though more mixed, on the northern coasts of Africa, and, although many centuries have elapsed since their invasion, traces of Arab blood are still discernible[Pg 345] in some portions of Roussillon, Languedoc, and Spain.

Next to the Arabs I would instance the Jews. They have emigrated to countries in every respect the most dissimilar to Palestine, and have not even preserved their ancient habits of life. Yet their type has always remained peculiar and the same in every latitude and under every physical condition. The warlike Rechabites in the deserts of Arabia present to us the same features as our own peaceable Jews. I had occasion not long since to examine a Polish Jew. The cut of his face, and especially his eyes, perfectly betrayed his origin. This inhabitant of a northern zone, whose direct ancestors for several generations had lived among the snows and ice of an inhospitable clime, seemed to have been tanned but the day before, by the ardent rays of a Syrian sun. The same Shemitic face which the Egyptian artist represented some four thousand or more years ago, we recognize daily around us; and its principal and really characteristic features are equally strikingly preserved under the most diverse climatic circumstances. But the resemblance is not confined to the face only, it extends to the conformation of the limbs and the nature of the temperament. German Jews are generally smaller[Pg 346] and more slender in stature than the European nations among whom they have lived for centuries; and the age of puberty arrives earlier with them than with their compatriots of another race.[144]

This is, I am aware, an assertion diametrically opposed to Mr. Prichard's opinions. This celebrated physiologist, in his zeal to prove the unity of species, attempts to prove that the age of puberty in both sexes is the same everywhere and among all races. His arguments are based upon the precepts of the Old Testament and the Koran, by which the marriageable age of women is fixed at fifteen, and even eighteen, according to Abou-Hanifah.[145]

I hardly think that biblical testimony is admissible in matters of this kind, because the Scriptures often narrate facts which cannot be accounted for by the ordinary laws of nature. Thus, the pregnancy of Sarah at an extreme old age, and when Abraham himself was a centenarian, is an event upon which no ordinary course of reasoning could be based. As for the precepts of the Mohammedan [Pg 347]law, I would observe that they were intended to insure not merely the physical aptitude for marriage, but also that degree of mental maturity and education which befit a woman about to enter on the duties of so serious a station. The prophet makes it a special injunction that the religious education of young women should be continued to the time of their marriage. Taking this view, the law-giver would naturally incline to delay the period of marriage as long as possible, in order to afford time for the development of the reasoning faculties, and he would therefore be less precipitate in his authorizations than nature in hers. But there are some other proofs which I would adduce against Mr. Prichard's grave arguments, which, though of less weighty character, are not the less conclusive, and will settle the question, I think, in my favor.

Poets, in their tales of love, are mainly solicitous of exhibiting their heroines in the first bloom of beauty, without caring much about their moral and mental development. Accordingly, we find that oriental poets have always made their lovers much younger than the age prescribed by the Koran. Zelika and Leila are not, surely, fourteen years old. In India, this difference is still more striking. Sacontala, in Europe, would be quite a small girl,[Pg 348] a mere child. The spring-time of life for a Hindoo female is from the age of nine to that of twelve. In the Chinese romance, Yu-Kiao-li, the heroine is sixteen; and her father is in great distress, and laments pathetically that at so advanced an age she should still be unmarried. The Roman writers, following in the footsteps of their Greek preceptors, took fifteen as the period of bloom of a woman's life; our own authors for a long time adhered to these models, but since the ideas of the North have begun to exert their influence upon our literature, the heroines of our novels are full-grown young ladies of eighteen, and very often more.[146]

But arguments of a more serious character are by no means wanting. Besides what I said of the precocity of the Jews in Germany, I may point out the reverse as a peculiarity of the population of many portions of Switzerland. Among them[Pg 349] the physical development is so slow, that the age of puberty is not always attained at twenty. The Zingaris, or gypsies, display the same physical precocity as their Hindoo ancestry, and, under the austere sky of Russia and Moldavia, they preserve, together with their ancient notions and habits, the general aspect of face and form of the Pariahs.[147]

I do not, however, wish to attack Mr. Prichard upon all points. There is one of his conclusions which I readily adopt, viz.: "that the difference of climate occasions very little, if any, important diversity as to the periods of life and the physical changes to which the human constitution is subject."[148] This conclusion is very well founded, and I shall not[Pg 350] seek to invalidate it; but it appears to me that it contradicts a little the principles so ably advocated by the learned physiologist and antiquary.

The reader must have perceived that the discussion turns solely upon permanency of type. If it can be proved that the different branches of the human family are each possessed of a certain individuality which is independent of climate and the lapse of ages, and can be effaced only by intermixture, the question of origin is reduced to little importance; for, in that case, the different types are no less completely and irrevocably separated than if their specific differences arose from diversity of origin.

That such is the case, we have already proved by the testimony of Egyptian sculptures with regard to the Arabs, and by our observations upon the Jews and gypsies. Should any further proofs be needed, we would mention that the paintings in the temples and subterraneous buildings of the Nile valley as indubitably attest the permanence of the negro type. There we see the same crisped hair, prognathous skull, and thick lips. The recent discovery of the bas-reliefs of Khorsabad[149] has removed beyond doubt the conclusions previously[Pg 351] formed from the figured monuments of Persepolis, viz.: that the present Assyrian nations are physiologically identical with those who formerly inhabited the same regions.

If similar investigations could be made upon a greater number of existing races, the results would be the same. We have established the fact of permanence of types in all cases where investigation is possible, and the burden of proof, therefore, falls upon the dissenting party.

Their arguments, indeed, are in direct contradiction to the most obvious facts. Thus they allege, although the most ordinary observation shows the contrary, that climate has produced alterations in the Jewish type, inasmuch as many light-haired, blue-eyed Jews are found in Germany. For this argument to be of any weight in their position, the advocates for unity of race must recognize climate to be the sole, or at least principal, cause of this phenomenon. But the adherents of that doctrine elsewhere assert that the color of the eyes, hair, and skin, no ways depends upon geographical situation or the action of heat and cold.[150] As an[Pg 352] evidence of this, they justly cite the Cinghalese, who have blue eyes and light hair;[151] they even observe among them a very considerable difference of complexion, varying from a light brown to black. Again, they admit that the Samoiedes and Tungusians, though living on the borders of the Frozen Ocean,[152] have an exceedingly swarthy complexion. If, therefore, climate exerts no influence upon the complexion and color of hair and eyes, these marks must be considered as of no importance, or as pertaining to race. We know that red hair is not at all uncommon in the East, and at no time has been so; it cannot, therefore, create much surprise if we occasionally find it among the Jews[Pg 353] of Germany. This fact cannot be adduced as evidence either in favor of, or against, the permanence of types.

The advocates for unity are no less unfortunate in their historical arguments. They furnish but two; the Turks and the Magyars. The Asiatic origin of the former is supposed to be established beyond doubt, as well as of their intimate relationship with the Finnic branches of the Laplanders and Ostiacs. It follows from this that they must originally have displayed the yellow skin, projecting cheek bones, and low stature of the Mongolian races. This point being settled, we are told to look at the Turks of our day, who exhibit all the characteristics of the European type. Types, then, are not permanent, it is victoriously concluded, because the Turks have undergone such a transformation. "It is true," say the adherents of the unity school, "that some pretend there had been an admixture of Greek, Georgian, and Circassian blood. But this admixture can have taken place only to a very limited extent; all Turks are not rich enough to buy their wives in the Caucasus, or to have seraglios filled with white slaves; on the other hand, the hatred which the Greeks cherish for their conquerors, and the religious antipathies of both nations, were not favorable to alliances[Pg 354] between them, and consequently we see them—though inhabiting the same country—as distinct at this day as at the time of the conquest."[153]

These arguments are more specious than solid. In the first place, I am greatly disposed to doubt the Finnic origin of the Turkish race, because the only evidence that has hitherto been produced in favor of this supposition is affinity of language, and I shall hereafter give my reasons for believing this argument—when unsupported by any other—as extremely unreliable, and open to doubt. But even if we suppose the ancestors of the Turkish nation to belong to the yellow race, it is easy to show why their descendants have so widely departed from that type.

Centuries elapsed from the time of the first appearance of the Turanian hordes to the day which saw them the masters of the city of Constantine, and during that period, multifarious events took place; the fortune of the Western Turks has been a checkered one. Alternately conquerors or conquered, masters or slaves, they have become incorporated with various nationalities. According to the annalists,[154] their Orghuse ancestors, who descended [Pg 355]from the Altai Mountains, inhabited in Abraham's time the immense steppes of Upper Asia which extend from Katai to the sea of Aral, from Siberia to Thibet, and which, as has recently been proved—were then the abode of numerous Germanic tribes.[155] It is a singular circumstance, that the first mentioning by Oriental writers of the tribes of Turkestan is in celebrating them for their beauty of face and form.[156] The most extravagant hyperboles are lavished on them without reserve, and as these writers had before their eyes the handsomest types of the old world with which to compare them, it is not probable that they should have wasted their enthusiasm on creatures so ugly and repulsive as are generally the races of[Pg 356] pure Mongolian blood. Thus, notwithstanding the dicta of philology, I think serious doubts might be raised on that point.[157]

But I am willing to admit that the Turcomannic tribes were, indeed, as is supposed, of Finnic origin. Let us come down to a later period—the Mohammedan era. We then find these tribes under various denominations and in equally various situations, dispersed over Persia and Asia Minor. The Osmanli were not yet existing at that time, and their predecessors, the Seldjuks, were already[Pg 357] greatly mixed with the races that had embraced Islamism. We see from the example of Ghaïased-din-Keikosrew, who lived in 1237, that the Seljuk princes were in the habit of frequently intermarrying with Arab women. They must have gone still further, for we find that Aseddin, the mother of one of the Seljuk dynasties, was a Christian. It is reasonable to suppose, that if the chiefs of the nation, who everywhere are the most anxious to preserve the purity of their genealogy, showed themselves so devoid of prejudice, their subjects were still less scrupulous on that point. Their constant inroads in which they ranged over vast districts, gave them ample opportunities for capturing slaves, and there is every reason to believe that already in the 13th century, the ancient Orghuse branch was strongly tinctured with Shemitic blood.

To this branch belonged Osman, the son of Ortoghrul, and father of the Osmanli. But few families were collected around his tent. His army was, at first, little better than a band of adventurers, and the same expedient which swelled the ranks of the first builders of Rome, increased the number of adherents of this new Romulus of the Steppes. Every desperate adventurer or fugitive, of whatever nation, was welcome among them,[Pg 358] and assured of protection. I shall suppose that the downfall of the Seljuk empire brought to their standards a great number of their own race. But we have already said that this race was very much mixed; and besides, this addition was insufficient, as is proved by the fact that, from that time, the Turks began to capture slaves for the avowed purpose of repairing, by this means, the waste which constant warfare made in their own ranks. In the beginning of the 14th century, the sultan Orkhan, following the advice of his vizier, Khalil Tjendereli, surnamed the Black, instituted the famous military body called Janissaries.[158] They were composed entirely of Christian children captured in Poland, Germany, Italy, or the Bizantine [Pg 360]Empire, who were educated in the Mohammedan religion and the practice of arms. Under Mohammed IV., their number had increased to 140,000 men. Here, then, we find an influx of at least half a million male individuals of European blood in the course of four centuries.

But the infusion of European blood was not limited to this. The piracy which was carried on, on so large a scale, in the whole basin of the Mediterranean, had for one of its principal objects the replenishment of the harems. Every victory gained increased the number of believers in the Prophet. A great number of the prisoners of war abjured Christianity, and were henceforth counted among the true believers. The localities adjacent[Pg 361] to the field of battle supplied as many females as the marauding victors could lay hold of. In some cases, this sort of booty was so plentiful that it became inconvenient to dispose of. Hammer relates[159] that, on one occasion, the handsomest female captive was bartered for one boot. When we consider that the Turkish population of the whole Ottoman empire never exceeded twelve millions, it becomes apparent that the history of so amalgamated a nation affords no arguments, either for or against, the permanency of type. We will now proceed to the second historic argument advanced by the believers in unity.

"The Magyars," they say, "are of Finnic origin, nearly related to the Laplanders, Samoiedes, and Esquimaux, all of which are people of low stature, with big faces, projecting cheek-bones, and yellowish or dirty brown complexion. Yet the Magyars are tall, well formed, and have handsome features. The Finns have always been feeble, unintelligent, and oppressed; the Magyars, on the contrary, occupy a distinguished rank among the conquerors of the earth, and are noted for their love of liberty and independence. As they are so immensely superior, both physically and morally, [Pg 362]to all the collateral branches of the Finnic stock, it follows that they have undergone an enormous transformation."[160]

If such a transformation had ever taken place, it would, indeed, be astonishing and inexplicable even to those who ascribe the least stability to types, for it must have occurred within the last 800 years, during which we know that the compatriots of St. Stephen[161] mixed but little with surrounding [Pg 363]nations. But the whole course of reasoning is based upon false premises, for the Hungarians are most assuredly not of Finnic origin. Mr. A. De Gérando[162] has placed this fact beyond doubt. He has proved, by the authority of Greek and Arab historians, as well as Hungarian annalists and by indisputable philological arguments, that the Magyars are a fragment of that great inundation of nations which swept over Europe under the denomination of Huns. It will be objected that this is merely giving the Hungarians another parentage, but which connects them no less intimately with the yellow race. Such is not the case. The designation of Huns applies not only to a nation, but is also a collective appellation of a very heterogeneous mass. Among the tribes which rallied around the standards of Attila and his ancestors, there were some which have at all times been distinguished from the rest by the term white Huns. Among them the Germanic blood predominated.[163] It is true, that the close contact[Pg 364] with the yellow race somewhat adulterated the breed; but this very fact is singularly exhibited in the somewhat angular and bony facial conformation of the Hungarians. I conclude, therefore, that the Magyars were white Huns, and of Germanic origin, though slightly mixed with the Mongolian stock.

The philological difficulty of their speaking a non-Germanic dialect is not insurmountable. I have already alluded to the Mongolian Scyths who yet spoke an Arian tongue;[164] I might, moreover, cite the Norman settlers in France who, not many years after their conquest, exchanged their Scandinavian dialect, in a great measure, for the Celto-Latin of their subjects,[165] whence sprang that[Pg 365] singular compound called Norman-French, which the followers of William the Conqueror imported into England, and which now forms an element of the English language.

There is, therefore, no reason to suppose that the agency of climate and change of habits have transformed a Laplander, or an Ostiak, or a Tunguse, or a Permian, into a St. Stephen or a Kossuth.

Having thus, I think, refuted the only two historical instances which the believers in unity of species adduce, of a pretended alteration of type by local circumstances and change of habits, and having, moreover, instanced several cases where these causes could produce no alteration; the fact of permanency of type seems to me to be incontestably established.[166] Thus, whichever side we[Pg 366] take, whether we believe in original unity, or original diversity, is immaterial; the several groups of the human species are, at present, so perfectly separated from each other, that no exterior influence can efface their distinctive peculiarities. The[Pg 367] permanency of these differences, so long as there is no intermixture, produces precisely the same physical and moral results as if the groups were so many distinct and separate creations.

In conclusion, I shall repeat what I have said above, that I have very serious doubts as to the unity of origin. These doubts, however, I am compelled to repress, because they are in contradiction to a scientific fact which I cannot refute—the prolificness of half-breeds; and secondly, what is of much greater weight with me, they impugn a religious interpretation sanctioned by the church.

[Pg 368]



Primary varieties—Test for recognizing them; not always reliable—Effects of intermixture—Secondary varieties—Tertiary varieties—Amalgamation of races in large cities—Relative scale of beauty in various branches of the human family—Their inequality in muscular strength and powers of endurance.

[In supervising the publication of this work, I have thought proper to omit, in this place, a portion of the translation, because containing ideas and suggestions which—though they might be novel to a French public—have often been laid before English readers, and as often proven untenable. This omission, however, embraces no essential feature of the book, no link of the chain of argumentation. It extends no further than a digressional attempt of the author to account for the diversities observable in the various branches of the human family, by imagining the existence of cosmogonal causes, long since effete, but operating for a time soon after the creation of man, when the globe was still in a nascent and chaotic state. It must be obvious that all such speculations can never bridge over the[Pg 369] wide abyss which separates hypotheses from facts. They afford a boundless field for play to a fertile imagination, but will never stand the test of criticism. Even if we were to suppose that such causes had effected diversities in the human family in primeval times, the types thus produced must all have perished in the flood, save that to which Noah and his family belonged. If these writers, however, should be disposed to deny the universality of the deluge, they would evidently do greater violence to the language of Holy Writ, than by at once supposing a plurality of origins for mankind.

The legitimate field of human science is the investigation of the laws now governing the material world. Beyond this it may not go. Whatever is recognized as not coming within the scope of action of these laws, belongs not to its province. We have proved, and I think it is generally admitted, that the actual varieties of the human family are permanent; that there are no causes now in operation, which can transform them. The investigation of those causes, therefore, cannot properly be said to belong to the province of human science. In regard to their various systems of classification, naturalists may be permitted to dispute about unity or plurality of species, because the use of the word species is more or less arbitrary; it is an expedient to secure a convenient arrangement. But none, I hope, presume ever to be able to fathom the mysteries of Creative Power—to challenge the fiat of the Almighty, and inquire into his means.—H.]

In the investigation of the moral and intellectual diversities of races, there is no difficulty so great as an accurate classification. I am disposed[Pg 370] to think a separation into three great groups sufficient for all practical purposes. These groups I shall call primary varieties, not in the sense of distinct creations, but as offering obvious and well-defined distinguishing characteristics. I would designate them respectively by the terms white, yellow, and black. I am aware of the inaccuracy of these appellations, because the complexion is not always the distinctive feature of these groups: other and more important physiological traits must be taken into consideration. But as I have not the right to invent new names, and am, therefore, compelled to select among those already in use, I have chosen these because, though by no means correct, they seemed preferable to others borrowed from geography or history, and not so apt as the latter to add to the confusion which already sufficiently perplexes the investigator of this subject. To obviate any misconception here and hereafter, I wish it to be distinctly understood that by "white" races I mean those usually comprised under the name of Caucasian, Shemitic, Japhetic; by "black," the Hamitic, African, etc.; by "yellow," the Altaic, Mongolian, Finnic, and Tartar. These I consider to be the three categories under which all races of the human family can be placed. I shall hereafter explain my reasons[Pg 371] for not recognizing the American Indians as a separate variety, and for classing them among the yellow races.[167]

[Pg 372]It is obvious that each of these groups comprises races very dissimilar among themselves, each of which, besides the general characteristics belonging to the whole group, possesses others peculiar to itself. Thus, in the group of black races we find marked distinctions: the tribes with[Pg 374] prognathous skull and woolly hair, the low-caste Hindoos of Kamaoun and of Dekhan, the Pelagian negroes of Polynesia, etc. In the yellow group, the Tungusians, Mongols, Chinese, etc. There is every reason to believe that these sub-varieties are coeval; that is, the same causes which produced one, produced at the same time all the others.

It is, moreover, extremely difficult to determine the typical character of each variety. In the white, and also in the yellow group, the mixture of the sub-varieties is so great, that it is impossible to fix upon the type. In the black group, the type is perhaps discernible; at least, it is preserved in its greatest purity.

To ascertain the relative purity or mixture of a race, a criterion has been adopted by many, who consider it infallible: this is resemblance of face,[Pg 375] form, constitution, etc. It is supposed that the purer a race has preserved itself, the greater must be the exterior resemblances of all the individuals composing it. On the contrary, considerable and varied intermixtures would produce an infinite diversity of appearance among individuals. This fact is incontestable, and of great value in ethnological science, but I do not think it quite so reliable as some suppose.

Intermixture of races does, indeed, produce at first individual dissemblances, for few individuals belong in precisely the same degree to either of the races composing the mixture. But suppose that, in course of time, the fusion has become complete—that every individual member of the mixed race had precisely the same proportion of mixed blood as every other—he could not then differ greatly from his neighbor. The whole mass, in that case, must present the same general homogeneity as a pure race. The perfect amalgamation of two races of the same group would, therefore, produce a new type, presenting a fictitious appearance of purity, and reproducing itself in succeeding generations.

I imagine it possible, therefore, that a "secondary" type may in time assume all the characteristics of a "primary" one, viz: resemblance of the[Pg 376] individuals composing it. The lapse of time to produce this complete fusion would necessarily be commensurate to the original diversity of the constituent elements. Where two races belonging to different groups combine, such a complete fusion would probably never be possible. I can illustrate this by reference to individuals. Parents of widely different nations generally have children but little resembling each other—some apparently partaking more of the father's type, some more of the mother's. But if the parents are both of the same, or at least of homogeneous stocks, their offspring exhibits little or no variety; and though the children might resemble neither of the parents, they would be apt to resemble one another.

To distinguish the varieties produced by a fusion of proximate races from those which are the effect of intermixture between races belonging to different groups, I shall call the latter tertiary varieties. Thus the woolly-headed negro and the Pelagian are both "primary" varieties belonging to the same group; their offspring I would call a "secondary" variety; but the hymen of either of them with a race belonging to the white or yellow groups, would produce a "tertiary" variety. To this last, then, belong the mulatto, or cross between white and black, and the Polynesian, who is a cross between [Pg 377]the black and the yellow.[168] Half-breeds of this kind display, in various proportions and degrees, the special characteristics of both the ancestral races. But a complete fusion, as in the case of branches of the same group, probably never results from the union of two widely dissimilar races, or, at least, would require an incommensurable lapse of time.

If a tertiary type is again modified by intermixture with another, as is the case in a cross between a mulatto and a Mongolian, or between a Polynesian and a European, the ethnical mixture is too great to permit us, in the present state of the science, to arrive at any general conclusions. It appears that every additional intermixture increases the difficulty of complete fusion. In a population composed of a great number of dissimilar ethnical elements, it would require countless ages for a thorough amalgamation; that is to say, so complete a mixture that each individual would have precisely the kind and relative proportion of mixed blood as every other. It follows, therefore, that,[Pg 378] in a population so constituted, there is an infinite diversity of form and features among individuals, some pertaining more to one type than another. In other words, there being no equilibrium between the various types, they crop out here and there without any apparent reason.

We find this spectacle among the great civilized nations of Europe, especially in their capitals and seaports. In these great vortexes of humanity, every possible variety of our species has been absorbed. Negro, Chinese, Tartar, Hottentot, Indian, Malay, and all the minor varieties produced by their mixture, have contributed their contingent to the population of our large cities. Since the Roman domination, this amalgamation has continually increased, and is still increasing in proportion as our inventions bring in closer proximity the various portions of the globe. It affects all classes to some extent, but more especially the lowest. Among them you may see every type of the human family more or less represented. In London, Paris, Cadiz, Constantinople, in any of the greater marts and thoroughfares of the world, the lower strata of the native population exhibit every possible variety, from the prognathous skull to the pyramidal: you shall find one man with hair as crisp as a negro's; another, with the eyes of an ancient German, or[Pg 379] the oblique ones of a Chinese; a third, with a thoroughly Shemitic countenance; yet all three may be close relations, and would be greatly surprised were they told that any but the purest white blood flows in their veins. In these vast gathering places of humanity, if you could take the first comer—a native of the place—and ascend his genealogical tree to any height, you would probably be amazed at the strange ancestry at the top.

It may now be asked whether, for all the various races of which I have spoken, there is but one standard of beauty, or whether each has one of its own. Helvetius, in his De l'Esprit, maintains that the idea of beauty is purely conventional and variable. This assertion found many advocates in its time, but it is at present superseded by the more philosophical theory that the conception of the beautiful is an absolute and invariable idea, and can never have a merely optional application. Believing the latter view to be correct, I do not hesitate to compare the various races of man in point of beauty, and to establish a regular scale of gradation. Thus, if we compare the various races, from the ungainly appearance of the Pelagian or Pecherai up to the noble proportions of a Charlemagne, the expressive regularity of features of a Napoleon, or the majestic countenance of a Louis[Pg 380] XIV., we shall find in the lowest on the scale a sort of rudimentary development of the beauty which attracts us in the highest; and in proportion to the perfectness of that development, the races rise in the scale of beauty.[169] Taking the white[Pg 381] race as the standard of beauty, we perceive all the others more or less receding from that model. There is, then, an inequality in point of beauty among the various races of men, and this inequality is permanent and indelible.[170]

The next question to be decided is, whether there is also an inequality in point of physical strength. It cannot be denied that the American Indians and the Hindoos are greatly inferior to us in this respect. Of the Australians, the same may safely be asserted. Even the negroes possess less muscular vigor.[171] It is necessary, however, to distinguish [Pg 382]between purely muscular force—that which exerts itself suddenly at a given moment—and the force of resistance or capacity for endurance. The degree of the former is measured by its intensity, that of the other by its duration. Of the two, the latter is the typical—the standard by which to judge of the capabilities of races. Great muscular strength is found among races notoriously weak. Among the lowest of the negro tribes, for instance, it would not be difficult to find individuals that could match an experienced European wrestler or English boxer. This is equally true of the Lascars and Malays. But we must take the masses, and judge according to the amount of long-continued, persevering toil and fatigue they are capable of. In this respect, the white races are undoubtedly entitled to pre-eminence.

But there are differences, again, among the white races, both in beauty and in strength, which even the extensive ethnical mixture, that European nations present, has not entirely obliterated. The Italians are handsomer than the French and the Spaniards, and still more so than the Swiss and Germans. The English also present a high degree of corporeal beauty; the Sclavonian nations a comparatively humble one.

In muscular power, the English rank far above[Pg 383] all other European nations; but the French and Spaniards are greatly superior in power of endurance: they suffer less from fatigue, from privations, and the rigors and changes of climate. This question has been settled beyond dispute by the fatal campaign in Russia. While the Germans, and other troops from the North, who yet were accustomed to severe cold, were almost totally annihilated, the French regiments, though paying fearfully dear for their retreat, nevertheless saved the greatest number of men. Some have attempted to explain this by a supposed superiority on the part of the French in martial education and military spirit. But the German officers had certainly as high a conception of a soldier's duty, as elevated a sentiment of honor, as our soldiers; yet they perished in incredibly greater numbers. I think it can hardly be disputed that the masses of the population of France possess a superiority in certain physical qualities, which enables them to defy with greater impunity than most other nations the freezing snows of Russia and the burning sands of Egypt.

[Pg 384]


The position and treatment of woman among the various races of men a proof of their moral and intellectual diversity.

The reader will pardon me if to Mr. Gobineau's scale of gradation in point of beauty and physical strength, I add another as accurate, I think, if not more so, and certainly as interesting. I allude to the manner in which the weaker sex is regarded and treated among the various races of men.

In the words of Van Amringe, "from the brutal New Hollander, who secures his wife by knocking her down with a club and dragging the prize to his cave, to the polished European, who, fearfully, but respectfully and assiduously, spends a probation of months or years for his better half, the ascent may be traced with unfailing precision and accuracy." The same writer correctly argues that if any principle could be inferred from analogy to animals, it would certainly be a uniform treatment of the female sex among all races of man; for animals are remarkably uniform in the relations of the male and female in the same species. Yet among some races of men polygamy has always prevailed, among others never. Would not any naturalist consider as distinct species any animals of the same genus so distinguished? This subject has not yet met with due attention at the hands of ethnologists. "When we hear of a race of men," says[Pg 385] the same author, "being subjected to the tyranny of another race, either by personal bondage or the more easy condition of tribute, our sympathies are enlisted in their favor, and our constant good wishes, if not our efforts, accompany them. But when we hear of hundreds of millions of the truest and most tender-hearted of human creatures being trodden down and trampled upon in everything that is dear to the human heart, our sympathies, which are so freely expended on slighter occasions or imaginary evils, are scarcely awakened to their crushing woes."

With the writer from whom I have already made copious extracts, I believe that the moral and intellectual diversity of the races of men cannot be thoroughly and accurately investigated without taking into consideration the relations which most influence individual as well as national progress and development, and which result from the position occupied by woman towards man. This truth has not escaped former investigators—it would be singular if it had—but they have contented themselves with asserting that the condition of the female sex was indicative of the degree of civilization. Had they said, of the intrinsic worth of various races, I should cheerfully assent. But the elevation or degradation of woman in the social scale is generally regarded as a result, not a cause. It is said that all barbarians treat their women as slaves; but, as they progress in civilization, woman gradually rises to her legitimate rank.

For the sake of the argument, I shall assume that all now civilized nations at first treated their women as the actual barbarians treat theirs. That this is not so, I hope to place beyond doubt; but, assuming it[Pg 386] to be the case, might not the fact that some left off that treatment, while others did not, be adduced as a proof of the inequality of races? "The law of the relation of the sexes," says Van Amringe, "is more deeply engraven upon human nature than any other; because, whatever theories may be adopted in regard to the origin of society, languages, etc., no doubt can be entertained that the influence of woman must have been anterior to any improvements of the original condition of man. Consequently it was antecedent and superior to education and government. That these relations were powerfully instrumental in the origin of development, to give it a direction and character according to the natures operating and operated upon, cannot be doubted by any one who has paid the slightest attention to domestic influences, from and under which education, customs, and government commenced."

But I totally deny that all races, in their first state of development, treated their women equally. There is not only no historical testimony to prove that any of the white races were ever in such a state of barbarity and in such moral debasement as most of the dark races are to this day, and have always been, but there is positive evidence to show that our barbarous ancestors assigned to woman the same position we assign her now: she was the companion, and not the slave, of man. I have already alluded to this in a previous note on the Teutonic races; I cannot, however, but revert to it again.

As I have not space for a lengthy discussion, I shall mention but one fact, which I think conclusive, and which rests upon incontrovertible historical testimony. "To a German mind," says Tacitus (Murphy's transl.,[Pg 387] vol. vii. 8), "the idea of a woman led into captivity is insupportable. In consequence of this prevailing sentiment, the states which deliver as hostages the daughters of illustrious families are bound by the most effectual obligations." Did this assertion rest on the authority of Tacitus only, it might perhaps be called in question. It might be said that the illustrious Roman had drawn an ideal picture, etc. But Cæsar dealt with realities, not idealities; he was a shrewd, practical statesman, and an able general; yet Cæsar did take females as hostages from the German tribes, in preference to men. Suppose Cæsar had made war against the King of Ashantee, and taken away some of his three thousand three hundred and thirty-three wives, the mystical number being thus forcibly disturbed, might have alarmed the nation, whose welfare is supposed to depend on it; but the misfortune would soon have been remedied.

But it is possible to demonstrate not only that all races did not treat their women equally in their first stage of development, but also that no race which assigned to woman in the beginning an inferior position ever raised her from it in any subsequent stage of development. I select the Chinese for illustration, because they furnish us with an example of a long-continued and regular intellectual progress,[172] which yet never resulted [Pg 388]in an alteration of woman's position in the social structure. The decadent Chinese of our day look upon the female half of their nation as did the rapidly advancing Chinese of the seventh and eighth centuries; and the latter in precisely the same manner as their barbarous ancestors, the subjects of the Emperor Fou, more than twenty centuries before.

I repeat it, the relations of the sexes, in various races, are equally dissimilar in every stage of development. The state of society may change, the tendency of a race never. Faculties may be developed, but never lost.

As the mothers and wives of our Teutonic ancestors were near the battle-field, to administer refreshments to the wearied combatants, to stanch the bleeding of their wounds, and to inspire with renewed courage the despairing, so, in modern times, matrons and maidens of the highest rank—worthy daughters of a heroic[Pg 389] ancestry—have been found by thousands ready to sacrifice the comforts and quiet of home for the horrors of a hospital.[173] As the rude warrior of a former age won his beloved by deeds of valor, so, to his civilized descendant, the hand of his mistress is the prize and reward of exertion. The wives and mothers of the ancient Germans and Celts were the counsellors of their sons and husbands in the most important affairs; our wives and mothers are our advisers in our more peaceful pursuits.

But the Arab, when he had arrived at the culminating point of his civilization, and when he had become the teacher of our forefathers of the Middle Ages in science and the arts, looked upon his many wives in the same light as his roaming brother in the desert had done before, and does now. I do not ask of all these races that they should assign to their women the same rank that we do. If intellectual progress and social development among them showed the slightest tendency to produce ultimately an alteration in woman's position towards her lord, I might be content to submit to the[Pg 390] opinion of those who regard that position as the effect of such a progress and such a development. But I cannot, in the history of those races, perceive the slightest indication of such a result, and all my observations lead me to the conclusion that the relations between the sexes are a cause, and not an effect.

The character of the women of different races differs in essential points. What a vast difference, for instance, between the females of the rude crusaders who took possession of Constantinople, and the more civilized Byzantine Greeks whom they so easily conquered; between the heroic matron of barbarous Germany and the highly civilized Chinese lady! These differences cannot be entirely the effect of education, else we are forced to consider the female sex as mere automatons. They must be the result of diversity of character. And why not, in the investigation of the moral and intellectual diversity of races and the natural history of man, take into consideration the peculiarities that characterize the female portion of each race, a portion—I am forced to make this trite observation, because so many investigators seem to forget it—which comprises at least one-half of the individuals to be described?—H.

[Pg 391]



Imperfect notions of the capability of savage tribes—Parallel between our civilization and those that preceded it—Our modern political theories no novelty—The political parties of Rome—Peace societies—The art of printing a means, the results of which depend on its use—What constitutes a "living" civilization—Limits of the sphere of intellectual acquisitions.

To understand perfectly the differences existing among races, in regard to their intellectual capacity, it is necessary to ascertain the lowest degree of stupidity that humanity is capable of. The inferior branches of the human family have hitherto been represented, by a majority of scientific observers, as considerably more abased than they are in reality. The first accounts of a tribe of savages almost always depict them in exaggerated colors of the darkest cast, and impute to them such utter intellectual and reasoning incapacity, that they seem to sink to the level of the monkey, and below[Pg 392] that of the elephant. There are, indeed, some contrasts. Let a navigator be well received in some island—let him succeed in persuading a few of the natives to work, however little, with the sailors, and praises are lavished upon the fortunate tribe: they are declared susceptible of every improvement; and perhaps the eulogist will go so far as to assert that he has found among them minds of a very superior order.

To both these judgments we must object—the one being too favorable, the other too severe. Because some natives of Tahiti assisted in repairing a whaler, or some inhabitant of Tonga Tabou exhibited good feelings towards the white strangers who landed on his isle, it does not follow that either are capable of receiving our civilization, or of being raised to a level with us. Nor are we warranted in classing among brutes the poor naturals of a newly-discovered coast, who greet their first visitors with a shower of stones and arrows, or who are found making a dainty repast on raw lizards and clods of clay. Such a meal does not, indeed, indicate a very superior intelligence, or very refined manners. But even in the most repulsive cannibal there lies latent a spark of the divine flame, and reason may be awakened to a certain extent. There are no tribes so very degraded [Pg 393]that they do not reason in some degree, whether correctly or otherwise, upon the things which surround them. This ray of human intelligence, however faint it may be, is what distinguishes the most degraded savage from the most intelligent brute, and capacitates him for receiving the teachings of religion.

But are these mental faculties, which every individual of our species possesses, susceptible of indefinite development? Have all men the same capacity for intellectual progress? In other words, can cultivation raise all the different races to the same intellectual standard? and are no limits imposed to the perfectibility of our species? My answer to these questions is, that all races are capable of improvement, but all cannot attain the same degree of perfection, and even the most favored cannot exceed a certain limit.

The idea of infinite perfection has gained many partisans in our times, because we, like all who came before us, pride ourselves upon possessing advantages and points of superiority unknown to our predecessors. I have already spoken of the distinguishing features of our civilization, but willingly revert to this subject again.

It may be said, that in all the departments of science we possess clearer and more correct notions; [Pg 394]that, upon the whole, our manners are more polished, and our code of morals is preferable to that of the ancients. It is further asserted, as the principal proof of our superiority, that we have better defined, juster and more tolerant ideas with regard to political liberty. Sanguine theorists are not wanting, who pretend that our discoveries in political science and our enlightened views of the rights of man will ultimately lead us to that universal happiness and harmony which the ancients in vain sought in the fabled garden of Hesperides.

These lofty pretensions will hardly bear the test of severe historical criticism.

If we surpass preceding generations in scientific knowledge, it is because we have added our share to the discoveries which they bequeathed to us. We are their heirs, their pupils, their continuators, just as future generations will be ours. We achieve great results by the application of the power of steam; we have solved many great problems in mechanics, and pressed the elements as submissive slaves into our service. But do these successes bring us any nearer to omniscience. At most, they may enable us ultimately to fathom all the secrets of the material world. And when we shall have achieved that grand conquest, for which so much requires still to be done that is not yet[Pg 395] commenced, nor even anticipated; have we advanced a single step beyond the simple exposition of the laws which govern the material world? We may have learned to direct our course through the air, to approach the limits of the respirable atmosphere; we may discover and elucidate several interesting astronomical problems; we may have greater powers for controlling nature and compelling her to minister to our wants, but can all this knowledge make us better, happier beings? Suppose we had counted all the planetary systems and measured the immense regions of space, would we know more of the grand mystery of existence than those that came before us? Would this add one new faculty to the human mind, or ennoble human nature by the eradication of one bad passion?

Admitting that we are more enlightened upon some subjects, in how many other respects are we inferior to our more remote ancestors? Can it be doubted, for instance, that in Abraham's times much more was known of primordial traditions than the dubious beams which have come down to us? How many discoveries which we owe to mere accident, or which are the fruits of painful efforts, were the lost possessions of remote ages? How many more are not yet restored? What is there[Pg 396] in the most splendid of our works that can compare with those wonders by which Egypt, India, Greece, and America still attest the grandeur and magnificence of so many edifices which the weight of centuries, much more than the impotent ravages of man, has caused to disappear? What are our works of art by the side of those of Athens; our thinkers by the side of those of Alexandria or India; our poets by the side of a Valmiki, Kalidasa, Homer, Pindar?

The truth is, we pursue a different direction from that of the human societies whose civilization preceded ours. We apply our mind to different purposes and different investigations; but while we clear and cultivate new lands, we are compelled to neglect and abandon to sterility those to which they devoted their attention. What we gain in one direction we lose in another. We cannot call ourselves superior to the ancients, unless we had preserved at least the principal acquisitions of preceding ages in all their integrity, and had succeeded in establishing by the side of these, the great results which they as well as we sought after. Our sciences and arts superadded to theirs have not enabled us to advance one step nearer the solution of the great problems of existence, the mysteries of life and death. "I seek, but find[Pg 397] not," has always been, will ever be, the humiliating confession of science when endeavoring to penetrate into the secrets concealed by the veil that it is not given to mortal to lift. In criticism[174] we are, undoubtedly, much in advance of our predecessors; but criticism implies classification, not acquisition.

Nor can we justly pride ourselves upon any superiority in regard to political ideas. Political and social theories were as rife in Athens after the age of Pericles as they are in our days. To be convinced of this, it is necessary only to study Aristophanes, whose comedies Plato recommends to the perusal of whoever wishes to become acquainted with the public morals of the city of Minerva. It has been pretended that our present structure of society, and that of the ancients, admit [Pg 398]of no comparison, owing to the institution of slavery which formed an element of the latter. But the only real difference is that demagogism had then an even more fertile soil in which to strike root. The slaves of those days find their precise counterpart in our working classes and proletarians.[175] The Athenian people propitiating their servile class after the battle of Arginuses, might be taken for a picture of the nineteenth century.

Look at Rome. Open Cicero's letters. What a specimen of the moderate Tory that great Roman orator was; what a similarity between his republic and our constitutional bodies politic, with regard to the language of parties and parliamentary debates! There, too, the background of the picture was occupied by degraded masses of a servile and prædial population, always eager for change, and ready to rise in actual rebellion.

Let us leave those dregs of the population, whose civil existence the law ignored, and who counted in politics but as the formidable tool of designing individuals of free birth. But does not the free population of Rome afford a perfect analogue to a modern body politic? There is the mob[Pg 399] crying for bread, greedy of shows, flattery, gratuitous distributions, and amusements; the middle classes (bourgeoisie) monopolizing and dividing among themselves the public offices; the hereditary aristocracy, continually assailed at all points, continually losing ground, until driven in mere self-defence to abjure all superior claims and stipulate for equal rights to all. Are not these perfect resemblances?

Among the boundless variety of opinions that make themselves heard in our day, there is not one that had not advocates in Rome. I alluded a while ago to the letters written from the villa of Tusculum; they express the sentiments of the Roman conservative Progressist party. By the side of Sylla, Pompey and Cicero were Radicals.[176] Their notions were not sufficiently radical for Cæsar; too much so for Cato. At a later period we find in Pliny the younger a mild royalist, a friend of quiet, even at some cost. Apprehensive of too much liberty, yet jealous of power too absolute; very practical in his views, caring but little for the poetical splendor of the age of the Fabii, he preferred the more prosaic administration of Trajan.[Pg 400] There were others not of his opinion, good people who feared an insurrection headed by some new Spartacus, and who, therefore, thought that the Emperor could not hold the reins too tight. Then there were others, from the provinces, who obstreperously demanded and obtained what would now be called "constitutional guaranties." Again, there were the socialists, and their views found no less an expounder than the Gallic Cæsar, C. Junius Posthumus, who exclaims: "Dives et pauper, inimici," the rich and the poor are enemies born.

Every man who had any pretensions to participate in the lights of the day, declaimed on the absolute equality of all men, their "inalienable rights," the manifest necessity and ultimate universality of the Greco-Latin civilization, its superiority, its mildness, its future progress, much greater even than that actually made, and above all its perpetuity. Nor were those ideas merely the pride and consolation of the pagans; they were the firm hopes and expectations of the earliest and most illustrious Fathers of the Church, whose sentiments found so eloquent an interpreter in Tertullian.

And as a last touch, to complete the picture, let[Pg 401] us not forget those people who, then as now, formed the most numerous of all parties: those that belonged to none—people who are too weak-minded, or indifferent, or apprehensive, or disgusted, to lay hold of a truth, from among the midst of contradictory theories that float around them—people who are content with order when it exists, submit passively in times of disorder and confusion; who admire the increase of conveniences and comforts of life unknown to their ancestors, and who, without thinking further, centre their hope in the future and pride in the present, in the reflection: "What wonderful facilities we enjoy now-a-days."

There would be some reason for believing in an improvement in political science, if we had invented some governmental machinery which had hitherto been unknown, or at least never carried into practice. This glory we cannot arrogate to ourselves. Limited monarchies were known in every age. There are even some very curious examples of this form of government found among certain Indian tribes who, nevertheless, have remained savages. Democratic and aristocratic republics of every form, and balanced in the most varied manner, flourished in the new world as well as the old. Tlascala is as complete a model of this kind as[Pg 402] Athens, Sparta, or Mecca before Mohammed's times. And even supposing that we have applied to governmental science some secondary principle of our own invention, does this justify us in our exaggerated pretension to unlimited perfectibility? Let us rather be modest, and say with the wisest of kings: "Nil novi sub sole."[177]

It is said that our manners are milder than those of the other great human societies; this assertion also is very open to criticism. There are some philanthropists who would induce nations no longer to resort to armies in settling their quarrels. The idea is borrowed from Seneca. Some of the Eastern sages professed the same principles in this respect as the Moravian Brethren. But assuming that the members of the Peace Congress succeed in disgusting Europe with the turmoil and miseries of warfare, they would still have the difficult task left of forever transforming the human passions. Neither Seneca nor the Eastern sages have been able to accomplish this, and it may reasonably be doubted whether this grand achievement[Pg 403] is reserved for our generation. We possess pure and exalted principles, I admit, but are they carried into practice? Look at our fields, the streets of our cities—the bloody traces of contests as fierce as any recorded in history are scarcely yet effaced. Never since the beginning of our civilization has there been an interval of peace of fifty years, and we are, in this respect, far behind ancient Italy, which, under the Romans, once enjoyed two centuries of perfect tranquillity. But even so long a repose would not warrant us in concluding that the temple of Janus was thenceforth to be forever closed.

The state of our civilization does not, therefore, prove the unlimited perfectibility of man. If he have learned many things, he has forgotten others. He has not added another to his senses; his soul is not enriched by one new faculty. I cannot too much insist upon the great though sad truth, that whatever we gain in one direction is counterbalanced by some loss in another; that, limited as is our intellectual domain, we are doomed never to possess its whole extent at once. Were it not for this fatal law, we might imagine that at some period, however distant, man, finding himself in possession of the experience of successive ages, and having acquired all that it is in his power to[Pg 404] acquire, would have learned at last to apply his acquisitions to his welfare—to live without battling against his kind, and against misery; to enjoy a state, if not of unalloyed happiness, at least of abundance and peace.

But even so limited a felicity is not promised us here below, for in proportion as man learns he unlearns; whatever he acquires, is at the cost of some previous acquisition; whatever he possesses he is always in danger of losing.

We flatter ourselves with the belief that our civilization is imperishable, because we possess the art of printing, gunpowder, the steam engine, &c. These are valuable means to accomplish great results, but the accomplishment depends on their use.

The art of printing is known to many other nations beside ourselves, and is as extensively used by them as by us.[178] Let us see its fruits. In Tonquin, [Pg 405]Anam, Japan, books are plentiful, much cheaper than with us—so cheap that they are within the reach of even the poorest—and even the poorest read them. How is it, then, that these people are so enervated, so degraded, so sunk in sloth and vice[179]—so near that stage in which even civilized man, having frittered away his physical and mental powers, may sink infinitely below the rude barbarian, who, at the first convenient opportunity, becomes his master? Whence this result? Precisely because the art of printing is a means, and not an agent. So long as it is used to diffuse sound, sterling ideas, to afford wholesome and refreshing nutriment to vigorous minds, a civilization never decays. But when it becomes the vile caterer to a depraved taste, when it serves only to multiply the morbid productions of enervated or vitiated minds, the senseless quibbles of a sectarian theology instead of religion, the venomous scurrility of libellists instead of politics, the foul obscenities of licentious rhymers instead of poesy—how and why should the art of printing save a civilization from ruin?

[Pg 406]It is objected that the art of printing contributes to the preservation of a civilization by the facility with which it multiplies and diffuses the masterpieces of the human mind, so that, even in times of intellectual sterility, when they can no longer be emulated, they still form the standard of taste, and by their clear and steady light prevent the possibility of utter darkness. But it should be remembered that to delve in the hoarded treasures of thought, and to appropriate them for purposes of mental improvement, presupposes the possession of that greatest of earthly goods—an enlightened mind. And in epochs of intellectual degeneracy, few care about those monuments of lost virtues and powers; they are left undisturbed on their dusty shelves in libraries whose silence is but seldom broken by the tread of the anxious, painstaking student.

The longevity which Guttenberg's invention assures to the productions of genius is much exaggerated. There are a few works that enjoy the honor of being reproduced occasionally; with this exception, books die now precisely as formerly did the manuscripts. Works of science, especially, disappear with singular rapidity from the realms of literature. A few hundred copies[Pg 407] are struck off at first, and they are seldom, and, after a while, never heard of more. With considerable trouble you can find them in some large collection. Look what has become of the thousands of excellent works that have appeared since the first printed page came from the press. The greater portion are forgotten. Many that are still spoken of, are never read; the titles even of others, that were carefully sought after fifty years ago, are gradually disappearing from every memory.

So long as a civilization is vigorous and flourishing, this disappearance of old books is but a slight misfortune. They are superseded; their valuable portions are embodied in new ones; the seed exists no longer, but the fruit is developing. In times of intellectual degeneracy it is otherwise. The weakened powers cannot grapple with the solid thought of more vigorous eras; it is split up into more convenient fragments—rendered more portable, as it were; the strong beverage that once was the pabulum of minds as strong, must be diluted to suit the present taste; and innumerable dilutions, each weaker than the other, immediately claim public favor; the task of learning must be lightened in proportion to the decreasing capacity for acquiring; everything becomes superficial; what costs the least effort gains the greatest esteem;[Pg 408] play upon words is accounted wit; shallowness, learning; the surface is preferred to the depth. Thus it has ever been in periods of decay; thus it will be with us when we have once reached that point whence every movement is retrogressive. Who knows but we are near it already?—and the art of printing will not save us from it.

To enhance the advantages which we derive from that art, the number and diffusion of manuscripts have been too much underrated. It is true that they were scarce in the epoch immediately preceding; but in the latter periods of the Roman empire they were much more numerous and much more widely diffused than is generally imagined. In those times, the facilities for instruction were by no means of difficult access; books, indeed, were quite common. We may judge so from the extraordinary number of threadbare grammarians with which even the smallest villages swarmed; a sort of people very much like the petty novelists, lawyers, and editors of modern times, and whose loose morals, shabbiness, and passionate love for enjoyments, are described in Pretronius's Satyricon. Even when the decadence was complete, those who wished for books could easily procure them. Virgil was read everywhere; so much so, that the illiterate peasantry, hearing so much of him, imagined [Pg 409]him to be some dangerous and powerful sorcerer. The monks copied him; they copied Pliny, Dioscorides, Plato, and Aristotle; they copied Catullus and Martial. These books, then, cannot have been very rare. Again, when we consider how great a number has come down to us notwithstanding centuries of war and devastation—notwithstanding so many conflagrations of monasteries, castles, libraries, &c.—we cannot but admit that, in spite of the laborious process of transcription, literary productions must have been multiplied to a very great extent. It is possible, therefore, to greatly exaggerate the obligations under which science, poetry, morality, and true civilization lie to the typographic art; and I repeat it, that art is a marvellous instrument, but if the arm that wields it, and the head that directs the arm, are not, the instrument cannot be, of much service.

Some people believe that the possession of gunpowder exempts modern societies from many of the dangers that proved fatal to the ancient. They assert that it abates the horrors of warfare, and diminishes its frequency, bidding fair, therefore, to establish, in time, a state of universal peace. If such be the beneficial results attendant on this accidental invention, they have not as yet manifested themselves.

[Pg 410]Of the various applications of steam, and other industrial inventions, I would say, as of the art of printing, that they are great means, but their results depend upon the agent. Such arts might be practised by rote long after the intellectual activity that produced them had ceased. There are innumerable instances of processes which continue in use, though the theoretical secret is lost. It is therefore not unreasonable to suppose, that the practice of our inventions might survive our civilization; that is, it might continue when these inventions were no longer possible, when no further improvements were to be hoped for. Material well-being is but an external appendage of a civilization; intellectual activity, and a consequent progress, are its life. A state of intellectual torpor, therefore, cannot be a state of civilization, even though the people thus stagnating, have the means of transporting themselves rapidly from place to place, or of adorning themselves and their dwellings. This would only prove that they were the heirs of a former civilization, but not that they actually possessed one. I have said, in another place, that a civilization may thus preserve, for a time, every appearance of life: the effect may continue after the cause has ceased. But, as a continuous change seems to be the order of nature[Pg 411] in all things material and immaterial, a downward tendency is soon manifest. I have before compared a civilization to the human body. While alive, it undergoes a perpetual modification: every hour has wrought a change; when dead, it preserves, for a time, the appearance of life, perhaps even its beauty; but gradually, symptoms of decay become manifest, and every stage of dissolution is more precipitate than the one before, as a stone thrown up in the air, poises itself there for an inappreciable fraction of time, then falls with continually increasing velocity, more and more swiftly as it approaches the ground.

Every civilization has produced in those who enjoyed its fruits, a firm conviction of its stability, its perpetuity.

When the palanquins of the Incas travelled rapidly on the smooth, magnificent causeways which still unite Cuzco and Quito, a distance of fifteen hundred miles, with what feelings of exultation must they have contemplated the conquests of the present, what magnificent prospects of the future must have presented themselves to their imaginations! Stern time, with one blow of his gigantic wings, hurled their empire into the deepest depths of the abyss of oblivion. These proud sovereigns of Peru—they, too, had their sciences,[Pg 412] their mechanical inventions, their powerful machines: the works they accomplished we contemplate with amazement, and a vain effort to divine the means employed. How were those blocks of stone, thirty-five feet long and eighteen thick, raised one upon another? How were they transported the vast distance from the quarries where they were hewn? By what contrivance did the engineers of that people hoist those enormous masses to a dizzy height? It is indeed a problem—a problem, too, which we will never solve. Nor are the ruins of Tihuanaco unparalleled by the remains of European civilizations of ante-historic times. The cyclopean walls with which Southern Europe abounds, and which have withstood the all-destroying tooth of time for thousands upon thousands of years—who built them? Who piled these monstrous masses, which modern art could scarcely move?

Let us not mistake the results of a civilization for its causes. The causes cease, the results subsist for a while, then are lost. If they again bear fruit, it is because a new spirit has appropriated them, and converted them to purposes often very different from those they had at first. Human intelligence is finite, nor can it ever reign at once in[Pg 413] the whole of its domain:[180] it can turn to account one portion of it only by leaving the other bare; it exalts what it possesses, esteems lightly what it has lost. Thus, every generation is at the same time superior and inferior to its predecessors. Man cannot, then, surpass himself: man's perfectibility is not infinite.

[Pg 414]



Necessary consequences of a supposed equality of all races—Uniform testimony of history to the contrary—Traces of extinct civilizations among barbarous tribes—Laws which govern the adoption of a state of civilization by conquered populations—Antagonism of different modes of culture; the Hellenic and Persian, European and Arab, etc.

Had it been the will of the Creator to endow all the branches of the human family with equal intellectual capacities, what a glorious tableau would history not unfold before us. All being equally intelligent, equally aware of their true interests, equally capable of triumphing over obstacles, a number of simultaneous and flourishing civilizations would have gladdened every portion of the inhabited globe. While the most ancient Sanscrit nations covered Northern India with harvests, cities, palaces, and temples; and the plains of the Tigris and Euphrates shook under[Pg 415] the trampling of Nimrod's cavalry and chariots, the prognathous tribes of Africa would have formed and developed a social system, sagaciously constructed, and productive of brilliant results.

Some luckless tribes, whose lot fortune had cast in inhospitable climes, burning sands, or glacial regions, mountain gorges, or cheerless steppes swept by the piercing winds of the north, would have been compelled to a longer and severer struggle against such unpropitious circumstances, than more fortunate nations. But being not inferior in intelligence and sagacity, they would not have been long in discovering the means of bettering their condition. Like the Icelanders, the Danes, and Norwegians, they would have forced the reluctant soil to afford them sustenance; if inhabitants of mountainous regions, they would, like the Swiss, have enjoyed the advantages of a pastoral life, or like the Cashmerians, resorted to manufacturing industry. But if their geographical situation had been so unfavorable as to admit of no resource, they would have reflected that the world was large, contained many a pleasant valley and fertile plain, where they might seek the fruits of intelligent activity, which their stepmotherly native land refused them.

Thus all the nations of the earth would have[Pg 416] been equally enlightened, equally prosperous; some by the commerce of maritime cities, others by productive agriculture in inland regions, or successful industry in barren and Alpine districts. Though they might not exempt themselves from the misfortunes to which the imperfections of human nature give rise—transitory dissensions, civil wars, seditions, etc.—their individual interests would soon have led them to invent some system of relative equiponderance. As the differences in their civilizations resulted merely from fortuitous circumstances, and not from innate inequalities, a mutual interchange would soon have assimilated them in all essential points. Nothing could then prevent a universal confederation, that dream of so many centuries; and the inhabitants of the most distant parts of the globe would have been as members of one great cosmopolite people.

Let us contrast this fantastic picture with the reality. The first nations worthy of the name, owed their formation to an instinct of aggregation, which the barbarous tribes near them not only did not feel then, but never afterward. These nations spread beyond their original boundaries, and forced others to submit to their power. But the conquered neither adopted nor understood the principles of the civilization imposed upon them.[Pg 417] Nor has the force of example been of avail to those in whom innate capacity was wanting. The native populations of the Spanish peninsula, and of Transalpine and Ligurian Gaul, saw Phenicians, Greeks, and Carthaginians, successively establish flourishing cities on their coasts, without feeling the least incitement to imitate the manners or forms of government of these prosperous merchants.

What a glorious spectacle do not the Indians of North America witness at this moment. They have before their eyes a great and prosperous nation, eminent for the successful practical application of modern theories and sciences to political and social forms, as well as to industrial art. The superiority of this foreign race, which has so firmly established itself upon his former patrimony, is evident to the red man. He sees their magnificent cities, their thousands of vessels upon the once silent rivers, their successful agriculture; he knows that even his own rude wants, the blanket with which he covers himself, the weapon with which he slays his game, the ardent spirits he has learned to love so well, can be supplied only by the stranger. The last feeble hope to see his native soil delivered from the presence of the conqueror's race, has long since vanished from his breast; he feels that the land of his fathers is not his own.[Pg 418] Yet he stubbornly refuses to enter the pale of this civilization which invites him, solicits him, tries to entice him with superior advantages and comforts. He prefers to retreat from solitude to solitude, deeper and deeper into the primitive forest. He is doomed to perish, and he knows it; but a mysterious power retains him under the yoke of his invincible repugnances, and while he admires the strength and superiority of the whites, his conscience, his whole nature, revolts at the idea of assimilating to them. He cannot forget or smother the instincts of his race.

The aborigines of Spanish America are supposed to evince a less unconquerable aversion. It is because the Spanish metropolitan government had never attempted to civilize them. Provided they were Christians, at least in name, they were left to their own usages and habits, and, in many instances, under the administration of their Caziques. The Spaniards colonized but little, and when the conquest was completed and their sanguinary appetites glutted by those unparalleled atrocities which brand them with indelible disgrace, they indulged in a lazy toleration, and directed their tyranny rather against individuals than against modes of thinking and living. The Indians have, in a great measure, mixed with their[Pg 419] conquerors, and will continue to live while their brethren in the vicinity of the Anglo-Saxon race are inevitably doomed to perish.

But not only savages, even nations of a higher rank in the intellectual scale are incapable of adopting a foreign civilization. We have already alluded to the failure of the English in India and of the Dutch in Java, in trying to import their own ideas into their foreign dependencies. French philanthropy is at this moment gaining the same experience in the new French possession of Algeria. There can be no stronger or more conclusive proof of the various endowments of different races.

If we had no other argument in proof of the innate imparity of races than the actual condition of certain barbarous tribes, and the supposition that they had always been in that condition, and, consequently, always would be, we should expose ourselves to serious objections. For many barbarous nations preserve traces of former cultivation and refinement. There are some tribes, very degraded in every other respect, who yet possess traditional regulations respecting the marriage celebration, the forms of justice and the division of inheritances, which evidently are remnants of a higher state of society, though the rites have[Pg 420] long since lost all meaning. Many of the Indian tribes who wander over the tracts once occupied by the Alleghanian race, may be cited as instances of this kind. The natives of the Marian Islands, and many other savages, practise mechanically certain processes of manufacture, the invention of which presupposes a degree of ingenuity and knowledge utterly at variance with their present stupidity and ignorance. To avoid hasty and erroneous conclusions concerning this seeming decadence, there are several circumstances to be taken into consideration.

Let us suppose a savage population to fall within the sphere of activity of a proximate, but superior race. In that case they may gradually learn to conform externally to the civilization of their masters, and acquire the technicalities of their arts and inventions. Should the dominant race disappear either by expulsion or absorption, the civilization would expire, but some of its outward forms might be retained and perpetuated. A certain degree of mechanical skill might survive the scientific principles upon which it was based. In other words, practice might long continue after the theory was lost. History furnishes us a number of examples in support of this assertion.

[Pg 421]Such, for instance, was the attitude of the Assyrians toward the civilization of the Chaldeans; of the Iberians, Celts, and Illyrians towards that of the Romans. If, then, the Cherokees, the Catawbas, Muskogees, Seminoles, Natchez and other tribes, still preserve a feeble impress of the Alleghanian civilization, I should not thence conclude that they are the pure and direct descendants of the initiatory element of that people, which would imply that a race may once have been civilized, and be no longer so. I should say, on the contrary, that the Cherokees, if at all ethnically connected with the ancient dominant type, are so by only a collateral tie of consanguinity, else they could never have relapsed into a state of barbarism. The other tribes which exhibit little or no vestiges of the former civilization are probably the descendants of a different conquered population which formed no constituent element of the society, but served rather as the substratum upon which the edifice was erected. It is no matter of surprise, if this be the case, that they should preserve—without understanding them and with a sort of superstitious veneration—customs, laws, and rites invented by others far more intelligent than themselves.

The same may be said of the mechanical arts.[Pg 422] The aborigines of the Carolines are about the most interesting of the South Sea islanders. Their looms, sculptured canoes, their taste for navigation and commerce show them vastly superior to the Pelagian negroes, their neighbors. It is easy to account for this superiority by the well-authenticated admixture of Malay blood. But as this element is greatly attenuated, the inventions which it introduced have not borne indigenous fruits, but, on the contrary, are gradually, but surely, disappearing.

The preceding observations will, I think, suffice to show that the traces of civilization among a barbarous tribe are not a necessary proof that this tribe itself has ever been really civilized. It may either have lived under the domination of a superior but consanguineous race, or living in its vicinity, have, in an humble and feeble degree, profited by its lessons. This result, however, is possible only when there exists between the superior and the inferior race a certain ethnical affinity; that is to say, when the former is either a noble branch of the same stock, or ennobled by intermixture with another. When the disparity between races is too great and too decided, and there is no intermediate link to connect them, the contact is always fatal to the inferior race, as is abundantly [Pg 423]proved by the disappearance of the aborigines of North America and Polynesia.

I shall now speak of the relations arising from the contact of different civilizations.

The Persian civilization came in contact with the Grecian; the Egyptian with the Grecian and Roman; the Roman with the Grecian; and finally the modern civilization of Europe with all those at present subsisting on the globe, and especially with the Arabian.

The contact of Greek intelligence with the culture of the Persians was as frequent as it was compulsory. The greater portion of the Hellenic population, and the wealthiest, though not the most independent, was concentrated in the cities of the Syrian coast, the Greek colonies of Asia Minor, and on the shores of the Euxine, all of which formed a part of the Persian dominions. Though these colonies preserved their own local laws and politics, they were under the authority of the satraps of the great king. Intimate relations, moreover, were maintained between European Greece and Asia. That the Persians were then possessed of a high degree of civilization is proved by their political organization and financial administration, by the magnificent ruins which still attest the splendor and grandeur of their[Pg 424] cities. But the principles of government and religion, the modes and habits of life, the genius of the arts, were very differently understood by the two nations; and, therefore, notwithstanding their constant intercourse, neither made the slightest approach toward assimilation with the other. The Greeks called their puissant neighbors barbarians, and the latter, no doubt, amply returned the compliment.

In Ecbatana no other form of government could be conceived than an undivided hereditary authority, limited only by certain religious prescriptions and a court ceremonial. The genius of the Greeks tended to an endless variety of governmental forms; subdivided into a number of petty sovereignties. Greek society presented a singular mosaic of political structures; oligarchical in Sparta, democratical in Athens, tyrannical in Sicyon, monarchical in Macedonia, the forms of government were the same in scarcely two cities or districts. The state religion of the Persians evinced the same tendency to unity as their politics, and was more of a metaphysical and moral than a material character. The Greeks, on the contrary, had a symbolical system of religion, consisting in the worship of natural objects and influences, which gradually changed into a perfect prosopopœia, representing the gods as sentient[Pg 425] beings, subject to the same passions, and engaged in the same pursuits and occupations as the inhabitants of the earth. The worship consisted principally in the performance of rites and demonstrations of respect to the deities; the conscience was left to the direction of the civil laws. Besides, the rites, as well as the divinities and heroes in whose honor they were practised, were different in every place.

As for the manners and habits of life, it is unnecessary to point out how vastly different they were from those of Persia. Public contempt punished the young, wealthy, pleasure-loving cosmopolitan, who attempted to live in Persian style. Thus, until the time of Alexander, when the power of Greece had arrived at its culminating point, Persia, with all her preponderance, could not convert Hellas to her civilization.

In the time of Alexander, this incompatibility of dissimilar modes of culture was singularly demonstrated. When the empire of Darius succumbed to the Macedonian phalanxes, it was expected, for a time, that a Hellenic civilization would spread over Asia. There seemed the more reason for this belief when the conqueror, in a moment of aberrancy, treated the monuments of the land with such aggressive violence as seemed to evince[Pg 426] equal hatred and contempt. But the wanton incendiary of Persepolis soon changed his mind, and so completely, that his design became apparent to simply substitute himself in the room of the dynasty of Achæmenes, and rule over Persia like a Persian king, with Greece added to his estates. Great as was Alexander's power, it was insufficient for the execution of such a project. His generals and soldiers could not brook to see their commander assume the long flowing robes of the eastern kings, surround himself with eunuchs, and renounce the habits and manners of his native land. Though after his death some of his successors persisted in the same system, they were compelled greatly to mitigate it. Where the population consisted of a motley compound of Greeks, Syrians, and Arabs, as in Egypt and the coast of Asia Minor, a sort of compromise between the two civilizations became thenceforth the normal state of the country; but where the races remained unmixed, the national manners were preserved.

In the latter periods of the Roman empire, the two civilizations had become completely blended in the whole East, including continental Greece; but it was tinged more with the Asiatic than the Greek tendencies, because the masses belonged much more to the former element than to the[Pg 427] latter. Hellenic forms, it is true, still subsisted, but it is not difficult to discover in the ideas of those periods and countries the Oriental stock upon which the scions of the Alexandrian school had been engrafted. The respective influence of the various elements was in strict proportion to the quantity of blood; the intellectual preponderance belonged to that which had contributed the greatest share.

The same antagonism which I pointed out between the intellectual culture of the Greeks and that of the Persians, will be found to result from the contact of all other widely different civilizations. I shall mention but one more instance: the relations between the Arab civilization[181] and our own.

[Pg 428]There was a time when the arts and sciences, the muses and their train, seemed to have forsaken their former abodes, to rally around the standard of Mohammed. That our forefathers were not blind to the excellencies of the Arab civilization is proved by their sending their sons to the schools of Cordova. But not a trace of the spirit of that civilization has remained in Europe, save in those countries which still retain a portion of Ishmaelitic blood. Nor has the Arab civilization found a more congenial soil in India over which, also, its dominion extended. Like those portions of Europe which were subjected to Moslem masters, that country has preserved its own modes of thinking intact.

But if the pressure of the Arab civilization, at the time of its greatest splendor and our greatest ignorance, could not affect the modes of thinking of the races of Western Europe, neither can we, at present, when the positions are reversed, affect in the slightest degree the feeble remnants of that once so flourishing civilization. Our action upon these remnants is continuous—the pressure of our intellectual activity upon them immense; we succeed only in destroying, not in transforming or remodelling.[182]

[Pg 430]Yet this civilization was not even original, and might, therefore, be supposed to have a less obstinate vitality. The Arab nation, it is well known, based its empire and its intellectual culture upon fragments of races which it had aggregated by the weight of the sword. A variegated compound like the Islamitic populations, could not but develop a civilization of an equally variegated character, to which each ethnical element contributed its share. These elements it is not difficult to determine and point out.

The nucleus, around which aggregated those countless multitudes, was a small band of valiant warriors who unfurled in their native deserts the standard of a new creed. They were not, before Mohammed's time, a new or unknown people.[Pg 431] They had frequently come in contact with the Jews and Phenicians, and had in their veins the blood of both these nations. Taking advantage of their favorable situation for commerce, they had performed the carrier trade of the Red Sea, and the eastern coast of Africa and India, for the most celebrated nations of ancient times, the Jews and the Phenicians, later still, for the Romans and Persians. They had the same traditions in common with the Shemitic and Hamitic families from which they sprung.[183] They had even taken an active part in the political life of neighboring nations. Under the Arsacides and the sons of Sassan, some of their tribes exerted great influence in the politics of the Persian empire. One of their adventurers[184] had become Emperor of Rome; one of their princes protected the majesty of Rome against a conqueror before whom the whole east trembled, and shared the imperial purple with the Roman[Pg 432] sovereign;[185] one of their cities had become, under Zenobia, the centre and capital of a vast empire that rivalled and even threatened Rome.[186]

[Pg 433]It is evident, therefore, that the Arab nation had never ceased, from the remotest antiquity, to entertain intimate relations with the most powerful and celebrated ancient societies. It had taken part in their political and intellectual[187] activity; and it might not inappropriately be compared to a body half-plunged into the water, and half exposed to the sun, as it partook at the same time of an advanced state of civilization and of complete barbarism.

Mohammed invented the religion most conformable to the ideas of a people, among whom idolatry had still many zealous adherents, but where Christianity, though having made numerous converts, was losing favor on account of the endless schisms and contentions of its followers.[188] The[Pg 434] religious dogma of the Koreishite prophet was a skilful compromise between the various contending[Pg 435] opinions. It reconciled the Jewish dispensation with the New Law better than could the Church at that time, and thus solved a problem which had disquieted the consciences of many of the earlier Christians, and which, especially in the east, had given rise to many heretical sects. This was in itself a very tempting bait, and, besides, any theological novelty had decided chances of success among the Syrians and Egyptians.[189] Moreover, the new religion appeared with sword in hand, which in those times of schismatical propagandism seemed a warrant of success more relied upon by the masses to whom it addressed itself, than peaceful persuasion.

[Pg 436]Thus arrayed, Islamism issued from its native deserts. Arrogant, and possessed but in a very slight degree of the inventive faculty, it developed no civilization peculiar to itself, but it had adopted, as far as it was capable of doing, the bastard Greco-Asiatic civilization already extant. As its triumphant banners progressed on the east and south of the Mediterranean, it incorporated masses imbued with the same tendencies and spirit. From each of these it borrowed something. As its religious dogmas were a patchwork of the tenets of the Church, those of the Synagogue, and of the disfigured traditions of Hedjaz and Yemen, so its code of laws was a compound of the Persian and the Roman, its science was Greco-Syrian[190] and Egyptian, its administration from the beginning tolerant like that of every body politic that embraces many heterogeneous elements.

It has caused much useless surprise, that Moslem society should have made such rapid strides to refinement of manners. But the mass of the people [Pg 437]over whom its dominion extended, had merely changed the name of their creed; they were old and well-known actors on the stage of history, and have simply been mistaken for a new nation when they undertook to play the part of apostles before the world. These people gave to the common store their previous refinement and luxury; each new addition to the standard of Islamism, contributed some portion of its acquisitions. The vitalizing principle of the society, the motive power of this cumbrous mass, was the small nucleus of Arab tribes that had come forth from the heart of the peninsula. They furnished, not artists and learned men, but fanatics, soldiers, victors, and masters.

The Arab civilization, then, is nothing but the Greco-Syrian civilization, rejuvenated and quickened, for a time, with a new and energetic, but short-lived, genius. It was, besides, a little renovated and a little modified, by a slight dash of Persian civilization.

Yet, motley and incongruous as are the elements of which it is composed, and capable of stretching and accommodating itself as such a compound must be, it cannot adapt itself to any social structure erected by other elements than its own. In other words, many as are the races that contributed[Pg 438] to its formation, it is suited to none that have not contributed to it.

This is what the whole course of history teaches us. Every race has its own modes of thinking; every race, capable of developing a civilization, develops one peculiar to itself, and which it cannot engraft upon any other, except by amalgamation of blood, and then in but a modified degree. The European cannot win the Asiatic to his modes of thinking; he cannot civilize the Australian, or the Negro; he can transmit but a portion of his intelligence to his half-breed offspring of the inferior race; the progeny of that half-breed and the nobler branch of his ancestry, is but one degree nearer, but not equal to that branch in capacity: the proportions of blood are strictly preserved. I have adduced illustrations of this truth from the history of various branches of the human family, of the lowest as well as of the higher in the scale of intellectual progress. Are we not, then, authorized to conclude that the diversity observable among them is constitutional, innate, and not the result of accident or circumstances—that there is an absolute inequality in their intellectual endowments?

[Pg 439]



Impropriety of drawing general conclusions from individual cases—Recapitulatory sketch of the leading features of the Negro, the Yellow, and the White races—Superiority of the latter—Conclusion of volume the first.

In the preceding pages, I have endeavored to show that, though there are both scientific and religious reasons for not believing in a plurality of origins of our species, the various branches of the human family are distinguished by permanent and irradicable differences, both mentally and physically. They are unequal in intellectual capacity,[191] [Pg 440]in personal beauty, and in physical strength. Again I repeat, that in coming to this conclusion, I have totally eschewed the method which is, unfortunately for the cause of science, too often resorted to by ethnologists, and which, to say the least of it, is simply ridiculous. The discussion has not rested upon the moral and intellectual worth of isolated individuals.

With regard to moral worth, I have proved that all men, to whatever race they may belong, are capable of receiving the lights of true religion, and of sufficiently appreciating that blessing to work out their own salvation. With regard to intellectual capacity, I emphatically protest against that mode of arguing which consists in saying, "every negro is a dunce;" because, by the same logic, I should be compelled to admit that "every white man is intelligent;" and I shall take good care to commit no such absurdity.

I shall not even wait for the vindicators of the absolute equality of all races, to adduce to me such and such a passage in some missionary's or navigator's journal, wherefrom it appears that some Yolof has become a skilful carpenter, that some Hottentot has made an excellent domestic, that some Caffre plays well on the violin, or that some[Pg 441] Bambarra has made very respectable progress in arithmetic.

I am prepared to admit—and to admit without proof—anything of that sort, however remarkable, that may be related of the most degraded savages. I have already denied the excessive stupidity, the incurable idiotcy of even the lowest on the scale of humanity. Nay, I go further than my opponents, and am not in the least disposed to doubt that, among the chiefs of the rude negroes of Africa, there could be found a considerable number of active and vigorous minds, greatly surpassing in fertility of ideas and mental resources, the average of our peasantry, and even of some of our middle classes. But the unfairness of deductions based upon a comparison of the most intelligent blacks and the least intelligent whites, must be obvious to every candid mind.

Once for all, such arguments seem to me unworthy of real science, and I do not wish to place myself upon so narrow and unsafe a ground. If Mungo Park, or the brothers Lander, have given to some negro a certificate of superior intelligence, who will assure us that another traveller, meeting the same individual, would not have arrived at a diametrically opposite conclusion concerning him? Let us leave such puerilities, and compare,[Pg 442] not the individuals, but the masses. When we shall have clearly established of what the latter are capable, by what tendencies they are characterized, and by what limits their intellectual activity and development are circumscribed, whether, since the beginning of the historic epoch, they have acted upon, or been acted upon by other groups—when we shall have clearly established these points, we may then descend to details, and, perhaps, one day be able to decide why the greatest minds of one group are inferior to the most brilliant geniuses of another, in what respects the vulgar herds of all types assimilate, and in what others they differ, and why. But this difficult and delicate task cannot be accomplished until the relative position of the whole mass of each race shall have been nicely, and, so to say, mathematically defined. I do not know whether we may hope ever to arrive at results of such incontestable clearness and precision, as to be able to no longer trust solely to general facts, but to embrace the various shades of intelligence in each group, to define and class the inferior strata of every population and their influence on the activity of the whole. Were it possible thus to divide each group into certain strata, and compare these with the corresponding strata of every other: the most gifted of the dominant [Pg 443]with the most gifted of the dominated races, and so on downwards, the superiority of some in capacity, energy, and activity would be self-demonstrated.

After having mentioned the facts which prove the inequality of various branches of the human family, and having laid down the method by which that proof should be established, I arrived at the conclusion that the whole of our species is divisible into three great groups, which I call primary varieties, in order to distinguish them from others formed by intermixture. It now remains for me to assign to each of these groups the principal characteristics by which it is distinguished from the others.

The dark races are the lowest on the scale. The shape of the pelvis has a character of animalism, which is imprinted on the individuals of that race ere their birth, and seems to portend their destiny. The circle of intellectual development of that group is more contracted than that of either of the two others.

If the negro's narrow and receding forehead seems to mark him as inferior in reasoning capacity, other portions of his cranium as decidedly point to faculties of an humbler, but not the less powerful character. He has energies of a not despicable [Pg 444]order, and which sometimes display themselves with an intensity truly formidable. He is capable of violent passions, and passionate attachments. Some of his senses have an acuteness unknown to the other races: the sense of taste, and that of smell, for instance.

But it is precisely this development of the animal faculties that stamps the negro with the mark of inferiority to other races. I said that his sense of taste was acute; it is by no means fastidious. Every sort of food is welcome to his palate; none disgusts[192] him; there is no flesh nor fowl too vile[Pg 445] to find a place in his stomach. So it is with regard to odor. His sense of smell might rather be called greedy than acute. He easily accommodates himself to the most repulsive.

To these traits he joins a childish instability of humor. His feelings are intense, but not enduring. His grief is as transitory as it is poignant, and he rapidly passes from it to extreme gayety. He is seldom vindictive—his anger is violent, but soon appeased. It might almost be said that this variability [Pg 446]of sentiments annihilates for him the existence of both virtue and vice. The very ardency to which his sensibilities are aroused, implies a speedy subsidence; the intensity of his desire, a prompt gratification, easily forgotten. He does not cling to life with the tenacity of the whites. But moderately careful of his own, he easily sacrifices that of others, and kills, though not absolutely bloodthirsty, without much provocation or subsequent remorse.[193] Under intense suffering, he exhibits a moral cowardice which readily seeks refuge in death, or in a sort of monstrous impassivity.[194]

[Pg 447]With regard to his moral capacities, it may be stated that he is susceptible, in an eminent degree, of religious emotions; but unless assisted by the light of the Gospel, his religious sentiments are of a decidedly sensual character.

Having demonstrated the little intellectual and strongly sensual[195] character of the black variety, [Pg 448] as the type of which I have taken the negro of Western Africa, I shall now proceed to examine[Pg 449] the moral and intellectual characteristics of the second in the scale—the yellow.

This seems to form a complete antithesis to the former. In them, the skull, instead of being thrown backward, projects. The forehead is large, often jutting out, and of respectable height. The facial conformation is somewhat triangular, but neither chin nor nose has the rude, animalish development that characterizes the negro. A tendency to obesity is not precisely a specific feature, but it is more often met with among the yellow races than among any others. In muscular vigor, in intensity of feelings and desires, they are greatly inferior to the black. They are supple and agile, but not strong. They have a decided taste for sensual pleasures, but their sensuality is less violent, and, if I may so call it, more vicious than the negro's, and less quickly appeased. They place a somewhat greater value upon human life than the negro does, but they are more cruel for the sake of cruelty. They are as gluttonous as the negro, but more fastidious in their choice of viands, as is proved by the immoderate attention bestowed on the culinary art among the more civilized of these races. In other words, the yellow races are less impulsive than the black. Their will is characterized by obstinacy rather than[Pg 450] energetic violence; their anger is vindictive rather than clamorous; their cruelty more studied than passionate; their sensuality more refinedly vicious than absorbing. They are, therefore, seldom prone to extremes. In morals, as in intellect, they display a mediocrity: they are given to grovelling vices rather than to dark crimes; when virtuous, they are so oftener from a sense of practical usefulness than from exalted sentiments. In regard to intellectual capacity, they easily understand whatever is not very profound, nor very sublime; they have a keen appreciation of the useful and practical, a great love of quiet and order, and even a certain conception of a slight modicum of personal or municipal liberty. The yellow races are practical people in the narrowest sense of the word. They have little scope of imagination, and therefore invent but little: for great inventions, even the most exclusively utilitarian, require a high degree of the imaginative faculty. But they easily understand and adopt whatever is of practical utility. The summum bonum of their desires and aspirations is to pass smoothly and quietly through life.

It is apparent from this sketch, that they are superior to the blacks in aptitude and intellectual capacity. A theorist who would form some model[Pg 451] society, might wish such a population to form the substratum upon which to erect his structure; but a society, composed entirely of such elements, would display neither great stamina nor capacity for anything great and exalted.

We are now arrived at the third and last of the "primary" varieties—the white. Among them we find great physical vigor and capacity of endurance; an intensity of will and desire, but which is balanced and governed by the intellectual faculties. Great things are undertaken, but not blindly, not without a full appreciation of the obstacles to be overcome, and with a systematic effort to overcome them. The utilitarian tendency is strong, but is united with a powerful imaginative faculty, which elevates, ennobles, idealizes it. Hence, the power of invention; while the negro can merely imitate, the Chinese only utilize, to a certain extent, the practical results attained by the white, the latter is continually adding new ones to those already gained. His capacity for combination of ideas leads him perpetually to construct new facts from the fragments of the old; hurries him along through a series of unceasing modifications and changes. He has as keen a sense of order as the man of the yellow race, but not, like him, from[Pg 452] love of repose and inertia, but from a desire to protect and preserve his acquisitions. At the same time, he has an ardent love of liberty, which is often carried to an extreme; an instinctive aversion to the trammels of that rigidly formalistic organization under which the Chinese vegetates with luxurious ease; and he as indignantly rejects the haughty despotism which alone proves a sufficient restraint for the black races.

The white man is also characterized by a singular love of life. Perhaps it is because he knows better how to make use of it than other races, that he attaches to it a greater value and spares it more both in himself and in others. In the extreme of his cruelty, he is conscious of his excesses; a sentiment which it may well be doubted whether it exist among the blacks. Yet though he loves life better than other races, he has discovered a number of reasons for sacrificing it or laying it down without murmur. His valor, his bravery, are not brute, unthinking passions, not the result of callousness or impassivity: they spring from exalted, though often erroneous, sentiments, the principal of which is expressed by the word "honor." This feeling, under a variety of names and applications, has formed the mainspring of action of most of the[Pg 453] white races since the beginning of historical times. It accommodates itself to every mode of existence, to every walk of life. It is as puissant in the pulpit and at the martyr's stake, as on the field of battle; in the most peaceful and humble pursuits of life as in the highest and most stirring. It were impossible to define all the ideas which this word comprises; they are better felt than expressed. But this feeling—we might call it instinctive—is unknown to the yellow, and unknown to the black races: while in the white it quickens every noble sentiment—the sense of justice, liberty, patriotism, love, religion—it has no name in the language, no place in the hearts, of other races. This I consider as the principal reason of the superiority of our branch of the human family over all others; because even in the lowest, the most debased of our race, we generally find some spark of this redeeming trait, and however misapplied it may often be, and certainly is, it prevents us, even in our deepest errors, from falling so fearfully low as the others. The extent of moral abasement in which we find so many of the yellow and black races is absolutely impossible even to the very refuse of our society. The latter may equal, nay, surpass them in crime; but even they would shudder at that hideous abyss[Pg 454] of corrosive vices, which opens before the friend of humanity on a closer study of these races.[196]

Before concluding this picture, I would add that the immense superiority of the white races in all that regards the intellectual faculties, is joined to an inferiority as strikingly marked, in the intensity of sensations. Though his whole structure is more vigorous, the white man is less gifted in regard to the perfection of the senses than either the black or the yellow, and therefore less solicited and less absorbed by animal gratifications.

I have now arrived at the historical portion of my subject. There I shall place the truths enounced in this volume in a clearer light, and furnish irrefragable proofs of the fact, which forms the basis of my theory, that nations degenerate only in consequence and in proportion to their admixture with an inferior race—that a society receives its death-blow when, from the number of diverse ethnical elements which it comprises, a number of diverse modes of thinking and interests contend for predominance; when these modes[Pg 455] of thinking, and these interests have arisen in such multiplicity that every effort to harmonize them, to make them subservient to some great purpose, is in vain; when, therefore, the only natural ties that can bind large masses of men, homogeneity of thoughts and feelings, are severed, the only solid foundation of a social structure sapped and rotten.

To furnish the necessary details for this assertion, to remove the possibility of even the slightest doubt, I shall take up separately, every great and independent civilization that the world has seen flourish. I shall trace its first beginnings, its subsequent stages of development, its decadence and final decay. Here, then, is the proper test of my theory; here we can see the laws that govern ethnical relations in full force on a magnificent scale; we can verify their inexorably uniform and rigorous application. The subject is immense, the panorama spread before us the grandest and most imposing that the philosopher can contemplate, for its tableaux comprise the scene of action of every instance where man has really worked out his mission "to have dominion over the earth."

The task is great—too great, perhaps, for any one's undertaking. Yet, on a more careful investigation, many of the apparently insuperable difficulties [Pg 456]which discouraged the inquirer will vanish; in the gorgeous succession of scenes that meet his glance, he will perceive a uniformity, an intimate relation and connection which, like Ariadne's thread, will enable the undaunted and persevering student to find his way through the mazes of the labyrinth: we shall find that every civilization owes its origin, its development, its splendors, to the agency of the white races. In China and in India, in the vast continent of the West, centuries ere Columbus found it—it was one of the group of white races that gave the impetus, and, so long as it lasted, sustained it. Startling as this assertion may appear to a great number of readers, I hope to demonstrate its correctness by incontrovertible historical testimony. Everywhere the white races have taken the initiative, everywhere they have brought civilization to the others—everywhere they have sown the seed: the vigor and beauty of the plant depended on whether the soil it found was congenial or not.

The migrations of the white race, therefore, afford us at once a guide for our historical researches, and a clue to many apparently inexplicable mysteries: we shall learn to understand why, in a vast country, the development of civilization has come to a stand, and been superseded by a[Pg 457] retrogressive movement; why, in another, all but feeble traces of a high state of culture has vanished without apparent cause; why people, the lowest in the scale of intellect, are yet found in possession of arts and mechanical processes that would do honor to a highly intellectual race.

Among the group of white races, the noblest, the most highly gifted in intellect and personal beauty, the most active in the cause of civilization, is the Arian[197] race. Its history is intimately associated [Pg 458]with almost every effort on the part of man to develop his moral and intellectual powers.

It now remains for me to trace out the field of inquiry into which I propose to enter in the succeeding volumes. The list of great, independent civilizations is not long. Among all the innumerable nations that "strutted their brief hour on the stage" of the world, ten only have arrived at the state of complete societies, giving birth to distinct modes of intellectual culture. All the others were imitators or dependents; like planets they revolved around, and derived their light from the[Pg 459] suns of the systems to which they belonged. At the head of my list I would place:—

1. The Indian civilization. It spread among the islands of the Indian Ocean, towards the north, beyond the Himalaya Mountains, and towards the east, beyond the Brahmapootra. It was originated by a white race of the Arian stock.

2. The Egyptian civilization comes next. As its satellites may be mentioned the less perfect civilizations of the Ethiopians, Nubians, and several other small peoples west of the oasis of Ammon. An Arian colony from India, settled in the upper part of the Nile valley, had established this society.

3. The Assyrians, around whom rallied the Jews, Phenicians, Lydians, Carthaginians, and Hymiarites, were indebted for their social intelligence to the repeated invasions of white populations. The Zoroastrian Iranians, who flourished in Further Asia, under the names of Medes, Persians, and Bactrians, were all branches of the Arian family.

4. The Greeks belonged to the same stock, but were modified by Shemitic elements, which, in course of time, totally transformed their character.

5. China presents the precise counterpart of Egypt. The light of civilization was carried[Pg 460] thither by Arian colonies. The substratum of the social structure was composed of elements of the yellow race, but the white civilizers received reinforcements of their blood at various times.

6. The ancient civilization of the Italian peninsula (the Etruscan civilization), was developed by a mosaic of populations of the Celtic, Iberian, and Shemitic stock, but cemented by Arian elements. From it emerged the civilization of Rome.

7. Our civilization is indebted for its tone and character to the Germanic conquerors of the fifth century. They were a branch of the Arian family.

8, 9, 10. Under these heads I class the three civilizations of the western continent, the Alleghanian, the Mexican, and the Peruvians.

This is the field I have marked out for my investigations, the results of which will be laid before the reader in the succeeding volumes. The first part of my work is here at an end—the vestibule of the structure I wish to erect is completed.

[Pg 461]


By J. C. NOTT, M. D.,

[Pg 463]


I have seldom perused a work which has afforded me so much pleasure and instruction as the one of Count Gobineau, "Sur l'Inégalité des Races Humaines," and regard most of his conclusions as incontrovertible. There are, however, a few points in his argument which should not be passed without comment, and others not sufficiently elaborated. My original intention was to say much, but, fortunately for me, my colleague, Mr. Hotz, has so fully and ably anticipated me, in his Introduction and Notes, as to leave me little of importance to add.

The essay of Count Gobineau is eminently practical and useful in its design. He views the various races of men rather as a historian than a naturalist, and while he leaves open the long mooted question of unity of origin, he so fully establishes the permanency of the actual moral, intellectual, and physical diversities of races as to leave no ground for antagonists to stand upon. Whatever remote causes may be assigned, there is[Pg 464] no appeal from the conclusion that white, black, Mongol, and other races were fully developed in nations some 3000 years before Christ, and that no physical causes, during this long course of time, have been in operation, to change one type of man into another. Count Gobineau, therefore, accepts the existing diversity of races as at least an accomplished fact, and draws lessons of wisdom from the plain teachings of history. Man with him ceases to be an abstraction; each race, each nation, is made a separate study, and a fertile but unexplored field is opened to our view.

Our author leans strongly towards a belief in the original diversity of races, but has evidently been much embarrassed in arriving at conclusions by religious scruples and by the want of accurate knowledge in that part of natural history which treats of the designation of species, and the laws of hybridity; he has been taught to believe that two distinct species cannot produce perfectly prolific offspring, and therefore concludes that all races of men must be of one origin, because they are prolific inter se. My appendix will therefore be devoted mainly to this question of species.

[Pg 465]


Our author has taken the facts of Dr. Morton at second hand, and, moreover, had not before him Dr. Morton's later tables and more matured deductions; I shall therefore give an abstract of his results as published by himself in 1849, with some comments of my own. The figures represent the internal capacity of the skull in cubic inches, and were obtained by filling the cavity with shot and afterwards pouring them into an accurately graduated measure.

It must be admitted that the collection of Morton is not sufficiently full in all its departments to enable us to arrive at the absolute capacity of crania in the different races; but it is sufficiently complete to establish beyond cavil, the fact that the crania of the white are much larger than those of the dark races. His table is very incomplete in Mongol, Malays, and some others; but in the white races of Europe, the black races, and the American, the results are substantially correct. I have myself had ample opportunities for examining the heads of living negroes and Indians of America, as well as a considerable number of crania, and can fully indorse Dr. Morton's results. It will be seen that his skulls of American aborigines amount to 338.

[Pg 466]
Table, showing the Size of the Brain in Cubic Inches, as obtained by the Measurement of 623 Crania of various Races and Families of Man.
Mean. Mean.
Teutonic Family— Germans 18 114 70 90 } 92
English 5 105 91 96
Anglo-Americans 7 97 82 90
Pelasgic Family— Persians } 10 94 75 84
Celtic Family— Native Irish 6 97 78 87
Indostanic Family— Bengalees, &c. 32 91 67 80
Shemitic Family— Arabs 3 98 84 89
Nilotic Family— Fellahs 17 96 66 80
Pelasgic Family— Greco-Egyptians
(from Catacombs)
18 97 74 88
Nilotic Family— Egyptians
(from Catacombs)
55 96 68 80
Chinese Family 6 91 70 82
Malayan Family 20 97 68 86 } 85
Polynesian Family 8 84 82 83
Toltecan Family— Peruvians 155 101 58 75 } 79
Mexicans 22 92 67 79
Barbarous Tribes— Iroquois } 161 104 70 84
Shoshonè, &c.
Native African Family 62 99 65 83 } 83
American-born Negroes 12 89 73 82
Hottentot Family 3 83 68 75
Alforean Family— Australians 8 83 63 75

[Pg 467] Dr. Morton's mind, it will be seen by this table, had not yet freed itself from the incubus of artificial and unnatural classifications. Like Tiedemann and others, he has grouped together races which have not the slightest affinity in physical, moral, or linguistic characters. In the Caucasian group, for example, are placed the Teutonic, Indostanic, Shemitic, and Nilotic families, each of which, it can be shown, has existed utterly distinct for 5000 years, not to mention many subdivisions.

The table of Dr. Morton affords some curious results. His ancient Pelasgic heads and those of the modern white races, give the same size of brain, viz: 88 cubic inches; and his ancient Egyptians and their modern representatives, the Fellahs, yield the same mean, 80 cubic inches; the difference between the two groups being 8 cubic inches. These facts have a strong bearing on the question of permanence of types. The small-headed Hindoos present the same cranial capacity as the Egyptians, and though these races have each been the repository of early civilization, it is a question whether either was the originator of civilization. The Egyptian race, from the earliest monumental dawn, exhibits Shemitic adulteration; and Latham proves that the Sanscrit language was not indigenous to India, but was carried there from Northern Europe in early ages by conquerors.

Again, in the negro group, while it is absolutely shown that certain African races, whether born in[Pg 468] Africa, or of the tenth descent in America, give a cranial capacity almost identical, 83 cubic inches; we see, on the contrary, the Hottentot and Australian yielding a mean of but 75 inches, thereby showing a like difference of eight cubic inches.

In the American group, also, the same parallel holds good. The Toltecan family, the most civilized race, exhibit a mean of but 77 inches, while the barbarous tribes give 84, that is, a difference of 7 inches in favor of the savage. While, however, the Toltecans have the smaller heads, they are, according to Combe, much more developed in the anterior or intellectual lobes, which may serve to explain this apparent paradox.

When we compare the highest and lowest races with each other, the contrast becomes still more striking, viz: the Teutonic with the Hottentot and Australian. The former family gives a mean capacity of 92 inches, while the latter two yield but 75, or a difference of 17 cubic inches between the skulls of these types!

Now, as far back as history and monuments carry us, as well as crania and other testimonies, these various types have been permanent; and most of them we can trace back several thousand years. If such permanence of type through thousands of years, and in defiance of all climatic influences, does not establish specific characters, then is the naturalist at sea without a compass to guide him.

These facts determine clearly the arbitrary nature of all classifications heretofore adopted; the Teuton, the[Pg 469] Jew, the Hindoo, the Egyptian, &c., have all been included under the term Caucasian; and yet they have, as far as we know, been through all time as distinct in physical and moral characters from each other, as they have from the negro races of Africa and Oceanica. The same diversity of types is found among all the other groups, or arbitrary divisions of the human family.

Rich and rare as is the collection of Dr. Morton, it is very defective in many of its divisions, and it occurred to me that this deficiency might to some degree be supplied by the hat manufacturers of various nations; notwithstanding that the information derived from this source could give but one measurement, viz: the horizontal periphery. Yet this one measurement alone, on an extended scale, would go far towards determining the general size of the brain. I accordingly applied to three hat dealers in Mobile, and a large manufacturer in New Jersey, for statements of the relative number of hats of each size sold to adult males; their tables agree so perfectly as to leave no doubt as to the circumference of the heads of the white population of the United States. The three houses together dispose of about 15,000 hats annually.

The following table was obligingly sent me by Messrs. Vail & Yates, of Newark; and they accompanied it with the remark, that their hats were sent principally to our Western States, where there is a large proportion of German population; also that the[Pg 470] sizes of these hats were a little larger (about one fourth of an inch) than those sold in the Southern States. This remark was confirmed by the three dealers in Mobile. Our table gives, 1st. The number or size of the hat. 2d. The circumference of the head corresponding. 3d. The circumference of the hat; and lastly, the relative proportion of each No. sold out of 12 hats.

Size—inches. Circum. of head. Circum. of hat. Relative prop. in 12.
6⅞ 21⅝ 22⅜ 1
7 22 22¾ 2
7⅛ 22⅜ 23⅛ 3
22¾ 23½ 3
7⅜ 23⅛ 23⅞ 2
23½ 24¼ 1

All hats larger than these are called "extra sizes."

The average size, then, of the crania of white races in the United States, is about 22½ inches circumference, including the hair and scalp, for which about 1½ inches should be deducted, leaving a mean horizontal periphery, for adult males, of 21 inches. The measurements of the purest Teutonic races in Germany and other countries, would give a larger mean; and I have reason to believe that the population of France, which is principally Celtic, would yield a smaller mean. I hope that others will extend these observations.

Dr. Morton's measurements of aboriginal American races, give a mean of but 19½ inches; and this statement is greatly strengthened by the fact that the Mexicans and other Indian races wear much smaller[Pg 471] hats than our white races. (See Types of Mankind, p. 289 and 453.)

Prof. Tiedemann, of Heidelberg, asserts that the head of the negro is as large as that of the white man, but this we have shown to be an error. (Types of Mankind, p. 453.)

Tiedemann adopted the vulgar error of grouping together under the term Caucasian, all the Indo-Germanic, Shemitic, and Nilotic races; also all the black and dark races of Africa under the term Negro. Now I have shown that the Hindoo and Egyptian races possess about 12 cubic inches less of brain than the Teutonic; and the Hottentots about 8 inches less than the Negro proper. I affirm that no valid reason has ever been assigned why the Teuton and Hindoo, or Hottentot and Negro, should be classed together in their cranial measurements. I can discover no facts which can assign a greater age to one of these races than another; and unless Professor Tiedemann can overcome these difficulties, he has no right to assume identity for the various races he is pleased to group under each of his arbitrary divisions. Mummies from the catacombs, and portraits on the monuments, show that the heads of races on both sides of the Red Sea have remained unchanged 4000 years.

As Dr. Morton tabulated his skulls on the same arbitrary basis, I abandon his arrangement and present his facts as they stand in nature, allowing the reader to compare and judge for himself. The following table[Pg 472] gives the internal capacity in cubic inches, and it will be seen that the measurements arrange themselves in a sliding scale of 17 cubic inches from the Teuton down to the Hottentot and Australian.

Internal Capacity of Brain in Cubic Inches.
RACES. Internal capacity.
Internal capacity.
Modern White Races—
Teutonic group 92 92
Pelasgic group 84 } 88
Celtic group 87
Shemitic group 89
Ancient Pelasgic 88
Malays 85 } 83½
Chinese 82
Negroes (African) 83 83
Indostanese 80 } 80
Fellahs (modern Egyptians) 80
Egyptians (ancient) 80
American Group—
Toltecan family 77 } 79
Barbarous tribes 84
Hottentots 75 } 75
Australians 75

Such has been, through several thousand years, the incessant commingling of races, that we are free to admit that absolute accuracy in measurements of crania cannot now be attained. Yet so constant are the results in contrasting groups, that no unprejudiced mind can deny that there is a wide and well-marked disparity in the cranial developments of races.

[Pg 473]


As the discussion stands at the present day, we may assume that the scientific world is pretty equally divided on the question of unity of the human family, and the point is to be settled by facts, and not by names. Natural history is a comparatively new and still rapidly progressing science, and the study of man has been one of the last departments to attract serious attention. Blumenbach and Prichard, who may be regarded among the early explorers in this vast field, have but recently been numbered with the dead; and we may safely assert that the last ten years have brought forth materials which have shed an entirely new light on this subject.

Mr. Agassiz, Dr. Morton, Prof. Leidy, and many other naturalists of the United States, contend for an original diversity in the races of men, and we shall proceed to give some of the reasons why we have adopted similar views. Two of the latest writers of any note on the opposite side are the Rev. Dr. Bachman, of Charleston, and M. Flourens, of Paris; and as these gentlemen have very fully travelled over the argument opposed to us, we shall take the liberty, in the course of our remarks, to offer some objections to their views.

The great difficulty in this discussion is, to define[Pg 474] clearly what meaning should be attached to the term species; and to the illustration of this point, mainly, will our labors be confined. Genera are, for the most part, well defined by anatomical characters, and little dispute exists respecting them; but no successful attempt has yet been made to designate species in this way, and it is by their permanency of type alone, as ascertained from written or monumental records, that our decision can be guided.


The following definitions of species have been selected by Dr. Bachman, and may be received as unexceptionable as any others; but we shall show that they fall far short of the true difficulties of the case.

"We are under the necessity of admitting the existence of certain forms, which have perpetuated themselves, from the beginning of the world, without exceeding the limits prescribed: all the individuals belonging to one of these forms constitute a species."—Cuvier.

"We unite under the designation species all those individuals who mutually bear to each other so close a resemblance as to allow of our supposing that they may have proceeded originally from a single being, or a single pair."—De Candolle.

"The name species is applied to an assemblage of individuals which bear a strong resemblance to each other, and which are perpetuated with the same essential qualities. Thus man, the dog, the horse, constitute to the zoologist so many distinct species."—Milne Edwards and Achille Compte.

We have no objection to this definition, but the examples cited are points in dispute, and not received by many of the leading naturalists of the day.

[Pg 475] "Species are fixed and permanent forms of being, exhibiting indeed certain modes of variation, of which they may be more or less susceptible, but maintaining throughout those modifications a sameness of structural essentials, transmitted from generation to generation, and never lost by the influence of causes which otherwise produce obvious effects. Varieties are either accidental or the result of the care and culture of man."[198]Martin.

Dr. Bachman gives another, substantially the same, from Agassiz; and also one of his own, to which he appends, as an additional test of species, the production of "fertile offspring by association." In this definition the doctor assumes one of the main points in dispute.

"Varieties," says Dr. Bachman, "are those that are produced within the limits of particular species, and have not existed from its origin. They sometimes originate in wild species, especially those that have a wide geographical range, and are thus exposed to change of climate and temperature," &c. * * * "Permanent varieties are such as, having once taken place, are propagated in perpetuity, and do not change their characteristics unless they breed with other varieties."

We may remark that the existence of such permanent varieties as here described is also in dispute.

The same author continues:—

"On comparing these definitions, as given by various naturalists, each in his own language, it will be perceived that there is no essential difference in the various views expressed in regard to the characters by which a species is designated. They all regard it as 'the lowest term to which we descend, with the exception of varieties, such as are seen in domestic animals.' They are, to examine the external and internal organization of the[Pg 476] animal or plant—they are, to compare it with kindred species, and if by this examination they are found to possess permanent characters differing from those of other species, it proves itself to be a distinct species. When this fact is satisfactorily ascertained, and the specimen is not found a domestic species, in which varieties always occur, presumptive evidence is afforded of its having had a primordial existence. We infer this from the fact that no species is the production of blind chance, and that within the knowledge of history no true species, but varieties only, whose origin can be distinctly traced to existing and well-known species, have made their appearance in the world. This, then, is the only means within the knowledge of man by which any species of plant or animal can be shown to be primordial. The peculiar form and characters designated the species, and its origin was a necessary inference derived from the characters stamped on it by the hand of the Creator."

To all the positions thus far taken by Dr. Bachman, we most cheerfully subscribe; they are strictly scientific, and by such criteria alone do we desire to test the unity of the human family; but we must enter a decided demurrer to the assertion which follows, viz: that, "according to the universally received definition of species, all the individuals of the human race are proved to be of one species." When it shall be shown that all the races of men, dogs, horses, cattle, wolves, foxes, &c., are "varieties only, whose origin can be distinctly traced to existing and well-known species," we may then yield the point; but we must be permitted to say that Dr. Bachman is the only naturalist, as far as we know, who has assumed to know these original types.

Now, if the reader will turn back and review carefully all the definitions of species cited, he will perceive[Pg 477] that they are not based upon anatomical characters, but simply on the permanency of certain organic forms, and that this permanence of form is determined by its history alone.

Professor Owen, of London, has thrown the weight of his great name into the scale, and tells us that "man is the sole species of his genus, the sole representative of his order." But proving that man is not a monkey, as the professor has done in the lecture alluded to, does not prove that men are all of one species, according to any definition yet received: he has made the assertion, but has assigned no scientific reasons to sustain it. No one would be more rejoiced than ourselves, to see the great talent and learning of Professor Owen brought fully to bear on this point; but, like most naturalists, he has overlooked one of the most important points in this discussion—the monumental history of man.

Will Professor Owen or Dr. Bachman tell us wherein the lion and tiger—the dog, wolf, fox, and jackal—the fossil horse, and living species—the Siberian mammoth and the Indian elephant, differ more from each other than the white man and the negro? Are not all these regarded by naturalists as distinct species, and yet who pretends to be able to distinguish the skeleton of one from the other by specific characters?

The examples just cited, of living species, have been decided upon simply from their permanency of type, as derived from their history; and we say that, by the[Pg 478] same process of reasoning, the races of men depicted on the monuments of Egypt, five thousand years ago, and which have maintained their types through all time and all climates since, are distinct species.

Dr. Morton defines species—"a primordial organic form," and determines these forms by their permanence through all human records; and Mr. Agassiz, who adopts this definition, adds: "Species are thus distinct forms of organic life, the origin of which is lost in the primitive establishment of the state of things now existing; and varieties are such modification of the species as may return to the typical form under temporary influences."

Dr. Bachman objects very strongly to this definition, and declares it a "cunning device, and, to all intents, an ex post facto law," suddenly conjured up during a controversy, to avoid the difficulties of the case; but we have serious doubts whether these gentlemen are capable of such subterfuge in matters of science, and confess that we cannot see any substantial difference between their definition and those given by Dr. Bachman. Morton and Agassiz determine a form to be "primordial" by its permanency, as proved by history, and the other definitions assign no other test.

Professor Leidy, who has not only studied the "lower departments of zoology," like Mr. Agassiz, but also the "higher forms of animal life," says that "too[Pg 479] much importance has been attached to the term species," and gives the following definition: "A species of plant or animal may be defined to be an immutable organic form, whose characteristic distinctions may always be recognized by a study of its history."[199]

M. Jourdain, under the head "Espèce," in his Dictionnaire des Termes des Sciences Naturelles, after citing a long list of definitions from leading authors, concludes with the following remarks, which, as the question now stands before the world, places the term species just where it should be:—

"It is evident that we can, among organized bodies, regard as a species only such a collection of beings as resemble each other more than they resemble others, and which, by a consent more or less unanimous, it is agreed to designate by a common name; for a species is but a simple abstraction of the mind, and not a group, exactly determined by nature herself, as ancient as she is, and of which she has irrevocably traced the limits. It is in the definition of species that we recognize how far the influence of ideas adopted without examination in youth is powerful in obscuring the most simple ideas of general physics."

Although not written with the expectation of publication, I will take the liberty of publishing the following private letter just received from Prof. Leidy. He has not appeared at all in this controversy before the public, and we may safely say that no one can be better qualified than he is to express an opinion on this question of species.

[Pg 480] "With all the contention about the question of what constitutes a species, there appears to be almost no difficulty, comparatively, in its practical recognition. Species of plants and animals are daily determined, and the characters which are given to distinguish them are viewed by the great body of naturalists as sufficient. All the definitions, however, which have been given for a species, are objectionable. Morton says: 'A species is a primordial organic form.' But how shall we distinguish the latter? How can it be proved that any existing forms primordially were distinct? In my attempted definition, I think, I fail, for I only direct how species are discovered.

"According to the practical determination of a species by naturalists, in a late number of the Proceedings of our Academy (vol. vii. p. 201), I observe: 'A species is a mere convenient word with which naturalists empirically designate groups of organized beings possessing characters of comparative constancy, as far as historic experience has guided them in giving due weight to such constancy.'

"According to this definition, the races of men are evidently distinct species. But it may be said that the definition is given to suit the circumstances. So it is, and so it should be; or, if not, then all characterized species should conform to an arbitrary definition. The species of gypætus, haliætus, tanagra, and of many other genera of birds, are no more distinguishable than the species of men; and, I repeat, the anatomy of one species of haliætus, or of any other genus, will answer for that of all the other species of the same genus. The same is the case with mammals. One species of felis, ursus, or equus will give the exact anatomy of all the other species in each genus, just as you may study the anatomy of the white man upon the black man. While Prof. Richard Owen will compare the orang with man, and therefore deduce all races of the latter to be of one species, he divides the genus cervus into several other genera, and yet there is no difference in their internal anatomy; while he considers the horse and the ass as two distinct genera, and says that a certain fossil horse-tooth, carefully compared with the corresponding tooth of the recent horse, showed no differences, excepting in being a little more curved, he considers it a distinct species, under the name of equus curvidens; and yet,[Pg 481] with differences of greater value in the jaws of the negro and white man, he considers them the same.

"In the restricted genera of vertebrata of modern naturalists, the specific characters are founded on the external appendages, for the most part—differences in the scales, horns, antlers, feathers, hairs, or bills. Just as you separate the black and white man by the difference in the color of the skin and the character of the hair, so do we separate the species of bears, or cats, &c.

"Philadelphia, April 18, 1855."

We might thus go on and multiply, to the extent of an octavo volume, evidence to show how vague and unsettled is the term species among naturalists, and that, when we abandon historical records, we have no reliable guide left. Moreover, were we able to establish perfectly reliable landmarks between species, we still have no means of determining whether they were originally created in one pair, or many pairs. The latter is certainly the most rational supposition: there is every reason to believe that the earth and the sea brought forth "abundantly" of each species.

It must be clear to the reader, from the evidence above adduced, that Dr. Bachman claims far too much when he asserts that—

"Naturalists can be found, in Europe and America, who, without any vain boast, can distinguish every species of bird and quadruped on their separate continents; and the characters which distinguish and separate the several species are as distinct and infallible as are those which form the genera."[200]

[Pg 482] And, again, when he says:—

"From the opportunities we have enjoyed in the examination of the varieties and species of domesticated quadrupeds and birds, we have never found any difficulty in deciding on the species to which these varieties belong."

Those of us who are still groping in darkness certainly have a right to ask who are the authorities alluded to, and what are those "characters which distinguish and separate species" as distinctly and infallibly as "genera?" They are certainly not in print.

The doctor must pardon us for reminding him that there is printed evidence that his own mind is not always free from doubts. In the introduction of Audubon and Bachman's Quadrupeds of America, p. vii., it is said:—

"Although genera may be easily ascertained by the forms and dental arrangements peculiar to each, many species so nearly approach each other in size, while they are so variable in color, that it is exceedingly difficult to separate them with positive certainty."

Again, in speaking of the genus vulpes (foxes), the same work says:—

"The characters of this genus differ so slightly from those of the genus canis, that we are induced to pause before removing it from the sub-genus in which it had so long remained. As a general rule, we are obliged to admit that a large fox is a wolf, and a small wolf may be termed a fox. So inconveniently large, however, is the list of species in the old genus canis, that it is, we think, advisable to separate into distinct groups such species as possess any characters different from true wolves."

[Pg 483]Speaking of the origin of the domestic dog, Dr. Bachman, in his work on Unity of Races, p. 63, says:—

"Notwithstanding all these difficulties—and we confess we are not free from some doubts in regard to their identity (dog and wolf)—if we were called upon to decide on any wild species as the progenitor of our dogs, we would sooner fix upon the large wolf than on any other dog, hyena, or jackal," &c.

The doctor is unable, here at least (and we can point out many other cases), to "designate species;" and the recent investigations of Flourens, at the Jardin des Plantes, prove him wrong as regards the origin of the dog. The dog is not derived from the "large wolf," but, with it, produces hybrids, sterile after the third generation. The dog forms a genus apart.

We repeat, then, that in a large number of genera, the species cannot be separated by any anatomical characters, and that it is from their history alone naturalists have arrived at those minute divisions now generally received. We may, without the fear of contradiction, go a step further, and assert that several of the races of men are as widely separated in physical organization, physiological and psychological characters, as are the canidæ, equidæ, felines, elephants, bears and others. When the white races of Europe, the Mongols of Asia, the aborigines of America, the black races of Africa and Oceanica are placed beside each other, they are marked by stronger differences than are the species of the genera above named. It has been objected that these gaps are filled by intermediate links which make[Pg 484] the chain complete from one extremity to the other. The admission of the fact does not invalidate our position, for we have shown elsewhere (see Types of Mankind) gradation is the law of nature. The extreme types, we have proven, have been distinct for more than 5000 years, and no existing causes during that time have transformed one type into another. The well-marked negro type, for example, stands face to face with the white type on the monuments of Egypt; and they differ more from each other than the dog and wolf, ass and Equis Hemionus, lion and tiger, &c. The hair and skin, the size and shape of head, the pelvis, the extremities, and other points, separate certain African and Oceanican negroes more widely than the above species. This will not be questioned, whatever difference of opinion may exist with regard to the permanency of these forms. In the language of Prof. Leidy, "the question to be determined is, whether the differences in the races of men are as permanent and of as much value as those which characterize species in the lower genera of animals." These races of men too are governed by the same laws of geographical distribution, as the species of the lower genera; they are found, as far back as history can trace them, as widely separated as possible, and surrounded by local Floræ and Faunæ.

[Pg 485]


This term is very conveniently introduced to explain all the difficulties which embarrass this discussion. Dr. Bachman insists that all the races of men are mere varieties, and sustains the opinion by a repetition of those analogies which have been so often drawn from the animal kingdom by Prichard and his school. It is well known that those animals which have been domesticated undergo, in a few generations, very remarkable changes in color, form, size, habits, &c. For example, all the hogs, black, white, brown, gray, spotted, &c., now found scattered over the earth, have, it is said, their parentage in one pair of wild hogs. "This being admitted," says Dr. B. "we invite the advocates of plurality in the human species to show wherein these varieties are less striking than their eight (alluding to Agassiz) originally created nations." Again—

"And how has the discovery been made that all the permanent races are mere varieties, and not 'originally created' species, or 'primitive varieties?' Simply because the naturalists of Germany, finding that the original wild hog still exists in their forests, have, in a thousand instances, reclaimed them from the woods. By this means they have discovered that their descendants, after a few generations, lose their ferocity, assume all colors," &c.

The same reasoning is applied to horses, cattle, goats, sheep, &c., while many, if not most of the best naturalists of the day deny that we know anything of the origin of our domestic animals. Geoffroy St.[Pg 486] Hilaire, in his work, just out, denies it in toto. We are, however, for the sake of argument, willing to admit all the examples, and all he claims with regard to the origin of endless varieties in domesticated animals.[201]

Let us, on the other hand, "invite the advocates of unity of the human species" to say when and where such varieties have sprung up in the human family. We not only have the written history of man for 2000 years, but his monumental history for 2000 more; and yet, while the naturalists of Germany are catching wild hogs, and recording in a thousand instances "after a few generations" these wonderful changes, no one has yet pointed out anything analogous in the human family; the porcupine family in England, a few spotted Mexicans, &c., do not meet the case; history records the origin of no permanent variety. No race of men has in the same country turned black, brown, gray, white, and spotted. The negroes in America have not in ten generations turned to all colors, though fully[Pg 487] domesticated, like pigs and turkeys. The Jews in all countries for 2000 years are still Jews. The gypsies are everywhere still gypsies. In India, the different castes, of different colors, have been living together several thousand years, and are still distinct, &c. &c.

Nor does domestication affect all animals and fowls equally; compare the camel, ass, and deer, with the hog and dog; the Guinea fowl, pea fowl, and goose, with pigeons, turkeys, and common fowls. In fact, no one animal can be taken as an analogue for another: each has its own physiological laws; each is influenced differently and in different degrees by the same external influences. How, then, can an animal be taken as an analogue for man?

We have also abundant authority to show that all wild species do not present the same uniformity in external characters.

"All packs of American wolves usually consist of various shades of color, and varieties nearly black have been occasionally found in every part of the United States.... In a gang of wolves which existed in Colleton District, South Carolina, a few years ago (sixteen of which were killed by hunters in eighteen months), we were informed that about one-fifth were black, and the others of every shade of color, from black to dusky gray and yellowish white."—Audubon & Bachman, 2d Amer. ed., vol. ii. pp. 130-1.

Speaking of the white American wolf, the same authors say:—

"Their gait and movements are precisely the same as those of the common dog, and their mode of copulating and number of young brought forth at a litter, are about the same." (It might[Pg 488] have been added that their number of bones, teeth, whole anatomical structure are the same.) "The diversity of their size and color is remarkable, no two being quite alike."... "The wolves of the prairies ... produce from six to eleven at a birth, of which there are very seldom two alike in color."—Op. cit., p. 159.

"The common American wolf, Richardson observes, sometimes shows remarkable diversity of color. On the banks of the Mackenzie River I saw five young wolves leaping and tumbling over each other with all the playfulness of the puppies of the domestic dog, and it is not improbable they were all of one litter. One of them was pied, another black, and the rest showed the colors of the common gray wolves."

The same diversity is seen in the prairie wolf, and naturalists have been much embarrassed in classifying the various wolves on account of colors, size, &c.

All this is independent of domestication, and shows the uncertainty of analogues; and still it is remarkable that though considerable variety exists in the native dogs of America in color and size, they do not run into the thousand grotesque forms seen on the old continent, where a much greater mixture exists. The dogs of America, like the aboriginal races of men, are comparatively uniform. In the East, where various races have come together, the men, like the dogs, present endless varieties, Egypt, Assyria, India, &c.

Let us suppose that one variety of hog had been discovered in Africa, one in Asia, one in Europe, one in Australia, another in America, as well marked as those Dr. B. describes; that these varieties had been transferred to other climates as have been Jews,[Pg 489] gypsies, negroes, &c., and had remained for ages without change of form or color, would they be considered as distinct species or not?—can any one doubt? The rule must work both ways, or the argument falls to the ground.

In fact the Dr. himself makes admissions which fully refute his whole theory.

"Whilst," says he, "we are willing to allow some weight to the argument advanced by President Smyth, who endeavors to account for the varieties in man from the combined influences of three causes, 'climate, the state of society, and manner of living,' we are free to admit that it is impossible to account for the varieties in the human family from the causes which he has assigned."[202]

The Dr. further admits, in the same work, that the races have been permanent since the time of the old Egyptian empire, and supposes that at some extremely remote time, of which we have no record, that "they were more susceptible of producing varieties than at a later period." These suppositions answer a very good purpose in theology, but do not meet the requirements of science.


Having shown the insufficiency of all the other arguments in establishing the landmarks of species, let us now turn to those based on hybridity, which seems to be the last stronghold of the unity party. On this[Pg 490] point hang all the difficulties of M. Gobineau, and had he been posted up to date here, his doubts would all have vanished. The last twelve months have added some very important facts to those previously published, and we shall, with as little detail as possible, present the subject in its newest light.

It is contended that when two animals of distinct species, or, in other words, of distinct origin, are bred together, they produce a hybrid which is infertile, or which at least becomes sterile in a few generations if preserved free from admixture with the parent stocks. It is assumed that unlimited prolificness is a certain test of community of origin.

We, on the contrary, contend that there is no abrupt line of demarcation; that no complete laws of hybridity have yet been established; that there is a regular gradation in the prolificness of the species, and that, according to the best lights we now possess, there is a continued series from perfect sterility to perfect prolificacy. The degrees may be expressed in the following language:—

1. That in which hybrids never reproduce; in other words, where the mixed progeny begins and ends with the first cross.

2. That in which the hybrids are incapable of producing inter se, but multiply by union with the parent stock.

3. That in which animals of unquestionably distinct[Pg 491] species produce a progeny which are prolific inter se, but have a tendency to run out.

4. That which takes place between closely proximate species; among mankind, for example, and among those domestic animals most essential to human wants and happiness; here the prolificacy is unlimited.

It seems to be a law that in those genera where several or many species exist, there is a certain gradation which is shown in degrees of hybridity; some having greater affinity than others. Experiments are still wanting to make our knowledge perfect, but we know enough to establish our points.

There are many points we have not space to dwell on, as the relative influence of the male and female on the offspring; the tendency of one species to predominate over another; the tendency of types to "crop out" after lying dormant for many generations; the fact that in certain species some of the progeny take after one parent and some after the other, while in other cases the offspring presents a medium type, &c.

The genus Equus (Horse) comprises six species, of which three belong to Asia, and three to Africa. The Asiatic species are the Equus Caballus (Horse), Equus Hemionus (Dzigguetai), and Equus Asinus (Ass). Those of Africa are the Equus Zebra (Zebra), Equus Montanus (Daw), and the Equus Quaccha (Quagga). The horse and ass alone have been submitted to domestication from time immemorial; the others have remained wild.

[Pg 492]It is well known that the horse and ass produce together an unprolific mule, and as these two species are the furthest removed from each other in their physical structure, Dr. Morton long since suggested that intermediate species bred together would show a higher degree of prolificness, and this prediction has been vindicated by experiments recently made in the Garden of Plants at Paris, where the ass and dzigguetai have been bred together for the last ten years. "What is very remarkable, these hybrids differ considerably from each other; some resemble much more closely the dzigguetai, others the ass." In regard to the product of the male dzigguetai and the jenny, Mr. Geoffroy St. Hilaire says:[203]

"Another fact, not less worthy of interest, is the fecundity, if not of all the mules, at least the firstborn among them; with regard to this, the fact is certain; he has produced several times with Jennies, and once with the female dzigguetai, the only one he has covered."[204]

At a meeting of the "Société Zoologique d'Acclimation,"

M. Richard (du Cantal) "parle des essais de croisements de l'hémione avec l'anesse, et dit qu'ils ont donnè un mulet beaucoup plus ardent que l'âne. Il asserte que les produits de l'hémione avec l'âne, sont féconds, et que le métis, nommé Polka, à déja produit."

[Pg 493]To what extent the prolificness of these two species will go is yet to be determined, and there is an unexplored field still open among the other species of this genus; it is highly probable that a gradation may be established from sterility, up to perfect prolificacy.

Not only do the female ass and the male onager breed together, but a male offspring of this cross, with a mare, produces an animal more docile than either parent, and combining the best physical qualities, such as strength, speed, &c.; whence the ancients preferred the onager to the ass, for the production of mules.[205] Mr. Gliddon, who lived upwards of twenty years in Egypt and other eastern countries, informs me this opinion is still prevalent in Egypt, and is acted upon more particularly in Arabia, Persia, &c., where the gour, or wild ass, still roams the desert. The zebra has also been several times crossed with the horse.

The genus canis contains a great many species, as domestic dogs, wolves, foxes, jackals, &c., and much discussion exists as to which are really species and which mere varieties. In this genus experiments in crossing have been carried a step further than in the Equidæ, but there is much yet to be done. All the species produce prolific offspring, but how far the prolificness might extend in each instance is not known; there is reason to believe that every grade would be[Pg 494] found except that of absolute sterility which is seen in the offspring of the horse and ass.

The following facts are given by M. Flourens, and are the result of his own observations at the Jardin des Plantes.

"The hybrids of the dog and wolf are sterile after the third generation; those of the jackal and dog, are so after the fourth.

"Moreover, if one of these hybrids is bred with one of the primitive species, they soon return, completely and totally, to this species.

"My experiments on the crossing of species have given me opportunities of making a great many observations of this kind.

"The union of the dog and jackal produces a hybrid—a mixed animal, an animal partaking almost equally of the two, but in which, however, the type of the jackal predominates over that of the dog.

"I have remarked, in fact, in my experiments, that all types are not equally dominant and persistent. The type of the dog is more persistent than that of the wolf—that of the jackal more than that of the dog; that of the horse is less than that of the ass, &c. The hybrid of the dog and the wolf partakes more of the dog than the wolf; the hybrid of the jackal and dog, takes more after the jackal than dog; the hybrid of the horse and the ass partakes less of the horse than the ass; it has the ears, back, rump, voice of the ass; the horse neighs, the ass brays, and the mule brays like the ass, &c.

"The hybrid of the dog and jackal, then, partakes more of the jackal than dog—it has straight ears, hanging tail, does not bark, and is wild—it is more jackal than dog.

"So much for the first cross product of the dog with the jackal. I continue to unite, from generation to generation, the successive products with one of the two primitive stocks—with that of the dog, for example. The hybrid of the second generation does not yet bark, but has already the ears pendent at the ends, and is less savage. The hybrid of the third generation[Pg 495] barks, has the ears pendent, the tail turned up, and is no longer wild. The hybrid of the fourth generation is entirely a dog.

"Four generations, then, have sufficed to re-establish one of the two primitive types—the type of the dog; and four generations suffice, also, to bring back the other type."[206]

From the foregoing facts, M. Flourens deduces, without assigning a reason, the following non sequitur:—

"Thus, then, either hybrids, born of the union of two distinct species, unite and soon become sterile, or they unite with one of the parent stocks, and soon return to this type—they in no case give what may be called a new species, that is to say, an intermediate durable species."[207]

The dog also produces hybrids with the fox and hyena, but to what extent has not yet been determined. The hybrid fox is certainly prolific for several generations.

There are also bovine, camelline, caprine, ovine, feline, deer with the ram, and endless other hybrids, running through the animal kingdom, but they are but repetitions of the above facts, and experiments are still far from being complete in establishing the degrees which attach to each two species. We have abundant proofs, however, of the three first degrees of hybridity. 1st. Where the hybrid is infertile. 2d. Where it produces with the parent stock. 3d. Where it is prolific[Pg 496] for one, two, three, or four generations, and then becomes sterile. Up to this point there is no diversity of opinion. Let us now inquire what evidence there is of the existence of the 4th degree, in which hybrids may form a new and permanent race.

To show how slow has been our progress in this question, and what difficulties beset our path, we need only state that the facts respecting the dog, wolf, and jackal, quoted above from Flourens, have only been published within the last twelve months. The identity of the dog and wolf has heretofore been undetermined, and the degrees of hybridity of the dog with the wolf and jackal were before unknown. These experiments do not extend beyond one species of wolf.

M. Flourens says:—

"Les espèces ne s'altèrent point, ne changent point, ne passent point de l'une à l'autre; les espèces sont fixés."

"If species have a tendency to transformation, to pass one into another, why has not time, which, in everything, effects all that can happen, ended by disclosing, by betraying, by implying this tendency.

"But time, they may tell me, is wanting. It is not wanting. It is 2000 years since Aristotle wrote, and we recognize in our day all the animals which he describes; and we recognize them by the characters which he assigns.... Cuvier states that the history of the elephant is more exact in Aristotle than in Buffon. They bring us every day from Egypt, the remains of animals which lived there two or three thousand years ago—the ox, crocodiles, ibis, &c. &c., which are the same as those of the present day. We have under our eyes human mummies—the skeleton of that day is identical with that of the Egyptian of our day."

(M. Flourens might have added that the mummies[Pg 497] of the white and black races show them to have been as distinct then as now, and that the monumental drawings represent the different races more than a thousand years further back.)

"Thus, then, through three thousand years, no species has changed. An experiment which continues through three thousand years, is not an experiment to be made—it is an experiment made. Species do not change."[208]

Permanence of type, then, is the only test which he can adduce for the designation of species, and he here comes back plainly to the position we have taken. Let us now test the races of men by this rule. The white Asiatic races, the Jew, the Arab, the Egyptian, the negro, at least, are distinctly figured on the monuments of Egypt and Assyria, as distinct as they are now, and time and change of climate have not transformed any one type into another. In whatever unexplored regions of the earth the earliest voyagers have gone, they have found races equally well marked. These races are all prolific inter se, and there is every reason to believe that we here find the fourth and last degree of hybridity. Whether the prolificacy is unlimited between all the races or species of men is still an unsettled point, and experiments have not yet been fully and fairly made to determine the question. The dog and wolf become sterile at the third. The dog and jackal[Pg 498] at the fourth generation, and who can tell whether the law of hybridity might not show itself in man, after a longer succession of generations. There are no observations yet of this kind in the human family. It is a common belief in our Southern States, that mulattoes are less prolific, and attain a less longevity than the parent stocks. I am convinced of the truth of this remark, when applied to the mulatto from the strictly white and black races, and I am equally convinced, from long personal observation, that the dark-skinned European races, as Spaniards, Portuguese, Italians, Basques, &c., mingle much more perfectly with the negroes than do fair races, thus carrying out the law of gradation in hybridity. If the mulattoes of New Orleans and Mobile be compared with those of the Atlantic States, the fact will become apparent.

The argument in favor of unlimited prolificacy between species may be strongly corroborated by an appeal to the history of our domestic animals, whose history is involved in the same impenetrable mystery as that of man. M. Geoffroy St. Hilaire very justly remarks that we know nothing of the origin of our domestic animals; because we find wild hogs, goats, sheep, &c., in certain parts of Europe, several thousand years subsequent to the early migrations of man, this does not prove that the domestic come from these wild ones. The reverse may be the case.[209]

[Pg 499]We have already made some general observations on the genus canis, whose natural history is most closely allied to that of man. Let us now inquire whether the domestic dog is but one species, or whether under this head have been included many proximate species of unlimited prolificacy. If we try the question by permanency of type, like the races of men, and all well-marked species, the doubt must be yielded.

There are strong reasons given by Dr. Morton and other naturalists, for supposing that our common dogs, independent of mixtures of their various races, may also have an infusion of the blood of foxes, wolves, jackals, and even the hyena; thus forming, as we see every day around us, curs of every possible grade; but setting aside all this, we have abundant evidence to show that each zoological province has its original dog, and, perhaps, not unfrequently several.

In one chapter on hybridity in the "Types of Mankind," it is shown that our Indian dogs in America present several well-marked types, unlike any in the Old World, and which are indigenous to the soil. For example, the Esquimaux dog, the Hare Indian dog, the North American dog, and several others. We have not space here to enter fully into the facts, but they will be found at length in the work above mentioned. These dogs, too, are clearly traced to wild species of this continent.

In other parts of the world we find other species equally well marked, but we shall content ourselves with[Pg 500] the facts drawn from the ancient monuments of Egypt. It is no longer a matter of dispute that as far back, at least, as the twelfth dynasty, about 2300 years before Christ, we find the common small dog of Egypt, the greyhound, the staghound, the turnspit, and several other types which do not correspond with any dogs that can now be identified.[210] We find, also, the mastiff admirably portrayed on the monuments of Babylon, which dog was first brought from the East to Greece by Alexander the Great, 300 years B. C. The museums of natural history, also, everywhere abound in the remains of fossil dogs, which long antedate all living species.

The wolf, jackal, and hyena are also found distinctly drawn on the early monuments of Egypt, and a greyhound, exactly like the English greyhound, with semi-pendent ears, is seen on a statue in the Vatican, at Rome. It is clear, then, that the leading types of dogs of the present day (and probably all) existed more than four thousand years ago, and it is equally certain that the type of a dog, when kept pure, will endure in opposite[Pg 501] climates for ages. Our staghounds, greyhounds, mastiffs, turnspits, pointers, terriers, &c., are bred for centuries, not only in Egypt and Europe without losing their types, but in any climate which does not destroy them. No one denies that climate influences these animals greatly, but the greyhound, staghound, or bulldog can never be transformed into each other.

The facts above stated cannot be questioned, and it is admitted that these species are all prolific without limit inter se.

The llama affords another strong argument in favor of the fourth degree of hybridity. Cuvier admits but two species—the llama (camelus llacma), of which he regards the alpaca as a variety, and the vigogne (camelus vicunna). More recent naturalists regard the alpaca as a distinct species, among whom is M. Geoffroy St. Hilaire.[211] At all events, it seems settled that they all breed together without limit.

"A son tour, après la vigogne, viendra bientôt l'alpavigogne, fruit du croisement de l'alpaca avec la vigogne. Don Francisco de Theran, il ya quarante ans, et M. de Castelnau, avaient annoncé déjà que ce métis est fécond, et qu'il porte une laine presque aussi longue que celle de l'alpaca, presque aussi fine que celle de la vigogne.... M. Weddell a mis tout récemment l'Académie des Sciences à même de voir et d'admirer cette admirable toison. Il a confirmé en même temps un fait que n'avait trouvé que des incrédules parmi les naturalists—la fécondité de l'alpaca-vigogne: l'abbé Cabrera, curé de la petite ville de Macusani, a obtenu une race qui se perpétue et dont il possède déjà tout un troupeau. C'est, donc, pour ainsi dire,[Pg 502] une nouvelle espèce créée par l'homme; et si paradoxal qu' ait pu sembler ce résultat, il est, fort heureusement pour l'industrie, définitivement acquis à la science.

"Ce résultat n'aurait rien de paradoxal, si l'alpaca n'était, comme l'ont pensé plusieurs auteurs, qu'une race domestique et três modifiée de la vigogne. Cette objection contre le pretendu principe de l'infécondite des mulets ne serait d'ailleurs levée que pour faire place à une autre; l'alpa-llama serait alors un mulet, issu de deux espèces distincts, et l'alpa-llama est fécond comme l'alpa-vigogne."[212]

We have recently seen exhibited in Mobile a beautiful hybrid of the alpaca and common sheep, and the owner informed us that he had a flock at home, which breed perfectly.

Dr. Bachman confesses that he has not examined the drawings given in the works of Lepsius, Champollion, Rossellini, and other Egyptologists, of various animals represented on the monuments, and ridicules the idea of their being received as authority in matters of natural history. Although many of the drawings are rudely done, most of them, in outline, are beautifully executed, and Dr. B. is the first, so far as we know, to call the fact in question. Dr. Chas. Pickering is received by Dr. B. as high authority in scientific matters—he has not only examined these drawings, but their originals. Lepsius, Champollion, Rossellini, Wilkinson, and all the Egyptologists, have borne witness to the reliability of these drawings, and have enumerated hundreds of animals and plants which are perfectly identified.

[Pg 503]Martin, the author of the work on "Man and Monkeys," is certainly good authority. He says:—

"Now we have in modern Egypt and Arabia, and also in Persia, varieties of greyhound closely resembling those of the ancient remains of art, and it would appear that two or three varieties exist—one smooth, another long haired, and another smooth with long-haired ears, resembling those of the spaniel. In Persia, the greyhound, to judge from specimens we have seen, is silk-haired, with a fringed tail. They are of a black color; but a fine breed, we are informed, is of a slate or ash color, as are some of the smooth-haired greyhounds depicted in the Egyptian paintings. In Arabia, a large, rough, powerful race exists; and about Akaba, according to Laborde, a breed of slender form, fleet, with a long tail, very hairy, in the form of a brush, with the ears erect and pointed, closely resembling, in fact, many of those figured by the ancient Egyptians."[213]

He goes on to quote Col. Sykes, and others, for other varieties of greyhound in the east, unlike any in Europe.

Dr. Pickering, after enumerating various objects identified on the monuments of the third and fourth dynasties, as Nubians, white races, the ostrich, ibis, jackal, antelope, hedgehog, goose, fowls, ducks, bullock, donkey, goats, dog-faced ape, hyena, porcupine, wolves, foxes, &c. &c., when he comes down to the twelfth dynasty, says:—

"The paintings on the walls represent a vast variety of subjects; including, most unexpectedly, the greater part of the arts and trades practised among civilized nations at the present day; also birds, quadrupeds, fishes, and insects, amounting to an extended treatise on zoology, well deserving the attention of naturalists. [Pg 504]The date accompanying these representations has been astronomically determined by Biot, at about B. C. 2200 (Champollion-Figeac, Egyp. Arc.); and Lepsius's chronological computation corresponds."[214]

Dr. P. gives us a fauna and flora of Egypt, running further back than Usher's date for the creation, and it cannot be doubted that the drawings are as reliable as those in any modern work on natural history.


Mr. Gobineau remarks (p. 367), that he has very serious doubts as to the unity of origin. "These doubts, however," he continues, "I am compelled to repress, because they are in contradiction to a scientific fact, which I cannot refute—the prolificness of half-breeds; and secondly, what is of much greater weight with me, they impugn a religious interpretation sanctioned by the church."

With regard to the prolificness of half-breeds, I have already mentioned such facts as might have served to dispel the learned writer's doubts, had he been acquainted with them. In reference to the other, more serious, obstacle to his admission of the plurality of origins, he himself intimates (p. 339) that the authority[Pg 505] of this interpretation might, perhaps, be questioned without transgressing the limits imposed by the church. Believing this view to be correct, I shall venture on a few remarks upon this last scruple of the author, which is shared by many investigators of this interesting subject.

"The strict rule of scientific scrutiny," says the most learned and formidable opponent in the adversary's camp,[215] "exacts, according to modern philosophers, in matters of inductive reasoning, an exclusive homage. It requires that we should close our eyes against all presumptive and exterior evidence, and abstract our minds from all considerations not derived from the matters of fact which bear immediately on the question. The maxim we have to follow in such controversies is 'fiat justitia, ruat cœlum.' In fact, what is actually true, it is always desirous to know, whatever consequences may arise from its admission."

To this sentiment I cheerfully subscribe: it has always been my maxim. Yet I find it necessary, in treating of this subject, to touch on its biblical connections, for although we have great reason to rejoice at the improved tone of toleration, or even liberality which prevails in this country, the day has not come when science can be severed from theology, and the student of nature can calmly follow her truths, no matter whither they may lead. What a mortifying picture do we behold in the histories of astronomy, geology, chronology, cosmogony, geographical distribution of animals, &c.; they have been compelled to fight their way, step by step, through human passion[Pg 506] and prejudice, from their supposed contradiction to Holy Writ. But science has been vindicated—their great truths have been established, and the Bible stands as firmly as it did before. The last great struggle between science and theology is the one we are now engaged in—the natural history of man—it has now, for the first time, a fair hearing before Christendom, and all any question should ask is "daylight and fair play."

The Bible should not be regarded as a text-book of natural history. On the contrary, it must be admitted that none of the writers of the Old or New Testament give the slightest evidence of knowledge in any department of science beyond that of their profane contemporaries; and we hold that the natural history of man is a department of science which should be placed upon the same footing with others, and its facts dispassionately investigated. What we require for our guidance in this world is truth, and the history of science shows how long it has been stifled by bigotry and error.

It was taught for ages that the sun moved around the earth; that there had been but one creation of organized beings; that our earth was created but six thousand years ago, and that the stars were made to shed light upon it; that the earth was a plane, with sides and ends; that all the animals on earth were derived from Noah's ark, &c. But what a different revelation does science give us? We now know that the[Pg 507] earth revolves around the sun, that the earth is a globe which turns on its own axis, that there has been a succession of destructions and creations of living beings, that the earth has existed countless ages, and that there are stars so distant as to require millions of years for their light to reach us; that instead of one, there are many centres of creation for existing animals and plants, &c.

If so many false readings of the Bible have been admitted among theologians, who has authority or wisdom to say to science—"thus far shalt thou go, and no further?" The doctrine of unity for the human family may be another great error, and certainly a denial of its truth does no more, nay, less violence to the language of the Bible, than do the examples above cited.

It is a popular error, and one difficult to eradicate, that all the species of animals now dwelling on the earth are descendants of pairs and septuples preserved in Noah's ark, and certainly the language of Genesis on this point is too plain to admit of any quibble; it does teach that every living being perished by the flood, except those alone which were saved in the ark. Yet no living naturalist, in or out of the church, believes this statement to be correct. The centres of creation are so numerous, and the number of animals so great that it is impossible it should be so.

On the other hand, the first chapter of Genesis gives an account entirely in accordance with the teachings of science.

[Pg 508]

"And God said, let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit, after his kind, whose seed is in itself upon the earth; and it was so." Gen. i. 11.

"And God said, let the waters bring forth abundantly, the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven." v. 20.

"And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly," &c. v. 21.

"And God said, let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind, and it was so." v. 24.

"God created man in his own image; male and female created he them."

In the language above quoted, nothing is said about one seed or one blade of grass; about one fruit tree, or about single pairs of animals or human beings. On the contrary, this chapter closes with the distinct impression on the mind that everything was created abundantly. The only difficulty arises with regard to the human family, and we are here confused by the contradictory statements of the first and second chapters. In the first chapter, man was created male and female, on the sixth day—in the second chapter, woman was not created until after Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden. Commentators explain this discrepancy by the difference in style of the two chapters, and the inference that Genesis is a compilation made up by Moses from two or three different writers; but it is not our purpose here to open these theological discussions. Both sides are sustained by innumerable authorities. From what we have before shown, it is clear[Pg 509] that the inspired writers possessed no knowledge of physical sciences, and as little respecting the natural history of man, as of any other department.

Their moral mission does not concern our subject, and we leave that to theologians, to whom it more properly belongs. On the other hand, we ask to be let alone in our study of the physical laws of the universe. The theologian and the naturalist have each an ample field without the necessity of interfering with each other.

The Bible is here viewed only in its relations with physical science. We have already alluded to the fact that in astronomy, geology, &c., the authors of the Bible possessed no knowledge beyond that of their profane contemporaries, and a dispassionate examination of the text from Genesis to Revelation will show that the writers had but an imperfect knowledge of contemporary races, and did not design to teach the doctrine of unity of mankind, or rather origin from a single pair. The writer of the Pentateuch could attach little importance to such an idea, as he nowhere alludes to a future existence, or rewards and punishments—all good and evil, as far as the human race is concerned, with him, were merely temporal.

This idea of a future state does not distinctly appear in the Jewish writings until after their return from the Babylonish captivity.

The extent of the surface of the globe, known even to the writers of the New Testament, formed but a[Pg 510] small fraction of it—little beyond the confines of the Roman empire. No allusion is even made to Southern and Eastern Asia; Africa, south of the Desert; Australia, America, &c.; all of which were inhabited long before the time of Moses; and of the races of men inhabiting these countries, and their languages, they certainly knew nothing. The Chinese and Indian empires, at least, are beyond dispute. The early Hebrews were a pastoral people; had little commercial or other intercourse with the rest of the world, and were far from being "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians." The Egyptian empire was fully developed—arts and science as flourishing—pyramids and gorgeous temples built, not only before the time of Moses, but long prior to that of the Patriarch Abraham, who, with Sarah, went to Egypt to buy corn of the reigning Pharaoh. What is remarkable, too, the Egyptians had their ethnographers, and had already classified the human family into four races, and depicted them on the monuments, viz: the black, white, yellow, and red.[216]

In fact, nothing can be more incomplete, contradictory, and unsatisfactory than the ethnography of Genesis. We see Cain going into a foreign land and taking a wife before there were any women born of his parent stock. Cities are seen springing up in the second and third generations, in every direction, &c. All this shows that we have in Genesis no satisfactory history[Pg 511] of the human family, and that we can rely no more upon its ethnography than upon its geography, astronomy, cosmogony, geology, zoology, &c.

We have already alluded to the fact that the writers of the New Testament give no evidence of additional knowledge in such matters. The sermon from the Mount comes like a light from Heaven, but this volume is mute on all that pertains to the physical laws of the universe.

If the common origin of man were such an important point in the eyes of the Almighty as we have been taught to believe, is it reasonable to suppose it would have been left by the inspired writers in such utter confusion and doubt? The coming of Christ changed the whole question, and we should expect, at least in the four Gospels, for some authority that would settle this vital point; but strange as the assertion may seem, there is not a single passage here to be found, which, by any distortion, can be made to sustain this unity; and on searching diligently the New Testament, from one end to the other, we were not a little surprised to find but a single text that seemed to bear directly upon it, viz: the oft quoted one in Acts xvii. 26: "And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth," &c. Being astonished at the fact that this great question of common origin of man should thus be made to hang so much upon a single verse, it occurred to me that there might be some error, some interpolation in the text, and having[Pg 512] no material at hand for such an investigation in Mobile, I wrote to a competent friend in Philadelphia, to examine for me all the Greek texts and old versions, and his reply confirmed fully my suspicions. The word blood is an interpolation, and not to be found in the original texts. The word blood has been rejected by the Catholic Church, from the time of St. Jerome to the present hour. The text of Tischendorf is regarded, I believe, generally as the most accurate Greek text known, and in this the word blood does not appear. I have at hand a long list of authorities to the same effect, but as it is presumed no competent authority will call our assertion in question, it is needless to cite them. The verse above alluded to in Acts should, therefore, read:—

"And hath made of one all races (genus) of men," &c.

The word blood is a gloss, and we have just as much right to interpolate one form, one substance, one nature, one responsibility, or anything else, as blood.

These remarks on the ethnography of the Bible might be greatly extended, but my object here is simply to show that the Bible, to say the least, leaves the field open, and that I have entered it soberly, discreetly, and advisedly.


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  1. Researches into the Physical History of Mankind. By James Cowles Prichard, M. D., London, 1841. Vol. i. p. 1.

  2. "Mr. Prichard's permanent variety, from his own definition, is to all intents and purposes a species."—Kneeland's Introduction to Hamilton Smith's Natural History of the Human Species, p. 84.

  3. Smith's Wealth of Nations, Amer. ed., vol. i. p. 29.

  4. Vide Bigland's Effects of Physical and Moral Causes on the Character and Circumstances of Nations. London, 1828, p. 282.

  5. Op. cit., p. 7.

  6. St. Matthew, ch. xi. v. 25.

  7. Vide Prichard's Natural History of Man, p. 66, et passim. "His theory," says Van Amringe, "required that animals should be analogous to man. It was therefore highly important that, as he was then laying the foundation for all his future arguments and conclusions, he should elevate animals to the proper eminence, to be analogous; rather than, as Mr. Lawrence did, sink man to the level of brutes. It was an ingenious contrivance by which he could gain all the advantages, and escape the censures of the learned lecturer. It is so simple a contrivance, too—merely substituting the word 'psychological' for 'instinctive characteristics,' and the whole animal kingdom would instantly rise to the proper platform, to be the types of the human family. To get the psychology of men and animals thus related, without the trouble of philosophically accomplishing so impossible a thing, by the mere use of a word, was an ingenious, though not an ingenuous achievement. It gave him a specious right to use bees and wasps, rats and dogs, sheep, goats, and rabbits—in short, the whole animal kingdom—as human psychical analogues, which would be amazingly convenient when conclusions were to be made."—Natural History of Man, by W. F. Van Amringe. 1848, p. 459.

  8. This fact is considered by Dr. Nott as a proof of specific difference among dogs.—Types of Mankind. Phila., 1854.

  9. In 1497, Vasco di Gama sailed around Cape Good Hope; even previous to that, Portuguese vessels had coasted along the western shores of Africa. Since that time the Europeans have subjected the whole of the American continents, southern Asia and the island world of the Pacific, while Africa is almost as unknown as it ever was. The Cape Colony is not in the original territory of the negro. Liberia and Sierra Leone contain a half-breed population, and present experiments by no means tested. It may be fairly asserted that nowhere has the power and intelligence of the white race made less impression, produced fewer results, than in the domain of the negro.

  10. Roberts, the president of the Liberian Republic, boasts of but a small portion of African blood in his veins. Sequoyah, the often-cited inventor of the Cherokee alphabet, so far from being a pure Indian, was the son of a white man.

  11. For the great perfection to which the Chinese have carried the luxuries and amenities of life, see particularly M. Huc's Travels in China. He lived among them for years, and, what few travellers do, spoke their language so fluently and perfectly that he was enabled, during a considerable number of years, to discharge the duties of a missionary, disguised as a native.

  12. It would be useless to remind our readers of the famous Great Wall, the Imperial Canals, that largest of the cities of the world—Pekin. The various treatises of the Chinese on morals and politics, especially that of Confucius, have been admired by all European thinkers. Consult Pauthier's elaborate work on China. It is equally well known that the Chinese knew the art of printing, gunpowder and its uses, the mariner's compass, etc., centuries before we did. For the general diffusion of elementary knowledge among the Chinese, see Davis's Sketches, and other authors. Those who may think me a biassed panegyrist of the Chinese, I refer to the following works as among the most reliable of the vast number written on the subject:—

    • Description Historique, Géographique, et Littéraire de la Chine. Par M. G. Pauthier. Paris, 1839.
    • China Opened. By Rev. Chs. Gutzlaff. London, 1838.
    • China, Political, Commercial, and Social. By R. Montgomery Martin. London, 1847.
    • Sketches of China. By John F. Davis. London, 1841.

    And above all, for amusing and instructive reading,

    • Journey through the Chinese Empire. By M. Huc. New York, 1855; and
    • Mélanges Asiatiques. Par Abel Remusat. Paris, 1835.
  13. Unwilling to introduce statistic pedantry into a composition of so humble pretensions as an introduction, I have refrained to give the figures—not always very accurate, I admit—upon which the preceding gradation is based, viz: the number of persons able to read and write in each of the above-named countries. How far England and France are behindhand in this respect, compared either with ourselves, or with other European nations, is tolerably well known; but the fact that not only in China proper, but in Thibet, Japan, Anam, Tonquin, etc., few can be found devoid of that acquirement, will probably meet with many incredulous readers, though it is mentioned by almost every traveller. (See J. Mohl's Annual Report to the Asiatic Society, 1851.) But, it may be safely asserted that, in the whole of that portion of Asia lying south of the Altai Mountains, including Japan, altogether the most populous region of the globe, the percentage of males unable to read and write is by far smaller than in the entire population of Europe. Be it well understood, that I do not, therefore, claim any superiority for the inhabitants of the former region over those of the latter.

    "In China," says M. Huc, "there are not, as in Europe, public libraries and reading-rooms; but those who have a taste for reading, and a desire to instruct themselves, can satisfy their inclinations very easily, as books are sold here at a lower price than in any other country. Besides, the Chinese find everywhere something to read; they can scarcely take a step without seeing some of the characters of which they are so proud. One may say, in fact, that all China is an immense library; for inscriptions, sentences, moral precepts, are found in every corner, written in letters of all colors and all sizes. The façades of the tribunals, the pagodas, the public monuments, the signs of the shops, the doors of the houses, the interior of the apartments, the corridors, all are full of fine quotations from the best authors. Teacups, plates, vases, fans, are so many selections of poems, often chosen with much taste, and prettily printed. A Chinese has no need to give himself much trouble in order to enjoy the finest productions of his country's literature. He need only take his pipe, and walk out, with his nose in the air, through the principal streets of the first town he comes to. Let him enter the poorest house in the most wretched village; the destitution may be complete, things the most necessary will be wanting; but he is sure of finding some fine maxims written out on strips of red paper. Thus, if those grand large characters, which look so terrific in our eyes, though they delight the Chinese, are really so difficult to learn, at least the people have the most ample opportunities of studying them, almost in play, and of impressing them ineffaceably on their memories."—A Journey through the Chinese Empire, vol. i. pp. 327-328.

  14. Is it necessary to call to the mind of the reader, that the most prominent physicians, the greatest chemists, the best mathematicians, were French, and that to the same nation belong the Comptes, the De Maistres, the Guizots, the De Tocquevilles; or that, notwithstanding its political extravaganzas, every liberal theory was first fostered in its bosom? The father of our democratic party was the pupil of French governmental philosophy, by the lessons of which even his political opponents profited quite as much as by its errors.

  15. Brace, in his Home Life in Germany, mentions an instance of this kind, but not having the volume at hand, I cannot cite the page. To every one, however, that has travelled in Europe, or has not, such facts are familiar. It is well known, for instance, that in some of the most polished European countries, the wooden ploughshare is still used; and that, in Paris, that metropolis of arts and fashion, every drop of water must be carried, in buckets, from the public fountains to the Dutchess' boudoir in the first, and to the Grisette's garret in the seventh story. Compare this with the United States, where—not to mention Fairmount and Croton—the smallest town, almost, has her water-works, if required by her topography. Are we, then, so infinitely more civilized than France?

  16. Since writing the above, I lit upon the following striking confirmation of my idea by Dr. Pickering, whose analogism here so closely resembles mine, as almost to make me suspect myself of unconscious plagiarism. "While admitting the general truth, that mankind are essentially alike, no one doubts the existence of character, distinguishing not only individuals, but communities and nations. I am persuaded that there is, besides, a character of race. It would not be difficult to select epithets; such as 'amphibious, enduring, insititious;' or to point out as accomplished by one race of men, that which seemed beyond the powers of another. Each race possessing its peculiar points of excellence, and, at the same time, counterbalancing defects, it may be that union was required to attain the full measure of civilization. In the organic world, each field requires a new creation; each change in circumstances going beyond the constitution of a plant or animal, is met by a new adaptation, until the whole universe is full; while, among the immense variety of created beings, two kinds are hardly found fulfilling the same precise purpose. Some analogy may possibly exist in the human family; and it may even be questioned, whether any one of the races existing singly would, up to the present day, have extended itself over the whole surface of the globe."—The Races of Man, and their Geographical Distribution. By Charles Pickering, M. D. Boston, 1811. (U. S. Exploring Expedition, vol. ix. p. 200.)

  17. Since Champollion's fortunate discovery of the Rosetta stone, which furnished the key to the hieroglyphics, the deciphering of these once so mysterious characters has made such progress, that Lepsius, the great modern Egyptologist, declares it possible to write a minute court gazette of the reign of Ramses II., the Sesostris of the Greeks, and even of monarchs as far back as the IVth dynasty. To understand that this is no vain boast, the reader must remember that these hieroglyphics mostly contain records of private or royal lives, and that the mural paintings in the temples and sepulchral chambers, generally represent scenes illustrative of trades, or other occupations, games, etc., practised among the people of that early day.

  18. Ethnological Journal, edited by Luke Burke, London, 1848; June 1, No. 1, from Types of Mankind. By Nott and Gliddon, p. 49.

  19. From Types of Mankind. By Nott and Gliddon, p. 52.

  20. The term "race" is of relative meaning, and, though often erroneously used synonymously with species, by no means signifies the same. The most strenuous advocates of sameness of species, use it to designate well-defined groups, as the white and black. If we consider ourselves warranted by the language of the Bible, to believe in separate origins of the human family, then, indeed, it may be considered as similar in meaning to species; otherwise, it must signify but subdivisions of one. We may therefore speak of ten or a hundred races of man, without impugning their being descended from the same stock. All that is here contended for is, that the distinctive features of such races, in whatever manner they may have originated, are now persistent. Two men may, the one arrive at the highest honors of the State, the other, with every facility at his command, forever remain in mediocrity. Yet, these two men may be brothers.

    That the question of species, when disconnected from any theological bearing, is one belonging exclusively to the province of the naturalist, and in which the metaphysician can have but a subordinate part, may be illustrated by a homely simile. Diversity of talent in the same family involves no doubt of parentage; but, if one child be born with a black skin and woolly hair, questions about the paternity might indeed arise.

  21. Natural History of the Varieties of Man. By Robert Gordon Latham. London, 1850.

  22. The collision between these two nationalities, only a few years ago, was attended by scenes so revolting—transcending even the horrors of the Corcyrian sedition, the sack of Magdeburg, or the bloodiest page in the French Revolution—that, for the honor of human nature, I would gladly disbelieve the accounts given of them. But the testimony comes from neutral sources, the friends of either party being interested in keeping silence. I shall have occasion to allude to this subject again, and therefore reserve further details for a note in the body of the work.

  23. Even the historians of ancient Greece wondered at those gigantic ruins, of which many are still extant. Of these cyclopean remains, as they were often called, no one knew the builders or the history, and they were considered as the labors of the fabulous heroes of a traditional epoch. For an account of these memorials of an ante-hellenic civilization in Greece, of which we have no record, particularly the ruins of Orchomonos, Tirgus, Mycene, and the tunnels of Lake Copais, see Niebuhr's Ancient History, vol. i. p. 241, et passim.

  24. Democracy in America, vol. ii. ch. xviii. p. 424.

  25. Daniel ii. 44.

  26. Daniel ii. 31 to 35.

  27. Among many passages illustrative of the ultra utilitarianism of the Chinese, I can find space but for one, and that selected almost at random. After speaking of the exemplary diffusion of primary instruction among the masses, he says that, though they all read, and frequently, yet even their reading is of a strictly utilitarian character, and never answers any but practical purposes or temporary amusement. The name of the author is seldom known, and never inquired after. "That class are, in their eyes, only idle persons, who pass their time in making prose or verse. They have no objection to such a pursuit. A man may, they say, 'amuse himself with his pen as with his kite, if he likes it as well—it is all a matter of taste.' The inhabitants of the celestial empire would never recover from their astonishment if they knew to what extent intellectual labor may be in Europe a source of honor and often wealth. If they were told that a person among us may obtain great glory by composing a drama or a novel, they would either not believe it, or set it down as an additional proof of our well-known want of common sense. How would it be if they should be told of the renown of a dancer or a violin player, and that one cannot make a bound, nor the other draw a bow anywhere without thousands of newspapers hastening to spread the important news over all the kingdoms of Europe!

    "The Chinese are too decided utilitarians to enter into our views of the arts. In their opinion, a man is only worthy of the admiration of his fellow-creatures when he has well fulfilled the social duties, and especially if he knows better than any one else how to get out of a scrape. You are regarded as a man of genius if you know how to regulate your family, make your lands fruitful, traffic with ability, and realize great profits. This, at least, is the only kind of genius that is of any value in the eyes of these eminently practical men."—Voyages en Chine, par M. Huc, Amer. trans., vol. i. pp. 316 and 317.

  28. Nat. Hist. of the Varieties of Man. London.

  29. According to Latham's classification, op. cit.

  30. A. de Humboldt, Examen Critique de l'Histoire de la Géographie du Nouveau Continent. Paris.

  31. Amadée Thierry, La Gaule sous l'Administration Romaine, vol. i. p. 244.

  32. See Prescott's History of the Conquest of Mexico.

  33. C. F. Weber, M. A. Lucani Pharsalia. Leipzig, 1828, vol. i. pp. 122-123, note.

  34. Prichard, Natural History of Man.—Dr. Martius is still more explicit. (See Martius and Spix, Reise in Brasilien. Munich, vol. i. pp. 379-380.)

    Mr. Gobineau quotes from M. Roulin's French translation of Prichard's great work, and as I could not always find the corresponding pages in the original, I have sometimes been obliged to omit the citation of the page, that in the French translation being useless to English readers.—Transl.

  35. I greatly doubt whether the fanaticism of even the ancient Mexicans could exceed that displayed by some of our not very remote ancestors. Who, that reads the trials for witchcraft in the judicial records of Scotland, and, after smiling at the frivolous, inconsistent testimony against the accused, comes to the cool, uncommented marginal note of the reporter: "Convicta et combusta," does not feel his heart leap for horror? But, if he comes to an entry like the following, he feels as though lightning from heaven could but inflict too mild a punishment on the perpetrators of such unnatural crimes.

    "1608, Dec. 1.—The Earl of Mar declared to the council, that some women were taken in Broughton as witches, and being put to an assize, and convicted, albeit they persevered constant in their denial to the end, they were burnt quick (alive), after such a cruel manner, that some of them died in despair, renouncing and blaspheming God; and others, half-burned, brak out of the fire, and were cast in it again, till they were burned to death." Entry in Sir Thomas Hamilton's Minutes of Proceedings in the Privy Council. (From W. Scott's Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft, p. 315.)

    Really, I do not believe that the Peruvians ever carried fanaticism so far. Yet, a counterpart to this horrible picture is found in the history of New England. A man, named Cory, being accused of witchcraft, and refusing to plead, was accordingly pressed to death. And when, in the agony of death, the unfortunate man thrust out his tongue, the sheriff, without the least emotion, crammed it back into the mouth with his cane. (See Cotton Mather's Magnalia Christi Americana, Hardford. Thau. Pneu, c. vii. p. 383, et passim.)

    Did the ferocity of the most brutish savages ever invent any torture more excruciating than that in use in the British Isles, not much more than two centuries ago, for bringing poor, decrepit old women to the confession of a crime which never existed but in the crazed brain of bigots. "The nails were torn from the fingers with smith's pincers; pins driven into the places which the nails defended; the knees were crushed in the boots, the finger-bones splintered in the pilniewinks," etc. (Scott, op. cit., p. 312.) But then, it is true, they had a more gentle torture, which an English Lord (Eglington) had the honor and humanity to invent! This consisted in placing the legs of a poor woman in the stocks, and then loading the bare shins with bars of iron. Above thirty stones of iron were placed upon the limbs of an unfortunate woman before she could be brought to the confession which led her to the stake. (Scott, op. cit., pp. 321, 324, 327, etc. etc.)

    As late as 1682, not yet 200 years ago, three women were hanged, in England, for witchcraft; and the fatal statute against it was not abolished until 1751, when the rabble put to death, in the most horrible manner, an old pauper woman, and very nearly killed another.

    And, in the middle of last century, eighty-five persons were burnt, or otherwise executed, for witchcraft, at Mohra, in Sweden. Among them were fifteen young children.

    If God had ordained that fanaticism should be punished by national ruin, were not these crimes, in which, in most cases, the whole nation participated, were not they horrible enough to draw upon the perpetrators the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah? Surely, if fanaticism were the cause of national decay, most European nations had long since been swept from the face of the globe, "so that their places could nowhere be found."—H.

  36. There seem, at first sight, to be exceptions to the truth of the assertion, that luxury, in itself, is not productive of national ruin. Venice, Genoa, Pisa, etc., were aristocratic republics, in which, as in monarchies, a high degree of luxury is not only compatible with, but may even be greatly conducive to the prosperity of the state. But the basis of a democratic republic is a more or less perfect equality among its citizens, which is often impaired, and, in the end, subverted by too great a disparity of wealth. Yet, even in them, glaring contrasts between extravagant luxury and abject poverty are rather the sign than the cause, of the disappearance of democratic principles. Examples might be adduced from history, of democracies in which great wealth did not destroy democratic ideas and a consequent simplicity of manners. These ideas must first be forgotten, before wealth can produce luxury, and luxury its attendant train of evils. Though accelerating the downfall of a democratic republic, it is therefore not the primary cause of that downfall.—H.

  37. Balzac, Lettre à Madame la Duchesse de Montausier.

  38. That this stricture is not too severe will be obvious to any one who reflects on the principles upon which this legislation was based. Inculcating that war was the great business of life, and to be terrible to one's enemies the only object of manly ambition, the Spartan laws sacrificed the noblest private virtues and domestic affections. They deprived the female character of the charms that most adorn it—modesty, tenderness, and sensibility; they made men brutal, coarse, and cruel. They stunted individual talents; Sparta has produced but few great men, and these, says Macaulay, only became great when they ceased to be Lacedemonians. Much unsound sentimentality has been expended in eulogizing Sparta, from Xenophon down to Mitford, yet the verdict of the unbiassed historian cannot differ very widely from that of Macaulay: "The Spartans purchased for their government a prolongation of its existence by the sacrifice of happiness at home, and dignity abroad. They cringed to the powerful, they trampled on the weak, they massacred their helots, they betrayed their allies, they contrived to be a day too late for the battle of Marathon, they attempted to avoid the battle of Salamis, they suffered the Athenians, to whom they owed their lives and liberties, to be a second time driven from their country by the Persians, that they might finish their own fortifications on the Isthmus; they attempted to take advantage of the distress to which exertions in their cause had reduced their preservers, in order to make them their slaves; they strove to prevent those who had abandoned their walls to defend them, from rebuilding them to defend themselves; they commenced the Peloponnesian war in violation of their engagements with their allies; they gave up to the sword whole cities which had placed themselves under their protection; they bartered for advantages confined to themselves the interests, the freedom, and the lives of those who had served them most faithfully; they took, with equal complacency, and equal infamy, the stripes of Elis and the bribes of Persia; they never showed either resentment or gratitude; they abstained from no injury, and they revenged none. Above all, they looked on a citizen who served them well as their deadliest enemy."—Essays, iii. 389.—H.

  39. The horrid scenes of California life, its lynch laws, murders, and list of all possible crimes, are still ringing in our ears, and have not entirely ceased, though their number is lessened, and they are rapidly disappearing before lawful order. Australia offered, and still offers, the same spectacle. Texas, but a few years ago, and all newly settled countries in our day, afford another striking illustration of the author's remark. Young communities ever attract a great number of lawless and desperate men; and this has been the case in all ages. Rome was founded by a band of fugitives from justice, and if her early history be critically examined, it will be found to reveal a state of society, with which the Rome described by the Satirists, and upbraided by the Censors, compares favorably. Any one who will cast a glance into Bishop Potter's Antiquities, can convince himself that the state of morals, in Athens, was no better in her most flourishing periods than at the time of her downfall, if, indeed, as good; notwithstanding the glowing colors in which Isocrates and his followers describe the virtues of her youthful period, and the degeneracy of the age. Who can doubt that public morality has attained a higher standard in England, at the present day when her strength seems to have departed from her, than it had at any previous era in her history. Where are the brutal fox-hunting country squires of former centuries? the good old customs, when hospitality consisted in drinking one's guest underneath the table? What audience could now endure, or what police permit, the plays of Congreve and of Otway? Even Shakspeare has to be pruned by the moral censor, before he can charm our ears. Addison himself, than whom none contributed more to purify the morals of his age, bears unmistakable traces of the coarseness of the time in which he wrote. It will be objected that we are only more prudish, no better at the bottom. But, even supposing that the same vices still exist, is it not a great step in advance, that they dare no longer parade themselves with unblushing impudence? Many who derive their ideas of the Middle Ages, of chivalry, etc., from the accounts of romance writers, have very erroneous notions about the manners of that period. "It so happens," says Byron, "that the good old times when 'l'amour du bon vieux temps, l'amour antique' flourished, were the most profligate of all possible centuries. Those who have any doubts on the subject may consult St. Palay, particularly vol. ii. p. 69. The vows of chivalry were no better kept than any other vows whatever, and the songs of the troubadour were not more decent, and certainly much less refined, than those of Ovid. The 'cours d'amour, parlements d'amour, ou de courtoisie et de gentilesse,' had much more of love than of courtesy and gentleness. (See Roland on the same subject with St. Palay.)" Preface to Childe Harold. I should not have quoted the authority of a poet on historical matters, were I not convinced, from my own investigations, that his pungent remarks are perfectly correct. As a further confirmation, I may mention that a few years ago, in rummaging over the volumes of a large European library, I casually lit upon a record of judicial proceedings during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, in a little commonwealth, whose simplicity of manners, and purity of public morals, especially in that period, has been greatly extolled by historians. There, I found a list of crimes, to which the most corrupt of modern great cities can furnish no parallel. In horror and hellish ingenuity, they can be faintly approached only by the punishment which followed them. Of many, our generation ignores even the name, and, of others, dares not utter them.—H.

  40. This assertion may surprise those who, in the words of a piquant writer on Parisian life, "have thought of Paris only under two aspects—one, as the emporium of fashion, fun, and refinement; the abode of good fellows somewhat dissipated, of fascinating ladies somewhat over-kind; of succulent dinners, somewhat indigestible; of pleasures, somewhat illicit;—the other, as the place par excellence, of revolutions, émeutes, and barricades." Yet, all who have pierced below the brilliant surface, and penetrated into the recesses of destitution and crime, have seen the ministering angel of charity on his errand, and can bear witness to the truth of the author's remark. No city can show a greater number of benevolent institutions, none more active and practical private charity, which inquires not after the country or creed of its object.—H.

  41. Tottering, falling Greece, gave birth to a Demosthenes, a Phocian; the period of the downfall of the Roman republic was the age of Cicero, Brutus, and Cato.—H.

  42. The subjoined picture of the manners of the Frankish conquerors of Gaul, is selected on account of the weighty authority from which it comes, from among a number of even darker ones. "The history of Gregory of Tours shows us on the one hand, a fierce and barbarous nation; and on the other, kings of as bad a character. These princes were bloody, unjust, and cruel, because all the nation was so. If Christianity seemed sometimes to soften them, it was only by the terror which this religion imprints in the guilty; the church supported herself against them by the miracles and prodigies of her saints. The kings were not sacrilegious, because they dreaded the punishments inflicted on sacrilegious people: but this excepted, they committed, either in their passion or cold blood, all manner of crimes and injustice, because in these the avenging hand of the Deity did not appear so visible. The Franks, as I have already observed, bore with bloody kings, because they were fond of blood themselves; they were not affected with the wickedness and extortion of their princes, because this was their own character. There had been a great many laws established, but the kings rendered them all useless by the practice of issuing preceptions, a kind of decrees, after the manner of the rescripts of the Roman emperors. These preceptions were orders to the judges to do, or to tolerate, things contrary to law. They were given for illicit marriages, and even those with consecrated virgins; for transferring successions, and depriving relations of their rights; for putting to death persons who had not been convicted of any crime, and not been heard in their defence, etc."—Montesquieu, Esprit des Lois, b. 31, c. 2.—H.

  43. Augustin Thierry, Récit des Temps Mérovingiens. (See particularly the History of Mummolus.)

  44. Lucretius was the author of De Rerum Natura, and one of the most distinguished of pagan "free-thinkers." He labored to combine the philosophy of Epicurus, Evhenius, and others, into a sort of moral religion, much after the fashion of some of the German mystics and Platonists of our times.—H.

  45. Cæsar, whose private opinions were both democratical and sceptical, found it convenient to speak very differently in public, as the funeral oration in honor of his aunt proves. "On the maternal side, said he, my aunt Julia is descended from the kings; on the paternal, from the immortal gods. For my aunt's mother was of the family of the Martii, who are descended from King Ancus Martius; and the Julii, to which stock our family belongs, trace their origin to Venus. Thus, in her blood was blended the majesty of kings, the most powerful of men, and the sanctity of the gods, who have even the kings in their power."—Suetonius, Julius, 5.

    Are not these sentiments very monarchical for a democrat; very religious for an atheist?

  46. It is well known that Constantine did not receive the rite of baptism until within the last hours of his life, although he professed to be a sincere believer. The coins, also, struck during his reign, all bore pagan emblems.—H.

  47. Acts xxvi. 24, 28, 31.

  48. It will be understood that I speak here, not of the political existence of a centre of sovereignty, but of the life of an entire nation, the prosperity of a civilization. Here is the place to apply the definition given above, page 114.

  49. This assertion will appear paradoxical to those who are in the habit of looking upon Spain as the type of hopeless national degradation. But whoever studies the history of the last thirty years, which is but a series of struggles to rise from this position, will probably arrive at the same conclusions as the author. The revolution of 1820 redeems the character of the nation. "The Spanish Constitution" became the watchword of the friends of constitutional liberty in the South of Europe, and ere thirteen months had fully passed, it had become the fundamental law of three other countries—Portugal, Naples, and Sardinia. At the mere sound of those words, two kings had resigned their crowns. These revolutions were not characterized by excesses. They were, for the most part, accomplished peacefully, quietly, and orderly. They were not the result of the temporary passions of an excited mob. The most singular feature of these countries is that the lowest dregs of the population are the most zealous adherents of absolutism. No, these revolutions were the work of the best elements in the population, the most intelligent classes, of people who knew what they wanted, and how to get it. And then, when Spain had set that ever glorious example to her neighbors, the great powers, with England at the head, concluded to re-establish the former state of things. In those memorable congresses of plenipotentiaries, the most influential was the representative of England, the Duke of Wellington. And by his advice, or, at least, with his sanction, an Austrian army entered Sardinia, and abolished the new constitution; an Austrian army entered Naples and abolished the new constitution; English vessels of war threatened Lisbon, and Portugal abolished her new constitution; and finally a French army entered Spain, and abolished the new constitution. So Naples and Portugal regained their tyrants, and Spain her imbecile dynasty. For years the Spaniards have tried to shake it off, and English influence alone has maintained on a great nation's throne, a wretch that would have disgraced the lowest walks of private life. But the day of Spanish liberty and Spanish independence will dawn, and perhaps already has dawned. The efforts of the last Cortes were wisely directed, and their proceedings marked with a manliness, a moderation, and a firmness that augur well for the future weal of Spain.—H.

  50. Who is not reminded of Oxenstierna's famous saying to his son: "Cum parva sapientiâ mundus gubernatur."—H.

  51. It is obvious that so long as the vitality of a nation remains unimpaired, misgovernment can be but a temporary ill. The regenerative principle will be at work to remove the evil and heal the wounds it has inflicted; and though the remedy be sometimes violent, and throw the state into fearful convulsions, it will seldom be found ineffectual. So long as the spirit of liberty prevailed among the Romans, the Tarquiniuses and Appiuses were as a straw before the storm of popular indignation; but the death of Cæsar could but substitute a despot in the stead of a mild and generous usurper. The first Brutus might save the nation, because he was the expression of the national sentiment; the second could not, because he was one man opposed to millions. It is a common error to ascribe too much to individual exertions, and whimsical philosophers have amused themselves to trace great events to petty causes; but a deeper inquiry will demonstrate that the great catastrophes which arrest our attention and form the landmarks of history, are but the inevitable result of all the whole chain of antecedent events. Julius Cæsar and Napoleon Bonaparte were, indeed, especially gifted for their great destinies, but the same gifts could not have raised them to their exalted positions at any other epoch than the one in which each lived. Those petty causes are but the drop which causes the measure to overflow, the pretext of the moment; or as the small fissure in the dyke which produces the crevasse: the wall of waters stood behind. No man can usurp supreme power, unless the prevailing tendency of the nation favors it; no man can long persist in hurrying a nation along in a course repulsive to it; and in this sense, therefore, not with regard to its abstract justness, it is undoubtedly true, that the voice of the nation is the voice of God. It is the expression of what shall and must be.—H.

  52. The author has neglected to advert to one very clear explanation of this word, which, from its extensive popularity, seems to me to deserve some notice. It is said, and very commonly believed, that there is a physical degeneracy in mankind; that a nation cultivating for a long time the arts of peace, and enjoying the fruits of well-directed industry, loses the capacity for warfare; in other words becomes effeminate, and, consequently, less capable of defending itself against ruder, and, therefore, more warlike invaders. It is further said, though with less plausibility, that there is a general degeneracy of the human race—that we are inferior in physical strength to our ancestors, etc. If this theory could be supported by incontestable facts—and there are many who think it possible—it would give to the term degeneracy that real and tangible meaning which the author alleges to be wanting. But a slight investigation will demonstrate that it is more specious than correct.

    In the first place, to prove that an advance in civilization does not lessen the material puissance of a nation, but rather increases it, we may point to the well-known fact that the most civilized nations are the most formidable opponents in warfare, because they have brought the means of attack and defence to the greatest perfection.

    But that for this strength they are not solely indebted to artificial means, is proved by the history of modern civilized states. The French now fight with as much martial ardor and intrepidity, and with more success than they did in the times of Francis I. or Louis XIV., albeit they have since both these epochs made considerable progress in civilization, and this progress has been most perceptible in those classes which form the bulk and body of armies. England, though, perhaps, she could not muster an army as large as in former times, has hearts as stout, and arms as strong as those that gained for her imperishable glory at Agincourt and Poitiers. The charge at Balaklava, rash and useless as it may be termed, was worthy of the followers of the Black Prince.

    A theory to be correct, must admit of mathematical demonstration. The most civilized nations, then, would be the most effeminate; the most barbarous, the most warlike. And, descending from nations to individuals, the most cultivated and refined mind would be accompanied by a deficiency in many of the manly virtues. Such an assertion is ridiculous. The most refined and fastidious gentleman has never, as a class, displayed less courage and fortitude than the rowdy and fighter by profession. Men sprung from the bosom of the most polished circles in the most civilized communities, have surpassed the most warlike barbarians in deeds of hardihood and heroic valor.

    Civilization, therefore, produces no degeneracy; the cultivation of the arts of peace, no diminution of manly virtues. We have seen the peaceful burghers of free cities successfully resist the trained bands of a superior foe; we have seen the artisans and merchants of Holland invincible to the veteran armies of the then most powerful prince of Christendom, backed as he was by the inexhaustible treasures of a newly discovered hemisphere; we have seen, in our times, troops composed of volunteers who left their hearthstones to fight for their country, rout incredible odds of the standing armies of a foe, who, for the last thirty years, has known no peace.

    I believe that an advanced state of civilization, accompanied by long peace, gives rise to a certain domestication of man, that is to say, it lays on a polish over the more ferocious or pugnacious tendencies of his nature; because it, in some measure deprives him of the opportunities of exercising them, but it cannot deprive him of the power, should the opportunity present itself. Let us suppose two brothers born in some of our great commercial cities, one to enter a counting-house, the other to settle in the western wilderness. The former might become a polished, elegant, perhaps even dandified young gentleman; the other might evince a supreme contempt for all the amenities of life, be ever ready to draw his bowie-knife or revolver, however slight the provocation. The country requires the services of both; a great principle is at stake, and in some battle of Matamoras or Buena Vista, the two brothers fight side by side; who will be the braver?

    I believe that both individual and national character admit of a certain degree of pressure by surrounding circumstances; the pressure removed, the character at once regains its original form. See with what kindliness the civilized descendant of the wild Teuton hunter takes to the hunter's life in new countries, and how soon he learns to despise the comforts of civilized life and fix his abode in the solitary wilderness. The Normans had been settled over six centuries in the beautiful province of France, to which they gave their name; their nobles had frequented the most polished court in Europe, adapted themselves to the fashions and requirements of life in a luxurious metropolis; they themselves had learned to plough the soil instead of the wave; yet in another hemisphere they at once regained their ancient habits, and—as six hundred years before—became the most dreaded pirates of the seas they infested; the savage buccaneers of the Spanish main. I can see no difference between Lolonnois and his followers, and the terrible men of the north (his lineal ancestors) that ravaged the shores of the Seine and the Rhine, and whose name is even yet mentioned with horror every evening, in the other hemisphere, by thousands of praying children: "God preserve us from the Northmen." Morgan, the Welch buccaneer, who, with a thousand men, vanquished five times as many well-equipped Spaniards, took their principal cities, Porto Bello and Panama; who tortured his captives to make them reveal the hiding-place of their treasure; Morgan might have been—sixteen centuries notwithstanding—a tributary chief to Caractacus, or one of those who opposed Cæsar's landing in Britain. To make the resemblance still more complete, the laws and regulations of these lawless bands were a precise copy of those to which their not more savage ancestors bound themselves.

    I regret that my limited space precludes me from entering into a more elaborate exposition of the futility of the theory that civilization, or a long continued state of peace, can produce physical degeneracy or inaptitude for the ruder duties of the battle-field; but I believe that what I have said will suffice to suggest to the thoughtful reader numerous confirmations of my position; and I may, therefore, now refer him to Mr. Gobineau's explanation of the term degeneracy.—H.

  53. "Nothing but the great number of citizens in a state can occasion the flourishing of the arts and sciences. Accordingly, we see that, in all ages, it was great empires only which enjoyed this advantage. In these great states, the arts, especially that of agriculture, were soon brought to great perfection, and thus that leisure afforded to a considerable number of men, which is so necessary to study and speculation. The Babylonians, Assyrians, and Egyptians, had the advantage of being formed into regular, well-constituted states."—Origin of Laws and Sciences, and their Progress among the most Ancient Nations. By President De Goguet. Edinburgh, 1761, vol. i. pp. 272-273.—H.

  54. "Conquests, by uniting many nations under one sovereign, have formed great and powerful empires, out of the ruins of many petty states. In these great empires, men began insensibly to form clearer views of politics, juster and more salutary notions of government. Experience taught them to avoid the errors which had occasioned the ruin of the nations whom they had subdued, and put them upon taking measures to prevent surprises, invasions, and the like misfortunes. With these views they fortified cities, secured such passes as might have admitted an enemy into their country, and kept a certain number of troops constantly on foot. By these precautions, several States rendered themselves formidable to their neighbors, and none durst lightly attack powers which were every way so respectable. The interior parts of such mighty monarchies were no longer exposed to ravages and devastations. War was driven far from the centre, and only infected the frontiers. The inhabitants of the country, and of the cities, began to breathe in safety. The calamities which conquests and revolutions had occasioned, disappeared; but the blessings which had grown out of them, remained. Ingenious and active spirits, encouraged by the repose which they enjoyed, devoted themselves to study. It was in the bosom of great empires the arts were invented, and the sciences had their birth."—Op. cit., vol. i. Book 5, p. 326.—H.

  55. The history of every great empire proves the correctness of this remark. The conqueror never attempted to change the manners or local institutions of the peoples subdued, but contented himself with an acknowledgment of his supremacy, the payment of tribute, and the rendering of assistance in war. Those who have pursued a contrary course, may be likened to an overflowing river, which, though it leaves temporary marks of its destructive course behind, must, sooner or later, return to its bed, and, in a short time, its invasions are forgotten, and their traces obliterated.—H.

  56. The most striking illustration of the correctness of this reasoning, is found in Roman history, the earlier portion of which is—thanks to Niebuhr's genius—just beginning to be understood. The lawless followers of Romulus first coalesced with the Sabines; the two nations united, then compelled the Albans to raze their city to the ground, and settle in Rome. Next came the Latins, to whom, also, a portion of the city was allotted for settlement. These two conquered nations were, of course, not permitted the same civil and political privileges as the conquerors, and, with the exception of a few noble families among them (which probably had been, from the beginning, in the interests of the conquerors), these tribes formed the plebs. The distinction by nations was forgotten, and had become a distinction of classes. Then began the progress which Mr. Gobineau describes. The Plebeians first gained their tribunes, who could protect their interests against the one-sided legislation of the dominant class; then, the right of discussing and deciding certain public questions in the comitia, or public assembly. Next, the law prohibiting intermarriage between the Patricians and Plebeians was repealed; and thus, in course of time, the government changed from an oligarchical to a democratic form. I might go into details, or, I might mention other nations in which the same process is equally manifest, but I think the above well-known facts sufficient to bring the author's idea into a clear light, and illustrate its correctness. The history of the Middle Ages, the establishment of serfdom and its gradual abolition, also furnish an analogue.

    Wherever we see an hereditary aristocracy (whether called class or caste), it will be found to originate in a race, which, if no longer dominant, was once conqueror. Before the Norman conquest, the English aristocracy was Saxon, there were no nobles of the ancient British blood, east of Wales; after the conquest, the aristocracy was Norman, and nine-tenths of the noble families of England to this day trace, or pretend to trace, their origin to that stock. The noble French families, anterior to the Revolution, were almost all of Frankish or Burgundian origin. The same observation applies everywhere else. In support of my opinion, I have Niebuhr's great authority: "Wherever there are castes, they are the consequence of foreign conquest and subjugation; it is impossible for a nation to submit to such a system, unless it be compelled by the calamities of a conquest. By this means only it is, that, contrary to the will of a people, circumstances arise which afterwards assume the character of a division into classes or castes."—Lect. on Anc. Hist. (In the English translation, this passage occurs in vol. i. p. 90.)

    In conclusion, I would observe that, whenever it becomes politic to flatter the mass of the people, the fact of conquest is denied. Thus, English writers labored hard to prove that William the Norman did not, in reality, conquer the Saxons. Some time before the French Revolution, the same was attempted to be proved in the case of the Germanic tribes in France. L'Abbé du Bos, and other writers, taxed their ingenuity to disguise an obvious fact, and to hide the truth under a pile of ponderous volumes.—H.

  57. "It has been a favorite thesis with many writers, to pretend that the Saxon government was, at the time of the conquest, by no means subverted; that William of Normandy legally acceded to the throne, and, consequently, to the engagements of the Saxon kings.... But, if we consider that the manner in which the public power is formed in a state, is so very essential a part of its government, and that a thorough change in this respect was introduced into England by the conquest, we shall not scruple to allow that a new government was established. Nay, as almost the whole landed property in the kingdom was, at that time, transferred to other hands, a new system of criminal justice introduced, and the language of the law moreover altered, the revolution may be said to have been such as is not, perhaps, to be paralleled in the history of any other country."—De Lolme's English Constitution, c. i., note c.—"The battle of Hastings, and the events which followed it, not only placed a Duke of Normandy on the English throne, but gave up the whole population of England to the tyranny of the Norman race. The subjugation of a nation has seldom, even in Asia, been more complete."—Macaulay's History of England, vol. i. p. 10.—H.

  58. This assertion seems self-evident; it may, however, be not altogether irrelevant to the subject, to direct attention to a few facts in illustration of it. Great national calamities like wars, proscriptions, and revolutions, are like thunderbolts, striking mostly the objects of greatest elevation. We have seen that a conquering race generally, for a long time even after the conquest has been forgotten, forms an aristocracy, which generally monopolizes the prominent positions. In great political convulsions, this aristocracy suffers most, often in numbers, and always in proportion. Thus, at the battle of Cannæ, from 5,000 to 6,000 Roman knights are said to have been slain, and, at all times, the officer's dress has furnished the most conspicuous, and at the same time the most important target for the death-dealing stroke. In those fearful proscriptions, in which Sylla and Marius vied with each other in wholesale slaughter, the number of victims included two hundred senators and thirty-three ex-consuls. That the major part of the rest were prominent men, and therefore patricians, is obvious from the nature of this persecution. Revolutions are most often, though not always, produced by a fermentation among the mass of the population, who have a heavy score to settle against a class that has domineered and tyrannized over them. Their fury, therefore, is directed against this aristocracy. I have now before me a curious document (first published in the Prussian State-Gazette, in 1828, and for which I am indebted to a little German volume, Das Menschengeschlecht auf seinem Gegenwärtigen Standpuncte, by Smidt-Phiseldeck), giving a list of the victims that fell under the guillotine by sentence of the revolutionary tribunal, from August, 1792, to the 27th of July, 1794, in a little less than two years. The number of victims there given is 2,774. Of these, 941 are of rank unknown. The remaining 1,833 may be divided in the following proportions:—

    1,084 highest nobility (princes, dukes, marshals of France, generals, and other officers, etc. etc.)
    636 of the gentry (members of Parliament, judges, etc. etc.)
    113 of the bourgeoisie (including non-commissioned officers and soldiers.)

    Such facts require no comments.—H.

  59. The recent insurrection in China has given rise to a great deal of speculation, and various are the opinions that have been formed respecting it. But it is now pretty generally conceded that it is a great national movement, and, therefore, must ultimately be successful. The history of this insurrection, by Mr. Callery and Dr. Ivan (one the interpreter, and the other the physician of the French embassy in China, and both well known and reliable authorities) leaves no doubt upon the subject. One of the most significant signs in this movement is the cutting off the tails, and letting the hair grow, which is being practised, says Dr. Ivan, in all the great cities, and in the very teeth of the mandarins. (Ins. in China, p. 243.) Let not the reader smile at this seemingly puerile demonstration, or underrate its importance. Apparently trivial occurrences are often the harbingers of the most important events. Were I to see in the streets of Berlin or Vienna, men with long beards or hats of a certain shape, I should know that serious troubles are to be expected; and in proportion to the number of such men, I should consider the catastrophe more or less near at hand, and the monarch's crown in danger. When the Lombard stops smoking in the streets, he meditates a revolution; and France is comparatively safe, even though every street in Paris is barricaded, and blood flows in torrents; but when bands march through the streets singing the ça ira, we know that to-morrow the Red Republic will be proclaimed. All these are silent, but expressive demonstrations of the prevalence of a certain principle among the masses. Such a one is the cutting off of the tail among the Chinese. Nor is this a mere emblem. The shaved crown and the tail are the brands of conquest, a mark of degradation imposed by the Mantchoos on the subjugated race. The Chinese have never abandoned the hope of one day expelling their conquerors, as they did already once before. "Ever since the fall of the Mings," says Dr. Ivan, "and the accession of the Mantchoo dynasty, clandestine associations—these intellectual laboratories of declining states—have been incessantly in operation. The most celebrated of these secret societies, that of the Triad, or the three principles, commands so extensive and powerful an organization, that its members may be found throughout China, and wherever the Chinese emigrate; so that there is no great exaggeration in the Chinese saying: 'When three of us are together, the Triad is among us.'" (Hist. of the Insur. in Ch., p. 112.) Again, the writer says: "The revolutionary impetus is now so strong, the affairs of the pretender or chief of the insurrection in so prosperous a condition, that the success of his cause has nothing to fear from the loss of a battle. It would require a series of unprecedented reverses to ruin his hopes" (p. 243 and 245).

    I have written this somewhat lengthy note to show that Mr. Gobineau makes no rash assertion, when he says that the Mantchoos are about to experience the same fate as their Tartar predecessors.—H.

  60. The author might have mentioned Russia in illustration of his position. The star of no nation that we are acquainted with has suffered an eclipse so total and so protracted, nor re-appeared with so much brilliancy. Russia, whose history so many believe to date from the time of Peter the Great only, was one of the earliest actors on the stage of modern history. Its people had adopted Christianity when our forefathers were yet heathens; its princes formed matrimonial alliances with the monarchs of Byzantine Rome, while Charlemagne was driving the reluctant Saxon barbarians by thousands into rivers to be baptized en masse. Russia had magnificent cities before Paris was more than a collection of hovels on a small island of the Seine. Its monarchs actually contemplated, and not without well-founded hopes, the conquest of Constantinople, while the Norman barges were devastating the coasts and river-shores of Western Europe. Nay, to that far-off, almost polar region, the enterprise of the inhabitants had attracted the genius of commerce and its attendants, prosperity and abundance. One of the greatest commercial cities of the first centuries after Christ, one of the first of the Hanse-Towns, was the great city of Novogorod, the capital of a republic that furnished three hundred thousand fighting men. But the east of Europe was not destined to outstrip the west in the great race of progress. The millions of Tartars, that, locust-like—but more formidable—marked their progress by hopeless devastation, had converted the greater portion of Asia into a desert, and now sought a new field for their savage exploits. Russia stood the first brunt, and its conquest exhausted the strength of the ruthless foe, and saved Western Europe from overwhelming ruin. In the beginning of the thirteenth century, five hundred thousand Tartar horsemen crossed the Ural Mountains. Slow, but gradual, was their progress. The Russian armies were trampled down by this countless cavalry. But the resistance must have been a brave and vigorous one, for few of the invaders lived long enough to see the conquest. Not until after a desperate struggle of fifty years, did Russia acknowledge a Tartar master. Nor were the conquerors even then allowed to enjoy their prize in peace. For two centuries more, the Russians never remitted their efforts to regain their independence. Each generation transmitted to its posterity the remembrance of that precious treasure, and the care of reconquering it. Nor were their efforts unsuccessful. Year after year the Tartars saw the prize gliding from their grasp, and towards the end of the fifteenth century, we find them driven to the banks of the Volga, and the coasts of the Black Sea. Russia now began to breathe again. But, lo! during the long struggle, Pole and Swede had vied with the Tartar in stripping her of her fairest domains. Her territory extended scarce two hundred miles, in any direction from Moscow. Her very name was unknown. Western Europe had forgotten her. The same causes that established the feudal system there, had, in the course of two centuries and a half, changed a nation of freemen into a nation of serfs. The arts of peace were lost, the military element had gained an undue preponderance, and a band of soldiers, like the Pretorian Guards of Rome, made and deposed sovereigns, and shook the state to its very foundations. Yet here and there a vigorous monarch appeared, who controlled the fierce element, and directed it to the weal of the state. Smolensk, the fairest portion of the ancient Russian domain, was re-conquered from the Pole. The Swede, also, was forced to disgorge a portion of his spoils. But it was reserved for Peter the Great and his successors to restore to Russia the rank she had once held, and to which she was entitled.

    I will not further trespass on the patience of the reader, now that we have arrived at that portion of Russian history which many think the first. I would merely observe that not only did Peter add to his empire no territory that had not formerly belonged to it, but even Catharine, at the first partition of Poland (I speak not of the subsequent ones), merely re-united to her dominion what once were integral portions. The rapid growth of Russia, since she has reassumed her station among the nations of the earth, is well known. Cities have sprung up in places where once the nomad had pitched his tent. A great capital, the handsomest in the world, has risen from the marsh, within one hundred and fifty years after the founder, whose name it perpetuates, had laid the first stone. Another has risen from the ashes, within less than a decade of years from the time when—a holocaust on the altar of patriotism—its flames announced to the world the vengeance of a nation on an intemperate aggressor.

    Truly, it seems to me, that Mr. Gobineau could not have chosen a better illustration of his position, that the mere accident of conquest can not annihilate a nation, than this great empire, in whose history conquest forms so terrible and so long an episode, that the portion anterior to it is almost forgotten to this day.—H.

  61. The author of Democracy in America (vol. ii. book 3, ch. 1), speculating upon the total want of sympathy among the various classes of an aristocratic community, says: "Each caste has its own opinions, feelings, rights, manners, and mode of living. The members of each caste do not resemble the rest of their fellow-citizens; they do not think and feel in the same manner, and believe themselves a distinct race.... When the chroniclers of the Middle Ages, who all belonged to the aristocracy by birth and education, relate the tragical end of a noble, their grief flows apace; while they tell, with the utmost indifference, of massacres and tortures inflicted on the common people. In this they were actuated by an instinct rather than by a passion, for they felt no habitual hatred or systematic disdain for the people: war between the several classes of the community was not yet declared." The writer gives extracts from Mme. de Sevigné's letters, displaying, to use his own words, "a cruel jocularity which, in our day, the harshest man writing to the most insensible person of his acquaintance would not venture to indulge in; and yet Madame de Sevigné was not selfish or cruel; she was passionately attached to her children, and ever ready to sympathize with her friends, and she treated her servants and vassals with kindness and indulgence." "Whence does this arise?" asks M. De Tocqueville; "have we really more sensibility than our forefathers?" When it is recollected, as has been pointed out in a previous note, that the nobility of France were of Germanic, and the peasantry of Celtic origin, we will find in this an additional proof of the correctness of our author's theory. Thanks to the revolution, the barriers that separated the various ranks have been torn down, and continual intermixture has blended the blood of the Frankish noble and of the Gallic boor. Wherever this fusion has not yet taken place, or but imperfectly, M. De Tocqueville's remarks still apply.—H.

  62. The spirit of clanship is so strong in the Arab tribes, and their instinct of ethnical isolation so powerful, that it often displays itself in a rather odd manner. A traveller (Mr. Fulgence Fresnel, if I am not mistaken) relates that at Djidda, where morality is at a rather low ebb, the same Bedouine who cannot resist the slightest pecuniary temptation, would think herself forever dishonored, if she were joined in lawful wedlock to the Turk or European, to whose embrace she willingly yields while she despises him.

  63. The man
    Of virtuous soul commands not, nor obeys.
    Power, like a desolating pestilence,
    Pollutes whate'er it touches; and obedience,
    Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,
    Makes slaves of man, and of the human frame
    A mechanized automaton.

    Shelley, Queen Mab.

  64. Montesquieu expresses a similar idea, in his usual epigrammatic style. "The customs of an enslaved people," says he, "are a part of their servitude; those of a free people, a part of their liberty."—Esprit des Lois, b. xix. c. 27.—H.

  65. "A great portion of the peculiarities of the Spartan constitution and their institutions was assuredly of ancient Doric origin, and must have been rather given up by the other Dorians, than newly invented and instituted by the Spartans."—Niebuhr's Ancient History, vol. i. p. 306.—H.

  66. See note on page 121.

  67. The amalgamation of races in South America must indeed be inconceivable. "I find," says Alex. von Humboldt, in 1826, "by several statements, that if we estimate the population of the whole of the Spanish colonies at fourteen or fifteen millions of souls, there are, in that number, at most, three millions of pure whites, including about 200,000 Europeans." (Pers. Nar., vol. i. p. 400.) Of the progress which this mongrel population have made in civilization, I cannot give a better idea than by an extract from Dr. Tschudi's work, describing the mode of ploughing in some parts of Chili. "If a field is to be tilled, it is done by two natives, who are furnished with long poles, pointed at one end. The one thrusts his pole, pretty deeply, and in an oblique direction, into the earth, so that it forms an angle with the surface of the ground. The other Indian sticks his pole in, at a little distance, and also obliquely, and he forces it beneath that of his fellow-laborer, so that the first pole lies, as it were, upon the second. The first Indian then presses on his pole, and makes it work on the other, as a lever on its fulcrum, and the earth is thrown up by the point of the pole. Thus they gradually advance, until the whole field is furrowed by this laborious process." (Dr. Tschudi, Travels in Peru, during the years 1838-1842. London, 1847, p. 14.) I really do not think that a counterpart to this could be found, except, perhaps, in the manner of working the mines all over South America. Both Darwin and Tschudi speak of it with surprise. Every pound of ore is brought out of the shafts on men's shoulders. The mines are drained of the water accumulating in them, in the same manner, by means of water-tight bags. Dr. Tschudi describes the process employed for the amalgamation of the quicksilver with the silver ore. It is done by causing them to be trodden together by horses', or human feet. Not only is this method attended with incredible waste of material, and therefore very expensive, but it soon kills the horses employed in it, while the men contract the most fearful, and, generally, incurable diseases! (Op. cit., p. 331-334.)—H.

  68. A. von Humboldt, Examen critique de l'Histoire et de la Géographie du N. C., vol. ii. p. 129-130.

    The same opinion is expressed by Mr. Humboldt in his Personal Narrative. London, 1852, vol. i. p. 296.—H.

  69. Speaking of the habit of tattooing among the South Sea Islanders, Mr. Darwin says that even girls who had been brought up in missionaries' houses, could not be dissuaded from this practice, though in everything else, they seemed to have forgotten the savage instincts of their race. "The wives of the missionaries tried to prevent them, but a famous operator having arrived from the South, they said: 'We really must have just a few lines on our lips, else, when we grow old, we shall be so ugly.'"—Journal of a Naturalist, vol. ii. p. 208.—H.

  70. For the latest details, see Mr. Gustave d'Alaux's articles in the Revue des Deux Mondes, 1853.

  71. The subjoined comparison of the exports of Haytien staple products may not be uninteresting to many of our readers, while it serves to confirm the author's assertion. I extract it from a statistical table in Mackenzie's report to the British government, upon the condition of the then republic (now empire). Mr. Mackenzie resided there as special envoyé several years, for the purpose of collecting authentic information for his government, and his statements may therefore be relied upon. (Notes on Hayti, vol. ii. note FF. London, 1830.)

    1789 141,089,831 7,004,274 76,835,219
    1826 32,864 620,972 32,189,784

    It will be perceived, from these figures, that the decrease is greatest in that staple which requires the most laborious cultivation. Thus, sugar requires almost unremitting toil; coffee, comparatively little. All branches of industry have fearfully decreased; some of them have ceased entirely; and the small and continually dwindling commerce of that wretched country consists now mainly of articles of spontaneous growth. The statistics of imports are in perfect keeping with those of exports. (Op. cit., vol. ii. p. 183.) As might be expected from such a state of things, the annual expenditure in 1827 was estimated at a little more than double the amount of the annual revenue! (Ibid., "Finance.")

    That matters have not improved under the administration of that Most Gracious, Most Christian monarch, the Emperor Faustin I., will be seen by reference to last year's Annuaire de la Revue del deux Mondes, "Haiti," p. 876, et seq., where some curious details about his majesty and his majesty's sable subjects will be found.

  72. Upon this subject, consult Prichard, d'Orbigny, and A. de Humboldt.

  73. I recollect having read, several years ago, in a Jesuit missionary journal (I forget its name and date, but am confident that the authority is a reliable one), a rather ludicrous account of an instance of this kind. One of the fathers, who had a little isolated village under his charge, had occasion to leave his flock for a time, and his place, unfortunately, could not be replaced by another. He therefore called the most promising of his neophytes, and committed to their care the domestic animals and agricultural implements with which the society had provided the newly-converted savages, then left them with many exhortations and instructions. His absence being prolonged beyond the period anticipated, the Indians thought him dead, and instituted a grand funeral feast in his honor, at which they slaughtered all the oxen, and roasted them by fires made of the ploughs, hoe-handles, etc.; and he arrived just in time to witness the closing scenes of this mourning ceremony.—H.

  74. Consult, among others, Carus: Uber ungleiche Befähigung der vershiedenen Menschen-stämme für höhere geistige Entwickelung. Leipzig, 1849, p. 96 et passim.

  75. Prichard, Natural History of Man, vol. ii.

    See particularly the recent researches of E. G. Squier, published in 1847, under the title: Observations on the Aboriginal Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, and also in various late reviews and other periodicals.

  76. The very singular construction of these tumuli, and the numerous utensils found in them, occupy at this moment the penetration and talent of American antiquaries. I shall have occasion, in a subsequent volume, to express an opinion as to their value in the inquiries about a former civilization; at present, I shall only say that their almost incredible antiquity cannot be called in question. Mr. Squier is right in considering this proved by the fact merely, that the skeletons exhumed from these tumuli crumble into dust as soon as exposed to the atmosphere, although the condition of the soil in which they lie, is the most favorable possible; while the human remains under the British cromlichs, and which have been interred for at least eighteen centuries, are perfectly solid. It is easily conceived, therefore, that between the first possessors of the American soil and the Lenni-Lenape and other tribes, there is no connection. Before concluding this note, I cannot refrain from praising the industry and skill manifested by American scholars in the study of the antiquities of their immense continent. To obviate the difficulties arising from the excessive fragility of the exhumed skulls, many futile attempts were made, but the object was finally accomplished by pouring into them a bituminous preparation which instantly solidifies and thus preserves the osseous parts. This process, which requires many precautions, and as much skill as promptitude, is said to be generally successful.

  77. Ancient India required, on the part of its first white colonists, immense labor of cultivation and improvement. (See Lassen, Indische Alterthumskunde, vol. i.) As to Egypt, see what Chevalier Bunsen, Ægypten's Stelle in der Weltgeschichte, says of the fertilization of the Fayoum, that gigantic work of the earliest sovereigns.

  78. "Why have accidental circumstances always prevented some from rising, while they have only stimulated others to higher attainments?"—Dr. Kneeland's Introd. to Hamilton Smith's Nat. Hist. of Man, p. 95.—H.

  79. Salvador, Histoire des Juifs.

  80. M. Saint-Marc Girardin, Revue des Deux Mondes.

  81. See, upon this often-debated subject, the opinion—somewhat acerbly expressed—of a learned historian and philologist:—

    "A great number of writers have suffered themselves to be persuaded that the country made the nation; that the Bavarians and Saxons were predestined, by the nature of their soil, to become what they are to-day; that Protestantism belonged not to the regions of the south; and that Catholicism could not penetrate to those of the north; and many similar things. Men who interpret history according to their own slender knowledge, their narrow hearts, and near-sighted minds, would, by the same reasoning, make us believe that the Jews had possessed such and such qualities—more or less clearly understood—because they inhabited Palestine, and not India or Greece. But, if these philosophers, so dextrous in proving whatever flatters their notions, were to reflect that the Holy Land contained, in its limited compass, peoples of the most dissimilar religions and modes of thinking, that between them, again, and their present successors, there is the utmost difference conceivable, although the country is still the same; they would understand how little influence, upon the character and civilization of a nation has the country they inhabit."—Ewald, Geschichte des Volkes Israel, vol. i. p. 259.

  82. Although the success of the Chinese missions has not been proportionate to the self-devoting zeal of its laborers, there yet are, in China, a vast number of believers in the true faith. M. Huc tells us, in the relation of his journey, that, in almost every place where he and his fellow-traveller stopped, they could perceive, among the crowds that came to stare at the two "Western devils" (as the celestials courteously call us Europeans), men making furtively, and sometimes quite openly, the sign of the cross. Among the nomadic hordes of the table-lands of Central Asia, the number of Christians is much greater than among the Chinese, and much greater than is generally supposed. (See Annals of the Propagation of the Faith, No. 135, et seq.)—H.

  83. The tutelary divinity was generally a typification of the national character. A commercial or maritime nation, would worship Mercury or Neptune; an aggressive and warlike one, Hercules or Mars; a pastoral one, Pan; an agricultural one, Ceres or Triptolemus; one sunk in luxury, as Corinth, would render almost exclusive homage to Venus.

    As the author observes, all ancient governments were more or less theocratical. The regulations of castes among the Hindoos and Egyptians were ascribed to the gods, and even the most absolute monarch dared not, and could not, transgress the limits which the immortals had set to his power. This so-called divine legislation often answered the same purpose as the charters of modern constitutional monarchies. The authority of the Persian kings was confined by religious regulations, and this has always been the case with the sultans of Turkey. Even in Rome, whose population had a greater tendency for the positive and practical, than for the things of another world, we find the traces of theocratical government. The sibylline books, the augurs, etc., were something more than a vulgar superstition; and the latter, who could stop or postpone the most important proceedings, by declaring the omens unpropitious, must have possessed very considerable political influence, especially in the earlier periods. The rude, liberty-loving tribes of Scandinavia, Germany, Gaul, and Britain, were likewise subjected to their druids, or other priests, without whose permission they never undertook any important enterprise, whether public or private. Truly does our author observe, that Christianity came to deliver mankind from such trammels, though the mistaken or interested zeal of some of its servants, has so often attempted, and successfully, to fasten them again. How ill adapted Christianity would be, even in a political point of view, for a theocratical formula, is well shown by Mr. Guizot, in his Hist. of Civilization, vol. i. p. 213.—H.

  84. I have already pointed out, in my introduction (p. 41-43), some of the fatal consequences that spring from that doctrine. It may not, however, be out of place here to mention another. The communists, socialists, Fourrierites, or whatever names such enemies to our social system assume, have often seduced the unwary and weak-minded, by the plausible assertion that they wished to restore the social system of the first Christians, who held all goods in common, etc. Many religious sectaries have created serious disturbances under the same pretence. It seems, indeed, reasonable to suppose, that if Christianity had given its exclusive sanction to any particular social and political system, it must have been that which the first Christian communities adopted.—H.

  85. See note on page 188.—H.

  86. Natural History of Man, p. 390. London, 1843.

  87. Synopsis of the Indian Tribes of North America.

  88. Had I desired to contest the accuracy of the assertions upon which Mr. Prichard bases his arguments in this case, I should have had in my favor the weighty authority of Mr. De Tocqueville, who, in speaking of the Cherokees, says: "What has greatly promoted the introduction of European habits among these Indians, is the presence of so great a number of half-breeds. The man of mixed race—participating as he does, to a certain extent, in the enlightenment of the father, without, however, entirely abandoning the savage manner of the mother—forms the natural link between civilization and barbarism. As the half-breeds increase among them, we find savages modify their social condition, and change their manners." (Dem. in Am., vol. i. p. 412.) Mr. De Tocqueville ends by predicting that the Cherokees and Creeks, albeit they are half-breeds, and not, as Mr. Prichard affirms, pure aborigines, will, nevertheless, disappear before the encroachments of the whites.

  89. "When four pieces of cards were laid before them, each having a number pronounced once in connection with it, they will, after a re-arrangement of the pieces, select any one named by its number. They also play at domino, and with so much skill as to triumph over biped opponents, whining if the adversary plays a wrong piece, or if they themselves are deficient in the right one."—Vest. of Cr., p. 236.—H.

  90. In those portions of the present France, over one million and a half of the inhabitants speak German. The pure Gauls in the Landes have not yet learned the French language, and speak a peculiar—probably their original—patois.

  91. With the exception of Normandy.

  92. See p. 183.

  93. I am not aware that any writer has ever presumed to doubt this fact except Mr. Guizot, who dismisses it with a sneer. Fortunately, a sneer is not an argument, though it often has more weight.

  94. Hazlitt's translation, vol. i. p 21. New York, 1855.—H.

  95. A careful comparison of Mr. Guizot's views with those expressed by Count Gobineau upon this interesting subject convinced me that the differences of opinion between these two investigators required a more careful and minute examination than the author has thought necessary. With this view, I subjoin further extracts from the celebrated "History of Civilization in Europe," from which, I think, it will appear that few of the great truths comprised in the definition of civilization have escaped the penetration and research of the illustrious writer, but that, being unable to divest himself of the idea of unity of civilization, he has necessarily fallen into an error, with which a great metaphysician justly charges so many reasoners. "It is hard," says Locke, speaking of the abuse of words, "to find a discourse written on any subject, especially of controversy, wherein one shall not observe, if he read with attention, the same words (and those commonly the most material in the discourse, and upon which the argument turns) used sometimes for one collection of simple ideas, and sometimes for another.... A man, in his accompts with another, might with as much fairness, make the characters of numbers stand sometimes for one, and sometimes for another collection of units (e. g., this character, 3, stand sometimes for three, sometimes for four, and sometimes for eight), as, in his discourse or reasoning, make the same words stand for different collections of simple ideas."

    Mr. Guizot opens his first lecture by declaring his intention of giving a "general survey of the history of European civilization, of its origin, its progress, its end, its character. I say European civilization, because there is evidently so striking a uniformity in the civilization of the different states of Europe, as fully to warrant this appellation. Civilization has flowed to them all from sources so much alike, it is so connected in them all—notwithstanding the great differences of time, of place, and circumstances—by the same principles, and it tends in them all to bring about the same results, that no one will doubt of there being a civilization essentially European."

    Here, then, Mr. Guizot acknowledges one great truth contended for in this volume; he virtually recognizes the fact that there may be other civilizations, having different origins, a different progress, different characters, different ends.

    "At the same time, it must be observed, that this civilization cannot be found in—its history cannot be collected from—the history of any single state of Europe. However similar in its general appearance throughout the whole, its variety is not less remarkable, nor has it ever yet developed itself completely in any particular country. Its characteristic features are widely spread, and we shall be obliged to seek, as occasion may require, in England, in France, in Germany, in Spain, for the elements of its history."

    This is precisely the idea expressed in my introduction, that according to the character of a nation, its civilization manifests itself in various ways; in some, by perfection in the arts, useful or polite; in others, by development of political forms, and their practical application, etc. If I had then wished to support my opinion by a great authority, I should, assuredly, have quoted Mr. Guizot, who, a few pages further on, says:—

    "Wherever the exterior condition of man becomes enlarged, quickened, and improved; wherever the intellectual nature of man distinguishes itself by its energy, brilliancy, and its grandeur; wherever these signs occur, notwithstanding the gravest imperfections in the social system, there man proclaims and applauds a civilization."

    "Notwithstanding the gravest imperfections in the social system," says Mr. Guizot, yet in the series of hypotheses, quoted in the text, in which he attempts a negative definition of civilization, by showing what civilization is not, he virtually makes a political form the test of civilization.

    In another passage, again, he says that civilization "is a course for humanity to run—a destiny for it to accomplish. Nations have transmitted, from age to age, something to their successors which is never lost, but which grows, and continues as a common stock, and will thus be carried on to the end of all things. For my part (he continues), I feel assured that human nature has such a destiny; that a general civilization pervades the human race; that at every epoch it augments; and that there, consequently, is a universal history of civilization to be written."

    It must be obvious to the reader who compares these extracts, that Mr. Guizot expresses a totally distinct idea or collection of ideas in each.

    First, the civilization of a particular nation, which exists "wherever the intellectual nature of man distinguishes itself by its energy, brilliancy, and grandeur." Such a civilization may flourish, "notwithstanding the greatest imperfections in the social system."

    Secondly, Mr. Guizot's beau-idéal of the best, most perfect civilization, where the political forms insure the greatest happiness, promote the most rapid—yet well-regulated—progress.

    Thirdly, a great system of particular civilizations, as that of Europe, the various elements of which "are connected by the same principles, and tend all to bring about the same general results."

    Fourthly, a supposed general progress of the whole human race toward a higher state of perfection.

    To all these ideas, provided they are not confounded one with another, I have already given my assent. (See Introduction, p. 51.) With regard to the latter, however, I would observe that it by no means militates against a belief in the intellectual imparity of races, and the permanency of this imparity. As in a society composed of individuals, all enjoy the fruits of the general progress, though all have not contributed to it in equal measure, and some not at all: so, in that society, of which we may suppose the various branches of the human family to be the members, even the inferior participate more or less in the benefits of intellectual labor, of which they would have been incapable. Because I can transport myself with almost the swiftness of a bird from one place to another, it does not follow that—though I profit by Watt's genius—I could have invented the steam-engine, or even that I understand the principles upon which that invention is based.—H.

  96. W. Von Humboldt, Ueber die Kawi-Sprache auf der Insel Java; Einleitung, vol. i. p. 37. Berlin. "Die Civilization ist die Vermenschlichung der Völker in ihren äusseren Einrichtungen und Gebräuchen, und der darauf Bezug habenden inneren Gesinnung."

  97. William Von Humboldt. "Die Kultur fügt dieser Veredlung des gesellschaftlichen Zustandes Wissenschaft und Kunst hinzu."

  98. W. Von Humboldt, op. cit., p. 37: "Wenn wir in unserer Sprache Bildung sagen, so meinen wir damit etwas zugleich Höheres und mehr Innerlicheres, nämlich die Sinnesart, die sich aus der Erkenntniss und dem Gefühle des gesammten geistigen und sittlichen Streben harmonish auf die Empfindung und den Charakter ergiesst."

    As nothing can exceed the difficulty of rendering an abstract idea from the French into English, except to transmit the same from German into French, and as if all these processes must be undergone, the identity of the idea is greatly endangered, I have thought proper to translate at once from the original German, and therefore differ somewhat from Mr. Gobineau, who gives it thus: "L'homme formé, c'est-à-dire, l'homme qui, dans sa nature, possède quelque chose de plus haut, de plus intime à la fois, c'est-à-dire, une façon de comprendre qui répand harmonieusement sur la sensibilité et le charactère les impressions qu'elle reçoit de l'activité intellectuelle et morale dans son ensemble." I have taken great pains to express clearly Mr. Von Humboldt's idea, and have therefore amplified the word Sinnesart, which has not its precise equivalent in English.—Trans.

  99. See page 154.

  100. Mr. Klemm (Allgemeine Culturgeschichte der Menschheit, Leipzig, 1849) adopts, also, a division of all races into two categories, which he calls respectively the active and the passive. I have not had the advantage of perusing his book, and cannot, therefore, say whether his idea is similar to mine. It would not be surprising that, in pursuing the same road, we should both have stumbled over the same truth.

  101. The translator has here permitted himself a deviation from the original. Mr. Gobineau, to express his idea, borrows from the symbolism of the Hindoos, where the feminine principle is represented by Prakriti, and the masculine by Purucha, and calls the two categories of races respectively feminine and masculine. But as he "thereby wishes to express nothing but a mutual fecundation, without ascribing any superiority to either," and as the idea seems fully rendered by the words used in the translation, the latter have been thought preferable, as not so liable to misrepresentation and misconception.—H.

  102. See a quotation from De Tocqueville to the same effect, p. 77.

  103. One striking observation, in connection with this fact, Mr. Gobineau has omitted to make, probably not because it escaped his sagacity, but because he is himself a Roman Catholic. Wherever the Teutonic element in the population is predominant, as in Denmark, Sweden, Holland, England, Scotland, Northern Germany, and the United States, Protestantism prevails; wherever, on the contrary, the Germanic element is subordinate, as in portions of Ireland, in South America, and the South of Europe, Roman Catholicism finds an impregnable fortress in the hearts of the people. An ethnographical chart, carefully made out, would indicate the boundaries of each in Christendom. I do not here mean to assert that the Christian religion is accessible only to certain races, having already emphatically expressed my opinion to the contrary. I feel firmly convinced that a Roman Catholic may be as good and pious a Christian as a member of any other Christian Church whatever, but I see in this fact the demonstration of that leading characteristic of the Germanic races—independence of thought, which incites them to seek for truth, even in religion, for themselves; to investigate everything, and take nothing upon trust.

    I have, moreover, in favor of my position, the high authority of Mr. Macaulay: "The Reformation," says that distinguished essayist and historian, "was a national as well as a moral revolt. It had been not only an insurrection of the laity against the clergy, but also an insurrection of the great German race against an alien domination. It is a most significant circumstance, that no large society of which the tongue is not Teutonic, has ever turned Protestant, and that, wherever a language derived from ancient Rome is spoken, the religion of modern Rome to this day prevails." (Hist. of England, vol. i. p. 53.)—H.

  104. Thus Sparta and Athens, respectively, stood at the head of the oligarchic and democratic parties, and the alternate preponderance of either of the two often inundated each state with blood. Yet Sparta and Athens, and the partisans of each in every state, possessed the spirit of liberty and independence in an equal degree. Themistocles and Aristides, the two great party leaders of Athens, vied with each other in patriotism.

    This uniformity of general views and purpose, Mr. De Tocqueville found in the United States, and he correctly deduces from it the conclusion that "though the citizens are divided into 24 (31) distinct sovereignties, they, nevertheless, constitute a single nation, and form more truly a state of society, than many peoples of Europe, living under the same legislation, and the same prince." (Vol. i. p. 425.) This is an observation which Europeans make last, because they do not find it at home; and in return, it prevents the American from acquiring a clear conception of the state of Europe, because he thinks the disputes there involve no deeper questions than the disputes around him. In certain fundamental principles, all Americans agree, to whatever party they may belong; certain general characteristics belong to them all, whatever be the differences of taste, and individual preferences; it is not so in Europe—England, perhaps, excepted, and Sweden and Denmark. But I will not anticipate the author.—H.

  105. It is well known that, in both Greece and Rome, the education of the children of wealthy families was very generally intrusted to slaves. Some of the greatest philosophers of ancient Greece were bondsmen.—H.

  106. China has no hereditary nobility. The class of mandarins is composed of those who have received diplomas in the great colleges with which the country abounds. A decree of the Emperor Jin-Tsoung, who reigned from 1023 to 1063, regulated the modes of examination, to which all, indiscriminately, are admitted. The candidates are examined more than once, and every precaution is taken to prevent frauds. Thus, the son of the poorest peasant may become a mandarin, but, as he afterwards is dependent on the emperor for office or employment, this dignity is often of but little practical value. Still, there are numerous instances on record, in the history of China, of men who have risen from the lowest ranks to the first offices of the State, and even to the imperial dignity. (See Pauthier's Histoire de la Chine.)—H.

  107. John F. Davis, The Chinese. London, 1840, p. 274. "Three or four volumes of any ordinary work of the octavo size and shape, may be had for a sum equivalent to two shillings. A Canton bookseller's manuscript catalogue marked the price of the four books of Confucius, including the commentary, at a price rather under half a crown. The cheapness of their common literature is occasioned partly by the mode of printing, but partly also by the low price of paper."

    These are Canton prices; in the interior of the empire, books are still cheaper, even in proportion to the value of money in China. Their classic works are sold at a proportionably lower price than the very refuse of our literature. A pamphlet, or small tale, may be bought for a sapeck, about the seventeenth part of a cent; an ordinary novel, for a little more or less than one cent.—H.

  108. There are certain offences for which the punishment is remitted, if the culprit is able to explain lucidly the nature and object of the law respecting them. (See Huc's Trav. in China, vol. ii. p. 252.) In the same place, Mr. Huc bears witness to the correctness of our author's assertion. "Measures are taken," says he, "not only to enable the magistrates to understand perfectly the laws they are called upon to apply, but also to diffuse a knowledge of them among the people at large. All persons in the employment of the government, are ordered to make the code their particular study; and a special enactment provides, that at certain periods, all officers, in all localities, shall be examined upon their knowledge of the laws by their respective superiors; and if their answers are not satisfactory, they are punished, the high officials by the retention of a month's pay; the inferior ones by forty strokes of the bamboo." It must not be imagined that Mr. Huc speaks of the Chinese in the spirit of a panegyrist. Any one who reads this highly instructive and amusing book (now accessible to English readers by a translation), will soon be convinced of the contrary. He seldom speaks of them to praise them.—H.

  109. Op. cit., p. 100.

  110. The reader will remember that Diocletian, who, the son of a slave, rose from the rank of a common soldier, to the throne of the empire of the world, associated with himself in the government, his friend Maximian, A. D. 286. After six years of this joint reign, they took two other partners, Galerius and Constantius. Thus, the empire, though nominally one sovereignty, had in reality four supreme heads. Under Constantine the Great, the imperial unity was restored; but at his decease, the purple was again parcelled out among his sons and nephews. A permanent division of the empire, however, was not effected until the death of Theodosius the Great, who for sixteen years had enjoyed undivided power.

  111. It is not universally known that the various populations of France differ, not only in character, but in physical appearance. The native of the southern departments is easily known from the native of the central and northern. The average stature in the north is said to be an inch and a half more than in the south. This difference is easily perceptible in the regiments drawn from either.—H.

  112. Many of these patois bear but little resemblance to the French language: the inhabitants of the Landes, for example, speak a tongue of their own, which, I believe, has roots entirely different. For the most part, they are unintelligible to those who have not studied them. Over a million and a half of the population of France speak German or German dialects.—H.

  113. Mr. Gobineau's remarks apply with equal, and, in some cases, with greater force, to other portions of Europe, as I had myself ample means for observing. I have always considered the character of the European peasantry as the most difficult problem in the social system of those countries. Institutions cannot in all cases account for it. In Germany, for instance, education is general and even compulsory: I have never met a man under thirty that could not read and write. Yet, each place has its local patois, which no rustic abandons, for it would be deemed by his companions a most insufferable affectation. I have heard ministers in the pulpit use local dialects, of which there are over five hundred in Germany alone, and most of them widely different. Together with their patois, the rustics preserve their local costumes, which mostly date from the Middle Ages. But the peculiarity of their manners, customs, and modes of thinking, is still more striking. Their superstitions are often of the darkest, and, at best, of the most pitiable nature. I have seen hundreds of poor creatures, males and females, on their pilgrimage to some far distant shrine in expiation of their own sins or those of others who pay them to go in their place. On these expeditions they start in great numbers, chanting Aves on the way the whole day long, so that you can hear a large band of them for miles. Each carries a bag on the back or head, containing their whole stock of provisions for a journey of generally from one to two weeks. At night, they sleep in barns, or on stacks of hay in the fields. If you converse with them, you will find them imbued with superstitions absolutely idolatrous. Yet they all know how to read and write. The perfect isolation in which these creatures live from the world, despite that knowledge, is altogether inconceivable to an American. As Mr. Gobineau says of the French peasants, they believe themselves a distinct race. There is little or no discontent among them; the revolutionary fire finds but scanty fuel among these rural populations. But they look upon those who govern and make the laws as upon different beings, created especially for that purpose; the principles which regulate their private conduct, the whole sphere of their ideas, are peculiar to themselves. In one word, they form, not a class, but a caste, with lines of demarcation as clearly defined as the castes of India. I have said before that this is not from want of education; nor can any other explanation of the mystery be found. It is not poverty, for among these rustics there are many wealthy people, and, in general, they are not so poor as the lower classes in cities. Nor do the laws restrain them within the limits of a caste. In Germany, hereditary aristocracy is almost obsolete. The ranks of the actual aristocracy are daily recruited from the burgher classes. The highest offices of the various states are often found in possession of untitled men, or men with newly created titles. The colleges and universities are open to all, and great facilities are afforded even to the poorest. Yet these differences between various parts of the population remain, and this generally in those localities which the ethnographer describes as strongly tinctured with non-Teutonic elements.—H.

  114. A nurse from Tours had put a bird into the hands of her little ward, and was teaching him to pull out the feathers and wings of the poor creature. When the parents reproached her for giving him this lesson of wickedness, she answered: "C'est pour le rendre fier."—(It is to make him fierce or high-spirited.) This answer of 1847 is in strict accordance with the most approved maxims of education of the nurse's ancestors in the times of Vercingetorix.

  115. A few years ago, a church-warden was to be elected in a very small and very obscure parish of French Brittany, that part of the former province which the real Britons used to call the pays Gallais, or Gallic land. The electors, who were all peasants, deliberated two days without being able to agree upon a selection, because the candidate, a very honest, wealthy, and highly respected man and a good Christian, was a foreigner. Now, this foreigner was born in the locality, and his father had resided there before him, and had also been born there, but it was recollected that his grandfather, who had been dead many years, and whom no one in the assembly had known, came from somewhere else.

  116. This is no exaggeration, as every one acquainted with French history knows. In the great revolution of the last century, the peasantry of France took no interest and no part. In the Vendée, indeed, they fought, and fought bravely, for the ancient forms, their king, and their feudatory lords. Everywhere else, the rural districts remained in perfect apathy. The revolutions since then have been decided in Paris. The émeutes seldom extended beyond the walls of the great cities. It is a well-known fact, that in many of the rural districts, the peasants did not hear of the expulsion of the Bourbon dynasty, until years afterwards, and even then had no conception of the nature of the change. Bourbon, Orleans, Republic, are words, to them, of no definite meaning. The only name that can rouse them from their apathy, is "Napoleon." At that sound, the Gallic heart thrills with enthusiasm and thirst for glory. Hence the unparalleled success with which the present emperor has appealed to universal suffrage.—H.

  117. It is not generally appreciated how much we are indebted to Oriental civilizations for our lighter and more graceful literature. Our first works of fiction were translations or paraphrases of Eastern tales introduced into Western Europe by the returning crusaders. The songs of the troubadour, the many-tomed romances of the Middle Ages—those ponderous sires of modern novels—all emanated from that source. The works of Dante, Tasso, Ariosto, Boccacio, and nearer home, of Chaucer and Spenser, are incontestable proofs of this fact. Even Milton himself drew from the inexhaustible stores of Eastern legends and romances. Our fairy tales, and almost all of our most graceful lyric poesy, that is not borrowed from Greece, is of Persian origin. Almost every popular poet of England and the continent has invoked the Oriental muse, none more successfully than Southey and Moore. It would be useless to allude to the immense popularity of acknowledged versions of Oriental literature, such as the Thousand and One Nights, the Apologues, Allegories, &c. What we do not owe to the East, we have taken from the Greeks. Even to this day, Grecian mythology is the never-failing resource of the lyric poet, and so familiar has that graceful imagery become to us, that we introduce it, often mal-à-propos, even in our colloquial language.

    In metaphysics, also, we have confessedly done little more than revive the labors of the Greeks.—H.

  118. M. Flourens, Eloge de Blumenbach, Mémoires de l'Académie des Sciences. Paris, 1847, p. xiii. This savant justly protests against such a method.

  119. For the description of types in this and other portions of this chapter, I am indebted to

    M. William Lawrence, Lect. on the Nat. Hist. of Man. London, 1844. But especially to the learned

    James Cowles Prichard, Nat. Hist. of Man. London, 1848.

  120. Prichard, op. cit., p. 129.

  121. It is impossible to conceive an idea of the scarce human form of these creatures, without the aid of pictorial representations. In Prichard's Natural History of Man will be found a plate (No. 23, p. 355) from M. d'Urville's atlas, which may assist the reader in gaining an idea of the utmost hideousness that the human form is capable of. I cannot but believe that the picture there given is considerably exaggerated, but with all due allowance in this respect, enough ugliness will be left to make us almost ashamed to recognize these beings as belonging to our kind.—H.

  122. Op. cit., p. 111.

  123. It will be observed that Prichard and Camper, and further on Blumenbach, here use the word nation as synonymous to race. See my introduction, p. 65.—H.

  124. Prichard, op. cit., p. 115.

  125. Op. cit., p. 117.

  126. Carus, Ueber ungleiche Befähigung, etc., p. 19.

  127. Op. cit., p. 20.

  128. As Mr. Gobineau has taken the facts presented by Dr. Morton at second hand, and, moreover, had not before him Dr. Morton's later tables and more matured deductions, Dr. Nott has given an abstract of the result arrived at by the learned craniologist, as published by himself in 1849. This abstract, and the valuable comments of Dr. Nott himself, will be found in the Appendix, under A.—H.

  129. I fear that our author has here fallen into an error which his own facts disprove, and which is still everywhere received without examination, viz: that cultivation can change the form or size of the head, either of individuals or races; an opinion, in support of which, no facts whatever can be adduced. The heads of the barbarous races of Europe were precisely the same as those of civilized Europe in our day; this is proven by the disinterred crania of ancient races, and by other facts. Nor do we see around us among the uneducated, heads inferior in form and size to those of the more privileged classes. Does any one pretend that the nobility of England, which has been an educated class for centuries, have larger heads, or more intelligence than the ignoble? On the contrary, does not most of the talent of England spring up from plebeian ranks? Wherever civilization has been brought to a population of the white race, they have accepted it at once—their heads required no development. Where, on the contrary, it has been carried to Negroes, Mongols, and Indians, they have rejected it. Egyptians and Hindoos have small heads, but we know little of the early history of their civilization. Egyptian monuments prove that the early people and language of Egypt were strongly impregnated with Semitic elements. Latham has shown that the Sanscrit language was carried from Europe to India, and probably civilization with it.

    I have looked in vain for twenty years for evidence to prove that cultivation could enlarge a brain, while it expands the mind. The head of a boy at twelve is as large as it ever is.—N.

  130. Carus, op. cit., p. 12.

  131. There are some very slight ones, which nevertheless are very characteristic. Among this number I would class a certain enlargement on each side of the lower lip, which is found among the English and Germans. I find this indication of Germanic origin in several paintings of the Flemish school, in the Madonna of Rubens, in the museum of Dresden, in the Satyrs and Nymphs of the same collection, in a Lute-player of Miéris, etc. No cranioscopic method whatever could embrace such details, which, however, are not without value in the great mixture of races which Europe presents.

  132. Prichard, op. cit., p. 329.

  133. Job Ludolf, whose facilities of observation must necessarily have been very defective when compared with those we enjoy at the present day, nevertheless combats in very forcible language, and with arguments—so far as concerns the negro—invincible, the opinion here adopted by Mr. Prichard. I cannot refrain from quoting him in this place, not for any novelty contained in his arguments, but to show their very antiquity: "De nigredine Æthiopum hic agere nostri non est instituti, plerique ardoribus solis atquæ zonæ torridæ id tribuant. Verum etiam intra solis orbitam populi dantur, si non plane albi, saltem non prorsus nigri. Multi extra utrumque tropicum a media mundi linea longius absunt quam Persæ aut Syri, veluti pramontorii Bonæ Spei habitantes, et tamen iste sunt nigerrimi. Si Africæ tantum et Chami posteris id inspectari velis, Malabares et Ceilonii aliique remotiores Asiæ populi æque nigri excipiendi erunt. Quod si causam ad cœli solique naturam referas, non homines albi in illis regionibus renascentes non nigrescunt? Aut qui ad occultas qualitates confugiunt, melius fecerint si sese nescire fateantur."Jobus Ludolfus, Commentarium ad Historiam Æthiopicam, fol. Norimb. p. 56.

  134. Prichard, op. cit., p. 124.

  135. Prichard, op. cit., p. 433.

  136. Neither the Swiss, nor the Tyrolese, nor the Highlanders of Scotland, nor the Sclaves of the Balkan, nor the tribes of the Himaleh, nor any other mountaineers whatever, present the monstrous appearance of the Quichuas.

  137. The distinguished microscopist, Dr. Peter A. Browne, of Philadelphia, has published the most elaborate observations on hair, of any author I have met with; and he asserts that the pile of the negro is wool, and not hair. He has gone so far as to distinguish the leading races of men by the direction, shape, and structure of the hair. The reader is referred to his works for much very curious, new, and valuable matter.—N.

    To those of our readers who may not have the inclination or opportunity of consulting Mr. Browne's work, the following concise and excellent synopsis of his views, which I borrow from Dr. Kneeland's Introduction to Hamilton Smith's Natural History of Man, may not be unacceptable: "There are, on microscopical examination, three prevailing forms of the transverse section of the filament, viz: the cylindrical, the oval, and the eccentrically elliptical. There are also three directions in which it pierces the epidermis. The straight and lank, the flowing or curled, and the crisped or frizzled, differ respectively as to the angle which the filament makes with the skin on leaving it. The cylindrical and oval pile has an oblique angle of inclination. The eccentrically elliptical pierces the epidermis at right angles, and lies perpendicularly in the dermis. The hair of the white man is oval; that of the Choctaw, and some other American Indians, is cylindrical; that of the negro is eccentrically elliptical or flat. The hair of the white man has, beside its cortex and intermediate fibres, a central canal, which contains the coloring matter when present. The pile of the negro has no central canal, and the coloring matter is diffused, when present, either throughout the cortex or the intermediate fibres. Hair, according to these observations, is more complex in its structure than wool. In hair, the enveloping scales are comparatively few, with smooth surfaces, rounded at their points, and closely embracing the shaft. In wool, they are numerous, rough, sharp-pointed, and project from the shaft. Hence, the hair of the white man will not felt, that of the negro will. In this respect, therefore, it comes near to true wool"—pp. 88, 89.—H.

  138. A full answer to this objection will be found in our Appendix, under B.—N.

  139. For the arguments which may be deduced from the language of Holy Writ, in favor of plurality of origins, see Appendix C.—H.

  140. Among others, Frédéric Cuvier, Annales du Muséum, vol. xi. p. 458.

  141. The reader will be struck by the remarkable illustration of the truth of this remark, which the equine species affords. The vast difference between the swift courser, who excites the enthusiasm of admiring multitudes, and the common hack, need not be pointed out, and it is as well known that either, if the breed be preserved unmixed, will perpetuate their distinctive qualities to a countless progeny.—H.

  142. A free mulatto, who had received a very good education in France, once seriously undertook to prove to me that the Saviour's earthly form partook, at the same time, of the characteristics of the white and the black races; in other words, was that of a half-breed. The arguments by which he supported this singular hypothesis were drawn from theology, as well as Scriptural ethnology, and were remarkably plausible and ingenious. I am convinced that if the real opinion of colored Christians on this subject could be collected, a vast majority would be found to agree with my informant.—H.

  143. Our author here gives evidence of a want of critical study of races—the resemblances he has traced do not exist. There is no type in Africa south of the equator, or among the aborigines of America, that bears any resemblance to any race in Europe or Asia.—N.

  144. Müller, Handbuch der Physiologie des Menschen, vol. ii. p. 639.

  145. Prichard, op. cit., pp. 484, 485.

  146. An exception, however, must be made in the case of Shakspeare, while painting on an Italian canvas. In Romeo and Juliet, Capulet says:—

    "My child is yet a stranger in the world,
    She hath not seen the change of fourteen years;
    Let two more summers wither in their pride,
    Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride."

    To which Paris answers:—

    "Younger than she are happy mothers made."
  147. According to M. Krapff, a Protestant minister in Eastern Africa, among the Wanikos both sexes marry at the age of twelve. (Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenländischen Gesellschaft, vol. iii. p. 317.) In Paraguay, the Jesuits had established the custom, which subsists to this day, of marrying their neophytes, the girls at the age of ten, the boys at that of thirteen. It is not rare to find, in that country, widowers and widows eleven and twelve years old. (A. d'Orbigny, L'Homme Américain, vol. i. p. 40.) In Southern Brazil, females marry at the age of ten and eleven. Menstruation there begins also at a very early age, and ceases equally early. (Martius and Spix, Reise in Brasilien, vol. i. p. 382.) I might increase the number of similar quotations indefinitely.

  148. Prichard, op. cit., p. 486.

  149. Botta, Monumens de Ninive. Paris, 1850.

  150. Edinburgh Review, "Ethnology, or the Science of Races," Oct. 1844, p. 144, et passim. "There is probably no evidence of original diversity of race which is so generally and unhesitatingly relied upon as that derived from the color of the skin and the character of the hair; ... but it will not, we think, stand the test of serious examination.... Among the Kabyles of Algiers and Tunis, the Tuarites of Sahara, the Shelahs or mountaineers of Southern Morocco, and other people of the same race, there are very considerable differences of complexion." (p. 448.)

  151. Ibid., loc. cit., p. 453. "The Cinghalese are described by Dr. Davy as varying in color from light brown to black, the prevalent hue of their hair and eyes is black, but hazel eyes and brown hair are not very uncommon; gray eyes and red hair are occasionally seen, though rarely, and sometimes the light-blue or red eye and flaxen hair of the albino."

  152. Ibid., loc. cit. "The Samoiedes, Tungusians, and others living on the borders of the Icy Sea, have a dirty-brown or swarthy complexion."

  153. Edinburgh Review, p. 439.

  154. Hammer, Geschichte des Osmanischen Reiches, vol. i. p. 2. (History of the Ottoman Empire.)

  155. Ritter, Erdkunde Asien, vol. i. p. 433, et passim, p. 1115, etc. Lassen, Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes, vol. ii. p. 65. Benfey, Encyclopædie, by Ersch and Gruber, Indien, p. 12. Alexander Von Humboldt, speaking of this fact, styles it one of the most important discoveries of our times. (Asie Centrale, vol. ii. p. 649.) With regard to its bearings upon historical science, nothing can be more true.

  156. Nouschirwan, whose reign falls in the first half of the sixth century of our era, married Scharouz, the daughter of the Khakan of the Turks. She was the most beautiful woman of her time. (Haneberg, Zeitschr. f. d. K. des Morgenl., vol. i. p. 187.) This is by no means an isolated instance; Schahnameh furnishes a number of similar ones.

  157. The Scythes, though having adopted a language of the Arian classes, were, nevertheless, a Mongolian nation; there would, therefore, be nothing very surprising if the Orghuses had been an Arian nation, though speaking a Finnic dialect. This hypothesis is singularly corroborated by a passage in the relations of the traveller Rubruquis, who was sent by St. Louis as ambassador to the sovereign of the Mongols. "I was struck," says the worthy monk, "with the prince's resemblance to the deceased M. John de Beaumont, whose complexion was equally fresh and colored." Alexander Von Humboldt, justly interested by this remark, adds: "This physiognomical observation acquires importance, when we recollect that the monarch here spoken of belonged to the family of Tchinguiz, who were really of Turkish, not of Mogul origin." And pursuing this trace, the great savant finds another corroborating fact: "The absence of Mongolian features," says he, "strikes us also in the portraits which we possess of the Baburides, the conquerors of India." (Asie Centrale, vol. i. p. 248, and note.)

  158. It will be seen that Mr. Gobineau differs, in the date he gives of the institution of the Janissaries, from all other European writers, who unanimously ascribe the establishment of this corps to Mourad I., the third prince of the line of Othman. This error, into which Gibbon himself has fallen, originated with Cantemir: but the concurrent testimony of every Turkish historian fixes the epoch of their formation and consecration by the Dervish Hadji-Becktash, to the reign of Orkhan, the father of Mourad, who, in 1328, enrolled a body of Christian youths as soldiers under this name (which signifies, "new regulars"), by the advice of his cousin Tchenderli, to whose councils the wise and simple regulations of the infant empire are chiefly attributed. Their number was at first only a thousand; but it was greatly augmented when Mourad, in 1361, appropriated to this service, by an edict, the imperial fifth of the European captives taken in the war—a measure which has been generally confounded with the first enrolment of the corps. At the accession of Soliman the Magnificent, their effective strength had reached 40,000; and under Mohammed IV., in the middle of the seventeenth century, that number was more than doubled. But though the original composition of the Janissaries is related by every writer who has treated of them, it has not been so generally noticed that for more than two centuries and a half not a single native Turk was admitted into their ranks, which were recruited, like those of the Mamelukes, solely by the continual supply of Christian slaves, at first captives of tender age taken in war, and afterwards, when this source proved inadequate to the increased demand, by an annual levy among the children of the lower orders of Christians throughout the empire—a dreadful tax, frequently alluded to by Busbequius, and which did not finally cease till the reign of Mohammed IV.

    At a later period, when the Krim Tartars became vassals of the Porte, the yearly inroads of the fierce cavalry of that nation into the southern provinces of Russia, were principally instrumental in replenishing this nursery of soldiers; and Fletcher, who was ambassador from Queen Elizabeth to Ivan the Terrible, describes, in his quaint language, the method pursued in these depredations: "The chief bootie the Tartars seeke for in all their warres, is to get store of captives, specially young boyes and girles, whom they sell to the Turkes, or other, their neighbours. To this purpose, they take with them great baskets, made like bakers' panniers, to carrie them tenderly; and if any of them happens to tyre, or bee sicke on the way, they dash him against the ground, or some tree, and so leave him dead." (Purchas's Pilgrims, vol. iii. p. 441.)

    The boys, thus procured from various quarters, were assembled at Constantinople, where, after a general inspection, those whose personal advantages or indications of superior talent distinguished them from the crowd, were set aside as pages of the seraglio or Mamelukes in the households of the pashas and other officers, whence in due time they were promoted to military commands or other appointments: but the remaining multitude were given severally in charge to peasants or artisans of Turkish race, principally in Anatolia, by whom they were trained up, till they approached the age of manhood, in the tenets of the Moslem faith, and inured to all the privations and toils of a hardy and laborious life. After this severe probation, they were again transferred to the capital, and enrolled in the different odas or regiments; and here their military education commenced.—H.

  159. Erdkunde, Asien, vol. i. p. 448.

  160. Ethnology, etc., p. 439: "The Hungarian nobility ... is proved by historical and philological evidence to have been a branch of the great Northern Asiatic stock, closely allied in blood to the stupid and feeble Ostiaks, and the untamable Laplander."

  161. St. Stephen reigned about the year 1000, nearly one century and a half after the first invasion of the Magyars, under their leaders, Arpad and Zulta. He introduced Christianity among his people, on which account he was canonized, and is now the tutelary saint of his nation. It may not be known to the generality of our readers, that the Magyars, though they have now resided nearly one thousand years in Hungary, have, with few exceptions, never applied themselves to the tillage of the soil. Agriculture, to this day, remains almost exclusively in the hands of the original (the Slowack or Sclavonian) population. The Magyar's wealth consists in his herds, or, if he owns land, it is the Slowacks that cultivate it for him. It is a singular phenomenon that these two races, though professing the same religion, have remained almost entirely unmixed, and each still preserves its own language.—H.

  162. Essai Historique sur l'Origine des Hongrois. Paris, 1844.

  163. It appears that we shall be compelled henceforward to considerably modify our usually received opinions with regard to the nations of Central Asia. It cannot now be any longer doubted that many of these populations contain a very considerable admixture of white blood, a fact of which our predecessors in the study of history had not the slightest apprehension. Alexander Von Humboldt makes a very important remark upon this subject, in speaking of the Kirghis-Kazakes, mentioned by Menander of Byzant, and Constantine Porphyrogenetus; and he shows conclusively that the Kirghis (χερχις) concubine spoken of by the former writer as a present of the Turkish chief Dithubùl to Zemarch, the ambassador of Justinian II., in A. D. 569, was a girl of mixed blood—partly white. She is the precise counterpart of those beautiful Turkish girls, whose charms are so much extolled by Persian writers, and who did not belong, any more than she, to the Mongolian race. (Vide Asie Centrale, vol. i. p. 237, et passim, and vol. ii. pp. 130, 131.)

  164. Schaffarick, Slawische Alterthümer, vol. i. p. 279, et passim.

  165. Aug. Thierry, Histoire de la Conquite de l'Angleterre. Paris, 1846, vol. i. p. 155.

  166. In my introductory note to Chapters VIII. and IX. (see p. 244), I have mentioned a remarkable instance of the permanency of characteristics, even in branches of the same race. An equally, if not more striking illustration of this fact is given by Alex. Von Humboldt.

    It is well known that Spain contains a population composed of very dissimilar ethnical elements, and that the inhabitants of its various provinces differ essentially, not only in physical appearance, but still more in mental characteristics. As in all newly-settled countries, immigrants from the same locality are apt to select the same spot, the extensive Spanish possessions on this continent were colonized, each respectively, by some particular province in the mother country. Thus the Biscayans settled Mexico; the Andalusians and natives of the Canary Islands, Venezuela; the Catalonians, Buenos Ayres; the Castillians, Peru, etc. Although centuries have elapsed since these original settlements, and although the character of the Spanish Americans must have been variously modified by the physical nature of their new homes, whether situated in the vicinity of coasts, or of mining districts, or in isolated table-lands, or in fertile valleys; notwithstanding all this, the great traveller and experienced observer still clearly recognizes in the character of the various populations of South America, the distinctive peculiarities of the original settlers. Says he: "The Andalusians and Canarians of Venezuela, the Mountaineers and the Biscayans of Mexico, the Catalonians of Buenos Ayres, evince considerable differences in their aptitude for agriculture, for the mechanical arts, for commerce, and for all objects connected with intellectual development. Each of these races has preserved, in the new, as in the old world, the shades that constitute its national physiognomy; its asperity or mildness of character; its freedom from sordid feelings, or its excessive love of gain; its social hospitality, or its taste of solitude.... In the inhabitants of Caracas, Santa Fé, Quito, and Buenos Ayres, we still recognize the features that belong to the race of the first settlers."—Personal Narrative, Eng. Trans., vol. i. p. 395.—H.

  167. I have already alluded to the classification adopted by Mr. Latham, the great ethnographer, which, though different in the designations, is precisely similar to that of Mr. Gobineau. Hamilton Smith also comes to the conclusion that, "as there are only three varieties who attain the typical standard, we have in them the foundation of that number being exclusively aboriginal." He therefore divides the races of men into three classes, which he calls "typical forms," and which nearly correspond to Mr. Gobineau's and Mr. Latham's "primary varieties." But, notwithstanding this weight of authorities against me, I cannot entirely agree as to the correctness of this classification. Fewer objections seem to me to lie against that proposed by Van Amringe, which I recommend to the consideration of the reader, and, though perhaps out of place in a mere foot-note, subjoin at full length. It must be remembered that the author of this system, though he uses the word species to distinguish the various groups, is one of the advocates for unity of origin. (The words Japhetic and Shemitic are also employed in a sense somewhat different from that which common usage has assigned them.)


    Psychical or Spiritual Character, viz:—
    All the Physical Attributes developed harmoniously.—Warlike, but not cruel, or destructive.


    Physical Character, viz:—
    A high degree of sensibility; fair complexion; copious, soft, flowing hair, often curled, or waving; ample beard; small, oval, perpendicular face, with features very distinct; expanded forehead; large and elevated cranium; narrow elevated nose, distinct from the other features; small mouth, and thin lips; chin, round, full, and somewhat prominent, generally equal with the lips.


    The Israelites, Greeks, Romans, Teutones, Sclavons, Celts, &c., and many sub-varieties.


    Psychical or Spiritual Character, viz:
    Attributes unequally developed. Moderately mental—originative, inventive, but not speculative. Not warlike, but destructive.


    Physical Character, viz:—
    Medium sensibility; olive yellow complexion; hair thin, coarse, and black; little or no beard; broad, flattened, and triangular face; high, pyramidal, and square-shaped skull; forehead small and low; wide and small nose, particularly broad at the root; linear and highly arched eyebrows; very oblique eyes, broad, irregular, and half-closed, the upper eyelid extending a little beyond the lower; thick lips.


    The Chinese, Mongolians, Japanese, Chin Indians, &c., and probably the Esquimaux, Toltecs, Aztecs, Peruvians.


    Psychical or Spiritual Character, viz:—
    Attributes generally equally developed. Moderately mental; not originative, or inventive, but speculative; roving, predatory, revengeful, and sensual. Warlike and highly destructive.


    Physical Character.—Sub-medium sensibility; dark skin, more or less red, or of a copper-color tinge; hair black, straight, and strong; face broad, immediately under the eyes; high cheek-bones; nose prominent and distinct, particularly in profile; mouth and chin, European.


    Most of the Tartar and Arabian tribes, and the whole of the American Indians, unless those mentioned in the second species should be excepted.


    Psychical or Spiritual Character, viz:—
    Attributes equally undeveloped. Inferiorly mental; not originative, inventive, or speculative; roving, revengeful, predatory, and highly sensual; warlike and destructive.


    Physical Character.—Sluggish sensibility, approaching to torpor; dark or black skin; hair black, generally woolly; skull compressed on the sides, narrow at the forehead, which slants backwards; cheek-bones very prominent; jaws projecting; teeth oblique, and chin retreating, forming a muzzle-shaped profile; nose broad, flat, and confused with the face; eyes prominent; lips thick.


    The Negroes of Central Africa, Hottentots, Cafirs, Australasian Negroes, &c.; and probably the Malays, &c.

    Nat. Hist. of Man, p. 73 et passim.

    If the reader will carefully examine the psychical characteristics of these groups, as given in the above extract, he will find them to accord better with the whole of Mr. Gobineau's theories, than Mr. Gobineau's own classification.—H.

  168. It is probably a typographical error, that makes Mr. Flourens (Eloge de Blumenbach, p. 11) say that the Polynesian race was "a mixture of two others, the Caucasian and the Mongolian." The Black and the Mongolian is undoubtedly what the learned Academician wished to say.

  169. This may be so in our eyes. It is natural for us to think those the most pleasing in appearance, that closest resemble our own type. But were an African to institute a comparative scale of beauty, would he not place his own race highest, and declare that "all races rose in the scale of beauty in proportion to the perfectness of the development" of African features? I think it extremely probable—nay, positively certain.

    Mr. Hamilton Smith takes the same side as the author. "It is a mistaken notion," says he, "to believe that the standard contour of beauty and form differs materially in any country. Fashion may have the influence of setting up certain deformities for perfections, both at Pekin and at Paris, but they are invariably apologies which national pride offers for its own defects. The youthful beauty of Canton would be handsome (?) in London," etc.

    Mr. Van Amringe, on the contrary, after a careful examination of the facts brought to light by travellers and other investigators, comes to the conclusion that "the standard of beauty in the different species (see p. 371, note) of man is wholly different, physically, morally, and intellectually. Consequently, that taste for personal beauty in each species is incompatible with the perception of sexual beauty out of the species." (Op. cit., p. 656.) "A difference of taste for sexual beauty in the several races of men is the great natural law which has been instrumental in separating them, and keeping them distinct, more effectually than mountains, deserts, or oceans. This separation has been perfect for the whole historic period, and continues to be now as wide as it is or has been in any distinct species of animals. Why has this been so? Did prejudice operate four thousand years ago exactly as it does now? If it did not, how came the races to separate into distinct masses at the very earliest known period, and, either voluntarily or by force, take up distinct geographical abodes?" (Ibid., pp. 41 and 42.)—H.

  170. This inequality is not the less great, nor the less permanent, if we suppose each type to have its own standard. Nay, if the latter be true, it is a sign of a more radical difference among races.—H.

  171. Upon the aborigines of America, consult Martius and Spix, Reise in Brasilien, vol. i. p. 259; upon the negroes, Pruner, Der Neger, eine aphoristische Skizze aus der medicinischen Topographie von Cairo. In regard to the superiority in muscular vigor over all other races, see Carus, Ueber ungl. Bef., p. 84.

  172. Because we now find the Chinese apparently stationary, many persons unreflectingly conclude that they were always so; which would presuppose that the Chinese were placed upon earth with the faculty of making porcelain, gunpowder, paper, etc., somewhat after the manner in which bees make their cells. But in the annals of the Chinese empire, the date of many of their principal inventions is distinctly recorded. There was a long period of vigorous intellectual activity among that singular people, a period during which good books were written, and ingenious inventions made in rapid succession. This period has ceased, but the Chinese are not therefore stationary. They are retrograding. No Chinese workman can now make porcelain equal to that of former ages, which consequently bears an exorbitant price as an object of virtû. The secret of many of their arts has been lost, the practice of all is gradually deteriorating. No book of any note has been written these hundreds of years in that great empire. Hence their passionate attachment to everything old, which is not, as is so generally presumed, the cause of their stagnation: it is the sign of intellectual decadence, and the brake which prevents a still more rapid descent. Whenever a nation begins to extravagantly prize the productions of preceding ages, it is a confession that it can no longer equal them: it has begun to retrograde. But the very retrogression is a proof that there once was an opposite movement.

  173. The fearful scenes of blood which the beginning of our century witnessed, had crowded the hospitals with wounded and dying. Professional nurses could afford little help after battles like those of Jena, of Eylau, of Feldbach, or of Leipsic. It was then that, in Northern Germany, thousands of ladies of the first families sacrificed their health, and, in too many instances, their lives, to the Christian duty of charity. Many of the noble houses still mourn the loss of some fair matron or maiden, who fell a victim to her self-devotion. In the late war between Denmark and Prussia, the Danish ladies displayed an equal zeal. Scutari also will be remembered in after ages as a monument of what the women of our race can do. But why revert to the past, and to distant scenes? Have we not daily proofs around us that the heroic virtues of by-gone ages still live in ours?

  174. The word criticism has here been used by the translator in a sense somewhat unusual in the English language, where it is generally made to signify "the art of judging of literary or artistic productions." In a more comprehensive sense, it means the art of discriminating between truth and error, or rather, perhaps, between the probable and the improbable. In this sense, the word is often used by continental metaphysicians, and also, though less frequently, by English writers. As the definition is perfectly conformable to etymology, I have concluded to let the above passage stand as it is.—H.

  175. It will be remembered that Mr. Gobineau speaks of Europe.—H.

  176. The term "Radical" is used on the European continent to designate that party who desire thorough, uncompromising reform: the plucking out of evils by the root.—H.

  177. The principles of government applied to practice at the formation of our Constitution, Mr. Gobineau considers as identical with those laid down at the beginning of every society founded by the Germanic race. In his succeeding volumes he mentions several analogues.—H.

  178. M. J. Mohl, Rapport Annuel à la Société Asiatique, 1851, p. 92: "The Indian book trade of indigenous productions is extremely lively, and consists of a number of works which are never heard of in Europe, nor ever enter a European's library even in India. Mr. Springer asserts in a letter, that in the single town of Luknau there are thirteen lithographical establishments exclusively occupied with multiplying books for the schools, and he gives a list of considerable length of books, none of which have probably ever reached Europe. The same is the case in Delhi, Agra, Cawnpour, Allahabad, and other cities."

  179. The Siamese are probably the most debased in morals of any people on earth. They belong to the remotest outskirts of the Indo-Chinese civilization; yet among them every one knows how to read and write. (Ritter, Erdkunde, Asien, vol. iii. p. 1152.)

  180. No individual can encompass the whole circle of human knowledge: no civilization comprise at once all the improvements possible to humanity.—H.

  181. The word Arab is here used instead of the more common, but less correct, term Saracen, which was the general appellation bestowed on the first propagators of the Islam by the Greeks and Latins. The Arab civilization reached its culminating point about the reign of Harun al Rashid. At that time, it comprised nearly all that remained of the arts and sciences of former ages. The splendor and magnificence for which it was distinguished, is even yet the theme of romancers and poets; and may be discerned to this day in the voluptuous and gorgeous modes of life among the higher classes in those countries where it still survives, as well as in the remains of Arab architecture in Spain, the best preserved and most beautiful of which is the well-known Alhambra. Though the Arab civilization had a decidedly sensual tendency and character, it was not without great benefits to mankind. From it our forefathers learned some valuable secrets of agriculture, and the first lessons in horticulture. The peach, the pear, the apricot, the finer varieties of apples and plums, and nearly all of our most valued fruits were brought into Western and Central Europe by the returning crusaders from the land of the Saracens. Many valuable processes of manufacture, and especially of the art of working metals, are derived from the same source. In the science of medicine, the Arabs laid the foundation of that noble structure we now admire. Though they were prevented by religious scruples from dissecting the human body, and, therefore, remained in ignorance of the most important facts of anatomy, they brought to light innumerable secrets of the healing powers in the vegetable kingdom; they first practised the art of distillation and of chemical analysis. They were the beginners of the science of Chemistry, to which they gave its name, and in which many of the commonest technical terms (such as alkali, alembic, alcohol, and many others), still attest their labors. In mathematical science they were no less industrious. To them we owe that simple and useful method which so greatly facilitates the more complex processes of calculation, without which, indeed, some of them would be impossible, and which still retains its Arabic name—Algebra. But what is more, to them we owe our system of notation, so vastly superior to that of the Greeks and Romans, so admirable in its efficacy and simplicity, that it has made arithmetic accessible to the humblest understanding; at the present time, the whole Christian world uses Arabic numerals.—H.

  182. It is supposed by many that Turkey will ultimately be won to our civilization, and, as a proof of this, great stress is laid upon the efforts of the present Sultan, as well as his predecessor, to "Europeanize" the Turks. Whoever has carefully and unbiassedly studied the present condition of that nation, knows how unsuccessful these efforts, backed, though they were, by absolute authority, and by the immense influence of the whole of Western Europe, have hitherto been and always will be. It is a notorious fact, that the Turks fight less well in their semi-European dress and with their European tactics, of which so much was anticipated, than they did with their own. The Moslem now regards the Christian with the same feelings that he did in the zenith of his power, and these feelings are not the less bitter, because they can no longer be so ostentatiously displayed.—H.

  183. The Arabs believed themselves the descendants of Ishmael, the son of Hagar. This belief, even before Mohammed's time, had been curiously blended with the idolatrous doctrines of some of their tribes.—H.

  184. Philip, an Arabian adventurer who was prefect of the prætorian guards under the third Gordian, and who, through his boldness and ability, succeeded that sovereign on the throne in A. D. 244.—H.

  185. Odenathus, senator of Palmyra, after Sapor, the King of Persia, had taken prisoner the Emperor of Rome, and was devastating the empire, met the ruthless conqueror with a body of Palmyrians, and several times routed his much more numerous armies. Being the only one who could protect the Eastern possessions of the Roman empire against the aggressions of the Persians, he was appointed Cæsar, or coadjutor to the emperor by Gallienus, the son of Valerian, the captive sovereign.—H.

  186. The history of Zenobia, the Queen of the East, as she styled herself, and one of the most interesting characters in history, is well known. As in the preceding notes, I shall, therefore, merely draw attention to familiar facts, with a view to refresh the reader's memory, not to instruct him.

    The famous Arabian queen was the widow of Odenathus, of Palmyra, who bequeathed to her his dignity as Cæsar, or protector of the Eastern dominions of Rome. It soon, however, became apparent that she disdained to owe allegiance to the Roman emperors, and aimed at establishing a new great empire for herself and her descendants. Though the most accomplished, as well as the most beautiful woman of her time, she led her armies in person, and was so eminently successful in her military enterprises that she soon extended her dominion from the Euphrates to the Nile. Palmyra thus became the centre and capital of a vast empire, which, as Mr. Gobineau observes, rivalled and even threatened Rome itself. She was, however, defeated by Aurelian, and, in A. D. 273, graced the triumph of her conqueror on his return to Rome.

    The former splendor of the now deserted Palmyra is attested by the magnificent ruins which still form an inexhaustible theme for the admiration of the traveller and antiquarian.—H.

  187. Though the mass of the nation were ignorant of letters, the Arabs had already before Mohammed's times some famous writers. They had even made voyages of discovery, in which they went as far as China. The earliest, and, as modern researches have proved, the most truthful, account of the manners and customs of that country is by Arab writers.—H.

  188. At the time of the appearance of the false prophet, Arabia contained within its bosom every then known religious sect. This was owing not only to the central position of that country, but also to the liberty which was then as now a prerogative of the Arab. Among them every one was free to select or compose for himself his own private religion. While the adjacent countries were shaken by the storms of conquest and tyranny, the persecuted sects fled to the happy land where they might profess what they thought, and practice what they professed.

    A religious persecution had driven from Persia many who professed the religion of the ancient Magi. The Jews also were early settlers in Arabia. Seven centuries before the death of Mohammed they had firmly established themselves there. The destruction of Jerusalem brought still greater numbers of these industrious exiles, who at once erected synagogues, and to protect the wealth they rapidly acquired, built and garrisoned strongly fortified towns in various portions of the wilderness. The Bible had at an early day been translated into the Arabic tongue. Christian missionaries were not wanting, and their active zeal was eminently successful. Several of the Arab tribes had become converts. There were Christian churches in Yemen; the states of Hira and Gassan were under the jurisdiction of Jacobite and Nestorian bishops. The various heretical sects found shelter and safety among the hospitable Arabs. But this very fact proved detrimental to the progress of the Christian religion, and opened the path for the creed of Mohammed. So many and various were the Christian sects that crowded together in that country, and so widely departed from the true spirit of Christianity were some of them, that bitter hostilities sprung up among them, and their religion fell into contempt. The Eastern Christians of the seventh century had insensibly relapsed into a semblance of paganism, one of the sects (the Collyridian heretics) had even gone so far as to invest the virgin Mary with the name and honors of a goddess. This is what the author alludes to in saying that Christianity was losing favor in Arabia at the time of the appearance of Mohammed.—H.

  189. The student of ecclesiastical history knows what a number of sects had sprung up about that time to distress and harass the Church. It is not so generally appreciated, however, that for the first hundred years, the progress of Islamism was almost exclusively at the expense of Christianity. The whole of the present Ottoman empire, and almost the whole northern coast of Africa were previously Christian countries. Whether the loss is greatly to be regretted, I know not, for the Syrians and Egyptians, from being very indifferent Christians, became good Mohammedans. These populations were to the Christian Church like a cankered limb, the lopping off of which may have been ordained by an all-wise Providence for the salvation of what was yet sound in the body.—H.

  190. W. Von Humboldt. Ueber die Karo-Sprache, Einleitung, p. 243. "Durch die Richtung auf diese Bildung und durch innere Stammes-verwandschaft wurden sie wirklich für griechischen Geist und griechische Sprache empfänglich, da die Araber vorzugsweise nur an den wissenschaftlichen Resultaten griechischer Forschung hiengen."

  191. I do not hesitate to consider as an unmistakable mark of intellectual inferiority, the exaggerated development of instincts that characterizes certain savages. The perfection which some of their senses acquire, cannot but be at the expense of the reasoning faculties. See, upon this subject, the opinions of Mr. Lesson des Papous, in a memoir inserted in the tenth volume of the Annales des Sciences Naturelles.

  192. "The negro's sense of smell and of taste is as powerful as it is unselecting. He eats everything, and I have good reasons for asserting, that odors the most disagreeable to us, are positively pleasant to him." (Pruner, Op. cit., vol. i. p. 133.)

    Mr. Pruner's assertions would, I think, be corroborated by every one who has lived much among the negroes. It is a notorious fact that the blacks on our southern plantations eat every animal they can lay hold of. I have seen them discuss a piece of fox, or the still more strongly flavored pole-cat, with evident relish. Nay, on one occasion, I have known a party of negroes feast on an alligator for a whole week, during which time they bartered their allowance of meat for trinkets. Upon my expressing surprise at so strange a repast, I was assured that it was by no means uncommon; that it was a favorite viand of the negroes in their native country, and that even here they often killed them with the prospect of a savory roast or stew. I am aware that some persons north of the Mason's & Dixon's line might be disposed to explain this by asserting that hunger drove them to such extremities; but I can testify, from my own observation, that this is not the case. In the instances I have mentioned, and in many others which are too repulsive to be committed to paper, the banqueters were well fed, and evidently made such a feast from choice. There are, in the Southern States, many of the poor white population who are neither so well clothed nor so well fed as these negroes were, and yet I never heard of their resorting to such dishes.

    In regard to the negro's fondness for odors, I am less qualified to speak from my own observations, but nearly every description of the manners of his native climes that I have read, mentioned the fact of their besmearing themselves with the strong musky fluid secreted by many animals—the alligator, for instance. And I remember having heard woodsmen in the South say, that while the white man shuns the polecat more than he does the rattlesnake, and will make a considerable circuit to get out of its way, the negro is but little afraid of this formidable animal and its nauseous weapon.—H.

  193. This is illustrated by many of their practices in their natural state. For instance, the well-known custom of putting to death, at the demise of some prince or great man, a number—corresponding with the rank of the deceased—of his slaves, in order that they may wait upon him in the other world. Hundreds of poor creatures are often thus massacred at the funeral celebrations in honor of some king or ruler. Yet it would be unjust to call the negro ferocious or cruel. It merely proves the slight estimation in which he holds human life.—H.

  194. There is a callousness in the negro, which strikingly distinguishes him from the whites, though it is possessed in perhaps an equal degree by other races. I borrow from Mr. Van Amringe's Nat. Hist. of Man, a few remarks on this subject by Dr. Mosely, in his Treatise on Tropical Diseases: "Negroes," says the Doctor, "whatever the cause may be, are devoid of sensibility (physical) to a surprising degree. They are not subject to nervous diseases. They sleep sound in every disease, nor does any mental disturbance ever keep them awake. They bear chirurgical operations much better than white people, and what would be the cause of insupportable pain to a white man, a negro would almost disregard. I have amputated the legs of many negroes, who have held the upper part of the limb themselves." Every southern planter, and every physician of experience in the South, could bear witness to these facts.—H.

  195. Thinking that it might not be uninteresting to some of our readers to see the views concerning the negro of another European writer besides Mr. Gobineau, I subjoin the following extract from Mr. Tschudi's Travels in South America. Mr. Tschudi is a Swiss naturalist of undoubted reputation, an experienced philosophic observer, and a candid seeker for truth. His opinion is somewhat harsher than would be that of a man who had resided among that class all his life, but it nevertheless contains some valuable truths, and is, at least, curious on account of the source whence it comes.

    "In Lima, and, indeed, throughout the whole of Peru, the free negroes are a plague to society. Too indolent to support themselves by laborious industry, they readily fall into any dishonest means of getting money. Almost all the robbers that infest the roads on the coast of Peru are free negroes. Dishonesty seems to be a part of their very nature; and, moreover, all their tastes and inclinations are coarse and sensual. Many warm defenders excuse these qualities by ascribing them to the want of education, the recollection of slavery, the spirit of revenge, etc. But I here speak of free-born negroes, who are admitted into the houses of wealthy families, who, from their early childhood, have received as good an education as falls to the share of many of the white Creoles—who are treated with kindness and liberally remunerated, and yet they do not differ from their half-savage brethren who are shut out from these advantages. If the negro has learned to read and write, and has thereby made some little advance in education, he is transformed into a conceited coxcomb, who, instead of plundering travellers on the highway, finds in city life a sphere for the indulgence of his evil propensities.... My opinion is, that the negroes, in respect to capability for mental improvement, are far behind the Europeans; and that, considered in the aggregate, they will not, even with the advantages of careful education, attain a very high degree of cultivation. This is apparent from the structure of the skull, on which depends the development of the brain, and which, in the negro, approximates closely to the animal form. The imitative faculty of the monkey is highly developed in the negro, who readily seizes anything merely mechanical, whilst things demanding intelligence are beyond his reach. Sensuality is the impulse which controls the thoughts, the acts, the whole existence of the negroes. To them, freedom can be only nominal, for if they conduct themselves well, it is because they are compelled, not because they are inclined to do so. Herein lie at once the cause of, and the apology for, their bad character." (Travels in Peru, London, 1848, p. 110, et passim.)—H.

  196. The sickening moral degradation of some of the branches of our species is well known to the student of anthropology, though, for obvious reasons, details of this kind cannot find a place in books destined for the general reader.—H.

  197. As many of the terms of modern ethnography have not yet found their way into the dictionaries, I shall offer a short explanation of the meaning of this word, for the benefit of those readers who have not paid particular attention to that science.

    The word "Arian" is derived from Aryas or Αριοι, respectively the indigenous and the Greek designation of the ancient Medes, and is applied to a race, or rather a family of races, whose original ethnological area is not as yet accurately defined, but who have gradually spread from the centre of Asia to the mouth of the Ganges, to the British Isles, and the northern extremities of Scandinavia. To this family of races belong, among others, the ancient Medes and Persians, the white conquerors of India (now forming the caste of the Brahmins), and the Germanic races. The whole group is often called Indo-European. The affinities between the Greek and the German languages had long been an interesting question to philologists; but Schlegel, I believe, was the first to discover the intimate relations between these two and the Sanscrit, and he applied to the whole three, and their collateral branches, the name of Indo-Germanic languages. The discovery attracted the attention both of philologists and ethnographers, and it is now indubitably proved that the civilizers of India, and the subverters of the Roman Empire are descended from the same ethnical stock. It is known that the Sanscrit is as unlike all other Indian languages, as the high-caste Brahmins are unlike the Pariahs and all the other aboriginal races of that country; and Latham has lately come to the conclusion that it has actually been carried to India from Europe. It will be seen from this that Mr. Gobineau, in his view of the origin of various civilizations, is supported in at least several of the most important instances.

    It is a familiar saying that civilization travels westward: if we believe ethnologists, the Arian races have always migrated in that direction—from Central Asia to India, to Asia Minor, to Egypt, to Greece, to Western Europe, to the western coasts of the Atlantic, and the same impulse of migration is now carrying them to the Pacific.—H.

  198. Natural History of Man and Monkeys.

  199. Fauna and Flora within Living Animals, p. 9.

  200. Doctrine of the Unity of the Human Race, p. 10.

  201. We are told that the pigs in one department of France are all black, in another, all white, and local causes are assigned! When I was a boy, my father introduced what was then called the China hog into the Union District, South Carolina; they were black, with white faces. On a visit to that district about twelve years ago, I found the whole country for 40 miles covered with them. On a visit one year ago, I found they had been supplanted entirely by other breeds of different colors: the old familiar type had disappeared.

  202. Op. cit., p. 177.

  203. Domestication et Naturalization des Animaux utiles, par M. Isadore Geoffroy St. Hilaire, p. 71, Paris, 1854.

  204. Ibid.

  205. Columbia, p. 135.

  206. De la Longevité Humaine, &c., par P. Flourens, Paris, 1855.

  207. M. Flourens here, perhaps, speaks too positively. The blood of the apparently lost species will show itself from time to time for many, if not endless generations.

  208. Op. cit.

  209. Op. cit., p. 122.

  210. It has been objected, that the drawings cannot be relied on, as some of these types are no longer to be found. But there are several well-marked types of domestic animals on the old monuments that no longer exist, because they have been supplanted by better breeds. In this country several varieties of the Indian dogs are rapidly disappearing for the same reason. The llama must give place, in the same way, to the cow and the horse. Many other instances may be cited.

  211. Op. cit., p. 29. 1854.

  212. Op. cit., p. 101.

  213. Op. cit., p. 53.

  214. Geographical Dist., p. 17.

    This work, I believe, is not yet issued, but Dr. Pickering has kindly sent me the first 150 pages, as printed.

  215. Prichard, Nat. Hist. of Man, p. 8. London, 1843.

  216. See "Types of Mankind," by Nott and Gliddon.




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