Nathaniel und Victoria 1: Unter goldenen Schwingen (German Edition)
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In Franklin Institute, Journal, vols. Treasury of Travel and Adventure. Tschudi John James von , Peruvian Antiquities. Tuthill Franklin , The History of California. Twiss Travers , The Oregon Territory. Ulloa Antonio de , Noticias Americanas. Ulloa Francisco de , A Relation of the Discouery, etc.
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Western Scenes and Reminiscences. West-Indische Spieghel, door Athanasium Inga. Wilkes Charles , Narrative of the U. Wilkes Charles , Western America. Wilkes George , History of Oregon. Wilkeson, Notes on Puget Sound, n. Willson Marcius , American History. Wilson Daniel , Physical Ethnology. Wilson Robert Anderson , Mexico and its Religion. Wimmel Heinrich , Californien. Winthrop Theodore , The Canoe and the Saddle. Worsley Israel , Review of the American Indians. Yates John , Sketch of the Sacramento Valley in Facts are the raw material of science. They are to philosophy and history, what cotton and iron are to cloth and steam-engines.
Like the raw material of the manufacturer, they form the bases of innumerable fabrics, are woven into many theories finely spun or coarsely spun, which wear out with time, become unfashionable, or else prove to be indeed true and fit, and as such remain. This raw material of the scholar, like that of the manufacturer, is always a staple article; its substance never changes, its value never diminishes; whatever may be the condition of society, or howsoever advanced the mind, it is indispensable. Theories may be only for the day, but facts are for all time and for all science. Compare any fact with the fancies which have been prevalent concerning it, and consider, I will not say their relative brilliance, but their relative importance.
Take electricity, how many explanations have been given of the lightning and the thunder, yet there is but one fact; the atmosphere, how many howling demons have directed the tempest, how many smiling deities moved in the soft breeze. For the one all-sufficient First Cause, how many myriads of gods have been set up; for every phenomenon how many causes have been invented; with every truth how many untruths have contended, with every fact how many fancies. The profound investigations of latter-day philosophers are nothing but simple and laborious inductions from ascertained facts, facts concerning attraction, polarity, chemical affinity and the like, for the explanation of which there are countless hypotheses, each hypothesis involving multitudes of speculations, all of which evaporate as the truth slowly crystallizes.
Speculation is valuable to science only as it directs the mind into otherwise-undiscoverable paths; but when the truth is found, there is an end to speculation. So much for facts in general; let us now look for a moment at the particular class of facts of which this work is a collection. The tendency of philosophic inquiry is more and more toward the origin of things. In the earlier stages of intellectual impulse, the mind is almost wholly absorbed in ministering to the necessities of the present; next, the mysterious uncertainty of the after life provokes inquiry, and contemplations of an eternity of the future command attention; but not until knowledge is well advanced does it appear that there is likewise an eternity of the past worthy of careful scrutiny,—without which scrutiny, indeed, the eternity of the future must forever remain a sealed book.
Standing as we do between these two eternities, our view limited to a narrow though gradually widening horizon, as nature unveils her mysteries to our inquiries, an infinity spreads out in either direction, an infinity of minuteness no less than an infinity of immensity; for hitherto, attempts to reach the ultimate of molecules, have proved as futile as attempts to reach the ultimate of masses.
Now man, the noblest work of creation, the only reasoning creature, standing alone in the midst of this vast sea of undiscovered truth,—ultimate knowledge ever receding from his grasp, primal causes only thrown farther back as proximate problems are solved,—man, in the study of mankind, must follow his researches in both of these directions, backward as well as forward, must indeed derive his whole knowledge of what man is and will be from what he has been. Thus it is that the study of mankind in its minuteness assumes the grandest proportions.
Viewed in this light there is not a feature of primitive humanity without significance; there is not a custom or characteristic of savage nations, however mean or revolting to us, from which important lessons may not be drawn. It is only from the study of barbarous and partially cultivated nations that we are able to comprehend man as a progressive being, and to recognize the successive stages through which our savage ancestors have passed on their way to civilization. With the natural philosopher, there is little thought as to the relative importance of the manifold works of creation.
The tiny insect is no less an object of his patient scrutiny, than the wonderful and complex machinery of the cosmos. The lower races of men, in the study of humanity, he deems of as essential importance as the higher; our present higher races being but the lower types of generations yet to come. Hence, if in the following pages, in the array of minute facts incident to the successive peoples of which we speak, some of them appear small and unworthy of notice, let it be remembered that in nature there is no such thing as insignificance; still less is there anything connected with man unworthy of our most careful study, or any peculiarity of savagism irrelevant to civilization.
Different schools of naturalists maintain widely different opinions regarding the origin of mankind. Existing theories may be broadly divided into three categories; in the first two of which man is considered as a special creation, and in the third as a natural development from some lower type. The special-creation school is divided on the question of unity or diversity of race.
The first party holds by the time-honored tradition, that all the nations of the earth are descended from a single human pair; the second affirms, that by one creative act were produced several special creations, each separate creation being the origin of a race, and each race primordially adapted to that part of the globe which it now inhabits. The third theory, that of the development school, denies that there ever were common centres of origin in organic creation; but claims that plants and animals generate spontaneously, and that man is but the modification of some preexisting animal form.
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The first hypothesis, the doctrine of the monogenists, is ably supported by Latham, Prichard, and many other eminent ethnologists of Europe, and is the favorite opinion of orthodox thinkers throughout Christendom. The human race, they say, having sprung from a single pair, constitutes but one stock, though subject to various modifications. Anatomically, there is no difference between a Negro and a European. The color of the skin, the texture of the hair, the convolutions of the brain, and all other peculiarities, may be attributed to heat, moisture, and food.
Man, though capable of subduing the world to himself, and of making his home under climates and circumstances the most diverse, is none the less a child of nature, acted upon and molded by those conditions which he attempts to govern. Climate, periodicities of nature, material surroundings, habits of thought and modes of life, acting through a long series of ages, exercise a powerful influence upon the human physical organization; and yet man is perfectly created for any sphere in which he may dwell; and is governed in his condition by choice rather than by coercion.
Articulate language, which forms the great line of demarcation between the human and the brute creation, may be traced in its leading characteristics to one common source. The differences between the races of men are not specific differences. The greater part of the flora and fauna of America, those of the circumpolar regions excepted, are essentially dissimilar to those of the old world; while man in the new world, though bearing traces of high antiquity, is specifically identical with all the races of the earth.
It is well known that the hybrids of plants and of animals do not possess the power of reproduction, while in the intermixture of the races of men no such sterility of progeny can be found; and therefore, as there are no human hybrids, there are no separate human races or species, but all are one family. Besides being consistent with sound reasoning, this theory can bring to its support the testimony of the sacred writings, and an internal evidence of a creation divine and spiritual, which is sanctioned by tradition, and confirmed by most philosophic minds.
Man, unlike animals, is the direct offspring of the Creator, and as such he alone continues to derive his inheritance from a divine source. The Hebraic record, continue the monogenists, is the only authentic solution of the origin of all things; and its history is not only fully sustained by science, but it is upheld by the traditions of the most ancient barbarous nations, whose mythology strikingly resembles the Mosaic account of the creation, the deluge, and the distribution of peoples.
The Semitic family alone were civilized from the beginning. A peculiar people, constantly upheld by special act of Providence from falling into paganism, they alone possessed a true knowledge of the mystery of creation. A universal necessity for some form of worship, a belief inherent in all mankind, in an omnipotent deity and a life beyond the grave, point to a common origin and prophesy a common destiny. This much for the monogenists.
The second hypothesis, that of the polygenists, holds that there was not one only, but several independent creations, each giving birth to the essential, unchangeable peculiarities of a separate race; thus constituting a diversity of species with primeval adaptation to their geographical distribution. Morton, Agassiz, Gliddon, and others in America, stand sponsors for this theory. The physiological differences of race, they say, which separate mankind into classes, do not result from climatic surroundings, but are inherited from original progenitors.
They point to marked characteristics in various peoples which have remained unchanged for a period of four thousand years. In place of controverting divine revelation, they claim that Mosaic history is the history of a single race, and not the history of all mankind; that the record itself contains an implied existence of other races; and that the distribution of the various species or races of men, according to their relative organisms, was part of the creative act, and of no less importance than was the act of creation.
The third hypothesis, derived mainly from the writings of Lamarck, Darwin, and Huxley, is based upon the principle of evolution. Man, say they, bears no impress of a divine original that is not common to brutes; he is but an animal, more perfectly developed through natural and sexual selection. Commencing with the spontaneous generation of the lowest types of vegetable and animal life,—as the accumulation of mold upon food, the swarming of maggots in meat, the infusorial animalcules in water, the generation of insect life in decaying vegetable substances,—the birth of one form arising out of the decay of another, the slow and gradual unfolding from a lower to a higher sphere, acting through a long succession of ages, culminate in the grandeur of intellectual manhood.
Thus much for this life, while the hope of a like continued progress is entertained for the life to come. While the tendency of variety in organic forms is to decrease, argue these latter-day naturalists, individuals increase in a proportion greater than the provisional means of support. A predominating species, under favorable circumstances, rapidly multiplies, crowding out and annihilating opposing species.
There is therefore a constant struggle for existence in nature, in which the strongest, those best fitted to live and improve their species, prevail; while the deformed and ill-favored are destroyed. In courtship and sexual selection the war for precedence continues. Throughout nature the male is the wooer; he it is who is armed for fight, and provided with musical organs and ornamental appendages, with which to charm the fair one.
The savage and the wild beast alike secure their mate over the mangled form of a vanquished rival. In this manner the more highly favored of either sex are mated, and natural selections made, by which, better ever producing better, the species in its constant variation is constantly improved. Many remarkable resemblances may be seen between man and the inferior animals.
In embryonic development, in physical structure, in material composition and the function of organs, man and animals are strikingly alike. Physically and mentally, the man-like ape and the ape-like man sustain to each other a near relationship; while between the mammal and the mollusk there exists the greatest possible dissimilarity. Articulate language, it is true, acting upon the brain, and in turn being acted upon to the improvement of both, belongs only to man; yet animals are not devoid of expedients for expressing feeling and emotion.
It has been observed that no brute ever fashioned a tool for a special purpose; but some animals crack nuts with a stone, and an accidentally splintered flint naturally suggests itself as the first instrument of primeval man. The chief difficulty lies in the high state of moral and intellectual power which may be attained by man; yet this same progressive principle is likewise found in brutes. Nor need we blush for our origin.
The nations now most civilized were once barbarians. Our ancestors were savages, who, with tangled hair, and glaring eyes, and blood-besmeared hands, devoured man and beast alike. Surely a respectable gorilla lineage stands no unfavorable comparison. Between the first and the last of these three rallying points, a whole continent of debatable land is spread, stretching from the most conservative orthodoxy to the most scientific liberalism. Numberless arguments may be advanced to sustain any given position; and not unfrequently the same analogies are brought forward to prove propositions directly oppugnant.
As has been observed, each school ranks among its followers the ablest men of science of the day. These men do not differ in minor particulars only, meeting in general upon one broad, common platform; on the contrary, they find themselves unable to agree as touching any one thing, except that man is, and that he is surrounded by those climatic influences best suited to his organization.
Any one of these theories, if substantiated, is the death-blow of the others. The first denies any diversity of species in creation and all immutability of race; the second denies a unity of species and the possibility of change in race; the third denies all special acts of creation and, like the first, all immutability of race. The question respecting the origin of animals and plants has likewise undergone a similar flux of beliefs, but with different result.
Whatever the conclusions may be with regard to the origin of man, naturalists of the present day very generally agree, that there was no one universal centre of propagation for plants and animals; but that the same conditions of soil, moisture, heat, and geographical situation, always produce a similarity of species; or, what is equivalent, that there were many primary centres, each originating species, which spread out from these centres and covered the earth.
This doctrine was held by early naturalists to be irreconcilable with the Scripture account of the creation, and was therefore denounced as heretical. The most exuberant types of flora and fauna are found within the tropical regions, decreasing in richness and profusion towards either pole; while man in his greatest perfection occupies the temperate zone, degenerating in harmony of features, in physical symmetry, and in intellectual vigor in either direction. Within this temperate zone is placed the hypothetical cradle of the human race, varying in locality according to religion and tradition.
Three primordial centres of population have been assigned to the three sons of Noah,—Arabia, the Semitic; India, the Japetic; and Egypt, the Hamitic centre. Thibet, and the mountains surrounding the Gobi desert, have been designated as the point from which a general distribution was made; while the sacred writings mention four rich and beautiful valleys, two of which are watered by the Tigris and Euphrates, as the birth-place of man. It was formerly believed that in the beginning, the primeval ocean covered the remaining portion of the globe, and that from this central spot the waters receded, thereby extending the limits of terrestrial life.
Admitting the unity of origin, conjecture points with apparent reason to the regions of Armenia and of Iran, in western Asia, as the cradle of the human race. Departing from this geographical centre, in the directions of the extremities of the continent, the race at first degenerated in proportion to distance.
Civilization was for many ages confined within these central limits, until by slow degrees, paths were marked out to the eastward and to the westward, terminating the one upon the eastern coast of Asia, and the other upon the American shores of the Pacific. Concerning the distribution of plants and animals, but one general opinion is now sustained with any degree of reason. The beautifully varied systems of vegetation with which the habitable earth is clothed, springing up in rich, spontaneous abundance; the botanical centres of corresponding latitudes producing resemblance in genera without identity of species; their inability to cross high mountains or wide seas, or to pass through inhospitable zones, or in any way to spread far from the original centre,—all show conclusively the impossibility that such a multitude of animal and vegetable tribes, with characters so diverse, could have derived their origin from the same locality, and disappearing entirely from their original birth-place, sprung forth in some remote part of the globe.
Subsequently this opinion was modified, giving to each species an origin in some certain spot to which it was particularly adapted by nature; and it was supposed that from these primary centres, through secondary causes, there was a general diffusion throughout the surrounding regions. A comparison of the entomology of the old world and the new, shows that the genera and species of insects are for the most part peculiar to the localities in which they are found.
Birds and marine animals, although unrestricted in their movements, seldom wander far from specific centres. On the other hand, the harmony which exists between the organism of man and the methods by which nature meets his requirements, tends conclusively to show that the world in its variety was made for man, and that man is made for any portion of the earth in which he may be found. Whencesoever he comes, or howsoever he reaches his dwelling-place, he always finds it prepared for him. On the icy banks of the Arctic Ocean, where mercury freezes and the ground never softens, the Eskimo, wrapped in furs, and burrowing in the earth, revels in grease and train-oil, sustains vitality by eating raw flesh and whale-fat; while the naked inter-tropical man luxuriates in life under a burning sun, where ether boils and reptiles shrivel upon the hot stone over which they attempt to crawl.
The watery fruit and shading vegetation would be as useless to the one, as the heating food and animal clothing would be to the other. The capability of man to endure all climates, his omnivorous habits, and his powers of locomotion, enable him to roam at will over the earth. He was endowed with intelligence wherewith to invent methods of migration and means of protection from unfavorable climatic influence, and with capabilities for existing in almost any part of the world; so that, in the economy of nature the necessity did not exist with regard to man for that diversity of creation which was deemed requisite in the case of plants and animals.
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The classification of man into species or races, so as to be able to designate by his organization the family to which he belongs, as well as the question of his origin, has been the subject of great diversity of opinion from the fact that the various forms so graduate into each other, that it is impossible to determine which is species and which variety.
Attempts have indeed been made at divisions of men into classes according to their primeval and permanent physiological structure, but what uniformity can be expected from such a classification among naturalists who cannot so much as agree what is primeval and what permanent? The tests applied by ethnologists for distinguishing the race to which an individual belongs, are the color of the skin, the size and shape of the skull,—determined generally by the facial angle,—the texture of the hair, and the character of the features.
The structure of language, also, has an important bearing upon the affinity of races; and is, with some ethnologists, the primary criterion in the classification of species. The facial angle is determined by a line drawn from the forehead to the front of the upper jaw, intersected by a horizontal line passing over the middle of the ear. Some writers classify according to one or several of these tests, others consider them all in arriving at their conclusions. Thus, Virey divides the human family into two parts: Cuvier and Jaquinot make three classes, placing the Malay and American among the subdivisions of the Mongolian.
Kant makes four divisions under four colors: European, whitish; American, coppery; Asiatic, tawny; and African, black. Buffon makes five divisions and Blumenbach five. Lesson makes six divisions according to colors: Bory de St Vincent arranges fifteen stocks under three classes which are differenced by hair: European straight hair, American straight hair, and crisped or curly hair.
In like manner Prof. Zeune designates his divisions under three types of crania for the eastern hemisphere, and three for the western, namely, high skulls, broad skulls, and long skulls. Hunter classifies the human family under seven species; Agassiz makes eight; Pickering, eleven; Desmoulins, sixteen; and Crawford, sixty-three. Dr Latham, considered by many the chief exponent of the science of ethnology in England, classifies the different races under three primary divisions, namely: Prichard makes three principal types of cranial conformation, which he denominates respectively, the civilized races, the nomadic or wandering races, and the savage or hunting races.
Thus the Arctic realm is inhabited by Hyperboreans, the Asiatic by Mongols, the European by white men, the American by American Indians, the African by black races, and the East Indian, Australian and Polynesian by their respective peoples.
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Now when we consider the wide differences between naturalists, not only as to what constitutes race and species,—if there be variety of species in the human family,—but also in the assignment of peoples and individuals to their respective categories under the direction of the given tests; when we see the human race classified under from one to sixty-three distinct species, according to individual opinions; and when we see that the several tests which govern classification are by no means satisfactory, and that those who have made this subject the study of their lives, cannot agree as touching the fundamental characteristics of such classification—we cannot but conclude, either that there are no absolute lines of separation between the various members of the human family, or that thus far the touchstone by which such separation is to be made remains undiscovered.
The color of the human skin, for example, is no certain guide in classification. Microscopists have ascertained that the normal colorations of the skin are not the results of organic differences in race; that complexions are not permanent physical characters, but are subject to change. Climate is a cause of physical differences, and frequently in a single tribe may be found shades of color extending through all the various transitions from black to white.
In one people, part occupying a cold mountainous region, and part a heated lowland, a marked difference in color is always perceptible. Peculiarities in the texture of the hair are likewise no proof of race. The hair is more sensibly affected by the action of the climate than the skin. Every degree of color and crispation may be found in the European family alone; and even among the frizzled locks of negroes every gradation appears, from crisped to flowing hair.
The growth of the beard may be cultivated or retarded according to the caprice of the individual; and in those tribes which are characterized by an absence or thinness of beard, may be found the practice, continued for ages, of carefully plucking out all traces of beard at the age of puberty. No physiological deformities have been discovered which prevent any people from cultivating a beard if such be their pleasure. The conformation of the cranium is often peculiar to habits of rearing the young, and may be modified by accidental or artificial causes. The most eminent scholars now hold the opinion that the size and shape of the skull has far less influence upon the intelligence of the individual than the quality and convolutions of the brain.
The structure of language, especially when offered in evidence supplementary to that of physical science, is most important in establishing a relationship between races. But it should be borne in mind that languages are acquired, not inherited; that they are less permanent than living organisms; that they are constantly changing, merging into each other, one dialect dying out and another springing into existence; that in the migrations of nomadic tribes, or in the arrival of new nations, although languages may for a time preserve their severalty, they are at last obliged, from necessity, to yield to the assimilating influences which constantly surround them, and become merged into the dialects of neighboring clans.
And on the other hand, a counter influence is exercised upon the absorbing dialect. The dialectic fusion of two communities results in the partial disappearance of both languages, so that a constant assimilation and dissimilation is going on. Language is not a physiological characteristic, but an acquisition; and as such should be used with care in the classification of species. Science, during the last half century, has unfolded many important secrets; has tamed impetuous elements, called forth power and life from the hidden recesses of the earth; has aroused the slumbering energies of both mental and material force, changed the currents of thought, emancipated the intellect from religious transcendentalism, and spread out to the broad light of open day a vast sea of truth.
Old-time beliefs have had to give place. And in the attempt to read the book of humanity as it comes fresh from the impress of nature, to trace the history of the human race, by means of moral and physical characteristics, backward through all its intricate windings to its source, science has accomplished much; but the attempt to solve the great problem of human existence, by analogous comparisons of man with man, and man with animals, has so far been vain and futile in the extreme.
I would not be understood as attempting captiously to decry the noble efforts of learned men to solve the problems of nature. For who can tell what may or may not be found out by inquiry? Any classification, moreover, and any attempt at classification, is better than none; and in drawing attention to the uncertainty of the conclusions arrived at by science, I but reiterate the opinions of the most profound thinkers of the day. It is only shallow and flippant scientists, so called, who arbitrarily force deductions from mere postulates, and with one sweeping assertion strive to annihilate all history and tradition.
They attempt dogmatically to set up a reign of intellect in opposition to that of the Author of intellect. Terms of vituperation and contempt with which a certain class of writers interlard their sophisms, as applied to those holding different opinions, are alike an offense against good taste and sound reasoning. Notwithstanding all these failures to establish rules by which mankind may be divided into classes, there yet remains the stubborn fact that differences do exist, as palpable as the difference between daylight and darkness.
These differences, however, are so played upon by change, that hitherto the scholar has been unable to transfix those elements which appear to him permanent and characteristic. Any variation therein, no matter how insignificant it might be, would be forthwith followed by a corresponding variation in form. The present invariability of the world of organization is the direct consequence of the physical equilibrium, and so it will continue as long as the mean temperature, the annual supply of light, the composition of the air, the distribution of water, oceanic and atmospheric currents, and other such agencies, remain unaltered; but if any one of these, or of a hundred other incidents that might be mentioned, should suffer modification, in an instant the fanciful doctrine of the immutability of species would be brought to its true value.
The American Indians, their origin and consanguinity, have, from the days of Columbus to the present time proved no less a knotty question. Schoolmen and scientists count their theories by hundreds, each sustaining some pet conjecture, with a logical clearness equaled only by the facility with which he demolishes all the rest. One proves their origin by holy writ; another by the writings of ancient philosophers; another by the sage sayings of the Fathers. They are tracked with equal certainty from Scandinavia, from Ireland, from Iceland, from Greenland, across Bering Strait, across the northern Pacific, the southern Pacific, from the Polynesian Islands, from Australia, from Africa.
Venturesome Carthaginians were thrown upon the eastern shore; Japanese junks on the western. The finely spun webs of logic by which these fancies are maintained would prove amusing, did not the profound earnestness of their respective advocates render them ridiculous. Acosta, who studied the subject for nine years in Peru, concludes that America was the Ophir of Solomon. Alexo Vanegas shows that America was peopled by Carthaginians; Anahuac being but another name for Anak. Besides, both nations practiced picture-writing; both venerated fire and water, wore skins of animals, pierced the ears, ate dogs, drank to excess, telegraphed by means of fires on hills, wore all their finery on going to war, poisoned their arrows, beat drums and shouted in battle.
Garcia found a man in Peru who had seen a rock with something very like Greek letters engraved upon it; six hundred years after the apotheosis of Hercules, Coleo made a long voyage; Homer knew of the ocean; the Athenians waged war with the inhabitants of Atlantis; hence the American Indians were Greeks. Lord Kingsborough proves conclusively that these same American Indians were Jews: Shortly after the discovery of the Yosemite Valley, tidings reached the settlers of Mariposa that certain chiefs had united with intent to drop down from their mountain stronghold and annihilate them.
To show the Indians the uselessness of warring upon white men, these chieftains were invited to visit the city of San Francisco, where, from the number and superiority of the people that they would there behold, they should become intimidated, and thereafter maintain peace. But contrary to the most reasonable expectations, no sooner had the dusky delegates returned to their home than a council was called, and the assembled warriors were informed that they need have no fear of these strangers: Their manners, their customs, their language, their dress, are all different.
They wear black coats and high hats, and are not able to walk along the smoothest path without the aid of a stick. There are many advocates for an Asiatic origin, both among ancient and modern speculators. Favorable winds and currents, the short distance between islands, traditions, both Chinese and Indian, refer the peopling of America to that quarter. Similarity in color, features, religion, reckoning of time, absence of a heavy beard, and innumerable other comparisons, are drawn by enthusiastic advocates, to support a Mongolian origin.
The same arguments, in whole or in part, are used to prove that America was peopled by Egyptians, by Ethiopians, by French, English, Trojans, Frisians, Scythians; and also that different parts were settled by different peoples. A complete review of theories and opinions concerning the origin of the Indians, I propose to give in another place; not that intrinsically they are of much value, except as showing the different fancies of different men and times.
Fancies, I say, for modern scholars, with the aid of all the new revelations of science, do not appear in their investigations to arrive one whit nearer an indubitable conclusion. It was obvious to the Europeans when they first beheld the natives of America, that these were unlike the intellectual white-skinned race of Europe, the barbarous blacks of Africa, or any nation or people which they had hitherto encountered, yet were strikingly like each other.
Into whatsoever part of the newly discovered lands they penetrated, they found a people seemingly one in color, physiognomy, customs, and in mental and social traits. Their vestiges of antiquity and their languages presented a coincidence which was generally observed by early travelers.
Hence physical and psychological comparisons are advanced to prove ethnological resemblances among all the peoples of America, and that they meanwhile possess common peculiarities totally distinct from the nations of the old world. They classify all the tribes of America, excepting only the Eskimos who wandered over from Asia, as the American race, and divide it into the American family and the Toltecan family.
Blumenbach classifies the Americans as a distinct species. Dr Morton perceives the same characteristic lineaments in the face of the Fuegian and the Mexican, and in tribes inhabiting the Rocky Mountains, the Mississippi Valley, and Florida. The same osteological structure, swarthy color, straight hair, meagre beard, obliquely cornered eyes, prominent cheek bones, and thick lips are common to them all.
Dr Prichard considers the American race, psychologically, as neither superior nor inferior to other primitive races of the world. Bory de St Vincent classifies Americans into five species, including the Eskimos. The Mexicans he considers as cognate with the Malays. Humboldt characterizes the nations of America as one race, by their straight glossy hair, thin beard, swarthy complexion, and cranial formation. Schoolcraft makes four groups; the first extending across the northern end of the continent; the second, tribes living east of the Mississippi; the third, those between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains; and the fourth, those west of the Rocky Mountains.
All these he subdivides into thirty-seven families; but so far as those on the Pacific Coast are concerned, he might as reasonably have made of them twice or half the number. All writers agree in giving to the nations of America a remote antiquity; all admit that there exists a greater uniformity between them than is to be found in the old world; many deny that all are one race. There is undoubtedly a prevailing uniformity in those physical characteristics which govern classification; but this uniformity goes as far to prove one universal race throughout the world, as it does to prove a race peculiar to America.
Traditions, ruins, moral and physical peculiarities, all denote for Americans a remote antiquity. The action of a climate peculiar to America, and of natural surroundings common to all the people of the continent, could not fail to produce in time a similarity of physiological structure. The impression of a New World individuality of race was no doubt strengthened in the eyes of the Conquerors, and in the mind of the train of writers that followed, by the fact, that the newly discovered tribes were more like each other than were any other peoples they had ever before seen; and at the same time very much unlike any nation whatever of the old world.
And so any really existing physical distinctions among the American stocks came to be overlooked or undervalued. It has been observed by Prof. In their sacerdotal ordinances, privileged orders, regulated despotisms, codes of law, and forms of government are found clear indications of a relapse from civilization to barbarism. Chateaubriand, from the same premises, develops a directly opposite conclusion, and perceives in all this high antiquity and civilization only a praiseworthy evolution from primeval barbarism.
Thus arguments drawn from a comparison of parallel traits in the moral, social, or physical condition of man should be received with allowance, for man has much in common not only with man, but with animals.