From Morton's Inedited Manuscripts
By Samuel George Morton
[Extracted from Nott's Types of Mankind, or, Ethnological Researches, etc.1854, 298-326.]
[Although not in the mature shape in which Dr. Morton habitually submitted his reflections to the scientific world, and destitute, alas! of his own improvements, a contribution, so valuable to that study of Man which owes its present momentum to his genius, must not be overlooked in "Types of Mankind." With their joint acknowledgments to Mrs. S. Geo. Morton, for the unreserved use of whatever autographs their much-honored friend intended for eventual publication, the authors annex two fragmentary essays. Overcome by illness, the Doctor withdrew from his library on the 6th of May, 1851; leaving these, among other evidences of an enthusiasm for science which death alone could stifle. The authors take the more pleasure and pride in embodying such first rough-draughts, fresh as they flowed from his mind—not unstudied, but unadorned. Dr. Morton is here beheld in his office, writing down with characteristic simplicity, while disturbed by professional interruptions, the results of his incessant labor and meditation, couched in the language of truth.]
"On the Size of the Brain in Various Races and
Families of Man; with Ethnological Remarks.
By Samuel George Morton, M. D.: Philadelphia and Edinburgh.''
The importance of the brain as the seat of the faculties of
the mind, is preeminent in the animal economy. Hence the avidity with which its
structure and functions have been studied in our time; for, although much
remains to be explained, much has certainly been accomplished. We have reason to
believe, not only that the brain is the centre of the whole series of mental
manifestations, but that its several parts are so many organs; each one of which
performs its peculiar and distinctive office. But the number, locality, and
functions of these several organs are far from being determined, nor
[p.299] should this uncertainty surprise us, when
we reflect on the slow and devious process by which mankind have arrived at some
of the simplest physiological truths, and the difficulties that environ all
inquiries into the nature of the organic functions.
In studying ethnology, and especially in comparing the crania of the several races, I was struck with the inadequacy of the methods in use for determining the size and weight of the brain. On these methods, which are four in number, I submit the following remarks:
1. The plan most frequently resorted to is that which measures the exterior of the head or skull within various corresponding points. We are thus enabled to compare the relative conformation in different individuals, and in this manner obtain some idea of the relative size of the brain itself. Such measurements possess a great value in craniology, and, we need hardly add, are the only ones that are available in the living man.
2. The plan of weighing the brain has been extensively practised in modern times, and with very instructive results. Haller found the encephalon to vary, in adult men, from a pound and a half to more than five pounds; and the Wenzels state the average of their experiments to range from about three pounds five ounces to three pounds ten ounces.1
The experiments of the late Dr. John Sims, of London, which,
from their number and accuracy, deserve great attention, place the average
weight of the recent brain between three pounds eight and three pounds ten
ounces, or nearly the same weight as that obtained by the Wenzels. Of 253 brains
weighed by Dr. Sims, 191 were adults from twenty years old to seventy, and
upwards; and of the whole series, the lowest weighed two pounds, and the highest
an ounce less than four pounds.2
Prof Tiedemann, of Heidelberg, a learned and accomplished anatomist, has pursued the same mode of investigation. After giving the weight of fifty-two European brains, he adds that
"The weight of the brain in an adult European varies between three pounds two ounces and four pounds six ounces Troy. The brain of men who have distinguished themselves by their great talents are often very large. The brain of the celebrated Cuvier weighed four pounds, eleven ounces, four drachms, thirty grains, Troy; and that of the distinguished surgeon, Dupuytren, weighed four pounds ten ounces Troy. The brain of men endowed with but feeble intellectual powers, is, on the contrary, often very small, particularly in congenital idiotismus. The female brain is lighter than that of the male. It varies between two pounds eight ounces and three pounds eleven ounces. I never found a female brain that weighed four pounds. The female brain weighs, on an average, from four to eight ounces less than that of the male; and this difference is already perceptible in a new-born child."3
Sir W. Hamilton adds, that in the male about one brain in seven is found above
four pounds Troy; in the female hardly one in an hundred.
These results are highly instructive, and furnish the average weight of the cerebral organs at the time of death; but whoever will examine the valuable tables of Dr. Sims, will observe that various circumstances may affect the weight of the brain, without, at the same time, modifying its size; viz.: extreme sanguineous congestion; fluids contained in the ventricles; interstitial effusion; extravasation of blood, and softening and condensation of structure. These morbid changes sometimes take place rapidly, while the absolute hulk of the brain remains unaltered. Again, the plan of weighing the encephalon must always be a very restricted one; and is not likely ever to be practised on an extensive scale, except in the Caucasian and Negro.
3. Another, but indirect, mode of ascertaining the weight of the brain, has been practised by Sir William Hamilton, who examined "about 300 human skulls, of determined sex, the capacity of which, by a method he devised, was taken in sand, and the original weight thus recovered."4
Respecting the process employed in these experiments I am not informed; and I
agree with Dr. Sims, that the weight of the brain cannot be determined by
ascertaining the capacity of the cranium, by any method, however accurate in
More recently. Prof. Tiedemann has performed an elaborate series of experiments to determine the comparative weight of the brain in the different human races.
"For this purpose," he observes, "I filled the skull through the foramen magnum with millet-seed, taking care to close the foramina and fissures, so as to prevent the escape of the seed, and at the same time striking the cranium with the palm of the hand, in order to pack its contents more closely. I then weighed the skull thus filled, and subtracted from it the weight of the empty one, and I thus determined the capacity of the cranium from the weight of the seed it was capable of containing."5
The results obtained by Prof Tiedemann, like those of Sir William Hamilton, possess a great value in researches of this kind; yet, unfortunately, they are not absolute either as respects the size or weight of the brain; for it is evident that the second of these objects could only be obtained by employing a medium of the same density as the brain; and as to capacity, no method had, at that time (1837), been devised for obtaining it in cubic inches.
4. Seeing, therefore, that the several processes just described are not absolute, but only comparative in their results, without affording [p.301] either the true weight or true bulk of the brain, I solicited my friend, Mr. John S. Phillips, to devise some more satisfactory method of obtaining the desired object; and this has been entirely successful in the following manner.
A tin cylinder was made, about two inches and three-fourths in diameter, and two
feet two inches in height, standing on a foot, and banded with swelled hoops
about two inches apart, and firmly soldered to prevent accidental flattening. A
glass tube, hermetically sealed at one end, was cut off so as to hold exactly
five cubic inches of water by weight, at 60° Fahrenheit. A float of light wood,
well varnished, two and one-fourth inches in diameter, with a slender rod of the
same material fixed in its centre, was next dropped into the tin cylinder. Then
five cubic inches of water, measured in the glass tube, were poured into the
cylinder, and the point at which the rod on the float stood above the top of the
cylinder, was marked by the edge of a file laid across its top. And, in like
manner, the successive gradations on the float-rod, indicating five cubic inches
each, were obtained by pouring five cubic inches from the glass tube gradatim,
and marking each rise on the float-rod. The gradations thus ascertained were
transferred to a mahogany rod, fitted with a flat foot, and these were again
subdivided by means of compasses to mark the cubic inches and parts.6
In order to measure the internal capacity of a cranium, the larger foramina must be first stopped with cotton, and the cavity then filled with leaden shot one-eighth of an inch in diameter, poured into the foramen magnum. This process should be effected to repletion; and for this purpose it is necessary to shake the skull repeatedly, and, at the same time to press down the shot with the finger, or with the end of the funnel, until the cavity can receive no more. The shot are next to be transferred to the tin cylinder, which should also be well shaken. The mahogany rod being then dropped into the tin cylinder, with its foot resting on the shot, the capacity of the cranium will be indicated by the number observed on the same plane with the top of the tube.
I thus obtain the absolute capacity of the cranium, or hulk of the brain in cubic inches; nor can I avoid expressing my satisfaction at the singular accuracy of this method; inasmuch as a skull of 100 cubic inches capacity, if measured any number of times with reasonable care, will not vary a single cubic inch.
On first using this apparatus, I employed, in place of shot, white pepper seed, which possessed the advantage of a spheroidical form [p.302] and general uniformity in the size of the grains. But it was soon manifest that the utmost care could not prevent considerable variation in several successive measurements, sometimes amounting to three or four cubic inches. Under these circumstances, but not until all the internal capacity measurements of the Crania Americana had been made in this way, I saw the necessity of devising some other medium with which to fill the cranium; and after a full trial of the shot, have permanently adopted it, with the satisfactory results above stated.7 These remarks will explain the difference between the measurements published in the Crania Americana and those obtained from the same skulls by the revised method.8
In an investigation of this nature, the question arises—At what age does the brain attain full development? On this point, there is great diversity of opinion. Professor Sommering supposes this period to be as early as the third year. Sir William Hamilton expresses himself in the following terms: "In man, the encephalon reaches its fall size about seven 3 years of age. This," he adds, "was never before proved." The latter remark leads us to infer that this able and laborious investigator regarded his proposition as an incontestable fact. Professor Tiedemann assumes the eighth year as the period of the brain's maximum growth.
Dr. Sims, on the other hand, inferred from an extended series of experiments on the brain from a year old to upwards of seventy, that "the average weight goes on increasing from one year to twenty; between twenty and thirty there is a slight increase in the average; afterwards it increases, and arrives at the maximum between forty and fifty. After fifty, to old age, the brain gradually decreases in weight." These observations nearly correspond with those of Dr. Gall, but are liable to various objections.
Dr. John Reid has also investigated this question on a large scale and with great care. After weighing 253 brains of both sexes and of various ages, he arrives at the conclusion that the encephalon arrives at its maximum size sooner than the other organs of the body; that its relative size, when compared with the other organs, and to the entire body, is much greater in the child than in the adult; and that although the average weight of the male brain is absolutely heavier than that of the female, yet the average female brain, relative to the whole body, is somewhat heavier than the average male brain. Finally, he observes that his experiments do not afford any support to the proposition that the encephalon attains its maximum weight at or near the age of seven years. On this latter point, which is of [p.303] great importance in the present inquiry, I shall offer a few remarks—The most obvious use of the sutures of the cranium is to subserve the process of growth, which they do by osseous depositions at their margins. Hence one of these sutures is equivalent to the interrupted structure that exists between the shaft and epiphysis of a long bone in the growing state. The shaft grows in length chiefly by accretions at its extremities; and the epiphysis, like the cranial suture, disappears when the perfect development is accomplished. Hence we may infer that the skull ceases to expand whenever the sutures become consolidated with the proximate bones. In other words, the growth of the brain, whether in viviparous or in oviparous animals, is consentaneous with that of the skull, and. neither can be developed without the presence of free sutures.9
From these considerations, and from many comparisons, I cannot admit that the brain has attained its physical maturity at the age of seven or eight years; neither is there satisfactory evidence to prove that it continues to grow after adult age. It may possibly increase and decrease in size and weight after that period, without altering the internal capacity of the cranium, which last measurement will always indicate the maximum size the encephalon had attained at (the) period of its greatest development; for in those instances in which this organ has been observed in a contracted or shrunken state, in very old persons, the cranial cavity has remained to all appearance unaltered.10
We know that at, and often before, the age of sixteen years the sutures are already so firmly anchylosed as not to be separated without great difficulty, or even without fracture; whence we may reasonably infer that the encephalon has nearly, if not entirely, attained its [p.304] growth; and I have therefore commenced my experiments with this period of life. I am aware that it cannot be as safely assumed for the nations who inhabit the frigid and temperate zones, as for some inter-tropical races—the Hindoos, Arab-Egyptians, and Negroes, for example; for these people are proverbially known to reach the adult age, both physically and morally, long before the inhabitants of more northern climates. But, if the average period of the full development of the brain could be ascertained in all the races, it would, perhaps, not greatly vary from the age of sixteen years.
It is evident that this age cannot be always positively determined in the dried
skull; yet by a careful comparison of the teeth and sutures, in connection with
the general development of the cranial structure, I have had little difficulty
in keeping within the prescribed limit.
In classing these skulls into the two sexes, I have been in part governed by positive data; but in the greater number this question has been proximately determined by merely comparing the development and conformation of the cranial structure.
I have excluded from the Table the crania of idiots, dwarfs, and those of persons whose heads have been enlarged or otherwise modified by any obvious morbid condition. So, also, no note has been taken of individuals who blend dissimilar races, as the mulatto, for example—the offspring of the Caucasian and the Negro. Those instances, however, which present a mixture of two divisions of the same great race, are admitted into the Table. Such is the modern Fellah of the Valley of the Nile, in whom the intrusive Arab is engrafted on the Old Egyptian.11
The measurements comprised in this memoir have been derived, without exception, from skulls in my own collection, in order that their accuracy may at any time be tested by myself or by others. I have also great satisfaction in stating, that all these measurements have been made with my own hands. I at one time employed a person to assist me; but having detected some errors in his numbers, I have been at the pains to revise them all, and can now therefore vouch for the accuracy of these multitudinous data.
My collection at this time embraces human crania, among which, however, the different races are very unequally represented. Nor has it been possible, for reasons already mentioned, to subject the entire series to the adopted measurement. Again, some of these are too much broken for this purpose; while many others are embalmed heads, which cannot be measured, on account of the presence of bitumen or of desiccated tissues. *****
(Origin of the Human Species.)
Before proceeding to an analysis of these materials, I
propose to make a very few remarks on the origin of the Human Species as a
zoological question, and one inseparably associated with classification in
After twenty years of observation and reflection, during which period I have always approached this subject with diffidence and caution; after investigating for myself the remarkable diversities of opinion to which it has given rise, and after weighing the difficulties that beset it on every side, I can find no satisfactory explanation of the diverse phenomena that characterize physical Man, excepting in the doctrine of an original plurality of races.
The commonly received opinion teaches, that all mankind have been derived from a primeval pair; and that the differences now observable among the several races, result from the operation of two principal causes:
1. The influence of climate, locality, civilization, and other physical and moral agents, acting through long periods of time. The manifest inadequacy of this hypothesis, led the late learned and lamented Dr. Prichard to offer the following ingenious explanation.
2. The diversities among mankind are mainly attributable to the rise of accidental varieties, which, from their isolated position and exclusive intermarriage, have rendered their peculiar traits permanent among themselves, or, in other words, indelible among succeeding generations of the same stock.
The preceding propositions, more or less modified and blended
together, are by many ethnologists regarded as adequate to the explanation of
all the phenomena of diversity observable in Man.
If, however, we were to be guided in this inquiry solely by the evidence derived from Nature, whether directly, in the study of man himself, or collaterally by comparison with the other divisions of the zoological series, our conclusions might be altogether different: we would be led to infer that our species had its origin not in one, but in many creations; that these were widely distributed into those localities upon the earth's surface as were best adapted to their peculiar wants and physical constitutions; and that, in the lapse of time, these races, diverging from their primitive centres, met and amalgamated, and have thus given rise to those intermediate links of organization which now connect the extremes together.12
In accordance with this view, what are at present termed the five races would be
more appropriately called groups. Each of these groups is again divisible into a
smaller or greater number of primary races, each of which has itself expanded
from a primordial nucleus or centime. To illustrate this proposition, we may
suppose that there were several centres for the American groups of races, of
which the highest in the scale are the Toltecan nations—the lowest, the Fuegians.
Nor does this view conflict with the general principle, that all these nations
and tribes have had, as I have elsewhere expressed it, a common origin; for by
this term is only meant an indigenous relation to the country they inhabit, and
that collective identity of physical traits, mental and moral endowments,
language, &c., which characterise all the American races.13
The same remarks are applicable to all the other human races; but in the present infant state of ethnological science, the designation of these primitive centres would be a task of equal delicacy and difficulty.
It would not be admissible in this place, to inquire into the respective merits of these propositions; and we shall dismiss them for the present with a few brief remarks.
If all the varieties of mankind were derived from a single aboriginal type, we ought to find the approximation to this type more and more apparent as we retrace the labyrinth of time, and approach the primeval epochs of history. But what is the result? We examine the venerable monuments of Egypt, and we see the Caucasian and the Negro [p.307] depicted, side by side, master and slave, twenty-two centuries before Christ , while inscriptions establish the same ethnological distinctions eight hundred years earlier in time. Abundant confirmation of the same general principle is also found on the numberless vases from the tombs of Etruria; the antique sculptures of India; the pictorial delineations of the earliest Chinese annals; the time-honored ruins of Nineveh, and from the undated tablets of Peru, Yucatan, and Mexico. In all these localities, so far removed by space from each other, and by time from us, the distinctive characteristics of the human races are so accurately depicted as to enable us, for the most part, to distinguish them at a glance.
We earnestly maintain that the preceding views are not irreconcileable with the Sacred Text, nor inconsistent with Creative Wisdom as displayed in the other kingdoms of Nature. On the contrary, they are calculated to extend our knowledge and exalt our conceptions of Omnipotence. By the simultaneous creation of a plurality of original stocks, the population of the Earth became not an accidental result, but a matter of certainty. Many and distant regions which, in accordance with the doctrine of a single origin, would have remained for thousands of years unpeopled and unknown, received at once their allotted inhabitants; and these, instead of being left to struggle with the vicissitudes of chance, were from the beginning adapted to those varied circumstances of climate and locality which yet mark their respective positions upon the earth.14
I. THE CAUCASIAN GROUP.
The Teutonic Race.—I use this appellation in the comprehensive sense in which it has been employed by Professor Adelung; for the great divisions established by this distinguished scholar, though based exclusively on philological data, are fully sustained by comparisons in physical ethnology. Of the three great divisions, the Scandinavian lies chiefly to the north of the Baltic sea; the Suevic and Cimbric on the south.
1. The Suevic nations embrace the Prussians on one hand, the Pyrolese on the other; while between these lie the Austrians, Swiss, Bavarians, Alsatians, and the inhabitants of the Upper and Middle [p.308] Rhine. These nations once extended into the north-eastern section of Europe, whence they were driven by the Sclavonic tribes.
2. The Cimbic nations occupy western Germany, and among many subordinate families, embrace the Saxons, Frisians, Hollanders, &c.
3. The Scandinavian race is regarded by Adelung as a mixture of Suevic and Cimbric tribes. It includes the Danes, Swedes, Goths, and Icelanders; for although it is a disputed question, whether the Goths came from Scandinavia, or from the northern shores of the Baltic sea, the evidence preponderates in favor of the former opinion. The Vandals, however, appear to have been strictly a Suevic people.
Of these great divisions I possess but twenty-three skulls, of which twenty-one
are used in the Table. Of this number, all but one have been obtained from
hospitals and institutions for paupers, whence we may infer that they pertain to
the least cultivated portion of their race. The proportion of males to females
is twelve to nine.
The exception alluded to above is the skull of a Dutch gentleman of noble family, who was born in Utrecht, received a good education, was of convivial habits, and died at an early age, in the island of Java. I particularize this cranium, because it is by far the largest in my whole series; for it measures 114 cubic inches of internal capacity. Contrasted with this is a female Swedish head, kindly sent me, with several others, by Professor Retzius of Stockholm, which sinks to sixty-five cubic inches. Between these extremes the mean or average is ninety.
The Anglo-Saxons.—The next division of the Teutonic race is the Anglo-Saxon; that remarkable people who have made their way with the sword, but marked their track with civilization. At an early period of the Christian era, Angli and Saxones, two powerful tribes, occupied the country between the Cimbrian peninsula, (now called Jutland,) and along the western shore of the Elbe to the termination of this river in the Baltic sea. These people commenced their piratical incursions to the coast of Britain in the fourth century, and were masters of the island as early as a. d. 449. They found it chiefly inhabited by the native Britons, who were Celts; but these latter people had been for nearly 400 years under the dominion of the Romans, who had largely colonized the country; and so complete was this subjugation, that the Latin language was the colloquial speech of all Britain at the fall of the Roman empire, excepting among the Picts of the coast of Scotland.15 From the period of the Anglo-Saxon invasion, the population became a blended mixture of the Celtic, Pe- [p.309] lasgic, and Teutonic races, among which the latter soon took the preponderance, and gave its language to the British Islands. The Norman conquest added another physical element of the Teutonic stock.
This fusion of three families into one, varying in degree in different sections of these islands, has given rise to a physiognomy varying in several respects from the Teutonic caste; while the cranium itself is less spheroidal, and more decidedly oval, than is characteristic of that people.
I have not hitherto exerted myself to obtain crania of the Anglo-Saxon race, except in the instance of individuals who have been signalized by their crimes; and this number is too small to be of much importance in a generalization like the present. Yet, since these skulls have been procured without any reference to their size, it is remarkable that live give an average of 96 cubic inches for the bulk of the brain; the smallest head measuring 91, and the largest 105 cubic inches. It is necessary, however, to observe, that these are all male crania; but, on the other hand, they pertained to the lowest class of society, and three of them died on the gallows for the crime of murder.
The Anglo-Americans conform, in all their characteristics, to the parent stock. They possess, in common with their English ancestors, a more elongated head than the unmixed Germans. The few crania in my possession have, without exception, been derived from the lowest and least cultivated portion of the community—malefactors, paupers, and lunatics. The largest brain has been ninety-seven cubic inches; the smallest, eighty-two; and the mean of ninety accords with that of the collective Teutonic race. The sexes of these seven skulls are, four male and three female.
Two or three circumstances connected with the ethnology of the Anglo-American race, seem to call for a passing notice on this occasion.
Mr. Haldemann has observed that when, in the last century, the color of the American Indian was supposed to be owing to climate, it was boldly insisted that the descendants of Europeans in this country had already made some progress in a change of color. Since that time an hundred years have elapsed; yet, I presume that no sensible person will maintain that they have brought with them any confirmation of the postulate in question.
Dr. Prichard has been informed that the heads of Europeans in the West Indies approach those of the aboriginal Indian in form, independently of intermixture. On this point I feel qualified to express an opinion. I passed three months in the West Indies, and visited [p.310] eight of the islands, when slavery was everywhere in vogue (1834); and I can unhesitatingly declare that I saw nothing to confirm this assertion, which I regard as wholly idle and gratuitous. The only difference that occurred to me was, that the better class of English women had become paler, or whiter, and thinner, on account of the great and constant heat of the climate, and consequent neglect of exercise.
The observations of Dr. Pinkard, an intelligent English author,16 correspond entirely with my own. He relates that he saw in the Island of Barbadoes (where I myself passed six weeks), an English family that had lived there through at least six generations; "and yet," he adds, "one would suppose them to have been born in Europe, so fine was the skin, so clear the complexion, and so well formed the features." Similar remarks have been made respecting the Mexican Spaniards, and the colonists of South America generally.
Although but skulls are included in the preceding Teutonic series, yet, when we take into consideration their variety and authenticity, and the fact that they have been collected without regard to size, I have no hesitation in assuming ninety cubic inches for the average of the brain in the Germanic family of nations: and I am further convinced that this standard is the highest among the races of men.
We should reasonably look for a preponderating brain in a race that is not more remarkable for its conquests and its colonies, than for the extent of its civilization; a race that has peopled North America, reduced all India to vassalage, and is fast spreading itself over Polynesia, Southern Africa and Australia; a race that is destined to plough the field of Palestine, and reap the harvests of the Nile.
The Sclavonic Race.—It is remarked by Dr. Prichard, that our acquaintance with the Germanic nations dates back three centuries before Christ; but the history of the Slavonic tribes begins nine centuries later. They are obviously the descendants of the ancient Sarmatians, and, among many smaller nations, at present embrace the Russians, Poles, Lithuanians, Bohemians, and Moravians.
I much regret that my cranial series possesses but a single example derived from this race—the skull of a woman of Olmutz sent me by Prof. Retzius, and which measures only cubic inches. I record this deficiency in my collection, in the hope that some person interested in pursuits of this nature may be induced to provide me with materials for making the requisite comparisons. My impression is, that the Sclavonic brain will prove much less voluminous than that of the Teutonic race.
The Finnic Race.—Among these people I consider the true type
to be preserved
in the Western Finns—the aboriginal inhabitants of Scandinavia, the predecessors
of the Teutonic nations; for the Esthonians, the Tchudic tribes of Middle Russia
and Permia, and, above all, the Ugrians of Siberia, have lived so long in
contact with the Mongolian races, that they often present a very mixed physical
character.17 We should,
therefore, be cautious in grouping these communities into a supposed cognate
race, merely from analogies of language, which, however important as aids in
ethnology, are often no better than blind guides.18
I am the more particular in making these remarks, because the Madjars of Hungary have been classed, not only with the Finns, but even with the Bashkirs and Votiaks of Siberia, upon no other grounds than those just mentioned.19 But mark a single admitted fact: the Tchudish tribe of Metzegers speaks the Turkish language, and, for this reason, has been by some writers actually classed with the Tartar races, with whom they were supposed to be affiliated! And, since the stronger often gives its language to the weaker race, is it not most probable that the Bashkirs, Votiaks, and other tribes have derived their language, by adoption, from the contiguous Tchudic population?
Again, the present Madjars of Hungary entered that country in the middle of the ninth century, not to take possession of an uninhabited region, but to mingle with a numerous existing population; whence their characteristics, both of mind and body, must have undergone a remarkable change, and become highly improved.
History indicates the cause of these changes when it tells us, that when the Madjars arrived in Hungary they at once formed political alliances with the German princes, in order to check or expel "the common enemies of both nations, the Sclavonian races." It is to be inferred, as a matter of course, under these circumstances, that the intrusive Madjars formed social connexions, not only with the Sclavoniaus, whom they reduced to subjection, in the heart of Pannonia, but also with the surrounding German communities; and, in this [p.312] manner, the blending of dissimilar stocks has produced the modified race so favorably known in the modern Madjar.
For the only skull I possess of this race I am indebted to Prof. Retzius, of Stockholm. It is that of a woman from the parish of Kerni, in Finland. It has all the characteristics of an unmixed European head, and measures eighty-six cubic inches of internal capacity.
The Pelasgic Race.—Every one knows that the Pelasgic tribes were the aboriginal inhabitants of Greece; that they, in the progress of time, and for unknown reasons, changed their name to Hellenes, and were thus the ancestors of the Greeks.
The Pelasgic occupation of Greece ascends into "the night of time." They may be regarded as the indigenous possessors, the autocthones of the soil. Indeed there is reason to believe that there was a civilization in Pelasgia long before that which history attributes to the Hellenic race, though generally attributed to the progenitors of that people; for a priest of Sais assured Solon (b.c. 400) that the Saitic writings accounted for an antecedent Grecian epoch of 8000 years; and that Greece had moreover possessed a great and beautiful city yet 1000 years earlier in time.20
Statements of this kind, which were once rejected on account of their seeming extravagance, now claim a respectful notice when viewed in connexion with the new lights of chronology. We are, indeed, compelled to acknowledge a great antiquity for a race that could produce the divine morality of Hesiod 900 years before Christ.
I do not use the term Pelasgic with ethnological precision, but in this designation place the Greeks and Romans, and their descendants in various parts of Europe—Greece and Italy, and, in more isolated examples, in Spain, France, and Britain. In the same category I place the Persians, Armenians, Circassians, Georgians, and many other kindred tribes, together with the Graeco-Egyptians.
Of four adult Circassian crania brought me by Mr. Gliddon, two are male and two female. The former we may suppose, from appearances, to have been associated with a full share of manly beauty, and measure ninety and ninety-four cubic inches of internal capacity; the female heads measure seventy-nine and eighty; whence we obtain eighty-six cubic inches as the mean of all. One of these skulls, that of a woman who had passed the prime of life, is remarkable for the harmony of its proportions, and especially for the admirable conformation of the nasal bones.
I possess, through the kindness of Mr. Gliddon, two female Parsee skulls, which, though small, present a beautiful form. One measures eighty-nine cubic inches, the other only seventy-live.
It is a highly interesting fact, that whenever the ruling caste is represented
in the statues and bas-reliefs of ancient Persia, the physiognomy always
conforms to the Pelasgic type. A remarkable example is seen in the head of the
first Darius (b.c. 500), sculptured on the Tablet of Behistun, and copied by
Major Rawlinson. [Supra, Fig. 44]. Of the same character are the antique heads
of Persepolis, Teheran and Chapoor. But we no sooner enter Assyria than the type
is wholly changed for those in which the Semitic features are dominant, as seen
at Nineveh, Khorsabad, and other places.
The arts have become the handmaid of ethnology; and it may be regarded as an axiom in this science, that the older the sculptures and paintings, the more perfect and distinctive are the cranial types they represent. Again, there is no evidence to prove that any one of the ancient races, simply as such, is older than another.
Of four adult Armenian skulls, three pertain to men; and the average size of the brain is but eighty-three cubic inches. I have felt some hesitancy in admitting these skulls in this place, for two reasons: 1st, because their characteristics incline almost as much to the Arab type as to the Pelasgic; and, 2dly, because the term Armenian is not always used in a strictly national sense in the East, but is applied to a class of merchants, whose ethnological affinities must be often very mixed and uncertain. But, inasmuch as these crania are inserted in my original Table, I will not now displace them.
Greek and Graeco-Egyptian Heads.—Mr. Combe describes several ancient Greek skulls he had seen, as of large size, with a full development of the coronal and frontal regions. The head, in classic sculpture, is often small in comparison with the whole figure; whence the remark that a woman proportioned like the Venus de Medicis would necessarily be a fool. The same disparity has been noticed by Winkelmann in the Farnese Hercules; but in the Apollo Belvidere, [infra. Fig. 339] the perfect type of manly beauty, the head is faultless.
Whether this smallness of head was a reality among the Greeks, or only a conventional rule of art, has been a disputed question; but we may safely adopt the latter proposition. There can be no doubt, however, that the ancient Pelasgic was smaller than the modern Teutonic brain; and the proofs, which are derived, not from Greece itself, but from Egypt, are contained in the following section:
Of 129 embalmed heads in my collection, 22 present Pelasgic characters, and of these 18 are capable of measurement. Some of them present the most beautiful Caucasian proportions, while others merge by degrees into the Egyptian type; and I am free to admit that, in various instances. I have been at a loss in my attempts to classify these two great divisions of the Nilotic series. Hence it is that nine [p.314] skulls, which in my original analysis were placed with the Pelasgic group I have, on a further and more elaborate comparison, transferred to the Egyptian series.
The Greeks were numerous in Egypt even before the Persian invasion, b.c. 525, and their number greatly increased after the conquest by Alexander the Great, nearly 200 years later (b.c. 332). When the Romans, in turn, took possession of the country thirty years before our era, the Greeks had already enjoyed uninterrupted communication with it for five centuries. Their colonies were 300 years old; and it is, therefore, by no means surprising that the Egyptian-Greek population, which chiefly inhabited Lower Egypt, should be largely represented in the catacombs of Memphis. They are fewer in proportion in Theban sepulchres; and yet fewer as we ascend the Nile; and are hardly seen in the cemeteries of the rural districts. The peaceful occupation of the Delta by the Greeks, for a long period of time, must necessarily have caused an interminable mixture of the two races, and fully accounts for that blended type of cranial conformation so common in the catacombs.
It is further remarkable that these Graeco-Egyptian heads, which I have separated from the other Nilotic crania by their conformation only, and consequently without any regard to size, present an average of eighty-seven cubic inches for the size of the brain; or, no less than seven cubic inches above that of the pure Egyptian race, and but three inches less than the average I have assumed for the Teutonic nations. Yet, no one of this series is of preponderating size; for the largest measures but ninety-seven cubic inches, while the smallest descends to seventy-four.21
Again, if we take the mean of the whole twenty-eight crania embraced in the present division, we find it to be eighty-six cubic inches.
The Celtic Race.—The Celts who, with the cognate Gauls, at one [p.315] period, extended their tribes from Asia Minor to the British Islands, are now chiefly confined, as an unmixed people, to the west and southwest of Ireland, whence have been derived the six crania embraced in the Table. These range between ninety-seven as a maximum and seventy-eight as a minimum of the size of the brain; and the mean, which is eighty-seven cubic inches, will probably prove to be above that of the entire race, and not exceed eighty-five.
France, Spain, and parts of Britain, partake largely of Celtic blood, but so variously blended with the Teutonic and Pelasgic branches of the Caucasian group as to form a singularly mixed population. If a series of crania could be obtained from the old Provincial divisions of France, they would constitute a study of extreme interest; for those of the northern section ought to conform in a marked degree to the German type, from their long intercourse (since a.d. 420) with the Franks, Burgundians, Visigoths, and other Teutonic tribes. Those in the south would present a greater infusion of the Roman physiognomy, with some Greek traits; while the intermediate communities would retain a marked preponderance of their primitive Celtic characteristics. For Caesar restricts the true Continental Celts between the Garonne on the south and the Seine on the north: for although the genuine Gauls were a Celtic people, many German tribes bore the same collective name among the Romans, in the same way that all the nations of the far North were designated Scythians.
Europe was successively invaded by the Celtic, Teutonic, and Sclavonic races. The Celtic migration is of extreme antiquity, yet there can be no question that they displaced preexisting tribes. Among the latter may be mentioned the Iberians of Spain, who are yet represented by a fragment of their race—the Basques or Euskalduues of Biscay.
The Indostanic Family.—No part of the world presents a greater diversity of human races than the country which bears the collective name of India. Exotic nations have repeatedly conquered that unfortunate region, and to a certain degree amalgamated with its primitive inhabitants. In other instances, the original Hindoos remain unmixed; and beside these, again, the mountainous districts still contain what may be called fragments of tribes which have taken refuge there, in remote times, in order to escape the sword or the yoke of strangers.
That peninsular India was originally peopled, at least in part, by races of very dark and even black complexion, is beyond a question. These people are stigmatised as Barbarians by their conquerors, the Ayras—a fair race, with Sanscrit speech, whose primal seats were in eastern Persia. They now occupy the country between the Himalaya [p.316] mountains on the north, the Vindya on the south, and between the Indian ocean and the Bay of Bengal.22 In this region, called Ayra-Varta, or India Proper, live those once-powerful tribes which it has taken the English more than half a century to subdue. The occupancy of India by these Persian tribes dates, according to M. Guigniaut, from the year 3101 before Christ, when also it is supposed the division of castes was instituted.
Of thirty-two adult Indostanic skulls in my collection, eight only can be identified with tribes of the Ayra or conquering race; nor even in this small number is there unequivocal proof of the affinity in question. The largest head in the series, that of a Brahmin who was executed, in Calcutta, for murder, measures ninety-one cubic inches for the size of the brain—the smallest head, seventy-nine. Two others pertain to Thuggs, remarkable for an elongated form and lateral flatness. The mean of these Ayra heads is eighty-six cubic inches.
Contrasted with this people, and occupying the country adjacent to the Bay of Bengal, are the Bengalees—small of stature, feeble in constitution, and timid in disposition. They are obviously an aboriginal race, upon whom a foreign language has been imposed; and are far inferior, both mentally and physically, to the true Ayras. Weak and servile themselves, they are surrounded by warrior castes; and perhaps the most remarkable feature of their character is the absence of will, and implicit obedience to those who govern them.
Of these child-like people, my collection embraces twenty-four adult crania, of which the largest measures ninety cubic inches; the smallest, sixty-seven; and the mean of all is but seventy-eight.
All the Caucasian families of which we have spoken, belong to that vast chain of nations called Indo-European, in consequence of their having one common tongue, the Sanscrit, as the basis of their varied languages. This is also the Japetic race, and it extends from India proper in one direction to Iceland in the other.
The Semitic Family.—This group includes the Chaldeans, Assyrians, Syrians, and Lydians of antiquity, together with the Arayans and Hebrews.
The immense number of Jews in Egypt, even after the Exode (b.c. 1528), and especially during the Greek dominion of the Lagidæ,23 would lead us to search for the embalmed bodies of this people in the catacombs; and hence it was no surprise to me to identify, with considerable certainty, seven Semitico-Egyptian heads, in all of which [p.317] the Hebrew physiognomy is more or less apparent, and in some of them unquestionable. This identity is further confirmed by the fact, that the Jews in Egypt adopted the custom of embalming at a very early period of time (Genesis 1. 26). And again, the two nations appear to have fraternized in a remarkable manner; for Adad married the sister of Pharaoh's wife, and one of Solomon's wives was the daughter of an Egyptian king, who is supposed to have been Osorkon. To these facts we may add the marriage of Joseph, at a far earlier period of history, with a daughter of the priest of Heliopolis. For these reasons, I repeat, the Hebrew nation should be largely represented in the catacombs.
Five of my embalmed Semitic heads are susceptible of measurement, and give the low average of eighty-two cubic inches—the largest measuring eighty-eight; the smallest, sixty-nine.24 In these crania, and also in others of existing Semitic tribes, I have looked in vain for the pit described by Mulder as situated on the outer wall of the orbit at the attachment of the temporal muscles; and consequently there is no trace of the corresponding elevation, also described by him, within the orbitar cavity.
I have had but little success in procuring the crania of the modern Semitic tribes; and for the three that I possess I am indebted to Mr. Gliddon. Of these, two are Baramka or Barmecide Arabs; the third, a Bedouin. The largest measures ninety-eight cubic inches; the smallest, eighty-four; and the mean is eighty-nine; but if we take the average of these eight Semitic heads, ancient and modern, it will be eighty-five inches.
I also received from Mr. Gliddon three additional skulls, from Cairo, which he was assured were those of Jews; but their form has induced me to class them, perhaps erroneously, with the Fellahs of Egypt.25
The Nilotic Race.—In this designation I include the ancient Egyptians of the pure stock, and the modern Fellahs.
For the extensive series of Egyptian skulls in my possession, I am indebted to the kindness of Mr. Gliddon, Mr. A. C. Harris of Alexandria, in Egypt, Dr. Charles Pickering, and Mr. William A. Gliddon. Of these 129 embalmed heads, 83 present the Egyptian conformation; and of the latter number, 55 are capable of being measured.
I may here repeat a previous remark, that some of these crania present both Pelasgic and Egyptian lineaments, and thus form a transition between the two races; but I have classed them in one group or the other, according to the preponderance of national char- [p.318] acters. In the great majority of instances, however, the Egyptian conformation is detected at a glance.
The Egyptian skull is unlike that of any other with which I am acquainted. This opinion, which I long since announced,26 has been fully confirmed by subsequent comparisons, and especially by the receipt of seventeen very ancient and most characteristic crania from tombs opened in 1842, at the base of the Great Pyramid, by Dr. Lepsius.27
It may be observed of these crania (for the rest of the series has been elaborately described in the Crania Ægyptiaca), eleven at least are of the unmixed type, and present the long, oval form, with a slightly receding forehead, straight or gently aquiline nose, and a somewhat retracted chin. The whole cranial structure is thin, delicate, and symmetrical, and remarkable for its small size. The face is narrow, and projects more than in the European, whence the facial angle is two degrees less, or 78°. Neither in these skulls, nor in any others of the Egyptian series, can I detect those peculiarities of structure pointed out by the venerable Blumenbach, in his Decades Craniorum; and the external meatus of the ear, whatever may have been the form or size of the cartilaginous portion, is precisely where we find it in all the other races of men. The hair, whenever any of it remains, is long, curling, and of the finest texture.
On comparing these crania with many fac-similes of monumental effigies most kindly sent me by Prof. Lepsius and M. Prisse d'Avennes, I am compelled, by a mass of irresistible evidence, to modify the opinion expressed in the Crania Ægyptiaca—viz.: that the Egyptians were an Asiatic people. Seven years of additional investigation, together with greatly increased materials, have convinced me that they were neither Asiatics nor Europeans, but aboriginal and indigenous inhabitants of the Valley of the Nile or some contiguous region:28 peculiar in their physiognomy, isolated in their institutions, and forming one of the primordial centres of the human family.
Egypt was the parent of art, science, and civilization. Of these she gave much to Asia, and received some modifying influences in return; but nothing more. Her population, pure and peculiar in the early epochs of time, derived by degrees an element from Europe and Asia, and this was increased in the lapse of years, until the Delta became a Greek colony, with an interspersed multitude of Jews.
Effigies and portraits of Egyptian sovereigns and citizens are yet [p.319] preserved in monuments that date back 5000 years,29 and they conform, in all their characteristic lineaments, with the heads from the tombs of Gizeh and other Nilotic sepulchres.
Of the fifty-five Egyptian heads measured in the Table, it will be seen that the largest measures but ninety-six cubic inches of internal capacity, the smallest sixty-eight; and the mean of them all is but eighty. This result was announced in the Crania Ægyptiaca, and has been confirmed by the numerous additional measurements made since that work was published. Yet, on computing, by themselves, the fifteen crania from the ancient tombs of Gizeh, I find them to present an average of eighty-four cubic inches. The persons whose bodies had reposed in these splendid mausolea, were no doubt of the highest and most cultivated class of Egyptian citizens;30 and this fact deserves to be considered in connexion with the present inquiry. To this we may add, that the most deficient part of the Egyptian skull is the coronal region, which is extremely low, while the posterior chamber is remarkably full and prominent.
The Fellahs.—The Arab-Egyptians of the present day constitute a population of more than 2,500,000; and that they are the lineal descendants of the ancient rural Egyptians, is proved by the form of the skull, the mental and moral character of the people, and their existing institutions, among which phallic worship is, even yet, conspicuous. Clot-Bey has drawn a graphic moral parallel between these two extremes of a single race, by showing that both were sober, avaricious, insolent, self-opinioned, satirical, and licentious. Contrasted with these defects in the old Egyptians, were the many household virtues, and that genius for the arts which has been a proverb in all ages.
When the Saracenic Arabs conquered Egypt in the seventh century of our era, an unlimited fusion of races was a direct and obvious con- [p.320] sequence; but M. Clot-Bey has judiciously remarked, that the Arabs, nevertheless, present but a feeble element in the physical character of the great mass of people—
"D'ou il resulte que l'Egyptien actuel dent beaucoup plus, par ses formes, par son caractere, et par ses moeurs, des anciens Egyptiens que des veritables Arabs, dont on ne trouve le type pur qu'en Arabie."31
The skull of the Fellah is strikingly like that of the
ancient Egyptian. It is long, narrow, somewhat flattened on the sides, and very
prominent in the occiput. The coronal region is low, the forehead moderately
receding, the nasal bones long and nearly straight, the cheek-bones small, the
maxillary region slightly prognathous, and the whole cranial structure thin and
delicate. But, notwithstanding these resemblances between the Fellah and
Egyptian skulls, the latter possess what may be called an osteologieal
expression, peculiar to themselves, and not seen in the Fellah.
The Fellahs, however, do not appear to be the only descendants of the monumental Egyptians; for they exist also in Nubia, and westward, in isolated communities, in the heart of Africa. Of such origin I regard the Bed Bakkari, so well described by Pallme. So, also, the proper Libyans, the Tuaricks, Kabyles, and Siwahs, who, on the testimony of Dr. Oudney, and the more recent observations of Dr. Furnari, possess at least the physical traits of the Egyptian race:—
"Chez quelques unes des nombreuses [peuplades] qui habitent l'immense plaine du Sahara, chez les Touaricks, et chez quelques tribus limitrophes de l'Egypte, les yeux ecartes l'un de l'autre, sont long, coupes en amandes, a moitie fermes, et releves aux angles exterieurs."
There are other reasons for supposing that the Libyan and
Nilotic nations had a cognate source, though their social and political
separation may date with the earliest epochs of time.
A few words respecting the Copts. Almost every investigation into the lineage of these people results in considering them a mixed progeny of ancient Egyptians, Berabera, Negroes, Arabs, and Europeans; and these characteristics are so variously blended, as to make the Copts one of the most motley and paradoxical communities in the world. The Negro traits are visible, in greater or less degree, in a large proportion of this people, and are distinctly seen in the three skulls in my possession. The two adult heads, which, on account of their hybrid character, are excluded from the Table, measure respectively eighty-five and seventy-seven cubic inches for the size of the brain, and consequently give the low average of eighty-one.
From the preceding observations it will appear that the Fellahs are the rural or agricultural Egyptians, blended with the intrusive Arabian stock; but the Copts, on the other hand, represent the descend- [p.321] ants of the old urban population, whose blood, in the lapse of ages, has become mixed with that of all the exotic races which have domiciliated themselves in the cities of Egypt. The mercenary licentiousness of the Copts is proverbial even at the present day.
I shall conclude these remarks on this part of the inquiry by observing, that no mean has been taken of the Caucasian races collectively, because of the very great preponderance of Hindoo, Egyptian, and Fellah skulls over those of the Germanic, Pelasgic and Celtic families. Nor could any just collective comparison be instituted between the Caucasian and Negro groups in such a Table as we have presented, unless the small-brained people of the latter division (Hottentots, Bushmen and Australians) were proportionate in number to the Hindoos, Egyptians, and Fellahs of the other group. Such a comparison, were it practicable, would probably reduce the Caucasian average to about eighty-seven cubic inches, and the Negro to seventy- eight at most, perhaps even to seventy-five; and thus confirmatively establish the difference of at least nine cubic inches between the mean of the two races.
II. THE MONGOLIAN GROUP.
The learned Klaproth, in his Tableau de l'Asie, has
shown that before the year 1000 of our era, the Mongols were inconsiderable
tribes in the northwest of Asia, and hence have erroneously had their name given
to the most multitudinous of the five great divisions of the human family; but
from an unwillingness to interfere with the generally adopted nomenclature of
ethnology, I have used the word Mongolian in the comprehensive sense of Buffon
and Blumenbach, It embraces nations of dissimilar features, among whom, however,
there is a common link of resemblance that justifies the classification for
generic purposes. Hence we group together the Chinese, the Kamtschatkans, and
I possess but eight Mongolian crania, and of these seven are Chinese—too small a number from which to deduce a satisfactory result. The largest of them measures ninety-one cubic inches, the smallest seventy; and they give an average of eighty-two. They are all derived from the lowest class of people; and it is not improbable that an average drawn, at least in part, from the higher castes, would approximate much more nearly to the Caucasian mean, perhaps to eighty-five cubic inches.
By the kindness of Prof. Retzius of Stockholm, I possess a single skull of a Laplander—a man of about forty years of age—whose brain measures no less than ninety-four cubic inches. The character- [p.322] istics are obviously Mongolian, to which race the Lappes unquestionably belong. Dr. Prichard has produced philological evidence in proof of an opinion maintained by himself and some other learned men, that these people are Finns, who have acquired Mongolian features from a long residence in the extreme north of Europe. Yet, it must be remembered that, in former ages they lived much further south, in Sweden, and side by side with the proper Finns; whence has, no doubt, been derived any visible blending of the characters of the two races, and some affinities of language which are known and admitted by all.
This is a vital question in ethnology; and, although we have already made some remarks upon it, it may be allowable in this place to inquire how it happens that the people of Iceland, who are of the unmixed Teutonic race, have for 600 years inhabited their Polar region, as far north, indeed, as Lapland itself, without approximating in the smallest degree to the Mongolian type, or losing an iota of their primitive Caucasian features.32
A recent traveller,33 equally remarkable for talent and enterprise, has briefly embodied the facts of this question in a manner sufficient to decide it in any unprejudiced mind. He declares that the Finns and Laplanders "have scarcely a single trait in common. The general physiognomy of the one is totally unlike that of the other; and no one who has ever seen the two could mistake a Finlander for a Laplander." The very diseases to which they are subject are different; and he quotes the learned Prof. Retzius of Stockholm for the fact, that the intestinal parasitic worms of the one race are different from those of the other. Finally, they differ almost as widely in their mental and moral attributes.
But, to show how little mere philology can be depended on in this and other instances, in deciding the affiliation of races, we may adduce the researches of the learned Counsellor Haartman. This eminent philologist has shown that the Carelians, who, from analogy of language, have hitherto been grouped with the proper Finnish race, belong to a totally different family, which invaded the region of the Lake Ladoga, and gave their name to the conquered country. This race, he adds, had a language of its own, which was lost in the course [p.323] of time, "and has been superseded by the Finnic, from the overpowering influence of the neighboring tribes."34 Such evidence needs no commentary.
III. THE MALAY GROUP.
Besides the true Malays, the Malay race is composed of people
of dissimilar stock; whence the opinion of M. Lesson, that those of the Indian
Archipelago are a mixture of Indo-Caucasians and Mongols. That this amalgamation
exists to a certain extent, there is no question; and in other instances they
are variously blended with the indigenous or Oceanic Negro. Hence the origin of
the Papuas of New Zealand, who are the littoral inhabitants of that continent.
Independently, however, of these mixed breeds, two great families are conspicuous—the Malays proper and the Polynesians—and to these pertain the twenty-three heads embraced in the Table.
The true Malays have a rounded cranium, with a remarkable vertical diameter and ponderous structure. The face is flat, the cheek- bones square and prominent, the ossa nasi long and more or less flattened, and the whole maxillary structure strong and salient. The twenty skulls in my possession have been collected with ethnological precision, and so much resemble each other, as to remind us of the remark of M. Crawford—that the true Malays are alike among themselves, but unlike among all other nations.
The largest of this series of skulls measures ninety-seven cubic inches, the smallest sixty-eight; and they give a mean of eighty-six: a large brain for a roving and uncultivated people, who possess, however, the elements of civilization and refinement. Of the Polynesian Family I possess but three crania that can be measured, and they give a mean of eighty-three cubic inches. An extended series would probably show a larger average; but the brain of the Polynesian, if measured from skulls obtained to the eastward of New Zealand and the Marquesas islands, will prove smaller than that of the true Malay.
IV. THE AMERICAN GROUP.
I have. hitherto arranged the numberless indigenous tribes of
North and South America into two great families: one of which, the Toltecan,
embraces the semi-civilized communities of Mexico, Bogota, and Peru; while the
other division includes all the Barbarous tribes. This classification is
manifestly arbitrary, but every attempt at sub-division has proved yet more so.
Much time and care will be requisite for this end, which must be based on the
observations of D'Orbigny for South America, and those of Mr. Gallatin for the
Northern [division of the] continent.
These subdivisions, after all, must be for the most part geographical; for the physical character of the American races, from Cape Horn to Canada, is essentially the same. There is no small variety of complexion and stature; but the general form of the skull, the contour and expression of the face, and the color and texture of the hair, together with the mental and moral characteristics, all point to a common standard, which isolates these people from the rest of mankind. The same remark is applicable to their social institutions and their archaeological remains; for Humboldt has shown that the latter are marked by the same principles of art, from Mexico to Peru;35 and Mr. Gallatin has decided, beyond controversy, that while their multitudinous tongues are connected by obvious links, they are at the same time radically different from the Asiatic or any other languages.
Mr. Gallatin finds this analogy among the American languages to extend to the Eskimaux—and he accordingly separates them from the Mongolian race, and regards them as a section of the great American family. This view may possibly be sustained by future inquiries; but the mere fact that the Eskimaux and the proximate Indian tribes speak dialects of one language, is of itself no proof that they belong to the same race. Thus, we may reasonably suppose that the Asiatic nomades, having arrived on this continent at various and distant periods, and in small parties, would naturally, if not unavoidably, adopt more or less of the language of the people among whom they settled, until their own dialect was finally merged in that of the Chippewyan and other Indians who bound them on the south.
When, on the other hand, famine, caprice, or a redundant population, has forced some of these people back again, across Behring's Strait, to Asia, they have carried with them the mixed dialect of the Eskimaux; whence it happens that the latter tribes and the Tchutch- [p.325] chi possess sonic linguistic elements in common: but here the analogy ceases abruptly, and is traced no farther.36
My collection embraces 410 skulls of 64 different nations and tribes of Indians, in which the two great divisions of this race are represented in nearly equal proportions, as the following details will show.
The Toltecan Family.—Of 213 skulls of Mexicans and Peruvians, 201 pertain to the latter people, whose remains have been selected with great care by the late Dr. Burrough, Dr. Ruschenberger, and Dr. Oakford. To the latter gentleman, I am under especial obligations for his kindness in personally visiting, on my behalf, the venerable sepulchres of Pisco, Pachacamac, and Arica. These cemeteries, at least the last two, are believed not to have been used since the Spanish conquest; and they certainly contain the remains of multitudes of Peruvians of very remote, as well as of more recent times.
Every one who has paid attention to the subject is aware, that the Peruvian skull is of a rounded form, with a flattened and nearly vertical occiput. It is also marked by an elevated vertex, great inter- parietal diameter, ponderous structure, salient nose, and a broad, prognathous maxillary region. This is the type of cranial conformation, to which all the tribes, from Cape Horn to Canada, more or less approximate. I admit that there are exceptions to this rule, some of which I long ago pointed out, in the Crania Americana, and others have recently been noticed among the Brazilian tribes by Prof. Retzius.
This rounded form of the head, so characteristic of the American nations, is in some instances unintentionally exaggerated by the simple use of the cradle-board, in common use among the Indians. * * * But on the other hand, whole tribes, from time immemorial, have been in the practice of moulding the head into artificial forms of singular variety and most distorted proportions. These were made the subject of the following experiment. * * *
[The] indomitable savages who yet inhabit the base of the Andes, on the eastern boundary of Peru, will no doubt prove to have a far larger brain than their feeble neighbors whose remains we have examined, from the graves of Pachacamac, Pisco, and Arica.
If we take the collective races of America, civilized and savasre, we find, as in the Table, that the average size of the brain, as measured m the whole series of 338 skulls, is but 79 cubic inches.
In connexion with this subject, it may not be irrelevant to observe that the human cranial bones, discovered by Dr. Lund, in the cavern near the Lagoa do Sumidouro, in Brazil, and seemingly of a strictly fossil character, conform in all respects to the aboriginal American [p.326] conformation;37 thus forming a striking example of the permanence, we might say, immutabihty of the primordial type of organization, when this has not been modified by admixture with intrusive and dissimilar races.
I have no doubt that Man will yet be found in the fossil state as low down as the Eocene deposits, and that he walked the earth with the Meo-alonvx and Paleotherium. His not having been hitherto discovered in the older stratified rocks is no proof that he will not be hereafter found in them. Ten years ago, the Monkey-tribes were unknown and denied in the fossil state; but they have since been identified in the Himalaya mountains, Brazil, and England.38
[End of Morton's MSS.]
[Unavailable, owing to its unfinished condition, the Table,
mentioned in the foregoing Memoirs is necessarily omitted. We cannot abstain,
notwithstanding, from recalling the reader's attention—first, to the unqualified
emphasis with which Dr. Morton's posthumous language insists upon an aboriginal
plurality of races; and secondly, to the clear presentiments (engendered by his
extensive researches in Comparative Anatomy) that our revered President of the
Academy of Natural Sciences avows respecting the eventual discovery of Man in a
Palaeontological investigation had not fallen within the specialities of either author of this volume; and, in consequence, embarrassment was long felt by both, whether to mould what materials they possessed, concerning fossilized humanity, into a Chapter, or to relinquish a task in itself so indispensable to the nature of their work, no less than to the right understanding of Man's position in Creative history. The authors' hesitancy ceased when an accomplished friend, familiar with geological and other scientific literature, volunteered a digest of the most recent discoveries: nor will the general reader fail to be surprised, as well as edified, through the perusal of Dr. Usher's paper; which, with many acknowledgments on the part of J. C. N. and G. R. G., is embodied in the ensuing pages.]
1 Medico-Chirurg. Trans., xix. p. 351.
2 Idem, p. 259.
3 Trans. of the Royal Soc. of London.
4 Essays and Heads of Lectures: by Dr. A. Monro, xxxix.
5 Das Hein des Negers, &c. p. 21.
6 Crania Americana, 1839, p. 253.
7 Proceedings of the Academy of Nat. Sciences of Philad. for April, 1841.
8 See my Catalogue of Skulls, 3d ed. 1849.
9 I have in my possession the skull of a mulatto boy who died at the age of eighteen years. In this instance, the sagittal suture is entirely wanting; in consequence, the lateral expansion of the cranium has ceased in infancy, or at whatever period the suture became consolidated. Hence also the diameter between the parietal protuberances is less than 4.5 inches, instead of 5, which last is the Negro average. The squamous sutures, however are fully open, whence the skull has continued to expand in the upward direction, until it has reached the average vertical diameter of the Negro, or 5.5 inches. The coronal suture is also wanting, excepting some traces at its lateral termini; and the result of this last deficiency is seen in the very inadequate of the forehead, which is low and narrow but elongated below through the agency of the various cranio-facial sutures. The lamdoidal suture is perfect, thus permitting posterior elongation; and the growth in this direction, together with the full vertical diameter, has enabled the brain to attain the bulk of cubic inches, or about less than the Negro average. I believe that the absence or partial development of the sutures may be a cause of idiocy by checking the growth of the brain, and thereby impairing or destroying its functions. See Proceedings of the Academy, for August, 1841.
10 Mr. George Combe, System of Phrenology, p. 83, is of the opinion that when the brain contracts, the inner table of the skull follows it, while the outer remains stationary.
11 [In May, 1851, about 837 skulls (MS. addenda to Catalogue of 1849). Since augmented by one or two dozen.—G. R. G.]
12 The doctrine of a plurality of original
creations for the human family, is by no means new; for it was believed and
expounded by a learned Rabbi of the Apostolic age, in a commentary (the Targum) on the Pentateuch. Rev. J. Tye
Smith, Relation between the Holy Scriptures and Geology, p. 393.
I have invariably, when treating of this subject, avowed my belief in the aboriginal diversity of mankind, independently of the progressive action of any physical or accidental causes. The words of the Hebrew Targum are precisely to the point: "God created Man red, white, and black."
I now venture to give a fuller and somewhat modified explanation of their origin. See Crania Americana, p. 3; Crania Ægyptiaca, p. 37; Distinctive Characteristics of the Aboriginal Race of America, p. 36; and Hybridity of Animals considered in reference to the question of the Unity of the Human Species, in Amer. Journal of Science and Arts, 1847.
13 Niebuhr expresses this idea admirably
when he remarks, that it is "false reasoning" to say, "that nations of a common
stock must have had a common origin, from which they were genealogically
deduced." History of Rome,
I., p. 37. In other words, people of a common stock may have had several or many
origins. Such appears to be the fact not only with man, but with all the
inferior animals we are nowhere told the latter were created in pairs. "Male and
female created He them"—and the same words are used in reference to the whole
Prof. Bailey of West Point, one of the most successful microscopists of the present day, has shown, that the mud taken from some of the deep-sea soundings on the coast of the United States contains, in every cubic inch, hundreds of millions of living calcareous Polythalmia. Will any one pretend that these animals were created in pairs, or had their origin in Mesopotamia?
14 See Rev. J. Pye Smith: Relation between the Holy Scriptures and Geology,
3d. ed. pp. 398-400. Also, Hon. and Rev. William Herbert: Amyrillidacæce,
"Les livres Juifs n'entetuleiit pas etablir que leur premier homme ait ete le pere du genre humain, mais seulenient celui de leur espece privilegie. Il ne peut consaquemment y avoir aucune inipiete a reconnaitre parmi nous plusieurs especes qui, chaqune, auront eu leur Adam et leur berceau partieulier." Bory de St. Vincent: L'homme, I., p. 66.
15 Betham: Etruria Celtica, I. 4.
16 Quoted by Rudolphi: Anthropologie, p. 153.
17 For evidence of this kind in relation to the inhabitants of north-western Asia, even in very ancient times, see Herodotus, Melpomene, cap. cviii., and Dr. Wiseman's Lectures, pp. 103, 105. Pallas further informs us that the Nogais, who are decided Mongolians, are fast losing their natural traits by intermarriage with the Russians.—Trav. in Russia, p. 425.
18 A single example, now before our eyes, will illustrate this proposition. "Two hundred years since, the Irish language prevailed over the whole province of Leinster. English was spoken only in the cities and great towns. At the present moment not one person in a thousand, even of the lowest rank of the natives of that district, understand Irish."—Betham: Etruria Celtica, i. 31. Here, then, are 2,000,000 of Celts, who, if judged solely by their spoken language, would be classed with the Anglo-Saxon race.
19 Prichard: Researches, &c. iii. 326, 330.
20 See the Timaeus of Plato. Taylor's Trans, ii. p. 400. The accurate Niebuhr remarks that, "in very remote times the Peloponnesus was not Grecian."
21 Dr. J. C. Warren, of Boston, possesses two finely preserved Roman crania, from the ashes of Pompeii. It is many years since I saw them, but they appeared to be highly characteristic of this division of the Pelasgic race. The difference between the Roman and Greek heads is familiar to all observers, but it has not been satisfactorily explained. It may have arisen from alliances between the intrusive Pelasgic and some neighboring, but dissimilar tribe, in Italy. One of the first acts of the Romans was to seize the Sabine women, in order to people their infant colony. These Sabines, however, are said also to have been of Pelasgic origin; but that the rural population of Italy, at that period, embraced a large proportion of Celts, may be inferred from history and confirmed by the Etruscan vases; for wherever these relics, now so numerous, picture the sylvan deities, whether as fauns or satyrs, they are represented with marked Celtic features; while the higher and ruling caste, represented on the same vessels, has a perfect Grecian physiognomy. See Sir William Hamilton's Etruscan Vases, passim. The true Roman profile, however, is not unfrequent on the antique bas-reliefs of Persia. Flandin: Voyage en Perse, pl. 33, 48.
22 See President Salisbury's Discourse on Sanscrit and Arabic Literature: New Haven 1843. The Ayra race derive their name from Iran, Persia.
23 Josephus, B. XII. Chap. 2.
24 Crania Ægyptiaca, pp. 41 and 46, and the accompanying plates.
25 Catalogue of skulls, Nos. 771, 772, 773.
26 Crania Ægyptiaca, 1844.
27 Proceedings of the Academy [of Nat. Sciences] for October, 1844.
28 This opinion, with some modifications, has been entertained by several learned Egyptologists—Champollion, Heeren, Lenormant, &c.
29 Lepsius: Chronologie der
Ægypter, p. 196. Dr. Lepsius dates the age of
Menes, the first Egyptian king, 3893 before Christ, or 5713 years from the
present time; and yet, in that remote time, Egypt was already possessed of her
arts, institutions, and hieroglyphic language. The researches of the learned
Chevalier Bunsen furnish conclusions nearly the same as those of Lepsius. Of the
great antiquity of the Human Species there can be no question. In the words of
Dr. Prichard, it may have been chiliads of years.
The ancient Egyptians appear to have had no doubts on this subject; for a priest of Sais, addressing Solon, spoke of "the multitude and variety of the destructions of the Human race which formerly have been, and again will be; the greatest of these, indeed, arising from fire and water; but the lesser from ten thousand other contingencies."—Timaeus of Plato: Taylor's Trans, ii. 466.
30 Dr. Lepsius did not desire to retain these crania, because they bore no collateral evidence of their epoch or national lineage. The bones were in great measure already decided by time; and the appliances of mummification (which, in the primitive ages, consisted of little more than desiccating the body,) had long since disappeared. As heretofore observed, I judge these relics solely by their intrinsic characters.
31 Aperçu Generale sur l'Egypte, i. p. 160.
32 Desmoulins: Hist. Nat. des Races Humaines, p 165. Were it not for the evidence of positive history, some future ethnologist might gravely insist that, because the Negroes of St Domingo speak the French language, they are Frenchmen, to whom a tropical sun, altered aliments, and change of habits, have imparted the black skin, projecting fa*e, and woolly hair of the African.
33 A Winter in Lapland and Sweden: by Arthur de Capell Brooks, M. A., F. R. S. P. London, 1827, p. 536-37.
34 Trans. of the Royal Society of Stockholm, for 1847. Egypt affords a remarkable example of the mutability of language; and Niebuhr (Hist. of Rome, i. p. 37) considers it proved that the Pelasgi, all the earliest inhabitants of the Peloponnesus, and many Arcadian and Attic nations, possessed originally a different language from the Greeks, and obtained the Hellenic tongue by adoption. He adds, that those Epirotes whom Thucydides calls Barbarians, changed their language, without conquest or colonization, into Greece. Diodorus and Cicero mention the same fact with respect to the Siculi, "although the Greek colonies in Sicily had only extended to a very few towns in the interior."—Niebuhr, loco citat.
35 Monuments, II. p. 5.
36 See my Inquiry into the Distinctive Characteristics of the Aboriginal Race of America, p. 27.
37 Memoire de la Soc. Roy. des Antiquaires du Nord, 1845-47, p. 73. See also Dr. Meigs's highly interesting communication on the Human Bones found at Santos, in Brazil, in Trans, of the Amer. Philos. Soc. for 1830; and Lt. Strain's Letter to me, in Proceedings of the Academy for 1844.
38 Proofs of the vast antiquity of the
earth, and of man's long sojourn upon it, multiply every day. The Hebrew
chronology is a human computation from the Book of Genesis, and while it falls
far short of the time requisite for the works of Man, is infinitely contracted
when considered in reference to the creations of God. The Egyptian monuments, as
we have seen, date far beyond the period allotted to the Deluge of Noah (which
was evidently a partial phenomenon); and, on the other hand, the irresistible
evidence of Geological Science realizes the sentiment of Plato—that Past time is
"These views," observes Sir Charles Lyell, "have been adopted by all geologists, whether their minds have been formed by the literature of France, or of Italy, or Scandinavia, or England—all have arrived at the same conclusion respecting the great antiquity of the globe, and that too in opposition to their earlier prepossessions, and to the popular belief of their age."
All human calculations of time are futile in Geological and Ethnological inquiries. Epochs of vast duration are fully established by the nature of the organic remains of plants and animals that characterize the different formations; while the very intervals that separate these formations are evidences of other periods hardly less astonishing. In fact, Geological epochs present some analogy to Astronomical distances: the latter have been computed; the former are beyond calculation—and the mind is almost as incapable of realizing the one as the other. It cannot grapple with numbers which approximate to infinitude.
It is stated by Prof Nichol, of Edinburgh, that "light travels at the rate of 192,000 miles in a second of time, and that it performs its journey from the Sun to the Earth, a distance of 95,000,000 of miles, in about eight minutes. And yet, by Rosse's great telescope, we are informed that there are stars and systems so distant, that the ray of light which impinges on the eye of the observer, and enables him to detect it, issued from that orb 100,000 years back." Westminster Review, 1846.
"In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth"—a sublime exordium, that points to an aboriginal creation, antedating the works of the Seven Days. Science has raised the veil of that ancient world, with all its numberless forms of primeval organization; but these are not noticed in the text, neither man, nor the inferior animals. When, however, we find the fossil remains of the latter so varied and so multitudinous, it is not inconsistent with true philosophy to anticipate the discovery of human remains among the ruins of that primal creation. In fact, I consider geology to have already decided the question in the affirmative.