Of the Varieties of the Human Species.
WHAT we have hitherto remarked con|cerning the generation of man and the structure of his body, constitutes only the histo|ry of the individual: That of the species re|quires a separate detail, the principal facts of which must be collected from the varieties that appear among men in different regions of the earth. These varieties may be reduced to three heads: 1. The colour; 2. The figure and sta|ture; and 3. The dispositions of different peo|ple. Each of these heads, if extensively con|sidered, might afford materials for a volume; but we shall confine ourselves to those which are most general and best ascertained.
With this view, we shall survey the surface of the earth, commencing with the northern regions. In Lapland, and on the northern coasts of Tartary, we find a race of men of an uncouth figure, and small stature. Their countenances are equally savage as their manners. These men, who ap|pear to be a degenerated species, are very nume|rous, Page 58 and occupy vast regions. The Danish, Swedish, and Muscovite Laplanders, the inha|bitants of Nova Zembla, the Borandians, the Sa|moiedes, the northern Tartars, the Ostiacks of the Old Continent, and the Greenlanders and sava|ges to the north of the Esquimaux Indians in the New Continent, appear to be all the same race, who have extended and multiplied along the coasts of the north sea, in deserts, and under cli|mates which could not be inhabited by other nations. All these people have broad large fa|ces*, and fiat noses. Their eyes are of a yel|lowish brown colour, inclining to black*; their eye-lids extend towards the temples*; their cheek-bones are very prominent; their mouths are large, and their lips thick and reflected; the under part of their face is narrow; they have a squeaking voice; the head is large, the hair black and smooth; and the skin of a tawny or swarthy hue. Their size is diminutive; but, though meagre, their form is squat. Most of them are only four feet high; and their tallest men exceed not four feet and a half. This race is so different from all others, that it seems to con|stitute a distinct species; for, if there be among them any distinction, it arises only from a great|er Page 59 or less degree of deformity. The Borandi|ans, for example, are still less than the Laplan|ders. The iris of their eyes is of the same co|lour; but the white is of a reddish yellow: Their skin is more tawny; and their legs, in|stead of being slender, like those of the Lap|landers, are very thick, and shapeless. The Sa|moiedes are more squat than the Laplanders; their heads are larger; their noses are broader, and their complexion darker; their legs are shorter; their hair is longer, and their beards are more scanty. The skin of the Greenlander is more tawny than that of the other nations, being of a deep olive colour; and, it is said, that some of them are as black as the Aethiopian. Among all these people, the women are fully as ugly as the men, and resemble them so much, that the distinction is not easily perceived. The women of Greenland are very short; but their bodies are well proportioned. Their hair is blacker, and their skin softer than those of the Samoiede females. Their breasts are so long and pliable, that they can suckle their children over their shoulders. Their nipples are black as jet, and their skin is of a very deep olive colour. Some travellers alledge that these women have no hair but upon their heads, and that they are not subject to the menstrual evacuation. Their visage is large; their eyes small, but black and lively; and their feet and hands are short. In every other respect, they resemble the Samoiede Page 60 females. The savages north of the Esquimaux, and even in the northern parts of the island of Newfoundland, have a great resemblance to the Greenlanders. Like them, their stature is small, their faces broad, and their noses flat; but their eyes are larger than those of the Laplander.
These people not only resemble each other in deformity, in smallness of stature, and in the colour of their eyes and hair, but also in their dispositions and manners: They are all equally gross, superstitious, and stupid. The Danish Laplanders have a large black cat, to which they communicate their secrets, and consult in all their important affairs; such as, whether this day should be employed in hunting or fishing. A|mong the Swedish Laplanders, a drum is kept in every family for the purpose of consulting the devil; and, though they are a robust and nimble people, such is their pusillanimity, that they never could be persuaded to face a field of battle. Gustaphus Adolphus endeavoured to embody a regiment of Laplanders; but he was obliged to relinquish the project. They cannot, it would appear, exist but in their own coun|try, and in their own manner. To enable them to travel on the snow, they use skates made of sir-wood, about two ells long, and half a foot broad. These skates are raised before, with a hole in the middle for tying them sirm on the foot. With these they run on the snow with such rapidity, that they easily overtake the Page 61 swiftest animals. They carry with them a pole pointed with iron at one end, and rounded at the other. This pole serves to push them along, to direct their course, to preserve them from falling, to stop their impetuosity, and to kill the animals they overtake. With these skates they descend the most frightful precipices, and climb the steepest and most rugged mountains. The skates used by the Samoiedes are shorter, seldom exceeding two feet in length. Among all these people, the women use skates as well the men. They likewise employ the bow and the cross|bow; and, it is said, that the Muscovite Lap|landers dart a javelin with so much force and dexterity, that, at the distance of 30 paces, they are certain of hitting a mark not larger than a crown-piece; and that, at the same distance, they will transfix a human body. They hunt the ermine, the lynx, the fox, and the martin, and barter their skins for brandy and tobacco. Their food consists principally of dried fish, and of the flesh of the rein-deer and bear. Their bread is composed of the pounded bones of fishes, mixed with the tender bark of the pine, or birch tree. Most of them make no use of salt. Their usual drink is whale-oil, - or water in which juniper berries have been infused. They seem to have no idea of religion, or of a Supreme Being. They are mostly idolaters, and exceedingly su|perstitious. More gross than savages, they have neither courage, dignity, nor a sense of shame. Page 62 The manners of these abject people serve only to render them despicable. They bathe naked, and promiscuously, boys and girls, mothers and sons, brothers and sisters, without feeling the smallest sense of impropriety. When they come out of the baths, which are extremely warm, they immediately plunge themselves into cold rivers. They offer their wives and daughters to strangers, and esteem it the highest affront if the offer be rejected. This custom is universal a|mong the Samoiedes, the Borandians, the Laplan|ders, and the inhabitants of Greenland. In winter, the Laplanders clothe themselves with the skin of the rein-deer, and, in summer, with the skins of birds. The use of linen is unknown to them. The women of Nova Zembla pierce their noses and their ears, and ornament them with pendants of blue stone; and, to increase their charms, they draw blue streaks across their forehead and chin▪ Their husbands cut their beards into a round form, and wear no hair on the head. The Greenland women clothe them|selves with the skin of the dog-fish. They like|wise paint their faces blue and yellow, and wear pendants in their ears. They all live un|der ground, or in huts almost sunk below the surface, and covered with the bark of trees, or bones of fishes. It is a common practice with them, during winter, to make subterraneous communications from hut to hut, by which they can visit their neighbours without going abroad. Page 63 A night, consisting of several months, obliges them to illuminate their dreary abodes with lamps, in which they burn the same whale-oil that serves them for drink. In summer they have hardly more ease than in winter; for they are obliged to live perpetually in a thick smoke. This is the only means they have hitherto con|trived to guard themselves against the bite of the gnats, which are, perhaps, more numerous in this frozen country than in the Torrid Zone. Notwithstanding this melancholy and hard mode of living, they are seldom or never sick, and all arrive at extreme old age. Even the old men are so vigorous, that it is difficult to distinguish them from the young. Blindness, which is very frequent among them, is the on|ly malady to which they are subject. As their eyes are perpetually dazzled with the reflection from the snow in winter, autumn, and spring, and involved in smoke during summer, few of them retain their sight after they are advanced in years.
It is therefore apparent, that the Samoiedes, the Zemblians, the Borandians, the Laplanders, the Greenlanders, and the savages to the north of the Esquimaux, are the same race of men; because they resemble one another in figure, in stature, in colour, in manners, and even in singularity of customs. The custom of offering their wives and daughters to strangers, and of being vain when the offer is accepted, may pro|ceed Page 64 from a sense of their own deformity, as well as that of their females, whom they are apt to think the more handsome, because they are not despised by strangers. At any rate, it is certain, that this practice is general among all these nations, though very distant from each other, and though separated by a great sea. We meet with it among the Crim Tartars, the Cal|mucs, and several other nations in Siberia and Tartary, who are almost equally ugly as the in|habitants of the more northern regions. In all the neighbouring nations, on the contrary, as China and Persia*, where the women are beau|tiful, the men are remarkable for their jealousy.
In examining the different nations adjacent to that vast tract of land occupied by the Lap|landers, we find no relation between them and the race last mentioned. The Ostiacks and Ton|gusians, who border on the Samoiedes on the south and south-east, are the only people who have any resemblance to them. The Samoiedes and Borandians have no similarity to the Rus|sians. The Laplanders resemble not, in any manner, the Fins, the Goths, the Danes, or the Norwegians. The Greenlanders are totally dif|ferent from the savages of Canada, who are large Page 65 and well made; and, though the tribes differ from one another, yet none of them have any analogy to the Laplanders. The Ostiacks, how|ever, seem to be a less ugly, and a taller branch of the Samoiedes*. They feed upon raw flesh or fish; they eat all kinds of animals without distinction; they prefer blood to water for their drink; like the Laplanders and Samoiedes, they are mostly idolaters; in a word, they appear to be the line which divides the Lapponian and Tartarian races; or, rather, the Laplanders, the Samoiedes, the Borandians, the Nova Zemblians, and perhaps the Greenlanders, and the Dwarfs of North America, may be considered as Tartars reduced to the lowest degree of degeneracy. The Tongusians seem to be less degenerated than the Ostiacks; because the former, though suffi|ciently ugly, are taller and better proportioned. The Samoiedes and Laplanders lie under the 68th or 69th degree of latitude, but the Ostiacks under the 60th. The Tartars, who are si|tuated along the Wolga, in the latitude of 55, are gross, stupid, and brutal. Like the Tongu|sians, they have no idea of religion; and they will not marry girls till they have had inter|course with other men.
The Tartars occupy immense regions in Asia. They spread over that vast tract of country ex|tending from Russia to Kamschatka, a space of Page 66 11 or 12 hundred leagues in length, by more than 750 in breadth, which is a territory more than 20 times larger than the kingdom of France. The Tartars border with China, the kingdoms of Boutan, and of Alva, and the Mogul and Persian empires, as far as the Caspian Sea, on the north and west. They spread along the Wolga and the west coast of the Caspian, as far as Daghestan; they have penetrated to the north coast of the Black Sea, and have establishments in Crimea, in Little Tartary near Moldavia, and in the Ukraine. All these people, even in their youth, have large wrinkled foreheads; their noses are thick and short, and their eyes small and sunk*; their cheek-bones are very high, and the lower part of their face is very narrow; their chin is long and prominent, and the upper jaw falls in; the teeth are long and distinct from each other; the eye-brows are thick, and cover the eyes; the face is flat; the skin is tawny or olive; and the hair is black. Their bodies are of a middle stature, but strong and robust. They have but little beard, and the hairs are dis|posed in tufts, like the beards of the Chinese. Their thighs are thick, and their legs short. The Calmuck Tartars are the most ugly; there is even something frightful in their countenance. They are all wandering vagabonds, living in tents made of cloth or of skins. They eat the Page 67 flesh of horses, and of other animals, either raw, or a little softened by putrifying under their saddles, and likewise fishes dried with the sun. Their common drink is mares milk fermented with the flour of millet. They all shave the head, excepting a little tuft which they allow to grow, in order to form two tresses, one of them to hang on each side of the face. The women, who are as ugly as the men, wear their hair, in which they fix little pieces of copper, and other ornaments of the same nature.
Among most of these tribes, no marks of re|ligion, or of decency in their manners, are to be found. They are all robbers; and the Tartars of Daghestan, who border on civilized nations, have a great trade in slaves, whom they carry off by force, and then sell them to the Turks and Persians. Their wealth consists chiefly of horses, which are, perhaps, more numerous in Tartary than in any other country on the globe. These people live perpetually with their horses, and are continually occupied in training, dressing, and exercising them. They manage them with such address, that a stranger would imagine both creatures to be animated with the same mind. These horses not only obey the gentlest mo|tions of the bridle, but they seem to know the very intention of their riders.
To learn the particular differences which subsist among the race of Tartars, we have only to compare the descriptions given by travellers of Page 68 their different tribes. We are informed by Ta|vernier, that the Calmucks, who live in the neigh|bourhood of the Caspian Sea, between Muscovy and Great Tartary, are robust men, but the most ugly and deformed beings under Heaven. Their faces are so large and so flat, that their eyes, which are generally small, are situated five or six inches asunder. Their noses are so low, that, instead of nostrils, two holes are only to be seen; and their knees bend outward, and their legs inward. After the Calmucks, the Tartars of Daghestan hold the next rank in deformity. The Little Tartars, or those of Nogai, who live near the Black Sea, are not so ugly as the Calmucks, though they have flat faces, and small eyes, and resem|ble the Calmucks in their general figure. By their intercourse with the Circassians, the Mol|davians, and other adjoining nations, this race of Tartars have perhaps lost a part of their ori|ginal deformity. The Tartars of Siberia, though, like the Calmucks, they have broad faces, short flat noses, and small eyes, and though their lan|guage be very different, there is still so great a fimilarity between them, that they ought to be regarded as the same race of people. The Tar|tars of Bratski are considered by Père Avril as of the same race with the Calmucks; and, in pro|portion as we advance eastward, and approach Independent Tartary, the features of the Tartars gradually soften; but the characters essential to their race are never obliterated. Lastly, the Page 69 Mongou-Tartars, who conquered China, and were the most polished, though their features be less disagreeable, yet, like all the other tribes, they have small eyes, large flat faces, thin black or red beards*, short sunk noses, and a tawny complexion. The people of Thibet, and of the other southern provinces of Tartary, are also less deformed. Mr Sanchez, first physician to the Russian army, a man of great learning and ability, has obliged me with the following re|marks made by him in travelling through Tar|tary.
In the years 1735, 36, and 37, he visited the Ukraine, the banks of the Don as far as the sea of Zabach, and the confines of Cuban as far as Asoph. He traversed the deserts which lie be|tween the country of the Crims and Backmut. He journeyed among the wandering Calmucks from the kingdom of Casan to the banks of the Don, among the Tartars of Crimea and Nogai, who wander between the Crimea and the U|kraine, and likewise among the Tartars of Ker|gissi and Tcheremissi, who are situated to the North of Astracan, from the 50th to the 60th degree of latitude. He remarked, that the Tar|tars of Crimea and of the province of Cuban, were of a middle stature; and that they had broad shoulders, narrow flanks, strong nervous limbs, black eyes, and a tawny complexion. THe Tartars of Kergissi and Tcheremissi are smaller and more squat; they are grosser, and less agile; Page 70 they have black eyes, a tawny hue, and faces still broader than the former. He observed, a|mong these Tartars, several men and women who had no resemblance to them, and of whom some were as white as the inhabitants of Poland. As these nations abound with slaves, both male and female, who are carried off from Russia and Poland; as their religion permits a plurality of wives and concubines; and as their Sultans, Murzas, or Nobles, bring their wives from Cir|cassia and Georgia, the children who spring from such alliances are less deformed, and whiter than those of the unmixed natives. There are even among the Tartars a whole nation, that of the Kabardinski, who are remarkably beautiful. M. Sanchez saw no less than 300 of those men in the Russian service; and he assures us, that he never saw men make a more handsome figure. Their countenances were as fresh and white as any in Europe; they had large balck eyes; and they were tall and well proportioned. He adds, that the Lieutenant General of Serapikin, who had lived long in Kabarda, informed him, that the women were equally beautiful. But this nation, so totally different from the other Tartar tribes with which they are surrounded, continued M. Sanchez, are said to have come originally from the Ukraine, and had been transported into Kabarda about 150 years ago.
The blood of the Tartars is mixed on one side with the Chinese, and, on the other, with the Page 71 oriental Russians. But the characteristic fea|tures of the race are not entirely obliterated by this mixture; for, among the Muscovites, the Tartarian aspect is very frequent; and, though the former have sprung from the common Eu|ropean race, we still find many individuals with squat bodies, thick thighs, and short legs, like the Tartars. But the Chinese have so great a resemblance to the Tartars, that it is uncertain whether they be not of the very same race: The most remarkable difference arises from a total disparity in their dispositions, manners, and cu|stoms. The Tartars are fierce, warlike, and fond of hunting. They love fatigue and indepen|dence; and they are hardy and brutally gross. But the manners of the Chinese are the very re|verse. They are effeminate, peaceable, indo|lent, superstitious, submissive, ceremonious, and parasitical. In their features and form, how|ever, they have a great resemblance to the Tartars.
The Chinese, says Hugon, are large and fat men, with well-proportioned limbs, round broad faces, small eyes, large eye-brows, high eye-lids, and small sunk noses. They have only seven or eight tufts of hair on each lip, and very little on the chin. Those who live in the southern pro|vinces are browner and more tawny than those in the northern parts; and their colour resem|bles that of the people of Mauritania, or the more swarthy of the Spaniards: But, in the Page 72 middle provinces, they are as white as the Ger|mans. According to Dampier, and others, they are not all large and fat, though they regard these properties as great ornaments to the hu|man figure. Speaking of the inhabitants of the island of St John, on the coast of China, Dam|pier informs us, that they are tall, erect, and not incumbered with fat; that they have a long vi|sage and a high forehead; that their eyes are small, their nose pretty large and elevated in the middle, their mouth of a moderate size, their lips thin, their complexion ash-coloured, and their hair black; that they have naturally little beard; and that they pull out all the hairs, except a few on the chin and upper lip. According to Gentil, the Chinese have nothing disagreeable in their aspect, especially in the northern provinces: Those whom necessity exposes to the sun, in the southern provinces, are tawny. In general, they have small oval eyes, short noses, and thick bodies of a middle stature. He assures us, that the women use every art to diminish their eyes; and that the young girls, instructed by their mo|thers, continually extend their eye-lids, in or|der to make their eyes small and oblong, which, when joined to a flat nose, and large, open, pen|dulous ears, constitute a perfect beauty. He adds, that their complexion is fine, their lips of a beautiful red, their mouths well-shaped, and their hair exceedingly black; but that the chew|ing of betle blackens their teeth, and their con|stant Page 73 use of paint so greatly injures their skin, that they have the appearance of old age before they arrive at 30 years.
We are assured by Palafox, that the Chinese are whiter than the oriental Tartars; that they have also less beard; but that, in every other respect, there is little difference in the visages of these two nations. It is very uncommon, he says, to see blue eyes either in China or the Philippine Islands, excepting the Europeans, or those born of European parents.
It is alledged by Innigo Biervillas, that the women of China are better made than the men. The faces of the latter, he observes, are large, and their complexions yellowish; their noses are broad and compressed; and their bodies are thick and coarse like those of Dutchmen: The women, on the contrary, are exceedingly hand|some; their skin and complexion are admirably sine; and their eyes are extremely beautiful: But few of them, he adds, have good noses, be|cause they are purposely compressed in their in|fancy.
Most of the Dutch voyagers agree that the Chi|nese, in general, have broad faces, small eyes, flat noses, and hardly any beard; that the natives of Canton, and all along the southern coast, are as tawny as the inhabitants of Fez in Africa; but that those of the interior provinces are most|ly white. Now, if we compare the descriptions of the Tartars and Chinese given by the diffe|rent Page 74 authors above quoted, we cannot hesitate in pronouncing, that the Chinese, though they differ a little in their stature and in the form of their countenance, have a greater relation to the Tartars than to any other people, and that all the differences between them proceed entirely from climate and the mixture of races. This is the opinion of Chardin:
Page 75 Father Parennin, who lived long in China, and accurately observed the manners of that people, informs us, that the neighbouring na|tions on the west, from Thibet northward to Chamo, differed from the Chinese in manners, language, features, and external conformation; that they are a rude, ignorant, slothful people, faults very uncommon among the inhabitants of China; that, when any of these Tartars come to Pekin, and the Chinese are asked the reason of these differences, they answer, that they are occasioned by the water and the soil; or, in o|ther words, that the nature of the country pro|duces these changes in the bodies and dispositions of its inhabitants. He adds, that this remark seems to be more verified in China than in any other country he ever saw; and that, when fol|lowing the Emperor in a journey to Tartary, as far as the 48th degree of north latitude, he found Chinese families from Nankin, who had settled there, whose children had become perfect Mongous, having their heads sunk between their shoulders, crooked legs, and an aspect that was truly gross and disgusting*.
The Japanese are so very similar to the Chi|nese, that they may be regarded as the same race of men; their colour is indeed darker, because they live in a more southern climate. In gene|ral, their complexion is vigorous; their stature short; their face and nose broad and flat; their Page 76 eyes small; their beard thin; and their hair black. They are haughty, warlike, full of vigour and dexterity, civil and obliging, smooth-tongued, and abound in compliments; but they are a vain and inconstant people. They sustain, with in|credible patience, hunger, thirst, cold, heat, fa|tigue, and all the other hardships of life. Like the Chinese, they eat their meat with small sticks, and, during their meals, they use a multitude of ceremonies and strange grimaces. They are la|borious, skilful artificers; and, in a word, their dispositions, manners, and customs are nearly the same with those of the Chinese.
The absurd custom of rendering the feet of their women so small that they can hardly sup|port their bodies, is common to both nations. Some travellers affirm, that, when the Chinese girls arrive at three years of age, their feet are bended in such a manner, that the toes lie un|der the sole; that they apply aquafortis to burn off the flesh; and then wrap them up in strong bandages. They add, that the women feel the consequences of this operation all their lives; for they walk with much difficulty, and their gate is exceedingly ungraceful. They chear|fully submit, however, to this inconveniency; and, as it is a mean of pleasing, they endeavour to make their feet as small as possible. Other travellers deny that they break the feet, and al|ledge, that they only compress them so forcibly as to prevent their growth: But all agree, that Page 77 every woman of fashion, and every woman that is reckoned handsome, must have her feet so small that they could enter with ease into the shoe of a child of six years of age.
We may, therefore, upon the whole, conclude, that the Japanese and Chinese are the same race of men; that their civilization is of a very an|tient date; and that they differ more from the Tartars in their manners than in their figure. Their early civilization may be ascribed to the fertility of the soil, the mildness of the climate, and the vicinity of the sea; while the Tartars, removed from the sea, and separated from the southern nations by high mountains, have con|tinued to wander in their vast deserts, and un|der a climate, the rigour of which, especially in the northern parts of Tartary, could only be supported by a robust and uncultivated people. The country of Jesso, which lies to the north of Japan, though situated under a climate which ought to be temperate, is, however, cold, barren, and mountainous: Its inhabitants are also totally different from those of China and Japan. They are a gross brutal race, having neither manners nor arts. Their bodies are thick and short; their hair is long and bristly; their eyes are black; their forehead is flat, and their colour yellow, though less so than that of the Japanese. Their faces, as well as their whole body, are very hairy. They live like savages, and their food consists of the fat and oil of whales, and Page 78 other fishes. They are exceedingly indolent, and slovenly in their dress. Their children go almost naked; and the women have invented no other ornament but that of painting their eye-brows and lips of a blue colour. The sole pleasure and occupation of the men is hunting bears and rein-deer, and fishing whales. Though they have some Japanese customs, as that of singing with a quavering voice, yet, in general, they have a greater resemblance to the northern Tartars, or the Samoiedes, than to the natives of Japan.
In examining the people on the south and west of China, we find that the Cochin-chinese, who inhabit a mountainous region that lies south of China, are more tawny, and more ugly than the Chinese; and that the Tonquinese, whose country is more fertile, and who live under a colder climate than the Cochin-chinese, are more handsome and beautiful. Dampier tells us, that the Tonquinese are of a middle stature; and that, though their complexion be tawny, their skin is so smooth and delicate, that the smallest changes from redness to paleness are perceptible in their faces, a circumstance which distinguishes them from the other Indians. Their visage is generally flat and oval, their nose and lips well proportioned, their hair black, long, and very thick; and they use every art to make their teeth black. According to the relations annex|ed to Tavernier's voyages, the Tonquinese are Page 79 of a good stature, and of an olive colour. They have not the flat faces and noses of the Chinese; and they are, in general, much handsomer.
Thus, it appears, that these nations differ but little from the Chinese: In colour they resemble the inhabitants of the southern provinces of China. If they are more tawny, it is owing to their living under a warmer climate; and, though their faces and noses be more prominent, they may still be regarded as people sprung from the same origin.
The same observation applies to the natives of Siam, of Pegu, of Aracan, of Laos, &c. the features of all these nations having a striking resemblance to those of the Chinese; and, though they differ from the Chinese in colour, yet they differ much more from the other Indians. The stature of the Siamese, according to Loubère, is rather small; their bodies are well made; their faces are large, and their cheek-bones promi|nent; their forehead suddenly contracts, and terminates in a point, like the chin; their eyes are small and oblique; the white of the eye is yellowish; the cheeks are hollow, from the ele|vation of the upper part of the cheek-bones; the mouth is large, the lips thick, and the teeth black; their complexion is coarse, being a mix|ture of brown and red, or, according to other travellers, of an ash-colour, which is, perhaps, as much owing to the perpetual fultriness of the air, as to their birth: Their nose is short, and Page 80 rounded at the point; their ears are naturally large, and are much esteemed when their size is remarkably great. This taste for long ears is common to all the eastern nations. Some draw the lob of the ear in order to lengthen it, and pierce it so as only to allow the admission of an ordinary pendant; and others, as the natives of Laos, widen the holes in their ears so prodigi|ously, that they will almost admit a man's hand; and, by this means, their ears descend to the top of their shoulders. With regard to the Si|amese, however, their ears are naturally a little larger than ours. Their hair is coarse, black, and straight; and it is worn so short, both by the men and the women, that it reaches no low|er than the ear all round the head. They a|noint their lips with a kind of perfumed poma|tum, which makes them appear unnaturally pale. They have little beard; and they always pull out the hairs: Nor is it customary to pare their nails, &c. Struys informs us, that the women of Siam wear pendants in their ears, so large and heavy, that the holes gradually grow wide enough to admit a thumb. He adds, that the colour of both men and women is tawny; that, though not tall, they are handsome; and that, in general, the Siamese are a mild and po|lished people. Father Tachard remarks, that the Siamese are very alert, and have among them dancers and tumblers as agile as those in Europe. He tells us, that the custom of black|ening Page 81 their teeth proceeds from a notion they entertain of its being unseemly for men to have white teeth, like the brutes. They besmear them with black varnish, and abstain three or four days from meat, in order to make it adhere the more firmly.
The inhabitants of the kingdoms of Pegu and Aracan differ not from those of China and Siam, excepting in their colour, which is a little black|er *. The natives of Aracan are fond of large flat foreheads; and, to render them so, they ap|ply a plate of lead to the foreheads of their children, immediately after birth. They have large open nostrils, small sparkling eyes, and ears so long that they rest upon their shoulders. They eat, without disgust, mice, rats, serpents, and putrified fish*. Their women are tolera|bly fair, and their ears are equally long as those of the men*. The people of Achen, who are still farther north than those of Aracan, have likewise flat visages, and olive complexions. They are exceedingly gross, and allow their boys to go quite naked; and the girls have only a thin plate of silver to save their blushes*.
All these nations, it is apparent, differ little from the Chinese, and resemble the Tartars in the smallness of their eyes, their flat visages, and their olive colour. But, in proceeding south|ward, Page 82 the features begin to be diversified in a more sensible manner. The inhabitants of Ma|lacca, and of the island of Sumatra, are black, small, active, and well proportioned. Though naked from the middle upwards, excepting a small scarf which they carry sometimes on one shoulder and sometimes on the other*, they are naturally brave, and become formidable after taking their opium, which affects them with a kind of furious intoxication*. The inhabitants of Sumatra and of Malacca, according to Dam|pier, are of the same race. They speak nearly the same language; they have all a fierce and haughty temper; their stature is of a middle size; they have a long visage, black eyes, noses of a moderate bulk, thin lips, and teeth died black by the frequent use of betle*. In the island of Pugniatan, or Pissagan, about 16 leagues west of Sumatra, the natives are tall, and of a yellow colour, like the Brasilians. They wear long smooth hair, and go absolutely naked*. Those of the islands of Nicobar, to the north of Sumatra, are of a yellowish tawny complexion, and likewise go perfectly naked*. Dampier tells us, that the natives of the Nicobar islands are tall and handsome; that their visage is long, their hair black and smooth, and their noses of a moderate size; and that the women tear out Page 83 the hairs from their eye-brows, &c. The na|tives of the island of Sombrero, to the north of Nicobar, are very black, and they paint their faces with different colours, as green, yellow, &c.*. The people of Malacca, of Sumatra, and of the small adjacent islands, though they differ between themselves, differ still more from the Chinese, Tartars, &c. and seem to have ori|ginated from a different race; yet the natives of Java, who are in the neighbourhood of those of Sumatra and Malacca, have no resemblance to them, but are similar to the Chinese, excepting in colour, which, like that of the Malays, is red mingled with black. They likewise resemble, says Pigafetta*, the natives of Brazil; their complexion is coarse, and, though neither re|markably large nor small, they are squat, and exceedingly muscular; their faces are flat, their cheeks flabby and pendulous; their eye-brows large, and inclined to the temples; their eyes small, and their beards very black and thin. Fa|ther Tachard remarks, that the people of Java are robust and handsome; that they seem to be active and resolute; and that the extreme heat of the climate obliges them to go naked. From the Lettres Edifiantes*, it appears, that the na|tives of Java are neither black nor white, but of a purplish red colour; and that they are mild, familiar, and courteous.
Page 84 Francis Legat relates, that the women of Ja|va, who are not exposed to the rays of the sun, are less tawny than the men; that their coun|tenance is comely, their breasts prominent and well shaped, and their complexion, though brown, uniform and beautiful; that they have a delicate hand, a soft air, brilliant eyes, an a|greeable smile; and that many of them dance with great elegance and spirit*. Most of the Dutch voyagers agree, that the natives of this island are robust, well made, and nervous; that their visage is flat, their cheeks broad and pro|minent, their eye-lids large, their eyes small, their hair long, and their complexion tawny; that they have little beard; that they wear their hair and nails very long; and that they polish their teeth with files*. In a little island front|ing that of Java, the women are tawny, have small eyes, a large mouth, flat noses, and long black hair*.
From all these relations, we may conclude, that the inhabitants of Java greatly resemble the Tartars and Chinese, while those of Malacca, Sumatra, and the small adjacent islands, differ from them, both in their features and in the form of their bodies. Neither is it difficult to account for this phaenomenon; for the peninsula of Ma|lacca, the islands of Sumatra and Java, as well Page 85 as all the other islands in the Indian Archipela|go, must have been peopled by the neighbour|ing nations on the continent, and even the Eu|ropeans themselves, who have had possession of them near three centuries. This circumstance must have produced a great variety among the inhabitants, both in the features and colour, and in the form and proportions of their bodies. In the island of Java, for example, there are a peo|ple called Chacrelas, who are totally different, not only from the natives of this island, but from all the other Indians. These Chacrelas are white and fair, and their eyes are so weak that they cannot support the rays of the sun. They go about, in the day, with their eyes half shut, and directed to the ground; but they see best during the night*. All the inhabitants of the Molucca islands, says Pyrard, are similar to those of Sumatra and Java, in manners, mode of li|ving, arms, customs, language, colour, &c.*. We learn from Mandelslo, that the men are rather black than tawny, and that the women are fairer; that their hair is black; that their eyes, eye-brows, and eye-lids, are large; that their bodies are strong and robust; that they are dexterous and agile; and that they live long, though their hair soon becomes hoary. This traveller likewise tells us, that each island has its own peculiar language, and that they have pro|bably Page 86 been peopled by different nations*. The inhabitants of Borneo and of Bali, he adds, are rather black than tawny*; but, according too|ther travellers, they are only brown, like the o|ther Indians*. Gemelli Carreri says, that the inhabitants of Ternate are of the same colour with the Malays, which is a little darker than those of the Philippine islands; that their coun|tenances are comely; that the men are handso|mer than the women; and that both sexes bestow much care on their hair*. The Dutch travel|lers relate, that the natives of the island of Ban|da are remarkable for longevity; that they have seen a man aged 130, and many who approach|ed to that uncommon period of life; that these islanders are, in general, exceedingly indolent; that the men do nothing but saunter abroad; and that all the laborious offices are executed by the women*. According to Dampier, the ori|ginal natives of the island of Timor, which is one of those most adjacent to New Holland, are of a middle stature: They have erect bodies, delicate limbs, a long visage, black bristly hair, and a very black skin: They are dexterous and agile, but indolent to a shameful degree*. In another place, however, he says, that the inha|bitants Page 87 along the bay of Laphao are mostly tawny and of a copper colour, and that their hair is black and flat*.
Turning northward, we find Manilla and the other Philippine islands, the inhabitants of which, by their alliances formed between the Spaniards, the Indians, the Chinese, the Malabars, the Ne|groes, &c. are perhaps more mixed than in any other part of the universe. These negroes, who live in the rocks and woods of Manilla, are en|tirely different from the other inhabitants. Some of them have crisped hair, like the negroes of Angola, and others long hair; their colour con|sists of various shades of black. Among these, some have been seen who had tails four or five inches long, like the islanders mentioned by Ptolomy*. This traveller adds, that he was in|formed by Jesuites worthy of credit, that, in the island of Mindoro, which is adjacent to Manilla, there is a race of men, called Manghians, who have all tails of the same length; that some of these tailed men had even embraced the Catholic faith*; and that they had olive complexions and long hair*. Dampier tells us, that the in|habitants of the island of Mindanao, which is one of the principal and most southerly of the Philippines, are of a middle stature; that their limbs are slender, their bodies thin and straight, Page 88 their visages oval, their foreheads flat, their eyes black and small, their noses short, their mouths large, their lips thin and red, their teeth black, their hair smooth and black, their colour tawny and more yellow than several of the other In|dian tribes; that the women are handsome and fairer than the men; that their visage is longer, and their features sufficiently regular, excepting the nose, which is short and flat; that their limbs are small, and their hair long and black; and that the men, in general, are alert and inge|nious, but slothful and addicted to robbery. We learn from the Lettres Edifiantes, that the inha|bitants of the Philippine islands resemble the Malays, who formerly conquered these islands; that, like them, the nose is short, the eyes large, the complexion of a yellowish olive colour, and their customs and language are nearly the same.
To the north of Manilla lies the island of Formosa, which is not far distant from the pro|vince of Fokien in China. But these islanders have no resemblance to the Chinese. Struys in|forms us, that the men of this island are of small stature, particularly those who live in the mountains; that they have flat faces; that the women have coarse full breasts, and a beard like the men; that their ears are long, and their length is increased by heavy shells which they employ for pendants; that their hair is black and long, and their complexion of a yellowish black colour; that some of them are of a whitish yel|low, Page 89 and others entirely yellow; that they are extremely indolent, dexterous in managing the bow and the javelin, excellent swimmers, and run with incredible swiftness. Struys expressly declares, that, in this island, he saw a man with a tail more than a foot long, covered with red|dish hair, and not unlike that of an ox; and that this tailed man assured him, that the tail was a consequence of the climate, for all the na|tives of the southern part of the island had tails of the same kind*.
I know not what credit is due to this relation of Struys: If the fact concerning the tails be true, it must be exaggerated; for it accords not with the accounts of other travellers, nor even with that of Ptolomy; and Marc Paul, in his Geographical description, says, that, in the moun|tains of the kingdom of Lambry, there are men with tails only about a palm long. It appears that Struys rests upon the authority of Marc Paul, as Gemelli Carreri does upon that of Ptolomy; and that the tail he pretends to have seen is very different in its dimensions from that ascribed by other travellers to the negroes of Manilla, the inhabitants of Lambry, &c.
The editor of the Memoirs of Psalmanazar, concerning the island of Formosa, makes no mention of these extraordinary men; but he re|marks, that, though it be extremely warm in this island, the women are very fair and hand|some, particularly those of them who are not Page 90 exposed to the rays of the sun; that they anxi|ously preserve their complexion by the use of certain Iotions; that they are equally attentive to the beauty of their teeth, and, instead of paint|ing them black, like the Chinese and Japanese, they use every art to preserve their whiteness; that the men are not tall, but thick and strong; and that they are, in general, vigorous, indefa|tigable, good soldiers, very dexterous*, &c.
The Dutch voyagers, in their accounts of the natives of Formosa, differ from all those we have hitherto mentioned. Mandelslo, as well as the writers of the collection of voyages which paved the way for the establishment of the Dutch East|-India Company, inform us, that these islanders are taller than the Europeans; that their colour is brownish black; that their bodies are hairy; and that the women are of a low stature, but robust, fat, and tolerably proportioned. In most of the writers on this island, there is no men|tion of men with tails; and they differ widely from each other in their descriptions of the form and features of the natives. But, with regard to one fact, which is no less extraordinary, they seem entirely to agree; namely, that the women are not permitted to bear children till the age of 35, though they are at liberty to marry long before that period. Speaking of this custom, Page 91 Rechteren expresses, himself in the following terms:
The Mariana or Ladrone islands, which are the most remote from the eastern coast, are in|habited by a rude and unpolished people. Fa|ther Gobien tells us, that, till the arrival of the Europeans, they had never seen fire, and that they were extremely surprised when this ele|ment was first exhibited to them by Magellan. Their colour is tawny, though somewhat fairer than that of the natives of the Philippines; they are stronger and more robust than the Europeans; they are tall and well proportion|ed: Though they feed solely on roots, fruits, and fish, yet they are fat and corpulent; but their corpulency prevents them not from being nimble and active. They live so long, that the Page 92 age of 100 years is not extraordinary among them, without ever experiencing disease or sick|ness *. We are told by Gemelli Carreri, that the natives of these islands are of a gigantic size, and that they are so strong, that they can with ease carry on their shoulders a weight of 500 pounds*. In general, their hair is crisped*, their nose and eyes are large, and their complexion is like that of the Indians. The inhabitants of Guan, one of these islands, have long black hair, a large nose, thick lips, white teeth, a long visage, a fe|rocious aspect; they are likewise exceedingly robust, and their stature, it is said, extends to se|ven feet in height*.
To the south of the Mariana islands, and eastward of the Moluccas, we find the land of the Papous and New Guinea, which seem to be the most southerly regions of the globe. Ac|cording to Argensola, the Papous are as black as the Caffies, have crisped hair, and a meagre and disagreeable visage: Among these people, how|ever, there are some who are as white and fair as the Germans; but their eyes are weak and delicate*. We are also informed by Le Maire, that the natives of this country are very black, savage, and brutal. They wear rings in their Page 93 ears and noses, and sometimes in the partition of the nose. They likewise wear bracelets of mo|ther of pearl above the elbows and on the wrists, and they cover their heads with caps made of the bark of trees, painted with different colours. They are strong and well proportioned, have black teeth, a pretty good beard, and black and crisped hair, though not so woolly as that of the negroes. They are swift in the chace; and, as the use of iron is unknown to them, their wea|pons consist of clubs, lances, and spears, made of hard wood. They likewise use their teeth as offensive weapons, and bite like dogs. They eat betle and pimenta mixed with chalk, which also serves them for powder to their beards and hair. Their women have a disgustful aspect: They have long breasts which hang down to the navel, very prominent bellies, small arms and limbs, the visage of an ape, and hideous features*. Dampier tells us, that the natives of the island of Sabala, in New Guiney, are a kind of tawny Indians, with long black hair, and who differ not in manners from those of the island of Mindanao, and of the other eastern isles; that, beside these, who appear to be the principal inhabitants of New Guiney, there are also negroes with frizled woolly hair*. Speak|ing of another of these islands called Garret-Denys, our author remarks, that the inhabitants Page 94 are black, robust, and well made; that they have large round heads, and short crisped hair, which they cut in different fashions, and paint with various colours, as red, white, and yellow; that they have large round faces, and broad and flat noses; that their countenances, however, would not be absolutely disguisting, if they did not thrust through their nostrils a kind of peg, a|bout an inch thick and four inches long, so that each end of it rests upon their cheek-bones, and only a small part of the nose appears around this unnatural ornament; and that they wear similar pegs in their ears*.
The natives of the coast of New Holland, which is situated in the 16th degree of south la|ttitude, and beyond the island of Timor, are per|haps the most miserable of the human species, and approach nearest to the brutes. They are tall, erect, and thin; their limbs are long and slender; they have large heads, a round fore|head, and thick eye-brows: Their eye-lids are always half-shut, a habit which they contract in infancy, to protect their eyes from the gnats; and, as they never open their eyes, they cannot see at a distance, without raising their heads as if they were looking at something above them. They have thick noses and lips, and large mouths: They pull out, it would appear, the two fore-teeth of the upper-jaw; for, in neither sex, nor at any period of life, are these teeth to Page 95 be seen. They have no beard; their visage is long, without a single feature that is agreeable; their hair is short, black, and crisped; and their skin is as black as that of the Guiney Negroes. They have no cloathing but a piece of the bark of a tree tied round their waist, with a handful of long herbs in the middle. They have no houses, and they sleep on the ground without any covering. They associate, men, women, and children, promiscuously, to the number of 20 or 30. Their only nourishment is a small fish which they catch in reservoirs made with stones in small arms of the sea; and they are totally unacquainted with bread, and every spe|cies of grain*.
In another part of the coast of New Holland, about the 22d or 23d degree of south latitude, the natives seem to be of the same race with those we have now described. They are ex|tremely ugly and disgusting, and have the same defect in their eyes; their skin is black, their hair crisped, and their bodies are tall and slen|der*.
From these descriptions, it is apparent, that the islands and coasts of the Indian ocean are peopled with men of very different races. The natives of Malacca, of Sumatra, and of the Ni|cobar islands, seem to derive their origin from the inhabitants of the peninsula of Indus; and those of Java from the Chinese, excepting the Page 96 white men called Chacrelas, who must have sprung from the Europeans. The natives of the Molucca islands seem also, in general, to have proceeded from the Indian peninsula. But the inhabitants of the island of Timor, which lies nearest to New Holland, are very similar to the people of that country. Those of Formosa, and of the Mariana islands, resemble each other in stature, strength, and features, and they appear to form a race entirely distinct from every o|ther people in their neighbourhood. The Pa|pous, and other nations adjacent to New Guiney, are real negroes, and resemble those of Africa, though they are separated from that continent by a tract of sea more than 2200 leagues over. The natives of New Holland have a strong a|nalogy to the Hottentots. But, before drawing any conclusions from all these relations and dis|crepancies, it is necessary to examine the condi|tion of the nations of Asia and Africa.
The Moguls, and other natives of the penin|sula of India, nearly resemble the Europeans in traits and features; but they differ more or less from them in colour. The Moguls are olive, though, in the Indian language, Mogul signifies white. The women are extremely handsome, and make frequent use of bathing. Like the men, they are of an olive colour, and, what is opposite to the women of Europe, their legs and thighs are long, and their bodies short*. Ta|vernier Page 97 says, that, after passing Lahor, and the kingdom of Cashmire, the Mogul women have naturally no hair on any part of the body, and that the men have very little beard*. Accor|ding to Thevenot*, the Mogul women, though chaste, are very fruitful, and they bring forth with so much ease, that they frequently walk the streets the very next day after delivery. He adds, that, in the kingdom of Decan, the men marry at ten, and the women at the age of eight years, and that they often have children at this early period; but the women who have children so soon, commonly cease to bear after the age of 30, when they are wrinkled, and have all the appearances of decrepitude. Some of these women have their skin punctured in the form of flowers, and painted with the juices of plants, so that the skin has the appearance of being stuffed with flowers*.
The natives of Bengal are yellower than the Moguls; their manners are also totally different: Their women, instead of being chaste, are sup|posed to be the most lascivious in India. A great slave-trade, both of males and females, is carried on in this country; and a number of eunuchs are made, both by a simple privation of the te|sticles, and by a total amputation of the parts. The Bengalians are handsome and beautiful; Page 98 they love commerce, and have a great deal of mildness in their manners*.
The natives of the Coromandel coast are blacker than those of Bengal; they are also less civilized, and go almost naked. Those of the Malabar coast are still blacker. They have very long, smooth, black hair, and are of the same size with the Europeans. The women wear gold rings in their noses; and both men and women, and young girls, bathe promiscuously in ponds made for the purpose in the middle of their towns. The women, though black, or at least exceedingly brown, are comely and hand|some, and they marry at the age of eight years*.
The customs of the different Indian nations are all very singular, if not whimsical. The Banians eat nothing that is animated; they e|ven dread to kill the smallest insect, and will not destroy the louse that bites them. They throw rice and beans into the rivers, to nourish the fishes, and grain upon the ground, to feed the birds and insects. When they meet a hunter or a fisher, they earnestly beg of him to desist: If he be deaf to their entreaties, they offer him mo|ney for his gun or net; and, if he does not com|ply, they trouble the waters to frighten the fishes, and set up hideous cries to put the birds and o|ther game to flight*.
Page 99 The Naires of Calicut form a band of nobles, whose only profession is that of arms. These men, though of an olive colour, are comely and handsome. They are tall and hardy, full of courage, and very dexterous in the management of their weapons. They lengthen their ears to such a pitch, that they hang down on their shoul|ders, and sometimes lower. These Naires are allowed only one wife; but the women may have as many husbands as they please. Father Tachard, in his letter to Father la Chaise, dated at Pondicherry February 16, 1702, tells us, that, in the cast or class of nobles, a woman some|times has 10 husbands, whom they regard as slaves subjected to their beauty. This privilege is confined to ladies of rank; for the women of inferior condition are allowed but one husband: The latter, indeed, take care to alleviate this hardship by their commerce with strangers, to whose embraces they abandon themselves with|out reserve; and their husbands dare not so much as challenge them. The mothers prostitute their daughters even before they arrive at a proper age. The Naires or nobles of Calicut seem to be of a different race from the burgesses; for the latter, both males and females, are of a smaller stature, and are worse shaped, and more ugly*. Among the Naires there are some men, as well as women, whose legs are as thick as the body of an ordinary man. This deformity is not a Page 100 consequence of disease; for they have it from their birth. In some this monstrous thickness is confined to one leg only. The skin of these legs is hard and rough like a wart: Notwith|standing this cumbersome deformity, the persons affected with it are nimble and active. This race of men with thick legs have not multiplied greatly, either among the Naires or the other Indians. They, however, appear in other pla|ces, and especially in Ceylon*, where they are said to be of the race of St Thomas.
The natives of Ceylon are similar to those of the Malabar coast. Though they are not equal|ly black*, they have large ears which hang down to their shoulders. Their aspect is mild; and they are naturally alert, dexterous, and vivacious. Their hair, which is very black, is worn short by the men. The common people go almost naked; and the women, according to a custom pretty general in India, have their bosoms unco|vered*. In the northern part of the island of Ceylon, there is a species of savages called Bedas, who occupy only a small district, and seem to be of a peculiar race. The spot they inhabit is entirely covered with wood, in which they con|ceal themselves so closely, that it is difficult to discover any of them. Their complexion is Page 101 fair, and sometimes red, like that of the Euro|peans. Their language has no analogy with any of the other Indian languages. They have no villages nor houses, and hold no intercourse with the rest of mankind. Their arms consist of bows and arrows, with which they kill a num|ber of boars, stags, and other animals. They never dress their meat, but they season it with honey, with which they are plentifully provided. We are ignorant of the origin of this tribe, who are not numerous, and who live in detached fa|milies*. These Bedas of Ceylon, as well as the Chacrelas of Java, who are both fair and few in number, appear to be of European extrac|tion. It is probable, that some European men and women have been formerly left on these islands by shipwreck, or otherwise, and that, for fear of being maltreated by the natives, they and their descendants confined themselves to the woody and mountainous parts of the country, where they continue to live a savage life, which, perhaps, wants not its charms to those who are accustomed to it.
The natives of the Maldiva islands are sup|posed to have descended from those of Ceylon, though there is no resemblance between them: For the natives of Ceylon are black and de|formed; but those of the Maldiva islands are handsome, and, excepting their olive colour, little different from the Europeans; besides, Page 102 they are a people composed of all nations. The inhabitants of the northern parts of those islands are more civilized than those who inhabit the southern parts. The women, notwithstanding their olive colour, are beautiful, and some of them are as fair as the Europeans. Their hair is universally black: This they regard as a beau|ty; and they studiously render the hair black by shaving the heads of their boys and girls, e|very eight days, till they arrive at the age of nine or ten. This practice, it is probable, con|tributes to blacken the hair; for, though every man and woman has black hair, that of their children is sometimes pretty fair. Another beauty among the women is to have their hair very long and very thick, and, for this purpose, they anoint their head and body with a perfu|med oil. The men are more hairy than those of Europe. These islanders love exercise, and are industrious artists; they are superstitious, and much addicted to venery; though the wo|men carefully conceal their bosoms, they are exceedingly indolent and debauched; they per|petually eat betle and other hot spices. As to the men, they are less vigorous than their spouses would incline*.
The natives of Cambaia are more or less of an ash-colour; and those who live near the sea are more swarthy than the others*. Those of Page 103 Guzarat are yellow*; and the Canarins, or the inhabitants of Goa and of the neighbouring islands, are olive*.
We are informed by the Dutch voyagers, that the natives of Guzarat are more or less yellow; that their stature is the same with the Europeans; that the women, who seldom ex|pose themselves to the sun, are fairer than the men, and that some of them are nearly as white as the Portugueze*.
Mandelslo says, that the inhabitants of Guza|rat are all more or less tawny, or olive, accor|ding to the climate they live under; that the men are strong and well made, and have large faces and black eyes; that the women are little, but handsome; and that they wear long hair, pegs in their noses, and large pendants in their ears*. There are very few deformed persons among them; some of them are fairer than o|thers; but all have black straight hair. The antient inhabitants of Guzarat are easily distin|guished from the others by their colour, which is much blacker; they are likewise more barba|rous and stupid*.
Goa is the principal settlement of the Portu|gueze in India; and, though its antient splen|dour is much decayed, it still continues to be an Page 104 opulent and commercial city. It was formerly the greatest market for slaves in the whole world. Handsome women and girls were sold here from every nation of Asia. These slaves were of all colours; and they were skilled in music, and in every species of sewing and embroidery. The Indians were most enamoured with the Caffre girls from Mosambique, who are all black. 'It is remarkable,' says Pyrard, 'that the sweat of the Indians, whether male or female, has no unsavoury odor, while the stench of the Afri|can negroes, when they are over-heated, is perfectly unsupportable.' He adds, that the Indian women are fond of the European men, and prefer them even to the white Indians*.
The Persians are adjacent to the Moguls, and have a great resemblance to them; those e|specially who inhabit the southern parts of Per|sia differ very little from the Indians. The na|tives of Ormus, and of the provinces of Bascia and Balascia, are very brown and tawny; those of Chesmur, and of the other provinces of Per|sia, where the heat is not so great as at Ormus, are fairer; and those of the northern provinces are tolerably white*. According to the Dutch travellers, the women in the islands of the Gulph of Persia are brown or yellow, and not at all agreeable. They have a large visage, and Page 105 ugly eyes. In some of their manners and cu|stoms, they resemble the Indian women, as that of wearing rings in the cartilage of the nose, and of passing a gold pin through the skin of the nose, near the eyes*. Indeed, this custom of piercing the nose for the purpose of embel|lishing it with rings and other trinkets, has ex|tended much farther than the Gulph of Persia; many of the Arabian women wear rings in their noses; and it is a piece of gallantry among the men to salute their wives through these rings, which are sometimes so large, that they encircle the whole mouth*.
Xenophon says, that the Persians were gene|rally thick and fat. Marcellinus, on the con|trary, tells us, that, in his time, they were thin and meagre. Olearius agrees with the last au|thor, and adds, that they are strong and hardy; and that they are of an olive colour, and have black hair and aquiline noses*.
That the blood of the Persians, says Chardin, is naturally gross, appears from the Guebres, who are a remnant of the antient Persians, and are an ugly, ill made, rough skinned people. This is also apparent from the inhabitants of the provinces in the neighbourhood of India, who are nearly as clumsy and deformed as the Gue|bres, Page 106 because they never form alliances with any other tribes. But, in the other parts of the kingdom, the Persian blood is now highly re|fined by frequent intermixtures with the Geor|gians and Circassians, two nations who surpass all the world in personal beauty. There is hardly a man of rank in Persia who is not born of a Georgian or Circassian mother; and even the King himself is commonly sprung, on the female side, from one or other of these coun|tries: As it is long since this mixture commen|ced, the Persian women have become very hand|some and beautiful, though they do not rival the ladies of Georgia. The men are generally tall and erect; their complexion is ruddy and vigorous, and they have a graceful air, and an engaging deportment. The mildness of the cli|mate, joined to their temperance in living, have a great influence in improving their personal beauty. This quality they inherit not from their fathers; for, without the mixture men|tioned above, the men of rank in Persia, who are descendants of the Tartars, would be ex|tremely ugly and deformed. The Persians, on the contrary, are refined and ingenious; their imagination is lively and fertile; though war|like, they are lovers of the arts and sciences; they are vain, and extremely ambitious of praise; their temper is soft and ductile; they are volup|tuous, and much addicted to gallantry and in|trigue; they are luxurious and prodigal, and Page 107 are equally strangers to oeconomy and to com|merce*.
The Persians, though in general pretty sober, devour vast quantities of fruit. Nothing is more common than to see a man eat 12 pounds of melons; some will devour three or four times that quantity; and many of them fall a sacri|fice to this excessive appetite for fruit*.
Fine women, of all complexions, are common in Persia; for they are selected by the merchants, from every country, on account of their beauty. The white women are brought from Poland, from Muscovy, from Circassia, from Georgia, and from the frontiers of Great Tartary: The tawny women are transported from the Mogul's dominions, and from the kingdoms of Golcon|da and Visapore, and the blacks from Melinda and the coasts of the Red Sea*. A strange su|perstition prevails among the inferior class of women. Those who are barren, imagine pas|sing under the dead bodies of suspended crimi|nals, will render them fruitful; they even be|lieve that the influence of a male corpse, though at a distance, is sufficient to impregnate them.
When this absurd remedy does not succeed, they go into the canals of water which run from the baths, when they know that many men are employed in bathing themselves; and, if this Page 108 specific be equally unsuccessful as the former, their last resource is to swallow that part of the prepuce which is cut off in the operation of cir|cumcision, which they consider as a sovereign remedy against sterility*.
The inhabitants of Persia, of Turkey, of Ara|bia, of Egypt, and of all Barbary, may be re|garded as the same race of people, who, in the time of Mahomet and his successors, extended their dominions by invading immense territories, and became exceedingly diversified by intermix|ing with the original natives of all these different countries. The Persians, the Turks, and the Moors, have acquired a degree of civilization: But the Arabs have generally continued in a state of lawless independency. Like the Tartars, they live without government, without law, and al|most without society. Rape, theft, and robbe|ry, are authorised by their chiefs. They glory in their vices, and have no regard to virtue; and they despise every human institution, excepting those only which produce superstition and fana|ticism.
The Arabs, however, are enured to labour. They likewise accustom their horses to undergo the greatest fatigue, and allow them to drink on|ly once in 24 hours. Their horses are meagre, but swift, and almost indefatigable. These peo|ple live in extreme misery. They have neither bread nor wine; neither do they take the trou|ble Page 109 of cultivating the ground. In place of bread, they use some wild grain, which they mix and knead with the milk of their cattle*. They have flocks of camels, sheep, and goats, which they conduct from place to place till they find sufficient herbage for them: Here they erect their tents, which are made of goats hair, and live with their wives and children till the grass is consumed; they then decamp, and go in quest of another fertile spot*. Though their mode of living be hard, and their food extremely simple, the Arabs are strong and robust; even their sta|ture is not small, and they are pretty handsome. But their skin is scorched with the heat of the sun; for most of them go either entirely naked, or are covered only with a tattered shirt* Those who live on the coasts of Arabia Felix, and of the island of Socotora, are of smaller stature; their complexion is ash-coloured or tawny, and in the form of their bodies they have a great re|semblance to the Abyssinians*. The Arabs paint their arms, their lips, and the most con|spicuous parts of their body, of a deep blue co|lour. This paint, which they lay on in small dots, and make it penetrate the flesh by means of a needle made for the purpose, can never be effaced*. This singular custom prevails like|wise Page 110 among the Negroes who trade with the Mahometans.
Among the Arabs who live in the deserts on the frontiers of Tremesen and Tunis, the girls, to improve their beauty, paint their bodies with cyphers of a blue colour, which they accomplish by means of vitriol and the point of a lancet. In this they are followed by the country Afri|cans, but not by those who live in towns; for there they preserve the same colour they bring with them into the world. Some of them, in|deed, paint a small flower on their cheek, their forehead, or their chin, with the smoke of galls and saffron, which makes a fine black colour: They likewise blacken their eye-brows*. La Boulaye informs us, that the Arabian women of the Desert paint their hands, lips, and chin, of a blue colour; that most of them wear rings of gold or silver, about three inches diameter, in their noses; that, though they are born fair, their complexions are spoilt by being continually exposed to the sun; that the young girls are extremely agreeable, and sing perpetually; but their songs are not melancholy and plaintive like those of the Turks, but have a still stranger effect, because they raise their voice, to the high|est pitch, and articulate with great rapidity*.
The Egyptians, though adjacent to the Arabs, and though governed by the same laws, and professing the same religion, are very different in their manners and customs. In all the towns and villages along the Nile, for example, we find young girls destined by the public to the pleasure of travellers, without any obligation to pay for this indulgence. For this species of hospitality, they have houses filled with these girls; and it is a pious practice with rich men, when about to die, to found and endow houses for this charitable purpose. When any of these young women bring forth male children, the mothers are obliged to rear them to the age of three or four years; after which the children Page 113 are carried to the patron of the house, or his representatives, who then take charge of them, and employ them as slaves. But the female children continue with their mothers, and sup|ply their place*. The Egyptian women are very brown, but have lively eyes*. Their sta|ture is above the middle size; their dress is not agreeable; and their conversation is exceeding|ly tiresome*. They are remarkable for bearing many children; and some travellers pretend, that the fertility occasioned by the inundation of the Nile, is not limited to the soil alone, but ex|tends to men and other animals. They add, that the women uniformly conceive after either drinking, or bathing in the new water; that, in July and August, the women are generally im|pregnated, and bring forth in April and May; and that the cows commonly produce two calves, and the ewes two lambs*, &c. It is difficult to reconcile these benign influences of the Nile with the troublesome diseases it occasions; for M. Granger informs us, that the air of Egypt is un|wholesome; that diseases of the eyes are fre|quent, and so very difficult to cure, that the pa|tients generally lose their sight; that in Egypt there are more blind persons than in any other country; and that, during the increase of the Nile, most of the inhabitants are seized with ob|stinate Page 114 dysenteries, occasioned by the salts with which the water is then impregnated*.
Though the Egyptian women are commonly small, yet the men are of a good size* In general, both sexes are of an olive colour; and the higher we ascend from Cairo, the natives become more tawny, till we arrive at the confines of Nubia, where they are almost as black as the Nubians themselves. Idleness and cowardice are the principal vices of the Egyptians. Their chief employment through the day is drinking coffee, smoaking tobacco, sleeping, and chatter|ing in the streets. They are grossly ignorant, and yet they are puffed up with a fantastical va|nity. Though they acknowledge that they have lost their antient dignity, their skill in science and in arms, their history, and even their lan|guage, and that, from a valiant and illustrious nation, they have degenerated into slavery and cowardice; yet, such is the haughtiness of their disposition, that they affect to despise all other nations, and are exceedingly offended when any person advises them to send their children into Europe, to be instructed in the arts and sciences*.
The numerous nations who inhabit the coasts of the Mediterranean, from Egypt to the West|ern ocean, and the internal regions of Barbary, as far as Mount Atlas, are composed of people Page 115 of different races, as the original natives, Arabs, Vandals, and Spaniards; and, in more antient times, the Romans and Egyptians peopled these territories with men of very different qualities. The inhabitants of the mountains of Arras, for example, have no resemblance in their aspect and complexion to the adjacent tribes. Their co|lour, instead of being tawny, is white and ruddy, and their hair is of a deep yellow; but that of the adjacent nations is black. From these cir|cumstances Mr Shaw thinks it probable, that they are descendants of the Vandals, who, after their expulsion, took refuge in certain parts of these mountains*. The women of the kingdom of Tripoli, though adjacent to those of Egypt, have not the smallest resemblance to them. The for|mer are tall, and consider height of stature as an essential article of beauty. Like the Arabian females, they puncture and paint their cheeks and chin; and, as in Turkey, they are so fond of red hair, that they paint that of their children with vermilion*.
The Moorish women, in general, affect to wear their hair so long as to reach to their heels; and those whose hair is shorter, use false locks twisted round with ribbands. They paint the hair of their eye-lids with black lead, and they esteem the dark colour which this substance gives to the eyes as a singular beauty. This custom Page 116 is both very general and very antient; it was practised by the ladies of Greece and Rome, as well as by those of the East*.
Most of the Moorish women would be reckon|ed handsome even in Europe. The skin of their children is exceedingly fair and delicate; and, though the boys, by being exposed to the sun, soon grow swarthy; yet the girls, who keep more within doors, preserve their beauty till the age of 30, when they commonly give o|ver child-bearing: But, as a recompense for this early sterlity, they are often mothers at the age of 11, and grandmothers at that of 22; and, as they live as long as the European wo|men, they generally see several generations*.
In reading Marmol's description of these dif|ferent nations, it is obvious to remark, that the inhabitants of the mountains of Barbary are white, and that those of the plains and sea-coasts are very brown and tawny. He tells us, that the inhabitants of Capez, a city in the kingdom of Tunis, situated upon the Mediterranean coast, are poor, and very black*; that those who live along the banks of the river Dara in the king|dom of Morocco, are exceedingly tawny*; and that, on the contrary, the inhabitants of Zarhou, and of the mountains of Fez, on the side of Mount Atlas, are very fair: He adds, that the latter are so little affected with cold, that, in the Page 117 greatest frosts and snow, they dress very lightly, and go with their heads uncovered during the whole year*. And, with regard to the Numi|dians, he says, that they are rather tawny than black; that the women are pretty fair and jolly, though the men are meagre*; but that the in|habitants of Guaden, at the extremity of Numi|dia, and on the frontiers of Senegal, are rather black than tawny*; that, on the other hand, the women of the province of Dara are beauti|ful and fresh-coloured; and that, through this whole region, there are multitudes of negroe slaves of both sexes*.
It appears, then, that, in the antient Continent, all the nations who live between the 20th and 30th, or 35th degree of north latitude, namely, from the Mogul Empire to Barbary, and even from the Ganges to the western coast of Mo|rocco, differ but little from each other, except|ing those varieties which have arisen from a mixture with more northern nations, who, from time to time, have conquered and peopled some of those vast regions. In this extensive territo|ry, which stretches, within the same parallels, about 2000 leagues, the men, in general, are brown and tawny, but, at the same time, pretty comely and handsome. If we next examine those who live under more temperate climates, we shall find, that the natives of the northern Page 118 parts of the Mogul and Persian Empires, the Armenians, the Turks, the Georgians, the Min|grelians, the Circassians, the Greeks, and the people of Europe in general, are the fairest, and most handsome men in the world; and that, however remote Cashmire may be from Spain, or Circassia from France, the natives of these countries, which are nearly at an equal distance from the equator, have a striking resemblance to each other. The people of Cashmire, Bernier remarks, are renouned for their beauty. They are as handsome as the Europeans, and have no features of the Tartarian visage; neither have they those flat noses and pig-eyes so universal among the adjacent nations. Their women are exceedingly beautiful; and it is a common prac|tice with strangers, when they come to the Mo|gul court, to provide themselves with Cashmi|rian wives, that they may have children by them as fair as true Moguls*.
The blood of Georgia is still more refined than that of Cashmire. In this country, not an ugly countenance is to be seen: And, with regard to the women, nature has adorned them with a profusion of grace: They are tall, hand|some, slender waisted; and their faces are truly charming*. The men are likewise very hand|some*. They are naturally ingenious; and, Page 119 if their education did not render them extreme|ly ignorant and debauched, they might make no inconsiderable progress in the arts and scien|ces. But there is not, perhaps, a country in the universe where drunkenness and libertinism have arrived at so high a pitch as in Georgia. Char|din tells us, that even the clergy are much ad|dicted to wine; that they keep a number of fe|male slaves in their houses, whom they use as concubines; and that nobody is offended at this practice, because it is general, and even autho|rised. He adds, that he was informed by the prefect of the Capuchins, that the Patriarch of Georgia declares publicly, that the man who does not get drunk at their great festivals, as those of Easter and Christmas, is unworthy of the name of a Christian, and ought to be excom|municated*. With all these vices, however, the Georgians are a civil, humane, grave, and peaceable people. They seldom indulge resent|ment; but, when they conceive a hatred against any person, they are never to be reconciled.
The women of Circassia, Struys remarks, are likewise exceedingly fair and beautiful. Their complexion consists of the most delicate tints. Their forehead is large and smooth; and, with|out the assistance of art, their eye-brows are so fine, that they resemble curved threads of silk. Their eyes are large, attracting, and full of fire. Their noses are well shaped, and their lips are Page 120 perfect vermilion. Their mouth is small, and the perpetual residence of smiles; their chin is the termination of the completest oval. Their neck and throat are extremely handsome; their skin is white as snow; the colour of their hair is a beautiful black; their stature is tall, and their carriage easy. They wear a little black cap, upon which is fastened a roller of the same colour. But, what is extremely ridiculous, the widows, in place of this roller, wear a blad|der of an ox or a cow, fully blown up with air, which disfigures them amazingly. In summer, the women of inferior station wear only a shift, which is generally blue, yellow, or red, and o|pen to the middle of the body. Their breasts are finely formed; and, though pretty familiar with strangers, they are faithful to their hus|bands, who are by no means jealous of them*.
Tavernier also informs us, that the women of Comania and Circassia, like those of Geor|gia, are very handsome and beautiful; that they retain the freshness of their complexion till the age of 45 or 50; that they are all very indu|strious, and often employed in the most labori|ous offices. These people have preserved un|common liberties in their laws regarding mar|riage. If a husband is not pleased with his wife, and makes the first complaint, the seigneur of the district sends for the wife, sells her, and pro|vides the husband with another. The wife, if Page 121 she makes the first complaint, enjoys the same privilege*.
The Mingrelians, according to the relations of travellers, are as handsome and beautiful as the Georgians or Circassians, and they seem to be the same race of people. 'In Mingrelia,' says Chardin, 'there are women extremely handsome, of a majestic air, whose form and visage are enchanting, and their aspect attracts every beholder. Those who are less handsome, or advanced in years, daub their eye-brows, cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin, with coarse paint. Others only paint their eye-brows, and bestow much attention to their dress, which is similar to that of the Persians. They wear a veil, which covers only the crown and back part of the head. Though lively, civil, and affectionate, they are extremely perfidious; and there is no wickedness which they will not perpetrate, in order to procure, to preserve, or to get rid of their gallants. The men have likewise many bad qualities. They are all trained to robbery, which they study both as a business and an amusement. They relate, with extreme satisfaction, the depredations they have committed, and derive from this polluted source their greatest praise and honour. In Mingrelia, falsehood, assassination, and theft, are good actions, and whoredom, bigamy, and incest, are virtuous habits. A man marries Page 122 two or three wives at a time, and keeps as many concubines as he chuses. Husbands in this country, are not jealous of their wives; and, when a wife is detected in the act of infidelity, he has only a right to demand a pig from the gallant, who generally eats a share of it in com|pany with the husband and wife. To have many wives and concubines, they pretend to be a good and laudable practice, because it en|ables them to beget the more children, whom they sell for gold, or exchange for wares and provisions*.' The Mingrelian slaves are not dear. A man, from 25 to 40 years, may be pur|chased for 15 crowns; and, when farther ad|vanced, for 8 or 10. The finest girls, from 13 to 18, cost only 20 crowns, a woman about 12 crowns, and children only 3 or 4.*.
The Turks, who purchase vast numbers of these slaves, are so blended with Armenians, Georgians, Arabians, Egyptians, and even with the Europeans, that it is impossible to distinguish the real natives of Asia Minor, Syria, and the rest of Turkey. In general, the Turks are ro|bust, and tolerably well made*; and crooked or deformed persons are rarely to be met with among them. Most of their women are like|wise handsome and beautiful: They are also very fair, because they seldom go abroad, and never without being covered with a veil*.
Page 123 'There is not,' says Belon, 'a woman in Asia, however mean her condition, who has not a complexion fresh as a rose, and whose skin is not fair, delicate, and smooth as velvet: They make an unguent of Chian earth, with which they anoint their whole bodies before they go to bathe. Some likewise paint the eye-brows of a black colour; while others e|radicate the hairs with rusma, and paint artifi|cial eye-brows in the form of a black crescent, which have a beautiful appearance at a distance, but are very ugly when viewed more closely. This custom, however, is extremely antient*.' He adds, that, in Turkey, neither men nor wo|men wear hair on any part of the body, except|ing the head and chin; that they make an oint|ment, composed of equal quantities of rusina and quick-lime, diluted in water, which they apply before they enter the warm bath; that, when they begin to sweat in the bath, the hairs fall off by simple rubbing with the hand, and the skin remains soft and smooth, without the least vestige of hair on it*: He farther remarks, that, in Egypt, there is a shrub called alcanna, the leaves of which, when dried and pounded, make a yellow or reddish paint, and with which the Turkish women tinge their hands, feet, and hair. With the same substance they paint the hair of their children, and the manes of their horses*.
Page 124 The women of Turkey likewise use a prepa|ration of tutty to render their eyes of a deeper black. They bathe often, use perfumes, and employ every art to preserve and improve their beauty. The Persian women are said to be still more anxious on this subject than the Turks. The men have also different tastes with regard to beauty; the Persians are fond of brown com|plexions, and the Turks prefer the red*.
It has been alledged, that the Jews, who came originally from Syria and Palestine, still preserve their former darkness of complexion. But, as is properly remarked by Mission, the Jews of Portugal alone are tawny, because, by constant|ly marrying those of their own tribe, the chil|dren of these people always resemble their pa|rents, and the tawny colour is thus perpetuated, with little diminution, even in the northern coun|tries. The Jews of Germany, however, as those of Prague, for example, are not more swarthy than the other inhabitants of Germa|ny*.
The present natives of Judea resemble the other Turks; only they are more swarthy than those who live in Constantinople, or on the coasts of the Black Sea; in the same manner as the Arabians are browner than the Syrians, be|cause they inhabit a more southern climate.
The same observation applies to the Greeks; the inhabitants of the north are fairer than those Page 125 of the islands or of the southern provinces. In general, the great women are still more beauti|ful and vivacious than the Turks. They have likewise the advantage of enjoying a greater de|gree of liberty. Gemelli Carreri informs us, that the women of the island of Chio are fair, beau|tiful, lively, and very familiar with the men; that the young girls see strangers without re|straint; and that they all go with their necks uncovered*. He likewise remarks, that the Greek women, especially in the neighbourhood of Constantinople, have extremely fine hair; but that those whose hair descends to their heels are less regular in their features*.
The Greeks esteem large eyes and high eye|brows as great points of beauty in either sex*; and, it is worthy of remark, that, in all the busts and medals of the antient Greeks, the eyes are much larger than in those of the antient Ro|mans.
The inhabitants of the Archipelago are re|markably fine swimmers and divers. Thevenot tells us, that they exercise themselves in bring|ing up sponges, and even lost goods, from the bottom of the sea; and that, in the island of Samos, a young man cannot obtain a wife, un|less he be able to dive at least eight*, or, accor|ding Page 126 to Dapper, 20 fathoms*. The latter adds, that, in some of the islands, as that of Nicaria, they have a strange practice of conversing with each other at great distances; and that their voices are so strong, that, at the distance of a quarter of a league, and sometimes of a whole league, those islanders can maintain a conversa|tion, which is necessarily interrupted by long intervals, the answer not arriving for several se|conds after the question.
The Greeks, the Neapolitans, the Sicilians, the Corsicans, the Sardinians, and the Spaniards, being situated nearly under the same latitude, are very similar in their complexions. All these people are more swarthy than the French, the British, the Germans, the Polanders, the Moldavians, the Circassians, and all the other inhabitants of the northern parts of Europe, till we advance to Lap|land, where, as formerly remarked, we meet with another race of men. In travelling through Spain, a difference of colour is perceptible even at Bayonne; there the complexion of the wo|men is browner, and their eyes are more bril|liant *.
The Spaniards, though meagre, are handsome. Their features are regular, their eyes beautiful, and their teeth well arranged: But their com|plexion is yellow and swarthy. Their children are born fair and beautiful; but, as they grow Page 127 up, their colour changes in a surprising manner: The operation of the air and of the sun soon ren|ders them so yellow and tawny, that a Spaniard is easily distinguished from a native of any other country in Europe*. In some provinces of Spain, as in the environs of the river Bidassao, it has been remarked, that the inhabitants have ears of an uncommon size*.
Black or brown hair begins to be unfrequent in Britain, in Flanders, in Holland, and in the northern provinces of Germany; and in Den|mark, Sweden, and Poland, it is seldom to be met with. Linnaeus informs us, that the Goths are tall; that their hair is straight, and as white as silver; and that the iris of their eye is blueish:
The women of Sweden are very prolific. Rud|beck says, that they generally bring forth 8, 10, or 12 children; and that 18, 20, 24, and even 30, are not uncommon. He adds, that the men often exceed the age of 100 years; that some arrive at 140; and that one Swede lived 156, and another 161 years*. But this author, Page 128 it must be allowed, is an enthusiast with regard to his country; and, in his estimation, Sweden is the best country in the world. This extra|ordinary fertility in the Swedish women implies not an uncommon propensity to love. Man|kind are more chaste in cold than in hot climates. Though the women of Sweden are less amorous than those of Spain or Portugal, yet they bring forth more children. The northern nations, it is well known, have over-run all Europe to such a degree, that historians have distinguished the North by the appellation of 'Officina Gentium.'
The author of the 'Historical Voyages of Europe,' agrees with Rudbeck, that the Swedes live longer than any other people of Europe; and adds, that he saw several men who, he was as|sured, had exceeded their 150th year*. This longevity of the Swedes he ascribes to the salu|brity of the air. He makes the same remark with regard to Denmark: The Danes, he says, are tall and robust, of a lively and florid com|plexion, and, on account of the salubrity of the air they respire, live very long: The Danish women are also fair, handsome, and extreme|ly prolific*.
Previous to the reign of the Czar Peter I. the Russians, we are told, were almost entirely bar|barous. Born in slavery, they were ignorant, brutal, cruel, and had neither courage nor man|ners. Page 129 Men and women often bathed promiscu|ously in baths heated to a degree that would have been insupportable to any other people; and, like the Laplanders, immediately after coming out of these hot baths, they plunged themselves into cold water. Their food was extremely coarse. Cucumbers or melons, which they brought from Astracan, and preserved during the sum|mer in a mixture of water, flour, and salt, were their favourite dishes*. Some absurd scruples prevented them from eating particular meats, as pigeons and veal. But, even at this unrefined period, the women knew the arts of colouring their cheeks, pulling out their eye-brows, and painting artificial ones. They also adorned themselves with jewels and pearls, and their gar|ments were made of valuable stuffs. Is it not apparent, from these circumstances, that the bar|barity of the Russians had already begun to de|cay, and that their sovereign had not such ama|zing difficulties in polishing them, as some au|thors are desirous of insinuating? They are now a civilized and commercial people; they are fond of the arts and sciences, of public specta|cles, and of ingenious novelties. Such impor|tant changes cannot be produced by a great man; but a great man may be born in a fortunate mo|ment.
It has been alledged by some authors, that the air of Muscovy is so salubrious as to prevent the Page 130 existence of pestilential contagion. It is record|ed, however, in their own annals, that, in the 1421, and during the six subsequent years, the Muscovites were so dreadfully afflicted with con|tagious distempers, that the constitution of their descendants suffered a considerable change. Be|fore that aera, many men lived above 100 years; but very few now arrive at that age*.
The Ingrians and Carelians, who inhabit the northern provinces of Muscovy, and are the na|tives of the country round Petersburg, have vi|gorous and robust constitutions. Most of them have white or fair hair*. They resemble the Findlanders, and speak the same language, which has no affinity to any of the other European tongues.
From the above historical account of all the inhabitants of Europe and Asia, it is apparent, that the differences in colour depend much, though not entirely, upon the climates. There are ma|ny other causes which have an influence upon the colour, and even upon the features and cor|poreal form of different people. The nature of the food is one of the principal causes; and we shall afterwards consider the changes it may pro|duce. Manners, or the mode of living, may also have considerable effects. A polished people, who are accustomed to an easy, regular, and tranquil mode of life, and who, by the vigilance Page 131 of a wise government, are removed from the dread of oppression and misery, will, for these reasons alone, be more strong, vigorous, and handsome, than savage and lawless nations, where every individual, deriving no succours from so|ciety, is obliged to provide for his own subsist|ence, to suffer alternately the pangs arising from hunger and from surfeits of unwholesome food, to sink under the fatigues of hard labour, to feel the rigours of a severe climate, without posses|sing the means of alleviating them, to act, in a word, more frequently like a brute than a man. Supposing two nations, thus differently circum|stanced, to live under the same climate, it is rea|sonable to think, that the savage people would be more ugly, more tawny, more diminutive, and more wrinkled, than the nation that enjoy|ed the advantages of society and civilization. If the former had any superiority over the latter, it would consist in the strength, or rather in the hardiness of their bodies. Among the savage people, there might likewise be fewer examples of lameness, and of other bodily impediments or deformities. Such men can live, and even mul|tiply, in a polished state, where each individual contributes to the support of his neighbour, where the strong injure not the feeble, and where the qualities of the body are less esteemed than those of the mind. But, among a savage people, as every individual must subsist and defend him|self by corporeal strength and address alone, Page 132 those who unfortunately come into the world with deformed bodies, or feeble constitutions, fall early victims to the defects of nature.
Three causes, therefore, must be admitted, as concurring in the production of those va|rieties which we have remarked among the dif|ferent nations of this earth: 1. The influence of climate; 2. Food, which has a great dependence on climate; and, 3. Manners, on which climate has, perhaps, a still greater influence. But, be|fore we attempt to establish this opinion by rea|soning, it is necessary to give as minute a de|scription of the inhabitants of Africa and Ame|rica, as we have already given of those of Europe and Asia.
We have already mentioned the different na|tions who inhabit the northern part of Africa, from the Mediterranean to the Tropic. All those beyond the Tropic, from the Red Sea to the Ocean, an extent of country about 100 or 150 leagues wide, are a species of Moors, though so swarthy, that they appear to be almost black. The men, in particular, are exceedingly brown; the women are a little fairer, well-made, and tolerably beautiful. Among those Moors, there is a vast number of Mulattoes, who are of a still deeper black; because they are born of Negroe women whom the Moors purchase, and with whom they have many children*. Be|yond this territory, under the 17th or 18th de|gree Page 133 of north latitude, we find the Negroes of Senegal and of Nubia, both on the coast of the western ocean and that of the Red Sea; and then, from the 18th degree of north to the 18th of south latitude, the whole inhabitants of Afri|ca, excepting the Ethiopians or Abyssinians, are perfectly black. Thus the portion of the globe allotted by Nature to this race of men, contains an extent of territory parallel to the Equator, of about 900 leagues in breadth, and considerably more in length, especially northward of the E|quinoctial line. But, beyond the 18th or 20th degree of south latitude, the natives are no long|er Negroes, as shall be evinced when we describe the Caffres and Hottentots.
We have long been deceived with regard to the colour and features of the Ethiopians, be|cause they have been confounded with their neighbours the Nubians, who are a different race of people. Marmol tells us, that the Ethiopians are perfectly black, and that they have large faces and flat noses*; and the Dutch travellers give the same description of these people*. The truth, however, is, that the Ethiopians differ from the Nubians both in colour and features. The natural colour of the Ethiopians is brown or olive, like that of the southern Arabs, from whom they probably derive their origin. They are tall, and have regular features, fine eyes, Page 134 well proportioned noses, thin lips, and white teeth. But the Nubians have flat noses, thick prominent lips, and their visages are extremely black*. These Nubians, like their western neighbours, are a species of Negroes, very simi|lar to those of Senegal.
The Ethiopians are a half polished people. They wear garments of cotton and of silk. Their houses are low and ill built. In the culture of their lands they are extremely negligent; because the citizens and common people are despised, oppressed, and plundered by the nobles. Each of these classes live separate from each other in their own villages or hamlets. Their country produces no salt, and the people purchase it for an equal weight of gold. They are fond of crude meat; and, in their feasts, the second course, which they regard as the most delicate, consists of flesh entirely raw. Though they have vines, they make no wine; and their only beverage is a sour composition of tamarinds and water. They travel on horses, and use mules for trans|porting their merchandize. Their knowledge of the arts and sciences is extremely limited; for their language is without rule, and their manner of writing is so imperfect, that they require se|veral days to write an epistle, though their cha|racters are more beautiful than those of the A|rabians*. Their mode of salutation is singular: Page 135 They take one another by the right hand, and mutually apply it to their mouths; the saluter then takes off the scarf of the person he salutes, and wraps it round his own body, by which the other is left half naked; for most of the Ethi|opians wear only this scarf and a pair of cotton drawers*.
Admiral Drake, in his voyage round the world, mentions a fact, which, though singular, appears not to be incredible. On the frontiers of the desart of Ethiopia, he remarks, there are men called Acridophagi, or locust-easters, who are black, meagre, extremely nimble, and of small stature. In the spring-season, infinite num|bers of locust are transported into their country by certain hot winds which blow from the west. Having neither cattle nor sish, they are obliged to live upon these locusts, which they amass in vast quantities: They cure them with salt, and preserve them for food during the whole year. This wretched nourishment produces very strange effects: The people hardly reach the age of 40 years; and, when they approach to this period of life, winged insects* are engendered under their skin, which at first create a violent itching, and soon multiply so amazingly that their whole flesh swarms with them. They begin with de|vouring the belly, then the breast, and proceed in their ravages till they eat the whole flesh from the bones. Thus are those men, whom Page 136 nature forces to feed upon insects, devoured in their turn by them. If this fact were well at|tested, it would afford ample scope for reflection.
In Ethiopia, and in that tract of land which stretches to Cape Gardufu, there are vast desarts. This country, which may be regarded as the most easterly part of Ethiopia, is almost entirely uninhabited. To the south, Ethiopia is bound|ed by the Bedwins, and some other nations, who observe the Mahometan law; a circumstance which corroborates the opinion, that the Ethi|opians have originated from the Arabians. These two people are only separated by the Straits of Babelmandel. It is probable, therefore, that the Arabians had formerly invaded Ethiopia, and obliged the natives of that country to retire to the northern parts of Nubia. The Arabians have even spread themselves along the coasts of Melinda; for the inhabitants of those coasts are only tawny, and follow the religion of Maho|met*. Even in Zanguebar, the natives are not black; most of them speak the Arabic language; and they wear cotton stuffs. This country, though under the Torrid Zone, is not excessive|ly hot; and the hair of the natives is black and crisped like that of the Negroes*. Upon the whole of this coast, as well as at Mosambique and Madagascar, we meet with some white men, who, it is alledged, came originally from China, and settled there, when the Chinese were accu|stomed Page 137 to sail over all the eastern seas, in the same manner as they are now navigated by the Europeans. Though this opinion be problema|tical, it is certain, that the nations of this east|ern coast of Africa are black, and that the tawny or white people found there have come from o|ther countries.
But, to form a just idea of the varieties which occur among these black nations, requires a more minute examination.
From comparing the testimonies of travellers, it, in the first place, appears, that the varieties among the blacks are equally numerous as those among the whites. The blacks, as well as the whites, have their Tartars and their Circassians. The natives of Guiney are extremely ugly, and have an insufferable odour: Those of Sofala and of Mosambique are beautiful, and have no bad smell. It is, therefore, necessary to divide the blacks into different races; and, I think, they may be reduced to two principal races, that of the Negroes, and that of the Caffres. Under the first I comprehend the blacks of Nubia, of Se|negal, of Cape Verd, of Gambia, of Sierra-leo|na, of the Teeth and Gold Coasts, of that of Juda, Benin, Gabon, Loango, Congo, Angola, and of Benguela, as far as Cape Negro. Under the se|cond, I include all the nations from Cape Ne|gro to the point of Africa, where they assume the name of Hottentots, and all those on the east|ern coast, within the same latitude, as the terri|tories Page 138 of Natal, of Sofala, of Monomotapa, of Mosambique, of Melinda: The blacks of Ma|dagascar and of the neighbouring islands are likewise Caffres, and not Negroes. These two races of men have a greater resemblance to each other in colour than in their features, hair, skin, or smell: Their manners and natural dispositions are likewise very different.
On a closer examination of the different peo|ple of which each of these races consist, we shall find as many varieties among the blacks as a|mong the whites, and an equal number of shades from brown to black, as we have found from brown to white in the other race.
We shall begin with the countries to the north of Senegal, and, proceeding along the coasts, we shall consider the different nations which have been recognised and described by travellers. In the first place, it is certain, that the natives of the Canary islands are not Negroes; for we are as|sured by voyagers, that the antient inhabitants of these islands were tall, well made, and of a vigorous complexion; that the women were beautiful, and had fine hair; and that the in|habitants of the southern parts of each island were more olive than those on the northern parts*. Duret, in the history of his voyage to Lima*, informs us, that the antient inhabitants of the island of Teneriff were tall and robust, but Page 139 meagre and tawny, and that most of them had flat noses*. These people, we see, had nothing in common with the Negroes, excepting the flat nose. The natives of Africa, in the same lati|tude with these islands, are Moors, and very tawny; but, like the islanders, they evidently belong to the race of whites.
The inhabitants of Cape Blanc are Moors, and follow the religion of Mahomet. Like the A|rabs, they wander about from place to place, pasturing their horses, camels, oxen, goats, and sheep. They trade with the negroes, who give them eight or ten slaves for a horse, and two or three for a camel*. It is from these Moors that we have the gum Arabic, which they dissolve a|mong their milk. They seldom eat flesh, and never kill their cattle, but when they are about to die of old age or disease*.
The Moors are separated from the Negroes by the river Senegal. They are only tawny, and live on the north side of this river; but the Negroes who inhabit the south side of it are ab|solutely black. The Moors wander through the country; but the Negroes are sedentary, and dwell in villages. The former are free and in|dependent; the latter are the slaves of tyrants, who oppress them. The Moors are small, meagre, and have a pusillanimous aspect; but they are sly and ingenious. The Negroes, on Page 140 the contrary, are large, plump, and well made; but they are simple and stupid. In fine, the country inhabited by the Moors consists of bar|ren sands, where verdure appears only in very few places. But the Negro country is rich, fer|tile in pastures, and produces millet, and trees which are always green, but few of them bear fruit fit for food.
In some places, both on the north and south of the river Senegal, there is a species of men called Foulies, who seem to form the shade be|tween the Moors and Negroes, and who are, perhaps, Mulattoes, produced by a mixture of the two nations. These Foulies are not entirely black, like the Negroes; but they are much browner than the Moors, and hold the middle rank between the two. They are likewise more advanced in civilization than the Negroes; they follow the religion of Mahomet, and are hospi|table to strangers*.
The Cape de Verd islands are peopled with Mulattoes, sprung from the Portugueze who first settled there, and the Negroes whom they found on these islands. They are called Copper-co|loured Negroes, because, though they resemble the Negroes in their features, they are less black, or rather yellowish. They are handsome and ingenious; but extremely indolent and idle. They live chiefly by hunting and fishing. They train their dogs to kill the wild goats, with Page 141 which the islands abound. They deliver their wives and daughters to the embraces of stran|gers, if they chuse to pay for this singular fa|vour. For pins and other trifles, they sell pa|roquets, porcelain-shells, ambergris*, &c.
The first genuine Negroes we meet with, are those on the southern banks of the Senegal. These people, as well as those who inhabit the country comprehended between this river and that of Gambia, call themselves Jaloffs. They are very black, handsome, of a fine stature, and their features are not so disagreeable as those of the other Negroes. Some of them, and par|ticularly the women, have very regular features. They have the same ideas of beauty with the Europeans; for they are fond of fine eyes, a small mouth, thin lips, and a well proportioned nose; they differ only with regard to the basis of the picture, a very black shining colour being absolutely necessary to form a beauty: Their skin is very fine and soft; and, abstracting from colour, they have as beautiful women as are to be met with in any other country in the world; their females are generally handsome, gay, ac|tive, and extremely amorous: They are pecu|liarly fond of white men, whom they caress with ardour, both to satisfy themselves, and in hopes of obtaining presents. In their attach|ment to strangers, they meet with no restraint from their husbands. But, though they offer Page 142 their wives, daughters, and sisters to strangers, and conceive their honour to be injured by a refusal, their jealousy rises to such a pitch, when their wives transgress with men of their own nation, that they often beat, and even cut them|selves with fabres. Those women, notwith|standing, have the tobacco-pipe perpetually in their mouths, and their skin, when they are heated, has a disagreeable smell, though it is not so strong as that of the other Negroes. They love dancing to the sound of the drum and cala|bash. All their movements in these dances con|sist of lascivious and indecent postures. They bathe often; and file their teeth, in order to ren|der them more equal. Most of the young girls engrave figures of animals, flowers, &c. on their skin.
It is a general practice among the Negroe women, when travelling, to carry their children on their backs. Some have ascribed the flat nose and big bellies of the Negroes to this cause: The mother, in raising the child by sudden jerks, makes the child's nose strike against her back; and the child, to avoid these frequent blows, keeps its head as far back as possible, by pushing its belly forward*. Their hair is black and crisped, like curled wool. It is by the hair and the colour that they chiefly differ from other men; for their features are not, perhaps, so dif|ferent Page 143 from those of the Europeans, as the Tar|tarian visage differs from that of a Frenchman. Father Tertre affirms, that, if most of the Ne|groes are flat nosed, it is owing to a general practice of the mothers, who depress the noses of their children as soon as they come into the world, and squeeze their lips to make them thick; and that those children, who chance to escape these operations, have elevated noses, thin lips, and as fine features as the Europeans. This re|mark, however, is only applicable to the Ne|groes of Senegal, who are the most handsome and most beautiful of all the race. Among all the other Negroes, flat noses and thick lips seem to be features bestowed on them by nature; These, instead of deformities, are regarded as marks of beauty, and supplied by art, when they happen to be denied by nature.
The Negroe women are extremely prolific: They bring forth their children with great ease, and require no assistance. Their labours are followed by no troublesome consequences; for their strength is fully restored by a day, or, at most, two days repose. They make excellent nurses, and manage their children with great tenderness and affection. They are also more lively and alert than the men; and they even cultivate the virtues of discretion and temperance. Father Jaric informs us, that the Jaloff Negroe women, in order to accustom themselves to eat and speak little, fill their mouths with water in Page 144 the morning, and keep it there till the hour of breakfast*.
The Negroes of the island of Goree, and of the Cape de Verd coast, like those on the banks of the Senegal, are well made, and extremely black. They are so fond of a black shining com|plexion, that they despise such as want this per|fection, in the same manner as tawny men are despised by the Europeans. Though strong and robust, they are exceedingly indolent, and culti|vate neither corn, wines, nor fruits. Fish and millet are their chief articles of food; and they seldom eat flesh. They compare the Europe|ans to horses, because they eat herbs. But they are so passionately fond of spirits, that they sell their children, their parents, and even them|selves, for brandy*. They go almost naked, having only a cotton garment which covers them from the middle to about one half of the thigh; and they alledge, that the heat of the climate permits them not to wear any more*. Their poverty and bad chear, however, hinder them not from being both fat and contented. They believe their country to be the finest in the universe; and that they are the handsomest men in the world, because they are the blackest: If their women betrayed no attachment to the white men, their colour would give them no uneasiness.
Page 145 Though the Negroes of Sierra-leona be not altogether so black as those of Senegal, they are not, however, as Struys alledges*, of a reddish or tawny colour. Like the Guiney Negroes, they are of a black less deep than the natives of Senegal. The general custom, among the Ne|groes of Guiney and Sierra-leona, of painting their bodies with red and other colours, might deceive Struys. They likewise paint a ring round their eyes with white, yellow, or red, and make rays of different colours upon their faces; and many of them cut, upon their skin, figures of plants and of animals. Their women are still more debauched than those of Senegal. Many of them are common prostitutes, without incur|ring the smallest dishonour. Both men and women keep their heads uncovered; and they shave or cut their hair, which is very short, in various modes. They wear ear-rings made of teeth, shells, horns, bits of wood, &c. which weigh three or four ounces. Some of them pierce their nostrils or their upper lip, for the purpose of suspending similar ornaments. Their garments consist of a kind of apron made of the bark of a tree, covered with apes skins; and to these skins they fix small bells. They sleep upon bull-rush mats; they eat fish, or flesh, when they can procure it; but yams and banana's are their principal food*. They Page 146 have no passion, but for their women, and no inclination to activity or labour. Their houses are wretched huts. They often continue to live in wild and barren places, though in the neigh|bourhood of rich valleys, hills covered with trees, green and fertile fields, intersected, in the most delightful manner, with rivers and brooks. But their indolence and stupidity make them insen|sible to every pleasure of this nature. The roads which lead from one place to another are general|ly twice as long as they ought; but they attempt not to render them shorter; and, though the means were pointed out to them, they never think of taking the shortest road, but mechani|cally follow the beaten track, and are not an|xious about losing time, which they have no mode of measuring.
Though the Guiney Negroes enjoy good health, and have vigorous constitutions, they seldom reach old age. A Negro of 50 years is a very old man. Their premature commerce with the women is, perhaps, the cause of the brevity of their lives. Their children, when very young, are allowed to commit every spe|cies of debauchery*; and nothing is so rare a|mong these people as to find a girl who can remember the time when she ceased to be a vir|gin.
The islands of St Thomas, of Annobona, &c. are inhabited by Negroes similar to those on the Page 147 neighbouring continent; but their numbers are few; because the Europeans have chased them ofs, and retained only such as they reduced to slavery. Both men and women go naked, ex|cepting a small apron round their middle*. Mandelslo alledges that the Europeans who set|tle in the island of St Thomas, which is but a degree and a half from the Equator, preserve their whiteness till the third generation; and he seems to insinuate that they turn black after that period. But it is not probable that this change can be so suddenly effected.
The Negroes on the coasts of Juda and Arada, are less black than those of Senegal, Guiney, and Congo. They prefer the flesh of dogs to all o|ther meat, a roasted dog being generally the first dish presented at their feasts. This taste is not peculiar to the Negroes; the savages of North America, and some Tartarian nations are equally fond of dogs flesh. The Tartars are even said to castrate dogs, in order to fatten them and im|prove their flesh*.
Pigafetta, and Drake who seems to copy him verbatim, inform us, that the Negroes of Congo are black, but less so than those of Senegal. Their hair is generally black and crisped, though in some it is red. The men are of a middle sta|ture; in some, the eyes are brown; in others, they are of a sea-green colour. Their lips are Page 148 not so thick as those of the other Negroes; and their features very much resemble those of the Europeans*.
In certain provinces of Congo, they have very singular customs. When a person dies in Lo|ango, for example, they place the corpse on a kind of amphitheatre, raised about six feet above the ground, and in a sitting posture, with the hands resting on the knees. They dress him in his best garments, and then kindle fires all round the body. In proportion as the cloaths absorb the moisture, they cover him with fresh gar|ments, till the body be perfectly dry; after which, they bury him with great pomp. In the province of Malimba, the wife ennobles the hus|band. When the King dies, and leaves only a single daughter, if she has arrived at the age of puberty, she becomes absolute mistress of the kingdom. She begins her reign by making a tour round her dominions. In all the towns and villages through which she passes, the whole men are obliged to appear before her, immedi|ately upon her arrival, and she chooses the man whom she fancies most to pass the night with her. At her return from her journey, she sends for the man who has been so fortunate as to please her best, and instantly marries him. After marriage, her power terminates, and devolves en|tirely on her husband. These facts I have ex|tracted Page 149 from M. de la Brosse's travels along the coast of Angola in the year 1738. He adds a fact not less singular. 'These Negroes,' says he, 'are extremely vindictive, of which I shall give a convincing proof. They daily demand|ed of us some brandy for the use of the King and chief men of the town. One day this re|quest was denied, and we had soon reason to repent it; for all the French and English of|ficers having gone a fishing on a small lake near the sea-coast, they erected a tent for the purpose of dressing and eating the fish they had caught. When they were amusing them|selves after their repast, seven or eight Negroes, who were the chiefs of Loango, arrived in se|dans, and presented their hands, according to the custom of the country. These Negroes privately rubbed the officers hands with a sub|tile poison, which acts instantaneously; and, accordingly, five Captains, and three surgeons, died on the spot,' &c.
When the Negroes of Congo have a pain in their head, or any other place of the body, they make a small wound in the place affected, and apply to it a small horn with a hole in its mid|dle, by means of which they suck out the blood till the pain abates*.
The Negroes of Senegal, of Gambia, of Cape de Verd, of Angola, and of Congo, are of a finer black than those of the coasts of Juda, Is|signi, Page 150 Arada, and the adjacent provinces. When in health, they are all black; but, when sick, they become yellowish, or copper-coloured*. In the French islands, the Negroes of Angola are preferred, for their strength, to those of Cape de Verd: But, when heated, they smell so rank, that the places they pass through are infected with the stench for more than a quarter of an hour. The Cape de Verd Negroes do not smell nearly so strong as those of Angola: They have also a finer and blacker skin; they are better made; their features are softer; their dispositions are more gentle; and their stature is more com|modious *. The Negroes of Guiney are very proper for cultivating the ground and other la|borious offices. Those of Senegal are not so strong; but they are more ingenious, and better adapted for domestic services*. Father Charle|voix tells us, that the Senegal Negroes are the most handsome, most docile, and best suited for domestic uses; that the Bambaras are larger, but that they are all rogues; that the Aradas are best acquainted with the culture of the earth; that the Congos are the smallest in size, and ex|cellent fishers, but that they are much addicted to desertion; that the Nagos are the most hu|mane, the Mondongos the most cruel, the Mi|mes the most resolute, most capricious, and most subject to despair; and that the Creole Negroes, Page 151 from whatever nations they derive their origin, retain nothing of their parents but the colour and the spirit of slavery. They are more inge|nious, rational, and dexterous, but more sloth|ful and debauched, than the African Negroes. He adds, that the genius of all the Guiney Ne|groes is extremely limited; that some of them appear to be perfectly stupid, not being able to count, beyond the number of three; that they never think spontaneously; that they have no memory, the past and the future being equally unknown to them; that the most sprightly of them have some humour, and make tolerable mimics; that they are extremely cunning, and would rather die than tell a secret; that, in ge|neral, they are gentle, humane, docile, simple, credulous, and even superstitious; and that they are faithful, and brave, and, if properly discipli|ned, would make good soldiers*.
Though the Negroes have little genius, their feelings are extremely acute. According to the manner they are treated, they are gay or me|lancholy, laborious or slothful, friends or ene|mies. When well fed, and not maletreated, they are contented, joyous, ready for every employ|ment, and the satisfaction of their mind is paint|ed in their countenance. But, when oppressed and abused, they grow peevish, and often die of melancholy. Of benefits and of abuse, they are exceedingly sensible, and against those who Page 152 injure them they bear a mortal hatred. On the other hand, when they contract an affection to a master, there is no office, however hazardous, which they will not boldy execute, to demon|strate their zeal and attachment. They are na|turally affectionate, and have an ardent love to their children, friends, and countrymen*. The little they possess they freely distribute among the necessitous, without any other motive than that of pure compassion for the indigent.
Upon the whole, it is apparent, that the un|fortunate Negroes are endowed with excellent hearts, and possess the seeds of every human virtue. I cannot write their history, without lamenting their miserable condition. Is it not more than enough to reduce men to slavery, and to oblige them to labour perpetually, with|out the capacity of acquiring property? To these, is it necessary to add cruelty, and blows, and to abuse them worse than brutes? Huma|nity revolts against those odious oppressions which result from avarice, and which would have been daily renewed, had not the laws given a friend|ly check to the brutality of masters, and fixed limits to the sufferings of their slaves. They are forced to labour; and yet the coarsest food is dealt out to them with a sparing hand. They support, say their obdurate task-masters, hunger without inconvenience; a single European meal is sufficient provision to a Negro for three days; however little they eat or sleep, they are always Page 153 equally strong, and equally fit for labour*. How can men, in whose breasts a single senti|ment of humanity remains unextinguished, adopt such detestable maxims? How dare they, by such barbarous and diabolical arguments, attempt to palliate those oppressions which originate sole|ly from their thirst of gold? But, let us aban|don those hardened monsters to perpetual infa|my, and return to our subject.
Of the inhabitants of the coasts and of the in|terior parts of Africa, from Cape Negro to Cape de Voltes, an extent of about 400 leagues, we have no knowledge. We only know, that these men are less black than the other Negroes, and that they resemble the Hottentots, with whom they border on the south. The Hottentots, on the contrary, are well known, and described by almost every voyager. They are not Negroes, but Caffres, and would be only of a tawny co|lour, if they did not blacken their skin with grease and paint. M. Kolbe, who has given a very accurate description of these people, regards them, however, as Negroes. He assures us, that they have all short, black, frizled, woolly hair; and that he never saw a single Hottentot with long hair*. But this circumstance is not suffi|cient to make us consider them as genuine Ne|groes. In the first place, their colour is totally different; for M. Kolbe tells us, that they are Page 154 olive, and never black, though they employ e|very method to darken their skin. In the next place, it seems to be equally difficult to pronounce concerning their hair; for they never either comb or wash it, but daily rub on their heads vast quantities of grease, soot, and dust, which make their hair resemble a fleece of wool stuffed with dirt*. Besides, their dispositions are dif|ferent from those of the Negroes. The latter are sedentary, love cleanliness, and are easily re|conciled to servitude. The Hottentots, on the contrary, are a wandering, independent people, frightfully nasty, and extremely jealous of their liberty. These differences are more than sufficient to convince us that the Hottentots are not of the same race with the Negroes.
Gama, who first doubled the Cape of Good Hope, arrived in the Bay of St Helena on the 4th of November 1497. He describes the inhabitants as being black, of small stature, and having a very disagreeable aspect: But he says not that they were naturally black like the Negroes; and, doubtless, they only seemed black to him by the grease and soot with which they are perpetually covered. This voyager adds, that the sound of their voice resembled sighing; that they were clothed in the skins of beasts; and that their arms were, bludgeons hardened with the fire, and pointed with the horn of some animal*. It is Page 155 apparent, therefore, that the Hottentots practise no arts in common with the Negroes.
We are informed by the Dutch voyagers, that the savages to the north of the Cape are smaller than the Europeans; that their colour is a red|dish brown; that they are extremely ugly, and endeavour to increase their blackness with paint; and that their hair resembles that of a man who has hung long on a gibbet*. In another place, they tell us, that the Hottentots are of the colour of Mulattoes; that their visage is greatly de|formed; that they are of a middle size, but meagre, and exceedingly nimble in the chace; and that their language resembles the clucking of a Turkey cock*. Father Tachard says, that, though in general their hair be woolly like that of the Negroes; yet many of them have long hair which floats upon their shoulders. He even adds, that some of them are as white as Euro|peans, but that they blacken their skin with grease and the powder of a certain black stone; and that their women are naturally fair; but, to please their husbands, they paint themselves black*. Ovington tells us, that the Hottentots are more tawny than the other Indians; that no people resemble the Negroes more in colour and features, but that they are not so black; and their hair is not so crisped, nor their nose so flat*.
Page 156 From all these testimonies, it is plain that the Hottentots are not true Negroes, but blacks be|ginning to approach towards whiteness, as the Moors are whites approaching to blackness. These Hottentots, moreover, are a very singular species of savages. Their women, who are com|monly much less than the men, have a kind of excrescence, or hard broad skin, which originates above the os pubis, and descends, like an apron, to the middle of their thighs*. Thevenot says the same thing of the Egyptian women, but that, instead of allowing this excrescence to grow, they burn it off with hot irons. With regard to the women of Egypt, the fact is very doubtful. But it is certain, that all the women who are natives of the Cape are subject to this monstrous defor|mity, which they uncover to those who have the curiosity to look at it. The men are all half eunuchs, not naturally, but by an absurd custom of cutting out one of the testicles about the age of eight years. M. Kolbe saw this operation performed on a young Hottentot. The circum|stances with which this ceremony is accompa|nied are so singular that they deserve to be re|cited.
After rubbing the young man with grease taken from the entrails of a sheep which is slain for the purpose, they lay him on his back on the ground, tie his hands and his feet, and three or four of his friends hold him. Then the priest, Page 157 (for it is a religious rite), armed with a sharp knife, makes an incision, and cuts away the left testicle*, and puts in its place a ball of grease of the same size, prepared with some medicinal herbs. He then sews up the wound with the bone of a small bird, which serves for a needle, and a thread made of the tendon of a sheep. The operation being thus finished, the patient is untied. But the priest, before quitting him, rubs him all over with the warm grease of a new-killed sheep, or rather pours the grease up|on him so copiously, that, when cool, it forms a kind of crust. At the same time, he rubs him so roughly, that the young man, who has al|ready suffered too much, is covered with sweat, and fumes like a capon on a spit. The opera|tor next makes furrows with his nails in this crust of grease, from one end of the body to a|nother, and then pisses in them. After which, he again rubs the patient, and fills up the fur|rows with fresh grease. The young man is now instantly abandoned, and left alone in a condition rather resembling death than life: He is obliged to crawl, in the best manner he can, into a hut purposely erected near the place where the ope|ration is performed. There he either perishes or recovers, without assistance, or any other nou|rishment than the grease that covers him, and which he may lick, if he chuses. At the end of two days, he generally recovers, comes out of Page 158 his hut, and presents himself to his friends: And to prove that he is perfectly cured, he runs be|fore them with the swiftness of a stag*.
All the Hottentots have broad flat noses, which would not be the case, if their mothers did not flatten them immediately after birth; for they regard a prominent nose as a great defor|mity. They have also very thick lips, white teeth, bushy eye-brows, large heads, meagre bodies, and small limbs. They seldom live above 40 years. The short duration of their lives is unquestionably occasioned by the nastiness in which they perpetually wallow, and the putrid flesh on which they chiefly feed. As most tra|vellers have written fully concerning the man|ners of this dirty people*, I shall only add one fact more, which is related by Tavernier. The Dutch, says he, carried off a Hottentot girl a few days after her birth, brought her up among them|selves, and she soon became as white as any European. From this fact, he concludes, that all the Hottentots would be equally fair, if they did not perpetually daub themselves with dirt and black paints.
Along the African coast, beyond the Cape of Good Hope, we meet with the territory of Natal, Page 159 the inhabitants of which differ greatly from the Hottentots. They are better made, and less ugly. They are likewise naturally blacker; their visage is oval, their nose well proportioned, and their teeth are white; their aspect is agree|able, and their hair is naturally crisped. But, like the Hottentots, they have some taste for grease; for they wear bonnets made of the tal|low of oxen. These bonnets are from eight to ten inches high, and they spend a good deal of time in preparing them: For this purpose, the tallow must be well refined; they apply but little of it at a time, and mingle it so compleatly with their hair, that it never falls off*. M. Kolbe alledges, that their noses are flat from their birth, and that they use no arts to flatten them; that they do not stammer, or strike the palate with their tongue, like the Hottentots; that they build houses, cultivate the ground, and sow a species of maize or Turkish corn, of which they make ale, a drink unknown to the Hottentots*.
Beyond the territory of Natal, we meet with those of Sofala and Monomotapa. According to Pigafetta, the people of Sofala are black, but tal|ler and thicker than the other Caffres. This au|thor places the Amazones in the neighbourhood of the kingdom of Sofala*. But nothing can be more uncertain than what has been affirmed with regard to those female warriors. The na|tives Page 160 of Monomotapa, say the Dutch travellers, are tall, handsome, black, and have fine com|plexions. The young girls go naked, wearing only a thin piece of cotton stuff upon their middle; but put on garments as soon as they get husbands. These people, though very black, are different from the Negroes. Their features are neither so coarse nor so ugly; their bodies have no bad smell; and they can neither sup|port servitude nor hard labour. Father Charle|voix tells us, that he has seen blacks of Mono|motapa and Madagascar in America; but that they could never be trained to labour, and soon perished*.
The natives of Madagascar and of Mosambique, are more or less black. The inhabitants of Madagascar have the hair on the crown of their heads not so much crisped as those of Mosam|bique. Neither of them are true Negroes; and, though those on the coast are very submissive to the Portuguese, the people in the interior parts of the continent are extremely savage, and jea|lous of their liberty. Both men and women go perfectly naked; they eat the flesh of elephants, and sell the ivory to strangers*. Madagascar is chiefly inhabited by blacks and whites, who, though very tawney, seem to be a different race of men. The hair of the former is black and Page 161 crisped; that of the latter is fairer, less frizled, and longer. It is a common opinion, that these whites derive their origin from the Chinese. But Francis Cauche properly remarks, that they seem to be of European extraction; for he as|sures us, that all of them he saw had neither flat faces nor noses, like the Chinese. He likewise says, that these whites are fairer than the Castil|lans; that their hair is long; that the blacks are not flat-nosed like those on the continent; and that their lips are thin. In this island there are also many persons of an olive or tawny co|lour, who probably proceed from a mixture of the blacks and whites. The same traveller in|forms us, that the inhabitants round the bay of St Augustine are tawny; that they have no beard; that their hair is long and smooth; that they are tall and handsome; and, lastly, that they are all circumcised, though they probably never heard of the law of Mahomet, for they have neither temples, mosques, nor religion*. The French first landed and established a settlement on this island; but it was not supported*. When they arrived, they found the white men above described; and they remarked, that the blacks had a great respect for these whites*. The island of Madagascar is extremely populous, and abounds in cattle and pasturage. Both men and women are exceedingly debauched; and public Page 162 prostitution is not followed with dishonour. They love dancing, singing, and similar amuse|ments. Though indolent, they have some know|ledge of the mechanic arts; and, though they have no moveables in their houses, but lie upon matts, they have husbandmen, smiths, carpenters, potters, and even goldsmiths. They eat their meat almost raw, and devour the skins of their oxen, after singing the hair; they likewise eat the wax with the honey. The common people go almost naked; but the more opulent wear drawers or petticoats of cotton and silk*.
The natives of the interior parts of Africa are too little known to admit of description. Those called Zingues by the Arabians are black, and almost perfectly savage. Marmol tell us, that they multiply prodigiously, and would over-run the adjacent country, if numbers of them were not swept off, from time to time, by a great mortality occasioned by hot winds.
Upon the whole, it appears, that the Negroes are a different species of Blacks from the Caffres. But, from the descriptions we have given, it is still more apparent, that the differences of colour are produced by the climate; and that the pe|culiarities in features depend much upon the customs which take place among different nations, such as, flattening the nose, pulling the hair off the eye-brows, lengthening the ears, thickening the Page 163 lips, making the face broad, &c. Nothing can be a stronger proof of the influence of climate upon colour, than to find, under the same lati|tude, and distinct from each other more than 1000 leagues, people so similar as the Nubians and natives of Senegal; and to find, that the Hottentots, who must have originated from a black race, are the whitest people in Africa, for no other reason but because their country is the coldest. If the tawny nation on one side of the river Senegal, and the perfect blacks on the o|ther, occur as an objection, I must refer to what was above remarked concerning the effects of food, which has a great influence on colour, as well as many other customs and modes of li|ving: And, if an example be demanded, I shall produce one from the brute creation, which e|very man is in a condition to verify. The flesh of the hares that live in the plains and moist grounds, is whiter than that of those which inha|bit mountainous or dry regions; and, even in the same part of the country, those that feed in the meadows are perfectly different from those that dwell on the hills. The colour of the flesh proceeds from that of the blood and other hu|mours of the body, the qualities of which ne|cessarily depend on the nature of the food.
The origin of black men has, at all times, been an object of inquiry. The antients, who know only those of Nubia, regarded them as the last or terminating shade of the tawny colour, Page 164 and confounded them with the Ethiopians, and other African nations, who, though extremely brown, belong more to the white than to the black race. They thought that the differences of colour among the human species proceeded solely from the varieties of climate, and that blackness was occasioned by a perpetual expo|sure to the hot rays of the sun. This opinion, though very probable, was much weakened, af|ter it was discovered that the inhabitants of more southern climates, and even under the E|quator itself, as those of Melinda and Mosam|bique, were not black, but very tawny; and when it was farther discovered, that blacks trans|ported into more temperate climates, lost nothing of their original hue, but communicated it to their descendants. If we attend, however, to the migrations of different people, and to the time necessary to produce a change in their co|lour, we shall, perhaps, find the opinion of the antients to have been well founded; for the na|tives of this part of Africa are Nubians, and will preserve their original blackness as long as they continue to live under the same climate, and mix not with the whites. But the Ethiopians, the Abyssinians, and even the natives of Melinda, though they derive their origin from the whites, their religion and customs being the same with those of the Arabians, are, however, more tawny than the inhabitants of the southern parts of A|rabia. This circumstance alone evinces, that, Page 165 even among the same race of men, the different degrees of blackness depend, more or less, upon the heat of the climate. Many ages are, per|haps, necessary to change the white colour into perfect blackness; but it is probable, that, in a succession of generations, a white people, trans|ported from the north to the Equator, would undergo this change, especially if they adopted the manners, and used the food of the new country.
The objection drawn from the difference of features is not unsurmountable; for the features of a Negro, who has not been purposely de|formed in his infancy, differ not more from those of an European, than a Tartar differs from a Chinese, or a Circassian from a Greek: And, with regard to the hair, the nature of it depends so much on the quality of the skin, that any differences which take place in it ought to be con|sidered as merely accidental; for, in the same country, and even in the same village, we find every possible variety of hair. In France, for example, there are some men whose hair is as short and as crisped as that of a Negro: Besides, heat and cold have great influence upon the co|lour of the hair both of men and other animals. In the northern regions, black hair is seldom or never seen: And squirrels, hares, weasels, and several other animals, are white in the north, but brown or gray in more southern latitudes. The effects produced by cold and heat are even Page 166 so remarkable, that, in Sweden, certain animals as the hares, are gray during the summer, and perfectly white in winter*.
But the New World affording no examples of true Blacks, is the strongest argument against my hypothesis; and it appears, at first sight, to be almost insuperable. If blackness were the effect of heat alone, why do we not find Negroes or black men in the Antilles, in Mexico, in San|ta-fé, in Guiana, in the country of the Ama|zones, or in Peru; since these countries of A|merica are situated under the same latitude with Senegal, Guiney, and Angola in Africa? If the different colours of the human species were oc|casioned by the climate, or the distance from the Pole, we should have found, in the Brasils, in Paraguay, or in Chili, men similar to the Caf|fres and Hottentots. But, before attempting to remove this objection, it is necessary to give a short description of the various American na|tions; after which we shall be the more quali|fied to make just comparisons, and to draw ge|neral conclusions.
In the most northerly regions of America, we find a species of Laplanders, similar to those of Europe, or to the Samoiedes of Asia. Though their numbers are few, they are spread over a large extent of country. Those who live round Davis's Straits, are small, of an olive colour, and Page 167 have short thick limbs. They are excellent fishers, and eat their meat and fish raw. Their drink is pure water, or the blood of the sea-dog. They are very robust, and long-lived*. These are exactly the figure, colour, and manners of the Laplanders: And, what is singular, as the Fins, who are adjacent to the European Lap|landers, are white, beautiful, and pretty large and handsome; so, in the neighbourhood of the American Laplanders, we find a species of men, who are tall, handsome, pretty white, and pos|sessed of very regular features*. The savages along Hudson's Bay, and to the north of Labra|dor, though they are small, ill made, and ugly, appear not to be of the same race with the for|mer. Their visage is almost entirely covered with hair, like the savages of the lands of Jesso, to the north of Japan. In summer they dwell in tents made of the skins of the rein-deer; and, in winter, they live under ground, like the Lap|landers and Samoiedes, where they lie promiscu|ously, and without ceremony. Though their food consists only of raw flesh and fish, they live very long*. The savages of Newfoundland resemble those of Davis's Straits. They are of small stature, have little or no beard, broad faces, large eyes, and generally flat noses. The tra|veller who gives the description, adds, that they Page 168 have a great similarity to the savages in the en|virons of Greenland*.
To the south of these savages, who are spread over the northern regions of America, we meet with a different and more numerous race, who occupy Canada, and the adjacent territories, as far as the Assiniboils. They are large, strong, well made, and all of them have black hair, black eyes, very white teeth, a swarthy colour, little beard, and hardly any hair on their bodies. They are indefatigable in travelling, and ex|tremely nimble in the chace. With equal ease they can support hunger, and the greatest excess in eating. They are hardy, bold, grave, and moderate: In a word, they have so strong a re|semblance, both in their external appearance, and in their manners and dispositions, to the oriental Tartars, that, if they were not separated by a vast sea, we would believe them to have sprung from the same nation. They also live under the same latitude; which is a farther proof of the influence of climate upon the figure and colour of the human species. To conclude, in the northern extremities of the New Continent, as well as in those of the old, we first find men similar to the Laplanders, and likewise a race of whites with fair hair, like the inhabitants of the north of Europe; then hairy men resembling the savages of Jesso; and, lastly, the savages of Canada, who occupy the whole territory as far Page 169 as the Gulf of Mexico, and so strongly resemble the Tartars, that, if there were no embarrassment concerning the possibility of their migration, we would conclude them to be the very same peo|ple. However, if we attend to the small num|ber of men scattered over the immense territories of North America, and their universal want of civilization, we must admit that all these nations of savages have been peopled by the escape of individuals from some more numerous race. Though we should allow the number of natives to be now reduced to a twentieth part of what they were on the first discovery of America, still this country was even then so thinly inhabited, that it must be considered as a desart, or a land so recently peopled, that the men had not time sufficient for an extensive multiplication. M. Fabry*, who penetrated farther into the interi|or parts of this country, to the northwest of the Missisippi, than any other man had done, and where, of course, the savages could not have suffered any diminution by the inroads of the Europeans, assures us, that he often travelled in this region 200 leagues without seeing a human face, or any marks which indicated the adjacent country to be inhabited; and that, when he did meet with any Indian huts, they were always at least 100 leagues distant from each other, and seldom contained above 20 persons. Along the banks of rivers and lakes, it is true, the savages Page 170 are more numerous, and some of them are even troublesome to our colonists. But these nations seldom exceed three or four thousand persons, and are spread over a country often more ex|tensive than the kingdom of France: So that I am persuaded there are more men in Paris than all the natives of North America, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Northern Ocean, though this territory is much larger than Europe.
Population depends more on society than Na|ture. Men would not be comparatively so nu|merous as the savage animals, if they were not united, and derived not mutual aid and succour from society. In North America, the bisons* are perhaps more abundant than the men. But, though population be a result of society, it is the increased number of men which necessarily pro|duces their unity. We may, therefore, presume, that the want of civilization in America is owing to the paucity of its inhabitants; for, though each nation had peculiar customs and manners, though some were more savage, cruel, and da|stardly than others; yet they were all equally stupid, ignorant, and destitute of arts and of in|dustry.
I have run, perhaps, into too great a detail concerning the manners of savage nations. Most authors have mistaken the particular actions of individuals, which often result from caprice or unknown circumstances, for the general and Page 171 established manners of a nation. Some people, they tell us, eat their enemies; others burn or maim them; some delight in war; others love peace. Some kill their parents after they arrive at a certain age; among others, the fathers and mothers eat their own children. These, and si|milar narrations, so much delighted in by tra|vellers, are reducible to single facts, and import no more than that one individual savage eat his enemy, another burned or maimed him, and a third killed or eat his own child. All these ex|amples may be found in every savage nation; for a people who live without the restraint of fixed laws, or of a regular government, can only be considered as a tumultuous assemblage of bar|barous and independent individuals, who obey no laws but those of passion and caprice, and who, having no common interest, are incapable of pursuing any determined standard of manners, which supposes general views that have obtained the sanction both of time and a majority of numbers.
A nation, it may be said, is composed of men who are known to each other, who speak the same language, who unite, when necessary, un|der the same chief, who use the same arms, and who paint themselves with the same colours: To this we might subscribe, without difficulty, if these manners were constant and uniform; if the people did not often unite and separate with|out design; if their chief lost not all authority Page 172 by their caprice or his own; and if their lan|guage was not so simple as to be almost common to every tribe.
As they have but few ideas, their expressions are limited to the most common objects; and, though every mode of expression should differ from another; yet the smallness of their number necessarily renders them of easy acquisition. It is not, therefore, so difficult for a savage to learn the language of all other savages, as for a polish|ed man to learn the language of another people equally advanced in civilization.
But it is, perhaps, of more importance to exa|mine the nature of the individual savage, than to enlarge upon the manners and customs of these pretended nations. Of all animals, a sa|vage man is the most singular, the least known, and the most difficult to describe. We are so ill qualified to distinguish the genuine gifts of Nature from what is acquired by education, art, and imitation, that it would not be surprising if we should totally mistake the real portrait of a savage, though the natural colouring and features of his character were faithfully represented to us.
An absolute savage, such as the boy brought up by the bear, described by Conor*, the young man found in the forest of Hanover, or the girl discovered in the woods of France, would be a curious object to a philosopher, by the contem|plation of which he might estimate the force of Page 173 natural appetites: Here he would see the mind perfectly naked; he might distinguish all its movements; he might, perhaps, discover in it more sweetness and tranquillity than in his own; he might, perhaps, clearly perceive, that virtue is more natural to the savage than to the civi|lized, and that vice derives its origin and support from society alone.
But to return to our subject: If North Ame|rica affords only savages, Mexico and Peru pre|sent us with a polished people, governed by laws, and subject to regal establishments. They had industry, arts, and a species of religion. They dwelt in cities, where order and police were main|tained by the authority of the sovereign. These people, who were very numerous, cannot be considered as new nations, or as originating from individuals who had escaped from Europe or Asia, from whom they are so remote. Besides, if the savages of North America, because they are situated under the same latitude, resemble the Tartars; the people of Mexico and Peru, though, like the Negroes, they live under the Torrid Zone, have no similarity to them. What then is the origin of these people, and what cause can be as|signed for the difference of colour in the human species, since the influence of climate is insuf|ficient, in this case, to solve the phaenomenon?
Before answering these questions, we must continue our description of the savages of South America. Those of Florida, of the Missisippi, Page 174 and of the more southerly regions, though not absolutely brown, are more tawny than the Ca|nadians. The oil and paint with which they rub their bodies, render their colour unnaturally olive. Coreal tells us, that the women of Flo|rida are tall, strong, and, like the men, of an olive colour; that they paint their arms, limbs, and body, with several colours, which remain for ever, because they are engrained in the skin by means of puncturing; that the olive colour of both sexes proceeds not so much from the heat of the climate, as from the oil with which they varnish their skin: He adds, that the wo|men are extremely active; that, with an infant in their arms, they swim across large rivers; and that, with equal agility, they climb the high|est trees*. All these qualities they possess in common with the Canadians and other savages of America. The author of the Natural and Moral History of the Antilles remarks, that the Apalachians, a people bordering on Florida, are tall, well-shaped, and of an olive colour; and that they all have long black hair: He adds, that the Caribbees, who inhabit the Antilles, have sprung from the savages of Florida; and that the time of their migration has been handed down by tradition*.
The natives of the Lucai islands are less tawny than those of St Domingo and Cuba. But so Page 175 few of either now remain, that the relations of the first voyagers to these countries can derive no support from them. These people, it has been alledged, were very numerous; that they were governed by a kind of chiefs called Ca|ciques; and that they had priests and physicians. But all this is problematical, and, besides, has no connection with our history. The Caribbees, in general, says Father du Tertre, are tall, and have a pleasant aspect; they are strong, robust, active, and healthy; some of them have flat visages and depressed noses: But these features are not na|tural to them, but artificially induced by their parents, soon after birth. This capricious prac|tice of altering the natural figure of the head is very general among savage nations. Most of the Caribbees have small black eyes, white teeth, and long, smooth, black hair. Their colour is tawny or olive; and this colour is natural to them, and not the effect of painting, as some authors have maintained; for the colour of such of their children as have been trained up among Europeans, and not allowed the use of paint, was precisely the same with that of their parents. All these savages, though they never think, have a pensive melancholy aspect. Though cruel to their ene|mies, they are naturally mild and compassionate. They marry indifferently, either their own mo|thers or strangers. Their cousins-german belong to them by law; and several of them have been known to possess, at the same time, two sisters, Page 176 or the mother and the daughter, and even their own daughter. Those who have several wives, visit them alternately for a month, or a stated number of days, which extinguishes jealousy a|mong the women. They easily pardon adultery in their wives; but they never forgive him who debauches them. They feed upon crabs, turtles, lizards, serpents, and fishes, which they season with pimenta and the flour of manioc*. Being extremely indolent, and accustomed to the most unbounded independence, they detest servitude, and never can be trained to labour like the Ne|groes. To preserve their liberty, they exert e|very effort; and, when they find it impracticable, they, rather than work, chuse to die of hunger, or of chagrin. The Arrouaguas, who are milder than the Caribbees, are sometimes employed; but it is only in fishing or hunting, exercises of which they are naturally fond, and to which they have been accustomed in their own country. If these savages are to be retained as slaves, they must be treated with as much gentleness as domestic servants, otherwise they will desert, or perish with melancholy. The Brasilian slaves have nearly the same disposition, though they seem to be less stupid, indolent, and melancholy than any other American savages. However, when treat|ed with gentleness, they may be trained to any operation, except that of cultivating the ground, Page 177 which they consider as the characteristic badge of slavery.
Savage women are always less than the men. The Caribbee females are fat, and tolerably hand|some. Their hair and eyes are black; their vi|sage is round, their mouth small, their teeth white; their air is more open, gay, and lively, than that of the men; and they are modest and reserved. They daub themselves with paint; but they do not use the black strokes upon the face and other parts of the body, as is customary with the men. They wear only a small apron, made of cotton, studded with beads, about eight or ten inches broad by five or six long. This stuff they purchase of the Europeans; and, be|sides the apron, they use collars of the same cloth round their necks, which hang down upon their bosoms. They likewise wear bracelets of this stuff on their wrists and arms, and ear-rings made of a blue stone or of strings of beads. The last ornament peculiar to the women is a kind of buskin of cotton studded with beads, which extends from the ankle to the calf of the leg. As soon as the girls arrive at the age of puberty, they are furnished with an apron and buskins, the latter of which are made so tight, that they cannot be removed; and, as they prevent the under part of the leg from thickening, the upper parts grow larger and stronger than they would naturally do*.
Page 178 The inhabitants of Mexico and Peru are so mixed, that it is difficult to find two faces of the same colour. In the town of Mexico, there are Europeans, Indians from north and south Ame|rica, African Negroes, Mulattoes, and mongrels of every kind; so that we see men there of e|very shade between black and white*. The natives of the country are brown or olive, well|made, and nimble. They have little hair, even on their eye-brows; but that on their head is very long and very black*.
The natives of the Isthmus of America are, as Wafer remarks, generally of a good stature and shape. They have elegant limbs, a full chest, and are extremely active and fleet in the chace. The women are little and squat; and though, when young, they are jolly and have brilliant eyes; yet they possess not equal vivacity with the men. Both men and women have round faces, short flat noses, large eyes, mostly of a gray colour, and full of fire, high fore-heads, white teeth, thin lips, mouths of a middle size, and, in general, a very regular set of features. They all have long, black, straight hair; and the men would have beards, if they did not pull out the hairs. Their colour is tawny; and their eye-brows are as black as jet.
But these are not the only natives of this Isthmus; for we find among them a species of Page 179 white men, whose colour resembles not that of the Europeans, but their whiteness is similar to that of milk, or to the hairs of a white horse. Their skin is covered with a kind of short white down, which is not so thick upon the cheeks and fore-head as to conceal the skin. Their eye|brows are perfectly white, as well as their hair, which is seven or eight inches long, and half crisped. These Indians are not so tall as the o|thers; and, what is singular, their eye-lids are oblong▪ or rather in the form of a crescent, with the points turned down. Their eyes are so weak, that they can hardly see any object during the day; they cannot suffer the rays of the sun, and have no distinct vision but from the light of the moon. Their complexion is extremely de|licate; they have an abhorrence at all hard la|bour; they sleep during the day, and never go abroad but in the night. When the moon shines, they run through the deepest shades of the forests with as much freedom and nimbleness as other men do in the clearest day. Upon the whole, these men are neither so robust nor vigorous as the other Indians: They form a peculiar and distinct race. But it sometimes happens, that a husband and wife, though both of a copper co|lour, produce one of these white children. Wa|fer, from whom I have transcribed these facts, tells us, that he has seen a child of this kind be|fore it was a year old*.
Page 180 If this fact be true, the singular colour and constitution of these white Indians would be only a species of disease which they derive from their parents. But, if these white Indians are not produced by those of a copper colour, but form a distinct race, then they resemble the Chacrelas of Java, and the Bedas of Ceylon, which I have described above. If, however, these white people actually proceed from copper-coloured parents, we must allow that the Chacrelas and Bedas have also been produced by tawny progenitors, and that all the white men, whom we find at such great distances from each other, form not a par|ticular race, but are only individuals who have accidentally degenerated from their original stock.
This last opinion, I acknowledge, seems to be the most probable; and, if voyagers had given us descriptions of the Bedas and Chacrelas e|qually exact with what Wafer has given of the Dariens, we should, perhaps, have been satisfied that they are not, any more than the latter, of European extraction. The production of whites by Negro parents, which sometimes happens, adds great force to this theory. In the history of the French Academy, we have descriptions of two of these white Negroes. I have seen one of them myself, and I am assured, that they are very frequent among the Negroes of Africa*. What I have seen, independent of the relations Page 181 of voyagers, leaves me no room to doubt con|cerning the origin of these white Negroes: They are only Negroes who have degenerated from their race, and not a particular and permanent species of men: In a word, they are among the Negroes, what Wafer tells us the white Indians are among the yellow or copper-coloured Indi|ans of Darien, and, probably, what the Chacrelas and Bedas are among the brown Indians of the East. It is singular, that this variation of na|ture takes place only from black to white, and not from white to black. It is no less singular, that all the people in the East Indies, in Africa, and in America, where these white men appear, lie under the same latitude: The Isthmus of Da|rien, the Negro country, and the island of Cey|lon, are under the very same parallel. Whites, then, appears to be the primitive colour of na|ture, which may be varied by climate, by food, and by manners, to yellow, brown, and black, and which, in certain circumstances, returns, but so greatly altered, that it has no resemblance to the original whiteness, because it has been adul|terated by the causes which have already been assigned.
Upon the whole, the two extremes continu|ally approach each other. Nature, in her most perfect exertions, made men white; and the same Nature, after suffering every possible change, still renders them white: But the natural or spe|cific whiteness is very different from the indivi|dual Page 182 or accidental. Of this we have examples in vegetables, as well as in men and other animals, A white rose is very different, even in the qua|lity of whiteness, from a red rose, which has been rendered white by the autumnal frosts.
A still farther proof that those white men are only degenerated individuals, may be drawn from their comparative weakness of constitution, and from the extreme feebleness of their eyes. This last fact will appear to be less singular, when we reflect, that, in Europe, very fair men have ge|nerally weak eyes; and I have frequently re|marked that their organs of hearing are often dull. Nay, it is even alledged, that dogs of a perfect white colour, are deaf: Whether this be generally the case, I know not; but I have found it to be true in several instances.
Like the natives of the Isthmus, the Indians of Peru are of a copper-colour, especially those who dwell in the plains, and along the sea-coast; for those who live in the elevated parts of the country, as between the two chains of the Cor|deliers, are nearly as white as the Europeans. Some parts of Peru are a league higher than o|thers, which, with regard to the temperature of the climate, produces a greater change than an hundred leagues of latitude. All the Indians in Guiana and along the river of the Amazons, are more or less of a reddish tawny colour. The difference of shades, says M. de la Condamine, is chiefly owing to the temperature of the air, Page 183 which varies from the extreme heat of the Tor|rid Zone, to the great colds occasioned by the neighbourhood of the snow*. Some of these savages, as the Omaguas, flatten the visages of their children, by lacing their heads between two boards*. Others pierce the nostrils, lips, or cheeks, in order to fix in them the bones of fishes, feathers, and other ornaments. Most of them pierce their ears, and use flowers and herbs in place of ear-rings*. Concerning the Ama|zones, I shall be entirely silent. The reader may consult the writers upon this subject; and after perusing them, he will not discover evidence suf|ficient to prove the existence of this race of fe|males*.
Some voyagers mention a nation in Guiana, of which the natives are blacker than any other Indians. The Arras, says Raleigh, are nearly as black as the Negroes, are extremely strong, and use poisoned arrows. This author speaks likewise of another nation of Indians, whose necks are so short, and shoulders so elevated, that their eyes seem to be upon their shoulders, and their mouths in their breast. This mon|strous deformity cannot be natural: It is not improbable, that savages, who delight in disfigu|ring Page 184 Nature by flattening, rounding, or length|ening the heads of their children, should like|wise conceive the fancy of sinking their heads between their shoulders. To give rise to such absurd caprices, nothing farther was necessary than the idea that deformity rendered them more terrible to their enemies. The Scythians, who were formerly as savage as the present Ameri|can Indians, entertained the same notions, and practised the same ridiculous arts, which un|questionably gave rise to what the antients have written concerning men without heads, men with dogs heads, &c.
The savages of Brasil are nearly of the same size with the Europeans; but they are stronger, more robust, and more nimble: Neither are they subject to so many diseases; and they live very long. Their hair, which is black, rarely grows hoary with age. Their colour is tawny, being a mixture of brown and red. They have large heads, broad shoulders, and long hair. They pull the hairs out of their beards, their eye-brows, and every other part of their bodies, which gives them an uncommon and fierce aspect. They pierce their under lip for the purpose of inserting a small bone polished like ivory, or a green stone. The mothers flatten the noses of their children immediately after birth. They all go absolutely naked, and paint their bodies with various colours*. Those of them who Page 185 lie on the sea-coasts are now a little civilized by the trade they carry on with the Portugueze; but most of those who inhabit the interior parts of the country are still absolute savages. It is not by force and by slavery that savages are ci|vilized: The missionaries have polished more men in these savage nations than the arms of those princes who subdued them. It was in this manner that Paraguay was conquered. The natural ferocity and stubbornness of these sava|ges were overcome by the gentleness, humanity, and venerable example of the missionaries. They often spontaneously solicited to be instructed in that law which rendered men so perfect; and they frequently submitted to its precepts, and united with society. Nothing can reflect great|er honour on religion than the civilizing of these nations of Barbarians, and laying the founda|tions of an empire, without employing any o|ther arms but those of virtue and humanity.
The inhabitants of Paraguay are, in general, pretty tall, and well shaped: Their visage is long, and their skin of an olive colour*. They are sometimes affected with an extraordinary disease: It is a species of leprosy, which forms a crust over the whole body, resembling the Page 186 scales of fishes; but it neither occasions pain, nor does any injury to their constitution*.
Like the Peruvians, the Indians of Chili, ac|cording to Frezier, are of a tawny colour, re|sembling reddish copper. This colour is diffe|rent from that of the Mulattoes, who, as they are produced by a white man and a Negro wo|man, or a white woman and a Negro man, are of a brown colour, or a mixture of black and white. The Indians of South America, on the contrary, are yellow, or rather reddish. The natives of Chili are of a good size; they have thick limbs, a large chest, a disagreeable visage, small eyes, long ears, and straight, bushy, black hair. They lengthen their ears, and pull out their beard with pinchers made of shells. Though the climate be cold, most of them go naked, ex|cepting a skin thrown over their shoulders. At the extremity of Chili, and on the confines of Terra Magellanica, a gigantic race of men have, it is alledged, been lately discovered. Frezier in|forms us, on the authority of several Spaniards, who pretended to be eye-witnesses, that these men are nine or ten feet high. These giants, he remarks, are called Patagonians, and inhabit the eastern parts of the desert coast mentioned in an|tient voyages: The story of the Patagonians was afterwards regarded as perfectly fabulous; because the Indians discovered along the Straits of Magellan surpassed not the ordinary stature Page 187 of men. It is this circumstance, he continues, that might deceive Froger in his account of the voyage of M. de Gennes; for both species of men have been seen at the same time by the crew of one vessel. In 1709, the crew of the James of St Malo saw seven of these giants in Gregory Bay, and those of the St Peter of Marseilles saw six, whom they accosted, and offered them bread, wine, and brandy, which they refused, though they had presented the sailors with some arrows, and assisted them in bringing the ship's boat a|shore *. But, as M. Frezier does not alledge that he himself saw any of these savages, and as the relations which mention them are replete with exaggerations with regard to other subjects, the existence of a race of giants, especially so high as ten feet, must be still held as problema|tical: The body of such a man must be eight times the bulk of that of an ordinary person. The mean height of the human species is about five feet; and the extremes exceed not one foot above or below this standard. A man of six feet is very tall, and a man of four is very little. Giants and dwarfs who exceed these terms ought to be considered as accidental varieties, and not as distinct and permanent races.
Farther, if those Magellanic giants exist, their number must be very small; for the savages of the Straits and of the adjacent islands are of a middle stature. Their colour is olive; they have Page 188 a large chest, squat bodies, thick limbs, and black straight hair*. In a word, their stature exceeds not the common standard, and, both in colour and hair, they resemble the other Ameri|cans.
Thus, the whole continent of America con|tains but one race of men, who are all more or less tawny: And, if we except the northern re|gions, where we find men similar to the Lap|landers, and likewise men with fair hair, like the inhabitants of the north of Europe, all the rest of this vast territory is peopled with inhabi|tants, among whom there is little or no diversity. In the Antient Continent, on the other hand, we have found a prodigious variety in different na|tions. This great uniformity among the na|tives of America seems to proceed from their living all in the same manner. All the Ameri|cans were, or still are savages: The Mexicans and Peruvians were so recently polished, that they ought not to be regarded as an exception. Whatever, therefore, was the origin of these sa|vages, it seems to have been common to the whole. All the Americans have sprung from the same source, and have preserved, with little variation, the characters of their race; for they have all continued in a savage state, and have Page 189 followed nearly the same mode of life. Their climates are not so unequal, with regard to heat or cold, as those of the Antient Continent, and their establishment in this country has been too recent to allow those causes which produce va|rieties sufficient time to operate, so as to render their effects conspicuous.
Each of these reasons merits a separate discus|sion. That the Americans are a new people, can admit of no doubt, when we consider the smallness of their number, their ignorance, and the little progress made by the most civilized of them in the arts of life: For, though the first relations of the discovery and conquest of Ame|rica mention Mexico, Peru, St Domingo, &c. as countries full of people, and though we are told, that the Spaniards had every where to conquer numerous armies; yet it is easy to per|ceive that these facts are exaggerated; because, in the first place, few monuments remain of the pretended grandeur of these people; 2dly, Be|cause their country, though now peopled with Europeans, who are unquestionably more indu|strious than the natives, is still wild, uncultiva|ted, and covered with wood; and, besides, it is only a group of inaccessible and uninhabitable mountains, which, of course, leaves only small spots proper either for culture or habitation; 3dly, Because, even according to their own tra|ditions, concerning the time when they first uni|ted into society, the Peruvians reckon only 12 Page 190 kings, the first of whom began to civilize them*; and thus it appears, that not above 300 years had elapsed since the Peruvians ceased to be ab|solutely savage; 4thly, Because, if these people had been numerous, the Europeans, even with the advantage of gun-powder, would never have been able to enslave them. The Negroes, not|withstanding all our attempts to conquer and reduce them to subjection, still preserve their in|dependence, though the effects of gun-powder were equally unknown and equally formidable to them as to the Americans. The facility, therefore, with which America was conquered, appears to be a demonstration that this country was thinly and recently inhabited.
In the new Continent, the temperature of the different climates is more equal than in the An|tient Continent. This effect is the production of several causes. The Torrid Zone is not so hot in America as in Africa. The territories of America comprehended under this Zone are Mexico, New Spain, Peru, the country of the Amazones, Brasil, and Guiana. The heat is never excessive in Mexico, in New Spain, or in Peru; because these countries are greatly eleva|ated above the ordinary surface of the globe. The thermometer, during the hottest weather, never rises so high in Peru as in France. The air is cooled by the snows which cover the tops of the mountains; and this cause, which is a Page 191 consequence of the former, has great influence on the temperature of the climate. The natives also, instead of being black or very brown, are only tawny. The country of the Amazones is covered with lakes, marshes, rivers, and forests. There the air is extremely moist, and, of course, much cooler than if the land were dry. It is, besides, worthy of remark, that the east wind, which blows constantly between the Tropics, ar|rives not at Brasil, the Amazone country, or Guiana, till it has traversed a vast ocean, and acquired a considerable degree of cold. It is for this reason, as well as the quantity of water, forests, and almost perpetual rains, that these regions of America are much more temperate than they would otherwise be. But the east wind, in traversing the low lands of America, acquires a considerable degree of heat before it arrives at Peru. The air in Peru, therefore, would be much hotter than in Brasil or Guiana, if it was not cooled by the elevation of the country and snows. The east wind, however, still retains so much heat as to have an influence on the colour of the natives; for those who, by their situation, are much exposed to it, are more yellow than those who live in the valleys be|tween the mountains, and are protected from the effects of this wind. Besides, this wind, af|ter striking against the high mountains, is re|flected upon the adjacent plains, and carries a|long with it that freshness which it acquires from Page 192 the snow which covers their summits; and the melting of the snow must, of itself, frequently produce cool winds. The united operation of these causes renders the Torrid Zone of Ame|rica uncommonly temperate. It is not, there|fore, surprising, that we find not, in this coun|try, black, or even brown men, similar to the natives of Africa or Asia who live under the same parallels, where the circumstances to be afterwards mentioned are extremely diffe|rent. Whether we suppose, then, the inhabitants of America to have been antiently or recently established in that country, we ought not to find black men there; because their Torrid Zone is a temperate climate.
The last reason I mentioned for the little va|riety among the Americans, was the uniformity in their mode of living. They were all savage or very recently civilized, and they all lived in the same manner. Supposing them to have been derived from a common origin, they were dis|persed, without having their breed crossed. Each family gave rise to a nation, the inhabitants of which were not only similar to each other, but to all the neighbouring tribes. As both their food and their climates were nearly the same, they had no means either of improving or de|generating. They must, therefore, have always continued the same, whatever climate they chanced to occupy.
Page 193 With regard to their origin, I have no doubt, independent of theological considerations, but that it is the same with ours. The resemblance of the North American savages to the oriental Tartars, renders it probable, that they originally sprung from the same stock. The late discove|ries by the Russians of several lands and islands beyond Kamtschatka, which extend nearly as far as the west part of the Continent of Ameri|ca, leave no room to question the possibility of a communication, provided these discoveries were well attested, and the lands lay contiguous. But, even supposing considerable intervals of sea, is it not extremely probable that some had crossed these intervals in quest of new countries, or that they were thrown upon the American coasts by tempests? There is, perhaps, a greater interval of sea between the Marianne islands and Japan, than between any of the lands from Kamtschatka to America; and yet the Marianne islands were peopled with inhabitants who must have come from the eastern continent. I am, therefore, inclined to believe that the first men who arrived at America, landed on the north-west of Cali|fornia; that the extreme cold of this climate obliged them to migrate to the more southern parts of their new habitation; that they first settled at Mexico and Peru, from whence they again spread over the southern and northern re|gions of that continent; for Mexico and Peru must be considered as the oldest and first inha|bited Page 194 territories of America, because they are the most elevated, and the only countries where men were found in the form of regular societies. We may also presume that the inhabitants of Davis's Straits, and of the northern parts of La|brador, came originally from Greenland, which is only separated from America by this narrow strait; for, as I formerly remarked, the natives of Davis's Straits, and those of Greenland, have a perfect resemblance to each other. As to the manner in which Greenland was peopled, it is probable that the Laplanders would migrate from Cape-north, which is only 150 leagues from Greenland. Farther, as the island of Iceland is almost contiguous to Greenland, and is not very remote from the most northerly of the Orcades, it is probable that it has long been inhabited and frequented by the people of Europe; and that colonies had even been established in Greenland by the Danes. That white men, with fair hair, should have been found in Greenland, is not, therefore, surprising, as they derived their origin immediately from the Danes; and there is rea|son to think, that the white men along Davis's Straits proceeded from the European whites, who had been settled in Greenland, from which they might easily pass by traversing the narrow sea that forms this strait.
America is not less singular for the uniformi|ty in the figure and colour of its inhabitants, than Africa is remarkable for the variety of men Page 195 it contains. This part of the world is very an|tient, and it abounds with people. The climate is extremely hot; and yet the temperature of the air differs widely in different nations. Their manners also are not less various, as appears from the description given above. All these causes have concurred in producing a greater va|riety of men in this quarter of the globe than in any other: For, in examining the differences of temperatures in the countries of Africa, we find, that, in Barbary and all the regions adjacent to the Mediterranean, the men are white, and only a little tawny: This whole tract of coun|try is refreshed, on one hand, by the air of the Mediterranean sea, and by the snows on Mount Atlas, on the other: It is, besides, situated in the Temperate Zone, on this side of the Tropic. All the natives, likewise, from Egypt to the Canary islands, are only more or less tawny. Beyond the Tropic, and on the other side of Mount At|las, the heat becomes much greater, and the in|habitants are very brown, but not entirely black. But, when we come to the 17th or 18th degree of north latitude, under which Senegal and Nu|bia are situated, the heat is excessive, and the natives are perfectly black. At Senegal, the li|quor in the thermometer rises to 38 degrees, while it seldom rises to 30 in France, and never exceeds 25 in Peru, though it be situated under the Tor|rid Zone. In Nubia, we have no observations made with the thermometer: But all travellers Page 196 agree in declaring the heat to be excessive. The sandy desarts between Upper Egypt and Nubia heat the air to such a degree, that the north wind must be extremely scorching in that coun|try. Besides, as the east wind, which generally blows between the Tropics, arrives not at Nu|bia till after it has traversed Arabia, it is not sur|prising to find the natives very black: It is still Iefs surprising to see the inhabitants of Senegal perfectly black; for the east wind, before it reaches them, must blow over the whole of Afri|ca in its greatest breadth, which renders the heat of the air almost insupportable. Taking, there|fore, the whole of Africa situated between the Tropics, where the east wind blows most con|stantly, we may easily conceive why the west|ern coasts of this part of the globe should, and actually do suffer a greater degree of heat than the eastern coasts; for this wind arrives at the eastern coasts with a freshness which it acquires by traversing a vast sea; but, on the other hand, before it arrives at the western coasts, it acquires a scorching heat by blowing across the interior regions of Africa. It is for this reason that the coasts of Senegal, Sierra-Leona, Guiney, and all the western parts of Africa situated under the Tropics, are the hottest climates on the globe. It is not near so hot on the eastern coasts, as at Mosambique, Mombaza, &c. I cannot, there|fore, hesitate in ascribing to this reason the cause of our finding the true Negroes, or the blackest Page 197 men, on the western territories of Africa, and Caffres, or men of a less deep blackness, on the eastern coasts. The difference between these two kinds of blacks, which is very apparent, pro|ceeds from the heat of the climate, which is not very hot in the eastern parts, but excessive on the western. Beyond the Tropic on the south, the heat considerably diminishes, both on account of the higher latitude, and because the point of Africa begins to turn narrow; and this point of land, being surrounded by the sea, receives fresh|er breezes than if it had been in the midst of a continent. The natives also of this country be|gin to whiten, and are naturally more white than black, as was formerly remarked. Nothing can prove more clearly that the climate is the prin|cipal cause of the varieties of mankind, than this colour of the Hottentots, whose blackness could not be diminished but by the temperature of the climate.
We will be the more confirmed in this opi|nion, if we examine the other people who live under the Tropics, to the east of Africa. The inhabitants of the Maldiva islands, of Ceylon, of the point of the Indian Peninsula, of Sumatra, of Malacca, of Borneo, of Celebes, of the Phi|lippine islands, &c. are all very brown, without being absolutely black; because all these terri|tories are either islands or peninsula's. The sea, in these climates, has a great effect in tempering the air; and besides, the east and west winds, Page 198 which blow alternately in this part of the globe, pass over a vast extent of sea, before they arrive at this Archipelago. Thus all these islands are peopled with brown men, because the heat is not excessive. But, in New Guiney, we find blacks, who, from the descriptions of voyagers, appear to be real Negroes; because, in this country, which extends so far to the east as to form a kind of continent, the wind which traverses it is much hotter than that which prevails in the Indian ocean. In New Holland, which is not so hot a climate, the natives are less black, and very simi|lar to the Hottentots. Do not these Negroes and Hottentots, who live so remote from the o|ther people distinguished by that appellation, prove that their colour depends on the heat of the climate? No communication can ever be supposed to have taken place between Africa and this southern continent; and yet we find there the same species of men, because the same cir|cumstances concur in producing the same degree of heat. An example taken from the other ani|mals, will still farther confirm what has been ad|vanced. It has been remarked, that, in the pro|vince of Dauphiny, all the swine are black, but that, in Vivarais, on the other side of the Rhone, where it is colder than in Dauphiny, all these a|nimals are white. It is not probable that the in|habitants of one of these two provinces would agree to raise only black swine, and the other only white swine. It appears to me that this Page 199 phaenomenon is owing to the different tempera|ture of the climates, combined, perhaps, with the manner of feeding these animals.
The few blacks who are found in the Philip|pines, and some other islands of the Indian ocean, are probably derived from the Papous or Ne|groes of New Guiney, with which the Europeans have been acquainted only for these last 50 years. Dampier, in the 1700, discovered the most east|ern part of this country, to which he gave the name of New Britain; but its extent is still un|known; we only know that these parts of it which have been discovered, seem to be thinly inhabited.
Thus it appears, that the existence of Negroes is confined to those parts of the earth, where all the necessary circumstances concur in producing a constant and an excessive heat. This heat is so necessary, not only to the production, but even to the preservation of Negroes, that it has been remarked in our islands, where the heat, though great, is not comparable to that of Senegal, that the Negro infants are so liable to be affected by impressions from the air, that they are obliged to keep them, for the first nine days after birth, in close warm chambers. If these precautions be neglected, and the children exposed to the air immediately after birth, they are liable to be affected with a tetanus, or locked jaw, which proves fatal, because it deprives them of the power of taking nourishment. M. Littre, who Page 200 dissected a Negro in the year 1702, remarked, that the end of the glans, which was not cover|ed with the prepuce, was black, and that the part of it which was covered was perfectly white*. This observation demonstrates, that the air is necessary to produce the blackness of Negroes. Their children are born white, or rather red, like those of other men. But, two or three days after birth, their colour changes to a yellowish tawny, which grows gradually darker till the 7th or 8th day, when they are totally black. It is well known, that all children, two or three days after birth, are affected with a kind of jaun|dice, which, among white people, soon passes off and leaves no impression: But in Negroes, on the contrary, it gives an indelible colour to the skin, which becomes always more and more black. M. Kolbe remarks, that he has seen Hot|tentot children, who were born as white as the Europeans, become olive in consequence of this jaundice which spreads over the skin three or four days after birth, and never goes off. This jaundice, and the impression of the air, however, are only the occasional, and not the primary causes of blackness; for it has been observed, that the children of Negroes, as soon as they come into the world, have black genitals, and a black spot at the root of their nails. The action of the air, and the jaundice, may, perhaps, help to expand this colour; but it is certain, that the Page 201 rudiments of blackness are communicated to them by their parents; that, in whatever part of the world a Negro is brought forth, he will be equally black as if he had been born in his own country; and that, if there is any difference in the first generation, it is so small as not to be per|ceptible. This fact, however, implies not that the colour will continue the same after many successive generations. On the contrary, there are many reasons for presuming, that, as this co|lour is originally the effect of a long continued heat, it will be gradually effaced by the tempera|ture of a cold climate; and, consequently, that if a colony of Negroes were transplanted into a northern province, their descendants of the 8th, 10th, or 12th generation, would be much fairer, and perhaps as white as the natives of that cli|mate.
Anatomists have inquired into the seat of this black colour. Some of them alledge, that it neither resides in the skin nor scarf-skin, but in the cellular membrane between them*; that this membrane, after long maceration in hot water, retains its original blackness; but that the skin and scarf-skin appear to be as white as those of other men. Dr Town, and some others, have maintained, that the blood of the Negroes is black, and that their blackness originates entire|ly from their blood*. I am much inclined to Page 202 believe this fact; for I have observed, that, a|mong us, the blood of those persons who have tawny, yellowish, or brown complexions, is blacker than that of those who are fairer. M. Barrere, who seems to have examined this sub|ject most minutely*, tells us, and M. Winslow agrees with him*, that the scarf-skin of Ne|groes is black; and, though its extreme thinness and transparency may make it appear white, that it is really as black as the blackest horn, when reduced to the same degree of thinness. They also assure us, that the skin of the Negroes is of a reddish brown colour, approaching to black. This colour of the Negroes, according to Barrere, is produced by their bile, which he affirms, from several dissections he made in Ca|yenne, instead of yellow, to be as black as ink. The bile, when absorbed and dispersed through the body, tinges the skin of white people yel|low; and, if it were black, it would probably produce a black colour. But, as soon as the ef|fusion of the bile ceases, the skin resumes its na|tural whiteness. We must, therefore, suppose, that the bile of the Negroes is perpetually effused, or, as Barrere alledges, that it is so abundant as to be naturally secreted in the scarf-skin, and to tinge it of a black colour. Upon the whole, it is probable, that both the bile and blood of Ne|groes are browner than those of white people, as Page 203 their skin is likewise blacker. But one of these facts cannot be admitted to prove the cause of the other; for, if the blackness of the blood or bile be allowed to give the same colour to the skin, then, instead of demanding why the skin of Negroes is black, we ought to ask why their blood or their bile are of that colour? This spe|cies of false reasoning, in place of solving the question, renders it still more intricate. For my own part, it has always appeared to me, that the same cause which makes our complexions brown, after being exposed to the action of the air, and to the rays of the sun, which renders the Spaniards more brown than the French, and the Moors than the Spaniards, also renders the Negroes blacker than the Moors. Besides, I am not here inquiring how this cause acts; I only mean to ascertain that it does act, and that its effects are more perceptible in proportion to its strength and time of acting.
The heat of the climate is the chief cause of blackness among the human species. When this heat is excessive, as in Senegal and Guiney, the men are perfectly black; when it is a little less violent, the blackness is not so deep; when it becomes somewhat temperate, as in Barbary, Mogul, Arabia, &c. the men are only brown; and, lastly, when it is altogether temperate, as in Europe and Asia, the men are white. Some varieties, indeed, are produced by the mode of living. All the Tartars, for example, are taw|ny, Page 204 while the Europeans, who live under the same latitude, are white. This difference may safely be ascribed to the Tartars being always exposed to the air; to their having no cities or fixed habitations; to their sleeping constantly on the ground; and to their rough and savage man|ner of living. These circumstances are sufficient to render the Tartars more swarthy than the Europeans, who want nothing to make life ea|sy and comfortable. Why are the Chinese fair|er than the Tartars, though they resemble them in every feature? Because they are more polish|ed; because they live in towns, and practice eve|ry art to guard themselves against the injuries of the weather; while the Tartars are perpetu|ally exposed to the action of the sun and air.
But, when the cold becomes extreme, it pro|duces effects similar to those of violent heat. The Samoiedes, the Laplanders, and the natives of Greenland, are very tawny. We are even assured, that some of the Greenlanders are as black as the Africans. Here the two extremes approach each other: Great cold and great heat produce the same effect upon the skin, because each of these causes acts by a quality common to both; and this quality is the dryness of the air, which, per|haps, is equally great in extreme cold as in extreme heat. Both cold and heat dry the skin, and give it that tawny hue which we find among the Laplanders. Cold contracts all the productions of nature. The Laplanders, accordingly, who Page 205 are perpetually exposed to the rigours of frost, are the smallest of the human species. Nothing can afford a stronger example of the influence of climate than this race of Laplanders, who are situated, along the whole polar circle, in an ex|tensive zone, the breadth of which is limited by nothing but the excessive coldness; for that race totally disappears, whenever the climate becomes a little temperate.
The most temperate climate lies between the 40th and 50th degree of latitude, and it produ|ces the most handsome and beautiful men. It is from this climate that the ideas of the genu|ine colour of mankind, and of the various de|grees of beauty, ought to be derived. The two extremes are equally remote from truth and from beauty. The civilized countries, situated under this Zone, are Georgia, Circassia, the Ukraine, Turkey in Europe, Hungary, the south of Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France, and the northern part of Spain. The natives of these territories are the most handsome and most beautiful people in the world.
The climate may be regarded as the chief cause of the different colours of men. But food, though it has less influence upon colour, greatly affects the form of our bodies. Coarse, unwhole|some, and ill-prepared food, makes the human species degenerate. All those people who live miserably, are ugly and ill-made. Even in France, the country-people are not so beautiful Page 206 as those who live in towns; and I have often re|marked, that, in those villages where the people are richer and better fed than in others, the men are likewise more handsome and have better countenances. The air and the soil have great influence upon the figure of men, beasts, and plants. In the same province, the inhabitants of the elevated and hilly parts, are more active, nimble, handsome, ingenious, and beautiful, than those who live in the plains, where the air is thick and less pure. In France, it is impos|sible to perpetuate the race of Spanish or Barba|ry horses: They degenerate even in the first generation, and, in the third or fourth, unless the breed be crossed by the importation of fresh stallions, they become altogether French horses. The effects of climate and of food upon animals are so well known, that we need hardly mention them: And, though their operation is slower and less apparent upon men; yet, from analogy, we ought to conclude, that their effects are not less certain, and that they manifest themselves in all the varieties we find among the human species.
Upon the whole, every circumstance concurs in proving, that mankind are not composed of species essentially different from each other; that, on the contrary, there was originally but one species, who, after multiplying and spreading o|ver the whole surface of the earth, have under|gone various changes by the influence of climate, food, mode of living, epidemic diseases, and the Page 207 mixture of dissimilar individuals; that, at first, these changes were not so conspicuous, and pro|duced only individual varieties; that these va|rieties became afterwards specific, because they were rendered more general, more strongly marked, and more permanent, by the continual action of the same causes; that they are trans|mitted from generation to generation, as defor|mities or diseases pass from parents to children; and that, lastly, as they were originally produ|ced by a train of external and accidental causes, and have only been perpetuated by time and the constant operation of these causes, it is pro|bable that they will gradually disappear, or, at least, that they will differ from what they are at present, if the causes which produced them should cease, or if their operation should be va|ried by other circumstances and combinations.