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Title: The Human Race

Author: Louis Figuier

Release date: January 15, 2013 [eBook #41849]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Chris Curnow, Harry Lamé and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive)


Please see Transcriber’s Notes at the end of this document.


Members of the Red Race
P. Sellier, p.t Imp. Dupuy, 22, R. des Petits Hôtels G. Regamey, lith.








CHAPTER I.—Definition of Man—How he differs from other Animals—Origin of Man—In what parts of the Earth did he first appear?—Unity of Mankind, evidence in support—What is understood by species in Natural History—Man forms but one species, with its varieties or kinds—Classification of the Human Race 1
CHAPTER II.—General characteristics of the human race—Organic characteristics—Senses and the nervous system—Height—Skeleton—Cranium and face—Colour of the skin—Physiological functions—Intellectual characteristics—Properties of human intelligence—Languages and literature—Different states of society—Primitive industry—The two ages of prehistoric humanity 21





  CAFFRE FAMILY 495[viii]



14. —BADENERS 53
24. —THE BOLERO 91
37. —WALACHIAN 108
51. —OSTIAK HUT 130
77. —A LADY OF CAIRO 181
81. —BEYROUT 187
89. —GEORGIANS 202
91. —A LAPP CRADLE 209
92. —SAMOIEDES[xii] 210
102. —YAKUTS 225
103. —A YAKUT WOMAN 227
108. —A HAREM 241
109. —A HAREM SUPPER 243
117. —CHINESE LADY 259
129. —A CHINESE PLAY 289
130. —A CHINESE JUNK 291
138. —JAPANESE 304
148. —BURMESE LADY 326
153. —CAMBODIANS 331
155. —CHINESE GIRL 334
158. —AN AGED SIKH[xiv] 339
160. —SIR SALAR JUNG, K.S.I. 343
164. —PALANQUIN 352
165. —ABYSSINIAN 355
167. —A NOUER CHIEF 358
170. —MALAY 369
171. —JAVANESE 369
174. —DYAKS 377
175. —A DYAK HUT 379
186. —ARAUCANIAN 417
188. —PATAGONIAN 422
201. —BOTOCUDOS 451
213. —A SIOUX CHIEF 467
217. —A YUTE CHIEF 477
221. —A BUFFALO HUNT 483
224. —NAYA INDIANS 489
225. —A CROW CHIEF 491
226. —A CAFFRE 496
235. —NATIVE OF FIJI 521
236. —NATIVE OF FIJI 522
238. —A FIJIAN DANCE 525





Definition of Man—How he differs from other Animals—Origin of Man—In what parts of the Earth did he first appear?—Unity of Mankind, evidence in support—What is understood by species in Natural History—Man forms but one species, with its varieties or kinds—Classification of the Human Race.

What is man? A profound thinker, Cardinal de Bonald, has said: “Man is an intelligence assisted by organs.” We would fain adopt this definition, which brings into relief the true attribute of man, intelligence, were it not defective in drawing no sufficient distinction between man and the brute. It is a fact that animals are intelligent and that their intelligence is assisted by organs. But their intelligence is infinitely inferior to that of man. It does not extend beyond the necessities of attack and defence, the power of seeking food, and a small number of affections or passions, whose very limited scope merely extends to material wants. With man, on the other hand, intelligence is of a high order, although its range is limited, and it is often arrested, powerless and mute, before the problems itself proposes. In bodily formation, man is an animal, he lives in a material envelope, of which the structure is that of the Mammalia; but he far surpasses the animal in the extent of his intellectual faculties. The definition of man must therefore establish this relation which animals bear to ourselves, and indicate, if possible, the degree which separates them. For this reason we shall define man: an organized, intelligent being, endowed with the faculty of abstraction.

To give beyond this a perfectly satisfactory definition of man is[2] impossible: first, because, a definition, being but the expression of a theory, which rarely commands universal assent, is liable to be rejected with the theory itself; and secondly, because a perfectly accurate definition supposes an absolute knowledge of the subject, of which absolute knowledge our understanding is incapable. It has been well said that a correct definition can be furnished by none but divine power. Nothing is more true than this, and were we able to give of our own species a definition rigorously correct, we should indeed possess absolute knowledge.

The trouble we have to define aright the being about to form the subject of our investigation is but a forecast of the difficulties we shall meet when we endeavour to reason upon and to classify man. He who ventures to fathom the problems of human nature, physical, intellectual or moral, is arrested at every step. Each moment he must confess his powerlessness to solve the questions which arise, and at times is forced to content himself with merely suggesting them. This can be explained. Man is the last link of visible creation; with him closes the series of living beings which we are permitted to contemplate. Beyond him there extends, in a world hidden from our view, a train of beings of a new order, endowed with faculties superior and inaccessible to our comprehension, mysterious phalanxes, whose place of abode even is unknown to us, and who, after us, form the next step in the infinite progression of living creatures by whom the universe is peopled. Situate, as he is, on the confines of this unknown world, on the very threshold of this domain, which his eye, if not his thoughts may not penetrate, man shares to some extent the attributes belonging to those beings who follow him in the economy of nature. Doubtless, it is this which makes it so difficult for us to comprehend the actual essence of man, his destiny, his origin and his end.

These reflections have been called for in order to supply an explanation of the frequent admissions of helplessness which we shall be obliged to make in this cursory Introduction, when we investigate the origin of man, the period of his first appearance on the globe, the unity or division of our species, the classification of the human race, &c. If to many of these questions we reply with doubt and uncertainty, the reader must not lay the blame at the feet of science, but must search for the cause in the impenetrable laws of nature.


And first, whence comes man? Wherefore does he exist? To this we can make no reply, the problem is beyond the reach of human thought. But we may at least enquire, since this question has been largely debated by the learned, whether man was at once constituted such as he is, or whether he originally existed in some other animal form, which has been modified in its anatomical structure by time and circumstances. In other words, is it true, as has been pretended by various of our contemporaries, that man is the result of the organic improvement of a particular race of apes, which race forms a link between the apes with which we are familiar and the first man?

We have already treated and discussed this question more fully in the volume which preceded this. We have shown, in “Primitive Man,” that man is not derived, by a process of organic transformation, from any animal, and that he includes the ape not more than the whale among his ancestry; but that he is the product of a special creation.

Nevertheless, whether its creation be special or the result of modification, the human species has not always existed. There is, then, a first cause for its production. What is this? Here is again a problem which surpasses our understanding. Let us say, my readers, that the creation of the human species was an act of God, that man is one of the children of the great arbiter of the universe, and we shall have given to this question the only response which can content at once our feelings and our reason.

But let us summon questions more accessible to our comprehension, with which the mind is more at ease, and upon which science can exercise its functions. To what period should we refer the first appearance of man upon the globe? In “Primitive Man” we have answered this question as far as it can be. We have considered the opinion of some writers who carry the first appearance of man as far back as the tertiary period. Rejecting this date on account of the insufficiency of the evidence produced, we, in common with most naturalists, have admitted, that man appeared for the first time upon our globe at the commencement of the quaternary period, that is to say, before the geological phenomenon of the deluge and previous to the glacial period which preceded this great terrestrial cataclysm. To fix the birth of man in the tertiary period would be to travel out of facts now[4] within the ken of science, and to substitute for observation, conjecture and hypothesis.

By saying that man appeared for the first time upon the globe at the commencement of the quaternary period, we establish the fact, which is agreeable to the cosmogony of Moses, that man was formed after the other animals, and that by his advent he crowned the edifice of animal creation.

At the quaternary period almost all the animals of our time had already seen the light, and a certain number of animal species existed, which were shortly to disappear. When man was created, the mammoth, the great bear, the cave tiger, and the cervus megaceros, animals more bulky, more robust and more agile than the corresponding species of our time, filled the forests and peopled the plains. The first men were therefore contemporary with the woolly elephant, the cave bear and tiger; they had to contend with these savage phalanxes, as formidable in their number as their strength. Nevertheless, in obedience to the laws of nature, these animals were to disappear from the globe and give place to smaller or different species, whilst man, persisting in the opposite direction, increased and multiplied, as the Scripture has said, and gradually spread into all inhabitable countries, taking possession of his empire which daily increased with the progress of his intelligence.

In “Primitive Man” we have given the history of the first steps of humanity.

We have traced the origin and progress of civilization, from the moment when man was cast, feeble, wretched and naked, in the midst of a hostile and savage brute population, to the day when his power, resting upon a firm basis, changed little by little the face of the inhabited earth.

We shall not refer to this at greater length, since in “Primitive Man” we have treated it fully, and in unison with the actual discoveries of science. But there is a very different problem to the solution of which we shall apply ourselves in the following pages. Did man see the light at any one spot of the earth, and at that alone, and is it possible to indicate the region which was, so to say, the cradle of humanity? Or, are we to believe that, in the first instance, man appeared in several places at the same time? That he was created and has always remained in the very localities he now inhabits? That the Negro was born in the[5]
burning regions of Central Africa, the Laplander or the Mongolian in the cold regions to which he is now confined?



To this question a satisfactory reply can be given by reference to facts furnished by natural history. But in seeking a triumph for our opinion we shall have to combat the arguments of a hostile doctrine. As we said in the early part of this Introduction, we must ever be prepared to encounter difficulties, to dissipate uncertainties, and to vie with other theories in each point of the history of humanity which we may seek to fathom.

There is a school of philosophers who assert that man was manifold in his creation, that each type of humanity originated in the region to which it is now attached, and that it was not emigration followed by the action of climate, circumstances, and customs which gave birth to the different races of man.

This opinion has been upheld in a work by M. Georges Pouchet, son of the well-known naturalist of Rouen. But, one has only to read his essay upon la pluralité des races humaines, to be convinced that the author, like others of his school, as ardent in demolition as powerless in construction, having chosen to act the easy part of a critic, exhibits unprecedented weakness when called upon to supply a system in the place of that he contradicts.

If there existed several centres of human creation, they should be indicated, and it should be shown that the men who dwell there now-a-days have never been connected with other populations. M. Georges Pouchet preserves prudent silence upon this question; he avoids defining the locus of any one of these supposed multiple creations. Such a faulty argument speaks volumes for the doctrine.

We, on our part, think that man had on the globe one centre of creation, that, fixed in the first instance in a particular region, he has radiated in every direction from that point, and by his wanderings coupled with the rapid multiplication of his descendants, he has ultimately peopled all the inhabitable regions of the earth.

In order to demonstrate the truth of this proposition, we will examine what takes place in connection with other organized beings, that is to say, with animals and plants, and then apply this class of facts to man: this is observation and induction, the only logical process to which we can here resort.





And what do botanical and zoological geography teach? They show us that plants and animals have each their native locality, from which they but seldom depart, and that it would be impossible to cite any plant or animal which lives indifferently in all countries of the globe, without having been transported thither by human industry. The earth is, so to speak, divided into a certain number of zones, which have their particular vegetable and animal life. These are so many natural provinces, all of small extent, which represent veritable centres of creation. The cedar, peculiar to the mountains of Lebanon, existed in this region alone before it was transported to other climates; and the coffee-plant had grown only in Arabia, before it was acclimatized in South America. We could quote the names of many vegetables whose natural abode is very sharply defined, but these instances are sufficient to exemplify the general rule of which we treat.

We need hardly say that animals, like plants, are attached to various localities which they rarely quit with impunity, since they have not the faculty of acclimatizing themselves at will. The elephant lives only in India and in certain parts of Africa; the hippopotamus and giraffe in other countries of the same continent; monkeys exist in very few portions of the globe, and if we consider their different species, we shall find that the place of abode of each species is very limited. For instance, of the larger apes, the orang-outang is found only in Borneo and Sumatra, and the gorilla in a small corner of Western Africa. Had man originated in all those places where now his different races are found, he would stand alone as an exception among organized beings.

Reasoning then by induction, that is, applying to man all that we observe to obtain generally among beings living on the surface of the globe, we come to the conclusion that the human species, in common with every vegetable or animal species, had but one centre of creation.

Can we now extend our investigation and determine the particular spot of the earth whence man first came? It is probable that man first saw the day on the plains of Central Asia, and that it was from this point that by degrees he spread over the whole earth. We shall proceed to state the facts which support this opinion.


Around the central tableland of Asia, are found the three organic and fundamental types of man, that is to say, the white, the yellow, and the black. The black type has been somewhat scattered, although it is still found in the south of Japan, in the Malay Peninsula, in the Andaman Isles, and in the Philippines, at Formosa. The yellow type forms a large portion of the actual population of Asia, and it is well-known whence came those white hordes that invaded Europe at times prehistoric and in more recent ages; those conquerors belonged to the Aryan or Persian race, and they came from Central Asia. We shall see later on, that the different languages of the globe resolve themselves into three fundamental forms: monosyllabic languages, in which each word contains but one syllable; agglutinative languages, in which the words are connected; and inflected languages, which are the same as those spoken in Europe. Now, those three general forms of language are, at the present day, to be met with around the central tableland of Asia. The monosyllabic language is spoken throughout China and in the different states connected with that empire. The agglutinative languages are spoken to the north of this plain, and extend as far as Europe. And, lastly, inflected languages are found in all that portion of Asia which is occupied by the white race.

Around the central tableland of Asia, we thus find not only the three fundamental types of the human species, but the three types of human speech. Does not this, therefore, afford ground for presumption, if not actual proof, that man first appeared in this very region which Scripture assigns as the birthplace of the human race?

It is from this central tableland of Asia, radiating so to say, around this point of origin, that Man has progressively occupied every part of the earth.

Migration commenced at a very early period, the facility with which our species becomes habituated to every climate and accommodates itself to variations of temperature, taken in connection with the nomadic character which distinguished primitive populations, explains to us the displacement of the earlier inhabitants of the earth. Soon, means of navigation, although rude, were added to the power of travelling by land, and man passed from the continent to distant islands, and thus peopled the archipelagos as well as the mainland. By means of transport,[10] effected in canoes formed from the trunks of trees barely hollowed out, the archipelagos of the Indian Ocean, and finally Australia, were gradually peopled.

The American continent formed no exception to this law of the invasion of the globe by the emigration of human phalanxes. It is a matter of no great difficulty to pass from Asia to America, across Behring’s Straits, which are almost always covered with ice, thus permitting of almost a dry passage from one continent to the other. Thus it is that the inhabitants of Northern Asia have found their way into the north of the New World.

This communication of one terrestrial hemisphere with the other is less surprising when we consider what modern historical works have shown, namely, that already about the tenth century, which would be nearly 400 years before Christopher Columbus, navigators from the coast of Norway had penetrated to the other hemisphere. The inhabitants of Mexico and Chili possess most authentic historical archives, which prove that a most advanced civilization flourished there at an early period. Gigantic monuments which still remain, bear witness to the great antiquity of the civilization of the Incas (Peru) and of the Aztecs (Mexico). It is reasonable to suppose that the inhabitants of America, who thus advanced at a rapid pace in the path of civilization, descended from the hordes of Northern Asia which reached the New World by traversing the ice of Behring’s Straits.

To explain, therefore, the presence of man upon all parts of the continent, and in the islands, it is not necessary to insist upon the existence of several centres, where our species was created. If popular traditions went to show that all the regions now inhabited have always been occupied by the same people, and that those who are found there have constantly lived in the same places, there might be reason to admit the hypothesis of multiple creations of the human race; but, on the contrary, traditions for the most part teach us that each country has been peopled progressively by means of conquest or emigration. Tradition shows that the nomadic state of existence has universally preceded fixed settlements. It is, therefore, probable that the first men were constantly on the move. A flood of barbarians, coming from central Asia, overflowed the Roman Empire, and the Vandals penetrated even into Africa. Modern migrations have been conducted on a still vaster scale, for at the present day we find America almost[11] wholly occupied by Europeans; English, Spanish and other people of the Latin race fill the vast American hemisphere, and the primitive populations of the New World have almost entirely disappeared, annihilated by the iron yoke of the conqueror.

The continent of Asia was peopled little by little by branches of the Aryan race, who came down from the plains of Central Asia, directing their course towards India. As to Africa: that continent received its contingent of population through the Isthmus of Suez, the valley of the Nile, and the coasts of Arabia, by the aid of navigation.

There is therefore nothing to show that humanity had several distinct nuclei. It is clear that man started from one point alone, and that through his power of adapting himself to the most different climates, he has, little by little, covered the whole face of the inhabitable earth.

The Bible proclaimed, long before the studies of modern anthropologists made it known, this principle of the unity of the human species. In like manner as the Bible opposed its monotheistic cosmogony to the different cosmogonies of oriental or pagan antiquity, in like manner it opposes to the erroneous dogmas of the religions and philosophies of antiquity, this doctrine sublime and simple in itself, that man, the last child of creation, rules it as its appointed head and by his moral power. Holy Writ, indeed, says to us: “God has created the whole human race of one flesh.”[1]

[1] St. Paul at the Areopagus of Athens. Acts of the Apostles, chap. xvii. v. 26.

There is another problem. Did the white, the yellow, and the black man exist from the first moment of the appearance of our species upon the globe, or have we to explain the formation of these three fundamental races by the action of climate, by any special form of nourishment, the result of local resources; in other words, by the action of the soil, if we may use the expression of a conscientious author, M. Trémaux?[2]

[2] Origine et transformation de l’homme et des autres êtres. 1 vol. in 18. Paris, 1865.

Innumerable dissertations have been written with a view of explaining the origin of these three races, and of connecting them with the climate or the soil. But it must be admitted that the problem is hardly capable of solution. The influence which a warm climate exercises upon the colour of the skin is a well known fact, and it is a matter of common observation that the white[12] European, if transported into the heart of Africa, or carried to the coast of Guinea, transmits to his descendants the brown colour which the skin of the Negro possesses, and that in their turn the offspring of Negroes, who have been brought into northern countries, become as they descend, paler and paler and end by being white. But the colour of the skin is not the only characteristic of a race; the Negro differs from the white, less by the colour of his skin, than by the structure of the face and cranium, as also by the proportion of his members to one another. Is it not, moreover, a fact that the hottest countries are inhabited by people with white skins? Such for instance are the Touaricks of the African Sahara, and the Fellahs of Egypt. On the other hand, men with black faces are found in countries enjoying a mean temperature, as for instance, the inhabitants of California on the coast of the Pacific Ocean.

Let us conclude that science is unable to explain to us the difference which exists between the different types of the human species, that neither the temperature nor the action of the soil furnish an explanation of this fact, and that we must limit ourselves to noting it, without further comment, in spite of the mania which prompts the savants of our day in a desire to explain everything.

We have now another question to consider. Should these white, yellow, or black men, to whom we must add, as we shall see later on, those who are brown and red, all of whom differ one from another in the colour of their skin, in height, in their physiognomy, and in their outward appearance, be grouped into different species, or are we to regard them merely as varieties of species—that is to say, races? To fully understand this question and to form a judgment of what will result from it, we must ascertain what is understood in natural history by the word species, and by the word race or variety of species. We will therefore commence by explaining the meaning of species in zoology.

The hare and the rabbit, the horse and the ass, the dog and the wolf, the stag and the reindeer, &c., are not likely to be taken one for another. Yet how greatly do dogs differ among themselves in size, in colour, and in their proportions. What a difference there is between the mastiff and the Pyrenean dog! The same observation applies to horses. How different we find in size and outward appearance the large Normandy horse, the[13] London dray horse, or the omnibus horse of Paris, and the small Corsican or Shetland horses which we can carry in our arms! And yet no one is mistaken in them: whether he differ in size, or in the colour of his hair, we always recognise a horse, and never mistake him for an ass; in the mastiff as well as in the bulldog, we shall always recognise a dog. However greatly a rabbit may vary in size and colour, it will never be taken for a hare. The Breton cow, slight and frail, is nevertheless as much a cow in the eyes of a farmer, and the rest of the world, as a full-sized Durham. The same reflection applies with equal force to birds. The turkey which exists in the wild state in America, certainly differs very much from the black or white turkey acclimatized in Europe; but there is no mistake that both of them are turkeys, and nothing else.

The vegetable kingdom will furnish us with similar facts. Take, for instance, the cotton plant on its native soil in America, and you will find that it differs from the cotton plant cultivated in Africa and Asia. The coffee plant of the South American plantations is not similar to the same shrub which exists in Arabia, whence it came in the first instance. Wheat varies with latitude to a most extraordinary extent, &c. The cotton plant, however, is always the cotton plant, whatever be the soil upon which it grows; the coffee plant and wheat are always the same vegetables, and one is not liable to be deceived in them. The action of climate and soil upon vegetables, these same causes taken in connection with nutrition upon animals, and finally the mixture which has taken place between different individuals, explain all these differences, which affect the external appearance, but not the type itself.

We mean by species, when applied either to animals or vegetables, the fundamental type, and by variety or race the different beings which result from the influence of climate, of nutriment, and of mixture with individuals of the same species. The species dog gives birth to the varieties or races known under the names of bull-dog, spaniel, mastiff, &c. The species horse gives birth to the races or varieties known under the names of the Arabian, English, Normandy, Corsican, &c. The species turkey produces the varieties known as the wild turkey, the black and the white turkey. In the vegetable kingdom, the cotton plant species produces the American and the Indian cotton; the[14] bramble produces the innumerable varieties which are known to us as rose-trees.

But, the reader will say, how are we to distinguish race from species, and does there exist any practical means of deciding whether the animal under consideration belongs to a species or a race? We reply that such a means does exist, which enables us to speak with certainty in every case. It is of importance that this should be made known in order that every one may test it for himself.

Take the two animals in question, unite them, and if that connexion of the sexes results in the production of another individual, capable of reproduction, this will indicate race or variety. If, however, the union of the two individuals is unproductive, or the offspring is itself barren, this will indicate two individuals of different species.

In spite of observations and experiments made in the course of many thousand years, reproduction has never been procured by mixture of a rabbit with a hare, a wolf with a dog, a sheep with a goat. It is true that hybrids are obtained between the horse and she-ass, and between the ass and the mare, but it is well known that the individuals produced by this mixture, namely, the quadrupeds termed mules, are barren animals, incapable of reproduction with one another.

This rule is not confined to the animal kingdom, but it obtains also among vegetables. You can obtain artificial production from a pear tree by applying, with suitable precautions, the pollen of the flowers of one pear tree to the stamens of those of another. Fruit will be formed, and the seed which that produces will in its turn be productive. But if you attempt to perform the same operation between a pear tree and an apple tree, you will obtain no result whatever. This, again, is the practical method which enables botanists to distinguish varieties from species. The test of artificial fecundation between one plant and another, which it is desired to distinguish as regards their species, serves to solve the difficulties which are met in attempting to determine the position of a plant in botanical classification.

The word species therefore is not a fictitious term, a conventional expression invented by the learned to designate the classifications of living beings. A species is a group arranged by Nature herself. Fruitfulness or barrenness in the products of the[15] mixture are the characteristics which Nature attaches to variety or to species; those groups therefore appear to us as though they had a substantial foundation in the laws which govern living beings, and we do but render in speech what we observe in Nature.

When, moreover, we reflect, we easily understand that if Nature had not instituted species the most complete disorder would have reigned throughout living creation. By intermixture the animal kingdom would have been overrun by mongrels who would have confused every type, thus permitting of no discernment in this crowd of incoherent products. The whole animal kingdom would have been given over to inextricable confusion. In like manner, if plants had been capable of infinite variety through the mixture of different species, brought about by the industry of man, or by the effect of the wind bearing through the air the fertilizing pollen, there would be nought but trouble and disorder among the vegetable population of the globe.

Species therefore has a necessary, providential, and fixed existence. Impossibility of union is the distinctive qualification which nature assigns to this group of living beings. Reproduction is possible only between members of the same species, and the differences produced in their offspring by the soil, nutriment and surrounding circumstances, determine what we call race, or variety.

The principle which we have just enunciated, will in its application to man enable us to decide whether the individuals that people the globe, belong to different species of men, or simply to races or varieties; in other words, whether the human species is unique, and whether the different human types known to us, the white, black, yellow, brown and red-man, belong or not to races of the human species.

The reply to this question will doubtless have been anticipated. If we apply the rule stated above, all men that inhabit the globe belong to one and the same species, since it is a fact that men and women, whatever be their colour, can marry, and their offspring is always reproductive. The Negro and white female by their union produce mulattoes; mulattoes and mulattresses are reproductive, as are also their descendants—marriages between members of the red or brown races are fruitful, and, what is more, the fecundity of the descendants of mongrels is superior to that of men and women of the same colour.


Unless, therefore, we regard men as a solitary exception among all living beings, unless we withdraw them from the operation of the universal laws of nature, we must come to the conclusion that they do but form a certain number of races of one and the same species, and all descend from one primitive unique species.

Men are brothers in blood: this principle of universal fraternity imposed by nature, may be placed side by side with the corresponding maxim suggested by the moral sense.

Those who deny the unity of the human species, polygenists, or supporters of the plurality of human kind, base their arguments in favour of there being more than one species, upon the assertion that the distinction between the Negro and the white man is too great to permit of their possibly being classed together. But, between the lap-dog and the mastiff, the wild and tame rabbit, the spaniel and the greyhound, or the Shetland and Russian horse, there is a much greater difference than exists between the Negro and the white man. We are unable to state exactly, or to explain with any degree of accuracy, how it is that man, as he was first created, has given birth to races so widely different as the white, black, yellow, brown, and red which people the earth at the present day. We can but furnish a general explanation of what we see in the widely varying conditions of existence, and in the opposite character of the media through which man, for ages past, has dragged his existence, frequently with much difficulty and uncertainty. If the dog, the horse, the rabbit, and the turkey, through the agency of human industry applied to them during a period of scarcely two thousand years, have given birth to so many varieties, how much more would man, whose appearance upon the globe is of such antiquity that we cannot assign to it even approximatively a date—man, whose fate it has been to pass through so many different climates, such various physical and social positions, expect to see his own type become modified and transformed? We should, with more reason, feel surprised at finding that the differences between one variety and another are not much wider than they appear to be.

In order to avoid this argument, there remains to the supporters of the plurality of human kind no alternative but to regard man as an exception in nature; to assert that he has laws[17] peculiar to himself, and that the principles which pervade the life of plants and animals can in no way apply to him. But man, who is an organized and living being, and is furnished with a body that differs but little from that of any mammiferous animal, is, so far as concerns his organization, subject to the universal laws of nature, and that of intermixture among the rest. It is therefore impossible to admit the question of exception raised by those who deny the unity of the human species.

The principle that the human species is one, and what follows as a natural conclusion, namely, that all men who inhabit the earth are but races or varieties of this one species, will, therefore, appear to the reader to be satisfactorily established.

These different races which originate in one species, the primitive type having been modified by the operation of climate, food, soil, intermixture and local customs, differ, it must be admitted, to a marvellous extent, in their outward appearance, colour and physiognomy. The differences are so great, the extremes so marked and the transitions so gradual, that it is well-nigh impossible to distribute the human species into really natural groups from a scientific point of view, that is to say, groups founded upon organic characteristics. The classification of the human races has always been the stumbling block of anthropology, and up to the present time the difficulty remains almost undiminished.

A cursory examination of the various classifications which have been brought forward by the most important of those who have essayed the task will make this truth apparent to all.

Buffon, in his chapter upon man; a work which we can always read again with admiration and advantage, contents himself with bringing forward the three fundamental types of the human species which have been known from the first under the names of the white, black and yellow race. But these three types in themselves do not exemplify every human physiognomy. The ancient inhabitants of America, commonly known as the Red-Skins, are entirely overlooked in this classification, and the distinction between the Negro and the white man cannot always be easily pointed out, for in Africa the Abyssinians, the Egyptians, and many others, in America the Californians, and in Asia the Hindoos, Malays and Javanese are neither white nor black.


Blumenbach, the most profound anthropologist of the last century, and author of the first actual treatise upon the natural history of man, distinguished in his Latin work, De Homine, five races of men, the Caucasian, Mongolian, Ethiopian, Malay and American. Another anthropologist, Prochaska, adopted the divisions pointed out by Blumenbach, but united under the name of the white race, Blumenbach’s Caucasian and Mongolian groups, and added the Hindoo race.

The eloquent naturalist Lacépède, in his Histoire naturelle de l’Homme, added to the races admitted by Blumenbach the hyperborean race, comprising the inhabitants of the northern portion of the globe in either continent.

Cuvier fell back upon Buffon’s division, admitting only the white, black and yellow races, from which he simply derived the Malay and American races.

A naturalist of renown, Virey, author of l’Histoire naturelle du Genre humain, l’Histoire naturelle de la Femme, and of many other clever productions upon natural history and particularly anthropology, gave much attention to the classification of the human races. But he was not favourable to the unity of our species, being led to entertain the opinion that the human species was twofold. This was the starting point of an erroneous deviation in the ideas of naturalists who wrote after Virey. We find Bory de Saint Vincent admitting as many as fifteen species of men, and another naturalist, Desmoulins, doubtless influenced by a feeling of emulation, distinguished sixteen human species, which, moreover, were not the same as those admitted by Bory de Saint Vincent.

This course of classification might have been followed to a much greater extent, for the differences among men are so great, that if strict rule is not adhered to, it is impossible to fix any limit to species. Unless therefore the principle of unity has been fully conceded at starting, the investigation may result in the admission of a truly indefinite quantity.

This is the principle which pervades the writings of the most learned of all the anthropologists of our age, Dr. Pritchard, author of a Natural History of Man, which in the original text formed ten volumes, but of which the French language possesses but a very incomplete translation.

Dr. Pritchard holds that all people of the earth belong to the[19] same species; he is a partisan of the unity of the human species, but is not satisfied with any of the classifications already proposed, and which were founded upon organic characteristics. He, in fact, entirely alters the aspect of the ordinary classifications which are to be met with in natural history. He commences by pointing out three families, which, he asserts, were in history the first human occupants of the earth: namely the Aryan, Semitic, and Egyptian. Having described these three families, Pritchard passes to the people who, as he says, radiated in various directions from the regions inhabited by them, and proceeded to occupy the entire globe.

This mode of classification, as we have pointed out, leaves the beaten track trodden by other natural historians. For this reason it has not found favour among modern anthropologists, and this disfavour has reacted upon the work itself, which, notwithstanding, is the most complete and exact of all that we possess upon man. Although it has been adopted by no other author, Pritchard’s classification of the human race appears to us to be the most sound in principle.

M. de Quatrefages, in his course of anthropology at the Museum of Natural History, Paris, makes a classification of the human race based upon the three types, white, yellow and black; but he appends to each of these three groups, under the head of mixed races attached to each stem, a number of races more or less considerable and arbitrary which were excluded from the three chief divisions.

The classification of M. de Quatrefages will be found in his Rapport sur les progrès de l’Anthropologie, published in 1867.[3] It is extremely learned and well worked out, but a classification which entirely passes by the simple mode of reasoning we shall adopt in the following pages.

[3] In 4º forming part of the Rapports sur les progrès des Sciences et des Lettres en France, published under the auspices of the Minister of Public Instruction.

The classification of the human race which we propose to follow, modifying it where in our opinion it may appear to be necessary, is due to a Belgian naturalist, M. d’Omalius d’Halloy. It acknowledges five races of men: the white, black, yellow, brown and red.

This classification is based upon the colour of the skin, a characteristic very secondary in importance to that of organization,[20] but which yet furnishes a convenient framework for an exact and methodical enumeration of the inhabitants of the globe, permitting a clear consideration of a most confused subject. In the groups, therefore, which we shall propose, the reader will fail to find a truly scientific classification, but will meet with merely such a simple distribution of materials, as shall permit us to review methodically the various races spread over every portion of the Earth’s surface.



General characteristics of the human race—Organic characteristics—Senses and the nervous system—Height—Skeleton—Cranium and face—Colour of the skin—Physiological functions—Intellectual characteristics—Properties of human intelligence—Languages and literature—Different states of society—Primitive industry—The two ages of prehistoric humanity.

Before entering upon a minute description of each of the human races, we shall find it well to lay before the reader a generalization of the characteristics which are common to all.

Since man is an intelligent being, living in an organized frame, our attention has to be directed to the consideration of his organs and intellect, that is, in the first place, we must investigate the physical, in the second, the intellectual and moral elements of his constitution.

The physical characteristics bear but secondary importance among those of the human race. Man is a spirit which shines within the body of an animal, and the only difficulty is to ascertain in what manner the organism of the mammalia is modified in order to become that of man; to compare the harmony of this organism with the object in view, namely the exercise of human intellect and thought. We shall see that the organs of the mammalia are greatly modified in the human subject, becoming, either on account of their individual excellence or the harmony of their combination, greatly superior to the associations of the same organs among animals.

Let us first consider the brain and organs of sense. When we examine the form and relative size of the brain in ascending the series of mammiferous animals, we find that this organ increases in volume, and progresses, so to say, toward the superior characteristics which it is to display in the human species. Disregarding certain exceptions, for the existence of which we cannot account, but which in no way alter the general rule, the[22] brain increases in importance from the zoophyte to the ape. But, in comparing the brain of the ape with that of man, an important difference becomes at once apparent. The brain of the gorilla, orang-outang, or chimpanzee, which are the apes that bear the greatest resemblance to man, and which for that reason are designated anthropomorphous apes, is very much smaller than that of man. The cerebral lobes in man are much longer than in the anthropomorphous apes, and their vertical measure is out of all proportion with the height of the cerebral lobes in apes; this is what produces the noble frontal curve, one of the characteristic features of the human physiognomy. The cerebral lobes are connected behind with a third nervous mass called the cerebellum. The large volume of these three lobes, the depth and number of convolutions of the encephalic mass, and other anatomical details of the brain, upon which we are unable here to treat at greater length, place the brain of man very far above that of the animal nearest to him in the zoological scale. These differences bear witness in favour of man to an unparalleled intellectual development, and we should be better able to measure these differences, were we able to show in what the cerebral action consists, but this we are utterly unable to do.

The senses, taken individually, are not more developed in man than they are in certain animals; but in man they are characterised by their harmony, their perfect equilibrium, and their admirable appropriation to a common end. Man, it will at once be admitted, is not so keen of sight as the eagle, nor so subtle of hearing as the hare, nor does he possess the wonderful scent of the dog. His skin is far from being as fine and impressionable as that which covers the wing of a bat. But, while among animals, one sense always predominates to the disadvantage of the rest, and the individual is thus forced to adopt a mode of existence which works hand in hand with the development of this sense, with man, all the senses possess almost equal delicacy, and the harmony of their association makes up for what may be wanting in individual power. Again, the senses of animals are employed only in satisfying material necessities, while in man, they assist in the exercise of eminent faculties whose development they further.

Let us consider shortly in detail our senses.

Man is certainly better off, as regards the sense of sight, than[23] a large majority of animals. Instead of being placed upon different sides of his head, looking in opposite directions, and receiving two images which cannot possibly be alike, his eyes are directed forwards, and regard similar objects, by which means the impression is doubled. The sense of sight thus brings to his conceptions a complete image and solid idea of what surrounds him; it is his most useful sense, the more so when it is guided in its application by a clear intellect.

The sense of touch in man reaches a degree of perfection which it does not attain in animals. How marvellous is the sense of touch when exercised by applying the extremities of the fingers, the part of the body the best suited to this function, and how much more wonderful is the organ called the hand, which applies itself in so admirable a manner to the most different surfaces whose extent, form, or qualities, we wish to ascertain!

A modern philosopher has attributed to the hand alone our intellectual superiority. This was going too far. We find enthusiasm allied with justice in the views expressed in the excellent pages which Galen has consecrated to a description of the hand, in his immortal work De usu partium.

“Man alone,” says Galen, “is furnished with hands, as he alone is a participator in wisdom. The hand is a most marvellous instrument, and one most admirably adapted to his nature. Remove his hand, and man can no longer exist. By its means he is prepared for defence or attack, for peace or war. What need has he of horns or talons? With his hand, he grasps the sword and lance, he fashions iron and steel. Whilst with horns, teeth and talons, animals can only attack or defend at close quarters, man is able to project from afar the instruments with which he is armed. Shot from his hand, the feathered arrow reaches at a great distance the heart of an enemy, or stops the flight of a passing bird. Although man is less agile than the horse and the deer, yet he mounts the horse, guides him, and thus successfully hunts the deer. He is naked and feeble, yet his hand procures him a covering of iron and steel. His body is unprotected against the inclemencies of climate, yet his hand finds him a convenient abode, and furnishes him with clothing. By the use of his hand, he gains dominion and mastery over all that lives upon the earth, in the air, or in the depths of the sea. From the flute and lyre with which he amuses[24] his leisure, to the terrible instruments by means of which he deals death around him, and to the vessel which bears him, a daring seaman, upon the bosom of the deep—all is the work of his hand.

“Would man without hands have been able to write out the laws which govern him, or raise to the gods statues and altars? Without hands could he bequeath to posterity the fruit of his labours, and the memory of his deeds? Could he (had man been created handless) converse with Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and the different great men, children of bygone ages? The hand is then the physical characteristic of man, in like manner as intelligence is his moral characteristic.”

Galen, having shown in this chapter the general formation of the hand and the special disposition of the organs which compose it; having described the articulations and bones, the muscles and tendons of the fingers; and having analyzed the mechanism of the different movements of the hand, cries, full of admiration for this marvellous structure:

“In presence of the hand, this marvellous instrument, cannot we well treat with contempt the opinion of those philosophers who saw in the human body merely the result of a fortuitous concourse of atoms! Does not everything in our organization most clearly give the lie to this false doctrine? Who will dare to invoke chance in explanation of this admirable disposition? No, it is no blind power that has given birth to all these marvels. Do you know among men a genius capable of conceiving and executing so perfect a work? There exists not such a workman. This sublime organization is the creation of a superior intelligence, of which the intellect of man is but a poor terrestrial reflection. Let others offer to the Deity reeking hecatombs, let them sing hymns in honour of the gods; my hymn of praise shall be the study and the exposition of the marvels of the human frame!”

The sense of hearing, without attaining in man the perfection which it reaches in certain animals, is nevertheless of great delicacy, and becomes an infinite resource of instruction and pure enjoyment. Not only are differences of intonation, intensity, and timbre, recognised by our ear, but the most delicate shades of rhythm and tone, the relations of simultaneous and successive sounds which give the sentiment of melody and harmony, are appreciated, and furnish us with the first and most natural of the arts—music. Thus the perfection and delicacy of our senses,[25] which permit of our grasping faint and slightly varying impressions, the harmony of these senses themselves, their perfect equilibrium, their capability of improvement by exercise, place us at a considerable distance above the animal.

Let us now pass to the bony portion of the human body, and consider first of all the head. The head is shared by two regions, the cranium and the face. The predominance of either of these regions over the other, depends upon the development of the organs which belong to each.

The cranium contains the cerebral mass, that is, the seat of the intellect; the face is occupied by the organs appertaining to the principal senses. In animals, the face greatly exceeds the cranium in extent; the reverse is, however, the case with man. It is but rarely that with him the face assumes importance at the expense of the cranium—in other words, that the jaws become elongated, and give to the human face the aspect of a brute.

We find in works upon anthropology some expressions which call for an explanation here; they are frequently employed, since they enable us to express by a single term the relation which exists between the dimensions of any particular skull. The term dolichocephalous (from the Greek δολιχος, long, κεφαλη, head,) is applied to a cranium which is elongated from front to rear, or, to express the idea numerically, the cranium whose longitudinal diameter bears to its vertical diameter the proportion of 100 to 68. A short cranium is styled brachycephalous (from βραχυς, short, κεφαλη, head,) which term is applied when the relation between the longitudinal and vertical diameters is 100 to 80.

The attribute of length or shortness of the cranium is of less importance than is generally believed. All Negroes, it is true, are dolichocephalous; but it must not be supposed from this that the production backwards of the cranium is an indication of inferiority; since in the white race, heads are sometimes very long and sometimes very short. The North Germans are dolichocephalous; those inhabiting Central Germany being brachycephalous. This characteristic cannot therefore be regarded as a criterion of intellectual excellence.

There is in the human face an anatomical characteristic of greater importance than any taken from the elongation of the cranium; that is, the projection forwards, or the uprightness of[26] the jaws. The term prognathism (from προ, forward, and γναθος, jaw,) is applied to this jutting forward of the teeth and jaws, and orthognathism (from ορθος, straight, γναθος, jaw,) to the latter arrangement.

It was long admitted that prognathism, or projection of the jaws, was peculiar to the Negro race. But this opinion has been forced to yield to the discovery, that projecting jaws exist among people in no way connected with the Negro. In the midst of white populations this characteristic is frequently met with; it is occasionally found among the English, and is by no means rare at Paris, especially among women. Prognathism would appear to be characteristic of a small European race dwelling to the south of the Baltic Sea, the Esthonians, and which itself is but the residue of the primitive Mongolian race to which we have alluded in our work, “Primitive Man,” as being the first race which, according to M. Pruner-Bey, peopled the globe. It is probably the mixture of Esthonian blood with that of the inhabitants of Central Europe, which causes the appearance in our large cities of individuals whose faces are prognathous.

We cannot close our remarks upon the face without speaking of a curious relation between it and the cranium, which has been much abused; we allude to the facial angle. By facial angle is meant the angle which results from the union of two lines, one of which touches the forehead, the other of which, drawn from the orifice of the ear, meets the former line at the extremity of the front teeth.

The Dutch anatomist Camper, after having compared Greek and Roman statues, or medals of either nationality, assumed that the cause of the intellectual superiority which distinguished Greek from Roman physiognomies was to be found in the fact, that, with the Greeks, the facial angle is larger than in Roman heads. Starting with this observation, Camper pursued his enquiries until it occurred to him to advance the theory that the increase of the facial angle may be taken in the human race as a sign of superior intelligence.

This observation was correct, insomuch as it separated men from apes, and carrion birds from other birds. But its application to different varieties of men, as a measure of their various degrees of intelligence, was a pretension doomed to be sacrificed to future investigations. Dr. Jacquart, assistant-naturalist in the Museum[27] of Natural History at Paris, calling to his aid an instrument he invented, by which the facial angle is rapidly measured, has, in our day, made numerous studies of the facial angle of human beings. M. Jacquart found that this angle cannot be taken as a measure of intelligence, for he observed it to be a right angle in individuals, who, with respect to intelligence, were in no way superior to others whose facial angle was much smaller. M. Jacquart went so far as to show, that, in the population of Paris alone, the facial angle varies between much wider proportions than those imposed by Camper as characteristic limits of human varieties.

The measure of the facial angle, therefore, is far from bearing the importance which has long been ascribed to it; but this does not go to prevent its application, with advantage, in ordinary cases, when races of men are required to be distinguished from one another.

Erect carriage is another of the characteristics which distinguish the human species from all other animals, including the ape, by whom this position is but rarely assumed, and then accidentally and unnaturally.

Everything in the human skeleton is calculated to ensure a vertical posture. In the first place, the head articulates with the vertebral column at a point so situated that, when this vertebral column is erect, the head, by means of its own weight, remains supported in equilibrium. Besides this, the shape of the head, the direction of the face, the position of the eyes, and the form of the nostrils, all require that man should walk erect on two feet.

If our body were intended to assume a horizontal position, everything connected with it would be out of place: the crown of the head would be the most advanced part, and this would operate most detrimentally to the exercise of sight; the eyes would be directed toward the earth; the nostrils would open backward; the forehead and the face would be beneath the head. Moreover, the whole muscular system and all the tendons are, in man, auxiliary to erect posture, without mentioning the curves which occur in the vertebral column, and the exceptional formation of the limbs, &c.

J. J. Rousseau was, therefore, very far from right, when he contended that man was born to go on all fours.


The height of men, as well as the colour of their skin, are characteristics which must not be overlooked, since they are of importance as distinctive attributes of different races.

And first, with regard to height, the differences which this incident may present in the human species have been greatly exaggerated. Much allowance must be made in admitting what has been written with respect to dwarfs, and what has been alleged concerning giants. The Greeks believed in the existence of a people they called Pygmies, but whose place of abode they always omitted to point out. These were very small people, who were entirely hidden from view when they entered a field of standing wheat, and who passed much of their time in resisting the attacks of Cranes. The same fable was revived in more modern times, with reference to a people supposed to live in the island of Madagascar, who were styled Kymes. But Pygmies and Kymes are equally fabulous.

Antiquity tells us of giants, but without forming them into a separate race. It is rather in modern times that the existence of races of human giants has been put forward. In the sixteenth century, when Magellan had doubled Cape Horn and discovered the Pacific Ocean, a companion of this navigator, Pigafetta, gave an altogether extraordinary description of the Patagonians, or inhabitants of the Tierra del Fuego. He made giants of them. One of his successors, Leaya, adding yet more to the height of the Patagonians, assigned to these men a stature of from three to four metres.

Modern travellers have reduced to accurate proportions the exaggerated statements of ancient navigators. The French naturalist Alcide d’Orbigny actually measured a large number of Patagonians, and found that their height, on an average, was about 1m.73.

This, then, is about the limit of the height which is reached by the human species.

With reference to the extreme of smallness we are able to arrive at this by referring to the Bushmen who inhabit Southern Africa. An English traveller, Barrow, measured all the members of a tribe of Bushmen, and found that their average height was 1m.31.

The human species, therefore, varies in height to the extent of [29]about 0m.42, that is to say, the difference between the height of the Patagonians and that of the Bushmen. It is well to make this observation whilst we are upon this subject, since the supporters of the theory of a plurality of human races have invoked these differences in height in support of the multiplicity of the races of humanity. It is clear that, among animals, races vary in height to a much greater extent than they do with man; there is, by comparison, a much greater difference in size between a mastiff and a dog of the Pyrenees, than there is between a Bushman and a Patagonian.

As regards the colour of the skin of the human race, we find it necessary to say a few words, since we propose to take this as the basis of our classification.

The colour of the skin is a very convenient characteristic to fix upon in order to identify the various races, since this quality is peculiarly adapted to suggest itself through the eye. Its scientific importance must, however, by no means be exaggerated. Certain individuals, though they be members of the White or Caucasian Race, may yet be very darkly tinted. Arabs are often of a brown colour, which nearly approaches black, and yet they possess the finest marks of the White or Caucasian Race. The Abyssinians, although very brown, are not black. The American Indians, whom we rank as members of the Red Race, often have dark brown or almost black skins. Among members of the White Race in northern latitudes, especially women, the skin has often a yellowish tint. We must add that the colour of the skin is often difficult to fix, since the shades of colour merge into one another. All this must be said in order to show how difficult it is to form natural groups of the innumerable types of our species.

It would be for us now to speak of the physiological characteristics of the human race; but our consideration of this subject will be limited to a few words, since the condition of physiological functions is almost identical among all men, whatever be their race.

There is, nevertheless, an important difference, well worthy of note, presented by the nervous system when we compare the two extremes of humanity, namely, the Negro and the white European. In the white man, the nervous centres, that is the brain and spinal cord, are of much greater volume than they are in the Negro. In the latter the expansions from these nervous[30] centres, that is, the nerves properly so called, have relatively a greater volume.

A similar difference, quite on a par with this, exists in the circulatory system. In the white man, the arterial system is more developed than the venous; the reverse is the case with the Negro. Lastly, the blood of the Negro is more viscous, and of a deeper red than that of the white man.

With the exception of these general differences, the great physiological functions proceed in the same manner among all races of men. The differences are not remarked except when secondary functions are compared, but these differences then assume proportions of some consideration.

Climate, customs, and habits are the causes of these variations in the secondary functions, which at times become so similar as to permit of confusion in the most opposite races. Let a member of the white race be thrown into the midst of wild Indians, become a prisoner of the red-skins, and share their warlike existence in the midst of forests, we shall see that the sense of sight, as also that of hearing, will attain in this individual the same perfection which they enjoy in his new companions. It is by virtue of the prodigious flexibility of our organism, and of our powers of imitation and assimilation, that the physiological functions of secondary importance become capable of such modification.

The intellectual and moral characteristics are those which take the lead in man. Not only are we unable to pass them over in silence in the general study of the human race, but much more importance must be assigned to them than to mere corporeal characteristics. If the naturalist, when he studies an animal, makes a point, when he has described his structure and organism, of considering his habits and manner of life, how much more should he, when treating of man, dwell upon his intellectual faculties, the stamp which so truly identifies our species.

Man makes use of language as the means of expressing his intelligence. If man is provided with the power of speech, which he has in common with no other animal, it is owing to the fact that in him intelligence is infinitely more developed than in the animal. It is through the simultaneous concurrence of all his senses that the faculty of speech is manifested in man; and the proof of this is, that through the absence of one of his senses, he loses this faculty. What is meant by a person born dumb? It is[31] an individual similar in all respects to speaking man, but differing from him in this, that he came into the world perfectly deaf. The primary absence of the power of hearing has paralysed the child’s intelligence with special reference to his imitative faculty, and in fact, the person called deaf and dumb is originally simply a person born deaf.

Language, then, is but the expression of the highest intelligence. “Animals have a voice,” says Aristotle, “but man alone speaks.” Nothing can be truer than this statement of the immortal Greek philosopher.

It is well known how the languages and dialects spoken in the world have multiplied; and, indeed, nothing is more difficult than to classify all the languages and dialects that exist. This difficulty becomes more insurmountable when we consider that languages vary in course of time to a very considerable extent. The French of Rabelais and Montaigne, who wrote at the time of the Renaissance, is not very intelligible to us, and that of French chroniclers at the time of St. Louis can only be understood by studying it specially and with a dictionary. Modern Italians read Dante with great difficulty, and the same may be said for the English as regards their great writer Shakespeare. Languages then alter very rapidly, even though the people themselves remain stationary. The alterations are much more serious and rapid when two peoples amalgamate.

These considerations are sufficient to convey an idea of the problem which scholars have propounded in wishing to ascertain the language of primitive humanity. It may be said that such a problem is incapable of solution. We must therefore despair of finding the mother tongue, and limit ourselves to those which are her offspring.

Upon a comparison of these last, it has been decided to assign to three fundamental groups all the languages which have been, and are still, spoken on the earth; these are, as we have already said, monosyllabic, agglutinative and inflected languages.

Chinese is the most decided example of a monosyllabic language. Each word comprises but one syllable, and has an absolute meaning in itself. Recourse must be had to the complicated combination of a quantity of utterances in order to impress all modifications of thought, all distinctions of time, place, person, condition, &c. One marvels to hear that the Chinese language[32] comprehends such an immense number of words, that the life of a single man of letters is not sufficiently long to allow of his learning all. This apparent wealth is but the most utter poverty. This language, whose vocabulary is infinite, is simply detestable. To its imperfection must be attributed the smallness of the progress which the people of Asia have made in the direction of intelligence and commerce.

Agglutinative languages, which are spoken by Negroes, as also by many people of the yellow race, are the first degree of perfection in human speech. In these the word is no longer unique; variable terminations attached to each word modify the primitive expression. They contain roots and words whose function it is to modify these roots.

The third and last degree of perfection in human speech is found in inflected languages. Those languages are so called, in which the same word is capable of modification a great number of times, in order to express the different shades of thought, and to translate changes of time, person, or place. Inflected languages are made up of a series of different terms, the number of which is by no means large, but the modification of which, by means of adjuncts, or through the position they occupy, are indeed innumerable. All European languages, and those spoken in Asia by people of the white race, are inflected.

If spoken language is the first element which served to constitute human societies, fixed, that is written language, has been the fundamental cause of their progress. By means of writing, one generation has been enabled to hand down to the other the fruits of their experience and investigation, and thus to lay the foundation of primitive science and history.

The first forms of writing were mere mnemonic signs. Stones cut to a certain fashion, pieces of wood to which a conventional form had been imparted, and such like, were the first signs of written language. One of the most curious forms of mnemonic writing has been met with both in the Old and New Worlds; it consisted in joining little bundles of cord of different colours, in which were tied knots of various kinds. Whoever ties a knot in his handkerchief in order to recall to mind some fact or intention, makes use, without knowing it, of the primitive form of writing.

An advance in writing consisted in representing pictorially[33] objects which it was wished to designate. The wild Indians of North America still make use of these rough representations of objects, as a means of imparting certain information.

This very system is rendered more complete, when the design is supplemented by a conventional idea. If prudence is indicated by a serpent, strength by a lion, and lightness by a bird, we here at once recognize writing properly so called. This last form of writing is known as the symbolical or ideographic.

Symbolical writing existed among the ancients. The hieroglyphics which are engraved upon the monuments of ancient Egypt, and those which have been found upon Mexican remains, belong to symbolical writing.

And yet this is not writing in the true sense of the word, which does not exist until the conventional signs, of which use is made, correspond with the words or signs of the language spoken, and can actually replace the language itself.

By the alphabet, is meant the collection of conventional signs corresponding to the sounds which form words. The alphabet is one of those inventions which have called for the greatest efforts of the human mind, and it is not without good reason that Greek mythology deified Cadmus, the inventor of letters. The same admiration for the inventors of alphabets is, moreover, exhibited among all ancient nations.

It is not only through its immense superiority as regards extent and power, that the intelligence of man is distinguished from that of the brute; there is an attribute of intelligence which is strictly peculiar to our species. This is the faculty of abstraction, which permits of our collecting and placing together the perceptions of the mind, by that means arriving at general results. It is through this power of abstraction, that our intellect has created the wonders which are familiar to all; that the arts and sciences have been brought to light and fostered by society.

In connection with the faculty of abstraction, we must allude to the moral sense, which is a deduction from that same property. The moral sense is a special attribute of human intelligence, and it may be said that through this attribute, man’s intellect is distinguished from that of animals; for this characteristic is most truly peculiar to the mind of man, and is nowhere found among animals.


Among all people, and at all times, the difference between good and evil, truth and falsehood, has been recognized. The abstract idea of moral good and moral evil may certainly differ in different people: one may admire, what the other detests; in one nation, that, may be held in good repute, which, in another, is a criminal offence; yet, after all, the abstract notion of evil and good, does not cease to exist. Observance of the right of property, self-respect, and regard for human life, are to be found among all nationalities. If man, in his savage state, occasionally casts aside these moral notions, it is in consequence of the social condition of the tribe to which he belongs, and must be regarded in connexion with the customs of war and the feeling of revenge. But, in a state of tranquillity and peace, which condition the philosopher and student must presuppose in framing their arguments, the notion of evil and good is always to be found. The forms which the feeling of honour dictates, vary for example in the white man and the savage, but the feeling itself is never eradicated from the heart of any.

The religious feeling, the notion of divinity, is another characteristic which has its origin in the faculty of abstraction. This sentiment is indissolubly allied to human intelligence. Without wishing, with an eminent French anthropologist, M. de Quatrefages, to make of religiosity a fundamental attribute of humanity, and a natural characteristic of our species, we may say that all men are religious, that they acknowledge and adore a Creator, a Supreme God. Whether the statement that certain people, such as the Australians, Bushmen, and Polynesians, are atheists, as we are assured by some travellers, and whether the reproaches bestowed upon them in consequence of this, are well-founded, or whether it is the fact that the travellers who bore this testimony understood but little of the language and signs of these different people, as has been suggested by M. de Quatrefages, are matters of relatively slight importance. The state of brutality of certain tribes, buried in the midst of inaccessible and savage countries, and the intellectual imperfection which follows, concealing from them the notion of God, are nothing when compared with the universality of religious belief which stirs in the hearts of the innumerable populations spread over the face of the earth.

Language and writing gave birth to human associations, and[35] later on, to civilization, by which they were transformed. It is curious to follow out the progressive forms of human association, and point out the stages which civilization has passed through in its forward march.

Primitive societies assumed three successive forms. Men were in the first instance, hunters and fishers, then herdsmen, and lastly husbandmen. We say, populations were first of all hunters and fishers. The human race then inhabiting the earth, was but small in number, and this explains it. A group of men gaining their livelihood simply by hunting and fishing, cannot be composed of a very large number of individuals. A vast extent of territory is required to nourish a population, which finds in game and fish its sole means of subsistence. Moreover, this manner of living is always precarious, for there never is any certainty that food will be found for the morrow. This continual preoccupation in seeking the means of subsistence, brings man nearer to the brute, and hinders him from exercising his intellect upon ennobling and more useful subjects. Hunting is, moreover, the image of warfare, and war may very easily arise between neighbouring populations who get their living in the same manner. If in these eventual collisions, prisoners are taken, they are sacrificed in order that there may be no additional mouths to feed.

So long, therefore, as human societies were composed only of hunters and fishers, they were unable to make any intellectual progress, and their customs, of necessity remained barbarous. The death of prisoners was the order of battle.

Societies of herdsmen succeeded those of hunters and fishers. Man having domesticated first the dog, then the ox, the horse, the sheep or the llama, by that means ensured his livelihood for the morrow, and was enabled to turn his attention to other matters besides the quest of food. We therefore see pastoral societies advancing in the way of progress, by the improvement of their dress, their weapons, and their habitations.

But pastoral communities have also need of large tracts of country, for their herds rapidly exhaust the herbage in one region, and they must therefore seek farther for pastures, in order that they may be sure of their food, when that is confined to flesh and milk. Pastoral populations were therefore of necessity nomadic.


In their reciprocal migrations, pastoral tribes frequently came into collision, and found it necessary to dispute by armed force the possession of the soil. War ensued. Since the prisoners taken could be maintained with comparative ease by the conqueror on condition of their lending assistance, they were forced to become slaves, and it is thus that the sad condition of slavery, which was later on to extend in so aggravated a degree as to develop into a social grievance, had its origin.

The third form of society was realized as soon as man turned his attention to agriculture, that is, when he began to make plants and herbage, artificially produced, an abundant and certain source of nourishment.

Agriculture affords man certain leisure time and tends to soften his manners and customs. If war breaks out, its episodes are less cruel in themselves. The captive can, without actually being reduced to slavery, be added to the number of those who labour in the fields, and in return for a consideration contribute to the wellbeing of the tribe. The Serf here takes the place of the slave; a form of society, composed of masters and different degrees of servants, becomes definitely organized.

Agricultural people, being relieved from the preoccupations of material existence, are enabled to foster their intelligence, which becomes rapidly more abundant. It is thus that civilization first took root in human society.

These then are the three stages, which, in all countries, mankind have of necessity passed through before becoming civilized. The progress from one stage to the next has varied in rapidity in proportion to circumstances of time and place, and of the country or hemisphere. Nations, whom we find at the present day but little advanced in civilization, were on the other hand originally superior to other nations we may point to. The Chinese were civilized long before the inhabitants of Europe. They were building superb monuments, were engaged in the cultivation of the mulberry, were rearing silkworms, manufacturing porcelain, &c., at the very time when our ancestors, the Celts and Aryans, clothed in the skins of wild beasts, and tattooed, were living in the woods in the condition of hunters. The Babylonians were occupied with the study of astronomy, and were calculating the orbits of the stars two thousand years before Christ; for the astronomical registers brought by Alexander the Great[37] from Babylon, refer back to celestial observations extending over more than ten centuries. Egyptian civilization dates back to at least four thousand years before Christ, as is proved by the magnificent statue of Gheffrel, which belongs to that period, and which, since it is composed of granite, can only have been cut by the aid of iron and steel tools, in themselves indicators of an advanced form of industry.

This last consideration should make us feel modest. It shows that nations whom we now crush by our intellectual superiority, the Chinese and Egyptians, perhaps also the old inhabitants of Mexico and Peru, were once far before us in the path of civilization.

It is quite clear that manufactures have tended to hasten the progress of civilization. It is well worthy of remark that, according as the matter composing the material of these manufactures has undergone transformation, so the condition of society has progressed. Two mineral substances were the objects of primitive manufactures: stone and metal. Civilization was rough-hewn by instruments made of stone, and has been finished by those composed of metal. Modern naturalists and archæologists are therefore perfectly right in dividing the history of primitive man into two ages: the stone age, and the metal age.

In our work “Primitive Man,” we have followed step by step the course and oscillations of the primitive manufactures of different peoples. We have first seen that man being without any other instrument of attack or defence save his nails and teeth, or a stick, made use of stones, and formed them into arms and tools. We then saw that he made himself master of fire, of which he alone understands the use. We then saw him, with the aid of fire, supply the heat which in cold climates the sun denied, create during the night artificial light, and add to the insufficiency of his form of diet, not to speak of the numerous advantages which his industry enabled him to gain by the application of heat.

As man progressed, the instrument formed merely of stone trimmed to shape no longer sufficed him; he polished it, and even commenced to adorn it with drawings and symbols. Thus the arts found their origin.

Metals succeeded stone, and by their use a complete revolution was effected in human societies. The tool composed of bronze[38] enabled work to be done, which was out of the question when the agent was stone. Later on iron made its appearance, and from that time industry progressed with giant strides.

We have no occasion here to revert to the history of the development of the industry of man in prehistoric times. We shall confine ourselves to pointing out that this part of our subject is treated at full length in our work on “Primitive Man.”

To summarize what we have said: if man, in his bodily formation, is an animal, in the exalted range of his intellect, he is Nature’s lord. Although we show that in him phenomena present themselves similar to those which we encounter in vegetables and plants, yet we see him by his superior faculties, extend afar his empire, and reign supreme over all that is around him, the mineral as well as the organized world. The faculties which properly belong to human intelligence and distinguish man from the brute, namely, the abstractive faculties, make him the privileged being of creation, and justify him in his pride, for, besides the physical power which he is able to exert on matter, he alone has the notion of duty and the knowledge of the existence of a God.

After these general considerations we proceed to the description of the different races of men.

We have said that we shall adopt in this work the classification proposed by M. d’Omalius d’Halloy, modifying it to meet our own views. We shall therefore describe in their order:

  1. The White Race.
  2. The Yellow Race.
  3. The Brown Race.
  4. The Red Race.
  5. The Black Race.

We would call special observation to the fact that these epithets must not always be taken in an absolute sense. The meaning they intend to convey is that each of the groups we establish is composed of men, who considered as a whole, are more white, yellow, brown, red, or black, than those of other races. The reader must therefore not be surprised to find in any[39] given race men whose colour does not agree with the epithet which we here employ in order to characterize them. In addition to that, these groups are not founded solely upon the colour of the skin; they are derived from the consideration of other characteristics, and, above all, from the languages spoken by the people in question.



This race was called by Cuvier the Caucasian, since that writer assigned to the mountains of the Caucasus the first origin of man. It is now frequently known as the Aryan race, from the name formerly bestowed upon the inhabitants of Persia. The Caucasian or Aryan race is admittedly the original stock of our species, and it would seem that from the region of the Caucasus, or the Persian shores of the Caspian Sea, this race has spread into different parts of the earth, peopling progressively the entire globe.

The beautiful oval form of the head is a mark which distinguishes the Caucasian or Aryan race of men from all others. The nose is large and straight: the aperture of the mouth moderate in size, enclosed by delicate lips; the teeth are arranged vertically: the eyes are large, wide open, and surmounted by curved brows. The forehead is advanced, and the face well proportioned: the hair is glossy, long, and abundant. This race it is from which have proceeded the most civilized nations, those who have most usually become rulers of others.

We shall divide the White Race into three branches, corresponding to peoples who at the first successively developed themselves in the north-west, the south-east, and north-east of the Caucasus. These branches are the European, Aramean, and Persian. This classification is based upon geographical and linguistic considerations. M. d’Omalius d’Halloy admits a fourth branch, the Scythian, which we reject, since the people which it comprises belong more properly to the Yellow Race or to the Aramean branch of the White Race.

Members of the White Race
P. Sellier, p.t Imp. Dupuy, 22, R. des Petits Hôtels G. Regamey, lith.



What we have just said with regard to the civilization and power of the white race applies with most force to the peoples who form the European branch.

Proceeding upon considerations grounded chiefly upon language, we distinguish among the peoples forming the European branch, three great families: the Teutonic, Latin and Slavonic, to which must be added a smaller family, the Greek.

Although great differences exist between the languages spoken by the peoples composing these four families, these languages are all in some manner connected with Sanskrit, that is the language used in the ancient sacred books of the Hindus. The analogy of European languages with Sanskrit, added to the antiquity evidenced by the historical records of many Asiatic nations, and notably of the Hindus, brings us to the admission that Europeans first came from Asia.

Teutonic Family.

The people comprised in the Teutonic family are those who possess in the highest degree the attributes of the white race. Their complexion, which is clearer than that of any other people, does not appear susceptible of becoming brown, even after a long residence in warm climates. Their eyes are generally blue, their hair is blond; they are of a good height and possess well proportioned limbs.

From the very earliest times recorded in history, these people have occupied Scandinavia, Denmark, Germany and a portion of France. They have also developed themselves in the British[42] Isles, in Italy, Spain, and the north of Africa: but in these last named countries they have eventually become mixed with people belonging to other families. What is more, these same people form at the present day the most important part of the white population of America and Oceanica, and have reduced into subjection a large portion of Southern Asia.

We shall divide the Teutonic family into three leading groups: the Scandinavians, Germans, and English.



Scandinavians.—The Scandinavians have preserved almost unaltered the typical characteristics of the Teutonic family. Their intelligence is far advanced, and instruction has been spread among them to such an extent, that they have given a strong impulse to scientific progress. The ancient poems of the Scandinavians, which go back as far as the eighth century, are celebrated in the history of European literature.

The Scandinavians comprise three very distinct populations: the Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes. To this group must be[43] added the small population of Iceland, since the language spoken by them is most similar of all to the ancient Scandinavian.

The Feroë Isles are also inhabited by Scandinavians, and many Swedes are also met with on the coasts of Finland. But in other countries, to which in former times the Scandinavians extended their conquests, they have, in general, mingled with the peoples they subjected.



The Icelanders are of middle height and only of moderate physical power. They are honest, faithful, and hospitable, and extremely fond of their native country. Their productions are small in extent, as they understand little more than the manufacture of coarse stuff and the preparation of leather.

We give here some types of these people.

Fig. 3 is a wake of the peasants.


The Norwegians are robust, active, of great endurance, simple, hospitable, and benevolent.

In Norway few differences are found in the manners and customs of the different classes of society. Customs here are truly democratic, the peasant plays the chief part in the affairs of the country. The popular diet dictates its will to the government.



M. de Saint Blaise in his work, Voyage dans les Etats Scandinaves, describes the Norwegian as a rough and moody but reliable character. One thing which struck him was the absence of sociability between the two sexes. They marry usually before attaining twenty-five years of age, when the woman devotes herself entirely to her husband and household affairs.

When the two sexes meet at meals, they separate immediately the repast is at an end. The result of this is a too familiar manner, an absence of constraint among the men, and a neglect[45] in the dress of the women which contrasts strongly with their natural grace.



In figures 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, we give types of the inhabitants of Norway.


The Danes (the old Jutes or Goths) are a people proud of their race, and full of valour and stubbornness. The men are tall and strong; the women slender and active. Their hair is blond, their eyes are blue, and their complexion ruddy. The children are fresh and rosy, the old men lithesome and erect in their walk. Their voices are good and vigorous, they speak in an energetic manner. We encounter in Denmark a strange mixture of democratic and feudal customs: perpetual entails are contrasted with laws whose object is equality. The working classes have an ardent desire to possess land in their own right.



There are in Denmark three classes of peasantry: those who possess both house and garden, those who possess merely a house, and those who only rent apartments. The first of these furnish their board with rich plate and utensils; their wives and children go to work in the fields decorated with rings and bracelets.

The people therefore enjoy a considerable amount of comfort. Add to this a general degree of instruction, which extends even to the peasant’s cottage, and which embraces notions of agriculture, geography, history and arithmetic. The civilization of[47] Denmark is, therefore, very considerable, and certainly greater than that of France, England, Spain, and Italy.

Drunkenness is rarely met with in Denmark, and marriage is considered sacred.

The marriages of the Fionian peasants last seven days. They dance and make merry three days before and three days after that on which the marriage takes place. The ceremony is performed amid a flourish of trumpets. The bridegroom is elegantly dressed, the bride still more so; she wears, moreover, a kind of diadem in which flowers are seen mingling with gold.



Germans.—When wandering as nomadic tribes in the woods, that is, at the time of the Roman Empire, the ancient inhabitants of Germany much resembled their neighbours, the Gauls. They were men of large stature and vigorous frame, with white skins. Their hair, however, was usually red, while among the Gauls the ruling colour was blond. Their head was large, with a broad forehead and blue eyes. But the modern descendants of the old[48] inhabitants of Germany have undergone many modifications, which would render it difficult at the present day, to find, in the greater portion of that country, general characteristics based upon the structure of the head, and the colour of the eyes or hair.

The modern inhabitants of Germany, the Germans, occupy a very large portion of Germany proper and of Eastern Prussia, as well as a broad band of country to the right of the Rhine. They are found also in different parts of Hungary, Poland, Russia, and North America. The Germans of the East and South having mixed much with the peoples of Southern Europe, do not represent exclusively the Teutonic type; some of them are met with who have brown hair and black eyes.



We give in the accompanying illustrations (figs. 9 to 14) some types and costumes of the inhabitants of Germany proper (Baden, Würtemberg, Suabia and Bavaria). The national costumes of Alsace are also shown.

We shall borrow from a work, published in 1860 under the title “Les Races Humaines et leur Part dans la Civilisation,” by Dr.[49] Clavel, an interesting description of the customs of modern Germany:

“Impinging, at its south-western frontier, upon the Latin world, at its south-eastern frontier, upon the Slavonian world, and at its northern frontier, upon Scandinavia, Germany,” says Dr. Clavel, “does not admit of any very distinct definition. Throughout the whole periphery of this country there exists no identity either of customs, language, or religion. Its provinces on the frontiers of Denmark are half Scandinavian; those bordering on Russia or Turkey are half Slavonic; those which are neighbours of Italy or France are half Latin: the provinces which together represent the frontiers of Germany, form a zone more mixed and various than is possessed by the frontiers of any other nationality.

“It is only toward the centre of the country that we find in all its purity the blond Germanic type, the feudal organization and the numerous principalities which are its consequences. It is here that we find the conditions of climate which appear to produce this race with blue eyes, red and white complexion, tall figures, and full, powerful frames.

“Whilst the Latin, glorying in the light of heaven, enlarges his windows, builds open terraces, and clears his forests that he may plant vineyards in their stead; the German loves above all things shade and mystic retreats. He hides his house in the midst of trees, limits his windows in size, and lines his streets with leafy elms; he reveres, nay, almost worships his old oak trees, endows them with soul and language, and makes of them the abode of a Divinity.

“In order thoroughly to enter into the German genius, we must wander among the paths of their old forests, observe and analyze carefully the effects of light and shade, springing up in ubiquitous confusion, intersecting confined and narrow perspectives, lending isolated objects a brightness vividly contrasting with the neighbouring obscurity, changing even the appearance of the face in their alternations, and forming dark backgrounds, illuminated by prismatic tints and glowing sunbeams. Pausing beneath the venerable trees, we must listen to sounds, re-echoed a thousand times, then dying away among the thickets, to give place to the rustling of aspen leaves, to the sighing of the firs, or to the harmonious murmurs of rivulets which force their way amid the flags and water-lilies. We must inhale[50] the air scented with the pungent odour of fallen leaves, or the exhilarating scent of the wild cherry blossom. It is only then that we come to appreciate the love of nature and the druidical tone which pervade German literature; we understand Goethe’s passion for natural history; the poem of Faust becomes full of meaning; a feeling of melancholy creeps over the mind and leads us to the contemplation of things that are soft, sad, mysterious, fantastic, irregular, and original.



“Being brought thus in contact with nature, the German is natural and primitive; he sympathizes with the world’s infancy. He easily goes back to the past and the consideration of olden times; but it is not in him to anticipate the future, and he regards progress with distaste. If he advances towards equality and unity, it is the ideal of the Latins which impels him. There is in him a resistance which forms part of his patient and cold nature. His movements are sluggish. His language is hardly formed. His literature, overflowing with imagination, is wanting in elegance and purity, it is not ripe enough for prose and unfit to form a book.


“The plastic arts of Germany also possess the simplicity and variety which are produced by imagination; but they are wanting in proportion, in purity of style and elegance; they are capable of arranging neither lines nor colours; their productions often verge on the grotesque, or are marked by heaviness or pedantry, and they clearly are not the work of children of the sun.

“The Germans possess an ear which appreciates sound in a wonderful manner, and reduces with ease to melody the fleeting impressions of the Soul.

“. . . . He who possesses a strong and enduring constitution brings to his means of action energy of will. His projects are neither frivolously conceived, nor abandoned without good reason, and they are often followed out in spite of a thousand obstacles. This patient and continuous activity on the part of the Germans enables them to succeed in all forms of industry, in spite of their subdivision and other hindrances resulting from their political constitution.

“When men are laborious, patient, and frugal, we may expect to see family life become strongly organized, and exercise a decisive influence upon national customs.

“Love, whose duty it is to bring together the sexes into a united existence, is in Germany, neither very positive, nor very romantic; it is dreamy in its character. It seeks its object in youth and speedily finds it; faithfulness is then observed until the time for marriage arrives.

“Early engagements being admitted by custom, betrothed couples are seen together, arm in arm, among the crowd at public or private festivals, or in lonely woods, or in twilight seclusion. Pleasure and pain they share with one another, happy in the conviction that their hearts beat in unison, and in the repetition, over and over again, of tender assurances. The calmness of their temperament and the certainty of belonging to one another some day, diminish the danger of these long interviews. The young man respects the girl who is to bear his name and rule his home with her virtuous example; she, on her part, shrinks from a seduction which would dishonour her and compromise her future life.

“Such customs cannot but meet with approbation. They assure the future of a woman, and save her from coquetry. They form a man for the performance of his duties as head of a family,[52] make him thoughtful for the future, save him from licentiousness, which wears out the heart as well as the constitution, and lastly, render his love permanent by reducing it to habit.

“When the wedding-day, looked forward to for so many years, arrives, the characters of man and woman have taken their respective stamp. The young people know each other; they have no ground for suspecting deceit, for the singleness of their heart admits of only one affection.



“Everything here contributes to heighten the dignity of woman. From her girlhood, and during the years in which her beauty is blossoming, she feels herself an object of devotion—she is mistress. Whatever she grants, however slight the favour may be, acquires a high value. The offering sanctified by her kiss is far more costly than gold; the riband she has worn becomes equal to a decoration.”

This picture of German customs has special reference to the inhabitants of Central Germany, the Austrians.



It is in the central portion of Germany that we meet with this patient activity, and the gentle manners described by Dr. Clavel.[53]
But these qualities are far from being the attributes of the inhabitants of the North and West. The Germans of the North and West appeared in their true character during the war of 1870, when a series of deplorable fatalities and mournful inconsistencies had delivered up unhappy France to the mercy of the invader. We then learnt how to appreciate this reputation for good-nature, simplicity, and gentleness, which was commonly attached to the inhabitants of the Ultra-Rhenic countries. The good-nature developed itself into an undisguised ferocity, the simplicity into dark duplicity, and the gentleness into haughty and brutal violence. The hated and jealous fury of the Prussians, who rushed upon France with the avowed intention of reducing her to impotence, and erasing her, if possible, from the rôle of nations; their cold-blooded cruelties and shameless rapine, are so impressed upon the minds of all Frenchmen, that we need not recall them. Prussian barbarity attained the level of that practised by the Vandals in the second century.

Our scholars have found some difficulty in explaining the anomaly which existed between the ferocious conduct of the German armies, and the very opposite reputation enjoyed by our neighbours beyond the Rhine. Accustomed to regard the Germans as peaceful and gentle, sentimental and dreamy, we, in France, were painfully surprised to find facts contrast so cruelly with an opinion so generally entertained. An ethnological work, published in 1871 by M. de Quatrefages in the “Revue des Deux Mondes,”[4] has afforded a scientific explanation of this anomaly.

[4] Issue of Feb. 15th.

M. de Quatrefages has shown, by considerations at once linguistic, geological, ethnological, and historical, that the Prussians, properly so called, that is, the inhabitants of Pomerania, Mecklenburg, Brandenburg, and Silesia, have but little in common with the German race—that they are not, in fact, Germans, but result from a mixture of Slavonians and Finns with the primitive inhabitants of those countries. The Finns overran, at a very early period, Pomerania and Eastern-Prussia; later on, the Slavonians conquered the same territory, as well as Brandenburg and Silesia. Certain Germanic tribes—to which add the results of a French immigration into Prussia, which took place under Louis XIV., after the revocation of the[55] edict of Nantes—must be joined to the stock of Slavonians and Finns, in order to make up the Prussian race as it at present exists. The northern Slavonians possessed a well-known coarseness of manner, and were of large stature and powerful constitution. The Finns, or primitive inhabitants of the shores of the Baltic, were characterized by cunning and violence, united to an extraordinary tenacity. The modern Prussians revive all these ancestral defects.

M. Godron, a naturalist of Nancy, who has very successfully studied the German race, says, “The Prussians are neither Germans nor Slavonians: they are Prussians!” This fact is now clearly shown by the investigations of M. de Quatrefages. From an ethnological point of view, the Prussians are very different from the German populations, who are now subjected to the rule of the Emperor William under the pretext of German unity.

Two different written languages exist among the German people; that of the Netherlands and German.

The Netherland language has given birth to three dialects—Dutch, Flemish, and Frieslandic.

The Dutch, in the seventeenth century, were the greatest maritime commercial people in the world, and founded at that period a certain number of colonies.

The Dutchman is by nature reserved and silent. Simplicity is the marked feature of his character. He possesses patriotic feeling in a high degree, and is capable of enthusiasm and devotion in the defence of his strange and curious territory, preserved from the sea by dykes and formidable constructions, and irrigated by innumerable canals, which form the ordinary means of communication, and which link together the seas and the rivers, as well as the towns.

English.—The English may be considered as resulting from a mixture of the Saxons and Angles with the people who inhabited the British Isles before the Saxon invasion.

Whence came and who were the Angles and Saxons?

According to Tacitus, the Angles were a small nation inhabiting the regions next the ocean. The Saxons, according to Ptolemy, dwelt between the mouths of the Elbe and Schleswig. About the fifth century after Christ, the Angles and Saxons invaded the British Isles, and mingled with the inhabitants, who[56] then comprised Celts, Latins, and Arameans. During the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries, fresh invasions of Great Britain, by the Normans and Danes, added to this blood, already so mixed, another foreign infusion.

From this medley of different peoples has sprung the English nation, in whom are found at the same time, the patient and persevering character, the serious disposition, and the love of family life, introduced by the Saxons, and which is the peculiarity of the German nature, combined with the lightness and impressionability of the Celt.

The physical type which is the result of this mixture, that is, the English type, corresponds with the combination of races we have specified. The head is in shape long and high, and is in this respect to be distinguished from the square heads of the Germans, particularly those of Suabia and Thuringia. The English generally possess a clear and transparent skin, chestnut hair, tall and slender figures, a stiff gait, and a cold physiognomy. Their women do not offer the noble appearance and luxurious figure of the Greek and Roman women; but their skins surpass in transparency and brilliancy those of the female inhabitants of all other European countries.

We borrow a few pages from the work of Dr. Clavel upon “Les Races Humaines et leur Part dans la Civilisation,” in order to convey an exact knowledge of the nature and customs of our neighbours across the Channel:

“When he examines,” says Dr. Clavel, “the geographical position of England, a land possessing a humid rather than a cold climate, the observer pictures to himself beforehand that he is about to meet a people of imperious appetite, of a vigorous circulation, of a powerfully organized locomotive system, and a sanguineo-lymphatic temperament. The power of the digestive functions shows that the nervous system is unable to obtain dominion, and that there is a lack of sensibility: the frequent fogs, which destroy the perfumes of the earth, the stormy winds of the ocean, and the absence of wine, announce a poverty of sentiment and inspiration, and of the arts founded upon them.

“The level plains, which are as a rule met with in England, are not favourable to the development of the lower extremities, and it is a fact that the power of the English lies, not so much in the legs, as in the arms, shoulders, and loins. The fist is an[57] Englishman’s natural weapon, either for attack or defence; his popular form of duel is boxing, while the foot plays an important part in the form of duel which, in France, bears the characteristic name of Savate.

“This power in the upper regions of the body gives to an Englishman a peculiar appearance. In view of his brawny shoulders, his thick and muscular neck, and broad chest, we rightly divine the ready workman, the daring seaman, the indefatigable mechanic, the soldier who is ready to die at his post but who bears up with difficulty against forced marches and hunger. His blond or reddish hair, his white skin and grey eyes, bespeak the mists of his country; the barely marked nape of his neck, and the oval form of his cranium, indicate that Finn blood flows in his veins; his maxillary power, and the size of his teeth, evidence a preference for an animal diet. He has the high forehead of the thinker, but not the long eyes of the artist.

“The insular position of England, its excellent situation upon the Atlantic, its numerous and magnificent seaport towns, its watercourses and the facilities for conducting its internal navigation, all suggest a large maritime commerce and the habits which accompany it. But neither the soil, the climate, nor the geographical position, can account for the aptitudes imported by different races.

“The Englishman is two-fold—Celt and German—and it is only a superficial examination which can confound them.

“The Celt, whom in the absence of precise notions of an earlier population we have come to consider as indigenous, resembles the Neo-Latin races, and, above all, the French. He rarely exists collectively, except in Ireland, and some mountainous districts of Wales and Scotland. His cranium and features indicate artistic aptitudes. He prefers Christianity in the Anglican Catholic form. Like the old Gauls, he delights in wine, laughter, gaming, dancing, conversation, raillery, and fighting. He is spirited and fond of joking, frank and hospitable; but his versatility renders him incapable of steadily pursuing an enterprise to the end, of careful reflection, or of thought for the future. Through his powerlessness to combine his powers and act collectively, he has become a prey to enemies, who were superior to him neither in number, courage, nor even in intelligence. Old and joyous England and Ireland became subject to the Dane, the Saxon, and the Norman:[58] they lost their proverbial gaiety, their bards, their democratic tendency, and their civilization.

“The physical and moral differences between the modern conquerors of England were but slight. They all came from the coasts of the Baltic Sea, and all possessed the elementary characteristics of the German and Scandinavian, and the aptitudes which they inherited from the old Sea Kings. They had, moreover, strength, which bade them regard conquest as a right, and take what they desired; pride, which bade them hold up their head even against the storm; individual initiative, which demanded, above all things, personal liberty; a tenacity, that nothing discouraged; an intelligence, capable of every subtlety; a general sensuality, which converted the bodily necessities into a means of enjoyment; a lack of sentiment, which pre-supposed a want of aptitude for art; and, lastly, a temperament which was calm and robust under all circumstances.

“This type, which is still found among all branches of society, not excepting the aristocracy, has been modified by its combination with the Celtic element, but it still remains predominant. The Saxon, as a rule, absorbs or destroys the other races; we may say, he drinks in their vitality, but is unable to assimilate himself to their temperament.

“We must, therefore, expect to find the customs of England proper, more Scandinavian than Celtic. The pleasures of olden time have fallen off; the merry gossips of those days find no place but in literature; raillery, when it comes from Saxon lips, is armed with sharp teeth, and tears away the morsel it attacks.

“When intelligence is averted from the ideal, and constantly directed towards the positive matters of life, it acquires the habit of considering in all things the question of profit and loss; it becomes averse to waste, which destroys property unprofitably, and loves order, without which, material prosperity is impossible; it guides the organic forces to productive industry, agriculture, and commerce, where they are fostered and matured; and last of all, to speculation, which anticipates the greater part of the fruits of commerce, agriculture, and manufacture. The Saxon finds everywhere the means of speculating, aided in his manœuvres by the intricacy of his commercial laws. As a consequence of his phlegmatic temperament, he gives way neither to the snares of enthusiasm, nor to the deceptions of discouragement. He reasons aright, both[59] for the present and the future. In dealing craftily with his antagonist, he is well able to guard himself against the weaknesses of feeling. His face rarely betrays his convictions, and his features are devoid of the mobility which would prove disadvantageous.

“Thus it is that the Englishman joins subtlety to will; hence his practical power. Being strong and able, he acquires a confidence in himself which easily degenerates into pride, and saves him from smallness of character. He is neither obsequious, nor prone to flattery; he casts on one side the refinements of politeness, which he regards as humiliating in one who employs them; he keeps his word, and considers that he would be dishonoured in breaking it; but he makes the best of all his advantages. For him, life is a struggle for triumph, without regard for those who are unable to contend, and who succumb in the attempt. He asks no pity, and gives but little; he cannot be called cruel, for cruelty is a form of weakness; but he does not hesitate to oppress an enemy, when to do so would be productive of material advantage. In attaching to an Englishman the characteristic of individual initiative, which is met with among all the branches of the Germanic tree, we rightly expect to find him fond of liberty, without which his powers would have no vent.

“But this liberty would soon lead him to destruction, did he not join to it the spirit of propriety, and temper it with the love of order, which he acquires in his industrial and commercial pursuits.

“. . . . His arts are wanting neither in talent, observation, delicacy, nor humour; they represent men and things with the most scrupulous accuracy; but they lack feeling, warmth, and ideality; they know not how to bring the passions into play, and are unable to soar above the descriptive. His stage is a failure, as is his music, both in themselves pure creations of feeling; and his architecture is governed by the nature of materials, and the application of his buildings to the needs of life. This rage for practical convenience, which makes the London houses so unsightly, has also been instrumental in simplifying his language to amphibology, and curtailing the accent to such an extent as to create discord. When harmony in the means of expressing thought is wanting, the art of talking well is no longer exercised in conversation, but becomes concentrated in discourse. There is scarcely an intermediate between the[60] latter form of speech, and incorrect conversation among individuals. The result of this is, that the Englishman, on almost every occasion, expresses himself in speeches, which are listened to and commented upon with an imperturbable patience, but which have the grave fault of imparting to social relations a tone of pedantry and stiffness. As soon as that exists, there is no longer any room for fun and humour. Following out the spirit of formality, many things become no longer permissible, or cannot be dealt with except by reference to strict rules. Propriety, therefore, includes, over and above pure politeness, a number of conventionalities which in themselves constitute nothing less than a social tyranny. An act, which, everywhere else, would be regarded as perfectly natural, easily becomes food for scandal; and in society, by far the greater number of those one meets abstain from action, speech, or gesticulation. An icy reserve is the tone generally assumed.

“In such society as this, indiscretion and flippancy are almost out of the question. But, although the English scorn a lie, they cannot speak the whole truth: they find it necessary to reserve a portion, and frequently the most important part. The result is a peculiar form of hypocrisy which bears the name of cant, and which is really the bane of English society. Owing to this, social life is enclosed in a circle of intolerance which imparts to it a painful uniformity. Each person is obliged to do as every one else, to such an extent, that in the land of liberty, the spirit is oppressed and dejected to a degree suggestive of suicide. Hence it is that so many English, in order to escape spleen, are forced to leave their country.

“The Englishwoman is tall, fair, and strongly built. Her skin is of dazzling freshness; her features are small and elegantly formed; the oval of her face is marked, but it is somewhat heavy toward the lower portion; her hair is fine, silky, and charming; and her long and graceful neck imparts to the movements of her head a character of grace and pride.

“So far, all about her is essentially feminine; but upon analyzing her bust and limbs, we find that the large bones, peculiar to her race, interfere with the delicacy of her form, enlarge her extremities, and lessen the elegance of her postures and the harmony of her movements.

“Woman moves about two centres, which are the head and[61] the heart. The latter deals with bodily grace, roundness and delicacy of form, inspiration in feeling, devotion in love, sympathy, a manifold and undefinable seductiveness, a sort of divine radiance, which is grace, tenderness, and all that is charming. The former supplies intelligence, spirit, animation, and consistency of action.

“If all we see in an Italian or Spanish woman tells of the supremacy of heart, which Lord Byron loved so much, all in the Englishwoman reveals mental superiority. Her physical and mental powers are well balanced.

“There are few mental occupations in which a daughter of Great Britain cannot engage. She acquires knowledge with facility; she writes with elegance, and would be capable at a stretch of improvising a speech; she is witty and even brilliant; capable of dealing with abstract sciences; she can contend with the other sex in sagacity and depth; yet her conversation does not captivate. She lacks a thousand feminine instincts, and this lack is revealed in her toilette, the posture she assumes, and in her actions and movements. She rarely possesses musical taste. Her language and song do not captivate the ear; her appreciation of colour, form, and perfume, are at fault. She loves what is striking, and instead of attaining harmony, revels in discord.

“No aristocracy, can, with reference to ability, be compared with that of England. Having ensured the influence of wealth by seizing the land, and substituting in its possession the son for the father, by virtue of the right of primogeniture, it has given the legislative power to the proprietors of the soil, through the medium of a House of Peers, whose prerogatives and domains pass to the eldest son, and of a House of Commons, the right to elect whose members is centred chiefly in the tenants of large proprietors. Where the nobility enjoy such privileges, royalty necessarily assumes a dependent position, and becomes merely an instrument. Positions of influence in the administration, the army, the magistracy, and the church, fall of right to families of distinction, who dispose of all the strength of the country, and apply it for the benefit of their own caste. Taxation is organized in such a manner as to weigh chiefly upon the lower classes, while the produce falls to the advantage of the privileged class as emoluments.


“. . . Before the British aristocracy could attain the importance it now possesses, many conquests were necessary, to which the substance of Spain, Portugal, Holland, and of a hundred and thirty millions of Indians, has fallen a prey. The attainment of this object, has, moreover, forced fifteen millions of English people to exist upon a daily stipend, when there is any stipend at all; and, to aid it, the cannon has opened the frontiers of China to the opium trade, and to the products of manufactures which must either sell or succumb. The only material compensation for all these evils, is, that immense power is given to wealth. The cultivation of luxury, in every form, has increased tenfold the number of objects to be provided. The houses are crowded with a number of articles of furniture, the use of which is a science in itself; the tables are loaded with an infinite variety of dishes, fruits, plate, and glass; stuffs of a thousand different shades are offered to the caprice of fashion, to be used either in adorning the person, or in the decoration of apartments; but for all that, the house is neither more beautiful nor more wholesome as an abode, the table is not more hospitable or more joyous, nor is the dress more elegant or warm; comfort stifles what is merely beautiful, which wealthy men always associate with a large outlay.

“Among the English aristocracy we must expect, neither the exquisite elegance of the Latin aristocracy, nor the appreciation of art, which, in Italy, and even in France, gives birth to so many marvels.

“Wealth has been able to accumulate in the galleries of private persons, pictures and statues, the work of other nations, but has been quite unable to raise up a school of architecture, of painting, or of sculpture; or even to assign a single division to music. Workers and statesmen abound in England; but the condition of artists is bad in the extreme. A great poet emerges from the ranks of the nobility, and employs his talent in scourging the aristocracy, and laying bare the customs of his country. Eminent writers assign a philosophic value to the romance of gentle blood, and paint in the blackest colours the mercantile and feudal genius.



“The men of iron, who have transformed England into a sort of freehold, seem to think themselves altogether different from the rest of humanity; they pass through the midst of other populations without being influenced by the contact, or modifying the etiquette[63]
which rules their excesses at table and in drinking, and which governs field sports and courtship. A word or gesture is sufficient to mark its author as of low breeding, and to jar upon the nerves of the nobility, which are susceptible of still greater irritation, when writers of ability venture to speak of lords as of simple mortals; but this scandal has been obviated in the fashionable novel, in which, amid a halo of ennui, aristocratic decorum shines forth.

“All this is productive of a meditated coldness and repulsive pride, which renders expansion and joviality impossible. Moral oppression and ennui permeate their whole life, and in the end render existence insupportable. These rich and powerful men become the victims of spleen.

“Those who find no relief in political struggles, seek in foreign countries change and diversion; the more robust share their time between the table, their horses, and their dogs; they drink to a frightful extent; they unearth the fox, and follow him on horseback, clearing every object although at the risk of their neck, or else they travel a hundred leagues to see a thorough-bred horse run, and to risk upon him what would make the fortune of ten plebeians.

“Such a life as this can be led only in the country. It must therefore be noticed that the English nobility pass nine months out of the year at their country seats, in the exercise of the gorgeous hospitality which is met with in all large oligarchies, and cultivating there the comforts of ease to a degree bordering on fanaticism.

“Beneath the shade of feudality, exists a class of farmers, manufacturers, merchants, capitalists, and speculators, which consoles itself for the humiliations it experiences by those which, in its turn, it imposes on the lower classes. This middle class, oppressed by that above, and menaced by that below it, presents a singular mixture of timidity and resolution. Its existence, ever precarious, makes it easily susceptible of alarm, ready to yield to the terms of the powerful, or to assume any character. Its enthusiasm and admiration are inexhaustible, when it foresees, in the conduct of its superiors, some gain to itself; but the resistance it offers is most powerfully adroit when public affairs tend to do it harm. Danger hardly ever takes it by surprise, as its signs are seen from afar and anticipated.

“One would almost expect to find Israelitish traits of character in people who make the Bible their book of books; who, while[65] undergoing extortion, still retain the feeling of dignity, who are passionately fond of money and whatever conduces to its possession; who risk that they may gain, and compensate one chance of loss by three chances of profit; who respect the letter of the law more than its intention, and who employ commercial uprightness as a clever means of making a fortune.

“In the middle class, the British aristocracy finds a means of keeping under the proletarian class, true representatives of the old Celts. These unfortunate men are reproached, with drunkenness, to which they fly as a means of forgetting their misfortunes; with brutality, which exhibits itself in blows, injuries, prize fights, and cock-fighting; with coarse sensuality, which feeds upon meat and beer; with selfishness, which extends even to the glasses of drinkers; and lastly, with stronger criminal desires than are met with among other civilized nations.

“But in spite of these vices, the sad fruit of misery, wretchedness, and ignorance, they possess substantial virtues. The English workman has in his heart an innate feeling of generosity. He is gentle to the weak, and rude to the strong. Goodness charms him, and whatever is generous is sure to meet with his support. Although blinded by self-interest to the point of being altogether without a notion of justice, he can hardly be accused of avarice, since he gives cheerfully. His friendship is firm, although by no means demonstrative; he keeps his word, and despises an untruth. Reverses redouble instead of causing him to abate his efforts; he never despairs of what he undertakes, since he is ready to sacrifice all for success, even his life. He has none of the sordid vanities which stain the intermediate classes. For his country, which is to him less a mother than a step-mother, he entertains an inexhaustible affection. To her he devotes his whole existence; he is rewarded by his own admiration of her, and deludes himself so far as to call her ‘Jolly Old England.’”

Transplanted into the New World, the Englishman has already assumed a type varying somewhat from that we have described—the Yankees, as the Indians call them, that is to say, the silent men (Ya-no-ki), have lost in North America the general character and physiognomy which they possessed in the mother-country. A new type, moral and physical, approaching more to that of the[66] Southern Red Indians, has been formed among the inhabitants of North America, which type is exaggerated towards the West, where men are rougher and coarser than in the North.

Latin Family.

The Latin family originated in Italy, whence it extended its conquests over a large portion of Europe, Asia, and Africa, thus forming the Roman empire. At the present time the Latin languages are spoken only in certain portions of this vast empire, namely, in Italy, Spain, France, and some other countries in the south-east of Europe.

The people who belong to the Latin family are, in general, of a middle stature, with black hair and eyes, and a complexion susceptible of turning brown under the sun’s action; but they present many variations. They speak numerous dialects, which frequently become confounded one with another.

Among the people who form the Latin family are separately classed: the French, the Spaniards, the Italians, and the Moldo-Walachians.

French.—The Franks proceeded from the mixture of the Gauls with the ancient inhabitants of the land, that is, the people who in olden times were indifferently called Aquitanians or Iberians, and of whom a few are still to be found in the Basque inhabitants of the lower regions of the Pyrenees, recognized at once by their language, which is that of the old Iberians.

But who were these Gauls, who, by combination with the national blood of the Iberians, formed the Franks?

The Gauls were a branch of the Celts (or Gaels), an ancient race of men, who coming from Asia, at an early period overran and occupied a portion of Western Europe, more particularly that portion which now forms Belgium, France as far as the Garonne, and a part of Switzerland. Later on, the Celts or Gaels extended their conquests as far even as the British Isles. It was in the twelfth or tenth century before Christ that they invaded Gaul, and subdued the indigenous Iberian population.

Of their Asiatic origin the Celts preserved no more than a few dogmas of Eastern worship, the organization of a priestly sect, and a language, which, through its close connection with the sacred language of the Indian Brahmins, reveals the kinship which united these people with those of Asia.


The Celts were a nomadic people, and lived essentially by hunting and pasturage. The men were very tall: their height being, it has been asserted, from six to seven feet. Many tribes dyed their skin with a colour extracted from the leaf of the woad. Others tattooed themselves. Many adorned their arms or breasts with heavy chains of gold, or clothed themselves in tissues of bright colours, analogous to the Scotch tartan. Later on they gave themselves up to greater luxury. Above their tunic they wore the saya, a short cloak, striped with purple bands and embroidered with gold or silver. Among the poorer classes this saya was replaced by the skin of some animal, or by a cloak of coarse and dark-coloured wool. Others wore the simar, which is analogous to the modern blouse or the caraco of the Normandy peasants. The second article of dress worn by the Gaelic men, was a tight and narrow form of trouser, the braya. The women wore an ample puckered tunic with an apron. Some restricted their dress to a leathern bag.

Their weapons consisted of stone knives, axes furnished with sharp flint or shell points, clubs, and spears hardened in the fire. Celtic stone hatchets are common in the West of France.

The Celts were warlike and bold. They marched against the enemy to the sound of the karnux, a sort of trumpet, the top of which represented a wild beast crowned with flowers. As soon as the signal was given, the front rank threw itself stark naked and impetuously into the struggle.

Leading a wandering form of life, the Celts constructed no fixed habitations. They moved from one pasturage to another in covered waggons, erecting simple cabins, which they abandoned after a few days. They sometimes took shelter in caves, sleeping upon a little straw, or the skins of animals spread upon the earth. More frequently, however, they ate and slept under the open sky. Fond of tales and recitations, they appear to have been inquisitive and garrulous. Their habits were peaceful.

A branch of the Celtic family, the Cymris, who, like their predecessors, originally came from Asia, overran the fertile plains which extend from the moorlands at Bordeaux to the mouth of the Rhine, their course being arrested toward the west only by the ocean, toward the east by the Vosges, and toward the south-east by the mountains of Auvergne and the last ridges of the[68] Pyrenees and the Cevennes. The Cymris, or Belgians, brought with them the simplicity of the north, and having built towns, called upon the Gaels to join them.

These two groups, distinct in themselves although of the same race, lived apart in some countries, while in others they held supremacy. The Irish and the Highlanders of Scotland were Gaels. The Gaelic element also predominated in Eastern France. The inhabitants of Wales, Belgium, and Brittany belonged to the Cymrian branch; but the Romans confounded these two races under the general name of Britons in Great Britain, and Gauls in Gaul.

We will briefly review the physical types, manners, and customs of the Gauls.

At the time when Julius Cæsar invaded and conquered the Gauls, they were distinguished as the northern, north-eastern, western, and southern Gauls. The first were remarkable for the abundance and length of their hair; hence their name of long-haired Gauls. Those of the south and south-east were known as the braya-wearing Gauls.

The Gauls used artificial means of giving to their hair a bright red colour. Some allowed it to fall around their shoulders; others tied it in a tuft above the head. Some wore only thick mustachios, others retained the whole beard.

When arming for battle, the Gauls donned the saya. They used arrows, slings, one-edged swords in iron or copper, and a sort of halberd, which inflicted terrible wounds. A metal casque, ornamented with the horns of the elk, buffalo, or stag, covered the head of the common soldier, that of the rich warrior being adorned with flowing plumes, while figures of birds or wild beasts were wrought upon the crest. The buckler was covered with hideous figures. Beneath a breast-plate of wrought-iron the warrior wore a coat of mail, the produce of Gallic industry. He further adorned himself with necklaces; and the scarves of the chiefs glittered with gold, silver, or coral. The standard consisted of a wild boar, formed of metal or bronze, and fixed at the end of a staff.

The Gauls dwelt in spacious circular habitations, built of rough stones, cemented together with clay, or composed of stakes and hurdles, filled up with earth within and without. The roof, which was ample and solid, was composed of strong planks cut[69] into the form of tiles, and of stubble or chopped straw kneaded with clay.

The wealthy Gaul, besides his town residence, possessed a country house. His wooden tables were very low, and in them excavations were made which answered the purpose of plates and dishes. The guests sat upon trusses of hay or straw, upon hassocks formed of rushes, or forms with wooden backs. They slept in a kind of press, formed of planks, similar to those which are met with in some cottages of Brittany and Savoy. They had earthen vessels, of delicate grey or black pottery, more or less ornamented, and brazen vases. They used horns as drinking-vessels.

The Gauls ate little bread, but a great deal of roast or boiled meat. As a rule, they tore with the teeth pieces which they held in their hands. The poor drank beer, or other less costly beverages; the rich, aromatic wines.

The beauty of the Gallic women was proverbial. The elegance of their figure, the purity of their features, and the whiteness of their skins, were universally admired. To captivate these fierce men they made abundant use of coquetry. In order to heighten the freshness of their complexions, they bathed themselves with the foam of beer, or chalk dissolved in vinegar. They dyed their eyebrows with soot, or a liquid extracted from a fish called orphi. Their cheeks they coloured with vermilion, and dressed their hair with lime in order to make it blond, and covering it with network, let it fall behind, or else turned it up crestwise. They wore as many as four tunics, one above the other, veiled their head with part of their cloak, and wore a mitre or Phrygian head-dress.

Any ordinary person who died was interred in a manner suitable to their sex and condition, with arrow-heads, hatchets, flint knives, necklaces, rings, bracelets, articles of pottery, &c. The grave was marked by an unhewn stone, which was surrounded with herbs, moss, or flowers. These tombstones were raised up in the plains, by the way-side, and amid the deep shade of the forests. They were guarded by a statue of Tentates, one of whose cheeks was painted white, the other black.

When a chief died, his body was burnt. In order to do this, the body was placed upon a pile of resinous wood, with his weapons of war and of the chase, his charger and dogs, and sometimes[70] even, his slaves. While the flames devoured the body, the bystanders uttered loud cries, and the warriors clashed their shields. The half-calcined bones were enclosed in an urn of coarse earth, rudely ornamented with a few engravings or figures in bas relief. This urn was then deposited beneath a tumulus covered with turf. In southern Gaul it was placed beneath a funeral column.

In order to render complete the idea which we should wish to convey of the outward appearance of the Gauls, we must say a few words about the Druids.

The Druids were the priests of the Gauls, a clergy powerful by reason of their political duties and judicial functions. The Druids led a solitary life in the depth of oak forests and in secluded caves. They wore a distinctive dress, their robes reaching down to the ground. During religious ceremonies they covered their shoulders with a species of white surplice, and upon their pontifical dress was displayed a crescent which had reference to the last phase of the moon. Their feet were furnished with pentagonal wooden sandals; they allowed their hair to grow long, and shaved off their beards. In their hand they carried a sort of white wand, and suspended from their neck an amulet of oval shape set in gold.

We said the Franks proceeded from the mixture of the Gauls with the Iberian natives of the country, joined later on to the Romans, the Greeks, and more recently still to the Alanians, the Goths, the Burgundians, and the Suevians. Having spoken of the Gauls, we shall now proceed to describe the Franks.

The Frank was tall in height, with a very white skin, blue sparkling eyes, and a powerful voice. His face was shaven, save upon the upper lip, which earned a heavy mustachio. His hair, of a beautiful blond colour, was cut behind, and long in front. His dress was so short as not to cover his knees, and fitted tightly, showing plainly the form of the body. He wore a shoulder-belt, ornamented with nails, and plates of silver or inlaid metal. From his girdle hung an iron knife, an axe with short handle and heavy keen iron head (battle-axe), a very sharp ponderous sword, and a pike of medium length, the stout point of which was armed with several barbs or sharp teeth, turned back as in a fish-hook. Before going to battle, the Frank dyed his hair red. The hair itself was frequently held together by a golden net, or a[71]
copper circlet; at other times he dressed himself with the spoils of wild beasts.



We are able to extract from historical recitals an exact idea of the Frankish woman. She was powerful, and wore a long robe of dark colour, or bordered with purple. Her arms were left uncovered, and her head was wreathed with flowering broom. Her looks, sometimes fierce, bespoke masculine vigour and a character which did not shrink from sanguinary conflict.

The Celtic and Iberian languages gradually disappeared among the Franks, being replaced by Latin dialects.

The Gauls and Franks, who were subdued by the Romans, received into their blood the Latin element, which rapidly increased. Restrained for a while by the invasions of tribes from the north and east, by Asiatic hordes of Mongolian race, among which we may name the Huns; the Latin element again assumed the ascendant at the commencement of the sixteenth century; men and manners, language and art, bore witness more and more to Latin influence: the fair hair and white skin of the Frank alternating with the black locks and brown skin of the Latin people. Thus it is that the French lost the athletic frame and vigorous limbs of the Gaul, gaining in their stead the suppleness and agility of southern nations. Thus also the French language became gradually formed, modified from Latin dialects.

The existence of a single written language renders it difficult to mark the characteristic distinctions among the French of the present day. We may however, distinguish the French properly so called, who inhabit the lower district of the Loire, and whose dialects are most akin to the written language; the Walloons, in the north, whose pronunciation somewhat approaches that of Teutonic nations; and the Romanians, in the south, where the dialects become confused with those of the Spaniards and Italians. The French of the interior are those who most resemble the Celts; those of the south possess the vivacity of the ancient Iberians or Basques; and those of the north have suffered still more from Teutonic influence, the effect of which is more especially appreciable in Normandy.

Owing to the diversity of his origin, and the different races of men which have been moulded into his type, not omitting also the effect attributed to the great geological variety of the soil of France, where samples of all parts of the earth are to be found, the[73] Frenchman, considered organically, possesses no peculiar physiognomy, which nevertheless does not prevent the complete identification of his French nationality.

From a physical point of view, and setting aside certain extremes, it may be said that the Frenchman is characterised, not so much by special features, as by the mobility and expression of these features. He is neither large nor small, yet his body is in all respects well proportioned; and although he may not be capable of developing great muscular action, he is fully qualified to contend successfully against fatigue and long journeys. Agile and nervous, as prompt in attack as in parrying a blow, full of expedient, supple, and cheerful, skilful both physically and morally, this is the character we shall easily recognise in our typical soldier of the next page.

Considered intellectually, the Frenchman is distinguished by a readiness and activity of conception which is truly unsurpassed. His comprehension is quick and sound. A halo of feeling surrounds this intellectual activity. Add to this a very fair amount of reason, solid judgment, and a veritable passion for order and method, and you have the French character.

To this combination of various qualities must be referred the respect which the French nation entertain for science and art, the admirable order which is found in their museums, and the excellent preservation of their historical monuments. This also goes to explain their excellent organization for public instruction, both in art and science, the forbearing and kindly tone of their philosophy, which above all things seeks the practical rules which govern human action, their excellent judicial system and admirable civil code, which has been copied more or less by all the nations of the New or Old Worlds.

Although the Frenchman respects science, loves the arts, and takes an interest in the productions of thought, it must be admitted that he is loth to take any personal part in them. He is glad to make use of the practical applications of science, and gratefully acknowledges the service they render him; but he shuns the idea of studying the sciences as such, and the very name of savant conveys to his mind a tiresome person. The sciences, which at the end of the last century brought so much honour to France, now languish. Scientific careers are avoided, and in the country of Lavoisier, Laplace, and Cuvier, science is visibly on the decline.


To make science palatable to French readers, the edge of the cup must be coated with honey, and the preceptor must clearly comprehend what dose of the sweetened beverage he may administer, so as not to overtax the powers or present humour of his patient.

We may say the same of the liberal arts. The Frenchman takes delight in artistic works, in fine monuments and buildings, costly statuary, magnificent pictures, engravings, and all the productions of high art; but he does nothing whatever to encourage them. France is at the present day at the head of the fine arts, and her school of painting is without a rival; and yet her artists, whether they be painters or sculptors, must seek elsewhere an outlet for their talents.

In France, the people are content with rendering a formal homage to the merit of their works of art, and leave to the government the task of encouraging and propagating them.

This encouragement consists in an annual exhibition of their paintings and sculptures, entry to this exhibition being obtained only by payment. When it is over, the various works are returned to their authors, and medals of different value assist the public to appreciate the excellence of their productions.

In France, then, the people are, properly speaking, neither studious nor artistic: they merely profess great esteem for the arts and sciences, and render them homage without the least wish to know more of them or an attempt to further their cultivation.

A very excellent quality of the French nation is its sociability. Whilst the English and Germans shut themselves up in their houses with misanthropical concern, the Frenchman prefers to share his dwelling, to inhabit a sort of hive, in which the same roof shelters a large number of individuals of all ages and conditions. He can thus perform and exchange many services, and, while living his own form of existence, enjoy that of others. See how, in French villages, the houses are grouped together or placed back to back, or, in the large towns, those houses where fifty lodgers hardly separated from one another by a scanty partition, have one common domestic, the porter, and you will at one recognize the instinct of sociability, and external affability, which is peculiar to the French nation. The readiness which each manifests to render the little services of life, to aid a[75]
wounded person, or assist in extricating his neighbour from embarrassment, are all signs of the same praiseworthy spirit of sociability.



The delicacy of feeling and thought, the extraordinary taste for order and method, and the love of art, which characterize the French nation, are all to be encountered in their various industrial products. A feeling for art is essentially characteristic of French industry, and gives it that well-known good taste, distinction, and elegance, which are so justly appreciated.

Although he is neither student nor artist, the Frenchman knows therefore perfectly how to call science and art to his aid, demand their co-operation and inspiration, and transfer them with advantage into practice. Thanks to his instinct for order and method, he succeeds in drawing material profit from studious or sentimental subjects.

Having considered the bright side of the French nation, we will now see where they are deficient.

It is a recognized fact, that, among the French, one-third of the men and more than half the women can neither read nor write: this is equivalent to saying, that of the thirty-eight millions of individuals composing the population of France, fifteen millions can neither read nor write.

The French peasant does not read, and for a very good reason. On Sunday he has read to him extracts from the Almanack of Pierre Larrivay, of Matthieu Laensberg, or some other prophet of the same cloth, who foretells what is about to happen on each day of the year; and this is as much as he wants. La Bruyère drew of the French peasant in the time of Louis XIV. a forcible and sinister picture, which in many cases is true even at the present day: in the course of two centuries, the subject has altered but little.[5]

[5] “We meet with certain wild animals, male and female, scattered over the country, black, livid, and dried up by the sun, attached to the soil which they turn and rummage about with an insuperable obstinacy; they seem to utter articulate sounds, and when they get upon their legs, show a human face. And in fact, these, it seems, are men.”

The French artisan reads very little. Works of popular science, which for some years past have happily been edited in France, are not read, as is imagined, by the working classes: those who seek works of this class are persons who have already received a certain amount of instruction, which they desire to increase by extending it to other branches of knowledge; these, for[77] the greater part, include school-children, and persons, belonging to the different liberal professions, or engaged in commerce.

The bourgeois, who has some spare time, devotes a portion of it to reading, but he does not read books. In France, books are objects of luxury, used only by persons of refinement. The crowd, when they see a man go by with a book under his arm, regard him with respectful curiosity. Enter the houses, even those of the most wealthy, and you will meet with everything which is necessary for the comforts of life, every article of furniture which may be called for, but you will seldom or never find a library. Whilst in Germany, England, and Russia, it is thought indispensable, in France a library is almost unknown.

The French bourgeois reads only the papers. Unfortunately, French journals have always been devoted to politics. Literature and art, science and philosophy, nay, even commercial and current affairs, that is, all which go to make up the life and interests of a nation, are excluded with most jealous care from the greater part of the French journals, to make way for political subjects. Thus it is that politics, the most superfluous and barren of subjects, have become among the French the great and only object of consideration.

The press which indulges in light literature is much worse. Its articles are founded on old compilations. The bons-mots of the Marquis of Bièvre are borrowed from Bièvriana, and laid at the door of M. de Tillancourt; then Mlle. X. des Variétés is made the heroine of an anecdote borrowed from the Encyclopediana, and the trick is complete. The paper is sold at a sou, and is not worth a liard.

The papers are the chief means by which the French bourgeois stuff their heads with emptiness.

The weakness of instruction in France becomes still more apparent by comparison with that of other nations. Traverse all Switzerland, and in every house you will find a small library. In Prussia it is a most rare matter to find a person who cannot read; in that country instruction is obligatory. In Austria every one can read. In Norway and Denmark, the lowest of the peasantry can read and write their language with accuracy; while in the extreme north, in Iceland, that country given up to the rigours of eternal cold, which is, as it were, a dead spot in nature, prints are numerous. We need not say that the English and Americans[78] are far in advance of the French as regards instruction. Nay, more, all the Japanese can read and write, as also all the inhabitants of China proper.

Let us hope that this sad condition of things will change, when, in France, gratuitous and obligatory instruction has become the law.

Uninstructed and unambitious of learning, timid artisan and plodding husbandman though he be, the Frenchman has yet one ruling virtue. He is a soldier; he possesses all the qualities necessary for war—bravery, intelligence, quickness of conception, the sentiment of discipline, and even patience when it is called for. If in 1870 a combination of deplorable fatalities forced the French to yield to the dictates of a people, who even yet wonder at their victory, the reputation of the French soldier for bravery and intelligence has in no way suffered by this unforeseen check. The day for revenge upon the barbarians of the north will come sooner or later.

Another peculiarity of the French nation is their spirit of criticism and satire. If, in the days of Beaumarchais, everything in France closed with a song, nothing at the present day is complete without a joke.

There is nothing which the French spirit of satire has not turned to ridicule. In the art of the pencil it has created la charge, namely, the caricature of what is beautiful, and the hideous exaggeration of every physical imperfection; on the stage it has introduced la cascade, a public parody bringing before the audience in an absurd manner, history, literature, and men of distinction; in the dance, it has given birth to the obscene and nameless thing which is composed of the contortions of fools, and which with strangers passes as a national dance.

The French woman is perfectly gifted in what concerns intelligence; she possesses a ready conception, a lively imagination, and a cheerful disposition. Unfortunately, the burthen of ignorance presses sorely upon her. It is a rare thing for a woman of the people to read, as only those of the higher classes have leisure, during their girlhood, to cultivate their minds. And yet even they must not give themselves up too much to study, nor aspire to honour or distinction. The epithet bas bleu (blue stocking) would soon bring them back to the common crowd—an ignorant and frivolous feminine mass. Molière’s lines in Les Femmes Savantes,[79] which for two centuries have operated so sadly in disseminating ignorance throughout one half of French society, would be with one voice applied to them.

With this ill-advised tirade, persons who think themselves perfectly right, stifle the early inclinations of young girls and women, which would induce them to open their minds to notions of literature, science, and art.

A question was once put forward whether we should permit our young women to share the education which the University affords to young men. We are speaking of the courses which were to have been held by the college of professors, according to the plans proposed by M. Duruy. But this attempt at the intellectual emancipation of young girls was very soon suppressed. Being barely tolerated at Paris, these courses were soon interdicted in the departmental towns, and woman soon returned to the knee of the church, or, in other words, was brought back to ignorance and superstition.

This want of instruction in the French woman is the more to be regretted, since, to an excellent intellectual disposition, she adds the irresistible gifts of grace and physical charms. There is in her face a seduction which cannot be equalled, although we can assign her physiognomy to no determinate type. Her features, frequently irregular, seem to be borrowed from different races; they do not possess that unity which springs from calm and majesty, but are in the highest degree expressive, and marvellously contrived for conveying every shade of feeling. In them we see a smile, though it be shaded by tears; a caress, though they threaten us; and an appeal when yet they command. Amid the irregularity of this physiognomy the soul displays its workings.

As a rule, the French woman is short of stature, but in every proportion of her form combines grace and delicacy. Her extremities and joints are fine and elegant, of perfect model and distinct form, without a suspicion of coarseness. With her, moreover, art is brought wonderfully to assist nature.

There is no place in the world where the secret of dress is so well understood as in France, or where means are so admirably applied to the rectification of natural defects of form or colour. Add to this a continual desire to charm and please, an anxious care to attract and attach the hearts of others through simplicity or coquetry, good will or malice, the wish to radiate everywhere[80] pleasure and life, the noble craving to awake grand or touching thoughts, and you will understand the universal and charming rule which woman has always held in France, and a great portion of the influence which she perforce retains over men and things.

All these qualities, which distinguish the women of the higher classes in France, are met with also among those of the working classes. Their industrious hands excel in needlework. They make their own clothing, and that of their children; look to the household linen, make their own bonnets, and most effectually cause elegance and taste to thrive in the heart of poverty. The correctness of their judgment, their tact and delicacy, and their rare penetration, are of valuable assistance in commercial matters, where their just appreciation affords most useful aid to their husbands and children. In retail trade especially, do these qualities shine forth—order, sagacity, and patience. Their politeness and presence of mind charm the purchaser, who always finds what he wants, and is always in good humour with himself and the articles he obtains.

The French women excel in household duties and in bringing up their children. These graceful and sweet young girls become mothers whose patience is inexhaustible, and make of their home the most perfect resting-place, and the best refuge from the sufferings and hardships of life.

Hispanians.—Under this name we include the Spaniards and Portuguese.

The Hispanians result from the mixture of the Latins, with the Celts, whom they succeeded in Spain, and with the Teutons, who drove out the Romans.

Washed on three sides by the sea, divided from France on the north by the Pyrenees, and from Africa on the south by a narrow stretch of sea, Spain is crossed by ranges of mountains, which, by their various intersections, form valleys permitting only of difficult communication with each other. The mountains of Spain are one of the principal causes of the richness of this country. They contain a variety of precious metals, and the streamlets which flow from their summits fertilize the valleys and develop into large rivers.



The climate of Spain indicates the vicinity of Africa. The air during winter, is cold, dry, and sharp: during the summer it is[81] scorching. The leaves of the trees are stiff and shining, the branches knotty and contorted, the bark dry and rugged. The[82] fruits mingle with their perfume a sharp and acid flavour: the animals are lean and wild.

Nature therefore in Spain is somewhat violent and rude, and this characteristic is peculiar to the people of the country.

The Spaniard, like the African, is in general of moderate height. His skin is brown, and his limbs are muscular, compact, and supple. In a moral sense, passion with him obtains the mastery; indeed it is quite impossible for him to master or dissemble his feelings. He is not afraid to allow their workings to become evident, but, in their display, if they meet with curiosity or admiration, he passes all bounds and becomes a perfect spectacle. A Spaniard always allows his feelings to be plainly perceptible.

This habitual weakness for scenic display which in a people possessing evil instincts would be excessively inconvenient, produces in the Spaniard the best results, since at heart he is full of generosity and nobleness. It endows him with pride, from which spring exalted feelings and good actions; emulation, which prompts him to outdo himself; a moral tone, generosity, dignity, and discretion. Nowhere are better understood than in Spain the regard due to age or sex, and the respect called for by rank or position.

The love of distinction, place, and grade is an inevitable consequence of this state of feeling.

The pride of the Spaniard renders him very tenacious as regards his honour. He brooks not insult, and seeks to requite it with bloodshed. His hand flies to the sword which is to avenge his honour, or the knife which is to settle his disputes (fig. 19).

In Spain arms are carried by all, and their habitual contact—too much neglected in other countries—imparts to each the desire for glory or the hope of playing a leading part in the world.

Such being his disposition, the Spaniard cannot fail to make an excellent soldier. Besides having taste and aptitude for the use of arms, he is vigorous, agile, and patient; and therefore worthy to be named honorably in comparison with the French soldier. It is, however, difficult to preserve discipline among these fiery and independent men. They are not always easy to command in time of regular warfare, and when times become troublesome, they become rapidly converted into guerillas, a term which is almost synonymous with brigand.




The use of arms being familiar to every Spaniard, there is a great temptation to use them, and passion frequently creates an[84] opportunity. Therefore it is that Spain is essentially a land of civil war.



On the most simple question arising, the peasant seizes his gun and rushes to an ambuscade, or joins a band of insurgents.




Political insurrections are an amusement to this impressionable and hasty people. In the twinkling of an eye bands of armed men overrun the country. The great want of discipline among the soldiers and non-commissioned officers, conduces to desertion[86] to these irregular bodies, and the result is that unhappy Spain is continually in a state of local insurrection, the suppression of which invariably leads to bloodshed without producing any permanent settlement.

The passion which a Spaniard evinces in all he does, is not wanting in his religion. His piety is exalted, and the violence to which this piety frequently leads him, has had mournful results. It is this religious fury which accounts for the cruelty of the Spaniards to the Saracens and Jews; and which, later on, lit the faggots of the Inquisition, and produced the most savage intolerance. Spain has burnt, in the name of a God of peace and love, thousands of innocent creatures; and for the honour and good of the Catholic faith, has proscribed, strangled, and tortured.

This passionate exaggeration of Catholicism has proved the ruin of Spain in modern times. It is marvellous to see how this nation, so powerful in the sixteenth century, and which, under Charles V., dictated laws to all Europe, has fallen; until at the present day, it ranks among the states of the lowest class in this part of the world. But it will be seen that the multiplication of convents, both for men and women, has had the effect of rapidly depopulating the country; that the proscription of the Moors, the Jews, and lastly, of the Protestants, has proved destructive of productive industry; that the courts of the Inquisition, and the auto-da-fé, have led to a feeling of sadness and mistrust among the people; that the abuse of religion and its symbols, has produced a bigotry which can be likened only to idolatry; and that the fear of offending an intolerant and self-asserting religion, has arrested all moral progress, and effectually set aside all development of science, which of necessity presupposes free investigation.

This is how progress, activity, and thought, have met with their end, and how material prosperity has become extinguished in that portion of Europe, most marvellously endowed with natural gifts. Thus it is that commerce has become a bye-word in a land, whose geographical position is unrivalled, and which possessed in the New World the most flourishing and powerful colonies; and that literature and science, the two great words which indicate liberty and progress, have fallen away in the home of Michael Cervantes.

How is Spain to recover her former splendour? What remedies must be applied to these crying evils? We reply, religious toleration, and political liberty.


The type of the Spanish woman is so well known, that we need hardly recall it. She is generally brunette, although the blond type occurs much more frequently than is usually supposed. The Spanish woman is almost always small of stature. Who has not observed her large eyes, veiled by thick lashes, her delicate nose, and well-formed nostrils. Her form is always undulating and graceful; her limbs are round and beautifully moulded, and her extremities of incomparable delicacy. She is a charming mixture of vigour, languor, and grace.

Love is the great object of the Spanish woman. She loves with passion but with constancy, and the jealousy she feels is but the legitimate compensation for the attachment she bestows.

The Spanish woman, faithful as a wife, is an excellent mother. Few women can equal her as a nurse, or in the attention and patience which are called for by the care of children. The mother lavishes upon her young family her whole life, and if she fails to instruct them, it is, alas! that she lacks the power to do so; for she is no better educated than the French woman, and, as regards ignorance, is a meet companion for her in every respect.

We have said that, in France, women exercise a very manifest influence upon the course of events. The Spanish woman is not, however, in possession of this useful influence. She commands the attention of those around her only during the short period of her beauty. When, arrived at maturity, her judgment formed by experience, and her views enlarged by observation or practice, she might soothe the passion of her friends, assist them with her counsel, or unite them around her hearth, the Spanish woman retires into obscurity, and the knowledge she has gained is lost to society.

Having thus given a general view of Spanish manners, we will say something with respect to the most characteristic physiognomies of this country.



The Moorish type is met with in a marked degree in the province of Valencia. The peasants have swarthy complexions. Their head-dress consists of a handkerchief in bright colours, rolled around the head and rising to a point: strongly reminding the observer of the turban worn by Eastern nations. They sometimes wear, in addition to this, a hat formed of felt and black velvet, with the edges turned up. On fête-days they don a waistcoat of green or blue velvet, with numerous buttons formed of[88] silver or plated copper. In lieu of trowsers, they wear full drawers of white cloth, which reach as far as the knees, and are kept up by a broad belt of silk or brightly striped wool. The hose consist of gaiters, kept in place by means of a broad blue riband wound round the leg. A long piece of woollen material,[89] striped with bright colours, is thrown over the shoulders or wound round the body: this is the cloak.



The peasants are to be seen to best advantage in the market-place, whither they bring their oranges, grapes, and dates.

The women of Valencia are sometimes of remarkable beauty.[90] Their black hair is rolled into bunches above the temples, and carried to the back of the head, where it forms an enormous chignon, through which passes a long needle of silver-gilt.

In some of the preceding cuts we have given the costumes of the inhabitants of Valencia, Xeres, Cordova, Toledo, and Madrid, as also types of Spanish physiognomy.

In Spain, dancing is a national feature. The dance scarcely varies in different provinces, but generally reflects the character of the people, who accompany it with songs and national melodies. They can hardly have enough of singing and dancing the Fandango (fig. 23), and the Bolero (fig. 24).

Portugal abuts on Spain, and its people merit some portion of our consideration.

The Portuguese women are frequently pretty, and sometimes actually beautiful. They have abundant hair, their eyes are earnest, soft, and penetrating, and their teeth excellent. Their feet are rather large, but their hands are very delicate. Their forms are well set, and strongly, though somewhat sturdily built; their joints are small, their complexion sallow, their movements are confident. Their well shaped heads are well placed, and the modest ease with which they wear the short jupon and broad felt hat, imparts to these articles of dress a certain elegance.

The inhabitants of Ponte de Lima are of small stature, and possess fine vigorous forms. The country people are worthy of special notice, they make brave and steady soldiers, who are easily amenable to discipline, and robust and intelligent workmen.



There is nothing very noteworthy about the dress of the peasantry, except as regards that of the women. The petticoat is plaited, short, and sometimes rolled up, so as to expose to view their legs, which are usually bare. The bodice, which is furnished with two or three silver buttons, displays the form. Being separated from the petticoat, it permits the chemise to puff out around the body, while the sleeves of that garment are wide and usually worn turned up. The head-dress consists of a large black felt hat, frequently adorned with bows of ribbon, and almost always furnished with a white kerchief, the folds of which fall down over the neck and shoulders. Long earrings, and even necklaces and chains of gold, complete the picturesque costume in which yellow, red, and bright green, predominate.




The streets of Oporto are much enlivened by the appearance of the peasants in their various brilliant dresses, who there vend oranges, vegetables, cheese, or flowers.

Fig. 25 represents the costume of fishmongers at Oporto.

Italians. No part of Europe can be compared with Italy, for softness of climate, clearness of the sky, fertility of the soil, and pureness of the atmosphere. The soil, which is very undulating, is watered by numerous streams, and permits largely of cultivation; while the mountains conceal precious metals, and beautiful marbles. No country is better protected by nature.

On the north arises a broad barrier of stupendous mountains, while the remaining sides are protected by the sea. Along the coast are vast ports, with good harbours; and lastly, this portion of Europe alone has the advantage of offering ready access to both Asia and Africa.

The fertility of the soil, the mild temperature, and the large variety of natural productions which furnish good food, all indicate that Italy should possess a fine, vigorous, and intelligent population. And, indeed, the Italians possess these qualities.

We shall first examine rather more closely, the origin of this people, and the differences they present in various parts of the peninsula.

The Latin family which gave its name to the human group with which we are now concerned, had Italy for its home. In Italy, therefore, we should expect to meet with it. But we should be deceived were we to expect to find the pure Latin type among the modern Italians. The barbarian invasions in the north, and the contact with Greeks and Africans in the south, have wrought much alteration in the primitive type of the inhabitants of Italy. Except in Rome, and the Roman Campagna, the true type of the primitive Latin population is hardly to be found. The Grecian type exists in the south, and upon the Eastern slope of the Apennines, while in the north, the great majority of faces are Gallic. In Tuscany and the neighbouring regions are found the descendants of the ancient Etruscans.

What most interests us is the primitive Latin population. This is met with, as we have said, in and around Rome, and in order to find it we must go there.

The features of the early Latin people can be imagined without[94] difficulty, by reference to busts of the first Roman emperors. We may thence arrive at the following characteristic features, as probably those of the ancient Italian races. The head is large, the forehead of no great height, the vertex (summit of the cranium) flattened, the temporal region protruding, and the face proportionally short. The nose, which is divided from the forehead by a marked depression, is aquiline; the lower jaw is broad, and the chin prominent.



The modern population of Rome, without absolutely reproducing[95]
these features, still retain their beautifully pure characteristic lines.



In fig. 27, which represents a group of peasant men and women of Rome, we easily recognize these celebrated types of countenance, so familiar to every artist. The distinguishing marks will be easily seen in the Roman peasants, who, quitting their native country, seek their livelihood in France as models.



As one of these types taken from nature, we would call the reader’s attention to fig. 28, which represents a young Roman[97] girl from the quarter on the banks of the Tiber called Transtevera, and also to fig. 29, which is a faithful portrait of peasants from around Rome.

It would be a fruitless task, were we, in studying the modern Romans, to seek among them traces, more or less eradicated, of the old Roman blood.

In a population which has been so degraded, oppressed, and polluted as this, by ages of slavery and obscurity, we should find nought but disturbance and chaos. We can make no reference to family life in this land of convents and celibacy, nor speak of intellectual faculties in a country where we see a jealous tyranny narrowing the minds of the inhabitants, and an authority that is seated in the blackest darkness, moulding body and mind in ignorance of morality and education. We should need the greatest power of penetration to find, in the effeminate and degenerate population of Modern Rome, the genius of the ancient conquerors of the world.

There are, however, reasons for hoping, that Rome, being now released from Papal authority, and having, since the year 1871, become the Capital of Italy and the residence of King Victor-Emmanuel, will gradually cease to feel the preponderance of the sacerdotal element.

Young Romans playing the favorite Italian game, la mora, with its usual accompaniment of gesticulations and shouts, is a very common street scene. The two persons playing this game raise their closed fists in the air, and then, in letting them fall, open as many fingers as they may think proper. At the same time they call out some number. The winner is he, who, by chance, calls out the number represented by the sum of all the fingers exhibited by the two players. If, for example, I call out five, and at the same time open two fingers, whilst my adversary displays three, which added to mine make five, the number called by me, I am winner. The arms of the two players are raised and lowered at the same time, and the numbers are called simultaneously, with great rapidity and regularity, producing a very singular result and one incomprehensible to a stranger.

La mora is played all over Italy.

But it is not alone in the city of Rome that the characteristic features of the ancient Latin race are to be found; the traveller[98] passing through the suburbs of the capital of the Christian World, Frascati or Tivoli, will still encounter vestiges of the old Latins hidden beneath the sad garments of misery. (Fig. 29.)



It may be said that Rome at the present day is a vast convent. In it the ecclesiastical population holds an important position and plays an important part. This, it is, which imparts to the Eternal [99]
City its austerity, not to say, its public sadness and moral languor. We shall therefore close our series of picturesque views of the inhabitants of Modern Rome, by glancing at the costumes of the principal dignitaries of the ecclesiastical order, their representation in fig. 30 being followed by the reproduction of a well-known picture, representing the Exaltation of Pio IX. (fig. 31).



The Latin type, which physically if not morally is met with in a state of purity at Rome, and in the Roman Campagna, has, on the other hand, undergone great modification in the provinces of the North, as well as in those of Southern Italy. Let us first consider the Northern provinces.

Northern Italy, endowed to perfection with natural advantages, washed by two seas, watered by the tributaries of a large river, possessing land of extraordinary fertility, nourishes a race in which the Latin blood has mingled with that of the German and Gaul. In Tuscany and the neighbourhood are, as we have said, the descendants of the old Etruscans, and further north are the offspring of Germanic and Gallic races.

The designs which adorn the Etruscan sarcophagi, originally brought, it is said, from Northern Greece, have preserved the physical form and appearance of these people. They are bulky, and of heavy make.

The men wear no beard, and are clothed with a tunic which in some cases is thrown over the back of the head. Some hold in the left hand a small goblet, and in the right, a bowl. They repose in an easy posture, resting the body on the left side, as do also the women. The women wear a tunic, sometimes fastened below the breast by a broad girdle, which is furnished with a circular clasp, and a peplum which in many cases covers the back of the head. They hold in one hand an apple, or some fruit of the same appearance, and in the other a fan. This is the portrait of the Etruscan which has been handed down to us.

Tuscany, of all Italy, is that portion which most strongly represents the mildness, the order, and the industrious activity of modern Italy. The natural richness of the soil is there enhanced by a capable system of cultivation. The arts peacefully flourish in this land of great painters, sculptors, and architects. The habits of the people, both of the upper and lower classes, are gentle and peaceful. There is here a state of general prosperity added to a fair amount of education. The poor man here, does[101] not, as in other countries, foster a complaining and hostile feeling against the rich; all entertain a consciousness of their own dignity; all are affable and polite. The general good feeling is manifested in word and deed, and the religious tone is moderate[102] and tolerant. Women are loved and respected, and this respect corresponds in religion with the worship of the Virgin.



At Florence and in Tuscany we meet that Italian urbanity, which, by the French, who are unable to understand it, is improperly termed obsequiousness. This attribute of the Italian is very far from servile; it comes from the heart. A universal kindly feeling welcomes the stranger, who experiences much pleasure among this conciliatory and friendly people, and with difficulty tears himself away from this happy country, where all seem bathed in an atmosphere of art, sentiment, and goodness.

Southern Italy will show us a very different picture from that we have just described. The proximity to Africa has here much altered the physical type of the inhabitants, while the yoke of a long despotism has much lowered the social condition, through the misery and ignorance it has produced. The mixture of African blood has changed the organic type of the Southern Italian to such an extent, as to render him entirely distinct from his northern compatriots; the exciting influence, which the mate has over the senses, imparting to his whole conduct a peculiar exuberance. Hence there is much frivolity and little consistency in his character.

In the town and neighbourhood of Naples we meet a combination of the features we have just considered. Let us betake ourselves for a moment thither, and take a rapid view of the strange population, which from early dawn is to be met in the streets, singing, begging, or going about their day’s work.

Fig. 32 shows us a shop of dealers in macaroni in the market-place (mercatello), and fig. 33 the indispensable water-carrier.

The most favourable time for examining the great variety of types which unite in the population of Southern Italy, is on the occasion of the public festivals which are so numerous at Naples. This curious mixture may be investigated in the crowds of people who frequent the festival of Piedigrotta, where are to be found examples of every Greek and Latin race.



Here are to be seen the Procidan women (isle of Procida, near Naples), who still retain the ancient simar, the kerchief which falls loosely around the head, and the classic profiles with straight noses (fig. 34). In Southern Italy, these daughters of ancient Greece still wear the golden diadem and silver girdle of Homer’s matrons. The Capuan woman throws around her head a veil similar to that[103]
of the sibyls and vestals. The Abruzzan women wear their hair in knots in the manner shown in Greek statues. The men of these parts, moreover, clothe themselves in sheepskins during the winter, and wear sandals, fastened with leathern thongs. The Etruscans, the Greeks, the Romans, and even the Normans, have left their traces in this country, whose population forms such a curious mixture.









Not less remarkable are, in this beautiful country, the peasantry of the mountains and the sea-coast. The most varying forms and the richest colours are to be met with, from the coarse cloth drawers and shirt of the fisherman, to the brilliant costume of certain of the Abruzzi, from the Phrygian cap of the Neapolitans to the peaked hat of the Calabrians—a slender,[105] tall, and sunburnt people.

In the midst of this motley assemblage of every variety of dress and colour, the graceful acquajolo (fig. 36), that is, the stall of the dealer in oranges and iced water, forms a most picturesque object.



Walachians.—From the consideration of the types of mankind in Italy, we naturally pass to those of their neighbours, the inhabitants of Walachia and Moldavia.

Under the title, Walachians or Moldo-Walachians, are comprehended the people of Walachia, Moldavia, and some of the neighbouring provinces.

The Walachians proceed from the fusion of the Roman colonies, established by Trajan, and of some Greek settlements, with the ancient Slavonic inhabitants of these countries. The language of this people corresponds[106] with their triple origin, for it possesses the characteristics of Latin, Greek, and Slavonic.



Walachia and Moldavia form the ancient Dacia. The Walachians, originally subject to the kingdom of Bulgaria and[107] to that of Hungary, formed, in 1290, an independent state, the first prince of which was called Rodolph the Black. About 1350 one of their colonies occupied Moldavia under the leadership of a prince named Dragosch. But the Walachian state was never very firmly constituted, and in 1525 the battle of Mohacz reduced it finally under Turkish rule. The Turks did not disturb the internal government of the Walachians, but obliged their prince (hospodar) to pay an annual tribute to the Porte, and to maintain Turkish garrisons in all their strongholds. But Walachia, being situated between the Ottoman empire on one side, and Hungary, Poland, and Russia, on the other, became the scene of most of the struggles between its formidable neighbours. It was trampled over by both Christian and Mussulman, and this terrible situation resulted in ruin and exile to its unfortunate inhabitants. The hospodars who occupied the thrones of Walachia and Moldavia were appointed by the court of Constantinople, who sold this dignity to the highest bidder. The hospodars were then only a species of pacha; their court was formed after the pattern of those of the Byzantine emperors, but they did not possess the military power of the Turkish pachas.

This situation has changed since 1849, when a treaty was concluded between the Porte and Russia. By the terms of this treaty, the dignity of hospodar was maintained during the lifetime of its possessor. New events have happened, and, since the year 1860, the political protection of the Danubian Principalities is shared between Russia, the Porte, Prussia, and Austria. The Prince of Hohenzollern, who now occupies the throne of Moldo-Walachia, is of Prussian birth.

The two principalities of Moldavia and Walachia enjoy their nationality and independence on condition of paying a yearly tribute to the Porte.

None of their forts are now to receive a Turkish garrison.

The prince is assisted by a council formed of the leading boyards, and this council forms a high court of appeal for judicial affairs. In modern times, Couza was the best known prince of Walachia, although political events or popular discontent led to his early fall.

The public safety is attended to by a sort of indigenous police, commanded by the head spathar.



The inhabitants of Walachia are remarkable for patience and[108]
resignation; without these qualities, it would have fared hard with them during the calamities which have at all times befallen their country. They are men of a mild, religious, and sober temperament. But, since they are unable to enjoy the result of their labour, they do as little work as possible. The milk of their kine, pork, a little maize, and beer of an inferior quality, with a woollen dress, is all they require. On fête days, however, the peasants appear in brilliant costumes, which we represent here (figs. 37, 38, 39).

“The Walachians,” says M. Vaillant, “are generally of considerable height, well-made, and robust; they have oblong faces, black hair, thick and well-arched eyebrows, bright eyes, small lips, and white teeth. They are merry, hospitable, sober, active, brave, and fitted to make good soldiers. They profess Christianity according to the rites of the Greek church. This people, which has so long inhabited countries devastated by warfare, shows at the present time a strong disposition to develop itself.”



Towns are rare in Walachia, the country being still far in arrear of the surrounding civilization, in consequence of its political subordination to Turkey, and its bad internal organization. The country of the Danube, indeed, has practically but one large town, that is, Bucharest. There are thus, in this land, no centres from whence light could emanate; it is in an incomplete state of civilization, which can be improved only by an internal revolution, or by the collision which, sooner or later, must come, of its powerful adjacent empires.



“However,” says Malte-Brun, “nature seems to await human industry with open arms; there are few regions upon which she has lavished her gifts as she has here. The finest river in Europe bathes the southern frontier of these provinces, and opens a way into fertile Hungary, and the whole Austrian empire, offering, moreover, a communication between Europe and Asia, by the Black Sea; but this is all in vain, for hardly a single vessel glides over its waves. Its rocks, its shoals, the Turkish garrisons on its banks, and above all, the plague, inspire fear. Other fine rivers flow from the summit of the Carpathian mountains, and fall into the Danube; but they serve only to supply fish during Lent, and, being left to themselves, menace the surrounding country, which, if better regulated, they would fertilize. The Aluta, Jalovitza, and Ardschis, are navigated only by flat-bottomed[110]
boats. Immense marshes encumber the low parts of Walachia, and their exhalations produce a continuance of bilious fevers. The most superb forests, in which splendid oaks grow side by side with beeches, pines, and firs, cover not only the mountains, but many of the large islands in the Danube. These, instead of being used in the construction of fleets, merely furnish the wood used in paving the streets or roads; for idleness and ignorance find no means of raising the blocks of granite and marble, of which the Carpathians offer such abundance. The[112] summit of Mount Boutchez attains a height of more than six thousand feet, and all the mineral wealth of Transylvania seems to take its origin in Upper Walachia. Copper mines have been opened at Baya di Roma, and iron mines in the district of Gersy, one especially in the neighbourhood of Zigarescht, where a bed of rocks presents the phenomenon of an almost continual igneous fermentation.



“The Aluta and other rivers bring down nuggets of gold, which are collected by the Bohemians, or Ziguans, and which indicate[113] the presence of mines as rich as those of Transylvania; but no one thinks of looking for them. Only the salt quarries are worked, among which that of Okna Teleago furnishes 150,000 cwt. per annum. The climate, notwithstanding two months of hard winter and two months of excessive heat, is more favourable to health and agriculture than that of any of the adjacent countries. The pastures, filled with aromatic plants, supply nourishment even to the herds of neighbouring provinces, and could support even more than these. The wool of their sheep has already attained considerable value. It is estimated that Walachia contains two and a half millions of sheep, which are of three-fold variety—the zigay, with short and fine wool; the zaskam, with long coarse wool; the tatare, which forms a mean between the two foregoing varieties. Horses and oxen are exported. Fields of maize, wheat, and barley; forests of apple, plum, and cherry trees; melons and cabbages, excellent, although enormous, bear witness to the productive nature of the soil. Many of its wines sparkle with a generous fire, and with care might be brought to equal the well-known Hungarian vintages. A thousand other natural advantages are found there, but they are of little avail to a people without energy or enlightenment.”

Slavonian Family.

This family comprehends the Russians, Finns, Bulgarians, Servians, and Bosniaks, that is to say, the inhabitants of Slavonia; and the Magyars, or Hungarians, the Croats, the Tchecks, the Poles, and the Lithuanians, that is, the people who inhabit the countries intervening between the Baltic and Black Seas.

Before describing these people individually, we shall give in a general manner the characteristics of the family to which they all belong.

The Slavonian family includes the European peoples who have preserved in the greatest perfection the type of the primitive Aryan race. They are tall, vigorous, and well made, and while in this respect they recall the Caucasian type, they yet possess the most distinct marks of the Mongolian type. The cheek bones are high, the nose is depressed at the root, and turned up towards the extremity, which is almost invariably thick. The oval form[114] of the cranium is very marked; the chest is of considerable capacity, and the shoulders and arms are large, but the lower extremities are in proportion much smaller.

Mr. William Edwards has thus described the organic type of the Slavonians:

“The form of the head, viewed from the front, represents pretty nearly a square, since the height is about equal to the breadth, while the top is perceptibly flattened, and the direction of the jaw is horizontal. The nose is less long than the space between its basis and the chin: from the nostrils to the root, it is almost straight, that is, there is no decided curve; but if such curve were appreciable, it would be slightly concave, so as to give the tip a tendency to rise; the lower portion is rather broad, and the extremity rounded. The eyes, which are slightly hollow, are exactly in the same line, and if they present any marked characteristic, it is that they are rather small in proportion to the head. The eyebrows, which are scanty, are nearly contiguous at the inner angle, whence they are directed obliquely outwards. The mouth, which is small with thin lips, is much nearer the nose than the chin. A singular characteristic which must be taken in connection with the above, and which is very general, consists in the absence of beard except upon the upper lip.”

It has been said that the Slavonians of the present day are the old Scythians mixed with the Sarmatians, but their origin is not so simple as this. These people originally bore the name of Venedians or Servians. They occupied, at the commencement of the Christian era, the banks of the Danube and Hungary proper, whence they extended as far as the Dnieper and the Baltic. Their name of Servians is derived from a people mentioned by Ptolemy, under the name of Σερϐοι, who dwelt in the regions around the Baltic (Palus-Meotis), and belonged to the Sarmatian nation. The Sarmatians advanced by degrees from the banks of the lower Don, which was their country, to the centre of Poland, where they mixed with the Venedians. The Sarmatians were allied to the Scythians of Europe, who were an Indo-European nation, considered by Diodorus of Sicily, and Pliny, to have come originally from Media.



It will be seen that the rather complicated pedigree of the Slavonians, is connected with gradual displacements of Asiatic populations. This then explains the fact that they[115]
possess the Caucasian type in a remarkable degree of purity, but altered by the admixture of Mongolian blood.

A certain love of separatism, and a tendency to rebel under the yoke of authority, have been the misfortune of these people. At an early period they separated into rival nationalities, possessing but little capacity for self-government. Anarchy was their political condition, and to this must be attributed the misfortunes of Poland and Hungary, nations which, at the present day, are almost effaced from the Map of Europe.

The Slavonians occupy a large portion of Eastern Europe; formerly they had advanced as far as the centre of Germany. The descendants of the German Slavonians are found in the Venedians of Lusatia, the Tchecks or inhabitants of Bohemia, and the inhabitants of Carinthia and Carniola. The purest type of the Slavonian race is to be found in the Servians, inhabitants of Servia, Herzegovina and Hungarian Slavonia. The Bosniaks and Montenegriners are also Slavonians. They formerly sent to Croatia colonists under the name of Uscoks (emigrants.)

The Croats are Slavonians who descended, about the ninth century, from the region of the Carpathians in Illyria, and who absorbed the previous original Pannonian and Dalmatian population.

A branch quite distinct from this great race, and which might be considered as forming a separate stock, is represented by the Lithuanians, a people whose mild and indolent nature would seem to imply a mixture at some remote period, with Finn, or, perhaps also, with Gothic blood.

Russia is occupied at the present day by a Slavonian race mixed with the Scandinavians and the primitive inhabitants of the soil. The Slavonians who occupied Poland spread from the banks of the Dnieper to the foot of the Oural mountains, while the immigration of the Varegians, a Scandinavian people, brought a northern influence into this country. These Varegians absorbed the Slavonians whom they found in this country, and the Tchoudans who had summoned them. Under this twofold action arose the Russian nation, which is mentioned by Greek writers for the first time in 839, and the elements of which were subsequently modified in various respects by the infusion of Turkish and Mongolian blood. Russia took its name from the country situate around Upsal, which was the native district of the[117]
Scandinavian emigrants (Rios-Lagen, the Ruotsimaa of the Finns).



The population of Russia Major appears to be chiefly composed of a Finnish-Slavonic race. Among the inhabitants of Russia Minor (Cossacks of the Ukraine), the Polish element predominates. Among these Russians we shall find the stock of those who established themselves farther north in Russia Major, the population of which eventually absorbed them. The Bielo-Russians, or inhabitants of White Russia, who occupy the greater portion of the provinces of Mohilew, Minsk, Witepsk, Grodno, and Wilna, constitute a race intermediate between the Russians and the Poles.

The latter first appear in history with the dynasty of the Piasts, about 860. The Slovachians, who extend to the north-west of Hungary as far as Austrian Galicia, belong, as well as the Tchecks, to this same Polish branch. The Ruthenians, settled to the north of Transylvania, proceeded from the mixture of the first Slavonians established in this country with the Poles who emigrated in the twelfth century from Galicia or Red Russia.

Such is the vast collection of populations united under the name of the Slavonian family.

It is difficult to analyze the habits of a race, which, for centuries, has been divided between oppression and slavery. We will, however, endeavour to do so, and shall commence with the Northern Slavonians.

The Northern Slavonian is, in general, gentle and patient. His sweet toned language caresses the ear and the mind with expressions full of tenderness. He treats his wife and children with the greatest kindness. Like the Arab, he loves a life of wandering and adventure beneath the open sky, and, like the Arab, he can bear the greatest fatigue. On horseback he crosses plains covered with snow, as the Arab crosses the burning sands of the desert. Music has a very moving effect on the Slavonian. It forms a means of translating his tenderness and his melancholy; it responds to the vague and cloudy impressions, to the yearnings, of his swelling heart. The Slavonian peasants cultivate the voice, and men, rough and coarse in many other respects, compose melodies full of sentiment. The auditors press around[119] the singer, like the shepherds of ancient Arcadia, and tears of emotion and pleasure are seen rolling down the unkempt beards of these poor Danubians.

The Slavonians are less sensible to linear than to musical harmony. Thus it is that Russian architecture can do no more than imitate the monuments of France and Italy. On the other hand, the taste for colour attains with them a considerable development, a fact which is evidenced by the colours of their materials and furniture, and the decoration of their apartments. The sense of ornament is to be met with in the lowest villages of Russia, and the peasant who constructs his house with the rough-hewn trunks of trees, does not omit to paint and carve his door, window, and roof.

This explains how the serf, when taken from his plough, is able, after a very short apprenticeship, to reproduce the delicate and artistic work of the Parisian jeweller.

We see, therefore, that the artistic aptitudes of the Slavonian are well developed, and that this race, in order to arrive at excellence in art, only requires the conditions of political liberty and individual independence.

From a moral aspect, the Northern Slavonian obeys, above all, the inclination of his heart, rather than of his reason. Nor must the Russian be looked to for personal initiative, or philosophical or social innovations. He does not possess the instinct of liberty, but he has, in a high degree, sympathy, collective action, and the equalizing tendencies which are its consequences.

This sentimental supremacy is manifested in the Orthodox religion which prevails in Russia, which imposes with authority its decisions, and the precepts of which are addressed less to the reason than to blind faith.

By referring to this feeling of sympathy, we are enabled to furnish an explanation of the facility with which an immense population, with bad police arrangements, bad administration, and without good means of communication, acts collectively, accepting the same faith, and obeying the same law. The minds of all in Russia seem to obey one single will and inspiration.

The Slavonian republics flourished from the sixth to the seventh century, during which time these people were happy, wealthy, and tranquil. Art and science flourished there under[120] the shelter of municipal liberty. But, although well formed for peace, they did not possess the element of centralization which was necessary to enable them to withstand foreign aggression. They at last became a prey to the Mongolians and Germans, who brought with them a feudal form of government, and banished all prosperity by destroying the democratic element of equality. The inhabitants of Novgorod were reduced to an actual state of slavery, and Poland, devoted to deplorable political institutions, became, from that moment, a prey to the anarchy which was to bring about its fall.

Russia took its origin from the submission of the Slavonian populations of the north, to the despotic centralization so powerfully organized by Peter the Great and his successors.

The Slavonians of the South, that is, the inhabitants of Slavonia, Servia, Bulgaria, Carniola, &c., differ sensibly from those of the North. A dry and mountainous country, filled, nevertheless, with sweet odours, a burning sun, a clear sky, and the various products of the soil, have rendered the race of Southern Slavonians dark, wiry, active, warlike, and chivalrous. Few men are stronger, physically or morally, than the Slavonians of the Ottoman Empire.

The deplorable Turkish administration has been unable to change the precious qualifications of this people. Though continually beaten down with the sword, they always rise again; the least hope of independence nerves their hearts. The hospitality of the Southern Slavonians, their language brimming with poetry, and their national songs, all impart to them a fine and beautiful character. It may be safely affirmed that a brilliant civilization will arise among these people as soon as they are released from the Turkish yoke.

We will now shortly consider the principal populations whom we have classed under the Slavonian family.

Russians.—The Russians form the most important branch of this family. They may be subdivided into Russians properly so called, Rousniaks, and Cossacks.

The Russians, properly so called, inhabit, almost exclusively, the central portion of Russia, and are, moreover, disseminated throughout all the rest of the Russian Empire, the immense extent of which is well known. In the Asiatic and American portions of[121] this vast empire, they form, not the majority, but the ruling section of the population.

Figs. 43 and 44 will convey an idea of the Russian physiognomy in the capital of the empire, St. Petersburg; fig. 43 represents the dress of the townspeople, and the sledge which takes the place of the carriage during the long winters of this latitude; fig. 44 represents the interior of an inn.



In Russian, the term isba is applied to the dwellings of the peasantry, which are almost always constructed of wood. A[122] Russian village usually consists of only one street, lined with isbas, more or less ornamented, according to the taste or fortune of the proprietor. The houses are almost always similar. Figure 45 shows the interior of this house.



In these houses everything is made of wood, except that portion which surrounds a gigantic stove kept alight during the whole winter. The furniture consists of forms placed along the walls, and which serve as beds for the whole family, who in winter however sleep upon the stove.

To the ceiling are suspended the provisions and candles. In[123] the corner of every room is an image of the Virgin Mary. Instruments of labour, cooking utensils, and domestic animals mingle, within the isba, in picturesque disorder.



The Russian peasant is intelligent, brave, hospitable, affable, and benevolent; but he is wanting in cleanliness, and indulges to excess in malt spirit. He wears a shirt of cotton-stuff, usually red, falling over capacious trousers, which are tucked into heavy boots.

His outer clothing consists of the touloupa, formed of a sheep’s skin with the wool on, and worn with this next the body. His[124] low crowned hat has a broad turned up rim. The hat worn by peasants in the neighbourhood of Moscow is pointed and almost without a rim.

The women wear boots like the men: they also wear the touloupa, with a shawl and kerchief over the head and shoulders. It is only on fête days that this wretched costume gives place to aprons and shawls, of bright colour, and even embroidered in gold and silver. The head-dresses are elegant, and vary in the different provinces.



The pleasures of a Russian peasant are always of a serious character. The quick and sparkling expansion and gaiety of Southern populations are unknown to the inhabitants of these frozen regions.


M. d’Hearyet, who has travelled in the Russian provinces of the Baltic, informs us, that at Riga the houses are comfortable and well appointed; that immense stoves preserve a temperature of 68° or more in vast apartments, guarded from without by double windows and double doors: that persons leaving the house envelop themselves in a fur robe, which leaves no form distinguishable, so that it is difficult to say whether the individual in question is a man or woman: that at night, the bed is small, low, furnished with one or two leathern mattresses and some sheets a little larger than napkins. They live in a hot-house atmosphere, the air of which is not often enough renewed.



The Cossacks form in Russia rather a military caste than a distinct people. They seem to be descended from the Rousniaks mixed with other people, chiefly Circassians. They frequently have longer faces, more prominent noses, and are of greater height, than the Russians properly so called. Their principal settlement is upon the banks of the lower portion of the[126] Don. They, however, rarely possess a fixed residence, since the Cossacks, spread throughout the entire Russian Empire, act as light cavalry and border troops.



Figures 48 and 49 represent different types, taken from Nature, of Cossacks who live in the Caucasus, along the frontiers which bound the Southern portion of the Russian possessions.

Finns.—The Finns form small scattered populations which extend from the Baltic sea to the east of the Obi. The Finns are regarded as the remains of people once far more numerous, who have been conquered, repressed, carried off, or driven back by Slavonians, Turks, and Mongolians. They lead the life of hunters and husbandmen, rather than that of warriors and nomads. Reddish, or, frequently red hair, a scanty beard, a complexion marked with red patches, bluish or grey eyes, sunken cheeks, prominent cheek-bones, a large occiput, and an angular frame possessing less beauty than that of the Europeans and Arameans, have been regarded as the original characteristics of the Finns: but in a large number of these people these characteristics are more or less modified. Among them are distinguished the Ostiaks,[127] the Vogouls, the Finns of Siberia, the Finns of Eastern Russia, and the Finns of the Baltic.

The Finns of Siberia form two groups; one in the South, the other in the North.



The former is composed of certain people known under the names of the Teleouts, Sagaïs, and Kachintz, whose language bears some general affinity to Turkish dialects; these give themselves up to hunting, fishing, and agriculture, and are subject to the Russian Empire.

The Northern group is formed of two people: the Ostiaks and the Vogouls who have retained Finnish dialects.



The Vogouls form only a very insignificant population dwelling[128]
east of the Oural, and have undergone such mixture with the Turks and Mongolians as to have adopted to a great extent their characteristics.

The Ostiaks who dwell upon the banks of the Obi appear to have preserved in much greater perfection the characteristics of the Finns. They are a people devoted to hunting and fishing, with red hair, very uncivilized, and partly idolatrous.

Madame Eva Felinska, during an exile in Siberia, inspected, as far as possible, the Ostiak huts. These habitations were so foul, and gave forth such putrid miasmas, that, notwithstanding her curiosity, this lady was unable to remain in them more than a minute.

The Ostiaks cover their skins with a layer of rancid fat, over which they wear a reindeer skin. They eat uncooked fish or game, this being their ordinary food. But from time to time they go with large buckets of bark to Berezer, where they collect, and devour as delicacies, the refuse of the kitchens. Fig. 51 represents an Ostiak hut.

The Finns of Eastern Russia comprise the Baskirs, the Teptiars, and the Metscheriaks of the Southern Oural: three small peoples who speak Turkish dialects mingled with Finnish words, and who exist in very much the same way. The Baskirs are the most numerous; they are engaged in rearing horses and bees. Like the Cossacks they furnish bodies of cavalry to the Russian army.

The Finns of the Volga comprise the Tchouvachians, Tcheremissians and Moadueinites, who likewise speak dialects interspersed with Turkish words: a short time since they turned their attention to husbandry.

Certain populations scattered through the governments of Perm, Vologda, Orenburg, and Viatka, are the remains of a people of some consideration, formerly independent, civilized, and commercial, whom the Russians subdued, and to a large extent absorbed: these are the Permians.

The Finns of the Baltic, or Finns properly so called, have been long under the rule of Teutonic nations, and have generally preserved the characteristics of the family we have described above. Among them are distinguished the Livonians, Esthonians, Ischorians, Kyrials, Ymes or Finlanders, and Quaines, who are respectively the remains of the ancient inhabitants of Livonia,[130] Esthonia, Ingria, Finland, and Carelia, where they are now mixed with the Slavonians and Teutons. During the last century the Quaines pushed forward to the extremity of Norwegian Lapland, of which they at present form the principal population.



Bulgarians, Servians, and Bosniaks or inhabitants of Flavinia.—In order to describe these, we need do no more than refer to the general facts which have been stated above with reference to the Southern Slavonians. We will merely borrow a few descriptions and illustrations from the work of M. George Perrot, a French writer, “Voyage chez les Slaves du Sud,” published in 1870, and well known on account of the excellent history it contains of his travels in Asia Minor.



M. George Perrot travelled through Slavonia, Croatia, Bosnia, and the strip of territory recently cleared to serve as a frontier to[131]
the Mussulman possessions, and which bears the name of Military Confines.



M. George Perrot first of all gives us some types of the inhabitants of Slavonia, which we shall reproduce here. Figure 54[133] represents a peasant from the neighbourhood of Essek, a town of Slavonia.



While halting at the borough of Vouka, situated a few leagues from Essek, M. George Perrot thus describes the peasants of these parts.

“The majority of the men around us have hair which is blond or of different shades of chestnut. Although much burnt by the sun, they are not generally so dark as the Magyars. Many of the women, who are tall and slender, are really beautiful. Their[134] eyes especially, which are bright and sparkling, and sometimes blue, though more frequently of a dark grey, are charming. The lower portion of their face is less agreeable; the chin is usually prominent, and the lips are rather thick.

“Their costume recalls that met with in the East. The men wear a slouch hat of black felt with the edges turned up, a linen shirt, and full trousers down to the ankle; this in hot weather, when they are in working order, forms the whole dress. One or two loungers, who joined us, were more completely dressed than this.

“They wore large boots of thick leather, and over the shirt a waistcoat of blue cloth, adorned in front, with white metal buttons, and behind, with embroidery in yellow or white. On another occasion, when we were on the boat, we saw some men who, in addition to this, wore, over the waistcoat, a short cape or half-cloak, which did not fall lower than the waist, and of which, as a rule, the sleeves were allowed to hang loose. In winter, they add to these, warm robes of sheepskin or large mantles, which put me in mind of the rough overcoats worn by our waggoners.

“As to the women, they make me think of the Albanians of Attica. This fine September afternoon, they are wearing a long chemise, embroidered with eyelet holes and coloured patterns; this chemise, which leaves the neck very open, would reach to the ground, but in order to permit of freer movement in the fields or at home, it is hitched up, and supported by a coloured girdle, wound two or three times round the body; being thus held up, the chemise forms elegant and symmetrical folds, falling in front as low as the ankle, while behind, it extends to about half way down the calf of the leg. Over the head is thrown, in various fashions, a kerchief, which is usually white, but which on festive occasions is embroidered with silver and gold; the ends of this fall down the back, or over the bosom, as may suit the taste of the wearer. When the best dress is donned, a cloth apron, the colour and pattern of which bear a resemblance to the carpets which I have met with in Servia and Bosnia, hangs down to the knees; over the chemise is worn a species of waistcoat without sleeves, and ornamented with gold or silver embroidery. In winter, they guard against the cold by wearing over all a thick overcoat of sheepskin. All the garments worn by the women are[135] worked by their own hands and busy fingers, during the long winter evenings.”



M. George Perrot remained for rather a long period in the provinces now called the Military Confines or Frontiers, and he describes the miserable state in which the Slavonian peasantry exist there, where they are obliged to live side by side with wild hordes of Mussulman soldiers or pandours.

Figure 55 shows peasants of these districts returning from pasture.





Figure 56 is given by the author as a type of the Slavonian women who inhabit the Military frontiers.

Let us quote a few more of this traveller’s impressions.

“What struck me in all the villages of the Confines through which I passed, were the guard stations, before which loitered, or slept beside their guns, suspended on the wall, five or six Gränzer. In summer, they wear merely their trousers and shirt of coarse white cloth, and sometimes a sort of brown jacket with red facings, which they also wear for field work. In winter they are seen enveloped in their large hooded cloaks of red cloth; and, thus equipped and armed, guard their flocks on the moors. The state furnishes them, for exercise and service, with guns similar to those used by regiments of the line; but when not on duty, many of them prefer long guns of Albanian manufacture or shape, with swallow-tailed stocks. These guns are transmitted from father to son for several generations. Besides these, they wear in their girdles, one or two pistols, and a kind of dagger with a bone handle inlaid with coral or glass. In this guise they have rather the appearance of Bosniak bachibozouks, than of civilized subjects of His Majesty Francis Joseph, constitutional Emperor of Austria, and King of Hungary. Their uniform, consisting of a blue trouser fitting close to the leg, and a vest of black or white wool, is only produced on field days, or in war.

“But what is it that these sentinels are guarding? This is just what I have never been able to understand. No enemy, from Belgrade to Sissek, was threatening; and these villages are exposed to no more disorder than those of the neighbouring provinces, where they dispense with all this armed exhibition. This, therefore, is another of the useless and erroneous consequences of the military régime: here are hands taken day after day from their labour in the fields, and with no greater advantage than that of acquiring the habits of idleness and drunkenness, usually contracted during the period of barrack-room inactivity.”

In Fig. 57 we represent one of the military stations of the Confines, with the guards belonging to it, called Gränzers.



“All those who have lived for some time among the Gränzers, have been struck with their indolent apathy, their careless and continued idleness. For whose sake should they exhaust themselves with work? Under the rules of their community, their wives and children are almost beyond want. As regards[138] themselves, to-morrow they may be torn from their orchards and fields, to encounter death in Italy, or on some other frontier; would it not be madness to expose themselves to privation and fatigue in view of a future upon which they have no means of reckoning? Besides this, does their property, which they can neither render as valuable as they wish, nor sell or bequeath as they may think proper, belong to them sufficiently to give them any pleasure or profit in its improvement? They have maxims which accurately indicate their character; ‘Go late to the field and return early, so as to avoid the dew;—if God does[139]
not aid, what is the use of working?’ Being accustomed to rely only, as they say, ‘Upon God and the Emperor,’ they refuse to recognize the advantages to be gained from any modern invention, better tools, or more advanced methods of cultivation. ‘Thus I found it, and thus I will leave it,’ is a saying of which they often make use in speaking of their patrimonial domain.



“The only thing which, in spite of all the shackles which enchain and benumb their limbs, would have been able to arouse their minds and impart to them some desire for progress, is instruction. But ignorance is profound in the Military Confines; the regimental schools that exist are very insufficient both in number and quality; in certain districts, especially in Southern Croatia, the villages are so distant from one another, that the children, who do not dwell in the borough where the school is, are unable, without difficulty, to go there at any time. Besides, why should the government do much as regards instruction? It is clear, that, if the people of the Confines were better taught, they would be less resigned to their hard lot. If it rested entirely with the government, the schoolmaster would be entirely banished from these parts.

“Upon the banks of the Danube and of the Save, where the Confines abut upon the river, which is continually traversed by packet-boats, travellers, and merchandize, the people of the frontiers have nevertheless daily communication with the inhabitants of the neighbouring provinces, and even with strangers. This contact somewhat opens their minds and suggests new ideas; but it is chiefly in Southern Croatia, in the districts called Banal and Karlstadt, that the characteristic features of the Gränzer are most frequent and striking. There commences, south-east of Karlstadt, what is termed the dry-frontier; this is no longer a water-course such as the Danube or Save, but a line purely conventional, forming the boundary between Austria and Turkey.

“Surprises and hand to hand combats were recently matters of frequent occurrence upon this frontier, which is more difficult to define and to preserve; at the commencement of this century, certain forts, and other places, such as Zettin, which the Turks assaulted in 1809 and 1813, were still the subject of dispute. Here, moreover, the Frontier territory is no longer from fifteen to twenty kilometres, but from five to six myriametres broad; the people subject to the military régime, here, therefore, form a[141] more homogeneous and compact mass. Cases of armed brigandage, and assassinations, which were very common in the whole of this country, are now becoming rarer; but theft is the crime which requires most frequent punishment. The ancestors of the Gränzers lived chiefly by plunder, and such habits are not removed in a day.”

M. Perrot made a journey in Bosnia, down the course of the river Save. He stopped in a borough of this province, of which he speaks thus:

“After a visit to the Bosniak priest, we wandered about the town, where we made several small purchases with a view to smuggling. I replenished my pouch with a Bosnian tobacco which is by no means so good as that of Macedonia. I purchased a rug such as are worked also by the women of Slavonia and the Military Confines: this is not, like the tissues of Persia and Anatolia, thick and soft, but a rather thin and dry quality of cloth.”

Here, also, in designs and in combination of colour, are found the same innate taste, and the same boldness which is met with usually in oriental workmanship. The Slavonian women, in Austria as in Turkey, would be no unworthy rivals of the Turcoman women, who, in the neighbourhood of Smyrna, and from the high meadow-lands of the Taurus down to the low deserts of Persia, execute, beneath their black tents of goat or camel hair, those marvellous pieces of needlework, for which, at the present time, we pay so high a price.

The inferiority of the products of this domestic industry in Turkey in Europe, is attributable to the fact, that, here the women being within comparatively easy distance of large markets, filled with European wares, are enabled to procure there wools suited to their wants, already dyed by industrial processes: but it will be understood that the colours thus obtained, which are produced with a view to cheapness and variety, are far from possessing the fresh and durable tints of those colours, few in number, always the same, and almost all obtained from the animal and vegetable worlds, the secret of which has been handed down in the bazaars of the East, and under the tents of the nomadic tribes, from the time when Nineveh, Babylon, Susa, Tyre, and Sidon, were at the height of their prosperity.

“Our purchases at an end, we returned along the banks of the[142] Save, and, while the ferry was attempting to pass a herd of bullocks, which had just been purchased in Bosnia, I amused myself by noting the picturesque mixture of costumes and types which the bank, on which were most of the market people, offered.



“Here was a jobbing blacksmith, who had set up his shop in the open air, hammering and putting in order the pots which were brought to him; or sharpening with his hammer, the points of long iron clamps, used to connect the rafters of houses. His arrangements were most primitive. Two vertical posts supported a[143] horizontal piece, upon which worked the lever, by means of which the bellows were set in motion. In front of the orifice by which the air escaped, a small anvil was fixed in the ground. Around the proprietor, seated on the ground, a number of tools were scattered. The long shirt and puffed out trousers of the blacksmith appeared white by comparison with his skin, although he had probably worn them for some weeks; his chest and arms were bronze coloured.





“A little further on, the most motley groups attracted and[144] retained my notice. Here were Mussulmans, Bosniaks, Pandours guarding the market, their attitudes and costumes carrying me right away to the East, and recalling very old recollections. One of them wore a white turban, which displayed a mass of plaited[145] hair falling down his neck; he stood erect, his hand supporting the butt end of his gun, which rested on his shoulder. A tapestried mantle, adorned with long flocks of wool, which is peculiar to the frontiers of the two countries, was thrown over his shoulders. At his side was another Bosniak, who leant against a wall, clad in a long cloak of red wool; his feet were shod with sandals of tanned leather. Here a rich landowner of the neighbourhood, whose name I really forget, was causing his servants to remove the cattle he had not succeeded in selling: there peasants were remounting their horses, whose gay and picturesque harness I much admired.”



Figures 59 and 60 represent, according to M. Perrot, a Bosniak peasant man and woman, and figure 61, a Bosniak merchant.

The Magyars are the natives of Hungary. The chief population[146] of this country is composed of a people who came from Asia under the name of Magyars, and who were, it would seem, a tribe of the Huns. Hungary is believed to have been populated by some of the savage companions of Attila, the terrible king of the Huns, known as the “Scourge of God.”



The Magyars are distinct from other people in their language and costumes.

They are of medium height, with black hair. Their character is warlike, and their state of civilization is superior to that of the other branches of the Slavonian family.

In his “Causeries Géographiques,” (from Paris to Bucharest,) M. Duruy has imparted to us his impressions on a journey to Pesth in 1861. The population appeared to him superb.




The women were remarkable through their brightness and decided attractions. In dress, they do not differ much from the men. A chemise gathered in at the neck, with full sleeves richly embroidered, and slightly tightened at the wrists, which are[148] covered with lace ruffles; a jacket body, either red, black, or green, embroidered at the back with fringes and silver buttons, sets off a slender and supple form. A light, very ample, but often rather short petticoat; a silken or velvet scarf thrown over one shoulder à la hussarde; the national high brimmed hat surmounted by a plume of feathers as head-dress; well turned feet and ankles, in embroidered shoes, or sometimes in little spurred boots of red morocco, form the Hungarian costume, represented in figs. 63, 64 and 65.



The markets which are held on the quays, have also peculiar features. You see there, says M. Duruy, groups which call to mind the savage hordes of Attila. M. Duruy almost believed he saw one of the companions of the “Scourge of God.” This was apparently a kind of peasant, flat-nosed, round-eyed, with large[149] projecting cheekbones, and hanging mustachios. He was dark, and dressed in a vest of sheepskin, and breeches of coarse cloth, supported at the waist by a scarf falling over his heavily-shod and spurred boots. A large hat, with the edges turned up, covered his head, and beneath it hung two long plaits of hair. The Magyar language is energetic, full of similes, and filled with guttural aspirations which seem derived from the Arabic, while certain soft and caressing intonations remind us of the Italian idiom. National feeling is brisk in the towns and throughout the country. In the latter, it is kept alive by Bohemian songs, and by stories told by the heads of families during the long winter evenings.

About the other races composing the Slavonian family, namely, the Croats, the Tchecks, the Lithuanians, and the Poles, we have nothing particular to remark.

In general, what we have said at the commencement of this chapter, applies to them with but little modification.

The Greek Family.

The Greek family comprises the Greeks and the Albanians. These races derive their origin from the ancient tribes known under the name of Pelasgians. The ancient Greeks founded many colonies on the shores of the Mediterranean.

In the fourth century before Christ, led by Alexander, they subdued part of Asia, and carried their victorious arms into Egypt. But these conquests were ephemeral. The Greek empire was in its turn subjugated by other races, of whom the principal were the Romans, the Slavonians, and the Scythians.

In the present day the Greeks compose but a scanty population, concentrated in the Morea, or scattered in the neighbouring districts. The majority of the people of this race who inhabit the Asiatic continent have adopted even the language of their neighbours, and are merely reputed Greeks because they profess the Greek form of the Christian religion.

The ancient Greeks, civilized by intercourse with Egyptian colonists, already afforded an example of advanced culture, at a time when the other European and Asiatic nations were still immersed in barbarism.

In spite of the misfortunes of a social decay destined to[150] terminate in many centuries of subjection, the Greeks have preserved up to our own day the physical characteristics of their ancestors. Everyone knows that the most beautiful development of the brow, the finest shape of the human head, is that we find traced in the sculpture of ancient Greece. It had been supposed that the magnificent heads with the noble outlines, admired in the statues of the Greeks, were not the exact reproduction of nature, and that some features had been exaggerated in the direction of ideal beauty. But, in our own day, the skulls of ancient Greeks have been found whose proportions and whose general outlines demonstrate, that, among the artists of ancient Greece, sculpture did not surpass nature, but restricted its inspiration to types who actually lived.

The Apollo Belvidere can therefore be considered as a model, but slightly idealized by art, of the general physiognomy of the ancient Greeks. In his “Travels in the Morea,” M. Pouqueville gives a description of the physiognomy of the present Greeks, which enables us to judge of the surprising persistence of the most beautiful types, even in the midst of a social condition so deeply modified.

“The inhabitants of the Morea,” says M. Pouqueville, “are generally tall and well made. Their eyes are full of fire, their mouth is admirably well formed and full of the most beautiful teeth. The women of Sparta are fair, slender, and dignified in carriage. The women of Taygetus have the gait of Pallas . . . . The Messenian girl is conspicuous for her plumpness; she has regular features, large eyes, and long black hair; the damsel of Arcadia, hidden under her coarse woollen garments, scarcely allows the regularity of her figure to be perceived . . . .”

Here, besides, are the characteristics displayed in their sculpture, and which, according to what we have said, may really be considered those of the Greek type.

A high forehead, rather a wide distance between the eyes, with the slightest possible depression at the top of the nose; this last straight or slightly aquiline; large eyes, opening widely and surmounted by a scarcely arched eyebrow; a short upper lip, a small or medium sized mouth delicately cut; and a prominent and well rounded chin.

Fig. 66 represents the Greeks of Athens; fig. 67 a Greek family and the interior of a house at Athens.




To give an idea of modern Greek manners and types, we will borrow a few lines from an interesting work by M. Prout, “Journey to Athens,” published in “Le Tour du Monde” in 1862. Let us first listen to this traveller speaking to us of the inhabitants of Greece:

“If Fallmeseyer is to be believed, there are no more Greeks in Greece, only Slavonians; it is beyond doubt that the inhabitants[152] of Thrace and of Macedonia cannot boast so immaculate an origin as the mountaineers of Olympus or of Magnus; but it is equally certain that from Cape Malea to the Black Sea, and from Smyrna to Corfu, there are ten million individuals who speak Greek, mixed up with a population speaking Slavonic, and that in the plains of Athens, we easily distinguish the Albanian with the narrow temples and the prominent nose, from the Greek with the wide forehead and the high cheek-bones, although their dress is exactly the same. To converse for an hour with the latter is sufficient to satisfy all doubt as to the authenticity of his origin.

“His qualities of mind have remained the same as in the days of Homer: he has still the same aptitude for thorough and rapid comprehension, the same facility of graceful and metaphorical expression. These qualities give to the Greeks so great a superiority over the other races of the East, that they are liked by none of them. The Turks reproach them with being suspicious and dissimulating, because they have opposed craft to force; the Levantines accuse them of dishonesty in commercial transactions, because they themselves have taken lessons of them, and have often surpassed their instructors.

“There is no greater bond of sympathy between them and the other nations on the shores of the Mediterranean. Serious and deliberate in disposition, the tone of their mind is foreign alike to raillery and to the rapidity of dramatic intensity. Their grief pursues a peaceful and elegiac course; it is with them a latent sorrow, and not a sharp crisis leading to the ecstasies of madness. Whilst Cupid’s weapons, in Naples or in Venice for instance, inflict terrible wounds, the arrows of the Athenian god neither keep his victims from repose nor from the pursuit of business. The Greeks have preserved their tragic intonation, and are the true children of that wild Orestes who died at more than eighty years of age from the effects of an accident. In their minds, action always takes its course with deliberation and gravity, not without a certain amount of colouring, but never widely straying from reality; interrogating and holding council with itself, and taking time for reflection before making its decision.



“It is astonishing to meet with these analytical and foreseeing tendencies, even among the most ignorant. Above all nations[153]
they best understand the art of listening, and whilst saying a great deal are the smallest talkers in the world.

“Everybody is familiar with the Greek dress: the short pelisse, the skirt, which goes by the name of fystan, the small fez with its tufted tassel falling on the nape of the neck of the wearer, and the embroidered gaiter fitting tight to the leg. The sailors, instead of the fystan, wear a very wide pair of trousers, and stockings instead of gaiters. In winter the talagani, a long close-fitting cloak of lambskin, is added to the rest of the dress. The Greeks, generally speaking, tall slender men of regular features, wear this national costume in a very dashing manner. Young Greece carries its dandyism a little to extremes by over pinching its waist, and exaggerating the width of its skirts. During the winter of 1858 it was the fashion to wear the entire beard. I trust that this fancy, which gave them the appearance of sappers in petticoats, has disappeared; the finely trimmed mustachios, revealing the lips, are better suited to their delicately chiselled features as well as to their refined and fanciful style of dress. But alas! Athens every day sees the pure gold of its ancient costume bartered for the dross of modern broadcloth fresh from the shelves of the tailor’s shop. Athens now boasts seventy tailors and fifty shoemakers who make in the French style, whilst only six of the former, and three of the latter still work in the spirit of their national traditions. There are sixty-two shops for the sale of female attire, but only three or four ladies are to be seen still faithful to their national dress (I except the maids of honour to the Queen, who wear it by order), and even in their case one half has disappeared. The corsage cut down upon the neck and the taktikios (cap) of Smyrna still remain; but the long narrow skirt has allowed itself to become swollen by the insinuating arts of conspiring crinoline. The style of dress in the islands is more commonplace, but the great quantity of garments worn one over the other remind one of the childish simplicity of the outlines of our own peasant women. I much prefer, in spite of its stiffness, the long Albanian robe worn by the women of the interior.

“It is particularly at Agora that specimens of all the peasantry of the neighbourhood may be seen walking about in their picturesque costumes.

“This Agora is not the ancient Agora of Ceramica; it is a[155] market-place, composed of worm-eaten sheds roofed in with ragged cloths, in which are exhibited produce of all sorts, from the bursting figs of Asia Minor to the patent preparations of Parisian perfumers.

“On each side of this market-place stands a spectre of antiquity, the tower of the Winds, or clepsydrum of Andronicus, an octagonal monument engraved with passably mediocre figures, and the portico of Minerva Archigetis. Archæologists after noticing the first, hasten across the spacious vestibule to visit the second, but those, who are indifferent alike to the criticisms of Martius and of Leake, prefer to pause on the threshold of the market, particularly in the early morning when the peasantry,

‘Seated in their chariots of Homeric pattern,
Like the ancient Isis on the basso-relievos of Egina,’

pour in from the highways from Thebes and Marathon. I have said that the men were distinguished for regular symmetry of countenance; but the peasant women are simply ugly. Of middle height, robust, and sunburnt, they have no feminine attributes, in the meaning we give to the word. In commercial circles and among the Phanariots, who come principally from Asia, where the race has remained pure, there are, on the contrary, many really beautiful women to be seen. Oriental languor gives them a charm unknown in our country; but they walk badly, and are wanting in that elegance of style which French women possess in such a high degree.

“They are rarely to be seen walking out, they seldom leave their houses where they busy themselves with domestic occupations, and employ their leisure in reading romances, principally translated from the French.

“Although class distinctions are gradually disappearing, there are still in Athens two distinct sets of society; the Phanariot, and the Greek, properly so called; the first already quite Europeanized, the second on the high road to become so. The Phanariot ladies are well educated and speak French admirably. The others, whose information is extremely limited, have an instinctive good sense and a tact never at fault, by no means one of the least subjects of surprise to foreigners.



“. . . I have heard it said that the price of the honesty[156]
of an English trader was a hundred pounds sterling, and that that of his Greek brother was less. Both are absurd statements. It is impossible to draw a hard and fast line in such matters; opportunity makes the thief. Strangers are everywhere the natural prey of the sharper, but not more so at Athens than in any other part of the world. The only difference is that in that city they are more easily taken in, on account of the complication of the currency, this complication being another instance of Bavarian error. Rothschild made an offer to the council of regency to effect a loan payable in coin similar to that struck at the French mint. The council decided that it was more ingenious, and above all more archaic, to shut their eyes to all known standards, and to reintroduce the drachma with its ancient weight. These badly executed coins were exported in ingots, and hopeless calculations about the smallest transaction are the result; calculations in which the Austrian coins, ugly and disagreeable to the touch, play the principal part, to be finally parted with, with a sense of relief, to the trader, to whatever nation he may happen to belong.

“To have done with the subject of Greek probity, which has been so much called into question; in the country the inhabitants are avaricious because they are poor, but they are honest. Travellers who jump to a conclusion from their experience of inn-keepers, porters, cabmen, &c., come to a wrong decision. These classes are everywhere the same. In Athens alone a remarkable self-possession, with a dignified manner, is found, instead of the familiar impudence of Italian facchini, or the deceitful suavity of German attendants. It is worthy of remark that one is never assailed in the streets with the importunity of beggars. These are few in number, for with the Greeks it is a sacred family duty to assist its impoverished members, and the few that do beg, shrink from publicity. The streets of Athens have a peculiar physiognomy. The stranger notices there neither the noisy disturbance of the highways of Naples, nor the methodical activity of those of London. They are rather to be compared with those of some of the provincial towns of France, where the leisured citizens stroll about, and retail to one another the gossip of the hour, remaining apparently permanent fixtures of the pavement. Athens has, on the whole, the appearance of a city where time dies hard; the male population encamp themselves[158] during the day in the sunshine of the streets; the shopkeepers while away the hours, one foot within, and the other without their doorsill; and their customers intermingle the tedious arithmetic of barter with familiar conversation, or buttonhole the passer to gossip about the mutual acquaintance that has just passed. Alexander’s establishment, amongst others, is one of the principal head-quarters of news.

“Linger for an hour in front of the café of Beautiful Greece, where Hermes Street and Eolus Street intersect one another, you will see the whole Athenian world pass before you; the nearest lounger will tell you their names. Here comes the politician who is still in the market, there goes the statesman who has already obtained his price. That is Canaris, whose reputation is European, although his person is so puny: there are Chriesis, Métaxas, Mavrocordato, Rangabé, Miaouli, the celebrities of yesterday and to-day. This man, treading as gingerly as if he stepped upon eggs, and throwing uneasy glances around him, is a Chiotian. As he passes, your cicerone scowls, for the Chiotians are not exactly beloved. Popular tradition declares that the Island of Scios was formerly settled by Jews, but this is erroneous, although the Chiotians have a Jewish appearance, and, like the children of Israel, are very successful in banking and commerce. Commercial aptitude has always been, in ancient times as well as to-day, the basis of the national character of the Chiotian. ‘Two reasons,’ says M. Lacroix, ‘explain this tendency. The position of Scios, situated in the midst of the sea, between Europe and Asia, upon the great maritime highway of ancient commerce, naturally disposed its inhabitants to become traders; while the nature of their island, whose stony soil is little suited to agriculture, rendered such a means of livelihood in part a necessity to them.’

“As the trader of Scios can be recognised by his appearance, so the Ionian islander can be distinguished by his speech. The torrent of his eloquence is heard towering above the voices of every group. I have a great admiration for the Ionians. I do not say that human perfection is to be found in these numerous islands, but wonderful natural qualities, in unison with the healthy civilization bequeathed to them by the Italian republics, are to be seen there. It is but the other day that the ingenious combination of Mr. Gladstone gave Europe an idea of the dignity of their[159]
character, the extent of their patriotism, and the wisdom of their mind. To this Greek good sense they add the fire of the Italian. Active, intelligent, good hearted and honest in their dealings, they attract at once the sympathies of all.



“This admixture of which the Athenian population is composed is a curious study.

“On the Sunday, everybody leaves the cross roads in front of the Beautiful Greece to frequent the esplanade of Patissia (a corruption from Pachiscliah); the men stroll about talking together, and the women, abandoning their household gods for this day only, follow a few paces behind them. The crowd walks round and round a kiosk till a military band placed there has finished playing, and then goes home; not into the house, however, but into the streets, for during the warm summer nights nearly everybody sleeps al fresco. These sleepers advertise their presence by a continual hum, which is a kind of internal monologue, an echo of the day’s conversation, for the Greeks still remain the wittiest and the most eloquent chatterers in the world.”

We place side by side with the Greeks the Albanians, whose language has some relation to Greek. Concentrated in the mountains of their country, they appear to be the lineal representatives of the ancient inhabitants of these districts. They are the descendants of the ancient Illyrians, mixed up with the Greeks and the Slavonians. Restricting themselves almost exclusively to the profession of arms, the Albanians constitute the best soldiers of the Ottoman army. Their numbers scarcely reach two millions, although Albania is of great extent and contains several rather important towns.

Albania, part of Turkey in Europe, bounded on the north by Montenegro, Bosnia, and Servia, on the east by Macedon and Thessaly, on the south by the kingdom of Greece, on the west by the Adriatic and Ionian seas, constitutes the pachaliks of Janina, Ilbessan and Scutari. It possesses three seaports, Durazzo, Avlona, and Parga. The most important towns are Scutari, Akhissar, Berat, and Arta.

Semi-barbarians, partaking more of the pirate and the brigand than of the cultivator and the labourer, the Albanians pass their lives in a state of petty warfare among themselves.

Members of the White Race
P. Sellier, p.t Imp. Dupuy, 22, R. des Petits Hôtels G. Regamey, lith.

They professed Christianity up to the fifteenth century, but after having under Scanderbeg gloriously resisted the Turkish[161] invasion, they were forced to submit to the victorious Ottomans, who compelled the Albanians to embrace the religion of Mahomet.[162] In some parts of Albania the Greek church still survives. In the north, between the sea and the black Drin, the courageous tribe of the Mirdites practise the Roman Catholic religion and enjoy liberty.



Fig. 70 represents the Albanian costume.





Cuvier has thought fit to give the name of Aramean (derived from the ancient appellation of Syria) to the race of people who inhabit the south-west of Asia and the north of Africa. Since primeval historic times, the Aramaic race developed itself in the south-west of Asia and the north of Africa, and it has remained there up to our own day. It also extended its settlements to the south of Europe, where it became assimilated to the inhabitants of that part of the world.

At a period when Europeans were immersed in the depths of ignorance, the Arameans successfully cultivated science and art. But later, whilst progress was making rapid strides amongst the Westerns, the Arameans on the contrary came to a halt; so that the civilization of these Asiatic races is still pretty much the same as it was two thousand years ago.

Christianity sprang up amidst the Arameans, but it made few converts. Mahometanism and Buddhism attracted nearly the whole of this numerous race.

Four leading divisions are recognised among the Arameans: the Libyans, the Semitics, the Persians, and the Georgians and Circassians.

The Libyan Family.

The Libyan Family is composed of the Berbers and the Egyptians.



The Berbers.—The Berbers are the race which from very ancient times inhabited the mountains of the Atlas chain, or wandered amidst the deserts of the Sahara. The Berbers are split up into a great number of tribes, of whom the four principal are, the Kabyles, the Shellas, the Touariks and the Tibbous.


The traveller in Kabylia is struck with admiration, for its lofty mountains, the gentle and pleasing undulations of its plains, and its valleys interlaced with the windings of countless streams. Its inhabitants are pastoral, agricultural, and laborious. The headdress of their women is fashioned to suit their habit of carrying on their head jars of great weight. They balance these by rigidly straightening their waists, round which they wind, some score of times, a girdle of coarse woollen cords. Their garment is simply a piece of woollen cloth fastened together by a couple of pins over the bosom.

The Kaybles are not, like the real Arabs, nomadic. They remain, on the contrary, faithful to one spot. Whilst the Arab inhabits a tent, removable at will, and in accordance with the requirements of his family, the Kabyle lives in a stone dwelling, and his homestead is a regular village. In truth, the Kabyle is not an Arab; he is of African origin, a Berber, somewhat modified by the different races that have in turn settled on the African shores of the Mediterranean, but whose customs and physical characteristics have always remained the same.

The Roman armies subdued the Kabyles dwelling on the Mediterranean coasts, and drove them into the mountains. The principal aim of the successive Roman governors in Africa, was to drain the country of its resources to supply the insatiable requirements of Rome, and the extravagant liberality continually lavished on its citizens by the Emperors of this capital of the world. Rome thus accepted from Africa but slaves and labourers. Those of the conquered, who were unwilling to pass under the heavy yoke of the Roman governors, abandoned the plains and retired to the mountains, inaccessible retreats, whose ravines and forests offered innumerable obstacles to the cruelty of centurions, and the rapacity of prætors. At a future period, led by enterprising chieftains, they sallied forth from these natural fortresses to assail and ultimately to definitively repulse the Roman power.

To give an idea of the Kabylia of to-day, and of its organization, we will quote a few details from “An Excursion to great Kabylia,” published in 1867, in “Le Tour du Monde,” from the pen of Commandant Duhousset, an officer in the French army.

“In Kabylia,” he says, “the household composed of the members of one family is termed kharouba; each kharouba forming part of the village or déhera, elects one of its members as[166] a dhaman to represent it at the municipal council, and to defend its interests: in a word, to be responsible for it.

“The different déheras are further united together under the name of arch.

“In each village authority is administered by an amin, elected by turns from each kharouba. It is the duty of this official to watch over the execution of the written laws, drawn up under the name of khanoun, and which are merely the recital of the customs handed down from time immemorial in Kabylia.

“The amin can pronounce no judgment, inflict no fine, without consulting the assembly (djemaa) of his assistants or dhamans, always chosen from the notabilities of the village. This tribunal chooses a secretary (khodja) intrusted with the duty of keeping a public register of its deliberations, and of carrying on all correspondence with the French authorities. The labours of the khodja are remunerated with perquisites of figs, olives, &c.

“The supreme command of the tribe is delegated by the French to an amin-el-oumena, whose principal duty is the superintendence of his tribe in all matters concerning public order. He is not allowed to interfere in the internal policy of the villages, which govern themselves, each according to its own interpretation of the khanoun.

“The djemaa possesses a municipal fund, kept in the hands of an ouhil (manager). This fund is supplied by the fines inflicted by the municipal council and the native officials, and by the rates levied on marriages, births, and deaths.

“Each village is divided into two factions, or soff, generally hereditary foes. It is easy to imagine the serious nature of the outrages on public tranquillity, committed by these irreconcilable neighbours, when their mutual interests are at stake.”

The elections are a constant source of disturbance in the Kabyle villages.

The way in which these villages are laid out, their dwellings overlooking one another, makes these struggles very sanguinary ones. Some of the more lofty houses have crenelated parapets, the remainder are loopholed, and the djama (mosque) becomes, on account of the military importance of its upper storey, a regular fortress, assuring the victory to its fortunate possessors.

Everybody knows that the French conquered Kabylia in 1857. What most contributed to the submission of the Kabyles, was the[167] promise made to them to respect their customs and their communal elections. This promise was kept, and the respect shown to their local usages not a little contributed to consolidate the French conquest.

The Kabyle villages, seen from a distance, look picturesque, but on mixing with their inhabitants and entering their houses, the charm vanishes. The question immediately suggests itself how it is possible for any human beings to dwell in the midst of such universal neglect, and of such hideous filth.

“Every Kabyle,” says M. Duhousset, “is revoltingly dirty: there are no baths to be found in the whole of Kabylia of the Djujina. The children receive no care. The result of this neglect is frequent ophthalmia, sometimes complete blindness; they are also often subject to cutaneous diseases, or worse hereditary affections, which these mountaineers hand down from generation to generation, continuing to exist in spite of them . . . . . the women, good mothers who suckle their children up to three or four years of age . . . . the men, industrious workmen and good agriculturists.”

The Kabyles are independent in disposition, observant by nature, and fond of labour: but they are inclined to be avaricious, revengeful, and quarrelsome. Some of their villages, as we have shown, are divided into two hostile camps, and in many cases, part of the communal land is set apart for warlike encounters, where all differences are settled by the yataghan and the matchlock. Divorce is one of the sores of Kabyle society.

It is well known that Kabylia is a rich, tranquil country, addicted to industry, and possessing a numerous population. But a few statistics will here have a peculiar interest.

There are in France eight departments with a smaller population than Kabylia; these are, according to M. Duhousset, the Basses-Alpes, the Hautes-Alpes, the Cantal, Corsica, Lozére, the Basses-Pyreneés, the Hautes-Pyreneés, and Tarn-et-Garonne. Three departments are smaller in extent; the Rhône, the Seine, and Vaucluse.

The average population of France is 679631000 inhabitants to every square kilometre; that of Kabylia is 677231000. Looking, however, at the average population to every kilometre in each separate department, it appears that twenty-eight have a larger average than Kabylia, one an equal, and fifty-seven a smaller one.[168] The agricultural productions of Kabylia are the ordinary fruits of African culture, especially the fig and the olive, to which must be added large crops of wheat. Figs are the principal article of food of the inhabitants, and olives the staple of their agricultural industry.

During harvest-time the Kabyles cover their heads with an immense straw hat of a pointed shape, with a huge brim, fourteen inches in width, shading their face. A shirt, leaving the arms and legs bare, and a leather apron, similar to that worn by our blacksmiths, constitute their dress. They reap their corn and barley in small handfuls at a time, and very close to the ground, with a sickle. The thrashing and winnowing is roughly done by oxen. M. Duhousset, who witnessed the harvest and the grinding of the corn, gives the accompanying sketch (fig. 72) of the Kabyle flour-mills. Their olive-mill is very similar to that used in the south of France, only their grindstones are turned by women, who fill the part assigned by us to horses or to a steam-engine.

In Kabylia particular care is bestowed on the cultivation of the fig, the principal article of food of the whole country. M. Duhousset took particular notice of the artificial fecundation of the fig-tree, a curious operation totally unknown in France.

The fig-tree, as well as the date-tree, is artificially fecundated in Kabylia; in the case of the latter the male flower is merely superimposed on the female blossoms to impregnate them; but with the former it is insects that carry the fertilizing dust. This process is termed caprification.

“Caprification,” says M. Duhousset, “has been practised from time immemorial by all the inhabitants on the Mediterranean coast. This curious and important process seemed to me to deserve a special investigation. I have, therefore, collected a quantity of more or less plausible details and explanations of the manner in which it is carried out, and the advantages derived from this mode of cultivation.

“The dokhar is the fruit of the wild fig-tree. It is small, flavourless, and bitter. It is not a very eatable species, and is not cultivated for the sake of food. It is precocious, and becomes ripe when the other figs, still green, have not yet attained their maturity. The tree which produces them—the caper fig-tree—yields two or three crops in the year; but it is only the first that is generally made use of.




“When quite ripe, the dokhar is gathered, and arranged in small bunches (moulak) on a string. These strings are suspended to the boughs of the female fig-tree, towards the end of June in the plains, towards the end of July on the mountains. From the stem of each dokhar, when dry, issue a quantity of small winged insects, which introduce themselves into the fruit on the tree, instil a new life into it, and prevent it from falling.

“These insects, agents of this fecundation, are produced and developed in the fruit of the wild fig-tree, and leave it, as soon as arrived at maturity, to attach themselves to the female fig-tree.[170] Their body is hairy, like that of the bee, which is known to fulfil an analogous mission towards certain flowers.

“These insects are of two kinds, black and red. The first, smaller than the second, do not carry like the latter a sting in their abdomen. The natives assert that the black insect alone plays a useful part in the caprification of the fig—the part played by the wind, the bird, or the hand of man in the instance of the date. A long experience attributes to it the privilege of preserving the figs from perishing and falling before they have become ripe. This custom has given rise to the well-known Kabyle proverb, ‘He who is without dokhar is without figs.’ The abundance of figs in every locality and under every difference of climate depends upon that of the dokhar. Sometimes, however, the latter, although plentiful, gives birth to but a small number of these preserving insects, as in 1863, when the crop was poor, the dokhar having produced but few insects.

“The Kabyles are convinced that one of these insects can preserve ninety-nine figs, but that the hundredth becomes its tomb. This is possibly only a popular prejudice; but it is as well to cite it. Truth among primitive people becomes sometimes crystallized in the shape of a superstition, and the inexplicable pervades everything.

“Caprification takes place at least once a year. When the dokhar is abundant it is prudent to repeat the process several times at short intervals, and it is most important that it should be performed at the proper moment, either in the autumn or in the spring, or the crop may become seriously endangered and partly lost.

“A rule generally observed in the villages where the dokhar flourishes, is, that no one may sell it, under a penalty of a fine of two pounds, to a stranger, or even to an ally, before the gardens of his own locality have been copiously provided with the precious preservative.

“Previous to our rule the Kabyle tribes were continually at enmity with one another, and the sale of the dokhar was then suspended and forbidden between them. As the fig is the principal and indispensable food of the inhabitants, this prohibitory measure was the surest means of starving the enemy, or at least of occasioning him serious inconvenience. It is, therefore, probable that the different tribes frequently came to open blows in[171] order to procure by bloodshed what they were unable to obtain by purchase.”

Copper and iron are rather abundantly found in Kabylia, and its inhabitants are expert in extracting these metals from their ores. However, they are beginning to import metal goods from Europe.



With tools of their own manufacture, or with those of foreign importation, the Kabyles make a great many useful and important articles. Jewellers and armourers are frequently found in their villages.

Fig. 73, from a sketch by M. Duhousset, represents the workshop[172] of a Kabyle jeweller. The lathe of the Kabyle workman is used to make the wooden vases and the numerous utensils sold by the Kabyles all along the African coast. It is sufficiently noteworthy that the Kabyle turner only uses the vertical lathe, and seems ignorant of the horizontal one so convenient and so generally used in Europe.

The Shellas dwell to the west of the Atlas, while the Kabyles are found to the east of these mountains. The former are tillers of the soil, laborious and poor. They are generally independent.

The Touariks are a people distinct from the two preceding ones. They are nomadic. They wander in the desert of Sahara, and make continual raids into Egypt to carry off slaves. M. Henri Duveyrier, who has published a detailed account of the Touariks of the North, declares that they are hospitable and humane. They are generally considered to consist of rather formidable tribes, accustomed to scour the desert, stop caravans and plunder the laggards. At any rate, it is a known fact that an ill-starred traveller, Miss Tinné, who had courageously explored parts of Asia and Africa, was assassinated in the desert in 1869 by some Touariks.

In French Africa the generic name of Moor is given to the Mussulman population (the Turks excepted) inhabiting Barbary and Sahara; but in reality this name is only rightly applicable to two particular classes. The first of these is partly composed of the inhabitants of the towns, often supposed to be the descendants of the ancient natives of the country, that is to say of the Libyan family, but seeming on the contrary to be principally of Arab origin. The second comprises the tribes, most of them nomadic, who dwell in the south-west of Sahara, and who belong to either the Berber or the Arab race.

The Egyptians. We now proceed to speak of the Egyptians, that unchanging race which seems to slumber on, embalmed on a conservative soil, a vast hypogeum, where, for thirty centuries, generations, both of human beings and of domestic animals, have succeeded generations without any perceptible alteration. The work of Herodotus, the dialogues of Lucian, and the[173] writings of Ammianus Marcellinus, teach us that the ancient Egyptians, similar in all respects to those of our own day, had a brown coloured skin. Two contracts of sale, dating back from the time of Ptolemy, give us particulars of the parties to it. The vendor is called μελαγχρως (dark brown), and the buyer μελιχρως (honey coloured). From all the documents and evidence we possess, it appears that several varieties in the colour of the skin existed among the ancient Egyptians, but that there was always one predominant hue. Paintings are found in the temples and the tombs, where the persons represented have a copper coloured, reddish, or light chocolate complexion. The faces of the women are sometimes of a yellower tint, merging into fawn colour.

Another faithful representation of the features of the ancient Egyptians is found in those of their paintings and sculptures that have descended to our own time. Their physiognomy shows a peculiar and remarkable type, as does also the shape of their bodies. According to Denon (Travels in Egypt), the ancient inhabitants of the kingdom of the Pharaohs had full but refined and voluptuous figures, calm and serene faces, soft and rounded features, long almond shaped eyes, half closed, languishing, and raised at the outer corner, as if the glare and heat of the sun habitually fatigued them. Round cheeks, thick and prominent lips, a large but smiling mouth, and a dark reddish copper tinted complexion, completed the peculiar expression of their countenance.

Blumenbach, after examining a large number of mummies, and comparing them with the productions of ancient art, established three leading types of ancient Egyptians, including, with more or less deviation, all individual casts of face; the Ethiopian, the Indian, and the Berber type. The first is distinguished by a prominent jaw and a thick lip, by a broad flat nose, and by protruding eyes. This type coincides with the description given by Herodotus and other Greek writers, who assign to the Egyptian a black complexion and woolly hair. The second type is widely different. The nose is long and narrow, the eyelids are thin, long, and slanting obliquely from the top of the nose towards the temples; the ears are set high in the head, the body is short and slight, and the legs are very long. This picture resembles the Hindoos from beyond the Ganges.

Such were the ancient people of Egypt. Its inhabitants of[174] to-day are difficult to class from an ethnographic point of view. They must not be confounded, as is often done, with the Arab race. The present Egyptians are the old indigenous or Berber race, modified by its fusion with new elements. This old indigenous race is still to be met with in the country, sparsely strewn, but quite recognizable. It is this small part of the population which bears the name of Kopts.

The Kopts, a race preserved by their religion from miscegenation, but feebly represent the primitive Egyptians; for ancient Egypt was conquered and subjugated, first by the Arabs, then by the Persians, then by the Greeks and Romans, and lastly by the Mussulmans.

The Kopts (fig. 74) are generally above the middle height; they are robust in stature, and the colour of their skin is a dull red. They have a broad forehead, a rounded chin, full cheeks, a straight nose with strongly curved nostrils, large brown eyes, a narrow mouth with thick lips and white teeth, high projecting ears, and extremely black beards and eyebrows. The striking resemblance of the Kopts to ancient Egyptian sculpture is a sufficient proof that this group of mankind is really the remnant of the ancient stock of Egypt, slightly altered by mixture with the other races that have successively occupied their country.

The Kopts became Christians in the second century. In the seventh century, at the time of the conquest of Egypt by the Arabs, the Kopts numbered 600,000. To-day they only amount to 150,000, of whom 10,000 reside in Cairo. They venerate St. Mark as their principal patron. They go to communion regularly every Friday, lead a very austere life, and allow their priests to marry.

The Kopts have black eyes, and, in general, curly hair. Morose, taciturn, and dissimulating, they cringe to their superiors, hate their equals, and are arrogant to their inferiors. They excel as accountants in all kinds of business. They carry on exclusively certain industries, such as the manufacture of mills, of apparatus for irrigation, and of jewellery.

The Koptic language is the ancient language of the Pharaohs, mixed with words from the Greek and other tongues. It is written in the Greek character. It is no longer grammatically taught, and is but little spoken. It is, however, still used in their form of worship.




The Kopts enjoy rather a bad reputation in Egypt. Accomplices in the Arab invasion, and therefore tolerated by the[176] followers of Mahomet, they were employed by the Mamelukes to collect the taxes. Thieves and mendicant monks abound amongst them. Fig. 74 represents Koptic priests before the temple of Kranah.

The most unfortunate portion of the Egyptian population, the peasants and the labourers, the same workmen who have been so useful in constructing the Suez Canal, are called Fellahs.

From an ethnographic point of view, the Fellahs are descended from the primitive indigenous inhabitants, modified by admixture with the Arabs. Although they speak the Arab tongue, the coarseness of their features keeps them distinct from the Arabs. The soil of Egypt thus supports a singular admixture of races, and it is impossible now-a-days to point out one single pure type. This is a result of the miserable political state of the country. From the very first, Egypt has always been the prey of alien conquerors, who have succeeded one another in one long roll, each in their turn adding some new feature to those of the original inhabitants of the country. In “Travels in Egypt,” by Messrs. Cammas and Lefèvre, published in the “Tour du Monde,” we read the following observations on the Fellahs:



“The Fellahs have but a feeble conception of the dignity of man and of their own value; the only answer they give to blows is a complaint. Sometimes, indeed, they rebel like a flock of sheep, but with a conviction that their effort will be of no avail. It is thus, at the times of conscription, they resist the soldiery; but after a few have been killed, the rest allow themselves to be huddled on board the man-of-war, in which they are taken down the Nile to Cairo, the women and the young girls following them for some miles along the banks with cries and lamentations. A Fellah’s existence is not essentially more unhappy than that of our peasant hinds. His disposition is rather cheerful than melancholy; and every circumcision, every marriage, is the excuse for a holiday, shared by the whole village. Their songs and their dances are redolent of the spontaneous mirth instinctive in negroes. But with everything to render life agreeable, the consciousness of rights and obligations, that something that constitutes the freeman and the citizen, is wanting in them. The Fellah is fond of his home and of his hamlet; but Egypt is for him neither a nation nor a fatherland. It is astonishing at first sight to notice this degradation of the human species, so sad to[177] behold; however, if the oppressive tyranny of the Mamelukes, the deep degradation of Egypt under the Greek and Roman dynasties, and the old caste law, condemning the mass of the population to[178] the slavery of the soil, are remembered, it is easy to understand why the Fellah, ground down under the sway of the Pharaohs, stupefied under that of the Romans, and crushed by Mussulman fatalism, is slow to respond to the efforts and to the intellectual tendencies of the government of Saïd Pacha. Since the Arab conquest, the soil has been legally the property of the sultans, the emirs, and the beys. The feudal system that once theoretically existed amongst us was rigorously carried into practice in Egypt. The whole of the crop harvested by the Fellahs passed, with the exception of a modicum necessary for[179] their absolute existence, into the granaries of the land-owners. Now-a-days the Viceroy has abandoned the practice of monopoly; he is anxious to change arbitrary rights into regular taxes; he has yielded his just claims to the labourer, and assured to the peasant his right of succession to the fields he has watered with the sweat of his toil. But it takes a long interval to blot out the horrible stamp of their past slavery.



“The sailors of the Nile, sons and relations of the Fellahs, resemble them in their ignorance, in their humility, in their contempt for life, and in their natural disposition to laughter, to song, and to the dance. But their wits are becoming sharpened by perpetual contact with strangers; and their minds are busy on many things undreamt of by the Fellah.”

The same travellers tell us, in speaking of Egyptian marriages:

“Marriage in Egypt is not a public act strictly registered by the law. When the bridegroom and the bride’s parents have come to an understanding, when the sum to be paid by the husband has been agreed upon (the wife brings no dower), the celebration of the union takes place before two witnesses. Sometimes the cadi is apprized; but this is a formality that is often neglected. In such a union, without any ulterior guarantee, the wife is but a purchased slave. When the husband tires of her he sends her back; she can only claim a divorce on one single ground, for a reason considered by us also as a serious injury. No legal notice is taken of the birth of children, who are consequently placed in a precarious position until they are old enough to look after themselves. Their death is easily concealed; and they occasionally perish by the hand of one of the other wives, rivals of their mother. A common custom allows the Nile sailors to have two wives, one at Girgeh, for instance, and another at Assouan. The husband passes a month with each of them in turns, as his business allows him. He brings with him a few piastres, a piece or two of blue cotton stuff, often some little seaman’s venture, that the wife proceeds to dispose of on his departure. He receives in exchange the products of the place, that in turn go to swell the trade of the other wife. We had on board a cargo of earthenware, salt, and pipes. The sailors disembarked them here and there as they went up the river, expecting to find on their return stores of tobacco, dates,[180] and horse-trappings. Polygamy looked at in this light is productive; but it loses ground notwithstanding every day, not amongst the poor only, but amongst the rich, who have in most cases but one legitimate wife at a time. Besides, there is but one real cause for polygamy—the premature old age of the women. When the men give up the practice of marrying mere children, who become rapidly worn out by the fatigues of precocious maternity, polygamy will cease to exist.”

Fig. 77 represents the dress of a Cairo lady.



Almas, or Egyptian dancing-girls, are now-a-days scarcely more than a name in the country. It is difficult to find even one or two in Cairo. The last specimens are restricted to the town of Esneh.

The travellers from whom we have taken the above details, visited the town of Esneh, and there saw the dancing-girls. They give the following sketch of them.

“We were conducted into a building of forbidding aspect. The dancing-girls were grouped together in the midst of the apartment. They were all plain enough in the face, but young and well made. The hope of large gains had induced them to take extra pains with their dress. I still see their low-necked vests, their wide silk pantaloons, fastened above the hips with dazzling waistbands; their inner tunic of gauze or flesh-coloured muslin; some with naked feet, others with long red or yellow Turkish slippers. Most of them wore necklaces and bracelets, and small coins hanging over their foreheads; whilst at the back of their heads hung a small silk handkerchief, carelessly thrown on. The dance began with a series of attitudes, beseeching and graceful, then rapidly grew animated, till it expressed a pitch of deep passion. Their bosoms remained immovable, while they moved the rest of their bodies as if in a frenzy. A distribution of olives, of liqueurs, and a shower of small coins, won us a thousand blessings, and brought our evening to a dignified close. The almas do not meet every day with such a windfall; and if they dance during the winter, they do not sing in the summer. The population amidst which they live cannot afford to remunerate their talents. Well versed in poses plastiques, but incapable of all work, they are reduced to all sorts of expedients, and to loans, which make them the slaves of the usurers. Their time is spent in smoking, in drinking aquavitæ, and in consuming[181]
the omnipresent coffee. The miseries of such an existence daily decrease the number of almas, who, in the time of the Mamelukes, were to be found everywhere in Egypt. Esneh is their last refuge, and was, no doubt, their birthplace.”




The Semitic Family.

We have already said that the races who composed the Aramean branch kindled in Asia, at an early period in history, the torch of civilization. This observation is more particularly applicable to the nations of the Semitic family, of whom we are now going to speak. It is from this family, in fact, that sprang the nations so well known in ancient history, under the name of Assyrians, Hebrews, Phœnicians and Carthaginians. Conquered by other races, the Assyrians, the Hebrews, the Phœnicians, and the Carthaginians have successively disappeared and are now almost entirely replaced by the Arabs.

We unite to the Semitic family the Arabs, the Jews, and the Syrians.

The Arabs.—The Arabs constitute the principal population of modern Arabia; they also form a great part of the inhabitants of Egypt, Nubia, Barbary, and Sahara. They extend into Persia, and even into Hindostan.

Some of the Arabs are shepherds (Bedouins), others cultivate the soil; the former are nomadic, the latter sedentary. The Bedouins, children of the desert, perpetual wanderers, active and very temperate, are smaller and of a more slender appearance than the others, and support with ease the fatigues and privations of their mode of life. The agricultural Arabs, or fehles, are taller and more robust. The former have a wild and suspicious cast of countenance. The characteristics of the Arab race are, a long face, with a high-shaped head; an aquiline nose, nearly in a line with the forehead; a retreating and small mouth; even teeth; the eye not at all deep set, in spite of the want of prominence of the brow; graceful figures, formed by the small volume of fatty matter and cellular tissue, and by the presence of powerful but not largely developed muscle; a keen wit; a lively intelligence; and a deep and persevering mould of character. These characteristics show that they possess a remarkable superiority over other races, and Baron Larrey has found fresh evidence of this superiority in the shape of their head, in the convolutions of their brain, in the consistency of their nervous tissue, in the appearance of their muscular fibre and their bony[184] structure, and in the regularity and perfect development of their heart and arterial system.

We see therefore that the Arab type is really an admirable one. This type, consistent and well defined as a whole, has, however, undergone considerable modifications under the influence of divers causes. The colour of their skin varies a good deal: their complexion is sometimes as white as that of Europeans of the most northern countries. In Yemen, Arab women have been noticed whose complexion was a deep yellow. In that portion of the valley of the Nile contiguous to Nubia, the Arabs are black. In this same valley of the Nile, above Dengola, the Shegya Arabs are jet black, a bright clear black, a colour which the English traveller Waddington thought the most beautiful that could be chosen for a human creature.

“These men,” says Waddington, “entirely differ from negroes in the brilliancy of their colour, in the quality of their hair, in the regularity of their features, in the gentle expression of their limpid eyes, and by the softness of their skin, which in this respect is not at all inferior to that of Europeans.”

Amongst the Arabs who dwell in more temperate climates, hair more or less fair, and blue or grey eyes have been observed. As a contrast, in the Libyan desert, tribes have been met with whose hair was woolly and nearly analogous to that of negroes. Taken altogether, the nomadic Arabs, who have faithfully adhered for many centuries to the same mode of life, exhibit, in spite of varying climates, the original mould of an exceptional beauty.

Fig. 79 shows a tent of nomadic Arabs.

The Jews.—Among the lesser nations with an affinity to the Semitic family, there is one remarkable by its historical importance, and by the manner in which it has managed to preserve its original type during the eighteen centuries in which it has been scattered all over the whole world: we mean the Jews or Israelites.[6]

[6] French politeness has made between these two words a distinction which is too odd to allow us to pass it over. In France, a rich Jew is called an Israelite, a poor Israelite is called a Jew. The Messrs. Rothschild are Israelitish bankers; but if by some impossibility they lost their millions and went to live at Frankfort, in the Jew’s quarter, in the old family house, which is still there, and which we have seen, they would become, like their ancestors, Jewish traders.



The Jews have preserved much of their own peculiar physiognomy.[185]
They are distinguished from the nations among whom they are dispersed, by peculiar features easily recognized in many paintings of the great masters. Still they have ended by adopting more or less the characteristics of the nations with whom they have long resided. Under the sole influence of external circumstances and mode of life, the medley of races amongst which they have existed has little by little altered their national type. In the northern parts of Europe the Jews have a white skin, blue eyes, and fair hair. In some portions of Germany many are to be seen with red beards; in Portugal they are tawny-coloured. In those districts of India where they have been long settled, in Cochin for instance, on the Malabar coast, they are black, and resemble the natives so exactly in complexion that it is often difficult to distinguish them from the Hindoos.



Fig. 80 represents a Jew of Bucharest.

Syrians.—The ancient Syrians have, as a rule, become absorbed in the races who have conquered them; their language, however, is still spoken by the Christian population of Mesopotamia and Chaldea, the Sourianis and the Yakoubis or Chaldeans.

Beyrout, at the foot of the mountains of Libanus (fig. 81), is a town and port which is the commercial centre of all Syria. Thither Libanus sends its wine and its silks; Yemen, its coffee; Haman, its corn; Djebaïl and Lattakiah, their pale-coloured tobaccos; Palmyra, its horses; Damascus, its arms; Bagdad, its costly stuffs; and all Europe, the countless productions of its industry.



The very first glance at Beyrout shows how commerce prospers in that town. The Maronite in his gloomy and coarse garments,[187]
the Druze in his white or parti-coloured turban, armed with the most costly weapons, the Arab displaying his picturesque rags, the Turk, the Greek, the Jew, and the Armenian, all hurry to and fro, jostling one another in the crowd. It is a regular Babel of language and costume: in which, however, the Christian element predominates.

But the streets of Beyrout, like all those of Eastern towns, are not in unison with such a brilliant panorama.

The houses are massive shells of stone; the streets are narrow and steep, communicating sometimes by tunnelled passages; some of the broader ones are occupied by cafedjis, inside which squatting Arabs tranquilly smoke their chibouks, sheltered from the rays of the sun by awnings of coarse rush-matting hung above their heads. In the middle of the street the children roll about in the dust.

The Maronites and the Druzes are two lesser nations of Libanus, speaking, however, like most modern Syrians, the Arabic tongue.

The Maronites are an influential but ignorant people. They derive their origin from a Christian monk of the name of Maroun, who lived towards the close of the sixth century, and died in the odour of sanctity. A convent was founded to honour his memory. A century later, one of his disciples, John the Maronite, espoused the quarrel of the Latin Christians against those of Greek descent, at that time making much headway in Libanus. The latter drew their inspiration from Constantinople; the Maronites, on the contrary, imbibed theirs from Rome. A religious pretext was made use of to hide political differences. John the Maronite armed his mountaineers, led them against the enemy, and seized the whole of Libanus right up to the walls of Jerusalem. Keeping within their mountains, although comparatively few in number, the Maronites preserved for a long time their independence. It was not until 1588 that they were conquered by Ibrahim, Pacha of Cairo, and forced to pay a yearly tribute, which they still continue to do.



In spite of this the Maronites, like all mountaineers, have kept their desire for independence. Persecuted by their masters, the Mussulmans; and by the Druzes, rivals raised up against them by the English, jealous, according to the French, of the latter[189]
’s influence in Libanus; on bad terms with the Ansarieh or Mutualis; they still manage, the spade in one hand and the sword in the other, to cultivate and defend the inheritance of their fathers.

Ignorant as they are, the Maronites are the only educated race in the country. The magnificent convents which exist in the districts of the Maronites, are full of ancient manuscripts and modern Arab writings. Fig. 82 represents a Maronite convent in Libanus.

The Druzes are schismatic Mussulmans, as the Maronites are sectarian Christians. They are inclined to cultivate the soil, but are naturally warlike. Every Druze is a ready-made soldier, hospitable, if you will, but quite as capable of fighting, when the opportunity offers, as the best guérilléros in Europe.

The Persian Family.

The white races who come from the south-east of the Caucasus are generally classed in the European branch, because the languages of both are somewhat similar, and have both some affinity with Sanscrit. But these races have a much greater resemblance to the Arameans than to the Europeans. Like the Arameans, the nations of the Persian family early acquired a certain degree of civilization, to which they have since added.

The races belonging to the Persian family have a white skin, black eyes and hair, and are of middle height. They inhabit not only Persia, but Armenia, Turkistan, and some portions of Hindostan.

Five well-defined divisions can be made in the races that constitute this family: 1st, the Persians, properly so called, or the Tadjiks; 2nd, the Afghans; 3rd, the Kurds; 4th, the Armenians; 5th, the small tribe of the Ossetines.

The Persians.—A great part of Persia is still occupied by tribes who wander about the country, living in tents, and forcing their slaves and servants to till the soil. But many of these tribes are aliens to the Persian race. The pure race of Persians only inhabits towns and their immediate neighbourhood. These Tadjiks or thoroughbred Persians were formerly much more numerous than they are now. The north-east of the kingdom of Iran is the land of their ancestors. All ancient writers have spoken of the[191] primitive Persians (Medes and Persians) as a singularly fine and well made race. Ammianus Marcellinus speaks of Persia as a country renowned for the beauty of its women (ubi feminarum pulchritudo excellit), and all the old authors describe the Persians as men of a tall stature and a handsome countenance.

The figures we find in the numerous ancient sculptures on Persian monuments, at Istakhar, at Persepolis, at Ekbatana, and in many other places, confirm in every respect this evidence. In the basso-relievos from Nineveh in the Palace of the Louvre, in Paris, the refined features and the good looks which distinguished the men of that ancient city are at once recognizable. The type is a noble and dignified one, and shows traces of much reflection and intelligence.

The Tadjiks, or modern Persians, are likewise extremely handsome. They possess a great regularity of feature, an oval countenance, luxuriant hair, large and well defined black eyebrows, and that soft dark eye held in such high estimation by Easterns.

The Tadjiks are cheerful, witty, active, frivolous, idle, and vicious; fond of luxury, dress, and display. They possess a literature, and their language, remarkable for its flowery and ornamental diction, is spoken not only in Persia, but by the upper classes in a large portion of Hindostan.

Persia (the kingdom of Iran) is governed by a king (shah) who exercises almost absolute authority and who resides at Teheran. The heir to the throne is the eldest son of the king’s eldest son, according to an ancient Russian custom.

The twelve provinces of which the kingdom is composed are administered by a governor (beglebeig), who delegates his authority to a lieutenant (kakim). The towns are ruled over by a special governor, by a police inspector, and by a first magistrate. Every village elects a ruler (ketlkhoda). The legislation of Persia, differing in little from that of Turkey, is based on the Koran.

The kingdom of Persia can send into the field 150,000 soldiers; but its permanent army does not exceed 10,000 men, among whom exist as a special corps, the shah’s guards (gholaums). Persia has a small merchant navy.



Manufactures do not seem to succeed in Persia. This country, formerly the centre of a large commerce, now imports[192]
almost everything, and only manufactures articles of primary necessity.

India, Russia, and Afghanistan supply the Persians with most of their manufactured goods.

Persia, having been often invaded and occupied by foreigners, has necessarily a very mixed population. This consists of four classes:

1. The nobility, who fill all public posts.

2. The citizens of the towns, comprising the clergy, and the scholastic profession, who are a mixture of Persians, Turks, Tartars, Georgians, Armenians, and Arabs.

3. The peasants, belonging to the old Persian stock.

4. The nomadic or pastoral tribes, composed of Persians, to whom must be added the remnant of the ancient conquering classes of this country. It is from this last class that spring the soldiers and all the military clique who constitute in Persia a real hereditary autocracy.

The religion of the ancient Persians was that of Zoroath, that is to say, necromancy. In the third and fourth centuries of the Christian era, Christianity made many converts in this land, although at that time it was occupied by the Arabs. But from the commencement of the fifth century the kings of Persia devoted their energies to crushing it out of their country, and Mahometanism is now the predominant religion. A new sect, the sosists, taking rise in a province in Persia (Kerman), has made many converts throughout the kingdom. The votaries of this new creed are deists, who only accept the Koran as a book of moral precepts, and who repudiate the religious dogma that Mahomet drew from it.

Fig. 84 represents several Persian types; fig. 85 gives an idea of the costly dress of the Persian nobility.



The author of a “Journey in Persia,” Count de Gobineau, has well described the internal life of the Persians. We will make a few extracts from his interesting book. Let us read, for instance, the chapter in which is described A dinner in Ispahan. “The table,” M. de Gobineau tells us, “laid for twenty guests, was almost lost in the immense size of the place. The front of the theatre was open, supported by ten lofty columns painted in light colours; the large curtain in use, white, with black designs embroidered on it, was stretched like an awning over the nearest[194] part of the gardens. The guests overlooked a large fountain of running water and vast beds of plane trees. Numerous servants in motley dresses, and armed each according to his own fancy (some of them carried a complete arsenal), stood in groups at the end of the terrace, or handed round the dishes, helping the guests. The table had been laid out with the help of the European servants, a little in the European manner, and a good deal according to Persian customs. Its centre was occupied by a perfect forest of vases and cups, made of wood, or of blue, white, or yellow and red glass, and filled with flowers. The novelty of the thing to our hosts, lay in the spoons and forks: when by good fortune,[195] they managed to impale a piece upon their fork and carry it to their mouths without pricking themselves, it was the signal for a burst of compliments. Their appetites were a little eccentric. One of them filled his plate with mustard, and declared he had never tasted anything half so good. As their parade was greater[196] than the results, we begged them to help themselves in their own way. After much hesitation, they consented to hold on to the fork with the left hand while they picked up their food with the right.



“In the midst of the meal we heard a jingle of silvery bells, and saw four young boys, dressed as women, in pink and blue dresses spangled with tinsel, enter. They were dancers. They wore little gilt caps, from beneath which their long hair fell over their shoulders. The musicians were seated on the ground: one played on a kind of mandolin, another on a hand drum, and a third performed on an instrument with a quantity of strings stretched across a table, from which he drew, with some little sticks, sounds similar to those of the harp.”

M. de Gobineau tells us that Ispahan contains many men learned in various branches, rich and prosperous merchants, and men of property who live on their incomes. The town may be compared in size and tranquillity to Versailles.

Another chapter of M. de Gobineau’s book is worth reading, that headed “Betrothal, Divorce, and a Persian Lady’s Day.”

The betrothed are usually very young. The youth is from fifteen to sixteen years of age, and the girl from ten to eleven. It is unusual to find a woman of three-and-twenty who has not had at least a couple of husbands, and often many more, so easily are divorces obtained. The women are kept strictly secluded in one of the inner apartments or enderoun, that is to say, no outsider, no stranger to the family, is allowed to enter it. But they are quite at liberty to go out from morning till night, and often indeed from night to morning. In the first place they go to bathe. They go to the bath with an attendant who carries a box full of toilet necessaries and the requisite articles of dress, and it is at least four or five hours before they return from it. After that they pay visits which they make to one another, and which occupy a similar interval. Their last method of killing time is the pilgrimage they make to the graves of their kindred, which are at no great distance in the midst of pretty scenery.

All Persian women are so carefully veiled, and dressed so similarly, as to their out-door garments, that it is impossible for the most practised eye to distinguish one from the other. Besides paying visits, the excursion to the bath, the shopping in the bazaar, and their pilgrimages, the women go out of doors[197] when it pleases them, and the streets are full of them. Unfortunately Persian women are rather in the habit of looking upon themselves as inferior irresponsible beings. Absolute mistresses at home, they are extremely passionate and violent, and their tiny slipper, furnished with a sharp iron point half an inch long, often leaves very disagreeable marks on their husbands’ faces.



The Persian in his turn spends half his time in the bazaar, and the remainder in paying and receiving visits. This is how they take place.



The intending visitor sets out on horseback accompanied by as[198] many of his servants as he can collect, the djelodar, with the embroidered saddle-cloth across his shoulders, at his horse’s head; and behind him the kalyaudjy (musician) with his instrument. When he reaches the door he wishes to stop at, he dismounts. He then, with his servants in front of him, traverses one or two passages, invariably low and dark, and sometimes one or two courts, before reaching the apartments of the master of the house. If his visitor is of higher rank than himself, the host comes to the door to receive him. If they are equals, he sends his son or[199] one of his young relations to do so. The opening courtesies are extremely flowery, such as “How came your lordship to conceive the compassionate idea of visiting this lowly roof?” &c.

When they reach the drawing-room, they find all the men of the family standing in a row against the wall bowing to the new-comer. As soon as every one is seated, the visitor inquires of the master of the house, “If, by the will of God, his nose is fat.” The latter replies: “Glory be to God! it is so, by means of your goodness.” This same question is sometimes repeated three or four times running. After a few moments of conversation, tea, coffee, and sherbet are handed round. The great charm of this rather frivolous gossip is its exaggeration, and the witty and amusing turn given to it.

The Persians have a peculiar taste for calligraphy. Painting is an almost unknown art amongst them. They possess, however, a certain amount of artistic instinct, as is shown by the richness and elegance of some of their monuments.

Fig. 87 shows the reader other types of Persian costume worn by different classes. The Louty and the Baktyan represented in this sketch are members of a nomadic tribe, enjoying rather a bad reputation.

The Afghans inhabit the mountainous region lying to the north of the lowlands of the Punjaub, that is to say, the basin of the Indus. Their climate is a charming one. The Afghans are fine muscular men with a long face, high cheek-bones and a prominent nose. Their hair is generally black. Their skin, according to the part of the country they inhabit, is dark, tawny, or white. They are an unpolished, warlike race, differing in customs and in language both from the Persians and the natives of India. They are subdivided into many tribes or clans.

The Beloochees, addicted to pastoral life, and primitive in their habits, move about from place to place, dwelling in tents which are constructed of felt on a slight framework of willow. They wander, with their flocks, about the table lands surrounding Kelat. They are to be found in nearly the whole of that part of eastern Persia, which, lying between Afghanistan to the north and the Indian Ocean to the south, stretches westwards from the Indus to the great Salt Desert. They speak a dialect derived from the Persian.





The Brahnis are nomadic tribes found in the colder and more elevated parts of the high grounds comprised within the above geographical limits. They are short and thickset, with round faces and flat features, and brown hair and beards. The Beloochees, who live in lower and warmer regions, are, on the contrary, fine tall men, with regular features and an expressive physiognomy. But those who dwell in the lowlands, close to the Indus, have a darker and almost black skin. The Brahnis bear the same relation to the Hindoos of the Punjaub that the Beloochees do to the Persians.

The Kurds, who occupy the lofty mountainous region, intersected by deep valleys, which is situated between the immense table land of Persia and the plains of Mesopotamia, are a semi-barbarous people, very different from the descendants of the Medo-Persians, though also sprung from an Aryan root. They are tall, with coarse features. Their complexion is brown, their hair is black, their eyes small, their mouth large, and their countenances wild looking.

The Armenians of both sexes are remarkable for their physical beauty. Their language is nearly allied to the oldest dialects of the Aryan race, and their history is connected with that of the Medes and Persians by very ancient traditions. They have a white skin, black eyes and hair, and their features are rounder than those of the Persians. The luxuriant growth of the hair on their faces distinguishes them from the Hindoos.

Fig. 88 represents a drawing-room in an Armenian’s house at Soucha.

The climate of Armenia is generally a cold one; but in the valleys and in the plains the atmosphere is less keen and the soil very fertile. Crops of wheat, wine, fruit, tobacco, and cotton are very plentiful there. Mines of gold, silver, copper, iron, and lead are found there, but these are but little worked. Armenian horses have the reputation of being the best bred in western Asia. Cochineal, an important production of this country, is very plentiful at the foot of Ararat. Excellent manna is found in the same districts. Armenian floreals are very abundant.

Armenia nowadays constitutes the pachaliks of Erzeroum, Kars, and Dijar-Bekr in Asiatic Turkey. Besides its indigenous[202] population, it is inhabited by Turks, Kurds, Turcomans, and the remnants of other nations who formerly made raids into their country. The Armenian is distinguished by his serious, laborious, intelligent, and hospitable disposition. He is very successful in business. Fond of the traditions of his forefathers, and attached to his government, he has a good deal of sympathy with Europeans. He becomes easily accustomed to European customs, and learns our languages with little difficulty.

The Christian religion has always been followed in Armenia, and Armenians are much attached to their church. But this is divided into several sects. The Gregorian (the creed founded by Saint Gregory), the Roman Catholic, and the Protestant religions are all to be found in Armenia. The head of the first, which is the most numerous (it musters about four million worshippers), resides at Etchmiadzia, in Russian Armenia. There is another patriarch, who is nearly independent, at Cis, the ancient capital of the kingdom of Cilicia. The patriarch of the Catholics, who are fifty thousand in number, resides at Constantinople; but a second patriarch (in partibus), whose jurisdiction extends over Syria, Cilicia, and a part of Asia Minor, dwells on Mount Libanus. The Roman Catholics of Russian Armenia belong to the see of the Metropolitan residing in St. Petersburg. The head of the Protestant church, which contains from four to five thousand souls, dwells at Constantinople.

The Ossetines, who are the last branch of the Aryan race in Asia, inhabit a small portion of the chain of the Caucasian mountains, populated for the most part by races distinct from the Indo-Europeans. They resemble the peasants of the north of Russia; but their customs are barbarous, and they are given to pillage.

M. Vereschaguine met with the Ossetines in his travels in the Caucasian provinces. A Cossack, with whom he had some trouble, belonged to this race. The villages of the Ossetines lie on the slopes of the mountains. On each side of the Darial Pass lofty walls, flanked by towers, are to be seen, reminding the spectator of the days of brigandage.

The Ossetine, contrary to the customs of all the other tribes of the Caucasus and of the Trans-Caucasus, uses beds, tables, and chairs. He seats himself, like most Europeans, without crossing his legs.


The Georgian Family.

The Georgian Family is gathered together on the southern slope of the Caucasus. The beauty of the Georgian women is proverbial. M. Moynet, in his “Journey to the Caspian and[204] the Black Seas,” tells us that they deserve all their reputation. Their physiognomy is as calm and regular as that of the immortal type handed down to us in the ancient statuary of Greece. A head-band of bright colours in the shape of a crown, and from which hangs a veil passing under the chin, forms their head-dress. Two long plaits of hair fall behind, reaching nearly to their feet. Nothing can be imagined more graceful or more dignified than this head-dress. A long ribbon of the gayest hues serves them for a sash, and falls down the front of their dress to the ground. Out of doors they wrap themselves up in a flowing white cloth, which shields them from the sun, and which they wear with much grace.



The men are also generally handsome. They have preserved the Caucasian type untouched and unaltered. They wear rich dresses, embroidered with gold and silver, and carry costly, sparkling arms. They are brave and chivalrous, and are passionately fond of horses.

The Circassian Family.

The Circassian Family, collected in the Caucasian mountains, is composed of a population distinguished for their bravery, but very feebly civilized. The Circassian type has in the whole of the East a great reputation for beauty, and it deserves it. Most Circassians have a long oval face, a thin straight nose, a small mouth, large dark eyes, a well-defined figure, a small foot, brown hair, a very white skin, and a martial appearance.

In affinity with the Circassians are the Abases, who speak a dialect akin to Circassian. They are semi-barbarous, and live on the produce of their herds and from the spoil of their brigandage. Their features show no sign of Circassian grace. They have a narrow head, a prominent nose, and the lower half of their face is extremely short.

The Mingrelians, inhabitants of Mingrelia, a little kingdom on the shores of the Caspian Sea, resemble the Georgians in physical appearance, in manners, and in customs.



The Yellow Race has also been called the Mongol Race, from the well-defined features of one of the families it comprises.

The principal characteristics which distinguish the individuals and the families belonging to the Yellow race, are, high cheekbones, a lozenge-shaped head, a small flat nose, a flat countenance, narrow obliquely-set eyes, straight coarse black hair, a scanty beard, and a complexion of a greenish hue.

However, all the members of the yellow race do not exhibit these distinct features. Sometimes they show but a few of them, whilst others of their characteristics would seem to identify them with the Caucasian group. It is thus very difficult to make the proper divisions in this race.

We will separate it into three branches—the Hyperborean, the Mongolian, and the Sinaic branches.



The Hyperborean branch is composed of the various races inhabiting the districts in the vicinity of the North Pole, small in stature and possessing the principal characteristics of the Yellow Race.

The people belonging to the Hyperborean branch are nomadic, and their only domestic animals are the dog and the reindeer. They are spread over a vast surface, but are few in number. They support themselves by hunting and fishing. They are passionately fond of strong drinks, and their civilization is of a very rudimentary character.

Some of these people might perhaps be more properly classed under the Mongolian branch. Possibly some even should be classified in the White Race, for they have lost, under the influences of climate and of their mode of life, the distinguishing characteristics of the Yellow Race. As it is very difficult to make a natural classification of these people, we will retain that set up by M. D’Omalius d’Halloy.

This naturalist distinguishes, amid the people who compose the Hyperborean branch, seven families, taking the affinities of language as a basis. These are the Lapp, the Samoiede, the Kamtschadale, the Esquimaux, the Ienissian, the Jukaghirite, and the Koriak families.

The Lapp Family.

The Laplanders are thin and short, but pretty strong and active. Their head is disproportionately large. They have a round skull, wide cheek-bones, the broad flat Mongol nose, a protruding forehead, and goggle eyes. Their complexion is a[207] yellowish brown, and their hair is usually black. This curious race of men is divided into two distinct classes, the nomadic Laplander and the sedentary Laplander.



The sole property of the former is his herd of reindeer. He takes these to the high grounds, and after spending the months of June, July, and August there, returns in September to his winter quarters. In his journeys to and fro, he uses the reindeer as beasts of burden. When the ground is covered with snow, he harnesses these useful quadrupeds to his sledge. (Fig. 90.)

Dogs are also used as draft animals in Lapland. On the borders of the scanty forests of Lapland and Siberia, the inhabitants of these barbarous countries may often be seen gliding rapidly by on a sledge drawn by dogs.


The usual life of the nomadic Laplander is about as wretched as can well be imagined. A tent stretched on four uprights is his abode summer and winter. The fire-place is in the middle of the tent, and the smoke escapes through an opening in the top. Five or six reindeer skins stretched round the fire form the beds of the whole family, to which the surrounding smoke serves as the only curtain. Their furniture consists of an iron pot and a few wooden pails. The Laplander carries in his pocket a horn spoon and a knife. He often, instead of wooden pails, makes use of the bladders of the reindeer. In them he carries the milk mixed with water which is his daily beverage. Whenever he sets out on a journey, he harnesses a pair of reindeer to his sledge.

This nomadic race, which formerly occupied a part of Sweden, is now much diminished in numbers. Thirty years ago their number, counting all that could be found in Russian, Norwegian, and Swedish Lapland, only came to twelve thousand.

The sedentary Laplander is usually some poor reindeer proprietor, who having ruined himself, and being unable to continue the life of a wandering herdsman, becomes a beggar or a servant. If he has still a little money left, he settles down on the sea coast, and turns fisherman, while his wife spins wool. His existence in the midst of men of a different race is then a solitary one. He is a regular pariah, despised by both Swede and Norwegian. His hut, his dress, his customs, are all different to those of the people amongst whom he has taken shelter. His children are not allowed to marry into any of the neighbouring families, and he is utterly and entirely alone amid strangers.

In his “Travels in the Scandinavian States,” M. de Saint-Blaize tells us how he suddenly fell in with an encampment of Laplanders in the night time. A hundred deer, whose immense antlers, interlaced the one with the other, produced the effect of a little forest, were grouped around the camp fires. Two young Laplanders and some dogs watched over the safety of the whole. Hard by were the tents. An old Laplander and his wife offered the traveller some reindeer milk. It was very oily, and reminded him of goat’s milk.

The same traveller tells us that when on a journey a Laplander’s wife gives birth to a child, she places it in a piece of hollow wood with the opening fenced in with wire to give play to the baby[209]’s head. This log with its precious contents is then placed on the mother’s back and she rejoins the rest. When they halt, she hangs this kind of wooden chrysalis to the bough of a tree, the wire protecting the child from the teeth of wild animals (fig. 91).



The Samoiede Family.

The Samoiedes are a wandering race, spread over both sides of the great Siberian promontory ending in Cape North. Some of their tribes are also to be met with pretty far to the west, to the east, and to the south of this region. They support themselves by hunting and fishing on the borders of the Frozen Ocean. They bear much resemblance to the Tunguses of whom we shall speak later. Their face is flat, round and broad, their lips are thick and turned up, and their nose is wide and open at the nostrils. Their hair is black and coarse, and they have but little on their face. Most of them are rather under the middle size, well proportioned and rather thick set. (Fig. 92.) They are wild and restless in disposition.

The Kamtschadale Family.

We can only just make a note of the Kamtschadales, with whom the navigators of the Arctic seas have been for a long time acquainted. They inhabit the southern portion of the peninsula that bears their name. They are short men with a tawny skin,[210] black hair, a meagre beard, a broad face, a short flat nose, small deep-set eyes, scanty eyebrows, immense stomachs, and thin legs.



More to the South, in the Kourile Islands, and on the adjacent continent, we meet with a race differing widely from the preceding one. They are the inhabitants of these islands, and are called Aïnos. They are of short stature, but their features are regular. The most remarkable of their physical characteristics is the extraordinary development of their hair. They are the hairiest of men, and it is this peculiarity that makes us allude to them. Their beards cover their breasts, and their arms, neck, and back are covered with hair. This is an exceptional peculiarity, particularly with men of the Mongol type.


The language spoken by the Aïnos, is strikingly like that spoken by the Samoiedes and by some of the inhabitants of the Caucasus. Their bodies are well formed and their disposition is gentle and hospitable. They live by hunting and fishing.

The Esquimaux Family.

Greenland and most of the islands adjacent to this portion of the American continent are inhabited by a people that have received the common name of Esquimaux and who constitute a very numerous family.

The principal and the most numerous tribes of the Esquimaux family belong to the American continent. But as they are quite distinct from the other inhabitants of this continent, and as they have a much greater resemblance to the people of Northern Asia, and to the Mongols, it is here that we mention them.

The head of the Esquimaux has a more pyramidal shape than that of the Mongols of Upper Asia. This is owing to the narrowing of the skull. Such an outward sign of degradation reveals at once the moral and social inferiority of these poor people. Their eyes are black, small and wild, but show no vivacity. Their nose is very flat, and they have a small mouth, with the lower lip much thicker than the upper one. Some have been seen with plenty of hair on their face. Their hair is usually black, but occasionally fair, and always long, coarse, and unkempt. Their complexion is clear. They are thick-set, have a decided tendency to obesity, and are seldom more than five feet in height.

During a journey undertaken by Dr. Kane of New York to the 82nd degree of northern latitude, this bold explorer spent more than a year amongst the Esquimaux who live at Etah, the nearest human abode to the North Pole. Men, women, and children, covered only by their filth, laid in heaps in a hut, huddled together in a kind of basket. A lamp, with a flame sixteen inches long produced by burning seal oil, warmed and lighted the place. Bits of seal’s flesh, from whence issued a most horrible ammoniacal odour, lay upon the floor of this den.

Fig. 93 represents the summer encampment of a tribe of Esquimaux, and fig. 94 a winter one. Fig. 95 represents a village, that is to say, a collection of huts made of blocks of snow[212] which shelter from the excessive cold these disinherited children of Nature.



The seals from the bay of Reusselaer provide the Esquimaux with food during the greater part of the year. More to the south, as far as Murchison’s channel, the whale penetrates in due season. The winter famine begins to cease when the sun reappears. January and February are the months of hardship; during the latter part of March the spring fisheries recommence, and with them movement and life begin anew. The poor wretched dens covered with snow are then the scenes of great activity. The masses of accumulated provisions are then brought out and piled up on the frozen ground: the women prepare the skins to make shoes of, and the men make a reserve store of harpoons for the[213] winter. The Esquimaux are not lazy. They hunt with a good deal of pluck, and are often forced to hide their game in excavations that the wild beasts may not get at it. Their consumption of food is very great. They are large eaters, not from greediness, but of necessity, on account of the extreme cold of these high latitudes.



Fig. 96 represents, according to Doctor Kane, the chief of an Esquimaux tribe.

Doctor Hayes, in his “Journey to the Open Sea of the North Pole,” published in 1866, has described the Esquimaux type. A broad face, heavy jaws, prominent cheek bones, a narrow forehead, small eyes of a deep black, thin long lips, with two narrow rows of sound teeth, jet-black hair, a little of it on the upper lip[214] and on the chin; small in stature but stoutly built, and a robust constitution of a vigorous kind; such are the distinguishing characteristics of the people of the far north.

The Esquimaux style of dress seemed, to the learned traveller, pretty much the same for both sexes; a pair of boots, stockings, mittens, trousers, a waistcoat, and an overcoat. The father-in-law of one of his travelling companions wore boots of bearskin coming up to the knee, whilst those of his wife reached much higher, and were made of seal leather. Their trousers were made of sealskin, their stockings of dogskin, their mittens of sealskin, and their waistcoat of kidskin with the fur inside.



The overcoat, made of the skin of the blue fox, does not open in front, but is put on like a shirt. It ends in a hood covering the head like the cowl of a monk. The women cut their coat to a point, in order to confine their hair, which they gather together on the top of the head, and tie up in a knot as close and as hard as a stone, by means of untanned straps of sealskin. This is shown in fig. 93.




Seal-hunting is the chief occupation of the Esquimaux. The seal is a providential animal to the wild inhabitants of the shores of the Frozen Ocean of America, as the reindeer is the[216] godsend of the Laplanders, inhabitants of the shores of the same seas in the north of Europe.



The eggs of the seabirds, particularly of the penguin, are a second source of food to these people. The Esquimaux run all sorts of risks to gather the eggs of these birds on the steep and giddy cliffs where their nests are found (fig. 97).

The Esquimaux can only count up to ten, the number of their[217] fingers. They have no system of notation, and can assign no date to past events. They have no annals of any kind or sort, and do not even know their own age.

Temisian Family.

A people more generally known under the name of Ostiaks of Temisia. They speak a very different language from that of the Ostiaks of the Obi whom we have already mentioned as belonging to the White Race.

Jukaghirite and Koriak Families.

These are wandering people, becoming more and more absorbed in the Russian population. They live on the shores of Behring’s Straits, or in the interior, and much resemble the Samoiedes in their customs and in their language.





The peoples belonging to this ethnologic branch exhibit the characteristics of the Yellow Race in the most prominent manner. They are fond of a nomadic life, and have at different periods made wide conquests; but they have, as a rule, become absorbed in the races they have overcome. The Mongols are still, however, the rulers of the Chinese Empire. They belong either to the Buddhist or to the Mahometan faith.

This branch is divided into three great families, analogous with the differences in their language: the Mongols, the Tunguses, and the Turks. We may add to them a fourth family, the Yakuts, for these latter possess the physical characteristics of the Yellow Race, and speak a Turkish dialect.

The Mongol Family.

The most decided features of the Yellow Race are particularly prominent in the Mongol family. Its members have a larger head, a flatter face and nose, and smaller eyes than those of the other families. They have a broad chest, a very short neck, round shoulders, strong thick-set limbs, short bow-legs, and a brownish-yellow complexion. The most nomadic of the Mongol family live under the rule of the Russian and the Chinese Empires.

Fig. 99 represents a Mongol Tartar.

Three principal nations are to be found in this family: the Kalmuks, the Mongols proper, and the Burïats.

Kalmuks.—M. Vereschaguine, in his “Journey in the Caucasian Provinces,” has described the nomadic Kalmuks whom he met[219] with on the frontier separating the Caucasus from the district of the Cossacks of the Don. Travelling villages are found on these dreary and monotonous steppes. The habitations of which these villages are composed consist of tattered tents. These contain, mixed up in an incredible confusion, boxes, cases, lassoes, saddles, and heaps of rags. A hearth is the only sign of a fireplace. During the heat of summer, the children of both sexes, up to the age of ten, run about almost entirely naked. In winter, in the midst of their terrible snowstorms, and when the thermometer is below zero, they remain for days together huddled up in their tents beneath heaps of their clothing.



A Kalmuk’s dress consists of a shirt, of a bechmet, of a wide pair of trousers, of red leather boots, and of a square cloth cap[220] with a broad border of sheepskin fur, generally ornamented with an immense knob on the top. The more wealthy wear into the bargain an ample and lengthy dressing-gown. The women do not, like the men, wear a belt round their shirt; their hair falls from beneath their cap in several plaits tied up with ribbons of different colours.

Cunning, trickery, fraud, and theft, are the staple occupations of these nomadic tribes. The mother supports her child without the father troubling himself about it, and it grows up in a state of neglect.

The food of the Kalmuks is extremely primitive. Boiled flour, diluted with water and cooked up with pieces of horseflesh, forms the staple of their culinary art. They are fond of tea, and drink a great deal of it, but they season it so highly as to entirely lose its flavour. They are downright drunkards into the bargain, and in this respect the women and the children are not a whit behind the men. They sometimes spend whole days in gambling with greasy and ill-assorted cards.

The Kalmuks are capital horsemen. They also breed and break-in camels, which they sell in the Tiflis market.

Mongols proper.—The Mongols proper, or the Eastern Mongols, wander in the steppes of Mongolia. They are divided into numerous tribes, of which the most important have received the name of Khalkas.

Mongolia may be divided into two parts, as distinct by their political proclivities as by the nature and produce of their soil.

The southern part, an arid district, is only inhabited in the vicinity of the Chinese frontier, where numerous tribes of Mongol origin, direct tributaries of the Chinese Empire, are to be found. The northern division, entirely populated by Khalkas tribes, is fertile.

The Khalkas are subdivided into two castes: the Buddhist priests, and the black men who allow their hair to grow. The latter possess an aristocracy, leading like the rest a pastoral life, from whom are selected the chiefs of the tribes, chosen by election. The Khalkas could bring into the field at least fifty thousand horsemen; but they are wretchedly armed with worthless Chinese double-edged sabres. These are notched or spiral-shaped. Their other weapons are short spears, arrows, matchlocks[221] with queer-shaped breeches, shields stuffed with sheets of leather, and coats of wire mail.

The life of a wandering Khalkasian is very uneventful. He begins his day by going round his flocks, and mounted on a horse which is never unsaddled, and which has spent the night fastened to a stake at the door of his tent, he gallops after the animals that have strayed away; then he bends his steps to a neighbouring camp to gossip with the herdsmen it contains. Returning home, he squats in his tent for the remainder of the day, and kills time by sleeping, drinking tea diluted with milk or butter, or by smoking his pipe; while his wives draw water, milk the cows, collect fuel, make cheese, or prepare wool and the skins of various animals for clothes and shoes.

The Khalkas, hospitable and sober, possess the primitive virtues of the Yellow Race; but they are unacquainted with either commerce or manufactures. The only things they produce are felt stuffs, a little embroidery, and some poorly tanned skin and leather. They dispose of their raw produce to Russian and Chinese traders, who cheat them as much as they can. The payments are made in blocks of tea, five blocks being an equivalent to one ounce of Chinese silver. This tea is composed of the coarsest kind of leaf and of the small twigs of the herb.

The dull and contemplative existence of the Khalkasian has few events to interrupt it. It is broken only by a pilgrimage, by a funeral followed by long festivities, by the arrival of a few travellers, or by a marriage. This last is, as among the ancient patriarchs, only a species of barter in which the girl is sold by her father to the highest bidder, and is an excuse for a week’s rejoicing, in which all concerned revel in orgies of meat, tobacco, and rice brandy.

The Burïats.—Miss Lisa Christiani, in the course of her travels in eastern Siberia, received the chiefs of some Burïat tribes who had made known their desire to pay her their respects. She met on the following day, on the banks of the Selinga, an escort, sent by the Burïats in her honour, composed of three hundred horsemen, dressed in splendid satin robes of various colours, and wearing pointed caps trimmed with fur; they carried bows and arrows in their shoulder-belts, and bestrode richly[222]
caparisoned horses (fig. 100). It was in this manner the traveller made her first acquaintance with this tribe.



At the time Miss Christiani fell in with them, the Burïats were celebrating the obsequies of one of their principal chiefs. The travellers were present at the funeral service and ceremonies, which were performed in a Mongol temple, and afterwards at the games which took place according to their ancient custom. These games included archery, wrestling, and horse and foot races. A banquet followed, at which roast mutton, cheese, cakes, and even some capital Champagne were served to the guests.

The Burïats number about thirty-five thousand men, dwelling in the mountains to the north of Baïkal. Their herds and flocks constitute their wealth. Their religion is Shamanism, a species of idolatry very prevalent amongst the inhabitants of Siberia. Their supreme God inhabits the sun; he has under his command a host of inferior deities. Amongst these barbarous people woman is considered an unclean and soulless being.

The Tungusian Family.

The Tungusian family consists of two divisions: the Tunguses to the north, and the Manchús to the south-east.

The Tunguses.—The Tunguses, who are scattered in Siberia from the Sea of Okhotsk to Ienissia and to the Arctic Ocean, are nomadic, and live on the produce of their hunting and fishing. Daouria to the north of China is their native country. Those who live under the Russian government are classified, according to the domestic animals constituting their principal resources, as dog Tunguses, horse Tunguses, and reindeer Tunguses.

The nomadic Tunguses of Daouria were described at the close of the last century by the Russian naturalist Pallas, the same who found on the shores of the Lena the antediluvian mammoth, still covered with its skin and coat of hair, the discovery of which caused so much excitement in Europe.

Manchús.Fig. 101 represents the type of this race. We do not think it necessary to speak of them.

The Yakut Family.

The countenance of the Yakuts is still flatter and broader than[224] that of the Mongols. Their long black hair flows naturally round their head, while but little grows on their faces: they keep one tress very long, to which they tie their bow to keep it dry when they are obliged, in the course of their wanderings or whilst out hunting, to swim across deep rivers.



Members of the Yellow Race
P. Sellier, p.t Imp. Dupuy, 22, R. des Petits Hôtels G. Regamey, lith.

We will take a few details about the country of the Yakuts and its inhabitants from the interesting travels of Ouvarouski, republished in the “Tour du Monde.” The land of the Yakuts has two different aspects. To the south of Yakutsk, it is covered[225] with lofty rocky mountains; to the west and to the north, it is a plain on which grow thick and bushy trees. It contains numberless streams of considerable depth and width. The inhabitants, however, content themselves with boats made of planks or wooden and bark canoes, only capable of holding two or three persons. The reindeer is the principal means of conveyance used by the Yakuts.



The severity of the cold is very great in this country—greater, perhaps, than in any other part of Siberia. Its population is not more than two hundred thousand. The Yakuts (figs. 102 and 103) are stoutly made, though only of middle height. Their countenance is rather flat, and their nose is of a corresponding width. They have either brown or black eyes. Their hair is black, thick, and glossy. They never have any on their faces. Their complexion is between white and black, and changes three or four times a year; in the spring, from the action of the atmosphere; in the summer, from that of the sun; and in winter, from the cold and from the effects of the heat of their fires. They[226] would make bad soldiers, as their peaceful disposition forbids them from ever fighting; but they are active, lively, intelligent, and affable. In their encampments their provisions are at the service of every traveller who seeks their hospitality. Let his stay last a week, or even a month, there is always more than enough for both himself and his horse. They are fond of wine and tobacco, but they endure hunger and thirst with remarkable patience. A Yakut thinks nothing of working for three or four days without either eating or drinking.

But let us quote Ouvarouski, the author of the description of the customs of the Yakuts.

“The land of the Yakuts,” says this traveller, “is so extensive that the temperature varies very much. At Olekminsk for instance, wheat thrives capitally, because there the white frost comes late; at Djigansk on the contrary, the earth always remains frozen two spans below the surface, and the snow begins to fall in the month of August.

“The Yakuts are all baptised in the Russian faith, two or three hundred of them perhaps excepted. They obey the ordinances of the church and go annually to confession, but few receive the sacrament, because they are not in the habit of fasting. They neither go out in the morning nor retire to rest at night without saying their devotions. When chance has befriended them, they thank the Lord; when misfortune overtakes them, they regard it as a punishment inflicted by the Almighty for their sins, and, without losing heart, patiently await better times. In spite of these praiseworthy sentiments they still preserve some superstitious beliefs, particularly the custom of prostrating themselves before the devil. When long sicknesses and murrains prevail, they cause their shamans to practise exorcisms and sacrifice cattle of a particular colour.

“The Yakuts are very intelligent. It is sufficient to hold an hour or two’s conversation with one of them to understand his feelings, his disposition, and his mind. They easily comprehend the meaning of elevated language, and guess from the very beginning what is about to follow. Few even of the most artful Russians are able to deceive a Yakut of the woods.



“They honour their old men, follow their advice, and consider it wrong and unjust to offend and irritate them. When a father has several children, he gets them married one after the other,[227] builds a house for them next to his own, and shares with them his cattle and his property. Even when separated from their parents their children never disobey them. When a father has but one son he keeps him with him, and only separates from him[228] if he loses his wife and marries a second who brings him other children.

“The wealth of a Yakut is estimated in proportion to the number of cattle he possesses; the improvement of his herds is his first thought, his principal wish; he never thinks of putting by money till he has succeeded in this object.

“Anger is acclimatized among all nations; the Yakut is no stranger to it, but he easily forgets the grudge he may owe to any one, provided the latter acknowledges his wrong and confesses himself to blame.

“The Yakuts have other failings, which must not be attributed to an innate bad disposition. Some of them live on stolen cattle, but these are only the needy; when they have taken enough to feed them two or three times from the carcase of the stolen beast, they abandon the rest; this shows that their only motive is hunger, from which they have suffered perhaps for months and years. Besides when the thief is caught, their princes (kinæs, from the Russian kniaz) have him whipped with rods, according to ancient custom, before everybody. The man who has undergone this punishment carries its degradation with him to the day of his death. His evidence can never be again listened to, and his words are of no weight in the assemblies where the people meet to deliberate. He can be chosen neither as prince nor as starsyna (from the Russian starchina, ancient). These customs prove that theft has not become a profession among the Yakuts. The thief is not only punished, but never regains the name of an honest man.

“Let a Yakut once determine to master some handicraft, and he is sure to succeed. He is at one and the same time a jeweller, a tinker, a farrier, and a carpenter; he knows how to take a gun to pieces, how to carve bone, and, with a little practice, he can imitate any work of art he has once examined. It is a pity that they have no instruction to teach them the higher arts, for they are quite capable of executing extraordinary tasks.

“They are wonderful shots. Neither cold nor rain, neither hunger nor fatigue, can stop them in the pursuit of a bird or an animal. They will follow a fox or a hare for two entire days without minding their own fatigue, or the exhaustion of their horse.

“They have a good deal of taste and inclination for trade, and[229] are so well up in driving a hard bargain for the smallest fox or sable skin, that they always get a high price for it.

“The gun-stocks that they manufacture, the combs they cut and ornament, are works of great finish. I may also remark that their oxhide leather bottles never get foul, even if they are left for ten years full of liquid.

“Many of the Yakut women have pretty faces; they are cleaner than the men, and like the rest of their sex are fond of dress and fine things. Nature has not left them without charms. They cannot be called bad, immoral, or light women. They pay the same honour to their father and mother, and to the aged parents of their husband, as they do to the Deity. Their head and their feet they never allow to be seen stripped. They never pass the right side of the hearth, and never call their husbands’ relations by their Yakut names. The woman who is unlike this description is looked upon as a wild beast, and her husband is considered extremely unlucky.”

Fig. 104 represents a Yakut village and villagers.

The Yakuts profess Shamanism, an idolatrous religion practised by the Finns, by the Samoiedes, by the Ostiaks, by the Burïats, by the Teleouts, by the Tunguses, and by the inhabitants of the Pacific islands. Shamanists worship a supreme being, the creator of the world, but indifferent to human actions. Under him are male and female gods: some good, who superintend the government of the world, and the destinies of humanity; the others evil, the greatest of whom (Chaïtan, Satan) is considered to be nearly as powerful as the supreme Being. Religious veneration is also paid to their ancestors, to heroes, and to their priests, called Shamans; these latter in their ceremonies practise a great deal of sorcery.

Fig. 105 represents some of these Shamans.

The Turkish Family.

The people belonging to the Turk or Tartar family succeeded in founding, in very ancient times, a vast empire which included a part of central Asia from China up to the Caspian Sea. But the Turks, attacked and conquered by the Mongols, were subdued and driven back towards the south-west, that is to say to the south of Europe. There they became in their turn[230] conquerors, and overcame, after laying it waste, a portion of Southern Europe.



The Turks had originally red hair, greenish-grey eyes, and a Mongolian cast of countenance. But these characteristics have[231] disappeared. It is only the Turks who now-a-days dwell to the north-east of the Caucasus who possess the characteristics of the Mongols. Those who are settled to the south-west exhibit the features peculiar to the white race, with black hair and eyes.[232] The fusion of the former with the Mongols, of the second with the Persians and the Arameans, explain these modifications. The Turks, more than all nations, manifest the deepest zeal for Mahometanism, and show the greatest intolerance for the followers of other creeds.



The Turkish family comprises rather a large number of races. We shall consider here only the Turcomans, the Kirghis, the Nogays, and the Osmanlis.

The Turcomans.—The Turcomans wander in the steppes of Turkestan, Persia, and Afghanistan. They stray as far as Anatolia to the west. The tribes who dwell in this last district have the shape and the physical characteristics of the White Race; those who inhabit Turkestan show in their physiognomy the admixture of Mongol blood.

The Turcoman is above the middle height. He has not strongly developed muscles, but he is tolerably powerful and enjoys a robust constitution. His skin is white; his countenance is round; his cheek bones are prominent; his forehead is wide, and the development of the bony part of the skull forms a kind of crest at the top of the head. His almond-shaped and nearly lidless eye is small, lively, and intelligent. His nose is usually insignificant and turned up. The lower part of his face retreats a little, and his lips are thick. He has scanty moustachios and beard, and his ears are large and protruding.

The Turcoman’s dress consists of wide trousers falling over the foot and tight at the hips, and of a collarless shirt open at the right side down to the waist, falling, outside the trousers, halfway down the thigh. Outside these an ample coat is fastened round the waist by a cotton or wool belt. It is open in front and slightly crossed over the chest. Its sleeves are very long and very wide, a little skull-cap is worn instead of the hair, and is covered with a kind of head-dress called talbac, made of sheep skin, in the shape of a cone with a slightly depressed summit. His shoes are a sort of slipper, or simply a sandal of camel or horse skin fastened to the foot by a woollen cord.

The type is more strongly defined in the Turcoman women than in the men. Their cheek bones are more prominent, and their complexion is white. Their hair is generally thick but very short; and they are obliged to lengthen their tresses with[233] goat-hair loops and strings, to which they fasten glass beads and silver pearls.

We will not describe their dress, but will only observe that they wear a round cap on their head, to which they fasten a silk or cotton veil falling backwards. The whole is surrounded by a kind of turban of the breadth of three fingers, on which are some little squares of silver. One end of the veil is brought under the chin from right to left, and is fastened, by a little silver chain ending in a hook, on the left side of the face.

Trinkets, necklaces, bracelets, and chains play such a prominent part in the adornment of the Turcoman women, that a dozen of them together drawing water make as much tinkling as the ringing of a small bell.

The men wear no ornament.

Fig. 106 represents a camp of nomadic Turcomans.

M. de Blocqueville, who published in 1866, in the “Tour du Monde,” the curious account entitled “Fourteen months’ captivity among the Turcomans,” describes as follows the habits of these tribes:

“The Turcomans keep close to their tent a sheep or a goat, which they fatten and kill on special occasions. The bones are taken out and the meat is cut up and salted; some of it is dried and acquires a high flavour much liked by the Turcomans; the rest, cut into smaller pieces and placed in the animal’s paunch, is kept to make soup out of. They collect the bones and other leavings, and stew them down in a pan so as to have some broth to offer on festival occasions to their friends and neighbours. The intestines fall to the children’s share, who broil them on the coals and spend whole days in sucking and pulling about this half-cleansed offal.



“. . . . . . Women are treated with more consideration by the Turcomans than by other Mussulmans. But they work hard, and every day have to grind the corn for the family food. Besides this, they spin silk, wool, and cotton; they weave, sew, mill felt, pitch and strike the tents, draw water, sometimes do some washing, dye woollen and silk stuffs, and manufacture the carpets. They set up out of doors, in the fine weather, a very primitive loom made of four stakes firmly fixed in the ground, and, with the assistance of two large cross pieces on which they lay the woof, begin the weaving, which is done with an iron implement composed[234] of five or six blades put together in the shape of a comb. These carpets, generally about three yards long and a yard and a half wide, are durable and well made. Every tribe or family has its own particular pattern, which is handed down from mother to daughter. The Turcoman women are necessarily endowed with a strong constitution to be able to bear all this hard work, during which, they sometimes suckle their children, and only eat a little[235] dry bread, or a kind of boiled meat with but little nourishment in it. It is especially turning the grindstone that wears them out and injures their chest.

“In their rare intervals of leisure they have always got with them a packet, of wool or of camel’s hair, or some raw silk, that they spin whilst they are gossiping or visiting their neighbours; for they never remain quite idle like the women of some Mussulman countries.

“The man has also his own kind of work; he tills the soil, tends the crops, gets in the harvest, takes care of the domestic animals, and sometimes starts on plundering expeditions in order to bring home some booty. He manufactures hand-made woollen rope; cuts out and stitches together the harness and clothing of his horses and camels; attempts to do a little trade, and in his leisure moments makes himself caps and shoes, plays on the doutar (an instrument with two strings), sings, drinks tea, and smokes.

“These tribes are very fond of improving themselves, and of reading the few books that chance throws into their hands.

“As a rule the children do not work before their tenth or twelfth year. Their parents up to that age make them learn to read and write. Those who are obliged to avail themselves of their children’s assistance during the press of summer labour, take care that they make up for lost time in the winter.

“The schoolmaster, mollah (priest or man of letters), is content to be remunerated either in kind, with wheat, fruit or onions; or in money, according to the parents’ position. Each child possesses a small board, on which the mollah writes down the alphabet or whatever happens to be the task; this is washed off as soon as the child has learned his lesson.

“The parents satisfy themselves that their children know their lessons before they set out for school: the women in particular are vain of being able to read. The men sometimes spend whole days in trying to understand books of poetry which come from Khiva or Boukhara, where the dialect is a little different to their own.

“The Turcoman mollahs spend some years in these towns to enable themselves to study in the best schools.

“All these tribes are Mahometan and belong to the Sunnite sect. The only external difference between them and the[236] Persians of the Schiite sect, who recognise Ali as Mahomet’s only successor, consists, as is well known, in their mode of saying their devotions and of performing their ablutions.

“Whilst at their prayers, they keep their arms crossed in front of them from the wrist upwards only, instead of keeping them by their side like the Persians.

“Although they follow pretty regularly the precepts of their religion, they show less fanaticism and ostentatious bigotry than most other Easterns whom I have seen. For instance, they will consent to smoke and eat with Jews.

“Every Turcoman has an affection for his tribe, and will devote himself, if need be, for the common weal. Their proper and dignified manners are far beyond a comparison with those of their neighbours—even the inhabitants of Boukhara and Khiva, whose morals have become corrupted to a painful degree. I have seldom seen quarrels and disturbances amongst the Turcomans. Sometimes I have been present at very lively and animated discussions, but I never heard any low abuse or bad language as in other countries. They are less harsh towards their women, and show them more consideration and respect than do the Persians.

“When strangers are present, the women pass an end of their veil under their chin and speak in a low voice, but they are saluted and respected by the visitors, and enter into conversation with them without any harm being thought of it.

“A woman can go from one tribe to another, or make a journey along an unfrequented road, without having to fear the least insult from any one.

“When a Turcoman pays a visit he makes his appearance in one invariable manner. He lifts the door of the tent, bowing as he enters, then comes to a stop and draws himself up to his full height: after a pause of a few seconds, during which he keeps his eyes fixed on the dome of the tent, probably to give the women time to cover their chins, he quietly pronounces his salutation without making the slightest gesture. After exchanging civilities and inquiries about the health of relations and friends, the master of the tent begs the visitor to take a seat on the carpet beside him. The wife then offers him a napkin with a little bread, or bread and water, or some sour milk, or a little fruit. The stranger discreetly only takes a few mouthfuls of what is offered to him.”





The Kirghis.—The Kirghis (fig. 107) are a nomadic tribe. They inhabit the tract of country situated on the frontiers of the Russian and Chinese empires. They wander to and fro on wide spreading plains from lake Baikal to the borders of the Siberian steppes.

They travel armed, and always prepared, either for war or for the chase. As wild beasts attack men when by themselves, they nearly always travel on horseback in troops.

For the matter of that, the Kirghis never get off their horses. All business is settled, and all merchandise is bought and sold, on horseback. There is in a town, by name Shouraïahan, where the sedentary Kirghis reside, a market-place where buyers and sellers do all their business without leaving the saddle. The Kirghis are much below the middle height. Their countenances are ugly. Having scarcely any bridge to their nose, the space between their eyes is flat and quite on a level with the rest of their face. Their eyes are long and half closed, the forehead protrudes at the lower part, and retreats at the top. Their big puffy cheeks look like two pieces of raw flesh stuck on the sides of their face. They have but little beard, their body is not at all muscular, and their complexion is a dark brown.

The Kirghis are something like the Uzbeks, a race whom we can only just mention, but the latter, living in a temperate climate, are tall and well made, while the former, under the influence of a rigorous one, are short and stunted.

Both these people possess a certain kind of civilization in spite of their nomadic habits. In the districts in which they are in the custom of travelling, they have established relays of horses, a very necessary adjunct to their mode of life.

The Nogays.—The Nogays, who once constituted a powerful nation on the shores of the Black Sea, are now scattered among other peoples. Many of them still wander in nomadic tribes, on the steppes between the banks of the Volga and the Caucasian mountains. Others who have settled down are tillers of the soil or artisans. Such are those to be met with in the Crimea or in Astracan. M. Vereschaguine came across some Nogays on the Caucasian steppes. This Russian traveller says that they are peaceful and laborious, and more capable of becoming attached to[239] the soil than the Kalmuks, whom they resemble a great deal in their mode of life and in their habits and customs.

The Osmanlis.—The most important members of the Turkish family are now the Osmanlis. The Osmanlis were the founders of the Turkish Empire and the conquerors of Constantinople.

A tendency to a nomadic mode of life is a strong instinct with this race. It degenerated as soon as it settled down anywhere, and this perhaps is the cause of the decline of the Turkish nation, which at present inhabits south-eastern Europe and Asia Minor.

The residence in Europe and the civilization of the Osmanli Turks date from the Hegira of Mahomet in the seventh century after Christ.

Physically speaking, their outlines would seem to ally them to the Caucasian race. This was the reason that they were so long classified among the White or Caucasian race; but most modern anthropologists place them in the Yellow Race.

The head of the Osmanli Turks is nearly round. The forehead is high and broad: the nose is straight, without any depression at its bridge or widening at the nostrils.

The Turkish head does not resemble the European head. It has a peculiar abrupt elevation of the occiput. Its proportions, however, are very good. Mongol descent can be traced in its shape, but scarcely in a perceptible manner, if the features of the face alone are to be taken into account.

The Turks, in general, are tall, well made, robust men, with a rough but often noble physiognomy, a slightly tawny complexion, and brown or black hair. Their carriage is dignified, and their natural gravity is still further increased by the ample folds of their dress, by their beard, by their moustachios, and by that imposing head-dress, the turban. They are the most recent of all the races of Asian descent who have become Europeanized, and they still preserve, especially in Turkey in Asia, the habits, the costumes, and the belief that distinguished them three centuries ago.

Now, as then, the Turks, like Easterns in general, restrict themselves to a frugal and principally vegetable diet. They drink no wine. Bodily exercises, such as riding on horseback and the use of arms, develop their strength. Their hospitality is dignified and ceremonious. They are small talkers, are much[240] given to devotion, at least to its outward and visible signs; and they dwell in quiet unpretending houses surrounded by gardens. The Turk is a stranger to the feverish life of our European capitals. Lazily reclining on his cushions, he smokes his Syrian tobacco, sips his Arabian coffee, and seeks from a few grains of opium an introduction into the land of dreams.

Such is Turkish life among the higher classes. The common people and the labourers have none of these refinements of existence. Yet the lower classes are less unhappy in Turkey, and in the East in general, than are those of European nations. Eastern hospitality is not an empty word. A wealthy Mussulman never sends empty away the wretched who seek his assistance. Besides, it takes so little to support these temperate healthy people, and the earth so plentifully supplies vegetable produce in the East, that poor people can always find food and a roof to cover them. The Caravanserai are public inns where travellers and workmen are lodged for nothing; and the hospitality shown to the unfortunate wayfarer by the country land-owners is really patriarchal.

Polygamy is less in vogue in Turkey and in the East than is supposed. A Turkish woman being a very expensive luxury, that is to say, being in the habit of doing nothing and of spending a great deal, it is only very rich Mussulmans that can allow themselves the pleasure of supporting more than one wife. Sometimes, indeed, the bride’s parents insert a clause in the marriage contract, by which the husband gives up his right as a Mahometan to possess four wives.

Besides their legitimate wives, the wealthy and the great keep a collection of Georgian and Circassian slaves in the lonely sets of rooms, closed by Eastern jealousy to all prying eyes, which are called harems and not seraglios. It is only within these isolated apartments that Turkish women, whether wives or concubines, allow their faces and arms to be seen. Out of doors they are always wrapped up in a triple set of veils, which conceal their features from the keenest eye.

Mahomet permitted women to abstain from taking part in public prayer in the mosques. It is therefore only in the interior of the harem that any gathering of Mussulman women can take place. It is there, too, that they give one another parties and entertainments.



108.—A HAREM.

An erroneous impression of the Turkish woman’s position is prevalent in Europe. Many European women would be glad to exchange their lot in life and their liberty for the supposed slavery of the Turkish women. Of course we are only alluding[242] here to their material position, and not speaking from a moral point of view.

The Turkish lady is born to total and complete idleness. A young girl who, at fourteen years of age, can not only sew fairly, but can actually read, is considered a very well educated person. If she can also write, and is acquainted with the first one or two rules of arithmetic, she is quite learned. The woman of the middle classes never condescends to trade, she is always idle. Even the poor woman rarely works, and then only when it suits her.

The Turkish woman then, to whatever class she may happen to belong, is a votary of the far niente. To drive away ennui, the wealthier make or receive visits or frequent parties. In the harems of the rich, each lady receives her friends in her own room. There they talk, sing, or tell one another stories. They listen to music, they go to pantomimes, to dances, and walk in the gardens. They pass the long hours agreeably by taking baths together, by swinging in hammocks, by smoking the narguilhé, and by giving elegant little dinner parties.

An evening party in a harem (la Kalva) is rather a rare occurrence, for night festivities are not among Mussulman habits. No man is present at these parties. As the guests arrive, the lady of the house begs them to be seated, and places them side by side on a divan with their legs crossed under them, or leaning on one knee. Coffee and a tchibouk with an amber mouthpiece are handed round. Small portions of fruit jelly are served on a silver embossed dish. Each guest, after a little ceremonious hesitation, helps herself with the only spoon in the dish, and which everybody uses. Each then puts her lips to a large tumbler of water which follows the jelly.

General and animated conversation then begins. The maids of the lady of the house seat themselves so that every one can see them, and begin to sing, accompanying themselves on the harp, on the mandolin, on little kettledrums, or on tambourines. Afterwards other young girls go through a kind of pantomimic dance. When the music and the dances are over, they play games of cards, and the party winds up with a supper (fig. 109).

Pleasure out of doors has other attractions. The Turkish ladies of the middle class frequent the bazaars and pay one another visits.


There are three kinds of these visits: visits that have been announced beforehand, unexpected visits, and chance visits. The last are the most curious. Several ladies collect together and go about in the different quarters of the town, paying visits to people whom they have never seen (fig. 110).



Walking parties in Constantinople are regular picnics. On Sundays and Fridays people leave town provided with all sorts of refreshments. The sultans have constructed on some of the public walks overhanging terraces, which overlook pieces of water[244] and form level plots of ground. Tumblers and conjurors, musicians and dancers give performances on these terraces. Picturesque knots of women clad in their white yaschmacs, which cover the whole face and only reveal the nose, are to be seen there. Long flowing overdresses of a thousand different hues envelope the rest of their figure.

The Turk may be lazy, but he is not at all unsociable, and many of his characteristics indicate a great deal of gentleness. Like the Indians and the ancient Egyptians, the Turks, and Easterns in general, have a great repugnance to the killing of animals. Dogs and cats abound and swarm in the streets of the large towns, but no measures are ever taken to prevent the multiplication and the running wild of these animals. In Constantinople flocks of pigeons fly hither and thither and levy, on the barges laden with wheat, a species of black mail that no one disputes with them. The banks of the canals are thickly peopled with aquatic animals, and their nests are safe even from the hands of children, in our country such cruel enemies to their broods. This forbearance is extended even to trees. If it is true that in China the law requires every land owner who fells a tree to plant one in its stead in another spot, it is equally true in Turkey that custom forbids an avaricious land owner from depriving either town or country of useful and wholesome shade. The wealthy townsmen make it a point of honour to embellish the public promenades with fountains and with resting places, both of which, on account of the frequency of ablutions and of prayers required by the Mahometan religion, are indispensable. Those who can only perceive in the Turkish nation coarseness, ignorance, and ferocity, have been deceived by the pride natural to a Mussulman, which is made the more offensive by his silent and sometimes abrupt manners; but the basis of the Mussulman character contains nothing to offend. The Turks are only what it is possible for them to be with their lamentable institutions and their faulty laws.



Their law we know is simply despotism, which is carried out from the sultan down to the lowest official, unchecked by any guarantee of equity or of justice to individuals. The sultan (padishah, meaning great lord) appoints and dismisses at pleasure every dignitary and every official: he is the master of their fortunes and of their life. But anarchy is rife in the[245]
kingdom, and the sultan’s authority is not always obeyed. Pachas have attacked and annihilated the troops sent to drive them from their governorships; others have been known to dispatch to Constantinople the head of the general sent to crush and degrade them.

The pachas are the governors of the provinces. Their rank is reckoned by the number of their standards or tails. They unite under one head the military and civil power, and by a still greater abuse, they are deputed to collect the taxes. They would be absolute sultans in their own provinces if the law did not leave the judicial authority in the hands of the cadis and the naïbs.

A pacha with three tails has, like the sultan, the power of life and death over all the agents he employs, and even over all who threaten public safety. He keeps up a military force, and marches at their head when called on by the sultan. A pacha has under his orders several beys, or lieutenant-governors.

The interior organization of Turkey may be described as a military despotism. The Turkish nation continues to administer its conquest as if it were a country taken by assault; it leads the life of an army encamped in the midst of a conquered state. Everybody and everything is the property of the sultan. Christians, Jews, and Armenians are merely the slaves of the victorious Ottoman. The sultan graciously allows them to live, but even this concession they are obliged to purchase by paying a tribute, the receipt for which bears these words: “In purchase of the head.”

The same principle is carried out in regard to land. The Turks have no proprietary rights; they merely enjoy the usufruct of their possessions. When they die without leaving a male child, the sultan inherits their property. Sons can only claim a tenth part of their paternal inheritance, and the fiscal officials are ordered to put an arbitrary value on this tenth part. The officers of the State do not even enjoy this incomplete right; at their death everything reverts to the sultan.

Under such laws, it is not to be wondered at if nobody cares to undertake expensive and lasting works. Instead of building, people collect jewels and wealth easy to carry off or to conceal.


The sultan, like a man embarrassed with such an abuse of power, shifts the cares of government on to the shoulders of the grand vizier.

The grand vizier is the lieutenant of the sultan. He is the commander-in-chief of the army, he manages the finances, and fills up all civil and military appointments.

But if the power of the grand vizier is limitless, his responsibility and the dangers he incurs are equally great. He must answer for all the State’s misfortunes and for all public calamities. The sword is always suspended over his head. Surrounded by snares, exposed to all the tricks of hatred and envy, he pays with the price of his life the misfortune of having displeased either the populace or the highest officials. The grand vizier has to govern the country, with the assistance of a state council (divan) composed of the principal ministers. The reiss effendi is the high chancellor of the empire, and the head of the corporation of the kodja, or men of letters. This corporation, which has managed to acquire a great political influence, contains at the present time some of the best informed men of the nation. The duty of watching over the preservation of the fundamental laws of the empire is entrusted to the ulema, or corporation of theological and legal doctors.

These laws are very short: they consist only of the Koran, and of the commentaries on the Koran drawn up by ancient pundits. The members of this corporation bear the title of ulemas, or effendis. They unite judicial to religious authority; they are at the same time the interpreters of religion, and the judges in all civil and criminal matters.

The mufti is the supreme head of the ulema. He is the head of the church. He represents the sultan’s vicar, as caliph or successor to Mahomet. The sultan can promulgate no law, make no declaration of war, institute no tax, without having obtained a fetfa, or approval from the mufti.

The mufti presents every year to the sultan the candidates for the leading judicial magistracies; these candidates are chosen from the members of the ulema. The post of mufti would be an excellent counterpoise to the authority of the sultan, if the latter had it not in his power to dismiss the mufti, to send him into exile, and even to condemn him to death.

The foregoing political and judicial organization seems at first[248] sight very reasonable, and would appear to yield some guarantee to the subjects of the Porte. Dishonesty unfortunately prevents the regular progress of these administrative institutions. The venality of officials, their greed and their immorality, are such, that not the smallest post, not the slightest service, can be obtained without making them a present. Places, the judges’ decisions, and the witnesses’ evidence are all bought. False witnesses abound in no country in the shameless way they do in the Turkish empire, where the consequences of their perjury are the more frightful, since the cadi’s decision is without appeal. Justice is meted out in Turkey as it was meted out three hundred years ago among the nomadic tribes of the Osmanlis. After a few contradictory pieces of evidence, after a few oaths made on both sides, without any preliminary inquiry, and without any advocates, the cadi or simply the naïb, gives a decision, based upon some passage of the Koran. The penal code of this ignorant and hasty tribunal merely consists in fining the wealthy, in inflicting the bastinado on the common people, and in hanging criminals right out of hand.

Yet Turkey possesses a kind of system of popular representation. The inhabitants of Constantinople elect ayams, real delegates of the people, whose business it is to watch over the safety and the property of individuals, the tranquillity of the town, to oppose the unjust demands of the pachas, the excesses of the military, and the unfair collection of taxes. These duties are gratuitously performed by the most trustworthy men among the inhabitants. The ayams undertake all appeals to the pacha, when there exist any just grounds of complaint, and if he does not satisfy them, they carry their appeal to the sultan.

Every trade and handicraft in Turkey possesses a kind of guild or corporation which undertakes to defend the rights of the association and of its individual members. The humblest artisan is protected in all legal matters by this corporation. It is unnecessary to say that the corporation enforces its rights before the judges by pecuniary means.



It is a great mistake to imagine that the Mussulman religion predominates in Turkey. In Turkey in Europe, not more than a quarter of the population profess the creed of Mahomet. The remainder are Christians, subdivided into the leading sects of that faith. The Greeks, the Servians, the Walachians, and the[249] inhabitants of Montenegro belong to the eastern Greek Church. The Armenians are numerous, and are the more powerful on account of their known character for austerity and honesty. Other religious communities, such as the Jakobites, called Kopts[250] in Egypt, the Nestorians, and the Maronites, have some influence, from the unity which reigns among their different sects; the Druzes, for instance, defy the Mahometans to their very face. There are more Jews in Turkey in Europe, than in any other country.

All these brotherhoods, excepting the Druzes and the Maronites, were formerly deprived of the free right of worship, were liable to marks of ignominy, and were handed over, defenceless, to injustice. But in the beginning of our century, an edict of the sultan declared all his subjects, regardless of their religion, equal in the eyes of the law.

Mahometanism, which prevails in Turkey, and in the greater portion of the East, dates from the 610th year of our era. Its principal doctrines are purification, prayer, and fasting. The fasting takes place in the month of Ramazan, a month which is the Mussulman’s Lent, and during which all food must be abstained from in the daytime. It is followed by the festival of Beyram, during which the faithful are allowed to make up for their preceding abstinence. A legal charity is instituted by their creed. It consists in giving every year to the poor a fortieth part of their movable property. Another religious injunction is the pilgrimage to Mecca, which every Mussulman is obliged to undertake at least once in his lifetime.

Their devotions take place five times a day. Friday is the day of rest for the Mahometans, as Sunday is that of the Christians, and Saturday that of the Jews.

Mahometanism has inherited from the ancient Arabs the practice of circumcision. Mussulmans are forbidden to drink intoxicating drinks, but are allowed to marry four wives, and to make concubines of their female slaves. Their religion deprives them of all liberty of will, as it tells them that everything that can happen, either for evil or for good, is settled beforehand. It is this fatalism that paralyzes all individual enterprise, and prevents the march of progress.

Mahometanism has not been more exempt than other creeds from schisms, which have brought to pass religious wars always so terrible in their consequences.

Its precepts, which have their advantages from a religious point of view, have many disastrous consequences when we regard mankind’s physical constitution. The interdict on the use of wine,[251] for instance, has given rise to the secret consumption of alcoholic drinks, and to the public use of opium.



The Turks, although their literary civilization is still in its infancy, possess a system of public education. The mosques of[252] Constantinople, of Broussa, and of Adrianople, have colleges attached to them. Young men are sent from all parts of the Mussulman empire to these colleges, where they receive some amount of education. When they have finished their course of study, in which the commentaries on the Koran play the principal part, and when several examinations have tested their proficiency, the pupils receive the title of mudir or professor. All civil and judicial posts are monopolized by this educated class.

But in Turkey, what knowledge there is, remains absorbed among a small quantity of individuals; no channel exists for the free intercommunication of ideas.

Their kodjas, or writers, have indeed given their fellow countrymen a large number of works, much esteemed by them—works on the Arabic and Persian languages, on philosophy, on morality, on Mussulman history, and on the geography of their country. But these writings, whatever their value, never reach the mass of the nation. There are but few printing presses in Turkey; the copyist’s art, such as it existed in Europe in the middle ages, still flourishes there. The state of literature in Turkey shows us what modern civilization would have become in Europe, without the assistance of the printer.

With this general want of literary and scientific knowledge, we naturally expect to find Turkey far behindhand in art, in manufactures, and in agriculture. The latter, in fact, is in a sad state throughout the whole extent of the Ottoman empire. Manufactures exist in a few towns; in Constantinople, in Salonica, in Adrianople, and in Rustchuk. Their principal manufactures are carpets, morocco leather, a little silk, thread and swords. Their commerce consists in the export of their raw produce; such as wool, silk, cotton, leather, tobacco, and metals, particularly copper; wine, oil, and dried fruit are also largely exported. The Turks are good cloth manufacturers, gunsmiths, and tanners. Their works in steel and copper, and their dyes, are equal to the best articles of European manufacture.

The Greeks, who are very numerous in Turkey, follow all kinds of trades and callings. They make the best sailors of the Ottoman empire, while the Armenians are its keenest traders. The latter travel all over the interior of Asia and India; they have branch establishments and correspondents everywhere. Most of[253] them, while pursuing some mechanical art, are at the same time the bankers, the purveyors, and the men of business of the pachas, and other great officials. Jews show in a less favourable light in Turkey than in Europe; any business suits them, if they can make something out of it.

Figs. 111 and 112 represent two common Turkish types—a barber and a street porter.



The nations belonging to the Sinaic branch (from the Latin Sinæ, Chinese) have not the features of the Yellow Race so well defined as those belonging to the Mongolian branch. Their nose is less flattened, their figures are better, and they are taller. They early acquired rather a high degree of civilization, but they have since remained stationary, and their culture, formerly one of the most advanced in the world, is now very second rate compared to the progress made by the inhabitants of Europe and America. Chemical and mechanical arts were early practised and carried[255]
very far by nations belonging to the Sinaic branch. Living under a despotic government, and accustomed to abjectly cringe to those in authority, this race developed a peculiar taste for ceremony and etiquette. Their language is monosyllabic, their writing is hieroglyphic, and these facts perhaps account for the scant progress made by their civilization in modern times.



The Sinaic branch comprises the Chinese, the Japanese, and the Indo-Chinese families.



The Chinese Family.

The Chinese, amongst whom, out of all the Yellow Race, civilization was the first to develop itself, have the following characteristic features. Width and flatness in the subocular part of the face, prominent cheek bones, and obliquely set eyes. Their features as a whole partake of the type of the Mongol race: that is to say, they have a broad coarse face, high cheek bones, heavy jaws, a flat bridge to their nose, wide nostrils, obliquely set eyes, straight and plentiful hair, of a brownish black colour with a red tint in it, thick eyebrows, scanty beards, and a yellowish red complexion.

They constitute the principal population of the vast empire of China, and extend even further. Many have settled in Indo-China, in the islands of the Straits, and in the Philippine islands. China in four thousand years has been governed by twenty-eight dynasties. The emperor is merely an ornamental wheel in the mechanism of the Chinese government, the councillors possessing the real power. Centralization plays a powerful part in the administrative organization of the country. The emperor’s authority is founded on a secular and patriarchal respect, boundless in its influence. Veneration for old age is a law of the state. Infirm old men, too poor to hire litters, are often seen in the streets of Pekin, seated in little hand carriages, dragged about by their grandchildren. As they pass, the young people about receive them respectfully, and leave off for the moment their play or their work. The government encourages these feelings by giving yellow dresses to very old men. This is the highest mark of distinction a private individual can receive, for yellow is the colour reserved for the members of the imperial family.

Their respect for their ancestors is also carried very far by the[257] Chinese. They practise a kind of family worship in their honour.



There are many different creeds in China. The Buddhist faith, so widely spread in Asia, is the most general; but the higher[258] classes follow the precepts of Confucius. But great religious toleration exists in the Celestial Empire. The men of the higher classes affect a well founded contempt for the external forms of worship, and the mass of the people do not attach much importance[259] to them. Many widely differing creeds are seen side by side throughout the whole empire.



The Buddhist priests are called Bonzes.



The position of women is in China a humble one. She is considered inferior to man, and her birth is often regarded as a misfortune. The young girl lives shut up in her father’s house,[260] she takes her meals alone, she fulfils the duties of a servant and is considered one. Her calling is merely to ply the needle and to prepare the food. A woman is her father’s, her brother’s, or her husband’s property. A young girl is given in marriage without being consulted, without being made acquainted with her future husband, and often even in ignorance of his name.

The wealthy Chinese shut their wives up in the women’s apartments. When their lords and masters allow them to pay one another visits, or to go and see their parents, they go out in hermetically closed litters. They live in a wing of the building, reserved for their use, where no one can see them.



It is otherwise amongst the poorer classes. The women go out of doors with their face uncovered; but they pay dearly for this privilege, for they are nothing but the beasts of burden of their husbands. They age very rapidly.

Polygamy exists in China, but only on sufferance. A man of rank may have several wives, but the first one only is the legitimate one. Widows are not allowed to remarry. Betrothals often take place before the future husband and wife have reached the[261] age of puberty. A betrothed girl who loses her betrothed can never marry another.



A marriage ceremony at Pekin takes place as follows. The bride goes in great state to the dwelling of the bridegroom, who[262] receives her on the threshold. She is dressed in garments embroidered with gold and silver. Her long black tresses are covered with precious stones and artificial flowers. Her face is painted, her lips are reddened, her eyebrows are blackened, and her clothes are drenched with musk. Many of the Chinese women have the complexion and the good looks of Creoles; a tiny well shaped hand, pretty teeth, splendid black hair, a slender supple figure, and obliquely set eyes with a piquancy of expression that lends them a peculiar charm. The drawback to their appearance is their lavish use of paint, and their small crippled feet.

The Tartar and Chinese ladies composing the court of the Empress, as well as the wives of the officials residing in the capital, do nothing to distort their feet, except to wear the theatrical buskin, in which it is very difficult to walk. But a Chinese woman of good middle class family would think herself disgraced, and would have a difficulty in getting a husband, unless she had crippled her feet. This is what is done to give them a pleasing appearance. The feet of little girls of six years of age are tightly compressed with oiled bandages; the big toe is bent under the other four, which are themselves folded down under the sole of the foot. These bandages are drawn tighter every month. When the girl has grown up, her foot presents the appearance of a closed fist. Women with their feet mutilated in this manner walk with great difficulty. They move about with a kind of skip, stretching out their arms to keep their equilibrium.

Another of their conventional points of beauty is to wear their finger-nails very long. For fear of breaking them they cover them with little silver sheaths, which they also use as ear-picks.

A quantity of toilet accessories gives a peculiar appearance to the costume of the inhabitants of the Celestial Empire. Fans, parasols, pipes, snuff-boxes, tobacco-pouches, spectacle cases, and purses, are all hung at the girdle by silken strings. The use of the fan is common to both sexes, of all classes.

The kang, at once a bed, a sofa, and a chair; some mats stretched upon the floor; and a few chairs or stools with cushions on them, are to be found in every room of a Chinese house. The interior of these dwellings is a true citadel of sloth. The Chinaman[263] squatted on his mat, dallying with his fan and smoking his pipe, is amused at the European who actually takes the trouble to use his legs.

To give a more exact idea of domestic Chinese life, we will give a few extracts from the interesting travels of M. de Bourboulon, a French consul in China, travels edited by M. Poussielgue, and published in the “Tour du Monde” in 1864.

“A Chinese palace,” says M. Poussielgue, “is thus laid out: more than half the site is taken up with alleys, courts, and gardens crowded with rock-work, rustic bridges, fishponds full of gold fish, aviaries stocked with peacocks, golden pheasants, and partridges from Pe-tche-li, and especially a quantity of painted and varnished porcelain and earthenware jars, containing miniature trees, vines, jessamines, creepers and flowers of all kinds. The principal room on the ground floor opens on to the garden; a piece of open trellis work separates it from the sleeping apartment. The ground floor also comprises the dining-room, the kitchen, and sometimes a bath-room. When there is a second story, called leou, it contains beds and lumber rooms. The entrance-hall is invariably sacred to the ancestors and to the guardian spirits of the family. In every room the kang, which serves as a bed, a sofa, or a chair; and thick mats, laid upon the floor, are to be met with. The actual furniture is scanty; a few chairs and stools made of hard wood, with cushions placed on them; a small table in red lacquer work; an incense burner; some gilt or enamelled bronze candlesticks; flower stands and baskets of flowers; some pictures drawn on rice paper; and finally the inevitable tablet inscribed with some moral apothegm, or a dedication to the ancestors of the master of the house. There are no regular windows; a few square openings, pierced in the side wall where the rooms open on a court or garden, or inserted beneath the double beams supporting the roof where the apartment might be overlooked from the street or from the neighbouring houses, allow a dim light to penetrate through the cross laths of their wooden lattices which serve as fixed blinds to them (figs. 120 and 121).

“The wealthy, abandoning themselves to a luxurious idleness, spend half their existence in these secluded chambers; it is almost impossible for a European to procure admittance to them, for communicative as the Chinese are in business, at festivals, or[264] at receptions, they are extremely reserved on all points concerning their domestic life.



“Physical idleness is carried to an enormous extent in China; it is considered ill bred to take walks, and to use the limbs. Nothing surprises the natives more than the perpetual craving for exercise that characterizes Europeans. Squatted on their hams, they light their pipe, toy with their fans, and jeer at the European passers-by, whose firm measured footsteps carry them up and down the street. It is necessary to make excuses for coming neither on horseback nor in a palanquin, when paying an official visit, for to do so on foot is a sign of but little respect for the person visited.

“The palanquin is in constant use. Large depôts of these,[265] where one can always be hired at a moment’s notice, are established in Peking. A palanquin carried by six coolies costs about a piastre per day; with four coolies half a piastre; with only two, a hundred sapecas. The French Legation keeps twenty-four palanquin porters, dressed in blue tunics with tricolor collars and facings. Palanquins are usually open both in front and behind; they have a small window at the side, and a cross plank on which the passengers sit.

“The rage for gambling is one of the curses of China; a curse that has begotten a thousand others, in all ranks and at all ages. One meets in the streets of Peking a quantity of little itinerant gaming stalls; sometimes consisting of a set of dice in a brass cup on a stand, sometimes a lottery of little sticks marked with numbers, shaken up by the croupier in a tin tube. We saw crowds round these sharpers, and the passing workman, yielding to the irresistible temptation, loses in an hour his day’s hard earnings. The coolies attached to the French army used to thus lose their month’s pay the day after they got it; some of them having pledged their clothes to the croupiers, who do a little pawnbroking into the bargain, had to make their escape amid the jeers of the mob, and used to return to camp with nothing on but a pair of drawers.

“Cock and quail fighting are still practised as an excuse for gambling by the Chinese, who stake large sums on the result. The wealthy and the mercantile classes are just as inveterate gamesters as the common people; they collect in the tea-houses and spend day and night in playing at cards, at dice, at dominos, and at draughts. Their cards, about five inches long, are very narrow, and are a good deal like ours, with figures and pips of different colours marked on them. The game most in vogue seems to be a kind of cribbage. Their draughtsmen are square, and the divisions of the board are round. Their dominos are flat, with red and blue marks. They play at draughts also with dice, a sort of backgammon. Professional gamblers prefer dice to any other game, as it is the most gambling of all. When they have lost all their money, they stake their fields, their house, their children, their wives, and, as a last resort, themselves when they have nothing else left, and their antagonist agrees to let them make such a final stake. A shopkeeper of Tien-tsin, who was minus two fingers of his left hand, had lost them over the dice[266] box. The women and children are fond of playing at shuttlecock; it is their favourite game, and they are very expert at it. The shuttlecock is made of a piece of leather rolled into a ball, with one or two metal rings round it to steady it; three long feathers are stuck into holes in these rings. The shuttlecock is kept up with the soles of their slippers, which they use instead of battledores; it is very seldom allowed to fall.

“Gambling, which paralyzes labour, is one of the permanent causes of their pauperism, but there is another, still more disastrous—dissipation. The thin varnish of decency and restraint with which Chinese society is covered, conceals a widespread corruption. Public morality is only a mask worn above a deep depravity surpassing all that is told in ancient history, all that is known of the dissipated habits of the Persians and Hindoos of our own day.

“Drunkenness, as understood in Europe, is one of the least of their vices. The use of grape wine was forbidden, centuries ago, by some of their emperors, who tore up all the vine trees in China. This interdiction having been taken off under the Manchú dynasty, grapes are grown for the use of the table, but the only wine that is drunk is rice wine or samchow. A spirit as strong as our brandy is extracted from this as well as from coarse millet seed. It induces a terrible form of intoxication. The abuse of it by our soldiers in the Chinese campaign caused a great deal of fatal dysentery in the army.

“The tea-houses also sell alcoholic liquor, but the eating-houses and the taverns drive the largest trade in it.

“We cannot speak of the process of the manufacture of tea, nor of the vast amount of labour it employs: the subject properly belongs to southern China; we will only say that the use of tea is as common in the north as in the south. The moment you enter a house, tea is offered to you—it is a sign of hospitality to do so. It is given to you in profusion; the moment your cup is empty, a silent attendant fills it, and your host will not permit you to mention the subject of your visit till you have drunk a certain quantity. The tea-houses are as numerous as cafés and taverns in France; the elegant manner in which they are furnished, and their high charges, distinguish some from others. The rich trader and the idle man of fashion, not caring to mix with the grimy handed workman or the coarse peasant,[267] only frequent those houses that have a fashionable reputation. Tea-houses can be recognized by the large range at the end of their rooms, fitted up with huge kettles and massive tea pots, with ovens and stoves supplying with boiling water immense caldrons as big as a man. A singular kind of time-piece is placed above the range; it is made of a large moulded bar of incense divided off by equidistant marks, so that the lapse of hours can be measured by its combustion. The Chinese can thus literally use the expression, “consuming the time.” Morning and evening the rooms are full of customers, who for two sapecas, the price of entrance, can sit there and discuss their business, play, smoke, listen to music, or amuse themselves by looking at the feats of tumblers, jugglers, and athletes. For the two sapecas they have also the right to drink ten cups of tea (certainly extremely small ones), with which, on trays covered with cakes and dried fruits, a crowd of waiters keep running to and fro.

“One day,” says a letter of M. X., a French officer in the 101st Regiment of the Line, “we determined to dine à la chinoise in a Chinese eating-house. Our coolies arranged beforehand that the price was to be two piastres a head, a large sum for this country, where provisions are so cheap. As a preparation for dinner, we had to thread our way through a labyrinth of lanes, crowded with dens in which crouched thousands of ragged beggars, poisoning the atmosphere with their exhalations. At the entrance to the open space in front of the eating-house stood a quantity of heaps of refuse, composed of old vegetable stalks, rotten sausages, and dead cats and dogs, and in every hole and corner a mass of filth as disagreeable to the nose as to the eye. It required a strong stomach to retain an appetite after running the gauntlet of such a horrible mess. A few tea drinkers and card players were seated at the door, and seemed to care very little for the pestilential character of the neighbourhood. We tried to be equally courageous, and after admiring two immense lanterns which adorned the entrance, and the sign inscribed in big letters, ‘The three principal Virtues,’ we ventured to hope that honesty would prove one of them, and that the tavern keeper would give us our money’s worth.

“Our entry into the principal room created a little excitement, for, accustomed as the Chinese are to see us, we still, in the quarters of the town where Europeans seldom venture, cause a[268] certain amount of curiosity, not unmixed with alarm. Two square tables surrounded by wooden benches, on which had been placed, as a particular favour, some stuffed cushions, had been prepared for us. The waiters thronged round us with red earthen tea-pots, and white metal cups; there were no spoons; boiling water was poured on a pinch of tea leaves, placed at the bottom of the cups, and we were obliged to drink the infusion through a small hole in the lid. When we had got through this ordeal like regular Chinamen, we called for the first course, which consisted of a quantity of wretched little lard cakes, sweetened with dried fruit; and for hors-d’œuvre, a kind of caviare made of the intestines, the livers, and the roes of fish pickled in vinegar, and some land shrimps cooked in salt water; these were really nothing but large locusts. This dish, however, found in most warm countries, was not at all bad. We did not get along very well with the first course, which was immediately followed by the second. The waiters placed on the table some plates, or rather saucers, for they were no bigger, and some bowl-shaped dishes, full of rice dressed in different ways with small pieces of meat arranged in pyramids on top of it. Chop-sticks accompanied these savoury dishes. What were we to do? Nobody but a regular Chinese can help himself with these two little bits of wood, one of which is usually held stationary between the thumb and the ring finger, while the other is shifted about between the fore and middle fingers. The natives lift the saucers to their lips, and swallow the rice by pushing it into their mouth with the chop-sticks, but we tried to accomplish this in vain, and all the more so, that our fits of laughter prevented us from making any really earnest attempt. It was, however, impossible for us to compromise the dignity of our civilization by eating with our fingers like savages, and happily one of our number, with more forethought than the rest, had brought with him a travelling case holding a spoon, and a knife and fork. We then each in turn dipped the spoon into the bowls before us, with an amount of suspicion, however, that prevented the proper appreciation of the highly flavoured messes they contained. At last some less mysterious dishes, in quantity enough to satisfy fifty people, made their appearance; chickens, ducks, mutton, pork, roast hare, fish and boiled vegetables. White grape wine and rice wine were at the same time handed to us in microscopic cups of painted porcelain. None of the beverages were sweet, not even the tea,[269] but to make up for it they were all boiling hot. The meal was brought to a close by a bowl of soup, which was really an enormous piece of stewed meat swimming about in a sea of gravy.



“Satiated rather than satisfied, we should have preferred some more Chinese dishes; some swallows’ nests, or a stew of ging-seng roots, but it appears that such delicacies as these must be ordered for days beforehand, and paid for by their weight in gold. We swallowed a glass of tafia, a liquor which is becoming quite fashionable in Chinese eating-houses, and lighting our cigars looked about us. The day was drawing to a close; the tavern rooms, which were at first nearly empty, were filling with customers, who after furtively scanning us, betook themselves to their usual[270] occupations. The waiter kept calling out in a loud voice the names and the prices of the dishes that were ordered, and these were repeated by an attendant standing at the counter behind which sat the master of the place. Some shop-keepers were playing at pigeon fly; one held up as many of the fingers of both hands as he thought fit, his antagonist had to guess immediately how many, and to hold up simultaneously exactly the same number of his own. The loser paid for a cup of rice wine.

“The room was beginning to reek with a nauseous odour, in which we recognised the smell of opium smoke. It was the hour for that fatal infatuation. Smokers with sallow complexions and hollow eyes, began to disappear mysteriously into some closets at the end of the room. We could see them lying down on mat beddings, with hard horsehair pillows.”

Fig. 122 shows one of these closets kept for the use of opium-smokers. The utensils and paraphernalia necessary for the preparation and lighting of the opium pipe, lie on the table.

Agriculture has in China reached a remarkable degree of perfection. It is the great source of the wealth of the country; it is the progress it has attained that allows the Celestial Empire to support such an immense population in a relatively confined area. The profession of agriculturist is consequently held in great respect. We will quote M. Poussielgue on the subject:

“Towards the end of March, 1861,” says that writer, “Prince Kong, the Imperial regent, proceeded in great state to the Temple of Agriculture, on the outskirts of the Chinese part of the town of Peking, and, after offering sacrifices to the guardian Deity of mankind, who encourages their labour by giving them the gifts of the earth, put his own hand to the plough, and turned up several furrows; a crowd of notabilities, ministers, masters of the ceremonies, the great officers of state, three princes of the Imperial family, and a deputation of labourers accompanied the Emperor’s representative. As soon as Prince Kong had finished ploughing the plot of ground reserved for him, and marked out with yellow flags, the three Imperial princes, followed by the nine chief dignitaries of the empire, took their turn at the plough, till the whole field was covered with furrows, in which mandarins of lesser rank scattered the seed, whilst labourers covered with rakes and rollers the sacred germs entrusted to the ground. During the[271] whole ceremony, choirs of music made the air resound with their harmony.



“This intellectual patronage, this ennobling of agriculture, has had immense results. No country in the world is cultivated with so much care, or perhaps, with more success than China. It does not contain a square inch of waste ground.

“In the province of Pe-tche-li, where land is very much cut up into small lots, agricultural operations are conducted on a limited scale, but the intelligent manner in which they are carried out, makes up for the inconveniences of this parcelling out. But few[272] villages are seen there, but in compensation for their absence a quantity of farms and farm-houses nestle here and there under the shade of lofty trees. The buildings take up but little room, and so economical are the peasants of the soil, that they place their hayricks and their wheat sheaves on the flat roofs of their dwellings. Fig. 123 represents their system.

“If, however, they are saving of the soil, they are not sparing of pains. Thanks to the abundance and cheapness of labour, they have been able to adopt a system of cultivating the earth in alternate rows, and thus never to let the ground lie fallow, but to have a succession of crops during the whole summer. Between the rows of the sorgho (holcus sorghum), which reaches a height of ten or twelve feet, they sow a plant of lesser growth, the smaller kind of millet, which thrives in the shade of its gigantic neighbour. When they have reaped the sorgho, the millet, exposed to the rays of the sun, ripens in its turn; they plant rows of beans in the midst of their maize fields, and the former ripens before the latter, of slower growth, is big enough to choke them. They plant the earth they dig out of their draining trenches with castor-oil or cotton plants, whose large green leaves make a kind of hedge to the cornfields. And when the soil is barren and full of stones they plant it with the resinous pine, or with the cathsé, an oily plant that flourishes on the poorest ground.

“Nothing is more stirring than the picture presented by the wide plains of Pe-tche-li at harvest time. The toil of the husbandman has brought forth its fruit; the crops of all kinds fill to overflowing the granaries; threshers, winnowers and reapers, with crowds of gleaning women and children, fill the air with their joyous songs, as half stripped beneath the glowing sun, with their pig-tails wound around their heads, they zealously toil on from daybreak to night fall, only leaving off for a few moments to swallow an onion or two, or a handful of rice, to take a few whiffs at their pipe, or to vigorously fan themselves when the heat becomes unbearable, and the perspiration is running down their stalwart limbs.



“Water in this province is as little neglected as the land:

“Pisciculture is practised on a large scale and in the most intelligent manner. When spring returns, a quantity of vendors of fish spawn perambulate the country to sell this precious spat[273]
to the pond owners. The eggs, fecundated by the milt, are carried about in small barrels full of damp moss. These spawn-sellers are followed by hawkers of young fry, skilful divers who catch in very fine nets the new born fish reposing in the holes in the river beds. These fry are reared in special ponds, and disseminated when they have grown bigger in the lakes and larger pieces of water. The Chinese have succeeded in rearing and preserving in artificial basins the most interesting and most productive species of their rivers. In the immense lakes close to the Temple of Heaven at Peking, they rear gold fish, a kind of bream weighing sometimes as much as twenty-five pounds, carp, and the celebrated kia-yu, a domestic fish. Morning and evening the keepers bring herbs and grains for the fish, which greedily eat them, and which soon reach a considerable size, thanks to this fattening diet. A lake managed in this way is a greater source of revenue to its owner than the most fruitful fields.

“The sea-shore at the mouth of the Peï-ho is covered with parks to hold the fish at low water. These are made of several lengths of blue cotton stuff stretched on a cane framework, which is fastened to a quantity of small stakes. This framework folds in any direction like the leaves of a screen. A drag net is also used by the inhabitants of the coast. Soles, sea toads, bream, gold fish, whiting, cod and a quantity of other fish are caught in the gulf of Pe-tche-li. Many cetaceous fish are also found there, dolphins, several kinds of sharks, amongst them the tiger shark (Squalus tigrinus), whose striped and spotted skin is used in several manufactures, and a large species of turtle.



“River fishing, with which we are better acquainted, is followed in several ingenious fashions. There is trained cormorant fishing, fly fishing, harpoon fishing, rod fishing, and net fishing; dams are also placed across the streams at the travelling periods of migratory fish. The Pei-ho, crowded with fishermen, presents a most lively appearance; on its surface you see large boats containing whole families; the women occupied in mending the nets, in making osier fishing-rods, in cleaning and salting the day’s catch, and in carrying in vases the fish they wish to keep alive; the little children, with their waists girdled with a life belt of pigs’ bladders, running about and climbing like cats up the masts and the rigging; the men dropping their large nets perpendicularly into the water, and easily raising them again by[275] a piece of ingenious mechanism consisting of a wooden counterpoise on which they lean the whole weight of their body (fig. 124), others watching their nets lying at the bottom of the stream, their whereabouts indicated by the wooden floats that are bobbing up and down here and there; others again descending the river with the current and harpooning the larger fish with a harpoon fastened to the wrist by a strong cord. To avoid alarming[276] their prey, they have invented a kind of raft, made of a couple of beams fastened together with wooden rungs ladderwise; the stem is pointed, and in the stern, which is square, a paddle is kept with which they steer themselves. By a wonderful piece of equilibrium they manage to keep in an upright position, their feet on different rungs, with one hand stretched out grasping the harpoon, and their head extended to catch a sight of the fish as it sleeps in the sunshine on the top of the water. It is a stirring sight to see five or six fishermen abreast, descending with the current on these frail barks. They wear a broad-brimmed straw hat, and their clothing consists of a waterproof jerkin of woven cane, and a pair of drawers made of small pieces of reed stitched together. Their naked arms and legs are muscular and bronzed, their countenance is resolute, and its calm expression shows that they are inured to danger. Although it often happens that the harpooned fish, more powerful than the harpooner, makes the latter lose his balance and tumble into the water, when his only means of safety lie in cutting the rope fastened to his wrist to save himself from being dragged under, accidents are seldom heard of, for all are excellent swimmers. At night a strange noise is heard on the river, lighted up with resin torches; the fishermen rush about the stream beating wooden drums to drive the fish towards the spots where they have stretched their nets.”

Living is very cheap in China, owing to the skill of the agricultural labourers and that of the artisans and mechanics. A whole family can cook its meals with one or two pounds of dried grass, which costs about a penny a pound. Fire-places are very little used, except in the more northern provinces; but warm clothing is worn when the climate makes it necessary. The dwellings have a low pitch, so that with the coal found in many of the provinces, with the prunings of the trees, and with the roots of the mountain shrubs, their inhabitants can cheaply procure the fuel necessary to warm themselves with.[7]

[7] Simon, Report of the Acclimatization Society, March, 1869.

There is a great scarcity of forests in China, as the country has been entirely denuded to support its teeming population. Grazing fields are equally scarce, so that butcher’s meat, beef or mutton, is dear. The inhabitants however get along without it, thanks to the numerous streams, rivers, lakes, and canals which intersect China, and swarm with fish. Fishing does not take[277]
place in the streams of running water alone. Fish are caught in the rice fields, and even in the pools caused by the heavy rains, so rapid is the production of these animals.



A kind of fish exists in China which multiplies at such an astonishing rate, that it produces two broods in a month, this fish is consequently not more than a penny and the dearest tenpence a pound. All kinds of fisheries are carried on—net, rod, otter and cormorant fishing. It is thus that animal food for four hundred millions of inhabitants is provided.

Pigs, ducks, and chickens are also a great resource. Pork has become such a general article of food, that its cost is higher than that of beef, although the latter is much the scarcest.

The ducks are found in flocks of three or four thousand on the lakes and pieces of water. They are watched by children in a kind of small canoe. Sometimes the drakes bring the ducklings to the water, keeping guard over them from the bank, and recalling them when necessary with a sharp piercing cry which the young ones perfectly understand.

There is a large trade in ducks. They dry them by putting them between a couple of planks like plants; and they are sent in this guise to the most remote parts of the empire. Dogs of a particular breed, reared for the market in the southern provinces, are prepared in the same way, but only for the consumption of the very poorest classes. Goats and sheep are also rather largely made use of for food, but not to such an extent as pigs, ducks and chickens.

It may be seen therefore that the Chinese have learnt how to supply the place of the larger kind of butcher’s meat.

Vegetables however form the staple of their food. This explains how it is possible for four hundred millions of inhabitants to exist in a country whose acreage is not more than four or five times that of France. Chinese horticulture contains eighty different kinds of vegetables, and out of these eighty, at least twenty-five constitute a direct article of food for man. But the most precious of all is rice, and the Chinese spare no pains in perfecting its cultivation. In aid of this cultivation they have sacrificed their forests, dug immense lakes, and even pierced lofty mountains. For its sake they collect the water of both stream and river, and direct its course from the mountain’s foot over the soil they wish to irrigate. Perhaps no greater or more grandiose[279] work exists in the whole world than the gigantic hydraulic system which, throughout the whole of China, from the west to the sea coast, directs the flow of its waters, and pours them over the fields of every tiller of its soil.

This great work was carried out four thousand years ago, but public gratitude has not forgotten its promoter. They still point out not far from Ning-po, the field where the little peasant used to work who after accomplishing his enterprise became the great emperor Yu. All the inhabitants of the canton where he was born are considered as his descendants or as those of his family, and are exempt from taxation; and the anniversary of his birth is celebrated every year in a special temple with as much zeal as if the benefits he has bestowed were things of yesterday.

The Chinese do their best not only for rice, but for every kind of produce, or to put it better, for the earth itself, the earth that brings it forth. Agriculture to the Chinese is more than a calling, it is almost a religion. The Chinaman repeats to himself these words of the old Persian law: “Be thou just to the plant, to the bull, and to the horse; nor be thou unmindful of the dog. The earth has a right to be sown; neglect it and it will curse thee, fertilize it and it will be grateful to thee. It says to him who tills it from the right to the left, and from the left to the right, may thy fields bring forth of all that is good to eat, and may thy countless villages abound with prosperity.” It adds again, “Labour and sow: the sower who sows with purity obeys the whole law.”

When the earth therefore does not produce abundant crops, the Chinese lay the blame on themselves. They purify themselves and fast. Confucius, besides, has said: “If you wish for good agriculture, be of pure morals.”[8]

[8] Simon, Report of the Acclimatization Society, March, 1869.

The soil in China yields as much as ten thousand pounds of rice to every acre. Such a result says a great deal for their rural morals. While occupied in making the earth yield so plentifully, they have no time for evil thoughts or actions. A moralist has said, “There can be no cultivation without public order. Justice is begotten of the furrow. Ceres, who at Thebes and at Athens brought men together and made the laws, is the reflecting mind of men who till the soil.”[9] How could[280] Chinese agriculture be possible without a system of law, when for the success of its rice fields it is so dependent on water, which is so easily cut off, for the very essence of its fruitfulness. The uninterrupted distribution of its waters, in the midst of such an immense rural population, is a symptom of great honesty and fairness among the inhabitants of the Celestial Empire.

[9] Simon, Report of the Acclimatization Society, March, 1869.

Thus we see that patience, gentleness, justice and benevolence are the predominant Chinese qualities. The Chinese have been often reproached with being atheists; but the devotion of labour, the purifications and the atonements to which they submit at the smallest warning from Heaven, free them from this reproach.

The Bonzes, the priests of the Buddhist faith, are treated by the Chinese with great respect. If this nation is not really a very religious one, at least it venerates and respects the ministers of religion.

Fig. 126 shows the usual dress of the Bonzes.

Education is widely spread in China; schools abound there. Chinese literature, without possessing very numerous works worthy of remembrance, has produced a good deal worthy of esteem.

The Theatre is a recreation much sought after by the people and by the educated classes.

Members of the Yellow Race
P. Sellier, p.t Imp. Dupuy, 22, R. des Petits Hôtels G. Regamey, lith.

We will make a few extracts on these points from the travels of M. de Bourboulon, edited by M. Poussielgue, which we have already quoted: “Their Book of Rites,” says M. Poussielgue, “directs that the education of the child of wealthy parents shall commence from the hour even of its birth, and bids the mother take great precautions in choosing its nurses, whom it only tolerates. A child is weaned the moment it can lift its hand to its mouth. At six years of age the elementary principles of arithmetic and geography are taught him; at seven he is separated from his mother and sisters, and no longer allowed to take meals with them; at eight the usages of politeness are instilled into him; the following year he is taught the astrological calendar; at ten he is sent to a public school, where the master teaches him to read and write and to calculate; between the ages of thirteen and fifteen he receives music lessons and sings moral maxims instead of his hymns; at fifteen come gymnastics, the use of arms, and riding; finally at twenty years of age, if he is considered worthy[281] of it, he receives the virile cap, and changes his cotton clothing for silk garments and furs; he is also generally married at this age.



“The Chinese schoolmasters (fig. 127) are rejected men of letters who have not succeeded in passing the examinations for civil employment. They make their scholars call out their lessons in a loud voice, and seem to have long since appreciated the value of the system of mutual instruction. They chastise culprits with their pigtails and with cat-o’-nine-tails, striking[282] them heavy blows on the hands and on the back. Moral penalties are also inflicted; a writing fastened to his back holds up the idle schoolboy to public contempt. The poorest class of children are taught gratuitously in the schools.

“The importance attached by the Chinese to the writing, the reading, the grammar, and the thorough knowledge of their language, springs from its inherent difficulties.

“The ancient Chinese writing was ideographic, that is to say, it represented objects by drawn characters, similar to the Egyptian system of hieroglyphics, instead of being phonetic, that is, composed of signs corresponding with the sounds of the spoken language. Their primitive characters, two hundred and fourteen in number, were rough figures imperfectly representing material objects. Ideographical writing, the use of which by semi-barbarous peoples is easily explained, must be rather awkward for civilized men desiring to express abstract ideas. The Chinese have ingeniously modified their characters, so as to render them capable of satisfying the wants of their growing civilization. Anger was represented by a heart under a bond, a sign of slavery; friendship by two pearls exactly alike; history, by a hand holding the emblem of equity. As it was soon found that these ingenious figures were no longer sufficient, they were combined in an infinite number of ways; they were altered and multiplied to such an extent, that it takes all the science of an old man of letters to recognize the designs of the primitive writing in the present characters, which are more than forty thousand in number. It is in this way that their modern writing was gradually formed, an emblematic writing which does not correspond with the spoken language, the one solitary exception to the rule among all civilized nations.

“It is therefore easily to be understood that to read and write the Chinese language is a science exacting severe study from natives of the country, as well as from foreigners: besides, even its grammatical rules vary very much. There are three kinds of style: the ancient or sublime style, used in the old canonical books; the academical style, which is adopted for official and literary documents; and the common style.



“The Chinese attach much importance to an elegant handwriting, a clever calligrapher, or to use their own expression, a clever brush, is worthy of their admiration. Captain Bouvier and[283] one of the interpreters of the French legation, were one day paying a visit to Tchong-louen, one of the leading officials of Peking; his son, a mandarin with the blue button, a young man of twenty-two, and already father of a child—that is to say of a son, for girls do not count for anything—was present in the reception-room. Tchong-louen, wishing to give an idea of his son’s precocious accomplishments to his visitors, sent for a large cartoon in which the youth had traced in splendid outlines, the word longevity, and[284] showed it to them with as much pride as if it had been the certificate of some noble action or a literary work. The rooms of every house contain similar cartoons, hung upon their walls as we in Europe hang paintings.

“The appearance of Chinese writing is very odd; the characters are placed one under the other in vertical lines, and run from right to left; in a word, on this point as in many others, the Chinese proceed in a manner diametrically opposed to ours. The position in which the characters are placed is besides very important; for instance, the Emperor’s name must be written with two letters higher than the others, to omit this would be to commit treason. Everybody is familiar with Chinese or Indian ink. It is with this substance, diluted in water and used with a brush, that the Chinese trace the letters of their writing, holding their hands perpendicularly, instead of placing them horizontally, on the paper.

“Their spoken language is much less difficult; it is composed of monosyllables, the union of which, in an infinite number of ways, expresses every possible idea. I must not forget the accents which give a difference of tone and expression to the monosyllabic roots. The language of the south differs sufficiently from that of the north to prevent the natives from understanding one another without the assistance of the brush. Moreover, every province has its particular dialect.

“In spite of the difficulties presented by the reading and writing of the Chinese character, China is doubtless the land in which primary instruction is most widely spread. Schools are found even in the smallest hamlets whose rustics deprive themselves of some of their gains, in order to pay a schoolmaster. It is very seldom you meet with an entirely uneducated Chinese. The workmen and the peasants are capable of writing their own letters, reading the government bills and proclamations, and making notes of their daily business. Teaching in the primary schools has for its basis, the San-tse-king, a sacred book attributed to a disciple of Confucius, which sums up in a hundred and sixty-eight lines all acquired knowledge and science. This little encyclopædia, properly explained and commented on by the teacher, suffices to give Chinese children a taste for positive knowledge, and even to give them the desire of acquiring a wider education. There are also colleges in the large towns where the children of the[285]
men of letters and of the mandarins receive a complete education. Such among others is the Imperial College at Peking.



“The citizens of the Celestial Empire enjoy thorough liberty of the press, but at their own risk and peril. The government, which has no right to forbid any publication, revenges itself afterwards by inflicting the bastinado on the authors of the pamphlets and the virulent satires that daily appear attacking it. A great quantity of small portable printing-presses exists among private individuals who both use and abuse them. There is no country in the world where the walls are so thickly covered with bills and advertisements.

“The Chinese have practised the typographical art from time immemorial; but as their alphabet is composed of more than forty thousand letters, they could not make use of moveable type; they restricted themselves therefore to carving on a piece of hard board the characters they required, to wetting these characters with ink and to striking off a number of copies, by applying different sheets of paper to the board. Their binders, in opposition to ours, make these leaves up into a volume by fastening them together by their edges. A note in the preface generally mentions the place where the boards that printed the first edition of the work have been deposited.

“There are in Peking several daily papers, amongst others the Official Gazette, a government print, the subscription for which is a piastre quarterly. This print, published in pamphlet shape, is a rectangular publication containing a dozen pages, with a likeness of the philosopher Meng-tsen on the cover. It contains a summary of all public matters, and all leading events, the petitions and memorials addressed to the Emperor, his decrees, the edicts of the viceroys of the provinces, judicial ceremonies and letters of pardon, the custom-house tariffs, the court circular, the news of the day, fires, crimes, &c., and finally the incidents, fortunate or unfortunate, of the war against the rebel Tae-pings. It even acknowledges the Imperial defeats, a piece of frankness worthy of notice by the official organs of Europe and America.

“The Chinese have a traditional and quasi-religious respect for the preservation of all printed and written papers; they are carefully collected and burnt when read, so as to put them beyond the reach of profanation. It is even asserted that societies exist who[287] pay porters to go from street to street with enormous baskets to pick up fragments. These new kind of rag-gatherers are paid for saving the waifs and strays of human thought.

“Art like literature has been carried to some extent in an utilitarian and manufacturing sense. But imaginative art, the ideally beautiful, is a thing a Chinese does not understand.

“While acknowledging the skill with which the Chinese have written on social economy, on philosophy, on history, and on all moral and political science based on experience and logic, we must note the scarcity of their purely literary works. It must not however, be concluded that China, unlike every civilized country, does not possess plenty of poets, novelists and dramatic authors; but their little esteemed and badly remunerated productions are ephemeral. To-day an ode, something appropriate to the moment, is written, it is recited or played in the midst of applause, and to-morrow nothing remains of it.

“Theatrical propensities are nevertheless very strongly developed among the Chinese, and the cause of this forgetfulness, this neglect is that they are ashamed of attaching too much importance to a futile amusement. The managers of the theatres are generally the authors of the pieces they represent, or at any rate they modify them according to the exigencies of the actors and the suitability of the costumes. There are no permanent or authorized theatres in Peking: the government only allows their temporary construction in the open spaces of the town for a limited period during public festivals. Theatrical representations, however, take place in many of the tea-houses, which are analogous to our music-halls, and in nearly all the dwellings of the wealthy, who, every time they hire a company of actors to celebrate a family anniversary, take care, with an eye to popularity, to allow the public free ingress into that part of their house reserved for the auditorium.”

“I have just been present,” relates M. Trèves, “at a theatrical representation given by the secretary of state Tchong-louen in the gardens of his palace in the Tartar town, in honour of the new year. The theatre was something like those constructed in Paris on the esplanade of the Invalides on the occasion of the Emperor’s fête: it was an ample quadrilateral building in the shape of a Greek temple, supported on either side by four columns painted in sky-blue, golden, and scarlet stripes, and with[288] a proscenium covered with carvings and decorations. The stage, much wider than it was deep, was a wooden platform raised about six feet above the level of the rest of the building. An immense screen shuts off the back passages, where the actors dress themselves and get themselves up. There was no scenery, only two or three chairs and a carpet. The circular hall reserved for the audience, very large in proportion to the stage, was paved with white marble; it was not roofed in, and the only shelter for the spectators was the shade cast by the large trees of the garden (fig. 129).

“We took our places on a reserved platform, placed expressly for us in front of the stage; on either side were boxes with bamboo blinds whence the wives of our host and those of his guests looked on at the play: to prevent their being seen, they wore veils of silk net. The guests of lower rank were seated in the first row, on chairs grouped round small tables capable of accommodating four or five people. Behind them I could see a swarm of human heads; these were the public who crowded and pressed together to enjoy the spectacle for which they were indebted to the munificence of the illustrious Tchong-louen. At Peking as in Paris, the common people willingly undergo for the sake of amusement the fatigue of standing, without any means of resting themselves, for hours together. A few indulgent fathers had two or three children perched upon their backs, and upon their shoulders, but I could not see a single woman.

“At a signal given from our dais, the orchestra, placed at one wing of the stage, and consisting of two flutes, a drum and a harp, began a charivari which took the place of an overture; then the screen opened, and the actors all appeared in their ordinary dress, and after bowing so deeply that their foreheads touched the ground, their leader advanced to the edge of the stage and commenced a pompous recital of the dramas they were going to perform.”

Here the writer gives a description of the pieces represented, which were kinds of allegories and historical pageants. Besides these regular theatrical representations, there are in Peking many acrobatic troops, male and female rope-dancers, and itinerant circuses.



Marionettes, absolutely identical with those in Europe, are seen in China. Which nation is their inventor? The name by which[289] they have passed from time immemorial in France, ombres chinoises, seems to prove that their origin is Chinese. Hidden by ample drapery of blue cotton stuff, the man who moves the puppets stands on a stool. A case representing a[290] little stage is placed on his shoulders and rises above his head, while his hands work without revealing the mechanical means he uses to impart the movements of players to these tiny automatons.

We will end our account of the Chinese with a glance at their administration of justice and their judicial forms. We again quote from M. Poussielgue:

“There is a direct relation in China between the penal judicial code and family organization. If the Emperor is the father and the mother of his subjects, the magistrates who represent him are also the father and mother of those they rule over. Every outrage against the law is an outrage upon the family. Impiety, one of the greatest crimes foreseen and punished by the law, is really nothing but a want of respect for parents. This is how the penal code defines impiety. ‘He is impious who insults his nearest relations, or he who brings an action against them, or who does not go into mourning for them, or who does not venerate their memory, or he who is wanting in the attention due to those to whom he owes his existence, by whom he has been educated, or by whom he has been protected and assisted.’ The punishments incurred for the crime of impiety are terrible; we intend to speak of them later.

“In thus carrying the feeling of what is due to family ties into the region of politics, the Chinese legislators have created a governmental machinery of prodigious power, which has lasted for thirty centuries, and which, neither the numerous revolutions and dynastic changes, neither the antagonism of the northern and southern races, neither the immense territorial extent of the empire, neither religious scepticism, nor finally the selfish creed of materialism developed to excess by a decayed and stationary civilization, have been able to destroy, or even seriously to disturb.



“Amongst the supreme courts that sit at Peking, is the Court of Appeal or Cassation (Ta-li-sse). Next to it come the assizes held in the chief towns of each province, and presided over by a special magistrate bearing the title of Commissary of the Court of Offences. A second magistrate of inferior rank exercises the duties of public accuser at these assizes. In towns of second and third importance inferior tribunals exist which have but one judge, the mandarin or the sub-prefect of the department. The[291] punishments that can be awarded by the latter are limited; when the crime deserves a greater chastisement, the prisoner is sent to the assizes held in the chief town of his province: if this tribunal sentences him to death, the proceedings must be sent to the Court of Appeal at Peking, where a final decision is pronounced at the autumn sittings. Thus no provincial tribunal has the power of sentencing a prisoner to death; although in special cases, such as an armed insurrection, a governor can be invested with extreme power, similar to that conferred in Europe by martial law. Finally there are in every part of the empire, courts of information where the sub-prefect, in the course of his quarterly circuit, has to hear what is taking place, decide differences, and deliver moral lectures to the public; but this excellent institution[292] has fallen into disuse in consequence of the relaxation of governmental authority and the carelessness of the mandarins.

“The result of this judicial organization is that the sub-prefect is invested with the entire correctional power within the limits of his civil jurisdiction, a very faulty state of things, which has been the cause of enormous abuses.

“There are no advocates in China, and, as has been seen, very few judges. Consequently the mode of administering justice is very summary, and the guarantees enjoyed by a prisoner amount to nothing. His friends or relations can, it is true, plead in his favour, but it is of no use, unless it happens to suit the mandarin at the head of the tribunal. As for the witnesses, they are liable to be flogged with a rattan, accordingly as their evidence is agreeable or not. Generally speaking, the long-winded witnesses are the most disagreeable to the mandarin who has a mass of matters to settle, and whose time does not allow him to enter into petty details. In point of fact the prisoner’s acquittal or condemnation depends upon the subaltern officers of the court, who prepare the proceedings in a manner favourable to the prisoners or the reverse, accordingly as they have received more or less money from his friends.

“If there is something to be praised in Chinese jurisprudence, the way in which the punishments are carried out is on the contrary shocking. Man is considered as a being sensitive only to physical agony and to death; Chinese legislators have not sought to restrain him by his honour, by his pride in himself, nor even by his self interest. The penal code consists mainly of the bastinado, inflicted with a thick bamboo cane, with the thick end or the thin one, and consisting of from ten up to two hundred blows, as the crime is trifling or serious, or as the object stolen is of little or of great value. The bastinado is given immediately in presence of the tribunal. The most common punishments, are, after the bastinado, the cangue, the pillory, imprisonment and perpetual exile into Tartary for mandarins who have committed political offences. We have mentioned that the High Court of Appeal alone can decide on a death sentence; but the sufferings inflicted by the orders of the inferior tribunals are so horrible, the executioners are so ingenious in varying the tortures without causing death, the management of the prisons is so hateful, and finally a man sentenced to the cangue, the pillory, or the cage is[293]
exposed to such horrible anguish, that when the death-warrant arrives from Peking, the unfortunate wretch goes cheerfully to the scaffold, as if his last day were really the day of his deliverance.



“Capital punishment, horribly varied in bygone days, is now only inflicted in three ways; strangulation, decapitation, and the slow death by stabbing.

“Strangulation is effected by means of a silken cord that two executioners pull at each end, or by an iron collar tightened by a screw, very much like the garote at present used in Spain. Strangulation by the silken cord, is reserved for the princes of the Imperial family; the iron collar is used to destroy, in the silence of the prison, those whose death it is desired to conceal.

“In public, the only mode of execution is decapitation, applied to all vulgar crimes. The preparations for this mode of death are very simple, and its action very rapid, owing to the temper and weight of the swords, and the skill of those who wield them. The guillotine never attained the lightning-like rapidity of the satellites of the dreaded Yeh, the viceroy from whom the Anglo-French delivered the province of Canton; they could strike off a hundred heads in a few moments. Their master used to boast that their skill was derived from a hundred thousand subjects of experiment he had furnished them with in less than two years.

“The slow death of stabbing is inflicted for the crimes of treason, parricide, and incest. The preparation for this mode of punishment must double the miseries of the condemned convict. Securely tied to a post, his feet and hands fastened with ropes, his head is placed in a kind of pillory, while the magistrate delegated to witness the execution of the sentence, draws from a covered basket a knife, on the handle of which is written the part of the body in which it is to be inserted. This horrible torture is continued until chance selects the heart, or some other vital part. We hasten to add, that generally the convict’s friends purchase the connivance of the magistrate, who takes care to draw at the very first venture, the knife intended for the mortal blow.

“It is little wonder that the Chinese accustomed to such penalties, and to the hideous and frequent spectacles they afford, should early become inured to the idea of death, and that even[295] their women and children should possess in the highest degree the passive courage which enables them to meet it with calmness. For many of these poor people, death is only the welcome termination of a miserable and painful existence.

“I had the curiosity to be present at one of the last sittings of the Court, and at my request a place was reserved for me, where I could see without being seen.



“The hall of justice had nothing remarkable in an architectural sense. It was surrounded by a lofty wall, nearly as high as the principal edifice. The first court is enclosed by buildings used as prisons. I saw some boxes made of enormously thick bamboo bars placed at a little distance apart, in which prisoners were shut up during the night.

“In this court a crowd of wretched creatures with emaciated limbs, livid faces, and barely covered with a few loathsome rags, lay sweltering in the sun. Some were fastened by the foot with an iron chain to a weight so heavy, that they were unable to stir it, and staggered round it like caged wild beasts, continually turning[296] in a space of a few feet. Others had their arms and legs shackled together, so that they could only move about in short jumps, which must have been very painful to judge by the expression of their faces.



“One of these prisoners had his left hand and right foot fastened in a board a few inches in width; a policeman dragged him forward by an iron chain fastened to a heavy collar clasped round his neck, whilst another flogged him from behind, to make him go on. This wretched creature crept along with great difficulty on the leg that was still free, his body bent double in the most painful position (fig. 132).

“In another corner of the court, other prisoners were undergoing the punishment of the cangue. I also saw a painful sight, a thief buried alive in a wooden cage.



“Imagine a heavy tub upside down, under which a human being is made to crouch; his head and his hands are slipped through three round holes, made so excessively tight that he cannot remove them; the weight of the cage presses on his[297] shoulders, whatever movement he makes he must carry it about with him. When he wishes to rest, he can only crouch upon his knees in a most fatiguing position; when he wishes to take exercise, he can hardly lift the weight of the tub (fig. 133). One shrinks from attempting to realize the existence of a man condemned to a month of such a punishment. The miserable sufferer I saw, being unable to either eat or drink by himself, his wife had undertaken to help him; she was standing close to the cage feeding him with rice and some little pieces of pork, which she[298] pushed into his mouth with chop-sticks. From time to time, she wiped with an old piece of cloth the livid countenance of her husband, which was running down with perspiration, whilst her little child, slung to her back with a strap, smiled in its utter ignorance of misery, and played with the curls of its mother’s flowing hair. This sight affected me deeply, and I hurried on to avoid making a protest against such atrocity.

“The entrance to the hall of justice is embellished with an external portico, on which some mythological scenes are painted in glowing colours.

“Presently the folding gates opened with a loud creaking, and admitted the crowd that had gathered in the first court. At the end of the large hall on a raised daïs, I perceived Tchong-louen in his ceremonial costume, surrounded with his councillors and the subaltern officers of justice. In front of him, on a table covered with a red cloth, were the records of criminal proceedings, brushes and saucers for the Indian ink, a bookcase containing the codes and the books of jurisprudence that might have to be consulted, and a large case full of painted and numbered pieces of wood. Behind the mandarin stood his fan-bearer, and two children richly dressed in silk, who held over his head the insignia of his dignity. On the twelve stone steps that ascended to the dais were posted, first, the executioner, conspicuous for his wire hat, and his red dress. He leant his right hand upon an enormous rattan cane, while his left wielded a curved sword; then came his assistants and the jailors carrying different instruments of torture which they clashed noisily together, whilst continuing at measured intervals to utter horrible yells, intended to throw terror into the minds of the prisoners. All round the hall stood police soldiers, in the red tasselled Manchú cap, armed with a short spear, and with two swords sheathed in the same scabbard. Red draperies inscribed with various sentences, and lanterns representing different monsters were hung around the walls. In short, the whole scene was got up to impress the eager and curious mob, which crowded thickly beneath the overhanging side galleries, with the imposing spectacle of the symbols of justice, as represented in fig. 134.

“I witnessed from the place reserved for me behind the judgment seat the trial of half a score of robbers. I will not attempt to describe the scenes of torture that followed their repeated denials of guilt. When a prisoner persisted in asserting his[299] innocence, the judge tossed to the executioner one of the painted sticks or counters lying in the case on the table before him, and on which was marked the number of blows or the description of torture to be inflicted. This was immediately carried into effect under the eyes of the judge and registrars who made careful notes of the half avowals uttered by the victim in the midst of his screams of agony.”



Military matters are but little attended to in China. This sceptical and timorous nation is no believer in military glory and[300] power. Our campaigns in China showed the value of a Chinese army. General Cousin Montauban, since Count de Palikao, cut numbers of them to pieces, after one or two skirmishes, in which the Chinese fled as hard as they could the very moment they perceived a uniform.



A nation of four hundred million inhabitants was conquered by six thousand Frenchmen. The unworthy cowardice of the Chinese explain the fact that they have always been an easy prey to conquerors.


In Chinese military matters we will restrict ourselves to reproducing their uniforms. Fig. 135 represents that of their infantry, and fig. 136 that of their mounted troops.



The real army of the Chinese nation is the care with which it holds itself aloof from foreigners, and the manner in which it forbids them access to its territory. Retrenched behind its wall, it is happy in its own way and does without soldiers. The system seems a good one, since it has succeeded for so many centuries.

The wall of China, which rigorously excludes all strangers from the empire, is no mere metaphor. It is a solid reality. Fig. 137 gives a view of the Great Wall taken near Peking.

The Marquis de Moges, an attaché of the embassy when M. Gros was French Ambassador in China, has wittily summed up, in his account of his travels, the contrast between Chinese and Western civilization. “In China,” he says, “the magnetic needle points to the south;—the cardinal points are five in number;—the left hand is the place of honour;—politeness requires you to keep your head covered in the presence of a superior, or in that of a person whom you wish to honour;—a book is read from right to[302] left;—fruit is eaten at the beginning of dinner and soup at its close;—at school, children learn their lessons aloud and repeat them all together;—their silence is punished as a sign of idleness;—and finally, a title of nobility conferred upon a man for some signal service rendered to the state, does not descend to his posterity, but goes backwards and ennobles his ancestors.”

The Japanese Family.

Japan, consisting of a large island, that of Nipon, and seven other smaller islands, of which the principal are Yesso, Sitkokf, and Kiousiou, is inhabited by an industrious and intelligent people. The Japanese, whilst resembling the Chinese in many points, differ from them in many others, and are far superior in a moral point of view to the inhabitants of the Celestial Empire.

The written character of Japan is the same as that of China, and its literature is not a distinctive one, but entirely Chinese. The two creeds of Buddha and of Confucius prevail in Japan as they do in China. The worship of these creeds is carried on in both countries in similar pagodas, and their ministers are the same bonzes with shaven heads and long gray robes. The buildings and the junks of both nations are identical. Their food is the same, a diet of vegetables, principally rice, and fish, washed down by plenty of tea and spirit. The coolies carry their loads in exactly the same manner in Japan and in China, at Nangasaki and at Peking, and make the streets resound with the same shrill measured cries. The Japanese women wear their hair as the Chinese women used to do before they adopted the fashion of pig-tails, and the townspeople in Yeddo, as in Nankin, seclude themselves in their houses, which are impervious both to heat and cold.

But the resemblance stops there. The Japanese, a warlike and feudal nation, would be indignant at being confounded with the servile and crafty inhabitants of the Celestial Empire, who despise war, and whose sole aim is commerce. A Chinaman begins to laugh when he is reproached with running away from the enemy, or when he is convicted of having told a lie; such matters give him little concern. A Japanese sets a different value on his life and on his honour; he is warlike and haughty. A Japanese soldier always confronts his enemy. To deprive him of[303] his sword is to dishonour him, and he will only consent to take it back stained with the life-blood of his conqueror. The duello, unknown in China, is carried out in a terrible fashion among the Japanese. The islander of Nipon disembowels himself with a thrust of his own sword, and dares his adversary to follow his example. The Chinese race live in a state of disgusting and perpetual filth; every Japanese, on the contrary, without distinction of rank or fortune, takes a warm bath every other day. Of a jovial and frank disposition, and of great intelligence, they are always desirous of knowing what is going on in the world, and ever anxious to learn; whilst the Chinese, on the other hand, shut themselves up behind their classic wall, and recoil from everything that is strange to them. These characteristics show that the Japanese are a far superior race to the Chinese.

A few peculiarities, more especially found in the inhabitants of the sea coasts, the fishermen and the sailors, separate the Japanese physical type from that of the Chinese. The former are small, vigorous, active men with heavy jaws, thick lips, and a small nose, flat at the bridge, but yet with an aquiline profile. Their hair is somewhat inclined to be curly.

The Japanese are generally of middle height. They have a large head, rather high shoulders, a broad chest, a long waist, fleshy hips, slender short legs, and small hands and feet. The full face of those who have a very retreating forehead and particularly prominent cheek-bones is rather square than oval in shape. Their eyes are more projecting than those of Europeans, and are rather more veiled by the eyelid. The general effect is not that of the Chinese or Mongolian type. The Japanese have a larger head than is customary with individuals of these races, their face is longer, their features are more regular, and their nose is more prominent and better shaped.

They have all thick, sleek, dark black hair, and a considerable quantity of it on their faces. The colour of their skin varies according to the class they belong to, from the sallow sunburnt complexion of the inhabitants of southern Europe to the deep tawny hue of that of the native of Java. The most general tint is a sallow brown, but none remind you of the yellow skin of the Chinese. The women are fairer than the men. Amongst the upper and even the middle classes, some are to be met with with a perfectly white complexion.


Two indelible features distinguish the Japanese from the European type. Their half-veiled eyes, and a disfiguring hollow in the breast, which is noticeable in them in the flower of their youth, even in the handsomest figures.



Both men and women have black eyes, and white sound teeth. Their countenance is mobile and possesses great variety of expression. It is the custom for their married women to blacken their teeth. The national Japanese costume is a kind of open dressing gown (fig. 138), which is made a little wider and a little more flowing for the women than for the men. It is fastened round the waist by a belt. That, worn by the men, is a narrow[305] silk sash, that, by the women, a broad piece of cloth tied in a peculiar knot at the back.

The Japanese wear no linen, but they bathe, as we have said, every other day. The women wear an under-garment of red silk crape.



In summer, the peasants, the fishermen, the mechanics and the Indian coolies follow their calling in a state of almost complete nudity, and the women only wear a skirt from the waist downwards. When it rains they cover themselves with capes made of straw, or oiled paper, and with hats made, shield shape, of cane bark. In winter the men of the lower classes wear, beneath their kirimon or dressing-gown, a tight fitting vest and pair of trousers of blue cotton stuff, and the women one or more wadded cloaks. The middle classes always wear a vest and trousers out of doors.

Figs. 138, 139, 140, and 141 represent different Japanese types.

Their costume generally differs only in the material of which it is made. The nobility alone have the right to wear silk. They[306] only wear their costlier dresses on the occasions of their going to court or when they pay ceremonial visits. All classes wear linen socks and sandals of plaited straw, or wooden shoes fastened by a string looped round the big toe. They all, on their return to their own house, or when entering that of a stranger, take off their shoes, and leave them at the threshold.



The floors of Japanese dwellings are covered with mattings, which take the place of every other kind of furniture.

A Japanese has but one wife.

The Japanese have a taste for science and art, and are fond of music and pageants. Their manufactures are largely developed. They make all sorts of fine stuffs, work skilfully in iron and copper, make capital sword-blades, and their wood carvings, their lacquer-work, and their china, enjoy a wide reputation.


Political power is divided between an hereditary and despotic governor, the Taïcoon, and a spiritual chief, the Mikado.

The creed of Buddhism, that of the Kamis, and the doctrines of Confucius equally divide the religious tendencies of the Japanese.



We will give a few details on the interesting inhabitants of Japan, from the account of a visit to that country written by M. Humbert, the Swiss plenipotentiary there, which was published in 1870 under the title of “Japan.”


M. Humbert was present at the ceremonies which took place on the occasion of an official visit paid by the Taïcoon to the Mikado, and he gives the following account of it:

“While I was in Japan, it happened that the Taïcoon paid a visit of courtesy to the Mikado.

“This was an extraordinary event. It made a great sensation, inspired the brush of several native artists, and gave resident foreigners a chance of seeing a little more clearly into the reciprocal relation of the two powers of the empire. Their respective position is really one of considerable interest.

“In the first place, the Mikado has over his temporal rival the advantage of birth and the prestige of his sacred character. Grandson of the Sun, he continues the traditions of the gods, the demi-gods, the heroes, and the hereditary sovereigns who have reigned over Japan in an uninterrupted succession since the creation of the empire of the eight great islands. Supreme head of their religion, under whatever form it may present itself to the people, he officiates as the sovereign pontiff of the ancient national creed of the Kamis. At the summer solstice, he offers sacrifices to the earth; at the winter solstice, to heaven. A god is specially deputed to watch over his precious destiny; from the shrine of the temple he inhabits at the top of Mount Kamo, in the neighbourhood of the Mikado’s residence, this deity watches night and day over the Daïri. And finally at the death of a Mikado, his name, which it has been ordained shall be inscribed in the temples of his ancestors, is engraved at Kioto, in the temple of Hatchiman; and at Isyé, in the temple of the Sun.

“It is indubitably from heaven that the Mikado, both theocratic emperor and hereditary sovereign, derives the authority which he exercises over his people. Though now-a-days, it must be acknowledged, he scarcely knows how to employ it. However, from time to time it seems proper to him to confer pompous titles, which are entirely honorary, on a few old feudal nobles who have deserved well of the altar. Sometimes also he allows himself the luxury of openly protesting against those acts of the temporal power, which seem to infringe on his prerogatives. This is the course he took with special reference to the treaties made by the Taïcoon with several western nations; it is true that he finally sanctioned them, but that was because he could not help himself.


“Now the Taïcoon, as everybody knows, is the fortunate successor of a common usurper. In fact, the founders of his dynasty, subjects of the then Mikado, robbed their lord and master of his army, his navy, his lands, and his treasure, as if they were desirous of depriving him of any subject of earthly anxiety.

“Possibly the Mikado was too ready to fall in with their plans. The offer of a two-wheeled chariot drawn by an ox, for his daily drive in the parks of his residence, doubtless a considerable privilege in a country where nobody uses a conveyance, should not have persuaded him to sacrifice the manly exercises of archery, hawking, and hunting the stag or wild boar. He might likewise, without making himself absolutely invisible, have spared himself the fatigue of the ceremonious receptions where, motionless on a raised platform, he accepts the silent adoration of his courtiers prostrated at his feet. The Mikado, now, they say, only communicates with the exterior world through the medium of the female attendants intrusted with the care of his person. It is they who dress and feed him, clothing him daily in a fresh costume, and serving his meals on table utensils fresh every morning from the manufactory which for centuries has monopolized their supply. His sacred feet never touch the ground; his countenance is never exposed in broad daylight to the common gaze; in a word, the Mikado must be kept pure from all contact with the elements, the sun, the moon, the earth, mankind, and himself.

“It was necessary that the interview should take place at Kioto, the holy town which the Mikado is never allowed to leave. His palace, and the ancient temples of his family are his sole personal possessions there, the town itself being under the rule of the temporal emperor; but the latter dedicates its revenues to the expenses of the spiritual sovereign, and condescends to keep up a permanent garrison within its walls for the protection of the pontifical throne.

“The preliminaries on both sides having been carried out, a proclamation announced the day when the Taïcoon intended to issue forth from his capital, the immense and populous modern town of Yeddo, the head-quarters of the political and civil government of the empire, the seat of the Naval and Military Schools, of the Interpreters’ College, and of the Academy of Medicine and Philosophy.


“He was preceded by a division of his army equipped in the European manner, and, while these picked troops, infantry, cavalry, and artillery, were marching on Kioto by land along the great Imperial highway of the Tokaïdo, the fleet received orders to set sail for the inland sea. The temporal sovereign himself, embarked in the splendid steamer, the Lycemoon, which he had purchased of the firm of Dent and Co. for five hundred thousand dollars. Six other steamers escorted him; the Kandimarrah, notorious for its voyage from Yeddo to San-Francisco to convey the Japanese embassy sent to the United States; the sloop of war, the Soembing, a gift from the King of the Netherlands; the yacht Emperor, a present from Queen Victoria; and some frigates built in America and in Holland to orders given by the embassies of 1859 and 1862. Manned entirely by Japanese crews, this squadron left the bay of Yeddo, doubled Cape Sagami and the promontory of Idsou, crossed the Linschoten straits, and coasting along the eastern shores of the island of Awadsi, dropped its anchors in the Hiogo roadstead, where the Taïcoon disembarked amid larboard and starboard salutes.

“His state entry into Kioto took place a few days later, with no military parade but that of his own troops, as the Mikado possesses neither soldiers nor artillery, with the exception of a body-guard of archers, recruited from the families of his kinsmen or of the feudal nobility. Indeed, he can hardly afford even on this moderate scale, the expenses of his court; and his own revenue being insufficient, he is obliged to accept with one hand an income the Taïcoon consents to pay him out of his own private purse, and with the other, the amounts that the brethren of a few monastic orders yearly collect for him, from village to village, in even the furthest provinces of the empire. Another circumstance that assists him to support his rank, is the disinterested abnegation of many of his high officials. Some of them serve him with no other remuneration but the free use of the costly regulation dresses of the old imperial wardrobe. On their return home, after doffing their court costume, these haughty gentlemen are not ashamed to seat themselves at a weavers’ loom or an embroidery frame. More than one piece of the rich silk productions of Kioto, the handiwork of which is so much admired, has issued from some of the princely houses, whose names are inscribed in the register of the Kamis.




“These drawbacks did not prevent the Mikado from inaugurating the day of the interview, by exhibiting to his royal visitor the spectacle of the grand procession of the Daïri. Accompanied by his archers, by his household, by his courtiers, and by the whole of his pontifical staff, he left his palace by the southern gateway, which, towards the close of the ninth century, was decorated by the historical compositions of the celebrated painter-poet, Kosé Kanaoka. He descended along the boulevards to the suburb[312] washed by the Yodogawa, and returned to the castle through the principal streets of the town.

“The ancient insignia of his supreme power were carried in state at the head of the procession; the mirror of his ancestress Izanami, the beautiful goddess who gave birth to the sun in the island of Awadsi; the glorious standard, the long paper streamers of which had waved above the heads of the soldiery of Zinmou the conqueror; the flaming sword of the hero of Yamato, who overcame the eight-headed hydra to which virgins of princely blood used to be sacrificed; the seal that stamped the first laws of the empire; and the cedar wood fan, shaped like a lath and used as a sceptre, which for more than two thousand years has descended from the hands of the dead Mikado to those of his successor.

“I will not stop to describe another part of the pageant, intended doubtless to complete and enhance the effect of the rest, namely the banners embroidered with the armorial bearings of all the ancient noble families of the empire. Perhaps they were intended to remind the Taïcoon, that, in the eyes of the old territorial nobility, he was nothing but a parvenu; if so, the parvenu could smile complacently at the thought, that the whole of the Japanese grandees, the great as well as the lesser daïmios, are, nevertheless, obliged to pass six months of the year, at his Court in Yeddo, and offer him their homage in the midst of the nobles of his own creation.

“The most numerous and the most picturesque ranks of the procession were those of the representatives of all the sects who recognise the spiritual supremacy of the Mikado. The dignitaries of the ancient creed of the Kamis are scarcely distinguishable, as to dress, from the high officials of the palace. I have already described their costume, it reminds the spectators that the Japanese possessed originally a religion without a priesthood. Buddhism, on the contrary, which came from China, and rapidly spread throughout the empire, has an immense variety of sects, rites, orders, and brotherhoods. The bonzes and the monks belonging to this faith composed in the procession endless ranks of devout-looking individuals, with the tonsure or with entirely shaven heads, some of them uncovered, and some wearing curiously shaped caps, mitres, and hats with wide brims. Some of them carried a crozier in their right hand, others a rosary, others again,[313] a fly-brush, a sea-shell, or a holy water sprinkler made of paper. They were dressed in cassocks, surplices, and cloaks of every shape and hue.

“Behind them came the household of the Mikado. The pontifical body-guard in their full dress, aim beyond everything at elegance. Leaving breast-plates and coats of mail to the men-at-arms of the Taïcoon, they wear a little lacquer-work cap, ornamented on both sides with rosettes, and a rich silk tunic trimmed with lace edgings. The width of their trousers conceals their feet. They are equipped with a large curved sabre, a bow, and a quiver full of arrows.

“Some of the mounted ones had a long riding-whip fastened to their wrist by a coarse silken cord.

“A great deal of brutality is too often hidden beneath this imposing exterior. The wildness and the dissipation of the young nobles of the Japanese pontifical court have supplied history with pages recalling the worst period of papal Rome, the days of Cæsar Borgia. Conrad Kramer, the envoy of the Dutch West Indian islands to the court of Kioto, was allowed to be present in 1626 at a festival held in honour of a visit of the temporal emperor to his spiritual sovereign. He relates that the following day, corpses of women, young girls, and children, who had fallen victims to nocturnal outrages, were found in the streets of the capital. A still larger number of married women and maidens, whom curiosity had attracted to Kioto, were lost by their husbands and parents in the turmoil of the crowded streets, and were only found a week or a fortnight later, their families being utterly unable to bring their abducers to justice.

“Polygamy being a legal institution for the Mikado only, it was perhaps natural for him to make some display of his prerogative. It costs him sufficiently dear. It is the abyss hidden with flowers that the first usurpers of the imperial power dug for the feet of the successors of Zinmou. It is easy to imagine the cynical smile on the lips of the Taïcoon as he saw the long row of the equipages of the Daïri making its appearance.

“A pair of black buffaloes, driven by pages in white smocks, were harnessed to each of these cumbrous vehicles which were made of precious woods and glistened with coats of varnish of different tints. They contained the empress and the twelve other legitimate wives of the Mikado seated behind doors of open latticework.[314] His favourite concubines, and the fifty ladies of honour of the empress followed close behind, in covered palanquins.

“When the Mikado himself leaves his residence, it is always in his pontifical litter. This litter, fastened on long shafts, and borne by fifty porters in white liveries, can be seen from a long distance off towering above the crowd. It is constructed in the shape of a mikosis, the kind of shrine in which the holy relics of the Kamis are exposed. It may be compared to a garden summer-house, with a cupola roof with bells hanging all round its base. On the top of the cupola there is a ball, and on top of the ball there is a kind of cock couchant on its spurs, with its wings extended and its tail spread: this is meant as a representation of the mythological bird known in China and Japan under the name of Foô.

“This portable summer-house, glistening all over with gold, is so very hermetically closed that it is difficult to believe that any body could be put inside it. A proof, however, that it is really used for the high purpose attributed to it, is that on each side of it are seen walking the women who are the domestic attendants of the Mikado. They alone have the privilege of surrounding his person. To the rest of his court as well as to his people, the Mikado remains an invisible, dumb, and inapproachable divinity. He kept up this character even in the interview with the Taïcoon.

“Amongst the group of buildings that constitute the right of Kioto to be styled the pontifical residence, there is one that might be called the Temple of Audience, for it is constructed in the sacred style of architecture peculiar to the religious edifices of the faith of the Kamis, and it bears like them the name of Mia. Adjoining the apartments inhabited by the Mikado, it stands at the bottom of a large court paved and planted with trees, in which are marshalled the escorts of honour on high and solemn festivals.

“A detachment of officers of the artillery and of the body-guards of the Taïcoon (fig. 143), and several groups of dignitaries of the Mikado’s suite drew up successively in this open space.

“The women had retired to their own apartments.



“Deputations of bonzes and different monastic orders occupied the corridors along the surrounding walls. Soldiers of the Taïcoonal garrison of Kioto, posted at intervals, kept the line of the avenue which led to the broad steps reaching up to the front[315] of the building. Up this avenue the courtiers of the Mikado, clad in mantles with long trains, passed with measured tread, majestically[316] ascended the steps, and placed themselves right and left on the verandah with their faces turned towards the still closed doors of the great throne room. Before taking up their position they took care to lift the trains of their mantles and throw them over the balustrade of the verandah, so as to display to the crowd the coats of arms which were embroidered on these portions of their garments. The whole verandah was soon curtained with this brilliant kind of tapestry.

“Presently the sound of flutes, of sea-shells and of the gongs of the pontifical chapel, proceeding from the left wing of the building, announced that the Mikado was entering the sanctuary. A deep silence fell upon the crowd. An hour passed away in solemn expectation, whilst the preliminaries of the reception were being performed. Suddenly a flourish of trumpets announced the arrival of the Taïcoon. He advanced up the avenue on foot and without any escort; his prime minister, the commanders in chief of the army and navy, and a few members of the council of the Court of Yeddo, walked at a respectful distance behind him. He stopped for a moment at the foot of the great staircase, and immediately the doors of the temple slowly opened, gliding from right to left in their grooves. He then ascended the steps, and the spectacle which had held in suspense the expectation of the multitude at last unveiled itself to their eyes.

“A large green awning of cane-bark fastened to the ceiling of the hall, hung within two or three feet of the floor. Through this narrow space, could be perceived a couch of mats and carpets, on which the broad folds of an ample white robe spread themselves out. This was all that could be seen of the spectacle of the Mikado on his throne.

“The chinks in the plaits of the cane awning allowed him to see everything without being seen. Wherever he directed his gaze, he perceived nothing but heads bent before his invisible majesty. One alone remained erect on the summit of the stairs of the temple, but it was one crowned with the lofty golden coronet, the royal symbol of the temporal head of the empire. And even he too, the powerful sovereign whose might is boundless, when he had reached the last step, bent his head, and sinking slowly, fell on his knees, stretched his arms forward towards the threshold of the throne-room, and bowed his forehead to the very ground.


“From that moment, the ceremony of the interview was accomplished, the aim of the solemnity was gained. The Taïcoon had openly prostrated himself at the feet of the Mikado.



“The interview at Kioto, had for its result two facts. By the first, the bending of the knee, the temporal sovereign showed that he continued to be the traditional obedient son of the high pontiff of the national religion; but, by the second, that is to say by accepting this act of homage, the theocratic emperor formally recognised the representative of a dynasty sprung from a source alien to the only legitimate one.”


As the art of war is of some importance in Japan, we quote a few details from M. Humbert, on the equipments and the uniforms of the Taïcoon’s soldiers.

“The common soldiers are,” M. Humbert tells us, “inhabitants of the mountains of Akoui. They return to their homes after a short service of two or three years. Their uniform is made of blue cotton stuff, striped with white across the shoulders, and consists of a tight-fitting pair of trousers, and a shirt like that worn by the followers of Garibaldi. They wear cotton socks, leather sandals, and a waist-belt supporting a large sword in a japanned scabbard. Their cartridge-pouch and their bayonet are slung to their right side by a baldric. Their get-up is completed by a pointed hat, sloping at the sides, and made of lacquered cardboard; but they only wear it when on guard or at drill.

“As for the muskets of the Japanese troops, they have all, it is true, percussion-locks, but they vary both in calibre and in make, according to where they happen to come from. I saw four different kinds in the racks of some barracks at Benten, which a Yakounine did me the favour to show me. He showed me first a Dutch sample musket, and then one of an inferior quality manufactured in some workshops that had been started in Yeddo to turn out arms copied from this sample; he then pointed out an American gun; and finally, a Minié rifle, the use of which a young officer was teaching a squad of soldiers in the barrack-yard.”

The dress of the Japanese soldiery is curious in this respect, that it reproduces and preserves the whole military paraphernalia of European feudal times. A helmet, a coat-of-mail, a halberd, and a two-handed sword, such are the equipment of the better class of soldiery.

Fencing is held in high esteem in the Japanese army. The men are very clever at this exercise, which keeps up their vigour and their skill. Even the women practise it. Their weapon is a lance with a bent piece of iron at the end of it. The ladies learn how to use it in a series of regular positions and attitudes. The Japanese Amazons can also skilfully make use of a kind of knife, fastened to the wrist with a long silken string. When they have hurled this weapon at the head of their enemy, they draw it back again by means of the cord. The men also hurl the[319] knife, but without fastening it to their wrist, and in the same way as they practise throwing the knife in Spain.

The Japanese nobles carry very costly weapons. The temper of their sword-blades is matchless, and their sword-hilts and scabbards are enriched with finely chased and engraved metal ornaments. But the chief value of their swords lies in their great age and reputation. In old families, every sword has a history and tradition of its own, whose brilliancy corresponds with the blood it has shed. A maiden sword must not remain so in the hand of its purchaser. Till an opportunity turns up of dyeing it with human blood, its possessor tries its prowess on living animals, or better still, on the corpses of executed criminals. The executioner, having obtained permission, hands him over two or three dead bodies. Our Japanese then proceeds to fasten them to crosses, or on trestles, in a courtyard of his house, and practises cutting, slashing, and thrusting, till he has acquired enough strength and skill to cut a couple of bodies in two at one stroke.

The sword, in Japan, is the classical, the national weapon. Nevertheless, in process of time, it will have to give way to the new improved firearms. In spite of the traditional prestige with which the Japanese nobility still endeavour to surround the former old-fashioned weapon; in spite of the contempt they affect for military innovations; the rifle, the democratic arm of arms, is becoming more and more used in Japan. This weapon will inaugurate a social revolution that will put an end to the feudal system. The rifle will cause an Eastern ’89 in Japan.

We have said that two creeds are followed in Japan, the Buddhist faith and the religion of the Kamis. The latter, with its ancient rites, has been replaced, however, nearly throughout the empire by the former.

We quote some of M. Humbert’s remarks on Buddhism.

“Our imagination can hardly conceive,” says this traveller, “that nearly a third of the human race has no religious belief but that of Buddhism, a creed without a God, a faith of negation, an invention of despair.

“One would wish to persuade oneself that the multitudes who follow its doctrines, do not understand the faith they profess, or at least refuse to admit its natural consequences. The idolatrous[320] practices engrafted on the book of its law seem in fact to bear witness that Buddhism has neither been able to satisfy or destroy the religious instinct innate in man, and germinating in the bosoms of all nations.

“On the other hand, it is impossible not to recognize the influence of the philosophy of final annihilation in many of the habits and customs of Japanese life. The Irowa teaches the school children that life disappears like a dream, and leaves no trace behind. A Japanese, arrived at man’s estate, sacrifices with the most disdainful indifference his own life or that of his neighbour, to appease his pride, or for some trifling cause of anger. Murders and suicides are of such every-day occurrence in Japan, that there are few families of gentle birth who do not make it a point of honour to boast at least one sword that has been dyed in blood.

“Buddhism is, however, superior in some respects to the creeds it has dethroned. It owes this relative superiority to the justice of its fundamental axiom, which is an avowal of a need for a redeeming principle, grounded on the double fact of the existence of evil in the nature of man, and of an universal state of misery and suffering in the world.

“The promises of the religion of the Kamis had all reference to this life. A strict observance of the rules of purification would preserve the faithful from the five great ills, which are the fire of heaven, sickness, poverty, exile, and early death. The aim of their religious festivals was the glorification of the heroes of the empire. But were patriotism idealized and exalted into a national creed, it would still be true that this natural feeling, so precious and so appropriate, could never suffice to satisfy the soul and answer its every craving. The human soul is more boundless than the world. It needs a belief to raise it beyond the earth. Buddhism to a certain extent met these aspirations which had been hitherto neglected. This circumstance alone will explain the success with which it is propagated, in Japan and elsewhere, by the mere force of persuasion. At all events we may well believe that it is not its abstract and philosophical form that has made it so popular, and nothing is a better proof of this than its present state.

“The bonzes Sinran, Nitziten, and twenty or thirty others, have made themselves a reputation as founders of sects, each of[321] which is distinguished by some peculiarity worthy of rivalling the ingenious invention of Foudaïsi.



“Thus one particular brotherhood has a monopoly of the patronage of the great family rosary. It must be explained that a Buddhist rosary can only exercise its power if its beads are properly enumerated. Now in a numerous family there is no guarantee against errors being committed in the use of the rosary; whence the inefficiency it is sometimes accused of. Instead of indulging in recrimination, however, the plan pursued is to send[322] for a bonze of the Order of the Great Rosary to set matters right again.

“This good man hastens up with his instrument, which is about as big as a good-sized boa-constrictor, and places it in the hands of the family kneeling in a circle, whilst he himself, standing in front of the shrine of the domestic idol, directs operations with a bell and a small hammer. At a given signal, father, mother, and children, intone with the whole force of their lungs the prayers agreed upon. The small and the large beads of the rosary and the strokes of the hammer fall with a cadenced rhythm that inspires them. The rosary ring grows excited, their cries become passionate, their arms and hands work like machinery, the perspiration streams down them, and their bodies get stiff with fatigue. At last the close of the ceremony leaves everybody breathless, exhausted, but radiant with happiness, for the interceding gods must be satisfied!

“Buddhism is a flexible conciliating, insinuating religion, which accommodates itself to the bent and the habits of the most different races. From the very first, the bonzes in Japan managed to get themselves entrusted with some of the shrines and small chapels of the Kamis, in order to protect them in the enclosures of their sanctuaries. They hastened to add to their ceremonies symbols borrowed from the ancient national faith; and in short, for the purpose of better fusing the two creeds, they introduced into their temples, Kamis deities invested with the titles and attributes of Hindoo divinities, and at the same time, Hindoo gods transformed into Japanese Kamis. There was nothing inadmissible in these exchanges, which were explained in the most natural manner by the dogma of transmigration. Thanks to this combination of the two creeds, which received the name of Rioobou-Sintoo, Buddhism has become the prevalent religion of Japan.

“. . . . Within their temples the bonzes officiate at the altar, in the sight of the people, beyond the sanctuary which a veil separates from the crowd. The latter are only directly addressed by them in preaching, and only on the special festivals consecrated to this practice.

“They are only allowed to go in procession at certain periods of the year, and then only in the presence of the government officials who superintend public pageants.




“The pastoral portions of their duty have been cut down to such narrow limits, that I can only find one word to apply to the duties that remain. They are simply the duties of a mute. In fact, the bonzes perform the sacramental ceremonies that the[324] Japanese of all sects are accustomed to see accompany the last moments of the dying. They arrange the funeral procession, and provide, according to the wishes of the relatives of the deceased, for the burial or for the burning of his remains, and for the consecration and protection of his tomb.”

The Indo-Chinese Family.

The people of Indo-China, whom we consider to belong to the Yellow Race, have a darker complexion than the Chinese and the Japanese. Their stature is smaller, and their civilization is less developed. They are generally of an indolent disposition.

To this group belong the Burmans, the Annamites and the Siamese.

The Burmans and the Annamites.—The Burmese are a nation which has made a good deal of progress in civilization. In this respect the Annamites are not behind them. The physical, moral, and political characteristics of these two nations have no particular point of interest to engage our attention. We content ourselves with showing the reader (figs. 147 and 148) the types and the costumes of the inhabitants of the Burmese Empire.

The Siamese.—The population of the kingdom of Siam, which amounts to nearly five millions, scarcely includes two millions of Siamese.

The Siamese, according to the travelling notes of M. Henry Mouhot, a French naturalist, are easily recognized by their effeminate and idle appearance, and by their servile physiognomy. Nearly all have rather a flat nose, prominent cheek-bones, a dull unintelligent eye, broad nostrils, a wide mouth, lips reddened by their habit of chewing betel, and teeth as black as ebony. They all keep their heads entirely shaved, except just on the top, where they allow a tuft to grow. Their hair is black and coarse. The women wear the same tuft, but their hair is finer and carefully kept. The dress of both men and women is by no means an elaborate one.

Figs. 149, 150, and 151 give an exact idea of the type and mode of dress of the Siamese. A piece of cloth, which they raise behind, and the two ends of which they fasten to their belt, is[325] their only garment. The women wear besides a scarf across their shoulders. Apart from the delicacy of her features, a Siamese girl of from twelve to twenty need but little envy the conventional models of our statuary.



The Siamese are passionately fond of trinkets. Provided they glitter, it matters little whether they are real or false. They cover their women and their children with rings, bracelets, armlets, and bits of gold and silver. They wear them on their arms, on their legs, round their necks, in their ears, on their bodies, on their shoulders, everywhere they can place them. The king’s son is so covered with them, that the weight of his clothes and jewellery is heavier than that of his body.


The greatest conjugal harmony seems to prevail in Siamese families. The wife is not kept secluded as in China, but shows herself everywhere. As a shadow to this picture, we must add that parents have a right to sell their children as slaves.



The Siamese have retained intact all the superstitions of the Hindoos and the Chinese. They believe in demons, in ogres, in mermaids, &c. They have faith in amulets, philtres, and in soothsayers. They support a king, a court, and a seraglio, with its numerous progeny. A second king possesses also his palace, his army, and his mandarins. Between these two kings and the people intervene twelve different ranks of princes, several classes[327]
of ministers, five or six of mandarins, and an endless series of governors and lieutenant-governors, all equally incapable and rapacious.



Like all degraded and servile nations, the inhabitants of Siam devote a great part of their existence to games and amusements.





M. Mouhot visited Udeng, the present capital of Cambodia. The houses of this town are made of bamboo, sometimes of planks. The longest street is nearly three-quarters of a mile long. The tillers of the soil and the hard-working classes, as well as the mandarins and the other employés of the government, dwell in the suburbs of the town. M. Mouhot met at every moment mandarins in litters or in hammocks followed by a swarm of slaves each carrying something; some, a red or yellow umbrella, the size of which is an indication of the rank and quality of its owner; others, boxes of betel. Horsemen, mounted on small active horses caparisoned in a costly manner and covered with[329]
little bells, and followed by a pack of slaves begrimed with dust and sweat, often took their turn in the panorama. He also noticed some light carts drawn by a couple of small but swift oxen. Elephants too, moving majestically forwards with outstretched ears and trunk, and stopped occasionally by the numerous processions which were wending their way to the pagodas to the sound of boisterous music.



The town of Bankok, the capital, was formerly called Siam, whence the name of the country.





An absolute sovereign, looked upon as the incarnation of Buddha, rules over the kingdom of Siam, which is divided into four provinces; Siam, Siamese Laos, Siamese Cambodia, and Siamese Malacca. At one time a tributary of the Burmese Empire, the kingdom of Siam recovered its independence in 1759, and in 1768 even increased its territory by conquest.

There are scarcely any manufactures in Siam, but commerce still flourishes there, although less vigorously than formerly. The Siamese exchange their agricultural produce, their wood, their skins, cotton, rice, and preserved fish, with the Chinese, the Annamites, the Burmese, and especially with the English and Dutch possessions. Elephant’s tusks are also an important article of barter, and elephant-hunting is the calling of many of the natives.

The country is rather fertile. It is an immense plain, hilly towards the north, and intersected by a river, the Meinam, on the banks of which are placed its principal towns. Bankok is situated on this river, not far from its mouth in the gulf of Siam, and is consequently the principal port of the whole kingdom, the head-quarters of its entire trade. The periodical overflowings of the Meinam fertilize the whole of its basin.

Art and science are not entirely neglected in the kingdom of Siam. It is one of the few Asiatic countries which possess a literature of its own and some artistic productions.

Although the Buddhist religion prevails in Siam and is the state religion, yet different sects are tolerated there, and Christianity can reckon two thousand five hundred disciples.

Fig. 154 represents the young prince-royal.

The Stieng savages are subjects of the king of Siam. Their stature is a little above the average. They are powerful, their features are regular, and their well-developed foreheads show intelligence. Their only clothing is a long scarf. They are so much attached to their mountains and forests, that when away from their own country they are frequently seized with a dangerous kind of home-sickness.



These Siamese aliens of civilization work in iron and ivory; and make hatchets and swords which are sought after by collectors. Their women weave and dye the scarves they wear. They cultivate rice, maize, tobacco, vegetables, and fruit-trees. They possess neither priests nor temples, but they acknowledge the[333] existence of a Supreme Being. The time they can spare from their fields they devote to hunting and fishing. Indefatigable in[334] the chase, they penetrate with extraordinary rapidity the densest jungles. The women appear to be as active and as untiring as the men. They use powerful cross-bows with poisoned arrows to shoot the elephant, the rhinoceros, and the tiger. They are fond of adorning themselves with imitation pearls of a bright colour, which they make into bracelets. Both sexes pierce their ears, and widen the hole every year by inserting in it pieces of bone and ivory.





With M. d’Omalius d’Halloy we class in the Brown Race a great variety of peoples who have nothing in common but a complexion darker than that of the White and Yellow races, and whom we are led to believe the product of the mixture of these two with the Black Race. This theory accounts for one portion of the Brown Race possessing White characteristics, while the other has a greater resemblance to the Yellow Race.

The Brown Race forms three branches or geographical groups, viz.

  1. The Hindoo branch.
  2. The Ethiopian branch.
  3. The Malay branch.

We will proceed to describe the principal peoples belonging to these three branches.



The peoples composing the Hindoo branch have been frequently classed in the White Race. In fact, their shape, their language, and their institutions partly correspond to those of Europeans and Persians, but their darker and sometimes black skins distinguish them from either.

The civilization of the Hindoos was, in the earliest historic times, already far advanced; but for many centuries it has remained stationary, or has gone backwards.

Most Hindoos practise the creed of Brahma, a religion sprung up in their own land. A few have embraced Mahometanism, others have become Buddhists.

The most striking feature of Hindoo society is its division into castes. These castes, originating ages and ages ago, have always been the principal obstacles to the development of civilization. How can progress, talent, or remarkable works be expected from men whom society forbids ever to emerge from the conditions of their birth?

These castes are four in number. The Brahmin caste, whose members are devoted to the practice of religious rites, to the study of the law, and to teaching. The Rajpoots or Cshatriyas, who are professional soldiers. The Banians, who are agriculturists, cattle breeders, and traders. Lastly, the Sudras, who follow various callings, and who are subdivided into many sub-castes corresponding to as many different handicrafts.

Each caste has its peculiar religious observances. Its members cannot intermarry with those of other castes, and must always follow the profession in which destiny has placed their parents.

The descendants of those, who, by improper marriages or[337] otherwise, have forfeited their caste, form an inferior caste, known under the name of Varna-Sancára. Finally below even this last division come the Pariahs, beings cursed by destiny, who exist in the most deplorable state of moral abjection.



The Hindoos are well made, but their limbs are far from[338] robust. They have small hands and feet, a high forehead, black[339] eyes, well arched eyebrows, fine bright black hair, and a more or less brown skin, which, in the south of India, and particularly among the lowest classes, is sometimes black. Ethnologically speaking, there are two families in the Hindoo branch:—the Hindoo family, and the Malabar family.



Hindoo Family.

The Hindoo family constitutes the greater part of the population of northern Hindostan. The dialects spoken in this country have generally some relation to Sanskrit. The colour of the skin, in the higher classes, is fair enough, but becomes darker among the lower castes.




Among the people belonging to the Hindoo family we may name the Sikhs, a warlike people, remarkable for the beauty of their oval countenances; the Jats, the Rajpoots, and the Mahrattas; the Bengalese, a peaceful people, devoted to trade, and the Cingalese, or inhabitants of the island of Ceylon.

An accomplished traveller, M. Alfred Grandidier, has published in the “Tour du Monde,” in 1869, the account of a “Voyage dans l’Inde.” We learn from him a few general facts that perfectly sum up the social condition of the India of to-day, especially that of the central portion of the peninsula, for it would perhaps be difficult to generalize on the manners and customs of the whole of India, of which the population amounts to more than a hundred and eighty millions, and the superficies to that of the whole of continental Europe with the exception of Russia.

India is, in fact, divided into three distinct basins; that of the Indus, that of the Ganges, and the plain of the Deccan, constituting Central India. This last is classic India, that is to say, the only part of the country thoroughly known to Europeans. M. Grandidier’s travels were in the Deccan, to which refer the remarks we are about to quote:

“The Hindoos of the Deccan,” says M. Grandidier, “resemble the Aryan (Caucasian) race in the oval shape of their head, in the formation of their cranium, and in their facial angle. They are distinct from it, however, in colour. Their bodies are frail; the low caste native is thin and slight, but makes up for his lack of strength by his activity and lightness. His skin varies from a light copper colour to a dark brown; his hair is a fine glossy black, and grows plentifully on his face.

“Gentle and timid, the Hindoo is wanting in perseverance and firmness; gifted with a rapid comprehension, he is yet incapable of any sustained effort. A double yoke, from time immemorial, has weighed him down; caste distinctions and a foreign sway have made him a flexible creature, possessing more prudence and cunning than energy and uprightness; more keenness of wit than nobility of soul.



“A lively imagination, never subdued by a rational education, has brought him under the influence of the gross superstitions sanctioned by the Hindoo religion, with its train of ignoble divinities. The timidity of his character has preserved him from the violent fanaticism of the Mussulman, but his religion is very[341] dear to him, and the belief of the lower classes is at least a sincere one.


“Sivaism, to which belong most of the inhabitants of the Deccan, is so priceless in their eyes, that they value it far beyond their lives. They repose an ardent and lively faith in the most absurd doctrines. This form of religion pleases their imagination by its fantastic dreams and by its poetic materialism, and its ceremonies amuse them, while gratifying their passions.

“The paucity of their wants tends to render them improvident, and their lively and childish imagination, feeding on the smallest and vaguest facts, which they poetise and exaggerate in their own manner, develops in them a dreamy and indolent mode of life.

“Their doctrine of metempsychosis still further increases the natural tendency of their mind, and helps to cause their almost incredible mental inaction, which nothing can surprise or stimulate. The only lever that can move the masses must be one attacking their religious faith.

“The dress of the Hindoos is the dhoti, a long scarf of cloth rolled round the figure, passing under the legs and fastened behind the back. This garment leaves the legs and the upper part of the body uncovered. The upper classes wear a short shirt (angaskah) and a long white robe (jamah). Their head is always covered with a turban, of different size and colour, according to their caste. Few Hindoos wear shoes, sandals being in almost universal use. The women wear the choli, a little jacket with short sleeves, just covering the bosom, which it supports, and the sari, a large piece of cloth which they fold around them, and throw coquettishly over the shoulder or the head. This graceful drapery recalls the chlamyde worn by the Diana of Gabies.

“This dress of the Hindoos is, as a rule, tasteful, and suited to the climate and to their mode of life. Although each caste, each sect, has its own particular method of wearing it, it is still, all over India, the most uniform and the most characteristic feature of the population.

“Both sexes are passionately fond of jewellery; women of the very poorest class often wear gold rings set with pearls in their noses. Their arms are covered with silver, copper, and glass bracelets. The large toes of their feet are adorned with rings, and their legs with heavy metal bangles. As for their ears, they literally droop beneath the weight of the golden earrings with which they are laden; and their lobes are pierced with large holes, often nearly an inch in diameter, into which are introduced gold ornaments in[343] the shape of small wheels, replaced on working days by pieces of rolled leaves. This custom has actually reached Polynesia.



“Hindoos turn all their little capital into jewellery. This habit springs from a medley of vanity and superstition, the latter leading them to consider trinkets as talismans against spells and witchcraft.

“It was also, under the ancient Mogul dynasty, a means of preserving their property from the rapacity of Mussulman tyrants, whose religion forbade them to appropriate women’s chattels.


“The Hindoos are very tenacious of their prerogatives, and India has frequently been convulsed by sanguinary struggles occasioned by some one of its castes refusing to conform to traditional custom. Terrible conflicts have, ere now, been caused by an inferior caste attempting to wear slippers of a certain shape, the privilege of a higher one, or because it wished to use, in its religious rites, certain musical instruments hitherto reserved for the worship of the superior divinities.

“The Hindoos may lay claim to a refined politeness and elegant manners; but the smallest concession in the respect to which their social position entitles them, the least relaxation in the prescribed etiquette are considered a sign of weakness and an avowal of inferiority.

“The conversational formulæ used towards a native vary according to his station. Nothing is easier than to affront their susceptibility. Never speak to an Oriental of his wife or of his daughters. To do so, is contrary to custom. To use the left hand in bowing, in eating, or in drinking, is to offer an insult; the right hand alone is reserved for the higher uses, and the left, the ignoble hand, is used for ablutions.

“In Europe, it is a sign of respect to uncover the head, in the East, to take off the turban is a disrespectful act. On entering a house, conversely to us, they keep their heads covered, but leave their shoes at the threshold. This habit seems to me a most sensible one. A white cloth is stretched on the floor of their apartments, on cushions placed on which they sit cross-legged. It appears to me that shoes were invented to preserve the feet from the roughness of the ground, from the mud and from the dust of the roads. Are they not then objectionable, or, at any rate, useless in the interior of a well-kept house?

“When paying a visit, the Hindoo waits until his host bids him adieu. They very properly suppose that a visitor can be in no hurry to leave the friend whom he has purposely come to see. The host, on the contrary, may have urgent business claiming his immediate attention. The forms of this dismissal vary:—‘Come and see me often,’ or ‘Remember that you will always be welcome.’ Presents of flowers and fruit generally terminate these visits, and betel is invariably handed round.

“The usual food of the Hindoo is very simple, and their meals are of but short duration. Rice boiled in water, and curry (a[345] compound of vegetables, ghee—a sort of clarified butter, spices, and saffron), sometimes eggs or milk, a little fish, and occasionally coarse meal cakes, bananas, and the fruit of the bread tree, form the morning and evening meal of rich and poor. The leaves of the banana tree are used instead of plates and dishes. In eating vegetables and rice, fingers are used instead of spoons and forks; and the meat is torn by the teeth in default of the absent knife. An European is rather likely to be disgusted with the sauce trickling down the chins and the fingers of the guests at a Hindoo meal. Water is the prevailing drink, and but little use is made of arrack (a spirit extracted from the palm tree).



“Faithful observers of their religious injunctions, which forbid them to touch animal food under pain of being excluded from[346] society and from the bosom of their families, the high caste natives never eat meat; as for the Pariahs, they eat all kinds of animals, and are very fond of arrack.

“Betel is incessantly used all over India. In hot countries, where the inhabitants lead a sedentary life, their digestion becomes sluggish, and can neither receive nor absorb the same quantity of nourishment as it does in Northern countries. The vegetable diet of the Hindoos is not very rich in azotic matter, and its continual use would cause an internal formation of gas, without the alkaline stimulant used by all the inhabitants of India to prevent its development. This stimulant is the astringent areca nut, which they chew with a little lime placed on a betel leaf.

“This mixture dyes the lips and the tongue red; it is pernicious in its effect on the teeth, but it is certainly useful to the digestive functions.

“Tobacco, rolled in a green leaf and lighted like a cigarette, is the universal method of smoking.

“Many different languages are spoken in India. Philologists have enumerated as many as fifty-eight, but not more than ten have an alphabet and literature of their own. Sanskrit, a dead language, is more or less mixed with all the dialects of India. In the north it forms their incontestable basis, but in the south it is merely grafted on to pre-existing tongues, and frequently but faint traces are found of it. All the alphabets seem to have been invented separately, but they have been improved by the regular and philosophical arrangement of the Devanagri. This is the name of the Sanskrit alphabet, the most perfect of all. The living languages have a very simple grammatical construction.

“Hindostani, which is spoken in the province of Agra, is the most cultivated and the most generally employed of all Indian languages. It has received a large Persian element since the Mussulman conquest. Besides the local dialect of each district, Hindostani is everywhere spoken by the educated classes, and by all professing the Mussulman faith.



“The ties of caste replace in India the ties of family. Hindoos love their wives and children; but this affection is subordinated to their caste duties. Expulsion from the family is principally caused by violation of religious ordinances or by the illicit connection of high caste women with men of a lower rank. The Brahmins and the Sudras, and even the Pariahs themselves, are[347] divided into a number of sub-castes, a member of one of which can neither eat, drink, nor intermarry with one of another. If a Hindoo becomes degraded, if he loses his caste, he is disowned[348] by his relations; his wife is considered a widow, his children orphans; he must expect no assistance, no pity, from those who hitherto have surrounded him with the most considerate care.

“Europeans are ranked with Pariahs on account of their daily habit of eating beef. It is true that the Brahmins consent to shake hands with an European, but on their return home after doing so, their first care is to undress and perform their ablutions so as to purify themselves from the stain of such an impure contact; it is even asserted by them that the mere gaze of a Pariah is enough to cause contamination.

“Every village in the Deccan is composed of two parts, separated by an interval of a few yards. These are two distinct quarters, one reserved for the men of caste, the other, surrounded by hedges, allotted to the Pariahs. These miserable beings are not allowed to enter the streets of the village without the consent of the inhabitants, and they must only presume to draw water in the wells set aside for their particular use. Where the Pariahs have no special wells, they place their chatties by the well-sides of the men of caste, and await humbly and patiently the alms offering of a few glasses of water. It is always the women that attend to this household care.

“The higher castes often make the Pariahs presents, which they invariably place on the ground, for fear of contracting by mere physical contact the moral leprosy with which in their eyes the Pariahs are affected. A person of caste never accepts a gift from the hands of a Pariah.

“If on the one hand the high-caste natives are physically and intellectually superior to the Pariahs; on the other hand the latter are more laborious, more docile, and more accessible to European influence. In the Presidency of Madras they constitute the best and the most solid nucleus of the native English army.

“If I wished to enumerate all the subdivisions of caste based on the conduct, the calling, and the occupation of every one, if I described in detail the clothes and the ornaments which vary ad infinitum according to caste, if I attempted to recite all the existing prejudices about food and the daily minutiæ of life, I should fill several volumes.

“The same tendencies are met with everywhere. The desire of making a figure in the world, and the ambition for command[349] without having taken the necessary trouble to become worthy of it. Yet the existence of caste has always prevented the formation of a really homogeneous nation. Caste is the cause of the sharp rivalries, the endless hostilities, that have always been fatal to national independence, and facilitated the invasions of strangers.



“Besides the social consequences we have mentioned, the Hindoos believe in religious ones. Their different castes cannot here below receive the same education, nor be initiated into the[350] same mysteries. These differences, according to the dogmas of Siva, are to extend into the next world.”

The preceding paragraphs refer to the inhabitants of the Deccan. It would be too tedious to describe the other populations of the peninsula, the Bengalese, the Rajpoots, the Mahrattas, &c. We will merely say a few words about the Cingalese, or inhabitants of the island of Ceylon.

The Cingalese are entirely Indian in figure, in language, in manners, in customs, in religion and in their government. Their features are not widely different from those of Europeans, but they differ from them in their colour, in their height, and in the proportions of their bodies. The hue of their skin varies from light brown to black. Black is the usual colour for their eyes and hair. They are shorter than Europeans, but well made, with well defined muscles. Their chests and their shoulders are broad, their hands and feet small. Their hair grows in large quantity and to great length, but they have little on their faces. Their women are, as a rule, well made.

The attractions which a lady ought to combine in order to be a perfect beauty are, according to a Kandian fop, as follow: her hair should be as bushy as the tail of a peacock, long enough to reach the knees, and gracefully curled at the ends; her eyebrows arched as the rainbow, eyes blue as sapphires, and her nose like a hawk’s beak; her lips must vie with coral in redness and lustre, and small, even, and closely-set teeth, resembling jessamine buds, should complete the picture.

Ceylon, as everybody knows, is indebted for its great prosperity to its coffee plantations, a large trade being carried on between the English and its inhabitants, who enjoy a well-earned reputation as cultivators of that shrub.

“The Kandians,” says M. Alfred Grandidier, “possess more robust constitutions, less feeble limbs, and features not so effeminate as their countrymen of the coast; their lusty shoulders, broad chests, and short but muscular legs, are a proof of the effect which climate can produce on the development of the human frame.

“The habits of the mountaineers have undergone scarcely any change in consequence of the foreign influences which have impressed a complex character upon the manners of the people nearer the sea. Their primitive customs, originated by the imperious necessities of life, are still found in existence among[351] them; and they have none of the timidity and servility which are the attributes of the dwellers in the maritime districts. The feudal state in which they have long lived has preserved in them an energy and independence rare among Indian populations. The configuration of the country enabled them, in fact, to retain their freedom more easily than their brethren of the northern plains, either when aggression came from their own ruler or from foreign intruders; but, nevertheless, that indolence still prevails among them which comes naturally to every people who are not obliged to contend against any material obstacle in order to supply themselves with the necessities of life. The tyranny of their masters, whether chiefs or kings, has unhappily accustomed them to hypocrisy, and made them vindictive.

“Whilst the Cingalese of the coast have applied themselves to trade and industry, those of the high regions always show repugnance to such occupations. They have invariably shunned any connection with foreigners; and so great, even at the present day, is their desire to withdraw as much as possible from association with the English settlers, that they conceal their villages in the middle of the jungle, and at a distance of some hundreds of yards from the least frequented paths. A rice-field in the midst of forests, or a glimpse of the tall tops of cocoa-trees, alone indicate the presence of human beings in places that would otherwise be thought uninhabited. In countries like these, where nature has accumulated so many of her treasures, the relations of man with man, which assuredly conduce to the happiness of all, are not indispensable; and the natives love a solitude, where they enjoy benefits of every kind in profusion.

“The Cingalese of the hills have a traditional respect for their chiefs, and a deep attachment to ancient usages. Their costume differs from that of the inhabitants of the plains, insomuch that they do not habitually wear the vest, this garment being, in fact, exclusively reserved for their nobles, who assume it on grand occasions; their hair is allowed to grow to its full length, and is not confined by a comb. Sumptuary laws and religious injunctions settle in other respects the clothing suitable to each class, the greater part of these laws being, to the present day, still in force among the Kandians, in spite of the abolition of castes which has been decreed by the English administration.

“The length of the frock-like petticoats worn by men and[352] women both in the high and low lands, and which seem to be the part of the national costume to which the greatest importance is attached, was formerly proportioned according to the social position of the individual.



“The pariahs were not permitted to let this skirt come lower than the knee, and males and females of inferior caste had the breast uncovered. Among the chiefs themselves a difference existed, and still exists, as to the method of wearing the comboy. After rolling it twice or three times round the hips and legs, they form with it round the waist a more or less bulky girdle, the dimensions of which depend upon their rank. The nobles are also distinguished from the lower orders by their extraordinary headgear, consisting of a sort of round, flat, white linen cap, like that worn by the Basque peasantry, while the lower classes merely surround the head with a silk handkerchief, leaving none of it bare except the top. The king alone possessed the privilege of wearing sandals. Prohibitions, such as one against wearing[353] gold and silver chains or ornaments, are still scrupulously observed by the Kandians, who strenuously resist any encroachments of the inferior castes.”

M. Guillaume Lejean has published some interesting particulars of his travels in Cashmere and the Punjaub. It is not our intention to follow the learned wanderer in his rapid journeys across Hindostan, but we should like to draw attention to a novel opinion which has been expressed by him as to the ethnology of the Indian population.

M. Lejean believes that he has re-discovered in Hindostan the Aryans, that is to say, the primitive people from whom the Aryan or Caucasian race is descended. The features of these peoples, our own genuine ancestors, are regular and of an European type. Their complexion is not browner than that of the inhabitants of Provence, Sicily, or Southern Spain. This statement does not apply to the lower castes, whose skin grows darker and darker, until it reaches the sooty tint of the Nubian. The country people have long and slightly wavy hair, blacker and more brilliant than jet. Though not effeminate in appearance, the race is deficient in muscular vigour, an effect attributed by the traveller to the torrid heat of the climate. The women are generally of middle height, with pleasing but expressionless countenances of little originality; their eyes are large, black, and submissive, and their hands delicately beautiful.

In the opinion of M. Lejean, the fine, symmetrical heads, small, well-formed hands, and regular features of the natives of Scinde, remind one completely of the white European race, and allow us to identify the inhabitants of that part of Asia with the ancient Aryans, who were the colonizers of primitive Europe, and who springing, as is said, from the regions of Persia, spread themselves over our own continent and that of Asia.

This is an opportune moment for alluding to a race, sprung seemingly from Hindoos of the lower classes, which had probably abandoned its own land, and from which those detached groups that traverse the entire globe, without ever fixing themselves anywhere, or ever losing their peculiar characteristics, derive their origin. Under this category come the wandering tribes, commonly known in different languages, as Gipsies, Bohemians, Zingari, Gitanos, &c., who wander over countries either as beggars or in pursuit of the lowest callings. These[354] Gipsies and Bohemians, who are especially numerous in the South of France, and enjoy a considerable repute as horse-clippers and tinkers, who are invariably vagrants, and now and then thieves, appear to be descended from low-caste Hindoos. They are travelling Pariahs. Such, at least, is the opinion entertained by some modern ethnologists.

Malabar Family.

The Malabar Family inhabiting the Deccan differs in many respects from the Hindoo, and the peoples included in it are very dark and sometimes black in complexion. This branch is divided into three principal divisions: the Malabars proper, who dwell in the country of that name; the Tamuls, in the Carnatic; and the Telingas, in the north-east. Neither the language nor the customs of the tribes composing this group, exhibit peculiarities sufficiently important to induce us to stop to describe them.



The African populations which we class with the Brown Race have a resemblance in the formation of the body to those of the White Race, but their skin is darker in colour, being intermediate between that of the Negro and that of the White. The natives constituting this branch have never attained to any appreciable degree of civilization, and there is a complete void of positive notions as to their origin or migrations, while even the different languages in use among them, are partly unknown to us. We shall distinguish in the Ethiopian branch, two great families, the Abyssinian and the Fellan.

Abyssinian Family.



That portion of Eastern Africa which bears the name of Abyssinia, contains several tribes, speaking different languages. These tribes are ranked by many ethnologists as belonging to the White Race, and their complexion, though darker invariably than that of the European, is fairer than that of the negro. Their hair, which is generally frizzled, their lips usually thick, and their nose less flat[356] than that of the Negro, are so many characteristics which assign to them a place intervening between the Black and the White races. These tribes doubtless spring from a union of black[357] inhabitants, aborigines of the country, with the Orientals who conquered them.



We shall instance among the principal groups belonging to this family, the Abyssinians, the Barabras, the Tibbous, and the Gallas, about any of whom, with the exception of the first named, little is as yet known.

Abyssinians.—Most authors place this people in the White Race and the Semitic family. There is, in fact, reason to believe that Abyssinia was many times overrun, and perhaps civilized, by the nations of Western Asia; but the colour of their skin, which is very much darker than that of the Arameans, is a proof that the conquerors intermarried with the conquered, and that from this union the present Abyssinian race has sprung.

According to Dr. Rüppel, there are two predominant types existing among the people of this country, the more widely spread approaching to that of the Arabs, while the second approximates closely to the Negro.

The Abyssinians forming the first group, are finely formed, showing resemblance to the Bedouins in feature and expression of countenance. Their peculiar characteristics are, an oval face, a long, thin, finely cut nose, a well proportioned mouth with lips of moderate thickness, lively eyes, regular teeth, slightly crisp or smooth hair, and a middle stature. Most of the people dwelling on the high mountains of Samen, and the plains surrounding Lake Tzana, belong to this branch, which also includes the Falæshas, or Jews, the Garnants, who are idolators, and the Agows.

The second type is chiefly distinguishable by a shorter and broader nose, slightly flattened; thick lips; long eyes, with little animation in them; and very curly and almost woolly hair, which is so close, that it stands straight out from the head. A portion of the population along the coast, in the province of Hamasen and other neighbouring districts, belongs to this second group.

The results of Baron Larrey’s comparison of the Abyssinian with the Negro, are, that the eyes of the former are larger and of a more agreeable look, and have the inner angle slightly more inclined. In the Abyssinian the cheek-bones and the zygomatic arches are more prominent than in the Negro; the cheeks form a more regular triangle with the angle of the mouth and the corner[358] of the jaw; the lips are thick without being turned out like a Negro’s; the teeth are handsome, well set and less projecting; and the alveolar ridges are not so prominent. The complexion of the Abyssinian is not so black as that of the Negro in the interior of Africa. Baron Larrey adds, that the features which he has described above, belonged to the genuine Egyptians of olden times, and that they are to be found in the heads of Egyptian statues, and above all in that of the Sphinx.






In the account which he published in 1865, of his journey through Abyssinia two years previously, M. Guillaume Lejean has given considerable information as to this part of Africa and its inhabitants, and the victorious enterprise undertaken by[360] England in 1866, afforded an opportunity of establishing the accuracy of the French traveller’s statements.

At the moment when the British expedition was directed against him, the army of the Abyssinian potentate, the Negus Theodorus, numbered about 40,000 men. The infantry carry a spear, shield, and long curved sabre, and they attack their enemy impetuously at close quarters. The light cavalry is excellent. The horsemen, when charging, let go their bridles, fight with both hands, and guiding and urging their horses with leg and knee only, make them perform the most prodigious feats. Each man has a sword and two lances; the latter always hit the mark, and their wound is deadly. They are used like javelins, and are about two yards long. Every horseman is followed by an attendant retainer, whose duty it is to dash among the enemy, sword in hand, in order to recover his master’s weapon, and bring it back to him. These horsemen charge headlong against an infantry square, making their horses bound into its midst over the heads of the soldiers, and then backing them in order to break its formation.

The skirmishers are Tigré mountaineers, of cool, resolute courage, and their aim is remarkably good.

The Emperor Theodorus seldom occupied his palace. His real capital was his camp, which he kept incessantly moving from one end of his dominions to the other. He maintained strict discipline in his household and on his staff, among the members of which the bastinado was often liberally used.

Two fifths of the Abyssinian population are in the service of the wealthier classes, and probably there is no country in the world where servitude is more widely spread. A person possessed of an income equal to £160 a year, keeps at least eight dependants. M. Lejean had no fewer than seventeen attendants during his journey, and his travelling companion, an Englishman, as many as seventy.

The religion of this country forms a rare exception in Africa, as the inhabitants are Christians. The head of the Abyssinian church is styled the “Abouna,” and his theocratic powers are almost boundless. King and pontiff entertain a mutual hatred of one another, each dreading his rival and keeping close watch upon his movements. Whichever of the two possesses greater courage and energy gains the upper hand.


Monks and priests are common in Abyssinia.

The natives take a decoction of kousso once a month as a cure for the tapeworm. The fact is, that in consequence of some local circumstances, the meat used in the country is full of cysts, which, getting into the stomach along with the food, generate in the intestines this troublesome guest that must be got rid of from time to time. This remedy for tapeworm has been recently introduced into Europe.

Barabras.—The Barabras are the natives of Nubia. They occupy that part of the valley comprised between the southern frontier of Egypt and Sennaar, that is to say, Nubia.

This race differs widely from the Arabs, and all adjoining nations. They dwell on the banks of the Nile, and, wherever the soil is found favourable, plant date trees, sink wells for irrigation, and sow various kinds of leguminous plants.

Blumenbach was forcibly struck with the resemblance of the Barabras to the figures and paintings to be met with on the different monuments of ancient Egypt. This people, like the Egyptians, have a reddish black skin, but of a much darker tint. The characteristic features of the pure Barabras are oval and somewhat long faces, with aquiline noses, very well formed and slightly rounded towards the point, lips thick without being protruding, a receding chin, thin beard, animated eyes, very curly but never frizzled hair, a body perfectly in proportion and usually of the middle height, and lastly a bronze-coloured skin.

The Barabras are classed in three groups, each of which has a dialect of its own, namely, the Noubas or Nubians, the Kenous, and the Dongoulahs; all of whom inhabit the Nile valley.

According to Burckhardt the Noubas differ in many respects from the Negroes, especially in the softness of their skin, which is very smooth and flexible, while the palm of a genuine Negro’s hand is rough and as hard as wood. Their noses, too, are less flat, their lips less thick, and their cheek-bones less prominent than those of a Negro. Pritchard’s opinion is that the Barabras probably migrated from Kordofan.

A description of this race is also to be found in the “Voyage en Egypte,” by MM. Henri Cammas and André Lefèvre, by whom the country was explored in 1860, and from its pages we take the following extract:


“We are in Nubia, and Arabic is no longer spoken. The inhabitants, though usually inoffensive, have nevertheless a warlike gait; the dagger hanging by a strap to their arm, their ironwood bow and their buckler of crocodile hide are the tokens and protectors of their liberty. Their rulers obtain nothing from them except by force.

“The moment the river recedes, these vigorous husbandmen dispute with it for the fertilizing slime which suffices for a fourfold harvest.

“Do not imagine that they labour: it is enough for them when they have sown pinches of corn in shallow holes, for nature does all the rest.

“So favoured a climate, as may well be imagined, does not impose on the Nubian the inconvenience of having to wear clothing. The majority carry nothing more upon them than a few weapons and their dusky skins. The women’s costumes are oddly fashioned. They stain their lips and twist their hair into numberless tiny plaits, which are not re-made every day. Egyptian females would look on them as indecent, for allowing the lower part of the face to be seen; and more than that even, the girls, up to the time of their marriage, wear no covering beyond a narrow girdle. The villages are rather near each other, and seldom consist of more than fifteen or twenty earthen huts, having flat roofs thatched with palm branches. In front of the cabins are ranged, as at Dolce for instance, large jars, in which the corn is kept stored.

“Ruins belonging to all ages and every ancient divinity are to be found in Nubia.”

The inhabitants of Eastern Nubia are merely wandering tribes who traverse the country included between the Nile and the Red Sea; the dwellers in the northern part are known as the Ababdehs.

The Bicharyehs spread themselves as far as the Abyssinian frontiers, and the Hadharebs are still more to the south, reaching to Souakin on the Red Sea. The Souakins belong to the last-named race.

The Bicharyehs are savage and inhospitable, and it is asserted that they drink the still warm blood of living animals. They are chiefly nomadic, and maintain themselves on the flesh or the milk of their flocks. All travellers agree in representing them as fine men with regular features, large, expressive eyes, light, elegant[363] frames, and a dark chocolate-coloured complexion. Their method of wearing the hair is very curious. Those who possess it in sufficient length to reach below the ear, allow it to hang in straight, tangled locks, each of which terminates in a curl. This headgear is impregnated with grease, and is so much matted that there would be a difficulty in getting a comb through it. They refrain, besides, from touching it, and in order not to spoil its arrangement are always provided with a bit of pointed stick, like a large needle, which they put into requisition whenever scratching becomes necessary.

The head-dress of the Souakins is equally extraordinary, and the scratching pin is also an obligatory accompaniment of their toilet.

The Ababdehs have hair from two and a half to three inches long; their lips are slightly thick, their noses rather long, and in complexion they are almost black. They are nomadic, and live in the same way as the Bedouins.

Tibbous.—The Tibbous, who wander over the country to the east of the Sahara, have been looked upon as belonging to the Berber family, but their complexion is darker and they do not speak the Arab tongue. Their noses are aquiline, their lips but slightly thick, they have intelligent faces, and are of slender build. Their activity is very great and they are addicted to robbing caravans.

Gallas.—The Gallas are strangers to civilization, the majority scattered over the plains which extend to the south of Abyssinia, leading a pastoral and nomadic life. They are divided into a great many independent tribes, being kept united, however, by origin and language. They are warlike, cruel, and given to plunder. Their colour is very handsome and their hair usually curly or woolly; they have coarse, short features and large lips. Islamism has been embraced by a few tribes, but the greater number remain attached to the old African Paganism.

Fellan Family.

The Fellans, who are also called Fellatahs, Pouls, or Peuhls, have not been long known except by some tribes who inhabit[364] Senegambia and who sometimes penetrated the Soudan. Their skin is extremely dark, inclining sometimes to a reddish, and sometimes to a copper colour, but being never really black; they have rather long hair, smooth and silky; their nose is not flattened; the shape of their face is oval; their stature tall and slight; the extremities of the limbs delicate and small; their step light and commanding.

We class among the Fellan family the people dwelling in the western part of Africa, such as the inhabitants of Nigritia and Bambara.

The capital of Nigritia, Sego or Segou, is a tolerably large town situated on the Niger.

Probably many other nations of Western Africa ought to be placed side by side with the Fellans and a comparison should also be established between them and the people of Madagascar, the Owas.

All these races differ from the Negroes, although dwelling on the confines of the country belonging to the latter branch, with which some authors erroneously confound them, but the physical characteristics that mark them as distinct are well-established.



This branch approaches closely to the Indo-Chinese. The races composing it are of medium height, regularly made and with well-proportioned limbs; their skin varies from an olive-yellow to a brown hue, and their hair is smooth, black, or occasionally brown. They appear susceptible of civilization and are often divided into regular nations.

Dumont d’Urville has distinguished among these races three divisions which he has designated by the appellations of Malays, Polynesians, and Micronesians; and these groups will be treated here as so many families.

Malay Family.

The Malay family, which inhabits Malaysia and the peninsula of Malacca, is made up of a vast number of nations, the widely varied characteristics of which partake more or less of those of the Indo-Chinese, the Hindoos, and even the Negroes. We shall specify in this family the Malays, Javanese, Battas, Bugs, or Bougis, the Macassars, Dyaks, and Tagals.

Malays.—The Malays constitute the most numerous and remarkable branch of this family. They are spread over the peninsula of Malacca, the islands of Java, Borneo, Sumatra, and Celebes, and in the Moluccas, etc. This group of islands was formerly known as the Indian Archipelago, and owes its name of Malaysia to the naturalist Lesson.

The chief characteristics of the Malays are a lithe and active body, medium stature, somewhat slanting eyes, prominent cheekbones, a flat nose, smooth glossy hair, and a scanty beard.[366] Their limbs are elegantly formed and their hair is black and curling. The flatness of their noses is attributable to an artificial cause, as, immediately on the birth of an infant, this feature is compressed until the cartilage is broken, for a broad flat face is considered a point of beauty, and a projecting nose would be looked on as a snout. Their lips are deformed by the inordinate chewing of the betel leaf, and become ultimately repulsive in appearance on account of their exaggerated redness and the extravasated blood beneath their surface. The yellow colour of their skin is heightened still more by artificial means, for it is regarded as an attraction, and is the aristocratic tint; daily rubbing with henna or turmeric bring it to a saffron tinge. The natural complexion of the women is pale and dull; brown is predominant among the men. The princes and dignitaries stain a dark yellow every part of the body exposed to view.

A Malay’s clothing is of a very light description, consisting, both for men and women, of two large pieces of stuff skilfully arranged and confined at the waist by a scarf. Princes and moneyed persons alone wear a kind of drawers.

The indolence of the Malays is excessive. With the exception of the slaves, no one works. They are in fact an utterly demoralized people; murder, pillage, and outrage are familiar to them, they possess neither honour nor gratitude, and have no respect for their pledged word. Play is with them a passion, a frenzy. They gamble away their property, their wives and children, everything, in fact, except their own persons. They are victims of opium and the betel plant. Nevertheless some laws have existence among them, for murder and robbery are punishable by fines and corporal punishments.

The Malays of the Malacca peninsula are not, like the inhabitants of the Archipelago, violent, passionate, and lazy. They are an energetic, provident, trading, industrious race, but quite as rapacious and as tricky as the others. Like the inhabitants of Malaysia, too, they are prone to vengeance, and when under the influence of opium this sentiment becomes inflamed, and turns into a kind of fury, directed not only against the person of the offender but also against harmless passers-by. The Malay who is a prey to this double paroxysm of opium and frenzy, snatches up a sharp weapon, dashes forth furiously,[367] shouting “Kill! Kill!” and strikes everyone who crosses his path.



The police of the country employ a small body of very strong and active men whose special duty it is to seize these raging maniacs. They hunt the miserable wretch through the streets, and having caught him by the neck in a kind of fork, throw him on the ground and pin him there until a sufficient reinforcement arrives to enable them to tie him hand and foot, when he is brought before a court of justice and nearly always sentenced to death (fig. 169).

Javanese.—These people, who inhabit the island of Java, are rather light in complexion, and bear a close resemblance to the Indo-Chinese. For the following information about the population of this wonderful and splendid country, we are indebted to M. de Molins, who made a stay of two years there, and whose notes have been arranged and published by M. F. Coppée, in the “Tour du Monde.”


The stranger traversing Batavia, the chief town of Java, cannot be an uninterested observer of the motley crowd perpetually renewing itself before his eyes. Among the numberless half-clothed men he sees none but brawny shoulders and wiry, muscular frames. He is struck by the dull, dark brown complexion of the Indian, whose hue appears to vary with the district where he happens to be located; for his skin which seems brick-red on the sea coast assumes a violet and pinkish tinge near masses of vegetation, and becomes almost black in a dusty region. The perfectly naked children gambolling in the full rays of the sun look like fine antique bronzes, so graceful are their attitudes and so faultless their mould. The Malay in his turban, tight-fitting green vest, and grey petticoat striped with whimsical patterns, has quite a handsome head. His face is oval with eyes of almond shape and a thin, straight nose; the mouth is shaded by a slight, glossy black moustache and his high broad forehead is admirably formed. All do not perhaps possess so many advantages, but they are without exception finely made, with beautiful black, smooth, and silky hair.

The Javanese wear hats of bamboo, the plaiting of which is perfect. These are of all patterns, large and small, round, pointed, or made in the shape of shields, extinguishers, or basins. Their costume varies; some of the men wear Arab vests and wide trousers; some would be naked but for a sort of drawers; while a few swathe their loins in a piece of Indian calico which displays the form; and others are clad in a very narrow petticoat that produces a most picturesque effect. The natives make all their garments out of a broad piece of stuff manufactured in the country, the devices and colours of which manifest extraordinary variety and astonishing taste.

The women’s head-dress consists of a handkerchief which is tied and arranged in a more or less artistic manner.

Members of the Brown Race
P. Sellier, p.t Imp. Dupuy, 22, R. des Petits Hôtels G. Regamey, lith.

At Sourabaya the traveller mingled in the throng, composed of a sprinkling of Chinese, Malays, and natives of Madura, but throughout which the Javanese element predominated. The typical costume of the country may be said to consist of the long-folded sahrong, a very close-fitting vest, and a kind of sunshade on the head, covered in blue cloth interwoven with gold and silver thread, and lined with red. The colours used here are not very gaudy, and the priests may at once be recognized[369] by their ample turbans and white muslin vests. A few palanquins were moving about through the crowd; those of the Javanese are formed of a hammock suspended from a bamboo cross-stick and sheltered from the rays of the sun by a little roof of bamboo or palm-leaf matting. Long boats laden with cargo and having gracefully curved prows were passing up and down the river.

On fête days all the components of this motley multitude are drawn together by the performances of the Javanese bayaderes, or dancing girls (fig. 172).



When visiting the cemetery M. de Molins saw the native Prince of Soerabaya, who had come there to pray at the tomb of his forefathers. His excessively simple costume was only distinguished from that of ordinary Javanese by a loop of diamonds stuck in the very small turban enveloping his head, and by a beautiful gold clasp fastening the belt of his sahrong.



In the Javanese Kampong our traveller saw copper articles; such as betel-roll boxes, bowls, and water vases; which were ornamented in charming and fantastic taste with engraved arabesques representing the flowers, fruits,[370]
and animals of the country; and he was struck with surprise at the goldsmiths being able to form such marvellous trinkets with tools of the most primitive description. He went to see one of the large manufactories where are made the curious sahrongs worn by the inhabitants, the shades of colour in which rival those of the most valuable cashmeres in brilliancy, harmony, and richness. The process of making these fabrics is a slow and difficult one. A fine sahrong is worth more than £4 and does not exceed two and a half yards in length by one yard in width.



In one of his excursions M. de Molins met a wedding procession. The happy couple, who belonged to two equally rich families, were in a very pretty palanquin surmounted by a canopy ornamented with palm leaves and a trellis-work of bamboos and reeds. The garments of the newly married pair were of red silk brocaded with gold embroidery, and their heads, necks, arms and hands were covered with jewellery. Children ran alongside and in front shouting and making the air resound with the noise of gongs, tom-toms, and cymbals (fig. 173). Four men in yellow breeches, with blue and white girdles, their hips adorned by long pointed strips of blue and yellow silk, and their heads bound with a tightly-fitting turban of the same colours, carried at the end of long poles, bright, waving bouquets made of tiny rosettes of blue, yellow, and white paper attached to thin canes. Relatives, friends, and all those who expected to partake of the repast which was generously provided, followed the palanquin.

Ceremonies of different kinds precede this solemn procession; and for several days before it takes place the betrothed couple are obliged to submit to a public exhibition and general hubbub, and are condemned to remain nearly completely motionless and in almost total abstinence, lest they should in any way damage their clothes.

This marriage festival is the grand occasion for displaying all the resources of Javanese culinary art. The fruits are served at the beginning of the banquet, and steamed rice only slightly cooked forms the principal dish.

The feast would be a sorry one, if the bill of fare did not include pickles, salt fish dried in the sun while alive, half-hatched eggs also salted, a hash of meats perfumed with roses and jessamine, the seeds of various plants, and slices of cocoa-nut rolled[372] in pimento. The first time a European tastes these dishes he feels a dreadful sensation of burning, which passes from the mouth to the stomach and seems to be ever increasing. But people soon appear to grow accustomed to these spicy ragouts; and M. de Molins says that in a short time this kind of cookery, which greatly tends to stimulate the appetite, becomes indispensable.



During this gentleman’s stay at Soerabaya, the Dutch Governor-General of Java was there on his tour of inspection of the island, which takes place every five years. High festivities had been ordered for the reception of this exalted personage, and M. de Molins gives us a sketch of the princes[373] who were present at a grand revel. The skin of many was blue; their perfectly delicate and regular features bore the melancholy, stamp peculiar to Orientals, and their movements were full of ease and grace. Their sahrong, woven in silk of the most beautiful shades, was fastened at the waist by a flowing girdle that fell over extremely tight pantaloons, and sparkled with gold embroidery; their chest, shoulders, and arms were left naked, and had been thickly coated with saffron-coloured powder for the occasion. Their head-gear consisted of a truncated cone, either blue, red, or black, braided with gold or silver lace; and their ears were adorned with a kind of wing, in goldwork of the most exquisite finish and lightness. The princes were accompanied by the officers of their suite, among whom the Umbrella-Bearer was conspicuous. The enormous sunshades carried by those functionaries bear a double resemblance to a shield and a lance, and are at once warlike-looking and foppish. They are gilt or silvered, green, blue, or black, and produce the most uncommon effect.

Battas.—The Battas, who inhabit the island of Sumatra, exhibit a very singular mixture in their habits, as they unite with ideas of order and civilization practices quite as ferocious as those of the most savage people.

Bougis and Macassars.—The Bougis and Mankasses (Mangkassars, which Europeans have turned into Macassars) occupy the Celebes Islands, and are renowned for their courage.

The former nation is looked on as the most ancient and enlightened race in the Celebes group. Not only have they a secret and sacred language, but a second idiom which is familiar to all classes, and in addition a written tongue. They possess a system of writing, and even a literature. These men are upright, faithful to their promise, and thoroughly loyal in diplomatic and commercial dealings. Their mere word is of more value than the most solemn oaths of the inhabitants of Java, Sumatra, and Borneo.

Tagales.—The Tagales and Bissayes who dwell in the Philippines, the former in Luzon, and the latter in the centre group, speak dialects very different from those of the Malays, properly[374] so-called. The anonymous author who has described the voyage of the Austrian frigate Novara, has supplied us with some details as to the varied and amusing aspect of the population of Manilla, the chief town of Luzon.

The padres, in long black soutanes, and spout-shaped felt hats, stroll under the shade of the palm trees; Christian Brothers jostle Confraternities of the Virgin and Fathers of the Conception and of the Nativity. Make way for grey, yellow, and brown-frocked monks, and for those who discipline themselves with hair shirts and whips! Galley-slaves, chained two and two, are quietly moving hither and thither with pails of water. Charming senoritas, mostly Spanish half-bloods, with mantillas falling like a cascade of black lace along their raven and glossy tresses, in which green leaves and scarlet blossoms intertwine, compel us to admire their listless mien and their well-arched eyebrows shading their almond-shaped eyes. After the half-breeds, come the native Tagales, of pure or of mixed blood; Chinese women; and little negresses selling fruit and bouquets, or lounging about with cigarettes in their mouths.

The Tagales whom M. de Molins saw at Manilla, were small and weak. Their faces were by no means disagreeable, their colour a little lighter than that of other Malays, and their hair black without being woolly. The combinations of this race with the Negroes and Chinese, appeared to him most interesting.

Many travellers have described the natives of the Philippines. They are well-made men, of elegant, easy figure, and medium stature. Their feet and hands are small, exhibiting extreme delicacy at the point where they join the limbs. They have oval faces, with small but regular noses, well-coloured lips, and teeth that are long and white until they become spoiled by chewing the betel-leaf. The men’s hair is silky and curled; that of the women, soft, fine, and glossy.

The brown tint of the complexion is very changeable among these islanders, varying from the dark shade which belongs to those living in the open air, such as fishermen, hunters, and tillers of the soil, to the fair skins of the upper and sedentary classes. That portion of the people which has not been subjected to foreign influence is ingenious, industrious, and active. The men are warlike, and make excellent boat-builders. Their junks made of plaited bamboo, and manned by a couple of hundred[375] warriors and rowers, spread such powerful sails and possess such speed, that they are the envy of the Spanish ship-builders.

Dyaks.—There are some tribes living in the vicinity of the people of whom we have just spoken and especially in the interior of the countries of which the Malays occupy the coasts, who are generally distinguished by the name of Alfusus. They have been often regarded as members of a separate stock, and a connexion has even been traced between them and the black race, but the greater part of these tribes ought to be considered as forming part of the Malay family. Among them are the Dyaks, a numerous people inhabiting the interior of Borneo, and the Turajas who dwell in the Celebes Islands.

The Dyaks (fig. 174) have well-made bodies, and the women’s faces are mild and agreeable in expression, but the men’s far from attractive. The constant warfare which they carry on with the Malays of the coast may be the cause why their features become ultimately so changed under the combined influences of fear, passion, and revenge.

The Dyaks who occupy the plains, and those living on the borders of rivers or in the woods, may be separately classed. Both groups are of similar stature, possess features alike, and the same lank, black hair, with large curls, which is however never woolly or frizzled; but those occupying the dense forests rising from the river banks have fairer complexions. Mutual hatred has been sworn between the two races, and they abandon themselves to incessant conflicts, and have ever to be on their guard against terrible surprises in which many heads are cut off. No Dyak would venture to present himself to a girl, without being able to show her the head of an enemy who had been overcome and sacrificed by him. A warrior’s renown depends on the number of heads he has acquired, and skulls dried in the fire form the ornaments and trophies of his hut.

These cutters off of heads are very cleanly, and bathe twice a day regularly. They have extremely severe laws, by which murder, outrage, and robbery are punished in the same way. They profess great veneration for old age as well as towards the dead. Their chronological system is based upon the yongas, or ages, as among the Hindoos, and they believe the present to be the age of misfortune. Their notion is, that some day during an eclipse of[376] the sun or moon, a dragon will devour the stars; consequently whenever such phenomena occur, they make a terrific uproar in order to scare the monster away, a proceeding which has been invariably successful!

In her travels along the rivers Lappas and Kapouas (western side of Borneo) Madame Ida Pfeiffer visited a tribe of independent Dyaks, who are called “Head-Cutters” by the English and Dutch. She saw an immense cabin about sixty yards long, in the verandah of which fabrics made of cotton or of plaited bark of trees, splendid mats and baskets of every shape and size, were displayed. Drums and gongs hung on the walls, and large piles of bamboos, bags of rice, and dried pork, showed that the Dyaks had exhibited all their wealth for the occasion.

Nor were their own persons by any means forgotten. They had loaded their necks down to the breast with glass beads, bears’ teeth, and shells; brass rings covered the lower part of their legs, reaching half-way to the knee, their arms were adorned in the same way to the shoulders, and similar decorations were in their ears. Some wore a sort of red stuff cap, embellished with pearls, shells, and little flat bits of brass; others had wound round their heads a fillet formed of a piece of bark, the deeply fringed ends of which stuck out like feathers. A man decked out in this fashion, covered with ornaments from head to foot, presents a rather comical appearance.

The women had fewer adornments; they wore no earrings, nor bears’ teeth collars; a few displayed some glass beads; but more were satisfied with an incalculable number of brass or leaden rings.

Madame Pfeiffer, while among the Dyaks, witnessed a sword-dance, which was executed in the most skilful and elegant manner.

This travelled lady also visited another tribe located higher up the river, where she observed the same things, and in addition saw two human heads lately cut off. When showing them to Madame Pfeiffer, the Dyaks spat in their faces, and the children cuffed them, and spat on the ground.



The shocking custom of decapitation owes its origin to superstition. If a rajah falls ill, or sets out on a journey among another tribe, he and his subjects undertake to sacrifice a human head in case of his recovery or safe return; and should he die,[377] they chop off a skull or two. The heads which they have sworn to immolate must be obtained at any cost. The Dyaks hide themselves in the long jungle grass, behind felled branches of trees, or under the dry leaves, and lie in wait for entire days. If anybody, man, woman, or child, comes in sight, they shoot a[378] poisoned arrow at him, and rush like tigers on their prey. At one blow the head is severed from the body, and placed in a little basket reserved for this purpose, and ornamented with human hair.

These assassinations frequently give rise to bloody wars; for the tribe, a member of which has been thus sacrificed to the law of chance, takes up arms, and never lays them down until the most terrible reprisals have been exacted. Severed heads are borne back in triumph and solemnly hung up in the place of honour, the retaliation being celebrated by festivities which last for a month.

On one occasion, when Madame Pfeiffer had been received with profuse respect by a tribe, she found a freshly cut off head suspended over her bed, along with others already dried. She could not close her eyes. She felt in a perfect fever at being thus encompassed by frenzied men, at being smothered by the odour of these human remains, and at being lulled to rest by the sinister sound of skulls jangled together by the wind.

Yet in spite of chopped-off heads and festoons of human skulls, this lady considers the Dyaks to be honest, prudent, and endowed with some good qualities. She places them higher in the scale than the other tribes with which she had an opportunity of coming in contact. Their domestic life, which is truly patriarchal in its nature, is alluded to by her with pleasure, as are also their morality, the love they bear their offspring, and the respect evinced by the children towards their parents.

The independent Dyaks are richer than those living subservient to the Malay yoke. They cultivate rice, maize, tobacco, and sometimes the sugar cane; find in the woods Dammana resin which answers lighting purposes, and gather large harvests of sago, yams, and cocoa-nuts. Some of these productions are exchanged by them for pearl beads, brass, salt, and cloth. Their houses, or huts, are clean and well-kept (fig. 175).

A Dyak can take to himself as many wives as he pleases, but he usually contents himself with one, whom he treats well and does not burden with work. Their habits are purer and better than those of the Malays. They have no system of writing. Madame Pfeiffer did not see among them either temples or idols, priests or religious sacrifices.



175.—A DYAK HUT.


Polynesian Family.

The tribes included by Dumont d’Urville under the name of Polynesians inhabit the entire eastern part of Oceania, namely, the Sandwich Islands, the Marquesas, the Friendly and Society groups, the Low Archipelago, New Zealand, etc.

The people of all these bear the closest affinity to each other. Their complexion is olive, verging on brown, but not copper-coloured; they are tall in stature, and have sinewy limbs, high foreheads, black, lively, and expressive eyes, and but slightly flattened noses. Their lips are generally larger than those of the whites, but they nevertheless have handsome mouths and splendid teeth. Their hair is black and frizzled. Throughout the whole vast expanse occupied by them they speak the same language.

Most of the tribes belonging to the Polynesian family are thorough savages, but their stock is diminishing day by day, and the final result of neighbouring civilization will be to replace the native element by European races. Meanwhile, the most cruel customs prevail among them, and even cannibalism is practised by some.

“Taboo” holds universally an important place among the populations of Oceania.

This word expresses a state of interdiction, during which the object struck with it is placed under the immediate control of the divinity. No man can infringe upon its power without becoming exposed to the most disastrous consequences, that is, unless he has impaired its action by certain formalities.

Thus, the piece of ground consecrated to a god, or which has become the burial place of a chief, is “tabooed,” and they place under the same spell a canoe which they desire to render safer for long voyages. To fight in a spot subjected to “taboo” is forbidden, and in order to prevent certain productions from becoming scarce, they are placed under similar protection. Anyone guilty of robbery or other crime, commits a fault against “taboo,” and the man who touches the dead body of a chief or anything he was in the habit of wearing, falls under a like ban, which time alone can remove, etc.

We shall allude chiefly to the aborigines of New Zealand, giving also some details about the natives of the Sandwich Islands, as well as about the Tongas, or Friendly Islanders.


New Zealanders.—The inhabitants of New Zealand, sometimes designated by the name of Maoris, are tall, robust, and of athletic frames. Their stature is generally from five feet seven inches to five feet eight inches, seldom lower, and their skin scarcely differs in colour from that of the people of the South of Europe. The expression of their countenance almost always indicates a gloomy ferocity. The face is oval, the forehead narrow, the eye large, black, and full of fire. The nose is sometimes aquiline, but oftener broad and flat, the mouth wide, the lips big, and beneath them rows of small, beautifully enamelled teeth.

The New Zealanders wear their hair long and falling in scattered locks over the face; chiefs alone take the trouble to comb it back on the head in a solitary tuft. It is rough and black, and seems occasionally reddish, because some individuals sprinkle it with powdered ochre.

Women who are not slaves possess strong vigorous figures, and are rarely under five feet and a few inches in height. The young girls have a broad face, masculine features, coarse lips frequently stained black by tattooing, a large mouth, flat nose, and uncombed hair hanging about them in disorder. Their bodies are disgustingly filthy, and impregnated with an odour of fish or of seal oil, which is revolting in the extreme.

They possess a few advantages as a set-off against the repulsiveness of this picture. The teeth of a New Zealand female are of excessive whiteness, and her black eyes beam with intelligence and fire, but household work and the birth of a family soon cause these attractions to disappear. The women have, moreover, the most deeply-rooted dirty habits. A thick layer of mud covers their bodies, which are nearly always smeared with seal or porpoise oil. Both sexes are capital swimmers.

There is little difference between the costume worn by males and females. The natives know how to weave very elegant textures from the fibres of the Phormium tenax (or New Zealand flax), and a broad mat of this material floats carelessly over their shoulders and body, while another is wrapped round the waist, descending to the knee. In winter they throw over the former garment a thick, heavy cloak generally made from the peelings of a kind of osier, but which, in the case of chiefs, consists of dogskins sewn together. These fabrics are also varied in design, some being smooth and without any pattern, while others are[382] covered with very delicate ornamentation. The slave girls stick unthreshed slips of the Phormium tenax in their skirts, thus giving immoderate fulness to their bodies.

A warrior’s rank and bravery are denoted by a great number of little pins made of bones or green talc, which are worn across the breast at the edge of the matting. The original use of these articles was to scratch the head and kill the insects on it.

Like all the other races, the New Zealanders have a fancy for personal ornaments. They like to stick plumes in their hair, and a tuft of soft white feathers is thrust into the ears. Their unkempt locks are seldom covered by any kind of head-dress; but Lesson, the naturalist, from whom we derive these details, saw a few young girls in whom a coquettish taste was more developed, and who wore graceful wreaths of green moss.

The women adorn themselves with shell necklaces, from which little dried hippocamps are sometimes suspended. They are very fond of blue glass beads of European make. The most precious ornament of this people, however, consists of a green talc fetish, which hangs on the breast attached to some portion of a human bone. There are religious ideas connected with this amulet, and it is worn by men only.

One of the Zealanders’ superstitions is to fasten a shark’s sharp tooth to one of their ears, with the point of which the women lacerate their bosoms and faces when they happen to lose a chief or one of their relations. The greatest value attaches to these objects when they have been handed down from ancestors, and have become “tabooed,” or sacred; the happiness of a native’s whole existence seems bound up in their possession; yet they are rated as completely worthless when derived from a slain enemy.

Tattooing plays an important part among the New Zealanders, and they submit annually to the painful operation which it requires. This marking usually covers the face all over, and, as it is renewed very often, produces deep furrows stamped in regular rings, that impart the oddest expression to the countenance. Circles, one within the other, are also punctured on the lower part of the loins, and the women have a broad zone of lozenge-shaped figures engraved round their waist. Deep black lines are cut in the lips, and a design like a spear-head is traced at the angles of the mouth and in the middle of the chin. The young[383] men draw large flies on their noses, staining them black, and the girls sketch similar insects in blue. None but slaves and persons of the lowest class are without tattooing of some sort, and it is[384] considered a downright disgrace to have the skin in its natural state.



In a region subject to the terrible storms of the Southern Hemisphere, the dwellings ought to be, and are in fact, small and low. Villages are never found in a plain, because there they might be surprised and pillaged, but are situated in steep localities difficult of access; the huts cannot be entered except on all fours; families sheltered by them, sleep huddled together on the straw in a narrow space; and there is no furniture inside, beyond a few carved boxes, and some red wooden vessels thickly covered with designs.

The industry for which these islanders are chiefly noted, is the manufacture of matting; we have already alluded to the beautiful materials made from the fibres of the Phormium tenax by the women and girls.

The soil of New Zealand does not, like that of Equatorial Asia, furnish a large supply of edible substances. The basis of the inhabitants’ food consists of the root of a fern tree, resembling our Pteris, which covers all the plains. The natives catch a large quantity of fish in the bays along the coast, and dry or smoke the greater portion of it, in order to guard against famine in time of war, and to be provided with sustenance whenever the fury of the elements makes it impossible for them to launch their boats. Europeans have introduced several vegetables among them, which grow readily in the easily tilled and fertile land.

Their cookery is as simple as their food; they drink nothing but pure water, and hate strong liquors. Their victuals are laid on the ground, and each one eats with his fingers; the warriors, however, sometimes use instruments, made of human bones, and Lesson bought from one of them a four-pronged fork, fashioned from the large bone of a man’s right arm, minutely carved, and adorned with many raised ornaments in mother-of-pearl.

New Zealand canoes are remarkable for the carving which embellishes them. Most of these boats are hollowed from the trunk of a single tree, and are generally about forty feet long. Lesson measured a specimen, made in this way from one piece, the depth of which was three, the breadth four, and the length sixty feet. They are painted red, and have their sides festooned with birds’ feathers. The stern rises to a height of about four feet, and is covered with allegorical carvings; the prow exhibits a[385] hideous head, with mother-of-pearl eyes and a tongue protruding to an inordinate extent, in order to show contempt for an enemy. These canoes are capable of holding about forty warriors. The oars are sharp pointed, and can be used, in case of need, as weapons against an unforeseen attack. The sails consist of reed mats, coarsely woven, and triangular in shape.

Although they are eminently warlike, the New Zealanders possess no great variety of destructive implements. Arrows are unused by them: a paton-paton, or tomahawk, of green talc, which is fastened to the wrist by a strap of hide, is the weapon above all others with which they smash or scalp the skull of their enemy. They rush headlong one against the other, and conquer by dint of sheer weight and force. The badge which betokens a priest’s functions is a heavy whalebone stick, covered with carvings. Their tokis are hatchets, also made of talc, with carefully worked handles decorated with tufts of white dog’s hair. A great many of their clubs are of extremely hard polished red wood.

In latter days the numerous tribes inhabiting the islands resorted to by English and American whalers, receive firearms in exchange for the fresh provisions with which they supply the European vessels.

The chant of the New Zealanders is solemn and monotonous, made up of hoarse, drawling, and broken notes. It is always accompanied by movements of the eyes and well-practised gestures that are very significant. Most of those chants turn upon licentious subjects. Their dance is a pantomime in which the performers seldom move from one place, and consists of postures and motions of the limbs, executed with the greatest precision. Each dance has an allegorical meaning, and is applicable to declarations of war, human sacrifices, funerals, &c.

The only musical instrument that Lesson saw in the hands of the New Zealanders was a tastefully worked wooden flute. The language of these tribes is harsh: some poems of high antiquity have been transmitted to them by oral tradition. They possess a religion, a form of worship, priests, and ceremonials. Marriages are made by purchase; a chief who had some dealings with the crew of the ship to which Lesson belonged, had bought his wife for two firelocks and a male slave.


The friendship which the aborigines of the same tribe entertain for each other is very warm, and Lesson has depicted for us the strange manner in which they evince it. When one of them came on board, and met there an intimate whom he had not seen for some time, he went up to him in solemn silence, applied the end of his own nose against that of his friend’s, and remained in that attitude for half an hour, muttering some confused sentences in a doleful tone. They then separated, and remained for the rest of the time like two men utter strangers to each other. A similar formality was observed by the women among themselves.

No race cherishes the desire of avenging an insult longer than that of which we are sketching an account; consequently, eternal hatreds and frequent wars desolate their islands.

The loss of a chief is deeply felt by the whole tribe. The funeral obsequies last for several days: should the deceased be of high rank, captives are sacrificed who will have to attend him in the other world, and the women, girls, and female slaves tear their bosoms and faces with sharp sharks’ teeth. Each tribe forms a sort of republic. The districts are ruled by a chief who has a special kind of tattooing, and who is the most generally esteemed for bravery, intrepidity, and prudence.

Lesson declares that the New Zealanders are openly and cynically cannibals; that they relish with extreme satisfaction the palpitating flesh of enemies who have fallen at their hands, and regard as a festival the day on which they can gorge themselves with human flesh. A chief expressed to Lesson the pleasure which he experienced in eating it, and indicated the brain as being the most delicate morsel, and the buttock as the most substantial.

After a victory the bodies of the chiefs who have been killed in the fight are prepared for serving up at this horrible banquet. The head belongs to the victor, the fleshy parts are eaten by the men of the tribe, and the bones are distributed among them to be made tools of. Common warriors are scalped, chopped into pieces, roasted, and devoured. Their heads, if they had any reputation, are sold to the Europeans in exchange for a little powder.

A chief’s head is preserved. If the victorious clan wishes to make peace it sends this trophy to the defeated tribe. In case[387] the latter raises loud shouts, a reconciliation will take place, but should it preserve a gloomy silence, it is a sign that preparations are being made to avenge the chief’s death, and hostilities are recommenced. When a tribe has regained the head of its chief it preserves it religiously and venerates it; or else, knowing that it will bring a respectable sum, sells it to the Europeans.

M. Hochstetter during a recent voyage visited these same islanders. A chief of Ohinemuta, named “Pini-te-Kore-Kore” came to see the travellers. He was attired in European fashion, wore a cloak and straw hat, and carried a white banner which bore in blue letters the inscription, “Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis.” He was a Christianized chief, and modified as to exterior appearance. He had been brought up at the missionary school, was about thirty years of age, and tattooed only on the lower part of the face. He had acquired much from his French masters both in manner and demeanour, and being extremely communicative gave M. Hochstetter some curious particulars about the horrible wars to which his forefathers had devoted themselves.

For the last thirty years the conflicts have not been carried on as they were formerly, that is to say, they consist no longer in a series of duels, as it were, but of musketry firing kept up by bodies of troops, from a distance, in the European style.

The traveller had occasion to pay a visit to the Maori king “Potateau-te-Whero-Whero,” before the door of whose dwelling was posted a solitary sentinel clad in a blue uniform cloak with red facings and brass buttons, forming the whole guard of the palace. About twenty persons were assembled in a hut, where his Majesty, who was blind and bent double, sate upon a straw mat. His face, though overloaded with tattooings, was fine and regular, and a deep scar on his forehead bespoke him as a warrior who had taken part in severe battles. He was wrapped in a blanket of a dark brown colour. Like Homer’s Nausicaa, the daughters of this supreme chief of a proud and warlike race were engaged in washing. His son, seated near him, was a young man with black and sparkling eyes.

The Maori tribes had risen in rebellion a few years previously, with a desire of founding a national government as soon as they had recovered their independence. But the natives were overcome[388] after much bloodshed, and fell again under the yoke of their former ruler.

Tongas.—The inhabitants of the Tonga or Friendly Islands resemble Europeans, but their physiognomy presents such varied expressions that it would be difficult to reduce them to a characteristic type. At the first glance flatness of the nose seems a distinguishing mark of their race, but according as we examine a large number of individuals we find the different shapes of that organ grow more numerous. It is the same with the lips, which are sometimes fleshy and sometimes thin. The hair is black; but brown and light chestnut are also to be met with. The colour of the complexion is equally changeable. Women and girls of the better classes who avoid the rays of the sun are but little coloured; the others are more or less dark.

The population of these islands has been carefully described by Dumont d’Urville in an account of the voyage which he made in command of the Astrolabe, during the years 1826, 1827, 1828, and 1829.

“The natives of the Tonga Islands,” he says, “are in general tall, well-made, and of good proportions. Their countenances are agreeable and present a variety of features that may be compared with those observable in Europe. Many have aquiline noses and rather thin lips, while the hair of nearly all is smooth. Finally, the colour of their skin is only slightly dark, especially among the chiefs. Women may be seen whose tall stature, stately step, and perfect forms are united to the most delicate features and a nearly white or merely dusky complexion.”

Cook and Forster had previously affirmed that the women of the Tonga Islands might serve as models for an artist.

In their first dealings with Europeans these aborigines displayed themselves in the most favourable light. Tasman, Cook, Maurelle, and Wilson bore witness to their gentleness, politeness, and hospitality; Cook even gave the name of “Friendly” to their islands. The crew of the Astrolabe was at first led astray by these appearances; but the natives gave many and repeated proofs that at the very moment when they were overpowering the navigators with caresses and marks of friendship, they were meditating how to attack and plunder them.

These men are also endowed with a force of character and[389] energy by no means common. Their bravery often approaches the most reckless temerity, and they do not recoil an inch from the greatest danger. They possess, nevertheless, a general tone of suavity and courtesy, and a natural ease of manner, which no one would in the least expect to find among a people verging so closely upon the savage state. Their intelligence is more developed than that of the Tahitians. They treat their wives with kindness, have great love for their children, and profess deep respect for old age.

They make canoes which are remarkable for their proportions and the elegance and finish of their handiwork; carve whales’ teeth for necklaces, and incrust their various instruments with the same material; know how to construct houses, as well as stone vaults for the burial of their chiefs; and trace delicate chasings on their clubs with a sharpened nail fastened in a handle. The culinary art has advanced to a higher degree among them than among any other of the Polynesian islanders. They prepare from thirty to forty different dishes, consisting of pork, turtle, fowl, fish, bread-fruits, bananas, cocoa-nuts, &c., mixed according to certain processes, and dressed in different methods. The peasants till the land by means of stakes flattened and sharpened at the extremity, and furnished a little way from the end with a stirrup for supporting the foot.

The manufacture of cloth, mats, and reed baskets is the special occupation of the women. In order to make the cloth in most common use, they take a certain quantity of the inner bark of the paper-mulberry tree properly prepared, beat it flat, stain it with different vegetable colours, and print patterns of all kinds upon it. Mats of the finest quality are woven from leaves of the Pandanus; others, stronger, are made from the bark of a kind of banana-tree; those resembling horsehair are worn by the common people in the canoes to protect them against wet. Mattings of other descriptions, ornamented in different patterns, and formed from the young leaves of the cocoa-tree, are used to preserve the walls of their buildings against the inclemencies of the weather.

Women of a certain rank amuse themselves by making combs, the teeth of which are formed from the ribs of cocoa-leaves. The manufacture of thread appertains to females of the lower classes, and the material for it is extracted from the bark of the banana-tree.


These islanders tattoo their bodies in various places, especially the lower part of the stomach and the thighs, with designs which are really elegant and present a vast variety of patterns, but they leave the skin in its natural state. Their tattooing never exhibits deep incisions and does not seem to be a sign of distinction or of warlike prowess. The women only tattoo the palms of their hands.

Their houses are neatly and solidly built; the master and mistress sleep in a division apart, while the other members of the family lie upon the floor without having any fixed place. The beds and their covering are composed of matting.

The clothing of the men, like that of the women, consists of a piece of cloth six feet square, which envelopes the body in such a way as to make a turn and a half round the loins, where it is confined by a belt. Common people are satisfied with wearing an apron of foliage, or a bit of narrow stuff like a girdle.

The natives of the Friendly Islands bathe every day. Their skin, besides, is constantly saturated with perfumed cocoa-nut oil. When preparing themselves for a religious feast, a general dance, or a visit to the residence of a personage of high rank, they cover themselves with oil in such profusion that it drips from their hair.

The ornaments of both sexes consist of necklaces composed of the red fruit of the Pandanus, or fragrant flowers. Some of them hang from their necks little shells, birds’ bones, sharks’ teeth, and pieces of carved and polished whalebone or of mother-of-pearl, and high up on the arm they wear bracelets of the last material or of shells. They have also mother-of-pearl or tortoise-shell rings, and hanker greatly after glass beads, especially those of a blue colour. The lobe of their ears is pierced by large holes for the reception of small wooden cylinders about three inches in length, or of little reeds filled with a yellow powder used by the women as paint.

They have flutes and tom-toms for beating time. The most ordinary form of the former instrument is a piece of bamboo closed at both ends and pierced by six holes, into which they blow with the right nostril while the left is stopped with the thumb.

Their chants are a kind of recitative which has for its subject some more or less remarkable event; or else consist of words[391] intended to accompany different descriptions of dances or ceremonies.

The inhabitants of these islands recognize a host of divinities, who possess among themselves various degrees of preeminence. Of these gods, those of elevated rank can dispense good or evil in proportion to their relative powers. According to the natives’ notion the origin of these divine beings is beyond the intelligence of man, and their existence is eternal.

“Taboo” reigns as despotically in these islands as it does in New Zealand.

There is a barbarous ceremony in use here, by which a child is strangled as an offering to the gods and to gain from them the cure of a sick relation; the same rite also takes place when a chief inadvertently commits a sacrilege which might draw down the anger of the divinities upon the whole nation.

In other cases, they cut off a joint of the little finger in order to obtain the recovery of a parent who is ill, and consequently crowds of people may be seen who have lost in succession the two joints of the fourth finger of each hand, and even the first joint of the next.

Charms and signs occupy a prominent place in the religion of this people. Dreams are warnings from the divinity; thunder and lightning are indications of war or of some great catastrophe.

Sneezing is an act of the worst possible omen. A chief was near clubbing to death a traveller who had sneezed in his presence at the moment when the native was going to fulfil his duties at his father’s tomb.

Tahitians.—Tahiti and the whole group of the Society Islands are almost exclusively inhabited by the same branch of the Malaysio-Polynesian race. The people of these islands have become celebrated in France by the charming and interesting accounts of their manners and habits, which have been published by Bougainville. We have taken the details which follow from Lesson, the naturalist, who made a somewhat lengthened stay in this island.

The natives of Tahiti are all, with scarcely an exception, very fine men. Their limbs are at once vigorous and graceful, the muscular projections being everywhere enveloped by a thick cellular tissue, which rounds away any too prominent development[392] of their frames. Their countenances are marked by great sweetness, and an appearance of good nature; their heads would be of the European type but for the flatness of the nostrils, and the too great size of the lips; their hair is black and thick, and their skin of light copper-colour and very varying in intensity of hue. It is smooth and soft to the touch, but emits a strong, heavy smell, attributable, in a great measure, to incessant rubbings with cocoa-nut oil. Their step wants confidence, and they become easily fatigued. Dwelling on a soil where alimentary products, once abundantly sown, harvest themselves without labour or effort, the Tahitians have preserved soft effeminate manners, and a certain childishness in their ideas.

The seductive attractions of Tahitian women have been very charmingly painted by Bougainville, Wallis, and Cook, but Lesson assures us, on the contrary, that they are extremely ugly, and that a person would hardly find in the whole island thirty passable faces, according to our ideas of beauty. He adds, that after early youth all the females become disgusting, by reason of a general flabbiness, which is all the greater because it usually succeeds considerable stoutness. There is room for believing that the good looks of the race have deteriorated in consequence of contagious diseases since the first European navigators landed in this island, a very fortunate one in the magnificence of its vegetation and the mildness of its temperature.

Tahitian girls before marriage have full legs, small hands, large mouths, flattened nostrils, prominent cheek-bones and fleshy lips; their teeth are of the finest enamel, and their well-shaped prominent eyes, shaded by long, fringed lashes, and sheltered by broad black eyebrows, beam with animation and fire. Too early marriage and suckling, however, very soon destroy any charms which they may possess. Their skin is usually of a light copper-colour, but some are remarkable for their whiteness, particularly the wives of the chiefs.

Family ties are very strong among the Tahitians. They have great love for their children, speak to them with gentleness, never strike them, and taste nothing pleasing without offering them some of it.

The women manufacture cloth, weave mats or straw hats, and[393] take care of the house. The men build the huts, hollow canoes, plant trees, gather fruits, and cook the victuals in underground ovens. Essentially indolent, the Tahitians generally go to bed at twilight.



All the members of the family live huddled together in the same room, on mats spread upon the ground; chiefs, alone, reposing upon similar textures stretched on frames. The siesta is also one of their habits, and they invariably sleep for three hours after noon.

Flesh-meat, fruits, and roots constitute their usual sustenance; but the basis of their food is the fruit of the bread-tree. They venerate the cocoa-tree.

Their ordinary drink is pure water. They have an unrestrained fancy for European garments, and seek by every imaginable means to get themselves coats, hats, silk cravats, and especially shirts. But as they do not possess sufficient of our manufactures to[394] dress themselves completely in our style, they frequently exhibit a sort of motley attire. The women when within-doors are almost naked; some pieces of cloth, skilfully arranged and half-covering their bosoms, form a kind of tunic, while their feet are bare. They have a great liking for chaplets of flowers, and bright blossoms of the Hibiscus Rosa sinensis, or China rose, adorn their foreheads. They pass through the lobe of their ears the long tube of the white and perfumed corolla of the gardenia, and protect their faces from the fiery rays of the sun with small leaves of the cocoa-tree.

The chief employment of the Tahitians is the manufacture of cloth. By very simple means they form fabrics from various barks, with which they clothe themselves in a manner as ingenious as it is comfortable. The paper-mulberry tree, the bread-tree, the Hibiscus tiliaceus, &c., are the plants of which they generally use the inner bark. They dye these stuffs with the red juice extracted from the fruit of a species of fig-tree, or in canary-yellow.

Their garments are not the only things which these people embellish in brilliant colours and with different patterns. They have a passionate love for tattooing, but, nevertheless, do not bear a single device on their faces. The parts on which they trace indelible marks are the legs, arms, thighs and breast. Everything leads to the conclusion that tattooing, which is forbidden by the missionaries under the severest penalties, was, and is doubtless still, the symbol of each individual’s functions and the emblazonment of the armorial bearings of families, for its designs are always varied.

The Tahitians of former days constructed canoes ornamented with very carefully executed emblematic carvings, but since iron tools have taken the place of their imperfect implements, they do not give signs of the same pains in adorning their workmanship. Their ancient weapons are also greatly neglected since they have acquired firearms. Heretofore, they had long spears with pointed ends, slings formed from the husk of the cocoa-nut, basalt axes of perfect shape, and files made out of the rasp-like skin of a skate.

They have a passionate love for dancing. The instrument they use for beating the measure is a drum, the cylinder of which consists of a trunk of a tree scooped very thin. The dog-skins which constitute the drum-head are stretched by ribbons of[395] bark. They blow with the nose into a little reed flute having three holes at its open end, and one only at that which is furnished with a diaphragm, and produce deep, monotonous tones from it.

The Tahitians are hospitable, and display great civility in guiding travellers in the middle of the woods, and in their mountains. Christianity has modified their habits a little. They attend the Protestant churches because they are obliged to do so, but they have little religion. Among themselves property is sacred; that of strangers is, however, eagerly coveted.

We cannot dwell here upon the sanguinary human sacrifices which their priests formerly commanded the natives of this island to offer up, nor upon their coarse mythology. The English missionaries of the Reformed Church have long since caused these fiendish customs to disappear.

Pomotouans—The Pomotouans, who inhabit the low, flat islands known to geographers and mariners by the name of the Dangerous Archipelago, are constituted in a physical point of view like the Tahitians, to whom they bear a close resemblance, but they do not possess the benevolent character nor the affectionate manners of the latter. Their look is fierce, and the play of the features savage. They cover their bodies and faces with tattooing, the figures of which consist of lozenges and numerous circles, and their nakedness seems quite to disappear beneath the mass of these designs. As the islands they inhabit are poor in alimentary productions, they only think of repelling by force any navigators who attempt to enter into communication with them. Deriving as they do their daily sustenance from the sea, they are daring sailors and skilful fishermen. They form, from a very hard wood, javelins that are sometimes fifteen feet long, and ornament them with carvings executed with much taste; their paddles are also engraved in very graceful patterns, as well as their axes, which are cut with coral. The women wear on their throats pieces of mother-of-pearl, which are shaped round and notched at the edges, making brilliant and elegant necklaces. Our spirituous liquors are frantically sought after by the natives.

Marquesans.—The aborigines of the Marquesas are closely allied to those of the Society Islands, having similar features and[396] a colour which presents like varieties. Cook affirmed that they excelled perhaps all the other races in the nobleness and elegance of their forms, and the regularity of their lineaments. The men are tattooed from head to foot and appear very brown, but the women, who are only lightly marked, the children, and the young people, who are not so at all, have skins as white as many Europeans. The men are in general tall, and wear the beard long and arranged in different ways. Their garments are identical with those of the Tahitians, and made from stuffs of the same materials.

Sandwichians.—The colour of this people is that of Siena clay, slightly mixed with yellow. Their hair would be magnificent if they allowed it to grow, for it is as black and shining as jet. Their manners are pleasing. They usually shave the sides of the head, allowing a tuft to grow on the top, which extends down to the nape of the neck in the form of a mane. Some, however, preserve their hair entire, and let it float in very gracefully twisted locks about their shoulders. Their eyes are lively and full of expression; their nose slightly flat and often aquiline; their mouth and lips moderately large. They have splendid teeth, and it is consequently a great pity when they extract a few on the death of a friend or benefactor. Their chests are broad, but their arms show little muscle, while the thighs and legs are sinewy enough, and their feet and hands excessively small. They all tattoo their bodies or one of their limbs with designs representing birds, fans, chequer-work, and circles of different diameters. The same superstition that deprives them of their teeth at the death of a relation or of a friend also imposes upon them the obligation of cauterizing every part of their bodies with a red-hot iron.

The women are not so well-made as the men, and their stature is small rather than tall, but their ample shoulders, and the smallness of their hands and feet, are generally admired. They have a great love for coronets of green leaves. Princesses and ladies of high rank have reserved to themselves the exclusive right of wearing flowers of vacci passed through a reed. Hardly any of them use more than one earring, but they have a passion for necklaces, and make them of flowers and fruits.

These details are derived from Jacques Arago, who published under the title, “Voyage autour du Monde,” an account of the long and remarkable journey which he made in 1817, and the three[397] following years, on board the French corvettes, L’Uranie and La Physicienne, commanded by Freycinet.

In a letter dated from Owhyhee, as was also that from which the preceding information has been taken, the same traveller gives us the following sketch of the “palace” of the Sovereign of the Sandwich Islands, as well as of its occupants.

It was a miserable thatch hut, from twelve to fifteen feet in breadth, and about five-and-twenty or thirty feet long, with no means of entrance but a low, narrow door. A few mats were spread within, on which some half-naked colossi—generals and ministers—were lying. Two chairs were visible, destined on ceremonial days for a huge, greasy, dirty, heavy, haughty man—the king. The queen, but half-dressed, was a prey to the itch and other disgusting maladies. This tasteful and imposing interior was protected by walls of cocoa leaves and a sea-weed roof, feeble obstacles to the wind and rain.

M. de la Salle in his account of the voyage of the Bonite (1836 and 1837), states that the natives of the Sandwich Islands generally possess good constitutions; that their slender and well-formed figures are usually above middle height, but far from equalling that of the chiefs and their wives, who seem from their tall stature and excessive corpulence to have a different origin from the common people. These exalted personages appear in fact to be descended from a race of conquerors, who, having subjugated the country, established there the feudal system by which it is still oppressed. The same author adds that the Sandwichians have mild, patient dispositions, are dexterous and intelligent, and capable of bearing fatigue with ease.

Such is the state of misery in which the lower classes live, that the unfortunate wretches have scarcely what will keep them from dying of starvation. This distress is not the result of idleness alone; the ever increasing exactions of the chiefs harass and discourage the labourer.

The voyagers in the Bonite when drawing near the Sandwich Islands, could think of nothing but the pictures of them which Captain Cook has left us; of those wild, energetic, kind, simple men; those warriors in mantles of feathers; those women full of grace and voluptuousness; of whom the English explorer has given the most alluring descriptions. They were first pleased by[398] the neat and elegant shapes of the canoes as well as by the expertness of the swimmers. They beheld the islanders as naked as in the days of Cook, without any other attire than the traditional “maro;” but these men did not now come, by way of salute, to crush their noses against those of their visitors; they were profuse of handshaking all round, in the English fashion, and affected the airs of gentlemen. Bananas, potatoes, and other fresh provisions had been brought on board by them, but when, as in olden times, they were offered necklaces, bracelets, and ear-rings, the savages no longer showed the genuine admiration and fierce eagerness which were looked for from them. After a disdainful glance thrown at the beads, they asked for clothes and iron. These men had ceased to be the artless islanders of the time of Captain Cook!

Sandwich Islander


One of the officers of the Bonite, M. Vaillant, was invited to[399] come on shore by a district chief, named Kapis-Lani, who happened to be a woman. Her toilet did not in the least resemble that of the natives, consisting of a white muslin robe confined at the waist by a long blue riband, a silk kerchief rolled about her neck, and a head-dress of hair fastened by two horn combs.

The former customs of the inhabitants of the Sandwich Islands have been completely modified, from every point of view, by the English missionaries, who, in order to gain their object have availed themselves of the weapon heretofore so powerful in the hands of priests and of kings,—“taboo.”

Formerly, when a ship arrived, a multitude of women used to come to take it by assault, either in canoes or swimming, contending among themselves, per fas et nefas, for the bounties of the strangers: the missionaries declared the sea “tabooed” for the softer sex.

In order to restrain the laxity of morals, wives were proclaimed “tabooed” for everyone except their husbands, and unmarried girls “tabooed” for all. It was necessary to proscribe the passion for strong drinks, and consequently brandy, wine, and other liquors were struck with the same interdiction.

We should add that these reformers did not limit themselves to the moral authority of “taboo,” but supported it by the stick and hard labour on the roads.

By such means they have succeeded in altering the external and public behaviour of the natives, but not in uprooting vice among them.

We shall borrow a few features from the picture which M. Vaillant has sketched of his walk in a village of Hawaii.

Scarcely had he arrived when he heard himself called from the interior of a large cabin in which were assembled about thirty persons, who invited him to enter.

The dwelling was built of straw, and along its walls calabashes, cocoa-nuts, and a few fishing utensils were to be seen hanging in confusion.

A single apartment usually answered all purposes, but it was separated into two parts. Some mats spread upon the ground at one side indicated where the occupants slept; the ground opposite was bare, and in the latter division the hearth was placed.


The officer seated himself on the matting in the same way as his hosts, who surrounded him and overpowered him with questions. Men and women, moreover, without giving a thought to decency or the civilization introduced by the English missionaries, put themselves perfectly at their ease, and were content with the very simple attire of their forefathers; the “maro” formed the whole extravagance of their toilette.

The most apparent result of the efforts of the missionaries is that the natives of the Sandwich Islands are for the most part able to read and write. These perfectly naked savages possess a prayer-book, a treatise on arithmetic, and a bible.

Any little presents which people liked to offer them were accepted by the women with gratitude; after a few coquettish advances, in case a person pressed them closely, they uttered slowly and distinctly, the word, “taboo.”

When out-of-doors their costume consisted of a piece of cloth which they draped around them not ungracefully; but they did not appear very pretty to the eyes of the voyagers in the Bonite.

The governor of Hawaii, Kona-Keni, was a man of goodly presence and pleasing face; his height was almost gigantic and his corpulence enormous, so much so that he could scarcely support himself upon his legs. His wife received M. Vaillant. She reclined on a heap of mats forming a bed raised a foot above the ground, and was covered from head to foot in a loose gown of blue brocaded silk. Her proportions also were immense. Laid heavily on the piled-up mats her prodigious mass reminded him of a seal basking in the sun. Around the bed of the lady paramount, were ranged, squatted on mats, the numerous dames forming the court of Kona, and who were clad in loose robes of cotton stuff with coloured flowers. Their head-dresses consisted of hair only, in the American style. Two of them were provided with fly-flappers, which they waved incessantly round Kona’s head. The governor wore a straw hat, a vest and shirt of printed calico, gray trowsers, and had his neck bare.

Members of the Brown Race
P. Sellier, p.t Imp. Dupuy, 22, R. des Petits Hôtels G. Regamey, lith.

Micronesian Family.

The Micronesian Family inhabits the small islands lying to the north-west of Oceania, that is to say the archipelagos of the Marianne (or Ladrone) Islands, as well as of the Caroline and[401] Mulgrave groups, &c. According to Dumont d’Urville these tribes differ from those dwelling in the east by having a darker skin, thinner face, less widely opened eyes, more slender forms, and altogether distinct dialects, which vary from one group to another. Their manners are gentle. They do not recognize “taboo.”

We shall avail ourselves of some interesting details which Lesson has given of the Caroline islands, mentioning in the first place what he has told us concerning the Gilbert group.

A solitary canoe containing three men ventured to approach his corvette, and it was only after prolonged hesitation that these individuals made up their minds to go on board. They had lank and miserable limbs; a dark colour, and broad, coarse features; their hair was cut close by means of a shell, and neither beard nor moustache was apparent. The only covering they wore was a little round cap of plaited dry leaves of the cocoa tree, and a roughly-made mat with a hole in the middle, for the protection of the shoulders and breast. Their stomachs were bound round with twists of a rope formed from the husk of cocoa-nuts.

Lesson and his companions were the first Europeans whom the natives of the island of Oualan had seen. They made a ring round the voyagers, touched them with their hands, and overwhelmed them with questions. This race is generally of low stature. The men have high and narrow foreheads, thick eyebrows, small oblique eyes, broad noses, large mouths, white teeth, and bright red gums. Their black unfrizzled hair is long, and their beard far from abundant. They possess rounded and well-formed limbs, and a hard, light bronze-coloured skin. They are spiritless and effeminate.

The women and young girls have agreeable countenances, their black eyes being full of fire, and their mouths furnished with superb teeth; but their figures are badly formed, and they have hips of immoderate size. They go about in almost complete nudity. Both sexes have a habit of making a large hole in the right ear, for the purpose of placing in it everything that people give them, and sometimes articles very unfit for earrings, such as bottles. Girls usually fill it with bouquets of pancratium, a plant of the amaryllis family, and often detach a[402] few of these sweet-smelling flowers, and try to put them into a traveller’s ears, while smiling graciously. The men also wear chaplets of brilliant flowers or arum stalks.

These aborigines do not make use of any kind of garments as a protection against the frequent rains of their climate, but they shield their heads from the sun with a broad arum leaf.

The chiefs seem to try not to expose themselves so much to the influences of the heat, and are whiter and better made than the other islanders. The patterns of their tattooing are their sole mark of distinction; they fasten feathers, however, in the knot which confines their hair, and whenever persons give them nails they stick them around their forehead, arranging them regularly like a diadem. The women appeared chaste; nay more, the men were anxious to keep them out of the strangers’ sight, a feeling all the more remarkable because quite at variance with the usual habits of the South Sea Islanders.

Oualan was governed at that time by one chief only, whom the people encompassed with extraordinary reverence, never pronouncing his name without veneration.

The prerogatives of the chiefs appear to rest upon religious ideas. They differ in general from the people by an erect carriage, a more imposing and solemn manner, as well as by the better executed tattooing which indicates their rank. A great many chiefs rule in the districts of the island, and appear to hold absolute rights over property, and, it may be, over persons.

As regards industry, the only manufactures for which the natives of Oualan are remarkable are cloth and canoes. They draw threads from the leaves or the stems of the wild banana tree (Musa textilis), which they know how to dye in red, yellow, or black, and with which they make stuffs that are not greatly inferior to European textures.

They build their boats with hatchets formed of stone or shell, and notwithstanding the imperfection of these implements, give to their work a finish of finical nicety. The body of the canoe is hollowed from a single tree, sometimes a very big one. They polish the wood with trachyte, or by means of large rasps made from the skin of the sea-devil. These little vessels are propelled by oars, without either sails or masts.

Lesson, in alluding to the people of the Mac-Askill Islands, who bear the closest analogy to the inhabitants of Oualan both in[403] physical characteristics and the state of their industry, remarks on the taste which some savages display for flowers as an adornment of the person. There were young females in these islands who wore on their heads crowns of Ixora, the corollas of which are a brilliant crimson; a few had passed through the holes in their ears leaves of flowers exhaling the fragrant odour of violets, and white blossoms were twined in the hair of others. These ornaments, adds the learned traveller, possessed a charm more easy to feel than to express.



This race is sometimes designated as the American, because in the fifteenth century it formed in itself alone almost the whole population of the two Americas. But Europeans, and especially the English of the United States, constitute, at present, the greatest part of the inhabitants of America. They have to a certain extent monopolised the name of “Americans,” so much so that people generally call the nations of the Red Race Indians, a title which was given to them by the Spaniards, in the time of Christopher Columbus, in consequence of that strange mistake of the great Genoese navigator, who discovered the New World without knowing it, that is to say, while imagining that he had simply found a new passage by which to reach the “Great Indies,” in Asia.

The denomination of Red Race is, besides, a defective one, in so much that several tribes ranked in this group have no shade of red in their colour. This division is, in fine, rather imperfect from an ethnological point of view, but it possesses the advantage of fixing geographically the habitat of the nations included in it.

The American Indians approach closely to the Yellow Race belonging to Asia, in their hair, which is generally black, rough, and coarse, in the scarceness of their beard, and in their complexion, which varies from yellow to a red copper colour. Among one portion of them the very prominent nose and large open eyes recall to mind the White Race. Their forehead is extremely retreating, but no other race have the back part of the head more developed, or broader eye-sockets. Though usually hospitable and generous, they are cruel and implacable in their[405] resentments, and make war for the most frivolous causes. Two of these nations, the primitive Mexicans and Peruvians, had formerly founded wide empires, and had attained a somewhat advanced civilization, though lower than that of Europeans of the same epoch. But these monarchies having been swept away by their Spanish conquerors, progress was checked. The Indians who escaped the destruction of their race, and submitted to the victors, are now no better than husbandmen or artisans, while as for those that remained independent, they wander in the woods and the prairies, and are the last representatives of man in the savage or semi-savage state. They live in the forests and savannahs, on the produce of their hunting and fishing; their wives are kept by them in a state of the greatest abjectness, and are loaded with the heaviest labour; while certain tribes still continue to offer human sacrifices to their idols.

A fact which deserves notice is, that the Indians who were already settled and who were husbandmen when the Spaniards arrived, speedily submitted to the strangers, but never has it been found possible to tame those who have shown themselves, from the fifteenth century to this day, rebels to foreign influence, and who have preferred to become masters of the forest solitudes rather than accept the yoke and customs of the Europeans. Moreover, the number and population of the wild tribes of the two Americas diminish every year, especially in the north, a result attributable to their continual wars, the ravages of the small-pox, and, above all, to the fatal passion of these savage nations for brandy.

Anthropologists have taken great trouble to discover the real origin of the Indians of America, and to establish their affinity with the other human families, but up to the present their studies have led to no satisfactory result. The Indians cannot be accurately brought into connection with either the White, Yellow, or Brown Race; nor on the other hand can the mingling of these three groups be explained, nor the American Indian be recognized as a determinate original type.

The great differences, both in the shape of the skull and the colour of the skin, which are known to exist among the Indian tribes, proclaim numerous crossings. Many circumstances prove that in very remote times some Europeans made their way into America by the north, and that they found there one or[406] many native races, whom they partially overcame, and with whom they are mingled to the present day. The degree of civilization that had been reached by the Mexicans and Peruvians of old, when Columbus landed in the New World; the American tradition which holds that the founders of their empires were foreigners; the existence on the Northern continent of ruins announcing a state of things at least as far advanced as that of the Nahuath and the Quichuas, (the former Mexicans and Peruvians); such are the facts which establish that a blending formerly took place between the primitive Indians and Northern Europeans.

The shape of the body peculiar to the Indians of the north-east, has equally led to the supposition that they reckon some Europeans among their ancestors, an idea which appears all the more admissible, because in the tenth century the ancient Scandinavians undoubtedly had relations with America.

Consequently, the original race which has peopled the Western Hemisphere is almost impossible to be traced. Probably the population which existed in the New World before the arrival of the Europeans was made up of several types different from those that are extant at present in the other regions of the globe, types having a great tendency to modify themselves, and which were obliterated whenever they came in contact with the races of Europe. But to re-ascend back to this primordial population would now be impossible.

In commenting on the tribes of the Red Race, we shall separate the Indians who inhabit North America from those dwelling in the southern continent, for certain characteristics mark these two groups; in other words, we shall distinguish in the Red Race two divisions—the southern branch and the northern branch.



The nations of the southern branch of the Red Race have affinity to those of the Yellow Race. Their complexion, which is often yellowish or olive, is never so red as that of the northern Indians; their head is usually of less length and their nose not so prominent, while they frequently have oblique eyes.

We intend to divide this branch into three families, named respectively the Andian, Pampean, and Guarani.

Andian Family.

This family contains three different peoples:—firstly, the Quichuas; secondly, the Antis Indians; and thirdly, the Araucanians.

The characteristics which the tribes belonging to this group possess in common are an olive-brown complexion, small stature, low retiring forehead, and horizontal eyes, which are not drawn down at the outer angle. They inhabit the western parts of Bolivia, Peru, and the State of Quito. These countries were completely subjugated by the Spaniards in the sixteenth century, and the natives converted to Christianity.

We shall notice in the first division, Quichuas or ancient Incas, the Aymaras, the Atacamas, and the Changos.

Quichuas or Incas.—The Quichuas were the principal people of the ancient empire of the Incas, and they still constitute almost half the free Indian population of South America. In the fifteenth century the Incas were the dominant race among the nations of Peru, speaking a language of their own, called Quichu.

The former Incas, those who lived before the Spanish invasion,[408] were possessed of a certain degree of civilization. They had calculated exactly the length of the solar year, had made rather considerable progress in the art of sculpture, preserved memorials of their history by means of hieroglyphics, and enjoyed a well-organized government and a code of good laws. Orators, poets, and musicians were to be found among them, and their figurative melodious language denoted prolonged culture. Their religion was impressed to the highest degree with a devotional character. They recognized a God, the supreme arbiter and creator of all things. This divinity was the sun, and superb temples were raised by them to its honour. Their religion and their manners breathed great sweetness. The fierce Spanish conquerors encountered this mild, inoffensive race, and never rested until they had annihilated with fire and sword these unsophisticated, peaceable men, who were of more worth than their cruel invaders.



Figs. 179 and 180 represent types of Incas drawn from the genealogical tree of the imperial family, which was published in the “Tour du Monde,” in 1863.

According to Alcide d’Orbigny, the naturalist, who has given a perfect description of this race, the Quichuas are not copper-coloured, but of a mixed shade, between brown and olive; their average height is not more than five feet two inches, that of the females being still lower. They have broad, square shoulders, and an excessively full chest, very prominent, and very long.[409] Their hands and feet are small. The cranium and features of this people are strongly characteristic, constituting a perfectly distinct type, which bears no resemblance to any but the Mexican. The head is oblong from front to back, and a little compressed at the sides; the forehead slightly rounded, low, and somewhat retreating; yet the skull is often capacious, and denotes a rather large development of the brain. The face is generally broad; the nose always prominent, somewhat long, and so extremely aquiline, as to seem as if the end were bent over the upper lip, and pierced by wide very open nostrils. The size of the mouth is large rather than moderate, and the lips protrude, although they are not thick. The teeth are invariably handsome, and remain good during old age. Without being receding, the chin is a little short; indeed it is sometimes slightly projecting. The eyes are of moderate size and frequently even small, always horizontal, and never either drawn down or up at their outer angle. The eyebrows are greatly arched, narrow, and thin. The colour of the hair is always a fine black, and it is coarse, thick, long, and extremely smooth and straight, and comes down very low at each side of the forehead. The beard is limited to a few straight and scattered hairs, which appear very late across the upper lip, at the sides of the mouth, and on the point of the chin. The countenance of these men is regular, serious, thoughtful, and even sad, and it might be said that they wish to conceal their thoughts beneath the still, set look of their features. A pretty face is seldom seen among the women.



An ancient vase has been found on which is a painting of an[410] Inca, who is in every way so entirely like those of the present day as to prove that during four or five centuries the lineaments of these people have not undergone any perceptible alteration.

The Aymaras bear a close resemblance, so far as physical characteristics are concerned, to the Quichuas, from whom, however, they are completely separated by language.

They formed a numerous nation, spread over a wide expanse of country, and appear to have been civilized in very remote times. We may consider the Aymaras as the descendants of that ancient race which, in far-off ages, inhabited the lofty plains now covered by the singular monuments of Tiagnanaco, the oldest city of South America, and which peopled the borders of Lake Titicaca.

The Aymaras resemble the Quichuas in the most remarkable feature of their organization, namely the length and breadth of the chest, which, by allowing the lungs to attain a great development, renders these tribes particularly suited for living on high mountains. In the shape of the head and the intellectual faculties, as well as in manners, customs, and industry, both peoples may be compared, but the architecture of the monuments and tombs of the former race diverges widely from that of the Incas.

Two nations inferior in numbers to those of which we have just spoken, may be mentioned here; they are the Atacamas, occupying the western declivities of the Peruvian Andes, and the Changos, dwelling on the slopes next the Pacific. Both one and the other are like the Incas in physical characteristics, but the colour of the skin of the Changos is of a slightly darker hue, being a blackish bistre.

Antis.—The Antis Indians comprise many tribes, namely, the Yuracares, Mocéténès, Tacanas, Maropas, and Apolistas, races which inhabit the Bolivian Andes. Their complexion is lighter than that of the Incas, they have not such bulky bodies, and their features are more effeminate.

The account which M. Paul Marcoy has given in the “Tour du Monde” of his travels across South America from the shores of the Pacific to those of the Atlantic, is accompanied by several[411] sketches representing Antis Indians and some wandering hordes which belong to the same group; and we have reproduced a few of these drawings in our pages, the first two (figs. 181 and 182) being types of the heads of these people. We also derive from the same source the following details as to this race.

The Antis is of medium stature and well-proportioned, with rounded limbs. He paints his cheeks and the part round his eyes with a red dye, extracted from the rocou plant, and also colours those parts of his body exposed to the air with the black of genipa. His covering consists of a long, sack-shaped frock, woven by the women, as is also the wallet, in the shape of a hand bag, carried by him across his shoulder, and containing his toilet articles, namely:—a comb made with the thorns of the Chouta palm; some rocou in paste; half a genipa apple; a bit of looking-glass framed in wood; a ball of thread; a scrap of wax; pincers for extracting hairs, formed of two mussel-shells; a snuff-box made from a snail’s shell, and containing very finely ground tobacco gathered green; an apparatus for grating the snuff, made of the ends of reeds or two arm bones of a monkey, soldered together with black wax at an acute angle; sometimes, a knife, scissors, fish-hooks, and needles of European manufacture.



Both sexes wear their hair hanging down like a horse’s tail, and cut straight across just over the eyes. The only trinket they carry is a piece of silver money flattened between two stones,[412] which they pierce with a hole and hang from the cartilage of their nostrils. For ornaments they have necklaces of glass beads, cedar and styrax berries, skins of birds of brilliant plumage, tucana’s beaks, tapir’s claws, and even vanilla husks strung upon a thread.



The Antis almost always build their dwellings on the banks of a water-course, isolated and half hidden by a screen of vegetation. The huts are low and dirty, and pervaded by a smell like that of wild beasts, for the air can scarcely circulate in them. In the fine season of the year sheds take the place of closed-up huts (fig. 183).

The weapons used by the Antis are clubs and bows and arrows. Fishermen capture their prey in the running streams with arrows barbed at the ends, or having three prongs like a trident. Other darts, with palm-points or bamboo-heads, are employed by the hunter for birds and quadrupeds.

The Antis occasionally poison the waters of the creeks and bays by means of the Menispermum cocculus. The fish become instantaneously intoxicated; they first struggle, then rise belly uppermost, and come floating on the surface, where they are easily taken with the hand (fig. 184).

The earthenware of this people is coarsely manufactured, and is painted and glazed. They live in families, or in separate couples, and have no law beyond their own caprice. They do not elect chiefs, except in time of war, and to lead them against an enemy. The girls are marriageable at twelve years of age, and accept any husband who seeks them, if he has previously made some present to their parents. They prepare their lord and[413] master’s food, weave his clothes, look after and gather in the crops of rice, manioc, maize, and other cereals; carry his baggage on a journey, follow him to battle, and pick up the arrows which he has discharged; they also accompany him in the chase or when fishing, paddle his canoe, and bring back to their dwelling the booty gained from an enemy, and the game or fish which has been killed; and yet, notwithstanding this severe work and continual bondage, the women are always cheerful.



They use a large earthen vessel to cook the fish caught[414] in the nearest stream, or the game killed in the adjoining forest.



When one of this nation dies, his relatives and friends assemble in his abode, seize the corpse (which is wrapped in the loose[415] sack-like frock usually worn,) by the head and feet, and throw it into the river. They then wreck the dwelling, break the deceased’s bow, arrows, and pottery, scatter the ashes of his hearth, devastate his crops, cut down to the ground the trees which he has planted, and finally set fire to his hut. The place is thenceforth reputed impure, and is shunned by all passers-by; vegetation very soon reasserts its sway, and the dead is for ever effaced from the memory of the living.



These people who thus treat their dead so badly, profess an equal disdain for the aged, for whom they reserve the refuse of their food, their worn-out rags, and the worst place at the hearth.


Their religion is a jumble of theogonies, in which however are recognizable a notion of the existence of a supreme God, the idea of the two principles of good and evil, and finally, a belief in reward or punishment on leaving this life.

The manners of these tribes are, as may be seen, a somewhat singular medley; free will is the ruling law and, as it were, the wisdom of their race, which lives unfettered in the bosom of nature.

The Antis Indians have a soft smooth idiom, which they speak with extreme volubility in a low, gentle tone that never varies.

Araucanians.—These tribes spread themselves over the western slopes of the Andes, from 30 degrees south latitude to the extremity of Tierra del Fuego, and also occupy the upper valleys and plains situate to the east of the Cordilleras.

The Araucanians constitute two nations, namely, the people who properly bear that name, indomitable warriors, whose heroism is celebrated in the history of the Spanish conquest of Peru: and the Pecherays, who inhabit the most southern link of the American mountain chain.

According to A. d’Orbigny, both these races present a great similitude as regards their physical characteristics, which consist of a head that is large in proportion to the body, a round face, prominent cheekbones, a broad mouth, thick lips, a short, flat nose, wide nostrils, a narrow retiring forehead, horizontal eyes, and a thin beard.

Fig. 186 is a representation, after Pritchard, of one of those Araucanian Indians who may be considered as forming the least barbarous of the independent native tribes of South America.

These people do not, in fact, lead the nomadic existence of Indians. Being protected by thick forests from the attacks and invasions of the Americans, they build what are real houses with wood and iron, and their customs denote a rudimentary civilization.

A Périgueux attorney has rendered the Araucanian nation celebrated in France. He had succeeded in getting himself chosen as its king, and when chased away by the Peruvians came to relate his Odyssey in Europe, returning afterwards to reconquer his unstable throne. Orélie, the First of the name, has[417] according to rumour recovered at present his lofty position among the Indians of Araucania. We wish him a tranquil reign.



The Pecherays inhabit the coast of Tierra del Fuego and both shores of the Straits of Magellan. The life they lead and the ice covering all the interior of the hilly country they occupy, force them to remain exclusively on the borders of the sea.

Their colour is olive or tawny; they are well built but of clumsy figure, and their legs bowed, from continually sitting cross-legged, give them an unsteady gait. Their pleasant natural smile gives indication of an obliging disposition.

Being essentially nomadic, they do not form themselves into communities, but move about in small numbers, by groups of two or three families, living by hunting and fishing, and changing their resting-place as soon as they have exhausted the animals and shell-fish of the neighbourhood. Dwelling in a region which is[418] split up into a multitude of islands, they have become navigators, and continually traverse every shore of Tierra del Fuego as well as of the countries situated to the east of the strait. They build large boats, twelve to fifteen feet long and three feet broad, from the bark of trees, with no other implements than shells or hatchets made of flint.



Their huts (fig. 187) are covered over with earth or sealskins and some fine morning the whole family will abandon them and take to their canoes with their numerous dogs. The women ply their oars, while the men hold themselves in readiness to pierce any fish they perceive, with a dart pointed by a sharpened stone. When in this way they arrive at another island, the women, having placed their little vessel in safety, start in search of shell-fish and the men go hunting with the sling or the bow. A short stay is followed by a fresh departure.

These poor people are thus incessantly exposed to the dangers of the sea and the inclemency of the seasons, and yet they are, it may be said, without clothing. The men’s shoulders are barely[419] covered with a scrap of sealskin, whilst the whole apparel of the women consists in a little apron of the same material.

Notwithstanding this rude existence, the Pecherays display some coquetry. They load their necks, arms, and legs with gewgaws and shells, and paint their bodies, and oftener their faces, with different designs in red, white, and black. The men occasionally ornament their heads with bunches of feathers. All wear a kind of boot made of sealskin.

Like all other tribes who subsist by hunting, the Pecherays have among themselves frequent quarrels, and even petty wars, that last only a short time but are continually renewed.

They share their food with their faithful companions, the dogs; it consists of cooked or raw shell-fish, birds, fish, and seals, and they eat the fat of the latter raw. They do not, like the inhabitants of the North Pole, pass the most rigorous period of the winter underground, but pursue their labours in the open air, protecting themselves as best they can against the cold which prevails on these shores, notwithstanding the deceitful name of Tierra del Fuego. This “Land of Fire,” by reason of its proximity to the South Pole, is, during the greater part of the year, a region of ice.

The women are subjected to the roughest labours. They row, fish, build the cabins, and plunge into the sea, even during the most intense cold, in their search for the shell-fish attached to the rocks.

The language of the Pecherays resembles that of the Patagonians and the Puelches in sound, and that of the Araucanians in form. Their weapons and their religion, as well as the paintings on their faces, are also those of these three neighbouring nations.

Pampean Family.

The rather numerous tribes of South America who compose this family are frequently of tall stature, with arched and prominent foreheads overhanging horizontal eyes which are sometimes contracted at the outer angle. They inhabit the immense plains or Pampas, situated at the foot of the eastern slope of the Andes. They rear great numbers of horses, and consequently the men, like the tribes who roam over the steppes of Asia, are nearly always mounted.


The peoples comprised in this family are: the Patagonians, properly so called; the Puelches, or the tribes of the Pampas to the south of the La Plata river; the Charruas, in the vicinity of Uruguay; the Tobas, Lenguas, and Machicuys, who occupy the greater part of Chaco; the Moxos, the Chiquitos, and the Mataguayos; and finally the famous Abipones; the centaurs of the New World. We can only speak of some of these groups.

Patagonians.—Under this name we include, besides the Patagonians proper, several other nomadic races resembling them, who are found, some to the north, and others to the south, of the La Plata. The latter wander over the pampas which stretch from that river as far as the Straits of Magellan; while the northern tribes, who bear a physical resemblance to the genuine Patagonians, inhabit that portion of the country comprised between the Paraguay river and the last spurs of the Cordilleras, and which stretches northward as far as the twentieth degree of latitude, including the inland plains of the province of Chaco.

The Patagonians are the nomads of the New World. They furnish the horsemen who scour its vast arid tracts, living under tents of skins, or who hide in its forests, in huts covered with bark and thatch. Haughty and unconquered warriors, they despise agriculture and the arts of civilization, and have always resisted the Spanish arms.

These savages have darker skins than most of those in South America. Their complexion is an olive-brown; and among the men composing them we find the tallest stature as well as the most athletic and robust frames. The tribes dwelling furthest south are the tallest, and the height of the others diminishes as the Chaco region is approached.

As has been stated in the introduction to this work, the stature of this people has been heretofore greatly exaggerated. M. Alcide d’Orbigny, who resided for seven months among many distinct divisions of the Patagonians, measured several individuals in each. He assures us that the tallest of all was only five feet eleven inches in height, and that the average is not above five feet four.

M. Victor de Rochas, in the account he has given of his[421] voyage to Magellan’s Straits, has proved in a similar manner that the stature of the Patagonians is by no means extraordinary. He found them possessed of a brown complexion; coarse straight black hair, little beard; serious countenances—those of the men being manly and haughty, and the women’s mild and good—and regular but coarse features. The hands and feet of the females were small.

Broad, robust bodies, stout limbs, and vigorous constitutions characterise all the tribes in question, the women as well as the men. The Patagonians proper have large heads and wide flat faces with prominent cheek-bones.

Among the nations of Chaco, which we shall speak of further on, the eyes are small, horizontal, and sometimes slightly contracted at the outer corner; the nose is short, flat and broad, with open nostrils; the mouth big, the chin short, and the lips thick and prominent; they have arched eyebrows, little beard, long straight black hair, and gloomy countenances, frequently of ferocious aspect.

Though the languages of these races are essentially distinct, they have a certain analogy between themselves; all are harsh, guttural, and difficult of pronunciation.

The details which follow are derived from the narrative of a traveller, M. Guinard, who spent three years in captivity among the Patagonians. Fate threw him into the hands of the tribe of the Poyuches, who wander along the southern bank of the Rio Negro, from the neighbourhood of Pacheco Island.

Whether these nomadic Indians live in the vicinity of the Spanish Americans or in the solitudes of Patagonia, beneath the outlying woody spurs of the Cordilleras, or on the bare, wild soil of the Pampas, they lead identically the same life. Their occupations are the chase, tending their domestic animals, horsemanship, and the use of the lance, the sling, and the lasso.

Their dwellings consist of hide tents, carried by these savages from place to place in their migrations. Their costume is composed of a piece of some sort of stuff with a hole in the middle to pass the head through, and their waist is girt by another fragment of smaller size. A cloth rag is tied round their head, separating the hair in front, and allowing it to fall in long waves over the shoulders. They carefully pluck the hair from every part of their bodies, without even sparing the eyebrows.[422] Their faces are painted with volcanic earths which the Araucanians bring them, the colours varying according to taste, but red, blue, black, and white have the preference. The women wear a frock with holes for their heads, arms, and legs; they pull out their hair and eyebrows like the men, and paint their faces, the strange and hard expression of which is enhanced by ornaments of coarse beads. Bracelets and square ear-rings complete their toilette. They can throw the lance and the lasso with as much ease as the men, and ride on horseback like them. M. Guinard learned how to manage the horses and use the weapons of this people, for they made him join in their nandu and guanaco hunts.



The chief occupation of these Indians is, in fact, the chase, and they devote themselves to it all through the year. The Chen-elches, one of the Patagonian tribes, who have no horses, pursue their game on foot.



On their return from hunting the Patagonians abandon themselves[423]
to gambling and debauchery. They cheat at play and become intoxicated to madness, when they fight among themselves with fury. Two religious festivals are observed by them during the year, on which occasions they dance and indulge in fantastic cavalcades.

A custom of piercing their children’s ears exists among these people, and the ceremony which then takes place is analogous to that of baptism. The child is laid on a horse, which has been thrown down by the chief of the family or tribe, and a hole is solemnly bored through the little lobe of his ear.

Let us add that the existence of a new-born infant is submitted to the consideration of the father and mother, who decide upon its life or death. Should they think fit to get rid of it, it is smothered, and its body carried a short distance, and then abandoned to wild dogs and birds of prey. If the poor little one is judged worthy to live, its mother nurses it until it is three years old, and at four years of age its ears are solemnly pierced, as described above.

The Patagonians in their religious ceremonials, sacrifice to the Deity a young horse and an ox given by the richest among them. When these animals have been thrown on the ground, with their heads turned towards the east, a man rips open the victim (fig. 189), tears out the heart and sticks it, still palpitating, on the end of a spear. The eager and curious crowd, with eyes fixed on the blood flowing from the gash, draw auguries, which are almost always to their own advantage, and then retire to their abodes, under the belief that God will favour their undertakings.

Marriage among these nations is a traffic, a barter of various articles and animals for a wife. The woman, moreover, is burdened with work, whilst the man takes his ease, whenever he is not hunting or engaged in minding the cattle.

The Patagonian who dies in his own home is buried with pomp. His body, covered with his handsomest ornaments, and with his weapons laid beside it, is stretched on a winding-sheet of skins. They then wrap it in these skins and tie it on the back of his favourite horse, whose left leg they break. All the women of the tribe join the wives of the deceased and utter piercing shrieks. The men, having painted their hands and faces black, escort the body as far as the place of burial, where horses[425] and sheep are sacrificed to serve as food for the dead during his journey into the next world.

Tobas, Lenguas, and Machicuys.—These three tribes, which must, as we have said, be included in the Pampean family, are termed collectively the Indians of the Grand Chaco, or Great Desert. It will not be uninteresting, in order to give an example of the customs of the wild South American races, to quote here some pages in which an account of his visit to the Grand Chaco nations is related by Dr. Demersay in his travels in Paraguay.

“Reduced at the present day to very small numbers and, indeed, almost extinct, the remnant of the Lengua nation,” says Dr. Demersay, “lives to the north of the river Pilcomayo, in union and amalgamated with the Emmages and Machicuys, within a short distance of the Quartel. Their actual enemies are the Tobas, who are allied to the Pitiligas, Chunipis and Aguilots, and who constitute a numerous horde on the other side of the Pilcomayo.

“The remnants of the Lenguas are more especially joined and mingled with the Machicuys: in fact, they no longer form more than a dozen families, and the Mascoyian cacique is theirs as well.

“There are payes or doctors, among the Lenguas, who administer nothing to a sick person beyond water or fruit, and who practise suction with the mouth for wounds and sore places. They interlard this operation with juggleries and songs, accompanied by gourds (porongos), shaken in the invalid’s ears. These porongos are filled with little stones, and make a deafening clatter. The payes are also sorcerers, and read the future as well as heal the sick.

“Some girls, but the custom is not general, tattoo themselves in an indelible way at the age of puberty, an event which is always marked by rejoicing. This festival consists of a family gathering, during which the men intoxicate themselves with brandy, if they can obtain some by barter, or with a fermented liquor (chicha) extracted from the fruit of the algarobo.

“The tattooing of the women consists of four narrow and parallel blue lines, which descend from the top of the forehead to the end of the nose, but are not continued on the upper[426] lip, as well as of irregular rings traced on the cheeks and chin as far as the temples.



“Both sexes pierce their ears when extremely young, and pass through them a bit of wood, the width of which they keep incessantly[427] increasing, so that towards forty years of age the holes are of enormous dimensions. I measured several of these orifices, and found their average length to be two inches and a half, whilst their diameter was somewhat less considerable. The pieces of wood are solid, irregularly rounded, and about an inch and three-quarters in thickness at their widest part. The Lenguas often replace them by a long fragment of the bark of a tree, rolled spirally like a wire spring. This ear-ring is called a barbote.

“The Lenguas comb their hair, which they cut at the top of the forehead, forming a lock which is drawn backwards, passing over the left ear, until it falls into the mass collected and tied behind with a riband or a woollen string. This body of hair, which is always black, straight, and generally very fine and even silky, then falls between the shoulders. The women do not always dress their hair in this way; I saw many who allowed it to hang in loose disorder. Moreover, though they may sometimes comb it, no one can say that these people take care of their hair; their extreme filthiness argues to the contrary, for nothing can possibly be seen dirtier than this nation, which in this respect closely resembles the others.

“The weapons of the Lenguas consist of a bow and arrows, which they carry behind their backs bound up in a hide; they have also an axe, called by them achagy, borne in a similar manner. They carry in their hand a mahana, or staff, made of hard, heavy wood; and to these is also added a spear tipped with iron, and they sometimes have the bolas and the lasso. They are excellent horsemen, riding barebacked with their wife and children, all on the same animal, and all, women and men, sitting in the same way. They use no bit, contenting themselves with a piece of stick; they make reins from the fibres of the caraguata.

“Their olive brown colour, darker than that of the Tobas, their prominent cheek-bones, small eyes, broad flat faces, slightly depressed noses, wide mouths, and large lips, give to the countenance of these savages a peculiar look which is not a little enhanced by a pair of ears that come down to the base of the neck, and with some individuals as far as the collar bone. The Lenguas, like all Indians, become hideous as they grow old.


“A few weeks had passed since my excursion in this direction, when, as I was returning to Assumption from a fresh journey into the interior of the country, I heard that the Quartel had been the object of a completely unforeseen attack on the part of the Chaco tribes, and that, after an encounter in which two Indians had lost their lives, the troops had been able to recover the stolen cattle and to take some prisoners, who were immediately sent on to the capital, where they were confided to the keeping of the guard at the cavalry barrack near the arsenal and port. A more favourable opportunity could not have offered for continuing and completing my ethnological studies, so the next day I hastened to the building.

“On arriving there I found a dozen Indians loaded with irons, seated here and there in the centre of a narrow court. They were covered with dirty European garments, in tattered ponchos, or draped in antique fashion with wretched blankets. Two boys, one eight and the other fifteen years old, were among the prisoners, and all seemed sad and dejected. They preserved a profound silence, which I had some trouble to make them break.

“Side by side with the Lenguas, whom I had seen at the Quartel, there were some Tobas and Machicuys; but although known to the first, my interpreter questioned them in vain as to the motive of their attack.

“The Tobas are generally of tall and erect stature. I measured three of them, and found their height to be respectively, 5 feet 1014 inches, 5 feet 812 inches, and 5 feet 614 inches. Their muscular system is developed, and their well-formed limbs, like those of all the other nations of the Chaco, are terminated by hands and feet which would cause envy to an European.

“They have an ordinary forehead, which is not retreating; lively eyes, larger than those of the Lenguas, and narrow thin eyebrows. The iris is black, and they do not pluck out their eyelashes. Their long regular nose is rounded at the end, where it becomes slightly enlarged, and their mouth, which is a little turned up at the angles, is better proportioned and smaller than that of the Lenguas, and is furnished with fine teeth, which are preserved to a very advanced age. They are also without prominent cheek-bones, and their faces are not so broad as that of the other nation.

Boat trip


“The Tobas seem to have renounced the use of the barbote,[429]
which at the time of Azara they still wore, and none of them had any scar on the lower lip. Their ears were not pierced. They allow their hair to grow, letting it float freely without being tied; a few, however, cut it straight across the forehead, a habit which is even practised by some of the women.

“The colour of their skin is an olive brown, not so dark as that of the Lenguas, and contains no yellow tint; but I confess to the great difficulty there is in expressing shades so varied in hue.

“Nothing could draw the prisoners from their taciturnity; their countenances remained impassive, cold, and serious during all our questioning. A winning smile and interesting face are attributed by some travellers to the women while still young; but their features deteriorate at an early age, and, like the men, they grow into repulsive ugliness. Their breasts, which are of moderate size and well formed at first, lengthen to such an extent as to enable them to suckle the children carried on their backs.

“The Toba nation occupies, or, to speak more accurately, overruns a considerable extent of the Chaco plains. We meet its members on the banks of the Pilcomayo, from its mouth to the first spurs of the Andes, where they come in contact with the Chiriguanos, with whom they are often at war.

“Being usually nomadic, the Tobas occupy themselves in fishing and hunting; their weapons consist of arrows, makanas, long spears with iron points, and the bolas. Some of their tribes, more settled in their habits, add the produce of agriculture to that of the chase, by cultivating maize, manioc, and potatoes.

“The children of both sexes wear no covering; men and women roll a piece of cloth round their loins, or envelope themselves in a cloak made from the skins of wild animals. Necklaces and bracelets of glass beads or small shells form the ornaments of the females, while in some tribes the men twine round their bodies long white rows of beads, composed of little fragments of shells rounded like buttons, and strung together at regular intervals.”

Machicuys.—Dr. Demersay does not share the opinion expressed by M. d’Orbigny that the Machicuys may be nothing[431] more than a tribe of the Tobas, whose language they perhaps speak. According to the first-named traveller, the tongues of the two nations are different, and other distinctions separate them.

“The Machicuys,” says Dr. Demersay, “are more sedentary in their habits, are greater tillers of the soil, and are endowed with less fierce manners than the Lenguas, but they resemble them in the extraordinary dimensions of the lobe of the ears as well as in their weapons and method of fighting. Azara says that they differ in the shape of their barbote, which is said to resemble that of the Charruas. To reiterate an observation we have already made, we say that none of the Machicuys we have seen showed any marks of the opening intended for the reception of this savage ornament, which they are abandoning, after the example of the Brazilian Botocudos, whilst certain tribes of the ancient continent religiously preserve it. In the same way the Berrys, a black nation on the borders of the Saubat, a tributary on the right bank of the Nile, pierce their lower lip, in order to insert a piece of crystal more than an inch long.

“In height, formation, and proportions the Machicuys are similar to the Lenguas, and like them they have small eyes, broad faces, large mouths, flat noses, and wide nostrils. Their hair is allowed to hang loosely, and its thick curls partly cover their faces and fall on their shoulders.

“The language of these nations, like that of all the Indians of the Chaco, is strongly accentuated and full of sounds that require an effort to be forced from the nose and throat; it contains double consonants extremely difficult to pronounce.”

Moxos and Chiquitos.—The interior and, to some extent, central regions of South America lying north of the Chaco, have been called by the Spaniards the “Provinces of the Moxos and Chiquitos,” from the names of the two principal families of Indian race living in these countries.

The Moxos inhabit vast plains, subject to frequent inundations and overrun by immense streams, on which they are constantly obliged to navigate in their boats. They are the ichthyophagists of the river districts of the interior.

The land of the Chiquitos is a succession of mountains inconsiderable[432] in height, covered with forests and intersected by numerous small rivers. They are husbandmen and have fixed abodes.



The Chiquitos live in clans, each of which has its own little village. The men go about naked, but the women wear a flowing garment, which they like to ornament. These Indians are gifted with a happy disposition and amiable manners; they are sociable, hospitable, inclined to gaiety, and passionately fond of dancing and music. They have become permanently converted to Christianity. Their physical characteristics include a large and[433] spherical head, almost always circular, a round, full face, prominent cheekbones, a low, arched forehead, a short nose, slightly flattened and with narrow nostrils, small horizontal eyes, full of expression and vivacity, thin lips, fine teeth, a mediocre mouth, little beard, and long black, glossy hair, which does not whiten in extreme old age, but grows yellow.

The manners of the Moxos are strongly analogous to those of the Chiquitos. Their colour is an olive brown, and their stature of the average height. They have not very vigorous limbs, their nose is short and not very broad, their mouth of medium size, their lips and cheekbones but little prominent; their face is oval or round, and their countenances mild and rather merry. This race dwells on the confines of Bolivia, Peru, and Brazil.

Before the conquest these tribes were established on the banks of the rivers and lakes. They were fishers, hunters, and more especially agriculturists. The chase was a relaxation for them; fishing a necessity; husbandry afforded them provisions and drinks. Their customs, however, were barbarous. Superstition made a Moxos sacrifice his wife in case she miscarried, and his children if they happened to be twins. The mother rid herself of her offspring if it wearied her. Marriage could be dissolved at the will of the parties to it, and polygamy was frequent. These Indians were all, more or less, warriors; but tradition and writings have only preserved for us the memorials of one single nation, the members of which were cannibals and devoured their prisoners. The counsels of the missionaries have modified the manners of this people, without removing all its savage usages.

Both the Moxos and the Chiquitos have broad shoulders, extremely full chests, and most robust bodies.

Each of these two races includes a certain number of hordes which we see no necessity for alluding to particularly here, for their half wild habits resemble those of the tribes we have just commented on; and for similar reasons we shall pass over in silence the other races ranked in the Pampean family, and whose names have been enumerated in a preceding page.

Guarany Family.

The Guarany Family is spread over an immense space, from the Rio de La Plata as far as the Caribbean Sea. Its principal[434] characteristics consist of a yellowish complexion, a little tinged with red, a middle stature, a very heavy frame, a but slightly arched and prominent forehead, oblique eyes turned up at the outer angle, a short, narrow nose, a moderate-sized mouth, thin lips, cheekbones without much prominence, a round, full face, effeminate features, and a pleasing countenance.

D’Orbigny has established two divisions only in this family, namely, the Guaranis and the Botocudos.

Guaranis.—At the period of the discovery of South America, all that portion of the continent lying to the east of the Paraguay and of a line drawn from the sources of that river to the delta of the Orinoco, was inhabited by numberless indigenous nations, belonging to two great families. One of these families was that of the Guaranis, diffused over the whole of Paraguay, and allied with the wild tribes of Brazil; the other included the races occupying the more northern provinces, and extending to the gulf of Mexico. The Indians appertaining to both these families strongly resemble each other in features as well as complexion, and d’Orbigny attributes to them the same physical type, one marked by a yellowish colour, medium height, foreheads that do not recede, and eyes frequently oblique and always raised at the outer angle.

The entirely exceptional aptitude which the Guarany nation has evinced for entering on the path of social improvement, renders it one of the most interesting in South America. The Southern Guaranis, or natives of Paraguay, include at the same time the tribes who have submitted to the sway of the missions, in the establishments which the Jesuits have formed in the country, and others who still roam in freedom throughout the forests of that province. Besides the Guaranis, properly so called who are all Christians, and inhabit thirty-two rather extensive villages situated on the borders of the Parana, the Paraguay, and the Uruguay rivers, there exists a certain number of wild hordes belonging to the same race, who remain hidden in the depths of the woods. These tribes bear names derived in most instances from those of the rivers or mountains in whose vicinity they dwell, and among the principal of them are mentioned the Topas, Tobatinguas, Cayuguas, Gadiguès, Magachs, etc.

M. Demersay, who has visited the Jesuit establishments in Paraguay,[435] also traversed the forests inhabited by the wild races of which we are speaking, and the results of his observations were published by him in the “Tour du Monde” in 1865. We shall avail ourselves here of those parts of his narrative which refer to the savage nations of Paraguay.

“The history of the American races,” says M. Demersay, “might be comprised in a few pages. Some have accepted the semi-servitude which the conquerors imposed on them; the others, more rebellious, preferred to struggle, and have been destroyed; those who still struggle will also perish. The nations which chose subjection rather than death, have, by mingling their blood in strong proportions with that of the Europeans, only disappeared as a race in order to enter as an integral and sometimes dominant element into the American nationalities. The great family of the Guaranis forms the most striking example of this intimate fusion offered to the notice of the ethnologist.

“But in its midst, side by side with the unsubdued hordes of the Grand Chaco, so remarkable for their fine proportions, there exists yet another tribe, small in numbers, whose ranks grow thinner every day, and which on the eve of its disappearance, has bequeathed intact to the present generation, along with its complete independence, its creeds, its customs, and the glorious traditions of its ancestors.

“At the time of their discovery, the Payaguas, as this valiant race is called, were divided into two tribes, the Gadiguès and the Magachs, who lived on the banks and numerous islands of the Rio Paraguay, towards 21° and 25° S. latitude. Their dwelling places were by no means fixed; masters of the river and jealous of its control, they started from Lake Xarayes, and made distant excursions on the Parana as far as Corrientes and Santa Fé on one side, and to Salto Chico on the other.

“A rather rational etymology which has been proposed for the name of these Indians, is that of the two Guarany words ‘pai’ and ‘aguaà,’ which signify, ‘tied to the oar,’ a meaning quite in unison with their habits. In the term ‘Paraguay,’ applied as the denomination of the river, before it became the name of the province, some have wished to perceive a corruption of ‘Payagua,’ a likely enough derivation, and one which seems to us highly admissible.

“Whatever there may be in this supposition, the value of[436] which we shall not discuss here, this unconquered and crafty nation was during two centuries the most redoubtable adversary of the Spaniards. The writers on the conquest, the works of Azara, the ‘Historical Essay’ of Funes, and numerous documents preserved in the archives of Assumption, contain a recital of their daring enterprises.

“. . . What their numbers were in the first half of the XVIth century it is impossible to say with certainty; but the old narratives, which do not seem on this point to deserve the reproach of exaggeration more than once and with justice attributed to them, estimate them as no fewer than several thousand combatants. In Azara’s time the entire tribe scarcely reckoned a thousand souls, and at the present day it cannot count two hundred.

“Their stature is remarkable, and unquestionably surpasses that of most nations of the globe. The measurements of eight individuals, taken at random, would justify the application of this epithet to the Payaguas, as they gave me an average of 5ft. 9in. The women’s height is no less striking: that of four females over twenty was—the first and second, 5 feet; the third, 5 feet 2 inches, and the fourth, 5 feet 334 inches; or an average of 5 feet 114 inches. Many conclusions may be drawn from this double series of measurements. On comparing the average stature of the Payaguas with that of mankind in general, which physiologists agree in fixing at about 5 feet 6 inches, it will be seen that the difference in favour of the former is no less than 3 inches. And further, if we place in comparison the measurements taken by accurate travellers of the races which pass for the tallest on the globe, of the Patagonians for instance, we find that their average height as stated by M. d’Orbigny is 5 feet 7 inches. Consequently the Payaguas actually surpass by two inches the height of a race which has from time immemorial been regarded as fabulously tall.

“The Payaguas are invariably lanky, none but the women ever showing signs of corpulence. Their shoulders are broad and the muscles of their chests, arms, and backs display a development produced by constant use of the oar, for they live in their canoes; but, as a species of compensation, the predominance of the proportions of the upper limbs causes the lower extremities to appear slight and meagre.



“Their skin, smooth and soft to the touch, like that of the[437] natives of the New Continent, is of an olive-brown shade, which it would be difficult to define more accurately. It seems somewhat[438] lighter than that of the Guaranis, and does not exhibit the same yellowish or Mongolian tints.

“The Payaguas carry their massive heads erect, and have an abundant supply of long, straight, or slightly curly hair, which they cut across the foreheads, and never comb, allowing it to grow and fall about them in disorder. The young warriors alone partly gather it at the back of the crown where it is tied by a little red string, or by a strap cut from a monkey skin. A similar custom obtains among the Guatos of Cuyaba, who, we may say incidentally, have more resemblance to this nation than to the Guaranis, though a learned classification has placed them side by side with the latter. Their small, keen eyes, a little contracted but not turned up at the outer angle, have an expression of cunning and shrewdness, and the lines of the long slightly rounded nose recall the Caucasian conformation to the mind. Their cheekbones are but little prominent; their lower lip protrudes beyond the upper, thus imparting to their grave and impressive countenances an expression of scornful pride, well in keeping with the character of this unsubdued race.

“The women when young are well-proportioned without being slight, but they fatten early, their features become deformed, and their figures grow squat and dumpy. To atone for this, however, their hands and feet always retain a remarkable smallness, although they walk barefooted and take no care whatever of their persons. I have also observed this delicate formation, a distinction which European ladies covet so much, among the tribes of the Chaco, who are, with the Payaguas, the finest in America. Their hair is allowed to float about the shoulders and is never confined.

“A young girl on emerging from childhood undergoes tattooing. By means of a thorn and the fruit of the genipa, a bluish streak, about half an inch wide, is drawn perpendicularly across the forehead and down the nose as far as the upper lip; and when she marries this stripe is prolonged over the under lip to below the chin. Its shades vary from violet to a slate-coloured blue, and its marks are indelible. Some women add other lines to this, as well as designs traced with the flaming tint of the urucu; this latter fashion, however, though general half a century ago, and which Azara describes minutely, has become more and more uncommon.


“The Payaguas go about naked in their tents (toldos), but out of doors they wear a small cotton garment encircling them from the pit of the stomach to just below the knee. This piece of cloth which they lap round their bodies in the style of the chiripa of the creoles, is one of the few productions of their ingenuity. Its manufacture devolves upon the women, and they make it with no other help than that of their fingers, without using either shuttle or loom. Some others content themselves with a short shirt, devoid of collar or sleeves, rather like the tipoy of the Guarany. Nevertheless the use of clothing seems to become every day more familiar to all of them; and amongst those I saw roaming through the streets of Assumption not one was satisfied, as in former times, with covering his limbs with paintings representing vests and breeches.

“Other ancient customs have also disappeared, such as that which the men had of wearing, as the case might be, either the barbote or a little silver rod analogous to the tembeta of the wild Guaranis or Cayaguas. Others are only resumed at rare intervals or at certain epochs, on which solemn occasions long tufts of feathers fixed on the top of the head are seen to reappear, and all manner of fanciful patterns tattooed in bright colours on face, arm, and breast; as well as necklaces of beads or shells, and lastly bracelets of the claws of capivaras, rolled round wrist and ankle. But the tradition of this elaborate ornamentation has been religiously preserved by the paye or medicine-man of the tribe.

“The Payaguas live on the left bank of the Rio Paraguay. They never take up their abode on the opposite side, where the Indians of Chaco, with whom they are always at war, would not be slow to attack them. Their principal hut (tolderia) is erected on the river’s edge, and consists of a large oblong cabin from twelve to fifteen feet high, and made with bamboos laid on forked poles and covered over with unplaited cane mats. Jaguar or capivaras’ skins are spread on the ground for beds, and weapons and fishing and household utensils hang on the posts sustaining the frail roofing of the dwelling, or lie pell-mell with earthen vessels, in a corner.

“. . . The very limited occupation of this people constitutes nevertheless their sole resource, for they are perfectly ignorant of[440] husbandry, and cultivate neither maize, potatoes, nor tobacco. They are fishermen, spend their lives on the water, and become early in life very expert sailors. Sometimes they are to be seen in the stern of a canoe, letting it float with the current while watching their lines; at another, standing upright in a row, they bend to their oars in good time and make the little craft fly along with the swiftness of an arrow. Their boats are from five to a little over six feet in length, and between two and a half to three feet wide; they are hollowed from the trunk of a timbo, and terminate in a long tapering point at each end.



“Their paddles are sharpened like lances, and form in their hands very formidable weapons, to which must be added bows and arrows, as well as the macana. They are cruel in warfare, and grant no quarter except to women and children. Their method[441] of fighting shows no peculiarity. They attack the Indians of the Chaco by falling upon them unawares and endeavouring to surprise them, but they take good care not to move far from the rivers, for those tribes of famous horsemen would soon overcome them in the open country.



“This nation, as the reader has doubtless surmised, lives in a state of absolute liberty and complete independence of the government of the Paraguayan Republic, which imposes neither tax nor statute labour upon it, but on the contrary pays the Payaguas for any services that are exacted of them, whether as messengers on the river or as guides in the expeditions directed against the wild hordes that wander along the right bank.

“. . . Being desirous to become acquainted with, and to be able to sketch at my ease, in the midst of all the savage luxury of his garb, the individual who was entrusted with these functions,[442] I contrived to get him to come to my house arrayed in the emblems of his high dignity and accompanied by some other Indians. The promise of a certain quantity of his beloved liquor, coupled with the prospect of an evening’s drunkenness, speedily got the better of his reluctance.

“On the day named the paye came to see me. He was an old man, somewhat bent with years, but with nothing repulsive in his countenance, notwithstanding the disfiguration of the features, which is always premature and so remarkable among the natives. His hair was still black and confined in a fillet bordered with beadwork, over which was a tuft of feathers, while nandu plumes waved behind his head; a necklace of bivalve shells was on his neck, and from it hung, as a trophy, a whistle made from the arm-bone of an enemy. He was quite naked beneath his sleeveless and collarless vest which consisted of two jaguar-skins, and wore strings of capivaras’ claws round his ankles. Finally, his right hand contained an elongated gourd, and he held in his left a long tube of hard wood, which I had some difficulty in recognizing as a pipe.

“The curtain rises. The sorcerer gave the pipe to his companion, whose duty consisted in lighting it, and, taking it again, inhaled several puffs which he blew noisily into the calabash through the orifice bored in it; then, without removing it from his lips, he began shouting, sometimes slowly and sometimes rapidly, uttering alternately the syllables ‘ta, ta’, and ‘to, to, to’, with extraordinary, inexpressible, reiterations of voice and piercing yells. He gave way at the same time to violent contortions, and executed a measured series of leaps, now on one foot, and now on both joined together. This performance did not last any length of time, and on a pretext of fatigue he was not long without coming to a stand-still. A bumper was indispensable in order to set him on his legs again, and the monotonous chant immediately recommenced.

“My drawings being finished, I at last broke up the sitting to the general satisfaction of my guests, and dismissed them, having first purchased his pipe and whistle from the paye. The former article was made of hard and heavy wood and covered with regular tracings engraved on the surface with a good deal of skill. It was about a foot and a half long, ornamented with gilt nails, and pierced by a tube which was widened at one end and terminated[443] at the other by a mouth-piece. This pipe is also to be found among other neighbouring nations, as well as among the Tobas and Matacos on the banks of the Pilcomayo. It gives an idea of those enormous cigars made from a roll of palm or tobacco leaves, which played so important a part in Brazil, in the ceremonies of the Tupinambas, and among the Caraibs of the Antilles, on all occasions when the question of peace or war had to be decided, when the shades of ancestors were to be conjured up, etc., and which the first navigators mistook for torches.”



The Western Guaranis include the tribes known by the names of Guarayis, Chiriguanos, and Cirionos, the first of which have been converted by the Jesuits. Between the province of the Chiquitos and that of the Moxos there are still some hordes of wild Guarayis. The uncivilized Chiriguanos are barbarians, very formidable to their neighbours. The natives of a hundred and sixty villages of the Andes, comprised between the great Chaco river and that of Mapayo, in the province of Santa Cruz de la[444] Sierra, speak the Guarany language in all its purity. The barbarous Cirionos, among whom a dialect of that tongue is in use, dwell to the north of Santa Cruz.

The Eastern Guaranis of Brazil include the Brazilian aborigines. The general language of the country does not seem to differ more from Guarany, than Portuguese does from Spanish. The Caryis, Tameyi, Tapinaquis, Timmimnes, Tabayaris, Tupinambis, Apontis, Tapigoas, and several other tribes occupy the maritime districts situated to the south of the mouth of the Amazon, speaking the Tupi tongue with little or no alteration.

During their voyage to Brazil, of which an account was published in the “Tour du Monde,” in 1868, M. and Madame Agassiz visited many Indian tribes, and examined their habitations in the midst of the woods. We extract a few pages from their description.

“We arrive at the sitio,” writes Madame Agassiz, “and disembark. These dwellings are usually located on the banks of a lake or river, within a stone’s throw of the shore in order that fishing and bathing may be better within reach. But this one was more retired, being placed at the extremity of a pretty by-path winding beneath the trees, and on the summit of a little hill, the slopes of which at the other side plunged into a broad and deep ravine through which flowed a rivulet. The ground beyond rose undulating in uneven lines, on which an eye accustomed to the uniformly flat country of the upper Amazon cannot rest without pleasure. Wait for the time of the rains, and the brook, swollen by the increase of the river, will almost bathe the foot of the house, which, from the top of the little eminence, at present commands the valley and the embanked bed of the tiny stream. Great, consequently, is the difference between the appearance of the same places in the dry and the wet seasons. The residence consists of several buildings, the most remarkable of which is a long open hall in which the brancas (whites) of Manaos and of the neighbourhood dance when they come, as is not infrequent, to spend the night at the sitio, in high festivity.



“I learned these particulars from the old Indian lady who did me the honours of the house. A low wall, from three to four feet in height, skirted this shed. At its sides and along[445] the whole length were placed raised wooden seats, and both ends were closed from floor to roof by thick blinds made of glittering palm-leaves, as fine as they were handsome, and of a pretty straw colour. In a corner we found an immense embroidery loom (Penelope’s was doubtless like it), which was occupied at the moment by a hammock of palm fibre, an unfinished work of the ‘senhora dona’, or mistress of the house, who allowed me to see the way in which she used the machine. She squatted herself on a little low bench, in front of the frame, and showed me that the two rows of cross threads were separated by a thick piece of polished wood in the shape of a flat rule. The shuttle is thrown between these two threads and the woof is drawn close by a sharp blow of the thick rule. I was then led to admire some hammocks of various colours and textures which were being arranged for the accommodation of the visitors, and whilst the men set off to bathe in[446] the brook, I went through the rest of the lodge with our hostess and her daughter, a very pretty Indian. The direction of everything devolves on the elder of the two ladies; the master is absent, as he holds a captain’s commission in the army operating against Paraguay.



“On the same carefully-kept piece of ground where the hall I have described is situated, there are several casinhas or small buildings, more or less close to each other, which are covered with thatch, and merely consist of a single apartment (fig. 198). Then comes a larger cottage, with earthen walls and bare floor, containing two or three rooms, and with a wooden verandah in front. This is the private abode of the senhora. A little lower down the hill is the manioc sifting-house, with all its apparatus.[447]
No place could be better kept than the courtyard of this sitio, where two or three negresses have just been set to work with brooms of thin branches in their hands.



“The manioc and cocoa plantation surrounds these buildings, with a few coffee trees peeping out here and there. There is a difficulty in judging of the extent of these farms, as they are irregular, and comprise a certain variety of plants; manioc, cocoa, coffee, and even cotton being cultivated together in confusion. But this part of the estate, like all the rest of the establishment, seemed larger and better cared for than those usually seen. As we were departing, our Indian hostess brought me a nice basket filled with eggs and abacatys, or alligator’s pears, according to the local name. We returned home just in time for the ten o’clock meal, which draws everyone together, both idlers and workers. The sportsmen had returned from the forest, laden with tucanas, parrots, paroquets, and a great variety of other birds, while the fishermen brought fresh treasures for M. Agassiz.

“We left the dinner-table, and while taking coffee under the trees, the president proposed an excursion on the lake at sunset. . . . . The little craft glided between the glowing sunset and the glitter of the deep sheet of water, seeming to borrow its hues from each. It rapidly drew near, and was soon quite close, when a burst of joyous shouts broke forth, and was merrily responded to by us. Then side by side the two boats descended the stream together, the guitar passing from one to the other, as Brazilian songs alternated with Indian airs. Nothing could possibly be imagined bearing the national impress more strongly marked, more deeply imbued with tropical tints, more characteristic, in fine, than this scene on the lake. When we arrived at the landing-place the rosy and gold-tinged mists had become transformed into a mass of white or ashen-grey vapour, the last rays of the sun were fled, and the moon was shining at its full. In ascending the gentle slope of the hill, someone suggested a dance on the grass, and the young Indian girls formed a quadrille. Although civilization had mingled its usages with their native customs, there were yet many original traits in their movements, and this conventional dance was deprived of much of its artificial character. At length we returned to the house, where dancing and singing recommenced, whilst groups seated on the ground here and there[449]
laughed and chatted, all, men and women, smoking with the same gusto. The use of tobacco, almost universal among females of the lower class, is not altogether confined to them. More than one senhora delights to puff her cigarette as she rocks in her hammock during the warm hours of the day.” Fig. 200 represents some natives of French Guyana, who closely resemble the Brazilian negroes we have just mentioned.

French Guyanans


The Ouragas are affiliated to the Brazilio-Guarany race, with a few other tribes very closely allied to them. They form one of the nations most widely spread over the northern parts of South America. They were formerly in possession of the banks and islands of the Amazon river for a distance of five hundred miles from the mouth of the Rio Nabo.

The Caribbee race has a close affinity to the Guarany. The Indians who have given their name to this group, one of the most numerous and extensively scattered of the southern continent, are those celebrated Caribs who in the sixteenth century occupied all the islands from Porto Rico to Trinidad, and the whole of the Atlantic coast comprised between the mouth of the Orinoco and that of the Amazon, that is to say, as far as the Brazilian frontier.

The Tamanacs belong to the same family, and live on the right bank of the Orinoco, but their numbers are at the present day greatly reduced. The same remark applies to the Arawacs or Araocas, to the Guaranns, who are said to build their houses upon trees, to the Guayquerias, Cumanogots, Phariagots, Chaymas, &c. Humboldt has written of the latter:

“The expression of countenance of the Chaymas, without being harsh and fierce, has in it something sedate and gloomy. The forehead is small and but little prominent; the eyes are black, sunken, and lengthy, being neither so obliquely set nor so small as those of the Mongolian race. Yet the corners perceptibly slant upwards towards the temples; the eyebrows are black or dark brown, thin, and not much arched; the lids fringed with very long eyelashes; and their habit of drooping them, as if heavy with languor, softens the women’s look and makes the eye thus veiled appear smaller than it really is.”


The Botocudos (fig. 201) who dwell round the Rio Doce, in Brazil, have been cannibals, and are still to the present day the most savage of all Americans. They wear collars of human teeth as ornaments. Perpetually wandering and completely naked, they take a pleasure in adding to their natural ugliness, and impart a more repulsive appearance to their countenances by a habit they have of slitting their under lip and ears, in order to introduce “barbotes” into the openings thus made.



In his “Travels in Brazil,” M. Biard saw some Botocudos. One, who seemed to him to be the chief, carried, like his companions, in an opening in the lower lip, a “barbote” consisting of a bit of wood somewhat larger than a five-shilling piece. He made use of this projection as a little table, cutting up on it, with the traveller’s knife, a morsel of smoked meat which had then only to be slipped into his mouth. This method of utilizing the lip as a table struck M. Biard as thoroughly original. The comrades of this Botocudos had also large pieces of wood in the lobes of their ears.



The members of the North American Branch present more decided differences among themselves than those in the southern division, so far as race is concerned, but their characteristics are merged one in the other. Nevertheless, the populations inhabiting respectively the south, the north-east, and the north-west can be considered as forming so many distinct families, which we shall pass in review in succession.

Southern Family.

The southern family of the Northern Branch still preserves much resemblance to the families of the southern branch which we have just been considering. The complexion of its members is rather fair, the forehead depressed, and the figure tolerably well proportioned.

This group embraces a great number of tribes speaking different languages, peculiar to the central part of the northern continent. The principal among these nations are the Aztecs, or primitive Mexicans, and the Moya and Lenca Indians.

Aztecs.—When the Spaniards landed in Mexico, they found there a people whose customs were far removed from those of savage life. They were very expert in the practice of different useful and ornamental arts, and their knowledge was rather extensive, but thorough cruelty could always be laid to their charge.

The Aztecs were intelligent and hard-working cultivators. They knew how to work mines, prepare metals, and set precious stones as ornaments. Superb monuments had been erected by[453] them, and they possessed a written language which preserved the memorials of their history. Those who dwelt in the region of the present Mexico were advanced in the sciences; they were profoundly imbued with the sentiment of religion; and their sacred ceremonies were full of pomp, but accompanied by expiatory sacrifices revolting in their barbarism. They carried their annals back to very remote antiquity. These annals were traced in historical paintings, the traditional explanation of which was imparted by the natives to some of their conquerors, as well as to a few Spanish and Italian ecclesiastics.



The principal events recorded in these archives relate to the migrations of three different nations, who, leaving the distant regions of the north-west, arrived successively in Anahuac. They were the Toltecs, Chichimecas, and Nahuatlacas, divided into seven distinct tribes, one of which was that of the Aztecs, or Mexicans. The country whence the first of[454] these people came was called Huehuetlapallan, and they commenced their exodus in the year 544 of our era. Pestilence[455] decimated them in 1051, and they then wandered southwards, but a few remained at Tula. The Chichimecas, a barbarous race, arrived in Mexico in the year 1070, and the incursion of the Nahuatlacas, who spoke the same language as the Toltecs, took place very soon afterwards. The Aztecs, or Mexicans, separated themselves from the other nations, and in 1325 they founded Mexico. In a word, the former inhabitants of Mexico were immigrants from a country situated towards the north, on the central plateau of Anahuac, and their successive migrations had continued during several centuries long prior to the discovery of America by the Europeans.



The ancient portraits of the Aztecs and the faces of some of their divinities are remarkable for the depression of the forehead, from which results the smallness of the facial angle—a peculiarity which appears to have belonged to the handsome type of the race.

The aboriginal Mexicans of our own time are of good stature and well proportioned in all their limbs. They have narrow foreheads, black eyes, white, well-set, regular teeth, thick, coarse, and glossy black hair, thin beards, and are in general without any hairs on their legs, thighs, or arms. Their skin is olive coloured, and many fine young women may be seen among them with extremely light complexions. Their senses are very acute, more especially that of sight, which they enjoy unimpaired to the most advanced age.

The native Indians forming part of the Mexican population are characterized by a broad face and flat nose, recalling somewhat the lineaments of the Mongolian cast of countenance. They may be judged of from Figs. 202, 203, 204, and 205, which represent aborigines of the interior and coast of Mexico.

M. Roudé, who has published the narrative of his travels in the state of Chihuahua, brought back accurate drawings illustrative of the usages and customs of the population of the Mexican capital.

The ladies envelope themselves very gracefully in their rebosso, with which they cover the head, partly hiding the face, and only allowing their eyes to be seen. Among the wealthy this rebosso is generally of black or white silk, embroidered with designs in bright and gaudy colours. Women of the lower classes wear a rebosso of blue wool dotted with little white squares. Their[456] petticoat is short, and its lower part embroidered with worsted work. The favourite colour for this latter garment among common people is glaring red.



The men’s costume (fig. 206) is richer and more varied than that of the women. On Sundays it is laced with silver; white trowsers are indispensable, and they are covered by another pair made of leather, open along the sides from the waist downwards, and ornamented with a row of silver buttons. A China crape sash is wound round the waist, and the vest is of deerskin or velvet with silver embroidery. The sombrero has a very broad brim, is made of straw or felt, and decorated with a thick twisted band of black velvet or of silver gilt lace. The sarapé is spangled with striking colours and with varied patterns, and the men possess a special talent for draping themselves gracefully in it.




The place above all others where the popular life of the inhabitants of Mexico should be studied is in the markets (fig. 207). There may you see Indians, creoles, and foreigners, beggars in rags and rich citizens, black frock coats, embroidered deerskin jackets, threadbare uniforms, soldiers, muleteers, porters, monks of all shades, shod and shoeless Carmelites, all elbowing each other fraternally. There Basil throws the lengthening shadow of his fantastic head-gear on the wall of the neighbouring church; there dealers in hats, poultry, or wooden trays offer their wares to buyers; there pretty fruit and flower girls, tidy servant maids of some decent house, or winsome Chinas with sparkling eyes, pass to and fro draped in their rebossos. They bear on the upturned palms of the left hand, on a level with the shoulder, and in the most artistic manner, a basket full of green plants, or the graceful red earthenware cantaro painted and glazed, and filled with water.

Through this noisy crowd the water-carrier (aguador), clothed in leather, treads his way with short steps, bearing on his back an[458] enormous red earthen jar, fastened by means of two handles and a broad strap to his forehead, which is protected by a little cap of leather; another band passing across the top of the crown supports a second and much smaller pitcher, hanging before him at his knees.




If a person wishes to become acquainted with Mexico, it is among the lower orders that he must study the country. The people are good; eager for knowledge, notwithstanding the want of instruction, and full of energy in spite of their long bondage. He need be on his guard against the higher classes only, a small minority spoiled by the priests, whose influence is all-powerful. The ignorance of the monks, who swarm in this land, is doubled by an intolerable vanity that inspires them with antipathy to all progress.



The people of Mexico are very simple in their habits. Broth (pilchero) and the national dish, frijoles (beans), form the ordinary fare of the middle class, to which a stew of spiced duck is sometimes added. They allay their thirst with pure water, contained in an immense glass, which holds from one to two quarts. This flagon is placed in the centre of the table, and is the only one that appears on the board, from which decanters and bottles, and very often even knives and forks, are banished.[460] Each in turn steeps his lips in this cup, returning it to its place or passing it to his neighbour. Besides, Mexicans in general do not drink except at the end of the meal. In the evening the circle is swelled by a few friends; guitars are taken down from the wall, and some simple ballads are sung to mournful airs, or they dance to the same measure.



The Aztecs, or primitive Mexicans, like their predecessors, the Toltecs, were, as we have said, strangers in Anahuac. Before their arrival this plateau had been inhabited by different races, some of which had acquired a certain degree of civilization, whilst others were utterly barbarous. The Aztecs spread themselves extensively in Central America.

The Olmecas are mentioned among the most ancient tribes, and they are supposed to have peopled the West India Islands and South America. This nation shared the soil of Mexico with the Xicalaucas, Coras, Tepanecas, Tarascas, Mixtecas, Tzapotecas, and the Othomis. The last named and the Totonacs were two barbarous races occupying the country near Lake Tezcuco, previously to the coming of the Chichimecas. Whilst all the other known languages of America are polysyllabic, that of the Othomis is monosyllabic.

Farther to the north, and beyond the northern frontiers of the Mexican empire, dwelt the Huaxtecas. The Tarascas inhabited the wide and fertile regions of Mechoacan, to the north of Mexico, and were always independent of that kingdom. Their sonorous and harmonious tongue differed from all the others. In civilization and the arts they advanced side by side with the Mexicans, who were never able to subdue them; but their king submitted without resistance to the rule of the Spaniards.

Moyas and Lencas.—These are tribes which still live in a wild state in the forests situated between the Isthmus of Panama and that of Thuantépec, but an inquiry into their manners and customs would offer no features of interest. The life of savage nations exhibits an uniformity which greatly abridges our task.

North-eastern Family.

In the fifteenth century the North-eastern family occupied[461] that immense expanse of North America which is comprised between the Atlantic Ocean and the Rocky Mountains, but all its nations are now reduced to a few far from numerous tribes, confined to the west of the Mississippi.

The distinguishing qualities of the red race are strongly marked among these groups. A complexion of a light cinnamon-colour, a lengthened head, a long and aquiline nose, horizontal eyes, a depressed forehead, a robust constitution, and a tall stature constitute their principal physical characteristics, to which must be added senses sharpened to an extraordinary degree. They have a habit of painting their bodies, and especially their faces, red. Their disposition is proud and independent, and they support pain with stoical courage.

Almost all these Indian tribes have already disappeared in consequence of the furious war waged upon them by the Europeans. Those that lived in olden times on the declivities of the mountains facing the Atlantic are very nearly extinct. Among such are the Hurons, Iroquois, Algonquins, and the Natchez, rendered famous by Chateaubriand, and the Mohicans, whom Cooper has immortalized.

We cannot speak detailedly here of these different nations, but in order to give an idea of them we shall open Chateaubriand’s “Voyage en Amérique,” and, having quoted a few lines from it, we will make the reader acquainted with the pith of the observations made in our own day in these same countries by contemporary travellers.

Speaking of the Muscogulges and the Simnioles, Chateaubriand writes in the following terms:

“The Simnioles and the Muscogulges are rather tall in stature: and, by an extraordinary contrast, their wives are the smallest race of women known in America; they seldom depass a height of four feet two or three inches; their hands and feet resemble those of an European girl nine or ten years old. But nature has compensated them for this kind of injustice: their figure is elegant and graceful; their eyes are black, extremely long, and full of languor and modesty. They lower their eyelids with a sort of voluptuous bashfulness; if a person did not see them when they speak, he would believe himself listening to children uttering only half-formed words.”

The great writer passed along the borders of the lake to which[462] its name has been given by the Iroquois colony of the Onondagas, and visited the “Sachem” of that people:

“He was,” says Chateaubriand, “an old Iroquois in the strictest sense of the word. His person preserved the memory of the former customs and bygone times of the desert: large, pinked ears, pearl hanging from the nose, face streaked with various colours, little tuft of hair on the top of the head, blue tunic, cloak of skins, leathern belt, with its scalping-knife and tomahawk, tattooed arm, mocassins on his feet, and a porcelain necklace in his hand.”

The following is the sketch of an Iroquois:

“He was of lofty stature, with broad chest, muscular legs, and sinewy arms. His large round eyes sparkled with independence; his whole mien was that of a hero. Shining on his forehead might be seen high combinations of thought and exalted sentiments of soul. This fearless man was not in the least astonished at firearms when for the first time they were used against him; he stood firm to the whistling of bullets and the roar of cannon as if he had been hearing both all his life, and appeared to heed them no more than he would a storm. As soon as he could procure himself a musket, he used it better than an European. He did not abandon for it his tomahawk, his knife, or his bow and arrows, but added to them the carbine, pistol, poniard, and axe, and seemed never to possess arms sufficient for his valour. Doubly arrayed in the murderous weapons of Europe and America, with his head decked with bunches of feathers, his ears pinked, his face smeared black, his arms dyed in blood, this noble champion of the New World became as formidable to behold, as he was to contend against, on the shore which he defended foot by foot against the foreigner.”

With this terrible portrait Chateaubriand contrasts the blithe countenance of the Huron, who had nothing in common with the Iroquois but language:

“The gay, sprightly, and volatile Huron, of rash, dazzling valour, and tall, elegant figure, had the air of being born to be the ally of the French.”

We now come to travellers of our own day. Fig. 210 is a sketch of the costumes of the wild Indians dwelling at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Missouri, and who bear the name of Creeks.





In his travels through the United States and Canada, M. H. Deville had an opportunity of visiting an establishment of Iroquois. These savages were remarkable for their reddish colour and coarse features. They wore round hats with broad brims, and robed themselves in Spanish fashion in a piece of dark cloth.

The manufacture of the native coverings for the legs and feet forms the principal occupation of the women, and under the pretext of purchasing some of their handiwork M. Deville entered several Iroquois dwellings.

Divested of the thick mantle worn by them out of doors, the women had assumed a long, coloured smock-frock with tight-fitting pantaloons that reached to the ankles, and their varnished shoes allowed coarse worsted stockings to be seen. Earrings and a gold necklace constituted their chief ornament. Their hair is drawn up to the top of the head and tied there in a knot. To say that their features are agreeable would be untrue, but in early youth their figures are rather handsome. Work, order, and cleanliness reign in their household. Their brothers and husbands are wood-cutters, steersmen, or conductors of rafts.

The same traveller met with some Chippeway Indians on the heights of Lake Pepin. Their stature was tall, but they had coarse features, and a skin of a very dark reddish colour. Half their face was covered by a thick layer of vermilion extending as far as their hair, which was plaited over the crown. They wore long leather gaiters, tied at the sides by innumerable thongs, and over a sort of tattered blouse was thrown a large woollen blanket, which completely covered them. One individual, armed with a long steel blade shaped like a dagger, had stuck his pipe in his hair.

In his “Voyage dans les Mauvaises Terres du Nebraska,” M. de Girardin (of Maine-et-Loire) describes his journey across part of the Missouri basin occupied by some free and wild Indians.

He brought back with him sketches and illustrations of those tribes, the principal among which are the Blackfeet, and the Dacotas, or Sioux, and was present at a grand council of the latter nation, The chiefs of the various clans, clad in their most brilliant costumes, harangued the warriors, whilst a score of young braves, without any other covering than a thick coat of vermilion[465] or ochre, made their steeds curvet and executed numberless fanciful manœuvres. The horses were painted yellow, red, and white, and had their long tails decked with bright-coloured feathers.



An immense tent, composed of five or six lodges of bison-skins, was erected in the centre of the camp. The chiefs and principal warriors formed a circle, in the midst of which the agent, the governor of Fort St. Pierre, and his interpreters were stationed. According to Indian custom, the grand chief lit the calumet of peace, a magnificent pipe of red stone, the stem of which was a yard long and adorned with feathers of every hue. After some impassioned orations the council refused the travellers permission to pass over their territory in order to reach that of the Blackfeet.

Fig. 211 represents the encampment of these Indians visited by M. de Girardin: fig. 212 is a sketch of one of their horsemen, and fig. 213 a likeness of a Sioux warrior, all from the pencil of the same gentleman.

M. de Girardin happened to go to another camp, that of an old[466] chief of the same tribe. It consisted of five or six tents, conical in shape, and made of bison-skins. Remarkable for their whiteness and cleanliness these habitations were covered with odd paintings which portrayed warriors smoking the calumet, horses, stags, and dogs. Numerous freshly scalped locks were hanging at the end of long poles. At the side of each tent, a kind of tripod supported quivers, shields of ox-hide, and spears embellished with brilliant plumage. A few young warriors of strongly marked features, with aquiline noses and herculean forms, but hideously daubed in black and white paint, were engaged in firing arrows at a ball which was rolled along the ground or thrown into the air.



The chiefs made the travellers seat themselves on skins of bears and bisons, and conversed with the interpreter, whilst M. de Girardin remained exposed to the curiosity of the young folks, women, and children. The girls ventured so far as to search his pockets and extract from them his knife, pencils, and notebook. The most inquisitive, a fine girl with very soft eyes[467] and magnificent teeth, perceiving he had a long beard wished to assure herself that he was not shaggy all over like a bear, when[468] the traveller took it into his head to put a little powder into the hand of the pretty inquisitor and lit it by means of a glass lens, an incident which gave a tremendous fright to the assemblage.



During a journey to the north-east of America in 1867, M. L. Simonin had an opportunity of visiting a Sioux village, and we avail ourselves of a few of his descriptions. It consisted of about a hundred huts, made with poles and bison skins, or pieces of stitched cloth. The entrance to them was by a low narrow hole covered over with a beaver skin. A fire blazed in the centre of each hovel, and around it were pots and kettles for the repast. The smoke which escaped at the top rendered this abode intolerable. Beds, mattresses, cooking utensils, quarters of wild bison, some raw, others dried and smoked, were scattered here and there. Half-naked children, girls and boys, scampered about outside, as well as troops of dogs that constituted at once their protectors, their vigilant sentinels, and their food.

M. Simonin went inside many of the huts, where warriors were silently playing cards, using leaden balls for stakes. Others, accompanied by the noise of discordant singing and tambourines, were playing at a game resembling the Italian “mora,” the score of which was marked with arrows stuck in the ground. Some tents, in which sorcery, or “great medicine,” was being practised, were prohibited to the visitor. The women were sitting in a ring round some of the wigwams, doing needle-work, ornamenting necklaces or mocassins with beads, or tracing patterns on bison skins.

Some old matrons were preparing hides stretched on stakes, by rubbing them with freestone and steel chisels set in bone handles. The squaws of the Sioux, on whom, moreover, all domestic cares fall, are far from handsome. They are the slaves of the man who purchases them for a horse or the skin of a bison. The great Sioux nation numbers about thirty-five thousand individuals.

The same gentleman from whom we have just been quoting, was enabled to make some observations among the Crows, a tribe of Prairie Indians who are neighbours of the Sioux. Their features are broadly marked, their stature gigantic, and their frames athletic, while, according to M. Simonin, their majestic[469] countenances recall the types of the Roman Cæsars as we see them delineated on antique medals.

The traveller was admitted into the hut of the chiefs, where the “Sachems” were seated in a circle, and as he touched their hands successively, they uttered a guttural “a hou,” a sound which serves as a salutation among the Red Skins. He smoked the calumet.

These men had their cheeks tattooed in vermilion. They were scarcely covered; one had a woollen blanket, the next a buffalo hide or the incomplete uniform of an officer, while the upper part of another’s body was naked. Several wore collars or eardrops of shells or animals’ teeth. Hanging from the neck of one was a silver medal bearing the effigy of a President of the United States, which he had received when he went on a mission to Washington in 1853; and a horse, rudely carved in the same metal, adorned the breast of another of their number.

M. Simonin was afterwards present at a council of the Crow Indians, but we do not intend to give any report of this conference of savages, of which, however, the reader may form some idea by casting a glance at fig. 214.

In dealing with the relations existing between the wild Indians of North America and the civilized inhabitants, that is to say, the Americans of the United States, M. Simonin enters into some interesting reflections which we believe we ought to reproduce.

“A singular race,” says M. Simonin, “is that of the Red Skins, among whom Nature has so lavishly apportioned the finest land existing on the globe, a rich alluvial soil, deep, level, and well watered; still this race has not yet emerged from the primitive stage which must be everywhere traversed by humanity at the outset—the stage of hunters and nomads, the age of stone! If the Whites had not brought them iron, the Indians would still use flint weapons, like man before the Deluge, who sheltered himself in caverns and was contemporary in Europe with the mammoth. Beyond the chase and war, the wild tribes of North America shun work; women, among them, perform all labour. What a contrast to the toiling, busy population around them, whose respect for women is so profound! This population hems them in, completely surrounds them at the present day, and all is over with the Red Skins if they do not consent to retire into the land reserved for them.





“And even there will industry and the arts spring up? How poorly the Red race is gifted for music and singing is well known: the fine arts have remained in infancy among them; and writing, unless it consists in rude pictorial images, is utterly unknown. They barely know how to trace a few bead patterns on skins, and although these designs are undoubtedly often happily grouped and the colours blended with a certain harmony, that is all. Industry, apart from a coarse preparation of victuals and the tanning of hides and dressing of furs, is also entirely null. The Indian is less advanced than the African negro, who knows at least how to weave cloths and dye them. The Navajoes, alone, manufacture some coverings with wool.

“The free Indians of the Prairies, scattered between the Missouri and the Rocky Mountains, may be reckoned at about a hundred thousand, while all the Indians of North America, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, are estimated at four times that number. These calculations may possibly be slightly defective, statistics or any accurate census being quite wanting. The Red men themselves never give more than a notation of their tents or lodges, but the assemblage of individuals contained in each of these differs according to the tribe, and sometimes in the same tribe; hence the impossibility of any mathematically exact computation.

“In the north of the Prairies the great family of the Sioux numbering thirty-five thousand is remarkable above all others. The Crows, Bigbellies, Blackfeet, &c., who occupy Idaho and Montana, form, when taken altogether, a smaller population than the Sioux—probably about twenty thousand. In the centre and south, the Pawnees, Arapahoes, Shiennes, Yutes, Kayoways, Comanches, Apaches, &c., united, certainly exceed forty thousand in number. The territories of Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico are those which these hordes overrun. The Pawnees are cantoned in Nebraska, in the neighbourhood of the Pacific Railway, and the Yutes in the ‘parks’ of Colorado.

“These races possess many characteristics in common; they are nomadic, that is to say, they occupy no fixed place, live by fishing, or above all by hunting, and follow the wild buffalo in its migrations everywhere.

“A thoroughly democratic régime and a sort of communism control the relations of members of the same tribe with[472] each other. The chiefs are nominated by election, and for a period, but are sometimes hereditary. The most courageous, he who has taken the greatest number of scalps in war or has slain most bisons, the performer of some brilliant exploit or a man of superior eloquence, all these have the right to be chosen chiefs. As long as he conducts himself well a chief retains his position; if he incur the least blame his successor is appointed. Chiefs lead the tribes to battle, and are consulted on occasions of difficulty, as are also the old men. The braves are the lieutenants of the chiefs, and hold second command in war. There is no judge in the tribes, and each one administers justice for himself and applies the law at his own liking.

“All these nations hunt and make war in the same manner, on horseback; with spear, bow and arrows, in default of revolvers and muskets, and using a buckler as a defence against the enemy’s blows. They scalp their dead foe and deck themselves with his locks; pillage and destroy his property, carry away his women and children captives, and frequently subject the vanquished, above all any white man falling into their hands, to horrible tortures before putting him to death.

“The squaws to whom the prisoner is abandoned exhibit the most revolting cruelty towards him, tearing out the eyes, tongue, and nails of their victim; burning him, chopping off a hand to-day, and a foot to-morrow. When the captive is well tortured, a coal fire is lighted on his stomach and a yelling dance performed round him. Almost all Red Skins commit these atrocities phlegmatically towards the Whites when engaged in a struggle with them.

“Tribes often make war among themselves on the smallest pretext, for a herd of bisons they are pursuing, or a prairie where they wish to encamp alone. They have not indeed any place reserved, but they sometimes wish to keep one so, to the exclusion of every other occupant. Nor is it uncommon for the same tribe to split itself into two hostile clans. A few years ago the Ogallallas when maddened by whisky fought among themselves with guns, and have been broken up ever since into two bands, one of which, the ‘Ugly-Faces,’ is commanded by Red Cloud, and the other, by Big-Mouth and Pawnee-Killer.



“The languages of all the tribes are distinct; but perhaps a linguist would recognize among them some common roots, in the[473] same way as in our own day they have been found to exist between European tongues and those of India. These languages[474] all obey the same grammatical mechanism; they are ‘agglutinative,’ or ‘polysynthetic,’ and not ‘analytic’ or ‘inflected,’ that is to say, the words can be combined with each other to form a single word expressing a complete idea; but relation, gender, number, etc., are not indicated by modifications of the substantive. I pass over the other characteristics which distinguish agglutinative from inflected languages. The dialects of the Red Skins have not, or seem not to have, any affinity in the different terms of their vocabulary, which is, besides, often very limited.

“In order to comprehend each other the tribes have adopted by common accord a language of signs and gestures which approximates to that of the deaf and dumb. In this way all the Indians are capable of a mutual understanding, and a Yute, for instance, can converse without difficulty for several hours with an Arrapahoe, or the latter with a Sioux.

“The Whites are not acquainted with the languages of the Prairie Indians, or know them very badly. Frequently, there is but one interpreter for the same tongue, often a very poor one, merely understanding the idiom he has translated, not speaking it. Many, à fortiori, are not able to write the language which they interpret. Neither Dr. Mathews, John Richard, nor Pierre Chêne could spell for me in English characters the names of the Crow chiefs. How would it be in the case of the Arrapahoes or Apaches, whose strongly guttural speech is only accentuated by the tips of the lips?

“In all this it must be understood that I speak only of the tribes of the Prairies, and not of those who lived in olden times on the declivities of the mountains overlooking the Atlantic or skirting the Mississippi. The majority of the latter are, as is known, extinct, the Algonquins, Hurons, Iroquois, Natchez and Mohicans, and it is also well to avow that France has contributed in a large measure to their disappearance.

“The residue of these tribes, which I shall term Atlantic—Delawares, Cherokees, Seminoles, Osages, and Creeks—is now cantoned in the reserves, especially in the Indian Territory, where little by little the Red Skins are losing their distinctive characteristics. Histories and authentic documents regarding all these races are extant, whilst only very little is known up to the present concerning those of the Prairies.[475] The greater part of the legends and traditions with which people endow them are only due to the invention of travellers.




“It is towards a new territory analogous to the one just mentioned, and bordering upon it, that the Commissioners of the Union have recently pushed back the five great nations of the south; while they intend to indicate a reserve of the same kind in the north of Dacota to the Crows and the Sioux, if they find them well disposed to accept it.

“And then, people may say, what will become of the Indians? For this is the question which every one asks when he hears the Red Skins spoken of. If the Prairie tribes go into the reserves, the same will happen to them which has befallen those of the Atlantic borders; little by little they will lose their customs, their wild habits; they will yield insensibly to the sedentary and agricultural life, and, step by step—last phase, of which the first example remains to be seen—their country will pass from the rank of a territory to that of a state. Arrived at this final stage the Indian will be altogether blended with the White; after a few generations he will not perhaps be more distinguishable from him than the Frank is discernible from the Gaul among us, or the Norman from the Saxon in England.

“But if the Indian does not submit; if he will not consent to be cantoned in the reserves? Then must ensue a death-struggle between two races differing in colour and customs, a merciless war of which, unfortunately, so many examples have already been seen on the same American soil. Where are now the Hurons, Iroquois, and Natchez, who amazed our ancestors? The Algonquins, who had no limits to their territory, where and how many are they to-day? All have gradually disappeared by disease or warfare.

“The war which will break out this time will be short, and it will be final, for in it the Indian will finally sink. He has on his side neither science nor numbers. Undoubtedly, by his ambushes, by his flights, by his isolated and totally unforeseen attacks, he bewilders scientific warfare, and the most able strategists of the United States, with General Sherman at their head, have been beaten by the Indians, who have gained no small share of glory against the Whites. But the next war will be no longer one of regulars but of volunteers. The pioneers of the territories will arm themselves, and if the Red man demands tooth for tooth, eye for eye, the Whites will inflict upon him the inflexible penalty of retaliation, and the Indian will disappear for ever.”




In the narrative of his travels from the Mississippi to the coasts of the Pacific Ocean, made in 1853, M. Mollhausen has given[478] various details concerning the remnants of the nearly extinct Atlantic tribes.

The Choctaws, to the number of twenty-two thousand souls, are spread over the regions bordering on Arkansas on the east, the plains inhabited by the Chicksaws on the south, and those occupied by the Creeks on the west, while their neighbours to the north are the Cherokees.

The vast plains which adjoin the Choctaw territories, are used for the pastimes of the Indians, and especially for their game of ball or tennis. The Choctaws, Chicksaws, Creeks, and Cherokees are passionately attached to this amusement. A challenge borne by two able performers usually gives rise to the festival, and having arranged the day for the contest, the players dispatch their heralds to all quarters. These emissaries are tattooed horsemen, accoutred in a fantastic style. Carrying a ceremonial racket, they repair from village to village and hut to hut, proclaiming throughout the entire tribe the names of the individuals who have proposed the match, and making known the day of the struggle and the place of meeting. As each of the actors is accompanied by his relatives, half the nation is often found assembled at the appointed locality on the eve of the solemn day, some to take part in the fray, and the others to bet upon the result. This game (fig. 218) is a tremendous tussle, a general scrimmage in which almost the whole tribe is engaged.

Between the Canadian border and Arkansas, sprinkled with flourishing farms, is the fertile domain of the Creek Indians. It is not so long since the warriors there covered themselves with whimsical tattooing; but progress has to-day penetrated into these savannas, and these same Indians to-day read a newspaper printed in their language.

Like the Choctaws, the Creeks formerly inhabited Alabama and Mississippi, which they ceded for a pecuniary consideration to the American government. Their numbers do not amount to more than twenty-two thousand.

A similar estimate may be made of the Cherokees, who have abandoned New Georgia for higher Arkansas.

Further off are the Shawnees, a nation which is reduced to about fourteen hundred members, and yet was once one of the most powerful in North America. They were the first to oppose resistance to the encroachments of civilization, and hunted from[479]
everywhere have strewn the bones of their warriors along their route.



The Delawares, who have diminished to the insignificant total of eight hundred individuals, originally inhabited the eastern parts of the States of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Their fate resembled that of the Shawnees; being ever obliged to subdue new territories which they were afterwards compelled to yield to the government. Driven from the plains which contained the tombs of their forefathers, deceived and betrayed by the strangers, the Delaware Indians have repelled Christian missionaries. Placed at the extreme limits of civilization, on the very border of virgin nature, they devote themselves fearlessly to their adventurous propensities. They go to hunt the grizzly bear in California, the buffalo on the plains of Nebraska, the elk at the sources of the Yellowstone, and the mustang in Texas, scalping a few crowns on their way. A Delaware only requires to see a piece of land once, in order to be able to recognize it after the lapse of years, no matter from what side he may approach it; and wherever he sets his foot for the first time, a glance suffices to enable him to discover the spot where water should be sought for. These Indians are admirable guides, and on their services, which cannot be too dearly paid for, the existence of a whole caravan often depends.

Comanches.—The great and valiant nation of the Comanche Indians, which is divided into three tribes, overruns in every direction the vast expanse of the Prairies: outside those green savannahs they would be unable to live. Those of the north and of the centre are ever hunting the buffalo, and the flesh of that animal constitutes almost their sole sustenance. From the most tender childhood till advanced age they are in the saddle, and a whip and bridle render the Comanche the most expert, agile, and independent of men. They gallop in thousands over the Prairies hanging to the sides of their steeds, and directing their arrows and spears with marvellous skill at their mark. They plume themselves on being robbers, attack the establishments of the Whites, lead men, women, and children away prisoners, and carry off the cattle.

Fig. 219 represents two Comanche Indians; fig. 220, one of their encampments, and fig. 221, a buffalo hunt among the same tribe.


Apaches.—The Apache nation is one of the most numerous of New Mexico, including many tribes, several of which are not even known by name.



The Navajoes belong to this group. They are the only Indians of New Mexico who keep large flocks of sheep and pursue a pastoral life. They know how to weave the wool of their flocks, of which they manufacture thick blankets fit to compete with the productions of the west, twisting bright colours into these rugs in a way that imparts to them a very original appearance. Their deerskin leggings are made with the[482] utmost care, and have thick soles and a pointed end, shaped like a beak, a necessary precaution against the thorny cactus plants with which the soil bristles. Their head-gear consists of a leathern cap in the form of a helmet, adorned by a bunch of cock’s, eagle’s, or vulture’s feathers. In addition to bows and arrows, they carry long lances which they handle very skilfully as they dash along on their fleet steeds.



In the last rank of the Apache nation are to be placed the tribes of the Cosninos and Vampays, thievish, savage, and suspicious hordes with which it has been found impossible to[483]
establish any relations, and who are natives of the mountains of San Francisco. Cedar-berries, the fruit of a species of pine-tree, and the grass and root of a Mexican plant, constitute their means of subsistence, for they are wretched hunters.



Within sight of the Rio Colorado M. Mollhausen encountered some Indians belonging to the three tribes of the Chimehwebs, Cutchanas and Pah-Utahs, who bear a resemblance to each other. Their complexion was dark in colour, their faces striped with bistre, and their black hair hung down their backs in locks which were confined with wet clay. They were of fine stature, and perfectly naked but for a waistband. They bounded forward like deer to meet the travellers, and their expression of countenance was frank, kind, and merry. Their women on the contrary were small, thickset, and clumsy, but their large black eyes and pleasant manners gave them a certain charm.

The travellers also fell in with the Mohawk Indians (fig. 222), men of herculean forms who were tattooed from the roots of the hair to the sole of the foot in blue, red, white and yellow, and with eyes that glowed like coals under this layer of paint. Most of them wore vulture’s, magpie’s, or swan’s feathers on the top of their heads, and carried large bows and spears in their hands.

Mr. Catlin made numerous excursions among the Indian tribes of the plains of Columbia and Upper Missouri, and we shall quote presently his remarks concerning the Nayas and Flat-Heads.

Both these nations dwell to the west of the Rocky Mountains, occupying all the country situated round Lower Columbia and Vancouver’s Island. The latter tribe derives its name from the singular custom which exists among them of flattening their children’s heads at their birth.

The Flat-Heads (fig. 223) live in a region where very little in the way of food is to be found except fish, and their lives are spent in canoes. The artificial deformity which constitutes the national characteristic is to be found more especially among the women, with whom it is almost universal; but it is only a question of fashion, and does not appear to have any perceptible effect on the functions of the organs, for persons whose heads have been compressed seem as intelligent as those who have not undergone this strange operation.




Mr. Catlin says:

“In the course of the year 1853 I found myself on board the Sally Anne, a little vessel flying the star-spangled flag, which having made a few trading cruises along the coast of Kamtschatka[486] and Russian America, was on her way to land in British Columbia several passengers who had been attracted thither by the reputation of the auriferous deposits newly discovered in that country.

“On the third day from our entry into Queen Charlotte’s Sound, the long and magnificent strait separating Vancouver’s Island from the continent, we got into the long-boat to go on shore, and arrived at the village of the Nayas. The Indians had been informed of our visit and were all assembled in their huts; the chief, a very dignified man, being seated in his wigwam, with lighted pipe, ready to receive us. We squatted ourselves on mats spread upon the ground, and whilst the pipe was being passed round—this is the first ceremony on such occasions—hundreds of native dogs—half wolves,—which had followed in our track, completely invaded the approaches to the wigwam, barking and howling in the shrillest and most mournful manner. The sentinel whom the chief had stationed at the door to prevent anyone entering without permission, discharged an arrow at the leader of the band, piercing him to the heart, a proceeding which calmed the rest of the pack, which was then dispersed with many blows of oars by the Indian women. We were not a little embarrassed at having no other way of expressing our thoughts than by signs, yet we seemed to understand each other perfectly, and we gathered that the chief had sent to a village at no great distance in search of an interpreter who ought very soon to arrive. I recommended my companions not to breathe a word before his arrival as to our object in visiting the locality, and in the meantime did not myself lose an instant in endeavouring to rouse the interest of our hosts.

“I motioned to Cæsar to bring me the portfolio, and having seated myself beside the chief, opened it before him, while I gave an explanation of each portrait; he expressed no great surprise, and yet took an evident pleasure in examining them. I showed him several chiefs of the Amazons, as well as others of the Sioux, Osages, and Pawnees. The last likeness was a full-length one of Cæsar, on seeing which he could not restrain himself from bursting into the most tremendous fits of laughter, and turning towards the subject of it who was sitting opposite, signed to him to approach, gave him a grasp of the hand and made him[487] place himself beside him. These drawings excited great animation in the assemblage; three or four under-chiefs were anxious[488] to see them, and the chief’s wife and their young daughter came close to us for the same purpose.

Flat Heads


“One detail of their toilette attracted Cæsar’s attention: a man had a round slip of wood inserted in his under lip and the chief’s daughter also carried a similar ornament. Like Cæsar, my companions were ignorant of this strange and incredible custom, and contemplated the Indians thus adorned, with the utmost astonishment.

“The chief’s daughter wore a magnificent mantle of mountain-sheep’s wool and wild-dog’s hair, marvellously interwoven with handsome colours in the most intricate and curious patterns, and bordered all round with a fringe eighteen inches deep. The making of this robe had occupied three women during a year, and its value was that of five horses. The bowl of the pipe which the chief passed round, was of hard clay, black as jet and highly polished, and both it and the stem were embellished with sketches of men and animals carved in the most ingenious manner. I have seen several of these pipes, and have had many in my possession, with their eccentric designs representing the garments, canoes, oars, gaiters, and even the full-length likenesses of their owners. These designs of the Nayas are different from all those we saw among the other tribes of the continent. The same ornaments are found on their spoons, vases and clubs; on their earthenware, of which they make a great quantity; and on everything else manufactured by them. Up to the present these figures are inexplicable hieroglyphics to us, but they possess great interest for archæologists and etymologists.

“I did not find in this Naya Chief the same superstitious dread which the Indians of the Amazon and of other parts in the south of America evinced when I asked them to have their portraits taken; on the contrary he said of his own accord to me: ‘If you think any of us worthy of the honour, or handsome enough to be painted, we are ready!’ I thanked him; Cæsar went for my box of colours and my easel, and I began his likeness and that of his daughter, for he had told me how much he loved this child, adding that it was his rule to have her almost always with him, and that he thought I should do well to draw them together, both on the same canvas. I agreed to his request, telling him at the same time how much I appreciated such natural and noble feelings on his part.




“. . . . As we neared the village a great crowd came to meet us, and I noticed that the throng, especially the women, attached[490] themselves to the steps of Cæsar as he marched solemnly along, his tall figure drawn up to its full height, and with the portfolio on his back. So large were the numbers for so small a village, that I asked the interpreter to explain what this signified. He told me that the news of our arrival and the attraction of the dance which was sure to take place in the evening had drawn and would still draw a vast concourse of Indians from the adjoining districts. At sunset we partook of a meal of venison in the chief’s wigwam, and afterwards set ourselves to smoke until night came on. Then in the midst of dreadful yelling, barking, and singing, we saw about a dozen flaming torches approaching the hut in front of which the dance of masks now began. Grotesque is an imperfect word to convey an idea of the incredible eccentricities and buffoonery that took place before us, and Cæsar was seized with such a fit of laughing as to be almost choked. Picture to yourself, fifteen or twenty individuals, all full-grown men, masked or tricked out in the most extraordinary guise, while many spectators, placed in the first rank, were costumed in similar style. A great medicine man was the conductor of the revels and the most whimsical of all. He represented the ‘King of the Bustards,’ another was ‘Monarch of the Divers,’ a third, ‘Doctor of the Rabbits;’ and there were also the ‘Brother to the Devil,’ the ‘Thunder-Maker,’ the ‘White Rook,’ the ‘Night-travelling Bear,’ the ‘Soul of the Caribout,’ and so on, until the names of every animal and every bird were entirely exhausted. The dancers’ masks, of which I procured several, are very ingeniously made. They are cleverly hollowed from a solid block of wood in such a way as to fit the face, and are held inside by a cross-strap which is taken between the teeth, thus enabling the voice to be counterfeited and disguised; they are covered, moreover, with odd patterns in various colours. With the exception of that of the leader of the dance, all these masks had a round piece of wood in the under lip, to recall the singular custom which exists in the country. Entertainments of this description are not confined to the Nayas, for I have witnessed similar recreations in many other tribes in North as well as South America.



“They also slit the cartilages and lobes of their ears, lengthen them, and insert little billets as ornaments. Those in the lip are principally worn by the women, though some of the men[491] have adopted this fashion, which becomes more and more in vogue among both sexes as the coast is ascended northwards.[492] The same may be said of the masks, which are to be found as far as among the Aloutis. All the women have not the lip pierced, and those who have do not carry the wooden ornament except on certain occasions, at settled periods, when they don full dress. They remove it when eating and sleeping or if they have to talk much, for there are plenty of words which cannot be pronounced with this inconvenient trinket.

“The lip is perforated at the earliest age, and the aperture thus formed, though almost imperceptible at first when the ‘barbote’ is taken out, is kept open and grows larger daily.”

The same traveller had the pleasure of again meeting the Crows, but as we have already spoken of the Indians of this tribe, we shall content ourselves with reproducing here his very picturesque costume of one of their chiefs (fig. 225).

Mr. Catlin twice visited the Mandan Indians in the course of the summer of 1832. The solitary village in which they were collected, to the number of two or three thousand, was on the left bank of the Missouri, at a distance of about 1400 miles from the city of St. Louis. Of medium stature, and comfortably clad in skins, all wore leathern leggings and mocassins elegantly embroidered with porcupine silk dyed in various colours.

Each man had his tunic and his mantle which he assumed or laid aside according to the temperature, and every woman her robe of deer or antelope skin. Many among them had a very fair skin, and their hair, which was silvery gray from childhood to old age, their light blue eyes and oval faces, doubtless testified to an infusion of white blood. Almost all the men adopted a curious fashion, peculiar to this tribe; their hair, long enough to reach the calf of their legs, was divided into matted locks, flattened and separated by hardened birdlime or by red or yellow clay.

North-Western Family.

The Indian tribes composing the North-Western family of the North American Branch, are less warlike and cruel than those of the east. They take no scalps. Their stature is not so tall, their face broader, their eyes more sunken, and their complexion browner. M. d’Omalius d’Halloy cites in this group the Koliouges[493] (from 60° to 50° N. lat.), the Wakisches or Nootkans (Island of Nootka and neighbouring coasts), the Chinooks (mouth of the Oregon), and the Tularenos, or Indians of California.

A detailed description of these different American tribes would be devoid of interest; in fact, we should be only able to repeat with but little alteration what has been said in previous pages concerning the manners, habits, customs, &c., of the last remaining savages who still people the interior of the North American forests.

In connection with the aboriginal inhabitants of California, we must direct the reader’s attention to the fact, that the Californians have a skin of such a deep reddish-brown that it seems black. This colour is certainly exceptional among the primitive inhabitants of America, but the characteristic is so pronounced in the present instance, that we felt that we could not avoid pointing it out, although it may be opposed to the classification which we have adopted, placing in the Red Race all members of the human family proper to America. This exception is one of the inconveniences of classification to which we must submit, without however endeavouring to conceal it.



The Black Race, as considered in the various peoples constituting its type, is distinguished by its short and woolly hair, compressed skull, flattened nose, prominent jaws, thick lips, bowed legs, and black or dark brown skin. Its members are confined to the central and southern regions of Africa and the southern parts of Asia and Oceania. The blacks found in America are the descendants of African slaves transported into the New World by Europeans.

The peoples belonging to the Black Race present great variations. Some have the type altogether peculiar to the Race we have just characterized, while others show a tendency to approach the Yellow and the White Races. The inhabitants of Guinea and Congo are quite black, but the Caffres are only excessively brown and resemble Abyssinians. The Hottentots and Bushmen are yellowish, like the Chinese, though at the same time possessing the features and physiognomy of the Negro.

As striking varieties are, therefore, observable in the Black Race as in the White, and a rigorous classification of it is consequently very difficult to establish; but as we coincide in that which has been suggested by M. d’Omalius d’Halloy, we shall separate the Black Race into two divisions, the Western and the Eastern Branches.



We shall notice three families in the Western Branch of the Black Race, those of the Caffres, Hottentots, and Negroes. These general groups comprise an immense number of tribes, many of them still unknown, constituting a population of about fifty-two millions.

Caffre Family.

The Caffres who inhabit the south-east of Africa form, so to speak, the stepping-stone or intermedium between the brown and the black nations. Their hair is woolly, but their complexion is not so dark nor their nose so flat as those of a Negro. Possessing more aptitude for civilization than the other black races, they are associated together in large communities, each of which obeys a chief, and though half wandering in their habits, occupy some very populous towns, of considerable extent, and resembling vast camps. Their clothing is very scanty, being reduced in the men’s case almost to a cloak, whilst the women are better covered in leathern garments.

The Caffres have great herds of cattle and devote themselves to agriculture. They cultivate maize, millet, beans and watermelons; make bread and beer, and manufacture earthenware, are able to utilize metals, employ iron and copper, and know how to turn both into tools and ornaments. They believe in a Supreme Being as well as in the immortality of the soul, but pervert their religious sentiments by divers superstitions.

The various tribes of this great family possess physical characteristics in common which are not to be found in other African nations. Caffres are far taller and stronger; they have well-proportioned[496] limbs, a brown skin, black and woolly hair; the elevated forehead and the projecting nose of the European with the thick lips of the Negro, and the high prominent cheekbones of the Hottentot. Their language is sonorous, sweet, and harmonious, with a rumbling in its pronunciation.


226.—A CAFFRE.

We class with this family:

1. The Southern Caffres, who include the Amakisas, Amathymbas, or Tamboukis, Amapendas, and other tribes;

2. The Amazulas, Vatwas, and some other warlike wandering hordes who have lately advanced southward into the interior;

3. The inhabitants of Delagoa Bay, who bear a closer resemblance to the Negroes;

4. The Bechuanas and all the numerous tribes situated towards the north and in the interior, speaking a language of their own, called Sichuana.




The Bechuana nations are the most advanced of these four groups. The traveller Livingstone, who made a long stay in their country, has given excellent descriptions of them in his “Expedition to the Zambesi.” They have made progress in arts and civilization, inhabit large towns, have well-built houses, till the soil, and know how to preserve one year’s crop until the next. Their features tend towards an approach to those of Europeans.

In the region of the Tammahas, not far from Marhow, a town of ten thousand inhabitants, fields of corn several hundred acres in extent, testify to a rather forward state of agriculture and industry.

The Maratsi cultivate sugar and tobacco, make knives and razors, construct their houses in masonry, and ornament them with pilasters and mouldings.

We must also affiliate to the Caffres, the inhabitants of the[498] Mozambique coast, that is to say, that portion of the east coast of Africa between the mouth of the Zambesi and Cape Delgado. Fig. 227 represents a typical native of this district.

Hottentot Family.

The Hottentots, whom the Dutch colonists call Bosjesmans or Bushmen, inhabit the southern extremity of the continent. Their skin is of a dark yellowish hue, and it is only in consequence of their features and conformation, which are those of Negroes, that the Hottentots are placed in the Black Race, for if their colour is considered, they should be ranked in the Yellow one.

Prior to the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope by European navigators, the Hottentots formed a numerous people, whose little tribes lived happily and tranquilly under the patriarchal rule of their chiefs or elders. Composed of from three to four hundred individuals only, these hordes roved about with their flocks and assembled in villages, the houses of which being constructed of branches of trees and reed mats, were taken asunder on the signal of departure, and removed by oxen to the site of the new encampment selected by the chief. The wildest of them had for covering a cloak of sheepskins sewn together, and their weapons were a bow and poisoned arrows. This people were active and intrepid hunters, and they found an opportunity of proving to the Europeans that they were brave in war. Their cruel invaders, the Dutch, exterminated the majority of these tribes, others were violently divested of their possessions and hurled back into the forests or the deserts, where their wretched descendants still live.

The Hottentots or Bushmen seem to be the lowest of mankind, as much by their physical characteristics as by the inferiority of their intelligence. They are of small stature, yellowish complexion, and repulsive countenance. Prominent foreheads, small sunken eyes, extremely flat noses, and thick projecting lips, form the distinctive features of their face. In consequence of their miserable state of existence, they become worn out and decrepit early in life. They delight in personal adornment, and deck ears, arms, and legs with beads, and with iron, copper, or brass rings. The women colour the whole or part[499] of their faces; for all covering, they throw over their shoulders a kind of sheepskin mantle.



We give here (fig. 228), as an accurate specimen of the Hottentot race, the portrait (from a cast in the French Museum of Natural History) of a woman of that country, who died at Paris in 1828, and who was known by the name of “The Hottentot Venus.” The physical specialty which rendered her remarkable, and which consisted in a considerable development of the posterior muscles, was merely an individual anomaly, and does not permit of any general conclusion being drawn from it as a characteristic of the Hottentot race. The skeleton of this female is preserved entire in the Museum, where a cast of the whole body, coloured as in life, may also be seen.

The Bushman’s dwelling is a low hut or a circular cavity. They formerly lived in a species of natural caves among the rocks,[500] and a few individuals, even to the present day, occupy these same dens, which convey to us a perfect idea of man’s habitations at the time of his first appearance on the globe.

These wild beings have never been seen engaged in any other occupation than that of making or repairing their weapons and their barbed or poisoned arrows. In times of scarcity, they eat herb-roots, ants’ eggs, locusts, and snakes. Their language is a mixture of chattering, hissing, and nasal grunts.

As regards physical type, the Hottentots are small, but well-proportioned, and erect without being muscular. They are generally extremely ugly. Their nose is usually flat, their eyes long and narrow, very wide apart from each other and with the inner angle rounded as among the Chinese, whom the Hottentots resemble besides in some other respects. Their cheekbones are high set and very prominent, and form almost an equilateral triangle with their sharp-pointed chin. Their teeth are very white. The women sometimes possess pleasing figures in early youth, but later on their breasts lengthen immoderately, their stomach becomes protuberant, and sometimes the hind part of their body is covered with an enormous mass of fat. This inclination was visible to an exaggerated excess in the case of the “Hottentot Venus;” but as we have said, she merely constituted an individual exception, and it would be erroneous to set it down as a general characteristic of the whole Hottentot family.

Negro Family.

The Negroes occupy a large part of Central and Southern Africa. Senegambia, Guinea, a portion of the western Soudan, the coast of Congo, along with the immense extent of country, as yet almost entirely unknown, which is comprised between Congo on the west and the coasts of Mozambique and Zanzibar on the east, are the dwelling-places of the Negroes, properly so called.

Guinea and Congo are the classic homes of the Negro. There live the representatives of this race, with the most characteristic and repulsive features. The belief is, that, as the incursions of Asiatic and European populations into Africa were always effected by the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea, the aboriginal blacks were thrust back more and more towards the west of the[501] continent. The inhabitants of Guinea and Congo would consequently be the descendants and contemporary representatives of the primitive black stock.

Negroes are also to be found in the numerous islands of the Southern Ocean; New Guinea, New Britain, New Caledonia, Australia, Madagascar, &c., &c. In the last named large island, a vast Negro kingdom is in existence, governed by a queen, who sent ambassadors to England and France at the commencement of the present century. Finally, there are Negroes in the United States, and in the West Indies. From 1848, when slavery was declared abolished in the French possessions, the blacks have been free in those colonies, and the gradual emancipation of the Negroes which has taken place since, both in the American and Spanish territories, has completely relieved them from bondage.

We proceed to study the Negroes, firstly as regards organization, and then from the intellectual and moral stand-point.

The physiognomy of the Negro is so strongly distinctive that it is impossible not to recognize it at the first glance, even if the individual should have a fair skin. His protruding lips, low forehead, projecting teeth, woolly and half-frizzled hair, thin beard, broad, flat nose, retreating chin, and round eyes, give him a peculiar look amongst all other human races. Several are bow-legged, almost all have but little calf, half-bent knees, the body stooped forward, and a tired gait.

The masticatory muscles are more powerful in the Negro than in the White, on account of the greater length of the jaw. Their occiput is flatter than that of the White, and the great occipital hole placed further back. Dr. Madden has noticed skeletons of Negroes in Upper Egypt, showing six lumbar vertebræ instead of five, a fact which explains the length of their loins and shambling gait. The hips are less prominent than in a white man. We may add that in this race the trunk is not so broad as in the other human families, the arms are slightly longer in proportion, and the legs rather perceptibly bent, with flat and high placed calves.

The bones of the skull and those of the body are thicker and harder than in the other races.

The bony cavity of the pelvis is much narrower in the Negro than in the European, but it is broader towards the os sacrum, which renders delivery easy to a Negress. Accurate measurements[502] show the upper portion of the pelvis to be a fourth wider in the European than in the Negro.

The thighs also differ in the Negro and the White, being very perceptibly flattened in the former.

The foot participates in this general ugliness of the limbs. Flat feet, which are sufficient to exempt from military service among the French, are not only no deformity in the Negro, but a normal characteristic. Instead of forming that curve which imparts elasticity to the whole frame, the under part of the Negro’s foot is flat, thus rendering it less fitted to support the body on marches. So apparent is this malformation in the black, that they say of him in America, “The sole of his foot makes a hole in the sand;” and it is easy, in consequence, to distinguish by a mere look the footprint of an European from that of a Negro. The first only shows the marks of the toes and heel, while the other is the impress of the entire sole, from one end to the other. Besides, the foot of the Negro is large and narrow, with wide divisions between the toes, while the nails are so sharp and pointed, that they resemble claws.

The complexion of the skin is one of the most apparent, though not most characteristic, attributes of the Negro race. The belief was long entertained that the colour of the blacks resulted from the prolonged action of the sun on their bodies, but observation has shown that such is not the case, and that their extremely dark hue by no means depends either on the intensity or brilliancy of the solar rays. White men are to be found in the central parts of Africa, in the Soudan and the Sahara, for instance, as well as among the Touaricks, whilst black tribes exist in countries subject to the most rigorous cold, such as Van Diemen’s Land, and New Zealand. In another direction, too, quite close to the white Icelanders and Norwegians, people with very dark skins may be seen, like the Laplanders; and in California, a country of cold latitude, the aborigines are, as we have stated, almost black.

The black colour resides in an oily, greasy principle, termed pigmentum nigrum (black pigment), which is deposited in a layer in the mucous tissue on the cuticle. This penetrates into the hair, dyeing it black, and diffuses itself throughout the entire system even to the membranes surrounding the brain. This black mucous net-work appears to protect the skin from the violent action of an African sun, and preserves[503] it from those inflammations which are called sun-strokes in our climate.



Crossing with the White gradually diminishes the Negro’s colour, and in proportion to the preponderance of black or white[504] in its progenitors, the offspring presents various gradations of complexion. The following are the names which according to Valmont de Bomaire are given in the colonies to the issue of the union of the two races: 1. The child of a white man and a Negress, or of a Negro and a white woman, is called a mulatto, who is neither black nor white, but of a blackish yellow hue, and who has short and frizzly black hair. 2. The offspring of a white man and a mulatto woman, or of a Negro and a mulatto woman, is termed a quadroon, who, as regards colour, is a mixture of three-quarters white with one-quarter black, or three-quarters black with one-quarter white. In the first case the complexion is fairer; in the second, darker than that of a mulatto. 3. A white man and a fair quadroon, or a Negro and a dark quadroon produce an octoroon, seven-eighths white and one-eighth black, or seven-eighths black and one-eighth white. 4. The child of a White and an octoroon, or of a Negro and a dark octoroon, is in the one case almost entirely white, in the other, nearly quite black.

Valmont de Bomaire adds, that in succeeding mixed generations (the union with the white man taking place in Europe, and that with the black man, in Senegal) the complexion would grow lighter or darker, until at last a white or a black being was brought into the world. Such is the course of physical influences and the causes of deterioration or relapse in the colour of the human species. Only four or five generations of mixed blood are required in order to render the Negro stock white, and no more are wanted to make the white black. The union of a mulatto with a quadroon or octoroon woman will produce, as may be understood, other hues approaching to white or black in proportion to the progression described above. The progeny of a black and a quadroon is termed “saltatras” in the colonies; the word signifies “a leap-backwards” or a return towards the black race.

Crossings of the Negro with individuals of the Yellow or Red Races, with Asiatic Indians or American red-skins, beget offspring of varied shades of colour, bearing different designations according to the countries. These men of colour are seen in many islands of Polynesia. Possessing neither the intelligence of whites nor the submissiveness of blacks, despised by the former and hated by the latter, they constitute an equivocal caste, with no settled position, and less disposed to labour than revolt.


The colour of his skin takes away all charm from the Negro’s countenance. What renders the European’s face pleasing is that each of its features exhibits a particular shade. The cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin of the White have each a different tinge. On the contrary all is black on an African visage, even the eyebrows, as inky as the rest, are merged in the general colour; scarcely another shade is perceptible, except at the line where the lips join each other.

The skin of Negroes is very porous, so much so that the pores show visibly; but it is far from hard in all cases, being in some instances quite the reverse, smooth, satiny, and extremely soft to the touch.

The most unpleasant thing about a Negro’s skin is the nauseous odour it emits when the individual is heated by perspiration or exercise; these emanations are as hard to endure as those which some animals exhale.

A Negro’s hair is quite peculiar. Whilst that of a White is cylindrical, the Black man’s is flat. It is also short and crisp, like the wool of a sheep, and in contradistinction to the abundant supply of Europeans, the women among whom can even trail their locks on the ground, it only attains the length of a few inches. The beard, also, is very scanty and scarcely covers the upper lip.

The eye of the Negro differs also from that of the white; the iris is so dark as almost to be confounded with the black of the pupil. In the European, the colour of the iris is so strongly marked as to render at once perceptible whether the person has black, blue, or grey eyes. Nothing similar in the case of the Negro, where all parts of the eye are blended in the same hue. Add to this that the white of the eye is always suffused with yellow in the Negro, and you will understand how this organ, which contributes so powerfully to give life to the countenance of the White, is invariably dull and expressionless in the Black Race.

Nature adapts the Negro to the torrid countries he inhabits. His constitution is in general lymphatic and lethargic. His slow, sluggish gait and invincible laziness provoke Europeans, who cannot understand so much indolence. The relaxation of the limbs of the Negro betrays itself by his inertia and drowsiness, as well as by the flabby flesh of the women (Fig. 230).

Negroes are much less subject than Europeans to the influence[506] of stimulants. The strongest spirit, rum, pepper, the most irritant spices, only feebly rouse their inert palate. Their soft, thick, oily skin, smooth and hairless, is encrusted beneath the epidermis, as we have said, with a black mucous deposit which gives it its colour. This viscid film envelopes the nervous ramifications beneath the cuticle, thus blunting the sensibility. The fine and delicate skin of the European experiences horrible torture under the lash; but even when he is torn by leathern thongs, the bleeding weals of which are sometimes, in an excess of barbarity, rubbed with pepper and vinegar, the Negro supports this cruel usage with indifference. Some blacks are seen joining the dance after this punishment, as if nothing had happened.

Before speaking of the brain and understanding of the Negro, we should make some remarks on the facial angle observed in this race. We have said that a relatively exact judgment may be formed from the size of this angle as to the value of a race of mankind, from the intellectual point of view.[10] The more obtuse the angle, the greater indication does it afford of noble and lofty sentiments; the smaller it is, the nearer the head approaches to that of animals. A prominent forehead is the sign of a developed intellect, whilst protruding jaws reveal brute instincts. Consequently, the facial angle increases or diminishes according as the forehead or the jaws project forward. The facial angle of Europeans is about 7612 degrees, sometimes reaching 81. An angle of 90 degrees, that is to say a right angle, is found in the ancient statues of Greece. But by reason of his retreating forehead and prominent jaws the Negro only exhibits a facial angle of from 6114 to 63 degrees, approaching that of the monkey, which in those of the species to which the orang-outang and gorilla belong, is of 45 degrees.

[10] See Introduction, p. 26.

This proportionate weakness of intelligence, revealed to us by the smallness of the facial angle in the Negro, is confirmed by an examination of his brain. The labours of anatomists of our own day have established that not only is it the bulk of the brain which corresponds relatively with intellectual activity, but that the genuine indication revealing the superiority of mind in man consists in the number and depth of the furrows or circumvolutions of the brain. Now the outlines and windings of the cerebral mass in the European are so numerous and deep that[507]
they can scarcely be measured, whilst the complications in the head of the black are, as regards the same qualities, less by one half. The brain of a Negro is also perceptibly smaller than that of a White. It is the front part especially, that is to say the cerebral lobes, which is so much larger in the European, and hence the fine arch of the forehead peculiar to the White or Caucasian race.



The intellectual inferiority of the Negro is readable in his countenance, devoid of expression and mobility. The black man is a child, and like a child he is impressionable, fickle, easily affected by good treatment, and capable of self-devotion, but capable also of hatred in some cases, as well as of working out his revenge. The people of the Black Race living in a free condition in the interior of Africa, demonstrate by their habits and the state of their mind that they can hardly get beyond the level of tribe life; and on the other hand such difficulty is experienced in many colonies, in endeavouring to induce the Negroes (so indispensable has the guardianship of Europeans become to them) to maintain among themselves the benefits of civilization, that the inferiority of their intelligence, compared with that of the rest of mankind, is a fact not to be disputed.

Several instances might doubtless be adduced of Negroes who have surpassed Europeans by their capacity of mind. Generals Toussaint Louverture, Christofle, and Dessalines were no ordinary men, and Blumenbach has preserved to us the names of many illustrious blacks, among whom he mentions Jacob Captain, whose sermons, and theological writings, in Latin and Dutch, are truly remarkable. It is not from individual cases, however, but from the whole, that a judgment must be arrived at, and experience has proved that the Negroes are inferior in intelligence to all known races, not even excepting the savage people of America and the Oceanian islands.

The Negro tribes would be excessively numerous if their children lived, but negligence and laziness cause a notable proportion of their offspring to perish. The continual wars, too, in which they indulge against each other, equally impede the spread of their species, and notwithstanding the fertility of the soil in a great part of Africa, the improvidence and carelessness of the natives bring on real famines which decimate their numbers.


Another cause of depopulation that happily becomes less important every day is the trade which the blacks themselves are most eager to keep up. They sell their children for a packet of beads or for a few flasks of “fire-water.”

Thought grows sad as it carries itself back to the time, not yet very remote, when Negro traffic and slavery, which to-day form the exception, were the universal rule along the whole coast of Western Africa. Negroes then were torn ruthlessly from their country and transported to other climes to be reduced to bondage, or in other words to sacrifice life and strength for their master, and in serving him, to exhaust themselves by toil without gaining as much pity as is extended to beasts of burden. With our animals, in fact, repose succeeds fatigue and food restores vigour; whilst, in colonies subject to Europeans, dread of punishment, the lash, and the most shocking usage, subdued the Negro to forced labour.

This horrible traffic having excited universal indignation for half a century, most States decreed its abolition. France by laws passed between the years 1814 and 1848, definitively emancipated the slaves in all her possessions, and since 1860 or so, almost the whole of America has followed this example. Cruisers are now kept permanently on the coasts of Africa both by England and France, which renders the slave trade, if not impossible, at least difficult and dangerous for the grasping, barbarous men who are not afraid to devote themselves to it still.

This commerce, against which European nations have effected so much, nevertheless, reckons as its partizans the Negroes themselves. The tribes are, in fact, incessantly waging war on each other in order to take prisoners and sell them to the traders who pay prohibited visits to their shores. Even now, convoys of captives, chained together by means of forked sticks, are too often to be seen traversing the forests on their way to a slave-ship moored in some unfrequented creek.

Since the almost general abolition of slavery, many Negro tribes have been remarked to live in better accord among themselves. Fathers have some little love for their children, as they no longer entertain the hope of selling them for a bottle of rum or a glass necklace!

This bondage of the Negroes is not, we may add, a social[510] institution of recent date. The Romans possessed black slaves, and had been preceded by the Egyptians in a custom which, at a period yet more remote, prevailed among the Assyrians and Babylonians. Three thousand years ago the Arabians and Turks carried off Negroes. They ascended the Nile in large vessels, collecting, as they went, the blacks that were delivered up to them in Nubia and Abyssinia, and returning to Lower Egypt with this cargo of human cattle, sold it for slaves.

A cruelty which occasionally approaches ferocity is the sad attribute of some African tribes. Molien said of the inhabitants of Fouta-Toro, that those Negroes had derived nothing from civilization but its vices, and the same reproach is applicable to some of the modern tribes. The natives of Dahomey, a Negro kingdom extending along the shores of the Gulf of Guinea, distinguish themselves among all other blacks by their callous and revolting inhumanity. To kill and slay is to them a pleasure, which anyone who can indulge in it rarely denies himself, and the post of executioner is sought for by the richest and most powerful in the land as affording an opportunity for the most coveted enjoyments. To form an idea of a similar excess of savagery and depravity, the shocking account should be read in the “Tour du Monde,” narrated from personal experience by Doctor Répin, who passed through Dahomey in 1856. We cannot attempt to reproduce here the picture of such cold-blooded barbarity.

The Negroes impose heavy labours on their women. Among them the wife is merely a helper in toil, a servant the more. Making flour and bread, tilling the ground, and the most fatiguing occupations, are the Negress’s lot in her own country; and it has been said, perhaps rightly, that the former slavery was possibly a benefit to her, as she at any rate changed tyrants. The Negress grinds the corn by placing it in a hollow stone and crushing it with a round flint, the flour falling through a hole in the stone and being received in a mat laid on the floor.

The religious notions possessed by the Negroes are very dim; they doubtless believe in a supreme God, in a creator; but addict themselves in excess to the practices of fetishism. Their fetishes are a kind of secondary divinities, subordinate to the great God, master of nature. Each person chooses for fetish whatever he likes—fire, a tree, a serpent, a jackal, water, a hog, down to a[511] piece of wood shaped by the hand of man. The worship of the serpent is in much favour among the inhabitants of Dahomey. They construct tents and dwellings for these reptiles, rear them in great numbers, and allow them to rove about wherever they please. Immediate death would follow any attempt to kill or pursue the fetish serpents.

Negro village


Belief in the power of chance or destiny predominates among these rude men. They feel that events do not depend on their own will, but upon some hidden influence which directs everything, and which it is necessary to render favourable to them. Hence the magicians and soothsayers whose duty it is to avert evil fate or hurtful destinies, and hence also the incalculable quantity of fetishes. Each Negro has his own, to which he offers sacrifice so long as he obtains something from it, and[512] which he abandons the moment he recognizes its uselessness. Lamentable effect of the natural degradation of these races!

The sad defects of the Negro in his savage state should not cause his aptitudes to be forgotten. When he has been snatched from tribe life, or freed from the chains that weighed him down, the black manifests qualities which deserve to be brought into relief.

Let us remark firstly, that the Negroes, or the mulattoes resulting from their union with the whites, are often gifted with an extraordinary memory which gives them a great facility for acquiring languages. They are not slow to appropriate the language of the people amidst whom they are placed. They speak English in North America, Spanish in the Central and Southern parts of the New World, and Dutch at the Cape of Good Hope. They can even change their tongue with their masters. If a Dutch Negro enters the service of an Englishman, he will abandon his former idiom for that of the latter, and will forget his old mode of speech. Nay more, their memory sometimes retains widely diverse languages at the same time. Travellers have met negro traders in the centre of Africa, having connections with different nations, who expressed themselves in several tongues, and understood both Arabic and Koptic as well as Turkish.

The towns inhabited by the Negroes resemble European cities sometimes so much as to be mistaken for them; there is only a difference of degree in their civilization and knowledge when compared with those of Europe. Towns, properly so called, in the interior of Africa are however very much scattered, but travellers bring to light fresh information concerning the country every day, and the future will perhaps reveal to us particulars about the civilization of Central Africa, of which we have as yet hardly a suspicion.

Negroes are not bad accountants; they calculate mentally with great rapidity, far surpassing Europeans in this respect.

The industrial arts are pursued with some success by many black tribes. Iron can be extracted from its ores easily enough to admit of the trades of founders and blacksmiths being carried on in every Negro village, and some excellent handicraftsmen in both these callings are to be found in Senegambia and several of the interior regions.





Fermented drinks, such as beer, sorgho wine, &c., are also manufactured with considerable skill.

Negroes possess the talent of imitation to a very remarkable extent. They seize hold of and are able faithfully to mimic a person’s particular characteristics or behaviour if they show any ludicrous peculiarities. Negro humour is also generally gay and pleasant. They like to laugh at their masters and overseers, the children of the house, &c., and delight in making themselves merry at their expense.

Yet this imitative faculty inherent to blacks, does not go so far as to endow them with any artistic talents. Drawing, painting, and sculpture are unknown to Negroes, and it is impossible to infuse into them the smallest capacity for such subjects, either by lesson or advice. Their temples and dwellings are, in fact, only decorated with shapeless scratches; Africans of the present day are utterly unskilled in drawing and sculpture.

Negroes, if thus obtuse to the plastic arts, are on the contrary very easily affected by music and poetry. They sing odd and expressive recitatives at their festivals and sports, and in some Negro kingdoms a caste of singers is even to be met with, which is alleged to be hereditary, and whose members are also at the same time the chroniclers of the tribe.

Musical instruments are rather plentiful among the Africans. In addition to the drum, which holds so prominent a place in the music of the Arabs, they use flutes, triangles, bells, and even stringed instruments, with from eight to seventeen strings, the latter being supplied from the tail of the elephant. They also possess instruments fashioned from the rind of cucumbers, forming a sort of rude harp. The Mandigoes who live on the banks of the Senegal, about the middle of its course, have a species of clarionet, from four to five yards long.



“The Negroes,” says Livingstone, in his “Expedition to the Zambesi,” “have had their minstrels; they have them still, but tradition does not preserve their effusions. One of these, apparently a genuine poet, attached himself to our party for several days, and, whenever we halted, sang our praises to the villagers in smooth and harmonious numbers. His chant was a sort of blank verse, and each line consisted of five syllables. The song was short when it first began, but each day he picked up more information about us, and added to the poem, until our praises[515] grew into an ode of respectable length. When distance from home compelled him to return, he expressed his regret at leaving us, and was, of course, paid for his useful and pleasant flatteries. Another, though less gifted son of Apollo, belonged to our own party. Every evening, while the others were cooking, talking, or sleeping, he rehearsed his songs, which contained a history of everything he had noticed among the white men, and on the journey. In composing, extempore, any new piece, he was never at a loss; for, if the right word did not come, he didn’t hesitate, but eked out the measure with a peculiar musical sound, meaning nothing at all. He accompanied his recitations on the sausa, an instrument held in the fingers, whilst its nine iron keys are pressed with the thumbs. Persons of a musical turn, too poor to buy a sausa, may be seen playing vigorously on a substitute made[516] of a number of thick sorgho-stalks sewn together, and with keys of split bamboo. This makeshift emits but little sound, but seems to charm the player himself. When the sausa is played with a calabash as a sounding board, it produces a greater volume of sound. Pieces of shell and tin are added to make a jingling accompaniment, and the calabash is profusely ornamented.”

The music of the Negroes is not confined, it may be remarked, to simple melody. They are not satisfied with merely playing the notes sung by the voice, but have some principles of harmony. They perform accompaniments in fourths, sixths, and octaves, the other musical intervals being less familiar to them, except when sometimes employed to express irony or censure. The advanced state of music amidst the Negro tribes is all the more noticeable from the fact that among ancient European races, among the ancient Greeks, at the most brilliant epoch of their history, for instance, no idea whatever prevailed of harmony in music.

The faculties of the blacks can consequently in certain respects become developed, and it is established that Negroes who live for several generations in the towns of the colonies, and who are in perpetual contact with Europeans, improve by the connection, and gain an augmentation of their intellectual capacities.

To sum up, then, the Negro family possesses less intelligence than some others of the human race; but this fact affords no justification for the hateful persecutions to which these unfortunate people have been the victims in every age. At the present day, thanks to progress and civilization, slavery is abolished in most parts of the globe, and its last remnants will not be slow to disappear. And thus will be swept away, to the honour of humanity, a barbarous custom, the unhappy inheritance of former times, repudiated by the modern spirit of charity and brotherhood; and with it will vanish the infamous traffic which is called the slave-trade.

No little time will, however, be needed in order to confer social equality on the enfranchised Negro. We cannot well express the scorn with which the liberated blacks are treated in North and South America. They are hardly looked on as human beings, and notwithstanding the abolition of slavery, are invariably kept aloof from the white population. Centuries will[517] be required to efface among Americans this rooted prejudice, which France herself has had some trouble in shaking off, since an edict of Louis XIV. cancelled the rank of any noble who allied himself with a Negress, or even with a mulatto woman.

The general assuagement of manners and customs will ultimately, it must be hoped, entirely obliterate these distinctions, so cruel and unjust to the unhappy people whom a fatal destiny has condemned to a state of perpetual martyrdom, without their having done anything to deserve it, beyond coming into the world beneath an African sky.



The Eastern Blacks, who have also been called Melanesians and Oceanian Negroes, inhabit the western part of Oceania and the south-east of Asia. Their complexion is very brown, sometimes increasing in darkness until it reaches intense black. Their hair is frizzled, crisp, flaky, and occasionally woolly. Their features are disagreeable, their figures of little regularity, and their extremities often lank. They live in tribes or small divisions, without forming themselves into nationalities.

We shall divide them into two groups, one, the Papuan Family, composed of peoples among whom the characteristics indicated above, are the most developed; the other, the Andaman Family, made up of tribes which more resemble the Brown Race, and probably result from a mixture of it with the Black one.

Papuan Family.

The Papuan Family seems to dwell only in small islands or on the coasts of larger ones. Two groups of peoples are observable in it, one, resembling the Malays, consists of the Papuans, who inhabit the New Guinea Archipelago, and the other, resembling the Tabuans, occupies the Fiji Islands, the New Hebrides, New Caledonia, and the Solomon range. We proceed to say a few words as to the manners and customs of these different sections of the Black Race.

Papuans.—A remarkable feature presented by the Papuans, is the enormous bulk of their half-woolly hair. Their skin is dark brown, their hair black, and their beard, which is[519] scanty, is, as well as their eyebrows and eyes, of the same colour. Though they have rather flat noses, thick lips and broad cheekbones, their countenance is by no means unpleasant. The women are more ugly than the men, their withered figures, hanging breasts, and masculine features render them disagreeable to the sight, and even the young girls have a far from attractive look.

Members of the Black Race
P. Sellier, p.t Imp. Dupuy, 22, R. des Petits Hôtels G. Regamey, lith.

Lesson considered the Papuans fierce, inhospitable, crafty men, but the inhabitants of Havre de Doresy and generally of the northern part of this Oceanic region, as far as the Cape of Good Hope, seemed to him of great mildness and more disposed to fly from Europeans than to hurt them. He thinks, nevertheless, that the Negroes in the south of New Guinea, pushed back into that part of the island, and whom no intermixture has altered, have preserved their savage habits and rude independence. The state of perpetual hostility in which they live renders their character distrustful and suspicious. Never did Lesson visit a village, in a small boat manned by a fair number of men, that women, children, old men, and warriors did not take to flight in their large canoes, carrying off with them their movables and most precious effects. He adds, that by good treatment and plenty of presents, people may succeed in making way with them, may be able to lull their uneasiness and establish friendly relations. The coloured Plate accompanying this part of the work represents a native of the Papuan Islands.

Vitians.—The first accurate information about the Viti or Fiji Islands is due to Dumont d’Urville. Mr. Macdonald, an assistant-surgeon on board the English ship Herald, has published an account of his visit to Fiji, and from it we extract the following particulars.

Thakombau (fig. 234), the king, was a man of powerful and almost gigantic stature, with well-formed limbs of fine proportions. His appearance, which was further removed from the Negro type than that of other individuals of lower rank, sprung from the same stock, was agreeable and intelligent. His hair was carefully turned up, dressed in accordance with the stylish fashion of the country, and covered with a sort of brown gauze. His neck and broad chest were both uncovered,[520] and his naked skin might be seen, of a clear black colour. Near him was his favourite wife, a rather large woman with smiling features, as well as his son and heir, a fine child of from eight to nine years old. His majesty was also surrounded at respectful distance by a crowd of courtiers, humbly cringing on their knees.



In the course of his peregrinations, Mr. Macdonald was present at a repast, consisting of pork, ignames, and taro,[11] served in wooden dishes by women. Freshwater shell-fish of the cyprine[521] kind completed the banquet. The broth was very savoury, but the meat insipid. During the conversation which followed, the traveller became convinced that gossip is a natural gift of the Fijians. Figs. 235 and 236 represent types of these people.

[11] The native substitute for bread.



The Fijians are fond of assembling to hear the local news, or to narrate old legends. Respect for their chiefs is always preserved unalterable among this people, turbulent in their behaviour, depraved in their instincts, and familiar with murder, robbery, and lying. The homage paid to their chiefs makes itself manifest both by word and action; men lower their weapons, take the worst sides of the paths, and bow humbly as one of the privileged order passes by. One of the oddest forms[522] taken by this obsequiousness is a custom in accordance with which every inferior who sees his chief trip and fall, allows himself to stumble in his turn, in order to attract towards himself the ridicule which such an accident might have the effect of drawing upon his superior.



The different classes or castes into which the Fijian population is divided, are as follows: 1, sovereigns of several islands; 2, chiefs of single islands, or of districts; 3, village chiefs, and those of fisheries; 4, eminent warriors, but born in an inferior station, master carpenters, and heads of turtle-fisheries; 5, the common people; and 6, slaves taken in war.

The horrible custom of eating human flesh still exists in Fiji; the missionaries have succeeded in bringing about its disappearance in some parts of the island, but it remains in the interior[523] districts, concealing itself, however, and no longer glorying in the number of victims devoured! Cannibalism does not owe its existence among the Fijians, as in most savage tribes, to a feeling of revenge pushed to the utmost limits; it arises there from an especial craving for human flesh. But as this choice dish is not sufficiently abundant to satisfy all appetites, the chiefs reserve it exclusively to themselves, and only by extraordinary favour do they give up a morsel of the esteemed delicacy to their inferiors.



The engraving (fig. 237) is taken from a sketch made by[524] the missionary Thomas Williams, of a sort of temple used on occasions of cannibalism in Fiji. The four persons squatted in front of the edifice are victims awaiting their doom, and whose bodies will afterwards serve for the feast of these man-eaters.

Mr. Macdonald discovered that the custom of immolating widows is still in full vigour in one of the districts of the island.

Dancing is the popular diversion of the Fiji Islands. The chant by which it is usually regulated is of monotonous rhythm, its words recalling either some actual circumstance or historical event. The dancers’ movements are slow at first, growing gradually animated, and being accompanied by gestures of the hands and inflections of the body. There is always a chief to direct the performers. A buffoon is sometimes brought into the ring whose grotesque contortions bring applause from the spectators.

Two bands, one of musicians, the other of dancers, take part in the regular dances of the solemnities at Fiji (fig. 238); the first usually numbers twenty, and the other from a hundred and fifty to two hundred, individuals. These latter are covered with their richest ornaments, carry clubs or spears, and execute a series of varied evolutions, marching, halting, and running. As the entertainment draws towards its close their motions increase in rapidity, their action acquires more liveliness and vehemence, while their feet are stamped heavily on the ground, until at last the dancers, quite out of breath, ejaculate a final “Wa-oo!” and the antics cease.

New-Caledonians.—The inhabitants of New Caledonia belong to the branch of Oceanian Negroes. This island, hidden in the Equinoctial Ocean, is a French possession, and has been marked out for the reception of those Communist insurgents and incendiaries arrested in Paris in June 1871, after the “seven days’ battle” who were sentenced to transportation by the courts-martial. We are indebted to MM. Victor de Rochas and J. Garnier for some valuable details concerning the population of the colony.

The aborigines of New Caledonia have a sooty-black skin; woolly, crisp hair and abundant beard, both black; a broad, flat nose deeply sunk between the orbits; the white of the eye bloodshot; large, turned-out lips; prominent jaws; a wide mouth; very even and perfectly white teeth; slightly projecting cheekbones;[525]
a high, narrow, and convex forehead; and the head flattened between the temples. Their average stature is at least as tall as that of the French, their limbs are well-proportioned, and their development of both chest and muscles is generally considerable.



The men are not very ugly, many even showing a certain regularity of feature; and some tribes on the east coast are better favoured than the rest in this respect. Figs. 239 and 240 convey a fair idea of the male population.

The ugliness of the women is proverbial. With their shaven heads and the lobes of their ears horribly perforated or pinked, they present a revolting appearance, even when young in years. The rude toil and bad treatment to which they are subjected bring upon them premature old age. They suckle their children for a long period, for three years on the average, and sometimes for five or six.

Like all savages, the New-Caledonians possess an exquisitely keen sense of sight and hearing. They are active and capable of exerting considerable strength for a short effort, but have no lasting power. Their inability to support fatigue for any length of time doubtless arises from the nature of their nourishment. They swallow really nothing beyond sugary and feculent vegetable food, seldom eating meat, the true source of the sustainment and recuperation of strength. Their island supplies the New-Caledonians with no quadrupeds which they can capture for sustenance, and they possess no weapons suitable for killing birds.

The quantity of eatables these people can gorge at a single meal is wonderful, quite three times as much as an European would be equal to.

M. Garnier visited the village of Hienghène. Its chief came to meet the travellers and presented to them his eldest son, while numbers of naked warriors, with blackened chests, beards, and faces, stood round in a silent and motionless group. They might have been taken for bronze statues were it not for their dark and sparkling eyes which followed the smallest gesture of the visitors.

At a signal from the chief, several youths dashed forward and in a few seconds showered down from the cocoa-trees a hail of nuts, the pulp of which in the liquid state is the most agreeable drink imaginable for allaying thirst.


New Caledonian


The village of Hienghène is one of the most considerable in the island. Its dwellings are shaped like beehives, and are crowned with a rude statue surmounted by a quantity of shell-fish or sometimes by skulls of enemies slain in war.


These cabins have a single opening, very low and narrow. In the evening they are filled with smoke in order to banish the mosquitoes; the narrow aperture is then shut and the occupants lay themselves down to sleep on mats, whilst the smoke, by reason of its lightness, remains floating over their heads; but to sit upright without being half smothered by it is impossible.

Great numbers of aborigines dwell along the sea-coast. They came on board M. Garnier’s vessel in crowds, bringing provisions and shell-fish, and examining everything with the greatest attention.

The natives of this tribe are of a fine type. M. Garnier noticed among the visitors several men admirably built, and with a perfectly developed muscular system; but he nevertheless remarked as a general defect of the New Caledonians, that they have too thin legs in comparison with their bodies, and calves placed higher than in Europeans.

Whether from habit, or in consequence of anatomical formation, these people assume positions at every moment which would fatigue us terribly. They sit down on their heels for whole days, and when they climb up into a cocoa-tree, or rest themselves by the way, place themselves without any effort in postures that are really surprising.

The singular fancy which some of these tribes have for clay, has been already noticed, and M. Garnier convinced himself of the reality of the fact. The earth in question, is a silicate of magnesia, greenish in colour. It is ground by the teeth into a soft, fine dust, by no means disagreeable in taste. The habit of eating this clay, is, however, far from general; women only, in certain cases of illness, take a few pinches of it.

M. Garnier had an opportunity of being present at the pilou-pilou, a dancing festival which takes place on the occasion of the igname harvest. On a piece of high but level ground, overlooking a vast plain, were seated the chiefs and old men; the crowd were assembled below, and in front of them was piled a huge heap of ignames. Thirty or forty youngsters, selected from the handsomest of the tribe, advanced and each took a load, and then ascended the plateau in a body, all dashing at full speed to lay their burdens at the feet of the chiefs. Then, still running, they returned to the great mass of ignames to carry away a fresh cargo, and so on until the whole pile disappeared.[529]
They were pursued during this wild race by the yelling crowd, bounding around them with brandished weapons. Every European would have been interested in this strange spectacle; but a painter or a sculptor would have never grown weary of admiring the forms of the young performers: finer artistic models have seldom “posed” in any studio.

New Caledonian


This fête was interrupted by a mock fight, during which the warriors, either in complete nudity or with gaudy cloths tied round their waists, whirled their weapons about as they kept bounding, yelling, and taunting their adversaries. The old withered men, whose hands could throw neither stone nor javelin, animated the courage of the young people and showered insults on their opponents.

We are unable to retrace in its entirety, the curious and graphic description which M. Gamier has given of this contest, but a scene of cannibalism at which he was present, is too dramatic to be passed over.

Near a large fire sat a dozen men, in whom the traveller recognized the chiefs he had seen in the morning, and pieces of smoking meat surrounded with ignames and taros were laid on broad banana leaves before them. The bodies of some unfortunate wretches killed during the day, supplied the materials for this ghastly banquet, and the hole in which their limbs had just been cooked was still there. A savage joy was pictured on the faces of these demons. Both hands grasped their horrid food. An old chief with a long white beard did not seem to enjoy so formidable an appetite as his comrades. Leaving aside the thigh-bone and the thick layer of flesh accompanying it which had been served him, he contented himself with nibbling a head. He had already removed all the meaty parts, the nose and cheeks, but the eyes remained. The old epicure took a bit of pointed stick and thrust it into both pupils, then shook the horrid skull until bit by bit he brought out the brain; but as this process was not quick enough, he put the back of the head into the flames, and the rest of the cerebral substance dropped out without difficulty!. . . .


Andaman Family.

We comprise in the Andaman Family those Eastern blacks who possess the characteristics of the Negro race strongly marked. These nations are as yet but little known. The inhabitants of New Guinea, the aborigines of the Andaman Isles, in the bay of Bengal, the blacks of the Malacca peninsula, those dwelling in some of the mountains of Indo-China, the natives of Tasmania, and, finally, the indigenous population of Australia are included in this group.

Among all these people the facial angle does not exceed 60 degrees; the mouth is very large, the nose broad and flat, the arms short, the legs lanky, and the complexion the colour of soot. The women are positively hideous.

The tribes which form these groups are, in general, numerous and subject to the arbitrary authority of a chief. Language is extremely limited among them; they possess neither government, laws, nor regularly established ceremonies, and some do not even know how to construct places of abode.

In order to convey to the reader an idea of the people composing the Andaman Family we shall give a glance at the inhabitants of the Andaman Isles and also at those of Australia.

Andamans.—The dwellings of the Andamans are of the most rudimentary kind, being hardly superior to the dens of wild beasts. Four posts covered with a roof of palm-leaves constitute these lairs, which are open to every wind, and “ornamented” with hogs’ bones, turtle shells, and large dried fish tied in bunches.

As for the inhabitants themselves, they are of an ebon black. They seldom exceed five feet in stature; their heads are broad and buried between their shoulders; and their hair is woolly, like that of the African blacks. The abdomen is protuberant in a great many cases, and their lower limbs lank. They go about in a state of complete nudity, merely taking care to cover the entire body with a layer of yellow ochre or clay, which protects it from the sting of insects. They paint their faces and sprinkle their hair with red ochre.

Their weapons are, however, manufactured with much cleverness.[532] Their bows, which require a very strong pull, are made of a sort of iron-wood and gracefully shaped. Their arrows are tipped with fine points, some of them barbed, and they shoot them with much skill. They handle expertly their short paddles, marked with red ochre, and hollow their canoes with a rather rude implement formed of a hard and sharp stone fastened to a handle by means of a strong cord made from vegetable fibres.

The Andamans are ichthyophagists, for the seas which wash their islands abound in excellent fish and palatable mollusks. Soles, mullets, and oysters constitute the staple of their food, and when during tempestuous weather fish runs short, they eat the lizards, rats, and mice which swarm in the woods.

Though not cannibals, the Andamans are nevertheless a most savage race, who do not even exist in a state of tribedom, but who are merely gathered into gangs.

The bitterest contempt has been lavished on these rude inhabitants of the islands of Bengal, and people have been willing to consider them as brutes of the worst cruelty, and most extreme ugliness; but more recent observation, and the few facts which we have mentioned, show that this estimate should be somewhat mitigated.

Australian Blacks.—We have arrived at the black people who occupy part of Australia, and take advantage of some valuable information concerning them, found in M. H. de Castella’s “Souvenirs d’un Squatter Français en Australie,” and which was acquired by the author’s personal experience of these uncouth beings.

The wild state in which the aborigines of Australia exist is the result of the poverty of their country, which affords no other source of sustenance than animals. True, these abound there; kangaroos, squirrels, opossums, wild-cats, and birds of all kinds are so numerous, that the natives need, as it were, only stretch out their hands in order to take them. In this mild climate they can live without any shelter.

According to M. de Castella, the Negroes of Australia are not so ugly as they have been represented. Among the men whom he examined, some were tall and well made. Their slow, lounging gait, was not devoid of dignity, and the solemnity of their step reminded one of the strut of a tragedian on the stage.





The Australian blacks recognize family ties. None of them have more than one wife, but they do not marry within their own particular tribe. They live encamped in bands, and now that they are reduced to small numbers, in entire tribes. They do not build permanent huts, but protect themselves in summer from the sun and hot winds merely by a heap of gum-tree branches, piled up against some sticks, thrust in the ground. When winter comes on, they strip from the trees large pieces of bark, eight or ten feet high, and as wide as the whole circumference of the trunk, forming with these fragments a screen, which they place at the side whence the rain is blowing, and alter if the wind happens to change. Squatted on the bare earth, in the opossum skin which serves the double purpose of bed and clothing, each of them is placed before a hearth of his own. Fig. 241 is an engraving taken from a photograph of Australian natives.

The Australian Negroes of the present day have guns, and employ little axes for chopping their wood and cutting bark, but it is not so long since the only weapons they possessed were made of hard wood, and their hatchets consisted of sharp stones fastened to the end of sticks, like the flint instruments used by men before the Deluge. There is in fact little or no difference between the people of the age of stone, and the Negroes of Australia, and consequently an acquaintance with the wild manners and customs of these races has been of great advantage to naturalists of our day in throwing light upon the history of primitive man.

M. H. de Castella was greatly struck by the agility of the Australian blacks in climbing gum-trees whose straight stems are often devoid of branches for twenty or thirty feet from their base, and are besides too thick to be clasped. When by perfect prodigies of acrobatism the native reached the wild cats and opossums’ nests, he seized the animals, and threw them to his wife.

This wife carried everything; her last-born in a reed basket hanging from her neck, the slaughtered game in one hand, and in the other a blazing gum branch, to light the fire when the family took up fresh quarters. The man walked in front, carrying nothing but his weapons; then came the wife, and after her, their children according to height.

A batch of Australian blacks is never, by any chance, to be met[535] walking abreast, even when in great numbers, and if a whole tribe is crossing the plains, only a long black file is to be seen moving above the high grass.



M. de Castella was a spectator of the curious sight which eel-fishing affords among these natives. Holding a spear in each hand, with which to rake up the bottom, they wade through the water up to their waists, balancing and regulating their movements to the even measure of one of their chants. When an eel is transfixed by a stroke of one lance, they pierce it in another part of the body with the second, and then, holding the two points[536] apart, throw the fish upon the ground, the quantity which they take in this manner being enormous. They dispense with saucepans and cooking utensils of all kinds in the preparation of their meals, simply placing the game or fish on bright coals covered over with a little ashes.




Everyone has heard of the skill with which savages navigate their rivers in bark canoes, but the people of whom we are now speaking render themselves remarkable above all others by their adroitness in guiding their little crafts over the rapids. Only two persons can sit in their boats, while a spear supplies the place of an oar, and is used with astonishing dexterity.

No one acquainted with this kind of barbarous life will be surprised to hear that the blacks of Australia are diminishing at a wonderfully quick rate. Of the whole Varra tribe, formerly a numerous one, M. de Castella could find no more than seventeen individuals.

What most struck the author of an account of a journey from Sydney to Adelaide, which appeared in the “Tour du Monde,” in 1860, was the small number of aborigines which he met in a distance of more than two hundred and fifty miles. Sturt and Mitchell, in the middle of the present century, had visited tribes on the higher tributaries of the Murray river, which then consisted of several hundred persons, but M. de Castella found them only represented by scattered groups of seven or eight famished individuals. Fig. 242 portrays one of the types sketched by this gentleman.

Mitchell has given a description in his “Travels,” of the “groves of death”—those romantic burial-places of the Australians—but the writer in the “Tour du Monde” found them no longer in existence. The tombs of the natives at the present day are as wild and rude as themselves. In the bleak deserts of the land of the West four branches driven into the ground and crossed at the top by a couple more (fig. 243), support the mortal remains of the Australian aboriginal, whose only winding sheet is the skin of a kangaroo.