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memory of certain races; these furnish no proof whatever of specific distinctions, or that they could not be descended from the common ancestor of our species.
Humboldt has an important observation which will explain how this might happen without having recourse to such a supposition. Speaking of the barbarism of certain tribes of Americans and Asiatics, he observes :-" The barbarism that prevails throughout these different regions is, perhaps, less owing to a primitive absence of all kind of civilization, than to the effects of a long degradation. The greater part of the hordes, which we designate under the name of savages, descend, probably, from nations more advanced in cultivation.". And in another place :-“ If it be true that savages are for the most part degraded races, remnants escaped from a common shipwreck, as their languages, their cosmogonic fables, a crowd of other indications seem to prove.”
Now, what is it that degrades man, and causes him to make an approach towards the brute ? Setting up sense above reason and intellect; sight above faith; this world above the next. Experience teaches us, that those faculties of our nature that are most cultivated, become most acute: if intellectual pursuits are neglected, the intellect itself becomes weakened; in proportion as the senses are exercised, they are strengthened ; in proportion as the pleasures they afford us stand high or low in our estimation, we graduate towards the brute, which knows no pleasures but those of sense, or towards the angel who knows no pleasures but what are spiritual. There is a governing principle in man,' originally enthroned in him by his Creator, and to whose sway the senses were originally in complete subjection. But when man fell, a struggle was generated, the lower or sensual part of his nature striving to gain the rule over him, and to dethrone the higher or intellectual. This is the “ law in our members warring against the law of our mind,” mentioned by the Apostle. Now, we know that the same individual, at different periods of life, may be directed in his actions first by one and then by the other of these laws; he may begin in sense, and end in spirit, or vice versâ. If the former takes place in him, his nature and character are elevated, and he is become more intellectual ; if the latter, they are degraded, and he is become more sensual and nearer to a brute, and yet in both cases he remains the same man as before; his species is not altered. Apply this to nations, will it follow, because one is now generally gifted
1 Personal Travels. E. T. ii. 208.
with a greater degree of intellect, and another remarkable for more acute sensation, that, therefore, they cannot be derived from a common origin? Nations are often led by custom as well as individuals; they, therefore, usually walk in the path that their ancestors have trod before them, and, from circumstances connected with this, it happens that some apply their faculties to higher pursuits than others. Those that chiefly cultivate the intellect improve it by that very act; while those who are principally engaged in pursuits that require the constant and skilful use of the organs of sensation acquire a degree of expertness in that use not to be met with in the others; but the intellect being employed only upon low objects, becomes habitually degraded, and loses all taste for things that are not visible and tangible. Though in an individual, or in a long succession of individuals, this might not produce a perceptible contraction and non-developement of the organ of the intellect, or in the chamber that contains it; yet, in the lapse of ages and generations, this effect would gradually be produced, for if an organ is not used for a long course of years, it becomes contracted, and from long habit unapt to perform its natural functions. Some American nations, by the application of boards properly shaped, depress the skull-bone of their infants, thinking a flat head a great beauty, whence the tribe is distinguished by the name of Pallotepallors, or Flat-heads. Others, by the same means, give them a conical form ; there is no difficulty, therefore, in conceiving that with a gradual contraction of the brain, that of the skull might take place in the fætus, which would accommodate one to the other. With regard to the memory, it is not wonderful that a being who occupies his time and intellect with few objects, should have a more distinct recollection of certain events, than one whose attention is more divided. It may be observed of the lower orders in general, that their memory, for the same reason, of matters within their own sphere of comprehension, is often more clear than that of persons better educated and informed.
I remember the case of a negro who resided near Bury St. Edmunds, who was an educated man, and published a volume of poems by subscription, which did him no discredit. Hence, it is evident that there is a difference of capacity in negroes as well as whites, which admits of improvement from instruction and study, when they come among civilized people. Little stress will be laid on the parasite of the negroes, being specifically distinct from that which infests the whites, when we reflect that the horse and the ox have different insect parasites and assailants
1 He was called Ignatius Sancho.
in different climates. There is a time fixed upon in the divine counsels when the curse shall cease; and it will then be found that by reversing the course that has degraded so many nations, the apostacy, namely, from God to idolatries of the most debasing kind-which has yielded them up a prey to sensuality, clouded their understandings, and, instead of universal good-will, has taught them to regard those that are not of their own tribe or caste as objects of just hatred and injury
-when this course has been reversed and they are brought back to God, which will take place in his time and at his word; and by the means and instruments that he empowers and commissions, they will become more elevated in their character, and assume a higher rank among the nations: and they will make good their claim to the same inheritance with the other members of the Christian family. He who decreed the end, decrees also the means. When the Lord gave the word, great was the company of those that published it. This was the case at the first preaching of the Gospel, when the gross darkness of heathen idolatry covered the earth ; this also was the case at what may be called its republication at the time of the Reformation, when the gross darkness of papal idolatry had almost put out the light of truth in the church ; and so shall
1 See Appendix, note 16.