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at present the unity or plurality of origin for mankind is really nothing better than child's play. We shall always remember that even unity of species does not necessarily include unity of origin ; and that with plurality of existing species, the possibility of the unity of origin cannot be denied. It has been stated that the promoters of this Society were composed of "advanced liberal ethnologists." Such a statement I believe to be entirely an error. I presume the "advanced" ethnologists must be those who can discuss the unity or plurality of man, and those who can write learned papers and take part in minute discussions on the classification of man! These are the advanced ethnologists, who are certainly discussing questions very much in advance of myself or my associates.
For years past there bave been public discussions going on as to the unity of man's origin. As matters now stand, this discussion is simply arguing in a circle. It cannot yet be fairly discussed on scientific grounds at all. Before any scientific discussion can be held we must know far more of the laws regulating the intermixture of the different races of man. What we know on the subject is as yet hardly worth calling science. M. Broca, the accomplished secretary to our sister society in Paris, has stated the known facts; but the question is still in a most unsettled and unsatisfactory state.
Many intelligent persons now believe that Ethnology merely attempts to solve the question whether there was unity of origin for the different races of man. We shall therefore do well to make it known that (for the present) Anthropology is not in a condition to give any answer to that question. There are a host of subjects which have to be decided before we are in a position to give even an approximative answer to the question of the unity of mankind. The unity of mankind is an article of faith with many estimable persons, whose opinions deserve respect, and therefore, as such, we dare not, and ought not, to discuss it. We can only discuss it as a scientific hypothesis, and as President of this Society it will be my duty not to allow this dogma to be attacked or defended, except as a scientific hypothesis. I shall apply the same check to any other article of faith, and not allow it (as such) to be discussed in this society. The theologian (as such) has no right to interfere with the conclusions of physical science; and the man of science (as such) can know nothing of matters of faith. It must, therefore, be distinctly understood that we are formed into a society for the strict investigation of the science of Man, and that we must have the most perfect freedom of action and expression in all our discussions ; not a mere VOL. 1.—NO. I.
ON THE STUDY OF ANTHROPOLOGY.
spurious professed liberty of thought, but something real. As scientific men, we must not be ashamed to own our ignorance, and say
«All we know, is,
Notbing yet is' knowo" either respecting the origin of mankind or most of the important laws by which humanity is now governed.
There are many other points on which I ought to dwell, and amongst others, how we can best carry out our objects at the British Association. I trust I shall offend no member of the Royal Geographical Society when I say that it is utterly impossible for the science of Man to make any progress while it only takes a second and subordinate place in Section E. I believe I shall be supported by all who know the working of the British Association, when I say that the position Ethnology holds there is most painful to all those who are any way conscious of how that subject should be studied.
It will be for the Society to consider this matter, and the promoters of the British Association-always anxious to do all they can for the advancement of science-will, I am sure, be ready to adopt any plan which they think would be better for science than the present. Anthropology may be compared to the last volume of a work on Zoology, with perhaps an appendix. No doubt, therefore, the proper place for Anthropology is either in section D, or in a sub-section immediately connected with students of the other branches of animal life. Ethnology was formerly a sub-section of the zoological department, and what scientific consideration induced the government of the Association to remove it from its natural place, I have never been able to discover.
In drawing these hurried remarks to a conclusion, I would wish strongly to impress on my fellow-labourers that we have undertaken a most solemn and responsible duty. The time has gone by when the questions we are going to discuss could be evaded. Thanks to the spread of thought and liberty, the public demand that all subjects connected with Man shall be freely and openly discussed. They begin to realize the fact that there is nothing to fear from truth. The cry of “Danger” may be raised, but the public will no longer respond to it. They have heard it so often, that it produces no effect. Astronomy and geology have each been assailed as they have dared to expound the truths of nature. Some faint outcries have been heard at the discussions of the ethnologist, but their denunciations have never had a scientific value; and the time is yet to come when some mad attack may be made. It is said “ that a burnt child dreads the fire," but it remains to be proved whether some men will ever learn from experience. Whatever may happen, we must go on manfully with
our work, and neither turn to the right nor the left, to notice the odium which ignorance, fanaticism, or jealousy may cast at us. Public opinion has become so much altered that I do not anticipate such a result. On our part, we must be careful never to attack the religious conviction of any one. We have no right to attack or give any opinion on religious or theological subjects. Our duty is simply to seek for truth by patiently collecting data, and then carefully and humbly endeavour to decipher the meaning and import of those facts. I have heard it remarked that all recent discussions respecting Man have been mingled with levity; which should certainly not be introduced into any scientific discussion. We must be careful to avoid this. What we now want are earnest and real lovers of truth. Astronomy and Geology both have their wonders, but Anthropology has wonders equally great to reveal. We have had the enthusiastic astronomer and geologist, and are we never to have any earnestness in the study of mankind ?
Let us, then, show that we too can be earnest in our study, as well as the geologists or the astronomers. But let it be known we are as yet only groping in the dark, and know not yet what to study, or hardly what facts we want to get, to found our science. We have not only to found a science of Anthropology, but we have to do what we can to form some anthropologists. We must not be daunted, but remember that our work has received the best wishes from many a scientific veteran, and deep regrets that they are unable to aid us. The work of this society must depend on young men who are ready to make it their study. Our success so far is all that can be desired. Thanks to a united council of workers and to our zealous and brave honorary secretary, we have within a few weeks founded a society, and commenced work in earnest. With such officers and such a council, I am content to be the humble steerer of our vessel, knowing that my course is already settled in our prospectus. This will be my sole guide and the path I am bound to follow. We have faith in the thinking public, and know that we shall be supported as long as we keep faith with them.
Let us remember, too, that science is not advanced by mere numbers. If we meet bere as scientific brethren, and discuss the questions before us calmly and earnestly, as men ought always to discusswhatever our numbers may be--we shall make more real progress in scientific discovery than by holding huge meetings where passion and ignorance drown both reason and common sense. Let us, too, not be daunted when we see our sister society, in Paris, surpassing us in papers and discussions. We must remember that they have a large band of trained men of science, whose sole duty is the investi
gation of the problems which we attempt to solve; and that they possess some advantages which are not yet within our reach.
In conclusion, let me quote the words of a man whose death was such a great national loss. These sentiments, I think, are most appropriate to the present occasion, and coming as they do from the large hearted Edward Forbes, they must command the attention, if not obedience, of us all. He beautifully says, *
“The highest aim of man is the discovery of Truth; the search after Truth is his noblest occupation. It is more; it is his duty. Every step onwards we take in science and learning tells us how nearly all sciences are connected. There is a deep philosophy in that connection yet undeveloped ; a philosophy of the utmost moment to man; let us seek it out. The world in which we live is a beautiful world, and the spirit of Omnipotence has given us many pleasures and blessings, shall we not enjoy them? Let us refresh ourselves with them thankfully, whilst we go forth in our search after Truth. We are all brethren, but it has pleased God variously to endow our minds. Some delight in one thing, some another. Some work for the good of the Body, and some for the good of the Soul. Let us all work together in fellowship for our mutual happiness and joy. Wherefore should men quarrel one with another because they hold different doctrines ? Such as seek for Truth in the right spirit sympathise with each other, and, however opposite may be their present opinions, revile them not, but assist in their development; knowing, however wide apart may seem the paths they have chosen, one goal is aimed at; and if persevering, both must meet in the one wished for temple. Let those who feel the spirit to develop the Wisdom of Creation, and to act for the good of their fellow-men, strong within them, unite together in a bond of fellowship, each brother devoting his time and his energies to the department for which he feels and proves himself best fitted, communicating his knowledge to all, so that all may benefit thereby, casting away selfishness, and enforcing precepts of love. By such means glory shall accrue to his order, so that it may wax powerful in intellectual strength, and become a mental and a moral safeguard to the world, and a bond of union among all nations."
Thanking you for your kind attention, I will only add, may such sentiments always animate the Fellows of the Anthropological Society of London.
• Life of Edward Forbes. 1861. P. 195.
WILD MEN AND BEAST-CHILDREN.
By E. BURNET TYLOR, FOR. SEC. A.S.L.
The native Australian and the Andaman Islander may be taken as fairly representing the lowest state of human society of which we have any certain knowledge. To a civilized European, such a life as that of these tribes seems, at first sight, but little removed from that of the lower animals; but a closer examination shows that, though their civilization is indeed very low in degree, it is the same in kind as that of more advanced races. These savages have articulate language; they know the use of fire; they have tools, though but simple and clumsy ones. There is no authentic account of any people having been discovered who did not possess language, tools, and fire.
But though at least this amount of civilization is always present among men living in communities, there are lower conditions under which it is possible for man to live, at any rate for a time. It is an object of some importance to anthropologists to know where the lowest limit of human existence lies; but, unfortunately, this limit is difficult, if not impossible, to find. Stories both old and new have been told of man living as a beast among beasts, or in a state of degradation not far removed from this; but they are few in number, and most of them are worth little or nothing as a proof of actual fact, though they are of great interest to the student of mythology. I have arranged and sifted, to the best of my ability, the stories of this kind which I have met with, beginning with some which are certainly true, and ending with others which are as certainly fabulous. Somewhere in the debatable land between the two, the line which separates fact from fable must lie.
After Napoleon's German wars, the countries ravaged by his armies fell into a state of misery and demoralization which we, whose lives have been spent in peace and prosperity, can hardly form an idea of. During this period, childten without parents or friends, and left utterly destitute and uncared for, were quite common in Germany. Several such children were taken in at Count von der Recke's asylum at Overdyke; among whom were two especially, whose cases are noteworthy, as showing in what a state of degradation human beings might be found living in civilized Europe, not half a century ago.