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THE ARGUMENT FROM PHYSIOLOGY.
Differences in existing Races of Men urged to prove a Plurality of Origin.—This Doctrine first advanced by La Peyrere.— Espoused by Infidel Writers. — Its supposed Bearings on
Slavery Agassiz's Theory of Natural Provinces. — And of
Unity of Species. —Estimate of this Theory. —I. It is a mere Theory. — II. No Inconsistency of known Facts with the Bible Narrative. — The Case of Cain and his Wife. — The Diversities among Races. — 1. Man is of a single Species, having same Physical and Mental Characteristics. — The single Head of the Animal Kingdom. — Intermixture of Races futile. — Unity of Species proves Unity of Origin. — 2. Similar Changes now taking place. —3. Similar Changes among other Animals.—III. The Theory contrary to Analogy in other Departments of Creation. — IV. Opposed by Theological and Moral Science. — Conclusion.
The preceding chapter was devoted to the argument from Ethnology, in what may be denominated its historical department. It is necessary, in view of objections which have been raised, to consider the same subject further under its physiological aspect.
We have argued the rectnt origin of man on earth from the fact that all known nations and families have descended from Noah, and therefore must come within the range of the Noachian chronology. But, apart from the historical evidence of such descent, it is urged, from a jtudy of man as he now is, the diversities of his form, size, color, physiognomy, etc., that existing races could not have had a common origin. It is claimed that this diversity requires, and that the Scriptures themselves virtually warrant, the belief that beside Adam and his descendants, there has been at least one, perhaps several, other original stocks of the human family, older than that of Adam; that the Scripture account of the creation does not include these, being designed to refer only to that branch to which the Jews, and the white races generally, belonged; and therefore that we are at liberty to assign to this elder branch or branches any supposable antiquity which modern scientific discoveries may require.
This doctrine of the plurality of the human species was first advanced by La Peyrdre, a French writer, in a work published in 1655. The ground on which he professed to base it was the Bible itself, which, he maintained, gave clear intimations of a nonAdamite race. The principal passage he adduced in support of this theory was that which speaks of Cain, after he received sentence for his crime, going out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelling in the land of Nod, marrying a wife there, and building a city. (Gen. iv. 16, 17.) In the preceding verses, also, when complaining of his sentence, he says, " I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth, and it shall come to pass that every one that findeth me shall slay me; " in consequence of which "the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him." La Peyr&re argued from these passages that there were, at that time-, other men beside the family of Adam, which then consisted of only three persons; and that these other men, or this other race, must have been previously created. They were, he thought, the ancestors of the Gentiles, while Adam was the ancestor of the Jewish race, with whose creation and history the Bible is mainly occupied.
The distinguished writer * from whom I derive this account says that La Peyrdre was in no sense a free thinker (n'est nullement un libre penseur). "He was a theologian, a believer, who admits as true all that is in the Bible, and miracles in particular. . . . He always finds in the book which serves him as a guide some reason to support his interpretation. In a word, we find throughout, in
* Quatrefages, Introduction, pp. 7, 8.
La Peyrere, a mixture of complete faith and free criticism. This book convinced no one, and the doctrine of the author soon fell into forgetfulness, until within a few years since it has been reproduced and welcomed with a favor sufficiently unexpected."
It is not surprising that a theory so repugnant to the general teachings of Christianity should have met with favor from the apostles of French infidelity. Voltaire and Rousseau reproduced this argument in their attempts to shake the authority of the Scriptures.* But, according to Quatrefages, it was reserved for America to bring this doctrine into notice, and give it any considerable currency. His account of the matter is substantially this: In 1846 Professor L. Agassiz, in a visit to Charleston, S. C, broached the theory of the plurality of origin for the human race in the "Literary Conversations Club," of that city. The expression of these views aroused a decided antagonism in that meeting. The professor found two able opponents in the persons of the Rev. Drs. Bachman and Smyth, who both spoke and wrote in opposition to him. Professor A. published his views in extenso in the " Christian Examiner " for March and July, 1850; and afterward, in 1854. in an essay entitled "The Natural Provinces * Smyth's Unity of the Human Species, p. 163, Eng. ed.
of the Animal World, and their Relation to the Different Types of Man," inserted in Nott and Gliddon's "Types of Mankind." In 1849 Dr. Nott published his work entitled " Biblical and Physical History of Man," being the substance of two lectures delivered by him in New Orleans the previous year. In 1854 Nott and Gliddon issued the book just mentioned on the " Types of Mankind."
It was in this manner that the discussion of the question as to the unity of the human race was renewed, after a silence of two hundred years. The agitation of it on this side of the Atlantic drew attention to it on the other, and brought into the field a considerable number of able writers, most of whom, so far as I am aware, took ground in favor of the unity of the race as descended from the family of Noah.
According to Quatrefages, the chief interest of the discussion in this country grew out of its supposed bearings upon the institution of slavery. "Thus in America," he says, "the anthropological question is complicated with that of slavery; and from reading the greater part of the writings that have come to us from beyond the sea, it is clear that there they are, before all, advocates or opponents of that institution. But in the United States it is necessary always to be biblical; and hence came the