Volltext: The Cyclopaedia of Anatomy and Physiology, vol. 4: Pla [corr.: Ple] - Wri (4)

line has now been given, may be stated as 
follows : — 
1. The extremest differences from each other, 
or from a common stock, presented by the 
races of Mankind, in regard alike to physical, 
physiological, and psychological peculiarities, 
are not greater in degree than those which 
are known to arise amongst other species of 
animals possessed of a similar adaptive capacity, 
under the influence of changes in external con¬ 
ditions ; and they differ only in degree, not in 
kind, from those of whose origin in a change 
of external conditions, in the case of mankind, 
we have adequate evidence. 
2. In whatever mode the types of the prin¬ 
cipal varieties are selected, they are found to 
be connected by intermediate or transitional 
gradations ; the descendants of each principal 
stock exhibiting, in a greater or less degree, 
a capability of approximation to the characters 
of others. 
3. There is nothing in these diversities, 
therefore, to justify the erection of specific 
distinctions among the different races of Man¬ 
kind ; and, whilst a probability of the unity 
of their original stock may consequently be 
said to exist, all scientific evidence points ta 
the conclusion, that, if the original stocks were 
multiple, they must have had attributes es¬ 
sentially the same. 
4. The supposition of a number of distinct 
“ protoplasts,” one for each principal region 
of the globe, is not required to account for the 
extension of the human family over its area, 
and it does not afford any assistance in ac¬ 
counting for the phenomena of their existing 
distribution ; since each principal geogra¬ 
phical area contains races of very diversified 
physical characters, the affinity of whose lan¬ 
guages makes it next to certain that they must 
have had a common descent. 
5. The evidence of philological research 
decidedly tends to the conclusion, that such 
affinities exist between the earliest known 
stocks of the principal groups of languages 
now and heretofore in use, as can only be 
reasonably accounted for on the hypothesis of 
their common origin, and the consequent ra¬ 
diation of the whole species from one centre. 
What that centre is likely to have been, is a 
legitimate object of inquiry ; and the follow¬ 
ing, which have long been regarded by the 
author as the most probable deductions from 
modern Ethnographical research in relation to 
this subject, are now submitted with additional 
confidence, on account of the confirmation 
which they have received from the most recent 
investigations, and, in particular, from their 
conformity with the arrangement which Dr. 
Latham’s linguistic researches have led him 
to adopt. 
The stock from W’hich the globe was ori¬ 
ginally peopled, is probably more nearly repre¬ 
sented at this time by the Turanians of High 
Asia than by any other ; and some part of 
that region was probably their primary seat. 
It is among the Mongols and their allies, that 
that combination of physical attributes which 
is best adapted to the exigencies of a nomadic 
life, and that constitution which renders a 
nomadic life a necessity of their nature, most 
characteristically present themselves. The 
bodily system of these people possesses a 
vigour and adaptiveness, which enables it to 
flourish under all the diversities of climate to 
which their wandering propensities conduct 
them ; and they can accommodate their mode 
of life, without any great departure from their 
characteristic nomadism, to a great variety of 
external circumstances. Moreover, the geo¬ 
graphical relations of High Asia make it the 
most central spot on the whole globe, for the 
radiation of Man to every corner of the ha¬ 
bitable world ; its connections with all other 
lands are such as are possessed by no other 
region ; while its climate is so intermediate 
between that of the frigid and that of the 
torrid zones, that the passage into either is 
without any violent transition ; and, as a 
matter of fact, we find that, while the Tungu- 
sians and Ugrians have carried the Turanian 
stock to the shores of the Polar Sea, a Tartar 
tribe has made itself master of China, and 
governs the whole of the south-east of Asia, 
even to the Indian Ocean. This à priori ar¬ 
gument, however, would be worth very little, 
if we did not find it in correspondence with 
the very curious fact, that the most ancient 
inhabitants of nearly every part of the globe 
are connected with the nations of High Asia, 
more or less closely, by affinity of language or 
of physical characters. This we have seen to 
be the case, not merely with the Seriform 
stock of Southern Asia and the Hyperborean 
and Peninsular Mongols of the north and 
north-east, but also with the aboriginal people 
of Northern and Southern Europe, with those 
of the Caucasus, and with the first settlers of 
the Indian Archipelago. Not less complete 
is the transition to the American nations; for 
whilst, on the one hand, the Esquimaux forms 
the link of connection, agreeing in physical 
character with the Hyperborean Mongols, and 
in language with the mass of the proper Ame¬ 
rican nations, increased acquaintance with the 
languages of the latter, and with the languages 
of the Northern Asiatics, has confirmed the 
suggestion long since made, that they are con¬ 
structed upon a plan essentially the same; 
the tendency to agglutination, which is less 
manifested in the more immediate descendants 
of the parent-stock, being most fully carried 
out in its offsets, the Euskarian of the Basque 
provinces, the languages of the Peninsular 
Mongolidæ, and the American tongues. The 
only region regarding which there is not the 
same amount of evidence, is Africa. But we 
have seen reason to regard the whole group 
of African nations as connected, through the 
Semitic stock, with the Asiatic races ; and all 
the knowledge recently acquired of the lan¬ 
guage of Ancient Egypt*, together with all the 
information gained by Major Rawlinson and 
* See the memoir by the Chevalier Bunsen, “ On 
the results of the recent Egyptian Researches in 
reference to Asiatic and African Ethnology, and the 
Classification of Languages,” in the Reports of the 
British Association for 1847.


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