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mankind. These differences, it is presumable, may have been produced partly by the occurrence of accidental varieties, affecting perhaps a whole litter,—male and female; so that if these again were to be coupled, the variety, thus accidentally caused, may have become permanent. Such accidental varieties occasionally occur in the human species, but they are soon lost, in consequence of the wise law that prevents individuals, within certain degrees of consanguinity, from marrying. It is by no means uncommon, for example, for different children of the same family, from some accidental cause, to be born with six fingers. The author has met with two families in each of which more than one individual was thus circumstanced; and Sir Anthony Carlisle has detailed the remarkable case of a family from this continent, where the superfluity extended, in the case of a female, to two thumbs on each hand, and to six toes on each foot. She married and had several children, who, in their turn, became parents, and transmitted the peculiarity to their children to the fourth generation. Now, if the members of this family had continued to marry in and in, a new race of individuals might have been perpetuated, possessing the unnecessary additions in question. Under existing laws and customs, however, it must always happen, that where such a peculiarity exists in one parent only, it must soon become extinct; yet, as we have seen, it may be pertinacious enough to persist for some generations. Fortunately, also, it happens, that no change which occurs accidentally in the parent after birth is liable to be extended to the progeny. Were it otherwise, it will be at once seen, the most strange and innumerable varieties of races would exist. Where a limb had become distorted or amputated, a stock of one-limbed animals would be formed; the docked horse would propagate a mutilated colt; the operation of circumcision performed on one parent ought to be sufficient for the whole of his descendants, &c. &c.
In addition to this mode of accounting for the great number of varieties in animals of the same species, the influence of a difference in manners and customs, which we have already considered, has been invoked; and it has been conceived, that the effect of civilization and refinement on the human race may be analogous to that of domestication on the inferior animals. This kind of influence is said to be particularly observable amongst the inhabitants of Hindusthan, where, in consequence of the division into castes, the same condition of life, and the same occupation are continued without change through many successive generations. The artisans, who are a superior class, are of a manifestly lighter complexion than the tillers of the soil; and in many of the islands of Polynesia the same difference exists between the classes as in Hindusthan.
The believers, then, in the Mosaic account of the creation, and the deluge, must regard all the varieties of mankind to have descended from the same family,—that of Noah,—and the different changes,
which have been impressed upon their descendants, to be results of extraneous influences acting through a long succession of ages, added to the production perhaps of accidental varieties, which may have occurred in the very infancy of postdiluvian existence, when the intermarriage of near relations was unavoidable, and when such varieties would necessarily be perpetuated. The race of Ham appears to have been separated, if not wholly, at least in part, from their brethren by the malediction of Noah; and whether we consider that a physical alteration was comprised in the malediction, or that such alteration might occur accidentally, as in the cases of those with supernumerary toes and fingers, the very fact of intermarriage with the descendants of the other sons of Noah being prevented by the curse pronounced on Ham, (for many commentators read Ham for Canaan,) would necessarily lead to a perpetuation of the adventitious modification.
But, it has been asked, if all mankind have descended from one family, which of the varieties, now extant, must be regarded as their representative. On this we have nothing but conjecture to guide us. It has been supposed, by some, to be more probable, that the changes, induced upon mankind, have been in consequence of a progress from a state of barbarism to one of refinement, than the reverse; and hence, it has been conceived, that the variety ought to be considered primary, which, through all the vicissitudes of human affairs, has remained in the most degraded condition, and which in its structure, differs most materially from the variety that has uniformly enjoyed the greatest degree of civilization. Upon this principle, the Ethiopian would have to be regarded as the type of our first ancestors, and such is the opinion of Pritchard, and of Bostock. Blumenbach, however, maintains the converse view. Bishop Heber, again, suggests, whether the hue of the Hindoo, which is a brownish-yellow, may not have been that of our first parents, whence the transition, he thinks, to the white and black varieties might be more easy and comprehensible. Philology occasionally aids us in our historical deductions, but the evidence, afforded by it, has to be received with caution. The Hebrew names, like all original appellations, in perhaps all languages, are generally expressive, and therefore worthy of consideration in questions of this nature. The Hebrew word ADAM, (,) is not only the name of the first man, but it signified man in the abstract, corresponding to the Greek, avopaos, and the Latin, Homo. We are told, in the sacred volume, that, "in the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created." The word Adam is derived from a Hebrew root, (,) signifying "to be red," and, accordingly, it is probable, that his original hue was not that of what we term the white variety of our species.
The remarks we have already made render it unnecessary to inquire into the mode in which, according to the notion of Blumenbach, of Dr. S. S. Smith, or of Dr. Rush, the black colour of the Ethiopian has been produced. Blumenbach imagined that the heat of the climate gives rise to an excessive secretion of bile; that in consequence of the connexion which exists between the action of the liver and the skin, an accumulation of carbonaceous matter takes place in the cutaneous vessels, and that this process being continued for a succession of ages, the black colour of the skin becomes habitual. Dr. Smith, of Princeton, had a similar opinion; he thought, that the complexion in any climate will be changed towards black, in proportion to the degree of heat in the atmosphere, and to the quantity of bile in the skin; and, lastly, Dr. Rush, in one of the strangest of the many strange views which have emanated from that distinguished, but too enthusiastic, individual, has attempted to prove, "that the colour and figure of that part of our fellow creatures, who are known by the epithet of negroes, are derived from a modification of that disease, which is known by the name of leprosy."
The following are his deductions, from the "facts and principles" adduced in a communication, read before the American Philosophical Society in 1792, and printed in the fourth volume of the Transactions of that respectable body:
"1. That all the claims of superiority of the whites over the blacks, on account of their colour, are founded alike in ignorance and inhumanity. If the colour of the negroes be the effect of a disease, instead of inviting us to tyrannize over them, it should entitle them to a double portion of our humanity, for disease all over the world has always been the signal for immediate and universal compassion.
"2. The facts and principles which have been delivered, should teach white people the necessity of keeping up that prejudice against such connexions with them, as would tend to infect posterity with any portion of their disorder. This may be done upon the ground I have mentioned without offering violence to humanity, or calling in question the sameness of descent, or natural equality of mankind.
"3. Is the colour of the negroes a disease? Then let science and humanity combine their efforts, and endeavour to discover a remedy for it. Nature has lately unfurled a banner upon this subject. She has begun spontaneous cures of this disease in several black people in this country. In a certain Henry Moss, who lately travelled through this city, and was exhibited as a show for money, the cure was nearly complete. The change from black to a natural white flesh colour began about five years ago at the ends of his fingers, and has extended gradually over the greatest part of his body. The wool which formerly perforated the cuticle has been changed into
hair. No change in the diet, drinks, dress, employments, or situation of this man had taken place previously to this change in his skin. But this fact does not militate against artificial attempts to dislodge the colour in negroes, any more than the spontaneous cures of many other diseases militate against the use of medicine in the practice of physic. To direct our experiments upon this subject I shall throw out the following facts.
"1. In Henry Moss the colour was first discharged from the skin in those places, on which there was most pressure from clothing, and most attrition from labour, as on the trunk of his body, and on his fingers. The destruction of the black colour was probably occasioned by the absorption of the colouring matter of the rete mucosum, or perhaps of the rete mucosum itself, for pressure and friction it is well known aid the absorbing action of the lymphatics in every part of the body. It is from the latter cause, that the palms of the hands of negro women who spend their lives at a washing tub, are generally as fair as the palms of the hands in labouring white people.
"2. Depletion, whether by bleeding, purging, or abstinence, has been often observed to lessen the black colour in negroes. The effects of the above remedies in curing the common leprosy, satisfy me that they might be used with advantage in that state of leprosy which I conceive to exist in the skin of the negroes.
"3. A similar change in the colour of the negroes, though of a more temporary nature, has often been observed in them from the influence of fear.
"4. Dr. Beddoes tells us that he has discharged the colour in the black wool of a negro by infusing it in the oxygenated muriatic acid, and lessened it by the same means in the hand of a negro The land-cloud of Africa, called by the Portuguese Ferrino, Mr. Hawkins tells us has a peculiar action upon the negroes in changing the black colour of their skins to a dusky gray. Its action is accompanied, he says, with an itching and prickling sensation upon every part of the body which increases with the length of exposure to it so as to be almost intolerable. It is probably air of the carbonic kind, for it uniformly extinguishes fire.
"5. A citizen of Philadelphia, upon whose veracity I have perfect reliance, assured me that he had once seen the skin of one side of the cheek inclining to the chin, and of part of the hand in a negro boy, changed to a white colour by the juice of unripe peaches, (of which he ate a large quantity every year,) falling, and resting frequently upon those parts of his body.
"To encourage attempts to cure this disease of the skin in negroes, let us recollect that by succeeding in them, we shall produce a large portion of happiness in the world. We shall in the first
* "Mr. THOMAS HARRISON."
place destroy one of the arguments in favour of enslaving the negroes, for their colour has been supposed by the ignorant to mark them as objects of divine judgments, and by the learned to qualify them for labour in hot, and unwholesome climates.
"Secondly, We shall add greatly to their happiness, for however well they appear to be satisfied with their colour, there are many proofs of their preferring that of the white people.
"Thirdly, We shall render the belief of the whole human race being descended from one pair, easy, and universal, and thereby not only add weight to the Christian revelation, but remove a material obstacle to the exercise of that universal benevolence which is inculcated by it."