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The Malay Archipelago by by Alfred Russell Wallace

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stony deserts, dried up rivers, and changeable temperate climate;
New Guinea, with its luxuriant forests, uniformly hot, moist, and
evergreen--this great similarity in their productions is almost
astounding, and unmistakeably points to a common origin. The
resemblance is not nearly so strongly marked in insects, the
reason obviously being, that this class of animals are much more
immediately dependent on vegetation and climate than are the more
highly organized birds and Mammalia. Insects also have far more
effective means of distribution, and have spread widely into
every district favourable to their development and increase. The
giant Ornithopterae have thus spread from New Guinea over the
whole Archipelago, and as far as the base of the Himalayas; while
the elegant long-horned Anthribidae have spread in the opposite
direction from Malacca to New Guinea, but owing to unfavourable
conditions have not been able to establish themselves in
Australia. That country, on the other hand, has developed a
variety of flower-haunting Chafers and Buprestidae, and numbers
of large and curious terrestrial Weevils, scarcely any of which
are adapted to the damp gloomy forests of New Guinea, where
entirely different forms are to be found. There are, however,
some groups of insects, constituting what appear to be the
remains of the ancient population of the equatorial parts of the
Australian region, which are still almost entirely confined to
it. Such are the interesting sub-family of Longicorn coleoptera--
Tmesisternitae; one of the best-marked genera of Buprestidae--
Cyphogastra; and the beautiful weevils forming the genus
Eupholus. Among butterflies we have the genera Mynes, Hypocista,
and Elodina, and the curious eye-spotted Drusilla, of which last
a single species is found in Java, but in no other of the western

The facilities for the distribution of plants are still greater
than they are for insects, and it is the opinion of eminent
botanists, that no such clearly-defined regions pan be marked out
in botany as in zoology. The causes which tend to diffusion are
here most powerful, and have led to such intermingling of the
floras of adjacent regions that none but broad and general
divisions can now be detected. These remarks have an important
bearing on the problem of dividing the surface of the earth into
great regions, distinguished by the radical difference of their
natural productions. Such difference we now know to be the direct
result of long-continued separation by more or less impassable
barriers; and as wide oceans and great contrast: of temperature
are the most complete barriers to the dispersal of all
terrestrial forms of life, the primary divisions of the earth
should in the main serve for all terrestrial organisms. However
various may be the effects of climate, however unequal the means
of distribution; these will never altogether obliterate the
radical effects of long-continued isolation; and it is my firm
conviction, that when the botany and the entomology of New Guinea
and the surrounding islands become as well known as are their
mammals and birds, these departments of nature will also plainly
indicate the radical distinctions of the Indo-Malayan and Austro-
Malayan regions of the great Malay Archipelago.



PROPOSE to conclude this account of my Eastern travels, with a
short statement of my views as to the races of man which inhabit
the various parts of the Archipelago, their chief physical and
mental characteristics, their affinities with each other and with
surrounding tribes, their migrations, and their probable origin.

Two very strongly contrasted races inhabit the Archipelago--the
Malays, occupying almost exclusively the larger western half of
it, and the Papuans, whose headquarters are New Guinea and
several of the adjacent islands. Between these in locality, are
found tribes who are also intermediate in their chief
characteristics, and it is sometimes a nice point to determine
whether they belong to one or the other race, or have been formed
by a mixture of the two.

The Malay is undoubtedly the most important of these two races,
as it is the one which is the most civilized, which has come most
into contact with Europeans, and which alone has any place in
history. What may be called the true Malay races, as
distinguished from others who have merely a Malay element in
their language, present a considerable uniformity of physical and
mental characteristics, while there are very great differences of
civilization and of language. They consist of four great, and a
few minor semi-civilized tribes, and a number of others who may
be termed savages. The Malays proper inhabit the Malay peninsula,
and almost all the coast regions of Borneo and Sumatra. They all
speak the Malay language, or dialects of it; they write in the
Arabic character, and are Mahometans in religion. The Javanese
inhabit Java, part of Sumatra, Madura, Bali, and Bart of Lombock.
They speak the Javanese and Kawi languages, which they write in a
native character. They are now Mahometans in Java, but Brahmins
in Bali and Lombock. The Bugis are the inhabitants of the greater
parts of Celebes, and there seems to be an allied people in
Sumbawa. They speak the Bugis and Macassar languages, with
dialects, and have two different native characters in which they
write these. They are all Mahometans. The fourth great race is
that of the Tagalas in the Philippine Islands, about whom, as I
did not visit those Islands, I shall say little. Many of them are
now Christians, and speak Spanish as well as their native tongue,
the Tagala. The Moluccan-Malays, who inhabit chiefly Ternate,
Tidore, Batchian, and Amboyna, may be held to form a fifth
division of semi-civilized Malays. They are all Mahometans, but
they speak a variety of curious languages, which seem compounded
of Bugis and Javanese, with the languages of the savage tribes of
the Moluccas.

The savage Malays are the Dyaks of Borneo; the Battaks and other
wild tribes of Sumatra; the Jakuns of the Malay Peninsula; the
aborigines of Northern Celebes, of the Sula island, and of part
of Bouru.

The colour of all these varied tribes is a light reddish brown,
with more or less of an olive tinge, not varying in any important
degree over an extent of country as large as all Southern Europe.
The hair is equally constant, being invariably black and
straight, and of a rather coarse texture, so that any lighter
tint, or any wave or curl in it, is an almost certain proof of
the admixture of some foreign blood. The face is nearly destitute
of beard, and the breast and limbs are free from hair. The
stature is tolerably equal, and is always considerably below that
of the average European; the body is robust, the breast well
developed, the feet small, thick, and short, the hands small and
rather delicate. The face is a little broad, and inclined to be
flat; the forehead is rather rounded, the brows low, the eyes
black and very slightly oblique; the nose is rather small, not
prominent, but straight and well-shaped, the apex a little
rounded, the nostrils broad and slightly exposed; the cheek-bones
are rather prominent, the mouth large, the lips broad and well
cut, but not protruding, the chin round and well-formed.

In this description there seems little to object to on the score
of beauty, and yet on the whole the Malays are certainly not
handsome. In youth, however, they are often very good-looking,
and many of the boys and girls up to twelve or fifteen years of
age are very pleasing, and some have countenances which are in
their way almost perfect. I am inclined to think they lose much
of their good looks by bad habits and irregular living. At a very
early age. they chew betel and tobacco almost incessantly; they
suffer much want and exposure in their fishing and other
excursions; their lives are often passed in alternate starvation
and feasting, idleness and excessive labour,--and this naturally
produces premature old age and harshness of features.

In character the Malay is impassive. He exhibits a reserve,
diffidence, and even bashfulness, which is in some degree
attractive, and leads the observer to thinly that the ferocious
and bloodthirsty character imputed to the race must be grossly
exaggerated. He is not demonstrative. His feelings of surprise,
admiration, or fear, are never openly manifested, and are
probably not strongly felt. He is slow and deliberate in speech,
and circuitous in introducing the subject he has come expressly
to discuss. These are the main features of his moral nature, and
exhibit themselves in every action of his life.

Children and women are timid, and scream and run at the
unexpected sight of a European. In the company of men they are
silent, and are generally quiet and obedient. When alone the
Malay is taciturn; he neither talks nor sings to himself. When
several are paddling in a canoe, they occasionally chant a
monotonous and plaintive song. He is cautious of giving offence
to his equals. He does not quarrel easily about money matters;
dislikes asking too frequently even for payment of his just
debts, and will often give them up altogether rather than quarrel
with his debtor. Practical joking is utterly repugnant to his
disposition; for he is particularly sensitive to breaches of
etiquette, or any interference with the personal liberty of
himself or another. As an example, I may mention that I have
often found it very difficult to get one Malay servant to waken
another. He will call as loud as he can, but will hardly touch,
much less shake his comrade. I have frequently had to waken a
hard sleeper myself when on a land or sea journey.

The higher classes of Malays are exceedingly polite, and have all
the quiet ease and dignity of the best-bred Europeans. Yet this
is compatible with a reckless cruelty and contempt of human life,
which is the dark side of their character. It is not to be
wondered at, therefore, that different persons give totally
opposite accounts of them--one praising them for their soberness,
civility, and good-nature; another abusing them for their deceit,
treachery, and cruelty. The old traveller Nicolo Conti, writing
in 1430, says: "The inhabitants of Java and Sumatra exceed every
other people in cruelty. They regard killing a man as a mere
jest; nor is any punishment allotted for such a deed. If any one
purchase a new sword, and wish to try it, he will thrust it into
the breast of the first person he meets. The passers-by examine
the wound, and praise the skill of the person who inflicted it,
if he thrust in the weapon direct." Yet Drake says of the south
of Java: "The people (as are their kings) are a very loving,
true, and just-dealing people;" and Mr. Crawfurd says that the
Javanese, whom he knew thoroughly, are "a peaceable, docile,
sober, simple, and industrious people." Barbosa, on the other
hand, who saw them at Malacca about 1660, says: "They are a
people of great ingenuity, very subtle in all their dealings;
very malicious, great deceivers, seldom speaking the truth;
prepared to do all manner of wickedness, and ready to sacrifice
their lives."

The intellect of the Malay race seems rather deficient. They are
incapable of anything beyond the simplest combinations of ideas,
and have little taste or energy for the acquirement of knowledge.
Their civilization, such as it is, does not seem to be
indigenous, as it is entirely confined to those nations who have
been converted to the Mahometan or Brahminical religions.

I will now give an equally brief sketch of the other great race
of the Malay Archipelago, the Papuan.

The typical Papuan race is in many respects the very opposite of
the Malay, and it has hitherto been very imperfectly described.
The colour of the body is a deep sooty-brown or black, sometimes
approaching, but never quite equalling, the jet-black of some
negro races. It varies in tint, however, more than that of the
Malay, and is sometimes a dusky-brown. The hair is very peculiar,
being harsh, dry, and frizzly, growing in little tufts or curls,
which in youth are very short and compact, but afterwards grow
out to a, considerable length, forming the compact frizzled mop
which is the Papuans' pride and glory. The face is adorned with a
beard of the same frizzly nature as the hair of the head. The
arms, legs, and breast are also more or less clothed with hair of
a similar nature.

In stature the Papuan decidedly surpasses the Malay, and is
perhaps equal, or even superior, to the average of Europeans. The
legs are long and thin, and the hands and feet larger than in the
Malays. The face is somewhat elongated, the forehead flatfish,
the brows very prominent; the nose is large, rather arched and
high, the base thick, the nostrils broad, with the aperture
hidden, owing to the tip of the nose being elongated; the mouth
is large, the lips thick and protuberant. The face has thus an
altogether more European aspect than in the Malay, owing to the
large nose; and the peculiar form of this organ, with the more
prominent brows and the character of the hair on the head, face,
and body, enable us at a glance to distinguish the two races. I
have observed that most of these characteristic features are as
distinctly visible in children of ten or twelve years old as in
adults, and the peculiar form of the nose is always shown in the
figures which they carve for ornaments to their houses, or as
charms to wear round their necks.

The moral characteristics of the Papuan appear to me to separate
him as distinctly from the Malay as do his form and features. He
is impulsive and demonstrative in speech and action. His emotions
and passions express themselves in shouts and laughter, in yells
and frantic leapings. Women and children take their share in
every discussion, and seem little alarmed at the sight of
strangers and Europeans.

Of the intellect of this race it is very difficult to judge, but
I am inclined to rate it somewhat higher than that of the Malays,
notwithstanding the fact that the Papuans have never yet made any
advance towards civilization. It must be remembered, however,
that for centuries the Malays have been influenced by Hindoo,
Chinese, and Arabic immigration, whereas the Papuan race has only
been subjected to the very partial and local influence of Malay
traders. The Papuan has much more vital energy, which would
certainly greatly assist his intellectual development. Papuan
slaves show no inferiority of intellect. compared with Malays,
but rather the contrary; and in the Moluccas they are often
promoted to places of considerable trust. The Papuan has a
greater feeling for art than the Malay. He decorates his canoe,
his house, and almost every domestic utensil with elaborate
carving, a habit which is rarely found among tribes of the Malay

In the affections and moral sentiments, on the other hand, the
Papuans seem very deficient. In the treatment of their children
they are often violent and cruel; whereas the Malays are almost
invariably kind and gentle, hardly ever interfering at all with
their children's pursuits and amusements, and giving them perfect
liberty at whatever age they wish to claim it. But these very
peaceful relations between parents and children are no doubt, in
a great measure, due to the listless and apathetic character of
the race, which never leads the younger members into serious
opposition to the elders; while the harsher discipline of the
Papuans may be chiefly due to that greater vigour and energy of
mind which always, sooner or later, leads to the rebellion of the
weaker against the stronger,--the people against their rulers,
the slave against his master, or the child against its parent.

It appears, therefore, that, whether we consider their physical
conformation, their moral characteristics, or their intellectual
capacities, the Malay and Papuan races offer remarkable
differences and striking contrasts. The Malay is of short
stature, brown-skinned, straight-haired, beardless, and smooth-
bodied. The Papuan is taller, is black-skinned, frizzly-haired,
bearded, and hairy-bodied. The former is broad-faced, has a small
nose, and flat eyebrows; the latter is long-faced, has a large
and prominent nose, and projecting eyebrows. The Malay is
bashful, cold, undemonstrative, and quiet; the Papuan is bold,
impetuous, excitable, and noisy. The former is grave and seldom
laughs; the latter is joyous arid laughter-loving,--the one
conceals his emotions, the other displays them.

Having thus described in some detail, the great physical,
intellectual, and moral differences between the Malays and
Papuans, we have to consider the inhabitants of the numerous
islands which do not agree very closely with either of these
races. The islands of Obi, Batchian, and the three southern
peninsulas of Gilolo, possess no true indigenous population; but
the northern peninsula is inhabited by a native race, the so-
called Alfuros of Sahoe and Galela. These people are quite
distinct from the Malays, and almost equally so from the Papuans.
They are tall and well-made, with Papuan features, and curly
hair; they are bearded and hairy-limbed, but quite as light in
colour as the Malays. They are an industrious and enterprising
race, cultivating rice and vegetables, and indefatigable in their
search after game, fish, tripang, pearls, and tortoiseshell.

In the great island of Ceram there is also an indigenous race
very similar to that of Northern Gilolo. Bourn seems to contain
two distinct races,--a shorter, round-faced people, with a Malay
physiognomy, who may probably have come from Celebes by way of
the Sula islands; and a taller bearded race, resembling that of

Far south of the Moluccas lies the island of Timor, inhabited by
tribes much nearer to the true Papuan than those of the Moluccas.

The Timorese of the interior are dusky brown or blackish, with
bushy frizzled hair, and the long Papuan nose. They are of medium
height, and rather slender figures. The universal dress is a long
cloth twisted round the waist, the fringed ends of which hang
below the knee. The people are said to be great thieves, and the
tribes are always at war with each other, but they are not very
courageous or bloodthirsty. The custom of "tabu," called here
"pomali," is very general, fruit trees, houses, crop, and
property of all kinds being protected from depredation by this
ceremony, the reverence for which is very great. A palm branch
stuck across an open door, showing that the house is tabooed, is
a more effectual guard against robbery than any amount of locks
and bars. The houses in Timor are different from those of most of
the other islands; they seem all roof, the thatch overhanging the
low walls and reaching the ground, except where it is cut away
for an entrance. In some parts of the west end of Timor, and on
the little island of Semau, the houses more resemble those of the
Hottentots, being egg-shaped, very small, and with a door only
about three feet high. These are built on the ground, while those
of the eastern districts art, raised a few feet on posts. In
their excitable disposition, loud voices, and fearless demeanour,
the Timorese closely resemble the people of New Guinea.

In the islands west of Timor, as far as Flores and Sandalwood
Island, a very similar race is found, which also extends eastward
to Timor-laut, where the true Papuan race begins to appear. The
small islands of Savu and Rotti, however, to the west of Timor,
are very remarkable in possessing a different and, in some
respects, peculiar race. These people are very handsome, with
good features, resembling in many characteristics the race
produced by the mixture of the Hindoo or Arab with the Malay.
They are certainly distinct from the Timorese or Papuan races,
and must be classed in the western rather than the eastern
ethnological division of the Archipelago.

The whole of the great island of New Guinea, the Ke arid Aru
Islands, with Mysol, Salwatty, and Waigiou, are inhabited almost
exclusively by the typical Papuans. I found no trace of any other
tribes inhabiting the interior of New Guinea, but the coast
people are in some places mixed with the browner races of the
Moluccas. The same Papuan race seems to extend over the islands
east of New Guinea as far as the Fijis.

There remain to be noticed the black woolly-haired races of the
Philippines and the Malay peninsula, the former called
"Negritos," and the latter "Semangs." I have never seen these
people myself, but from the numerous accurate descriptions of
them that have been published, I have had no difficulty in
satisfying myself that they have little affinity or resemblance
to the Papuans, with which they have been hitherto associated. In
most important characters they differ more from the Papuan than
they do from the Malay. They are dwarfs in stature, only
averaging four feet six inches to four feet eight inches high, or
eight inches less than the Malays; whereas the Papuans are
decidedly taller than the -Malays. The nose is invariably
represented as small, flattened, or turned up at the apex,
whereas the most universal character of the Papuan race is to
have the nose prominent and large, with the apex produced
downwards, as it is invariably represented in their own rude
idols. The hair of these dwarfish races agrees with that of the
Papuans, but so it does with that of the negroes of Africa. The
Negritos and the Semangs agree very closely in physical
characteristics with each other and with the Andaman Islanders,
while they differ in a marked manner from every Papuan race.

A careful study of these varied races, comparing them with those
of Eastern Asia, the Pacific Islands, and Australia, has led me
to adopt a comparatively simple view as to their origin and

If we draw a line (see Physical Map, Vol. 1. p. 14), commencing
to the east of the Philippine Islands, thence along the western
coast of Gilolo, through the island of Bouru, and curving round
the west end of Mores, then bending back by Sandalwood Island to
take in Rotti, we shall divide the Archipelago into two portions,
the races of which have strongly marked distinctive
peculiarities. This line will separate the Malayan and all the
Asiatic races, from the Papuans and all that inhabit the Pacific;
and though along the line of junction intermigration and
commixture have taken place, yet the division is on the whole
almost as well defined and strongly contrasted, as is the
corresponding zoological division of the Archipelago, into an
Indo-Malayan and Austro-Malayan region.

I must briefly explain the reasons that have led me to consider
this division of the Oceanic races to be a true and natural one.
The Malayan race, as a whole, undoubtedly very closely resembles
the East Asian populations, from Siam to Mandchouria. I was much
struck with this, when in the island of Bali I saw Chinese
traders who had adopted the costume of that country, and who
could then hardly be distinguished from Malays; and, on the other
hand, I have seen natives of Java who, as far as physiognomy was
concerned, would pass very well for Chinese. Then, again, we have
the most typical of the Malayan tribes inhabiting a portion of
the Asiatic continent itself, together with those great islands
which, possessing the same species of large Mammalia with the
adjacent parts of the continent, have in all probability formed a
connected portion of Asia during the human period. The Negritos
are, no doubt, quite a distinct race from the Malay; but yet, as
some of them inhabit a portion of the continent, and others the
Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal, they must be considered to
have had, in all probability, an Asiatic rather than a Polynesian

Now, turning to the eastern parts of the Archipelago, I find, by
comparing my own observations with those of the most trustworthy
travellers and missionaries, that a race identical in all its
chief features with the Papuan, is found in all the islands as
far east as the Fijis; beyond this the brown Polynesian race, or
some intermediate type, is spread everywhere over the Pacific.
The descriptions of these latter often agree exactly with the
characters of the brown indigenes of Gilolo and Ceram.

It is to be especially remarked that the brown and the black
Polynesian races closely resemble each other. Their features are
almost identical, so that portraits of a New Zealander or
Otaheitan will often serve accurately to represent a Papuan or
Timorese, the darker colour and more frizzly hair of the latter
being the only differences. They are both tall races. They agree
in their love of art and the style of their decorations. They are
energetic, demonstrative, joyous, and laughter-loving, and in all
these particulars they differ widely from the Malay.

I believe, therefore, that the numerous intermediate forms that
occur among the countless islands of the Pacific, are not merely
the result of a mixture of these races, but are, to some extent,
truly intermediate or transitional; and that the brown and the
black, the Papuan, the natives of Gilolo and Ceram, the Fijian,
the inhabitants of the Sandwich Islands and those of New Zealand,
are all varying forms of one great Oceanic or Polynesian race.

It is, however, quite possible, and perhaps probable, that the
brown Polynesians were originally the produce of a mixture of
Malays, or some lighter coloured Mongol race with the dark
Papuans; but if so, the intermingling took place at such a remote
epoch, and has been so assisted by the continued influence of
physical conditions and of natural selection, leading to the
preservation of a special type suited to those conditions, that
it has become a fixed and stable race with no signs of
mongrelism, and showing such a decided preponderance of Papuan
character, that it can best be classified as a modification of
the Papuan type. The occurrence of a decided Malay element in the
Polynesian languages, has evidently nothing to do with any such
ancient physical connexion. It is altogether a recent phenomenon,
originating in the roaming habits of the chief Malay tribes; and
this is proved by the fact that we find actual modern words of
the Malay and Javanese languages in use in Polynesia, so little
disguised by peculiarities of pronunciation as to be easily
recognisable--not mere Malay roots only to be detected by the
elaborate researches of the philologist, as would certainly have
been the case had their introduction been as
remote as the origin of a very distinct race--a race as different
from the Malay in mental and moral, as it is in physical

As bearing upon this question it is important to point out the
harmony which exists, between the line of separation of the human
races of the Archipelago and that of the animal productions of
the same country, which I have already so fully explained and
illustrated. The dividing lines do not, it is true, exactly
agree; but I think it is a remarkable fact, and something more
than a mere coincidence, that they should traverse the same
district and approach each other so closely as they do. If,
however, I am right in my supposition that the region where the
dividing line of the Indo-Malayan and Austro-Malayan regions of
zoology can now be drawn, was formerly occupied by a much wider
sea than at present, and if man existed on the earth at that
period, we shall see good reason why the races inhabiting the
Asiatic and Pacific areas should now meet and partially
intermingle in the vicinity of that dividing line.

It has recently been maintained by Professor Huxley, that the
Papuans are more closely allied to the negroes of Africa than to
any other race. The resemblance both in physical and mental
characteristics had often struck myself, but the difficulties in
the way of accepting it as probable or possible, have hitherto
prevented me front giving full weight to those resemblances.
Geographical, zoological, and ethnological considerations render
it almost certain, that if these two races ever had a common
origin, it could only have been at a period far more remote than
any which has yet been assigned to the antiquity of the human
race. And even if their lenity could be proved, it would in no
way affect my argument for the close affinity of the Papuan and
Polynesian races, and the radical distinctness of both from the

Polynesia is pre-eminently an area of subsidence, and its goat
widespread groups of coral-reefs mark out tile position of former
continents and islands. The rich and varied, yet strangely
isolated productions of Australia and New Guinea, also indicate
an extensive continent where such specialized forms were
developed. The races of men now inhabiting these countries are,
therefore, most probably the descendants of the races which
inhabited these continents and islands. This is the most simple
and natural supposition to make. And if we find any signs of
direct affinity between the inhabitants of any other part of the
world and those of Polynesia, it by no means follows that the
latter were derived from the former. For as, when a Pacific
continent existed, the whole geography of the earth's surface
would probably be very different from what it now is, the present
continents may not then have risen above the ocean, and, when
they were formed at a subsequent epoch, may have derived some of
their inhabitants from the Polynesian area itself. It is
undoubtedly true that there are proofs of extensive migrations
among the Pacific islands, which have led to community of
language from the sandwich group to New Zealand; but there are no
proofs whatever of recent migration from any surrounding country
to Polynesia, since there is no people to be found elsewhere
sufficiently resembling the Polynesian race in their chief
physical and mental characteristics.

If the past history of these varied races is obscure and
uncertain, the future is no less so. The true Polynesians,
inhabiting the farthest isles of the Pacific, are no doubt doomed
to an early extinction. But the more numerous Malay race seems
well adapted to survive as the cultivator of the soil, even when
his country and government have passed into the hands of
Europeans. If the tide of colonization should be turned to New
Guinea, there can be little doubt of the early extinction of the
Papuan race. A warlike and energetic people, who will not submit
to national slavery or to domestic servitude, must disappear
before the white man as surely as do the wolf and the tiger.

I have now concluded my task. I have given, in more or less
detail, a sketch of my eight years' wanderings among the largest
and the most luxuriant islands which adorn our earth's surface. I
have endeavoured to convey my impressions of their scenery, their
vegetation, their animal productions, and their human
inhabitants. I have dwelt at some length on the varied and
interesting problems they offer to the student of nature. Before
bidding my reader farewell, I wish to make a few observations on
a subject of yet higher interest and deeper importance, which the
contemplation of savage life has suggested, and on which I
believe that the civilized can learn something from the savage

We most of us believe that we, the higher races have progressed
and are progressing. If so, there must be some state of
perfection, some ultimate goal, which we may never reach, but to
which all true progress must bring nearer. What is this ideally
perfect social state towards which mankind ever has been, and
still is tending? Our best thinkers maintain, that it is a state
of individual freedom and self-government, rendered possible by
the equal development and just balance of the intellectual,
moral, and physical parts of our nature,--a state in which we
shall each be so perfectly fitted for a social existence, by
knowing what is right, and at the same time feeling an
irresistible impulse to do what we know to be right., that all
laws and all punishments shall be unnecessary. In such a state
every man would have a sufficiently well-balanced intellectual
organization, to understand the moral law in all its details, and
would require no other motive but the free impulses of his own
nature to obey that law.

Now it is very remarkable, that among people in a very low stage
of civilization, we find some approach to such a perfect social
state. I have lived with communities of savages in South America
and in the East, who have no laws or law courts but the public
opinion of the village freely expressed. Each man scrupulously
respects the rights of his fellow, and any infraction of those
rights rarely or never takes place. In such a community, all are
nearly equal. There are cone of those wide distinctions, of
education and ignorance, wealth and poverty, master and servant,
which are the product of our civilization; there is none of that
wide-spread division of labour, which, while it increases wealth,
products also conflicting interests; there is not that severe
competition and struggle for existence, or for wealth, which the
dense population of civilized countries inevitably creates. All
incitements to great crimes are thus wanting, and petty ones are
repressed, partly by the influence of public opinion, but chiefly
by that natural sense of justice and of his neighbour's right,
which seems to be, in some degree, inherent in every race of man.

Now, although we have progressed vastly beyond the savage state
in intellectual achievements, we have not advanced equally in
morals. It is true that among those classes who have no wants
that cannot be easily supplied, and among whom public opinion has
great influence; the rights of others are fully respected. It is
true, also, that we have vastly extended the sphere of those
rights, and include within them all the brotherhood of man. But
it is not too much to say, that the mass of our populations have
not at all advanced beyond the savage code of morals, and have in
many cases sunk below it. A deficient morality is the great blot
of modern civilization, and the greatest hindrance to true

During the last century, and especially in the last thirty years,
our intellectual and material advancement has been too quickly
achieved for us to reap the full benefit of it. Our mastery over
the forces of mature has led to a rapid growth of population, and
a vast accumulation of wealth; but these have brought with them
such au amount of poverty and crime, and have fostered the growth
of so much sordid feeling and so many fierce passions, that it
may well be questioned, whether the mental and moral status of
our population has not on the average been lowered, and whether
the evil has not overbalanced the good. Compared with our
wondrous progress in physical science and its practical
applications, our system of government, of administering justice,
of national education, and our whole social and moral
organization, remains in a state of barbarism. [See note next
page.] And if we continue to devote our chief energies to the
utilizing of our knowledge the laws of nature with the view of
still further extending our commerce and our wealth, the evils
which necessarily accompany these when too eagerly pursued, may
increase to such gigantic dimensions as to be beyond cur power to

We should now clearly recognise the fact, that the wealth and
knowledge and culture of the few do not constitute civilization,
and do not of themselves advance us towards the "perfect social
state." Our vast manufacturing system, our gigantic commerce, our
crowded towns and cities, support and continually renew a mass of
human misery and crime absolutely greater than has ever existed
before. They create and maintain in life-long labour an ever-
increasing army, whose lot is the more hard to bear, by contrast
with the pleasures, the comforts, and the luxury which they see
everywhere around them, but which they can never hope to enjoy;
and who, in this respect, are worse off than the savage in the
midst of his tribe.

This is not a result to boast of, or to be satisfied with; and,
until there is a more general recognition of this failure of our
civilization--resulting mainly from our neglect to train and
develop more thoroughly the sympathetic feelings and moral
faculties of our nature, and to allow them a larger share of
influence in our legislation, our commerce, and our whole social
organization--we shall never, as regards the whole community,
attain to any real or important superiority over the better class
of savages.

This is the lesson I have been taught by my observations of
uncivilized man. I now bid my readers--Farewell!


THOSE who believe that our social condition approaches
perfection, will think the above word harsh and exaggerated, but
it seems to me the only word that can be truly applied to us. We
are the richest country in the world, and yet cue-twentieth of
our population are parish paupers, and one-thirtieth known
criminals. Add to these, the criminals who escape detection; and
the poor who live mainly on private charity, (which, according to
Dr. Hawkesley, expends seven millions sterling annually is London
alone,) and we may be sure that more than ONE-TENTH of our
population are actually Paupers and Criminals. Both these classes
we keep idle or at unproductive labour, and each criminal costs
us annually in our prisons more than the wages of an honest
agricultural labourer. We allow over a hundred thousand persons
known to have no means of subsistence but by crime, to remain at
large and prey upon the community, and many thousand children to
grow up before our eyes in ignorance and vice, to supply trained
criminals for the next generation. This, in a country which
boasts of its rapid increase in wealth, of its enormous commerce
and gigantic manufactures, of its mechanical skill and scientific
knowledge, of its high civilization and its pure Christianity,--I
can but term a state of social barbarism. We also boast of our
love of justice, and that the law protects rich and. poor alike,
yet we retain money fines as a punishment, and male the very
first steps to obtain justice a. matter of expense-in both cases
a barbarous injustice, or denial of justice to the poor. Again,
our laws render it possible, that, by mere neglect of a legal
form, and contrary to his own wish and intention, a man's
property may all go to a stranger, and his own children be left
destitute. Such cases have happened through the operation of the
laws of inheritance of landed property; and that such unnatural
injustice is possible among us, shows that we are in a state of
social barbarism. Ono more example to justify my use of the term,
and I have done. We permit absolute possession of the soil of our
country, with no legal rights of existence on the soil, to the
vast majority who do not possess it. A great landholder may
legally convert his whole property into a forest or a hunting-
ground, and expel every human being who has hitherto lived upon
it. In a thickly-populated country like England, where every acre
has its owner and its occupier, this is a power of legally
destroying his fellow-creatures; and that such a power should
exist, and be exercised by individuals, in however small a
degree, indicates that, as regards true social science, we are
still in a state of barbarism.

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