By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Buffon's Natural History. Volume IV (of 10) - Containing a Theory of the Earth, a General History of - Man, of the Brute Creation, and of Vegetables, Minerals, - &c. &c
Author: Buffon, Georges Louis Leclerc de
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Buffon's Natural History. Volume IV (of 10) - Containing a Theory of the Earth, a General History of - Man, of the Brute Creation, and of Vegetables, Minerals, - &c. &c" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Transcriber Note

Emphasized text displayed as _Italic Text._
Whole and fractional parts of numbers are displayed: 33-1/2

                         _Barr's Buffon._

                       Buffon's Natural History.


                        A THEORY OF THE EARTH,
                               A GENERAL
                        _HISTORY OF MAN_,
                     OF THE BRUTE CREATION, AND OF
                         VEGETABLES, MINERALS,
                                &c. &c.

                           FROM THE FRENCH.
                     WITH NOTES BY THE TRANSLATOR.
                            IN TEN VOLUMES.

                               VOL. IV.


                      PRINTED FOR THE PROPRIETOR,


                    T. Gillet, Printer, Wild-court.



  _Infancy continued_                                         1

  Chap. III. _Of Puberty_                                    23

  Chap. IV. _A Description of Man_                           62

  Chap. V. _Of Old Age and Death_                            95

  Chap. VI. _Of the Sense of Seeing_                        137

  Chap. VII. _Of the Sense of Hearing_                      159

  Chap. VIII. _Of the Senses in General_                    171

  Chap. IX. _Of the Varieties in the Human Species_         190

_Directions for placing the Plates._

Page 91, Fig. 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.



Infants, when newly born, sleep much, though with frequent
interruptions. As they are also in frequent want of nourishment, they
ought in the day to receive the breast every time they awake. The
greatest part of the first month they pass in sleep, and do not seem
to awake, but from a sense of pain or hunger; their sleep, therefore,
generally terminates with a fit of crying. As they are compelled to
remain in the same position in the cradle, confined by shackles, their
situation soon becomes painful. Their excrements, whose acrimony is
offensive to their tender and very delicate skin, often render them
wet and chilly; and in this distress, by their cries alone can they
call for relief. With the utmost assiduity ought this relief to be
given them; or rather such inconveniences ought to be prevented by
frequently changing part of their cloathing both night and day. The
Savages deem this an object so essential, that though their changes of
skins cannot possibly be so frequent as ours of linen, yet they supply
this deficiency by the use of other substances; of which there is no
necessity to be sparing. In North-America, a quantity of dust obtained
from wood that has been gnawed by worms is placed at the bottom of the
cradle, and which they renew as often as appears requisite. On this
powder the infant is laid, and covered with skins; and though a bed
of feathers, it is pretended, cannot be more soft and easy, yet it is
not used to indulge the delicacy of the child, but to keep it clean;
which in effect it does, by drawing off the moisture of every kind. In
Virginia, they place the child naked upon a plank covered with cotton,
and provided with a hole as a passage for the excrement. Here the cold
is often unfavourable to such a practice; but it is almost general in
the East of Europe, and especially in Turkey. This custom has this
further advantage, it precludes all care, and is the most certain
method of preventing the ill effects which too frequently result from
the usual negligence of nurses. It is maternal affection alone which is
capable of supporting that continual vigilance, that minute attention,
which a new-born infant requires. How then can such vigilance, such
care, be expected from a mercenary groveling nurse?

Some nurses desert their children for several hours without feeling
the smallest anxiety; and others are so cruel as to be unaffected with
their cries; then do the helpless innocents seem to be in a kind of
despair; then do they exert every effort of which they are capable;
and, till their strength actually forsakes them, implore assistance by
their cries. If these violent agitations do not create some distemper,
they discompose, however, the temperament and constitution of the
child, and even influence perhaps its disposition.

There is another abuse which lazy nurses are frequently guilty of:
instead of employing effectual methods for pleasing the infant, they
rock it furiously in the cradle; this procures a momentary cessation
of its cries, by confusing its brain, and if long continued stuns the
child into a sleep. But this sort of sleep is merely a palliative, and
so far is the agitation by which it was obtained from removing the
cause of complaint, that it may disorder the head and stomach, and be
the foundation of future disorders of very fatal consequence.

Before children are put into the cradle, we ought to be certain they
want nothing, and they should never be rocked with such violence as to
confound or stun them. If their sleep is not sound, a slow and equal
motion of the cradle is sufficient to render it so; nor ought they
to be rocked often, for if accustomed to this motion they will not
sleep without it. Though children in good health should sleep long
and spontaneously, yet the temperament of the body may be injured by
too much. In this case they should be roused by gentle motion; their
ears ought to be amused with some soft and agreeable sounds, and their
eyes with some brilliant and striking objects. It is at this age they
receive their first impressions from the sense, and these are, perhaps,
of more future importance than many may imagine.

The eyes of infants are always directed to the strongest light in the
room, and if from the child's situation only one eye can be directed to
it, the other, for want of exercise, will remain more weak. To prevent
this inconvenience the foot of the cradle ought to be so placed that
the light, whether it comes from a window or a candle, may front it. In
this position both eyes receive it alike, and thus by exercise acquire
equal strength. If one eye becomes stronger than the other, the child
will squint; for it is incontestably proved, that the inequality of
strength in the eyes is the cause of squinting.

For the first and second months, and even for the third and fourth, the
infant, especially when its constitution is weak and delicate, ought
to receive no nourishment but milk from the breast. Whatever be its
strength, it may receive material injury if any other food is given it
during the first month. In Holland, in Italy, in Turkey, and in general
over all the Levant, children have nothing but the breast for a whole
year. The savages of Canada suckle them till they are four or five,
and sometimes six or seven years of age. With us most nurses have not
a sufficiency of milk to satisfy the demands of their children; and in
order to be frugal of what they have, they feed them, even from the
first, with a composition of boiled flour and milk. This nourishment
allays their hunger; but as their stomachs and bowels are yet too weak
to digest a gross and viscous substance, they suffer by it, and not
unoften die by indigestions.

The milk of animals may supply the deficiency of that of the mother in
cases of necessity; but then it is highly necessary the child should
receive it, by sucking the animal's teat, in order that it may be of
an equal and proper warmth, and that by the action of the muscles in
sucking it may mix with the saliva, which facilitates digestion. In the
country I have known several peasants who had no other nurses but ewes;
and these peasants were as vigorous as any that had been suckled by
their mothers.

After two or three months, when the child has acquired strength, they
begin to give it food a little more solid, consisting of a kind of
bread made of flour and milk, which disposes the stomach to receive
the common bread, and such other nutriment as it will afterwards be
accustomed to.

As an introduction to the use of solid food, the consistency of liquid
food is gradually increased, and therefore, after having habituated
the child to flour and milk boiled, they next give it bread diluted
in some convenient fluid. During the first year infants are incapable
of mastication, their teeth still continuing enveloped in the gums,
which are so soft that their feeble resistance can produce no effect
on any solid matter. Some nurses, especially among the common people,
chew the food first, and then give it to the child, a practice from
which, before we reflect upon it, we ought to banish every idea of
disgust, which can make no impression upon infants. So far from feeling
anything of that kind, they as readily receive food from the mouth
of the nurse as from her breasts; nay it seems to proceed, from a
natural propensity, by its being introduced in a number of countries
widely different from each other. We find it in Italy, in Turkey, in
the greatest part of Asia, in America, in Canada, &c. I conceive it
to be highly useful, from being the only method by which the stomach
of children can be furnished with the saliva that is required for
the digestion of solid food. If the nurse chews a bit of bread, her
saliva dilutes it, and renders it more nutritious than if it had been
moistened in any other liquid, yet this practice is only necessary till
they are supplied with teeth to chew their food, and dilute it with
their own saliva.

The incisores, or fore teeth, are eight in number, four in the front of
each jaw-bone. These generally appear first, though seldom till seven,
eight, or ten months. Some few infants have been born with teeth so
sharp as to cut their nurse's nipple. The original substance of the
teeth is lodged in sockets, and covered by the gums, to the bottom
of which it extends its roots, and pressing forward by little and
little, at length forces its way through them. Though this operation is
natural, it is not, however, consonant to the general laws of Nature,
which constantly operate upon the human body, without exciting any
painful sensation. Here Nature makes a violent and an excruciating
effort, which is sometimes attended with fatal consequences. In
breeding their teeth children lose their sprightliness, and become
peevish and restless. The gums are at first red and swelled, and
afterwards, when the pressure is ready to intercept the course of the
blood in the veins, they appear white. They are constantly applying
their fingers to the affected part as if endeavouring to assuage its
irritation: they obtain further relief by putting into their mouth a
bit of ivory, coral, or any other hard and polished substance they
are supplied with, which they rub on that part of the gums that is
most affected. This action relaxes the parts, and affords a momentary
cessation of the pain; it also helps to attenuate the membrane of the
gum, which, from the double pressure it then sustains, must break the
more easily; yet this laceration, or rupture of the gums, is frequently
attended with no small degree of pain and danger. When the gums are
more firm than usual, by the solidity of the fibres of which they
are composed, their resistance to the action of the tooth is more
obstinate, and occasions an inflammation, with all its deadly symptoms.
In order to preclude this, an incision may be successfully made on the
gum, by means of which minute operation the inflammation ceases, and
the teeth obtain a free passage.

The canine, or dog teeth, which are next to the incisores, are in
number four, and commonly appear in the ninth or tenth month. About the
end of the first, or in the course of the second year, sixteen other
teeth appear, which are called molares, or grinders, four of which are
situated on each side of the dog teeth. The periods for the cutting of
the teeth vary in different children, and though it is pretended that
those of the upper jaw usually appear first, yet it often happens that
they are preceded by those of the under.

The incisores, the canine, and the first four of the molares, are
generally shed in the fifth, sixth, or seventh year, but they are
commonly replaced by others in the seventh year, though sometimes
not till the age of puberty. The shedding of these sixteen teeth is
occasioned by the expansion in the gums for the new set which are at
the bottom of the sockets, and by their growth press out the first.
There not being any beneath the other grinders they remain, unless
forced out by accident, and when lost they are hardly ever recovered.

There are four other teeth still, which are situated at the extremity
of each jaw, but which every person does not have. These seldom appear
till the age of puberty, and sometimes later; they are called dentes
sapientiæ, or wisdom-teeth, and either appear one after another, or two
at a time. The only reason of there being a variety in the number of
teeth, which is from 28 to 32, is the irregularity of the wisdom-teeth.
Women, it has been observed, have generally fewer teeth than men.

Some authors pretend that the teeth would continue to grow through
life, if it were not for their continual attrition, occasioned by the
food on which man subsists, and increase in size (as is the case in
several animals) in proportion as he advances in age. But this opinion
is contradicted by experience; for persons who live wholly on liquid
nutriment have not teeth longer than those who live on solid food, and
if any thing is capable of wearing the teeth, it is rather their mutual
friction one against another than mastication. Besides, they possibly
deceive themselves by confounding teeth with tusks, as to the growth
of the former in certain animals. The tusks of the wild boar and
elephant, for example, continue to grow during life, but it is highly
improbable that the teeth of either, when once arrived at their natural
size, should afterwards increase. Tusks have a greater affinity, by
far, with horns than with teeth; but this is not the proper place to
enter into their specific differences, nor shall any thing further be
added, than that the first set of teeth in children is of a substance
less solid than the subsequent one, and more loosely fixed in the jaws.

It is often asserted, that the first hair of children is always
brown, but that it presently falls off, and is succeeded by hair of a
different colour. Whether the remark is just or not I cannot determine,
but the hair of most children is fair, and, in many instances, almost
white. In some it is red, and in others black, yet in those who are
to have fair or brown complexions, the hair in the earliest stage of
infancy, is fair in a greater or less degree. Those who give a promise
of future fairness have generally blue eyes, those likely to be red
have a yellowish shade in their eyes, and those who will be brown have
a darker yellow; but colours are very imperfectly distinguished in the
eyes of new-born infants, because they have almost all the semblance of

When a child is suffered to cry too violently, and too long, it may
in consequence be afflicted with a rupture, in which case an early
application of bandages is necessary; with this assistance the
complaint is removed with ease, without it the disease may last for

The limits of my plan admit not a detail of every disease incidental to
children. I shall only remark, that worms, and all verminous diseases,
very evidently owe their origin to the nature of their food. Milk is a
kind of chyle, an unadulterated nutriment; it consists of organic and
generative substances, and, therefore, if not digested by the stomach,
and made use of in the expansion and growth of the body, it assumes,
by its essential activity, other forms, and produces animated beings,
particularly worms, in such quantities, that the infant is often in
danger of falling a victim to them. A part of the bad effects that
accrue from worms, might probably be prevented, by allowing children
to drink a little wine, because all fermented liquors counteract the
generation of worms, and besides contain but few organic nutritive
particles: it is chiefly by its action upon the solids that wine
gives strength, and it may be rather said to fortify the body than to
strengthen it. Besides, the generality of children are fond of wine, at
least easily accustomed to drink it.

However delicate the frame may be in infancy, it is yet less sensible
of cold than during any other period of life. As the pulse of infants
is more quick than that of adults, it may, from this circumstance
alone, be concluded, that the internal heat is proportionally greater.
On the same principle it is hardly to be doubted, that of this heat
small animals have a greater share than the large; it has invariably
been found, that, in the same degree the animal is small, the motion
of the heart and arteries is proportionally vigorous and quick; and
this is ever the case in the same as well as in different species. The
pulse of an infant, or of a man of small stature, is more frequent than
that of a grown person, or a man of a large size. The pulse of an ox is
slower, and a dog quicker than that of a man; and so precipitate are
the motions in the heart of an animal still smaller, as a sparrow, for
instance, they can hardly be counted.

Till the age of three years the life of an infant is highly precarious.
In the course of the ensuing two or three years, however, it becomes
more certain; and at the age of six or seven a child has a greater
probability of living than at any other age. By consulting Simpson's
tables of the degrees of mortality, at different ages, as applicable
to London, it appears, that, of a certain number of children, born at
one time, above a fourth of them died in the first year, above a third
in two years, and, at least, one half in the first three years. If
this calculation is just a wager might be proposed, that an infant,
when born, would not live three years. A man who dies at the age of
twenty-five is to be lamented for the short duration of his life; and
yet, according to these tables, one half of mankind die before the
age of three years, consequently, every individual who has passed his
third year, far from repining at his fate, ought to consider himself
as treated with superior favour by his Creator. But this mortality in
children is by no means so great in every place as in London. M. Dupré
de St. Maur has proved, by a number of experiments made in France, that
one half of the children born at the same time are not extinct in less
than seven or eight years. By these experiments it is also shewn, that
at the age of five, six, or seven years, the life of a child is more
certain than at any other age, and that an equal bet may be laid for 42
years more, whereas in proportion as a child lives beyond five, six, or
seven years, the probable number of years it will live decreases. At
twelve years, for instance, the equal chance is only for 39 years; at
20, for 33-1/2; at 30, for 20; and thus forward, till the age of 85,
when there is an equal chance of living three years longer.[A]

[A] In the course of this volume we shall present our readers with a
table, at large, of the different probabilities of human life.

There is one thing very remarkable in the growth of the human body.
The foetus in the womb continues to increase more and more in equal
periods, till the birth. The infant, on the contrary, increases less
and less, that is in the same period of time, till the age of puberty,
to which it seems to bound, as it were, at once. The foetus, for
example, is an inch long in the first month, two inches and a quarter
in the second; three inches and a half in the third; five inches and
upwards in the fourth; six inches and a half, or even seven inches,
in the fifth; eight inches and a half, or nine inches, in the sixth;
eleven inches, in the seventh; fourteen inches, in the eighth; and
eighteen inches, in the ninth. Although this measurement may vary in
different children, yet if the child be 18 inches at its birth, it will
hot increase more than six or seven inches in the first year after:
that is, at the end of the first year, it will be 24 or 25 inches; of
the second, 28 or 29 inches; of the third, only 30, or, at most 32
inches; and from this age till that of puberty, it will not advance
more than one inch and a half, or two inches, in the course of each
year. From these remarks it is evident that the foetus increases
more in a month, towards the close of its residence in the matrix than
the infant does in a year, till it arrives at the age of puberty; when
Nature seems to make one grand effort to unfold the animal machine, and
render her work complete.

So essential is it, that the constitution of the nurse should be sound,
and her juices untainted that we have many instances of diseases being
imparted from the nurse to the infant, and from the infant to the
nurse. Whole villages have been infected with the venereal virus, by
nurses suckling the children of other women.

Were mothers to suckle their own offspring it is probable the latter
would be more strong and vigorous. The milk of a stranger must be
less proper for them than that of the mother, for as the foetus is
nourished in the matrix by a fluid, which bears a strong resemblance
to the milk that is formed in the breasts, the infant, therefore, is
already, as it were, habituated to the milk of its mother. The milk of
any other woman, on the contrary, is a nourishment new to the child,
and sometimes so different from the other that it is difficult to make
the child take it: and if forced will sicken and languish, from not
being able to digest the milk of the nurse; a circumstance which, if
the consequences are not seasonably prevented by the substitution of
another nurse, soon proves fatal.

I cannot help observing, that the custom of crowding a multitude of
children into one place, as in the hospitals of large cities, is
highly repugnant to what ought to be the grand object proposed, their
preservation. The greatest part of such children fall victims to a
kind of scurvy, or to other diseases, from which they might have been
exempted, had they been brought up in different houses, or rather in
the country. The same expence would be sufficient for their support,
and an infinity of lives, in which it is well known consist the real
riches of a state, would be saved.

At twelve or fifteen months infants begin to lisp. _A_ is the vowel
which they articulate with most ease, as it requires nothing more than
the opening of the lips, and forcing out the breath. _E_ requires that
the tongue should be raised as the lips are opened; and is therefore
pronounced with a degree of more trouble. _I_ is attended with greater
difficulty, as in the articulation of the vowel the tongue is elevated
still more, and made to approach the teeth of the upper jaw. In
the pronunciation of _O_, the tongue must be lowered, and the lips
contracted; and in that of _U_, the latter must be also contracted, and
in some degree extended. The first consonants which children pronounce
are those which require the least motion in the organs. Of these the
most easy of articulation are _B_ _M_ and _P_. For that of _B_ and
_P_ it is simply requisite that the lips should be closed and then
opened with quickness, and for that of _M_, that they should be first
opened and then closed with celerity. The articulation of the other
consonants supposes motions more complicated. The pronunciation of _C_
_D_ _G_ _L_ _N_ _Q_ _R_ _S_ and _T_ depend each on a particular action
of the tongue, which it would be very difficult to explain; and for
the pronunciation of _F_, a more continued sound is necessary, than
for that of any other consonant. _A_ being the most easily articulated
of the vowels, as are _B_ _P_ and _M_, of the consonants, we need not
wonder that the first words which children pronounce, in every country,
should be composed of, that vowel, and of those consonants; and that,
for example, in every language, _Baba_, _Mama_, _Papa_, should be the
primitive articulations. They are the most familiar sounds to man, and
the most natural to him, because the most easily pronounced, and the
letters of which they are composed must exist wherever there is any
typical mode for the denotation of sounds.

It is to be observed, however, that as the sounds of several consonants
are nearly similar; those, for instance, of _E_ and _P_, of _C_ and
_S_, of _K_ and _Q_, in certain cases; of _D_ and _T_, of _F_ and
_V_, of _G_ and _J_, of _G_ and _K_, of _L_ and _R_, so there may
be many languages in which such consonants are not to be found. But
in every language, there must be a _B_ or a _P_, a _C_ or an _S_, a
_K_ or a _Q_, a _D_ or a _T_, an _F_ or a _V_ consonant, a _G_ or
a _J_ consonant; an _L_ or an _R_, and in the most contracted of
all alphabets, there cannot be less than six or seven consonants,
for of that number there are simple sounds, which have all a very
sensible difference from each other. Those children who do not readily
articulate _R_, substitute _L_ for it; and in the place of _T_ they
articulate _D_. Indeed _L_ and _D_ require more difficult movements
in the organs than either _R_ or _T_; and it is from this difference,
and from the choice of consonants more or less easy of articulation,
that the softness or the harshness of a language proceeds. But on this
subject it would be superfluous to enlarge.

Some children pronounce distinctly, and repeat whatever is said to
them, at two years, though the generality do not speak for the first
two years and a half, and often not so early. It has been observed,
that those who are most backward, never speak with the same facility
as those who begin to articulate more early, and that those who are in
that respect the most forward, may learn to read before the expiration
of the third year. Some I have myself known, who had begun to read
at two years, and who read to admiration at four. After all, it is
difficult to determine whether there is any advantage to be derived
from such premature education. With so little success indeed, is it
generally attended, that we see and hear of numbers, who, though they
had been prodigies at the age of four, eight, twelve, and sixteen
years, are found, however, at those of twenty-five, or thirty, to
be downright block-heads, or men of very inferior abilities. _I_ am
convinced, therefore, that education is the best, which does not compel
Nature, and which is proportioned to the strength and capacity of the



Puberty immediately succeeds childhood and attends us to the end of
our days. Till this period arrives the sole object of Nature seems to
have been the growth and preservation of her work. She supplies the
infant with nothing but what is necessary for its bodily increase.
Wrapped up, as it were, within itself, its existence, in some respects,
resembles that of a vegetable, and which it has not the power to
communicate. Presently, however, the principles of life multiply;
and it not only possesses what is necessary for its own being but
sufficient to give existence to others. This superabundance of
life, this source of strength and vigour, impatient of its internal
restraint, vents itself abroad, and the age of puberty is announced
by a number of external and internal marks; it is the spring of life
and the season of pleasure. Of that age may we be enabled to write the
history with such circumspection as to excite in the imagination none
but philosophical ideas! Puberty, however, and the circumstances that
accompany it, as circumcision, castration, virginity, and impotency,
are of too essential consequence in the History of Man to allow a
suppression of facts to which they relate. In giving a detail of them
we shall endeavour to maintain that modest reserve which constitutes
the true decorum of style, that philosophical apathy which may destroy
loose ideas, and give it in words confined to their literal import and
original signification.

Circumcision is a custom very ancient, and which still subsists in the
greatest part of Asia. Among the Hebrews this operation was performed
within eight days after the birth. In Turkey they never perform it
before the age of seven or eight years, and often not even till that
of eleven or twelve. In Persia, the practice is general at the age
of five or six. The wound thus occasioned is healed with caustic or
astringent powders, or with burned paper, which, according to Chardin,
is the most effectual remedy; he adds, that circumcision is attended
with infinite pain when performed on grown persons; that they cannot
stir abroad after it for three weeks or a month, and that sometimes it
proves fatal to them.

In the Maldivia islands they circumcise their children at the age
of seven; and previous to this operation they bathe them in the sea
for six or seven hours, in order to render their skin more soft. The
Israelites made use of a sharpened flint, a custom which the Jews still
continue in most of their synagogues. The Mahometans, however, use a
common knife, or a razor.

Were it not for their precaution in cutting it in childhood, the
Turks, it is alledged, and the inhabitants of many other countries in
which circumcision is practised, would naturally have their prepuces
too long. Boulaye tells us, that in the deserts of Mesopotamia and
Arabia, on the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates, he saw a number
of Arabian boys, whose prepuces were so long, that, without the aid of
circumcision, he imagined they would be unfit for procreation.

The skin of the eye-lids is also longer in the Oriental than in other
nations. The skin is a substance similar to that of the prepuce; but
what relation, in point of growth, can subsist between two so distant

Girls in several parts of Arabia, towards the Gulph of Persia and the
Red Sea, are equally subjected to this operation as boys. But in these
countries, as there is no previous overgrowth of the _nymphæ_, they
are not circumcised till they have passed the age of puberty. In other
climates this exuberance is indeed far more early; and it is so general
among the inhabitants of certain countries, as those near the river
Benin, that they circumcise girls as well as boys within eight, or at
most fifteen days after their birth. The circumcision of females is of
great antiquity in Africa; and even Herodotus mentions it as being a
custom of the Ethiopians.

Circumcision may have been founded on necessity, yet infibulation and
castration could never have taken place but from jealousy, or from some
gloomy and superstitious frenzy, some wretched antipathy to the human
race, or from some envious tyrant who enacted laws to make privation a
virtue, and mutilation a merit.

Infibulation is performed upon boys by drawing the prepuce forward,
making an incision, and putting a coarse thread through it, till the
cicatrice is healed; and then, in the room of that, is substituted a
kind of ring, which remains as long as the person pleases who gave
orders for the operation, and sometimes for life. The Oriental monks,
who have made a vow of chastity, wear rings of a large size, in order
that they may be compelled to observe this vow inviolate. We shall
hereafter speak on the infibulation of girls; on this head nothing can
be supposed too fantastic or absurd, which men, borne away by passion,
or immersed in superstition, have scrupled to put in practice.

Though in infancy there is sometimes but one testicle in the scrotum,
and sometimes not any, yet we must not suppose in either case that this
is a real defect. It often happens, that the testicles are retained
in the abdomen, from whence they at length extricate themselves, and
descend to the natural place. This generally happens at the age of
eight or ten years, though sometimes not till that of puberty. They
are scarcely ever concealed after this age, when Nature makes violent
efforts to bring them forward: the same effect is sometimes produced
by some violent motion, as a leap, a fall, &c. Even when the testicles
do not manifest themselves, the procreative powers are not the less
perfect; and it has been observed, that persons in that situation are
often the most vigorous.

There are men who have but one testicle, but this defect is of little
consequence, and in that case is much larger than the usual size.
Others have three, and such are said to possess a vast superiority
of bodily force and vigour. From a view of the animal, creation, we
perceive how much these parts contribute to strength and courage; how
great, for example, is the difference between a bull and an ox, a
wether and a ram, a capon and a cock.

The custom of castrating the human species is of great antiquity. Among
the Egyptians it was the established punishment of adultery. Among
the Romans eunuchs were very numerous; and to this day in Asia, and a
part of Africa, men thus mutilated are employed to attend and act as
guards to the chastity of the women. In Italy, the sole object of this
infamous and cruel operation is to perfect the voice. The Hottentots
cut out one testicle, by the privation of which they imagine they will
become more nimble racers. In other countries, the poor people adopt
the practice in order to prevent their children from being able to
generate, and by that means save them from that distress and anguish
which they themselves experience when they cannot procure food for
their support.

The different kinds of castration are numerous; those intended for
vocal perfection only suffer the extraction of the two testicles; but
those who are instigated by the gloomy distrust of jealousy think their
females far from being safe if guarded by such eunuchs, nor will they
countenance any but what have had the external parts of generation
utterly exterminated.

Amputation is not the only method used for this purpose. Formerly some
people prevented the growth of the testicles, and rendered them useless
by bathing their children in warm water, or in decoctions of plants,
and then pressing and rubbing the testicles till the organization
was destroyed. Others compressed them with an instrument, and it is
pretended, that from this mode of castration the life is not exposed
to the smallest danger.

The amputation of the testicles is not very hazardous; it may be
performed at any age, yet that of infancy is esteemed the most
favourable. The amputation of the whole external parts of generation,
however, is more often mortal than otherwise, especially if performed
after the age of fifteen; and even at the most favourable age, which is
from, seven to ten, it is still attended with danger. The difficulty
of preserving them renders the eunuchs of this species by far the most
valuable. Tavernier says, that in Turkey and Persia they cost five
of six times more than any others. Chardin observes, that the entire
amputation is always accompanied with the most agonizing pain; that it
is performed with tolerable safety on children, but with great danger
after the age of fifteen; that more than a fourth fall victims to it;
and that it takes at least six weeks to heal the wound. Pietro della
Valle, on the other hand, asserts that those who undergo this operation
in Persia, as a punishment for rapes, or other crimes of that nature,
recover from it with ease, even when they are advanced in years, and
that they apply to the wound nothing but a few ashes. Whether those who
suffered the same punishment formerly in Egypt, as related by Diodorus
Siculus, found the consequences of it equally mild, we know not; but,
according to Thevenot, numbers of the children of negroes perish, whom
the Turks force to undergo this operation, although performed at the
early age of between eight to ten.

Besides negro eunuchs, there are others in Turkey, Persia, &c. who
chiefly come from the kingdom of Golconda, the Peninsula on this side
the Ganges, the kingdoms of Assan, Pegu, and Malabar, where their
complexion is grey, and from the Gulph of Bengal, where it is of an
olive colour. There are also white eunuchs from Georgia and Circassia,
tho' not in great numbers. Tavernier says, that during his residence
in Golconda, in 1657, there were not less than 22,000 eunuchs made.
The black ones come from Africa, and chiefly from Ethiopia. Those are
the most prized whose appearance is the most ugly and horrible; a flat
nose, a countenance ghastly, thick large lips and protuberant, and
black straggling teeth are the esteemed qualities. These people have
commonly very fine teeth; but such would be a very great defect in a
black eunuch, who must be a hideous monster.

Eunuchs who have been deprived of only their testicles, still feel
an irritation in the parts that are left, and have the external mark
of desire even more frequently than other men. Those parts, however,
remain, as to size, nearly in the same state as before the operation;
and if this is performed at the age of seven years, an eunuch of
twenty is, in this respect, as a child of seven. If it is not, on the
contrary, performed till the time of puberty, or a little after, the
size is nearly the same as that in other men.

Between the parts of generation and the throat there are particular
connections, altho' we know not the cause. Eunuchs have no beard,
their voice, though shrill and powerful, is never of a deep tone; and
not unoften does the throat become the seat of the secret distemper.
The correspondence which certain parts of the body have with others,
widely remote and of a different nature, ought to be more generally
observed; but we pay too little attention to effects, when we do not
surmise their causes. Thus it is, that though in effect the action
of the animal machine in a great measure depends upon them, these
different affinities remain unexamined with that care they deserve.
In women, there is a great correspondence between the matrix, the
breasts and the head: and how many beneficial facts of this kind might,
be found if a few able physicians would direct their studies to such
discoveries! These muscles, veins, arteries,, and nerves, which they
describe with so much accuracy, and with so much fidelity, are not the
springs which give life to our organization. There resides in organized
bodies certain internal powers, which are by no means guided by the
laws of gross mechanism; instead of attempting to know the nature
of those powers by their effects, the very ideas of them have been
treated as ideal, and endeavours have been made to discard and banish
them from philosophical researches. These very powers, nevertheless,
have maintained their importance in gravitation, in the phenomena of
electricity, &c. But, however evident and universal they may be, as
their action is wholly internal, and they are solely objects of reason,
it is with a kind of unwillingness that they are admitted; inclination
still leads us to judge from external appearances; we form a notion,
that in those appearances every thing consists, and that we are not
allowed to penetrate farther; and thus we effectually turn our hacks
upon that which might lead to refined information.

The ancients, whose genius was less limited, and whose philosophy was
more extended, were not embarrassed at meeting with things they were at
a loss to explain. More intimately acquainted with Nature; with them,
a sympathy, a particular correspondence, was only a phenomenon; but
with us, if we cannot reduce it to our pretended laws of motion, it is
a paradox. They knew that most of the effects of Nature were produced
by means beyond human foresight, they knew it was impossible to reduce
them to any particular principles of action, and modes of operation;
and therefore with them it was sufficient to have remarked a certain
number of relative effects, in order to constitute a cause.

Whether, with the ancients, we call sympathy this peculiar
correspondence of the different parts of the body, or, with the
moderns, we consider it as an unknown relation in the action of the
nerves, it exists through the whole animal economy; and, were the
perfection of the theory of physic our object, too much attention
could not be paid to its effects. But this is not a place to enlarge
on a subject of so much importance. I shall only observe, that this
correspondence between the voice and the organs of generation is
discovered not only in eunuchs but in other men, and even in women. In
men, the voice changes at the age of puberty; and in women, a strong
voice is suspected to indicate a superior propensity to love.

The first sign of puberty is a kind of stiffness in the groin, which
becomes more sensible in walking, or in bending the body forward. This
stiffness is frequently accompanied with pungent pains in the joints,
and also with a new sensation in the parts which characterize the
sexes. The voice is, for some time, harsh and unequal, and afterwards
it becomes more full, strong, and articulate. This change is very
perceptible in boys, but less so in girls, because the sound of their
voices is naturally more acute.

These signs of puberty are common to both the sexes, but there are
others peculiar to each; as in females, the menstrual discharge and
the expansion of the breasts; and in males, the beard, and power of
generating. These signs, it is true, are not alike certain. The beard,
for example, does not always appear precisely at the age of puberty;
and there even exist whole nations where the men have hardly any beard.
There is no nation, however, in which the puberty of the female sex is
not indicated by the enlargement of the breasts.

Universally through the human species women arrive at puberty sooner
than men. But that age is different in different countries, and seems
to depend on the temperature of the climate and the quality of the
food. Among people who live at their ease, and feed plentifully,
children arrive at this state two or three years sooner than those in
the country, and among the poorer classes of people, whose food is
less nourishing and more scanty. In the southern parts of Europe, and
in cities, the majority of girls attain puberty at about twelve years,
and boys at fourteen; but in the regions of the north, and in country
places, the former are hardly so at fourteen, or the latter at sixteen.

Should it be asked why females in every climate are capable of
engendering more early than men? It might be satisfactorily replied,
that men are much larger and stronger, their bones more hard, their
muscles more firm and compact, and therefore a longer time is required
for their growth. And as it is not till after the growth is completed
that the superfluity of the organic particles is dispersed into the
parts of generation, females must of course arrive at maturity sooner
than the males.

In the hot climates of Asia, Africa, and America, girls are generally
mature at ten years of age, and often at nine; and though the menstrual
discharge is less copious in warm countries it is yet more early. The
intervals between are nearly the same in every country, and in this
respect there seems to be a greater difference between individuals than
between nations. In the same climate and nation some women are subject
to the menstrua at the end of every fifteenth day, while others are
free from them for six weeks; but a month, however, two or three days
over or under, is the usual period.

The quantity of the discharge seems to depend on the quantity of
nourishment, and of insensible perspiration. Women who eat much, and
exercise little, have the most copious discharge? in warm countries
it is always least, because the perspiration is great. As to its
duration, it is generally from three to four or five days, though
sometimes to six, seven, and even eight days.

The _material_ causes of it are supposed to be a superfluity of blood
and nutritive particles. The symptoms which precede are certain
indications of repletion; as heat, tension, swelling, and the pains
which women feel, not only in the parts themselves, and the adjoining
ones, but also in the breasts, which swell and discover a surplus of
blood by the _areolæ_, or the circle about the nipple, becoming of a
deeper colour. The eyes are oppressed, and underneath their orbits the
skin assumes a blue or violet tint; the cheeks are flushed; the head is
heavy and full of pain; and the whole body in general is in a state of
oppression from the surcharge of blood.

At the age of puberty the body usually attains its full growth in
length. Just before, young people sometimes increase several inches,
but the quickness of growth is most sudden and perceptible in the
genitals of both sexes. This growth in males is an expansion merely,
but in females it is often attended with a contraction, to which
different appellations have been given in explaining the signs of

Mankind, jealous of every kind of pre-eminence, have always put a
superior value on what they could first possess, and that to the
exclusion of others. This species of folly has given a positive entity
to the virginity of women. Virginity, which is nothing but a _moral_,
being a virtue that solely consists in the purity of the heart, men
have, as with one consent, converted into a _physical_ object, and
in which they also fancy themselves much interested. From these
absurd opinions, usages, ceremonies, superstitions, and even awards
and punishments, have been established: abuses the most illicit, and
customs the most shocking and disgraceful, have been authorized. To
ignorant matrons, and to prejudiced physicians, have young women been
obliged to submit the most secret parts of Nature for examination,
without their reflecting that such acts of indecency is a downright
attack upon chastity, and that every immodest, every indelicate
situation, which caused an internal blush, was little less than

The prejudices that have been formed on this head I despair of
removing. Things which mankind take a pleasure in believing, however
nugatory and unreasonable they may be, they will always believe; yet,
as it is the province of history to relate not only the accession
of events, and the circumstances of facts, but also the origin of
predominant opinions and errors, I think it my indispensable duty,
in the History of Man, to examine this favourite idol to which he
sacrifices; to consider what the reasons are by which he is prompted to
pay that adoration, and to enquire whether virginity, as he understands
it, is a real or merely a fabulous divinity.

Fallopius, Vesalus, Bartholin, Heister, Ruysch and many other
anatomists, pretend, that the membrane of the hymen is a substance
which actually exists, and which ought to be numbered among the parts
of generation peculiar to women. They maintain further, that this
membrane is fleshy, very thin in children, but more thick in grown
girls; that it is situated under the orifice of the urethra, and that
it partly closes the passage of the vagina; that there is a hole
pierced through it, sometimes round, sometimes long, so small that a
pea can hardly be passed through in infancy, or a bean at puberty. The
hymen, according to Winflow, is a membranous kind of wrinkle, more or
less circular, and sometimes semi-lunar, with an aperture, in some very
small, and in others more large. Dulaurent, Graaf, Pineus, Mauricea,
and other anatomists, of at least equal reputation and authority with
those first quoted, insist, on the other hand, that the membrane of the
hymen is nothing but a chimera, a part by no means natural to girls,
and express their astonishment that it should have ever been mentioned
as a thing which has an actual and real existence. In confirmation of
this doctrine they adduce a multitude of observations made on girls of
different ages, whom they had dissected, in none of whom this membrane
was to be found. They confess that they have seen, though very rarely,
a membrane that united certain fleshy protuberances, which they call
_carunculæ myrtiformes_; but this membrane they insist is by no means
consonant to the natural state of the parts. Anatomists are not more
united as to the quality and number of these _carunculæ_. Are they
merely wrinkles of the vagina? Are they distinct and separate parts? Do
they belong to the membrane of the hymen? Is their number certain? Is
there only one, or are there many, in the state of virginity? Each of
these questions has been asked, and to each a different answer has been

This contrariety of opinion, as to a fact which depends upon a simple
inspection, is a proof of the eagerness of mankind to discover in
Nature things which alone exist in their own imaginations. Several
anatomists frankly declare they never found either the hymen or
_carunculæ_, even before the age of puberty, while others, in
maintaining that this membrane, and these _carunculæ_ do exist,
confess, that they are substances which vary in form, size, and
consistency, in different subjects; that sometimes in the place of the
hymen there is only a single _caruncula_; that at other times there are
two or more united by a membrane, and that the shape of the aperture
is of different forms. From all these observations what conclusions
are to be drawn, but that the causes of the pretended contraction in
the passage of the vagina are not certain, and that when they do exist
their effect is transient and susceptible of different modifications?
Anatomy leaves no entire certainty as to the existence of this
membrane of the hymen and these _carunculæ_, of course it authorizes
us to reject such tokens of virginity, not only as uncertain but as
imaginary. The effusion of blood, though a more common sign, is not
less equivocal. In every age this has been deemed a certain proof of
virginity; and yet all such proof is nothing, where the entrance of
the vagina is naturally relaxed or dilated. Neither is it confined to
virgins, as many women who pretend not to that denomination, frequently
experience an effusion off blood. From some it flows copiously, and
repeatedly; from others in a very small quantity, and only once; and
from some it never flows at all. This diversity depends on the age,
the health, the conformation of the parts, and a number of other
circumstances. A few of these we shall enumerate, and at the same time
endeavour to investigate the causes of those physical tokens which have
been laid down as certain proofs of virginity.

At the age of puberty, the parts of both sexes undergo a considerable
change. Those of man advance so quickly, that in two or three years
they attain their full growth, those of women also increase at
this period, especially the _nymphæ_, which though before almost
imperceptible, become now large and evident. The menstrual discharge
happens at the same time; and all the parts being still in a state
of growth, swell by an increase of blood, and mutually compress each
other. The orifice of the vagina contracts, though the vagina itself
has considerably increased. The form of this contraction must be
very different in different subjects, for from the information of
anatomists, it appears, there are sometimes four, at others only three
or two _carunculæ_, and that sometimes there is found a circular, or
semi-lunar series of folds and wrinkles. But one thing anatomists have
never told us; namely, that whatever form this contraction may assume,
it never appears before the age of puberty.

In the young girls whom I have had occasion to see dissected, nothing
of that kind was to be found; and having collected several facts on
this subject, I can with confidence maintain, that when a girl has
conversed with a man before puberty, there is no effusion of blood,
provided the disproportion of the parts had not been too great, or the
efforts had not been too violent. At full puberty, on the other hand,
that effusion often happens, even from trifling causes; especially if
she is of a full habit, and regular. This sign of virginity is rarely
observed in such as are meagre or subject to the _fluor albus_; and,
what evidently proves it to be fallacious, is the frequency of its
repetition. In some women four, and even five times, has this pretended
virginity been renewed in the space of two or three years; and often
been successfully practised by some on their deluded husbands upon
being suspected of incontinency, and that purely by abstinence. This
renovation, however, only happens from the fourteenth to about the
eighteenth year. When the growth of the body is finished the parts
remain in the state they then are; and when they assume a different
appearance, it is only by such expedients and artifices as, to mention
here, would be alike unnecessary and improper.

As nothing, therefore, can be more chimerical than the prejudices of
men, with respect to virginity, so nothing can be more uncertain than
the pretended signs of it. A young woman may have commerce with a man,
before the years of puberty, and yet discover no signs of virginity;
yet afterwards, the period of puberty being arrived, this same woman
shall exhibit all these pretended signs, while a real virgin may not
have the smallest effusion whatever. Men, therefore, ought to make
themselves very easy as to this point, and not give a loose, as they
often do, to unjust and idle suspicions.

Were we desirous to obtain an evident and undoubted sign of virginity,
we should search for it among those barbarous nations who, incapable
of instilling, by education, the sentiments of virtue and honour
into their children, secure the chastity of their daughters by
expedient which nothing could have suggested but the rudeness of their
manners. The people of Ethiopia, and other parts of Africa, of Pegu,
Arabia Petræa and other nations of Asia, draw together by a kind of
needle-work, the part which Nature has separated, leaving only a space
sufficient for the necessary evacuations. As the child grows, the parts
gradually adhere; insomuch that, when the time of marriage arrives,
they must unavoidably be disunited by incision. For this infibulation
of girls, as it is a substance not subject to corruption, they use
the fibres of the asbestos. Some tribes only use a kind of ring; to
this practice, wives as well as girls are subjected, with this single
difference, that the ring alloted to the latter cannot be removed, and
in that alloted to the former there is a lock of which the husband
alone possesses the key. But why quote barbarous nations, when we have
similar examples so much nearer home? What is the delicacy on which
some of our neighbours pique themselves, with respect to the chastity
of their wives, but a jealousy, equally barbarous and criminal?

How various are the dispositions, manners, and opinions of different
nations? After what has been here related of the high estimation in
which virginity is held by the bulk of mankind, and of the precautions
and ignomious methods they employ, in order to secure it, could it be
imagined there were other nations who despise it, and who consider the
trouble of removing it as a servile office?

Prompted by superstition, the inhabitants of certain countries resign
the first fruits of virginity to their priests, and sometimes to
their very idols. This privilege is enjoyed by the priests of Cochin
and Calicut; and in Goa, virgins are prostituted, either voluntarily
or forcibly, by their nearest relations to an idol of iron. Of these
vile excesses, gross superstition and a blind sense of the duties
of religion, have been the sources, while motives more earthly have
induced people of other countries eagerly to devote their daughters to
their chiefs. In this manner, without any dishonour, do they prostitute
their daughters in the kingdom of Congo. Nearly the same is the custom
in Turkey, in Persia, and in several other countries, both of Asia and
Africa, where the most eminent nobles deem themselves, in the highest
degree, honoured by receiving from their sovereign, women with whom he
is himself already disgusted.

In the kingdom of Arracan, and in the Philippine islands, a man would
think himself much disgraced were he to espouse a female who had not
been defloured; and it is only by dint of money that a person can be
prevailed with to precede the husband. In the province of Thibet, a
mother will search for a stranger, and earnestly beg of him to put
her daughter in a situation for obtaining a husband. The Laplanders
also prefer such women as have already had a commerce with strangers,
from an idea that they must be possessed of more merit than others,
otherwise they could not have pleased men whom they consider as better
judges of beauty than themselves. In Madagascar, and in several other
countries, women the most dissolute and debauched are those who are
married the soonest. Many more instances might be produced of this
peculiar fancy, which could never have subsisted but from a gross and
utter depravation of manners.

Marriage is the natural state of man after puberty. A man ought to
have but one wife, and a woman but one husband; This is the law of
Nature, the number of females being nearly equal with that of males,
and ignorance and tyranny must have been the leading features where
men have established laws in opposition to it. Reason, humanity, and
justice, complain aloud of those odious seraglios, in which the liberty
and the affections of many women are sacrificed to the brutal passion
of one individual. Are these tyrants of mankind the more happy by this
pre-eminence?--No; surrounded with eunuchs, and with women, useless to
themselves and to other men, the misery they have created is a constant
source of torment and perplexity.

Marriage, therefore, as it is established among us, and among every
other people who are guided by the light of reason and revelation,
is a state which is suited to man, and in which he ought to employ
the additional faculties he has acquired by puberty: by obstinately
persisting in celibacy they will become troublesome, and even fatal.
From a too long continence in either sex diseases may arise, or at
least create irritations so violent, that reason and religion would
not be sufficient to counteract the impetuosity of the passions which
they excite, and thus man may be reduced to a level with the brutes,
which, under the impression of such sensations, become furious and

The most violent effect of this irritation in women is the _furor
uterinus_, a kind of mania, which disorders their reason and bereaves
them of all sense of shame. With words the most lascivious, and with
actions the most indecent, is this melancholy distemper accompanied and
its origin revealed. I have seen a girl at the age of twelve years, of
a brown but lively and florid complexion, small in size, yet strong
and plump, commit the most indecent actions at the very sight of a
man, from which nothing could divert her, neither the presence of her
mother, expostulation, nor punishment. Her reason, however, forsook
her not, and the paroxysms, which were so violent as to excite horror,
ceased the minute she was left with her own sex. Aristotle says, it
is at this age the irritation is greatest, and girls ought then to be
most attentively watched. The remark may be applicable to the climate
in which he lived, but in countries more cold, the female constitution
does not become warm so early.

When the _furor uterinus_ increases to a certain degree marriage is
no remedy for it and instances there are of its being fatal. Happily
the force of Nature is rarely of itself the cause of such dreadful
passions, even when the temperament inclines to them; and before
they arrive at this extremity many causes must concur, of which the
principal is, an imagination inflamed by licentious conversation and
obscene representations. The contrary temperament is infinitely more
common among women, the generality of whom are, with respect to this
passion, exceedingly cool or indifferent. Of men too, there are many
in whose chastity there is little merit; and some I have known, who,
at the age of twenty-five and thirty, enjoyed a good state of health
without having ever experienced this passion so urgent as to render a
gratification necessary.

From continence there is less to be feared than from excess, as is
strikingly evinced in a number of men, some of whom, by the effects of
the latter, lose their memory; some are deprived of sight; some become
bald, and many have dwindled into a consumption and died.

Of the irreparable injury done to their health by venereal indulgences,
young persons can never be sufficiently warned. How many cease to be
men, or who at least cease to enjoy the faculty of manhood, before the
age of thirty? And how many at fifteen, or eighteen, have received the
infection of a disease, which is not only in itself disgraceful, but
often incurable.

It has already been observed, that at the age of puberty, the growth
usually ceases. It often happens, however, that in the course of
a tedious illness, the body increases more in length, than would
have been the case in a state of perfect health. This is probably
occasioned by the external organs of generation remaining without
action during that period. The organic nutriment, having no irritation
to determine it to those parts, does not reach them; and the want of
this irritation is owing to an imbecility and lassitude of the parts,
which prevent the secretion of the seminal fluid. As the organic
particles, therefore, remain in the mass of blood, the extremities of
the bones are necessarily enlarged, nearly in the same manner as those
of eunuchs. Thus young people, on their recovery from along course
of sickness, are frequently taller, but worst shaped, than formerly.
Some, for instance, become crooked-backed, others crook-legged; and
this, because the still ductile extremities of the bones have been
necessarily extended by the superfluity of the organic particles, whose
only office, in a state of health, would have been the formation of the
seminal fluid.

To produce children is the object of marriage, though this object
is sometimes frustrated. Among the different causes of sterility
there are some alike common to men and women; but as in men they are
more apparent, to men they are more commonly attributed. In both
sexes, sterility is occasioned either by an inherent defect in the
conformation of the organs, or by accidental injuries to the organs
themselves. Among men, the most essential imperfections in the
conformation are those which affect the testicles, or those parts
called the _erectores penis_. The false direction of the urethra,
which is sometimes not only oblique, but badly perforated, is another
obstacle to generation; as is the adherence of the prepuce to the
bridle, which may, however, be corrected. In women, the conformation
of the matrix may likewise be imperfect; and the perpetual closure or
expansion of the orifice of the matrix, are defects which are alike
repugnant to generation. But the most frequent cause of sterility,
both in men and women, is the corruption of the seminal liquid in
the _testes_; for if the secretion, by which the semen be formed, is
vitiated, the fluid must be incapable of impregnation; in which case,
though the organs may have every appearance of being properly qualified
for it, there will be no procreation; but these causes have no external

In cases of sterility, different means have been employed to discover
whether the defect was to be imputed to the man or the woman. Of these,
inspection is the chief; and indeed, if the sterility be occasioned by
an external fault in the conformation, this is sufficient. But if the
defect is in the internal organs, it is almost impossible to discover
or remove it. There are men, to all appearance well formed, who want
the genuine sign of a proper conformation; and others who have it in so
slight a degree as to make the mark of virility extremely equivocal.
This is the most animal part of the human frame, and is constantly
under the influence of instinct, and not governed by that of the
mind. Many young persons of the purest ideas have been subjected to
the liveliest sensations, though ignorant of pleasure, or the cause,
and others remain cold and languid notwithstanding the efforts of

When sterility does not arise from any defect in external conformation,
it more frequently proceeds from the women than the men; for, besides
the injurious effects of the fluor albus, I conceive there is another
material cause. In the course of my experiments, as related in the
preceding volume, I observed there were small protuberances in the
female testicles which I called glandular bodies; they originate under
the membrane of the testicle, in a short time begin to swell, and then
opening, a fluid issues therefrom; from this time they begin to decay,
and having disappeared, they are immediately succeeded by others, from
which the testicles are constantly undergoing a kind of alteration;
and I am inclined to think, that if any circumstance takes place to
interrupt the necessary exercise of the vessels, the seminal liquor
will become corrupt, and sterility also will follow.

Sometimes conception precedes puberty. Numbers of women have become
mothers before the smallest appearance of the menstrua: and some to
whom this evacuation was never known have brought forth children.
Instances of this occur in our own climate, without travelling for them
to Brazil; where whole nations, we are told, are perpetuated without
any woman being subject to the menstrual discharge; an evident proof,
that it is not the substance of this discharge, but the seminal liquid
of male and female which are essentially necessary to generation. It is
also known that the cessation of the menses, which generally happens
about the age of forty or fifty, does not always disqualify women
from conceiving, and that some women have really become pregnant at
the age of sixty or seventy. These examples, however frequent, may be
considered as exceptions to the general rule; but they are sufficient
to convince us that the menstrual blood is by no means the constituent
principle of generation.

In the ordinary course of Nature women do not conceive before the
menses appear, nor after they have ceased. The age at which men first
acquire the powers of procreation is less distinctly marked. His body
must obtain a certain degree of growth, before the seminal fluid can
be produced; and before it can be formed and perfected, that growth
must become still greater. This usually happens between the age of
twelve and eighteen; but the period at which the procreative faculty
of man ceases, Nature seems to have left undetermined. At sixty or
seventy, when age begins to enfeeble the body, the seminal fluid is
less copious, and often unprolific; yet there are many instances of men
still continuing to procreate at the age of eighty or ninety.

There also are examples of boys who have propagated at eight, nine,
and ten years; and of girls who have conceived at seven, eight, and
nine. But such facts are exceedingly rare, and ought to be classed
as singular phenomena. The external sign of virility appears in
infancy, but that is not sufficient; in order to accomplish the act of
generation, there must be a previous production of semen; and this is
never effected till the growth of the body is nearly finished. At first
the quantity is very small, and for the most part unfruitful.

Some authors have mentioned two signs of conception. The one is,
a kind of tremor which they say begins at the time of conception,
and continues for several days after; the other is taken from the
orifice of the matrix, which they assure us is entirely closed after
conception. These signs are, however, in my opinion, very equivocal, if
not altogether imaginary.

This tremor is mentioned by Hippocrates, and, according to him, it is
so violent as to make the teeth chatter. Galen, on the authority of
some women, imputes this symptom to a contraction of the matrix; others
explain it by a vague sensation of cold over the whole body, and almost
all establish the fact, like Galen, from the testimony of different

Opinions, however, vary as to the changes which happen in the matrix
after conception, some maintaining, that the edges of the orifice are
drawn together so closely that there is not the smallest vacancy left
between them; and others, that these edges are not exactly close till
after the two first months of pregnancy. They nevertheless agree, that
immediately after conception the orifice is closed by a glutinous
humour; that the matrix, which, but for the pregnancy, might receive
through its orifice a substance of the size of a pea, has no longer
any perceptible aperture, and that the difference is so evident that a
skilful midwife may distinguish it. If these assertions were true, even
in the first days of pregnancy, its certainty or uncertainty might be

The advocates on the other side urge, that if after conception the
orifice of the matrix were closed, there could be no superfoetation.
To this it may be replied, that the seminal liquor may penetrate
through the membranes of the matrix; that even the matrix itself
may open to admit the superfoetation; and that at any rate
superfoetations happen so rarely, that they make a very trifling
exception to the general rule. Other authors have maintained, that
this change never appears but in women who have conceived before,
and borne children. In first conceptions, indeed, the difference
must be less sensible; but be it as conspicuous as it may, ought we
thence to conclude that it is a certain and positive sign? No; it is
unaccompanied with sufficient evidence.

Neither from the study of anatomy, nor from experiments, can we, as
to this point, acquire more than general conclusions, which on a
particular examination are often found to be highly erroneous. It is
the same also with respect to the tremor or convulsive cold, which some
women have said they felt at the time of conception. As most women do
not experience this sensation; as others assure us, on the contrary,
that they have felt a burning heat; and, as others still confess, that
they are utter strangers to all such feelings; the natural conclusion
is, that such signs are highly dubious, and that when they do happen,
it is less perhaps in consequence of conception, than of other

On this subject I shall add but one fact, from "Parson's Lectures on
Muscular Motion," which proves that the orifice of the matrix does
not close immediately after conception; or that at least the seminal
fluid may even then find a passage into it. A woman of Charles-Town,
in South-Carolina, was delivered, in 1714, of two children, one
immediately after the other. To the utter astonishment of all present,
one child was black and the other white. From this evident testimony
of her infidelity to her husband, the woman acknowledged that a negro
had one day entered her chamber, where her husband had just left her
in bed, and by threats of immediate death compelled her to gratify his
desires. This fact proves that the conception of two or more children
does not always happen at one time, and gives great weight to my
opinion, that the semen penetrates through the texture of the matrix.

Many other equivocal symptoms of pregnancy are said to distinguish
it in the first months; as a slight pain in the region of the matrix
and loins; a numbness over the whole body; a continual drowsiness; a
melancholy and capricious disposition; the tooth-ach, head-ach, and
vertigo; yellow eyes, with the pupils contracted, and lids oppressed;
paleness of countenance, with spots upon it; a depraved appetite, with
loathing, vomiting, and spitting; hysteric symptoms; the fluor albus;
stoppage of the menstrual discharge, or instead of it hæmorrhage; the
secretion of milk in the breasts, &c. Many other symptoms might be
adduced, which are supposed to be the signs of pregnancy, but which are
frequently nothing more than the effects of particular maladies.

Of these we shall leave the discussion to physicians. Were we to
consider each of them in particular, we should deviate too far from
our subject; nor could we do it with advantage, without entering into
a lengthened series of profound investigation. It is with this as
with a number of other subjects that relate to physiology and animal
economy, the authors, very few excepted, who have written on these
subjects, have treated them in a manner so vague, and explained them
by affinities so remote, and hypotheses so false, that it is not
surprising their remarks should have been attended with as little
information as utility.



The body attains its full height at the age of puberty, or at least
a few years after. Some young people cease growing at fourteen or
fifteen; while others continue their growth till two or three and
twenty. During this period most men are of slender make; their thighs
and legs small, and the muscular parts are as yet unfilled; but by
degrees the fleshy fibres augment, the muscles swell, the limbs assume
their figure, and become more proportioned, and before the age of
thirty the body, in men, has acquired its most perfect symmetry.

In women, the body sooner attains this symmetry; their muscles and
other parts being less strong, compact, and solid than those of men;
and being also less in size, they require less time in coming to
maturity. Hence it is that a woman is as completely formed at twenty,
as a man at thirty.

The body of a well-shaped man ought to be square, the muscles expressed
with boldness, and the lines in the face distinctly marked. In woman
superior elegance prevails; her form is more soft, and her features
more delicate. Strength and majesty belong to the former, grace and
softness are the peculiar embellishments of the latter.

In both, their external forms declare their sovereignty over every
living creature. Man supports his body erect; his attitude is that of
command; and his face, which is turned towards the heavens, displays a
superior dignity. The image of his soul is painted in his countenance;
the excellence of his nature penetrates through the material form in
which it is enclosed, and gives to his features a lively animation. His
majestic port, his firm and resolute step, announce the superiority of
his rank. He touches the earth only with his extremity, and beholds
it as if at a disdainful distance. His arms are not given to him for
pillars of support; nor does he render his hands callous by their
treading on the ground, and losing that delicacy of feeling for which
they were originally designed. His arms and hands are formed for very
different purposes; they are formed to second every intention of his
will; to defend himself, and to enable him to seize and enjoy the gifts
of Nature.

When the mind is at rest, all the features of the visage are in a state
of profound tranquillity. Their proportion, their union, their harmony,
seem to mark the sweet serenity, and to give a true information of
what passes within. When the soul, however, is agitated, the human
visage becomes a living picture, where the passions are expressed with
as much delicacy as energy; where every motion is expressed by some
corresponding feature; where every impression anticipates the will, and
betrays those hidden agitations, that he would often wish to conceal.

It is particularly in the eyes that the passions are painted, and most
readily discovered. The eye seems to belong to the soul more than any
other organ; it seems to participate of all its emotions; the softest
and most tender as well as the most violent and tumultous. These if not
only receives, but transmits by sympathy into the soul of the observer
all that secret fire with which its mind is agitated; and thus does
passion often become general. In short the eye is the lively index of
the mind, and forcibly speaks the language of intelligence.

Those who are short-sighted labour under a particular disadvantage in
this respect, being in a manner deprived of the intelligent expression
of the eye; and which frequently gives an air of stupidity to the
finest face. It is strong and violent passions alone that we ever see
marked on such countenances, and which often produce very unfavourable
prepossessions. However intelligent we may afterwards find such
persons, it is with difficulty we renounce our former prejudices. We
are so habituated to judge by external appearances that we too often
decide on men's talents by their physiognomy; and having perhaps at
first, caught up our judgments prematurely, they mechanically influence
us all our lives after; nay the colour, or cut of the clothes will
sometimes influence conclusions as to their abilities; and that not
always without reason: therefore since strangers may decide upon
understanding by so trifling an article as dress, we ought not to be
totally inattentive to it, trifling as it may appear.

The vivacity, or the languid motion of the eyes, gives the strongest
marks to the countenance; and their colour contributes still more
to enforce the expression. The different colours of the eyes are
dark-hazle, light-hazle, green, blue, grey, and whitish grey. These
different colours arise from the different colours of the little
muscles, that serve to contract the pupil, and they very often change
colour with disorder, and with age.

Those most frequent are, the hazle and the blue, and very often
both these colours are found in the same eye. Those eyes which are
called black are only dark-hazle, which may be easily seen upon close
inspection, and only appear black from the contrast with the white of
the eye; in all those which have a blue shade that colour becomes the
most predominant. Those eyes are reckoned the most beautiful where the
shade is the deepest; and either in the black or the blue, the fire,
which gives to the eye its finest expression, is most distinguishable.
For this reason, the black eyes, as they are called, have the greatest
force and vivacity; but the blue are the most delicate, and have the
most powerful effect in beauty, as they reflect a greater variety of
rays from the tints of which they are composed.

This variety in the colour of the eyes, is peculiar to man, and one
or two of the brute-creation; in other animals, the colour in any one
individual is the same in all the rest. The eyes of the ox are brown;
those of sheep of a watery colour; those of goats are grey, &c. and it
may also be remarked, that the eyes of most white animals are red; as
the rabbit, ferret, &c. "According to Aristotle, in the human species
grey eyes are the strongest; blues eyes are weak; full eyes are near
sighted, and brown ones require a good light."

Though the eye, when put in motion, seems to be drawn towards either
side, yet it only moves round its centre; by which its coloured part
moves nearer, or farther from the angle of the eye-lids, and is thus
elevated or depressed. The distance between the eye is less in man
than in any other animal; in some it is so great that it is almost
impossible that they should ever view the same object with both eyes at

Next to the eyes, that which gives most character to the face are
the eye-brows, which being, in some measure, totally different from
the other features, their effect is most readily distinguished. The
eye-lashes have an effect in giving expression to the eye, particularly
when long and close, they soften its glances, and improve its
sweetness. Man and apes are the only animals that have eye-lashes both
upon the upper and lower lids, all other animals want them on the lid
below, and even man has less on the under than on the upper.

The eye-lids serve to guard the ball of the eye, and to furnish it with
a proper moisture. The upper lid rises and falls; the lower has scarce
any motion; and though their being moved depends on the will, yet the
will is unable to keep them open when sleep, or fatigue, oppresses
the mind. In birds and amphibious quadrupeds the lower lid alone has
motion; and fishes and insects have no eye-lids whatsoever.

The forehead makes a large part of the face, and chiefly contributes to
its beauty. It ought to be justly proportioned, neither too round nor
too flat, neither too narrow nor too low, and it should be regularly
surrounded with the hair. The hair tends greatly to improve the face,
and baldness takes away from beauty. Borrowed locks, however, do not
justly supply the place of real ones, as the true character cannot be
so well traced in the countenance when the one is substituted for the
other. The highest part of the head, and that immediately above the
temples, first becomes bald; the hair under the temples, and at the
back of the head, is seldom known to fail.

It has been observed by some authors that baldness was peculiar to
man, and that it never happens to women in the most advanced periods
of life. The hair is, in general, thickest where the constitution is
strongest, and more glossy and beautiful where the health is most
permanent. The ancients supposed the hair to be produced like the
nails, the part next the root pushing out that immediately contiguous.
But the moderns have found that every hair may be truly said to live
and to receive nutriment like other parts of the body. The roots do
not turn grey sooner than the extremities, but the whole hair changes
colour nearly at the same time, and we have many instances of persons
who have grown grey in one night's time. When turned white it gradually
loses its strength and falls off. Aristotle asserts, that no man ever
became bald previous to his intercourse with women.

The nose is the most prominent feature in the face, but as it has
scarce any motion, even in the strongest passions, it rather adds to
the beauty, than to the expression of the countenance. The form of this
feature, and its advanced position, are peculiar to the human visage
alone. Other animals, for the most part, have nostrils with a partition
between them, but none of them have an elevated nose. Apes themselves
have scarce any thing else of this feature but the nostrils, the rest
of the feature lying flat upon the visage, and scarce higher than the
cheek-bones. This organ serves man and most animals not only to breathe
but to enjoy odoriferous scents. Birds have merely two holes for these

The mouth and lips, next to the eyes, are found to have the greatest
expression. The passions have great power over this part of the face,
and the mouth marks its different degrees by its different forms. The
organ of speech still more animates this part, and gives it more life
than any other feature in the face. The ruby colour of the lips, and
the white enamel of the teeth, have such a superiority over every other
feature that they seem to form the principal object of our regard.
In fact, the whole attention is fixed upon the lips of the speaker;
however rapid his discourse, and however various the subject, the mouth
takes correspondent situations, and deaf men have been often found to
_see_ the force of those reasonings, which they could not _hear_, by
attending to the motions of the lips.

Notwithstanding the opinion of Aristotle, with regard to the crocodile,
I am convinced, that in that, as well as in man, and other animals,
the under jaw alone has the power of motion. In the human embrio, and
in monkeys, the under jaw is very much advanced before the upper. In
instances of the most violent passion this jaw has often an involuntary
quivering motion; and often also pain and pleasure, as well, as languor
produces another, which is that of yawning.

When the mind is affected with ardent desire, or reflects with regret
upon some good unattained or lost, it feels an internal emotion, which
acting upon the diaphragm, elevates the lungs, and produces a sigh;
when the mind perceives no prospect of relief the sighs are repeated,
sorrow succeeds, and tears often follow; the air rushes into the
lungs, and gives rise to an inspiration stronger than sighs, termed
sobbing, in which the voice becomes more evident; from this it proceeds
to groans, which are a species of sobs continued to some length, and
are longer or shorter according to the degree of anxiety the mind is
labouring under. The plaintive shriek is a groan expressed with a sharp
tone of voice; which when violently excited, generally continues the
same tone throughout, but when moderate, usually falls at the end.

Laughter is a sound of the voice, interrupted and pursued for some
continuance. The muscles of the belly, and the diaphragm, are employed
in its weaker exertions; but those of the ribs are violently agitated
in the stronger; the head and breast are sometimes thrown forward,
in order to raise them with the greater ease. The chest remains
undisturbed, the cheeks swell, the mouth naturally opens, and the
belly becoming depressed, the air issues out with a noise, and which
in violent fits continues for some time, and is often repeated; but
in more tranquil emotions, although the cheeks swell, the lips remain
close, and in some persons dimples are formed near the corners of the
mouth. This smile is often an indication of kindness and good-will; it
is also often used as a mark of contempt and ridicule.

The cheeks are features without any particular motion, and rather
seem as an ornament to the face than for the purpose of expression,
as may also be said of the chin and temples. The former indeed may be
considered in some measure a picture of the mind, from the involuntary
paleness and redness with which they are at limes overspread. Blushing
proceeds from different passions; being produced from shame, anger,
pride, Or joy, while paleness is ever an attendant on fright, fear, and
sorrow. These alterations in the colour are entirely involuntary; all
the other expressions of the passions are, in some small degree, under
control; but blushing and paleness betray our secret thoughts, and we
might as well attempt to stop the circulation of our blood, by which
they are caused, as to prevent their appearance.

The whole head, as well as the features of the face, takes peculiar
attitudes from different passions; it bends forward to express
humility, shame, or sorrow; it is turned to one side, in languor, or in
pity; it is thrown with the chin forward, in arrogance and pride; erect
in self-conceit and obstinacy; it is thrown backwards in surprize or
astonishment; and combines its motions to the one side and the other,
to express contempt, ridicule, anger, and resentment.

The parts of the head which give least expression to the face are the
ears. These which are immoveable, and make so small an appearance in
man, are very distinguishing features in quadrupeds: they serve in
them as the principal marks of the passions, and discover their joys
or their terrors with tolerable precision. The smallest ears in men
are said to be most beautiful; but the largest are found the best for
hearing. Some savage nations bore their ears, and so draw down the tips
to rest upon their shoulders.

The different customs of men appear still more extravagant in their
manner of wearing their beards. Some, and among others the Turks, cut
the hair off their heads, and let their beards grow. The Europeans,
on the contrary, shave their beards and wear their hair. The American
savages pluck the hairs off their beards, but are proud of those on
the head; the Negroes shave their heads in figures at one time, in
stars at another, and still more commonly in alternate stripes. The
Talapoins of Siam shave the heads and the eye-brows of such children
as are committed to their care. Every nation seems to have entertained
different prejudices, at different times, in favour of one part or
another of the beard. Some have preferred the hair upon the upper lip
to that on the chin; some like the hair hanging down; some chuse it
curled; and others like it straight.

Though fashions have arisen in different countries from fancy and
caprice, yet when they have become general they deserve examination.
Mankind have always considered it as a matter of moment, and they
will ever continue desirous of drawing the attention of each other,
by such ornaments as mark the riches, the power, or the courage of
the wearer. The value of shining stones is entirely founded upon their
scarceness or their brilliancy. It is the same with respect to shining
metals, of which the weight is so little regarded when spread over our
cloaths. These ornaments are designed to draw the attention of others,
and to excite the idea of wealth and grandeur; and few there are who,
undazzled by the glitter of an outside, can coolly distinguish between
the metal and the man.

All things rare and brilliant will, therefore, continue to be
fashionable, while men derive greater advantage from riches than
virtue, and while the means of appearing considerable are more easily
acquired than the title to merit. The first impression we make on
strangers arises from our dress; and this varies in conformity to
the character we are ambitious to obtain. The modest man, or he who
would wish to be thought so, endeavours to shew the simplicity of his
mind by the plainness of his dress; the vain man, on the contrary,
takes a pleasure in displaying his superiority in finery and external

Another object of dress is, to encrease the size of our figure, and to
take up more room in the world than Nature seems to have allotted us.
We desire to enlarge our dimensions by swelling out our cloaths and
raising our heels; but how bulky soever our dress may be, our vanities
still exceed them. The largeness of the doctor's wig arises from the
same pride as the smallness of the beau's queue. Both want to have the
size of their understanding measured by the external dimensions of
their heads.

There are some fashions that seem to have a more reasonable origin,
which is to hide or to lessen the defects of Nature. To take men
altogether, there are many more ordinary faces and deformed bodies,
than beautiful countenances and handsome figures. The former, as being
the most numerous, give laws to fashion, and their laws are generally
such as are made in their favour. Women begin to colour their checks
with red when the natural roses are faded, and the younger are obliged
to follow the example, though not compelled by the same necessity. In
all parts of the world this custom prevails more or less, and powdering
and frizzing the hair, though not so general, seems to have arisen from
a similar desire of displaying the features to most advantage.

But, leaving the draperies of the human picture, let us return to the
figure unadorned by art.

The head of man, whether considered externally or internally, is
differently formed from that of all other animals. The head of the
monkey has some similitude, but in that there are differences, which
we shall take notice of in another place. The bodies of almost all
quadrupeds are covered with hair, but the head of man alone has this
ornament before puberty, and that more abundantly than any other animal.

There is a great variety in the teeth of all animals, some have them
above and below, others have them in the under jaw only: in some they
stand separate from each other, while in others they are close and
united. The palate of some fishes is nothing but a bony substance
studded with points, which perform the office of teeth. All these
substances, that is, the teeth of men, quadrupeds, and fishes, the
saws, &c. of insects, like the nails, horns, and hoofs, derive their
origin from the nerves. We before remarked that the nerves harden by
being exposed to the air; and as the mouth gives free access to it, the
nerves that terminate therein, being thus exposed, acquire a solidity.
In this manner the teeth and nails are formed in man, and the beaks,
hoofs, horns, and talons of other animals are produced.

The neck supports the head, and unites it to the body. This part is
more considerable in the generality of quadrupeds, than in man. Fishes
and other animals that have not lungs similar to ours, have no neck.
Birds in general have the neck longer than any other kind of animal;
those of them which have short claws have also short necks, and so on
the contrary.

The human breast is larger in proportion than that of other animals;
and none but man, and those animals which make use of their fore feet
as hands, such as monkeys, squirrels, &c. have collar-bones. The
breasts, in women are larger than in men; they however seem formed
in the same, manner; and sometimes milk is found in the breasts of
the latter. Of this there have been many instances about the age of
puberty, and I have seen a young man press a considerable quantity
out of one of his breasts. Among animals there, is a great variety in
this part of the body. Some, as the ape and the elephant, have but two
teats, which are placed on each side of the breast, Bears have four.
Sheep have but two, placed between the hinder legs. Other animals,
such as the bitch and sow, have them all along the belly. Birds and
other oviparous animals have no teats; but viviparous fishes, as the
whale and the dolphin, have both teats and milk. The form also of the
teats varies in different animals, and in the same animal at different
ages. Those women whose breasts are shaped like a pear, are said to
make the best nurses. In the belly of the human race the naval makes a
conspicuous figure, but which is scarcely perceptible in other animals.

The arms of men but very little resemble the fore legs of quadrupeds,
and much less the wings of birds. The ape is the only animal that is
possessed of hands and arms; and they are fashioned more rudely, and
with less exact proportion, than in men. The shoulders are also much
larger in man than in any other animal, and of a form widely distinct.

The form of the back differs not much from that of many quadrupeds,
only that the reins are more muscular and strong. The buttock, however,
in man is different from that of all animals whatsoever. What goes by
that name in other creatures is only the upper part of the thigh, and
by no means similar: man being the only animal that can support himself
perfectly erect, the peculiar hardness of this part enables him to
sustain that position.

The human feet are also different from those of all animals, even apes
not excepted. The foot of the ape is rather a kind of aukward hand;
its toes, or rather fingers, are long, and that in the middle longest
of all; the foot also wants the heel. In man the sole of the foot is
broader and more adapted to maintain the equilibrium of the body in
walking, dancing, or running.

The nails are smaller in man than those of any animal. If they were
much longer than the extremities of the fingers, they would obstruct
the management of the hand. Such savages as suffer them to grow long,
make use of them in flaying and tearing animals, but though their nails
are considerably larger than ours, they are yet by no means to be
compared to the hoofs or the claws of other animals.

There is little known exactly with regard to the proportion of the
human figure, for the same parts do not bear similar proportions in any
two individuals; nor even in the same, for seldom is it that the right
leg or arm is of equal dimensions with the left. It is not by taking
an exact _resemblance_ that we can determine on the best proportion of
the human figure; we must seek for it in taste and sentiment, which
have exceeded the laws of mechanism in the imitation of Nature; and in
which imitation we recognize her perfections more conspicuously than
in her own productions; and by the same rule the beauty of the best
statues is much better conceived by observation than by measurement.
The ancients executed statues in so high a degree of perfection, that
they have ever been considered as exact representations of the most
perfect human figures. These statues, which were at first copied after
the human form, are now considered as the most perfect models of it;
and for this plain reason, that they were not formed after any one
individual, but from a diligent observation of the perfect symmetry
that was to be collected, as it were, from the whole species. In doing
this, these artists also considered each part of the human frame should
be of certain dimensions to become the standard of perfection; for
instance, that the body should be ten times the length of the face;
and that the face should also be divisible into three equal parts, the
first form the hair on the forehead to the nose, the second the nose,
and the third from the nose to the end of the chin. In measuring the
body they use the term nose as the third of the face, one of which they
reckon in height, from the top of the forehead to the crown of the
head, therefore from the top of the head to the bottom of the chin is a
face and one third, and from the chin to the upper part of the breasts
two thirds more, which of course makes two tenths of the whole body; to
the bottom of the paps another, to the navel a fourth, and from thence
to the division of the lower extremities a fifth, or half the body;
two more faces are assigned to the thighs, half a one to the knee, two
from the knee to the top of the foot, and the other half from thence to
the sole, which completes the ten. This division does not hold good in
men of a more than ordinary size, in whom about half a face is allowed
between the paps and the commencement of the thighs, which in them is
not the middle of the body. The arms being stretched out, measure from
the ends of the middle fingers ten faces, or exactly the length of the
body. The hand is the length of the face, the thumb that of the nose,
as is also the longest toe, and the bottom of the foot, is one sixth
part of the length of the body. The space between the eyes is the
breadth of the eye: the breadth of the thickest part of the thigh is
double that of the thickest part of the leg, and treble the smallest.
Were any individual measured by these rules, those we consider as the
most perfect would be found highly deficient.

These correspondences are, however, extremely arbitrary. In infants
the upper parts of the body are larger than the lower; the legs and
thighs do not constitute any thing like half the length of the body;
as the child increases in age the inferior parts increase more than
in proportion, so that the body is not equally divided till it has
acquired its full growth. In women the anterior part of the chest is
more prominent than in men; but as in the former the chest is more
thick, so in the latter it is more broad. In women too the hips are
considerably more bulky, and so different is the conformation of those
two parts, that it is sufficient to distinguish the skeleton of a woman
from that of a man.

The total height of the human figure varies considerably. Men are said
to be tall who are from five feet eight or nine inches to six feet.
The middle stature is from five feet two to five feet seven inches;
and such as fall under these measures are said to be of small stature.
Women in general are two or three inches shorter than men. As for
giants and dwarfs, of them we shall have occasion to speak in another

Though the body of a man is more externally delicate than that of any
animal, it is exceedingly muscular, and for its size perhaps more
strong. Were we to compare the strength of a lion with that of a man,
we ought to consider that the former is armed with teeth and talons,
which give a false idea of its power. The arms which man has received
from Nature are not offensive; and happy were it if Art had never
furnished him with weapons more terrible than those which arm the paws
of the lion.

But there is another, and perhaps a more just manner of comparing the
strength of man with that of animals, namely by the weights which
either can carry. We are assured that the porters of Constantinople
carry burthens 900 pounds weight; and M. Desaguliers tells us of a
man in an upright posture, who, by distributing a certain number of
weights, in such a manner that every part of his body bore its share,
was able to support a weight of 2000 pounds. By the same expedient
a horse, which is at least six or seven times our bulk, ought to be
enabled to carry a load, of 12 or 14,000 pounds; an enormous weight in
comparison of what that animal can support, even when the weight is
distributed with every possible advantage.

The strength of a man may be still further estimated by agility and
the continuance of his labour. Men accustomed to running outstrip
horses, or at least continue their speed for a greater length of time.
A man will walk down a horse if they continue together, and perform a
long journey much sooner, and with less fatigue. The royal messengers
of Ispahan, who are runners by profession, go 36 leagues in 14 or 15
hours. Travellers assure us, that the Hottentots out-run lions in the
chace, and that the savages, who live by hunting, pursue the elk and
other animals with such speed as to take them. Many other surprising
things are told of the nimbleness of savages, and of the long journeys
they accomplish on foot, over the most craggy mountains, and the
most unfavourable roads, where there is no path to direct, and every
obstacle to oppose. A thousand leagues are these people said to travel
in less than six weeks, or two months. Birds excepted, whose muscles
are indeed stronger in proportion than those of any other animal,
no other creature could support such a continuance of fatigue. The
civilized man is ignorant of his own strength; nor is he sensible how
much he loses of it by effeminacy, and how he might add to it by the
habit of vigorous exercise.

Sometimes we find men of extraordinary strength; but this gift of
Nature, which would be valuable to them in a primitive state, is of
very trifling service with the polished part of mankind, among whom
mental perfections are held in higher estimation than bodily, and
manual exertions are confined to persons of the lowest classes.

Men are much stronger than women; and this superiority they have too
often employed, by tyrannically enslaving a sex, which was formed to
partake with them the pleasures as well as the pains of life. Savage
nations subject their women to a continued series of labour. On them
is imposed every office of drudgery, while the husband indolently
reclines in his hammock. From this inactive situation he is seldom
roused but by the calls of hunger, when he is obliged to seek food
by fishing or hunting. A savage has no idea of taking pleasure in
exercise; and nothing surprises him more than to see an European walk
backwards and forward, merely for his amusement or recreation. All
men have a tendency to laziness; but the savages of hot countries are
not only lazy to an extreme, but tyrannical to their women, beyond
any other classes of men. In civilized countries men dictate laws
to women, which are the more severe, as their manners are rough and
untaught, and it is only among nations highly polished that women are
raised to that equality of condition which is naturally their due, and
so necessary to the true enjoyment of society. These refinements flow
from themselves; and to strength they oppose arms more sure to conquer,
when by modesty they teach us to pay homage to the empire of beauty; a
natural advantage, superior to strength. But much skill is requisite
to manage and increase its influence, as is evident from the different
ideas which different nations entertain of beauty. These indeed are
so widely opposite, so palpably contradictory, that there is every
reason to suppose the sex have gained more by rendering themselves
amiable, than even by this gift of Nature, about which men are so
much divided. As from the difficulty of obtaining it, the value of a
thing still increases, so beauty has always had its admirers, and its
votaries, respect necessarily increased as soon as the possessors of it
maintained a becoming dignity, and turned a deaf ear to every address
of which virtue was not the positive basis; this naturally introduced a
delicacy of sentiment, and polished manners followed of course.

So widely did the ancients disagree with us in respect of beauty, that,
with them, a small forehead, and eye-brows joined, were accounted
ornaments in the female countenance; and even to this day, in Persia,
the union of the eye-brows is held in high estimation. In several
parts of the Indies, it is necessary that the teeth should be black,
and the hair white, to form a beauty; and, in the Marian islands, it
is a principal occupation of the women, to blacken the teeth with
herbs, and to whiten the hair by certain lotions. In China and Japan,
the essential ingredients of beauty are, a large visage, small eyes,
and almost concealed, a nose flat and bulky, little feet, and a belly
enormously big. Some of the Indians of America and Asia, in order to
enlarge the countenance, compress the heads of their children between
two planks, others flatten them from the crown only, and others exert
every effort to render them round. Every nation, and every individual,
has a peculiar prejudice, or taste, with respect to beauty, which
probably originates from some pleasing impression received in infancy,
and therefore depends more, perhaps, on habit and chance than on the
disposition of our organs.

When we come to treat of the different senses, we shall perhaps be able
to determine what stress is to be laid on the ideas of beauty which
we receive from the eyes. In the mean time let us examine the human
countenance as it appears when agitated by the passions. In grief,
joy, love, shame, and compassion, the eyes swell, and overflow with
tears. The effusion of these is always accompanied with a tension of
the muscles of the face, which opens the month. The natural moisture in
the nose becomes increased by the tears flowing through the lachrymal
ducts; they do not, however, flow uniformly, but burst out by intervals.

In sorrow the corners of the mouth are lowered, the under lip raised,
the eye-lids nearly closed, the pupil elevated, and almost covered
with the eye-lid; the other muscles of the face are relaxed, so that
the space between the mouth and the eyes is larger than ordinary, and
of consequence the countenance appears lengthened. [See _fig._ 13.]

In fear, terror, or horror, the forehead is wrinkled, the eye-brow
raised, the eye-lids are extended as much as possible, and discover
a part of the white over the pupil, which is lowered, and somewhat
concealed by the lower eye-lid: the mouth, at the same time, is widely
opened, and the lips separating, both the upper and under teeth are
seen. [See _fig._ 14.]

In contempt and derision the upper lip is raised on one side, and on
the other there is a little motion, resembling a supercilious smile;
the nose is shrivelled on the same side that the lip is raised, and the
corner, of the mouth is extended; the eye on the same side is almost
shut, while the other is open as usual, but the pupils of both are
lowered as when looking from a height. [See _fig._ 15.]

In jealousy, envy, and malice, the eye-brows fall down, and are
wrinkled; the eye-lid is raised and the pupil lowered; the upper lip
is raised on each side, while the corners of the mouth are rather
lowered; and the middle of the under lip is raised, in order to join
the middle of the upper lip. [See _fig._ 16.]

In laughter the two corners of the mouth are drawn back and somewhat
raised; the upper part of the cheeks is raised; and the eyes are
more or less closed; the upper lip is raised, while the under one is
lowered; and in immoderate laughter the mouth is opened, and the skin
of the nose is shrivelled. [See _fig._ 17.]

The arms, the hands, and the body in general, likewise assist the
countenance by different gestures, in the expression of the emotions
of the soul. In joy, for example, the eyes, the head, the arms, and
the whole body, are agitated by quick and varied movements. In languor
and melancholy the eyes are sunk, the head is reclined, and the whole
body is motionless. In admiration, surprize, and astonishment, all
motion is suspended, and we remain in one and the same attitude. These
expressions of the passions are independent on the will; but there is
another sort of expression, which seems to be produced by a reflection
of the mind, by a command of the will, and by which the eyes, the head,
the arms, and the whole body, are put in action. They appear to be
so many efforts of the mind to defend the body, or at least so many
secondary signs sufficient to express particular passions. In love,
desire, and hope, we raise the head and eyes towards heaven, as if
to implore the good we wish for; we bend the head forward, as if to
hasten, by this approach, the possession of the desired object; and
we extend the arms, and open the hands, in order to embrace and seize
it. On the contrary, in fear, hatred, and horror, we advance the arms
with precipitation, as if to repel the object of our aversion; and in
order to shun it we turn aside the eyes and head, and shrink back.
These movements are so quick that they appear involuntary: but it is by
habit we are deceived, for they are motions which depend on reflection,
and which mark the perfection of the springs of the human body, by the
readiness with which each member obeys the dictates of the will.

As the passions are agitations of the mind, and as most of them have an
affinity to the impressions of the senses, they may be expressed by the
movements of the body, and especially by those of the visage. Of what
passes within we may form a judgment from the external motions of the
body, and can know the actual situation of the soul by inspecting the
changes of the countenance. But as the soul has no form which can have
any relation to that of matter we cannot judge of it by the figure of
the body, or by the features of the countenance. An ill-formed body may
contain an amiable mind; nor is the good or bad disposition of a person
to be determined by the features of the face, these features having no
analogy with the nature of the soul on which any reasonable conjectures
may be founded.

To this kind of prejudice, nevertheless, the ancients were strongly
attached; and in all ages there have been men who have attempted to
form into a science of divination their pretended skill in physiognomy;
but it is evident that this divination can only extend to the situation
of the mind when expressed by the motion of the eyes, visage, and other
parts of the body, and that the form of the nose, the mouth, and other
features, are no more connected with the natural disposition of the
person, than is the largeness or the thickness of the limbs to that of
thought. Shall a man have more genius because he has a better-shaped
nose? Shall he have less wisdom because his eyes are little, and
his mouth is large? It must be acknowledged, therefore, that the
divination of physiognomists is without foundation, and that nothing
can be more chimerical than their pretended observations.

     FIG. 14      FIG. 13

           FIG. 15

     FIG. 17      FIG. 16]



Every object in Nature has its improvement and its decay. No sooner
does the human form arrive at its limited perfection, than it begins to
decline. The alteration is at first insensible, and even several years
elapse before it becomes perceptible. Yet we ought to feel the weight
of our years better than other people can estimate the number of them;
and, as those are rarely deceived who judge of our age from external
appearances, we would be still less so, as to the internal effect, if
we did but observe ourselves more, and flatter ourselves less with
false and idle hopes.

When the body has attained its full length, by the final expansion of
all its parts, it begins to receive an additional bulk, which rather
incommodes than assists it, and may be considered as the first step
towards decay. This is formed from a superfluous substance termed fat,
and generally appears about the age of thirty-five, or forty, and by
which, in proportion to its encrease, the body becomes less nimble,
active, and unconstrained in its motions.

The bones also, and the other solid parts of the body, encrease
in solidity. The membranes become cartilaginous, or gristly, the
cartilages become bony, the fibres become more hard, the skin dries up,
wrinkles are gradually formed in it, the hair grows grey, the teeth
fall out, the visage becomes haggard, and the body stoops. The first
approach of these alterations is perceived before the age of forty; by
slow degrees they advance till that of sixty, and by rapid ones till
that of seventy: after which period, decrepitude soon follows, and
continues to augment to the age of ninety, or a hundred, when the life
of man is generally terminated.

Having already traced the causes of the formation, growth, and
expansion of the human frame, we shall now proceed to consider those
of its decay.

At first the bones of the foetus are only small threads, of a ductile
matter, and of little more substance than the flesh; by degrees they
acquire solidity, and may be considered as a kind of small tubes, lined
both within and without by a thin membrane which supplies the osseous
matter. A pretty exact idea might be formed of the growth of bones,
by comparing them with the manner in which the wood and solid parts
of vegetables are produced. These bones, or, as we have said, tubes,
are covered at both ends by a soft substance, and in proportion as
they receive nutritious juices, the extremities extend from the middle
point which always preserves its original station. The ossification
begins at the middle and gradually follows the extension until the
whole is converted into bone. Having acquired their full growth, and
the nutritious juices no longer being necessary for their augmentation,
they serve the purpose of increasing their solidity; in time the bones
become so solid as not to admit the circulation of these juices which
are highly essential to their nourishment; and this being stopped, they
undergo a change like that perceived in old trees; and this change is
the first cause that renders the decay of the human body inevitable.

The cartilages, which may be considered as soft and imperfect bones,
grow also more rigid as we increase in years; and as they are generally
placed near the joints, the motion of these must of consequence become
more difficult. Thus, in old age, every action of the body is performed
with labour; and the cartilages, which in youth were elastic, and in
manhood pliant, will now sooner break than bend, and may be considered
as the second cause of our dissolution.

The membranes become likewise as we grow old more dense and more dry.
Those, for example, which surround the bones cease to be ductile, and
are incapable of extension so early as the age of 18 or 20. It is also
the same with the muscular fibres, and though to the external touch the
body seems, as we advance in years, to grow more soft, yet in reality
it is increasing in hardness. On such occasions it is the skin, and not
the flesh, that communicates this perception. The fat which increases
when the body is arrived at maturity, being interspersed between the
skin and muscles, gives an appearance of softness which the flesh is
far from possessing in reality; an undeniable proof of which is to be
found in comparing the flesh of young and old animals; the former is
tender and delicate; the latter hard, dry, and unfit for eating.

While the body increases, the skin will stretch to any degree of
tension; but when the former diminishes, the latter never contracts;
and hence the source of wrinkles, which cannot be prevented. Those
of the face proceed from this cause, though as to shape they depend
in a greater measure on its form, features, and habitual movements.
By examining the countenance of a man at the age of 25 or 30, we may
discover in it the origin of all the wrinkles it will have in old age;
particularly when the features are in a state of agitation by laughing,
weepings or any strong grimace. All the little furrows formed by these
agitations will one day become wrinkles, which no art shall be able to

In proportion then as we advance in years, the bones, the cartilages,
the membranes, the flesh, the skin, and all the fibres of the body
grow more solid, hard, and dry. Every part shrinks, and every motion
becomes more slow; the circulation of the fluids is performed with
less freedom, the perspiration diminishes, the secretions alter, the
digestion becomes slow and laborious, the nutritive juices become
less plentiful, and no longer serving to convey their accustomed
nourishment, are wholly useless, as if they did not exist. Thus the
body dies by little and little, all its functions diminish by degrees,
and death only at last seizes upon that little which is left.

As the bones, the cartilages, the muscles, and all the other parts
of the body, are naturally softer in women than in men, they do not
acquire so soon that hardness which hastens death. Women, therefore,
ought to live longer than men. This is actually the case; for by
consulting the tables which have been formed respecting the duration
of human life, we shall find that, after a certain age, women have a
greater chance for long life than men of the same number of years.
From this it may also be inferred, that such men as are weak in
appearance, and whose constitution rather resembles that of women, have
a probability of living longer than those who seem to be more strong
and robust; as likewise, that in either sex such persons as have been
slow in their advances to maturity, will be slow in their advances
to the infirmities of old age, because in both cases, the bones, the
cartilages, and all the fibres, require a longer time to arrive at that
degree of solidity, which must be the foundation of their destruction.
This natural cause of death is common to all animals, and even to
vegetables. An oak only perishes because its more ancient parts, which
are in the centre, become so hard and so compact, that they can no
longer receive any nourishment; and the moisture they contain, being
deprived of circulation, becomes corrupted, and gradually alters the
fibres of the wood, which become red, and at length crumble into dust.

The duration of life may be determined, in some measure, by the time
that was employed in the attainment of maturity. A tree, or an animal,
which takes but a short time to finish its growth, perishes much
sooner than those which are longer in coming to maturity. Neither
animals nor plants begin to spread in bulk till they have acquired
their summit of height. Man grows in stature till the age of 17 or 18;
but his body is not completely unfolded in all its parts till that of
30; while a dog is at its full length in one year, and at its full
thickness in another. The man whose growth is so tedious, lives for
90 or an 100 years; whereas the dog seldom survives its 10 or 12th
year. To the generality of other animals this observation is equally
applicable. Fishes, whose growth continues for a number of years, live
for centuries; and this from no other known certain cause, but the
particular constitution of their bones, which do not admit of the same
solidity as the bones of terrestrial animals.

Whether there are any exceptions to this kind of rule, which Nature
seems to have adopted in proportioning the duration of life to that
of the bodily growth, we shall enquire when we come to the particular
history of animals, as also whether crows and stags live for such a
number of years as is commonly pretended. In the mean while, as a
general truth, let it be remarked, that large animals live longer than
small ones, and this because they require a longer time to come to

The causes of our decay then are inevitable; nor can we avoid the fatal
arrow of death, or even avert it, without changing the laws of Nature.
The ideas which a few visionaries have formed of perpetuating life
by some particular panacea, as that of the transfusion of the blood
of one living creature into the body of another, must have died with
themselves, did not self-love constantly cherish our credulity, even
to the persuasion of some things which are in themselves impossible,
and to the doubt of others, of which every day there are demonstrative

When the constitution of the body is sound, it is perhaps possible,
by moderation in the passions, by temperance and sobriety, to
lengthen life for a few years. But even of this there seems to be an
uncertainty, for if it is necessary that the body should employ its
whole strength, that it should consume all its powers by labour and
exercise, whence could any benefit accrue from regimen and abstinence?
Men no doubt there are who have surpassed the usual period of human
existence, and not to mention Par, who lived to the age of 144, and
Jenkins to that of 165, as recorded in the Philosophical Transactions,
we have many instances of the prolongation of life to 110, and even
to 120 years; yet this longevity was occasioned by no peculiar art or
management; on the contrary, it appears that the generality of them
were peasants, huntsmen, or labourers, men who had employed their
whole bodily strength, and even abused it, if to abuse it is possible,
otherwise than by continual idleness and debauchery.

Besides, if we reflect that the European, the Negro, the Chinese, and
the American, the civilized man and the savage, the rich and the poor,
the inhabitant of the city, and the inhabitant of the country, however
different in other respects, are yet entirely similar as to the period
allotted for their existence; if we reflect that the difference of
race, of climate, of nourishment of accommodation, makes no difference
in the term of life; that men who feed on raw flesh, or on dried fish,
on sago, or on rice, on cassava, or on roots, live as long as those
who feed on bread and prepared meats, we must be still more strongly
convinced that the duration of life depends not either on habits,
customs, or on the qualities of particular food, and that nothing can
change the laws of that mechanism, by which the number of our years are
regulated, but excesses of luxury or intemperance.

If in the duration of life there is any difference, it ought seemingly
to be ascribed to the quality of the air. In elevated countries there
are commonly found more old people than in low. The mountains in
Scotland and Wales, of Auvergne and Switzerland, have furnished more
instances of extreme longevity than the plains of Holland, Flanders,
Germany, or Poland. In general, however, the period of human existence
may be said to be the same in every country. If not cut off by
accidental diseases man is found to live to the years of 90 or an 100.
Beyond that date our ancestors did not live, nor has it, in any degree
varied since the time of David.

Should it be asked, why, in the early ages, men lived to 900, 930, and
even 960 years? it may, with great probability of reason, be answered,
that the productions of the earth might then be of a different nature;
as, at the creation, the surface of the globe must have been far less
solid and compact than it afterwards became, so it is possible that
the productions of Nature, and even the human body itself, being
more ductile and more susceptible of extension, their growth was not
so soon accomplished as at present. Every kind of nourishment being
in itself more soft and more ductile, the bones, the muscles, &c.
necessarily retained their primitive softness and ductility longer. As
the body, therefore, did not attain its complete expansion, nor its
generative powers, for 120 or 130 years, the duration of life would
be proportioned to that time, required for the growth, as it is to
this day. In the supposition, for example, that the age of puberty
was originally at the years of 130, as it is now at the age of 14,
it will appear, that the period of human existence has always been
proportionally the same as it is at present, since by multiplying those
two numbers by seven, for instance, we shall find that the age of the
present race will be 98 years, as those in the first age 910. It is
probable, then, that the duration of human life decreased in proportion
as the solidity of the surface of the earth increased, and that the
ages from the creation, to the time of David, having been sufficient to
communicate to terrestrial substances all the consistency which they
are capable of acquiring by the pression of gravity, the surface of the
earth has ever since remained in the same condition, and the limits of
the growth of its different productions have been fixed, as well as
those of the duration of life.

Independent of accidental maladies which happen at every age, but
become more dangerous and more frequent at the latter periods of life,
all men are subject to natural infirmities, that originate solely from
a decay of the different parts of the body. The muscular powers lose
their firmness, the head shakes, the hands tremble, the legs totter,
and the sensibility of the nerves decreasing, every sense becomes
blunted. But the most striking infirmity is, that men very aged, are
unequal to the office of generation. Of this inability two causes may
be assigned, a defect of tension in the external organs, and a decay of
the seminal fluid.[B] The latter defect, however, may be supplied by a
young woman; and thus it is that we sometimes see men at an advanced
period of life become fathers, but then they have a much less share
in their children than young ones; and thence it happens, that young
persons, when married to old men, decrepid and deformed, often bring
forth monsters, and children more defective still than their fathers.

[B] Our author here enters into a repetition of the nature of the
organic animalcules, and to account for the defect of tension in the
external organs, but which we have passed over, not doubting our
readers would feel the propriety of his concluding remark, that this
was an improper place for such discussions.

The scurvy, dropsy, and such diseases as proceed from a vitiated state
of the blood and other fluids, are the most fatal to mankind; but
these fluids depend upon the solids, which are the real organic parts.
As we become advanced in life the vessels contract, the muscles lose
their strength, and the secretory organs are obstructed; from which
causes the blood, and other fluids, become viscid, and occasion those
diseases which are generally supposed to arise from vitiated humours.
The natural decay of the solids are, therefore, the original causes of
those disorders; nevertheless, if the fluids become stagnated, or are
obstructed in their circulation, by a contraction of the vessels, they
produce alarming symptoms, and soon corrupt and corrode the weakest
parts of the solids. Thus do the causes of dissolution continually
multiply until they put a period to our existence.

All these causes of decay act continually upon our material existence,
and contribute to its dissolution. Nature, however, approaches to
this much-dreaded period by slow and imperceptible degrees. Day
after day is life consuming, and every hour is some one or other
of our faculties, or vital principles, perishing before the rest.
Death, therefore, is only the last shade in the picture; and it is
probable that man suffers a greater change in passing from youth to
age, than from age into the grave. In the instant of the formation of
the foetus life is as yet nothing, or next to nothing. It extends
and acquires consistence and force as the body increases, and as soon
as the latter begins to decrease the former decreases also, till its
final extinction. As our life begins by degrees, so by degrees it is

Why, then, be afraid of death, if our lives have been such as not to
make us apprehend the consequences of futurity? Why be afraid of that
moment which is preceded by an infinity of others of the same kind?
Death is as natural as life, and both happen to us in the same manner,
without our having the smallest sense or perception of them. If we
enquire of those whose office it is to attend the sick and the dying,
we shall find, that, except in a very few acute cases, attended with
convulsions, people expire quietly, and without the smallest indication
of pain. Even when dreadful agonies seem so attend the afflicted,
the spectators are rather terrified than the patients tormented; who,
having recovered, after the most violent convulsions, possess not the
smallest idea of what had passed, or even what they had suffered.

The greatest number of mankind die, therefore, without feeling the
fatal stroke; and of the few who retain their senses to the last,
there is hardly one, perhaps, who does not entertain the hope of
recovery. Nature, for the happiness of man, has rendered this principle
more powerful than reason. A person dying of a disorder which he
already knows to be incurable, by repeated instances in others, and
is now assured that it is so by the tears of his friends, and by the
countenance or departure of the physician, is still buoyed up with
the idea of getting over it; the opinion of others he considers as a
groundless alarm; the hour of dissolution comes; and while every thing
else is, as it were dead, hope is still alive and vigorous.

A sick man will say that he feels himself dying; that he is convinced
he cannot recover; but if any person, from zeal, or indiscretion, shall
tell him that his end is actually at hand, his countenance instantly
changes, and betrays all the marks of surprize and uneasiness. He now
seems not to believe, what he had been endeavouring to impress upon
others; he had only some doubt, some uneasiness, about his situation;
but his hopes were far greater than his fears; and but for the gloomy
assiduity, the parade of woe, which generally surrounds a death-bed,
and too often embitters the last moments, he would be insensible of his
approaching dissolution.

By no means is death so dreadful, therefore, as we suppose it to be.
It is a spectre which terrifies us at a distance, but disappears
when we approach it more closely. Our conceptions of it are formed
by prejudice, and dressed up by fancy. We consider it not only as a
misfortune greater than any other, but as one accompanied by the most
excruciating anguish. Death, it is said, must be terrible, since it
is sufficient to separate the soul from the body; the pain must also
be of considerable duration, since time is measured by the succession
of our ideas; one minute of pain, in which these ideas succeed each
other with a rapidity proportioned to the agony we suffer, must appear
longer than a whole age, in which they flow in their usual gentleness
and tranquillity. In such philosophy, what an abuse of reason! But for
the consequences of it, hardly would it deserve to have its futility
exposed. As by such arguments, however, weak minds are deceived,
and the aspect of death rendered a thousand times more hideous than
it possibly can be; to point out the erroneous principles may be of

When the soul is originally united to our body, do we experience any
extraordinary joy, which delights and transports us? Most certainly
not. What reason then can we have to suppose that the separation of the
soul from that body may not be effected without pain? From what cause
should such pain arise? Shall we fix its residence in the soul, or in
the body? Pain of the mind can only be produced by thought, and that of
the body is proportioned to its strength or weakness. In the instant of
death, the body must be in its weakest state, and therefore if it does
experience pain, it must be in a very trifling degree.

Let us now suppose a violent death; that for example, of a man whose
head is carried off by a cannon-ball. Can the pain he suffers last
longer than a moment? Has he, in the interval of that moment, a
succession of ideas so rapid, that he can imagine the pangs he feels
are equal to an hour, a day, an age? These points we shall endeavour to

I own the succession of our ideas is, in reality, the only natural
measure of time; and that, in proportion as they flow with more or less
uniformity, they appear of longer or shorter duration. But in this
measure there is an unit, or fixed point, which is neither arbitrary
nor indefinite, but determined by Nature, and correspondent to our
organization. Between two ideas which succeed each other, there must
be an interval that separates them; however quick one thought may
be, a little time is required before it can be followed by another,
no succession being possible in an indivisible instant. The same
observation holds with respect to the sensations of the body. A
transition from pain to pleasure, or even from one pain to another,
requires a certain interval. This interval, by which our thoughts and
sensations are necessarily separated, is the unit I mention; and it can
neither be extremely long, nor extremely short; it must even be nearly
upon an equality in its duration, as it depends upon the nature of the
mind, and the organization of the body, whose movements can have but
one certain degree of celerity. In the same individual, therefore,
there can be no succession of ideas so rapid, or so slow, as to produce
that enormous difference of duration, by which the pain of a minute is
converted into that of an hour, a day, or a century.

A very acute pain, of however short continuance, tends to produce
either a swoon, or death. As our organs have only a certain degree of
strength, they cannot resist above a certain degree of pain. If that
becomes excessive, it ceases, because the body being incapable of
supporting it, is still less capable to transmit it to the mind, with
which it can hold no correspondence, but by the action of these organs.
Here this action ceases, and therefore, all internal sensation must
necessarily cease also.

What has already been advanced, is perhaps amply sufficient to evince,
that, at the instant of death, the pain is neither excessive nor of
long duration; but in order to dispel all fear from the bosom of
timidity itself, we shall add a few words more upon the subject. Though
excessive pains admit of no reflection, yet signs, at least, of it have
been observed in the very moment of a violent death. When Charles XII.
received, at Frederickshall, the blow which terminated his exploits and
existence, he clapped his hand upon his sword. Since it excluded not
reflection, this mortal pang could not, therefore, be excessive. The
brave warrior found himself attacked; he reflected that he ought to
defend himself; and thence, it is evident, he felt no more than what he
might have suffered from an ordinary blow. That this action was nothing
more than the result of a mechanical impulse it would be absurd to
assert, as it has been evidently shewn, in our description of man, that
the most precipitate movements of the passions depend upon reflection,
and are nothing more than effects of an habitual exertion of the mind.

If I have rather enlarged on this topic it is only that I might
destroy a prejudice so repugnant to the happiness of man. To this
prejudice many have fallen victims; and I have myself known several,
of the female sex in particular, who, from the very dread of death,
have died in reality. Such terrible alarms seem, indeed, to be
particular to those whom Nature or education have endowed with superior
sensibility, as the gross of mankind look forward to death, if not
with indifference at least without terror.

In viewing things as they are consists the spirit of true philosophy.
With this philosophy our internal sensations would always correspond,
were they not perverted by the illusions of imagination, and by the
unfortunate habit of fabricating phantoms of excessive pains and
of pleasure. Nothing appears terrible nor charming but what is at
distance. To obtain a certain knowledge of either we must have the
resolution, or the wisdom, to take a close and particular view of them,
and all their extraordinary circumstances will disappear.

If there be any thing necessary to confirm what has been said
concerning the gradual cessation of life, we might find it in the
uncertainty of the signs of death. By consulting the writers on this
subject, and particularly Winslow and Bruhier, we shall be convinced,
that between life and death the shade is often so undistinguishable
that all the powers of medical art are insufficient to determine upon
it. According to them, "the colour of the face, the warmth of the
body, the suppleness of the joints, are but equivocal signs of life;
and that the paleness of the complexion, the coldness of the body,
the stiffness of the extremities, the cessation of all motion, and the
total insensibility of the parts, are signs to the full as equivocal of
death." It is also the same with regard to the cessation of the pulse,
and of respiration, which are sometimes so effectually kept under,
that it is impossible to obtain the smallest perception of either. By
carrying a mirror, or candle, to the mouth of a person supposed to be
dead, people expect to find whether he breathes or not; but in this
experiment there is little certainty; the mirror is often sullied after
death has taken place, and remains unclouded while the person is still
alive. Neither do burning nor scarifying, noises in the ears, nor
pungent spirits applied to the nostrils, give indubitable proofs of
the discontinuance of life; many are the instances of persons who have
undergone all such trials without shewing any signs of life, and yet,
to the astonishment of the spectators, recovered afterwards, without
the smallest assistance.

Nothing can be more evident than that life, in some cases, has a near
resemblance to death, and therefore that we ought to be extremely
cautious of renouncing, and committing too hastily to the grave, the
bodies of our fellow-creatures. Neither ten, twenty, nor twenty-four
hours are sufficient to distinguish real from apparent death; and there
are instances of persons who have been alive in the grave at the end
of the second, and even the third day. Why suffer to be interred with
precipitation those persons whose lives we ardently wished to prolong?
Why, though all men are equally interested in the abolition of it,
does the practice still subsist? On the authority of the most able
physicians, it incontestably appears, "that the body, though living,
is sometimes so far deprived of all vital function, as to have every
external appearance of death; that, if in the space of three days, or
seventy two hours, no sign of life appears, and on the contrary the
body exhales a cadaverous smell, there is an infallible proof of actual
death; and that then, though on no account till then, the interment can
with safety take place."

Hereafter we shall have occasion to speak of the usages of different
nations with respect to obsequies, interments, and embalments. The
greatest part, even of the most savage people, pay more attention
than we to their deceased friends. What with us is nothing more than
a ceremony, they consider as an essential duty. Far superior is the
respect which they pay to their dead: they clothe them, they speak to
them, they recite their exploits, they extol their virtues; while we,
who pique ourselves on our sensibility, with hardly an appearance of
humanity, forsake and fly from them, we neither desire to see, nor have
courage nor inclination to speak to them, and even avoid every place
which may recall their idea to our minds. Than savages themselves,
then, do we, in this respect, discover either more indifference or more

Having thus given a history of life, and of death, as they relate to
the individual, let us now consider them both, as they affect the whole
species. Man dies at every age; and though in general the duration of
his life is longer than that of most animals, yet it is more uncertain
and more variable.

Of late years attempts have been made to ascertain the degrees of such
variations, and to establish, by different observations, some certainty
as to the mortality of men at different ages. Were such observations
sufficiently exact and numerous they would be admirably calculated
to give a knowledge of the number of people, their increase, the
consumption of provisions, and of a number of other important objects.
Many writers of distinguished abilities, and, among others, Halley and
Simpson, have given tables of the mortality of the human species; but
as their labours have been confined to an examination of the bills of
mortality in a few parishes of London, and other large cities, their
researches, however accurate, seem, in my opinion, to give a very
imperfect idea of the mortality of mankind in general.

In order to give a complete table of this nature it is necessary to
scrutinise not only the parish-registers of such towns as London and
Paris, where there is a perpetual ingress of strangers and egress of
natives, but also those of different country places; that, by comparing
the deaths which happen in the one with the deaths which happen in
the other, a general conclusion may be formed. M. Dupré, of St. Maur,
a member of the French academy, executed this project upon twelve
different parishes in the country of France, and, three in Paris.
Having obtained his permission to publish the tables he has drawn up on
this occasion, I do it with the greater pleasure, as they are the only
ones from which the probabilities of human life in general can with any
certainty be established.

                                        YEARS OF LIFE.

  _PARISHES._              _deaths._|   1  |   2  |   3  |   4
                                    |      |      |      |
  Clemont                       1391|   578|    73|    36|    29
  Brinon                        1141|   441|    75|    31|    27
  Jouy                           588|   231|    43|    11|    13
  Lestiou                        223|    89|    16|     9|     7
  Vandeuvre                      672|   156|    58|    18|    19
  St. Agil                       954|   359|    64|    30|    21
  Thury                          262|   103|    31|     8|     4
  St. Amant                      748|   170|    61|    24|    11
  Montigny                       833|   346|    57|    19|    25
  Vieleneuve                     131|    14|     3|     5|     1
  Goussainville                 1615|   565|   184|    63|    38
  Ivry                          2247|   686|   298|    96|    61
  Total Deaths                 10805|      |      |      |
  Division of 10805 deaths into    }|  3738|   963|   350|   256
    the years they happened        }|      |      |      |
                                    |      |      |      |
  Deaths before the end of the 1st,}|  3738|  4701|  5051|  5307
    2d, 3d, &c. years.             }|      |      |      |
                                    |      |      |      |
  Number of persons entered into   }| 10805|  7067|  6104|  5754
    their 1st, 2d, 3d, &c. years.  }|      |      |      |
  St. Andre, Paris,             1728|   201|   122|    94|    82
  St. Hippolytus,               2516|   754|   361|   127|    64
  St. Nicolas,                  8945|  1761|   932|   414|   298
  Total Deaths                 13189|      |      |      |
  Division of the 13189 deaths into}|  2716|  1415|   635|   444
    the years they happened.       }|      |      |      |
                                    |      |      |      |
  Deaths before the end of the 1st,}|  2716|  4131|  4766|  5210
    2d, 3d, &c. years.             }|      |      |      |
                                    |      |      |      |
  Number of persons who entered    }| 13189| 10473|  9058|  8423
    into the 1st, 2d, &c. years.   }|      |      |      |
  Division of the 23994 deaths in  }|      |      |      |
    the 3 parishes of Paris and the}|  6454|  2378|   985|   700
    12 villages.                   }|      |      |      |
                                    |      |      |      |
  Deaths before the end of the 1st,}|  6454|  8832|  9817| 10517
    2d, years, &c. out of the 23994}|      |      |      |
                                    |      |      |      |
  Number of persons entered into   }| 23994| 17540| 15162| 14177
    their 1st and 2d years, &c.    }|      |      |      |

                       YEARS OF LIFE.

    5  |   6  |   7  |   8  |   9  |  10  |  11  |  12
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
     16|    16|    14|    10|     8|     4|     6|     5
     10|    16|     9|     9|     8|     5|     2|    12
      5|     8|     4|     6|     1|     0|     3|     0
      1|     4|     3|     1|     1|     1|     0|     1
     10|    11|     8|    10|     3|     2|     1|     3
     20|    11|     4|     7|     2|     7|     3|     3
      3|     2|     2|     2|     1|     2|     0|     0
     12|    15|     3|     6|     8|     6|     4|     4
     16|    21|     9|     7|     5|     5|     2|     4
      1|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     1
     34|    21|    17|    15|    12|     8|     5|     5
     50|    29|    34|    26|    13|    19|     9|     6
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
    178|   154|   107|    99|    62|    59|    35|    44
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   5485|  5639|  5746|  5845|  5907|  5966|  6001|  6045
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   5498|  5320|  5166|  5059|  4960|  4898|  4839|  4804
     50|    35|    28|    14|     8|     7|     3|     9
     60|    55|    25|    16|    20|     8|     9|     9
    221|   162|   147|   111|    64|    40|    34|    38
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
    331|   252|   200|   141|    92|    55|    46|    56
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   5541|  5793|  5993|  6134|  6226|  6281|  6327|  6383
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   7979|  7648|  7396|  7196|  7055|  6963|  6908|  6862
    509|   406|   307|   240|   154|   114|     8|   100
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  11026| 11432| 11639| 11979| 12133| 12247| 12328| 12428
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  12477| 12968| 12562| 12255| 12015| 11861| 11747| 11666

                       YEARS OF LIFE.

   13  |  14  |  15  |  16  |  17  |  18  |  19  |  20
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
      6|     5|     5|     6|     6|    10|     3|    13
      2|     6|     4|     5|     9|     4|     5|    14
      3|     3|     1|     6|     4|     4|     3|     5
      0|     1|     1|     1|     1|     0|     0|     0
      3|     4|     5|     9|     3|     3|     4|     7
      3|     3|     5|     2|     7|     8|     5|     6
      0|     0|     1|     0|     1|     1|     1|     1
      2|     5|     1|     5|     3|     6|     1|     4
      4|     2|     4|     2|     2|     3|     3|     5
      0|     0|     1|     0|     2|     4|     0|     1
      9|     5|     5|     2|     5|    10|     9|    10
      4|     4|     8|     7|     4|    14|    10|    12
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
     36|    38|    41|    42|    47|    67|    44|    78
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   6081|  6119|  6160|  6202|  6249|  6316|  6360|  6438
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   4760|  4724|  4686|  4645|  4603|  4556|  4480|  4445
      6|     7|    10|    13|    13|    11|    10|     7
      6|     7|     6|     5|     7|     9|     7|     3
     25|    21|    33|    37|    37|    28|    44|    53
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
     37|    35|    49|    55|    57|   487|    61|    63
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   6420|  6455|  6504|  6559|  6616|  6664|  6725|  6788
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   6806|  6769|  6734|  6685|  6630|  6573|  6525|  6464
     73|    73|    90|    97|   104|   115|   105|   141
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  12501| 12574| 12664| 12761| 12865| 12980| 13085| 13226
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  11566| 11493| 11420| 11330| 11233| 11129| 11014| 19009

                      YEARS OF LIFE.

   21  |  22  |  23  |  24  |  25  |  26  |  27  |  28
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
      8|     9|    10|     7|    22|     9|    13|    10
      8|    14|     7|    11|    24|     9|     7|    13
      2|     4|     4|     4|     5|     2|     2|     3
      0|     0|     3|     0|     1|     1|     1|     3
      4|     6|     8|     6|    22|     3|     5|    10
      6|     4|     6|     3|    11|    10|     4|     9
      1|     3|     1|     1|     2|     2|     0|     5
      7|     6|     6|     4|     5|     4|     4|     3
      4|     3|    10|     8|     7|     3|     3|     3
      1|     4|     1|     0|     1|     0|     2|     1
      6|    10|     5|     6|    11|     9|     9|     8
      6|    15|    10|     9|    10|    14|     5|     9
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
     51|    80|    68|    62|   121|    66|    55|    77
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   6480|  6569|  6637|  6699|  6820|  6886|  6941|  7018
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   4367|  4316|  4236|  4168|  4106|  3985|  3919|  3864
      9|    17|    11|     9|     9|     8|    17|    13
      2|     8|     7|     9|    10|    13|    10|    10
     31|    56|    48|    41|    59|    47|    53|    51
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
     42|    81|    66|    59|    78|    68|    80|    74
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   6830|  6911|  6977|  7036|  7114|  7182|  7262|  7336
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   6401|  6359|  6278|  6212|  6153|  6075|  6007|  5927
     93|   161|   134|   121|   199|   134|   135|   151
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  13319| 13480| 13614| 13735| 13934| 14068| 14203| 14354
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  10768| 10675| 10514| 10380| 10259| 10060|  9926|  9793

                       YEARS OF LIFE.

   29  |  30  |  31  |  32  |  33  |  34  |  35  |  36
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
      7|    24|     4|    13|    14|     8|    17|    12
      6|    28|     6|    15|     3|     4|    20|     8
      4|     8|     2|     5|     4|     3|    13|     6
      1|     1|     4|     4|     3|     1|     6|     4
      1|    28|     2|     9|     1|     3|    17|     5
      2|    16|     8|     7|     2|     5|    18|     9
      2|     2|     0|     3|     1|     0|     7|     0
      3|     8|     2|     8|     6|     5|     7|     4
      0|     6|     1|    10|     3|     4|     8|     4
      1|     2|     1|     2|     1|     0|     6|     5
     10|    10|     4|    14|     6|     7|     8|     8
      5|    13|     8|    11|    18|    10|    19|    12
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
     42|   146|    42|   101|    62|    50|   146|    77
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   7060|  7206|  7248|  7349|  7411|  7461|  7607|  7684
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   3787|  3745|  3599|  3557|  3456|  3394|  3344|  3198
     11|    21|     6|    10|    17|    15|    21|    14
      9|     7|     9|    12|    13|    13|    16|    21
     34|    63|    25|    57|    41|    54|    82|    75
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
     54|    91|    40|    79|    71|    82|   119|   110
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   7390|  7481|  7521|  7600|  7671|  7753|  7872|  7982
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   5853|  5799|  5708|  5668|  5589|  5518|  5436|  5317
     96|   237|    82|   180|   153|   132|   205|   187
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  14450| 14687| 14769| 14949| 15082| 15214| 15479| 15666
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   9640|  9544|  9307|  9245|  9045|  8912|  8770|  8515

                      YEARS OF LIFE.

   37  |  38  |  39  |  40  |  41  |  42  |  43  |  44
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
     16|    15|     3|    41|     4|    10|    10|     6
      8|     8|     6|    37|     6|     8|     3|     6
      7|     4|     1|    20|     0|     3|     0|     4
      4|     1|     1|     4|     0|     2|     2|     0
      5|     4|     0|    41|     1|     3|     2|     2
      4|     5|     1|    22|     2|     8|     7|     3
      1|     2|     2|     4|     1|     3|     1|     4
      5|     5|     3|    20|     1|     6|     2|     4
      1|     2|     0|     8|     3|     6|     5|     4
      0|     5|     0|     7|     0|     3|     1|     0
      5|     2|     7|    14|    10|    11|     4|     5
     13|    23|     3|    27|     7|    19|     7|    14
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
     71|    76|    27|   245|    35|    82|    44|    52
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   7755|  7831|  7858|  8103|  8138|  8220|  8264|  8316
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   3121|  3050|  2974|  2947|  2702|  2667|  2585|  2541
      8|    12|     4|    26|     5|    19|    12|    10
     15|    13|    10|    24|     4|    18|    14|     9
     58|    59|    46|   109|    37|    73|    58|    45
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
     81|    84|    60|   159|    46|   110|    84|    64
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   8063|  8147|  8207|  8366|  8412|  8522|  8606|  8670
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   5207|  5126|  5042|  4982|  4823|  4777|  4667|  4583
    158|   160|    87|   404|    81|   192|   128|   116
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  15818| 15978| 16065| 16469| 16550| 16742| 16870| 16986
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   8328|  8176|  8016|  7929|  7525|  7444|  7252|  7124

                      YEARS OF LIFE.

   45  |  46  |  47  |  48  |  49  |  50  |  51  |  52
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
     20|     5|     8|     5|     6|    31|     0|     5
     11|     5|     6|     9|     0|    23|     1|     3
     13|     3|     4|     2|     0|    20|     2|     3
      3|     3|     0|     3|     3|     5|     1|     1
     14|     5|     3|     1|     0|    31|     0|     2
     14|     1|     3|     3|     0|    24|     3|     9
      3|     0|     0|     0|     0|     3|     0|     0
     13|     3|     4|     6|     0|    23|     1|     4
     13|     6|     1|     6|     1|    10|     2|     5
      2|     1|     2|     3|     0|     7|     2|     1
     11|     9|     5|    12|     6|    15|     4|     9
     22|    10|     7|    12|     6|    24|     6|    14
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
    139|    51|    43|    62|    22|   216|    22|    56
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   8455|  8506|  8549|  8611|  8633|  8849|  8871|  8927
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   2489|  2350|  2299|  2256|  2194|  2172|  1956|  1934
     24|    21|     9|    13|    10|    24|     7|    18
     33|    14|    13|    15|    21|    20|    10|    19
    111|    54|    47|    68|    50|   120|    40|    59
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
    168|    89|    69|    96|    72|   164|    57|    96
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   8838|  8927|  8996|  9092|  9164|  9328|  9385|  9481
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   4519|  4351|  4262|  4193|  4097|  4025|  3861|  3804
    307|   140|   112|   158|    94|   380|    79|   152
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  17293| 17433| 17545| 17703| 17797| 18177| 18256| 18408
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   7008|  6701|  6561|  6449|  6291|  6197|  5817|  5738

                      YEARS OF LIFE.

   53  |  54  |  55  |  56  |  57  |  58  |  59  |  60
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
      5|     5|    14|     5|     5|     4|     4|    52
      3|     2|    10|     6|     2|     3|     0|    24
      2|     5|     7|     4|     5|     2|     0|    20
      0|     0|     2|     2|     0|     3|     0|     2
      1|     1|    13|     1|     1|     2|     0|    35
      2|     2|    14|     3|     5|     3|     3|    22
      1|     1|     4|     0|     1|     3|     1|     6
      4|     4|     6|     5|     4|     7|     2|    27
      2|     5|    10|     3|     4|     9|     2|    13
      0|     1|     0|     3|     3|     2|     1|     4
      5|     9|     6|    10|    10|    10|     3|    24
     13|     9|    29|    12|    13|    13|     3|    40
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
     38|    41|   111|    54|    51|    61|    19|   269
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   8365|  9009|  9120|  9174|  9225|  9286|  9305|  9574
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   1878|  1840|  1796|  1685|  1631|  1580|  1519|  1500
      8|    10|    19|    11|    15|    17|    11|    46
      6|    10|    25|     9|    15|    18|    12|    35
     49|    46|   125|    56|    48|    86|    48|   184
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
     63|    66|   169|    76|    78|   121|    71|   265
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   9544|  9610|  9779|  9855|  9933| 10054| 10125| 10390
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   3708|  3645|  3579|  3410|  3334|  3256|  3135|  3064
    101|   110|   280|   130|   129|   182|    90|   534
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  18509| 18619| 18899| 19029| 19158| 19340| 19430| 19964
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   5586|  5485|  5375|  5095|  4965|  4836|  4654|  4564

                      YEARS OF LIFE.

   61  |  62  |  63  |  64  |  65  |  66  |  67  |  68
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
      2|     6|     5|     2|     5|     5|     3|     4
      1|     3|     4|     7|     7|     6|     3|     6
      0|     5|     2|     4|     5|     2|     1|     1
      0|     0|     1|     0|     3|     1|     1|     0
      0|     0|     1|     1|     5|     3|     0|     2
      3|     2|     7|     5|     7|     3|     6|     5
      0|     3|     2|     2|     2|     1|     3|     1
      0|     4|     3|     4|    12|     7|     5|     6
      3|     7|     5|     5|     7|     6|     2|     5
      3|     0|     1|     1|     2|     3|     0|     1
      6|     9|     7|     6|    13|    17|    13|    15
      3|    12|    12|    11|    14|    21|     5|    23
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
     21|    51|    50|    48|    82|    75|    42|    69
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   9595|  9646|  9696|  9744|  9826|  9401|  9943| 10012
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   1231|  1210|  1159|  1109|  1061|   979|   904|   862
     11|    21|    19|    17|    20|    27|    21|    25
      7|    28|    21|    23|    25|    19|    12|    20
     42|    77|    71|    73|    95|    95|    67|   115
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
     60|   126|   111|   113|   140|   141|   100|   160
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  20450| 10576| 10687| 10800| 10940| 11081| 11181| 11341
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   2799|  2739|  2613|  2501|  4389|  2249|  2108|  2008
     81|   177|   161|   161|   122|   216|   142|   229
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  20045| 20222| 20383| 20544| 20766| 20982| 21124| 21353
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   4030|  3949|  3772|  3611|  3450|  3228|  3012|  2870

                      YEARS OF LIFE.

   69  |  70  |  71  |  72  |  73  |  74  |  75  |  76
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
      1|    11|     1|     3|     1|     3|     5|     1
      0|     6|     2|    12|     2|     0|     4|     2
      1|     3|     1|     2|     0|     1|     1|     0
      1|     0|     0|     2|     0|     0|     0|     0
      1|     9|     1|     4|     0|     0|     3|     0
      2|    19|     1|    11|     5|     5|     8|     0
      0|     7|     0|     2|     1|     0|     0|     0
      6|    18|     3|    10|     2|     2|    18|     2
      1|     9|     2|     8|     3|     2|     9|     1
      0|     4|     0|     3|     0|     0|     0|     0
      5|    16|     8|    22|    12|    12|    16|     6
      7|    31|     6|    21|    11|    19|    24|    12
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
     25|   133|    25|   100|    37|    44|    88|    24
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  10037| 10170| 10195| 10295| 10332| 10376| 10464| 10488
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
    793|   768|   935|   610|   510|   473|   429|   341
      9|    36|     9|    25|    14|    19|    20|    16
     15|    35|    10|    28|     5|    15|    23|    11
     50|   177|    64|   118|    53|    90|   127|    63
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
     72|   248|    83|   171|    72|   124|   170|    90
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  11413| 11661| 11744| 11915| 11987| 12111| 12281| 12371
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   1848|  1776|  1528|  1445|  1274|  1202|  1078|   908
     97|   381|   108|   271|   109|   168|   258|   114
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  21450| 21831| 21939| 22210| 22319| 22487| 22745| 22059
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   2641|  2544|  2160|  2155|  1784|  1675|  1507|  1249

                      YEARS OF  LIFE.

   77  |  78  |  79  |  80  |  81  |  82  |  83  |  84
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
      1|     2|     2|     6|     0|     0|     0|     3
      0|     3|     0|     3|     1|     0|     0|     0
      0|     0|     0|     2|     0|     0|     0|     0
      0|     0|     0|     1|     0|     0|     0|     0
      1|     0|     0|     7|     0|     0|     0|     0
      3|     4|     0|     6|     0|     0|     0|     0
      1|     0|     0|     3|     0|     0|     0|     0
      4|     4|     2|    17|     1|     3|     1|     3
      4|     2|     0|     5|     1|     4|     1|     1
      2|     1|     1|     1|     3|     0|     0|     0
      6|     8|     1|    17|     6|     9|     5|     7
     11|    14|     9|    19|     7|    14|     4|     7
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
     33|    38|    15|    89|    16|    30|    11|    21
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  10521| 10559| 10574| 10663| 10679| 10709| 10720| 10741
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
    317|   284|   246|   231|   142|   126|    96|    85
     10|    25|     8|    17|     4|    10|     8|     7
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
     18|    15|     8|    18|     4|     5|    16|     4
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
     59|    69|    80|   121|    32|    41|    37|    25
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
     87|   109|    46|   156|    40|    56|    61|    36
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  12458| 12567| 12613| 12769| 12809| 12865| 12962| 12962
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
    818|   731|   622|   576|   420|   380|   324|   263
    120|   147|    61|   245|    50|    86|    72|    57
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  22979| 23126| 23187| 23432| 23488| 23574| 23646| 23703
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   1835|  1015|   868|   807|   562|   506|   426|   348

                      YEARS OF LIFE.

   85  |  86  |  87  |  88  |  89  |  90  |  91  |  92
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
      0|     1|     0|     0|     1|     0|     0|     0
      0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0
      0|     0|     0|     1|     0|     0|     0|     0
      1|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0
      0|     0|     1|     1|     0|     0|     0|     0
      0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     2|     0|     0
      0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0
      4|     0|     1|     2|     0|     4|     1|     1
      0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     1|     0|     0
      0|     0|     0|     0|     1|     0|     0|     0
      2|     4|     4|     2|     2|     0|     0|     0
      5|     4|     4|     3|     1|     2|     0|     2
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
     12|     9|     8|     9|     5|     9|     1|     3
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  10753| 10762| 10770| 10779| 10784| 10793| 10794| 10797
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
     64|    52|    43|    35|    26|    21|    12|    11
      3|     7|     4|     5|     2|     4|     0|     2
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
     10|     4|     1|     4|     2|     2|     2|     2
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
     35|    19|    20|    25|    24|    17|     5|     9
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
     48|    30|    25|    34|     8|    23|     7|    13
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  13010| 15040| 13065| 13099| 16017| 13130| 13137| 13150
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
    227|   179|   149|   124|    90|    82|    59|    52
     50|    39|    33|    43|    13|    32|     8|    16
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  23763| 23802| 22835| 22878| 23891| 23923| 23931| 23947
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
    291|   231|   192|   159|   116|   103|    71|    63

                      YEARS OF LIFE.

   93  |  94  |  95  |  96  |  97  |  98  |  99  |  100
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
      0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0
      0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0
      0|     8|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0
      0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0
      0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0
      0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     1
      0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0
      0|     0|     2|     1|     0|     3|     0|     0
      0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0
      0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0
      0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0
      0|     0|     1|     0|     0|     0|     0|     0
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
      0|     0|     3|     1|     0|     3|     0|     1
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  10797| 10797| 10800| 10801| 10801| 10804| 10804| 10805
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
      8|     8|     8|     4|     4|     4|     1|     1
      1|     2|     0|     1|     1|     0|     0|     0
      1|     1|     2|     1|     0|     1|     0|     0
      5|     4|     5|     2|     1|     4|     1|     4
   ----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----| -----
      7|     7|     7|     4|     2|     5|     1|     4
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  13157| 13164| 13171| 13175| 13177| 13182| 13183| 13187
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
     39|    32|    25|    18|    14|    12|     7|     6
      7|     7|    10|     5|     2|     8|     1|     5
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  23954| 23961| 23971| 23976| 23978| 23986| 23987| 23992
       |      |      |      |      |      |      |
     47|    40|    33|    23|    18|    16|     8|     7

From these tables many useful conclusions might be drawn. But I shall
only consider those which respect the probabilities of the duration of
life. It is observable, that in the columns opposite the years 10, 20,
30, 40, 50, 60, 70, and other round numbers as 25, 35, &c. the deaths
in the country parishes are more numerous than in in the preceding or
subsequent columns. The cause of this seeming inconsistency arises from
the generality of country people being ignorant of their exact age,
and therefore if they die at 58 or 59 in the parish register it is
entered 60; and so of other round numbers. From this irregularity the
inconvenience is not great, as it may easily be corrected by the manner
in which the numbers succeed each other in the Tables.

By the tables in the country parishes it appears, that almost one half
of the children die before the age of four years, and by the Paris
table not before 16; which great difference; certainly arises from
the children being sent into the country to nurse, and consequently
increases the number of deaths there in infancy. As likely to come at
the truth, I have blended the two tables, and from thence calculated
the probabilities of the duration of life as follows:


  Age.| Duration  |Age.|  Duration  | Age.|  Duration
      | of Life.  |    |  of Life.  |     |  of Life.
  Yrs. Yrs.  Mths. Yrs.  Yrs.  Mths.  Yrs.  Yrs.  Mths.
  0   |  8     0  | 29 |  28     6  |  58 |  12     3
  1   | 33     0  | 30 |  28     0  |  59 |  11     8
  2   | 38     0  | 31 |  27     6  |  60 |  11     1
  3   | 40     0  | 32 |  26    11  |  61 |  10     6
  4   | 41     0  | 33 |  26     3  |  62 |  10     0
  5   | 41     6  | 34 |  25     7  |  63 |   9     6
  6   | 42     0  | 35 |  25     0  |  64 |   9     0
  7   | 42     3  | 36 |  24     5  |  65 |   8     6
  8   | 41     6  | 37 |  23    10  |  66 |   8     0
  9   | 40    10  | 38 |  23     3  |  67 |   7     6
  10  | 40     2  | 39 |  22     8  |  68 |   7     0
  11  | 39     6  | 40 |  22     1  |  69 |   6     7
  12  | 38     9  | 41 |  21     6  |  70 |   6     2
  13  | 38     1  | 42 |  20    11  |  71 |   5     3
  14  | 37     5  | 43 |  20     4  |  72 |   5     4
  15  | 36     9  | 44 |  19     9  |  73 |   5     0
  16  | 36     0  | 45 |  19     3  |  74 |   4     9
  17  | 35     4  | 46 |  18     9  |  75 |   4     6
  18  | 34     8  | 47 |  18     2  |  76 |   4     3
  19  | 34     0  | 48 |  17     8  |  77 |   4     1
  20  | 33     5  | 49 |  17     2  |  73 |   3    11
  21  | 32    11  | 50 |  16     7  |  79 |   3     9
  22  | 32     4  | 51 |  16     0  |  80 |   3     7
  23  | 31    10  | 52 |  15     6  |  81 |   3     5
  24  | 31     3  | 53 |  15     0  |  82 |   3     3
  25  | 30     9  | 54 |  14     6  |  83 |   3     2
  26  | 30     2  | 55 |  14     0  |  84 |   3     1
  27  | 29     7  | 56 |  13     5  |  85 |   3     0
  28  | 29     0  | 57 |  12     10 |     |

By this table it appears, that an infant newly born has an equal chance
of living eight years; that an infant of one will live 33 years longer;
that a child of two will live 38 years longer; that a man of 20 will
live 33 years and five months longer; that a man of 30 will live 28
years longer; and so proportionally of every other age.

It is also to be observed, first, that seven years is the age at which
the longest duration of life is to be expected, since there is then an
equal chance of living 42 years and three months longer; secondly that
at the age of 12 one fourth of our existence is gone, as we cannot in
reason expect above 38 or 39 years more; thirdly, that we have enjoyed
one half of our existence at the age of 28, as we can reckon upon only
28 years more; and lastly, that by the age of 50 three fourths of life
are passed, the remaining probability being only for 16 or 17 years.

But these physical truths, however mortifying, may be compensated by
moral considerations. A man ought to consider as nothing the first
fifteen years of his life. Every thing that happens in that long
interval of time is effaced from the memory, or has at least so
little connection with the views and objects Which afterwards occupy
our thoughts that it gives us no concern. Neither, indeed, have we the
game succession of ideas, nor, it maybe said, the same existence. In a
moral sense we do not begin to live till we have begun to regulate our
thoughts, to direct them towards futurity, and to assume to ourselves
a kind of consistency of character conformable to that state which has
some relation to what we shall afterwards become. By considering the
duration of life in this, the only real point of view, we shall find,
that at the age of 25 we have passed but one fourth part of our life;
at the age of 38 one half; and that, at the age of 56, there is one
fourth of life still remains.



Having described the parts of which the human body consists, let us
now proceed to examine its principal organs; the expansion of the
senses, and their several functions; and at the same time, point out
the errors to which, through them, we are in some measure subjected by

The eyes seem to be formed very early in the human embryo. In the
chicken also, of all the double organs they are the soonest produced.
I have observed in the eggs of several sorts of birds, and in those of
lizards, that the eyes were more large, and early in their expansion,
than any other parts of a two-fold growth. Though, in viviparous
animals, and particularly in man, they are, at first, by no means so
large in proportion as in the oviparous, yet they obtain their due
formation sooner than any other parts of the body. It is the same with
the organ of hearing; the small bones of the ear are entirely formed
before any of the other bones have acquired any part of their growth or
solidity. Hence it is evident, that the parts of the body, which are
furnished with the greatest quantity of nerves, as the ears and eyes,
are those which first appear, and which are the soonest brought to

If we examine the eyes of an infant, a few hours after its birth, we
shall discern that it cannot make the smallest use of them; the organ
not having acquired a sufficient consistency, the rays of light strike
but confusedly upon the retina. Before the sixth week, children turn
their eyes indiscriminately upon every object, without appearing to be
affected by any, but at about this time they begin to fix them upon
the most brilliant colours, and seem peculiarly desirous of turning
them towards the light; this exercise does not give any exact notion of
objects, but strengthens the eye, and qualifies it for future vision.

The first great error in the sense of seeing, is the inverted
representation of objects upon the retina, and, till the sense of
feeling has served to undeceive it, the child actually beholds every
thing upside down. The second error in early vision is, that every
object appears double; from the same object being formed distinctly
upon each eye. This illusion like the other, can only be corrected
by children from their being in the practice of handling different
objects, and from which practice alone it is that they learn things are
neither inverted nor double, and custom induces them to believe they
see objects in the position the touch represents them to the mind; and
therefore, were we denied the sense of feeling, that of seeing would
not only deceive us as to the situation, but as to the number of every
object around us.

We may easily be convinced that objects appear inverted, (which arises
from the structure of the eye) by admitting the light to pass into a
darkened room through a small aperture, when the images of the objects
without will be represented upon the wall in an inverted position; for,
as all the rays which issue from their different points cannot enter
the hole in the same extent and position which they had in leaving the
object, unless the aperture was as large as the object itself; as every
part of the object sends forth its image on all sides; as the rays
which from those images flow from all points of the object, as from so
many centres, those only can pass through the small aperture which come
in opposite directions. Thus the hole becomes a centre for the entire
object, through which the rays from the upper, as well as from the
lower parts of it, pass in converging directions; and, of consequence,
they must cross each other at this centre, and thus represent the
objects upon the wall, in an inverted position.

That we, in reality, see all objects double, is also evident; for
example, if we hold up a finger, and look with the right eye at an
object, it will appear against one particular part of the room,
shutting that and looking with the left, it will seem to be on a
different part, and if we open both eyes, the object will appear to
be placed between the two extremes. But the truth is, the image of
the object is formed in both eyes, one of which appears to the right,
and the other to the left; and it is from the habit of touching that
we suppose we see but one image placed between them both. From which
it is clear that we see all objects double, although our imagination
forms them single; and that, in fact, we see things where they are not,
notwithstanding we have a pretty exact idea of their situation and
position; and thus it is that till the sense of feeling has corrected
the errors of sight, if instead of two eyes, we had an hundred, we
should still fancy the objects single, although they were multiplied an
hundred times.

In each eye, therefore, is formed a separate image of every object;
and when the two images strike the correspondent parts of the retina,
that is, the parts which are always affected at the same time, the
object appears single: but, when the images strike the parts of the
retina, which are not usually affected together, then it appears
double, because we are not habitual to this unusual sensation, and are
then somewhat in the situation of infants just beginning to exert the
faculty of vision.

M. Chesselden relates the case of a man, who, in consequence of a blow
on the head, became squint-eyed, and saw objects double for a long
time: but who was at length enabled, by slow and gradual steps, to see
them singly as he had formerly done, notwithstanding the squinting
remained. Is not this a proof, still more evident, that in reality
we see things double, and that it is by habit alone we conceive them
to be single? Should it be asked why children require less time, in
order to see things single, than persons more advanced in years,
whose eyes may have been affected by accident? it might be answered,
that the sensations of children, being unopposed by any contradictory
habit, these errors are rectified with ease; but that persons who have
for many years seen objects single, because they affected the two
correspondent parts of the retina, and who now see them double, labour
under the disadvantage of having a contrary habit to oppose, and must
therefore be a considerable time before it is entirely obliterated.

By the sense of seeing we can form no idea of distances; without aided
by the touch, every object would appear to be within our eyes; and
an infant, that is as yet a stranger to the sense of feeling, must
conceive that every thing it sees exists within itself. The objects
only appear to be more or less bulky as they approach to, or recede
from the eye; insomuch, that a a fly near the eye will appear larger
than an ox at a distance. It is experience alone that can rectify this
mistake; and it is by constantly measuring with the hand, and removing
from one place to another, that children obtain ideas of distance and
magnitude. They have no conception of size but from the extreme rays
reflected from the object, of course every thing near appears large,
and those at a distance small. The last man in a file of soldiers
appears much more diminutive than the one who is nearest to us. We do
not, however, perceive this difference, but continue to think him of
equal stature; for the number of objects we have seen thus lessened by
distance, and found by repeated experience to be of the natural size
when we come closer, instantly correct the sense, and therefore we
perceive every object nearly in its natural proportion, unless when
we observe them in such situations as have not allowed us sufficient
experience to correct the illusions of the eye. If, for example,
we view men upon the ground, from a lofty tower, or look up to any
object upon the top of a steeple, as we have not been in the habit of
correcting the sense in that position, they appear to us exceedingly
diminished, much more so than if we saw them at the same distance in an
horizontal direction.

Though a small degree of reflection may serve to convince us of the
truth of these positions, yet it may not be amiss to corroborate them
by facts which cannot be disputed. M. Chesselden, having couched for a
cataract a lad of thirteen years of age, who had from his birth been
blind, and thus communicated to him the sense of seeing, was at great
pains to mark the progress of his visual powers; his observations were
afterwards published in the Philosophical Transactions. This youth
was not absolutely and entirely blind: Like every other person, whose
vision is obstructed by a cataract, he could distinguish day from
night and even black from white, but of the figure of bodies he had
no idea. At first the operation was performed only upon one of his
eyes, and when he saw for the first time, so far was he from judging
of distances, that he supposed (as he himself expressed it) every
thing he saw touched his eyes, in the same manner as every thing he
felt touched his skin. The objects that pleased him most were those
whose surfaces were plain and the figures regular, though he could in
no degree judge of their different forms, or assign why some were more
agreeable to him than others. His ideas of colours during his former
dark state were so imperfect, that when he saw them in reality he could
hardly be persuaded they were the same. When such objects were shewn
him as he had been formerly familiar with by the touch, he beheld them
with earnestness, in order to know them again, but as he had too many
to retain at once the greatest number were forgotten, and for one
thing which he knew, after seeing it, there were a thousand, according
to his own declaration, of which he no longer possessed the smallest
remembrance. He was very much surprised to find that those persons, and
those things, which he had loved best, were not the most pleasing to
his sight; nor could he help testifying his disappointment in finding
his parents less handsome than he had conceived them to be. Before he
could distinguish that pictures resembled solid bodies above two months
elapsed; till then he only considered them as surfaces diversified by a
variety of colours; but when he began to perceive that these shadings
actually represented human beings, he expected also to find their
inequalities; and great was his surprise to find smooth and even what
he had supposed a very unequal surface; and he inquired whether the
deception existed in feeling or seeing. He was then shewn a miniature
portrait of his father, which was contained in his mother's watch-case,
and though he readily perceived the resemblance, yet he expressed his
amazement how so large a face could be comprised in so small a compass;
to him it appeared as strange as that a pint vessel should contain a
bushel. At first he could bear but a very small quantity of light, and
every object appeared larger than the life; but in proportion as he
observed objects that were in reality large, he conceived the others
to be equally diminished. Beyond the limits of what he saw he had no
conception of any thing. He knew that the apartment he occupied was
only a part of the house, and yet he could not imagine how the latter
should be larger than the former. Before the operation he formed no
great expectations of the pleasure he should receive from the new sense
he was promised, excepting that thereby he might be enabled to read
and write. He said among other things, that he could enjoy no greater
delight from walking in the garden, because there he already walked at
his ease, and was acquainted with every part of it. He also remarked
that his blindness gave him one advantage over the rest of mankind,
namely, that of being able to walk in the night with more confidence
and security. No sooner, however, had he began to enjoy his new sense
than he was transported beyond measure; he declared that every new
object was a new source of delight, and that his pleasure was so great
he had not language to express it. About a year after, he was carried
to Epsom, where there is a beautiful and extensive prospect; with this
he seemed greatly charmed; and the landscape before him he called a
new method of seeing. He was couched in the other eye a year after
the former, and the success was equally great. Every object appeared
larger when he looked at it with the second eye to what it did with the
other; and when he looked at any thing with both eyes it appeared twice
as large as when he saw but with one, though he did not see double, or
at least he shewed no marks from which any such conclusion might be

Mr. Chesselden instances several other persons who were in the same
situation with this lad, and on whom he performed the same operation;
and he assures us, that on first obtaining the use of their eyes they
expressed their perceptions in the same manner, though less minutely;
and that he particularly observed of them all, that as they had never
had any occasion to move their eyes while deprived of sight, they were
exceedingly embarrassed in learning how to direct them to the objects
they wished to observe.

As from particular circumstances we cannot from a just idea of
distance, and as we cannot judge of the magnitude of objects but by the
largeness of the angle, or rather the image, which they form in our
eyes, we are necessarily deceived as to the size of such objects. Every
man knows how liable we are, in travelling by night, to mistake a bush
which is at hand for a tree at a distance, or a tree at a distance
for a bush which is at hand. In like manner, if we cannot distinguish
objects by their figure we cannot judge of distance or size. In this
case a fly, passing with rapidity before our eyes, will appear to be a
bird at a considerable distance; and an horse standing in the middle of
a plain will appear no bigger than a sheep till we have discovered that
it is a horse, and then we shall recognize it to be as large as life.

Whenever, therefore, we find ourselves benighted in an unknown place,
where upon account of the darkness no judgment is to be formed of
distance, or figures of the objects that may present themselves, we
are every moment in danger of being misled with respect to our ideas
of such objects. Hence proceeds that internal fear and dread which
most men experience from the obscurity of night, and of those strange
and hideous spectres and gigantic figures which so many persons tell
us they have seen. Though such figures, it is commonly asserted, exist
solely in the imagination, yet they may appear literally to the eye,
and be in every respect seen as described to us; for when we reflect
that whenever we cannot judge of an unknown object but by the angle
which it forms in the eye, this object is magnified in proportion to
its propinquity; and that if it appears at the distance of twenty or
thirty paces to be only a few feet high, when advanced within a short
space of it, it will seem to be of considerable magnitude. At this
the spectator must naturally be astonished and terrified, till he
approaches and knows it by feeling; for in the very instant that he
has an actual perception of what it is, the tremendous form it assumed
to the eye will diminish, and it will appear in no other than its real
and absolute form. If, on the other hand, he is afraid to approach it,
and flies from the spot with precipitation, the only idea he can have
of it will be that of the image which had been formed in his eye; the
image of a figure he had seen, gigantic in its size, and horrible in
its form. The prejudice with respect to spectres, therefore, originates
from Nature, and depend not, as some philosophers have supposed, solely
upon the imagination.

When we cannot form an idea of distance, by the knowledge of the
intermediate space between us and any particular object, we endeavour
to distinguish the form of that object, in order to judge of its
size; but when we cannot perfectly distinguish the figures, and at the
same time behold a number of objects, whose forms are correspondent,
we conceive those which are most brilliant are most proximate, and
those most obscure are most remote; a notion which is not unoften the
source of very singular mistakes. In a multitude of objects disposed
in a right line, as the lamps upon the road from Versailles to Paris,
of which, as we cannot judge of the proximity or remoteness but by the
quantity of light they transmit to the eye, it often happens that when
examined at the distance of the eighth of a league, we see all the
lamps situated on the right hand instead of the left, on which they
are in reality situated. This fallacious appearance is produced from
the above-mentioned cause, for as the spectator has no evidence of the
distance he is from the lamps, but by the quantity of light they emit,
so he conceives that the most brilliant lamps are those which are the
first and the nearest to him. Now if some of the first lamps happen to
be dull and obscure, and any one of the others particularly bright,
that one would appear to be first and the rest behind, whatever was
their real situation; and this seeming transposition would be solely
owing to the supposed change of their situation from the left hand to
the right; for to conceive to be before what is actually behind in a
long file, is to see on the right what is situated on the left, or on
the left what is situated on the right.

We may fairly consider sight as a species of touching, though very
different from what we commonly understand by that sense; for in order
to exercise the latter we must be near the object, whereas we can
touch with the eye as far as the light the object contains will make
an impression, or its figure form an angle therein. This angle, when
the object is viewed at the greatest distance, is about the 3436th
part of its diameter, therefore an object of a foot square is not
visible beyond 3436 feet, or a man of five feet high at a greater
distance than 17180 feet. But the extent of vision is in some measure
influenced by the light which surrounds us, and we should be enabled to
see any object in the night at 100 times greater distance than in the
day, provided it was equally illuminated; thus, for instance, we can
perceive a lighted candle at full two leagues in the night, supposing
the diameter of the luminary to be one inch, whereas in the day we
should not be able to discern it beyond the proportion of the above
ratio; and as this is a circumstance which attends all objects when
viewed at those different periods, we may conclude that one principal
reason for our not being able to discern things at a greater distance,
is the brilliancy of the light which fills up the intermediate space,
and so destroys the reflected rays from those still more distant
objects. When we are surrounded with strength of light the objects near
make a forcible impression on the retina of the eye, and obliterate
those far off, which are weak and faint; and, on the contrary, if we
view a luminous body in the night, even at a considerable distance,
that becomes perfectly visible, while those which are near are scarcely
discernible. From these reasons it is, that a man at the bottom of a
deep pit can see the stars, or, by employing a long tube in a dark
room, may obtain some effects from the telescope in the middle of the
day. From this it is evident, that if bodies were furnished with more
strength of light they would be visible at greater distances, although
the angle was not increased, for a small candle, which burns bright,
is seen much farther off than a flambeau that is dim. Of these facts,
relative to the influence of light, we have a still stronger proof
in the variation between a microscope and telescope, both of them
instruments of the same kind, increasing the visible angles of objects,
whether they be really minute or rendered so by distance, and yet the
latter does not magnify beyond a thousand times, whereas the former
will exceed a million, and this difference plainly arises solely from
the degree of light, for could the distant object be additionally
illuminated, telescopes would have the same effect upon distant objects
as microscopes have upon small bodies. But it is only by comparing
the size of the angle formed in the retina of the eye, the degree of
light which illuminates the adjacent and intermediate objects, and the
strength of light which proceeds from, or is reflected by the object
itself, that we can conclude upon the distance at which any particular
body will be visible.

The power of seeing objects at a distance is very rarely equal in
both eyes. When this inequality is great, the person so circumstanced
generally shuts that eye with which he sees the least, and employs the
other with all its power, and which is one cause of squinting. The
object does not appear doubly distinct, by both eyes being placed upon
it although they are equally strong, but has frequently been proved
not to exceed a 13th part more than if beheld with one; and this is
supposed to arise from the two optic nerves uniting near the place
they came out of the skull and then separating by an obtuse angle
before they enter the eyes; but as the motion made by the impression
of objects cannot pass to the brain without passing this united part,
the two motions must therefore be combined, and, consequently, cannot
act with that force as though they were distinct; but from repeated
experiments seem to bear the proportion above stated.

There are many reasons to suppose that short-sighted persons see
objects larger than others; and it is a certain truth that they see
them less. I am myself short-sighted, and my left-eye is stronger than
my right. A thousand times have I experienced, upon looking at any
object, as the letters of a book, that they appear least to the weakest
eye; and that, when I place the book so that the letters appear double,
the images of the left-eye, are greater than those of the right.
Several others, I have examined, who were in similar circumstances,
and I have always found, that the eye which saw every object best,
saw it also largest. This may be ascribed to particular habits; for
near-sighted people being accustomed to approach close to the object,
and to view but a small part of it at a time, they acquire a small
standard for magnitude, and when the whole of the object is seen, it
necessarily appears smaller to them than to others, whose vision is
more enlarged.

There have been many instances of persons becoming short-sighted on a
sudden, therefore attributing it to the roundness or prominence of the
eye is by no means certain. Mr. Smith, in his Optics, speaks of a young
man that became short-sighted as he quitted a cold bath, and who was
under the necessity of using a concave glass all his life after; and it
cannot be supposed that the vitreous humours were instantly inflated so
as to cause this difference in vision. Short-sightedness may arise from
the position of the various parts of the eye, especially the retina,
from a less degree of sensibility in the retina, or the smallness
of the pupil. In the two first cases a concave glass may be used to
advantage, but yet objects will not be seen so far, or so distinct,
through these glasses as others will perceive with the eye alone, for
as short-sighted persons see objects in a diminished form, the concave
glass diminishes them still farther.

Infants having their eyes smaller than those of adults, must of
consequence, see objects smaller also. For as the image formed on
the back of the eye must be large, as the eye is capacious, so
infants, having it not so great, cannot have so large a picture of
the object. This may likewise be a reason, why they are unable to see
so distinctly, or at such distances, as persons who have attained the
years of maturity, for as objects appear less they must sooner become

Old people see bodies close to them very indistinctly, but bodies at
a great distance from them with more precision, than young ones. This
may happen from an alteration in the coats, or perhaps the humours
of the eye; and not, as is supposed, entirely from their diminution.
The cornea, for instance, may become too rigid to adapt itself, and
take a proper convexity for seeing near objects, as a flatness must be
occasioned by drying that will be sufficient of itself to render their
eyes more calculated for distant vision. Although clear and distinct
are frequently confounded by writers on optics, yet they are very
different; for we may be said, for instance, to clearly see a tower,
as soon as we get a view of it, but we must approach near enough to
distinguish its component parts before we see it distinctly. Men in
years see clearly, but not distinctly; they can discern large bodies
at a distance, but cannot distinguish small objects, as the characters
in a book, without the help of magnifying glasses. On the contrary,
short-sighted people see small objects distinctly, but need the aid of
concave glasses to reduce large ones. Much light is also necessary for
clear sight, while a small quantity is sufficient for distinct vision.

When an object is extremely brilliant, or we fix our eyes too long
upon the same object, the organ is hurt and fatigued, vision becomes
indistinct, and the image of the object, having made too violent an
impression, appears painted on every thing we look at, and mixes with
every object that occurs. How dangerous the looking upon bright and
luminous objects is to the sight, is evident from the effect it has on
the inhabitants of countries which are covered for the greatest part
of the year with snow; and travellers, who cross those countries, are
obliged to cover their eyes with crape. In the sandy plains of Africa,
the reflection of the light is so strong, that it is impossible for the
eye to sustain the effects of it. Such persons therefore, as write, or
read for any continuance, should chase a moderate light, for though
it may seem insufficient at first, yet the eye will gradually become
accustomed to the shade; and at any rate, it will be less injured by
too little light than by too much.



As the sense of hearing, as well as that of seeing, gives us
perceptions of remote objects, so it is subject to similar errors, and
may deceive us, when we cannot rectify by the touch, the ideas which
it excites. It communicates no distinct intelligence of the distance
from whence a sounding body is heard: a great noise far off, and a
small one near, produce the same sensation, and, unless we receive aid
from some other sense, we can never distinctly tell whether the sound
be a great or a small one. It is not till we have, by experience,
become acquainted with any particular sound that we can judge of the
distance from whence we hear it; but if, for example, we hear the sound
of a bell, we are at no great loss to determine its distance, any more
than we are of that of a cannon from the report, judging in both cases
from similar sounds, which we have been previously acquainted with.

Every body that strikes against another produces a sound which is
simple in bodies non-elastic, but is often repeated in such as are
elastic. If we strike a bell, a single blow produces a sound, which
is repeated while the sonorous body continues to vibrate. These
undulations succeed each other so fast, that the ear supposes them one
continued sound; whereas, in reality, they form many. A circumstance
of this kind happened to myself, for lying on the bed half asleep,
I distinctly counted five strokes of the hammer upon the bell of the
clock, and rising immediately found it was but the hour of one, and
was convinced by examining the machinery that it had struck no more. A
person, therefore, who should for the first time, hear the toll of a
bell, would very probably be able to distinguish these breaks of sound;
and, in fact, we can readily ourselves perceive remission in sounds.

Sounding bodies are of two kinds; those unelastic ones, which being
struck, return but a single sound; and those more elastic returning a
succession of sounds, which uniting together form a tone. This tone may
be considered as a number of sounds produced one after the other by
the same body, as we find in a bell, which continues to sound for some
time after it is struck. A continuing tone may be also produced from
a non-elastic body, by repeating the blow quick and often, as when we
beat a drum, or draw a bow along the string of a fiddle.

Considering the subject in this light, we shall find the number of
blows or quickness of repetition will have no effect in altering the
tone, but only make it more even or more distinct, whereas if we
increase the force of the blow by striking the body with double the
weight, this will produce a tone twice as loud as the former. From
hence we may infer, that all bodies give a louder and graver tone, not
in proportion to the number of times they are struck, but to the force
that strikes them. And if this be so, those philosophers who make the
tone of a sonorous body, a bell, or the string of an harpsichord, for
instance, to depend upon the number only of its vibrations, and not
the force, have mistaken what is only an effect for a cause. A bell,
or an elastic string, can only be considered as a drum beaten; and the
frequency of the blows can make no alteration whatsoever in the tone.
The largest bells, and the longest and thickest strings, have the most
forcible vibrations; and, therefore, their tones will be more loud and
more grave in proportion to the size and weight of the body with which
they are struck.

If we strike a body incapable of vibration with a double force, or a
double mass of matter, it will produce a sound doubly grave. Music has
been said, by the ancients, to have been first invented from the blows
of different hammers on an anvil. Suppose then we strike an anvil with
a hammer of one pound weight, and then with a hammer of two pounds,
it is plain that the latter will produce a sound twice as grave as
the former. But if we strike with a two pound hammer, and then with a
three pound, the last will produce a sound only one third more grave
than the former. If we strike with a three, and then with a four, it
will likewise follow that the latter will be a quarter part more grave
than the former. Now, in the comparing between all those sounds, it
is obvious that the difference between one and two is more easily
perceived than between two and three, three and four, or any numbers
succeeding in the same proportion. The succession of sounds will be,
therefore, pleasing in proportion to the ease with which they may be
distinguished. That sound which is double the former, or in other
words, the octave to the preceding tone, will be the most pleasing
harmony. The next to that, which is as two to three, will be most
agreeable. And thus universally, those sounds whose differences may be
most easily compared are the most agreeable.

It is most certain that the cause of pleasure in all our senses
originates from the justness of proportion, and that disproportion
never creates a pleasing sensation. The lad whom Mr. Chesselden
restored to sights was at first most delighted with those objects which
were regular and smooth on the surface; from this it is plain that the
ideas we entertain of beauty from the eye originates from regularity
and proportion; it is the same with the sense of feeling, smooth,
round, and uniform bodies are more pleasing than those which are rough
and irregular; why should not therefore the same preference be given by
the ear to the proportion of sounds?

Sound has, in common with light, the property of being extensively
diffused; and also admits of reflection. The laws of this reflection,
it is true, are less understood: all we know is, that sound is
reflected by hard bodies, and that their being hollow, sometimes
increases the reverberation. A wall or a mountain sometimes reflects
sounds so distinct that we are almost induced to suppose it proceeds
from them rather than from an opposite quarter. Vaults and hollow rocks
also produce distinct echoes.

The internal part of the ear is particularly formed for reflecting
sounds, and may, in some measure, be compared to the cavern of a rock.
In this cavity sounds are repeated, and by that means conveyed to the
membranous part of the lamina, which being an expansion of the auditory
nerves transmits them to the mind. The internal cavity of the ear,
which is fashioned out in the temporal bone, like a cavern cut into a
rock, seems to be fitted for the purposes of echoing sound with the
greatest precision.

One of the most common complaints in old age is deafness, which
probably proceeds from the rigidity of the nerves in the labyrinth of
the ear, augmenting as we advance in years, and when the membranous
part of the lamina becomes ossified deafness is the consequence, and
is in that case incurable. It sometimes happens from a stoppage of the
wax, but it may then be relieved by art. In order to know whether the
defect be an internal or art external one, let the deaf person put a
repeating watch into his mouth, and if he hears it strike, he may be
assured that his disorder proceeds from an external cause, and may be,
in some measure, relieved.

It often happens, that people with bad voices, and unmusical ears,
hear better with one ear than the other, and suspecting there might be
some analogy between the ears and eyes, as those who squint have more
strength in one eye than the other, I made several experiments, and
always found their defect in judging properly of sounds proceeded from
the inequality of their ears, and their receiving by both at the same
time unequal sensations, and those persons who hear false also sing
false, without knowing it. They also frequently deceive themselves with
regard to the side from whence the sound comes, generally supposing
the noise to come on the part of the best ear. This, however, is only
applicable to those who are born with a defect in the hearing.

Such as are hard of hearing reap the same advantage from the trumpet
made for this purpose that short-sighted persons do from concave
glasses. As the sight is affected with age so is the hearing, and
equally requires the assistance of art. Trumpets for assisting hearing
might be easily enlarged, so as to increase sounds, in the same manner
that the telescope does bodies; but they could be used to advantage
only in places of solitude and stillness, as the neighbouring sounds
would mix with the more distant ones, and the whole would produce in
the ear nothing but tumult and confusion.

Hearing is a much more necessary sense to man than to any other
animal. In the latter it is only a warning against danger, or an
encouragement to mutual assistance. In man, it is the source of most
of his pleasures, and without it the rest of his senses would be of
little benefit. A man born deaf must necessarily be dumb, and his whole
sphere of knowledge must be bounded by sensual objects. We shall here
notice a singular instance of a young man, who, born deaf, at the age
of 24 suddenly acquired the faculty of hearing. The account, which is
given in the Memoirs of the Academy of Sciences, 1703, page 18, is in
substance as follows:

"A young man, of the town of Chartres, aged about 24, the son of a
tradesman, who had been deaf and dumb from his birth, began to speak
of a sudden, to the utter astonishment of the whole town. He gave his
friends to understand, that for three or four months before, he had
heard the sound of the bells, and was greatly surprised at this new and
unknown sensation. After some time a kind of water issued from his left
ear, and he then heard perfectly well with both. During these three
months he listened attentively to all he heard, and accustomed himself
to speak softly the words pronounced by others. He laboured hard in
perfecting himself in the pronunciation, and in the ideas attached to
every sound. At length, supposing himself qualified to break silence,
he declared that he could speak, though as yet but imperfectly. Soon
after some able divines questioned him concerning his ideas of his past
state, and principally with respect to God, his soul, the moral beauty
of virtue and deformity of vice. Of these, however, he did not appear
to have the slightest conception. He had gone to mass indeed with his
parents, had learned to sign himself with the cross, to kneel down,
and to assume all the external signs of devotion; but he did all this
without comprehending the intention or the cause. He had no idea even
of death, but led a life of pure animal instinct, and though entirely
taken up with sensual objects, and such as were present, he yet did
not seem to have made any reflections upon them. The young man was
not, however, in want of understanding, but the understanding of a man
deprived of all intercourse with society is so very confined, that the
mind is, in some measure, totally under the control of its immediate

It is possible, nevertheless, to communicate ideas to deaf men, and
even to give them precise notions of general subjects, by means of
signs, and by writing. A person born deaf, may be taught to read, to
write, and even by the motion of the lips to understand what is said
to him; a plain proof how much the senses resemble, and may supply the
defects of each other.

On this subject it may not be improper to quote a fact, of which I was
myself a witness. One M. Pereire, a native of Portugal, who had made it
his particular study to teach persons born deaf and dumb, brought to my
house a young man who was thus unhappily circumstanced. He was at the
age of nineteen, in the month of July, 1746, when M. Pereire undertook
to teach him to speak and read. More than four months had not elapsed,
when he was capable of pronouncing syllables and words; and in the
space of ten months, he perfectly understood, and could, with tolerable
distinctness, pronounce about thirteen hundred different words. This
education, so favourably begun, was interrupted for nine months by the
absence of the master; who then found him far less intelligent than he
had left him. His pronunciation was vitiated, and of the words he had
learned most of, he retained not the smallest remembrance. M. Pereire
accordingly renewed his instructions in the month of February, 1748;
and from that time he never left him till June 1749. At one of the
meetings of the French Academy this young man was brought them, and had
several questions proposed to him in writing. To these his answers,
whether written or verbal, were highly satisfactory. His pronunciation,
indeed, was slow, and the sound of his voice was harsh; but at these
defects there is little cause to wonder, as it is by imitation alone
that our organs are enabled to form precise, soft, and well-articulated
sounds, and, as this young man was deaf, he could not be expected to
imitate what he did not hear; but which harshness, by the assiduity
and skill of his master, might, however, in some degree, be corrected

In the above case, the expedition of the master, and the progress of
the pupil, who indeed seemed to be no wise deficient in point of
natural ability and understanding, are an ample proof, that persons
born deaf and dumb may, by art, be brought to converse with other men;
and I am persuaded that, had this young man been instructed so early as
at the age of seven or eight, he would have attained as great a number
of ideas as mankind possess in general.



The animal body is composed of different matters, of which some are
insensible, as the bones, the fat, the blood, &c. and others, as the
membranes and the nerves, appear to be active substances, on which
depend the action of every member. The nerves are the immediate organs
of the mind, but which may be said to diversify from a difference in
disposition, insomuch, that according to their position, arrangement,
and quality, they transmit to the mind different kinds of sentiment,
which have been distinguished by the name of sensations, and which
appear, in effect, to have no resemblance to each other. Nevertheless,
if we consider that all external senses are only nervous membranes,
differently placed and disposed; that the nerves are the general
organs of feeling, and that in the animal body, no other substance is
possessed of this property, we shall be led to believe that the senses,
having all one common principle, and the nerves proceeding from the
same substance, though in various forms, the sensations which result
from them are not so essentially different as they at first appear.

The eye ought to be regarded as an expansion of the optic nerve,
whose position being more exterior than that of any other nerve, has
the most quick and the most delicate sensation. It will be moved,
therefore, by the smallest particles of matter, as those of light;
and will consequently give us sensations of distant bodies, provided
they produce or reflect those small particles. The ear is not placed
so exteriorly as the eye, and in which there not being so great an
expansion of nerves, will not be possessed of the like degree of
sensibility, nor will it be affected by particles more gross, as those
which form sounds, and will give us sensations of such distant objects
as can put those particles in motion. As they are much grosser than
those of light, and have less quickness, they cannot extend themselves
so far; and consequently the ear will not give us sensations of objects
so distant as those which the eye communicates. The membrane, which is
the seat of smell, being still less furnished with nerves than the ear,
it will only give us sensations of particles of matter which are more
gross and less remote, such as the odour from bodies, which may be said
to be the essential oils which exhale and float in the air, as light
bodies swim upon the water. As the nerves are also in less quantity,
and more divided over the tongue, and palate, and the odoriferous
parts are not strong enough to affect them, the oily or saline parts
must detach themselves from other bodies, and lodge upon the tongue
to produce the sensation of taste. This sense differs materially from
that of smelling, because the last brings to us sensations of things
at a certain distance, but the former requires a kind of contact, which
operates by the means of the fusion of certain parts of matter, such as
salts, oils, &c. In short, as the nerves are minutely divided, and as
the skin affords them but a very thin covering, no particles of matter
so small as those which form light, sound, or odours, can affect them;
and the sense of feeling gives us no sensation of distant objects, but
of those only whose contact is immediate.

It appears, therefore, that the difference between our senses is
occasioned by the more or less exterior position of the nerves, and of
their greater or smaller quantity in the different organs. It is for
this reason that a nerve, when irritated by a stroke, or uncovered by a
wound, gives us often the sensation of light, without the assistance,
of the eye; and from the same cause we often experience sensations of
sound, though the ear be not affected by any thing exterior.

When the particles of luminous or sonorous matters are re-united
in great quantities, they form a kind of solid body, that produces
different kinds of sensations, which appear not to have any relation
with the first. The particles which compose light being collected in
great quantities, affect not only the eyes but also the nervous parts
of the skin, and produce the sensation of heat, which is a sentiment,
different from the first, though originating from the same cause. Heat,
then, is a sensation arising from a contact with light, which acts as
a solid body, or as a mass of matter in motion. The action of light,
like other matters in motion, is evident when we expose, light bodies
to the focus of a burning glass; the action of the light communicates
before even it heats them, a motion by which they are disturbed and
displaced. Heat, then, acts as solid bodies act upon each other, since
it is capable of displacing light matters, and communicating to them a
movement of impulsion.

The like happens when the sonorous particles are collected in great
quantities; they produce sensible agitation, which is very different
from the action of sound upon the ear. Any violent explosion, as a loud
clap of thunder, shakes us, and communicates a kind of trembling to all
the neighbouring bodies. Sound then also acts as a solid body, for it
is not the agitation of the air which causes this tremulous motion,
since even at that time we do not remark that it is accompanied with
the wind; besides, however strong the wind may be, it never produces
such violent agitations. It is by this action of the sonorous particles
that a cord in vibration sets the next in motion; and we ourselves
feel, when the noise is violent, a kind of fluttering very different
from the sensation of sound by the ear, although it be an effect of the
same cause.

All the difference in our sensations are produced by the greater or
smaller number, and by the more or less exterior position of the
nerves, which is the cause that some of our senses, as the eye, ear,
and smell, may be affected by the small particles which exhale from
particular bodies; others, as tasting and feeling, require actual
contact, or more gross emanations, so as to form a solid mass; and it
is this feeling which gives us the sensation of solidity, or fluidity,
and of the heat of bodies.

A fluid differs from a solid, because it has not any particles gross
enough to admit us to grasp it on different sides at one time. The
particles which compose fluids cannot touch each other but at one
point, or so few points, that no part can have any considerable
adliesion with another. Solid bodies, reduced even into an impalpable
powder, do not absolutely lose their solidity, because the parts,
touching each other by many sides, preserve a degree of cohesion; and
this is the reason why we can make them up in masses, and squeeze them

The sense of feeling is spread over the whole body, but employs itself
differently in different parts. The sensation which results from
feeling is excited by the contact of some foreign body to that of our
own. If we apply a foreign body against the breast or shoulder we
shall feel it, but without having a single idea of its form, because
the breast or shoulder touches but one side only. It is the same with
respect to all other parts which cannot bend themselves round or
embrace at one time many parts of foreign bodies. Those parts of our
body, which, like the hand, are divided into many flexible and moveable
parts, and can apply themselves at one time upon different sides of a
foreign body, are those only which can give us the ideas of their form
and size.

It is not, therefore, because there are a greater quantity of nervous
tufts at the extremity of the fingers than in any other part of the
body, that the hand is, in effect, the principal organ of feeling,
but merely because it is divided into many parts all moveable, all
flexible, all acting at the same time, and are all obedient to the
will; and which alone gives us distinct ideas of the figure and form
of bodies. Feeling is no more than a contact of superficies, and the
superficies of the hand are greater, in proportion, than that of any
other part of the human body, because there is not any one which is
so greatly divided. This advantage, when added to those derived from
the flexibility of the fingers, suffices to render this part the most
perfect organ to give us the exact and precise ideas of the form of
bodies, and, if the hand had twenty fingers, it is not to be doubted
but that the sense of feeling would be infinitely more perfect; and if
we should suppose that it were divided into an infinity of parts we
should have, even in the very moment of the touch, exact and precise
ideas of the figure and difference of bodies, however small. If, on
the contrary, the hand were without fingers, we should have but very
imperfect and confused knowledge of the objects which surround us.

Animals which have hands appear to be the most acute; apes do things
so resembling the mechanical actions of man that they seem to be
actuated by the same sensations; but those animals which are deprived
of hands having not any part divided and flexible enough to be able to
twist round the superficies of bodies, they cannot have any precise
notion either of the form or size of them. It is for this reason that
we often see them frightened at objects which they ought to be the best
acquainted with. The principal organ of their feeling is the muzzle,
because it is divided in two parts by the mouth, and because the tongue
serves them for touching bodies, and turning them, which they do over
and over again, before they take them between their teeth. It may also
be conjectured, that animals, which, as the scuttle-fish, the polypus,
and many insects, have a great number of arms or paws, which they can
unite and join, may also have an advantage over others, in knowing
how to chuse what is most agreeable to them. Fishes, therefore, whose
bodies are covered with scales, ought to be the most stupid of all
animals, for they cannot have any knowledge of the form of bodies; and
their sense of feeling must be very obtuse, since they cannot feel but
through the scales. Thus all animals, whose bodies have no divided
extremities, as arms, legs, paws, &c. will have much less sense of
feeling than others. Serpents, however, are less stupid than fishes,
because, although they have no extremities, and are covered with a hard
and scaly coat, they have the faculty of bending round foreign bodies,
and by that means obtaining some conception of their form and magnitude.

The two great obstacles to the exercise of the sense of feeling then
are, first, the uniformity of the figure of the body of the animal, or
the defect of the different divided and flexible parts; and secondly,
the cloathing of the skin, whether with hair, feathers, scales, shells,
&c. The more this cloathing is hard and solid, the less the sentiment
of feeling will be; and the finer and more delicate the skin, the
sense of feeling will be the more quick and exquisite. Women, among
other advantages over men, have their skin more fine, and the sense of
feeling more delicate.

The foetus in the womb of the mother, has a very delicate skin;
it must therefore feel every exterior impression in the most acute
manner; but as it swims in a liquid, and as liquids break the action
of all the causes which may occasion any shock, it can but very seldom
be injured, and never without some violent shock be received by the
mother. Although the sense of feeling depends, in a great measure upon
the fineness of the skin, yet, as it can have but little exercise in
the foetus state, so can it have but little sensation arising from

In a new-born infant, the hands remain as useless as in the foetus,
because, by swaddling they are not permitted to make use of them, till
the end of six or seven weeks; by this absurd custom, we retard the
unfolding of this important sense on which all our knowledge depends;
and therefore we should act more wisely, were we to allow the infant
the free use of its hands the moment of its birth, as it would then
sooner acquire ideas of the form of things; and who knows how far
our first ideas have an influence over our subsequent ones? One man,
perhaps, possesses more ingenuity, or capacity than another, merely
because in his earliest infancy he was allowed to make a greater and
readier use of this sense. As soon as children are indulged with the
liberty of their hands, they endeavour to touch whatever is presented
to them. They take pleasure in handling every thing they are capable
of grasping; they seem as if desirous to find out the form of bodies,
by feeling them on every side; and they amuse or instruct themselves
in this manner with new objects. And which predilection for novelty
remains our favourite amusement through life.

It is by feeling alone that we can attain any complete and certain
intelligence, and it is by that alone, all the other senses are
prevented from being perpetual sources of illusion and error. But in
what manner is this important sense developed? In what manner are
our first ideas attained? Have we not forgot every thing that passed
during the cloud of infancy? How shall we trace our thoughts back to
their origin? Even in attempting thus to trace them, is there not
presumption? There is, and were the object in view of less importance,
with justice might it be stigmatized, but as the mind cannot be
employed in a more noble research, every effort may surely be exerted
in so important a contemplation.

Let us suppose, then, a man newly brought into existence, whose
body and organs were perfectly formed, but who, awaking amidst the
productions of Nature, is an utter stranger to himself and every thing
he perceives. Of a man thus circumstanced what would be the first
emotions, the first sensations, the first opinions? Were he himself
to give us a detail of his conceptions at this period, how would he
express them? Might it not be in some measure as follows? And here let
us suppose such a man to speak for himself.

"Well do I recollect that joyful, anxious moment, when I first became
conscious of my own existence; I knew not what I was, where I was,
nor from whence I came. On opening my eyes, what an addition to my
surprise! The light of day, the azure vault of heaven, the verdure of
the earth, the transparency of the waters, all employed, all animated
my spirits, and filled me with inexpressible delight.

"At first, I imagined that all those objects were within me, and
formed a part of myself. Impressed with this idea, I turned my eyes
toward the sun, whose splendour instantly dazzled and overpowered
me. Involuntarily I closed my eye-lids, though not without a slight
sensation of pain; and, during this short interval of darkness, I
imagined that I was about to sink into nothing.

"Full of affliction and astonishment at this great change, I was roused
by a variety of sounds. The whistling of the breezes, and the melody
of birds, formed a concert, of which the soft impression pervaded the
inmost recesses of my soul. I continued to listen, and was persuaded,
that this music was actually within me.

"So much was I engrossed with this new kind of existence, that I
entirely forgot the light part of my being, which I had known the
first, till again I opened my eyes. What joy to find myself once more
in possession of so many brilliant objects! The present pleasure
surpassed the former, and for a time suspended the charming effect of

"I turned my eyes upon a thousand different objects, I soon found that
I could lose and restore them at pleasure; and with a repetition of
this new power I continued to amuse myself.

"I began to see without emotion, and to hear without confusion, when
a light breeze, communicated a new sensation of pleasures by wafting
its perfumes to my nostrils, and excited in me a kind of additional

"Occupied by these different sensations, and impelled by the various
pleasures of my new existence, I instantly arose, and was transported
by perceiving that I moved along, as if by some unknown, some hidden

"Hardly had I advanced one step, when the novelty of my situation
rendered me immoveable. My surprise returned; for I supposed that all
the objects around me were in motion, and the whole creation seemed
once more to be in disorder.

"I carried my hand to my head, I touched my forehead, I felt my whole
frame. Then I found my hand to be the principal organ of my existence.
All its informations were so distinct, so perfect, and so superior to
what I had experienced from the other senses, that I employed myself
for some time in repeating its enjoyments. Every part of my body, which
I touched with my hand, seemed to touch my hand in turn, and actually
gave back sensation for sensation.

"It was not long before I perceived that this faculty of feeling was
expanded over my whole frame, and I began to discover the limits of
my existence, which at first I had supposed of an immense extent, and
diffused over all the objects I saw.

"Upon casting my eyes upon my body, I conceived it to be of a size
so enormous, that all other objects seemed to be, in comparison, as
so many luminous particles. I gazed upon my person with pleasure. I
examined the formation of my hand, and all its motions; and my hand
appeared to be more or less large, in proportion as it was more or less
distant from my eyes. On bringing it very near, it concealed, I found,
almost every other object from my sight.

"I began to suspect there was some fallacy in the sensation I
experienced from the eye, because as I perceived my hand was only a
small part, I could not conceive how it should appear so large; I
therefore resolved to depend for information upon the touch, which as
yet had never deceived me. This precaution was highly serviceable. I
renewed my motions, and walked with my face turned toward the heavens.
Happening to strike lightly against a palm-tree, I was dismayed, and
laid my hand, though not without fear, upon this object, and found it
to be a being distinct from myself, because it did not return double
sensation as my own body had done. Now it was that, for the first time,
I perceived there was something external, something which did not form
an actual part of my own existence.

"From this new discovery I concluded that I ought to form my opinion
with respect to external objects, in the same manner as I had done
with respect to the parts of my body. I resolved, therefore, to feel
whatever I saw, and vainly attempted to touch the sun, I stretched
forth my arm and found nothing but an airy vacuum. Every effort I
made, as each object appeared to me equally near, led me from one fit
of surprize into another, nor was it till after an infinite number
of trials that I was enabled to use the eye as a guide to the hand,
and that I perceived there were some objects more remote from me than

"Amazed and mortified at the uncertainty of my state, and the endless
delusions to which I seemed subjected, the more I reflected the more
I was fatigued and oppressed with thought; I seated myself beneath
a tree loaded with delicious fruit, within my reach. On stretching
forth my arm, and gently touching it, the fruit instantly separated
from the branch; I seized it, and being able to grasp in my hand an
entire substance, which formed no part of myself, appeared of great
importance. When I held it up its weight, though in itself trivial,
seemed like an animated impulse, in conquering which I found another
and a greater pleasure.

"I held the fruit near my eye, and I considered its form and its
colours. Its fragrance prompted me to carry it near my lips, and with
eagerness did I inhale that fragrance. The perfume envited my sense of
tasting, which I found to be superior to that of smelling. What savour,
what novelty of sensation, did I now experience. Nothing could be
more exquisite. What before had been pleasure was how heightened into
luxury. The power of tasting gave me the idea of possession. I imagined
that the substance of this fruit had become a part of my own, and that
I was empowered to transform things without me at will.

"Charmed at the idea of this new power, and incited by the sensations I
had already experienced, I continued to pluck the fruit and to eat. At
length, however, an agreeable languor stealing upon my senses, my limbs
became heavy, and my soul seemed to lose its activity. My sensations,
no longer vivid and distinct, presented to me only feeble and irregular
images. In the instant, as it were, my eyes became useless, closed, and
my head, no longer borne up by the strength of the muscles, sunk back,
and found a support upon the verdant turf beneath me.

"To every thing around me I was now lost and insensible. Of my very
existence I retained not the smallest sensation. How long I continued
thus asleep I know not, for as yet I had not formed the smallest
idea of time. My awaking appeared like a second birth, and I only
felt that my existence had experienced a certain interruption. This
short annihilation produced in me a sensation of fear, and I began to
conclude that I was not to exist for ever.

"In this state of doubt and perplexity I also began to suspect that
sleep had robbed me of some part of my late powers, when turning
around, in order to resolve my doubts, with what astonishment did I
behold another form similar to my own? I took it for another self; and
I imagined that, far from having lost any thing during my late state of
annihilation, my existence was in reality doubled.

"Over this new being I carried my hand, and found, with rapture and
astonishment, that it was not a part of myself, but something more;
something more charming, something more glorious! nor could I help
supposing that my existence was about to be transfused entirely into
this, as it were, second part of my being. New ideas and new passions
now arose, took possession of my soul, and excited my curiosity. By the
touch of my hand I found her to be animated; expression and vivacity
darted from her eyes and impressed my soul, and love served to complete
that happiness which was begun in the individual, and every sense was
gratified in its full variety."



Every thing which we have hitherto advanced relates to man as an
individual. The history of the species requires a separate detail, of
which the principal facts can only be derived from the varieties that
are found in the inhabitants of different regions. Of the varieties,
the first and the most remarkable is the colour, the second is the form
and size, and the third is the disposition. Considered in its full
extent, each of these objects might afford materials for a volume. Our
remarks, however, shall be general, and confined to such points as have
been established on undoubted testimony.

In examining the surface of the earth, and beginning our inquiries from
the north, we find in Lapland, and in the northern parts of Tartary, a
race of small-sized men, whose figure is uncouth, and whose physiognomy
is as wild as their manners are unpolished. Though they seem to be of a
degenerate species they yet are numerous, and the countries they occupy
are extensive.

The Danish, Swedish, and Muscovite Laplanders, the inhabitants of
Nova-Zembla, the Borandians, the Samoiedes, the Ostiacks of the old
continent, the Greenlanders, and the savages to the north of the
Esquimaux Indians, of the new continent, appear to be of one common
race, which has been extended and multiplied along the coasts of the
northern seas, in deserts and climates, considered as uninhabitable by
every other nation. These people have broad faces and flat noses; their
eyes are of a yellowish brown, inclining to black, their eye-lids are
drawn toward the temples, their cheek-bones are extremely prominent,
their mouths are large, the lower part of their countenances is narrow,
their lips thick and turned outward; their voices are shrill, with
heads bulky, hair black and straight, and skin of a tawny colour. They
are small in stature, and though meagre, they are yet of a squat form.
In general their size is about four feet, and the tallest exceed not
four feet and a half. Among these people, if there is any difference
to be found, it depends on the greater or less degree of deformity.
The Borandians, for example, are still less than the Laplanders. The
white of their eye is of a darker yellow, and they are also more tawny;
and their legs, instead of being slender, like those of the latter,
are thick and bulky. The Samoiedes are more squat than the Laplanders;
their heads are larger, their noses longer, their complexion more dark,
their legs shorter, their hair longer, and their beards more scanty.
The Greenlanders have the most tawny skin, its colour being that of a
deep olive, and it is even said that some of them are as black as those
of Ethiopia. Throughout them all it is to be observed, the women are as
unseemly as the men; and so nearly do they resemble each other, that at
first it is not easy to distinguish them. The women of Greenland are
very small, but well proportioned; their hair is more black, and their
skin softer, than those of the Samoiede women: their breasts are of
such length that children are able to receive the nipple, which is of a
jet black, over the mother's shoulder. Some travellers say they have no
hair but upon the head, and that they are not subject to the periodical
complaints common to the sex. Their visage is large, their eyes small,
black, and lively, and their feet and hands are short. In every other
respect the Samoiede and the Greenland women are similar. The savages
north of the Esquimaux, and even in the northern parts of Newfoundland,
bear a resemblance to the Greenlanders; their eyes, it is true, are
larger, but, like them, they are of small stature, have flat noses, and
large and broad faces.

Nor is it alone in deformity, in diminutiveness, and in the colour
of the hair and eyes, that these nations resemble each other, but
also in their inclinations and manners. Incivility, superstition, and
ignorance, are alike conspicuous in them all.

The Danish Laplanders have a large black cat, which they make a
confidant in all their secrets, a counsellor in all their difficulties,
and whom they consult on all occasions. Among the Swedish Laplanders,
there is in every family a drum, for the purpose of consulting the
devil; and though they are robust and nimble, they are yet so timid and
dastardly, that no inducement can bring them into the field of battle.
Gustavus Adolphus undertook, but undertook in vain, to form a regiment
of Laplanders. Indeed there is reason to suppose that they cannot live
but in their own country, and in their own manner. In travelling over
the ice and snow, they use skates made of fur, which are in length
about two ells, and half a foot broad, and which are raised and pointed
before, and fastened to the foot by straps of leather. With these
they make such dispatch on the snow, that they easily overtake the
swiftest animals. They also use a pole, pointed with iron at one end,
and rounded at the other. This pole serves to push them along, to
direct their course, to keep them from falling, to stop the impetuosity
of their career, and to kill what game they overtake. With their
skates they descend the steepest precipices, and scale the most craggy
mountains; nor are the women less skilful in such exercises than the
men. They are all accustomed to the bow and arrow; and it is asserted,
that the Muscovite Laplanders launch a javelin with so much dexterity,
that at the distance of thirty paces they are sure to hit a mark no
larger than a silver crown, and with such force, that it will transfix
a human body. They hunt the ermine, the fox, the lynx, and the martin,
whose skins they barter for brandy and tobacco. Their food consists
principally of dried fish, and the flesh of the bear and rein-deer. Of
the bones of fishes, pounded and mixed with the tender bark of the pine
or birch-tree, is their bread composed. Their drink is either train-oil
or brandy and when deprived of these, their favourite beverage is
water, in which juniper-berries have been infused.

Examined in a moral sense, the Laplanders have few virtues, and all
the vices of ignorance. Immersed in superstition and idolatry, of a
Supreme Being they have no conception; nor is it easy to determine
which is most conspicuous, the grossness of their understandings, or
the barbarity of their manners, being equally destitute of courage and
shame. Boys and girls, mothers and sons, brothers and sisters, bathe
together naked, without being in the smallest degree ashamed. When they
come out of their baths, which are warm, they immediately go into the
rivers. It is the custom among all these people to offer their wives
and daughters to strangers, and are much offended if the offer is not

In winter, the Laplanders, clothe themselves with the skin of the
rein-deer, and in summer with the skins of birds. To the uses of linen
they are utter strangers. The women of Nova-Zembla have the nose and
ears pierced, and ornament them with pendants of blue stone; and to add
a lustre to their charms, they form blue streaks upon their forehead
and chin. The men wear no hair on the head, and cut their beards round.
The Greenland women dress themselves with the skin of the dog-fish:
they also paint their faces with blue and yellow, and wear pendants in
their ears. They all live underground, or in huts almost so, covered
with the bark of trees, or the bones of fishes. Some of them form
subterraneous trenches, from one hut to another, by which, during the
winter months, they can enjoy the society of their neighbours without
going out. A continued series of darkness for several months obliges
them to illuminate their dreary abodes with lamps, in which they burn
the same train oil they use as drink. In summer they have scarcely more
comfort than in winter, being obliged to live perpetually in a thick
smoke, which is the only device they have contrived for the destruction
of gnats, which are perhaps more numerous in these regions of frost,
than in those of the most scorching heat. Under all these hardships
they are subject to few diseases, and they live to a prodigious
age. So vigorous indeed are the old men, that they are hardly to be
distinguished from the young. The only infirmity they experience is
that of blindness, which is very common among them. Perpetually dazzled
by the strong reflection of the snow in winter, and enveloped in clouds
of smoke in summer, few when advanced in years are found to retain the
use of their eyes.

As all the different tribes or nations, therefore, resemble each other
in form, in shape, in colour, in manners, and even in oddity of
customs, they are undoubtedly of the same race of men. The practice of
offering their women to strangers, and of being pleased when they are
thought worthy of caresses, may proceed from a consciousness of their
own deformity as well as that of their women. In appearance, the woman,
whom a stranger has accepted, they afterwards respect for her superior
beauty. At any rate it is certain, although remote from each other,
and separated by a great sea, the custom is general in all the above
countries. We even meet with it among the Crim Tartars, the Calmucks,
and among several other nations of Siberia and of Tartary, where
personal deformity is almost as conspicuous as in those of the North.
In all the neighbouring nations, on the other hand, as in China, and in
Persia[C], where the women are remarkable for beauty, the men are also
remarkable for jealousy.

[C] La Boulai tells us, that in order to prevent all cause of
jealousy, when the women of Schach die, the place of their interment
is industriously kept secret, in like manner as the ancient Egyptians
delayed the embalment of their wives for several days after their
decease, that the surgeons might have no temptation.

In examining the different nations adjacent to this extensive
territory, which the Laplanders occupy, we find they have no affinity.
Alone are they resembled by the Ostiacks and the Tongusians, whose
situation is to the south and south-east of the Samoiedes. The
Samoiedes and Borandians bear no resemblance to the Russians; nor do
the Laplanders to the Fins, the Goths, the Danes, or the Norwegians.
The Greenlanders are likewise entirely different from the savages of
Canada, who are tall and well proportioned, and though the tribes
differ from each other, they do more so from the Laplanders. The
Ostiacks, however, seem to be a less ugly and taller branch of the
Samoiedes. They live on raw fish or flesh, and for drink they prefer
blood to water. Like the Laplanders and the Samoiedes they are immersed
in idolatry; nor are they known to have any fixed abode. In fine,
they appear to form a shade between the race of Laplanders and the
Tartarians; or rather, indeed, may it be said that the Laplanders,
the Samoiedes, the Borandians, the Nova-Zemblians, and perhaps the
Greenlanders, and the savages to the north of the Esquimaux Indians,
are Tartars reduced to the lowest point of degeneracy; that the
Ostiacks are less degenerated than the Tongusians, who though to the
full as ugly, are yet more sizeable and shapely. The Samoiedes and
Laplanders live in the latitude of 68 or 69, the Ostiacks and the
Tongusians in that of 60. The Tartars, who are situated along the
Wolga, in the latitude of 55, are gross, stupid, and beastly; like
the Tongusians, they have hardly any idea of religion, nor will they
receive for their wives any women until they have had an intercourse
with other men.

The Tartars occupy the greatest part of Asia, and in fact extend from
Russia to Kamtschatka, a space in length from 11 to 1200 leagues and
from 700 to 750 in breadth; a circumference twenty times larger than
the whole kingdom of France. The Tartars terminate China, the kingdoms
of Boutan and Alva, and the empires of Mogul and Persia, even to the
Caspian Sea, on the north and west. They spread along the Wolga, and
over the west coast of the Caspian Sea, even to Daghestan. They have
penetrated to the north coast of the Black Sea, and formed settlements
in the Crimea, and in the neighbourhood of Moldavia and the Ukraine.
All these people have the upper part of their face very large and
wrinkled even while yet in their youth. Their noses are short and
flat, their eyes little, and sunk in their head; their cheek-bones
are high; the lower part of their face is narrow; their chin is long
and prominent; their teeth are long and straggling; there eye-brows
are so large as to cover the eyes; their eye-lids are thick; the face
broad and flat; their complexion tawny, their hair black; they have
but little beard, which is disposed like the Chinese; they have thick
thighs and short legs, and though but of middling stature, they are
remarkably strong and robust. The ugliest of them are the Calmucks,
in whose appearance there seems to be something frightful. They are
all wanderers and vagabonds; and their only shelter is that of tents,
made of hair or skins. Their food is horse-flesh, and flesh of other
animals, either raw or a little softened by being between the horse
and the saddle. They eat also fish dried in the sun. Their most common
drink is mare's milk, fermented, with millet ground into meal. They all
have the head shaved, except a tuft of hair on the top, which they let
grow sufficiently long to form into tresses on each side of the face.
The women, who are as ugly as the men, wear their hair, which they
bind up with bits of copper, and other ornaments of the same nature.

The majority of these tribes are alike strangers to religion, morality,
and decency. They are robbers by profession; and those of Daghestan,
who live in the neighbourhood of civilized countries, sustain a great
traffic of slaves, whom they carry off by forte, and afterwards sell to
the Turks and the Persians. Their wealth consists chiefly of horses,
which are more numerous, perhaps, in Tartary than in any other part
of the world. They live in the same place with their horses, and are
continually employed in training, dressing, and exercising them, whom
they reduce to such implicit obedience, that they actually appear to
understand, as it were, the intention of their riders.

To attain a knowledge of the particular differences which subsist in
the race of Tartars, we have only to compare the descriptions that
travellers have given of their different tribes. The Calmucks, who
are situated in the neighbourhood of the Caspian Sea, between the
Muscovites and the great Tartars, are, according to Tavernier, robust,
but the most ugly and the most deformed of all human beings. Their
faces are so flat and so broad that their eyes, which are uncommonly
small, are from five to six inches asunder; and their noses so flat
that two holes are barely perceivable instead of nostrils. Next to the
Calmucks, the natives of Daghestan rank in the class of deformity.
The little Tartars, or the Tartars of Nogai, who dwell near the Black
Sea, are less ugly than the Calmucks, though their faces are broad,
their eyes small, and in their figures there is a great resemblance.
From their intermixture with the Circassians, the Moldavians, and
other neighbouring nations, it is probable that this race have lost
much of their original ugliness. The Tartars of Siberia have, like the
Calmucks, broad faces, short flat noses, and small eyes; and though
their language is different, yet they bear so strong a resemblance to
each other, that they can only be considered as the same people. The
further we advance eastward we find the features of the Tartars are
gradually softened, but the characteristics essential to the race still
remain. The Mongou Tartars, according to Palafox, who conquered China,
and who were the most polished, though they are the least deformed,
yet, like all the other tribes, their eyes are small, faces broad and
flat, scanty beards, either black or red; their noses compressed and
short, and their complexions tawny. The people of Thibet, and the other
southern provinces of Tartary, are also of a more agreeable aspect.
Mr. Sanchez, formerly first physician to the Russian army, a gentleman
distinguished by his abilities, has obligingly communicated to me in
writing the remarks he had made in the course of his travels through

In the years 1735, 1736, and 1737, he visited the Ukraine, the banks
of the Don to the sea of Zabach, and the confines of Cuban to Asoph.
He traversed the deserts between the countries of the Crimea and
Backmut; he went among the Calmucks, who wander about without any
fixed habitation, from the kingdom of Casan to the banks of the Don;
as also the Crimea and Nogai-Tartars, who wander between the Crimea
and the Ukraine, and likewise the Kergissi and Tcheremissi-Tartars,
who are situated to the north of Astracan, between the latitude of 50
and 60. These according to him are more diminutive and squat, less
active and more corpulent; their eyes are black, complexions tawny, and
their faces larger and broader than those we have mentioned. He adds,
that among these Tartars, he saw numbers of men and women who had no
resemblance to them, but were as white as the people of Poland. They
have many slaves among them, brought from among the Russians and Poles;
and as their religion admits a number of wives and concubines; and as
their Sultans, and Murzas or nobles, prefer the women of Georgia and
Circassia for their wives, the children produced from such alliances
are less ugly, and more fair than from connections among themselves.
There is even a whole tribe of Tartars, called Kabardinski-Tartars,
who are remarkable for their beauty. Of these Mr. Sanchez saw _three
hundred_ on horseback, who were going to enter into the service of
Russia; and he declares that he never saw men of a more noble and
manly figure; their complexions were fair, fresh and ruddy; their eyes
were large and black, and they were tall and well proportioned. He was
assured by the Lieutenant-general of Serapikin, who had made a long
residence at Kabarda, that the women were equally handsome; but this
tribe, so different from all the Tartars around them, came originally
from the Ukraine, and removed to Kabarda about the beginning of the
last century.

Though the Tartar blood is intermixed, on one side with that of the
Chinese, and on the other with that of the Oriental Russians, yet there
is sufficient characteristics of the race remaining to suppose them
of one common stock. Among the Muscovites are numbers, whose form of
visage and body bear a strong resemblance to those of the Tartars.
The Chinese are totally different in their dispositions, manners, and
customs. The Tartars are naturally fierce, warlike, and addicted to
the chace, inured to fatigue, fond of independence, and to a degree
of brutality uncivilized. Altogether opposite are the manners of
the Chinese; they are effeminate, pacific, indolent, superstitious,
slavish, and full of ceremony and compliment. In their features, and
form, however, there is so striking a resemblance, as to leave a doubt
whether they did not spring from the same race.

Some travellers tell us, that the Chinese are large and fat, their
limbs well formed, their faces broad and round, their eyes small,
eye-brows large, their eye-lids turned upwards, and their noses short
and flat; that upon the chin they have very little beard, and upon each
lip not more than seven or eight tufts of hair. Those who inhabit the
southern provinces are more brown and tawny than those in the northern;
that in colour they resemble the natives of Mauritania, or the more
swarthy Spaniards; but those in the middle provinces are as fair as the

According to Dampier and others, the Chinese are not all fat and bulky,
but they consider being so as an ornament to the human figure. In
speaking of the island of St. John, on the coast of China, the former
says, that the inhabitants are tall, erect, and little encumbered
with fat; that their countenances are long, and their foreheads high;
their eyes little, their nose tolerably large, and raised in the
middle; their mouths of a moderate size, their lips rather thin, their
complexion ash-colour, and their hair black; that they have naturally
little beard, and even that they pluck out, leaving only a few hairs
upon the chin and upper lip.

According to Le Gentil, the Chinese have nothing disagreeable in their
countenance, especially in the northern provinces. In the southern
ones, when necessarily much exposed to the sun, they are swarthy.
That in general their eyes are small and of an oval form, their nose
short, their bodies thick, and their stature of a middling height; he
assures us that the women do every thing in their power to make their
eyes appear little and oblong, that for this purpose it is a constant
practice with young girls, instructed by their mothers, forcibly to
extend their eye-lids. This, with the addition of a flat nose, ears
long, large, open, and pendent, is accounted complete beauty. He adds,
their complexion is delicate, their lips of a fine vermilion, their
mouths well proportioned, their hair very black, but that chewing
beetle blackens their teeth, and by the use of paint they so greatly
injure their skin, that before the age of thirty they have all the
appearance of old age.

Palafox assures us that the Chinese are more fair than the oriental
Tartars; that they have also less beards, but that in every other
respect their visages are nearly the same. It is very uncommon, he
says, to see blue eyes either in China or in the Philippine islands;
and when seen, it is in Europeans, or in those of European parents.

Inigo de Biervillas asserts, that the women of China are better made
than the men. Of the latter, he says, their visages are large and
complexions rather yellow; their noses broad, and generally compressed,
and their bodies are of a thickness greatly resembling that of a
Hollander. The women, on the contrary, though they are generally
rather fat than otherwise, are however of a free and easy shape; their
complexion and skin are admirable; and their eyes are incomparably
fine; but from the great pains taken to compress it in their infancy,
there are few to be seen of whose nose the shape is even tolerable.

All the Dutch travellers allow that the Chinese have in general broad
faces, small eyes, flat noses, and hardly any beard; that the natives
of Canton, and the whole of the southern coast, are as tawny as the
inhabitants of Fez, in Africa, but that those of the interior provinces
are mostly fair. Now if we compare the descriptions we have already
given, from the above authors, of the Chinese and Tartars, hardly
will a doubt remain that, although they differ a little in stature
and countenance, they originate from one stock, and that the points
in which they differ proceed entirely either from the climate, or
the mixture of races. Chardin says, "the size of the little Tartars
is commonly smaller than the Europeans by four inches, and they are
thicker in the same proportion. Their complexion is of the colour
of copper; their faces are flat, large, and square; their noses
compressed, and their eyes are little. Now these are exactly the
features of the inhabitants of China; for I have found, after the most
minute investigation, that there is the same conformation of face and
body throughout the nations to the east and north of the Caspian Sea,
and to the east of the peninsula of Malacca. From this circumstance
I was inclined to believe that, however different they may appear
either in their complexion or manners, they proceed from one stock, for
difference of colour depends entirely upon the quality of the climate
and the food; and difference in manners is determined by the nature of
the soil, and by the greater or less degree of opulence."

Father Parennin, who lived long in China, and whose observations are so
accurate and so minute, tells us, that the western neighbours of the
Chinese, from Thibet northward to Chamo, differ from the Chinese in
manners, language, physiognomy, and external conformation; that they
are a people rude, ignorant, and slothful, charges that cannot be laid
to the Chinese; and that when any of these Tartars go to Pekin, and the
Chinese are asked the reason of this difference, they answer, that it
proceeds from the water and the soil; in other words, that it is the
nature of the country which produces this change upon the bodies and
dispositions of the inhabitants. He adds, that this remark seems to be
more applicable with respect to China than to any other country he ever
saw; that following the emperor northward into Tartary, to the latitude
of 48, he found Chinese from Nanquin who had settled there, whose
children had become actual Mongous, being bow-legged, with their heads
sunk into their shoulders, and a countenance which created disgust.

So strongly do the Japanese resemble the Chinese, that we can hardly
scruple to rank them in the same class. Living in a more southern
climate they are more yellow or more brown. In general their stature is
short, their face, as well as nose, broad and flat, their eyes small,
their hair black, and their beard little more than perceptible. They
are haughty, fond of war, full of dexterity and vigour, civil and
obliging, smooth-tongued, and courteous, but fickle and vain. With
astonishing patience they sustain hunger, thirst, cold, heat, fatigue,
and all the other hardships of life. Their ceremonies, or rather
grimaces, in eating, are numerous and uncouth. They are laborious
skilful artificers, and, in a word, their dispositions, manners, and
customs are the same as the Chinese.

One singular custom which they have in common, is, so to contract the
feet of the women, that they are hardly able to support themselves.
Some travellers mention, that in China, when a girl has passed her
third year, they bend the foot in such a manner that the toes are
made to come under the sole; that they apply to it a strong water,
which burns away the flesh; and then they wrap them up in a number of
bandages. They add, that the women feel the pain of this operation all
their lives; that they walk with great difficulty; and that their gait
is to the last degree ungraceful. Other travellers say that they only
compress the foot with so much violence as to prevent its growth; but
they unanimously allow, that every woman of condition, and even every
handsome woman must have a foot small enough to enter with ease the
slipper of a child of six years old.

The Japanese, and the Chinese, we may therefore conclude, proceed
from the same stock, that for their civilization we must recur to a
very distant part of antiquity, and that they differ more from the
Tartars in their manners than their figure. To this civilization, the
excellence of the soil, the mildness of the climate, and their vicinity
to the sea, have perhaps greatly contributed; while the Tartars, from
their inland situation, and being separated from other nations by high
mountains, have remained wanderers over their vast deserts, which are
situated under a climate to the last degree inclement, especially
towards the north. The country of Jesso, which is to the north of
Japan, and of which, from its situation, the climate might be expected
to be temperate, is however cold, barren, and mountainous, and its
inhabitants are altogether different from those of China and Japan.
They are ignorant and brutal, without manners, and without arts. Their
bodies are short and thick; their hair long, their eyes black, their
foreheads flat; and their complexions, though yellow, are rather less
so than that of the Japanese. Over their bodies, and even the face,
they have much hair; they live like savages, and their food consists
of the oily parts of whales and other fishes. They are to the last
degree indolent and slovenly; their children go almost naked; nor have
their women devised any external ornament beyond that of painting their
eye-brows and lips of a blue colour. The sole occupation and pleasure
of the men are hunting and fishing; and though they have some customs
similar to the Japanese, as that of quavering when they sing, yet in
general they bear a much more striking resemblance to the northern
Tartars, or to the Samoiedes, than to the Japanese.

In examining nations adjacent to China, on the south and west, we
find that the Cochin-Chinese, who inhabit a mountainous region to the
southward of China, are more tawny and more ugly than the Chinese; and
that the Tonquinese, whose country is more fertile, and whose climate
is more mild, are in every respect proportionally more handsome.

According to Dampier, the Tonquinese are of a middling height; and
though their complexion is tawny, their skin is so delicate and smooth,
that the smallest change is perceptible in their countenance, when
they happen either to grow pale, or to redden; a circumstance in which
they differ from all other Indians. In common their visage is flat and
oval; their nose and lips are thick; and they use every art, in order
to render their teeth as black as possible.

These nations, therefore, differ but little from the Chinese. They
resemble the natives of the southern provinces in colour; if they are
more tawny, it is because they live in a warmer climate; and though
their faces are less flat, and their noses less contracted, we yet
cannot help considering them as a people of the same origin.

Thus it is also with the natives of Siam, of Pegu, of Aracan, of Laos,
&c. Of all these the features have a considerable resemblance to those
of the Chinese; and though they differ from them in colour, yet their
affinity to the Chinese is greater than to the other Indians. The size
of the Siamese, says Loubère, is rather small, their bodies are well
proportioned, their faces are large, and their cheek-bones prominent,
their forehead is suddenly contracted, and terminates in a point like
the chin; their eyes are small and oblique; the white of the eye is
somewhat yellow; their cheeks are hollow, from the elevation of the
cheek-bones; their mouths are large, their lips thick, their teeth
black, their complexion is coarse, and of a brown colour mixed with
red, or, according to some travellers, of an ash colour, to which the
continual sultriness of the air contributes as much as the birth; their
nose is short and rounded at the point; their ears are large, and the
bigger they are the more they are held in estimation.

This taste for long ears is highly prevalent in the east; in different
places different arts are used to render them so, and in some they draw
them down almost to the shoulders. As for the Siamese, however, their
ears are naturally larger than ours; their hair is thick, black, and
straight; and both sexes wear it so short, that it does not descend
lower than the ear. They anoint their lips with a kind of perfumed
pomatum, which makes them appear very pale; they have little beard, and
that they pluck out by the roots; nor is it customary with them to pare
their nails.

Struys says, that the Siamese women wear pendants in their ears of such
mass and weight, that the holes become so large the thumb may be put
through them. He adds, that the complexion of both sexes is tawny; that
though not tall, they are shapely; and that the Siamese are in general
a mild and a civilized people.

According to Father Tachard, the Siamese are exceedingly alert, and
have among them tumblers, &c. not less expert and skilful than those
in Europe. He says, that the custom they have of blackening the teeth,
proceeds from an idea that it is not becoming in man to have teeth
white like the brute creation; that it is for this reason they begrime
them with black varnish, and then abstain from meat for several days,
that it may thoroughly adhere.

The inhabitants of the kingdom of Pegu and Aracan are more black, yet
bear a strong resemblance both to the Siamese and the Chinese. Those of
Aracan put great value upon a forehead large and flat, and to render
them so, they apply a plate of lead to the forehead of their children
the minute they are born. Their nostrils are large, their eyes are
small and lively, and their ears are of such length as to hang over
their shoulders. They feed without disgust on mice, rats, serpents,
and fish, however corrupted. Their women are tolerably fair, and their
ears are as long as those of the men. The people of Achen, who are
situated further north than those of Aracan, have also flat visages,
and an olive-coloured skin; they allow their boys to go quite naked,
and their girls have only a slight plate of silver to conceal what
Nature dictates.

None of these nations differ much from the Chinese, and all resemble
the Tartars in the smallness of their eyes, the largeness of their
visage, and the olive colour of their skin. In proceeding southward the
features begin to change more sensibly. The inhabitants of Malacca,
and of the island of Sumatra, are black, diminutive, lively, and well
proportioned. Though naked from the middle upward, a little kind of
scarf excepted, which they wear sometimes over the right and sometimes
over the left shoulder, their aspect is fierce. They are naturally
brave, and even formidable when they have swallowed a certain quantity
of opium, which intoxicates them with a kind of fury.

According to Dampier, the inhabitants of Sumatra and Malacca are of the
same race; they speak nearly the same language, and they have the same
bold and haughty disposition. They are of a middling stature, their
visage long, their eyes black, their noses of a moderate size, their
lips thin, and their teeth are blackened.

In the island of Pugniatan, or Pissagan, within 16 leagues of Sumatra,
the natives are tall, and of a yellow complexion, like the Brazilians;
their hair is long, and they go completely naked. Those of the Nicobar
islands, which lie northward of Sumatra, are of a tawny or yellowish
colour, and they also go naked. In speaking of these last islanders,
Dampier says, that they are tall and well proportioned; that their
visage is long, their hair black and straight, and their noses of a
moderate size; that the women have no eye-brows, which it is probable
they do not suffer to grow. In Sombreo, an island north of the Nicobar
islands, the inhabitants are very black, and they paint their faces
with green, yellow, and other colours.

These natives of Malacca, of Sumatra, and of the little adjacent
islands, though different from each other, are much more so from the
Chinese and the Tartars, and seem to have sprung from another race. The
inhabitants of Java, nevertheless, have not the smallest resemblance
to those of Sumatra and Malacca, while to the Chinese (the colour alone
excepted, which, like the Malaccas, is red mixed with black) they
seem to be intimately related. Pigafetta describes them as a people
not unlike the Brazilians. Their complexion, says he, is coarse, and
their bodies are square and muscular, though in size they are neither
very tall nor very short; their visage is flat, their cheeks flabby,
their eyes small, their eye-brows inclined to the temples, and their
beards thin and short. Father Tachard says, that the people of Java are
well made and robust; that they are lively and resolute; and that the
extreme heat of the climate obliges them to go almost naked. From other
descriptions it appears, that the inhabitants of Java are neither black
nor white, but of a purplish red, and that they are mild, familiar and

Legat informs us, that the women of Java, who are not exposed to the
rays of the sun, are less tawny than the men, that their countenance
is comely, their breasts prominent and shapely, their complexions
beautiful, though brown; their hands delicate, their hair soft, their
eyes brilliant, their smile agreeable, and that numbers of them dance
with elegance and spirit.

Of the Dutch travellers, the generality allow, that the natives of
this island are robust, well proportioned, nervous, and full of
muscular vigour; that their visage is flat, their cheek-bones broad and
prominent, their eye-lids large, their eyes small, their hair long, and
their complexion tawny; that they have little beard; that they wear
their hair and their nails very long; and that in order to beautify
their teeth, they polish them with files. In a little island fronting
that of Java, the women are tawny, their eyes small, their mouths
large, their noses flat, and their hair long and black.

From all these accounts we may infer, that the inhabitants of Java
greatly resemble the Tartars and Chinese; while those of Malacca,
Sumatra, and of the neighbouring little islands differ from them
equally in the features of the face, and in the form of the body.
This may have very naturally happened; for the peninsula of Malacca,
the islands of Sumatra and Java, as well as all the other islands
of the Indian Archipelago, must have been peopled by the nations of
the neighbouring continents, and even by the Europeans, who have had
settlements there for these three hundred years. This must have
occasioned a very great variety in the inhabitants both in the features
and colour, and in the form of the body and proportion of the limbs.
In the island of Java, for example, there is a people called the
_Chacrelas_, who are altogether different, not only from the natives
of the island, but even from all the other Indians. The Chacrelas
are white and fair, and their eyes are so weak that, incapable of
supporting the light of the sun, they go about with them lowered and
almost closed till night, when their vision becomes more strong.

According to Pyrard, all the inhabitants of the Malacca islands are
similar to those of Sumatra and Java in manners, mode of living,
habits, language, and colour. According to Maldeslo, the men are rather
black than tawny, and the women are more fair. They have all, he says,
black hair, large eyes, eye-brows and eye-lids, and bodies vigorous
and robust. They are also nimble and active; and though their hair
very soon becomes grey, they yet live to a great age. Each island, he
further remarks, has its particular language; nor can it be doubted but
that they have been peopled by different nations. The inhabitants of
Borneo and of Baly, he adds, are rather black than tawny; but according
to other travellers, they are only brown like the other Indians.
Carreri says, that the inhabitants of Ternate are of the same colour
as those of Malacca, which is a little darker than those of Philippine
islands; that their countenances are comely; that the men are more
shapely than the women, and that both bestow particular care upon their

The Dutch travellers tell us, that the natives of the Island of Banda
are remarkable for longevity; that they have seen one man at the age
of 130, and numbers on the verge of that period; that in general they
are indolent and inactive; and that while the men amuse themselves in
sauntering abroad, the women are subjected to all the offices of labour
at home. Dampier observes, that the original natives of the island
of Timor, which is one of those most adjacent to New Holland, are a
middling size, and of an erect form; that their limbs are slender,
their visages long, their hair black and bristly, and their skin
exceedingly black; that they are alert and dexterous, but superlatively
indolent and slothful. He adds, however, that the inhabitants of the
Bay of Laphno are, for the most part, tawny or copper-coloured.

In turning northward we find Manilla, and the other Philippine islands,
of which the inhabitants are perhaps more intermixed than those of any
other region in the universe, by the alliances they have formed with
the Spaniards, the Indians, the Chinese, the Malabars, the blacks,
&c. The negroes, who live in the rocks and woods of Manilla, differ
entirely from the other inhabitants; of some the hair is short and
frizly, like the negroes of Angola, and of others it is long. Their
colour consists of various shades of black. According to Gemelli
Carreri, there are some among them who, like the islanders mentioned
by Ptolemy, have tails of the length of four or five inches. This
traveller adds, that he has been assured, by Jesuits of undoubted
testimony, that in the island of Mindoro, which is not far from
Manilla, there is a race of men called _Manghians_, who have all tails
of that length, and that some of these men had even embraced the
Catholic faith; that they are of an olive colour, and have long hair.

Dampier says, that the inhabitants of the island of Mindanao, which is
one of the principal and most southerly of the Philippines, are of a
middling height, that their limbs are small, their bodies erect, their
heads small, their visages oval, their foreheads flat, their eyes black
and small, their noses short, their mouths moderate, their lips thin
and red, their teeth black, their hair black and smooth, and their skin
tawny, but of a brighter yellow than many of the other Indians; that in
point of complexion the women have the advantage of the men; that they
are also more shapely, and have features tolerably regular; that the
men are in general ingenious and alert, but slothful, and addicted to

Northward of Manilla is the island of Formosa, situated at no great
distance from the coast of Fokien, in China, but the natives bear no
resemblance to the Chinese. According to Struys, the Formosans are of
small stature, particularly those who inhabit the mountains, and that
they have broad faces. The women have large coarse breasts, and a beard
like the men; their ears, naturally long, they render still more so
by thick shells, which they wear as pendants; their hair is black and
long, and their complexions are of different degrees of yellow. Though
averse to labour, they are yet admirably skilled in the use of the
javelin and bow; they are excellent swimmers, and run with incredible
swiftness. Struys declares, that in this island he actually saw a man
with a tail above a foot long, covered with reddish hair, not unlike
that of an ox, and that this man assured him, if it was a blemish to
have a tail, it proceeded from the climate, for all the natives of the
southern part of the island had tails like himself.

I know not what credit we ought to give to this relation of Struys, for
if the fact be true, it must at least be exaggerated; it differs from
what other travellers have said with respect to these men with tails,
and even from the account of Ptolemy, and from that of Mark Paul, the
latter of whom, in his geographical description, says, that in the
kingdom of Lambry there are mountaineers who have tails of the length
of the hand. Struys seems to rest upon the authority of Mark Paul, as
Gemelli Carreri does upon that of Ptolemy, though the tail he mentions
to have seen is widely different in its dimensions from those of the
blacks of Manilla, the inhabitants of Lambry, and other places, as
described by other writers.

The editor of the description of the island of Formosa, from the
memoirs of Psalmanazar, makes no mention of a people so very
extraordinary; but says, that though the climate is exceedingly hot,
the women, those especially who are not exposed to the rays of the sun,
are exceedingly fair and beautiful; that with certain lotions they take
particular care to preserve their complexion; that they are equally
attentive to the beauty of their teeth, and instead of rendering them
black, like the Japanese and Chinese, they use every effort to keep
them white; that the men are not tall, but thick and strong; that they
are commonly vigorous, indefatigable, skilful in war, and dexterous in
manual exercises.

In their accounts of the natives of Formosa, the Dutch travellers
differ from all those we have yet mentioned. Mandelslo, as well as
the writers of the collection of voyages, which paved the way for the
establishment of the Dutch East-India Company, informs us that these
islanders are taller than the Europeans; that the colour of their skin
is of a dark brown; that their bodies are hairy; and that the women are
low in stature, but robust, fat, and tolerably well proportioned.

In few writers respecting this island do we find any mention of men
with tails; and of the form and features of the natives, authors differ
also prodigiously. With respect to one fact they seem, however, to
agree, though it is not perhaps less extraordinary, namely, that the
women are not allowed to bear children before the age of 35, though
allowed to marry long before that period. In speaking of this custom,
Rechteren thus expresses himself: "After the women are married,
they must not become mothers till they have completed their 35th or
37th year. When they happen to be pregnant before that time, their
priestesses trample upon their bellies with their feet, and thus
occasion a miscarriage, as painful and dangerous, if not more so than
the natural labour. To bring a child into the world previous to the age
prescribed, would be not only a disgrace but an enormous crime. I have
seen women who had suffered 16 of these forced miscarriages, and were
only allowed to bring into the world their 17th child."

The Mariana-islands, or the Ladrones, which are the most remote from
the eastern coast, are inhabited by a people rude and uncivilized.
Father Gobien says that, till the arrival of the Europeans, they had
never seen fire; and that nothing could exceed their astonishment when,
on the arrival of Magellan, they first beheld it. Their complexion is
tawny, though less brown than that of the natives of the Philippines;
in strength and robustness they surpass the Europeans. They are tall
and well proportioned; and though they feed solely on roots, fruits,
and fish, they are very corpulent, which however, does not check their
nimbleness and activity. They live to a great age; nor is it uncommon
to find among them persons who, strangers to sickness, have already
reached their 100th year.

Carreri says, that the natives of these islands are of a gigantic
figure, corpulent, and so strong that they can raise a weight of 500
pounds upon their shoulders. In general their hair is frizly, their
noses thick, their eyes are large, and their colour like that of the
Indians. The natives of Guan, one of these islands, have long black
hair, large noses, thick lips, white teeth, long visages, and fierce
aspects. They are also exceedingly robust; and it is said they do not
in height measure less than seven feet.

Southward of the Mariana-islands, and eastward of the Malaccas, we find
the country of the Papous, and New Guinea, which seem to be the most
southern regions. Argensola tells us, that the Papous are as black as
the Caffres, that their hair is frizly, and their countenance meagre
and disagreeable. In this country, nevertheless, there are people as
fair as the Germans; but their eyes are exceedingly weak and delicate.
According to Le Maire, they are not only very black, but also savage
and brutal; they wear rings in their ears and nostrils, and sometimes
also in the partition of the nose; they likewise wear bracelets of
mother-of-pearl above the elbows and on the wrists, and cover their
heads with a cap made of the bark of a tree painted with several
colours. They are well proportioned, have a sufficiency of beard; their
teeth are black, as is also the hair, which, though frizly, is not so
woolly as that of the negroes. They run very fast, and their weapons
consist of clubs, spears, and sabres, made of hard wood, the use of
iron being unknown to them. They also employ their teeth as weapons,
and bite like dogs; beetle and pimento mixed with chalk make part of
their food. The women are of hideous aspect; their breasts hang down
to the navel; their bellies are extremely prominent; their arms and
limbs are small; and in their visages they resemble so many apes.

Dampier says, that the natives of the island of Sabala, in New Guinea,
are a class of tawny Indians, with long black hair, and whose manners
are not much different from those of Mindanao, and the other oriental
islands; but besides them, it is also peopled by negroes, with short
woolly hair. Speaking of another island, which he calls _Garret-Denys_,
he says, that the natives are black, vigorous, and well shaped; that
their heads are large and round; that their hair, which they cut in
different fashions, and tinge with different colours, as red, white,
and yellow, is short and frizly; that their faces are large and round,
and their noses thick and flat; that nevertheless their physiognomy
would not be absolutely disagreeable, did they not thrust a kind of
peg, about one inch thick and four inches long, across the nostrils, so
that both ends may touch the cheek-bones; and that they pierce their
ears with similar pegs.

According to the same author, the natives of the coast of New Holland,
which is in the latitude of 16, and to the south of the island of
Timor, are of all mankind perhaps the most miserable, and the most upon
a level with the brutes. They are tall, erect, and thin; their limbs
are long and slender; their heads are large; their foreheads round, and
their eye-brows thick. Their eye-lids are always half shut; a habit
they contract in their infancy to save their eyes from the gnats, and
as they never open their eyes, they cannot see at a distance without
raising their head, as if looking at something over their heads. Their
noses and lips are thick, and their mouths large. They pull out, it
would seem, the two front teeth of the upper jaw; for in neither sex,
nor at any age, are they ever found to possess these teeth. They have
no beard; their visage is long, nor does it contain one pleasing
feature. Their hair is short, black, and frizly, like that of the
negroes; and their skin is as black as those of Guinea. Their whole
cloathing consists of a bit of the bark of a tree fastened round the
middle. They have no houses, and they sleep on the bare ground, without
any covering. They associate, men, women, and children, promiscuously,
in troops, to the number of 20 or 30. Their only food is a small fish,
which they catch by forming reservoirs in little arms of the sea, and
to every kind of grain or bread they are utter strangers.

The natives of another part of New Holland, in the 22d or 23d degree
of south latitude, seem to be of the same race as those We have now
described; they are ugly to an extreme; their eyes have the same defect
as those of the others; their skin is black, their hair frizly, and
their bodies tall and slender.

From these descriptions it appears, that the islands and coasts of the
Indian ocean are peopled by men widely different from each other. The
natives of Malacca, of Sumatra, and of the Nicobar islands, appear to
derive their origin from those of the peninsula of Indus, and those of
Java from the Chinese, the white men excepted, who go by the name of
Chacrelas, and who must have sprung from the Europeans. The natives of
the Malacca islands seem also in general to have originated from the
Indians in the peninsula; but those of the island of Timor, which is
near to New Holland, are almost similar to the people of that country.
Those of Formosa, and the Mariana islands, resemble each other in
size, vigour, and features, and seem to form a race distinct from that
of every other people around them. The Papus, and other nations in
the neighbourhood of New Guinea, are real blacks, and resemble those
of Africa, though at a prodigious distance from that continent, and
separated from it by a space of 2,200 leagues of sea. The natives of
New Holland resemble the Hottentots. But before we draw any conclusions
from all these relations and differences, it is necessary to pursue our
enquiries with respect to the different nations of Asia and Africa.

The Moguls, and other nations of the peninsula of India, are not
unlike the Europeans in shape and in features; but they differ more or
less from them in colour. The Moguls are olive, though in the Indian
language the word _Mogul_ signifies _White_. The women are extremely
delicate, and they bathe themselves very often: they are of an olive
colour as well as the men; and, what is opposite to the women in
Europe, their legs and thighs are long, and their bodies are short.
Tavernier says, that after passing Lahor, and the kingdom of Cashmire,
the women have naturally no hair on any part of the body, and the men
have hardly any beard. According to Thevenot, the Mogul women are very
fruitful, though exceedingly chaste, and suffer so little from the
pains of child-birth, that they are often abroad the day following.
He adds, that in the kingdom of Decan they are allowed to marry, the
male by his tenth, and the female by her eighth year; and at that age
they not unoften have children; but the women who become mothers so
soon usually cease bearing before they arrive at 30, and by that period
they appear wrinkled, and marked with all the deformities of age. It is
not an uncommon practice among them to have their skins pricked in the
shape of flowers, and by painting them with the juices of plants, they
perfectly resemble them.

The natives of Bengal are more yellow than the Moguls. In disposition
also they differ totally; their women, instead of being chaste, of all
the Indian women are the most lascivious. In this country they carry
on a great traffic of slaves, male and female. They also make numbers
of eunuchs. They are comely and well-shaped, are fond of commerce, and
have much mildness in their manners.

The natives of the coast of Coromandel are more black than the people
of Bengal; they are also less civilized, and in general go nearly
naked. Those of the coast of Malabar are still more black; their hair
is black also, straight, and long, and are of the same size with
the Europeans. Even in their towns men, women, and children, bathe
promiscuously in public basons. Their women wear rings in their noses;
they are married at the age of eight, and though black, or at least of
a very deep brown, they yet are comely and well proportioned.

The customs of the different Indian nations are all very singular,
if not whimsical. The Banians eat nothing which has had life in it;
they are even afraid to kill the smallest reptile, however offensive
to them; they throw rice and beans into their rivers as food for the
fishes, and grains of different kinds upon the earth for the birds and
insects. When they meet a hunter, or a fisher, they earnestly beg of
him to desist; if deaf to their entreaties, they offer him money for
his gun, or his nets, and when no persuasion nor offer will avail, they
trouble the water to frighten away the fishes, and cry with all their
strength to put the birds and other game to flight.

The Naires of Calicut form a class of nobles, whose sole profession
is that of arms. These men are handsome, and of a comely aspect,
though of an olive colour, and though they lengthen their ears to
such a pitch as to make them fall over their shoulders, and sometimes
lower, they are tall, hardy, courageous, and highly expert in military
exercise. These Naires are allowed no more than one wife, but the
women may have as many husbands as they please. Father Tachard says,
that they sometimes have not fewer than ten, whom they consider as so
many slaves, subjected by their beauty. This privilege is annexed to
nobility, from which the women of condition derive to themselves every
possible advantage. Those of inferior rank are allowed but one husband,
but they comfort themselves under this restraint by the caresses of
strangers, with whom they carry on their illicit amours, in defiance of
their husbands, who dare not even speak to them upon the subject. The
mothers prostitute their daughters in their early infancy. The nobles,
or Naires, seem to be of a race different from the lower order, for
the latter, men as well as women, are more ugly, yellow, unshapely,
and more diminutive. Among the Naires there are some whose legs are as
thick as the body of another man. This deformity they have from their
birth, and not from any particular malady; and nevertheless they are
exceedingly active. This race of men with thick legs have not increased
much either among the Naires or any other classes of Indians; they are,
however, in other places, and especially in Ceylon, where they are said
to be the race of St. Thomas.

The natives of Ceylon are not unlike those of the coast of Malabar.
They are less black, but their ears are as large, and descend as low.
They are of a mild aspect, and naturally nimble, alert, and lively.
Their hair which is very black, the men wear short; the common people
go almost naked; and the women, according to a custom pretty general
in India, have their bosoms uncovered. In Ceylon there is a species
of savages, who are called _Bedas_; they occupy a small district on
the north part of the island, and seem to be of a peculiar race. The
spot they inhabit is entirely covered with wood, amidst which they
conceal themselves so closely that it is with great difficulty they are
discovered. Their complexion is fair, and sometimes red, like that of
the Europeans. Their language has not the smallest affinity to that
of any of the other Indians. They have no villages nor houses, nor
hold any intercourse with the rest of mankind. Their weapons are bows
and arrows, with which they kill a great number of boars, stags, and
other animals; they never dress their meat, but sweeten it with honey,
which they possess in great abundance. We are strangers to the origin
of this tribe, which is far from being numerous, and of which every
family lives separate. It appears that the Bedas of Ceylon, as well
as the Chacrelas of Java, who are both fair and few in number, are of
European extraction. It is possible that some European men and women
might have formerly been deserted in these islands, or thrown upon then
by shipwreck, and that for fear of being maltreated by the natives,
they and their descendants have remained in the woods, and in the
mountainous parts of the country, where, habituated to a savage life,
they might at length consider it as preferable.

It is supposed that the natives of the Maldivia islands are descended
from those of Ceylon, yet they bear no resemblance, the latter being
black and badly formed; the former shapely, and, their olive colour
excepted, little different from the Europeans. Besides they are a
people composed of all nations. Those of the northern parts are more
civilized than those of the southern. The women, notwithstanding their
olive colour are handsome; and some of them are as fair as those of
Europe. Their hair is universally black: this they consider as a
beauty; and they studiously render it of that colour, by keeping the
heads of their boys and girls constantly shaved every eight days till
the age of eight or nine years. Another beauty is to have the hair
very long, and very thick; and for this purpose they anoint their head
and body with a perfumed oil. These islanders love exercise, and are
industrious artists; they are superstitious and greatly addicted to
women; and though the women are particularly cautious of exposing their
bosoms, they are yet exceeding debauched, and lavish of their favours.

The natives of Cambaia are of an ash-colour; and those bordering on
the sea the most swarthy. In their accounts of Guzarat, the Dutch tell
us, that the natives are all of yellow shades; that they are of the
same size as the Europeans; that the women who are rarely exposed to
the sun, are fairer than the men; and that some of them are little
more swarthy than the Portuguese. Mandelslo says, that the people of
Guzarat are all of a colour more or less tawny or olive, according to
the climate in which they are situated; that the men are strong and
shapely, have large faces and black eyes; that the women are small
but well proportioned, that they wear their hair long, also pegs in
their nostrils, and large pendants in their ears. Few of them are
deformed; some have a more clear complexion than others, yet they have
all black straight hair. The ancient inhabitants of Guzarat are easily
distinguished from the others by their colour, which is much more
black, and by their being more stupid and barbarous.

Goa is the chief Portuguese settlement in the Indies, and though it may
have lost much of its former splendor, it is still, however, a rich
and a commercial city. Here, at one time, more slaves were sold than
in any other part of the world; and where the most beautiful women
and girls, from all parts of Asia, became the property of the highest
bidder. These slaves were of all colours, and were skilled in music, as
well as in the arts of sewing and embroidery. The Indians were chiefly
captivated with the Caffre girls from Mosambique, who are all black.
"It is remarkable, says Pyrard, that the sweat of the Indian men or
women has no disagreeable smell; whereas of the negroes of Africa, the
stench, when they are in any degree over-heated, is insupportable. He
adds, that the Indian women are fond of the European men, and that they
prefer them to the white men of the Indies."

The Persians are neighbours to the Moguls, and bear a considerable
likeness to them; those especially who occupy the southern parts of
Persia. The natives of Ormus, and of the provinces of Bascia and
Balascia, are very brown and tawny; those of Chesmur, and the other
provinces, in which the heat is less intense than in Ormus, are more
fair; and those of the northern provinces are tolerably white. The
women who inhabit the islands of the Persian gulph, are, according to
the Dutch travellers, brown or yellow, and not in the least agreeable.
They have several modes and customs similar to those of the Indian
women, as having a hole formed through the cartilage of the nose, for
the admission of a ring, and through the skin of the nose, immediately
below the eyes, for that of a gold wire. Indeed this custom of piercing
the nose, in order to embellish it with rings and other trinkets,
has extended much farther than the gulph of Persia. Many of the women
in Arabia have an incision made through their nostrils for the same
purpose; and with this people it is an act of gallantry for the husband
to salute his wife through those rings, which are sometimes so large as
to encompass the whole mouth.

Xenophon, in speaking of the Persians, says, that they were generally
fat and gross; Marcellinus, on the contrary, says, that in his time
they were meagre and thin. Olearius adds, that they are to this day
what the last mentioned author describes, that they are full of
strength and vigour, and that their complexion is olive-coloured, their
hair black, and their noses aquiline.

That the Persian blood is naturally gross, says Chardin, is evident
from the Guebres, who are a remnant of the ancient Persians, and who
are ugly, ill shaped, and coarse skinned. It is evident also from the
inhabitants of the provinces nearest to India, who, as they never form
any alliances but among each other, are little less deformed than
the Guebres. Throughout the rest of the kingdom the Persian blood
has become highly refined, by intermixtures with the Georgians and
Circassians, two nations the most remarkable for the beauty of the
inhabitants of any in the world. Thus in Persia there is hardly a
man of distinction whose mother came not from Georgia or Circassia;
and even the king himself is commonly, by the mother's side, sprung
from a native of one or other of these countries. As it is many years
since this mixture first took place, the Persian women, though still
inferior in beauty to the Georgian, have become very handsome. The men
are commonly tall, erect, fresh-coloured, and vigorous; their air is
graceful, and their appearance engaging. The mildness of their climate,
and the sobriety in which they are brought up, contribute much to their
personal beauty. This they in no degree inherit from their fathers, for
without the above mixture the men of rank in Persia would be extremely
ugly and deformed, being descendants of the Tartars. The Persians,
on the contrary, are polished and ingenious; their imagination is
lively, quick, and fertile; though fond of arts and sciences, they
are yet ambitious of warlike honours; they are proud and very fond of
praise; have much familiarity in their tempers; they are amorous and
voluptuous, luxuriant, and prodigal, and are alike unacquainted with
economy and commerce.

Though in general tolerably sober, they are immoderate devourers of
fruit; and nothing is more common than to see one man eat twelve pounds
of melons. Some will eat three or four times that quantity, and by
over-indulging their appetite for fruit, numbers lose their lives.

Fine women of every colour are common in Persia, as they are brought
thither by merchants, selected on account of their beauty. The white
women come from Poland, from Muscovy, from Circassia, from Georgia,
and from the frontiers of Great Tartary, the tawny ones from the
territories of the Great Mogul, the kingdom of Golconda and Visapore;
and the black ones from the coast of the Red Sea.

Among the inferior classes of women a strange superstition prevails.
Such as are barren imagine that they have only to pass under the
suspended body of a gibbeted criminal to become fruitful; the influence
of a male corpse, and that even from a distance, will communicate to
them fecundity. When this expedient fails, they go into the canals
which flow from the public baths, when they know a number of men are
bathing. Should the latter supposed specific prove alike ineffectual as
the former, their last resource is to swallow that part of the prepuce
which is cut off in the operation of circumcision; and this they deem a
sovereign remedy against sterility.

The inhabitants of Persia, of Turkey, of Arabia, of Egypt, and of all
Barbary, may be considered as one and the same people, who, in the
time of Mahomet and his successors, invaded immense territories,
extended their dominions, and became exceedingly intermixed with the
original natives of all those countries. The Persians, the Turks, and
the Moors, are to a certain degree civilized; but the Arabs, have for
the most part remained in a state of lawless independence. They live
like the Tartars, without law, without government, and almost without
society: theft, robbery, and violence, are authorized by their chiefs;
they glory in their vices, and pay no respect to virtue; and all
human institutions they despise, excepting such as are founded upon
fanaticism and superstition.

They are inured to labour, and to which they habituate their horses,
allowing them refreshment but once in twenty-four hours. Their
horses are necessarily meagre, but are excellent coursers, and seem

In general the Arabs live miserably: they have neither bread nor wine,
nor do they take the trouble to cultivate the earth. Instead of bread,
they use wild grain, mixed and kneaded with the milk of their camels,
sheep, and goats. These they conduct in flocks from place to place,
till they find a spot of sufficient herbage for them. On this spot they
erect their tents, and live with their wives and children till the
herbage is consumed, when they decamp and proceed in search of more.

However hard may be their mode of living, and simple their food, yet
the Arabs are robust and stout; they are of a tolerable size and rather
handsome. As the generality of them go naked, or with the slight
covering of a wretched shirt, their skins are much scorched by the heat
of the sun. Those of the coasts of Arabia-Felix, and of the island of
Scotora, are more diminutive; their complexion is either ash-coloured
or tawny; and in form they resemble the Abyssinians.

The Arabs paint their arms, lips, and different parts of their body, of
a deep blue, which they penetrate into the flesh by means of a kind of
needle contrived on purpose, and it can never be effaced. This custom
is also common among the negroes who traffic with the Mahometans. Some
of the young girls among the Arabs paint various devices on their
bodies, of a blue colour, which is done by vitriol on the point of a
lancet, and this they consider as an embellishment to their beauty.

La Boulaye says, that the Arabian women of the Desert paint their
hands, lips, and chin, of a blue colour; that in their noses they
mostly have gold or silver rings, of three inches in diameter;
that though born fair, they yet lose all their complexion by being
constantly exposed to the sun; that the young girls are very agreeable,
and immoderately fond of singing; that their songs are not melancholy
and plaintive like those of the Turks and Persians, but more strange,
they raise their voices as much as possible, and articulate with
prodigious velocity.

"The Arabian princesses and ladies," says another traveller, "are very
beautiful, and being always sheltered from the sun, are very fair. The
women of the inferior classes are not only naturally tawny, but are
rendered much more so by the sun, and are of a disagreeable figure.
They prick their lips with needles, and cover them with gunpowder,
mixed with ox-gall, by which the lips are rendered blue and livid ever
after. In like manner they prick the cheeks, and each side of the mouth
and chin. They draw a line of black along the eye-lids, as also on
the outward corner of each eye, that it may appear more expanded, for
large and prominent eyes are considered the principal beauty of the
Eastern women. To express the beauty of women, the Arabs say, "She has
the eyes of the antelope." To this animal they always compare their
mistresses; and black eyes, or the eyes of the antelope, never fail to
be the burden of their love songs. Than the antelope nothing can be
more beautiful; and it particularly discovers a certain innocent fear,
which bears a strong resemblance to the natural modesty and timidity
of a young woman. The ladies, and women newly married, blacken the
eye-brows, and make them unite on the middle of their forehead; they
also prick their arms and hands, and form upon them figures of animals,
flowers, &c. They also paint their nails of a reddish colour. The men
paint the tails of their horses with this colour. The women wear rings
in their ears, and bracelets upon their arms and legs."

To this account it may be added, that the Arabs are all jealous of
their wives, and that, whether they obtain them by purchase or carry
them away by force, they treat them with, mildness and even with

The Egyptians, though they live so near the Arabians, have the same
religion, and are governed by the same laws, yet they are very
different in their manners and customs. In all the towns and villages
along the Nile, for example, we meet with girls set apart for the
embraces of travellers, without any obligation to pay for such
indulgence. For this purpose they have houses always full of these
girls; and when a rich man finds himself dying, as an act of pious
charity he disburses a sum of money to provide damsels and an edifice
of this kind. When any of these girls have a male child, the mother
is obliged to rear him till the age of three or four, after which she
carries him to the patron of the house, or his heir, who employs him as
one of his slaves. The girls, however, remain with the mother, and when
of a proper age they supply her place.

The Egyptian women are very brown, their eyes ate lively, their
stature rather low, their mode of dress by no means agreeable, and
their conversation very tiresome. They are remarkable for bearing a
number of children; and some travellers pretend, that the fertility
occasioned by the inundation of the Nile is not confined to the earth,
but to the human and animal creation. They add, that by drinking of the
Nile, or by bathing in it, the first two months after its overflow,
which are those of July and August, the women generally conceive; that
in April and May they are as generally delivered, and that cows almost
always bring forth two calves, a ewe two lambs, &c.

To reconcile this benign influence of the Nile with the troublesome
disorders occasioned by it would be difficult. Granger says, that in
Egypt the air is unwholesome; that the eyes are peculiarly subject
to diseases so inveterate, that many lose their sight; that in this
country there are more blind people than in any other; and that
during the increase of the Nile the generality of the inhabitants are
afflicted with obstinate dysenteries, occasioned by the water being
then strongly impregnated with saline particles.

Though the women of Egypt are commonly small, yet the men are of a good
height. Both, generally speaking, are of an olive colour, and the more
we remove from Cairo the more tawny we find the natives, till we come
to the confines of Nubia, where they are nearly as black as the Nubians

The greatest defects of the Egyptians are, idleness and cowardice. They
do nothing the whole day but drink coffee, smoke tobacco, sleep, or
chatter in the streets. They are extremely ignorant, yet are full of
the most ridiculous vanity. Though they cannot deny they have lost that
nobleness they once possessed, their skill in sciences and in arms,
their history, and even their language; and that from an illustrious
nation they have degenerated into a people dastardly and enslaved, they
yet scruple not to despise all other nations, and to take offence at
advising them to send their children to Europe, to acquire a knowledge
of the arts and sciences.

Of a distinct origin are the numerous natives that inhabit the coasts
of the Mediterranean, between Egypt and the western ocean, as well
as the extensive territories from Barbary to Mount Atlas. The Arabs,
Vandals, Spaniards, and, more anciently, the Romans and the Egyptians,
peopled these regions with men very different from each other. The
inhabitants of the mountains of Arras, for example, have an aspect and
complexion very different from those of their neighbours; their skin,
far from being tawny, is fair and ruddy; and their hair is of a deep
yellow, while that of the adjacent nations is black; circumstances
which have led Dr. Shaw to suppose them the descendants of the Vandals,
who, on their expulsion, might have settled in some parts of these

The women of the kingdom of Tripoli, though so near to those of Egypt,
have yet no resemblance to them. The former are tall; and they even
consider length of stature as an essential article of beauty. Like the
Arabian women they mark their cheeks and chin; and as in Turkey they
so highly esteem red hair, they even paint that of their children with

In general the Moorish women affect to wear their hair down to their
heels, and those whose hair is less in length, use false locks; and
they all adorn their tresses with ribbons. The hair of the eye-lids
they tinge with the dust of black lead; and the dark colour which this
gives to the eyes they esteem a singular beauty. In this circumstance,
indeed they differ not from the women of ancient Greece and Rome.

Most part of the Moorish women would pass for handsome even in Europe.
The skin of their children is exceedingly fair and delicate; and
though the boys, by being exposed to the sun, soon grow swarthy, yet
the girls, who are kept more at home, retain their beauty till the age
of 30, when they commonly cease to have children. At this premature
sterility they have less cause to repine, as they are often mothers at
the age of 11, and grandmothers at that of 22; and living as long as
European women, they commonly see several generations.

In reading Marmol's description of these different nations, it is
evident that the inhabitants of the mountains of Barbary are fair, and
those of the sea-coasts and plains are very brown and tawny. He says
expressly, that the inhabitants of Capex, a city of Tunis, are poor
people exceedingly black; that those who dwell on the river Dara, in
the kingdom of Morocco, are very tawny; and that the inhabitants of
Zarhou, and of the mountains of Fez, on the side of Mount Atlas, are
white. He adds, that the latter are so little affected by cold, that
even in frost and snow their dress is very slight; and through the
whole year they go with the head uncovered. The Numidians, he says, are
rather tawny than black; the women are tolerably fair, and even lusty,
though the men are meagre; but that the inhabitants of Guaden, at the
extremity of Numidia, and on the frontiers of Senegal, are rather black
that tawny; that, on the other hand, in the province of Dara, the women
are beautiful and fresh-coloured; and that throughout the whole regions
negro-slaves of both sexes are numerous.

The difference then is not great among the nations that dwell between
the 20th, 30th, or 35th degree north latitude, in the old continent;
that is, from the Mogul empire to Barbary, and even from the Ganges to
the western coasts of Morocco, if we except the varieties occasioned
by the mixture with more northern nations, by which some of these vast
countries have been conquered and peopled. In this territory, the
extent of which is not less than 2000 leagues, the inhabitants are in
general brown and tawny, yet well made, and tolerably handsome.

If we next examine those who live in climates more temperate we shall
find that the people northward of Mogul and Persia, the Armenians,
Turks, Georgians, Mingrelians Circassians, Greeks, and the Europeans at
large, are the most fair and handsome in the world; and that however
remote Cashmire may be from Spain, or Circassia from France, yet
situated nearly at the same distance from the equator, the resemblance
between the natives is singularly striking.

The people of Cashmire, says Bernier, are celebrated for beauty; they
are as well made as the Europeans; they have nothing of the Tartar
visages; nor have they that flat nose, and those pig's eyes we met with
among their neighbours. The women are particularly handsome; and it is
very common for strangers, on coming to the court of Mogul, to provide
themselves with wives from Cashmire, in order to have children that may
pass for true Moguls.

The natives of Georgia are of a more refined extraction than those of
Cashmire. In the whole of that country we find not an ugly face; and
the women enjoy from Nature graces superior to those of any other race.
They are tall and well-shaped; their waist is exceedingly delicate,
and their faces are truly charming. The men are also very handsome;
and, from their natural ingenuity, were it not counteracted by a
wretched education, which renders them ignorant and vicious, they might
successfully cultivate the arts and sciences. In no country whatever,
perhaps, are libertinism and drunkenness carried to so great a pitch as
in Georgia. Chardin says, that even the clergy are exceedingly addicted
to wine; that, in the character of slaves, they retain a number
of concubines, and that at this custom, as being general and even
authorised, no person takes offence. He adds, that the prefect of the
Capuchins assured him, that the Patriarch of Georgia publicly declares,
that he who, at the grand festivals, as those of Easter and Christmas,
does not get drunk, is unworthy to be called a Christian, and ought to
be excommunicated. With all their vices the Georgians are a civil and
humane people, little subject to passion, but irreconcileable enemies
when provoked, and have conceived an antipathy.

"The women of Circassia," says Struys, "are also exceedingly fair and
beautiful. Their complexion has the finest tints, their forehead is
large and smooth, and, without the aid of art, their eye-brows are so
delicate, that they appear as curved threads of silk. Their eyes are
large, expressive, and full of fire; their noses finely shaped, and
their lips perfect vermilion; their mouths are small, and constantly
expressive of smiles, and their chins form the termination of a perfect
oval. Their necks and breasts are admirably formed; their stature is
tall, and the shape of their body easy; their skin is white as snow,
and their hair of the most beautiful black. They wear a little black
stuff cap, over which is fastened a roller of the same colour; but,
what is truly ridiculous, the widows, instead of this roller, wear
the bladder of an ox, or a cow, blown out as much as possible, which
disfigures them amazingly. In summer the inferior classes wear nothing
but a shift, which is open down to the middle, and is generally blue,
yellow, or red. Though tolerably familiar with strangers, they are
faithful to their husbands, who are by no means jealous of them."

Tavernier says also, that the women of Comania and Circassia are, like
those of Georgia, very shapely and beautiful; that they retain the
freshness of their complexion till the age of 45 or 50; that they are
all very industrious, and often employed in the most servile offices.
In marriage these people possess an uncommon degree of liberty. If the
husband is not contented with his wife, and he makes his complaint
first, the lord of the district sends for the wife, orders her to be
sold, and provides the husband with another. If the woman complains
first, her husband is taken from her, and she is left at her freedom.

The Mingrelians are said to be as beautiful, and as well shaped as
the Georgians or Circassians; and, indeed, they all seem to be of the
same race. The women of Mingrelia, says Chardin, are very handsome,
have a majestic air, their faces and forms are admirable, and have
a look so engaging as to attract every beholder. Those who are less
handsome, or advanced in years, daub their eye-brows, cheeks, forehead,
nose, and chin, with paint; the rest only paint the eye-brows. They
bestow every possible attention to their dress, which is similar to
that of the Persians. They are lively, civil, and obliging, yet full
of perfidy, and there is no wickedness they will not put in practice,
in order to obtain, to preserve, or get rid of a lover. The men have
likewise many bad qualities. They are all bred up to thievery, which
they make a business and amusement. With infinite satisfaction do
they relate the different depredations they have committed, for which
they are extolled, and derive their greatest glory. In Mingrelia,
falsehood, robbery, and murder, they call good actions; whoredom,
bigamy, and incest, virtuous habits. The husbands are little disturbed
with jealousy; and when he detects his wife in the actual embraces of
her gallant, he has only a right to demand a pig from him, which is
his only atonement, his only revenge; and the pig they generally eat
between them. They pretend it is a very good and laudable custom to
have a number of wives and concubines, because they can have a greater
increase of children, whom they can sell for gold, or exchange for
goods or provisions. The Mingrelian slaves are not very dear. A man
from the age of 25 to 40 is purchased for 15 crowns, and if older for
eight or ten, a handsome girl, from 13 to 18 for 20 crowns; a woman for
12 crowns; and a child for three or four.

The Turks, who purchase a vast number of these slaves, are so
intermixed with Armenians, Georgians, Turcomans, Arabs, Egyptians,
and even Europeans, it is hardly possible to distinguish the real
natives of Asia Minor, Syria, and the rest of Turkey. The Turkish men
are generally robust, and tolerably well made, and it is rare to find a
deformed person among them. The women are also commonly beautiful, and
free from blemishes; they are very fair, because they seldom stir from
home, and never without being veiled.

According to Belon, there is not a woman in Asia whose complexion is
not fresh as a rose, whose skin is not fair, delicate, and smooth as
velvet. Of the earth of China, diluted, they form a kind of ointment,
with which they rub all over their bodies before they bathe. Some
likewise paint their eye-brows black, while others eradicate the hairs
with rusma, and paint themselves eye-brows in the form of a cresent,
which are beautiful when viewed at a distance, but quite the reverse
when examined more closely. This custom is very ancient. Among the
Turks, he adds, neither men nor women wear hair on any part of the
body, the head and chin excepted; that they use rusma mixed with quick
lime, and diluted in water, which they apply before they go into the
warm bath, and so soon as they begin to sweat in thus bathing the
hair rubs off with the hand, and the skin remains soft and smooth,
as if there had never been any upon it. He remarks further, that in
Egypt there is a shrub called _Alcanna_, the leaves of which dried and
powdered make a reddish yellow colour, which the women of Turkey use
to colour their hair, hands, and feet. With this they also tinge the
hair of their infants, and the manes of their horses. The Turkish women
employ every art to add to their beauty, as do also the Persian, but
the articles they use are different, as the men of the former prefer
red, and those of the latter brown complexions.

It has been pretended that the Jews, who came originally from Syria,
and Palestine, have the same brown complexion they had formerly. As
Misson, however, justly observes, the Jews of Portugal alone are tawny.
As they always marry with their own tribe, the complexion of the
parents is transmitted to the child, and thus with little diminution
preserved, even in the northern countries. The German Jews, those of
Prague, for example, are not more swarthy than the other Germans.

The present natives of Judea resemble the other Turks, being only a
little more brown than those of Constantinople, or on the coasts of
the Black Sea, in like manner as the Arabians are more brown than the
Syrians, from their situation being more southern.

It is the same with the Greeks. Those of the northern parts are more
fair, while those of the southern islands, or provinces, are brown.
Generally speaking, the Greek women are more handsome and vivacious
than the Turks; they also enjoy a greater degree of liberty. Carreri
says, the women of the island of Chio are fair, handsome, lively,
and very familiar with the men; that the girls see strangers without
restraint; and that they all have their necks uncovered. He likewise
says, that the Greek women have the finest hair in the world,
especially in the vicinage of Constantinople; but that those whose hair
descends to the heels, have features less regular.

The Greeks consider large eyes, and elevated eye-brows, as a very
great beauty in either sex; and we may remark in all busts and medals
of ancient Greeks, the eyes are much larger than those of the ancient

The inhabitants of the Archipelago are excellent swimmers and divers.
According to Thevenot, they are trained to the practice of bringing
up goods which have been sunk into the sea; and that in the island of
Samos, a young man has no chance of obtaining a wife, unless he can
dive eight, and Dapper says twenty, fathoms. The latter adds, that
in some of the islands, as in Nicaria, they have a strange custom
of speaking to each other at a distance, and that their voices are
so strong, that when a quarter of a league, nay even a whole league
asunder, they maintain a conversation, though not without long
intervals, as after a question is asked, the answer does not arrive for
several seconds.

The Greeks, Neapolitans, Sicilians, Corsicans, Sardinians, and
Spaniards, being situated nearly under the same line, are uniform in
point of complexion. Those people are more swarthy than the English,
French, Germans, Polanders, Moldavians, Circassians, and all the other
inhabitants of the north of Europe, till we advance to Lapland; where,
as already observed, we find another race of men. In travelling through
Spain, we begin to perceive a difference of colour even at Bayonne.
There the women have a complexion more brown, and eyes more brilliant.

The Spaniards are meagre, rather short, yet handsome. They are yellow
and swarthy; but their eyes are beautiful, their teeth well ranged, and
their features are regular. Their children are born fair and handsome;
but as they grow up their complexion changes surprisingly; the air and
sun render them yellow and tawny; nor is it difficult to distinguish
a Spaniard from a native of any other country in Europe. In some
provinces of Spain, as in the environs of the river Bidassoa, it is
remarked, the inhabitants have ears of an immoderate size.

Black or brown hair begins to be rather unfrequent in England,
Flanders, Holland, and in the northern provinces of Germany; nor is it
hardly to be seen in Denmark, Sweden, or Roland. According to Linnæus,
the Goths are tail, their hair smooth and white as silver, and the iris
of their eye is bluish. The Finlanders are muscular and fleshy; the
hair long, and of a yellowish white, and the iris of the eye is of a
deep yellow.

In Sweden the women are exceedingly fruitful. Rudbeck says, that they
commonly bear 8, 10, or 12 children, and not unoften 18, 20, 24, 28,
and even 30. He adds, that the men often live to the age of 100, some
to that of 140; that one Swede lived to 156 years, and another to 161.

This author is an enthusiast with regard to his country, and according
to him, Sweden is the first country in the world. This fertility in the
women does not imply a greater propensity to love. In cold climates the
inhabitants are far more chaste than in warm; and though they produce
more children in Sweden, the women are less amorous than those of
Spain or Portugal. It is universally known, that the northern nations
have to so great a degree overrun all Europe, that historians have
distinguished the north by the appellation of _Officina Gentium_.

The author of the "Voyages Historiques de l'Europe," agrees with
Rudbeck, that there are more instances of longevity in Sweden, than in
any other European nation; and that he saw several persons who, he was
assured, had passed the age of 150. This longevity he attributes to the
salubrity of their climate; and of the people of Denmark he makes the
same remark; the Danes, he adds, are tall, robust, and of a lively and
florid complexion; that the women are likewise very fair, well made,
and exceedingly prolific.

Before the reign of Czar Peter I. we are told, the Muscovites had not
emerged from barbarism. Born in slavery, they were ignorant, brutal,
cruel, without courage and without manners. Men and women bathed
promiscuously in stoves heated to a degree intolerable to all persons
but themselves; and on quitting this warm bath they plunged, like the
Laplanders, into cold water. Their food was homely; and their favourite
dishes were cucumbers or melons, brought from Astracan, which in summer
they preserved in a mixture of water, flour, and salt. From ridiculous
scruples they refrained from the use of several meats, particularly
pigeons and veal. Yet even at this period of unrefinement, the women
were skilled in the arts of colouring their checks, plucking out their
eye-brows, and painting artificial ones. They also adorned themselves
with pearls and jewels, and their garments were made of rich and
valuable stuffs. From these circumstances does it not appear, that the
barbarism of the Muscovites was near a close, and that their sovereign
had less trouble in polishing them than some authors have endeavoured
to insinuate? They are now a people civilized, commercial, studious Of
the arts and sciences, fond of spectacles, and ingenious novelties.

Some authors have said that the air of Muscovy is so salutary, as to
prevent its being visited with a pestilence. In the annals of the
country, however, it is recorded, that in the year 1741, and during the
six subsequent years, the Muscovites were dreadfully afflicted with
a contagious distemper, insomuch that even the constitution of their
descendants has been altered by it; few of the inhabitants attaining
now the age of an 100, whereas before that period numbers lived much
beyond it.

The Ingrians and Carelians, who inhabit the northern provinces of
Muscovy, and are the original natives of the country round Petersburgh,
are men of vigour and robust constitutions. Their complexion is
generally fair; they resemble the Finlanders, and speak the same
language, which has no affinity to that of any other European nation.

By this historical description of all the different inhabitants of
Europe and Asia, it appears that the variation in their colour depends
greatly, though not entirely, on the climates. There are many other
causes, by which not only the colour, but even the form and features
may be influenced; and among the principal may be reckoned the
nature of the food, and the manners, or mode of living. A civilized
people, who enjoy a life of ease and tranquillity, and who, by the
superintendance of a well regulated government, are protected from
the fear and oppression of misery, will, from these reasons alone, be
more handsome and vigorous than those of a savage and careless nation,
of which each individual, deriving no assistance from society, is
obliged to provide for his own subsistence, to sustain alternately
the excesses of hunger and the effects of unwholesome food; to be
alternately exhausted with labour and lassitude; and to undergo the
rigours of a severe climate, without being able to shelter himself from
them; to act, in a word, more frequently like an animal than a man.
In the supposition that two nations, thus differently circumstanced,
were even to live in the same climate, there can be no doubt but that
the savage people would be more ugly, tawny, diminutive, and more
wrinkled, than those enjoying civilized society. Should the former
possess any advantage, it would consist in the superior strength, or
rather hardiness of the body. It might likewise happen that among the
savage people there would be fewer instances of lameness or bodily
deformities; for in a civilized state, where one individual contributes
to the support of another, where the strong has no power over the weak,
where the qualities of the body are less esteemed than those of the
mind, men thus defective live and even multiply; but among a savage
people, as each individual subsists and defends himself merely by his
corporal strength and address, those who are unhappily born weak and
defective, or who become sick or disabled, soon cease to form a part of
their number.

We must then admit of three causes as jointly productive of the
varieties which we have remarked in the different nations of the earth.
First, the influence of the climate; secondly, the food; and thirdly,
the manners; the two last having great dependence on the former. But
before we lay down the reasons on which this opinion is founded, it
is necessary to describe the people of Africa and America in the same
manner as we have those of Europe and Asia.

The nations of the whole northern part of Africa, from the
Mediterranean to the Tropic, we have already mentioned. All those
beyond the Tropic, from the Red Sea to the Ocean, an extent of 100
or 150 leagues, are of the Moorish species, though so tawny that
they appear almost black. The women are rather fairer than the men,
and tolerably handsome. Among these Moors there is a vast number of
mulattoes, who are of a black still more deep, their mothers being
negro women, whom the Moors purchase, and by whom they have a number of

Beyond this territory, in the 17th or 18th degree of north latitude, we
find the negroes of Senegal and Nubia, both on the coast of the western
ocean and that of the Red Sea; and after them all the other nations of
Africa, from the 18th degree north to the 18th degree south latitude,
are perfectly black, the Ethiopians or Abyssinians excepted. The
portion of the globe by Nature allotted to this race of men, therefore,
contains an extent of ground, parallel to the equator, of about 900
leagues in breadth, and considerably more in length, especially
northward of the equinoctial line. Beyond the 18th or 20th degree of
south latitude the natives are no longer negroes, as will appear when
we come to speak of the Caffres and Hottentots.

By confounding the Ethiopians with their neighbours the Nubians, who
are nevertheless of a different race, we have been long in an error
with respect to their colour and features. Marmol says, the Ethiopians
are absolutely black, that they have large faces and flat noses, and in
this description the Dutch travellers agree. The truth, however, is,
that they differ from the Nubians both in colour and features. The skin
of the Ethiopians is brown or olive-coloured, like that of the southern
Arabs, from whom probably they derive their origin. They are tall, have
regular features, strongly marked; their eyes are large and beautiful;
their noses well proportioned; their lips thin, and their teeth white.
The Nubians, on the contrary, have flat noses, thick and prominent
lips, and their faces exceedingly black. These Nubians, as well as
the Barberins, their western neighbours, are a species of negroes not
unlike those of Senegal.

The Ethiopians are a people between barbarism and civilization. Their
garments are of cotton or silk. Their houses are low, and of a bad
construction; their lands are wretchedly neglected, owing to their
nobles, who despise, maltreat, and plunder the citizens and common
people. Each of these classes live separate from the other, and have
their own villages or hamlets. Unprovided with salt, they purchase it
for its weight in gold. So fond are they of raw meat that, at their
feasts, the second course, which they consider as the most delicate,
consists of flesh entirely so. Though they have vines they make
no wine; and their usual beverage is a sour composition made with
tamarinds. They use horses for travelling, and mules for carrying
their merchandize. Of the arts or sciences they have little knowledge;
their language is without rules; and their manner of writing, though
their characters are more beautiful than those of the Arabians, is so
imperfect, that, to write an epistle, they require several days. Their
mode of salutation is something whimsical. Each takes the right hand of
the other, and carries it to his mouth; this done, the saluter takes
off the scarf of the person saluted, and fastens it round his own body,
by which the latter is left half naked, few of the Ethiopians wearing
any thing more than this scarf and a pair of cotton drawers.

In Admiral Drake's voyage round the world, he mentions a fact, which,
however, extraordinary, appears not incredible. He says that on the
frontiers of the deserts of Ethiopia there is a people called the
_Acridophagi_, or _Locust-eaters_, who are black, meagre, exceedingly
nimble, and very small. In the spring, by certain hot and westerly
winds, an infinite number of locusts are blown into that country,
on which, as they are unprovided with cattle or with fish, they are
reduced to the necessity of subsisting. After collecting them in large
quantities they salt them, and keep them for food throughout the year.
This wretched nourishment produces singular effects: they hardly live
to the age of 40, and when they approach that age winged insects
engender under their skin, which at first creates a violent itching,
and shortly multiply so prodigiously, that their whole flesh swarms
with them. They begin by eating through the belly, then the breast,
and continue their ravages till they eat all the flesh from the bones.
Thus, by devouring insects are these men devoured by them in turn.
Were this fact well authenticated it would afford a large field for

There are vast deserts in Ethiopia, as well as in that tract of land
which extends to Cape Gardafu. This country, which may be considered as
the eastern part of Ethiopia, is almost entirely uninhabited. To the
south, Ethiopia is bounded by the Bediouns, and a few other nations
who follow the law of Mahomet; a circumstance which corroborates the
supposition, that the Ethiopians are of Arabian extraction; indeed they
are only separated by the strait of Babel-Mandel; and therefore it is
probable, that the Arabians had formerly invaded Ethiopia, and driven
the natives northward into Nubia.

The Arabians have even extended themselves along the coast of Melinda,
of which the inhabitants are of the Mahometan religion, and only
a tawny complexion, The natives of Zanguebar, are not black; they
generally speak Arabic, and their garments are made of cotton. This
country, though under the torrid zone, is not excessively hot; and yet
the hair of the natives is black and frizly like that of the Negroes.
We find, on the whole of this coast, as well as at Mosambique and
Madagascar, some white men, who, it is pretended came originally from
China, and settled there, in the time that the Chinese navigated all
the Eastern seas, in the same manner as they are now navigated by the
Europeans. Whatever foundation there may be for this opinion, it is
certain that the natives of this oriental coast of Africa are black,
and that the tawny or white men we find there, have come from other
countries. But, to form a just idea of the differences among these
black nations, we should examine them more minutely.

In the first place, it is evident, from comparing the descriptions
given by travellers, that there is as much variety in the race of
blacks as in that of the whites; and that, like the latter, the former
have their Tartars and their Circassians. Those of Guinea are extremely
ugly, and have an insufferable stench; those of Sofala, and Mosambique,
are handsome, and have no bad smell. It is necessary, then, to divide
the blacks into different races; and in my opinion, they may be reduced
to two principal ones, that of the Negroes, and that of the Caffres.
In the first I comprehend the blacks of Nubia, Senegal, Cape de Verd,
Gambia, Sierra-Leone, the Teeth and Gold Coasts, of the coast of Juda,
Benin, Gabon, Loango, Congo, Angola, and of Benguela, till we come to
Cape-Negro. In the second I place the inhabitants beyond Cape-Negro to
the point of Africa, where they assume the name of Hottentots; as also
all those of the eastern coast of Africa, such as those of the land
of Natal, Sofala, Monomotapa, Mosambique, and of Melinda; the blacks
of Madagascar, and the neighbouring islands, are likewise Caffres and
not Negroes. These two races of black men resemble each other more in
colour than in their features, hair, skin, or smell. In their manners
and disposition there is also a prodigious difference.

When we come particularly to examine the different people of which
these races are composed, we shall perceive as many varieties among the
blacks as the whites; and all the shades from brown to black, as we
have already remarked from brown to fair in the white races.

Let us begin, then, with the countries northward of Senegal, and,
in proceeding along the coasts, take a view of all the different
tribes which travellers have discovered and described. In the first
place it is certain that the natives of the Canary islands are not
Negroes; since from authentic information it appears, that the ancient
inhabitants were tall, well-made, and of a becoming complexion; that
the women were handsome, and had remarkable fine hair; and that those
who occupied the southern parts were more of an olive colour than those
in the northern. In the relation of his voyage to Lima, Duret remarks,
that the ancient inhabitants of the island of Teneriffe were tall and
vigorous, though meagre and tawny, and that most of them had flat
noses. Excepting the flat nose, therefore, these people had nothing in
common with the Negroes. The natives of Africa in the same latitude
with these islands, are Moors, and very tawny, but who belong, as well
as the islanders, to the race of whites.

The inhabitants of Cape-Blanc are Moors, who follow the law of Mahomet,
and who wander about, like the Arabians, in quest of pasture for their
horses, camels, oxen, goats, and sheep. The Negroes, with whom they
traffic, give them eight or ten slaves for a horse, and two or three
for a camel. It is from these Moors, that we procure gum-arabic, which
they dissolve in their milk. They scarcely ever eat any meat, and
never destroy their cattle, unless dying of sickness, or old age.

The Moors are separated from the Negroes by the river Senegal; they
live on the north-side, and are only tawny; but the Negroes who reside
on the south, are absolutely black. The Moors lead an erratic life,
while the Negroes occupy villages; the former are free and independent;
the latter have tyrants who hold them in slavery; the Moors are short,
meagre, of a disagreeable aspect, but ingenious and subtle; the
Negroes are tall, bulky, and well made, but simple and stupid. The
country inhabited by Moors is sandy and sterile, where verdue is to
be seen in a very few places; that inhabited by the Negroes, is rich,
abounding in pasturage, in millet, and in trees always green, though
few bear any fruit fit for food.

In some places both to the north and south of the river we find a
species of men called _Foulies_, who seem to form a shade between the
Moors and Negroes, and whom, it is possible, are Mulattoes produced
by a coalition of the two nations. These _Foulies_ are not black like
the Negroes, yet darker than the Moors; they are also more civilized
than the former; they follow the laws of Mahomet, and are hospitable to

The islands of Cape de Verd are peopled with Mulattoes, descended
from the Portuguese, who first settled there, and the original
Negro-inhabitants. They are called _copper-coloured_ Negroes, because,
though they resemble the Negroes in their features, they are yet more
of a yellow than black; they are well-made, ingenious, but intolerably
indolent. By hunting and fishing they chiefly subsist, and they
train up their dogs to hunt the wild goats. They freely resign their
wives and daughters to the embraces of strangers for the smallest
consideration. For pins and other trifles they will exchange parrots,
porcelain shells, ambergris, &c.

The first Negroes we meet with are those on the south of the Senegal.
These people, as well as those who occupy the different territories
between this river and that of Gambia, are called _Jaloffs_. They are
tall, very black, well proportioned, and their features are less harsh
than those of the other Negroes; some of them, especially among the
females, have features far from being irregular. They have the same
ideas of beauty as the Europeans, considering fine eyes, a well formed
nose, small mouth, and thin lips, as essential ingredients; in the
ground of the picture alone do they differ from us; for, with them,
the colour must be exceedingly black and glossy to render it complete;
Their skin is soft and delicate, and, colour alone excepted, we find
among them, women as handsome as in any other country of the world,
they are usually very gay, lively, and amorous. They are very fond of
white men whom they exert every assiduity to please, both to gratify
themselves, and to obtain presents which may flatter their vanity. To
their predilection for strangers the husbands make not the smallest
opposition, (to whom indeed, they not only make a free offer of their
wives, daughters, or sisters, but even construe it into a dishonour,
if that offer is rejected) but undergo all the violent effects of
jealousy, if they detect them with any of their own nation. These women
are never without a pipe in their mouths, and their skin, when they
undergo any extraordinary heat, has a disagreeable smell, though by
no means so strong as that of other negroes. They are highly fond of
leaping and dancing to the sound of a calabash, drum, or kettle; and
all the movements of their dances are so many lascivious or indecent
postures. They frequently bathe; and to render their teeth even, they
polish them with files. The generality of the young women have figures
of animals, flowers, &c. marked upon their skin.

While at work, or travelling, the Negro-women almost always carry
their infants on their backs. To this custom some travellers ascribe
the flat nose and big bellies among Negroes; since the mother, from
necessarily giving sudden jerks, is apt to strike the nose of the child
against her back; who, in order to avoid the blow, keeps its head back
by pushing the belly forward. Their hair is black and woolly. In hair
and in complexion, consists their principal difference from the rest of
mankind; and, perhaps, there is a stronger resemblance between their
features and those of the Europeans, than between the visage of a
Tartar and that of a Frenchman.

Father du Tertre says expressly, that, if most negroes are flat-nosed,
it is because the parents crush the noses of their children; that
they also compress their lips, to render them thick; and that those
who escape these operations their features are as comely as those of
the Europeans. This remark, however, applies only to the negroes of
Senegal, who, of all others, are the most beautiful. Among all other
negroes, thick lips, broad and flat noses, appear formed as gifts by
nature; and which are by them considered so much as beauties that
every art is used upon the children who, at their birth, discover a
deficiency in those ornaments.

The Negro women are very fruitful; in child-birth they experience
little difficulty, and require not the smallest assistance; nor of its
effects do they feel any consequence beyond the second day. As nurses
and mothers they deserve great encomiums, being exceedingly tender of
their children. They are more ingenious and alert than the men, and
they even study to acquire the virtues of discretion and temperance.
Father Jaric says, that to habituate themselves to eat and speak
little, the Jaloff negro women put water into their mouths in the
morning, and keep it there till the hour allotted for the first meal

The negroes of the island of Goree, and of the Cape de Verd coast, are,
like those of Senegal, well made, and very black. So highly do they
prize their colour, which is also glossy, that they despise those
who are not the same as much as white men despise the tawny. They are
strong and robust, but indolent and slothful, and cultivate neither
corn, wine, nor fruit. Rarely do they eat meat; fish and millet are
their chief sustenance. They eat no herbs, and because Europeans do,
they compare them to horses. Of spirituous liquors they are fond to
an excess, and for which they will sell their relations, children,
and even themselves. They go almost naked, wearing only a small piece
of calico, which descends from the waist to the middle of the thigh,
and which, they say, is all that the heat of their climate will allow
them to wear. Notwithstanding their poverty, and wretchedness of food,
they are contented and cheerful. They also think their country is the
finest in the world, and that, because they are the blackest, they are
the most beautiful of men; and were it not that their women discover a
fondness for white men they would deem them unworthy of their notice.

Though the negroes of Sierra Leona are less black than those of
Senegal, they are not, however, as Struys asserts, of a reddish colour.
The custom prevalent among them, as well as among the negroes of
Guinea, of painting their bodies with red, and other colours, possibly
misled that author. Among the latter the women are more debauched than
at Senegal; prodigious numbers of them are common prostitutes, from
which they incur not the smallest disgrace. Both sexes go with their
heads uncovered, and their hair, which is very short, they shave or cut
in various forms. In their ears they wear pendants, which weigh three
or four ounces, made of teeth, horns, shells, wood, &c. Some have the
upper lip, or nostrils, pierced, for the same purpose. They wear a kind
of apron made of apes' skins and the bark of trees. They eat fish and
flesh, but yams and bananas are their chief food. They have no passions
but for women, and no inclinations but to remain idle and inactive.
They live in wretched huts, frequently situated on dreary wilds, though
in the neighbourhood of fertile and delightful spots. The roads from
one place to another are commonly twice as long as they need be; they
never attempt to curtail them, and even when told how in half the
time they may reach any particular spot, they persist in mechanically
following the beaten path. They never measure time, nor have the
smallest idea of its value.

Though the negroes of Guinea are generally healthy, they seldom attain
old age. A negro, at the age of 50, is a very old man. This contracted
period of existence may, with great probability, be imputed to the
premature intercourse between the sexes. The boys, in their tenderest
years, are permitted to pursue every debauchery; and as for the girls,
nothing in the whole country is so rare as to find one who remembers
the period at which she ceased to be a virgin.

The inhabitants of the island of St. Thomas, of Annobona, &c. are
negroes, similar to those of the neighbouring continent. Dispersed,
however, by the Europeans, they are few in number, and those subjected
to the bondage of their invaders. Both sexes, the covering of a kind of
short apron excepted, go naked. Mandelslo says, that the Europeans, who
settle on the island of St. Thomas, which is but one degree and a half
from the equator, retain their white colour till the third generation;
and he seems to insinuate that they afterwards become black: but that
this change should be so suddenly effected seems by no means probable.

The negroes of the coasts of Juda and Arada are less black than those
of Senegal, Guinea, and Congo. So fond are they of the flesh of
dogs that they prefer it to all other viands; and, at their feasts,
a roasted dog is always the first dish presented. This predilection
for dog's-flesh is not peculiar to the Negroes, but common among the
Tartars and savages of North America. The former, in some places,
castrate their dogs, in order to make them fat, and more palatable.

According to Pigafetta, and Drake, who seems to have literally copied
him, the negroes of Congo are black, though in a less degree than those
of Senegal. Of the generality the hair is black and frizly, though of
some it is red. They are of a middle stature; their eyes are either
brown or of a sea-green colour; their lips are not so thick as those
of the other negroes, and their features are not unlike those of the

In some of the provinces of Congo the customs are truly singular. When,
for example a person dies at Loango, they place the body upon a kind
of amphitheatre, about six feet high, in a sitting posture, with the
hands resting upon the knees; they deck it out in the most ornamental
dress, and then light up fires before and behind it: as the clothes
absorb the moisture they cover it with fresh ones, until the corpse is
thoroughly dried, when, with much funeral ceremony they commit it to
the earth. In the province of Malimba the husband is ennobled by the
wife; and when the sovereign dies, and only leaves a single daughter,
to her, provided she is marriageable, devolves the royal authority. The
first thing she does is to travel over the whole of her kingdom.

On this occasion all her male subjects are obliged, previous to her
arrival at each town and village, to form themselves into a line for
her reception, and she selects one to pass the night with her. When
returned from her journey she sends for the man who best pleased her
and instantly marries him; after which the whole regal authority
devolves to the husband. These facts M. de la Brosse communicated to
me in his written remarks on what he saw most worthy of notice, during
his voyage to the coast of Angola, in 1738; and of the vindictiveness
of these negroes he adds the following anecdote:--"Every day (says he)
did they demand brandy of us for the king and chief men of the place.
Happening one day to refuse it them we had soon reason to repent; for
several officers, both French and English, having gone a fishing up
a small lake, they erected a tent for the purpose of enjoying the
fruits of their pastime. While thus employed they were joined by
seven or eight negroes, the chiefs of Loango, who, in the customary
mode of salutation, presented to them their hands. These they had
previously rubbed with a subtle poison, whose effect is instantaneous,
when unhappily the persons to whom it is communicated takes any thing
without first washing their hands; and so successful were they in their
purpose, that no less than eight persons perished upon the spot."

As a cure for a pain of the head, or for any bodily pain whatever,
these negroes make a slight wound upon the part affected, and through
a small horn, with a narrow hole, they suck out the blood till they
obtain relief.

The negroes of Senegal, Gambia, Cape de Verd, Angola, and Congo, are
of a more beautiful black than those of Juda, Issigni, Arada, and of
the circumjacent places. They are exceedingly black when in health, but
when sick they become of a copper-colour.

"In our islands (says Father du Tertre in his history of the Antilles)
the negroes of Angola are preferred to those of Cape de Verd, for
bodily strength; but when heated, their stench is so strong, that the
air whithersoever they pass is infected with it for above a quarter of
an hour. The negroes of Cape de Verd smell not so strong, their skin
likewise is more black and beautiful, their body is of a better shape,
their features less harsh, they are much tidier, and in disposition
more mild."

The negroes of Guinea are well qualified for the office of tillage,
and other laborious employments; those of Senegal are less vigorous,
yet are good domestic servants, and very ingenious. Father Charlevoix
says, that of all negroes the Senegal ones are the most shapely,
most tractable, and as domestic the most useful; that the Bambaras
are the tallest, but they are all idle and knavish; that the Aradas
best understand the culture of the earth; that the Congos are the
smallest, but most expert swimmers; that the Nagos are the most humane,
the Mondongos the most cruel; the Mimes the most resolute, the most
capricious, and the most subject to despair; that the Creole-negroes,
from whatever nation they derive their origin, inherit nothing from
their parents but the spirit of servitude and colour; they are more
ingenious, rational, and adroit, but more idle and debauched than
those of Africa. He adds, that the understanding of the negroes is
exceedingly contracted; that numbers of them seem to be even entirely
stupid, and can never be made to count more than three; that they
have no memory, and are as ignorant of what is past, as of what is to
come; that the most sprightly ridicule the others with a tolerable
grace; that they are full of dissimulation, and would sooner perish
than divulge a secret; that they are commonly mild, humane, tractable,
simple, credulous, and even superstitious; that they possess fidelity
and courage, and might with proper discipline make a tolerable figure
in the field.

If the negroes are deficient in genius, they are by no means so
in their feelings; they are cheerful or melancholy, laborious or
inactive, friendly or hostile, according to the manner in which they
are treated. If properly fed, and well treated, they are contented,
joyous, obliging, and on their very countenance we may read the
satisfaction of their soul. If hardly dealt with their spirits forsake
them, they droop with sorrow, and will die of melancholy. They are
alike impressed with injuries and favours. To the authors of the one
they are implacable enemies; while to those who use them well they
imbibe an affection which makes them defy all danger and hazard to
express their zeal and attachment. To their children, friends, and
countrymen, they are naturally compassionate; the little they have
they chearfully distribute among those who are in necessity, though
otherwise than from that necessity they have not the smallest knowledge
of them. That they have excellent hearts is evident, and in having
those they have the seeds of every virtue. Their sufferings demand a
tear. Are they not sufficiently wretched in being reduced to a state of
slavery; in being obliged always to work without reaping the smallest
fruits of their labour, without being abused, buffeted, and treated
like brutes? Humanity revolts at those oppressions, which nothing but
the thirst of gold could ever have introduced, and which would still,
perhaps, produce an aggravated repetition, did not the law prescribe
limits to the brutality of the master, and to the misery of his slave.
Negroes are compelled to labour; and yet of the coarsest food they
are sparingly supplied. Their unfeeling masters say, they can support
hunger well; that what would serve an European for one meal is to
them a sufficient subsistence for three days; however little they eat
or sleep, they are alike hardy, alike capable of fatigue. How can men,
in whom the smallest sentiment of humanity remains, adopt such maxims,
and on such shallow foundations attempt to justify excesses to which
nothing could ever have given birth but the most sordid avarice? But
let us turn from the gloomy picture, and return to our subject.

Of the people who inhabit the coasts, or the interior parts of Africa,
from Cape Negro to Cape de Voltes, an extent of about 400 leagues, we
know little more than that they are not so black as the other negroes,
and that they much resemble their neighbours the Hottentots: the latter
are a people well known, and few travellers have omitted speaking of
them. They are not Negroes, but Caffres; and their skin would be only
of a tawny hue did they not render it black with paint and grease.

M. Kolbe, though he has given so minute a description of the
Hottentots, considers them, however, as Negroes. He assures us their
hair is short, black, frizled, and woolly, and that not in a single
instance did he ever perceive it long. But from this alone we are not
authorised to consider them as real negroes. M. Kolbe himself says
their colour is olive, and never black, though they take the utmost
pains to render it so; nor, in the next place, can there be much
certainty derived from the appearance of their hair, as they never
either comb or wash it, but rub it daily with grease and soot in large
quantities, which gives it the resemblance of a fleece of black sheep
loaded with dirt; besides, they are in disposition different from
the negroes. The latter are cleanly, sedentary, and easily subjected
to slavery; the former, on the other hand, are frightfully filthy,
unsettled, independent, and highly jealous of their liberty. These
contrarieties are more than sufficient to confirm us in the opinion
that the Hottentots are of a race distinct from that of the Negroes.

Gama, who first doubled the Cape of Good Hope, on his arrival in the
bay of St. Helena, on the 4th of November, 1479, found the inhabitants
black, short in stature, and ugly in aspect. He does not say, however,
that they were naturally as black as the negroes, and doubtless they
only appeared to him so black as he describes, from the grease and
soot with which they are covered. The same traveller remarks, that in
the articulation of their voice there was something similar to a sigh.
Their habits were made of skins, and their weapons consisted of sticks
hardened with the fire, and pointed with the horn of some animal. To
the arts in use among the Negroes, the Hottentots, it is plain, are
utter strangers.

The Dutch travellers say, that the Savages northward of the Cape are
smaller than the Europeans; that their colour is a reddish brown; that
they are very ugly, and take great pains to render themselves black;
and their hair is like that of a man who has long hung in chains.
They add, that the Hottentots are of the colour of the Mulattoes;
that their visage is unshapely; that they are meagre, of a moderate
height, and very nimble; and that their language resembles the clucking
of turkey-cocks. Father Tachard says, that though they have commonly
hair as cottony as the Negroes, there are numbers who have it long,
and which floats upon their shoulders. He even asserts, that some of
them are as white as Europeans, but that they begrime their skin with
a mixture of grease and the powder of a certain black stone, and that
the women are naturally fair, but they blacken themselves to please
their husbands. Ovington says, that the Hottentots are more tawny than
the other Indians; that no people bear so strong a resemblance to the
Negroes in colour and features, but that they are less black, their
hair is not so frizly, nor their nose so flat.

From all these testimonies it is evident that the Hottentots are
not real negroes, but a people of the black race, approaching to
the whites, as the Moors of the white race do to the black. These
Hottentots, moreover, form a species of very extraordinary savages. The
women, who are much smaller than the men, have a kind of excrescence,
or hard skin, which grows over the os pubis, and descends to the middle
of the thighs in the form of an apron. Thevenot says the same thing
of the Egyptian women, but instead of allowing this skin to grow,
they burn it off with hot irons. I doubt whether the remark is true
with respect to the Egyptian women; but certain it is that all the
female natives of the Cape are subject to this monstrous deformity,
and which they expose to such persons as have the curiosity to see it.
The men, though not by nature, are all demi-eunuchs, being, from an
absurd custom, deprived of one of their testicles at about the age
of eighteen years. M. Kolbe saw this operation performed upon a young
Hottentot; and the circumstances with which the ceremony is accompanied
are so singular as to merit a recital.

After having rubbed the young man with the fat of the entrails of
sheep, which had been killed on purpose, they stretched him upon his
back, and tied his hands and his feet, while three or four of his
friends held him. Then the priest (for it is a religious ceremony) made
an incision with a very sharp knife, look out the left testicle[D], and
in its place deposited a ball of fat of the same size, which had been
prepared with certain medicinal herbs. After sewing up the wound with
the tendon of a sheep they untied the patient; but the priest before
he left him rubbed his whole body with the hot fat of the sheep, or
rather poured it on so plentifully, that when the fat cooled, it formed
a kind of crust. This rubbing was so violent, that the young man, whose
previous sufferings had been sufficiently great, was now covered with
large drops of sweat, and began to smoke like a roasted capon. On this
crust of grease the operator then made furrows with his nails, from
one extremity to the other, and after making water in them, he renewed
his frictions, and filled up the furrows with more grease. The instant
the ceremony is concluded they leave the patient, in general more dead
than alive, yet he is obliged to crawl in the best manner he can to a
little hut, built for him on purpose, near the spot where the operation
is performed. There he perishes or recovers without assistance or
nourishment but the fat upon his skin, which he may lick if he pleases.
At the expiration of two days he generally recovers. He is then allowed
to appear abroad; and as a proof that his recovery is complete he must
run and shew himself as nimble as a stag.

[D] Tavernier, in speaking of this strange custom, says that it is the
right testicle which they cut off.

Though all the Hottentots have broad flat noses, yet they would not be
so did not their mothers, considering a prominent nose as a deformity,
flatten them immediately after their birth. Their lips are also thick,
their teeth white, their eye-brows bushy, their heads large, their
bodies meagre, and their limbs are slender. They seldom live longer
than 40 years; and this short duration of life is doubtless caused by
their being continually covered with filth, and living chiefly upon
meat that is corrupted. As most travellers have already given very
large accounts of these filthy people, I shall only add one fact, as
related by Tavernier. The Dutch, he says, once took away a Hottentot
girl, soon after her birth, and bringing her up among themselves, she
became as white as any European. From this fact he presumes, that all
the Hottentots would be tolerably fair, were it not for their custom of
perpetually begriming themselves.

Along the coast of Africa beyond the Cape of Good Hope, we find the
land of Natal, and a people very different from the Hottentots, being
better made, less ugly, and naturally more black. Their visage is
oval, their nose well proportioned, their teeth white, their aspect
agreeable, and their hair by nature frizly. They are also fond of
grease, and wear caps made of the fat of oxen. These caps are from
eight to ten inches high, and they take much time to make them; for
the fat must be well refined, which they apply by little and little,
and so thoroughly intermix it with the hair that it never falls off.
Kolbe says, that from their birth and without any precaution to render
it so, their noses are flat; they also differ from the Hottentots in
not stuttering, nor striking the palate with the tongue; that they have
houses, cultivate the ground, and produce from it a kind of maize,
or Turkish corn, of which they make beer, a drink unknown to the

After the land of Natal, we find the territories of Sofala and
Monomotapa. The people of the former, according to Pigafetta, are
black, but more tall and lusty than the other Caffres. It is in the
environs of the kingdom of Sofala that this author places the Amazons;
but nothing is more uncertain than what has been propagated with
respect to these female warriors.

The natives of Monomotapa, the Dutch travellers inform us, are tall,
well proportioned, black, and of good complexions. The young girls go
naked, except a bit of calico about their middle; but so soon as they
are married they put on garments. This people, notwithstanding their
blackness, are different from the negroes, their features are neither
so harsh nor so ugly; their bodies have no bad smell; and they are
incapable of servitude or hard labour. Father Charlevoix says, that
some blacks from Monomotapa, and from Madagascar, have been seen in
America; but that they could not be inured to labour, and that they
soon died.

The natives of Madagascar and Mosambique are black, more or less. Those
of Madagascar have the hair on the crown of their head less frizly than
those of Mosambique. Neither of them are real negroes; and though those
of the coast are enslaved by the Portuguese, yet those of the internal
part of the continent are savage and jealous of their liberty. They all
go absolutely naked; they feed on the flesh of elephants, and traffic
with the ivory.

In Madagascar there are blacks and whites who, though very tawny, yet
seem a distinct race of men. The hair of the first is black and frizly;
that of the latter is less black, less frizly, and longer. The common
opinion is, that these white men derive their origin from the Chinese.
But, as Francis Cauche justly remarks, there is a greater probability
that they are of European race; as in all he saw, there was not one
who had either the flat face or flat nose, of the Chinese. He likewise
says, that these white men are fairer than the Castillans; that their
hair is very long; that the black men are not flat-nosed like those of
the continent; and that their lips are thin. There are also in this
island a number of persons of an olive or tawny colour, evidently
produced by the intermixture of the blacks and whites. The same
traveller observes, that the natives round the bay of St. Augustine are
tawny; that they have no beard; that their hair is long and straight;
that they are tall and well proportioned; and that they are all
circumcised, though probably they never heard of the law of Mahomet, as
they have neither temples, mosques, nor religion.

The French, who were the first who landed and settled upon the above
island, found the white men we speak of; and they remarked, that the
blacks paid great respect to them. Madagascar is exceedingly populous,
and rich in pasturage and in cattle. Both sexes are highly debauched;
nor is it a dishonour to a woman to be a prostitute. They are fond of
singing, dancing, and pastimes in general. Though naturally very lazy,
they have some knowledge of the mechanic arts. They have husbandmen,
carpenters, potters, blacksmiths, and even goldsmiths; yet their houses
are without accommodation, and they sleep upon mats; they eat flesh
almost raw, and devour even the hides of their oxen after burning off
the hair; they also eat the wax with the honey. The common people go
almost naked; but the richer classes wear drawers, or short petticoats,
of cotton and silk.

Those who inhabit the interior parts of Africa are not sufficiently
known to be justly described. Those whom the Arabians call _Zingues_,
are an almost savage race of black men. Marmol says, they multiply
prodigiously, and would overrun all the neighbouring countries, were
it not for certain hot winds, which from time to time occasion a great
mortality among them.

It appears, then, from these facts, that the Negroes are blacks of
a different species from the Caffres. From the descriptions we have
given, it is also evident that the colour depends principally upon
the climate, and that the peculiarity of the features depends greatly
on the customs prevalent among different nations, such as flattening
the nose, drawing back the eye-lids, plucking the hair out of the
eye-brows, lengthening the ears, thickening the lips, flattening the
visage, &c. No stronger proof can be adduced of the influence of
climate upon colour, than finding under the same latitude, and at the
distance of 1000 leagues, two nations so similar as those of Senegal
and Nubia; and also that the Hottentots, who must have derived their
origin from a black race, are whiter than any other Africans, because
the climate in which they live is the coldest. Should there being a
tawny race on one side the Senegal, and perfect blacks on the other,
be stated as an objection, it is only necessary to recollect what has
been already intimated concerning the effects of food, which must
operate upon the colour, as well as upon the temperament of the body in
general. An example may easily be had in the brute creation. The flesh
of the hares, for instance, which live on plains and marshy places, is
much more white than those which, though in the same neighbourhood,
live on mountains and dry grounds. The colour of the flesh proceeds
from that of the blood, and other humours of the body, of which the
quality is necessarily influenced by the nature of the nourishment.

In all ages has the origin of black men formed a grand object of
enquiry. The ancients, who hardly knew any but those of Nubia,
considered them as forming the last shade of the tawny colour; and
confounded them with the Ethiopians, and other African nations, who,
though extremely brown, have more affinity to the white than to the
black race. They concluded, that the differences of colour in men
arose solely from the difference of climate, and that blackness was
occasioned by a perpetual exposure to the violent heat of the sun.
To this opinion, which seems probable, great objections arose, when
it was known, that, in more southern climates, and even under the
equator itself, as at Melinda, and at Mosambique, the generality of
the inhabitants were not black but only very tawny; and when it was
observed that black men, if transported into more temperate regions,
lost nothing of their colour, but communicated it to their decendants.
If we reflect on the migrations of different nations, and on the time
which is necessary to render a change in the colour, we shall find
no inconsistency in the opinion of the ancients. The real natives of
that part of Africa are Nubians, who were originally black, and will
perpetually remain so, while they inhabit the same climate, and do not
mix with the whites. The Ethiopians, the Abyssinians, and even the
natives of Melinda, derive their origin from the whites, yet as their
religion and customs are the same with those of the Arabians, they
resemble them in colour, though indeed more tawny than those of the
southern parts. This even proves, that, in the same race of men, the
greater or less degree of black depends on the heat of the climate.
Many ages might perhaps elapse, before a white race would become
altogether black; but there is a probability that, in time, a white
people, transported from the north to the equator, would experience
that change, especially if they were to change their manners, and to
feed solely on the productions of the warm climate.

Of little weight is the objection which may be made to this opinion,
from the difference of the features, for in the features of a negro,
which have not been disfigured in his infancy, and the features of
an European, there is less difference than between those of a Tartar
and a Chinese, or of a Circassian and a Greek. As for the hair, its
nature depends so greatly on that of the skin, that any differences
which it produces ought to be considered as accidental, since we find
in the same country, and in the same town, men whose hair is entirely
different from one another. In France, for instance, we meet with men
whose hair is as short and frizly as that of a negro; besides, so
powerful is the influence of climate upon the colour of the hair, both
of men and of animals, that, in the kingdoms of the north, black hair
is seldom seen; and hares, squirrels, weasels, and many other animals,
which, in countries less cold, are brown or grey, are there white, or
nearly so. The difference produced by cold and heat, is so conspicuous,
that in Sweden hares, and certain other animals, are grey during the
summer, and white in winter.

But there is another circumstance more powerful, and, from the first
view of it, indeed insuperable; namely, that in the New World there
is not one true black to be seen, the natives being red, tawny, or
copper-coloured. If blackness was the effect of heat the natives of
the Antilles, Mexico, Santa-Fé, Guiana, the country of the Amazons,
and Peru, would necessarily be so, since those countries of America
are situated in the same latitude with Senegal, Guinea, and Angola, in
Africa. In Brazil, Paraguay, and Chili, did the colour of men depend
upon the climate, or the distance from the pole, we might expect to
find men similar to the Caffres and Hottentots. But before we enter
into a discussion of this subject, it is necessary that we should
examine the different natives of America, as we shall then be more
enabled to form just comparisons, and to draw general conclusions.

In the most northern parts of America we find a species of Laplanders
similar to those of Europe, or to the Samoiedes of Asia, and though
they are few in number yet they are diffused over a very considerable
extent of country. Those who inhabit the lands of Davis's Straits are
small, of an olive complexion, and their limbs short and thick. They
are skilful fishers, and eat their fish and meat raw; their drink is
pure water, or the blood of the dog-fish; they are very strong, and
live to a great age. Here we see the figure, colour, and manners of the
Laplanders; and, what is truly singular, as in the neighbourhood of
the Laplanders of Europe, we meet with the Finlanders, who are white,
comely, tall, and well made; so, adjacent to the Laplanders of America,
we meet with a species of men tall, well made, white, and with features
exceedingly regular.

Of a different race seem the savages of Hudson's Bay, and northward of
the land of Labrador; although small, ugly, and unshapely, their visage
is almost covered with hair, like the savages of Jesso, northward of
Japan: in summer they dwell in tents made of skins of the rein-deer; in
winter they live under ground, like the Laplanders and the Samoiedes,
and sleep together promiscuously without the smallest ceremony. They
live to a great age, though they feed on nothing but raw meat and fish.
The savages of Newfoundland resemble those of Davis's Straits, they are
low in stature, have little or no beard, broad and flat faces; large
eyes and flat nosed; they are also far from being unlike the savages in
the environs of Greenland.

Besides these savages, who are scattered over the most northern parts
of America, we find a more numerous and different race in Canada, and
who occupy the vast extent of territory as far as the Assiniboils.
These are all tall, robust, and well-made; have black hair and eyes,
teeth very white, a tawny complexion, little beard, and hardly a
vestige of hair on their bodies; they are hardy, indefatigable
travellers, and very nimble runners. They are alike unaffected by
excesses of hunger, or of eating; they are bold, hardy, grave, and
sedate. So strongly, indeed, do they resemble the Oriental Tartars
in colour, form, and features, as also in disposition, and manners,
that, were they not separated by an immense sea, we should conclude
them to have descended from that nation. In point of latitude, their
situation is also the same; and this further proves the influence of
the climate, not only on the colour, but the figure of men. In a word,
in the new continent as in the old, we find, at first, in the northern
parts, men similar to the Laplanders, and likewise whites with fair
hair, like the inhabitants of the north of Europe; then hairy men like
the savages of Jesso; and lastly, the savages of Canada, and of the
whole continent to the gulph of Mexico, who resemble the Tartars in so
many respects, that we should not entertain a doubt of their being the
same people, were we not embarrassed about the possibility of their
migration thither. Yet, if we reflect on the small number of men found
upon this extent of ground, and on their being entirely uncivilized,
we shall be inclined to believe these savage nations were new colonies
produced by a few individuals from some other country. It is asserted
that North America does not contain the twentieth part of the natives
it did when originally discovered; allowing that to be the fact, we
still are authorised to consider it then, from the scantiness of its
inhabitants, as a land either deserted, or so recently peopled, that
its inhabitants had not had time for a considerable multiplication.
M. Fabry, who travelled a prodigious way to the north-west of the
Mississippi, and visited places where no European had been, and where
consequently the savage inhabitants could not have been destroyed
by them, says that he often travelled 200 leagues without observing
a single human face, or the smallest vestige of a habitation; that
whenever he did meet with any habitations, they were always at
immense distances from each other, and then never above 20 persons
together. Along the lakes, and the rivers, it is true, the savages
are more populous, some sufficiently so as to molest occasionally
the inhabitants of our colonies. The most considerable of these,
nevertheless, do not exceed 3 or 4000 persons, and are dispersed over a
space of ground frequently more extensive than the kingdom of France. I
am fully persuaded there are more men in the city of Paris, than there
are savages in north America, from the gulph of Mexico to the furthest
extremity north, an extent of ground larger than all Europe.

The multiplication of the human species depends more on society
than nature. Men would not have been comparatively so numerous as
wild beasts, had they not associated together, and given aid and
succour to each other. In North America, the _Bison_[E] is perhaps
more frequently to be seen than a man. But though society may be one
great cause of population, yet it is the increased number of men
that necessarily produces unity. It is to be presumed therefore that
the want of civilization in America was owing to the small number
of the inhabitants, for though each nation might have manners and
customs peculiar to itself; though some might be more fierce, cruel,
courageous, or dastardly than others; they were yet all equally stupid,
ignorant, unacquainted with the arts, and destitute of industry.

[E] A kind of wild bull, different from the European bull.

To dwell longer on the customs of savage nations would be unnecessary.
Authors have often given for the established manners of a community,
what were nothing more than actions peculiar to a few individuals,
and often determined by circumstances, or caprice. Some nations tell
us, they eat their enemies, others burn, and some mutilate them; one
nation is perpetually at war, and another loves to live in peace; in
one country, the child kills his parent, when arrived at a certain age,
and in another the parents eat their children. All these stories, on
which travellers have so much enlarged, mean nothing more than that
one individual savage had devoured his enemy, another had burned or
mutilated him, and a third had killed and eaten his child. All these
things may happen in every savage nation; for a people among whom
there is no regular government, no law, no habitual society, ought
rather to be termed a tumultous assemblage of barbarous and independent
individuals, who obey nothing but their own private passions, and who
have no common interest, are incapable of pursuing one object, and
submitting to settled usages which supposes general designs, founded on
reason, and approved of by the majority.

A nation, it may be replied, is composed of men who are no strangers
to each other, who speak the same language, who unite, when necessity
calls, under the same chief, who arm themselves in the same fashion,
and daub themselves of the same colour. With truth might the remark
be made, if these usages were established; if savages did not often
assemble they know not how, and disperse they know not why; if their
chief did not cease to be so, whenever it suited their caprice, or his
own; and if their language was not so simple as to be, with little
variation, the language of every tribe.

As they have but few ideas, their expressions turn upon things the most
general, and objects the most common; and, though the majority of their
expressions were different, yet the smallness of their number renders
them easily understood; and more easily, therefore, may a savage
learn the languages of all other savages, than the inhabitants of one
polished nation acquire a bare comprehension of the language of any
other nation equally civilized.

Unnecessary as it may be to enlarge on the customs and manners of these
pretended nations, yet it may be important to examine the nature of
the individual. Of all animals a savage man is the most singular, the
least known, and the most difficult to describe; and so little are we
qualified to distinguish the gifts of nature from what is acquired
by education, art and imitation, that it would not be surprising to
find we had totally mistaken the picture of a savage, although it were
presented to us in its real colours, and with its natural features.

An absolute savage, such as a boy reared among bears, as mentioned by
Conor, the young man found in the forest of Hanover, or the girl in
the woods in France, would be a curious object to a philosopher; in
observing which he might be able to ascertain the force of natural
appetites; he would see the mind undisguised, and distinguish all
its movements; and, possibly, he might discover in it more mildness,
serenity, and peace, than in his own; he might also perceive, that
virtue belongs more to the savage than to the civilized man, and that
vice owes its birth to society.

But let us return to our subject. If in North America there were none
but savages, in Mexico and Peru we found a polished people, subjected
to laws, governed by kings, industrious, acquainted with the arts,
and not destitute of religion. They lived in towns where the civil
government was superintended by the sovereign. These people, who
were very populous, cannot be considered as new colonies sprung from
individuals who had wandered from Europe or Asia, from which they
are so remote; besides, though the Savages of North America resemble
the Tartars, by their being situated in the same latitude, yet the
natives of Mexico and Peru, though they live, like the Negroes, under
the torrid zone, have not the smallest resemblance to them. Whence
then, shall we trace the origin of these people? and whence proceeds
the cause of the difference of colour in the human species, since the
influence of climate is, in this case, entirely overthrown?

Previous to answering these questions let us pursue our inquiries
respecting the Savages of South America. Those of Florida, of the
Mississippi, and of the other southern parts of this continent, are
more tawny than those of Canada, though not positively brown, the oil
and colours with which they rub their bodies, giving them an olive hue
which does not naturally belong to them. Coreal says, that the women
of Florida are tall, strong, and of an olive complexion, like the men;
that they paint their arms, legs, and bodies, with several colours,
which as they are imprinted into the flesh by little incisions, are
indelible; and that the olive colour of both sexes proceeds not so much
from the heat of the climate as from the oils with which they varnish
their skin. He adds, that the women are remarkably active; that they
swim over great rivers with a child in their arms, and that they climb
up the loftiest trees with equal agility. In all of these particulars
they entirely resemble the savage women of Canada, and other countries
of America.

Speaking of the Apalachites, a people in the vicinage of Florida, the
author of the "Histoire Naturelle et Morale des Antilles," says, that
they are of a large stature, of an olive colour, and well proportioned;
and that their hair is black and long. He adds, that the Caribbees, who
inhabit the Antilles, are sprung from the savages of Florida, and that
they even know, by tradition, the period of their migration.

The natives of the Lucai islands are less tawny than those of St.
Domingo and Cuba; but there remain so few of either that we can hardly
verify what the first travellers mention of the inhabitants. It has
been pretended that they were very numerous, and governed by chiefs
whom they call _caciques_; that they had priests and physicians; but
this is all very problematical, and is of little consequence to our
history. The Caribbees, in general, according to Father du Tertre,
are tall, and of a good aspect: they are potent, robust, active, and
healthy. Numbers of them have flat foreheads and noses, but these
features are entirely the work of the parents, soon after their birth.
In all savage nations this caprice of altering the natural figure of
the head is very frequent. Most of the Caribbees have little black
eyes, beautiful white teeth, and long smooth black hair. Their skin is
tawny, or olive, and even the whites of their eyes are rather of that
hue. This is their natural colour, and not produced by the use of the
rocon, as some authors have asserted, for several of the children of
these savages, who were educated among the Europeans, and not allowed
the use of paint, retained the same complexion as their parents. The
whole of this savage tribe, though their thoughts are seldom employed,
have a pensive air. They are naturally mild and compassionate, though
exceedingly cruel to their enemies. They esteem it indifferent whom
they marry, whether relations or strangers. Their first cousins belong
to them by right, and many have been known to have at one time two
sisters, or a mother and her daughter, and even their own child.
Those who have many wives visit them in turn, and stay a month, or a
certain numbers of days, which precludes all jealousy among the women.
They readily forgive their wives for adultery, but are implacable
enemies to the man who debauches them. They feed on lizards, serpents,
crabs, turtles and fishes, which they season with pimento, and the
flower of manioc. Lazy to an excess, and accustomed to the greatest
independence, they detest slavery, and can never be rendered so useful
as the Negroes. For the preservation of their liberty they make every
exertion; and when they find it impossible, will rather die of hunger
or despair than live and be obliged to work. Attempts have been made
to employ the Arrouaguas, who are milder than the Caribbees, but
who are only fit for hunting and fishing; exercises of which, being
accustomed to them in their own country, they are particularly fond. If
these savages are not used with at least as much mildness as domestics
generally are in the civilized nations of Europe, they either run away
or pine themselves to death. Nearly the same is it with the slaves of
Brazil; of all Savages these seem to be the least stupid, indolent, or
melancholy. Treated with gentleness, however, they will do whatever
they are desired, unless it be to cultivate the ground, for tillage
they conceive to be the characteristic badge of slavery.

Savage women are all smaller than the men. Those of the Caribbees are
fat, and tolerably handsome; their eyes and hair are black, their
visage round, their mouth small, their teeth white, and their carriage
more gay, cheerful, and open, than that of the men. Yet are they modest
and reserved. They daub themselves with rocon, but do not, like the
men, make black streaks upon the face and body. Their dress consists of
a kind of apron, in breadth about eight or ten inches, and in length
about five or six. This apron is generally made of calico, and covered
with small glass beads, both which commodities they purchase from the
Europeans. They likewise wear necklaces, which descend over the breast,
as also bracelets round the wrists and elbows, and pendants in their
ears, of blue stone, or of glass beads. Another ornament peculiar to
the sex is, a kind of buskin, made of calico, and garnished with glass
beads, which extends from the ancle to the calf of the leg. On their
attaining the age of puberty the girls receive an apron and a pair of
buskins, which are made exactly to their legs and cannot be removed;
and as they prevent the increase of the under part of the leg, the
upper parts naturally grow larger than they would otherwise have done.

So intermixed are the present inhabitants of Mexico and Peru, that we
rarely meet with two faces of the same colour. In the town of Mexico,
there are Europeans, Indians from north and south America, negroes from
Africa, and mulattoes of every kind, insomuch that the people exhibit
every kind of shade between black and white. The natives of the country
are brown, or olive, well made and active. Though they have little
hair, even on their eye-brows, yet that upon their head is very long,
and very black.

According to Wafer, the natives of the Isthmus of America are commonly
tall and handsome; their limbs are well shaped, chest large, and at the
chace they are active and nimble. The women are short, squat, and less
vivacious than the men; though the young ones are tolerably comely, and
have lively eyes. Of both the face is round; the nose thick and short;
the eyes large, mostly grey, and full of fire; the forehead high; the
teeth white and regular; the lips thin; the mouth of a moderate size;
and, in general, all their features are tolerably regular. They have
black, long, and straight hair; and the men would have beards did they
not pluck them out: their colour is tawny and their eye-brows are as
black as jet.

These people are not the only natives of this Isthmus, for we find
among them men who are white; but their colour is not the white of
Europeans, but rather resembles that of milk, or the hairs of a white
horse. Their skin is covered with a kind of short and whitish down,
which on the cheeks and forehead is not so thick but the skin may be
seen. The hair upon their head and eye-brows is perfectly white; the
former is rather frizled, and from seven to eight inches long. They are
not so tall as the other Indians; and, what is singular, their eye-lids
are of an oblong figure, or rather in the form of a cresent, whose
points turn downwards. So weak are their eyes, that they cannot support
the light of the sun, and they see best by that of the moon. Their
complexion is exceedingly delicate. To all laborious exercises they are
averse; they sleep through the day, and never stir abroad till night.
If the moon shines, they scamper through the forests as nimbly as the
others can in the day. These men do not from a particular and distinct
race, as it sometimes happens, that from parents who are both of a
copper-colour one of these children is produced. Wafer, who relates
these facts, says, that he saw a child, not a year old, who had been
thus produced.

If this were the case, the strange colour, and temperament of these
white Indians, can only be a kind of malady, which they inherit from
their parents. But if, instead of being sprung from the yellow Indians,
they formed a separate race, then would they resemble the Chacrelas of
Java, and the Bedas of Ceylon, whom we have already mentioned. If, on
the other hand, these white people are actually born of copper-coloured
parents, we shall have reason to believe, that the Chacrelas and the
Bedas originate also from parents of the same colour; and that all
the white men, whom we find at such distances from each other, are
individuals who have degenerated from their race by some accidental

This last opinion, I own, appears to me the most probable; and had
travellers given us as exact descriptions of the Bedas and Chacrelas,
as Wafer has done of the Dariens, we should, perhaps, have discovered
that they were no more of European origin than the latter. This
opinion receives great weight from the fact that negroes sometimes have
white children. Of two of those white negroes we have a description in
the history of the French Academy; one of the two I saw myself, and am
assured there are many to be met with among the other negroes of Africa.

From what I have myself observed, independent of the information of
travellers, I have no doubt, but that they are only negroes degenerated
from their race, and not a peculiar and established species of men. In
a word, they are among the negroes, what Wafer says, the white Indians
are among the yellow Indians of Darien, and what the Chacrelas and the
Bedas are among the brown Indians of the East. Still more singular is
it that this variation never happens but from black to white, and also
that all the nations of the East Indies, of Africa, and of America, in
which those white men are found, are in the same latitude. The isthmus
of Darien, the country of the negroes, and Ceylon, are absolutely under
the same line. White then appears to be the primitive colour of Nature,
which climate, food, and manners, alter, and even change into yellow,
brown, or black; and which, in certain circumstances, reappears,
though by no means equal to its original whiteness on account of its
corruption from the causes here mentioned.

Nature, in her full perfection, made men white; and, reduced to the
last stage of adulteration, she renders them white again. But the
natural white is widely different from the individual, or accidental
white. In plants, as well as in men and animals, do we find examples of
this fact. The white rose, &c. differs greatly in point of whiteness
from the red rose, which becomes white by the cold evenings and frosty
chills of autumn.

A further proof that these white men are merely degenerated
individuals, is their being less strong and vigorous than others,
and their eyes being extremely weak. The fact will appear less
extraordinary, when we recollect, that, among ourselves, very fair men
have very weak eyes, and that such people are often slow of hearing.
It is pretended that dogs absolutely white, are deaf. Whether the
observation is generally just, I know not, but in a number of instances
I have seen it confirmed.

The Indians of Peru, like the natives of the Isthmus, are
copper-coloured; those especially who live near the sea, and in the
plains. Those who live between the two ridges of the Cordeliers,
are almost as white as the Europeans. Some live in Peru more than a
league higher than others; and which elevation, with respect to the
temperature of the climate, is equal to twenty leagues in latitude.
All the native Indians, who dwell along the river of the Amazons, and
in Guiana are tawny, and more or less red. The diversity of shades,
says M. de la Condamine, is principally occasioned by the different
temperature of the air, varied as it is, from the extreme heat of the
torrid zone, to the cold occasioned by the vicinage of snow. Some of
these Savages, as the Omaguas, flatten the visages of their children,
by compressing the head between two planks; others pierce the nostrils,
lips, or cheeks, for the reception of the bones of fishes, feathers,
and other ornaments; and the greatest part bore their ears, and fill
the hole with a large bunch of flowers, or herbs, which serves them
for pendants. With respect to the Amazons, about whom so much has been
said, I shall be silent. To those who have written on the subject
I refer the reader; and when he has perused them he will not find
sufficient proof to evince the actual existence of such women.

Some authors mention a nation in Guiana of which the natives are more
black than any other Indians. The Arras, says Raleigh, are almost as
black as the Negroes, are vigorous, and use poisoned arrows. This
author mentions likewise another nation of Indians, who have necks so
short, and shoulders so elevated, that their eyes appear to be upon
the latter, and their mouths in their breast. This monstrous deformity
cannot be natural; and it is probable that savages, who are so pleased
in disfiguring nature by flattening, rounding, and lengthening the
head, might likewise contrive to sink it into the shoulders. These
fantasies might arise from an idea that, by rendering themselves
deformed, they became more dreadful to their enemies. The Scythians,
formerly, as savage as the American Indians are now, evidently
entertained the same ideas, and realized them in the same manner; which
no doubt is the foundation of what the ancients have written about such
men as they termed acephali, cynocephali, &c.

The Savages of Brazil are nearly of the size of the Europeans, but
are more vigorous, robust, and alert: they are also subject to fewer
diseases, and live longer. Their hair, which is black, seldom whitens
with age. They are of a copper-colour, inclining to red: their heads
are large, shoulders broad, and hair long. They pluck out their beard,
the hair upon the body, and even the eye-brows, from which they acquire
an extraordinary fierce look. They pierce the under lip, to ornament
it with a little bone polished like ivory, or with a green stone.
The mothers crush the noses of their children, presently after they
are born; they all go absolutely naked, and paint their bodies of
different colours. Those who inhabit the countries adjacent to the sea
are somewhat civilized by the commerce which they carry on with the
Portuguese; but those of the inland places are still absolute savages.
It is not by force that savages have become civilized, their manners
have been much more softened by the arguments of missionaries, than
by the arms of the princes by whom they were subdued. In this manner
Paraguay was subdued: the mildness, example, and virtuous conduct of
the missionaries touched the hearts of its savages, and triumphed over
their distrust and ferocity. They often, of themselves, desired to be
made acquainted with that law, which rendered men so perfect, submitted
to its precepts, and united in society. Nothing can reflect greater
honour on religion, than its having civilized these nations, and laid
the foundations of an empire, without any arms but those of virtue and

The inhabitants of Paraguay are commonly tall and handsome; their
visage long, and their colour olive. There sometimes rages among them
a very uncommon distemper. It is a kind of leprosy, which covers the
whole of their body with a crust similar to the scales of fish, and
from which they experience no pain, nor even interruption of health.

According to Frezier, the Indians of Chili are of a tawny or coppery
complexion, but different from Mulattoes, who being produced by a white
man and negro-woman, or a white woman and a negro-man, their colour
is brown, or a mixture of white and black. In South America, on the
other hand, the Indians are yellow, or rather reddish. The natives of
Chili are of a good size; their limbs are brawny, chest large, visages
disagreeable, and beardless; eyes small, ears long, and their hair
black, straight, and coarse. Their ears they lengthen, and pluck out
their beards with pincers made of shells. Though the climate is cold,
yet they generally go naked, excepting the skin of some animal over
their shoulders.

At the extremity of Chili, and towards the lands of Magellan, it is
pretended, there exists a race of men of gigantic size. From the
information of several Spaniards, who pretend to have seen them,
Frezier says, they are from 9 to 10 feet high; they are called
_Patagonians_, and inhabit the easterly side of the coast, as mentioned
in the old narratives, which, however, from the size of Indians
discovered in the Straits of Magellan, not exceeding that of other men,
has since been considered as fabulous. It might be by this, says he,
that Froger was deceived in his account of the voyage of M. de Gennes;
as several navigators have actually beheld both these classes of
Indians at the same time. In 1709, the crew of the James, of St. Malo,
saw seven giants as above described, in Gregory Bay, and those of the
St. Peter, of Marseilles, saw six, to whom they advanced with offers of
bread, wine, and brandy, all of which they rejected; but as M. Frezier
does not intimate his having seen any of these giants himself, and as
the narratives which mention them are fraught with exaggerations with
respect to other matters, it remains still doubtful whether there in
reality exists a race of giants, especially of the height of ten feet.
The bodily circumference of such a man would be eight times bigger
than that of an ordinary one. The natural height of mankind seems to
be about five feet, and the deviations from that standard scarcely
exceed a foot, so that a man of six feet is considered as very tall,
and a man of four as very short. Giants and dwarfs, therefore, are only
accidental varieties, and not distinct and permanent races.

Besides, if these Magellanic giants actually exist, their number must
be trifling; as the savages of the straits, and neighbouring islands,
are of a moderate height, whose colour is olive, have full chests,
square bodies, thick limbs, and black straight hair; who, in a word,
resemble mankind in general as to size, as the other Americans as to
colour and hair.

In the whole of the new continent, then, there is but one race of men,
who are all more or less tawny, the northern parts of America excepted,
where we find some men similar to the Laplanders, and others with fair
hair, like the northern Europeans; through the whole of this immense
territory, the diversity among the inhabitants is hardly perceivable.
Among those of the old continent, on the other hand, we have found a
prodigious variety. This uniformity in the Americans seems to arise
from their living all in the same manner. The natives were, and are
still savages; nor, so recently have they been civilized, can the
Mexicans and the Peruvians be excepted. Whatever, then, may have been
their origin, it was common to them all. Sprung from one stock, they
have, with little variation, retained the characteristics of their
race; and this because they have pursued the same course of life,
because their climate, with respect to heat and cold, is not so unequal
as that of the old continent, and because, being newly established in
the country, the causes by which varieties are produced have not had
time to manifest their defects.

Each of these reasons merits a particular consideration. That the
Americans are a new people seems indisputable, when we reflect on the
smallness of their number, their ignorance, and the little progress the
most civilized among them had made in the arts. In the first accounts
of the discovery and conquest of America, it is true, Mexico, Peru,
St. Domingo, &c. are mentioned as very populous countries; and we are
told that the Spaniards had every where to engage with vast armies;
yet it is evident these facts are greatly exaggerated; first, from the
paucity of monuments left of the pretended grandeur of these nations:
secondly, from the nature of the country itself, which, though peopled
with Europeans, more industrious, doubtless, than its natives, is
still wild, uncultivated, covered with wood, and little more than a
group of inacessible and uninhabitable mountains; thirdly, from their
own traditions, with respect to the time they united into society,
the Peruvians reckoning no more than 12 kings, from the first of
whom, about 300 years before, they had imbibed the first principles
of civilization, and ceased to be entirely savage; fourthly, from the
small number of men employed to conquer them, which even with the
advantage of gunpowder, they could not have done, had the people been
numerous. Though the effects of gunpowder were as new and as terrible
to the negroes as to the Americans, their country has yet remained
unconquered, and themselves unenslaved; and the ease with which America
was subdued, appears an irrefragable argument that the country was
thinly peopled, and recently inhabited.

In the New Continent, the temperature of the different climates is more
uniform than in the Old Continent; for this there are several causes.
The Torrid Zone, in America, is by no means so hot as in Africa. The
countries comprehended under the former zone, are Mexico, New Spain,
and Peru, the land of the Amazons, Brazil, and Guiana. In Mexico, New
Spain, and Peru, the heat is never very great; these countries are
prodigiously elevated above the ordinary level of the earth; nor in
the hottest weather does the thermometer rise so high in Peru as in
France. By the snow which covers the tops of the mountains the air is
cooled; and as this cause, which is merely an effect of the former,
has a strong influence upon the temperature of the climate, so the
inhabitants, instead of being black, or dark brown, are only tawny.
The land of the Amazons is particularly watery, and full of forests;
there the air is exceedingly moist, and consequently more cool than in
a country more dry. Besides, it is to be observed, that the east wind,
which blows constantly between the tropics, does not reach Brazil, the
land of the Amazons, or Guiana, without traversing a vast sea, by which
it acquires a degree of coolness. It is from this reason, as well as
from their being so full of rivers and forests, and almost continued
rains, that these parts of America are so exceedingly temperate. But
the east wind, after passing the low countries of America, becomes
considerably heated before it arrives at Peru; and therefore, were
it not for its elevated situation, and for the snow, by which the
air is cooled, the heat would be greater there than either in Brazil
or Guiana. There still, however, remains a sufficiency of heat to
influence the colour of the natives: for those who are most exposed to
it their colour is more yellow than those who live sheltered in the
vallies. Besides, this wind blowing against these lofty mountains, must
be reflected on the neighbouring plains, and diffuse over them that
coolness which it received from the snow that covers their tops; and
from this snow itself, when it dissolves, cold winds must necessarily
arise. All these causes concurring to render the climate of the Torrid
Zone in America far less hot, it is not surprising that its inhabitants
are not so black nor brown as those under the Torrid Zone in Africa and
Asia, where, as we shall shew, there is a difference of circumstances.
Whether we suppose, then, that the Americans have been long or recently
established in that country, their Torrid Zone being temperate, they
are of course not black.

The uniformity in their mode of living, I also assigned for the little
variety to be found in the natives of America. As they were all savage,
or recently civilized, they all lived in the same manner. In supposing
that they had all one common origin, they were dispersed, without being
intermixed; each family formed a nation not only similar to itself, but
to all about them, because their climate and food were nearly similar;
and as they had no opportunity either to degenerate or improve, so they
could not but remain constantly and almost universally the same.

That their origin is the same with our own, I doubt not, independent
of theological arguments; and from the resemblance of the savages of
North America to the Oriental Tartars, there is reason to suppose
they originally sprung from the same source. The new discoveries by
the Russians, on the other side of Kamtschatka, of several lands and
islands which extend nearly to the Western Continent of America,
would leave no doubt as to the possibility of the communication, if
these discoveries were properly authenticated, and the lands were in
any degree contiguous. But, even in the supposition of considerable
intervals of sea, is it not possible that there might have been men
who crossed them in search of new regions, or were driven upon them by
bad tempests? Between the Mariana islands and Japan there is, perhaps,
a greater interval of sea than between any of the territories beyond
Kamtschatka and those of America; and yet the Mariana islands were
peopled with inhabitants who could have come from no part but from
the Eastern Continent. I am inclined to believe, therefore, that the
first men who set foot on America landed on some spot north-west of
California; that the excessive cold of this climate obliged them to
remove to the more southern parts of their new abode; that at first
they settled in Mexico and Peru, from whence they afterwards diffused
themselves over all the different parts of North and South America.
Mexico and Peru must be considered as the most ancient inhabited
territories of this continent, being not only the most elevated, but
also the only ones in which the inhabitants were found connected
together in society.

It may also be presumed that the inhabitants of Davis's Straits, and
of the northern parts of Labrador, came from Greenland, being only
separated by these small straits, for the savages of Davis's straits,
and those of Greenland, as we have just remarked, are very similar; and
Greenland might have been peopled by the Laplanders passing thither
from Cape Nord, the intermediate distance being only about 150 leagues.
Besides, as the island of Iceland is almost contiguous to Greenland,
has long been inhabited and frequented by Europeans; and as the Danes
formed colonies in Greenland, it is not wonderful there should be
found men who, deriving their origin from those Danes, were white
and fair-haired. There is some probability also that the white men
along Davis's Straits derive their origin from these Europeans, thus
settled in Greenland, from whence they might easily pass to America, by
crossing the little interval of sea of which this strait is formed.

In colour and in figure we meet with as great a degree of uniformity
in America, as of diversity of men in Africa. From great antiquity
has this part of the world been copiously peopled. The climate is
scorching, yet in different nations it is of a different temperature;
nor, from the descriptions already given, are their manners less
different. From these concurrent causes there subsists a greater
variety of men in Africa than in any other part. If we examine the
difference in the temperature of the African countries, we shall find
that in Barbary, and all the territories near the Mediterranean Sea,
the men are white, or only somewhat tawny; those territories are
refreshed on one hand by the air of the Mediterranean Sea, and on the
other by the snows on Mount Atlas, and are, moreover, situated in
the Temperate Zone, on this side the Tropic; so also all the tribes
between Egypt and the Canary islands have the skin only more or less
tawny. Beyond the Tropic, and on the other side of Mount Atlas, the
heat becomes more violent, and the colour of the inhabitants is more
dark, though still not black. Coming to the 17th or 18th degree of
north latitude we find Senegal and Nubia, where the heat is excessive,
and the natives absolutely black. In Senegal the thermometer rises to
the degree 38, while in France it rarely rises to 30; and in Peru,
situated under the Torrid Zone, it is hardly ever known to pass 25.
We have no observations made with the thermometer in Nubia, but all
travellers agree in representing the heat to be excessive. The sandy
deserts between Upper Egypt and Nubia heat the air to such a degree
that the north wind actually scorches. The east wind also, which is
usually prevalent between the Tropics, does not reach Nubia till it has
crossed the territories of Arabia; therefore that the Nubians should be
black is little cause for wonder; though indeed they are still less so
than those of Senegal, where, as the east wind cannot arrive till it
has traversed all the territories of Africa in their utmost extent, the
heat is rendered almost insupportable.

If we take all that district of Africa comprised between the Tropics,
where the east wind blows most constantly, we shall easily conceive
that the western coasts of this part of the world must, and actually
do, experience a greater degree of heat than those of the eastern
coasts; as the east wind reaches the latter with the freshness which
it receives in passing over a vast sea, whereas before it reaches the
former, it acquires a burning heat, in traversing the interior parts of
Africa. Thus, therefore, the coasts of Senegal, Sierra Leona, Guinea,
and all the western regions of Africa, situated under the Torrid Zone,
are the hottest climates in the world; nor is it by any means so hot on
the eastern coasts, at Mosambique, Mombaza, &c. I have not the smallest
doubt, therefore, but this is the reason that we find the real negroes,
or the blackest men, in the western territories of Africa, and Caffres,
or black men, of a hue more light, in the eastern territories. The
evident difference which subsists between these two species of blacks
proceeds from the heat of their climate, which is not very great in
the eastern, but excessive in the western. Beyond the Tropic, on the
south, the heat is considerably diminished, not only from its situation
as to climate, but from the point of Africa being contracted; and
as that point is surrounded by the sea the air is necessarily more
temperate than it could be in the middle of a continent. The colour of
the inhabitants of this country begins to assume a fairer hue, and they
are naturally more white than black. Nothing affords a more convincing
proof that the climate is the principal cause of the variety in the
human species than the colour of the Hottentots, who could not possibly
be found less black did they not enjoy a more temperate climate.

In this opinion we shall be more confirmed if we examine the other
nations under the Torrid Zone, on the east side of Africa. The
inhabitants of the Maldivia islands, of Ceylon, of the point of the
peninsula of India, of Sumatra, of Malacca, of Borneo, of Celebes,
of the Philippines, &c. are very brown, though not absolutely black,
from all these countries being either islands or peninsulas. In these
climates the heat of the air is temporized by the sea; besides which,
neither the east nor west wind, which reign alternately in that part of
the globe, can reach the Indian Archipelago without passing over seas
of an immense extent. As their heat is not excessive, therefore, all
these islands are peopled with brown men; but in New Guinea we again
meet with red blacks, and who, from the descriptions of travellers,
seem to be absolute negroes, because the country they inhabit forms
a continent to the east, and the wind is more hot than that which
prevails in the Indian Ocean. In New Holland, where the heat of the
climate is not so great, we find people less black, and not unlike
the Hottentots. Do not these negroes and Hottentots, whom we meet
with in the same latitude, and at so great a distance from the other
negroes and Hottentots, evince their colour depends upon the heat of
the climate? That there was ever any communication between Africa and
this southern continent, it is impossible to suppose; and yet in both
we find the same species of men, because the same circumstances occur
which occasion the same degrees of heat.

From the animal creation we may obtain a further confirmation of what
has been above advanced. In Dauphiny, it has been observed that all the
hogs are black; and that on the other side of the Rhone, in Vivarais,
where it is more cold than in Dauphiny, all the hogs are white. There
is no probability that the inhabitants of one of these two provinces
should have agreed to breed none but black hogs, and the other none
but white ones. To me it appears, that this difference arises solely
from the variation in the temperature of the climate, combined,
perhaps, with that of the food of the animals.

The few blacks who have been found in the Philippines, and other
islands of the Indian Ocean, seem to originate from the Papous, or
Negroes of New Guinea, whom the Europeans have not known much longer
than half a century. Dampier discovered the most eastern part in 1700,
and gave it the name of _New Britain_; we are still ignorant of its
extent, yet we know that, so far as has been discovered, it is not very

In those climates alone, then, where circumstances combine to create
a constant and excessive heat, do we meet with negroes. This heat is
necessary not only to the production, but even to the preservation of
negroes; and where the heat, though violent, is not comparable to that
of Senegal, the negro infants are so susceptible of the impressions of
the air, that there is a necessity for keeping them during the first
nine days in warm apartments; if this precaution is omitted, and they
are exposed to the air soon after their birth, a convulsion in the jaw
succeeds, which preventing them from receiving any sustenance, they
presently die.

In the History of the Academy of Sciences we read, that M. Littre,
in dissecting a negro, in 1702, remarked, that the point of the
glands which was not covered with the prepuce was black, and the rest
perfectly white. From this observation it is evident, that the air is
necessary to produce the blackness of negroes. Their children are born
white, or rather red, like those of other men, but two or three days
after they change to a tawny yellow, which gradually darkens till the
seventh or eighth day, when they are completely black. All children two
or three days after their birth have a kind of jaundice, which in white
children is transitory, and leaves no impression upon the skin; but in
negro children it gives a colour to the skin, and continues to grow
more and more black. M. Kolbe mentions having observed this fact among
the children of Hottentots. This jaundice, however, and the impression
of the air, seem to be only occasional, and not the primary cause of
this blackness; since it is remarked, that the children of negroes
have, the instant of their birth, a blackness in the genitals, and
at the root of the nails. The action of the air and the jaundice may
serve to extend this blackness, but it is certain that the principle of
it is communicated to the children by their parents; that in whatever
country a negro may be born, he will be as black as if he had been
brought forth in his own; and if there is any difference in the first
generation it is imperceptible; from this circumstance, however, we are
not to suppose, that after a certain number of generations, the colour
would not undergo a very sensible change.

Many have been the researches of anatomists respecting this black
colour. Some pretend, that it is neither in the skin, nor in the
epidermis, but in the cellular membrane which is between them; that
this membrane, though washed, and held ever so long in warm water, does
not change colour, while the skin, and the surface of the skin, appear
to be nearly as white as those of other men. Dr. Town, in his letter to
the Royal Society, and a few others, maintain, that the blood is black
in negroes, and from which cause their colour originates; a fact which
I am inclined to believe, from having remarked, that among ourselves
the blood of those who are tawny, yellow, or brown, is proportionally
more black than that of others.

According to M. Barrere, this colour of the negroes is produced by the
bile, which in them is not yellow, but always black as ink; of which
he affirms he received certain proof from several negroes which he had
occasion to dissect at Cayenne. When the bile is diffused, it tinges
the skin of white people yellow; and it is probable, that if the former
were black, the latter would be black also. But as when the overflow
of the bile ceases, the skin recovers its natural whiteness, so on
this principle there is a necessity for supposing that in the negroes
there is always an overflow of bile, or at least that, as M. Barrere
observes, it is so abundant, as naturally to secrete itself in the
epidermis, in a quantity sufficient to communicate this black colour.
It probable that the bile and blood of negroes are more brown than
those of white men, as their skin is more black. But one of these facts
can never be admitted as an explanation of the cause of the other;
for if it is the blood or bile which, by its blackness, communicates
this colour to the skin, then, instead of inquiring why the skin of
negroes is black, we must inquire why their bile or blood is so; and
thus, by deviating from the question, we find ourselves more than ever
remote from the solution of it. For my own part, I own I have always
been of opinion, that the cause which renders a Spaniard more brown
than a Frenchman, and a Moor than a Spaniard, is also the cause which
renders a Negro blacker than a Moor. At present I mean not to enquire
how this cause acts, but only to ascertain that it does act, and that
its effects are the more considerable, in proportion to the force and
continuance of action.

Of the blackness of the skin, the principal cause is the heat of the
climate. When this heat is excessive, as at Senegal, and in Guinea,
the inhabitants are entirely black; when it is rather less violent, as
on the eastern coasts of Africa, they are of a shade more light; when
it becomes somewhat temperate, as in Barbary, Mogul, Arabia, &c. they
are only brown; and in fine, when it is altogether temperate, as in
Europe and in Asia, they are white; and the varieties there remarked
proceed solely from the mode of living. All the Tartars, for example,
are tawny, while the Europeans, who live in the same latitude, are
white. This difference clearly arises from the former being always
exposed to the air; having no towns nor fixed habitations; sleeping
upon the earth, and living coarsely and savagely. These circumstances
are sufficient to render them less white than the Europeans, who want
nothing to render life comfortable and agreeable. Why are the Chinese
whiter than the Tartars, whom they resemble in all their features?
Certainly from the above reasons.

When cold becomes extreme, it produces effects similar to those of
excessive heat. The Samoiedes, Laplanders, and Greenlanders, are very
tawny; and it is even asserted, that some Greenlanders are as black as
those of Africa. Here the two extremes meet. Violent cold and violent
heat produce the same effect upon the skin, because these two causes
act by a quality which they possess in common. Dryness of the air is
this quality; and which cold is as equally productive as intense heat;
by either the skin may be dried, and rendered as tawny as what we find
it among the Laplanders. Cold compresses all the productions of nature;
and thus it is that the Laplanders, who are perpetually exposed to the
rigours of frost, are the smallest of the human species.

The most temperate climate is between the degrees of 40 and 50; where
the human form is in its greatest perfection; and where we ought to
form our ideas of the real and natural colour of man. Situated under
this Zone the civilized countries are, Georgia, Circassia, the Ukraine,
Turkey in Europe, Hungary, South Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France,
and the North of Spain; of all which the inhabitants are the most
beautiful people in the world.

As the principal cause of the colour of mankind, we ought to consider
the climate; the effects of nourishment are less upon the colour, yet
upon the form they are prodigious. Food which is gross, unwholesome, or
badly prepared, produces a degeneracy in the human species; and in all
countries where the people are wretchedly fed, they are ugly, and badly
shaped. Even in France, the inhabitants of country places are more
ugly than those of towns; and I have often remarked, that in villages
where poverty and distress were less prevalent, the people were in
person more shapely, and in visage less ugly. The air and the soil
have also great influence on the form of men, animals, and vegetables.
The peasants who live on hilly grounds are more active, nimble,
well-shaped, and lively, than those who live in the neighbouring
vallies, where the air is thick and unrefined.

Horses from Spain or Barbary cannot be perpetuated in France; in the
very first generation they degenerate, and by the third or fourth they
become downright French horses. So striking is the influence of climate
and food upon animals, that the effects of either are well known, and
though they are less sudden and less apparent upon men, yet, from
analogy, we must conclude they extend to the human species, and that in
the varieties we find therein, they plainly manifest themselves.

From every circumstance may we obtain a proof, that mankind are not
composed of species essentially different from each other; that, on
the contrary, there was originally but one species, which, after being
multiplied and diffused over the whole surface of the earth, underwent
divers changes from the influence of the climate, food, mode of living,
epidemical distempers, and the intermixture of individuals, more or
less resembling each other; that at first these alterations were less
conspicuous, and confined to individuals; that afterwards, from
continued action, they formed specific varieties; that these varieties
have been perpetuated from generation to generation, in the same manner
as deformities and diseases pass from parents to their children, and
that in fine, as they were first produced by a concurrence of external
and accidental causes, and have been confirmed and rendered permanent
by time, and by the continual action of these causes, so it is highly
probable that in time they would gradually disappear, or become
different from what they at present are, if such causes were no longer
to subsist, or if they were in any material point to vary.


T. Gillet, Printer, Wild-court.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber Note

Paragraphs split by illustrations or tables were rejoined. All obvious
typographical corrections were made. Hyphenation was standardized. On
page 46, the word "ambestos" was assumed to be "asbestos" and changed.
The numbers displayed in the table from pages 121 through 133 appears
to have some errors as the totals shown do not always match the total
obtained for each column. These were left as reported.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Buffon's Natural History. Volume IV (of 10) - Containing a Theory of the Earth, a General History of - Man, of the Brute Creation, and of Vegetables, Minerals, - &c. &c" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.