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demonstrate the alliance. What discovery would attend these concessions, it were presumptuous to anticipate : but our heraldic bearings might at least be affected. The field might be crowded, and the crest supported, by animals still : but henceforth, not as symbols of high and lofty attributes,-only mementos of our kindred herds. Should, moreover, those figures be placed, in the language of the science, gardant, it is intolerable to think of that look of easy and impertinent familiarity with which they would appear to recognise and claim all the bonds of consanguinity.
Even what they think man to be who undertake his nicest classification, it is difficult to detect. An ancient philosopher is reported to have made the proud discovery, that he is a twolegged animal without feathers. Now though this does not assert that he is partly bird, it carries the implication : and in that case we are reminded of the hawk-headed man among the Egyptian hieroglyphics.—Helvetius makes the peculiarity of man above other orders to consist in his hands, and is carried away with delight at the happy absence in the human form of claws and hoofs. — Indeed, the question of humanity, of real uncompounded humanity, at least humanity of the highest grade, is now become a very entangled question, and is reducible to very delicate tests. There are four teeth which it is imperative on us to exhibit, or our claim to this honour will be refused. One more or less of the spinal joints will shut the highest rank against us, or throw it open. The hemisphere of the skull by its fall or protuberance, in addition to the secrets of phrenology, must dictate a more important reply to the enquiry, who we really are? A place, then, in the highest scale of human being, is of as difficult adjustment as of immense interest. It was, according to this scheme, a more emphatic compliment than any annotator on Shakspeare has hitherto imagined, when Antony declares over the corpse of Brutus: “Nature might stand up and say to all the world, This was a man.” Nor do our German neighbours seem neutral or indifferent in this controversy, for their name expresses their conviction that they are, all man. It is time for others, perhaps,
as well as our Teutonic brethren, to bid the Linnæan arrangement a high-minded defiance. The following passage from Ferguson's Essay on the History of Civil Society, most luminously explains the superiority of the human being : “He is, in short, a man in every condition ; and we can learn nothing of his nature from the analogy of other animals. In his rudest state he is found to be above them; and in his greatest degeneracy never descends to their level. If we would know him, we must attend to himself, to the course of his life and the tenour of his conduct. With him the society appears to be as old as the individual, and the use of the tongue as universal as that of the hand or the foot. If there was a time in which he had his acquaintance with his own species to make, and his faculties to acquire, it is a time of which we have no record, and in relation to which our opinions can serve no purpose, and are supported by no evidence.”
But not contented with this collocation of man, on the ground of a few similarities between him and some animal races, others have presumed on a theory more degrading, but also, very fortunately, more absurd. They aver that man was once a mere animal himself.
By a part, a marine origin, it is believed, has been made out for him ; but the major part opine that the evidence strongly favours his connection with the simia tribe. Monboddo contends for an admixture of the cat : but he stands alone. The abettors of the more prevailing sentiment, that monkeys and men are of the same genus,-feel quite happy in the pedigree of ancestors who mowed and grimaced in eternal forests, and have even asserted, as a counterpart to the wondrous cat-man of Nicobar, that in the vicinity of Angola whole colonies of the ourang-outang exist,-evidently rising out of a lower department of being, but still moving upwards through the intermediate sections of that scale, to whose highest degrees we are esteemed weak-minded in confining the human prerogative and name. The grave and venerable judge referred to seems to revel in the idea of what man has been : and no small measure of his ecstacy springs outright from the contemplation of an appendage he attributes to the ancient man: an
appendage which, however elegant in some description of animals, has seldom been conceived to add a happy tapering or appropriate finish to the human form. But what if he had lived to see the mighty Chimpazee? There is not a range of enquiry more encumbered with assumption and folly than this. Moderns have not improved upon their predecessors, which they do in the larger number of cases: and as of old the mandrake was mysteriously regarded as the germ of man, so Voltaire saw no reason to disbelieve that the American sprung like a fungus out of the earth. Those who would wish to pursue this history of prodigies may be satisfied by some of the recitals of Pliny. Most undoubtedly had specimens presented themselves of any such equivocal state, I would have endeavoured to avail myself of them for your amusement and instruction. Could I have seized the shrub just opening into the animal,-or caught the animal just emerging into the man,-it might have tended to relieve the tedium of an Essay which can neither call to its aid the explanation of diagram nor the evidence of experiment.
This is not the place to argue the origin of man. It will be sufficient for us to begin with man in those conditions which history has preserved. And while many, in the prosecution of this most interesting study, are divided between the Saturnian dreams of poets and the animal stems of philosophers, let us simply trace our nature from that state whereof (to borrow a legal phrase) the memory of man showeth not to the contrary.But here we cannot but express our astonishment at the gratuitous and reckless haste in which conclusions have been formed in this grand speculation.
It has, without a glimpse of proof, been afirmed, that the primæval state of man is savage. That savage state is represented as consisting merely of the dullest animal instincts. Perpendicular motion and attitude are, by the partizans of this sentiment, treated as inventions. A poor wild boy from the woods of Hanover was hailed as a trophy by the sect.
His stunted mind was proclaimed to be in simple and undisguised nature. His inarticulate sounds were considered as demonstrative that man did not speak, (which no one supposed.) from
intuition. The question of this unhappy creature was, perhaps, most satisfactorily resolved by the stronger presumption that he had been abandoned by civilised, though inhuman, parents, rather than by parents rude and savage as himself. Besides, savage
life has never been found at such a depression as this. And savage life bears no evidence of being an original state. On the contrary, it reminds us of much: it is the debasement of an intellect too ethereal to be restrained, too intense to be extinguished. The fine sentiments, the romantic traditions, which gleam through all their barbarian fables, point to a higher date and a purer condition.
It has been surmised by some who have entered on this study, and dogmatically maintained, that there are great diversities of race among them whom we call man. Kaimes
this opinion the refuge of his great name. This theory may be ascribed to the obvious bias of the mind which often induces us, in order to evade a difficulty, to plunge into another far more formidable. Probably the surest refutation must be sought in itself.
For can any one peruse the works which defend it without some of these impressions? In the first instance, we must notice what very singular and awkward reasonings are required to give it somewhat of plausibility: they are not clear and easy, but bolstered and constrained. Fiction is dressed for truth, the tale of the traveller is relied on without any examination, and opinions are substituted for facts. In the next instance, there is an evident design to answer in the propagation of this theory. That traffic which no terms of infamy can libel, a traffic of remorseless cupidity and cruelty, arrogated to itself this as a philosophic defence, and pleaded this as a scientific apology. There is another motive also ; man may become so sensual, that he shall desire to release himself from more intelligent and responsible nature. Now such palpable interest in the litigation must affect and vitiate all the evidence adduced. —And for mine own part, I can never bring myself to think the authors of that theory in earnest : they seem experimenting upon the credulity of their readers, and to be enjoying that pleasure, which is said to be found, in inducing others to believe
what we cannot believe ourselves.—most confidently think, that without resorting to peculiarities of structure, hair, colour, visage, (belonging to a province into which it would be unbecoming in me to intrude) that upon intellectual and moral principles alone, it would be easy to prove that the origin of man is precisely the same.
Much might be advanced on the subject of human speech and language. May my conviction be expressed, in the absence of arguments which the latitude of my design must compel me to waive,-that speech is an original endowment, though dependent upon instruction and imitation,—and that the founders of our race received the elements of language with their being ?
Two questions, both of them interesting and important, may now be mooted : is man in general character, is man in corporal system, similar, in the present stage of his history, to what he has always been known to be? In respect to the first, man as the subject of history is identical with man as the subject of observation. The same strife of passions has ever warred in his breast. The same cast of prejudices has ever disfigured his character. The same order of achievements has vindicated his course. Surrounded with changes, the occasion of changes, how little is he changed himself! And though we fondly augur the poblest improvements through the future successions of our race, when we have long quitted this scene, yet those improvements we only expect from certain modifications of the same constituents of being. Far as the eye of thought and the vista of hope can reach, we only descry the dim reflection of that being wavering upon the remotest age,—with a higher expression indeed, but with an unaltered contour !
Nor will it be very difficult to address ourselves to the second enquiry, for there is, so far as the page of profane history ascends, no proof of any great degeneracy in the human frame. When gymnastic exercives were more commonly practised, the strength and activity of man must have increased. But this process is successful w the present day: and individuals, by no means conspicuous for stature or muscular vigour, are to be found who might probably vie with the most renowned Athletæ of old. From