Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

revert to lower forms. Such slight progress as certain of these African Negro peoples have made, is without exception, the direct result of foreign influ

ence.

It should be mentioned, however, in justice to the present-day African Negroes, that many of them have developed into herdsmen, and more or less successful agriculturists, under the influence of Hamatic, Anglo-Saxon, and other Caucasic peoples about them. Through the infusion of Caucasic blood, in such limited localities as this has taken place to any considerable extent, these Negroes show decided characteristics and tendencies of the Hamitic

race.

As we have shown elsewhere, this prehistoric Hamitic race, which has penetrated certain portions of the Sudan and so greatly influenced the life and customs of certain Negro tribes-by precept, example, and interbreeding-are also progenitors of the ancient Egyptians. Thus we establish a real bloodrelationship between an historic people of great culture and achievement, and a certain limited portion of this Negro race. This kinship-both slight and remote-is certainly of no importance in relation to the teeming millions of these savages and barbarians. When we remember that Africa alonesouth of the Sahara and exclusive of Madagascarhas a Negro population variously estimated to be from one hundred million to one hundred and eighty million souls, or twice that of Continental United States, it is not surprising that Caucasic admixture has been of little ethnic consequence. The great mass of the Sudanese people are a pure stock and but slightly if at all removed from abject savagery. They, in common with the various tribes to the South are pagan cannibals, showing little or no capacity in

their native state, for progress of any kind. Their language or various agglutinated languages, are strictly indigenous and bear little or no known relationship to the several European and Asiatic tongues.

The Cephalic index (cranial cubic capacity) of these Negro tribes varies considerably, but on the whole may be said to average about fifteen per cent. less than that of Asiatics, and a somewhat greater discrepancy exists between it and the higher European types.

The Bantu Negroes, from whom our American stock was chiefly drawn, occupy the west coast districts of Central and Southern Africa. This subdivision of African Negro races is characterized by both physical and linguistic differences. The most marked physical distinction is to be found in a general softening of the facial features; while their poorly developed language is mostly tribal or racial, it is somewhat mixed with foreign languages in certain localities. This Bantu language-if it is sufficiently developed to be called a language-is slightly if at all related to that of the Sudanese, and quite different among the many tribes.

When we enter deeply into the subject of African tribal tongues they are found to be so numerous, so ill-defined, and so imperfect that we are liable to become irretrievably entangled in a hopeless mass of savage dialects. In this matter of Negro languages there is but little distinction to be made by ordinary observers, and for the purpose of determining the state of development of the race, from which our American Negroes were largely drawn, they are of little practical use. They testify very emphatically, however, to his total lack of culture. The linguist, whose purpose and profession it is to trace and record

the many rude forms of speech, and their distinguishing qualities, cannot be closely followed in these mat

ters.

[ocr errors]

"In all the Negro lands free from foreign influence, says Keane, "no true culture has ever been developed, and here" (speaking of Africa), "cannibalism, witchcraft, and sanguinary customs are either still rife, or have been but recently suppressed by the direct action of European administration."

In the execution of our determined purpose to hew straight to the mark, in all matters of fact, and to admit nothing that savors of bias or prejudice to befog these pages, we are forced to affirm that little trustworthy evidence can be found to substantiate any claim of advancement or development on the part of the unaided Negro race. Conversely a superabundance of the most reliable evidence is at hand to demonstrate his utter helplessness and hopelessness in his native state, when bereft of the uplifting influences of Caucasic domination. Those best qualified to judge are almost universally agreed, that,-left to his own devices-in his present physical environment, the Negro is absolutely incapable of substantial progress. Sir H. H. Johnson, to whose writings we have elsewhere referred, says, "He is a fine animal who in his wild state exhibits a stunted mind and a dull content with his surroundings, which induces mental stagnation, cessation of all upward progress, and even retrogression towards the brute." "In some respects,' says Johnson, "I think the tendency of the Negro for several centuries past has been an actual retrograde As we come to read the unwritten history of Africa by researches into languages, manners, customs, traditions, we seem to see a backward rather than a forward movement going on for some thousand years past-a return towards the savage and

one.

[ocr errors]

even the brute. I can believe it possible that, had Africa been more isolated from contact with the rest of the world, and cut off from the immigration of the Arab and the European, the purely Negroid races left to themselves, so far from advancing towards a higher type of humanity, might have actually reverted by degrees to a type no longer human." Keane, who quotes this statement from Johnston-in his "World's Peoples" says of it: "I do not say that this is so, but I give it as the mature opinion of an administrator, who has had a wider experience of the natives of Africa than almost any man living."

In speaking of the Sudanese and Bantu Negroes collectively, Keane says: "Both represent various phases of barbarism, which nowhere rise to the lowest standards of civilization, but in many places present the aspect of sheer savagery, as seen in the generally hard treatment of the women, the undeveloped moral sense, cannibalism still prevalent over wide areas, the cruel practices associated with ordeals and witchcraft, the complete lack of science, letters, and stable political institution beyond the established or traditional tribal laws and customs, and more especially the arrested growth of the mental faculties after the age of puberty."

The various branches of this Bantu division inhabit the west coast districts from the Sudan to the Cape.

While ethnologists have established these two grand divisions—the Sudanes and the Bantu-they confess the distinguishing qualities to be relatively slight, and admit both to be true representatives of the lowest of the four grand divisions of mankind. The evidence presented, apart from any personal convictions of the author, is quite sufficient to show that the true Negro race is not naturally qualified for intelligent self-government. To contend as

some

writers have done-Scholes, for example-that the British authorities in British Africa should confer on the natives all the civil and political prerogatives possessed by British denizens, is decidedly unreasonable. A higher race cannot, by education or legislation, confer upon a lower the mental and physical qualities by which nature has foreordained the one to be the higher and the other the lower. African Negroes frequently revert to arboreal habits of life; and it has been shown in other parts of this work that mental development is arrested at puberty, and that cannibalism is at this very time rife except where it has been forcibly suppressed by Caucasic domination. Is this condition fixed by inheritance, or is it due to temporary circumstances and subject to more or less sudden and complete reversal? Is the Negro capable of sudden mental development? Throughout the nineteenth century this subject has been one of heated debate by all English-speaking peoples, nor has it been one whit lessened by the advent of the twentieth century. Most of the writings intended for popular consumption have emanated from prejudiced sources, the very bias of the individual usually constituting its inspiration-some of these writings being bitterly against the Negro, and others as strongly for him.

When the subject is calmly considered the only logical conclusion to be drawn is that the higher mental qualities are not to be suddenly acquired by any ingenious devices or processes of education. The deficiencies of the Negro are racial, deep-rooted, and of long standing.

They are the accumulated effects of adverse circumstances during thousands of generations. No earthly power can suddenly change these natural truths, "And which of you," sayeth the Book, "with

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »