It is eminently desirable that these statements should be verified, for the doubts which have been thrown, to some extent justly, upon various attempts to judge the age of the alluvium of the Nile do not affect the proof of the relative antiquity of the human occupation of Egypt, which such facts would afford; and it is useless to speculate on the antiquity of the Egyptian race, or the condition of the delta when men began to people it, until they are accurately investigated.
As to the ethnological relations of the Egyptian race, I think all that can be said is, that neither the physical nor the philological evidence, as it stands, is very satisfactory. That the Egyptians are not negroes is certain, and that they are totally different from any typical Semites is also certain. I am not aware that there are any people who resemble them in character of hair and complexion, except the Dravidian tribes of Central India, and the Australians; and I have long been inclined to think, on purely physical grounds, that the latter are the lowest and the Egyptians the highest members of a race of mankind of great antiquity, distinct alike from Aryan and Turanian on the one side, and from negro and negrito on the other. And it seems to me that the philologists, with their "Cushites" and "Hamites," are tending toward a similar differentiation of the Egyptian stock from its neighbors. But, both on the anthropological and on the philological sides, the satisfactorily ascertained facts are few and the difficulties multitudinous.
I have addressed you to-night in my private capacity of a student of nature, believing, as I hope with justice, that the discussion of questions which have long attracted me would interest you. But I have not forgotten, and I dare say you have not, that I have the honor to stand in a very close official relation to Eton as a member of the Governing Body. And I have reason to think that, in some quarters, I am regarded as a dangerous member of that body, who, if he were not restrained by his colleagues, would endeavor to abolish the traditional studies of the school, and set the sixth form working at the generation of gases and the dissection of crawfishes, to the exclusion of your time-honored discipline in Greek and Latin.
To put the matter very gently, that statement is unhistorical; and I selected my topic for the discourse which I have just concluded, in order that I might show you, by an example, the outside limits to which my scientific fanaticism would carry me, if it had full swing. Before the fall of the second empire, the French liberals raised a cry for "Liberty as in Austria." I ask for "Scientific Education as in Halicarnassus," and that the culture given at Eton shall be, at any rate, no narrower than that of a Greek gentleman of the age of Pericles.
Herodotus was not a man of science, in the ordinary sense of the word; but he was familiar with the general results obtained by the "physiologists" of his day, and was competent to apply his knowledge