valleys by slowly crossing and recrossing them, like a turner's chisel. Once at their limit on a given side, they may be imagined to halt and turn back. The form of the bottom is changed and the point of greatest activity transferred from one side to the other; the sand-bars are first removed, and then the willow-belt is carried away; next they attack the forest of cottonwoods, and mercilessly sacrifice these; still undaunted, they invade the higher parts of the valley, wear away wide stretches of plain, and slowly march up to the foot of the adjacent hills and mountains, which they also attack and undermine, until, checked by the increasing quantity of débris, and driven back by the very magnitude of their own trophies, they beat a retreat, only to repeat for the thousandth time the process which we have thus hastily sketched.
|AIMS OF THE STUDY OF ANTHROPOLOGY.|
ONE of the great difficulties with regard to making anthropology a special subject of study, and devoting a special organization to its promotion, is the multifarious nature of the branches of knowledge comprehended under the title. This very ambition, which endeavors to include such an extensive range of knowledge, ramifying in all directions, illustrating and receiving light from so many other sciences, appears often to overleap itself and give a looseness and indefiniteness to the aims of the individual or the institution proposing to cultivate it.
The old term ethnology has a far more limited and definite meaning. It is the study of the different peoples or races who compose the varied population of the world, including their physical characters, their intellectual and moral development, their languages, social customs, opinions, and beliefs; their origin, history, migrations, and present geographical distribution, and their relations to each other. These subjects may be treated of under two aspects: first, by a consideration of the general laws by which the modifications in all these characters are determined and regulated—this is called general ethnology; secondly, by the study and description of the races themselves, as distinguished from each other by the special manifestations of these characters in them. To this the term special ethnology, or, more often, ethnography, is applied.
Ethnology thus treats of the resemblances and differences of the modifications of the human species in their relations to each other, but anthropology, as now understood, has a far wider scope. It treats of
- From the President's address, delivered at the anniversary meeting of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, January 22, 1884.