Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/360

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
346
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

time or other, free and prolonged intercourse has taken place between the speakers of the same language. Philology, therefore, while it may have a perfect right to postulate the existence of a primitive Aryan "people," has no business to substitute "race" for "people." The speakers of primitive Aryan may have been a mixture of two or more races, just as are the speakers of English and of French at the present time.

The older philological ethnologists felt the difficulty which arose out of their identification of linguistic with racial affinity, but were not dismayed by it. Strong in the prestige of their great discovery of the unity of the Aryan tongues, they were quite prepared to make the philological and the biological categories fit, by the exercise of a little pressure on that about which they knew less. And their judgment was often unconsciously warped by strong monogenistic proclivities, which at bottom, however respectable and philanthropic their origin, had nothing to do with science. So the patent fact that men of Aryan speech presented widely diverse racial characters was explained away by maintaining that the physical differentiation was post-Aryan; to put it broadly, that the Aryans in Hindoo-Koosh-Pamir were truly of one race; but that, while one colony, subjected to the sweltering heat of the Gangetic plains, had fined down and darkened into the Bengalee, another had bleached and shot up, under the cool and misty skies of the north, into the semblance of Pomeranian grenadiers; or of blue-eyed, fair-skinned, six-foot Scotch Highlanders. I do not know that any of the Uhlans who fought so vigorously under this flag are left now. I doubt if any one is prepared to say that he believes that the influence of external conditions, alone, accounts for the wide physical differences between Englishmen and Bengalese. So far as India is concerned, the internal evidence of the old literature sufficiently proves that the Aryan invaders were "white" men. It is hardly to be doubted that they intermixed with the dark Dravidian aborigines; and that the high-caste Hindoos are what they are in virtue of the Aryan blood which they have inherited,[1] and of the selective influence of their surroundings operating on the mixture.


  1. In the United States the negroes have spoken English for generations; but no one on that ground would call them Englishmen, or expect them to differ physically, mentally, or morally from other negroes." (Pall Mall Gazette, January 10, 1870.) But the "axiom in ethnology" had been implied, if not enunciated, before my time; for example, by Ecker in 1865.

    I am unable to discover good grounds for the severity of the criticism, in the name of "the anthropologists," with which Prof. Max Müller's assertion that the same blood runs in the veins of English soldiers "as in the veins of the dark Bengalese," and that there is "a legitimate relationship between Hindoo, Greek, and Teuton," has been visited. So far as I know anything about anthropology, I should say that these statements may be correct literally, and probably arc so substantially. I do not know of any good reason for