Popular Science Monthly/Volume 52/December 1897/The Racial Geography of Europe: The British Isles XI
|THE RACIAL GEOGRAPHY OF EUROPE.|
A SOCIOLOGICAL STUDY.
(Lowell Institute Lectures, 1896.)
By WILLIAM Z. RIPLEY, Ph. D.,
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY; LECTURER IN ANTHROPO-GEOGRAPHY AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY.
XI.—THE BRITISH ISLES.
THE ethnic history of the British Isles turns upon two significant geographical facts, which have rendered their populations decidedly unique among the other states of western Europe. The first of these is their insular position, midway off the coast between the north and south of the continent. That narrow silver streak between Calais and Dover which has insured the political security and material prosperity of England in later times, has always profoundly affected her racial history. A partial bar against invasion by land, the fatal step once taken, it has immediately become an obstacle in the way of retreat. Invasion thus led inevitably to assimilation. Protected sufficiently against disturbance to assure that homogeneity of type which is attendant upon close contact, the islands at the same time could never suffer from the stagnation which utter isolation implies.
We are still further assured of the truth of these geographical generalizations on comparison of the racial history of England with that of Ireland; for we thereby have opportunity to observe the effects of different degrees of such insularity. In the latter case, it
An Irish Type. Gray eyes, brown hair. Arran Islands, Galway.
has become a bit too pronounced to be a favorable element in the situation. Disregarding her modern political history—for we are dealing with races and not nations—it is indeed true, as Dr. Beddoe says, that Ireland "has always been a little behindhand." Ethnic invasions, if they took place at all, came late and with spent energy; most of them, as we shall see, whether of culture or of physical types, failed to reach her shores at all. These laws apply to all forms of life alike. Thus the same geographical isolation which excluded the
snakes of the mainland from Ireland—we are speaking seriously of an established zoölogical fact and not a myth—was responsible for the absence of the peculiar race of men who brought the culture of bronze and other arts into England in prehistoric times. It also accounts for the relative scarcity of the Teutonic invaders afterward. As we may grade both the flora and fauna of the islands in variety of species from the continent westward, so also may we distinguish them anthropologically. In flora, Ireland has but two thirds the species indigenous to England and Scotland; for the same reason her human population contains much less variety of human type. Among the Irish peasantry there are no such contrasts as those we shall show to exist between the highland and the lowland Scotch, or between the Englishman in Cornwall and in Yorkshire.
A second geographical peculiarity of the British Isles has not been devoid of importance to us. The eastern island contains both extremes of fertility and accessibility. Ireland is far more uniform. A point for us to note is that the backbone of each island lies along the west coast. Both England and Scotland certainly present their best sides to the continent; all the way from Caithness to Kent either the most fertile lands, or the mouths of rivers leading to them, lie on the east. The same thing is mainly true of Ireland. The result, of course, is the accentuation of the contrasts between the populations of the east and west sides in either case. The best lands are at the same time nearest the mainland. All incentive to further invasion ceases at once. The significance of this will appear in due time. We may realize its importance in advance, however, by supposing the situation reversed, with the goal of all invasions on the farther side of each island. Is there a doubt that Wales, the western Scottish highlands, and farther Ireland would have been far more thoroughly infused with foreign blood than they are in reality to-day? It makes a great difference whether a district is on the hither or the hinter side of Canaan.
The most remarkable trait of the population of the British Isles is its head form; and especially the uniformity in this respect which is everywhere manifested. The prevailing type is that of the long and narrow head, accompanied by an oval rather than the round face. This uniformity makes the task of illustrating types by means of portraits peculiarly difficult; for the shape of the head is the main characteristic directly shown by them. It should also always be borne in mind that when we speak of broad or oval faces we refer to the proportions of the bony framework alone. We must look below the flesh, behind beard or whiskers, or else endless confusion will result. Full cheeks need not imply a broad face as we mean it; the width at the malar bones is the crucial test. Measured by the cephalic index—that is, the extreme breadth of the cranium expressed in percentage of its length from front to back—the uniformity in type is so perfect that it can not be represented by shaded maps as we have heretofore been accustomed to do. Wherever heads have been measured, whether in the Arran Islands off the west coast of Ireland, the Hebrides and Scottish Highlands, Wales and Cornwall, or the counties about London, the results all agree within a few units. These figures, noted upon the localities where they were taken, are shown upon our little sketch map on this page. It will be observed at once that the indexes all lie between 77 and 79, with the possible exception of parts of Scotland, where they fall to 76.
What do these dry statistics mean? In the first place, they indicate a living population in which the round-headed Alpine race of central Europe is totally lacking; an ethnic element which, as we have already shown in our preceding articles, constitutes a full half of the present population of every state of middle western Europe—that is to say, of France, Belgium, Italy, and Germany. We have already proved that this Alpine race is distinctively a denizen of mountainous regions; we christened it Alpine for that reason. It clings to the upland areas of isolation with a persistency which even the upheavals of the nineteenth century can not shake. Almost everywhere it appears to have yielded the seacoasts to its aggressive rivals, the Teutonic long-headed race in the north and the dolichocephalic Mediterranean one on the south. This curious absence of the broad-headed Alpine race in the British Isles therefore is merely another illustration of its essentially continental character.
Before we proceed to consider the other physical traits of the living population, we must draw in a background by a hasty summary of the facts which the science of archæology has to offer concerning the prehistoric human types in the islands. In the first place, it is certain that the earliest inhabitants were decidedly long-headed, even more so than any Europeans of to-day; far more so than the present British. The evidence concerning this most primitive stratum is carefully presented by Boyd Dawkins in his Early Man in Britain. These men, whose remains have been unearthed in caves and whose implements have been discovered in the river drift of the late glacial epoch, were decidedly dolichocephalic. Both in the stage of culture attained and in head form they were so like the Eskimo of North America that Nilsson more than a half century ago suggested a common derivation for both. Boyd Dawkins lends his support to the same hypothesis, assuming that as the ice sheet withdrew to the north, these primitive folk followed it, just as we know to a certainty that the mammoth, mastodon, and other species of animals have done. A former connection of Europe with Greenland would have made this migration an easy matter. Whether this interesting supposition be true or not, we know that the earliest type of man in Britain was as long-headed as either the African negro or the Eskimo—that is to say, presenting a more extreme type in this respect than any living European people to-day.
The second population to be distinguished in these islands was characterized by a considerably higher culture; but it was quite similar, although somewhat less extreme in physical type than the preceding one, so far as we can judge by the head form. This epoch, from the peculiarities of its mode of interment, is known as the long-barrow period. The human remains are found, often in considerable numbers, generally in more or less rudely constructed stone chambers, covered with earth. These mounds, egg-shaped in plan, often several hundred feet long, are quite uniform in type. The bodies are found at the broader and higher end of the tumulus, which is more often toward the east, possibly a matter of religion, the entrance being upon this same end. These people were still in the pure stone age of culture; neither pottery nor metals seem to have been known. But a distinct advance is indicated by the skillfully fashioned stone implements. Such long barrows occur most frequently in the southwest of England, in the counties of Wilts and Gloucestershire, especially in the bleak uplands of the Coteswold
Scandinavian Mixed Type.
"Old Black Breed" Type.
Hills; but they are also found much farther north as well. The people of this period were, as we have said, like their predecessors, extremely long-headed. The cephalic index in the life was as low as 72, several units below any average in Europe to-day, save perhaps in parts of Corsica. It is worthy of note also that a remarkable purity of type in this respect was manifested; positively no broad crania with indexes above 80 have ever been found. These long-barrow men were also rather undersized, about five feet five inches—that is to say, an inch shorter than any average prevailing to-day. The full significance of this important point will appear shortly. The evidence seems to bear out the conclusion that thus far we have to do with but one race type, which had, however, slowly acquired a low stage of culture by self-education.
This neolithic, or stone age, primitive type is still represented in the present population, according to the testimony of those best fitted to judge. Our portrait herewith of an ancient British type, locally known in the Shetland Isles as "the old black breed," because of its accentuated brunetteness, is probably a good specimen. The long head and dark complexion are said to-day to be more often associated with short stature than otherwise.
The next event in the prehistoric history of the British Isles—pardon the bull, it conveys our meaning—is of profound significance. Often directly superposed upon the relics of the long-barrow period, and in other ways indicating a succession to it in time, occur the remains of an entirely different racial type. This stratum represents the so-called round-barrow period, from the circumstance that the burial mounds are no longer ovoid or elongated in ground plan, but quite circular or bell-shaped. The culture is greatly superior to that of its predecessor. Pottery, well ornamented, occurs in abundance, and the metals are known. Bronze implements are very common, and even a few traces of iron appear. Now the dead are often buried in urns, showing that incineration must have been practiced. More remarkable than this advance in culture, and more directly concerning our present inquiry, the people were as broad-headed as the modern peasants of middle Trance. The cephalic index was fully ten points on the average above that of the long-barrow men, averaging about 83 in the life. The former type has not entirely disappeared, but it is in a decided minority. So persistent is the difference that Dr. Thurnam's well-known axiom, "long-barrow, long skull; round-barrow, round head," is accepted as an ethnic law. It is impossible to emphasize too strongly the radical change in human type which is hereby implied. The contrast is every whit as marked as that between a modern Alpine peasant and a south Italian or Scandinavian. The new population differed in still another important respect from the underlying one. This is known from scores of detailed measurements of skeletons. The average stature was fully three inches greater, rising five feet eight inches. The round-barrow population therefore attained a bodily height more respectable as compared with the present living one than its stunted predecessor. Dr. Beddoe has selected the accompanying portrait as representing this almost extinct broad-headed type of the bronze age. It is said to be not uncommon in the remoter
Round-Barrow Bronze-Age Type. Cumberland.
parts of Cumberland. The heavy brow ridges seem to be a noticeable peculiarity of it.
The generally accepted view among anthropologists to-day is that the round-barrow men came over from the mainland, bringing with them a culture derived from the east. We can never know with certainty whether they were Celtic immigrants from Brittany; where, as we have already shown, a similar physical type prevails to-day—such is Thurman's view: or whether they were the vanguard of the invaders from Denmark, where a round-headed type was for a time well represented, an opinion to which Dr. Rolleston inclines. This latter hypothesis is strengthened by study of the modern populations, both of Norway and the Danish peninsula. For example, turn for a moment to our map on page 158, showing the head form in Scandinavia to-day. Notice how the tints darken, that is to say, the heads broaden, in the southwest corner of Norway. The same thing is true just across the Skager Rack in Denmark proper, where the round-headed type is still more frequent than immediately to the south in Schleswig-Holstein and Hanover. This neighborhood was once a distinct subcenter of distribution of this type. It might readily have come over to England from here, as the Jutes, Angles, and Saxons did a few centuries later. Differing in these details as to their precise geographical origin, all authorities are nevertheless agreed that the round-barrow men came from the continent somewhere. Any other derivation would have been an impossibility. We also know that this Alpine immigrant type overran all England and part of Scotland. It never reached Ireland because of its remoteness; with the result that greater homogeneity of type prevails therein, while at the same time the island was deprived of a powerful stimulus to advance in culture. This is the first indication of the geographical handicap under which Erin has always labored. Finally, we have to note that this broad-headed invasion of the round-barrow period is the only case where such an ethnic element ever crossed the English Channel in numbers sufficient to affect the physical type of the aborigines. Even here its influence was but transitory; the energy of the invasion speedily dissipated; for at the opening of the historic period, judged by the sepulchral remains, the earlier types had considerably absorbed the newcomers.
The disappearance of the round-barrow men is the last event of the prehistoric period which we are able to distinguish. Coming, therefore, to the time of recorded history, we find that every influence was directed toward the complete submergence of this extraneous broad-headed type; for a great immigration from the northern mainland set in, which, after six hundred years of almost uninterrupted flow, completely changed the complexion—we speak literally as well as figuratively—of these islands. The Teutonic invasions from Germany, Denmark, and Scandinavia are the final episodes in our chronicle. They bring us down to the present time. They offer us a brilliant example of a great ethnic conquest as well as of a military or political occupation. The Romans came in considerable numbers; they walled cities and built roads; they introduced new arts and customs; but when they abandoned the islands they left them racially as they were before; for they appear to have formed a ruling caste, holding itself aloof in the main from intermarriage with the natives.
Not even a heritage of Latin place names remains to any considerable degree. Kent and Essex were of all the counties perhaps the most thoroughly Romanized; and yet the names of towns, rivers, and hills were scarcely affected. The people manifest no physical traits which we are justified in ascribing to them. The Teutonic invasions, however, were of a different character. The invaders, coming perhaps in hopes of booty, yet finding a country more agreeable for residence than their barren northern land, cast in their lot with the natives in many districts forming the great majority of the population. We find their descendants all over Britain to-day.
These Teutonic invaders were all alike in physical type, roughly speaking. We can scarcely distinguish a Swede from a Dane to-day, or either from a native of Schleswig-Holstein, or Friesland, the home of the Jutes, Angles, and Saxons. They are all described to us by chroniclers, and our modern research corroborates the testimony, as tall, tawny-haired, fiercely blue-eyed barbarians. Evidence there is indeed that the Alpine broad-headed race once effected a lodgment in southwest Norway, as we have already said. Our map of that country on a subsequent page shows a persistence greatly attenuated, of that trait all along the coast. Archaeology shows it to have invaded Jutland also in early times; but it seems to be of secondary importance there to-day. The Danes are somewhat broader-headed than the Hanoverians perhaps, but, practically speaking, they are all tall and blond Teutons.
Since we can not follow these invaders over Britain by means of their head form, they being all alike and entirely similar to the already prevailing type in the British Isles previous to their advent, we must have recourse to a contributory kind of evidence. We have at times made use of the testimony of place names heretofore; but it is nowhere else in Europe so clear or convincing as in this particular case. We may trace with some surety each current of the great Teutonic inundation by means of them. Then, having done this and completed our historical treatment of the subject, we may once more take up the main thread of our argument by returning to the study of the living population. We shall thus have the key to the situation well in hand. The distribution of color of hair and eyes and of stature will have a real significance.Our map on next page, adapted from Canon Taylor's exceedingly valuable little book entitled Names and Places, will serve as the mainstay of our summary. In choosing our shading for it, we had one object in mind, which we can not forbear from stating at the outset. The three shades denoting the Teutonic place names are quite similar in intensity and sharply marked off from the Celtic areas, which we have made black. This is as it should be, for the whole matter involves a contrast of the three with the one which we know to be far more primitive and deep-seated. The witness of spoken language, to which we shall come shortly, would suffice to
confirm this, even had we no history to which to turn. Our map shows at a glance an island where once all the names of natural features of the landscape and of towns as well were Celtic. This primitive layer of names has been rolled back by pressure from the direction of the mainland. It is a unit opposed to the combined aggression of the Germanic tongues.
The Jutes, Angles, and Saxons set the Teutonic ball a-rolling. They came from the northern coast of Germany, from the marshes and low-lying country of Friesland. These barbarians seem to have followed close upon the heels of the retiring Romans, making their appearance about the year 400 of our era. The whole island lay open to them, and they made haste to overrun the best of it. They avoided the fens and forests, to which the natives withdrew. Within two hundred years their influence had extended even to the uttermost parts of Ireland, over the whole of which, as our map shows, Saxon village names sporadically occur. The main center of their occupation was in the southeast and middle of England, where, from their first landings in Kent and Essex, they transformed the entire country. Scotland also, south of Edinburgh, was infused with Saxon blood if we may judge from our map. This district, from the river Tees to the Forth, is in fact, as Taylor says, as purely English as any part of the island. The Lothians were reputed English soil until the eleventh century. Scotland begins racially not at the political boundary of the river Tweed and Solway Firth, but at the base of the Grampian Hills. The correspondence of a map of physical geography and of Celtic place names in Scotland shows a relation of cause and effect.
This first inoculation with Teutonic blood was an unwilling one. We have every evidence that the struggle was bitter to the end. The tale of Saint Guthlac, a devout Briton, shows it. Disturbed in his meditations one night by a great uproar outside his hermit hut, he engaged himself in prayer for preservation until the morning. The chronicler tells us that he was much relieved at daybreak by the discovery that the midnight marauders were only devils and not Saxons. So strong was the race antipathy that the laws forbade a Briton from drinking from a cup touched by a Saxon till it had been scoured with sand or ashes. Two hundred years of such a struggle could not but modify the purity of the native stock, as we shall be able to prove.
About the year 850 came the second installment of the Teutonic invasion at the hands of the Danes. They put an end to the inroads of their Saxon predecessors by attacking them in the rear. Two contrasted kinds of expeditions seem to have been dispatched against the island. Those which besieged London and skirted the southern coasts were mainly piratical; few names indicating any permanent settlement occur. These Danes were in search of booty alone. Farther north, especially in Lincolnshire and its vicinity, the character of the names betokens intentional colonization, and a very intensive one at that. Thus, nearly a quarter of all the village names in Lincolnshire terminate in "by," as Whitby, Derby, and the like. The Saxon equivalent for this Danish word for village is "ham" or "ton," as Buckingham and Huntington. The line of demarcation of Danish settlement on the south is very sharp. The fens deterred them from extending in this direction, for the marshes were long a stronghold of the British, as we have seen. From the Wash north over Yorkshire to the Tweed they occupied and settled the country effectively. Three hundred years were necessary to accomplish this result.
The Norwegians, coming next, mainly confined their attention to the northern and western coasts of Scotland, shunning their vigorous competitors to the south. They attacked the island from the back side. The fringe of Norse place names upon our map is very striking. These Teutons rarely penetrated far inland in Scotland, especially along this west coast, for here the country is rugged; the only means of communication is by sea; so that the isolated colonies of "baysmen" were speedily absorbed. On the islands—the Shetlands, Orkneys, and Hebrides—the case was different. Here the aborigines were often entirely replaced by a purely Scandinavian population. Such a family with strongly accentuated Norwegian peculiarities is depicted herewith. Its contrast with the aboriginal dark population, the "old black breed," shown on a preceding page, needs no comment. The effect of a lesser Teutonic strain in the old stock is clearly manifested in the second type which accompanies our previous portrait. One reason for the Teutonization of these islands is that they were really wintering stations and bases of supplies for the expeditions along the coasts of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales during the summer season. The only other district where Norse settlements occur in frequency is, as our map shows, in Lancashire and the lake district. This may also have been a center whence expeditions all about the western coasts took place, planting little stations where opportunity offered.
The Normans, last of the Germanic series, came to the islands after they had become so infiltrated with Teutonic settlements that but few traces of them separately can be detected. They did not come as they entered Normandy, as colonizers; but as political conquerors, a few thousand perhaps, forming a ruling class, just as the Franks invaded south Germany or Burgundy. Their influfluence is most strongly shown in York and parts of Lancashire and Durham. Much of the land here they laid entirely waste; what they did with the native owners we can only surmise. At a later time a gradual influx of Norman blood made itself felt in the south and east of England, so that Dr. Beddoe concludes that by the time of Edward I perhaps a fifth of the population was of Norman descent more or less indirectly.
The Teutonic immigration had now run its course. The islands were saturated. Let us see what the anthropological effect has been by returning once more to the consideration of physical characteristics alone.
We are now prepared to show why it is that in head form the population of the British Isles to-day is so homogeneous. The average cephalic index of 78 occurs nowhere else so uniformly distributed in Europe, nor does it anywhere else descend to so low a level, save at the two extremes of the continent in Scandinavia and Spain. For purposes of comparison we have reproduced two maps of these regions herewith. Of Norway we know more in detail than of Sweden, thanks to the indefatigable Dr. Arbo; but the one country is typical of the other. These maps make it clear beyond a shadow of doubt that in these two outlying members of Europe we have to do with relatively homogeneous populations in this respect. Other facts in our possession prove that this uniformity of head form is the concomitant and index of two relatively pure, albeit widely different, ethnic types—Mediterranean in Spain, Teutonic in Norway. Purity of descent in each case—that is to say, freedom from ethnic intermixture—is the direct and inevitable outcome of peninsular isolation. It is now proper to ask—and this is the crucial question, to whose elucidation all of our argument thus far has been contributory—whether we may make the same assumption of racial purity concerning the British populations.
We have a case of insularity even more pronounced than in Spain or Norway; we have cephalic uniformity. The interest of our problem intensifies at this juncture. If relatively pure, have we to do with the type of the Teuton, or of the Iberian race? We are generally known as Teutonic by descent. Or is there some complex product here made up of both ethnic elements, in which
case the apparent homogeneity revealed by the head form is entirely specious and misleading? As our mainstay in such matters, cephalic index, fails us utterly, since both north and south are precisely alike in this respect, we must rely upon the other, albeit less stable, physical traits. To these we turn next in order.
A glance at the accompanying map of relative brunetteness suffices to show a curious increase of pigmentation from northeast to southwest, measured by the prevailing color of the hair. The map is almost the exact counterpart of our preceding one of place names. From our previous articles we might have been led to expect such an increase from north to south; for that is the rule in every continental country we have studied. The phenomenon we found to be largely a matter of race; but that physical environment, notably climate, played an important part. Moreover, we proved that in elevated districts some factor conduced to increase the blondness, so that mountains more often contained a fairer population than the plains roundabout. Here is a surprising contradiction of that law, if law it be; for the Grampian Hills in Scotland, wild and mountainous Wales, and the hills of Connemara and Kerry in western Ireland, contain the heaviest contingent of brunette traits in the islands. The gradation from east to west is in itself a flat denial of any
Brunette Type. Welshman. Montgomeryshire.
climatic influence, for the only change in that direction is in the relative humidity induced by the Gulf Stream.
The darkest part of the populations of these islands constitutes the northern outpost of that degree of pigmentation in Europe. Western Ireland, Cornwall, and Argyleshire in Scotland are about as dark, roughly speaking, as a strip across Europe a little farther south, say from Normandy to Vienna. Even in these most brunette areas pure dark types are not very frequent. No such extremes occur as Italy and southern France present. The prevailing combination is of dark hair and grayish or hazel eyes. Such is particularly the case among the western Irish and southern Welsh. So striking is the brunetteness in the latter case that we find an early writer in this century, the Rev. T. Price, ascribing the prevalence of black hair in Glamorganshire to the common use of coal as fuel. Without accepting this hypothesis, we may be certain of the strongly accentuated brunetteness of the peasantry hereabouts. The accompanying Welsh type, strongly brunette, with black hair, is a good example. The opposite extreme of blondness corresponds, as nearly as we can judge, to the continental populations in the latitude of Cologne. Light hair and brown or blue eyes become common. This is not as fair as the pure Teutonic race in Scandinavia. We shall probably not be far wrong in the statement that the extremes
|Tall, Lighter Type. Moray.||"A Good Specimen of the Little Dark Race." Argyleshire.|
in the British Isles are about as far separated from one another as Berlin is from Vienna. In the darkest regions pure brunette types are more frequent than the blond by about fifteen per cent. In the eastern and northern counties, on the other hand, the blondes are in a majority by an excess of about five per cent. Everywhere, however, all possible crossings of characteristics appear, proving that the population is well on the road toward homogeneity. It is especially worthy of note that blondness in some districts often takes the peculiar form of freckled skin and red hair. We in America are familiar with the two types of Irish—one thus constituted, while the other is more often compounded of the black or dark brown hair and steel-blue eyes. It seems, from everyday observation, as if this latter variety were far more common among the women in our immigrants from Ireland. A similar contrast is remarkable in Scotland. Here, in fact, in some districts red-headedness is more frequent than anywhere else in the world, rising sometimes as high as eleven per cent. Topinard has undertaken to prove in France that this phenomenon is merely a variation of blondness. At all events, his maps show that red hair is most frequent in the lightest departments. In Scotland the same rule applies, so that the contrasts between east and west still hold good. The Camerons and Erasers are as dark as the Campbells are inclined to redheadedness.
Seeking for the clew to this curious distribution of brunetteness in the British Isles, we may make use for a moment of the testimony of language. The Celtic speech is represented to-day by Gaelic or Goidelic, which is in common use in parts of Scotland and Ireland; and secondly by Kymric or Brythonic, which is spoken in Wales. It was also spoken in Cornwall until near the close of the last century, when it passed into tradition. On our map of brunetteness we have roughly indicated the present boundaries of these two branches of the Celtic spoken language. It will be noted at once that the darkest populations form the nucleus of each of the Celtic language areas which now remain, especially when we recall what we have just remarked about Cornwall. Leaving aside for the moment the question whether this in any sense implies that the original Celts were a dark people, let us be assured that the local persistence of the Celtic speech is nothing more nor less than a phenomenon of isolation to-day. The aggressive English language has been crowding its predecessor to the wall in every direction. This has been proved beyond all possible doubt. In the nooks and corners, the swamps and hills, where the railroad and the newspaper are less important factors in everyday life, there we find a more primitive stratum of language. Is it not justifiable for us, from the observed parallel between speech and brunetteness, to assume also that of the two the darkest type in the British Isles is the older? Such is our argument. One detail of our map confirms us in this opinion. Notice the strongly marked island of brunetteness just north of London. Two counties, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, are as dark as Wales, and others north of them are nearly as unique. All investigation goes to show that this brunette outcrop is a reality. It is entirely severed from the main center of dark eyes and hair in the west by an intermediate zone as light as Sussex, Essex or Hampshire (Hants). The explanation is simple. We have already shown that the south Saxons entered England by the back door. They spread inland from the southern coast, prevented from following up the Thames by the presence of London. On the other side the same invaders pushed south from the Wash and the Humber. These two currents joined along the light intrusive zone. Our dark spot is the eddy of native traits, persistent because less overrun by the blond Teutons. The fens on the north, London on the south with dense forests in early times, left this population relatively at peace. This, history teaches us. Natural science corroborates it strikingly. In a later article, considering purely social phenomena, we shall show that peculiarities in suicide, land tenure, habits of the people, and other details of these counties are likewise the concomitants of this same relative isolation. The fact is all the more striking because the district lies so close to the largest city of Europe.
This variation of brunetteness in Britain is not a modern phenomenon. The contrast between northeast and southwest, while of course largely a result of the Teutonic invasions of historic times, should not be entirely ascribed to them. They have in all likelihood merely accentuated a condition already existing. This we assume from the testimony of Latin writers. In fact, Tacitus' statements, the mainstay of the hypothesis of an Iberian substratum of population in Britain, prove that long before the advent of the Saxons several distinct physical types coexisted in Roman Britain. One of these, he tells us in the eleventh chapter of his Agricola, was the Caledonian, "red-haired and tall"; the other, that of the Silures in southern Wales, with "dark complexion and curly hair." He also notes the similarity in appearance between the southern Britons and the Gauls, and suggests a Germanic origin for the Caledonians, an Iberian one for the Welsh, and a Gallic one for the English. This is positively all that he said upon the subject, never having been
in the country. Then Jornandes, a mediæval Italian commentator, added fuel to the flame by amending Tacitus' words concerning the Silures of Wales, giving them not only "dark complexions," but "black, curly hair." Such were the humble beginnings of the Iberian hypothesis, notwithstanding which it has passed current for generations as if founded upon the broadest array of facts. What if we should conclude that the assumption is correct in the light of modern research! It is no justification for the positiveness with which the law has been laid down by hosts of secondary writers. By such a tenuous historical thread hangs many another ethnic generalization. May the day come when the science of anthropology assumes its due prominence in the eyes of historians, and renders the final judgment in such disputed cases of physical descent!
Thus far all has been plain sailing. It seems as if the case were clear. An Iberian brunette, long-headed substratum, still persistent in the western outposts of the islands, dating from the neolithic long-barrow period, or even earlier; and a Teutonic blond one, similar in head form in all the eastern districts overrun from the continent, seem to be indicated. Now we have to undertake the addition of a third physical trait—stature—to the others, and the complexity of the problem appears. Our map on page 165 shows that the British Isles contain variations in average of upward of four inches. Scotland, as we have shown elsewhere, contains positively the tallest population in Europe and almost in the entire world. Even the
Brunette Welsh Type. Cardiganshire.
average of five feet six inches and over in Wales and southwest England is not low; for this is greater than any on the continent south of the Alps. Broadly viewed, the facts in England alone seem to fit our hypothesis. Here we observe the eastern counties relatively tall, with a steady decrease as we pass westward, culminating in southern Wales. The ancient Silures or their modern descendants are still relatively short, with an average stature but an inch or so greater than the long-barrow men of the stone age. For England, then, the maps of brunetteness and of average stature agree remarkably well. Our portrait herewith represents this common Welsh type. In this case the hair was very deep brown, with dark eyes. The slender build and short stature are characteristic. Even the curious dark spot north of London, which we have already identified as an ancient British outcrop, appears clearly upon our map. It seems to be nearly severed from the western short populations by an intermediate and seemingly intrusive zone of taller men. As a rule, coast populations all over England are taller than inland ones. Even Ireland does not seriously embarrass our hypothesis of a primitive dark and short population. The eastern half, to be sure, is shorter than the western; but a variation of half an inch is not very much, and we know that the Irish are much more homogeneous than the English or Scotch in color of hair and eyes. The western half ought certainly to be shorter to fit our hypothesis exactly, but we might possibly ascribe this to chance, to an inadequate statistical basis, or some other cause.
Consideration of the distribution of stature in Scotland, however, is enough to reduce the consistent anthropologist to despair. The physical traits seem to cross one another at right angles. Inverness and Argyleshire, as brunette as any part of the British Isles, equaling even the Welsh in this respect, are relatively well toward the top in respect of stature. This is all the more remarkable since this mountainous and infertile region might normally be expected to exert a depressing influence. To class these Scotchmen, therefore, in the same Iberian or neolithic substratum with the Welsh and Irish is manifestly impossible. The counties south of them, where stature culminates for all Europe, are also fairly dark. Only two explanations seem possible. Either some ethnic element, of which no pure trace remains, served to increase the stature of the western Highlanders without at the same time conducing to blondness; or else some local influences of natural selection or environment are responsible for it. Men with black hair are indeed shorter in many places, but the averages shown on our map belie any general law in that direction. We have no time to discuss the phenomenon further in this place. As Dr. Beddoe acknowledges, the difficulty is certainly a grave one. At all events, a profound contrast in respect of stature between the two branches of the Celtic-speaking peoples is certain. The only comforting circumstance is that we thus find in language some indication of a very early division of the Gael from the Brython. On the whole, the Gaelic branch, the Irish and Scotch, seem to agree in stature, and to contrast alike with the Brythonic branch of the Welsh and Cornish. It is permissible to suppose that the absence of contact implied by these ancient linguistic differences might allow of a separate modification of the Scottish wing to the end we have observed. At all events, we have laid bare
Blondish Anglo-Saxon Types. Yorkshire.
the facts, even if we have pricked holes in the Iberian hypothesis thereby.
Enough portraits have now been presented to admit of a few hasty generalizations concerning the facial features peculiar to Britain. To be sure, all sorts of difficulties beset us at once. It is unfair to compare different ages, for example. The youthful countenance is less scarred by time. Nor, again, is it just to draw comparisons from different stations in life. In the same race the exposed farm laborer will differ from the well-fed and groomed country gentleman. Strongly marked racial differences between social classes exist all over the islands. The aristocracy everywhere tends toward the blond and tall type, as we should expect. We may, however, draw a few inferences from the data at our disposal, which seem to be well grounded in fact. The most peculiar characteristic of the Teutonic face, as a whole, is its smooth, almost soft, regularity. The lower jaw of the brunette and more primitive type is apt to be squarish and heavy, with the bony ridges above the eyes strongly pronounced. This latter trait appears in nearly all our portraits—Welsh, Scotch, or Irish. It is notable in the Cornishmen. In all cases this endows the features with a certain ruggedness and strength which is pleasing to the eye. Finally—for we have no space to enlarge upon the subject in this place—the nose in the Teuton is more apt to be finely molded, thin, and straight. In the early British it is heavier, broad at the nostrils, and inclined to irregularity in profile. Facial peculiarities are, however, so open to modification by artificial selection that they are quite untrustworthy for purposes of racial identification by themselves alone. Only when combined with the more fundamental traits which we have already examined may we place confidence in their testimony.
A by no means negligible factor in the discussion as to the ethnic origin of the most primitive stratum of the populations of the British Isles is temperament. To treat of disposition thus as a racial characteristic is indeed to trench upon dangerous ground. Nevertheless, remembering how potent environment, social or material, may readily become in such matters; even the most superficial observer can not fail to notice the profound contrast which exists between the temperament of the Celtic-speaking and the Teutonic strains in these islands. These present almost the extremes of human development in such matters. They come to expression in every phase of religion or politics; they can no more mix than water and oil. The Irish and Welsh are as different from the stolid Englishman as indeed the Italian differs from the Swede. Far be it from us to
"Black Breed." Shetland Islands.
beg the question by implying necessarily any identity of origin by this comparison; yet we can not fail to call attention to these facts. There is some deep-founded reason for the utter irreconcilability of the Teutons and the so-called Celts. Our most staid and respectable commentators, the authors of the Crania Britannica, never weary of calling attention to it. Imagine an Englishman— choosing one of their many examples of Welch characteristics—describing the emotional tumult of a marriage celebration by declaring that he "had never see sic a wedding before, it was just like a vuneral"!
The Welsh disposition or temperament is less familiar to us in America than the Irish; it is the exact counterpart of it. The keynote of this disposition lies in emotion. As vehement in speech as the Alpine Celt in Switzerland, France, or Germany is taciturn; as buoyant and lively in spirits as the Teutonic Englishman is reserved; the feelings rise quickly to expression, giving the power of eloquence or its degenerate prototype loquacity. This mental type is keen in perception, not eminent for reasoning qualities; "a quick genius," as Matthew Arnold puts it, "checkmated for want of strenuousness or else patience." As easily depressed as elated, this temperament often leads, as Barnard Davis says, to "a tumult followed by a state of collapse." Apt to fall into difficulty by reason of impetuousness, it is readily extricated through quick resourcefulness. In decision, leaning to the side of sentiment rather than reason, "always ready," in the words of Henri Martin, "to react against the despotism of fact." Compare such an emotional constitution with the heavy-minded, lumbering but substantial English type, and one realizes the possible "clashing of a quick perception with a Germanic instinct for going steadily along close to the ground." Ascribe it all to a difference of diet, if you please, as the late Mr. Buckle might have done; derive the emotional temperament from potatoes, and the stolid one from beef; or invent any other excuse you please, the contrast is a real one. It points vaguely in the direction of a Mediterranean blend in the Welsh and Irish, even to a lesser degree in the Highland Scotch. More we dare not affirm.
- ↑ For invaluable assistance I am deeply indebted to Dr. John Beddoe, F. R. S., late President of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain, of Bradford-on-Avon, Wilts, not only for the loan of rare material for the illustration of this particular paper, but for kindly criticism and interest throughout our whole series. To President E. W. Brabrook, C. B., of the Anthropological Institute, London, also, I would acknowledge most gratefully my obligation. Recognition should be made of the courtesy of Mr. J. A. Webster, secretary, as well. The complete collection of photographs of the Institute has not only been opened to us, a large part of it has even been subjected to the perils of transportation to America for our benefit. From these two sources all of our portraits are derived. Authorities comprehensively treating the anthropology of the British Isles are very few. Pre-eminent is Dr. John Beddoe's Races of Britain, Bristol and London, 1885; and his Stature and Bulk of Man in the British Isles, in Memoirs of the Anthropological Society of London, iii, 1870. A full list of a score or more of his scattered papers will be found in our Bibliography of the Anthropology of Europe, now in preparation, to appear in Bulletins of the Boston Public Library. The monumental work of Davis and Thurnam, Crania Britannica, two volumes, London, 1865, covers the whole subject of past and present populations. An essay, On Some Fixed Points in British Ethnology, by the late T. H. Huxley, in the Contemporary Review for 1871, is a convenient summary, with no attention to the evidence of craniology, however. Finally, the reports of the Anthropometric Committee of the British Association for Advancement of Science, especially its last one in 1883, should not be omitted. Many other papers of local importance are named in our Bibliography above mentioned.
- ↑ Sir A. Geikie, in Macmillan's Magazine, March, 1882, pp. 367 seq.
- ↑ The best authorities upon this and the succeeding type are Canon Greenwell's British Barrows, with its anthropological notes by Dr. Rolleston, at pages 627–718; the Crania Britannica above mentioned, but more especially the essays by Dr. Thurnam in Memoirs of the Anthropological Society of London, vol. i, pp. 120–168, 458–519; and vol. iii, pp. 41–75. Consult also Rolleston in Journal of the Anthropological Institute, London, vol. v, pp. 120–172.
- ↑ This map is constructed upon a system adopted by Dr. Beddoe as an index of pigmentation. It differs from others mainly in assigning especial importance to black hair as a measure of brunetteness, on the assumption that a head of black hair betrays twice the tendency to melanosity of a dark brown one. Without accepting this argument as valid, the map in question seems to accord best with others constructed-by the measurement of pure light and dark types on the German system. Dr. Beddoe regards this one as best illustrating the facts in the case.
- ↑ The recent work of Haddon and Browne, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, since 1893, on the western Irish, is our best recent authority on this people.
- ↑ L'Anthropologie, iv, 1893, pp. 579 seq.
- ↑ Ravenstein has mapped it in detail for different decades in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, London, vol. xlii, 1879, pp.579-643.