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Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

Lecture 3. On the Races of Man in
the Malay Archipelago. (1867)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A long unpublished work, the third in a series of three lectures Wallace presented at the Literary and Philosophical Society in Newcastle in November 1867. The manuscript from which this transcription is drawn is part of the Alfred Russel Wallace collection at the Natural History Museum (London), item WP9/2/3. In many respects its content closely parallels Wallace's published essay "On the Varieties of Man in the Malay Archipelago" (S82), though the latter was an earlier and separately composed work. The Newcastle Courant issue of 15 November 1867 describes the other two lectures as already having been delivered, with this one scheduled for that night. Item WP9/1/3 in the NHM collection, a list Wallace kept of lectures he delivered, identifies this as one of three "Earliest Lectures," and the 1867 date is in fact by several years the earliest of those listed. Be aware that the 48-page handwritten ms. contains notes to himself as to when to show specimens and such, and that I have simply left them as they appear. It also contains headings in the margins, which I have inserted into the text below in bold italics at approximately the point they appear (sometimes at the beginning of a paragraph, and sometimes not). Lastly, note that the ms. offers three, or possibly four (depending on how it's read) endings, all of which I have reproduced. To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/Races_of_Man.htm

On the Races of Man in the Malay Islands

    Importance of Malay Races, in Ethnology. In the two preceeding lectures I have endeavoured to give you some idea of the vegetation, and of the Animal life, of the Malay Archipelago. I now come to the consideration of the races of mankind which inhabit these tropical islands. In all classifications of races,--in all general views as to the origin of man or the causes which have led to his variation or distribution, the Malay Archipelago is of considerable importance;--for here, at least two, of what must, on almost any theory, be considered to be primary divisions of mankind, come into contact and intermingle with each other. These are the Malayan and the Papuan or Polynesian races, and it is doubtful whether we must not add to these the Australian, as a third distinct race. Theories of Climate affecting Colour. Here too we have at once brought before us, to be tested by facts, a supposition or theory, which has at various times been promulgated, and has always received a considerable amount of support,--that the differences of the races of man are due mainly to climate,--that the tropical sun has a direct influence in making the negro black, and that it is the comparative deficiency of light and heat in Europe, that enables the Germanic races to retain their fair complexions, blue eyes, and yellow hair. This theory, it will be observed, is of an exactly similar nature to that which traces the brilliant colours of tropical birds to the direct influence of the intense light of a vertical sun; and considers that the large size of the Elephant and Giraffe must be in some way connected with the invigorating heat of the Equatorial zone. But the inexorable logic of facts contradicts the one supposition as completely, as I have shown you it does the others. We see here brought into direct contact, under exactly similar conditions of light, heat, moisture and other climatal influences,--two quite distinct races,--one brown, the other black,--one straight haired, the other with frizzly hair,--one smooth faced, the other bearded--one short, the other tall.

    The great insular region which extends from Asia to America, is a very stumbling block to Ethnologists and to this day there is scarcely any thing well established as to the classification of its inhabitants into well-marked races, or their degree of affinity with each other.

    Malay Race. Undoubtedly the most important of these races, because the most civilized, the most historical, and that which has come most into contact with Europeans, is the Malay. It is very commonly stated that the Malay race can be traced by language over an immense extent of ocean, from Madagascar on the West to Easter Is. far towards America on the E., and that this people, though very limited in population, thus extends considerably more than half round the globe, within the tropics. On the other hand the true Malayan races as universally admitted are restricted to a comparatively limited region, extending only from the Malayan Peninsula and Sumatra on the W. to the Moluccas on the E. and are therefore one of the most restricted, instead of the most wide spread, of the great divisions of man.

    How the language has spread. I cannot now enter into the question of which of these views is the true one, further than to state my own conviction that the latter is the most accurate, and that the idea of the immense range of the Malays has arisen from the fact, that they are essentially a maritime people, and, inhabiting a region of monsoons, where Easterly or westerly winds prevail for six months at a time, they have been always subject to be blown far away to sea, and have thus in the course of ages sent little colonies over this vast extent of ocean, which, though fused with the natives of the islands they landed on, have yet impressed upon their languages a considerable element of the more euphonious and more expressive Malayan tongue.

    Divisions of Malays. The true Malayan race, as thus restricted, presents a general uniformity of physical and mental characteristics, while there are often considerable differences of civilization and of language. We may first define four semi-civilized tribes,--the Malays proper, the Javanese,--the Bugis,--and the Tagalas. The Malays inhabit the Malayan peninsula and almost all the coast regions of Sumatra and Borneo. They all speak the Malay language, or mutually intelligible dialects of it,--they write it in the Arabic character, and they are all Mahometans. They are governed, in small independent states by Rajahs or Sultans, except where they are partially under the English or Dutch rule.

    The Javaneese inhabit the islands of Java, Madura and Bali,--they speak the Javaneese or Kawi language, which they write in a peculiar native character. They are now mostly Mahometans although up to about the year 1480 they were of the Hindoo or Brahminical religion. They were governed by native chiefs, till the Dutch subjugated all Java at a recent date.

    The Bugis are inhabitants of Celebes, in which island they form one large and several small independent States. They have two chief languages allied, but distinct,--the Bugis, and Macassar, and these have each a peculiar character in which they are written. They are all Mahometans. The Tagalas are the chief race of the Philippine Islands. They are now subject to the Spanish rule, and many of them are Christians and speak the Spanish language in addition to their native tongue.

    These four groups of people, agree so closely in physical and moral traits that a general description of their more salient characteristics is all that I need give you.

    Physical Characteristics of Malays. The Malay as distinguished physically from the other well marked races of man, is of low stature, stout and well made; his colour is a pure reddish brown neither dark nor light;--his hair is black, coarse, and straight, never in the pure race showing the slightest disposition to wave or curl;--he has no beard or whiskers, and his body and limbs are generally smooth and free from hair. He has a flattish oval face with high cheek-bones; his nose is straight and rather broad but never prominent or arched. His scull is of the broad, or brachycephalic type, his forehead rather rounded and his eyebrows flat. In youth the Malays are often good looking, and the pure brown tint of their skin is very agreeable.

    Dress. The only truly national article of dress of the Malays, seems to have been the "sarong", which is a large cloth sewn together in the form of an open sack. It is worn, twisted up round the waist or fastened by a girdle, by both men and women; and when these regions were first visited by Europeans it appears to have been their only garment. Now, the men all wear trousers, and the women an upper garment. The idea of the sarong, was probably derived from the bark cloth still worn by all the savage tribes, and which, when prepared entire from the tree, assumes exactly the same form. (Bark cloth and sarongs.) (Specimens) The universal head dress of the men is a handkerchief neatly twisted into a turban;--the women almost always go bareheaded, and all go barefooted.

    Houses. The Malay almost always builds his house raised upon posts, and his favorite locality is on the banks of a tidal stream with the posts standing in the water, so that his boat can come up to his door. The advantage of this plan is, that all dirt and refuse falls through the open bamboo flooring of the house, which is thus kept sweet and clean with the least possible expense of labour. This seems to have been the primitive habit of the people, since in the inland villages the same practice prevails, and the result is that under every house there is an open of cesspool of a very disagreeable kind. Some of these houses are very neatly built, something in the style of a Swiss chalet, but with open bamboo or thatch walls. In Sumatra in particular, the villages are highly picturesque from the amount of elaborate and taseful carving bestowed upon the ridge, cross beams, and gables of the houses. The Malay however has scarcely any idea of order or regularity. The houses in a village are never placed in rows, but dotted about as if scattered at random. All about them, a mass of fruit trees are planted indiscriminately, and sometimes so closely surround the houses as to make them very damp and gloomy.

    Food. The main food of the Malay is rice, and when he has a sufficient supply of this he is happy and contented. The rice is grown chiefly in flooded swampy ground, which is in most cases turned up with a rude wooden plough drawn by buffaloes. (Figure) Chili peppers, fish, a few vegetables and fruits are the only luxuries he requires, and when living near a river or the sea his almost daily occupation is to go out in a small boat to fish. Sweet potatoes, yams, and small beans are frequently cultivated, and he has always a few banana plants and cocoa nut palms near his house, which supply an immense quantity of pleasant and wholesome food. He sells some of these products to buy clothes and tools, or he cuts rattans or timber in the forest, or snares game, for the same purpose. Betel Nut. He has however one special luxury, which he cannot do without, and would sell food or clothing rather than feel the want of,--he must chew betel. To do this properly is rather a complicated affair, since it requires four separate ingredients. The chief, is the betel-nut, the fruit of the Areca palm which is about the size of a nutmeg and very astringent. The sirih leaf is the next, a species of pepper and very hot and aromatic, a little quick lime and a small portion of gambir or catechu are added. These four ingredients are kept in a small wooden or japaned box, and are always offered to every visitor. A Malay can seldom pass many hours without chewing Betel, and always carries the materials with him if possible. Boatmen who have been hired to row for two or three days or a week, will often come on board with only two articles besides the clothes they wear,--these are a chopping knife and a Betel Box.

    The lower class Malay has to pay to his Rajah or chief a small annual tax of rice, and has also to give his labour when required, either as a boatman when the chief travels, in boat or house building, or to serve in war. In each village there is a head man who collects the taxes for his district, settles petty disputes and carries out whatever orders he may receive from the Rajah.

    Malay Women. The Malay may claim a considerable degree of civilization on account of the condition and treatment of his women. The Malay woman's duties are almost entirely confined to the house, except at rice sowing or harvest time when she assists in some of the lighter work of the field. The man supplies the house with provisions and fire-wood,--the woman brings in water, and cooks,--and is much occupied in spinning cotton thread, and dyeing and weaving cloth for sarongs, which fetch a high price owing to their great durability and permanent colours. The Malays appear to have had the art of weaving from very early times, as there are various Malay terms connected with it which do not appear to have been derived from other languages. In Java there is peculiar mode of dying, by which patterns in three or more permanent colours are produced. (Shew Handkerchief and describe process.) (Borneo Sarong.)

    Weapons. The only weapons used by the Malays, are, the parang (a short sword or chopper), the kris or dagger, and the spear. The bow-and-arrow is not used as a weapon by any Malay race, a very remarkable fact, as it is found in India on one side, and in all the Papuan islands on the other, as well as by the negritos of the Philippines. One or two of the wild tribes of Borneo and the Malay peninsula use the blowpipe and poisoned arrows, but it is a great mistake to suppose that this is a common Malay weapon. It appears therefore that the Malay has no weapon for killing game at a distance, for which they are obliged to use pitfalls snares and traps; and this is perhaps connected with the fact, that they have evidently been a maritime people for ages before they penetrated into the countries they now occupy, and have always been accustomed to look to the water, rather than to the land, for their supply of animal food.

    Character of Malays. The character of the Malay is so uncertain, and in some degree anomalous, that it is difficult to give any definition of it that shall be universally applicable. His great characteristic is impassiveness and reserve. He is never demonstrative and it is difficult to excite him to any violent manifestation of surprise admiration or fear. He is slow and deliberate in speech, and if he comes to you for an especial purpose, he will talk on indifferent topics or perhaps be quite silent for an hour, before giving a hint as to his real object. He does not like to tell his own name, and if you ask it will often look very much embarrassed and turn to a companion to get him out of the difficulty. When alone he is silent, never talking to himself or singing aloud like the negro and other demonstrative races. He is very cautious of giving offence to his companions, and will refuse to take a message he thinks may be disagreeable to the receiver of it. He dislikes personal joking or in any way interfering with the personal liberty of a companion. Thus if when travelling I told one of my servants to wake another, he would speak to him, but would not shake or hardly touch him, and I have often been obliged to awake hard sleepers myself.

    Creditors will often not ask their debtors for money, for fear of offending them; and even when a criminal is brought to trial, his is often treated so tenderly that a stranger can hardly tell which is the prisoner. Once when staying at a chief's house in Java, a man was tried for theft, and all the parties concerned accuser, witnesses, policeman and prisoner,--sat down together on a mat before the judge, and settled the matter very amicably. A small cord was loosely twisted round the prisoner's hands, apparently for form's sake, and this was all that distinguished him from others. The higher classes of Malays are exceedingly polite in manners and conservation, and have all the quiet ease and dignity of the best European society. Yet all these superficial good qualities are compatible with a reckless cruelty and contempt of human life, which was noticed as their chief characteristic when Europeans first penetrated to the far East. One of the early voyagers Nicolo Conti, writing in 1430, says: "The inhabitants of Sumatra and Java exceed every other people in cruelty. They regard killing a man as a mere jest, nor is any punishment allotted for such a deed. If any one purchase a new sword and wish to try it, he will thrust it into the breast of the first person he meets. The passers by examine the wound and praise the skill of the person who inflicted it, if he thrust in the weapon direct."--Long intercourse with Europeans and the subjugation of many of the Malay tribes to English and Dutch rule have considerably modified these practices, but in the more remote and independent states they still exist. Anecdote. When I first visited Celebes a small bamboo house was lent me about two miles from the town of Macassar but close to the boundary of the native state of Goa.

House raised 7 feet
Bamboo floor.
I slept on floor
Told not to do so, as a spear might be poked up at me in the night.
Told not to walk out alone after dusk
Goa men might stab me
Asked why?
Merely for amusement or to try a new kris.
Something of this kind actually happened soon after:
Native taken on suspicion of stealing a horse
A Goa man came by returning from Macassar
Asked what was the matter
On being told, said:
That's very lucky, I want to try my new kris:
Immediately stabbed the man to the heart.
Took place a few yards from my house, though I was away at the time. The Dutch Governor of Macassar sent to Goa to complain but of course the man could not be found.

    Malays of Baly & Lombock. The islands of Baly and Lombock are perhaps the places where the Malay character can now be best seen nearly as it was in the time of the Early navigators. Here the Brahminical religion, which once flourished over all Java, still exists; women are still burnt with their dead husbands and unfaithful wives are tied back to back with their paramours and thrown into the sea to be devoured by alligators. The Rajah and chiefs here are very wealthy, and often carry krisses whose handles of ivory or gold set with jewels are worth 500 or 600. Yet the same men go barefoot, and wear generally a sarong and handkerchief as their entire costume. One of the laws or customs of this country is, that any person found on another's premises after dark, can be lawfully killed. It not unfrequently happens in consequence that in the morning dead bodies are found in the roads. No enquiry is made, but the magistrate orders them to be carried outside the town and laid on some waste ground, with a small fence made round them. Near the port of Ampanam in Lombock I saw numbers of these little fences enclosing bodies or skeletons. I once heard a conversation between a native of Amboyna settled in Lombock, and some people of the place. The Amboyneese remarked: "There is one thing very strange in your country which I cannot understand,--How is it, there is such a scarcity of ghosts here? Dead men are lying about everywhere, and yet you all walk by them at night and the ghosts never trouble you. In my country if there is a single man murdered, it is impossible to go near the place by night, for there's sure to be a ghost there." It struck me as very remarkable, that this man should notice the absence of ghosts, just as he would that of any familiar animal, the appearance of which he missed in his daily walks.

    Another remark of old Nicolo Conti's is: "Debtors are given up to their creditors to be their slaves. But he who rather than be a slave prefers death, seizing a naked sword issues into the street and kills all he meets until he is slain by some one more powerful than himself." All this still happens continually. A malay runs into debt in the most reckless manner, and the traders make use of this propensity to obtain their services. They tempt a man with goods to any amount he chooses to take, and when it has accumulated so that he cannot possibly pay it, he becomes his creditor's servant without wages, or really his slave. These men seem generally happy and contented, as they are well treated and have many little luxuries allowed, so that they may not be induced to run away. Running amok. When however a man has several creditors, and all lay claim to him, he often gets desperate, as perhaps his wife and children are claimed by different creditors, and then he runs a "muck". The Bugis often run "amok," and in the town of Macassar several people are killed every year in this manner. I was once in a place where a man run "amok", but he was fortunately knocked down before he had killed any body. The only cause assigned for his conduct was "that somebody had asked him for money."

    Cockfighting. Cockfighting and gambling are the chief excitements of the Malay in his own country. In the native towns of Celebes, cock-fights take place regularly two or three times a week, the Rajah and all the chiefs squatting round the ring upon mats, and betting eagerly.

    Regular gambling shops have been introduced by the Chineese, and many of the lower class Malays become so infatuated that they will spend all their earnings at the gambling table. (Macassar boy I took to Aru spent all his wages in advance, and remained behind a slave for a gambling debt.)

    Only Malay race who show much taste for music are the Javaneese--Describe band and instruments--Hindoo origin, similar as Ceylon--

    Intellectual Character. The Malay does not laugh much, and seems to have not much notion of fun;--but he is fond of tale telling about fights and massacres or about ghosts and demons. One of my servants, a native of Borneo, who had been with me in Singapore and had there seen a live tiger and heard a good deal about those animals, made much of his knowledge when we reached the Moluccas, where such animals are totally unknown. I used to overhear him of an evening, recounting strange adventures with tigers, which he said had happened to himself. He declared that these tigers were men who had been great magicians and who changed themselves into tigers to eat their enemies,--that they often first appeared by the side of a benighted traveller as a small cat or dog, and gradually grew bigger and bigger,--or they appeared first as a man and talked with the traveller, till they came to some lonely place, when they dropped down on all fours, changed into a huge tiger and devoured him. These tales were accepted as literal facts by his hearers, and listened to with breathless attention and awe. Alligators which eat men, are almost universally believed to have been men themselves, and to be capable of returning to their original form.

    Moral Character. A Malay rarely expresses, or seems to feel gratitude. Whatever you give him or do for him, he appears to be suspicious that you have some end of your own in view, and is quite incapable of comprehending that you can do him a disinterested favour. He is generally honest, and Malay servants can be trusted with money or other property, and will take as much care of it as if it was their own. It may easily be understood from this sketch of the Malay character, how different are the estimates different persons make of it. Some, having experience only the honesty, the diffidence and the politeness of the Malay, praise him as the perfection of a half civilized character. Others, seeing instances of his cruelty, dissimulation, and treachery, and apparent or real want of gratitude, cry out against him as presenting one of the very worst examples of a barbarous semi-civilization.

    Savage Malays. That portion of the Malay race which is still in the primitive state of barbarism, is found chiefly in the interior of Sumatra, Borneo, and Celebes,--and as its best type, we may perhaps take the Dyaks of Borneo.

    Dyaks. Notwithstanding the bad character the Dyaks have received, owing to their practice of head-hunting, I have always found them to be kind, hospitable, and good-natured, and in most respects superior in moral character to the more civilized Malay. The Hill Dyak of Borneo lives in small tribes among the mountains. He cultivates upland rice and a variety of vegetables, hunts the wild pig and the deer and collects edible birds' nests and bees' wax. He is more cheerful and active than the Malay, and lives a quiet simple and contented life, into which crime of any sort rarely enters. The only point which distinctly shows him to be lower than the Malay is the treatment of women,--who among the Dyaks do a great deal of the hard work carrying home enormous loads of vegetables or fire wood, besides working very hard in the fields. (turn over two)

    During my residence among the most savage races of man, in the interior of S. America and in the Eastern Archipelago, I have often been struck with the fact that it is almost the lowest form of civilization that shows us the nearest approach to the moral aspect of an ideally perfect social state. That ideal evidently is, one in which laws, and penalties for breaking them, should be unnecessary, because each individual should of his own free impulse, carry out the one great law, of doing unto others as he would others should do unto him; for it is evident that if every one did this honestly and heartily, no laws would be necessary. Now it is among some of the smaller savage communities, that this condition is most nearly fulfilled. They have no established laws, no fixed rules of conduct with penalties attached to them,--but it is known and understood, that any infraction by one, of the rights of another, will be resented and punished by the whole community. And such infraction rarely or never takes place. All are nearly equal,--there are none of those wide distinctions, of education or ignorance,--wealth or poverty,--which are the product of our civilization; there is none of that wide-spread division of labour which, while it increases wealth, produces also conflicting interests,--there is not that severe struggle for existence which the dense population of civilized countries inevitably creates. All incitements to great crimes are thus wanting, and petty ones are sufficiently repressed by public opinion, and that natural sense of justice which seems to be inherent in every race of man. It is the equality and the independence of individuals that leads to this state of things. It is because all are poor,--because each man does everything for himself, and because no one has wants above his condition or beyond those of his fellows, that this state of comparative innocence can exist. As soon as some acquire wealth others by comparison become poor;--the relation of debtor & creditor arises,--despotic power and slavery grow up, and a host of bad passions come into play which slumbered in the former condition. And all these evil passions and conflicting interests, poverty, misery, and crime, go on increasing on the one side,--just as wealth and power and knowledge, and art, and education, are being developed on the other;--so that it has become an open question with moralists,--and one not to be too hastily answered,--whether the sum total of morality and happiness may not be the same among savages as among ourselves,--and whether the wealth and the knowledge, the pure aspirations and refined pleasures which civilization has given to so many of us, are not fully balanced by the fierce and selfish passions it has brought into play, and by the vast amount of poverty misery and crime that inevitably accompany it.

    I am not of this opinion myself. I believe there is a real moral progress in the world and that it is especially shown by the widened sphere of our sympathies, which requires that justice should prevail even in our dealings with enemies or rivals. But our moral does not keep pace with our physical progress; we have now reached a stage at which we have gained all desirable advantages from the mere accumulation of wealth, and the advance of mechanical arts. There is no need to try to check these, but we should begin to recognise that these alone do not form true civilization; and that if we are ever to approach the ideally perfect social state, we must give ourselves up more to the influence of moral and sympathetic impulses, and seek more earnestly to diffuse among the vast multitudes who now rarely if ever share them, those intellectual and moral, as well as physical advantages, which we ourselves enjoy.

    Papuan Race. Physical Characteristics of Papuans. We must now pass on to the consideration of the other great primitive race of man inhabiting the Malay Archipelago. This is the Papuan race which is found in its typical perfection in New Guinea and the adjacent islands. This race is in almost every respect the very opposite of the Malay. The true Papuan is nearly black or deep sooty brown in colour. His hair is generally woolly or frizzled, often as much so as in the true negro races. It is harsh and dry and sometimes grows very long and thick, standing out on end all round the head in an enormous mop which is the glory of the possessor, who spends a good deal of time in combing it out with a three-pronged bamboo fork. The face is bearded, and the arms legs and breast are more or less covered with the same kind of short frizzly hair. This character of the hair I am inclined to lay great stress on, because it very uniformly characterises large groups of mankind. All the Americans, all the Mongols and the Malays have straight hair,--a curl or even a wave is I believe never seen among them except when there is some admixture with other races, and a beard is rarely seen except quite in old age. On the other hand no African race has perfectly straight hair, and this character is therefore accurately coincident with the distribution of man in wide geographical areas. The Papuan is taller than the Malay, his legs are longer and thinner, and his hands and feet larger. The face in this race is very strongly marked, owing chiefly to the large arched nose of which the apex is elongated. This I found to be an almost universal characteristic, so that in doubtful cases I could generally tell the Malay from the Papuan type by the form of the apex of the nose, which in the one case overhangs in the other inclines upward. This character has been strangely overlooked and the Papuans have been described by some writers as "flat nosed negroes". Mr. Jukes however agrees with me. He says "the natives of Erroob in Torres straits had aquiline notes and handsome faces of a Jewish cast which very correctly describes most Papuans". The people themselves point this out as their characteristic feature, by always giving an exaggerated representation of it in all the little idols and charms they are fond of carving. (specms.). The eyebrows are also more prominent, the forehead flatter than in the Malay, whose head is broad and rounded while in the Papuan it is elongated. I noticed that most of these peculiarities were visible in children of 5 or 6 years of age, who had the same frizzly hair and long bent down nose as the adults, which may be considered to prove that these are deep seated characters truly indicative of an ancient distinct race.

    Moral Character. But however widely the Papuan may differ from the Malay in form, he is equally if not more distinct in character and disposition.

    The Papuan is in the highest degree impulsive and demonstrative. He seeks to express rather than to hide his feelings, and continually indulges in noisy conversation and laughter, in shouts and yells and fierce gesticulations. I had been for three years in daily communication with Malays both civilized and savage, when I first made the acquaintance of the Papuan race at the Ké Islands on my voyage to Aru. I was on board a Macassar prau, and as we coasted along the island on a calm evening seeking a place to anchor, three or four native boats full of tall, black, mop-headed savages, came out to meet us. The praus going to Aru touch annually at Ké, and the natives are very friendly, but they came up to us with such shouts and yells,--they dashed their paddles into the water with such fury, they stood up and made such strange gestures, that we might well have imagined they were coming to attack us. In a few moments they were alongside and a dozen or more were up on deck immediately, and then commenced a scene of indescribable confusion. They jabbered, screamed, and danced, and ran about as if they were out of their senses with joy and excitement. They fraternised with our quiet Malay & Bugis sailors much to their astonishment and disgust, sitting down by their sides on deck, hugging them and begging for tobacco rice or fish. Half a dozen of the chief men surrounded our Captain, bargaining with him to tow his vessel into harbour next morning, all talking at once and all wanting payment beforehand. Then between whiles they would talk to each other with great animation, laugh and grin and shew what presents they had got. Some rolled on the deck in their exuberance of spirits, while others would jump suddenly overboard and be up on deck again in a minute, apparently for no other purpose than to work off some of their superabundant animal vitality. In half an hour I saw more fun and frolic, and heard more noise and laughter, than I had ever witnessed among Malays. I found myself as it were in a new world inhabited by people such as I had never met with before.

    A day or two afterwards when wandering in the forest alone looking after insects, I met an old man. He stopped and saw me catch a butterfly, take it out of my net, take a pin out of my pincushion, pin it carefully, and put it away securely in a tin collecting box which I carried slung over my shoulder. He patiently watched the whole process, with a puzzled expression of countenance, and as soon as it was completed and I was going on my walk, he could contain himself no longer, but burst into a roar of laughter, bending himself almost double and shaking his sides in his thorough enjoyment of such a novel piece of absurdity.

    Now this is a striking illustration of the mental difference of the two races which I am striving to impress upon you. Scores of times I had been met by Malays under exactly similar circumstances, and in places where my proceedings must have been an equal novelty, but not one of them ever saw any thing to laugh at. They would look puzzled or simply apathetic, and the most they would ever do would be to ask quietly "What do you do with those things"?

    I afterwards lived for some months in a native house in the Aru Islands, surrounded by the inmates, perhaps twenty in number, and the great feature of their society was, that when they were at home there was a continual row. Men women and children all talked and hollered and laughed incessantly, much to the surprise of my quiet Malay servants who were quite confounded by such coarse manners. Dr. Livingstone notices the unceasing noise and excitement and worry, as one of the greatest annoyances to a European travelling with a large retinue of S. Africans, and it is a remarkable fact that, in a people so like the Africans in colour of skin and texture of hair, should be found recurring this excessive vital activity, this impulsiveness and demonstrativeness, which so strongly mark the character of the Papuans.

    There is another curious little point of character in which these widely-separated peoples agree. Every one who has lived among negroes, must have noticed the habit they have of talking to themselves. A negro boy or man when quite alone will hold imaginary conversations and soliloquise aloud by the hour together. I noticed exactly the same thing among the Papuans, especially among the children, and it struck me very forcibly, because it was so totally opposed to the habits of those Eastern races among which I had up to that time lived.

    Want of Civilization. None of the Papuan tribes have ever attained to any thing like civilization, and this has been held to show that they are naturally inferior in intellect to the Malays. But I doubt the goodness of this logic, for it is by no means proved that the Malays themselves ever originated any civilization. They have been for unknown ages in contact with the civilizations of Ceylon, of India, and of China, and the fact that in the interior of all the Malay islands there are races quite as uncivilized as the Papuans, would seem to show that the civilized inhabitants are comparatively new comers, who have spread from the western part of the Archipelago where they had been partially civilized by immigration from India or Indo-China. Honesty. The papuan slaves in the Moluccas who have been brought up from youth among Malays and Europeans show a considerable aptitude for civilization, and I have heard of some remarkable instances of their acuteness, their capacity for business, and their honesty. This latter quality is not so generally attributed to them as to the Malays, but it would be unfair not to relate one instance that happened to myself. I staid some months at small native village in Waigiou to obtain red Birds of Paradise. The natives here are accustomed to catch these birds and hearing I wanted some, a number of them came to me. None of them could speak a word of Malay, and with great difficulty I made bargains with them. One wanted a chopping knife as the price of one bird, another a handkerchief for two, others a sarong or a bunch of beads for 5 birds each. All were paid before hand and went away intimating that they would bring me the birds as soon as they could catch them. I waited several days and no one of them appeared. At length after a week one bird was brought, and a day or two afterwards another and they came in slowly till the time approached which I had fixed for my departure, and only one man had paid me his full amount of birds. At length the last day I could stay arrived, and two men who still owed me birds had not appeared, and might be miles away in the centre of the island. However early in the morning when I was going to start one came bringing me a chopping knife he had received more than a month before, and told me he had had bad luck & could not get one bird & had therefore brought me back the knife;--and just as I was embarking the other man came running down to the beach with a bird in his hand, which he gave me saying, that made the number he had agreed for, and he was now out of debt, at which he seemed exceedingly pleased.

    I thus lost nothing by trusting these unknown savages, and it appeared to me an instance of such pure honesty as to be well worthy of remark.

    Savagery of Papuans. There is however another side to the Papuan character. There are very few places on the coast of New Guinea where a European or even a Malay can trust himself in safety. The records of the early voyagers to New Guinea, tell us, that rarely did any ship's crews venture on shore without being attacked, and several of the party killed. Many of the commanders of these vessels fell victims; boats and even the ships themselves were often attacked, and sometimes whole crews were massacred. Even now there are many places where the natives of Celebes and Ceram go to trade, in which all bargains are made with arms in hand, and the failure to come to terms results in a fight for both life and property. While I was staying at the little island of Goram, two men arrived half starved in a small boat, the sole survivors of two large praus whose crews had been murdered by the Papuans. They had been trading with them peaceably for some days, and had nearly completed their cargo, when they were suddenly attacked while making a final purchase of some tripang, and every man murdered except the two who were on board the praus, and who immediately put to sea in a small boat. The son of the rajah of the island was the owner of one of the vessels, and was killed with his crew; and for the two succeeding days and nights there was continual weeping and lamentation throughout the village for almost every house had some near relative among the murdered men.

    Clothing. Where ever I myself have seen the papuans they wear the usual savage rudiments of clothing, a waist band of bark;--but farther East and South, and probably all through the interior, they go perfectly naked, adorning themselves only with the armlets, necklaces, and feather head dresses,--ear-sticks, nose-rings, and combs, of a true savage's toilet. It is very possible that in those remote parts, being quite ignorant of foreign races, and not having suffered from the often unprovoked attacks of European and native voyagers, they might be found less bloodthirsty and warlike than those who inhabit the more frequented districts.

    Unknown regions of N. Guinea. New Guinea is at this day, the most thoroughly unknown region left upon the Earth. Its extent is so great that it may possibly contain in its interior elevated plateaux inhabited by a race superior to those met with upon its coasts, and may furnish yet more wonderful birds and animals than any that have yet been discovered in it. But the difficulties of exploring it are very great. It consists of an endless succession of swampy plains and precipitous mountains, every where clothed with a dense tropical forest-vegetation. And at every step the intruders would be liable to the attacks of powerful and remorseless tribes of savages, who might lurk behind every rock & tree, and whose spears and arrows would in such a situation be more than a match for European weapons.

(Description of Village of Dobbo.)

    Having thus endeavoured briefly to sketch the physical and moral character of these two important races, the Malay and the Papuan, I must say a few words on their several modifications, their distribution, their affinities, and the theory that seems best adapted to account for these. I have endeavoured to mark out what seems to me to be the true Eastern limits of the Malay race by the black line on the map. The general features of the Malay within this line are tolerably uniform, but I am inclined to think that the natives of the Philippines exhibit more of the Tartar physiognomy as do also the natives of the Eastern and northern peninsula of Celebes. The red line on the map indicates the strongly marked contrast in the natural productions of the two halves of the Archipelago which has been alluded to in my previous lecture. The islands to the west of this line are still connected by a shallow sea over the whole of which ships can anchor; and a great variety of evidence goes to show, that at a very recent period in the history of the Earth, they were all connected to the Asiatic continent.

    Now, as the Malays have all the chief Mongolian characteristics, and especially resemble the people of the Indo-Chineese peninsula (Phot. of Siamese) it seems to me probable that the races which now inhabit these islands occupied them before they were separated from the main land. Another stream of immigration has probably entered the Philippines from the North and both have spread through Celebes to the Moluccas.

    Negritos. But besides these true Malayan tribes, there are also in the same region two small remnants of a totally distinct race, one found in the forests of the Malay Peninsula called Semangs, the other in the mountains of the Philippines called Negritos. These have been almost always classed with the Papuans, but I believe them to have had a widely different origin. They are nearly black, of dwarfish stature, have woolly hair and small flat noses, and thus differ greatly from the tall prominent nosed Papuans. They appear to me to be the scattered remnants of an earlier race which inhabited the country before the Mongolian immigration. Similar races exist in the Andaman Islands and among the mountains of India.

    In the Eastern part of the Archipelago we have in the inhabitants of Flores & Timor a race who have most of the characteristics of the true Papuans. Timor. They are very dark brown in colour, have frizzly hair, the same style of features and the same disposition and character. There has however been undoubtedly here some immigration from the west by which some amount of civilization has been introduced, since the Timorese grow cotton and weave from it native cloths of very good quality. (Specimen).

Moluccas. In the large islands of Ceram Bouru and Gilolo we find a very interesting and anomalous people, who have been usually classed as Malays but which I consider to be more nearly allied to the Papuans, and to be really of Polynesian origin. In colour they vary, and are sometimes quite as light as the Malays, but here the resemblance stops. They are tall, have well pronounced Papuan features & curly or frizzly hair. In character they agree nearly with the Papuans, and their languages are harsh and consonantal. These people seem to resemble very closely some of the brown Polynesian races, who are also generally classed with the Malays. This I believe to be a most important error. Polynesians. The features of some of the inhabitants of Tahiti are quite of Papuan character as shewn by the original plates in Captn. Cook's voyages, and we may be sure that characteristic and not exceptional individuals were chosen for delineation. Their hair is crisp or curly, never perfectly straight or smooth, as is that of the Malay and their cheerful open noisy disposition much more approximates to the Papuan than to the Malay type. {Papuans carve boats, paddles, &c. like S. Sea Islanders

    I would classify, therefore, the inhabitants of the Pacific generally, as belonging to one great Polynesian race, varying from brown to black, but having peculiarities of stature, features, hair, & disposition, which unite them together and separate them widely from the Malay.

    In all the accounts of the natives of Polynesia we have statements of their tallness, (6 ft. & upwards being common) of their curly hair, of their having beards, (which they sometimes however extirpate) of their fondness for games and exercises, of their cheerful dispositions, of their prominent features and handsome European countenances,--every one of which characteristics are diametrically opposed to those of the Malay. At the same time there can be no doubt that there is a Malay element among them. Their language is deeply tinged with Malay words, while the grammatical structure of it is very different. They have had the domestic fowl from an early period and were fond of cockfighting. Both the bird and the habit must have been introduced from Malay countries.

    Brown and Black Polynesians. There is no doubt also, a remarkable difference between the brown and the black races of Polynesia, and I do not intend to say that differences do not exist. What I want especially to insist upon is, that there are also resemblances of an important nature, and that both differ much more remarkably from the Malay.

    The Malay undoubtedly belongs to continental Asia, while there is not a particle of evidence to show that either of the three great Polynesian races, the Polynesians proper, the Papuans, or the Australians have come from any existing continent.

    Polynesia an Area of Subsidence. Polynesia is a vast area of subsidence, and its great wide-spread groups of Coral reefs, mark out the position of former continents and islands. The polynesian races are therefore most probably the remnants of the inhabitants of a great Pacific continent and its islands. Farther back than that we cannot attempt to go. There has since been a Malay immigration, there may have been a partial American immigration, there has been isolation & subsequent intermixture of the Polynesian races among themselves; and this has produced the usual variety of types, and has enabled travellers to pick out individuals resembling almost any race upon the globe, and to build thereon theories of the origin of the Polynesian races.

    Whenever we find a peculiar people inhabiting a limited country our first question naturally is,--where did they come from? We can however rarely answer this question unless the immigration is comparatively recent. In the present case I think we may safely say, they came from none of the surrounding continents; and as we have good physical proofs of the recent subsidence of land in the Pacific, the most simple supposition, and that which presents least difficulties is, that they represent more or less completely the various races that inhabited the old Polynesian region.

    Zoological and Ethnological Regions. The only extensive portions of these lost countries that now remain are Australia and New Guinea, and, in the striking individuality of their natural productions, and the entire absence of all those forms of mammalia that abound in the rest of the globe, we have a plain indication that they were never directly connected with the other continents. By the same kind of reasoning, the identity of the productions of Sumatra Java & Borneo with those of the Asiatic continent teaches us, that these islands were recently connected with Asia. These remarkable facts in the geographical distribution of animals, strikingly accord with the distribution of the races of mankind. Migrations of Malays and Polynesians. Man possesses powers of migration far beyond those of any other purely terrestrial animal. He invents artificial means of crossing the seas. The same boundaries that so sharply define the limits of the range of most animals, can not therefore be expected to apply so strictly to the races of man. But, keeping this in mind, it is I think very remarkable, that their distribution should coincide so nearly as it does. The wandering and aggressive Malay race has pushed out beyond its original geographical limits, as shown by the black line on the map, which marks their extension Eastward, while the red line shews the limit of the Asiatic races of animals, who have possessed no artificial means of passing over the limits imposed upon them by the ocean. And just as the only group of the higher mammals which have exceptional means of locomotion,--the bats,--have spread Asiatic types over Australia and New Guinea, and far into the Pacific, so the preeminently maritime Malays and Javaneese have occasionally ranged as far as the Pacific islands, and have left there, some small traces of their physical characteristics, and a stronger impress of their superior civilization, in the numerous words and idioms of their languages, which have become incorporated into almost all the Polynesian dialects.

    Conclusion. In concluding these lectures on the Natural History of the Malayan countries, I would beg to remind you, that while endeavouring to give you an accurate idea of the main features of Tropical nature, it has been my more especial wish to vindicate in some measure the character of the Naturalist, by showing, that he is not necessarily a mere collector of rare and beautiful animals, or one who devotes his life to tracing out the anatomy of a cockchafer,--but that he has also to discuss problems of great complexity and of high interest,--some few of which I have been able briefly to allude to. And to one who really thinks on these problems, natural history becomes a pursuit as grand and as absorbing as any of the sciences to which a man can devote himself; since it both carries him back into those earlier periods of the Earth's history which Geology reveals, and continually brings him face to face with that great mystery of life and mind, which the human intellect is incompetent completely to solve, but which . . .

[[Wallace then concludes with four different possible endings: ]]

. . . perhaps more than any thing else, makes us fully recognise with how small a portion of the great universe we can,--during the present phase of our existence,--ever become acquainted.

. . . (perhaps more than any thing else) makes us feel the limitations of our knowledge, and confess that we are but as children gazing at a light of whose nature and origin we know nothing.

. . . (perhaps more than any thing else) makes us feel that however much we know much more remains to be known.

. . . (perhaps more than any thing else) makes us feel the limitations of our knowledge, and confess that we are but as children gazing at a light of whose nature and origin we are completely ignorant.

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Copyright: Alfred Russel Wallace Literary Estate.

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