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

 
 
Discussion of a Paper on Ethnography by T. H. Huxley
(S167: 1870)

 
Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: Third party rendering of words Wallace offered in discussion of the paper 'On the Geographical Distribution of the Chief Modifications of Mankind,' read by T. H. Huxley at the Ethnological Society of London meeting of 7 June 1870, and later printed in the Society's Journal series. Original pagination indicated within double brackets. To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S167.htm


     [[p. 411]] Mr. Alfred R. Wallace said that, as a small contribution to the subject, he would venture to point out that there were certain mental characteristics which in two at least of the primary groups were as well marked and as constant as the physical characters by which Professor Huxley had defined them. The great Mongoloid group, for instance, was distinguished by a general gravity of demeanour and concealment of the emotions, by deliberation of speech, and the absence of violent gesticulation, by the rarity of laughter, and by plaintive and melancholy songs. The tribes composing it were pre-eminently apathetic and reserved; and this character was exhibited to a high degree in the North-American Indian, and in all the Malay races, and to a somewhat less extent over the whole of the enormous area occupied by the Mongoloid type. Strongly contrasted with these were the Negroid group, whose characteristics were vivacity and excitability, strong exhibitions of feeling, loud and rapid speech, boisterous laughter, violent gesticulations, and rude, noisy music. They were preeminently impetuous and demonstrative; and this feature was seen fully developed both in the African Negro and in the widely removed Papuan of New Guinea. This striking correspondence of mental with physical characters strongly supported the view that these two at least were among the best-marked primary divisions of our race.

     The only point on which he ventured to differ from the classification of Professor Huxley was as to the position to be assigned to the brown Polynesians. These, as typically represented by the Tahitians, [[p. 412]] appeared to him to be much more nearly related to the Papuans than to the Malays, and should therefore be classed as Negroid instead of Mongoloid. In all important physical characters, except colour, they agreed with the former; and the general testimony of travellers, from Cook downwards, showed that their mental characteristics were entirely Negroid, as evinced by their vivacity, demonstrativeness, and laughter. At the same time there was no doubt a large infusion of Malay blood; but that this was for the most part a comparatively recent event was shown by the language, which retained a number of Malay terms almost unchanged. He maintained therefore that the typical Polynesians were fundamentally Negroid with a considerable Mongoloid intermixture, and not originally Mongoloid with a Negroid intermixture.


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