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Crania Americana; or, A Comparitive View of the Skulls of Various Aboriginal Nations of North and South America: To which is Prefixed An Essay on the Varieties of the Human Species

Philadelphia: J. Dobson, 1839

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The Negroes have little invention, but strong powers of imitation, so that they readily acquire the mechanic arts. They have a great talent for music, and all their external senses are remarkably acute.

With respect to their intellectual character there is much diversity of opinion; some authors estimate it at a very low scale, whilst others insist that the germ of mind is as susceptible of cultivation in the Negro as in the Caucasian. That there is considerable difference in this respect in the different tribes is pretty generally admitted; but, up to the present time, the advantages of education have been inadequately bestowed on them, and instances of superior mental powers have been of extremely rare occurrence.

NOTE.--The great antiquity of the Negro race admits of no question, and has even led some philosophers to surmise that it was the primitive stock of mankind, and that all the other varieties may have been derived from this one by the action of physical causes. A few facts are sometimes of more weight than a host of hypotheses; and it may not be irrelevant to put this question, as well as the converse of it, to a chronological test, in the words of a distinguished author. "According to accredited dates," says he,"it is four thousand one hundred and seventy-nine years since Noah and his family came out of the ark. They are believed to have been of the Caucasian race; and the correctness of the belief there is no ground to 'question. We shall assume it, therefore, as a truth, without adducing the reasons which seem to sustain it. Three thousand four hundred and forty-five years ago a nation of Ethiopians is known to have existed. Their skins, of course, were dark, and they differed widely from Caucasians in many other particulars. They migrated from a remote country and took up their residence. in the neighborhood of Egypt. Supposing that people to have been of the stock of Noah, the change must have been completed, and a new race formed, in seven hundred and thirty-three years, and probably in a much shorter period."

The recent discoveries in Egypt give additional force to the preceding statement, inasmuch as they show beyond all question, that the Caucasian and Negro races were as perfectly distinct in that country upwards of three thousand years ago as they are now : whence it is evident that if the Caucasian was derived from the Negro, or the Negro from the Caucasian, by the action of external causes, the change must have been effected in at most a thousand ,years ; a theory which the subsequent evidence of thirty centuries proves to be a physical impossibility ; and we have already ventured to insist that such a commutation could be effected by nothing short of a miracle.


The country of the Callers, now called Caffraria, is of indeterminate extent. On the eastern coast it extends from the Keiskamna river (which separates it from the Cape colony) to the south of Delagoa bay. On the west it touches Orange

* CALDWWELL, Thoughts on the Unity of the Human Species, p. 72. Philad. 1830.

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