ANTIQUITY OF MAN. 37
ANTIQUITY OF MAN.
The antiquity of the human species has generally been discussed from a point of view which I hold to be erroneous. It has almost always been assumed that when we have ascertained the antiquity of the oldest historic nations—the Egyptians and the Chinese—or, according to more recent views, of the Stone Folk of Europe, we have ascertained the antiquity of the human species. But, if the Black races are not descended from the progenitor of the White and Mongoloid races, these races are descended from the progenitor of the Black races, and possess an antiquity very much less than that of the Black races. The question, therefore, of the antiquity of the White race is quite different from that of the antiquity of the human species. The white man may have begun to exist six or eight thousand years ago ; but the black man, I have reason to think, was thousands of years his predecessor upon the earth. The white man may have made his advent in central Asia; but the black man first appeared in Africa, or, more probably, upon an obliterated continent, of which the Mascarene Islands on the southeast of Africa are a surviving vestige. The first white man may have descended from a remote progenitor of black color; but the first black man could not have descended from a white progenitor.
The search for the antiquity of the human species is, therefore. a search for the antiquity of the Black races. That search must be instituted in the regions which the Black races have occupied Africa, Australia and obliterated continental lands. These races have left no records, no monuments; and hence the search must become a purely geological one. This task is one which has never been undertaken; but it is one from which science will not shrink ; and I anticipate that somewhere in the caverns of Abyssinia, or south Africa, or Australia, or in some of the stratified formations of those countries, we shall discover evidences of the existence of man at a date prior to the general glaciation of Europe and the United States.
For the present, however, we are compelled to restrict ourselves to an inquiry respecting the epoch of the oldest historic nations,