The Negro's Place in Nature (To the Ethnological Society)
Ethnology, Race, Evolution, Human Development, Animal Behaviour, Politics, Supernaturalism
Begins by explaining that the 'Sages' at the Ethnological Society have lately had a 'grand debate / About the Negro's place / In Nature, if he is indeed, / A man and brother, or of breed / Below our nobler race'. Notes that certain physical features of the 'Negro', notably his 'wool', 'skin', 'facial angle', and 'odours', do not resolve the question. Goes on to note Benjamin Disraeli's 'widely known' choice between 'Ape or Angel', but asks 'Philosophers' to choose between 'cherubs or the chimpanzees' as ancestors. Comparing 'The Negro's and the Gorilla's shape', wonders what 'kin' this 'anthropoid ape' is to 'that pithecoid man'. Observes that any degree of kinship between them would make the gorilla 'Our cousin some degrees removed', but that, if there is no kinship between them, then the 'Negro' would take 'his stand' with 'fellow men / And angels'.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
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