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on the mainland, the island of Fernando Po rises boldly and abruptly from the sea, primitive and volcanic in respect to its geological structure, and with one portion of it which rises to the height of 11,000 feet; this is Clarence Peak, the highest part of its chief mountain range. Of these ranges there are two, and they run in a north-easterly direction, breaking the island up into precipices and ravines. From these there is a good supply of fresh water, but in no part of the island (and this is the expressive statement of Mr. Thompson) has there been discovered any alluvial deposits. Fog and forest equally contribute to give it an insular climate. The hills are thickly wooded, even to the highest ranges; while the rainy season lasts from May to December. Then comes what is called “the smokes," a thick fog enveloping the island, and covering a portion of the sea around it.
“The flora of Fernando Po exhibits marked differentiæ to that of the mainland ; the fauna does so still more. The human occupants, though referable from the evidence of their language to a continental origin, are, nevertheless, members of a separate division of the family to which they belong. Divided into about fifteen villages, and amounting to perhaps as high a number as 15,000 for the whole island, the mutually unintelligible languages are at least two. One of these is the Ediya, of which we have a sufficient vocabulary. The other is wholly unrepresented. We are informed, however, that when the people from Clarence Cove visit one of the villages on the south-east, for the sake of purchasing pottery, the trade is carried on by signs. Again, in certain villages about West Bay, the language is also unintelligible to an Ediya, though whether it be so because it is identical with the form of speech just noticed, or because it contributes by itself a third variety, is uncertain. On the other hand, the physical appearance of the natives is the same throughout the island. The face is rounder, the nose less expanded, the cheek-bones less high, and the lips thinner, than in the typical Negro. The skin, too, is lighter, and the hair longer and softer; still the general physiognomy is African. The lower extremities are disproportionately stout, and this makes them appear stouter than they really are. Exercise on foot, and the habit of sitting with their legs doubled up to the chin, are the accredited causes of this. The hands and feet are small. Copper and olive are the terms which have been used to denote the colour of the Ediya; and as a proof that they have not been applied over-hastily, Captain Bosela checks himself from assuming an intermixture of white blood to account for it, inasmuch as 'the features were all of the same cast.'"
Without insisting upon the degree of these olive or copper tints, as opposed to black, I draw attention to the fact of their occurrence in what we call a high island of equatorial Africa. Does this suggest the rule for the distribution of the Negro population of Africa ? If not, let the reader remember Captain Beechy's observations regarding the darker and lighter Polynesians. The latter occurs on the high, the former on the low island. A Negro is an intertropical African in a humid locality. Hence no class named Negro can be strictly ethnological, since the term denotes elements other than those of affiliation and descent. Thus, in respect to descent, the Negro of Sennaar has his closest relations in the way of language, manners, and blood with the Africans of Nubia, Abyssinia, and the parts about his own country; not so, however, his physical conformation; these are with the Africans of Senegambia and Guinea-a fact brought about by the common conditions of heat, moisture, and low sea level. This may or may not be, and for our purpose it is not very material either
way. Accordingly, in the pages which follow, we will first describe the remaining tribes of Central Africa of Negro or Negroid character not yet touched on, and afterwards the "Africans of the northern tropics,” that is, the West African Negroes, like the Fanti and Ashanti, the Krumen, the Senegal Negroes, &c., who have much in common. First, however, a few general remarks regarding the Negro races in general, their character and condition, may be useful.
GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE NEGRO. In physique the Negro is a marked type, even when his skin is not of the usual sooty black colour. His lips are thick and protruding, his forehead low, while the arches in which his teeth—usually very white—are inserted project, giving the “ prognathous” appearance
characteristic of his race. The hair is frizzled and “woolly,” his beard thin, and the nose usually so broad and flat that it seems, to use the simile of a recent traveller—Mr. Skertchly --as if it had been put on in a liquid state and “allowed to run.” His chin is retreating, and his eyes round, with the sclerotica or white of a yellowish tint. Sometimes he is “bow-legged," though often tall and muscular, though in general he has little calf to his leg, and in walking has a “stooping, tired gait.”
The masticating muscles of his jaws are powerful and animal-looking, on account of the greater length of the jaw. In addition, he possesses various other anatomical peculiarities, which need not be noticed further than cursorily. For instance, his hips are less prominent than in the white, and his arms rather longer. The bones of his skull are very thick, so that a blow over the head which will fracture the skull of most white men inconveniences the Negro only slightly. His feet are large and flat, so that in walking on soft ground the print left behind is simply a hole; it is easy to distinguish a Negro footprint after a little practice.
In addition to the excessive flatness of the sole, there are wide divisions between his toes, and the heel-bone projects after the monkey type.
His colour is in general jet or sooty-black, and is owing, not to the sun primarily, but to a black pigment which exists in the mucous tissue under the cuticle or scarf-skin, and which is even present in the membranes which envelope the brain.
A Negro has, notwithstanding his black colour—which one soon gets reconciled to, and after living long amongst without seeing white faces, scarcely notices—often a pleasant face, and travellers in Africa, albeit in no way prejudiced in their favour, frequently speak of both handsome men and pretty women. The feel of the skin is often very satiny and soft to the
touch, though as a rule very porous, and emitting a nauseous odour when heated, this odour being a peculiar characteristic of the Negro race.
The iris of the eye is so dark as to be confounded with the black of the pupil, while this part is in Europeans usually red in black, blue, or grey eyes.
The Negro character is lethargic, dull, and “flabby.” The strongest stimulants have little effect on his brain or palate, and even under their excitement he shows a marked contrast to, for instance, the North American Indian, who, when intoxicated, is an uncontrollable madman. Accordingly, corporeal punishments do not give his dull insensitive body the same torture as they would a man whose nervous system was more delicately strung. Whatever may be said of individual instances and they are sufficiently few—no unprejudiced observer can deny that his intellectual abilities are not high ; while the average “facial angle,” or angle at which the forehead retreats from a line drawn perpendicular to it, is about 764°, in the Negro it is 614 to 63o, and in the oran-outang 45° The brain is small, and has few convolutions, and is
especially small in front, where the intellectual—in contradistinction to the animal-faculties are usually believed to have their seat.
In disposition he is childish and fickle, affectionate, and easily affected by kindness or illtreatment. Like many savages, his powers of mimicry soon enable him to attain a certain degree of superficial civilisation by aping the manners and conversation of those around him, but if left to himself, like a wild plant brought into cultivation, he is apt again to relapse into barbarism, as the bush Negroes of Guinea (vol. i., p. 282) are examples of. They are very prolific, otherwise their continual wars amongst each other, and the drain of the population which centuries of the slave trade has caused, would soon have annihilated the race. Yet, so far from doing so, there is, I believe no instance of a Negro nation being entirely extirpated. It is, I believe, a mistake to say that the Negro is as a whole a cruel race. Doubtless they are guilty of brutalities, in, for instance, their customs,” which I will have occasion to notice more fully; but these cruelties are not exercised simply for the gratification of revenge or of their passions, but as religious rites to propitiate the wrath of their gods or of the being whose ire it is necessary to assuage or avert. The torture of prisoners—so common among the North American Indians—is practically unknown among the African races. Prisoners are frequently slaughtered, but then it is in connection with their religious “customs” or fetish rites of some kind or other. In summing up this brief preliminary sketch of the Negro character I cannot forbear giving the reader the benefit of the opinion of one, than whom no traveller is capable of giving a calm unbiassed opinion, based on extensive and intimate acquaintance with the race ; I refer to Sir Samuel Baker. “The black man," writes this celebrated explorer, “ is a curious anomaly, the good and bad points of human nature bursting forth without any arrangement, like the flowers and thorns of his own wilderness. A creature of impulse, seldom actuated by reflection, the black man astounds by his complete obtuseness, and as suddenly confounds you by an unexpected exhibition of sympathy. From a long experience with African savages I think it is as absurd to condemn the Negro in toto, as it is preposterous to compare his intellectual capacity with that of the white man. It is, unfortunately, the fashion for one party to uphold the Negro as a superior being, while the other denies him the common powers of reason. So great a difference of opinion has even existed upon the intrinsic value of the Negro, that the very perplexity of the question is a proof that he is altogether a distinct variety. So long as it is generally considered that the Negro and the white man are to be governed by the same laws and guided by the same management, so long will the former remain a thorn in the side of every community to which he may unhappily belong. When the horse and the ass shall be found to match in double barness, the white man and the African will pull together under the same régime. It is the grand error of equalising that which is unequal that has lowered the Negro character and made the black man a reproach.
"In his savage home, what is the African ? Certainly bad ; but not so bad as white men would (I believe) be under similar circumstances. He is acted upon by the bad passions inherent in human nature, but there is no exaggerated vice, such as is found in civilised countries. The strong takes from the weak; one tribe fights the other—do not perhaps we in Europe? They are the legitimate acts of independent tribes, authorised by their chiefs. They mutually enslave each other-how long is it since America, and we ourselves, ceased to be slaveholders ? He is callous and ungrateful-in Europe is there no ingratitude? He is
cunning, and a liar by nature—in Europe is all truth and sincerity? Why should the black man not be equal to the white? He is as powerful in frame, why should he not be as exalted in mind? In childhood, I believe the Negro to be in advance in intellectual quickness of the white child of a similar age, but the mind does not expand; it promises fruit, but does not ripen ; and while the Negro man grows in body, he does not advance in intellect. The puppy of three months old is superior in intelligence to a child of the same age; but the mind of the child expands, while that of the dog has arrived at its limit. The chicken of the common fowl has sufficient power and instinct to run in search of food the moment that it leaves the egg, while the young of the eagle lies helpless in its nest; but the young eagle outstrips the chicken in the course of time. The earth presents a wonderful example of variety in all classes of the human race, the animal and vegetable kingdoms. People, beasts, and plants, belonging to distinct classes exhibit special qualities and peculiarities. The existence of many hundred varieties of dogs cannot interfere with the fact that they belong to one genus. The greyhound, pug, bloodhound, pointer, poodle, mastiff, and toy-terrier, are all as entirely different in their peculiar instincts as are the varieties of the human race. The different fruits and flowers continue the example; the wild grapes of the forest are grapes, but although they belong to the same class, they are distinct from the luscious “muscatel ;” and the wild dogrose of the hedge, although of the same class, is inferior to the moss-rose of the garden.
“The national character of these races will alter with a change of locality, but the instincts of each race will be developed in any country where they may be located. Thus, the English are as English in Australia, India, and America, as they are in England; and in every locality they exhibit the industry and energy of their native land. Even so the African will remain Negro in all his natural instincts, although transplanted to other soils; and his natural instincts being a love of idleness and savagedom, he will assuredly relapse into an idle and savage state, unless specially governed and forced to industry. The history of the Negro has proved the correctness of this theory. In no instance has he evinced other than a retrogression, when once freed from restraint. Like a horse without harness, he rúns wild, but, if harnessed, no animal is more useful. Unfortunately, this is contrary to public opinion in England, where the vox populi assumes the right of dictation upon matters and men in which it has had no experience. The English insist upon their own weights and measures as the scales for human excellence, and it has been decreed by the multitude, inexperienced in the Negro personally, that he has been a badly-treated brother; that he is a worthy member of the human family, placed in an inferior position through the prejudice and ignorance of the white man, with whom he should be upon equality. The Negro has been, and still is, thoroughly misunderstood. However severely we may condemn the horrible system of slavery, the results of emancipation has proved that the Negro does not appreciate the blessings of freedom, nor does he show the slightest feeling of gratitude to the hand that broke the rivets of his fetters. His narrow mind cannot embrace that feeling of pure philanthropy that first prompted England to declare herself against slavery, and he only regards the anti-slavery movement as a proof of his own importance. In his limited horizon he is himself the important object; and as a sequence to his self-conceit, he imagines that the whole world is at issue concerning the black man; the Negro, therefore, being the important question, must be an important person, and he conducts himself accordingly. He is far too great a man to work. Upon this point his natural