Scientific American Supplement, No. 1178, June 25, 1898
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN SUPPLEMENT NO. 1178
NEW YORK, JUNE 25, 1898.
Scientific American Supplement. Vol. XLV., No. 1178.
Scientific American established 1845
Scientific American Supplement, $5 a year.
Scientific American and Supplement, $7 a year.
In the present war between the United States and Spain, the QueenRegent is an impressive figure, and it is entirely owing to her charmand fortitude that the present dynasty of Spain is maintained. Sincehis earliest youth she has constantly made efforts to fit her son towear the crown. The Queen Regent came from the great historic house ofHapsburg, which has done much to shape the destinies of the world. Allthe fortitude that has distinguished its members is represented inthis lady, who is the widow of Alfonzo XII. and the mother of thepresent king. Her father was the late Archduke Karl Ferdinand and sheis the cousin of Emperor Franz Joseph. She has had a sad history. Herhusband died before the young king was born, and from the hour of hisbirth she has watched and cared for the boy. She is the leader in allgood works in Spain, and her sympathy for the distressed isproverbial. She gives freely from her private purse wherever there isneed, whether it be for the relief of misery or, as recently, when thestate is in peril. The young king has been carefully educated. By acurious fate, his birth deposed from the throne his sister Maria delas Mercedes, who as a little girl was queen for a few months. The boyhas been brought up under the influence of family life and has a warmaffection for his mother and sisters. He has never had the fulldelights of childhood, for he has been educated in that false,punctilious and thoroughly artificial atmosphere of the court ofSpain, in which every care has been taken to fit him for his royalposition. His health is far from robust, though the military educationhe has received has done much to strengthen his constitution. He hasbeen taught to interest himself especially in the naval and militaryaffairs, and the study of the models of ships and military disciplinehas been one of the principal occupations of his childhood. It is theearnest wish of Spain that he should prove worthy of his mother.
THE MILESTONES OF HUMAN PROGRESS.1
The subject pertains directly to the advancement of the race. Indeed,it is to the measure of this advancement I shall ask your attention.There is no doubt about the advancement. There are some people whobelieved and believe that man began in a state of high development andhas since then degenerated into his present condition. The belief insome period of Arcadian simplicity and human perfection is still to befound in some remote nooks and crannies of the learned world; butthose minds who have been trained in archæological studies and inethnographic observations know well that when we go back to the mostancient deposits, in which we find any sign of man at all on theglobe, we find also the proofs that man then lived in the rudestpossible condition of savagery. He has, little by little, through longcenturies and millenniums of painful struggle, survived in made hisweapons and his most effective tools for the time being would be agood criterion to go by, because these weapons and tools enabled himto conquer not only the wild beasts around him and his fellow manalso, but nature as well. These materials are three in number. Theyparticularly apply to European archæology, but, in a general way, tothe archæology of all continents. The one is stone, which gave manmaterial for the best cutting edge which he could make for very manymillenniums of his existence. After that, for a comparatively shortperiod, he availed himself of bronze—of the mixture of copper and tincalled bronze—an admixture giving a considerable degree of hardnessand therefore allowing polish and edge making. The bronze age was notlong anywhere. It was succeeded by that metal which, beyond allothers, has been of signal utility to man—iron. We live in the ironage, and it is from iron in some of its forms and products that allour best weapons and materials for implements, etc., are derived. Wehave, therefore, the ages of stone, of bronze and of iron. These arethe measures, from an artistic source, of the advancement of humanculture; and they certainly bear a distinct relation to all man'sother conditions at the time. A tribe which had never progressedbeyond the stone age—which had no better material for its weapons andimplements than stone—could never proceed beyond a very limited pointof civilization. Bronze or any metal which can be moulded, hammeredand sharpened of course gives a nation vast superiority over one whichuses stone only; and the value of iron and steel for the same purposesI need not dwell upon.
To be sure, we have here several measures; and it would seem moredesirable, if we could, to obtain one single measure—one singlematerial or object of which we could say that the tribe that uses ordoes not use that to an equal degree is certainly lower or, in theother respects, higher than another; but I believe that there has beenno single material which has been suggested as of sufficient use andvalue in this direction to serve as a criterion; but, yes! I rememberthere was one and, on the whole, not a bad one. It was suggested byBaron Liebig, the celebrated chemist, who said: "If you wish a singlematerial by which to judge of the amount of culture that any nation,or, for that matter, any individual, possesses, compared to anotherone, find out how much soap they use. Nothing," he said, "more thanpersonal cleanliness and general cleanliness differentiates thecultured man from the savage;" and as for that purpose he probably hadin view a soap, he recognized that as the one criterion. It is notamiss, but open, also, to serious objections; because there are tribeswho live in such conditions that they can get neither water nor soap;and the Arabs, distinctly clean, are not by any means at the highestpinnacle of civilization.
The Germans, therefore, as a rule, have sought some other means thanall those above mentioned. Almost all the German writers onethnography divide the people and nations of the world into two greatclasses—the one they call the "wild peoples," the other the "culturedpeoples"—the "Natur-Voelker" and the "Kultur-Voelker." Thedistinction which they draw between these two great classes is largelypsychological. Man, they say, in the condition of the "wildpeople"—of the "Natur-Voelker"—is subject to nature; therefore, theycall them "nature people." The "Kultur-Voelker," on the other hand,have emancipated themselves, in great measure, from the control ofnature.
Furthermore, the man in the condition of the "wild people" isin a condition of practically unconscious life: he has not yetarrived at self-consciousness—he does not know and recognize hisindividuality—the "Ego"—"das ich;" that is a discovery which comeswith the "Kultur-Voelker"—with the "cultured people;" and just inproportion as an individual (or a nation) achieves a completely clearidea of his own self-existence, his self-consciousness, hisindividuality, to that extent he is emancipated from the mere controlof nature around him and rises in the scale of culture.
Again, to make this difference between the two still more apparent, itis the conflict between the instinctive desires and the human heartand soul and the intelligent desires—those desires which we have byinstinct, which we have by heredity and which have been inculcatedinto us wholly by our surroundings, which we drink in and acceptwithout any internal discussion of them: those are instinctive incharacter. We go about our business, we transact the daily affairs oflife, we accept our religion and politics, not from any internalconviction of our own or positive examination, but from oursurroundings. To that extent people are acting instinctively; and, assuch, they are on a lower stage of culture than those who arrive atsuch results for themselves through intelligent personal effort. Thisis a real distinction also, although somewhat more subtle, perhaps,than the ones previously given. Therefore, the differentiation made bythe German ethnographers between wild people and the cultured peoplesis, in the main, right; but it does not admit of any sharp line ofdistinction between the two. We cannot draw a fixed line and say, "Onthis side are the cultured people and on that the wild," because thereare many tribes and nations who are about that line, in some respectson one side of it, in others on the other; but in a broad, general waythis distinction (which is now universally adopted by the Germanwriters) is one we should keep in our minds as being based uponcareful studies and real distinctions.
Usually the writers in the English tongue prefer a different basisthan any of these which I have mentioned; they prefer the basis as towhence is derived the food supply of a nation, or a tribe; and on thesource of that food supply they divide nations and tribes into themore or less cultured. In earliest times (and among the rudest tribesto-day) the food supply is furnished entirely by natural means; thereis little or no agriculture known to speak of; there is nothing in theway of preserving domestic animals for food; hunting the wild beastsof the forests and fishing in the streams are the two sources.Therefore, we call that last condition the hunting and fishing stageof human development. You will observe that when that prevails therecan be no congregation of men into large bodies. Such a thing as acity would be unknown. The food supply is eminently precarious. Itdepends upon the season and upon a thousand matters not under thecontrol of man in any way. Moreover, inasmuch as the supply at thebest is uncertain, it allows but a very limited population in adistrict; nor does it permit any permanent or stable inhabitations.The towns, such as they are, must be movable; they must go to one partof the country in the summer and another in the winter; they mustfollow the game and the fruits; and in that condition, therefore, ofunstable life it is not possible for a nation or a tribe to gain anygreat advance. You observe, therefore, that when the food supply isdrawn from this source it does entail a general depravity of cultureeverywhere.
Above that would come the food supply which is obtained from othersources. There is one which is not universal but still widelyextended, and that is the pastoral life. There are many tribes (as,for instance, in southern Africa and in India and throughout thesteppes of Tartary and elsewhere) who live on their herds and drivetheir herds from one pasture to another in order to obtain the bestforage. This nomadic and pastoral life extended very widely over theold world in ancient times, but existed nowhere in the new world, forthe simple reason that they had no domesticated animals. Our ownremote ancestors—both the Aryans and the Semites—all the earlyancestors of the white race