Page:Descent of Man 1875.djvu/211

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Chap. VII.
195
The Formation of Races.

Daniell, who had long lived on the west coast of Africa, told me that he did not believe in any such relation. He was himself unusually fair, and had withstood the climate in a wonderful manner. When he first arrived as a boy on the coast, an old and experienced negro chief predicted from his appearance that this would prove the case. Dr. Nicholson, of Antigua, after having attended to this subject, writes to me that dark-coloured Europeans escape the yellow fever more than those that are light-coloured. Mr. J. M. Harris altogether denies that Europeans with dark hair withstand a hot climate better than other men: on the contrary, experience has taught him in making a selection of men for service on the coast of Africa, to choose those with red hair.[1] As far, therefore, as these slight indications go, there seems no foundation for the hypothesis, that blackness has resulted from the darker and darker individuals having survived better during long exposure to fever-generating miasma.

Dr. Sharpe remarks,[2] that a tropical sun, which burns and blisters a white skin, does not injure a black one at all; and, as he adds, this is not due to habit in the individual, for children only six or eight months old are often carried about naked, and are not affected. I have been assured by a medical man, that some years ago during each summer, but not during the winter, his hands became marked with light brown patches, like,

  1. of all the men who suffered from malarious and yellow fevers, or from dysentery, it would soon be apparent, after some thousand cases had been tabulated, whether there exists any relation between the colour of the hair and constitutional liability to tropical diseases. Perhaps no such relation would be discovered, but the investigation is well worth making. In case any positive result were obtained, it might be of some practical use in selecting men for any particular service. Theoretically the result would be of high interest, as indicating one means by which a race of men inhabiting from a remote period an unhealthy tropical climate, might have become dark-coloured by the better preservation of dark-haired or dark-complexioned individuals during a long succession of generations."

  2. 'Anthropological Review,' Jan., 1866, p. xxi. Dr. Sharpe also says, with respect to India ('Man a Special Creation,' 1873, p. 118), "that it has been noticed by some medical officers that Europeans with light hair and florid complexions suffer less from diseases of tropical countries than persons with dark hair and sallow complexions; and, so far as I know, there appear to be good grounds for this remark." On the other hand, Mr. Heddle, of Sierra Leone, "who has had more clerks killed under him than any other man," by the climate of the west African coast (W. Reade, 'African Sketch Book,' vol. ii., p. 522), holds a directly opposite view, as does Capt. Burton.
  3. 'Man a Special Creation', 1873, p. 119.