Popular Science Monthly/Volume 15/May 1879/New Guinea and its Inhabitants II

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THE houses of the New Guinea people are somewhat different in different localities, but the most general type is that found at Dorey Harbor. There is here a considerable village of large houses built on piles in the water in the usual Malay style, and houses similarly raised on posts (but loftier) are found on the hills some miles inland. Each of these houses is large and accommodates several families, and they are connected by continuous platforms of poles and bamboos, often so uneven and shaky that a European can with difficulty walk on them. A considerable space separates this platform from the shore, with which, however, it is connected by narrow bridges formed of one or two bamboos, supported on posts, and capable of being easily removed. A larger building has the posts carved into the rude forms of men and women, and is supposed to be a temple or council-house. This village is probably very like the pile villages of the stone age, whose remains have been found in the lakes of Switzerland and other countries. Similar houses are found in the Aru and Ké Islands, in Waigiou, and on the southwest coast; and they are also common on the southeast coast, sometimes standing in the water, sometimes on the beach above high-water mark. These houses are often a hundred feet long, and sometimes much more, and are occupied by ten or twenty families. On the Fly River similar large houses occur, but only raised a foot or two above the ground; while at the mouth of the Utanata River, on the southwest coast, a large low house was found a hundred feet long, and only six feet wide, with nineteen low doors; but this was evidently only a temporary seaside habitation of a tribe who had their permanent dwellings inland.

Finding these large houses, raised on posts or piles and common to many families, to prevail from one end of New Guinea to the other, both on the coast and inland, we are led to conclude that those described by Dr. Miklucho Maclay at Astrolabe Bay, on the northeast coast, are exceptional, and indicate the presence of some foreign element. The houses of the people among whom he lived were not raised on posts, and had very low walls, so that the somewhat arched roofs appeared to rise at once from the ground. They were of small dimensions, and seem to correspond pretty closely to those of the Admiralty Islands, New Britain, and New Ireland; so that this part of the coast of New Guinea has probably been colonized from some of the adjacent islands, a view supported by the fact that these people do not use bows and arrows, so general among all the true Papuans, and by other ties. It is somewhat unfortunate that the only scientific man who has resided alone among these people for more than a year, for the express purpose of studying them exhaustively, should have hit upon a place where the natives are probably not true indigenes but an intruding colony, although perhaps long settled in the country. Dr. Miklucho Maclay will no doubt be quoted as the greatest living authority on the Papuans of New Guinea; and it is therefore very important to call attention to the fact that the people he so carefully studied are not typical of the race, and may not even be Papuans at all in the restricted sense in which it is usually applied to the main body of the aborigines of New Guinea.

The Papuans, as well as all the tribes of dark, frizzly-haired Melanesians, make pottery for cooking, thus differing from all the brown Polynesian tribes of the Pacific, none of whom are acquainted, with this art. Of course the actual seat of manufacture will be dependent on the presence of suitable materials; but those who do not make it themselves obtain it by barter, so that earthenware cooking-vessels appear to be in general use all over the island. Cups and spoons are made out of shells or cocoanuts, while wooden bowls of various sizes, wooden mortars for husking maize or rice, wooden stools used as pillows, and many other articles, are cut out and ornamented with great skill. A variety of boxes are made of the split leaf-stalks of the sago palm, pegged together and covered with pandanus-leaves, often neatly plaited and stained of different colors, so as to form elegant patterns. A variety of mats, bags, and cordage, are made with the usual skill of savage people; and their canoes are often of large size and beautifully constructed, with high-peaked ends ornamented with carvings, and adorned with plumes of feathers.

The weapons chiefly used are spears of various kinds, wooden swords and clubs, and bows and arrows; the latter being almost universal among the true Papuans and most of the allied frizzly-haired races, while the Polynesians seem never to possess it as an indigenous weapon. It is very singular that neither the Australians, the Polynesians, nor the Malays should be acquainted with this weapon, while in all the great continents it is of unknown antiquity, and is still largely used in America, Asia, and Africa. Peschel, indeed, attempts to show that the Polynesians have only ceased to use it on account of the absence of game in their islands; but mammalia are almost equally scarce in the New Hebrides, where it is in constant use even in the smallest islands; while in Australia, where they abound, and where it would be a most useful weapon, it is totally unknown. We must therefore hold that the use of the bow and arrow by the Papuans is an important ethnological feature, distinguishing them from all the peoples by whom they are immediately surrounded, and connecting them, as do their physical peculiarities, with an ancient widespread negroid type.

In their knowledge and practice of agriculture the Papuans show themselves to be far superior to the Australians, and fully the equals of the Polynesian races. They grow cocoanuts and bread-fruit, and cultivate various kinds of yam, sweet potato, bananas, and sugar-cane. Though possessing, for the most part, only stone axes, they clear the forest to make their plantations, which they carefully fence round to keep out the wild pigs. Looking at these clearings, at their houses, their canoes, their implements, weapons, and ornaments often elaborately carved, we must, as Dr. Maclay remarks, be struck with astonishment at the great patience and skill displayed by these savages. Their chief implement, the axe, consists of a hard gray, green, or white stone, made smooth and sharp by long grinding and polishing. A piece of the stem of a tree which has a branch passing off at an angle, something like the figure 7, is hewed off, and upon the branch, which has been cut off short and shaven at the top, the stone is laid horizontally, and bound fast with split rattans or tough bark. Such an instrument requires to be used with great skill, only to be attained by practice, or the stone will be broken without producing any result. These savages can, however, with a stone axe having a cutting edge only two inches broad, fell a tree-trunk of twenty inches diameter, or carve really fine figures on a post or spear. Each adult man possesses one such axe, but in every village there are usually one or two larger two-handed axes, which are about three inches broad. These are considered exceedingly valuable, and are only used for cutting large trees for canoes or other important work. Fragments of flint and shells are used for finishing carved work and cutting the ornamental patterns on bamboo boxes, as well as for making combs, spoons, arrows, and other small articles. For cutting meat and vegetables a kind of chisel of bone and knives of bamboo are made use of. On the northwest and southwest coasts, where the people have long been in communication with Malay traders, they have iron tools and weapons, and cultivate also maize and a little rice and millet, and have the papaya as an additional fruit and vegetable; and they also grow tobacco, of which they make huge cigars. At Dorey they have learned to work iron, and make swords and choppers as well as iron points to their arrows and spears.

The daily food of these people consists of some of the vegetables already named, of which they have a pretty constant supply, together with fruits, fish, and occasionally the flesh of the wild pig, the cuscus, or of birds caught in snares or shot with arrows. They also eat shellfish, lizards, and almost every kind of large insect, especially beetles and their larvæ, which are eaten either raw or cooked. Having no salt, they mix sea-water with that in which they cook their food, and this is so highly esteemed that the people of the hills carry away bamboos full of salt-water whenever they visit the coast.

The plantations are usually made at some distance inland for safety, and, after the ground is cleared and fenced by the men, the cultivation is left almost wholly to the women, who go every day to weed and bring home some of the produce for the evening's meal. They have throughout the year a succession of fruits and vegetables either wild or cultivated, and are thus never half-starved like the Australians. On the whole the women are well treated and have much liberty, though they are considered as inferiors, and do not take their meals with the men. The children are well attended to, and the fathers seem very fond of their boys, and often take them when very young on their fishing or hunting excursions.

As in the case of most other savages, we have very different and conflicting accounts of the character of the Papuans. Mr. Windsor Earl well remarks, that whenever civilized man is brought into friendly communication with savages, the disgust which naturally arises from the first glance at a state of society so obnoxious to his sense of propriety, disappears before a closer acquaintance, and he learns to regard their little delinquencies as he would those of children; while their kindliness of disposition and natural good qualities begin to be recognized. Thus many writers make highly favorable statements respecting the Papuan character and disposition; while those whose communications with them have been of a hostile nature are so impressed with their savage cunning and ferocity, and the wild-beast-like nature of their attacks, that they will not recognize in them any feelings in common with more civilized races.

Many of the early voyagers record nothing but hostility or treacherous murders on the part of the Papuans. Their visits were, however, chiefly on the northwest and southwest coasts, which the Malays have long been accustomed to visit not only for commerce but to capture slaves. This having become a regular trade, some of the more warlike coast tribes, especially those of Onin in McCluer's Inlet, have been accustomed to attack the villages of other tribes, and to capture their inhabitants, in order to sell the women and children to the Malays. It is not therefore surprising that unknown armed visitors to these coasts should be treated as enemies to be resisted and if possible exterminated. Even Europeans have sometimes increased this feeling of enmity through ignorance of native habits and customs. Cocoanut-trees have been cut down to obtain the fruit, apparently under the impression that they grew wild and were so abundant as to be of little value x whereas every tree is considered as private property, as they supply an important article of food, and are even more valued than the choicest fruit trees among ourselves. Thus Schouten, in 1616, sent a boat well armed to bring cocoanuts from a grove of trees near the shore, but the natives attacked the Europeans, wounded sixteen of them, and forced them to retire. Commodore Roggewen, in 1722, cut down cocoanut-trees on the island of Moa on the north coast, which, of course, brought on an attack. At other times houses have been entered in the absence of their owners, a great offense in the eyes of all savage people, and at once stamping the intruder as an enemy.

On the other hand, Lieutenant Bruijn Kops, who visited the northwest coast of New Guinea in 1850, gives the following account of the inhabitants of Dorey:

Their manners and customs are much less barbarous than might be expected. On the contrary, they give evidence of a mild disposition, of an inclination to right and justice, and strong moral principles. Theft is considered by them as a grave offense, and is of very rare occurrence. They have no fastenings to their houses, yet seldom or never is anything stolen. Although they were on board our ship or alongside during whole days, we never missed anything. Yet they are distrustful of strangers until they become acquainted with them, as we experienced. This is probably less, however, a trait of their character than the result of intercourse with strangers who perhaps had frequently tried to cheat them. The men, it is true, came on board from the time of our arrival, but they were very cautious in letting any of the things they brought for sale out of their hands. The women were at first very fearful, and fled on all sides when they saw us, leaving behind what they might be carrying; but at length when they found they had no injury to dread from us they became more familiar. Finally, they approached without being invited, but remained timid. The children very soon became accustomed to us, and followed us everywhere.

Respect for the aged, love for their children, and fidelity to their wives, are traits which reflect honor on their disposition. Chastity is held in high regard, and is a virtue that is seldom transgressed by them. A man can only have one wife, and is bound to her for life. Concubinage is not permitted. Adultery is unknown among them. They are generally very fond of strong drink, but, although they go to excess in this, I could not learn that they prepared any fermented liquor, not even sago-weer or tuak (palm-wine). Kidnapping is general in these countries, and is followed as a branch of trade, so that there is no dishonor attached to it. The captives are treated well, are exchanged if there are any of theirs in the enemy's hands, or released on payment of a ransom, as was the case in Europe in the middle ages.

My own experience of the Papuans at Dorey, in 1858, agrees with this account; and as I lived there for four months with only four Malay servants, going daily unarmed into the forest to collect insects, I was completely in their power had they wished to attack me. A remarkable proof of their honesty occurred to me at the island of Waigiou, where a man who had received payment in advance for red birds of paradise brought back the money, represented by an axe, when after trying for several weeks he had failed to catch any. Another, who had received payment for six birds, brought me in the fifth two days before I was to leave the island, and immediately started off for the forest to seek another. Of course I never expected to see him again, but, when my boat was loaded, and we were just on the point of starting, he came running down to the beach holding up a bird, which he handed to me, saying with evident satisfaction, "Now I owe you nothing." My assistant, Mr. Allen, venturing along among the mountaineers of the northwest peninsula, found them peaceable and good-natured. Drs. Meyer and Beccari and Signor d'Albertis, penetrating inland beyond Dorey, were never attacked or seriously opposed; and Dr. Miklucho Maclay suddenly appearing at Astrolabe Bay, among people who seem never to have had any communication with Europeans, soon established friendly relations with them, although subject to great trials of temper and courage at the outset.

His experience with them is very instructive. They appeared at first distrustful and suspicious of his intentions, as well they might be. Sometimes they left him quite alone for days together, or kept him prisoner in the little hut he had had built for himself, or tried to frighten him by shooting arrows close to his head and neck, and pressing their spears against his teeth till they made him open his mouth. Finding, however, that he bore all these annoyances good-humoredly, and, as a medical man, took every opportunity of doing them services, they concluded he was a good spirit, a man from the moon, and thenceforth paid him great respect, and allowed him to go about pretty much as he pleased. This reminds us of the experience of the Challenger at Humboldt Bay, where it was decided not to stay, because some of the natives similarly drew their bows at the officers when away in boats. This was no doubt nervous work for the person threatened, but it was only a threat. Savages do not commence a real attack in that theatrical way, and, if they had been met with coolness and their threats been laughed at or treated with contempt, such demonstrations would soon have ceased. Of course it requires very exceptional courage and temper, not possessed by one man in a thousand, to do this; but the fact should be remembered that in many parts of the world such attempts to frighten Europeans have been adopted, but have never resulted in anything serious. Had the Papuans really wanted to rob and murder, they would have enticed the Challenger people on shore, where they would have had them completely at their mercy, whereas those who did go on shore were very civilly treated.

One of the most curious features noticed by Dr. Miklucho Maclay was the apparent absence of trade or barter among the people of Astrolabe Bay. They exchange presents, however, when different tribes visit each other, somewhat as among the New-Zealanders, each party giving the other what they have to spare; but no one article seems ever to be exchanged for another of supposed equivalent value. On the whole, the Russian doctor seems to have found these people industrious, good-natured, and tolerably cleanly, living orderly lives, and conforming themselves strictly to the laws and customs which to them determine what is right.

Captain Moresby, Signor d'Albertis, Mr. O. C. Stone, and the missionaries who have recently explored the southeastern extremity of New Guinea, have been greatly struck by the apparently quite distinct races they have found there. As far eastward as the head of the gulf of Papua (on the east side of Torres Straits) the typical Papuans prevail, the natives of the Katow River being described as nearly black, with Jewish noses, and woolly hair, using bows and arrows, and living in houses a hundred feet long elevated on posts, in all respects exactly agreeing with the prevalent type in the western portion of the island. But farther east, about Redscar Bay and Port Moresby, and thence to East Cape, the people are lighter in color, less warlike, and more intelligent, with more regular European features, neither making bows nor (except rarely) pottery, and practicing true tattooing by punctures—all distinctly Polynesian characteristics. When to this we add that their language contains a large Polynesian element, it is not surprising that these people have been described as a totally distinct race, and have been termed Malays or Malayo-Polynesians. We fortunately possess several independent accounts of these tribes, and are thus able to form a tolerably good idea of their true characters.

Captain Moresby, speaking of the inhabitants of that large portion of the eastern peninsula of New Guinea discovered and surveyed by him, says:

This race is distinctly Malayan; but differs from the pure Malay, being smaller in stature, coarser in feature, thicker-lipped, with less hair on the face, being in fact almost beardless. The hair on the head is also more frizzled, though this may result from a different dressing. These men have high cheekbones like the pure Malay; their noses are inclined to be aquiline and sometimes very well formed. Among them are met many men with light hair, and what struck us as a peculiarly Jewish cast of features. They rise to a height of from five feet four inches to five feet eight inches, are sinewy though not muscular, slight, graceful, and cat-like in the pliability of their bodies.[1]

This description clearly shows that by "Malay" Captain Moresby means "Polynesian," the characters mentioned being in almost every respect directly the opposite of those of the true Malays, as indicated by the words and phrases here placed in italics. And, even as compared with the typical brown Polynesians, the frizzled hair, aquiline noses, and Jewish cast of features, are all Papuan characteristics.

Mr. Octavius C. Stone describes the Motu tribe who inhabit the coast districts about Redscar Bay and Port Moresby as somewhat shorter than the Papuans to the westward, and of a color varying from light brown to chocolate. The hair varies from nearly straight to woolly, often being frizzled out like that of the typical Papuan. The hair on the face is artificially eradicated, and they are thus made to appear beardless. The nose is aquiline and thick, and in a small percentage of the men the Jewish type of features appears. The adjacent tribes differ somewhat. The Koiari, Ilema, and Maiva are generally darker in color; while the Kirapuno are lighter. These last live near Hood Point, and are the handsomest people in New Guinea. Their hair is of a rich auburn, often golden in the children, growing in curls or ringlets. It is this tribe that keep their villages in such excellent order, with well-kept gardens in which they even cultivate flowers. Mr. Lawes says: "We were all amazed at the cleanliness, order, and industry, which everywhere declared themselves in this model New Guinea village. The men are physically very fine and the women good-looking. One of the belles of the place had no less than fifty-four tortoise-shell ear-rings in her two ears, and her nose pierced too."[2]

Speaking of all these tribes as forming essentially one race, Mr. Stone says that they are a merry, laughter-loving people, fond of talking, and loving a joke, hot of temper, and quick to resent a supposed injury—all of which are Polynesian or Papuan as opposed to Malayan characteristics. They are clean in their habits, and particularly so in their eating. When allowed liberties they do not fail to take advantage; and, at Port Moresby in particular, they are accomplished thieves, inveterate liars, confirmed beggars, and ungenerous to a degree, so that, even if starving, they would give you nothing without an equivalent. This condemnation, however, does not apply to the interior tribes who have not yet been demoralized by European visitors. Both sexes are vain of their outward appearance, oiling their bodies, and adorning themselves with shells, feather and bone ornaments; and on all festive occasions each tries to outvie the other in his or her toilet. Their dress is like that of the Papuans, a T-bandage for the men, a fringe of leaves for the women, but the latter are more carefully made than among the more savage tribes. They practice true tattooing, the women especially being often highly ornamented with complex patterns on the body and limbs, and occasionally on the face also, but wanting the elegant curves and graceful designs which characterize Polynesian tattooing.[3] Their weapons are spears, shields, stone clubs, and hatchets, one tribe only—the Ilema—making bows and arrows. In like manner the Motu tribe only make pottery, which the other tribes obtain from them by barter. They use drilling-machines with a spindle-wheel and cord, like the Polynesians. The houses, whether on the shore or inland, are raised on piles, but are small as compared with those of the Papuans, each accommodating one or two families only.

Intellectually these people are considerably advanced. They can reckon up to a million. They use the outstretched arms as a unit to measure by. They divide the year into thirteen months, duly named, and reckoned from the new moons. The four winds and many of the stars have names, as well as every tree, shrub, flower, and even each well-marked grass and fern. They prefer fair to dark people, and are thus disposed to like and admire the white races. The children are very merry, and have many toys and games. The Rev. W. Turner tells us that they make small windmills of cocoanut-leaves, and are well versed in the mysteries of cat's-cradle; while spinning a button or round piece of shell on a cord, and keeping a bladder in the air by patting it with the hands, are favorite games. They also amuse themselves with miniature spears and bow and arrows, catching fish, which they cook for themselves on the shore. They are left to do what they like, and know nothing of the tasks of school, the troubles of keeping their clothes clean, or the miseries of being washed—troubles that vex the lives of almost all civilized children. According to Mr. Turner, the villages of the Motu are by no means clean, all manner of filth being left about unheeded; and, as this agrees with most other descriptions, we must conclude that the model village already referred to is quite exceptional in its cleanliness and order.

Mr. Turner thinks the Motu are colonists from some other land, while he considers the Koiari of the interior to be "evidently the aborigines of this part of New Guinea." Mr. Stone, on the other hand, classes them together as slightly differing tribes of the same race, the one being a little more advanced than the other; and he considers the whole eastern peninsula of New Guinea to be peopled by a race of Polynesian blood, who, in some far-distant time, found their way to the coast, intermingled with the native Papuan tribes, and gradully drove them westward. There have thus resulted a number of separate tribes, showing various degrees of intermixture, the Polynesian blood predominating on the coast, the Papuan in the interior; one small tribe alone, the Kirapuno, being more distinctly Polynesian. How complete is the intermixture, and how difficult it is to determine the limits of the two races, are shown by the opinion of Mr. S. McFarlane, who says that though he at first thought the people of Katow River and those of Redscar Bay to be quite distinct, the former Papuan and the latter Malayan (or more properly Polynesian), yet, after five years' acquaintance with them, he believes them to of the same race; while he considers the tribes of the interior to be distinct, and to be true Papuans. The coast people he thinks to be the result of an intermixture of Malays, Polynesians, Arabs, Chinese, and Papuans.

Dr. Comrie (of the surveying ship Basilisk) believes that all the tribes on the northeast coast, from East Cape to Astrolabe Bay, are Papuans; but his description of them shows that they have a slight infusion of Polynesian blood, and many Polynesian customs. One thing is very clear, that neither in physical nor mental characteristics do these people show any resemblance whatever to Malays, who are a very different race from the Polynesian. The graceful figures, the woolly or curly hair, the arched noses, the use of tattooing, the ignorance of. pottery making, the gay and laughter-loving disposition, the talkativeness of the women, the lying, thievishness, and beggary, widely separate them from the Malay; while all these peculiarities support the view of their being a race formed by a mixture of Polynesian men with Papuan or Melanesian women, the former having perhaps arrived in successive waves of immigration, thus causing the coast tribes, and those nearest the eastern end of the island, to be more distinctly Polynesian in character than those inland and toward the west.

Returning now to the dark Papuan tribes of the remainder of New Guinea, we find that here also there is some difference of opinion. Owing to the coast tribes being usually at war with those of the interior, these latter have been described by them as a different race, and have been called by the Dutch and other writers Alfuros[4] or Harafuras, a term applied to any wild people living in the interior of a country, as opposed to the coast tribes. This has led many writers to class the natives of New Guinea into Papuans and Harafuras, terms which are still sometimes used, but which are quite erroneous as implying any physical difference or any distinction of race. Dr. Meyer, who has seen much of the people of the northwest coast, considers that there is no difference of the slightest importance between the coast and inland tribes, but such as occur in every race. Dr. Miklucho Maclay concludes that the Papuan stock consists of numerous varieties, with no sharp lines of demarkation. Dr. Beccari, however, differs somewhat from the preceding writers; and as he explored a great range of country, and made repeated visits to the western half of New Guinea, his opinion is entitled to great weight. He thinks there are three distinct types of Papuans. One is dwarfish, with short woolly hair, skin almost or quite black, nose much depressed, forehead extremely narrow and slanting, and with a brachycephalous cranium; these he terms Oriental negroes or Primitive Papuans. They do not now exist as a race, but are scattered among the interior tribes, and their description accords very closely with that of the Negritos of the Philippines and the Semangs of the Malay Peninsula. The next are the Typical Papuans, who are most widely spread, and present most of the characteristic features we have already described. The last are the Mafu or Mafor Papuans who inhabit Dorey and the shores and islands of Geelvink Bay, and are probably scattered all round the western coasts. They form the highest type, with fine Jewish or European features, a better intellect, and a somewhat more advanced civilization. These people divide the year into lunar months, each with a proper name, and have names for the four cardinal points, for many stars, and for entire constellations. Dr. Beccari believes them to be the result of an intermixture (at a remote epoch) of Hindoo or Caucasian blood with the indigenes of the island, and he even traces a connection between their rude mythology and that of the Hindoos.

A curious point of physiological detail may here be noticed as lending some support to this theory. Almost all observers have remarked that the fully developed Papuan mop of hair is not a general feature in any of the tribes, but occurs sporadically over a wide area, is highly valued by its possessors, and from its extreme conspicuousness is always noticed by travelers. No other race of people in the world possesses this character at all; but, strange to say, it appears very fully developed among the Cafusos of Brazil. These are a mixed race, the produce of negro and Indian parents, and their enormous wigs of frizzly hair have been described by Spix and Martius, and are known to most South American travelers. Still more interesting is the appearance of a similar peculiarity among the Arab tribes of Taku in eastern Africa, where mixtures of negro and Arab blood are very common.[5] It is well known that hybrid and mongrel characters are liable to great variation, and are very uncertain in their appearance or degree of development. If, therefore, the higher type of Papuans are the result of a remote intermixture of Hindoos or Arabs with the indigenous Papuans, we can account both for the appearance of the great mop of frizzly hair and for its extremely unequal development; and it is not improbable that the Jewish and greatly elongated nose may have a similar origin.

If we now take account of all the evidence yet obtained, we seem justified in concluding that the great mass of the inhabitants of New Guinea form one well-marked race—the Papuan—varying within comparatively narrow limits, and everywhere presenting distinctive features which separate it from all other races of mankind. The only important deviation from the type occurs in the southeastern peninsula, where a considerable Polynesian immigration has undoubtedly taken place, and greatly modified the character of the population. At other points immigrants from some of the surrounding islands may have formed small settlements, but it is a mistake to suppose that there are any Malay colonies on the southwest coast, though some of the natives may have adopted the Malay dress and some of the outward forms of Mohammedanism.

If we look over the globe for the nearest allies of the Papuans, we find them undoubtedly in equatorial and southern Africa, where alone there is an extensive and varied race of dark-colored, frizzly-haired people. The connecting links are found in the dwarfish, woolly-haired tribes of the Philippines, the Malay Peninsula, and the Andaman Islands; and, taking these altogether, we may well suppose them to represent one of the earliest, if not actually the most primitive type of man. It is customary to consider the Australians to be a lower race, and they undoubtedly are so intellectually, but this by no means proves that they are more primitive. The Australian's hair is fine and glossy like our own; and no one can look at a good series of photographs of natives without being struck with the wonderful resemblance many of them bear to countenances familiar to us at home—coarse and brutalized indeed, but still unmistakably similar.

We must also take note of the fact that the two great woolly-haired races are almost entirely confined within the tropics, and both attain their highest development near the equator. It is here that we should expect the primitive man to have appeared, and here we still find what may well be his direct descendants thriving best. We may, perhaps, even look on the diverse types of the other great races as in part due to changes of constitution adapting them to cooler climates and changed conditions; first, the Australians and the hill tribes of central India, who once perhaps spread far over the northern hemisphere, but have been displaced by the Mongoloid type, which flourishes at this day from the equator to the pole. These, again, have been ousted from some of the fairest regions of the temperate zone by the Indo-Europeans, who seem only to have attained their full development and highest vigor when exposed to the cold winds and variable climate of the temperate regions.

If this view is correct, and the Papuans really form one branch of the most primitive type of man which still exists on the globe, we shall continue to look upon them with ever-increasing interest, and shall welcome every fact relating to them as important additions to the history of our race. The further exploration of their beautiful and luxuriant island will, it is to be hoped, be vigorously pursued, not only to obtain the mineral, vegetable, and animal treasures that still lie hid in its great mountain ranges, but also to search for the remains of primeval man in caves or alluvial deposits, and thus throw light on the many interesting problems suggested by the physical peculiarities and insular position of the Papuan race.—Contemporary Review.

  1. "Journal of the Royal Geographical Society," vol. xlv., p. 163.
  2. Journal kept by Mr. Lawes, "Times," November 27, 1876.
  3. See figures illustrating the Rev. W. Turner's article on "The Ethnology of the Motu," in the "Journal of the Anthropological Institute," 1878, p. 480.
  4. The term is derived from the Portuguese "fora," out or outside; Alfores being applied to tribes out of or beyond the settlement on the coast (Windsor Earl's "Papuans," p. 62).
  5. Waitz's "Anthropology," English translation, vol. i., p. 175.