Charles Darwin, 1849
two distinct races are crossed, it is notorious that the tendency in
the offspring to revert to one or both parent forms is strong, and
endures for many generations.
Earl of Powis formerly imported some thoroughly domesticated humped
cattle from India, and crossed them with English breeds, which belong
to a distinct species; and his agent remarked to me, without any
question having been asked, how oddly wild the cross-bred animals were.
latter facts remind us of the statements, so frequently made by
travellers in all parts of the world, on the degraded state and savage
disposition of crossed races of man. That many excellent and
kind-hearted mulattos have existed no one will dispute; and a more mild
and gentle set of men could hardly be found than the inhabitants of the
island of Chilce, who consist of Indians commingled with Spaniards in
various proportions. On the other hand, many years ago, long before I
had thought of the present subject, I was struck with the fact that, in
South America, men of complicated descent between Negroes, Indians, and
Spaniards, seldom had, whatever the cause might be, a good
expression.(1) Livingstone,- and a more unimpeachable authority cannot
be quoted,- after speaking of a half-caste man on the Zambesi,
described by the Portuguese as a rare monster of inhumanity, remarks, "It is unaccountable why half-castes, such as he, are so much more cruel than the Portuguese, but such is undoubtedly the case."
An inhabitant remarked to Livingstone, "God made white men, and God made black men, but the Devil made half-castes."
(2) When two races, both low in the scale, are crossed the progeny
seems to be eminently bad. Thus the noble-hearted Humboldt, who felt no
prejudice against the inferior races, speaks in strong terms of the bad
and savage disposition of Zambos, or half-castes between Indians and
Negroes; and this conclusion has been arrived at by various observers.
(3) From these facts we may perhaps infer that the degraded state of so
many half-castes is in part due to reversion to a primitive and savage
condition, induced by the act of crossing, even if mainly due to the
unfavourable moral conditions under which they are generally reared.
|1.. Journal of Researches, 1845, p. 71.|
2.. Expedition to the Zambesi, 1865, pp. 25, 150.
3.. Dr. P. Broca, on 'Hybridity in the Genus Homo,' Eng. translat., 1864, p. 39.
man in his senses would expect to improve or modify a breed in any
particular manner, or keep an old breed true and distinct, unless he
separated his animals.
is a very surprising fact that characters should reappear after having
been lost for many, perhaps for hundreds of generations. But when a
breed has been crossed only once by some other breed, the offspring
occasionally show a tendency to revert in character to the foreign
breed for many generations - some say, for a dozen or even a score of
generations. After twelve generations, the proportion of blood, to use
a common expression, of any one ancestor, is only 1 in 2048; and yet,
as we see, it is generally believed that a tendency to reversion is
retained by this very small proportion of foreign blood.
strongly these domestic instincts, habits, and dispositions are
inherited, and how curiously they become mingled, is well shown when
different breeds of dogs are crossed. Thus it is known that a cross
with a bull-dog has affected for many generations the courage and
obstinacy of greyhounds; and a cross with a greyhound has given to a
whole family of shepherd-dogs a tendency to hunt hares.
species have a remarkable power of crossing with other species; other
species of the same genus have a remarkable power of impressing their
likeness on their hybrid offspring.
think these authors are right, who maintain that the ass has a
prepotent power over the horse, so that both the mule and the hinny
more resemble the ass than the horse; but that the prepotency runs more
strongly in the male-ass than in the female, so that the mule, which is
the offspring of the male-ass and mare, is more like an ass, than is
the hinny, which is the offspring of the female-ass and stallion.Charles
Darwin, The Variation of Plants and Animals under Domestication, 2nd
ed., John Murray, London, 1875, vol. II, pp. 8; 19; 21; 62-63; The
Origin of Species, 1st ed., Penguin, London, 1968; pp. 196; 239 (see
also 1875: 1/43); 275; 287 (see also 1875: 2/43).