If I were to declare openly that this chapter is nothing more or less than an attempt to expound the " Principles of Physical Anthropology," I fear that I should turn my readers away with the declaration that they do not wish to know anything of a subject which has such a forbidding title. The subject, however, is really not uninteresting, and the reader will be surprised to discover he knows much more of it than he is aware. Modern commerce and our world-wide enterprise have brought all the races of the earth as visitors to our shores. We see them plentifully in our great seaports, and even in the most remote country villages we have now and then an opportunity of making their acquaintance. It is on those occasions we discover that we do know something of Anthropology—or Ethnology as it is sometimes named. How otherwise did we recognize that the stranger who drew the eyes of the village on him was a Chinaman, a Red Indian or a Negro ? If, however, we are asked how we knew, we find we are not quite certain, and that our knowledge of the subject is rather subconscious. Those who study the bodily characters of the varieties of mankind are seeking to make this subconscious knowledge into a system of well-defined facts to which the name of Physical Anthropology is given. We collect these facts not only to ascertain how one race differs from another in structure of body, but we have a larger aim in view, we wish to know how and when the earth became populated with a diverse humanity.
It is always well to begin our study at home. When we see a regiment in full dress march past we recognize it as the " Suffolks," the " Gordons," the " Connaughts," or the " Welsh Fusiliers," as the case may be. When, however, the soldiers file silently past, dressed alike in a fighting uniform, without a number or a badge, can we distinguish the nationality ? I doubt if one could, and I hold the opinion that, however many racial stocks have been planted from time to time within the bounds of Britain, the condition at the present day is such that we cannot tell—except from speech, temperament or local mannerisms— whether a given batch of men are English, Scotch, Welsh or Irish. It is possible that the professed anthropologist, by making a series of measurements as regards height, proportion, and shape of head, and other observations on colour of skin, and eyes and hair, could tell the part of the country from which each batch came. Our difficulty lies in the fact that in every county we see that there are many types of body and face and many shades in the colour of hair and skin. It is true that in some counties certain types prevail and other types are uncommon, while in other counties these same types occur in an opposite proportion. At the present time there is a tendency to suppose that a pure race is made up of individuals having the same form of body, and that, if within the bounds of a country or of a county several types are found, there has been a mixture of races in that country or county in past times. Such an opinion seems quite reasonable, especially when we remember how many invading peoples have settled in Britain from first to last. When, however, we begin to survey even the purest human races we find within their communities just as great a variety of bodily form as is to be seen in any part of Britain. Nay, I am quite certain that the reader can recall families in which some were tall and some short, some dark and some fair, some with a narrow face and some with a wide face. The existence of numerous types and varieties inside even the purest race is a most important fact, for it is easy to see how the characters of the race might be changed if certain types flourished and increased in numbers, while other types were gradually repressed and ultimately disappeared. So far as we know there is no selection of any special type in progress in Britain.
If, however, we were to pick a man from the streets of Strassburg, and set him side by side with the first man we met in Nottingham, we should probably see the two chief types of mankind in Western Europe. We have nothing to do with the national spirit, the speech, the hairdressing and tailoring which mark the one off from the other; these are of the greatest importance, but they are outside the bounds of physical anthropology. The colour of hair and complexion of skin, hue of eye, may be the same in these two individuals drawn from towns so far apart; their faces may be of the same type; it is probable, however, that the Englishman's face is the longer and narrower. Their stature may be the same—possibly the Englishman is the taller by about half an inch, but not heavier. The form of head, however, is totally different. When we take the length and breadth of the Englishman's head we shall probably find that its breadth is between seventy-four and seventy-six per cent, of its length, or if we wish to give our knowledge a learned turn we say that his " cephalic index " is between seventy-four and seventy-six. In the Strassburger's head the cephalic index is probably between eighty and eightytwo. When we look at his head in profile it appears as if it had been compressed from back to front, so that the width of the head has been increased and the brain pushed forwards, thus coming to occupy a more anterior position above and in front of the ears. The height of the head is increased. The Englishman's head has been compressed from side to side and rather flattened on the top, so that it does not appear to be so high as the German head. We find then that the best mark to distinguish the typical Englishman from the typical German is the shape of the head. It must not be forgotten, however, that in Nottingham, as in Strassburg, there are all forms of head, but the rounded type prevails in the one and the long type in the other. It is possible, but very unlikely, that two individuals, selected by chance, may have the same types of head.
If we estimate the capacity of the skull in these two selected types of man, we shall probably find that in size of brain chamber they are about equal, each containing from 1,480 to 1,500 cubic centimetres of brain. When, however, the reader asks me why the head is long in one and round in the other, I must confess that no satisfactory answer can be given to the question at the present time. We know, however, that the head is artificially and grossly distorted in infancy by many races of mankind—indeed the custom was once common in Europe—without producing any marked mental change. The brain also suffers a change in shape in those cases of distortion, but travellers have noted that the men with the altered heads are just as intelligent as those whose heads have escaped constriction. The brain seems to work as well in one shape of skull as in another. As a matter of daily experience we have no reason to think that the round-headed man is more capable than the longheaded, and yet when we come to trace the history of long-headed races in Europe we meet with facts which give matter for thought.