The first pandemic of the 21st century, and there is yet no cure, its is the poor nations that will suffer.
EPIDEMIC MAN AND
“The heart is deceitful all things and desperately wicked.”—JEREMIAH 17:9.
“Out of it are the issue of Life.”—PROVERBS 4:23
“There is nothing from without a man that entering into him can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are they defile the man.”—MARK 7:15.
“The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now . . .We ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for . . .the redemption of the body.”—ROMANS 8. 22, 23.
Health is Salvation,
THIS Essay is not addressed specially to medical readers but rather has its purpose for the public, and above all for the Sovereign People wherever they are found. Its aim is to lead them, in their fair rights of sovereignty, to supervise medical policy and practice with regard to epidemics and other events which personally concern them. And, secondly, it offers a theory, very old and very new, of the calamities of disease. This part of the subject will be read and tolerated only by those who believe in God and the Christian religion; in immortality as brought to light in Christ; in man as an organic humanity in the life here and the life hereafter, and in the inseparable mutual connection of these two lives in which mankind wherever extent are members one of another. To others than such believers our theory will be uninteresting, and for the most part unintelligible. We shall now proceed to deal as tenderly as we can with the parasitic hypothesis of the origin of cholera and of diseases generally, which at present blocks the way to higher views.
WAR CHOLERA AND THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH.
Sir, ladies and children and my Countrymen,
Public casualties open the world’s heart and eyes, ensure the progress of decent fairness, bring mankind to book, to facts and to its maker, and clear away at a heavy, although at the least cost, the obstructions which detain us from better days. The measure of the evil to be got rid of, is given in the weight and stripes of the rod that is used. The present rod is pestilence, the number of whose lashes is not complete. For what crime, or for what purpose, is the infliction laid on?
There cannot be a doubt that sin is the effectual caller of all misery, and that the new virus, H7 Bird Flu, Hiv, Marburg, cholera is a consequence of our sins. These sins however are of many kinds, and it is not about those which have a simply religious bearing that I am going to speak. Physical and medical sins, acknowledged as such in the sight of God also, are those which I shall try to bring home to you, in order that their special repentance, and a regeneration thereafter, may be ensured. Other repentances are urged by other appointed voices, and to them also let us respond, Amen.
The British nation, like every other in Christendom, contains within it may solid and compact organizations which have come from old times, and which have well nigh all power in several great departments of action and thought. Among those are the professions, medical, clerical, legal and many others. Huge social fortress, they stand above the interests of individual houses, nominally for protection and defence. Yet there is not one of them but supports a continual siege against its own times and peoples; and what is termed reform is always accompanied by the razing of some part of their outworks, or of the very citadels themselves. Each fortalice is taken up by turns and becomes the subject of an indispensable providential assault; the immediate causes of which is some calamity, or hard necessity, which identifies these towers of the past with our straitness, our evils and our sins; and preaches a brave, God-fearing self-reliance, and a fresh appeal to the sword of our spirits in the great Battle of Facts. The medical profession, with its black innumerable donjons, is at present brought, by the benignant pestilence, into clear opposition with the interests of man; and it is to summon you into the ranks of the human powers arrayed against it, that my duty now takes up its otherwise unwilling pen.
The medical profession, as such is confessedly powers in the presence of cholera. Medical science itself has the disease in its virulent form. Not a remedy keeps upon its irritable stomach from day to day. There is no power of holding anything healing, but the whole Pharmacopoeia rushes with noisome velocity through this miserable art. Convulsed and blue-cold, half death and half physic, it chatters out its horrible statistics. In place of a fountain of health, it is, in science, the focus and epitome of the pestilence of the time.
And if it is ill to death in the wise, agreeing in its several members upon no remedy, but spasmodic towards all, and keeping to none for even successive hours, what is the state of its patients all over the world? According to Government figures, one half die, and the other half struggle back into life through more or less difficult convalescence. Clearly then there is no evidence that medicine plays any other part than a destructive one in its relation to cholera, or that it is any other than a violent indecent way of disturbing inevitable deaths-beds, and doing worse than nothing.
That such is the fact there can be no doubt. A short consideration of the predisponents and chances in cholera will convince us of it. Whenever cholera is coming out, and patches of county or of city are included in its spots, whatever weakens the human organism and lowers the tone and harmony of health, predisposes the body to its reception. Some populations are at their weakest in summer heat, and then cholera takes them: others are below the high level of a sustained vitality in the long and stunting winter snows, and then they belong to the cholera: bad food, fear, sorrow, debauchery, sad early mornings after uproarious nights, bad conscience, filth, malaria, effluvia,—all these, and every conceivable depressant, throes down its prey into the pits of cholera, and makes recovery nearly hopeless. Aye, and when the attack occurs, the fight for life is on the same field the emergency of pestilence, and are willing to put them to the proof on fear terms of trial, such as will secure their own independency of action so far as this is necessary to a successful issue. They have printed and published all this, and from their little housetop have cried it aloud with all their might to all whom it concerns; but they have cried to stopped ears and scornful faces.
This brings me to the last part of my subject, which concerns more particularly the so-called sanitary movement of the day; and now, Sir, and my countrymen, I fell that I am closeted with you in an especial science. For the present I leave parliament to itself, and Mr.—to himself; and I shall be truly glad if I have not to call them in to stimulate any of you in your independent functions. If you will do what I dictate, by yourselves, you shall have all the credit of it; for I guarantee that I will tell nobody out of your private circle that I have been the instigator. Stint sua praemia laudi
Now first, Sir—, I beg to assure you, that you are not presiding over a Board of Health at all in a medical sense. You are the director of a mere Board of Cleanliness; the administrator of an elide-ship; a noble function, that to a community, and a town, or group of towns, which washing, scrubbing, dusting and putting refuse away, is a private house. The old medical profession has, it is true, hoaxed you, after having hoaxed Parliament and Mr—, into the belief that you are a great medical officer: but then of the face of it you have issued no medical directions; you have none such in the background; and all you brightest measures resolve themselves at once into the enforcing of public cleanliness. You will understand me better as I proceed;
It is well known at the present day that a new virus well affects the earth, so prepare for the day according to scientists the pandemics is already here.
1.—THE CAUSE OF VISITATIONS
I presume the migration of bacteria from person to person, and from animal to animal, has been made the subject of sufficient observation, and is well ascertained. It ought to be, for it is spoken of in medical and lay journals as the undoubted mode of transmission of cholera, and of many other diseases. The leading articles in the public press take it for granted.
In mentioning bacteria, I allude to parasites in the tissues generally. Their fixity in the body, in certain cases, as in cancer, seems to show that they have an origin in the particular person. Are they causal to the disease, or are they the consequence of it? And if consequent, can they be causes of the disease in other parts of the organism? Cancer is often hereditary, but are its bacilli ever found until the cancer is established? If they are causal, the bacilli must be hereditary. Until they are found in a cancerous diathesis before cancer exists, their primary relation to cancer is a supposition. This may apply to other diseases which have a fixity like cancer, and also to every disease in which parasites are found until the disease is established.
There are also disease which shed their morbid products outwardly, and which can come from body to body; as smallpox, typhoid fever, consumption, influenza, cholera, etc., etc. their products can be the cause of fresh cases, and the parasitic life, if any, which accompanies them can be such a cause, as experiment seems to show. Both infection and contagion are potent here. You can cultivate bacilli out of the body, generations of them, and inserting them into another body produce a disease; whether the first disease that produced the bacilli, or another. You have played with the caused: is the effect the same?
In the expectoration from tubercles you have, besides the bacilli, masses of morbid products which are excreted. In cholera, besides its microbes, you have excretions generally on a large scale. Do the bacilli lone count as causative, or are the entire excreta to be so reckoned? Medicine concentrates attention chiefly, if not entirely, on the micro-organisms. They are the Zoological gardens of microscopes of the pathologists.
All diseases have local racial beginnings, and this is the case with great epidemics from time to time. Cholera is affiliated to India, and influenza to Russia. That they march from their great centres by stages slow or quick is certain. The medical autocracy believes it can stop the march by quarantine, fumigation, and abolition of intercourse. Perhaps its faith here is now connected with a faith in microbes as causes. The Indian hot-bed swamps that first breed the microbes, propagate these, and cholera with them, in India; but if absolute non-intercourse with India could achieved, a wall would be built across which microbial cholera could never come. Is this so?
I doubt it. I disbelieve in the microbes, except as secondary and minimal cases rather than causes. I do not say they are not cause let if they get the chance. But they are the smallest and the least important factors of all. The larger excretions and exonerations, with their uncleanness to all the senses, and loathsomeness to the decent faculties and habits of mankind, are more obvious causes, bigger in power, and earlier in the field. The whole efflux of each diseased man around him, from his lungs and his skin, from his mind and his horrors, is a larger cause still. Those large bodies and substances, men, women and children, are the disease, and are the carriers and causes of it.
The bacilli-believers tend themselves to this larger view, but applied to clothes, corpses, vehicles, ships; and to drains, lake and rivers. But be it wherry or man-of war, cesspool or Elbe, the bacillus with them is fundamental, and man, woman and child is only its coach.
The records of the of the late influenza ( H7 bird Flu) pestilence are to my apprehension unfavourable to the view that is extension was solely due to what are commonly known as infection and contagion from individual to individual, or from transportation of infected substances. It danced over the earth as if its mission took in all humanity. It deigned to follow lines apparently, yet also leap unaccountably from continent to continent and from one remote island to another. Certainly it did follow the track of ships and their voyagers, and they might be accountable then and there for its transmission. Certainly it did also transcend such conditions and appear where no account of its translation has been offered.
If we could get a rational view about it, both these occurrences might be explained and perhaps come under one cause.
But can Asiatic Cholera come from within or spontaneously? Spontaneously here shall mean, Can a state so deadly arise or accur unaccountably in an apparently healthy man as to cut him off in a few hours? Mounting from common attacks of disorder to more serious ones, the general way is that the sick become sick with at first a slight indication and catch cold or take fever on their own account because they are in a susceptible state. It has never been proved that every infectious case has had an infections antecedent case. The fact that diseases are coincident does not point to the conclusion that smallpox, typhoid fever, scarlet fever, and the like, have existed from the beginning of time; this we know they have not, for man, the subject here, has not so existed: but it shows rather that when these diseases arose as new calamities for our race, they came in first cases and that these had morbid propagation as one of their elements;—generation of themselves bestowed upon them: and here always recollect that human diseases, whether they contain invisible bacilli or not, are neither more nor less again than men, women and children.
Does bacillus help us here? Bred in whatever putrid swamp he is, he had a spontaneous beginning, were it only again from the fact that his birthplace is not from the beginning, for his hypothetical swamp is of yesterday in relation to telluric time. And if he arose in the nature of things, that is, without legitimate parentage, that is again, spontaneously, diseased states in a man or woman also arise spontaneously, when a given time with internal and eternal circumstances comes. On this showing Zeitgeist, or rather in Shakespearian words, the body and pressure of the time, is equal to both occasions. It may also be that Asiatic Cholera coincident consentaneous propagation. And the dead, too, who are interred, can present them to the ground; and then as learned doctors prove, they can propagate themselves there if a suitable medium for their gendering is at hand. Also they may lurk in the ground for years, as we know that insects do before the ripeness of time again sets them afoot, if they are set afoot. This may be conceded to the professors of bacteriology; but it does not touch the question of the first origin of epidemics, cholera, or other.
Now we advance a step to assert that the susceptibility of human bodies is the proximate cause of diseases, and that the antecedent of mankind are the causes of the susceptibility. When new states of stations are arrived at in the world’s process, if new resistance is not ready, or new flexibility, new diseases appear. But human nature of the great scale suffers nothing for which it is not itself the positive and exact contractor.
For the purpose of argument, consider man simply as twofold, as consisting of a mind and a body. In the mind we are conscious of our various faculties and also of the externals of the body. Here is a large realm of self-evidence. It embraces, if we choose, our knowledge of our characters, our relation to our consciences, to God and our neighbour. This involves our constant review of our lives in relation to right and wrong, good and evil. Our vices are before us, and our confirmation of vices into sins and perhaps into crimes. We also learn in the course of intercourse with our fellows what the world is in our day, and by reading, we learn what it is on a larger scale. It is a definite hereditary world. With the admission that we are responsible for the condition of our own minds, we may safely regard our vices, sins and comes as so many diseases, temporary, or habitual, and more or less destructive of our real sanity. Lower motives and passions, sensualities acquiring dominion over the conscience, that is to say, over the intelligent guidance of the will according to God’s commandments, are the sources of these sure diseases of the responsible mind.
But the body is a necessary part of the same system which in its unity is the man. And by consequence there is correspondence and commerce between the evils and depravities of the mind and the diseases of the body. Yet the two systems are so separate that the one set of evils may occur away from the other. This depends upon the freewill of the mind perverting its organism in one direction, and upon the hereditary susceptibility of the body succumbing to evil bodily influence in another direction. Spiritual, moral, and civil evil in man may correspond to temporary and permanent diseases, and yet owing to hereditary health and strength of the body, the two may not co-exist in the
HOW VISISTAIONS ARE RECEIVED.
First a word Quarantine, which is now of various duration, though derived lineally from the spiritual meaning of forty, which in the Word always signifies trial or proving.
Quarantine is, or ought to be, the separation of persons with presumed dangerous sickness from those in sound health, so far as such separation is possible; the sickness being regarded as infectious, or contagious, or both.
Quarantine would in these sense lie in isolating sick, and leaving them with as few attendants as possible: in keeping them rigidly at home in the first place which they are presumed to have infected; and in removing others who are well from the infected; if they consent or wish to removed; not otherwise. They are either infected or insusceptible, and can be let alone. In regard are not allowed to be landed or taken about promiscuously, but have places of isolation provided for them, or are detained where they are. It should plainly be the rule in all infected homes: Leave the people where they are. And if their friends will stay with them, there is health of love in such a circumstance, and that is no mean health, no ignoble barrier. Compulsion of removal from the family nature; faces at a dreadful time is an outrage against human nature; a crime of physicians laying hold of government force. It ought to be resisted; and if it were, many a half-dead man summoned on his part as a soldier for home, might be cured by the indignant virtue of his manhood fighting for more than life; for a man’s last rights against tyranny. It is miraculous-looking, yet no miracle, to have mortal disease crouch, and depart as a coward, before an aroused inspiration of this kind. The first thing it does is to kill Fear.
But what is the practice of the physicians embodying their resolution in governments? The first thing they do is to violate homes. Needless horror for the sick man; horror also with weeping and wailing for the kindred. Fear begun as in a general manufactory.
The next stage of the physicians is the transport of the infected person and presumed infector through the streets. When smallpox was last here, the passage of its so-called ambulances spread the disease in the streets and roads leading to the Hospitals*. In cholera or the new virus now found in hospital in England and in civilise country because they are nasty and dirty nations) Fear is itself a sign and cause of susceptibility, and what causes Fear increase susceptibility. The passage of the ambulances through the street the causes fear and horror quite irrespective of excreta, bacilli, or pestilential effluvia, and the disease being epidemic, or already in assault, it strikes the fearful.
PERSONAL AND OTHER REMINISENCES.
The writer has interests reaching back into boyhood connected with cholera; having been a medical apprentice in Newcastle-upon-Tyne when the disease first appeared at Sunderland. That town and Newcastle were stricken by it then as Hamburg has been this year. And I was what is called a student in the Cholera Hospital at that time. I remember feeling esprit de corps, and no fear; and I was also armed with camphor which made assurance invulnerable. I remember the death-stricken faces; the moving distress; and the life departed before death, yet still imprisoned to the cadaverous body. The number attacked was great; some fifty died in one street, Pipewellgate, in Gateshead, in one night. The Cholera Hospital were fortunately not large enough to demand and concentrate the cases. Some of the adjacent villages also were decimated by the disease.
First, all the common drugs were tried and failed. I do not remember the proportion of survivals or the number of deaths. Opium and chalk mixture, and camphor; also stimulants, were used. The disease ran the usual course, and then died out. In the meantime, learned doctors flocked to the new Epidemic; this being its first invasion in England. Russian doctors came. They, or some others, for memory fails me, recommended actual cautery—branding with hot irons,—to the whole spine, as a mode of cure. Dr. Stevens, connected with the West Indies, used injections of salt and salines into veins, to compensate for the diminished fluidity of the blood. In addition, calomel, and I may presume all kinds of binding and stimulating drugs, were employed. The impression left on the medical and communicated to the lay mind was that the cure for cholera, except at first, and when it could not certainly be called cholera, was yet to seek. The disease was chiefly confined to the lower orders in the worst neighbourhoods. The ships, in the Weir at Sunderland especially, were heavily visited. After the pestilence had done its work, great was the cleansing out of slums.
I again confronted the cholera at Bishop Auckland, and attended in the little Cholera Hospital there. On both these occasions I noticed that consciousness was little impaired, though the body was so weak that it only whispered; and the man lay as if dead in his vitals, and yet moved. The recollection confirms me in the view I have put forth respecting the nature of cholera. The death in life seemed more grievous than the cramps from clotted circulation.
Then again I had the same experiences in Leeds; and, all through, the treatment yield no satisfactory results; death of course happening, and survival happening of course. The canal or river, and the lowest neighbourhoods were, as usual, the nest of the disease.
With all this failure, the powerful humane Profession of Healing would keep its eyes open for indications of relief from every quarter, whether orthodox or heterodox, whether from quack or crone; nay, would pray to have other eyes opened if the old ones were dim with routine: for humanity outside was knocking at its heart, and saying it its agony, “Help us, for we perish.”
My next recollection is of the cholera in London in the year in which one side of Poland Street was sharply visited; the blame being laid on a pump. A writer in my paper in these weeks absolves the pump. Because at the time the deaths were dealt, he had that very water for his whisky every night out of the aforesaid. It was a severe epidemic, but I can chronicle it the less because I was abroad at the time. It was marked by one circumstance that belongs to the history of orthodox healing. The College of Physicians whether by request of Parliament or not, instituted an enquiry into the treatment of the disease in that year, and for carrying this out, appointed Dr. Maclachlan to visit all the Cholera Hospitals in London, and to report the result. He gave in his Report, and it contained the statement that the treatment of Cholera in the Homoeopathic Hospital in Golden Square was more successful than the treatment in any other hospital in London. He stated at the same time that he was not of the homoeopathic school, and that his view came only from the plain fact which he had to communicate. Therefore Parliament, whether demanding it or otherwise, had the tables communicated to the House of Commons. When they were distributed to the members, it was found that they were all correct, with one exception. The tables of the Homoeopathic Hospital above mentioned, and Dr. Maclachlan’s declaration, were left out. The House enquired the meaning of the omission, and Dr. Paris, the President of the College of Physicians, gave the reason. The omission was made, he said, because homoeopathy was quackery. The House meantime has asked what the best success was, not what suited the choleric stomach of Dr. Paris. Comment would weaken this true story.
My friend Professor Augustus De Morgan, however, has left a historical commentary on the event, in an article which was published in the Homoeopathic journal, and entitled Exposition de Paris; which we may translate the Nakedness of Dr. Paris. There we leave him standing and shivering in medical annals. And so much for my recollections of cholera at that time. Two of my servants were seized with the initial symptoms, cramps and prostration, in the night; but my wife, who was a devout homoeopath, and who led me to adopt that mighty power of drugs over diseases, treated them successfully and rapidly with cuprum aceticum in infinitesimal doses. The battle was won in an hour or two.
No disease wants Homoeopathy more than cholera. We have remedies for all its first stages. That is the prime necessity. By the law of correspondences,—I say not, by the Science of Correspondences, which is a higher matter,—our infinitesimals, “harmless as doves yet wise as serpents,” coincide with the systems so that they ride and override cholera, and force it to reach against itself. If they were pharmacologia-doses á la Paris, they would add themselves to cholera as fresh destroyers. But they go to the palsied sympathetic nerve-sums, and encourage and imp them back to life. When that is done sufficiently early, the liver and spleen again circulate the blood more freely, and the rapid attack is rapidly parried. And even in the later stages something may be expected of homoeopathy where the orthodox treatment is only not frivolous, because it is, to speak charitably, insane. Your power for good here all depends on two things. You must be able to believe that the artificial subtleties of natural substances, produced by a rare providential intellect, can penetrate immeasurably further into the subtleties of human organism than your old crude drachms and ounces, which also are artificial; and you must believe that these subtilizations can be aimed through the rifled tube of learn skill, and hit the death which they are to kill, only through going to the very place and state of the disaster, and confronting it symptoms by symptom; that is, corresponding with it, or to it; by being its similar in a good sense: by being angels in the hell. for I have learnt from Swedenborg that the angels who are sent to the drear abodes when necessary to mitigate their self-inflicted states, have, and must have, from their old natures, some putting on of the inferior stock to open communication; in a word, there must be mild homoeopathic correspondence with evil, or the mission of relief would aggravate and torment, and be worse than wasted. Arsenic and poisons made utterly benignant are intentional angels here.
THE WEST AND THE EAST, THE ENDS OF EARTH.
Now the dominant influxes of evil in the world necessarily come from the west, from the Ethnologists call the Aryan races; from what we must call the destroyed or consummated Christian Churches. The weak oriental people which are dependencies of the West, have undergone their judgment long ago, and are heathendom; and are passive to the influx of the more powerful nations which have the Word of God, and also still have Christian civilization to some extent among them. They, the heathen folk, are comparatively blameless, and natural and no spiritual catastrophe comes upon them. We have the spiritual evil first and seem to catch the natural stroke of it from our poor relations.
The Bible is full of the revelation that man alters the very ground on which he exists by his virtues or vices. The Old Testament exhibits this as the fact of Jewish life in its day; the Psalms are continually stating it as the rule of fitness between obedience to Jehovah and natural prosperity. This only possible condition of a spiritual world is also natural Jewish history. Plague, Pestilence and Famine follow both the Israelites and their enemies as judgments of wickedness. And the New Testament in the central figure of the Divine Man heals all manner of diseases by His sole Virtue. What has been healed by virtue has come of vice hereditary or actual. The Lord’s miracles are thus a cardinal instance and declaration of the essential nature of human maladies. But it is useless to linger further on a cause in which the defenders and objectors have both made up their minds.
NEGLECT OF THE EARTH.
We have said before that in the alleged seats of origin of cholera, the disuse of the cultivation and improvement of the soil for many ages, is itself the cause of the existence of great tracts of country in which pestilence is perennial. This in its turn comes from evil government; from lust of power making labour uncertain of its steady value and possessions; and using the arm of the cultivator as an instrument of violence and warfare. Nations and tribes decline and die down in this way. They lose their foothold. The old East holds such places many and wide.
The West, and the more West, corresponds to this condition, and now and then coincides in mental habits, and be transferred to a higher earth. The masses themselves, and not the soil, are the plane and theatre of neglect in this case; and the lust of money,—call it wealth or avarice,—uses them up and leaves them out. Internal convulsions happen. For “like caged lions the huge masses growl.” An internal army force keeps order. Then next the still vigorous West is tense with the love of dominion and extended empire in several nations; and large mental areas are taken up with army-life. All the causes neglect of the cultivation of man’s better nature. The material earth my be worn out cropping, while the mankind there are starved of their properties and proportions from the highest to the lowest. In such case there is no good belief in a future either here or hereafter, and contempt of consequences becomes a genius and a power.
So it is that different looking states in different races, with different ancestries and religions, correspond to each other, without the correspondence being suspected. Thus civilization with its enormous permissions inevitably corresponds to barbaric life with its more restricted moral modes. The restriction ties its races down to the material ground. The emancipation from it subjects its races to the liberty in a greater degree of being miserable and poor and blind and naked; and makes estranged classes almost invisible to each other.
This correspondence has existed since the beginning, and the calamities have been varied according to its variations; which are mere variations of the lust and persuasion, of the evils, in one world of the wickedness, of the times. It is the corporate body of universal man that is in the cause and in the effect. If new perversions of will and mind are undergone, a different disease will be the outcome in the body inseparably connected with the Spirit and Soul: and the transmission will be from the mental races, the West, to the bodily races, the East; from souls to souls in each case. So every age will breed its own pestilences from its own dogged ways legitimatized and made into rights.
We here treat of this transference or carrying over of the volitional into the involitional. But apart from this, the West does not escape immediate bodily consequences. But they are not diseases and pestilences; but in each nation and race, confirmed depravities of the spiritual body in the natural. They are compatible for their generation with tremendous health and mighty gratification, joy and peace being absent: for they are hardnesses of heart to which there is no appeal, and case of conscience which is imperturbable. And there are no bonds in the death of these infernally privileged ones. If you know of their state, read the 37th and 38th Psalms, and mark the contrasts of good and evil; and the end of both.
One thing is sure, that there is nothing deliberately bad in individual man, or in a family, or Society, that is not transferred from the mind into the body, and there deposited to the bad account, and that does not in the long run causes constitutional degradation, and in time, if regeneration does not occur, family or race extinction. The Jews and the Negroes are exceptions, but on special providential grounds, into which we cannot now enter.
We learn by a great example that the migrations of races, and the settlement and colonization of mankind in geographical areas, take place under providential rule. The places first inhabited by a race with a peculiar genius, are haunted by that autochthon or aboriginal spirit, and from the climate downwards and from the ground upwards, they are correspondent to it, and accommodated to produce images and likeness of the original occupants; yet with every variety of compromise between that first inhabitants and the new comers.
This is typically proclaimed by the case of the Holy land and its adjacent countries. From the spiritual sense of the Word in Genesis and Exodus, and from the literal Bible records, we know that those lands are the birthplace of the Most Ancient Church and Religion. We also learn that the Ancient Church and Religion were born there; and in the third and forth stages the Hebrew, and the Jewish Religion; and then Christ came and founded the Christian Religion in the same Holy Land. The genius loci, or spirit of the place, in this case as the Spirit of God correspondent to those religions. And then aside, but hard by, the providential Mahometan Religion arose when time and state demanded it. This fitness of the Holy land from Eden downwards is the spiritual and human conditions.
Here then we touch upon a general law which may be thus expressed. Every race, for what come out of it, obtains a geographical environment which best suits it for all its development, whether good, or bad.
By race again here mean the race that is gathered in the land to which it has come. The import of races and individuals is not where they come from, but where they go to, and where they are ultimately fixed: in fact, where they hail from. For example, the races of Britain has come by migrations and invasions from many continental stems, but though it yet wants welding into one, it has almost achieved a common language and designation, and is neither Anglo-Saxon, nor Norman, nor Celtic, but British. And throughout its islands, there is, with diversity, a common stamp which marks the Briton. After two or three generations spent with us, there are no Germans, Scandinavians, or Frenchmen in our numbers, but foreigners once, in their descendents they are British men.
So also in the Colonies of Great Britain: climate, and all that it involves, from spiritual to physical, marks the Australian, the new Zealander, and the Canadian into a virtual aboriginal and autochthon. And if we could know it, we should find that the older aborigines of these countries, including Tasmania, are an unknown stem on which the new constitutions of Britons and Irishmen are built, and by which they be modified. The ghosts of the former races are in the geist of the unsuspecting colonials. There are, however, few native left in Tasmania, so that the image and likeness cannot be verified everywhere, though it exists. The animals also correspond; and the long strength of the Kangaroo is sometimes perpetuated in fine and beautiful elevations in our noble antipodes.
The greatest case for Ethnology at present is in America, and for our easier vision, in the United States. They have been tenanted probably for thousands of years by Red Indians. These first aborigines as Americans came from North Asia, and migrated towards the south, occupying the whole of both the Continents by degrees, perhaps rapidly. Leaving Asia ceased to be Asiatic, though retaining much convertible nature from their old stem. But the New World dominated this remainder. Whether they had been predecessors there is not ascertained; only they came down from the North in successive hordes. If they had no predecessors, the type which they became is especially autochthonic, as also is that of the Australians, and the Pacific Islands generally; and signifies a dispensation from their former heredity: for desert and correspondence rule in what happens to every race. Thus is the Red Indians were the first inhabitants of the Americas, they came into that continent as the “lost Eros,” or lost mind of the farthest East; and the continent by distinct preparation knew of their coming, and hungered to absorb them, and make them its own. If there were previous natives, and make them it own. If there were previous natives, the Indian mind, body and estate, and its societies, were built upon these. The same place, though its hauntings, unless prevented by higher laws, works to the same issue
We are now founded upon the law of desert, or what is the same thing, of providential utility,—of use,—in the transportation of mankind from region to region into those places where it most deserves to live; to undergo their disciplines; and where, from whatever outlying lands, it agglomerates into fresh nations and peoples, each of which tends to form one, and to become characteristically homogeneous.
So looking back upon Great Britain we may see in it a nation genealogically hereditary from all the tribes and migrant of which is has been made up; and if we could look further, from ancestors yet more remote who have died out; for genius loci does not die though there are no earthly inhabitants left: there are legions of unearthly one still. The Briton from this score tends back to all the piracy of his remotest progenitors, but excepting crimes, to which we are not now alluding, the wild nature is caged in long founded and peace-making institutions and constitutions; in “powers that be;” and in the respectability of these, the heredity, which is the reality, is buried and forgotten. But our country, like every other, has a good Britain and a bad Britain in it besides. The religious conscience of a part, perhaps a considerable part, of our people, is the only thing constitutes the good Britain. That is obvious. The rest is, for the time, still an orderly Britain; Anarchy plus the policeman, as great Thomas Carlyle formulates it. Good Britain, we must now remark, has conquered, and dominates, its heredity; no matter where it came from, it has a new purpose and career; its disciplinary transportation for centuries is at an end, and its translation into a land of real or God-fearing freedmen has begun. Bad Britain henceforth goes its separate way, it may be, with greater virulence, and a more vivid and panoramic exhibition of the innate, underlying savage fatherhood before mentioned. So the balance between good and evil is continually going on, and according to no causes but regeneration and degeneration its events are portrayed.
We now come to our once reputed child, North America, though it will be seen that this line of thought denies that such colony was our child, excepting for a few score years before the Spirit-American had laid hold of it, and possessed it. Our own British ancestry, Roman, Pictish, Scottish, Celtic, Danish, Swedish, Norse, Anglo-Saxon, Norman, is complicated, and we hail, not taking account of cave-dwellers and co., from a cauldron of migrant adventures. Our ultimate Spirit-Britain is harder to find and therefore our tendency difficult to formulate. The United States hails from even more numerous migrants, yet the original rock own which it stands proudly in its war-paint is evident and unquestioned. The Red Indian underlies the United States: he is its red Granite State.
Consider for a moment what America did in probably one or two hundred years for the Red Indian. It found him an Asiatic. There are Asiatic peculiarities still in the Indian; slanting eyes, and other traces; but there is no such person as the American-Indian native in Asia. From top to toe he is a creation, so to speak, of America, which has turned him out, such as he is, upon her lathe. Here is a transmuting power; a metamorphosis indeed. The ethnological lesson of it is that whatever race, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, or other, goes into that charmed continent, of nature will begin to Americanize, into other words to follow suit in taking on the Red Indian Type. Experience bears this out corporeally. The American man, if coloured, would in many cases pass for the Red Man. Some of the noblest and dearest friends I have are for me, though in type only, white Indians. Emerson himself was one of them, and had he been dressed correspondingly would have easily passed for a real Indian Plato, as he was sometimes called. The like may be said of mighty Lincoln, his country’s Angel. It is not then inferable that any degradation affixes to these types; for taking on the bodily image and likeness shows only that the body is so far compliant, but does not betoken that the Red Man Spiritual rules in the mind. This we have shown with regard to epidemic influences. And moreover, and much moreover, there is no reason why the Indian type should not be a permanent sculpture from the soul outwards in tribes of regenerated warrior-men: Nimrods great from the Great Spirit in their happy hunting fields, making obeisance to the fishermen of Galilee divinely small.
Pursuing the British example, we find perforce on the Indian lines two tendencies;’ one the tendency of bad America to revert to the wild type: the other, by regeneration to subjugate that type and to begin to constitute the new America of the future—the good America. The bad America now will go back to the Red man, but mentally, institutionally, and in all dealing internationally with other peoples. By law by violence, by treat and by hatred, by greed and corruption, by avarice new to man, it will be constant to the tomahawk, and will rejoice to wear the scalps and bleeding honours of weaker nations. This is ever imminent from the spiritual influence in and under that continent. The peril is increased by the influx of malignity from the countries of Europe, which makes the old world presently hated by the new. But this is a trivial danger compared to the bad genius loci in America itself, which aims to deform its race, and to realize its President’s lust, America for the Americans; that is, for the Red Indian Government which is now in sway, and, with intervals, probably to continue for some ages.
The good American, we repeat, will hail from nothing but America; it will forget its fallacy, that it is of Anglo-Saxon parentage, and will be an aboriginal addition to the world of religion and of Christ.
We find confirmation of these general views in the fact that the difference between the Englishman and the American is toto cœl greater than the difference between the Englishman and the Frenchman, even though in the latter case language intervenes to separate. With the manifold wars of centuries to look back upon here and across the channel, there is an international blood-relationship between our two countries which has no parallel as between England, the birthplace of the Puritan fathers, and America. The reason is that there is for us to some extent a common ancestry in a common continent with a common climate; although our insularity and embrace of, and by, the sea, has to be deducted from our organic brotherhood. But America is a new birth of time on its own lines, and largely and minutely abjures the genius of Europe. This will mollify the American heart when ages hence it come to recognize itself as a portent of faculties better or worse according to the humanity that enters into them.
One race stands out as not complying with the magic which the continent exerts upon the other races. I have never heard that the true Negro gravitates to the Indian type. He was a Compulsory American at first, and by providential holding he resists the infection of the race which surrounds him; having another destiny of his own; of which I have written in my book. Bad America is more diametrically opposite to him than to any other man.
The aboriginal American is more a man of tribal than of family life; he is a man of looser bonds than the European. This is perhaps carried forward in his unfilial treatment by the American who is his ghostly son. In younger days one of my Cincinnati friends gave me as a mark of the hopeful American, that he “could wop his own father.” I asked him whether he had done this personally, and he said, “well, I did once give him a cast.” America has done this to the Indian. And longs to carry the wild out against the other half of its great continent; and also against the Britsher and the European wherever found. In her bad element she is in “latent” war against the world.
Horticultural experience aids us in thinking out the subject of heredity and its modifications on both the good and bad sides. All our flowers once were wild, and our fruit-bearing trees. By steadfast cultivation they have been raised to an artificial beauty and fertility, and developed by constant seeding into varieties. If we withdraw the arts of culture, they relapse into the wild state. But they do not return necessarily to their first natural condition. If they have been brought from another region, and acclimated here, they take on a new state according to the new environment; and so on for every climate they pass into. The breath of each place makes them its own. This reminds us of Asiatic coming down the long continents of America; losing their Asiatic state; gaining another; being hunters in the North, city builders on the Isthmus, almost civilizations in Mexico and Peru, and populous Indian Tribes throughout. According to their circumstances as they went downwards, they were developed and vastated several times; and they Asian state completely swallowed up. They seem to have paused in difficult nodes on the journey, and in every node to have developed a new hardening; a new Indian variety; no doubt corresponding to, but never identical with, their Asiatic antecedents. Wherever they are, the country has laid hold of them, and made them its own; but the country means all the spiritual causes that have made it what it is: means even the necessary preparedness in telluric conformation and activities, in climate, in plants and animals, for the wild, degraded and sanguinary race for which it was waiting.
A curious analogy and difference is shown in Thibet and Mexico respectively. In Thibet the Grand Llama is selected by the priests in his early years, and fed and educated into full youth for the office; but just when he receives it he dies, and the great personal events for him is the splendid monument which holds his remains. By this means the priests always have an infant to deal with it, and preserve their power, and instead of realizing our saying that the King never dies, they manage that the Grand Llama never lives. That is why the Chinese Llama is a fake. But in Mexico the young lad was fed and petted and garmented to a corresponding period, and was then led, perhaps unconscious of his fate, up the steps of the high pyramid to the top, where he was sacrificed, and his heart given to the god, and his flesh to the priests. We mark here the development of grossness from the Asiatic to the American-Indian genius. The priestly with rule is identical in both cases, being a premiership with a titular monarch who can do no wrong. This is connecting link of ecclesiastical manners between Asia and America. This Ethnogeny, in which new genius and old depravity couple, causes the visitations of disease to have their powerful seed in the most enlightened and accomplished races; in those which sin the most defiantly against God’s light. These can be no other than the peoples of the Western World. America and Europe are indicated. White American, through malignant avarice, is reverting by measurable stages to her Red Men; and Europe to the sword, to transact again the bloodiest events of her Romans, Goths and Huns. There is only one world on this planet, and perforce we are all members one of another. Humanity is one man; again perforce. If one great organ of him robs, murders or defiles another great organ spiritually and corporally, shall not the event be precipitated in bodily weakenings of the whole race, and when evil is richest, and coincidentally ill winds blow, shall not destructive teledemes have infernal mission, and Visitations become actual?
The ‘Great dying’
Although continuous, the processes unleashed by invasion have not been even in terms of time or place. Some societies, particularly those with the wealth and land the invaders sought, were utterly destroyed. Others, such as the Thaxcalans in Mexico and the Huancas in Peru, chose to ally themselves with the invaders, affording themselves some protection.
A few societies were actually liberated by the conquest. The destruction of pew-invasion empires released their subjugated ethnic kingdom, reinforcing their identity. Still other groups, such as the forest peoples of the Arctic North, Amazon basin and Central America, remained relatively untouched until recent times, although at least some of the latter are the descendants of peoples who fled into the forest to evade the colonists.
One impact, however, was universal. The conquistadores brought with them a devastating array of Old-World diseases-smallpox, measles, bubonic plague, influenza and yellow fever – that wiped out the vast majority of the Indian population (genocide). The Spanish troops, though better equipped, were far too few to defeat mighty civilizations such as the Aztecs or Inkas. In fact, not one of the major mainland states and empires was conquered until after an unprecedented plague had killed the rulers, many military leaders and about half the general population.
In Tenochtitlán, the Aztec troops trounced the Spanish in their first major battle, killing three-quarters of the invaders on what became known (to the Spaniards) as ‘la noche triste’, the sad night. The invaders were unable to regroup and defeat the Aztecs until a massive smallpox plague broke out a few weeks later, turning the city into a death camp and influencing other groups, such as the Tlaxcalans, to change sides.
Without 35 years of Columbus’s arrival in Hispaniola, the Arawak peoples of the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Jamaica) were all but extinct. Perhaps as many as 10million perished. Today, a few hundred people of Taino-Arawak descent inhabiting the eastern tip of Cuba are the last remaining link with the people who greeted the first Europeans so hospitably. ‘We don’t live exactly like they did but we are still here,’ says one, Pedro Hernández Cobas. ‘It is only in recent years that we have discussed who are openly with other people.’
Their Kwaib (Carib) neighbours of the Lesser Antilles have fared little better. A few thousands farm communally and boast some autonomy on a 3,700-acre reservation, whose boundaries are currently in dispute and subject to encroachment, on the rugged Atlantic coast of Dominica (Waitukubuli in Kwaib), there are two other clusters of Kwaib population around Sandy bay and the village of Greggs on the island of St Vincent (Yurimein). The French genocide all the Kwaib in Grenada, they jump over a precipice in Sautuers (Leapers hill). I live there, I know.
In recent years there has been a perceptible resurgence in pride in being Kwaib in both Dominica and St Vincent, according to social worker Nelcia Robinson of the Yurimein Association for Rural Development (YARD), through the Caribbean Organization of Indigenous peoples (COIP), Kwaib children have begun writing to other Kwaibs in Belize and Guyana; Kwaib names and languages have started to make a comeback. ‘Through the pen-pal system we have reintroduced basic words and phrases,’ explains Robinson.
The ‘great dying’ spread with the European into South America and Mesoamerica. Perhaps 90 per cent of the population perish, up to 95 million people, nearly 20 percent of the world’s population at the time and the equivalent of over a billion people today. Figures are inevitably informed guesses, but there is little doubt about the scale. The Mesoamerican population, perhaps 25 million before the conquest, was a mere 1.5 million by 1650; the population of the former Inka Empire at the time of the conquest, anything between 9 and 18 million according to the latest research, had fallen to 1.3 million by 1570 and just 600,000 by 1630.
Besides disease, military conquest killed thousands, Slaughter, usually with great cruelty, because the norm. Muskets, cannon, armour, horses and fighting mastiffs (Plate27), which it was considered prudent to give ‘a taste for Indian flesh’ according to Bartolomé de las Casas, gave the spanish, english, dutch, french and portuguese a technological advantage that indigenous nations could never overcome. This technology and the sheer force of the lust for gold lent the conquest a ferocity that the continent’s first peoples, used to waging was for ritual purposes as much as for military gain, could not comprehend. War and killing to the bitter end left them stunned, disoriented and in many cases lacking the will to live. The Indian of Brazil called the God of the European (Christians) Gold.
There were relatively few pitched battles. Genocide and sometimes long running guerrilla struggles were mixed with political manipulation. Some 5,000-10,000 unarmed Inka soldiers were slaughtered in the town square of Gajamarca in November 1532, but it was the Inka civil war waging between Waskhar and Atawallpa and the latter’s over confidence that made such a massacre by so few Spaniards possible.
Yet the Inka civil war itself stemmed from the Spaniards’ inadvertent germ warfare against indigenous American. It was the direct result of Inka Wayna Quapaq’s death in the first wave of plague, which swept through the Inka empire just ahead of the Spaniards themselves
In the North, technology played its role, but so did the enforced treaties that followed each defeat and the dependence built by the trade. Nothing proved more destructive than the European demand for fur and the indigenous hunters’ need for mental traps, guns and gunpowder to satisfy the craving for beaver, muskrat and other pelts.
Unrecorded skirmishes and countless acts of individuals abuse by the European settlers acting like ‘ravening and wild beasts’ (de las Casa) were probably as significant acting as the recorded acts of slaughter during the conquest. ‘Spaniards lance Indian men, women and children they meet on the road, from their horses, at the slightest provocation of indeed without any provocation,’ wrote one sixteenth-century governor. In the North, the seventeenth Puritan settler Dr Cotton Marter had a nice line in religious euphemisms for such killing once recording in his diary, ‘Today we sent six hundreds black souls to hell.
De las casa wrote that the aim of the Spaniards was to ‘carry out a massacre or as they called it, a punitive attack on order to sow terror’. Five hundred years later, that objective remains unchanged. In Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Darfur, anywhere indigenous peoples are trying to assert their rights or simply defend their territory or culture, Indians run the risk of being targeted individually or collectively to sow terror and deter others from trying to do the same.
In one week in August 1993 (the UN’s year of Indigenous People), during the course of research for this book, two massacres of indigenous people were reported. On the Ene River in Peru’s Amazon, Shining Path guerrillas left about 60 Ashaninka dead, and in the Brazilian state of Roraima near the Venezuelan border, garimpeiros (wildcat gold miners) killed about 70 Yanomami, and at this hour hundreds are being genocide in Darfur, Congo and in many parts of the earth.