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Hermeneutic Interpretation

First Book

I

Divisions of Mankind Considered as Kingdom of Man, in Four Principle Races—Digression on the White Race—Object of this Work

IN this work I shall treat not the origin of Man, but of that of human society. History is occupied solely with the second of these origins. Cosmogony reveals the first. History takes Man from the moment of his appearance on earth, and, without concerning itself with his ontological principle, seeks to find the principle of sociability which inclines him to approach his fellow-creatures and to come out of the state of isolation and ignorance where nature seems to have confined him in scarcely distinguishing him, so far as form is concerned, from several other animals. I shall tell what the divine principle is which Providence has implanted in his breast; I shall show by what necessary circumstances, dependent upon Destiny, this principle of perfectibility finds itself réactioné; how it is developed and what admirable succor it receives from itself when man, whom it enlightens, can make use of his will to mitigate more and more by the cultivation of his mind whatever is rigorous and savage in his destiny, in order to carry his civilization and welfare to the highest degree of perfection of which they are capable.

I shall transport myself for this purpose to an epoch sufficiently remote from this in which we are living, and, fortifying my mental vision, which as long prejudice may have weakened, I shall fix across the obscurity of centuries the moment when the White Race, of which we are a part, came to appear upon the scene of the world. At this epoch of which I shall seek later to determine the date, the White Race was still weak, savage, without laws, without arts, without civilization of any sort, destitute of memories, and too devoid of understanding even to conceive a hope. It inhabited the environs of the Boreal pole where it had it origin. The Black Race, more ancient than the White, was dominant upon the earth and held the sceptre of science and of power; it possessed all of Africa and the greater part of Asia, where it had enslaved and restrained the Yellow race. Some remnants of the Red Race had languished obscurely upon the summits of the highest mountains of America and had survived the horrible catastrophe which had just struck them; these weak remnants were unknown; the Red Race to whom they had belonged had not long since possessed the Occidental hemisphere of the globe; the Yellow Race, the Oriental; the Black Race then sovereign, spread to the south on the equatorial line, and, as I have just said, the White Race which was only then springing up, wandered about the environs of the Boreal pole.

These four principal races and the numberless varieties which result from their mixture compose the Kingdom of Man.1 They are, properly speaking, what the species are in the other kingdoms. One can understand nations and diverse people as particular species in these races. THese four races clashed and fought together, turn by turn, distinguished and confused. Many times they disputed among themselves the scepter of the world; they wrested or shared it over and over again. My intention is not to enter into the vicissitudes anterior to the the actual order of things, the infinite details of which would overpower me with a useless burden and would not lead me to the end that I purpose to attain. I shall devote myself only to the White Race to which we belong and to outlining the history, from the epoch of its last appearance at the environs of the Boreal pole: it is from there that they descended in swarms at diverse times too make incursions as much upon other races when they were still dominant as upon themselves when they had seized the dominion.

The vague memory of this origin, surviving the torrent of the centuries has caused the Boreal pol to be named the nursery of Mankind. It has given birth to the name Hyperboreans and to all the allegorical fables which have been recited concerning them; it has furnished, in short, numerous traditions which have led Olaüs Rudbeck to place in Scandinavia the Atlantis of Plato and which authorized Bailly to discern upon the rocks, deserted and whitened by the hoarfrost of Spitzbergen, the cradle of all sciences, all arts, and all mythologies of the world.2

It is assuredly very difficult to say at what epoch the White Race, or the Hyperboreans, began to be united by any form of civilization, and it is still less easy to say at what more remote epoch they began to exist. Moses, who speaks of them in the sixth chapter of Beræshish,3 under the name of Ghiboreans, whose names have been so celebrated in the depths of time, traces their origin to the first ages of the world. One finds a hundred times the name of Hyperboreans in the writings of the ancients, and never any positive light upon them. According to Diodorus of Sicily their country was nearest to the moon; which can be understood from the elevation of the pole which they inhabited. Æschylus in his Premetheus, placed them upon the Rhipæn mountains. A certain Aristeas of Proconesus, who, is it said, had made a poem upon these people, and who claimed to have visited them, affirmed that they occupied the country northeast of upper Asia which we call today Siberia. Hecate of Abdera, in a work published in the time of Alexander, placed them still further back, and lodged them among the white bears of Nova Zembla on an island called Elixoïa. The pure truth is, as avowed by Pindar more than five centuries before our era, that no one knew in which region was situated the country of this people. Herodotus himself, so curious to collect all antique traditions, has in vain interrogated the Scythians about them and had been unable to discover anything certain.

All these contradictions, all these uncertainties, arose from confusing a single people with a race of men from which issued a host of peoples. At that timem they made the same mistake which we today should make if, confusing the Black Race with one of the nations which draws its origin from it, we wished absolutely to circumscribe the country of the entire black race in the country occupied by this single nation. The Black Race certainly originated in the vicinity of the equatorial line and has spread from there over the African continent, whence it afterward extended its empire over the entire earth and over the White Race, before the latter had the strength to dispute this domination. It is possible that at such a very remote epoch the Black Race may have been called Sudéennee or Suthéenne as the White Race is called Borean, Ghiborean, or Hyperborean, and that from these may have come the horror which is generally attached to the name of Suthéen among the nations of white origin. We know that these nations have always placed at the South the abode of the infernal spirit, called for this reason Suth or Soth by the Egyptians, Sath by the Phœnicians, and Sathan or Satan by the Arabs and the Hebrews.4

1 If one has read the Introductory Dissertation at the head of this work, which is necessary to give understanding, one knows that I mean by the Kingdom of Man the totality of men, which is called ordinarily Mankind.

2 One can see in the writings of these two authors the numerous proofs which they bring to the support of their assertions. These proofs, insufficient in their hypotheses, become irresistible when it is merely a question of fixing the first abode of the White Race and the place of their origin.

3 This is the first book of the Sepher commonly called Genesis.

4 This name has served as a root for that of Saturn with the Etruscans and of Sathur, Suthur, or Surthur with the Scandinavians, terrible or beneficent divinity according to the manner of considering it. It is from the Celtic-Saxon Suth that the English South, the Belgian Suyd, the German and French Sud is derived, designating the part of the terrestrial globe opposite the Boreal pole. It is to be observed that the word, which generally is rendered by that of Midi, has no etymological relation to it. It designates properly all that which is contrary to elevation, all that which is low, all that which serves as basis or seat. The word sediment is derived from the Latin severe, which comes itself from the Celtic-Saxon sitten, to sit down.

 

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