Author: Jack London

Year: 1916

Source: From two books referencing this letter: and

Note: Spiro D. Orfans (1886-1948) was a Greek immigrant who became a carpenter, and then an artist after he moved to Seattle in 1908. Sent in response to a letter sent by Orfans. after reading The Mutiny of the Elsinore, Orfans wrote London in November and December 1915 challenging his attitudes and beliefs about race.

To Spiro Orfans

Honolulu, T.H.,
January 25, 1916.

Dear Spiro:

In reply to yours of Dec. 24, 1915. First of all, you say that my main proposition of race in The Mutiny of the Elsinore is not quite clear to you. Next, you want me to tell you all about it.

Nobody asks anybody to bow before anybody. Either they bow or they do not bow. They are made to bow, or they cannot be made to bow.

God abhors a mongrel. In nature is no place for a mixed-breed. The purest breeds, when they arc interbred, produce mongrels. Breed a Shire stallion to a thoroughbred mare, and you get a mongrel. Breed a pure specimen of greyhound to a pure specimen of a bulldog, and you get mongrels. The purity of the original strains of blood seem only to increase the mongrelization that takes place when these strains are interbred or cross-bred.

Consult the entire history of the human world in all past ages, and you will find that the world has ever belonged to the pure breed and has never belonged to the mongrel. I give you this as a challenge. Read up your history of the human race. Remember, Nature permits no mongrel to live - or, rather, Nature permits no mongrel to endure.

There's no use in your talking to me about the Greeks. There are not any Greeks. You are not a Greek. The Greeks died two thousand years ago, when they became mongrelized. Just because a lot of people talk the Greek language, does not make those people pure Greeks. Because a lot of people talk Italian, does not make them Roman. The Greeks were strong as long as they remained pure. They were possessed with power, achievement, culture, creativeness, individuality. When they mongrelized themselves by breeding with the slush of conquered races, they faded away, and have played nothing but a despicable part ever since in the world's history. This is true of the Romans; this is true of the Lombards; this is true of the Phoenicians; this is true of the Chaldeans; this is true of the Egyptians; this is not true of the Gipsies, who have kept themselves pure. This is not true of the Chinese, it is not true of the Japanese, this is not true of the Germans, this is not true of the Anglo-Saxons. This is not true of the Yaquis of Mexico. It is true of the fifteen million mongrels of Mexico; it is true of the mongrels that inhabit the greater portion of the West Indies, and who inhabit South America and Central America from Cape Horn to the Rio Grande. This is true of the mongrelized Hindoos.

Read up your history. It is all there on the shelves. And find me one case where you can breed a greyhound with a bulldog and get anything but a mongrel. Read up your history. You will find it all there on the shelves. And find me one race that has retained its power of civilization, culture, and creativeness, after it mongrelized itself. Read up your history, and try to find any remnant of a pure Roman race, of a pure Hindoo race. ...

You know how I am. I talk straight out. When I am asked to hit straight from the shoulder, I hit straight from the shoulder.