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ON THE ORIGIN OF THE INDIANS.
We do not pretend that the subject can be pursued with the certainty of mathematical calculations; and so long as it is contended that the whole species of man spring from one pair, so long will the subject admit of controreisy: therefore it makes but little or no difference whether the inhabitants are got into America by the north or the south, the east or the west, as it regards the main question. For it is very certain that, if there were but one pair originally, and these placed upon a certain spot, all other places where people are now found must have been settled by people from the primitive spot, who found their way thither, some how or other, and it is very unimportant how, as we have just observed.
Lord Kaimes, a writer of great good sense, has not omitted to say something upon this subject.* He very judiciously asks those who maintain that America was peopled from Kamskatka, whether the inhabitants of that region speak the same language with their American neighbors on the opposite shores. That they do not, he observes, is fully confirmed by recent accounts from thence; and “whence we may conclude, with great certainty, that the latter are not a colony of the former."! We have confirmation upon confirmation, that these nations speak languages entirely different; and for the satisfaction of the curious, we will give a short vocabulary of words in both, with the English against them. English. Kamskadale.
. Thack. After observing that “there are several cogent arguments to evince that the Americans are not descended from any people in the north of Asia, or in the north of Europe,” Lord Kaimes continues,—“I venture still further; which is, to conjecture, that America has not been peopled from any part of the old world.” But although this last conjecture is in unison with those of many others, yet his lordship is greatly out in some of the proofs which he adduces in its support. As we have no ground on which to controvert this opinion, we may be excused from examining its proofs; but this we will observe, that Lord Kaimes in the same error about the beardlessness of the Americans as some other learned Europeans.
The learned Doctor Swinton,g in a dissertation upon the peopling of Ameri* See his “Sketches of the History of Man," a work which he published in 1774, at Edinburgh, in 2 vols. 4to.
Vol. ii. 71.
# The Aléouteans inhabit the chain of islands which stretch from the north-west point of America into the neighborhood of Kamskatka. It must be remembered that these names are in the French orthography, being taken from a French translation of Billings's voyage into those regions, from 1785 to 1794.
Doctor John Swinton, the eminent author of many parts of the Ancient Universal His. lory. Ile died in 1777. ageri 74.
ca,* after stating the different opinions of various authors who have advocated in favor of the “dispersed people,” the Phænicians, and other eastern nations, observes, " that, therefore, the Americans in general were descended from some people who inhabited a country not so far distant from them as Egypt and Phænicia, our readers will, as we apprehend, readily admit. Now, 10 country can be pitched upon so proper and convenient for ihis purpose as the north-eastern part of Asia, particularly Great Tartary, Siberia, and more especially the peninsula of Kamtschatka. That probably was the tract through which many Tartarian colonies passed into America, and peopled the most considerable part of the new world.”
This, it is not to be denied, is the most rational way of getting inhabitants into America, if it must be allowed that it was peopled from the “old world.” But it is not quite so easy to account for the existence of equatorial animals in America, when all authors agree that they never could have passed that Way, as they could not have survived the coldness of the climate, at any season of the year. Moreover, the vocabulary we have given if it prove any thing, proves that either the inhabitants of North America did not come in from the north-west, or that, if they did, some unknown cause must have, for ages, suspended all communication between the emigrants and their ancestors upon the neighboring shores of Asia.
In 1892, there appeared in London a work which attracted some attention, as most works have upon similar subjects. It was entitled, “Description of the ruins of an ancient city, discovered near Palenque, in the kingdom of Guatemala, in Spanish America: translated from the original manuscript report of Capt. Don Antonio Del Rio: followed by a critical investigation and research into the History of the Americans, by Dr. Paul Felir Cabrera, of the city of New Guatemala."
Captain Del Rio was ordered by the Spanish king, in the year 1786, to make an examination of whatever ruins he might find, which he accordingly did. From the manuscript he left, which afterwards fell into the hands of Doctor Cabrera, his work was composed, and is that part of the work which concerns us in our view of systems or conjectures concerning the peopling of America. We shall be short with this author, as his system differs very little from some which we have already sketched. He is very confident that he has settled the question how South America received its inhabitants, namely, from the Phænicians, who sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, and that the ruined city described by Captain Del Rio was built by the first adventurers.
Doctor Cabrera calls any system, which, in his view, does not harmonize with the Scriptures, an innovation upon the wholy Catholic religion ;” and rather than resort to any such, he says, “It is better to believe his (God's) works miraculous, than endeavor to make an ostentatious display of our talents by the cupning invention of new systems, in attributing them to natural causes." The same reasoning will apply in this case as in a former. If we are to at tribute every thing to miracles, wherefore the necessity of investigation ? These authors are fond of investigating matters in their way, but are displeased if others take the same liberty. And should we follow an author in his theories, whọ cuts the whole business short by declaring all to be a mira. cle, when he can no longer grope in the labyrinth of his own forming, ou reader would be just in condemning such waste of time. When every thing which we cannot at first sight understand or comprehend must not be in quired into, from superstitious doubts, then and there will be fixed the bounds of all science; but, as Lord Byron said upon another occasion, not till then.
" If it be allowed (says Dr. LAWRENCE) | that all men are of the saine species, it does not follow that they are all descended from the same family We have no data for determining this point: it could indeed only be settled by a knowledge of facts, which have long ago been involved in the impene trable darkness of antiquity.” That climate has nothing to do with the com plesion, he offers the following in proof:
Universal History, xx. 162, 163.–See Malone's edition of Bosuell's Life Dr. Jolinson 4.271. ed. in 5 v. 12mo. London, 1821 • Page 30.
Lectures on Zoology, &c. 442. ed. 8vo. Sale:n, 1823.
INDIAN ANECDOTES AND NARRATIVES.
“The establishments of the Europeans in Asia and America have now subsisted about three centuries. Vasquez de Gama landed at Calicut in 1498; and the Portuguese empire in India was founded in the beginning of the followmg century. Brazil was discovered and taken possession of by the same pation in the very first year of the 16th century. Towards the end of the 15th, and the beginning of the 16th century, Columbus, Cortez, and Pizarro, subjugated for the Spaniards the West Indian islands, with the empires of Mexico and Peru. Sir Walter Ralegh planted an English colony in Virginia in 1581; and the French settlement of Canada has rather a later date. The colonists have, in no instance, approached to the natives of these countries. and their descendants, where the blood has been kept pure, have, at this time, the same characters as native Europeans." *
The eminent antiquary De Witt Clintont supposed that the ancient works found in this country were similar to those supposed to be Roman by Pennant in Wales. He adds, “ The Danes, as well as the nations which erected our fortifications, were in all probability of Scythian origin. According to Pliny, the name of Scythian was common to all the nations living in the north of Asia and Europe.”+
duecdotes, Narratives, &-c. illustrative of the Manners and Customs, Antiquities and
Traditions, of the Indians.
Wit.-An Ottaway chief, known to the French by the name of Whilejohn, Wis a great drunkard. Count Frontenac asked him what he thought brandy to be made of; he replied, that it must be made of hearts and tongues
For," said he, “when I have drunken plentifully of it, my heart is a thousand strong, and I can talk, too, with astonishing freedom and rapidity.” |
Honor.—A chief of the Five Nations, who fought on the side of the English in the French wars, chanced to meet in battle his own father, who was tighting on the side of the French. Just as he was about to deal a deadly blow upon his head, he discovered who he was, and said to him, “You bave ouce given me life, and now I give it to you. Let me meet you uo more; for I have paid the debt I owed you.” Ş
Recklessness.-In Connecticut River, about “ 200 miles from Long Island Sound, is a narrow of 5 yards only, formed by two shelving mountains of solid rock. Through this chasm are compelled to pass all the waters which in the time of the floods bury the northern country." It is a frightful passage of about 400 yards in length. No boat, or, as my author expresses it, "no living creature, was ever known to pass through this narrow, except an Indian woman.” This woman had undertaken to cross the river just above, and although she had the god Bacchus by her side, yet Neptune prevailed in spite of their united efforts, and the canoe was hurried down the frightful gulf. While this Indian woman was thus hurrying to certain destruction, as she had every reason to expect, she seized upon her bottle of rum, and did not take it from her mouth until the last drop was quaffed. She was marvellously preserved, and was actually picked up several miles below, floating in the canoe, still quite drunk. When it was kvown what she had done, and being asked how she dared to drink so much rum with the prospect of certain death before her, she answered that she knew it was too much for one time, but she was unwiiling that any of it should be lost. Il
* Lectures on Zoology, &c. 464, 465. ed. 8vo. Salem, 1828.
† A Memoir on the Antiquilies of the Western Parts of the State of N. York, pages 9. 10 8vo. Albany, 1818. Universal Museum for 1763.
|| Pelers's Hist. Connecticut
histice.-A missionary residing among a certain tribe of Indians, was one day, after he had been preaching to them, invited by their chief to visit his wigwam. After having been kindly entertained, and being about to depart, the chief took him by the hand and said, “I have very bad squaw. She had two little children. One she loved well, the other she hated. In a cold night, when I was gone hunting in the woods, she shut it ont of the wigwain, and it froze to death. What must be done with her?” The missionary replied, “ She must be hanged.” “Ah!” said the chief, “go, then, and bang you God, whom you make just like her.”
Magnanimity.-A hunter, in his wanderings for game, fell among the back settlements of Virginia, and by reason of the inclemency of the weather, was induced to seek refuge at the house of a planter, whom he met at bis door. Admission was refused him. Being both hungry and thirsty, he asked for a morsel of bread and a cup of water, but was answered in every case, “No! you shall have nothing here! Get you gone, you Indian dog!” . It happened, in process of time, that this same planter lost himself in the woods, and, after a fatiguing day's travel, he came to an Indian's cabin, into which he was welcomed. On inquiring the way, and the distance to the white settlements, being told by the Indian that he could not go in the night, and being kindly offered lodging and victuals, he gladly refreshed and reposed himself in the Indian's cabin. In the morning, he conducted bin through the wilderness, agreeably to his promise the night before, until they came in sight of the habitations of the whites. As he was about to take his leave of the planter, he looked him full in the face, and asked him if he did not know him. Horror-struck at finding himself thus in the power of a man he had so inhumanly treated, and dumb with shame on thinking of the manner it was requited, he began at length to make excuses, and beg a thousand pardons, when the Indian interrupted him, and said, “When you see poor Indians fainting for a cup of cold water, don't say again, 'Get you gone, you Indian dog!'' He then dismissed him to return to his friends. My author adds, "It is not difficult to say, which of these two had the best claim to the name of Christian." *
Deception.—The captain of a vessel, having a desire to make a present to a lady of some fine oranges which he had just brought from “the sugar islands," gave them to an Indian in his employ to carry to her. Lest he should not perform the office punctually, he wrote a letter to her, to be taken along with the present, that she might detect the bearer, if he should fail to deliver the whole of what he was intrusted with. The Indian, during the journey, reflected how he should refresh himself with the oranges, and not be found out. Not having any apprehension of the manner of communication by writing, he concluded that it was only necessary to keep his design secret from the letter itself, supposing that would tell of him if he did not; be therefore laid it upon the ground, and rolled a large stone upon it, and retired to some distance, where he regaled himself with several of the oranges, and then proceeded on his journey. On delivering the remainder and the letter to the lady, she asked him where the rest of the oranges were; he said he had delivered all; she told him that the letter said there were several more sent ; to which he answered that the letter lied, and she must not believe it. But he was soon confronted in his falsehood, and, begging forgiveness of the offence, was pardoned.
Shrewolness.-As Governor Joseph Dudley of Massachusetts was superin tending some of his workmen, he took notice of an able-bodied Indian, who, Inill-naked, would come and look on, as a pastime, to see his men work. The governor took occasion one day to ask him why he did not work amit get some clothis, wherewith to cover himself. The Indian answered by asking liim why he dil not work. The governor, pointing with his finger to his head, said, “I rrork hend work, and so have no need to work with my hands as you should.” The Indian then said he would work if any one would employ bim. The
Carey's Museum, vi. 40.
INDIAN ANECDOTES AND NARRATIVES.
governor told him he wanted a calf killed, and that, if he would go and do it he would give him a shilling. He accepted the offer, and went immediately and killed the calf, and then went sauntering about as before. The governor, on observing what he had done, asked bim why he did not dress the call before he left it. The Indian answered, “No, no, Coponoh ; that was not in the bargain: I was to have a shilling for killing him. Am he no dea!, Copuroh ?” (governor.] The governor, seeing himself thus outwitted, told him to dress it, and he would give him another shilling.
This done, and in possession of two shillings, the Indian goes directly to a grog-shop for rum. After a short stay, he returned to the governor, and told him he had given him a bad shilling-piece, and presented a brass one to be exchanged. The governor, thinking possibly it might have been the case, gave him another. It was not long before he returned a second time with another brass shilling to be exchanged; the governor was now convinced of his knavery, but, not caring to make words at the time, gave hiin another; and thus the fellow got four shillings for one.
The governor determined to have the rogue corrected for his abuse, and, meeting with him soon afier, told him he must take a letter to Boston for him (and gave him a half a crown for the service.] The letter was directed to the keeper of bridewell, ordering him to give the bearer so many lashes; but, mistrusting that all was not exactly agreeable, and meeting a servant of the governor on the road, ordered him, in the name of his master, to carry the letter immediately, as he was in haste to return. The consequence was, this servant got egregiously whipped. When the governor learned what bad taken place, he felt no little chagrin at being thus twice outwitted by the Indian.
He did not see the fellow for some time after this, but at length, falling in with him, asked him by what means he had cheated and deceived him so many times. Taking the governor again in his own play, he answered, pointing with his finger to his head, “ Head work, Coponoh, head work!” The governor was now so well pleased that he forgave the whole offence.t
Equality.-An Indian chief, on being asked whether his people were free, answered, “Why not, since I myself am free, although their king?"
Matrimony.—“ An aged Indian, who for many years had spent much time among the white people, both in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, one day, about the year 1770, observed that the Indians had not only a much easier way of getting a wife than the whites, but also a more certain way of getting a good one. For,' said he in broken English, “white man court-courtmay be one whole year !-may be two years before he marry! Well-may be then he get very good wife—but may be not-may be very cross! Well, now suppose cross! scold so soon as get awake in the morning! scold ali day!-scold until sleep!-all one-he must keep him!-White people have law forbidding throw away wife he be ever so cross-must keep him always! Well, how does Indian do? Indian, when he see industrious squaw, he go to him, place his two fore-fingers close aside each other make two like one—then look squaw in the face—see him smile—this is all one he say yes!—so he take him home—no danger he be cross! No, no--squaw kuow too well what Indian do if he cross ! throw him away and take another! Squaw love to eat meat--no husband no meat. Squaw do every thing to please husband, he do every thing to please squaw-live happy.' "
Toleration. In the year 1791, two Creek chiefs accompanied an American to England, where, as usual, they attracted great attention, and many flocked around them, as well to learn their ideas of certain things as to behold “the savages.” Being asked their opinion of religion, or of what religion they were, one made answer, that they had vo priests in their country, or established religion, for they thought, that, upon a subject where there was no possibility of people's agreeing in opinion, and as it was altogether matter of mere
* A sentence added in a version of this anecdote in Carey's Museum, vi. 201. Uring, ut supra. 120.
# Carey's Museum, vi. 482. ♡ Heckewelder's Hist. Ind. Nations.