Графични страници
PDF файл

tinually arriving, Mort rest was given to that which spread over a more eastern tract; disturbed again and again, it covered fresh regions ; at length, reaching the farthest limits of the Old World, found a new one, with ample space to occupy unmolested for ages; till Columbus cursed them by a discovery, which brought again new sins and new deaths to both worlds.

“ The inhabitants of the New World (Mr. Pennant obserres), do not consist of the offspring of a single nation ; different people, at several periods, arrived there ; and it is imposible to say, that any one is now to be found on the original spot of its colonization. It is impoffible, with the lights which we have fo recently received, to admit that America could receive its inhabitants (at least the bulk of them) from any other place than eastern Afia. A few proofs may be added, taken from customs or dresses common to the inhabitants of both worlds : some have been long extinct in the Old, others remain in both in full force.

“ The custom of scalping was a barbarism in use with the Scythians, who carried about them at all times this favage mark of triumph: they cut a circle round the neck, and stripped off the skin, as they would that of an ox. · A little image found among the Calmucs, of a Tartarian deity, mounted on a horse, and fitting on a human skin, with scalps pendent from the breaft, fully illuftrates the custom of the Scythian progenitors, as described by the Greek historian. This usage, as the Europeans know by horrid experience, is continued to this day in America. The ferocity of the Scythians to their prisoners extended to the remoteft part of Asia. The Kamtschatkans, even at the time of their discovery by the Russians, put their prisoners to death by the moft lingering and excruciating inventions; a practice in full force to this very day among the aboriginal Americans. A race of the Scythians were stiled Anthropopbagi, from their feeding on human flesh. The people of Nootka Sound still make a repast on their fellow creatures : but what is more wonderful, the savage allies of the British army have been known to throw the mangled limbs of the French prisoners into the horrible cauldron, and devour them with the same relish as those of a quadruped.

“ The Scythians were said, for a certain time, annually to transform themselves into wolves, and again to resume the human shape. The new discovered Americans about Nootka Sound, at this time disguise themselves in dresses made of the skins of wolves and other wild beasts, and wear even the heads fitted to their own. These habits they use in the chace, to circumvent the animals of the field. But would not igno




rance or superstition ascribe to a supernatural metamorposis these temporary expedients to deceive the brate creation?

“ In their marches, the Kamtschatkans never went abreast, but followed one another in the same tract. The same custom is exactly observed by the Americans.

“ The Tungusi, the most numerous nation resident in Siberia, prick their faces with small punctures, with a needle, in various shapes; then ruh into them charcoal, so that the marks become indelible. This cuftom is still observed in several parts of America. The Indians on the back of Hudson's Bay, to this day, perform the operation exactly in the same manner, and puncture the skin into various figures; as the natives of New Zealand do at present, and as the ancient Britons did with the herb glastum, or woad; and the Virginians, on the first discovery of that country by the English.

“ The Tungusi use canoes made of birch-bark, distended over ribs of wood, and nicely fewed together. The Canadian, and many other American nations, use no other sort of boats. The paddles of the Tungusi are broad at each end ; those of the people near Cook's river, and of Oonalafcha, are of the fame form.

" In burying of the dead, many of the American nations place the corpse at full length, after preparing it according to their customs; others place it in a fitting posture, and lay by it the most valuable cloathing, wampum, and other matters. The Tartars did the same : and both people agree in covering the whole with earth, so as to form a tumulus, barrow, or carnedd.

“Some of the American nations hrang their dead in trees. Certain of the Tungusi observe a similar cultom. .

“We can draw fome analogy from dress: conveniency in that article must have been consulted on both continents, and originally the materials must have been the fame, the skins of birds and beaits. It is fingular, that the conic bonnet of the Chinese should be found among the people of Noorka. I cannot give into the notion, that the Chinese contributed to the population of the New World; but we can readily admit, that a fhipwreck might furnish those Americans with a pattern for that part of the dress.

“In respect to the features and form of the human body, almost every tribe found along the western coast has some fimilitude to the Tartar nations, and still retain the little eyes, small nofes, high cheeks, and broad faces. They vary in fize, from the lufty Calmues to the little Nogaians. The internal Americans, such as the Five Indian nations, who are tall of body, robuit in make, and of oblong faces, are derived from a variety among the Tartars themselves. The fine race of Tschutski seem to be the stock from which those Americans are derived. The Tschutíki, again, from that fine race of Tartars the Kabardinski, or inhabitants of Kabarda.


But about Prince William's Sound begins a race chiefly diftinguished by their dress, their canoes, and their instruments of the chace, from the tribes to the south of them. Here commences the Esquimaux people, or the race known by that name in the high latitudes of the eastern side of the continent. They may be divided into two varieties. At this place they are of the largest fize. As they advance northward they decrease in height, till they dwindle into the dwarfish tribes which occupy fome of the coasts of the Icy Sea, and the maritime parts of Hudson's Bay, of Greenland, and Terra de Labrador. The famous Japanese map places some islands seemingly within the Straits of Behring, on which is bestowed the title of Ya Zue, or the Kingdom of the Dwarfs. Does not this in some manner authenticate the chart, and give us reason to suppose that America was not unknown to the Japanese; and that they had (as is mentioned by Kæmpfer and Charlevoix) made voyages of discovery, and according to the last, actually wintered on the continent? That they might have met with the Esquimaux is very probable ; whom, in comparison of themselves, they might juftly distinguish by the name of dwarfs. The reason of their low ftature is very obvious: these dwell in a most severe climate, amidst penury of food; the former in one much more favourable, abundant in provisions; circumstances that tend to prevent the degeneracy of the human frame. At the island of Oonalascha, a dialect of the Esquimaux is in use, which was continued along the whole coast from thence northward.”

The continent which stocked America with the human race poured in the brute creation through the same paffage. Very few quadrupeds continued in the peninsula of Kamtschatka ; Mr. Pennant enumerates only 25 which are inhabitants of land : all the rest persisted in their migration, and fixed their residence in the New World. Seventeen of the Kamtschatkan quadrupeds are found in America: others are common only to Siberia or Tartary, having, for unknown causes, entirely ated Kamtschatka, and divided themselves between America and the parts of Asia above cited. Multitudes again have deserted the Old World even to an individual, and fixed their seats at distances most remote from the spot from which they took their departure; from mount Ararat, the resting place of the ark, in a central part of the Old World, and excellently adapted for the dispersion of the animal creation to all

We need not be startled (says Mr. Pennant) at the vast




its parts.


journeys many of the quadrupeds took to arrive at their present seats. Might not numbers of species have found a convenient abode in the vaft Alps of Asia, instead of wandering to the Cordilleras of Chili ? or might not others have been contented with the boundless plains of Tartary, instead of travelling thousands of miles to the extensive flats of Pampas ?-To endeavour to elucidate common difficulties is certainly a trouble worthy of the philosopher and of the divine; not to attempt it would be a criminal indolence, a neglect to

« Vindicate the ways of God to man.

But there are multitudes of points beyond the human ability to explain, and yet are truths undeniable: the facts are indisputable, notwithstanding the causes are concealed. In such cases, faith must be called in to our relief. It would certainly be the height of folly to deny to that Being who broke open the great fountains of the deep to effect the de. luge—and afterwards, to compel the dispersion of mankind to people the globe, directed the confusion of languages-powers inferior in their nature to these. After these wondrous proofs of Omnipotency; it will be absurd to deny the possibility of infusing instinct into the brute cretion. Deus eft anima brutorum; God himself is the foul of brutes :" His pleasure must have determined their will, and directed several species, and even the whole genera, by impulse irresistible, to move by slow progression to their destined regions. But for that, the Lama and the Pacos might ftill have inhabited the heights of Armenia and some more neighbouring Alps, instead of labouring to gain the distant Peruvian Andes; the whole genus of armadillos, flow of foot, would never have quitted the torrid zone of the Old World for that of the New; and the whole tribe of monkeys would have garnboled together in the forests of India, instead of dividing their residence between the shades of Indoitan and the deep forests of the Brasils. Lions and tigers might have infested the hot


of the New World, as the first do the desarts of Africa, and the last the provinces of Asia; or the pantherine animals of South America might have remained additional scourges with the savage beasts of those ancient continents. The Old World would have been overftocked with animals; the New remained ani unanimated waste ! or both have contained an equal portion of every beast of the earth. Let it not be objected, that animals bred in a southern climate, after the defcent of their parents from the ark, would be unable to bear the frost and snow of the rigorous north, before they reached South America, the place of their final destination. It must be confidered, that the migration must have been the work of ages; that in the course of their progress each No. III.


generation generation grew hardened to the climate it had reached; and that after their arrival in America they would again be gradually accustomed to warmer and warmer climates, in their removal from north to south, as they had in the reverse, or from south to north. Part of the tigers still inhabit the eternal snows of Ararat, and multitudes of the very fame species live, but with exalted rage, beneath the line, in the burning foil of Borneo or Sumatra ; but neither lions or tigers ever migrated into the New World. A few of the first are found in India and Persia, but they are found in numbers only in Africa. The tiger extends as far north as western Tartary, in lat 40. 50. but never has reached Africa."

In fine, the conjectures of the learned respecting the vicinity of the Old and New, are now, by the discoveries of our great navigators, loft in conviction; and, in the place of imaginary hypotheses, the real place of migration is uncontrovertibly pointed out. Some (from a passage in Plato) have extended over the Atlantic, from the straits of Gibraltar to the coast of North and South America, an island equal in size to the continents of Asia and Africa; over which had passed, as over a bridge, from the latter, men and animals; wool-headed negroes, and lions and tigers, none of which ever existed in the New World. A mighty sea arose, and in one day and night engulphed this stupendous tract, and with it every being which had not completed its migration into America. The whole negro race, and almost every quadruped, now inhabitants of Africa, perished in this critical day. Five only are to be found at present in America ; and of these only one, the bear, in South America: Not a single custom, common to the natives of Africa and America, to evince a common origin. Of the quadrupeds, the bear, ftag, wolf, fox, and weefel, are the only animals which we can pronounce with certainty to be found on each continent. The ftag, fox, and weesel, have made also no farther progress in Africa than the north; but on the same continent the wolf is spread over every part, yet is unknown in South America, as are the fox and weefel. In Africa and South America the bear is very local, being met with only in the north of the first, and on the Andes in the last. Some cause unknown arrested its progress in Africa, and impelled the migration of a few into the Chilian Alps, and induced them to leave unoccupied the vast tract from North America to the lofty Cordilleras.

Allusions have often been made to some remains on the continent of America, of a more polished and cultivated people, when compared with the tribes which possessed it on its first discovery by Europeans. Mr. Barton, in his Observations on some parts of Natural History, Part I. has collected the fcattered hints of Kalm, Carver, and some others, and has


« ПредишнаНапред »