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Other nations have certainly advanced in arts and sciences with greater rapidity than this, in the same period, as may readily be seen by consulting the histories of the Saxon, German and Russian races.
But Dr. Nott can assist us in the estimate we are to put upon such structures, as evincing an advanced state of civilization and knowledge in a people. When he has occasion to depreciate the aboriginal Mexicans, we find him using the following language :
“Many of the remains of this people are stupendous, and show' considerable architectural skill, but my conviction is that too much importance has been attached to architectural remains. The talent of constructiveness may be developed in a very high degree, but without the higher faculties of comparison and causality necessarily being in proportion. The beaver, many birds, and insects, show this talent in a surprising degree. Read the Natural History of the honey bee, and you will see things almost as remarkable as any thing we have spoken of in Central America.” p. 36. .
There is doubtless some truth in this, but we doubt if our author had in mind or intended its application to the stupendous products of Egyptian labor. But these same Mexicans seem to have had some knowledge of Astronomy also, and of several of the arts, in as high perfection as they are now known. They had a calendar more accurate than the Greeks and Romans, and intercalated for the six hours' excess of the solar over the civil year. That the astronomical knowledge of the Egyptians, with what Champollion calls "all its errors and in all its simplicity," was not what we should at this day deem particularly accurate or extensive, is susceptible of easy demonstration. Several Asiatic nations, not distinguished for very high attainments in science and art, seein to possess as much knowledge of Astronomy as did the Egyptians. We are apt, at the present day, to associate with the words Astronomy, Arts and Sciences, that degree of knowledge and skill which are now possessed, and we are therefore inclined to question the propriety of using these ternis in connexion with the Egyptians, without some qualifying statements. But when we read that "all the liseful arts and sciences, together with Astronomy, existed at this remote date, we are forced to believe that the writer knows little about it, or is very careless in his language. Had the Egyptians, at this early date, (previous to 2272 B. C.) already attained perfection, and did they remain stationary or did they retrograde from that time down to the conquest by Cambyses, 525 B. C.? This would not argue much for their progress. On the contrary, Egyptian art and sci. ence did not reach their zenith until the period of the 18th and 19th dynasties, six or eight centuries later than the date given by Dr. Nott. The monuments which remain of preceding dynasties, prove an inferior state of art. Surely sixteen or eighteen centuries is sufficient, to an energetic people, for the attainment of all that is ascribed to Egyptian skill and knowledge.
Suppose, now, that one should undertake to prove the high antiquity of the Etruscans, and should appeal to their accomplishments in sculpture, without any allusion to the different stages of the art in successive periods of their history,-by what terms should we designate an attempt so contrived as to leave the reader to infer the highest advancement in art, at a period when its products were but rude and indifferent figures ? But at no period did art among the Egyptians attain any thing of that accuracy and grace, much less of that ideal beauty so characteristic of Grecian skill, which we are now accustomed to regard as its perfection. The character of their minds,—the nature of their government,—their religion,-were unfavorable to perfection in any of the fine arts. And although their productions, like those of the ancient Mexicans, display a singular mechanical skill, yet they seem to have had no knowledge of perspective or proportion or shading, and there is a stiffness and want of variety and grace in their works, which will not justify their classification with standard specimens of art. Relievos which we have seen in this country, brought from Egypt, are not equal to figures we have seen executed by our aborigines with a penknife. We have no desire to depreciate the skill and knowledge of the ancient Egyptians, but would rather give abundant honor to that remarkable people, with whom art and science were born and for a long time were carefully nurtured and cherished; yet we are far from being persuaded that "such perfection" as they had reached by the year 2272 B. C., could not have been attained in five, at most in ten centuries. Certainly, we are not urged by the facts to concede a period of time for their attainments and labors, “which it would be difficult for the mind to reach."
“The world has been most egregiously duped by Greek and Roman historians,-Herodotus particularly, who has been called the father of history, should with more propriety be called the father of romance.” p. 11.
We see little necessity for this sweeping charge against the mass of Greek and Roman historians, nor against Herodotus in particular, who, notwithstanding divers errors to which he as well as the other ancient writers were necessarily exposed, has ever been deemed by scholars to be, on the whole, a sagacious and judicious writer, and many of whose observations have been minutely confirmed by modern research, even in Egypt. But as we are not called upon for his defence, we will only add that Dr. N. has cited his authority on the previous page.
"In the allotment of territories to the offspring of Noah, Egypt was given as an inheritance to Mizraim, the son of Ham." p. 12.
We are not aware that Scripture, the only original authority we have upon the subject, speaks of an "allotment of territories,” or that "Egypt was given as an inheritance to Mizraim.” *
“Shem and Ham were twin brothers.” p. 12. We can find no Scriptural warrant for this.
“The word Shem means white." p. 12. All our Lexicons inform us that it means Name, and wherever it occurs in the Hebrew text, it has a signification corresponding with that of the Latin nomen.
“Ham means dark or swarthy, but not black.” p. 12. Primarily it signifies burnt or hot, and we know not why its secondary meaning as a derivative of effect, may not, as some scholars say it is, be black, as well as swarthy or dark. If we may rely upon Gesenius, its corresponding word in Coptic means black. But leaving the latter item out of account, we think there are errors enough for less than half a page. Perhaps these are some of the "new facts." We had never seen them before reading these Lectures.f
* Abulfaragi has recorded an Armenian tradition, that Noah distributed the earth among his three sons,-giving Ham the country of the blacks ; Shem, that of the tawny; and Japheth, that of the ruddy.
+ Our author has been here led astray by Mr. Gliddon, who is, in many respects, an unsafe guide. His Lectures give continual evidence of a want of sufficient scholarship to master the great range of subjects which they embrace. It is much to be regretted that this gentleman has attempted any 30
VOL. VII.--NO. 14.
As we have now given the signification of the names of two of the sons of Noah, we will add that Japheth signifies enlargement, or its equivalent, and suggest that these words may perhaps afford some slight illustration of our subject. We will also state that Canaan signifies great humiliation. As in the name of Shem we may observe something prophetic of the history of his posterity, among whom was preserved the knowledge and worship of the true God until the coming of Christ, and through whose line the Divine Logos was derived ; and in that of Japheth a true intimation of the wide diffusion and superiority of his descendants ;* so in that of Ham we may perhaps discover an allusion to what constitutes a peculiar feature of a portion of his posterity, or to the nature of the region in which they dwell.
“Mizraim, being a descendant of Noah, was of course a Caucasian.” p. 12.
As we believe that Mizraim was a Caucasian, we should not notice this sentence unless its logic was applicable to an infinite series, and might be applied as well to one line of succession as another;-e. g., Cush, being a descendant of Noah, was of course a Caucasian,-Habasch, being a descendant of Cush, was of course a Caucasian,-and so on, ad infinitum. The advocates for the unity of the human race are entirely shut out from all further argument, by this frag. ment of a syllogism. The concealed proposition probably is,—"Like begets like;" which, however true it may be specifically, we shall certainly deny when it is intended to exclude varieties in the course of propagation. Its falsity will at once be perceived, by applying the same kind of logic to the varieties of domestic animals or cultivated plants. They who believe in the oneness of the human family, might with equal propriety assert,—all mankind, being descended from Noah, are of course Caucasians. But to this it would be very properly replied, that we beg the very question in dispute.
thing more than the simple illustration of a subject, with which he has had admirable opportunities to acquaint himself, and upon which he was fully competent to furnish Americans with information of absorbing interest.
We here assume the generally received opinion that the Caucasians are descendants of Japheth. Some suppose that Shem is the progenitor of these nations, and that Japheth is the father of the Mongolians, which is sustained by the following tradition of the Turks. They say, that "Turk, their great progenitor, was the son of Japheth, (who is called by the early Mohammedan writers Abou l' Turk, the father of Turk,) and the brother of Tchin, the ancestor of the Chinese. The fourth in descent from Turk was Almgeh Khan. In his reign the nation forgot the faith of their ancestors, which was pure theism, and became idolaters. He had two sons, Tartar and Mongul. It is from these princes that the tribes they governed took their names." David's Grammar of the Turkish Language, in S. Turner's Sacred History of the World.
"Many have supposed Ham to be the progenitor of the Negro race. p. 12.
And surely not without reason, though it is by no means necessary to consider him as the physical type of the race. We have all needful authority for the opinion that Africa was settled by the descendants of Ham. The negroes seem to have originated in Africa; and, therefore, if the human race be one, as generally supposed, they are more probably considered the descendants of Ham than of either of his brothers, although we are unable to ascertain when they began to deteriorate, or how long a time was requisite for the process of deterioration. There has certainly been much idle speculation on the curse pronounced upon Canaan, for which the Scripture gives no warrant. That curse, we think, points to the conquests subsequently made among the Canaanites by the descendants of Israel, by which they were brought under bondage and reduced to great humiliation. The curse is sufficiently fulfilled in them, without seeking for its more painful accomplishment in the later history of the Negroes. But we do not perceive how it follows that Ham could not be the progenitor of the Negro race, simply because the Egyptians were not Negroes, since he had other sons besides Mizraim.
Dr. N. does not seem to understand this branch of the subject; but, taking the material which Mr. Gliddon has well used, in proof that the Egyptians were not Negroes, has argued from it a very different question, and has stated and discussed it as if we must regard Ham as the type of the Negro race, or else give up the supposition of his being its progenitor, as well as the question of the unity of the human race, so far as affected by historical testimony. With the exception of what may be implied in the meaning of his name, we know of nothing in the sacred records to lead to the supposition that he was the type of that race. And we further grant, that if there be any thing in the meaning of the word which can have a bearing on the subject in discussion, it can only be prophetical. But before it can be shown
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