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Many, and not without tolerably good reasons, believe that an island or continent existed in the Atlantic ocean about this period, but which disappeared afterwards.
Diodorus Siculus says that some «Phenicians were cast upon a most fertile island opposite to Africa." Of this, he says, they kept the most studied secresy, which was doubtless occasioned by their jealousy of the advantage the discovery might be to the neighboring nations, and which they wished to secure wholly to themselves. Dio. dorus Siculus lived about 100 years before Christ. Islands lying west of Europe and Africa are certainly mentioned by Homer and Horace. They were called Atlantides, and were supposed to be about 10,000 furlongs from Africa. Here existed the poets' fabled Elysian fields. But to be more particular with Diodorus, we will let him speak for himself. “After having passed the islands which lie beyond the Hercalean straits, we will speak of those which lic much farther into the ocean. Towards Africa, and to the west of it, is an immense island in the broad sea, many days' sail from Lybia. Its soil is very fertile, and its surface variegated with mountains and valleys. Its coasts are indented with many navigable rivers, and its fields are well cultivated; delicious gardens, and various kinds of plants and trees.” He finally sets it down as the finest country known, where the inhabitants have spacious dwellings, and every thing in the greatest plenty: To say the least of this account of Diodorus, it corresponds very well with that given of the Mexicans when first known to the Spaniards, but perhaps it will compare as well with the Canaries.
Plato's account has more weight, perhaps, than any of the ancients, He lived about 400 years before the Christian era. A part of his account is as follows :-“ In those first times [time of its being first known), the Atlantic was a most broad island, and there were extant most powerful kings in it, who, with joint forces, were appointed to occupy Asia and Europe: and so a most grievous war was carried on, in which the Athenians, with the common consent of the Greeks, opposed themselves, and they became the conquerors. But that Atlantic island, by a food and earthquake, was indeed suddenly destroyed, and so that warlike people were swallowed up.” He adds, in another place, “ An island in the mouth of the sea, in the passage to those straits, called the Pillars of Hercules, did exist; and that island was greater and larger than Lybia and Asia; from which there was an easy passage over to other islands, and from those islands to that continent, which is situated out of that region.” Neptune settled in this island, from whose son, Atlas, its name was derived, and divided it among his ten sons. To the youngest fell the extremity of the island, called Gadir, which, in the language of the country, signifies fertile, or abounding in sheep. The descendants of Neptune reigned here, from father to son, for a great number of generations in the order of primogeniture, during the space of 9,000 years. They also possessed several other islands; and, passing into Europe and Africa, subdued all Lybia as far as Egypt, and all Europe to Asia Minor. At length the island sunk under water; and for a long time after
wards the sea thereabouts was full of rocks and shelves.” This account, although mixed with fable, cannot, we think, be entirely rejected; and that the ancients had knowledge of countries westward of Europe appears as plain and as well authenticated as any passage of history of that period.
Aristotle, or the author of a book which is generally attributed to him, speaks of an island beyond the Straits of Gibraltar; but the passage savors something of hearsay, and is as follows :-"Some say. that, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, the Carthagenians have found a very fertile island, but without inhabitants, full of forests, navigable rivers, and fruit in abundance. It is several days' voyage from the main land. Some Carthagenians, charmed by the fertility of the country, thought to marry and settle there; but some say that the government of Carthage forbid the settlement upon pain of death, fiom the fear that it would increase in power so as to deprive the mother country of her possessions there."
Seneca lived about the commencement of the vulgar era. He wrote tragedies, and in one of them occurs this passage : The time will come when the ocean will loosen the chains of nature, and we shall kehold a vast country. A new Typhis shall discover new worlds : Thule shall no longer be considered the last country of the known world."
OF MODERN THEORISTS UPON THE PEOPLING OF AMERICA.
Herrera argues that the new world could not have been known to the ancients, and that what Seneca has said was not true. For that God had kept it hid from the old world, giving them no certain knowledge of it; and that, in the secresy and incomprehensibility of his providence, he has been pleased to give it to the Castilian nation. That Seneca's prediction (if so it may be considered) was a false one, because he said that a new world would be discovered in the north, and that it was found in the west. Herrera wrote about 1598, before which time little knowledge was obtained of North America.
Thomas Morton, who came to New England in 1622, published in 1637 an account of its natural history, with much other curious matter. In speaking upon the peopling of America, he thinks it altogether out of the question to suppose that it was peopted by the Tartars from the north, because “a people, once settled, must be removed by compulsion, or else tempted thereunto in hopes of better fortunes, upon commendations of the place unto which they should be drawn to remove. And if it may be thought that these people came over the frozen sea, then would it be by compulsion. If so, then by whom, or when? Or what part of this main continent may be thought to border upon the country of the Tartars? It is yet unknown; and it is not likely that a people well enough at ease will, of their own accord, undertake
to travel over a sea of ice, considering how many difficulties they shall encounter with. As, first, whether there be any land at the end of their unknown way, no land being in view; then want of food to sustain life in the mean time upon that sea of ice? Or how shall they do for fuel, to keep them at night from freezing to death? which will not be had in such a place. But it may perhaps be granted, that the natives of this country might originally come of the scattered Trojans; for after that Brutus, who was the fourth from Eneas, lett Latium upon the conflict held with the Latins, (where, although he gave them a great overthrow, to the slaughter of their great captain and many others of the heroes of Latium, yet he held it more safely to depart unto some other place and people, than, by staying, to run the hazard of an unquiet life or doubtful conquest; which, as history maketh mention, he performed.) This people was dispersed, there is no ques. tion, but the people that lived with him, by reason of their conversation with the Grecians and Latins, had a mixed language that partici. pated of both.” This is the main ground of Morton, but he says much inore upon the subject; as that the similarity of the languages of the Indians to the Greek and Roman is very great. From the examples he gives, we presume he knew as little about the Indian languages as Dr. Mather, Adair, and Boudinot, who thought them almost to coin. cide with the Hebrew. Though Morton thinks it very improbable that the Tartars came over by the north from Asia, because they could not see land beyond the ice, yet he finds no difficulty in getting them across the wide Atlantic, although he allows them no compass. That the Indians have a Latin origin he thinks evident, because he fancied he heard among their words Pasco-pan, and hence thinks, without doubt, their ancestors were acquainted with the god Pan.
Dr. Williamson says, “ It can hardly be questioned that the Indians of South America are descended from a class of the Hindoos, in the southern parts of Asia.” That they could not have come froni the north, because the South American Indians are unlike those of the north. This seems to clash with the more rational views of Father Venegas. He writes as follows: "Of all the parts of America hitherto discovered, the Californians lie nearest to Asia. We are acquainted with the mode of writing in all the eastern nations. We can distin. guish between the characters of the Japanese, the Chinese, the Chinese Tartars, the Mogul Tartars, and other nations extending as far as the Bay of Kamtschatka; and learned dissertations on them, by Mr. Boyer, are to be found in the acts of the imperial academy of sciences at Petersburg. What discovery would it be to meet with any of these characters, or others like them, among the American Indians nearest to Asia! But as to the Californians, if ever they were possessed of any invention to perpetuate their memoirs, they have entirely lost it; and all that is now found among them amounts to no more than somne obscure oral traditions, probably more and more adulterated by a long succession of time. They have not so much as retained any knowledge of the particular country from which they emigrated.” This is the account of one who lived many years among the Indians of California.
Mr. William Wood, who left New England in 1633, after a short stay, says, “Of their language, which is only peculiar to themselves, not inclining to any of the refined tongues--some have thought they might be of the dispersed Jews, because some of their words be near unto the Hebrew; but by the same rule, they may conclude them to be some of the gleanings of all nations, because they have words which sound after the Greek, Latin, French, and other tongues."
Mr. John Josselyn, who resided some time in New England, from the year 1638, says, “ The Mohawks are about 500: their speech a dialect of the Tartars (as also is the Turkish tongue).” In another work, he
says, “ New England is by some affirmed to be an island, bounded on the north with the River of Canada (so called from Monsicur Cane,) on the south with the River Monhegan, or Hudson's River, so called because he was the first that discovered it. Some will have America to be an island, which out of question must needs be, if there be a northeast passage found out into the South Sea. It contains 1,152,100,000 acres. The discovery of the northwest passaçe (which lies within the River of Canada) was undertaken with the help of some Protestant Frenchmen, which left Canada, and retired to Bosion about the year 1669. The northeast people of America, that is, New England, &c., are judged to be Tartars, called Samoades, being alike in complexion, shape, habit and manners."
Reverend Thomas Thorowgood published a book in 1652, to prove that the Indians were the Jews who had been “ lost in the world for the space of near 2,000 years." Being written to for his opinion of the origin of the natives, “he kindly answers to those letters from Saiem, in New England, 201h of the 10th month, more than 10 years since, in hæc verba.” That they did not come into Ameri
from the northeast, as some had imagined, he thought evident for these reasons: 1, their ancestors affirm they came from the southwesi, and return thence when they die; 2, because they “ separate their women in a little wigwam by themselves in their feminine seasons;" and 3, “ beside their god Kuttand to the south west, they hold that Namawitnawit (a god over head) made the heavens and the earth; and some taste of aħnity with the Hebrew I have found.”
Doctor Coiton Mather says, “ It should not pass without remark, that three most memorable things which have rne a very great as. pect upon human affairs, did near the same time, namely, at the conclusion of the fifteenth, and the beginning of the sixteenth century, arise unto the world: the first was the resurrection of Literature; the second was the opening of America; the third was the Reformation of Religion.” The reader must now summon his gravity. “ But,” this author continues, “as probably the Devil, seducing the first inhabi.. tants of America into it, therein aimed at the having of them and their posterity out of the sound of the silver trumpets of the gospel, then to be heard through the Roman Empire. If the Devil had any expectation, that, by the peopling of America, he should utterly deprive any Furopeans of the two benefits, literature and religion, which dawned upon the miserable world, (one just before, the other just after,) the
first famed navigation hither, 'tis to be hoped he will be disappointed of that expectation.” “The natives of the country," continues the Doctor, in another place, “ now possessed by the New-Englanders, had been forlorn and wretched heathen ever since their first herding here; and though we know not when or how these Indians first became inhabitants of this mighty continent, yet we may guess that probably the Devil decoyed those miserable salvages hither, in hopes that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ would never come here to destroy or disturb his absolute empire over them. But our Eliot was in such ill terms with the Devil, as to alarm him with sounding the silver trumpets of heaven in his territories, and make some noble and zealous at. tempts towards ousting him of ancient possessions here. There were, I think, 20 several nations (if I may call them so) of Indians upon that spot of ground which fell under the influence of our three United Colonies; and our Eliot was willing to rescue as many of them as he could from that old usurping landlord of America, who is by the wrath of God the prince of this world."
Hubbard, who wrote about 1680, has this among other passages: "If any observation be made of their manners and dispositions, it's casier to say from what nations they did not, than from whom they did derive their origin. Doubtless, their conjecture who fancy them to be descended from the ten tribes of the Israelites, carried captive by Salamaneser and Esarhaddon, hath the least show of reason of any other, there being no footsteps to be observed of their propinquity ro them more than to any other of the tribes of the earth, either as to their language or manners.”
That because the natives of one country and those of another, and cach unknown to the other, have some customs and practices in common, it has been urged by some, and not a few, that they must have had a common origin; but this, in our apprehension, does not necessarily follow. Who will pretend that different people, when placed under similar circumstances, will not have similar wants, and hence similar actions ? that like wants will not prompt like exertions? and like causes produce not like effects? This mode of reasoning we think suf ficient to show, that, although the Indians may have some customs in common with the Scythians, the Tartars, Chinese, Hindoos, Welsh, and indeed every other nation, still, the former, for any reason we can see to the contrary, have as good right to claim to themselves priority of origin as either or all of the latter.
Doctor Robertson should have proved that people of color prodwe others of no color, and the contrary, before he said, “We know with infallible certainty, that all the human race spring from the same source,” meaning Adam. He founds this broad assertion upon the false notion, that to admit any other would be an inroad upon the verity of the holy Scriptures. Now, in our view of the subject, we leave them equally inviolate in assuming a very different ground; namely, that all habitable parts of the world may have been peopled at the same time, and by different races of men. That it is so peopled, we know: that it was so peopled as far back as we have any