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Varicties of the Human Family.
are now to be sought among the people who have for ages been confounded under the common name of Jews. The analogies between the rites, traditions, and customs of the Indians and those of the Hebrews, which have led to this fanciful hypothesis, are, in fact, common to all primitive nations, and prove merely the high antiquity and early cultivation of the American race. The points of difference, which, as Mr. Bradford observes, “are always overlooked, are incomparably more numerous, not to say more material one of them being a radical difference in the physical types of the two races,” — and we may well affirm, with entire confidence, that “we know of no effect of climate by which the Hebrew could have been transformed into the red and beardless American."
Mr. Bradford's own theory of the origin of the Americans is as follows:— that there are properly speaking three, and but three, original races of mankind; and that of these the red race is one; that at a very early period it was widely diffused and highly civilized, and that the American aborigines, having been separated from it by a migration to this continent at that early period, and having remained always apart from the other races, presents its purest existing type, assimilated, indeed, by many analogies to the Egyptians, Etruscans, Hindoos, Chinese, Malays, Mongols, and Polynesians, but not to be referred to any of these as its parent stock, the primitive red race being rather considered as a great branch of the human family originally including them all.
It will be seen that this theory is novel, as well in regard to the division of mankind into three races as in not referring the aborigines to any one nation of the old world. The more common view has recognised five varieties of the human family; some, with Dr. Pritchard, make seven, and others have enumerated sixteen. Cuvier alone is said to have hesitated in naming more than three races. Of course, it is agreed on all hands that Caucasians, Negroes, and Indians are distinct races; in this country, where the three exist together in great numbers, there can be no doubt on that score. The additional races, therefore, are obtained by reckoning as distinct varieties the Mongols and the Malays, and, where seven races are assigned, the Papuas and Alfourous - dark colored tribes found in some of the Polynesian islands. The principle of classification is, of course, necessarily to be settled before it is possible to come to an agreement; but all alike appear to have acknowledged the following:- that is to be considered a distinct race which is an original variety of mankind, and which has not been formed by the intermarriage of races originally distinct. If no one of the three races, the white European, the Negro, or the Indian, can be produced by the intermarriage of the other two, then the three races are distinct. If the Malay, the Mongolian, or the Papua can be proved to have proceeded from the intermarriage of the European (or Caucasian) and the Indian, or of the Indian and the Negro, the race thus originated is not a pure variety or distinct branch of the human family; it is not a distinct race. The former supposition Mr. Bradford adduces probable reasons for admitting in regard to the Malays; the latter, in regard to the Papua; while he demonstrates in regard to the Mongols that they are a nearly pure race, identical with the native American. It is impossible to give here more than an enumeration of the traits which, in all these nations, and in the Chinese, Polynesians, Copts, and some Hindoos, (others are strictly Caucasian,) characterize the Red or Mongolian race. Such are the obliquity of the eyes — an unfailing trait of the Mongol — the square and pyramidal scull; the absence of beard; the straight, black hair and black eyes; the broad and flattened face. The color varies, according to the climate and other circumstances, from the deepest tinge of copper to yellow, but is always to be distinguished from the clear complexion of the European on the one hand, and from the sable hue of the African on the other, allowance being made for individual anomalies in all the races.
It is well understood by naturalists that osteological traits are more to be depended on than any other, and it is therefore somewhat singular that by each of two different methods of comparison in regard to the form of the scull, adopted severally by Dr. Pritchard and Blumenbach, three varieties only are indicated, although the former naturalist has enumerated seven races, and the latter five. That Aristotle was acquainted with the division of mankind into three races, white, red, and black; that the monuments of Egypt evince their existence at least three thousand years ago; that the Mexican and other American nations represented one of their supreme deities as white, with a long and flowing beard, and that another American god was described as black that in Hindostan, Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, were respect1842.]
ively red, black, and white, and that Osiris, Typhon and Horus were similarly distinguished in Egypt, establishes a very strong probability in favor of the antiquity of this distinction in the human race.
In the chapter on American language, considered as a mode of tracing the affinity of the aborigines to the Asiatic nations, it is admitted that no argument of weight can be founded on the resemblance of words. It is rather in the logical structure that the author would look to find the analogies which, so far as the imperfect examination yet made extends, appear to exist. But in fact the rapid alteration of words, and the easy substitution of others, is a trait of all the languages constructed like the American, and while the structure of the latter points to an Asiatic derivation, their vast diversity, as it appears to us, only proves the remoteness of the period when the several tribes broke off from the parent stock. The most decisive evidences, perhaps, of an Asiatic origin of the American race, is to be found in their astronomical science. No analysis of ours, nor any thing short of entire transcription, could do justice to Mr. Bradford's truly splendid chapter on that subject. It is here, in fact, that the whole civilization of those primitive nations appears to have centred. Connected with religion, with their profound speculations on the nature of the gods, and with the practice, perhaps the artifices of divination, astronomy was cultivated by the priests as a sacred science; and while their lofty pyramidal temples answered the purpose of observatories, and a powerful order of men made the study their employment from generation to generation, it acquired a perfection that rivals the boasted attainments of modern Europe. But it will be sufficient to say that the points, not so much of analogy as of identity, here collated or distinguished, between the American symbols, methods of computation, etc., and those of the Chinese, Hindoos, Egyptians, and kindred nations, are both too numerous, and of a character too arbitrary, to be attributed to fortuitous coincidence, or to any thing short of a connection with those nations. Naturally connected with the astronomical science is the religion of the American nations. In three great characteristic features it coincides with the religions now or anciently existing among the kindred Asiatic nations already enumerated. These are, the belief, than which none is more indicative of a primitive race, in one invisible Spirit, the
Lord and author of life, the omnipotent and omnipresent support of the universe ; the worship, however, not of this only true Deity, but first, of the heavenly bodies, and secondly, that of innumerable lesser divinities - a worship connected with the prime article of their faith by the doctrine of emanations. A distinction has been drawn between civilized nations and barbarous tribes, founded on the difference between their modes of religion. All civilized tribes, it is said, possess a regular priesthood, deriving their spiritual authority from accredited sources, and transmitting it to successors by legitimate descent. All savage tribes want this sacred office, order, or lineage, as the case may be, and have in stead self-constituted and irregular conjurers, who are supposed to attain their supernatural power by magic rites, by self-inflicted torments, or other like means, and who prove their possession of it by juggling feats, pretended cures and prophecies. Probably there may be some exaggeration in this statement taken universally, but nothing is more certain than that all the civilized nations enumerated as branches of the red race, including of course the civilized American nations, possess, or possessed, both these classes of sacred or spiritual persons; they all present us with hierarchal institutions, and under various names, with conjurers, dervishes or shamans. It is likewise true that the barbarous tribes descended from these possess the latter class only, as do, for example, the Mongols of Siberia and the savage Indians. In fact it would seem that the peculiar tenet which lies at the root of the mythology of all these nations - "the idea of a universal soul, from which all life proceeds, and into which all life is resolved" — tends incessantly both to the degraded polytheism described by our author, and also to that most demoralizing institution (if such it can be called) of shamanism. The Indian faith in one infinite Spirit is adduced by the author as a proof of descent from a civilized ancestry, and very justly,' We do not believe that any dation, barbarous or civilized, ever discovered, by its own unaided powers, without tradition, the doctrine of the unity of God. But the Indian, Brahminic, or Egyptian tenet is not that naked doctrine, but a metaphysical perversion of it. This original error seems to have had an unceasing influence at every period of the Indian civilization, and was apparently the formative principle in their chief institutions. A species of condict may be observed in their earlier history between
Identity of Americans and Polynesians.
the genius of the sacred caste and the tendency to shamanism, and the prevalence of the latter to have accompanied the deterioration of the race into the savage state, while the predominance of the former always led to a gradual but sure social decadence. Yet the race adheres to its religion with unconquerable tenacity. Notwithstanding its vast diffusion, no nation of pure red descent, and independently of immediate white influence, has really accepted and appropriated the Christian faith ; and even of the converted Mexicans, after a period of three hundred years since the establishment of the church in their country, it is related that when recently one of their ancient idols was accidentally disinterred, “ the natives secretly in the night time crowned it with garlands of flowers."
One of the most interesting chapters of the work is that in which the author takes up in succession the several nations of the eastern continent to whom the American race is assimilated, and unfolds in detail the assimilating circumstances. These nations are the Celts, the Madagascans, the Etrurians, the Egyptians, the Hindoos, the Mongols, the Chinese, and the Malays, to whom are added the Polynesians. The strongest features of resemblance to the civilized American nations are discovered in the Etrurians, Egyptians, and Hindoos, while the Mongols offer an almost exact counterpart to the savage Indians. It is not the identity in any single or general traits, which would prove little, but in many and particular instances extending to a bewildering variety of minute circumstances, that constitutes the proof of a common origin in these ancient nations.
The preference exhibited in every instance for the pyramidal and terraced temple, or “high-place” for worship, and the almost universal choice of a position for these coinciding with the cardinal points, are traits which have been already observed in this paper as likewise characterizing all the civilized families of this continent. The use of the Cyclopean arch is another point of resemblance, of more real weight, perhaps, but less striking, than the appearance on the temples of Central America of the peculiar patterns of ornamental sculpture that decorate the Etruscan, Egyptian, and Hindoo fanes. As tending to carry the chain of connection across the Pacific without the interruption of a single wanting link, the identity of the Americans and Polynesians, and the near and evident relationship of the latter to the NO. XIX.-VOL. X.