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Malays, is highly important. This identity extends to language, domestic habits, religion, government, adoration of sovereigns, fashion of dress, arts, and monuments. It is remarkable also that similar evidences of an ancient epoch of greater civilization exist in Polynesia. Pyramidal temples and massive terraces of stone cut into immense blocks, and regularly laid, adorned with colossal figures and sculptures, are found, and on some islands now uninhabited the remains of stone dwellings, and other relics of a former population, have been discovered.
In fine, we think that the author's theory of the origin of the American aborigines is sustained by evidence altogether satisfactory, and that the theory itself, from its simplicity, its comprehensiveness, and its coincidence with the most venerable traditions of the human race, carries with it an air of inherent probability, by which it is readily distinguished from the fancitul hypotheses that have too generally been brought forward on this subject. At all events it must be admitted to be an approximation to the truth, and although it is probable that subsequent investigations will modify some of the particular conclusions, the general conclusion seems to be scareely assailable. That the American aborigines are a race of great antiquity, that they were early civilized, and that their civilization, although "not strictly Hindoo, Egyptian or Chinese," approximates the original culture of each of these nations by numerous analogies, the origin of which is to be traced, not to fortuitous coincidence, but to a common pareatage in the first ages of the world, is a position so moderate in itse t, and supported by a proof so overwhelmiry, that the wonder is to find it now for the first time mantaired; or rather it is surprising that a theory which, wore it is consistent with the facts and analores crged in
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Physiological Unity of the Red Nations.
have taken place in the seventh century. This theory has obtained considerable favor. But Mr. Bradford points out that “the Mexicans and Peruvians resemble the cultivated nations of Oriental Asia even more closely than do the ruder tribes, the Siberian nomades; in fact they are all of the same race, and both in Asia and America a decline into barbarism has produced analogous developments, which, in connection with the relics of their ancient religion and customs, nearly assiinilate the savages of both continents." He does not deny, however, that a few of the northwestern tribes may have proceeded from Siberia at no very remote period, but the supposition that “ the Mexicans, the Toltecs, the Chiapanese, the Mayas, and the Peruvians, were the descendants of such degraded and savage hordes as occupy northeastern Asia, or that they wandered from more southern Asiatic countries through the cold and inhospitable regions of the north, without leaving any vestiges of civilization on their way,” he justly considers as too improbable to be admitted for a moment. The same alteration in the climate of those regions, which, if admitted, would allow us to suppose the former migration of tropical animals by Behring's Straits, would, it might be observed, obviate the objection to supposing a similar migration of the civilized southern tribes, so far as climate only is concerned. But the absence of monuments both in the northeast of Siberia, and in the northwest of America, remains an insuperable difficulty.
It has not fallen in precisely with the scope of this article to devote more than a slight notice comparatively to the author's division of mankind into three races. That part of his work, from its length, and the laborious research which it displays, constitutes a treatise by itself. Some of the facts adduced are exceedingly curious, apart from their tendency to establish his position. It is a necessary part of his theory of the origin of the Americans, only so far as it is implied in maintaining the physiological unity of all the red nations, from whom the additional varieties are obtained.
It may appear that we have in some degree lost sight of the idea with which we set out at the commencement of this paper. We then remarked, that our interest in Mr. Bradford's book, and we might have added our predilection for his theory, arose from our strong conviction that it is in the earliest ages, and to a critical examination of the earliest forms of culture, that we are to look, if we are ever to deter
mine scientifically the real order and genuine principle of human progress. That principle is, in our opinion, to be
. found, not in the nature, (strictly speaking,) nor in the understanding and faculties of man, nor even in his reason considered as the light of nature; that is, not in these by themselves, but in the quickening influence of religious faith, traditionally preserved in the primitive farnilies of the human race; and if this be the principle, then the order of the same progress is not a casual order, nor, finally, can it be an uninstructive one; but it must be the order of Providence, and one method, not to be safely neglected, of the Divine teaching. That this thought did not prompt the researches of our author, or influence his results, may well be supposed, but that it forced itself upon him in the course of his investigations, is evident from the eloquent passage we are about to quote, and with which the work concludes:
“ The most remarkable peculiarity in the institutions of all these nations, is their religious character. Laws, government, the arts and sciences, and the whole routine of private and public affairs, were under the direction of the priesthood. Thence several consequences flowed — the preservation from a rapid decline into barbarism, so long as religion retained its supremacy - the utter absence of all progression and improvement, and the stereotype character of the whole system of society. The sciences were occult, long religious probations were necessary before their principles were taught, and thus no generation possessed an advantage over the preceding one. Knowledge and civilization were not animate and instinct with natural warmth and vigor, but were embalmed, and, like a shrivelled mummy, presented the mere outward form with none of the vitality of existence. From this continued religious subjection originated also that unchangeableness, that fixed and immutable character which distinguished all these nations, and which is a marked and prominent trait even of the savage Indian. An inflexibility which adheres tenaciously to old forms and customs and despises change ; which may be overpowered, but never yields; and which, in view of the dreary impending fate of the aborigines, possesses an air of melancholy grandeur; for, as one of those coming events which cast their shadows before,' the absolute extinction of this ancient race seems to be rapidly and irresistibly approaching. Upon this continent, the pure types of the new and the old era of civilization have met and encountered each other. The family presenting the one, having occupied this vast region for countless ages, undisturbed by the approach of other and modern races, had been allowed the amplest scope for development. And yet at the discovery, the greater por
Collections of the N. Y. Historical Society.
tion of the continent was inhabited by savage hordes; within the United States the barbarous tribes appear to have been greatly depopulated, and the ancient and cultivated nations to have become extinct; even in Mexico and Peru the civilization of the first ages seems to have surpassed that of later times, and society generally was in a state of decadence. The old system — its moral and social elements, its capacity for self-improvement - had thus been fairly tested, and the time had arrived when a new race, and the Christian religion, were appointed to take possession of this soil.”
ART. III. — Collections of the New York Historical Society.
Second Series. Volume I.
TWENTY years had elapsed since the New York Historical Society published a volume of its Collections. Their series had been too full of interest to leave this suspense of activity unregretted ; especially had the third volume, printed in 1821, inspired the highest hopes. The names of its publishing committee were of good augury, and its contents proved the earnestness and zeal of men like Verplanck and Wheaton. The deep impression which was made on the public mind by the admirable anniversary discourse of Verplanck, has not yet passed away. It was one of the first, and, we will add, one of the most elaborate and most successful efforts to do justice to the lineage of the country, to vindicate fervently, yet fairly, the honor of its ancestry, and to set in bold relief the names of the great men whose influence had been generously exerted for the culture of its mind. A fine spirit of cosmopolitan willingness to receive every thing that had merit is combined in that production, not only with intense nationality, but with feelings of state pride and local attachments; and we never read it without wishing that his successors in the field of inquiry in New York, may ever display a spirit as liberal and enlarged, even in their most circumscribed researches.
After exciting expectation by a volume of such rare merit, the Society for a fifth of a century suspended its labors, except,
а. indeed, that in 1829 the History of New York by William Smith, with a continuation by the same author, which had so long remained in manuscript, was published under their direction. This silence was not the result of want of materials. These, it is understood, exist in abundance and at hand, and of the deepest interest. There is no one state in the Union which has not in its records many a tale of heroism and romance ; but attractions cluster round the bistory of New York, and give to it a variety, contrasts, a movement and life, such as no republic in the world could ever before boast of. The most cultivated nations of Europe vied with each other for the possession of its soil ; the dividing creeds of Christian parties disputed for the dominion of its mind; while the followers of Calvin were planting their churches along the Hudson, the disciples of Loyola were bearing the cross along the Mohawk, and building their chapels of bark on the waters of the Onondaga. The history of the Five Nations, the heroic race which held the keys to our country, long keeping possession of the head-springs of the Susquehannah and the Delaware, of the Hudson and the Ohio, all is included in the early history of New York, and, though fragmentarily narrated by Colden, yet in its early character is still imperfectly developed by any native historian. Colden wrote at a time when the rancor generated by the wars of the Reformation had not been appeased, and he could not do justice to the heroic fortitude of the Jesuit missionaries on the soil of New York. Charlevoix published his unsurpassed work at a time when the public in France was growing weary of the details of piety, and opinion was at strife with the old faith of the Roman church in the efficacy of its ordinances and the nature of its vows, when the world was more ready to scoff at self-renunciation as a folly, than to admire ardently the rapt enthusiasm of martyrs, and the sublime courage of men who braved the superstitions and dangers of the wilderness with no other protection than a prayer-book and a gown. But time has softened their asperities. The age of wars for religious creeds has passed away, and humanity may now busy herself impartially in gathering up the memorials of self-devotion, of daring, of mental greatness, of which the traces are left in Western New York, even though the statute-book of the colony forbade the continued presence of the Romish envoys on pain of death, and its historian breathed the prayer that the prohibition might be perpetual. Our acquaintance with the early events on the Mohawk, and west of it, has been limited by too great a dependence on English sources : from the compendious narrative of Du