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tered places, vegetation travels upwards to the more exposed; and the young plants are protected, and to a certain degree fashioned, by those that have preceded them. The continuous mass of foliage which would be thus produced, is broken by rocks, or by glades or open places, where the browzing of animals has prevented the growth of wood. As vegetation ascends, the winds begin also to bear their part in moulding the forms of the trees; but, thus mutually protected, trees, though not of the hardiest kind, are enabled to climb high up the mountains. Gradually, however, by the quality of the ground, and by increasing exposure, a stop is put to their ascent; the hardy trees only are left; these also, by little and little, give way,—and a wild and irregular boundary is established, graceful in its outline, and never contemplated without some feeling more or less distinct of the powers of nature by which it is imposed.
“Contrast the liberty that encourages, and the law that limits, this joint work of nature and time, with the disheartening necessities, restrictions, and disadvantages, under which the artificial planter must proceed, even he whom long observation and fine feeling have best qualified for his task. In the first place his trees, however well chosen and adapted to their several situations, must generally all start at the same time, and this circumstance would of itself prevent that fine connection of parts, that sympathy and organization, if I may so express myself, which pervades the whole of a natural wood, and appears to the eye in its single trees, its masses of foliage, and their various colours when they are held up to view on the side of a mountain; or, when spread over a valley, they are looked down upon
from an eminence. It is then impossible, under any circumstances, for the artificial planter to rival the beauty of nature." (P. 297—299.)
We always leave Mr. Wordsworth with regret, but on no occasion have we left him with so much regret as on the present. He has touched in these poems some of the finest springs of natural pathos; and we do really think that there is enough in the collection before us to fix the wreath upon his brows too firmly to be torn off by his own hands in any of his fits of prosaic depression, or temporary rage for simplicity.
ART. III.-A Discourse on the Religion of the Indian Tribes of
North America, delivered before the New York Historical Society.
By Samuel Farmar Jarvis, D.D. . 8vo. New York, 1820. THE Historical Society of New York was incorporated in the year 1809, for the purpose of discovering, procuring, and preserving whatever relates to the natural, civil, and ecclesiastical history of the American Union generally, and of the state of New York in particular. In 1894 this society received
from the legislature of that state, a grant of fifty thousand dollars, and an annuity of five hundred. Thus patronized and endowed, it has been laudably occupied in promoting the design for which it was instituted: its library contains nearly nine thousand volumes, principally relative to American history and literature; and in March, 1817, the society passed a law for the establishment of lectureships on zoology, geology, botany, vegetable physiology, mineralogy and natural philosophy. Of its publications, two volumes of historical “ Collections” only have reached this country; they are chiefly filled with extracts from the journals of the early navigators, who first visited the continent of North America; and they also contain some of the discourses delivered at the anniversary meetings of the society.
At the annual meeting of 1819, the Rev. Dr. Jarvis, who holds the office of Professor of Biblical Literature in the Theological Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the United States, delivered the discourse now under consideration, which we seize the earliest opportunity of bringing before our readers, on account of the very interesting nature of the subject discussed in it, which (he truly remarks) has not been viewed with that largeness of observation which is the characteristic of enlightened philosophy. Various causes, indeed, may be mentioned, which have hitherto conspired to prevent, or to impede, an examination into the religion of the Indian tribes of North America. In the first place the horror, proceeding from the cruelties of their warfare, forbade the calmness of investigation. As long as those tribes were formidable, curiosity was overpowered by terror: and there was neither leisure, nor inclination, to contemplate their character as a portion of the human family, “ while the glare of conflagration reddened the midnight sky, and the yells of the savage, mingled with the shrieks of butchered victims, rode as portentous messengers, upon every gale.” But although that state of things has long since ceased to exist, the contempt which has succeeded to fear in the minds of the Anglo-Americans, has operated in some degree to prevent or to retard inquiry into the religion of the native tribes. The Indians' themselves also are not communicative on this subject: and it requires much familiar and unsuspected observation to obtain any knowledge respecting it. Hence many, who have been transiently resident among them, have very confidently pronounced that they have no religion ; an assertion, which subsequent and more accurate travellers have shown to be entirely unfounded. Again, those writers on whom we rely for information, have either been too little informed to know what they should observe, or they have been
influenced by peculiar modes of thinking, which have given a tinge to all they have said upon the subject. Thus, our countryman, Adair, who had the greatest opportunities of obtaining knowledge, from forty years' residence among the Indian tribes of North America, has rendered his “ History of the American Indians” comparatively of little use, by adopting the theory that they are descended from the ten tribes of Israel. Every thing is made subservient to this hypothesis; and the philosophic reader is led to suspect the fidelity of his statements, on finding that his judgment had lost its equipoise, and that he has seen everything through a discoloured medium.*
Among other arguments adduced by Adair for the identity of the North American Indians with the Hebrews, he has laid much stress upon the supposed use of the Hebrew words Jehovah and Hallelujah among the Indians. But Dr. Jarvis has shown, that as to the former word the fact is not certain; and that, even supposing the latter to be uttered, it proves nothing, as the ancient Greeks had a similar acclamation. All such arguments are extremely unsatisfactory, and can weigh nothing in opposition to the facts, that the American languages have no affinity with the Hebrew; that the Indians have not the least knowledge of written characters; that none of them practise the rite of circumcision; and that there are no traces among them of the observation of the sabbath. To these facts it may be added, that while the nation of Israel has been wonderfully preserved, the Indians are nearly exterminated. The Israelites will, hereafter, be restored to the land of their forefathers; but this event must speedily arrive, or the unhappy tribes of America cannot participate in it. A few years more, and they will be beyond the capability of migration. The question therefore, with regard to the immediate origin of the American Indians, must, at least for the present, remain in the uncertainty which hangs over it.
Dr. Jarvis arranges his disquisition, on the Religion of the American Indians, under the following heads : viz. The Supreme Being,—A future State of Rewards and Punishments, Expiatory Sacrifices for Sin,-their Priesthood,—and their Jongleurs or Jugglers.
I. Of the Supreme Being. They acknowledge One Supreme Being, whom they denominate the Great Spirit, or the Master of Life, the Creator and the Governor of the World. According to Charlevoix, the Hurons call him Areskoui, and the Iroquois, by a slight variation, Agreskoué. He is with them the God of War: his name they invoke as they march. It is the signal to engage, and it is the war-cry in the hottest of the battle.
* The hypothesis of Adair was revived in 1816 by Dr. Elias Boudinot, in an ingenious and well-written volume, published at Trenton (New Jersey), intitled, “ The Star in the West, or a bumble Attempt to discover the long-lost ten Tribes of Israel, preparatory to their Retarn to their beloved City, Jerusalein," 12mo
But, besides the Supreme Being, they believe in an infinite number of subaltern spirits, who are the objects of worship, and whom they divide into good and bad. The good spirits are called, by the Hurons, Okkis, and by the Algonquins, Mannittos; they suppose them to be the guardians of men, and that each has his own tutelary deity. In fact, with them, every thing in nature has its spirit, though all have not the same rank, nor the same influence. The animals they hunt have their spirits. If they do not understand any thing, they immediately say, It is a spirit. If any man performs a remarkable exploit or exhibits extraordinary talents, he is said to be a spirit; or, in other words, his tutelary deity is supposed to be of more than ordinary power.
“ It is remarkable, however, that these tutelary deities are not supposed to take men under their protection till something has been done to merit the favour. A parent, who wishes to obtain a guardian spirit for his child, first blackens his face, and then causes him to fast for several days. During this time it is expected that the spirit will reveal himself in a dream; and on this account, the child is anxiously examined every morning with regard to the visions of the preceding night. Whatever the child happens to dream of the most frequently, even if it happen to be the head of a bird, the foot of an animal, or any thing of the niost worthless nature, becomes the symbol or figure ander whiclı the Okki reveals hinself. With this figure, in the conceptions of his votary, the spirit becomes identified; the image is preserved with the greatest care-is the constant companion on all great and important occasions, and the constant object of consultation and worship.” (P. 22.)
Mr. Heckewelder describes the same custom under the name of Initiation of Boys,
—a practice,” he says, “ which is very common among the Indians, and indeed is universal among those nations that I have become acquainted with. By certain methods they put the mind of a boy in a state of perturbation, so as to excite dreams and visions; by means of which they pretend that the boy receives instructions from certain spirits or unknown agents as to his conduct in life, that he is informed of his future destination and of the wonders he is to perform in his future career through the world.
“ When a boy is to be thus initiated, he is put under an alternate course of physic and fasting, either taking no food whatever, or swallowing the most powerful and nauseous medicines, and occasionally he is made to drink decoctions of an intoxicating nature, until his mind
becomes sufficiently bewildered, so that he sees or fancies that he sees visions, and has extraordinary dreams, for which, of course, he has been prepared before hand. He will fancy himself flying through the air, walking under ground, stepping from one ridge or hill to the other across the valley beneath, fighting and conquering giants and monsters, and defeating whole hosts by his single arm. Then he has interviews with the Mannitto or with spirits, who inform him of what he was before he was born and what he will be after his death. His fate in this life is laid entirely open before him, the spirit tells him what is to be his future employment, whether he will be a valiant warrior, a mighty hunter, a doctor, a conjurer, or a prophet. There are even those who learn or pretend to learn in this way the time and manner of their death.
“ When a boy has been thus initiated, a name is given to him analogous to the visions that he has seen, and to the destiny that is supposed to be prepared for him. The boy, imagining all that happened to him while under perturbation, to have been real, sets out in the world with lofty notions of himself, and animated with courage for the most desperate undertakings."* This practice of blackening the
face and fasting, together with the use of emetics, as a system of religious purification, for the purpose of obtaining a guardian spirit, appears to have existed formerly among the natives of Virginia and New England; though the first settlers were not always able to ascertain the real object of the ceremonies which they beheld. Dr. Jarvis has collected some curious instances from their narratives, for which we have not room.
“ As soon as a child is informed what is the nature or form of his protecting deity, he is carefully instructed in the obligations he is under to do bim homage-to follow his advice communicated in dreams-to deserve his favours—to confide implicitly in his care--and to dread the consequences of his displeasure. For this reason, when the Huron or the Iroquois goes to baitle or to the chase, the image of his okki is as carefully carried with him as his arms.t At night, each one places his guardian idol on the palisades surrounding the camp, with the face turned from the quarter to which the warriors, or hunters, are about to march. He then prays to it for an hour, as he does also in the morning before he continues his course. This homage performed, he lies down to rest, and sleeps in tranquillity, fully persuaded that his spirit
* Heckewelder's Historical Account of the Indian Nations, pp. 238, 239. Of this very curious and authentic work, the reader will find some account in the British Review, vol. xiv. pp. 247-266.
+ In 1584, when Virginia was first discovered, the captain of one of the vessels sent by Sir Walter Raleigh, states, concerning the inhabitants of the Island of Roanoak, that “ within the place where they feede was their lodging, and within that their Idoll
, which they worship, of whome they speak incredible things.” Hakluyt, vol. 3, p. 249, 410. Lond. 1600. “When they goe to warres they carry about with them their idol, of whom they aske counsel, as the Romans were wont of the oracle of Apollo. They sing songs as they marche towardes the battell instead of drummes," &c. Ibid. p. 250.