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occupied the place where dry land now appears; and that the ground has been suddenly raised at various periods. What a change would it make in the country below, should the mountains at Niagara, by any accident, be cleft asunder, and a passage suddenly opened to drain off the waters of Erie and the upper lakes! While ruminating on these subjects, I have often been hurried away by fancy, and led to imagine, that what is now the bay of Mexico, was once a champaign country; and that from the point or cape of Florida, there was a continued range of mountains through Cuba, Hispaniola, Porto Rico, Martinique, Guadaloupe, Barbadoes, and Trinidad, till it reached the coast of America, and formed the shores which bouuded the ocean, and guarded the country behind; that by some convulsion or shock of nature, the sea had broken through these mounds, and deluged that vast plain, till it reached the foot of the Andes; that being there heaped up by the trade winds, always blowing from one quarter, it had found its way back, as it continues to do, through the Gulf between Florida and Cuba, carrying with it the loom and sand it may have scooped from the country it had occupied, part of which it may have deposited on the shores of North America, and with part formed the banks of Newfoundland. But these are only the visions of fancy.
(3.) p. 283. There is a plant, or weed, called the Jamestown weed,* of a very singular quality. The late Dr. Bond informed me, that he had under his care a patient, a young girl, who had put the seeds of this plant into her eye, which dilated the pupil to such a degree, that she could see in the dark, but in the light was almost blind. The effect that the leaves had when eaten by a ship's crew that arrived at Jamestown, are well known.f
(4.) p. 312. Monsieur Buffon has indeed given an afflicting picture of human nature in his description of the man of America. But sure I am there never was a picture more unlike the original. He grants indeed that his stature is the same as that of the man of Europe. He might have admitted, that the Iro
* Datura pericarpiis erectis ovatis. Linn.
f An instance of temporary imbecility produced by them is mentioned, Bcverl. H. of Virg. b. 2, c. 4.
quois were larger, and the Lenopi, or Delawares, taller than people in Europe generally are. But he says their organs of generation are smaller and weaker than those of Europeans. Is this a fact? I believe not; at least it is an observation I never heard before.—"They have no beard." Had he known the pains and trouble it costs the men to pluck out by the roots the hair that grows on their faces, he would have seen that nature had not been deficient in that respect. Every nation has its customs. I have seen an Indian beau, with a looking-glass in his hand, examining his face for hours together, and plucking out by the roots every hair he could discover, with a kind of tweezer made of a piece of fine brass wire, that had been twisted round a stick, and which he used with great dexterity.—" They have no ardor for their females." It is true they do not indulge those excesses, nor discover that fondness which is customary in Europe ; but this is not owing to a defect in nature but to manners. Their soul is wholly bent upon war. This is what procures them glory among the men, and makes them the admiration of the women. To this they are educated from their earliest youth. When they pursue game with ardor, when they bear the fatigues of the chase, when they sustain and suffer patiently hunger and cold ; it is not so much for the sake of the game they pursue, as to convince their parents and the council of the nation that they are fit to be enrolled in the number of the warriors. The songs of the women, the dance of the warriors, the sage counsel of the chiefs, the tales of the old, the triumphal entry of the warriors returning with success from battle, and the respect paid to those who distinguish themselves in war, and in subduing their enemies ; in short, everything they see or hear tends to inspire them with an ardent desire for military fame. If a young man were to discover a fondness for women before he has been to war, he would become the contempt of the men, and the scom and ridicule of the women. Or were he to indulge himself with a captive taken in war, and much more were he to offer violence in order to gratify his lust, he would incur indelible disgrace. The seeming frigidity of the men, therefore, is the effect of manners, and not a defect of nature. Besides, a celebrated warrior is oftener courted by the females, than he has occasion to court; and this is a point of honor which the men aim at. Instances similar to that of Ruth and Boaz* are not uncommon among them. For though the women are modest and diffident, and so bashful that they seldom lift up their eyes, and scarce ever look a man full in the face, yet, being brought up in great subjection, custom and manners reconcile them to modes of acting, which, judged of by Europeans, would be deemed inconsistent with the rules of female decorum and propriety. I once saw a young widow, whose husband, a warrior, had died about eight days before, hastening to finish her grief, and who, by tearing her hair, beating her breast, and drinking spirits, made the tears flow in great abundance, in order that she might grieve much in a short space of time, and be married that evening to another young warrior. The manner in which this was viewed by the men and women of the tribe, who stood round, silent and solemn spectators of the scene, and the indifference with which they answered my question respecting it, convinced me that it was no unusual custom. I have known men advanced in years, whose wives were old and past child-bearing, take young wives, and have children, though the practice of polygamy is not common. Does this savor of frigidity, or want of ardor for the female? Neither do they seem to be deficient in naturalaffection. I have seen both fathers and mothers in the deepest affliction, when their children have been dangerously ill; though I believe the affection is stronger in the descending than the ascending scale, and though custom forbids a father to grieve immoderately for a son slain in battle. "That they are timorous and cowardly," is a character with which there is little reason to charge them, when we recollect the manner in which the
Iroquois met Monsieur , who marched into their country •
in which the old men, who scorned to fly, or to survive the capture of their town, braved death, like the old Romans in the time of the Gauls, and in which they soon after revenged them
• When Boaz had eaten and drank, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn; and Ruth came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down. Ruth, iii. 7. Vol. Viii. 28
selves by sacking and destroying Montreal. But above all, the unshaken fortitude with which they bear the most excruciating tortures and death when taken prisoners, ought to exempt them from that character. Much less are they to be characterized as a people of no vivacity, and who are excited to action or motion only by the calls of hunger and thirst. Their dances in which they so much delight, and which to an European would be the most severe exercise, fully contradict this, not to mention their fatiguing marches, and the toil they voluntarily and cheerfully undergo in their military expeditions. It is true, that when at home, they do not employ themselves in labor or the culture of the soil; but this again is the effect of customs and manners, which have assigned that to the province of the women. But it is said, they are averse to society and a social life. Can anything be more inapplicable than this to a people who always live in towns or clans? Or can they be said to have no "republic,'' who conduct all their affairs in national councils, who pride themselves in their national character, who consider an insult or injury done to an individual by a stranger as done to the whole, and resent it accordingly? In short, this picture is not applicable to any nation of Indians I have ever known or heard of in North America.
(5.) p. 340. As far as I have been able to learn, the country from the sea coast to the Alleghany, and from the most southern waters of James river up to Patuxen river, now in the State of Maryland, was occupied by three different nations of Indians, each of which spoke a different language, and were under separate and distinct governments. What the original or real names of those nations were, I have not been able to learn with certainty ; but by us they are distinguished by the names of Powhatans, Mannahoacs, and Monacans, now commonly called Tuscaroras. The Powhatans, who occupied the country from the sea shore up to the falls of the rivers, were a powerful nation, and seem to have consisted of seven tribes, five on the western and two on the eastern shore. Each of these tribes was subdivided into towns, families, or clans, who lived together. All the nations of Indians in North America lived in the hunter state, and depended for subsistence on hunting, fishing, and the spontaneous fruits of the earth, and a kind of grain which was planted and gathered by the women, and is now known by the name of Indian corn. Long potatoes, pumpkins of various kinds, and squashes, were also found in use among them. They had no flocks, herds, or tamed animals of any kind. Their government is a kind of patriarchal confederacy. Every town or family has a chief, who is distinguished by a particular title, and whom we commonly call " Sachem." The several towns or families that compose a tribe, have a chief who presides over it, and the several tribes composing a nation have a chief who presides over the whole nation. These chiefs are generally men advanced in years, and distinguished by their prudence and abilities in council. The matters which merely regard a town or family are settled by the chief and principal men of the town; those which regard a tribe, such as the appointment of head warriors or captains, and settling differences between different towns and families, are regulated at a meeting or council of the chiefs from the several towns ; and those which regard the whole nation, such as the making war, concluding peace, or forming alliances with the neighboring nations, are deliberated on and determined in a national council composed of the chiefs of the tribe, attended by the head warriors and a number of the chiefs from the towns, who are his counsellors. In every town there is a council house, where the chief and old men of the town assemble, when occasion requires, and consult what is proper to be done. Every tribe has a fixed place for the chiefs of *he towns to meet and consult on the business of the tribe; and in every nation there is what they call the central council house, or central council fire, where the chiefs of the several tribes, with the principal warriors, convene to consult and determine on their national affairs. When any matter is proposed in the national council, it is common for the chiefs of the several tribes to consult thereon apart with their counsellors, and when they have agreed, to deliver the opinion of the tribe at the national council; and, as their government seems to rest wholly on persuasion, they endeavor, by mutual concessions, to obtain unanimity. Such is