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That is, Deucalion and Pyrrha performed the office by travelling over the country and picking up stones, which, as they cast them over their heads, became young people as they struck the earth.
We mean not to be understood that the exterior of the skin of people is not changed by climate, for this is very evident; but that the children of persons would be any lighter or darker, whose residence is in a climate different from that in which they were born, is what we deny, as in the former case. As astonishing as it may appear to the succinct reasoner, it is no less true, that Dr. Samuel Stanhope Smith has put forth an octavo book of more than 400 pages to prove the unity, as he expresses it, of the human race,' that is, that all were originally descended from one man. His reasoning is of this tenor : “The American and European sailor reside equally at the pole, and under the equator.” Then, in a triumphant air, he deniands—“Why then should we, without necessity, assume the hypothesis that originally there existed different species of the human kind ?"** What kind of argument is contained here we leave the reader to make out; and again, when he would prove that all the human family are of the same tribe, he says that negro slaves at the south, who live in white families, are gradually found to conform in features to the whites with whom they live!f Astonishing! and we wonder who, if any, knew this, beside the author. Again, and we have done with our extraordinary philosopher. He is positive that deformed or disfigured persons will, in process of time, produce offspring marked in the same way. That is, if a man practise flattening his nose, his offspring will have a flatter nose than he would have had, had his progenitor not flattened his; and so, if this offspring repeat the process, his offspring will have a less prominent nose ; and so on, until the nose be driven entirely off the face! In this, certainly, our author has taken quite a roundabout way to vanquish or put to flight a nose. We wish he could tell us how many ages or generations it would take to make this formidable conquest. Now, for any reason we can see to the contrary, it would be a much less tedious business to cut off a member at once, and thus accomplish the object in a short period; for to wait several generations for a fashion seems absurd in the extreme. A man must be monstrously blind to his prejudices, to maintain a doctrine like this. As well might he argue that colts would be tailless because it has long been the pi ictice to shorten the tails of horses, of both sexes; but we have never heard that colts' tails are in the least affected by this practice which has been perforn ed on the horse so long. I Certainly, if ever, we should think it time to discover something of it! Nor have we ever heard that a female child has ever been born with its ears bored, although its ancestors have endured the painful operation for many generations—and here we shall close our examination of Mr. Smith's 400 pages. 9
People delight in new theories, and often hazard a tolerable reputation for the sake of exhibiting their abilities upon a subject on which they have very vague, or no clear conceptions. Had Dr. Smith read the writings of Sir Thomas Brown, he could hardly have advanced such absurd opinions as we have before noticed; if, indeed, he were possessed of a san mind. Dr. Brown was of the age previous to that in which Buffon lived. In speaking of complexion, he says, “If the fervor of the sun were the sole cause hereof, in Ethiopia, or any land of negroes, it were also reasonable that inhabitants of the same latitude, subjected unto the same vicinity of the sain, the same diurnal arch and direction of its rays, should also partake of the same hue and complexion, which, notwithstanding, they do not. For the inhabitants of the same latitude in Asia are of a different complexion, as are the inhabitants of Cambogia and Java; insomuch that some conceive the vegro is properly a native of Africa; and that those places in Asia, inhabite il now by
* Smith on Complexion, N. Brunswick, N. J. 1810, p. 11.
+ Ibid. 170, 171. The author pleads not guilty to the charge of plagiarism ; for it was not until some months after the text was written, that he knew that even this idea bad occurred to any one. He has since read an extract very similar, in Dr. Lawrence's valuable Lectures on Zoology, &c.
On reflection, we have thought our remarks rather pointed, as Mr. Smith is not a living buibor; but what called them forth must be their apology.
Moors, are but the intrusions of negroes, arriving first from Africa, as we generally conceive of Madagascar, and the adjoining islands, who retain the same complexion unto this day. But this detect [of latitude upon complexjon) is more remarkable in America, which, although subjected unto both the tropics, yet are not the inhabitants black between, or near, or under either : neither to the southward in Brazil, Chili, or Peru; nor yet to the northward in Hispaniola, Castilia, del Oro, or Nicaragia. And although in many parts thereof, there be at present, swarms of negroes, serving under the Spaniard, yet were they all transported from Africa, since the discovery of Columbus, and are not indigenous, or proper natives of America.”
Hence it is evident, that 200 years before Dr. Sinith wrote, the notion that situation of place affected materially the color of the human species, was very justly set down among the “vulgar and common errors” of the tim' s.
Another theory, almost as wild, and quite as ridiculous, respecting the animals of America, as that advanced by Dr. S. S. Smith, seems here to present itself. We have reference to the well-known assertions of Buffon and Raynal, † two philosophers, who were an honor to the times of Franklin, which are, that man and other animals in America degenerate. I This bas been met in such a masterly manner by Mr. Jefferson, § that to repeat any ihing here would be entirely out of place, since it has been so often copied into works on both sides of the Atlantic. It may even be found in some of the best English Encyclopaedias.
Smith does not deal fairly with a passage of Voltaire, relating to the peo. pling of America; as he takes only a part of a sentence to comment upon. Perhaps he thought it as much as he was capable of managing. ** The complete sentence to which we refer we translate as follows:-“ There are found men and animals all over the babitable earth : who has put them upon it? We have already said, it is he who has made the grass grow in the fields; and we should be no more surprised to find in America men, than we should to find flies.” it We can discover no contradiction between this passage and another in a distant part of the same work; and which seems more like the passage Mr. Smith has cited :-“Some do not wish to believe that the cater. pillars and the snails of one part of the world should be originally from another part: wherefore be astonished, then, that there should be in America some kinds of animals, and some races of men like our own? "It
Voltaire has written upon the subject in a manner that will always be attracting, however much or little credence may be allowed to what he has written. We will, therefore, extract an entire article wherein he engages more professedly upon the question than in otl:er parts of his works, in which he has rather incidentally spoken upon it. The chapter is as follows: 99 — “Since many fail not to make systems upon the manner in which America has been peopled, it is left only for us to say, that he who created flies in those regions, created man there also. However pleasant it may be to dispute, it cannot be denied that the Supreme Being, who lives in all nature, ||| has created about the 48° two-legged animals without feathers, the color of whose skin is a mixture of white and carnation, with long beards approaching to red; about the line, in Africa and its islands, negroes without beards; and
*" Pseudodoxia Epidemica : or Inquiries into very many Received Tenents, and commonly received Truths; together with the RELIGIO MEDICí. By Thomas Brown, Kt. M. D.” Page 373, 6 edition, 410. London, 1672.
† Alter speaking of the effect of the climate of the old world in producing man and other animals in perfection, he adds, “Combien, au contraire, la nature paroît avoir neglige nouveau mond! Les hommes y sont moins forts, moins courageux; sans barbe et sans poil," &c.-Histoire Philos. des deux Indes, viji. 210. Ed, Geneva, 1781. 12 vols. 8vo.
# Voltaire does not say quite as much, hut savs this:-“ La nature enfin avait donné aux Americanes beaucoup moins d'industrie qu'aux hommes de l'ancien monde. Toutes ces causes ensemble ont pu nuire beaucoup à la population."—[Euvres, iv. 19.) This is, however, only m reference to the Indians.
In his Notes on Virginia, Quer. vii. || Perihensis, i. 637. (Art. AMER. 138.)
Samuel Smith, who published a history of New Jersey, in 1765, printed at Burlington. ** See Hist. N. J. 8. tt Essai sur les Moeurs et l'Esprit des Nations. (Cuvies, iv, 18.) It Ibid. 708.
DOEuvres, t. vii, 197, 198. WII Will the reader of this call Volluire an atheisi ?
in the same latitude, other negroes with beards, some of them having wool and some hair on their heads; and among them other animals quite white, baving neither hair nor wool, but a kind of white silk. It does not very clearly appear what should have prevented God from placing on another continent animals of the same species, of a copper color, in the same latitude in which, in Africa and Asia, they are found black; or even from making them without beards in the very same latitude in which others possess them. To what lengths are we carried by the rage for systems joined with the tyranny of prejudice! We see these animals; it is agreed that God has had the power to place them where they are ; yet it is not agreed that he has so placed them. The same persons who readily adınit that the beavers of Canada are of Canadian origin, assert that the men must have come there in boats, and that Mexico must have been peopied by some of the descendants of Magog. As well might it be said, that, if there be men in the moon, they must have been taken there by Astolpho on his bippogriff, when he went to setch Roland's senses, which were corked up in a bottle. If America had been discovered in bis time, and there had then been men in Europe systematie enough to have advanced, with the Jesuit Lafitau,* that the Caribbees descended from the inhabitants of Caria, and the Hurons from the Jews, he would have done well to have brought back the bottle containing the wits of these reasoners, which he would doubtless have found in the moon, along with those of Angelica's lover. The first thing done when an inhabited island is discovered in the Indian Ocean, or in the South Sea, is to inquire, Whence came these people ? but as for the trees and the tortoises, they are, without any hesitation, pronounced to be indigenous; as if it were more difficult for nature to make men than to make tortoises. One thing, however, which seems to countenance this system, is, that there is scarcely an island in the eastern or western ocean, which does not contain jugglers, quacks, knaves, and fools. This, it is probable, gave rise to the opinion, that these animals are of the same race with ourselves."
Some account of what the Indians themselves have said upon the subject of their origin may be very naturally looked for in this place. Their notions in this respect can no more be relied upon than the fabled stories of the gods in ancient mythology. Indeed, their accounts of primitive inhabitants do not agree beyond their own neighborhood, and often disagree with themselves at different times. Some say their ancestors came from the north, others from the north-west, others from the east, and others from the west; some from the regions of the air, and some from under the earth. Hence to raise any theory upon any thing coming from them upon the subject, would show only that the theorist himself was as ignorant as his informants. We might as well ask the forest trees how they came planted upon the soil in which they grow. Not that the Indians are unintelligent in other affairs, any further than the necessary consequence growing out of their situation implies; nor are they less so than many who have written upon their history.
“In one grave maxim let us all agree
Nature ne'er meant her secrets should be found.
Paine's Ruling Passion.
The different notions of the Indians will be best gathered from their lives in their proper places in the following work.
Dr. S. L. Milchill, of New York, a man who wrote learnedly, if not widely, on almost every subject, has, in his opinion, like hundreds before him, set the great question, Horo was America peopled ? at rest. He has no doubt but the Îndians, in the first place, are of the same color originally as the north-eastern nations of Asia, and hence sprung from them. What time he settles them in the country he does not tell us, but gets them into Greenland about the year 8 or 900. Thinks he saw the Scandinavians as far as the shores of the St. Lawrence, but what time this was he does not say. He must of course make
He wrule a history of the savages of Ainerica, and maintamed that the Caribbee lan guage was radically llebrew.
[Book I. these people the builders of the mounds scattered all over the western country. After all, we apprehend the doctor would have short time for his emigrants to do all that nature and art have done touching these matters. In the first place, it is evident that many ages passed away from the time these tumuli were begun until they were finished : 2d, a multitude of ages must have passed since the use for which they were reared has been known; for trees of the age of 200 years grow from the ruins of others which must have had as great age: and, 3d, no Indian nation or tribe has the least tradition concerning them.* This could not have happened had the ancestors of the present Indians been the erectors of them, in the nature of things. †
The observation of an author in Dr. Rees's Encyclopedia, f although saying no more than has been already said in our synopsis, is, nevertheless, so happy, that we should not feel clear to omit it:-“ As to those who pretend that the human race has only of late found its way into America, by crossing the sea at Kamschatka, or the Straits of Tschutski, either upon the fields of ice or in canoes, they do not consider that this opinion, besides that it is extremely difficult of comprehension, has not the least tendency to diminish the prodigy; for it would be surprising indeed that one half of our planet should have remained without inhabitants during thousands of years, while the other half was peopled. What renders this opinion less probable is, that America is supposed in it to have had animals, since we cannot bring those species of animals from the old world which do not exist in it, as those of the tapir, the glama, and the tajactu. Neither can we admit of the recent organization of inatter for the western hemisphere; because, independently of the accumulated difficulties in this hypothesis, and which can by no means be solved, we shall observe, that the fossil bones discovered in so many parts of America, and at such small depths, prove that certain species of animals, so far from having been recently organized, have been annibilated a long while ago."
Before we had known, that, if we were in error, it was in the company of philosophers, such as we have in this chapter introduced to our readers, we lelt a hesitancy in avowing our opinions upon a matter of so great moment. But, after all, as it is only inatter of honest opinion, no one should be intolerant, although he may be allowed to make himself and even his friends merry at our expense. When, in the days of Chrysostom, some ventured to assert their opinions of the rotundity of the earth, that learned father “ did laugh at them.” Ş And, when science shall have progressed sufficiently, (if it be possible,) to settle this question, there is a possibility that the Chrysostoms of these days will not have the same excuse for their infidelity. But as it is a day of prodigies, there is some danger of treating lightly even the most seemingly absurd conjectures. We therefore feel very safe, and more especially as it required considerable hardihood to laugh even at the theory of the late Mr. Symmes.
When we lately took up a book entitled “ Researches, Philosophical and Antiquarian, concerning the Aboriginal History of America, by J. H. M'Culloh, Jr. N. D.” || we did think, from the imposing appearance of it
, that some new matters on the subject bad been discovered; and more particularly when we read in the preface, that “ his first object was to explain the origin of the men and animals of America, so far as that question is involved with the apparent physical impediments that have so long kept the subject in total obscurity.” Now, with what success this has been done, to do the author justice, he shall speak for himself, and the reader then may judge for himself.
“ Before we attempt to explain in what manner the men and animals of America reached this continent, it is necessary to ascertain, if possible, the circumstances of their original creation ; for upon this essential particular depends the great interest of our present investigation. (We are not able to discover that he has said any thing further upon it.] It must be evident that we can arrive at no satisfactory conclusion, if it be doubtful whether the Creator of the universe made man and the animals but in one locality, from
* Or none but such as are at variance with all history and rationality.
whence they were dispersed over the earth ; or whether he created them in each of those various situations where we now find them living. So far as this inquiry respects mankind, there can be no reasonable ground to doubt the one origin of the species. This fact may be proved both physically and morally. (If the reader can discover any thing that amounts to proof in what follows, he will have made discovery that we could not.] That man, notwithstanding all the diversities of their appearance, are but of one species, is a truth now universally admitted by every physiological naturalist. [That is, notwithstanding a negro be black, an Indian brown, a European white, still, they are all men. And then follows a quotation from Doctor Lawrence* to corroborate the fact that men are all of one species.] It is true, this physiologist does not admit that the human species had their origi:) but from one pair; for he observes, the same species might have been creato 1 at the same time in very different parts of the earth. But when we have analyzed the moral history of mankind, to which Mr. Lawrence seems to have paid little attention, (and if our author has done it, we would thank him to show us where we can find it,] we find such strongly-marked analogies in abstract matters existing among nations the most widely separated from each other, that we cannot doubt there has been a time, when the whole human family have intimately participated in one common system of things, whether it be of truth or of error, of science or of prejudice. [This does not at all agree with what he says afterwards, “We have been unable to discern any traces of Asiatic or of European civilization in America prior to the discovery of Columbus.' And again : 'In comparing the barbarian nations of America with those of the eastern continent, we perceive no points of resemblance between them, in their moral institutions or in their babits, that are not apparently founded in the necessities of human life.' If, then, there is no affinity, other than what would accidentally happen from similar circumstances, wherefore this prating about strongly-marked analogies,' &c. just copied?] As respects the origin of animals, (we have given his best proofs of the origin of man and their transportation to America,] the subject is much more refractory. We find them living all over the surface of the earth, and suited by their physical conformity to a great variety of climates and peculiar localities. Every one will admit the impossibility of ascertaining the history of their original creation from the mere natural history of the animals themselves.” Now, as “ refractory” as this subject is, we did not . xpect to see it falsiered off upon a miracle, because this was the easy and convenient manner in which the superstitious of every age accounted for every thing which they at once could not comprehend. And we do not expect, when it is gravely announced, that a discovery in any science is to be shown, that the undertaker is going to tell us it is accomplished by a miracle, and that, therefore," he knows not why he should called upon to answer objections," &c.
As it would be tedious to the reader, as well as incompatible with our plan, to quote larger from Mr. M'Culloh's book, we shall finish with him after a few remarks.
We do not object to the capacity of the ark for all animals, but we do object to its introduction in the question undertaken by Mr. M'Culloh; for every child knows that affair to have been miraculous; and is any part of the question depended upon the truth or falsity of a miracle, why plague the world with a book of some 500 pages, merely to promulgate such a belief, when a sentence would be all that is required? No one, that admits an overruling power, or the existence of God, will doubt of his ability to create a myriad of men, animals, and all matter, by a breath; or that an ark ten feet square could contain, comfortably, ten thousand men, as well as one of the dimensions given in Scripture to contain what that did. Therefore, if one in these days should make a book expressly to explain the cause of the different lengths of days, or the changes of the seasons, and find, after he had written a vast deal, that he could in no wise unravel the mystery, and, to close his account, declares it was all a miracle, such an author would be precisely in the predicament of Mr. M Culloh.
The celebrated author of Lectures on Physiology, Zoology, and the Natural History of Mun