Page images

from a variety among the Tartars themfelves. The fine race of Tfchutfki feem to be the ftock from which thofe Americans are derived. The Tschutski, again, from that fine race of Tartars the Kabardinski, or inhabitants of Kabarda.

"But about Prince William's Sound begins a race chiefly distinguished by their drefs, their canoes, and their inftruments of the chace, from the tribes to the fouth of them. Here commences the Efquimaux people, or the race known by that name in the high latitudes of the eastern fide of the continent. They may be divided into two varieties. At this place they are of the largeft fize. As they advance northward they decrease in height, till they dwindle into the dwarfish tribes which occupy fome of the coafts of the Icy Sea, and the maritime parts of Hudson's Bay, of Greenland, and Terra de Labrador. The famous Japanese map places fome islands feemingly within the Straits of Behring, on which is bestowed the title of Ya Zue, or the Kingdom of the Dwarfs. Does not this in fome manner authenticate the chart, and give us reason to fuppose that America was not unknown to the Japanese; and that they had (as is mentioned by Kämpfer and Charlevoix) made voyages of difcovery, and according to the laft, actually wintered on the continent? That they might have met with the Efquimaux is very probable; whom, in comparison of themselves, they might justly distinguish by the name of dwarfs. The reason of their low ftature is very obvious: thefe dwell in a most severe climate, amidst penury of food; the former in one much more favourable, abundant in provifions; circumftances that tend to prevent the degeneracy of the human frame., At the ifland of Oonalafcha, a dialect of the Efquimaux is in ufe, which was continued along the whole coaft from thence northward."

The continent which stocked America with the human race poured in the brute creation through the fame paffage. Very few quadrupeds continued in the peninfula of Kamtfchatka; Mr. Pennant enumerates only 25 which are inhabitants of land: all the reft perfifted in their migration, and fixed their refidence in the New World. Seventeen of the Kamtfchatkan quadrupeds are found in America: others are common only to Siberia or Tartary, having, for unknown causes, entirely ated Kamtfchatka, and divided themfelves between America and the parts of Afia above cited. Multitudes again have deferted the Old World even to an individual, and fixed their feats at diftances moft remote from the spot from which they took their departure; from mount Ararat, the refting place of the ark, in a central part of the Old World, and excellently adapted for the difperfion of the animal creation to all its parts. We need not be ftartled (fays Mr. Pennant) at the vast



journeys many of the quadrupeds took to arrive at their prefent feats. Might not numbers of fpecies have found a convenient abode in the vast Alps of Afia, instead of wandering to the Cordilleras of Chili? or might not others have been contented with the boundlefs plains of Tartary, inftead of travelling thoufands of miles to the extenfive flats of Pampas ?To endeavour to elucidate common difficulties is certainly a trouble worthy of the philofopher and of the divine; not to attempt it would be a criminal indolence, a neglect to

"Vindicate the ways of God to man."

But there are multitudes of points beyond the human ability to explain, and yet are truths undeniable: the facts are indifputable, notwithstanding the caufes are concealed. In fuch cafes, faith must be called in to our relief. It would certainly be the height of folly to deny to that Being who broke open the great fountains of the deep to effect the deluge-and afterwards, to compel the difperfion of mankind to people the globe, directed the confufion of languages-powers inferior in their nature to thefe. After thefe wondrous proofs of Omnipotency, it will be abfurd to deny the poffibility of infufing inftinct into the brute cretion. Deus eft anima brutorum; "God himself is the foul of brutes:" His pleasure must have determined their will, and directed several species, and even the whole genera, by impulse irresistible, to move by flow progreffion to their defined regions. But for that, the Lama and the Pacos might ftill have inhabited the heights of Armenia and some more neighbouring Alps, inftead of labouring to gain the diftant Peruvian Andes ; the whole genus of armadillos, flow of foot, would never have quitted the torrid zone of the Old World for that of the New; and the whole tribe of monkeys would have gamboled together in the forefts of India, instead of dividing their refidence between the fhades of Indottan and the deep forests of the Brafils. Lions and tigers might have infefted the hot parts of the New World, as the first do.the defarts of Africa, and the laft the provinces of Afia; or the pantherine animals of South America might have remained additional fcourges with the favage beafts of thofe ancient continents. The Old World would have been overftocked with animals; the New remained an unanimated wafte! or both have contained an equal portion of every beat of the earth. Let it not be objected, that animals bred in a fouthern climate, after the defcent of their parents from the ark, would be unable to bear the froft and fnow of the rigorous north, before they reached South America, the place of their final deftination. It must be confidered, that the migration muft have been the work of ages; that in the course of their progress each No. III. X generation

generation grew hardened to the climate it had reached; and that after their arrival in America they would again be gradually accustomed to warmer and warmer climates, in their removal from north to fouth, as they had in the reverfe, or from fouth to north. Part of the tigers ftill inhabit the eternal fnows of Ararat, and multitudes of the very fame fpecies live, but with exalted rage, beneath the line, in the burning foil of Borneo or Sumatra; but neither lions or tigers ever migrated into the New World. A few of the first are found in India and Perfia, but they are found in numbers only in Africa. The tiger extends as far north as western Tartary, in lat 40. 50. but never has reached Africa.”

In fine, the conjectures of the learned respecting the vicinity of the Old and New, are now, by the discoveries of our great navigators, loft in conviction; and, in the place of imaginary hypothefes, the real place of migration is uncontrovertibly pointed out. Some (from a paffage in Plato; have extended over the Atlantic, from the ftraits of Gibraltar to the coast of North and South America, an island equal in fize to the continents of Afia and Africa; over which had paffed, as over a bridge, from the latter, men and animals; wool-headed negroes, and lions and tigers, none of which ever existed in the New World. A mighty fea arofe, and in one day and night engulphed this ftupendous tract, and with it every being which had not completed its migration into America. The whole negro race, and almost every quadruped, now inhabitants of Africa, perished in this critical day. Five only are to be found at prefent in America; and of thefe only one, the bear, in South America: Not a fingle cuftom, common to the natives of Africa and America, to evince a common origin. Of the quadrupeds, the bear, ftag, wolf, fox, and weefel, are the only animals which we can pronounce with certainty to be found on each continent. The flag, fox, and weefel, have made alfo no farther progress in Africa than the north; but on the fame continent the wolf is fpread over every part, yet is unknown in South America, as are the fox and weefel. In Africa and South America the bear is very local, being met with only in the north of the first, and on the Andes in the laft. Some cause unknown arrested its progress in Africa, and impelled the migration of a few into the Chilian Alps, and induced them to leave unoccupied the vaft tract from North America to the lofty Cordilleras.

Allufions have often been made to fome remains on the continent of America, of a more polished and cultivated people, when compared with the tribes which poffeffed it on its firft discovery by Europeans. Mr. Barton, in his Obfervations on fome parts of Natural Hiftory, Part I. has collected the fcattered hints of Kalm, Carver, and fome others, and has


added a plan of a regular work, which has been discovered on the banks' of the Muskingum, near its junction with the Ohio. These remains are principally ftone-walls, large mounds of earth, and a combination of thefe mounds with the walls, fufpected to have been fortifications. In fome places the ditches and the fortrefs are faid to have been plainly feen; in others, furrows, as if the land had been ploughed.

The mounds of earth are of two kinds: they are artificial tumuli, defigned as repofitories for the dead; or they are of a greater fize, for the purpose of defending the adjacent country; and with this view they are artificially conftructed, or advantage is taken of the natural eminences, to raise them into a fortification.

The remains near the banks of the Muskingum, are fituated about one mile above the junction of that river with the Ohio, and 160 miles below Fort Pitt. They confist of a number of walls and other elevations, of ditches, &c. altogether occupying a fpace of ground about 300 perches in length, and from about 150 to 25 or 20 in breadth. The town, as it has been called, is a large level, encompaffed by walls, nearly in the form of a fquare, the fides of which are from 96 to 86 perches in length. These walls are, in general, about 10 feet in height above the level on which they stand, and about 20 feet in diameter at the base, but at the top they are much narrower; they are at present overgrown with vegetables of different kinds, and, among others, with trees of feveral feet diameter. The chafms, or opening in the walls, were probably intended for gate-ways: they are three in number at each fide, befides the smaller openings in the angles. Within the walls there are three elevations, each about fix feet in height, with regular ascents to them; thefe elevations confiderably resemble fome of the eminer.ces already mentioned, which have been discovered near the river Miffiffippi. This author's opinion is, That the Tolticas, or fome other Mexican nation, were the people to whom the mounts and fortifications, which he has defcribed, owe their existence; and that thofe people were probably the descendants of the Danes. The former part of this conjecture is thought probable, from the fimilarity of the Mexican mounts and fortifications defcribed by the Abbé Clavigero, and other authors, to those defcribed by our author; and from the tradition of the Mexicans, that they came from the north-weft: for, if we can rely on the teftimony of late travellers, fortifications fimilar to those mentioned by Mr. Barton have been discovered as far to the north as Lake Pepin; and won hid them, as we approach to the fouth, even as low as the coafts of The fecond part of our author's conjecture appears not fo well fuppo.


X, 2



This vaft country produces most of the metals, minerals, plants, fruits, trees, and wood, to be met with in the other parts of the world, and many of them in greater quantities and high perfection. The gold and filver of America have fupplied Europe with fuch immenfe quantities of thofe valuable metals, that they are become vaftly more common; fo that the gold and filver of Europe now bears little proportion to the high price fet upon them before the difcovery of America.

It also produces diamonds, pearls, emeralds, amethyfts and other valuable ftones, which, by being brought into Europe, have contributed likewife to lower their value. To thefe, which are chiefly the production of Spanish America, may be added a great number of other commodities, which, though of lefs price, are of much greater ufe; and many of them make the ornament and wealth of the British empire in this part of the world. Of thefe are the plentiful fupplies of cochineal, indigo, anatto, logwood, brazil, fuftic, pimento, lignum vitæ, rice, ginger, cocoa, or the chocolate nut, fugar, cotton, tobacco, banillas, redwood, the balfams of Tolu, Peru, and Chili, that valuable article in medicine the Jefuit's bark, mechoacan, faffafras, farfaparilla, caffia, tamarinds, hides, furs, ambergreafe, and a great variety of woods, roots, and plants; to which, before the discovery of America, we were either ftrangers, or forced to buy at an extravagant rate from Afia and Africa, through the hands of the Venetians and Genoefe, who then engroffed the trade of the eastern world.

[ocr errors]

On this continent there grows also a variety of excellent fruits; as pine-apples, pomegranates, citrons, lemons, oranges, malicatons, cherries, pears, apples, figs, grapes, great numbers of culinary, medicinal, and other herbs, roots, and plants, with many exotic productions which are nourished in as great perfection as in their native soil.

[ocr errors]

Having given a fummary account of America in general; of its firft discovery by Columbus, its extent, rivers, mountains, &c. of the Aborigines, and of the first peopling this continent, we fhall next turn our attention to the Discovery and Settlement of NORTH AMERICA.



« PreviousContinue »