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LONDON SATURDAY JOURNAL
PUBLISHED BY WILLIAM SMITH, 113, FLEET STREET.
SATURDAY, JUNE 13, 1840.
SKETCHES OF THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE.
ITS MODERN CREATION AND PROGRESS.
THE three sciences, Astronomy, Chemistry, and Geology, may be said to involve nearly all the intellectual art of man-to be interwoven with the minutest of his daily occupations, and associated with the sublimest of his ideas. Astronomy, at first sight, appears a grand but a speculative science-dealing with the remote and unapproachable, and but little connected with the daily work and wants of the human race; yet, when we come to look at it, we find it daily applying mathematics and mechanics to the pursuits and purposes by which individuals earn their bread, and nations attain their power; building our ships, guiding them in safety across the trackless ocean, aiding the pen of history, by accurately setting down the " times and the seasons," and stimulating the most ingenious of the arts, by requiring instruments, whose construction involves the profoundest thought and the most delicate skill; and thus theoretically and practically doing more for the civilisation and positive benefit of society than poetry, painting, and sculpture combined. Chemistry does not excite the mind, like astronomy; its field of investigation lies somewhat nearer to us, and its objects are apparently more familiar and confined yet nearly all the comfort of our social life, almost all our manufacturing skill and power, and much of our intellectual progress, have resulted from its discoveries. Geology, the youngest of the three, and still in its infancy, is doubtless destined to approach astronomy in the practical nature of its results, as it already does in the vastness of its associations. Our discoveries
in the crust of the earth are acting on the human intellect with a power rivalling the effect of Galileo's, when he first pointed the telescope to the sky; they have already enlarged the boundaries of our universe, and after the wonder has subsided, and we become familiarised with the subject, the investigation will be pursued with a more direct view to practical objects, as in fact it is already ; and out of our more familiar knowledge may grow a great increase to the power and comfort of society.
But between three and four hundred years ago, neither Astronomy nor Chemistry-far less Geology-could be said to exist.
The facts both of Astronomy and Chemistry had, indeed, been eagerly searched after, and many had been accumulated: but while the common mind reposed implicit faith in the manifold and monstrous productions of superstition, the more learned believed in Astrology and Alchemy; studied the stars in the vain idea that a knowledge of them gave a prophetie power over the destinies of individuals; and searched into the nature of substances, in the exciting hope that they might discover the means of transmuting baser into precious metals, or discover some wonderful liquid by which mortal man might be made immortal. Few, indeed, were the truly practical philosophers, the men who studied nature, in the hope of discovering truth; and even these, when they did get glimpses of truth, had to proceed cautiously in its promulgation, or else brave the dangers of offending dogmatism and power.
Amongst the cautious philosophers, we may undoubtedly rank Nicolaus Copernicus, commonly considered, and, on the whole, truly, as the parent of modern Astronomy. He was born at Thorn, in Prussia, about 1473; was educated for the church, and became an ecclesiastic; but being an excellent mathematician, and a profound thinker, he spent a large portion of his time in the study of natural science. He had been long struck by the com
plexity of the Ptolemaic system, which placed the earth at rest,
and sent all the heavenly bodies spinning in various directions round about it; and searching among ancient authors for something more simple and natural, he found that an opinion had been entertained that the earth moved. Proceeding on this, he gradually worked out for himself the doctrine of the annual and diurnal motion of the earth, and thus, a century before the invention of telescopes, caught the leading idea of the true system of the universe. His astronomy was interwoven with much error, which noblest of the sciences; his successors carried on the work; and modern research has rectified: still he laid the foundation of the Newton supplied the keystone.
passed, on the whole, through life very quietly; for he promulgated Though Copernicus experienced opposition and ridicule, he his opinions with caution, and only committed them to the press
a very short time before his death. But though the book was in Latin, and by its very nature addressed only to the few who could committed to the keeping of the press. Quietly as his own life understand its reasonings, it could not remain unfruitful, when had been spent, it was passed (1473-1543) during a period of wonderful activity and excitement.
period of voyages, travels, enterprises, discoveries, and inventions "It was," says Guizot, speaking of the 15th century, of every kind. It was the time of the Portuguese expeditions along the coasts of Africa; of the discovery of the new passage to India by the Cape of Good Hope, by Vasco de Gama; of the discovery of America, by Christopher Columbus; of the wonderful extension of European commerce. A thousand new inventions started up; others already known, but confined within a narrow sphere, became popular and in general use. Gunpowder changed the system of war; the compass changed the system of navigation. Painting in oil was invented, and filled Europe with masterpieces of art. Engraving on copper, invented in 1406, multiplied and diffused them. Paper made of linen became common. Finally, between 1436 and 1452 was invented printing-printing, the theme of so many declamations and common-places, but to whose merits and effects no common-places or declamations will ever be able to do justice."
Three years after the death of Copernicus, Tycho Brahé was born-an astronomer, who, while he opposed the system of Copernicus, did much to pave the way for its reception. With him was associated, as assistant, companion, and friend, John Kepler, whose discoveries place him as the connecting link between Copernicus and Newton; and he, again, was the contemporary of Bacon and Galileo-the two men who headed the revolution of science.
Galileo Galilei, known to us by his Christian name, was born a few years earlier than Kepler, at Pisa, in Tuscany, in 1564. Very
Bradbury and Evans, Printers, Whitefriars.
early in life he gave indications of what he would become; and as he advanced in years, became not only celebrated but notorious, as one of the most active and daring of those philosophers who were imbibing the new doctrines, and promulgating them by their eloquence. It would require a large space barely to state what Galileo did for science; we shall therefore, at present, merely point to his application of the telescope to the uses of astronomy, by which he may be almost said, along with his other invention of the microscope, to have given a new sense to the human race.
"The year 1609, the same in which Kepler's Commentary on Mars appeared, is also for ever memorable from Galileo's invention of the telescope. This, indeed, is, in the minds of many, the sole important discovery associated with his name; whilst, again, other writers have contended that it adds but little to his reputation. Without disparaging his other exalted merits, we, however, regard this as constituting one of his fairest claims to that immortality of fame with which he has been so justly invested." "The principle of the telescope and the microscope are, to a mathematical optician, one and the same. The telescope is merely made to collect parallel rays from distant objects; the microscope, diverging rays from near objects. The latter invention, therefore, could hardly fail to follow immediately upon the former. Galileo constructed microscopes in 1612; but he did not dwell upon the invention, his thoughts being now wholly absorbed on the perfection of the telescope, and the glorious field of astronomical discovery which was open to him.
"Being at Venice, his house was thronged with visitors, who came to satisfy themselves of the truth of the wonderful stories they had heard of his invention. The doge suggested that a telescope would be an acceptable present to the state. took the hint, and was in turn confirmed for life in his professorship at Padua, and his stipend doubled. The public curiosity on the subject was excited to the highest pitch. Sirturi, who had made one of these instruments, attempting to try its powers from the top of the tower of St. Mark's, in Venice, was soon observed by the crowd, who detained him for hours to satisfy their curiosity in looking through his telescope. Instruments of an inferior sort were now made everywhere, and spread rapidly over Europe; but the manufacture of the superior kind was confined almost solely
to Galileo, and those whom he instructed.
"Now that the telescopic appearance of the heavens is so familiarly known, it is hardly possible for us to conceive the intense interest with which the first glimpse of it must have been obtained. The multiplicity of the brilliant objects calling for examination, the undefined expectation of what might be revealed in them by the powers of an instrument yet untried, and the probability of numerous additions to the list of those bodies which had as yet come under the cognizance of man-these, and the host of kindred emotions which must have been excited on such an occasion, are more readily imagined than described; and they must have united to give an overwhelming impulse to the progress
"Galileo, having sufficiently improved upon his instrument, now began assiduously to direct it to the heavens. The moon naturally formed the first object of his attention; and we cannot fail to recognise the original of our great poet's picture, since we know he had the opportunity of painting it from the life :the moon, whose orb
Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views
Par. Lost, i. 558.
"Jupiter formed the next object of examination; and no sooner was the telescope pointed to that planet than the existence of the satellites was detected, and their nature soon ascertained (February 1610). These and other observations were described by Galileo in a tract, which excited an extraordinary sensation the moment it appeared. Many positively denied the possibility
of such discoveries; others hesitated; all were struck with astonishment. Kepler describes, in a letter to Galileo, the impression He considered it totally made on him by the announcement. incredible; nevertheless, his respect for the authority of Galileo was so great, that it set his brain afloat on an ocean of conjectures to discover how such a result could coincide with the then supposed order of the celestial orbits. Sizzi argued seriously with Galileo that the appearance must be fallacious, since it would invalidate the perfection of the number 7, which applies to the planets, as well as throughout all things natural and divine. Moreover, these satellites are invisible to the naked eye; therefore they can exercise no influence on the earth; therefore they are useless; therefore they do not exist. Others took a more decided, but not less rational, mode of meeting the difficulty. The principal professor of philosophy at Padua pertinaciously refused to look through the telescope. Another pointedly observed, that we are not to suppose that Jupiter has four satellites given him for the purpose of immortalising the Medici (Galileo having called them the Medicean stars). A German named Horky suggested that the telescope, though accurate for terrestrial objects, was not true for the sky. He published a treatise, discussing the four new planets (as they were called), what they are? why they are? and what they are like? concluding with attributing their alleged existence to Galileo's thirst for gold *."
But artillery far more formidable than stupidity, obstinacy, or ridicule, began to be pointed towards the new philosophy. After the death of Copernicus, his opinions began slowly to make way; and as we draw near to the time of Galileo, facts were found to be accumulating in favour of the doctrine of the motion of the earth. Various arguments, drawn from natural appearances, were used against it; and then, as the force of these failed, the Bible was resorted to. Every text which either directly or impliedly spoke of the movements of the sun and moon, and of the fixedness of the earth, was dragged into discussion; and those who ventured to adopt the new philosophy, had also to face the terrible stigma of heresy. The controversy raged with great violence in the time of Galileo for his discoveries and his eloquence were the means of diffusing the new doctrines over Europe. The bigots were furious, and the timid were afraid; it seemed as if the existing framework of religion were about to be violently overthrown. last, at the age of seventy, the old man, Galileo, had to go to Rome, and professedly abjure the philosophy which his brilliant lifetime had been spent in establishing and illustrating. It is supposed that he was put to the torture, to compel his assent. The chief portions of his abjuration were:-"1st. The proposition that the sun is the centre of the world, and immovable from its place, is absurd-philosophically false-and formally heretical; because it is expressly contrary to Holy Scripture. 2nd. The proposition that the earth is not the centre of the world, nor
immovable, but that it moves, and also with a diurnal motion, is absurd-philosophically false-and, theologically considered, at least erroneous in faith." "With a sincere heart and unfeigned faith, I abjure, curse, and detest the said errors and heresies;" and yet he is commonly said, on rising from his knees, after the solemnity, to have whispered to a friend, "It moves, for all that!" Now-a-days, it is believed that not merely the sun has a rotary motion, and that the planets revolve round it, but that the entire solar system-sun, planets, and all-is moving onwards through space; and anybody may entertain this idea without any imputation of infidelity. And yet many people who may be quite willing to entertain this most stupendous notion, shrink from entertaining the fact of the existence of the earth before the
* Historical View of the Progress of the Physical and Mathematical Sciences, from the earliest ages to the present times, by Baden Powell, Savilian Professor of Geometry in the University of Oxford. Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopædia.
days of Adam, because they are afraid it may be "contrary to into the hole formed by its bursting; one of them was wounded. faith."
It was just as easy to stop the motion of the earth, as to stop the progress of science by a forced abjuration from one of its great expounders. Galileo became blind six years before his death (he died in 1642); but his contemporaries, friends, and pupils, were too numerous, too active, and too powerful, not to carry on his great work. From the time of Bacon and Galileo to that of Newton and his contemporaries, extraordinary activity prevailed, and a race of giants sprang up, who seemed determined to scale the heavens.
"An immense impulse," says Sir John Herschel, "was now given to science, and it seemed as if the genius of mankind, long pent up, had at length rushed eagerly upon Nature, and commenced, with one accord, the great work of turning up her hitherto unbroken soil, and exposing the treasures so long concealed. A general sense now prevailed of the poverty and insufficiency of existing knowledge in matters of fact; and, as information flowed fast in, an era of excitement and wonder commenced, to which the annals of mankind had furnished nothing similar. It seemed, too, as if Nature herself seconded the impulse; and, while she supplied new and extraordinary aids to those senses which were henceforth to be exercised in her investigation-while the telescope and the microscope laid open the infinite in both directions-as if to call attention to her wonders, and signalise the epoch, she displayed the rarest, the most splendid, and mysterious, of all astronomical phenomena, the appearance and subsequent total extinction of a new and brilliant star twice within the lifetime of Galileo himself. "The immediate followers of Bacon and Galileo ransacked all Nature for new and surprising facts, with something of that craving for the marvellous which might be regarded as a remnant of the age of alchemy and natural magic, but which, under proper regulation, is a most powerful and useful stimulus to experimental inquiry. Boyle, in particular, seemed animated by an enthusiasm of ardour, which hurried him from subject to subject, and from experiment to experiment, without a moment's intermission, and with a sort of undistinguishing appetite; while Hooke (the great contemporary, and almost the worthy rival, of Newton) carried a keener eye of scrutinising reason into a range of research even yet more extensive. As facts multiplied, leading phenomena became prominent, laws began to emerge, and generalization to commence; and so rapid was the career of discovery, so signal the triumph of the inductive philosophy, that a single generation and the efforts of a single mind sufficed for the establishment of the system of the
universe, on a basis never after to be shaken."
This "single mind," we need hardly add, was that of Newton's
"Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night,
These felicitous lines of Pope's may, however, be apt to lead the young reader astray, by making him think that nothing was known of the true system of the universe before the time of Newton, and that nothing has been added since. But we shall have other opportunities for recurring to this subject.
NAPOLEON showed me the marks of two wounds-one a very deep cicatrice above the left knee, which he said he had received in his first campaign of Italy, and it was of so serious a nature, that the surgeons were in doubt whether it might not be ultimately necessary to amputate. He observed, that when he was wounded it was always kept a secret, in order not to discourage the soldiers.
The other was on the toe, and had been received at Eckmuhl. "At the siege of Acre," continued he, “a shell thrown by Sidney Smith fell at my feet. Two soldiers, who were close by, seized, and closely embraced me, one in front and the other on one side, and made a rampart of their bodies for me against the effect of the shell, which exploded, and overwhelmed us with sand. We sunk
I made them both officers. One has since lost a leg at Moscow, and commanded at Vincennes when I left Paris. When he was summoned by the Russians, he replied, that as soon as they sent him back the leg he had lost at Moscow, he would surrender the fortress. Many times in my life," continued he, "have I been saved by soldiers and officers throwing themselves before me when I was in the most imminent danger. At Arcola, when I was advancing, Colonel Meuron, my aid-de-camp, threw himself before me, covered me with his body, and received the wound which was destined for me. He fell at my feet, and his blood spouted up in my face. He gave his life to preserve mine. Never yet, I believe, has there been such devotion shown by soldiers as mine have manifested for me. In all my misfortunes, never has the soldier, even when expiring, been wanting to me-never has man been served more faithfully by his troops. With the last drop of blood gushing out of their veins, they exclaimed Vive l'Empereur !'"' -From "A Voice from St. Helena."
THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS.
CHARACTER, ORIGIN, SUPERSTITIONS, AND ANTIQUITIES. THE character of the North American Indian has been alter
nately the theme of undeserved censure and panegyric. On the one hand, he has been described as cruel, blood-thirsty, and treacherous; on the other, he is painted as adorned by all the virtues of the ancient heroes-patient of suffering, despising all luxuries, of indomitable courage, and possessing the most exalted magnanimity. The “noble savage” has been held up by poets and orators as the very beau ideal of man in what is strangely called his "natural state;" and all the adornments, comforts, and elegances of civilisation represented as so many gaudy trappings disfiguring the beautiful simplicity of savage liberty. A more inti. both the estimates we have mentioned are very wide of the truth. mate acquaintance with the realities of life in a wigwam, shows that
There is, or we should perhaps now say, was-in fact, much difference in the characteristics of the various tribes, principally occasioned by the difference in their modes of life. The inhabitant of Nootka Sound, whose chief sustenance is fish uncertainly obtained, and whose limbs are cramped in his canoe, differs so much from the young Mohawk, whose figure is so graceful and well proportioned, that the great painter West compared the matchless statue of the Apollo Belvidere to a young warrior of that tribe, as almost to enforce the belief that he is of a distinct race, until a closer examination dissipates the error. The main distinction of character, however, seems to be that between the Indian of the Forest, now almost extinct, and the Indian of the Prairies. The comparatively solitary life of the former; the silent majesty of the vast and gloomy woods through which the hunter tracked his way, with no company but his own thoughts; produced that dignified gravity of demeanour, and that taciturnity in society, which have been regarded as the peculiar attributes of the Indian; while the more cheerful aspect of the wide-spread prairie, and (since the introduction of the horse) the joyous excitement always produced in the mind when bounding over the plain, upborne by that noble animal, renders the Prairie Indian less reserved in his manners, and give him a more joyous, and perhaps less reflective, temperament, than that of his brother, the dweller in the dark pine
Although the Indian character may not deserve all the highflown praise that has sometimes been lavished upon it by enthu siastic writers, who would fain elevate the untutored man into the discriminating philosopher, there are yet many points in it of very great excellence. It has been so well described by Dr. Godman,
(whose name must be familiar to our readers,) that we prefer using taken by the men is most commonly limited only by their ability his words to attempting a delineation ourselves.
"To estimate the moral character of the Indians correctly, our inferences must be drawn from tribes undebased by their proximity to the whites, or from periods which preceded the introduction of European vices and corruptions amongst them. Born and nurtured in the most uncontrolled liberty, the restraints of civilised life have as yet only served to bring the Indian still lower than the quadruped tenants of the forest that have been subdued by the white man. Instead of displaying the energies of nature, improved by cultivation, the civilised aboriginal has sunk into a state of hopeless apathy, incapable of anything better than an imitation of
the worst vices of the worst of men.
"But when free, in his native wilds, the American displayed a form worthy of admiration, and a conduct which secured him respect. Brave, hospitable, honest, and confiding, to him danger had no terrors; and his house was ever open to the stranger. Taught to regard glory as the highest reward of his actions, he became a stoic under suffering, and so far subjugated his feelings as to stifle the emotions of his soul, allowing no outward sign of their workings to be perceived. His friendships were steadfast, and his promises securely kept; his anger was dreadful; his revenge, though often long cherished, was as horrible as it was sure; necessity and pride taught him patience, habitual exercise made him vigilant and skilful; his youth was principally spent in listening to the recital of his father's and ancestors' renown, and his manhood was passed in endeavouring to leave for his children an inducement to follow his example.
"Grave, dignified, and taciturn, under ordinary circumstances, in the assembly of his nation the Indian frequently became fluent, impassioned, eloquent, sublime. With few words, and no artificial aid, drawing his images exclusively from surrounding objects, and yielding to the influence of his own ardent impulses, he roused his friends to enthusiasm, or inspired his enemies with dread, as he depicted with few and rapid touches the terrors of his vengeance, or the horrible carnage of his battles.
"An Indian suffering with hunger complained not, nor, when long absent from home, expressed emotion on his return. I am come,' would be his simple salutation; It is well,' the only reply. When refreshed by eating and smoking, he related the story of his enterprise to nis assembled friends, who listened in respectful silence, or only testified their interest in his narrative by a single ejaculation.
"The Indians almost universally revere the aged, and are exceedingly indulgent to their offspring, whom they rarely chastise, unless by casting cold water on them. They are not so kind to their women, who, as a general rule, are treated rather as domestic animals than as companions, and are seldom exempted from severe toils, even when about to give birth to their children. Notwithstanding this, the women appear contented with their situation, and not unfrequently exhibit excellent traits of character. At times their jealousy, or other depressing passions, lead them to the commission of suicide, which is particularly frequent among some of the tribes. Indian habits of thinking, varying with their modes of education, differ very much in different nations. The want of chastity before marriage is not universally considered as a loss of character; neither is incontinence in the female after marriage regarded as a crime, provided the husband gives his consent*; yet the same people will treat as infamous, and even put to an ignominious death, a woman who receives the addresses of another man without the permission of the husband. The number of wives
• Unnatural as a state of society permitting such a custom appears, it yet prevailed at Rome, even when far advanced in civilisation. We may here notice that the Indian women, notwithstanding the severity of their labours, enjoy a much greater degree of consideration than even Dr. Godman appears to have been aware of. They not unfrequently interfere in the affairs of the tribe. Mr. Stone says, "It may be doubted whether the females of the white people, even among nations of the most refinement, exercise a higher or more salutary degree of influence than do the Indian women. Nor, when dead, are they treated with less respect than the warriors."_
to maintain them, as almost all Indians are polygamous. Their
wandering modes of living and precarious subsistence render increase of population far inferior among them to what it is among
"The most universal and enduring passion among the Indians is that for warlike glory. The earliest language he hears is the warrior's praise the first actions he is taught to perform have for object the eventual attainment of this distinction; and every thought is bent towards the achievement of heroic deeds. Hence death is despised, suffering endured, and danger courted; the song of war is more musical in his ear than the voice of love; and the yells of the returning warrior thrill his bosom with pleasing anticipations of the time when he shall leave blood and ashes where the dwelling of his enemy stood, and hear the triumphant shouts of his kinsmen, responsive to his own returning war-cry."
This is a fair and unprejudiced view of Indian character, giving promise of all good where rightly directed, led in the narrow path, but if driven, most sure to turn astray.
The government which regulates the affairs of an Indian tribe (for although several tribes occasionally join together for mutual defence, they never hold themselves bound by the determination of the ostensible chief of the confederation,) is vested entirely, in time of peace, in the Sachems, who are hereditary chiefs or leading men. They do not, however, possess any power beyond that influence attached to their station, which is entirely voluntary on the part of the tribe; and when a war is on the tapis, they possess still less power, as then the war-chiefs-men who have distinguished themselves by exploits in war or hunting, and are in consequence chosen as leaders on the war-path,— -are more regarded. A very singular law of succession is in use among the Mohawks, who acknowledge the hereditary authority of one supelimited monarch; for his actions are controlled by the decision of rior Sachem, whose office approaches very nearly to that of a the general council of the other chiefs. The inheritance descends through the female line exclusively. Consequently, the superior chieftainship does not descend to the eldest male; but the eldest female in what may be called the royal line nominates one of her sons, or other chief descendants, and he thereby becomes the chief. If her choice does not fall upon her own son, the grandson whom she invests with the office must be the child of her daughter +.
It is remarkable that the same peculiar rule of succession is observed in one of the Malay tribes, the Menang Kabowes; a people who in other respects have many points of resemblance with the American Indians and the Polynesian tribes. The requisite allowances being made for the influence of climate, and the mode in which the necessaries of life are acquired, there is no difficulty in acceding to the theory now generally received, that all these nations derive their origin from the same source, and that the plains of Asia cradled the progenitors of the appointed inhabitants of the uttermost ends of the earth. Confining ourselves for the present to the North Americans, we shall transcribe from Pennant's Introduction to the Arctic Zoology some of the more remarkable resemblances between the inhabitants of Eastern Asia and the American Indian, sufficient, in our view, to support the belief that they are immediately derived from that quarter of the more early-peopled portion of the globe.
"The custom of scalping," says he, "was a barbarism in use with the Scythians, who carried about them at all times this savage mark of triumph: they cut a circle round the neck, and stripped
One of the finest traits of Indian character-one never yet violated even among those most corrupted by communication with unprincipled whites-is, that the honour of their female prisoners has been invariably held sacred. † Stone's Life of Brant.
off the skin as they would that of an ox*. A little image found among the Kalmucks, of a Tartarian deity, mounted on a horse, and sitting on a human skin, with scalps pendant from the breast, fully illustrates the custom of the Scythian progenitors as described by the Greek historian. This usage, as the Europeans know by horrid experience, is continued to this day in America. The ferocity of the Scythians to their prisoners extended to the remotest part of Asia. The Kamtschadales, even at the time of their discovery by the Russians, put their prisoners to death by the most lingering and excruciating inventions; a practice in full force to this very day among the aboriginal Americans. The Scythians were styled Anthropophagi, from their feeding on human flesh. The people of Nootka Sound still make a repast of their fellow-creatures; but what is more wonderful, the savage ailies of the British army have been known to throw the mangled limbs of the French prisoners into the horrible cauldron, and devour them with the same relish as those of a quadruped †.
"The Scythians were said for a certain time annually to transform themselves into wolves, and again to resume the human shape. Many of the American nations disguise themselves in dresses made of the skins of wolves and other wild beasts, and wear even the heads fitted to their own. These habits they use to circumvent the animals of the field; but would not ignorance or superstition ascribe to a supernatural metamorphosis these temporary expedients to deceive the brute creation? In their march, the Kamtschadales never went abreast, but followed one another in the same track. The same custom is exactly followed by the
Mr. Pennant further remarks, that tattooing, although not practised by all the American tribes, is yet found among some of them, and is customary with the Tungusi, the most numerous nation resident in Siberia. That enterprising traveller Ledyard +, who was well acquainted with the Indians from personal observation, expressed a decided opinion that they were identical with the Tartar tribes; among whom he particularly traced the use of the Indian ornament of wampum, or strings of shells, applied to the adornment of the dress, and also, in certain forms, as a token or memento of the subject of a speech, or a treaty, when matters of importance have been discussed.
"In respect to the features and form of the human body," says Mr. Pennant, "almost every tribe found along the western coast has some similitude to the Tartar nations, and still retain the little eyes, small noses, high cheeks, and broad faces. They vary in size from the lusty Calmucks to the little Nogaians. The internal Americans, such as the Five Indian Nations, who are tall of body, robust of make, and of oblong faces, are derived from a variety among the Tartars themselves. The fine tribe of Tschutski seem to be the stock from which those Americans are derived. The Tschutski, again, from that fine race of Tartars the Kabardinski,
or inhabitants of Kabarda."
If, as there can be little doubt, the population of America was effected, not by one sudden irruption of the Tartars, but by successive arrivals—at first, probably, the result of accident and subsequently of design,—the difference observable in the personal
appearance of various tribes is at once accounted for, without referring to those variations which inevitably result from the conti
Herodotus, lib. iv.
† Colonel Schuyler told Dr. Morse, who was employed in 1820 by the
American government to make a tour of inquiry of the actual state of Indian
affairs in the States, that, during the war with the French, he was invited on one occasion to eat broth, which was ready cooked, with a party of Indians. He did so; until as they were striking the ladle into the kettle to give him some more, they lifted up a Frenchman's hand, which, as may easily be conceived, put an end to his appetite. It does not, however, appear that cannibalism has been a usual practice with the North Americans, although it has been common, and is still occasionally practised by the inhabitants of many of the Polynesian and Asiatic islands, particularly the New Zealanders and the Battas of Sumatra.
See an account of his Life in Nos. 17 and 18 of the London Saturday Journal.
nual intermarriage of the members of the same tribe, perpetuating and strengthening any remarkable family peculiarity. The superior size of the Patagonians, which, although exaggerated by the elder voyagers, yet was not altogether a tale of Munchausen, is doubtless to be traced to the latter cause; and Mr. Catlin *, whose authority is unquestionable, mentions several of such instances,— such as the stature of the Osages, who are most of them over six feet in height, and many of them seven; the Crows, many of whom (we speak of the men) have hair reaching to the ground when standing upright, a peculiarity rare even among the women of other countries; and the Mandans, a tribe extinct within these three years, among whom "about one in twelve, of both sexes, and of all ages, had the hair of a bright silvery grey, and exceedingly coarse and harsh, somewhat like a horse's mane." This singular circumstance does not appear to have had any affinity to the causes producing the Albino varieties among the human race or the lower animals, in whom a remarkable susceptibility to light is universal; while among the Mandans neither the eyes nor the colour of the skin were affected. Among the portraits in Mr. Catlin's Gallery is one of a really pretty girl of twelve years old, with grey hair, producing a most strange effect; literally, a grey head upon green shoulders.
A remarkable link in the chain which appears to connect the Indians with the Tartars, is the existence of barrows precisely similar to those found in our own country, and scattered over various parts of Tartary. These barrows are found through the whole extent of the plain land of both North and South America; and the same mode of burial is still in use among some of the tribes. who was buried on his favourite war-horse, which was alive; and Mr. Catlin gives a view of the grave of a chief called Blackbird, the Scythians were in like manner accustomed to inhume the steed with his dead master. The South American Indians are accus
tomed to bury the dead, but, when the flesh is consumed, they disinter the bones, and remove them to the general burying-place of the tribe. The Scythians carried the bodies of their kings to the remotest part of the country, Gherri, where they buried them in the royal sepulchres with many barbarous ceremonies, of which the reader will find an account in No. 34 of the London Saturday Journal, under the title of "Funeral Mounds." The various modes of burial in use among the Indians are also noticed in No. 63 (in the Letter-Box), which renders it less necessary for us to enter into detail upon that subject here.
Besides these barrows, there exist in many parts of the United States and in Mexico earthen mounds, which are regarded as fortifications, and have given rise to some very interesting speculations on early visits from Europe; on which our limits forbid us to enter at present.
The religious ideas of the Indians are very vague, and in fact they may perhaps be more properly described as superstitious than as religious. They acknowledge a supreme Deity, or Great Spirit, and believe in a future state of rewards and punishments; the latter being almost exclusively dreaded as the consequence of cowardice, other misdemeanours being comparatively venial in their eyes. They firmly believe in the existence of good and evil spirits, and particularly dread the anger of the latter, whom they seek to appease through the medium of their Mystery or MedicineMen, who are supposed to possess power over them.
These mystery-men exercise considerable authority in their double capacity of priests and physicians; but they derive it, like "wizards" and "wise women," from the voluntary submission of those on whom they impose the belief of their supernatural power.
* See an account of his "Indian Gallery," in No. 59 of the London Saturday Journal.