« السابقةمتابعة »
eminence in the liberal arts and professions, and for all the various walks and departments of honorable life and elegant pursuit, which are supposed to be worthy of the ambition of the most exalted genius.
Let children grow up without any portion of this culture, and they will be but little the better or wiser for having been born in a land of light and knowledge. In this respect, the son of a philosopher is on a level with the son of a beggar; and, a priori, it is just as likely that the child of a Cherokee warrior should become, under the same or similar advantages of education, an ornament to the republic of letters, as it is that the child of the President of the United States should be thus distinguished. Cæteris paribus, it is education alone that constitutes the difference between one individual and another. And this same tedious, painful process of tuition and training must be repeated with every generation. Wherever it is relaxed or intermitted, there will appear a corresponding declension or degeneracy. Knowledge cannot be inherited, like property. And none of us will ever be the wiser for the attainments of our ancestors, though we could number in the proud catalogue all the Bacons and Aristotles that have ever lived, unless we pursue a similar laborious course of study and self-cultivation in order to reach the same eminence. All this is sufficiently obvious; though seldom taken into the account by those who speculate on the subject of human improvement.
There is no golden or royal road to science; and yet, some how or other, we are constantly deluding ourselves with the fancy, that, as the world grows older, it must become wiser. That every new generation commences where the former left off, and has nothing to do, but to add to the stock already acquired. In one sense, this is true. It is certainly easier to travel in a beaten path than to discover or strike out a new one. It is easier to master a well-digested system of science than to contrive or invent a different or a better. And when an ardent, gifted, talented, enterprising individual shall have mastered what is known, he may possibly advance into the unknown, and contribute something to the general or common fund of human knowledge. But then he must first go through the drudgery of an apprenticeship. He must labor hard, and labor long, in order to become initiated in the profound myste ries which have exercised the wit and occupied the lives of
those who have gone before him. How few, after all, have ever comprehended the science of a Newton-much less improved or enlarged it! How few, among the thousands of erudite and accomplished scholars of modern times, can be named with Sir William Jones in the field of universal literature! And upon whom has fallen the mantle of the recently departed Davy, and Cuvier, and La Place, and Bowditch?
Now this train of remark will apply to every degree of excellence, in every department of knowledge, and to every art and vocation of common life. It shows at once the difficulty of keeping the world up to the mark (if I may so express it,) which it has actually reached, and the facility with which it may recede or decline from it. And were it not for the art of printing (but recently invented), which perpetuates and widely diffuses every novel discovery and improvement; and which has rendered the vast stores of ancient literature and science easily accessible to all; our own age might have witnessed as barbarous a neglect of the philosophers of the last, as those of Babylon and Egypt and Greece were successively doomed to experience.
I have said that it is impossible for men in a savage state ever to advance, by their own unassisted efforts, to civilization and refinement. The history of every savage tribe, from the most remote ages in which savage life has been known to the present moment, bears testimony to the fact. It is now more than 300 years since Columbus discovered our own continent :but the American savages are, at this day, as distant from civilization as they were when the white man first began to encroach upon their forests, and to exhibit to their view the conveniences and comforts of European art and industry. And, in any case, where they have been tamed, enlightened and civilized, it has been owing to the persevering discipline and culture of the benevolent Christian missionary and teacher, who have generously devoted years to this philanthropic object. In general, too, they have succeeded only with the children of the savage; and that by withdrawing them wholly from their native associates, and by educating them precisely as other children are educated. In all the regions of the old world which are known ever to have been inhabited by barbarous and savage tribes, but which are now civilized and polished, it is easy to show from whence, in what way, and at what period, they severally received the arts and polish of civilized
life; and that, in every instance, they were indebted to others. more improved than themselves for all their acquisitions. From analogy, we may and must conclude that such will ever be the order of events.
The Mexicans and Peruvians of the new world furnish no exception to the rule. We know very little of their history. We cannot tell whence they derived the few rude arts, which, it is admitted, they possessed when first visited by the Spaniards. It cannot be proved that they had ever been destitute of those arts. The probability is, that these were the remnant which they inherited from their ancestors, who had migrated from the mother country (the original fountain of all the arts), under more favorable auspices, than did those of the neighboring tribes in either North or South America; or, what is more probable, that the latter, in their wanderings, had degenerated and sunk lower in the descending scale than the former. But after all that has been urged in favor of the Mexicans and Peruvians, it can hardly be conceded, that a people, who had not the use of iron in any form among them-who, though possessing the richest mines of gold and silver, knew not how to work them or to extract the pure metal from the ore, and had no more of these precious commodities than what they chanced to find in a virgin state, and who were conquered by a handful of needy and desperate adventurers-could prefer any just claims to the character of civilized.
It has been said by Dr. Robertson and others, that the aborigines of this vast continent must have arrived from a country destitute of the useful and necessary arts, such as the knowledge of working iron, for instance; because these arts can never be lost. Now, in opposition to this whole theory, we have proved from Scripture, that iron was in common use long before the deluge; that Noah and his family must have known and did actually exercise many of the arts confessedly belonging to a civilized state; and that in the countries first settled after the flood, these arts have always flourished; and, consequently, that the fact of any people's existing, on the face of the globe, ignorant of these arts, clearly proves that, at some period, no matter how remote, they must have lost them. If Noah were really the father of the whole human race, and if any portion of his descendants can be found wholly destitute of those arts of primary necessity which he undoubtedly had, and which he imparted to his immediate posterity; then it follows, that these
necessary arts may have been and must have been utterly lost by such portion of his descendants as are now found without them. It is no matter then whether the American Indians lost them before they reached these shores or long after their arrival hither. The position of the learned historian is untenable. And it cannot fairly enter into the question of the original peopling of this hemisphere.*
III. HISTORY. But how does history confirm our view of the primeval and early state of mankind? Does history accord either with the deductions of reason or the representations of Scripture, as I have exhibited them? Do not the Greek and Roman historians seem to convey a different account of the matter? Does not the voice of antiquity proclaim that man was once rude, barbarous and savage? Here, I acknowledge, we are beset with some apparent difficulties in the outset. These, I think, could be easily dissipated, were it not for the prescriptive dominion which the classic authorities have ob
* Mr. Bancroft, in the third volume of his History of the United States, concludes that America was peopled from eastern Asia; that the Mongolian and Americo-Indian races are identical in origin; that the epoch of their divergence or separation was at a period so remote, that the peculiar habits, institutions and culture of the aborigines must be regarded as all their own, or as indigenous. "By this hypothesis (says a writer in the North American Review, No. 110) be extricates the question from the embarrassment caused by the ignorance which the aborigines have manifested in the use of iron, milk, etc. known to the Mongol hordes, but which he, of course, supposes were not known, at the time of the migration." When did the Mongols acquire or lose this knowledge? If Noah and his children possessed it, and if both the Mongols and Indians are his descendants, then it must have been lost-at least by some of them.
I incline to the opinion, that most of the American tribes are descended from Ham; and that they migrated to this continent, by way of Africa and the Atlantic ocean, soon after the dispersion at Babel. My notes on this part of the subject, must wait for room and leave.*
*We shall be happy to allow Dr. Lindsley both " room and leave," within reasonable limits, to bring out the result of his Notes, which we have no doubt are valuable, o.1 the subject which he has here introduced. EDITORS.
tained over our philosophy, as well as over our ordinary habits of reasoning and reflective associations. We have been misled both by their facts and their poetry.
Let it be recollected that the aborigines of Greece and Italy were a barbarous-perhaps savage people. (We shall hereafter see how they became civilized.) It was natural, as they advanced in the arts, for them to conclude that their own primitive condition was really the primitive or original condition of mankind. At any rate, their poets, while giving the reins to romantic fancy, and mingling fact with fiction, delighted in painting the scenes and in celebrating the exploits of savage life and savage daring; in tracing the progress of human improvement from the rudest beginnings; and by the witchery of harmonious numbers, imparting beauty and order and life and reality to imagination's wildest figments. They never dreamed of a more ancient or more cultivated model of social existence than their own limited domestic sphere of observation and experience supplied or suggested. These worthy votaries and favorites of Apollo and the Muses, though no conjurors, seem to have been well aware of their high vocation, and to have very liberally availed themselves of the license and the inspiration accorded to them, by common consent, as professors of the "art divine." Hence, among other "miracula speciosa," by the magic spell of their poetic enchantments, they caused their ancestors to spring up, full grown and completely armed, from dragon's teeth or from their mother earth: and thus conferred upon the natives the distinctive and flattering epithet or title of earthborn; which was the more grateful to their national vanity, as it excluded or concealed all obligation to a foreign origin or to foreign wisdom.*
The agency of the gods was deemed necessary to restrain and mitigate the furious passions of these presumptuous and
*The Athenians assumed to themselves the appellation avróxoves, as though they had been produced from the same earth which they inhabited: and as the ancients commonly denominated themselves Tnyeveis, sons of the earth, the Athenians took the name of Terziyes, grasshoppers. In allusion to this designation, many of them wore golden grasshoppers in their hair, as an ornament of distinction, and a badge of their antiquity; because those insects were thought to have sprung from the ground.