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end is answered, the cause leading to it may be expected to cease.
This may account for the degeneracy of some Indians far to the west, reported in the journals of Mr. Giddings, in his exploring tour. He informs, “ They differ greatly in their ideas of the Great Spirit; one supposes that he dwells in a buffaloe, another in a wolf, another in a bear, another in a bird, and another in a rattlesnake. On great occasions, such as when they go to war, and when they return, (he adds) they sacrifice a dog, and have a dance. On these occasions they formerly sacrificed a prisoner taken in the war; but through the benevolent exertions of a trader among them, they have abandoned the practice of human sacrifice. There is always one who officiates as high priest. He practices the most rigid abstinenee. He pretends to a kind of inspiration or witchcraft; and his directions are obeyed.
They all believe (he adds) in future rewards and punishments; but their heaven is sensual. They differ much in their ideas of goodness.One of their chiefs told him, he did not know what constituted a good man; that their wise men, in this, did not agree.
“Their chiefs, and most of their warriors, have a war sack, which contains generally, the skin of a bird, which has a green plumage ; or some other object, which they imagine to have some secret virtue."
Here we learn that those far distant savages have (as have all the other tribes) their Great Spirit, “ who made every thing,” though in their bewildered opinion he dwells in certain animals. On going to war, or returning, they must sacrifice; and for victory obtained, must have their
religious dance. They must have their high priest, who must practice great abstinence, and pretend to inspiration; and hence must be obeyed. They have brought down their traditional notions of these things; and of future rewards and punishments. The ark of their warlike chieftains, it seems, has degenerated into a sack! but this (like the ark of the other tribes) must. contain their most sacred things; "green plumage, or some other objects which they imagine to have some secret virtue.” Here these Indians furnish their quota of evidence, in these more broken traditions, of their descent from Israel.
These tribes in the west are more savage, and know less of the old Indian traditions. Mr. Giddings says, “As you ascend the Missouri and proceed to the west, the nearer to the state of nature the savages approach, and the more savage they appear. This may account for their ark's degenerating into a sack; and for their verging nearer to idolatry in their views of the Great Spirit, viewing him as imbodied in certain animals.
It is probable that while most of the natives of our land had their one Great Spirit, some of this wretched people talked of their different gods. Among the natives on Martha's Vineyard, in the beginning of Mayhew's mission among them, we find Mioxo, in his conversation with the converted native, Hiaccomes, speaking of his thirty-seven gods; and finally concluding to throw them all away, to serve the one true God. We know not what this insulated native could mean by his thirty-seven gods. But it seems evident from all quarters, that such were not the sentiments of the body of the natives of America.
The ancient natives on Long Island talked of their different subordinate gods. Sampson Occum, the noted Indian preacher, says; "the indians on Long Island imagined a great number of gods.” But he says, "they had (at the same time) a notion of one great and good God, who was over all the rest." Here, doubtless, was their tradition of the holy angels which they had becoine accustomed to call gods under the one
The North American Reviewers speak of the fact, that the natives of our land acknowledged one supreme God. They inquire, “If the Indians in general have not some settled opinion of a Supreme Being; how has it happened that in all the conferences or talks of the white people with them, they have constantly spoken of the Great Spirit; as they denominate the Ruler of the universe ?"
Lewis and Clark inform us of the Mandans, (a tribe far toward the Pacific) thus ; “ The whole religion of the Mandans consists in a belief of one Great Spirit presiding over their destinies. To propitiate whom, every attention is lavished, and every personal consideration is sacrificed.” One Mandan informed, that lately he had eight horses; but that he had offered them all up to the Great Spirit. His mode of doing it was this: he took them into the plains, and turned them all loose, committing them to the Great Spirit, he abandoned them forever. The horses, less devout than their master, no doubt took care of themselves.
Heckewelder (a venerable missionary among the Indians 40 years, noted in Doct. Jarvis' discourse, before the New York Historical Society, and who had a great acquaintance with the wide spread dialect of the Delaware language, says; "Habitual devotion to the great First Cause, and
a strong feeling of gratitude for the benefits he confers, is one of the prominent traits which characterize the mind of the untutored Indian. He believes it to be his duty to adore and wor- . ship his Creator and Benefactor."
Gookin, a writer in New-England in 1674, says of the natives; "generally they acknowledge one great Supreme doer of good.” Roger Williams, one of the first settlers of New-Eng
6 He that questions whether God made the world, the Indians will teach him. I must acknowledge (he adds) I have in my concourse with them, received many confirmations of these two great points ;-1. that God is. 2. that He is a rewarder of all that diligently seek him. If they receive any good in hunting, fishing or harvesting, they acknowledge God in it."
Surely then, the natives of the deserts of America must have been a people who once knew the God of Israel! They maintained for more than two millenaries, the tradition of Him in many respects correct. What possible account can be given of this, but that they were descendants of Israel, and that the God of Israel has had his merciful eye upon
a view in his own time, to bring them to light and effect their restoration ?
6. Their variety of traditions, historical and religious, go to evince that they are the ten tribes of Israel. Being destitute of books and letters, the Indians have transmitted their traditions in the following manner. Their most sedate and promising young men are some of them selected hy what they call their beloved men, or wise men, who in their turn had been thus selected. To these they deliver their traditions, which are
carefully retained. These are instead of historic pages and religious books.
Some of these Indian traditions, as furnished from good authorities, shall be given. Different writers
that the natives have their historic traditions of the reason and manner of their fathers coming into this country, which agree with the account given in Esdras, of their leaving the land of Media, and going to a land to the northeast, to the distance of a year and a half's journey. M'Kenzie gives the following account of the Chepewyan Indians, far to the north-west. He says, “ They bave also a tradition among them, that they originally came from another country, inhabited by very wicked people, and had traversed a great lake, which was in one place, narrow, shallow, and full of islands, where they had suffered great misery; it being always winter, with ice, and deep snows. At the Copper Mine River, where they made the first land, the ground was covered with copper, over which a body of earth has since been collected to the depth of a man's height." Doctor Boudinot speaks of this tradition among the Indians.-Some of them call that obstructing water a river, and some a lake. Some give account of their getting over it; others not. What a striking description is here found of the passing of the natives of this continent, over from the northeast of Asia, to the north-west of America, at Beering's Straits. These Straits, all agree, are less than forty miles wide, at this period; and no doubt they have been continually widening. Doctor Williams, in his history of Vermont, says they are but eighteen miles wide. Probably they were not hall that width 2500 years ago. And they were full of islands, the Indian tradi