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The preceding extract may be viewed as the exordium of an original history to follow; wherein, “if we fail,” it will be “the boldness of the attempt, and not the deed confounds us."
Taking as a basis for our illustration the rules of argument, we will first identify one race, and then prove that the existence of another is not only apparent, but absolute. For the convenience of the general reader, the word “Mexican,” until the true name is established, will be applied throughout the following pages to all Central and South America;for the word “south" may be confounded with that portion of the Republic of North America so denominated, and especially with the American reader. The fundamental error with all writers upon the Aborigines of America is, that they have viewed them as one people. Authors have, therefore, been confounded by the different customs and ceremonies of religion as practised in the two great divisions of the continent ; they have seen that the natives were, to a certain extent, in one part of the vast domain, idolaters, and not in the other; that the North was essentially republican in every aspect of its political existence, while that of Mexican America was as essentially composed of kingdoms and empires, and governed by despotic monarchs, and that republics were interwoven with them; that each man in the North was a warrior, and an equal, acknowledging no superior but their leader in time of battle, and should he fall in action, there was not a member of the Tribe in which they politically lived, but could have taken his place, and filled it with similar courage and ability. In Mexican America they were not equal, but from the emperor they descended by degrees to the serf and slave ; in that country, stone and stuccoed Temples and Palaces were, and still continue to be found, erected with costly magnificence, and in which were jewelled idols, to which they bent the knee ; their rich dwellings were splendid mansions, adorned with sculptured and beaten gold, and graced with the works of art, and as a people, enjoying all the refined elegancies of life;—but in the North their Temple was the azure canopy of Jehovah, adorned with its myriads of golden stars, and when beneath that sublime dome, they bent the knee, it was to the Almighty God alonel Their palaces were the gorgeous vistas of the forest; the columns were the gigantic trees, each year increasing in their stateliness; their shadowy and painted roofs were the farspreading branches, and nature's tinted foliage; their mansions were those of independent wanderers, even the simple tents of Israel; and as for jewelled idols and figures of beaten gold,—they presented the diamonds of the human eye, radiant with intellectual beams, and glancing from the living emblem of the first and priceless image, placed in Eden's garden by the Architect of the Universe! Notwithstanding these essential opposites in character and policy, to which may be added that of physiognomy, writers have glanced at them as one
race, sprung from the same branch of the human family, and without defining which; and when they could not reconcile such apparently unaccountable distinctions and diversities, they have thrown upon the shoulders of the Mexican, the mantle of manly virtue belonging to the North; and upon this race they have thrust the idolatrous vices and the festering robes of luxury justly claimed by the former people; and by this easy manner of disposing of a question, have seemingly satisfied themselves that by blending the crimes of both, to the exclusion of the virtues of either, that they were all “savages,” and no matter from whence they came. Thus have they formed their conclusions concerning fifty millions of human beings, although directly in opposition to evidences of fact, to deductions by relative reasoning, and to all Christian feeling, which alone should have rejected so cruel a decision, founded as it is, not only on slight, but careless investigation. A sufficient identity of the Northern native is now required, in order to establish the national distinction between the Aborigines of the two Americas. In all civilized countries when the lear scripta fails to develope, or protect, the historical events and rights of a nation or of an individual, then the lear NoN scripta is not only not rejected, but it is actually brought forward to establish, and support the customs and privileges of a by-gone day. This traditionary evidence, handed down from sire to son, is received in proof of “a foregone conclusion:” it gives an insight into the times, of which no written record is left for the investigation of Argus-eyed posterity; it carries us back to customs, civil, military, and religious, that otherwise might be lost to the archives of history. Admitting, therefore, this train of reasoning, we bring it to bear upon the present important subject ;-important in the highest degree, for the time is now past when the Western Hemisphere is to be dated from the re-discovery by Columbus. His giant, but over-applauded name, like the ruins of Palenque, is but the lettering of a volume to indicate in the library of the universe that such a work was written—the work itself (i. e. the great continent) has yet to be read, and the historical authors identified; nor will the well-grounded supposition that the Welsh prince, Madoc, colonised in America two centuries before the Genoese; or that the Norwegian landed three centuries anterior to the Welsh, enable us even to unclasp the volume —to accomplish this, and its translation, an historic CEiliad must be cast over a period of more than two thousand annual changes, of nature's revolving but faithful time-glass 1 Granting then, that when the lear scripta will not cover a subject, the lex. NON scripta must be investigated to establish a position;–the first, then, will not apply to the Aborigines of the north, for it does not exist; the latter only, or the unwritten history of their race must be had recourse to, to prove their originality and identity; traceable back to time immemorial, from their present customs and traditions. We think that it will instantly be admitted, that all
religious ceremonies are the strongest proofs of the characteristics of a people or race, of which no written history exists; for there is something so indescribably sacred in the conscientious actions of man with the Supreme God, that none but the maniac-atheist could doubt, that those actions should be received as the living features of a nation, when seen to be recog nised and acknowledged, with as much certainty of identity, as when a mother gazes upon her fondlycherished child ! The customs forming the analogy between the Northern natives and the ancient Israelites, will now be reviewed with as much brevity as the subject will permit, in order to establish an essential point of the present theory—viz., the separation of the Aborigines into two distinct people. The reader, perhaps, will meet us at the threshold of argument by the question, “How can an Indian be of Israel ?” We will answer this, and refute the misnomer before the analogies are investigated. The name Indian, as applied to the original inhabitants of either, or both the Americas, Canada, the islands in, or adjacent to, the Gulf of Mexico, has no authority founded upon truth. The name was given in error, and has been so continued from the time of the Genoese to the present day. Throughout this work no position will be advanced that cannot be defended. The wrongful appellation originated with Columbus; and for proof of the assertion the following is presented. The shadow of the Earth upon the Moon during an