« FöregåendeFortsätt »
savage people. With the exception of Mexico, Peru, and a few other places, the native Indians were in possession of as little actual civilization, as the Negroes on any portion of the African contiBut notwithstanding this, we found here indubitable evidences of a past civilization: ruined walls, cities and towns, paintings, sculpture, and other remains of a similar character.
It has been maintained that the Egyptians were Negroes; but this is a great error, as we have the most indubitable evidence that the Egyptians belonged to the race of Shem. Negroes are found on some of the ancient Egyptian paintings which have lately been disentombed; but they are always found represented as prisoners of war, or as menials. We know, too, that there were Negroes in Egypt, from history; but they always occupied the lowest rank, never reaching any post higher than that of common soldier ́in the army. ·
Throughout the vast continent of Asia, whatever the present condition of the inhabitants, we find numerous evidences of ancient art: ruined cities, temples, and common buildings, paintings, statuary, and numerous other evidences of the kind, of a former civilization. In a word, where-ever the white, or copper races are found, there you will find evidences of a present or past civili
zation; but in no instance will evidence among the Negroes.
2d. Religious and Moral Notions. One of the strongest evidences of the past civilization of a people, is the existence among them of enlarged and liberal views of the Deity, and of moral principle and the absence of all such notions among them, is evidence conclusive, that they have never enjoyed any very high degree of civilization. Civilization depends on the action of the intellectual and moral faculties of man; and one of the results of this action is, exalted notions of GOD, and of moral principle: and when such notions once exist in a nation, they are never forgotton, though there may not be in the nation a single human being that correctly understands their import. Such was the fact in reference to the various savage tribes inhabiting this continent when first discovered. An idea of the GREAT SPIRIT was universal among them; though there was, probably, not an Indian on the continent that could have originated the idea, if it had by any means been extinguished. The lowest sav
tribes among them-such as the Caribs, the Ottowas, Algonquins, the Hurons, &c., had a very correct idea of a great FIRST CAUSE.
Exalted notions of the Deity, and pure and cle
you find any such.
vated moral conceptions, exist among every tribe throughout the continent of Asia. With the exception of our Bible, no book in the world contains more elevated views of the Deity, than the Shastra the Bible of the Hindoos. No Christian will object to the sentiments contained in the following passage taken from the Shastra :
"He who considers the Being that is infinite, incomprehensible and pure, as finite, perceptible by the senses, limited by time and place, subject to passion and anger, what a crime is such a robber of Divine Majesty not guilty of! Acts and rites that originate in the movements of the hands and other members of the body, being perishable, cannot effect beatitude that is eternal. Those who worship forms under appellations, continue subject to form and appellation; for no perishable means can effect the acquisition of an imperisha ble end."
Among the Negroes of Africa, there does not exist the slightest evidence that they ever enjoyed at any period of their history, any elevated or refined notions of the Deity. Their minds seem never to have extended beyond material, sensible objects; for these alone they worship, without the least reference to any thing beyond. This fact furnishes conclusive evidence that their reasoning powers have never been developed; otherwise they would have penetrated beyond mere outward
objects, and to some extent, have reached a knowledge of the principles and agencies by which they were formed and are governed.
In the lowest state of Savage life, the darkened mind can see nothing but material, sensible ob jects, to which it bows with the homage and adoration due only to the Creator. The native African seems never to have advanced beyond this first stage of mental action.
In a more advanced state of society, in which the powers of reasoning have become, to some extent, developed-a knowledge of an active, intelligent agent is attained, to which the mind pays its homage, but generally through the instrumentality of material objects. This is the case in Hindostan, China, &c.
In a more exalted state of mental improvement, the mind dispenses with all material forms, and pays to the Supreme Intelligence a pure, spiritual worship. The existence among the Catholics of images of CHRIST, his Apostles, and various Saints, through which they worship, is an evidence that religious worship among them has not reached the elevation of pure spirituality. It is an evidence that the mind is still, to a great extent, under the influence of external, material objects that it cannot separate the idea of matter
from spirit; but is compelled to use the former to pay homage to the latter.
3d. Written History, and Hieroglyphical Inscriptions.The past condition of a nation may be known from written history, or from hieroglyphical inscriptions, as in Egypt and some oth-er countries: but as letters are now, and always have been, entirely unknown to the native African, we have no correct and continuous history of Africa. We have, however, some account of ancient Africa from Herodotus, the earliest Greek historian, Diodorus, and Strabo; and of modern Africa we have an account from travellers, who at various times have been through that country, and published an account of their observations. All accounts, ancient and modern, represent the native African as wholly uncivilized. Not a step has he advanced beyond the bounds of ancient barbarism, but he is as stationary as the beasts of his native forests, or as the rocks and hills of his native land.
These facts prove the past and present inferiority of the African, and I think we are authorized to draw the conclusion that this inferiority is natural, and not the result of circumstances. A fact which has always been the same, under all circumstances, must be a general fact, or law of