Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/610
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
curred with a race advanced in the art of navigation. A separation of communities under the pressure of storms, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, may have naturally happened, however, in the earliest times. Neither the man of primitive nor of culture epochs is exempt from the control of the elements on all occasions. We must agree that we may account in great part, and reasonably, for the variation of man by the difference in his present physical surroundings.
The essential unity of origin of all the races of mankind is believed by the great majority of scientific men.
The study of the migration of mankind shows us that there has been replacement everywhere; that people now inhabiting any known country have not always inhabited the same tract of land. At the same time suppose our race to vanish entirely from this continent, leaving only ruined cities and implements behind, how difficult would it be to get a true history of our migration hither! Suppose again we had no certain account of how our forefathers crossed the Atlantic, how diverse would be our traditions! Europeans have no authentic account of how they came to be in Europe. A great deal of our American dogmatism and Philistinism is to be ascribed to the fact that we know our origin. We came from England or Germany, and that answers such questions sufficiently. It is as far as we usually think. But now we see that we cannot speak of, or people sprung from the soil they now cultivate. Such a boast has been made by more than one race, indeed by people of such different culture as the ancient Athenians and the modern Esquimaux. So that we may not conclude too rashly that the people who have left only traces in any country are extinct, because they have been replaced by a different population, just as we have replaced in the eastern portion of North America the Indians. Their descendants may exist elsewhere. This seems to be the case in the present instance, and just as the same kinds of reindeer, butterflies, and plants, of the time when the ice covered these States, no longer live here, but in a far north, so the man of the glacial epoch of the present United States has in all probability wandered after the ice—a primitive and unconscious migration determined by the shifting of his congenial physical surroundings. And the Esquimaux, as of old skirting the glaciers, the only inhabitants of the shores of Arctic America, and extending in scattered companies for nearly five hundred miles on the coast of Asia beyond Behring's Straits, may well be the modern representatives in a direct line of descent of early man in North America. They were found inhabiting this territory by Europeans first in 1616; and since that time they have been found as far north as we have been able to penetrate. The limit of their range to the southward seems to be about the fiftieth degree of north latitude on the eastern, the sixtieth on the western side of America and the shores of Hudson's Bay.