Page:The History of the American Indians.djvu/230

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"2 1 On the defcent of the American Indians from the

doubtedly fagacious, learned, and candid ; yet under the circumftances in which they wrote, it was impoflible for them to convey to us any true knowledge of the Indians, more than what they gained by their fenfes, which muft be fuperficial, and liable to many errors. Their conjectural accounts ought to have been long fince examined, by fome of that learned body, or they mould not have given a fanction to them. However, they are lefs faulty than the Spanim accounts.

I prefume, enough hath been faid to point out the fimilarity between the rites and cuftoms of the native American Indians, and thofe of the Ifraelites. And that the Indian fyftem is derived from the moral, cere monial, and judicial laws of the Hebrews, though now but a faint copy of the divine original. Their religious rites, martial cuftoms, drefs, mufic, dances, and domeftic forms of life, feem clearly to evince alfo, that they came to America in early times, before fects had fprung up among the Jews, which was foon after their prophets ceafed, and before arts and fciences had arrived to any perfection ; otherwife, it is likely they would have retained fome knowledge of them, at leaft where they firft fettled, it being in a favourable climate, and confequently, they were in a more com pact body, than on this northern part of the American continent.

The South-American natives wanted nothing that could render life eafy and agreeable : and they had nothing fuperfluous, except gold and filver. When we confider the fimplicity of the people, and the fkill they had in collecting a prodigious quantity of treafures, it feems as if they gained that fkill from their countrymen, and, the Tyrians ; who in the reign of Solomon exceedingly enriched themfelves, in a few voy ages. The conjecture that the aborigines wandered here from captivity, by the north eaft parts of Afia, over Kamfchatfka, to have their liberty and religion -, is not fo improbable, as that of their being driven by ftrefs of weather into the bay of Mexico, from the eaft.

Though a fingle argument of the general fubject, may prove but little, disjoined from the reft ; yet, according to the true laws of hiftory, and the beft rules for tracing antiquities, the conclufion is to be drawn from clear correfponding circumftances united : the force of one branch of the fubject ought to be connected with the others, and then judge by the whole. Such

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