Popular Science Monthly/Volume 10/March 1877/The Early Man of North America

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A CHILD is not fully formed in body or developed in mind when it is born. It behaves at first without experience. That is the reason we do not always understand baby when it " acts so." Our own behavior is the result of our experience. Baby moves its hands and twists its legs without knowing why. But it gradually selects from among these movements those which are found to satisfy its wants, and in the future performs such actions only. It uses its voice in the same way, as shown by Taine and other writers, gradually picking up such words as it finds are answered. Again it acquires, always by experience, the idea of distance. The moon seems so near that the child wants it taken down to play with; while the position of objects close at hand is equally misjudged. And so with the senses of hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling.

It does not know at first where the pin is that pricks it; and, even if we slap it on the very part recommended by Dr. John Brown for the purpose, baby will not be able to locate the injuries, though it may have a general sense of discomfort, and resent the injustice in its feeble little way. Just as it passes through a process of self-education by experience, its mind receives constant correction as to the nature of surrounding objects. Baby's principal opinion at one time is, that inanimate things possess like feelings and properties with itself. This idea of baby's we sympathize with when we pick up a chair over which it has stumbled in its efforts to walk, and pretend to whip " that naughty chair," until baby stops its crying and is propitiated by the supposititious sufferings of the chair. This personification of objects is less and less obtruded as the baby grows and becomes better acquainted with the nature of its surroundings. But it is hardly ever entirely dropped, even in after-life, when it becomes in us transferred to matters beyond the reach of our knowledge. These observations on our children become important when we study the actions of races of men less cultured than our own. We find such races using their hands to less advantage, as well as other bodily organs, the seats of the senses.

Savages exercise their minds less, and personify more than we do. Like children, they say more readily no than yes to all questions affecting their bodily advantage. They are afraid of change. All children and all savages are conservative. The savage has not passed the mental state of our own children. It is impossible for a child to conceive of any change in the world outside until it has had some experience of such changes and has reflected upon them. Even then it is hard for the child to understand the appearance of this city of Buffalo, for instance, ten years before the time when its mind first received permanent impressions. It is from this fact that youth appears so long when we look back upon it, as well as from the fact that our early impressions made upon the "clean slate" of the brain are more enduring, underlying and peering through our subsequent experiences. Even to ourselves, sensible to the hope of change, and therefore of a bettered condition of things, it is difficult and even distasteful to turn to the record of the past and make it give up its dead. It is hard for us to make a mental picture of the site of this city when Red Jacket lived hereabouts; scarcely possible, when, farther back still, in 1687, La Hontan traversed this place. But in the history of North America we can go back by the light of creditable documents to the year 986, when Biarne, the son of Bard son, set sail from Iceland, and, losing his way, came in sight of Newfoundland. Back of the earliest discovery by our race of this continent of North America must lie the history of the Indian. In Mexico traditional historic accounts take us back as far as the sixth century. And, for a still earlier time and its events, we have to penetrate the surface of this continent itself. The earth holds the further answers to these questions. In a story of ancient Greece, we read that there was a dispute as to whether Salamis had formerly belonged to the Athenians or the Megarians. When it was referred to Solon, he caused the graves to be opened. It was found then that their occupants were buried according to the custom of the Athenians, and not of the Megarians. The dead men settled that question. The testimony of the dead Athenians dispensed with the formula of an oath, and was yet accepted. No appeal was necessary after such evidence, just as no statute of limitation could bar a trial of such importance. It was a case of supplementary proceedings that commanded respect.

The earth of this continent shows us that before the Indians there has been a people whom we call Mound-builders—that is, mounds were thrown up here by men whose bones we find in them, lying among rough tools and utensils, and after the mounds we name the race, who, perhaps, were not a different people from the Indians.

But for these mounds we would not know of the men who built them. They are mentioned in no history, human or divine. What was there before the Mound-builder? I would speak to-night of what must have been long before his time—of early, though perhaps not earliest, man in North America. We must know this early man by our experience of his traces. New observations of fact and the ideas they have awakened in myself are put forward, so that you may judge of the reasonableness of the conclusions. And here any boy will afford a competent illustration of the evidence. Almost the first thing that our boys do is to throw stones. It is one of their ways of saying No. There is more than one parallel between savages and our boys to be maintained. Just as the state of mind of the adult savage is paralleled by that of our children, so we must expect that so common a weapon as a stone is to our boys must be extensively used by savages. And this, in fact, is what we do find. There was also a time when this stone-throwing was the occupation of grown men of our own race. Stones were used in the warfare of the Celt and the Roman. We remember that David, a Semite, used a pebble from the brook. And we shall find that men of other races, and before David, resorted to the same weapon for all the purposes which in David's time, and with his race, were partly served by metals. There is, then, not only a parallel to be drawn between our boys and savages in certain ways, but there exists one between these boys of the present and our own men of the past. Just as, when cutting into the crust of the earth, we find the remains of animals and plants which once inhabited its former surfaces, the simpler forms below, the more complex above, so we find the remains of man's tools and implements in the clays and gravels of the last geological period of the globe, and with a like sequence in their character. The oldest and lowest forms of tools are simplest; the newer and nearer to the present surface, the more varied and complex. We have seen that the simplest weapon man could use would be a stone. Even now a wagoner with broken cart looks around naturally for a stone to pound with, and so mend his ways. He picks up a stone on occasion as his ancestors did on most occasions. For the moment he is in the Stone age. And he uses what the earliest man must have undoubtedly used, a stone just as it is. There must have been a time when men picked up such stones as came in their way at the moment with which to throw at animals, to break their food, to injure their fellow-men. Such stones, unaltered by use, can no longer be identified.

It is easy to see how, through long lapses of time, men continued to select stones, with an ever-increasing care as to their shape and size. The best to fling, the surest to hit, the sharpest to cut, were picked out, assorted in leisure moments, stored for future use. The hunter, meeting with game, could find no stone suited to bring it down at the moment, and so came at last to carry this primitive shot about with him in his hunting. The way from such a process, and a mode of improving the best of these stones by an artificial changing of their shape and size, were clearly pointed out by experience. And there must have been a gain in the process to such an inventive tribe. No more were long searches for properly-sized stones necessary. By means of harder stones others were chipped and shaped, and so much time was gained from looking for stones and devoted to obtaining food. And tribes using artificially-shaped stones must have had a superiority over those who relied on what natural stones they found at the moment. They stood in less danger of starvation. In the absence of other remains, the presence of roughly-fashioned stones will be the earliest reliable trace we shall find of the existence of men. In Europe such stones have been found and described by several observers. In North America we owe their discovery to the zeal of Dr. C. C. Abbott, aided in funds for excavation by the Peabody Museum of Archaeology, of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The rough stone implements discovered by Dr. Abbott in New Jersey are chipped so as to form an irregular cutting edge. They are flattened on the under side and broken to an edge from the upper. The material itself is basalt, a common kind of mixed rock of compact texture. As we find them, the surface is slightly rusted, from the particles of iron in the stone. This kind of rock is common, and the tunnel of the Erie Railway at Jersey City is cut through stone of this kind. North American rough-stone implements vary little in size and pattern, although, when we examine all the kindred rough-stone implements of the world yet known, we see that, as a class, they become gradually more determinate in their shape and the chipping more regular; they come more into the shape of spear-heads, and, perhaps, large arrow-points. Above the rough-stone implements we find those of polished stone; a departure showing that man was no longer satisfied with his first rude fashioning of his implements. Then we find the metals; and of these copper, being more pliable, is first beaten cold and worked into shape for use. Then the process of smelting and mixing with harder metals, such as iron, came to be employed; and to-day we are doing just what man has always done, improving our tools so that we may better our condition.

Surveying the whole field gone over by scientific men in recent times, we must say that these different ages have merged gradually into one another. The age of rough-stone implements or paleolithic, the age of polished-stone implements, or neolithic, the ages of copper, bronze, and iron, have succeeded each other without the possibility of our drawing the dividing line, any more than we can say exactly when what we call the middle ages ceased and modern time came in.

Certain implements are, indeed, rough stone, and others polished, but between them are intermediate specimens, and both kinds seem to have been sometimes in use at the same moment with the same people. Again, the introduction of bits of copper in some of the earlier graves precedes the fashioning of copper axes. It is a similar question to that as to species. It is not necessarily each time a different people, but sometimes the same, at first using a more simple and then a more complex implement. All mankind have not progressed equally. Some are in the Stone age now. There have been arrests in development, and a comparison of the points which the different races have reached will show the differences in standing between them. In Europe, Lyell has given a very complete account of the different kinds of implements found in one locality, the valley of the Somme. In the peat-bogs on either side of the river are found Roman weapons, belonging to the age of metals. In the gravel and clay-beds below, polished and rough stone implements are found. In North America the iron tools are wanting. The Indian was in the Stone age at the advent of Europeans. The Mound-builders had used copper, but the process of smelting and the use of iron had not been reached by them.[2]


Age of Metals.

Neolithic implements.

Paleolithic implements.

Unstratified drift.
Paleolithic implements.






In the accompanying diagram, while I have indicated the geological succession of the implements of man, you must bear in mind that, since stone implements are yet used in some parts of the world, they are there found in surface or alluvial deposits. But for our race the Stone age has passed, and, to find in Europe the implements our forefathers used, we must go in most cases into lower than surface-beds. And Dr. Abbott has drawn attention to the fact that there is a great similarity between the North American and European rough-stone implements. This does not indicate so much identity of race as identity of culture, while there is-great probability that both are implied. We must remember that as we go back in time we should find the races of men less numerous than at present—the nearer we get to the common stock from which it is believed all mankind must have sprung. The survival of stone implements is not unlike the persistence of older forms of life. The gar-pike (Lepidosteus bison) still inhabits our lakes, but the age when the ganoid type of fishes prevailed has long gone by. In order to make the age of the North American rough-stone implements clear, we must study the geological evidence.

Clay and gravel are made, we know, from the primitive rocks. The atmosphere and the rain loosen large pieces of rock from the mountains, and they are broken in the beds of streams by the action of the water. The fine particles are produced by the rubbing of the stones together; the water grinds the broken rocks down smooth, and makes pebbles of them. Gravel, sand, and clay, produced in this manner, become sorted out by the action of the water, or stratified. From a study of the action of existing glaciers or ice-masses on the Alps, or in the North, it is seen that clay and gravel are also made from the primitive rock, ground out by the slow movement of the ice. The mass of dirt and stones is discharged at the edge of the glacier much as a bar is formed by a river.

But there is this difference, that the bar made by the glacier, and which we call a moraine, contains its gravel and clay and bowlders, in a confused mass, with little sorting, and thus unstratified. Now, these rough-stone implements have been found in New Jersey by Dr. Abbott, in unstratified beds of material, which are evidently, from their composition, ancient moraines. There are, we know, different degrees of evidence. A fact may be either demonstrated, or shown to be probable, or possible. I leave it to you to judge whether these circumstances do not demonstrate that North American rough-stone implements are as old as the beds in which they are found. To me, it seems clear that the men who used these rough tools dwelt on the edge of the glacier, and their implements have become buried in the moraines which were forming at many different points during the ice period. Nor can we refuse to admit what this demonstrated fact implies, the great age of man in North America. I have taken, on a former occasion, the sum of 100,000 years as the time that has probably elapsed since the retiring of the glacier from the valleys of the White Mountains, in New Hampshire. This figure was arrived at after a calculation based on the ratio of movement of bodies of ice, and the round number may be considered as an under rather than over estimate. But, at whatever time during the glacial epoch the moraine was formed, in which Dr. Abbott found these implements of early man, it is quite clear that this knowledge alone will not give us the duration of man's existence in North America; for it is certain that man could not have originated at the foot of the glacier. The ice must have met him toward the close of the Tertiary period in the northern parts of Asia and America, and forced him southward; or, at a later time, it must have found him on the main belt of this continent. The Tertiary origin of man is presupposed, from the fact that he had submitted to a race-modification fitting him to endure the cold.

Let us consider for a moment what this glacial epoch really was. As to its occurrence, the ice has left its mark on the rocks, and we see its moraines and transported bowlders over a vast portion of this continent from Virginia to the Pacific. There is no doubt that a vast ice-sheet, a continental system of glaciers, was here at a distant time. It has transported masses of rock, and left them on the summit of Mount Washington, where they still remain, and to do this it must at one time have overtopped the mountain. The ice gradually spread from the north, and its progress was slow, as we judge of time—so slow that it must have seemed immovable and unchanging from year to year, to the man of the epoch, just as it seems to us now; and just as slowly as it advanced it retired again to where it is to-day.

The glacial epoch comes in between the present or Quaternary division of time and the Tertiary. In order to estimate its effects, we must briefly consider the aspect of the earth before its advent and in the preceding epochs.

There are two principal conclusions to be drawn from an examination of the fossil remains of plants and animals during the Tertiary. The first is, that the climate over the largest portion of the globe was then equable. There were then apparently no seasons—the summer seems to have been perpetual. The proof of this lies in the fact that there was a general distribution of plants and animals over the whole surface. In Greenland and Arctic America there were forests of trees, as attested by the remains of their trunks, stumps, and leaves. The same regions reveal to us coal-fields, and the fossil remains of reptiles like those we find in beds of the now temperate zone. We find beds of coal on desolate islands in the Southern Pacific Ocean, islands so cold and barren as to afford now but weak and little plants; whereas these beds of coal attest the presence once of a luxurious vegetation, of which they are the remains.

The second conclusion is, that the Tertiary was the richest in the number and kinds of the higher animals as compared with the present or any preceding geological period in the earth's history. Then our Territories supported all the various kinds of animals, for instance, which culminated in the horse. The remains of hundreds of species of animals have been collected by Prof. Marsh from a region which now supports but very few.

Prof. Huxley has, by his now famous lectures in New York City the past year, made popularly known the discoveries of fossils by Prof. Marsh in the Western cretaceous and tertiary beds. It remains but to add a link to the genealogy of the horse, discovered by Prof. Marsh since the time when Prof. Huxley lectured. You will remember that Prof. Huxley showed that there was a regular series of progressive forms from the Eocene Orohippus to the recent horse, in the character of the teeth, and in the structure of the fore and hind feet. There was more than that, perhaps, when we consider that there was an increase in size, in length of limb, and consequent activity, of the animal. In the Orohippus we have four toes on the front and three on the hind limbs, and so far Prof. Huxley was able to trace the genealogy of the horse with its single toe down toward the type of mammals with five toes. But we can now go a little further in the process of the evolution of the horse. In New Mexico, in a fossil bed, the horizon of which is below that in which the Orohippus occurs, Prof. Marsh has found the remains of an animal which he calls the Eohippus. The feet, which are very much like those of the Orohippus with their well-developed four toes in front and three behind, show a rudiment of the outer or fifth toe. The Eohippus was an animal as large only as a fox, though perhaps a little stouter, and, from the structure of its limbs, is the nearest yet discovered progenitor of the horse to the usual five-toed mammalian type. And in his lecture Prof. Huxley anticipated the actual discovery of the Eohippus by showing that such a form must have existed as the progenitor of the four-toed horse. Animals, also, which were the prototypes of the camel, have been there discovered by Prof. Cope. Strange if, at the time when the whole earth presented such a profusion of vertebrate life, man should not also have appeared upon the scene! The conditions were never so perfect, either before or since. Over this field of luxuriant life, the cold broke in. The ice commenced to form, and then to move in masses, scattering or extirpating the plants and animals. There were migration and adaptations. Such animals and plants as could adapt themselves to the cold persisted. To probably smooth skinned elephantoid types, the woolly mammoth succeeded in the northern regions. Stunted willows replaced tree-like plants of the same botanical family. If it met man, it must equally have modified his habits of life and his physical characteristics. It must have made something like an Esquimaux of him. As to the cause of the glacial epoch itself, from a study of all that has as yet been said on the subject, we must ascribe it to upheavals of land in the north, and a change, perhaps a consequent change, in the earth's position toward the sun. There was, it seems, an elevation of the earth's crust and a variation in the earth's axis; which latter, in order to have produced the climatic effects of former geological periods, must apparently have been more nearly perpendicular than it now is. It is probable that oscillations then set in, which may make a second glacial epoch probable, although of this we cannot speak with certainty. Evidence is already at hand, collected by European observers, that the glacial epoch itself was not continuous, but intermitted by a warmer time during which the ice retreated to reoccupy that portion of its former territory from which it has now finally retired. Prof. Dana has contributed some evidence of a similar action on North American territory. But for our present purpose a general view of the Ice period is all that we need. Evidence is at hand that the glacier, at the time it traversed our territory, was accompanied by plants and animals different from those now inhabiting the Atlantic States.

Remains of the reindeer have been discovered by Prof. Dana in clay-beds thrown together by the action of ice. This animal is now, as we know, confined to arctic regions, but then ranged the valley of the Connecticut. And there has been a sort of natural trap set for the animals and plants of that time, which caged a part of them, so that we may examine some of their live descendants.

It has been found that the condition of the tops of high mountains, such as Mount Washington in New Hampshire, and that of high northern regions, are very similar. It is calculated that a change of one degree Fahrenheit takes place in the temperature for every three hundred feet of vertical height. On a level the same change occurs for every sixty miles as we journey northward. We should have to travel, for instance, from Boston to Hudson's Bay, as Agassiz has shown, before passing over the same range of climatic changes as we do in one day in the Alps, thus causing a narrow strip of Alpine flora to correspond to a broad zone of northern vegetation. The mountains are thus compressed models of the physical conditions of the latitudes of the surface.

In the tropics we have mountains crowned with ice, whose summits reproduce the condition of the north-pole; and, as we descend their sides, we pass through belts of climate ever increasing in warmth, to the plain beneath, where we meet with the condition of the torrid zone. Now, during the glacial epoch, when the surface of our Middle States was covered with a coat of ice, the plants and animals had been swept southward of the White Mountains. They bloomed and lived in the spring-tides that softened the edge of the glacier, and enjoyed the short summer that there ensued at the source of streams fed from the melting ice. But, when the glacier retired, the summers over this region becoming longer, and the winters shorter, plants and animals followed the ice and their congenial climate northward to the valleys of New Hampshire. Out of these valleys the glacier finally departed also, but not without leaving some of its retinue behind. Alter the main glacier had left the valley, Mount Washington and Mount Adams still remained largely covered with ice, and a system of local glaciers filled the clefts and gorges of the hills. Allured by these, some of the plants and insects were retained and did not follow the bulk of their companions who were on their long march to the north. But year after year it got warmer, and the local glaciers shortened, extending less and less into the valleys. The trapped insects could not then rejoin their mates, but instead climbed the mountain, dwelling farther and farther up as time progressed and the climate changed. At length they reached the summit of Mount Washington, where we still find some of them, and whence there is no escape. The plants formed patches in congenial spots on the sides of the mountain, driven upward by the new flora filling the valley from the southward. Now, in examining these colonists, we find among them the herb-like willow (Salix herbacea), its short stems hardly rising above an inch from the ground, and other species of plants which we have to go far north to meet again. There, too, the White Mountain butterfly (Œneis semidea) appears year by year, swaying in feeble flight over its narrow range, while its congeners are found one thousand miles to the northward in Labrador. These examples could be easily multiplied.

But this sort of mountain-trap was not large enough to hold such game as men and reindeer. These both went northward, and are not to be found alive with us; but the one left his implements, and the other its bones, to tell of their presence at that time, and in these latitudes.

When we come to the question as to the descendants of this early North American man, we cannot avoid studying for a moment the movements or migrations of man over the surface of the earth generally. I think we may divide his migrations into two main classes from their motives:

A primitive migration—one influenced solely by physical causes affecting his existence, and which must have been in more extended operation in early times when he was unprovided with means of his own invention against a change in his surroundings. Such migrations are operative now among certain of our Indians, who move from place to place with the game upon which they subsist and with the season.

A culture migration—one arising from a certain stage of intellectual advancement when the movements of man are determined by ultimate and not immediate considerations. The movements of the Indo-European races fall within this category. Besides these, there are to be distinguished accidental migrations, which man submitted to against his will. We know that insects and plants are so transported. Birds and ocean-currents carry seeds from land to land. Insects on a blade of grass or a fallen bough are carried down a river by the current to found colonies of their race far from their place of origin. And such circumstances give rise to races and varieties among species modifiable by the peculiarities of their new localities. The accidental migrations of man may be considered as belonging to the epoch of culture-migration, since they must more usually have occurred 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 autocthones, 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.

Our knowledge of the Esquimaux is far from complete. They call themselves Innuit, not Esquimaux, and the name signifies the people. Although divided into tribes and smaller companies, they are very uniform in their physical appearance and customs. A tribe met with by Sir John Ross about 77° north latitude believed themselves to be not only the only Esquimaux, but the only people in the world. As their numbers are comparatively small, and they have a total range of about 5,000 miles of coast-line, it is evident how a tribe might exist for centuries without meeting any competitors for seal and bear meat in its range. The different tribes practise a sort of communism with regard to their possessions. Different families dwell together in one house, and rely upon each other for mutual support. So much, in brief, we may say here of this people. With regard to their affinities, they are from their speech a branch of the Turanian family, and allied to the Hungarian, Turkish, Lapp, and Basque races. As to their habits, while their morals seem to be good, they are most voracious eaters, from the fact that they cannot always depend on their supply of food, and so gorge themselves when they get a quantity. Parry tells of an Esquimaux boy who ate eight and a half pounds of seal-meat, one and a half pound of bread, one and a half pint of soup, and drank three wineglasses of gin, a tumbler of hot whiskey-and-water, and five pints of water, consuming the whole, between intervals of rest, in one day. They seldom wash except in summer, in which I think they are excusable to some degree, in the absence of proper heating apparatus in their huts.

As usual, travelers and scientists speak badly of boys. It is always the boys who are doing the worst actions, be they Esquimaux or New-Englanders. While I myself, in the present lecture, am guilty of this unavoidable presentation of the facts, I yet believe that the most of the wrongs of this world are committed by grownup persons, and I look to the growing generation of boys to make better and wiser men than their fathers. They have the benefit of a greater amount of experimental information stored up for them in books from which they can take fresh departures in knowledge and happiness.

It has been my aim in the present lecture to give you the result of latest information on the earlier man of North America, and at the same time to indicate some of the different branches of science which it is necessary for us to pursue in order to understand anthropology or the study of man. We have called upon geology to describe the strata in which we find the relics of man, and to explain their probable age and the manner of their deposition. Archæology has shown the progress from the simple to the complex in the various implements used by man, and has classified them. Ethnology has allowed us to discriminate between the different races of mankind, to study their habits and migrations, and classify their religions. Biology has enabled us to study the different stages through which man as an individual passes from infancy to maturity. Psychology, finally, has taken cognizance of the various facts supplied by the other sciences, and has led us to understand, how, man being known, and his environment being comprehended, we are to interpret their interaction.

There are two conclusions which I think we are warranted in drawing from the facts here presented. The first refers to the actual relation between time and development. Just as geology teaches us that the simpler organisms have existed on the earth through vastly longer periods than the more complex, so it shows us that the ages during which man used, simpler and stone implements were greater in duration than those in which he has used more complex and metal tools. Let us compare what we are doing now with metals, and. what we did with them during the miserable epoch we call the "age of chivalry," of which sentimentalism still gives us false and fanciful pictures. The second conclusion springs from the first. As the true history of our own race shows that we came from a low and brutal state, common once to all mankind, so the facts of our present condition give us reasonable hope for a better future. Let us, then, stand, on the highest points of knowledge in all its departments, for these are touched with light. We must reach these heights by continual reading, observation, and experiment. The result of these is culture. All thought has an added, beauty as it approaches the truth, but what is needed is to attain to clear conceptions. Our impressions are blurred because we do not see facts clearly in all their relations, and such impressions are ugly because they are imperfect. We are yet in the morning of culture. We are only becoming sweet. as wild-apple trees grafted on single boughs. It is not so much that we are sinners as that we are sluggish and stupid that is the matter with us. It is certain that there is a better time yet to come for our race upon this earth than the present. It will be reached by a continuous exercise of our brain-power, giving us right reason at last, the permanent correction for faults of conduct and for errors in our ideas. Sir Henry Maine has said that "conceit and skepticism are the products of an arrested development of knowledge."

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  1. A lecture delivered under the auspices of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences.
  2. The difficulty of supposing man to have been originally introduced into North America during the Quaternary lies in the fact that he was most probably in the Paleolithic age when the migration was made. This difficulty vanishes, if, as I suppose, man entered upon possession of this continent during the Pliocene, before the Ice period had interfered with a passage from the north by land. This will leave us free to consider the American civilizations indigenous.