Page:Australia an appeal.djvu/28

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corresponds in position to the Atlantis of antiquity, that no doubt of their identity can be reasonably entertained. The existence of such a place was so decidedly affirmed by the ancients that the moderns, not being able to find it, have come to the sage conclusion that it must have long since submerged in the ocean!

The peopling of America is equally practicable from China, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, or the Levant; all of which lie in the very latitude where man must have first come into contact with the ocean. And when we reflect that navigation, like all the other arts, had its origin among the descendants of Shem, that they covered the waters adjacent to their respective habitations with commerce, not only before the descendants of Ham contrived a canoe, but long before those of Japheth launched the Argo in search of the golden fleece, or felled a pine in the forests of Thessaly, and that Asia had the command, not only of the Indian and the Chinese seas, but of the Mediterranean, which gave her easy access to the Atlantic, the argument assumes a character that dispels every doubt relative to its practicability. But the time and the manner in which this grand division of the globe was first inhabited, being greatly involved in obscurity, owing to the paucity of historical records in all ages among the descendants of Shem,[1] demand one or two passing observations.

That America had been colonized from the shores of Eastern, Southern, and Western Asia, seems, on close examination, to be placed beyond dispute; and the numerous population found in occupation of her domains and forests, when re-discovered, proves that the first migrations had been early and considerable. But the state of things consequent on the Babylonian dispersion, shrouding the early movements of mankind, produced a cloud of obscurity, which, owing to her distance from the rest of the world, hung over the date of her first settlement, dense, thick, and almost impenetrable, till it merged in that non-intercourse which caused such a blank in her history. Her contiguity to China, however, afforded facilities which put an end to all surprise at the manner in which she was thence occupied; and the southern trade, wheeling round the continent of Africa during six months of the year, will as easily account for her colonization from the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. The objects of sacred reverence, the mode of worship, and the religious rites of many of her nations so strikingly resemble those of the ancient Persians that historians are confounded, and confess themselves utterly

  1. The sacred records, among the elder or Hebrew branch of the family, are an exception; but these are of divine origin, and relate to concerns of higher importance.