Page:Australia an appeal.djvu/29

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unable to account for the circumstance. The tradition among the Peruvians, too, that the royal family were the children of the Sun, strongly indicates an Eastern origin; and to no other part of the East but the Persian Gulf and the shores of the Levant can we trace those migrations which erected the temples and founded the dynasties of Central America. Add to this, that the long and narrow sea which, stretching westward from the Levant, separated the great peninsula from Europe, was, at a very early period, the scene of navigation and commerce; the conductors of which, passing the Pillars of Hercules, explored the Atlantic, and thus led the way to America long before Rome and Cartilage contended for empire. We must also recollect that between the three great patriarchal families there appears to have been always a broad and marked line of distinction. Hence the very circumstance of the western continent being peopled by the descendants of the elder family, would cause it to excite less interest among those of the two younger; which, together with the number of countries then open for settlement, the growing tendency to a secluded, savage, and hunting mode of life, the infancy of commerce, and the absence of historical records at that time among all nations, will account for the inability of the ancients to give more than the names of places beyond the Atlantic, to which they nevertheless knew that considerable migrations had proceeded. It is important to add, that the first attempt at empire was made by the family of Ham. Whether they were actuated merely by ambition, or a desire to avert the doom pronounced upon them by Noah, cannot be determined; but the fact is certain. Influenced probably by the troubles thence arising, a portion of the descendants of Shem, finding the principal entrances into Africa occupied by the aspiring family, the approaches to the North by that of Japheth, and the East crowded with their brethren, seem to have bonded their steps from Central Asia towards the shores of the Levant, to seek there or beyond the ocean a more peaceable and roomy abode. At a period, therefore, long antecedent to the existence of the annals of Greece and Rome, launching their slender barks, they unfurled the flowing canvas on the briny deep; and the trade wind, which, when they passed the straits of Gibraltar, wafted them rapidly to the land of their future home, would in general prove an insurmountable obstacle to their return. The invasion of Asia by the Greeks, and the contest which sprang up between Rome and Carthage, absorbing the attention of the belligerents, and virtually interdicting the Mediterranean to other nations, destroyed the spirit of Phœnician enterprise, and finality cut off all intercourse between the eastern and western divisions of the globe, till navigation received that