Page:Queen Moo and the Egyptian Sphinx.djvu/29

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ix
PREFACE.

forget that all leading geologists now agree in the opinion that America is the oldest known continent on the face of the planet; that the fossil remains of human beings found in vari- ous parts of it, far distant from each other, prove that man lived there in times immemorial, and that we have not the slightest ray of light to illumine the darkness that surrounds the origin of those primeval men. Furthermore, it is now admitted by the generality of scientists, that man, far from descending from a single pair, located in a particular portion of the earth's surface, has appeared on every part of it where the biological conditions have been propitious to his development and maintenance; and that the production of the various species, with their distinct, well-marked anatomical and intellectual characteristics, was due to the difference of those biological conditions, and to the general forces calling forth animal life prevalent in the places where each particular species has appeared, and whose distinctive marks were adapted to its peculiar environments.

The Maya sages doubtless had reached similar conclusions, since they called their country Mayach; that is, "the land first emerged from the bosom of the deep," "the country of the shoot;" and the Egyptians, according to Herodotus, boasted that "their ancestors, in the 'Lands of the West,' were the oldest men on earth."

If the opinion of Lyell, Humphry, and a host of modern geologists, regarding the priority of America's antiquity, be correct, what right have we to gainsay the assertion of the Mayas and of the Egyptians in claiming likewise priority for their people and their country?

It is but natural to suppose that intelligence in man was developed on the oldest continent, among its most ancient