View of the Hebrews/Chapter 3 (pages 65-84)
PARTS OF SENTENCES.
|English||Indian||Hebrew, or Chaldaic.|
|Very hot||Heru hara or hala||Hara hara|
|Praise to the Frist Cause||Halleluwah||Hallelujah|
|Give me food||Natoni boman||Natoui bumen|
|Go thy way||Bayou boorkaa||Boua bouak|
|Good be to you||Halea tibou||Ye hali ettouboa|
|My necklace||Yene kali||Vongali|
|I am sick||Nane guaete||Nance het|
Can a rational doubt be entertained whether the above Indian words, and parts of sentences, were derived from their corresponding words and parts of sentences in Hebrew? If so, their adoption by savages at this distant time and place, would appear miraculous. Some one or two words might happen to be the same, among distant different nations. But that so many words, and parts of sentences too, in a language with a construction peculiar to itself, should so nearly,
and some of them exactly correspond, is never to be admitted as resulting from accident.
And if these words and parts of sentences are from their corresponding Hebrew, the Indians must have descended from the ten tribes of Israel.
Some of the Creek Indians called a murderer Abe; probably from Abel, the first man murdered, whose name in Hebrew imports, mourning. And they called one who kills a rambling enemy, Noabe; probably from Noah, importing rest, and Abe.—He thus puts his rambling enemy to rest. The Caribbee Indians and the Creeks had more than their due proportion of the words and parts of sentences in the above table.
Rev. Dr. Morse, in his late tour among the western Indians, says of the language; "It is highly metaphorical; and in this and other respects, they resemble the Hebrew. This resemblance in their language, (he adds) and the similarity of many of their religious customs to those of the Hebrews, certainly give plausibility to the ingenious theory of Dr. Boudinot, exhibited in his interesting work, the Star in the West."
Dr. Boudinot informs that a gentleman, then living in the city of New-York, who had long been much conversant with the Indians, assured him, that being once with the Indians at the place called Cohocks, they shewed him a very high mountain at the west, the Indian name of which, they informed him, was Ararat. And the Penobscot Indians, the Dr. informs, call a high mountain by the same name.
Doctor Boudinot assures us that he himself attended an Indian religious dance. He says; "They danced one round; and then a second, singing hal-hal-hal, till they finished the round. They then gave us a third round, striking up the words, le-le-le. On the next round, it was the words, lu-lu-lu, dancing with all their might. During the fifth round was sung, yah-yah-yah.—Then all joined in a lively and joyful chorus, and sung halleluyah; dwelling on each syllable with a very long breath, in a most pleasing manner." The Doctor adds; "There could be no deception in all this. The writer was near them—paid great attention—and every thing was obvious to the senses. Their pronunciation was very guttural and sonorous; but distinct and clear." How could it be possible that the wild native Americans, in different parts of the continent, should be singing this phrase of praise to the Great First Cause, or to Jah,— exclusively Hebrew, without having
brought it down by tradition from ancient Israel? The positive testimonies of such men as Boudinot and Adair, are not to be dispensed with, nor doubted. They testify what they have seen and heard. And I can conceive of no rational way to account for this Indian song, but that they brought it down from ancient Israel, their ancestors.
Mr. Faber remarks; "They (the Indians) call the lightning and thunder, Eloha; and its rumbling, Rowah, which may not improperly be deduced from the Hebrew word Ruach, a name of the third person of the Holy Trinity, originally signifying, the air in motion, or a rushing wind." Who can doubt but their name of thunder, Eloha, is derived from a Hebrew name of God, Elohim? Souard, (quoted in Boudinot,) in his Literary Miscellanies, says of the Indians in Surinam, on the authority of Isaac Nasci, a learned Jew residing there, that the dialect of those Indians, common to all the tribes of Guiana, is soft, agreeable, and regular. And this learned Jew asserts, that their substantives are Hebrew. The word expressive of the soul (he says) is the same in each language, and is the same with breath. "God breathed into man the breath of life, and man became a living soul" [Gen 2:7]. This testimony from Nasci, a learned Jew, dwelling with the Indians, must be of signal weight.
Dr. Boudinot from many good authorities says of the Indians; "Their language in their roots, idiom, and particular construction, appears to have the whole genius of the Hebrew; and what is very remarkable, it has most of the peculiarities of that language; especially those in which it differs from most other languages."
Governor Hutchinson observed, that "many people (at the time of the first settlement of New-England,) pleased themselves with the conjecture, that the Indians in America are the descendants of the ten tribes of Israel." Something was discovered so early, which excited this pleasing sentiment. This has been noted as having been the sentiment of Rev. Samuel Sewall, of vice president Willard, and others. Governor Hutchinson expresses his doubt upon the subject, on account of the dissimilarity of the language of the natives of Massachusetts, to the Hebrew. Any language in a savage state, must, in the course of 2500 years, have rolled and varied exceedingly. This is shown to be the case in the different dialects, and many new words introduced among those tribes, which are acknowledged to have their language radically the same.
The following facts are enough to answer every objection on this ground. The Indians had no written language. Hence the English
scholar could not see the spelling or the root of any Indian word. And the guttural pronunciation of the natives was such as to make even the Hebrew word, that might still be retained, appear a different word; especially to those who were looking for no Hebrew language among them. And the following noted idiom of the Indian language was calculated to hide the fact in perfect obscurity, even had it been originally Hebrew, viz.; the Indian language consists of a multitude of monosyllables added together.—Every property or circumstance of a thing to be mentioned by an Indian, must be noted by a new monosyllable added to its name. Hence it was that the simple word our loves, must be expressed by the following long Indian word, Noowomantammoonkanunonnash. Mr. Colden, in his history of the five nations, observes, "They have few radical words. But they compound their words without end. The words expressive of things lately come to their knowledge (he says) are all compounds. And sometimes one word among them includes an entire definition of the thing."* These things, considered of a language among savages, 2500 years after their expulsion from Canaan, must answer every objection arising from the fact, that the Indian language appears in some things very different from the Hebrew. And they must render it little less than miraculous (as Mr. Adair says it is) that after a lapse of so long a period among savages, without a book or letters, a word or phrase properly Hebrew should still be found among them. Yet such words and phrases are found. And many more may yet be found in the compounds of Indian words. I have just now observed, in dropping my eye on a Connecticut Magazine for 1803, a writer on the Indians in Massachusetts, in its earliest days, informs, that the name of a being they worshipped was Abamocko. Here, without any perception of the fact, he furnishes a Hebrew word in compound. Abba-mocko; fathermocho. As a tribe of Indians in the south call God, Abba-mingo ishto; Father-chief man. In the latter, we have two Hebrew words; Abba, father, and Ish, man. Could we make proper allowance for Pagan pronunciation, and find how the syllables in their words ought to be spelled, we might probably find many more of the Hebrew roots in their language.
It is ascertained that the Indians make great use of the syllables of the names of God, as roots of compound words. Dr. Boudinot says; "Y-O-he-wah-yah and Ale, are roots of a prodigious number of words
* See the Connecticut Magazine, Vol.III. p. 367.
through their various dialects." Wah being a noted name of God with the Indians, it seems often to occur in their proper names. Major Long informs us, in his expedition to the Rocky Mountains, that the name of God with the Omawhaw tribe is Wahconda. The Indians have their Wabash river, their Wa-sasheh tribe, (of which the word Osage is but a French corruption) their Wa-bingie, Wa ping, Wa-masqueak, Washpeloag, and Wa-shpeaute tribes; also their Wa-bunk, a name of the sun. A friend of mine informs me, that while surveying in his younger life, in the state of Ohio, he obtained considerable acquaintance with the Indians there. That they appeared to have a great veneration for the sun, which they called Wahbunk. If bunk is an Indian name for a bed, as some suppose, it would seem that with those Indians, the sun was Jehovah's bed, or place of residence. The Indians have had much of an idea of embodying the Great Spirit in fire. It is an idea which resulted from the scene on the fiery top of Sinai, and from ancient Hebrew figures, (as Paul informed in his epistle to the Hebrews) that "Our God is a consuming fire." No wonder then those Indians in Ohio, as did the ancient Peruvians, embodied their Great Spirit in the sun. And no wonder their veneration for that visible supposed residence of the Great Spirit should be mistaken by strangers for worship paid to the sun.
3. The Indians have had their imitation of the ark of the covenant in ancient Israel. Different travellers, and from different regions unite in this. Mr. Adair is full in his account of it. It is a small square box, made convenient to carry on the back. They never set it on the ground, but on logs in low ground where stones are not to be had; and on stones where they are to be found. This author gives the following account of it. "It is worthy of notice, (he says) that they never place the ark on the ground, nor sit it on the bare earth when they are carrying it against an enemy. On hilly ground, where stones are plenty, they place it on them. But in level land, upon short logs, always resting themselves (i.e. the carriers of the ark) on the same materials. They have also as strong a faith of the power and holiness of their ark, as ever the Israelites retained of theirs. The Indian ark is deemed so sacred and dangerous to touch, either by their own sanctified warriors, or the spoiling enemy, that neither of them dare meddle with it on any account. It is not to be handled by any except the chieftian and his waiter, under penalty of incurring great evil; nor would the most inveterate enemy dare to touch it. The leader virtually
acts the part of a priest of war, pro tempore, in imitation of the Israelites fighting under the divine military banner." Doct. Boudinot says of this ark, "It may be called the ark of the covenant imitated." In time of peace it is the charge of their high priests. In their wars, they make great account of it. The leader, (acting as high priest on that occasion,) and his darling waiter, carry it in turns. They deposit in the ark some of their most consecrated articles. The two carriers of this sacred symbol, before setting off with it for the war, purify themselves longer than do the rest of the warriors. The waiter bears their ark during a battle. It is strictly forbidden for any one, but the proper officer, to look into it. An enemy, if they capture it, treat it with the same reverence.
Doctor Boudinot says that a gentleman, who was at Ohio, in 1756, informed him that while he was there, he saw among the Indians a stranger who appeared very desirous to look into the ark of that tribe. The ark was then standing on a block of wood, covered with a dressed deer skin. A centinel was guarding it, armed with a bow and arrow. The centinel finding the intruder pressing on, to look into the ark, drew his arrow at his head, and would have dropped him on the spot; but the stranger perceiving his danger, fled. Who can doubt the origin of this Indian custom? And who can resist the evidence it furnishes, that here are the tribes of Israel? See Num. x. 35, 36, and xiv. 44.
4. The American Indians have practised circumcision. Doct. Beaty, in his journal of a visit to the Indians in Ohio, between fifty and sixty years ago, says that "an old Indian (in answer to his questions relative to their ancient customs, the Indian being one of the old beloved wise men,) informed him, that an old uncle of his, who died about the year 1728, related to him several customs of former times among the Indians, and among the rest, that circumcision was long ago practised among them, but that their young men made a mock of it, and it fell into disrepute and was discontinued." Mr. M'Kenzie informs, that in his travels among the Indians, he was led to believe the same fact, of a tribe far to the north west; as stated in the "Star in the West." His words (when speaking of the nations of the Slave and Dog rib Indians,) are these; "Whether circumcision be practised among them, I cannot pretend to say; but the appearance of it was general among those I saw." The Indians cautiously conceal their special religious rites from strangers travelling among them. Mr. M'Kenzie then would not be likely to learn this fact from them, by any statement of the fact, or by seeing it performed. But he says, "The
appearance of it was general" Doctor Boudinot assures that the eastern Indians inform of its having been practised among them in times past; but that latterly, not being able to give any account of so strange a rite, their young men had opposed it, and it was discontinued. Immanuel de Moraez, in his history of Brazil, says it was practised among the native Brazilians. These native inhabitants of South America were of the same origin with the Indians of North America.
The Rev. Mr. Bingham of Boston informed the writer of these sheets, that Thomas Hopoo, the pious native of a Sandwich Island, informed him while in this country, before he returned with our missionaries to his native region, that he himself had been circumcised; that he perfectly remembered his brother's holding him, while his father performed upon him this rite.
Mr. Bingham also informed that the pious Obookiah, of the same race, pleased himself that he was a natural descendant of Abraham, and thought their own language radically Hebrew. It is believed by men of the best information that the Sandwich Islanders and the native Americans are of the same race. What savage nation could ever have conceived of such a rite, had they not descended from Israel?
5. The native Americans have acknowledged one, and only one God; and they have generally views concerning the one Great Spirit, of which no account can be given, but that they derived them from ancient revelation in Israel. Other nations destitute of revelation, have had their many gods. But little short of three hundred thousand gods have existed in the bewildered imaginations of the pagan world. Every thing, almost, has been defied by the heathen. Not liking to retain God in their knowledge, and professing themselves to be wise, they became fools; and they changed the glory of the one living God, into images of beasts, birds, reptiles, and creeping things. There has been the most astonishing inclination in the world of mankind to do thus. But here is a new world of savages, chiefly, if not wholly free from such wild idolatry. Doctor Boudinot (being assured by many good witnesses,) says of the Indians who had been known in his day; "They were never known (whatever mercenary Spanish writers may have written to the contrary) to pay the least adoration to images or dead persons, to celestial luminaries, to evil spirits, or to any created beings whatever." Mr. Adair says the same, and assures that "none of the numerous tribes and nations, from Hudson's Bay to the Mississippi,
have ever been known to attempt the formation of any image of God." Du Pratz was very intimate with the chief of those Indians called "the Guardians of the Temple," near the Mississippi. He inquired of them the nature of their worship.—The chief informed him that they worshipped the great and most perfect Spirit; and said, "He is so great and powerful, that in comparison with him all others are as nothing. He made all things that we see, and all things that we cannot see." The chief went on to speak of God as having made little spirits, called free servants, who always stand before the Great Spirit ready to do his will. That "the air is filled with spirits; some good, some bad; and that the bad have a chief who is more wicked than the rest." Here it seems is their traditional notion of good and bad angels; and of Beelzebub, the chief of the latter. This chief being asked how God made man, replied, that "God kneaded some clay, made it into a little man, and finding it was well formed, he blew on his work, and the man had life and grew up!" Being asked of the creation of the woman, he said, "their ancient speech made no mention of any difference, only that the man was made first." Moses' account of the formation of the woman, it seems, had been lost.
Mr. Adair is very full in this, that the Indians have but one God, the Great Yohewah, whom they call the great, beneficent, supreme, and holy Spirit, who dwells above the clouds, and who dwells with good people and is the only object of worship." So different are they from all the idolatrous heathen upon earth. He assures that they hold this great divine Spirit as the immediate head of their community; which opinion he conceives they must have derived from the ancient theocracy in Israel. He assures that the Indians are intoxicated with religious pride, and call all other people the accursed people; and have time out of mind been accustomed to hold them in great contempt. Their ancestors they boast to have been under the immediate government of Yohewah, who was with them, and directed them by his prophets, while the rest of the world were outlaws, and strangers to the covenant of Yohewah. The Indians thus please themselves (Mr. Adair assures us) with the idea that God has chosen them from the rest of mankind as his peculiar people. This, he says, has been the occasion of their hating other people; and of viewing themselves hated by all men. These things show that they acknowledge but one God.
The Peruvians have been spoken of as paying adoration to the sun; and as perceiving their race of Incas, as children of the sun, in
their succession of twelve monarchies. The Indians have had much of an apprehension that their one Great Spirit had a great affinity to fire. And the Peruvians, it seems, went so far as to embody him in the sun. Here seems a shred of mixture of the Persian idolatry, with the theocracy of Israel. As the more ancient Israelites caught a degree of the idolatrous distemper of Egypt, as appears in their golden calf; so the ten tribes, the time they resided in Media, and before they set off for America, may have blended some idea of fire with their one God. But the veneration the Peruvians had for their Incas, as children of the Most High, seems but a shred of ancient tradition from Israel, that their kings were divinely anointed; and is so far from being an argument against their being of Israel, that it operates rather in favour of the fact.
Doctor Boudinot informs of the southern Indians of North America, that they had a name for God, which signifies, "the great, the beloved, holy cause." And one of their names of God, is Mingo- Ishto-Abba;—Great Chief Father. He speaks of a preacher's being among the Indians at the south, before the American revolution, and beginning to inform them that there is a God who created all things. Upon which they indignantly replied, "Go about your business, you fool! do not we know there is a God, as well as you?"
In their sacred dances, these authors assure us the Indians sing "Halleluyah Yohewah;"—praise to Jah Jehovah. When they return victorious from their wars, they sing, Yo-he-wah; having been by tradition taught to ascribe the praise to God.
The same authors assure us, the Indians make great use of initials of the mysterious name of God, like the tetragrammaton of the ancient Hebrews; or the four radical letters which form the name of Jehovah; as the Indians pronounce thus, Y-O-He-wah. That like the ancient Hebrews, they are cautious of mentioning these together, or at once. They sing and repeat the syllables of this name in their sacred dances thus; Yo-yo, or ho-ho-he-he-wah-wah. Mr. Adair upon the same, says; "After this they begin again; Hal-hal-le-le-lu-lu-yahyah. And frequently the whole train strike up, hallelu-halleluhalleluyah- halleluyah." They frequently sing the name of Shilu (Shilo, Christ) with the syllables of the name of God added; thus, "Shilu-yo-Shilu-yo-Shilu-he-Shilu-he-Shilu-wah-Shilu-wah." Thus adding to the name of Shilu, the name of Jehovah by its sacred syllables. Things like these have been found among Indians of different regions of America. Syllables and letters of the name of God have
been so transposed in different ways; and so strange and guttural has been the Indian pronunciation, that it seems it took a long time to perceive that these savages were by tradition pronouncing the names of the God of Israel. Often have people been informed, and smiled at the fact, that an Indian, hurt or frightened, usually cries out wah\ This is a part of his traditional religion; O Jah! or O Lord!
Doctor Williams upon the Indians' belief of the being of God, observes; "They denominate the deity the Great Spirit; the Great Man above; and seem to have some general ideas of his government and providence, universal power and dominion. The immortality of the soul was every where admitted among the Indian tribes."
The Rev. Ithamar Hebard, formerly minister of this place, related the following: That about fifty years ago, a number of men were sent from New England by the government of Britain into the region of the Mississippi, to form some treaty with the Indians. That while these commissioners were there, having tarried for some time, an Indian chief came from the distance of what he calls several moons to the westward. Having heard that white men were there, he came to enquire of them where the Great Being dwelt, who made all things. And being informed through an interpreter, of the divine omnipresence; he raised his eyes and hands to heaven with great awe and ecstacy, and looking round, and leaping, he seemed to express the greatest reverence and delight. The head man of these commissioners had been a profane man; but this incident cured him, so that he was not heard to utter another profane word on his tour. This was related to Mr. Hebard by one Elijah Wood, who was an eye witness of the scene, and who was afterward a preacher of the gospel. The son of Mr. Hebard, a settled minister, gives this relation.
Let this fact of the Indians generally adhering to one, and only one God, be contrasted with the polytheism of the world of pagans, and heathen besides; with the idle and ridiculous notions of heathen gods and goddesses; and who can doubt of the true origin of the natives of our continent? They are fatally destitute of proper views of God and religion. But they have brought down by tradition from their remote ancestors, the notion of there being but one great and true God; which affords a most substantial argument in favour of their being the ancient Israel.
It is agreed that within about eighty years, a great change has been produced among the Indians. They have in this period much degenerated as to their traditional religion. Their connexions with the most degenerate part of the white people, trading among them; and their knowledge and use of ardent spirit, have produced the most deleterious effects. They have felt less zeal to maintain their own religion, such as it was; and to transmit their own traditions. Remarkable indeed it is, that they did so diligently propagate and transmit them, till so competent a number of good testimonies should be furnished to the civilized and religious world, relative to their origin. This must have been the great object of divine Providence in causing them so remarkably to transmit their traditions through such numbers of ages. And when the end is answered, the cause leading to it may be expected to cease.
This may account for the degeneracy of some Indians far to the west, reported in the journals of Mr. Giddings, in his exploring tour. He informs, "They differ greatly in their ideas of the Great Spirit; one supposes that he dwells in a buffalo, another in a wolf, another in a bear, another in a bird, another in a rattlesnake. On great occasions, such as when they go to war, and when they return; (he adds) they sacrifice a dog, and have a dance. On these occasions they formerly sacrificed a prisoner taken in the war; but through the benevolent exertions of a trader among them, they have abandoned the practice of human sacrifice. There is always one who officiates as high priest. He practises the most rigid abstinence. He pretends to a kind of inspiration, or witchcraft; and his directions are obeyed.
"They all believe (he adds) in future rewards and punishments; but their heaven is sensual. They differ much in their ideas of goodness. One of their chiefs told him, he did not know what constituted a good man; that their wise men in this, did not agree.
"Their chiefs, and most of their warriors, have a war sack, which contains generally, the skin of a bird, which has a green plumage; or some other object, which they imagine to have some secret virtue."
Here we learn that those far distant savages have (as have all the other tribes) their Great Spirit, "who made every thing," though in their bewildered opinion he dwells in certain animals. On going to war, or returning, they must sacrifice; and for victory obtained, must have their religious dance. They must have their high priest, who must practice great abstinence, and pretend to inspiration; and hence must be obeyed.—They have brought down their traditional notions of these things; and of future rewards and punishments. The ark of their warlike chieftains, it seems, has degenerated into a sackl but this
(like the ark of the other tribes) must contain their most sacred things; "green plumage, or some other objects which they imagine to have some secret virtue." Here these Indians furnish their quota of evidence, in these more broken traditions, of their descent from Israel.
These tribes in the west are more savage, and know less of the old Indian traditions. Mr. Giddings says, "As you ascend the Missouri and proceed to the west, the nearer to the state of nature the savages approach, and the more savage they appear." This may account for their ark's degenerating into a sack; and for their verging nearer to idolatry in their views of the Great Spirit, viewing him as embodied in certain animals.
A chief of the Delaware Indians far in the west, visited by Messrs. Dodge and Blight, Jan. 1824, from the Union Mission, gave the following information to these missionaries. The chief was said by these missionaries "to be a grave and venerable character, possessing a mind which (if cultivated) would render him probably not inferior to some of the first statesmen of our country." On being inquired of by them whether he believed in the existence of a Supreme Being? he replied; "Long ago, before ever a white man stepped his foot in America, the Delawares knew there was one God; and believed there was a hell, where bad folks would go when they die; and a heaven, where good folks would go." He went on to state (these missionaries inform) that "he believed there was a devil, and he was afraid of him. These things (he said) he knew were handed down by his ancestors long before William Penn arrived in Pennsylvania. He said, he also knew it to be wrong if a poor man came to his door hungry and naked, to turn him away empty. For he believed God loved the poorest of men better than he did proud rich men. Long time ago, (he added) it was a good custom among his people to take but one wife, and that for life. But now they had become so foolish, and so wicked, that they would take a number of wives at a time; and turn them away at pleasure!' He was asked to state what he knew of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He replied that "he knew but little about him. For his part, he knew there was one God. He did not know about two Gods." This evidence needs no comment to show that it appears to be Israelitish tradition, in relation to the one God, to heaven, hell, the devil, and to marriage, as taught in the Old Testament, as well as God's estimation of the proud rich, and the poor. These things he assures us came down from their ancestors, before ever any white man appeared in America. But the great peculiarity which white men
would naturally teach them (if they taught any thing,) that Jesus Christ the Son of God is the Saviour of the world, he honestly confesses he knew not this part of the subject.
The following is an extract of a letter from Mr. Calvin Cushman, missionary among the Choctaws, to a friend in Plainfield, Mass. in 1824.
"By information received of father Hoyt respecting the former traditions, rites and ceremonies of the Indians of this region, I think there is much reason to believe they are the descendants of Abraham.— They have had cities of refuge, feasts of first fruits, sacrifices of the firstlings of the flocks, which had to be perfect without blemish or deformity, a bone of which must not be broken. They were never known to worship images, nor to offer sacrifice to any god made with hands. They all have some idea and belief of the Great Spirit. Their fasts, holy days, &c. were regulated by sevens, as to time, i.e. seven sleeps, seven moons, seven years, &c. They had a kind of box containing some kind of substance which was considered sacred, and kept an entire secret from the common people. Said box was borne by a number of men who were considered pure or holy, (if I mistake not such a box was kept by the Cherokees.) And whenever they went to war with another tribe they carried this box; and such was its purity in their view, that nothing would justify its being rested on the ground. A clean rock or scaffold of timber only, was considered sufficiently pure for a resting place for this sacred coffer. And such was the veneration of all the tribes for it, that whenever the party retaining it, was defeated, and obliged to leave it on the field of battle, the conquerors would by no means touch it." This account well accords with accounts of various others from different regions of the Indians. But it is unaccountable upon every principle except that the Indians are the descendants of Israel.
It is probable that while most of the natives of our land had their one Great Spirit, some of this wretched people talked of their different gods. Among the natives on Martha's Vineyard, in the beginning of Mayhew's mission among them, we find Mioxo, in his conversation with the converted native, Hiaccomes, speaking of his thirty-seven gods; and finally concluding to throw them all away, to serve the one true God. We know not what this insulated native could mean by his thirty-seven gods. But it seems evident from all quarters, that such were not the sentiments of the body of the natives of America.
The ancient natives on Long Island talked of their different subordinate gods. Sampson Occum, the noted Indian preacher, says; "the Indians on Long Island imagined a great number of gods." But he says, "they had (at the same time) a notion of one great and good God, who was over all the rest." Here, doubtless, was their tradition of the holy angels which they had become accustomed to call gods under the one great God. The North American Reviewers speak of the fact, that the natives of our land acknowledged one supreme God. They inquire, "If the Indians in general have not some settled opinion of a Supreme Being; how has it happened that in all the conferences or talks of the white people with them, they have constantly spoken of the Great Spirit; as they denominate the Ruler of the universe?"
Lewis and Clark inform us of the Mandans, (a tribe far toward the Pacific) thus; "The whole religion of the Mandans consists in a belief of one Great Spirit presiding over their destinies. To propitiate whom, every attention is lavished, and every personal consideration is sacrificed." One Mandan informed, that lately he had eight horses; but that he had offered them all up to the Great Spirit. His mode of doing it was this; he took them into the plains, and turned them all loose; committing them to the Great Spirit, he abandoned them forever. The horses, less devout than their master, no doubt took care of themselves.
Meckewelder (a venerable missionary among the Indians 40 years, noted in Doct. Jarvis' discourse, before the New-York Historical Society, and who had a great acquaintance with the wide spread dialect of the Delaware language,) says; "Habitual devotion to the great First Cause, and a strong feeling of gratitude for the benefits he confers, is one of the prominent traits which characterize the mind of the untutored Indian. He believes it to be his duty to adore and worship his Creator and Benefactor."
Gookin, a writer in New England in 1674, says of the natives; "generally they acknowledge one great Supreme doer of good." Roger Williams, one of the first settlers of New-England, says; "He that questions whether God made the world, the Indians will teach him. I must acknowledge (he adds) I have in my concourse with them, received many confirmations of these two great points;—1. that God is; 2. that He is a rewarder of all that diligently seek him. If they receive any good in hunting, fishing or harvesting, they acknowledge God in it."
Surely then, the natives of the deserts of America must have been a people who once knew the God of Israel! They maintained for more than two millenaries, the tradition of Him in many respects correct. What possible account can be given of this, but that they were descendants of Israel, and that the God of Israel has had his merciful eye upon them, with a view in his own time to bring them to light, and effect their restoration?
6. The celebrated William Penn gives accounts of the natives of Pennsylvania, which go to corroborate the same point. Mr. Penn saw the Indians of Pennsylvania, before they had been affected with the rude treatment of the white people. And in a letter to a friend in England he thus writes of those natives; "I found them with like countenances with the Hebrew race; and their children of so lively a resemblance to them, that a man would think himself in Duke's place, or Barry-street in London, when he sees them." Here, without the least previous idea of those natives being Israelites, that shrewd man was struck with their perfect resemblance of them; and with other things which will be noted. He speaks of their dress and trinkets, as notable, like those of ancient Israel; their ear-rings, nose jewels, bracelets on their arms and legs, rings (such as they were) on their fingers, necklaces, made of polished shells found in their rivers, and on their coasts; bands, shells and feathers ornamenting the heads of females, and various strings of beads adorning several parts of the body.
Mr. Penn adds to his friend, "that he considered this people as under a dark night; yet they believed in God and immortality, without the help of metaphysics. For he says they informed him that there was a great king, who made them—that the souls of the good shall go to him." He adds; "Their worship consists in two parts, sacrifice and cantieo, (songs.) The first is with their first fruits; and the first buck they kill goes to the fire." Mr. Penn proceeds to describe their splendid feast of first fruits, one of which he had attended. He informs; "all that go to this feast must take a piece of money, which is made of the bone of a fish." "None shall appear before me empty" [Deut 16:16]. He speaks of the agreement of their rites with those of the Hebrews. He adds;—"They reckon by moons; they offer their first ripe fruits; they have a kind of feast of tabernacles; they are said to lay their altars with twelve stones; they mourn a year; they have their separations of women; with many other things that do not now occur." Here is a most artless testimony given by that notable man, drawn from his own observations, and accounts given by him; while the thought of this
people's being actually Hebrew, probably was most distant from his mind.
7. Their having a tribe, answering in various respects to the tribe of Levi, sheds further light on this subject.* The thought naturally occurs, that if these are the ten tribes, and they have preserved so many of their religious traditions; should we not be likely to find among them some tradition of a tribe answering to the tribe of Levi? If we should find something of this, the evidence of their being the tribes of Israel would indeed be more striking. Possibly this is furnished. The Mohawk tribe were held by the other tribes in great reverence; and the other tribes round about them had been accustomed to pay them an annual tribute. Mr. Boudinot gives the following account of them. "Mr. Colden says, he had been told by old men (Indians) in New England, that when their Indians were at war formerly with the Mohawks, as soon as one (a Mohawk) appeared, the Indians would raise a cry, from hill to hill, a Mohawk! a Mohawk! upon which all would flee as sheep before a wolf, without attempting to make the least resistance. And that all the nations around them have for many years entirely submitted to their advice, and paid them a yearly tribute. And the tributary nations dared not to make war or peace, without the consent of the Mohawks." Mr. Colden goes on to state an instance of their speech to the governor of Virginia, in which it appears the Mohawks were the correctors of the misdoings of the other tribes.
Now, could any thing be found in their name, which might have an allusion to the superiority of the tribe of Levi, we should think the evidence very considerable, that here are indeed the descendants of the part of that tribe which clave to the house of Israel. And here too evidence seems not wholly wanting. The Hebrew word Mhhokek, signifies an interpreter of the law, superior. We have, then, a new view of the possible origin of the Mohawks!
8. Several prophetic traits of character given of the Hebrews, do accurately apply to the aborigines of America. Intemperance may be first noted. Isaiah, writing about the time of the expulsion of Israel from Canaan, and about to predict their restoration, says; Isai. xxviii. 1—"Wo to the crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim; (Ephraim was a noted name of the ten tribes of Israel.) The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet. For all tables shall
* Some of this tribe probably remained with the ten tribes.
be full of vomit and filthiness; so that there is no place clean" [Isa 28:1,3,8].
In the course of the descriptions of their drunkenness, that of their rejection and restoration is blended; that the Lord by a mighty one would cast them down to the earth; and their glorious beauty should be like that of a rich flower in a fertile valley, which droops, withers and dies. But in time God would revive it. "In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty unto the residue of this people" [Isa 28:5]. None who know the character of the Indians in relation to intemperance, need to be informed that this picture does most singularly apply to them.
Doctor Williams in his history of Vermont, on this trait of Indian character, says: "no sooner had the Indians tasted of the spiritous liquors brought by the Europeans, than they contracted a new appetite, which they were wholly unable to govern. The old and the young, the sachem, the warrior, and the women, whenever they can obtain liquors, indulge themselves without moderation and without decency, till universal drunkenness takes place. All the tribes appear to be under the dominion of this appetite, and unable to govern it."
A writer in the Connecticut Magazine assures us of the Indians in Massachusetts, when our fathers first arrived there; "As soon as they had a taste of ardent spirits, they discovered a strong appetite for them; and their thirst soon became insatiable."
Another trait of Hebrew character which singularly applies to the Indians, is found in Isai. iii. "The bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet; their cauls, and round tires like the moon; their chains, bracelets, mufflers, bonnets, ornaments of the legs; head bands, tablets, ear rings, rings, and nose-jewels; the mantles, the wimples; and the crisping pins" [Isa 3:18-22]. One would imagine the prophet was here indeed describing the natives of America in their full dress! No other people on earth probably bear a resemblance to such a degree.
This description was given just before the expulsion of Israel. And nothing would be more likely than that their taste for these flashy ornaments should descend to posterity. For these make the earliest and deepest impressions on the rising generation. And many of the Indians exhibit the horrid contrast which there follows.
Mr. Pixley of the Union Mission, being out among the Indians over Sabbath, thus wrote in his journal.—"I have endeavoured to pay
a little attention to the day, (the Sabbath) by building a fire in the woods, and there reading my bible. In reading the third chapter of the prophet Isaiah, I found in the latter part of the chapter a striking analogy between the situation of this people, and the condition of the people about whom the prophet was speaking, which I never before discovered. They are represented by the prophet as sitting on the ground; having their secret parts discovered; having given to them instead of a sweet smell, a stench; instead of a girdle, a rent; instead of well set hair, baldness; instead of a stomacher, a girding of sackcloth; and burning, instead of beauty. In all these particulars, except that of baldness, the prediction of the prophet is amply fulfilled in this people. And even this exception would be removed, if we might suppose that their shaving their heads with a razor, leaving one small lock on the crown, could constitute the baldness hinted. And certainly if any women in the world labour to secure their own bread and water, and yet a number of them be attached to one man to take away their reproach, you will find it among this people, whether the prediction may or may not be applied to them."
9. The Indians being in tribes, with their heads and names of tribes, affords further light upon this subject. The Hebrews not only had their tribes, and heads of tribes, as have the Indians; but they had their animal emblems of their tribes. Dan's emblem was a serpent; Issachar's an ass; Benjamin's a wolf; and Judah's a lion. And this trait of character is not wanting among the natives of this land. They have their wolf tribe; their tiger tribe; panther tribe; buffalo tribe; bear tribe; deer tribe; raccoon tribe; eagle tribe; and many others. What other nation on earth bears any resemblance to this? Here, no doubt, is Hebrew tradition.
Various of the emblems given in Jacob's last blessing, have been strikingly fulfilled in the American Indians. "Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that the rider shall fall backwards. Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf; in the morning he shall devour the prey; and at night he shall divide the spoil" [Gen 49:17, 27]. Had the prophetic eye rested on the American aborigines, it seems as though no picture could have been more accurate.
10. Their having an imitation of the ancient city of refuge, evinces the truth of our subject. Their city of refuge has been hinted from Mr. Adair. But as this is so convincing an argument, (no nation on earth having any thing of the kind, but the ancient Hebrews and
the Indians,) the reader shall be more particularly instructed on this article. Of one of these places of refuge, Mr. Boudinot says; "The town of refuge called Choate is on a large stream of the Mississippi, five miles above where Fort Loudon formerly stood. Here, some years ago, a brave Englishman was protected, after killing an Indian warrior in defence of his property. He told Mr. Adair that after some months stay in this place of refuge, he intended to return to his house in the neighbourhood; but the chiefs told him it would prove fatal to him. So that he was obliged to continue there, till he pacified the friends of the deceased by presents to their satisfaction. "In the upper country of Muskagee, (says Doctor Boudinot) was an old beloved town, called Koosah— which is a place of safety for those who kill undesignedly."
"In almost every Indian nation (he adds) there are several peaceable towns, which are called old beloved, holy, or white towns. It is not within the memory of the oldest people that blood was ever shed in them; although they often force persons from them, and put them elsewhere to death." Who can read this, and not be satisfied of the origin of this Indian tradition.
Bartram informs; "We arrived at the Apalachnela town, in the Creek nation. This is esteemed the mother town sacred to peace. No captives are put to death, nor human blood spilt here."
Adair assures us, that the Cherokees, though then exceedingly corrupt, yet so inviolably observed the law of refuge, at that time, that even the wilful murderer was secure while in it. But if he left it, he had no protection, but must expect death.
In a communication from Rev. Mr. Pixley, missionary in the Great Osage mission, to the Foreign Secretary, dated June 25,1824— among other things he says; "There is a class among the Indians called the Cheshoes, whose lodges are sacred as respects the stranger and the enemy who can find their way into them,—not very dissimilar to the ancient city of refuge.
The well known trait of Indian character, that they will pursue one who has killed any of their friends, ever so far, and ever so long, as an avenger of the blood shed, thus lies clearly open to view. It originated in the permission given to the avenger of blood in the commonwealth of Israel; and is found in such a degree probably in no other nation.
11. Their variety of traditions, historical and religious, go to evince that they are the ten tribes of Israel. Being destitute of books and letters, the Indians have transmitted their traditions in the follow
ing manner. Their most sedate and promising young men are some of them selected by what they call their beloved men, or wise men, who in their turn had been thus selected. To these they deliver their traditions, which are carefully retained. These are instead of historic pages and religious books.
Some of these Indian traditions, as furnished from good authorities, shall be given. Different writers agree that the natives have their historic traditions of the reason and manner of their fathers coming into this country, which agree with the account given in Esdras, of their leaving the land of Media, and going to a land to the northeast, to the distance of a year and a half's journey. M'Kenzie gives the following account of the Chepewyan Indians, far to the northwest. He says, "They have also a tradition among them, that they originally came from another country, inhabited by very wicked people, and had traversed a great lake, which was in one place narrow, shallow, and full of islands, where they had suffered great misery; it being always winter, with ice, and deep snows. At the Copper Mine River, where they made the first land, the ground was covered with copper, over which a body of earth has since been collected to the depth of a man's height." Doctor Boudinot speaks of this tradition among the Indians. Some of them call that obstructing water a river, and some a lake. And he assures us the Indian tradition is, "that nine parts of their nation, out of ten, passed over the river; but the remainder refused and staid behind." Some give account of their getting over it; others not. What a striking description is here found of the passing of the natives of this continent, over from the north-east of Asia, to the north west of America, at Beering's Straits. These Straits, all agree, are less than forty miles wide, at this period; and no doubt they have been continually widening. Doctor Williams, in his history of Vermont, says they are but eighteen miles wide. Probably they were not half that width 2500 years ago. And they were full of islands, the Indian tradition assures us. Many of those islands may have been washed away; as the Indian tradition says, "the sea is eating them up;" as in Dr. Boudinot.
Other tribes assure us that their remote fathers, on their way to this country, "came to a great river which they could not pass; when God dried up the river that they might pass over." Here is a traditionary notion among the Indians of God's anciently drying up rivers before their ancestors. Their fathers in some way got over Beering's Straits. And having a tradition of rivers being dried up before the
fathers, they applied it to this event. Those straits, after Israel had been detained for a time there, might have been frozen over, in the narrows between the islands; or they might have been passed by canoes, or other craft. The natives of this land, be they who they may, did in fact arrive in this continent; and they probably must have come over those straits. And this might have been done by Israel, as well as by any other people.
Relative to their tradition of coming where was abundance of copper; it is a fact, that at, or near Beering's Straits, there is a place called Copper Island, from the vast quantities of this metal there found. In Grieve's history we are informed that copper there covers the shore in abundance; so that ships might easily be loaded with it. The Gazetteer speaks of this, and that an attempt was made in 1770 to obtain this copper, but that the ice even in July, was so abundant, and other difficulties such, that the object was relinquished. Here, then, those natives made their way to this land; and brought down the knowledge of this event in their tradition.
Doctor Boudinot gives it as from good authority, that the Indians have a tradition "that the book which the white people have was once theirs. That while they had this book, things went well with them; they prospered exceedingly; but that other people got it from them; that the Indians lost their credit; offended the Great Spirit, and suffered exceedingly from the neighboring nations; and that the Great Spirit then took pity on them, and directed them to this country." There can be no doubt but God did, by his special providence, direct them to some sequestered region of the world, for the reasons which have been already given.
M'Kenzie adds the following accounts of the Chepewyan nation; "They believe also that in ancient times, their ancestors lived till their feet were worn out with walking, and their throats with eating. They describe a deluge, when the waters spread over the whole earth, except the highest mountains; on the tops of which they preserved themselves." This tradition of the longevity of the ancients, and of the flood, must have been from the word of God in ancient Israel.
Abbe Clavigero assures us, that the natives of Mexico had the tradition, that "there once was a great deluge; and Tepzi, in order to save himself from being drowned, embarked in a ship, with his wife and children, and many animals.—That as the waters abated, he sent