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as described by the Greek historian. This usage, we well know by horrid experience, is continued to this day in America. The ferocity of the Scythians to their prisoners, extended to the remotest part of Asia. The Kamtschatkans, even at the time of their discovery by the Russians, put their prisoners to death by the most lingering, and excruciating torments ; a practice now in full force among the aboriginal Americans. A race of the Scythians were named Anthropophagi, from their feeding on human flesh: the people of Nootka sound, still make a repast on their fellow creatures.
The savages of North America have been known to throw the mangled limbs of their prisoners into the horrible caldron, and devour them with the same relish as those ; of a quadruped. The' Kamtschatkans in their marches never went abreast, but followed one another in the same track : the same custom is still observed by the uncultivated natives of North America. The Tungusi, the most numerous nation resident in Siberia, prick their skins with small punctures, in various shapes, with a needle; then rub them with charcoal, so that the marks become indelible : this custom is still observed in several parts of South America. The Tungusi use canoes made of birch bark, distended over ribs of wood, and nicely put together : the Canadian, and many other primitive American nations, use no other sort of boats. In fine, the conjectures of the learned, respecting the vicinity of the Old and New World, are now, by the discoveries of late navigators, lost in conviction ; and in the place of an imaginary hypothesis, the place of migration is almost incontrovertibly pointed out. - This vast country extends from the soth degree of north latitude, to the 54th degree of south latitude ; and where its breadth is known, from the 35th to the 136th degree west longitude from London, stretching between eight and nine thousand miles in length, and in its greatest breadth three thousand six hundred and ninety: it embraces both hemispheres ; has two sum mers and a double winter, and enjoys almost all the variety of climates, which the earth affords. It is washed by two great oceans : to the eastward it has the Atlantic, which separates it from Europe and Africa ;. to the west it has the Pacific or Great South Sea, separating it from Asia. By these seas it carries on a direct commerce with all the other three parts of the World.
Next to the extent of the New World, the grand objects which it presents to view, must forcibly strike the eye of an observer. Nature seems here to have carried on her operations upon a larger scale, and with a bolder hand, and to have distinguished the features of this country by a peculiar magnificence. The mountains of America are much superior in height to those in the other divisions of the globe. The most elevated point of the Andes in South America, according to Don Ulloa, is twenty thousand two hundred and eighty feet, above the level of the sea ; which is at least two thousand one hundred and two feet, above the peak of Teneriffe, which is the highest known mountain in the ancient continent.
From the lofty and extensive mountains of America, descend rivers, with which the streams of Europe, Asia, or Africa, are not to be compared, either for length, or for the vast bodies of water, which they pour into the ocean. The Danube, the Indus, the Ganges, or the Nile, are not of equal magnitude, with the St. Laurence, the Missouri, or the Mississippi, in North America ; or with the Maragnon, the Orinoco, or the La Plata, in South America.
The lakes of the New World are not less conspicuous for grandeur than its mountains and rivers. There is no thing in the other parts of the globe which resembles the prodigious chain of lakes in North America ; they might with propriety, be termed inland seas of fresh water ; even those of the second or third class, in magnitude, are of larger circuit (the Caspian sea excepted) than the greatest lake of the ancient continent.
Various causes have been assigned for the remarkable difference between the climate of the New continent and the Old. The opinion of the celebrated Dr. Robertson, on this subject, claims our attention, “ Though the utmost “ extent of America towards the north, be not yet disco“ vered, we know that it advances nearer the pole than « either Europe or Asia. The latter have large seas to the 6 north, which are open during part of the year; and even “ when covered with ice, 'the wind that blows over them
is less intensely cold, than that which blows over land “in the same latitudes. But in America, the land stretches "from the river St. Laurence towards the pole, and spreads "out immensely to the west. A chain of enormous moun"tains, covered with snow and ice, runs through all this "dreary region. The wind passing over such an extent "of high and frozen land, becomes so impregnated with "cold, that it acquires a piercing keenness, which it re" tains in its progress through warmer climates; and is
not entirely mitigated, until it reaches the gulf of Mexi"co. Over all the continent of North America, a northK westerly wind, and excessive cold, are terms synonimous. “Even in the most sultry weather, the moment that the "wind veers to that quarter, its penetrating influence is " felt in a transition from heat to cold, no less violent, than
sudden. To this powerful cause we may ascribe the * extraordinary dominion of cold, and its violent inroads into the southern provinces in that part of the
Of the manners and customs of the North Americans, the following is the most consistent account that can be collected from the best informed, and most impartial writers.
When the Europeans first arrived in America, they found the Indians quite naked, except those parts whiclı the most uncultivated savages usually conceal. Since that time, however, they generally use a coarse blanket, which they'obtain of the neighbouring planters, in exchange for furs and other articles. Their huts or cabins are made of stakes of wood, driven into the ground, and covered with branches of trees or reeds. They lie on the floor, either on mats, or the skins of wild beasts. Their dishes are of wood, and their spoons of the sculls of wild oxen, and sometimes of laurel, a hardy wood, very suitable for the purpose ; their knives and hatchets are made of fint or other
A kettle, and a large plate, constitute almost the whole utensils of the family. Their diet consists chiefly on what they procure by hunting; and sagamite or poltage, is likewise one of the most common kinds of food. The most honourable furniture an.ci.gst them is a collection of the scalps of their enemies : with these they ornament their huts, which are esteemed in proportion to the number of this horrid sort of spoils. VOL. I.
The character of the Indians, is only to be known by their circumstances and way of passing through life. Constantly employed in procuring a precarious subsistence, by hunting wild animals, and often engaged in war, it cannot be expected that they enjoy much gaiety of tem. per, or a high flow of spirits. They are therefore generally grave, approaching to sadness : they have none of that giddy vivacity, peculiar to some nations of Europe, but despise it. Their behaviour to those about them
regu. lar, modest, and respectful. They seldom speak but when they have something important to observe ; and all their actions, words, and even looks, are attended with some meaning. Their subsistence depends entirely on what they procure with their hands; and their lives, their honour, and every thing dear to them, may be lost by the smallest inattention, to the designs of their enemies. As no particular object has power to attach them to one place, more than another, they go wherever the necessaries of life can be procured in the greatest abundance. The different tribes, or nations, when compared with civilized societies, are extremely small. These tribes often live at an immense distance; they are separated by a desart frontier, und hid in the bosom of impenetrable woods, and almost boundless forests.
There is in each society, a certain kind of government which with very little deviation, prevails over the whole continent ; their manners and way of life, are nearly similar and uniform. An Indian has no method by which he can render himself considerable, among his companions, but by his personal accomplishments, either of body or mind; but, as nature has not been very lavish in these distinctions, where all enjoy the same education, all are pretty much upon an equality, and will desire to remain so. Liberty, is therefore the prevailing passion of the American Indians ; and their government under the influence of this sentiment, is perhaps better secured, than by the wisest political regulations. They are very far, however, from despising all sort of authority : they are attentive to the voice of wisdom, which experience has confirmed on the aged, and they inlist under the banners of the chief, in whose valour and military address, they have learned to repose a just and merited confidence
Among those tribes which are most engaged in war, the power of the chief is naturally predominant ; because the idea of having a military leader was the first source of his superiority; and the continued exigencies of the state requiring such a leader will enhance it. "His power however, is rather persuasive than coercive, he is reverenced as a father, rather than feared as a monarch. Ho has no guards, no prisons, no officers of justice ; and, one act of ill-judged violence, would pull him from his humble throne.
The elders in the other form of government, which may be considered as a mild and nominal aristocracy, hare no more power. Age alone is sufficient for acquiring respect, influence, and authority ; experience alone, is the only source of knowledge ainong a savage people.
Among the Indians, business is conducted with the ut. most simplicity, and recalls to those who are acquainted with antiquity, a lively representation of the early ages. The heads of families meet together in a house or c:bin, appointed for the purpose : here the business is discussed; and here those of the nation distinguished for their elo. quence or wisdom, have an opportunity of displaying their talents. Their orators, like those of Homer, express themselves in a bold, figurative style, more strong than refined, with gestures violent, but natural and expressive. When the business is over, and they happen to be we'l provided with food, they appoint a feast upon the occasion, of which almost the whole nation partake ; the feast. is accompanied with a song, in which the exploits of their forefathers are celebrated. They have dances tra, but chiefly of the military kind, like the Greeks and Romans, which inspire the younger with a martial spirit.
To assist their memory, they have belts of small shells (wampum) or beads, of different colours, each representing a different object, which is marked by their colour or arrangement. At the conclusion of every subject on which they discourse, when they treat with a foreign state, they deliver one of those bells; for, if this ceremony should be emitted, all that they have said passes for nothing. These belts are carefully deposited in each town, as the public records of the nation ; and to them they occasionally have recourse, when any public contest happens with a neigh