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nations, who spread over it, some memorial intimations of this great event. Captain Beechey found that the natives of California had a tradition of the deluge.* The Koliouges, on the northwest coast of America, have also peculiar notions upon it. + Sir Alexander Mackenzie heard it from the Chippewyams. The idea prevailed, but with fantastic additions, among the Cree Indians. © Mr. West heard a similar account from the natives who attended his school on the Red river. || In Western or New Caledonia, which was an unexplored country beyond the rocky mountains in these parts till Mr. Harmon visited them, he found a vague and wild tradition of the same catastrophe, with the singular addition of a fiery destruction. T
* Capt. Beechey's Voy. v. ii. p. 18.
† They believed, “That to punish the crimes of the world, a deluge was sent, but that all did not die in it. Many saved themselves on very high mountains, in barks, and on rafts."-Bull. Univ. v. ii. p. 155.
I “They describe a deluge, when the water spread over the whole earth, except the highest mountains, on the tops of which they preserved themselves." - Mack. Trav. c. xviii.
Capt. Franklin also mentions of them and of the Dog-rib Indians, " They have a tradition of the deluge."- Journ. p. 160.
O Dr. Richardson remarks, that “The Crees all spoke of a UNIVERSAL DELUGE, caused by an attempt of the fish to drown Wæsackootchacht, a kind of demi-god, with whoin they had quarrelled. Having constructed a raft, he embarked with his family and all kinds of birds and beasts. After the flood had continued for some time, he ordered waterfowl to dive to the bottom. They were all drowned; but a muskrat having been despatched on the same errand, returned with a mouthful of mud, out of which Wasack-ootchacht formed a new earth."--Dr. Richardson's Account in Frankland's Journey to the Polar Sea, p. 73.
They told him that a universal deluge was commonly believed by all the Indians. They say, “ When the flood came and destroyed the world, a very great man, called Wæsac-koochack, made a large ral and embarked with otters, beavers, deer, and other kinds of animals. After it had floated for some time he put out an otter, which dired very deep without finding any bottom, and then a beaver; both were drowned. At last a musk brought up a little inud in its mouth, which he made into a new earth.”-West's Journal, p. 131. He adds, "There appears to be a general belief of a flood among all the tribes of this vast continent."Ib. p. 133.
He states that “They believe that the earth was once entirely covered with water, and every thing destroyed but a muskrat, which, diving to the bottom, brought up some mud, that increased and grew to the present shape of the world. They say a fire spread over the whole, and destroyed every human being, with the exception of one man and one woman, who saved themselves by retiring into a deep eave in the mountains until the flames were extirguished."--Harmon's
In the islands of the South Sea, whose population had no connexion with the North American Indians, the belief of the deluge was preserved among them. Ancient traditions of it exist in the Sandwich Islands in various shapes.* In Tahiti, it was ascribed to the displeasure of the Deity at human misconduct. t It was mentioned in Eimeo,f and in a diffuser shape in Raiatea. Journal of Travels in the Interior of North America; Quart. Rev. No. 52, p. 415.
* Mr. Ellis, at Hawaii, heard, that “they were informed by their fathers that all the land had once been overflowed by the sea, except a small peak on the top of Mouna Kea, where two human beings were preserved from the destruction which overtook the rest."-Ellis, Hawaii, P. 451.
Mr. Matheson has transmitted another of these accounts. "Many thousand moons ago, a man fishing in the sea dragged up the Spirit of the Waters on his hook, who in his anger declared that he would cause a general deluge ; but would allow him to escape, with his wife, to the suminit of the mcuntain Mouna-roah, where he remained until the waters subsided.” -Matheson's Brazil and Sandw. Isl.
“in ancient time, Taaroa, their principal god, the creator of the world, being angry with men on account of their disobedience to his will, overturned the world into the sea, when the earth sunk in the waters, excepting a few projecting points, which, remaining above the surface, make the present cluster of islands."-Ellis, Polyn. v. ii. p 57.
The tradition of Eimeo states, that “after the inundation of the land, when the water subsided, a man landed from a canoe near Tiataepua, in their island, and erected a marae or altar in honour of his God." Ib.
I This also makes their Neptune Ruahahi to have been caught by a fisherman's hook, as he was sleeping in the coralline groves of the ocean, shortly after the first peopling of the world. He declared the land was criminal and should be destroyed. The man implored his forgiveness, and was ordered to go to a small island, while the others were destroyed. Some say he took a friend, with a dog, a pig, and a pair of fowls. The waters rose. The inhabitants fled to the mounrains; these were then covered, and all perished but the fisherman and his company, who, as the waters retired, took up their abode on the main island, and became the progenitors of the present inhabitants. Their belief of this is unshaken. ib. p. 59.
Summary View of the Evidence which the Recapitulated Traditions of
other Nations give as to the Universal Deluge-And its Concordance with the Geological Appearances.
MY DEAR SON, Having perused these testimonial traditions from both ancient and modern times, and from all quarters of the globe, let us fairly and dispassionately ask ourselves,-not what we may choose or like to believe or to disbelieve, but what is the right and rational conclusion to which they should lead us, as men seeking for truth; valuing only what is true and real, and desirous to avoid all fallacies and prepossessions. . We observe, as we.peruse them, a singular diversity of circumstances. This is an advantage to us in an inquiry into the certainty of the great event we are investigating ; for these differences and peculiarities satisfy us, that they are not copies from each other, as all uniformity may be. It is always possible that the exactly similar may be borrowed from what is so, but wherever variation begins, this possibil. ity diminishes. The diminution increases with the difference; and when the discrepances become so great as those of India and North and South America are found to be, on comparing them with the accounts of antiquity and the ideas of the classical nations, the possibility of a copy.ceases, and changes into that character which we denominate by the contrary term.
Convinced from this consideration that we have before us a large collection of independent traditions, what is the impartial judgment which our reasoning mind, according to its usual laws and operations in all our other researches and transactions, should and will naturally form on this subject ?
Is it possible for us, without forcing our reason out of its natural bias and tendency, on such evidence, to avoid concluding that there has been a general deluge, overwhelming the earth and that population upon it which preceded our present race ?
If the question was, whether there has been an invasion and destruction of Troy ; or whether Alexander the Great subdued the Persian empire, or whether Cyrus established it, should we hesitate one instant in accrediting either of these events, and all of them, on such a concurrence of testimony; and should we not rather wonder at the mind that under any other feelings or influences should persist in deny. ing them? We have certainly no right to depreciate each other for entertaining contrary opinions to ourselves. This would be unreasonable, and an infringement of that benign and mutually respecting feeling with which all fellow-creatures should regard each other. My meaning is not, therefore, either to encourage' self-opinion in ourselves or unbecoming notions of others, but simply to ask, if it would not be a rational deduction as to ourselves, that if we were to reject any of the great facts of history which came to our knowledge, with the confirming support of such a combination of traditions as attend the incident of the deluge, we should be judging on some impulses or impressions different from the desire to know the real truth on the investigated subject? This deduction is warranted by the experience, that those who have acted with any analogy to this mode of conduct, have either been defective in their judging capacity, or have been wilfully supporting an extravagant conjecture for some personal purpose of their self-interest or self-love. The Père Hardouin's assertion that all our classics were forgeries ; Volney's idea that our Saviour and his apostles were but the sun and the twelve signs of the zodiac ; the declaration and belief of one of our contemporaries that the Grecian paganism and the divinities are the true deities and religion which we should adopt ; De Maillet's idea that men have sprung from fishes,* and many such like dreams which might be enumerated, t are instances of individual peculiarities, in which mind may be thought to be acting
* He maintained this wild idea in his Telliamed, published in 1748. Cuvier thus notices it: “De Maillet covered the whole globe with water for thousands of years. All terrestrial animals had been originally marine. Man himself was at first a fish and the author assures his readers that it is not uncommon to find in the ocean fishes which have not only become half-men, but which will some day become entire human beings.”-Cuvier, Fossil Bones, v. I. p. 41.
t in this very year, 1834, I find an English traveller maintaining that animals grow up out of the earth!!"
in contradiction to reason and to evidence, without any personal injustice or affront to the defenders of such imaginations.
But the truth is, that no right mind which is not acting under prepossessions that turn it from the simple desire of calmly discerning what is true or most probable, has ever differed from the general sense, on the main outlines of the history of the world. A few have deviated so far into singularity as to call in question the Trojan war; but although this has nothing like such collateral corroborations as the occurrence of the deluge, yet the doubt and ingenuity of its impugners have not shaken the general impression of its reality, and have the effect of seeming to be only a favourite chimera, a mental football, or a too hasty adoption of its supporters.
If such be our impressions as to the grand transactions of mankind, notwithstanding the minor amount of evidence on which their memorial rests; and if we act on the same intellectual principles in considering the traditional testimonies of the deluge, it appears to me that the lover and student of historical truth who allows nothing but the desire of ascertaining the reality of the fact to guide him, as far as at this late age of the world he can now discover it, can form but one conclusion on the topic we are considering ; and this will be, that there has been such a general catastrophe before the present generations of mankind spread over the present surface of the earth. For in these facts, that the earth was so overflooded, that the anterior race perished as the waters prevailed, and that from a small surviving or preserved fragment, the human kind were renewed into the tribes and nations who have since been on the globe, all the historical and traditional accounts which have been cited coincide and agree. They all state or imply these main incidents, and these are the substantial points of knowledge which this subject requires us to entertain.
It is, however, important to remark, that several of them, very remote from each other,—Assyrian, Grecian, Roman, Sanscrit, South American, and the Polynesian islands, nations, some of which could have had no communication with each other, also represent it as an event which the divine power purposely occasioned : and the reason for the exertion of it when given was, on account of the offences of the exist