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evinced no small degree of skill. They were good marksmen. They had no flocks or herds, and no domestic animals except a dog of a wolfish breed which sometimes attended them. The women tilled the soil, while the men were engaged in war, or in hunting and fishing. They raised nothing but maize, which they knew well how to cultivate, and a few other vegetables. Fish, where fish could be obtained, were a great article of food among them. Their relish for oysters is proved by the deep beds of oyster-shells which were found by the white settlers on the southern shores of Connecticut. The money of the Indians was wampum-pieces of sea-shell, laboriously shaped in a particular form and strung on a thread. Their habitations, or wigwams, were circular or oblong in shape. They were constructed of branches of trees stuck in the ground, and bending toward the centre, a hole being left at the top for the smoke to escape. They were sometimes lined with mats and covered with the barks of trees, or daubed with mud.
The Indians generally had but one wife, but this was the effect of no laiv, and there was no restraint if they chose to discard their wives. Touching examples are on record of strong parental and filial affection among them ; but this cannot be said to have been a pervading characteris- Tribal artic. The Indians dwelt in villages. Each rangements. tribe had its chief, whose office descended, but by no means invariably, in his family. Within the tribe or confederacy thera existed that sort of clanship which is found so frequently among savage races, and bears the name of totemism. Each clan had its own totem— the wolf, the tortoise, or whatever it might be, and was distinguished by a corresponding symbol. The chief of the tribe, or sachem, might not of necessity be the leader in
Subordinate sachems, or “sagamores,” were consulted in grave emergencies. But the organization of the
natives was loose. Except en urgent occasions, or under the inspiration of some remarkable warrior, it was hard for them to combine in large numbers. In popular assemblies any who were respected or gifted in speech might declare their counsel. The Indian harangues were highly ornate, being stored with metaphors drawn from natural objects. The Indian tongues lack words to denote the things of the spirit. The figurative style of their speakers, which is occasionally somewhat impressive, partly accounts for the exaggerated ideas of the intellectual capacity of the red men which have been diffused by poets Their relig- and romance-writers. Their religious notions
were like those of many savage peoples in other parts of the world. They clothed the various objects and activities of nature with a distinct personal life. They had their fetiches and incantations. But it is quite doubtful whether, independently of all instruction, they arrived at any clear conception of one "Great Spirit.” Their "medicine-men” were conjurers. A religious significance was attached to their dances. But the Indians had no temples, no rites of worship, no priesthood. The vices
that are most often laid to the charge of the qualities. Indians are treachery and cruelty. In common with uncivilized peoples generally, it was one of their “ruling ideas” that the wrongs done by an individual were to be avenged on the clan or race. There is no doubt that the Indians were sly, suspicious, stealthy in their ways of compassing their ends, and adepts in dissimulation. These tendencies were naturally called into activity in their dealings with the whites. There are not wanting among them in our early history striking in. stances of fidelity to promises, and steadfast loyalty in friendship. Their worst trait was the spirit of revenge, and the merciless cruelty which made them delight in indiscriminate slaughter, and in inflicting tortures on their
enemies and captives. To count up as many scalps as possible was the ambition of the Indian youth. This kind of success was the highest title to honor.
There has been an exaggerated impression of the number of savages at the time when our country began to be settled. How many there were it is im- Their possible to estimate with any approach to exactness. Bancroft judges that the total number on the whole area east of the Mississippi, now covered by the United States, was not far from one hundred and eighty thougand.
DISCOVERIES AND SETTLEMENTS PRIOR TO THE FIRST
PERMANENT ENGLISH COLONY
The Renaissance--New Inventions-Maritime Enterprise- The First
Voyage of Columbus—“The Indies" Allotted to Spain and Portugal—Columbus Discovers the Mainland -- Voyages of the Cabots—Spanish Voyagers – Florida Discovered — The Mississippi Discovered-De Soto-Spanish Settlers in Florida-Rise of New France-Champlain Founds Quebec-English Voyages of Exploration-Gilbert and Raleigh--Gosnold.
The fifteenth century was the age of the Renaissance, the reawakening of learning and art from a long slumber. The mediæval era in its distinctive character was giving place to a new order of things. Compact monarchies were growing up on the ruins of feudalism. Europe was astir with a fresh intellectual life. New.inven
tions were appearing to accelerate the advance Now inven
of civilization. In the middle of the fifteenth century, gunpowder was brought into use. Fire-arms were now to displace, to a large extent, the old weapons of war.
About the same time, printing by movable types was first devised, an art that spread with marvellous rapidity. The mariner's compass, which in China had long served the purpose of guiding land-carriages, began to be used by Europeans on the sea. Vessels were no more obliged to cling to the coast, but could venture out into the mid-ocean. These inventions were conspicuous signs and effects of that spontaneous outburst of intelligence and energy which made this epoch a turning-point in
history. A great stimulus was given to maritime exploration by Prince Henry of Portugal-Henry the Navigator, as he was styled. . At the outset of his career he was a gallant soldier, but he turned Navigator. from brilliant deeds of arms to the eager study of astronomy and geography. He was bent on finding a path by the sea to Arabia and the regions of the farther east. The discoveries made under his auspices on the western coast of Africa increased the interest that was felt in maritime enterprises. In 1466, the Azores were occupied by Portugal. The Canaries were acquired and subdued by Spain. The strongest desire was roused to discover an ocean path to the countries of Eastern Asia. This was the goal which ambitious seamen set before them. It was while in pursuit of this object that Christopher Columbus made his great discovery. The Norse The Norse sagas relate that centuries before his time, as early as the year 1000, Scandinavian explorers, who had previously occupied places on the eastern shore of Greenland, planted a colony in “Vinland,"
) which has been supposed by many to be in the vicinity of Rhode Island. But the fact of the existence of such a settlement rests on tradition alone, and lacks full verification. If it ever existed, its place is uncertain, and it soon came to naught. That landings on the American shore were made by hardy seamen from the coast of Greenland is not improbable. The opinion that the earth is round had been held by Plato, Aristotle, and other ancient writers. It was revived in the middle ages by Averroes, a Spanish Arabian philosopher, was adopted in the time of Columbus by inquisitive men of science, and was embraced by Columbus himself. He felt sure that the eastern coasts of Asia could be reached by sailing westward. Ten years, full of struggle and disappointment, elapsed before he embarked from Palos