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The forests.

border of the Atlantic coast, the whole territory from the St. Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the ocean

to the central plains beyond the Appalachians,

was woodland, except here and there a small patch of ground which had been cleared by storm or flood, or by the “girdling” of the trees by Indian hatchets and the burning of the undergrowth. Wherever the emigrants went, they found themselves enclosed by the sombre, boundless forest. The trees included nearly three hundred species. Even the trees which belonged to genera that had been familiar to the eyes of the set. tlers in the Old World were mostly of new species.



Their Languages—The Peruvians—The Mexicans – The Red Men

-The Mound-Builders - The Indians Classified-Indian Traits
—Their Manners – Their Occupations, Food, and Dwellings-
Tribal Arrangements - Their Religion–Their Moral Qualities
-Their Number,


The Western continent, at the time of its discovery, was inhabited by a great number of tribes and peoples. Concerning their relationship among themselves we have a limited amount of knowledge. On the question of their affinities with races on the Eastern continent, numerous theories have been broached, but it would be unsafe at present to pronounce a confident judgment. The languages of these tribes and peoples in both

Their larNorth and South America were generally, although not exclusively, of one essential type. Their tongues were mostly of the polysynthetic class. That is to say, they formed conglomerate words by a peculiar incorporation of syllables, of such a character that a single word might be made to do the work of a sentence. In fact, the word comprised definitions of the elements that entered into it, and so might be prolonged indefinitely. Even the tongue of the Eskimos, distinct as they were in their physical characteristics, did not differ in its fundamental structure from the languages The Peruv:of most of the other American peoples. Peru and Mexico were semi - civilized nations. Peru under the sway of the Incas had a kind of theocratic govern






ment, the ruler being held to be of divine descent, and being possessed of absolute sovereignty. The Peruvians were acquainted with the art of writing. They were cultivators of the soil, of which every individual possessed a portion. They had good roads, with posthouses, were skilful builders, and expert potters and workers in metals. Their chief divinity was the Sun. Another people, the Mayas of Central America, in their ruined cities left behind striking proofs of architectuThe Mexi. ral taste and skill.

The Mexicans had a less despotic form of government than the Peruvians. They had invented a system of picture-writing. Except in those mechanical arts which have been referred to, they were in advance of the Peruvians. Their religion was not destitute of beneficent elements, yet its ritual included human sacrifices. They were fierce in the treatment of enemies, of whom the Tlascalans, their unsubdued neighbors, were the most formidable. The Pueblo race, whose remains are found in New Mexico, in Arizona, and in Southern California, are to be distinguished from the Mexican Aztecs. A portion of the Pueblos built their dwellings on high plateaus that were almost inaccessible; others built in the cliffs of the cañons. Their houses were of stone or sun-dried brick, in size huge, and made to contain hundreds of inmates, who lived in a communal way. The Pueblos made cloth and pottery, but, on the whole, they appear to have been not so far advanced

as the Aztecs. The red men have kept the

name of “Indians," which was given to native Americans under the idea that the newly discovered regions of the West were a part of India. They are called

“red” from their bronze or cinnamon color. builders,

They were preceded by the prehistoric race of “mound-builders,” whose earthworks, which are all that is left of their forts and temples, are found in the

The Red Men.

The Mound

The Indians


valleys of the Mississippi and of the Ohio. The remains of mechanical art that have been dug out of these mounds show that their builders, whoever they were, had made considerable progress on the road to civilization. It is thought by some that they were the ancestors of modern aboriginal races, who were their inferiors in taste and skill. The Indians with whom the English, settlers of North America were brought into contact are classified under several grand divisions, or families of tribes. The principal of these was the great Algonkin family. It spread from Hudson's Bay and the Eskimos of Labrador as far south as North Carolina, and from the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic west to the Mississippi. Their language "was the mother-tongue of those who greeted the colonists of Raleigh at Roanoke, of those who welcomed the Pilgrims to Plymouth.” But the territory of the Algonkins enclosed, or nearly enclosed, within itself, the lands of an alien group, that of the Iroquois, comprising the Five Nations, which became the “Six Nations” when their kinsmen, the Tuscaroras, joined them in 1713. They dwelt on the south of Lakes Erie and Ontario and of the St. Lawrence. To them the name of Iroquois is generally applied ; but the Hurons, to the north of them, were a branch of the same ethnical division. South of the Tennessee River, and spreading to the Mississippi and to the Gulf, were the tribes of the Muskogee family, of whom the Creeks were the most powerful. To this group belonged, also, the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, and Seminoles.

We have no knowledge of the Indians prior to their intercourse with the whites. In judging of them we must take into account modifications of character and manners, which resulted from such intercourse. In general their traits were such as are found usually in savage races of the more vigorous

Indian traits.

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type. Among themselves, while their main characteristics were the same everywhere, there were not wanting marked tribal peculiarities. For example, some tribes were not so resentful and implacable as others, and were less formidable as enemies. The remarks which follow, although in general applicable to all, are especially descriptive of the tribes with which the Northern Colonies, whose contests with the Indians were the most severe and prolonged, came into contact.

In stature the Indians were quite up to the ordinary height, and were well formed. They had high cheekbones; long, coarse, jet-black hair; scant beard, and small eyes. They clothed themselves in the skins of wild animals. In summer the men went almost naked, wearing only an apron of deer-skin. The feet were protected by moccasins made of the same material, or of the hide of the moose. They tattooed themselves, and were fond of other sorts of barbaric decoration, taking special deliglit in feathers and gay colors. They were alert, swift of foot, and capable of energetic action, which was followed, however, by lassitude. They showed no aptitude for persevering industry, and wilted down under any employ

ment that required long-continued exertion.

They were reserved, indisposed to smile or to weep, and bore physical suffering, however intense and protracted, with stoical indifference. In negotiations of importance they exhibited a certain grave courtesy. But among themselves their sedate manner often gave place to a low jollity. They entered into their festivities with glee. Dancing was a favorite pastime. Among their

customary sports were various games, espepations, foodcially foot-ball and quoits. They were adepts ings. in whatever pertains to wood-craft. In making their light canoes, their bows, their hatchets of stone, and their pipes, and in dressing skins for their clothing, they

Their man


Their occu



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