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ports, laden with seven million bushels of both Spain and England. Here, as of wheat; the only check to produc- Admiral Davis reports to Congress, is tion being a deficiency of ships, and the the true route for a: ship-canal of but circuit by Cape Horn, which allows a twenty miles, between deep and spaship to make but one voyage to the ous harbors, where neither tunnels nor year. Were a canal cut through the lockage are required, and where but a Isthmus, each ship could make two single ridge, whose ravines rise to an voyages in a year, and, with the screw, elevation of one hundred and fifty feet, each ship could make five voyages, in intervenes between ocean and ocean. place of two, each season to New York. It can in all probability be made for So large is the area fit for wheat-fields less than one third the cost of the shipin California and Oregon, that, after canal' which France and Egypt are reserving ample space for vineyards opening across the Isthmus of Suez, a and sheep-walks, which nearly equal hundred miles long, a hundred yards the culture of wheat in importance, wide, and ten in depth; and the whole twenty thousand men, - actually less cost might be defrayed by the light tax than the emigration of a single year, — on oil, which the House voted a few could produce there annually a hun- days since, or by the assessment prodred millions of bushels, on three thou- posed on bank circulation as a comsand square miles, near navigable wa- pensation for exclusive privileges. ters, and load two thousand ships, of The Pacific Railway is a reproductive one thousand tons, with wheat. One investment. It makes dividends to its fourth of these ships might be built originators even before it is finished, annually on the coasts of California, and will carry hosts of travellers, specie, Oregon, the Straits of Fuca and Alas- silks, teas, spices, dry goods, boots and ka ; for there the towering pines and shoes, and local freight. The Panama cedars stand waiting for the shipwrights Railway earns regularly twenty per on the very sea-shore, and the first cent. The canal will pay at least as freight of wheat would suffice to pay well as the railways. The nation will one third of the cost of construction. derive more benefit from its expendi
A nation like ours, with a front on tures on such enterprises than from each ocean, and such resources, should, any pitiful attempt to compel. its credby due concessions and subsidies, set itors to take paper in place of gold, or the shipwright in motion, and should to force a reduction of interest. It is connect the two oceans. As far back as preposterous for the nation, after its the seventeenth century Scotland found triumph, in its hour of prosperity, to ased the Colony of Darien, and raised five sume the attitude of the insolvent, hundred thousand pounds to open a ship- as preposterous as it would be for canal. The route was traced by Patter- Belmont, Stewart, or Astor, after havson, the founder of the Bank of England, ing made a little discount on paper durand here, he wrote, was “the Gate of ing a revulsion which had ended, to call the Universe"; but the colony and the their creditors together, if they have enterprise were ruined by the jealousy any, and propose a compromise.
Wooed of the sweet winds and wed by the sea, When, since the nations begun, Was other inheritance like unto thee?
Splendors of sunshine and snows
Orchard and harvested plain ;
Generous gods, at thy birth,
Strength from the Thunderer came,
Lo! Aphrodite her zone,
Bacchus the urns of his wine
Phæbus the songs that inspire,
So were thy graces complete ;
Ah! but the gods, the malign,
Thine was the marvellous box,
Life, from thy symmetry fed,
Mysteries flow from thy lips,
Thou, that assumest to lead,
Spirit of beauty and woe,
Teach us thy charms to resist,
Let us accept what thou hast, --
Thus shall we yield, and o'ercome ;
REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.
The Myths of the New World: a Treatise morality, it may be doubted whether the
on the Symbolism and Mythology of the burden of his own proof is not against the Red Race of America. By DANIEL G. proposition that Dr. Brinton seeks to estab. BRINTON, A. M., M. D., Member of the lish, and whether any of its qualities did Historical Society of Pennsylvania, etc. much to elevate the red race; though there New York : Leypoldt and Holt.
is no question that its cruel and revolting
forms of worship tended to degrade them. The thoughtful general reader, for whom, For the most part the weak ethical instincts rather than the antiquary, Dr. Brinton pro- of humanity seem to have been powerless fesses to have written his book, must be before superstitions pointing to a future in pleased with the sensibleness which is one which the place of the soul was fixed, not of its prominent characteristics. In the by its good or bad acts, but by the nature treatment of the myths of the New World of the body's last sickness, and teaching there was occasion for so great critical dry- gods who ruled in fear, and knew neither ness, and so much uncritical and credulous right nor wrong, but only offerings and selfsentimentality, that we confess ourselves sacrifice in their worshipper; and even rather surprised than otherwise to find where the Indians, as in Peru and Mexico, them handled entertainingly, and discussed had a civic life better than their creed, their with sympathy and candor, and in a tone at creed still stained their civilization with once moderate and confident. The field of horrible crimes and infamies, or prepared inquiry extends over the whole hemisphere, it to fall at the first blow from without. but it has been so conscientiously and care- According to Dr. Brinton, there never fully wrought, that there is little confusion was a race so universally and so cunningly in the presentation of results; all extrane priest - ridden as our aborigines. These ous growths have been weeded out, and the savages who had so vague and intangible Red Race's idea of the supernatural is given a theology that it has often been doubled as distinctly and fully as it can be evolved whether they believed at all in a future from the vague and varying traditions and state, had a very complex supernaturalism, records of the past. Of course, an end is and a priesthood skilled far beyond our made of many popular illusions concerning revivalists in appealing to the imagination the religion of the aborigines, and there is and emotions. But in establishing this fact sad havoc of authorities : the Great Spirit Dr. Brinton is very far from assenting to turns out an effort of the native imagination the doubt which chiefly renders it remarkato conceive of the white man's God, and ble. On the contrary, he asserts in the Mr. Schoolcraft is mentioned as a man of most decided terms the belief of all the " deficient education and narrow prejudices, American tribes in a hereafter, and denies pompous in style and inaccurate in state that it was really wanting even in those ment," and his famous work as a “monu· poor Pend d'Oreilles to whom the Catholic ment of American extravagance and super- missionaries could convey an idea of the ficiality,” while Hiawatha appears a recent soul only by describing it as "a gut that and “wholly spurious myth.” These great never rotted," while other Oregon tribes, landmarks in Indian symbolism being over who attribute a spirit to every member thrown, the general reader drifts helplessly of the body, the Algonkins and Iroquois, upon the course of their fables, and quite at who give each man two souls, and those Dr. Brinton's mercy.
Dakotas who give him four, afford our auA very large part of their supernatural- thor almost a riotous abundance of proof for ism is the reverberation of the misunder his argument. Indeed, unless we are to stood sermons of missionaries; but when hold as utterly meaningless the burial custhis is rejected the indigenous mythology toms of all the tribes, and as wholly false still makes a respectable figure. Much all the accounts of Peruvian and Mexican of what remains is very beautiful, and ceremonies pertaining to the dead and dysome of it very significant; but as it was ing, we must grant Dr. Brinton's claim on usually distinct from ideas and systems of behalf of the existence of an aboriginal
hereafter, with its paradise in the sun, and strown like flowers, and its adoration was its curious subdivisions into heavens and throughout connected with his worship. hells appropriate to the complaint or act When the Muyscas would sacrifice to the by which the soul was separated from the goddess of waters, they extended cords body.
across the tranquil depths of some lake, A very interesting part of this book is thus forming a gigantic cross, and at their that in which the author treats of the origin point of intersection threw in their offerings of the world and of man as he finds the of gold, emeralds, and precious oils. The idea in the uncorrupted myths of the arms of the cross were designed to point to aborigines. The native imagination never the cardinal points and represent the four grasped the notion of creation. Matter, for winds, the rain-bringers. To confirm this them, always existed; but there was a fabu- explanation, let us have recourse to the lous period when a flood of waters hid ev- simpler ceremonies of the less cultivated erything, and when the dry land began to tribes, and see the transparent meaning of emerge. Back of this period they could the symbol as they employed it. not go; yet they had no trouble in sup- “When the rain-maker of the Lenni posing an end of matter, and they had no Lenape would exert his power, he retired clearer belief than that of the destruction of to some secluded spot and drew upon the the world, of a last day, and of a resurrec- earth the figure of a cross, (its arms toward tion of the dead. All their myths teach the cardinal points ?) placed upon it a piece more or less directly that man was not of tobacco, a gourd, a bit of some red stuff, growth from lower animal life or from veg. and commenced to cry aloud to the spirits etable life, but “a direct product from the of the rains. The Creeks at the festival of great creative power."
the Busk celebrated, as we have seen, to Dr. Brinton examines at length into the the four winds, and, according to their lenature of those myths by virtue of which gends instituted by them, commenced with the cardinal points of the compass and the making the new fire. The manner of this number four became sacred to the aborigi- was 'to place four logs in the centre of the nes, and by which the Cross became the square, end to end, forming a cross, the symbol of the east, west, north, and south, outer ends pointing to the cardinal points ; as widely and universally employed as the in the centre of the cross the new fire is knowledge of these points.
made.' “ The Catholic missionaries found it was “As the emblem of the winds who disno new object of adoration to the red race, pense the fertilizing showers it is emphatiand were in doubt whether to ascribe the cally the tree of our life, our subsistence, fact to the pious labors of Saint Thomas or and our health. It never had any other the sacrilegious subtlety of Satan. It was meaning in America, and if, as has been the central object in the great temple of said, the tombs of the Mexicans were cruciCozumel, and is still preserved on the bas- form, it was perhaps with reference to a reliefs of the ruined city of Palenque. From resurrection and a future life as portrayed time immemorial it had received the prayers under this symbol, indicating that the buried and sacrifices of the Aztecs and Toltecs, body would rise by the action of the four and was suspended as an august emblem spirits of the world, as the buried seed takes from the walls of temples in Popoyan and on a new existence when watered by the Cundinamarca. In the Mexican tongue it vernal showers. It frequently recurs in the bore the significant and worthy name ‘Tree ancient Egyptian writings, where it is inof our Life,' or 'Tree of our Flesh' (Tona- terpreted life; doubtless, could we trace caquahuitl). It represented the god of rains the hieroglyph to its source, it would likeand of health, and this was everywhere its wise prove to be derived from the four simple meaning. *Those of Yucatan,' say winds.” the chroniclers, “prayed to the cross as the Throughout Dr. Brinton's work there is god of rains when they needed water. The a prevalent synthetic effort, by which the Aztec goddess of rains bore one in her varying forms of the aboriginal myths are hand, and at the feast celebrated to her brought to one expression, and the ruder honor in the early spring victims were traditions are made to approach their internailed to a cross and shot with arrows. pretation through the perfected symbolism Quetzalcoatl, god of the winds, bore as his of the civilized Mexicans and Peruvians. sign of office 'a mace like the cross of a Here, as nearly everywhere else, the author bishop'; his robe was covered with them has most readers in his power ; but we