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a propitiatory sacrifice. But the Mandans are no more, and the "Big Canoe" now rears its head amidst a heap of mouldering ruins.
Let us turn to another account of Indian ceremonies, practised among those nations which at the commencement of the revolutionary war were known as the confederacy of the Six Nations. The account, which we transcribe from Mr. Stone's | life of Joseph Brant-Thayendanegia-chief of the Mohawks, the head tribe of the Six Nations, is given as witnessed among the Senecas, now a halfcivilized tribe, dwelling in the state of New York, near Lake Erie, and numbering about 1200, but formerly amounting to nearly as many thousands.
"The great annual feast of thanksgiving and remission of sin, held by the Senecas and other tribes of the confederacy, is their greatest national and most solemn sacrifice. It is invariably held at the time of the old moon in January, and is celebrated with great parade; the ceremonies being conducted with the utmost order, harmony, and decorum,under the direction of a large committee appointed for that purpose.
"The festivities continue nine days; on the first of which two white dogs, without spot or blemish, if such can be found, are strangled, fantastically decorated, and hung up before the door of the council-house, at the height of twenty feet. Not a drop of blood is allowed to be shed in compassing their death, as the victims would thereby be rendered unfit for the sacrifice. The ceremonies of their frolic commence. In the course of the first day, every lodge in the town is visited by the committee; each member being provided with a shovel, with which he removes the ashes and coals from every hearth, and scatters them to the winds. In this manner the fire of every lodge is extinguished, to be rekindled only by striking virgin sparks from the flint. The discharge of a gun at every lodge announces that the work of purification, even of fire itself, has been performed; and with this ceremony end the labours of the first day.
"The ceremonies of the second day are opened with a dance by the committee, after which, dressed in bear-skins, the members visit every lodge, with baskets to take up alms-receiving whatever is bestowed, but particularly tobacco, and other articles used for incense in the sacrifice. Two or three days are occupied in receiving these grateful donations, during which time the people at the council-house are engaged in dances and other recreations. On the fifth day masks are added to the bear-skin dresses of the masters of the festival, some ludicrous and others frightful, in which they run about the village, smearing themselves with dirt, and bedaubing all such as refuse to add to the contents of their baskets of incense. While thus engaged, the collectors are supposed to receive into their own bodies all the
sins of their tribe, however numerous or heinous, committed within the preceding year.
"On the ninth day of the feast, by some magical process, the sins of the nation thus collected are transfused from the several members of the committee into one of their number. The dogs are then taken down; and the whole weight of the nation's iniquity, by another magical process, is transfused into their lifeless carcasses. The bodies of the dogs are next laid upon an altar of wood, to which fire is applied, and the whole consumed; the masters of the sacrifice throwing the tobacco and other odoriferous articles into the flames, the incense ascending from which is supposed to be acceptable to the Great Spirit. The sacrifice ended, the people all partake of a bountiful feast; after which follow the war and peace dances, and the smoking of the calumet. Thus refreshed, and relieved from the burden of sin, at peace with the Great Spirit and with each other, the warriors with their families return each to his own house, prepared to enter upon the business and the duties of another year; the chiefs during the festival having carefully reviewed the past, and adjusted their policy for the future."
Most Indian ceremonies are accompanied by dances of some kind, in which the young warriors are the chief performers. These we have described are in honour of the Great Spirit. They debase themselves, it is true, even while they vainly seek to do the Omnipotent honour; and when they turn the same ceremonies, as is too often the case, to the indulgence of the lowest appetites, they sink to the bottom of the slough from which they have appeared on the point of escaping. E.
A GLIMPSE OF PAST AGES. If some observers of our race have laboured to portray the uncivilised as links in the chain of being, connecting ourselves with the beasts of the earth, others have striven to cast a false yet attractive colouring over the circumstances of savage life. The island has perhaps been traversed beneath a sky without a cloud; the eye has dwelt with de light on all the diversity of hill and dale, stupendous mountains and rocky precipices, clothed alike with every variety of verdure, from the tender blade to the deep and rich foliage of the breadfruit tree, or the waving plumes of the lofty and graceful cocoa-nut grove,-while the stream has gently passed on its way, and all has been sublimity, beauty, and melody, and the visitor, enamoured of a spot which might have reminded him of Eden, has invested its inhabitants with the innocence of the dwellers in Paradise. There has frequently been a yielding to fascination where there has been no absolutely sinister design. The true philanthropist, however, will guard against all such
A GLIMPSE OF PAST AGES.
seductions as sedulously as against a failure in integrity which may be more palpable. Truth has grievously suffered from exaggeration no less than detraction; while humanity, always benefited by just representations, has groaned under wrongs which ought to have been redressed, and multitudes on multitudes have perished as a prey of unmitigated evils.
That man as a savage, though traversing the loveliest regions of this world, demands our compassion, we are fully prepared to contend. Is not even one fact amply sufficient to set the question at rest,—that in such circumstances the better parts of his nature-the mental and the moral-are held in the most abject vassalage by the sensual? It is often manifest that even the physical suffers from the tyranny it maintains, reminding us of the frenzied strokes of the despot which always recoil on himself. Or, to give only another fact, which has many a parallel;-Holden, when describing his adventures in Lord North's Island, says "the female portion of the inhabitants outstrip the men in cruelty and savage depravity; so much so that we were frequently indebted to the tender-mercies of the men for escapes from death at the hands of the women." We ask then pity-genuine, heart-felt pity-for the savage, and with it all the means that can raise him to his proper dignity and happiness.
was engaged in pastoral life. Among the descendants of the former there was an early invention of the arts. Tubal Cain was the first artificer of warlike instruments, instructing in every work of iron and of brass. Jubal was "the father of all them that handled the harp and the organ." Naamah was probably the first inventress of some of the more exquisite kinds of needle-work. Theophrastus complained that nature denies men in later times that length of days for cultivating their reason which is bestowed on many inferior animals; but the long life of the antediluvians would unquestionably be favourable to the progress of intelligence, and proportionate advances would consequently be made.
The remnants of the mass of knowledge and skill thus accumulated and preserved in the ark, were the means of powerfully acting on after-times. It is probable that Noah was devoted to husbandry from his earliest years. The cares of the shepherd devolved on his eldest son Shem, and were transmitted to his renowned descendant Abraham, whose posterity followed the same employment in the fertile pastures of Canaan for many succeeding ages. In the wealth, power, and splendour of patriarchal shepherds, appear the rudiments of regal grandeur and authority, and in their retainers the elements of stupendous and mighty empires. When, however, mankind feel the pressure of want, and can obtain the means of removing it, changes will arise. Though no hunter will rear a domestic stock while success in the chase is sure, and no herdsman will enter on the toils and anxieties of agriculture while the pastures suffice for the unlimited increase of his cattle, yet let necessity come, or at least be in prospect, and there will be a great alter
Benevolence, when sincere, will always sympathise with the advancement of our race; and as to this noble principle we hope to make a frequent appeal, this paper will be appropriated to a sketch of the progress of society during a part of its career. Here, then, we ask the aid of authentic history. But, as we travel back to distant ages, where can it be found? Assuredly not in that remote anti-ation in their course. An illustration of this is quity which sometimes boldly advances and challenges our confidence.
It has been said, for instance, that the records of the Chinese extend back for myriads of ages: but the fact has been unknown or wilfully overlooked that these people have a mythological as well as a chronological period; the one containing the history of their gods, the other that of men; the former considered by them as fabulous, the latter as true. Were it otherwise, they have absolutely no events for their circles of years. The vagueness of their statements proves, therefore, that a wild imagination has been employed either to amuse or delude the credulous; and hence these periods are passed over by faithful historians of "the Celestial Empire."
Amidst the obscurity and darkness of fables, the books of Moses shed on us a solitary but heavenenkindled light, and reveal all that can be known of the earliest condition of man. At the head of artificial systems with which we occasionally meet, he may stand forth as a savage, but such was never assuredly his original state. Cain, though excluded from Eden, was a tiller of the ground, while Abel
afforded by the history of Egypt. It was the land in which want was first felt, and there, happily, it could be most easily relieved. As the habitable country was of limited extent, recourse would be had to agriculture, on which the Nile," the true Ceres of antiquity," poured out a rich reward. In such employments there is a peculiar encouragement to civilisation; for the industry of each individual is beneficial to the whole community, and the facility for providing for the wants of all enables many to employ themselves in other occupations. While the mere tillage of the soil may be performed by a small number, the rest of the people are led to devise some methods of employing themselves in other ways, and consequently the energies of the mind are called forth to create and supply numerous artificial wants. An order of things, unknown to the hunter and the shepherd, naturally and inevitably succeeds in proportion to the advance of the rising state.
Still further, the inundations of the Nile would also induce men to live in towns, crowding together in elevated spots; while the barks, which conducted from city to city, would at length, by
following the course of the Nile, be borne into the waters of the Mediterranean sea. How remarkable are these circumstances of the people of Egypt! They were made, by the position they occupied, agriculturists, dwellers in cities, and mariners also. Nor were other circumstances less memorable. The pyramids, obelisks, and temples of that country, which have long arrested the attention of the traveller, date their erection at a period when Greece was traversed by a few tribes of roving barbarians. The site of almost every city of note in Upper Egypt is marked by the ruins of a temple which was at once the royal residence, and the place where the chief estates of the people held their various assemblies. The discoveries of modern times have deciphered the inscriptions by which these relics are profusely covered, preserving the dates of the building of these edifices, and casting much light on the purposes to which they were appropriated. Here also we may trace the effect of position. As the inhabitants of Tyre, Sidon, and Palestine were indebted to their forests of cedar for becoming skilful workers in wood, so the Egyptians, from their quarries and the facility they acquired in hollowing them out, attained that aptitude for working in stone so manifest in their edifices.
The ruins of Egypt demonstrate at this hour its ancient greatness. It seems, on entering one of its temples, as if the labours of the builders had been suddenly interrupted, and they would speedily return to resume their toils. Fragments of edifices brought down to desolation nearly three thousand years ago, have the freshness of recent completion. Paintings, covering the walls of buildings which have been roofless for ages, still remain undefaced. In them are depicted the various processes of the mechanical arts practised by the people. Books, household utensils, the tools of the artificer, the colours and reeds of sacred scribes, models of dwellings, granaries, and boats, with various articles of luxury,—all indicative of high civilization-have been taken from the tombs. It is manifest that manufactures had advanced to the production of open linen, embroidered with a dark threaded worsted; the tastefully inlaying of wood; the making of glass; and the counterfeiting of amethysts and other precious stones. Who then can deny to the country in which these various objects appear the claim to an early and distinguished elevation? Nor was it attained for itself alone; its advancement secured the progress of multitudes within the range of its widely extending influence. If Egypt appeared as the mistress of knowledge and arts, Greece, of whom so many nations have borrowed intelligence, from whose stores Rome derived its erudition-Greece was content to sit down at the feet of Egypt in the character of a disciple. But here another chapter of human improvement opens; it must now be reserved; an early number of our Journal may afford it space.
THE DESERT OF LONDON.
THAT We do not discover more subjects of wonder and interest in the every-day, but unnoted, occurrences of life, is to be charged rather on our own want of observation, than on the barrenness of the things around us. Life itself is but an aggregate of wonders. The Desert of London !—it would almost seem to involve a contradiction in terms; and yet there is a desert in London, whose extent is bounded only by the length and breadth of that great human hive, the English Metropolis. We do not allude to a moral desert, for moral desert there is none-there is no barrenness in the human heart-if it yield not wheat it will produce tares. The reader will smile, perhaps, when we tell him that the Desert to which we refer is the House-tops! Let him smile, but "not in scorn;" for it is on the House-tops that, in numberless instances, the first, and therefore the most fearful step in crime is taken. Let the said reader repair to any elevated station and look abroad upon the vast panorama.— What will he behold ?—a great red desert of tiles, broken only by church-steeples, the tall chimneys of manufactories, or the humbler "stacks" which indicate an infinitude of fire-sides. The sounds of life -the accumulated din of rattling wheels and hurried footsteps-roll upwards from the busy streets; the ear is conscious of the neighbourhood of thousands; the pulsations of the mighty heart are felt; yet to the eye all is solitude. But is it the desert-the solitude which at the first glance it appears? Let us look a little closer. What crouching form is that-and that-and that, more distant still? and what crazy tenements and platforms are those which here and there bestride the various "flats" and gable roofs? These are the pigeon-poachers and their traps. On this desert many a mechanic spends his leisure hours in decoying his neighbour's pigeons. The gains are small, but the excitement is great; much artifice and patience being essential to success. At the utmost, a "green dragon” may produce two shillings, or a fine "pouter" a crownpiece. It is calculated that we have in London upwards of two thousand men thus graduating for the penal settlements; and if we take into account their associates, at least four thousand others familiarised with the offence, to say nothing of the contamination of whole families who practise it. Pigeon-poaching is the parent crime of a numerous progeny.
Now poaching, by a law of which we question not the wisdom, has been denounced and punished as a crime; and we know, by painful experience, that it also is the harbinger of crimes of a deeper dye. The town poacher, with at least the full share of the guilt, has none of the excuses which may be urged by the rural one, who may plead to his conscience, as he often does at the bar of his
DESERT OF LONDON.-CUBAN SLAVE-MERCHANT.
country, that the hare and the pheasant are "feræ naturæ," and that human laws can no more make them otherwise than they can change their habits, or restrict them to one particular ownership or manor. But the pigeon-stealer has no such pleahe knows that every bird he entraps has an owner. The crime can only be deemed a minor one as respects the value of the thing stolen; and there is little doubt that a man who would decoy a pigeon, would steal a horse, or pick a pocket, but for the increased chances of detection and measure of punishment. It is the difficulty of detection that, in a mind unrestrained by religious or moral principle, betrays into the first forgetfulness of meum and tuum; and the boundary once passed, who shall say at what enormity the criminal may stop? Our picture has yet a darker shade-the day on which the pigeon-poacher chiefly plies his craft is the summer Sabbath, when
"The bell that calls the poor to pray"
is pealing from every steeple around him, and should remind the sinner of Him whose voice, amid the thunders of Sinai, proclaimed, "THOU SHALT NOT STEAL." Little deems he that while he is spreading the lure for his unwary prey, there is a being eagerly on the watch to entrap his soul, even as a bird in the snare of the fowler, and that in every repeated offence he is adding a mesh to the net which "that wicked one" is drawing closer and closer around him! How urgently then does the condition of the pigeon-poacher commend itself to Christian zeal and benevolence!
THE CUBAN SLAVE-MERCHANT.
Their limbs are greased, their heads are shaved, and all
And mark'd with many a recent wound and scar,
Are landed boldly on the coast, and soon
It matters little, if he sell the sound,
How many sick, that might not sell, were drown'd;
* A kind of barracks in which the newly-imported slaves are placed until they are sold.
- NO. 1.-THE COUNTRY.
OVER the prodigious extent of the Pacific Ocean, vast numbers of islands are grouped remote from the great continents of the earth, and scarcely included in either of its four quarters. Those which lie for the most part north of the equator are included in the general term Polynesia; while the islands in the South Pacific have derived, from their position, the name of Australasia.
The latter assemblage of islands is divided by Mr. Barrow into eight groups; of which New Holland, or Australia, Van Diemen's Land, and New Zealand, are the most considerable *.
The latter country, which has, of late, occupied so much the attention of practical as well as of theoretical colonists-consists of two large islands and a small one, each separated by a narrow strait; | besides innumerable surrounding islets that rise out of the bays which frequently indent the coast. The country describes an irregular, but, on the whole, a long figure, extending from north to south; and has been computed to contain an area of 62,160 | square miles, or about 39,782,400 square acres ; the medium breadth being about eighty miles, with a length something over 800 miles. The native names of these islands not being very well adapted for European pronunciation, "North Island" has been substituted for Eaheinomauve, and "South," or, according to Polack, "Victoria Island," for T'Acai Poenammoo. The smallest tract is called "Stewart's Island."
New Zealand exhibits a world in miniature. It would seem as if nature, isolating this country from the great continents, had atoned for its banishment by concentrating within it all the varied features and resources which lie so widely apart in the more extensive surfaces of the earth. It has its Alpine districts, snow-clad and bristling with glaciers, whose drainage, falling in foaming cataracts, is received into numerous, and some of them considerable rivers; its table lands and plains sometimes flatt, at others undulated by rounded and fertile hills. Valleys overspread with rich verdure; and forests, the trees of which occasionally rise to a height that leaves no similarity between them and the tallest pines of Norway +, also combine to form the scenery of New Zealand. Nor are the more forbidding aspects and phenomena of * The other groups are known as-4. Papua, or New Guinea; 5. New Britain; 6 Solomon Islands; 7. New Hebrides; and,
8. New Carolina.
+ These plains so far deceived Tasman, who in 1642 discovered New Zealand, that he named it after the flat and swampy dis
nature wanting; the mountains on the eastern side of North Island contain volcanoes; and Mr. Polack witnessed an eruption in Walkai, an island in the Bay of Plenty; some of the plateaux are cleft by yawning fissures of unfathomed depth; and the south-western coast presents the inhospitable faces of craggy and stupendous rocks. So dreary and desolate is the north extremity of these islands, that the natives have fixed upon it as their “Styx,” leading to the abodes of the dead *.
Let us, however, bear out this description by as minute a survey of New Zealand as our space affords. The general face of the territory is undulating. A chain of eminences extends throughout its entire length, rising with a varied ascent from inconsiderable hills to lofty mountains. Commencing from the capes North and Van Diemen, the northernmost points, we find low ranges, which gradually swell into mountains as they traverse southward; till Cook's Strait interrupts them, to divide North from South Island. In the latter they continue increasing in altitude, and reach to from 12 to 14,000 feet, which height Mount Egmont, on the western side of South Island, is supposed to attain†. The chain, having been divided by Forneaux Strait, terminates in Stewart's Island, to which, though decreasing in height, it gives a mountainous character. The components of the New Zealand mountains have only been conjectured from their general appearance; from the soils brought down into the lower lands by torrents, precipitated from their snowy summits, and by collateral facts collected in various parts of the islands. The general appearance of the main ridge, running in one scarcely interrupted direction, betokens the presence of metallic ores. In some of the rocks, whose strata are exposed by the sea, metalliferous veins have been detected. Iron has been found in considerable quantities in Mercury Bay, and manganese near the banks of the river Cowa-cowa. No coal-mines have been discovered, but peat-coal exists under the vegetable soil of North Cape‡. The natives appear to make no use even of the few metals yet met with; their axes, arms, and ornaments being cut from porphyry, jade, and other hard stones. The soils change with almost every mile; but being constantly refreshed by disintegrations from the sides of the moun tains, are generally fertile, all the rivers in the land being bordered with extensive banks of rich alluviums §. Hence it would appear that though the more formidable mountains of South Island would restrict cultivation in extent, yet they give to the available land a deeper and more productive soil than that of the northern, less rugged, and, there
trict of his native country; a misnomer reminding a Quarterly fore, more extensively cultivateable island. Even
Reviewer of Fluellen's ingenious parallel between Monmouth and Macedon.
Nicholas, "Voyage to New Zealand," vol. ii. p. 245.Polack's "New Zealand," vol. i. 290.
*Id. vol. i. pp. 329 and 245.
† Dr. Forster's Observations, &c., p. 32.
Forster, p. 28.-Nicholas, vol. ii. pp. 250-255.-Polack, vol. i.