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they returned home.--Adair's General Observations on the American Indians, p. 394.
It is surprising, says the same author, to see the long continued speed of the Indians. Though some of us have often ran the swistest of them out of sight for about the distance of twelve miles, yet afterwards, without any seeming toil, they would stretch on-leave us out of sight, and outwind any horse.—Ibid. p. 318.
If an Indian were driven out into the extensive woods, with only a knise and a tomahawk, or a small hatchet, it is not to be doubted but he would fatten eren where a wolf would starve.—He would soon collect fire by rubbing two pieces of wood together, make a bark hut, earthen vessels, and a bow and arrows; then kill wild game, fish, fresh water tortoises, gather a plentiful variety of vegetables, and live in affluence.--Ibid. p. 410.
Stanza 25. l. 1. Sleep, wearied one! and in the dreaming land Shouldst thou the spirit of thy mother greet. There is nothing (says Charlevoix) in which these barbarians carry their superstitions farther, than in what regards dreams; but they vary greatly in their manner of explaining themselves on this point. Sometimes it is the reasonable soul which ranges abroad, while the sensitive continues to animate the body. Sometimes it is the familiar genius who gives salutary counsel with respect to what is going to happen. Sometimes it is a visit made by the soul of the object of which he dreams. But in whatever manner the dream is conceived, it is always looked upon as a thing sacred, and as the most ordinary way in which the gods make known their will to men.
Filled with this idea, they cannot conceive how we shoulú pay no regard to them. For the most part they look upon them either as a desire of the soul, inspired by some genius, or an order from him, and in consequence of this principle they hold it a religious duty to obey them.
An Indian having dreamt of having a finger cut off
, had it really cut off as soon as he awoke, having first prepared himself for this important action by a feast.-Another having dreamt of being a prisoner, and in the hands of his enemies, was much at a loss
what to do. He consulted the jugglers, and by their advice caused himself to be tied to a post, and burnt in several parts of the body.-Charlevoix, Journal of a voyage to North America.
Stanza 25. 1. 5. The crocodile, the condor of the rockThe alligator, or American crocodile, when full grown (says Bartram) is a very large and terrible creature, and of prodigious strength, activity, and swiftness in the water. I have seen them twenty feet in length, and some are supposed to be twenty-two or twentythree feet in length. Their body is as large as that of a horse, their shape' usually resembles that of a lizard, which is flat, or cuneiform, being compressed on each side, and gradually diminishing from the abdomen to the extremity, which, with the whole body, is covered with horny plates, or squamæ, impenetrable when on the body of the live animal, even to a rifle ball, except about their head, and just behind their fore-legs or arms, where, it is said, they are only vulnerable. The head of a full grown one is about three feet, and the mouth opens nearly the same length. Their eyes are small in proportion, and seem sunk in the head by means of the prominency of the brows; the nostrils are large, inflated, and prominent on the top, so that the head on the water resembles, at a distance, a great chunk of wood floating about: only the upper jaw moves, which they raise almost perpendicular, so as to form a right angle with the lower one.
In the fore part of the upper jaw, on each side, just under the nostrils, are two very large, thick, strong teeth, or tusks, not very sharp, but rather the shape of a cone : these are as white as the finest polished ivory, and are not covered by any skin or lips, but always in sight, which gives the creature a frightful appearance ; in the lower jaw are holes opposite to these teeth to receive them; when they clap their jaws together, it causes a surprising noise, like that which is made by forcing a heavy plank with violence upon the ground, and may be heard at a great distance. But what is yet more surprising to a stranger is the incredibly loud and terrifying roar which they are capable of making, especially in breeding time.
It most resembles very heavy distant thunder, not only shaking the air and waters, but causing the earth to tremble; and when hundreds are roaring at the same time, you can scarcely be persuaded but that the whole globe is violently and dangerously agitated. An old champion, who is, perhaps, absolute sovereign of a little lake or lagoon, (when fifty less than himself are obliged to content themselves with swelling and roaring in little coves round about,) darts forth from the reedy coverts, all at once, on the surface of the waters in a right line, at first seemingly as rapid as lightning, but gradually more slowly, until he arrives at the centre of the lake, where he stops. He now swells himself, by drawing in wind and water through bis mouth, which causes a loud sonorous rattling in the throat for near a minute; but it is immediately forced out again through his mouth and nostrils with a loud noise, brandishing his tail in the air, and the vapour running from his nostrils like smoke. At other times, when swoln to an extent ready to burst, his head and tail listed up, he spins or twirls round on the surface of the water. He acts his part like an Indian chief, when rehearsing his feats of war.–Bartram's Travels in North America.
Stanza 28. l. 4. Then forth uprose that lone wayfaring man. They discover an amazing sagacity, and acquire, with the greatest readiness, any thing that depends upon the attention of the mind. By experience, and an acute observation, they attain many perfections, to which Americans are strangers. For instance, they will cross a forest, or a plain, which is two hundred miles in breadth, so as to reach with great exactness, the point at which they intend to arrive, keeping, during the whole of that space, in a direct line, without any material deviations: and this they will do with the same ease, let the weather be fair or cloudy.—With equal acuteness they will point to that part of the heavens the sun is in, though it be intercepted by clouds or fogs. Besides this, they are able to pursue, with incredible lacility, the traces of man or beast, either on leaves or grass; and on this account it is with great difficulty they escape discovery. They are indebted for these ta
lents not only to nature, but to an extraordinary command of the intellectual qualities, which can only be acquired by an unremitted attention, and by long experience. They are in general very happy in a retentive memory. They can recapitulate every particular that has been treated of in council, and remember the exact time when they were held. Their belts of wampum preserve the substance of treaties they have concluded with the neighbouring tribes for ages back: to which they will appeal and refer with as much perspicuity and readiness as Europeans can to their written records.
The Indians are totally unskilled in geography, as well as all the other sciences, and yet they draw on their birch bark very exact charts or maps of the countries they are acquainted with.-The latitude and longitude only are wanting to make them tolerably complete.
Their sole knowledge in astronomy consists in being able to point out the polar star, by which they regulate their course when they travel in the night.
They reckon the distance of places not by miles or leagues, but by a day's journey, wbich, according to the best calculation I could make, appears to be about twenty English miles. These they also divide into halves and quarters, and will demonstrate them in their maps with great exactness by the hieroglyphics just mentioned, when they regulate in council their warparties, or their most distant hunting excursions.Clarke's and Lewis's Travels.
Some of the French missionaries have supposed that the Indians are guided by instinct, and have pretended that the Indian children can find their way through a forest as easily as a person of maturer years ; but this is a most absurd notion. It is unquestionably by a close attention to the growth of the trees, and position of the sun, that they find their way. On the northern side of a tree there is generally the most moss; and the bark on that side, in general, differs from that on the opposite one. The branches towards the south are, for the most part, more luxuriant than those on the other sides of trees, and several other distinctions also subsist between the northern and southern sides, conspicuous
to Indians, being taught from their infancy to attend to then, which a common observer, would, perhaps, never notice. Being accustomed from their infancy likewise to pay great attention to the position of the sun, they learn to make the most accurate allowance for its apparent motion from one part of the heavens to another; and in every part of the day they will point to the part of the heavens where it is, although the sky be obscured by clouds or mists.
An instance of their dexterity in finding their way through an unknown country, came under my observation when I was at Staunton, situated behind the Blue Mountains, Virginia. A number of the Creek nation had arrived at that town on their way to Philadelphia, whither they were going upon some affairs of importance, and had stopped there for the night. In the morning soie circumstance or another, which could not be learned, induced one half of the Indians to set off without their companions, who did not follow until some hours afterwards. When these last were ready to pursue their journey, several of the towns people mounted their horses to escort them part of the way. They proceeded along the high road for some miles, but, all at once, hastily turning aside into the woods, though there was no path, the Indians advanced confidently forward. The people who accompanied them, surprised at this movement, informed them that they were quitting the road to Philadelphia, and expressed their fear lest they should miss their companions who had gone on before. They answered that they knew better, that the way through the woods was the shortest to Philadelphia, and that they knew very well that their companions had entered the wood at the very place where they did. Curiosity led some of the horsemen to go on; and to their astonishment, for their was apparently no track, they overtook the other Indians in the thickest part of the wood. But what appeared most singular was, that the route which they took was found, on examining a map, to be as direct for Philadelphia as if they had taken the bearings by a mariner's compass. From others of their nation, who had been at Philadelphia at a former period, they had probably learned the