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Observations on the colour, shape, temper, and dress of the Indians of America. The Indians are of a copper or red-clay colour -- and they delight in every thing, which they imagine may promote and increase it: If we consider the common laws of nature and providence, we shall not be surprized at this custom; for every thing loves best its own likeness and place in the creation, and is disposed to ridicule its opposite.
If a deformed son of burning Africa, was to paint the devil, he would not do it in black colours, nor delineate him with a shagged coarse woolly head, nor with thick lips, a short flat nose or clumsy feet, like those of a bear: But was he to draw an agreeable picture, -- according to the African taste, he would daub it all over with sooty black.
All the Indians are so strongly attached to, and prejudiced in favour of, their own colour, that they think as meanly of the whites, as we possibly can do of them.
One instance will sufficiently shew in what flattering glasses they view themselves. Some time past, a large body of the English Indian traders, Mossy oak wrapping paper their way to the Choktah country, were escorted by a body of Creek and Choktah warriors.
The Creeks having a particular friendship for some of the traders, who had treated them pretty liberally, took this opportunity to chide the Choktahs, before the traders, in a smart though friendly way, for not allowing to the English the name of human creatures: The hotter, or colder the climate is, where the Indians have long resided, the greater proportion have they either of the red, or white, colour.
Many incidents and observations lead me to believe, that the Indian colour is not natural; but that the external difference between them and the whites, proceeds entirely from their customs and method of living, and not from any inherent spring of nature; which will entirely overturn Lord Kames's whole system of colour, and separate races of men.
That the Indian colour is merely accidental, or artificial, appears pretty evident.
Their own traditions record them to have come to their present lands by the way of the west, from a far distant country, and where there was no variegation of colour in human beings; and they are entirely ignorant which was the first or primitive colour. On the colour of the Indians of America.
Of this opinion, is Lord Kames, and which he labours to establish in his late publication, entitled, Sketches of the History of Man.
But his reasoning on this point, for a local creation, is contrary both to revelation, and facts. His chief argument, that "there is not a single hair on the body of any American, nor the least appearance of a beard," is utterly destitute of foundation, as can be attested by all who have had any communication with them -- of this more presently -- Moreover, to form one creation of whites, a second creation for the yellows, and a third for the blacks, is a weakness, of which infinite wisdom is incapable.
Its operations are plain, easy, constant, and perfect.
The variegation therefore of colours among the human race, depends upon a second cause. Lord Kames himself acknowledges, that "the Spanish inhabitants of Carthagena in South-America lose their vigour and colour in a few months" We are informed by the anatomical observations of our American physicians, concerning the Indians, that they have discerned a certain fine cowl, or web, of a red gluey substance, close under the outer skin, to which it reflects the colour; as the epidermis, or outer skin, is alike clear in every different creature.
And experience, which is the best medium to discover truth, gives the true cause why this corpus mucosum or gluish web, is red in the Indians, and white in us; the parching winds, and hot sun-beams, beating upon their naked bodies, in their various gradations of life, necessarily tarnish their skins with the tawny red colour.
Add to this, their constant anointing themselves with bear's oil, or grease, mixt with a certain red root, which, by a peculiar property, is able alone, in a few years time, to produce the Indian colour in those who are white born, and who have even advanced to maturity.
These metamorphoses I have often seen. But fearing the consequences, he went round an hundred miles, toward the Cheerake nation, with his family, and the head warriors, and thereby evaded the danger. We may easily conclude then, what a fixt change of colour, such a constant method of life would produce: Besides, may we not suppose, that the imagination can impress the animalculae, in the time of copulation, by its strong subtile power, with at least such an external similitude, as we speak of?English vocabulary word lists and various games, puzzles and quizzes to help you study them.
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