Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions Being a Comparison of the Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles with those of the Heathen Nations of Antiquity Considering also their Origin and Meaning

Page: 310

Charles G. Leland says:

"The Tunguse, Mongolians, and a great part of the Turkish race formed originally, according to all external organic tokens, as well as the elements of their language, but one people, closely allied with the Esquimaux, the Skräling, or dwarf of the Norseman, and the races of the New World. This is the irrefutable result to which all the more recent inquiries in anatomy and physiology, as well as comparative philology and history, have conduced. All the aboriginal Americans have those distinctive tokens which forcibly recall their neighbors dwelling on the other side of Behring's Straits. They have the four-cornered head, high cheek-bones, heavy jaws, large angular eye-cavities, and a retreating forehead. The skulls of the oldest Peruvian graves exhibit the same tokens as the heads of the nomadic tribes of Oregon and California."[540:2] "It is very certain that thousands of American Indians, especially those of small stature or of dwarfish tribes, bear a most extraordinary likeness to Mongols."[540:3]

John D. Baldwin, in his "Ancient America," says:

"I find myself more and more inclined to believe that the wild Indians of the North came originally from Asia, where the race to which they belong seems still represented by the Koraks and Cookchees, found in that part of Asia which extends to Behring's Straits."[540:4]

Hon. Charles D. Poston, late commissioner of the United States of America in Asia, in a work entitled, "The Parsees," speaking of an incident which took place "beyond the Great Wall," says:

"A Mongolian came riding up on a little black pony, followed by a servant on a camel, rocking like a windmill. He stopped a moment to exchange pantomimic salutations. He was full of electricity, and alive with motion; the blood was warm in his veins, and the fire was bright in his eye. I could have sworn that he was an Apache; every action, motion and look reminded me of my old enemies and neighbors in Arizona. They are the true descendants of the nomadic Tartars of Asia and preserve every instinct of the race. He shook hands friendlily but timidly, keeping all the time in motion like an Apache."[540:5]

[Pg 541]

That the continents of Asia and America were at one time joined together by an isthmus, at the place where the channel of Behring's straits is now found, is a well known fact. That the severance of Asia from America was, geologically speaking, very recent, is shown by the fact that not only the straits, but the sea which bears the name of Behring, is extraordinarily shallow, so much so, indeed, that whalers lie at anchor in the middle of it.[541:1] This is evidently the manner in which America was peopled.[541:2]

During the Champlain period in the earth's history the climate of the northern portion of the American continent, instead of being frigid, and the country covered with sheets of ice, was more like the climate of the Middle States of the present day. Tropical animals went North, and during the Terrace period—which followed the Champlain—the climate changed to frigid, and many of these tropical animals were frozen in the ice, and some of their remains were discovered centuries after.

It was probably during the time when the climate in those northern regions was warm, that the aborigines crossed over, and even if they did not do so at that time, we must not be startled at the idea that Asiatic tribes crossed over from Asia to America, when the country was covered with ice. There have been nations who lived in a state of nudity among ice-fields, and, even at the present day, a naked nation of fishermen still exist in Terra del Fuego, where the glaciers stretch down to the sea, and even into it.[541:3]

Chas. Darwin, during his voyage round the world in H. M. S. Beagle, was particularly struck with the hardiness of the Fuegians, who go in a state of nudity, or almost entirely so. He says:

"Among these central tribes the men generally have an otter-skin, or some small scrap, about as large as a pocket-handkerchief, to cover their nakedness, which is barely sufficient to cover their backs as low down as their loins."[541:4]

One day while going on shore near Wollaston Island, Mr. Darwin's party pulled alongside a canoe which contained six Fuegians, who were, he says, "quite naked, and even one full-grown woman was absolutely so. It was raining heavily, and the fresh water, together with the spray, trickled down her body. In another harbor not far distant, a woman, who was suckling a recently-born child, came one [Pg 542]day alongside the vessel, and remained there out of mere curiosity, whilst the sleet fell and thawed on her naked bosom, and on the skin of her naked baby!"[542:1]

This was during the winter season.

A few pages farther on Mr. Darwin says that on the night of the 22d December, a small family of Fuegians—who were living in a cove near the quarters—"soon joined our party round a blazing fire. We were well clothed, and though sitting close to the fire were far from too warm; yet these naked savages, though further off, were observed, to our great surprise, to be streaming with perspiration at undergoing such a scorching. They seemed, however, very well pleased, and all joined in the chorus of the seamen's songs; but the manner in which they were invariably a little behind was quite ludicrous."[542:2]