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13-05-2015, 18:45


Mention has been made of the Eskimo traits still to be observed among the tribes of California. Prof. Putnam thinks that this fact can best be explained on the supposition that these tribes came in contact with primitive Eskimo people.66 Dr. Rink, from investigation of the language and traditions of the different Eskimo tribes, thinks they are of American origin, and must once have lived much farther south.67 He says, "The Eskimos appear to have been the last wave of an aboriginal American race, which has spread over the continent from more genial regions— following principally the rivers and water-courses, and continually yielding to the pressure of the tribes behind them until they have at last peopled the sea-coasts."68 Mr. Dall, in his explorations of the Aleutian Islands, comes to the same conclusion as Dr. Rink. He says his own conclusions are, "that the Eskimos were once inhabitants of the interior of North America—have much the same distribution as the walrus, namely, as far south as New Jersey."69

All this tends to prove that the Paleolithic people of New Jersey were ancestors of the Eskimos. This becomes highly probable when we pursue the subject a little farther. Dr. Abbott has shown, from the similarity of implements, position in which found, and so forth, that the Paleolithic people continued to occupy the country down to comparatively recent times, when Indian relics took their place.70 This is such an important point that we must give his reasons more in detail. Remember that Dr. Abbott speaks from the experience gained by gathering over twenty thousand specimens of stone implements, and paying especial attention to the position in which they were found. The surface soil of that section of New Jersey, where he made his explorations, was formed by the slow decomposition of vegetable and forest growth. In this layer he found great numbers of undoubted Indian implements. The number, however, rapidly decreases the deeper we go in this stratum. This would show that the Indians were late arrivals. Below this surface soil is a stratum of sand, overlying the gravelly beds below and passing into the surface soil just mentioned. In this layer were found great numbers of implements inferior to the Indian types found on the surface, but superior to the Paleolithic specimens described. They are not only inferior in finish to the Indian specimens, but are of different material. They are always formed of argillite. It was further noticed that the number of these rapidly decreased in the layer of surface soil, and are but rarely found on the surface.

Now it might be said that these rude forms were fashioned by Indians when in a rude state of culture, and, as they became more advanced, they learned the superior qualities of flint, and so dropped the use of argillite. But it so happens that we have found several places where were veritable manufactories of Indian implements. It is very significant that we never find one where the workman used both flint and argillite. He always used flint alone. Every thing seems to point to the fact, that the tribes who fashioned the argillite implements were different from the Indian tribes who made the flint implements. It is Dr. Abbott's conclusions that the former, the descendants of the Paleolithic tribes, were the Eskimos, who, according to these views, must have inhabited the eastern portion of the United States to comparatively recent times.

In further support of these views, we think we have grounds for asserting that we have veritable historical accounts of the Eskimo people slowly retiring before the aggressions of their Indian foes. It is no longer doubted but that Norsemen, as early as the year 1000, made voyages of discovery along the coast of North America, as far south as Rhode Island: they called the country Vineland. It is true that the Icelandic accounts of these expeditions contain some foolish and improbable statements; but so do the writings of Cotton Mather, made many years later.

These accounts refer but very briefly to the inhabitants they saw, but enough is given to show that the people were not Indians, but Eskimos. The language used is: "The men were small of stature and fierce, having a bushy head of hair, and very great eyes, and wide cheeks."71 Their small size is frequently referred to, which would surely not be the case if they were describing the Algonkins that the English colonists found in the same section of country many years later. To the same effect is the assertion that the Eskimos did not reach Greenland until the middle of the fourteenth century.72 The traditions of the Tuscarawas Indians that place their arrival on the Atlantic coast in the year 1300, also refer to a tribe of people that were at least much like the Eskimos.73

Thus we are led, step by step, to the recognition of a Paleolithic Age in America, and finally to the belief that the descendants of these people were Eskimos. We at once notice the coincidence of these results with some of the conclusions of Prof. Dawkins, of England, and it is desirable to trace a little farther the points of resemblance and difference between this age in America and in Europe. In this latter country we have seen the Paleolithic Age can be divided into two stages, or epochs, during which different races inhabited the country. The first, or the epoch of the men of the River Drift, long preceded the epoch of the Cave-men. It was those latter tribes only that Mr. Dawkins connects with the Eskimos.

We have not yet found evidence in this country that points to such a division of the Paleolithic Age. We have no relics of Cave-men as distinguished from the men of the River Drift. It is true, we are not lacking evidence of the use of caves by various tribes,74 but there is nothing to show that such use was very ancient, or that the people were properly Paleolithic. We can not say what future discoveries will unfold, but as yet we have only implements of the River Drift type, and these are the men Dr. Abbott considers to be the ancestors of the Eskimos. In this country, then, we have shown the existence of but one race of men in the same stage of culture as the men of the River Drift, but of the same race as the men of the Cave. These results may be cited as an argument in favor of those scholars who think that the men of the River Drift and the men of the Cave were in reality the same people.75

In Europe there was apparently a long lapse of time between the disappearance of the Paleolithic tribes and the arrival of the Neolithic people, but we have no evidence of such a period in America. The Paleolithic people remained in possession until driven away by the Neolithic ones. All evidence of Paleolithic man in Europe terminated with the Glacial Age, and there is little doubt but what they date from preglacial times. Our present knowledge does not carry us any farther back in this country than the close of Glacial times. If we consider that the Glacial Age in America coincides in time with the same age in Europe, then the last statements would imply that the Paleolithic Age here was later than in Europe; in fact, that Paleolithic man had run his course in Europe before he appeared in America, and some might even go further, and say that he migrated from Europe to America. There are, however, no good grounds for such conclusions. We believe that future discoveries will show that in America also Paleolithic man was living in Glacial and preglacial times.76

We feel that we have done but scant justice to this subject, but we assure our readers that this question has been but little studied in this country. Referring all relics of stone to the Indians, our scholars have been slow to recognize traces of an earlier race in America. Our sources of information are as yet but few, and much remains to be done in this field. In Europe as in America, scholars are still hard at work on the Paleolithic Age, and we are to hold ourselves in readiness to modify our opinions, or to reject them entirely and adopt new ones as our knowledge increases.

There is one thought that occurs to us. From the combined investigations of both European and American scholars, the Eskimo is seen to be one of the oldest (if not the oldest) races of men now living. They afford a striking illustration of the fact that a race may early reach a limit of culture beyond which, as a race, they can not pass. Should the American discoveries establish the fact that the River Drift tribes are also Eskimos, then we are fairly entitled to consider them the remnant of a people who once held possession of all the globe, but who have been driven to the inhospitable regions of the North by the pressure of later people. What changes have come over the earth since that early time? In the long lapse of years that have gone by newer races, advancing by slow degrees, have at last achieved civilization. The fiat of Omnipotent power could have created the world in a perfected form for the use of man, but instead of so doing, Infinite Wisdom allowed slow-acting causes, working through infinite years, to develop the globe from a nebulous mass. Man could, indeed, have been created a civilized being, but instead of this, his starting-point was certainly very low. He was granted capacities in virtue of which he has risen. We are not to say what the end shall be, but we think it yet far off.

  1. The manuscript of this chapter was submitted to Dr. C. C.
    Abbott, of Trenton, New Jersey, for criticism.

  2. Dana's "Manual of Geology," p. 735, et seq.

  3. Ibid., p. 753.

  4. Whitney's "Geology of California," Vol. I.

  5. Whitney's "Geological Survey of California," Vol. I.

  6. Dr. Newbury’s "Geological Survey of California."

  7. Whitney's "Auriferous Gravels of California," p. 283.

  8. Cambridge Lecture, 1878.

  9. Cambridge Lecture, 1878.

  10. "Native Races," Vol. IV, p. 698.

  11. In general, all about Sonora, in the auriferous gravels, are
    found bones of extinct animals, and, associated with them, many
    relics of the works of human hands. These are found at various
    depths down to one hundred feet. (Whitney's "Auriferous Gravels,"
    p. 263.)

  12. American Journal of Science, Vol. XIX, p. 176,

  13. "Auriferous Gravels," p. 279.

  14. Wright's "Studies in Science and Religion," p. 289.

  15. Dawkins, in Southall's "Pliocene Man," p. 18.

  16. Southall's "Pliocene Man," p. 19.

  17. Schoolcraft's "Archæology," Vol. I, p. 105.

  18. As bearing on the question of Pliocene man, we might refer to
    the impression of human (?) foot-prints in the sand-stone quarry
    of the State prison at Nevada. At one time this area was the
    bottom of a lake, and we can plainly see the tracks of various
    animals that came down to drink. A huge mammoth visited the
    place; so also did horses and other animals. Among these is one
    series of tracks evidently made by a biped. Some think they are
    the sandaled foot of a human being. This question is still under

  19. "Geographical Survey West of the 100th Meridian," Vol. VII,
    p. 11.

  20. Dana's "Manual of Geology," p. 583.

  21. Putnam, in "Geographical Survey West of the 100th Meridian,"
    Vol. VII, p. 11.

  22. Ibid., p. 18.

  23. "Geographical Survey West of the 100th Meridian," Vol. VII,
    p. 12.

  24. "Prehistoric Times," p. 436.

  25. "Human Species," p. 147.

  26. The researches of Mr. Dall in the Aleutian Islands
    demonstrate the long-continued occupation of them by a savage
    people, and a gradual advance of the same in culture—though
    this apparent advance may have been simply the inroads of more
    advanced tribes. U.S. Geographical Survey W. of 100th M., p.

  27. Wright's "Studies in Science and Religion," p. 292.

  28. Morgan's "Ancient Society," p. 108, note.

  29. "Geographical Survey West of the 100th Meridian," Vol. VII,
    p. 3.

  30. Bancroft's "Native Races," Vol. III, pp. 646, 647.

  31. "U.S. Geographical Survey West of the 100th Meridian," Vol.
    VII, p. 12.

  32. Dana's "Manual of Geology," p. 591.

  33. LeConte's "Elements of Geology."

  34. Prof. Winchell, in his last work, "World Life," p. 363, et
    goes over the entire subject. As might be expected, no
    decisive results are obtained. He sums up the arguments to show
    that in this country the close of the Glacial Age is not more
    than seven thousand years ago (p. 375). The student who reads
    these pages and then Mr. Geikie's work, "Prehistoric Europe,"
    will be sorely puzzled to know what conclusions to adopt. We can
    not do better than refer to the chapter on Antiquity Paleolithic

  35. Dana's Am. Journal of Science, May, 1875.

  36. Foster's "Prehistoric Races," p. 62.

  37. See Lockwood, in Popular Science Monthly for 1883, for
    account of beaver dam built on a mastodon skeleton and evidence
    of contemporaneity of Indians and mastodons.

  38. "The Missouri was a stream thirty miles wide."

  39. "Hayden," p. 255.

  40. For the facts on which this paragraph rests, see Report of
    Samuel Aughey, Ph.D., in "U.S. Survey of the Territories, for
    1874," p. 243, et seq.

  41. "American Assoc. Rep.," 1880, p. 720.

  42. "Illinois Geological Reports," Vol. III, p. 123.

  43. "Prehistoric Races," p. 69.

  44. Jones's "Antiquities of the Southern Indians," p. 293.

  45. Jones's "Antiquities of the Southern Indians," p. 295.

  46. Quoted by Abbott's "Primitive Industry," p. 3.

  47. Peet's "Archæology of Europe and America," p. 11.

  48. Short's "North Americans of Antiquity," p. 27.

  49. Up to the present time (1884) Dr. Abbott has collected over
    20,000 specimens of stone implements, and all his more recent
    "finds" but confirm the opinion he expressed as to their
    significance ten years ago. His collection is at the Peabody
    Museum of Archæology, at Cambridge, Mass. (See last Peabody

  50. "Nature," Vol. XI, p. 215.

  51. Ibid.

  52. "Nature," Vol. XI, p. 215.

  53. Ibid.

  54. "Primitive Industry," Abbott, p. 506.

  55. Seventeenth Report Peabody Museum, p. 354 and note.

  56. "Primitive Industry," p. 551.

  57. "Studies in Science and Religion," p. 324.

  58. Ibid., p. 324.

  59. We believe that similar results will attend the careful
    exploration in other sections. As bearing on this subject, it is
    interesting to know that Paleolithic implements are reported from
    one locality in Mexico. Our information in regard to them is very
    slight. (Brit. Assoc. Reports, 1881; Pres. Address, Count De
    Saporte, Popular Science Monthly, Sept., 1883.)

  60. Dana's "Manual of Geology," p. 540.

  61. "Geographical and Geological Survey," 1874, p. 254.

  62. Abbott's "Primitive Industry," p. 483.

  63. Abbott: "Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural
    History," Vol. XXII, p. 102.

  64. "Primitive Industry," p. 512.

  65. "Primitive Industry," p. 512.

  66. U.S. survey West of the 100th Meridian," Vol. VII, p.

  67. Abbott's "Primitive Industry," p. 520.

  68. Ibid., p. 519.

  69. U.S. Geographical Survey of the Rocky Mountain Region," Vol.
    I, p. 102, quoted from "Primitive Industry," p. 519.

  70. Popular Science Monthly, Jan., 1883.

  71. DeCosta's "Precolumbian Discovery of America," p. 69.

  72. Winchell's "Preadamites," p. 389.

  73. Brinton's "Myths of the New World," p. 23. Note.

  74. Prof. DeHass's "Paper" read before Am. Assoc., 1882.

  75. See chapter, "Cave-men," p. 113. Note.

  76. See remarks of Prof. Boyd Dawkins quoted earlier.