Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 356 pages of information about Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete.

My chief surprise is, that among the many writers I have noticed, no one has attempted to prove that this country was peopled from the moon—­or that the first inhabitants floated hither on islands of ice, as white bears cruise about the northern oceans—­or that they were conveyed hither by balloons, as modern aeronauts pass from Dover to Calais—­or by witchcraft, as Simon Magus posted among the stars—­or after the manner of the renowned Scythian Abaris, who, like the New England witches on full-blooded broomsticks, made most unheard-of journeys on the back of a golden arrow, given him by the Hyperborean Apollo.

But there is still one mode left by which this country could have been peopled, which I have reserved for the last, because I consider it worth all the rest; it is—­by accident!  Speaking of the islands of Solomon, New Guinea, and New Holland, the profound father Charlevoix observes:  “In fine, all these countries are peopled, and it is possible some have been so by accident.  Now if it could have happened in that manner, why might it not have been at the same time, and by the same means, with the other parts of the globe?” This ingenious mode of deducing certain conclusions from possible premises is an improvement in syllogistic skill, and proves the good father superior even to Archimedes, for he can turn the world without anything to rest his lever upon.  It is only surpassed by the dexterity with which the sturdy old Jesuit in another place cuts the gordian knot—­“Nothing,” says he, “is more easy.  The inhabitants of both hemispheres are certainly the descendants of the same father.  The common father of mankind received an express order from Heaven to people the world, and accordingly it has been peopled.  To bring this about it was necessary to overcome all difficulties in the way, and they have also been overcome!” Pious logician! how does he put all the herd of laborious theorists to the blush, by explaining in five words what it has cost them volumes to prove they knew nothing about!

From all the authorities here quoted, and a variety of others which I have consulted, but which are omitted through fear of fatiguing the unlearned reader, I can only draw the following conclusions, which luckily, however, are sufficient for my purpose.  First, that this part of the world has actually been peopled (Q.E.D.) to support which we have living proofs in the numerous tribes of Indians that inhabit it.  Secondly, that it has been peopled in five hundred different ways, as proved by a cloud of authors, who, from the positiveness of their assertions, seem to have been eye-witnesses to the fact.  Thirdly, that the people of this country had a variety of fathers, which, as it may not be thought much to their credit by the common run of readers, the less we say on the subject the better.  The question, therefore, I trust, is for ever at rest.

CHAPTER V.

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Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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