m. The Peruvians.
n. The Yurucares of the Bolivian Cordilleras.
o. The Mbocobi of Paraguay.
p. The Botocudos of Brazil.
q. The Ojibway Indians of the United States.
r. The Wyandot Indians of the United States.
s. Lastly, the Dog-rib Indians of British Columbia.
We must concede that these legends of a world-embracing conflagration represent a race-remembrance of a great fact, or that they are a colossal falsehood—an invention of man.
If the latter, then that invention and falsehood must have been concocted at a time when the ancestors of the Greeks, Romans, Hindoos, Persians, Goths, Toltecs, Aztecs, Peruvians, and the Indians of Brazil, the United States, the west coast of South America, and the northwestern extremity of North America, and the Polynesians, (who have kindred traditions,) all dwelt together, as one people, alike in language and alike in color of their hair, eyes, and skin. At that time, therefore, all the widely separated regions, now inhabited by these races, must have been without human inhabitants; the race must have been a mere handful, and dwelling in one spot.
What vast lapses of time must have been required before mankind slowly overflowed to these remote regions of the earth, and changed into these various races speaking such diverse tongues!
And if we take the ground that this universal tradition of a world-conflagration was an invention, a falsehood, then we must conclude that this handful of men, before they dispersed, in the very infancy of the world, shared in the propagation of a prodigious lie, and religiously perpetuated it for tens of thousands of years.
And then the question arises, How did they hit upon a lie that accords so completely with the revelations of science? They possessed no great public works, in that infant age, which would penetrate through hundreds of feet of débris, and lay bare the decomposed rocks beneath; therefore they did not make a theory to suit an observed fact.
And how did mankind come to be reduced to a handful? If men grew, in the first instance, out of bestial forms, mindless and speechless, they would have propagated and covered the world as did the bear and the wolf. But after they had passed this stage, and had so far developed as to be human in speech and brain, some cause reduced them again to a handful. What was it? Something, say these legends, some fiery object, some blazing beast or serpent, which appeared in the heavens, which filled the world with conflagrations, and which destroyed the human race, except a remnant, who saved themselves in caverns or in the water; and from this seed, this handful, mankind again replenished the earth, and spread gradually to all the continents and the islands of the sea.