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“On the third day he became too weak and faint to walk about, and kept his bed. He fancied, while thus lying in a dreamy state, that he saw a handsome young man, drést in green robes, and with green plumes on his head, advancing towards him. The visitor said: 'I am sent to you, my friend, by the Great Spirit, who made all things. He has observed you. He sees that you desire to procure a benefit to your people. Listen to my words, and follow my instructions. He then told the young man to rise and wrestle with him. Weak as he was, he tottered to his feet and began, but after a long trial, the handsome stranger said, ''friend, it is enough for once ; I will come again.' He then vanished.
“On the next day the celestial visitor reappeared, and renewed the trial. The young man knew that his physical strength was even less than the day before; but as this declined, he felt that his mind became stronger and clearer. Perceiving this, the stranger in plumes again spoke to him. “To-morrow,' he said, 'will be your last trial. Be strong and courageous ; it is the only way in which you can obtain the boon you seek. He then departed.
“On the third day, as the young faster lay on his pallet weak and exhausted, the pleasing visitor returned ; and as he renewed the contest, he looked more beautiful than ever. The young man grasped him, and seemed to feel new strength imparted to his body, while that of his antagonist grew weaker.
“At length the stranger cried out, It is enough, — I am beaten. You will win your desire from the Great Spirit. To-morrow will be the seventh day of your fast, and the last of your trials. Your father will bring you food, which will recruit you. I shall then visit you for the last time, and I foresee that you are destined to prevail. As soon as you have thrown me down, strip off my garments, and bury me on the spot. Visit the place, and keep the earth clean and soft. Let no weeds grow there. I shall soon come to life, and reappear with all the wrappings of my garments and my waving plumes. Once a month cover my roots with fresh earth ; and by following these directions your triumph will be complete. He then disappeared.
Next morning the youth's father came with food, but he asked him to set it by, for a particular reason, till the sun went down. Meantime the sky-visitor came for his final trial, and although the young man had not partaken of his father's offer of food, he engaged in the combat with his visitor with a feeling of supernatural strength. He threw him down. He then stripped off his garments and plumes. He buried his body in the earth, carefully preparing the ground, and removing every weed; and then returned to his father's lodge. IIe
kept every thing to himself, revealing nothing to denote his vision or trials. He partook sparingly of food, and soon recovered his perfect strength. But he never for a moment forgot the burial-place of his friend. He carefully visited it, and would not let even a wild-flower grow there. Soon he saw the tops of the green plumes coming out of the ground, at first in spiral points, then expanding into broad leaves, and rising in green stalks ; and finally assuming their silken fringes and yellow tassels.
“ The spring and summer had now passed; when one day, towards evening, he requested his father to visit the lonely spot where he had fasted. The old man stood in amazement. The lodge was gone, and in its place stood a tall, graceful, and majestic plant, waving its taper leaves, and displaying its bright-colored plumes and tassels. But what most attracted his admiration was its cluster of golden ears. It is the friend of my dreams and visions,' said the youth. It is Mon-damin, it is the spirit's grain,' said the father. And this is the origin of the Indian corn.” Part ii. pp. 230 – 232.
Various statistical returns occupy a portion of each of these volumes. We turned to these with some curiosity, hoping that they might contain definite and precise information, spe. cially collected for the purposes of the work, on which interesting conclusions might be founded, or which might serve at any rate as specific facts for record in the history of the red race. But again we were wholly disappointed. A plan seems to have been drawn out, of great pretensions and even absurd minuteness, for taking a census of all the Indian tribes within the limits of the United States, together with their “ Vital and Industrial Statistics." But the courage and patience of the investigator seem to have failed him, after completing the easiest and smallest portion of his task, — the census of the feeble remnant of the Iroquois confederacy, amounting in all to less than 6000 souls, most of whom still reside within the limits of New York and Pennsylvania. A few particulars are also given respecting some members of the Algonquin Group. But the skeleton of the plan is printed at great length, even for those tribes or bands, and in those particulars, in respect to which no information has been obtained. Thus we have page after page of blank columns, or of statistical returns in which the statistics are omitted. For what purpose these were inserted in the volume, if not to give a fat job” to the printer
or compositor, we cannot imagine. We find, for instance, 176 different columns, or specific heads of inquiry, arrayed against each member of the Algonquin Group; and in reserence to twenty-seven such members, just five of these columns are filled up, and 171 are left blank. To obtain space for arraying these blank columns in proper order, the names of the twenty-seven Algonquin tribes or bands are printed ten times over, on as many distinct pages. Thus we have one third of a page of actual statistics, and nine pages and two thirds of blanks. Perhaps these numbers indicate very fairly the ratio between the information promised, and the information actually supplied, by these three ponderous quartos. The second and third volumes of the work do not indicate that any progress has been made in completing this magnificent plan of a Census of the Indians; the statistical portion of them consists mainly of a reprint of some forgotten papers, fished up in great part from old Congressional documents, containing estimates or very imperfect enumerations of the Indian Tribes at different epochs.
But we need not carry the examination of these bulky and pretentious volumes any farther; the reader can now form a fair judgment of their character and merits. We have spoken very plainly about them, but not from any feeling of unkindness towards their author or editor, who has gained some reputation for his extensive acquaintance with Indian affairs, and some credit for his former publications. If Mr. Schoolcraft alone had been responsible for the work, and had defray. ed its expenses from his own resources, we should have allowed him and his publisher to obtain wisdom by experience; it would have been quite superfluous to caution the public against purchasing the book. Even if this had been an ordinary case of the abuse of government patronage, we should not have meddled with it; as it is no business of ours to look after the peccadilloes of politicians or the peculations of public contractors. But this is a work of lofty pretensions upon a matter of great interest to men of science. If allowed to go forth to the world unchallenged, it will be the means of casting a reproach upon American science, or of impeaching the faithfulness or the fearlessness of those who are set to guard
its interests. Those who are engaged in the study of ethno. graphy, and its kindred sciences, whether at home or abroad, will seek with eagerness to consult a work upon such a subject, got up by the authority of Congress, and published in a style of great magnificence, at the expense of the American government; but after a brief examination, they will probably close the volume, as we have done, with a feeling of impa. tience and disgust. On this point, we have something more than conjecture to offer. We have the highest authority for stating that Baron Humboldt, having had occasion to exa. mine the work, expressed in strong terms his opinion that it was a crude and worthless compilation, and his great surprise that it should be allowed to appear with the sanction and at the expense of the government of the United States. The aid which Congress can offer to scientific and literary enterprises of a national character ought at once to be liberal, and to be watched with jealous care. If the work really deserves patronage, and is at the same time national in its objects, hardly any appropriation for its encouragement can be deemed excessive. Every government of a civilized people acknowledges its obli. gations to do something for the advancement of science and the diffusion of knowledge, something for arts, letters, and education. Truly scientific reports of surveys that have been executed for government purposes ought to be published in a liberal style, and to be widely and gratuitously distributed. The people will gladly welcome the information that is thus placed before them, and will not grudge the trifling burden to the national treasury. But in order that this source of patronage for science and letters may not be wholly dried up, its treasures should not be drawn off without a careful scrutiny of the character of the work to which they are to be devoted. The appropriation of nearly thirty thousand dollars a volume for the ill-digested and valueless compilation that lies before us, rich though it be in its exterior and costly in its illustrations, is enough to discredit the whole system of publishing works at the government expense. We have done our share in exposing the nature of the evil; it is for Congress to do the rest.
NEW PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED.
Interviews Memorable and Useful; from Diary and Memory reproduced. By Samuel Hanson Cox, D. D., Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church. Brooklyn, New York. New York: Harpers & Brothers. 1853. 12mo. pp. 320.
Ellen Linn, a Franconia Story, by the Author of the Rollo Books. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1853. 16mo. pp. 215.
The Bourbon Prince. The History of the Royal Dauphin, Louis XVII. of France. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1853. 16mo. pp. 202.
A Child's History of England. By Charles Dickens. New York : 1853. 12mo. pp. 288.
Early Buds. By Lydia M. Reno. Boston and Cambridge: James Munroe & Co. 1853. 12mo. pp. 309.
Dr. Grant and the Mountain Nestorians. By Rev. Thomas Larrie, Surviving Associate in that Mission. With Portrait, Map of the Country, Illustrations, etc. Boston : Gould & Lincoln. 1853. 12mo. pp. 418.
Considerations of some Recent Social Theories. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co. 1853. 12mo. pp. 158.
Poetry of the Vegetable World; A Popular Exposition of the Science of Botany, and its Relations to Man. By M. J. Schleiden, M. D., Professor of Botany in the University of Jena. Illustrated with Engravings. First American, from the London edition of Henfrey. Edited by Alphonso Wood, M. A. Cincinnati: Moore, Andrews, Wilstach, & Keys. 1853. 12mo. pp. 360.
Yusef, or the Journey of the Frangi; a Crusade in the East. By J. Ross Browne, Author of Etchings of a Whaling Cruise. With Illustrations. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1853. 12mo. pp. 421.
The Mother and her Offspring. By Stephen Tracy, M. D. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1853. 12mo. pp. 361.
Annual Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey, showing the Progress of that Work during the Year ending November, 1851. Washington : Robert Armstrong, Printer. 1853. 8vo. pp. 559.
Report of the Principal Fisheries of the American Seas; prepared for the Treasury Department of the United States, by Lorenzo Sabine, of Massachusetts ; and submitted by the Hon. Thomas Corwin, Secretary of the Treasury, as a Part of his Annual Report on the Finances, at the Second Session of the Thirty-second Congress. Washington : Robert Armstrong. Printer. 1853. 8vo. pp. 317.