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This, being probably about an average standard of the national head is indicative of no common capacity, and shows the Seminoles to be a well endowed variety of the American race. No wonder that, in a country like Florida, abounding in countless and impenetrable places of defence, concealment and annoyance, the conquest of them should be difficult. In the capacities of the anterior and posterior chambers we suspect some mistake.
Without giving their measurements, we shall merely mention that the skulls of the Creeks and Cherokees are of the same order with those of the Seminoles. And their history testifies that those two nations also are warlike and formidable. And the heads of the Chippeways, another nation similar in character, are fully equal, if not superior. So are the heads of the Miamis and Potowatomies-nations that have been obstinate and destructive in war. Of the “five nations the same is true. Their brains as well as the history of their wars, show them to possess a high station in the American
The Osage alone we believe excepted, the Indians west of the Mississippi and east of the Rocky Mountains, are of an inferior order. This appears from the following measurements, which may be regarded as giving about the average (or rather a little more) of the skulls of those nations. Some of them however are fearfully ferocious and sanguinary,
“ Longitudinal diameter,
THE FLAT-HEAD TRIBES OF THE COLUMBIA RIVER.
In one respect these Indians may be pronounced an anomaly; yet the singular problem they present is susceptible we think of a rational solution. Though their brains are of fair and respectable size, they are, in their qualities and efficiency, a very inferior branch of the American Race. Of all the higher qualities of that Race they appear to be destitute. They are commonly,” says our author, on the authority of Lewis and Clark, “of diminutive stature, badly shaped, and their appearance by no means prepossessing. They have broad, thick, flat feet, thick ancles, and crooked legs."
“ The legs of the females particularly are ill shaped and swollen.” This unsightly condition of the legs and ancles is attributed by some (though we think erroneously) to “tight bandages of beads and strings, worn round the ancles by the women, which prevent the circulation of
the blood,” and thus produce the preternatural bulk and clumsiness of the limbs. This cannot be received as correct physiology. The blood nourishes and vitalizes the organs which it visits. Let its circulation in them be "prevented," and they will become smaller instead of larger, for want of nourishment; or disease will invade them, and run into ulceration, if not into gangrene. By the well known action of the bandage, when tight, this is conclusively proved. To some other cause therefore must this thickness and shapeless clumsiness of the limbs be ascribed.
It is hardly we think to be doubted, that the general inferiority of the “Flat-head " Indians is attributable to the injury inflicted by compression on the brain. Were that compression made on the stomach, heart or lungs, no one will doubt that serious mischief would be the certain issue. Hence the well-known disasters of the practice of corsetting, in the production of dyspepsia, pulmonary consumption, disease of the heart, and other grievous and often fatal affections.
But the brain is an organ equal at least in standing and importance to any of the thoracic or abdominal viscera. We have pronounced it in many respects superior, and still maintain the same belief. Through the medium of the spinal cord and nerves, its influence is transmitted with great and essential effect, to every portion, we might say, directly or indirectly, to every fibre of the system. That it therefore .can be compressed and distorted, if not literally dislocated, with greater impunity than other organs in no respect its superior, but decidedly the reverse, is exceedingly improbable--not to employ a stronger term, and say impossible. The “ Flat-heads” are palpably of the same race with the great body of the North American Indians east of the Rocky Mountains. They are also fed as plentifully, clothed as well, and lodged as comfortably, and occupy a climate as pleasant and salubrious. Still are they comparatively of a degenerate caste. For their personal inferiority then to the other tribes of their family, no adequate cause presents itself from without. Yet some general and powerful cause of inferiority in them exists. That that cause is internal therefore, there is no ground to deny, and but little, in our estimation, to doubt. And we perceive nothing more likely to produce the mischief, than the violence done indirectly to the whole system, by the compression of the brain. And that no deterioration of intellect results from such compression, it requires more credulity than we possess to believe, or deem possible. In our opinion, a more incredible position can hardly be put or even imagined. The process is but little less in character than an infantile chronic apoplexy—or a fracture and long-continued depression of the skull. The marvel is, not that such violence done to the brain should seriously derange the functions of that viscus; but that it does not produce fatuity or death. The following are the dimensions of the cranium of a “ Flat-head” of the largest size.
“ Longitudinal diameter,
6.9 inches. Parietal diameter,
6.3 Frontal diameter,
4.9 Vertical diameter,
4.8 Inter-mastoid arch,
15.7 Inter-mastoid line,
4 Occipito-frontal arch,
14 Horizontal periphery,
21 Extreme length of the head and face, 8.5 Internal capacity,
92 cubic inches. Capacity of the anterior chamber,
This is the largest but two of all the posterior chambers of the skull, that Dr. Morton has measured. It testifies of
. course to the inordinate animality in the savage who possessed it. But on these points, full of interest and instruction as they are, we can dwell no longer, but must hasten toward the close of our review.
Having terminated his measurements and calculations, after toiling through a degree of industry, patience, and labor that, without exaggeration, may be pronounced stupendous, Dr. Morton thus expresses himself, in the language of one who is emboldened by a consciousness of having faithfully endeavored to acquit himself of his duty.
“ In conclusion, the author is of the opinion that the facts contained in this work tend to sustain the following propositions:
“ 1st. That the American Race differs essentially from all others, not excepting the Mongolian; nor do the feelle analogies of language, and the more obvious ones in civil and religious institutions and the arts, denote any thing beyond casual or colonial communication with the Asiatic nations; and even these analogies may perhaps be accounted for, as Humboldt has suggested, in the mere coincidence arising from simi. lar wants and impulses in nations inhabiting similar latitudes.
“2d. That the American nations, excepting the Polar tribes, are of one Race and one species, but of two great Families, which resemble each other in physical, but differ in intellectual character.
“ 3d. That the cranial remains discovered in the mounds, from Peru to Wisconsin, belong to the same race, and probably to the Toltecan family.”
Having laid down these propositions, in the form of corol. laries deduced from the body of the work, our author offers, on the comparative size of the brains of the five races of men of whom he had treated, the following interesting and important