Cherokee Phoenix


Published March, 25, 1829

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From the Monthly Review

A view of the American Indians. By Israel Worsley. London, 1828.

We shall probably surprise most of our readers when we state the object of this little volume, which is nothing less than to show that the Indians of America are, in all probability the descendants of the lost Ten tribes of Israel. This is an idea which has it seems, of late years occupied some attention on the other side of the Atlantic, the Rev. Dr. Elias Boudinot having published a work in support of it in 1826, entitled A Star in the West, which was followed in 1825 by another written by a Mr. Smith pastor of a church in Poultney. The object of the present writer is chiefly to condense and arrange the facts and reasonings that have been advanced by his predecessors; and to add such additional matter in support of the views which they have advocated, as he has been able to collect in the course of his own reading.

We extract a few sentences from his concluding chapter, in which he give a summary of his argument.- After contending that the tribes in question must have an existence somewhere, and remarking that in the book of Esdras they are mentioned as having journeyed to a land where no man dwelt, he proceeds in reference to the Indians as follows:

'They are living in tribes-they have all a family likeness, though covering thousands of leagues of land; and have a tradition prevailing universally, that they came into that country at the northwest corner, they are very religious people, and yet have entirely escaped the idolatry of the old words-they acknowledge On God, the Great Spirit, who created all things seen and unseen-the name to whom this being is known to them all, the old Hebrew name of God he is also called yehowah,

sometimes yah, and also abba--for this Great Being they profess a high reverence, calling him the head of their community, and themselves his favorite people-they believe that he was more favorable to them in old times than he is now, that their fathers were in covenant with him, that he talked with them ' gave them laws--they are distinctly heard to sing with their religious dances, hallellujh (sic) and praise to jah; other remarkable sounds go out of their mouths, as shillu-yo, shillu-he, ale-yo, he-wah, yohewah, but they profess not to know the meaning of these words; only that they learned to use them upon sacred occasions-they acknowledge the government of a Providence overruling all things,and express a willing submission to whatever takes place-they keep annual feasts which resemble those of the Mosaic ritual; a feast of first fruits, which they do not permit themselves to taste until they have made an offering of them to God; also an evening festival, in which no bone of the animal that is eaten may be broken; ' if one family be not large enough to consume the whole of it, neighboring family is called in to assist: the whole of it is consumed, and the relics are burned before the rising of the next day's sun: there is one part of the animal which they never eat, the hollow part of the thigh; they eat bitter vegetables ' observe severe fasts for the purpose of cleansing themselves from sin; they have also a feast of harvest, when their fruits are gathered in, a daily sacrifice, and a feast of love--their fore-fathers, practiced the rite of circumcision; but not knowing why so strange a practice was continued, and not approving of it, they gave it up---there is a sort of jubilee kept by some of them-they have cities of refuge to which a guilt man and even a murderer may fly and be safe.' pp. 181, 182.

Another account, we observe of the lost Ten Tribes has lately been given in a German publication, which, on highly probable grounds, makes at least a large portion of them to have established themselves in the district of the great Plain of Central Asia, called Bucharia, where, it appears they amount even at this day to a third part of the population. The traditions preserved among this remnant of the chosen people might perhaps assist in determining whether or not the American Indians are descendants of the same stock.