« PreviousContinue »
bravely. A grim, gaunt warrior was he, yclept the Wild Horse, with long matted elf locks hanging about his cheeks, and of gigantic stature. The Four-Bears pressed hard upon him, notwithstanding the exhortations of Wawnahtou to beware of a pistol which the wounded chief concealed under his robe. His blood was up, and he was about to close with the Pawnee, when a bullet from the pistol of the latter struck him in the forehead, and he fell senseless and motionless to the ground. Quick as the lightning leaves the cloud, before the smoke of the pistol had cleared away, the knife of his ta-ko-dah was sheathed in the body of the Wild Horse, whose scalp was torn from his head in less time than it would take to repeat the circumstance. The hand was well accustomed to the work. The chase was now resumed with redoubled vigor; for Wawnahtou was inflamed to fury, and continued two leagues farther, when the remnant of the Pawnees were suffered to depart without farther molestation. Full half their number had fallen, and it was supposed that not one of them escaped without a wound. Of the pursuers, but two or three were wounded, and that but slightly.
On their return to the spot where the Mandan and the Pawnee chief had fallen, the victorious savages found the latter still alive. He had filled his pipe, struck a light with his pistol, and was now sitting up, smoking, a ghastly spectacle, covered with blood from head to foot. Forthwith they began to taunt and revile him. is the chief,' said one, 'who led his young men into a trap, from which there was no escape.'
• It is all the better for the wolves and ravens,' said another. "Ho, Pawnee ! - a hundred widows of your tribe will be cursing you tomorrow.' * You lie, Mandan dog ! replied the Pawnee, nothing daunted. While they can show two scalps won for one lost by me, they will weep
my death. Who stole your horses last fall ? To a second he said : Your father's scalp is drying in the smoke of my lodge.' To a third : Your wife, whom we took prisoner and slew. Fifteen of my young men
He did not live to finish the sentence. The wronged and enraged husband terminated his sufferings with a single stroke of his tomahawk, and this was perhaps the motive of the Pawnee hero's vaunts.
Mah-to-khay To-pah still breathed. The ball had glanced upon his skull, and passed over his head; but the concussion on the brain had been severe,
and it was long before he awoke to consciousness, or his tribe ceased to mourn the loss of their bravest man. of triumph was raised for the slaughter of the treacherous Pawnees. On the contrary, it was a month before the men washed the black from their faces, or the women ceased to mangle themselves and weep. As for Wawnahtou, he vowed a vow, that in testimony of his sorrow for the loss of his ta-ko-dah, he would give away all he possessed, and absent himself from his tribe for a whole year. He kept his word. He gave away his dresses, his flags, his medals, his gun, his horses, all he had; not excepting his favorite wife, who had been for fifteen years the partner of his bosom.
The Four-Bears nevertheless outlived all who mourned him as one dead. Two years ago, the man who had five times endured the tortures of the Feast of the Willow Leaf, who had seemed proof to
lead and steel, might have been seen exhorting his afflicted and spirit. broken tribe to submit patiently to the displeasure of the Great Spirit, manifested in the dreadful visitation of the small-pox; but they gave him credit neither for his courage nor his pious resignation, and gave no heed to his exhortations; for they believed that he bore a charmed life. Not one of his hearers but had lost wbat was nearest and dearest, and they sat staring at the dead and the dying, with the stony eyes of despair ; wishing for death, and complaining of his delay. It was in vain that he exhorted them to fly from the scene of the contagion, to regions where they might revive the ancient glories of the nation. It was in vain that be told them that none but old women would stay to endure what might be averted by resistance or flight. It was in vain that he reminded them of their former fame. They pointed to the bones that were bleaching around them, and to which their apathy liad denied the rites of sepulture, and answered : 'Shall we leave these, to go into a foreign land ?' Their bearts were dead within them, and they refused to be comforted or encouraged. One old man, in answer to his impassioned declamation, replied: What avails it now, Mah-to-khay Topah, to speak of the glories of days gone by! The world knows them, and their memory can never die ; but they can return no more! What avails it to taunt us with cowardice ? Our enemies can bear witness that we are neither children nor old women; but we cannot strive with the Master of Breath. To what purpose should we fly, since the wrath of God can follow, and find us every where ? No, Mah-tokhay To-pah; urge it no more. Here our ancestors were buried; here we will die, and our dust shall commingle with the same clay.'
The pestilence etalked through the tribe with giant strides. Hundreds perished in a day. Many slew themselves, to escape the inevitable agony. This the Four-Bears disdained. “I have never shrunk from mortal man,' he said, “and I will not now, with fifty snows on my head, offend the Master of Life by refusing to submit to his will. If all the rest of the Mandans bave become children, my heart at least is strong. And when the last seven surviving families had immolated themselves, the chief, 'toujours fidele, might be seen and heard chanting their requiem, and his own death-song. The next morning, the Last of the Mandans crowned the bloody heap, a festering corse.
We might have made this tale more interesting, by making our actors speak a different language, and by mixing a little love with our war and blood-shed. We have not done so, because the FourBears, though he had many wives, never was in love in his life, beyond reason; and Indians should be described as they are, and not as we could wish to have them. Our Indians are Indians ; not copper colored Lovelaces and Grandisons. No other person, excepting Mr. Catlin, knows them so well. We might have been more minute in our descriptions; but our limits did not permit; and beside, the topography of the country has been described a hundred times already, far better than we could do it. We hope these excuses will be found satisfactory.
WETSHASH TSHAHTOPEE TSHEESTIN TSHAY HASKAR.
WHENCE come your shapes of mystery, 0 dreanis!
Urua, April, 1840.
A. A. M.
NEW PHILOSOPHY OF MIND.
DEVELOPING NEW SOURCES OF IDEAS, AND DESIGNATING THE DISTINCTIVE FACULTIES.
BY JOHN STEARNS, M. D.
PHILOSOPHERS may investigate the arcana of nature, and designate the laws by which those wonderful phenomena are produced, which astonish and intimidate vulgar minds; they may annihilate space, and approximate antipodes into a familiar circle of friends and neighbors; meteorologists may trace vapors to their conversion into clouds, and to their descent in rain, and by an accurate imitation of the operations of nature, may produce artificial showers, and locate the gorgeous bow in its appropriate element; the electrician may disarm the clouds of their thunder, and conduct the forked lightning in harmless streams to his receivers ; the astronomer may elevate his views to the heavens, survey the extent of this vast expanse ; trace the movement of the celestial bodies through their respective orbs; ascertain, with great accuracy, their magnitudes, their distances, and their periodical revolutions; describe the paths of the erratic comets ; demonstrate their use in connecting innumerable unknown systems, their approximation to their respective suns, and their rapid divergency into infinite space; controlling the movements of each system in one grand harmonious compound, and preserving in perfect order every part of this vast, this complicated machinery.
But what are all these objects, sublime and magnificent as they may be, compared with the sovereign of this world, the master-piece of creation; the consummate perfection of the last day's work; the keystone that completes the arch of the universe ; for whose bappiness this magnificent work was conceived and executed in the councils of heaven !
The adequate discussion of a subject so important, so sublime, and replete with such intense interest, requires a pen plucked from an angel's wing, and a mind long and assiduously directed to the study of man, in all his mysterious combinations of material and immaterial parts.
I purpose, in the present essay, to occupy the reader's attention with a few brief remarks on the immaterial part of man. My selection of this topic has been influenced by a desire to excite the attention of the Medical Faculty, more particularly, to the study of the human mind, and in a few preliminary remarks, I shall demonstrate its practical importance to the physician, by showing the influence which it exerts upon the body.
Dr. Rush observes : It is the duty of physicians to assert their prerogative, and to rescue mental science from the usurpations of school-men. It can only be perfected by the aid and discoveries of medicine. A knowledge of the functions and operations of the mind is useful to the physician in the study of physiology, hygeine, pathology, and in the practice of medicine. It furnishes many useful analogies by which we can explain and illustrate the functions of the
• Is the will influenced by motives? So the body is influenced by external and internal impressions. Is the will destitute of a selfdetermining power ? So the body is devoid of an independent principle of life. Both are influenced by associations and habits, and both equally require repose, after active exertion. This knowledge also enables us to develope the causes of disease, and to preserve a regular exercise of the faculties and operations of the mind, so as to prevent disease, arising from their torpor, or from their undue exercise. A physician destitute of this knowledge, is a very incompetent judge of the influence which the mind exerts upon the body, in the production and cure of diseases; nor can be avail himself of a remedy more efficacious than the most potent article of the materia medica.
Dr. Reid justly remarks, that all such practitioners are like a surgeon, who, while he secures one artery, suffers his patient to bleed to death by another.' Before the fall of man, his mind was pure, holy, and perfectly equal and regular in all its operations upon the body, which it animated and sustained in perfect health. Such a perfection of mind and body, justly balanced in all their reciprocal operations, was destined to endure for ever in the perfect enjoyment of that unalloyed felicity which is known only to the inhabitants of paradise. Exempt from disease, and undisturbed by inordinate passions, this harmonious compound flourished in the health and vigor of youth, until a poison, artfully infused into the mind, contaminated the body with pain, disease, and death. The effects of this infection were evinced in the conviction of shame and guilt which our first parents instantly exhibited; and also in that depravity of
mind, thereby induced, which caused such an unequal operation of the passions and faculties, as to affect the body with disease, and an immediate and direct tendency to its destruction. At that moment it began to die. This was therefore the primary source of all the diseases which subsequently afflicted mankind.
Although the seeds of dissolution thus planted in man, by the act of disobedience, proved the literal execution of the threat, in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die,' they did not produce their mature and ultimate effect in abbreviating human life, until after that most corrupt period of the world, which immediately preceded the general deluge.
Experience and revelation afford ample evidence, that a life of virtue is necessarily connected with moral happiness. If such a life were perpetuated through a lineal succession of generations, it would probably restore that beauty, health, and felicity, which man lost when he was expelled from paradise.
That mental depravity produces not only disease of body and of mind, but also corporeal deformity, is sustained by common observation, and may also be inferred from that Jewish law, which precluded deformed persons from performing, and consequently from profaning, the holy rites of the priesthood, and which also prohibited the oblation of all animals with similar defects.
This position is sustained by tracing a similar connection between virtue and corporeal beauty, even to its figurative perfection in Deity, and to its visible exemplification in the body of Christ, which was represented by his contemporaries to have been exquisitely beautiful. It is for this reason, that beautiful objects excite the most ardent affections of the heart, which always increase as those objects approximate the perfection of beauty. The propriety of this affection, and its necessary connection with our happiness, are susceptible of mathematical demonstration. The soul which exerts such mighty powers upon this mass of inert matter, must, by its continued operation, produce an impress deep and durable as existence.
This subject is replete with sublime contemplations, which excite our astonishment, as we approach the unexplored region of a world of spirits, and behold the immensity of power which they exert. This region I now propose to enter, and to consider more minutely the immaterial part of man. But I cannot approach the confines of this immaterial world, without first invoking the guidance of that spirit of truth, which controls its destinies, and which reveals to man occasional glimpses of its glorious mysteries.
Although some of the views which I may suggest on this obscure, this abstruse topic, may be novel, and at variance with opinions heretofore expressed by metaphysical writers, I trust they will be sustained by reason and by facts.
In approaching this branch of my subject, I feel as if I were treading on consecrated ground, and inspired with a reverential awe at the presumptive efforts to explore a field so mysterious, without a single ray to illumine my darkened path. In making any new suggestions on a subject so important, and so much discussed, I am not insensible to the imputation of presumption that I may justly incur, for attempting to innovate upon the established theories of such