Parthagica Directory 10
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Parthagica Directory 10
Page 01

The real question, however, as to the substantial underlying identity between the language of the lower animals and our own, turns upon that other question whether or no, in spite of an immeasurable difference of degree, the thought and reason of man and of the lower animals is essentially the same. No one will expect a dog to master and express the varied ideas that are incessantly arising in connection with human affairs. He is a pauper as against a millionaire. To ask him to do so would be like giving a streetboy sixpence and telling him to go and buy himself a founder's share in the New River Company. He would not even know what was meant, and even if he did it would take several millions of sixpences to buy one. It is astonishing what a clever workman will do with very modest tools, or again how far a thrifty housewife will make a very small sum of money go, or again in like manner how many ideas an intelligent brute can receive and convey with its very limited vocabulary; but no one will pretend that a dog's intelligence can ever reach the level of a man's. What we do maintain is that, within its own limited range, it is of the same essential character as our own, and that though a dog's ideas in respect of human affairs are both vague and narrow, yet in respect of canine affairs they are precise enough and extensive enough to deserve no other name than thought or reason. We hold moreover that they communicate their ideas in essentially the same manner as we do--that is to say, by the instrumentality of a code of symbols attached to certain states of mind and material objects, in the first instance arbitrarily, but so persistently, that the presentation of the symbol immediately carries with it the idea which it is intended to convey. Animals can thus receive and impart ideas on all that most concerns them. As my great namesake said some two hundred years ago, they know "what's what, and that's as high as metaphysic wit can fly." And they not only know what's what themselves, but can impart to one another any new what's-whatness that they may have acquired, for they are notoriously able to instruct and correct one another.

Whether, at the time of which we now speak, the Indians were an old race, already beginning to decline, or a fresh race, which contact with the whites balked of its development, it is difficult to say. Their career since best accords with the former supposition. In either case we may assume that their national groupings and habitats were nearly the same in 1500 as later, when these became accurately known. In the eighteenth century the Algonquins occupied all the East from Nova Scotia to North Carolina, and stretched west to the Mississippi. At one time they numbered ninety thousand. The Iroquois or Five Nations had their seat in Central and Western New York. North and west of them lived the Hurons or Wyandots. The Appalachians, embracing Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Seminoles and a number of lesser tribes, occupied all the southeastern portion of what is now the United States. West of the Mississippi were the Dakotas or Sioux.

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