Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/691

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ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE.

warm and light their huts with seal oil; the basis of their food is seal meat, fish and shell-fish only serving to give variety to it; they wear a full dress of seal-skin sewed with seal tendons, with needles of seal bone; their boots are of seal leather, and their baby-clothes are also made of seal-skin; and that substance constitutes the sheathing to their boats. They are able to travel on land, or snow and ice, in sledges drawn by their dogs. With the conditions of existence thus fairly well assured to them, they have proved themselves accessible to a certain degree of civilization, and have been taught to read and write, and to submit themselves to religious restraints. Yet they are liable to sufferings in seasons of extreme severity which they might escape if, instead of the wild seal, they had some domestic animal on which they could depend for the supply of their food and economical wants.

The reindeer is to the Laplander all that the seal is to the Eskimo, and more. It gives him its skin for clothing, its flesh for food, its horns and bones for tool-making. It furthermore gives milk, and is a pack and draught animal. To these it adds the capital advantage over the seal of being a real domestic animal, so that the Laplander is rarely deprived of necessaries. The dog is also an auxiliary. The Laplander has, therefore, two domestic animals. He has made a corresponding advance in civilization beyond what has been accomplished by the Eskimo.

The Spanish conquerors found two countries in America which had a civilization of ancient date—Peru, where there were two domestic animals, the dog and the llama; and Mexico, which, with no domestic animal but the dog, had an advanced and very productive agriculture. Everywhere else the Spaniards found savages, of whom the Caribs were the most famous. These are represented now by the Galibis and other tribes in Guiana, who exist in a primitive condition, without domestic animals. On his second voyage to America, in 1493, Columbus brought over some European domestic animals, which became the property of the Indians who had intercourse with the whites. The half-breeds of these Indians, the Gauchos and the Araucanians, became in less than two centuries pastoral and agricultural peoples, while other tribes, retiring from the whites, fell into a state of decline.

America, poor in domestic animals and having few cultivated plants at the time of the arrival of the Spaniards, from being able to support only a primitive and sparse population, has by the aid of these elements of civilization become populous and wealthy. The same that has been accomplished in America in three centuries has been done in Australia in fifty years.

From this review of primitive life we draw the conclusions that, wherever he may be found, man is condemned perpetually