THere be some that by irrefragable arguments, they suppose, evince and overthrow all conjectures that the Americans be Jewes: Apo∣cryphall Esdras in Historicalls may be of some credit, and that sentence of his by many is applyed to this very purpose; and these very people, the ten tribes led away captive by Salmanasar, tooke this counsell among themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the Heathen, and goe forth into a farther Countrey, where Page 37 never man dwelt, that they might there keepe their sta∣tutes, which they never kept in their owne land, and they entred into Euphrates, by the narrow passages of the river, for through that Countrey there was a great way to goe, namely of a yeere and an halfe, and the same Region is called Arsareth, &c. 2 Esdr. 13. 40. &c. aAcosta is of opinion that these words thus produced by many, make in truth against this conjecture, and that for two reasons. 1. The ten Tribes went so farre to keepe their statutes and ceremonies, but these Indi∣ans observe none of them, being given up to all Idola∣tries: And is this at all consequent, such was their pur∣pose, therefore the successe must be answerable? is it likely they should be so tenacious in a farre and for∣raigne land, that never kept them in their owne, as the next words expresse? His second Argument is of like force, for tis not said, that Euphrates and America be contiguous, or places so neere one the other, much∣lesse that the entries of that River should stretch to the Indies; but hee tells of a very long journey taken by them, suitable to the places of their removall, and ap∣proach, which was to a Countrey where never man dwelt, and what Countrey could this be but America? all other parts of the world being then knowne and in∣habited: Besides there hath bin a common tradition a∣mong the Jews, and in the world, that those ten tribes are utterly lost; in what place are they then like to be found if not in America? for they shall be found againe. Some conjectures that they came from Norway, and be of that nation, have bin mentioned, with the improbability also thereof; and now lately T. Gage sets forth his new survey of the West Indies, his long abode there, and diligent observation of many, very many remarkable passages in Page 39 his travells; there I hoped to read somewhat of their originalls, and finde him b affirming that the Indians seeme to be of the Tartars progeny, his reasons are, 1. Quivira and all the West side of the Countrey to∣wards Asia is farre more populous than the East next Europe, which sheweth these parts to be first inhabited; but if the meaning be, the nearer Tartary the more po∣pulous, therefore they came from thence, its falls in with the third reason. 2. Their barbarous properties are most like the Tartats of any; this argument mili∣tates with more force for their Judaisme, to which ma∣ny of their rites be so consonant, both sacred and com∣mon, as hath been said. And thirdly the West side of America, if it be not continent with Tartary, is yet disjoy∣ned by a small straite; but the like may be said of some other parts, that they be or may have been neer some o∣ther maine lands, and so by that reason of some other race and extract. 4. The people of Quivira neerest to Tartary, are said to follow the seasons and pasturing of their cattell like the Tartarians; this particular, a spe∣cies of the generall, delivered in the second reason, is there glanced upon, but all he saith of this nature, and others with him, are so farre from weakening our con∣jecture, that they may be embraced rather as friendly supports thereunto, if others have guessed right that conceive the Tartars also themselves to be Jowes. Ma∣thew Parisc, no meane man in his time, was of that opinion; in his famous history he mentions it as the judgement of learned men in that age, it is thought the Tartars, quorum memoriaest detestabilis, are of the ten Tribes, &c. Yea and of latter times Dr Fletcherd a neere neighbour to them while he lived among the Rus∣ses as Agent for Queen Elizabeth, supposeth the same, Page 38 and giveth divers probable arguments inducing him thereto: the names of many Townes in Tartary the same with those in Israell, Tabor, Ierico, Chorasin, &c. They are circumcised, distinguished into Tribes, and have many Hebrew words among them, &c. for hee ad∣deth other probabilities; yea and the same M. Parise shewes that the Jewes themselves were of that mind, and called them their brethren of the seed of Abraham, &c. There was another transmigration of them when Vespatian destroyed Ierusalem; their owne, and other Histories speake little thereof: it might be well wor∣thy the endeavours of some serious houres to enquire af∣ter the condition of that Nation since our most deare Saviours Ascension; a strange thing is reported by themselves, and of themselves, and with such confi∣dence f that tis in their devotion. It saith when Vespatian wan Ierusalem, he gave order that three ships laden with that people might be put to Sea, but without Pilot, oares, or tackling, these by windes and tempests were woefully shattered, and so dispersed, that they were cast upon severall coasts; one of them in a Countrey called Lovanda, the second in another region named Arlado, the third at a place called Bardeli, all unknown in these time, the last courteously entertained these strangers, freely giving them grounds and vineyards to dresse, but that Lord being dead, another arose that was to them, as Pharaoh to old Israell, and he said to them, he would try by Nabuchodonosors experiment upon the three young men, if these also came from the fire un∣scorch'd, he would believe them to be Jewes, they say Adoni-Melech, most noble Emperour, let us have also three daies to invoke the Majesty of our God for our de∣liverance, which being granted, Ioseph and Benjamin two Page 40 brothers, and their cosin Samuell, consider what is meet to be done, and agree to fast and pray three daies toge∣ther, and meditate every one of them a prayer, which they did, and out of them all they compiled one which they used all those three daies and three nights; on the morning of the third day one of them had a vision upon Esa. 43. 2. which marvelously encouraged them all: soone after a very great fire was kindled, and an in∣innumerable company of people came to see the bur∣ning, into which they cast themselves unbidden without feare, singing, and praying till all the combustible mat∣ter was consumed, and the fire went out; the Jewes eve∣ry where published this miracle, and commanded that this prayer should be said every Monday and Thursday morning in their Synagogues, which is observed by them to this day saith Buxtorsius: In this narration if there be any truth wee may looke for some confirma∣tion thereof from America. But that there be no Jewes in those parts, Io. de Laet endeavours otherwise to e∣vince; as 1. They are not circumcised, therefore not * Jewes; but their circumcision hath been made so mani∣fest, that this reason may well be retorted; they are cir∣cumcised, therefore they be Jewes.
Againe the Indians are not covetous, nor learned, nor carefull of their Antiquities, therefore they are not Judaicall; in which allegations if there be any strength, it will be answered in the examination of those three following scrupulous and difficult questions.
- 1. Whence and how the Iewes should get into America.
- 2. How multiply, and enpeople so great a Continent, so vast a land.
- 3. How grow so prodigiously rude and barbarous.