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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;
3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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3941. INDIANS, Traditions.—

scanty accounts of the traditions of the Indians,
but fuller of their customs and characters,
are given us by most of the early travelers
among them, these you know were mostly
French. Lafitau, among them, and Adair an
Englishman, have written on this subject.
* * * But unluckily Lafitau had in his head
a preconceived theory on the mythology, manners,
institutions, and government of the ancient
nations of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and
seems to have entered on those of America
only to fit them into the same frame, and to
draw from them a confirmation of his general
theory. He keeps up a perpetual parallel, in
all those articles, between the Indians of America
and the ancients of the other quarters of
the globe. He selects, therefore, all the facts
and adopts all the falsehoods which favor his
theory, and very gravely retails such absurdities
as zeal for a theory could alone swallow. He
was a man of much classical and scriptural
reading, and has rendered his book not unentertaining.
He resided five years among the
northern Indians as a missionary, but collects
his matter much more from the writings of
others, than from his own observation. Adair,
too, had his kink. He believed all the Indians
of America to be descended from the Jews; the
same laws, usages, rites and ceremonies, the
same sacrifices, priests, prophets, fasts and
festivals, almost the same religion, and that
they all spoke Hebrew. For, although he writes
particularly of the southern Indians only, the
Catawbas, Creeks, Cherokees, Chickasaws and
Choctaws, with whom alone he was personally
acquainted, yet he generalizes whatever he
found among them, and brings himself to believe
that the hundred languages of America,
differing fundamentally every one from every
other, as much as Greek from Gothic, yet have
all one common prototype. He was a trader,
a man of learning, a self-taught Hebraist, a
strong religionist, and of as sound a mind as
Don Quixote in whatever did not touch his
religious chivalry. His book contains a great
deal of real instruction on its subject, only requiring
the reader to be constantly on his guard
against the wonderful obliquities of his theory.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 59. Ford ed., ix, 355.
(M. 1812)