OliverCowdery.com -- The Premier Web-Site for Early Mormon History

Oliver's Bookshelf  |  Spalding Library  |  Mormon Classics  |  Newspapers  |  Book Vault

Thomas Thorowgood
(c. 1600-1669)
Jewes in America

(London: 1650 - 1st ed.)

  • chap 01   chap 02
  • chap 03   chap 04
  • chap 05   chap 06
  • chap 07   chap 08

  • 1660 edition [off-site link]

  • Transcriber's Comments

  • Hope of Israel   |   The New Heaven   |   History of Indians   |   Revealed Knowledge
    Star in the West   |   View of the Hebrews   |   The Ten Tribes   |   Gathering of Israel

    (this web-page is still under construction)


    Jewes in America,

    Probabilities that the Americans
    are Jewes.

    CHAP. I.

    It hath been much, and many times, in several mens thoughts, what Genius devoted our Countrymen so willingly to forsake their Friends, and Nation, exposing themselves by voyages long and perillous to so many inconveniences, as are to be encountered with by Strangers in a forraigne and unchristian land; some were hastened by their dislike of Church Government; other perhaps were in hope to enrich themselves by such Adventures; and 'tis like, divers of them did

    2                                           Probabilities that the                                          

    foresee those Epidemicall Calamities, now for so many years oppressing this forlorne Nation, following thereupon Solomons Counsell, A prudent man foreseeth the evill, and hides himselfe, &c. Prov. 22. 5. Or else those pious soules by a divine instinct, might happily bee stirred up to despite all hazards, that the Natives for their temporall accomodations might bee spiritually enriched by the English, and though this was little seen at first in the endeavours, at least the successe of many gone thither, yet who can tell but supreme Providence might then dispose mens hearts that way, themselves not discerning that influence; even as Cyrus promoted the cause of the Jewes, he knew not why, nor whence, Ecs. 45. 4, 5. Upon confidence that the Gospell of Christ shall be revealed in the midst of that yet most Barbarous Nation, the next desire was, of possible, to learne the Originall of the Americans, and by observations from Printed Books, and written Letters, and by Discourse with some that had travelled to, and abode in those parts severall years, the probability of that opinion as yet praeponderates, that the Westerne Indians be of the Jewish race. R. Verstegan proves that Saxins to be Germans, because their speech is alike, the names of persons and things sometimes agree, and the Idols of them both are not different; Bodine mentioneth 3 Arguments, by which the beginnings of People are discoverable, the faire and true dealing of Historians, the comparing of Language, with the descriptions of the Country, such helps have assisted also in this enquiry: Grotius conceiveth these Americans to have come out of Europe, passing from Norway into Iceland, thence by Friesland into Greenland, and so into Estotiland, which is part of that Western

                                              Americans are Jewes                                           3

    Continent, hee is induced to that opinion from the names and words of places and things in both sounding alike: but Jo. de Laet abundantly disproves this Conjecture, which yet the Governor of the Dutch Plantation there told Mr. Williams was his judgement: Some others take them to be a remnant of those Canaanites that fled out of that Land when the feare of Israel approaching thither fell upon them, Josh. 2. 9. Others thinke it most probable, that they are Tartars, passing out of Asia into America by the straights of Anian. Emanuel de Moraes willingly believes them to be derived from Carthaginians and Jewes; from which latter that they descended, these following Conjectures are propounded to Consideration.

    CHAP. II.
    The first Conjecture that the Americans are Jewes.

    The Indians do themselves relate things of their Ancestors, suteable to what we read of the Jewes in the Bible, and elsewhere, which they also mentioned to the Spaniards at their first accesse thither; and here the Speech of Myrsilus occurred as observable: if we would know, saith hee, the Antiquity and Originall of a Nation, there is more credit to be given to the Natives and their Neighbors, than to strangers, and Casar concluded the Britons to be Gaules, because that was the affirmation of them both. P. Martyr tells at large, how Muteczuma the

    4                                           Probabilities that the                                          

    great King of Mexico in his Oration made to his Nobles and People, minds his Country men, that they heard from their fore-fathers, how they were strangers in that land, and by a great Prince very long agoe brought thither in a Fleet, They boast their Pedigree from men preserved in the Sea by God himselfe, that God made one man, and one woman, bidding them live together and multiply, and how in a Famine hee rained bread for them from Heaven, who in a time of drought also gave them Water out of a Rock: many other things, themselves say were done for them, such as the Scriptures relate concerning the Israelites at their comming out of Aegypt, as, their Peregrination many yeares, the Oracles they received, their Arke of Bulrush, wherein Vitzi-Liputzli was included, of the Tabernacle the Ark carried by fpure Priests, and how they pitched their Tents according to its direction, and who seeth not saith Malvenda much probability that the Mexicans are Jewes, how could they else report the manner of their comming into the promised Land; they affirme there is one chiefe God, who hath been from all eternity, by whom the lesser Gods were made, who became Assistants in the Fabrick and Government of the World, as some of the Rabbins also call the Angells Con-Creators with God, to whom the Lord did say, Let us make man in our Image, &c. Gen. 1. 26. The Indians judge the Sunne, Moone and Starres to be living creatures, a thing so avowed in the Jewish Talmud shewing it to be a thing easie enough for the Heavens to declare the glory of God, Psalme 19. 1, seeing they have understanding soules as well as men and Angels; they say of themselves, that they be strangers, and

                                              Americans are Jewes                                           5

    came from another Country. Meraes before named doth not only averre that many learned men in Brasile take the Natives to be Jewes, but that they themselves, taught by a most ancient Tradition, acknowledge their fore-fathers to be of that linage; and Peter Marytr hath from them also such a kinde of assertion: And now whereas some conceive the ten Tribes to be either shut up beyond the Caspian Mountaines, whence they could not get out, though they begged leave of Alexander the Great, yet the way was made miraculously unpassable against them, as the same Comester relateth: Others suppose them to be utterly lost, and if once so, 'tis probable in the opinion of some that they are to be found in America; Acosta acknowledgeth this to be the judgement of divers, to which he is not only adverse himselfe, but endeavours to answer their Arguments, as will be shewd hereafter; to these conjectures of the Natives, let this Chapter bee concluded with the judgements of two others, that have reason for what they say, the first is Emanuel de Moraes, forespoken of, affirming those of Brasile to be Judaicail: First, because those Brasilians marrie into their owne tribe and Kindred. Secondly, Their Manner is also to call their Uncles and Ants, Fathers and Mothers. Thirdly, they are given much to mourning and teares in their Funerall solemnities: And last of all, they both have Garments much alike. The next is Master R. Williams, one of the first, if not the first of our Nation in New England that learned the Language, and so prepared towards the Cobversion of the Natives, which purpose of his being knowne, hee was desired to observe if hee

    6                                           Probabilities that the                                          

    found any thing Judaicall among them, &c. He kindly answers to those Letters from Salem in New England, 10th of the 10th month, more than ten years since, in bac verba. Three things make me yet suspect, that the poore natives came from the southward, and are Jewes or Jewish quodammodo, and not from the Northern barbarous as some imagine. 1. Themselves constantly affirme that their Ancestors came from the southwest and thither they all goe dying. 2. They constantly and strictly separate their women in a little Wigwam by themselves in their feminine seasons. 3. And beside their God Kuttand to the south-west, they hold that Nanawitnawit (a God over head) made the Heavens and the Earth, and some tast of affinity with the Hebrew I have found.

    CHAP. III.
    Second Conjecture.

    The rites, fashions, ceremonies, and opinions of the Americans are in many ways agreeable to the custome of the Jewes, not onely prophane and common usages, but such as be called solemn and sacred.

    Common and prophane Customs in both alike.

    1. The Indians weare garments fashioned as the Jewes, a single coate, a square little cloake, they goe barefoot: if you should aske a man of Brasile what vestment would please him best, he would answer presently,

                                              Americans are Jewes                                           7

    a long cloake the habit of the Jewes, and this may seem no light consideration to such as minde Seneca's confidence, that the Spaniards planted themselves in Italy, for they have the same kind of covering on their heads, snd shooes for their feet.

    2. They constantly annoint their heads, as did the Jewes also, Luk. 7. 46.

    3. They doe not onely pride themselves with earerings but their noses are bored also, and have jewells hanging on them. which they call Caricori, like that is read, Esa. 3. 20, 21.

    4. In all India they wash themselves often, twice or thrice in the day, and the women in Brasile ten times saith Levius and the Jewes were frequent in this, Mar. 7. 3, 4, Jo. 2. 6.

    5. They delight exceedingly in dancing, men and women, yea and women apart by themselves; and so they did in Israell, Exod. 13. 20, 1 Sam. 21. 11, 12, and thus especially after victories and overthrows, of enemies, which is found also, Jud. 11. 34, Jud. 21. 21, 23, & 1 Sam. 18. 6, 7.

    6. As the Jewes were wont to call them fathers and mothers, they were not their naturall parents, so the Indians give the same appellation to Unkle and Aunts.

    7. In America they eat no swines flesh 'tis hatefull to them, as it was among the Jewes, Levit. 11.7, Esa. 66. 15.

    8. They wash strangers feet, and are very hispitall to them, and this was the known commendation of old Israell.

    9. The Indians compute their times by nights an use which Laet confesseth they had from the Hebrews;

    8                                           Probabilities that the                                          

    they reckon by lunary rules, giving the same name to their months they do to the Moon, Tona.











    20. Among the Indians they punish by beating,

                                              Americans are Jewes                                           [9]

    and whipping, and the Sachims if they please, put offenders to death with their owne hands, and secretly sometimes send out an executioner, as Mark 6. 17, 2 Cor. 11. 25.






    26. The Indians have their Posts and Messengers that were swift of foot, whom they dispatch upon their affaires, and they ran with speed, and such were among the Jewes, 2 Sam. 18. 24, 26, 27.

    [10]                                           Probabilities that the                                          

    CHAP. IV.
    Sacred and solemne rites and customes alike.

    Acosta affirmes the Americans to have ceremonies and customs resembling the Mosaicall. 1. Circumcision is frequent among the Indians, which some not observing, have thereupon denyed them to be Judaicall,

                                              Americans are Jewes                                           11

    and his Illustrator H. Salmuth, shews that the Jewes of old did use such in their circumcising, knives of stone, which Sacrament omitted fourty yeeres in their travell, is revived by God's command to Joshua 5. 2, Make thee sharp knives,







    12                                           Probabilities that the                                          

    men, and in Tamazulapa there be vestments kept like those Aaroniticall robes of the High-proest.












                                              Americans are Jewes                                           13








    14                                           Probabilities that the                                          

    CHAP. V.
    The third Conjecture.

    The American words and manners of speech, bee in many things consonant to those of the Jewes, Seneca hath that other reason, perswading that the Spaniards planted in Italy, because they both speake alike;

                                              Americans are Jewes                                           15

    3. The Ziims mentioned Esa. 13. 21 and 34. 14, are supposed to be wicked Spirits





    16                                           Probabilities that the                                          

    would conduce much to find out their decent, and helpe exceedingly towards their Conversion; and if it be said, the Jewes were ever tenacious of their Language, which Elias Levita saith

                                              Americans are Jewes                                           17

    CHAP. VI.
    The [fourth] Conjecture.

    This which followeth next, at first sight, will appeare a Paradox rather than a Probabiity, that is [Argonautieon] Americanorum, the Man-devouring that is in America; for what an inference may this seem to bee; there bt Carybes, Canibals, and Maneaters among them, therefore they be Jewish? But let it be considered,

    18                                           Probabilities that the                                          

    credit at first, and their Generall comforted himself against that most inhumane and hideous fact,

                                              Americans are Jewes                                           19

    If it be objected, those Caniballs are of a different Nature and Nation from the rest, Peter Martyr answers that also, supposing all the Inhabitants to bee of one flock, because they use all one and the same kind of Bread

    20                                           Probabilities that the                                          

    CHAP. VII.
    Fifth Conjecture.

    The people that have not yet received the Gospell of Jesus Christ are Jewes, but the Americans have not yet been gospelized; and here three things come to consideration.

    1. All other nations at first received the Gospell.

    The Jewws before the end of the world shall be converted.

    These Indians have not yet heard of Christ.

                                              Americans are Jewes                                           21

    stories. There we read often that they divided the world into 12 parts, every Apostle accepting that which fell to his lot; but first they compiled the Creed, called therefore

    22                                           Probabilities that the                                          

    is used in neither place, lest curiosity should restraine it to the Roman World, but ________ is the former expression, and the latter is ________ in whole and every part of the world

                                              Americans are Jewes                                           23

    stant beliefe of the faithful in every age. The children of Israell shall remaine many dayes without a King, and without a Prince, &c.

    24                                           Probabilities that the                                          

    From the Jewes our faith began,
    To the Gentiles then it ran,
    To the Jewes returne it shall,
    Before the dredfull end of all.

    3. The third consideration hath a twofold branch.

    1. The Americans have not, but 2. shall be acquainted with Christianity: and to the first all are not of this mind that the Indians have not heard of the Gospell: for Ostander [Epit. Cent. 16, part. 3] speaking of Vilagagno, and his planting there in Brasil, writes confidently, without doubt those people received the Gospel of Christ by the preaching of the Apostles 1500 yeeres since, but they lost it againe by their unthankfulness; and Malvenda allegeth some conjectures that Christianity might have been among them, but these are so few, and so forced, that himself supposeth them rather fatanicall suggestions, illusions, and imitations, than remembrances indeed of the Gospel.

    There be some records where every one of the Apostles planted the faith of Christ, in what Nations and Kingdomes, but they are all silent touching this part of the world, which indeed was not knowne till of late; yea some conceive, they had no being at all in former ages, and that there was not so much as land or earth in those places; however questionlesse they be but of late discovery; for though some will have America to be those Atlantique Islands mentioned by Plato, others that the Phaenicians arived thither more than 2000 yeeres since, and some further improbable conjectures there be, 'tis concluded neverthelesse by many judicious and observant men, that it was never

                                              Americans are Jewes                                           25

    heard of in this world, till Christopher Columbus of Genoa brought news thereof about 1590 [sic - 1490?]. When then, or by whom should they be made Christians? is it credible there should be no records thereof in the Annalls of any Nation? Could so great a part of the world become Christians, without any whispering thereof to any other; is it likely that all Gospel impressions should be utterly obliterate among them? all the light thereof quote extinguished? and not so much as the least glimpse thereof remaine? as is also acknowledged by him [viz. Joannis de Laet, vs Grotius] that hath written and observed so much of these nations.

    2. Seeing they were never yet enlightened, without question they shall be, for the Gospell of the Kingdome must be preached every where for a witness to all Nations, Mat. 24. 14. Surely so large a part of the world shall not alwaies be forgotten: Is it imaginable that the God of mercy, who is ______, a lover of soules, Wisd. 11. 23, should suffer so great a portion of mankind ever to remaine in darknesse, and in the shadow of death? Is it credible or fit to be believed, that the wisdome of the Father who taketh his solace in the habitable parts of the earth, and his delight is to be with the children of men, Prov. 8. 31, should have no compassion of such an innumerable multitude of soules? The earth was inhabited by degrees, from the place where Noahs Ark rested they went as the Sunne, from the East, and so planted themselves forward; and the progresse of the Gospell saith Eusebius, was in the same manner, and for this there is more than allusion in Psal. 19. 5, compared with Rom. 10. 18. That Westerne part of the world was last inhabited, and it shall heare of Christ also in due time, as certainly as there be people to receive

    26                                           Probabilities that the                                          

    him, for he shall be salvation ______ to the last ende of the earth, Act. 13, 47. And the Americans have a tradition among themselves, that white and bearded Nations shall subdue their Countries, abolish all their rites and ceremonies, and introduce a new religion.

    The sixth Conjecture.

    The American calamities are suitable to those plagues threatned unto the Jewes, Deut. 28. Such a comment upon that terrible Scripture is not any where to be found, as among the Indians, by this also it will appear probable that they be Jews ....

                                              Americans are Jewes                                           27

    the denyall of the Holy one, and the just, with desire that a murtherer should be given them, Act. 3. 14, and this brought upon them, first the tyranny of the Roman conquest, and then all those hideous and horrible tribulations that presse and oppresse them to this day.

    2. ....

    28                                           Probabilities that the                                          

    strange disease invaded those countreys, the sick commonly vomited many filthy wormes, ...

                                              Americans are Jewes                                           29

    abroad, &c. The poore Indians for their gold and labour, were by the Spaniards hunted out of all places, corners and islands, ....

    30                                           Probabilities that the                                          

    would borrow quarters of Indians, men and women, for their hiunds, and as commonly expose them to such a kind of death and buriall, as of men and women had bin made for dogs meate ....

                                              Americans are Jewes                                           31

    and fifty, of two millions were left alive. In another place hee professeth their tyranny was so cruell and detestable, that in fourty six yeeres space they caused, he verily believed, more than fifty millions of them to pay their last debt to nature ....

    32                                           Probabilities that the                                          

    to murder him, though with many agruments and tears he pleaded for his life, desiring sometimes to be sent unto Casar, then expostulating with them for their perfidiousnesse and falsehood ....

                                              Americans are Jewes                                           33

    ...slay them, and hold themselves not guilty, and they that fell them say, Blessed be the Lord, for I am rich. And now if all these parallels will not amount to a probability, one thing more shall be added, which is the dispersion of the Jewes, 'tis said, The Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from one end of the earth, even to the other, &c. Deut..


    Transcriber's Comments

    Israelite American Indians?

    (under construction)

    Return to top of the page

    Return to: Oliver Cowdery's Bookshelf  |  Oliver Cowdery Home Page

    last revised Mar. 16, 2015