Baltimore: Joseph Robinson, 1817. 8vo. 220 pp. SECOND EDITION. Lovely woodcut of a Mexican temple (p. 132). Paper-covered boards, spine label; interior toned with foxing due to paper stock, small inkstain on p. 88. Overall a fine uncut copy. Item #17151
Second edition, much expanded (nearly double the size) from the first printing a year earlier.. McCulloh here argues against the theory that animals and humans crossed into the Americas from Asia via the Bering Strait. Rather he proposed a hypothesis based on the biblical flood stating that “since the deluge, there was land of great extent in the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans; no doubt much shattered and broken, yet not to such a degree as to hinder men and animals from roaming through the extended parts.” He provides evidence of animals and birds and their migration habits. Much of his focus is tied to the age of the Earth as well as the development of language; he compares the language of the Americas with that of European and Asian tongues. He also focuses on what he refers to as the “institutions of America,” including the development of religion in Mexico and South America.
McCulloh eventually sent a copy of this second edition to Thomas Jefferson who responded in a letter saying that while the doctor’s hypothesis was plausible it was “too refractory to admit a conclusion.” Despite this, McCulloh continued to publish books expanding on his theories.
McCulloh (b. 1793) was an author and doctor in Maryland who also served as a garrison surgeon in the War of 1812. Even though he was a physician, his interests were focused on the burgeoning fields of archaeology and anthropology.