(1st ed.: Albany, 1833, 2nd ed 1834)
D I S C O V E R I E S I N T H E W E S T:
BEING AN EXHIBITION OF THE EVIDENCE
THAT AN ANCIENT POPULATION OF PARTIALLY CIVILIZED NATIONS
DIFFERING ENTIRELY FROM THOSE OF THE PRESENT INDIANS PEOPLED
AMERICA MANY CENTURIES BEFORE ITS DISCOVERY BY
COLUMBUS, AND INQUIRIES INTO THEIR ORIGIN,
C O P I O U S D E S C R I P T I O N
OF MANY OF THEIR STUPENDOUS WORKS, NOW IN RUINS,
WITH OBJECTIONS CONCERNING WHAT MAY HAVE
BECOME OF THEM.
Compiled from Travels, Authentic Sources, and the
Researches of Antiquarian Societies.
BY JOSIAH PRIEST.
[ Fourth Edition ]
PRINTED BY HOFFMAN & WHITE.
1 8 3 4.
P R E F A C E.
ALTHOUGH the subject of American antiquities is everywhere surrounded with its mysteries; yet we indulge the hope, that the volume we now present the public, will not be unacceptable, as on the account of its mysteriousness and obscurity, we have been compelled to wander widely in the field of conjecture, from which it is not impossible but we may have produced some original and novel opinions
We have felt that we are bound by the nature of the subject, to treat wholly on those matters which relate to ages preceeding the discovery of America by Columbus; as we apprehend no subject connected with the history of the continent since that time, can be entitled to the appelation of Antiquities of America.
If we may be permitted to judge from the liberal subscription this work has met with, notwithstanding the universal prejudice which exists against subscribing for books, we should draw the conclusion, that this curious subject has not its only admirers within the pales of antiquarian societies.
If it is pleasing as well as useful to know the history of one's country -- if to feel a rising interest as its beginnings are unfolded -- its sufferings -- its wars -- its struggles -- and its victories, delineated; why not also, when the story of its antiquities,. though of a graver and more majestic nature, are attempted to be rehearsed.
The traits of the ancient nations of the old world are every where shown by the fragments of dilapidated cities, pyramids of stone, and walls of wonderous length; but here are the wrecks of empire, whose beginnings, it would seem, are older than any of these, which are the mounds and works of the west, towering aloft as if their builders were preparing against another flood.
We have undertaken to elicit arguments, from what we suppose evidence, that the first inhabitants who peopled America, came on by land, at certain places, where it is supposed once to have been united with Asia, Europe, and Africa, but has been torn asunder by the force of earthquakes, and the irruptions of the waters, so that what animals had not passed over before this great
physical rupture, were forever excluded; but not so with men, as they could resort to the use of boats.
We have gathered such evidence as induces a belief that America was, anciently, inhabited with partially civilized and agricultural nations, surpassing in numbers its present population. This, we imagine, we prove, in the discovery of thousands of the traits of the ancient operations of men over the entire cultivated parts of the continent, in the forms, and under the character of mounds and fortifications, abounding particularly in the western regions.
We have also ventured conjectures respecting what nations, in some few instances, may have settled here; also what may have become of them. We have entered on an examination of some of those works, and some of the articles found on opening some few of their tumuli; which have compared with similar articles found in similar works in various parts of the other continents, from which very curious results are ascertained..
As it respects some of the ancient nations who may have found their way hither, we perceive a strong possibility that not only Asiatic nations, very soon after the flood, but that all along the different eras of time, different races of men, as Polynesians, Malays, Australasians, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Israelites, Tartars, Scandinavians, Danes, Norwegians, Welsh, and Scotch, have colonized different parts of the continent.
We have also attempted to show that America was peopled before the floodl that it was the country of Noah, and the place where the ark was erected. The highly interesting subjects of American antiquities, we are inclined to belkieve, is but just commencing to be developed. The immensity of country yet beyond the settlements of men, towards the Pacific, is yet to be explored by cultivation, when other evidences, and wider spread, will come in view, affording, perhaps, more definite conclusion.
As aids in maturing this volume, we have consulted the works of philosophers, historians, travellers, geographers, gazetteers, the researches of antiquarian societies, with miscellaneous notices on this subject, as found in the periodicals of the day. The subject has proved as difficult as mysterious; any disorder and inaccuracies, therefore, in point of inferences which we have made we beg may not become the subjects of the severities of criticism..
If, however, we should succeed in awakening a desire to a farther investigation of this curious subject, and should have the singular happiness of securing any degree of public respect, and of giving the subscriber an equivalant for his patronage, the utmost of the desires of the author will be realized.
C O N T E N T S.
009 Location of Mount Ararat,
014 Origin of human complexions, with other curious matter,
022 Respecting the division of the earth by Noah among his sons,
024 Identity and real name of Melchisedec of the scriptures,
032 Division of the earth in the days of Peleg, and of the spreading out of the nations, with other interesting items,
038 Of the antiquities of the west,
042 Supposed ruins of a Roman fort at Marrietta,
055 Course of the lost ten tribes of Israel, when they left Assyria for Arsareth,
079 Accounts of the convulsions of the globe,
083 Evidences of an ancient population in America different from that of the Indians,
087 Discoveries on the Muskingum, a river in the Ohio,
106 Discoveries of the remains of ancient pottery,
110 A catacomb of embalmed mummies, found in Kentucky,
116 A fac-simile of the ancient letters of the Phoenicians,
118 Ancient letters of America and Africa, with a fac-similie of the same,
125 A further account of western antiquities, with antediluvian traits,
139 A cavern of the west, containing hieroglyphics cut in a rock by the ancient nations,
151 Tracks of men and animals found in the rocks of Tennessee and St. Louis,
154 Cotubamana the giant chief of one of the islands of the coast of America,
155 Still further accounts of discoveries in the west,
161 Vast works of the ancient nations on the east side of the Muskingum, Ohio,
163 Ruins of ancient works at Circleville, Ohio,
166 Ancient works on paint creek,
169 A recent discovery of one of those ancient works among the Alleghany mountains,
169 Ancient wells found in the bottom of paint creek,
171 A description of western tumuli or mounds,
183 Great works of the ancient nations on the north fork of Paint creek, Ohio,
187 Traits of ancient cities on the Mississippi,
189 Traditions of the native Mexicans respecting their migrations from the north,
193 Supposed use of the ancient roads as found connected with some of the western mounds,
199 Traits of the Mosaic history found among the Azteca Indians,
209 Ceremonies of the fire worshippers as witnessed on the Ozark river,
212 Origin of fire worship,
213 A further account of western antiquities, and of curious articles,
224 Discovery of America by Europeans before the time of Columbus,
239 Ruins of the city of Otolum, recently discovered in America,
247 Discovery of a large stone covered with exquisite engravings, with a fac-simile of the same,
251 A further account of Europeans in America before the time of Columbus,
256 Further accounts of western antiquities,
258 Great stone castle of Iceland,
260 Further accounts of instruments found in the tumuli of the west,
267 Great size of the Mexican mounds,
268 Predilection of the ancients to pyramid building,
273 A facsimile of antediluvian letters,
276 Voyages and shipping of the Mongol Tartars, and their settlements on the western coast of America,
282 A further account of western discoveries,
285 Various opinions respecting the original inhabitants of America,
292 Voyages of the ancients from Italy and from Africa to America and its adjacent islands,
296 Further remarks on the subject of human complexions,
298 Still further remarks on human complexions with other interesting subjects,
303 Cannibalism practised in America, and elsewhere,
309-11 Ancient languages of the early natives of America, with a fac-simile of the glyphs of Otolum the American city,
313 Atlantic nations of America, and of their languages,
316 Primitive origin of the English language,
323 Colonies of Danes in America,
336 Ancient chronology of the Iroquois Indians,
340 Traits of an ancient colony of Negroes from Africa, in South Americas,
342 On the disappearance of the ancient lakes of the west, and of the formation of sea-coal,
358 Further remarks on the draining of the western country of its ancient lakes,
364 Supposed causes of the disappearance of the ancient nations of the west,
367 Lake Ontario supposed to have been formed by the crater of a volocano,
372 Remarks on geology,
378 Supposed resemblance of the western Indians to the ancient Greeks,
386 Supposed traits of the ancient Romans in America,
390 Traits of white nations in Georgia and Kentucky, before Columbus's time, and the tradition of the Indians respecting them,
399 Description of Mount Ararat on which the ark rested,
DISCOVERIES IN THE WEST.
A lofty summit on a range of mountains, called Ararat, in Asia, furnished the resting place of the Ark, which contained the progenitors of both men and animals, who have replenished the Globe since the era of the Deluge.
Ararat is a chain of mountains, running partly round thr southern end of the Caspian, and is situated between the Caspian and Black Seas; in latitude north, about 38 deg. agreeing with the middle of the United States, and is from London a distance of about two thousand four hundred miles, in a southeasterly course, and from the city of Albany, in the United States, is nearly six thousand, in an exact easterly direction, and the same latitude, except a variation of but three degrees north.
We have been thus particular to describe the exact situation, as generally allowed, of that range of mountains; because from this place, which is nearly on the western end of the Asiatic continent, Noah and his posterity descended, and spread themselves over many parts of the earth, and as we suppose, even to America, renewing the race of man, which well nigh had become extinct from the devastation and ruin of the universal flood.
But that the flood of Noah was universal, is gravely doubted; in proof of which, the abettors of this doubt, bring the traditional history of the Chinese. Professor Rafinesque, of the city of Philadelphia, confessedly a learned and most able antiquarian, has recently advanced the following exceedingly interesting and curious matter, which relates to this subject.
"History of China before the Flood. The traditions preserved by many ancient nations pf the earliest history of the earth and mankind, before and after the great geological floods, which have desolated the globe, are highly interesting...
Pages 11 to 37 have not yet been transcribed.
Antiquities of the West.There are no parts of the kingdom or countries of the old world, but have celebrated in poetry and sober history, the mighty relics and antiquities of ancient empires, as Rome, Babylon, Greece, Egypt, Hindostan, Tartary, Africa, China, Persia, Europe, Russia, and many of the islands of the sea. It yet remains for America to awake her story from its oblivious sleep, and tell the tale of her antiquities -- the traits of nations, coeval, perhaps, with the eldest works of man this side of the flood, and even before.
This curious subject, although it is obscured beneath the gloom of past ages, of which but small record remains; besides that which is written in the dust, in the form of mighty mounds, tumuli, strange skeletons, and aboriginal fortifications; and in some few instances, the bodies of preserved persons, as sometimes found in the nitrous caves of Kentucky, and the west, yet affords abundant promises to prompt investigation and national conjecture. The mounds and tumuli of the west, are to be ranked among the most wonderful antiquities of the world, on the account of their number, magnitude, and obscurity of origin.
"They generally are found on fertile bottoms and near the rivers. Several hundreds have been discovered along the valley of the Mississippi; the largest of which stands not far from Wheeling, on the Ohio. This mound is fifty rods in circumference, and ninety feet in perpendicular height.
This is found filled with thousands of human skeletions, and was doubtless a place of general deposite of the dead for ages; which must have been contiguous to some large city, where the dead were placed in gradation, one layer above another, till it reached a natural climax, agreeing with the shape commenced at its base or foundation.
It is not credible, that this mound was made by the ancestors of the modern Indians. Its magnitude, and the vast numbers of dead deposited there, denote a population too great to have been supported by the mere fishing and hunting, as the manner of Indians has always been. A population sufficient to raise such a mound as this, of earth, by the gradual interment of the deceased inhabitants,
would necessarily be too far spread, to make it convenient for the living to transport their dead to one single place...
Pages 39 to 54 have not yet been transcribed.
through these regions, calculates that no less than five thousand villages of this forgotten people existed; and that their largest city was situated between the Mississippi and Missouri, not far from the junction of those rivers, near St. Louis. In this region, the mighty waters of the Missouri and Illinois, with their unnumbered tributaries, mingle with the "father of rivers," the Mississippi; (Mississippi, the word in the Indian language means Father of Rivers;) a situation formed by nature, calculated to invite multitudes of men, from the goodness of the soil, and the facilities of water communications.
The present race, who are now fast peopling the unbounded west, are apprised of the advantages of this region. Towns and cities are rising on the very ground where the ancient millions of mankind had their seats of empire. Ohio now contains more than six hundred thousand inhabitants; but at that early day, the same extent of country, most probabily was filled with a far greater population than inhabits it at the present time. Many of the mounds are completely occupied with human skeletons, and millions of them must have been interred in these vast cemetaries, that can be traced from the Rocky mountains, on the west, to the Alleghenies on the east, and into the province of the Texas and New Mexico to the south: revolutions like these known in the old world may have taken place here, and armies, equal to those of Cyrus, of Alexander the Great, or of Tamerlane the powerful, might have flourished their trumpets, and marched to battle, over these extensive plains, filled with the probable descendants of that same race of Asia, whom these proud conquerors vanquished there.
Course of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.There is a strong resemblance between the northern and independent Tartar, and the tribes of the North American Indians, but not of the South American. Besides this reason, there are others for believing our aborigines of North America were descended from the ancient Scythians, and came to this country from the eastern part of Asia.
This view by no means invalidates the opinion, that many tribes of the Indians of North America, are descended of the Israelites, because the Scythians, under this particular name, existed long before that branch of descendants of the family of Shem, called Israelites; who, after they had been carried away by Salmanasser, the Assyrian king, about 700 years B. C., went northward, as stated by Esdras...
3d. Sub-celestial, or in the air and on the earth. Moderakka, or the Lapland Lucina; Saderakka, or Venus, to whom Friday was holy; and Juks Akka, or the Nurse. These are of heathen origin, derived from the nations among whom they had been slaves and wanderers, the Syrians.
4th. Sub-terranean, as Saiwo, and Saiwo-Olmak, gods of the mountains; Saiwo-Guelle, or their Mercury, who conducted the shades, or wicked souls, to the lower regions.
This idea would seem to be equivalent with the doctrine found in both the Jewish and Christian religions, namely, that Satan conducts or receives the souls of the wicked to his hell in the subterranean fire of the earth.
They have another deity, belonging to the fourth order, and him they call Jabme-Akko, or he who occupied their Elysium; in which the soul was furnished with a new body, and nobler privileges and powers, and entitled, at some future day, to enjoy the light of Radien, the fountain of power, and to dwell with him forever in the mansions of bliss.
This last sentiment is certainly equivalent to the Jewish idea of heaven and eternal happiness in Abraham's bosom. It also, under the idea of a new body, shows a relation to the Jewish and Christian doctrine of the resurrection of the body at the last day; and is indeed wonderful.
5th. An Infernal deity, called Rota, who occupied and reigned in Rota-Abimo, or the infernal regions; the occupants of which had no hopes of escape. He, together with his subordinates, Fudno, Mubber, and Paha-Engel, were all considered as evil disposed towards mankind.
This is too plain not to be applied to the Bible doctrine of one supreme devil and his angels, who are, sure enough, evil disposed towards mankind.
Added to all this, the Laplanders were found in the practice of sacrificing to all their deities, the rein-deer, the sheep, and sometimes the seal, pouring libations of milk, whey, and brandy, with offerings of cheese, &c.
This last item of their religious manners, is too striking not to claim its derivation from the ancient Jewish worship. The Laplanders are a people but few in number, not much exceeding twelve hundred families; which we imagine is a circumstance favoring
our idea, that after they had remained a while in Arsareth, or Lapland and Norway, which is much the same thing, that their main body may have passed over into America, either in boats, from island to island; or, if there then was, as is supposed, an isthmus of land, connecting the continents, they passed over on that, leaving, as is natural, in case of such a migration, some individuals or families behind, who might not wish to accompany them, from whom the present race of Laplanders may be derived. Their dress is much the same with that of our Indians; their complexion is swarthy, black hair, large heads, high cheek bones, with wide mouths; all of which is strikingly national. They call themselves Same their speech Same-giel, and their country Same-Edna. This last word sounds very much like the word Eden and may be, inasmuch as it is the name of their country, borrowed from the name of the region where Adam was created.
When men emigrate from one region of the earth to another, which is very distant, and especially if the country to which they emigrate is a new one, or in a state of nature, it is perfectly natural to give it the same name or names which distinguished the country and its parts, from which they emigrated.
Edessa, was the name of an ancient city of Mesopotamia, which was situated in the country or land of Assyria, between the rivers Euphrates and Tigris. In this region the Ten Tribes were held in bondage, who had been carried away by Salmanassar, the Assyrian monarch. We are, therefore, the more confirmed in this conjecture, from the similarity existing between the two names Edna and Edessu, both derived, it is likely, from the more ancient word Eden, which, from common consent, had its situation, before the deluge, not far from this same region where Turkey is now, between the Mediterranean, Black, and Caspian seas, and the Persian gulf, as before argued.
If such may have been the fact, that a part of the Ten Tribes came over to America, in the way we have supposed, leaving the cold regions of Arsareth behind them, in quest of a milder climate, it would be natural to look for tokens of the presence of Jews of some sort, along countries adjacent to the Atlantic. In order to this, we shall here make an extract from an able work, written exclusively on the subject of the Ten Tribes' having come from Asia by the way of Bhering's strait, by the Rev. Ethan Smith, Pultney,
Vt. who relates as follows: -- "Joseph Merrick, Esq., a highly respectable character in the church at Pittsfield, gave the following account: That in 1815, he was levelling some ground under and near an old wood-shed, standing on a place of his, situated on Indian hill. He ploughed and conveyed away old chips and earth to some depth. After the work was done, walking over the place he discovered, near where the earth had been dug the deepest, a black strap, as it appeared, about six inches in length, and one and a half in breadth, and about the thickness of a leather trace to a harness. He perceived it had at each end a loop of some hard substance, probably for the purpose of carrying it. He conveyed it to his house and threw it into an old tool box. He afterwards found it thrown out at the door, and again conveyed it to the box.
"After some time, he thought he would examine it; but in attempting to cut it, found it as hard as bone; he succeeded, however, in getting it open, and found it was formed of two pieces of thick raw-hide, sewed and made water tight with the sinews of some animal, and gummed over; and in the fold was contained four folded pieces of parchment. They were of a dark yellow hue, and contained some kind of writing. The neighbors coming in to see the strange discovery, tore one of the pieces to atoms, in the true Hun and Vandal style. The other three pieces Mr. Merrick saved, and sent them to Cambridge, where they were examined, and discovered to have been written with a pen in Hebrew, plain and legible. The writing on the three remaining pieces of parchment, was quotations from the Old Testament. See Deut., chap. vi. from 4th to 9th verse, inclusive; also chap. xi. verse 13 to 21 inclusive; and Exodus, chap. xiii., 11 to 16, inclusive, to which the reader can refer, if he has the curiosity to read this most interesting discovery.
These passages, as quoted above, were found in the strap of raw-hide, which unquestionably had been written on the very pieces of parchment, now in the possession of the Antiquarian Society, before Israel left the land of Syria, more than 2600 years ago; but it is not likely the raw-hide strap in which they were found enclosed, had been made a very great length of time. This would be unnatural, as a desire to look at the sacred characters, would be very great, although they could not read them. This, however, was done at last, as it appears, and buried with some chief, on the place where it was found, called Indian hill.
Dr. West, of Stockbridge, relates, that an old Indian informed him, that his fathers in this country had, not long since, been in the possession of a book, which they had, for a long time, carried with them; but having lost the knowledge of reading it, they buried it with an Indian chief. -- (View of the Hebrews, p. 223.)
It had been handed down, from family to family, or from chief to chief, as a most precious relic, if not as an amulet, charm, or talisman; for it is not to be supposed, that a distinct knowledge of what was contained in the strap could have long continued among them, in their wandering condition, amid woods and forests.
"It is said by Calmet, that the above texts are the very passages of Scripture which the Jews used to write on the leaves of their phylacteries. These phylacteries were little rolls of parchment, whereon were written certain words of the law. These they wore upon their forehead, and upon the wrist of the left arm." -- (Smith's View of the Hebrews, p. 220.)
This intimation of the presence of the Hebrews in America, is too unequivocal to be passed unnoticed, and the circumstance of its being found so near the Atlantic coast, and at so vast a distance from Bhering's straits, we are still inclined to suppose, that such of the Israelites as found their way to the shores of America, on the coast of the Atlantic, may have come from Lapland or Norway; seeing evident tokens exist of their having once been there, as we have noticed some few pages back.
But there is a third supposition respecting the land of Arsareth; which is, that it is situated exactly east from the region of Syria. This is thought to be the country now known in Asia by the appellation of Little Bucharia. Its distance from Syria is something more than two thousand miles; which, by Esdras, might very well be said to be a journey of a year and a half, through an entire wilderness.
Bucharia, the region of country of which we are about to speak, as being the ancient resort of a part of the lost Ten Tribes, is in distance from England, 3,475 miles; a little southeast from the latitude of London; and from the state of New-York, exactly double that distance, 6,950 miles, on an air line, as measured on an artificial globe, and in nearly the same latitude, due east from this country.
It is not impossible, after all our speculation, and the speculations
But although the opinion that the American Indians are the descendants of the lost Ten Tribes, is now a popular one, and generally believed, yet there are some who totally discard this opinion. And among such, as chief, is Professor Rafinesque, whose opinions on the subject of the flood of Noah not being universal, and of the ark, we have introduced on the first pages of this work.
This gentleman is decidedly, and we may say severely, opposed to this doctrine, and alleges that the Ten Tribes were never lost, but are still in the confines of the east about the region of ancient Syria, in Asia. He ridicules all those authors who have attempted to find in the customs of the Indians, traits of the Jews, and stamps them with being egregiously ignorant of the origin of things pertaining to this subjec. This is taking a high stand, indeed, and if he can maintain it, he has a right to the honor thereof. Upon this notion, he says, a new sect of religion has arisen, namely, the Mormonites, who pretend to have discovered a book with golden leaves, in which is the history of the American Jews, and their leader, Mormon. who came hither more than 2,000 years ago. This work is ridiculous enough, it is true; as the whole book of Mormon bears the stamp of folly, and is a poor attempt at an imitation of the Old Testament Scriptures, and is without connection, object, or aim; shewing every where language and phrases of too late a construction to accord with the Asiatic manner of composition, which highly characterizes the style of the Bible, and how can it be otherwise as it was written in Ontario county, New York.
As reasons, this philosopher advances as follows, against the American nations being descended from the Ten Tribes of ancient Israel:
"1. These Ten tribes are not lost, as long supposed; their descendants, more or less mixed with the natives, are yet found in Media, Iran, Taurin, Cabulistan, Hindostan, and China, where late travellers have traced them calling themselves by various names.
2. The American nations knew not the Sabbath, nor yet the Sabbattical weeks and years of the Jews. This knowledge could never have been lost by the Hebrews. The only weeks known in America, were of three days, five days, and half lunations, (or half a moon) as among the primitive nations, before the week of seven days was used in Asia, which was based upon the seven planets, long before the laws of Moses."
Here is another manifest attempt of this philosopher to invalidate the Scriptures, in attempting to fix the origin of the ancient Jewish and present Christian Sabbath, on the observances of the ancient nations, respecting the motions of the seven primary planets of the heavens; when it is emphatically said, in the Hebrew Scriptures, that the week of seven days was based on the seven days' work of the Creator, in the creation of the world. And as the Creation is older than the astronomical observations of the most ancient nations of the earth, it is evident that the Scripture account of the origin of the seven-day week ought to have the precedence over all other opinions since sprung up.
3. He says, "The Indians hardly knew the use of iron, although common among the Hebrews, and likely never to be lost; nor did they, the Indians of America, know the use of the plough."
" 4. The same apples to the use of writing; such an art is never lost when once known."
"5. Circumcision was unknown, and even abhorred by the Americans, except two nations, who used it -- the Mayans, of Yucatan, in South America, who worshipped a hundred idols, and the Calchaquis, of Chaco, of the same country, who worshipped the sun and stars, believing that departed souls became stars. These beliefs are quite different from Judaism; and besides this, the rite of circumcision was common to Egypt, Ethiopia, Edom, and Chalchis."
But to this we reply, supposing circumcision was practised by all those nations, and even more, this does not disprove the rite to be of-pure Hebrew or Jewish origin, as we have an account of it in the Scriptures written by Moses) as being in use quite two thousand years before Christ; long enough before Abraham or his posterity knew any thing of the Egyptians; it was therefore, most undoubtedly introduced among the Egyptians by the Jews themselves, or their ancestors, and from them the custom has gone out into many nations of the earth.
Again, Mr. Rafinesque says, one tribe there was, namely, the Calchaquis, who worshipped the sun and the stars, supposing them to be the souls of the departed.
This notion is not very far removed from, or at least may have had its origin with the Jews; for Daniel, one of their prophets, who lived about 500 years before Christ, expressly says, respecting
the souls of the departed righteous: "They that be wise shall shine as the BRIGHTNESS of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness, as the STARS, for ever and ever." A sentiment of such transcendent beauty and consequence is not easily lost. This tribe, therefore, as above named, may they not hare been of Jewish origin?
"6. None of the American tribes have the striking, sharp, Jewish features, and physical conformation." (But other authors of equal celebrity, have a contrary option.)
"7. The American Indians eat hogs, hares, fish, and all the forbidden animals of Moses, but each tribe abstain from their tutelar animals," (which, as they imagine, presides over their destinies,) "or badges of families of some peculiar sort."
But to this we reply, most certainly the Jews did use fish; as in all their history, even in the Bible, frequent reference is had to their use of fishes, and to their fish markets, where they were sold and bought.
"8. The American customs of scalping, torturing prisoners, cannibalism, painting their bodies, and going naked, even in very cold climates, are totally unlike the Hebrew customs." Scalping, with several other customs of the sort, we have elsewhere in this work shown to be of Scythian origin; but does not, on that account, prove, nor in any way invalidate the other opinion, that some of the tribes are indeed of Jewish origin.
"9. A multitude of languages exists in America, which may perhaps be reduced to twenty-five radical languages, and two thousand dialects. But they are often unlike the Hebrew, in roots, words, and grammar; they have, by far, says this author, more analogies with the Sanscrit," (the ancient Chinese,) Celtic, Bask, Pelasgian, Berber," (in Europe;) "Lybian, Egyptian" (in Africa;) "Persian, Turan, &c.," (also in Europe;) "or in fact, all the primitive languages of mankind." This we believe.
"10. The Americans cannot have sprung from a single nation, because; independently of the languages, their features and complexions are as various as in Africa and Asia."
"We find in America, white, tawny, brown, yellow, olive, copper, and even black nations, as in Africa Also, dwarfs and giants, handsome and ugly features, flat and aquiline noses, thick and thin lips," &c. (Among the Jews is also as great a variety.)
The Rev. Mr. Smith, of Pultney, Vt., a few years since, published a work entitled "A View of the Hebrews," in which he labors to establish that the American Indians worshipped but one God; the great Yohewah, or Jehovah of the Scriptures. This is vehemently opposed by philosopher Rafinesque, as follows, in reply to him.
"You say, all the Americans had the same God Yohewa; this is utterly false. This was the god of the Chactas and Florida Indians only; many other tribes had tripple gods, or trimurtis, as in Hindostan, having names nearly Sanscrit." (But neither does this disprove that some of these tribes are of Jewish origin.)
"Polytheism," (a plurality of gods,) "idolatry, and a complex mythology, prevailed among all the most civilized nations" of this country.
"All the ancient religions were found in America," which have prevailed in the old world, in the earliest ages, as "Theism, Sabaism, Magism, Hindooism, Shamanism, Fetichism, &c., but no Judaism."
He says, the few examples of the affinity between the Indian languages and the Hebrew, given by Mr. Smith, in his work, belong only to the Floridan and Caribbean languages. Mr. Rafinesque says, he could show ten times as many in the Aruac, Guatian," (languages of South America,) " but what is that compared with the 100,000 affinities with the primitive languages."
"All the civilized Americans had a priesthood, or priestly caste, and so had the Hindoos, Egyptians, Persians, Celts, and Ethiopians. Were they all Jews?
"4. Tribes are found among all the ancient nations, Arabs, Berbers, Celts, Negroes, &c., who are not Jews. The most civilized nations had castes, instead of tribes, in America as well as Egypt and India; the Mexicans, the Mayans, Muhizcas, the Peruvians, &c., had no tribes. The animal badges of tribes, are found among Negroes and Tartars, as well as our Indians."
"5. Arks of covenant and cities of refuge are not peculiar to the Jews; many Asiatic nations had them, also the Egyptians, and nine-tenths of our Indian tribes have none at all, or have only holy bags," (for an ark) somewhat like a talisman, a charm, or as the "Fetiches, of the Africans."
But we reply, there is no evidence that other nations than the
Jews had cities of refuge and imitations of the ark of the covenant, prior to the time of Moses, which was full sixteen hundred years before Christ, and from whom it is altogether probable, that all the nations among whom such traits are found, derived them at first from the laws of that Hebrew legislator. Those nations, therefore, among whom, at this distance of time, those traits are found most resembling the Jews, may be said, with some degree of propriety, to be their descendants; and among many tribes of the western Indians. these traits are found, if we may believe the most credible witnesses.
"6. The religious cry of alelaya, is not Jewish, says this author, but primitive, and found among the Hindoos, Arabs, Greeks, Saxons, Celts, Lybians, &c., Under the modification of hulili, yalulu, tulujah, &c. Other Americans call it ululaez, gualulu, alayah, &c."
All this being true, which we are willing to allow, does not disprove but that these forms of speech, which are directed in praise and adoration of a supreme or superior being, of some nature, no matter what, may all have originated from the Hebrew Jews, as this name of God, namely, Jehovah, was known among that nation, before the existence, as nations, by those names, of either the Hindoos, Arabs, Greeks, Saxons, Celts, or Lybians; for it was known in the family of Noah, and to all the patriarchs before the flood. The original word, translated God, was Jehova, and also ELOHIM, which are generally translated Lord and God.
In the second chapter of Genesis, at the fourth verse, the word Jehovah first occurs, says Dr. Clarke, in the original as written by Moses; but was in use long before the days of Abraham, among the ancestors of that patriarch. From this word Jehovah, and Elohim, the words aleluia, &c., as above, it is admitted on all hands, were at first derived; and are in all nations, where known and used, directed to the praise and admiration of the Almighty, or other objects of adoration.
This most exalted form of praise, it appears, was known to John the Revelator, for he says, in chapter xix., "I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying ALLELUIA; and again, they said, Alleluia." This form of praise, says Dr. Clarke, the heathen borrowed from the Jews, as is evident from the Paeans, or hymns, sung in honor of Apollo which began and ended with eleleuie, a
mere composition of the Hebrew words allelaia and hallelujh. It is even found among the North American Indians, and adapted by them to the same purpose, viz., the worship of God, or the Great Spirit.
From what we have been able to show on this subject as above, we cannot subscribe to the opinion, that those words are not of Hebrew and Jewish origins; consequently, being of Hebrew origin, it must follow, that where they are found in the most pure and unadulterated use, that the people so using them are most likely to be of Jewish descent; and this is found among the American Indians.
Among some of their tribes they have a place denominated the beloved square. Here they sometimes dance a whole night; but always in a bowing or worshipping posture, singing continually, hallelujah Ye-ho-wah, Ye-ho-vah; which last word, says Clarke, is probably the true pronunciation of the ancient Hebrew word, Jehovah. ~
It is no marvel, then, that these Jewish customs are found "among nearly all the ancient nations of Asia, Africa, Europe and Polynesia, nay, even among the wild negroes to this day," since they were in use at the very outset of the spread of the nations from Ararat, and are, therefore, of Hebrew primitive origin, but not heathen primitive origin, as asserted by Rafinesque. We are not tenacious, however, whether the Ten Tribes were lost or not, nor do we disagree to the opinion that they are found in almost all parts of the old world, having mingled with the various nations of Asia; but if so, we inquire, why may they not, therefore, be found in America? Could they not as easily have found their way hither as the other nations of the east? Most assuredly.
It is not the object of this volume to contend on this point; but when we find attempts to overturn the Scriptures, and, if possible, to make it appear, if not by so many words, yet in the manner we understand this writer's remarks, that the Bible itself is nothing else than a collection of heathenism, placed under the plausible idea of primitive words, primitive usages and primitive religion; we think this is placing the (currus bovem trahit) cart before the horse, and should not be allowed to pass without reproof
AND DISCOVERIES IN THE WEST.
It was contended by Clavigero, that the equatorial parts of Africa and America were once united. By which means, before the connexion was torn away by the irruption of the sea on both sides, the inhabitants from the African continent came, in the earliest ages, to South America. Whether this be true or not, the two countries approach each other in a remarkable manner, along the coast of Guinea, on the side of Africa, and the coast of Pernambuco, on the side of South America. These are the places which, in reality, seem to stretch towards each other, as though they had been once united.
The innumerable islands scattered all over the Pacific ocean, populous with men, more than intimates a period, even since the flood, when all the different continents of the globe were united together, and the sea, so disposed of, that they did not break this harmony so well calculated to facilitate the migrations of men and animals.
Several tribes of the present Southern Indians, as they now are called, have traditions that they came from the east, or through the Atlantic ocean. Rafinesque says, it is important to distinguish the American nations of eastern origin from those of northern. The latter, be says, were invaders from Tartary, and were as different in their manners as were the Romans and Vandals.
The southern nations, among whom this tradition is found, are the Natchez, Apalachians, Talascas, Mayans, Myhizcas, and Haytians. But those of the Algonquin stock point to a northwest origin, which is the way from the northern regions of Asia.
It is not likely, that immediately after the era of the deluge, there was as much ocean which appeared above ground, as at the present
time; but instead of this, lakes were more numerous. Consequently, on the surface of the globe there was much more land than at the present time. But from various convulsions, more than we have spoken of, whose history is now lost, in past ages, many parts, nay, nearly all the earthy surface is sunken to the depths below, while the waters have risen above; nearly three-fourths of the globe's surface is known to be water. How appalling is the reflection!
The currents of ocean running through the bowels of the earth, by the disposition of its creator, to promote motion in the waters, as motion is essential to all animal life, have, doubtless, by subterranean attrition, affected the foundations of whole islands, which have sunk beneath the waters at different periods. To such convulsions as these, it would seem, Job has alluded, in chapter ix., verse 5, as follows: "Which removeth the mountains, and they know not; which overturneth them in his anger."
Adam Clarke's comment on this verse is as follows: "This seems to refer to earthquakes. By these strong convulsions, mountains, valleys, hills, even whole islands, are removed in an instant; and to this latter circumstance the words 'they know not,' most probably refer. The work is done in the twinkling of an eye; no warning is given; the mountain that seemed to be as firm as the earth on which it rested, was in the same moment both visible and invisible, so suddenly was it swallowed up." -- (See p. 59, 60.)
It can scarcely be supposed but that Job was either personally, or by information, acquainted with occurrences of the kind, in order to justify the thing as being done by God in his anger.
It is not impossible but the fact upon which the following story is founded, may have been known to Job, who was a man supposed in possession of every species of information calculated to interest the nobler faculties of the human mind, if we may judge from the book bearing his own name. The story is an account of a certain island, called by the ancients Atlantis; and for aught that can be urged against its having existed, we are inclined to believe it did, as that all learning, uninspired, and general information, was anciently in possession of heathen philosophers and priests, to whom it was the custom even for princes to resort for learning, before they were considered qualified to sit on the thrones of their fathers. Such were the Egyptian priests to the Egyptians, and the Druids
to the Celtic nations; the Brahmins to the Hindoos; the Magi to the Persians; the Philosophers to the Greeks and Romans; and the prophets of the Indians, to the western tribes.
"This island is mentioned by Plato, in his dialogue of Timaeus. Solon, the Athenian lawgiver, is supposed to have travelled into Egypt," about six hundred years before Christ. Plato's time was three hundred years nearer the time of Christ, who has mentioned the travels of Solon into Egypt. "He arrives at an ancient temple on the Delta, a fertile island formed by the Nile, where he held a conversation with certain learned priests, on the antiquities of remote ages. When one of them gave Solon a description of the island Atalantis, and also of its destruction. This island, said the Egyptian priest, was situated in the Western ocean, opposite the straits of Gibraltar;" which would place it exactly between a part of Europe, its southern end, and the northern part of Africa and the continent of America.
"There was, said the priest, an easy passage from this to other islands, which lay adjacent to a large continent, exceeding in size all Europe and Asia." Neptune settled in this island, from whose son Atlas, its name was derived, and divided it between his ten sons, who reigned there in regular succession for many ages."
From the time of Solon's travels in Egypt, which was six hundred years before Christ, we find more than seventeen hundred years up to the flood; so that time enough had elapsed since the flood to justify the fact of the island having existed, and also of having been inhabited and destroyed even six hundred years before the time of Solon; which would make the time of its destruction twelve hundred years before Christ; and would still leave more than five hundred years from that period back to the flood. So that if King Neptune had not made his settlement on the island Atalantis till two hundred years after the flood, there would have been time for the successive reigns of each of the regal lines of his sons, amounting to three hundred years, before the time of its envelopment in the sea; so that the priest was justified in using the term antiquities, when he referred to that catastrophe.
"They made, i e. the Atalantians, irruptions into Europe and Africa; subduing all Lybia, as far as Egypt, Europe, and Asia Minor. They were resisted, however, by the Athenians, and driven back to their Atlantic territories." If they were resisted
and driven back by the Athenians, the era of the existence of this island is easily ascertained; because the Athenians settled at Athens, in Greece, fifteen hundred and fifty-six years before Christ, being a colony from Egypt, under their conductor Cecrops. One hundred years after their establishment at Athens, they had become powerful, so as to be able to take a political stand among the nations of that region, and to defend their country against invasions. Accordingly, at the time the Atlantians were repulsed and compelled to return from whence they came, was in the year fourteen hundred and forty-three, before Christ.
"Shortly after this," says Plato, "there was a tremendous earthquake and an overflowing of the sea, which continued for a day and a night; in the course of which the vast island of Atalantis, and all its splendid cities and warlike nations, were swallowed up, and sunk to the bottom, which spreading its waters over the chasm, added a vast region to the Atlantic ocean For a long time, however, the sea was not navigable, on account of rocks and shoals of mud and slime, and of the ruins of that drowned country." This occurrence, if the tradition be true, happened about twelve hundred years before Christ, three hundred years before the time of Job, and seven hundred and fifty years after the flood. At the period, therefore, of the existence of this island, a land passage to America, from Europe and Africa, was practicable; also by other islands, some of which are still situated in the same direction -- the Azores, Madeiras, and Teneriffe islands, about twenty in number.
For this story of the island of Atalantis, we are indebted to Irving's Columbus, a popular work, of recent date; which cannot be denied but is exceedingly curious, and not without some foundation of probability. Was not this island the bridge, so called, reaching from America to Europe, as conjectured by Dr. Robertson, the historian, but was destroyed by the ocean, as he supposes, very far back in the ages of antiquity.
An allusion to this same island, Atalantis, is made by Euclid, who flourished about three hundred years before Christ, in a conversation which he had with Anacharsis, a Scythian philosopher of the same age; who had, in search of knowledge, travelled from the wilds of his own northern regions, to Athens, where he became acquainted with Euclid.
Their subject was the convulsions of the globe. The sea, according to every appearance, said Euclid, has separated Sicily from Italy, Eubcea from Boeotia and a number of other islands from the continent of Europe. We are informed, continued the philosopher, that the waters of Pontus Euxinus, (or the Black sea,) having been long enclosed in a basin (or lake,) shut in on all sides, and continually increasing by the rivers of Europe and Asia, rose at length above the highlands which surrounded it, forced open the passage of Bosphorus and Hellespont, and impetuously rushing into the Aegean or Mediterranean sea, extended its limits to the surrounding shores.
If we consult, he says, mythology, we are told that Hercules, whose labors have been confounded with those of nature, separated Europe from Africa; by which is meant, no doubt, that the Atlantic ocean destroyed the isthmus, which once united those two parts of the earth, and opened to itself a communication with the Mediterranean sea.
Beyond the isthmus, of which I have just spoken, said Euclid, existed, according to ancient traditions, an island as large as Africa, which, with all its wretched inhabitants, was swallowed up by an earthquake.
Here, then, is another witness, of great weight, besides Solon, and Plato, who testifies to the past existence of the island ATALANTIS.
Evidences of an ancient Population in America,
referred to an era when a people and nation existed in this country, more civilized, refined, and given to architectural and agricultural pursuits, than the Indians.
It is well known, the present tribes do not take the trouble of materially altering the face of the ground to accommodate the erection of their places of dwelling; always selecting that which is already fashioned by nature to suit their views; using the earth, where they build their towns, as they find it.
In a deep and almost hidden valley among the mountains of the Alleghany, on the road from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, is one of those solitary memorials of an exterminated race. It is hid amidst the profoundest gloom of the woods; and is found to consist of a regular circle, a hundred paces in diameter. This is equal to six rods and four paces; and twenty-two rods in circumference. The whole plat is raised above the common level of the earth around, about four feet high; which may have been done to carry off the water, when the snows melted, or when violent rains would otherwise have inundated their dwellings from the surrounding hills.
The neighborhood of Brownville, or Redstone, in Pennsylvania, abounds with monuments of antiquity. A fortified camp, of a very complete and curious kind, on the ramparts of which is timber of five feet in diameter, stands near the town of Brownville. This camp contains about thirteen acres, enclosed in a circle, the elevation of which is seven feet above the adjoining ground; this was a Herculean work. Within the circle a pentagon is accurately described; having its sides four feet high, and its angles uniformly three feet from the outside of the circle, thus leaving an unbroken communication all around. A pentagon is a figure, having five angles or sides. Each side of the pentagon has a postern or small gateway, opening into the passage between it and the circle; but the circle itself has only one grand gateway outward. Exactly in the centre stands a mound about thirty feet high, supposed to have been a place or lookout. At a small distance from this place, was found a stone, eight feet by five, on which was accurately engraved a representation of the whole work, with the mound in the centre; whereon was the likeness of a human head, which signified that the chief who presided there lay buried beneath it. The engraving on this stone, is evidence of the knowledge of stone cutting, as it was executed with a considerable degree of accuracy.
On comparing the description of this circular monument with a description of works of a similar character, found in Denmark, Sweden and Iceland, the conclusion is drawn, that at some era of time the authors of this kind of monumental works, in either of those countries have been the same.
"They are called Domh-rings, by the Danes; that is, literally, doom-ring, or, circle of judgment; being the solemn place where courts were held." The celebrated Stonehenge, in England, is built after the same fashion; that is, in a circle, and is of Belgic origin, the second class of English antiquities, the era of which precedes that of the Romans in England; which would throw the time of their first erection back to a period of some hundred years before Christ.
"Stonehenge. -- This noble and curious monument of early times, appears to have been formed by three principal circles of stone, the outer connected together by an uniform pavement, as it were, at the top, to which the chiefs might ascend and speak to the surrounding crowd. A second circle consists of detached upright stones, about five feet in height, while the highest are eighteen. Within this is a grand oval, consisting of five huge stones, crossed by another at the top, and enclosing smaller stones, which seem to have been seats, and a large flat stone, commonly called the altar, but which seems to have been the throne or seat of judgment. The whole of the above described monument, with all its apparatus, seems to be enclosed in the midst of a very extensive circle, or embankment of earth, sufficiently large to hold an immense number -- a whole tribe or nation." -- (Morse.)
After the introduction of Christianity into the west of Europe, which was sixty years after Christ, these circles of judgment, which had been polluted with human sacrifices, and other pagan rites, were abandoned, and other customs, with other places of resort, were instituted. This sort of antiquities, says Morse, the geographer, which are found all over Europe, are of this character, that is, of the tumular kind, such as are found in the west of our own country, belong entirely to the first era of the settlements of Europe.
The Druidic temples in Europe were numerous, and some of them immense, especially one in the isle of Lewis. In these the gods Odin, Thor, Freyga, and other Gothic deities, were adored;
all such structures were enclosed in circles, some greater and some less, according to their importance, or the numbers of those who supported them. These are of the first order of antiquities found in Europe; or, in other words, the eldest, and go back very far toward the flood, for their commencement.
The same kind of antiquities are found in Ireland, and are allowed to be of Druidic origin, always enclosed in circles, whether a simple stone, or a more spacious temple, be the place where they worshipped. The Scandinavians, who preceded the Norwegians some hundred years, enclosed their rude chapels with circular intrenchments, and were called the Dane's Raths, or circular intrenchments.
"In the first ages of the world, the worship of God was exceedingly simple; there were no temples nor covered edifices of any kind. An altar, sometimes a single stone, sometimes it consisted of several, and at other times merely of turf, was all that was necessary. On this the fire was lighted, and the sacrifice offered." --(Adam Clarke.)
Such were the Druids of Europe, whose name is derived from the kind of forest in which they preferred to worship. This was the oak, which in the Greek is expressed by the word druid, whose worship and principles extended even to Italy, among the Celtic nations, and is celebrated by Virgil, in the sixth book of the Aeneiad, where he speaks of the mistletoe, and calls it the golden branch, without which no one could return from the infernal regions.
The mistletoe, an account of which may please the reader, is thus described by Pliny, who flourished about A. D. 23, and was a celebrated writer on natural history, and most learned of the ancient Romans:
"The Druids hold nothing more sacred than the mistletoe, and the tree on which it grows, provided it be the oak. They make choice of groves of oak on this account; nor do they perform any of their sacred rites without the leaves of those trees. And whenever they find it on the oak, they think it is sent from heaven, and is a sign that God himself has chosen that tree; and whenever found, is treated with great ceremony.
"They call it by a name which, in, their language, signifies the curer of ills; and having duly prepared their feasts and sacrifices under the tree, they bring to it two white bulls. The priest,
dressed in a white robe, ascends the tree, and with a golden pruning hook, cuts off the mistletoe, which is received in a sagum, or white sheet. Then they sacrifice the victims, praying that God would bless his own gift to those on whom he has bestowed it." -- (Clarke.)
In the neighborhood of Fort Harmer, on the Muskingum; opposite Marietta on the Ohio, were discovered, by Mr. Ash, an English traveller, in the year 1826 [sic, 1806], several monuments of the ancient nation.
the whole was so covered with heavy timber, that I despaired of gaining any further knowledge, and would have left the place, had I not been detained by my Indian companion, whom I saw occupied in endeavoring to introduce a pole into a small opening between two flat stones, near the root of a tree, which grew on the very summit of this eminence.
"The stones we found were too heavy to be removed by the mere power of hands. Two good oak poles were cut, in lieu of levers and crows. Clapping these into the orifice first discovered, we weighed a large flat stone, tilting it over, when we each assumed a guarded position, in silent expectation of hearing the hissing of serpents, or the rustling of the ground-hog's litter; where the Indian had supposed was a den of one sort or the other.
"All was silent. We resumed our labor, casting out a number of stones, leaves and earth, soon clearing a surface of seven feet by five, which had been covered upwards of fifteen inches deep, with flat stones, principally lying against each other, with their edges to the horizon.
"On the surface we had cleared appeared another difficulty, which was a plain superfices, composed of but three flat stones of such apparent magnitude that the Indian began to think that we should find under them neither snake nor pig; but having once begun, I was not to be diverted from my task.
"Stimulated by obstructions, and animated with other views than those of my companion, I had made a couple of hickory shovels with the axe, and setting to work, soon undermined the surface, and slid the stones off on one side, and laid the space open to view.
"I expected to find a cavern: my imagination was warmed by a certain design thought I discovered from the very beginning; the manner the stones were placed led me to conceive the existence of a vault filled with the riches of antiquity, and crowded with the treasures of the most ancient world.
"A bed of sand was all that appeared under these flat stones, which I cast off; and as I knew there was no sand nearer than the bed of the Muskingum, a design was therefore the more manifest, which encouraged my proceeding; the sand was about a foot deep, which I soon removed.
"The design and labor of man was now unequivocal. The
space out of which these materials were taken, left a hollow in an oblong square, lined with stones on the end and sides, and also, paved on what appeared to be the bottom, with square stones, Of about nine inches diameter.
"I picked these up with the nicest care, and again came to a bed of sand, which, when removed, made the vault about three feet deep, presenting another bottom or surface, composed of small square cut stones, fitted with such art, that I had much difficulty in discovering many of the places where they met. These displaced, I came to a substance, which, on the most critical examination, I judged to be a mat, or mats, in a state of entire decomposition and decay. My reverence and care increased with the progress already made; I took up this impalpable powder with my hands, and fanned off the remaining dust with my hat, when there appeared a beautiful tesselated pavement of small, colored stones; the colors and stones arranged in such a manner as to express harmony and shades, and portraying, at full length, the figure of a warrior under whose feet a snake was exhibited in ample folds.
"The body of the figures was composed of dyed woods, bones, and a variety of small bits of terrous and testaceous substances, most of which crumbled into dust on being removed and exposed to the open air
"My regret and disappointment were very great, as I had flattered myself that the whole was stone, and capable of being taken up and preserved. Little more, however, than the actual pavement could be preserved, which was composed of flat stones, one inch deep, and two inches square. The prevailing colors were white, green, dark blue, and pale spotted red; all of which are peculiar to the lakes, and not to be had nearer than about three hundred miles.
"The whole was affixed in a thin layer of sand, fitted together with great precision, and covered a piece of bark in great decay, whose removal exposed what I was fully prepared to discover from all previous indications, the remains of a human skeleton, which was of an uncommon magnitude, being seven feet in length. With the skeleton was found, first, an earthen vessel, or urn, in which were several bones, and some white sediment.
"The urn appeared to be made of sand and flint vitrified, and rung, when struck, like glass, and held about two gallons, had a
top or cover of the same material, and resisted fire as completely as iron or brass. Second; a stone axe, with a groove round the pole, by which it had been fastened with a withe to the handle. Third; twenty four arrow points, made of flint and bone, and lying in a position which showed they had belonged to a quiver. Fourth; a quantity of beads, but not of glass, round, oval, and square; colored green, black, white, blue and yellow. Fifth; a very large conch shell, decomposed into a substance like chalk; this shell was fourteen inches long, and twenty-three in circumference. The Hindoo priests, at the present time, use this shell as sacred. It is blown to announce the celebration of religious festivals. Sixth; under a heap of dust and tenuous shreds of feathered cloth and hair, a parcel of brass rings, cut out of a solid piece of metal, and in such a manner, that the rings were suspended from each other, without the aid of solder or any other visible agency whatever. Each ring was three inches in diameter, and the bar of the rings an half inch thick, and were square; a variety of characters were deeply engraved on the sides of the rings, resembling the Chinese characters."
Ward's History of the Hindoos, page 41 and 56, informs us, that the god Vishnoo, is represented holding a sea shell in his hand, called the "sacred shell;" and, second, he states, that "the utensils employed in the ceremonies of the temple, are several dishes to hold the offerings, a hand bell, a lamp, jugs for holding water, an incense dish, a copper cup, a seat of Kooshu grass for the priests, a large metal plate, used as a bell. Several of the articles found buried in this manner, resemble these utensils of the Brahmin priests, while some are exactly like them. The mat of Kooshu grass resembles the mat of hair and feathers; the earthen dish, the conch shell, are the very same in kind; the brass chain might answer instead of a bell, or iron plate to strike against, which would produce a jingling sound. A quantity of round, oval, and square beads, colored variously, were found; although Mr. Ward does not say, that beads were a part of the utensils of the Hindoo priests, yet we find them on the necks and arms of both their gods and their mendicants.
Pottery of the same kind found in those ancient works, have also the quality of enduring the fire. The art of making vessels of clay, is very ancient; we find it spoken of by Jeremiah the prophet, nearly three thousand years ago.
The art of coloring wood, stones, and shells, with a variety of beautiful tints, was also known, as appears from the pavement above described, and the colored beads.
In many parts of the west, paints of various colors have been found hidden in the earth. On the Chenango river, in the state of New-York, has recently been found, on opening of one of those ancient mounds, though of but small dimensions, three kinds of paint, black, red, and yellow, which are now in the possession of a Dr. Willard, at the village of Greene, in the county of Chenango.
The Indians of both China and America, have, from time immemorial, used paints to adorn themselves and their gods.
But the brass rings and tesselated pavement are altogether the most to be wondered at. A knowledge of the method of manufacturing brass was known to the antediluvians. This we learn from Genesis iv. 22. Tubal Cain was an artificer in brass and iron about eleven hundred years before the flood.
But how this article, the brass chain, of such curious construction, came in the possession of the chief, interred on the summit of the mountain, is a question to be answered, it would seem, in but two ways. They either had a knowledge of the art of making brass, or the article was an item of that king's peculiar treasure, and had been derived either from his ancestors from the earliest ages, or from South America, as an article of trade, a gift from some fellow king, or a trophy of some victorious battle over some southern nation; for, according to Humboldt, brass was found among the native Mexicans, in great abundance.
But how the Mexicans came by this art in mineralogy, is equally a question. Gold, silver, copper, &c., are the natural product of their respective ores; and accident may have made them acquainted with these; as iron was discovered among the Greeks, by fire in the woods having melted the ore. But brass is farther removed from the knowledge of man, being a composition of copper and the calamine stone, or ore of zinc. However, it is said by Morse, that in Chili, in the hills of Huilquilemu, are found mines of native brass, of a fine yellow color, and equally malleable with the best artificial brass; yet this is no common product of mineralogy, and would seem to be an exception, or rather a product extraordinary; and, in a measure, induces a belief, that it is not proper brass, but a metal similar only in complexion, while perhaps its
chemical proprieties are entirely different, or it may have been produced by the fusion of copper and the ore of zinc, by the fire of some volcano.
Brass was the metal out of which the ancient nations made all their instruments of war, and defensive armor. The reason of this preference above copper and iron, even by the Greeks and Romans, was probably on account of the excessive bright polish it was capable of receiving; for the Greeks and Romans used it long after their knowledge of iron. Iron was discovered by the Greeks 1406 years before Christ. The ancient Americans must have derived a knowledge of brass from their early acquaintance with nations immediately succeeding the flood, who had it from the antediluvians, by way of Noah; and having found their way to this continent, before it became so isolated as it is at the present time, surrounded on all sides by oceans, made use of the same metal here.
But the tesselated or spotted pavement is equally curious with the brass chain, on account of its resemblance to the Mosaic pavements of the Romans; being small pieces of marble, of various colors, with which they ornamented the fronts of their tents in time of war. This sort of pavement is often dug up in England, and is of Roman origin.
We find the history of the ancient Britons, mentions the currency of iron rings, as money, which was in use among them, before the invasion of Julius Caesar. Is it not possible, that the brass chain, or an assemblage of those rings, as found in this mound, may have been held among those ancients of America in the same estimation? The chain, in their mode of reckoning, being perhaps of an immense amount; its being found deposited with its owner, who was a chief or king, is the evidence of its peculiar value, whether it had been used as an article in trade, or as a sacred implement.
This maculated pavement, arranged in such a manner as to represent in full size, the chief, king, or monarch, who was interred beneath it, shows the knowledge, that people had of painting, sculpture, and descriptive delineation: but most of all, the serpent which lay coiled at his feet is surprising, because we suppose this transaction could not have happened from mere caprice, or the sport of imagination.
It must have been a trait of their theology, and, possibly, an allusion to the serpent, by whose instrumentality Satan deceived the first woman, the mother of us all: and its being beneath his feet, may also have alluded to the promised SEED, who was to bruise the serpent's head; all of which may easily have been derived from the family of Noah, and carried along with the millions of mankind, as they diverged asunder from Mount Ararat, around the earth. The Mexicans are found to have a clear notion of this thing, and of many other traits of the early history of man, as related in the Hebrew records and the Scriptures, preserved in their traditions and paintings, as we shall show in another place.
The etching on the square sides of those rings of brass, in characters resembling Chinese, shows the manufacturer, and the nation of which he was a member, to have had a knowledge of engraving, even on the metals, equal with artists of the present time, of which the common Indian of the west knows nothing.
The stone hatchet, flint, and bone arrow-points, found in this tomb, are no exclusive evidence that this was all done by the modern Indians; because the same are found in vast profusion in all parts of the old world, particularly in the island of England, and have been in use from remotest antiquity.
We are very far from believing the Indians of the present time to be the most ancient aborigines of America; but, on the contrary, are usurpers; have, by force of bloody warfare, exterminated the original inhabitants, taking possession of their country, property, and, in some few instances, retaining arts learned of those very nations.
The immense sea shell, which was fourteen inches long and twenty-three inches in circumference, found in this tomb, is evidence of this people's having an acquaintance with other parts of the world than merely their own dwellings, because the shell is a marine production, and the nearest place where this element is found from the Muskingum, is nearly a thousand miles in a straight line east to the Atlantic.
If the engravings on this chain be, in fact, Chinese, or if they bear a strong and significant analogy to them, it justifies the opinion that a communication between America and Asia, by means of land or navigation to the west, once existed, but has been destroyed by some convulsion in nature. And also the characters on those
rings show the ancient Americans to have had a knowledge of letters. A knowledge of letters, hieroglyphics, pictures of ideas, and of facts, was known among men 200 years before the time of Moses, or 1822 years before the Christian era, among the Egyptians. Nations of men, therefore, having, at an early period, found their way to this continent, if indeed it was then a separate continent; consequently, to find the remains of such an art, scattered here and there in the dust and ashes of the nations of America passed away, is not surprising.
The mound which we have described, was apprehended, by Mr. Ash, to be only an advanced guard post, or a place of lookout, in the direction of the Muskingum and the valley of the Ohio. Accordingly, he wandered farther into the woods in a north westerly direction, leaving on his right the Muskingum, whose course was northeast by southwest. His research in that direction had not long been continued before he discovered strong indications of the truth of his conjecture. He had come to a small valley between two mountains, through which a small creek meandered its way to the Muskingum.
On either side of the stream were evident traits of a very large settlement of antiquity. They consisted, first, of a wall or rampart of earth, of almost nine feet perpendicular elevation, and thirty feet across the base. The rampart was of a semi-circular form, its entire circuit being three hundred paces, or something over eighteen rods, bounded by the creek. On the opposite side of the stream was another rampart of the same description, evidently answering to the first; these, viewed together, made one grand circle, of more than forty rods circumference, with the creek running between.
After a minute examination, he perceived, very visibly, the remains of elevated stone abutments, which being exactly opposite each other, suggested the belief that these bridges once connected the two semicircles; one in the centre, and one on either side, or the extreme edges of the ring. The timber growing on the rampart and within the circle, was principally red oak, of great age and magnitude. Some of the trees, being in a state of decay, were not less than seven feet in diameter, and twenty-one in circumference.
Some considerable farther up the brook, at the spot where the beautiful vale commenced, where the mountain rises abruptly and
discharges from its cleft bosom a delightful creek, are a great number of mounds of earth, standing at equal distances from each other, forming three grand circles, one beyond the other, cut in two by the creek, as the one described before, with streets situated between, forming, as do the mounds, complete circles. Here, as at the other, the two half circles were united, as would appear, by two bridges, the abutments of which are distinct, so perfect are their remains.
At a considerable distance, on the sides of the mountain, are two mounds or barrows, which are nearly three feet long, twelve high, and seventeen wide at the base. These barrows are composed, principally, of stone, taken out of the creek, on which are growing, also, very heavy timber. Here were deposited the dead, who had been the inhabitants of the town in the vale. From which it appears that the mounds forming those circles, which were sixty in number, are not tumuli, or the places where chiefs and distinguished warriors were entombed, but were the houses, the actual dwellings of the people who built them. However, the distinguished dead were interred in tumuli of the same form frequently, but much more magnificent and lofty, and are fewer in number, situated on the highest grounds adjacent to their towns.
But it may be inquired, how could those mounds of earth have ever been the dwellings of families? There is but one way to explain it. They may have, at the time of their construction, received their peculiar form, which is a conical; sugar-loaf form, by the erection of long poles or logs, set up in a circle at the bottom, and brought together at the top, with an opening, so that the smoke might pass out. Against this the earth (being brought from a distance, so as not to disturb the even surface of the spot chosen to build on,) w as thrown, till the top and sides were entirely enveloped. This operation would naturally cause the bottom, or base, to be of great thickness, caused by the natural sliding down of the earth, as it was thrown on or against the timbers; and this thickness would be in exact proportion with the height of the poles, at the ratio of an angle of forty-five degrees.
In this way, a dwelling of the most secure description would be the result; such as could not be easily broken through, nor set on fire; and in winter would be warm, and in summer cool. It is true, such rooms would be rather gloomy, compared with the magnificent
and well-lighted houses of the present times, yet accorded well with the dark usages of antiquity, when mankind lived in clans and tribes, but few in number compared with the present populousness of the earth, and stood in fear of invasion from their neighbors.
Such houses as these, built in circles of wood at first, and lastly of stone, as the knowledge of architecture came on, were used by the ancient inhabitants of Britain, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, and on the continent, as in Norway. No mode of building which can be conceived of, would more effectually shut out the wind. "Houses of this form, made with upright stones, are even now common over all the Danish dominions." -- (See Morse's Geography, vol. 1, p. 158.)
In the communication of Mr. Moses Fiske, of Hillham, Tennessee, to the American Antiquarian Society, 1815, respecting the remains and discoveries made relative to antiquities in the west, but especially in Tennessee, says, that the description of mounds, whether round, square or oblong in their shapes, which have flat tops, were the most magnificent sort, and seem contrived for the purpose of building temples and castles on their summits; which being thus elevated. were very imposing, and might be seen at a great distance.
"Nor must we," he continues, "mistake the ramparts or fortifications, for farming inclosures; what people, savage or civilized, ever fenced their grounds so preposterously; bearing no proportion in quantity necessary for tillage;" from which the support of a whole country was expected; and further, there were many neighborhoods which had no such accommodations.
He has also discovered, that within the areas encompassed by these ramparts, are whole ranges of foundations, on which dwelling houses once stood, with streets running between, besides mounds and other works.
"The houses generally stood in rows, nearly contiguous to each other," as in all compact towns and cities, though sometimes they stood in an irregular and scattered manner. These foundations "are indicated by rings of the earth, from three to five fathoms in diameter," which is equal to eighteen and thirty feet. The remains of these rings or foundations are from ten to twenty inches high, and a yard or more broad. But they were not always circular;
some of which he had noticed were square, and others, also, of the oblong form, as houses are now built by civilized nations.
"The flooring of some is elevated above the common level or surface; that of others is depressed. These tokens are indubitable, and overspread the country; some scattered and solitary, but oftener in groups, like villages, with and without being walled in." From which it is clear, that whoever they were, the pursuits of agriculture were indispensable, and were therefore in use with those nations.
From the forms of the foundations of dwellings discovered and described by Mr. Fiske, we conclude they were the efforts of man at a very early period. We are directed to this conclusion by the writings of Vetruvius, who lived in the time of Julius Caesar, and is the most ancient writer on the subject of architecture that antiquity can boast of. His account is as follows:
"At first, for the walls, men erected forked stakes, and disposing twigs between them, covered them with loam; others pulled up clods of hay, binding them with wood, and to avoid rain and heat, they made a covering with reeds and boughs; but finding that this roof could not resist the winter rains they made it sloping, pointed at the top, plastering it over with clay, and by that means discharging the rain water. To this day, (says Vetruvius,) some foreign nations construct their dwellings of the same kind of materials, as in Gaul, Spain, Lusitania, and Aquitain. The Colchins, in the kingdom of Portugal, where they abound in forests, fix trees in the earth, close together in ranks, to the right and left, leaving as much space between them, from corner to corner, as the length of the trees will permit; upon the ends of these, at the corners, others are laid transversely, which circumclude the place of habitation in the middle; then at the top, the four angles are braced together with alternate beams. The crevices, which are large, on account of the coarseness of the materials, are stopped with chips and loam. The roof is also raised by beams laid across from the extreme angles, or corners, gradually rising from the four sides to the middle point at the top, (exactly like a German barrack,) and then covered with boughs and earth. In this manner the barbarians, (says this author,) made their roofs to their towers." By the barbarians he means the inhabitants of Europe, at the time when
he wrote these remarks, which was in the reign of Julius Caesar a short time before Christ.
"The Phrygians, who inhabit a champaign country, being destitute of timber, select natural hills, excavate them, dig an entrance, and widen the space within as much as the nature of the place will permit. Above, they fix stakes in a pyramidal form, bind them together, and cover them with reeds or straw, heaping thereon great piles of earth. This kind of covering renders them very warm in winter and cool in summer. Some also cover the roofs of their huts with weeds of lakes; and thus, in all countries and nations, primeval dwellings are formed upon. similar principles." -- (Blake's Atlas, p. 145.)
The circular, square, and oblong form of foundations, found in the west, would seem to argue the houses built thereon to be made in the same way this author has described the mode of building in his time, among the barbarous nations; and also furnishes reason to believe them to have been made here in America, much in the same ages of the world.
Having this knowledge of the mode of ancient building, we are led to the conclusion, that the town which we have just given an account of, was a clan of some of the ancient Celtic nations, who, by some means, had found their way to this part of the earth, and had fixed their abode in this secluded valley.
Celtic or Irish, as Mr. Morse says, who were derived from Gaul or Galatia, which is now France, who descended from Gomer, one of the sons of Japheth, a son of Noah; to whose descendants Europe, with its isles, was given. And whether the people who built this town were of Chinese or Celtic origin, it is much the same; because, if we go far enough back in ages of past time, we shall find they were of the same origin, and had equal opportunities to perpetuate a remembrance of the arts, as known among men immediately after the flood, and might therefore resemble each other in their works.
Here, we may suppose, the gods Odin, Thor, and Friga, were adored under the oaks composing American forests, as taught by the Druids; here their victims, the deer and buffalo, sent up to the skies their smoking odor from the altar of sacrifice, while the priests of the forest invoked the blessing of the beneficent Being upon the votaries of the mystic mistletoe. Here were the means of mutual
Defence and safety discussed; the sighs of the lover breathed on the winds; parents and children looked with kindness on each other; soothed and bound the wounds of such as returned from the uncertain fate of clanular battles; but have been swept with the besom of extermination from this vale, while no tongue remains to tell the story of their sufferings.
At the distance of about three miles higher up, and not far from the Muskingum, says Mr. Ash, he perceived an eminence very similar to the one just described, in which the brass chain was found, to which he hastened, and immediately perceived their likeness in form.
On a comparison of the two, there could be but one opinion, namely, that both were places of lookout, for the express protection of the settlement in the valley. He says he took the pains of clearing the top of the eminence, but could not discover any stone or mark which might lead to a supposition of its being a place of interment. The country above was hilly, yet not so high as to intercept the view for a presumed distance of twenty miles.
On these eminences the beacon fires of the clan who resided in the valley may have been kindled at the hour of midnight, to show those who watched the portentous flame, the advance or destruction of an enemy. Such fires, on the heights of Scotland, were wont to be kindled in the days of :Bruce and Wallace, and ages before their time, originated from the Persians, possibly, who worshipped in this way the great Ormaze, as the god who made all things. The idea of a Creator was borrowed from Noah, who received the account of the creation from Seth, who had it from Adam, and Adam from the Almighty himself.
From this excursion, our traveller, after having returned to Marietta, pursued his way to Zanesville, on the Muskingum river, where, learning from the inhabitants that the neighborhood was surrounded with the remains of antiquity, he proceeded to the examination of them, having obtained a number of persons to accompany him with the proper implements of excavation. They penetrated the woods in a westerly direction, to a place known to those who accompanied him, about five miles distance, where the ruins of ancient times were numerous and magnificent in the highest degree; consisting of monads, barrows and ramparts, but of such variety and form, and covering so immense a track of ground, that
it would have taken at least ten days to have surveyed them minutely.
These immense works of the ancients, it appears, were in this place, encompassed by outlines of an entirely different shape from any other described, being of the triangular form, and occupying the whole plain, situated as the one before described, in a place nearly surrounded by mountains.
But we pass over many incidents of this traveller, and come immediately to the object of his research, which was to open such of those mounds as might attract his attention. His first operation was to penetrate the interior of a large barrow, situated at one extremity of the vale, which was its southern. Three feet below the surface was fine mould, underneath which were small flat stones, lying in regular strata or gravel, brought from the mountain in the vicinity. This last covered the remains of a human frame, which fell into impalpable powder when touched and exposed to air.
Towards the base of the barrow, he came to three tiers of substances, placed regularly in rotation. And as these formed two rows four deep, separated by little more than a flag stone between the feet of one and the head of another, it was supposed the barrow contained about 2000 skeletons, in a very great state of decay which shows their extreme antiquity.
In this search was found a well carved stone pipe, expressing a bear's head, together with .some fragments of pottery, of fine texture. Near the centre of the whole works, another opening was effected, in a rise of ground, scarcely higher than a natural undulation, common to the general surface of the earth, even on ground esteemed to be level. But there was one singularity accompanying the spot, which attracted the attention of the company, and this was, there was neither shrub nor tree on the spot, although more than ninety feet in circumference, but was adorned with a multitude of pink and purple flowers.
They came to an opinion that the rise of ground was artificial, and as it differed in form and character from the common mounds, they resolved to lay it open, which was soon done, to a level with the plain, but without the discovery of any thing whatever. But as Ash had become vexed, having found nothing to answer his expectations in other openings on the spot, he jumped from the bank, in order to take a spade, and encourage the men to dig somewhat
deeper. At this instant the ground gave way, and involved the whole company in earth and ruin, as was supposed for the moment, but was soon followed by much mirth and laughter, as no person was hurt by the fall, which was but about three feet.
Ash had great difficulty to prevail on any person to resume the labor, and had to explore the place himself, and sound it with a pole, before any man would venture to aid him further, on account of their fright.
But they soon resumed their courage, and on examination found that a parcel of timbers had given way, which covered the orifice of a square hole seven feet by four, and four feet deep. That it was a sepulchre, was unanimously agreed, till they found it in vain to look for bones, or any substances similar to them, in a state of decomposition. They soon, however, struck an object which would neither yield to the spade, nor emit any sound; but persevering still further, they found the obstruction which was uniform through the pit, to proceed from rows of large spherical bodies, at first taken to be stones.
Several of them were cast up to the surface; they were exactly alike, perfectly round, nine inches in diameter, and of about twenty pounds weight. The superfices of one, when cleaned and scraped with knives, appeared like a ball of base metal, so strongly impregnated with the dust of gold, that the baseness of the metal itself was nearly altogether obscured. On this discovery, the clamour was so great, and joy so exuberant, that no opinion but one was admitted, and no voice could be heard, while the cry of "'tis gold! 'tis gold!" resounded through the groves.
Having to a man determined on this important point, they formed a council respecting the distribution of the treasure, and each individual, in the joy of his heart, declared publicly the use he intended to make of the part allotted to his share.
The Englishman concluded that he would return to England, being sure, from experience, that there was no country like it. A German of the party said, he would never have quitted the Rhine, had he had money enough to rebuild his barn, which was blown down by a high wind; but that he could return to the very spot from whence he came, and prove to his neighbors that he loved his country as well as any man, when he had the means of doing well. An Irishman swore a great oath, the day longer he'd stay in America
Traits of Egyptian manners were found among many of the nations of South America, mingled with those who appeared to be of other origin; of which we shall speak again in the course of this work.
But at Lexington the traits are too notorious to allow them to be other than pure Egyptian, in full possession of the strongest complexion of their national character, that of embalming, which was connected with their religion.
The Mississippi, which disembodies itself into the Mexican gulf, is in the same north latitude with Egypt, and may have, by its likeness to the Egyptian Nile, invited those adventurers to pursue its course, till a place suited to their views or necessities may have presented.
They were discovered in the island of Malta, in the Mediterranean, which was anciently inhabited by the Phoenicians, long before the Romans existed as a nation. These characters were found engraved on a stone, in a cave of that island, in the year 1761, which was a sepulchral cave, so used by the earliest inhabitants These characters, being found in this ancient repository of the dead, it is believed, mark the place of the burial of that famous Carthaginian general, HANNIBAL, as they explicitly allude to that character. The reading in the original is as follows:
"Chadar Beth olam kabar Chanibaal Nakeh becaleth haveh, rachm daeh Am beshuth Chanibaal ben Bar melec."
Which, being interpreted, is: -- "The inner chamber of the sanctuary of the sepulchre of Hannibal, illustrious in the consummation of calamity. He was beloved. The people lament, when arrayed in order of battle, Hannibal the son of Bar-melec."
This one of the largest remains of the Punic or Phoenician language now in existence. Characters of this description are also found on the rocks of Dighton, Massachusetts, near the sea.
In a chain of mountains between the rivers Oronoco and Amazon, South America, are found engraved in a cavern, on a block of granite, characters supposed also to be Punic letters, a fac similie of which is presented at No. 5. These were furnished by Baron Humboldt, in his volume of Researches in South America; between which and those given us above, by Dr. Clarke, it is easy to perceive a small degree of similarity.
But if the Phoenician letters shown at Nos. 4 and 5 are highly interesting, those which follow at Nos. 1, 2 and 3, are equally so. These are presented to the public by Prof. Rafinesque, in his Atlantic Journal for 1832, with their meaning.
Under figures I and 2 are the African or Lybian characters, the primitive letters of the most ancient nations of Africa. Under figure 3 are the American letters, or letters of Otolum, an ancient city, the ruins of which are found in South America, being, so far as yet explored, of an extent embracing a circumference of twenty four miles, of which we shall again speak in due time.
The similarity which appears between the African letters and the letters of America, as in use perhaps two thousand years before Christ, is almost, if not exact, showing beyond a doubt, that the same nations, the same languages, and the same arts, which were known in ancient Lybia or Africa, were also known in America; as well also as nations from old China, who came to the western coast in huge vessels, as we shall show in this work.
We here subjoin an account of those characters, numbered 1, 2, 3, by the author Prof. Rafinesque; and also of the American glyphs, which, however, are not presented here, but on page 307. They are, it appears, formed by a combination of the letters numbered 1, 2, 3, and resembling very much, in our opinion, the Chinese characters, when grouped or combined, with a view to express a
sentence or a paragraph in their language. The account is as follows:
p. 307,) of the
monuments of Otolum * or Palenque; which belong to my seventh series of graphic signs, and are in fact words formed by grouped letters or elements as in Chinese characters, or somewhat like the cyphers now yet in use among us, formed by acrostical anagrams or combinations of the first letters of words or names.
When I began my investigation of these American glyphs and became convinced that they must have been groups of letters, I sought for the elementary letters in all the ancient known alphabets, the Chinese, Sanscrit and Egyptian above all; but in vain. The Chinese characters offered but few similarities with the glyphs, and not having a literal but syllabic alphabet, could not promise the needful clue. The Sanscrit alphabet, and all its derived branches' including even the Hebrew, Phoenician, Pelagic, Celtic and Cantabrian alphabets were totally unlike in forms and combinations of grouping. But in the great variety of Egyptian form of the same letters, I thought that I could trace some resemblance with our American glyphs. In fact, I could see in them the Egyptian cross, snake, circle, delta, square, trident, eye, feather, fish, hand, &c., but sought in vain for the birds, lions, sphynx, beetle, and a hundred other nameless signs of Egypt.
However, this first examination and approximation of analogy in Egypt and Africa was a great preliminary step in the inquiry. I had always believed that the Atlantes of Africa have partly colonized America, as so many ancient writers have affirmed. This belief led me to search for any preserved fragments of the alphabets of Western Africa and Lybia, the land of the African Atlantes yet existing under the names of Berbers, Tuarics, Shelluhs, &c. This was no easy task. The Atlantic antiquities are still more obscure than the Egyptian. No Champollion had raised their veil; the city of Farawan, the Thebes of the Atlantes, whose splendid ruins exist as yet in the mountains of Atlas, has not even been described properly as yet, nor its inscriptions delineated.
However, I found at last in Gramay, (Africa lllustrata,) an old Lybian alphabet, which has been copied by Purchas, in his collection of old alphabets. I was delighted to find it so explicit, so well connected with the Egyptian, being also an acrostic alphabet, and
* A late discovered city of South America, nearly equal to the Egyptian Thebes.
above all, to find that all its signs were to be seen in the glyphs of Otolum, the American city. Soon after appeared, in a supplement to Clapperton and Denham's Travels in Africa, another old and obsolete Lybian alphabet, not acrostical, found by Denham in old inscriptions among the Tuarics of Targih and Ghreat, west of Fezan: which, although unlike the first, had many analogies, and also with the American glyphs.
Thinking, then, that I had found the primitive elements of these glyphs, I hastened to communicate this important fact to Mr. Dupouceau, (in a printed letter directed to him in 1828,) who was struck with the analogy, and was ready to confess that the glyphs of Palenque might be alphabetical words: although he did not believe before that any American alphabets were extant. But he could not pursue my connection of ideas, analogies of signs, languages and traditions, to the extent which I desired, and now am able to prove.
To render my conclusions perspicuous, I must divide the subject into several parts; directing my inquiries, 1st. On the old Lybian alphabet. 2dly. On the Tuaric alphabet. 3dly. On their element in the American glyphs. 4thly. On the possibility to read them. While the examination of their language, in connecticn with the other Atlantic languages, will be the theme of my third letter.
I. The old Lybian delineated in the table No. 1, has all the appearance of a very ancient alphabet, based upon the acrostical plan of Egypt; but in a very different language, of which we have 16 words preserved. This language may have been that of a branch of Atlantes, perhaps the Getulians, (Ge-tula, or Tulas of the plains) or of the Ammonians, Old Lybiaus, and also Atlantes.
Out of these 16 words, only 5 have a slight affinity with the Egyptian, they are:
Sea Lybian: Mah Egyptian: Mauh
Saturn Lybian: Siash Egyptian: Sev
Venus Lybian: Uaf Egyptian: Ath
Ear Lybian: Aips Egyptian: Ap
Nose Lybian: Ifr Pelagic: Rinif
Hand Lybian: Vuld Pelagic: Hui, chil
Earth Lybian: Lambd Pelagic: Landa
Sea Lybian: Mah Pelagic: Marah
Fire Lybian: Rash Pelagic: Purah
Mars Lybian: Dor Pelagic: Hares, Thor
Mercury Lybian: Goreg Pelagic: Mergor
Venus Lybian: Uaf Pelagic: Uenas
Saturn Lybian: Siash Pelagic: Satur, Shiva
Jupiter Lybian: Thue Pelagic: Tjeos
This system is very remarkable. 1. By its acrostic form. 2. By having only 16 letters like most of the primitive alphabets, but unlike the Egyptian and Sanscrit. 3. By being susceptible of twenty-two sounds by modification of six of the letters, as usual among the Pelagian and Etruscan. 4. Above all, by being based upon the acrostics of three important series of physical objects, the five senses represented by their agents in man, the four elements of nature and the seven planets: which are very philosophical ideas, and must have originated in a civilized nation and learned s` priesthood. 5. By the graphic signs being also rude delineations of these physical objects or their emblems. The ear, eye, nose, tongue and hand, for the five senses. The triangle for the earth, fish for the sea or water, snake for the air, flume for fire. A circle for the sun, crescent for the moon, a sword for Mars, a purse for Mercury, the V for Venus, double ring for Saturn, and trident for Jupiter. Venus being the fifth planet, has nearly the same sign as U, the fifth letter.
These physical emblems are so natural and obvious, that they are sometimes found among many of the ancient alphabets; the; sun and moon even among the Chinese. But in the Egyptian alphabets, the emblems apply very often to different letters, owing to the difference of language and acrostic feature. Thus the hand applies to D in Egyptian instead of U, the eye to R, the circle to O, the snake to L, &c.
II. The second Lybian alphabet, No. 2 in the tables, was the ancient alphabet of Tuarics, a modern branch of the Atlantes, until superseded by the Arabic. Denham found, with some difficulty, its import, and names of letters which are not acrostic but literal, and eighteen in number. It is doubtful whether these names were well applied in all instances, as the explainer was ignorant, and
Denham not aware of the importance of this alphabet. Some appear not well named, and U with V have the same sign W; but these are always interchangeable in old language, and in alphabet No. 1, V is called UAF instead of VAF, and U is VULD instead of UULD!
As we have it, this alphabet is sufficiently and obviously derived from the first, eleven out of the sixteen letters being similar or nearly so, while only five are different, E, M, R, G and Z. This last appears the substitute of TH, of No. 1, and GH represents G. Yet they are by far more alike than the Demotic is from the Hieratic Egyptian, and I therefore deem this No. 2 a Demotic form of the ancient Lybian or Atlantic.
I might have given and compared several other Lybian alphabets found in inscriptions; but as they have been delineated without a key or names, it is at present very difficult to decypher them. I however, recommend them to the attention of the learned, and among others, point out the Lybian inscription of Apollonia, the harbor of Cyrene, given by Lacella, in his travels in the Cyrenaica. The letters of this inscription appear more numerous than sixteen or even twenty-two, and although they have some analogies with the two Lybian alphabets, yet approximate still more to the Demotic of Egypt and the Phoenician. But the inscriptions in Mount Atlas and at Frawan, when collected and decyphered, will be found of much greater historical importance.
III. Meantime in the column No. 3 of the tabular view, are given forty-six elements of the glyphs of Otolum (see page 307, where there is a fac simile of these glyphs) or Palenque, a few of these glyphs being given also in column No. 4. These forty-six elements are altogether similar or derived from the Lybian prototypes of No. 1 and 2. In some cases they are absolutely identic, and the conviction of their common origin is almost complete, particularly when taken in connection with the collateral proofs of traditions and languages. These elements are somewhat involved in the grouping, yet they may easily be perceived and separated. Sometimes they are ornamented by double lines or otherwise, as monumental letters often are. Sometimes united to outside numbers represented by long ellipses meaning 10, and round dots meaning unities, which approximates to the Mexican system of graphic numeration. Besides these forty-six elements, some other.
may be seen in the glyphs, which I left off, because too intricate; although they appear reducible, if a larger table could have been given. There is hardly a single one that may not be traced to these forms, or that baffles the actual theory. Therefore, the conclusion must occur, that such astonishing coincidence cannot be casual, but it is the result of original derivation.
The following remarks are of some importance:
1. The glyphs of Otolum are written from top to bottom, like the Chinese, or from side to side, indifferently, like the Egyptian and the Demotic Lybian of No. 2. We are not told how No. 1 was written, but probably in the same way. Several signs were used for the same letter as in Egypt.
2. Although the most common way of writing the groups is in rows, and each group separated, yet we find some framed, as it were, in oblong squares or tablets like those of Egypt. See plate 12, of the work on Palenque by Delrio and Caberera. In that 12th plate there are also some singular groups resembling our musical notes. Could they be emblems of songs or hymns ?
3. The letter represented by a head occurs frequently; but it is remarkable that the features are very different from those of the remarkable race of men or heroes delineated in the sculptures.
4. In reducing these elements to the alphabetical form, I have been guided by the more plausible theory involved by similar forms. We have not here the more certain demonstration of Bilingual inscriptions; but if the languages should uphold this theory, they certainly will be increased of the Atlantic origins of Otolum.
IV. But shall we be able to read these glyphs and inscriptions, without positively knowing in what language they were written? The attempt will be arduous, but it is not impossible. In Egypt, the Coptic has been found such a close dialect of the Egyptian, that it has enabled you to read the oldest hieroglyphs. We find among the ancient dialects of Chiapa, Yucatan and Guatemala, the branches of the ancient speech of Otolum. (See page 241.) Nay, Otolum was perhaps the ancient TOL or TOLA, seat of the Toltecas, (people of Tol,) and their empire; but this subject will belong to my third letter. I will now merely give a few attempts to read some of the groups. For instance:
1. The group or word on the seat of the sitting man of plate 4 of monuments of Palenque, I read UOBAC, being formed by a hand, a tongue, a circle, an ear, and a crescent. It is perhaps his
name. And underneath the seat is an eye with a small circle inside, meaning. 2. In plate 5, is an eye with two annexed rings, meaning probably BAB, and perhaps the sun, which is BAP in the Lybian alphabet. 3. In plate 7, the glyph of the corner with a head, a fish, and a crescent, means probably KIM. 4. The first glyph of page 15, is probably BLAKE. 5. I can make out many others reading ICBE, BOCOGO, POPO, EPL, PKE, &c.
If these words and others (although some may be names) can be found in African languages, or in those of central America, we shall obtain perhaps the key of the whole language of old Otolum. And next reach, step by step, to the desirable knowledge of reading those glyphs, which may cover much historical knowledge of high import. Meantime I have opened the path, if my theory and conjectures are correct, as I have strong reasons to believe.
Besides this monumental alphabet, the same nation that built Otolum had a Demotic alphabet belonging to my 8th series; which was found in Guatemala and Yucatan, at the Spanish conquest. A specimen of it has been given by Humboldt in his American researches, plate 45, from the Dresden Library, and has been ascertained to be Guatemalan instead of Mexican, being totally unlike the Mexican pictoral manuscripts. This page of Demotic has letters and numbers, these represented by strokes meaning 5, and dots meaning unities, as the dots never exceed four. This is nearly similar to the monumental numbers.
These words are much less handsome than the monumental glyphs; they are also uncouth glyphs in rows formed by irregular or flexuous heavy strokes, including within small strokes, nearly the same letters as in the monuments. It might not be impossible to decypher some of these manuscripts written on metl paper: since they are written in languages yet spoken, and the writing was understood in central America, as late as 200 years ago. If this is done, it will be the best clue to the monumental inscriptions.
C. S. RAFINESQUE.
This letter as above, strongly corroborates our supposition, that the authors of the embalmed mummies found in the cave of Lexington, were of Egyptian origin. See Morse's Geography, p. 500, and the Western Gazeteer, p. 103, states that several hundred mummies were discovered near Lexington, in a cave, but were wholly destroyed by the fist settlers.
A further Account of Western Antiquities with
There is every reason to suppose, that at the remote period of the building of these antiquities, the lowest level formed part of the bed of the Ohio. A gentleman who was living near the town of Cincinnati, in 1826, on the upper level, had occasion to sink a well for his accommodation, who persevered in digging to the depth of eighty feet without finding water, but still persisting in the attempt, his workmen found themselves obstructed by a substance, which resisted their labor, though evidently not stone. They cleared the surface and sides from the earth bedded around it, when there appeared the stump of a tree, three feet in diameter, and two feet high, which had been cut down with an axe. The blows of the axe were yet visible. It was nearly of the color and apparent character of coal, but had not the friable and fusible quality of that mineral. Ten feet below, the water sprang up, and the well is now in constant supply and high repute.
Reflections on this discovery are these: 1st. That the tree was undoubtedly antediluvian. 2d. That the river now called the Ohio, did not exist anterior to the deluge, inasmuch as the remains of the tree were found firmly rooted in its original position, several feet below the bed of that river. 3d. That America was peopled before the flood, as appears from the action of the axe in cutting down the tree. 4th. That the antediluvian Americans were acquainted with the use and properties of iron, as the rust of the axe was on the top of the stump when discovered.
And why should they not be acquainted with both its properties and utility, seeing it was an antediluvian discovery? Tubal Cain one of the sons of Cain, the son of Adam, we find, according to Genesis iv. 22, was a blacksmith, and worked in iron and brass, more than a thousand years before the flood. It was about 500 years from the creation, when Tubal Cain is noticed in the sacred history to have been a worker in brass and iron; but, says Dr.
Were we to indulge in fancy on this subject, we should judge them no pigmy race, either in person or in temper; but terrible, broad, and tall in stature, loose and flabby in their flesh and skin; coarse and hideous in their features, slow and strong in their gestures, irascible and ferocious in their spirits, without pity or refinement; given wholly to war, rapine and plunder; formed into bands; clans and small bodies of marauders, constantly prowling round each other's habitations, outraging all the charities of a more refined state of things, measuring all things by mere bodily strength.
From such a state of things we should naturally look for the consequence mentioned in the Bible; which is that the whole earth was filled with violence before the flood, and extremely wicked every way, so as to justify the Divine procedure in their extermination.
Indications now and then appear, in several parts of the earth, as mentioned by the traveller, of the existence of fowls, of a size compared with the mammoth itself, considering the difference in the elements each inhabit, and approach each other in size as nearly as the largest fowl now known, does the largest animal.
Henderson, in his travels in New Siberia, met with the claws of a bird, measuring three in length; the same was the length of the toes of a mammoth, as measured by Adam Clarke.
'The Yakuts, inhabitants of the Siberian country, assured Mr. Henderson, that they had frequently, in their hunting excursions, found the skeleton, and even the feathers of this fowl, the quills of which were large enough to admit a man's arm into the calibre, which would not be out of proportion with the size of the claws mentioned above.
Captain Cook mentions having seen, during his voyages, a monstrous bird's nest in New Holland, on a low sandy island, in Endeavor river, with trees upon it, where were an incredible number of sea fowls. This monstrous nest was built on the ground, with large sticks, and was no less than twenty-six feet in circumference, more than eight feet across, and two feet eight inches high. Geographies speak of a species of eagle, sometimes shot in South America, measuring from tip of the wings, forty feet. This, indeed, must have been of the species celebrated in the tradition of the ancients, called the Phoenix.
In various parts of Ireland, are frequently dug up enormous
horns, supposed to have belonged to a species of deer, now extinct. Some of these horns have been found, of the extent of fourteen feet from tip to tip, furnished with brow antlers, and weighing three hundred pounds. The whole skeleton is frequently found with them. It is supposed the animal must have been about twelve feet high. -- (Morse's Universal Geography.)
A Further Account of Discoveries in the West, as given
A wall of earth, of about four hundred rods, is raised on the sides of this fort next to the small creek, which comes down along its sides from the west and east. The situation is beautiful, as these works stand on a large plain, which is elevated forty or fifty feet above the stream just noticed, and is almost perfectly flat, and as rich a soil as can be found in that country. It would seem the people who made this settlement, undertook to encompass with a wall, as much land as would support its inhabitants, and also sufficient to build their dwellings on, with several fortifications, arranged in a proper manner for its defence
There are, within its ranges four of these forts, of different dimensions; one contains forty acres, with a wall of about ten feet high; another, containing twenty-two acres, also walled; but in this fort is an elevated observatory, of sufficient height to overlook the whole country. From this, there is the appearance of a secret or subterranean passage to the water, as one of the creeks runs near this fort. A third fort, containing about twenty-six acres, having a wall around it, thrown out of a deep ditch on the inner side of the wall. This wall is now from twenty-five to thirty feet
in height. A fourth fortification, enclosing twenty acres, with a wall of about ten feet high. Two of these forts are perfect circles; one a perfect square; another an octagon or eight sided. These forts are severally connected by roads running between parallel walls; and also in the same way communicate with the creeks; so that these important points, in case of invasion, should not be deprived of water. There are, besides the forts, four other small works of defence, of a circular form, situated in such a manner as to protect, in a measure, the roads running from fort to fort.
The fort which is of the eight sided form, containing the greatest space within, has eight gateways, with a mound in front of each of them, and were doubtless placed there to aid in a defence against invaders. The other forts have no gateways connected with the roads that lead to them, except one, and this is a round fort united to the octangular fort, containing twenty-two acres; the gateway to this looks toward the wilderness; at this gate is also a mound, supposed to be for its defence.
On the southern side of this great town, is a road running off to the country, which is also walled in the same way; it has been surveyed a few miles, and is supposed to connect other similar works on the Hokhoking, thirty miles distance, at some point a few miles north of Lancaster, as walls of the description connected with this work, of ten or twelve miles in extent, have been discovered. It is supposed, also, that the walls on each side of the road were made for the double purpose of answering as a fence to their fields, with gateways to accommodate their farms, and for security in time of danger, so that communion between friendly settlements might not be interrupted. About the walls of this place have been discovered very beautiful rock crystal and horn stone, suitable for arrow and spear heads, a little lead, sulphur, and iron.
This kind of stone, suitable for spears, was, undoubtedly, valuable on other accounts, as axes, knives, mallets, &c., were made of it. It is likely that, as very little iron has been discovered, even in its oxydized state, their vast works of excavation were carried on by means of wooden shovels and scrapers, which would answer very well in the easy and stoneless soil of that country.
A second fort, situated southwesterly from the great works on the Licking, and four or five miles, in a northwestern direction
from Somerset, the seat of justice for Perry county is found. This work encloses about forty acres; its wall is entirely of stone, not regularly laid up in a wall, agreeably to the rules of masonry, but a huge mass of stones and rocks of all shapes and sizes, as nature formed them, without the mark of an iron tool upon them. These are in sufficient quantity to form a wall, if laid in good order, of about fourteen feet in height, and three in thickness.
Near the centre of the area of this enclosure, is a stone mound, of a circular form, fifteen feet high, and was erected, as is conjectured, for an altar, on which were performed their religious rites, and also for a monument to perpetuate the memory of some great event in the history of its builders. It is also believed, that the whole of this vast preparation was devoted solely to the purposes of worship of some kind; as it is situated on very high grounds, where the soil is good for nothing, and may have been, what is called, an high place in Scripture, according to the customs of the ancient pagans of the old world.
It could not have been a military work, as no water is found there, nor a place of dwelling, for the same reason, and from the poverty of the soil; but must have been a place of resort on great occasions, such as a solemn assembly to propitiate the gods; and also a place to anoint and crown their kings, elect legislators, transact national affairs, judge among the people, and inflict condign punishment.
Who will believe for a moment, that the common Indians of the west, who were derived in part from the wandering hordes of the northern Tartar race of Asia, were the authors of these works; bearing the marks of so much labor and scientific calculation in their construction? It cannot be.
Vast Works of the Ancient Nations on the east side of the Muskingum.This fort, town, or fortification, or whatever it may have been, is between three and four hundred rods, or rising of a mile in circumference, and so situated as to be nearly surrounded by two small brooks, running into the Muskingum. Their site is on an
elevated plain, above the present bank of that river, about a half mile from its junction with the Ohio.
We give the account in the words of Mr. Atwater, president of the Antiquarian Society. "They consist of walls and mounds of earth, in direct lines, and in square and circular forms. The largest square fort, by some called the town, contains forty acres, encompassed by a wall of earth, from six to ten feet high, and from twenty to thirty in breadth at the base.
"On each side are three openings at equal distances, resembling twelve gateways. The entrances at the middle are the largest, particularly on the side next to the Muskingum. From this outlet is a covert way formed of two parallel walls of earth, two hundred and thirty-one feet distant from each other, measured from centre to centre. The walls at the most elevated part, on the inside, are twenty-one feet in height, and forty-two in breadth, at the base, but on the outside average only about five feet in height. This forms a passage of about twenty rods in length, leading by a gradual descent to the low grounds, where, at the time of its construction, it probably reached the river. Its walls commence at sixty feet from the ramparts of the fort, and increase in elevation as the way descends to the river; and the bottom is rounded in the centre, in the manner of a well founded turnpike road.
Within the walls of the fort, at its northwest corner, is an oblong elevated square, one hundred and eighty feet long, one hundred and thirty-two broad, and nine feet high, level on the summit, and even now, nearly perpendicular at the sides. Near the south wall is an elevated square, one hundred and fifty by one hundred and twenty, and eight feet high, similar to the other, excepting, that instead of an ascent to go up on the side next the wall, there is a hollow way, ten feet wide, leading twenty feet towards the centre, and then rising with a gradual slope to the top. This was, it is likely, a secret passage. At the southeast corner is a third elevated square, of one hundred and eighty by fifty-four feet, with ascents at the ends, ten feet wide, but not so high nor perfect as two others
Besides this forty acre fort, which is situated within the great range of the surrounding wall, there is another, containing twenty acres, with a gateway in the centre of each side, and at each corner these gateways are defended by circular mounds.
On the outside of the smaller fort is a mound, in form of a sugar
loaf; its base is a regular circle, one hundred and fifteen feet in diameter, or twenty-one rods in circumference; its altitude is thirty feet. It is surrounded by a ditch four feet deep, fifteen feet wide, and defended by a parapet four feet high, through which is a gateway towards the foot, twenty feet in width. Near one of the corners of the great fort, was found a reservoir or well, twenty-five feet in diameter, and seventy-five in circumference, with its sides raised above the common level of the adjoining surface, by an embankment of earth, three and four feet high."
It was, undoubtedly, at first, very deep, as, since its discovery by the first settlers, they have frequently thrust poles into it to the depth of thirty feet. It appears to run to a point like an inverted cone or funnel and was undoubtedly that kind of well used by the inhabitants of the old world, which were so large at their top as to afford an easy descent down to the fountain, and up again with its water in a vessel borne on the shoulder, according to the ancient custom. (See Genesis xiii, 24.) "And she, (that is Rebecca, the daughter of Bethuel,) went down to the well, filled her pitcher and came up." Bethuel was an Assyrian, who, it seems, had made a well in the same form with that described above. Its sides were lined with a stratum of fine ash colored clay, eight and ten inches thick, beyond which is the common soil of the place. It is conjectured, that at the bottom of this well might be found many curious articles which belonged to the ancient inhabitants. Several pieces of copper have been found in and near these ancient works, at various places; and one was in the form of a cup, with low sides, the bottom very thick and strong, showing their enlarged acquaintance with that metal, more than the Indians ever had
Ruins of Ancient Works at Circleville.At Circleville, in Ohio, are the remains of very great works of this description, evidently of a military character, two of which are united; one is exactly square, the other an exact circle. The square fort is fifty rods on each side; the round one is nearly three hundred feet, or eighteen rods in circumference. the circle and
square touching each other, and communicate at the very spot where they united.
The circular fort is surrounded by two walls, with a deep ditch between them; the square fort is also encompassed by a wall, without a ditch. The walls of the circular fort were at least twenty feet in height, measuring from the bottom of the ditch, before the town of Circleville was built. The inner wall is formed of clay, brought from a distance, but the outside one was formed with the earth of the ditch, as it was thrown out.
There were eight gateways, or openings, leading into the square fort, and only one into the circular. Before each of these openings was a mound of earth, about four feet high, forty feet in diameter at the base, and twenty feet and upwards at the top, situated about two rods in front of the gates; for the defence, no doubt, of these openings. The walls of this work vary a few degrees from north and south, and east and west, but no more than the needle varies; and not a few surveyors have, from this circumstance, been impressed with the belief, that the authors of these works were acquainted with astronomy, and the four cardinal points.
Within the great square fort are eight small mounds, placed opposite the gateways, for their defence, or to give opportunity to privileged spectators to review the thousands passing out to war, or coming in with the trophies of victory. Such was the custom of ancient times. David, the most potent king of the Jews, stood at the gateway of the city, as his armies went to quell the insurrection of his son Absalom. (See 2d Samuel, xviii, 4.) "And the king stood by the gate side, and all the people came out by hundreds and by thousands." It cannot be supposed the king stood on the ground, on a common level with his armies. Such a situation would be extremely inconvenient, and defeat, in a great measure, the opportunity of review. How impressive, when soldiers, fired with all the ardor of expected victory, to behold their general, chief, king, or emperor, bending over them, as they pass on, from some commanding position near at hand, giving counsel to their captains; drawing, in this way, large draughts on the individual confidence and love of the soldiery. Such may have been the spectacle at the gateways of the forts of the west, at the eras of their grandeur
In musing on the structure of these vast works found along the western rivers, enclosing such immense spaces of land, the mind
is irresistibly directed to a contemplation of ancient Babylon, the first city of magnitude built immediately after the flood. That city was of a square form, being fifteen miles distance on each of its sides, and sixty in circumference, surrounded with a wall eighty-seven feet in thickness, and three hundred and fifty in height. On each side it had twenty-five gateways, amounting in all, to a hundred; the whole, besides the wall, surrounded with a deep and wide ditch. At each corner of this immense square, was a strong tower, ten feet higher than the walls. There were fifty broad streets, each fifteen miles long, starting from each of its gates, and an hundred and fifty feet broad, crossing each other at right angles; besides four half streets, surrounding the whole, two hundred feet broad. The whole city was divided into six hundred and seventy-six squares, four and a half furlongs on each side. In the centre of the city stood the temple of Belus, and in the centre of this temple stood an immense tower, six hundred feet square at its base, and six hundred feet high, narrowing in the form of a pyramid as it ascended. The ascent to the summit was accomplished by spiral stairs, winding eight times round the whole. This tower consisted of eight distinct parts, each on the top of the other, seventy-five feet high, till the whole, in aggregate, finished the tower.
In the different stories were temples, or chapels, for the worship of the sun; and on its top, some authors say, was an image of gold, forty feet in height, equal in value to three millions five hundred thousand dollars. -- (Blake's Atlas.)
The model of this city with its towers at the corners and pyramid in its centre, having been made at so early a period of time, being not far from one hundred years after the flood, was doubtless of sufficient influence to impress its image on the memory of tradition, so that the nations spreading out from that region over all the earth may have copied this Chaldean model in their various works.
This thought is strengthened when we compare its counterpart, the vast works of the west, with this Babylonian prototype of architectural effort, and imagine we see in the latter, the features and general outlines of this giant among cities, in the towers, walls and pyramids of the western states.
Near the round fort at Circleville is another fort, ninety feet high and was doubtless erected to overlook the whole works of
that enormous military establishment. That it was a military establishment is the decided opinion of the president of the Western Antiquarian Society, Mr. Atwater. He says, the round fort was picketed in, if we are to judge from the appearance of the ground, on and about the walls. Half way up the outside of the inner wall, is a place distinctly to be seen, where a row of pickets, once stood, and where it was placed within this work of defence was originally erected. Finally, this work about its walls and ditch, a few years since, presented as much of defensive aspect, as forts which were occupied in our war with the French, such as Oswego, Fort Stanwix, and others.
Respecting this place, it is said, that the Indian, even to this day, will on no account enter within its outlines, which circumstance proves beyond a doubt, that it was also, a holy, or sacred place, where the mysteries of ancient paganism were celebrated, with all the pomp and circumstance, necessary to the belief of that which is mere fiction.
Ancient Works on Paint Creek.On Paint creek, in Ohio, about fifteen miles from Chilicothe, are works of art, still more wonderful than any yet described. There are six in number, and are in the neighborhood of each other. In one of those grand enclosures are contained three forts, one embraces seventeen, another twenty-seven, a third seventy-seven, amounting in all, to one hundred and fifteen acres of land.
One of those forts is round, another square, and the third is of an irregular form, approaching, however, nearer to the circular than any other; and the wall which embraces the whole, is so contrived in its courses, as to favor those several forms; the whole being, evidently, one work, separated into three compartments.
There are fourteen gateways, going out of the whole work, besides three which unite the several forts one with the other inwardly; all these, especially those leading outwardly, are very wide, being, as they now appear, from one to six rods. At three of those gateways, on the outside of the wall, are as many ancient
wells; and one on the inside, where doubtless the inhabitants procured water. Their width at the top is from four to six rods, but their depth unknown, as they are now nearly filled up. Within the greatest enclosure, containing the seventy-seven acres, is an elliptical elevation of twenty-five feet in height, and so large, that its area is nearly one hundred and fifty rods in circumference, composed almost entirely of stone in their rough and natural state, brought from a hill adjacent to the place.
This elevated work is full of human bones, and some have not hesitated to express a belief, that on this work, human beings were once sacrificed. The surface is smooth and level, favoring the idea of the horrid parade, such occasions would produce; yet they may have been erected for the purpose of mere military maneuvering, which would produce a spectacle very imposing, composed of thousands, harnessed in their war attire, with nodding plumes. About a mile from this fort, there is a work in the form of a half moon, set round the edges with stones, exactly resembling the stone circle, of the Druids, in which they performed their mystic rites in Europe two thousand years ago. Near this semicircle is a very singular mound of only five feet in height, but ninety feet in circumference, composed entirely of red ochre; which answers well as a paint. An abundance of this ochre is found on a hill, not a great distance from this place; from which circumstance, the stream which runs along here, is called Paint creek.
So vast a heap of this paint being deposited, is pretty clear evidence, that it was an article of commerce among these nations. Here may have been a store house, or a range of them, attended by salesmen, or merchants; who took in exchange, for it, copper, feathers, bow and arrow, timber, stone for hatchets, spears, and knives, wooden ploughs and shovels; with skins and furs, for clothing; stones for building their rude altars and works; with food to sustain the populace, as the manner of cities of the present time. Red paint in particular, is used now among the Hindoos, which they mark themselves with, as well as their gods. This vast collection of red paint, by the ancient nations, on Paint creek, favors the opinion, that it was put to the same use by the same people.
Near this work is another, on the same creek, enclosing eighty-four acres, part of which is a square fort, with seven gateways, and the other a fort, of an irregular oval, with seven gateways, surrounded
with a wall like the others. But the most interesting work of the three contiguous forts, is yet to be described. It is situated on a high hill, of more than three hundred feet elevation, and in many places almost perpendicular. The wall running round this work, is built exactly on the brow of the precipice, and in its courses, is accommodated to the variations of this natural battlement, enclosing, in the whole, one hundred and thirty acres. On its south end the ground is level, where the entrance to the fort is easy. At the north end, which approaches pretty near to Paint creek, appears to have been a gateway descending to the water, the ground favoring it at this point, as well as at one other, leading to a little stream, which runs along its base, on the east side of this eminence, where is also another gateway; these three places are the only points which are at all accessible. The wall round the whole one hundred and thirty acres, is entirely of stone, and is in sufficient quantity, if laid up in good order, to make it ten feet high, and four thick. At the north gateway, stones enough now lie, to have built two considerable round towers, taken from the hill itself, and are of the red sand stone kind.
Near the south end of this enclosure, at the place where it is easiest of access, "appear to have been a row of furnaces, (says Mr. Atwater) or smith's shops, where the cinders now lie, many feet deep; but was not able to say with certainty, what manufactures were carried out here, whether brick or iron, or both." It was a clay, that had been exposed to the action of fire; the remains of which are four and five feet in depth; which shows in a good degree, the amount of business done was great. "Iron ore, in this country, is sometimes found in such clay; brick and potter's ware are now manufactured out of it. This fort is, from its natural site, one of the strongest positions of the kind in the state of Ohio, so high is its elevation, and so nearly perpendicular are the sides of the hill on which it was built." At the several angles of the wall, and at the gateways, the abundance of stone lying there, leads to the belief, that those points, towers and battlements once overlooked the country to an immense distance; from whence stones and arrows might have been launched away, from engines adapted to that purpose, among the approaching enemy, with dreadful effect. "No military man could have selected a better position for a place of protection to his countrymen, their temples and their gods," than this.
Ancient Wells found in the Bottom of Paint Creek.In the bed of Paint creek, which washes the foot of the hill, on which the walled town stood, have been discovered four wells. They were dug through a pyritous slate rock, which is very rich in iron ore. When first discovered, by a person passing over them in a canoe, they were covered, each by stones of about the size and shape of the common mill stone. These covers had holes through their centre, through which a large pry, or handspike might be put for the purpose of removing them off and on the wells. The hole through the centre of each stone, was about four inches in diameter. The wells at their tops were more than nine feet in circumference; the stones were well wrought with tools, so as to make good joints, as a stone mason would say, which were laid around them severally, as a pavement. At the time they were dug, it is not likely Paint creek run over these wells. For what they were sunk, is a mystery; as that for the purposes of water, so many so near each other, would scarcely appear necessary; perhaps for some kind of ore or favorite stone, was the original object, perhaps for salt water.
There is, at Portsmouth, Ohio, one of those works, which is very extensive and wonderful, on account of walled roads, a "high place," with many intricate operations in its construction.
On the east bank of the Little Miami, about thirty miles east from Cincinnati, are vast works of this character; having the form almost exactly of the continent of North and South America, as presented on the map, on which account some have supposed the' were made in imitation of it.
Recent Discovery of one of those Ancient Works among the Alleghanies.New discoveries are constantly making of these ancient works, the farther we go west, and the more minutely the research is prosecuted, even in parts already settled
During the last year, 1832 a Mr. Ferguson communicated to the editor of the Christian Advocate and Journal, a discovery of the kind, which he examined, and describes as follows:
"On a mountain called the Lookout mountain, belonging to the vast Alleghanian chain, running between the Tennessee and Coos rivers, rising about one thousand feet above the level of the surrounding valley. The top of the mountain is mostly level, but presents to the eye an almost barren waste. On this range, notwithstanding its height, a river has its source, after traversing it for about seventy miles, plunges over a precipice The rock from which the water falls, is circular, and juts over considerably. Immediately below the fall, on each side of the river, are bluffs, which rise about two hundred feet. Around one of these bluffs, the river makes a bend, which gives it the form of a peninsula On the top of this are the remains of what is esteemed fortifications; which consist of a stone wall, built on the very brow of this tremendous ledge. The whole length of the wall, following the varying courses of the brink of this precipice, is thirty-seven rods and eight feet, including about two acres of ground."
The only descent from this place is between two rocks, for about thirty feet, when a bench of the ledge presents itself, from two to five feet in width, and ninety feet long. This bench is the only road or path up from the water's edge to the summit. But just at the foot of the two rocks, where they reach this path, and within thirty feet of the top of the rock, are five rooms, which have been formed by dint of labor. The entrance to these rooms is very small, but when within, they are found to communicate with each other, by doors or apertures. Mr. Ferguson thinks them to have been constructed during some dreadful war, and those who constructed them, to have acted on the defensive; and believe that twenty men could have withstood the whole army of Xerxes, as it was impossible for more than one to pass at a time; and might by the slightest push, be hurled at least a hundred and fifty feet down the rocks. The reader can indulge his own conjectures, whether, in the construction of this inaccessible fortress, he does not perceive the remnant of a tribe or nation, acquainted with the art of excavation and defence; making a last struggle against the invasion of an overwhelming foe; where, it is likely, they were reduced by famine and perished amid the yells of their enemies.
Description of Western Tumuli or Mounds.Ancient Tumuli are considered a kind of antiquities, differing in character from that of the other works; both on account of what is frequently discovered in them, and the manner of their construction. They are conical mounds, either of earth or stones, which were intended for sacred and important purposes. In many parts of the world, similar mounds were used as monuments, sepulchres, altars, and temples. The accounts of these works, found in the Scriptures, show, that their origin must be sought for among the antediluvians.
That they are very ancient, and were used as places of sepulture, public resort, and public worship, is proved by all the writers of ancient times, both sacred and profane. Homer frequently mentions them, particularly describing the tumulus of Tydeus, and the spot where it was. In memory of the illustrious dead, a sepulchral mound of earth was raised over their remains; which, from that time forward, became an altar, whereon to offer sacrifices, and around which to exhibit games of athletic exercise. These offerings and games were intended to propitiate their manes, to honor and perpetuate their memories. Prudentius, a Roman bard, has told us, that there were in ancient Rome, just as many temples of gods, as there were sepulchres of heroes; implying that they were the same. Need I mention the tomb of Anchies, which Virgil has described, with the offerings there presented, and the games there exhibited? The sanctity of Acropolis, where Cecrops was inhumed? The tomb of the father of Adonis, at Paphos, whereon a temple dedicated to Venus, was erected? The grave of Cleomachus, whereon stood a temple dedicated to the worship of Apollo? Finally, I would ask the classical reader, if the words translated tomb, and temple, are not used as synonymous, by the poets of Greece and Rome? Virgil, who wrote in the days of Augustus Caesar, speaks of these tumuli, as being as ancient as they were sacred, even in his time.
The conical mounds in Ohio, are either of stones or of earth. The former, in other countries, and in former ages, were intended as monuments, for the purpose of perpetuating the memory of some
important event, or as altars whereon to offer sacrifices. The latter were used as cemeteries and as altars, whereon, in later times, temples were erected, as among the people of Greece and Rome.
The tumuli are of various altitudes and dimensions, some being only four or five feet, and but ten or twelve in diameter, at their base; while others, as we travel to the south, rise to the height of eighty, ninety, and some more than a hundred feet, and cover many acres of ground. They are, generally, when completed, in the form of a cone. Those in the north part of Ohio, are of inferior size, and fewer in number, than those along the river. These mounds are believed to exist, from the Rocky mountains in the west, to the Alleghanies in the east; from the southern shore of lake Erie to the Mexican gulf; and though few and small in the north, are numerous and lofty in the south, yet exhibit proof of a common origin.
On Jonathan creek, in Morgan county, are found some mounds, whose bases are formed of well burnt bricks, between four and five inches square. There are found lying on the bricks, charcoal cinders, and pieces of calcined human bones. Above them the mounds were composed of earth, showing, that the dead had been buried in the manner of several of the eastern nations, and the mound. raised afterwards to mark the place of their burial.
One of them is about twenty-four feet in circumference, and the stones yet look black, as it stained with fire and smoke. This circle of stones seems to have been the nucleus on which the mound was formed, as immediately over them is heaped the common earth of the adjacent plain. This mound was originally about ten feet high, and ninety feet in circumference at its base; and has every appearance of being as old as any in the neighborhood, and was, at the first settlement of Marietta, covered with large trees.
A particular account of many curious articles, which go to show the person buried there was a member of civilized society, is given farther on in this work, under the head of "a description of implements found in the tumuli."
The person buried here was about six feet in height, nothing differing from other men in the form of his bones, except the skull, which was uncommonly thick. The timber growing on this mound, when it was cleared off, was ascertained to be nearly five hundred years old, from counting the concentric circles or grains of
the wood on the stumps. On the ground beside them were other trees in a state of decay, that had fallen from old age."
If we were to conjecture, from this sort of data, how great a lapse of years has ensued since the abandonment of this mound, we should pursue the following method. From the time when the country became desolate of its inhabitants, till trees and forests would begin to grow, cannot well be reckoned less than five years. If then they are permitted to grow five hundred years, till as large and as old as some of the trees were on the mound when it was cleared by the people of Marietta, from that time till their natural decay and fall to the earth, and reduction to decayed wood, as was found on the mound, could not be less than three hundred years, in decaying so as to fall, and then fifty years to rot in; this would give eight hundred and fifty-five years for the first growth of timber. From this time we reckon a second crop, which we will suppose, was the one growing when the mound was cleared of its timber; which was, according to Mr. Atwater's statement, "between four and five hundred years;" add this to the age of the first crop, say four hundred and fifty, and we have, in the whole, one thousand three hundred and five years since it was deserted of its builders. Dr. Cutler supposes at least a thousand years. Then it will follow, taking out the time since Marietta was settled, and the mound cleared of its timber, that the country was deserted about five hundred years after the commencement of the Christian era.
About the same time, say from the year 410 to 500 of the Christian era, the greater part of Europe was devastated by the Goths, the Huns, the Heruli, the Vandals, the Swevri, the Alians, and other savage tribes, all from the northern wilds of ancient Russia. By these the western empire of the Romans, comprehending Italy, Germany, France, Spain, and England, was subverted; all literature was obliterated, and the works of the learned, which contained the discoveries and improvements of ages, were annihilated.
And from all we can make out by observing the growth of timber, with that which is decayed, as found on the deserted works of the west, we are inclined to believe, that about the same period of time when Europe was overrun by the northern hordes, that the region now called the United States, where the ancient inhabitants had fixed their abode, was also overrun by northern hordes from toward Bhering's strait, who had, in ages before, got
across from Asia, the Tartars, or Scythians, and had multiplied; and as they multiplied, progressed farther and farther southerly till they discovered an inhabited country, populous, and rich, upon whom they fell with all the fury of Attila and his Huns; till after many a long and dreadful war, they were reduced in numbers, and driven from their country far to the south; when the rich fields, vast cities, innumerable towns, with all their works, were reduced to the ancient dominion of nature, as it was when first overgrown immediately alter the flood, except their vast pyramids, fortifications, and tumuli, these being of the same nature and durability of the hills and mountains, have stood the shock of war and time -- the monuments of powerful nations disappeared.
"In clearing out a spring near some ancient ruins of the west on the bank of the Little Miami, not far from its entrance into the Ohio, was found a copper coin, four feet below the surface of the earth; from the fac simile of which it appears, that the characters on the coin are old Persian characters. -- (Morse's Universal Geography, vol. 1, p. 442.)
The era of the Persians, as noticed on the page of history, was from 559, after the flood, till 334, before Christ, and were a people of great strength, of enterprising character, and enlightened in the arts and sciences; and for aught that can be objected, traversed the globe, planted colonies, perhaps even in America, as the coin, which lay so deep beneath the surface of the earth, would seem to justify; which was truly a Persian coin of copper.
At Cincinnati, a mound, only eight feet high, but one hundred and twenty long, by sixty in breadth, has been opened, and is now almost obliterated, by the construction of Main-street, which has furnished many curious discoveries relative to the ancient inhabitants who built it. Of the articles taken from thence, many have been lost; but the most worthy of notice are embraced in the following catalogue:
1st. Pieces of jasper, rock crystal, granite and some other stones, cylindrical at the extremes, and swelled in the middle, with an annular groove near the end. 2d.. A circular piece of stone coal, with a large opening in the centre, as for an axis or axle-tree, and a deep groove; the circumference suitable for a hand; it has a number of small perforations, disposed in four equidistant lines, which run from the circumference towards the centre 3d. A
small article of the same shape, with eight lines of perforations, but composed of argilaceous earth, well polished; 4th A bone ornamented with several lines, supposed to be hieroglyphical. 5th. A sculptured representation of the head and beak of a rapacious bird, resembling the eagle. 6th. A mass of lead ore, lumps of which have been found in other tumuli. 7th. A quantity of isinglass, (mica membranacea,) several plates of which have been found in and about other mounds. 8th. A small oval piece of sheet copper, with two perforations; a large oblong piece of the same metal, with longitudinal grooves and ridges
These articles are described in the fourth and fifth volumes of the American Philosophical Transactions, by Governeur Sargeant and Judge Turner, and were supposed, by philosopher Barton, to have been designed, in part, for ornament, and, in part, for superstitious ceremonies. In addition to which, the author of the foregoing, (Mr. Atwater,) says, he has since discovered, in the same mound, a number of beads, or sections, of small hollow cylinders, apparently of bone or shell.
Several large marine shells, cut in such a manner as to serve for domestic utensils, and nearly converted into a state of chalk; several copper articles, each consisting of two sets of circular concavo-convex plates, the interior of each set connected with the other by a hollow axis, around which had been wound some lint, and the whole encompassed by the bones of a man's hand. About the precincts of this town, Cincinnati, human bones have been found "of different sizes; sometimes enclosed in rude stone coffins, but oftener lying blended with the earth; generally surrounded by a portion of ashes and charcoal," as if they had been burnt either alive or dead, as the Hindoos burn both the dead husband and the living wife, on the same funeral pile. (See Ward's History of the Hindoos, p. 57;) where he states, "that not less than five thousand of these unfortunate women, it is supposed, are burnt annually." On the shores of the Pacific, to the west, about the mouth of the Columbia river dwell a tribe of Indians, known by the name of Tolkotins, who compel the widow of their tribe to sleep by the dead bodies of their deceased husbands, nine nights in succession immediately after their death, however offensive it may be. When this period is accomplished, the body is laid on a pile of dry wood and burst to ashes, at which time, the unfortunate wife is
forced, by the friends of the deceased, into the fire, while her own relations stand by, and as often as she is pushed on to the fire, these pull her off. This kind of persecution, they continue till the poor wretch is severely blistered, when they desist. The body of her lord is now consumed, when she gathers up the bones from among the ashes of the wood, and carefully envelopes them in the bark of the birch tree, and is doomed to carry them about on her back, a year or two. When the prescribed time is accomplished, the relations on both sides assemble, and having feasted, discharge her from farther penance, when, if she chooses, she can marry again. So far as is known, it appears that this practice, which is purely of Hindoo origin, is peculiar to this tribe. -- (Ross Cox's late travels on the Colombia, p. 329.)
This practice, as above, is ample evidence, that the Hindoos once filled with their idolatry, and cruel ceremonies, the regions of the west, who came hither in vessels, in the early ages, as we shall show in another part of this volume.
The ancient Jews practised the same thing; (See Amos, vi. 10.) "And a man's uncle shall take him up, and he that burneth him, to bring out the bones out of the house." The ancient Edomites burnt the dead bodies of their captured enemies. (Sec Amos, ii. 1:) " He," that is Edom, " burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime." The same may have been practised in America.
Besides these relics found at Marietta, others equally interesting, have been procured from a mound on the Little Muskingum, about four miles from Marietta. There are some pieces of copper which appear to have been the front part of a helmet. It was originally about eight inches long and four broad, and has marks of having been attached to leather; it is much decayed, and is now quite a thin plate. The helmet was worn by the ancients as a defence against the blows of the sword, aimed at the head. The Greeks, the Romans, with many other nations of antiquity, made use of this majestic, beautiful, warlike covering of the head. But how came this part of the ancient armor in America? This is the mystery, and cannot be solved, only on the principle, that we believe the wearers lived in those ages coeval with the martial exploits of the Medes, Persians, Carthaginians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and of the Celtic nations of Europe. In the same mound on the Muskingum, was found a copper ornament; this was on the forehead
of a human skeleton, no part of which retained its form, except that part of the forehead where the copper ornament lay, and had been preserved no doubt by the salts of that mineral. In Virginia, near Blacksburgh, eighty miles from Marietta, there was found the half of a steel bow, which, when entire would measure five or six feet;. the other part was corroded or broken. The father of the lad who found the bow, was a blacksmith, and worked up this curious article with as little remorse as he would an old gun barrel. In the 18th Psalm, 34th verse, mention is made by David, king of Israel, of the steel bow, which must have been a powerful instrument of death, of the kind, and probably well known to the Jews, as superior to the wooden bow. This kind of warlike artillery, the bow and arrow, has been used by all nations, and in all ages of time. The time of king David was about one thousand one hundred years before Christ; when he says, a bow of steel was broken by his own arm. This must have been done in some of his fights with the enemies of Saul, as it is not very probable that he fought personally after he came to the kingdom; and from his earnestness in the fight, drew the string of his bow too far, so that the instrument could not bear it, consequently. it snapped asunder; which circumstance he has celebrated in the praises of the God of Israel, as an evidence of the aid and strength derived from Heaven in the heat of battle. But Dr. Clarke supposes, steel is out of the question, as he thinks the art of making steel was unknown at that time, and believes the bow alluded to, which was broken by David, was a brass one, but it is unknown to the writer of this work, whether brass will spring at all so as to throw an arrow with an effect. But why may not steel have been known, and the art of producing it from iron, in the time of David, as well as the art of making brass, which is equally hidden, and more so than that of steel? Tubal Cain was a worker in brass and iron, before the flood; and we should suppose the way to procure steel from iron, would as soon have been discovered by the antediluvian blacksmiths, as a knowledge how to make brass from a union of copper and zinc.
The discovery of this steel bow, in the west, is exceedingly curious, and would seem to justify the belief, that it came from the old world, as an instrument of warfare in the hands of some of the Asiatic, African, or European nations, possibly Danes, as the present
Indian nations were found destitute of every kind of bow and arrow, except that of wood.
"In Ross county, near Chilicothe, a few years since, was found, in the hand of a skeleton, which lay buried in a small mound, an ornament of pare gold; this curiosity, it is said, is now in the Museum at Philadelphia." -- (Atwater.) The tumuli, in what is called the Sciota country, are both numerous and interesting. But south of Lake Erie, until we arrive at Worthington, nine miles north of Columbus, they are few in number, and of comparatively small magnitude. Near Columbus, the seat of government of Ohio, were several mounds, one of which stood on an eminence in the principal street, which has been entirely removed, and converted into bricks. It contained human bones, some few articles, among which was an owl carved in stone, a rude but very exact representation. The owl, among the Romans, was the emblem of wisdom, and it is not impossible but the ancients of the west, may have carved it in the stone for the same reason; who may have been, in part, Romans, or nations derived from them, or nations acquainted with their manners, their gods, and their sculpture, as we suppose the Danes were. "In another part of the town of Columbus, was a tumulus of clay, which was also manufactured into bricks. In this were many human bones; but they lay in piles, and in confusion," which would seem to elicit the belief, that these were the bones of an enemy, or they would have been laid in their accustomed order. Or they may have been the bones of the conquered, thrown together in a confused manner, and buried beneath this mound.
As we still descend the Sciota, through a most fertile region of country, mounds and other ancient works, frequently appear, until we arrive at Circleville. Near the centre of the circular fort at Circleville, was a tumulus of earth, about ten feet high, and several rods in diameter at its base. On its eastern side, and extending six rods from it, was a semicircular pavement, composed of pebbles such as are now found in the bed of Sciota river, from whence they appear to have been taken. The summit of this tumulus was nearly ninety feet in circumference, with a raised way to it, leading from the east, like a modern turnpike. The summit was level. The outline of the semicircular pavement, and the wall, are still discernible. Mr. Atwater was present when this mound was removed,
and carefully examined the contents it developed. They were as follows: -- 1. Two skeletons, lying on what had been the original surface of the earth. 2. A great quantity of arrow heads, some of which were so large as to induce a belief that they were used for spear heads. 3. The handle, either of a small sword, or a large knife, made of an elk's horn; around the end where the blade had been inserted, was a ferule of silver, which, though black, was not much injured by time; though the handle showed the hole where the blade had been inserted, yet no iron was found, but an oxyde or rust remained, of similar shape and size. The swords of the ancient nations of the old world, it is known, were very short. 4. Charcoal, and wood ashes, on which these articles lay, were surrounded by several bricks, very well burnt. The skeleton appeared to have been burnt in a large and very hot fire, which had almost consumed the bones of the deceased. This skeleton was deposited a little to the south of the centre of the tumulus; and about twenty feet to the north of it was another, with which was found a large mirror, about three feet in length, one foot and a half in width, and one inch and a half in thickness; this was of isinglass, (mica membranacea.)
On this mirror was a plate of iron, which had become an oxyde; but before it was disturbed by the spade, resembled a plate of cast iron. The mirror answered the purpose very well for which it was intended. This skeleton had also been burned like the former, and lay on charcoal and a considerable quantity of wood ashes; a part of the mirror is in the possession of Mr. Atwater, as also a piece of brick, taken from the spot at the time. The knife, or sword handle, was sent to Peale's museum, Philadelphia. To the southwest of this tumulus, about forty rods from it, is another, more than ninety feet in height. It stands on a large hill, which appears to be artificial. This must have been the common cemetery, as it contains an immense number of human skeletons, of all sizes and ages. These skeletons are laid horizontally, with their heads generally towards the centre, and the feet towards the outside of the tumulus. In it have been found, besides these skeletons, stone axes and stone knives, and several ornaments, with holes through them, by means of which, with a cord passing through these perforations, they could be worn by their owners, round the neck.
Sir Robert Ker Porter says, that in Persia thousands of such
stones are found belonging to the early ages of that people, and that they were considered by the Persians to be endowed with supernatural qualities, and were, therefore, made by the people to defend them from evil spirits; they are found in great abundance among the Hindoos even now. On the south side of this tumulus, and not far from it, was a semicircular fosse, or ditch, six feet deep; which, when examined at the bottom, was found to contain a great quantity of human bones, which, it is believed, were the remains of those who had been slain in some great and destructive battle; because they belonged to persons invariably who had attained their full size; while those found in the mound adjoining, were of all sizes, great and small, but laid in good order, while those in the ditch were in the utmost confusion; and were, no doubt, the conquered invaders, buried thus ingloriously, where they had intrenched themselves, and fell in the struggle. The mirror was a monstrous piece of isinglass, a lucid mineral, larger than we recollect to have ever heard of before, and used among the rich of the ancients, for lights and mirrors. A mirror of any kind, in which men may he enabled to contemplate their own, form, is evidence of a considerable degree of advancement in the arts, if not even of luxury itself.
The Rev. Robert G. Wilson, D. D., of Chilicothe, furnished the Antiquarian Society, with information concerning the mound, which once stood near the centre of that town. He took pains to write down its contents at the time of its demolition. Its perpendicular height was about fifteen feet, and the circumference of its base about one hundred and eighty feet, composed of sand. It was not till this pile of earth had been removed, that the original design of its builders could be discovered. On a common level with the surrounding earth, at the very bottom of this mound, they had devoted about twenty feet square; this was found to have been covered at first with bark, on which lay, in the centre, a human skeleton, overspread with a mat, manufactured from weeds or bark, but greatly decayed. On the breast of this person lay what had been a piece of copper in the form of a cross, which had become verdigris; on the breast also lay a stone ornament, three inches in length, and two and a half in width, with two perforations, one near each end, through which passed a string, by means of which it was suspended from the wearer's neck. On this
string, which appeared to have been made of the sinews of some animal, which had been cured or tanned, but were very much injured by time, was strung a great many beads, made of ivory, or bone, he could not tell which. With these facts before us, we are left to conjecture at what time this individual lived, what were his heroic deeds in the field of battle; his wisdom, his virtues, his eloquence in the councils of his nation; for his cotemporaries have testified in a manner not to be mistaken, that among them he was held in honorable and grateful remembrance, by the mound which was raised over him at his decease. The cross on the breast of this skeleton, excites the most surprise, as that the cross is the emblem of the Christian religion. It is true, a knowledge of this badge of Christianity, may have been disseminated from Jerusalem, even as far east as China; as we know it was at a very early period, made known in many countries of Europe, Africa, and Asia, especially, at the era when the Roman emperor Constantine, in the year 131, ordered all the heathen temples to be destroyed, for the sake of Christianity, throughout his vast dominion. The Gnostic heresy of the first centuries of the Christian era, which spread itself into more than fifty sects, wandered into all the countries of the known world; in Africa, Asia, and Europe, are still found gems, coins and various precious stones, having engravings upon them, the emblems of their deities, their genii and their mystical characters, mingled with allusions, also, to the Christian religion. This cross, therefore, may it not have been left on the bosom of this skeleton by some officiating priest of the Gnostics, even here in America? (For an account of the Gnostics, see the Amulet, 1832, by Marmion Savage, A, B., p. 282.)
The reader may recollect, we have elicited an argument, from the age of the timber, or forest trees, growing on the mound, at Marietta, proposing to show the probable era when the country became depopulated; and come to the conclusion, that at least, about thirteen hundred years have passed away since that catastrophe.
This would give about five hundred years from Christ till the depopulation of the ancient western country; so that during the lapse of those five centuries, a knowledge of what had been propagated at Jerusalem about Christ, may have been, easily enough by missionaries, travelling philosophers of the Romans, Greeks, or of other nations, carried as well to China, as to other distant countries,
as we know was the fact. The string of beads, and the stone on his breast, which we take the liberty of calling the Shalgramu stone, or the stone in which the Hindoos suppose the god Vishnoo resides; together with the copper cross on his breast, and beads on his neck, are circumstances, which strongly argue that a mixture of Gnosticism, Brahminism, and Christianity were embraced by this individual. To prove that the wearing of beads around the neck, or on the arm, for the purposes of devotion, is a Hindoo custom, we refer to Ward's late history of those nations, who was a Baptist missionary, among that people, and died in that country. This author says, page 40, that Bramha, the grandfather of the gods, holds in his hand, a string of beads, as an evidence of his devotion or goodness. Ungee, the regent of fire, is represented with a. bead roll in his hand, to show that he is merciful or propitious to those who call upon him. -- Page 45.
The Hindoo mendicants, or saints, as they suppose themselves, have invariably, a string of beads, made of bone, teeth of animals, ivory, stones, or the seeds of plants, or of something, hanging about their necks, or on their arms, which they recount, calling over and over, without end, the name of the god, as evidence of devotion to him. -- Page 422.
The devotions of the ascetic disciples among the Hindoos, consists in repeating incessantly the name of their god, using, at the same time, the bead roll, or rosary, as the catholics do. -- Page 427.
"Strings of beads were used for this purpose, from remotest antiquity, in all eastern Asia." -- (Humboldt, p. 204.)
This author further says, "the rosarie," which is a string of beads, "have been in use in Thibet and China, from time immemorial; and that the custom passed from the east, viz: China, to the Christians in the west, viz: Europe;" and are found among the catholics; no other sect of Christians, that we know of, have borrowed any trappings from the pagans, to aid their devotions, but this. The stone found on his breast, as before remarked, we assume to call the Shalgramu stone. See also, Ward's account of this stone, page 41 and 44, as follows: -- A stone called the Shalgramu is a form of the god Vishnoo, and is in another case, the representative of the god Saoryu, or the sun. -- Page 52.
The Shalgramu, or Lingu, is a black stone, found in a part of the Gundeekee river They are mostly perforated, in one or more
places, by worms, while at the bottom of the river; but the Hindoos believe the god Vishnoo, in the shape of a reptile, resides, in this stone, and caused the holes. With this belief, how very natural it would be to wear on the breast, either in view or concealed, this stone, as an amulet, or charm, as found on the breast of this skeleton, in the union with the cross. We are inclined to believe, that the Roman catholic religion, borrowed, at a very early period, after their peculiar formation and corruption, subsequent to the time of Constantine, the notion of the rosary, or bead roll, which they recount while saying prayers, from the Hindoos; and that from Christian missionaries, the Hindoo Brahmins borrowed the idea of the cross, which they might also wear, together with Lingu stone, as an amulet or charm. For we see on the breast of this person, both the emblem of Christianity, and of the Hindoos' superstition, on which account, we are of the opinion, that the ministers of the Brahmin religion, lie buried beneath many of the western mounds.
Mr. Ward informs us, page 272, that near the town of Dravins in Hondostan-hu, are shown to this day, or at the time he lived in India, four small elevations, or mounds, from the top of which, the great ascetic philosopher, Shunkuracharyu, used to teach and harangue the people and his disciples. From this circumstance, we catch a glimpse of the oratorical use of the mounds in the east; and why not the same use be derived from them to the ancient people of the west; and more especially so, if they may be believed to have, in any measure, derived themselves from any nations of the Chinese world.
Great Works of the Ancient Nations on the North Fork of Paint Creek.On the north branch of this creek, five miles from Chilicothe, are works so immense, that although we have given the reader several accounts of this kind, yet we cannot well pass over these. They are situated on an elevated piece of land, called the second bottom. The first bottom, or flat, extends from Paint creek, till it is met by a bank of twenty-five feet in height, which runs in
a straight line, and parallel with the stream. One hundred rods from the top of this first bunk, is another bank, of thirty feet in height; the wall of the works runs up this bank, and twenty rods beyond it. The whole land enclosed, is six hundred and twenty rods in circumference, and contains one hundred and twenty-six acres of land. This second bank runs also parallel with the creek, and with the first. On this beautiful elevation, is situated this immense work, containing within it, seventeen mounds of different sizes. Three hundred and eight rods of this fort are encompassed with a wall twelve feet high, a ditch twenty feet wide, and the wall the same at its base. Two hundred and forty rods, running along on the top of the first bank, is the rest of the wall; but is without a ditch; this is next to the river or creek, between which and the water, is the first bottom or flat. Within this great enclosure, is a circular work of one hundred rods in circumference, with a wall and ditch surrounding it, of the same height of the other wall. Within this great circle, are six mounds, of the circular form; these are full of human bones; the rest of the mounds, eleven in number, are for some other purpose. There are seven gateways, of about five rods in width each. "The immense labor, and numerous cemeteries filled with human bones, denote a vast population, near this spot, in ancient times." -- (Atwater.)
"Tumuli are very common on the river Ohio, from its utmost sources to its mouth, although on the Monongahela, they are few, and comparatively small, but increase in number and size, as we descend towards the mouth of that stream at Pittsburgh, where the Ohio begins; after this they are still more numerous and of greater dimensions, till we arrive at Grave creek, below Wheeling. At this place, situated between two creeks, which run into the Ohio, a little way from the river, is one of the most extraordinary and august monuments of antiquity, of the mound description. Its circumference at its base, is fifty-six rods, its perpendicular height ninety feet, its top seven rods and eight feet in circumference. The centre at the summit, appears to have sunk several feet, so as to form a kind of amphitheatre. The rim enclosing this concavity is seven or eight feet in thickness; on the south side, in the edge of this rim, stands a large beech tree, the bark of which is marked with the initials of a great number of visitants."
This lofty and venerable tumulus has been so far opened as to
ascertain that it contains many thousands of human skeletons, but no further; the proprietor will not suffer its demolition, in the least degree, for which he is highly praiseworthy.
Following the river Ohio downwards, the mounds appear on both sides, erected uniformly on the highest alluvials along that stream, increasing in numbers all the way to the Mississippi, on which river they assume the largest size. Not having surveyed them, (says Mr. Atwater,) we shall use the description of Mr. Breckenridge, who travelled much in the west, and among the Indians, and devoted much attention to the subject of these astonishing western antiquities.
These tumuli, (says Mr. Breckenridge,) as well as the fortifications, are to be found at the junction of all the rivers along the Mississippi, in the most eligible positions for towns, and in the most extensive bodies of fertile land. Their number exceeds, perhaps, three thousand; the smallest, not less than twenty feet in height, and three hundred, in circumference at the base. Their great number, and their amazing size, may be regarded as furnishing, with other circumstances, evidences of their great antiquity.
I have been sometimes induced to think, that at the period when these were constructed, there was a population as numerous as that which once animated the borders of the Nile, or of the Euphrates. The most numerous, as well as the most considerable of these remains, are found precisely in those parts of the country where the traces of a numerous population might be looked for, namely, from the mouth of the Ohio, on the east side of the river, to the Illinois, and on the west side, from the St. Francis to the Missouri. I am perfectly satisfied that cities, similar to those of ancient Mexico, of several hundred thousand souls, have existed in this western country.
From this view we are compelled to look upon those nations as agriculturists, or they could not have subsisted; neither wild game nor fish could possibly support so great a population. If agriculturists, then it must follow, of necessity, that many modes of building, as with stone, timber, earth or clay, were practised and known, as well us methods of clearing the earth of heavy timber. And if they had not a knowledge of metals, we cannot well conceive how they could have removed the forests for the purposes of husbandry, and space for building. But if we suppose they did
not build houses with wood, stone and brick, but lived in tents or some fragile but, yet the use of metals cannot be dispensed with, on account of the forests to be removed for agricultural purposes. Baron Humboldt informs us, in his Researches in South America, that when he crossed the Cordillera mountains, by the way of Panama and Assuay, and viewed the enormous masses of stone cut from the porphyry quarries of Pullal, which was employed in constructing the ancient highroads of the Incas, that he began to doubt whether the Peruvians were not acquainted with other tools than hatchets made of flint and stone; and that grinding one stone on another to make them smooth and level, was not the only method they had employed in this operation. On which account he adopted a new opinion, contrary to those generally received. He conjectured that they must have had tools made of copper, hardened with tin, such as it is known the early nations of Asia made use of. This conjecture was fully sustained by the discovery of an ancient Peruvian mining chisel, in a silver mine at Vilcabamba, which had been worked in the time of the Incas. This instrument of copper was four inches long, and three-fourths of an inch wide; which he carried with him to Europe, where he had it analyzed, and found it to contain ninety-four parts of copper and six of tin. He says, that this keen copper of the Peruvians is almost identically the same with that of the ancient Gallic axe, which cut wood nearly as well as if made of iron and steel.
Every where on the old continent, at the beginning of the civilization of nations, the use of copper, mixed with tin, prevailed over that of iron, even in places where the latter had been for a long time known Antonio de Herera, in the tenth book of his History of the West Indies, says expressly that the inhabitants of the maritime coast of Zocatallan, in America, prepared two sorts of copper, of which one was hard and cutting, and the other malleable. The hard copper was to make hatchets, weapons and instruments of agriculture with, and that is, was tempered with tin. -- (Humboldt, vol. 1, pp. 260-268.
Among a great variety of the gods of the people of the Tonga islands, in the South Pacific ocean, is found one god named To-gi Ocummeu, which is, literally, the iron axe. From which circumstance we imagine the people of those islands, sometimes called the Friendly Islands, were, at, some period before their having been
discovered by Captain Cook, acquainted with the use of iron, and consequently in a more civilized condition. Because men, in those early times, were apt to deify almost every thing, but especially those things the most useful?
Were the people of Christendom to lose their knowledge of the true God, and to fall back into nature's ignorance, is there an article within the compass of the arts which would from its usefulness have a higher claim to deification than the metal called iron.
That group of islands belongs to the immense range shooting out from New-Holland, in south latitude about 20 deg. and once perhaps were united to China, forming a part of the continent. But, however this may be, the first inhabitants of those islands were derived from China, and carried with them a knowledge of the arts; among which was that of the use of iron, in the form of the axe, which, it appears, had become deified from its usefulness. The reason of the loss of this knowledge, must have been the separation of their country from the continent by convulsions, from age to age; which not only altered the shape and condition of the land, but threw the inhabitants into confusion, separating them far from each other, the sea running between, so that they became reduced to savagism, as they were found by the first Christian nations.
Traits of ancient Cities on the Mississippi.Nearly opposite St. Louis, there are the traces of two ancient cities, in the distance of a few miles, situated on the Cohokia creek, which empties into the Mississippi but a short distance below that place. Here is situated one of those pyramids, which is one hundred and fifty rods in circumference at its base, (nearly half a mile,) and one hundred feet high. At St. Louis is one with two stages or landing places, as the architectural phrase is. There is another with three stages, at the mouth of the Missouri, a few miles above St. Louis. With respect to the stages, or landing places of these pyramids, we are reminded of the tower once standing in old Babylon, which had eight stages from its base to the summit,
making it six hundred feet high. At the mouth of the Cahokia creek, a short distance below St. Louis, are two groups of those mounds, of smaller size, but we are not informed of their exact number. At Bayeau Manchae and Baton Rouge, are several mounds, one of which is composed chiefly of shells, which the inhabitants burn into lime. There is a mound on Black river, which has two stages or stories; this is surrounded with a group of lesser ones, as well as those at Bayeau Manchae, and Baton Rouge,. There is one of those pyramids near Washington, in the State of Mississippi, which is one hundred and forty-six feet high, which is little short of nine rods perpendicular elevation, and fifty-six rods in circumference. Mr. Breckenridge is of the opinion that the largest city belonging to this people, the authors of the mounds and other works, was situated on the plains between St. Francis and the Arkansas. There is no doubt but in the neighborhood of St. Louis must have been cities or large towns of these ancient people; as the number and size of the mounds above recounted would most certainly justify.
Fifteen miles in a southwesterly direction from the town of St. Louis, on the Merrimack river, was discovered, by a Mr. Long, on lands which he had purchased there, several mounds of the ordinary size, as found in the valley of the Mississippi, all of which go to establish that this country, lying between the Missouri and the Mississippi rivers, below St. Louis, and between the junction of the Illinois and the Mississippi above, with the whole region about the union of these rivers with each other, -- which are all not far from St. Louis -- was once the seat of empire, equal, if not surpassing, the population and the arts as once they flourished on the plains of Shinar, the seat of Chaldean power and on the banks of the Euphrates.
It was on the lands of this gentleman, Mr. Long, that the discovery of a burying-ground containing a vast number of small tumuli, or graves, took place. On opening the graves, there were found deposited in stone coffins, composed of stone slabs, six in number, forming the bottom, sides and top, with end pieces, the skeletons of a race of human beings, apparently of but from three to four feet in height. This discovery excited much surprise, and called forth, from several pens, the conjectures of able men, who published a variety of opinions respecting them. Some imagined
them to be the relics of a race of pigmy inhabitants who had become extinct. Others on account of the size of the teeth, which denoted full grown and adult persons, conjectured them to be the skeletons of race of baboons or monkeys, from the shortness of their stature. From this opinion arose another conjecture, that they had been the objects of worship to the ancient nations, as they had been sometimes among the earlier Egyptians.
The bones of these subjects were entirely destroyed, and reduced to ashes of a white chalky consistency, except the teeth, which were perfect, being made imperishable from their enamel. Many of these graves were opened, and the inmates found not to exceed three and four feet. At length one was opened, and the skeleton it contained appeared to be of the full size of a large man, except its length; however, this, on close inspection, was found to have had its legs disjointed at the knees, and placed along side the thigh bones, which at once, in the eyes of some, accounted for the statures of the whole.
Such a custom is, indeed, singular; and among all the discoveries of those ancient traits, nothing to compare with this has come to light. Respecting this instance of short skeletons, it has been also urged, that as certain tribes of the common Indians, now inhabiting the upper shores of the Missouri, place their dead on scaffolds and in baskets, fastened to the limbs of trees, till their flesh becomes separated from the bones, that the authors of these short graves did the same. And that when by this process, they had become fair and white, they deposited them in small coffins, as discovered on the farm of Mr. Long. But although this is doubtless true respecting the Missouri Indians, yet we have no account of short graves having been found among others. But as we are unable to cast light on this discovery, we shall leave it as we found it -- a great curiosity.
Tradition of the Mexican Natives respecting their
we subjoin what we have gathered from the Researches of Baron Humboldt, on that point. See Helen Maria William's translation of Humboldt's Researches in South America, vol. 2, p. 67. From which it appears the people inhabiting the vale of Mexico, at the time the Spaniards overrun that country, were called Aztecks, or Aztekas; and were, as the Spanish history informs us, usurpers, having come from the north, from a country which they called Aztalan.
This country of Aztalan, Baron Humboldt says, "we must look for at least north of the 42d degree of latitude." He comes to this conclusion from an examination of the Mexican or Azteca manuscripts, which were made of a certain kind of leaves, and of skins prepared; on which, an account in painted hieroglyphics or pictures, was given of their migration from Aztalan to Mexico, and how long they halted at certain places, which, in the aggregate, amounts to "four hundred and sixteen years "
The following names of places appear on their account of their journeyings, at which places they made less or more delay, and built towns, forts, tumuli, &c.
1st. A place of Humiliation, and a place of Grottoes. It would seem at this place they were much afflicted and humbled; but in what manner is not related; and also at this place, from the term grottoes, that it was a place of caverns and dens, probably where they at first hid, and dwelt till they built a town and cleared the ground. Here they built the places which they called Tocalco and Oztatan.
2d Journey; they stopped at a place of fruit trees; probably meaning, as it was farther south, a place where nature was abundant in nuts, grapes, and wild fruit trees. Here they built a mound or tumuli, and, in their language, it is called a Teocali.
3d Journey; when they stopped at a place of herbs, with broad leaves; probably meaning a place where many succulent plants grew, denoting a good soil; which invited them to pitch their tents here.
4th Journey; when they came to a place of human bones; where they, either during their stay had battles with each other, or with some enemy, or they may have found them already there, the relics of other nations before them; for, according to Humboldt, this migration of the Aztecas, took place A. D. 778; so that other nations certainly had preceded them, also from the north.
5th Journey; they came to a place of Eagles.
6th Journey; to a place of precious stones and minerals.
7th Journey, to a place of spinning, where they manufactured clothing of cotton, barks, or of something proper for clothing of some sort, and mats of rushes and feathers.
8th Journey; they came to another place of eagles called the Eagle mountain, or in their own language, Quauktli Tepec: Tepec, says Humboldt, in the Turkish language, is the word for mountain; which two words are so near alike, tepec and tepe, that it would seem almost an Arab word, or a word used by the Turks
9th Journey; when they came to a place of walls, and the seven grottoes; which shows the place had been inhabited before, and these seven grottoes were either caves in the earth, or were made in the side of some mountain, by those who had preceded them.
10th Journey, when they came to a place of thistles, sand and vultures.
11th Journey; when they came to a place of (Obsidian Mirrors, which is much the same with that of isinglass, scientifically called mica membranacea. This mineral substance is frequently found in the tumuli of the west, and is called, by the Mexicans, the shining god. The obsidian stone, however, needs polishing, before it will answer as a mirror.
12th Journey; came to a place of water, probably some lake, or beautiful fountains, which invited their residence there; on the account not only of the water, but for fishing and game.
13th Journey; they came to the place of the Divine Monkey, called in their own language, Teozomoco. Here, it would seem, they set up the worship of the monkey, or baboon as the ancient Egyptians are known to have done. This animal is found in Mexico or New Spain, according to Humboldt.
14th Journey; when they came to a high mountain, probably with table lands on it; which they called Chapaltepec, or mountain of locusts. A place, says Baron Humboldt, celebrated for the magnificent view from the top of this hill; which, it appears, is in the Mexican country, and probably not far from the vale of Mexico; where they finally and permanently rested.
15th Journey, when they came to the vale of Mexico, having here met with the prodigy, or fulfilment of the prophecy, or
miracle, which at their outset from the country of Aztalan, Huehuetlapallan, and Amaquemecan; which was (see Humboldt, vol. 2, p 185,) that the migrations of the Aztecks should not terminate till the chiefs of the nation should meet with an eagle perched on a cactus tree or prickly pear; at such a place they might found a city. This was, as their bull-hide books inform us, in the vale of Mexico.
We have related this account of the Azteca migration from the country of Aztalan, Huehuetlapallan, and Amaquemecan, from the regions of north latitude 42 degrees, merely to show that the country, provinces, or districts, so named in their books, must have been the country of Ohio, Mississippi; and Illinois, with the whole region thereabout; for these are not far from the very latitude named by Humboldt as the region of Aztalan, &c.
The western country is now distinguished, by the general name of the "lake country" and why, because it is a country of lakes; and for the same reason, it was called by the Mexican, Azteca, Indians, Aztalan, because in their language, ATL is water, from which Aztalan is doubtless a derivative as well also as their own name as a nation, or title, which was Astecas, or people of the Lakes.
This account, derived from the Mexicans since their reduction by the Spaniards, gathered from the researches of learned travellers, who have, for the very purpose of learning the origin of the people of this country, penetrated not only into the forest retreats in the woods of Mexico, but into the mysteries of their hard language, their theology, philosophy and astronomy. This account of their migration, as related above, is corroborated by the tradition of the Wyandot Indians.
We come to a knowledge of this tradition, by the means of a Mr. William Walker, some time Indian agent for our government; who, it seems, from a pamphlet published, 1823, by Frederick Falley, of Sandusky, giving Mr. Walker's account, that a great many hundred years ago the ancient inhabitants of America, who were the authors of the great works of the west, were driven away from their country and possessions, by barbarians and savage hordes of warriors, who came from the north and northeast; before whose power and skill in war, they were compelled to flee, and went to the south.
After having been there many hundred years, a runner came
back into the same country, from whence the ancient people had been driven, which we suppose is the very country of Aztalan, or the region of the western states; bringing the intelligence, that a dreadful beast had landed on their coast along the sea, which was spreading among them havoc and death, by means of fire and thunder; and that it would no doubt, travel all over the country, for the same purpose of destruction. This beast whose voice was like thunder, and whose power to kill was like fire, we have no doubt, represents the cannon and small arms of the Spaniards, when they first commenced the murder of the people of South America.
Supposed uses of the Ancient Roads connected with the Mounds.Ancient roads, or highways, which in many parts of the west, are found walled in on both sides for many miles, where the forest trees are growing as abundant, and as large, and aged, as in any part of the surrounding woods. We have already mentioned several roads which have always been found connected with some great works; as at Piketon, Portsmouth, Newark, Licking county, and at the works on the Little Miami river. These roads, where they have been traced, are found to communicate with some mound, or mountain, which had been shaped by art to suit the purposes of those who originated these stupendous works. The circumstance of their being walled in by banks of earth, leaving from one to four and six rods space between, has excited much inquiry, as to the reason and purposes of their construction. But may not this grand characteristic of the people of the west, in road building, be illustrated by comparing a practice of the Mexicans with this fact we will show the practice, and then draw the conclusion.
"The Mexicans believed, according to a very ancient tradition, that the end of the world would take place at the termination of every cycle of fifty-two years; that the sun would no more appear on the horizon, and that mankind would be devoured by evil genii of hideous appearance, known under the name of Teitzimimes.
On the last day of this great cycle of time, of fifty-two years, the sacred fires were extinguished in all their temples, and dwellings, and every where, all the people devoting themselves to prayer, no person daring to light a fire at the approach of the night; the vessels of clay were broken, garments torn, and whatever was most precious was destroyed, because every thing appeared useless at the tremendous moment of the last day. Amidst this frantic superstition, pregnant women became the objects of peculiar horror to the men; they caused their faces to be hidden with masks made with paper of the agave; they were even imprisoned in the store houses of maize or corn, from a persuasion, that if the catastrophe took place, the women transformed into tigers, would make common cause with the evil genii, and avenge themselves of the injustice of the men. As soon as it was dark, the grand procession' called the festival of the new fire, commenced. The priests took the dresses of the gods, and followed by an immense crowd of people, went in solemn train to the mountain of Huzachthcatl, which was two leagues or six miles from Mexico. This lugubrious march was called the march of the gods; which was supposed to be their final departure from their city, and possibly never to return; in which event, the end of the world was come. When the procession had reached the summit of the mountain, it waited till the moment when the Pleiades, or the seven stars, ascended the middle of the sky, to begin the horrible sacrifice of a human victim, stretched on the stone of sacrifice, having a wooden disk on the breast, which the priest inflames by friction. The corpse, after having received a wound in the breast, which extinguished life, while he was held on the fatal stone, was laid on the ground; and the instrument made use of to produce fire by friction, was placed on the wound, which had been made with a knife of obsidian stone. When the bits of wood, by the rapid motion of the cylinder, or machine made use of for that purpose, had taken fire, an enormous pile, previously prepared to receive the body of the unfortunate victim, was kindled, the flames of which, ascending high into the air, were seen at a great distance; when the vast populace of the city of Mexico, and surrounding country, filled the air with joyful shouts and acclamations. All such as were not able to join in the procession, were stationed on the terraces of houses, and on the tops of teocallis, or mounds, and tumulis,
with their eyes fixed on the spot where the flame was to appear: which, as soon as it was perceived, was a token of the benevolence of the gods, and of the presentation of mankind during another cycle of fifty-two years, Messengers posted at proper distances from each other, holding branches of wood, of a very resinous pine, carried the new fire from village to village to the distance of many leagues; and deposited it anew in every temple, from whence it was distributed to all private dwellings. When the sun appeared on the horizon, the shouting was redoubled, the procession went back from the mountain to the city, and they thought they could see their gods also returning to their sanctuaries. The women were then released from their prisons, every one put on a new dress, the temples were whitewashed, their household furniture renewed, their plate. and whatever was necessary for domestic use. "This secular festival, this apprehension of the sun being extinguished at the epoch of the winter solstice, seems to present a new instance of analogy between the Mexicans and the inhabitants of Egypt. When the Egyptians saw the sun descend from the Crab towards Capricorn, and the days gradually grow shorter, they were accustomed to sorrow, from the apprehension that the sun was going to abandon the earth, but when the orb began to return, and the duration of the days grew longer, they robed themselves in white garments, and crowned themselves with flowers." (Humboldt, p. 380, 384)
This Mexican usage may have been practised by the people of the west, as the roads would seem to justify, leading as they do, either to some mountain prepared by art, or at some mound; and as these processions took place in the night, so that the Pleiades, or several stars, might be seen, it was necessary that the roads should be walled as a defence against an enemy, who might take advantage under cover of the night. After having examined these accounts of the ancient works of the west, it is natural to ask, who their authors were: this can be answered only by comparison and conjecture, more or less upheld, as circumstances, features, manners, and customs of the nations, many resemble each other. "If we look into the Bible, we shall there learn, that mankind, soon after the deluge, undertook to raise a tower, high as heaven, designed to keep them together. But in this attempt they were disappointed, and themselves dispersed throughout the world. Did they forget
to raise afterwards similar monuments and places of worship? They did not, and to use the words of an inspired writer, "high places," of various altitudes and dimensions, were raised on every high hill throughout the land of Palestine, and all the east, among the pagan nations. Some of these "high places" belonged to single families; some to mighty chieftains, a petty tribe, a city, or a whole nation. At those "high places," belonging to great nations, great national affairs were transacted. Here they crowned and deposed their kings; here they concluded peace, and declared war, and worshipped their gods. The Jews, on many great occasions, assembled at Gilgal; which word signifies "an heap." Shiloh, where the Jews frequently assembled to transact great national affairs, and perform acts of devotion, was on the top of a high hill. When this was forsaken, the loftier hill of Zion was selected in its stead; upon Sinai's awful summit the law of God was promulgated. Solomon's temple was situated upon a high hill, by Divine appointment. Samaria, a place celebrated, for the worship of idols, was built upon a high hill of Shemer, by Omri, one of the kings of Israel, who was buried there. How many hundreds of mounds in this country are situated on the highest hills, surrounded by the most fertile soils? Traverse the counties of Licking, Franklin, Pickaway, and Ross; examine the loftiest mounds and compare them with those described in Palestine, and a conviction will remain, that as in the earliest ages, men preferred the summit of the highest mountains, as a love of the same, as a memorial of ancestry, would influence posterity to the like custom." (Atwater.)
But the most extraordinary mound we have heard of, is mentioned by Schoolcraft, Travels in the West. It is called Mount Joliet, and is situated on the river Des Plains, one of the head water rivers of the Illinois. Its situation is such as to give to its size its fullest effect, being on a level country with no hill in sight to form a contrast. Its height is sixty feet, nearly four rods perpendicular, its length eighty-four rods, its width fourteen, and is one hundred and ninety-six rods in circumference on its top, but considerably larger, measuring round the base. It has been remarked by Dr. Beck, that this is probably the largest mound within the limits of the United States. This mound is built on the horizontal lime stone stratum of the secondary formation, and is fronted by
the beautiful lake Joliet, which is but fifteen miles long, furnishing the most "noble and picturesque spot in all America." -- (Schoolcraft.) This mound consists of eighteen million, two hundred and fifty thousand solid feet of earth. How long it took to build it, is more than can be made out, as the number of men employed, and the facilities to carry on the work, are unknown
In England, Scotland, and in Wales, they are thus situated. At Inch Tutbell on the river Tay, there is a mound which resembles this on the Licking, near Newark The camp at Comerie is on a water of Ruchel, situated on a high alluvion, like that in the west. The antiquities of Ardoch are on a water Kneck, their walls ditches, gateways, mounds of defence before them and every thing about them, resemble our works of this character in America.
What Pennant, in his in the north of Europe, calls a praetorium, is exactly like the circular works round our mounds, when placed within walls of earth. Catter-thun, two miles from Angus, is ascribed to the ancient Caledonians, or Scotch. Such works are very common in Ohio. One on the river Loden, or Lowthe, and another near the river Emet, are exactly like those in the west. The strong resemblance between the works in Scotland and those of the west, I think, says Mr. Atwater; no man will deny. In various parts of the British isles, as well as England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, are abundance of those works, which were places of worship, burial, and defence, built by the ancient Picts, so called by the Romans, because they painted themselves, like the aborigines of our country. At a very early period of the globe, a small mound of earth served as a sepulchre and an altar, whereon the officiating priest could be seen by the surrounding worshippers. Such sacred works may be traced from Wales to Russia, quite across that empire north, to our continent, and then across this continent, from the Columbia on the Pacific ocean, to the Black river, on the east end of lake Ontario; thence turning in a southwestern direction, we find them extending quite to the southern parts of Mexico and Peru.
"If there exists," says Dr. Clarke, "any thing of former times which may afford evidence of antediluvian manners, it is this mode of burial; which seems to mark the progress of population in the first ages after the dispersion, occasioned by the confusion of languages, at Babel. Whether under the form of a mound in Scandinavia
and Russia, a barrow in England, or cairn in Ireland, Scotland and Wales, or heaps of earth, which the modern Greeks and Turks call tepe, and the Mexicans tepec; and lastly, in the more artificial shape of a pyramid, in Egypt: they had universally the same origin."
Here we have the unequivocal opinion of a man who has scarcely his fellow, respecting a knowledge of the ancient manners of mankind; who says, that the tumuli, found in all parts of the earth, belong solely to the age immediately succeeding Noah's flood; which greatly favors our opinion, that this country was settled as early as the other parts of the earth, which are at as great a distance from Mount Ararat and Babylon.
But what is the distance from Mount Ararat by way of Bhering's strait, to the middle of the United States, which is the region of the Missouri? It is something over ten thousand miles; nearly half the circuit of the globe. Here, in the region of the western states, we have, by the aid of Baron Humboldt, supposed the country of Aztalan was situated; where the great specimens of labor and ancient manners are most abundant. If this was the way the first people came into America, it is very clear they could not, in the ordinary way of making a settlement here and there, have arrived soon enough to show signs of as great antiquity, in their works in America, as those of the same sort found in the north of Europe. Some other way, therefore, we are confident, the first inhabitants must have pursued, so that their works in America might compare, in character and antiquity, with those of other nations. From Ararat, in a westerly course, passing through Europe, by way of the countries now situated in Russia in Europe, to the Atlantic, the distance is scarcely 5000 miles; not half the distance the route of Bhering's strait would have been. And if the Egyptian tradition be true respecting the island Atalantis, and the conjectures of naturalists about a union of Europe and America on the north, there was nothing to hinder their settling here, immediately after their dispersion.
It is supposed the first generations immediately succeeding the flood, were much more enlightened than many nations since that period; the reason is, they had not yet forgotten that which they had learned of the manners of their antediluvian ancestors, from Noah: but as they spread and diverged asunder, what they had
learned from him concerning the creation, architecture, and the culture of the earth before the flood, they lost, and so retrograded to savagism.
It is true, the family of Shem, of whom were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by the particular Providence of God, retained, unadulterated, the traditional history of the creation, and of man, till the time Moses embodied it in a book, 857 years after the flood. But the rest of the nations were left, in this respect, to mere recollections; which, as soon as they divided and subdivided, became contradictory and monstrous in their accounts.
But the authors of the great works found in the west, seem to have retained the first ideas received from their fathers at the era of the building of Babel, equally, if not superior, to many nations of Europe, as they were in the year 800 after Christ. This is consented to on all hands, and even contended for by the historian Humboldt. In order to show the reader the propriety of believing. that a colony, very soon after the confusion of the language of mankind, found their way to what is now called America, we give the tradition of the Azteca nation, who once inhabited Aztalan, the country of the western states, but were, at the era of the conquest of South America, found inhabiting the vale of Mexico, because they had, as we have shown, been driven away by the irruptions of the Tartarian Indians, as follows:
They begin by painting, or as we would say, by telling us that Noah, whom they call Tezpi, saved himself, with his wife, whom they call Xochiquetzal, on a raft or canoe. Is not this the ark? The raft or canoe rested on or at the foot of a mountain, which they call Colhuacan. Is not this Ararat? The men born after this
deluge were born dumb. Is not this the confusion of language at Babel? A dove from the top of a tree distributes languages to them in the form of an olive leaf. Is not this the dove of Noah, which returned with that leaf in her mouth, as related in Genesis? They say, that on this raft, beside Tezpi and his wife, were several children, and animals, with grain, the preservation of which was of importance to mankind. Is not this in almost exact accordance with what was saved in the ark with Noah, as stated in Genesis?
When the Great Spirit, Tezcatlipoca, ordered the waters to withdraw, Tezpi sent out from his raft a vulture, which never returned, on account of the great quantities of dead carcasses which it found to feed upon. Is not this the raven of Noah, which did not return when it was sent out the second time, for the very reason here assigned by the Mexicans? Tezpi sent other birds, one of which was the humming bird; this bird alone returned, holding in its beak a branch covered with leaves. Is not this the dove? Tezpi, seeing that fresh verdure now clothed the earth, quitted his raft near the mountain of Colhuacan, Is not this an allusion to Ararat of Asia? They say the tongues which the dove gave to mankind, were infinitely varied; which, when received, they immediately dispersed. But among them there were fifteen heads or chiefs of families, which were permitted to speak the same language, and these were the Taltecs, the Aculhucans, and Azteca nations, who embodied themselves together, which was very natural, and travelled, they knew not where, but at length arrived in the country of Aztalan, or the lake country in America.
The plate or engraving presented here, is a suprising representation of the deluge of Noah, and of the confusion of the ancient language, at the building of the tower of Babel, as related in the book of Genesis, (see chap. vii. and xi.)
We have derived the subject of this plate from Baron Humboldt's volume of Researches in Mexico, who found it painted on a manuscript book, made of the leaves of some kind of tree, suitable for the purpose, after the manner of the ancient nations of the sultry parts of Asia, around the Mediterranean
Among the vast multitude of painted representations found by this author, on the books of the natives, made also frequently of prepared skins of animals, were delineated all the leading circumstances and history of the deluge, of the fall of man, and of the
seduction of the woman by the means of the serpent, the first murder as perpetrated by Cain, on the person of his brother Abel.
The plate, however, here presented, shows no more than a picture of the flood, with Noah afloat on a raft, or as the traditions of some of the nations say, on a tree, a canoe, and some say even in a vessel of huge dimensions. It also shows, by the, group of men approaching the bird, a somewhat obscure history of the confusion of the ancient language, at the building of Babel, by representing them as being born dumb, who receive the gift of speech from a dove, which flutters in the branches of the tree, while she presents the languages to the mute throng, by bestowing upon each individual a leaf of the tree, which is shown in the form of small comma, suspended from its beak
Among the different nations, according to Humboldt, who inhabited Mexico, were found paintings which represented the deluge, or the flood of Tezpi. The same person among the Chinese is called Fohi and Yu-ti, which is strikingly similar in sound to the Mexican Tezpi, in which they show how he saved himself and his wife, in a bark, or some say, in a canoe, others, on a raft, which they call, in their language, a hushuate.
The painting, of which the plate is the representation, shows Tezpi, or Noah, in the midst of the waters, lying on his back. The mountain, the summit of which is crowned by a tree, and rises above the waters, is the peak of Colhucan, the Ararat of the Mexicans. At the foot of the mountain, on each side, appear the heads of Noah and his wife. The woman is known by the two points extending up from her forehead, which is the universal designation of the female sex among the Mexicans. The horn at the left hand of the tree, with a human hand pointing to it, is the character representing a mountain, and the head of a bird placed above the head of Tezpi or Noah, shows the vulture which the Mexicans say Tezpi sent out of his acalli or boat to see if the waters had subsided.
In the figure of the bird, with the leaves of a tree in its beak, is shown the circumstance of the dove to return to the Ark, when it had been sent out the second time, bringing a branch of the olive in its mouth; but in their tradition it had become misplaced, and is made the author of the languages. That birds have a language, was believed by the nations of the old world. Some of those nations retain a surprising traditional account of the deluge; who say
that Noah embarked in a spacious acalli or boat, with his wife, his children, several animals, and grain, the preservation of which was of great importance to mankind. When the Great Spirit, Tezcatlipoca, ordered the waters to withdraw, Tezpi, or Noah, sent out from his boat a vulture. But as the bird's natural food was that of dead carcasses, it did not return, on account of the great number of dead carcasses with which the earth, now dried in some places, abounded.
Tezpi sent out other birds, one of which was the humming bird; this bird alone returned again to the boat, holding in its beak a branch, covered with leaves. Tezpi now knowing that the earth was dry, being clothed with fresh verdure, quitted his bark near the mountain Colhucan, or Ararat.
The purity of this tradition is evidence of two things: first, that the book of Genesis, as written by Moses, is not as some have imagined, a cunningly devised fable, as these Indians cannot be accused of Christian priestcraft, nor yet of Jewish priestcraft, their religion being solely of another cast, wholly idolatrous. And second, that the continents of America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, were anciently united, so the earlier nations came directly over after the confusion of the ancient language and dispersion -- on which account its purity has been preserved more than among the more wandering tribes of the old continents.
As favoring this idea of their coming immediately from the region of the tower of Babel, their tradition goes on to inform us, that the tongues distributed by this bird were infinitely various, and dispersed over the earth; but that it so happened that fifteen heads of families were permitted to speak the same language, these are the same shown on the plate. These travelled till they came to a country which they called Aztalan, supposed to be in the regions of the now United States, according to Humboldt. As favoring this idea, we notice, the word Aztalan signifies in their language, water, or a country of much water. Now, no country on the earth better suits this appellation than the western country, on account of the vast number of lakes found there, and is even, by us, called the lake country.
There is another particular in this group of naked, dumb human beings, worthy of notice, which is, that neither their countenances nor form of their persons agree at all with the countenances or formation
of the common Indians; they suit far better to the face of the ancient Britons, Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians and Persians the progenitors of the German tribes.
If so, it is evident, that the Indians are not the first people who found their way to this country. Among these ancient nations are found many more traditions corresponding to the accounts given by Moses, respecting the creation, the fall of man by the means of a serpent -- the murder of Abel by his brother, &c.; all of which are denoted in their paintings, as found by the earlier travellers among them, since the discovery of America by Columbus, and carefully copied from their books of prepared hides, which may be called parchment, after the manner of the ancients of the earliest ages.
We are pleased when we find such evidence, as it goes to the establishment of the truth of the historical parts of the old Testament, evidence so far removed from the sceptic's charge of priestcraft here among the unsophisticated nations of the earlier people of America.
Clavigero, in his history of Mexico, says that among the Chiapanese Indians, was found an ancient manuscript in the language of that country, made by the Indians themselves, in which it was said, according to their ancient tradition, that a certain person, named Votan, was present at that great building, which was made by order of his uncle, in order to mount up to heaven; that then every people was given its language, and that Votan himself was charged by God to make the division of the lands of Anahuac -- so Noah divided the earth among his sons. Votan may have been Noah, or a grandson of his.
Of the ancient Indians of Cuba, several historians of America relate, that when they were interrogated by the Spaniards concerning their origin, they answered, they had heard from their ancestors, that God created the heavens and the earth, and all things: that an old man having foreseen the deluge with which God designed to chastise the sins of men, built a large canoe and embarked in it with his family, and many animals; that when the inundation ceased, he sent out a raven, which, because it found food suited to its nature to feed on, never returned to the canoe; that he then sent out a pigeon, which soon returned, bearing a branch of the Hoba tree, a certain fruit tree of America, in its mouth; that when the old man saw the earth dry, he disembarked, and
having made himself wine of the wood grape, he became intoxicated and fell asleep; that then one of his sons made ridicule of his nakedness, and that another son piously covered him; that, upon waking, he blessed the latter and cursed the former. Lastly, these islanders held that they had their origin from the accursed son, and therefore went almost naked; that the Spaniards, as they were clothed, descended perhaps from the other.
Many of the nations of America, says Clavigero, have the same tradition, agreeing nearly to that we have already related. It was the opinion of this author, that the nations who peopled the Mexican empire, belonged to the posterity of Naphtuhim -- (the same, we imagine, with Japheth;) and that their ancestors having left Egypt not long after the confusion of the ancient language, travelled towards America, crossing over on the isthmus, which it is supposed once united America with the African continent, but since has been beaten down by the operation of the waters of the Atlantic on the north, and the Southern ocean on the south, or by the operation of earthquakes.
Now we consider the comparative perfection of the preservation of this Bible account, as an evidence that the people among whom it was found must have settled in this country at a very early period of time, after the flood, and that they did not wander any more, but peopled the continent, cultivating it, building towns and cities, after their manner; the vestiges of which are so abundant to this day; and on this account, viz., their fixedness, their traditionary history was not as liable to become lost, as it would have undoubtedly been, had they wandered, as many other nations of the old world have, among whom scarcely a vestige of their origin is found, of credible tradition, compared with this.
Even the Hindoo nations, who, in their origin wandered also from Ararat, have not, with all their boasted refinement and antiquity of origin, as clear an account of the first age of the earth, as these Mexicans. But there is another additional reason for it: those countries of the east have been frequently overrun by savage hordes from the wilds of northern Tartary; while the ancient people of this continent have rested in peace, till similar hordes found their way across Bhering's strait in later years; and, as is believed, an account of the tradition, both of some of the western tribes, and of the Azteca nations in Mexico, were driven from their ancient possessions.
If, then, we believe that the first people who visited this country did not come here by the way of Bhering's strait, from Tartary, how then is it that we find such evident marks in the mounds and tumuli of the west, of the presence of a Hindoo population, as well as of other nations.
Let the traditions of the nations of Taltec and Azteca extraction in Mexico answer it. These say, that a wonderful personage, whom they name Quetzalcoatl, appeared among them, who was a white and bearded man. This person assumed the dignity of acting as a priest and legislator, and became the chief of a religious sect, which like the Songasis, and the Boudhists of Hindostan, inflicted on themselves the most cruel penances. He introduced the custom of piercing the lips and ears, and lacerating the rest of the body, with the prickles of the agave and leaves, the thorns of the cactus, and of putting reeds into the wounds, in order that the blood might be seen to trickle more copiously. In all this, says Humboldt, we seem to behold one of those Rishi, hermits of the Ganges, whose pious austerity is celebrated in the books of the Hindoos.
Jewitt, a native of Boston, who lately died at Hartford, Conn., was, some few years since, captured with the crew of the vessel in which he had sailed, by the Nootka Indians, at Nootka sound, on the Pacific. In his narrative of his captivity and sufferings, he states that those Indians had a religious custom, very similar to those of the Hindoos, now in use about the temple of Juggernaut, in India; which was, piercing their sides with long rods, and leaping about while the rods were in the wound.
Respecting this white and bearded man, much is said in their tradition, recorded in their books of skin, and among other things, that after a long stay with them he sudden]y left them, promising to return again, in a short time, to govern them and renew their happiness. This person resembles, very strongly, in his promise to return again, the behavior of Lycurgus, the Spartan lawgiver, who, on his departure from Lacedaemon, bound all the citizens under an oath, both for themselves and posterity, that they would neither violate nor abolish his laws till his return; and soon after, in the Isle of Crete, he put himself to death, so that his return became impossible.
It was the posterity of this man whom the unhappy Montezuma
thought he recognized in the soldiers of Cortez, the Spanish conqueror of Mexico. "We know," said the unhappy monarch, in his first interview with the Spanish general, " by our books, that myself and those who inhabit this country, are not natives but strangers, who came from a great distance. We know, also, that the chief who led our ancestors hither, returned for a certain time, to his primitive country, and thence came back to seek those who were here established, who after a while, returned again, alone. We always believed that his descendants would one day come to take possession of this country. Since you arrive from that region where the sun rises, I cannot doubt but that the king who sends you is our natural master."
Humboldt says, that the Azteca tribes left their country, Aztalan, in the year of our Lord 544; and wandered to the south or southwest, coming at last to the vale of Mexico. It would appear, from this view, that as the nations of Aztalan, with their fellow nations, left vast works, and a vast extent of country, apparently in a state of cultivation, with cities and villages, more in number than three thousand, as Breckenridge supposed, that they must, therefore, have settled here long before the Christian era.
The peculiar doctrines of the Hindoos, we are informed, were commenced to be taught in the east, among what is now called the Hindoo nations, by Zoroaster, about the time of Abraham, 1449 years before the time of Confucius, who was born 551 B. C. So that there was time for those doctrines of Confucius and Zoroaster to take root in China, and to become popular, and also to reach America, by Hindoo missionaries, and overspread these regions even as early as the commencement of the Christian era.
Of Zoroaster, it is said, that he predicted the coming of the Messiah in plain words; and that the "wise men" of the east, who saw his star, were of his disciples, or sect. This doctrine he must have learned of Shem, who, we have attempted to show, was Melchisedek, or of Abraham, as it had been handed down from Adam, the first of men. But the peculiar doctrine of Confucius, which was the worship of fire as well as that of the sun, by Zoroaster, it is likely, was derived from the account he found among the archives of the Jews, respecting the burning bush of Moses, which had taken place more than a thousand years before the time of Confucius. From this originated, in all probability, as taught by Confucius,
the burning of heroes, when dead, among many nations; and from this, that of immolating widows, as among the Hindoos, on the funeral pile, taught by the Brahmin missionaries, who, undoubtedly, visited America, and planted their belief among these nations ; the tokens of which appear so abundantly in the mounds and tumuli of the west.
And this Quetzalcotl, a celebrated minister of those opinions, appears to have been the first who announced the religion of the east among the people of the west. There was also one other minister, or Brahmin, who appeared among the Mozca tribes in South America, whom they name Bochica. This personage taught the worship of the sun; and if we were to judge, should pronounce him a missionary of the Confucian system, a worshipper of fire, which was the religion of the ancient Persians, of whose country Confucius was a native. This also is evidence that the first inhabitants of America came here at a period near the flood, long before that worship was known, or they would have had a knowledge of this Persian worship, which was introduced by Bochica, among the American nations; which, it seems, they had not until taught by this man.
Bochica, it appears, became a legislator among those nations, and changed the form of their government to a form, the construction of which, says Baron Humboldt, bears a strong analogy to the governments of Japan and Thibet, on account of the pontiffs' holding in their hands both the secular and the spiritual reins. In Japan, an island on the east of Asia, or rather many islands, which compose the Japanese empire, is found a religious sect, stiled Sinto, who do not believe in the sanguinary rites of shedding either human blood, or that of animals, to propitiate their gods. They even abstain from animal food, and detest bloodshed, and will not touch any dead body. -- (Morse's Geography, p. 523.)
There is, in South America, a whole nation who eat nothing but vegetables, and who hold in abhorrence those who feed on flesh. -- (Humboldt, p. 200.)
Such a coincidence in the religion of nations, can scarcely be supposed to exist. unless they are of one origin. Therefore, from what we have related above, and a few pages back, it is clear, both from the tradition of the Aztecas, who lived in the western regions before they went to the south, and from the fact that nations
on the Asiatic side of Bhering's strait, having come annually over the strait to fight the nations of the northwest, that we, in this way, have give a conclusive and satisfactory reasons why, in the western mounds and tumuli, are found evident tokens of the presence of a Hindoo population, or at least of nations influenced by the superstitions of that people, through the means of missionaries of that cast; and that they did not bring those opinions and ceremonies with them when they first left Asia, after the confusion of the antediluvian language, as led on by their fifteen chiefs; till by some means, and at some period, they finally found this country; not by the way of Bhering's strait, but some nearer course, as we have conjectured in other places in this work.
Perhaps a few words on the supposed native country of Quetzalcotl may be allowed; who, as we have stated, is reported to have been a white and bearded man, by the Mexican Aztecas. There is a vast range of islands on the northeast of Asia, in the Pacific, situated not very far from Bhering's strait, in latitude between 40 and 50 degrees north. The inhabitants of these islands, when first discovered, were found to be far in advance in the arts and civilization, and a knowledge of government, of their continental neighbors, the Chinese and Tartars. The island of Jesso, in particular, is of itself an empire, comparatively, being very populous; and are also highly polished in their manners. The inhabitants may be denominated white; their women, especially, whom Morse in his geography of the Japan, Jesso, and others in that range, says expressly, are white, fair and ruddy. Humboldt says they are a bearded race of men, like Europeans.
It appears the ancient government of these islands, especially that of Japan, which is neighbor to that of Jesso, was in the hands of spiritual monarchs and pontiffs, till the seventeenth century. As this was the form of government introduced by Quetzalcotl, when he first appeared among the Azteca tribes, which we suppose was in the country of Aztalan, or western states, may it not be conjectured that he was a native of some of those islands, who in his wanderings had found his way to the place now called Bhering's strait; for, indeed, anciently there may have been only an isthmus at that place, and thence to this country, on errands of benevolence; as it is said in the tradition respecting him, that be preached peace among men, and would not allow any other offering to the divinity
than the first fruits of the harvest; which doctrine was in character with the mild and amiable manners of the inhabitants of those islands. And that peculiar and striking record, found painted on the Mexican skin-books, which describes him to have been a white and bearded man, is our other reason for supposing him to have been a native of some of these islands, and most probably Jesso, rather than any other country.
The inhabitants of these islands originated from China, and with them undoubtedly carried the Persian doctrines of the worship of the sun and fire; consequently we find it taught to the people of Aztalan and Mexico, by such as visited them from China, or the islands above named; as it is clear the sun was not the original object of adoration in Mexico, but rather the power which made the sun. So Noah worshipped.
Their traditions recognize also another important chief, who led the Azteca tribes first to the country of Aztalan, long before the appearance of Quetzalcotl, or Bochica, among them. This great leader they name Tecpaltzin, and doubtless allude to the time when they first found their way to America, and settled in the western region.
He says, he arrived at the village at a very fortunate period; at a time when it was filled with Indians, and surrounded with their camp. They amounted to about 900, and were composed of the remnants of various nations and were worshippers of the sun. The second day after his arrival happened to be the grand festival among them He had the most favorable opportunity of witnessing
partly oval, third, four by sixteen, fourth, three by sixteen feet. The outer wall is eighteen inches thick, consisting of rough, unhewn stone; the partitions between the rooms is of the same material, of equal thickness with the outer wall. As an entrance in to the largest room, are two door ways, the second size, one, and the same of the two others. -- (See at the bottom of the Frontispiece.)
About eighty rods from this structure, is also found the remains of the foundation of a stone building, nineteen feet by fifteen, in size, of the same character of architecture. One large oval room, twelve feet by twelve on an average, occupies the centre, with a door way, and at each end of the room, three feet by twelve, without any door way. It is probable the largest of these buildings was the palace of the chief, or king, of the tribe, clan, or nation; where was held the legislative councils, and the affairs of government were transacted.
The second building, placed at the respectful distance of eighty rods, was probably the prison house, and place of execution, which the small narrow cells, without any outside door way, would seem to suggest. The prison in which St. Paul was confined at Rome, is exactly of this form and size; which we consider a remarkable coincidence, unless it is allowed, this American prison house, as we have supposed it was, had been fashioned after the same manner.
We have an account of this prison, in which St. Paul was confined, which was built several hundred years before the Christian era, as given by a gentleman now making the tour of Europe. It is as follows:
"All parts of Italy are interesting to the scholar, and many parts to the Christian. Thus, near Naples, at Puteoli, I saw where Paul landed, and I travelled between Naples and Rome on the very same road over which he was led prisoner to Rome; and if he was incarcerated in this city, (which I see no reason to doubt) he doubtless lived the greater part of the time he was here, in his own hired house. I have been in the same dungeon, and seen the very pillar to which he must have been chained.
The prison is the Mamertine, the name and history of which, is familiar to every one acquainted with Roman history, as it was, for a long time, the only prison of the Romans. It consists of but two apartments, circular, and about twelve feet diameter, and six feet in height, the one over the other, both under ground. The only
entrance to them originally, was through a small hole in the top of each, through which the. prisoner must have been let down with ropes, passing through the upper to reach the lower prison. These dungeons were large enough for the Romans, as the trial soon followed the imprisonment of an offender, who, if found innocent, was at once liberated, but if guilty, immediately executed." -- (Journal and Telegraph, vol. IV., No. 191, -- 1832.)
From the Romans the German or Belgic tribes may have derived their first ideas of stone work, as from the Germans the Danes derived the same. The style and manner of this building, as it now appears, in its ruined state, agrees well with the buildings of the ancient Danes of the north of Europe, in the 10th and 11th centuries; which also consisted of unhewn stone, laid up in their natural state, the squarest, and best formed, selected, of course. In these buildings, says Morse, were displayed the first elements of the Gothic style, in which the ancient Belgae or Germans used to erect their castles, in the old world, eight or nine hundred years ago. These works of these distinct kind of antiquities, are numerous in the western countries; the regularity, form and structure of which, says Dr. Beck, favors the conclusion that they were the work of a more civilized race than those who erected the former, or more ancient works of America; and that they were acquainted with the rules of architecture, &c., (of Danish and Belgic origin,) and perhaps with a perfect system of warfare.
At present, the walls of this trait of ancient times, are from two to five feet high, the rooms of which are entirely filled with forest trees; one of which is an oak, and was, ten years ago, nine feet in circumference. -- (Beck's Gazetter, p. 306.)
Ruins of the city of Otolum, discovered in North America.In a letter of C. S. Rafinesque, whom we have before quoted, to a correspondent in Europe, we find the following: "Some years ago, the Society of Geography in Paris offered a large premium for a voyage to Guatimala, and for a new survey of the antiquities of Yucatan and Chiapa, chiefly those fifteen miles from Palanque, which are wrongly called by that name."
"I have" says this author, "restored to them the true name of OTOLUM, which is yet the name of the stream running through the ruins. They were surveyed by Captain Del Rio, in 1787, an account of which was published in English, in 1822.
"This account describes partly the ruins of a stone city, of no less dimensions than seventy-five miles in circuit; length thirty two, and breadth twelve miles, full of palaces, monuments, statues and inscriptions; one of the earliest seats of American civilization, about equal to Thebes of ancient Egypt.
It is stated in the Family Magazine, No. 34, p. 266, for 1833, as follows: --"Public attention has been recently excited respecting the ruins of an ancient city found in Guatemala. It would seem that these ruins are now being explored, and much curious and valuable matter in a literary, and historical point of view is anticipated. We deem the present, a most auspicious moment, now, that the public attention is turned to the subject, to spread its contents before our readers, as an introduction to future discoveries during the researches now in progress."
The following are some particulars, as related by Captain Del Rio, who partially examined them as above related, 1787: -- "From Palenque, the last town northward in the province of Ciudad Real de Chiapa, taking a southwesterly direction, and ascending a ridge of high land that divides the kingdom of Guatemala from Yucatan at the distance of six miles, is the little river Micol whose waters flowing in a westerly direction and unites with the great river Tuliya which bends its course towards the province of Tabasco. Having passed Micol the ascent begins, and at half a league or a mile and a half, the traveller crosses a little stream called OTOLUM; from this point heaps of stone ruins are discovered, which render the road very difficult for another half league, when you gain the height whereon the stone houses are situated, being still fourteen in number, in one place, some more dilapidated than others, yet still having many of their apartments perfectly discernable.
A rectangular area, three hundred yards in breadth by four hundred and fifty in length," which is a fraction over fifty-six rods wide and eighty-four rods long, being in the whole circuit two hundred and eighty rods, which is three-fourths of a mile and a trifle over. This area "presents a plain at the base of the highest mountain forming the ridge. In the centre of this plain is situated
the largest of the structures which has been as yet discovered among these ruins. It stands on a mound or pyramid twenty yards high, which is sixty feet, or nearly four rods, in perpendicular altitude, which gives it a lofty and beautiful majesty, as if it were a temple suspended in the sky. This is surrounded by other edifices, namely, five to the northward, four to the southward, one to the southwest and three to the eastward, fourteen in all. In all directions, the fragments of other fallen buildings are seen extending along the mountain that stretches east and west, either way from these buildings, as if they were the great temple of worship, or their government house, around which they built their city and where dwelt their kings and officers of state. At this place was found a subterranean stone aqueduct of great solidity and durability, which in its course passes beneath the largest building.
Let it be understood, this city of Otolum, the ruins of which are so immense, is in North, not South America, in the same latitude with the island Jamaica, which is about 18 degrees north of the equator, being on the highest ground between the northern end of the Caribbean sea and the Pacific ocean, where the continent narrows toward the isthmus of Darien, and is about 700 miles south of New-Orleans, merely across the gulf of Mexico.
The discovery of these ruins, and also of many others, equally wonderful in the same country, are just commencing to arouse the attention of the schools of Europe, who hitherto have denied that America could boast of her antiquities. But these immense ruins are now being explored under the direction of scientific persons, a history of which, in detail, will be forthcoming, doubtless, in due time; two volumes of which, in manuscript, we are informed, have already been written, and cannot but be received with enthusiasm by Americans.
By those deeply versed in the antiquities of past ages, it is contended that the first people who settled in America came directly from Chaldea, immediately after the confusion of language at Babel. -- (See description of the ruins of the American city, published in London, 1832 [sic, 1822], p. 33, by Dr. Paul Felix Cabrera.) Whoever the authors of the city may have been, we seem to find in their sculptured deities, the idolatry of even the Phoenicians, a people whose history goes back nearly to the flood, or to within a hundred and fifty years of that period.
It appears from some of the historical works of the Mexicans, written in pictures, which fell into the hands of the Spaniards, that there was found one which was written by Votan, and sets himself forth to be the third gentile, (reckoning from the flood or family of Noah,) and lord of the Tapanahuasec, or the sacred drum. In the book above alluded to, Votan says that he saw the great house which was built by his grandfather, meaning the tower of Babel, which went up from the earth to the sky. In one of those picture books, the account is given by the Indian historian, whoever he was, or at whatever time he lived, that Votan had written it himself. He gives the account that he made no less than four voyages to this continent, conducting with him at one time seven families. He says that others of his family had gone away before himself, and that he was determined to travel till he should come to the root of heaven, (in the west,) in order to discover his relation, the Culebras, or Snake people, and calls himself Culebra, (a snake,) and that he found them, and became their captain. He mentions the name of the town which his relation had built at first, which was Tezequil.
Agreeing with this account, it is found by exploring the ruins of this city, and its sculptures, that among a multitude of strange representations are found two which represent this Votan, on both continents. The continents are shown by being painted in two parallel squares, and standing on each is this Votan, showing his acquaintance with each of them. The pictures engraven on the atones which form the sides of the houses or temples of this ruined city, are a series of hieroglyphics which show, beyond all doubt, that the era of its construction, and of the people who built it, excels in antiquity those of the ancient Greeks, the Romans, and the most celebrated nations of the old world, and is worthy of being compared even with the first progenitors of the Hebrews themselves, after the flood. -- (See History of American city, as before quoted, p. 39.)
It is found that the gods of the ancient Egyptians, even Osiris, Apis and Isis, are sculptured on the stones of this city, the worship of which passed from Egypt to many nations, and is found under many forms, but all traceable to the same original.
But as it respects the true founders of this city, the discovery and contents of which are now causing so great and general interest in
both this country and Europe, it is ascertained in the most direct and satisfactory way, in the work to which we have just alluded, published in London, 1832 [sic, 1822], on the subject of this city, that they were the ancient Hivites, one of the nations which inhabited Palestine, or Canaan' a remnant of which, it is ascertained, fled into the kingdom of Tyre, and there settled, and into Africa, to avoid annihilation by the wars of Joshua, the captain of the Jews; and that among them was one who acted as a leader, and was called Votan, and that he sailed from a port in ancient Tyre, which before it was known by that name, was called Chivim, and that this Votan was the third in the gentile descent from Noah, and that he made several voyages to and from America. But the kingdom which was founded by Votan, was finally destroyed by other nations, and their works, their cities and towns turned into a wilderness, as they are now found to be.
The Hivites, it appears, were the ancestors of the Moors, who spread themselves all along the western coast of Africa, at an early period, and in later times they overran the country of Spain, till the Romans supplanted them; who in their turn were supplanted by the northern nations of Germany, the Goths, &c.
The Moors were not the proper Africans, as the hair of their heads was long, straight and shining. They were a different race, and of different manners and attainments. The contour of the faces of the authors of the American city, found sculptured on the stones of its ruins, are in exact correspondence with the forehead and nose of the ancient Moors, the latter of which was remarkable for its aquiline shape, and was a national trait, characteristic of the Moors as well as the Romans.
When the Spaniards overran Peru, which lies on the western side of South America on the coast of the Pacific were found statues, obelisks, mausolea, edifices, fortresses, all of stone, equal, fully so, with the architecture of Egypt, Greece, and Rome, six hundred years before the Christian era. Roads were cut through the Cordillera mountains; gold, silver, copper, and led mines, were opened and worked to a great extent; all of which is evidence of their knowledge of architecture, mineralogy and agriculture. In many places of that country, are found the ruins of noble aqueducts, some of which, says Dr. Morse, the geographer, would have been thought works of difficulty in civilized nations. Several
pillars of stone are now standing, which were erected to point out the equinoxes and solstices. In their sepulchres were found their paintings, vessels of gold and silver, implements of warfare, husbandry, &c.
To illustrate the architectural knowledge of the Peruvians as well as of some other provinces of South America, we quote the following from Baron Humboldt's Researches, 1st vol. Eng. trans. Amer. edt., p 255. "This plate," referring to one which is found in one of the volumes of his Researches, in the French language; "represents the plan and inside of the small building which occupies the centre of the esplanade, in the citadel of Cannar, supposed to be a guard house. I sketched, he says, this drawing with the greater exactness, because the remains of Peruvian architecture, scattered along the ridge of the Cordilleras, from Cuzco to Cajambe, or from the 13th degree of north latitude to the equator, a distance of nearly a thousand miles. What an empire, and what works are these, which all bear the same character, in the cut of the stones, the shape of the doors to their stone buildings, the symmetrical disposal of the niches, and the total absence of the exterior ornaments. This uniformity of construction is so great that all the stations along the high road, called in that country palaces of the Incas, or kings of the Peruvians, appear to have been copied from each other; simplicity, symmetry, and solidity, were the three characters, by which the Peruvian edifices were distinguished. The citadel of Cannar, and the square buildings surrounding it, are not constructed with the same quartz sandstone, which covers the primitive slate, and the porphyries of Assuay; and which appears at the surface, in the garden of the Inca, as we descend toward the valley of Gulan, but of trappean porphyry, of great hardness, enclosing nitrous feldspar, and hornblende. This porphyry was perhaps dug in the great quarries which are found at 4000 metres in height, (which is 13,000 feet and a fraction, making two and a third miles in perpendicular height,) near the lake of Culebrilla, nearly ten miles from Cannar. To cut the stones for the buildings of Cannar, at so great a height, and to bring them down and transport them ten miles, is equal with any of the works of the ancients, who built the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabia, long before the Christian era, in Naples of Italy.
Cannar, those stones of enormous size, which we see in the Peruvian edifices of Cuzco and the neighboring countries, Acosto, he says, measured some at Traquanaco, which were twelve metres (38 feet) long, and five metres eight tenths, (18 feet) broad, and one metre nine tenths (6 feet) thick." The stones made use of in building the temple of Solomon, were but a trifle larger than these, some of which were twenty-five cubits, (43 feet 9 inches) long, twelve cubits (29 feet) wide, and eight cubits, (14 feet) thick, reckoning twenty-one inches to the cubit.
"One of the temples of ancient Egypt is now, in its state of ruin, a mile and a half in circumference. It has twelve principal entrances. The body of the temple consists of a prodigious hall or portico; the roof is supported by 134 columns. Four beautiful obelisks mark the entrance to the shrine, a place of sacrifice, which contains three apartments, built entirely of granite. The temple of Luxor, probably surpasses in beauty and splendor all the other ruins of Egypt. In front are two of the finest obelisks in the world; they are of rose colored marble, one hundred feet high.
But the objects which most attract attention, are the sculptures which cover the whole of the northern front. They contain, on a great scale, a representation of a victory gained by one of the ancient kings of Egypt over an enemy. The number of human figures, cut in the solid stone, amounts to 1,500; of these, 500 are on foot, and 1,000 in chariots. Such are the remains of a city, which perished long before the records of ancient history had a being." -- (Malte-Brun.)
We are compelled to ascribe some of the vast operations of the ancient nations of this country, to those ages which correspond with the times and manners of the people of Egypt, which are also beyond the reach of authentic history.
It should be recollected that the fleets of king Hiram navigated the seas in a surprising manner, seeing they had not, as is supposed, (but not proven,) a knowledge of the magnetic needle; and in some voyage out of the Mediterranean, into the Atlantic, they may have been driven to South America; where having found a country, rich in all the resources of nature, more so than even their native country, founded a kingdom, built cities, cultivated fields, marshalled armies, made roads, built aqueducts, became rich, magnificent and powerful, as the vastness and extent of the ruins of Peru, and other provinces of South America, plainly show.
Humboldt says, that he saw at Pullal, three houses made of stone, which were built by the Incas, each of which was more than fifty metres, or a hundred and fifty feet long, laid in a cement, or true mortar. This fact, he says, deserves attention, because travellers who had preceded him, had unanimously overlooked this circumstance, asserting, that the Peruvians were unacquainted with the use of mortar, but is erroneous. The Peruvians not only employed a mortar, in the great edifices of Pacaritambo, but made use of a cement of asphaltum a mode of construction, which on the banks of the Euphrates and the Tigris, may be traced back to the remotest antiquity. The tools made use of to cut their stone was copper, hardened with tin, the same made use of among the Greeks and Romans, and other nations, of which we have spoken, in another place of this work.
To show the genius and enterprise of the natives of Mexico, before America was last discovered, we give the following as but a single instance: Montezuma, the last king but one of Mexico, A. D. 1446, forty-six years before the discovery of America by Columbus, erected a dyke to prevent the overflowing of the waters of certain small lakes in the vicinity of their city, which had several times deluged it. This dyke consisted of a bank of stones ant clay, supported on each side by a range of palisadoes; extending in its whole length about seventy miles, and sixty-five feet broad, its whole length sufficiently high to intercept the overflowings of the lakes, in times of high water, occasioned by the spring floods. In Holland, the Dutch have resorted to the same means to prevent incursions of the sea; and the longest of the many is but forty miles in extent, nearly one half short of the Mexican dyke. "Amidst the extensive plains of Upper Canada, in Florida, near the gulf of Mexico, and in the deserts bordered by the Orinoco, in Colombia, South America, dykes of a considerable length, weapons of brass, and sculptured stones, are found, which are the indications that those countries were formerly inhabited by industrious nations, which are now traversed only by tribes of savage hunters." (Humboldt.) Samuel R. Brown, author of the Western Gazetteer, 1817, says, he examined one of those remains of the ancient nations, situated upon the mouth of big Scioto river on a high bank of the Ohio, a half mile from the water. He has no doubt it was a military position of great strength, and describes it as follows:
"The walls are yet standing, and enclosing as nearly as I could ascertain by pacing, fourteen acres of ground. It is of a square form" (like the ancient Roman military works.) "The officious hand of civilized man has not yet marred the wood which shade these venerable ruins; nor has any curious antiquarian mutilated the walls by digging in search of hidden treasure. The walls in many places are yet sixteen feet high, and no where less than eight. At their base they are about thirty feet wide, and wide enough at their top to admit a horse team and waggon. There are seven gateways, three on the west, two on the east, and two on the north, all being about 20 feet wide. On the northwest side are the ruins of a covered way, extending to a creek, at the distance of 280 rods. The covering is fallen in, and large trees are growing in the ditch. On the west side are two covered ways leading also to the same creek, these are apart from each other about 30 feet, and extending about 40 rods till they reach the stream. These walls are as wide and as high as the walls of the fort. On the east side, are also two covered ways at convenient distances from each other leading to another small creek.
Thus the garrison of this ancient fortification had five avenues through which they could safely procure water." This could never have been the work of the common Indians.
This deservedly celebrated historiographer and antiquarian, has devoted a hundred pages, and more, of his octavo work, entitled Researches in America, in describing the similarity which exists between its representations of astrology, astronomy, and the divisions of time, and those of a great multitude of the nations of Asia; Chinese,
"Mr. Vater has published a large work, entitled Mithridates, in which he has given an extensive comparison of all the Asiatic, African and American languages, to a much greater extent than was done by our distinguished fellow citizen, Dr. Barton, of Philadelphia, professor of natural history. Mr. Vater concludes by expressing his desire to unravel the mysteries which relate to the new and old continents; at least to contribute the contents of his volume towards the commencement of a structure, which, out of the ruins of dilacerated human tribes, seeks materials for an union of the whole human race in one origin; which some have disputed, notwithstanding the plain statement of the Bible on that subject, which is a book entitled to the term antiquity, paramount to all other records now in existence on the earth.
"What this original and radical language was, has very lately been the subject of inquiry by the learned Mr. Mathieu, of Nancy, in France. The Chevalier Valentine, of the order of St. Michael, renewed by Louis XVIII, informs me that this gentleman has examined Mr. Winthrop's description of the curious characters, inscribed upon the rock at Dighton, Massachusetts, as published in the Transactions of the Boston Academy of Arts and Sciences. He thinks them hieroglyphics, which he can interpret and explain, and ascribes them to the inhabitants of the ancient Atlantic island of Plato, called by him Atalantis. Mr. Mathieu not only professes to give the sense of the inscription, but also to prove that the tongues spoken by the Mexicans, Peruvians, and other occidental or western people, as well as the Greek itself, with all its dialects, and ramifications, were but derivations from the language of the primitive Atalantians of the island of Plato." -- (See page 80, &c.)
Ancient Languages of the first Inhabitants of America.
I shall not enter, at present, into any very elaborate discussion. I shall merely detail, in a concise manner, the object and result of my inquiries, so as to assert my claim to a discovery of some importance in a philological and historical point of view; which was announced as early as 1828, in some journals, (three letters to Mr. McCulloch on the American nations,) but not properly illustrated. Their full development would require a volume, like that of yours on the Egyptian antiquities, and may follow this perhaps at some future time.
It may be needful to prefix the following principles as guides to my researches, or results of my inquiries:
1. America has been the land of false systems; all those made in Europe on it, are more or less vain and erroneous.
2. The Americans were equal in antiquity, civilization and sciences, to the nations of Africa and Europe; like them the children of the Asiatic nations.
3. It is false that no American nations had systems of writing, glyphs and letters. Several had various modes of perpetuating ideas.
4. There were several such graphic systems in America, to express ideas, all of which find equivalents in the east continent.
5. They may be arranged in twelve series, proceeding from the most simple to the most complex.
1st Series. -- Pictured symbols or glyphs of the Toltecas, Axtecas,
Huaztecas, Skeres, Panos, &c. Similar to the first symbols of the Chinese, invented by Tien-hoang, before the flood, and earliest Egyptian glyphs.
2d. Series. -- Outlines of figures, or abridged symbols and glyphs, expressing words or ideas, used by almost all the nations of North and South America, even the most rude. Similar to the second kind of Egyptian symbols, and the tortoise letters brought to China by the Longma, (dragon and horse,) nation of barbarous horsemen, under Sui-gin.
3d Series. -- Quipos, or knots on strings, used by the Peruvians, and several other South American nations. Similar to the third kind of Chinese glyphs, introduced under Yong-ching, and used also by many nations of Africa.
4th Series. -- Wampums, or strings of shells and beads, used by many nations of North America. Similar to those used by some ancient or rude nations in all the parts of the world, as tokens of ideas.
5th Series. -- Runic glyphs, or marks and notches on twigs or lines, used by several nations of North America. Consimilar to the runic glyphs of the Celtic and Teutonic nations.
6th Series. -- Runic marks and dots, or graphic symbols, not on strings nor lines, but in rows, expressing words or ideas; used by the ancient nations of North America and Mexico, the Talegas, Aztecas, Natchez, Powhatans, Tuscaroras, &c., and also the Muhizcas, of South America. Similar to the ancient symbols of the Etruscans, Egyptians, Celts, &c., and the Ho-tu of the Chinese, invented by Tsang-hi, called also the Ko-teu-chu letters, which were in use in China, till 827 before our era.
7th Series. -- Alphabetical symbols, expressing syllables or sounds, not words, but grouped, and the groups disposed in rows; such is the graphic system of the monuments of Otolum, near Palenque, the American Thebes. Consimilar to the groups of alphabetical symbols used by the ancient Lybians, Egyptians. Persians, and also the last graphic system of the Chinese, called Ventze, invented by Sse-hoang.
8th Series. -- Cursive symbols, in groups, and the groups in parallel rows, derived from the last, (which are chiefly monumental,) and used in the manuscripts of the Mayans, Guatamalans, &c. Consimilar to the actual cursive Chinese, some demotic Egyptian,
and many modifications of ancient graphic alphabets, grouping the letters or syllables.
9th Series. -- Syllabic letters, expressing syllables, not simple sounds, and disposed in rows. Such is the late syllabic alphabet of the Cherokis, and many graphic inscriptions found in North and South America. Similar to the syllabic alphabets of Asia, Africa and Polynesia.
10th Series. -- Alphabets or graphic letters, expressing simple sounds, and disposed in rows. Found in many inscriptions, medals and coins in North and South America, and lately introduced every where by the European colonists. Similar to the alphabets of Asia, Africa and Europe.
11th Series. --Abbreviations, or letters standing for whole words, or part of a glyph and graphic delineations, standing and expressing the whole. Used by almost all the writing nations of North and South America, as well as Asia, Europe and Africa.
12th Series. -- Numeric system of graphic signs, to express numbers. All the various kinds of signs, such as dots, lines, strokes, circles, glyphs, letters, &c., used by some nations of North and South America, as well as in the eastern continent.
In my next letter I shall chiefly illustrate the 7th and 8th series so as to decypher and explain one of the most curious and least known of the American modes of expressing and perpetuating ideas. I shall give a figure of a sample of those monumental symbols, with comparative figures of two alphabets of Africa, the nearest related to them, and where the elements may be traced, which are grouped in those glyphs.
(The characters here presented are the glyphs alluded to by this author, formed from the combinations of the African and American
letters, shown and treated upon page 118 of this work. For An account of those glyphs, see pages 122,123 and 124.)
At the first glance, the most cursory observer is impressed with the idea of their likeness to the Chinese glyphs, which, in the languages in which they were or are in use, is equivalent to the combination of our letters when grouped so as to spell words, and show that America, in its earliest history, was not without its literati, and means of improvement by the use of letters, but was lost by means of revolutions as once was the fate of the Roman empire.
We have glanced at the following circumstance before, on page 241: we hope the reader will excuse its repetition, as we wish in this place to give the entire remarks of the author on this most interesting subject, the letters and glyphs of America.)
"Some years ago, the Society of Geography, of Paris, offered a large premium for a voyage to Guatamala, and a new survey of the antiquities of Yucatan and Chiapa, chiefly those fifteen miles from Palenque, which are wrongly called by that name. I have restored to them the true name of Otolum, which is yet the name of the stream running through the ruins. I should have been inclined to undertake this voyage and exploration myself, if the civil discords of the country did not forbid it. My attention was drawn forcibly to this subject as soon as the account of those ruins, surveyed by Captain Del Rio, as early as 1787, but withheld from the public eye by Spain, was published in 1822, in English.
This account, which partly describes the ruins of a stone city 75 miles in circuit, (length 32 English miles, greatest breadth 12 miles,) full of palaces, monuments, statues, and inscriptions: one of the earliest seats of American civilization, about equal to Thebes of Egypt, as well calculated to inspire me with hopes that they would throw a great light over American history, when more properly examined.
I have been disappointed in finding that no traveller has dared to penetrate again to that recondite place, and illustrate all the ruins, monuments, with the languages yet spoken all around. The Society of Geography has received many additional accounts, derived from documents preserved in Mexico; but they have not been deemed worthy of the reward offered for a new survey, and have not even been published. The same has happened with Tiahuanaco, in Bolivia, South America, another mass of ancient ruins
and mine of historical knowledge, which no late traveller has visited or described.
Being therefore without hope of any speedy accession to our knowledge of those places, I have been compelled to work upon the materials now extant, which have happily enabled me to do a great deal, notwithstanding all their defects, and throw some light on that part of the history of America.
C . S. RAFINESQUE.
Philadelphia, January, 1832.
When Columbus discovered again America, he and the earliest explorers were struck with the similarity between many American tribes and the Guanches of the Canary islands, remains of the Oceanic Atlantes, in features, manners and speech. Whether the Haytians, Cubans and Aruacs, were genuine Atlantes, is rather doubtful, because their language is more akin to the Pelagic than the. Atlantic. But three at least out of the twenty-five original nations of America above enumerated, may safely be deemed children of the Atlantes. They are the ninth or Otalis, the tenth or Atalans, and the fourteenth or Chontalas.
other, by destroying the land or islands between, so that when shipping, whether large or small, as in the time of the Phoenicians, and Tyrians of king Solomon, the Greeks and Romans came to navigate the seas, America was found, visited and colonized anew. In this way we account for the introduction of the arts amosg the more ancient inhabitants whom they found there; which arts are clearly spoken of in the traditions of the Mexicans, who tell us of white and bearded men, as related by Humboldt, who came from the sun, (as they supposed the Spaniards did,) changed or reduced the wandering millions of the woods to order and government, introduced among them the art of agriculture, a knowledge of metals, with that of architecture; so that when Columbus discovered America, it was filled with cities, towns, cultivated fields and countries; palaces, aqueducts, and roads, and highways of the nations, equal with, if not exceeding, in some respects, even the people of the Roman countries, before the time of Christ.
But as learning, and a knowledge of the shape of the earth, in the times of the nations we have spoken of above, was not in general use among men; and from incessant wars and revolutions of nations, what discoveries may have been made, were lost to mankind; so that some of the very countries once known, have in later ages been discovered over again.
We will produce one instance of a discovery which has been lost -- the land of Ophir -- where the Tyrian fleets went for gold, in the days of Solomon. Where is it? The most learned do not know -- cannot agree. It is lost as to identity. Some think it in Africa; some in the islands of the South Atlantic, and some in South America; and although it is, wherever it may be, undoubtedly an inhabited country, yet as to certainty about its location it is unknown.
A small volume has been printed this year by the Sunday School Union, on the history of the Delaware and Iroquois Indians, in which their joint traditions are totally neglected, as usual with our actual book makers.
Although Cusick's dates may be vague and doubtful, they deserve attention, and they shall be noticed here.
Anterior to any date the Eagwehoewe, (pronounced Yaguyhohuy) meaning real people, dwelt north of the lakes, and formed only one nation. After many years a body of them settled on the river Kanawag, now the St. Lawrence, and after a long time a foreign people came by sea and settled south of the lake.
1st. date. Towards 2500 winters before Columbus' discovery of America, or 1008 years before our era, total overthrow of the Towancas, nations of giants come from the north, by the king of the Onguys, Donhtonha and the hero Yatatan.
2d. Three hundred winters after, or 708 before our era, the northern nations form a confederacy, appoint a king, who goes to visit the great Emperor of the Golden city, south of the lakes; but afterwards quarrels arise, and a war of 100 years with this empire of the south, long civil wars in the north, &c. A body of people escaped in the mountain of Oswego, &c.
3d. 1500 years before Columbus, or in the year 8 of our era, Tarenyawagon, the first legislator leads his people out of the mountains to the river Yenonatateh, now Mohawk, where six tribes form an alliance called the Long-house, Agoneaseah. Afterwards reduced to five, the sixth spreading west and south. The Kautanoh, since Tuscarora, came from this. Some went as far as the Onauweyoka, now Mississippi.
4th. In 108 the Konearawyeneh, or Flying Heads, invade the Five Nations.
5th. In 242 the Shakanahih, or Stone Giants, a branch of the western tribe, become cannibals, return and desolate the country; but they are overthrown and driven north by Tarenyawagon II.
6th. Towards 350 Tarenyawagon III., defeats other foes, called Snakes.
7th. In 492 Atotarho I, king of the Onondagas, quells civil wars, begins a dynasty ruling over all the Five Nations, till Atotarho IX., who ruled yet in 1142. Events are since referred to their reigns.
8th. Under Atotarho II., a Tarenyawagon IV., appears to help him to destroy Oyalk-guhoer, or the Big-bear.
9th. Under Atotarho III., a tyrant, Sohnanrowah, arises on the Kaunaseh, now Susquehannah river, which makes war on the Sahwanug.
10th. In 602, under Atotarho IV., the Towancas, now Mississaugers, cede to the Senecas the lands east of the River Niagara, who settle on it.
11th. Under Atotarho V., war between the Senecas and Otawahs of Sandusky.
12th. Towards 852 under Atotarho VI., the Senecas reach the Ohio river, compel the Otawahs to sue for peace.
13th. Atotarho VII. sent embassies to the west, the Kentakeh nation dwelt south of the Ohio, the Chipiwas on the Mississippi.
14th. Towards 1042, under Atotarho VIII., war with the Towancas, and a foreign stranger visits the Tuscaroras of Neuse river, who are divided into three tribes, and at war with the Nanticokes and Totalis.
15th. To 1143, under Atotarho IX., first civil war between the Erians of lake Erie, sprung from the Senecas, and the Five Nations.
Here end these traditions.
C. S. RAFINESQUE.
The foregoing is a curious trait of the ancient history of the wars and revolutions which have transpired in America.
It would appear that at the time of the overthrow of the Tawancas, 1008 years before Christ, called in the tradition a nation of giants, that it was about the time the temple of Solomon was finished; showing clearly that as they had become powerful in this country they had settled here at a very early period, probably about the time of Abraham, within three hundred and forty years of the flood.
The hero who conquered them was called Yatatan, king of the Onguys, names which refer them, as to origin, to the ancient Scythians of Asia.
Three hundred winters after this, or 708 years before Christ, about the time of the commencement of the Roman empire by Romulus, the northern nations form a grand confederacy and appoint
a king, who went on a visit to the great emperor of the Golden city, south of the western lakes.
Were we to conjecture where this Golden city was situated, we should say on the Mississippi, where the Missouri forms a junction with that river, at or near St. Louis, as at this place and around its precincts are the remains of an immense population. This is likely the city to which the seven persons who were cast away on the island Estotiland, as before related, were carried to; being far to the southwest from that island, supposed to be Newfoundland, -- St. Louis being in that direction.
This visit of Yatatan to the Golden city, it appears, was the occasion of a civil war of one hundred years, which ended in the ruin of the Golden city. A body of the citizens escaping, fled far to the east, and hid themselves in the mountains of Oswego, along the southern shores of lake Ontario, where they remained about seven hundred years, till a great leader arose among them, called Tarenyawagon, who led them to settle on the Mohawk; this was eight years after the birth of Christ.
These refugees from the Golden city, had now multiplied so that they had become several nations, whence the grand confederacy of six nations was formed. Upon these, a nation called Flying Heads made war but were unsuccessful; also, in 242 years after Christ, a nation called Stone Giants, made an attempt to destroy them but failed. They were successful in other wars against the Snake Indians, a more western tribe.
About the time of the commencement of Mahomet's career in 602, a great tyrant arose on the Susquehannah river, who waged war with surrounding nations, from which it appears, that while in Africa, Europe, and Asia, revolution succeeded revolution, empires rising on the ruins of empires, that in America the same scenes were acting on as great a scale; cultivated regions, populous cities and towns, were reduced to a wilderness, as in the other continents.
Evidence that a Nation of Africans, the Descendants of
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