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through a period of three thousand seventeen years after their first encoun. years."
ter with Europeans, they possessed As regards this extraordinary intel- several strong squadrons of horse, conlectual disparity, and as farther proof ducted their operations in military that the American aboriginal race is order, and, unlike the Americans gene susceptible of civilisation, it may be rally, met their enemies in the open mentioned that the three American field.” civilized states did not stand isolated or all parts of America, the tropical from their barbarous neighbors ; on the portions are best adapted for awakencontrary, the two extremes gradually ing the savage man to a sense of his merge into each other, some nations in intellectual powers. That the civilisathis gradation holding a place so com- tion of countries is greatly influenced pletely intermediate as to render it dif- by climate, physical features, and the ficult to classify them with either divi- relation of the interior to the coast, we sion. In this relation stood the Arau- endeavored to point out in our August canians to the Peruvians; the Aztec Number. We there remarked that the rulers of Mexico at the period of the cradles or nurseries of the first nations Spanish invasion, to the less fierce Tol- of which we have any historical retecas, whose arts they had usurped; cords--the people in which the inteland still later, the Natchez tribes of lectual faculties were first awakened the Mississippi exhibited, even among from the brutal sloth of savage lifemany of the rudest traits of savage appear to have been extensive plains or life, some traces of the refinement of valleys, irrigated by fertilizing streams, their Mexican progenitors. To what and blessed with a mild climate. As degree of civilisation the Mexicans and the means of sustenance are in such Peruvians would have attained, had localities easily obtained, the human America remained unknown to Eu- mind, if man in this primitive state rope, it is of course impossible to de- will reflect at all, is most apt to receive termine; but even had Mexico and that impulse which leads to the cultiPeru undergone intellectual degrada- vation and development of his nature. tion and gradual extinction from in- It is in such regions that we discover trinsic causes, there would not be the most ancient centres of population; wanting analogous events in the his. as, for example, the simple habits of tory of ihe old world. Look upon the wandering shepherds were exchanged present state of Italy and Greece, and by the Semitic nations for the splendor contrast them with the people who and luxury of Nineveh and Babylon; gave glory to the age of Augustus and and in the fertile valley watered by the Pericles! This state of things did in Nile, we also find the first foundation reality exist in America at the period of cities, and ihe earliest establishment of its discovery, as is proved by the three of political institutions; and here, too, great groups of monumental antiquis were invented hieroglyphic literature ties in the United States, New Spain, and those arts which embellish human and South America. Many of the an- life. Thus has it, likewise, been in cient and cultivated nations had be- America; for the elevated lands within come extinct, or subjugated by the in- the tropics afford a delightful climate, roads of barbarous or semi-civilized the heals of summer and the rigors of tribes; and even in Mexico and Peru, winter being alike moderated ; and the civilisation of earlier ages seems to here the earth yields its fruits almost have sunk into a state of decadence. spontaneously. Hence it was in this
The Araucanians, just adverted to, are region that the American aboriginal the most celebrated and powerful of first received the impulse of social imthe Chilian tribes. They are repre- provement; here were laid the first sented by Morton as highly susceptible foundation of cities; and here, too, as of mental culture, but despising the was just remarked of Egypt, “ were restraints of civilisation. “ Their vigi- invented hieroglyphic literature and lance," he says, “soon detected the those arts which embellish human life.” value of the military discipline of the The subject of American antiquities Spaniards, and especially the great im- has of late years received much attenportance of cavalry in an army; and tion; and from these researches, the they lost no time in adopting both following conclusions are, we think, these resources, to the dismay and dis- fairly warranted. comfiture of their enemies. Thus, in The first seats of civilisation were
in tropical America, whence it was were immense cities, rivalling in the gradually diffused through both hemin magnificence of their temples and edi. spheres. In the history of the civilized fices those of the old world,-a remark nations, two distinct epochs are ob- equally applicable to roads, aqueducts, servable, the first and most ancient and other public works. It has been having existed in unbroken tranquillity well remarked that, as regards civilisfor a long and indeterminate period; ation, these people were decidedly suthe second being characterized by naperior to the Spaniards themselves on tional changes brought about chiefly Their first intercourse with the Pheniby the inroads of barbarous or semi- cians, or that of the Gauls when first civilized tribes. The style and cha- known to the Greeks, or that of the racter peculiar to the monumental an- Germans and Britons in their earliest tiquities of the New World, prove that communication with the Romans. Inall have proceeded from branches of deed, in the knowledge of some of the the same human family.
sciences, these aboriginal Americans The relics and monuments found in equalled, if they did not surpass, that the United States, which point for their of their conquerors. They seem to origin towards Mexico, show that the have had a mental constitution adancient inhabitants had arrived at a apted to scientific investigation. Their considerable degree of civilisation,-- knowledge of arithmetic and astronothat they were an agricultural people, my was both extensive and accurate. lived in extensive cities, and under re- In architecture and sculpture they had gular forms of government, that they made great advances. The remains of possessed a knowledge of the use of aqueducts and canals for irrigation yet many metals, were skilled in the art of exist. They knew how to extract me. fortification, and were not unacquainted tals from ores; how to form images of with astronomy and geometry; the last gold and silver, hollow within; how to two, as well as a decided system of re- cut the hardest precious stones with ligion, being in the hands of the priest- the greatest nicety; how to dye cotton hood. At the period of the discovery and wool, and to manufacture them of America these ancient and culti- into figured stuffs. vated nations had become extinct A description of the ancient cities within the present limits of the United and other ruins of the southern regions States, with the exception of the Nat- of North America would of itself fill a chez tribes of the Mississippi, who still volume. Clavigero, who has collected retained some traces of the civilisation much important testimony upon this of their Mexican progenitors. These subject, asserts, upon the authority of extinct tribes followed but in the foot- Cortez, that not only were their cities steps, if they did not precede them, of numerous, but that some of them conthe ancient Egyptians and Phenicians, tained from thirty to sixty thousand the latter being a branch of that widely houses, and so populous were they in extended race known by the common the vicinity of these towns, that " not a appellation of Semitic, which comprised foot of the soil was left uncultivated." the Hebrews and the Arabians, as well The recent researches of Mr. Stephens as the inhabitants of the wide plain among these ruined cities are an honor between the northern waters of the to that gentleman and to his country. Euphrates and Tigris. With the an- He examined the gigantic remains of cient inhabitants of the portion of North eight ruined cities, scattered over an America lying south of the United extent of nearly three thousand miles ; States, we are better acquainted. Un- and these antiquities he represents as like the latter region, in which the “ strange in design, excellent in sculpprior existence of civilized communities ture, rich in ornament, different from became a question of inquiry to the an- the works of any other people, their tiquary, the former affords the most uses and purposes, their whole histodecisive evidence of having been occu- ry, so entirely unknown, with hieropied for many ages by civilized nations. glyphics explaining all, but perfectly Mexico, Guaiemala, and Yucatan were unintelligible.” At Copan, Palenque, found by the Spanish invaders occupied and Uxmal, and doubtless at a score of by populous nations, distributed in re- other lost cities, the remains possess a gularly organized states, partaking of most extraordinary character. Speakthe monarchical, aristocratical, and ing of Uxmal, in Yucatan, Mr. Sterepublican forms of government. Here phens remarks as follows:-" There
1842.) Ancient American M the magnificent palaces were not without their princes. The finest temple of the city of Mexico was erected but a short period before the landing of Cortez; and this great " Teocalli, we are informed, was constructed after the model of the pyramids built by the Toltecs,-a people who preceded those found by the Spaniards, and to whom were ascribed by the Mexicans themselves all edifices of great antiquity, When the Europeans first arrived it is very probable that many cities, in consequence of the revolutions to which every government is subject, had already been deserted, perhaps for centuries. It is, however, true beyond doubt that the ancestors of the present Indians occupying that region were the authors of many of the existing antiquities indicative of a comparatively
is no rudeness or barbarity in the de- The stupendous pyramids, constitutsigns or proportions ; on the contrary, ing the temples of our aboriginal race, the whole wears an architectural air of are perhaps their most extraordinary symmetry and grandeur; and as the monuments. The number of these in stranger ascends the steps and casts a the Mexican empire, according to the bewildered eye along its open desolate estimate of Torquemada, is forty thoudoors, it is hard to believe that he sees sand, but Clavigero thinks the number before him the work of a race in whose was far greater. We have before us epitaph, as written by historians, they descriptions of many of these enormous are called ignorant of art, and said to structures. The ruins of the celebrated have perished in the rudeness of savage pyramid, sacred to Quetzalcoatl, the life. If it stood at this day on its *God of the Air," supposed to have been grand artificial terrace, in Hyde Park the largest in all Mexico, still stand to or the Garden of the Tuileries, it would the east of the holy city of Cholula. form a new order, I do not say equal. The area covered by its base is twice ling, but not unworthy to stand side by as great as that of the Egyptian pyraside with the remains of Egyptian, mid of Cheops, having a length of one Grecian, and Roman art."
thousand four hundred and twentyIn the recent work of Mr. Norman, three feet, and its altitude, which is entitled, “Rambles in Yucatan,” the one hundred and seventy-seven feet, is author, speaking of the ancient city of ten feet greater than that of the pyraChi-Chen, uses the following lan- mid of Mycerimus. Whilst some are guage :
formed of alternate layers of clay and "For five days did I wander up and unburnt brick, others are constructed down among these crumbling monuments of enormous masses of basalt, regularly of a city which, I hazard little in saying, cut and beautifully polished. Upon the must have been one of the largest the elevated plain of Cuernavaca, at the altiworld has ever seen. I beheld before me, tude of nearly six thousand feet above for a circuit of many miles in diameter, the level of the sea, is situated Xochithe walls of palaces and temples, and calco, or the House of Flowers." This pyramids, more or less dilapidated. The earth was strewed, as far as the eye could
pyramid was originally a hill, nearly distinguish, with columns, some broken
three miles in circuit, cut into this ar
tificial shape by human labor, the and some nearly perfect, which seemed to have been planted there by the genius of
sides, which correspond with the cardesolation which presided over this awful dinal points, being divided into four solitude. Amid these solemn memorials terraces. The slopes intermediate of departed generations, who have died have bastions, platforms, rectangular and left no marks but these, there were no elevations, &c., one above the other, all indications of animated existence, save faced with large porphyry stones, cut from the bats, the lizards, and the rep- with great precision, but united without tiles, which now and then emerged from cement. The perpendicular height is the crevices of the tottering walls, and about three hundred and sixty feet. crumbling stones that were strewed upon Here are to be seen many figures sculp the ground at their base. No marks of tured in relief, some representing hierohuman footsteps, no signs of previous visi
i glyphics, some human figures seated tors, were discernible; nor is there good
cross-legged in the Asiatic manner, and reason to believe that any person, whose
others crocodiles spouting water. testimony of the fact has been given to O the world, had ever before broke the si- Were it deemed necessary, a multilence which reigns over these sacred tude of other facts equally extraorditombs of a departed civilisation. As I nary might be here presented, in illuslooked about me and indulged in these tration of the high degree of civilisareflections, I felt awed into perfect si- tion attained by this people. The lence. To speak then, had been profane. reader may find many of these facts A revelation from heaven could not have collected in Bradford's recent work on impressed me more profoundly with the “ American Antiquities." solemnity of its communication, than I Notwithstanding all these ruins are was now impressed on finding myself the completely deserted, it is not probable first, probably, of the present generation that they are the relics of a people
of civilized men walking the streets of now extinct. By the Spanish conquer bles, pa the very r this once mighty city, and amid
ors the temples were found still de K'Those temples, palaces, and piles stupendous. Of which the very ruins are tremendous."
$, voted to their original sacred uses, and CAGL2 LI KIBA joe' bejsvejed 'sol 330) Iuro (or bles, palaisls 291
high state of civilisation. In view of
It yet remaias to advert to the an- t
Greece or Rome." By this people and some of the neighboring nations, culti-n pation of the soil was carried to a high state of perfection. Even the sides of u the steepest mountains were converted, by the aid of stone walls and canals of irrigation, into productive fields. "UD on the sides of some of the mountains, 1 says Mr. Temple, " were the remains of walls built in regular stages round thern, from their base to their summits, forming terraces on which, or between which, the Indians, in days of yore, cultivated their crops." In many places, both in Peru and Chile, are still to be seen aqueducts often of great magnificence, constructed of earth and stone, and carried along the most pre
cipitous mountains, with great labor and ingenuity, frequently to the diş.
the magnificent palaces were not with- tance of fifteen or twenty leagues-out their princes. The finest temple aqueducts that rival the boasted waterof the city of Mexico was erected but works of our own city. A striking rea short period before the landing of semblance to the aqueducts of Mexico Cortez; and this great“ Teocalli,” we is apparent in the circumstance that are informed, was constructed after the they consisted of two conduits running model of the pyramids built by the parallel, the larger being for general Toltecs,-a people who preceded those use, and the smaller to supply, whilst found by the Spaniards, and to whom the other was being cleansed, the acwere ascribed by the Mexicans them- tual wants of the inhabitants. Many selves all edifices of great antiquity of these aqueducts were subterranean, When the Europeans first arrived it is there being at Lanasca a fountain supvery probable that many cities, in con- plied by such conduits, the source of sequence of the revolutions to which which has never been traced. The every government is subject, had al- very magnificence of some of these ready been deserled, perhaps for cen- great works, the pipes being made of turies. It is, however, true beyond gold, was the cause of their destruction doubt that the ancestors of the present by the Spaniards, whose avaricious cuIndians occupying that region were the pidity was thus excited. Many public authors of many of the existing anti- works were constructed for the encouquities indicative of a comparatively ragement of agriculiure. In the vicihigh state of civilisation. In view of nity of Santiago, in Chile, for example, these facts, the relics and monuments an artificial aqueduct, in order to irriscattered over the United States, in gate the soil of the lower plain, was connection with the uncivilized condi- formed so as to draw off a portion of tion of its inhabitants when first disco- the waters of the river Mapocho. vered by Europeans, will the less ex- “ They cut channels,” says Graham in cite our surprise. Like the “ middle his “Chile,” “through the granite ages” of the old world, the new has rock from the Mapocho to the edge of had its still darker ones.
the precipice, and made use of the naIt yet remains to advert to the an- tural fall of the ground to throw a concient monuments of South America. siderable stream from the river into These also indicate a high degree of the vale below. This is divided into civilisation, which was not wholly numerous channels, as is required, and confined to Peru. The tombs contain the land so watered is some of the ing the preserved bodies of the ancient most productive in the neighborhood of Peruvians of the upper provinces, we are the city.” But many of these lands, told by Mr. Pentland, “are monuments thus maintained fertile and productive, of a grand species of design and archi- are now sandy and arid wastes, scarcely tecture, resembling Cyclopean remains, capable of supporting the most scanty and not unworthy of the arts of ancient population. Greece or Rome." By this people and Much might be said in regard to the some of the neighboring nations, cultic ruins of ancient cities, fortresses, and vation of the soil was carried to a high edifices in South America, as well as state of perfection. Even the sides of the remains of baths and works of the steepest mountains were converted, sculpture; but we must content ourby the aid of stone walls and canals of selves with one or two extracts in referirrigation, into productive fields. “Up- ence to their great public roads, which, on the sides of some of the mountains," by no means confined to Peru, still resays Mr. Temple, “ were the remains veal their vestiges in remote regions of walls built in regular stages round far beyond the domain of the Inca them, from their base to their summits, power. “We were surprised,” says forming terraces on which, or between Humboldt, in his journey across the which, the Indians, in days of yore, plains of Assuary, “to find in this cultivated their crops." In many plac place, and at heights which greatly ces, both in Peru and Chile, are still to surpass the top of the Peak of Tene. be seen aqueducts often of great mag- riffe, the magnificent remains of a road nificence, constructed of earth and constructed by the Incas of Peru. This stone, and carried along the most pre- causeway, lined with freestone, may be cipitous mountains, with great labor compared to the finest Roman roads I and ingenuity, frequently to the dis- have seen in Italy, France, or Spain, It is perfectly straight, and keeps the most uncultivated, a second Cadmus same direction for six or eight thous- has arisen in the person of an uneduand metres. We observed the con- cated Cherokee, ignorant of every lane tinuation of this road near Caxamarca, guage but his own. The name of this one hundred and twenty leagues to the Indian who invented a system of “talksouth of Assuary, and it is believed in ing Cherokee upon paper," is Se-quathe country that it led as far as the yah, or George Guess; and as we had city of Cuzco.” Another writer, the pleasure, during the removal of that (Long, Polynesian Nation, p. 78,) re- tribe west of the Mississippi, in 1838,* marks, that “at a time when a public to become acquainted with a son of this highway was either a relic of Roman Cadmus the Second, who was in the greatness, or a sort of nonentity in Eng. public service as a "lingster" or interland, there were roads fifteen hun- preter, we are enabled to state the dred miles in length in the empire of circumstances which gave rise to this Peru. The feudal system was as firm- important discovery, as repeatedly ly established in these transatlantic related to us by the son. The kingdoms as in France. The Peru- thoughts of Guess were first directed vians were ignorant of the art of form- into this channel by observing his ing an arch, but they had constructed nephew, who had just returned from suspension bridges over frightful ra- a distant school, spelling some words, vines; they had no implements of iron, whereupon he immediately exclaimed but their forefathers could move blocks that he could effect the same in his of stone as huge as the Sphinxes and vernacular tongue. Building a but in Memnons of Egypt."
a retired spot, and thus secluding him. In this region, as in Mexico, the an- self in a great measure from his peo cient monuments indicate two epochs ple, he devoted himself exclusively of the arts, one of remote antiquity, to this great labor. His fellow-coanand the other of a more modern period. trymen, superstitious by edacation, The sacred lake of Titicaca constitutes grew suspicious of his object, as they probably the most ancient locality of viewed him in his solitary study sara South American civilisation; but to rounded by his cabalistic figures. Besuppose that all the civilized tribes lieving that he was engaged in the art were comprised within the limits of the of conjuration, peradventure in concoct. Peruvian empire, were an error of no ing some diabolical plan to blow up small magnitude. The enterprise and the nation, the populace succeeded ingenuity of the Peruvian sovereigns, in drawing him from his hermitage, when they established their extensive when they burned up the cabin, hieroempire, were always ready to adopt, glyphics and all. But our second Cad. and reproduce on an enlarged scale, the mus returned to his supposed blackinventions they found existing, as, for art; and he was soon fortunate enough instance, the ancient structures of Tia- to exhibit to his people one of the huanaco, which were, according to greatest wonders of modern times. their own adınission, the models of Thus having, after two years' labor, those erected by them in their own do- completed his system, and instructed minions.
his daughter in the signification of From the foregoing facts, then, it the characters used, he invited his old would seem to follow conclusively, friends, the head men and warriors of that the American dative is susceptible the nation, to assemble at his house of civilisation. It has been a disputed to witness the result. Having expoint, whether the ancient Mexicans plained to them the principles of his or Peruvians possessed the knowledge system, he then wrote down whatever of hieroglyphic writing; but this was suggested by any of the visitors; question, as regards the advancement and now calling in his daughter, she of their mental powers, is no longer of read it off unhesitatingly to the wonder. much importance; for even within the stricken assembly. His old friends, present age, in a tribe recently the after repeating this several times to
• Attached to the medical staff of the army, the author of this Article spent upwards of two years among the Cherokees, Creeks, and Seminoles; and during twelve months of this period, whilst serving in the interior of East Florida, never saw a house, (save a block-house), or a white woman.