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ern and western direction; and finally, medals have been found representing the sun and his rays of light.
At what period they came to this country is likewise a matter of speculation. From the comparatively rude state of the arts among them, it has been inferred that the time was very remote. Their axes were made of stone; their raiment, judging from the fragments which have been discovered, consisted of the barks of trees interwoven with feathers; and their military works were such as a people would erect who had just passed from the hunter to the pastoral state of society. The line of forts already referred to, in New York, were built on the brow of the hill which was originally the southern shore of Lake Erie. By the recession of the waters, they are now from 3 to 5 miles distant from their original limits.' The surface, which became exposed by the retirement of the waters, is now covered with a vegetable mold from 6 to 10 inches deep, and it may reasonably be supposed that a long interval of time was required for the production of the forests by whose decomposition it was formed. But a much longer interval would be required for the Niagara to deepen its channel and thus cause the subsidence of the waters in the lake.
What finally became of this people is another query which has been extensively discussed. The fact that their works extend into Mexico and Peru has induced the belief that it was their posterity that dwelt in these countries when they were first visited by the Spaniards. The Mexican and Peruvian works, with the exception of their greater magnitude, are similar. Relics common to all of them have been occasionally found, and it is believed that the religious uses which they subserved were the same. One of the principal deities of the South Americans was the god of the shining mirror, so called because he was supposed to reflect, like a mirror, his divine perfections. The same god was also a Mexican divinity; and while other deities were symbolized by images, this one was represented by a mirror, and held in great veneration as the unknown god of the universe. Isinglas, common in the mounds in the United States, was the material generally employed for the construction of mirrors in Mexico; but in South America, obsidan, a volcanic product, which answered the same purpose, was more frequently used. If, indeed, the Mexicans and Peruvians were the progeny of the more ancient mound builders, then Spanish rapacity for gold was the cause of their overthrow and final extermination.
A thousand other interesting queries naturally arise respecting these nations which now repose under the ground, but the most searching investigation can only give us vague speculations for answers. No historian has preserved the names of their mighty chieftains nor given an account of their exploits, and even tradition is silent respecting them. If we knock at the tombs, no spirit comes back with a response, and only a sepulchral.echo of forget. fulness and death reminds us how vain is the attempt to unlock the mysterious past upon which oblivion has fixed its seal. How forcibly their mouldering bones and perishing relics remind us of the transitory character of human existence. Generation after generation lives, moves and is no more; time has strewn the track of its ruthless march with the fragments of mighty empires; and at length not even their names nor works have an existence in the speculations of those who take their places.
THE INDIANS OF ILLINOIS.
The third distinct race which, according to ethnologists, has inhabited North America, is the present Indians. When visited by early European pioneers they were without cultivation, refinement or literature, and far behind their precursors, the mound builders, in a knowledge of the arts. The question of their origin has long interested archeologists, and is one of the most difficult they have been called on to answer. One hypothesis is that they are an original race indigeneous to the Western Hemisphere. Those who entertain this view think their peculiarities of physical structure preclude the possibility of a common parentage with the rest of mankind. Prominent among these distinctive traits is the hair, which in the red man is round, in the white man oval, and in tho black man flat. In the pile of the European the coloring matter is distributed by means of a central canal, but in that of the Indian it is incorporated in the fibrous structure. Brown, who has made an exhaustive examination of these varieties of hair, concludes that they are radically different, and belong to three distinct branches of the human family, which, instead of a common, have had a trinary origin. Since, therefore, these and other peculiar ethnological features are characteristic only of the aboriginal inhabitants of America, it is inferred that they are indigenous to this part of the globe.
A more common supposition, however, is that they are a derivative race, and sprang from one or more of the ancient peoples of Asia. In the absence of all authentic history, and when even tradition is wanting, any attempt to point out the particular theater of their origin must prove unsatisfactory. They are perhaps an offshoot of Shemitic parentage, and some imagine, from their
tribal organization and some faint coincidences of language and religion, that they were the descendants of the ancient Hebrews. Others, with as much propriety, contend that their progenitors were the ancient Hindoos, and that the Brahmin idea, which uses the sun to symbolize the Creator of the Universe, has its counterpart in the sun worship of the Indians. They also see in the Hindoo polytheism, with its 30,000 divinities, a theology corresponding with the innumerable minor Indian deities, of which birds, quadrupeds, reptiles, and fishes are made the symbols. The Persians, and other primitive oriental stocks, and even the nations of Europe, if the testimony of different antiquarians could be accepted, might claim the honor of first peopling America.
Though the exact place of origin may never be known, yet the striking coincidences of physical organization between the oriental types of mankind and the Indians, point unmistakably to some part of Asia as the place whence they emigrated. Instead of 1800 years, the time of their roving in the wilds of America, as determined by Spanish interpretation of their pictographic records, the interval has perhaps been thrice that period. Their religions, superstitions and ceremonies, if of foreign origin, evidently belong to the crude theologies prevalent in the last centuries before the introduction of Mahometanism or Christianity. Scarcely 3000 years would suffice to blot out perhaps almost every trace of the language they brought with them from the Asiatic cradle of the race, and introduce the present diversity of aboriginal tongues. Like their oriental progenitors they have lived for centuries without progress, while the Caucassian variety of the race, under the transforming power of art, science, and improved systems of civil polity, have made the most rapid advancement. At the time of their departure eastward, a great current of emigration flowed westward to Europe, making it a great arena of human effort and improvement. Thence proceeding farther westward it met in America, the midway station in the circuit of the globe, the opposing current direct from Asia. The shock of the first contact was the beginning of the great conflict which has since been waged by the rival sons of Shem and Japheth. The first thought of the Indian, when hostilities commenced on the Atlantic border, was to retire westward. It was from beyond the Alleghanies, according to the traditions of their fathers, they had come, and in the same undefined region they located their paradise or happy hunting ground. To employ an aboriginal allegory, “The Indians had long discerned a dark cloud in the heavens, coming from the east, which threatened them with disaster and death. Slowly rising at first, it seemed shadow, but soon changed to substance. When it reached the summit of the Alleghanies it assumed a darker hue; deep murmurs, as of thunder, were heard ; it was impelled westward by strong wind, and shot forth forked tongues of lightning."
The movement of the sombre cloud typified the advance of labor, science and civilization. Pontiac foresaw the coming storm when he beheld the French flag and French supremacy stricken down on the plains of Abraham. To the British officer sent westward to secure the fruits of victory, he said: “I stand in thy path.” To the assembled chiefs of the nations in council, he unfolded his schemes of opposition, depicted the disasters which would attend the coming rush of the Anglo-Saxon, and climaxed his invective against the hated enemy with the exclamation, “Drive the dogs who wear red clothing into the sea.” Fifty years after the defeat of Pontiac, Tecumseh, emulating his example, plotted the conspiracy of the Wabash. He brought to his aid the powerful influence of the Indian priest-hood; for years the forest haunts of his clansinen rang with his stirring appeals, and the valleys of the West ran with the blood of the white invaders. But Tecumseh fell a martyr to his cause, and the second attempt to turn back the tide of civilization was a failure. The Appalachian tribes, under the lealership of Tuscaloosa, next waged a continuous war of three years against the southern frontiers. The conflict terminated by the sublime act of its leader, who, after a reward had been offered for his head, voluntarily surrendered himself for the good of his countrymen. After this defeat, the southern tribes abandoned their long cherished idea of re-establishing Indian supremacy. A last and fruitless effort of this kind, by the Sacs and Foxes of Illinois, placed the vast domain east of the Mississippi in the hands of the ruthless conquerors.*
Algonquins and Iroquois.—Of the several great branches of North American Indians, as determined by sameness of language and mental and physical type, the only ones entitled to consideration in Illinois history, are the Algonquin, and incidentally the Iroquois. Before the encroachments of Europeans caused the retirement of the Algonquin tribes, they occupied most of the United States between the 35th and 60th parallels of latitudes, and the 60th and 105th meridians of longitude. They were Algonquins whom Cartier found on the banks of the St. Lawrence, whom the English discovered hunting and fishing on the Atlantic coast, from Maine to the Carolinas. They were tribes of this lineage whom Jesuit missionaries taught to repeat prayers and sing avis on the banks of the Mississippi and Illinois, and on the shores of the great lakes and Hudson Bay. The same great family waged war with the Puritans of New England, entered into a covenant of peace with Penn, and furnished a Pocahontas to intercede for the Îife of the adventurous founder of Virginia.
The starting point in the wanderings of the Algonquin tribes on the continent, as determined by tradition and the cultivation of the maize, their favorite cereal, was in the southwest. It is conjectured as they passed up the western side of the Mississippi Valley, their numbers were augumented by accessions from nomadic clans passthrough the central and southern passes of the Rocky Mountains. Then, turning eastward across the Mississippi, the southern margin of the broad track pursued toward the Atlantic was about the 35th parallel, the limits reached in this direction by these tribes. This would place in the central line of march, Illinois, and the adjacent regions, where the first European explorers found corn extensively cultivated and used as an article of food. On reaching the Atlantic they moved northeasterly along the seaboard to the mouth of the St. Lawrence, introducing along their track the cultivation of maize, without which many of the early British colonists must have perished. Next, ascending the St. Lawrence and the great lakes, they spread northward and westward to Hudson's Bay, the basin of Lake Winnepeg, and the valley of the Upper Mississippi. In this wide dispersion the original stock was broken into minor tribes; each, in the course of time, deviating in speech from the parent language, and forming a dialect of its own. The head of the migratory column, circling round the source of the Mississippi, recrossed it in a southeasterly direction above the falls of St. Anthony, and passed by way of Green Bay and Lake Michi. gan into the present limits of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Thus, after revolving in an irregular elipse of some 3000 miles in diameter, they fell into the original track eastward.
The territory of the Iroquois lay like an island in this vast area of Algonquin population. They had three conflicting traditions of their origin: that they came from the west, from the north, and sprung from the soil on which they lived. Their confederacy at first consisted of 5 tribes, the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas,
*Schoolcraft's, Part 5; Spencer's History of the United States
Cayugas and Senecas, to which a 6th, the Tuscaroras was afterwards added. Each tribe had a separate political organization in which the sachems were the ruling spirits. When foreign tribes were to be consulted, or the general interests of the confederacy required deliberation, the sachems of the several tribes met in general council. Hasty writers, judging from their successes without carefully studying their character and history, have greatly overrated their virtues. There is no doubt as to their success in war, but it was rather the result of circumstances than inherent worth. Notwithstanding their much lauded eloquence, diplomacy and courage, there is little doubt that the Algonquin tribes of the same latitude were in these respects fully their equals. As it regards cranial indications, the Iroquois had an excessive development at the basillar region, and the Algonquins a larger intellectual lobe, and the conduct of the two races corresponds with their cerebral differences. It is well known that for the exhibition of brutish ferocity in battle, and the fiendish butchery of prisoners, the former were without rivals. Missionary evidence states that it was they who first taught the Illinois the cruel practice of burning prisoners at the stake. But admitting their natural superiority they must have lost it by amalgamation, for it was customary with them to repair their constant losses in war by adopting into their families the women and children captured from their Algonquin enemies. This infusion of blood, if in a few generations it did not give the foreign element the ascendancy, must have greatly modified the original stock. Indeed some of the adopted Algonquins became afterwards their prominent chiefs.
Their success in war was in a great measure the result of local and other advantages. Possessing a territory included in the present limits of New York, it gave them ready access to the nations living on the western lakes; while the Mohawk and the Hudson furnished them a highway to the tribes of the sea-coast. Having by savage barbarity converted all the surrounding nations into enemies, necessity taught them the advantage of union, fixity of habitation made them superior in agriculture, while a passion for war gave them a preeminence in the arts best suited to gratify their inordinate lust for blood. Deprived of these advantages it is doubtful whether they would have been long able to cope with the tribes which they outraged by incessant attacks.
The Algonquin tribes were too widely dispersed to admit of a general confederacy; the interposition of great lakes and rivers prevented concert of action, and hence each community had to contend single-handed with the united enemy. Even in these unequal contests they were sometimes the conquerors, as instanced in the triumph of the Illinois on the banks of the Iroquois, a stream in our State whose name still commemorates the victory.
It is not, however, in the petty broils of tribal warfare, but the fierce conflicts with the civilized intruders "upon their soil, that a correct opinion is to be formed of these rival races. In these bloody struggles, which decided the fate of the entire aboriginal population, it was that the Algonquins evinced their great superiority. Unlike the Iroquois, who, in their haughty independence, disdained to go beyond their own narrow realins for assistance, and who, in their great thirst for carnage, even destroyed kindred nations, the Algonquins formed the most extensive alliance to