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happiness, until his absence showed how much all these things were due to the immediate operation of his powerful mind."
We conclude our notice of this spirited discourse, by expressing our wish that if Dr. Du Ponceau cannot be prevailed on to be that historian himself, Pennsylvania may not long remain without such an one as he describes, and her interesting annals richly deserve.
We have lately received No. XXXI. of the North American Review. The first article noticed is “ Archæologia Ameri
- Transactions and Collections of the American Antiquarian Society, Vol. I.:" and we hasten to redeem the pledge we have just given, by laying before our readers some account of the antiquities discovered in America, chiefly through the instrumentality of this society.
The reviewer observes, with truth, that destitute as America may be of the monuments of ancient art and former grandeur, yet there are topics connected with its original population and unwritten history, of sufficient interest to excite the inquiries, and occupy the researches of the learned. Notwithstanding the ingenious hypotheses of D’Acosta, Hornius, De Laet, and Grotius, and the opinions of Robertson, Pennant, and Clavigero, the question whence America wus peopled, has never been satisfactorily answered. The subject has acquired increased interest by the discovery of ancient mounds and works of vast extent, on the borders of the rivers west of the Alleghany mountains, indicative of an immense population, in a region since overgrown with forests, and of which the savages possess no tradition. The earliest cares of the society have been to obtain accurate surveys and descriptions of these remains.
The most ample information respecting them has been communicated by Caleb Atwater, esq. of Circleville, Ohio, in an epistolary correspondence with Isaiah Thomas, esq. the president of the society.
Mr. Atwater remarks,
“ Our antiquities belong not only to different eras, in point of time, but to several nations; and those articles, belonging to the same era and the same people, were intended by their authors to be applied to many different uses. We shall divide these antiquities into three classes. 1. Those belonging to Indians. , 2. To people of European origin; and 3. Those of that people who raised our ancient forts and tumuli. -- " Those antiquities, which, in the strict sense of the term, belong to the North American Indians, are neither numerous nor very interesting. They consist of rude stone axes and knives, of pestles
used in preparing maize for food, of arrow-heads, and a few other articles, so exactly similar to those found in all the Atlantic states, that a description of them is deemed quite useless.
“The antiquities, belonging to people of European origin, consist principally of articles left by some of the first travellers in these parts of the country, or buried with Indians who had obtained them, perhaps, from the early settlers of Canada. It was necessary to account for these, because, when found, they have sometimes been taken for implements of native inhabitants, and referred to as evidence that the country was formerly occupied by those who possessed the arts of civilized life.
“ The third and most highly interesting class of antiquities comprehends those belonging to that people who erected our ancient forts and tumuli; those military works, whose walls and ditches cost so much labour in their structure; those numerous and sometimes lofty mounds, which owe their origin to a people far more civilized than our Indians, but far less so than Europeans. These works are interesting, on many accounts, to the antiquarian, the philosopher, and the divine; especially when we consider the immense extent of country which they cover, the great labour which they cost their authors, the acquaintance with the useful arts which that people had, when compared with our present race of Indians, the grandeur of many of the works themselves, the total absence of all historical records or even traditionary accounts respecting them, the great interest which the learned have taken in them, to which we may add the destruction of them, which is going on in almost every place where they are found in this whole country.
They abound most in the vicinity of good streams, and are never, or rarely, found, except in a fertile soil. They are not found in the prairies of Ohio, and rarely in the barrens, and there they are small, and situated on the edge of them, and on dry ground."
These ancient works consist, 1. of mounds or tumuli, conical in form, and from five to more than a hundred feet in height. 2. Elevated squares, supposed to be "high places,” for sacred purposes. 3. Walls of earth, from five to twenty feet high, enclosing from one acre to more than a hundred, some laid out in regular squares, others exactly circular, and some irregular. 4. Parallel walls of earth, extending sometimes several miles, believed to have been designed for covered ways, for race-grounds, and for places of amusement. These all appear to have been built with earth taken up uniformly from the plain on which they are erected, so as not to leave any traces by which we perceive from whence it was collected, and are as nearly perpendicular as the earth could be made to lie. That these works are of so great antiquity, Mr. Atwater argues from the following facts :
“ Trees of the largest size, whose concentric annular rings have been counted, have in many instances as many as four hundred, and they appear to be at least the third growth since the works were occupied. Along the Ohio, where the river is in many places washing away its banks, hearths and fire-places are brought to light, two, four, and even six feet below the surface. A long time must have elapsed since the earth was deposited over them. Around them are spread immense quantities of muscle shells, bones of animals, &c. From the depth of many of these remains of chimnies below the present surface of the earth, on which, at the settlement of this country by its present inhabitants, grew as large trees as any in the surrounding forest, the conclusion is, that a long period, perhaps a thousand years, has elapsed since these hearths were deserted.
“ The ancient works near Newark, in Licking county, are of great extent. A fort, nearly in the form of an octagon, enclosing about forty, acres, constructed of walls ten feet high, is connected with a round fort of twenty-two acres, by parallel walls of equal height. Similar walls form a passage to the Licking river northerly, and run in a southerly direction to an unexplored distance. A like guarded pass-way, 300 chains in length, leads to a square fort containing twenty acres, which is in the same manner connected with a round one containing twenty-six acres.
At the ex tremities of the outer passes, are what may be called round towers; and adjacent to one of the forts is an observatory, partly of stone, thirty feet high. It commanded a full view of a consi. derable part, if not all of the plain on which these ancient works stand; and would do so.now, were the thick growth of aged forest trees which clothe this tract cleared away. Under this observatory was a passage, from appearances, and a secret one probably, to the water-course which once run near this spot, but has since moved further off.
“ A few miles below Newark, on the south side of the Licking, are some extraordinary holes dug in the earth. In popular language they are called wells,' but were not dug for the purpose of procuring water, either fresh or salt. There are at least a thousand of these wells; many of them are more than twenty feet in depth. A great deal of curiosity has been excited as to the objects sought for by the people who 'dug these holes.
“ The works at Circleville are among the most perfect and cu. rious in the whole region.
“ There are two forts, one being 'an exact circle, the other an exact square. The former is surrounded by two walls, with a deep ditch between them. The latter is encompassed by one wall without
ditch. The former was sixty-nine feet in diameter, measuring from outside to outside of the circular outer wall; the latter is exactly fifty-five rods square, measuring the same way. 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 was of clay, taken up probably in the northern part of the fort, where was a low place, and is still considerably lower than any other part of the work. The outside wall was taken from the ditch which is between these walls, and is alluvial, consisting of pebbles worn smooth in water, and sand, to a very considerable depth, more than fifty feet at least. : The outside of the walls is about five or six feet in height now; on the inside the ditch is at present generally not more than fifteen feet. They are disappearing before us daily, and will soon be gone. The walls of the square fort are, at this time, where left standing, about ten feet in height. There were eight gate-ways, or openings, leading into the square fort, and only one into the circular fort. Before each of these openings was a mound of earth, perhaps four feet high, forty feet perhaps in diameter at the base, and twenty or upwards at the summit. These mounds, for two rods or more, are exactly in front of the gate-ways, and were intended for the defence of these openings. As this work was a perfect square, so the gateways, and their watch towers, were equidistant from each other. These mounds were in a perfectly straight line, and exactly parallel with the wall. The extreme care of the authors of these works to protect and defend every part of the circle is no where visible about this square fort. The former is defended by two high walls; the latter by one. The former has a deep ditch encircling it; this has
The former could be entered at one place only; this at eight, and those about twenty feet broad. The present town of Circleville covers all the round and the western half of the square fort. The walls of this work vary a few degrees from north and south, east and west; but not 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. What surprised me on measuring these forts, was the exact manner in which they had laid down their circle and square; so that after every effort, by the most careful survey to detect some error in their measurement, we found that it was impossible, and that the measurement was much more correct than it would have been, in all probability, had the present inhabitants undertaken to construct such a work. Let those consider this circumstance, who affect to believe that these antiquities were raised by the ancestors of the present race of Indians."
In some of the nitrous caves of Kentucky exsiccated bodies have been found, which are called 'mummies,' though it does not appear that they ever were embalmed. A description of them may not be uninteresting to the reader
“ The mummies have generally been found enveloped in three coverings; first in a coarse species of linen cloth, of about the consistency and texture of cotton bagging. It was evidently woven
by the same kind of process, which is still practised in the interior part of Africa. The warp being extended by some slight kind of machinery, the woof was passed across it, and then twisted every two threads of the warp together, before the second passage of the filling. This seems to have been the first rude method of weaving in Asia, Africa, and America. The second envelope of the mummies is a kind of net-work, of coarse threads, formed of very small loose meshes, in which were fixed the feathers of various kinds of birds, so as to make a perfectly smooth surface, lying all in one direction. The art of this tedious, but beautiful manufacture, was well understood in Mexico, and still exists on the north-west coast of America, and in the islands of the Pacific Ocean. In those isles it is the state or court dress. The third and outer envelope of these mummies is either like the one first described, or it consists of leather sewed together."
We fully agree with the reviewer in commending the active and laborious exertions of Mr. Atwater in obtaining accurate surveys, and preserving minute descriptions of these interesting remains, as they are rapidly mouldering away; and we congratulate the American Antiquarian Society on the interesting and important details with which the first volume of their transactions is enriched. We are given to understand that the Society owes its origin and much of its success to its munificent President, who at its first organization made a donation of a large collection of books, which has been still increasing, till in 1819 its library amounted to 5000 volumes, including the remains of the library formerly belonging to Drs. Increase and Cotton Mather, the most ancient in Massachusetts, if not in the United States. The Society also possesses a museum, and a cabinet containing many curious articles collected in various parts of the United States. To crown the whole, the President, with a generosity, we should say in this country, truly princely, has caused a handsome edifice to be erected in the town of Worcester, at his own expense, and presented it to the institution, which was incorporated by an act of the Legislature on the 24th October, 1812. May its future exertions be worthy of the support and patronage it has received ! It is now with deep regret
that we stop
press to communicate to the public the painful intelligence, forwarded to us by one of our respected correspondents in New York, on the 21st of November, that our valued friend the Rev. Dr. Mason has been compelled to quit the pulpit. He has long struggled against increasing inability, though occasionally so