(Magazines of Pennsylvania)

Miscellaneous Magazines
1810-1819 Articles

Bank of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 1800

Pioneer July 7, 1812

Western Gleaner Dec. 1813

Western Gleaner Aug. 1814

Port Folio June 1816

Port Folio July 1816

Articles Index   |   1810-19 PA Newspaper Articles   |   1800-29 Adams Co. Papers  

[ 201 ]

T H E   P I O N E E R.

Vol. I.                               July 7, 1812.                             No. VI.

O F   T A S T E.

ALMOST every one is capable of receiving pleasure from perceiving objects which are novel, great, sublime, or beautiful. There but few who are proof against the charms of lively and diversified colours, a morning in spring, a setting sun in summer, the vast firmament, the ocean, a beautiful face, a piece of comic description, melodious music, a beautiful picture, an elegant speaker, or a fine poem. That part of our constitution which has the capacity of receiving those pleasures, has been called, in the language of science, "the powers of Taste."

The term taste, as expressive of a sense of those pleasures, is metaphorical. It is borrowed from the external sense of taste, which, by means of the saliva and palate, judges of the qualities of food. In this view, a power to relish to a high degree the beauties of nature and art, is analogous to the power which an improved palate has of nicely discriminating flavours, and bestowing an additional zest on those of which it approves. With the same rapture that one of the nice organs relishes the most luscious viands, one of a fine taste contemplates a variegated


202                                 P I O N E E R.                              

landscape, or dwells with admiration on the ezquisite producrions of genius.

Whatever pleasing emotions are generated in the breast, upon beholding things new, sublime, or beautiful, are to be referred to these powers. We bestow the vauge appellation of taste alike upon the momentary sweetness we derive from the melody of the groves, blushing flowers, sequestered spots, perfumed arbours; upon the still amaze with which we contemplate a dashing cararact, or a huge promontory; and upon the chilling horror with which we read a tragical story, or witness the shock of an earthquake. The soul that expands when viewing the expeanse of heaven; is tossed by beholding the troubled deep; swells at the sight of a huge mountain; contracts upon contemplating the perpetration of a horrid deed; thrills at the sound of music, or experiences a thousand emotions as various and charming, as the beautiful landscape which it surveys, is in possession of powers, which, however diversified in their operations, pass under the indefnite name taste.

Owing to the endless diversity of form which the powers of taste assume, the capacity they have of being excited by qualities, original, combined, and often directly opposite, with the close affinity they have for other faculties, no satisfactory definition of them can be given. They have generally been regarded as a distinct class of powers, occupying a middle place between the powers of the understanding


                                P I O N E E R.                               203

and of sense. This theory was first suggested by Addison, in his excellent papers...

Note: pages 203-219 are not yet transcribed


220                                 P I O N E E R.                              



THE following curious and interesting account is taken from "The History of the American Indians," by James Adair, Esq. who was a trader with the Indians, and resided among them forty years. He sets out with the hypothesis, that the Indians are descended from the ancient Israelites, which he proceeds to establish by running a parallel between them in several instances. To what degree of credit the arguments are entitled, the reader will judge for himself.

In proof of the Americans being thus descended, he adduces the following arguments: -- Their division into tribes; their worship of Jehovah; their notions of a theocracy; their belief in the ministration of angels; their language and dialects; their manner of counting time; their prophets and high priests; their festivals, fasts, and religious rites; their daily sacrifice; their ablutions and annointings; their laws of uncleanliness; their abstinence from unclean things; their marriages, divorces, and punishment of adultery; their several punishments; their cities of refuge; their purifications, and ceremonies preparatory; their ornaments; their manner of curing the sick; their burial of the dead; their mourning for their dead; their raising seed to a deceased brother; their choice of names, adapted to their circumstances and


                                P I O N E E R.                               221

the times; their own traditions; the accounts of our English writers; and the testimonies, which the Spanish and other writers have given concerning the primitive inhabitants of Peru and Mexico.

As the nation hath its particular symbol; so each tribe, the badge from which it is denominated. The Sachem of each tribe is a necessary party in conveyances and treaties, to which he affixes the mark of his tribe. If we go from nation to nation among them, we shall not find one who doth not lineally distinguish himself by his respective family. The genealogical names, which they assume, are derived either from the names of animals whereof the Cherubim are said in revelation to be compounded, or from such creatures as are most familiar to them. The Indians, however, bear no religious respect to the animals from whence they derive their name: on the contrary, they kill them when opportunity serves. When we consider that these savages have been above twenty centuries without the use of letters to carry down their traditions, it cannot reasonably be expected, that they should still retain the identical names of their primogenial tribes: their main customs corresponding with those of the Israelites sufficiently clears the subject. Besides, as hath been hinted, they call some of their tribes by the names of the cherubimical figures that were carried on the four principal standards of Israel.

By a strict permanent divine precept, the Hebrew nation were ordered to worship, at Jerusalem,


222                                 P I O N E E R.                              

Jehovah the true and living God, who by the Indians is styled Yohewah; which the 72 interpreters, either from ignorance or superstition, have translated Adonai, the very same as the Greek Kyrios, signifying Sir, Lord, or Master, which is commonly applied to earthly potentates, without the least signification or relation to that most great and awful name which describes the divine essence.

Agreeably to the theocracy or divine government of Israel, the Indians think the Deity to be the immediate head of their state -- All the nations of Indians are exceedingly intoxicated with religious pride, and have an inexpressible contempt of the white people -- They used to call us, in their war orations, the accursed people; but they flatter themselves with the name of the beloved people; because their supposed ancestors, as they affirm, were under the immediate government of the Deity, who was present with them in a very peculiar manner, and directed them by prophets, while the rest of the world were aliens and outlaws to the covenant. --

When the old Archimagus, or any one of their Magi, is persuading the people at their religious solemnities to a strict observance of the old beloved or divine speech, he always calls them the beloved or holy people, agreeably to the Hebrew epithet 'lmmi (my people) during the theocracy of Israel. It is their opinion of the theocracy, or that God chose them out of all the rest of mankind as his peculiar and beloved people, which alike animates both the white Jew and


                                P I O N E E R.                               223

the red American with that steady hatred against all the world except themselves, and renders them hated or despised by all.

The Indian language and dialects appear to have the very idiom and genius of the Hebrew. Their words and sentences are expressive, concise, emphatical, sonorous and bold; and often, both in letters and signification, are synonimous with the Hebrew language.

They count time after the manner of the Hebrews. They divide the year into spring, summer, autumn, and winter. They number their year from any of those four periods, for they have no name for a year; and they subdivide these and count the year by lunar months, like the Israelites who counted by moons, as their name sufficiently testifies. The number and regular periods of the Indians' religious feasts is a good historical proof, that they counted time by, and observed, a weekly sabbath long after their arrival on the American continent. They began the year at the first appearance of the first new moon of the vernal equinox, according to the ecclesiastical year of Moses. Till the 70 years' captivity commenced, the Israelites had only numeral names for the solar and lunar months, except Abib and Ethanim; the former signifies a great ear of corn; and the latter robust or valiant; and by the first name the Indians, as an explicative, term their passover, which the trading people call the green corn dance.

[He then gives a specimen of the Hebrew manner of


224                                 P I O N E E R.                              

counting, in order to prove its similarity to that of the Indians.]

In conformity to, or after the manner of the Jews, the Indian Americans have their prophets, and others of a religious order. As the Jews had a sanctum sanctorum, so have all the Indian nations. There they deposit their consecrated vessels -- none of the laity daring to approach that sacred place. The Indian tradition says, that their forefathers were possessed of an extraordinary divine spirit, by which they foretold things future, and controlled the common course of nature; and this they transmitted to their offspring, provided they obeyed the sacred laws annexed to it. Ishtoallo is the name of all their priestly order; and their pontifical office descends by inheritance to the eldest -- there are some traces of agreement, though chiefly lost in their pontifical dress. Before the Indian Archimagus officiates in making the supposed holy fire for the yearly atonement of sin, the Sagan clothes him with a white ephod, which is a waistcoat without sleeves. In resemblance of the Urim and Thummim, the American Archimagus wears a breastplate made of a white conch-shell, with two holes bored in the middle of it, through which he puts the ends of an otter-skin strap, and fastens a buck-horn white button to the outside of each, as if in imitation of the precious stones of the Urim.

[To be continued]


                                P I O N E E R.                               225



THE basis of all language is instinct, reason, and reflection. Articulations of the human voice, expressing sensations and perceptions, depend for their existence on what is felt or perceived. Were man a being endowed with neither emotions nor ideas to communicate, nor would his sounds be more articulate than those of the brute.

(The remainder of this issue (pages 225-248) are not yet transcribed)

Note: The Pioneer's excerpts from James Adair's History of the American Indians were not continued after its issue of July 7, 1812. The text of Adair's book is available on-line at the Library of Congress' "American Memory" web-site.


[ 1 ]





Vol. I.                       FOR DECEMBER, 1813.                     No. 1.


THERE is in the situation of countries newly settled, peculiar circumstances, which must for a long time retard the progress of the human mind, and the liberal culture of science and literature. The first exertions of the colonist will be directed towards the attainment of the mere necessaries of life, and the struggle against wild nature, yet unsubdued by the hand of man, will call forth all the energies of his mind. Patient industry will be required before so much stock can be accumulated as will by its re-production procure the supply of a few commodities of life. The spur thus given to industry by absolute want, will continue to operate after its primitive object is fully attained. The natural desire for ease will be succeeded by the lust of wealth, and the success of some will excite the most strenuous emulation of the many. In this state of things the society will soon flourish and prosper, but the more noble faculties of the human mind will remain barren and uncultivated. It will soon be discovered, that superior endowments are not always necessary for the acquirement of riches, and that a steady and ceaseless pursuit of self-interest is almost incompatible with those generous and noble feelings, which are inseparable from real talent and genius. Every one pursuing


2                                 PROSPECTUS.                              

his own track in the wide road to fortune, will scarcely see in his neighbor but an instrument or an impediment to his own interested views...

Note: pages 002--052 are not yet transcribed


                                  REVIEW.                                 53


I Vol.. 8vo. pp. 300.

Published by Cramer, Spear & Eichbaum, Pittsburgh.

We took up the volume before us, with no common degree of expectation. The interest of curiosity excited by a widely extended country, so little known until now,* which forms so valuable a portion of our territory, and upon which, the philosopher, the politician, and the speculator, are equally called...

Note: remainder of page 053, and pages 054 - 058 not yet transcribed


                                  REVIEW.                                 59

The situation and extent of the mineral tracts are marked out by him in the following manner:

"Nearest to the Mississippi, and beginning S. on the St. Francis and White river, with its main course and diverging dependencies, perhaps two miles in width, and six hundred in length, is the tract of lead mineral; perhaps the most extensive body of any mineral known in the world. On all the great rivers which traverse this tract, the ore shews itself, in their channels, in a variety of places; as also in ravines where the soil has been carried off. This is the case, on the Maramock, the Gasconade, the Osage, on the Mine river of the Missouri, on the Missouri itself, on la riviere des Moines, and at length on the Mississippi, below the Ouisconsing. At this place it crosses the river, and is seen, though in small quantities, in places round the Michigan. There is very little doubt but that all this extent abounds in lead ore, and may afford thousands of the richest mines

"The lead mines, at present wrought and productive, are those between the St. Francis and the Maramek: extending over a tract of about sixty miles in length, and twenty in breadth: and those at the Ouisconsing, on the Mississippi, above the prairie du Chien. The mines of the prairie du Chien, are still in the hands of the Sacs and Foxes, and wrought by themselves exclusively; but in a very imperfect manner. Last year (1811) they made about five hundred thousand weight, which they disposed of to traders. By some, these mines have been considered the richest yet opened. The Indians are badly provided with tools for mining: a common hoe is almost the only instrument which they use. They merely scratch away the soul a few feet, and the ore may be said, without exaggeration, to be raised in the manner of stones in a quarry. The mode of smelting is equally rude. The ore is thrown on piles of wood, and the lead is afterwards gathered up in cakes, in the shapes and forms assumed by melted lead, when carelessly thrown out on a hearth. It is afterwards melted by the traders, and made into pigs by the use of moulds.

"West of the tract of lead mineral, is that of the salines: It runs parallel with the other, but goes further south, and not so far north. The extent is not so well known. This tract affords the most numerous and best salines, of any part of North America. The number on the Arkansas and on the Osage, is surprisingly great."

"Near the place, where this tract crosses the Arkansas, several streams enter it, which are strongly impregnated with salt; among others, the Big Saline, and the Strong Saline, both nearly one hundred yards in width. It is here that the salt rock is said to be found, and


60                                     REVIEW.                                  

that salt prairies are known to exist. The salt rock (if there be such, a thing) has not been described by any person who has examined it...

Note: remainder of pages 060 - 063 not yet transcribed


64                                     REVIEW.                                  

"In their persons, they are well formed, of an agreeable pleasant countenance; indicating cheerfulness and serenity. Their dress was formerly extremely simple; the men wore a blanket coat, of course cloth or coating, with a cape behind, which could be drawn over the head; from which circumstance it was called a capote. They wore a blue handkerchief on their heads; but no hats, or shoes, or stockings; moccasins, or the Indian sandals, were used by both sexes. The dress of the females was likewise simple, and the variations of fashion, few: though they were dressed in a much better taste than the other sex. -- These manners will soon cease to exist, but in remembrance and description, every thing has changed. The American costume is generally introduced, amongst the first families, and amongst the young girls and young men universally. I never saw any where greater elegance of dress than at the balls of St. Louis. We still see a few of both sexes in their ancient habiliments; capots, moccasins, blue handkerchiefs on the head, a pipe in the mouth, and the hair tied up in a long queue. These people exhibit a striking difference when compared with the unconquerable pertinacity of the Pennsylvania Germans, who adhere so rigidly to the customs, manners, and language of their fathers. A few years have effected more change with the inhabitants of this territory than has been brought about amongst the Germans in fifty years."

The subject of Indian antiquities, is more philosophically discussed by Mr. B. than we have seen it any where else. He gives us at the same time the description of several mounds. which seem to have escaped the attention of former travellers, and which, in point of magnitude and of regularity of plan surpass any thing that has come hitherto to our knowledge, concerning Indian workmanship. They are situated in the American bottom, which is perhaps the richest alluvial land in North America. It extends on the Mississippi from the Kaskaskia to the Cahokia river, about thirty miles in length, and above five in breadth.

"If any vestige of ancient population were to be found," says Mr. B. "this would be the place to search for it -- accordingly, this tract, as also the bank of the river on the western side, exhibits proofs of an immense population. If the city of Philadelphia and its environs, were deserted, there would not be more numerous traces of human existence. The great number of mounds, and the astonishing quantity of human bones, every where dug up, or found on the surface of the ground, with a thousand other appearances, announce that this valley


                                    REVIEW.                            65

was at one period filled with habitations and villages. The whole face of the bluff, or hill which bounds it to the east, appears to have been a continued burial ground.

But the most remarkable appearances, are two groups of mounds or pyramids, the one about ten miles above Cahokia, the other nearly the same distance below it, which in all, exceed one hundred and fifty, of various sizes. The western side, also, contains a considerable number.

A more minute description of those above Cahokia, which I visited in the fall of 1811, will give a tolerable idea of them all.

I crossed the Mississippi at St. Louis, and after passing through the wood which borders the river, about half a mile in width, entered an extensive open plain. In fifteen minutes, I found myself in the midst of a group of mounds, mostly of a circular shape, and at a distance, resembling enormous haystacks scattered through a meadow. -- One of the largest which I ascended, was about two hundred paces in circumference at the bottom, the form nearly square, though it had entirely undergone considerable alteration from the washing of the rains. The top was level, with an area sufficient to contain several hundred men.

The prospect from this mound is very beautiful, looking towards the bluffs, which are dimly seen at the distance of six or eight miles, the bottom at this place being very wide, I had a level plain before me, varied by islets of wood, and a few solitary trees; to the right, the prairie is bounded by the horizon, to the left, the course of the Cahokia may be distinguished by the margin of wood upon its banks, and crossing the valley diagonally, S. S. W. Around me, I counted forty-five mounds, or pyramids, besides a great number of small artificial elevations; these mounds form something more than a semicircle, about a mile in extent, the open space on the river.

Pursuing my walk along the bank of the Cahokia, I passed eight others in the distance of three miles, before I arrived at the largest assemblage. When I reached the foot of the principal mound, I was struck with a degree of astonishment, not unlike that which is experienced in contemplating the Egyptian pyramids. What a stupendous pile of earth! To heap up such a mass must have required years, and the labors of thousands. It stands immediately on the bank of the Cahokia, and on the side next it, is covered with lofty trees. Were it not for the regularity and design which it manifests, the circumstances of its being on alluvial ground, and the other mounds scattered around it, we could scarcely believe it the work of human hands. The shape is that of a parallelogram, standing from north to south; on the south side there is a broad apron or step, about half way down, and from


66                                     REVIEW.                                  

this, another projection into the plain about fifteen feet wide, which was probably intended as an ascent to the mound. By stepping round the base, I computed the circumference to be at least eight hundred yards, and the height of the mound about ninty feet. The step, or apron, has been used as a kitchen garden, by the monks of La Trappe, settled near this, and the top is sowed with wheat. Nearly west there is another of a smaller size, and forty others scattered through the plain. Two are also seen on the bluff, at the distance of three miles. Several of these mounds are almost conical. As the sward had been burnt, the earth was perfectly naked, and I could trace with ease, any unevenness of surface, so as to discover whether it was artificial or accidental. I every where observed a great number of small elevations of earth, to the heighth of a few feet, at regular distances from each other, and which appeared to observe some order; near them I also observed pieces of flint, and fragments of earthen vessels. I concluded, that a very populous town had once existed here, similar to those of Mexico, described by the first conquerors. The mounds were sites of temples, or monuments erected to the memory of great men. It is evident, this could never have been the work of thinly scattered tribes. If the human species had at any time been permitted in this country to have increased freely, and there is every probability of the fact, it must, as in Mexico, have become astonishingly numerous."

The section which is devoted to the state of Louisiana, has appeared to us the most defective, not on account of that which is imparted to us, but on account of that which we might have expected. It forms but a slender portion of the whole work, and some of the most important articles are passed over with complete silence. The city of New Orleans even, that rich emporium of our western produce for the foreign market, is not mentioned with a word. And still what a fine subject for Mr. B's happy talent of intuitive representation, his faithful delineation of men and manners, and his gift of connecting individual facts with considerations of public and national felicity! We cannot explain this omission otherwise than on the score of his wish to do full justice to such an important matter, in completing the materials which he must have collected, by his own observations and by farther researches, and we may trust that this desideratum and some others of the same kind, will be done away with in a second edition, which the favorite reception of the first will soon render necessary.


                                    REVIEW.                                  67

The journal of a voyage made by Mr. B. up the Missouri and which concludes the volume, is upon the whole, barren and monotonous...

Note: pages 067 - 359 not yet transcribed


[ 1 ]





Vol. II.                        FOR JUNE, 1814.                      No. 1.


[Continued from page 339 of Vol. I.]


THE coloring matters, made use of for dying red, are kermes, cochineal, archil, madder, carthamus, Brazil-wood, lac, logwood and santal-wood.

Kermes [coccus ilicis. Linn.] is an insect found in many parts of Asia and the south of Europe. It lives on a small kind of oak [quercus coccifera, Linn.]. If the living insect be bruised, it gives out a red color. Its smell is somewhat pleasant; its taste a little bitter, rough and pungent. When dry, it imparts this smell and taste to water, and also to alcohol, to both which, it gives a deep red color. This color is retained by the extracts made from these infusions.

The introduction of cochineal into dyeing has nearly exploded the use of kermes. The color, however, which it imparts to cloth, is much more durable, as it may be seen in garments two or three hundred years old, which have been dyed with this substance.

To dye upon worsted with kermes, it is first boiled half an hour in water with bran; then two hours in a fresh bath, with one-fifth of Roman alum, and one-tenth of tartar, to which sour water is commonly added; after which, it is taken out tied up in a linen bag, and carried to a cool place, where it is left some


2                                   ON DYEING.                                

Note: pages 002 - 175 not yet transcribed


176                                 MISCELLANY.                                 



If the system of perfect liberty to industry and commerce, were the prevailing system of nations, the arguments which dissuade a country, in the predicament of the United States, from the zealous pursuit of manufactures, would doubtless have great force. It will not be affirmed, that they might be permitted, with few exceptions, to serve as a rule of national conduct. In such a state of things, each country would have the full benefit of its peculiar advantages. If one nation were in a condition to supply manufactured articles on better terms than another, that other might find an abundant indemnification, in a superior capacity to furnish the produce of the soil. And a free exchange, mutually beneficial, of the commodities which each was able to supply, on the best terms, might be carried on between them, supporting in full vigor the industry of each. And though the circumstances which have been mentioned, and others which will be unfolded hereafter, render it probable, that nations merely agricultural, would not enjoy the same degree of opulence, in proportion to their numbers, as those who united manufactures with agriculture; yet the progressive improvement of the lands of the former, might in the end, atone for an inferior degree of opulence in the mean time; and in a case in which opposite considerations are pretty equally balanced, the option ought perhaps always to be in favor of leaving industry to its own course.

But the system which has been mentioned is far from characterising the general policy of nations. The prevalent one has been regulated by an opposite spirit. The consequence of it is, that the United States, are, to a certain extent, in the situation of a country precluded from foreign commerce. They can indeed with difficulty, obtain from abroad the manufactured supplies of which they are in want, but they experience numerous and very injurious impediments to the emission and vent


                                MISCELLANY.                               177

of their own commodities, nor is this the case in reference to a single foreign nation only. The regulations of several countries, with which we have the most extensive intercourse, throw serious obstructions in the way of the principal staples of the United States.

Remarks of this kind are not made in the spirit of complaint. It is for the nations, whose regulations are alluded to, to judge for themselves whether by aiming at too much, they do not lose more than they gain. It is for the United States to consider by what means they can render themselves less dependent on the combinations, right or wrong, of foreign policy.

{The conjectures of Mr. Harris, in his tour to the westward, respecting the remains of antiquity which are found in that country, are very interesting. It is with extreme regret we learn the death of another gentleman, who for a few years past had turned his attention particularly to the subject, had collected many interesting facts, and had made a number of drawings of the different remains. In the decease of Dr. Campbell, literature and society in general, has suffered a severe loss. We extract the following from Harris's tour.} [[Thaddeus Mason Harris, The Journal of a Tour into the Territory Northwest of the Alleghany Mountains; Made in the Spring of the Year 1803 (Boston, 1805)]]

I know that some have conjectured that these works were only sacred enclosures; and that the elevated squares were the area of temples, or places of sacrifice: and it must be confessed that they bear considerable resemblance to those described by Clavigero, to which ancient accounts in Mexico have attributed that approbation.

On a subject where all is conjecture, it is impossible to form a decided opinion. That opinion must have the preference which has the most probability in its favor. Allowing these works to have been erected by emigrants from the north of Asia, which I think has more than the support of probability. from the attestation of correspondent structures in the country they left, and the intimation of History in the region where they finally settled; I say, allowing them to have erected by Asiatic emigrants, they must have been places of defence; for


178                                 MISCELLANY.                               

the journeying of these hordes was not the excursion of a colony in search of a settlement, but the flight of a discomfited people before their pursuers. The Mexican annals testify this.

The smaller mounds on the great plains are filled with bones, laid in various directions, in a equal state of decay, and appear to be piled over heaps of slain after some great battle. -- Whereas the larger mounds, near the fenced cities, are composed of strata, as if to say, of bones in more regular order, of full grown people and of infants, and in different stages of decay; and seem formed of the bodies of such as died of sickness, or were killed in occasional skirmishes, at different times, and with intervals, perhaps, of some years. In some have been found plates of copper rivetted together, copper beads, various implements of stone, and a very curious kind of porcelain. -- None of the Indians who now inhabit these regions have the art of making earthen ware, much more of melting metals and forming them into ornaments; nor have they any distinct tradition that their ancestors had. They regard these things when they find them, with the same surprise and curiosity as we do. It is true that in the voyages of captains Amadas and Barlow to the coast of Virginia in 1584, mention is made of earthen pots used by the natives, "very large, white and sweet:" but I suspect they were not of their own manufacture, but the relics of a former and more highly civilized race. -- This may also be true of the copper beads which the Indians wore, as related by Verazzano in his voyage to Florida in 1524. Whereas it is well known that the Mexicans were skilled in the art of casting metals, and in pottery.

I have mentioned that the relics of the ancient inhabitants are found several feet below the surface. While at Marietta I was careful to observe the appearance of the soil where workmen were digging cellars; and, in several instances, found at the depth of four or five feet some evidences of former settlers; particularly in one instance a well laid hearth of flat stones, with cinders of pit-coal, charcoal, &c. At Waterford, at a place where the river had undermined the bank, under the roots of a sycamore stump whose diameter was more than four


                                MISCELLANY.                                179

feet, and five feet below the surface, I also discerned a hearth. The ground on which the stones were laid was reddened by the heat, and coal and bones were above. The time for such an accumulation of soil, and for the growth of so large a tree, must have been many centuries.

Among the antiquities of this territory (though without the limits of the state of Ohio) may also be mentioned the inscription engraven on a large stratum of rocks, on the south-east side of the river Ohio, about two miles below the mouth of Indian or King's creek, which empties into the Ohio fifty miles below Pittsburgh. The greater part of the rocks lie nearly in a horizontal direction, and so close to the edge of the river, that at times the water entirely covers them. At the distance of a few yards, however, from the bank of the river, there are several large masses of the same species of rock, on which are inscriptions also. These, it is probable, have been formerly attached to the horizontal stratum, and have either been removed by the hand of man, or by some violent inundation of the river. It is, at least, certain that the inscriptions upon both are of the same kind, and there can be little doubt that they have both been engraven at the same time.

Having given this sketch of the antiquities of this part of the country, I will endeavor to throw some light upon their origin and authors.

The Abbe Clavigero commences his history of Mexico with an account of the Toltecs, the oldest nation of which there is any account in that part of the world. He describes them as celebrated for their superior civilization and skill in astronomy and the arts. He says that they understood the method of casting gold and silver into whatever forms they pleased, and that they acquired the greatest reputation for the cutting of all kinds of gems.

From the ancient historic paintings and traditions of this nation it appears, that, banished from their native country, they began an emigration in the year I, Tecpatl, that is about the middle of the sixth century. In the course of their emigration they sometimes rested but a short time at a place, and at other times tarried long, erected them houses, and attended to the


180                                 MISCELLANY.                               

concerns of agriculture. In this wandering manner did they travel, always southwards, for the space of one hundred and four years, till they arrived at a place to which they gave the name of Tollantzinco, about fifty miles to the east of the spot where, some centuries after, was founded the famous city of Mexico.

They appear to be a very numerous, enterprising and powerful people. It may seem, indeed, that one hundred and four years is hardly sufficient for so long a peregrination, and for the erection of works of such extent and magnitude as those found through all the continent of America, as far as it has been discovered, from the lake of the Woods to Mexico. Let it, however, be observed, that the limited time, depending partly upon tradition and partly upon hieroglyphical annals, not accurately understood eight hundred years after they were commenced, may not be chronologically exact. The fact, however, of an emigration, at an early period, from a more northern region, of a numerous and warlike people, cannot be doubted. That they erected the fortifications and mounds as they progressed onwards, seems highly probable. Like works and tumuli are found in Mexico; and by the ancient historians are ascribed to the Toltecas. Being of a more recent date than those we have been describing, their contents are more perfect; the vases and other implements are more entire, and the bones are not so much decayed. Like the mounds in the more northern regions, they contain a variety of valuable articles which were interred with the dead. Hence the historians of the discovery of America remark that "the insatiable avarice of the conquerors of Peru and Mexico, rifled the ancient Indian sepulchres of the gold and jewels [bijoux] of which they were full"

Admitting the date given by Clavigero as an authority, and supposing the journey to have commenced in the year of Christ 544, and that they reached Muskingum 53 afterwards, we shall be carried back 1209 years from the present, (1803.). The calculation of Dr. Cutler upon the age of the trees makes 900 years, which allows 809 years for the forest to have started up after the places were forsaken.


                                MISCELLANY.                               181

As the sepulchral mounds of the ancient Mexicans resembled those of which we are treating, so their fortifications are of the same structure. Clavigero declares, "It is certain and indubitable from the despositions made by Cortez and all those who saw the ancient cities if that empire, that the Mexicans and all the neighboring nations living in societies, raised walls, bastions, palisades, ditches, and intrenchments for their defence. It is true, such fortifications were not comparable to those of the Europeans, because neither was their military architecture perfected, nor had they occasion to cover themselves from artillery, of which they had no experience or conception: but they gave plain proofs of their industry in inventing many different kinds of expedients to defend themselves from their native enemies." Speaking in another place of the Mexican antiquities in the royal armoury at Madrid, he says, "We are certain, from the testimony of all the writers of Mexico, that those nations used such plates of copper in war, and that they covered their breasts, their arms, and thighs with them to defend themselves from arrows." Dissert. vi.

In connection with the warlike character and military genius of the Toltecas, it may be mentioned that, "Tendille, a Mexican, remarking a partly gilt helmet of one of Cortez's soldiers, observed that it resembled one which had belonged to their ancestors, and which was placed on the head of their god Huitzilopochtli; and therefore expressed a wish to carry it to Montezuma. Accordingly Cortez gave it to him."

Having described the elevated mounds, squares, and forts in the western parts of North America, and in Mexico; it may be well to inquire if such are found in any other part of the world, and whether we may not thus discover whence America was first peopled. For this purpose I have collected the following documents,

The most early accounts which history affords of these kind of tumuli, is in the Melpomene of Herodotus, c. 71. Where it is said that "the sepulchres of the Scythian kings are in the country of the Gerrhians, who live in the remotest parts of Scythia, where the Borysthenes is first known to be navigable." -- "They lay the king in the sepulchre prepared for him, upon a


182                                 MISCELLANY.                              

bed, encompassed on all sides with spears fixed in the ground. Upon the whole are disposed pieces of wood, covered with branches of willow. In the spaces which remain vacant they bury one of the king's concubines, whom they previously strangle, together with the cup-bearer, the cook, the groom, the waiter, his horse, and the choicest of his effects. To these they add cups of gold; for silver and brass are not used among them. This done, they throw up the earth with great care, and endeavor to raise a mound as high as possible." Here we receive the best and most ancient account of the Scythian mode of sepulchre; and it refers us to the very regions where multitudes of these mounds exist at this day.

Olaus Wormius says, these sepulchral barrows are works of no slight labor or small expense. The length of time, the number of people, and the toil bestowed upon their construction, rude as they may appear, mark strongly the zealous efforts which they employed to do honor to the deceased, and to perpetuate the glory of their princes, heroes, and benefactors.

Peringskiold describes several of the same kind in Sweden, particularly a large one at Upsal, one hundred and fifty yards in circumference, and thirty yards high; the antiquity of which he supposes to be at least three thousand years.

M. Cocherell gives an account of a Gaulish monument of similar structure and contents in Normandy. Stone axes, wrought to the finest edges; spears, lances, arrow-heads, &c. were found among the bones it contained.

Torfeus relates that Odinus brought the first urns into the northern regions, introduced there the custom of burning the dead, of putting the most valuable things of the deceased unto the grave with their ashes, and of erecting monuments and of laying stones over the sepulchres of the most eminent persons. On this occasion he quotes Stephanus in these words: "Primitus namque defunctis justa solvituri in campo plano juxta Regiam, aut defuncti proedium, circilum mirae magnitudinis lapidibus efformabant, oblongum tamen viginti circiter orgyarum longitudinr, latitude trium. In hoc defunci cremabant cadaver, cineres collectos urnis includebant, ac in circi meditullio locatos, grandibus undique stipabant lapidibus, arena glebaque


                                MISCELLANY.                               183

terrestri replebant, ac in formam monticuli desuper collem extruebant." Strahlenburg says he found every thing to correspond with this description both as to the stones and the dimensions.

"The Russians call these sepulchres Bogri or Motignii; and vast numbers of them are found in Siberia and in the deserts which border on that government southwards. In these tombs are found all sorts of vessels, urns, ornaments, teinkets, cimetars, daggers, plates, medals. and jewels of gold, silver, &c. The graves of the poorer sort have likewise such things in them of copper and brass, arrows, &c."

"As to the graves themselves they are of different structures. Some are only raised up of earth as high as houses, and placed so near together and in such number on the spacious plains, that, at a distance, they appear like a ridge of hills. -- Others are set round with rough hewen stones, and some with square free-stones, and are either of an oblong or triangular form. In some places these tombs are entirely built with stone. Hence we find in the ancient maps of Tartary the Greater, a number of mounds called "the pyramidical sepulchres of the Tartarian kings;" by which they must needs mean these monuments, though they are not so properly pyramids."

In the 5th volume of the French translation of the travels of Professor Pallas, is a long and circumstantial account of these ancient monuments.

M. De Sthlin, secretary to the Imperial Academy at Petersburgh, declares that there is not one instance of the tumili being found to the northward of latitude 58 degrees.

They are of all dimensions. The circumference of some is 30 Russian toises, others 50, 100, and even 500 toises. Their altitudes are also various; from 5 to 6, 12, 20, and even 30 toises. Each toise measuring seven English feet.

The Russians, in effecting a practicable road to China, discovered in latitude 50 north, between the rivers Irtish and Obalet, a desert of a very considerable extent, overspread in many parts with tumuli or barrows. This desert constitutes the southern boundary of Siberia.


184                                 MISCELLANY.                              

Historians and Journalists make mention of these tumuli, with several particulars concerning them.

M. Strahlenburg, in his history of Russia and Tartary, p. 4, relates that, in the year 1720, some Russian regiments, being sent from Tobolski, the capital of Siberia, up the river Irtish, to the great plains, or deserts, found in the tumuli there many ornamental antiquities, as they likewise did on the western boundary of the desert, between the rivers Tobol and Ischim. He farther mentions, p. 235, that Scythian antiquities are annually brought from the pagan tombs which lie on each side [of] the river Irtish, on the deserts of the Calmuck Tartars; and in p. 330, that a vast number of molten images, and other things, in gold, silver, and other metals, have been brought from the Siberian and Tartarian tombs; some of which he has engraved in his history.

Mr. Bell, in vol. 1, p. 209, of his journey from Petersburgh to Pekin, informs us that eight or ten days journey from Tomsky situate on the river Tom, (which falls into the Oby and empties itself into the Frozen ocean, in latitude 53 and 54 north, and which makes the north-east boundary of the great desert mentioned above by Strahlenburg) are found many tombs and burying places of ancient heroes as reported, who probably fell in battle; but when and between whom, and upon what occasion these battles were fought is not so certain. The account which Mr. Bell received from the Tartars in the Barabia, is that Tamerlane had many engagements with the Calmuck Tartars in this country, whom he in vain attempted to subdue. Many persons go every summer from Tomsky to these tumuli, and find considerable quantities of gold, silver, and brass, and some precious stones, among the ashes and remains of dead bodies; also hilts of swords, armour, ornaments for saddles and bridles, and other trappings; with the bones of those animals to which the other belonged, among which are the bones of elephants.

From these circumstances it appears that when any chief, or person of distinction was interred, it was usual to bury in the same tumulus with him, his arms and favorite horse, &c. And this custom, which is reputed to be of great antiquity, prevails at this day among the Calmucks and other Tartarian hordes.

Note: This reflection, by an anonymous reviewer, of a section of Thaddeus M. Harris' 1805 Journal, was published in the Aug. 1814 issue of the Western Gleaner. Although the identity of the reviewer remains unknown, the fact that a person with such interests and literary resources was living in or near Pittsburgh in 1814 is an interesting fact, in and of itself. Also living in the greater Pittsburgh area at this same time with Solomon Spalding and the young Sidney Rigdon, both of whom shared the reviewer's interest in unexplained american antiquities.





Various; that the mind
Of desultory man, studious of change,
And pleased with novelty, may be indulged. -- COWPER.

We had many books to teach us our most important duties, and to settle questions in philosophy or politics, but an arbiter elegantiarum, a judge of propriety, was yet wanting, who should survey the track of daily conversation, and free it from thorns and prickles, which tease the passer, though they do not wound him.

For this purpose nothing is so proper as the frequent publication of short papers, which we read not as study but amusement. If the subject be slight, the treatise likewise is short. The busy may find time, and the idle may find patience.     Johnson.

VOL. I.                               JUNE, 1816.                               NO. VI.

[p. 457]



The publisher of the Port Folio, some time since, announced his intention of printing a curious and learned work on the antiquities of the Western part of our Country, by Henry Frost, A. M. The proposals had no sooner been submitted to the publick, than a powerful appeal to his kindness and his sense of justice was made by the friends of the Reverend Dr. John P. Campbell. -- They stated that the materials for this work had been collected by this gentleman, and that they had been obtained, under false pretences, from his widow, by Mr. Frost. The MSS. were therefore immediately placed in the hands of one of her friends, who promises to prepare them for the press, and publish them for her benefit. In the mean while we are permitted to make a few extracts. The subject is extremely interesting, as it treats of the ancient inhabitants of a great continent. Dr. Campbell appears, from the manuscript, so far as we have perused it, to have been admirably fitted, both by taste and education, for the task which he commenced; and to which we understand that he devoted several years of toilsome and expensive research. We shall only add, that any subscriptions (1 vol. 8vo. price $2) which may be transmitted to the publisher of the Port Folio, shall be faithfully applied to the benevolent purposes of this publication.

'Upon the fairest computation, admitting that the Aborigines came to the western country a thousand or twelve hundred years ago, we have then before us a period of sufficient extent to embrace all that is requisite to support the supposition that the Aborigines were the descendants of a civilized people in Asia; a people who had made great advancements in civilization and the arts, but who were probably devastated, and forced to fly, by the sudden encroachment of a foe. We shall readily perceive, that in this case, such a people would perform a rapid migration, and fly from their enemies as far as their desire of safety should dictate. It is not in any degree surprising, that they should, in like manner, escape to this continent, bringing with them that civilization and that knowledge to which they had arrived. The great antiquity which is manifested by the most striking proofs of art and knowledge, seems to warrant this conclusion, and give it weight.

The successive generations of men who have inhabited the eastern parts of Asia, were distinguished, for centuries, by rapid advancements in civilization and the arts, and on a sudden subjected to a great reverse. By the encroachment of some barbarous foe, or some neighbouring robber, they have been forced to renounce the possession of their privileges, or escape for their lives. "Some of the most desert provinces in Asia," says the historian of Catherine the second, "have been repeatedly the seats of arts, arms, commerce and literature. These potent and civilized nations have repeatedly perished, for want of a union or system of policy. Some Scythian, or other barbarian, has been suffered unnoticed to subdue his neighbouring tribes; each new conquest was made an instrument to the succeeding one; till, at length, become irresistible, he swept whole empires, with their arts and sciences, off the face of the earth." This important truth we consider particularly applicable to the original peopling of the western country. The Aborigines probably constituted a part of some such nation existing in eastern Asia, and were forced to escape to this continent by the encroachment of some powerful, invading foe. I have said that this was probably a fact. I venture to add, that it was most certainly the fact in regard to the Aborigines.

It is a very general opinion, prevailing in the western country, that there is ample proof that the country in general was once inhabited by a civilized and agricultural people. This very general consent, we are disposed to respect, and consider an innocent opinion in itself, but we have not yet obtained satisfactory reasons to believe that the country in general, or to any great extent, has been adorned with the improvements and habitations of men living in a civilized and permanent state of society. The aborigines probably advanced as far, in the improvement of particular portions or districts of the country, as their knowledge of agriculture, their improvements of husbandry and their temporary residence would allow. The face of the country, since it was visited by the Aborigines, and since their demise, has undergone great changes. It is to be remarked, that the oldest trees now standing cannot be pronounced coeval with the extinction of the Aborigines.

It is a an opinion prevailing among some, that the Aborigines crossed the Allegheny, and proceeded down the Ohio river; but nothing is more incredible. Some attention to the ancient works on the river, has led us to notice that the works at different positions, are not more or less perfect. It is vain to suppose that the works lower down are less perfect, and were therefore built by a people who migrated westward, or down the river.

Again, it is the current opinion, that the first inhabitants of the western country were white people, and therefore cannot be denominated Indians. Our readers will recollect, and may have noticed, that there are distinguishing shades of white and black within the extent of our own country; and there are those among us who, by birth, or physical causes, are exceedingly dark. It is hence not indispensible that the Aborigines should be a white people, strictly speaking, in order to account for their improvements, or their knowledge of the arts. The inhabitants of Asia, and of the Asiatic continent in general, are allowed to be darker than the inhabitants of these American states, while at the same time they likewise are denominated a white people. The city of Pekin is nearly upon the same latitude with Philadelphia, and yet the citizens of Pekin are strongly shaded compared with the Philadelphians. The Aborigines, for aught we know, might have sustained a lighter complexion than those Indians who contributed to their destruction, -- or than the ancestors of the present race of Indians; and might, on that account, have been denominated by those Indians a white people. There cannot be a doubt but that the same country, at different, and very distant periods of time, may be inhabited, or produce a race of people differing very materially in colour. The climate, and local or physical causes, may be so changed in the term of a thousand years, as to produce several degrees of shade upon the human countenance.

The northern parts of Asia are supposed by some to be much colder now than they were but a few centuries or years ago; and that but a few centuries have elapsed, since the northern regions were more habitable on this very account. We suspect, however, that the Aborigines were in general, and in no other sense, a white people, than of any of the proper inhabitants of Asia at the present time. We likewise suspect that the Aborigines were denominated a white people by the present race of Indians, solely or principally, in consequence of that distinction which they possessed in the view of the Indians, by their works, or the knowledge and skill displayed in these works. These Indians having been accustomed to pay respect to Americans and Europeans as white people, appropriated naturally the same respect and title to the Aborigines. The Indians universally disclaim these ancient works and monuments, which are attributed to the Aborigines, and allege that they were erected by white people. It may not be improper, therefore, to offer the reader several traditions which relate to this point, and which may at least be found an entertainment.

General Clarke, of Louisville, in conversation with the chief of the Kaskaskias, understood him to say, that a very remarkable fortification, to which they referred, was the house of his fathers. This is understood to signify a reverential and general declaration of the same origin.

Mr. Thomas Bodley was informed by Indians of different tribes north-west of the Ohio, that they had understood from their old men, and that it had been a tradition among their several nations, that Kentucky had been settled by whites, and that they had been exterminated by war. They were of opinion that the old fortifications, now to be seen in Kentucky and Ohio, were the productions of those white inhabitants. Wappockanitta, a Shawnee chief, near a hundred and twenty years old, living on the Auglaze river, confirmed the above tradition.

An old Indian, in conversation with colonel James F. Moore, of Kentucky, informed him that the western country, and particularly Kentucky, had once been inhabited by white people, but that they were exterminated by the Indians. That the last battle was fought at the falls of Ohio, and that the Indians succeeded in driving the Aborigines into a small island below the rapids, where the whole of them were cut to pieces. He said it was an undoubted fact, handed down by tradition, and that the colonel would have ocular proof of it when the waters of the Ohio became low. This was found to be correct, on examining Sandy Island, when the waters of the river had fallen, as a multitude of human bones were discovered. The same Indian expressed his astonishment that white people could live in a country once the scene of blood. The Indian chief called Tobacco, told General Clarke, of Louisville, that the battle of Sandy Island decided finally the fall of Kentucky, with its ancient inhabitants. General Clarke says that Kentucee, in the language of the Indians, signifies "river of blood."

In addition to the proof of a great battle near the falls Ohio, it is said by General Clarke, of Louisville, that there was at Clarkesville a great burying ground, two or three hundred yards in length. -- This is likewise confirmed by major John Harrison, who received the tradition from an Indian woman of great age.

Colonel Joseph Daviess, when at St. Louis in 1800, saw the remains of an ancient tribe of the Sacks, who expressed some astonishment that any person should live in Kentucky. They said the country had been the scene of much blood, and was filled with the manes of its butchered inhabitants. He stated also that the people who inhabited this country were white, and possessed such arts as were unknown by the Indians.

Colonel M'Kee, who commanded on the Kenhawa when Cornstalk was inhumanly murdered, had frequent conversation with that chief, respecting the people who had constructed the ancient forts. He stated that it was a current and assured tradition, that Ohio and Kentucky had been once settled by white people, who were possessed of arts which the Indians did not know. That after many sanguinary contests they were exterminated. -- Colonel M. Inquired why the Indians had not learned these arts of the white people. He replied indefinitely, relating that the great spirit had once given the Indians a book, which taught them all these arts, but that they had lost it, and had never since regained the knowledge of them. -- Col. M. inquired particularly whether he knew what people it was who made so many graves on the Ohio, and at other places. He declared that he did not know, and remarked that it was not his nation, or any he had been acquainted with. Col. M. asked him if he could not tell who made those old forts, which displayed so much skill in fortifying. He answered that he did not know, but that a story had been handed down from a very long ago people, that there had been a nation of white people inhabiting the country who made the graves and forts. He also said, that some Indians, who had travelled very far west or northwest, had found a nation of people, who lived as Indians generally do, although of a different complexion.

John Cushen, an Indian of truth and respectability, having pointed to the large mound in the town of Chillicothe, observed to a gentleman that it was a great curiosity. To this the gentleman accorded, and said, The Indians built that. No, said he, it was made by white folks, for Indians never make forts or mounds -- this country was inhabited by white people once, for none but white people make forts.

In addition to the remarks which we have made on the Asiatic origin of the Aborigines, we add, that such an origin is by far the most natural, and most accordant with the progressive movements of the human family ever since the deluge. This progress in Asia, has been uniformly eastward and northward from the Euphrates. The inhabitants of Asia being the descendants of Shem, did not move to the westward in any numbers. We deem it, therefore, natural and just to conclude that the Aborigines belonged to a stock of those who moved eastward from the Euphrates, crossed at Behring Straits, and came to our western country from the north west. The Mexicans invariably declare that their ancestors came from the north west.

It is an acknowledged fact, that the antediluvians, at the event of the deluge, had arrived to a great improvement and refinement in the arts; and it is also an important fact, that a respectable portion of this knowledge was preserved from the wreck, and communicated by the sons of Noah. The descendants of Shem, the first settlers of Asia, or what is synonymous, the ten tribes, probably retained this knowledge, and transmitted it, until, through the lapse of time, it became extinct. From the descendants of Shem, or the Israelites, we derive the commencement of all that knowledge which served to keep the vast continent of Asia from total barbarism. The Israelites carried captive by Salmanaser, in the time of Hosea, became, in a great measure, incorporated with the neighbouring nations; and from this source, or in this channel, we deduce many of the customs which prevailed, and continue to prevail in Asia, and which have been frequently recognized among the Tartars, the Aborigines of the western country, and the present race of Indians. We may here introduce a striking passage of history from the second book of Esdras. "Those are the ten tribes, which were carried away prisoners, out of their own land in the time of Osea the king, whom Salmanasar, the king of Assyria, led away captive, and he carried them over the waters, and so came they into another land. But they took this counsel among themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the heathen, and go forth into a further country, where never mankind dwelt." We do not pretend to say that this country, where never mankind dwelt extends to America, but we consider the passage of history important, and equally weighty as such, although apocryphal. -- The natural consequence of this determination and progress of the ten tribes, would be a very general diffusion of that knowledge which they possessed, and a general incorporation with neighbouring powers.

Note 1: It seems quite likely that Solomon Spalding had an opportunity to read and reflect upon "Aborigines of the Western Country," since the article first appeared in a Philadelphia periodical, and was doubtless reprinted by various other American publications. However, by the time the article could have been brought to Spalding's attention he was probably already rather sick, in what would become his terminal illness (he died on Oct. 20, 1816). Thus, it seems impossible that the appearance of this article, in the public press during the summer of 1816, could have in any way influenced the text of Spalding's pseudo-historical writings. On the other hand, it is possible that Spalding and Campbell, who both shared a keen interest in American antiquities, were in communication with one another before Campbell's own demise.

Note 2: The 1816 article's insistance upon a unique explanation for the ancient mounds and fortifications of the Ohio Valley, (saying that they were the products of an extinct, light-skinned race), parallelled Spalding's own fictional answers for the origin of such earthworks and artifacts. Some of the notions expressed in the 1816 article were, of course, already in circulation years before its appearance. Solomon Spalding could have derived his imaginative ideas regarding the "extinct" race that constructed the mounds from various different literary and oral sources well before he commenced writing his own "historical romance(s)" about the year 1811. For example, the explanation that the American Indians had previously exhibited a higher state of civilization, light skins, Hebrew heritage, etc. was being published in a Pittsburgh periodical almost exactly when Spalding moved to that city from Ohio. For additional information on this subject, see the on-line feature, "Book of Mormon: Sacred Book of the Indians?"





Various; that the mind
Of desultory man, studious of change,
And pleased with novelty, may be indulged. -- COWPER.

We had many books to teach us our most important duties, and to settle questions in philosophy or politics, but an arbiter elegantiarum, a judge of propriety, was yet wanting, who should survey the track of daily conversation, and free it from thorns and prickles, which tease the passer, though they do not wound him.

For this purpose nothing is so proper as the frequent publication of short papers, which we read not as study but amusement. If the subject be slight, the treatise likewise is short. The busy may find time, and the idle may find patience.     Johnson.

VOL. I.                                   JULY, 1816.                                   NO. VII.

[p. 1]



(Continued from our last number.)

In removing an artificial mound at Chilocothe in 1813, the was found in its bosom a piece of copper, encrusted with erugo half an inch thick; it consisted of thin plates of copper rolled up, enclosing each other. It was about three inches in length, and one-fourth of an inch in thickness; the copper remarkably pure and fine, the lamina, or plates, about twenty in number. They had been smelted and prepared in a workmanlike manner, and ingeniously folded up in a single piece. As this specimen of copper is justly ascribed to the aborigines, it enters into the controversy in regard to the Asiatic and European origin of the aborigines. It is manifestly a trifling thing to ascribe this copper to a Welsh colony of the eleventh century, but the difficulty is entirely removed by supposing it to have an Asiatic origin. Brass and copper were in use at a very early period in Asia, and may be traced as far back as Tubal-cain. Brass not being formed in nature,

[p. 2]
but made of copper, affords a presumption that there were workmen in copper at that period. The copper lamina, found at Chilicothe, considered as a precious memorial, might have descended through several centuries, and might have once been in the hands of a people more refined than those aboriginal Asiatics to whom it is referred. It was a custom in heathen nations to bury with their chiefs, not only pieces of armour, but memorials which were preserved or worn by way of ornament.

In removing the same mound in Chilicothe, a beautiful piece of marble was taken up in 1814, and is now in the possession of a gentleman at Chilicothe. This marble piece was undoubtedly made and used for ornament, being perforated ingeniously with loop holes, for fastening. It is apparent that these loop holes must have been executed by some instrument for boring, as the exactness appears to be inexplicable upon any other supposition. This marble piece is about five inches in length, flat on one side, and oval on the other, having an increasing width at the middle. The ends are apparently cut and squared with some implement used for that purpose. The marble has a dark dun colour, but the veins in the stone are very distinct. We do not deny but that the present race of Indians have exercised a degree of skill equal to that which is exhibited by this piece of marble, but not in the use of these instruments which we have supposed to have been necessary in this case. It is likewise to be remarked, that these Indians are not in the practice of using this kind of ornament. Had marble pieces of this description been more common in the western country, occupying a position nearer the surface of the earth, and not buried in mounds, we might have ascribed them to the present race of Indians, or their immediate predecessors. Humboldt says of the aboriginal Mexicans, that they were in the practice of accomplishing the most curious carvings with a poor knife, and upon a hard substance; and between the aboriginal Mexicans and the aborigines of the western country, it may be remembered that we have not admitted any great distinction.

On the bank of the Scioto river, just above Chilicothe, a very large limestone rock was broken down for lime. In the body of this rock, twelve or fifteen inches below the surface, three brass screws were found, a half an inch in length. One was in a state of

[p. 3]
preservation, the other two were marred by the injuries of time and accident. This it seems was a solid limestone rock, and not perforated to any depth. There are portions of limestone in the western country which are unquestionably of a secondary nature, and have formed or increased since the original creation. These screws, however, laid upon bare rock, would hardly obtain, by any process of nature, such a durable covering. We are under the pleasing necessity of alledging, that these pieces of brass were by some means secured in the limestone rock, or that one rock had been placed upon another, enclosing the screws, and that the rocks formed a natural union. Such an inseparable union of two rocks would require a legth of time perhaps equal to that of the secondary formation of twelve or fifteen inches of limestone. We may therefore allow to these screws their proper antiquity, and ascribe the fact to the aborigines. Nothing can be more indicative of art and knowledge than the production of a regular and ingenious brass screw.

On the little Miami, about four miles above Waynesville, in the neighborhood of a Mr. J. Vance, some moss and mud were removed to open a spring, and in doing this the workmen struck, to their astonishment, upon a regular stone wall. The ground here might have become in a great measure alluvial in half a century; but the fact of there being such a wall, and its nature, indicates great antiquity, and the existence of a people differing materially, in regard to knowledge, from the present race of Indians. A regular stone wall has not in any one instance been attempted by the present race of Indians.

A Mr. Sinks had a well sunk in the village of Williamsburgh, in the east fork of the Little Miami, and in passing down, the workmen pierced through different strata of clay, sand, gravel, and stones, which had the appearance of having been prepared and used. They then continued to the depth of thirty-five or forty feet to the extremity of a regular stone pavement, extending nearly across the diameter of the well, the stones of which bore evident impressions of having been subject to labour. They were fitted to their place, and appeared to have been trodden by human feet. Two or three feet below this pavement they came to a poplar

[p. 4]
log, and soon after to a quantity of water, which rose so unexpectedly as to bury the workmen's tools.

In digging another well in the same village, at the depth of fifteen feet the workmen struck upon a stump which had been [cut], but it was so much injured by time that the species of wood could not be discerned.

In a well dug in the same village, at the depth of twenty-six or thirty-six feet workmen came to a fire-place, charcoal and fire-stones artfully laid together, and designed to be burnt or kindled.

Our diggings in some of these mounds have been followed by the discovery of coals, arranged in a particular manner, with layers of earth, so as to indicate the burning of a sacrifice; but without detaining the reader with any conjectures upon this point, we would offer an extract from Dr. Lowth, which seems to be the most probable account of this discovery.

"The burning of heaps of armour, gathered from the field of battle, as an offering made to the god supposed to be the giver of victory, was a custom that prevailed among some heathen nations, [and the] Romans used it as an emblem of peace. A medal struck by Vespasian represents the goddess Peace, with a lighted torch in one hand, setting fire to a heap of armour. There are notices of some such practice among the Israelites. See Josh. 11, 6. Nahum 2, 13, Psalm 16, 9. Ezek. 39, 8-10."

These facts are not unimportant, and serve to designate some of the characteristic features of the aborigines.

A Mr. M'Kibbon, at the head of the east fork of Little Miami, thirty miles above Williamsburgh, wishing to obtain water in a place which had been the resort of deer as a lick, selected a spot where he conceived he saw the best vein for water. commenced digging, and passed down about two and a half feet, when he came to some logs of wood, and, breaking through, fell into the water to his neck. Having regained his standing, he cautiously removed the timber, and found the cavity to be an old well three or four feet in diameter. The walls of the well were smooth, and appeared to have been filled with beautiful clean sand and gravel to within four or five feet of the top, which had been covered with logs. Having removed the gravel and sand, he immersed a sycamore and filled

[p. 5]
up the excavation around it, leaving three feet. The water is fine, impregnated with iron and fixed air.

In the same neighbourhood there has been discovered another ancient well, three feet in diameter, walled up with stone. Either from design or accident it had been filled up with earth near to the top. This well is yet to be opened and examined.

Mr. Burnit of Cincinnati, in digging a well on his lot, and within the wall of the old fort at Cincinnati, struck upon two stumps, a larger and a smaller one, at a depth of ninety-three feet below the surface. The largest was so injured by time that it was doubtful to what family it belonged. The smaller one was in a state of better preservation, and a sugar maple. Just before reaching the stumps the workmen passed through a layer of black mud, which was very offensive. Lower down pigments of a fine blue colour were thrown up in detached pieces. This was twenty or thirty feet below the level of the first bottom.

Judge Symmes, in digging for water higher up the hill, and near the creek which washes the upper end of the town, came upon a stump at the depth of twenty feet.

In digging a well in Sunfish, Adams county, Ohio, a gentleman found an earthen pot, below the surface at a considerable depth.

Thirty miles above the mouth of Cumberland river, a great quantity of earthen ware has been found; some of it well made. A pitcher was found, which was covered at the top, with a hole in the front, and opposite the handle.

General Clarke, of Louisville, saw earthen ware in various places, which had been glazed.

There is an elevated ground on Salt River, eight miles from Danville, Kentucky, where bits of earthen ware have been found. One bit I saw, which was evidently checquered or figured.

At the United States Saline, twelve miles from the Wabash, and twelve miles from the Ohio, an earthen image of a man was found, in 1807, by a major Taylor. Pots and several kettles made of the same were likewise found.

At Point Harmer, Marietta, Ohio, a curious earthen pot has been taken out of the bank of the Ohio river, and is now in the possession of a gentleman at Marietta. This pit decreases to the

[p. 6]
end, from the bulge, like a funnel; but the end is not perforated, and was probably fitted to be placed in some cavity for a fire.

The present race of Indians have not yet displayed any workmanship in earthen ware, and cannot lay claim to these things. The manufacture of earthen ware in every instance indicates an advanced stage of civilization and improvement. *

In digging the walls of the irregular fort at Parkersburgh, Wood. Co., Virginia, a variety of earthen ware, of human bones and animal bones, were discovered, constituting part of the wall, and these appeared to have been promiscuously thrown together in every part of the way where any digging had been performed: and what is remarkable, a small mound, situated at the right angle corner of the fort, yielded nothing curious to the hand of the digger, and appeared to have been constituted of bare earth.

There was taken up in the road near Circleville, a small fragment of a stone or red flint vessel. The manufacture was fine, and equal to any thing of modern date in point of neatness and strength.

There was dug from the central mound at Circleville, a fragment of some culinary vessel. It was evidently of cast iron, and showed the mark of the mould. It was covered on the lower side with the black, or smut, contracted over the fire. It was found among ashes and large pieces of charcoal.

A Mr. Neville, of Pickaway Co., in digging for water, met with blacksmith's cinder, six or eight feel below the surface of the

* "In the earlier periods of society," says a later writer on taste, "it seems reasonable to imagine, that all those arts which were directed only to ornament, or to the production of beauty, should employ, in preference to all others, the admir'd form; and that the artist should attempt to give to every thing that constituted the fine arts of such an age, that uniformity which was expressive of the quality most valued and most admired among them. It is found accordingly that this is the fact, that the form which, in such periods, universally characterizes the productions of taste, is uniformity and regularity. In every form where we discover a total want of this quality, we are disposed to consider it the production of chance, or of some power which has operated without thought or intention. 'In all events,' says Dr. Reid, 'regulrity expresses design and art; for nothing regular was ever the work of chance.' In what manner this conexion is formed -- whether it is derived from experience, or to be considered as an original principle of our nature, I do not inquire."

[p. 7]
In removing the walls at Circleville, blacksmith's cinder appeared.

General G. Walton, in digging for salt on Long Lick Creek, beach fork of Salt River, fell upon an ancient well, carried down a solid limestone rock twelve or fifteen feet; petrified buck's horn and earthen ware were found in the bottom. Earthen ware pans, or dishes, which would have held three or four gallons, were found. Some were lying about the old well's mouth, and some with the ground or dirt thrown out.

In the county of Warren, on Miami, Ohio, within an ancient fort, a stone was discovered upwards of three feet in length, and fifteen inches in circumference, fixed perpendicularly in the earth; on the west side marked thus, S F, and on the east with a figure resembling a half moon carved in the stone, three inches in length

Samuel Clarke, of Louisville, has in his possession a stone in the shape of an egg, or about the size of a hen's egg, perforated longitudinally, It is blue, and neatly polished.

On Highland Creek was taken out of a mound an earthen pot, and a small stone image well polished. The image was five or six inches in length; the figure human, and supposed to be a saint. The stone is flint.

A small stone image was taken up on the Ohio at low water, five miles above Louisville. The stone has unequal sides of between three and four inches. The image is a man's head well executed. The image was originally made of a black substance, like wax, and attached to the stone in a very ingenious manner. It is evident that the artificer, in respect to the eyelid, designed to effect a shade, that great secret of the pencil.

At Circleville there was taken from the central mound of the circle a copper coin. It was dug up beneath the roots of a hickory growing on the mound, seven feet eight inches in circumference. A comparison of this coin with other ancient copper devices, particularly of Britain, is attended with no satisfaction. This comparison was instituted and carried on to a considerable extent.

On the farm of Mr. Edward Payne, near Lexington, were found two ancient coins. One was of gold, and sold at ten dollars; the other was of brass. Each had a head reversed, and each were inscribed with characters not understood, but said to resemble Hebrew.

[p. 8]
The date of the gold coin was probably 1014, and the date of the brass piece 1009.

A few miles below Mr. Payne a gold piece was found on the plantation of Mr. Chambers, who says it was sold at Lexington for thirteen dollars. This was inscribed with unknown characters. Mr. Chambers says it was unlike any coin he had ever seen. He also says, that a small piece of copper was found on his farm at the same time. It was exactly square, well polished, and marked on two sides with 1064. He considered it a weight.

Mr. J. Blair, in removing the clay of the mound in Franklinton, found a copper weight of the aborigines. It weighed 1 1/2 lb. In size and shape it resembled such a tin inkstand as is commonly used in counting rooms.

Sanders, a half Indian or white man, raised among the Shawanese, informed me that in some of the ancient works, four feet under ground, a piece of a sword was dug up which had been a very strong blade.

In the mouth of a cavern opposite to, or not far from Hurricane, on the Ohio, north west side, are engraved on the rock, twenty-five feet high, the fiqures of several animals, as of the bear, and buffaloe, and, what is most remarkable, of the lion and lioness. These figures are done in a masterly style. You enter the cavern first, through a small cavity nine feet wide and twelve feet high; then ascend a bench of a few feet, and enter an aperature of about the size of a door into a most spacious cavern.

About one-fourth of a mile below St. Louis, there is a distinguished impression in a rock of a man's foot. The gentleman who informed me of this remarked, that the people in the neighbourhood will not allow that this was done by Europeans. Curious ear-rings are ascribed to the Mexicans, and were no doubt, a common thing among the aborigines.

At the place where Clarkesville was laid out, opposite Shippingport, there was a burying ground of two or three hundred yards. Numerous bones were found on Sandy Island, as evidences of a great battle which was fought there.

General Clarke, of Louisville, says that about forty years ago, there was discovered near Red Stone, Old Fort, and in an excavation made by a fallen tree, a human skeleton buried in a coffin of earthen ware.

Note 1: Writer Dan Vogel, in his 1986 book, Indian Origins and the Book of Mormon, provides a list of articles appearing in the Port Folio which might be of interest to students of the Book of Mormon. Strangely enough, Vogel says nothing about John P. Campbell passing along William Mc'Kee's report of the "lost book" legend. Here are excerpts taken from various pages in Vogel's book:
[p. 18]
The Philadelphia Port Folio reported in [July] 1816 that "thin plates of copper rolled up" were discovered in one mound... In 1823 John Haywood [in his The Natural and Aboriginal History of Tennessee, described "human bones of large size" and "two or three plates of brass, with characters inscribed resembling letters" found in one West Virginia mound.... Joseph Smith may have combined these stories of plates coming from the mounds with detailed descriptions of metal books used by the Jews and others in the Old World.

[p. 29]
The Port Folio reported in 1819 that one Tennessee mound contained "an iron sword, resembling the sabre of the Persians or Seythians"... John Haywood claimed that... Ohio mound builders... "had swords of iron and steel, and steel bows, ..."

[p. 64]
In [June] 1816 the Philadelphia Port Folio reported that "it is a very general opinion, prevailing in the western country, that there is ample proof that the country in general was once inhabited by a civilized and agricultural people" who were eventually destroyed by the Indians. [[79. "Of the Aborigines of the Western Country... It is a current opinion... that the first inhabitants of the western country were white people"... Indian tradition reportedly held "Kentucky had once been inhabited by white people, but that they were exterminated by the Indians."

[pp. 140-41]
Port Folio. Philadelphia, 1801-27. Edited by Oliver Oldschool [Joseph Dennie, later Nicholas Biddle]. APS: 2:40-2, 220, 228, 915; LAC 31440-84.

  Vol. 4 (new series), 7 Nov. 1807: Describes Charles W. Peale's Museum in Philadelphia (293-96). Peale's Mammoth Room contained an entire mammoth skeleton which had been discovered in New York in 1801 and several other bones of prehistoric animals (295-96).

  Vol. 1 (second series), Jan. 1809: Reviews Thomas Ashe's Travels in America (150-62) and discusses North American fortifications (159-60).

  Vol. 3 (second series), Feb. 1810: Discusses mammoths discovered in the Arctic in 1806 (111-13).

  Vol. 4 (second series), Oct. 1810: Letter from Benjamin Smith Barton to Thomas Jefferson, 13 July 1810, discusses the American mammoth (340-44).

  Vol. 7 (second series), June 1812: Reviews Benjamin Smith Barton's New Views of the Origin of the Tribes and Nations of America (Philadelphia, 1797), discussing Barton's view that the Indians came from Asia. The review maintains that another race, predating but surpassing the Indians, constructed the ancient forts and cities east of the Mississippi River (507-26).

  Vol. 5 (third series), Jan. 1815: Announces that the periodical possesses an unpublished manuscript which refutes the theory that America was peopled from Asia through the Bering Strait and that a portion of the manuscript will be printed in a forthcoming issue (80-81).

  Vol. 5 (third series), March 1815: "Proposed Solution of the Question, Touching the Peopling of the Continent of America," an extract from the unpublished manuscript in the periodical's possession, argues the impossibility of men and animals crossing the Bering Strait, since no one would transport snakes or wolves. Rather the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans were once dry land, allowing men and animals to migrate to the New World. This land disappeared during the convulsions of the earth at the time of Peleg (231-41).

  Vol. 6 (third series), July 1815: "Whence come the Men and Animals to America?" (7-10), another extract from the unpublished manuscript, again argues that animals such as iguanas, alligators, monkeys, and parrots could not have migrated through the extremely cold Arctic region.

  Vol. 1 (fourth series), June 1816: "Of the Aborigines of the Western Country" reveals that the extracts published in the March and July issues, supposedly the work of Henry Frost, were in fact written by the late Dr. John P. Campbell (457). The periodical then discusses at length the common notion that the mounds and fortifications were built by a civilized, agricultural, white-skinned race. This white-skinned race, according to the Port Folio, came from Asia and were perhaps Israelites of the ten tribes. These civilized people were eventually destroyed by other more savage and dark-complected Asiatics who also migrated to the New World (457-63).

  Vol. 2 (fourth series), July 1816: Continues the June article about the aborigines of the western country, discussing the mound builders' metallurgy and use of copper, brass, and iron (1-8).

  Vol. 3 (fourth series), May 1817: Samuel Mitchill, "American Antiquities," discusses the Tartar origin of the Indians (422).

  Vol. 4 (fourth series), Aug. 1817: "Origin of the North American Indians" mentions that a cross was found around the neck of a skeleton taken from a mound at Chilicothe, Ohio (168).

  Vol. 4 (fourth series), Sept. 1817: C. W. Short, "Antiquities of Ohio," describes a fortification in Hamilton County, Ohio, and includes a diagram (179-81).

  Vol. 7 (fourth series), April 1819: "Antiquities of the West" describes antiquities of Tennessee, including a stone fort, some glass, and an iron sword (350).

  Vol. 2 (fifth series), Aug. 1822: Describes an Ohio mound, states that the mounds cannot be the work of the Indians, and compares the mounds to the pyramids of Egypt (125-26).
Note 2: What became of the Rev. John P. Campbell's full manuscript, history does not recall. Several of his notions respecting the origin of the earliest Americans correspond rather well with those implictly expressed in Solomon Spalding's c. 1812 Oberlin manuscript. It is possible that, prior to his death, Campbell was in communication with Spalding -- or, that at the very least the two men may haev shared some of the same sources in developing their respective ideas. Some similar thoughts on the "aborigines of America" may be found in James H. McColloh's 1816 book, Researches on America. McColloh expanded his second edition to include some quotes from Campbell's 1816 articles (see pp. 210-220 of McColloh's 1817 edition).

Note 3: Rev. Campbell's writings presumably reached a larger audience than just the subscribers to the Philadelphia Port Folio; for example, the July 18, 1816 issue of the Canton Ohio Repository reprinted the June article from the magazine -- probably other contemporary newspapers offered similar reprints, excerpts or paraphrases. See also the Chillicothe, Ohio Weekly Recorder of July 5, 1814 and the Lexington, Ky., Evangelical Record of Dec. 1813.

Back to top of this page.

Articles Home Page    |    Newspaper Articles Index    |    History Vault
Oliver's Bookshelf    |    Spalding Studies Library    |    Mormon Classics

last updated: Jan. 12, 2006