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THE AGE OF FIRE AND GRAVEL
WE come now to another and very interesting question:
In what stage of development was mankind when the Drift fell upon the earth?
It is, of course, difficult to attain to certainties in the consideration of an age so remote as this. We are, as it were, crawling upon our hands and knees into the dark cavern of an abysmal past; we know not whether that which we encounter is a stone or a bone; we can only grope our way. I feel, however, that it is proper to present such facts as I possess touching this curious question.
The conclusion at which I have arrived is, that mankind, prior to the Drift, had, in some limited localities, reached a high stage of civilization, and that many of our most important inventions and discoveries were known in the pre-glacial age. Among these were pottery, metallurgy, architecture, engraving, Carving, the use of money, the domestication of some of our animals, and even the use of an alphabet. I shall present the proofs of this startling conclusion, and leave the reader to judge for himself.
While this civilized, cultivated race occupied a part of the earth's surface, the remainder of the world was peopled by races more rude, barbarous, brutal, and animal-like than anything we know of on our earth to-day.
In the first place, I shall refer to the legends of mankind, wherein they depict the condition of our race in the pre-glacial time. If these statements stood alone, we might dismiss them from consideration, for there would be a strong probability that later ages, in repeating the legends, would attribute to their remote ancestors the civilized advantages which they themselves enjoyed; but it will be seen that these statements are confirmed by the remains of man which have been dug out of the earth, and upon which we can rely to a much greater extent.
First, as to the legends:
If I have correctly interpreted Job as a religious drama, founded on the fall of the Drift, then we must remember that Job describes the people overtaken by the catastrophe as a highly civilized race. They had passed the stage of worshiping sticks and stones and idols, and had reached to a knowledge of the one true God; they were agriculturists; they raised flocks of sheep and camels; they built houses; they had tamed the horse; they had progressed so far in astronomical knowledge as to have mapped out the heavens into constellations; they wrote books, consequently they possessed an alphabet; they engraved inscriptions upon the rocks.
But it may be said truly that the book of Job, although it may be really a description of the Drift catastrophe, was not necessarily written at the time of, or even immediately after, that event. So gigantic and terrible a thing must have been the overwhelming consideration and memory of mankind for thousands of years after it occurred. We will see that its impress still exists on the
imagination of the race. Hence we may assign to the book of Job an extraordinary antiquity, and nevertheless it may have been written long ages after the events to which it refers occurred; and the writer may have clothed those events with the associations and conditions of the age of its composition. Let us, then, go forward to the other legends, for in such a case we can prove nothing. We can simply build up cumulative probabilities.
In Ovid we read that the Earth, when the dread affliction fell upon her, cried out:
"O sovereign of the gods, if thou approvest of this, if I have deserved it, why do thy lightnings linger? . . . And dost thou give this as my recompense? This as the reward of my fertility and of my duty, in that I endure wounds from the crooked plow and harrows, and am harassed all the year through? In that I supply green leaves to the cattle, and corn, a wholesome food for mankind, and frankincense for yourselves? "
Here we see that Ovid received from the ancient traditions of his race the belief that when the Drift Age came man was already an agriculturist; he had invented the plow and the barrow; he had domesticated the cattle; he had discovered or developed some of the cereals; and he possessed a religion in which incense was burned before the god or gods. The legend of Phaëton further indicates that man had tamed the horse and had invented wheeled vehicles.
In the Hindoo story of the coming of the demon Ravana, the comet, we read that he carried off Sita, the wife of Rama, the sun; and that her name indicates that she represented "the furrowed earth," to wit, a condition of development in which man plowed the fields and raised crops of food.
When we turn to the Scandinavian legends, we see
that those who transmitted them from the early ages believed that pre-glacial man was civilized. The Asas, the godlike, superior race, dwelt, we are told, "in stone houses."
In describing, in the Elder Edda, the corrupt condition of mankind before the great catastrophe occurred, the world, we are told, was given over to all manner of sin and wickedness. We read:
"Brothers will fight together,
And become each other's bane
Their sib shall spoil.
Hard is the world;
Sensual sins grow huge.
There are axe-ages, sword-ages
Shields are cleft in twain,
There are wind-ages,
Ere the world falls dead."
When the great day of wrath comes, Heimdal blows in the Gjallar-horn, Odin rides to Mimer's well, Odin puts on his golden helmet, the Asas hold counsel before their stone doors.
All these things indicate a people who had passed far beyond barbarism. Here we have axes, swords, helmets, shields, musical instruments, domesticated horses, the use of gold, and stone buildings. And after the great storm was over, and the remnant of mankind crept out of the caves, and came back to reoccupy the houses of the slain millions, we read of the delight with which they found in the grass "the golden tablets" of the Asas--additional proof that they worked in the metals, and possessed some kind of a written language; they also had "the runes," or runic letters of Odin.
[1. "The Vala's Prophecy," 48, 49.]
In the Norse legends we read that Loke, the evil genius, carried off Iduna, and her apples.
And when we turn to the American legends, similar statements present themselves.
We see the people, immediately after the catastrophe, sending a messenger to the happy eastern land, over the sea, by a bridge, to procure drums and other musical instruments; we learn from the Aztecs that while the darkness yet prevailed, the people built a sumptuous palace, a masterpiece of skill, and on the top of it they placed an axe of copper, the edge being uppermost, and on this axe the heavens rested.
The Navajos, shut up in their cave, had flute-players with them. The Peruvians were dug out of their cave with a golden spade. In the Tahoe legend, we read that the superior race compelled the inferior to build a great temple for their protection from floods; and the oppressed people escaped in canoes, while the world blazes behind them.
Soon after the Navajos came out of the cave, we find them, according to the legend, possessed of water-jars, and we have references to the division of the heavens into constellations.
In the Arabian legend of the City of Brass, we are told that the people who were destroyed were great architects, metallurgists, agriculturists, and machinists, and that they possessed a written language.
We turn now to the more reliable evidences of man's condition, which have been exhumed from the caves and the Drift.
In the seventeenth century, Fray Pedro Simon relates that some miners, running an adit into a hill near Callao,
[1. Bancroft's "Native Races," vol. iii, p. 71.]
"met with a ship, which had on top of it the great mass of the hill, and did not agree in its make and appearance with our ships."
Sir John Clerk describes a canoe found near Edinburgh, in 1726. "The washings of the river Carron discovered a boat thirteen or fourteen feet under ground; it is thirty-six feet long and four and a half broad, all of one piece of oak. There were several strata above it, such as loam, clay, shells, moss, sand, and gravel."
Boucher de Perthes found remains of man thirty to forty feet below the surface of the earth.
In the following we have the evidence that the pre-glacial race was acquainted with the use of fire, and cooked their food:
"In the construction of a canal between Stockholm and Gothenburg, it was necessary to cut through one of those hills called osars, or erratic blocks, which were deposited by the Drift ice during the glacial epoch. Beneath an immense accumulation of osars, with shells and sand, there was discovered in the deepest layer of subsoil, at a depth of about sixty feet, a circular mass of stones, forming a hearth, in the middle of which there were wood-coals. No other hand than that of man could have performed the work."
In the State of Louisiana, on Petite Anse Island, remarkable discoveries have been made.
At considerable depths below the surface of the earth, fifteen to twenty feet, immediately overlying the salt-rocks, and underneath what Dr. Foster believes to be the equivalent of the Drift in Europe, "associated with the bones of elephants and other huge extinct quadrupeds," "incredible quantities of pottery were found"; in some
[1. Tylor's "Early Mankind," p. 330.
2. Maclean's "Manual of Antiquity of Man," p. 60; Buchner, p. 242.
3. Foster's "Prehistoric Races," p. 56, etc.]
cases these remains of pottery formed "veritable strata, three and six inches thick"; in many cases the bones of the mastodon were found above these strata of pottery. Fragments of baskets and matting were also found.
Here we have evidence of the long-continued occupation of this spot by man prior to the Drift Age, and that the human family had progressed far enough to manufacture pottery, and weave baskets and matting.
The cave of Chaleux, Belgium, was buried by a mass of rubbish caused by the falling in of the roof, consequently preserving all its implements. There were found the split bones of mammals, and the bones of birds and fishes. There was an immense number of objects, chiefly manufactured from reindeer-horn, such as needles, arrow-heads, daggers, and hooks. Besides these, there were ornaments made of shells, pieces of slate with engraved figures, mathematical lines, remains of very coarse pottery, hearthstones, ashes, charcoal, and last, but not least, thirty thousand worked flints mingled with the broken bones. In the hearth, placed in the center of the cave, was discovered a stone, with certain but unintelligible signs engraved upon it. M. Dupont also found about twenty pounds of the bones of the water-rat, either scorched or roasted.
EARTHEN VASE, FOUND IN THE CAVE OF FURFOOZ, BELGIUM.
[1. Maclean's "Antiquity of Man," p. 87.]
Here we have the evidence that the people who inhabited this cave, or some race with whom they held intercourse, manufactured pottery; that they wore clothing which they sewed with needles; that they used the bow and arrow; that they caught fish with hooks; that they ornamented themselves; that they cooked their food; that they engraved on stone; and that they had already reached some kind of primitive alphabet, in which signs were used to represent things.
We have already seen, (page 124, ante,) that there is reason to believe that pre-glacial Europe contained a very barbarous race, represented by the Neanderthal skull, side by side with a cultivated race, represented by the fine lines and full brow of the Engis skull. The latter race, I have suggested, may have come among the former as traders, or have been captured in war; precisely as today in Central Africa the skulls of adventurous, civilized Portuguese or Englishmen or Americans might be found side by side with the rude skulls of the savage populations of the country. The possession of a piece of pottery, or carving, by an African tribe would not prove that the Africans possessed the arts of engraving or manufacturing pottery, but it would prove that somewhere on the earth's surface a race had advanced far enough, at that time, to be capable of such works of art. And so, in the remains of the pre-glacial age of Europe, we have the evidence that some of these people, or their captives, or those with whom they traded or fought, had gone so far in the training of civilized life as to have developed a sense of art and a capacity to represent living forms in pictures or carvings, with a considerable degree of taste and skill. And these works are found in the most ancient caves, "the archaic caves," associated with the bones of the animals that ceased to exist in Europe at the time of the
PRE-GLACIAL MAN'S PICTURE OF THE MAMMOTH
Drift deposits. Nay, more, a picture of a mammoth has been found engraved upon a piece of mammoth-tusk. The engraving on page 349 represents this most curious work of art.
The man who carved this must have seen the creature it represented; and, as the mammoth did not survive the Drift, that man must have lived before or during the Drift. And he was no savage. Says Sir John Lubbock:
"No representation, however rude, of any animal has yet been found in any of the Danish shell-mounds, or the Stone-Age lake-villages. Even on objects of the Bronze Age they are so rare that it is doubtful whether a single well-authenticated instance could be produced."
In the Dordogne caves the following spirited drawing was found, representing a group of reindeer:
PRE-GLACIAL MAN'S PICTURE OF REINDEER.
Here it would appear as if the reindeer were fastened together by lines or reins; if so, it implies that they were
[1. "Prehistoric Times," p. 333.]
domesticated. In this picture they seem to have become entangled in their lines, and some have fallen to the ground.
And it does not follow from the presence of the reindeer that the climate was Lapland-like. The ancestors of all our so-called Arctic animals must have lived during the mild climate of the Tertiary Age; and those only survived after the Drift, in the north, that were capable of accommodating themselves to the cold; the rest perished or moved southwardly.
Another group of animals was found, engraved on a piece of the palm of a reindeer's horn, as follows:
PRE-GLACIAL MAN'S PICTURE OF THE HORSE.
Here the man stands alongside the horse's head--a very natural position if the horse was domesticated, a very improbable one if he was not.
Pieces of pottery have also been found accompanying these palæolithic remains of man.
The oldest evidence of the existence of man is probably the fragment of a cut rib from the Pliocenes of Tuscany, preserved in the museum at Florence; it was associated with flint-flakes and a piece of rude pottery.
But the art-capacity of these people was not limited to the drawing of animals; they also carved figures out
[1. Dawkins's "Early Man in Britain," p. 91.]
of hard substances. The following engraving represents a poniard cut from a reindeer's horn.
A SPECIMEN OF PRE-GLACIAL CARVING.
Sir John Lubbock says:
"The artist bas ingeniously adapted the position of the animal to the necessities of the case. The horns are thrown back on the neck, the fore-legs are doubled up under the belly, and the hind-legs are stretched out along the blade."
These things seem to indicate quite an advanced condition; the people who made them manufactured pottery, possessed. domesticated animals, and were able to engrave and carve images of living objects. It is difficult to believe that they could have carved and engraved these hard substances without metallic gravers or tools of some kind.
The reader will see, on page 130, ante, a representation of a sienite plummet found thirty feet below the surface, in a well, in the San Joaquin Valley, California, which Professor Foster pronounces to be--
"A finer exhibition of the lapidary's skill than has yet been furnished by the Stone Age of either continent. "
[1. "Prehistoric Times," p. 335.
2. Foster's "Prehistoric Races of the United States," p. 56.]
The following picture represents a curious image carved out of black marble, about twice as large as the cut, found near Marlboro, Stark County, Ohio, by some workmen, while digging a well, at a depth of twelve feet below the surface. The ground above it had never been disturbed. It was imbedded in sand and gravel. The black or variegated marble out of which this image is carved has not been found in place in Ohio.
STONE IMAGE FOUND IN OHIO
T. W. Kinney, of Portsmouth, Ohio, writes as follows:
"Last summer, while digging a vault for drainage, at the depth of twenty-seven feet, the workmen found the tusk of a mastodon. The piece was about four feet long and four inches in diameter at the thickest part. It was nearly all lost, having, crumbled very much when exposed to the air. I have a large piece of it; also several flakes of flint found near the same depth.
"I also have several of the flakes from other vaults, some of which show evidence of work.
"We also found a log at the depth of twenty-two feet. The log was burned at one end, and at the other end was a gap, the same as an axeman's kerf. Shell-banks below the level of the base of mound-builders' works, from six to fifteen feet."
Was this burned log, thus found at a depth of twenty-two feet, a relic of the great conflagration? Was that
[1. "American Antiquarian," April, 1878, p. 36.]
axe-kerf made by some civilized man who wielded a bronze or iron weapon?
It is a curious fact that burned logs have, in repeated instances, been exhumed from great depths in the Drift clay.
While this work is going through the press, an article has appeared in "Harper's Monthly Magazine," (September, 1882, p. 609,) entitled "The Mississippi River Problem," written by David A. Curtis, in which the author says:
"When La Salle found out how goodly a land it was, his report was the warrant of eviction that drove out the red man to make place for the white, as the mound-builders had made place for the Indian in what we call the days of old. Yet it must have been only yesterday that the mound-builders wrought in the valley, for in the few centuries that have elapsed since then the surface of the ground has risen only a few feet--not enough to bury their works out of sight. How long ago, then, must it have been that the race lived there whose pavements and cisterns of Roman brick now lie seventy feet underground?"
Mr. Curtis does not mean that the bricks found in this prehistoric settlement had any historical connection with Rome, but simply that they resemble Roman bricks. These remains, I learn, were discovered in the vicinity of Memphis, Tennessee. The details have not yet, so far as I am aware, been published.
Is it not more reasonable to suppose that civilized man existed on the American Continent thirty thousand years ago, (the age fixed by geologists for the coming of the Drift,) a comparatively short period of time, and that his works were then covered by the Drift-débris, than to believe that a race of human beings, far enough advanced in civilization to manufacture bricks, and build pavements and cisterns, dwelt in the Mississippi Valley, in a past so inconceivably remote that the slow increase of the soil,
by vegetable decay, has covered their works to the depth of seventy feet?
I come now to the most singular and marvelous revelation of all:
Professor Alexander Winchell, in an interesting and recent work, says:
"I had in my possession for some time a copper relic resembling a rude coin, which was taken from an artesian boring at the depth of one hundred and fourteen feet, at Lawn Ridge, Marshall County, Illinois.
"Mr. W. H. Wilmot, then of Lawn Ridge, furnished me, in a letter dated December 4, 1871, the following statement of deposits pierced in the boring:
Dark vegetable matter
Hard purplish clay
Bright green clay
Depth of coin
Sand and clay.
Water, rising 60 feet.
"In a letter of the 27th of December, written from Chillicothe, Illinois, he stated that the bore was four inches for eighty feet, and three inches for the remainder of the depth. But before one hundred feet had been reached the four-inch portion was 'so plastered over as to be itself but three inches in diameter,' and hence the 'coin' could not have come from any depth less than eighty feet.
"'Three persons saw "the coin" at the same instant, and each claims it.' This so-called coin was about the
[1. "Sparks from a Geologist's Hammer," p. 170.]
thickness and size of a silver quarter of a dollar, and was of remarkably uniform thickness. It was approximately round, and seemed to have been cut. Its two faces bore marks as shown in the figure, but they were not stamped as with a die nor engraved. They looked as if etched
COPPER COIN, FOUND ONE HUNDRED AND FOURTEEN FEET UNDER GROUND IN ILLINOIS.
with acid. The character of the marks was partly unintelligible. On each side, however, was a rude outline of a human figure. One of these held in one hand an object resembling a child, while the other was raised as if in the act of striking. The figure wore a head-dress, apparently made of quills. Around the border were undecipherable hieroglyphics. The figure on the opposite side extended only to the waist, and had also one hand upraised. This was furnished with long tufts like mule's ears. Around the border was another circle of hieroglyphics. On this side also was a rude outline of a quadruped. I exhibited this relic to the Geological Section of the American Association, at its meeting at Buffalo in 1876. The general impression seemed to be that its origin could not date from the epoch of the stratum in which it is represented to have been found. One person thought he could detect a rude representation of the signs of the zodiac around the border. Another fancied he could discover numerals, and even dates. No one could even offer any explanation of the objects or the circumstances of its discovery. The figures bear a close resemblance to rude drawings executed on birch-bark and rock surfaces by the American Indians. But by what means were they etched? And by what means was the uniform thickness of the copper produced?
This object was sent by the owner to the Smithsonian Institution for examination, and Secretary Henry referred it to Mr. William E. Dubois, who presented the result of his investigation to the American Philosophical Society. Mr. Dubois felt sure that the object had passed through a rolling-mill, and he thought the cut edges gave further evidence of the machine-shop. 'All things considered,' he said, 'I can not regard this Illinois piece as ancient nor old (observing the usual distinction), nor yet recent; because the tooth of time is plainly visible.' He could suggest nothing to clear up the mystery. Professor J. P. Lesley thought it might be an astrological amulet. He detected upon it the signs of Pisces and Leo. He read the date 1572. He said, 'The piece was placed there as a practical joke.' He thought it might be Hispano-American or French-American in origin. the suggestion of 'a practical joke' is itself something which must be taken as a joke. No person in possession of this interesting object would willingly part with it; least of all would he throw so small an object into a hole where not one chance in a thousand existed that it would ever be seen again by any person.
"If this object does not date from the age of the stratum from which obtained, it can only be a relic of the sixteenth or seventeenth century, buried beneath the alluvium deposited more recently by the Illinois River. The country is a level prairie, and 'Peoria Lake' is an expansion of the river ten miles long and a mile and a half broad. It is certainly possible that in such a region deep alluvial deposits may have formed since the visits of the French in the latter part of the seventeenth century. But it is not easy to admit an accumulation of one hundred and fourteen or one hundred and twenty-feet, since such a depth extends too much below the surface of the river. In Whiteside County, fifty miles northwest from Peoria County, about 1851, according to Mr. Moffat, a large copper ring was found one hundred and twenty feet beneath the surface, as also something which has been compared to a boat-hook. Several other objects have been found at less depths, including stone pipes and pottery, and a spear-shaped hatchet, MADE OF IRON. If these
are not 'ancient,' their occurrence at depths of ten, forty, fifty, and one hundred and twenty feet must be explained as I have suggested in reference to the 'coin.' An instrument of iron is a strong indication of the civilized origin of all."
This is indeed an extraordinary revelation. Here we have a copper medal, very much like a coin, inscribed with alphabetical or hieroglyphical signs, which, when placed under the microscope, in the hands of a skeptical investigator, satisfies him that it is not recent, and that it passed through a rolling-mill and was cut by a machine.
If it is not recent, if the tooth of time is plainly seen on it, it is not a modern fraud; if it is not a modern fraud, then it is really the coin of some pre-Columbian people. The Indians possessed no currency or alphabet, so that it dates back of the red-men. Nothing similar has been found in the hundreds of American mounds that have been opened, so that it dates back of the mound-builders.
It comes from a depth of not less than eighty feet in glacial clay, therefore it is profoundly ancient.
It is engraved after a method utterly unknown to any civilized nation on earth, within the range of recorded history. IT IS ENGRAVED WITH ACID!
It belongs, therefore, to a civilization unlike any we know of. If it had been derived from any other human civilization, the makers, at the same time they borrowed the round, metallic form of the coin, would have borrowed also the mold or the stamp. But they did not; and yet they possessed a rolling-mill and a machine to cut out the coin.
What do we infer? That there is a relationship between our civilization and this, but it is a relationship in which this represents the parent; and the round metallic
coins of historical antiquity were derived from it, but without the art of engraving by the use of acid.
It does not stand alone, but at great depths in the same clay implements of copper and of IRON are found.
What does all this indicate?
That far below the present level of the State of Illinois, in the depths of the glacial clays, about one hundred or one hundred and twenty feet below the present surface of the land, there are found the evidences of a high civilization. For a coin with an inscription upon it implies a high civilization:--it implies an alphabet, a literature, a government, commercial relations, organized society, regulated agriculture, which could alone sustain all these; and some implement like a plow, without which extensive agriculture is not possible; and this in turn implies domesticated animals to draw the plow. The presence of the coin, and of implements of copper and iron, proves that mankind had passed far beyond the Stone Age. And these views are confirmed by the pavements and cisterns of brick found seventy feet below the surface in the lower Mississippi Valley.
There is a Pompeii, a Herculaneum, somewhere, underneath central and northwestern Illinois or Tennessee, of the most marvelous character; not of Egypt, Assyria, or the Roman Empire, things of yesterday, but belonging to an inconceivable antiquity; to pre-glacial times; to a period ages before the flood of Noah;--a civilization which was drowned and deluged out of sight under the immeasurable clay-flood of the comet.
Man crawled timidly backward into the history of the past over his little limit of six thousand years; and at the farther end of his tether he found the perfect civilization of early Egypt. He rises to his feet and looks still backward, and the vista of history spreads and
spreads to antediluvian times. Here at last he thinks he has reached the beginning of things: here man first domesticated the animals; here he first worked in copper and iron; here he possessed for the first time an alphabet, a government, commerce, and coinage. And, lo! from the bottom of well-holes in Illinois, one hundred and fourteen feet deep, the buckets of the artesian-well auger bring up copper rings and iron hatchets and engraved coins--engraved by a means unknown to historical mankind--and we stand face to face with a civilization so old that man will not willingly dare to put it into figures.
Here we are in the presence of that great, but possibly brutal and sensual development of man's powers, "the sword-ages, the axe-ages, the murder-ages of the Goths," of which God cleared the earth when he buried the mastodon under the Drift for ever.
How petty, how almost insignificant, how school-boy-like are our historians, with their little rolls of parchment under their arms, containing their lists of English, Roman, Egyptian, and Assyrian kings and queens, in the presence of such stupendous facts as these!
Good reader, your mind shrinks back from such conceptions, of course. But can you escape the facts by shrinking back? Are they not there? Are they not all of a piece--Job, Ovid, Rama, Ragnarok, Genesis, the Aztec legends; the engraved ivory tablets of the caves, the pottery, the carved figures of pre-glacial Europe; the pottery-strata of Louisiana under the Drift; the copper and iron implements, the brick pavements and cisterns, and this coin, dragged up from well-holes in Illinois?
And what do they affirm?
That this catastrophe was indeed THE FALL OF MAN.
Think what a fall!
From comfort to misery; from plowed fields to the
thistles and the stones; from sunny and glorious days in a stormless land to the awful trials of the Drift Age; the rains, the cold, the snow, the ice, the incessant tempests, the darkness, the poverty, the coats of hides, the cave-life, the cannibalism, the Stone Age.
Here was a fall indeed.
There is nothing in antiquity that has not a meaning. The very fables of the world's childhood should be sacred from our laughter.
Our theology, even where science has most ridiculed it, is based on a great, a gigantic truth. Paradise, the summer land of fruits, the serpent, the fire from heaven, the expulsion, the waving sword, the "fall of man," the "darkness on the face of the deep," the age of toil and sweat--all, all, are literal facts.
And could we but penetrate their meaning, the trees of life and knowledge and the apples of paradise probably represent likewise great and important facts or events in the history of our race.
And with what slow steps did mankind struggle upward! In some favored geographical center they recovered the arts of metallurgy, the domestication of animals, and the alphabet.
"All knowledge," says the Hindoo Krishna, "was originally bestowed on mankind by God. They lost it. They recovered it as a recollection."
The poor barbarian Indians of America possess traditions of this ancient civilization, traditions in forms as rude as their own condition.
It was represented by the Great Hare, Manibozho, or Nanaboshu.
Do we not find his typical picture, with those great mule-tufts, (referred to by Professor Winchell,) the hare-like ears, on this coin of Illinois?
Read what the Indians tell of this great being
"From the remotest wilds of the Northwest," says Dr. Brinton, "to the coast of the Atlantic, from the southern boundaries of Carolina to the cheerless swamps of Hudson's Bay, the Algonquins were never tired of gathering around the winter fire and repeating the story of Manibozho or Michabo, the Great Hare. With entire unanimity their various branches, the Powhatans of Virginia, the Lenni-Lenape of the Delaware, the warlike hordes of New England, the Ottawas of the far North, and the Western tribes, perhaps without exception, spoke of this 'chimerical beast,' as one of the old missionaries calls it as their common ancestor. The totem or clan which bore his name was looked up to with peculiar respect. . . .
"What he really was we must seek in the accounts of older travelers, in the invocations of the jossakeeds or prophets, and in the part assigned to him in the solemn mysteries of religion. In these we find him portrayed as the patron and founder of the Meda worship, the inventor of picture-writing, the father and guardian of their nation, the ruler of the winds, even the maker and preserver of the world and creator of the sun and moon. From a grain of sand brought from the bottom of the primeval ocean, he fashioned the habitable land, and set it floating on the waters till it grew to such a size that a strong young wolf, running constantly, died of old age ere he reached its limits. . . . He was the founder of the medicine-hunt. . . . He himself was a mighty hunter of old. . . . Attentively watching the spider spread its web to trap unwary flies, he devised the art of knitting nets to catch fish."
This is a barbarian's recollection of a great primeval civilized race who established religion, invented nets, and, as the other legends concerning him show, first made the bow and arrow and worked in the metals.
There is every reason to think the division of the people into several classes, or families, who take the name of
[1. "Myths of the New World," p. 175.]
some animal whose picture is their totem, dates back to the very beginning of the human race. The animal fables, as I have suggested, grew out of these animal totems; we find them everywhere among the American tribes; and in some cases they are accompanied by mental and physical traits which may be supposed to indicate that they originated in primal race differences. This is the belief of Warren, the native historian of the Ojibways. I am indebted to Hon. H. Al. Rice, of St. Paul, for an opportunity to examine his valuable manuscript history of that tribe of Indians.
The great totem of the Algonquins is the Hare; he represents a ruling class, and is associated with recollections of this Great Hare, this demi-god, this man or race, who taught them all the arts of life with which they are acquainted. Then there is a turtle totem, associated with myths of the turtle or tortoise, which are the images all over the world of an island.
And when we cross the Atlantic we find that the Arabs are divided up in the same way into tribes bearing animal names.
"Asad, lion; 'a number of tribes.' Aws, wolf; 'a tribe of the Ancar, or Defenders.' Badau, ibex; 'a tribe of the Kalb and others.' Tha'laba, she-fox; 'a name of tribes.' Garad, locusts; 'a sub-tribe of the Azol.' Thawr, bull; 'a sub-tribe of Hamdan and of Abel Manah.' Gahah, colt of an ass; 'a sub-tribe of the Arabs.' Hida', kite; 'a sub-tribe of Murad.'
"The origin of all names is referred, in the genealogical system of the Arabs, to an ancestor who bore the tribal or gentile name. Thus the Kalb or dog-tribe consists of the Beni-Kalb--sons of Kalb (the dog), who is in turn son of Wabra (the female rock-badger), son of Tha'laba
[1. Tylor's "Early History of Mankind."
2. W. J. F. Maclennan, "Fortnightly Review," 1869 and 1870.]
(the she-fox), great-grandson of Quoda'a, grandson of Saba', the Sheba of Scripture. A single member of the tribe is Kalbi--a Kalbite--Caninus."
"The same names which appear as totem tribes reach through Edom, Midian, and Moab, into the land of Canaan."
Among the Jews there was the stock of the serpent, Nashon, to which David belonged; and there is no doubt that they were once divided into totemic families.
And in all this we see another proof of the race-identity of the peoples on the opposite sides of the Atlantic.
Permit me to close this chapter with a suggestion:
Is there not energy enough among the archæologists of the United States to make a thorough examination of some part of the deep clay deposits of Central Illinois or of those wonderful remains referred to by Mr. Curtis?
If one came and proved that at a given point he had found indications of a coal-bed or a gold-mine, he would have no difficulty in obtaining means enough to dig a shaft and excavate acres. Can not the greed for information do one tenth as much as the greed for profit?
Who can tell what extraordinary revelations wait below the vast mass of American glacial clay? For it must be remembered that the articles already found have been discovered in the narrow holes bored or dug for wells. How small is the area laid bare by such punctures in the earth compared with the whole area of the country in which they are sunk! How remarkable that anything should have been found under such circumstances! How probable, therefore, that the remains of man are numerous at a certain depth!
Where a coin is found we might reasonably expect to
[1. W. J. F. Maclennan, "Fortnightly Review," 1869 and 1870.]
find other works of copper, and all those things which would accompany the civilization of a people working in the metals and using a currency,--such as cities, houses, temples, etc. Of course, such things might exist, and yet many shafts might be sunk without coming upon any of them. But is not the attempt worth making?
Next: Chapter II. The Scene Of Man's Survival