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where the Skroellings abode, to the Rhode Island waters, and it does not seem strange that observers who had mistaken the curled maple for mahogany, should not think one race of Indians different from another, when both possessed copper colored faces, had long black hair, and wore a sort of mantelet of skins. It is not said they were of small stature, nor that they ate raw fish—the two leading traits in the Esquimaux.
So far as authentic history extends, the Esquimaux tribes have been found north of the latitude of 60°, inhabiting the whole range of islands, gulfs and bays, from the coast of Greenland in longitude 200 to Behring's straits in Asia, in longitude 167o. They have seldom been found more than one hundred miles south of the Arctic sea. The eastern Esquimaux extended down the coast of Labrador to the straits of Bellisle, and were found dispersed, in some instances, as far as north latitude 500.
The few specimens of the native language introduced from the voyages, rather entangle, than help the inquiry. “Vethilldi,” and “ Úvāege,” the names of the father and mother of the captured boys, are certainly not of the Algic vocabulary. The same may
be said of " Ayalldamon” and “ Valdidida,” the chiefs of their band. Should it be found that the Icelanders or Norwegians substitute the letter V for B, and L for N in pronouncing foreign languages, analogy might sustain them as Algic derivatives. There is no rule in Rafn's Grammar of the Icelandic, * now before us to settle this point. V is generally dropped before o, u, y, and r, but often retained by the ancient writers. But the question is, if these words are not Algic, are they Esquimaux ? By referring to Mr. Gallatin's vocabulary of this language (Vide Archaeologia Americana, Vol. II.] it will be seen that the letter V does not occur.
We are aware, however, from the grammatical examples in the “ Mithridates,” that the sound is found among the Esquimaux of Kotzebue's Sound, and analogy would lead us to look for it, among the other tribes of this well-marked race of men. Granting all that could be asked on this head, however, it must be recollected that these boys were not captured in Narragansett or Massachusetts bay, but as is stated in general terms, on the
Montaup, the true Indian name of Mount Hope, appears to us
* Marsli's Translation.
to be rather a derivative from the name of one of the gods of the Algic mythology, than an adoption, by the natives, of the Icelandic noun “ Hop.” Besides, is it reconcilable with our experience of the dogged attachment of the Indians to their own terms, to suppose they had thus adopted a foreign name, and that too, from an enemy, whom they had fought and driven from their coast?
We have examined cursorily, the several prints of the hieroglyphics on the so called " inscription rock” of Assonet. We
* (This rock lies on the shore of “ Assonet Neck,” so called, on the east side of Taunton River, in Massachusetts, and is more commonly known as the “ Dighton Writing Rock.” Of the inscriptions upon this rock drawings have been taken at different periods, several of which have been published in the Transactions of Scientific Societies in this country; one of the most recent of which is here given, copied from the Am. Antiquitates. Nine of these drawings, together with a picture of the rock itself, are contained in the volume here referred to.
That our readers may the better appreciate the force of Mr. Schoolcraft's remarks on this topic, we give below the translation of a letter from Mr. Magnusen, Vice President of the Royal Society at Copenhagen ; (Antiquitates Americanae, p. 378—382. This letter recognizes the opinion of the editor of the work, Prof. Rafn, and exhibits a brief synopsis of the reasons which have led the learned Society to a conclusion in regard to these inscriptions, which, we think, a more extended examination of the subject may induce them to change. It is as follows.-ED.)
“Your opinion concerning the inscription and the figures on the Assonet Rock I do not hesitate to approve. That they are in very deed Icelandic, and may be attributed to Thorfinn Karlsefn, I think is beyond all doubt. This, at first view, is demonstrated, as well by the Icelandic letter, by, woven in at the left hand of the spectator of the picture, appearing like the prow of a ship, as by the principal images cut in the rock. There are also many criteria, which may prove this even to those who are unacquainted with the inscriptions on stones in Iceland, wbich, being unpublished, are to the present day nearly unknown to the literary world. These I will endeavor briefly to explan and illustrate. 1. The characters: CXXXI
17 Y These demand no long explanation. They are, without doubt, numerals; but their united value, or signification, is especially remarkable, since this express number exactly corresponds with the number of men, who, according to the
consider the first three representations of no historical value, unless it be to denote how the preconceived theories of men may lead them to distort facts, even where the data, if properly
history of Thorfinn Karlsefn, made their way, with him, to this region of North America, or rather to this station. In the 7th chapter of that celebrated history it is related, that the number of men who participated in his expedition was CXL; but a little after, in chapter 8th, it is stated that nine (IX) of them were lost in that bay denominated by the Icelanders (or Scandinavians) Straumfjoerd, they having sailed northward, by the advice of Thorhall
, a hunter, searching for Vineland in that quarter of the world. Thorfinn himself, with all the rest of his associates, proceeding towards the south or west, came to a place called Hóp, (Hópe i Hope,) where, in fact, his train, as appears from these premises, were CXXXI persons, which number agrees, to a inark, with the inscription at Assonet. Thus the ancient history or biography of Thorfinn Karlsefn and this celebrated monument in North America, in turn, most accurately, and in a wonderful manner, confirm each other.
Under the numeral characters commonly expressing CXXXI, two letters are seen. The first, 11, Latino-Gothic, as is known to all, expresses the Latin N; but the second, Y, is Runic, the common M, for which this character is found inserted in many writings of the middle age, otherwise Latin, both by the Scandinavians and the Anglo-Saxons. But thus inserted, this character always signifies the word maðr (man, homo, vir,) or its plural menn, me 8r, (men). Thus I conjecture that these two letters indicate, by way of abbreviation, the two entire words, n(orro enir) m ( en n,) which, added to the number CXXXI, may signify so many (European) north-men. The figure, moreover, which we take for a ship, without masts, sails or rigging, standing among these reputed letters, should be noticed. Thus, hieroglyphically, or figuratively, as we conjecture, this fact may be indicated, viz. that those men, borne by ship, came to that land; but afterwards they despoiled the ship of masts, rigging and sails, that they might desert it, and acquire for themselves permanent little dwellings on the land. Thus this entire sentence is made out, viz. CXXXI norroenir) (ship's) m(enn) i.e. northern, (European, or originating from Norway and Iceland,) sailors.
II. Other characters follow, separated from these lines, but, nevertheless, to be regarded as a continuation of them, few indeed, but of grave import, expressed in Latino-Gothic letters—these, for example,
M OR The first of these very brief lines presents to us something to be abbreviated, similar, in some way, to complex Runics, which, indeed, at first view appears to be made up of two letters, but, on a