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man characters, in sport. These alphabetical marks certainly spell nothing in the ordinary Runic, either backward or forward. The mode of explanation adopted by Mr. Magnusen, [p. 378—382) appears to be far-fetched, in some respects cabalistic, and throughout overstrained; and after all, nine tenths of the whole inscription is unintelligible, and is left unexplained. We admire his learning and ingenuity, but rise from the perusal unconvinced.
Take, for example, the characters interpreted as the LatinoGothic n and the Runic y. They are not found in juxtaposition--they are not identical on the different impressions, but strikingly at variance, and the mass of intervening hieroglyphics is passed over as merely curious, or anomalous. To us it appears, that the character of an ancient inscription should be judged of by its predominant portions, and not its occasional resemblances; and it is the force of this consideration, that leads us to pronounce the inscription Algic and not Runic.
By the term Algic we comprehend that generic race of men, who, (say) in 1600, were found scattered, in various independent bands, along the Atlantic border, between the Floridian peninsula and the gulf of St. Lawrence. We exclude the Muscogee and Cherokee stocks, but excepting these, on the south, this race lined the whole United States border of the Atlantic, and extended westward to the lakes, etc. We, of course, merge in this term, the Powhetannic tribes, the Senapees, Mohegans, Natics and other New England sub-tribes, and the Algonquins of the French. Attention to their history and traditions, and to their languages, and what we must consider their monumental remains, * indicate that these tribes migrated from south-west to north-east, along this border. The point to which our attention is here called, is, whether the Algics had reached and occupied the present geographical area of New England, previous to the discovery of the country by the Scandinavians, in 1008. Thorwald Ericson, and those who preceded and followed him, called the tribes whom they found at the most southerly points of their discovery, Skrõellings—a term primarily indicating dwarfs, and applied often ironically, by the northmen. The term has come down to our times as the cognomen of Greenland and Iceland for the Esquimaux. And it is a
* Burial places, crania, spear and arrow heads, earth-pols, etc. SECOND SERIES, VOL. I. NO. I. 57
question of historical interest, whether the Esquimaux dwelt in the area of New England between the tenth and eleventh centuries? The English colonists in 1608, found the whole country occupied by different tribes of the Algics. The traditions of these tribes made no mention of their having conquered the Esquimaux, or of their having driven north any previous occupants. They appeared to have possessed the country for ages, and we have never heard that they claimed it as conquest from any other people.
We have already alluded to the inexactitude of observation in the discoverers both of the ante and post Columbian eras. We think it probable, in the case before us, that the Scandinavian mariners, coming last from the coast of the Greenland or Esquimaux Indians, were not very particular in remarking on the differences between tribes, where there was a general resemblance in the externals of dress, etc. The Algics of New England were a tall and straight-limbed people, whereas the Skroellings were of a dwarfish appearance. Yet it is nowhere remarked, so far as we have examined the Copenhagen publications, that the New England Skroellings, so called, were of short stature. On the contrary they appeared to be a quick limbed, active race, who fought with remarkable bravery, were expert in the use of the arrow, and when they found the north-men took to their vessel, hoisted a large heavy ball on a pole,* and let it fall in the midst of their assailants. All this better accords with our notions of the Algic, than the Esquimaux race.
There is perhaps nothing more characteristic of the mental peculiarities of the Algic race, than their mythology and the system of hieroglyphics, by which they appear, at all times, to have perpetuated events and names. Whenever a chief or warrior died, they cut or painted on a cedar post or other substance, the symbol of his name, and so many characters as were considered necessary to indicate bis principal feats. Sometimes symbols and characters of this kind were cut or marked on trees. Sometimes on the bark of the betula papyracea (white birch), which is of an enduring quality. And, occasionally on rocks, or loose bowlder stones. It was very common to set up water worn bowl. ders of a particular figure, in spots supposed to be the residence of spirits, and to decorate them, in various ways. Sacrifices of
* It is probable they sewed up a large stone in a raw skin, for the purpose of sinking the vessel in which their invaders took refuge.
tobacco, etc. were offered at these rude shrines. This is still the custom of the more westerly and northerly of these bands. Figures cut into stone, were certainly very rare. With extensive means of observation, among the remote existing tribes, we can point to but few such instances and nothing of the extensive character of the figures on the Assonet rock. We have, however, witnessed, and have now in our possession, drawings of a far more extensive series of these hieroglyphics taken chiefly from wood and bark. It is from a comparison of these with the Royal Society's plates, that we have expressed the opinion of their identity in point of general character. We think the character of the hieroglyphics a more certain means of satisfactory comparison of tribes than the substance upon which they were impressed or cut. It appears from the letter of Mr. Webb (p. 356) that the Assonet rock is a species of fine-grained grauwacke—a rock so much inferior in hardness to most of the silicious stones, that there could have been but little difficulty in making the impressions with sharp pieces of hornstone or common quartz, such as arrow-heads were chipped with. From the testimony of Dr. Stiles, in 1789, (p. 359) it seems that similar hieroglyphics were found on the Housatonic—a region to which there is no probability that these earlier discoverers penetrated. It is stated, in the same connection, that engraved figures of animals, etc. on a rock, of fifteen or twenty feet surface had been visited by a Mr. Frothingham, at Venango, on the Alleghany river in 1789, which seems to indicate that the Indians had the means of accomplishing this species of inscription.
We throw out these suggestions in a spirit of liberal inquiry, and not with the slightest view of underrating the valuable historical researches of the northern literati. They have shown us the mode of operating, and the high duties an enlightened people owe to the history of the land they live in. As yet but little attention has been devoted, in America, to the subject of Indian antiquities. We have not yet acquired the elements to work with. Their languages—the most curious chapter in the history of tongues, are yet without grammars or lexicons, and lie in a great measure in the rubbish of their prefixed and suffixed verbiage. No attempt has been made to record and explain their prominent system of bieroglyphics. There has been no systematic examination of the crania exhumed from their mounds, with a view of classifying the races. We deem most of the speculations, respecting the mounds themselves, to
be but little creditable to American philosophy. Some writers have thought it wonderful that a few thousand cubit feet of soft earth and loam should have been piled up by our Indians over their dead! We have not even an illustrated work, giving accurate descriptions of their utensils, arms and fabrics, ancient and modern. We look in vain for their collected oral traditions and fictitious creations. We do not understand their mythology, and consequently are in the dark as to the true sources of their hopes and fears. In fine, we have but an imperfect knowledge of all that relates to their leading mental and inoral peculiarities and characteristics. Enough has been said, and written about the mere external man-his looks and dress—bis mode of living and his means of locomotion. But if we may be allowed the term, we know next to nothing of the philosophy of the Indian mind.
But we must not divert the purpose of our present notice into a new channel, albeit, we feel that the topic is one, so far as relates to their hieroglyphics, inseparable from the subject. It is impossible, that we should understandingly, or even willingly, admit the literary evidence brought forward at Copenhagen on this head, without first examining the hieroglyphics of our own tribes. Nor do we suppose from present impressions, that such an examination will militate against the general facts of these early discoveries of the country. The prominent points of doubt is with us, whether either the Indians or the Scandinavians ever recorded any facts connected with these discoveries on the banks of the Cohannet, and whether the country, at that remote era, was inhabited by the Esquimaux or the Algic race. Other topics of deep interest are connected with these. The whole subject is one of the highest literary interest, and one to which, we think, the research and acumen of the country, both individual and associated, is strongly invited. We have merely introduced the topic, and may again advert to it.
POSTSCRIPT. Since the foregoing Article was prepared, the writer has received the following Note from Mr. Gallatin, respecting the use of the letters V and L in the Eskimau language.
“Dear Sir,— The letter L occurs in every Eskimau dialect of which I have any knowledge. Thus, heaven or sky is : Greenland, Killak; Hudson's Bay, Keiluk; Kadik Island, Keliok; Kotzebue's Sound, Keilyak; Asiatic Tshuktchi, Kuilak.
“I am not so certain about the V, which I find used only by Egede or Crantz (not distinguished from each other in my collections) for the Greenland dialect. In their conjugations I find “We (plural and dual) wash them,”
1 verb pron. verb pron.
dual. In the Mithridates, the same letter V, is repeatedly used in examples of the Greenland and Labrador dialects, principally (as it appears to me) but not exclusively, in the pronominal terminations
food ours debtors ours a prophet-art thou ? piksa u-tivnik,-akeetsor-tivut,-profetiv-vit?
“By comparing these, with the pronouns of the other Eskimau dialects, I suspect that 00 or Ware, in these, used instead of V. But the difference may arise from that, (the difference] in the mother tongue, or in the delicacy of the ear, of those who have supplied us with either verbal and pronominal forms, or vocabularies.
ALBERT GALLATIN. New York, Feb. 22, 1839.”
THE DRAMA OF ANCIENT GREECE. A BRIEF View of its HISTORY, STRUCTURE, REPRESENTATION, AND MORAL TENDENCY.
By Rev. John Proudfit, lalo Professor of the Latin Language and Literaturo, University of
the City of New York.
POETRY was the earliest sorin in which thought was embodied. In the infancy of the species as of the individual, the imagination predominated and clothed all the productions of the mind in those glowing images and that musical rhythm wbich constitute, at once, the essence and the form of poetry. History, philosophy, and even religion did not reject ihe dress with which the imagination invested them. The moral precepts of Pythagoras, the natural history of Empedocles were preserved in the form of poetry, and, among the Hebrews, the most sublime truths of religion, as well as the principal events of their national history, were preserved in the incomparable lyrics of