Let us picture to ourselves, as it occurred in ancient times, and when his customs and traditions were as yet uncontaminated by civilization, one of the great religious feasts of the Indian-a dance, in honor, perhaps, of the sun, or pipe of peace, or of the green corn.
A wildly picturesque scene rises before us, as we read he descriptions of writers who have witnessed these ceremonies in later days; such a scene, as-in the language of Catlin: "not all the years allotted to mortal man could in the least deface or obliterate from the memory."
The tribe is assembled in the Indian village, or upon a bare hill-top, or perhaps in a lonely spot in the forest; , great bonfire burns in their midst, around which many mysterious rites have been performed. The rain perhaps was to be called down from heaven, sickness averted, ,evil spirits to be exorcised and driven away, or the deer or moose to be led in a state of charmed fatuity into the midst of the camp. With wild noises and gestures the warriors have danced around the fire, waving corn-stalks, or fiercely brandishing their weapons of war; the odor of burning tobacco or roasting dog's flesh fills the air, and the forest re-echoes with the cawings of the crow, the "gobble" of the wild turkey, or the growl of the bear, exactly imitated by the dancers. With a truthfulness born of their intense sympathy for nature, the moving figures mimic the spring of the panther or wild-cat, the start of the deer, and the sinuous motion of the snake.
At length a figure, half man half animal, approaches the prophet or medicine-man. Nothing can be more strange than his appearance ; his dress is hung with the skins of snakes, frogs, and bats, and adorned with the beaks, tails, and toes of birds, and the hoofs of the deer and antelope,--a diabolical embodiment of animal monstrosity.
All is now quiet, and from his medicine bag, made of the skin of the racoon, polecat, or bat, beautifully decorated, and lined with moss and fine grass, he produces a scroll of birch bark, a tablet of wood, or a stone, engraved with mystic characters. Holding the tablet in his hands, as his eye falls upon the carved devices a low sound, rising into a song or chant, now only interrupted by the crackling of the fire, issues from under the hideous bear's-mask which hides his head. Each picture suggests to his mind some event of the far past, carefully treasured in the traditional lore of his tribe. [See article on Indian picture-writing, appendix, p.] His song, rising and falling in strange inflections, and preserving a sort of rhythm, now tells of the creation of the world, a deluge, the origin of his people, and their primitive struggles with the forces of nature; now images of primeval giants and demigods rise before the minds of the assembled tribe, his hearers, of Manabozho the great hare, of Tarentyawagon holder of the heavens, of Hiawatha, and Nanabush, and of "Stonish Giants," and "Flying Heads"; now he tells of the passage of great waters and mountains, of treeless plains, and forests, now of long wars with human enemies, and of the final coming of the whites. The squatting figures listen in motionless silence, as the song proceeds through its many verses, each the theme of a particular event. At last it ceases, and the pictured scroll or tablet, formula of its spell, restored to its place in the medicine pouch, remains hidden from the eyes of the tribe until its reappearance upon some similar occasion.
Such is the song-chronicle of the Indian's history; and such songs are known to have been carefully preserved and sung by many if not all of the Eastern tribes.
Such was the national song-legend of the Creeks and Choctaws, narrating in considerable detail their traditional origin and early migration from the West. It was read to the English by the Creek chief, Chekille, at Savannah, in 1775, "and was written in red and black characters on the skin of a young buffalo." This pictured skin, with an English translation, was sent to London, and there, in a frame in the Georgia office, at Westminister, was kept for many years as a curiosity; it was finally lost, but the translation has been recently brought to light by Dr. D. G. Brinton, of Philadelphia.
Such, too, was the national song of the Cherokees, sung by them- at their annual green-corn dance. Portions of it which tell of an early migration from the head-waters of the Monongahela, and of the great mound at Grave Creek which the Cherokees claim to have built, are given by Haywood in his "History of Tennessee." They were related to the author from memory by an old Indian trader who had heard the song. Mr. Chamberlain, at present missionary among the Cherokees, states that Guess or Sequoyah, a half-breed Cherokee, since dead, had invented the Cherokee alphabet of eighty-two letters, for the express purpose of perpetuating this chronicle of his nation, and had recorded it in the new characters, but these interesting manuscripts, which after his death were unfortunately mislaid, have thus far escaped discovery.
The Blackfeet, too, have a singular historical song sung on stated occasions ; and the Shawnees, now situated in the northeast corner of the Indian territory, have a national legend, described in one of the late Indian reports as a "weird song sung in a rising melancholy strain"; it is sung at one of their great annual feasts, but as yet the double-barrelled shotgun or the "handsomest blanket in Philadelphia," offered by Dr. Brinton for a translation, have not served to break the reserve of the Indians familiar with the particular dialect in which it is sung, and who say that its revelation would bring misfortune upon the tribe.
The historical records of the Ojibways, says Ka-ge-ga-gah-bowh, or George Copway, their native historian, were written in Indian hieroglyphics upon "slate-rock, copper, lead, and the bark of birch trees," and kept in three secret underground depositories near the headwaters of Lake Superior, where, being disinterred and examined every fifteen years by a committee of chiefs, the dimmed and decaying pictographs were replaced by facsimiles.
It seems highly probable, in fact, that the solemn songs above, as well as most of the important historical narratives of the Indian tribes, have been repeatedly and variously recorded in eye-catching pictures of men, animals, and natural objects, intended to refresh or jog the memory of the singer or speaker, in his lengthy recitations to the assembled tribe. And such a pictured song-chart, or reference-table we may perhaps consider the carving on the reverse of the Lenape stone (fig. 16), which, should it be, as we have supposed, a production of the Lenni Lenape, would not unnaturally refer to the well known historical legend of that ancient people.
This tradition of the Delawares, more interesting and suggestive probably than any of these long-overlooked records of ancient North America, has once at least, been recorded by Indians in pictographic symbols; fortunately it has been preserved to us in full, and we can compare it with the carving on the reverse of the Lenape stone (fig. 16), which we may suppose suggested to the mind of the Indian singer versed in the art of picture-writing some at least of the events remembered in his tradition.
Two versions of this wonderful Indian chronicle have been rescued from oblivion. The first, far less complete than the other, was collected from the Indians themselves by the Moravian missionary Heckewelder, about 1800. It reads as follows: "The Lenni Lenape (according to the traditions handed down to them by their ancestors) resided many hundred years ago in a very distant country, in the western part of the American continent. For some reason which I do not find accounted for, they determined on migrating to the eastward, and accordingly set out together in a body. After a very long journey, and many nights' encampments by the way, they at length arrived at the Namaesi Sipu, or River of Fish (from namaes, a fish, and sipu, a river)."
One of the first figures that catches our eye. on looking at the carvings is the unmistakable outline of a fish, (a), just beneath the waving lines; (b) representing water at the left of the stone. The tradition goes on to say that at this river the Delawares "fell in with the Mengwe (Iroquois, or five nations), who had likewise emigrated from a distant country, and had struck upon this river somewhat higher up.. Their object was the same with that of the Delawares; they were, proceeding on to the eastward until they should find a country that pleased them. The spies which the Lenape had sent forward for the purpose of reconnoitring, had long before their arrival discovered that the country cast of the Mississippi was inhabited by a very powerful nation, who had many large towns built on the great rivers flowing through their land. Those people (as I was told) called themselves Talligeu or Talligewi. Colonel John Gibson, however, a gentleman who has a thorough knowledge of the Indians, and speaks several of their languages, is of opinion that they were not called Talligewi, but Alligewi, and it would seem that he is right, from the traces of their name, which still remain in the country, the Allegheny river and mountains having indubitably been named after them. The Delawares still call the former Alligewi Sipu, the River of the Alligewi."
"Many wonderful things are told of this famous people. They are said to have been remarkably tall and stout, and there is a tradition that there were giants among them, people of a much larger size than the tallest of the Lenape. It is related that they had built to themselves regular fortifications or intrenchments, from whence they would sally out, but were generally repulsed. [Heckewelder states that he had himself seen " many of these fortifications,"-of course the works of the mound-builders. He mentions in particular two " entrenchments " along the Huron River, and several large flat mounds near them, in which were buried, as he learned from the 1ndians, hundreds of the Alligewi, slain in the bloody wars which the narrative proceeds to mention.] When the Lenape arrived on the banks of the Mississippi, they sent a message to the Alligewi to request permission to settle themselves in their neighborhood. This was refused them, but they obtained leave to pass through the country and seek a settlement farther to the eastward."
This agreement, that the Lenape should cross in peace, might have been symbolized in the Muzzinabiks (rock writings) and historical song records of any tribe, by the figure of the pipe (c) on the left of the stone, just above the water, and opposite the fish.
"They accordingly began to cross the Namaesi Sipu," continues the account, "when the Alligewi, seeing that their numbers were so very great, and in fact they consisted of many thousands, made a furious attack on those who had crossed, threatening them all with destruction if they dared to persist in coming over to their side of the river. Fired at the treachery of these people, and the great loss of men they had sustained, and besides, not being prepared for a conflict, the Lenape consulted on what was to be done-whether to retreat in the best manner they could, or try their strength, and let the enemy see they were not cowards, but men, and too high-minded to suffer themselves to be driven off before they had made a trial of their strength, and were convinced that the enemy was too powerful for them. The Mengwe, who had hitherto been satisfied with being spectators from a distance, offered to join them on condition that, after conquering the country, they should be entitled to share it with them. Their proposal was accepted, and the resolution was taken by the two nations to conquer or die. Having thus united their forces, the Lenape and Mengwe declared war against the Alligewi, and great battles were fought, in which many warriors fell on both sides."
This ancient alliance may have been symbolized to the mind of the Delaware by the figures of the hawk (e), beneath which is seen (f) perhaps a wampum belt, and of the turtle (d) in the central part of the stone, and set in divisions formed by one intersecting and four diverging lines. Devices of the "great Thunder-bird, whose eyes were fire and glance lightning, and the motion of whose wings filled the air with thunder," and of the "great turtle, upon whose back the mother of the human race had been received from heaven," were common in the mystic songs of the medas or priests, and their particular significations in these incantations might have been almost endless when we consider that to the initiated Meda or Josakeed (prophet) the same sign calls up quite different ideas, as the theme of the writer varies from war to love, or from the chase to medicine, or prophecy. If, however, we refer the subject of the carving to history, the hawk and turtle may well be viewed as the tokens or heraldic badges of the chief actors in the story [This view coincides with the opinion of the Indians who have seen the carving since the above was written.] (the Lenape and Mengwe).
As clan badges, both symbols were in common use among most of the Indian tribes. The turtle clan, says Heckewelder, was the governing family in any nation, and among the Delawares claimed an ascendency over the wolf and turkey families on account of its superior antiquity and relationship to "the great turtle, the Atlas of their mythology, who bore the great island-the earth-upon its back."
The hawk totem, which of course the Delawares might have applied to any people they-chose, irrespective of its real emblem, occurred among the Hurons, and in both the Seneca and Cayuga tribes of the Iroquois confederacy; also among the Ojibways, Pottowatamies, Miamis, Abenakis, Sacs, and Foxes, and in many other tribes.
The account goes on to say that "the enemy fortified their large towns and erected fortifications, especially on large rivers and near lakes, where they were successively attacked. and sometimes stormed by the allies. An engagement took place, in which hundreds fell, who were afterwards buried in holes or laid together in heaps and covered over with earth. No quarter was given, so that the Alligewi, at last, finding that their destruction was inevitable if they persisted in their obstinacy, abandoned the country to the conquerors and fled down the Mississippi River, from whence they never returned. The war which was carried on by this nation lasted many years, during which the Lenape lost a great number of their warriors, while the Mengwe would always hang back in the rear, leaving them to face the enemy."
In this description of a superior race of Indians, conquered after a most desperate resistance, and whose memory still survives in the great mountain chain to which they have given a name, we find a key to the often-spoken-of mystery of the mound-builders and their sudden disappearance.
The story of their long death-struggle and final overthrow by a horde of savage invaders, as here given in the formal style of Heckewelder, seems somewhat colored by his well-known partiality for the Delawares. It is confirmed, as we shall see, by the evidence of other Indian traditions and the study of their language, which seems to show that this people,--the Alligewi or mound-builders--fleeing down the Mississippi, were received and adopted by the Choctaws and Cherokees, themselves in comparatively recent times a mound-building people, and who thus have become in part their descendants.
A suggestion of these long and bloody wars, in which the Lenape did most of the fighting, may be seen in the, figure of the tomahawk (g) just below the turtle, [The point projecting behind the handle in the figure reminds us forcibly of the shape of the modern iron tomakawk ; yet that stone axes of this shape were anciently in use among the Indians was proved by the discovery of the "Thorndale Axe" with a similar projection, and found in the original wooden handle, now at the Museum of Natural History in New York.] and of the mound-builders themselves perhaps, in the singular group of figures above the water on the left, i.e., the outline of a mountain or mound on which a series of numerical marks are faintly seen, a tablet inscribed with ten dots, two diagonally intersecting lines, and five parallel marks or points.
"In the end," continues the account, " the conquerors divided the country between themselves," as the wigwams (h and i) above each totem might denote. "The Mengwe made choice of the lands in the vicinity of the great lakes" and on their tributary streams, again suggested, perhaps, by the snow-shoe (j) "and the Lenape took possession of the country to the south. For a long period of time-some say many hundred years-the two nations resided peacefully in this country and increased very fast. Some of their most enterprising huntsmen and warriors crossed the great swamps, and falling on streams running to the eastward, followed them down to the great Bay River (Susquehannah), and thence into the bay itself, which we call Chesapeak." As they pursued their travels, partly by land and partly by water, in this primitive reconnaissance of the great wilderness now our homes, journeying sometimes near and at other times on the "great salt-water lake" (the sea), they finally discovered the river which we call the Delaware.
"Thence exploring still eastward," continues the account, "they discovered the Scheyichbi country, now named New Jersey, and at length arrived at another great stream--that which we call the Hudson or North River. Satisfied with what they had seen, they (or some of them), after a long absence, returned to their nation and reported the discoveries they had made. They described the country they had discovered as abounding in game and various kinds of fruits, and the rivers and bays with fish, tortoises, etc., together with abundance of water-fowl, and no enemy to be dreaded. They considered the event as a fortunate one for them, and concluding this to be the country destined for them by the Great Spirit, they began to emigrate thither, as yet but in small bodies, so as not to be straitened for want of provisions by the way, some even laying by for a whole year. At last they settled on the four great rivers (which we call Delaware, Hudson, Susquehanna, and Potomac), making the Delaware, to which they gave the name of 'Lenapewihittuck,' (the river or stream of the Lenape), the centre of their possessions."
Here the ancient portion of the chronicle and its parallelism with the figures on the stone seems to end, the remainder being devoted to long wars with the Mengwe, relations with the whites, and the more modern events of the history of the tribe in the east.
The other figures upon the stone-the star (k), the calumet (1), the deer (m), the curve crossed by three oblique lines (n), probably a war canoe, and the fish-like figure (o) at the end of the stone-are hardly suggested by the narrative, yet may refer to further details of the passage of the Alleghenies, and the exploration and settlement of the country to the east, along the great rivers and by the sea-coast.
Far more interesting than Heckewelder's account, is a full version of the great national song of the Lenape as they sung it in their own language, with an English translation, and with all the pictographic devices used to jog the memory of the singer. He may well have needed them, as the whole song consists of two hundred and two verses. It was first published in 1836 by the eccentric French-American philosopher, Rafinesque, in an extravagant work by him entitled "The American Nations," and is known as the Wallum. Olum (literally, painted sticks), or pictographic traditions of the Lenni Lenape. It contains the Delaware account of the creation, a deluge, the early migrations and entire history of the tribe, and one hundred and eighty-four mnemonic symbols painted upon tablets of wood. "It was obtained" says Rafinesque, "about 1822,--the symbols from a Dr. Ward of Indiana, who had received them as a reward for a medical cure from the Delawares, at Wahapani or White River, in 1820 and the verses from another individual."
Mr. E. G. Squier, who considered the internal evidence furnished by the songs sufficiently strong to settle their authenticity, submitted the manuscript copy of the songs and pictographs in the hand of Rafinesque, who it appears had never owned the original "painted sticks," to George Copway, the Chippewa chief, who unhesitatingly, he says, pronounced it authentic. This manuscript, together with the pictographs, of which Rafinesque had published none, and Squier but forty, was considered hopelessly lost until its fortunate discovery a few weeks ago by Dr. Brinton, by whom it will shortly be published with a new translation.
Passing over its account of the creation and deluge, the narrative goes on to describe the passage by the Lenape of a large body of water on the ice (Behring's Straits, says Rafinesque), and their settlement at a place called Shinaki, or the "Land of Firs."
After many generations of chiefs, continues the fourth song, during which time they were continually engaged in wars with "Snakes" (enemies), they wander from the fir land to the south and east, pass over a hollow mountain 0ligonunk (Oregon, according to Rafinesque), and at last "find food" at "Shililaking., the plains of the Buffalo Land." Here they tarry and build towns and raise corn on the great meadows of the Wisawana (Yellow River). But after many wars with "Snakes," "northern enemies," and "father snakes," of which we can see a suggestion in the eel-like form (p) on the stone, they again resume their migration towards the "sun-rising," and finally reach the shores of the Messussipu, [The word Namaesi Sipu (Fish River) given by Heckewelder, but published Messussipu (Great River) in Mr. Squier's version of the Wallum Olm, appears Namasipi in the Rafinesque version of 1836, and in the original manuscript now in Dr. Brinton's possession it seems that the latter word has been written over the word Messussipu by the author, who probably had been comparing the account with Heckewelder.] or Great River, "which divides the land." The accompanying pictograph for verse 49, descriptive of the Great River, quite unlike the figure upon the stone, is here given from the original drawing by Rafinesque, kindly furnished the writer by Dr. Brinton (fig. 17). The narrative, of which we give the English translation by Rafinesque, omitting the Delaware version, continues in the original as follows:
49. The Great River (Messussipu) divided the land, and being tired, they tarried there. Fig, 17.
50. Yagawanend (Hut-maker) was next sakima, and then the Tallegwi were found possessing the east.
51. Followed Chitanitis (Strong-friend), who longed for the rich east-land.
52. Some went to the east, but the Tallegwi killed a portion.
53. Then all of one mind exclaimed: War, war!
54. The Talamatan (not of themselves) and the Nitilowan all go united (to the war).
55. Kinehepend (Sharp-looking) was their leader, and they went over the river.
56. And they took all that was there, and despoiled and slew the Tallegwi.
57. Piniokhaszewi (Stirring-about) was next chief, and then the Tallegwi were much too strong.
58. Teuchekensit (Open-path) followed, and many towns were given up to him.
59. Paganchihilla was chief, and the Tallegwi all went southward.
60. Haltanwulaton (the Possessor) was sakima, and all the people were pleased.
61. South of the lakes they settled their council-fire, and north of the lakes were their friends the Talamatan (Hurons ?).
Nothing could be more interesting to the lover of American archaeology than a study of this song-with the single exception perhaps of the Lenape stone, the most remarkable Indian document in existence. The latter part of the story here given, is even less suggestive than the preceding portions, which we have been obliged to omit.
The generations of chiefs, which it recites in order, seem to include thousands of years, and as we read its account of a creation and a deluge, of the passage of a great water upon the ice, and an arrival at a "Land of Firs," we almost pardon the extravagant speculations of Rafinesque, to which it gave rise.
Both versions of the account tell the same story, yet there is one striking difference between them. In the Heckewelder version the allies of the Lenape are spoken of as "Mengwi" (Iroquois, Mingoes); in the Wallum Olum as "Talamatan" (Hurons, called Delamattenos by the Delawares); but the variance is reconciled when we consider that in ancient times, as their language and traditions prove, the Hurons and Iroquois were one closely allied nation, constituting one family or linguistic stock.
We may doubt, however, whether the great river crossed in the migration-"Namaesi Sipu" (Fish River) in Heckewelder, and "Messussipu" in the Wallum Olum--referred to the Mississippi.
The Huron-Iroquois will tell us, when questioned, that at an early period, and while the families were still united, his people, coming originally from the northeast of Canada, migrated to the southward, and had not come from the west across the Mississippi ; he too has traditions of crossing a river and attacking a race of mound-builders, but the river of his account was crossed to the southward, and lay on the north of the mound-builders' Country. The Iroquois tradition is given in a famous passage, supposed to refer to the mound-builders, in the account of David Cusic, a native Iroquois, of the Tuscarora clan, who wrote a history of his tribe. We give it here in the original, uncorrected form, as published by Schoolcraft.
Referring to an early age of monsters, demi-gods, giants, and horned serpents, when the Hurons and Iroquois, were as yet but one people, and they and other tribes, "the northern nations," possessed the banks of the great lakes, "where there were plenty of beavers," but "where the hunters we re often opposed by the big Snakes," Cusic goes on to say that "on one occasion the northern nations formed a confederacy, and seated a great council-fire on the river St. Lawrence. Perhaps about 2,200 years before the Columbus discovered the America, the northern nations appointed a prince, and immediately repaired to the south and visited the Great Emperor, who resided at the Golden City, a capital of the vast Empire. After a time the Emperor built many forts throughout his dominions, and almost penetrated the Lake Erie. This produced an excitement; the people on the north felt that they would soon be deprived of the country on the south side of the great lakes. They determined to defend their country against any infringement of foreign people; long, bloody wars ensued, which lasted about one hundred years. The people of the north were too skillful in the use of bows and arrows, and could endure hardships which proved fatal to a foreign people; at last the northern nations gained the conquest, and all the towns and forts were totally destroyed, and left them in the heap of ruins."
It has been supposed that the upper St. Lawrence or Detroit River, streams noticed by the Indians as abounding in fish, was the "Fish River" of the Heckewelder tradition. Here, as we have seen according to information collected from the Lenni Lenape, desperate battles had taken place with the Allegwi, hundreds of whom were slain and buried under mounds in that vicinity. [See article on " Indian Migrations " by Horatio Hale, American Antiquarian, Jan.-April, 1883.]
Other considerations, too, induce us to suppose that the Lenape and Huron-Iroquois invasion came from the northward and not from the west. If we study the shape and position of the mounds themselves along the southern shore of the great lakes, we find that they present often the appearance of fortifications erected against the advance of an enemy from the north, and suddenly abandoned after a long struggle. Also the scattered implements and half-removed blocks of ore found in the prehistoric copper mines on the south shore of Lake Superior, seemed to indicate their hasty desertion by the miners upon the sudden inroad of an enemy from that direction.
Again, the works of the mound-builders, though at some points insignificant and hardly perceptible, extend considerably west of the Mississippi, and probably would have been encountered by the advancing Lenape before reaching that river, and had it been the stream meant it would not have been spoken of as the boundary of the mound-builders' empire.
[On the other hand, how shall we account for the occurrence of the word Messusipu in the Wallurn Olum, or, more exactly, in the Rafinesque copy of it-the only version we possess ?]
[Messusipu is derived, says Squier, from the Algonkin words Messu, Messi, or Michi (great), and Sipu (river).]
[The name Mississippi is of Algonkin origin, and has the same etymology, -it means "great river." Among the Algonkin tribes living to the north and along the eastern shore of the Mississippi, the Sauks called it Mechasapo, the Menomonees Mecha-sepua, the Kicapoos Meche-sepe, the Chippeways Meze-zebe, and the Ottawas Missis-sepi ; Mecha, Meche, Meze, Missis, meaning "great," and sapo, sepua, sepe, zebe, and sepi, " river." (Wisconsin Hist. Col., ix., 301.)]
[The Lenape word Messusipu must therefore refer to the Mississippi. Yet we may suppose that Rafinesque had written the word by mistake in his copy of the , Wallum Olurn, a supposition which gains strength from the fact that Messuspu plainly appears in his manuscript to have been changed to Namasipi. Had he been comparing his copy with the original "painted sticks" or some other Indian authority not mentioned? or did he merely borrow the word Namasipi from Heckewelder? Again we may suppose the word Messusipu to have been an indefinite term applied by the Lenape to more than one of the great streams crossed by them in their migrations.]
The Wallum Olum, however, with its hieroglyphics, does not end with the brief extract given. Song five, consisting of fifty-eight verses, recounts the details of the occupation by the conquerors of the Ohio valley, and long wars with enemies denominated "Father Snakes," "Stone Snakes," and "North Snakes," whose pictograph in the original manuscript is here given (fig. 18). They pass the Alleghenies, and exploring the Chesapeake Bay and great rivers of "the large and long cast land," finally establish themselves on the Delaware, making "Maskekitong," the rapids at Trenton, the centre of their dominions. We have now reached the time of the coming of the whites, and the last verses of the song speak in brief simplicity of a people who came from somewhere, "and that which was white" (ships) "coming from the East Sea."
There is still another song--the sixth--continuing the chronicle and recounting the melancholy story of the Lenape's contact with the whites, and final westward journey to Ohio, where the records were obtained. A narrativc of sufferings and hard wrongs, whose recital by the Indian had caused Heckewelder, as he said, "to feel ashamed that he was a white man."
The symbols appended to the songs, and among which the forms of the rectangle and circle frequently occur, end with the fifth song; they appear very arbitrary, and it is certainly disappointing to find that they bear no resemblance to the carvings upon the Lenape stone, likewise, as we have supposed, productions of the Lenni Lenape and dealing with the same subject. Yet we need not be surprised when we consider the varied and often arbitrary methods of Indian picture-writing.
In comparing the carvings on the reverse of the Lenape stone with the Lenape and Huron-Iroquois traditions of their early migration and struggle with the mound-builders, we have spoken only of probabilities. Possibly these carvings may refer to the incantations of the prophets and doctors, to songs for "medicine hunting," or charms against evil spirits, and not to the. history of the tribe, as recounted in the Wallum Olum and the narratives of Heckewelder and Cusic. Possibly, too, the modern Indians who have seen the carvings may have entirely mistaken their subject, as similar signs are used in quite different kinds of their picture-writing. Yet if we view the chief feature' of the Lenape stone--the mammoth picture--as an example of muzzinabik or historical picture-writing, an attempt to explain the carvings on the reverse of the stone as specimens of the same class of writings does not seem extravagant. Viewed in the light of these legends, and compared with the fragments of ancient Indian history which chance has preserved to us, the carvings upon the Lenape stone vividly impress upon our minds the reality of that dark period of our continent's past, antecedent to the first corning of the white man, separated from us by but a few centuries, yet where the boundary line between history and geology becomes indistinct, when for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years the Indian lived alone on the "great island," and while those deep-rooted peculiarities of his character, which civilization has failed to eradicate, were slowly growing out of his wilderness life.
The ancient presence of the Lenape is often remembered in the heart of his former dominions. Along the shores of the beautiful river, whose transatlantic name, applied also to his tribe, he resented, the arrow-head and tomahawk, everywhere found upon sites of ancient camps and fishing-grounds, tell of the long centuries of his. possession. His memory lingers in the name and poetry of our Indian summer; and in that most delightful of autumnal seasons, when a warm wind blowing from the. abode of the Great Spirit stirs the fields of ripened maize, we may see, where first the Indian's fancy must have seen it, a suggestion of his head-dress of feathers in the graceful motion of the corn-stalks. He is immortalized in richly melodious names of rivers, streams, and mountains, and his memory is forever recalled in the yearly growth, of that noblest of American plants, the Indian corn.
In concluding here our view of the less distinct though not improbable reference of the carvings on the reverse of the Lenape stone to the ancient historical traditions of the Delawares, a brief review of the subject of the foregoing pages may not be out of place.
We have seen that the stone was found at a spot situated in the ancient territory of the Delawares, and where many articles of undoubted Indian workmanship have been found,--among them two carved stones, [See Appendix]--that similar aboriginal carvings of the hairy mammoth have been discovered in Europe, and that a race of men, relics of whom have been found on the Delaware river and in California, and who may or may not have been the ancestors of the modern Indian, have existed in North America at the time of the mammoth. Moreover, that as yet nothing is definitely known as to the antiquity of the Indians' occupancy of our continent, and that there is no geological evidence to prove that the. mammoth did not survive in America to a comparatively recent period. We have seen further that the Indians in several of their traditions attribute the mammoth bones seen by them on the Ohio to a great monster who was destroyed by lightning, and that there is a similarity too strong to be accidental between the Lenape tradition of the great Buffalo and the carving on the stone; finally, we may see perhaps a reference in the carvings on the reverse of the stone to the early Delaware traditions of their migration to the eastward and wars with. the mound-builders, as detailed in Heckewelder's account, the "Wallum Olum," and David Cusic's history.
STATEMENT OF BERNARD Z. HANSELL.
ON the writer's second visit to Hansell, the latter was at his father's farm. He stated that the photographs shown him were representations of the stone, and said that he considered that he had been cheated. He had had no idea of the stone's value, and declared that it was a "mean trick," the purchase of all his relics-the stone included-for $2.50. When it was explained to him that Mr. Paxon, the purchaser, had been as ignorant as he in the matter at the time, he seemed satisfied.
On the third visit, February 10th, Hansell said:
I am sure that I found the large piece first, in the spring of 1872 (the year after my father bought the place-1871), and while "ploughing for oats" in the "corner" field, and near the corner where the by-road joins the Durham road the roots of the last year's corn crop had shortly before been harrowed out. It was in April. When I saw it, it was lying on the top of the ground, a little to one side of the furrow. I stopped and picked it up ; it seemed like "something different" from what I had ever found before. It was dirty-dirt stuck to the stone; by rubbing, I could see lines-"queer marks" over it. (When I afterward saw it at Mr. Paxon's, the latter had "cleaned it.")
I am certain I saw an animal like an elephant on it before Mr. Paxon saw the stone. I carried it around a day or two in my pocket, and then put it in a box along with the other things; and whatever arrow-heads and other relics I found, I would put into the same box. The same day, I planted a cornstalk into the ground to mark the place--a shower might wash out something else, I thought. I left the cornstalk until the hats harvest, and then threw a stone there, but I soon came to now the place by heart. The box with the relics I kept locked up in my trunk, and I took care to keep it locked, there were so many boys about. In the meantime, I was married. I showed the relics and stone to my wife, but she could not remember the elephant on the stone. I might have showed it to father, or might not, I am not sure. He could not remember. In the same field, I and others on the place found arrow-heads, coins (English and American pennies), and a part of a tomahawk or banner stone (sold to Mr. Paxon). I did not find any thing else in that field, but "gorget stones" without inscriptions, and round stone balls, with incisions on sides, were found near by.
In the spring of 1881, Mr. Paxon asked, me whether I had any Indian relics. I said that I had. I told him I would be home on Sunday, and he came the next Sunday afternoon about May or June, as nearly as I can recollect,-1881 I brought out the box of relics, and told him that I would sell him the perfect arrow-heads for ten cents, and the broken ones five cents apiece. I had a broken tomahawk and a piece of another, and I laid them and the stone aside, and said I thought I would keep them. But he did not take much interest in the rest, and said he wanted all the relics. He did not look much at the arrow-heads, but he picked up the stone and turned it around, and wet his thumb and rubbed it. He did not say any thing about the stone. I did not much want to sell him the stone, for I never saw any thing like it before.
But he said he would take all the relics or none for $2.50. So I let him have them. At the same time he asked me whether I had not the other piece; perhaps I had, he said, and did not know it. I told him that I had not.
About a month after that time, he came by on foot and asked me whether I had found any thing more? I said that I had not. " If you do," he said, "keep it and give me the first chance."
I always had the other piece in my mind, and when I went in the field I used to look for it. I would walk a I round the spot in a circle, for I thought some one might have picked it up and then thrown it away again.
After we had cut the corn in the field, and as I went in to husk, I happened to pass near the place-I always remember the place,-I was thinking of the other piece, and was hardly in the field before I picked it up. I noticed the marks and the shape, and saw at once that it was the missing piece. It had notches around the edges. I put it in my pocket and laid it in the drawer. My wife never saw it. It was the little piece. I was married then and in my own house, and there was nobody about the house, so I did not lock it up.
This was in the fall-after the exhibition at Doylestown (October), in 1881. When I went down to Mr. Paxon's father's, Squire Paxon's, to pay my tax, on the 9th of November, 1881, I took this piece along. Young Mr. Paxon was not at home, but I waited till he came back. I said I had something "pretty nice" for him, and showed him the missing piece. He thought when he saw it that I would make him pay pretty dear for it, but I told him that I would give it to him. I had not rubbed or cleaned it. He put the pieces together and said "that is the missing piece." He took me up to his room and gave me some minerals. I advised him to glue the pieces together with "hickory cement." I had some of this cement at home, and offered to give it to him.
The next spring I saw the stone again, all washed and cleaned. It did not look altered-only clean and rubbed off. I saw it again this February (1884) when you and Mr. Paxon came to see me, and I saw no change in it.
I never sold a relic before I sold those to Harry Paxon, and never knew any one from Philadelphia that took any interest in Indian relics. I used to give things away to relatives of mine, often boys--my cousins, when they came up from town. They had never seen any thing like an arrow-head before. I never gave a stone to any one but a relative. William Hansell, my brother, a little boy, saw me pick up the small piece of the Lenape Stone. I never heard of any one in this neighborhood interested in Indian relics before Mr. Paxon.
The first things that I remember giving away were a couple of black arrow-heads that I gave to James Aikens, in 1871. He lives in Germantown. This was before I found the stone.
[Signed] BERNARD Z. HANSELL.
Sworn to before
BENJAMIN S. RICH, J. P., Nov. 6, 1884.
The writer questioned Hansell's wife. She remembered his having shown her the relics before they were sold to Mr. Paxon, but had paid no attention to "these little stones he picks up," and did not remember whether "this stone you are talking about" was among them or not. The writer also questioned Hansell's father and mother. Neither had seen the stone. The boy, William Hansell, brother of Bernard, said that he had seen the little piece when Bernard picked it up, but had never seen the large piece of the stone. The piece he had seen was covered with dirt and mud, and had "half a hole" in it. Bernard had told him that he was going to give it to Mr. Paxon.
STATEMENT OF MR. HENRY D. PAXON.
I remember Hansell telling me of his Indian relics at my father's office. I went to see him on a Sunday, and he showed me, in the wood-shed, a tobacco-box half full of relics, among them the large piece of the Lenape Stone. At the time I never realized what it was. It was covered with dirt, as were all the relics. There must have been about two hundred arrow-heads, broken and perfect, besides a broken axe and fragments of a banner stone, and one or two large spears and so-called "gigs." The stone struck me as an extraordinary Indian relic. Buying the relics, I brought them home that Sunday afternoon, and at once showed them to my father. He saw the elephant. Whether I had noticed it before I cannot remember. Mr. John S. Ash saw this first piece-the large piece-before Capt. Bailey saw it. I showed it to any and everybody that came to my father's office, but can only be sure now of Mr. Ash. Capt. Bailey saw it and borrowed it while preparing his article. I had it at the Bucks County Bi-Centennial Exhibition, August 31, September 1 and 2, 1882. I did not particularly value the stone until I read Capt. Bailey's article. I cleaned out the soil which clung to the stone with a toothbrush, and may also have used a stick-but I think not a nail.
[Signed] HENRY D. PAXON.
Sworn to before
ELIAS EASTBURN, J. P., Nov. 8, 1884.
STATEMENT OF MR. ALBERT PAXON.
Young Hansell and his father were at my house on business (I am justice of the Peace). They had rented a house. I think it was on a Saturday in '8o or '81, in the summer. The next day my son went to Hansell's and brought back a large number of Indian relics. He had invested two or three dollars in them. In the lot was one of the pieces of the stone. I remember saying that it was a pity he had not the other half. The lines were not cleaned out. I recollect the elephant. He emptied the relics on the floor of the piazza. It was early summer, and warm weather-about May or June,--and I think on Sunday. I am certain of having seen the elephant the first day he got the stone. Bernard Hansell, I find in my book, paid his tax November 8, '81, but I am not positive in these dates to a day. There is not, and never has been, to my knowledge, any strange or suspicious person of an "archaeological turn" in this neighborhood, and there is no one here clever enough to have made the stone.
[Signed] ALBERT S. PAXON.
JAMES GILKYSON, J. P., Nov. 8, 1884.
STATEMENT OF MR. JOHN S. ASH, OF GREENVILLE, NOVEMBER 8, 1884.
At the time of my first seeing the Lenape Stone, I observed an elephant or mammoth carved upon the fragment. I cannot now fix the date of my first seeing this piece. Probably it was some three years since, though it may not be two and may be four. I think it was before the Bucks County Bi-Centennial Exhibition.
[Signed] JOHN S. ASH.
Affirmed before ELIAS EASTBURN, J. P., Nov. 8, 1884.
STATEMENT OF CAPT. J. S. BAILEY.
I saw the stone first, I think, in November, in the fall of 1881, and a few days after Mr. Paxon had obtained the second piece. He had said to me that he had a curious stone which he wished to show me. I remember his mentioning the figure of a turtle, a snake, and an elephant carved on the stone, although he did not first mention the elephant figure or show that he appreciated the mammoth. It was not till he had read my article in the county newspaper that he came to know the value of the carving. He was only eighteen or nineteen then, and I believe would have sold the stone for a comparatively trifling sum. As soon as I took the stone home, after Mr. Paxon had lent it to me, all my family saw it. Judge Paxon, his uncle, did not realize its archaeological importance, neither did Mr. Paxon, the owner's father. I showed it to judge Paxon before I wrote the article. The first time Mr. Harry Paxon showed me the stone I remember his saying that "he could sell it for five dollars." He wanted me to glue or cement the pieces together, but I discountenanced the plan. I think he must have scraped out the original soil clinging to it, with a nail or some sharp instrument, and I told him that he had cleaned the lines too much and that the stone had lost the look of age. The next time I saw it he bad filled the lines with clay, and this I advised him to remove, as it did not resemble the soil of the original field. So the next time I saw it he had cleaned it again. I took the stone to the January or April meeting of the Bucks County Historical Society, 1882, and showed it to all the members present. I showed it to Gen. Davis, who advised me in connection with it to prepare an article on the Indian relics found in Bucks County, to be read before the July meeting at Penn's Manor. A few days after that I returned the stone to Mr. Paxon. Somewhere in June or July (1882) 1 borrowed it again, and kept it until two or three weeks after the meeting at Pennsbury. This meeting was on the third Tuesday in July, 1882. Mr. Paxon did not go to the meeting, but after reading my article in the paper he set a higher value on his relic and wished me to return it. I do not recollect seeing either part separately. The two pieces were together when I first saw it. I think Hansell told me that the large part had been found first. Very many people saw the stone at my lecture at Penn's Manor. I had a large diagram of the inscription, several feet long. Two hundred people must have seen it. There was an article in the Bucks County Intelligencer about it, and it was at the Bi-Centennial and there seen by everybody.
[Signed] JOHN S. BAILEY.
Affirmed to before
ELIAS EASTBURN, J. P., Nov. 8, 1884.
Letter from Dr. D. G. Brinton, Professor of Archaeology and Ethnology in the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia.
To the Editor of the Bucks County "Intelligencer"
The discussion in your paper about the so-called "Lenape Stone," in which my name has incidentally been, introduced, leads me to address you a few lines on some archaeological points, especially on the methods of distinguishing genuine from fabricated specimens. I shall only refer to the Lenape Stone by way of illustration. It was first shown to me by Professor Lewis, and after a careful inspection I pronounced it a modern piece of work, which opinion has been substantiated by later observers. My opinion was based, first, on the design, and secondly, on the execution. It may be laid down as a rule, holding good in all aboriginal designs of the Eastern United States, that no lines indicating either shading or rounding axe found on figures of pure native origin. Every line was significant, and nothing was done for affect. Grouping was also unknown, and any such triple arrangement as the brute, the human, and the divine groups, standing in immediate relation to each other and forming parts of a picture, as appears on the Lenape Stone, was as far above aboriginal aesthetic conceptions as the Sistine Madonna would be above the execution of a sign-painter. Certain artistic details, as the lightnings shooting in various directions from a central point (as from the hand of Jove), were also unknown to the art notions of the red race. The treatment of the sun as a face, with rays shooting from it, I also consider foreign to the pictography of the Delaware Indians, nor have I yet seen any specimens proved to be of their manufacture that present it. It is found, indeed, in Chippeway pictography, but there only in late examples.
The execution of such imitations also usually betrays their origin. The lines on the Lenape Stone are obviously cut with a metal instrument, making clean incisions, deepest in the centre and tapering to points-quite different from the scratch of a flint point. Shrewder fabricators than the unknown .author of this one make use of flint points. Some of the Western "tablets" have been so inscribed. They may thus conceal their tools, but there are other resources for the archaeologist. The surface of all stones undergoes a certain chemical change on exposure to the air, which is called by the French term patine. In many varieties, as flints, jasper, and hard shales, this affords a decisive means of discriminating a modern from an ancient inscription or arrow-head. It requires the use of the microscope and some practice, but with these most of such impostures can be detected. This does not exhaust the resources at the command of the antiquary to circumvent those who would practise on his love for relics of the past. But I have said enough to show that opinions on relics need neither be vague nor prejudiced. It is most desirable that the citizens of our Commonwealth should take an earnest interest in the collection of our aboriginal remains, and it is gratifying to learn that Bucks County is not behindhand in this direction.
[Signed] D. G. BRINTON, M.D.
From the Bucks County Intelligencer of Sept. 6, 1884.
Letter from Mr. H. Carvill Lewis, Professor of Mineralogy, Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia.
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 19, 1884.
CAPT. J. S. BAILEY:
Dear Sir.-Upon careful examination I am convinced that the mammoth on the Indian tablet is a forgery, being copied directly from the drawing of a mammoth on a piece of ivory found in the cave of La Madeleine, Perigord, France. The tablet is genuine, but the drawing upon it is recent.
Who do you think perpetrated this fraud ?
Yours, very truly,
[Signed] H. CARVILL LEWIS.
Letter from Dr. F. W. Putnam, Curator of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology, Cambridge, Mass.
CAMBRIDGE, March 17, 1884.
DEAR Mr. MERCER :
In answer to your request, I put on paper a few thoughts in relation to the carved gorget of slate said to have been found in Bucks Co., Penna. It is needless to say that I have examined the stone with great care; for if it is a work of prehistoric times in America, it is a specimen of very great archaeological interest. The first impression I received was that it was probably a fraud. This was of course natural, after having seen several gorgets with figures carved upon them which were unquestionable frauds. I therefore first of all examined the stone, and was sorry to find that it had been so much cleaned, and rubbed, and scrubbed, and probably oiled, that no evidence could be derived from the character of the lines cut upon the surface of the stone, or from the stone itself, bearing upon its antiquity. So far as the testimony of the stone itself is concerned, the lines may have been cut within a few weeks or many years ago. Throwing out of consideration all the facts you have given me in relation to the history of the stone as known to you, I am left with the character of the carvings alone upon which to draw conclusions. From a study of these I get the following results :
1st. The person who carved the stone must have been familiar with the appearance of an elephant or mammoth, either from having seen one or the other in life or represented in pictures. There is too much expression given to the details of outline of forehead, curve of back and belly, and position of the legs, representing the animal as walking, to be the work of one who only knew the animal from a general description handed down by tradition.
2d. Most of the other figures on both sides of the stone are of a character common to Indian picture-writing, but there are a few which, like the "mammoth," show an appreciation of details or ideas unlike any I can recall in Indian picture-writings. Take, for example, the fish on the edge of the small piece, and the long eel-like figure by the side of the bird--each of these have a few hair-lines drawn from the back as if to represent the rays of fins, in order to impress the character of a fish, although the rays are out of natural position. The figure of a man on his back under the foot of the "mammoth" is not drawn in the usual conventional manner, like the figure of the man with the bow. .
3d. The idea of the heavens, conveyed by the figures of stars, moon, and sun, is probably not an unusual way of representing the sky or the heavens, but the mass of crossed lines near the sun, which are supposed to represent lightning, seems to me to be more the conventional symbol of the white man than the Indian.
Considering all these points I draw these conclusions:
1st. The carvings were made in ancient times by an Indian of superior artistic skill, who had seen a living mammoth, and who wished to preserve some myth or tradition relating to the animal, in picture-writing upon his gorget; or,
2nd. The carvings were made by an Indian in comparatively recent times, with the same idea of preserving a myth about the "great beast," and he was aided in his work by some white man; or,
3rd. That the carving is the work of some white man in very recent times, who may or may not have known of the myth and tradition of the Indians relating to the "mammoth."
An attempt to read the stone as a pictograph illustrating the myth of the "great beast " may be going too far, but if it can be shown to be a piece of Indian work beyond reasonable doubt, the interpretation of the figures in that connection is certainly legitimate from the remarkable coincidence between them and the myth.
I certainly hope you will bring every possible evidence to bear in your work, and that by a study of many pictographs. you will be able to test the doubtful figures on the stone.
Yours very truly,
[Signed] F. W. PUTNAM,
Curator Peabody Museum.
Extracts from a report of an examination of the Lenape Stone by Dr. M. E. Wadsworth, of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The answers are Dr. Wadsworth's.
Q. Are the carvings made by steel or flint instruments?
A. The depth and regularity of the carvings indicate that they were made by some dulled steel tool like an awl.
Q. Are the carvings later than the fracture of the ends and the middle?
A. Later-for the tool-mark can be seen at one end striking across the broken surface, and lines crossing the middle fracture do not match on both sides. On one side they pass down on the rounded and worn surface of the fracture, below their position on the other side. This is seen in all the marks (three only) crossing the line of fracture. One other line sinks down on one side, and ends against the fractured portion opposite. This appears to have been made after the fracture by holding the pieces together. It is very remarkable that the line of fracture should cross the specimen at the only place it could and intersect the minimum number of the lines of carving. Even in two of those cuts, the fracture breaks across the point where they cross one another. * * *
[Signed] M. E. WADSWORTH.
March 17, 1884.
Extracts from a report of an examination of the Lenape Stone by Mr. J. P. Iddings, of the U. S. Coast Survey. The answers are Mr. Iddings'.
Q. Can it be decided beyond reasonable doubt whether the carvings were made with a steel or flint instrument-is there a great probability either way?
A. I do not know.
Q. Are the carvings beyond a reasonable doubt later than the fracture in the middle-(or other fractures)?
A. They appear to be later than the middle fracture ; they do not lie at the same depth on the edges of both pieces. The small arrow's shaft does not appear to have been a continuous line. It is interesting to note that the middle fracture only crosses three lines on one side and none on the other side, and that in no other position could one happen without cutting half a dozen or more. The carvings appear to have been arranged with reference to the break.
[Signed] JOSEPH P. IDDINGS.
New York, March 24, 1884.
Letter from Dr. F. W. Putnam referring to the two carved stones (figs. 19 and 20) found on the Hansell Farm in the summer of 1884.
CAMBRIDGE, MASS., Oct. 30, 1884
DEAR Mr. MERCER:
I have examined the two specimens you have placed in my hands from the Hansell Farm, Bucks Co., Penn., and see no reason to doubt their authenticity. The lines cut upon them seem to have been made a long time since, as exhibited by the weatherings within the incisions. One stone seems first to have been designed for a perforated ornament, but not completed, and was afterwards used as a rubbing implement, as shown by the notches on the edge. The other stone is of a natural form, in which two holes have been drilled, and on one surface a number of waves and zigzag lines were cut, evidently for the purpose of using the stone for an ornament.
Yours very truly,
[Signed] F. W. PUTNAM.
The reader is referred to a series of articles mentioning the Lenape Stone in the Bucks County lntelligencer of August 9, 23, and 30, and September 20, 1884, and headed, "Who Perpetrated the Forgery?" also to a personal discussion which took place in the columns of that newspaper between the owner of the Stone and Mr. H. C. Lewis, of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, in which arise various questions of veracity as to the facts of an interview which had taken place between them i. e., whether Mr. Lewis had or had not wished to buy the Stone, and how long he had been allowed the loan of it; whether he had or had not been permitted to take photographs; and whether he or Mr. Paxon had scratched the surface of the Stone "to see its inside structure."
After a fair consideration of every fact bearing upon the case, and with ample knowledge to judge of the particulars of this interview at the time it took place, personal considerations prevent the writer from discussing the merits of this controversy, purely personal in its nature and irrelevant to the question before us.
EVIDENCE OF AN HONEST DISCOVERY.
The first evidence to be certain of in a case of this kind is doubtless that deducible from the circumstances attending the discovery itself, and upon it, in the present instance, for the reason that the Stone has been cleaned, and all vestiges of the soil which originally clung to it unfortunately removed, we must chiefly depend.
The fact that several persons saw the first fragment immediately after it left Hansell's hands, throws back the period of possible doubt as to its authenticity to the nine years of his ownership, while the remarkable skill and archaeological knowledge necessary to forge such a stone place him as the possible maker of the carvings above the slightest suspicion. The motive of gain must be eliminated from the possibilities of the case, when we consider the trifling sum received by Hansell for the relics, and the fact that the small piece was presented by him to the present owner, while the supposition that he could have been in collusion with any person unknown for the purpose of a practical joke is rendered impossible by his own honest simplicity and the conduct of his family and friends throughout. Again, no one clever enough to have made the relic could have been a neighbor of Hansell's and remained unknown or unsuspected, and it is quite absurd to suppose that some one from a distance, having entrusted the fortunes of so elaborate a practical joke to the fragments of this small stone, would have "planted " the results of his labor in Buckingham Township, Bucks County, where the chances were very strongly against its being brought to the notice of archaeologists, even if discovered.
OBJECTIONS OF ARCHAEOLOGISTS.
From the a-posteriori point of view-i. e., from the character and appearance of the carving, there are objections which have been considered important to the Stone's authenticity; these the writer has carefully noted, and will allow them to speak for themselves.
First, in the opinion of Messrs. M. E. Wadsworth, of Cambridge, and Joseph P. Iddings, of the United States Coast Survey, the carvings were made after the Stone was broken. The fact is proved, they say, by the appearance of certain lines crossing the fracture, as in the case of the lightning above the hole on the right, which, when exposed to the microscope, seem as they cross to descend into it.
Secondly, the fracture, they say, crosses the minimum number of carvings as if they had been arranged with reference to it.
Thirdly, the mammoth on the Stone resembles the La Madeleine carving.
As to the first point--the carving being later than the fracture,--Dr. F. W. Putnam (of the Peabody Museum, Cambridge, Mass.) observes, on the other hand It is possible that an Indian might have Made his carving on a broken gorget, and there is no reason why he should have discontinued his work if the gorget were broken during the carving, a likely thing to happen,"--nor, we may add, need it be difficult to suppose that the Indian would have glued the pieces together or cleaned out the grooves crossing the fracture. In such a case the instrument would naturally have broken somewhat into the fracture--"sinking down," as Dr. Wadsworth says, "and ending against the fractured portion opposite," while the subsequent weathering and brushing might account for the slight difference in level of the lines on either side of the break. Again, supposing the mammoth carving to have been made before the fracture, the carvings on the reverse of the Stone, and the apparently meaningless scratch below the perforation, which, as it were, skips the fracture, may have been made long after it. As Dr. Putnam says: "The fact that a very large number of perforated stones are broken when found is worthy of consideration, and also that in most cases the fracture is through one of the holes." As regards the resemblance of the mammoth on the Stone to the La Madeleine carving, a point which after a careful examination of all the facts struck Professor Shaler, of Harvard, as suspicious, there is certainly in the outline of the tail and the indicisive drawing of the back a great similarity in the treatment of the two figures; while, on the other hand, as Dr. Charles Rau, of the Smithsonian Institute, supposes, the resemblance may perhaps be ascribed to accident, the drawing of the head, ear, trunk, and hair being, as he suggests, totally dissimilar. The seeming repetition of the outline, of the back in the two figures may perhaps be looked upon as a suggestion of the mane-like ridge of hair, which, as seen in some of the reconstructions, extended along the back of the animal from the neck to the tail; and it may be observed that any two profile drawings of the same animal, as realistic as the above, would naturally possess striking points of resemblance. Dr. D. G. Brinton, of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, objects, in a letter above quoted to the Bucks County Intelligencer, that "no lines indicating shading or rounding arc found in the aboriginal designs of pure native origin in the Eastern United States," that in these designs grouping was unknown, and that " any such triple arrangement as the brute, the human, and the divine groups standing in immediate relation to each other and forming parts of a picture, was far above aboriginal aesthetic conceptions," that "lightnings shooting from a central point (as from the hand of Jove) were unknown to the art-notions of the fed race," and that the treatment of the sun as a face with rays shooting from it, I also consider foreign to the pictography of the Delaware Indians; nor have I yet seen any specimens proved to be of their manufacture that present it. It is found, indeed, in Chippeway pictography, but there only in late examples."
To this we can only say that nothing is more common than "grouping" in the pictography of our modern. Western Indians, while the more ancient pictographs of the pre-Columbian Indian, a study of which would be necessary in forming definite opinions, as to their character, have been almost entirely lost to us.
These were probably very rarely carved upon stone or made upon any thing but the most perishable materials, and few have survived the bigotry or indifference of the early settlers and explorers. Their character is, we think, not fully represented by the meagre data furnished us from the allusions of the early writers, the Chippeway bark records, the "wallurn olum," or the rock inscriptions now within the student's reach, and from which we are left to draw our conclusions as to the evolution of "grouping" or "shading," or the ability of the Indian to treat the sun, moon, and stars, or lightning.
There could have been no great mental chasm, we think, between the aesthetic conceptions of the modern Sioux or Comanche, who pictures a buffalo hunt on his robe, and those of his pre-Columbian red brother, who, as Loskiel says, painted his "bedeutende figuren" on the trees of a Pennsylvania forest.
Domenich says, in the " History of North America," p. 426: "We have seen painted upon bark the representation of a Chippeway emigration, passing through rivers, forests, and mountains, on their way from the borders of a lake to a more civilized country; above the river were creeks and trees, symbols of forests, and tumuli indicating mountains; finally, on top of the picture a dozen animals, totems of the Chippeway chiefs, each with a heart in his breast."
The same author says, again: "One seldom sees a garment on which there is not a drawing in black, yellow, red, white, or blue, representing. guns, lances, heads of hair, arrows, shields, the sun, moon, men, horses, roads, etc., and sometimes mythological objects."
Possessed as we elsewhere find of a considerable power of delineation of which our present extremely insufficient vestiges can give us no adequate idea, and having already conceived the idea of a "brute, human, and divine group" in his numerous traditions of a great monster, the enemy of man, destroyed by divine wrath and lightnings, we can by no means think that the ancient Delaware would have found it more difficult than the Chippeway mentioned above, to express his conception in a rude picture involving such a triple grouping.
TREATMENT OF THE SUN IN INDIAN PICTOGRAPHY.
As to the "treatment of the sun," we find faces with rays, or divergent curves, in Schoolcraft, vol. L, p. 36,2, figs. 16 and 17, and p. 409, fig 9; vol.- iii., p. 493,--a circle with rays in the rock inscription (Delaware perhaps) on the Susquehanna near the Maryland line, a face without rays in the rock inscription (also Delaware, possibly) at Safe Harbor on the Susquehanna, and a face with rays, the counterpart of the carving in question, on a small broken tablet found near Akron, Ohio, in the collection of the late Mr. Dupont, of Philadelphia, who had no doubt of its authenticity.
LIGHTNING IN INDIAN PICTOGRAPHY.
The marks in the picture evidently representing forked lightning, and directed as in the language of the tradition at the forehead of the beast, are without parallel among the Indian pictographs within the writer's reach. The symbolic snake, or barbed zigzag of the Moquis-the only Indian lightning that the writer has been able to find differs greatly from this, yet there seems no good reason why the Indian should not have sometimes represented lightning as he saw it.
LINES CUT BY STEEL AND FLINT INSTRUMENTS.
As to the steel-cut appearance of the lines, Dr. Brinton says: "The lines on the Lenape Stone are obviously cut with a steel instrument, making clean incisions, deepest in the centre and tapering to points, quite different from the scratch of a flint point"; and Dr. M. E. Wadsworth thinks that "the depth and regularity of, the carvings indicate that they were made with some dulled steel tool like an awl." On the other hand Mr. J. E. Iddings does not know whether it is possible thus to distinguish the work of steel and flint instruments, and a series of experiments with the microscope and steel and flint points has induced the writer to believe that lines cut on a similar stone by "a dulled steel instrument" and a flint arrow-point cannot be distinguished after both have been washed and scrubbed.
The appearance of such lines would of course depend much upon the sharpness of the flint or steel point, the kind of stone. used, and whether the lines were cut by one or by a series of strokes. The single scratch of a scissors point on a shale tablet of similar hardness makes an incision in shape like the letter V; that of either an awl or flint arrow-head one like the letter U; while any line made by either instrument and consisting of a series of strokes will have its bottom furrowed by parallel grooves, as in the case of the large lines on the Lenape Stone.
The fresh flint-cut grooves, however, when separately examined with the microscope, exhibit many faint scratches running along the furrow, not so conspicuous in the steel incisions, yet a few applications of soap, water, and a scrubbing-brush efface these scratches in both cases, and render the surface of the grooves indistinguishably alike and in appearance similar to the now polished incisions upon the Lenape Stone. In other respects the scratch of the arrow-head can be made of equal depth, clearness, and regularity, the flint point, if held carefully, not appearing to tear the edges of the incision more than the awl., Moreover, we can cause the flint-cut line to "taper to a point" or not, as we choose.
NEWLY DISCOVERED INDIAN CARVINGS FROM THE HANSELL FARM.
Fig. 19.--Carved "Gorget" from the Hansell Farm.
Strongly in support of the authenticity of the Lenape Stone and its honest discovery, are the two carved stones, figs. 19 and 20 recently discovered on the Hansell Farm, while the present paper was preparing and proving that: however rare in other localities, small stones were not infrequently carved in this neighborhood. Dr. Putnam sees no reason to doubt their authenticity," and Professor Shaler, of Harvard College, to whom the writer has shown fig. 19, says: "If, upon comparing the incised lines with those on the Lenape Stone, it appears that they have the same character--i. e., the same shape of furrow,--then you will undoubtedly add a good deal to the weight of evidence in favor of the antiquity of the other ornament."
Fig. 20.--Carved Banner Stone from the Hansell Farm.
Considering, however, the variety of lines which may be cut with a flint instrument, we would hesitate to assign great importance to this comparison. An examination--with the microscope proves that the lines on the gorget, fig. 19, are not so neatly and deeply cut as those on the Lenape Stone, and that the bottoms of the grooves are more rounded. While most of the lines on the banner stone, fig. 20, "tapering into points," seem as deeply and clearly cut as those of the mammoth outline, the microscope shows few, if any, scratches on the surface of the grooves, which bear all the traces of long exposure to the weather.
OPINION OF INDIANS.
The writer has made several efforts to obtain opinions upon the Lenape Stone from modern Indians, particularly Delawares, in the West and in Canada. Mr. Horatio Hale, of Toronto, who kindly showed photographs of the carvings to several Indians in Canada, among whom were some very intelligent Delawares, says that "they thought that the Stone showed Indian workmanship, and would have been inclined to consider it authentic but for the mammoth, which perplexed them. They had never heard of such a creature, and, fearing a hoax, were shy of saying much about the symbols on the reverse side of the Stone; the pipes would naturally, they said, indicate a treaty; the snow-shoe, that some of the tribes concerned came from the North; and the tortoise, hawk, deer, etc., would be the marks or totems of the different tribes; with regard to the doubtful figures, they could give no explanation."
Of course, the value of these opinions would in each case depend upon the tribe to which the Indian belonged, and how far his former knowledge of a pictographic art or the traditions of his race may have been lost by many years of contact with the whites.
The strong resemblance of the pipe figure (l) to the modern Sioux calumets, made of catlinite or red pipe-stone from the famous quarry in Southwestern Minnesota, has been spoken of as another objection to the authenticity of the Stone. The form does not occur, as far as the writer can learn, in any of the ancient rock-writings of the eastern Algonkins, and no pipes of exactly the Sioux shape, which Mr. E. A. Barber, of Philadelphia, considers the most modern of Indian pipe-forms, have as yet been discovered in the ancient Delaware era, nor even in the mounds.
On the other hand, the profile of the Sioux form itself could not more closely correspond with the minute outline, which is too small, perhaps, to be taken very strictly, than does the profile of fig. 21--a pipe now in the Archaeological Museum, at Salem, Mass., and found by Dr. Putnam, in an an cient Indian grave near Beverly, Mass.
The other pipe figure, on the stone might easi ly have been suggested by the form from the mounds, with a slightly curved base (fig. 22) now in the Peabody Museum at Cambridge, Mass., and discovered in a mound in Ohio.
Schoolcraft, who has been more explicit than other writers respecting the picture-writings of the North American Indians, speaks of two distinct pictographic systems among the Algonkin tribes, called by them respectively Kekeewin and Kekeenowin. The first appeared to be their method of recording facts of every-day occurrence, and embraced the heraldic devices used upon the grave posts -the communications written upon birch bark, and the caution marks, itinerary, hunting, and war records inscribed upon the trunks of blazed trees by travelling bands, to communicate intelligence to their comrades in the forest. These writings, the signs of which were carefully taught to the young, like the language of signs common at present to a majority of the Western tribes, could be understood by any Indian. Loskiel, the Moravian missionary, who makes frequent mention of picture records, states that "it gave the Indians great pleasure if one halted on cominI g to such a tree, and listened to their description of the great chief and his exploits thereon inscribed."
The Kekeenowin, on the other hand,-the pictographic system of the prophets, jugglers, and medicine-men,-was far less generally understood by the Indians themselves. It was the method used in the historical records, sung before the tribe at religious feasts and dances, and was likewise invariably employed in the incantations of the priests, prophets, and medicine-men, of which Schoolcraft gives seven kinds relating to medicine, necromancy, revelry, hunting, prophecy, war, and love.
The chief characteristic of the Kekeenowin is the fact that in it each symbol recalled to the mind of the reader learned in the art a song, previously committed to memory by him in connection with the symbol, and the general idea of which was more or less arbitrarily connected with it. "The words of the song," says James, in his appendix to Tanner's narrative, "were not variable, but must be learned by heart, otherwise though from an inspection of the figure the idea might be comprehended, no one would know what to sing." The main object, however, was the preservation of the songs, which the priests, on consulting their birch-bark scrolls or painted wooden tablets, were thus enabled to sing at the great feasts, giving the many verses in their proper order. The connection between the symbol and the idea expressed by the song was often beyond the power of divination to the uninitiated, and the key to these sacred incantations, a. knowledge of the songs, once lost, could never be recovered, as it was doubtless far from the intention of the priests that the uninitiated Indian should divine their mysteries from an inspection of the symbols. It was only upon the payment of many beaver skins, says Tanner in his narrative, that he was permitted to learn the mystic signification of the twenty-seven symbols of the Chippeway song for medicine hunting, which it took him more than a year to learn.
The historical records, however, were sometimes, it appears, written in Kekeewin and sometimes in Kekeenowin ; sorne were related in songs, others were not. Those inscribed upon painted wooden tablets, or the bark scrolls, and pieces of slate alluded to by George Copway, were doubtless generally sung at stated occasions before the tribe, while the Muzzinabicks or rock-writings upon the face of cliffs and boulders, as at "Bald Friars" and "Miles Island" on the Susquehanna or West River, and Bellows Falls, Vermont, at the Cunningham Islands, Lake Erie, or upon the famous Dighton Rock at Fall River, Mass., although including many of the characters seen in the song records were probably not expressed in songs:
TRADITION OF THE GREAT BUFFALO.
Another version of the big-buffalo tradition is found in Rembrandt Peale's pamphlet on the mammoth, published in Philadelphia in 1803. Notwithstanding the highly colored style of the translation the ideas expressed seem to be those of the Indian. It reads as follows: "Ten thousand moons ago, when naught but gloomy forests covered this land of the sleeping sun, and long before the pale men, with thunder and fire at their command, rushed on the wings of the wind to ruin this garden of nature, when naught but the untamed wanderers of the woods, and men as unrestrained as they, were lords of the soil, a race of animals existed, huge as the frowning precipice, cruel as the bloody panther, swift as the descending eagle, and terrible as the angel of night. The pines crashed beneath their feet, and the lake shrunk when they slaked their thirst; the forceful javelin in vain was hurled, and the barbed arrow fell harmless by their side. Forests were laid waste at a meal, the groans of expiring animals were everywhere heard, and whole villages, inhabited by men, were destroyed in a moment. The cry of universal distress extended even to the region of peace in the West, and the Good Spirit interposed to save the unhappy- The forked lightning gleamed aloud, and loudest thunder rocked the globe. The bolts of heaven were hurled upon the cruel destroyers alone, and the mountains echoed with the bellowings of death. All were killed except one male, the fiercest of the race, and him even the artillery of the skies assailed in vain. He ascended the bluest summit which shades, the source of the Monongahela, and roaring aloud, bid defiance to every vengeance. The red lightning scorched the lofty firs, and rived the knotty oaks, but only glanced upon the enraged monster. At length, maddened with fury, he leaped over the waves of the west at a bound, and at this moment reigns the uncontrolled monarch of the wilderness, even in despite of omnipotence itself."
THE CHEROKEES AND CI-IOCTAWS DESCENDANTS OF THE MOUND-BUILDERS.
If the account of Cusic and the Lenape traditions concur in solving the Mystery of the Mound-builders, and proving their identity with. the Allegewi of the Lenape tradition, the evidence is strengthened by the concurrent testimony of language, which, as Mr. Hale and others have shown, renders it probable that the conquered race, fleeing down the Mississippi, were received and adopted by the Choctaws and Cherokees, who thus became in part their descendants. Both the language of the Cherokees lying to the southeast of the mound-builders' dominions, and who claim to have built the Grave Creek mound, and that of the Choctaws lying to the southwest, have in their vocabularies been largely recruited from a similar foreign linguistic element. One remnant of the Allegewi mingling with their conquerors, the Talamatan or Hurons, became in part the ancestors of the Cherokees. Living to the southeast of the mound-builders' dominions, the Cherokees had their council lodge on the summit of a vast mound, the construction of which they ascribed to a people who had preceded them. In grammar their language resembled the Huron-Iroquois, while in vocabulary it has been largely recruited from some foreign source.
The other remnant of the vanquished Allegewi, fleeing down the Mississippi "to the southward," would have been received and protected by the warlike Choctaws, themselves a mound-building people in comparatively recent times, and the peculiar foreign element in whose language, which differs considerably from that of the sister Creek and Chicasaw nations, would thus be explained.
FIG. 23.-- CARVED "GORGET" FOUND ON THE HANSELL FARM, JANUARY 8, 1885.
While the foregoing pages were in course of publication, the carved "gorget" (fig, 23) was found on the Hansell farm, on Thursday, January 8, 1885.
The circumstances of the discovery were as follows: Late in the autumn of last year-1884-the writer had caused an excavation to be made at a spot in one of the fields on the Hansell property, where the carved stone (fig. 19) had been found. At this place the soil of the field, a yellowish clay, was very noticeably discolored as if by the fires and decayed refuse of aboriginal dwellings; the discolored spot was of a dark brown color, and covered an area of about twenty square yards.
The excavation measured about 25 feet in length by 4-1/2 feet in width, and about 3 feet in depth. The dark brown stratum had a depth of 1-1/2 to 2 feet, and beneath it appeared the yellow clay of the surrounding field. The place was at a distance of about a quarter of a mile from the spot where the Lenape Stone had been found. In digging the trench many small stones were thrown up, but no human remains or implements were discovered. The earth was not thrown through a sieve. As the excavation was to have been continued in the spring, the trench and pile of earth were left undisturbed.
Bernard Hansell, the discoverer of the Lenape Stone, states that he found the carved gorget (fig. 23) in this heap of earth on Thursday the 8th of last month; his brother had previously found there several flint chips, and Hansell had gone to the spot, on the day in question, expressly to look for "Indian relies."
The day was warm and the trench full of water. The field was very muddy. Hansell found the stone, the perforation in which had attracted his attention, protruding a little from the mud on the outside of the heap, and in the yellow earth last thrown out. Without displacing it, he returned to the house, and brought his brother, William Hansell, to the spot, that the latter might witness his discovery. Then removing the stone from the mud, he washed it in the water of the trench, not rubbing it, but holding it in the water for about five minutes. The mud clinging to it, having melted and frozen several times within a few days, was very soft and dissolved easily. On the same day Hansell informed the writer of his discovery in a letter.
The stone is a soft, red shale, similar in appearance to the Lenape Stone. Unlike the specimens (figs. 19 and 20) found on the surface of the ground, its surface presents a very polished and rubbed appearance, as if it had been subjected to long wear after the carvings had been made. The lines, the edges of which are much worn and rubbed, do not seem sharply and deeply cut, as those of fig. 20 or the Lenape Stone, and the bottoms of the grooves, to which the soil still clings, appear rounded, as if cut with a dull point-as in the case of the shallow incisions upon fig 19.
The discovery of this stone in the clayey soil, beneath the black stratum above mentioned, and where it had lain for an indefinite period beyond the reach of the ploughshare, would account for its polished appearance and the absence of weathering upon its surface--the conditions of its discovery generally corresponding with those in the case of highly polished implements found in the mounds.
The design consists of: (a) three waving lines representative of water; (b) three points between the perforations, referring probably to wigwams-possibly an allusion to the triple clanship of the Lenapes and their settlement by the Lenape whiltuck or Delaware River; (c) a bow; (d) an arrow; and (e) a quiver.
Fig. 24.--Reverse of fig. 23.
The design on the reverse side, of which we here give a rough outline (fig 24) consists mainly of a series of circular waving lines, representative probably of water; numerical dots and "tallies" and three triangular outlines, common Indian symbols for the human figure, and again suggestive perh1 aps of the Wolf, Turtle, and Turkey brotherhood of the Lenapes.
The content and opinions expressed on this Web page do not necessarily reflect the views of nor are they endorsed by the University of Georgia or the University System of Georgia.