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tled to a weight second to those of no other author, “it is impossible that the population, for whose protection such extensive works were necessary, and which was able to defend them, should not have been eminently agricultural.' The same author elsewhere observes, of the great mound at Grave creek, that “it indicates not only a dense agricultural population, but also a state of society essentially different from that of the modern race of Indians north of the tropic. There is not, and there was not, in the sixteenth century, a single tribe of Indians (north of the semi-civilized nations) between the Atlantic and the Pacific, which had means of subsistence sufficient to enable them to apply, for such purposes, the unproductive labour necessary for the work; nor was there any in such a social state as to compel the labour of the people to be thus applied.'
“Another evidence of the probable agricultural character of the mound-builders, is furnished in the fact already several times remarked, that these remains are almost entirely confined to the fertile valleys of streams, or to productive alluvions bordering on the lakes or on the Gulf of Mexico,-precisely the positions best adapted for agricultural purposes, and capable of sustaining the densest population, as also affording, in fish and game, the most efficient secondary aids of support.
If the mound-builders were a numerous, stationary, and an agricultural people, it follows of necessity that their customs, laws, and religion, had assumed a fixed and well defined form,-a result inseparable from that condition. The construction therefore of permanent fortifications for protection against hostile neighbours, and of vast and regular religious structures, under this hypothesis, fell clearly within their capabilities.”
These mounds, from which such important conclusions are deduced, are, in many cases, literally earthen teocallis, or Mexican pyramids, with a graded approach and other marked peculiarities, leaving little room for doubt that the same creed and customs, and also, it may be assumed, with little doubt, the same bloody rites, had prevailed among nearly the whole primitive occupants of the American continent, as were found by Cortes in the kingdom of Mexico. On this subject the authors of the exploration of the Mississippi valley remark :"If we are not mistaken in assigning a religious origin to that large portion of ancient monuments, which are clearly not defensive, nor designed to perpetuate the memory of the dead, then the superstitions of the ancient people must have exercised a controlling influence upon their character. If, again, as from reason and analogy we are warranted in supposing, many of these sacred structures are symbolical in their forms and combinations, they indicate the prevalence among their builders of religious beliefs and conceptions, corresponding with those which prevailed among the early nations of the other continent, and which, in their elements, seem to have been common to all nations, far back in the traditional period, before the dawn of written history. Their consideration under this aspect involves a preliminary analysis of the religious belief of the various aboriginal American families, an examination of their mythologies and superstitious rites, and a comparison between them and those of the primitive nations of the Old World. It involves, also, an attention to the sacred monuments of the eastern continent, to the princi. ples upon which they were constructed, and to the extent to which a symbolical design is apparent in their combinations and ornaments. But it is alike beyond the scope and design of this work to go into these inquiries, which in themselves, from their attractiveness and importance, deserve a full and separate consideration. We may, however, be permitted to express the belief, that researches in this department, philosophically conducted, must lead to results of the highest value, and greatly aid
in the solution of the interesting problems connected with our aboriginal history. For, in the words of a writer of distinction, 'of all researches that most effectually aid us to discover the origin of a nation or people, whose history is unknown or deeply involved in the obscurity of ancient times, none perhaps are attended with such important results, as the analysis of their theological dogmas, and their religious practices. In such matters mankind adhere with greatest tenacity, and though both modified and corrupted in the revolutions of ages, they still preserve features of their original construction, when language, arts, sciences, and political establishments, no longer retain distinct lineaments of their ancient constitutions.
“No attempt accurately to fix the date of the ancient monuments of the Mississippi valley, can, from the circumstances of the case, be successful. The most that can be done is to arrive at approximate results. The fact that none of the ancient monuments occur upon the latestformed terraces of the river valleys of Ohio, is one of much importance in its bearings upon this question. If, as we are amply warranted in believing, these terraces mark the degrees subsidence of the streams, one of the four which may be traced has been formed since those streams have followed their present courses. There is no good reason for supposing that the mound-builders would have avoided building upon that terrace, while they erected their works promiscuously upon all the others. And if they had built upon it, some slight traces of their works would yet be visible, however much influence we may assign to disturbing causes,-overflows, and shifting channels. Assuming, then, that the lowest terrace, on the Scioto river for example, has been formed since the era of the mounds, we must next consider that the excavating power of the Western rivers diminishes yearly, in proportion as they approxiinate towards a general level.
On the lower Mississippi,—where alone the ancient monuments are sometimes invaded by the water,—the bed of the stream is rising, from the deposition of the materials brought down from the upper tributaries, where the excavating process is going on. This excavating power, it is calculated, is in an inverse ratio to the square of the depth, that is to say, diminishes as the square of the depth increases. Taken to be approximately correct, this rule establishes that the formation of the latest terrace, by the operation of the same causes, must have occupied much more time than the formation of any of the preceding three. Upon these premises, the time, since the streams have flowed in their present courses, may be divided into four periods, of different lengths,—of which the latest, supposed to have elapsed since the race of the mounds flourished, is much the longest.
" The fact that the rivers, in shifting their channels, have in some instances encroached upon the superior terraces, so as in part to destroy works situated upon them, and afterwards receded to long distances of a fourth or half a mile or upwards, is one which should not be overlooked in this connection. In the case of the 'High Bank Works,'the recession has been nearly three-fourths of a mile, and the intervening terrace or bottom' was, at the period of the early settlement, covered with a dense forest. This recession, and subsequent forest growth, must of necessity have taken place since the river encroached upon the ancient works here alluded to.
Without doing more than to allude to the circumstance of the exceedingly decayed state of the skeletons found in the mounds, and to the amount of vegetable accumulations in the ancient excavations, and around the ancient works, we pass to another fact, perhaps more important in its bearing upon the question of the antiquity of these works than any of those presented above. It is that they are covered with primitive forests, in no way distinguish
able from those which surround them, in places where it is probable no clearings were ever made. Some of the trees of these forests have a positive antiquity of from six to eight hundred years. They are found surrounded with the mouldering remains of others, undoubtedly of equal original dimensions, but now fallen and almost incorporated with the soil. Allow a reasonable time for the encroachment of the forest, after the works were abandoned by their builders, and for the period intervening between that event and the date of their construction, and we are compelled to assign them no inconsiderable antiquity. But, as already observed, the forests covering these works correspond in all respects with the surrounding forests; the same varieties of trees are found, in the same proportions, and they have a like primitive aspect. This fact was remarked by the late President Harrison, and was put forward by him as one of the strongest évidences of the high antiquity of these works. In an address before the Historical Society of Ohio, he said :
“The process by which nature restores the forest to its original state, after being once cleared, is extremely slow. The rich lands of the West are, indeed, soon covered again, but the character of the growth is entirely different, and continues so for a long period. In several places upon the Ohio, and upon the farm which I occupy, clearings were made in the first settlement of the country and subsequently abandoned and suffered to grow up. Some of these new forests are now sure of fifty years' growth, but they have made so little progress towards attaining the appearance of the immediately contiguous forest, as to induce any man of reflection to determine that at least ten times tifty years must elapse before their complete assimilation can be effected. We find in the ancient works all that variety of trees which give such unrivalled beauty to our forests, in natural proportions. The first growth on the same kind of land, once cleared