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creation of gnomes.
These minute emissaries climb up the forehead, and wielding a tiny club, knock individuals to sleep. Pauguk is death, in his symbolic attitude. He is armed with a bow and arrows. It would be easy to extend this enumeration.
The mental powers of the Indian constitutes a topic which we do not design to discuss. But it must be manifest that some of their peculiarities are brought out by their system of mythology and spirit-craft. War, public policy, hunting, abstinence, endurance and courageous adventure, form the leading topics of their mental efforts. These are deemed the appropriate themes of men, sages and warriors. But their intellectual essays have also a domestic theatre of exhibition. It is here that the Indian mind unbends itself and reveals some of its less obvious traits. Their public speakers cultivate a particular branch of oratory. They are careful in the use of words, and are regarded as standards of purity in the language. They appear to have an accurate ear for sounds, and delight in rounding off a period, for which the languages afford great facilities, by their long and stately words, and multiform inflexions. А drift of thought--an elevation of style, is observable in their public speaking which is dropt in private conversation. Voice, attitude and motion, are deemed of the highest consequence. Much of the meaning of their expressions is varied by the vehement, subdued, or prolonged tone in which they are uttered. In private conversation, on the contrary, all is altered. There is an equanimity of tone, and easy vein of narration or dialogue, in which the power of mimicry is most strikingly brought out. The very voice and words of the supposed speakers, in their fictitious legends, are assumed. Fear, supplication, timidity or boasting, are exactly depicted, and the deepest interest excited. All is ease and freedom from restraint. There is nothing of the coldness or severe formality of the council. The pipe is put to its ordinary use, and all its symbolic sanctity is laid aside with the wampum belt and the often reiterated state epithets, “Nosa” and “ Kosinan,”i. e. my father and our father.
Another striking trait of the race is found in their legends and tales. Those of the aboriginal race who excel in private conversation, become to their tribes oral chroniclers, and are relied on for historical traditions as well as tales. It is necessary, in listening to them, to distinguish between the gossip and the historian, the narrator of real events, and of nursery tales.
For they gather together everything from the fabulous feats of Manebozho and Misshozha, to the hair-breadth escapes of a Pontiac, or a Black Hawk. These narrators are generally men of a good memory and a certain degree of humor, who have experienced vicissitudes, and are cast into the vale of years. In the rehearsal of their tales, transformations and transmigrations are a part of the machinery relied on; and some of them are as accurately adapted to the purposes of amusement or instruction, as if Zoroaster or Ovid himself had been
consulted in their production. Many objects in the inanimate creation, according to these tales, were originally men and women. And numerous animals had other forms in their first stages of existence, which they, as well as human beings, forfeited, by the power of necromancy and transmigration. The evening star, it is fabled, was formerly a woman. An ambitious boy became one of the planets. Three brothers, travelling in a canoe, were translated into a group of stars. The fox, lynx, hare, robin, eagle and numerous other species, retain places in the Indian system of astronomy. The mouse obtained celestial elevation by creeping up the rainbow, which Indian story makes a flossy mass of bright threads, and by the power of gnawing them, he relieved a captive in the sky. It is a coincidence, which we note, that ursa major is called by them the bear.
These legends are not confined to the sky alone. The earth also is a fruitful theatre of transformations. The wolf was formerly a boy, who, being neglected by his parents, was transformed into this animal. A shell, lying on the shore, was transformed to the raccoon. The brains of an adulteress were converted into the addikumaig, or white fish.
The power of transformation was variously exercised. It most commonly existed in magicians, of whom Abo, Manabosh or Manabozha, and Mishosha, retain much celebrity. The latter possessed a magic canoe which would rush forward through the water on the utterance of a charm, with a speed that would outstrip the wind. Hundreds of miles were performed in as many minutes. The charm which he uttered, consisted of a monosyllable, containing one consonant, which does not belong to the language; and this word has no definable meaning. So that the language of magic and demonology has one feature in common in all ages and with every nation.
Man, in his common shape, is not alone the subject of their legends. The intellectual creations of the Indians admit of the agency of giants and fairies. Anak and his progeny could not have created more alarm in the minds of the ten faithless spies, than do the race of fabulous Weendigos to the Indian tribes. These giants are represented as cannibals, who ate up men, women and children. Indian fairies are of two classes, distinguished as the place of their revels is either the land or water. Land-fairies are imagined to choose their residences about promontories, water-falls and solemn groves. The water, besides its appropriate class of aquatic fairies, is supposed to be the residence of a race of beings called Nibanaba which have their analogy, except as to sex, in the mermaid. The Indian word indicates a male. Ghosts are the ordinary machinery in their tales of terror and mystery. There is, perhaps, a glimmering of the idea of retributive justice in the belief that ghosts and spirits are capable of existing in fire.
INDIAN ARROW HEADS, &c.
By far the most numerous relics of the Red Race, now found in those parts of our country from which it has disappeared, are the small stoner with which they headed their arrows. Being made of the most durable substances, they have generally remained in the soil, unaffected by time and the changes of season. They most abound in those rich meadows which border some of our rivers, and in other spots of peculiar fertility, though of less extent, where the pasture, or other attractions, collected game for the Red men. The stones most commonly used were quartz and flint, which were preferred on account of the facility of shaping thein, the keenness of the points and edges, which they readily present under the blows of a skilful manufacturer, as well as their superior hardness and imperishable nature. Multitudes of specimens still exist, which show the various forms and sizes to which the Red men reduced stones of these kinds: and they excite our admiration, by their perfect state of preservation, as well by the skilfulness of their manufacture.
Other stones, however, were not unfrequently used : and a collection which we have been making for many years, presents a considerable variety of materials, as well as of sizes, shapes and colors. Hard sandstone, trap or graacke, jasper and chalcedony, appear occasionally; some almost transparent. One of the larger size is made of steatite, and smooth, as if cut or scraped with a knife, contrary to the common method, of gradually chipping off small fragments of more brittle stone, by light blows often repeated. These arrow heads were fastened to the shaft, by inserting the butt into the split end, and tying round it a string of deer's sinews. A groove or depression is commonly observable in the stone, designed to receive the string. But it is sometimes difficult to imagine how the fastening was effected, as some perfect arrow-heads show no such depressions, and their forms are not well adapted to such a purpose. This peculiarity, however, is most frequently to be observed in specimens of small size, the larger, and especially such as are commonly supposed to have been the heads of spears, being usually well shaped for tying.
It is remarkable that some spots have been found, where such relics were surprizingly numerous. In Hartford, Connecticut, about thirty years ago, many were picked up in a garden, at the corner of Front and Mill streets.
The spot was indeed on the bank of the Little River, probably at the head of Indian Canoe navigation : but yet no rational conjecture could be formed, to account for the discovery, except one. It was concluded that the place was an ancient burying ground. Many bits of coarse earthen-ware were found, such as are common in many parts of the country. About two miles below Middletown, Connecticut, on the slope of a
hill on the southern side of the Narrows, we discovered, some years since, a great number of small fragments of white quartz, scattered thickly over the surface of the ground, perhaps for half an acre. Among them were several arrow heads of various forms, most of them imperfect, and many pieces of stone, which at first sight resembled them, but, on closer inspection, seemed to have been designed for arrow heads, but spoiled in the making. Some had one good edge, or a point or barb, while the other parts of the same stones showed only the natural form and fracture. In many instances, it was easy to see that the workman might well have been discouraged from proceeding any farther, by a flaw, a break or the nature of the stone. Our conclusion was, that the spot had long been a place where Indian arrow heads were made, and that we saw around us the refuse fragments rejected by the workmen. Other spots have been heard of resembling this.
If such relics were found nowhere else but in our own country, they would be curious, and worthy of preservation and attention : but it is an interesting fact, not however generally known, that they exist in many other parts of the world. Stone arrow and spear heads have been found in England for hundreds of years, and are believed to have been made and used by the Britons, who, in respect to civilization, were nearly on a level with our Indians. These relics are called by the common people Celts, from the race whose memory they recal ; and particular accounts of them are given, with drawings, in several antiquarian works. They bear a striking resemblance to our Indian arrow heads; and many
of them could be hardly, if at all, distinguished from those of America.
African arrows have been brought to this country, in which the points were of the same forms and materials, and fastened in the same manner. About twelve years ago a vessel from Stonington was attacked by a party of Patagonians, who threw arrows on board. One of these which we procured, was pointed with a head of milky quartz, exactly corresponding with specimens picked up in New England.
Among the relics found in excavating the low mounds on the plain of Marathon, as we were informed by one of our countrymen, who was at Athens some years ago, there were spear heads made of flint, which, he declared, were like those he had often seen ploughed up in his native fields. These, it was conjectured, might have been among the weapons of some of the rude Scythians in the Persian army, which met its defeat on that celebrated battle ground.
A negro, from an obscure group of islands, just north of New Guinea, in describing the weapons in use among his countrymen, drew the forms of spear heads, which he said were often made of stones; and, when shown specimens from our collection, declared that they were very much like them.
It has been thought, that certain instruments would naturally be inven
ted by men in particular states of society and under certain circumstances, as the result of their wants and the means at hand to supply them. It is not, however, always easy to reconcile this doctrine with fasts. For example, the black race of the islands north of New Holland, (of which so little is yet known,) appear to require the use of the bow as much as any other savage people, yet they are entirely ignorant of it, though it has been thought one of the simple, most natural and most indispensable instruments in such a condition of society.
We are therefore left in doubt, in the present state of our knowledge, whether the manufacture and use of stone arrow heads have been so extensively diffused over the globe by repeated inventions, or by an intercourse between portions of the human race long since ceased, or by both causes. To whichever of these opinions we may incline, the subject must still appear to us worthy of investigation, as the history of these relics must necessarily be closely connected with that of different families and races of men in every continent and in every zone.
We would invite particular attention to the position and circumstances of Indian remains which may hereafter be found; and would express a wish that they might be recorded and made known. Our newspapers offer a most favorable vehicle for the communication of such discoveries and observations, and our editors generally must have taste and judgment enough to give room for them.
It was remarked in some of our publications a few years ago, unequivocal remains of the Red men had yet been discovered in the earth, below the most recent strata of soil, excepting cases in which they had been buried in graves, &c. Perhaps later observations may furnish evidence of the longer presence of that race on our continent than such a statement countenances.
One of the most interesting objects of enquiry, with some antiquaries, is whether there are any ancient indications of Alphabetical writing in our continent. A small stone found in the Grave-Creek Mound, and others of a more doubtful character, are quite sufficient to awaken interest and stimulate enquiry.
A few specimens of rude sculpture and drawing have been found in different parts of the U. States; and shells, ornaments, &c., evidently brought from great distances. There may be others, known to individuals, of which antiquaries are not aware. After perusing the foregoing pages, it will be easy to realize that all such remains may be worthy of attention. Not only copies should be made and dimensions taken, but descriptions should be written, local information and traditions collected, measures taken to preserve the originals, and some notice given which may reach persons interested in such subjects.- E.