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research, the fidelity with which he has selected bis facts, and the judgment with which he has combined them. His references also are valuable, not only as verifying his statements, but as guiding others who may desire to pursue the subject further, and consult original sources. The illustrative matter in the Appendix is not the least interesting part of the voluine. Among these is a well-digested and instructive tract on the history of the silk culture in Georgia, by Dr. Stevens, a gentleman well known for his zeal in prosecuting researches relating to the early history of the country. Georgia still wants an historian. McCall's History bas its merits, but the author labored under disadvantages, and his materials were scanty.
The legislature of the State has set a noble example by being the first to procure froin the public offices in England a copy of all its colonial papers. As materials of history they are invaluable. New York has recently followed this example, and we trust the other States will not be long in rendering such a token of gratitude to their founders, and to those worthy progenitors, who struggled to guard their infancy and watch over their growing years. Congress could hardly bestow a greater benefit upon the country, than by procuring a copy of all these papers and depositing it in Washington. Our colonial history can never be fully, fairly, and accurately written witbout them. The principal governments of Europe have been for many years employed, at much expense, in gathering up and publishing their early records. Shall we, who love to laud the deeds of our ancestors, and who live by the results of their toil, be contented with less intelligence or less patriotism ? A nation exists in its history. Take away the memory of the past, and what remains ? A name, and only a name. Take away the examples and the recorded wisdom of the past, and what ray of light would be left for our guidance? What could we do, but grope in the darkness of inexperience, and wander in the mazes of perpetual childhood ? If we are bound to respect the claims of posterity, we likewise owe a debt to our ancestors. Let us pay it as an act of justice to them, and of wholesome instruction to ourselves. Let us read their history, study their example, imitate their virtues, and cherish with a religious reverence and patriotic zeal the institutions they have founded.
ART. VII. — Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chia
pas, and Yucatan. By John L. STEPHENS, Author of * Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia Petræa, and the Holy Land," &c. Illustrated by numerous Engravings. In Two Volumes. New York: Harper & Brothers. 8vo. pp. 424 and 474. When the Spanish adventurers under Cortez overturned the old Mexican or Aztec empire, early in the sixteenth century, the account which the invaders received from that people was, that they had themselves been settled in the country only three or four hundred years. Their annals represented them to have come from the north, and to have taken possession of a region formerly occupied for five or six centuries by a race, also of northern origin, to which they gave the name of Toltecs. They described the Toltecs as a people of gentle and refined character, of industrious and pacific habits, and much further advanced in arts, science, and civilization than themselves. Disease, drought, and famine had thinned their numbers, and, about a century before the descent of the Aztecs, the mass of the nation had migrated southward. They had been immediately succeeded by another race, the Chichimecs, who in their turn were displaced by the invasion of the Aztecs. This people fixed its seats upon the highlands, but a considerable remnant of the Toltecs still occupied the valleys, and from them their new masters derived much of the civilization of which the Spaniards found them possessed.
What had become of the cultivated people which thus, about the period of the Norman conquest, had forsaken their old dwelling in the southwestern corner of North America ? Was any thing ever to be known, -except at this unsatis
second hand, provoking curiosity, much more than gratifying it, - of such an extraordinary aspect of civilization, not traceable to the Eastern sources of human improvement, born and matured in another continent ? Had the strange people yielded to its misfortunes and perished, erecting no other memorials of its greatness than what time and Mexican ferocity had almost effaced ? Or, in the regions to which they were represented to have retired, might there still remain tokens of their existence, confirmations of the report preserved in the writings and traditions of the successors to their home, or even materials for some elucidation of the riddle of their history?
The recent discoveries in Central America have attracted a new attention to these questions. The time for constructing a theory is not yet. The materials are still too scanty. But they are accumulating in great richness; and to no part of the world does the bistorical inquirer look with a more intense interest, than to that country, lately as little thought of as if it did not exist, now known to be so fruitful in marvels.
Our readers understand the ruinous monuments of an ancient civilization, of which we speak, to be found in and near the country of Honduras and Yucatan ; Uxmal, the most northerly of the places where they occur, being situated between the twentieth and twenty-first parallels of north latitude, and Copan between the fourteenth and fifteenth. In or about the year 1750, a party of Spaniards are said to have made the first discovery of the kind near the village of Palenque, in Guatemala, in latitude 17° 20' and longitude 92 0. They spread the report of the existence of vast ruins of an ancient city of several miles in extent, but no measures appear to have been taken to verify it, for more than thirty years.
In May, 1787, Captain Antonio del Rio visited Palenque, under a commission from the governor of Guatema. la, in pursuance of an order from the king of Spain. He bad the aid of some eighty Indians, supplied with fifty axes, to clear the woods about the buildings. In his Report to the Governor, dated on the 24th of June, he says, that he had finished the preparatory operation of felling trees on the 2d of that month. This Report, with an excessively stupid dissertation occasioned by it, on the history of the ancient Americans, from the pen of one Doctor Paul Felix Cabrera, appears to have lain forgotten in the archives of the city of New Guatemala till 1822, when a translation of them was obtained, and published in London. The Report, under the title of “Description of the Ruins of an Ancient City discovered near Palenque, in the Kingdom of Guatemala, in Spanish America,” occupies only twenty pages of the volume, which is in quarto. Seventeen plates of linear drawings are subjoined, with which no other fault is to be found, except that they and the Report, which all along refers to drawings, do not correspond to one another. The anonymous author of the Preface, with that coolness to which
nobody, so much as a catchpenny editor, is equal, remarks ; “References will be found to drawings mentioned by Captain Del Rio, which did not fall into the hands of the fortunale possessor of these details, while other designs are described, which do not appear to coincide precisely with any of the accompanying plates.” The truth is, as any one may satisfy himself, who has opportunity to make a comparison with the later magnificent work of Dupaix, these prints are made from copies of the sketches of Castañeda, who accompanied Dupaix as draughtsman. In fourteen of the prints the resernblance is perfect, allowing for the ruder style of execution. One, the first, appears to be an imperfect sketch of the ground-plan of the building called the palace, portrayed in the work of Dupaix with much greater detail. One, the sixth, represents a group which we do not find to be given in that work, though of the same character with several others which are; it was probably from one of Castañeda's drawings, which for some reason was not embraced in the edition of Dupaix, though possibly it may have been an invention to give an appearance of originality to the collection of Del Rio's editor. Of one only, the last, representing two circles, enclosing, the one a serpent twined round the trunk of a tree, the other, a human figure kneeling between the heads of two monsters, we have observed no trace elsewhere.
Farcy, the editor of Dupaix, says, that “ Latour-Allard, being in possession of a certain number of drawings from those of Castañeda, after having communicated them to M. de Humboldt, who could not use them, gave them up to a certain English antiquary, who caused them to be engraved at London in 1823.” Probably 1823 is a mistake for 1822, and the “ English antiquary') of whom Farcy speaks was no other than the publisher of Del Rio's Report. Perhaps this publisher had obtained them through Humboldt. At all events, the identity of most of the drawings may be taken for a thing certain ; and, notwithstanding the editor's vague avowal which we have quoted, it seems hard to acquit him of a dishonest purpose to pass off on the careless reader sketches derived from another source, as being those of the writer whose work he was giving to the public.
Del Rio said that he found the stone houses (“ Casas de Piedras," so the neighbours called them) to be fourteen in number. Dupaix, twenty years after, saw only twelve. - NO. 113.
Each described but three buildings besides the palace, Del Roi speaking of the rest as being nearly destroyed.” Mr. Stephens particularizes one more, and adds, “ There are remains of others in the same vicinity, but so utterly dilapidated, that we have not thought it worth while to give any description of them.” It was under the auspices of Charles the Fourth of Spain, that Dupaix, a captain in his service, made, in 1905 and the two following years, three expeditions of antiquarian discovery. Besides the escort of a detachment of Mexican cavalry, he was attended by a skilsul artist, Castañeda, in the capacity in which Mr. Catherwood has lately accompanied our countryman Mr. Stephens. In the last of these expeditions he visited Palenque, and wrote a full account of bis observations.
His manuscripts, with the designs of Castañeda, were about to be sent to Madrid, when the Mexican revolution broke out. During the unsettled times which followed, they remained in the hands of Castañeda, who subsequently deposited them in the Cabinet of Natural History at Mexico. Here they were found by Baradere in 1828.' It bad been agreed between Baradère and the Mexican government, that he should make collections of curious antiquities in the interior, and have one half of what he should obtain for his own. In a final settlement of this bargain, he obtained a copy of the journal of Dupaix, and the one hundred and forty-five original drawings of Castañeda ; — at least so says Farcy, in his preface to the splendid work in which they appear ; but Farcy loves a fourish of trumpets, and according to other accounts the originals are still in Mexico. At all events, in 1834 were published, at Paris, with all the luxury of French art, two volumes of letter-press, and one of prints, to which Dupaix and Castañeda have contributed the only part which is of considerable value.
Palenque has now been visited once more by Mr. Stephens, whose observations both corroborate the descriptions of his predecessors, and make important additions to what had been reported by them of the wonders of that remarkable spot. Mr. Stephens and his companion remained there about three weeks, making their home in the principal building, called the palace. We must not indulge ourselves with many extracts, but a few paragraphs from the description of that building cannot be spared.