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The Mexicans also had a tradition strongly corroborative of this — that their forefathers lived at the north for many ages, and then gradually emigrated south.
These traditions alone, without any other evidence, afford ground for a strong presumption that the territory, now the United States, was inhabited by the race that afterwards peopled Mexico. But the evidence does not stop here; there are other facts that go far to reduce the presumption to a certainty.
The Mexicans worked the metals for various purposes of use and ornament; the Indians found here by the discoverers never used the metals in any way; but wood, stone, shells, &c. supplied them with weapons and ornaments. Hatchets, swords, and arrow-heads of brass have been found in various parts of the United States, many of them in good preservation. These, although rude in form and design, are yet skilfully made ; but with that pains-taking and laborious skill that ever marked the infancy of the arts.
But it may be asked, why are not these relics more frequently discovered, if it be true that a whole nation, to whom the manufacture of them was known, were once transient dwellers in this land ? We think the wonder should rather be, how many of them have been preserved. The preservation of the few that have have been found must undoubtedly be ascribed to the nature of the soil at the time of their deposit. Since in some soils, and under some circumstances, they would be preserved by earthy particles, uniting themselves with the salts of the brass in the first stages of oxydation, and thus forming a sort of petrified incrustation that would prevent decay,
But a discussion of these theories is not intended, since it would necessarily involve speculations too prolix and discussive for the limits of this paper; the main object of which is, to give a description of what we consider the most interesting relic of antiquity ever discovered in North America — the remains of a human body, armed with a breast-plate, a species of mail and arrows of brass ; which remains we suppose to have belonged either to one of the race who inhabited this country for a time anterior to the so called Aborigines, and afterwards settled in Mexico or Guatamala, or to one of the crew of some Phænician vessel, that, blown out of her course, thus discovered the western world long before the Christian era.
These remains were found in the town of Fall River, in Bristol county, Massachusetts, about eighteen months since.
In digging down a hill near the village, a large mass of earth slid off, leaving in the bank, and partially uncovered, a human skull, which on examination was found to belong to a body buried in a sitting posture; the head being about one foot below what had been for many years the surface of the ground. The surrounding eartḥ was carefully removed, and the body found to be enveloped in a covering of coarse bark of a dark colour. Within this envelope were found the remains of another of coarse cloth, made of fine bark, and about the texture of a Manilla coffee bag. On the breast was a plate of brass, thirteen inches long, six broad at the upper end and five at the lower. This plate appears to have been cast, and is from one eighth to three thirty-seconds of an inch in thickness. It is so much corroded, that whether or not any thing was engraved upon it has not yet been ascertained. It is oval in form — the edges being irregular, apparently made so by corrosion.
Below the breast-plate, and entirely encircling the body, was a belt composed of brass tubes, each four and a half inches in length, and three sixteenths of an inch in diameter, arranged longitudinally and close together; the length of a tube being the width of the belt. The tubes are of thin brass, cast upon hollow reeds, and were fastened together by pieces of sinew. This belt was so placed as to protect the lower parts of the body below the breast-plate. The arrows are of brass, thin, flat, and triangular in shape, with a round hole cut through near the base. The shaft was fastened to the head by inserting the latter in an opening at the end of the wood, and then tying it with a sinew through the round hole - a mode of constructing the weapon never practised by the Indians, not even with their arrows of thin shell. Parts of the shaft still remain on some of them. When first discovered the arrows were in a sort of quiver of bark, which fell in pieces when exposed to the air.
The skull is much decayed, but the teeth are sound, and apparently those of a young man. The pelvis is much decayed, and the smaller bones of the lower extremities are gone.
The integuments of the right knee, for four or five inches above and below, are in good preservation, apparently the size and shape of life, although quite black.
Considerable flesh is still preserved on the hands and arms, but none on the shoulders and elbows. On the back, under the belt, and for two inches above and below, the skin and flesh are in good preservation, and have the appearance of being tanned. The chest is much compressed, but the upper viscera are probably entire. The arms are bent up, not crossed ; so that the hands turned inwards touch the shoulders. The stature is about five and a half feet. Much of the exterior envelope was decayed, and the inner one appeared to be preserved only where it had been in contact with the brass.
The following sketch will give our readers an idea of the posture of the figure and the position of the armor. When the remains were discovered the arms were brought rather closer to the body than in the engraving. The arrows were near the right knee.
The preservation of this body may be the result of some embalming process; and this hypothesis is strengthened by the fact, that the skin has the appearance of having been tanned; or it may be the accidental result of the action of the salts of the brass during oxydation; and this latter hypothesis is supported by the fact, that the skin and flesh have been preserved only where they have been in contact with, or quite near, the brass; or we may account for the preservation of the whole by supposing the presence of saltpetre in the soil at the time of the deposit. In either way, the preservation of the remains is fully accounted for, and upon known chemical principles.
That the body was not one of the Indians, we think needs no argument. We have seen some of the drawings taken from the sculptures found at Palenque, and in those the figures are represented with breast-plates, although smaller than the plate found at Fall River. On the figures at Palenqué the bracelets and anklets appear to be of a manufacture precisely similar to the belt of tubes just described. These figures also have helmets precisely answering the description of the helmet of Homer's pezas xogudalonos "Extwe.
If the body found at Fall River be one of the Asiatic race, who transiently settled in Central North America and afterward went to Mexico and founded those cities, in exploring the mines of which such astonishing discoveries have recently been made ; then we may well suppose also that it is one of the race whose exploits with the χαλκήρεα δούρα have, although without a date and almost without a certain name, been immortalized by the Father of Poetry; and who probably, in still earlier times, constructed the Cloacæ under ancient Rome, which have been absurdly enough ascribed to one of the Tarquins, in whose time the whole population of Rome would have been insufficient for a work, that would, moreover, have been useless when finished. Of this Great Race, who founded cities and empires in their eastward march, and are finally lost in South America, the Romans seem to have had a glimmering tradition in the story of Evander.
But we rather incline to the belief that the remains found at Fall River belonged to one of the crew of a Phænician vessel.
The spot where they were found is on the sea-coast, and in the immediate neighborhood of “ Dighton Rock,” famed for its hieroglyphic inscription, of which no sufficient explanation has yet been given ; and near which rock brazen vessels have been found. If this latter hypothesis be adopted, a part of it is, that these mariners — the unwilling and unfortunate discoverers of a new world — lived some time after they landed ; and having written their names, perhaps their epitaphs, upon the rock at Dighton, died, and were buried by the natives.
BY THE AUTHOR OF “SHIP AND SHORE."
The ladies of Constantinople spend their Fridays, during the summer months, in a beautiful grove which stands on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus. As gentlemen are not allowed to be present on these occasions, I solicited the privilege of attending three of the fair ones, in the visible capacity of a servant: they consented, and in a costume of impenetrable disguise, I followed my queenly mistresses about, with as nice a docility of motion as ever a shadow followed its substance. We found the grove filled with picturesque groups, who had just alighted from the Araba and gilded barge ; and a more gay, light-hearted assemblage than they presented, I have never met, in field or grove, by river, fount, or fell. They were chatting, laughing, sipping sherbet, casting their flowers and arch looks at each other; while the rallying pleasantry and repartee went back and forth, quick as the glance they kindled.
Here a group might be seen listening to some merry tale, and constantly breaking its slight thread by some pertinent, facetious, or totally disconnected thought. There a less gleeful circle, sprinkled with a touch of sentiment, might be seen beating time with their small taper fingers, to the soft air of a guitar in the hands of a young Circassian, and responding, in every look, to the light or troubled tone of the trembling string. Yonder another group might be seen, gathered around
one, their superior in years, who was telling to each her inevitable fate in the flowers she had brought. You might see the young enthusiast, as her happy destiny was declared from the symboled oracles of the mystic leaf, look up as if this vision of future good were already within the ranging rapture of her eye. Sometimes the enchanted leaf spoke only of evil, misfortune, and sorrow; and then the gentle interpreter, touched with pity for the broken hopes of a heart yet so young and confiding, though unable to work back the spell or unwind the fearful thread, would yet extend her counsels into other leaves, till she detected some better promise, that would come up like a bright bow on the dark cloud. While in another circle still, one might be seen negligently permitting her unfolding caftain to display some costly and rare article of dress, which her innocent vanity could not conceal,- another discovering, as if by accident, her necklace, the richest gift in her marriage dower, — a third, with the same apparent absence of intention, revealing the sprig of diamonds that glowed on the glossy fulness of her hair, as it lay curled up over a brow unshadowed by years or care, - a fourth, without seeming to know it, affording to those around a curious glance at some slight singularity in the shape of her costume, and which she knows will apologise for its departure from the sanctions of long and fixed habit, by more fully betraying the soft outline of her rich form.
The amusements of a Turkish lady, though in themselves frivolous, are yet covered with a freshness of feeling that gives them an interest beyond the more studied pastimes of her sex: it is like childhood among its buds and flowers, before higher and less attainable objects have fevered the mind. She is sportive, but her sportiveness has heart in it- she is capricious, but her caprice is dear to her, at least for the time being — she is imaginative, but the visions that float through her mind cast their light or dark shadows upon the very current of her life. She connects a mystery, a meaning, and force, with the slightest incident that crosses her path, ber feelings, or her fancy. Were a flower that she had nursed to droop untimely from its stem, she would see in its withered leaves the perished beauty of some fond hope; or were a bird to light at her lattice, and carrol one of its sweet and happy lays, she would hear in its music the whisper of some event that is to brighten over the flow of her coming years; or were a form of youth and manly grace to advance upon her dream, she would trace in this pleasing visitant. the lineaments of one destined to bless her with his permanent love. All the delicate phenomena of mind, and all the slight variations of the changing year, have for her a significant language. The dream that soothes her pillow, the vision that breaks her rest, the streamlet that moves with its silver voice, the torrent that rushes with its shaking footstep, the spring, breaking the chain of