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remarkable for their vastness and the massiveness of the stone used in their construction. This does not seem to have been aimed at by the American builders. Among all these ruins we did not see a stone worthy of being laid on the walls of an Egyptian temple. The largest single blocks were the “idols” or “obelisks,” as they have been called, of Copan and Quirigua; but in Egypt stones large as these are raised to a height of twen. ty or thirty feet and laid in the walls, while the obelisks which stand as ornaments at the doors, towering, a sin. gle stone, to the height of ninety feet, so overpower them by their grandeur, that, if imitations, they are the feeblest ever attempted by aspiring men.
Again: columns are a distinguishing feature of Egyptian architecture, grand and massive, and at this day towering above the sands, startling the wondering trav. eller in that mysterious country. There is not a temple on the Nile without them; and the reader will bear in mind, that among the whole of these ruins not one column has been found. If this architecture had been derived from the Egyptian, so striking and important a feature would never have been thrown aside. The dromos, pronaos, and adytum, all equally characteristic of Egyptian temples, are also here entirely wanting.
Next, as to sculpture. The idea of resemblance in this particular has been so often and so confidently expressed, and the drawings in these pages have so often given the same impression, that I almost hesitate to declare the total want of similarity. What the differences are I will not attempt to point out; but, that the reader may have the whole subject before him at once, I have introduced a plate of Egyptian sculpture taken from Mr. Catherwood's portfolio. The subject on the right is from the side of the great monument at Thebes known
Vol. II.—3 K
as the vocal Memnon, and has never before been engraved. The other is the top of the fallen obelisk of Carnac; and I think, by comparison with the engravings before presented, it will be found that there is no resemblance whatever. If there be any at all striking, it is only that the figures are in profile, and this is equally true of all good sculpture in bas-relief.
There is, then, no resemblance in these remains to those of the Egyptians; and, failing here, we look elsewhere in vain. They are different from the works of any other known people, of a new order, and entirely and absolutely anomalous: they stand alone.
I invite to this subject the special attention of those familiar with the arts of other countries; for, unless I am wrong, we have a conclusion far more interesting and wonderful than that of connecting the builders of these cities with the Egyptians or any other people. It is the spectacle of a people skilled in architecture, sculpture, and drawing, and, beyond doubt, other more perishable arts, and possessing the cultivation and refinement attendant upon these, not derived from the Old World, but originating and growing up here, without models or masters, having a distinct, separate, independent exist. ence; like the plants and fruits of the soil, indigenous.
I shall not attempt to inquire into the origin of this people, from what country they came, or when, or how; I shall confine myself to their works and to the ruins.
I am inclined to think that there are not sufficient grounds for the belief in the great antiquity that has been ascribed to these ruins; that they are not the works of people who have passed away, and whose history has become unknown; but, opposed as is my idea to all previous speculations, that they were constructed by the races who occupied the country at the time of