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thebes as stuld, and whilty as besthither," being ancient object
the grievous penalty denounced upon them more than four thousand years ago.
Nor do the marvellous ruins of splendid cities and colossal structures in Mexico and Central America, in the least, affect the argument or the general facts. That these were not the work of savages is conceded. The builders of Memphis, of Babylon, of Tyre, of Carthage were quite competent to the task, no doubt. And these were all legitimate Hamites. Whether they had any agency in the affair or not, I leave Messrs. Stephens and Catherwood to answer.* If it be objected in limine, that none of those enterprising ancients could possibly have found their way thither, be it so. Then get over or out of the difficulty as best you can. If they could not, pray who could, and who did? There lie the ruins, as palpable, as stupendous, as eloquent, as those of glorious old Thebes. The founders and citizens of both have alike passed away; and, but for a few slight historical and poetic notices of the latter, we should at this day be as ignorant of the one as of the other. And we should no more think of ascribing the gigantic monuments of the Nile to the servile Copt or Bedouin Arab, than we now do those at Palenque to the indigenous Mexican. The only rational mode in such case is to cut the Gordian knot forthwith and without flinching. When we meet, in the desert or wilderness, with a Tadmor of stately palaces and temples, let us have faith in adequate human agency, and take for granted that the ingenious Greek or his more accomplished master had been there, whether we can prove it or pot. If the works in question shall be found to belong to the old Egyptian or Phænician school of architecture, never doubt that the Egyptian or Phænician navies once frequented the adjacent seas : and that upon these shores were some of those far distant, and to the rest of the world, unknown ports, with which they were in the habit of commercial intercourse; and that they reared and embellished the magnificent cities which have just begun to excite our curiosity and astonishment.†
* This article was prepared before the publication of Mr. Stephens' work on Central America, and was forwarded to the editors of the Repository before any copy of that work had reached Nashville.
+ Ælian states, on the authority of Theopompus, that, at a certain conference between Midas, the Phrygian, and the sage But, it will be urged, that they knew nothing of the mariner's compass. This again is a perfectly gratuitous and unaor demigod, Silenus, the latter, among other strange matters, informed his friend Midas: “ That Europe, and Asia, and Libya were islands, which the ocean entirely surrounded ; and that the country which was situated beyond their own part of the world was alone the true continent; that it was of boundless extent ; that it nourished animals of a different kind and of immense size (the mammoth, megatherium, mastodon, missourium, etc.—no doubt); that the men there were twice as large, and that they lived twice as long as other mortals; that there were many populous cities, and many peculiar modes or forms of life, -with laws and customs directly contrary to their own.” Silenus goes on to describe two remarkable cities in particular, totally unlike each other; The one, a city of WAR [Moxquos,] the other, of PIETY [Evoxins] -the latter, of course, very good and very happy ; the former always at war, and, with a population of some two millions, making sad havoc among their neighbors. He mentions also " an exploring expedition” undertaken by a company of adventurers, consisting of only about ten millions, whose aim was to cross the wide ocean and visit their kindred in the eastern world_or, “to pass over to these islands of ours," as the worthy Silenus hath it. That after a successful voyage (by way of Greenland, Iceland, etc., as I take it), they marched onward till they came in contact with the honest and courteous Hyperboreans, "esteemed the happiest people among us;" whom they affected to despise, and therefore disdained to proceed any further-upon such a fool's errand ; with sundry other equally marvellous and no less credible facts and events ;-for all which the curious reader may, at his leisure, consult the aforesaid most judicious and faithful Ælian. (Var. Hist. Lib. III. C. 18.)
But seriously, the nonsense of Ælian has been fairly matched by the modern stories of American Amazons, Patagonian giants, Yankee sea-serpents, etc.-to say nothing of the famous fountain, which was long believed to possess the property of bestowing perpetual youth ; and in search of which Juan Ponce de Leon discovered Florida, in 1512. By the way, this very tradition may have been derived from or through Ælian, since he speaks of a similar fountain or river of rejuvenescence in the chapter above cited. How much of truth may have served as the germ of his narrative or fiction, is still a subject of grave controversy among the critics and scholiasts. vailing objection. For if they could not possibly reach our coast without the compass, and yet did actually reach it, why, then, I suppose, we must allow them the benefit of the compass also. I do not assert that they used the compass, or that it was indispensable to their navigation. The objector has created the dilemma which demands it. Independently, however, of this hypothetical presumption, there is ground to believe that the compass has been known, from time immemorial, among the Chinese and other Orientals ; and that it could hardly have been unknown among the Phænicians and Egyptians. The immense fleets of Sesostris, the extensive voyages of the Phænicians from the days of Sidon to the destruction of Tyre, those performed by order of Solomon, the circumnavigation of Africa under Pharaoh Nechos, the naval prowess and commercial grandeur of Carthage, the exploring expeditions and discoveries of Hanno and Himilco,--all proclaim a degree of skill and knowledge in seamanship, far surpassing any thing recorded of. the Greeks and Romans, and which it would be difficult to account for, without conceding to them some means or instruments never possessed by the latter. That the Phænicians took every precaution to conceal “the secret of their navigation” from other nations is well known, and has never been denied. Might not the mariner's compass have been among the things thus studiously concealed ? Several learned men,--Pineda, Kircher, Sir William Drummond and others,-have labored to prove that these primitive navigators were acquainted with the directive properties of the magnet, and that they actually employed the compass or some similar instrument.*
However this may be, no one can read the glowing descriptions of their ships and commerce and naval enterprise and unparalleled opulence contained in the Bible, without feeling the conviction that neither the Greeks nor the moderns have ever accorded to them more than justice. I request the timid or skeptical reader to turn to the 27th and 28th chapters of
* For a brief view of the claims of the Chinese, etc., see Klaproth's Letter to A. Humboldt; also, article “Compass, The Mariner's,” in the Penny Cyclopædia.
The journals, charts, log-books, etc., of the old Phænician captains, will, when discovered, probably shed some light not only upon the Atlantis and Ophir, but upon sundry other matters of considerable interest to the curious.
Ezekiel, and to the 23d of Isaiah; and when he has carefully perused and pondered each graphic phrase of the inspired record, let him search our world over for the city which can now be compared with ancient Tyre,—“ the crowning city, whose merchants were princes,”—the then proud mistress of the ocean, and the grand emporium of a traffic which apparently extended to every port and people upon the globe. Such gorgeous language, if applied to any modern Venice or London, would be deemed not merely extravagant and hyperbolical, but positively absurd. So far then from being incredible, it might be assumed as highly probable, that the Phænicians should have visited America, and planted colonies or established trading factories in the vicinity of its richest mines of gold and silver. If so, we can readily account for the amazing quantities of the precious metals with which they supplied the nations; and perhaps even the Ophir of Solomon may yet be claimed for our modest hemisphere.*
* The geographical position of Ophir has given rise to much learned speculation. Basnage mentions several writers, chiefly Jewish, who place it in Peru; or who rather make the names Ophir and Peru identical, by a mere transposition of the radical letters in the original Hebrew. This may be as orthodox etymology as that which would derive Potomac from the Greek word notouòs, a river.
From Diodorus Siculus(Lib. 5. c. 19, 20), we gather the fol. lowing particulars: “At a great distance from Africa to the west there lies in the vast ocean a very large island ; having a fruitful soil, lofty mountains and navigable rivers. Formerly it was unknown on account of its very remote situation from the rest of the world. But at length the Phænicians, who in the most ancient times were in the habit of making distant voyages for the purposes of trade, being driven thither by violent winds and tempests became acquainted with its value and importance ; and thus introduced it to the knowledge and notice of some other nations, particularly the Tuscans, who attempted to plant a colony in it, but were prevented by the Carthagenians, who had become the most powerful people at sea," etc. Wesseling, in his notes on the above, supposes that an island adjacent to America, or that America itself was referred to. At least, after disposing of the Fortunate and other islands, as not suiting the historian's description, he asks: "Ergone una earum est, quæ Americæ adjacent, ipsave
SECOND SERIES, VOL. VII. NO. I.
But I do not require the Atlas of Plato or the ships of Tyre in order to furnish a passage for the original emigrants to this continent. Even in the present relative positions of the land and water, no very formidable obstacles exist; and ways enough have been pointed out, by which the rudest savage could pass from the one continent to the other. The chief difficulty, after all, is to find or devise a passage for many species of the inferior animals. These could neither have come by water nor over the ice. If all terrestrial animals were destroyed, except those preserved in the ark, we must admit the necessity of some practicable mode by which they could get here. No merely local or subsequent creations, or partial escapes from the diluvial catastrophe, will meet the case on scriptural grounds. *
America ?" We learn, moreover, that the Carthagenians, who were acquainted with this transatlantic country, wished to conceal its situation, not only from a fear that their citi. zens would emigrate thither on account of its superior advantages, but also that they might secure a safe retreat in the event of an unsuccessful war. Possibly, this mysterious concealment by the Punic navigators may have occasioned the report and belief, that the entire island or continent had been lost or buried in the ocean. For when sought by others, it could not be found. (See Wesseling's edition, Vol. I. pp. 344, 345. See also a work ascribed to Aristotle, De Mirabil. Auscult.)
* “ And all Aesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man; all, in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.” Gen. 7: 21, 22.
No embarrassment need be created by the fact, if fact it be, that some species are found on the one continent, which are unknown to the other. If any animals exist in America, for instance, which are not in the eastern hemisphere, they have become extinct in the latter since the period of their first migration hither. If any exist in the old world, which are not in the new, we have only to infer, either that they never came here, or that they have become extinct since their arrival. He would be a bold man, however, who should presume to dog. matize on this subject, until he may have become somewhat acquainted with the immense regions of both continents, which have hitherto escaped the notice alike of philosopher and trav.