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of the Mexican and Peruvian worship, as those nations appeared to us to rank foremost in civilization ainongst our red brethren. Our readers have seen how little we have been able to learn as regards the latter, and we have nothing of the former. In looking through the four volumes which lie before us, we have found the most copious and detailed account of the worship of the sun, and some other religious observances to be that which Father Petit furnishes us respecting the Natchez, and with wbich we shall conclude this article.
“ Their religon, in many points, comes very near that of the ancient Romans; they have a temple filled with idols; these idols are the different figures of men and animals to which they pay the most profound veneration. Their temple in its form, resembles an oven of earth, about one hundred feet in circumference; it is entered by a little door four feet high, and not more than three in breadth: in it there is no window to be seen. The circular roof of the edifice is covered with three layers of mats placed one upon the other, to prevent the rains from wearing away the masonry. Above these, and outside of the building, are three figures of eagles in wood, painted red, yellow and white. Before the door is a kind of shed, with a double door, where the guirdian of the temple is lodged; all around extends an enclosure of palisades, upon which are fixed the skulls of all the heads which their warriors have brought back from the battles which they have fought with the enemies of their nation.
“ In the interior of the temple are shelves disposed at regular distances, one above the other. Upon these are placed baskets of cane of an oval figure, in which are enclosed the bones of their ancient chiefs, and by the side of them those of the victims who are strangled to follow their masters to the other world; one other shelf, separated from the rest, supports many wide, well-painted baskets, in which their idols are preserved; these are figures of men and women made of stone and baked earth; heads and tails of uncommon serpents; stuffed owls ; pieces of crystal and jaw-bones of large fish. They had there in the year 1699, a bottle and the foot of a glass, of which they took peculiar care.
“ They take great pains to keep in this temple a perpetual fire, and their attention is required to hinder it from blazing; for that purpose, they use nothing but the dry wood of the walnut tree or the oak. The old men are obliged to carry, each in his turn, a large billet into the enclosure of the palisade. The number of the guardians of the temple is fixed, and they serve by the quarter. He that is upon duty, stands, like a sentinel, under the shed, whence he examines if the fire is in danger of being extinguished; he supplies it with two or three large billets, which are kept burniny only at the extremity, and which, in order to avoid a blaze, are never placed one upon the other.
“Of all the women, none but the sisters of the Great Chief have the privilege of entering into the temple; to all others, admittance is prohibited, as also to the common people, even when they bring food to the manes of their relations, whose bones are reposing in the temple. These meat offerings are given to the guardian, who carries them to the side of VOL. II.-NO. 4.
the basket where are the bones of the deceased : this ceremony continues only during one moon. The eatables are then cast over the palisades of the enclosure, and are abandoned to wild beasts.
“ The sun is the principal object of worship among these people. As they conceive nothing superior to this luminary, nothing, therefore, appears to them more worthy of their homage: and for the same reason, their Grand Chief who knows nothing upon earth superior to himself, takes the title of Brother of the Sun. The credulity of the people preserves for him the despotic authority which he assumes. To maintain for him a stricter obedience, a mound is raised with earth brought for the purpose, whereon is built his hut, which is of the same construction as the temple, with its door towards the rising sun. Every morning the Great Chief honors with his presence the rising of his elder brother, and hails with many howlings his appearance above the horizon. Next he orders his calumet to be lighted, and makes him an offering of the three first mouthfuls of smoke which he inhales; then elevating his hands above his head, and turning himself from the east to the west, he points out to him the course which he must pursue in his journey.
“When the Grand Chief dies, his hut is demolished, and a new mound is raised, whereon is built the hut of the successor to his dignity, who never dwells in the lodging of his predecessor. There are old men who teach the laws to the rest of the people ; one of the principal of these is to bave a sovereign respect for the Grand Chief, as being brother of the sun and master of the temple. They believe in the immortality of the soul. When they leave this world, they go, say they, to inhabit another, there to be rewarded or punished. The rewards which they promise themselves, consist principally in good cheer, and the punishment in a privation of all pleasure. Thus they believe that those who have been faithful observers of their laws, will be conducted to a region of delight, where all sorts of the most exquisite viands will be furnished them in abundance; that their days will glide away pleasantly and calmly in the midst of festivities, of dances and women; in fine, that they will taste of all imaginable pleasures : that on the contrary, the violators of their laws will be cast upon lands sterile, and covered with water; that they will bave no kind of grain; that they will be exposed entirely naked to the piercing bites of musquitoes; that all pations will make war against them; that they will never eat meat, and, that they will be fed with nothing but the flesh of alligators, of bad fish and shell fish.
“One of the principal articles of their religion, especially as concerns the domestics of the Grand Chief, is to honor his funeral ceremonies by dying with him, for the purpose of serving him in the other world; these blu: ded creatures submit themselves willingly to this law, in the foolish persuasion, that in the suite of their chief, they are going to enjoy very great happiness.
" To form some idea of this bloody ceremony, it must be known that whenever a presumptive heir to the Grand Chief is born, each family that has a child at the breast must do homage to him on its account. From all these intants, a certain number is chosen, who are destined to
his service, and when they arrive at a competent age, are given some employment conformable to their talents; some pass their lives either in hunting or fishing, for the supply of his table: others are engaged in agriculture; others are employed for no other purpose but to swell his train. If he chances to die, all his domestics sacrifice themselves with pleasure to follow their dear master. They immediately put on their most splendid attire, and go to the place of execution, which is opposite the temple, where all the people are assembled.
After having sung and danced for a time sufficiently long, they pass around their deck a cord of ox-hude, with a slip-knot, and immediately the ministers appointed for this kind of execution, set about strangling them, at the same time charging them to go and rejoin their master, and to resume in the other world, stations still more honourable than those which they have filled in this. The principal domestics having been strangled after this manner, their bones, especially those of the arms and the thighs, are cleaned of the flesh; they are left to dry up for two months in a kind of toinb, after which they are taken out to be enclosed in baskets, and placed in the temple by the side of those of their master. As to the other domestics, their kindred carry them to their huts, and bury them with their arms and their attire. This same ceremony is observed in like manner at the death of the brothers and sisters of the Great Chief. The women are always strangled, to follow their mistresses, except those who have infants at the breast, for in that case, they continue to live in order to suckle them. Many, however, seek nurses for their children, or they themselves strangle their infants, that they may not lose the right of sacrificing themselves in the public place, according to the ordinary ceremoiries, and as the law ordains.
Formerly the nation of the Natchez was very considerable-it counted sixty villages, and eight hundred suns or princes; now it is reduced to six small villages, and eleven suns. In each of these villages there is a temple, where the fire is always kept up, as in that of the Great Chief, to whom all the other chiefs are subordinate. It is the Great Chief who appoints to all the most considerable offices of the state, such as the two commanders in war, the two masters of ceremony in the worship of the temple, &c.
“ Every year the people assemble to sow a great field of Indian corn, of beans, of gourds, and of melons. They assemble in the same manner to gather in the harvest. A great hut, situated in a beautiful prairie, is intended to preserve the fruits of this harvest.
Every summer, towards the end of July, the people collect together by order of the Great Chief, to partake of a grand feast which is given. This festival Jasts three days and three nights. Every one contributes whatever he can furnish-some bring game, others fish, &c. There are dances almost continually. The Great Chief and his sister are lodged in a hut elevated and covered with foliage, whence they observe the amusements of their subjects. The princes, the princesses, and those, who, by thi ir offices, hold a distinguished rank, keep very near the Chief, to iliom they show their respect and their submission by an infimty of cere
“ The Great Chief and his sister make their entry to the place of assemblage upon a sedan carried by eight of the largest men. The Chiet holds in his band a large sceptre, adorned with painted feathers; all the people dance and sing round about him, in token of the public joy. On the last day of this festival, he collects all his subjects, and makes them a long harangue, in which he exhorts them to fulfil all the duties of religion ; be advises them, above all things, to have a great veneration for the spirits who dwell in the temple, and to instruct their children well. If any one has signalized himself by any action of zeal, he publicly eulogizes him. This happened in the year 1702. The lightning having struck the temple, and reduced it to ashes, seven or eight women cast their infants into the midst of the flames to appease the wrath of heaven. The Great Chief summoned out these women, and bestowed upon them great praise for the resolution with which they had sacrificed that which was most dear to them, and finished his panegyric by exhorting the other females to imitate so noble an example in a similar conjuncture.
“The fathers of families never fail to carry to the temple the carliest productions of their fruit, their grain, and their vegetables—they are, indeed, presents made to the nation : they are immediately offered at the door of the temple, where the guardian, after having displayed them and presented them to the spirits, carries them to the Great Chief, who makes such a distribution of them as he thinks proper, without exciting the least sign of discontent.
“ They never sow any land of which the grain has not been presented to the temple with the usual ceremonies. Whenever these people approach the temple, they lift up their arms, through respect, and give three howls. After which they strike their hands upon the earth, and rise up three times with as many reiterated howls.
When they only pass before the temple, they stop simply to salute it, with their down, and their arms elevated. If a father or a mother perceives that their child omits this ceremony, he will be immediately punished by some strokes of the baton."
We trust that exertions will be made to collect the facts respecting a race of men who must be viewed by every American with deep interest. The nature of the publication which we have thus partially reviewed, has greatly confined the view which we should like to see taken by our literary associations. It is too much the fashion to be satisfied with noticing what falls under our own observation; and, speculating upon possible causes, we waste that time which might be employed in the investigation of what has actually occurred.
In conclusion, we throw out the question amongst our antiquarians, whether the mounds upon which the Natchez built their temples, might not account for those hillocks, of which so many are found, and concerning which so little is known?
Art. II.-1. Sketches of a Naval History of the United States.
By THOMAS CLARK. Philadelphia. 1813. 2. The United States Naval Chronicle. By C. W. Golds
BOROUGH. 1st Vol. 1824. 3. Report of the Naval Committee of the House of Representatives.
1st Session. 12th Congress. 4. Bill for the Gradual Improvement of the Navy. 1827. 5. Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy. 1828. 6. Report of the Secretary of the Navy, covering a plan for a Naval Peace Establishment. 18:28.
ALTHOUGH we possess abundant materials of the choicest kind for American Naval History, no writer has yet appeared qualified to do full justice to the subject. Alarmed at the magnitude of the undertaking, or deterred by its difficulties, most of the labourers in this fruitful tield, have abandoned their unfinished work, relinquishing to those who are to come, the task of gathering the rich harvest which has thus been left almost untouched. It is not a little singular, that all who have essayed to write the Naval History of the United States, should have stopped short in the midst of their career, leaving half of their story untold. And yet, we must believe there is no species of historical writing more generally interesting, we had almost said, more extensively useful, thau that which records the heroic deeds, and commemorates the exalted virtues of that hardy and chivalrous race of men
" whose home is on the deep.” The intense interest excited by the developement of traits of individual character, and the display of extraordinary personal qualities, is, in this case, greatly heightened by the magnificent theatre of action, as well as the uncommon nature of the scenes exhibited. To the landsman, the ocean, with all its wonders, is a new and unexplored world, and the men who inhabit it-with their pecaliar language, and singular habits and mannersa strange race, the subjects of never-ending speculation and wonder. When to this is added, that the ocean is the common high-way of nations—the great mart, where in times of peace, men of all countries and languages, and of every variety of manners, habits and opinions, meet together in harmonious inter course—and where, in war, the fiercest passions and most exalted virtues of our nature are alternately displayed—it is