"Like the Shadows in the Stream"
Notes Cited in Body of the Text
Note 1: William Biglow, History of the Town of Natick, Mass. From the Days of the Apostolic Eliot MDCL To the Present Time MDCCCXXX, (Boston: Marsh, Capen & Lyon, 1830) 84, a text which appeared in 1830, one year before "The Cherokee Nation v The State of Georgia" came before the U.S. Supreme Court (1831), the Court rejecting Cherokee standing in its appeal to the Court, paving the way for "Removal" of the "Civilized" Tribes; Charles Hudson, History of the Town of Marlborough, Middlesex County, Massachusetts From Its Settlement in 1657 to 1811 [shortened title] ( Boston: T. R. Marvin & Son, 1862) 62-63
Note 2: Unsigned review of Heckewelder's An Account of the History, Manners and Customs of the Indians Nations who once Inhabited Pennsylvania , in North American Review, hereafter cited as NAR, 6 (June 1819) 156, 170
Note 3: William Tudor Jr., "An Address delivered to the Phi Beta Kappa Society, at their anniversary meeting at Cambridge," NAR, 2 (1815) 20; Niles' Weekly Register, New Series, #12, Vol. 3 (Nov. 14, 1818) 134; Lester J. Cappon, ed., The Adams-Jefferson Letters, The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams, 2 vols., (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1959) 2: 310-311
Note 4: Justice Joseph Story, "Discourse, Pronounced at the Request of the Essex Historical Society, Sept. 18, 1828, in Commemoration of the First Settlement of Salem," from The Miscellaneous Writings, Literary, Critical, Juridical of Joseph Story LL.D. (Boston, 1835) 80; Story to William W. Story, Feb. 21, 1836 in William W. Story, ed., Life and Letters of Joseph Story, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and Dana Professor of Law at Harvard University, 2 vols., (Boston: Charles C. Little & James Brown, 1851), II, 229. For a summary of Story's life and works, see entry by Paul Finkelman, in John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography hereafter cited as ANB (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999) 20: 889-893
Note 5: See Isaac McLellan, "The Lament of the Last of the Tribes," Southern Literary Messenger, vol. 11 (September 1845) 538-539; Charles Sprague, "American Independence: An Oration Pronounced before the Inhabitants of Boston, July 4, 1825," The Poetical and Prose Writings of Charles Sprague (Boston, 1851) 150-53; for image"as the snow melts before the sunbeam" see "North American Indians," Quarterly Review (London) XXXI (Apr. 1824) 108; Tudor, "An Address delivered to the Phi Beta Kappa Society, at their anniversary meeting at Cambridge," NAR, 2 (1815) 19; for Henry Clay's remarks, see Annals of Congress, 15th Session, Jan. 20, 1819, p. 639; for "like a promontory," see Georgia senator John Elliot, Feb. 25, 1825, Register of Debates in Congress, 18th Cong.., 2nd sess., 9. 640; Eliza B. Lee, Naomi: orBoston Two Hundred Years Ago (1847)
Note 6: Review of James Buchanan's Sketches of the History, Manners, and Customs of the North American Indians in U.S. Literary Gazette, vol. 1, #19 (Jan. 15, 1825) 202; William Tudor Jr., review of Samuel Penhallow's The History of the Wars of New-England, with the Eastern Indians, or Narrative of Their Continued Perfidy [shortened title], NAR, 7 (May 1816) 1
Note 7: Edward Everett, review of A Report to the Secretary of War of the U. S. on Indian Affairs, comprising a narrative of a Tour performed, in the Summer of 1820, under a Commission from the President of the U. S., for the purpose of ascertaining, for the use of the government, the actual State of the Indian Tribes, in our Country: By Rev. Jedidiah Morse, D.D., in NAR, 16, #2 (1823) 32-37
Note 8: For Samuel Johns, see Worcester Probate Registry, 134: 76, Uxbridge Selectmen's request of March 20, 1819 and appointment of guardians, ibid.192: 486; ibid.134, passim, for comparable requests from 1809 through 1821 appointing guardians in 143 instances, many other cases involving alcohol. Johns is the only Native American in records from 1809 to 1821. On March 27, 1781, he appeared at court, see MS Records of the Court of Inferior Pleas, Worcester County Justice of the Peace Records, Sept. 1780-Dec. 1784, 15: 20; for Hannah Dexter, see Biglow, History of the Town of Natick, 83-84; for Polly Johns, see Mass. Archives, #7153, Unpassed Senate Legislation for 1824, also for Polly Johns, see petition, January 7, 1822, of Westborough, Mass. selectmen to General Court, explaining that "She was taken and carried to the house of Mr. John Warren, where she was comfortably provided for," until death May 7, 1822, the amount sought for nursing, doctoring, funeral expenses, etc. totaling $18.67; for Patience Job, see Farmer's Gazette [Barre, Massachusetts], Oct. 24, 1834
Note 9: Descriptions of the Dorus, Sarah Green and Quan families are from "Indian Families Who Have Lived in this Vicinity," the Warren [Mass.] Herald, June 18, 1897, by Emily Allen Woods, formerly of Brimfield, then of Worcester, born at Brimfield in 1820, writing in response to the Brimfield history of George Hyde. Hyde's work provided little information on regional Native people, many of whom Mrs. Woods knew. There are "few now living in Brimfield who have seen real Indians in their Native condition," she claims, "one generation more and their memory will be obliterated." She documents several Native families from the area, explaining "I cannot speak of them as 'that noble race and brave,' for they did not strike me that way, but rather as a dirty wandering set who did no good to anybody, and our only respect for them rests on their being the first occupants of the soil." See also, Oliver A. Hiscox, "The Last of the Wabbaquassets," in Albert Lincoln, ed., A Modern History of Windham County, 2 vols. (Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1920) I, 62; "The Indian family, John and Sarah Quan, with their children, who once lived near Alum Pond, were of the Mohegan tribe. John had been a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and came to this town from Norwich, Conn.," in Rev. Charles M. Hyde, Historical Celebration of the Town of Brimfield, Hampden County, Mass., Wednesday, October 11, 1876, (Springfield, Mass.: Clark W. Bryan Co., Printers, 1879) 21
Note 10: In 1848, for example, the state Senate's Joint Committee on Claims determined there were 782 Indians supported by the Commonwealth including fifty-three Nipmucs identified as Dudley "Tribe" or Grafton "Tribe." In the following year, at Nipmuc Webster reservation, commissioners enumerated forty-eight individuals, in eleven families, some farming on the twenty-six acre reservation; others were employed in surrounding towns. Also tallied were twenty-six Indians called the "Grafton Tribe." These Nipmucs were among 847 Indians under guardianship in Massachusetts.
Note 11: Of the 181 people connected to Nipmuc families in Earle's report, 147 of these individuals, including forty-eight persons at Worcester, resided in area towns; another twenty-one persons lived beyond central Massachusetts borders; two young Nipmucs were institutionalized, one at a reform school, the other at an insane asylum; and, the whereabouts of another eleven Nipmucs, included among them, Mrs. Amey Robinson, a "migratory Indian doctor," could not be ascertained. Earle tallied two "Natick" households, twenty-five "Hassanamisco" or Grafton-related households and twenty-six "Dudley" households.
Note 12: Jehovah clearing the "uncouth wilderness" for about a month in 1618, a comet, visible even in the daytime, was an event for Massachusetts Native people, and in their "uncouth sight they expected some strange thing to happen," according to Edward Johnson. As "the ancient Indians report[ed]" the summer after "the blazing starre" there befell a "great mortality among them, the greatest that ever took place among them" devastating coastal populations from the Micmacs in Maine to the Pequots of southeastern Connecticut. Within this geographical range, the epidemic was "a sore Consumption, sweeping away whole Families, but chiefly yong Men and Children, the very seeds of increase" so that some "Wigwams lie full of dead Corpes." Even the medicine men or "their Powwows themselves were often smitten with death strokes." Edward Johnson, Wonder-Working Providence, [Jameson edition], 39. 40-42. No less tempted than the "heathens" to look for cosmic "signs" in nature requiring interpretation, Johnson claims that the comet "whose motion in the Heavens was from East to West " was "poyinting out to the sons of men the progress of the glorious Gospell of Christ." For the necessity to "see" God's hand in nature and Puritan theology, see Perry Miller's almost "classic" Seventeenth Century Mind.
During the "great mortality" of this contagion, "howling and lamentation was much heard among the living," who, in fear, "oftimes left their dead unburied," and "remove their habitations at the death of any." The "great mortality" was "an unwonted thing, feared them, because naturally the Country is very healthy," wrote Johnson. Similarly, The Planters Plea reported "a three yeares Plague, which swept away most of the inhabitants all along the Sea Coast, and in some place utterly consumed man, woman, and childe, so that there is no person left to lay claim to the soyle," and Morton claimed that "The hand of God fell heavily upon them, with such a mortal stroake, that they died on heapes." [The Planters Plea, London, 1630, chap. IV; Thomas Morton, New English Canaan, chap III]
In 1621 Edward Winslow wrote that God had sent a "wonderful plague" among them to destroy them and leave their lands free for occupation.[ Edward Winslow, letter of Dec. 11, 1621, in Alexander Young, ed., Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1841) 232-233; John Smith Advertisments for the Unexperienced Planters of New England, etc., 1639, [various editions] 9] John Smith, however, provided more detailed descriptions of diseases preceding the attempts to colonize Massachusetts Bay; for him it was as if God had:
Provided this County for our Nation, destroying the natives by the plague, it not touching an Englishman, though many traded and were conversant amongst them; for they had three plagues in three years successively near two hundred miles along the Sea coast, that in some places there scarce remained five of the hundred but it is most certaine there was an exceeding great plague amongst them: for where I have seene two or three hundred, within three years after remained scarce thirty, but what disease it was the Salvages knew not till the English told them, never having seene nor heard of the like before.
These authors and other early writers agree that the epidemic was the "meanes Christ not only mad roome for his people to plant," by which Providence also "tamed the hard and cruel hearts of those barbarous Indians, insomuch that halfe a handfull of his people landing not long after in Plimoth-Plantation, found little resistance." [Johnson, Wonder-Working Providence, 41-42]
From this first working of Providence in removing Native people were constructed elements of the history of Massachusetts predicated upon a disappearance of aboriginal populations. While still in England in 1629, Winthrop, for example, distributed a brief writing consisting of objections to migration to Massachusetts with responses; among eight questions propounded was the following:
the whole earth is the Lord's garden, and he hath given it to the sons of Adam to be tilled and improved by them. Why then should we stand starving here for places of habitation, many men spending as much labor and cost to recover or keep sometimes an acre or two of lands as would procure him many hundreds of acres, as good or better, in another,), and in the mean time suffer whole countries, as profitable for the use of man, to lie waste without improvment?
Winthrop's answer claimed that in New England, "this savage people ruleth over many lands without title or property; for they enclose no ground, neither have they cattle to maintain it, but remove their dwellings as they have occasion, or as they can prevail against their neighbors." He wondered why "Christians" should not, then, "have the liberty to go and dwell amongst them in their waste lands and woods as lawfully as Abraham did amongst the Sodomites?" Bay States Indians could be left "such places as they have manured for their corn," according to Winthrop, and Europeans "shall come in with good leave of the natives." He offered two additional and related responses: that there "is more than enough for them and us," and that "God hath consumed the natives with a miraculous plague, whereby the greater part of the country is left void of inhabitants." See John Winthrop, GeneralConsiderations For Planting New-England, in Alexander Young, ed., Chronicles of the First Planters of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay from 1623 to1636, hereafter cited as Mass. Bay Chronicles (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1841) 275-277
Thus, even before the arrival of Puritans in Massachusetts, an "official story" had been constructed,one predicated has resonated in American historiographical traditions.[In a somewhat more sympathetic view of these same historical works, one study found that "In part the Puritans were eager to record their history because they were justifiably proud of what they had done, although they normally channeled that pride into sincere paeans to the Almighty," and "the Puritans wrote narratives of a New England tribe organically unified and spiritually journeying in an atmosphere of frequent indifference and hostility in writing their histories they expanded the spiritual biography to include, not only the individual, but the entire tribe," Cecelia L. Halbert, "The Art of the Lords Remembrancers: A Study of New England Puritan Histories," (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of California Davis, 1968) 29,57]
Francis Higginson, however, wrote in 1629, that Mattachusett Bay Natives, "about twelve years since, were swept away by a great and grievous plague that was amongst them, so that there are very few left to inhabit the country." As they were disappearing, "The Indians are not able to make use of the one fourth of the land; neither have they any settled places, as towns, to dwell; nor any ground as they challenge for their own possession, but change their habitation from place to place." For Higginson, because there was an "abundance of ground that they cannot possess of make use of," and because they were "often endangered" before the arrival of the English, the newcomers were "both a relief to them when they want, and also a defence to their enemies," so that the Native people "do generally profess to like well of our coming and planting here." See Francis Higginson's New-England's Plantation, [shortened title] various editions, first published London, 1630, here Young, ed., Mass. BayChronicles, 256-57
Some of the "ground" desired by English immigrants included: areas like Namkeag or Salem where Europeans found an "abundance of corn planted by them, very good and well liking," according to Higginson; Dorchester with "very fertile soil," and a "great store of plain ground, without trees" where was located the enormous Massachusett Field growing area; and numerous other fertile locations shaped over generations by Native American agriculturists.
The desirability of these growing fields worked by Indians was apparent to immigrants much as Johnson wrote in 1633, "cutting down of Woods," colonists "inclose Corne fields, the Lord having mitigated their labours by the Indians frequent fiering of the wood." He tells us Natives did this that "they have may not be hindered in hunting Venson, and Beares in the Winter season," which made areas "thin of Timber in many places like our Parkes in England." Likewise Higginson claimed, "Though all the country be, as it were thick wood for the general, yet in divers places there is much ground cleared by the Indians and I am told that about three miles from us a man may stand on a little hilly place and see divers thousands of acres of ground as good as need be, and not a tree in the same." See Salem description by Higginson, in Young ed., Mass. Bay Chronicles, 258-259; the Johnson quotation is from Wonder-Working Providence [Jameson edition] 85; Massachusett Fields are mentioned by several earlier writers including, here, William Wood, NewEngland's Prospect,. Vaughan, ed., 58; final citation, Higginson, ibid., 244
In the winter of 1633-1634, however, a second epidemic struck with ferocity in the Native communities decimating survivors of the earlier contagion.
At several coastal locations Natives and English immigrants were contesting ownership to real estate including growing fields Indians attempted to retain; in Johnson's language, Indians who "held good correspondencey with the English" began to quarrel "about their bounds of Land but the Lord put an end to this quarrell also, by smiting the Indians with a sore Disease" and "thus did the Lord allay their quarrelsome spirits, and made room for the following part of his Army." Bluntly, Winthrop wrote about the second plague, Bay State Indians "are neere all dead of the small Poxe, so as the Lord hathe cleared out title to what he possess." See Johnson, Wonder-Working Providence, 79-80; John Winthrop, Letter of May 24, 1634, in Winthrop Papers (Boston: Mass. Historical Society, 1943) III, 167
A subtext to period descriptions of the second epidemic, one met in many nineteenth-century histories tells us how "nobly" the "founding fathers" behaved during the Indians' sufferings. Winthrop claimed "that when their own people forsook them, yet the English came daily and ministered to them; and yet few, only two families, took any infection from it." Charlestown's town records state, "They could not bury their dead; the English were constrained to help; and that which is remarkable is, that though the English did frequently visit them in their sickness, notwithstanding the infection, it was observed that not one Englishman was touched with the disease." See Winthrop, History of New-England, I, 119-20; The Early Records of Charlestown, in Young, ed., Mass. Bay Chronicles, 386
Although "great numbers of them died," the "servants of Christ minding their Masters business," were "much moved in affection toward them." This affection led to "entering their Wigwams, and exhorting them in the Name of the Lord." according to Johnson's narrative."The Winters piercing cold stayed not the strength of this hot Disease," but English people "endeavouring to visit their sick Wigwams, helpe them all they could." The dead "they left oft-times unburied, wherefore the English were forced to dig holes, and drag their stinking corps into them." See Johnson, Wonder-Working Providence, 79-80
The response of the succeeding generation of Puritan historians to the second epidemic was imagining this "great plague" among Native people a further sign of Jehovah, clearing aboriginal inhabitants from an "uncouth wilderness." As a digest of Charlestown records compiled in the 1660s stated:
At this time began a most grievous and terrible sickness amongst the Indians, who were exceeding numerous about us Their disease was generally the small pox, which raged not only amongst these, but amongst the Eastern Indians also, and in a few months swept away multitudes of them, young and old. it was extremely infectious among themselves, and moral where it took any of them; insomuch as there was scarce any of them left. By which awful and admirable dispensation it pleased God to make room for his people of the English nation; who after this without this remarkable and terrible stroke of God upon the natives, would with much more difficulty have found room, and at far greater charge have obtained and purchased land. See "The Early Records of Charlestown," in Young, ed., Mass. Bay Chronicles, 386-387
Not only do many nineteenth-century historians accept this "official" rendering of the disappearance of Massachusetts Indians as fact, but some applaud and congratulate the "founding fathers" on their equitable dealings with Natives. For example, in the 1840s, Alexander Young, editor of Chronicles of the Pilgrim ofthe Colony of Plymouth, which was followed by a companion compilation entitled Chronicles of theFirst Planters of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay from 1623 to 1636,commented on instructions from England to the colony to acquire land from Indians legally:
These instructions were literally and scrupulously observed by the first settlers or Massachusetts as well as of Plymouth. They made conscience of paying the natives to their satisfaction for all parts of the territory which were not depopulated, or deserted, and left without a claimant.
Young goes on to endorse a 1767 letter from the Massachusetts government to Lord Shelburne, Crown Colonial Secretary that claimed:
We are satisfied there no complaints against this Province by his Majesty's agents for Indian Affairs; and that no settlement by us has been made or attempted without proper authority we remind your Excellency and inform the world, that greater care was taken of the Indians by our pious ancestors by the government even to this day, than was ever required of us Nothing has been omitted by the province since 1633 to this day, which justice or humanity required We glory in the conduct of our government, we make boast of it as unexampled.
While this represents Young's notion of aboriginal dispossession of lands, he also offered an explanation for Puritan delays in undertaking specific missionary activities for conversion of Indians, a rationale for the Massachusetts Bay charter; in this, he is also followed by subsequent writers. For Young:
The first planters of Massachusetts have been reproached for not attending sooner to one of the professed designs of their Plantation, the conversion of the Indians to Christianity. The reproach is unmerited. They attended to it as soon as possible. For a while they had to struggle with disease and famine and the manifold hardships attendant upon a new settlement. They also had to set up a Church and a State in the wildness. Then came the Antinomian controversy, and immediately upon that, broke out the Pequot war. During all this period they had no fit opportunity to engage in this great work, and no suitable instruments to prosecute it. As soon as these were raised up by Providence, they entered upon the work " See Annotations in Young, ed., Mass. Bay Chronicles, 159-160, 258.
For a similar contemporary explanation, for example, in the most recent, third edition of Alden T. Vaughan's NewEngland Frontier, Puritans and Indians 1620-1675 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press,1995), 236- 239, it is claimed, "There is, then, some justification in the customary charge that the Puritans were slow to meet the challenge of propagating the Gospel among the Indians But in fairness to those who remained faithful to resolves of the early years, critics should consider the obstacles that confronted the first settlers " Not only were Natives "reluctant" to embrace missionary work, according to Vaughan, but "the struggles of the first settlements demanded all the Puritan's attention. Survival in the New World environment proved more challenging than most Englishmen had expected, and for a time precluded missionary efforts." He also maintains that the Puritan emphasis on conversion and full church membership prevented Bay missionaries from "claiming to convert the red man merely by sprinkling him with holy water and gaining permission to raise a cross in the native village." There were "no religious orders to appoint some of their members as missionaries," with the result that the "only" missionaries 17th natives saw "were those who stole time from parish work." And, lastly, "there was the barrier of language."
Note 13: For example, on receipt of announcement that he had been appointed "a receiving officer" of AAS in New Jersey for the year 1823, Joseph Bloomfield responded, "The Committee, appointed by the American Philosophical Society, held in Philadelphia, are very industrious in procuring all that can be obtained relative to such Antiquities, as are discovered in the Western part of New Jersey; and, the New-York-historical-Society are equally industrious, for the like purpose in the Eastern part of N. Jersey; so that, little or no encouragement can be given to obtaining in this State, the information solicited, by the American Antiquarian Society." [Letter Joseph Bloomfield to Rejoice Newton, Jan. 17, 1823, AAS Archives, Correspondence 1820-1829] Likewise, when designated a corresponding and receiving officer, in 1819, Nathan Guilford explained from Cincinnati that he had "as yet received no articles of Antiquity," but had "collected some anecdotes and traditions illustrative of the character of the aborigines." With "leisure to digest" them he would submit a report to AAS. To obtain objects, Guilford would use "the medium of the prints, since we are founding a Museum in this city, and another is founding at Lexington which will be likely to collect and monopolize what few articles of antiquity the country contains." [See Nathan Guilford to Rejoice Newton Thomas, Apr. 4, 1819, AAS Archives, Correspondence 1812-1819]
Note 14: In February 1819, for example, Oliver Fiske wrote to Members it was "requested that articles of Indian fabrication may be accompanied with some account of the place of their deposit, probable age, supposed use, and any other matter which may elucidate their history." Accounts communicated by mail, or through Receiving Officers or to either of the AAS secretaries were "particularly desirable," the organization's request "particularly addressed to Members residing in the Western States, where, it is supposed, such remains are the most numerous and perfect."
Note 15: Letter Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Burnside, Aug. 2, 1814, AAS Recording Secretary, AAS Archives, Correspondence 1812-1819; Letter Thomas Jefferson to Rejoice Newton, Dec. 8, 1821, AAS Recording Secretary, ibid., Correspondence 1820-1829
Note 16: AAS Members undertook various on various tasks and assignments, as illustrated by the following selections from their extensive correspondence in the Society's Archives:
[a] In 1822, Jacob B. Moore wrote from Concord, New Hampshire to Isaiah Thomas that "in return for the distinguished honor of becoming a member" he felt elevation should "induce me to present" to AAS a document entitled "Indian Antiquities in New Hampshire." Moore's report, complete with map drawing, described "remain" of an "ancient fort," at Sanbornton, New Hampshire. Regretting that "none of those great works which are found in the western sections of our country, and which exalt our opinions of the character and power of their progenitors are to be found here," Moore explained, "Our tribes were of different habits, engaged more constantly in domestick pursuits." New Hampshire sites he enumerated were a tumulus at Ossipee; the appearance of another mound at Hinsdale; a mound at Stoddard; and the "fortress" at Sanbornton. He also mentions "traces of ancient works" at Salisbury and on the east side of the Merrimac River at Concord. In the course of his narrative of the Sanbornton site, Moore claims, "There have been found within and nears the walls, great numbers of Indian ornaments, pipes of stone, and of clay; coarse pottery, ornamented with figures, arrow-heads, hatchets, chisels, etc. On the island in the bay, similar implements have been found, and skeletons disinterred." His narrative concludes, "It may, perhaps, be thought by some, that minute descriptions of works so small in comparison with those of the west, are of no value, but it should be remembered that history is composed of items," and even though "we possess no great and splendid monuments of the past, those which can be collected, though humble, should be preserved." [See Jacob B. Moore to Isaiah Thomas, Oct. 16, 1822, AAS Archives, Correspondence 1820-1829]
[b] In 1820, Moses Fiske prepared a report apparently requested by Isaiah Thomas on "some ancient graves" recently discovered near Sparta, Ohio. Specifically Thomas wanted information whether these graves supported notions that "tribes" of ancient pygmies and giants had lived side by side in the southeast. Fiske's pursuit is typical of many AAS Members responding to the Society at Worcester:
It has not been convenient till now, to answer your letter of August 5, requesting me to make enquiry, whether the statements in a certain publication respecting some ancient graves and their contents lately discovered near Sparta in this state, are correct, and to inform the Society.
I had perused the article in question but laid it aside as unsound; though recognizing and the language of one who has acquired celebrity among us by literary productions.
I formerly opened similar graves in a number of burying grounds near Nashville, never happening to suspect that I handled the relics either of Titans, or of pigmies, or of deified monkies. I was not searching for wonders.
But, as something very wonderful is now proclaimed to the world, I concluded, in order to afford you all the satisfaction in my power to visit the neighborhood of Sparta, forty miles from my residencewhere, if any where, I might expect to pack a pigmie skeleton into one end of my saddlebags, and balance it by the jaw bone of a giant in the other; either of which would be handsome curiosity. But I returned without them; and as incredulous as I went.
The height of the people, I was informed, had been estimated by the length of the graves; which had occasioned a slight mistake. For, upon further research, it appeared that the corpses were not laid in horizontally and straight. Sometimes the bones, it is evident, were separated from each other before their interment.
There is another error in the publication, as to the slabs of stone which constituted the coffins. Some of them in a number of graves that I examined are sandstone. The rocks employed are as rude as nature made them; generally the best differing in size, shape, and thickness; such, doubtless, as could be procured most conveniently. And as thin rocks are plentier about Nashville than about Sparta, the graves at the former place were usually larger.
The rock exhibited at the surface nearest to the plantation of Mr. Lane, the elder, are chiefly amorphous masses; not suitable for such a purpose. But he lives between two forks of the river, and within three miles of each; where the limestone varies, and, in places, is better stratified.
And concerning the pots and shells;There was no uniformity as to the size, shape, or colour of the former, or the number of the latter. Some pots are brown; some brick-coloured. Several shells have been found in some graves; in some, neither pot nor shell; in some, a pot without shells; and in some several pots.
I once took a pot from a grave, a child's I called it, which two table spoonfuls of water will fill I have another found with some human bones in a cave that holds upwards of two quarts.
I would not undertake to say, whether the pots were "water-vessels," or soup-cups. But I am not convinced with the vivid writer of that memoir, that the little univalve shells were deposited in them for "dippers." Acorn-shells would have been far preferable. For, it may possibly surprise you to learn that these notable "conchshells" are not larger than acorns of several species. And since he has led the way into the field of conjecture, I will venture to imagine that they were valuable, either as a circulating medium, or, perhaps more probably, as toys for children.
Mr. Lane had been able to dig out the bones of one of the small skeletons entire, and had sent them to Messrs. Earl and Tunstall, who are establishing a museum at Nashville. Its length, he stated, was thirty-two inches. And he is very confident, still relying on the compact junction of the scull-bones, that it was an adult. But had it the serotine teethdentes sapientiae? This he had not considered; but said, that it must have had its full number, as there was no room for another. Yet he had disinterred the bones of a large person from a grace of the same sort, which he observed had one tooth more in a jaw than the smaller one.
He had never himself seen any bones of the gigantic order; and could not tell the situation of any of their graves, except one, and that only from information. But I found and examined it.
It is about three miles from Sparta, northeast, on the inner edge of a moat which once surrounded a small village, since covered by an overgrown forest, now part of a cornfield, where many graves have been effaced by the ploughshare and otherwise. This was not included in the field, nor ever disturbed till lately, and then but partially, and its contents immediately restored. It was three feet in length and twenty inches in breadth. Most of the bones were decayed, broken and friable. But those that remained indicated a "goodly" personnot a Goliath not larger, by my estimation, than members who now reside within five miles of the spotlittle, perhaps, if any, over six feet.
A couple of pots stood by his head, but too tender to be taken out whole. They contained no shells. And I discovered none in the grave, except one valve of a muscle-shell, considerably decayed.
It would not have been much of a miracle, if those ancients, accustomed to labour, to the chase, and to warfare, in a country so extensive and fertile, and favoured with such a climate had, generally, attained a large growth; and less miraculous, if a few individuals among them, like Saul among the Israelites, were, from their "shoulders and upward, higher than any of the people." And what wonder, if some of our contemporaries, who should happen to discover the bones of such a one should describe them a little rhetorically? He was a giant. And, it being no less easy to multiply than to magnify, after two or three such discoveriesThey were a race of giants. And, now, by way of contrast, they are attended by a race of pigmies; not indeed quite so diminutive as those that were formerly killed by cranes.
But if such races existed in this country, there is room enough left to expect ample demonstration of the fact. So many depositions of the dead remain unresearched, that cabinets may yet be furnished from them with the bones of both pigmies and of giantspossibly, to our great astonishment, of some of the formidable old Cyclops.
But nothing has appeared to convince me, even, that those pristine people were of two different nations. Would there be such a similarity in the vestiges left behind them which are best calculated to acquaint us with their condition and management? We every where observe the same tokens; signs of a gloomy species of dwelling-houses of rude fortifications, and of clumsy mounds; the same sort of rough earthen-ware, of stone axes, and chisels, and other utensils; similar weapons of war, similar methods of treating their dead; whether their bones were thrown promiscuously into caves or barrows; or laid near the surface; coarsely encompassed with stone bearing some faint analog to coffins; or buried at a greater depth in earth.
And if they migrated from two different nations more especially if, the individuals of one were remarkably large and of the other remarkably small; a proof of widely different climates and modes of living; would they have become so intimately blended? As their bones were huddled together after death; their graves intermixed, a great and a small one's often contiguous to each other; and the practice of depositing articles for their use or gratification of their manes common to both; may we not strongly presume, that they were tenants in common of the same territory at the same time, descendants from the same original nation; and, consequently, that the small ones were only adolescents? I have no doubts. But, if it is a problem, it will be satisfactorily solved.
Already tedious, I add but another paragraph; diverging a little from the main scope.
As a single skeleton, though evidently of an adult, and no bigger than a poetical pigmy, would not be considered as proof, that a nation of pigmies had ever existed; because it might be the skeleton of a dwarf, so I trust, that a Roman coin found in one of these old forts, would be no evidence, that the fort was constructed by a Roman legion, or even, that a single Roman, Trojan or Rutulian, was ever in America. Nor, according to my feeble judgment, would a few silver hilts, brass screws, or steel hatchets, satisfy the enquirer, that those ancients possessed the crucibles, and other apparatus, and the practical skill, with which such articles are fabricated. Might they not have been brought by the first adventurers from their native country? Might they not, in the lapse of ages, have been obtained from Europeans, or others, ship-wrecked upon the coast?
I am with very great respect
[See Moses Fiske to Isaiah Thomas, Oct. 17, 1820, AAS Archives, Correspondence 1820-1829]
Note 17: See Andrew Jackson to Rejoice Newton, Nashville, Dec. 15, 1821], "I had the honor yesterday to receive a Diploma as a member of the American Antiquarian Society, instituted for the purpose of collecting & preserving Material for the history and for promoting the Arts and Sciences of this Western Continent I will at all times contribute every thing which may present itself, likely to promote the very laudable views of the Society." The AAS Archives do not confirm receipt of any printed, manuscript or material objects from Jackson.
Note 18: One of the more curious items offered to AAS during the Society's early years was the skull of a horse, the circumstances of the offer explained in an 1817 letter.
Patent Office Washington ---- April 30th ---- 1817 ----
To The Honorable Benja. Russell
Editor of the Columbian Centinel
You being one of the members of the Massachusetts Antiquarian Society, I have, not knowing the brother Officer taken, taken the liberty of doing myself the honor of forwarding to your care, the celebrated course's head, on which Genl Ross rode. And, was killed at the capture of this City in 1814--- The first vessel that leaves Alexandria will convey it with this to you.
The Horse whose head this was, was of the first blood of England, and highly prized by his master, who had rode him during two campaign in Spain, his color was of glossy jet black, and he was of the finest form and simeture. But the manner of his death, the time, the occasion, and some other circumstance of which I will relate, render in my opinion, his head, a worthy trophy for the Antiquarian's shelf------
After the American forces were routed and had fled in all directions, the enemy refreshed himself and then took up an unmolested march for the City. The gallant Ross mounted on his charger with a few light troops (Riflemen) formed the advance, having arrived near to a brick house about an eighth of a mile from the Capital and being rashly one mile in advance from the main body of his army, he was shot at from the windows of the brick house by some sailors, then belonging to the Comr. Barneys Flotilla. His horse received two wounds thro' the body and fell. Gen. Ross after ordering a part of his detachment to surround the house, seeing the wound were mortal, gave orders to a platoon of his men to shoot the agonising animal, in order to curtail the period of misery, which circumstance accounts fore the five shot holes through the head, as you will perceive. ---- The brave Genl was no less considerate for the mad tars who had shot in the first place, his valued beast. At first, considering how dastardly it was for three or four men to shoot at him from a house, But when he saw those men in the stairs way gallantly defending themselves against numbers, he relented, and ordered them spared; adding that they were the only brave Yankees they had met with that day. His horses body was removed a few rods from the road where he fell to an adjoining field. where the birds of prey and the elements, soon left nothing but the blanched skeleton.--- No notice was after taken of the remains. until on the fourth of March last, (the day of inauguration) when at the time the President was reading his speech, a bird called the Turkey Buzzard, after scaling round and over the throng of People that were collected, made a pitch forward towards the bones of this horse, and taking the top part of the head which I send you in his claws, carried it nearly half a mile, when he let it fall on the Pena Avenue near the little bridge thrown over the insignificant stream called the Tyber.---- On the return of the President his horses took fright at it and came near baptizing his new hatched dignity by running off the bridge and thereby emptying him into the stream. ------An event so novel, fastened my attention, having noticed the Buzzards taking it up, and letting it fall, with the fright of the President's horses I was led to examine it, and on ascertaining it to be the head of Genl Ross's horse, I ordered it to be carried to my office where I kept it until a thought suggested itself to me of presenting it to your Society. The foregoing will add one conclusive proof to controvert the ridiculous assertions of some of our prints wherein the bird in question had been represented as a eagle, which kind of birds are never seen in this section of the U.S. excepting in print and paint.---Were I given to superstition I could [illegible] an endless number of evil forbodings; at least it seems as if the English had left a kind of instinct behind them, when we see the harmless head of their Genl horse, the cause of throwing a new born Chief into a second panic. However I will abstain from any further remarks. and leave you to please you fancy, if you are disposed. Permit me to ask your pardon for the presumption of sending it to you, as I have not the honor of being personally acquainted with any Gentlemen of your Institution--
NB. I amuse myself occasionally by writing mottos upon it, which I have left on---
Your with high consideration,
Honble Benja Russell
(You are at liberty to make use of this communication as you think proper, however save my remarks on the [illegible] of you attach my name)
[AAS Archives, Correspondence 1812-1819, the "gift" described in this letter, not listed in the AAS Donation Book; no further information on this object located in AAS files]
Note 18: A practicing attorney and editor of the Worcester newspaper, the Aegis, Lincoln was the youngest son of Levi Lincoln Sr., governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Jefferson's Attorney General and prominent local resident. Lincoln's brothers included Levi Lincoln Jr., governor of Massachusetts, congressman, Worcester mayor and Enoch Lincoln, governor of Maine. All four Lincolns were AAS Members, Council Members or Officers. They donated books, manuscripts, pamphlets, newspapers and funds to the organization, using their extensive political and social connections on behalf of AAS in acquiring materials from private individuals and public agencies and in strengthening AAS relationships to other institutions like the Mass. Historical Society of which several of the Lincolns were also members. Author of the first history of Worcester, William Lincoln, with Christopher Baldwin, co-edited and co-published quarterly Worcester Magazine and Historical Journal from 1825 through 1826, where numerous articles reinforced the disappearance of local Native Americans, although both Lincoln and Baldwin are responsible for significant AAS acquisitions such as John Eliot's Indian Bible and a copy of De Bry.
Note 19: Objects of material culture of Nipmuc people received by AAS. Between 1890 and 1910, AAS conveyed to Harvard's Peabody Museum no less than 1838 objects excluding "specimens." Included among items were materials found in the greater Worcester area.. Among objects found within aboriginal territory of the Nipmucs and donated to AAS were:
Apr. 20, 1814: half a stone bowl, found in the margin of Long Pond in Worcester, from Edward Bangs, "unquestionably the work of native Indians before the settlement of the town by our forefathers," [I. 2 Citations, unless otherwise indicated, from "Donation Book Museum Articles," typescript Katherine Reid 1948, from manuscript volumes, AAS Archives]
May 15, 1815: An Indian pounder, ploughed up in a field in West Boylston, Mass., Rev. William Nash of West Boylston," [I. 5]
July 25, 1815: "an Indian stone axe, a chissel, a gouge. Ploughed up in a field near the Long Pond, in Worcester, some years ago. Dr. John Green, Worcester," [I. 5]
stone gouch [gouge] 12 ½ inches in length, in use by the aborigines before the settlement of Massachusetts by Europeans, dug up in the field of Amos Lawrence in Groton," Amos Lawrence of Groton [I. 9]
Apr. 10, 1818: "An Indian stone pestle, 11 inches in length, ploughed up in a field near Worcester," Dr. John Green, of Worcester [I. 10]
July 6, 1819: "An ancient piece of sculpture, Indian, in stone, resembling the skull of a deer. Dug up in a field in Petersham, Mass.." Mr. Chandler, Petersham [I. 2]
Apr. 22, 1821: "A stone gouge of ancient Indian manufacture. Dug in Hubbardston, Mass., near where was formerly a beaver dam. The utensil is of very hard stone and a remarkably good edge." Asa Wheeler, Esq., Hubbardston, Mass. [I. 18]
Oct. 27, 1825: "A stone gooch [gouge] found near Feather Bed Meadow [sic] in Worcester, Mass." William and Silas Barber, Worcester [I. 23]
Apr. 29, 1826: "An Indian bow, taken from an Indian, near Sudbury, Mass., A.D. 1660, by Wm. Godnough, who shot the Indian who owned it while he was ransacking Mr. Godnough's house for plunder. This was at a time when we were at war with the Indians." Rev. Chas. W. Crosby, West Boylston [I. 23]
Nov. 1, 1826: "Stone axe (Indian) found on Even Baldwin's farm in Templeton. 3 stone (Indian) gouges, ditto. A number of Indian flint arrowheads, ditto" "An Indian stone ornament, or object of worship, about 3 inches and a half inch; thick, found on Even Baldwin's farm in Templeton. Stone Indian utensil, supposed for a spoon, found at same place. Stone Indian ornament, or weight to fishing net, found same place. Fragment of soapstone Indian vessel, found same place. Stone Indian axe, found on farm of Elias Sawyer, Templeton, Mass.," Christopher C. Baldwin [I. 24-5]
Dec. 1, 1826 : "An Indian stone pestle and gouch, found in Worcester, and a part of an Indian stone bowl." Dr. John Green Worcester [I. 25]
June 1, 1827 : "An Indian stone chisel, found on the farm of William and Silas Barber, Worcester, Mass." William and Silas Barber [I. 25]
Aug. 1827: "A stone gouge Indian/ A stone pestle "/ A stone ornament " / Fragments of a stone bowl./ Ploughed up at different times in fields of Josiah Flagg, Lancaster, Mass., and presented by him to the Society." [I. 25]
Jan. 20, 1832: "A soapstone pipe with flat stem near an inch in width, together with a metal spoon both found near a spring in the town of Woodstock, Conn." Daniel G. Marcy [II. 1]
June 1832 :"an Indian gouge found in Worcester. Peter Rich, Junior." [II.1]
Sept. 1832 :"An Indian gouge. found in Worcester." George Trumbull, Jr., Worcester [II.2]
Sept. 1832: "An Indian axe of stone, found in Sutton." Capt. Josiah Hall, Sutton [II. 2]
May 1843:"An Indian pestle from Moses Bond, Sterling." [III. 3]
July 5, 1851: "Two stone Indian implements, pestle and gouge." John Whitney, Bolton [III. 3]
Oct. 16, 1816: "Several heads of Indian arrows, and a few Indian trinkets, found with a skeleton of an Indian in Natick, Mass., with a small junk bottle, also an Indian axe and several Indian utensils," [I. 7]
Note 20: At a meeting July 29, 1835, AAS voted "To send some suitable person to visit the Western Country, for the purpose of making examinations as contemplated by the will of Mr. Thomas, and that one hundred and fifty dollars be appropriated for that purpose that the Librarian be appointed and employed for that purpose." [AAS Archives, Folio Vol. 2.2 Records of the Council 1831-1907, p. 40]
Note 21: At a time when all educated persons were expected to know Latin, the Aeneid's "forsan et haec olim memnisse juvabit" was one of the more familiar lines of Vergil. The context of the line is:
revocate animos maestumque timorem
mittite; forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.
per varios casus, per tot discrimina rerum
tendimus in Latium, sedes ubi fata quietas
ostendun; illic fas regna resurgere Troaie.
durate, et vosmet rebus servate secundis
Aeneid, I, 102-7
Various translation possibilities from the following published versions:
"Take heart again, oh, put your dismal fears away!
One day--who knows?--even these will be grand things to look back on."
C. Day Lewis, The Aeneid of Virgil (Doubleday Anchor, 1953) p. 19
" call back your courage
And banish sad fear: perhaps you will one day be glad/
To remember these dangers"
L. R. Lins, The Aeneid An Epic Poem of Rome
(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1962) p. 8
" Renew your spirits, abandon this mourning
and fear: remembering all this someday may cheer you"
Edward McCrorie, The Aeneid (Ann Arbor: U. Michigan Press, 1995)
"Call the nerve back; dismiss the hear, the sadness.
Someday, perhaps, remembering even this
Will be a pleasure "
Role Humphries The Aeneid of Virgil A Verse Translation (NY; Scribners, 1951)
"Now call back
Your courage, and have done fear and sorrow.
Some day, perhaps, remembering even this
Will be a pleasure"
Robert Fitzgerald, The Aeneid (NY; Random House, 1981)
Perhaps, however, antebellum interpretation of the same line is provided in one of the time's widely used commentaries, John Connington's P. Vergili Maronis Opera (London: Whittaker & Co., 1863) where a note p. 11 proposed that Vergil's intention in forsan et haecolim meminisse juvabit was "we shall live to think of them as past, and recall them as we are now recalling previous perils." I would suggest that this or a comparable meaning may, indeed, animate the invocation of the passage by AAS