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efteemed of claffical purity, while the few who aimed at peculiarity of expreffion are defpifed as barbarous writers. We could inftance many English books, which have been published within these few years, that have attained a temporary celebrity by this falfe kind of merit, on which their authors value themfelves, being flattered with the idea that it will always continue to please; but vain are these hopes. Uncommon expreffions may catch the attention of the unthinking multitude, and be for a while admired; but the fame unfteadiness which gives them their prefent vogue, will beftow the preference on others, which enjoy the advantage of novelty. Thus will old affectations be continually expelled by new; and all will, at length, fink into oblivion; while a ftyle that is perfpicuous, natural, and expreffive, will continue to pleafe, from age to age, and be configned with honour to immortality.
ART. V. CARVER's American Travels, concluded: See Review for February.
TAVING given, in the Review above referred to, an account of Capt. Carver's motives for undertaking his travels into the interior of North America, and of the progrefs which he actually made, in the execution of his truly important and well-defigned plan, we will now proceed to lay before our Readers a few fpecimens of his manner of relating the occurrences of his adventure.
It is the privilege of travellers to excite our attention, by telling us fomething wonderful; and they are in the right of it; for ordinary matters do not strike us: we want, like the good people of old time, to hear fome new, i. e. fome ftrange thing. Here then is a ftrange story; and strange, indeed, as it appears to be, our Author himfelf, who tells it at fecond-hand, feems to believe it. It is a ftory of a ferpent.-Serpents have long been the fubjects of extraordinary narrations.
Speaking of the great number of rattle-fnakes which our Author obferved in the country of the Winnebagos, [fituated between Lake Michigan and the Miffiffippi] the Captain relates the following ftory concerning one of these reptiles, on the authority of a Monfieur Pinnifance, a French trader; and of which the Frenchman affured Mr. Carver he was an eye-wit ness, viz.
An Indian, belonging to the Menomonie nation, having taken a rattle fnake, found means to tame it; and when he had done this," treated it as a deity; calling it his Great Father, and carrying it with him in a box wherever he went. This the Indian had done for feveral fummers, when Monf. Pinnifance accidentally met with him at this Carrying-Place, juft as he was fetting off for a winter's hunt," The French gentleman was surprised, one day, to fee the Indian Rev. Apr. 1779.
place the box which contained his god on the ground, and opening the door give him his liberty; telling him, whilft he did it, to be fure and return by the time he himself fhould come back, which was to be in the month of May following. As this was but October, Monfieur told the Indian, whofe fimplicity astonished him, that he fancied he might wait long enough when May arrived, for the arrival of his Great Father. The Indian was fo confident of his creature's obedience, that he offered to lay the Frenchman a wager of two gallons of rum, that at the time appointed he would come and crawl into his box. This was agreed on, and the fecond week in May following fixed for the determination of the wager. At that period they both met there again; when the Indian fet down his box, and called for his Great Father. The snake heard him not; and the time being now expired, he acknowledged that he had loft. However, without feeming to be difcouraged, he offered to double the bett if his Great Father came not within two days more. This was further agreed on; when, behold, on the second day, about one o'clock, the fake arrived, and, of his own accord, crawled into the box, which was placed ready for him. The French gentleman vouched for the truth of this ftory, and from the accounts I have often received of the docility of thofe creatures, I fee no reafon to doubt his veracity.'
We have, here, likewife, an extraordinary account of the remains of an intrenchment, in the Indian country, which can hardly be supposed to have been the work of that people :
One day having landed on the fhore of the Miffiflippi, fome miles below Lake Pepin, whilft my attendants were preparing my dinner, I walked out to take a view of the adjacent country. I had not proceeded far, before I came to a fine, level, open plain, on' which I perceived, at a little distance, a partial elevation that had the appearance of an intrenchment. On a nearer inspection, I had greater reafon to fuppofe that it had really been intended for this, many centuries ago. Notwithstanding it was now covered with grafs, I could plainly difcern that it had once been a breast-work of about four feet in height, extending the best part of a mile, and fufficiently capacious to cover five thoufand men. Its form was fomewhat circular, and its flanks reached to the river. Though much defaced by time, every angle was diftinguishable, and appeared as regular, and fashioned with as much military skill, as if planned by Vauban himfelf. The ditch was not vifible, but I thought, on examining more curiously, that I could perceive there certainly had been one. From its fituation alfo, I am convinced that it must have been defigned for this purpose. It fronted the country, and the rear was covered by the river; nor was there any rifing ground for a confiderable way that commanded it; a few ftraggling oaks were alone to be feen near it. In many places fmall tracks were worn across it by the feet of the elks and deer, and from the depth of the bed of earth by which it was covered, I was able to draw certain conclufions of its great antiquity. I examined all the angles and every part with great attention, and have often blamed myfelf fince, for not encamping on the spot, and drawing an exact plan of it. To fhew that this defcription is not the offspring of a heated imagination, or the chime
rical tale of a mistaken traveller, I find on enquiry fince my return, that Monf. St. Pierre and feveral traders have, at different times; taken notice of fimilar appearances, on which they have formed the fame conjectures, but without examining them fo minutely as I did. How a work of this kind could exift in a country that has hitherto (according to the general received opinion) been the feat of war to untutored Indians alone, whofe whole ftock of military knowledge has only, till within two centuries, amounted to drawing the bow, and whofe only breast-work even at prefent is the thicket, I know not. I have given as exact an account as poffible of this fingular appearance, and leave to future explorers of these distant regions to difcover whether it is a production of nature or art. Perhaps the hints I have here given might lead to a more perfect investigation of it, and give us very different ideas of the ancient ftate of realms that we at prefent believe to have been from the earliest period only the habitations of favages.'
On first perufing this account, we were tempted to offer some conjectures on the extraordinary effect of Nature's operations, in many curious inftances, where Art almost feems to have been imitated; and, particularly, where beautiful resemblances are feen (or fancied) in rare ftones, or in the grain of wood.-But, without actually viewing the fuppofed intrenchment mentioned by Mr. Carver, it were vain to reafon upon it, on any princi ples of analogy.-It may, in fact, have been not an accidental appearance, formed, as other inequalities have been, by the hand of Nature, on the furface of the earth, but a military work, performed in remote ages, of the hiftory of which we are totally ignorant; and compared with which, all known history is modern.
The following intelligence of a nation of Indians, inhabiting the country to the north-weft of the heads of the rivers Mefforie and the St. Pierre, who are, as yet, uncontaminated by European intercourse, (may they ever continue fo!) our Author received from fome of the tribes bordering on the Miffiffippi, with whom he became intimate, by refiding for a confiderable time among them, and doing them certain fervices, which gained their esteem:
-The Indians farther told me, that there was a nation rather fmaller and whiter than the neighbouring tribes, who cultivate the ground, and (as far as I could gather from their expreffions) in fome measure, the arts. To this account they added, that fome of the nations, who inhabit those parts that lie to the weft of the Shining Mountains, have gold fo plenty among them that they make their most common utenfils of it. Thefe mountains [which our Author elsewhere describes] divide the waters that fall into the South Sea from those that run into the Atlantic.
The people dwelling near them are fuppofed to be fome of the different tribes that were tributary to the Mexican kings, and who fled from their native country to feek an afylum in these parts, about the time of the conqueft of Mexico by the Spaniards, more than two centuries ago.
As fome confirmation of this fuppofition it is remarked, that they have chofen the most interior parts for their retreat, being ftill prepoffeffed with a notion that the fea-coafts have been infetted ever fince with monsters vomiting fire, and hurling about thunder and lightning; from whofe bowels iffued men, who, with unfeen inftruments, or by the power of magic, killed the harmlefs Indians at an aftonishing distance. From fuch as thefe, their forefathers (according to a tradition among them that ftill remains unimpaired) ffed to the retired abodes they now inhabit. For as they found that the floating monflers which had thus terrified them could not approach the land, and that those who had defcended from their fides did not care to make excurfions to any confiderable distance from them, they formed a refolution to betake themselves to fome country, that lay far from the fea-coafts, where only they could be fecure from fuch diabolical enemies. They accordingly fet out with their families, and after a long peregrination fettled themfelves near thefe mountains, where they concluded they had found a place of perfect fecurity.'
All this, however, is Indian intelligence, and (as our Author candidly remarks) may want confirmation.'
While our Author refided among the Affinipoils, the Killifinors, and the Naudoweffies, he was eye-witness to one of the moft curious and mafterly pieces of prieftcraft that, perhaps, ever was practifed. He was waiting, impatiently, with many others, for the arrival of certain Indian traders, with goods and provifions, which were much wanted:
One day, fays he, whilft we were all expreffing our wishes for this defirable event, and looking from an eminence in hopes of fee. ing them come over the Lake, the chief priest belonging to the band of the Killistinoes told us, that, he would endeavour to obtain a conference with the Great Spirit, and know from him when the traders. would arrive. I paid little attention to this declaration, fuppofing that it would be productive of fome juggling trick, juft fufficiently covered to deceive the ignorant Indians. But the king of that tribe telling me that this was chiefly undertaken by the priest to alleviate my anxiety, and at the same time to convince me how much intereft he had with the Great Spirit, I thought it neceffary to reftrain mys animadverfions on his defign.
The following evening was fixed upon for this fpiritual conference. When every thing had been properly prepared, the king came to me and led me to a capacious tent, the covering of which was drawn up, fo as to render what was tranfacting within vifible to those who food without. We found the tent furrounded by a great number of the Indians, but we readily gained admission, and feated ourselves on skins laid on the ground for that purpose.
In the centre I obferved that there was a place of an oblong fhape, which was compofed of stakes stuck in the ground, with ins tervals between, fo as to form a kind of chest or coffin, large enough to contain the body of a man.. These were of a middle size, and placed at fuch a distance from each other, that whatever lay within them was readily to be difcerned. The tent was perfectly illumi
nated by a great number of torches made of splinters cut from the pine or birch tree, which the Indians held in their hands.
In a few minutes the priest entered; when an amazing large elk's skin being spread on the ground, juft at my feet, he laid himfelf down upon it, after having ftript himfelf of every garment except that which he wore clofe about his middle. Being now pro ftrate on his back, he first laid hold of one fide of the skin, and folded it over him, and then the other; leaving only his head uns covered. This was no fooner done, than two of the young men who stood by took about forty yards of ftrong cord, made alfo of an elk's hide, and rolled it tight round his body, fo that he was com pletely fwathed within the skin. Being thus bound up like an Egyptian mummy, one took him by the heels, and the other by the head, and lifted him over the pales into the inclosure. I could now also discern him as plain as I had hitherto done, and I took care not to turn my eyes a moment from the object before me, that I might the more readily detect the artifice, for fuch I doubted not but that it would turn out to be.
The priest had not lain in this fituation more than a few feconds, when he began to mutter. This he continued to do for fome time, and then by degrees grew louder and louder, till at length he spoke articulately; however, what he uttered was in fuch a mixed jargon of the Chipeway, Ottawaw, and Killifinoe languages, that I could understand but very little of it. Having continued in this tone for a confiderable while, he at laft exerted his voice to its utmost pitch, fometimes raving and fometimes praying, till he had worked himself into fuch an agitation, that he foamed at his mouth.
• After having remained near three-quarters of an hour in the place, and continued his vociferation with unabated vigour, he feemed to be quite exhaufted, and remained fpeechlefs. But in an inftant he sprung upon his feet, notwithstanding at the time he was put in, it appeared impoffible for him to move either his legs or arms, and thaking off his covering, as quick as if the bands with which it had been bound were burned afunder, he began to addrefs those who flood around in a firm and audible voice: " My Brothers," faid he, "the Great Spirit has deigned to hold a Talk with his fervant at my earnest request. He has not, indeed, told me when the perfons we expect will be here, but to-morrow, foon after the fun has reached his highest point in the heavens, a canoe will arrive, and the people in that will inform us when the traders will come.' Having faid this, he ftepped out of the inclofure, and after he had' put on his robes, difmiffed the affembly. I own I was greatly aftonifhed at what I had feen, but as I obferved that every eye in the company was fixed on me with a view to discover my fentiments, I' carefully concealed every emotion.
• The next day the fun shone bright, and long before noon all the Indians were gathered together on the eminence that overlooked the; Lake. The old king came to me and asked me, whether I had fo much confidence in what the priest had foretold, as to join his people. on the hill, and wait for the completion of it? I told him that I was at a loss what opinion to form of the prediction, but that I would readily attend him. On this we walked together to the place where