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and experience of persons in various parts of the country, to contribute their aid. The inquiry is here placed on a broad basis, that it may embrace the general grounds from which we are to judge the history and condition, past and present, of the people whose benefit is sought by future legislative provision; and by the adoption of a course of public policy which shall best subserve their highest interests. It is not supposed that every person who sits down to answer these queries, whether he be in a public or private capacity, will take an equal interest in them, or feel equally prepared with facts and observations, to reply to all. By denoting the general line of inquiry, and running out the leading questions a little into detail, enough has been done, it is conceived, to serve as hints to the respondents, and little more is, indeed, intended. Facts are sought, and nothing but facts. It is essential that, where the respondent is unknown to the Department, some reference should be given. Many of the inquiries are of customs and opinions, which are believed to be common to most of the tribes, but the excepted cases are important to be noted, and in these cases simple affirmative or negative replies will often be sufficient. Where new facts are stated, or new opinions expressed, which are founded on personal knowledge or study, in any branch of the subject, it is of moment that they should be well vouched. Hitherto, inquiries of this kind have been chiefly in the hands of casual visitors or travelers in the Indian country, often of foreigners, who have necessarily taken hasty and superficial glances at their mere external customs and ceremonies. Of the more abstruse view of Indian character-of their religion, tribal government and clanships, their thoughts on death and immortality, their mental capacities and the leading causes of their action, very little has been observed, which possess the character of research, while there are essential points of discrepancy. But, whatever degree of imperfection has characterized these desultory and casual efforts in describing the Indians, and however much cause we may have had to dissent from some of the conclusions and criticisms respecting our treatment of, and policy respecting them, drawn by tourists from abroad, or by over-zealous but mistaken observers at home, it is essential to the just discharge of the duty imposed on the Department, in the present effort, that exactitude should stamp its labors. I will therefore thank you to inquire carefully, and be sure that no deception has been practiced. In all questions where the interests of the tribes clash with those of the persons whom you may consult, there is much caution required. There is great prejudice of opinion, and preconception of the Indian character generally. It is due to them that they should be judged candidly, and from an examination of opinions and statements from the best sources. A few examples of the misconception referred to, will be mentioned. It was stated a few years ago, by one of the most popular writers of England, that the United States had borrowed money in 1837 from a wealthy Indian chief, to pay its annuities to his tribe! and its policy has been deeply censured in high quarters, in the foreign literary world, on the basis of books of travels, whose least severe censure it is believed to be, 10 declare, that their author's have relied, in some instances, on hastily gathered, or ill-digested or unworthy materials. One writer represents the Mandans as practising the act of self-torture of Hindoo devotees, by hanging
from hooks, or cords fastened into the nerves, so as to sustain the whole weight of the body. This, together with the general account of the Mandan religion, by the same author, is contrary to the facts, as understood here. The same writer will also have this tribe to be descendants of the Welch, who are supposed to have reached this continent in the twelfth century. Yet the British Druids imposed no such self-torturing rites. Much inexactitude and uncertainty exist with respect to the class of evidences to be drawn from the antiquities of the area of country now composing the United States. To illustrate this topic, in the Indian history, exact plans and descriptions are required. The state of their traditions is ill explored. Their general history and languages constitute a wide field for remark. The whole subject is one of interest, and in giving the inquiry official sanction, it is designed to collect and prepare a body of facts, which shall present the customs, characters and institutions of the tribes in the simple garb of truth."
THE ARTS. Painting, Sculptare, and Architecture give lustre to empires, commemorate events,
immortalize names, verify history, and establish chronology. The arts have ever claimed the attention of the enlightened in all ages, not merely from their practical importance as connected with the imperious demands of man and of nations in their prosperous career of civilization; but as constant sources of the highest intellectual enjoyments. In such honorable estimation were they held by the Greeks, that their culture constituted an essential portion of education in all their eminent seminaries of learning. Socrates declared that artists were the only wise men, for they were content by being really so, without the affectation of appearing as such. Plato practised drawing while prosecuting his extensive investigations in morals and science. Æsopus assiduously frequented the places where painters, sculptors, and architects were employed in their several arts. Diognetus gave lessons in philosophy to Marcus Aurelius, who acknowledged that he learned from that painter how to distinguish the true from the false, and not to adopt chimeras for realities. Alexander did not think that it derogated from his dig. nity as a sovereign, or abased his laurels as a conqueror, to frequent the studio of Apelles, while that distinguished artist was employed in executing some of his most admirable paintings.
While the palm of excellence has been universally conceded to the ancients in sculpture and architecture, doubts have been generally entertained whether they had reached as high a state of perfection in painting. It must, however, be considered that we have ample means of deciding upon their proficiency, in the first named arts, by an inspection of those magnificent temples and beautiful
statues, in marble and bronze, which have braved the deluge of time and the devastations of conquest; but not a single painting of the great masters of Greece has descended to us to verify the propriety of the exalted estimation in which they were regarded, for their remarkable proficiency, by cotemporaneous nations and those of succeeding ages. We are, therefore, compelled to form an opinion of the merits of their productions from the descriptions which are contained in the works of those illustrious classical authors, who had examined them in the places of their original dedication, or after their removal to other countries. Among those authors Pausanias, Diodorus Siculus, Strabo, and Pliny, must be considered as not only well qualified to appreciate the design and execution of the numerous most celebrated specimens which they had seen; but as having faithfully expressed the concurrent decision of the most enlightened men, both of their own and antecedent ages, as to their intrinsic merit. To doubt the correctness of their statements, on that subject, would be as irrational as unjust, for it would involve the improbable and gratuitous assumption, that they were not competent to determine whether the paintings of Apelles, Zeuxis, and Protogenes were really entitled to the unqualified commendations which had been bestowed upon them. As well might it be alleged that they were incapable of appreciating the characters of the distinguished philosophers, statesmen, and heroes with whom they had associated, or the superb works of the sculptor and architect which they had examined, and consequently their opinions were valueless. But as we have the means of testing the correctness of their descriptions and opinions as to the latter arts, it is only an extension of rightful deference to conclude that their decisions were equally consonant to truth, in the other, which was so generally united with them, in their most elaborated forms.
Although modern galleries of paintings are not enriched by any of the productions of the renowned schools of Corinth, Sicyon, Athens, or Rhodes, still the wonderful revelations of disinhumed Pompeii are sufficient to establish the claim of the ancients to as high a distinction in painting as has been conceded to them in all the other branches of the useful and ornamental arts; for it has been ascertained, by the discovery of that memorable city, that the walls of even private houses were ornamented with admirable paintings, many of which appear as fresh and brilliant in color as when first executed, although they had been overwhelmed with the ashes and scoria of Vesuvius for more than seventeen hundred years. There is one representing the surrender of Briseis, by Achilles, to Agamemnon, pre-eminently beautiful, and is not surpassed in conception and execution by any painting since the revival of the arts.
The inquiry has often been made, as to what were the efficient
causes of the remarkable developments of architecture, sculpture, and painting in ancient nations, and although many, which are as various as inconclusive, have been assigned, may not religion be justly considered as the primeval and chief—a belief in the existence of an Omnipotent Sovereign of the Universe, and a reverential disposition to do him honor. It mattered not by what distinctive name he was recognized, whether “Jehovah, Jove, or Lord,” for there never has existed a people in any portion of the globe who have not evinced, in some manner, their credence in a God; while the civilized have reared altars to his worship, or to the divinities, in which imagination had impersonated his attributes. The wealth of mighty empires was magnificently expended for those sacred purposes. Powerful monarchs, victorious commanders, and affluent nobles, emulously united with the humblest subjects in the erection of propriate edifices for the solemn administration of the rituals of their creeds. The remains of the magnificent temples of Egypt, Jerusalem, Balbec, Nineveh, Greece, Carthage, Palmyra, and Rome, are eternal monuments of a profound adoration for the Almighty Creator and Ruler of Heaven and Earth.
In the construction of those holy temples, the genius, talent and skill of the ablest architects, sculptors, and painters were called into vigorous action, as distinction, honor, and wealth were the exciting rewards that were offered for an assiduous and successful cultivation of their several arts. The King of Judea sent to Tyre for ingenious workmen, in gold, silver, brass and marble, to aid in the construction and embellishment of the sumptuous “House of the Lord,” which he reared on Mount Moriah; and the Egyptian, Grecian, and Roman temples were not considered complete until they were decorated with basso-relievos, statues, and paintings.
After the fall of the Roman empire, the world was involved in such a long night of ignorance and degradation, it was not until the ninth century that the aurora of civilization again appeared in the moral horizon. With the revival of industry, letters, and science, the arts were again called into existence; but while painting and sculpture made great advances towards that perfection which had been attained in Athens, architecture lingered far in their rear. For more than eight hundred years after the European devastations of Alaric, that highly important science and art was in a degraded state; but, near the close of the fourteenth century, efforts were made for its restoration by the Florentine nobles, and it continued to flourish under the guidance of Brunelleschi, Vignola, and Serlio, until the sixteenth century, when Palladio of Vicenzi published his celebrated work; but as his taste and principles were unfortunately founded on Vitruvius and Roman examples, instead of the more perfect system and models of the Greeks, architecture, instead
of being accelerated, was retarded in its advancement by that author and artist; for his incongruous theory and practical illustrations gradually extended over Europe, and ultimately became the approved standard of excellence.
Inigo Jones, who was patronized by James I. and Charles I., having been educated in Venice, introduced the Palladian style into Great Britain, and it was continued by Sir Christopher Wren, Vanburgh, Gibbs, and Kent, the Earl of Burlington, Chambers and Wyart, to the reign of George III.
The remains of the superb structures of Greece were scarcely known until Stuart's splendid work on the antiquities of Athens was published; nor had any accurate delineations of the pure Doric, Ionic, or Corinthian orders of architecture been seen. All preceding authors had derived their information from the ruins of the ancient edifices of Rome; and although some of them may have been designed and reared by Grecian architects, it was after the subjugation of their country, and at a period, too, when it had degenerated from its pristine eminence. Oppressed and impoverished by the Macedonian conquest, the arts had gradually languished and were expiring when it was finally reduced to a Roman province.
The capture of Corinth, by Lucius Mummius, was the portentous advent of the destruction of the independence of Greece, and the first specimens of the arts, which were received in the “eternal city," were the spoils of that splendid emporium of commerce, which was celebrated for its precious sculptures in bronze and marble, its beautiful paintings, and majestic temples. The infamous Verres plundered Agrigentum, Scio, and Samos; Sylla sacked Athens, and carried off the paintings, statues, and other decorations of the public edifices; and, in rapid succession, all the states of Greece, the islands of the Archipelago, Asia Minor and Egypt, where the arts had taken refuge under the Ptolemies, as well as Carthage, Palestine and Palmyra, were conquered and pillaged by the Roman legions. Thus enriched by the treasures and innumerable specimens of the arts, as the boasted spoils of victory, great efforts were made to embellish the imperial capital with temples, forums, theatres, baths, triumphal arches and palaces; and although vast funds were appropriated to those objects, still painting, sculpture and architecture never reached that grand elevation which they had attained in Attica during the brilliant age of Pericles.
After the nations of western Europe emerged from that barbarous position to which they had been reduced for centuries, they relied upon Italy for instruction in letters, science and the arts; for the ancient states of Greece and their Asiatic colonies, with Egypt and Constantinople, were the humbled dependencies of the Saracenic or Ottoman empire; and it was not only difficult but danger