The temple of Belus, it is likely, was constructed of earth, and faced
with brick laid in cement. The chapels, or apartments of the
priests, were in the^difFerent stories, or terraces, and on the outside.
On the summit there was an observatory. The accounts given
us by Herodotus, are in general greatly exaggerated. It is not at
all probable, that the temple of Belus was six hundred and sixty
feet high, although it may have been six hundred and sixty feet in
length, at its base on every side. He tells us, that the walls of
Babylon were three hundred and sixty feet high, and eighty-seven
feet broad, and that the city was sixty miles in circumference ; that
Thebes, the ancient capilol of Egypt had one hundred gates, and
that ten thousand soldiers could issue out of each gate on an emer-
gency, which would imply a population of seven or eight mi-
lions, upwards of five times as many inhabitants as London now
contains. Such accounts loose most of their credit, and ought to
be received with great allowance. Thebes might have impressed
Herodotus with wonder, and so might New-York, a person from
the country who had never seen a place larger than Albany. But
after making every reasonable deduction for his description of the
temple of Belus ; we may conclude that it might have, in some re- ,
spects, surpassed that of Tecotihuacan. The temple of Cholula
must have had towers on the plain of its summit. These, had they
been proportionally higher than those of the great temple of
Mexico, would have given it a perpendicular elevation of two hun-
dred and sixty feet.
Tombs in Mitli.
In the Mexican province of Oaxaca, which is situated to the
south-east of the city of Mexico, are many remains of ancient
Mexican structures. The most remarkable are at San Antonio de
los Cues, a populous place, on the road from Orizaba to Guaxaca,
and at a village named Mitli. In this last mentioned place, which
was formerly called Miguitlan, (a word signifying in the Mexican
language sadness,) are the ruins of an extensive palace, con-
structed over the tombs of the kings, and to which the sove-
reigns used to retire for some time, on the death of a son, a
wife, or a mother. This palace, or rather sepulchre, consists
STATE OF NEW-YORK. 143
of three edifices placed symmetrically, in a very romantic situa-
ation. The principal structnre, which is in the best preserva-
tion, is nearly one hundred and thirty-one feet in length, and the
distribution of the apartments, bears a strong analogy to what has
been remarked by the French Savans, in the monuments of Egypt.
A stair formed in a pit, leads down to a subterraneous apartment,
which is eighty-eight feet in length, and twenty-six in breadth, and
which, as well as the exterior walls of the edifice, is covered with
ornaments, such as meanders, labyrinths, &;c. and some of which
are in Mosaic of small porphyry stones. Several curious paintings
have been found in these ruins, representing warlike trophies, and
sacrifices ; but the most striking object is a vast hall, of which the
ceiling is supported by six porphyry columns about sixteen feet in
height. The columns bear strong marks of the infancy of the arts,
having neither base nor capital, but a contraction of the upper part.
See Humboldt's travels.
Comparative views of the Mounds of Europe, Asia, S^c.
Those found in Europe most deserving of attention, are in Ire-
land, Great Britain, Scandinavia, Poland, Russia, and Turkey. It
is not our intention to enter into long details, but barely to adduce
some examples, in order to compare them with the American, and
deduce the relative conditions of society and the arts upon both
continents, at different and distant periods.
In Ireland mounds are scattered over the island. The tumulus
at New-Grange in the county of Mealh, is the most remarkable.
Its base covers about two acres of land, while its height is over
seventy feet, and its circumference at its apex, about three hundred.
It is founded on a vast collection of stones covered with gravel and
In Scotland and Wales, the barrows are in general made of loose
stones, and are known by the name of cairns. The Moheakan-
neews, Agoneaseah, and other hunting nations that resided in the
United States at the time of the ^colonization, and subsequently
raised heaps of -stones over some of their chiefs. There used to
be one in the northern part of the county of Schoharie, which con-
144 HISTORY OF THE
tained at least, one hundred loads of stones heaped promiscuously.
The Agoneasean road, leading from Icanderago to Schoharie, pas-
sed by it.
In the links of Sandwick, one of the Orkney islands, there are a
great many round .barrows; some formed entirely of earth, and
others of stone covered with earth. These barrows usually con-
tained two tiers of coffins.
Numerous barrows are scattered through various parts of Eng-
land, but particularly in the Downs of Wiltshire, and Derbyshire.
They vary greatly in size, but are usually of a conical form, and
constructed of earth. Many have been opened, and found to con-
tain skeletons, urns, ashes, beads, and other relicts. At Aveberry,
a small village in the county of Wilts, are remarkable remains con-
sisting of vast numbers of barrows. There was also a temple,
constructed of large unhewn stones. Aveberry is suppossed to
have been the grand metropolitan of the Druids. The tumuli of
Ireland and Great Britain, are very ancient, and seem to have been
constructed by the Celts before the Romans, Saxons, and Normans
The English tumuli, according to the opinion of some, were
constructed for twofold purposes ; cemeteries and watch-towers.
See Edinburgh Encylopedia, article Mound.
The state of society and of the arts, was far less improved among
the Celtic nations in the time of Julins Caesar, than it was among
the Mexicans in the sixteenth century, when the Spaniards first
came among them. The laws and police were also far less perfect.
Caisar informs us, that Gaul and Britain were divided into a
great number of petty states. Other Roman authors say, that in
Gaul alone, there were three hundred independent states. Agricul-
ture was in its lowest slate, the country was mostly overspread with
woods, the roads were very bad. The Romans had to open new
roads through the woods, from state to state. The Gauls were far-
ther advanced in improvements than the south Britains, and these
again niore so than the north Britains, and Hibernians. The Bri-
tains painted their bodies and faces like the Indians of North Ame-
rica, of Tartar descent. The Gauls and Britains, were not only
ignorant of letters, but also of hieroglyphicks. The former resided
STATE OF NEW-YORK. 145
in small cottages covered with bark, or thatched with straw. The
latter in huts like our Indian wigwams. The Mexicans had estab-
lished a state of greater extent, than the islands of Great Britain,
and Ireland. They had many towns and cities, teraples, and roads.
They had bridges, aqueducts, canals, dikes, &,c. They had a
sovereign, and were under the empire of laws. These laws had
been collected, arranged, and formed into a system. They were
recorded in hieroglyphical characters.
In Europe, civilization and the arts were first cultivated in GreecCr
The Phoenicians introduced them about fifteen hundred years before
the Christian era. From thence, they were carried into Italv and
Sicily, by Greek colonies. These communicated them to the Ro-
mans, as the latter did to the Celtic nations. The arts travelled
westwardly, and northwardly from Italy, but not much beyond the
Danube and Rhine, and the Picts wall, till long after the downfall
of the Roman empire. Civilization, and the arts progress slowly*
We cannot boast of a high civilization. Our progenitors, at. the time
the northern barbarians overturned the Roman empire of the west,
were not much better informed, or much more civilized, than the
Winnebagos, or Naudowesies are at this day ; if we exclude a few
who resided on the borders of the empire, and these it is probable,
were much in the same condition that the Cherokees and Creeks
are now in.
" The Danish, Swedish, Polish, and Russian tumuli, are also
constructed of earth, and are generally of a conical or pyramidical
form. Some are very large, and bespeak amazing labor, and no
small degree of art." See Edin. Encyclopedia.
Mounds are frequently met with in the steppes of Asiatic Tar-
tarv. They resemble those of Russia, k,c.
The state of society among the Scandinavians, Russians, and
Tartars, was in general less advanced than it was among the Celtic
nations. Many of the Tartar nations at this day, are in a condition
similar to that of the Naudowesies, Winnebagos, and Chepaw-
The tumuli, or mounds of Asia Minor, though less stupendous
than some of those of Mexico, are sufficiently grand to excite the
admiration of all who have seen them. One of the most renowned
vox., n. 19
146 BISTORT OF THE
of these, Is the tomb of Alyattes, king of Lydia, and father of
Croesus, which stands in the midst of several others, on the banks
of the lake Gygaeus, where the burial place of the Lydian princes
is situated. Croesus lived about 550 years before the Christian
era, and was cotemporary with Cyrus the great. The surround-
ing tumuli are of various dimensions, some of them tower to such
a height, as to appear at a short distance like hills, but they are all
greatly overtopped by that of Alyattes, which is reared on a lofty
base, about three quarters of a mile in circumference, which rises to
the height of two hundred feet. All these tumuli are covered with
green turf, and still retain their conical form, without the smallest
sinking in of their summits.
In Greece, in early times it was customary to raise a large mound
of earth over the ashes of heroes, and illustrious persons. See
Homer's Iliad, p. 23, also 310. Pope's translation.
In Egypt, the tumulus or mound of earth, in the lapse of time
was transformed into the lofty pyramid of stone.
The tumulus of Alyattes, approaches the nearest in magnitude
to that of Cholula, of any now known. Its circumference at its
base, is one thousand, three hundred and twenty yards, and its ele-
vation, two hundred feet. That of Cholula in Mexico, has a cir-
cumference at its base of one thousand nine hundred and twenty
yards, and a perpendicular elevation of one hundred and eighty
feet. The Lydian is round : the Mexican is square. The base
of the Mexican, covers about forty-seven acres of ground. The
base of the Lydian, were it square, would cover about twenty-two,
which would not be half as much ground. But its circular form
would lessen the surface of its base so much, that it would not per-
haps be far over one third of that of the Mexican. The solid contents
of the Mexican, more than tripple those of the Lydian. Again, the
Mexican tumulus is on a plain, and the Lydian on a lofty base,
which would still farther diminish its solid contents. The magni-
tude, shape, structure, and materials of the Mexican, all surpass
those of the Lydian.
The Lydians had no pyramidical structures of stone. The
Mexicans had. Those of Papantla and Ceuernavac, are solid stone
structures, of pyramidal form. The stones are dressed, and
STATE OF NEW-YOllK. 147
adapted the one to the other. These structures show an acquaint-
ance with architecture, and the sculptures on them, with tlie fine
By comparing the Lydian and Mexican structures with one
another, an opinion may in some measure, be deduced of the com-
parative state of society, and of the arts, in these two nations at
the times these structures were reared ; but it would not be so favor-
able to the Lydians, as we might expect from the pompous ac-
counts given of them by ancient writers, and which certain of the
moderns have copied, and commented upon, with no ordinary de-
gree of exultation. The truth is, there could not have been much
difference between the state of society, and the arts, of these two
nations, at the times these tumuli were constructed. The state of
of the arts, shows in a measure the state of society, and the degree
of civilization in a nation. In Europe, these have been traced
from the Augustine age to the present time, and all the different
s.'ages marked. Among the Romans, the arts flourished most in
the Augustine age — after that they declined. The Augustine age
was succeeded by that of the Antonines. Then followed the Con-
stantine and Theodosian ages — the latter ended in the barbarous
age. The Gothic succeeded the barbarous age, while this has been
supplanted by the present. Each of these ages is strongly mark-
ed. From the Augustine to the barbarous age, there was a gradual
decline of the arts, and of the state of society. Each age is known
by its architecture, and the state of society must have conformed
to this. From the barbarous age to the present, there has been a
gradual rise of the arts, proportioned to the progress made by so-
ciety in civilization. Every department of the arts announces this.
The arts advance, or retrograde with society.
The famous temple of Bekis at Babylon, about which we have
such splendid accounts, but always couched in general terms,
seems to have resembled the great Mexican temple a: Teotihuacan,
both in structure and dimensions. Both were square solid fabricks.
Both resembled several towers placed one on the top of the other.
The temple of Belus consisted of eight platforms, or terraces, rising
one above the other, and decreasing in extent as they rose. The
temple of Teotihuacan, has Sve of these terraces or platforms, which
148 HISTORY OF THE
rise and decrease in a similar manner. Here then we have evi-
dence, by comparison of the state of the arts among the Baby-
lonians, and it could not have much exceeded that of the Lydians
their neighbors. Again, the Chaldean computation of time, was
scarcely more perfect than that of the Mexicans, The latter had
an almost exact knowledge of the duration of the year. They in-
tercalated at the end of their great cycle, or period of one hundred
years. The Abbe Clavigero, says; " Their year consisted of three
hundred and sixty days. The state then of society, and of the arts
among the Chaldeans, were not greatly before those of the Mexicans.
It may be said, that the Chaldeans were acquainted with letters —
this we grant. The Mexicans were acquainted with hieroglyphical
writing, and not picture writing, as has been asserted by Dr. Ro-
bertson, De Paw, and others, and ibis is but one step behind the
TOLTECAN AND OTHER EMIGRATIONS.
The first peopling of Anahuac (Mexico,) is shrouded in utter
darkness. All the historians, however, of the Toltecans, Cheche-
mecans, Acolhuans, Mexicans, and Tlascalans, are agreed upon two
points : First, that their ancestors came from the north; and second ,
that the country was occupied by savage tribes of hunters when
The Toltecans, it appears from the same authors, were the
oldest civilized nation of Anahuac. According to their annals, they
were banished about the year five hundred and ninety-six of our
era, from Huehuetapallan, a country situated to the north-west of
We shall remark in this place, that the Abbe Clavigero uses the
words north-west and north when speaking of the Toltecans. This
induces us to suppose that the interpreters of the Mexican hiero-
glyphical writings have fallen into mistakes in the translation, or that
those who have copied from those translationi may have miscopied.
This obtains additional weight when we find that they go on and say,
" after their banishment they (ilie Toltecans,) journicd to the south,
continuing but a short time in a place ;" that they continued in this
wandering aud unsettled state always advancing southwardly for the
STATE OF NEW-YORK. 149
space of one hundred and four years, when they arrived at Tol-
lantzinco, fifty miles west of the city of IMexico." Now it is evi-
dent that if Huehuetapallan had been situated to the north-west of
Mexico, and beyond the Colerado of the west, and they had jour-
nied from it always to the south, or southwardly, for one hundred
and four years, they would never have arrived at ToUantzinco, but
at some place on the gulf of California many hundred rniles to the
west. In another place the Abbe Clavigero says, " all the histo-
rians of tiie Toltecans, Chechemecans, Acolhuans, and Mexicans,
agree that their ancestors came from the north." The Mississippi
and Ohio valleys which abound most in works of defence, mounds,
&c. are northwardly of the city of Mexico, and we suspect these are
the regions alluded to. From the valley of the Mississippi there
are two routs to Mexico, the one through the province of Texas,
and the other through the steppes of Missouri and Arkansaw, to
the Rio del Norte. The latter is the most practical)le. Our peo-
ple who travel to Mexico from St Louis, take the latter route and
pass through St. Fee on the Rio del Norte. Hence, it may be in-
ferred that the Toltecans pursued the same as far as the latter ri-
ver, halting from time to time in the most favored places ; the jour-
neying would in the main be southwardly, although very indirect.
By adopting this supposition, the contradictions in the text may be
in some respects reconciled. The Toltecans when they set out had
no particular place in view ; hence they crossed the Rio del Norte
and proceeded to the Colerado of the west, and then followed that
river down to or near its mouth, he. The others followed their
footsteps. Hue-hue-ta-pal-lan, Ama-quem-e-can, Teoa-col-hua-
can, and Aztlan, adjoined each other; the same people dwelt in
these states. They could not have been north-west of the Colo-
rado, though they might have been north-east. That they were,
and northwardly from Mexico, seems highly probable ; the balance
of evidence seems to favor the latter opinion. But to return — the
Toltecans after their banishment journeyed to the south, remaining
but a short time in a j)lace ; that they continued in this wandering
and unsettled state, always advancing southwardly, for the space of
one hundred and four years, when they arrived at a place to which
150 HISTORY OF THE
they gave tlie name of Tollantzinco, situated about fifty miles west
of the city of IMexico.
About twenty years after their arrival they removed vvestwardly
about forty miles, and founded the city of Tollan, or Tula, between
the years 715 and 720. The era of the Tohecan kingdom bears
date with the foiind9tion of Tula. It subsisted to the year 1052,
when it was destroyed, and the nation almost obliterated from the
face of the earth by famine, pestilence, &c.
The Toltecans were the most renowned of all the people of Ana-
huac for their superior civilization, and their skill in the arts ; they
lived in society, and were collected into cities under the govern-
ment of kings and laws; they cleared land, cultivated the earth,
raised corn, grew cotton, and other products ; they fabricated cloth,
and worked several kinds of metals, such as copper, silver, gold,
&c. They could cut the hardest stones.
During the time their kingdom existed they multiplied exceed-
ingly ; they built many cities, made many roads, and spread them-
selves over the vale of Mexico and many other places of Anahuac.
Many of the tumuli, or pyramids, which are now in Mexico were
reared by the Toltecans. The lofty tumulus of Cholula was con-
structed by this people in honor of their God, Quetzalcoatl. After
the destruction of the Toltecan kingdom, and the dispersion of the
remnant of the nation, it appears from the same annals that the land
of Anahuac remained almost entirely dejiopulated for the space of
one hundred years, until the arrival of the Chechemecans.
The Chechemecans, like the Toltecans, who preceded them,
came from the north. .Their native country, of which we are ig-
norant, was called Amaquemecan ; their motive for leaving their
country is unknown. It appears from the same annals that they ar-
rived in the vale of Mexico about the year 1 153, and about eighteen
months after dieir departure, and that they established themselves
at a place called Tenayuca, six miles north of the city of ]\Iexico.
The Chechemecans upon their arrival formed alliances with the
Toltecans. In the course of time both nations became amalga-
mated, and constituted but one people.
A few years after the arrival of the Chechemecans in the Mexi-
can vale, a numerous body of Acolhuans arrived from Teoacolhua-
STATE OF NEW-YORK. 151
can, a country neighboring to, and not far distant from the kingdom
of Amaqiiemecan. The Acolhuans were the most civilized of all
the nations which were in Anahuac since the ToUecans.
Soon after this the Toltecans, and such of the Chechemec; ns as
had united in husbandry and sedentary habits, united themseh'es
with the Acolhuans, and thereby formed only one nation. Hence
the nation, or union of three people from one, assumed the name of
Acolhui, and the kingdom Acolhuacan. The Acolhuic emigrants,
it is supposed, arrived in the kingdom of Acolhuacan after the be-
ginning of the thirteenth century.
Tiie Na-hu-at-la-cas, or ancestors of the founders of the famous
city of Mexico, likewise originally cime from the north, and con-
sisted of seven tribes. These tribes were the So-chi-mil-cas, the
Chal-chese, the Tapanecas, the Colhuas, the Tla-hui-cas, the
Tlas-ca-lans, and the Mexicans. The origin of all these tribes was
Aztlan, from whence came the Mexicans, or some other country
contiguous thereto, and inhabited by the same people or nation. All
the historians represent them as coming originally from one and the
same country, and as speaking the same language. These tribes
did not arrive in the land of Anahuac at one time, but at different
times. The Toltecans, and all the other tribes that came after
them, spoke the same language, that is, the Mexican.
The Aztecks, or Aztecas, who were the last people that settled
in Anahuac, lived until about the year 1160 in the country of Azt-
lan, situated to the north of the gulf of California. The cause of
the abandonment of their country is like that of those who preceded
them, except as to the Toitecans, altogether unknown. In their
migration the Aztecks crossed the Colerado, which discharges it-
self into the gulf of California at latitude thirty-two degrees and
thirty minutes, several hundred miles above its mouth, and after-
wards the Gila, which falls into the latter river. The country,
therefore, from whence the Aztecks came, must have been beyond
latitude [thirty-five degrees, and upwards of sixteen hundred miles
north-north-west of the city of Mexico. We say north-north-west,
because they approached that city in that direction after they had
passed the Colerado. There are two rivers which the Spaniards
have called by this name ; the west and the south. The former
162 HISTORY OF TlIi:
runs into thegulf of California, and the latter into the Mexican sea.
The first has its source in the Rocky Mountains, in north latitude
forty-one or forty-two degrees, and pursues a south-westwardly
course nearly or quite seven hundred miles. It was this river that
the Aztecks crossed in their inarch to Anahuac.
After having passed the Colerado, the Aztecks directed their
march to the south-east, and came to the Gila, a tributary of the
Colerado, where they halted for many years. The Gila rises be-
tween latitudes thirty-three and thirty-four degrees north, and joins
the Colerado very near its mouth. The Gila has its source also in
the Rocky Mountains, but more to tlie south than the Colerado.
The remains of great edi6ces which the Aztecks constructed while
they continued there, are still to be seen on the Gila as monuments
of their skill and industry.
From thence they decamped, and resumed their march to the
south-south-east, and halted in north latitude twenty-nine degrees,
at a place more than two hundred and fifty miles distant from the
city of Chihuahua, thirteen hundied miles from Mexico towards
the north-north-west. This place is now known' to the Spaniards by
the name of Case Grandi, on account of an immense edifice still
existing which was built by the Aztecks. This edifice is construc-
ted on the plan of those of New Mexico ; that is, consisting of three
floors, with a terrace above them, and without any entrance to the
under floor. Case Grandi is four hundred and forty-five feet in
length from north to south, and two hundred and seventy-six feet in
breadth from east to west. It was constructed of clay and stone, and
had several stories and apartments. The surrounding plain exceeds a