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LETTER OF DR. ADAM CLARKE.*
Millbrook, Prescot, Lancashire, Nov. 22d, 1821. DEAR SIR,
Almost six months after date, I was honored with your letter enclosed with Vol. I. of the Archæologia Americana. For this token of respect I beg leave to return my warmest thanks to your Honorable President, and to the Society; and to yourself for the handsome and polite manner in which this valuable present was conveyed.
Two literary friends who were with me on a visit begged to read the work; their perusal of it kept me nearly eight days from having the pleasure which they told me they had received in perusing it. On its return, I threw aside all other studies, and bent my mind fully to consider its contents. To say I was pleased with it, will express very little of my feelings; 1 was highly delighted and much instructed. The investigations relative to your ancient people, led me into a new world. Fancy, a rare operator in antiquarian pursuits, got immediately to work; and I began to travel with your travellers ; survey with your surveyors; and thought how well I could have digged with the laborers employed in clearing the old tanks, ditches, &c. Mounds, cairns, and forts, which I had repeatedly seen in England, Ireland, and Scotland, presented themselves before me; as also the various instruments of stone and clay, which I have seen, particularly in Ireland, dug up by the spade or turned up by the plough. Those which I have myself examined bear such a striking resemblance to those which you have described, that I cannot possibly doubt of their affinity.
For several years, I have bent my mind frequently to the study of the ancient customs of the Irish ; especially of those who live in the glens, who preserve their ancient language, and
* This celebrated scholar and eminent divine, died of the Asiatie eholera, at London, Aug. 21st, 1832, aged sixty-nine years. YOL. II.
have not mingled with either the English or Scottish settlers; and was not a little surprised to find among them a great number of customs and habits purely Asiatic, and such as I am satisfied can be traced to no other source. Their mounds, forts, gigantic rings or stone circles, have, I believe, had the same origin. I am fully satisfied, that we know nearly as little of the original inhabitants of that Island, as we do of those who constructed the mounds and forts on the Ohio. Lately I have received from that country a box of variously shaped stones, the like to which I have not seen anywhere. Some seem to have been designed for whirlbats, when properly fastened in strings or ropes; others for slings : some were evidently designed for hatchets, and others for arrows and pikeheads. But there are several, concerning which I can form no conjecture whatever. I might add, that I have seen bowls of tobacco-pipes digged up, which appeared to have existed long before tobacco was known in Europe, and utterly unlike any European manufacture I have ever seen.
I have been particularly struck with what you call the 6 Triune Vessel”:
238. To me this tells a more direct tale of Asiatic origin, than any thing else, in the volume. I think it very possible to have been a vessel used in sacrificial libations; to have been sacred to, as well as representative of, the Indian triform God, Trimurti. The lines on it, as well as the protuberances on the forehead, seem to me to resemble the sectarian marks of the Hindus. But to judge at such a distance, one should be assured that every line in shape, place, size, and color, was most scrupulously delineated. Had it been found among the Hindus, no man would have hesitated to ascribe it to Trimurti ; and have considered its lines as approaching, at least, to the sectarian marks of the Saiva or Seevaites. Though I possess nọ vessel like this, yet I have many metallic images, with drawings and paintings obtained from the East, where Trimurti or the Hindu Trinity, is represented with faces not very dissimilar to those on your vessel, allowance being made for the ruder workmanship of the potter.
I earnestly hope that your investigations relative to the ancient people will be continued and extended; and although your data are at present few, they are got into good bands, and I have no doubt their number will be greatly increased, and your researches will be facilitated in proportion. I should be sorry to appear as dictating any thing to the American
Society of Antiquaries; but most earnestly do I wish, that the Mammoth Cave at Kentucky may be explored, to the farthest adit of its main passage, as well as to those of its different ramifications or forks. From its dark recesses, much light may be yet reflected on the grand subject of your inquiries. Its mummy has already told much, and may yet tell more, concerning the people to which it originally appertained. I shall feel it a pleasure to render the contents of this volume as public as possible.
With heartiest good wishes for the prosperity and honor of the American Antiquarian Society, and high personal consideration for yourself,
I am, Dear Sir,
ADAM CLARKE. Peter S. Du PONCEAU, Esq.,