Source:Winchester:1 Mar 1841:The antiquities of America spread from the great lakes of the North and the West to Central America, and the Southern parts of Peru on the South

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Benjamin Winchester (1 Mar 1841): "The antiquities of America spread from the great lakes of the North and the West to Central America, and the Southern parts of Peru on the South"

We shall now proceed to prove; first, from various relics of antiquity, that America has been inhabited by an enlightened people, far in advance of the savage state of the red men of the forest....

Now when the antiquarian traverses the Western wilds, he has the privilege to behold the relics of a once enlightened nation, who understood arts and sciences to some extent. He there can walk upon the ruins of once magnificent cities abounding in wealth and prosperity, but now depopulated, and lying in heaps of massive ruins. And if he is onward with his researches—he gazes upon numerous forts, mounds, obelisks, and catacombs, which he marks with wonder and amazement. When he surveys the Southern part of North America—he there can feast his mind upon the works of antiquity until it is absorbed in contemplating the scenes of destructien that have come upon this nation of the dead, and leveled their cities in ruins. In Guatemala he can survey the ruins of a once splendid, beautiful, and populous city, perhaps as ever was on the globe; (we allude to the city of Otolum near Pulenque,) and while wandering through these heaps of massive ruins, he beholds the remains of large temples, and palaces, which exhibit the work of human ingenuity. With a more close observation he discovers a fine display of architectural genius in the construction of these once splendid edifices. In viewing with more avidity still he beholds in these huge buildings the works of science—an immense quantity of hieroglyphics. Hence he no longer doubts but what America was inhabited by an enlightened nation anterior to its discovery by Columbus....

To prove the foregoing statements with regard to American antiquities, we extract the following from different authors. First, Rev. A. Davis in his lecture on the discovery of America by the Northmen says:

“The ruins of a city in Central America are among the most striking of such. This city, called Palenque (the name of a town not far off: other antiquarians call it Otolum) lies two hundred and fifty miles from Tobasco, lat. about 15° N.” “And there were discovered not such buildings as those erected by the Druids, of rough and misshapen stones; but such as those in which kings dwell—built of hewn stones. The appearance of these ruins shows a nation once existed there highly skilled in mechanical arts, and in a state of civilization far beyond any thing that we have been led to believe of the aborigines, previous to the time of Columbus....

How immense this city! It is supposed to have been sixty miles in circumference, and that it contained a population of nearly three millions. Great were its commercial privileges—even now the broad and beautiful Otolum rolls along its desolated borders.”

“One of the principal structures revealed to the eye of the antiquarian is the teaculi or temple. Its style of architecture resembles the Gothic. It is rude, massive and durable. Though resembling the Egyptian edifices, yet this and the other buildings are peculiar, and are different from all others hitherto known. The entrance of the temple is on the east side by a portico more than one hundred feet in length, and nine feet broad. The rectangular pillars of the portico have their architraves adorned with stucco work of shields and other devices.” “The antiquity of this city is manifest not only from its nameless hieroglyphics and other objects; but from the age of some of the trees growing over buildings where once the hum of industry and the voice of merriment were heard. The concentric circles of some of these trees were counted, which showed that they were more than nine hundred years of age.” “The antiquities of America spread from the great lakes of the North and the West to Central America, and the Southern parts of Peru on the South; from the Alleghany Mountains on the East, to the Rocky Mountains on the West, and even from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean.”[1]

Notes

  1. Benjamin Winchester, “The Object of a Continuation of Revelation,” The Gospel Reflector (Philadelphia) 1, no. 5 (1 March 1841): 97–120. off-site