Friday, October 30, 2020

The Earliest Eyewitness Account of North Carolina?

 An Italian explorer gave us what might be the earliest written account of the place that would become known as North Carolina.

King Francis I of France sent Giovanni da Verrazzano (1485 - 1528) to investigate the uncharted coastline between Spanish Florida and Portuguese Newfoundland.  Despite terrible storms on their voyage across the Atlantic, his party reached approached North America in the spring of 1524.  Upon the completion of his trip, Verrazzano described his findings in a July 8 letter to the King.  When he had reached North America, Verrazzano had sailed up and down the coastline without finding a suitable harbor and resorted to Plan B near the Cape Fear (not far from present-day Wilmington, NC).

At length, being in despair to find any port, we cast anchor upon the coast, and sent our boat to shore, where we saw great store of people which came to the sea side; and seeing us approach they fled away, and sometimes would stand still and look back, beholding us with great admiration;  but afterwards being animated and assured with signs that we made them, some of them came hard to the sea side, seeming to rejoice very much at the sight of us, and marveling greatly at our apparel, shape and whiteness, shewed us by sundry signs, where we might most commodiously come aland with our boat, offering us also of their victuals to eat….

These people go altogether naked, except only that they cover their private parts with certain skins of beasts, like unto martens, which they fasten unto a narrow girdle made of grass very, artificially wrought, hanged about with tails of diverse other beasts, which, round about their bodies, hang dangling down to their knees. Some of them wear garlands of birds’ feathers. The people are of color russet, and not much unlike the Saracens: their hair black, thick, and not very long, which they tie together in a knot behind, and wear it like a little tail. They are well featured in their limbs, of middling stature, and commonly somewhat bigger than we, broad breasted, strong armed, their legs and other parts of their bodies well fashioned, and they are disfigured in nothing, saving that they have somewhat broad visages, and yet not all of them, for we saw many of them well-favored, having black and great eyes, with a cheerful and steady look, not strong of body, yet sharp witted, nimble and exceeding great runners, as far as we could learn by experience, and in those two last qualities they are like to the people of the east parts of the world, and especially to them of the uttermost parts of China.

We could not learn of this people their manner of living, nor their particular customs, by reason of the short abode we made on the shore, our company being but small, and our ship riding far off in the sea. And not far from these we found another people whose living we think to be like unto theirs (as hereafter I will declare unto your Majesty) showing at this present the situation and nature of the foresaid land. The shore is all covered with small sand, and so ascendeth upwards for the space of 15 foot, rising in form of little hills, about 50 paces broad. And sailing forwards, we found certain small rivers and arms of the sea, that fall down by certain creeks, washing the shore on both sides as the coast lieth.

And beyond this we saw the open country rising in height above the sandy shore, with many fair fields and plains, full of mighty great woods, some very thick, and some thin, replenished with diverse sorts of trees as pleasant and delectable to behold as is possible to imagine…palm trees, bay trees, and high cypress trees, and many other sorts of trees unknown in Europe, which yield most sweet savors….

And the land is full of many beasts, as stags, deer and hares, and likewise of lakes and pools of fresh water, with great plenty of fowls, convenient for all kind of pleasant game. This land is latitude 34 degrees, with good and wholesome air, temperate between hot and cold; no vehement winds do blow in those regions… the sky clear and fair with very little rain; and if at any time the air be cloudy and misty, with the southern wind, immediately it is dissolved and wareth clear and fair again…

And so Verrazzano sailed away from the Cape Fear region, up the coast toward Hatteras:

We departed from this place still running along the coast which we found to trend toward the east, and we saw everywhere very great fires, by reason of the multitude of the inhabitants…. We saw … many people which came onto the shore making diverse signs of friendship, and shewing that they were content we should come aland, and by trial we found them to be very courteous and gentle….

To the intent we might send them of our things, which the Indians commonly desire and esteem, as sheets of paper, glasses, bells, and such like trifles, we sent a young man one of our mariners ashore, who swimming towards them, and being within 3 or 4 yards of the shore, not trusting them, cast the things upon the shore; but seeking afterwards to return, he was with such violence of the waves beaten upon the shore, that he was so bruised, that he lay there almost dead; which the Indians perceiving, ran to catch him, and drawing him out they carried him a little way off from the sea. The young man perceiving they caried him, being at the first dismayed, began then greatly to fear and cried out piteously: likewise did the Indians which did accompany him, going about to cheer him and to give him courage, and then settling him on the ground at the foot of a little hill against the sun, they began to behold him with great admiration, marveling at the whiteness of his flesh: and putting off his clothes, they made him warm at a great fire, not without our great fear which remained in the boat, that they would have roasted him at that fire, and have eaten him. The young man having recovered his strength, and having stayed a while with them, shewed them by signs that he was desirous to return to the ship, and they with great love clapping him fast about, with many embracings, accompanying him into the sea, and to put him in more assurance, leaving him alone, went unto a high ground and stood there, beholding him until he was entered into the boat. This young man observed as we did also, that these are of color inclining to black as the others were, with their flesh very shining, of middling stature, handsome visage, and delicate limbs, and of very little strength, but of prompt wit, farther we observed not…. He saw nothing else.

Verrazzano continued along the Outer Banks, hoping to find a passage to the Orient.  And he thought he found it when he looked west beyond the narrow barrier islands and saw a vast body of water (which we now recognize as the Pamlico Sound):

We left this place. We called it "Annunciata" from the day of arrival, and found there an isthmus one mile wide and about two hundred miles long, in which we could see the eastern sea from the ship, halfway between west and north. This is doubtless the one which goes around the tip of India, China, and Cathay. We sailed along this isthmus, hoping all the time to find some strait or real promontory where the land might end to the north, and we could reach those blessed shores of Cathay. This ishtmus was named…“Varazanio," just as all the land we found was called "Francesca," after our Francis.

Soon after his discovery became known in Europe, cartographers included the “Sea of Verrazzano” on their maps of the New World.  The vast continent of North America was depicted as narrowing down to a sliver of an isthmus (the Outer Banks), beyond which, the Sea of Verrazzano connected to the Pacific Ocean. 

Sebastian Munger's 1540 Map.  Verrazzano's sea dominates the upper half of the map.

This feature was included on world maps for a whole century after Verrazzano’s life and death.  After leaving this “Pacific passage” the mariners continued on toward the mid-Atlantic coast:

Departing from hence following the shore which trended somewhat toward the north in 50 leagues space we came to another land which shewed much more faire and full of woods, being very great, where we rode at anchor; and that we might have some knowledge thereof, we sent 20 men aland, which entered into the country about 2 leagues, and they found that the people were fled to the woods for fear. They saw only one old woman, with a young maid of 18 or 20 years old which seeing our company hid themselves in the grass for fear; the old woman carried two infants on her shoulders, and behind her neck a child of 8 years old. The young woman was laden likewise with as many, but when our men came unto them, the women cried out, the old woman made signs that the men were fled unto the woods.

As soon as they saw us to quiet them and to win their favor, our men gave them such victuals as they had with them, to eat, which the old woman received thankfully, but the young woman disdained them all, and threw them disdainfully on the ground. They took a child from the old woman to bring into France, and going about to take the young woman which was very beautiful and of tall stature, they could not possibly, for the great outcries that she made, bring her to the sea; and especially having great woods to pass through and being far from the ship, we purposed to leave her behind, bearing away the child only. We found those folks to be more white than those that we found before, being clad with certain leaves that hang on boughs of trees, which they sew together with threads of wild hemp; their heads were trussed up after the same manner as the former were, their ordinary food is of pulse, whereof they have great store, differing in color and taste from ours, of good and pleasant taste.

Moreover they live by fishing and fowling, which they take with ginnies, and bows made of hard wood, the arrows of canes, being headed with the bones of fishes and other beasts. The beasts in those parts are much wilder than in our Europe by reason they are continually chased and hunted. We saw many of their boats, made of one tree 20 foot long and 4 foot broad, which are not made with iron or stone or any other kind of metal (because that in all this country for the space of 200 leagues which we ran, we never saw one stone of any sort) they help themselves with fire, burning so much of the tree as is sufficient for the hollowness of the boat. The like they do in making the stern and the fore part, until it be fit to sail upon the sea. The land is in situation, goodness and fairness like the other; it hath woods like the other, thine and full of diverse sorts of trees but not so sweet, because the country is more northerly and cold.

We saw in this country many vines growing naturally, which growing up, took hold of the trees as they do in Lombardy, which if by husbandmen they were dressed in good order, without all doubt they would yield excellent wines, for having oftentimes seen the fruit thereof dried, which was sweet and pleasant, and not differing from ours, we think that they do esteem the same, because that in every place where they grow, they take away the under branches growing round about that the fruit thereof may ripen the better.

We found also roses, violets, lilies and many sorts of herbs and sweet and odoriferous flowers different from ours. We knew not their dwellings because they were far up in the land, and we judge by many signs that we saw that they are of wood and of trees framed together. We do believe also by many conjectures and signs that many of them sleeping in the fields have no other cover than the open sky. Farther knowledge have we not of them; we think that all the rest whose countries we passed, live all after one manner. Having made our abode three days in this country, and riding on the coast for want of harbors, we concluded to depart from thence….

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Flag of Secession


North Carolina's "Secession Flag"

The Flag of Secession (1862)

(To the Tune of The Star-Spangled Banner)

Oh, say can't you see by the dawn's early light
What you yesterday held to be vaunting and dreaming,
The Northern men routed, Abe Lincoln in flight,
And the palmetto flag o'er the Capitol streaming?
The pumpkins for fare,
The foul fetid air,
Gave proof through the night that the Yankees were there;
Now the flag of secession in triumph cloth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

2. 'Midst the dust that is raised by the fugitives' fees,
His acts of coercion now bitterly rueing,
See the Rail Splitter running in panting retreat,
And gallant Virginia in laughter pursuing;
Now he catches a beam
Of the bayonet's fierce gleam,
And he hurries away with a jump and a scream;
And the flag of secession in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

South Carolina's "Secession Flag"

3. But where is the despot who came to our soil,
In the garb of the soldier - his minions disguising,
And showed them our fields and our homes as their spoil,
We only can say that his speed is surprising;
O'er the fences he made
When that was his trade.
He has leapt in his fears from our vision to fade;
And the flag of secession in triumph cloth wave
O'er the land of the freed and the home of the brave.

4. Oh, such is the welcome the Southron bestows
On the minions who strive to make slaves of a nation,
We've a hand for our friends but the sword for our foes,
And the charge of our soldiers in fierce exultation;
Then again to the fight,
And God for the right,
And the Northmen shall shrink from our warriors' might,
And the flag of secession in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the freed and the home of the brave.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Resistance to Oppression

In the winter of 1860-1861, the secessionist movement among the Southern states gained momentum.  South Carolina withdrew its Congressional delegates from Washington on December 20, 1860.  

“Bonnie Blue” Flag – One of the many unofficial flags flown in the South during the War Between the States, this was flying over Fort Sumter in Charleston, SC when federal troops launched their attack.

In January 1861, other states followed suit: Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana. 

Let’s pick up the story in North Carolina, and a little town about 20 miles from where I was born and raised.  In a 1916 issue of the North Carolina Booklet, General W. A. Smith tells the story of the “First Secession Flag: The Raising and Taking Down of the Flag at Ansonville in February, 1861”:

[February 1, 1861]

In Ansonville, North Carolina, on the morning of the second of February, 1861, the citizens of the village beheld a flag, whose folds were flapping in the wind blowing from the Southeast betokening rain and brewing up foul, disagreeable weather, foreshadowing dark, impending war clouds….

February 1st the electric telegraph flashed over the land that Texas had joined her Southern sisters, which so enthused Adolphus A. Waddell, John B. Waddell, W. A. Threadgill and Jas. M. Wright that they determined to become more active in the cause of secession. These young men of the village were very desirous to have North Carolina follow the seven States, and during the night of February 1st prepared a flag which they hoped would prove an incentive and aid in determining the State of North Carolina to secede from the Union. Having no bunting, they made the flag of calico, with two large stars at the head marked S. C. and Miss., abbreviations for South Carolina and Mississippi, the first two States severing their relations with Washington. From these stars led stripes of alternating red, white and blue; and in the lower corner at the tail end was another star of like proportions half turned down marked N. C., representing North Carolina faint and drooping, hanging her head in dishonor, shame and disgrace. In large letters at the top of the flag was the word “Secession.” Underneath was this motto: "Resistance to Oppression is in Obedience to God.”

This flag was fashioned in the Garrett store after business hours. On the opposite side of the street was the wooden framework of an unfinished store. The flag, size 6x9 feet was attached to a pole and securely fastened to the studding and rafters forming the comb of this building.

[February 2, 1861]

On the morning of the 2nd of February the citizens of the village took notice of this Secession flag which had been given to the breeze during the dark hours of the night. Almost unanimous was the sentiment of opposition. Indignation prevailed and talk of cutting it down freely indulged, the makers not daring to disclose themselves. Two or three ratified the act and commended the unknown makers, and as the day wore on a few were converted, declaring themselves, and were added to the number of Secessionists. Among these was Prof. Gilliam, a teacher in the college, from the State of Virginia. Emboldened by these accessions, the makers of the flag openly avowed their sentiments and their handiwork in fashioning the flag.

Misses Kate Smith and Winnie Watkins made four rosettes of silk and pinned them on the lapels of the makers of the flag, which, said one of them, “made us very proud, and we walked the streets as vain as strutting peacocks.”

During the night of the 2nd, Col. John J. Colson and Washington Threadgill climbed to the comb of the storehouse frame, cut the fastenings, and the flag fell to the sidewalk. In descending, Colonel Colson's foot slipped and he fell 10 to 15 feet, with only a slight sprain, landing on his feet. Dr. William A. Ingram, in his office nearby, heard the noise and came out to ascertain the cause. Colson, pointing to the flag, said, “We cut down that d—d Secession flag.” Doctor Ingram replied, “You did right. It ought not to have been made and put up to insult the intelligence of the community. I'll never tell who did it.” He respected his word. This flag was never more seen.

[February 3, 1861]

The morning of the 3rd dawned fair. Balmy breezes from the South stirred the hot blood of the young Secessionists of both genders to indignation and contempt of the dastardly act, on finding the flag of their pride torn down and destroyed under the cover of darkness. Undismayed, bunting was procured, taken to the residence of Mrs. Garrett, an enthusiast in the cause of secession. She, assisted by the young ladies of the village, made a larger flag, similar in design, and with like stars and same motto. This flag was unfurled in the afternoon at the same place. Seemingly the destruction of the flag added to the number of Secessionists, for believing in a square deal the people condemned the dastardly act of tearing it down under the cover of darkness. A few walked underneath its folds with hats off, others and far the greater number, would not pass underneath or even allow its shadow to fall on them.

News of the first Secession flag raised and destroyed, and the making of another, larger and of finer material having been made and given to the breeze, was circulated in the country. A large number of citizens assembled in the village the afternoon of the 3d of February, many, very many, approving the destruction of the first flag, taking this one down and tearing "the damn Secession rag to pieces.”

A long-lost beauty in Ansonville, NC

[Speech on Behalf of Secessionist Cause]

One of the makers of the original flag, and the only one now living, from whom many of the facts herein set down were obtained, writing of the occasion, says: "About ten young men fell in with us, all armed with guns, and told the crowd that we would fight for that flag, and this was a free country, and that it should not be torn down.” Professor Gilliam was in the crowd, and was called on for a speech. Standing above the crowd, he made a fine, instructive and impressive address in favor of secession, arraigning the North for its aggressions against the South, and their repudiation of the States' rights, for their contempt for the Constitution that sacred bond of Union-saying: "By the treaty of Paris, made in 1783, England acknowledged the independence of the thirteen colonies by name, and each one became a sovereign, independent State”; that these States entered into a Union forming the United States of America by their own choice and motion, each one reserving its independence, and its State right to withdraw from the Union when laws adverse and hurtful to its welfare should be made by the General Congress; that the Northern States, being commercial and manufacturing, antagonized the agricultural Southern States, whose people were content and prosperous, and therefore envied; that law after law had been enacted inimical to our welfare, encroachment after encroachment was borne by the South, compromise after compromise was broken and nullified by the States of the North, dominated by a party which declared the Constitution—that sacred bond of Union—"was, in league with the devil and a covenant of hell”; that our only safety lay in separation and withdrawing from a compact repeatedly broken; that having reserved the right to secede, we would withdraw in peace; that they would not attempt coercion; they would not dare bring on a fratricidal war; they would not dare bring on a war among brothers, for that would mean a war to the knife a war in which no quarter would be shown; that they would not dare attempt to make vassals of free and independent States.

"No," said he, "we will go in peace and pursue our own ideas of progress and advancement and live under laws enacted by ourselves, conducive to our own interest and to our happiness”; that the North were merchants and shoemakers, who would not fight; they were shade-seekers and counterjumpers, unacquainted with firearms, inexperienced in horsemanship and manly out-of-door sports; no, they would not dare meet the chivalry of the South on the battlefield. “Isn't the Lord on our side, the side of equity, justice and right? He says in holy writ: 'Five shall chase an hundred, and an hundred shall put ten thousand to flight'; and, again, the sound of a leaf shall chase them.' I will drink all the blood shed by the pusillanimous abolitionists.” Turning to the little band under arms, he commended the makers of the flag and the heroism behind it, and fully endorsed the motto, "Resistance to oppression is in obedience to God.”

He closed with discreet, well-chosen phrases complimentary to those whose patriotic sentiments were opposed to secession and to the raising of the flag, advising calmness and due consideration of the opinion of others who differed with them; advising against rashness and hasty action, counseling due deliberation, and, withal, admonishing them to maintain the dignity of the law and preserve the reputation of the good people of the community by keeping the peace.

His speech had a very happy effect. It emphasized and clarified the intellectual vision of his audience, and one by one they wended their way home with thoughtful mien and contemplative spirit.

[Aftermath of Speech]

Nevertheless, the flag was guarded that night and every night until the sentiment against it had cooled down. Day by day accessions were made of those of secession aspiration and patriotic sentiments. No further attempts were made against the flag.

Cheered only by the smiles of the young ladies and daily accessions of young manhood, the Secessionists proposed placing the flag in a more conspicuous position. By permission of Colonel Colson (they knew not that he had cut down and destroyed the first flag), they procured from his land a very tall, beautifully straight, but small pine, upward of 80 feet long. The bark was peeled off and the long tapering white pole was raised in front of the college building amidst the jibes of observers on the one hand, and the cheers of the many boy participants on the other. The flag was then run up to the top of the pole by the young hot-bloods with no thought that it foreshadowed four long years of disastrous war and devastation of the fair Southland.

[Defending the Union]

The older and old men did not approve of the sentiments typified by this secession flag. They deemed it wrong, rash and inconsiderate. Col. William G. Smith, William Little, Dr. John B. Cortrell and others spoke their disapproval of this exhibition of disloyalty to the Union. These old gentlemen thoroughly believed in the right of a State to withdraw from the Union, a right guaranteed North Carolina by the Congress of the United States before she entered the Union, but did not think secession the proper remedy to correct the wrongs which the North was perpetrating against the South and the whole body politic. Therefore, these men opposed the raising of this secession flag by the hot-headed, fire-eating boys, who gave little heed to the counsel of the old and no thought to the responsibilities of the future. These older men said: "Fight for our rights if needs must, but fight in the Union, under the flag made glorious by the blood of our Revolutionary fathers—the flag of love and veneration—the stars and stripes.” Had their advice been taken and followed, the North would not have been able to stir the hearts of their people so profoundly and rouse them to unanimity against the South by the heartrending but courageous cry, “The Union and Old Glory Forever.”

[North Carolina Secedes After Attack on Fort Sumter]

Early in February the question of calling a convention for the purpose of passing an ordinance of secession was defeated by the people by a majority of 30,000, indisputable evidence that the prevailing sentiment in North Carolina was for the Union. When President Lincoln called for troops to coerce the seceeding States back into the Union, and the question again submitted, it was ratified almost unanimously; for he was transcending his authority, attempting to force an independent State and free people to live under laws inimical to their welfare. Sentiment crystalizes rapidly in times of great excitement, even on questions of momentous issue.

On the 20th of May North Carolina elected to stand with her sister Southern States in defense of her rights by passing the ordinance of secession. Then the turned down star, representing North Carolina, was displayed in full; complete, strong and clear.

As one man her sons sprang to arms and attested her devotion by giving 130,000 of her bravest to the cause, more than 40,000 of whom never came back, whose blood flowed out, enriched and made sacred the soil of many States. From the war records we know more men fell in battle from North Carolina than from any three other States, a fact of pride, not of boast. The secession of North Carolina was preceded by Virginia, April 17, 1861; by Arkansas May 6, 1861, and followed by Tennessee June 5, 1861.

[Secessionist Flag Lost]

When the Anson Guards, which was the first company in the State to offer its services to Governor Ellis, left for the front this secession flag was committed to John Birdsong Waddell, a member of said company, to be by him presented to Governor Ellis. John Birdsong Waddell was the great grandson of John Birdsong, of Chatham County, who was noted for his patriotism in the day "that tried men's souls,” was prominent in the councils of the colony. He was a delegate at Hillsboro, August 21, 1775, and member of Congress at Halifax November 12, 1776.

Search among the State archives so far has failed to find this flag. This is not surprising, however, considering an army under General William T. Sherman, famed by the devastated homes on his march to the sea, evidenced by the blackened chimneys standing as monuments amid waste and desolation wrought by his army.

[Strong and Lingering Sentiments Against Secession]

The sentiment against the secession flag, sometimes designated “Secesh” flag, was violent and uncompromising. Many would not walk under its folds nor allow its shadows to fall on them, often crossing the street to avoid the possibility of being contaminated thereby. These were probably actuated by similar feelings which animated the ladies of New Orleans, who refused to walk under the Federal flag displayed by the order of B. F. Butler, known to the South and to history as “Beast” Butler and “Spoon" Butler. Sam Christian, a prominent citizen, drove five miles out of his way going to Wadesboro, the county's capital, rather than pass underneath its folds; and the Reverend William (Uncle Billy) Knight refused to visit the village during his life because of his dislike and contempt for the secession sentiment manifested by "that hole," as he expressed it. In the language of the only one of the immortal four now living, “Old Aunt Polly Ingram came to Ansonville to shop. She always traded with me. On entering the store she noticed the beautiful rosette on my coat lapel and she blessed me out and took herself across the street to Garrett's store. There she saw W. A. Threadgill with a rosette on. In no gentle language she gave him a piece of her mind, and out she came. Indignant and in disgust, she left the village and drove to Wadesboro, ten miles distant, and did her shopping.”

Thursday, October 22, 2020

"Submissive Male Concubines"

For many North Carolinians of German descent, such as myself, the Great Wagon Road was crucial to our history.  The road led from Philadelphia, through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and into the Carolina Piedmont and Salisbury.  Most of the bloodlines of my family include at least one ancestor who took that route before settling in Rowan County, which encompassed a large swath of the Carolina frontier in the mid-18th century.

"Conestoga Wagon," Newbold Hough Trotter, 1883

I’ve been reading a splendid history of the road by Parke Rouse, Jr., entitled “The Great Wagon Road.” Rouse describes how the road followed the route of the ancient “Warriors’ Path” used by Native Americans and that the appropriation of the road by European colonists was contentious.

Under the Treaty of Lancaster in 1744, the Iroquois (Six Nations) relinquished their claim to the Shenandoah Valley (in exchange for 200 pounds in gold and 200 pounds in goods.) The treaty was also an attempt to make peace between the Iroquois and the southern Catawba.  But as Rouse reports, the Iroquois groused that the Catawbas had been downright nasty in their rejection of earlier peace negotiations:

“The Catawbas refused to come…and sent us word that we were but women. That they were men, and double men, for they had two penises.  That they would make women of us and would always be at war with us…They are a deceitful people….”

Rouse can’t resist the prurient digression:

The Iroquois knew the meaning of the Catawbas’ weird boast. For Indian warriors often kept a group of submissive males to perform domestic chores while the warriors fought and hunted.  These pitiful male concubines, whom Europeans described as “transvestites,” were forced by the tribesmen into sodomistic acts.  Such was the fate with which the Catawbas threatened the Iroquois.

This calls for a bit of research.  First, though, let’s read the full version of the remarks by the Cayuga Chief:

Minutes of the (PA) Provincial Council, Vol IV, pp. 720-721.

In the Court House Chamber at Lancaster, June 30th, 1744.


The Honourable the Commissioners of Virginia.

WILLIAM BLACK, Secretary to the Treaty.

The Indians of the Six Nations.

CONRAD WEISER, Interpreter.

GACHRADDODOW, Speaker for the Indians, in Answer to the Commissioners Speech at the last Meeting, with a strong Voice, and proper Action, spoke as follows:

BROTHER Assaraquoa,

The World at the first, was made on the other Side the great Water, different from what it is on this Side, as may be known from the different Colours of our Skin, and of our Flesh; and that which you call Justice, may not be so amongst us: You have your Laws and your Customs, and so have we: The great King might send you over to conquer the Indians, but it looks to us, that God did not approve of it; if he had, he would not have placed the Sea where it is, as the Limits between us and you.

BROTHER Assaraquoa,

Tho' great Things are well remembered among us, yet we don't remember that we were ever conquered by the great King; or that we have been employed by that great King to conquer others: If it was so, it is beyond our Memory. We do remember we were employed by Maryland, to conquer the Conostogas; and that the Second Time we was at War with them, we carried them all off.

BROTHER Assaraquoa,

You charge us with not acting agreeable to our Peace with the Catawbas; we will repeat truly to you what was done. The Governor of New York, at Albany, in Behalf of Assaraquoa, gave us several Belts from the Cherrokees and Catawbas; and we agreed to a Peace, it those Nations would send some of the great Men to us, to confirm it Face to Face; and that they wou'd trade with us; and desired, that they would appoint a Time to meet at Albany, for this Purpose: But they never came.

BROTHER Assaraquoa,

We then desired a Letter might be sent to the Catawbas and Cherrokees, to desire them to come and confirm the Peace: It was long before an Answer came; but we met the Cherrokees and confirm'd the Peace, and sent some of our People to take Care of them, until they returned to their own Country.

The Catawbas refus'd to come, and sent us Word that we were but Women; that they were Men, and double Men, for they had Two *P—ks; that they could make Women of us, and wou'd be always at War with us. They are a deceitful People; our Brother Assaraquoa is deceived by them; we don't blame him for it, but are sorry he is deceived.

BROTHER Assaraquoa,

We have confirm'd the Peace with the Cherrokees, but not with the Catawbas; they have been treacherous, and know it, so that the War must continue till one of us is destroyed: This we think proper to tell you, that you may not be troubled at what we do to the Catawbas.

BROTHER Assaraquoa,

We will now speak to the Point between us: You say you will agree with us as to the Road; we desire that may be the Road which was last made the Waggon Road. It is always a Custom, among Brethren or Strangers, to use each other kindly: You have some very ill-natur'd People living up there; so that we desire the Persons in Power may know, that we are to have reasonable Victuals when we are in Want.

You know very well when the white People came first here, they were poor; but now they have got our Lands, they are become rich, and we are now poor: What little we have had for the Land goes soon away, but the Land lasts for ever. You told us you had brought with you a Chest of Goods, and that you have the Key in your Pockets; but we have never seen the Chest, nor the Goods that are said to be in it; it may be small, and the Goods few; we want to see them, and are as desirous to come to some Conclusion as you are: We have been sleeping here these Ten Days past, and have not done any Thing to the Purpose.

 The Honourable Commissioners told them, they shou'd see the Goods on Monday, and ordered some Punch, sufficient for the Number of Indians then present.

Regarding Chief Gachraddodow addressing “Brother Assaraquoa,” this may have been a generic appellation for colonial officials.  According to one source, Lord Howard, a Governor of Virginia, had presented a sword to some Indian chiefs and gained the nickname “Assaraquoa” - the native word for “Sword” being “Assaraquoa.”

Let’s dispose of the “Two *P—ks” boast by the Catawbas.  Old medical texts indicate that the “double penis” is an extremely rare, but very real phenomenon.  Actually, those texts describe said organ as being cleft, and it seems doubtful that the Catawbas would brag about such an anomaly.

What of the “submissive male concubines?”  Rouse is correct in reporting their appearance among various native groups.  An old Lakota word, winyanktehca, Winkte (also spelled wíŋtke) is the contraction of an old Lakota word, winyanktehca, was contracted to “winkte,” meaning “[wants] to be like a woman.” Historically, the winkte have been considered a social category of assigned male at birth individuals who adopt the clothing, work, and mannerisms that Lakota culture usually considers feminine.

"Dance to the Berdash," George Catlin, 1835-1837

Early French explorers applied the term “berdache” to similarly gender-fluid individuals they observed among Siouan peoples.  J. Owen Dorsey’s extensive study of “Siouan Cults” appeared in the Eleventh Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, published in 1894, and he had several entries on the berdache:

BERDACHES . § 212. These unfortunate beings, who have been referred to as miquga and miquge, are called wiŋkta by the Santee and Yankton Dakota, and winkte by the Teton. They dress as women and act in all respects as women do, though they are really men. The terms for sodomy, wiŋktapi and wiŋktepi, are significant, and go to prove that the berdaches should not be called hermaphrodites. It is probable that the Dakota regard the moon as influencing these people….

§ 353.The French Canadians call those men berdaches who dress in women's clothing and perform the duties usually allotted to women in an Indian camp. By most whites these berdaches are incorrectly supposed to be hermaphrodites. They are called miati by the Hidatsa, from mia, a woman, and the ending, ti, to feel an involuntary inclination, i. e., to be impelled against his will to act the woman….

The Omaha believe that the unfortunate beings, called “ Mi-qu-ga," are mysterious or sacred because they have been affected by the Moon Being. When a young Omaha fasted for the first time on reaching puberty, it was thought that the Moon Being appeared to him, holding in one hand a bow and arrows and in the other a pack strap, such as the Indian women use. When the youth tried to grasp the bow and arrows the Moon Being crossed his hands very quickly, and if the youth was not very careful he seized the pack strap instead of the bow and arrows, thereby fixing his lot in life. In such a case he could not help acting the woman, speaking, dressing, and working just as Indian women used to do. Louis Sanssouci said that the miquga took other men as their husbands. Frank La Flèche knew one such man, who had had several men as his husbands. A Popka child once said to the author, " Miujinga-ma nujinga ama ti -gaxe- nandi, miquga, ai,” i. e. , “ If boys make a practice of playing with the girls they become ( or are called ) miquga .” This term may be rendered “ hermaphrodite ” when it refers to animals, as “e miquga, ” a hermaphrodite buffalo. It must have been of this class of persons, called “ Mi-qu-ge ” by the Kansa…: “Many of the subjects of it (i. e. , sodomy among the Kansa) are publicly known, and do not appear to be despised or to excite disgust. One was pointed out to us. He had submitted himself to it in consequence of a vow he had made to his mystic medicine, which obliged him to change his dress for that of a woman, to do their work, and to permit his hair to grow.”

After giving an account of the Minquga which agrees with what has been written above, Miss Fletcher tells of “a man who had the misfortune to be forced to this life and tried to resist. His father gave him a bow and some arrows, but the penalty of his vision so wrought upon his mind that, unable to endure the abnormal life, he committed suicide."

George Catlin, the artist who travelled extensively on the frontier West, painted Dance to the Berdash, ca. 1835-1837.  (George Catlin first sketched the scene at a Sac and Fox village in 1835).  Catlin described his painting:

“Dance to the Berdashe” is a very funny and amusing scene, which happens once a year or oftener, as they choose, when a feast is given to the ​‘Berdashe,’ as he is called in French … who is a man dressed in woman’s clothes, as he is known to be all his life, and for extraordinary privileges which he is known to possess, he is driven to the most servile and degrading duties, which he is not allowed to escape; and he being the only one of the tribe submitting to this disgraceful degradation, is looked upon as medicine and sacred, and a feast is given to him annually.

If you examine “scholarly” works on these topics over the past 30 years or so, you should not be surprised at the way academicians have hijacked formerly respectable disciplines like anthropology and history to advance their particular social and political agendas.  But the accounts passed down by earlier (and more reliable) sources are interesting, to say the least.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Rulers of the Tsalagi

Constantine Samuel Rafinesque (1783 – 1840) was an autodidact polymath – a self-taught renaissance man.  Born near Constantinople and raised in France, he crossed the Atlantic and travelled widely in the United States as a young man.  He studied – and wrote prolifically – on a wide range of subjects including botany, zoology, Mesoamerican linguistics, prehistoric earthworks, and geology.  

Rafinesque proposed a theory of evolution long before Charles Darwin.  He believed that the ancestors of Native Americans migrated from Asia via the Bering Straits.

 A letter by Rafinesque, published in the Cherokee Phoenix in July of 1828, reveals his insatiable curiosity.  He cataloged his collection of references, however fragmentary, to possible “Cherokee chiefs” over the span of many centuries and solicited additional information that anyone could provide.  He also posed other questions about Cherokee origins, migrations and language.   For most of these matters, the mysteries are as deep now as they were in 1828.



By Professor Rafinesque, author of the General History of America, Philadelphia, April 1828.


1. I have formed the following table of all the great rulers of the Tsalagi mentioned in history and fragments printed. I wish to know whether anything to the contrary is known by tradition or otherwise, and whether the names mentioned have a meaning in Tsalagi?




Towards 2200 years before Columbus, the Emperor of Gold City of Melilo ruled over all the nation from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. The nations were called Talegahi, and divided into 2 tribes of the mountains and plains, Otali, and Olata.


Towards the year 400 of Christ or 1100 before Columbus the Otali sent a large colony to Mexico where they are called Tlatuytsi.


Towards 500, The Dynasty of the Teltlahim (perhaps Telatlahimi) ruled over the empire of Apalacha (perhaps Awalatsa) extending from latitude 33 to 37, this dynasty still ruling in 1640.


In 1540 at the invasion of Soto, Queen Cofaciqui or Qouwatsiqui ruled over the Tsilaki.


In 1565 the Emperor was Olatautina.


In 1643, the king of Atsalaka was yet dependant on the Empire of Apalacha.


In 1700, Litsi was king of the Tsalagi, but a revolution takes place, he is driven south in 1716.


In 1717 Chamascula or Tsamasgula is king of Tsalagi.


In 1736 Moytoy was Emperor of Teliquo and Tsalagi.


In 1751 Ostenaco was king of Echota and Tsalagi.


In 1770 Oconestota was king and Atagula great General.


In 1785 Koatohi king of Toquo, makes peace with United States.


In 1791 Tsilioha was great chief of Tsalagi.


In 1798 Tskagua was the great chief at the first treaty of Teliquo.


In 1804 Molutuski was great chief at the second Do.


In 1805 Enoli was great chief at the third treaty of Teliquo.


In 1816 Nenohutuhe or Pathkiller is the great chief.


2d. Question- Give the names of all the great supreme chiefs of the nation, as far back as memory or traditions go, and try to fix their successive order and time?


3d. Question-What is the substance of the oldest traditions as yet preserved? how far back do they go? do they not point to a connection with the Nations Apalacha, Timuacas, Amana, Matica, Sehama, Meraco, etc. all parts of the ancient Empire of Talegawy? which must be Tsalagi.


4th Quest. What have been the ancient wars of the Tsalagi? what nations did they deem foes? and which friends and allies? what nations have been incorporated or adopted?


5th Quest. What were the causes of the separation of the Tsalagi from the Apalacha towards 1716, or 112 years ago? was it not their alliance with the Spaniards, while the Tsalagi became allies of the English of Carolina?


6th Quest. Where about were the holy mountains of Olaimi the capital Melilo, and the Lake Tseomi mentioned in 1643 as yet seen by Bridgstock? Where was Talomeco capital and temple seen in 1540 by Soto? Was it Teliquo?


7th Quest.- What traditions or fables exist concerning the origin of the nation, the monuments they have built anciently, etc.? Are no migrations and changes of places remembered? In 1540 the Tsalagi extended all over Carolina part of Georgia and as far as the Ohio; but where did they dwell before? have they no memory of having crossed the sea? to have come from the south? what places were deemed most holy, as first seats of ancestors?


8th Quest.- Have no traditions been preserved of other migrations or colonies besides those of the Tlahuitsi, Matica, and the last to Arkansas? sent off by Tsalagi?


C. S. Rafinesque, Pr.


P. S. What names do the Tsalagi give to the United States and to each State known to them? also to each Indian Nation known to them? and to the largest river in the United States? and to their own mountains?

David Cusick 

Many of the names mentioned by Rafinesque are quite obscure.   In his notes he referenced two unusual sources. The first, “Cusick,” was undoubtedly David Cusick, who had just published “Sketches of Ancient History of the Six Nations.”  The book is distinguished by the fact it was the first book of Native American history by a Native American author.

David Cusick (ca. 1780 – ca. 1840) was born on the Oneida reservation in upstate New York. He was a physician and painter and student of Iroquois oral tradition. In “Sketches,” history begins at the Creation, with the twin brothers Enigorio and Enigonhahetgea (the good spirit and evil spirit) and their creatures, the Eagwehoewe (the people) and their enemies the Ronnongwetowanca (giants). The earliest people were championed by the hero Donhtonha and the less heroic Yatatonwatea and plagued by the mischeivous Shotyeronsgwea. These early people were also threatened by (but survived) the Big Quisquiss or mammoth, the Big Elk, the great Emperor who resided at the Golden City to the south, the great horned serpent of Lake Ontario, and the blazing star that fell.

More recently, the creation was renewed and restored, and the Six Nations situated and intermittently rescued by the intervention of Tarenyawagon, the Holder of the Heavens.

 The Five Nations were a confederacy, or Ggoneaseabneh (Long House), consisting of the

1. Teakawrehhogeh or Tehawrehogeh (Mohawks)

2. Newhawtehtahgo or Nehawretahgo (Oneidas)

3. Seuhnaukata or Seuhnowkahtah (Onondagas)

4. Shoneanawetowah (Cayugas)

5. Tehooneanyohent or Tehowneanyohent (Senecas)

They were later joined by the Kautanohakau (Tuscaroras) to make the Six Nations.

Their human enemies at times included the Sohnourewah (Shawnees), Twakanhahors (Mississaugers), Ottauwahs, Squawkihows, Kanneastokaroneah (Eries), Ranatshaganha (Mohegans), Nay-Waunaukauraunah, and Keatahkiehroneah.

Their monstrous enemies included the Konearaunehneh (Flying Heads), the Lake Serpent, the Otneyarheh (Stonish Giants), the snake with the human head, the Oyalkquoher or Oyalquarkeror (the Big Bear), the great musqueto, Kaistowanea (the serpent with two heads), the great Lizard, and the witches introduced by the Skaunyatohatihawk or Nanticokes.

Important figures in the history include Atotarho I, first king of the Five Nations, his successors Atotarho II–XIII, the war chiefs Shorihowane and Thoyenogea, Sauwanoo, Queen Yagowanea, and the allied or friendly Dog Tail Nation and the Kauwetseka.

Cusick gives particular attention to geographical details, including the Kanawage or St. Lawrence River, Yenonanatche or Mohawk River, Shawnaytawty or Hudson River, Ouauweyoka or Mississippi River, Onyakarra or Niagara River, Kaunsehwatauyea or Susquehanna River, Kuskehsawkich or Oswego Falls, Jenneatowake or Canandaigua Lake, Kauhagwarahka or Lake Erie, Goyogoh or Cayuga Lake, Geatahgweah or Chatatique Lake, and the forts at Kedauyerkawau (now Tonewanta plains), Kauhanauka, and the village of Kaunehsuntahkeh.

Cusick’s Sketches of Ancient History of the Six Nations has been proposed as a possible source for or influence on the Book of Mormon; it has also been advanced as evidence for the existence of Bigfoot and the Lake Champlain monster.

Charles de Rochefort and Richard Brigstock

Rafinesque’s notes included another reference, “Brigstock.”  This was almost certainly Richard Brigstock, an “English gentleman” whose account of a visit to the province of Apalacha in 1653 was incorporated in Charles de Rochefort’s 1666 book, The History of the Caribby-Islands.  Rochefort (1605-1683) published the book as a guide for fellow Huguenots considering emigration to the Caribbean.

Ever since Rochefort published his book, critics have dismissed the whole thing as a hoax.  Did Brigstock exist?  Was there ever a mountain kingdom of the Apalachites?  Were they one and the same as the people who came to be known as “Cherokee?”  Disagreements over those matters are as unresolved now as they were in Rafinesque’s day.

At a later date, I intend to post the entire account of Brigstock’s Apalacha expedition, but as a preview, here is a description of one plant observed by Brigstock:

They show'd him an admirable Flower, which grows abundantly in the Mountains of those parts: The figure of this Flower is much like that of a Bell, and there are as many colours observable in it as in the Rain-bow; the under leaves, which being fully blown, are much larger than those of our greatest Roses, are charged with a great many other leaves, which appear still less and less to the lower part or bottom of the Bell: Out of the midst of them there rises a little button, like a heart, which is of a very delicious taste: The Plant hath a little bushiness at the top, much like Sage: The leaves and the flower smell like a Violet: It is also a kind of sensitive Plant, for it cannot be touch'd, either in its leaves or flower, but it immediately withers.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Equidistant from Eternity

"Every generation is equidistant from eternity." 
 - Herbert Butterfield 

To fuel contempt for our nation and our civilization, leftists have been constructing an ugly, hopeless narrative of America’s history. Anyone needing an antidote to such propaganda would do well to subscribe to Touchstone magazine

A short commentary from Touchstone's executive editor James M. Kushiner hit my inbox today, and it was up to his usual high standards:

The Size of History

Today, there are two completely different ways of looking at history. One is the majority "progressive" modern view. The minority "traditional" view goes back to the Hebrews of the Old Testament and runs through the centuries of the Christian era. In this view, God judges the nations and individuals. This view is rejected as unenlightened and obsolete, relegated to being a merely private "religious" view that warrants neither voice nor influence in secular society. There is no God who sees.

The ubiquity of the modern view explains the growing comfort that an increasing number of politicians have in openly questioning whether a devout Christian who holds traditionally Christian views should be allowed to hold public office. Many now even label traditional Christian views of morality as revealed by this God as bigotry and hatred.

The modern majority view is that history is a linear flow of time that has its purpose only in its end somewhere in the future. It is at base evolutionary, viewing all that has preceded the present day as prelude to something better. In this, modern man flatters himself. The progressive thinks that the modern age in which we live is, in every way worth caring about, superior to previous ages, just as the most recent species is an improvement over supposed earlier species.

Herbert Butterfield in his classic work Christianity and History, based on radio talks he gave in 1949 for the BBC, argued that we must not "regard the lives of our forefathers as mere means to an end" and "stop regarding the Anglo-Saxons as mere links in a chain leading to us, mere precursors, significant only because of what they contributed to the modern world."

He insists that each generation is an end in itself, "a world of people existing in their own right." For "every generation is equidistant from eternity." That's the key.

Progressives reject his view:

"So the purpose of life is not in the far future, nor, as we so often imagine, around the next corner, but the whole of it is here and now, as fully as ever it will be on this planet. It is always a 'Now' that is in direct relation to eternity—not a far future; always immediate experience of life that matters in the last resort—not historical constructions . . . or imagined visions of some prosperity that is going to be the heir of all ages." (p. 66)

History is more like a Beethoven symphony: "the point of it is not saved up until the end." Every proceeding doesn't exist merely for the last bar. Each note is as valuable as any other note. Thus,

"We envisage history in the proper light, therefore, if we say that each generation—indeed each individual—exists for the glory of God; but one of the most dangerous things in life is to subordinate human personality to production, to the state, even to civilisation itself, to anything but the glory of God." (p. 67)

To subordinate one's soul to the state, economics, politics or culture is to render unto Caesar the things that are God's. It is servitude, entered into perhaps in exchange for prestige, self-esteem, power, or sexual license.

Those who hold to the "progressive" view must always be anxious to remain "on the right side of history," which has no anchor in moral truth but is merely flux, subject to mobs and thievery. All that matters is that you applaud and ride the popular moving train of history to its destination.

There is no "right side of history;" there is only the right and the wrong side of the Holy One, as our actions are judged in the light of eternal and absolute moral truth. But in the 1970s, many elite leaders, educators, media personalities, and politicians decided that morality should not be taught because it was merely "personal." Or "socially constructed" as it goes.

Today's progressives promise gold as they rush down the yellow-brick road, a road which you can only travel if you leave Kansas behind, that is, if you abandon the real world for the Land of Oz. God sees the real world of men, created for living the Truth. He sent his Son to make the point stick. Christ is the Crossroad of history and the Door to eternity.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Isolation: The Beginning of Terror

The “social experiments” of 2020 have revealed much about the pliability of American citizens, and their willingness to submit to petty bureaucrats. The powers-that-be are poised to exploit this weakness in ways we might not have imagined just a few months ago. Going forward, how many of us will even be able to remember what it was like to be free people? I sympathize with those who consider the upcoming election the last chance for liberty, but I suspect we are already too late.

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) wrote the following in her 1951 book, The Origins of Totalitarianism:

- Terror can rule absolutely only over men who are isolated against each other… Therefore, one of the primary concerns of all tyrannical government is to bring this isolation about. Isolation may be the beginning of terror; it certainly is its most fertile ground; it always is its result. This isolation is, as it were, pretotalitarian; its hallmark is impotence insofar as power always comes from men acting together…; isolated men are powerless by definition….

- In isolation, man remains in contact with the world as the human artifice; only when the most elementary form of human creativity, which is the capacity to add something of one’s own to the common world, is destroyed, isolation becomes altogether unbearable… Isolation then becomes loneliness.

- While isolation concerns only the political realm of life, loneliness concerns human life as a whole. Totalitarian government, like all tyrannies, certainly could not exist without destroying the public realm of life, that is, without destroying, by isolating men, their political capacities. But totalitarian domination as a form of government is new in that it is not content with this isolation and destroys private life as well. It bases itself on loneliness, on the experience of not belonging to the world at all, which is among the most radical and desperate experiences of man.

The totalitarian “utopia” being foisted upon us by technocrats and social justice warriors is hell on earth. That much is already clear. The children of God are liable to be singled out for more and more punishments under the upcoming leftist “new deals.”

Our hope is found beyond the things of this world:

Psalm 107

1 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!

For His mercy endures forever.

2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,

Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,

3 And gathered out of the lands,

From the east and from the west,

From the north and from the south.

4 They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way;

They found no city to dwell in.

5 Hungry and thirsty,

Their soul fainted in them.

6 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,

And He delivered them out of their distresses.

7 And He led them forth by the right way,

That they might go to a city for a dwelling place.

8 Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,

And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

9 For He satisfies the longing soul,

And fills the hungry soul with goodness.

10 Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,

Bound in affliction and irons—

11 Because they rebelled against the words of God,

And despised the counsel of the Most High,

12 Therefore He brought down their heart with labor;

They fell down, and there was none to help.

13 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,

And He saved them out of their distresses.

14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,

And broke their chains in pieces.

15 Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,

And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

16 For He has broken the gates of bronze,

And cut the bars of iron in two.

17 Fools, because of their transgression,

And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.

18 Their soul abhorred all manner of food,

And they drew near to the gates of death.

19 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,

And He saved them out of their distresses.

20 He sent His word and healed them,

And delivered them from their destructions.

21 Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,

And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

22 Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,

And declare His works with rejoicing.

23 Those who go down to the sea in ships,

Who do business on great waters,

24 They see the works of the Lord,

And His wonders in the deep.

25 For He commands and raises the stormy wind,

Which lifts up the waves of the sea.

26 They mount up to the heavens,

They go down again to the depths;

Their soul melts because of trouble.

27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man,

And are at their wits’ end.

28 Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble,

And He brings them out of their distresses.

29 He calms the storm,

So that its waves are still.

30 Then they are glad because they are quiet;

So He guides them to their desired haven.

31 Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,

And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

32 Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people,

And praise Him in the company of the elders.

33 He turns rivers into a wilderness,

And the watersprings into dry ground;

34 A fruitful land into barrenness,

For the wickedness of those who dwell in it.

35 He turns a wilderness into pools of water,

And dry land into watersprings.

36 There He makes the hungry dwell,

That they may establish a city for a dwelling place,

37 And sow fields and plant vineyards,

That they may yield a fruitful harvest.

38 He also blesses them, and they multiply greatly;

And He does not let their cattle decrease.

39 When they are diminished and brought low

Through oppression, affliction, and sorrow,

40 He pours contempt on princes,

And causes them to wander in the wilderness where there is no way;

41 Yet He sets the poor on high, far from affliction,

And makes their families like a flock.

42 The righteous see it and rejoice,

And all iniquity stops its mouth.

43 Whoever is wise will observe these things,

And they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Honest Abe and the Extinct Giants

Niagara-Falls! By what mysterious power is it that millions and millions, are drawn from all parts of the world, to gaze upon Niagara Falls?...

It calls up the indefinite past. When Columbus first sought this continent---when Christ suffered on the cross---when Moses led Israel through the Red-Sea---nay, even, when Adam first came from the hand of his Maker---then as now, Niagara was roaring here. The eyes of that species of extinct giants, whose bones fill the mounds of America, have gazed on Niagara, as ours do now. 

Contemporary with the whole race of men, and older than the first man, Niagara is strong, and fresh to-day as ten thousand years ago. The Mammoth and Mastadon---now so long dead, that fragments of their monstrous bones, alone testify, that they ever lived, have gazed on Niagara. In that long---long time, never still for a single moment. Never dried, never froze, never slept, never rested.

- Abraham Lincoln, September 1848