CHAPTER XVII. THE ANTIQUITY OF THESE INDIANS—ARIZONA'S VICISSITUDES...
IT is a well-known fact that the antiquity of these people is one of the many subjects connected with Arizona that is; and has been ever since the time of the Spanish conquest, taxing the investigation of man. As Governor Safford once said: ‘‘“There is probably no portion of our domain where such a variety of Indians live, speaking so many different dialects, as in Arizona.”’’ And we might add of so many different customs and natural characteristics. In regard to the Zunis and Moquis it is now asked, ‘‘Are they Aztec, Toltec, or what?’’ The nearest we have got to it yet is that they are ‘‘whatever’’ they may be. They may be the descendants of the remnants of some particular tribe, or the remnants of a score of tribes that suffered the incursions of the sixteenth century, consequent upon the invasion and conquest by Cortez. What a revolution was there! What a turning
Some men, like communities are often found in their egotism, congratulating themselves on the advance—the progression they are making, having an infallible belief that progression, is a magnate taking no back tracks, and meeting with no diversions; that we never lose, but always gain. That we did not lose
A NAVAJO INDIAN BOY.
AN ANCIENT WAR DANCE OF THE APACHES.
From 1520 to 1530, then was the ‘‘dark age’’ of the North American Continent. Enough was covered up during those ten years to take all the science, work, and philosophy of centuries to unearth. This we know. But we do not know but that there is much that will never be discovered, nor even dreamed of. The most of these belong or are connected, in some way with the people of whom we have barely made mention, and of whom if volumes were written, which has already been done, one could scarcely do more. To what extent these facts exist may be made clearer
‘‘“Yet the Aztecs must have been in possession of a much larger treasure, if it were only the wreck of that recovered from the Spaniards on the night of the memorable flight from Mexico. Some of the spoils may have been sent away from the capital; some spent in preparations for defence, and more of it buried in the earth, or sunk in the waters of the lake. Their menaces were not without meaning. They had, at least, the satisfaction of disappointing thc avarice of their enemies.’’
‘‘“Cortez had no further occasion for the presence of his Indian allies. * * * * * * They carried off a liberal share of the spoils, of which they had plundered the dwellings—not of a kind to excite the cupidity of the Spaniards—and returned in triumph, (short-sighted triumph!) at the success of their expedition, and the downfall of the Aztec dynasty.”’’
The memorable night alluded to above was that which is the present patron saint day of Mexico,—the day of St. Hypolito—and was selected and handed down as such from the circumstances connected with it.
Bancroft tells us also, that the Aztecs retained many traditions and systems of the Toltecs ‘‘whose written annals they also preserved.’’ He also says that at the time of the arrival of the Spaniards, there were great quantities of manuscript treasured up in the country.
A recent correspondence to the Philadelphia Weekly Press, says:— ‘‘“At the time of the conquest of Mexico, Cortez fonnd in Mexico a people millions in number, according to his account, enjoying a high order of civilization. Their government was a confederated empire of many states, a rather highly organized system, implying large political knowledge and practical statesmanship. Their religion was one of peace and love, if their temples filled with flowers and birds and fountains, and their daily life and conversation and
All these annals and paintings met the same fate. All things in short connected with this people that fire would destroy, was obliterated from the face of the earth. It eclipsed the decline and fall of the Roman empire, and the worst features of history repeated themselves in the new world.
Science has heretofore been confined to the ancient recesses of the old world. But only a short space of time will elapse when the steam car alone will lead us to a new field of labor in this channel; curiosity and pleasure will follow closely in the wake of ambition's stronger impulse; and Arizona, New Mexico, and our southwest generally will resound with notes of the choicest ancient lore. The tide of pre-historic study, will be suddenly transferred to our very doors, and the flash of our ignited torch cast a lurid glare on even a pre-Adamite existence.