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THE AMERICAN GOLIAH A Wonderful Geological Discovery
A PETRIFIED GIANT Ten And One-Half Feet High Discovered In Onondaga County, N.Y.
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History of the discovery on October 16, 1869, of an image of stone, the same being a perfectly formed and well developed man, descriptions of the petrification, with the opinions of scientific men thereon.
(Entered according to Act of Congress, A.D., 1869, by Redington & Howe, in the Clerk's Office of the Northern District of N.Y.
This pamphlet is the only authorized account of the discovery of the great wonder and the latest facts regarding management; and is the only publication furnished by the owners of the Giant with immediate and authentic information of any examinations, experiments or new developments regarding it. Such new facts will be immediately added to this pamphlet, together with such scientific opinions as may be of interest or value to the public.
The statements herein contained have been taken from the lips of living witnesses on the ground where the events transpired, (excepting where reports are credited to other sources,) and can be depended upon as reliable.
This publication will be found valuable for preservation, as it records perhaps the most important scientific discovery of this century. Certainly the wonder is something that in the whole history of this country has never been exceeded, even if ever equaled.
This pamphlet combines all the important facts as narrated by the newspaper press, in addition to whatever others may occur, placing them in a convenient form for permanent preservation. Cuts are being prepared, illustrating, the various points of interest.
The Trade supplied by Redington & Howe, on liberal terms, to whom all orders (either wholesale or retail) should be addressed.
WONDERFUL SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY. A GIANT OF STONE, 10 1-2 FEET HIGH, EXHUMED IN ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y.
On Saturday forenoon, Oct. 16th, 1869, William C. Newell, a farmer residing near the village of Cardiff, in the town of Lafayette, County of Onondaga, commenced to dig a well near his barn. Two workmen were employed, Gideon Emmons and Henry Nichols; Mr. Newell being engaged meanwhile in drawing stone with which to line the well. At the depth of about three feet one of the workmen struck a stone, as he at first supposed. A moment later he thought it a water lime pipe, and asked for an ax with which to break it. Before the ax arrived the foot was partially uncovered, with the exclamation, "I declare, some old Indian has been buried here!" Farther excavation disclosed the entire foot, and a part of the leg. One of the workmen, seeing the direction in which the body lay, dug down just above where he thought the head might be, and his shovel struck the nose. The face and head were soon uncovered, and in a short time the entire figure exposed to view. There then appeared to the few assembled spectators the colossal, well-proportioned form of a human being of the following remarkable
From top of head to instep of sole, ten feet three inches. If standing in a perfectly upright position, the height would be ten feet, seven or eight inches.
Length of head from chin to top of head, twenty-one inches.
Nose, from brow to tip, six inches—across base of nostrils, three and one-half inches.
Mouth four inches.
Shoulders from point to point, three feet.
Circumference of neck thirty-seven inches.
Length of right arm from point of shoulder to end of middle finger, four feet, nine and one-half inches.
Across palm of hand, seven inches.
Length of second finger from knuckle joint, eight inches.
Across wrist, five inches. Distance around thighs, (about half way between knee and thigh joints,) five feet, seven and one-half inches.
Leg, from hip joint to knee joint, three feet; through thigh, one foot; through calf, nine and one-half inches.
Foot, nineteen and one-half inches.
The discovery, as may be supposed, created an immense sensation. Mr. Newell was much perplexed and annoyed and determined at one time to fill up the excavation and keep the discovery from the knowledge of the public. Some years ago a razor was found in a hollow stump near by and suspicions were then thrown out that a murder had been committed. The family feared that the corpse of the murdered man would in some manner confront them through this discovery.
A rush occurred of neighbors and others to see the exhumed wonder, for intelligence of the Giant spread on the wings of the wind. The excitement and ceaseless questions still farther confused the mind of the quiet proprietor and he almost unconsciously consented to various suggestions. One was that the body be raised that day (Saturday,)—consent for which Mr. Newell acknowledges to have given. Ropes were procured and preparations made therefor, but the lateness of the afternoon hour caused its postponement. This is a matter of rejoicing to scientific men, as well as the public generally; for every one naturally wishes to see the Giant as he had slept in his bed for centuries, and for themselves examine the winding sheets he wrapped about him.
POSITION OF THE FIGURE.
The form is lying on its back, the head towards the east and the feet toward the west. The reclining posture is a perfectly natural one, the limbs and feet being slightly drawn up. The figure appears as if a person had fallen there and died. There seem to be evidences of considerable physical anguish in the position of the limbs, of the body, and in the tension of the nerves as well as the contraction of the muscles (which are fully developed.) The right hand rests upon the lower abdomen, and the left is pressed against the back directly opposite. The left foot is thrown partially over the right one, the leg resting partly upon its fellow, but not crossing it. The head is inclined to the right.
The face is the only part seemingly free from traces of the agony of dissolution. The expression is calm, thoughtful, almost sweet. The high, massive forehead sets off with grand, yet benevolent dignity, the well rounded and proportioned features. The countenance is a study. Beautiful despite its immensity, it displays a largeness of kindly feeling not commonly surmised from Fairy tales of Giants and Giant deeds. The spectator gazes upon the grand old sleeper with feelings of admiration and awe. "Nothing like it has ever been seen," say all who have gazed upon it. "It is a great event in our lives to behold it," (is the universal verdict,)—" worth coming hundreds of miles for this alone." "I would not for anything have missed seeing it, for I consider it the greatest natural curiosity of the age," say Geologists, Naturalists, Students and all who can intelligently examine the Onondaga County Wonder.
The increasing interest of the public and the constantly enlarging attendance corroborate the previously expressed opinions of the inestimable value of the discovery, and sanction the verdict that the Cardiff Giant is the great wonder of the Nineteenth Century.
WHAT IS IT?
This question has been diligently asked and variously answered. Dr. John F. Boynton, of Syracuse, a celebrated Geologist, went among the first to the scene and examined the figure with much care. His opinion, (which was the first one expressed by any distinguished scientific authority) has been given decidedly that the body is a massive and beautiful statue. His own language will best state his reasons for declining to think it a petrifaction. A letter of his is subjoined, which was kindly furnished by him for publication. The letter was written to one of the most scientific men of America.
SYRACUSE, Oct. 18th, 1869. Henry Morton, Prof. in Pennsylvania University and Franklin Institute:
DEAR SIR:—On Saturday last, some laborers engaged in digging a well on the farm of W.C. Newell, near the village of Cardiff, about 13 miles south of this city, discovered, lying at about three feet below the surface of the earth, what they supposed to be the "petrified body" of a human being, of colossal size. Its length is ten feet and three inches, and the rest of the body is proportionately large. The excitement in this locality over the discovery is immense and unprecedented. Thousands have visited the locality within the last three days, and the general opinion seems to be that the discovery was the "petrified body" of a human being.
I spent most of yesterday and to-day, at the location of the so-called "FOSSIL MAN," and made a survey of the surroundings of the place where this wonderful curiosity was found. On a careful examination, I am convinced that it is not a fossil, but was cut from a piece of stratified sulphate of lime, (known as the Onondaga Gypsum.) If it were pulverized or ground, a farmer would call it plaster. It was quarried, probably, somewhere in this county, from our Gypsum beds. The layers are of different colors—dark and light. The statue was evidently designed to lie on its back, or partially so, and represents a dead person in a position he would naturally assume when dying. The body lies nearly upon the back, the right side a little lower; the head leaning a little to the right. The legs lie nearly one above the other; the feet partially crossed. The toe of the right foot, a little lower, showing plainly, that the statue was never designed to stand erect upon its feet. The left arm lies down by the left side of the body, the forearm and hand being partially covered by the body. The right hand rests a short distance below the umbilicus, the little finger spreading from the others, reaching to the pubes. The whole statue evidently represents the position that a body would naturally take at the departure of life.
There is perfect harmony in the different proportions of the different parts of the statue. The features are strictly Caucasian, having not the high bones of the Indian type, neither the outlines of the Negro race, and being entirely unlike any statuary yet discovered of Aztec or Indian origin. The chin is magnificent and generous; the eyebrow, or supercilliary ridge, is well arched; the mouth is pleasant; the brow and forehead are noble, and the "Adam's apple" has a full development. The external genital organs are large; but that which represents the integuments, would lead us the conclusion that the artist did not wish to represent the erectal tissues injected.
The statue, being colossal and massive, strikes the beholder with a feeling of awe. Some portions of the features would remind one of the bust of De Witt Clinton, and others of the Napoleonic type. My opinion is that this piece of statuary was made to represent some person of Caucasian origin, and designed by the artist to perpetuate the memory of a great mind and noble deeds. It would serve to impress inferior minds or races with the great and noble, and for this purpose only was sculptured of colossal dimensions. The block of gypsum is stratified, and a dark stratum passes just below the outer portion of the left eyebrow, appears again on the left breast, having been chiseled out between the eyebrow and chest, and makes its appearance again in a portion of the hip. Some portions of the strata are dissolved more than others by the action of the water, leaving a bolder outcroping along the descent of the breast toward the neck. The same may, less distinctly, be seen on the side of the face and head. I think that this piece of reclining statuary is not 300 years old, but is the work of the early Jesuit Fathers of this country, who are known to have frequented the Onondaga Valley from 220 to 250 years ago; that it would probably bear a date in history corresponding with the monumental stone which was found at Pompey Hill, in this county, and now deposited in the Academy at Albany. There are no marks of violence upon the work; had it been an image or idol of worship by the Indians, it could have been easily destroyed or mutilated with a slight blow by a small stone, and the toes and fingers could have been easily broken off. It lay in quicksand, which, in turn, rested upon compact clay.
My conclusion regarding the object of the deposit of the statue in this place, is as follows:—It was for the purpose of hiding and protecting it from an enemy who would have destroyed it, had it been discovered. It must have been carefully laid down, and as carefully covered with boughs and twigs of trees which prevented it from being discovered. Traces of this new decomposed vegetable covering can be seen on every side of the trench, and it is quite evident this vegetable matter originally extended across and above the statue.
Above this stratum of decayed matter, there is a deposit of very recent date, from eighteen inches to two feet in thickness, which may have been washed in, and likewise turned on by plowing. A farmer who had worked the land, told me that he had "back furrowed" around it, for the purpose of filling up the slough where the statue now lies.
It is positively absurd to consider this a "fossil man." It has none of the indications that would designate it as such, when examined by a practical chemist, geologist or naturalist. The underside is somewhat dissolved, and presents a very rough surface, and it is probable that all the back or lower portion, was never chiseled into form, and may have been designed to rest as a tablet. However, as the statue has not been raised, the correct appearance of the under surface has not been determined, save by feeling as I pressed my hand as far as I could reach under different portions of the body, while its lower half lay beneath the water.
This is one of the greatest curiosities of the early history of Onondaga county, and my great desire is that it should be preserved for the Onondaga Historical Society. Efforts are being made by some of our citizens to secure this in the county where it belongs, and not suffer it to bear the fate of other archeological specimens found in this region.
Hoping to be able to write you more in a few days, I remain yours truly, JOHN F. BOYNTON."
IS THE BODY A PETRIFACTION?
"The majority of visitors disagree with the opinion of Dr. Boynton, that the figure is a statue, and pronounce it a petrified man. It is claimed that no sculptor would have invented such an unheard of position and design for a statue. No sculptor could have so perfectly imitated nature, especially in the minutiae which render the image such a wonder. It is claimed by the stone cutters and quarrymen who are constantly engaged in cutting the Onondaga County stone, that no single block could have been found of sufficient size, without a seam, from which to have chiseled out such a monster, (they claiming that the seam would have caused any such statue to split and fall apart under the necessary concussions required for cutting it to anything like its perfection in form.)
Other persons argue that no model of such a human being would have been likely to have been presented to any of the Indian or other inhabitants of America, within the past few centuries.
Many also ask for what reason should such an immense and expensive statue be hewn out and placed in so unfrequented a part of the country? How could it have been transported from the region of rocks to its present location, in a swamp entirely free from stones) especially since it is completely without any base or support of stone on which it can rest." "No statue is known to have been constructed," say the petrified advocates, "in reclining posture, unless the artist left some portion of the block of stone upon which the figure should rest, and be supported and strengthened for a durability of ages."
Other incidental suggestions are set forth as follows, by a writer in the Syracuse Daily Standard. "
The probabilities of its being a petrifaction have a better foundation, independent of outward appearances. First, is the fact that within a very short time, in the work of grading on section six of the Cazenovia & Canastota R.R., the skeletons of five mammoth human beings were exhumed, one of them eleven feet tall. The point of exhumation is not twenty miles distant from Cardiff. There are proofs of a giant race on this continent, and in this part of it; how far back, no one can tell. Second—There is now in the possession of the Onondaga Historical Association, a fish near one foot long, petrified to a perfect stone solidity, which was found near Cardiff, and the color of this petrified fish is very similar to the Cardiff giant stone. Mr. W.B. Kirk, of this city, when living at Cardiff many years ago, found near there a good sized Perch, that was perfectly petrified. Third—Five miles further down the valley, at what is known as the Onondaga Valley Cemetery, in taking up a human body for removal some years ago, it was found to be solid stone; still further north, but in the same range, the corpse of a child, on being taken up was found to be petrified—solid stone.—Still another case—the body of a man who had been buried a few years was taken up for removal, and being found a perfect petrifaction, the widow had it taken home, and it is yet retained in the house, and has never been reburied. We might give names, but do not feel at liberty to do so without first consulting family friends or relatives. These, and other samples that might be given, prove that petrification is not uncommon in the vicinity of Cardiff, where our ten feet two and a half inches, and well proportioned, giant was found."
A different statement still is made by Mr. Wright, father-in-law of Mr. Newell, who formerly owned Mr. Newell's present farm. Mr. Wright says that within a short distance of the present discovery, there is a spring of water which will within a few months turn into solid stone any small deposits of sand and gravel. Neighbors corroborate the statement. A wag has suggested that a factory be at once established there and petrified dogs, cats and small fry generally be furnished to order.
The unsettled point of what it is, undoubtedly furnishes an additional attraction regarding the mysterious stranger, as every person wishes to see for himself and become judge in the trial of Statue versus Fossil.
In this connection an interesting letter is subjoined from the Hon. George Geddes.
To the Editor of the Syracuse Standard:—I find a notice in your paper of this morning of the "Stone Giant" at Cardiff, in which the fact that I visited it yesterday is stated, with the remark that you are told that I believe it to be a petrifaction. Allow me room in your paper to say that this is stating my views a little stronger than I desire. I have formed no opinion as to the origin of this wonderful thing. I was not allowed to make an examination of it beyond the privilege of looking from over a railing into the pit where the giant lay, and this pit was shaded by a tent, and the railing surrounded by double and triple rows of people, all anxious to see. I do not complain that I was not allowed a more perfect examination; there were too many to see to allow the descent into the pit of any one. All questions by me of the gentlemen in charge were politely answered. My impressions were decided that I saw before and below me the figure of a giant in stone of some kind, but what kind I could not tell for in that light and position it did not resemble any rock that our system has in it. I thought it was quite unlike our limestone or our gypsum formations; and that if it was sulphate of lime, and the work of human hands, that it was more likely to have been built up, than hewn from a solid rock. But as I have said, I had no means or liberty to make a close examination. I wish to say in addition, that I have traveled far and spent much money to see things of not one-tenth the interest that this stone giant was to me, and thought I had made good use of time and money.
Respectfully yours, GEORGE GEDDES. Oct. 20th, 1869.
WHAT IS THE CHARACTER OF THE SURROUNDINGS OF THE IMAGE?
The spot is perhaps twenty-five feet below the house. The soil on the surface is a loose one, half sand and half muck (dark.) The spot has undoubtedly been filled in to a considerable extent from washings from the hills around. Mr. Wright, the former owner, says that the spot used to be covered with water, and that he had at one time a bridge constructed over this very point, in order to reach the higher land beyond. Even after the water failed to stand there constantly, he was obliged to use the bridge, as the soft muck was four or five feet deep, and was impassable for cattle and teams. The Onondaga Creek was within twenty rods of the spot, and at some seasons of the year overflows it. Some suppose the channel of the Creek was once there. The place had been a regular swamp for years. Mr. Newell has owned the farm for three years, and has occasionally ploughed around and thrown in dirt, to the depth of at least a foot.
Under the three or more feet of muck is found a strata of gravel from two to six and eight inches in depth. The body rests in and upon this gravel bed. The gravel under the neck of the image was very solidly pressed down. Underneath the gravel is found red clay, into which the gravel is pressed.
The right limb is perfect all around with slight exceptions. The left arm is perfect nearly to the hand, excepting that the shoulder is worn off some by the water underneath. The bottom of the right foot seems to be perfect. Some slight portions of the left foot have been cleaved off.
The family and the neighbors give, it might be remarked, an original hypothesis of their own, regarding the death of the man; viz: that in passing along over this spot he was either drowned or swallowed up in the mire and suffocated to death.
HOW TO FIND THE GIANT
Passengers by the Central or Oswego Railroads leave the cars at Syracuse, and will find an excellent road through the beautiful Onondaga Valley, to Mr. Newell's residence, twelve miles from Syracuse. Strangers will find the principal hack stand of the city near the Wieting Block, on Salina street. The entire force of drivers became within three days perfectly acquainted, not only with the road, but with the leading facts regarding the wonderful discovery. The demand for carriages has been immense, and is constantly increasing. If parties desire to spend the day at Cardiff, they can take the Syracuse & Binghamton Railroad to Lafayette Station, and (with considerable difficulty,) secure a team across to Mr. Newell's house, a distance of about three miles. There is no village at Lafayette Station.
WHO VISITS THE WONDER?
Everybody. Old and young, male and female, people of all classes of community, rush in a constant stream to view the immense curiosity. People from all parts of the United States are hastening to see the Giant before he shall be removed from his long resting place. The average daily attendance for the first week was from three to five hundred persons.
HOW LONG WILL HE BE KEPT WHERE HE WAS FOUND?
Probably for some time, as that seems to be the public wish. Arrangements have been made for some of the chief scientific men of the country to examine critically the colossus. Their opinion or opinions, (which will be published promptly in this work,) will have much weight in the minds of the managers in deciding when and what to do.
WHO OWN THE IMAGE?
Three capitalists have bought of Mr. Newell, (who has declined probably over one hundred offers,) a three-fourths interest in the enterprise. The tour partners will determine what course to pursue.
We subjoin several reports of the Press for a few days succeeding the discovery of his Giantship.
From the Syracuse Daily Standard Oct. 18th, 1869.
The valley of Onondaga has a romance of beauty in its wild scenery, and as the home of the famous tribe of the red men of the forest— the Onondagas—around whose council fires the chiefs and young warriors of the Six Nations assembled to consult on matters of great moment. It commences at the head of Onondaga Lake, having a broad surface where the main part of our city stands, and moderate hill-side boundaries, until we pass two miles south of the city bounds, where the bed of the basin begins to narrow away and the hills on either side to be more abrupt and higher. It continues to decrease in width, until it terminates against Tully Hill, a distance of fourteen miles from the lake. Its beauty of wild scenery is perhaps in greatest perfection in that part known as the Indian Reservation—still held by the Onondaga tribe—somewhat south of the centre of the valley. Two main roads lead up the valley, one at the base of the hills on either side; and riding along either of them in a pleasant day, an admirer of nature's wild grandeur has ample occasion of admiration. The gentle slope, rising way back and up as if touching the clouds, and the more abrupt and ragged, shrub-covered, not less high hills, miniature mountains, with every now and then a ravine down which the water leaps playfully along till it reaches the plateau below and into the little creek on its way to the ocean—is a landscape of beauty not easily described.
Just now this valley is the scene of an excitement, in the finding of a supposed petrifaction of a human being—a giant. The point of interest is on the south side of the valley, opposite and just beyond the little village of Cardiff, in the town of Lafayette— twelve miles from this city, on a farm belonging to Mr. William C. Newell.
On Saturday last Mr. Newell thought to dig a well some six or seven rods east of his house, and a trifle south-east of his barn. The spot is probably thirty feet below the house, and the surface soil is a loose, half sand, half dark muck, the natural washing from the hills above. It is not more than twenty rods from the creek, the channel of which is thought to have been at or very near this spot many years ago. Mr. Newell and a hired man, in digging, had gone down but two and a half feet when something hard was struck, which was believed to be a stone. They thought but little of it at first, expecting to have to break it loose and pry it out. But throwing out a few more shovels of earth from its side, the feet of a man appeared. A few minutes more of labor exposed the legs to the calf; and now their interest being excited, they began to dig carefully around it, until the whole form of a man—petrified giant—was brought to view. The neighbors began to hear of what was found, and of course went at once to see.
Mr. Silas Forbes, who resides a mile and a-half distant, came to the city Saturday evening and apprised us of the new found wonder, and Sunday we went to see it. The story was a big one, and not liking "Silver Lake Snaiks," we wanted to see before telling our readers. And here is what we saw:—
The form of a man lying on his back, head and shoulders naturally flat at hip a trifle over on right side; the right hand spread on the lower part of the abdomen, with fingers apart; the left arm half behind, and its hand against the back opposite the other; the left leg and foot thrown over the right, the feet and toes projecting at a natural angle. The figure was of apparent lime stone, a mixture of the gray and blue, common in most parts of the county, and seemed perfect in every particular. The muscles are well developed; the ribs might be counted; the nostrils are perforated so as to admit a large sized finger up near two inches; the lines of toe and finger nails are plainly marked; the left ear is partially gone, but the right one is perfect and in proportion to the other parts; the nose finely shaped; the forehead high; and the "Adams' apple"' at the throat just projecting out, is as most common with men. The appearance of the "countenance" marks the Giant of the Caucasian race, and not the Indian. If a work of art, the artist has failed in any effort at hair on the head.
We have said that the whole was perfect. And so it appeared, except a few flakes dropped off while the work of exhumation was going on; and perhaps others yesterday. If any well proportioned man will make measurement of himself as above, he will see a striking agreement of ratio.
Though the figure has all the appearance of stone, nevertheless the outer surface shaves off with a knife without materially dulling the blade. This was tried, but of course was not allowed to proceed to disfigure Mr. Giant. A scale that fell from the bottom of one of the feet, looks much like gold quartz, but still is softish and crumbles readily, with a sort of soft sand stone result. It rests on half sand, half clay bottom, the earth above being, as we have already said, of a lighter character.
News of this remarkable discovery rapidly spread, and yesterday when we were there, people were coming and going, from a circuit of four or five miles around, in farm wagons, carriages and buggies, and on foot, to see it.
John A. Clarke, Esq., being at Cardiff, Saturday evening to speak on temperance, took occasion for a lamp-light view. Returning to the city near midnight, he told the story; and was telling it all day yesterday. Not one in fifty of his hearers would believe the counselor, generally esteemed reliable though he is. Still, before the day was over a dozen or more went out to satisfy their curiosity, and returned with full confirmation—and more too, and the "petrified Giant" is now the absorbing topic.
Mr. Newell has stumbled upon an "elephant" in this Giant. His neighbors say it is a fortune to him. It is averred that he was offered $5,000, $10,000 and even $20,000 for it; that a clergyman offered his farm in exchange for the monster—but these offers were all declined. We talked freely with Mr. N. He was quiet and modest, and we doubt if he has received any such proposals, except perhaps jokingly. He indicated no such thing. Yet he seemed anxious to have the "thing" brought out all right if possible, be it what it may, and therefore guards it by day and by night.
During Saturday night the surface water had settled in the pit so as to cover the image. The wise men of Cardiff were consulted. One said, bail out the water—exposure to the air will do no harm. The other said, leave it thus until some scientific man comes to decide as to the prospects of destructability. And the latter's advice was adopted. Yet, when the water was undisturbed and clear, the whole could be seen perfectly plain. Later in the day Dr. J.F. Boynton, the geologist, drove out with Mr. John Geenway, the water was bailed out, and Dr. B. made a thorough inspection of his Giantship, put his arms under the neck, and fairly hugged the monster. The general impression is, that it is a petrifaction of one of those large human beings of which all of us have heard so much in our youthful days, and have read accounts of in maturer years—not here, but somewhere else. A book lies before us, having account of several, varying from eight to eleven feet; but we stop not to extract therefrom. Prof. Boynton, from a hasty examination, is of opinion that it is a work of art—a sculpture from stone. If this theory be correct, it would be scarcely less interesting than if a petrifaction. In the one case arises the speculation as to a gigantic race of beings that may have inhabited portions of this "new world" hundreds of years before Columbus discovered it; the other as to how long ago the artist did the work, and where came he, or his ancestors, from? Men nigh on to a hundred years, and who have resided in the county seventy of them, have never heard allusion to such a thing; the Indian traditions speak not of it. The record of the first white man in this region—Catholic Jesuits—is of something over two hundred years. That record preserves matters of less interest than this would be, but not this. Then again we say it would have scarcely less interest as a work of the chisel, than a petrifaction.
Our city is talking about the Giant. The story has passed from one to another till very many, probably ten thousand, of our citizens have already heard it. The interest is great in it, insomuch that it has been almost impossible for us to thus disjointedly write about the great wonder, because of the constant interruption by visitors who are anxious to hear from one who has actually seen.
From the Syracuse Courier, Oct 18th, 1869.
On Saturday morning last the quiet little village of Cardiff, which lies in the valley about twelve miles south of Syracuse, was thrown into an excitement without precedent, by the report that a human body had been exhumed in a petrified state, the colossal dimensions of which had never been the fortune of the inhabitants of the little village to behold, and the magnitude of which was positively beyond the comprehension or the understanding of the wise men of the valley. We are told that there were giants on the earth once; and, if the reports of those who have investigated this discovery are true, and that they are we have no doubt, this stony man—who for hundreds of years may have slept untouched and undisturbed, had it not been for the rude hand of a Cardiff farmer—must have been one of them. The excitement in and around Cardiff extended until it reached the City of Salt, and all day yesterday the discovery was the chief topic of conversation at the hotels and public places in the city. Of course, the most extravagant stories were told, and greedily devoured up by gaping listeners. Some would have it that the body exhumed was twenty-five feet high, and proportionately large. All day yesterday crowds visited the scene of the discovery, and returned to tell the tale of the wonderful discovery to their eager friends.
From the Standard, October 23d.
LETTER FROM REV. MR. CALTHROP. DEAR SIR—As everyone is deeply interested in the Onondaga Giant, perhaps it may be as well for each of us to add his mite towards guessing at the solution of the problem he has silently set us all.
It is no wonder that so many are of opinion that he is a gigantic petrifaction. His proportions are so perfect, and his appearance is so life like. I will add, that every one wants to think so. If he proved to be a petrifaction, what a realm of awe and mysterious conjecture would he open to us. But I, for one, feel convinced that he will prove to be statue, and for these reasons:—
First, I think there are evident marks of stratification in the stone. The left eyebrow and the top of the nose are the parts most elevated. These correspond exactly, both being composed of a white layer. On the chest is a squarish layer of a dark tinge; around, and slightly below this, is another layer corresponding exactly with the ins and outs of the first. Beyond, and below this, another and another all alike, seeming to be simply lines of stratification. The level seems exactly kept. Follow with your eye any two adjacent lines, and you will see that where they are close to each other the surface has an abrupt change of level; where they are further apart the surface is nearly horizontal. Where the surface approaches the perpendicular, as on the sides, the dark line showing the separation of the strata is thin, because it has been cut through nearly at right angles. Where the surface is more horizontal the dark line is broader, because it has been cut through obliquely, the breadth varying steadily with the angle of inclination. The same can be plainly seen along the right leg.
Another strong reason for its being a statue lies in the fact that not a single limb is detached. The right arm is not merely glued to the body throughout, as well as the hand, but it has the appearance of only being cut into the stone to a depth sufficient to give due relief. This is equally true of the left arm, and of the two legs, which are joined to each other throughout. The sculptor has not wasted a stroke of the chisel. I would add here, that between the third and fourth fingers of the right hand, the slit is carried too far toward the wrist, seemingly by a slip of the chisel.
Who did it? A trained sculptor; one who had seen, studied and probably reproduced many a work of art; one who was thoroughly acquainted with human anatomy. One, too, who had noble original powers; for none but such could have formed and wrought out the conception of that stately head, with its calm, grand smile, so full of mingled sweetness and strength.
He appears, however, to have worked under certain disadvantages. He had not such command of materials as a civilized country could have afforded him. He had to put up with the best stone he could find. I think that the peculiar posture of the statue can be fairly explained by supposing that the original block tapered away toward the feet, and was only just about the breadth of the statue as we now see it. This seems fairly to explain the curious position of the left arm. The artist had to put it there because there was not breadth enough to put it in any other position. So of the position of the feet—one over the other. The stone may not have been wide enough to have admitted of any other position. Who was he? Let us analyze a little.
In the ancient world, only the Greek School of Art was capable of such a perfect reproduction of the human form. I have seen no Egyptian or Assyrian sculpture which approached this in anatomical accuracy.
Throughout the middle ages till the great Art Revival, no one in Europe had skill enough for the purpose. It appears, therefore, that unless we adopt the somewhat strained hypothesis that a highly civilized society, now utterly extinct, once existed on this continent, we are forced to search for our sculptor among the European adventurers who have sought homes in North America during the last three centuries, as no one, I presume, is prepared to maintain a that the statue has a Greek or Roman origin, unless, indeed, it was brought over as an antique by some forgotten amateur of art.
Was it not then as Dr. Boynton suggests, some one from that French colony, which occupied Salina and Pompey Hill, and Lafayette? Some one with an artist's soul, sighing over the lost civilization of Europe, weary of swamp and forests, and fort, finding this block by the side of the stream solaced the weary days of exile with pouring out his thought upon the stone. The only other hypothesis remaining is that of a gross fraud. One need only say with regard to this that such a fraud would require the genius of a sculptor joined to the skill and audacity of a Jack Sheppard.
But lastly, what did he intend it to represent? Had he known of the discovery of America by the northmen, he might have had in his thoughts some gigantic Brown, or Erio, or Harold. The old northman is shot through with an Indian's poisoned arrow; his body is dying, as the tight pressed limbs express; but the strong soul still rules the face, which smiles grandly in death. If you had objected that there was too much mind shining through the features, the sculptor might have answered that the closed eyes saw in prophetic vision that men of his race would one day rule where he had lain down to die. But this is rather too high flown, so I had better conclude. Yours, S.R. CALTHROP.
LETTER FAVORING PETRIFACTION.
MR. EDITOR:—It needs no apology to address you upon a subject that is now engaging the constant attention of all your readers and thousands besides, and if any person can throw any light upon the subject it would seem to be their duty to communicate it to the public. While there has been much speculation and wonder as to the nature and origin of the marvelous curiosity found last Saturday in the town of Lafayette, in this county, there has been made public no argument from scientific men up to this time to settle the doubts and convictions of the unlearned. In the suggestions which I shall make upon the subject, I regret that I have not the benefit of a more extended knowledge of the sciences which pertain to the subject, but having earnest convictions, supported apparently by plausible reasons, I submit them to the consideration of the public for whatever weight they may be entitled to.
The advocates of the theory that the subject in question is a statue, have too many difficulties to overcome to establish their position.
If the subject is a statue it must have been formed by some person, who once lived, and had an object or motive for making it. Who can say what that object was? It must have been formed by a person of wonderful genius and skill. Where and when did such a person exist? History gives no account of him. Its formation and object must have been known to many persons who assisted in its manufacturing and transportation. Where are those persons?
The objections to the theory that the figure in question is a statue, may be briefly described as follows:
1st. This figure, if made by human hand, was intended to be exhibited; otherwise there can be no motive for making it. If it was intended to be exhibited, it was also designed to assume some position, either an erect or recumbent one. The reasons for keeping it in that position would have been provided by the sculptor, by either making a pedestal for it to stand upon, a tablet for it to lie on, or forming the body on the stone out of which it was cut, so that it would lie upon a flat surface. Nothing of this kind is visible. There is nothing about the figure remaining except what belongs to a man who has lain down alone in solitude and agony to die and has died, and the story of whose death has been preserved by the miraculous agencies of nature.
Second, if designed by man as the representation of man, the head would have been covered with hair, the most beautiful ornament of the human body, yet no trace of hair is found on this subject.
Third, it has been claimed that the material of this figure is gypsum taken from the hills of Onondaga county. The evidence of our most experienced quarrymen is that a block of gypsum of sufficient size to make this figure was never found in this region.
Fourth, if this figure was sculptured from marble or stone, its body, head and limbs would be solid. Yet the orifices in its wasted rectum and other parts of its body, and the resounding noise occasioned by striking upon it proves that it is hollow internally.
Fifth, No statue was ever sculptured in this or a similar position. The position is precisely that which a person would assume who was suffering an agony which was to result in death. The hands pressing opposite sides of the lower part of the body and one leg drawn up and pressed against the other is the effort of expiring humanity to relieve itself from pain. The sculptor's chisel and the painter's brush have often been called upon to represent scenes of death in all its various forms and manifestations. Yet have they never attained the simplicity, the impressiveness, the vivid naturalness of the story told by the figure which lies in yonder clay.
Sixth, It should also be observed that a sculptor who had the genius to form such a figure would naturally keep a proper and harmonious proportion in the different parts of the body, but it will be noticed in this subject that the feet are unusually broad, projecting far beyond the natural lines of the leg, and giving evidence of usage which has caused what is almost a deformity.
Seventh, If a statue, why should one of the eyes differ so much from the other, one of them being open, and one nearly or quite shut?
Eighth, If this figure is a statue, explain how it has been transported and handled to place it in its present position. It is estimated by the best judges that the figure weighs from a ton and a half to two tons. This immense weight could not have been transported by any known means of transportation in the neighborhood of the figure, and it could not have been handled without the aid of machinery.
Ninth, Perhaps the greatest objection to the statue theory is the last on which I shall mention, and that is the majestic simplicity and grandeur of the figure itself. It is not unsafe to affirm that ninety-nine out of every hundred persons who have seen this would have become immediately and instantly impressed with the idea that they were in the presence of an object not made by mortal hand, and that the figure before them once lived and had its being like those who stood around it. This feeling arises from the awful naturalness of the figure and its position. No piece of sculpture of which we have any account ever produced the awe inspired by this blackened form lying among the common and every-day surroundings of a country farm yard.
We see objects of larger size every day, formed from materials which excite our wonder or admiration, and upon which have been bestowed the highest skill of the artist, the sculptor and the painter, but there is in that blackened mass, that worn and impaired as it is by the action of the elements, and repulsive from the nature and color of the material forming it, which inspires an awe and reverence such as the handiwork of a mortal, no matter how gifted, has ever accomplished. I venture to affirm that no living sculptor can be produced who will say this figure was conceived and executed by any human hand. But Mr. Editor I am afraid I have trespassed too far on your attention and space. There is much more to be said on the subject, which at a future time I will say. R.
The present owners of the Giant have engaged Col. J.W. Wood, known all over the country as a popular showman, as their manager. To-night Mr. W. will have a much larger tent (forty feet) over his giantship, so that hereafter many more can be accommodated at a time—whether they can see better we are not sure.
From the Syracuse Journal, October 23d, 1869.
SPEAKING OF THE CARDIFF GIANT. Reports of Committees. Three of us—Tom, Dick and Harry—interviewed the stone wonder on Thursday of this week, and here are our reports. Tom sees everything from a ludicrous point of view, and is nothing if not funny. Dick is a common-sense fellow, who makes up in positiveness what he lacks in education; and I am—Yours, very respectfully, A.C.
TOM'S REPORT. His Majestic Highness was in bed when we reached the royal residence although it was high noon by the dial.
But the obliging janitor was convinced, by a single glance at the cards we presented, that it would not do to refuse us admission. We found the Noble Duke divested of wearing apparel and enjoying his morning ablution, which was administered by a valet de chambre, who stood on a platform above His Excellency, and held him down with a ten foot pole. The countenance of the great man expressed composure and serenity. His eyes were closed and his general appearance and attitude were limp and cadaverous, causing us to fear, for a moment, that His Mightiness might be dead instead of sleeping.
Our apprehensions were allayed, however, when the irreverent attendant punched his Sublime Majesty in the head and chest, and elicited an impatient, cavernous, responsive "ugh!"
Having feasted our eyes on the unveiled grandeur of the stupendous Knight, we begged permission of his keeper to get into the Imperial bed and embrace the gigantic feet. We begged in vain. Let us then grasp that autocratic right hand, which reminds us so touchingly of the dear, fat, fried-cake hands Bridget used to mould for us in our infancy. Our request was declined with emphasis. May we not breathe an affectionate word into that dexter ear, which seems placed far down towards his shoulder as if on purpose to receive our tender message? "He's deaf," said the heartless man with the pole. Let us at least give him one— just one—kiss for his mother. "He never had no mother," responded the inexorable valet, and we turned sadly away from the Kingly presence of the sweet, sleeping orphan.
As we wended our homeward way we gave ourself up to meditation, while our companions gave themselves up to sandwiches and boiled eggs.
We called to mind the striking resemblance in form and features, which the vast monarch bears to the Stoneman family, and we rejoiced that a gallant General of our army could trace his ancestry to one who stood so high in the community.
From appearances we should judge the seraphic Emperor to be a man of property—worth at least fifty thousand dollars.
Whether he were so or not, we certainly were petrified— with astonishment.
Yours for the right, THOMAS.
There's no use talking; that fellow was once a living and breathing human being. In my opinion he walked these hills and valleys, just the same as we do, thousands and thousands of years ago. We read of the sons of Anak, but this chap was the father of Anak. It is beyond the art of man to carve so perfect a human being out of stone. Anybody who could sculp like that could have made his fortune, without hiding his work away and letting it be discovered by accident in after ages. And who ever saw a piece of statuary in such a position, and without hair on?
The man that says that this petrified man is nothing but a graven image, proves that he is a little soft in the upper story. There is no shadow of doubt that this is a genuine petrifaction. I would take my oath of it. Dr. Boynton writes a long rigmarole to show that he is a statue made by the Jesuits; but in my opinion the Dr. is just laying low so that he can buy the curiosity and make his pile on him. Why, you can see the very cords in his legs, where the flesh has decayed off; and the matter running out of his right eye has turned to stone. Would the Jesuits have been likely to carve cords and tears? The idea is too absurd to be thought of. This is my report, and I don't care what anybody else says. RICHARD.
Whether the colossal figure be a petrifaction or a piece of statuary, it is a mystery and a success. Who carved it?. When was it made? Whom does it represent? What is its lesson? Why was it hidden? How happens it that tradition is silent about it? These are puzzling questions, which at present are solved only by conjecture.
Let no one imagine that he has an adequate conception of this wonder till he has seen it, with his own eyes. Description seems to be no aid whatever; ocular inspection is positively necessary.
He who fails to see the curiosity in its present locality and position, will have reason to regret this neglect or misfortune all his life time.
I was not permitted to make a careful and thorough examination.
"Hands off," was the imperative order of the proprietor, and I bowed to the decreer. I craved permission to apply a drop of acid in order to determine certainly whether the material was gypsum or ordinary limestone, but my request was denied. If on the application of acid there had been no effervescence, the inference would be that the specimen was not limestone, the material of which petrifactions are usually composed. But although chemical tests and manipulations were prohibited, there seemed to be no disposition to forbid the use of our eyes—at a respectful distance. And the proprietor very kindly refrained from exacting a promise that we would not express an opinion, if we should have temerity enough to form one.
I take it that this specimen was carefully placed in its present locality. Had it been washed from a distance, it would have been fractured and mutilated, and it would not in all likelihood, have lodged in its present easy and natural position.
If this were once a living man, he must have died ages and ages ago. If buried, the accumulated deposits upon his grave, in this low piece of ground, during thousands of years would have been deeper than three feet. If he were drowned, or if he lay down on the surface of the earth to die, the flesh would have decayed and dropped from his bones without petrification. If he were petrified in his present locality, we ought to find other petrifications in its immediate neighborhood, whereas all the twigs and branches which covered and surrounded him are free from the slightest encrustation.
Human bodies do not petrify in layers; but the strata in the Cardiff giant, especially on the left side, are as manifest as they are in a ledge of rocks. The eye brows, the tip of the nose, the breast and the thigh are of the same stratum, and the layers in the right arm are clearly of different degrees of density.
The conclusion seems irresistible that the giant is a work of art rather than of nature. The sculpture must have been done some years ago, or the lower parts of the figure would not have crumbled and been washed away by the sluggish oozing of the water through the soil.
Its age cannot antedate the present race of men, for the shape of the head and the features are entirely modern. The old-time people, as portrayed in the sculpture of Assyria and Egypt, had no such heads as this. The artist evidently took a corpse for a model and proportioned his colossal figure by careful measurement. He was thus enabled to secure the general anatomical accuracy for which his giant is remarkable. He followed the model very closely, not attempting to represent a living being, not venturing even to supply the missing hair. And these omissions, the result of inexperience, furnish, singularly enough, the principal arguments to the petrifactionists. For the popular opinion that the body and head are hollow, that the nostrils and other orifices are open, and that the tendons in the decayed leg are visible, has not the slightest foundation. Why was this image made? Why hidden? and by whom? are questions which I must be excused from answering at present. HENRY
THE BELIEF OF THE ONONDAGA INDIANS—THE BODY OF AN INDIAN PROPHET.
To the Editor of the Syracuse Journal:— In your columns devoted to "Letters from the People," I thought you would at this time publish the following, it being interesting as one of the current opinions of the Indians of "the Castle" regarding the wonderful "human petrified statue," which, in its colossal proportions and the sphynx-like silence of its history is so electrifying and exciting the people.
By one of the old squaws I am told that a large number of Onondagas believe that the statue is the petrified body of a gigantic Indian prophet, who flourished many centuries ago, and who foretold the coming of the pale-faces, though long before the foot of our forefathers had touched the western continent. He warned his people with prophetic fervor of the coming encroachments of the white man, and the necessity of their abstinence from a poison drink he would bring to craze and destroy them. He told them that he should die and be buried out of their sight, but that THEIR DESCENDANT WOULD SEE HIM—AGAIN. J.P. FOSTER, State Agent and Teacher for the Onondaga Indians.
THE STONE GIANT.
On Saturday the sale of the remaining one-half interest in the Great Giant Wonder was closed up. Another partner, Mr. Wm. Spencer —an old-time schoolmate of Mr. Newell—was taken in, so that the present owners are Wm. C. Newell, of Cardiff, Alfred Higgins, Dr. Amos Westcott and Amos Gillett, of this city, David H. Hannurn, of Homer, and Wm. Spencer, of Utica.
Saturday was a bad day, as to weather; nevertheless several hundred visited the Giant.
Sunday was a crusher. The people began to go early, and kept going all day long. From eleven to three o'clock it was a dense mass of people on the Newell farm. Around the house and barns acres were covered with teams and wagons, and the road, for a long distance in either direction, was lined with them. It seemed as if such another jam never went to a show before, and it was with great difficulty that the line could be kept so that all could have a fair sight. All the proprietors were on hand, and did all they could to accommodate the crowd. At three P.M. twenty-three hundred tickets had been sold, Mr. Higgins bringing in the $1,150 received therefor, for safety. Not less than three hundred tickets were sold after three o'clock, so the total number of visitors for the day would be 2,600.
The Tully story of fraud is exploded. The mysterious man said to have visited that village, etc., turns out to be no other than a cousin of Mr. Newell's, a resident of Binghamton, and a tobacconist. He was on the grounds all day yesterday, and frankly told all there was of his visit at the time alleged, to the satisfaction of every one.
LETTER FROM A PETRIFACTIONIST.
EDITOR STANDARD:—Permit me to notice a few of the arguments upon the Cardiff discovery, appearing in your paper of Saturday last, and the Journal of the same day.
It seems a committee of the editors and owners of the Journal, named respectively Tom, Dick and Harry, of widely various characteristics, visited the Giant last week, and treat the subject on their return by articles published in that highly original sheet, according to their respective peculiarities. Tom, who is evidently admired in his family circle as a man of great humor, has so cultivated that faculty that it presents an abnormal development, and if petrification ever does overtake him, posterity may hope it will not operate upon his intellectual faculties. Dick, on the other hand, is gloomily satirical, and by the aid of that useful faculty utterly annihilates his opponents without saying anything. But last, Harry takes up the theme and treats it in a spirit becoming the gravity of the subject.
He thinks that the artist formed the figure according to a pattern, having a cold "corpse" conveniently by as a model, from which he could take "careful measurement," and proceeded to make this figure, not attempting, he says, to make this corpse look like a "living figure," which certainly was modest in the artist. He also says that he did not attempt to "supply the missing hair." The question very naturally arises here, "Why was the hair missing, and how long had the corpse been a corpse to lose its hair? and was it a pleasant occupation to do business with such a corpse?" This omission (i.e. to put on hair), Harry says, arose from "inexperience."
Now, experience is certainly an excellent thing, and when properly acquired and wisely used is undoubtedly of considerable benefit to mankind. But that it was necessary, in order to enable an artist to know that hair grows on the human head, we had not before supposed. Into such absurdities, oh Harry, does he run who abandons his familiar scissors for the unaccustomed pen.
I will briefly refer to the letter of Rev. S.R. Calthrop in favor of the statue theory. While it shows the scholarship of its author, his thorough appreciation of artistic influences, and the wonderful imitation of nature produced by the one who formed this figure, it does not seem to me to go very far towards proving his position. Starting off with the idea that many reasons may be given against the theory of petrification, he commences with number one, and then he stops; it is true he gives one other reason, but neglects to number it; and the two reasons are—
First, that evidences of stratification appear on the body, thereby assuming that they would not appear in a petrified body; and, secondly, that the separate members of the body are not detached from each other as they were in life, assuming also that this does occur in cases of petrifaction.
Are these assumptions correct as matters of fact?
The evidence as to the existence of strata in this body is very conflicting. A number of professional persons who visited this figure on Saturday, and subjected it to close scrutiny with a powerful magnifying glass, and who all, by the way, hold the "statue theory," say there were no evidences of stratification in the body; that what appears to be such is simply the difference in shading, produced by the greater or less density of the material composing the figure. The appearances indicating stratification are also explainable by the action of the water, charged with carbonate of lime, upon the body. The line of contact between the body and the water would necessarily receive a deposit of lime, causing a straight line of lighter color to appeal oi the body. It is also a fact, which I have learned from quite a number who first visited the body when it was submerged in water, that the present water level leaves exposed the nose, eyebrow and breast at the points where some persons now think they see stratification. In fact, deposits of carbonate of lime of a whitish color, even now, adhere to the left ear and side of the face which show the presence of that substance in the water, and that it will adhere to and become a part of the subject with which it is brought in contact.
Now, how is stratification produced in the formation of stone and rocks. It is said by geologists to be formed only when the original material forming the rock or stone has been transported and deposited by the operation of a body of water holding the material in solution, and depositing it in alternate layers at its place of destination.
How is a petrified body formed? Science answers, that it is formed by the gradual infiltration of silicious earth, pyrites of iron, carbonate or sulphate of lime, into the pores of the body, taking the place of the decaying parts, and substituting a new and original substance to take the place and form of the body petrified. These substances are always conveyed to their place of destination, and then applied to accomplish their purpose by the operation of water. The petrified substance may have none of the material composing the original figure, and the nature of the body formed either assimilates to the material around it, or is determined by that of which it is composed. So also all of the substances forming petrifaction may be found together in the same subject, or they may accomplish their work separately.
Silicious earth goes largely to form flint quartz and the various kinds of sandstone carbonate of lime, of limestone, and so of the other materials mentioned forming their peculiar kinds of stone. I have heard one statue-theorist trying to prove that the decayed portion of one of the legs showed the presence of flint, and therefore he argued it could not be a petrifaction. Not so. It probably would prove, if true, that the figure was not a statue, for pieces of flint are not found in such material, unless it be a petrifaction, in which case silicious earth would account for it. Now it is safe to say that there is no substance that enters into the composition of stone that does not enter into the formation of a petrifaction.
Now, these materials are, in cases of petrifaction, brought to the spot and deposited by action of the water—precisely such an operation as forms strata of rock; should it not produce the same effect in the appearance of successive layers or strata in the subject of petrifaction? With reference to the other objection to the theory of petrifaction, viz:—that the members of the body are conjoined and not detached—it is sufficient to say, from the very nature of the operation of petrifaction, portions of the body lying in contact would necessarily be conjoined and filled up. The wasting portions of the body are silently but surely supplied by nature, and as the transformation progresses, nature causes her deposit to adhere to its proximate kindred matter, and forms thus a solid and adhering body.
It is also somewhat worthy of observation that fossiliferous remains occur more frequently, than elsewhere, in marshy and swampy places in this country. Thus the low marshes known as the "Blue Licks" in Kentucky, and other similar places abound in specimens of fossil remains. These are often, indeed, quite commonly found near the surface of the ground, and it is a fact that the material and formation of marshy grounds change less through the operation of time than other places. The Pantine Marshes and the Marshfield Fens have preserved forms and characteristics for centuries upon centuries. Why is it then, that we are to be driven for a solution of the question as to the character of this curiosity to a hundred improbable and unnatural suppositions, when the thing may be explained by perfectly natural causes without violating any probabilities?
It is somewhat amusing to talk with the various advocates of the "statue theory," as each successive one is sure to knock over his predecessor's structure before he begins to build his own.
The endless suppositions which are produced to account for this marvelous work as a production of the sculptor are certainly a great credit to the imaginative faculties or inventive genius of our people, but people of ordinary intelligence find it hard to believe that men of wonderful genius and skill inhabited our original forests for the purpose of producing gems of art and then burying them in the marshes, or that men of culture and education go traveling in a wild and barbarous country encumbered by a piece of statuary weighing about two tons and being necessarily somewhat inconvenient to carry in our pockets. Yours, Com.
OPINION OF PROFESSOR HALL, STATE GEOLOGIST.
Professor Hall, gives the following definite opinion, in the Albany Argus of Monday, the 20th of October:
GENTLEMEN:—Your paragraph in this morning's issue, relative to the Onondagas Stone Giant, does injustice to the proprietor of that most remarkable object.
Dr. Woolworth and Prof. Hall left here on Thursday afternoon, with the intent of visiting, as they had been solicited to do, the supposed fossil giant or statue—for there were conflicting opinions in regard to its nature. On Friday morning they left Syracuse for Cardiff with Dr. Wieting and Judge Woolworth of the former place. As soon as practicable after their arrival, the tent was cleared of visitors, the party named were admitted and left to their undisturbed investigations for a full quarter of an hour; and when it is understood that the crowd outside were enough to twice fill the tent, and all desirous of seeing, and that the receipts of the owner for tickets were $26 per hour, it seemed scarcely civil to occupy a longer time.
The Giant, as has already been stated, is a statue of crystalline gypsum (not a cast) lying upon its back, or slightly inclining to the right side, and in an attitude of rest or sleep. The head is directed to the east, southeast, and the body, without support or pedestal, lies upon a thin stratum of gravel, which has been covered by about three feet or more of fine silt, in the bottom of which are some partially decayed roots or branches of trees— doubtless floated there at the beginning of the silt deposit. The water, oozing from the southwest, along this gravel bed, has dissolved that side of the statue and gives it a pitted appearance, such as masses of gypsum or limestone acquire when long exposed to the action of the water. The earth at the sides of the pit bear no evidence of having been disturbed since its original deposition, and, to all appearances, this statue lay upon the gravel when the deposition of the fine silt or soil began, and upon the surface of which the forests have grown for succeeding generations
Altogether, it is the most remarkable object yet brought to light in this country, id altogether, perhaps, not dating back to the stone age, is, nevertheless, deserving of the attention of archaeologists. H. Albany, NY, October 23, 1869.
From the Syracuse Journal Oct. 25, 1869.
MORE THAN A NINE DAYS' WONDER.
The Onondaga Giant proves to be much more than a nine days' wonder. —Sunday completed the nine days of excitement and marvelings over this remarkable discovery, and instead of an abatement of the popular interest, it would seem that it has but just begun to be awakened. The attendance of visitors on Sunday was largely in excess of that of any previous day, and the number reached nearly three thousand. A new and large tent had been (erected, with increased accommodations, but it was found wholly inadequate to accomodate the crowds that occupied it from early morning till late in the evening. The agent for the proprietors raised a British flag over the tent, explaining that he thought some flag ought to be displayed, and that this was the only one he had there —a circumstance that was quite distasteful to very many of the visitors. An American flag has now properly been substituted. The number of visitors to-day is quite large, and as the people of the surrounding country are just waking up to the interest of the exhibition, many thousands will yet go to see it in the spot where it was unearthed.
The interest in the subject abroad is also now fairly developing. The discovery was at first looked upon as a humbug, but this view is giving way before the facts presented in the local papers. The leading journals of the country have sent special correspondents to write up the subject. The New York Tribune and Herald, Harper's Weekly, the Springfield Republican and other papers, have already had their representatives at the scene of the discovery. The new proprietors, —who are now stated to be Messrs. William C. Newell, of Cardiff, Alfred Higgins, Dr. Amos Westcott and Amos Gillett, of this city, David H. Hannum, of Homer, and William Spencer, of Utica, propose to continue the exhibition where it has thus far been held, till difficulty in reaching the locality occurs from bad weather, then to remove the giant to this city, where it will remain till the local curiosity is satisfied, and then convey it to New York and other leading cities for public exhibition.
THE VALUE OF THE GIANT WONDER.
We learn from a reliable source that $20,000 was offered on Saturday by a perfectly responsible party and in good faith, to two different persons holding interests in the stone giant, for one-quarter share of the stock in the wonderful statue, and the offer was promptly declined.
AN ANCIENT COIN FOUND IN THE EARTH TAKEN FROM THE GIANT'S BED.
On Saturday last, Mathew, a son of Dr. Alexander Henderson, veterinary surgeon, of this city, while visiting the Cardiff giant, picked up from the surrounding debris thrown out of the excavated resting place of this huge work of stone something that seemed like a blackened scale of brass or a rusty old button. Thinking that it might have some affinity to the wonderful statue, the lad rubbed the dirt and rust from its surface between his finger and thumb, and burnishing it a little by rubbing it in the folds of his coat skirts, it showed evidence of being an old copper coin, and he accordingly placed it carefully in is pocket, and brought it home. Dr. Henderson, the lad's father, applied some acids to it, when an ancient coin, of nearly the eleventh century, revealed itself.
On the obverse side of the coin is the head of the Emperor Jestyn, with a full flowing beard from the chin, and the sacred heart strung from a rosary in the shape of a shield, or breast-plate, strung around the neck. Beneath the Emperor is the date, "1091," and around the edge of the coin is the following inscription— "JESTYN-AP-GURGAN, TYWYSOG-MORGANWG." The interpretation of this, as rendered by a competent Welshman, means, "Jestyn, son of Gurgan, Prince of Glanmorgan." On the reverse side is the figure of the Goddess of Commerce, seated on the wheel at her side, the pillar and ancient crown, wreathed with the national emblem, the oak, the shield and spear supported by the left hand, and the right hand pointing to a ship on the distant sea, with full sails set, which she seems intently gazing at. The inscription around the circle is in the Welch language, and reads as follows:—"Y. BRENAIN-AR- GYFRAITH," the interpretation of which is "The King and the Laws." The coin is 778 years old—over seven and a half centuries—and on the edge of the rim can be distinctly seen "Glenmorgan Half Penny," with representations of leaves intertwining. The denomination of the coin is imprinted in raised letters, and everything connected with it shows it to be a coin of the reign of the emperor whose name it bears. Further, in connection with the unearthing of the stone giant, its discovery in the loose dirt thrown up from the bed of the excavation where the statue was found, and yet lies, is certainly quite interesting, and seems to add to the general interest that attaches to this great and unexplained mystery of the Nineteenth Century.
PROBABILITIES THAT IT WAS TRANSPORTED ON THE WATER-COURSES FROM THE SEA-BOARD.
Although there are still intelligent advocates of the petrifaction theory, the preponderating weight of opinion supports the view that the giant wonder is a work of art. We understand all the scientific gentlemen, who have been permitted to make thorough examination, to be agreed in this decision.
The next question is, How did it come to be where it was discovered? There is very little probability that it was carved on the spot where it was recently exhumed; the stone for that purpose was not likely to have been found there or to have been taken there; and the situation where it was discovered, a morass or water-bed, favors the theory that it was deposited there. Setting aside the belief, honestly entertained by many people in the immediate vicinity, that the statue was surreptitiously placed in the slough where it was dug up a few days since, there is tenable ground for the theory that it was taken there by some of the early white visitors to this section of country. This might have been done by transportation over the water-courses communicating with the locality, either through the River St. Lawrence, Lake Ontario, the Oswego River, Onondaga Lake and Onondaga Creek, or through the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers, Oneida Lake and River, Onondaga Lake and Onondaga Creek. These waters were early navigated, and within the memory of persons still living the principal means of transportation was by batteaux, which with considerable loads were propelled along these water-courses. The Onondaga Creek was in those days navigable for light-draft craft capable of conveying a much greater weight than this statue, at least as far up its waters as the place of this discovery.
The place of the discovery is not in the original channel of the creek, but in a detour from that channel. It is not unreasonable to suppose that for some reason—from alarm, or from a desire to secret the object,—the craft was run out of the main channel into this then open water-way, where the statue was deposited.
The early Jesuit visitors to this vicinity may have had this statue in their keeping. It may have been fashioned by some of their number. It is not impossible, that it may have been brought here, or even have been carved out at some place not far distant, by other of the early visitors to this region. We expect that light will be thrown upon these speculations, by the scientific investigations, which will determine the exact nature of the material of which the statue is composed, by which alone some hint of its place of origin may be derived. The intimations given us by Professor Hall, in our brief interview with him, impressed us that he looked upon the statue as of great antiquity, antedating the present geologic period, and equaling in interest and importance the discoveries made in Mexico of archaeological remains, indicating a high degree of civilization in the tenth, eleventh and twelfth centuries.
WHEN WAS THE STATUE PUT WHERE IT WAS FOUND?
To the Editor of the Syracuse Journal:— If it would not be asking too much, I would beg leave to say a few words through the columns of your paper. In Saturday's issue of the Standard I notice a letter written by "Skeptic," which that paper calls "silly," and charges the writer with being "lacking in the upper story." This is a misfortune, truly; but I have taken some trouble to investigate these reports and find them vouched for by highly respectable parties. There are, to my mind, several reasons for the belief that this wonder has not occupied its present position longer than is intimated in the above mentioned letter.
The soil where it was found is soft, and an excavation large enough to admit the object could easily be made in an hour or two. The location is favorable for such purpose, being behind the buildings, and hidden by the abrupt bank; a little straw or other litter would cover all traces. Then, if the stone man be moulded from cement, it would not weigh near what it would if cut from stone, and could be handled with ease by three or four men. This idea that the curiosity was cast or moulded, is strengthened by the fact that it has no other support than the ground upon which it rests. Had it been the work of a sculptor it would have had a tablet for support. Now, you ask, perhaps, where was the pattern made, if moulded, and how could the parties making the cast escape detection? I would ask, who carved it, if a stone, and where did the sculptor bring out such a work without the knowledge of the fact being discovered?
It is said by those who ought to know something about our gypsum quarries, that there are no such slabs of stone found there out of which this object could be carved. Further, it is allowed by all who have examined this wonder, that the head appears to have been hollow. Now, if the head is hollow, it is either a moulding or else it must be what those interested claim for it: a veritable petrifaction. No sculptor would carve the head in that condition.
But I have used too much of your valuable time, so I will close. TULLY, Oct. 23d, 1869. CONE WILLIAMS
OF WHAT SCHOOL OF ART IS THIS STATUE?
To the Editor of the Syracuse Journal:— In the discussions relating to the "Giant," I find there are many who favor the Grecian and Roman school of sculpture. The Greeks and Romans excelled the early Egyptians in one thing only, that is representing the human hair. Their male statues have flowing and bushy locks and a beard. On the Egyptian statue, the hair looks more like a skull cap on the back of the head, than hair, with no indication of beard. They had been so afflicted with plagues through the Israelites, that they would have nothing that was like them, or that reminded them of them. The Cardiff giant has no beard and nothing on the forehead to indicate hair; behind the ears running up to the crown, there seems to be something, that when he is raised, may show the Egyptian school of sculpture. As art goes from one country to another, the style changes somewhat to suit the taste of the people. In America, at first, our sculptors and painters copied from the French and Italian schools, but put on a little more drapery, as our people were modest and would not bear a true copy. Time, the destroyer of all things, has turned the drapery into dust, and we now have the original in all its glory and shame. W.
P.S.—A hard-shell brother at my elbow says he will go his bottom dollar that the Cardiff chap is the original "Poor Uncle Ned, who had no hair on the top of his head;" he has lain down there and got Klu-Kluxed. (Klu-Kluxed is a Greek word, and means petrified or dried up.) The only objection to his theory is, Uncle Ned's shin bone curved backward, this man's curves forward.
CUT OF THE GIANT.
We herewith present a wood cut of the Giant. We have waited for an engraving from a photograph, in order to insure in every part of the pamphlet the utmost accuracy. The taking the photographs having been delayed, we present a sketch until their completion. The owners of the Giant furnish this publication alone with photographic copies—which will appear promptly on completion.
[[Wood cut here of giant and spectators]]
A MITE IN THE SCALE.
To the Editor of the Syracuse Journal:— Clark's "History of Onondaga," Vol. 1, page 43, near the bottom, says:—"The Quis-quis, or great hog, was another monster which gave the Onondagas great trouble, as did also the great bear, the horned water-serpent, the stone giants, and many other equally fabulous inventions, bordering so closely upon the truly marvelous, that the truth would suffer wrongfully if related in full; but nevertheless are found among the wild and unseemly traditions of the race." H.
LETTER FROM PROF. WARD.
The following letter from Prof. Henry A. Ward appears in the Rochester Democrat, and will be found to be well worthy of perusal. Prof. Ward takes high rank among the scientific men of the country, and an opinion from him is certainly entitled to respectful consideration:—
EDITOR DEMOCRAT—I have just returned from a hasty visit to the colossal statue, or "Fossil Giant," as many have called it, which is now causing so great an excitement in our sister city, Syracuse, and in all the country for many score of miles around.
This great archeological wonder is located in the Onondaga Valley, on the west side, about three-quarters of a mile from the village of Cardiff. The valley itself is one of erosion, dating its birth to the time when the gradual rise of our continent from beneath the ocean's waves had subjected all this portion of our State to the fierce furrowing and deep denuding action of violent currents of water, aided in their work by floating masses of ice and by rock debris carried by and often frozen into these masses. For about twelve miles south from Syracuse the valley is quite narrow, but here the hills recede on either side and sweep widely around in two high crescent-like ranges to meet again (or nearly so) at a point three or four miles higher up the stream. Within the sort of amphitheater thus formed, and at the foot of the western hill, is the farm of Mr. Newell. His house and outbuildings lie at the edge of the slope, and touching a low meadow which extends for a hundred yards or more to the bushy margin of a creek beyond. A smaller stream or a branch of this same appears at one time to have run close to the hill, leaving faint traces of its contour on the meadow, and one small elliptical swale or soft, boggy spot, a few yards across, near the lower corner of Mr. Newell's barn. It was while digging a shallow pit in this swale that the relic was found. It is a gigantic human figure lying on its back, with its head to the east and feet to the west. The head is in the position commonly given to a corpse; the right arm extends downwards, with the hand and fingers spread stiffly across the abdomen; the left arm bends down along the left side, with the hand quite under the middle line of the body; the left hip is raised a trifle, the thigh and leg more so, so as to bring the lower part of the left leg and foot obliquely across and over the same parts on the right. The posture is in all one that a dying body left to itself might naturally assume. The entire length of the figure is ten feet two and a half inches, and the other parts of the body are proportionately colossal.
Its head is of a very elongated type, but well shaped, and with a countenance full of solemn, dignified composure. The features are purely Caucasian, having neither the high cheek bones of the Indian, nor any other facial outlines which mark the type of other Aztec aborigines.
To describe the appearance of this great figure as being strange and impressive is saying too little.
Lying as it still does, in its original earthy bed, its grey massive form hardly yet still from the struggles by which it seems to have freed itself, and the face, body and limbs still damp with the ooze of its low sepulchre, it possesses the beholder with a feeling of extremest awe and profoundest wonder. To interrupt these emotions by speculations as to its personality, to approach this majestic figure with the calm processes of scrutinizing investigation, seems a sacrilege. All one's feelings persuade to accept it as a real human being, once instinct with life and activity, now a noble corpse. The proprietors of the giant figure, or statue, as we shall now call it, use all due effort to strengthen this feeling, and enlarge the belief that their wonderful discovery is really a petrified human being—a genuine" Fossil Man" preserved entire, with flesh and bones changed to stone in the very place where he fell at death, or possibly was buried by his coevals of an olden time. All opportunities of close examination are refused; indeed, the present throng of visitors would make such general permission impracticable. The little, darkened tent, and the pit shaded by a triple row of spectators, whose heads almost touch across it in their earnest efforts to see the body below, made it quite impossible for me to obtain that thorough acquaintance with the huge object which I would have liked. But I saw enough in the fifteen minutes (only) which are allowed to each set of visitors within the tent to fully satisfy myself of the true nature of the figure.