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McLeod, Donald / History of Wiskonsan, from its first discovery to the present period, including a geological and topographical description of the territory with a correct catalogue of all its plants
(1846)

[Chapter XI],   pp. [unnumbered]-214 PDF (5.0 MB)


Page 210


210           HISTORY OF WISKONSAN.
       "What can we reason, but from what we know,"
and, though we may be led into error by the process,
still it is safer, in all investigations, to rely upon the
results of our own experience, than to indulge in rash
conjectures, Judging from the social condition and
institutions of any people, civilized or barbarous, known
to us, there are but four objects to which they could
be applied. These are defence, religious worship,
inhumation of the dead, and land or highway marks.
That they have all served for one or other of these
purposes, according to the nature of their construction,
we have no doubt, and perhaps some of them, proba-
bly the most extensive, may have been at the same
time fotresses, temples, and cemeteries. From ancient
history we learn, that earth mounds had been adopted
in the earliest ages of the world, to chronicle to pos-
terity some great national victory, or to serve as
monumental tombs, for the mighty brave, who fell in
the cause of their country. They are no doubt the
oldest relics of human labor which have come down
to us.
    These relics are described by authors as existing in
 Russia, Denmark, Norway, France, Ireland, Sweden,
 Greece, and Asia, and several other countries. In
 each country they are supposed to have performed a
 double office, that of tombs and monuments, as the
 latin term tumulus indicates, which signifies equally a
 tomb and an elevation. One of the earliest works of
 this description which history mentions, is the tumulus
 erected by Semiramis to the memory of her husband,
 on the banks of the Tygris. Every reader familiar
 with Homer, will recollect the funeral ceremonies of


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