The belief that the only solid foundation for the accurate study of American ethnology and linguistics must be in the productions of the native mind in their original form has led me to the venturesome undertaking of which this is the first issue. The object of the proposed series of publications is to preserve permanently a number of rude specimens of literature composed by the members of various American tribes, and exhibiting their habits of thought, modes of expressions, intellectual range and æsthetic faculties.Whether the literary and historical value of these monuments is little or great, they merit the careful attention of all who would weigh and measure the aboriginal mind, and estimate its capacities correctly.
by some of their chronicles and by the testimony of several of the most intelligent natives of the period of the conquest, which I present on a later page of this volume.
It cannot be denied that the Mayas, the Kiches and the Cakchiquels, in their most venerable traditions, claimed to have migrated from the north or west, from some part of the present country of Mexico.
These traditions receive additional importance from the presence on the shores of the Mexican Gulf, on the waters of the river Panuco, north of Vera Cruz, of a prominent branch of the Maya family, the Huastecs. The idea suggests itself that these were the rearguard of a great migration of the Maya family from the north toward the south.
Support is given to this by their dialect, which is most closely akin to that of the Tzendals of Tabasco, the nearest Maya race to the south of them, and also by very ancient traditions of the Aztecs.
It is noteworthy that these two partially civilized races, the Mayas and
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