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Five days later that is, on October 21-he answered

"The first time I visit New York I hope to have the pleasure of seeing you and Mrs. Le Plongeon, and then I should like exceedingly to hear of your discoveries, and also to explain to you my views about the cardinal points and their representations in the Maya hieroglyphs. "I remain, etc.,


Well, Dr. Brinton has never called upon me, nor given me his views about the cardinal points and their representations in Maya hieroglyphs, though in August, 1887, I offered him an excellent opportunity, when the " American Association for the Advancement of Science" met at Columbia College in New York. By request of Professor Putnam I then wrote to him, as president of the archæological section, asking the privilege of reading a paper on " Ancient Maya Civilization" before its members. I did not read such paper; neither was my request refused; but the envelope containing the granting of it reached me exactly three weeks after the association had closed its sessions. It had been sent to me, by mistake, to San Francisco, Cal., instead of to Brooklyn, N. Y.; at least, so I was informed in the apologetic letter that came in the same envelope.

Dr. Brinton's essay on the "Maya Phonetics," from page 196 to 205, had better not have been written, much less published. Its contents are most misleading, injurious even, to students of Maya palæography, who might place reliance on the assumed knowledge of the author on this particular subject. The following statement made by him is positively inaccurate:

"Turning first to the Maya, I may in passing refer to the disappointment which resulted from the publication of Landa's alphabet by the Abbé Brasseur in 1864. Here was what

seemed a complete phonetic alphabet, which should at once. unlock the mysteries of the inscriptions on the temples of Yucatan and Chiapas, and enable us to interpret the script of the Dresden and other codices. Experience proved the utter fallacy of any such hope. His work is no key to the Maya scripts."1

Now, I affirm that, if it be true that the characters of Landa's alphabet are not of themselves a complete clew to the decipherment of Maya books and inscriptions, they are nevertheless repeatedly found in the Maya manuscripts known to us, and with the identical value attributed to them by Landa.2 I furthermore maintain that, with the names of the days and the alphabetic characters preserved by him, the Maya codices can be translated. Of course, there are modifications of the same, as there are with our mode of writing; there are also composed signs as there are composed words in the language. It is the translator's business to know what they are.

This I have demonstrated in my unpublished work, "The Monuments of Mayach and their Historical Teachings," which contains translations from the Troano and Cortesianus codices, whose authors have recorded many interesting his


1 D. G. Brinton, Essays of an Americanist, p. 199.

2 To character tion, No. negation, "land,"

exemplify my assertion, let us take, for instance, the that Landa tells us stands for ma, adverb of negaIs it not identical with the Egyptian adverb of Nen? But ma, radical of Mayach, also means "country," both in Egyptian and in Maya. The sign in Maya scripts is the hieroglyph for Mayach; that is, the peninsula of Yucatan, standing between the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, both represented by the sign imix, "bosom,' ," "bosom of the deep." The Egyptian word Nen means in Maya "mirror." Nen-ha, the "mirror of water," is said to have been the ancient name of the Mexican Gulf, on account of its almost circular shape.

torical events that occurred ages and ages ago, and which have reached us in the guise of myths and misty traditions.

As to the late Abbé Brasseur, I cannot claim the honor of having been personally acquainted with him, but among my friends and acquaintances in Yucatan and British Honduras several have known him intimately when he was residing in those countries. All agree that he understood and spoke Maya and could converse freely with the natives.

The late Dn. Juan Villanueva, a well-known lawyer in Merida, when in 1873 I made his acquaintance, was acknowledged by his countrymen to be one of the best Maya scholars in the country. He gave Brasseur his first lessons in that language, and was proud of his pupil, who, he said, learned it very rapidly. Dn. Juan now sleeps that sleep that knows no waking; but I can testify to what he told me. Many, however, are still living who were intimately acquainted with the learned Abbé, and who have also assured me that he had a fair knowledge of the language. Among these I may mention my esteemed friend the Right Rev. Dr. Dn. Crecencio Carillo y Ancona, now bishop of Yucatan, himself a student and a thorough Maya scholar; also Dn. Vicente Solis de Leon, owner of the hacienda of X-Canchakan, a government engineer; Dn. Rafael Regil y Peon, a wealthy merchant and landed gentleman; Dn. José Tiburcio Cervera, a planter, owner of the lands on which the ruins of the ancient city of Labnaa are situated. All these gentlemen are well-known citizens of Merida, who have imbibed Maya with their nurses' milk.

In Belize, Mr. Henry Trumback, a merchant, whose name is mentioned by Abbé Brasseur among those of the persons to whom he was indebted for information whilst acquiring data

for the compilation of his Maya vocabulary; Rev. John Anderson, a Baptist minister, author of a Maya and English, and English and Maya dictionary; and Rev. Father Pitar, superior of the Jesuit college in Belize, wherein dwelt the Abbé when in that city, have assured me, all and each one, in particular, that they had been well acquainted with the late Abbé Brasseur and that he knew the Maya language.

Let us hope that the testimony of such witnesses, and others whose names I could mention, will suffice to wipe off the slanderous aspersion with which Dr. Brinton has tried to tarnish the memory of a great scholar.

To Abbé Brasseur belongs the honor of having been the first to bring to public notice the existence, in our day, of ancient books of Maya origin, when in 1867 he placed on exhibition in the Exposition on the Champ de Mars, in Paris, some of the proof-sheets of the Troano MS., which was then being reproduced under his supervision.

In November, 1864, as a member of the "French Scientific Commission" which went to Mexico under the auspices of the French Government, he landed in Yucatan, and at once set to work to study the Maya language under the tuition of our friend, the late Dn. Juan Villanueva, a great Maya scholar. He was unable to make a prolix study of the ruins of Uxmal on account of the many difficulties placed in his way by the Imperial Commissary.

On his return to Europe, he found in Madrid, in possession of Dn. Juan Tro y Ortelano, professor of palæography at the University, an original American manuscript, which at a glance he recognized as being written with characters analogous to those he had seen on the edifices at Uxmal. He obtained from the owner not only the loan of the document for all

the time he might need it for his study, but also permission to reproduce it. After reaching Paris the Abbé applied himself with ardor to the classification and deciphering of the characters and symbols contained in the manuscript, with the help of those handed down by Landa. In 1869 he published the result of his labors in his work, "Études sur le Système Graphique et la Langue Maya." In it he announced that he had discovered, classified, and deciphered two hundred and thirty-three variants of the thirty-five alphabetic characters of Landa, and one hundred and forty-one variants of his twenty symbols of the days.

With this vast array of signs, the value of which he fancied he knew, and with his knowledge of the Maya language, he undertook the deciphering of the texts of the Maya book. He certainly was better qualified for the work than those who after him have attempted it, as proved by the results. Still, not only have they criticised his interpretations, without however offering better in their stead, but they have tried to belittle his labors, going so far as to assert that he had hindered for a long time the study of American palæography. Yet it may be asked, What have his critics done? Have they not made use of his works in their endeavors to find a clew to the meaning of these same texts? Have they not built a reputation for learning on the debris of his fame, and from his own materials, to which they have added not a single valuable particle? Do we not find them consulting his Maya and French vocabulary, and translating ancient characters and symbols by words of modern coinage, not to be found in old dictionaries, and that are unknown in the vernacular of the natives?

Brasseur's vocabulary is decidedly the work of a scholar. Were it mine I should be proud of it. It is a comparative

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