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"His Highness," they being elevated above their fellow-men by their knowledge and superior wisdom. Transported to India the word became corrupted, in the course of time, into Naaca or Nágá. The title was kept by the initiates who were among the Maya colonists that settled in Dekkan and Burmah. They also preserved as emblem of their new nationality that of their mother country in the antipodes, and worshipped the serpent in remembrance of the home of their ancestors.
Elsewhere I have shown that the title of the highpriest, chief of the adepts or naacals in Mayach, was Hach-mac, "the true, the very man. The title of the pontiff or chief of the Magi, in Chaldea, was Rab-mag, or, according to the Maya, Lab-mac, the "old man; "2 another of his titles was Nargal, Maya Naacal, Hindoo Nâgá, "initiate," "adept."
(2) John L. Stephens, "Incidents of Travels in Yucatan " (vol. ii., p. 311), speaking of these remarkable pictures, says: "The colors are green, yellow, red, blue, and a reddish brown, the last being invariably the color given to the human flesh. Wanting the various tints, the engraving, of course, gives only an imperfect idea of them, though even in outline they exhibit a freedom of touch which could only be the result of discipline and training under masters.
(1) William Osburn, in his "Monumental History of Egypt" (p. 260), says: "By comparing together the remains of different epochs, it clearly appears that Egyptian art has had its periods of perfection, of decline, and of renaissance, just the same as art in Greece and Italy. But we have no trace whatever of such beginnings in these first productions of art in Egypt. It burst upon us at once in the flower of its highest
'Le Plongeon, Sacred Mysteries, p. 30.
perfection. Where, then, are the imperfect attempts which issued in this perfection to be found? No such have been discovered, either at Ghizeh or in any other locality in Egypt, notwithstanding that no work of man perishes there. This circumstance compels us to assume that the skill of these primitive artists of Egypt was a portion of that civilization which its first settlers brought with them when they located themselves in the valley of the Nile."
NOTE XII. (Page 105.)
(1) Dr. Daniel G. Brinton, "Essays of an Americanist" (p. 439), says: "I do not know of any measurements undertaken in Yucatan to ascertain the metrical standard employed by the ancient architects. It is true that Dr. Augustus Le Plongeon asserts positively that they knew and used the metric system, and that the metre and its divisions are the only dimensions that can be applied to the remains of the edifices. But apart from the eccentricity of this statement, I do not see from Dr. Le Plongeon's own measurements that the metre is in any sense a common divisor for them.”
Abbé Brasseur is now dead-he cannot, therefore, refute Dr. Brinton's imputations; but I am still in the land of the living, and will speak for the learned Abbé and for myself.
The measurements that Dr. Brinton ignores to have been undertaken in Yucatan, I have made most carefully, as proved by my plans of the buildings and my restorations of the same. The exactness of these surveys can be vouched for by the officers of my escorts in the ruined cities, they having helped me in that work.
Unlike some genuinely good things, the would-be critic's memory does not seem to improve with age. It is, indeed, a pity. When he wrote the lines just quoted he surely had forgotten that, once upon a time, after the one visit with which he has ever honored me, he stated in the November (1885)
number of the American Antiquarian (page 378), under the heading "The Art of Ancient Yucatan: "
"I recently passed an evening with Dr. and Mrs. Le Plongeon, who, after twelve years spent in exploring the ruined cities of Yucatan, and studying the ancient and modern Maya language and character, are passing a few months in this country. The evening was passed in looking at photographs of the remains of architectural and plastic art, in examining tracings and squeezes from the walls of the buildings, in studying the accurate plans and measurements made by the doctor and his wife of those structures, in reviewing a small but exceedingly choice collection of relics, and in listening to the doctor's explanation of the Maya hieroglyphic system. Whatever opinion one may entertain of the analogies the doctor thinks he has discovered between Maya culture and language and those of Asia and Africa, no one who, as I had the privilege of doing, goes over the actual product of his labors and those of his accomplished wife, can doubt the magnitude of his discoveries and the new and valuable light they throw upon ancient Maya civilization. They correct, in various instances, the hasty deductions of Charnay, and they prove that buried under the tropical growth of the Yucatan forests still remain monuments of art that would surprise the world were they exhumed and rendered accessible to students."
Compare this with his other statement. It would indeed be most interesting to know if it was envy or charity that thus caused him to alter his mind. He has never visited the ruined cities of Yucatan, unless it be in imagination. He has, therefore, never made measurements of the buildings erected by the Mayas. How, then, can he know, of his own knowledge, which of our modern standards of lineal measures applies to them exactly? This, however, I do know, not from hearsay, but from actual experience, that the metre is the only measure which, when applied to said buildings, leaves no fraction. How, then, does he, a mere closet archæologist, dare impute to eccentricity my statement to the "American Antiquarian Society of Worcester," made first in June, 1878, and reiterated in 1881, which reads: "I have adopted the metric standard of lineal measure, not from choice, but from necessity, and
made the strange discovery that the metre is the only measure of dimension which agrees with that adopted by these most ancient artists and architects; another very striking point of contact with the Chaldean priests, the Magi"? In August, 1893, in the New York Advertiser, I publicly challenged Dr. Brinton to a conference before any scientific society of his own choice, to show what he really knew about the Mayas, their language, manners, customs, and history. He prudently took no notice of my challenge. But, being as desirous to defend my reputation in my chosen field of study as he is to shield his, I seized the opportunity offered by the members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science holding their annual meetings, under his presidency, a few steps from my residence in the city of Brooklyn, to send him this second challenge, a copy of which was placed in his hand on August 20th, while he was standing with other members of the association in the reception room of the Polytechnic Institute:
DR. LE PLONGEON TO DR. BRINTON.
AN OPEN LETTER WHICH CONTAINS AN INVITATION TO A SCIENTIFIC DUEL.
The Eagle has received the following:
Dr. Daniel G. Brinton, President of the
American Association for the Advancement of Science.
SIR Do you remember that in 1887, when the American Association for the Advancement of Science met in New York at Columbia College, by direction of Professor Putnam, I wrote to you from this city, inquiring if I might be permitted to read a paper on "Ancient American Civilization " before the archæological department of said association, you being then the President of said section? Do you remember also that I did not receive until three weeks after the closing of the sessions of said association the answer to my letter, it having somehow been sent to San Francisco, Cal., instead of Brooklyn, L. I.? It is to avoid another such clerical mistake that I now take this mode of reaching the association and yourself.