“A curious argument, indeed. If the size and grandeur of public monuments are to serve our posterity as a standard by which to approximately estimate the “progress of civilization” attained by their builders, it may be prudent, perhaps, for America, so proud of her alleged progress and freedom, to dwarf her buildings at once to one story.
Otherwise, according to Professor Fiske’s theory, the archeologists of A.D. 3877 will be applying to the “Ancient America” of 1877, the rule of Lewis, and say the ancient United States “may be considered as a great latifundium, or plantation, cultivated by the entire population, as the king’s (president’s) slaves.”
Is it because the white-skinned Aryan races were never born “builders”, like the Eastern Ethiopians, or dark-skinned Caucasians, and, therefore, never able to compete with the latter in such colossal structures, that we must jump at the conclusion that these grandiose temples and pyramids could only have been erected under the whip of a merciless despot? Strange logic!
It would really seem more prudent to hold to the “rigorous canons of criticism” laid down by Lewis and Grote, and honestly confess at once, that we really know little about these ancient nations, and that, except so far as purely hypothetical speculations go, unless we study in the same direction as the ancient priests did, we have as little chance in the future.
We only know what they allowed the uninitiated to know, but the little we do learn of them by deduction, ought to be sufficient to assure us that, even in the nineteenth century, with all our claims to supremacy in arts and sciences, we are totally unable, we will not say to build anything like the monuments of Egypt, Hindustan, or Assyria, but even to rediscover the least of the ancient “lost arts”.
Besides, Sir Gardner Wilkinson gives forcible expression to this view of the exhumed treasures of old, by adding that, “he can trace no primitive mode of life, no barbarous customs, but a sort of stationary civilization from the most remote periods.”
Thus far, archeology disagrees with geology, which affirms that the further they trace the remains of men, the more barbarous they find them. It is doubtful if geology has even yet exhausted the field of research afforded her in the caves, and the views of geologists, which are based upon present experience, may be radically modified, when they come to discover the remains of the ancestors of the people whom they now style the cave-dwellers.”
H. P. Blavatsky