Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 31.djvu/130
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
tracing the connection of the various parts with one another. A great deal had recently been added to knowledge on the subject by the publication of special treatises in particular departments of it, and photography and the careful study of ancient monuments and buildings had furnished means of reaching more correct conclusions. Stress was laid on this last point, for so long, the author said, as our researches are confined to what the ancient authors have written, "many important problems remain unsolved, and must ever remain as unsolvable as they have hitherto proved"; and in the countries and times to which the monuments appertained, "men who had a hankering after immortality were forced to build their aspirations into the walls of their tombs or of their temples. Those who had poetry in their souls, in nine cases out of ten expressed it by the more familiar vehicle of sculpture or painting rather than in writing. To me it appears that to neglect these in trying to understand the manners and customs or the history of an ancient people, is to throw away one half, and generally the most valuable half, in some cases the whole, of the evidence bearing on the subject."
In the second edition of the "History," which was published in 1874, Mr. Fergusson called attention to the need of a comprehensive and systematic study of American architecture, saying: "What is really wanted is that some one should make himself personally acquainted with all the various styles existing between the upper waters of the Colorado and the Desert of Atacama to such an extent as to be able to establish the relative sequence of their dates, and to detect affinities when they exist, or to point out differences that escape the casual observer. . . . The problem is, in fact, identical with that presented to Indian antiquaries some thirty years ago. At that time we knew less of the history of Indian architecture than we now know of American, but at the present day the date of every building and every cave in India can be determined with absolute certainty to within fifty, or at the outside one hundred, years; the sequence is everywhere certain, and all can be referred to the race and religion that practiced that peculiar style. . . . What has been done for India could, I am convinced, easily be accomplished for America, and with even more satisfactory and more important results to the history and ethnography of that great country. The subject is well worthy the attention of any one who may undertake it, as it is the only means we now know of by which the ancient history of the country can be recovered from the darkness that now enshrouds it, and the connection of the Old World with the New—if any existed—can be traced, but it is practically the only chapter in the history of architecture which remains to be written."
Mr. Fergusson had intended to include in his "History" chapters on what were known as Celtic or Druidical remains. But, when the subject came to be looked into, it was found that the whole was such