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THE PORT FOLIO.
CONDUCTED BY OLIVER OLDSCHOOL, ESQ.
Various; that the mind
ANTIQUITIES OF OHIQ.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE PORT FOLIO.
Lexington, Kentucky, 1817. DEAR SIR--As some pages of your interesting miscellany have already been devoted to the aboriginal remains of our country, I am induced to send you the annexed draught of an ancient work, in Hamilton county, Ohio. It is situated immediately at the confluence of the Ohio and Great Miami rivers, on the estate of general Harrison; and in the opinion of the proprietor (who is certainly well qualified to judge), and indeed of all who have examined it, is one of the few works evidently intended for military defence, among the many others more probably consecrated to religious or social purposes, which are dispersed over all the western section of the union. As a more full description of this work may not be aninteresting, I take the liberty of extracting part of a letter, written by general Harrison to a gentleman in Cincinnati, who had requested some information on the subject.
“ It is situated,” says the general, “ on the high ridge which borders the Ohio, and precisely at the point where it is termipat
ed by the coming in of the Miami. The hill is perhaps two bundred feet above the level of the adjacent bottom, and the sides are so steep that there are few places where it can be ascended on horseback. The work contains by estimation fifteen acres, and occupies the whole width of the ridge; the wall, both on the Ohio and Miami sides, being as near as possible to the brink of the hill; from this circumstance, and from the ridge growing constantly narrower as you approach the Miami, the eastern wall or curtain is twice the length of that which forms the western defence of the fort, and the distance from the latter to the very point of the hill opposite to the junction of the rivers, an hundred and fifty feet. Inmediately upon the point is a tumulus, of about half the elevation of that in Cincinnati.* The two long walls immediately upon the brink are no where so high as those of the ends, their situation subjecting the earth of which they are made to be washed down the precipice. Indeed it is probable they never were so high, as, from the same cause, the approach to them was rendered very difficult. In one instance only, where it crosses a considerable ravine, the side-wall on the Ohio mounts to the present height of the end-walls. Of the latter, that on the wcst is the highest, being at present perhaps fifteen fect-a precaution dictated, no doubt, by the ground over which it passes being more level than at any other place. The ridge is here, however, too narrow, and the hill on each side too steep, to make it the point at which an assault could be made, with the greatest prospect of success. It is moreover covered by an out-work; for such I deem the mound or túmulus abovementioned. The weakest point of the position is to be found on the eastern side, where the ridge, spreading out to a considerable extent, would allow a large army to approach and form near the work. It is here, there. fore, that the ingenuity of the persons who constructed it has been most successfully exerted. There is at this place a considerable and irregular sink in the hill, which might afford cover to an offending enemy; but the line has been so run as to command every part of it. It appears also that the engineer was not upac
* The mound in Cincinnati is perhaps twenty feet high. S.
quainted with the great efficacy of flank defences. He has therefore secured this curtain, by a projection from each angle, which answer the purpose of our bastions. These bastions are formed by two parallel lines, twenty-five or thirty feet in length, and at the distance of ten or twelve feet apart. Had these lines been drawn at different angles with the main work, they would have answered, without any additional labour, for the defence of the side-curtains also, as the modern bastions do: as it is, they defend the eastern face only; for in each of the lines which compose them, the one is drawn at right angles (or nearly so) with the eastern wall the other a prolongation of the side-wall. The foundation of the whole wall is of stone, without any appearance of cement, and not laid horizontally, but vertically, wedged in with each other as closely as possible. Upon this foundation the eastern parapet is raised."
In the sketch A represents the mound or tumulus-B B B the line of the wall-CC the bastions—D DDD places in which the wall has been broken by ravines making down the hill-at E there is a spring of running water. The drawing is made froin actual admeastirement; but the line of the rivers is laid down merely to show their general situation, with regard to the work. Their relative proportion may be better understood by supposing the area of the fortification to contain fifteen acres, and that embraced between the rivers, in a line from F, about as many hundred.
I am, sir, &c.
C. W. SHORT.
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.-FRENCH LITERATURE.
ON THE CHARACTER OF RACINE.
(Continued from page 105.) The Cid was the first epoch in the glory of the French theatre, and it was a brilliant one. Andromache formed the second, and it was not less striking: it created a sort of revolution. We perceived the existence of beauties entirely new. Those of the Cid were borrowed, in a great measure, from the Spanish: Ra
cine, in the Andromache, owed nothing to any but himself. The piece from Euripides has nothing in common with his own but the title: the sabject is entirely different, and it was not in this place that Racine's obligations to the Greeks, commenced.
To some verses in the third book of the Æneid he was indebted for the idea of bis Andromache. They comprise a part of the subject:the love of Pyrrhus for Andromache, and the murder of this prince, who was killed at the altar by the hand of Orestes. There is this difference, that in Virgil, Pyrrhus abandons Andromache, in order to espouse Hermione, of whom Orestes is enamoured. This is all that fable has furnished to the poet; and if we except subjects absolutely of invention, there are few instances where the author has done more of himself.
Whatever might have been the success of Andromache, Corneille and Racine had not yet so far enlightened the nation as to produce a proper estimation of the wonders of this tragedy. Racine was then too far before his own age and his judges. It requires more than one generation before knowledge, extending itself by degrees, shall shed a bright lustre upon the strokes of genius. Creation is prompt, but julgment moves with a slow pace. Instructed by the experience and reflection of a century, it is much easier for us to pronounce on the merits of Racine, when he had produced only his Andromache. What clearness and distinctness in the progress of an intrigue, apparently complex! What art in interlacing and carrying on simultaneously the two principal branches of action, in such a manner that they appear to be but one! Every thing is made to hinge upon a single event: the marriage of Andromache and Pyrrhus, and the events which produce the love of Orestes for Hermione, are always dependent upon that of Pyrrhus for Andromache. This art in overcoming difficulty supposes a complete science of intrigue, which it is necessary to develop.
There are three love affairs in the piece:the love of Pyrrhus for Andromache, of Hermione for Pyrrhus, and that of Orestes for Hermione. It is necessary that all three should be tragical—that they should possess a different character, and each contribute to tie up and unloosen the principal knot of the subject--the marriage of Pyrrhus with Andromache-on which de
pends the life of the son of Hector. All this the poet accomplishes. The attachment in each case is tragical; that is, it produces important catastrophes and great crimes. If Pyrrhus cannot obtain the hand of Andromache, he will deliver her son to the Greeks, who demand him. They have seized their victim, and he cannot refuse to his allies the blood of their common enemy; at least he dare not tell them, his mother lias become my wife, and her son is mine. Here are adequate motives, well conceived and worthy of tragedy. Although the sacrifice of an infant may appear to be cruelty to us, yet the known manners of those times, the maxims of policy, and the rights of victory, sufficiently authorized it. Every thing has a motive, and all is probable; and lest the love of Pyrrhus should not assure us of the fate of Astyanax, the poet has preserved in his character the haughtiness and impetuosity which belong to the son of Achilles, and this violent passion which will become cruel, if it is not satisfied. This is announced in the first scene.
Chaque jour on lui voit tout tenter;
Epouser ce qu'il hait, et perdre ce qu'il aime.
And those men whom passion will not allow to remain masters of themselves, are precisely the description which is wanted in tragedy. We know not what will happen, but we may expect every thing: we hope and we fear, and this is all that we expect from the stage. The language of Pyrrhus confirms what Pylades has just said. He flatters himself with the hope of touching the heart of his mistress: he promises every thing--he values nothing