The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 48, July 1944 - April, 1945 Page: 35
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David Gouverneur Burnet, Satirist
scientific and learned societies of which he was a member, so
that the real name of the author 'bore the proportion to his
scientific title, as a paper kite to the length of its tail.' Thomas
Peirce of Cincinnati pasquinaded him as 'Professor Muscle-
shellorum' in his satirical The Odes of Horace in Cincinnati
(1822). Sorry wit, of course, but fortunate for Peirce, who
thereby gained a certain immortality. He lampooned Rafinesque."
Rafinesque, in the Cincinnati Literary Gazette I (1824), 170,
(in an article entitled "Clio, No. IV. Ancient History of North
America.-Biography of the AMERICAN SOLOMON"), printed what
was purported to be a biography of Nazahual, tenth king of
Tezcuco, in the region of AnAhuac [Mexico]. (The date of
the Gazette issue is May 29, 1824.) In the next issue (June 5,
1824) the following card appeared:
A Card To C. S. Rafinesque, D.P., &c. &c. Modern Catesby, P.B.T.U.D.K.,
&c. Sir;-The readers of the Literary Gazette in Cincinnati, have been
highly pleased with the perusal of your late Biographical sketch of the
"AMERICAN SOLOMON, KING NAZAHUAL," who governed the Acolhuans
in the region of Anahuac, vulgarly called Mexico, in the early part of
the fifteenth century. No doubt is entertained of the correctness of your
statement, in saying that this American Solomon, was a greater man
than the Asiatic Solomon: indeed, this is fully proved by his having
caused paintings to be made of all the STARS, ANIMALS, and PLANTS in
Anahuac,-a devotion to natural history, that did not mark the character
of the old Bible Solomon. I am sorry, however, to inform you that some
persons in this city, affect to doubt whether this Big Solomon of yours was
in reality a DEIST, as you have asserted: others declare that his temple
which you say was nine stories in height, was but eight and three quarters:
and I am still more sorrowful to tell you that I have met with one or
two persons, so incredulous and obstinately perverse, as to declare a
total disbelief in the existence of any such man as you have described
except in your fertile imagination.
Now to settle this matter will you, my good sir, be so kind as to
furnish for the Literary Gazette, your authorities for the statements
about the "American Solomon." If you knew "King Nazahual" personally,
and have made your sketch from actual observation, the question will
of course be satisfactorily settled. Yours respectfully, B.
To which Rafinesque (who utterly lacked a sense of humor, and
was one of the most literal-minded men that ever lived) re-
sponded, June 19, 1824, in "Clio No. V. On Nazuahal, the
Nabijos [Navahoes] and Comanchees" (Cincinnati Literary
Gazette I (1824), 202) as follows:
I have been called upon, to give my authorities for the Biographical
sketch of NAZAHUAL the first: although the demand was anonymous
and indecorous, therefore unworthy of notice; since it has been admitted
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 48, July 1944 - April, 1945, periodical, 1945; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146055/m1/39/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.