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properly remarked to me: “ When we take prisoners of war, we cannot, like the white men, shut them up in strong houses; for we live in the woods, and can scarcely support ourselves : we must there fore either make brothers of our enemies, or kill them.” I think myself, that if an Indian had seen one of our hulks during the French war, he would sooner have been at once burnt to death after the manner of his country, than incarcerated year after year in one of these floating Bastiles. But even during times of peace, civilized Europeans have practised barbarities which an Indian would scarcely credit.
What would he think of the Inquisition, of the Star Chamber, of the Spanish atrocities in South America, of the still existing Slave Trade, and of the tortures that have been inflicted in every Christian country, upon individuals unwilling to submit to tyranny, or unable to believe the incomprehensible dogmas invented by bigoted and depraved priests ? If you told such things to an Indian, he would shudder with horror. I grant he tortures his captive; but then it is a man whom he has taken in open warfare, and by whom, if had he been conquered, he would have been served in the same manner. Would an Indian burn one of his own tribe, one of his brothers, because he differed from him with regard to some abstract opinion, which both parties must in their consciences allow to be doubtful? Not only would he be shocked at the bare idea of such an atrocity, but he would never be persuaded of its ever having been really committed. Thus, when a gentleman once related to an Indian Chief some historical accounts of religious persecutions, he received for answer, “ Brother! what you tell me cannot be true. It is not White men who do so: You tell me the history of Devils.” Yet forsooth these devils call themselves civilized people, and have written volumes of abuse against the barbarous Indians. · This much injured race has never had an historian to vindicate, nor a poet to celebrate their actions; and while, if any massacre of the whites took place, the press teemed with accounts of Indian barbarity, no one has taken the trouble to investigate the wrongs, that drove the Indians to assuage their vengeance in the blood of their enemies. The following extract of a speech of the great warrior Tecumtha, * gives a good idea of the treatment they have met with from Europeans :
.“ Brothers When the white men first set foot on our grounds, they were hungry. They had no . place on which to spread their blankets, or to kindle their fires. They were feeble: they could do nothing for themselves. Our fathers commise
* i. e. “ The Shooting Star.”
+ Hunter's Memoirs of his Captivity among the Indians, page 45. This work of my friend Mr. J. D. Hunter gives the best and most accurate account of the Indians yet published. His opportunities indeed of collecting information have been, and are likely to be, unrivalled.
rated their distress, and shared freely with them, whatever the Great Spirit had given his red children. They gave them food when hungry, medicine when sick, spread skins for them to sleep on, and gave them grounds that they might hunt and raise corn.---Brothers, the white people are like poisonous serpents: when chilled, they are feeble and harmless ; but invigorate them with warmth, and they sting their benefactors to death. The white people came among us feeble; and now we have made them strong, they wish to kill us, or drive us back as they would wolves and pan, thers. Brothers, the white men are not friends to the Indians: at first, they only asked for land sufficient for a wigwam ; now nothing will satisfy them but the whole of our hunting grounds, from the rising to the setting sun.”
Unfortunately, the Indians, like all uncivilized nations, have an extraordinary propensity for spirituous liquors; which they will almost always drink until intoxicated. Hence the United States have humanely prohibited, under severe penalties, any one from selling them spirits; but I regret to say that it is impossible to enforce this law, as I had good opportunities of seeing. Whiskey is now doing the work of extermination that was formerly carried on with the sword. Where are the powerful tribes that once inhabited New England ? Their names even are forgotten! Where are the powerful tribes that inhabited New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia ? Most of them
are exterminated, or are driven far back into the Western wilderness where they form but a miserable remnant of what they once have been.-In a few years they also will disappear, for the race of Indians appears doomed to extermination. An old warrior said, but too prophetically: “ We are driven back until we can retreat no further a little longer, and the white men will cease to persecute us; for we shall cease to exist.” *
The Indian character has so often been described, that it would be useless to add any thing on that subject. I will only say, that although they have little talent for Poetry or Music, they nevertheless excel in Oratory, of which the speech of Logan, † is a noble specimen. It has generally been supposed that the Indians merely speak extempore ; but this is quite a mistake, for they take as much pains, in considering the subject before hand, rounding the periods, and studying attitudes, as any lawyer before going into Westminster Hall. These speeches generally produce a great effect upon the tribe, who sit round, and listen with the utmost attention, the silence being only occasionally interrupted to express their applause. So attentive indeed are the listeners, that. they can generally repeat the whole speech, and that a year or two afterwards.', .
* Preface to Indian Wars in the West.
+ Vide Notes to Campbell's Pleasures of Hope, Jefferson's Notes on Virginia, &c. :
Buffalo presented quite a lively spectacle. In one place a small party of Chiefs were holding converse about the money. In another some of the men were bargaining for broad-cloth, blankets, or axes ; in a third was a collection of Squaws, some of whom had their infants with them ; while a little removed from the street, were a few old warriors, squatted on the ground, and smoking from their tomahawks. I may here remark, that the back of the axe or blade of each tomahawk is formed into the shape of the bowl of a pipe, and when a hole is bored through the handle communicating with this bowl, the tomahawk becomes the favourite and almost only pipe of the Indian, answering both for war and amusement. What added materially to the picturesque effect of this scene, were the curious, and in some cases fantastic dresses of the men and women. · The men generally wear a sort of blue frock coat, much like that worn by the whites, with a red sash round their waists, Indian leggings of blue or red cloth, ornamented at the bottom with beads and split porcupine quills, and deerskin mockasins (sandals), also ornamented. Almost all wear large ear-rings, and I remarked one man with a ring through his nose.
The Squaws, or women, wear the ornamented leggings, and have a large white blanket wrapped round them in the manner of a cloak, so as to hide their whole person, except from about the calf of the