Page images
PDF
EPUB

they burst forth in acclamations of joy and gratulation. They awaited the landing of Columbus, when the whole population of the place accompanied him and his crew to the principal church, where solemn thanksgivings were offered up for their return; while every bell in the village sent forth a joyous peal in honor of the glorious event.

The admiral was too desirous of presenting himself before the sovereigns, to protract his stay long at Palos. He took with him on his journey specimens of the multifarious products of the newly discovered regions. He was accompanied by several of the native islanders, arrayed in their simple barbaric costume, and decorated, as he passed through the principal cities, with collars, bracelets, and other ornaments of gold, rudely fashioned.

He exhibited also considerable quantities of the same metal in dust, or in crude masses, numerous vegetable exotics possessed of aromatic or medicinal virtue, and several kinds of quadrupeds unknown in Europe, and birds whose varieties of gaudy plumage gave a brilliant effect to the pageant.

The admiral's progress through the country was everywhere impeded by the multitudes thronging forth to gaze at the extraordinary spectacle, and the more extraordinary man, who, in the emphatic language of that time, which has now lost its force from its familiarity, first revealed the existence of a “ New World." As he passed through the busy, populous city of Seville, every window, balcony, and housetop which could afford a glimpse of him is described to have been crowded with spectators.

It was the middle of April before Columbus reached Barcelona. The nobility and cavaliers attendant on the court, together with the authorities of the city, came to the gates to receive him, and escorted him to the royal presence. Ferdinand and Isabella were seated, with their son, Prince John, under a superb canopy of state, awaiting his arrival. On his approach they rose from their seats, and, extending their hands to him to salute, caused him to be seated before them. These were unprecedented marks of condescension to a person of Columbus's rank, in the haughty and ceremonious court of Castile.

It was, indeed, the proudest moment in the life of Columbus. He had fully established the truth of his long-contested theory, in the face of argument, sophistry, sneer, skepticism, and contempt. He had achieved this, not by chance, but by calculation, supported through the most adverse circumstances by consummate conduct. The honors paid him, which had hitherto been reserved only for rank and fortune, or military success, purchased by the blood and tears of thousands, were, in his case, a homage to intellectual power, successfully exerted in behalf of the noblest interests of humanity.

WILLIAM HICKLING PRESCOTT.

THE AMERICAN INDIAN.

THOMAS JEFFERSON was born in Shadwell, Alberinarle County, Virginia, April 2, 1743. His classical education was completed at the College of William and Mary. In 1762 he was admitted to the practice of the law, and in this he soon became eminently successful. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress of 1776. The original draft of the Declaration of Independence was written by him. In 1785 he was appointed minister to France ; in 1789 he became Secretary of State under Washington. In 1800 he was chosen President of the United

States, and in 1804 he was reëlected by a great popular majority. After his retirement, he devoted his remaining years to the interests of education and to other good works.

He died at his home of Monticello, July 4, 1826.
The present selection is taken from his “Notes on Virginia.”

[graphic]

Of the Indian of North America I can speak somewhat from my own knowledge, but more from the information of others better acquainted with him, and on whose truth and judgment I can rely. From these sources I am able to say that he is brave when an enterprise depends on bravery, - education, with him, making the point of honor consist in the destruction of an enemy by stratagem, and in the preservation of his own person free from injury: or perhaps this is his nature, while it is education which teaches us to honor force more than finesse ; that he will defend himself against a host of enemies, always choosing to be killed rather than to surrender, though it be to the whites, whom he knows will treat him well.

It is also said that in other situations he meets death with more deliberation, and endures tortures with a firmness unknown almost to religious enthusiasm with us; that he is affectionate to his children, careful of them, and indulgent in the extreme; that his affections comprehend his other connections, weakening, as with us, from circle to circle, as they recede from the center; that his friendships are strong and faithful to the uttermost extremity; that his sensibility is keen, even the warriors weeping most bitterly on the loss of their children, though in general they endeavor to appear superior to human events;

that his vivacity and activity of mind is equal to ours in the same situation : hence his eagerness for hunting and for games of chance.

The women are submitted to unjust drudgery. This, I believe, is the case with every barbarous people. With such, force is law. The stronger sex therefore imposes on the weaker. It is civilization alone which replaces women in the enjoyment of their natural equality. The principles of their society forbidding all compulsion, they are led to duty and enterprise by personal influence and persuasion. Hence eloquence in council, bravery and success in war, become the foundations of all consequences with them. ... Of their bravery and address in war we have multiplied proofs, because we have been the subjects on which these were exercised. Of their eminence in oratory we have fewer examples, because it is displayed chiefly in their own councils. Some, however, we have of very superior luster. I may challenge the whole orations of Demosthenes and Cicero, and of any more eminent orator, - if Europe has furnished any more eminent, — to produce · a single passage superior to the speech of Logan, a Mingo chief, to Lord Dunmore, when governor of this state. And as a testimony of their talents in this line, I beg leave to introduce it, first stating the incidents necessary for understanding it.

In the spring of the year 1774, a robbery was committed by some Indians on certain land adventurers on the river Ohio. The whites in that quarter, according to their custom, undertook to punish this outrage in a summary way. Captain Michael Cresap and a certain Daniel Greathouse, leading on these parties, surprised, at different times, traveling and hunting parties of Indians having their women and children with them, and murdered many.

Among these was the unfortunate family of Logan, a chief celebrated in peace and war, and long distinguished as a friend of the whites. This unworthy return provoked his vengeance. He accordingly signalized himself in the war which ensued. In the

1 Virginia

« PreviousContinue »