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in the separation of Great Britain from those of her North American colonies with which she had been at war, the Indian missions in that country continued, and were extended under the management of the general government of the United States, as
well as of individual states within the Union. It is · unnecessary in these Notes to enter into detail as to
their exertions in this respect. The subject has often occupied the attention of their executive government, and of Congress, and the difficulties attending it have been apparent. There has been no want of zeal in those who have been employed in this object; it appears to have received every reasonable encouragement on the part of the American government; and has called forth the exertions and liberality of various societies, which have established themselves in different parts of the Union for the promotion of this important object.
President Monroe, in his inaugural speech (March 1821), adverted to the subject of those Indians who are placed under the protection of the United States. He observed, that the care of them had long been an essential part of the American system, but that unfortunately it had not been executed in a manner to accomplish all the objects intended by it. That they had been treated as independent nations, without their having any substantial pretension to that rank; this distinction flattering their
pride, retarding their improvement, and, in many instances, paving the way to their destruction. That the progress
of many of the American settlements had constantly driven the Indians back with almost the total sacrifice of the land, which they have been compelled to abandon. They have claims,” says he," on the magnanimity, and, I may add, on the justice of the nation, which we must all feel. We should become their real benefactors; we should perform the office of their Great Father, the endearing title which they emphatically give to the chief magistrate of our Union. Their sovereignty over vast territories should cease, in lieu of which the right of soil should be secured to each individual and his posterity in competent portions; and, for the territory thus ceded by each tribe, some reasonable equivalent should be granted, to be vested in permanent funds for the support of the civil government over them, and for the education of their children; for their instruction in the arts of husbandry, and to provide sustenance for them until they can provide it for themselves. My earnest hope is, that Congress will digest some plan, founded on these principles, with such improvements as their wisdom may suggest, and carry it into effect as soon as it may be practicable.”
Shortly before this period, the government of
the United States had appointed the Reverend Dr. Morse to make a visit of observation and inspection among various Indian tribes, and to report to the President upon their circumstances and condition. Dr. Morse was at that time acting in some degree in a similar situation under commissions from the Scottish Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge, and from the Northern Missionary Society of the State of New York. His attention was now particularly directed to ascertain, as distinctly as possible, the actual state of the Indians in a moral, religious, and political view ; the nature and climate of the countries occupied by them; and the cuistoms, manners, and institutions of the native inhabitants.
His Report was laid before Congress in the spring of 1822, and was published in America in the course of the same year, with all its numerous accompanying documents. Dr. Morse states, that a great deal has been already done, and is now continuing to be effected, in several parts of the Union, for the benefit of the Indians ; and he recommends various measures as connected with their future civilization and improvement. The details contained in the Report are much too voluminous to be particularly remarked upon here: some parts of the work have already been adverted to, and a few others shall be afterwards
noticed. Among other suggestions, Dr. Morse recommended the formation of a society on a very extended scale — a plan which appears to have been since adopted
under the name of the “ American Society for promoting the Civilization and general Improvement of the Indian Tribes within the United States."
RITE OF BAPTISM PROMISCUOUSLY ADMINISTERED TO
THE INDIANS OF NORTH AMERICA BY THE EARLY FRENCH MISSIONARIES – QUESTION RESPECTING IT SUBMITTED TO THE DOCTORS OF THE SORBONNE
SENTIMENTS OF NATURAL RELIGION ENTER
THEIR CONVERSION, ARISING FROM THE RELIGIOUS DIFFERENCES AND DISPUTES AMONG THE
In remarking upon the labours of the early Jesuit missionaries in the interior of North America, Charlevoix observes : " The fruits 'which they gathered in the first season were inconsiderable five or six baptisms of grown persons — but they consoled themselves with the happiness of having secured the eternal salvation of a great many children, who received the rites of baptism immediately before their death." * The accounts from the early Recollet missions are similar. Père le Caron, of that order, states, in 1624, “ We continue to send to heaven a great number of infants, and some dying adults whose hearts God seems to touch at their end, and whom we baptize without
* Charlevoix, Hist. de la Nouvelle France, liv. 5.