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within and along the frontiers of the United States. Dr. Morse observes, that “ The success of these efforts (to civilize the Indians) has doubtless been much obstructed by the influence of depraved white people who have insinuated themselves among the Indians, and whose interest it is to keep them ignorant, and whose exertions, of course, would be against all improvement.” * Mr. Nuttall, in his Travels into the Arkansaw Country of Louisiana, in 1819, also remarks, that some of the white people settled there, as well as the generality of those who till lately inhabited the banks of the Arkansaw, bear the worst moral character imaginable, being many of them renegadoes from justice, and such as have forfeited the esteem of civilized society.” † The natives readily follow the example of these lawless and dissolute rovers, as tioned by Mr. Hunter, in noticing the saine Indian countries of the United States, while, unfortunately, they have no good examples put before them which might tend to counteract the contagion. “I repeat,” says he, “that the benevolent of our race trust their hopes of benefiting the Indians on a sandy foundation, so long as this kind of intercourse is tolerated.” And again, “ Before any permanent good effects can result
* Morse's Indian Report, p. 26.
Hunter's Memoirs, ch. 4.
to the Indians from the beneficent but mistaken effects of the numerous associations organized for their civilization in various parts of the world, all their intercourse with this class of people should be broken off."*
It is certainly extremely difficult, if not almost impracticable, for the law to reach these distant and detached violators of it; but, unless means are taken to prevent the settling of such people among the Indians, it need not be expected that much progress can be made in the improvement of the native population. It will be wiser to take every possible means to prevent them from going among the Indians at all, and to encourage the Indians themselves to prohibit their approach, than to expect that any legal restraint will keep them from those lawless practices with which they are so constantly charged.
It has been often observed, in considering the state of the North American Indians, that the endeavours to civilize and to convert them, should be carried on at the same time. “ Civilization and religion,” says the Reverend Mr. Sergeant, the missionary, “must go hand in hand; as I have read with regard to Africa, the plough and the Bible must go together.” But this is extremely questionable. It is much more probable that the attempt to convert the adult Indian to Christianity, should invariably
• Hunter's Memoirs, ch. 15.
be preceded by an endeavour to improve his habits, and promote his general advancement.
It is more likely that his civilization has been obstructed by the steps taken to convert bim, than that his own tardiness in being converted should be attributed to any want of docility in becoming civilized. Mr. Tudor, in his interesting Letters on the Eastern States, observes, “ A strong reason against commencing the attempts at civilization exclusively with religious instruction, is the opposition that will be offered by Indian superstition. The Indians, particularly the highest and least vitiated among them, are attached to their own notions, some of which are the soundest principles of natural religion. They are very apt to confound our religion with the evils our society has brought upon them; and their prophets take every occasion to excite their distrust of our missionaries.”* A similar feeling appears to have influenced the Seneca chief, Red Jacket, in his address to the governor of New York, which has already been adverted to After expressing his gratitude for the means which had been furnished to enable thein to plough and to sow, 'he added, that they had no wish to change their religion. “ Each nation,” says he,
" has its own
* Tudor's Letters on the Eastern States of North America, let. 12.
toms and its own religion. The Indians have theirs given to them by the Great Spirit, under which they were happy. It was not intended that they should embrace the religion of the whites, and be destroyed by the attempt to make them think differently on that subject from their fathers.” There can, indeed, be little doubt that, among adult Indians, it will be found a far easier task to civilize than to convert them. If the European instructor succeed in the former, he may, in process of time, effect the latter; but if he insist upon a simultaneous advancement in both, it is extremely probable that he will obtain success in neither.
The experiment of endeavouring to civilize the Indian before an attempt be made to convert him, appears to have been begun by the Quakers. Dr. Morse, in noticing the Shawanee Indians, says, “ For several years past the Society of Friends, at a considerable expense, have supported an agricultural establishment among them. They have a grist mill, and saw mill, which are kept in complete order for the use of these Indians. The Friends are about to establish a school. This truly benevolent denomination of Christians do not yet attempt to instruct these people in the principles of Christianity, believing that they are not yet sufficiently acquainted with the arts of civilized
• Morse's Report, Appendix, p. 92.
On the subject of the Quakers, Mr. Hunter has stated a circumstance which is worthy the most earnest attention of those societies, on both sides of the Atlantic, which interest themselves respecting the improvement of the North American Indians. He mentions that, along the frontier settlements of the United States, as also among many of the more distant tribes, the Quakers are, of all the white people, the most acceptable to the Indians. “ If these would undertake,” says he, “to revolutionize the habits and opinions of the Indians, they would have the advantage of at least an entire generation of confidence and good will in their favour, over every other religious sect, - a circumstance that would operate as a miracle in arriving at the measure in view.'
But whatever may be the class who turn their minds to the improvement of the Indian population, it cannot be too strongly impressed upon them that, in attempting to introduce changes among that people, slowness and caution are indispensable ; and that it is necessary fully to understand their peculiar habits, before any endeavour be made to amend them. The custom, for instance, of employing the women in those works which, among civilized nations, are generally performed by the men, has often been
* Hunter's Memoirs, ch. 15.