the circumstance should be thus stated :—That in the year 1774, a robbery having been committed by some Indians upon the white settlers on the Ohio, the latter undertook, in a summary way, to punish the outrage. They surprised, at different times, several of the Indian hunting parties, with their women and children, and murdered many of them. Among these was the family of Logan, a celebrated chief, who had always distinguished himself as the friend of the whites. This ungrateful return provoked his vengeance, and in the war which ensued he highly signalized himself. In the autumn of that year, the Indians were defeated in a decisive battle, and sued for peace. Logan, however, disdained to be seen among the suppliants. But, in order that no distrust might arise in the treaty on account of the absence of so celebrated a warrior, he sent, by the hands of General Gibson, the following speech, to be delivered to Lord Dunmore, the governor of Virginia :

" I appeal to any white man to say if ever he entered Logan's cabin hungry, and he gave him not meat : if he ever came cold and naked, and he clothed him not. During the course of the last long and bloody war, Logan remained idle in his cabin, an advocate for peace. Such was my love for the whites, that my countrymen pointed as they passed, and said, 'Logan is the

friend of white men. I had even thought to have lived with you, but for the injuries of one man. Colonel Crespal, the last spring, in cold blood and unprovoked, murdered all the relations of Logan, not even sparing my women and children. There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature. This called 'on me for revenge; I have sought it; I have killed many. I have fully glutted my vengeance. For my country I rejoice at the beams of peace: but do not harbour a thought that mine is the joy of fear. Logan never felt fear. He will not turn his heel to save his life. Who is there to mourn for Logan? Not one."

But, in the Recherches Philosophiques, we are desired to believe, that" a stupid insensibility forms the foundation of the Indian character: no passion is sufficient to animate their soul, or raise them above their abject state.” And yet, are not many of them animated, like the high-minded Logan, with feelings of indignation at European ingratitude? “ Brothers,” said the celebrated warrior Tecum-seh, in a speech to the Osages in the year 1811, 6 when the white men first set foot on our grounds, they were hungry; they had no place on which to spread their blankets, nor to kindle their fires. They were feeble; they could do nothing for themselves. Our fathers pitied 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


* Hunter's Memoirs of a Captivity, &c. p. 45.




It may perhaps be said, on the subject of civilizing the North American Indians, that it is easier to state objections to the efforts which have hitherto been made for that purpose, than to suggest plans not liable to similar animadversion. It may be thought that no good can arise from attempting to shew the inefficiency of one system of proposed improvement, without substituting a better in its place. This, in some cases, may be true; but, amidst the difficulties which are every where admitted to exist on this subject, benefit may arise from experience ; and, by shewing the errors of former periods, similar faults may in future be avoided, and ultimate success rendered more attainable. Yet, however much the early systems which were pursued with respect to the Indians may be pronounced blameable, it must be acknowledged, that to propose in their stead any specific plan distinctly calculated at the present moment to effect the beneficial objects which all parties wish to promote, is fraught with extreme difficulty.

This very difficulty, however, ought to convince us that the objecť can only be attained

by slow and gradual steps ; for it is evident that we have not only to combat the native prejudices of the Indians, but to effect the more difficult task of making them forget the impressions we had already given them. Were it possible for the Indian of North America happily to lose all knowledge or traditionary remembrance of the interference imprudently exerted in behalf of his race for two centuries -- were it practicable to replace him at once in that state of total ignorance with respect to the Christians in which he was situated when first discovered by them, it would be far easier at the present time to teach him Christianity, and to effect his civilization. Measures cannot now be adopted with regard to him as to an unbiassed stranger : on the contrary, his education and feelings strongly tend to make him repose little confidence in those Europeans who would be disposed to exert themselves for his benefit.

Many of those writers in America who have of late years turned their attention to this subject, think there is little prospect of success when the Indians are mixed with the white population; but that the result would probably be favourable if they were located in districts or reservations of their own, with the aid of such establishments among them as might tend to promote their general improvement. These writers complain bitterly of many of the white people who resort to the Indian countries

« ElőzőTovább »