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of those measures of severity which have been practised toward' them, the most foul and unjust representations. They have been gradually wasting away from the effects of cruelty and oppression, unheeded and unpitied, until their aggregate numbers, it is conjectured, has been reduced to less than two millions. : | It has hitherto been the policy of those by whom the North American Indians have been most oppressed, to represent them as very contemptible in numbers; and although they have become nearly extinct on the borders, and in settled portions of the continent, it may be fairly presumed that the more warlike and active tribes, have removed into the interior, as they have been found in numerous bodies by partics engaged in all the late expeditions. A sufficient number, however, yet remajas to excite our sympathy. The wrongs whicli have been inflicted upon their wbolé race, have furnished ample regions for the occupancy of civilized man. And does not our past neglect of their suffering and abandoned state, loudly call upon us to make reparation for the ills they have endured—to return to acts of justice, mercy, and kindness; and, though late, to recommend to the surviving Indians the religion we profess, by all those means which the gospel enjoins ? In the earnest hope that many may be led to a serious contemplation of this great and glorious object--that many with the talents, energy, and benevolence of a Wilberforce, both in the United States and in Great Britain, may yet be found to interpose their power and energies in behalf of a race destitute of the use of letters to vindicate their character; and to set forth some portion of their wrongs, I have been led to prosecute my inquiries respecting the North American Indians.
While engaged in these pursuits, I learnt that the Historical Society of Philadelphia, actuated by a laudable desire to preserve an account of the Aborigines, had requested the Rev. John Heckcwelder, a Moravian Missionary, to furnish a detạil of the information he had acquired during a residence of
the greater portion of his life among the Indians of Pennsylvania and the adjoining states. That gentleman, although seventy-five years of age, readily engaged in the arduous undertaking, and his “ Historical Account of the Indian Nations has been published in the transactions of the Society, who have thus rendered an important service to science and to mankind; while the reverend author has left on record an unparalleled example of benevolence, sympathy, patience, and self-devotion. From the fulness of his work, 'I deemed the further prosecution of my labours unnecessary, lest my efforts might appear to many as a mere presumptuous display. I had, therefore, abandoned all intention of placing myself before the public; but upon my arrival in London in the summer of 1820, having casually spoken of the interest I had taken in the present state of the North American Indians, it was suggested, that from my observations and researches, which extended to other tribes than those more particularly noticed by Mr. Heckewelder, together with extracts from such parts of his useful and interesting volume* as tend to confirm and illustrate the facts I had collected, or the views I had taken of the subject, the Public might be presented with a work, in some degree calculated to facilitate the adoption of measures in favour of the Indians. Under this impression, I have consented to place my
humble labours before the Public, disclaiming the slightest pretension to merit as an author, and having no view to pecuniary advantage from the publication : yet I can with confidence state, that with diligence and zeal I have availed myself of every opportunity of collecting information from the most authentic sources. Many curious statements have been rejected, though perhaps true; and the reader is earnestly entreated to keep in mind the fable of the Lion and the Panther, as he will
* Mr. Heckewelder's “ Historical Account” exists only in the printed transactions of the Philadelphian Society. It is, on this account, little, if at all, known among the British Public; and I have therefore been copious in my extracts from the Rev. Author's pages.
thereby be induced to view with jealousy, reports which may be prejudicial to the Indian character. Let him also remember, that they have no historians, to record their wrongs, or plead their cause against their oppressors;--yet they believe, as I do, that the Great Spirit hears their sighs and regards their sufferings, and that He will appear to the oppressor and the oppressed as a God of Justice.
Many recent acts of barbarity which have been committed upon the Indians, I have deemed it prudent to omit in the. present work; but those who read the speeches in Congress on the late war against the Semanole Indians, will find therein much to excite their sympathy. My object is not to awaken national feelings or prejudices, but to unite the efforts of all good men in behalf of these oppressed children of the wilderness; so that societies may be formed, to watch over their rights, and, by the powerful agency of the press, to restrain lawless power from further acts of cruelty and injustice. -Happily this feeling has of late been extended in the United States; and the humane and just sentiments promulgated by His Excellency De Witt Clinton, Governor of the State of New York, the unwearied zeal of Mr. Colden, the mayor, and the humane disposition of many persons of the highest respectability in the United States, lead me to avoid even the appearance of wishing to allow any sentiment to mingle in this work, which might attach to it an air of nationality. The kindness and civility which I have experienced from all ranks in the United States, I shall ever be ready to acknowledge.
With this exposition of my motives, sources of information, and desires, I trust my feeble efforts will be supported by all classes of people; and, entreating a favourable feeling towards the execution and arrangement, I commit the cause of the American Indians to an enlightened and benevolent Public.
New York, 1 May, 1821.
HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF THE NORTH
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTORY.
My design in the following pages is rather to collect a series of facts and observations, bearing on the recent and present state and character of the North American Indians, than to furnish an account of their remote history. Whether they are or are not the Aborigines; whether their derivation is to be sought among the Tartars, who, in ages past, according to the sublime hypothesis of Governor De Witt Clinton, over-rán and exterminated nations who then inhabited great part of North America, and who had made consi. derable progress in the arts of civilized life; whether the theory adopted by Adair and Dr. Boudinot be true, that they are the descendants of the long-lost ten tribes of Israel ; whether, in short, America was peopled from any of the countries of the old hemisphere, or those from America, are questions which, however interesting, I leave to be discussed by abler Antiquarians than myself. My anxiety, awakened by the present oppressed and demoralized condition of the red Indians, has indeed glanced backwards a few