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dians; they entertain the greatest respect for the aged and tender, and are unwearied in lavishing delicate attentions on them; their friendship is inviolable; and we are told by Carver in his travels, with what moderation, humanity, and delicacy they treat female prisoners, and particularly pregnant women. Their conduct in this latter particular is not confined to females of their own colour, but is extended to white women, the mothers of their inexorable destroyers. Of this I shall have occasion, in the course of my work, to cite a' touching instance from the valuable pages
of Mr. Heckewelder. I might, perhaps, be thought their indiscriminate panegyrist, were I to go on and state the simple beauty and wisdom of their system of education; the faith they keep in their treaties; their lofty courage, and the magnanimity they display on occasions in private life which are too apt to stir up the resentment and envy, and all the mean passions of civilized man. It will be naturally expected, that having given this summary of Indian virtues, I should say something of Indian vices; and I am happy that the latter will bear no proportion to the former catalogue. Cruelty and an eager appetite for revenge, are the chief, if not the only, deformities of their nature; and these are scarcely ever 'manifested, except in their open hostilities, the causes of which are precisely similar to those which actuate civilized nations. Then, indeed, their ferocity breaks out with almost demonaical fury; their captives are generally doomed to death; but it is not until they have undergone the the most exquisite tortures, the most ingenious, un
utterable, and protracted agony, that the final blow is given. These atrocious practices are not, however, peculiar to our unlettered Indians. The metal boot and wedge, the thumb-screw, the rack, the gradual burnings of Smithfield, the religious butchery of the bloody Piedmontese “who rolled mother with infant down the rocks,” the dismemberment by horses, " Luke's iron crown, and Damien's bed of steel," sufficiently attest the claims of enlightened man to distinction in the art of torture. “But the Five Nations,” says Governor Clinton, in his masterly and eloquent discourse, "notwithstanding their horrible cruelty, are in one respect entitled to singular commendation for the exercise of humanity; those enemies they spared in battle they made free; whereas, with all other barbarous nations,” and he might have added with most civilized nations, “ slavery was the commutation of death. But it becomes not us, if we value the characters of our forefathers; it becomes not the civilized nations of Europe who have had American possessions, to inveigh against the merci. less conduct of the savage. His appetite for blood was sharpened and whetted by European instigation, and his cupidity was enlisted on the side of cruelty by every temptation*.”. Our author in seeking for causes to extenuate the inhumanity of the Indians, might have said something of their natural and just resentment of the aggressions and tyranny of the man of Europe, by whom they have been reduced to the lowest state of wretchedness. In the wars be. tween France and England and their colonies, their
* De Witt Clinton's Discourse, p, 55.
Indian alliés were entitled to a premium for every scalp of an enemy. In the war preceding 1703, the
government of Massachusetts gave twelve pounds for every Indian scalp; in that year the premium was raised to forty pounds, but in 1722, it was augmented to one hundred pounds! a sum sufficient to purchase a considerable extent of American land. An act was passed on the 25th of February 1745, by the American colonial legislature, entitled, “ An Act for giving a reward for such scalps, &c. &c.” Not content with this execrable pollution of their minds by the agency of lucre, we have sown party division among the Indians, which in all its discordant shapes rages with uncontrolled sway. “Their nations are split up into fragments; the son is arrayed against the father; brother against brother; families against families ; tribes against tribes; and canton against canton, They are divided into factions, religious, political and personal; Christian and Pagan; American and British; the followers of Cornplanter and Sagoua Ha; of Skonadoi and Captain Peter. The minister of destruction is hovering over them, and before the passing away of the present generation, not a single Iroquois will be seen in the state of New York*.”
Yet with all this guilt at our doors we call the poor Indians “savages,-barbarians.” Yes, they have, indeed, become so since they were debauched and contaminated by the liquor and the example of European man.“Our vices,” says Heckewelder,“ have destroyed them more than our swords." I do not hesitate to say that, in my opinion, their iguorance of
* De Witt Clinton, p. 88, 89.
letters has been the only hinderance to their being, politically speaking, a most powerful people. With the faculty of circulating and improving their natural information, by means of literature, they would either not have been objects for the crafty arts of civilized man, or they would have been invulnerable to them, and never could have been driven from their terri, tories. Their courage and warlike character, unaided by learning, are things but of inferior force. * Knowledge” says Bacon, “ is power.”. How with such elements of mind as they possess, they could, unlike other originally great people, have continued destitute of written wisdom, must ever remain à mystery. It is this important want which compels them to endure their wrongs in silence. They have no means of making their grievances known to the rest of the world; but must look for intercessors among those who have robbed and enslaved them. “Why then," I may ask with the benign Heckewel. der, “should not a white man, a Christian, who has been treated by them at all times with hospitality and kindness, plead their honest cause, and defend them as they would defend themselves, if they had but the means of bringing their facts and their arguments before an impartial public? Let it not be said that among the whole race of white Christian men, not one single individual could be found, who, rising above the cloud of prejudice with which the pride of civilization has surrounded the original inhabitants of this land, would undertake the task of doing justice to their many excellent qualities, and raise a small frail monument to their memory."
INDIAN ACCOUNT OF THE FIRST ARRIVAL OF THE
DUTCH AT NEW YORK ISLAND.
The following simple and touching relation of this important event, was taken down many years since from the mouth of an intelligent Delaware Indian, by Mr. Heckewelder, and may be considered as a correct account of the tradition existing among them. It is given as much as possible in their own language.
“A great many years ago, when men with a white skin had never yet been seen in this land, some Indians who were out a fishing at a place where the sea widens, espied at a great distance something remarkably large floating on the water, and such as they had never seen before. These Indians immediately returning to the shore, apprized their countrymen of what they had observed, and pressed them to go out with them and discover what it might be. They hurried out together, and saw with astonishment the phenomenon which now appeared to their sight, but could not agree upon what it was; some believed it to be an uncommonly large fish or animal,