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to him, '0! how grieved I am that my child has
done this bad act! I hope he will never do so . again.' This is generally effectual, particularly if said in the presence of others. The whole of the Indian plan of education tends to elevate rather than depress the mind, and by that means to make determined hunters and fearless warriors.
Thus, when a lad has killed his first game, such as a deer or a bear, parents who have boys growing up will not fail to say to some person in the presence of their own children, “That boy must have listened • attentively to the aged hunters, for, though so
young, he has already given a proof that he will · become a good hunter himself. If, on the other hand, a young man should fail of giving such a proof, it will be said of him that he did not pay attention * to the discourses of the aged.'
" In this indirect manner is instruction on all subjects given to the young people. They are to learn the arts of hunting, trapping, and making war, by listening to the aged when conversing together on those subjects; each in his turn relating - how he acted; and opportunities are afforded to them for that purpose. By this mode of instructing youth, their respect for the aged is kept alive, and it is increased by the reflection that the same respect will be paid to them at a future day, when young persons will be attentive to what they shall relate.
“ This method of conveying instruction is, I believe, common to most Indian nations; it is so, at, least, amongst all those that I have become ac,
quainted with, and lays the foundation for that voluntary submission to their chiefs, for which they are so remarkable. Thus has been maintained for
ages, without convulsions and without civil discords, this traditional government, of which the world, perhaps, does not offer another example; a government in which there are no positive laws, but only long established habits and customs; no code of jurisprudence, but the experience of former times; no magistrates, but advisers, to whom the people, nevertheless, pay à willing and implicit obedience, in which age confers rank, wisdom gives power, and moral goodness secures a title to universal respect. All this seems to be effected by the simple means of an excellent mode of education, by which a strong attachment to ancient customs, respect for age, and the love of virtue are indelibly impressed upon the minds of youth, so that these impressions acquire strength as time pursues its course, and as they pass through successive generations.”
SENSIBILITY-GRATITUDE-CRUEL CONDUCT EXER
CISED TOWARDS THE INDIANS.
In passing down the St. Lawrence in the summer of 1819, I stopped my batteaux at a tavern where I purposed to remain all night. Two squaws were there with a basket of wild strawberries for sale, and I directed the mistress of the tavern to purchase some that I might have them with cream for my supper. It was soon, however, to be perceived by the conversation in bargaining, that my landlady and the Indian women could not come to terms. There seemed to be much harshness in the manner of the former ; but the replies of the latter were so meek, and their demeanour so submissive, that had I been making the bargain under the impression of my feelings, few words would have been necessary. The christian purchaser, however, continued so extortionate in her demands, that the poor disappointed heathens turned away from her. Truly unreasonable indeed must the lady have been, for there was neither village, nor other house near likely to afford à market for the poor Indian hawkers, who it seemed had come to this very tavern with the hope of selling their fruit. Under this impression I followed the poor women, put half a dollar into the hands of one of them, and hastily passed on, while they gazed at me with astonishment at so unexpected a largess,
for so it appeared to them. On my return from a walk along the river, I was surprised to see the two squaws standing at the corner of the house patiently waiting for me; when, with eyes sparkling with emotions which I could not misunderstand, but which I am incapable of portraying, they presented me with a bowl top-full of picked strawberries, which I rejected at first, being desirous of convincing them there were some, if not many, white men who felt kindly towards them. But their expression of entreaty was so vehement, their importunity so great, that I felt it necessary to their happiness to accept their present, for they had no other way of shewing their gratitude. This humble offering furnished my supper, and sweet indeed would my meal have been, had not commiseration for the wrongs of these sorely abused, persecuted, forlorn, and abandoned people, mingled with my enjoyment." I am so fully impressed with their undeserved misery, and with the nobleness of their character, that I should esteem the devotion of my life in their cause the most honourable way in which it could be devoted; but alas, years and circumstances prevent my doing more than making this feeble effort to rouse the energies of youthful talent in their behalf; and as benevolence pervades the youthful mind more powerfully than that of the aged, I am not without a hope that thousands will yet start up to advocate the cause of the Red Indians, and prosecute measures for the amelioration of their state.
The above instance of want of charity, nay, of
common decency on the part of white people in their intercourse with the Indians, is not by any means of rare occurrence. My reader will already have seen the complaints and pathetic appeals to justice which the poor children of the wilderness are so frequently compelled, by the treachery of their civilized neighbours, to make; and I am sorry to add another specimen to the long list of these atrocious outrages, which, in large and petty aggressions, is daily swelling and becoming more and more enormous. In passing, on the very day I have just adverted to, through the thousand islands, one of the boatmen who were rowing me, hallooed to a canoe in which some Indians were fishing, who immediately came towards us, and a barter commenced between them and the boatmen. The boatmen held up a piece of cold pork and a loaf, for which they were to receive fish. The poor young Indians, (for the eldest was not above fourteen, and there were two little girls younger) shewed what fish they would give; yet warily kept at a distance, fearing what in spite of their precaution, actually took place. The boatmen struck suddenly at the canoe with their oars, and in the confusion which this attack caused, grasped the fish ; the bread and pork they at first offered were, I need hardly say, withheld. Having achieved this noble enterprise they shouted and assailed the unresisting and defenceless children (who paddled off evidently fearful of further outrage,) with taunts and mockery. These men were Canadians; there were four of them; and I had no other means of punishing