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neer. A sort of barbarous luxury set off the costume of the Indian; rings of metal were hanging from her nostrils and ears; her hair, which was adorned with glass beads, fell loosely upon her shoulders; and I saw that she was not married, for she still wore that necklace of shells which the bride always deposits on the nuptial couch. The negress was clad in squalid European garments. They all three came and seated themselves upon the banks of the fountain; and the young Indian, taking the child in her arms, lavished upon her such fond caresses as mothers give; while the negress endeavored by various little artifices to attract the attention of the young creole. The child displayed in her slightest gestures a consciousness of superiority which formed a strange contrast with her infantine weakness; as if she received the attentions of her companions with a sort of condescension. The negress was seated on the ground before her mistress, watching her smallest desire?, and apparently divided between strong affection for the child and servile fear; while tho savage displayed, in the midst of her tenderness, an air of freedom and of pride which was almost ferocious. I had approached the group, and I contemplated them in silence; but my curiosity was probably displeasing to the Indian woman, for she suddenly rose, pushed the child roughly from her, and giving me an angry look, plunged into the thicket. I had often chanced to see individuals met together in the same place, who belonged to the three races of men which people North Amer. ica. I had perceived from many different results the preponderance of the Whites. But in the picture which I have just been describing there was something peculiarly touching ; a bond of affection here united the oppressors with the oppressed, and the effort of Nature to bring them together rendered still more striking the immense distance placed between them by prejudice and by law, -
Th E PRESENT AND PROBABLE FUTURE CONDITION OF THE INDIAN TRIBES WHICH IN HABIT THE TERRITORY POSSESSED BY THE UNION.
Gradual disappearance of the native tribes.—Manner in which it takes place.—Miseries accompanying the forced migrations of the Indians.—The Savages of North America had only two ways of escaping destruction; war or civilization.—They are no longer able to make war.—Reasons why they refused to become civilized when it was in their power, and why they cannot become so now that they desire it.—Instance of the Creeks and Cherokees.—Policy of the particular States towards these Indians.—Policy of the Federal Government.
None of the Indian tribes which formerly inhabited the territory of New England,—the Narragansetts, the Mohicans, the Pequots, have any existence but in the recollection of man. The Lenapes, who received William Penn a hundred and fifty years ago upon the banks of the Delaware, have disappeared; and I myself met with the last of the Iroquois, who were begging alms. The nations I have mentioned formerly covered the country to the sea-coast; but a traveller at the present day must penetrate more than a hundred leagues into the interior of the continent to find an Indian. Not only have these wild tribes receded, but they are destroyed✻; and as they give way or perish, an immense and increasing people fills their place. There is no instance upon record of so prodigious a growth, or so rapid a destruction ; the manner in which the latter change takes place is not difficult to describe. When the Indians were the sole inhabitants of the wilds from whence they have since been expelled, their wants were few. Their arms were of their own manufacture, their only drink was the water of the brook, and their clothes consisted of the skins of animals, whose flesh furnished them with food. The Europeans introduced among the savages of North America firearms, ardent spirits, and iron : they taught them to exchange for man. ufactured stuffs the rough garments which had previously satisfied their untutored simplicity. Having acquired new tastes, without the arts
• In the thirteen original States, there are only 6,273 Indians remaining. (See Legislative Documents. 20th Congress, No. 117. page 90.)
by which they could be gratified, the Indians were obliged to have recourse to the workmanship of the Whites; but in return for their productions the savage had nothing to offer except the rich furs which still abounded in his woods. Hence the chase became necessary, not merely to provide for his subsistence, but in order to procure the only objects of barter which he could furnish to Europe.✻ While the wants of the natives were thus increasing, their resources continued to diminish. From the moment when a European settlement is formed in the neighborhood of the territory occupied by the Indians, the beasts of chase take the alarm.† Thousands of savages, wandering in the for rests and destitute of any fixed dwelling, did not disturb them; but as soon as the continuous sounds of European labor are heard in the neighborhood, they begin to flee away, and retire to the west, where their instinct teaches them that they will find deserts of immeasurable extent. "The buffalo is constantly receding," say Messrs. Clarke and Cass in their Report of the year 1829; "a few years since they approached the base of the Alleghany; and a few years hence they
* Messrs. Clarke and Cass, in their Report to Congress, the 4th February, 1829, p. 23, expressed themselves thus: "The time when the Indians generally could supply themselves with food and clothing, without any of the articles of civilized life, has long since passed away. The more remote tribes, beyond the Mississippi, who live where immense herds of buffalo are yet to be found, and who follow those animals in their periodical migrations, could more easily than any others recur to the habits of their ancestors, and live without the white man or any of his manufactures. But the buffalo is constantly receding. The smaller animals, the bear, the deer, the beaver, the otter, the muskrat, &c., principally minister to the comfort and support of the Indians; and these cannot be taken without guns, ammunition and traps. "Among the North-western Indians particularly, the labor of supplying a family with food is excessive. Day after day is spent by the hunter without success, and during this interval his family must subsist upon bark or roots, or perish. Want and misery are around them and among them. Many die every winter from actual starvation." The Indians will not live as Europeans live; and yet they can neither subsist without them, nor exactly after the fashion of their fathers. This is demonstrated by a fact which I likewise give upon official authority. Some Indians of a tribe on the banks of Lake Superior had killed a European; the American Government interdicted all traffic with the tribe to which the guilty parties belonged, until they were delivered up to justice. This measure had the desired effect. † "Five years ago," (says Volney in his Tableau des Etats Unis, p. 370.) "in going from Vincennes to Kaskaskia, a territory which now forms part of the State of Illinois, but which at the time I mention was completely wild (1797), you could not cross a prairie without seeing herds of from four to five hundred buffaloes. There are mow none remaining; they swam across the Mississippi to escape from the hunters, and more particularly from the bells of the American cows.
may even be rare upon the immense plains which extend to the base of the Rocky Mountains.” I have been assured that this effect of the approach of the Whites is often felt at two hundred leagues’ distance from their frontier. Their influence is thus exerted over tribes whose name is unknown to them, and who suffer the evils of usurpation long before they are acquainted with the authors of their distress.” Bold adventurers soon penetrate into the country the Indians have deserted, and when they have advanced about fifteen or twenty leagues from the extreme frontiers of the Whites, they begin to build habitations for civilized beings in the midst of the wilderness. This is done without difficulty, as the territory of a hunting-nation is ill defined; it is the common property of the tribe, and belongs to no one in particular, so that individual interests are not concerned in the protection of any part of it. A few European families, settled in different situations at a considerable distance from each other, soon drive away the wild animals which remain between their places of abode. The Indians, who had previously lived in a sort of abundance, then find it difficult to subsist, and still more difficult to procure the articles of barter which they stand in need of. To drive away their game is to deprive them of the means of exist. ence, as effectually as if the fields of our agriculturists were stricken with barrenness; and they are reduced, like famished wolves, to prowl through the forsaken woods in quest of prey. Their instinctive love of their country attaches them to the soil which gave them birth,† even after it has ceased to yield anything but misery and death. At length they are compelled to acquiesce, and to depart : they follow the traces of the elk, the buffalo, and the beaver, and are guided by those wild animals in the choice of their future country. Properly speaking, therefore, it is not the Europeans who drive away the native inhabi
* The truth of what I here advance may be easily proved by consulting the Tabular Statement of Indian Tribes inhabiting the United States, and their territories. (Legislative Documents, 20th Congress, No. 117, p. 90—105.) It is there shown that the tribes of America are rapidly decreasing, although the Europeans are still at a considerable distance from them. * ~~
† "The Indians," say Messrs. Clarke and Cass in their Report to Congress, p. 15, "are attached to their country by the same feelings which bind us to ours; and, besides, there are certain superstitious notions connected with the alienation of what the Great Spirit gave to their ancestors, which operate strongly upon the tribes who have made few or no cessions, but which are gradually weakened as our intercourse with them is extended. 'We will not sell the spot which contains the bones of our fathers,' is almost always the first answer to a proposition for a sale.”
tants of America; it is famine which compels them to recede ; a happy distinction which had escaped the casuists of former times, and for which we are indebted to modern discovery ! It is impossible to conceive the extent of the sufferings which attend these forced emigrations. They are undertaken by a people already exhausted and reduced ; and the countries to which the new comers betake themselves are inhabited by other tribes which receive them with jealous hostility. Hunger is in the rear, war awaits them, and misery besets them on all sides. In the hope of escaping from such a host of enemies, they separate, and each individual endeavors to procure the means of supporting his existence in solitude and secrecy, living in the immensity of the desert like an outcast in civilized society. The social tie, which distress had long since weakened, is then dissolved ; they have lost their country, and their people soon deserts them; their very families are obliterated; the names they bore in common are forgotten, their language perishes, and all traces of their origin disappear. Their nation has ceased to exist, except in the recollection of the antiquaries of America and a few of the learned of Europe. I should be sorry to have my reader suppose that I am coloring the picture too highly : I saw with my own eyes several of the cases of misery which I have been describing ; and I was the witness of suf. ferings which I have not the power to portray. At the end of the year 1831, while I was on the left bank of th Mississippi, at a place named by Europeans Memphis, there arrived a numerous band of Choctaws (or Chactas, as they are called by the French in Louisiana.) These savages had left their country, and were endeavoring to gain the right bank of the Mississippi, where they hoped to find an asylum which had been promised them by the American Government. It was then the middle of winter, and the cold was unusually severe; the snow had frozen hard upon the ground, and the river was drifting huge masses of ice. The Indians had their families with them; and they brought in their train the wounded and the sick, with children newly born, and old men upon the verge of death. They possessed neither tents nor wagons, but only their arms and some provisions. I saw them embark to pass the mighty river, and never will that solemn spectacle fade from my remembrance. No cry, no sob was heard among the assembled crowd: all were silent. Their calamities were of ancient date, and they knew them to be irremediable. The Indians had all stepped into the bark which was to carry them across, but their dogs remained upon the bank. As soon as these