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vice-queen Donna Maria de Toledo. The Isabella above-named, had married Don George of Portugal, Count of Gelves. Thus the dignities and wealth of Columbus, passed into a branch of the Portuguese house of Braganza, established in Spain. It was a lineal descendant of this Duke of Veragua, who caused the remains of Columbus, the admiral, to be removed from St. Domingo to Cuba, in 1795, as before related.
Spirit of adventure excited-Colonization-Natives of this country- Difficulty in obtaining
correct information-Ancient Britons—Indians unacquainted with iron-Unused tu animal labor-Unacquainted with any but the simplest arts—Skilled in hunting and fishing--No legal tribunals-Limited ideas of property-Are revengeful-Skilled in war-At times, eloquent-Sometimes torture their prisoners, sometimes receive and adopt them into their tribe--Savage warrior and Christian martyr compared--Hooper
-Are fond of gambling- Are addicted to drunkenness—Are fond of dancing-Wardance described-His personal independence-His social relations-His religion- Is superstitious Is eloquent-Logan-Philip—Tecumseh-Red Jacket-Reason why they refuse to become civilized.
INTELLIGENCE of the great discovery achieved by Columbus, was soon spread from court to court, from city to city, and from nation to nation, till the whole of Europe, in a short time, resounded with his fame.
It was like the accession of wealth to a miser. “Our minds," says Peter Vartyr, a cotemporary of Columbus, “ soiled and debased by the common concerns of life, were elevated by its contemplation.” “It was," said others, “a thing more divine than human.” Every one rejoiced in the occurrence, as one in which he was personally interested. To some it presented an unbounded field of inquiry, to others an immense theatre for enterprise ; and all awaited with intense eagerness, a further development of the new and unexplored regions still covered with mystery, the first glimpses of which filled every eye with wonder.
The spirit of adventure was at once roused to its highest pitch, and all Europe became enchanted.
Portugal, distinguished for her nautical enterprise, was mortified by the prospect which dawned upon her rival. England, which as yet had been a maritime power of inferior importance, heard the glad tidings from a distant shore, and awoke to enterprise and glory. France followed in her train. Holland and Sweden imitated their example, and in a short time, voyages of discovery were the theme of every tongue.
To rob and plunder the natives, and afterward to colonize these newly discovered realms, engrossed for a while the attention of Europe ; and, to effect the latter, its prison-doors were unbarred, its felons were let loose-its population, high and low, rich and poor, bond and free-the accomplished cavalier who had triumphed in every field of battle—the patriot soldier who had trampled crowns beneath his feet--the vagrant, the miser, the debtor, the adventurer, the enthusiast, the loafer, (a term till recently unknown,) and also, the patriot and Christian, embarked, in vast multitudes, for this fairy land; some in pursuit of fortune, others in
pursuit of fame--some to avoid punishment, and some to avoid their creditors-some to rob the natives, some to enslave and some to convert them-some to plant colonies, and some to destroy them-some to avoid persecution, and some to persecute. A large portion, it must however be conceded, came hither to acquire, in this newly.discovered world, a country and a home, where religion, pure and undefiled, and patriotism without blemish-where science and the arts-where industry and economy, truth and sobriety, with all their kindred virtues, might flourish in immortal youth. .
The present inhabitants of Illinois, deriving their origin from almost every nation under heaven, their history, of course, becomes partially our own; should we, therefore, in our narrative, recapitulate some portions of their eventful story-should we, in its course, inquire into their motives, and sometimes trace their progress from year to year, we shall not by so doing travel out of the record, or exceed the bounds of legiti. mate history.
When Æneas fled from the conflagration of Troy, and was driven by the tempest upon a strange, inhospitable shore, his first object was to learn upon what coast he had been driven, and who were its inhabitants, whether men or wild beasts :
At puis Æneas, per noctem, plurima volvens,
Although his celebrated voyage, by many is considered fabulous, (a question we have no intention here to discuss,) it bears no comparison with that of Columbus; nor do Virgil's celebrated heroes equal Cortez or Pizarro, or Smith of James Town, or other pilgrim warriors of New England. Nor do his native champions equal Philip of Pokanoket, or a multitude of Indian heroes, who have gone down to their graves unhonored and unsung.
The early history of this Continent is wrapt in mystery ; its native in. habitants, when Columbus first landed on its shores, had no authentic records; the information, therefore, we possess in relation to their antiquities, is derived principally from strangers, and that information, scanty as it is, has not always been impartial. Nations advanced in knowledge, conscious of their own superiority, view untutored savages with scorn, and seldom acknowledge their occupations or their pleasures to be worthy of men. Communities, in their early and unpolished state, have not frequently been observed with care, by men endowed with ininds supe. rior to vulgar prejudices, nor by persons capablo ví contemplating man, under whatever aspect he may appear, with a candid or discerning eye. The conquerors of South America were illiterate adventurers, in whom avarice and zeal were curiously blended. Surrounded with danger, and struggling with hardships, they had but little leisure, and less capacity, for speculative inquiry. Eager to enjoy a country abounding in wealth, and happy at finding it possessed by men unable to defend it, they looked upon the natives as upon wretches, fit only for servitude.
The same difficulty, to a certain extent, meets us at the very threshold in contemplating the Indians of North America. Although the first settlers of Virginia and Massachusetts, in a moral point of view, were superior to the mercenary hordes that overrun and subjected to Spanish sway the fertile regions of the South, we have only to peruse their early history to be convinced, that impartiality, respecting the natives, was not among their virtues.
In one particular, however, all agree that this vast Continent, from one extremity to the other, when the restless foot of European adventure first trod its soil, was inhabited, or more properly speaking, was overrun by a race of men advanced more or less in civilization. There are, it is said, in New-Holland and in Africa at the present day, human beings in a state of nature, entirely ignorant of the most common arts of life. The natives of this country, though barbarous, were not at the time of its discovery, in that predicament. All of them had made more or less progress in civilization, and the Mexicans and Peruvians, if we are to credit Spanish writers, had made considerable progress, not only in the arts, but in science; and were at least on a par in that respect with their conquerors, except in the art or science of human butchery, in which, all admit, the latter excelled. The North American Indians were about on a par with the ancient Britons in the time of Julius Cæsar..
Hume, the English historian, after speaking of the ancient Britons in the southeast part of the island, before the age of Cæsar, observes : “ The other inhabitants of the island still maintained themselves by pasture. They were clothed with the skins of beasts; they dwelt in huts, which they reared in the forests and marshes with which the country was covered; they shifted their habitations when hopes of plunder, or the fear of an enemy, impelled them; the convenience of feeding their cattle was a sufficient motive for moving their seats; and as they were ignorant of all the refinements of life, their wants and possessions were scanty and limited.
“ The Britons were divided into nations or tribes, and being a military people, whose sole property was their arms and their cattle, it was impossible, after they had acquired a relish for liberty, for their princes or their chieftains to establish despotic authority over them. Their governments, though monarchical, were free, and the common people enjoyed more liberty than among the nations of Gaul, from whom they were descended. Each state was divided into factions within itself—and agitated with jealousy or animosity against the neighboring states. While the arts of peace were yet unknown, war was their chief occupation, and formed the chief object of ambition among the people.
“The Druids were their priests, and possessed great authority among them. Human sacrifices were practiced, and the spoils of war were devoted, in part, to their divinities.”
Those acquainted with the character, habits, manners, and religion, of the Indians of Illinois, will recognize in the above a familiar picture, and by referring to Tacitus, the Roman historian, they will discover in the Saxon race, from which we are principally descended, traits of char. acter nearly similar. We must not, however, from thence infer, that the natives of this country are of Celtic or Saxon origin. Men, whose circumstances are alike, by a law of our nature, become assimilated in manners, in habits, and in character. A British poet, in speaking of Julius Cæsar, remarks that he would have been a herdsman, or a great wrestler, had he not been a Roman emperor.
Great Julius, on the mountain bred,
In some particulars, the natives of this country were vastly inferior to those who are called barbarous by the Europeans. The use of iron to the American savage was unknown. Hence, their inability to accomplish works so easily performed by civilized men. In another particular too, they were also inferior to the barbarians of the Eastern Continent. The savages of this country in no instance availed themselves of animal labor. They were not in fact “ lords of the creation.” The Tartar follows his prey upon the horse he has reared. The Arab has rendered the camel docile. The Laplander has made the reindeer subservient to his will. The people of Kamptschatka have trained their dogs to laborand the native of Hindostan has brought the half-reasoning elephant to his aid; but the American savage performs whatever he undertakes, merely by the strength of his own native arm. He is not conscious of any superi. ority he possesses over brutes. He considers himself their enemy, not their superior. He knows how to waste and to destroy, but not how to multiply or to govern them.
To form an opinion of the North American Indian, as he existed when he was lord of this vast Continent, predicated upon what most of us have seen in the miserable hordes which at the present day infest our borders, and hang on the skirts of civilization, would be doing them and our readers great injustice. It must be considered, that the savage has been exalted by some writers in the scale of existence above his merits; that his state has sometimes been represented as one of perfect happiness. That he is the real “stoic of the woods "_" the man without a tear.” Some of this is unquestionably true-most of it, however, is unquestionably false. That the present race are mere remnants of once powerful tribes, we can easily believe ; but that those tribes, when in “all their glory," were anything more than mere savages, gaining a precarious existence by wandering over the vast and boundless forests, the majestic rivers, and mighty prairies of this vast Continent, is not equally clear. That they possessed capacities which fitted them for their (then) state of existence;