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seh, have roused distant and barbarous nations to arms by the powers of their eloquence, had not the savage mind previously been wrought upon by the wrongs of white men.
Some of the best Indian speeches to which our attention has hitherto been directed, are those of Red-Jacket, a Seneca chief, delivered at Buffalo, in New York; one in reply to a request made by the white people to purchase Indian lands—another in reply to a missionary from Massa. chusetts, who wished to introduce Christianity among his people. They evince all the cunning and sagacity of a savage, and breathe, at the same time, the spirit of a high-toned pagan. They may, therefore, upon the whole, be regarded as the finest specimens of Indian eloquence extant.
There is something in savage eloquence always remarkable, and deserving in many respects of admiration. It is strong, stern, sententious, pointed, and undisguised. It abounds with figures and graphic touches
-imprinted by a single effort of memory, or imagination, but answering all the purposes of detailed description, without its tediousness or its weakness.
Of Tecumseh, it is said, that his appearance was always noble ; his form symmetrical-his carriage erect and lofty-his motions command. ing, and under the excitement of his favorite theme, (the uniting of the western tribes, and driving the Americans back to the Ohio,) he became a new being. The artifice of the politician–the diffidence of the stranger -the demure dignity of the warrior, were cast aside like a cloak. His fine countenance lightened up with a fiery and haughty pride-his frame swelled with emotion-every feature, and every gesture, had its meaning ; “and language, the irrepressible outbreakings of nature, flowed in a tor. rent of passion from the fountains of the soul."
The same remarks will apply with equal force to other savage war. riors, who, on particular occasions, have developed extraordinary powers of intellect, which commanded for a time the admiration of the civilized, and the confidence and pride of the savage; which were felt as well as feared, and will live in the pages of civilized history, after barbarous traditions shall have forgotten them, and the nations to which they be. longed shall cease to exist. It does not of course follow, because they were unsuccessful, that they were neither heroes nor patriots. Their influence was exerted over red men instead of white. They fought for wild lands, for liberty, and the graves of their fathers; but failed not for want of courage, or of conduct, but because nature has ordained that the savage must retire before the civilized man. Their arms, in the early settlement of this country, (principally bows and arrows,) were no defence against weapons of steel. The desultory efforts of savage tribes, present no obstacles to the advance of disciplined armies; and the exer. tions of rude barbarians, oppose no barrier to the progress of human arts.
The Macedonian phalanx passed nearly unharmed through Persia's and India's ranks. The Roman legion scarce paused when the Gaul, the German, or the Briton, crossed its path. The armies of Montezuma
interfered not with the march of Cortez, or the embattled hosts of Atahualpa, with the advance of Pizzaro. It was just so at the north, in Virginia and Massachusetts, before the natives were supplied with arms, and it is so even now in India and China, where a regiment of British troops en. counters and defeats whole armies of barbarians, almost without a struggle.
The inquiry is frequently made, why has not Christianity advanced with more rapid strides among this singular and extraordinary people ? or rather, why have the missionaries so often been repelled ? why driven from their borders? We answer, because the conduct of white men has not always furnished evidences of the sincerity of their professions.
When Hatuey, a cazique of some distinction in Hispaniola, fled from thence to Cuba, and was taken prisoner by Velasquez, a companion of Columbus, he was sentenced to the flames for taking up arms against his master, and in defence of his country; and being fastened to the stake, a Franciscan friar labored to convert him, and among other things, prom. ised him admittance to the joys of heaven, if he would embrace the Christian faith. “ Are there,” said he, after a short pause, “ any Spaniards in that region of bliss that you describe ?” “Yes," replied the monk ; “ but only such as are wise and good.” “The best of them," returned the indignant cazique, “have neither worth nor goodness. I will not go to a place where I shall meet with one of that accursed race.”
Many affect to be surprised that the Indians are unsusceptible of civilization, or rather, that they refuse to adopt the habits and manners of white men. Persons, however, entertaining this opinion, do not consider the nature of those difficulties that for a long time have prevented a re. sult so desirable..
When the Spaniards discovered the American Continent, and the Eng. lish first landed on the coast of Virginia—when Plymouth rock first attracted the Pilgrims thither, and the Dutch arrived in the city of New. York; the French in Canada, and Penn, with his inoffensive brethren, located themselves on the Delaware, they were all received with hospi. tality and kindness. No exceptions whatever exist on record. The Europeans were, for many years, regarded by the savages as superior beings. The vast ships in which they had crossed the “big waters"their dress, their arms, and especially their artillery, which, in savage eyes, resembled the bolt or the rapid lightning of Heaven, inspired for a long time both awe and wonder.
The first negotiations in traffic were, in all probability, fairly conducted—the Indian bought what he wanted, and sold out of his scanty stores whatever he could spare—and although frequently cheated, the principles of " free trade" prevailed, and justice seems to have been taught and practiced. Too much freedom, however, bred disturbance; and when difficulties occurred, the civilized was sure to prevail over the savage man. As mind, in every instance, governs matter, such results were unavoidable. The wound, however, rankled in the Indian's breast -and as there was no common tribunal to which they could appeal, recourse was had immediately to arms. Here, too, the civilized man prevailed, and "the Indians have since been driven from river to river, from forest to forest, and through a period of two hundred years rolled back, nation upon nation, till they have found themselves fugitives, vagrants, and strangers in their own country ;-and look forward to the certain period, when their descendants will be totally extinguished by warsdriven at the point of the bayonet into the Western Ocean, or reduced to a fate still more deplorable and horrid the condition of slaves.”
Is it then at all singular, in the language of Mr. Wirt, that the Indians should be implacably vindictive against white men—that the rage of resentment should be handed down from generation to generation-that they should refuse to associate, and mix permanently with their unjust and cruel invaders—that, in the unabating spirit and frenzy of conscious impotence, they should wage an eternal war, as well as they are ablethat they should triumph in the rare opportunity of revenge-that they should dance, sing, and rejoice, as the victim shrieks and faints amid the fames, where they fancy all the crimes of their oppressors are collected on his head, and the spirits of their forefathers smiling with ferocious delight on the proud and glorious spectacle, and feasting on the incense that arises from the burning blood of the white man ?
When the savage mournfully extinguished his last fires, and viewed for the last time the hunting-grounds of his people, he fled like an angry tiger to a remoter forest—scowling at the victor, and watching his oppor. tunity to renew the contest. His mode of warfare (already described, was the indiscriminate massacre of men, women and children. When, therefore, the white man, after a temporary absence, returned and found his solitary cabin wrapped in flames-his wife and children gone, he knew not whither—'t was natural for him to collect his neighbors, to pursue the wretched fugitives, and if possible, to inflict upon them the severest vengeance. Hence, the hostility of the white and red man has been perpetuated from generation to generation; and hence, too, it is probable that the same hostility will continue, till one or the other shall cease to exist.
The intercourse between them has not varied much in its character for the last two hundred years. In 1622, Canonicas, a Naraganset sachem, sent to the Plymouth Colony, in Massachusetts, a bunch of arrows wrapped up in the skin of a rattlesnake, as the token of his hostility. Gov. ernor Bradford returned the skin immediately, stuffed with powder and shot. The savage quailed in an instant, wishing to be on terms of amity with a race whose weapons of war were so terrible ; and thus the controversy ended.
In 1791, Washington, then President of the United States, in a familiar letter to Col. Humphreys, after alluding to the Indian war, then raging with violence on the borders of the Ohio, very justly remarks: “I must confess, I cannot see much prospect of living in tranquillity with these people, (the Indians,) so long as the spirit of land-jobbing prevails, and our frontier settlers consider it no crime to murder an Indian.”
Cruel and implacable as the savages of North America were, it would be doing them great injustice to say, that instances of extraordinary friendship, of fidelity, kindness and forbearance, were unknown. Instances of this nature in our early history frequently occur, which ought to suffuse the cheek of civilization with crimson ; but we forbear.
The American savage is, upon the whole, a perfect anomaly in the history of our race-his origin is unknown. His progress, thus far, has been attended by all the vicissitudes that accompany civilized, as well as barbarous nations; and his course seems to have been marked out, by the hand of Providence, for an extraordinary end.
Origin of the Indians-Egyptian Hieroglyphics- The Rosetta Stone--Egyptian Pyra.
mids-Dr. Robertson's Theory of American Colonization-Ancient Civilization Solon-Opinions of the Ancients on the subject of a Western Continent- Theopompus-Hanno-Diodorus Siculus-Plato-Aristotle-Seneca-Pliny-Strabo-Cicero
-Cotton Mather-Welch-America civilized before Greece or Rome-Its Monuments and Ruins evidence-Baron Humboldt-Stephens-Catherwood and Norman
-Ruins of Copan-Temple--Idols-Altars-Hieroglyphics-Quiriga-PalenqueUxmal-Mounds-Mount Joliet-Canal across the Isthmus of Darien.
The origin of the extraordinary people, whose character we have endeavored in the preceding chapter to elucidate, is involved, as already stated, in mystery. Some have supposed that the original inhabitants of this vast Continent were not the offspring of the same common parent, with the rest of mankind. Others have contended, that they are the remnant of some antediluvian race that escaped the deluge. Indeed, there is scarcely a nation on the globe, says Dr. Robertson, to which some antiquarian, in the extravagance of conjecture, has not ascribed the honor of peopling America. The Jews, the Canaanites, the Phænicians, the Carthaginians, the Greeks, and the Scythians, are supposed by many at an early period to have emigrated to this western world. The Chinese, the Swedes, the Norwegians, the Welch, and the Spaniards, it is said also, have sent colonies thither at different periods, and on various occasions. Each have had their advocates, and their opinions predicated on no other foundation than a similarity of some casual customs--some supposed affinity of language, or some religious ceremonies common to each, have been urged with more zeal than knowledge, more pertinacity than learning, and sometimes, it is presumed, with but little profit or advantage.
The subject, however, is one of interest ; and fortunately for the pres. ent age, the recent discoveries in South America will, in a short time, put the question at rest for ever.
“Egypt, for centuries,” says Gliddon, “had been a sealed book, whose pages could not be opened, until Napoleon's thunderbolts had riven the clasps asunder.” A French officer of engineers in August, 1799, in laying the foundation of Fort Julian, on the western bank of the Nile, between Rosetta and the sea, near the mouth of the river, discovered the fragment of a block of basalt, (since called the inestimable Rosetta Stone, now in the British Museum,) on which was written in three different languages an account of the coronation of King Epiphanes, “Son of the