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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html


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Chapter I. — Generally Improved State of Society and Manners Among the Colonized Tribes.

ATTENTION must now be directed to the working of the colonization plan. In the preceding pages, the history of the Indians has been traced from the period of the discovery of North America to that of the successful completion of the plan for their colonization west of the Mississippi; which may be considered as having been actually closed with the removal of the Cherokees in 1838 — that people having been the last of the great tribes which opposed it — although protracted to 1841. They were also the most numerous, and, perhaps, the most thoroughly instructed and intelligent, of the group of tribes formerly resident within the limits of the old States. Their migration was followed, in the sequence of time, by the removal of the small and advanced tribe of the Wyandots from Sandusky, Ohio, the Miamies of Indiana, the Sacs and Foxes of Iowa, and some minor bands inhabiting lower Michigan and the Maumee valley, Ohio.

Sixteen years, comprising four presidential terms, have elapsed since the completion of this colonial experiment, during which the policy of removal has been regarded by each successive administration as settled and approved, and as equally beneficial to the Indians as to the United States. From the period of the completion of their removal, the question has ceased to be a theme of discussion in American political circles. We may now inquire into their condition and prospects, in order to determine how far the expectations entertained have been realized. From the South there have been removed, of the Appalachian group, the Creeks, and their affiliated tribe, the

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Seminoles, the Choctaws and Chickasaws, and the Cherokees. Of the widely diffused generic stock of the Algonquins, in the North, there have been transferred, the Delawares, Shawnees, southern Chippewas and Ottowas, Pottawattamies, Miamies, Weas, Piankashaws, Peorias, Kaskaskias, Mohigans, or Stockbridges, Munsees, and the Sacs and Foxes of Iowa and Missouri. The tribes of the Iroquois lineage, and speaking that language, which have migrated, comprise the Wyandots, Senecas, the mixed Senecas and Shawnees, and portions of the Cayugas; and of the Dakotah stock, the Quappas. These twenty-four tribes have been the objects of philanthropic solicitude for two centuries, during which period, they have received instruction in arts and morals, industry and manners. The effort has been continuous, from the earliest period of British colonial history, having been originated in 1644, by the apostolic labors of John Eliot, acting under the auspices of the London Society for the Propagation of the Gospel; and the new impetus which the work received from Edwards and Brainard has been continued to the present time. 685

All the means for the dissemination of knowledge, which the Indians possessed while they resided east of the Mississippi river, were transferred with them to the West. Their annuities in coin and kind were paid in the West, and their tutors in letters, mechanics, and agriculture accompanied them thither. Not only was there no diminution of the care or interest previously manifested for their welfare by the Government, by benevolent societies, and by individuals, but, on the contrary, they received increased attention, and were more amply provided with means. Every candid mind must admit that the results of their removal have been, in every respect, beneficial. It had been apprehended that the removal of the tribes to the wilderness, after having received instruction and made considerable improvement, would be attended with adverse results; that they would again resort to the chase to obtain the means of subsistence; and that, by contact with the wild, indigenous tribes of the prairies, they would acquire the manners and contract the vices of barbarism. This view appeared more plausible than substantial, and the apprehension expressed proved to be unfounded. Those of the tribes who had acquired industrious habits, and had for years practised them in the East, did not flag in their endeavors after their removal to the West. The territory is well adapted to the raising of cattle, hogs, sheep, and horses; the natural meadows, or prairies, spontaneously furnishing the most luxuriant pasturage. The convenience of dwelling-houses, out-houses, and fences having become necessary to the tribes, they did not attempt the experiment of living without them; and education became more important to them when they had business to transact, accounts to keep, and correspondents to answer. The remark of Apaumet, previously quoted, was no longer applicable, when the value and utility of knowledge was practically demonstrated.

Their condition may be assimilated to that of a valetudinarian on the banks of a

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river, who, by the advice of a physician, is suddenly seized, and to his affright and conternation, plunged under the water; but who subsequently perceives, by the benefits derived therefrom, that the warmth and vitality thus generated are salutary and healthful. In like manner, the tribes who distrusted the remedy proposed to prevent their extinction in the States, have found that the attendant results agreeably disappointed their expectations. They have been compelled to improve. Jefferson, Monroe, Adams, Jackson, and their respective successors, had correctly foreseen that they must soon be surrounded and annihilated in the States, and wisely provided a remedy, which, though it seemed to them violative of their ideas of happiness, raised them to the dignity of men, and conferred on them the privileges of citizens and nations.

The detail of facts, however, will more clearly prove the truth of these assertions. In the autumn of 1838, the Rev. Mr. Fleming visited the office of the agent and superintendent of Indian affairs in Michigan. His attention having been directed to the removal policy of the Government, the character of the country, and the condition of the tribes, he stated, in a familiar and unpretending manner, the following facts: He had been one of the missionaries expelled from Georgia, after having labored there four years, under the direction of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. He had acquired a sufficient knowledge of the Creek language to be able to preach in it, by first writing out his discourse. The order from the political authorities to quit that station had been abruptly given. He had since visited the Indian territories in the West, assigned to the expatriated tribes; and had been in the region of the tribes located on the Osage and Neosho rivers. He spoke highly of its fertility, and of the advanced state of the Indians who had emigrated; and described the belt of country lying immediately west of the Missouri State line, as decidedly the most fertile spot in that region. In reply to what has been alleged regarding its bleakness, he stated, that there was considerable wood of excellent quality on the streams; and on the hills, hickory, hackberry, cottonwood, cypress, and blackjack, which make excellent fire-wood. He bore testimony to the general excellence of the territory.

He stated that the first party of Creeks who removed from Georgia, immediately after the M'Intosh treaty, were the most degraded in the nation; but that recently, on the arrival of a large body of Creeks in the West, they found their brethren, who had preceded them several years, in the possession of every comfort, and decidedly more advanced than themselves. The Maumee Ottowas, so besotted when leaving Ohio, had already improved, had become planters, given up drink, and were listening to teachers of the gospel. The Shawnees were in a state of enviable advancement; they were thrifty farmers; possessed good habitations, well-fenced fields, and large stocks of horses, cattle, and domestic animals; and had public roads, ferries, schools, and meeting-houses. They dressed in the English style, most of them speaking English, and their horsemen were provided with superior saddles, and bridles. To the observer, the settlers present every appearance of thrift and contentment. The industrial and other statistics are furnished under the appropriate head.

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In contrast to this exhibit may be placed the condition of the tribes east of the Mississippi, prior to their removal, which had been, from the earliest dates, adverse to every improvement. In 1607 and 1620 they were residing on their ancient locations, which they occupied long after the settlement of the European colonies. But they made no permanent advance; they appeared to be doomed to sink lower and still lower in the industrial scale. Each succeeding century but added its adverse testimony to that of the preceding. Not being able to withstand the shock of civilization, many of the tribes became extinct. South of the Chesapeake the Indian tribes were exterminated by their vices within one century. North of this geographical point there were still in existence at the time of removal, some of the leading and most vigorous branches of the great Algonquin and Iroquois stocks. Some of these yet occupied portions of the very territories upon which they had been first found. They had, to some extent, resisted the flood of sensual destructive agents, which had swept off so many of their brethren. Others had, at an early day, commenced their migration to the West, always, however, fleeing further into the wilderness, just in advance of the enlarging circle of civilization. As the settlements advanced, their policy was to make new cessions, and further removes, adapting themselves to the pressure, until the land they held finally passed from their possession.

At the time when their systematic removal was commenced by the Government, there still remained, within the States east of the line of the Mississippi and Missouri, 110,349 souls. 686 At the close of the year 1836, 45,690 of this number, comprising portions of nineteen tribes, had been transferred to the West. 687 At this time, there had been established for these tribes, in their new locations, 51 schools, at which 2221 pupils were instructed. In addition to this, 156 pupils, of an advanced grade, were instructed at the Choctaw Academy, in Kentucky, and four of the graduates were studying the legal profession in New York, Vermont, and elsewhere. 688

In 1855, the four southern, or Appalachian tribes, namely, the Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Creeks, including the Seminoles, had an aggregate population of 62,176. 689 The twenty small tribes and tribal bands, located in the Territory of Kansas, numbered 13,481, 690 making a total aggregate population of 75,657. These tribes, protected on the west by a line of military posts, stretching from the Red River to the Nebraska, in a genial climate, on a fertile soil, and possessing agricultural habits, could not, it would seem, in all America, have been located in a territory more favorable to their advance in every element of civilization.

To determine the degree in which the several tribes, removed from the area of the old States, have availed themselves of these advantages, it will be necessary to refer to official records, and to details drawn from official reports and documents, for statements of their actual condition.

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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html
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