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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
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Chapter I. — Impressions of the Race, After the Lapse of a Century from the First Landing in Virginia.


England attained at once the acme of both her political and literary fame, during the reign of Queen Anne; while her American colonies, within the gloomy shadows of a distant and savage wilderness, were defending themselves from the horrors of impending starvation on the one hand, and aboriginal treachery on the other.

European intercourse with the Indians 223 had, during a period of one hundred years, produced no appreciable good effects on their general manners, opinions, and modes of life. The tribes located nearest the settlements dressed in blankets and strouds, instead of skins; used metallic cooking-vessels, instead of the clumsy clay akeek, 224 implements of iron and steel, instead of stone and bone; and the European fire-lock, instead of the flint arrow. The fur trade was, in their imagination, the great benefit which had resulted from the influx of civilized races. They hunted deer and beaver with increased vigor, indulging in luxuries of which their fathers had never even thought, and more particularly in the use of intoxicating liquors. They did not, however, in reality appreciate anything else which came from Europe. They still detested and discouraged the introduction of schools, letters, labor and the gospel, preferring to live, as their forefathers had previously done, by the chase, and not by

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agriculture. Game was still plenty; their hunting-grounds being so vast, that they appeared as if of almost illimitable extent; and the tribes from Maine to Georgia, and from the Gulf of Mexico to the borders of the great lakes, feasted, danced and sung, rioted and warred with each other, precisely as their ancestors had done a century previous. When more sombre views of their existing condition were forced upon them, when the plow of the white man encroached so rapidly on their wigwams and hunting-grounds that difficulties resulted, they plotted against the settlers, making sudden attacks upon them, or enticing them into ambuscades. These fitful efforts were succeeded by a relapse into their primitive state of idleness and inaction, without having derived, from their spasmodic effort, any permanent advantage to themselves, or having inflicted any permanent injury upon the settlements.

During the establishment of the colonies, the impressions created by this feverish and changeful policy of the natives, were unfavorable to their sincerity of character. Wherever attempts had been made to introduce education and the gospel, and to graft it, as it were, on the original stock, they had submitted to it, as if in expectation of deriving therefrom ulterior advantages, with such mildness of manner, accompanied by such deep duplicity, as to deceive the guileless settlers; but, in the end, their real nature developed itself in the commission of cruel and treacherous acts. Such were the results of colonial experience in Virginia, between the period of the earliest successful establishment of the settlement at Jamestown, and the perpetration, in 1622, of that terrible massacre, under Opechan, or Opechanganough, when over 400 persons were killed in one day; among whom, the first victims were those who, with the aid afforded them by the benevolent in England, had labored most zealously and efficiently to teach the Indians, and to found a seminary of education for the tuition of the youth. Almost equally horrific was the plot concocted and successfully executed, in Massachusetts, in 1675, by Pometacom, after more than thirty years had been spent by Eliot, and his missionary compeers, in zealous and effective teaching of the tribes. These repulsive traits in the Indian character, did much towards repelling, and, for a time, may be said to have extinguished that benevolent and humane spirit with which they had been previously regarded. In Virginia, as in the entire South, these acts may be said to have originated a thorough detestation of the whole Indian race. Indeed, the details of these early deeds of sanguinary treachery, having been widely spread, throughout America and Europe, by means of newspapers and magazines, exercised an adverse influence, which is felt, even at the present day. It has been frequently asked, Who shall benefit such a people, and what good can arise therefrom? Unaided human reason tacitly acknowledges its inability to solve the problem; the gospel alone furnishes a motive for the efforts of the philanthropist.

Thus far, twelve of the original thirteen colonies had been established; Georgia, the thirteenth, being delayed for some time longer. Events, which followed each other in rapid succession, furnished us with a knowledge of Indian character, besides becoming

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the main inducement for the establishment of our intercourse with, and the development of our policy towards, the entire group of tribes, located in the east, west, north, and south. The beginning of the eighteenth century was marked by three events in the history of the colonies, which exercised an important influence on the Indian policy. 1. Penn, who had entered the Delaware in 1682, selected a site for the capital of his colony, in the heart of the Lenno Lenapi territories, and, in 1701, laid out the city of Philadelphia. 2. Frontenac, the Governor-General of New France, to the chagrin of the Iroquois, 225 directed a post to be established in the country of the Wyandots and their allies, in the vicinity of the lakes. M. de la Motte Cadillac, who was entrusted with this duty, arrived, with a military force, at the straits between lakes Erie and Huron, in July of the same year, and founded Detroit, that central point of Indian influence, whose baleful effects were felt upon the western frontiers, during that long and bloody period of sixty years, marked by captivities and murders, previous to the fall of Quebec. 3. The founding of Louisiana. The first settlement was made, in 1699, at Bolixi, in the country of the Choctaws; but the province was not ceded to Crozat until 1712; nor was New Orleans founded until 1719. It was the policy of the French to establish trading and missionary posts first, and, subsequently, cities.
Michilimackinac, the earliest point of fixed occupancy in Michigan, was the central position of the western Algonquins in 1662; as was also Kaskaskia, in the same generic group of families, at least from the first visits of the priests of La Salle, in 1683. Vincennes, in Indiana, the Au Post of early writers, was first occupied in 1610. 226 The primary impulses were thus given to that Franco-Indian power, which, like a gigantic serpent, coiled its folds around, and, for a period, threatened to crush the British colonies.

Meantime, the Indians, true to their instincts, did not abandon their system of massacre. The opening of the century was characterized by the South Carolina war with the Creeks or Appalachians; the daring and successful expedition of Colonel Moore against them, within the Spanish territories, in 1704; the wide-spread and startling massacre of the Tuscaroras, in North Carolina, in 1712; and the Yamasee massacre, in 1715.

The Tamasees were a portion of some twenty-eight small tribes, of the group of Chicoras, who occupied the coasts and islands, as well as the banks of the rivers, of South Carolina, and of whom the Catawbas appear to be the only remaining, but rapidly diminishing tribe. It was the Yamasees, reputed for their gentle manners, but bitterly revengeful disposition, who had encountered the early Spanish visitors to this coast with such intrepidity, retorting treachery by treachery. The Tuscaroras belonged to the Iroquois group; a fact that would clearly appear from philology, were it not also affirmed by their traditions, 227 and by the fact that, after their final defeat at Kienuka,

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they fled to their kindred, the Five Nations, of western New York, and were admitted as the sixth canton. 228

Up to this period, there had been no attempt made at colonization in the country occupied by the confederacy of the Creeks, or Muscogulges. 229 This people, agreeably to their traditions, having immigrated from the west, crossed the Mississippi, the Alabama, the Chattahootche, and the Appalachicola, extending themselves towards the east, north, west, and south. At the earliest period of their settlement, and kindling of a council fire, or establishment of a government, they were located on the river Altamaha. There is no doubt that they conquered, and either killed, incorporated with themselves, or ejected, the prior aboriginal inhabitants. Hawkins informs us, that they conquered and carried the Uchees, as prisoners, from the southern part of South Carolina. Ogelthorpe, who originated the plan of the Georgia colony, about the year 1730, established it in the Creek territory, lying between the Savannah and Altamaha. Like those of the Puritans, the Marylanders, and the followers of Penn, the Georgia colony was designed for, and became, a refuge for oppressed or needy Europeans. The plan followed was, as had been the case in all previous instances of colonization, to bestow lands upon, and afford employment to, the colonists, to enable them to improve their condition, and, also, to sustain their high anticipations; always, however, paying a due regard to the rights and condition of the aborigines. The sovereignty and the fee simple of the territory was held to be vested in the crown; but the right to their usufruct, until settled by presents, or by actual purchase, was absolutely held by the Indians. The question was reserved as one for settlement by the administration, through the usual medium of treaty, as all the colonies had previously done. All had promised them justice, kindness, fair dealing; and all had urged upon them the benefits to be derived from the promotion of agriculture, arts, letters, temperance, and every other adjunct of civilization. Ogelthorpe offered the Indians similar terms to those tendered them by the Pilgrims of New England; by the Duke of York in New York and New Jersey; by Lord Baltimore in Maryland; and by Penn in Pennsylvania. The rewards arising from a life of labor and virtue, and the evils attendant upon error, were, in their estimation, in the hands of the Indians themselves. If the natives preferred idleness, inebriation, and vice; if, through neglect, they became the victims of disease, death, and depopulation, it must be considered part of that great physical and moral law, which entails the punishment as a sequel to the offence. Good men could but regret it. If an Indian would hunt deer, instead of guiding the plow; if he preferred alcohol to water as a beverage; and to idle away his time, instead of improving it, the political economist regretted, without having the power to deter him from pursuing his erroneous course. The moral and industrial law proclaimed to the Indians their mistaken policy, announcing to them, in accents of momentous potency,

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the ordinary maxims which govern society, "Labor and thrive; be idle and dissolute, and die." "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread." 230 The frequent errors and delinquencies of the Indians did not, however, dry up the springs of human charity and benevolence. Every decade had its philanthropists; and their beneficent deeds shine brightly, even at the present day.

Each new colony established in America gave to the Indian the same lesson which had been taught him by its predecessors. At the outset, civilization had apprized him of its requirements, and, though the Indian learned its lessons slowly, yet it was hoped that he did learn, and that he made some progress in the right direction. Hope induced perseverance, furnished an apology for ignorance, and forgave repeated injury. The baptism of Manteo, which was performed in Virginia, in 1586, may be regarded as indicating the outpouring of light at Cresswicks, in 1744. Such was the state of the Indians when the Anglo-Saxons first found them, and located on their borders.

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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
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