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and to form a number of small independent communities. It may easily be perceived that the perpetual state of warfare, in which neighbouring tribes are engaged, had its origin in the same cause which has produced the great diversity of American languages or dialects. We may also understand, how the affections of the Indian became so exclusively concentrated in his own tribe, the intensity of that natural feeling, how it degenerated into deadly hatred of hostile nations, and the excesses of more than savage ferocity in which he indulged under the influence of his unrestrained vindictive passions.
It is worthy of remark that the population of those hunting nations does not appear to have ever reached the maximum of which it was susceptible. We have the proof of this, in the undiminished numbers of the buffalo in the prairies, and even of the deer in the north, and in the facility, with which the numerous servants of the European and American trading companies derive their means of subsistence in those districts from the natural resources of the country, from the chase or from the product of the lakes. The only species of animals, which have decreased, are those which supply furs and skins, for which commerce has created an extraordinary demand. The intestine wars of the Indians may have checked the increase of population ; but this is not the only cause, and we may find another in their inveterate indolence, united, as it is, with that habitual improvidence, occasionally attended with the greatest privations and even with famine.
War and the chase are the only pursuits which the men do not think beneath their dignity. This is the uniform characteristic of all our Indian nations. When not thus engaged, they sink into a state of mental apathy and physical indolence, from which strong stimulants alone can rouse them ; and to this cause may be traced their excessive passion for gambling and for ardent spirits. Women are everywhere slaves and beasts of burden. Independent of that portion which naturally falls to their share, the cares of maternity and of the household, every other species of labor falls upon them. And this alone has prevented the beneficial effects which would otherwise have Aowed from the introduction of agriculture.
It has already been seen, that cultivation is exclusively confined to that portion of the country, clothed with forests, which, between the Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico, extends from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, and hardly beyond it. This terri
tory, and Chili, in South America, might, in some respects, be considered as centres of an incipient civilization. But the Araucanians appear to have ceased to be hunters, and to have derived their subsistence exclusively from agriculture. Their long and successful resistance against the Spanish invaders proves them to have been a numerous and united people; they were not, like the Peruvians and Mexicans, under the yoke of a civil or religious despotism; and, although they had not made the same progress in arts or knowledge, they may perhaps be considered as the most favorable specimen of the American race. The social state of the semi-agricultural nations of North America presents a very different picture.
Cultivation amongst them appears to have been confined to the maize, some species of beans (phaseolus), and pumpkins (cucurbita), and in some quarters the sweet potato (convolvulus), the watermelon, and tobacco; all which plants were also cultivated in Peru.* Maize, which constituted the most important article, is decidedly of southern origin ; but whether the cultivation first took place on the continent, or in the West India islands, cannot be ascertained. It would seem more probable that it originated in the favored elevated plains of the Torrid Zone, and that, in its gradual progress, it was introduced from the neighbouring islands of the Gulf of Mexico, into the country which lies along its northern shores. Its extension northwardly would be a natural process, and may have been favored by the greater difficulty of obtaining food where there is no fish, and the game, consisting principally of deer, is comparatively less abundant, and obtained with greater labor, than in the prairies. But the introduction of agriculture produced little alteration in the habits or manners of the men. They continued to be still hunters, and being too indolent to attend to the daily and tame labors of agriculture, these were again thrown upon the women.
Apart from the pernicious influence of that state of society on the moral feeling and conduct of both sexes, we will here observe, that, although agriculture did to a certain extent increase the population, yet, left to women alone, its effect was very limited. In order that the cultivation of the soil may pro
* Some species of corn, chestnuts and other nuts, as also some roots, were natural products, which made some addition to their nutritious vegetable food.
mote that increase of mankind, which is limited only by the quantity of land fit for cultivation, it is necessary that the annual agricultural labor should produce a quantity of food, at least equal to the annual consumption of the whole existing population. The labor of women alone is not sufficient to produce that result. A portion of their time is necessarily employed in the other domestic occupations which must always fall to their share; and the residue is unequal to the task of raising food adequate to the whole consumption of the nation. The proportion may vary, according to soil, climate, and the greater or less degree of assistance, which, amongst some tribes, they occasionally receive from the men. But it fell short everywhere of that which was required; and the result was, that, after producing an increase of population proportionate to the additional supply, that increase was again ultimately limited by the quantity of game which the territory afforded.
Supposing, for instance, that a territory containing ten thousand square miles supplied game enough to sustain a population of five thousand souls, and that the labor of women afforded a supply equal to three fourths of the subsistence of the whole population, a most favorable supposition, its total amount could never have exceeded twenty thousand, or four times the number which could be supported by the game alone. For, if we suppose the number to have been for a time raised to twentyfour thousand, since the agricultural labor of the women could only support eighteen thousand or three fourths of the whole, and the game still five thousand, one thousand must have been left without food.
The first European settlers were not, like Cortez, Pizarro, and his worthy comrade De Soto, reckless invaders, who, actuated by the thirst of gold, laid waste the country with fire and sword, and claimed as of right the sovereignty of the land and the servitude of the natives. The Puritans of New England, William Penn, Oglethorpe, and Lady Huntingdon were all conscientious people; and, though Locke's plan of government was a failure, those who on that occasion consulted that great benefactor of mankind, the most powerful advocate of civil and religious liberty, must have been men of liberal minds. Yet it does not appear, that, in forming their plans, any of them was at all arrested by considerations arising from the rights of the natives to the soil. The emigrants all arrived, without any previous steps having been taken in reference to the Indians. VOL. II.
It seems to have been a general opinion, that they had certainly much more land than they wanted; that there would be no difficulty in obtaining a sufficient quantity from them, since there was enough for both parties; that their situation would be greatly improved by the blessings of Christianity and a participation in the arts and superior knowledge of the Europeans; and that both races would subsist and flourish together. Those expectations were fulfilled in every respect but that in which the Indians were most immediately concerned. The fact was, that the Indians, so long as they preserved their habits, had but little if any more land than they actually wanted. And, to this day, they have almost universally proved refractory to every attempt 'made to induce them to change these habits. The Indian disappears before the white man, simply because he will not work. The struggle was between inveterate indolence and the most active and energetic industry; and the result could not be doubtful. The Indian at first thoughtlessly sold his land for a
he then vainly sought in order to recover or to preserve it; he finally was compelled to seek a retreat farther to the west : and the few who remained behind, though protected by government, and with reserved lands sufficient, as we might think, for their sustenance, still persevering in their indolent habits, sank into a most degenerate race, and have almost altogether disappeared.
The four millions of industrious inhabitants, who, within less than forty years, have peopled our western States, and derive more than ample means of subsistence from the soil, offer the most striking contrast, when compared with perhaps one hundred thousand Indians whose place they occupy. Not only was the hunter unable to procure food for an increased population, but he had generally to provide daily for the wants of the day, and never could accumulate the product of his labor in the shape of capital. An agricultural people, even though as little advanced in that respect as our western settlers are at first, have always, from the moment they have prepared a field sufficient for the food of the family, a capital either in their barns or growing, equal to the product of one year's labor. Within two years, more corn is produced than is wanted for their own support. The surplus affords means of subsistence to new emigrants; it is either sold to those who have some prop erty; or advanced in the shape of wages to those who bring pothing with them but their labor.
This siinple process,
renewed every year in a fast increasing ratio, and carried on with unexampled activity and energy, has produced those results unparalleled in the known history of nations. There was nothing to prevent the Indian from reaching the same state of agriculture and population, but his own indolence.
It may be admitted that the intercourse with the whites has enlarged the sphere of ideas of the Indians and of late softened their manners.* Without examining whether, even with those who have preserved their lands, those advantages have not been more than counterbalanced by the introduction of new vices and new evils, it may be asserted, that the general tendency of that intercourse has rather been to perpetuate than to change their habits. The furs and skins of wild animals were the only articles they could offer in exchange of European commodities; and commerce, which by increasing their wants might be considered as beneficial to them, has thus stimulated them to apply still more exclusively their time and faculties to the chase. Even the benevolent intentions of the government of the United States have not always taken the most proper direction. The larger compensation allowed for their lands, and the annuities bestowed upon them, have promoted the habit of being supported otherwise than by labor. " It is not by treating them as paupers, that a favorable change can be expected.
So long as the Indians were formidable, their mode of warfare and their excessive cruelty and ferocity made them objects of execration. The feeling has been universal, and is exhibited in as strong colors in the contemporaneous accounts 'of New England, as it may have since appeared on our western frontiers. That state of things is at an end ; the natives have ceased to be an object of terror, and they are entirely at our mercy. We may indeed say, that, if a scrupulous regard had always been paid to the rights of the Indians, this nation would not have sprung into existence. The fact is not less true, that it has been created at their expense ; and the duty is imposed upon us to exhaust every practicable means to prevent the annihilation of those who remain, and to promote their happiness. Though their intellectual faculties were palsied and
* The cessation of internal wars amongst the Indians has been successfully promoted by the government of the United States. There may have been, but I have not heard of any instance of a prisoner being tortured, burnt by a slow fire, &c.,during the last forty years.