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their moral feelings debased, this was the result of the circumstances under which they were placed. I cannot persuade myself, that they were doomed to a transitory existence, corresponding with that of the flocks of deer and buffalo on which they fed. Their natural affections, though exclusive and improperly directed, were not extinguished, and were still displayed within their own tribes, and often towards strangers. They have exhibited repeated proofs of intellectual powers apparently very superior to those of the African, and not very inferior to those of the European race.* If a correct view has been taken of the great obstacle to be surmounted, that of converting a purely bunting into an agricultural nation, it must be acknowledged to be one of the most difficult undertakings within the
of man. We read in the legends of those nations which had preserved a recollection of a previous barbarous state, that they were taught agriculture by a Triptolemus, or a Manco Capac. It is much to be apprehended, that necessity and compulsion were the deities that made men submit to the fatigue of agricultural labor. The annals of every nation, of which we have any ancient and authentic records, exhibit to us a state of society, of which slavery constituted a component and important part. Such was the case with the Romans, with the Greeks, and with the eastern nations, without excepting the Jews. It seems as is, after man had departed from the first ordinances given to him, conquest and slavery had become necessary ingredients in order to bring him within the pale of civilization. It may be, that it was on that account that slavery, or, upon the most favorable construction, a servitude of fifty years, was expressly allowed by the laws of Moses, and that it is not expressly forbidden by the Gospel. The great and fundamental moral principles of Christianity were left to produce their effect on man, according to his conscience and knowledge, by a religion, intended for all times and for all men without regard to
* Father Le Jeune, answering in one of his letters the objections made to the prospect of converting and civilizing the Indians, says, that it was admitted on all hands, that they were superior in intellect to the French peasantry of that time. It is curious enough to see him at the same time advising that laborers should be sent from France in order to work for the Indians. The same sentiment is expressed in a letter written in the Indian language by an Algonkin, who had visited France.
their political or social state, and which disclaims any interference or alliance with the powers that may regulate the machinery of human affairs.
Had the Five Nations, or any other conquering Indian tribe, instead of murdering or adopting prisoners of war, reduced them to a state of slavery and made them their helots, they might have attained a Spartan civilization. That of Peru and Mexico was avowedly the result of conquests, and, in both cases, had for its foundation the abject servitude or submission of the many, the military power of the conquerors, and the yoke imposed by a false religion.
The only well ascertained instance, amongst our own Indians, of their having, at least in part, become an agricultural nation, meaning thereby that state of society, in which the men themselves do actually perform agricultural labor, is that of the Cherokees. And it is in proof, that, in this case also, cultivation was at first introduced through the means of slavery. In their predatory incursions they carried away slaves from Carolina. "These were used to work, and continued to be thus employed by their new masters. The advantages derived by the owners were immediately perceived. Either in war, or in commercial intercourse, slaves of the African race became objects of desire ; and gradually, assisted by the efforts of the government and the beneficial influence of the missionaries, some arnongst those Indians, who could not obtain slaves, were induced to work for themselves. Accounts vary as to the extent of that true civilization. It is believed that it embraces nearly one third of the male population ; and the following statement of an actual census of that part of the nation which remained on this side of the Mississippi, taken in the year 1825, corroborates this opinion.
Free males 6883; do, females 6900; total 13,783 Slaves, male. 610; do. female . 667; total 1,277
15,060 White men married to Cherokee women 147 Cherokee men married to white women
68 33 grist mills; 13 saw mills ; 1 powder mill. 69 blacksmith shops; 2 tan yards. 762 looms; 2486 spinning wheels. 172 wagons; 2923 ploughs. 7683 horses; 22,531 black cattle ; 46,732 swine; 2566 sheep.
The number of ploughs, compared with that of male slaves, shows clearly that no inconsiderable number of male Indians must have been employed in agriculture.
The purchase of slaves to be given to the Indians in order to enable them to live without labor, or the use of compulsory means to oblige them to work themselves, are inadmissible. Example and persuasion can alone be resorted to. And, although these bave so often failed, the instance of the Cherokees shows that the case is not hopeless. It is hoped that government, in carrying into effect its laudable intention of providing a permanent place of refuge for the Indians, will give to its operations the direction best calculated to produce that favorable result. But I think that it is principally on the efforts of the missionaries, that we must rely for effecting the object.
The Indians do not and cannot love us; and, seeing the little regard paid to engagements, which they at least had considered as binding on both parties, they look on all the acts of government with a jealous eye. Those ministers of the Gospel who with equal zeal, disinterestedness, and singleness of purpose, have devoted themselves to the service of the Indians, have deserved and alone have acquired their confidence. They may succeed in converting to Christianity the present generation; but this alone will not prevent the speedy annihilation of the Indian race, which is inevitable, unless, forsaking their habits, the Indians shall become an industrious people. There can be no hesitation in asserting, that the labor necessary to support a man's family is, on the part of the man, a moral duty; and that to impose on woman that portion, which can be properly performed only by man, is a deviation from the laws of nature. I leave it to those, who have undertaken the task of instructing mankind in their religious duties, to decide, how far the obligation to labor may be enforced by the religious sanction. For all temporal purposes, a day of rest in the week is unnecessary for those who are idle the greater part of their time. And it is believed, that no nation, or individual, can transgress with impunity that first decree which, allotting to each sex its proper share, declared labor to be the condition, on which man was permitted to exist.
Let not the Indians entertain the illusory hope, that they can persist in their habits, and remain in perpetuity quiet posses
the extensive territory west of the Mississippi, lately given to them in exchange for their ancient seats. The same causes will ultimately produce the same effects. A nation of hunters cannot exist, as such, when brought in contact with an agricultural and industrious people. They must be deeply impressed with the conviction that their ultimate fate depends exclusively on themselves.
The obstacles to be surmounted, before deep-rooted habits can be eradicated and a total change be effected, are undoubtedly great, and should be fully understood. If the missions to the Eskimaux have been so much more successful, than those amongst the more southern Indians, it has been principally, because a profitable cultivation of the soil was impracticable in that frozen region, and that, as the inhabitants must continue to draw their subsistence from the sea or the chase, it was only requisite to regulate and not necessary to change their habits.
The attempt may be hopeless with respect to men beyond a certain age; and the effort should be directed towards the children. For that purpose, it is sufficient, that the parent should be thoroughly convinced of the absolute necessity for a change, without requiring him to do himself what perhaps has become impracticable. If that point could be accomplished, and the Indians would permit their children to be brought up by us, the success of the experiment would depend on those appointed to superintend its execution. Moral and religious education will not be neglected. In the present state of those people, no greater demand need be made on their intellectual faculties, than to teach them the English language; but this so thoroughly, that they may forget their own. That, without which all the rest would be useless, is the early habit of manual labor. They must be brought up to work, to till the ground, in short, in the same manner as our own people, as the sons of our industrious farmers. They have land of their own, and will not, when reaching manhood, be obliged to work for others.
work for others. They have an abundant quantity of land, and may, if they please, be perpetuated and multiply as ourselves. There is no reason why, if they become an agricultural people, the sixty thousand southern Indians should not, within less than a century, increase to one million.
The vocabularies appended to this essay will enable the reader to judge, whether the preceding classification of the Indian languages is correct. Those of the Mohawk, Seneca, Cherokee, Muskhogee, Choctaw, and Caddo, were prepared according to a model circulated by the War Department at the request of the author of this essay. But, in framing a general comparative vocabulary, the selection of the words was controlled by the existing materials; and many have been omitted, because they were found only in a few of the vocabularies, either manuscript, or already published, which could be obtained. It happens, however, that the greater number of words of which we have the equivalents in most Indian languages, belong to that class, which has generally been considered as so absolutely necessary in any state of society, that the words of which it consists must have been in use everywhere in its earliest stages, and could not have been borrowed by any nation from any other. Whenever therefore a sufficient number of words of that description have been found to be the same or similar in two or more languages, such languages have generally been considered as of the same stock, and the nations which spoke them, as having belonged to the same family, subsequent to the time when mankind was divided into distinct nations. The same principle has been adopted in the classification of the Indians; and its correctness has been proved in every instance, where it had been previously ascertained, by the unanimous testimony of the missionaries, traders, and interpreters, that two or more languages were certainly dialects of the same, or kindred tongues. But such is the tendency of languages, amongst nations in the hunter state, rapidly to diverge from each other, that, apart from those primitive words, a much greater diversity is found in Indian languages, well known to have sprung from a common source, than in kindred European tongues. Thus, although the Minsi were only a tribe of the Delawares and adjacent to them, even some of their numerals differed. It is proper bowever to observe, that commerce may have communicated to barbarous tribes in the other hemisphere, the numerals used by more