« ПретходнаНастави »
All was ended now, the hope, and the fear, and the sorrow, All the aching of heart, the restless, unsatisfied longing, All the dull, deep pain, and constant anguish of patience! And, as she pressed once more the lifeless head to her bosom, Meekly she bowed her own, and murmured, “Father, I thank Thee ! ”
Still stands the forest primeval; but under the shade of its
branches Dwells another race, with other customs and language. Only along the shore of the mournful and misty Atlantic Linger a few Acadian peasants, whose fathers froin exile Wandered back to their native land to die in its bosom. In the fisherman's cot the wheel and the loom are still busy; Maidens still wear their Norman caps and their kirtles of homespun, And by the evening fire repeat Evangeline's story, While from its rocky caverns the deep-voiced, neighboring ocean Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.
THE INDIANS AND THE WHITES.1
BY THEODORE ROOSEVELT.
(From "The Winning of the West.")
[THEODORE ROOSEVELT was born in New York in 1858, son of a wealthy banker; graduated at Harvard ; was in the New York legislature for two terms ; delegate to the Republican National Convention of 1884; then started a ranch in Montana. · He became a national civil service commissioner in 1888, and was for some time on the New York Board of Police Commissioners. Republican nominee for Vice-President, June, 1900. He has written: “ The Naval War of 1812" (1882);“ Hunting Trips of a Ranchman” (1885); “Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail” (1888); “Life of Benton ” (1887) and “Life of Gouverneur Morris" (1888), in the “ American Statesmen series ; Essays on Practical Politics" (1888); “ The Wilderness Hunter" (1890); “New York” (1891), in “Historic Towns” series; “ The Winning of the West” (4 vols., 1889–1896); “ American Ideals and Other Essays" (1897). ]
Not only were the Indians very terrible in battle, but they were cruel beyond all belief in victory ; and the gloomy annals of border warfare are stained with their darkest hues because it was a war in which helpless women and children suffered the same hideous fate that so often befell their husbands and fathers. It was a war waged by savages against armed settlers whose families followed them into the wilderness. Such a war is inevitably bloody and cruel ; but the inhuman love of cruelty for cruelty's sake, which marks the red Indian above all other savages, rendered these wars more terrible than
1 Copyright, 1889, by G. P. Putnam's Sons.
any others. For the hideous, unnamable, unthinkable tortures practiced by the red men on their captured foes, and on their foes' tender women and helpless children, were such as we read of in no other struggle, hardly even in the revolting pages that tell the deeds of the Holy Inquisition. It was inevitable - indeed, it was in many instances proper — that such deeds should awake in the breasts of the whites the grimmest, wildest spirit of revenge and hatred.
The history of the border wars, both in the ways they were begun and in the ways they were waged, makes a long tale of injuries inflicted, suffered, and mercilessly revenged. It could not be otherwise when brutal, reckless, lawless borderers, despising all men not of their own color, were thrown in contact with savages who esteemed cruelty and treachery as the highest of virtues, and rapine and murder as the worthiest of pursuits. Moreover, it was sadly inevitable that the law-abiding borderer as well as the white ruffian, the peaceful Indian as well as the painted marauder, should be plunged into the struggle to suffer the punishment that should only have fallen on their evilminded fellows.
Looking back, it is easy to say that much of the wrongdoing could have been prevented; but if we examine the facts to find out the truth, not to establish a theory, we are bound to admit that the struggle was really one that could not possibly have been avoided. The sentimental historians speak as if the blame had been all ours, and the wrong all done to our foes, and as if it would have been possible by any exercise of wisdom to reconcile claims that were in their very essence conflicting; but their utterances are as shallow as they are untruthful. Unless we were willing that the whole continent west of the Alleghanies should remain an unpeopled waste, the hunting ground of savages, war was inevitable; and even had we been willing, and had we refrained from encroaching on the Indians' lands, the
1 Any one who has ever been in an encampment of wild Indians and has had the misfortune to witness the delight the children take in torturing little animals will admit that the Indian's love of cruelty for cruelty's sake cannot possibly be exaggerated. The young are so trained that when old they shall find their keenest pleasure in inflicting pain in its most appalling form. Among the most brutal white borderers a man would be instantly lynched if he practiced on any creature the fiendish torture which in an Indian camp either attracts no notice at all or else excites merely laughter.
war would have come nevertheless, for then the Indians themselves would have encroached on ours. Undoubtedly we have wronged many tribes; but equally undoubtedly our first definite knowledge of many others has been derived from their unprovoked outrages upon our people. The Chippewas, Ottawas, and Pottawotomies furnished hundreds of young warriors to the parties that devastated our frontiers generations before we in any way encroached upon or wronged them.
Mere outrages could be atoned for or settled; the question which lay at the root of our difficulties was that of the occupation of the land itself, and to this there could be no solution
The Indians had no ownership of the land in the way in which we understand the term. The tribes lived far apart; each had for its hunting grounds all the territory from which it was not barred by rivals. Each looked with jealousy upon all interlopers, but each was prompt to act as an interloper when occasion offered. Every good hunting ground was claimed by many nations. It was rare, indeed, that any tribe had an uncontested title to a large tract of land; where such title existed, it rested, not on actual occupancy and cultivation, but on the recent butchery of weaker rivals. For instance, there were a lozen tribes, all of whom hunted in Kentucky, and fought each other there; all of whom had equally good titles to the soil, and not one of whom acknowledged the right of any other; as a matter of fact, they had therein no right, save the right of the strongest. The land no more belonged to them than it belonged to Boone and the white hunters who first visited it.
On the borders there are perpetual complaints of the encroachments of whites upon Indian lands; and naturally the central government at Washington, and before it was at Washington, has usually been inclined to sympathize with the feeling that considers the whites the aggressors, for the government does not wish a war, does not itself feel any land hunger, hears of not a tenth of the Indian outrages, and knows by experience that the white borderers are not easy to rule. As a consequence, the official reports of the people who are not on the ground are apt to paint the Indian side in its most favorable light, and are often completely untrustworthy, this being particularly the case if the author of the report is an Eastern man, utterly unacquainted with the actual condition of affairs on the frontier
Such a man, though both honest and intelligent, when he hears that the whites have settled on Indian lands, cannot realize that the act has no resemblance whatever to the forcible occupation of land already cultivated. The white settler has merely moved into an uninhabited waste; he does not feel that he is committing a wrong, for he knows perfectly well that the land is really owned by no one. It is never even visited, except perhaps for a week or two every year, and then the visitors are likely at any moment to be driven off by a rival hunting party of greater strength. The settler ousts no one from the land; if he did not chop down the trees, hew out the logs for a building, and clear the ground for tillage, no one else would do
He drives out the game, however, and of course the Indians who live thereon sink their mutual animosities and turn against the intruder. The truth is, the Indians never had any real title to the soil; they had not half as good a claim to it, for instance, as the cattle men now have to all eastern Montana, yet no one would assert that the cattle men have a right to keep immigrants off their vast unfenced ranges. The settler and pioneer have at bottom had justice on their side; this great continent could not have been kept as nothing but a game preserve for squalid savages. Moreover, to the most oppressed Indian nations the whites often acted as a protection, or, at least, they deferred instead of hastening their fate. But for the interposition of the whites it is probable that the Iroquois would have exterminated every Algonquin tribe before the end of the eighteenth century; exactly as in recent times the Crows and Pawnees would have been destroyed by the Sioux, had it not been for the wars we have waged against the latter.
Again, the loose governmental system of the Indians made it as difficult to secure a permanent peace with them as it was to negotiate the purchase of the lands. The sachem, or hereditary peace chief, and the elective war chief, who wielded only the influence that he could secure by his personal prowess and his tact, were equally unable to control all of their tribesmen, and were powerless with their confederated nations. If peace was made with the Shawnees, the war was continued by the Miamis; if peace was made with the latter, nevertheless perhaps one small band was dissatisfied, and continued the contest on its own account; and even if all the recognized bands were dealt with, the parties of renegades or outlaws had to be considered; and in the last resort, the full recognition accorded by the Indians to the right of private warfare made it possible for any individual warrior who possessed any influence to go on raiding and murdering unchecked. Every tribe, every subtribe, every band of a dozen souls ruled over by a petty chief, almost every individual warrior of the least importance, had to be met and pacified. Even if peace were declared, the Indians could not exist long without breaking it. There was to them no temptation to trespass on the white man's ground for the purpose of settling; but every young brave was brought up to regard scalps taken and horses stolen, in war or peace, as the highest proofs and tokens of skill and courage, the sure means of attaining glory and honor, the admiration of men and the love of women. Where the young men thought thus, and the chiefs had so little real control, it was inevitable that there should be many unprovoked forays for scalps, slaves, and horses made upon the white borderers. I 1
As for the whites themselves, they too have many and grievous sins against their red neighbors for which to answer. They cannot be severely blamed for trespassing upon what was called the Indian's land; for let sentimentalists say what they will, the man who puts the soil to use must of right dispossess the man who does not, or the world will come to a standstill; but for many of their other deeds there can be no pardon. On the border each man was a law unto himself, and good and bad alike were left in perfect freedom to follow out to the uttermost limits their own desires; for the spirit of individualism so characteristic of American life reached its extreme of development in the backwoods. The whites who wished peace, the magistrates and leaders, had little more power over their evil and unruly fellows than the Indian sachems had over the turbulent young braves. Each man did what seemed best in his own eyes, almost without let or hindrance; unless, indeed, he trespassed upon the rights of his neighbors, who were ready enough to band together in their own defense, though slow to interfere in the affairs of others.
Thus the men of lawless, brutal spirit, who are found in every community, and who flock to places where the reign of order is lax, were able to follow the bent of their inclinations unchecked. They utterly despised the red man; they held it
1 Similarly the Crows, who have always been treated well by us, have murdered and robbed any number of peaceful, unprotected travelers during the past three decades, as I know personally.