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They devour paper, pasteboard, and parchment with frightful rapidity. They destroy archives and libraries. Whole provinces of Spanish America do not contain a document, which has been written more than a hundred years. What development can the civilization of a people hope, where nothing unites the present to the past, where it is necessary many times to renew the deposits of human knowledge. Where the monuments of genius and reason cannot be transmitted to posterity! But in proportion as you ascend upon the table-land of the Andes, these evils disappear. Man there breathes an air more fresh and pure. Insects do not trouble the occupations of the day, nor the slumbers of the night. Documents may be collected into archives without fear of the voracity of the termes. The moustiques are no longer to be feared at a height of 200 toises. The termites, still quite frequent at 300 toises of elevation, become very rare at Mexico, at Santa Fè de Bogota, and at Quito. In these great capitals, situated on the ridge of the Cordilleras, there are already libraries and archives, which the inhabitants display an enlightened zeal in augmenting from day to day. These circumstances, which I do but indicate here, unite with others, which assure to the alpine region a moral preponderance over the lower region of the torrid zone. If we admit, in accordance with the ancient traditions preserved in both hemispheres, that at the period of the catastrophes which have preceded the renewal of our race, man has descended from the mountains to the plains, we may admit, with more assurance still, that these mountains, the cradle of so many different nations, will remain for ever, in the torrid zone, the centre of civilization. It is from their fertile and temperate table-lands, from these islets scattered in the aerial ocean, that the lights and benefits of social institutions will spread over those vast forests, which extend to the foot of the Andes, and which are inhabited, in our days, by tribes, whom the riches of nature herself have maintained in indolence.'
ART. II.-A Report to the Secretary of War of the U. S. on Indian Affairs, comprising a narrative of a Tour performed, in the Summer of 1820, under a Commission from the President of the U. S., for the purpose of ascertaining, for the use of the government, the actual State of the Indian tribes, in our Country: By Rev. Jedidiah Morse, D. D. Newhaven, 1822, 8vo.
THE subject of this work appears to be one of rapidly increasing interest, in this country. The extension of our states
and territories westward is daily giving greater political consequence to questions, relative to the condition of the yet existing nations of aboriginal inhabitants. Philologians, both abroad and at home, have of late years pursued with zeal the comparison of the native dialects of this continent. The well conducted expeditions, which our government has fitted out, and the enterprizing tours of individuals have brought to notice tribes and nations before unknown; and lastly the establishments of the various missionary societies, and the success which has attended the great efforts now making for the civilization of the Indians, have turned the eyes of a great part of the community to their condition and prospects. It was in connexion with some of these societies, that the tour of Dr Morse, of which the narrative is given in this volume, had its origin. Being in the service of the Society in Scotland, for propagating Christian knowledge, and the Northern Missionary Society of the state of New York, Dr Morse was led to make an offer of his services to the government of the United States, which was accepted. In pursuit of his object the Dr undertook a tour to Green bay, in the summer of 1820; and those who recollect--as so many among us may--the idea which prevailed, not a generation since, of the effort required for a visit to Niagara, will be struck with the improvements introduced in the means of conveyance, in this quarter. Morse started from Newhaven for Green bay, on the western side of lake Michigan, May 10th, and returned to that city, Aug 30th of the same summer, not having passed more than two thirds of the time on the road. The next summer Dr Morse also made a visit to York, in upper Canada, for the sake of an interview with Sir Peregrine Maitland, the governor of that province, on the subject of his mission. The volume before us consists of a narrative of these two excursions and a large appendix, containing documents of various kinds and various degrees of interest. As the personal observations of Dr Morse were almost wholly limited to those, which he had an opportunity of making on his hasty visit to Green bay ; the greater part of his materials rest of course on the authority of the gentlemen, who furnish them. A considerable part of these is already before the public, particularly most of the accounts of the missionary establishments among the Cherokees and Choctaws, and the accounts of the Indians in our high
latitudes, by Mr Harmon; from whose journal Dr Morse has made an extract of some length. Indeed the only exception we have to take to this volume, which we have read with great interest-and this is, perhaps, the highest compliment in our power to pay to a closely printed volume of five hundred pages-is, that more choice was not used in selecting the materials, and more care bestowed in arranging them. Had the whole been digested into one body,' according to the judicious suggestion of Mr Calhoun, and the mass of materials, contained in the appendix, been woven into one continuous discourse or treatise, of about a third of the size of the present volume, it would have been likely to enjoy an extensive circulation. As it is, the size of the work and the manner in which it is put together, will confine it principally to those, who are willing to take some pains to master the contents of a volume. We must be permitted also to object to the practice of splitting up documents into paragraphs, with running titles in italics, to tell their contents. This is proper in a scientific treatise, written in paragraphs, and it is very well in a newspaper designed for popular circulation; but certainly the present work is not intended for a class of readers, who cannot tell the subject of a document, till it has been thus dissected and labelled.
The condition of the native inhabitants of this continent, especially of those parts of it included within our own settlements or on whom the wave of population is daily encroaching, is a very interesting, a very curious, and a somewhat difficult subject. It is common to speak of them as a much oppressed and wronged race, to deplore their extinction, and to form projects for their preservation and civilization. Many questions, however, seem to be confounded together in this subject, and it will aid us materially, in coming to a right conclusion, to separate them.
Are they then a much injured and oppressed race, or rather is their gradual extinction and disappearance a great and crying injustice? No one, directly challenged on this point, perhaps, will answer in the affirmative. It seems to be agreed, on all hands, that barbarous tribes have but a partial and imperfect right in the soil; that they cannot allege a prior occupancy of the forests and plains, which they do not in any civilized sense
occupy.* If this be so, a civilized company of emigrants have a right to land and settle on a savage coast. They certainly have a right so to do, if, as in most cases in our country, a regular agreement and treaty be had with the natives, by which they transfer their right, perfect or imperfect, to the new comers. Thus far then all will agree, and will allow that the pilgrims of New England and the quakers of Pennsylvania were lawfully and rightfully settled. But here begins the difficulty. The settlers possessing the arts of civilized life, enjoying the blessings of government, and backed by powerful countries beyond the sea, are likely to advance in population, much more rapidly than any equal portion of the natives. Forests will soon disappear and be replaced by cornfields. This feeds the white people, but it starves the red people; and yet what hardy moralist will say, that the settlers shall not cut down the trees, because it will destroy the covert of the deer? Thus we see, the very first step to feed and support the new comers aims at the extinction of the savages. To cut down forests is to apply, in the modern phraseology, the most effectual check to their increase. This is only the first step. The settler brings with him the art of extracting a strong liquor out of potatoes and rye, which taken in small quantities and with great discretion is a cordial; but, in large quantities and without discretion, a poison. The savage has an ungoverned appetite for this liquor; and though it be always made penal to furnish him with it, it is impossible, in the nature of things, to enforce the restriction, and it is put within his reach. This not only produces the fatal consequences peculiar to itself, but, by the contagious nature of all vice, it leads to other vices, to quarrels, to violence, to murders; and thus to wars of retaliation, punishment, and self-defence. Cannon, and musketry, and ammunition now come in aid of the silent operation of other causes; and the savage foes are rapidly cut off. Collaterally with this, they take our diseases, and small pox, with aggravated ravages, hastens their extinction. This has been the immediate agent of breaking up and destroying several mighty tribes, and the volume before us furnishes proof that it is still at work. By the operation of these causes, the -Indian population is thinned, crowded together, driven off: a melancholy spectacle to the survivors, and brought about, as * See the authorities cited by Dr Morse, p. 279. 5
New Series, No. 13.
we have stated, partly by the vices of the settlers; but yet not by any of that tyranny and oppression commonly urged. In a high moral sense, we certainly would allow, that to distil whiskey, knowing that the Indians would get it and be ruined by it, is criminal; but this cannot be said of giving them the small pox, which has the opposite quality of mercy, and 'curses him who gives and him who takes ;' nor can it be said of the disastrous result of Indian wars, growing out of the savage manners of the natives, and a just self-defence against them. We hope we shall not be understood to palliate any act of injustice and cruelty, of which doubtless many have been committed against the Indians. But it must be remembered, that many also have been committed by them, against the whites, and we are strongly inclined to think that this private score of oppression, cruelty, and guilt is nearly balanced. We maintain only, that the extinction of the Indians has taken place by the unavoidable operation of natural causes, and as the natural consequence of the vicinity of white settlements. Wherever, by the interference of the state, they have been preserved, it has been by a greater violation of their supposed rights, than that which has led to their extinction. Are they lords of the soil ?" they may then sell it to whom they please; and that will be the first trader well furnished with whiskey. Are they not lords, and do they even require reservations made inalienable by government, to prevent their total extinction? then they have not been driven from their own property. It appears to us therefore that the whole theory of injury and oppressionresting on the rapid and total extinction of so many nations and the impending disappearance of all-is unsound on any principle, which would not wholly deny the right of settling, on any terms, upon a barbarous coast. We have hitherto left out of view one consideration, which destroys even the shadow of plausibility in the argument which we combat. It is this, that most of the aboriginals-as we call them-certainly, all probably, hunted and fished in the streams and forests of this country, merely, by the right of the strongest. The traditions of their wars among themselves, of their conquests, and defeats were very distinct, at the time of the discovery of America. The Peruvians, Mexicans, and LenniLenape were none of them aboriginals, in the literal sense of the term. Some of them, at a very late period, and all at no