Abbildungen der Seite

the case with the descendants of the Saxon race, who invariably consider them as inferior to themselves, though superior to the negroes, who, however somewhat contest the point. The writer of this article was once amusing himself in an Indian reservation, shooting at a mark with the bow along with two boys whom he casually encountered. After a few shots, he asked one of the boys what tribe he belonged to ? Oneida," was the reply. “ And you ?” he asked of the other. “Me, sir," replied the urchin, who might be about ten years of age, “me, sir," drawing himself up," I am no Indian!” This was said in quite an offended tone. The writer looked at him again, and remarked that his woolly locks betrayed the one-third of African blood which had been added to that of the white.

Much pains have occasionally been taken by the government, to promote the education of the Indian chiefs in the colleges of the United States, in order thereby to operate upon their tribes. There is no want of natural capacity amongst them; they have the powers of oratory, can think and reason, and have vanity enough to excite them to action; but they have also an intensity of pride, which prompts them to do nothing, rather than submit to acknowledge any inferiority. One of the Indian chiefs went through his studies at the college with considerable eclat, and was received in the neighbouring families, as a visitor, upon apparently equal terms. He fell in love with the daughter of a respectable family, who was not altogether indifferent to him, and asked her in marriage. The lady's friends were astonished at his

presumption, and refused his application with something of the kind of scorn which an English duke might use towards a tradesman or schoolmaster aspiring to the hand of his heiress. The haughty spirit of the Indian chief was aroused, and leaving the haunts of civilization he retired to his tribe. His tribe beheld him wearing the garb of the whites, and they asked, "Whence comes this degenerate red-skin, who wears not the garb of the forest ?" Roused by the taunt, he threw away the trappings of civilization, and took to the mocassins, leggings, blanket, and rifle. Where is the power, where are the laws, which shall overcome this kind of prejudice ? Laws may perchance prevent the white from “ working a button-hole" in the body of an Indian, but they cannot force him to make an equal, an associate of him, or to receive him into his house ; neither can they force the Indian to strip himself of his haughtiness, and reason like a philosopher on the matter, or to treat the whites de puissance en puissance. His philosophy is of that class of which Syphax says :

“ 'Tis pride, rank pride, and haughtiness of soul ;

I think the Romans call it stoicism."

Did the Indians possess a race of slaves to work for them, or were they provided with all they needed, abundant hunting grounds, and deprived of brandy, they would probably doze away their existences very comfortably, with the occasional interlude of a war with the neighbouring tribes. But they have no such slaves, and, as it is their fate to be extinguished, it is better that they should cross the Mississippi to quarrel amongst themselves, than remain amongst the whites to produce greater demoralization. It is useless to talk of saving, perforce, a nation which will not take the necessary pains for self-preservation. The talk of preserving a savage nation, separate in institutions, language, and manners, in the midst of a civilized one, appears to us too absurd to require serious refutation.

The invention of the Cherokee alphabet is certainly a remarkable circumstance; the inventor, however, was not a pure Indian, but a half-blood, called in Cherokee See-quah-yah, and in English, George Guess. Being lamed in war, and contined to his wig-wam, a cripple for life, he set himself seriously to reflect, whether the talking leaf of the whites was a gift of the Great Spirit, or only a human discovery. Having decided upon the latter, he set about the task of preparing signs for an alphabet. He first used painted figures of birds and beasts to express sounds. These he afterwards changed for simpler forms, at first two hundred in number, which he subsequently reduced to eightysix. This is the alphabet made use of for the Cherokee Phænir, a specimen of which is given in the late work of Mr. Ferrall. But the mere possession of the power of reading and writing is not civilization, although it is a step towards its acquirement.

M. Murat seems excessively afraid of what the Indians may do some day, to the injury of the United States, and gravely states, that it is possible some Napoleon may one day arise of the red race, who, taking possession of the Empire of Mexico, will stir up the whole of the Indians to make war on the Union, for the recovery of the province of Texas, which has caused so many disputes. This is a wild idea enough. It pre-supposes what never has happened, and is never likely to happen-union of purpose amongst the Indian tribes. Had they possessed the power of union, foreigners could never have gained a footing in their country. Friendly Indians did good service in behalf of the “fathers” in New England. Had Cortez found the Mexicans united, Montezuma would have retained his throne. Had not the Peruvian Incas quarrelled, even Pizarro might have been beaten off by that feeble people. The small number of gallant Aracauians, inhabiting the southern end of Chili, were a free and a united people, and they have remained unconquered even to this day. Daily experience tells us that the Indians would, for the most part, rather fight with each other, than with the whites, and when they do fight with the whites, they are almost constantly beaten.

The province of Texas has become a cause of quarrel, or rather we should say of longing, to more nations than one, and if the descriptions of it be correct, it is a country to long for. The larger portion of the Southern States of the Union is too flat to be considered a beautiful country, though rich enough in products. But Texas is a region of hill and dale, of forest and grass land, of limestone rocks, and pure waters, in brooks, springs, and rivers, running over pebbly and sandy bottoms, with a fine climate and fertile soil. Wheat, oranges, and vines may be produced there, and consequently it is fit for breeding almost every kind of cattle. The origin of the disputes about this proviuce, we believe to be as follows :- A few scattered herdsmen bred cattle there prior to the revolution, and the cavalry of the King of Spain kept the hordes of Indians somewhat at bay during a constant war. When the revolution produced disorder, the Indians took advantage of the time, and regained possession of the land from which the Spaniards bad driven them away. The red men said, “ It is ours." The King of Spain said, “ It is mine." The red men had certainly the prior claim; but the power of the Spanish king gained the possession. The government of the Republic of Mexico maintained that the possession reverted to them; but the red men, being strongest, drove away the cattle breeders, and kept the territory for a hunting ground. Under these circumstances, one of the governments which ruled Mexico during the period of changes, granted or sold to Mr. Austin, an enterprising speculator, a large tract of land in the province, for the purpose of establishing a colony of Americans, subject to the Mexican Republic. This was probably done from the feeling that the American hunters would be the best settlers to clear the province of the Indians, and it is understood that they were very successful in doing so. Under these circumstances, it was extremely natural that more of their countrymen should flock to them; in fact, the number of settlers has so much increased, that we believe there are now upwards of five thousand families from the Western States of the Union, who possess thriving properties in Texas. The speculative people of the Union then established a yearly caravan from Louisville and the neighbourhood, which carried on a profitable trade. The Mexican government, finding that this traffic brought no grist to their mill in the shape of custom-house duties, prohibited it, and ordered that in future no trade should be carried on but by sea. The colonists paid no regard to the edict, knowing that there were no means of enforcing it; another law was they made, forbidding all further immigration from the United States, which is probably as little regarded. If the Mexican government attempts in any way to dispossess or coerce these people, they will most probably throw off the present noininal allegiance they pay to it, and set the military republic at defiance. The hope of an advantageous squatting ground will then induce the western hunters to Hock there in still greater numbers, and in a short time ten thousand rifles will set at nought all the efforts of the beggarly guerilla cavalry which Mexico can furnish forth, with Indian allies to boot. The Mexicans are loud in their denunciations of this violation of their territory; but the squatters will not be made to understand without force wherein consists the crime of occupying land which was only lying waste. That the province of Texas is not an integral part of the Mexican Republic may be gathered from the fact, that there is extant a decree of the American Congress, determining that it shall be governed as a colony. As it was foreseen that, in time, Texas would become a source of annoyance, as Florida formerly was, attempts have been made, hitherto without success, to purchase it from the Mexican government. It is possible, that in the embarrassed state of their finances, some future government will accept the offered five millions of dollars, and the stumbling block will be removed.* It is very desirable that it should. As the case stands at present, the quarrel is not between the government of Mexico and the United States; but between the Mexican government and Mr. Austin's chartered colony, together with the squatters who have gathered round him. If the power of the Mexican government equalled the jealousy of the generality of the individuals composing it, there would be no restraint of morality to hinder theni from ruining the whole of the colonists. This the latter are fully aware of, and they will, therefore, protect themselves with the strong hand and out-stretched arm, well accustomed to wield the long and heavy rifle of the western wilderness. If the province of Texas can maintain itself against the imperfect, because disunited, power of Mexico, it will become an independent community, and, after having become an independent community, it will be entitled to declare itself a member of the Union, if the Union be willing to fraternize with it.

* We remember being in one of the Southern American Republics, when an English loan, out of which forty per cent. had been peculated, arrived ; which yet was accepted in the name of the state, and a still larger portion plundered, by a government which expired on the following day.

M. Murat's ninth letter gives a fair representation of the finances of the Union, and the general state of commerce, mingled with some remarks not evincing much philosophy. The tenth letter is a lively picture of the habits, manners, fine arts, and literature of the Americans, from which we may discover that their passions and prejudices are exceedingly like those of their elder brothers in England, always excepting

“ The twice two thousand who are called the world." Some of M. Murat's remarks on painting and sculpture are very just, and evince a deeper consideration of the subject than is generally shown by those who deal in the slang of connoisseurship. Here we must conclude. We recommend the work as well worthy of a place on the shelves of those who wish to understand the character of the Americans, which can only be done, either by visiting the country, or by comparing the different authors who have written on it, amongst whom, M. Murat, notwithstanding his defects, certainly stands, high, when his powers of observation are not obscured by prejudice. His inferences are far inferior to his delineations, even where interest does not bias him. His moral perceptions are by no means acute; but when we consider the school in which his early youth was trained, we do not marvel much at this deficiency.

Art. II.- Etudes Statistiques sur Rome et la partie occidentale

des Etats Romains, contenant une description topographique, et des recherches sur la population, l'agriculture, les manufactures, le commerce, le gouvernement, et les etablissemens publics : par le Comte de Tournon, Pair de France, Préfet de Rome

de 1810 à 1814. 2 vols. 8vo. avec atlas. Paris. 1891. 2. Memorie Storiche del Ministero, de’due Viaggi in Francia, e

dellu Prigionia nel forte di S. Carlo in Fenestrelle, del Cardinale Bartolomeo Pacca. Edizione terza. 2 vols. Svo. Pesaro.

1830. S. Compendio Storico su' Pio VII., accompagnato da noti e docu

menti giustificativi. 8vo. Milano, 1824. 4. Moto-proprio della Santità di Nostro Signore Papa Leone

XII., in data del 5 Ottobre, 1824. Roma. 24mo. 5. Tablettes Romaines, par Santo Domingo. Bruxelles. 1826.


« ZurückWeiter »