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breaks promises, will no more be respected or unpunished than a man who steals and lies and breaks promises. It is possible to go still farther than this, and to show that a nation habitually guilty of such conduct might properly be dealt with therefor by other nations, by nations in nowise suffering on account of her bad faith, except as all nations suffer when the interests of human society are injured.
“The interest of human society," says Vattel, “would authorize all the other nations to form a confederacy, in order to humble and chastise the delinquent.” * * * When a nation “regards no right as sacred, the safety of the human race requires that she should be repressed. To form and support an unjust pretension is not only doing an injury to the party whose interests are affected by that pretension; but to despise justice in general is doing an injury to all nations."
The history of the United States Government's repeated violations of faith with the Indians thus convicts us, as a nation, not only of having outraged the principles of justice, which are the basis of international law; and of having laid ourselves open to the accusation of both cruelty and perfidy; but of having made ourselves liable to all punishments which follow upon such sins——to arbitrary punishment at the hands of any civilized nation who might see fit to call us to account, and to that more certain natural punishment which, sooner or later, as surely comes from evil-doing as harvests come from sown seed.
To prove all this it is only necessary to study the history of any one of the Indian tribes. I propose to give in the following chapters merely outline sketches of the history of a few of them, not entering more into details than is necessary to show the repeated broken faith of the United States Government toward them. A full history of the wrongs they have suffered at the hands of the authorities, military and civil, and also of the citizens of this country, it would take years to write and volumes to hold.
There is but one hope of righting this wrong. It lies in appeal to the heart and the conscience of the American people. What the people demand, Congress will do. It has been-to our shame be it spoken--at the demand of part of the people that all these wrongs have been committed, these treaties 'broken, these robberies done, by the Government.
So long as there remains on our frontier one square mile of land occupied by a weak and helpless owner, there will be a strong and unscrupulous frontiersman ready to seize it, and a weak and unscrupulous politician, who can be hired for a vote or for money, to back him.
The only thing that can stay this is a mighty outspoken sentiment and purpose of the great body of the people. Right sentiment and right purpose in a Senator here and there, and a Representative here and there, are little more than straws which make moinentary eddies, but do not obstruct the tide. The precedents of a century's unhindered and profitable robbery have mounted up into a very Gibraltar of defence and shelter to those who care for nothing but safety and gain. That such precedents should be held, and openly avowed as standards, is only one more infamy added to the list. Were such logic employed in the case of an individual man, how quick would all men see its enormity. Suppose that a man had had the misfortune to be born into a family whose name had been blackened by generations of criminals; that his father, his grandfather, and his great-grandfather before them had lived in prisons, and died on scaffolds, should that man say in his soul, “Go to! What is the use? I also will commit robbery and murder, and get the same gain by it which my family must have done?" Or shall he say in his soul, “God help me! I will do what may be within the power of one man, and the compass of one generation, to atone for the wickedness, and to make clean the name of my dishonored house !"
What an opportunity for the Congress of 1880 to cover itself with a lustre of glory, as the first to cut short our nation's record of cruelties and perjuries ! the first to attempt to redeem the name of the United States from the stain of a century of dishonor !
When Hendrik Hudson anchored his ship, the Half Moon, off New York Island in 1609, the Delawares stood in great numbers on the shore to receive him, exclaiming, in their innocence, “Behold! the gods have come to visit us !"
More than a hundred years later, the traditions of this event were still current in the tribe. The aged Moravian missionary, Heckewelder, writing in 1818, says:
“I at one time, in April, 1787, was astonished when I heard one of their orators, a great chief of the Delawares, Pachgantschilias by name, go over this ground, recapitulating the most extraordinary events which had before happened, and concluding in these words: ‘I admit that there are good white men, but they bear no proportion to the bad; the bad must be the strongest, for they rule. They do what they please. They enslave those who are not of their color, although created by the same Great Spirit who created them. They would make slaves of us if they could; but as they cannot do it, they kill us. There is no faith to be placed in their words. They are not like the Indians, who are only enemies while at war, and are friends in peace. They will say to an Indian, “My friend; my brother!" They will take him by the hand, and, at the same moment, destroy him. And so you' (he was addressing himself to the Christian Indians at Gnadenbütten, Pennsylvania) 'will also be treated by them before long. Remember that
this day I have warned you to beware of such friends as these. I know the Long-knives. They are not to be trusted.'
The original name of the Delawares was Lenni Lenape, or original people.” They were also called by the Western tribes Wapenachki, “people at the rising of the sun.” When the name “ Delawares”
was given to them by the whites, they at first resented it; but being told that they, and also one of their rivers, were thus named after a great English brave-Lord De la Warre—they were much pleased, and willingly took the
Their lands stretched from the Hudson River to the Potomac. They were a noble-spirited but gentle people; much under the control of the arrogant and all-powerful Iroquois, who had put upon them the degradation of being called
women,” and being forced to make war or give up land at the pleasure of their masters.
During William Penn's humane administration of the affairs of Pennsylvania, the Delawares were his most devoted friends. They called him Mignon, or Elder Brother.
“From his first arrival in their country,” says Heckewelder, “ a friendship was formed between them, which was to last as long as the sun should shine, and the rivers flow with water. That friendship would undoubtedly have continued to the end of time, had their good brother always remained among them.”
In the French and Indian war of 1755 many of them fought on the side of the French against the English; and in the beginning of our Revolutionary war the majority of them sided with the English against us.
Most of the memorable Indian massacres which happened during this period were the result of either French or English influence. Neither nation was high-minded enough to scorn availing herself of savage allies to do bloody work which she would not have dared to risk national reputation by doing her. self. This fact is too much overlooked in the habitual esti