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valuable work: “ However fond we may have been of accusing the Indians of treachery and infidelity, it must be confessed tliat the example was first set them by the Europeans. Had we always treated them with that justice and humanity which our religion inculcates, and our true interest at all times required, we might have lived in as much harmony with them, as with any other people in the globe.”
* Belknap's Hist. of New Hampshire, vol. i. ch. 1 and 5,
hunting grounds, neglected to pay them the regular quantity of corn stipulated by treaty; and, by the erection of mills and dams upon the great Indian rivers, had put a total stop to the supply, in the interior, of the fish which had formerly contributed so materially to their subsistence. These, and many other vexations, together with the spirit of arrogance with which they were generally treated, made them always willing to rise up against their oppressors, who seemed determined upon the extirpation of the Indian race. Can we wonder, therefore, at those cases of retaliation which the early New England authors have painted in terms of such rancour and intolerance? To these, however, we may contrast the mild and charitable sentiments of a more modern writer of the same country : “Our historians," says Dr. Belknap, “ have generally represented the Indians in a most odious light; especially when recounting the effects of their ferocity. Dogs, caitiffs, miscreants and hell-hounds, are the politest names which have been given them by some writers; who seem to be in a passion at the very mentioning of their cruelties, and at other times speak of them with contempt. Whatever indulgence may be allowed to those who wrote in times when the mind was vexed with their recent depredations and inhumanities, it ill becomes us to cherish ran inveterate hatred of the unhappy natives.” And in another part of the same
valuable work: - Foere IT
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BANEFUL EFFECTS ARISING FROM THE PRACTICE
OF SUPPLYING THE INDIANS WITH SPIRITUOUS * LIQUORS.
Of the numerous vices imported from the Old World into the New, there is none which has proved so great a scourge to the Indians as the intemperate use of spirituous liquors. To the French, the Dutch, the Swedes, the British, and, in later times, to the Americans of the United States, have the North American Indians been indebted for the pernicious effects which intoxicating liquors have produced among them : and so far as Great Britain is implicated in the charge, the only excuse which can be reasonably advanced why her legislature seems never, at any early period, to have interfered in endeavouring to prevent the mischief in those trans-Atlantic colonies subject to her control, is, that the mother country was probably never full aware of the extent and magnitude of the evil, which stood so much in need of legislative restriction.
That the baneful and destructive system of disposing of spirits to the Indians had always pre
vailed in full force, is not to be controverted; and the practice not only tended to increase their natural ferocity in time of war, but to prevent their improvement in time of peace.' Those who have witnessed the effects of intoxication only upon Europeans, can scarcely form an adequate notion of the frenzy with which a North American Indian is infuriated when under the influence of liquor. In that state, every savage passion which nature or habit has implanted in him, is let loose. He will then, with equal indifference, shed the blood of friend or foe; will sacrifice his ncarest and dearest connexions, murdering without compunction, or the slightest cause of offence, his parents, his brethren, his wife, or his offspring. When the fit of insanity has passed, and the unfortunate wretch has recovered his reason, he laments in vain the misery which his own fury has entailed upon him; but while he justly ascribes to the European the blame of having supplied him with what caused such desolation, he will not scruple to seize the first opportunity of again obtaining it, and plunging with headlong infatuation into new scenes of riot and bloodshed.
As the Indians, likewise, are but too wont to transmit to their posterity their deep-rooted feelings of revenge for murdered kinsmen, the extent of the evil may, in some degree, be appreciated,