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the cause or the effect of several others. The Indians, before they fell into this vice, if we except war, which they have always carried on in a barbarous manner, had nothing to trouble their happi

Drunkenness has rendered them sordid, and has destroyed all the sweets and comforts of domestic life."*


* Charlevoix, Journal Historique, let. 22.



DURING the wars which were formerly carried on in North Ainerica between the English and the French, the native tribes, who respectively attached themselves to the two rival powers, were profusely supplied with spirituous liquors; and the distribution of that article proved to be one of the strongest ties which attached the Indians to their European allies. After the cession of Canada to Great Britain (confirmed by the peace of 1763), when there existed no longer any rivalship between the French and English in that country, it might have been expected that the practice of disposing of spirituous liquors to the Indians' would have ceased; but this was far from being the case'; and the evil was found to extend itself almost throughout the whole of the Indian country in North America.

It may be noticed, however, that this fatal propensity does not appear to have originated from motives of selfish enjoyment or gratification to the palate-of the Indian. Selfishness, indeed, of any description, is a feeling to which he is almost a total stranger. The American savage is not a solitary drunkard : his eagerness to become intoxicated generally arises from an uncontrolled wish to enjoy, in common with his comrades, those frantic and riotous orgies with which their drunken feasts are almost invariably accompanied. A feast which does not end in complete ebriety is insufficient; and a present of spirits to a band of Indians, unless the quantity be enough to intoxicate and madden the whole party, is but a paltry gift. Successive days and nights must be consumed in the debauch; the women commonly join in it with avidity; the youths partake of it; the children are taught to share in it; and the acts of intemperance and riot which ensue, often form throughout the tribe a subject of marked record for a long period to come.

The season of the year, also, in which the Indians were generally supplied with the means of carrying on their drunken debauches, added materially to the extent of the mischief. It was usually during the rigour of the winter that they were in the habit of obtaining spirituous liquors. At that period of the year they ought to have been occupied in procuring a stock of provisions for their families, and obtaining the furs-most valuable in the winter

which constitute the chief articles of their barter for European or American manufactures: but by the prolonged and enervating scenes of intem

perance which occurred during the winter months, they were rendered unable to hunt; their provisions failed them; the clothing which they had procured for themselves and families was often wantonly burnt and destroyed ; the women, from the effects of intoxication, in which they rivalled the men, were rendered incapable of protecting their children, or giving sustenance to their infants ; - hunger, cold, and disease, visited them with accumulated terrors; mutilations and murders every where prevailed; and the accounts of those writers may well be credited, who state that, by the intemperate use of spirituous liquors, and its attendant evils, whole nations of Indians have been swept from the face of the globe.

It is not necessary to enter here into details, or to furnish melancholy examples connected with this subject; but if the reader wish to satisfy himself more fully with respect to the unjustifiable practices of those early periods, he may

be referred (among other works) to the Journals of Mr. Adair, published in his History of the North American Indians, and to those of Mr. Long, in bis Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter ;- both of whom resided many years among the Indians, about the middle of the last century. It cannot be denied, indeed, that Great Britain

never at any period, at least, of the more early history of her North American colonies — to have strenuously endeavoured to put an adequate stop to this evil. In some cases during the reigns of James I. and Charles I., proclamations had been issued for the purpose of regulating the trade between the English and the Indians, and " for prohibiting interloping and disorderly trading in New England in America ;"* but these royal mandates seem to have been exclusively calculated for the benefit of the former, and contained no injunctions whatever against supplying the natives with spirituous liquors, the most destructive article which they could have imported. Neither does it appear that any very effectual


were ever adopted by the provincial governments to effect its prohibition. We find, indeed, some early restrictions in Pennsylvania, but these were ineffectual. In Connecticut, also, a fine was imposed upon the seller of spirits to the natives; and every Indian who got drunk was likewise fined five shillings, and sentenced to receive ten lashes.t But these, and similar enactments which were made in other provinces, proved of little or no effect.

In stating, however, that the government of


* See Rymer's Federa, vol. xvii. p. 416, and vol. xix.

p. 210.

† Douglass's Summary of the Settlements in North America, part ii. sec. 11. .

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