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the Indian, who, being fearful lest they should lose themselves, had repaired thither in the night to see: and their parents, about that time, going to the yearly meeting at Philadelphia, (they being Quakers,) and leaving a young family at home, the Indians came every day to see whether any thing was amiss among them."*
The North American Indians are not only affectionately attached, indeed, to their own offspring, but are extremely fond of children in general. They instruct them carefully in their own principles, and train them up with attention in the maxims and habits of their nation. Their system consists chiefly in the influence of example, and impressing upon them the traditionary histories of their ances, tors. When the children act wrong, their parents remonstrate and reprimand, but never chastise them. Père Le Jeune, in one of his early Reports, states that a band of Indians came to Quebec, where one of the party, having remarked a French boy beating a drum, went close to him, in order the more attentively to observe him. Upon this, the boy wantonly struck the Indian on the face with one of his drum-sticks, so as to draw blood profusely. The whole party of Indians were much offended, and going to the French interpreter, “See,” said they, “one of your people has wounded one of ours. You know very well our custom; give us some presents to wipe away this offence.” “ As there is no police amongst the savages,” continues Le Jeune, “if one of them kills or wounds another, he may be quit by giving some presents to the friends of the deceased, or to the person offended. Our interpreter replied, 'You also know our customs : when any one acts wrong, we punish him. This boy has wounded one of your people : he will be immediately flogged for it in your presence. They accordingly had the boy brought out to receive the punishment; but when the Indians saw that the French were in earnest, and were stripping and preparing to flog this little beater of savages and of drums, they began immediately to beg, he might be pardoned, saying that the boy was too young to know what he was about; but as our people still continued their preparations to punish him, one of the Indians suddenly stripped himself, and threw his robe over the boy, crying out to the man who was going to flog him, 'Scourge me, if you choose; but do not strike the boy. Thus the youth escaped. None of the savages, as we are informed, can chastise, or bear to see chastised, any child. This,” adds the good Father, “ will occasion trouble to us in the design we have to instruct their youth.”.
* Proud's History of Pennsylvania, vol. i. p. 223. Phila. delphia, 1797.
Charlevoix records a circumstance in some degree similar; and which is introduced in one of his works, with the following tribute of praise to the Indian character: “ Most of the Indians possess a nobleness of soul and an equanimity which we seldom attain, with all the aid we draw from philosophy and religion. Always masters of themselves, no alteration is perceptible in their countenance, even when they meet with the most unexpected insult. An Indian prisoner, who is well aware what will be the termination of his captivity, or who is perhaps under the still more trying incertitude respecting his fate, never loses a quarter of an hour of bis sleep, nor does any sudden impulse ever lead him into error.— A Huron chief was one day insulted and struck by a youth. Those who witnessed this, were upon the point of instantly punishing the offender for his audacity : 'Let him alone,' said the chief, did you not perceive the earth tremble? The youth is sufficiently conscious of his folly.'
It is unnecessary, in this place, to lay before the reader any additional passages from writers who have noticed the general character of the North American Indians. Similar extracts, if thought requisite, might be selected in abundance, from
• Charlevoix, Journal Historique, Lett. 21.
authors of the highest credit - English, French, and American, That the civilization of a numerous race, gifted with the qualities which these writers have so ascribed to them, should have been obstructed, rather than promoted, by their communication with Europeans, affords matter of melancholy reflection. The fact, however, is not to be doubted; and the farther we inquire into the subject, the more shall we be convinced of the truth of what is observed by Lafitau, “that the Indians have lost more by imitating our vices, than they have gained by availing themselves of those arts which might have added to the comforts and conveniences of life.”
EARLY CONDUCT OF THE FRENCH WITH RESPECT
TO THE INDIANS - - DANGERS AND DIFFICULTIES
For many years after the government of France had begun to establish a colony upon the St. Lawrence, very little interest seems to have been taken by the parent state, either in the success of the settlers, or the improvement of the Indians. The newly-acquired country, indeed, came to be dignified with the title of New France, and a prince of the blood royal was appointed by the crown to be viceroy over it. But neither the king nor his viceroy gave themselves much trouble concerning its government; and the entire control over Canada was delegated by letters patent—for a valuable consideration, no doubt-to a company of merchants from Rouen, Saint Malo, and Rochelle. The Prince de Condé, in the year 1620, disposed of his viceroyship to his brother-in-law, the Maréchal de Montmorency, for eleven thousand crowns; and the maréchal, in his turn, sold it in 1622, to his own nephew, the Duc de Ventadour. While the uncle seems thus to have had his own temporal