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THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS TOWARDS THE EARLY EUROPEAN SETTLERS KINDNESS SHEWN BY THEM TO THE DUTCH COLONISTS UPON THE HUDSON-SIMILAR CONDUCT TOWARDS THE ENGLISH SETTLERS IN VIRGINIA STORY OF POCAHONTAS.
HAVING noticed the injudicious system which appears to have been so generally pursued with respect to the Indians, by the civil, military, and religious authorities of New France, we may now turn our attention to the early settlers in other parts of the North American continent. In doing so, it will be found that the Europeans, on their first arrival, every where met with kindness and cordiality from the natives, and that the Indian good-will which had been shewn to Cartier, and others of the early French discoverers of the countries situated upon the St. Lawrence, was in like manner experienced by the Dutch settlers upon the banks of the Hudson, and by the first British colonists in Virginia, and New England.
With regard to the reception which the Indians gave to the Dutch on their arrival, there cannot perhaps be a better delineation than what was conveyed in the words of the Indian chief of whom Dr. Boudinot has related the following circumstance, as falling under his own observation. In the year 1789, the American General Knox gave an entertainment at New York, to a number of Indian chiefs, sachems, and warriors. Before dinner, several of these walked from the apartment where they were assembled to the balcony in front of the house, from which there was a commanding view of the city and its harbour, of the East and North rivers, and of the island upon which New York now stands, and which, at the first settlement of the Dutch, got the name of Manhattan. On returning into the room, the Indians seemed dejected, their principal chief more so than the rest. This was observed by General Knox, who kindly asked if any thing had happened to distress him. “ Brother,” replied the chief, “ I will tell
I have been looking at your beautiful city, the great water, your fine country, and I see how happy you
But then, I could not help thinking that this fine country, and this great water, were once
Our ancestors lived here; they enjoyed it as their own in peace; it was the gift of the Great Spirit to them and their children. At length the White people came in a great canoe. They asked only to let them tie it to a tree, that the waters might not carry it away. They then said that some of their people were sick, and they asked
permission to land them and put them under the shade of the trees. The ice afterwards came, and they could not go away. They then begged a piece of ground to build wigwams for the winter; this we granted. They then asked for some corn to keep them from starving: we furnished it to them, and they promised to depart when the ice was gone. When the ice, was gone, we told them they must now depart; but they pointed to their big guns round their wigwams, and said they would stay; and we could not make them go away. Afterwards more came. They brought with them intoxicating and destructive liquors, of which the Indians became very fond. They persuaded us to sell them some land; and, finally, they drove us back, from time to time, into the wilderness. They have destroyed the game ; our people have wasted away; and now we live miserable and wretched, while the White people are enjoying our fine and beautiful country. It is this, Brother, that makes me sorry
In the colony of Virginia, also, the first British settlers were cordially and kindly received by the Indians of that country.
Heckewelder has recorded what he heard the descendants of these Indians say on the subject of the English at their first arrival. “We took them by the hand, and bid them welcome to sit down by our side, and to
* Boudinot, Star in the West,ch. 5. Trenton, New Jersey, 1816.
live with us as brothers; but how did they requite our kindness? They at first only asked for a little land on which to raise bread for themselves and their families, and pasture for their cattle. This we freely gave them. They soon wanted more, which we also gave. They saw the game in the woods which the Great Spirit had given us for our subsistence, and they wanted that too. They penetrated into the forests, and discovered spots of land which pleased them; that land they also wanted; and, because we were loath to part with it - as we saw they had already more than they had need of they took it from us by force, and drove us to a great distance from our ancient homes.'
It was during the infancy of the colony in Virginia, when that singular occurrence took place, to which the British settlers were so much indebted for their security; and a brief sketch of the story of Pocahontas may not be deemed misplaced in these Notes, as it tends to exhibit a striking example of that native generosity for which the North American Indians have been so often and so justly distinguished.
After the unhappy attempts made in the reign of Queen Elizabeth to plant a colony in North America, the small band of settlers under Captain Newport, sanctioned by letters patent of James I.,
• Heckewelder's Account of the Indian Nations, ch. 5.
established themselves, in the year 1607, upon the shores of one of the great rivers in Virginia. · On their arrival, they were kindly treated by the natives ; bút; according to custom, the Europeans soon embroiled themselves with their red brethren, who, probably from experience, were often led to look upon these white strangers in no other light than as hostile and treacherous invaders of their soil.
Captain Newport returned almost immediately to England, leaving in Virginia -- at the settlement which they named Jamestown — about a hundred colonists. Of that number, one half died in the course of a few months, and their survivors were placed in a state of the greatest distress. : In the wretched circumstances to which they were reduced, with frequent dissensions among themselves, and constant alarm from the Indians, no hope was left of their being extricated from their difficulties, except by placing themselves under the command of one of their party, Captain Smith, a man of great bravery, talent, and enterprise ; but who had been treated, by the chief officers of the colony, with marked insult and injustice. By common consent, Smith was now placed at their head, and his conduct fully justified the confidence reposed in him. By his prudent treatment of the Indians when they were disposed to be friendly, and by his skill and bravery when it was deemed necessary to adopt measures of hostility, he contrived' to pre