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north, by Russia ; on the south, by Mexico ;many a fold, through more than 4000 miles. and in the middle, by England and the Uni- But, though exceeded by the Mississippi in ted States.

length, the St. Lawrence clearly has the Between these two ranges of mountains advantage in depth and noble expansion -the Alleghany on the east and the Ore- towards its mouth, being navigable for the gon on the west—lies the immense Cen- largest ships of war as high as Quebec, 340 tral Valley of North America, wider in miles; and for large merchant vessels to the north than towards the south, and Montreal, 180 miles farther; whereas the reaching from the Northern Ocean to the Mississippi does not reach the medium Gulf of Mexico. It is the most extensive width of a mile, nor a depth in the shallow valley in the world, and is composed of two places of the central channel, when the vast sections, separated by a zigzag line stream runs low, of more than fifteen feet; of table-land. This ridge, which is of no so that, excepting when in flood, it is not great elevation, and which commences near navigable by ships of 500 tons for more than the 42° of north latitude on one side, while 300 miles. The St. Lawrence, and all the it terminates near the 49° on the other, other considerable rivers of the northern stretches across from the Alleghany sys- basin, pass through a succession of lakes, tem to the Oregon, and thus separates, some of vast extent, by which the floods also, the waters that flow southward into caused by melting snows and heavy rains, the Gulf of Mexico, from those flowing in which otherwise, by rushing down in the the opposite direction into the northern spring, and accumulating vast masses of

seas.

Thus the one section of this great ice in the yet unopened channel of its lowvalley inclines to the south, the other gen- er and northern course, would spread devtly, nay, almost imperceptibly, descends to astation and ruin over the banks, are colwards the north. The former is drained lected in huge reservoirs, and permitted mainly by one great river and its numerous to flow off gradually during the summer branches, called, in the pompous language months. Wonderful display of wisdom and of the Aborigines of the country, the Mis- beneficence in the arrangements of Divine sissippi, or Father of Waters. The latter creation and providence! But the Missisis drained by the St. Lawrence, falling into sippi, as it flows into the warmer regions the Northern Atlantic; the Albany and oth of the south, needs no such provision; and er streams falling into Hudson's Bay; and hence, with the exception of a few small by M-Kenzie's River, which falls into the lakes connected with the head streams of Arctic Ocean.

the Upper Mississippi in the west, and one These great sections of this immense or two connected with the Alleghany, a valley differ much in character. The north-branch of the Ohio, in the east, no lake ern possesses a considerable extent of com- occurs in the whole of the southern basin. paratively elevated and very fertile land in Owing to this difference in these rivers, a its southern part; while towards the north sudden rise of three feet in the waters of it subsides to a low, monotonous, swampy the St. Lawrence would be more surpriplain, little elevated above the level of the sing than a rise of thirty feet in the Missisocean, and, by reason of its marshes, bogs, sippi. But in order that the country which and inhospitable climate, is almost as unin- borders upon the latter may not be too habitable as it is incapable of cultivation. much exposed to great and destructive inThe southern section more commonly undation, the Creator has, in his wisdom, called the Valley of the Mississippi-termi- given to it a peculiar configuration. The nates on the low, marshy coast of the Gulf inclined plane which slopes down from of Mexico ; but, with the exception of the the Oregon Mountains towards the east is part of it which lies on the upper streams much wider than that sloping from the of the Red River and La Platte, it eve- mountains on the opposite side. Hence rywhere abounds in fertile land, covered, the rivers from the western side of the valfor the most part, even yet, with noble for- ley have a much greater distance to trayests, or adorned with beautiful prairies. erse than those that drain the eastern slope, The St. Lawrence is the great river of the and the floods which they roll down in the northern section or basin, though not with spring are, of course, proportionally later out a rival in the M-Kenzie's River; while in reaching the Lower Mississippi. In fact, its southern rival, the Mississippi, flows al- just as the floods of the Tennessee, the most alone in its vast domain. There are, Cumberland, and the Ohio, have subsided, however, the Alabama and a few small those of the Arkansas, the-Missouri, and rivers on its left, and the Sabine, the Bra- Upper Mississippi begin to appear. If zos, and some others of lesser note on its these all came down at once, the Lower right. The St. Lawrence boasts a length Mississippi, as the common outlet, by of more than 2000 miles. That of the swelling to such an extent as to overflow Mississippi exceeds 2500; and if the Mis- its banks, would spread destruction far and souri be considered the main upper branch, wide over the whole Delta. Such a calamas it ought to be, then it may fairly claim ity, or, rather, something approaching to the honour of dragging its vast length, with it, does occasionally occur ; but at long in

tervals, to teach men their dependance on a few straggling Indians are occasionally Divine Providence, as well as to punish seen upon its outskirts. With these exthem for their sins.

ceptions, the whole portion of North Amerof the slope between the Oregon Mount- ica which is now either occupied or claimains and the Pacific, the northern part, ed by the people of the United States, was, occupied by. Russia, is cold, and little of when first visited by Europeans, and for it fil for cultivation ; the middle, claimed more than a century afterward, one vast by the United States and Great Britain, is wilderness. The luxuriant vegetation with said to be a fine country in many parts; which it had been clothed year after year, while that occupied by Mexico has very for ages, was destined only to decay and great natural advantages. The country enrich the soil. Thus did the work of prebordering on the Gulf of California is paring it to be the abode of millions of civsurpassed by none in North America for ilized men go silently and steadily on; the pleasantness of climate and fertility of earth gathering strength, during this long soil.

repose, for the sustentation of nations On both sides of the Upper Mississippi, which were to be born in the distant fuas well as on both sides of the Missouri, ture. One vast and almost unbroken forthere are extensive prairies,* as the French, est covered the whole continent, imbowho first explored that country, called soming in its sombre shadows alike the them; that is, in many places there are meandering streamlet and the mighty rivdistricts, some of them very extensive, in- er, the retired bay and the beautiful and cluding hundreds, and even thousands of tranquil lake. A profound and solemn siacres of land, others smaller, and resem- lence reigned everywhere, save when inbling a field or meadow, which are covered terrupted by the songs of the birds which in the summer with tall grass and a great sported amid the trees, the natural cries of variety of flowers, but on which scarcely the beasts which roamed beneath, the aranything in the shape of a tree is to be ticulate sounds of the savage tribes around found. Many of these prairies possess a their wigwams, or their shouts in the chase fertile soil; but others produce only a sort or in the battle. The work of God, in all of stunted grass and short weeds; and be- its simplicity, and freshness, and grandeur, tween the upper streams of the Red River was seen everywhere; that of man almost and the La Platte, towards the Oregon nowhere; universal nature rested, and, as Mountains, there lies an extensive tract it were, kept Sabbath. which has been called the Great American Two hundred years more pass away, Desert. The country there is covered and how widely different is the scene! with sand and detached rocks, or boul. Along the coasts, far and wide, tall ships ders, which have evidently come from the pass and repass. The white sails of brig Oregon Mountains, and is thinly clothed and sloop are seen in every bay, cove, with a species of vegetation called buffalo and estuary. The rivers are covered with grass. The prickly pear may often be boats of every size, propelled by sail or seen spreading its huge leaves over the oar. And in every water the steamboat, ground. Not a tree, and scarcely a bush, heedless alike of wind and tide, pursues is to be met with in many places for miles. its resistless way, vomiting forth steam Herds of buffalo sometimes traverse it, and and flame. Commerce flourishes along * Much has been said and written on the origin rections. The forests are giving way to

every stream. Cities are rising in all diof the prairies of North America ; but, after all, no cultivated fields or verdant meadows. Savperfectly satisfactory theory has yet been invented. The Indians know nothing on the subject. As lo age life, with its wigwams, its blanket-covthe barren prairies between the upper streams of the ering, its poverty, and its misery, yields on Red River and the Platte, mentioned in the text un every side to the arts, the comforts, and der the name of the Great American Desert, the same

even the luxuries of civilization. cause produced them which produced the Great Sahara in Africa, the utter sterility of the soil. But as it relates to those fertile prairies which one finds in the States of Ulinois and Missouri, and in the Ter. ritories of Wisconsin and Iowa, the case is very dif.

CHAPTER II. serent. In some respects, the theory that the their existence to the annual burning of the dry, decayed grass, and other vegetable matter, in the autumnal months, seems plausible. It accounts well NORTH AMERICA, when discovered by enough for the perpetuation of these prairies, but it Europeans, was in the occupancy of a fails to account for their origin. How is it that the great number of uncivilized tribes; some of North America where none have ever existed? large, but most of them small : and, alwhich yet have been, as far as we can learn, occu- though differing in some respects from pied by the Aborigines as long as those in which the one another, yet exhibiting indubitable eviprairies are found. It is very likely that fire was one dence of a common origin. Under the beof the causes of their origin; but there may have lief that the country was a part of the East been others not less efficient, as well as various con. curring circumstances, with respect to which we Indies, to reach which, by pursuing a westare wholly in the dark.

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erly course, had been the object of thei

THE ABORIGINES OF NORTH AMERICA.

voyage, the companions of Columbus gave only protection to their feet and legs in the name of Indians to those nations of the coldest weather. The head was adornthe Aborigines which they first saw. Sub-ed with feathers and the beaks and claws sequent and more extensive exploration of of birds, the neck with strings of shells, the coasts of America convinced them of and that of the warrior with the scalps of their mistake, but the name thus given to enemies slain in battle or in ambush. the indigenous tribes has adhered to them Nothing like agriculture was known to this day.

among them, save the planting of small A striking similarity of organization per- patches of a species of corn which takes vades the tribes of North America.* All its name from them, and which, when have the same dull vermilion, or cinna- parched, or when pounded and made into mon complexion, differing wholly from paste and baked, is both palatable and nuthe white, the olive, and the black vari- | tritious. Having no herds, the use of milk eties of the human family ; all have the was unknown. They depended mainly on same dark, glossy hair, coarse, but uni- the chase and on fishing for a precarious formly straight. Their beards are gen- subsistence, not having the skill to furerally of feeble growth, and instead of be- nish themselves with suitable instruments ing permitted to become long, are almost for the prosecution of either with much universally eradicated. The eye is elonga- success; and when successful, as they ted, and has an orbit inclined to a quadran- had no salt, they could preserve an abungular shape. The cheek-bones are prom-dant supply of game only by smoking it. inent; the nose broad; the jaws project. Hence the frequent famines among them, ing; the lips large and thick, though far during the long, cold months of winter. less so than those of the Ethiopic race. Poets have sung of the happiness of the

Yet there are not wanting considerable natural, in other words, uncivilized life. varieties in the organization and complex- But all who know anything of the aboriion of the Aborigines of North America. ginal tribes of North America, even in Some nations are fairer skinned, some the present times, when those that border taller and more slender than others; and upon the abodes of civilized men live far even in the same tribe there are often more comfortably than did their ancesstriking contrasts. Their limbs, unre- tors three hundred years ago, are well strained in childhood and youth by the aware that their existence is a miserable appliances which civilization has invented, one. During the excitements of the chase, are generally better formed than those of there is an appearance of enjoyment; but the white men. The persons of the males such seasons are not long, and the utter are more erect, but this is not so with the want of occupation, and the consequent females ; these have become bowed down tedium of other periods, make the men in with the heavy burdens which, as slaves, many cases wretched. Add to this the they are habitually compelled to bear. want of resources for domestic happiness;

Their manner of life, when first discov- the evils resulting from polygamy; the deered, was in the highest degree barbarous. pression naturally caused by the sickness They had nothing that deserved the name of friends and relatives, without the means of houses. Rude huts, mostly for tempo- of alleviation; the gloomy apprehensions rary use, of various forms, but generally of death ; and we cannot wonder that the circular, were made by erecting a pole to “red man” should be miserable, and seek support others which leaned upon it as a gratification in games of chance, the revelcentre, and which were covered with leaves ries of drunkenness, or the excitements of and bark, while the interior was lined with war. I have seen various tribes of Indians ; skins of the buffalo, the deer, the bear, &c. I have travelled among them; I have slept A hole at the top permitted the escape of in their poor abodes, and never have I the smoke ; a large opening in the side seen them, under any circumstances, withanswered the purpose of a door, a window, out being deeply impressed with the conand sometimes of a chimney. The skins viction of the misery of those especially of animals formed almost the whole cov- who are not yet civilized. ering of the body. Moccasins, and some They are not without some notions of a times a sort of boot, made of the skins of Supreme Power which governs the world, the animals slain in the chase, were the and of an Evil Spirit who is the enemy of

mankind. But their theogony and their * This be said also of all the aboriginal tribes theology are alike crude and incoherent. of America entire, from the shores of the Northern They have no notion of a future resurrecOcean to the island of Terra del Fuego. But there tion of the body. Like children, they canwas a vast difference in regard to civilization. The inhabitants of Mexico and Peru, when those coun- not divest themselves of the idea that the tries were visited and conquered by Cortes and Pi- spirit of the deceased still keeps company zarro, were far more civilized than the tribes of the with the body in the grave, or that it wanportion of North America which we are considering: ders in the immediate vicinity. Some, No remains of antiquity among the latter can be for a moment compared with those of the kingdom of however, seem to have a confused impresMontezuma.

sion that there is a sort of elysium for the

may

war.

time past.

departed brave, where they will forever Very many of the tribes speak dialects, enjoy the pleasures of the chase and of rather than languages, distinct from those

Even of their own origin they have of their neighbours. East of the Missisnothing but a confused tradition, not ex- sippi River, and within the bounds of what tending back beyond three or four genera- is now the United States, when the colonitions. As they have no calendars, and zation of the country by Europeans comreckon their years only by the return of menced, there were eight races, or families certain seasons, so they have no record of of tribes, each comprehending those most

alike in language and customs, and who Though hospitable and kind to strangers constantly recognised each other as relato a remarkable degree, they are capable tives. These were, 1. The ALGONQUINS, of the most diabolical cruelty to their ene- consisting of many tribes, scattered over mies. The well-authenticated accounts of the whole of the New England States, the the manner in which they sometimes treat southern part of New-York, New Jersey, their prisoners would almost make us Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virdoubt whether they can belong to the ginia, and what is now Ohio, Indiana, Illihuman species. And yet we have only to nois, and Michigan. Being the most nurecall to our minds scenes which have merous of all the tribes, they occupied taken place in highly-civilized countries, about half the territory east of the Missisand almost within our own day, when sippi and south of the St. Lawrence and Christian men have been put to death in its the lakes. 2. The Sioux, or Dacotas, livmost horrible forms by those who pro- ing between Lake Superior and the Missisfessed to be Christians themselves, to be sippi. These were a small branch of the convinced that, when not restrained by the great tribe of the same name, to be found grace and providence of God, there is now about the higher streams of that river, and thing too devilish for man to do.

between them and the Oregon Mountains. Some remains of the law, written origi- 3. The HUKON-IROQUOIS nations, who occunally on the heart of man by his Creator, pied all the northern and western parts of are to be found even among the Indian what is now the State of New York, and a tribes. Certain actions are considered part of Upper Canada. The most imporcriminal and deserving of punishment ; tant of these tribes were the Five Nations, others are reckoned meritorious. The as they were long called, viz., the Mohawks, catalogue, it is true, of accredited virtues Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Seneand vices is not extensive. Among the cas. These were afterward joined by the men, nothing can atone for the want of Tuscaroras from the Carolinas, a branch courage and fortitude. The captive war of the same great family, and then they rior can laugh to scorn all the tortures of took the name of the Six Nations, by which his enemies, and sing in the very agonies title they are better known to history. of a death inflicted in the most cruel man- 4. The CatawBAS, who lived chiefly in ner, what may be termed a song of triumph, what is now South Carolina. 5. The rather than of death! The narrations which CHEROKEES, who lived in the mountainous the Jesuit (French) missionaries, who knew parts of the two Carolinas, Georgia, and the Indian character better, perhaps, than Alabama. Their country lay in the southany other white men that have ever writ- ern extreme of the Alleghany Mountains, ten of them, have left of what they them- and abounded in ridges and valleys. 6. selves saw, are such as no civilized man The Uchees, who resided in Georgia, in can read without being perfectly appalled.* the vicinity of the site occupied at present Roman fortitude never surpassed that dis- by the city of Augusta. 7. The NATCHEZ, played in innumerable instances by cap- so famous for their tragical end, who lived tured Indian warriors. In fact, nothing can on the banks of the Mississippi, in the he compared with it except that said to neighbourhood of the present city of Nathave been exhibited by the Scandinavians, chez. 8. The Mobilian tribes, or, as Mr. in their early wars with one another and Gallatin calls them, the MUSKHOGEE-CHOC-with foreign enemies ; and of which we ta, who occupied the country which comhave many accounts in their Elder and prises now the States of Alabama and Younger Eddas, and in their Sagas. Mississippi, and the Territory of Florida.

* The reader is referred to the work entitled “ Ré- The tribes which composed this family, or lation de ce qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France,” nation, are well known by the name of the in 1632, and the years following, down till 1660. Creeks, the Chickasas, the Choctas, and Also to the work of Creuxius, and the Journal of the Seminoles ; to whom may be added Marest. Much is to be found on the same horrible the Yamasses, who formerly lived on the subject in Charlevoix's “ Histoire de la Nouvelle France ;" Lepage Dupratz's “ Histoire de la Louisi- Savannah River, but exist no longer as a ane;" Jefferson's “Notes on Virginia ;” “Transac- separate tribe. tions of the American Philosophical Society,” vol. i.; and the volumes of the late excellent Heckewelder, tribes are very different, and yet they are

The languages of these eight families of who was for forty years a missionary among the Delaware Indians, and whom the author of this marked by strong grammatical affinities. work had the happiness of knowing intimately. It is most probable that the people who

first settled America, come whence they | which they knew not how to protect themmight, spoke different, though remotely re- selves. If the Europeans introduced some lated languages. All the languages of the diseases, it is no less certain that they Aborigines of America are exceedingly found some formidable ones among the complicated, regular in the forms of verbs, natives. A year or two before the Pilgrim irregular in those of nouns, and admitting Fathers reached the coast of New-Ěngof changes by modifications of final sylla- land, the very territory on which they setbles, initial syllables, and even, in the case tled was swept of almost its entire popof verbs, by the insertion of particles, in a ulation by a pestilence. ' Several of the way unknown to the languages of Western tribes which existed when the colonists Europe. They exhibit demonstrative proof arrived from Europe were but the remthat they are not the invention of those nants, as they themselves asserted, of once who use them, and that they who use them powerful tribes, that had been almost anhave never been a highly-civilized people. nihilated by war or by disease. This, as is: Synthesis, or the habit of compounding believed, was the case with the Catawbas, words with words, prevails, instead of the the Uchees, and the Natchez. Many of more simple method of analysis, which a the branches of the Algonquin race, and highly cultivated use of language always some of the Huron-Iroquois, used to speak displays.* The old English was much of the renowned days of their forefathers, more clumsy than the modern. The same when they were a powerful people. It is thing is true of the French and German; not easy, indeed, to estimate what was the indeed, of every cultivated language. The probable number of the Indians who occupilanguages of the tribes bordering upon the ed, at the time of its discovery, the country frontier settlements of the United States east of the Mississippi and south of the si. begin to exhibit visible evidences of the Lawrence, comprising very nearly what effect of contact with civilization. The may be called the settled portion of the half-breeds are also introducing modifica- United States ; and from which the Indian tions, which show that the civilized mind race has disappeared, in consequence of tends to simplify language ; and the labours emigration or other causes. But I am inof the missionaries, who have introduced clined to think, with Mr. Bancroft, an Amerletters among several tribes, are also pro-ican author who deserves the highest praise ducing great results, and leading to decided for the diligent research he has displayed improvements.

in his admirable work on the United States, A great deal has been said and written and to whom I am greatly indebted on about the gradual wasting and disappear- this subject, as well as many others which ance of the tribes which once occupied the are treated in this work, that there may territories of the United States.

have been in all not far from one hundred It is not intended to deny that several and eighty thousand souls.* That a contribes which figure in the history of the siderable number were slain in the numerfirst settlement of the country by Europe- ous wars carried on between them and ans are extinct, and that several more are the French and English during our colonearly so. Nor is it denied that this has nial days, and in our wars with them after been partly occasioned by wars waged with our independence, and that ardent spirthem by the white or European popula- its, also, have destroyed many thousands, tion; still more by the introduction of cannot be doubted. But the most fruitful drunkenness and other vices of civilized source of destruction to these poor“ chilmen, and by the diseases incident to those dren of the wood” has been the occasional vices. But while this may be all true, prevalence of contagious and epidemic disstill the correctness of a good deal that eases, such as the smallpox, which some has been said on this subject may well be years since cut off, in a few months, alquestioned. Nothing can be more certain most the whole tribe of the Mandans, on than that the tribes which once occupied the Missouri. the country now comprised within the Uni- Of the ALGONQUIN race, whose numbers, ted States, were, at the epoch of the first two hundred years ago, were estimated at settlement of Europeans on its shores, ninety thousand souls, only a few small gradually wasting away, and had long been tribes, and remnants of tribes, remain, so; from the destructive wars waged with probably not exceeding 20,000 persons. each other;. from the frequent recurrence of the HURON-Iroquois, not more probably of famine, and sometimes from cold ; and than two or three thousand remain within from diseases and pestilences, against the limits of the United States. The great

* The reader who desires, may see much on the er part who survive are to be found in Indian languages in Humboldt's Voyages; Vater's Canada. The Sioux have not diminished. Mithradates, vol. iii.; Baron Will. Humboldt; Pub- The CHEROKEES have increased. The CAlications of the Berlin Academy, vol. xliv.; Gallatin's Tawbas are nearly extinct as a nation. The Analysis ; Duponceau's Notes on Zeisberger; Amer. ican Quarterly Review, vol. iii. ; Heckewelder's two remains of the Uchees and Natchez have works respecting Indian manners, customs, etc. ; * Bancroft's History of the United States, vol. üi.. and Mr. Schoolcraft's publications.

p. 253.

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